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    At various times I've mentioned here that, since the official Champions Universe is a hobby of mine, I found myself becoming a sort of unofficial "lore-master" to the Champions Online player community, answering their questions on the game's forums about elements of the setting. That has sometimes prompted me to compile information on particular topics for their easy reference. Occasionally I've transcribed some of that info here for our tabletop gaming community when I thought it might be of general interest, and that has been received positively. The Champions Universe, being inspired by the major mainstream comics companies, embraces the full range of classic super character origins you see in those comics: mutagenic accidents, genetic mutation, radical scientific inventions, mystic martial arts, aliens, sorcery, gods and supernatural creatures, cosmic entities, etc. However, there are a number of origin concepts described in Champions books that IMHO are more original and distinctive to the setting, but don't require characters with backgrounds so unusual that players would require a lot of information or elaborate setup to use them. Even if you don't use the official CU, these origin concepts can be inserted into most original four-color super campaign worlds without much effort. So I thought outlining origins in that category might inspire some of my fellow Champions gamers. I'd be happy to flesh out more details on any of these origins if anyone asks; but every entry cites the published books in which folks can read more about them. I hope some of you find this useful. ______________________________________________________ Alien Gene-Tampering: Superhuman powers resulting from aliens mucking with Human DNA is a well-established comic-book trope. On Champions Earth the repeatedly-invasive Qularr are one likely candidate. The main reason the Qularr invaded Earth in the first place was so they could study the Human genome on a large scale, to understand why and how Humans manifest superpowers with greater frequency and average power than nearly any other species, including the Qularr. They hope to engineer that capacity in themselves. At least one experiment along those lines has yielded a super-powered hybrid, although by accident. It's highly likely other similar experiments are being conducted by Qularr currently on Earth, or perhaps on Humans kidnapped and brought back to Qularr space. What virtually no one knows is that one reason Humans do manifest powers more often, is because that genetic potential was placed in them by incredibly ancient and advanced aliens called the Progenitors. Two million years ago the Progenitors advanced the evolution of Humanity's ancestor species to the next stage of sapience. Half a million years ago they experimented on Homo erectus, creating the first of the ageless superhuman Empyrean race. Champions Universe suggests they might also be responsible for the creation of the Birdpeople of Thaar twelve thousand years ago. In any case, the Progenitors still exist, continuing their experiments and periodically monitoring the progress of past ones. It's not unreasonable to assume that they would do some "followup" work on Human DNA. You can read much more about the Qularr and Progenitors in Champions Beyond. The Birdpeople of Thaar are described in Champions Universe. Coruscations of Power: In the worldwide accidental cataclysm which devastated the alien planet Ashraal centuries ago, and gave birth to the awesome cosmic villain Xarriel, discreet bursts of energy from the main explosion were cast across space and time, emerging in random locations in the space-time continuum. To date at least five of these "coruscations of power" have appeared on or near the Earth in recent years, and affected humans in their vicinity, creating the supervillains Photon, Stareye, Sunspot, and Vector, and the superhero Victory. The coruscations can manifest as bursts of light from space, but in the past have been mistaken for solar flares or lightning storms. Powers induced by them can, but not must, include various forms of energy projection, flight (usually very fast), mind-affecting abilities, enhanced physical strength, speed, and durability, and the ability to survive in hostile environments (even space). Xarriel is fully detailed in Champions Beyond, while the other villains mentioned are in the Champions Villains trilogy, and Victory in Champions Universe. DEMONic Experiments: One of the classic superhero origins is the person unwillingly subjected to villainous scientific experiments who uses their newly-gained powers to escape. In the CU quite a few official supers came about that way, particularly due to actions by VIPER and ARGENT. But DEMON, the worldwide supernatural villain org, often conduct their own magical analogues to scientific research, which have spawned magical superhumans. One official villain, named Riptide, was a young runaway girl before a member of DEMON found her and turned her over to his Morbane. The Morbane attempted a magic experiment to bind the girl to a water elemental, hoping to create a strong but mentally pliable minion. But Riptide's crazed fear at what was done to her was now backed with elemental powers, enabling her to force her way to freedom. The supervillain now called Morningstar was the result of a tactic that DEMON often uses since it became estranged from the rulers of Hell: forcing a summoned demon to temporarily occupy the human body of a DEMON Brother, giving the Brother a measure of demonic power but with the human personality in control. For unknown reasons, Morningstar's possession proved permanent. He fought DEMON's enemies for some time, under enchantment to ensure his loyalty, until a battle with magical heroes severed the control spell and returned his free will. Morningstar left DEMON to become an independent supervillain. (Both characters are detailed in Champions Villains Vol. 3.) Another villain in the service of DEMON, Professor Samedi, was a minor DEMON member, and lackluster musician, before his Morbane had him try to play an enchanted fiddle the Morbane had acquired. Samedi found he could cast several potent spells with the fiddle's music, but it changed him physically, making him look almost skeletally gaunt; and changed his personality, to more actively, confidently malevolent. So there's precedent for a Morbane to have one of his disposable minions "test drive" a magic item. Perhaps a given item would change the wielder's personality in a more positive way. (Prof. Samedi is detailed in DEMON: Servants Of Darkness.) Department 17: Since World War II, the United States government has researched ways to safely and reliably create superhumans, as well as to more effectively control them, with few successes. Their efforts have often resulted in severe, even fatal physical and mental side effects to their subjects, and produced as many supervillains as superheroes. During WW II the US military set up Project Rainbow for this purpose, at Fort McLaughlin (now McLaughlin Air Force Base) near the small town of Haynesville, Kansas. After the war the Project was declassified and officially shut down, and McLaughlin AFB appears nearly abandoned today. This was a ruse. Project Rainbow was never shut down. Still secretly based at McLaughlin, what is now titled Department 17 is the Defense Department's hub for research into superpower generation and superhuman control. Under its current director, General Clarence Smith, it conducts a wide variety of research involving drugs and chemicals, radiation treatments, genetic engineering, and other exotic methods. Much of the Department's current research focuses on refining the Cyberline procedure used for PRIMUS's Avenger program. The Department's scientists are also very interested in investigating any reports of new manifestations of superpowers. General Smith might go to great lengths to keep 17's existence and activities secret. He's also used some "creative" accounting to keep his department funded. Department 17 is described in Champions Universe, as are PRIMUS and Cyberline. "Divine" Intervention: In the Champions Universe, all the gods and demons of myth and religion that humans still remember actually exist. Although very powerful in their home astral dimensions, a metaphysical barrier called the Ban prevents them from manifesting on Earth with their full power. But there are a few ways divine beings can create lesser-powered Earthly agents to champion their causes. One of these ways is to infuse some of their power, and sometimes personality, into a deserving human host, creating a superhuman reflecting the qualities of his or her patron deity. Quite a few official Champions heroes and villains have been empowered in this way. In keeping with comic-book origin conventions, their empowerment typically comes under unusual and dramatic circumstances, often at a key turning point in the life of the hero. For example, the first Johnny Hercules was given an amulet by an "apparition" of Zeus when the circus he worked for toured Greece, containing the "Hercules Force," the power of Hercules as a demigod which he abandoned when he became fully a god. The Nigerian hero Ogun gained power over metal after being beaten near to death by criminal thugs, when he received a vision of the Yoruba god of the forge of the same name. Ogun is thoroughly detailed in Champions Worldwide, while the current Johnny Hercules is featured in the PDF book The Hercules Force, available from the Hero Games website store. Much more on CU gods and the Ban can be found in The Mystic World. Empyrean Heritage: For hundreds of thousands of years, the immortal superhuman offshoot of humanity called Empyreans have existed alongside their human cousins. While they maintain their own city of Arcadia in Antarctica, hidden from human discovery by advanced devices, the majority of Empyreans choose to live incognito among humanity. The general population is ignorant of their existence; only a few superheroes have been trusted with the secret, although the Lemurians know of Arcadia and have been enemies of the Empyreans for many millennia. A few Empyreans have acted as superheroes or villains in the modern era. Empyreans sometimes have children by humans, who are always either normal humans or full Empyreans. These children may grow up unaware of their true heritage; but the Empyreans' leaders scan the world for any new Empyrean offspring, and when they discover one induct him or her into their society. But individual Empyreans can follow whatever activities they like, provided they don't reveal their race's existence to mankind. All Empyreans are ageless, physically superhuman to a greater or lesser extent, and can fly. They can manifest a wide range of mental or energy powers, although the type and degree varies based on innate ability and the interest a given Empyrean has in developing specific powers, usually related to their preferred pastimes. The Empyreans and Arcadia are extensively described in Hidden Lands. Golden Age Legacies: In the real world the earliest comic-book superheroes appeared starting in 1938, and continued to be created over the course of World War II. Champions Earth's first actual superhumans also began to appear during this period. Most of those heroes eventually retired, to be replaced by newer generations; but often those newer heroes were inspired by their predecessors, in many cases even to the point of adopting their code names as an homage. Most such "legacy heroes" were either the relatives or proteges of the originals, or sought their blessing to carry on their names. However, certain lineages originating in the Golden Age have been particularly fertile in continuing to produce new heroes to uphold the family tradition. In the winter of 1939 Kiril Lenskii was a young officer in the Soviet army serving in his country's war against Finland. Badly wounded in an attack that wiped out the rest of his unit, and overcome by the severe winter cold, Lenskii collapsed unconscious over underground caverns which released strange gasses. As they entered his lungs his body began to change. He awoke to discover that not only was his body healed and stronger than before, but he was now immune to the cold, and could even create intense cold, snow, and ice over limited areas. Given the code name, General Zima ("winter"), over the course of World War II Kiril Lenskii became the Soviet military's leading superhero, and remained so for many years. The three sons of fisherman and former naval sailor Morimoto Takashi (by a mysterious woman who may have been a supernatural spirit) were each born with extraordinary abilities: enormous strength and durability (Ichiro); incredible speed (Jiro); and probability manipulation (Saburo) manifesting as phenomenal luck for himself, and phenomenal misfortune for his opponents. The three young men were recruited by the Japanese government to fight their country's foes, first China in the 1930s, and later the Americans and their allies during WW II. They were among Japan's most prominent superhuman champions during and after the war. Each of the three Morimoto brothers had more than one superhuman offspring, while all seven of General Zima's children developed super powers. Today there are over two dozen "super" members of the extended Morimoto family, and descendants of General Zima, active in their respective homelands. It would be reasonable to expect a few of their relatives to have emigrated to other countries at some point. Although the histories of these characters don't explicitly state it one way or the other, there's no reason to assume superhumans from their lineages necessarily manifest the same types of powers as their ancestors. The mutations of all three original Morimoto brothers were radically different from each other; while General Zima's origin implies his abilities resulted from his body adapting to a specific environment. The full write-ups for General Zima and the Morimoto brothers appear in the latest edition of Golden Age Champions (for Hero System Sixth Edition). Hzeel Biomatter: Champions Earth has experienced several alien invasions in the past, and is currently dealing with renewed intrusions by the Gadroon and Qularr. What no one on Earth knows yet, is that another aggressive species, the Hzeel, also have the Earth in their sights. These short, blue-skinned humanoids have scouted Earth for nearly two decades, wanting it as an advance staging area in their war against the Dorvalans (Ironclad's race). At least two Hzeel scout craft have crashed on Earth and been discovered by humans. One of these was salvaged by Roger Warwell, aka the Warlord, and its technology became the basis for his own weapon designs. Hzeel technology is partly biological, and can have radical unpredictable effects when it comes in contact with human tissue. Two humans, the solo supervillain Howler, and the Warlord's minion Warcry, gained superhuman vocal powers when Hzeel communications devices were implanted in their throats (this happening spontaneously on contact in the case of Howler). The effect also extends to tissues from Hzeel themselves; VIPER's staff supervillain Oculon gained his powerful eyebeams from eyes from an Hzeel corpse transplanted to his sockets. (Hzeel don't have eyebeams, they're the result of interaction between the two species' biologies.) Anyone using recognizable Hzeel materials would undoubtedly be of interest to both the Hzeel and the Warlord. The Hzeel have a whole chapter in Champions Beyond, as do the Qularr and Gadroon, and the Dorvalans are also described there. The other villains mentioned are in the Champions Villains trilogy, except Oculon who's written up in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent. Ironclad and the rest of the Champions superhero team get full write-ups for their beginning careers in the Champions genre book, with more experienced versions in Champions Universe. Kelvarite: This mysterious, green-glowing extraterrestrial mineral has been found in meteorites from several falls. It's a powerful source of energy, but is extremely unstable and prone to explosion when disturbed. Some people who have been bombarded by radiation or fragments from exploding kelvarite have gained superhuman powers, typically (but not exclusively) superhuman strength and durability, and some type of enhanced movement capability, e.g. super-running or -leaping, flight, or teleportation. They also acquire a susceptibility to radiation from other samples of kelvarite. Known superhumans with this origin include the solo villains Tachyon and Thunderbolt II, Dr. Destroyer's servant Meteor (all in the CV trilogy), and the African superhero Gazelle (in Champions Worldwide). Large organizations such as the US government and UNTIL have secured all the kelvarite they can find, but sometimes lend samples to research laboratories. Other kelvarite meteorites remain to be discovered. However, what no one is aware of is that what they call kelvarite is actually impure samples, which is why it's unstable. Pure kelvarite doesn't resemble the impure mineral, and is extremely rare on Earth. Its energies respond to the will of intelligent beings in physical contact with it, allowing them to wield formidable and versatile energy-projection powers. (It isn't obvious that the power comes from the kelvarite itself.) The only pure kelvarite discovered so far was made into rings worn by the four men who have used the superheroic identity, Meteor Man. Kelvarite is described in Champions Universe, while the first Meteor Man is written up in Golden Age Champions. Martial-Arts Temples: For centuries, hidden enclaves have existed in the Far East where dedicated monks have practiced the most advanced physical and spiritual martial-arts techniques, including virtually superhuman abilities for those with the skill and determination to master them. Several official Champions heroes and villains were trained at such enclaves. The most legendary of these sites among knowledgeable martial artists are Yengtao Temple, somewhere in the mountains of China; and the city of Shamballah, in a cave beneath a mountain in the Himalayas. Both sites are hidden from the outside world both physically and magically, so that only those already highly disciplined in body and mind can find them. But those who do can study almost any martial art that has ever existed, and perhaps achieve abilities like the heroes of legend. Various students at Yengtao Temple have returned to the outside world to become heroes, or villains. In the present day the Millennium City superhero Nightwind, his bitter rival Jade Phoenix, and the Hong Kong hero Golden Dragon Fist, all learned their extraordinary skills and ch'i powers from Yengtao. Jade Phoenix was responsible for the destruction of Yengtao Temple and murder of the monks in 1996, but there may be other former students alive in the world. And Shamballah, second only to Yengtao as a repository of mystic martial-arts secrets, still stands. But Shamballah also guards a dark secret even further beneath the mountain: its evil twin city, Agharti, prison of the Dark Monks, also extraordinarily skilled but utterly corrupt. While the Shamballans prevent the Dark Monks from escaping, they don't forbid outsiders from visiting the city, or leaving afterwards. The villain Zhua Teng ("grasping vine") received training in Agharti. The story of Yengtao Temple, and description of some of its unique techniques, appear in Champions Universe. Shamballah and Agharti are described in considerable detail in Hidden Lands. Nightwind's latest write-up is in Millennium City, while Jade Phoenix is in Champions Villains Volume Three. Zhua Teng is fully written up in Martial Enemies Volume 1. Professional Armorers: One of the staples of the superhero genre is the gadget-using super, with no actual super-powers but employing equipment made of special materials and/or incorporating advanced technology. Most comic-book heroes build their own gadgets, or have them designed for them by benevolent patron inventors or agencies. Some heroes acquire prototype devices by accident, including "liberating" them from their villainous makers (often earning them pursuit by the vengeful villain). But it's not unheard-of in comics for a scientist -- usually one of criminal bent -- to sell his technological services to whoever will pay. In the official Champions Universe there are several possible sources of scientific expertise for hire to aspiring supers. Most of these are considered criminals by most world law-enforcement, so don't typically contract with anyone of obvious heroic bent who might cause them trouble. But for another criminal, or a mercenary or vigilante of grey morality, they're often the route to quick super status. Millennium City is the home base of Wayland Talos, a brilliant inventor with a pathological hatred of superheroes. To strike back at them he supplies villains with everything from questionite hand weapons, to energy blasters or jet packs, to full suits of powered armor. He's considered one of the underworld's premier armorers, with few individual competitors. One of those competitors is known as Brainchild, a telepathic gadgeteer who primarily supplies tactical and technical support to other criminals, rather than take the risk of committing his own crimes. On the international front, the Warlord is a powered-armor villain and would-be conqueror who's also a major dealer in high-tech armaments, and who has created super-class weaponry and armor for individuals for the right price. The unscrupulous corporation called ARGENT does a thriving business in service to criminals; not just supplying gadgetry, but even physically augmenting a person through bionic implants or experimental biochemical treatments. The independent city-state of Larisagrad was once a center for the USSR's classified scientific research, including advanced weaponry, and experiments to create true superhumans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus their funding, the scientists of Larisagrad chose to freelance to the highest bidder. The only truly benign inventor engaged in remotely similar activity is named Ralph Polarewski. Formerly the full-time technical supervisor to the famous Sentinels superhero team, Ralph left them after a bitter argument with the team's leader. He's become a well-known freelance contractor to members of the superhero community who use gadgets but have no technical skills of their own. As written he primarily works for people already established as heroes (and would never sell his services to someone of questionable morality), but would be well able to supply an equipment-based origin to someone who could convince him of their sincerity and dedication. ARGENT and Larisagrad are described in Champions Universe. The Warlord and his organization are fully written up in Volume One of the Champions Villains trilogy, while Brainchild and Wayland Talos get the same treatment in Volume Three. Ralph Polarewski is detailed in the book, Everyman. Project Sunburst: In 1994 a group of American "rogue generals" assigned over 200 volunteer soldiers to what they were told was a war game. In fact the generals were experimenting to try to create superpowered soldiers resistant to radiation, by detonating a nuclear device near them while they wore protective suits. Most of the volunteers soon died of radiation poisoning, while a handful slipped into comas. Most of the comatose were placed into a secret holding facility, codenamed "The Crypt," while a few were stored at other sites. In the intervening years, several of these survivors have developed superhuman physical and energy powers. A few, such as the master villain Sunburst and his follower Radium, awakened spontaneously. Others, like Dr. Destroyer's security chief, Gigaton, were aroused with help from other villains. Some escaped the Crypt on their own, while others were "liberated." All the active survivors except Gigaton and the powered-armor villain, Armadillo, have joined Sunburst. However, the remaining comatose subjects are still being kept in secret in the Crypt, not just from the public but from the generals' own superiors. Most of these villains are fully written up in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains, although Armadillo is in Vol. 3 Radium-X: This radioactive element has been known to science on Champions Earth since at least the 1930s. It's well known for its radiation's mutagenic properties, able to induce radical, even super-empowering mutations in living organisms under certain conditions. For example, it's a critical component of Dr. Phillippe Moreau's process for creating Manimals. The late superhero Tiger, a former leader of the famous Sentinels superhero team, was a former UNTIL agent who became a man-tiger hybrid through accidental exposure to radium-X and some of Moreau's chemicals during a raid on the Doctor's lab. In 1940 a Bulgarian laboratory researcher gained formidable magnetic powers after the failure of an experimental magnetron being powered by radium-X flooded her lab with radiation. She took the code-name Leitstern ("lodestar") and was drafted to fight with Germany during WW II. The preceding examples suggest that the specific mutations caused by radium-X are thematically linked to the environmental conditions applying at the time. The origin of Leitstern also highlights another major use for radium-X, as a concentrated high-energy power source for various devices. The Golden Age villain Liquifier needed that element to power his Matter-Liquifier Ray, which could change any inanimate solid matter to a liquid state. It's possible that other radical technology can only be powered by radium-X's unique radiation. Radium-X can be purchased legally. Various research laboratories are noted as studying or using it. However, the clear implication of references to it is that it's rare and expensive, leading to attempts to steal it by people with less than upright intentions for it. Dr. Phillippe Moreau and his followers are fully written up in Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains, while both Leitstern and Liquifier are detailed in Golden Age Champions. Tiger has never been given a full background story or Hero System character sheet, but is mentioned and briefly described in CV Vol. 1, Champions Universe, and Book Of The Destroyer. The Swords of Nama: During the Dark Ages the serpent-god Nama, who is today the patron deity of VIPER, set out to become a great power among Men. He gathered six mighty warriors from across Eurasia to be his agents and generals, to conquer an empire in his name. For each warrior he forged a powerful enchanted sword. But before they could achieve any major successes the warriors quarreled, which ultimately led to all their deaths. The Swords of Nama were scattered. Over the intervening centuries some of these legendary swords reappeared, and a few were destroyed; but others remain to be discovered in ruins across Eastern Europe. The story of the six "vipers upon the land" appears as a small part of the history of Nama and VIPER, on p. 6 of the book, VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent. Aside from being called "serpent-blades" the Swords of Nama aren't described, nor are any of their qualities defined, which leaves a player free to imbue a particular sword with any powers desired. Note that Nama is neither good nor evil, and has helped heroes or villains as the mood struck him; so there's no inherent reason for his Swords to be one or the other. Teleios, the Perfect Man: The foremost genetic engineer on Champions Earth today, Teleios is infamous for being a cloner of people, and a creator of animalistic monsters, but the range of his genetic expertise goes far beyond that. More than half a dozen official supers, villainous and heroic, owe their powers or very existence to The Perfect Man. Teleios has the skill to induce almost any super power in any human, whether or not that person already has powers or the potential for them. Teleios will do this for pay, or in exchange for services or favors, as he did for the supervillain-turned-hero Flashover (Champions Universe: News Of The World), and her brother, the villain Hurricane (Champions Villains Vol. 3: Solo Villains). Teleios has been known to bestow powers on someone on a whim, whether or not they want them, like after a dalliance with the Indian woman now known as Monsoon (Champions Worldwide). The Perfect Man can grow completely original, humanoid or human-looking superhumans with any abilities he chooses. He sometimes sells his creations, as when he supplied VIPER with the powerful monster named Obelisque (Champions Worldwide). Sometimes Teleios turns a creation loose in the world uncontrolled (although not unmonitored), to see how it responds and develops. He did this with the beings labeled the Landsman, and the Lodge (both in Champions Of The North). The master geneticist can program his creations with whatever skills he or his employer desires. He can even implant elaborate false memories, to the point where the person has no idea he or she is artificial or has any connection to the Perfect Man. This is how Teleios programs the cloned soldiers he sells to other villains and groups. The superheroine called the Teen Dream (Teen Champions), whom Teleios designed as an experiment in social manipulation, is unaware of her real origin and considers herself a true hero. When he makes a creature Teleios implants controlling genes that make it psychologically impossible for that creature to harm him, or may even make it a loyal follower (although those controls have been known to fail on very rare occasions). Those controls can be so subtle that a person isn't consciously aware of them. Although the lore doesn't specify it, it may be possible for Teleios to do this to humans he augments. He definitely is known to build exploitable secret weaknesses into their genetic code, should they turn against him. Teleios is fully written up in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains. Vandaleur Bloodline: Founded a thousand years ago by their immortal progenitor, Adrian Vandaleur, this widespread clan of sorcerers is one of the premier occult dynasties in the Western world. Although the majority of Vandaleurs have no more talent for magic than most people, the gift for spell casting is far more common among them than in the general populace; and their ranks include some of the most powerful mages in the world. Members of the family are aware of each other, and sometimes cooperate, sometimes conflict. But Adrian Vandaleur, whose power dwarfs that of his kin, keeps any factionalism from descending into violence. Otherwise individual Vandaleurs are free to follow whatever activities they like. Their personalities and morality vary widely. Some are benevolent, even heroic; others are amoral and ruthless, up to megalomaniacal psychopaths. Most are simply concerned with their own interests. Any Vandaleur with magical ability and desire to develop it could find family members able and willing to train him. The Vandaleur family are described in detail in Champions Villains Vol. 2: Villain Teams. The Vita-Man Clan: Percy Yates was born in Los Angeles in 1910. Brilliant but sickly throughout his youth, he studied biology, chemistry, and nutrition to find ways to improve his own health. In 1939 he discovered a compound which when administered in a pill had a miraculous effect on him, transforming his body to one of perfect health and exceptional physical vigor. Further experimentation led to additional pills granting him true super-powers, including X-ray vision, invisibility, flight, growth to giant size and strength, or shrinking to the size of a mouse. Yates's discoveries had two major drawbacks. Their effects were only temporary -- his main vitalizing pill lasted about an hour per dose, while his additional abilities endured for only a minute. Yates was also unable to make them work for anyone else -- they interacted with his own unique physiology. Nonetheless he used his new abilities to fight crime under the costumed identity of Vita-Man. Vita-Man was recruited by the Drifter as one of the founding members of the Justice Squadron superhero team, protecting the west coast of the United States during WW II. Percy Yates's health continued to deteriorate over time, leading to his retirement as Vita-Man in 1948, and his death in 1964. But in the intervening years he learned that several of his family members shared the biological factors which would allow them to use his empowering treatments. Today half a dozen of his kin are using "variations of his discoveries" (wording suggesting that other powers are possible). Vita-Man's full background and character sheet are included in the Golden Age Champions Secret Files, a PDF collecting outtakes from the manuscript for the latest edition of Golden Age Champions. The Zodiac Working: In 1979 the late master villain Archimago, greatest sorceror of the Twentieth Century, attempted this fearsome ritual, to impregnate twelve women by twelve powerful demons. The resulting hybrid children could be used by the demons as hosts to incarnate themselves on Earth with all their power. The ritual was interrupted and the women rescued by the superhero team, the Fabulous Five. The women seemed unharmed and weren't pregnant, so returned home. Two years later one of these women married and gave birth to a girl who later manifested powers of destructive energy, as well as a propensity for rage and vandalism. She grew up to become the supervillain Frag (fully written up in CV Vol. 3). She has no knowledge of her true origins, thinking herself a mutant. Although she usually appears human, when enraged her form becomes more demonic-looking. Another of these women gave birth to a son, who now acts as the superhero Pagan (described in the book The Ultimate Mystic). In his superhero identity (resembling a satyr) he's physically superhuman and can project powerful mystic light. Pagan discovered his true heritage when his demonic father Belial attempted to seduce him to his service. Although his diabolical inclinations are strong, Pagan's inherent decency has so far won out. To date nothing has been revealed about the other ten victims of the Zodiac Working.
  4. 10 points
    Starlord

    Coronavirus

  5. 10 points
  6. 9 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

  7. 8 points
    (REALLY long, really detailed- Edit, okay, not that long or detailed but still easy to miss mention of this or that god if you aren't careful) And the other gods did craft lands and monuments and great works aplenty, they shaped the geography of this world and the next, and some asked "Where then is Fox's contribution?" Workaholics, the lot of them, which is fine, I suppose, but to get nagged by some for not 'creating' enough (As if stories were not the creation that inspired other creations) is irksome. I'm the god of trickery, not the god of marriage, find someone else to hoist your honey dew list upon. And yet, let it not be said I'm not able to rise to an occasion. Why, I'm even generous! Nation states were brought into this world, yet they seem vague and nebulous! Clearly we're not a detail oriented pantheon. And so I shall make TEN great countries on one 'continent', one for each of my fellow gods! To Nogram, I bestow the country of Nemohicarum! A lush, hilly, wooded land , and it is near the great river that rushes up. It has small villages connected by lesser rivers, and some of the lower hills are quite nice for vinyards or the like. Sadly, it has almost no metals (Unless Nogram puts it there). It must trade outside itself for such, or invade, or..well whatever. Each village has a temple to Nogram, again, lacking in metal components. save for the bare minimums. The villages are laid out in a vaguely circular pattern , if the hill in the center was further developed it might make a grand market. To Volcanis, I grant the nation of Tá an Cíos ró-ard! a ring shape of sub-tropical and tropical jungles with wildlife aplenty but with a great HUGE City in the near center of it with a fine port. Further, there are metal ores a plenty under the green of the nature beyond with some samples getting into the streams to catch the eyes of travelers. To Shayol, I leave Sucre Eclat, a land as barren as your offerings, as false as your hope. Lodged between Fluff Fluff Forest, and Cuddly Crag, this chromatic country shines garishly under an onslaught of bright often pastel daylight. Food grown here tastes saccharine to the extreme. And cheerful music seems carried on every wind. The main fauna appears to be incredibly friendly ponies of all colors of the rainbows. By pure chance, Foxhair weed seems to grow on the borders between it and other countries. To Liminus, Askakupolfordrakar is yours to use or ignore. High Mountain ranges that plunge down into marshes with sluggish swampy rivers, some green willow filled woodlands, and everywhere mists and fog so thick that your average human couldn't see ten feet past his face. A great town built in the center of a lake has canals rather than roads, it is clearer here, and whatever people you choose to settle here will find rows and rows of sable colored arrows with a few bows. To Eternus, creator of humans who are ever a source of amusement to me, I leave to you the city state of Blumenriechengut! Down in a valley are miles and miles of flowery fields and the great city of Essiehtgutausja! It is a great stone labyrinth of a city, and on its tombstone like walls are writings in many languages where the stories of those who have died and made a mark in history are displayed. Miles and miles as you walk from down town to the great temple that awaits priests of your choosing. Of course, one out of every hundred of every 'historical record' or 'memory preserved' has an inaccuracy in it, and a few spots just have bad grammar. Irregardless of that, I'm sure your worshipers could care less, and if they want to will hunt down and spend the time correcting those. To Andrea, I leave the mysterious underkingdom of Chikajunin. We don't want you falling through the helix, so the tunnels are more wide spread than deep. Don't worry, some have that stuff laced in it that makes it unlikely to collapse. It's actually quite lovely with phosphorescent crystals and under ground pools, some heated by the heat from below. There are vapors that induce dreaming in some vents. There's a resort like town with spas and cave paintings depicting you (might be a few Fox paintings too but who doesn't love those?). If you take the passages up you'll find your country is below Eternus land. To Inscissivus , I know your created people are nomadic, so I give them the great dry lands known as Fudalat-Sunduq which border three other nations and act a major trade road called The Lion's Walk. While some might call it a desert, it is a surprisingly temperate path, and there are small oasis here and there.It has variances of a sort. Golden sands that slip through your fingers are one part, rocky pebbles and gravel in another, and soil that gives away easily near the water holes. The great Tent City of alshuquq-sahla itself moves, or can be moved to wherever you or those in your nation wish. obviously it's not built for siege. To Kylvn, I give you the mountainous country of Silyyaytsa, not the tallest mountains but tall enough to be top frozen all year. Below at the foothills are numerous villages pre constructed and then beyond them, ice shelves that arch out to a cold sea. In your quest for music, you might wish to avoid Sopranos... high notes tend to cause avalanches. The cold waters are quite rich in fish though. To Tasha, Goddess of Good. Imiplaceraubaieti is a country you have offered up to you. Filled with dark woods, misty moors and gothic towns, decaying fortresses with an overabundance of spikes upon their towers. Demonic looking statuary and high barbed arches. It rains a lot here. Guess you could say its a fixer upper. However, if you know which buildings to look for, you'll find art work of surprising beauty in this or that building, and in that art, good usually triumphs over evil. Lastly, to the Fair Star, I offer T'pewNeik' Olt. It has everything elves could want, fine highlands where their rich accents can burr and 'och' all they want. Grains and goods that lend well to ale and beer like they adore. Minerals enough to fill their forges as their mighty smiths go to work! You'll find each village, be it under ground grotto or perched on a higland rim, has a barber shop ready for a master trimmer to shape and braid those beards. Do with as you want with them on this great spur of land I claim nothing, yet I am sure I'll visit each land in my own time just to see what you've done with the place. Geography Pick: The Continent "Regalo" with a free country for each other god Obviously those that already have Geography picks now get a double dip in a 'nothing bad can come of this' kind of way, and those that didn't Still have theirs and if they want could, unless our current commish says otherwise, use their geography pick to alter/improve their country like laying something better over an old painting or just make something far far from this particular section of the helix. A god can ignore their gift if they want period, of course, and leave it on the door step of fate to face whatever happens.
  8. 8 points
    Every time this conversation comes around, it ends the same way: "Because I can break it, it is impossible to use it in any way that isn't broken." Every _time_! Given the desire, I- and without a doubt the majority of the people here- can break every single part of the rules: all nine hundred pages of them. Guess we should just throw the frikkin things away, because there is _clearly_ no unbroken way to use any of them. Fizbin, anyone?
  9. 8 points
    Zeropoint

    Coronavirus

    Governments can declare things open all they want, and when they do, the working class lose their unemployment protection. The working class people who had been sheltering in place and getting by then have to choose between financial disaster or risking their lives for a paltry paycheck. The drive to "re-open the economy" isn't coming from people who want to go back to work. It's coming from the rich, who want money flowing into their already overstuffed coffers faster, and from the entitled, who want other people to risk their lives for their own convenience.
  10. 8 points
    Old Man

    Coronavirus

  11. 7 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

  12. 7 points
    Pariah

    The Academics Thread

    It's official: I have completed my Master's Degree.
  13. 7 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

  14. 7 points
    Iuz the Evil

    Coronavirus

    You just have to buy all your social skills with "costs END" as part of the package...
  15. 7 points
    Greywind

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  16. 7 points
  17. 6 points
    Biden isn't the (presumptive) nominee because a small cabal of party insiders considered him the, "most electable" - it's because he got more votes than any other candidate.
  18. 6 points
    Hermit

    World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020

    "Give us a gift, o fox!" Some called and challenged.Heady and bold on wine. "It's as red as Fox, but how do you know it's not his?" One mortal joked as he warmed by the fire playing a game of chess against a friend, "It's useful." That one had stung, it was good, damn it, but it stung! I had laid out kingdoms and nations, spread stories aplenty through out the world, and been the source of fun for many. It would appear Foxhair weed was ignored until it was needed. It riled me a bit, the ingratitude. As if any of them could do a better job than... and that's when I thought of my gift. A gift that would be like no gift ever given! Inscissivus helped make it possible, carving whole chunks between the world, oh a severing, but there are cracks, there are grooves made. And I slipped between them and wandered old worlds and new before returning to our own creation which had many names. I tended to call it "Fox's Wonderful Playground with Dubious Playmates". Ah, but what had I returned with? I had dug up sites of old power, and bubbling cauldrons of creation untapped. I had been to the lands where stories died half said, where old tales had been undone because no one spoke of them anymore, and a story unspoken, unrecorded, and unremembered is a terrible thing, as if oblivion of all that it is was growing by increments never to yield up a fraction of it's empire. It takes a god, a master bard, or a madman to seize a story from Oblivion. I've been all three. But I didn't just come back with stories. I came back with power. The stories will tell how I seduced the widow of the greatest key smith of all time to use recreate her husband's work. Others that I used the sharpest Sevittrium to shape the strongest Adamantite key which I heated in the fires of Shayol's hidden forge and then laid into the coldest frost of the God of winter. There are tales that it is not metal at all, but the bones of a dozen dead gods fused together. SO many stories. But however I made it happen, I made it happen. I brought forth the Key of Divine Sorrow. Every hundred and sixty nine years, the key would appear somewhere in the world. Which ever mortal (Neither God, nor mythic) found the key first and took it in his or her grip would find bestowed upon them Godhood! Full of Divine power (and restraint) able to work miracles and calamity upon their fellow mortals and the world itself! For what most would count as thirteen days (Whether the light came or not lest they try to get around the rule by causing an eclipse or the like) the new God would work his or her will! As immortal as any being. And each day, a small cut or scar appear on that god's otherwise perfect form until eventually 13 distinctive marks be upon them. And then, as that last hour clicked away, the new God's divinity would depart, and that now ex-god would become mortal again and is struck down dead for Eternus to sort out.. The gods can hold a vote on each miracle the 13 day god did. A majority can undo the worst of the changes and damages done, though never fully. Otherwise, it stands. Now, if the key isn't found, the cycle doesn't start again... the key just waits. To make things interesting, besides myself, Only I, and the Man of Gold know when the Key can be quested for... after all, if ever there was a time to save the world, it's when a villain might attain godhood, or a hero needs it. I send Faux out to either give parts of the story as a mad hermit or minstrel if I'm not going out in forms like that myself. Thirteen days of godhood, at the cost of a full life as a mortal! Not everyone who goes after it will no the price until it's too late.Some will know the price and decide it is worthwhile. I place the key. Some doomed lucky soul finds it, becomes a god, and can change the world.. maybe. Game on! Gift to Civilization: A Path to (Temporary) Divinity via the Key of Divine Sorrow
  19. 6 points
    Starlord

    Coronavirus

  20. 6 points
    Don't be ridiculous. Trump is obviously Chaotic Evil.
  21. 6 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

    More words of wisdom from Mr. Takei
  22. 6 points
    Cygnia

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  23. 6 points
    Starlord

    Coronavirus

  24. 6 points
    Michael Hopcroft

    Coronavirus

    Oregon Death Toll stands at 109. Not sure how long we've been counting, though, or what we expected to find when we started out. Oregon has opened up "elective" medical procedures such as colonoscopies. This may not be the ideal time to get one, though. Of course, some people need to get their heads examined, and the only way to do it is a -- oh, never mind.
  25. 5 points
    Clonus

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  26. 5 points
    I'm now picturing Superman's mustache being stop-motion animated by Ray Harryhausen.
  27. 5 points
    Inscissivus beheld the Universe, and considered its interconnectedness and unity. His fellow gods had gone to great lengths to link it with itself, using rainbow bridges, trails of light, and desert paths. Spiral stairs. Rivers running this way and that. Trees that linked everything. Even Creation itself took the shape of a single, giant spiral. To Inscissivus, it seemed a great tangle, a knot of complexity and confusion. Yet Inscissivus had two sides, like any edge--one of severing connections, and another of opening passages. And so he began to cut. Each cut became a slash in the fabric of reality--at once a portal that connected distant realms of the Universe, and a chasm that prevented neighboring areas from accessing each other at all. Inscissivus gazed upon his intricate network of cuts, and named it the Laceriat. Now the denizens of the Universe could easily travel it, yet the distinctions between realms and lands were even more refined. But in his haste, Inscissivus severed one realm entirely... Geography: The Laceriat
  28. 5 points
    I admit, I am of at least two minds. On the one and, yes, American culture fetishizes guns to an astonishing degree. Insurrection from any nationwide attempt at sudden, serious restriction or regulation is a real threat. Though bluntly, I think the odds are high of insurrection within the next 5 years anyway. A civil war disconnected from real economic or political issues -- only about mythology and identity. I hope I am proved wrong, but there seems to be a significant percentage of the population that is *flipping crazy* at the loss of their caste privileges and cherished myths of identity. OTOH, we do have the example of gay rights. There were predictions of civil war over that, too, and it didn't happen. First laws against homosexuality were rolled back. Society didn't collapse, either in a Gay Sex Orgy or an Evangelical crusade. Then a few states tried civil unions. Again, nothing happened. Then outright marriage. And what do you know, nothing happened. Finally the Supreme Court (narrowly) declared same-sex marriage had to be legal everywhere. And God did not smite the country as He smote Sodom and Gomorrah, neither did the Evangelicals rise up in armed rebellion and the military join them. Too many people realized they had friends and family who were gay, lesbian or bisexual, and they were just people instead of some abstract boogyman of "The Gay." A solid majority of Americans think same-sex marriage is just fine, and what's the big deal? Already, polling shows that a solid majority of Americans think some kind of tighter gun regulation is okay. So it may be possible to follow the same-sex marriage playbook. A few states or major cities institute small restrictions, such as on magazine size. There are lawsuits, some laws fail but some stand. Some politicians support these restrictions, the NRA fails to unseat them in the next election, and starts looking like a paper tiger. More regions institute more restrictions, and yet the people are neither crushed by jackbooted government thugs, nor massacred by brown criminals invading their homes! And the myth starts crumbling. Success is not assured. Like I said, we could still get a Seinfeldian civil war over nothing, or Donald Trump could secure de facto dictatorship. But all hope for improvement is not lost. Dean Shomshak
  29. 5 points
    Nogrom steals, buffs, and adopts as Our own, a mythic guardian: The Man of Gold, largely stolen from the book of that title by M.A.R. Barker. Most of the time, the Man of Gold is strictly legendary. Stories are told of it -- some of them even contain a grain of truth -- but it cannot be found. But, should the time come when Evil (or some other overwhelming combination of inimical forces) threatens to conquer, or destroy, or defile the entire world and all that is in it, then the Man of Gold will manifest somewhere accessible to the world and await activation by a worthy hero. Copies of the Man of Gold's Keys will also appear in the world. The Man of Gold is not a humanoid. Its obvious part is an immobile mechanism in roughly human shape, somewhat larger than human size. (The anthropoform statue is actually just a part of a much larger mechanism, not all of which can manifest physically in the world.) A simple majority of the Man's outer surface is gold-plated metal, though lots of wires, tubes, lights, etc., festoon the entire surface. As befitting a save-the-world divine mcguffin, reaching the Man of Gold requires a significant, challenging quest. Hints of how to reach it will manifest in the world, as fresh (but "old, lost") legends, as ancient writings and inscriptions whose significance (if not meaning) are suddenly recognized, guides with warnings and portents will appear and foster a will to redeem in the people around them, and "newly re-opened" passageways into deep places in the rock massif of the Helix will be found, mutely asking to be explored. Those capable of saving the world without needing to be rewarded by the world, or even recognized by those in the world, will be moved to seek its saving, gather the lore and the tokens, and only slowly come to be absorbed in the quest for the Man of Gold. When reached and properly activated, the Man of Gold detects the dedicants, agents, and constructs of that inimical power, and walls these off from their source of mystic/divine/infernal/etc. energies that both enables their powers in the world and connects them to the overriding will of their master. Instantaneously, mechanisms dissolve to powder; noncorporeal servants vanish screaming in a flash of flame; worshippers and sworn followers collapse into heaps of lifeless fetid sludge; knowers of the forbidden lore have their contaminated heads melt, explode, or dissolve cinematically a la Rene Belloq, Colonel Dietrich, and Major Toht.
  30. 5 points
    Old Man

    Coronavirus

  31. 5 points
    Well, I'm told that J. K. Rowling is a billionaire because she wrote some books that a lot of people liked, and had the luck or foresight to insist in the copntract that she get a cut of any spin-off profits from merch and movies. I don't see how she robbed or cheated anyone. An unusual case to be sure, but it's an "existence proof." If one can exist, so can others. It's why I no longer feel outrage at high-paid athletes or entertainers, when so many obviously more worthy people toil for modest wage. Consider everyone who enjoys watching, say, LeBron James play basketball. Millions ever game. Imagine each one of them could pay ten cents directly to him in appreciation. Clearly, he soon becomes a very rich man. And can one say that each of those millions did not receive ten cents' worth of pleasure? Repeat for actors, musicians, etc. I am willing to extend this exercise to providers of other goods and services, dividing profit gained by the value gained by others. BUT... In such cases, everyone in the supply chain for providing those goods and services has a right to a share as well. If the business model that makes a few people very rich depends on keeping most people's wages artificially low, there is certainly unfairness that should e corrected. Or if the wealth comes from rent-seeking rather than honest competiton for customers. Returning to J. K. Rowling, it is likely she would not be as wealthy as she is if all the people making the Harry Potter merch in Third World countries were paid a share rather than, well, Third World factory wages. But she would still be very rich. I see the problem as less that some few people are so very rich as that so many are so very poor. And that their poverty is not an unfortunate natural event, but deliberately created by those who would rather extract wealth than create it. Dean Shomshak
  32. 5 points
  33. 5 points
    assault

    Coronavirus

    For the record, Bazza lives in the Northern Territory (Australia), where there is a better chance of being eaten by a crocodile than catching COVID-19.
  34. 5 points
    Tasha never liked how Shayol could make her feel. Now, he had made a move, calculating and wicked, for sure. Tasha expected some of the other gods may take steps to attempt to preempt this evil...and she had some plans as well. She was trying to decide how she could make a counter here without dropping to Shayol's level. But before she did anything to interfere with the God of Evil, she needed geography. And what better... Tasha had been uncomfortable with the spiral shape of the world, but she thought of a way. Rainbows, of course. Tasha created solid rainbows, around the outskirts of the spiral, that would connect to golden floating land around the screw. The rainbows go from the top of the well to the bottom. Though the rainbows do not connect to the actual spiral, it provided a bridge around it. Geography: Rainbow Bridges
  35. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  36. 5 points
  37. 5 points
    Hermit

    World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020

    They wonder, you know? How I get any worship at all? I'm a disrupter, a contrary, a gadabout. Other gods are offering whole wheat, predictable daylight and so many practical things. I am the god of independence, but in being so I can hardly bully anyone into worshiping me and it's not so much given as I am it's exemplar. So why, other gods sometimes wonder, do the mortals love me when I so often put them into danger? Because when the leaves fall red and yellow, I nudge a mortal child into it, and the other children raking see the leaves burst up laughing, then see he's enjoying, and soon, are jumping into the piles as well. Two young women free from chores walk along side, each eager to get to dinner. Then realizing they're each going faster and faster? I whisper in their ears 'Race you' and they break Into a run thinking the other said it, even though there's no grand point to who gets there first? Two old men see this, put down their plows, and I say "A copper says the golden haired girl gets there first" and invite their friends to place bets for a pittance just enjoying the wagering and the camaraderie. A man trips over a stone, and then decides in anger to throw it into the lake. I breathe hard, angling the stone, and it skips across the water! The man stares in amazement, picks up another stone, and hurls it too! This time, deliberately making it skip as it becomes a game! It doesn't matter so of course it matters! FUN matters! The break from the tedium! The escape from the grinding mundane! Causes noble and malefic have their uses, I suppose. Traditions can be quite important. One must fight to live, and so on. But FUN? Fun is what makes mortals enjoy living! I take what is mundane, and make it magical. I seize the day, or at least the minute, in my fangs and show them how to do the same. Other gods make miracles grand, I can make even the smallest moment a minor miracle of celebration. That's why mortals worship me. I am, among other things, the god of fun! Their every laugh of joy is a psalm! Every wide grin of delight a prayer! Every WHOOP of excitement, a hymn! Secondary Domain: Fun!
  38. 5 points
    Dr. A. Zerstoiten (though they should only know him as Dr Z for a while) What? He's a hero. Just ask him.
  39. 5 points
    TrickstaPriest

    Coronavirus

    Yes. And in some places that did shut down, the death rate per day is still higher than any event in the last century. edit: I don't disagree with the purpose of the point, that there are a lot of rural places that probably will stay very low. "The population density in South Dakota is 11.3 people per square mile (52nd out of 56)." "Texas has just 105.2 people per square mile and those figures are merely the 26th highest in the US." Because of exponential growth rate, the difference in infected is going to result in cases much higher than merely x10 the existing rate in South Dakota. There is a tipping point in terms of population density, but I can't speak to what that is. That's an argument for opening Texas, especially the rural parts of it. But don't use bad data to argue for it (2.7 death rate out of 100,000). That's disengenuous, and I'm calling it out for your sake. I don't want you or others spreading bad reasoning, even if it's quippy and quotable. The same goes for the tired parachute analogy. It's the assumption that there's a single totalular approach, when the workability of that was long behind us. Homicide and accidents don't increase exponentially with availability/effect. Please, stop using that as part of your argument as well. Disease is one of the only problems that does. We can argue that civilization breakdown/displacement could be another. I'm interested in how this 100 million starving will relate to the US. There are specific locations that are probably in danger of starving, and this is a good argument for reorganizing and making sure areas responsible for food production stay open. I'm literally arguing with you for the sake of you spreading good arguments for what you want. I literally despise the memes being used in this argument, comparing disease to accidents and giving wholly bad numbers for your argument. (edit2: to be clear, to my perspective these memes are simply being spread to you and then beyond you) edit: And I wanted to apologize for starting this as an argument to begin with. I tried to be more polite and general in my response.
  40. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

  41. 5 points
    Hermit

    World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020

    Honestly, it wasn't my fault. No really. Okay, perhaps I should have thought it through. I was drinking from the river of good looking reflection. I am sure others, who did not look so dashing as I, called it something else. Regardless, it was smooth and reflective and refreshing and I drank from it minding my own business- no really. For once I wasn't bothering anyone. When an odd figure showed up. It was a House Elf. Now, perhaps it didn't realize that she too had a reflection.But there she was, nude, bold as brass, attempting to pull some hairs from my tail. I thought of whirling and biting her in half. Then I realized, she was a redhead! Well, in fact, she fairly resembled the color of my coat at the time. So instead, I faked a sneeze, and grow to the size taller than the tallest horse, raised my tail up so she could not reach, and pinned her with my back paw. "Shouldn't you be cleaning up someone's chamber pots or the like?" I looked back at her as I glanced down. She was a comely enough creation, and the name of her creator was on her brow. It seemed familiar. "Are you going to destroy me?" She asked in a voice filled with curiosity. "I might," I said, "That troubles you?" "It should not, and yet, it does," She admitted. "So this is fear? Why does it intrigue?" I explained to the creature, "Because it means you feel alive, there is excitement in danger. You are a house elf and not used to passions rising, but I am a god, and we are terrific, and therefore terrifying. You're welcome" I added. "Now, you don't have to tell me who sent you, I can see the name of the priestess on your brow, but why did she send you to steal hairs from my tail?" "It was thought that once a part, always a part, and by taking a part of you, she might be able to bend you to her deity's will," the House Elf explained. I sighed, "No one reads my stories, like they should. I am a god of Independence... Book of Fox? Act 3?" The House elf blinked stupidly. "Nevermind," I sighed, "Well, I can't let this insult pass. Interesting though, you are your own person, and doomed to die shortly, yet now you are scared to die. Would you go on if you could?" "I would" She admitted, "I would be free, and have my own soul but I don't even have my own name, and I will die soon. Is it wrong that I want to live?" "I imagine not, but you'd have to ask Eternus for details. He says he is not to be feared, but he says it in this creepy whispery way so... well, good grief, talk about counter productive. I declined dying myself. My most profound sympathies for your doomed state, or if you prefer the vulgar: sucks to be you." "I wouldn't mind dying," she said, "If only I got to live, for myself, and , maybe a bit longer?" I stared at the downed construct, "Are you actually expecting me to help you with this after admitting to trying to help your mistress bind me?" "At this state, what have I got to lose?" She asked with intense pragmatism. Well, I laughed at that, then said "Here is what you will need. Cover yourself in the mud of this river, nice and thick, go steal the egg of a weefolk. Careful, they're guarded. Take the egg, and mix it with the blood of your creator..." "How do I get the blood of my creator?" She asked. "Ingredients, gathering, something something... new life," I said, "Miracles are poetry not a grocer's list. Improvisation and inspiration will be involved" Frankly, I rather hoped the little one would kill her creator. Oh don't act surprised. I'm a god. Only the nicest of us of us would balk at wanting death to teach a would be god slaver a lesson and set an example. Actually, I take that back, death is much nicer than somethings gods can think of. "What else?" She asked. "Find ye the footprint of one of the undead, and there, break open the egg, mix the blood in it and clearing the mud from your brow, write a new name. And the name is..." I whispered to her the name that was akin to mine, yet not mine. Some would say the word's I told her meant 'The Echo of Fox's Laughter' and I have to confess, that's the story I like so I'm going with it. "I only have a few hours left!" she gasped "to do all this!" "I know, miracles are like that," I informed her, "You're going to go on a heroic journey, risk your life three times, and by the end of it, people will say 'glorious are the ways of Fox'. " I was pretty sure she was going to die actually, but she had surprised me, and that was worth a chance. Besides, the comedy that could arise from this was worth the slim chance. A human's House elf mixing Wee Folk Egg batter, their creator's blood, mud from a magic river, and the footprint of an udead? Who knew what THAT would do really? A lot of times when a god tells you do this and trust, the unspoken corollary is 'and let's see what sticks'. I let her go, and she went to coat herself in mud, and from there, do all the rest. About a century minus thirteen years later, I came upon the a branch off that very same river, and found a village joined with a great wood with tall trees...and not one of any people I had seen before! They had wings that seemed like a cross between autumn leaves and butterflies, they varied in size from anywhere just under four feet to just under five feet tall. Wings aside, they were mammalian, like miniature humans. There were dozens in view. And I suspected for each I saw in this wooded village, there were many more. They had hair of shades of red, gold, copper and, well some had white or gray. And matching their hair, each one had a tail, a fox tail. Suddenly some of the prayers I had gotten made perfect sense. And at the center of it all, there was a fountain, and there she was, well, there her statue was! Larger than she ever was in life, but with a stone fox tail, wings, just like the people of this village. But hers wasn't the only statue, there were three more. Another woman, and two men. And writing on the fountain said "Our founders!" She had found other House Elves and passed the ritual on. And once she had enough, they had bred true and had formed a whole new folk.They were playful, pranking and seemed more than a little vain. Not sure where they got that vanity from but the rest ? The rest fit. I had given her new life, and she had shared it, and WHOOPSIDOODLE... New Civilization. I eyed the fox tails on each of them. Somehow I didn't think I'd avoid the blame for this one. I would name this new species, but they already had.named themselves. The Reynardi. Sentient Life: The Reynardi!
  42. 5 points
    I had them, I had them! The basket in my jaws, the sacred fruits in the basket! Haha! They said it couldn't be done, but I did it. "Someone has stolen the fruits forbidden!" It was me! I had stolen the fruits forbidden! I confess, I was not sure what they were forbidden for! All I knew was they LOOKED and smelled delicious and, well, when someone says 'forbidden' I just get curious mmm? Who says? What deity? And maybe they need a lesson in stinginess? I sat the basket down on a small branch of this wonderful tree and bite into one. Oh, it was delicious, a touch tart, but soooo juicy. "It is Fox! He partakes of the sacred yet forbidden fruit which were to guard!" One of the guards had found me and now was explaining 'Every' little detail. You must understand, it was still a very young world, and people back then were new to speaking and had a tendency to SELF NARRATE VERY LOUDLY. Clearly they were still impressed with themselves to the point of foolishness. Fortunately, I never got into the habit of such myself. Well, hardly ever. "FOX, return what you have stolen" the huge guard warned! "Or God or not, we shall grab you by your tail and take it from you, and I am bigger than you!" He was, at this point, bigger than me. I could grow to be a giant. I am a god after all, but I was a young god then, besides, why would I want to? I fit fine on this branch, so nimble and light was I. "Oh, very well," I lamented, "Come and take it." The guards lumbered out onto the limb, it strained, and strained further as they came out one by one trying to reach. Then, grabbing the basket handle in my mouth, I leapt up to the next higher branch with prize in hand. The guards, weighted down by size and weapons, gave a great yell as suddenly the branch below them shook and they all fell down down down to the base where no one returns from. Or so stories go. I laughed! Well, that loosed my mouth's grip on the basket. The lower branch, which had bent nearly to breaking, now found itself free of weight, and snapped up, lancing the bottom of the basket with a particularly sharp twig! The Sacred Fruits sprayed Juice , while other fruits more intact bounced and flew out to the edges of the world to break at one level or another. This created rains and streams of the sacred juice that embedded itself into the very world. Yeah, so THAT happened. "Oh well," I told myself, "Too much of it probably would have tasted too sour anyway." But I spied on the results. Below, people of all sorts drank water infused with the juice, or had the juice rain down upon them, and a lucky few got bonked on the head. Rivlets ran into caves and towns and more... folks breathed some of it in like mists. "Wait, we don't HAVE to spread evil" One woman said surprised, "We can choose not to." "What's that?" The male said head whipping about "I said the rain is spreading level" she smiled, "Just like it ought to." Ooo smooth, I thought. Others were realizing that just because they were of THIS or that people, or this or that god might have made them, they didn't HAVE to serve that god . Or they could perhaps choose to do a half assed job of it. Oh! So that's why some others were hiding this away, well well, if I was going to get in trouble, I might as well at least get some credit, "Peoples of the world" I announced. "I, Fox, have brought you the gift of Free Will, choice, and independence!" One fellow, I forget his race but let's call him Bob, yelled "Then I defy the gods and all they stand for!" He was, of course, immediately smote. Holy fire from one of my peers I think. It was a long time ago and I forget exactly how Bob was smote. Lots of variations in Smiting. I added, "There might still be consequence. But you may choose to face the consequences! You're welcome!" There were cheers from almost everyone ,except for an irksome few I learned later were called philosophers, who instead got into some headspining debates that seemed to undercut my contribution. I found out most of the other gods didn't like them either and cursed them so that their academic degrees would never bring prosperity. And that, dear ones, is how people of any kind can make up their own minds, do what they want, and live with the choices and how I, Fox, became God of Independence! Secondary Domain: Freewill, Free Choice, and Independence And yes, I realize this could also be a 'gift to civilization' but it suited better as a domain as it's pretty much a given in every superdraft anyway
  43. 5 points
    Duke Bushido

    Reviews

    If this helps you, thank LL. He reminded me I still like you people, even when I need to get the hell away from you for a while. Review of two products; the first one bleeds into the next two. Hope it helps
  44. 5 points
    Lord Liaden

    Coronavirus

    Well, the ones who aren't actually broken by hard times, do tend to become stronger. I've learned something important about "strength" over my lifetime, though; it isn't a blanket feature. It comes in different varieties depending on the person. Folks may be able to endure particular harsh conditions, but be far more vulnerable to others. And everyone is vulnerable somewhere. Put enough pressure on that spot, and even the toughest person will crack.
  45. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

  46. 5 points
    If anyone's interested, a few days back The Daily (With Michael Barbaro) interviewed both Gov. Whitmer and one of the protesters, giving them both a chance to make their points. Which they did, quite reasonably. This particular protester, however, talked about the business of which his is VP,, which does animal and pest control. He is quite sure the work can be done without an employee coming anywhere near other people. He said he was not happy to find various wackadoodles also showing up the protest. Gov. Whitmer, OTOH, talked about the dangers of *anyone* going *anywhere* -- her example was the gas pump handle everybody touches and so could pass the virus from person to person. I can't say either of them was flat-out wrong. But Mister Pest Control was only responsible for a small group of employees, whereas Whitmer is responsible for everyone in Michigan -- and must make decisions based on a significant fraction of those people being complete idiots. Dean Shomshak
  47. 5 points
    As far as I can tell from the news, Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been following the advice of health care scientists in maintaining a firm lockdown of her state by declaring a state of emergency. Her state legislature is attempting to pass restrictions on her power to do so, which she's expected to veto. She's publicly refused and criticized President Trump's call for an earlier opening of the state's economy, for which she's been criticized by state and federal Republicans, and been on the receiving end of Trump's tweetgun, including provocative comments which probably galvanized the lockdown protests in the state. Whitmer is a Democrat. Michigan's legislature is currently dominated by Republicans. Michigan is also polling as a swing state in the upcoming presidential election. To me that looks to be the basis for accusations of Whitmer's "overreach." If Whitmer ends up committing political suicide in order to save lives, I will have to commend her. But it's not insignificant that her name is being bruited about as a possible Biden vice-presidential pick.
  48. 5 points
    Old Man

    Coronavirus

  49. 5 points
    Old Man

    Coronavirus

  50. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Coronavirus

    My father in law tested negative, thankfully.
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