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Opal

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    Opal reacted to Lord Liaden in Champions Universe: Unique Character Origins   
    Darren Watts specifically credited The Invisible Ray for inspiring his use of Radium-X for Champions. Darren reportedly did even more with it in his Silver Age Champions campaign.
     
    This movie has to be one of the earliest uses of a radioactive mutagen as a plot feature in fiction.
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    Opal reacted to Lord Liaden in Champions Universe: Unique Character Origins   
    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 need 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.
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    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.
     
    Mythic Forces: Under the entry for "Divine" Intervention, above, is the story of how circus strongman Johnny Hercules received the Hercules Force in an amulet bestowed by Zeus. Johnny died in the Battle of Detroit, and his amulet, apparently powerless, was buried with him. But the Hercules Force continued to exist, and over a decade later "chose" another human vessel for its power, a student of Classical culture, who became the second and current Johnny Hercules. One of his greatest foes is the monstrous Typhon, once a bitter, angry archaeologist who was the recipient of the Typhon Force, a sort of balance to the Hercules Force.
    The PDF book, The Hercules Force, which fully writes up both characters, suggests that other "forces" could exist based on other gods, demigod heroes, or divine-level monsters. The examples imply that these would be mythic figures who are either dead or imprisoned, e.g. Achilles, Python, Baldur, or Ymir. Powers granted would be consistent with the legendary abilities of those entities. The forces are most likely drawn to people with personalities similar to the original source being and/or familiarity and strong attachment to the culture it comes from. They would differ from empowerment directly by a mythic god in that there would be no potential meddling in the character's life by their patron divinity.

    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.
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    Opal got a reaction from Quackhell in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    The Coven

    While not powerful mages individually, the Coven can imbue one of its members with great power for a period ranging from one to, at most, 25 hours (from midnight to 1 am the following night). The powers gained, however, depend on the member's position within the Coven and the challenge they are trying to overcome, but generally center around one of: commanding an apect of nature, like weather or fire or plants or animals, transformations either transforming others into harmless animal forms or allowing the chosen member to assume a powerful bestial or mythical form, or influencing the senses or mind, or most severely 'twisting fate' to bring about certain outcomes without apparent direct agency. When opposing those who abuse magic, the Coven can invoke & enforce the "law of threefold return" which visits the trebbled consequences of malevolent magic back upon its caster or, on the other extreme, grant an obsessive mage the object of his desire in return for setting aside magical powers (thought it's depressing how often mages, when granted what they tell themselves they have taken up magical power to attain, instead choose to continue weilding magic for its own sake). When working with the other Messengers of the Goddess, the Coven will sometimes enhance an ally's powers instead of sending one of their own into action.

    The Coven, itself, is subject to the Law of Threefold Return, but they distribute the consequences among the whole, thus their empowered representative can afford to use magic to harm or even kil - sparingly.

    (Yes, that's meant to count as a single character, though they could also function as background 'agents' and support when not putting all their effort in empowering one of them to superhero levels.)
  4. Like
    Opal got a reaction from death tribble in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    Mirror-Mirror

    Mirror-Mirror appears to be a human almost completely covered in a reflective costume that shows only their vaguely almond-shaped, dark, eyes. Their form is so distorted and constantly shifting that it is impossible to determine their bodily proportions, and they do not seem to understand any language nor do they speak except to laugh. Laughter that ranges from hideous and maniacal to carefree to lilting to childlike to bitterly ironic or even barely distinguishable from hysterical tears. Mirror-Mirror is a shape changer, or perhaps rather shape-distorter or even space-distorter, and changes size (growth/shrinking) and proportions (stretching) virtually every time they move. It's not at all clear if those powers are voluntary.
  5. Haha
    Opal reacted to SKJAM! in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    Americat is better known to most superhero fans as Fatso, the pet of Melting Pot of the Capitol Patrol.  An orange tabby, he was normal until the day a villain tampered with Melting Pot's powers, causing her to fuse Fatso and Captain Justice into one being temporarily.  Captain Justice seems to have come out of it with no lasting effects, but Fatso was changed forever.  He is now as strong as a lion, and can run as fast as a cheetah.  He also has a red, white and blue tuft of hair on each ear.  Americat has a square-jawed hero kind of personality, which comes off really weird in a cat, and is more or less the leader of the team.
     
    Oh, and somehow he's no longer fixed, but no one tell his mistress, okay?
  6. Thanks
    Opal reacted to Ninja-Bear in Maneuvers   
    @Opal, fwiw Haymaker changed to +4 DC in 5th Ed.
  7. Like
    Opal reacted to Hugh Neilson in Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)   
    I've always thought a millionaire HAD $1 million.  The problem is that we tend to conflate "income", which we tax, with "wealth".
  8. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lorehunter in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    The Coven

    While not powerful mages individually, the Coven can imbue one of its members with great power for a period ranging from one to, at most, 25 hours (from midnight to 1 am the following night). The powers gained, however, depend on the member's position within the Coven and the challenge they are trying to overcome, but generally center around one of: commanding an apect of nature, like weather or fire or plants or animals, transformations either transforming others into harmless animal forms or allowing the chosen member to assume a powerful bestial or mythical form, or influencing the senses or mind, or most severely 'twisting fate' to bring about certain outcomes without apparent direct agency. When opposing those who abuse magic, the Coven can invoke & enforce the "law of threefold return" which visits the trebbled consequences of malevolent magic back upon its caster or, on the other extreme, grant an obsessive mage the object of his desire in return for setting aside magical powers (thought it's depressing how often mages, when granted what they tell themselves they have taken up magical power to attain, instead choose to continue weilding magic for its own sake). When working with the other Messengers of the Goddess, the Coven will sometimes enhance an ally's powers instead of sending one of their own into action.

    The Coven, itself, is subject to the Law of Threefold Return, but they distribute the consequences among the whole, thus their empowered representative can afford to use magic to harm or even kil - sparingly.

    (Yes, that's meant to count as a single character, though they could also function as background 'agents' and support when not putting all their effort in empowering one of them to superhero levels.)
  9. Thanks
    Opal got a reaction from steriaca in Forgotten Enemies metathread   
    Funny, that's so close to one I actually used *many* years ago.  The last two where Command Hierarchy.

    They were a high tech (alien tech, since their leader was the exiled dictator of planet Medusa) rather than supernatural group, and wore uniforms in black & periwinkle. 

    Yes, periwinkle. I was a teen, I cut teen-me some slack.

    Decades later I found out black & purple are the colors of anarco-feminism.

    Around the same time a less young GM I gamed with also used the acronym, but it was supernatural, each word meant 'witch' in a different language Hexe is the only other one I still remember. 



     
    I was also trying to think what WARLOCK could stand for.... and I realized, well, WAR may or may not stand for anything (WITCH Auxiliary.... ?), but they'd certainly be /locked/ ....


     



    On 3/20/2021 at 1:30 PM, steriaca said:

    I'm kinda stuck on the "man-be-gone" designer disease. That of course can be the ultimate end game. But they need stuff to do before unleashing that. Also, they want to know if there afterplan of one gender reproduction is possible and will work first.

    In the meanwhile, plots about upsetting man's dominance of the world should happen. Rob banks and give the stolen loot to women shelters. Threaten politians for the passage of a "woman friendly" bill. Murders of known women beaters. Murder of known child molesters. Kidnapping young boys to be a slave to a mystical dominates goddess of semi-Celtic origin. A prison raid to scrounge up new members (female only).


    Hmm... so, as far as killing off all the men, why not enslave them, instead? But, if you're going to, maintaining population shouldn't be too hard. It's far more practical to clone females than males, and the male genetic contribution is abundant and can be efficiently frozen. So you harvest a generous selection of diverse genetic material and you're fine for many generations, until you perfect cloning or become immortal or whatever.

    My version of WITCH just wanted to conquer the world and have women rule. Such a modest goal, IDK why there was such resistance to it. ::shrug:: Of course, they did so through terrorism they were particularly fond of assassinating leaders when there was a fair chance of their replacement being female. They agressively recruited supers, hero or villain, too. And, thanks to the alien technology, they'd already conquered and united two countries in Central America and started trying to implement their program... turned out, not the best choice of cultures to try to invert gender roles in, but, when you're an alien dictator sent hurtling through interstellar space, you can't always control where you land. And, it was ultimately all so their leader could uplift humanity and re-conquer her homeworld, anyway. If Earth had already been matriarchal, she'd've come up with some other rationale.
    Utlimately, of course, WITCH in my world worked against the 2nd-wave feminism of the day (being actually about equality), and WITCH was just extreme sexism from the other side, entirely counterproductive.
    And, yes, as someone said up-thread the whole idea was very 70s "battle of the sexes" the 70s hadn't been over that long. ;)
  10. Haha
    Opal got a reaction from Spence in Old school is the best school   
    I used to wear a t-shirt that said DNPC.

    People often assumed it was from a computer company. It got the odd laugh at cons though.
  11. Haha
    Opal reacted to Hermit in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    Re: Create a Hero Theme Team!
     
    Davis Walters was a closet neo pagan who ended up joining the United States Army. When his unit was ambushed, and many of them were badly wounded, he recalled an old spell that might allow him to save them that drew on the protective power of Mars, Eagle, and Inanna! His willingness to give his own life and lore attracted their attention it seems, for he was given great power in exchange for one task: He would become a champion of religious freedom in America. He would be allowed to keep his identity secret, but he would wear the colors of his nation, and his pagan trappings both proudly. Upon accepting, his ritual knife was empowered with many mystic properties. Now he is a sorceror soldier with a blade that can deflect bullets, sever mystic bindings, and grant him visions in its reflective metal.
     
    He calls himself American Athame!
  12. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Hugh Neilson in How Would You Make an "Evil Scientist" Shrink Ray ?   
    It was exactly because I felt the OP's description of the effect functionally precluded interactions with the full-size world that I thought of XD-Move (which, yes, is nothing more than a plot device with a point cost).
     
    If there were still potential interaction some sort of adjustment power might make more sense, reducing movement and damage potential, perhaps, while as a side effect, making them harder to hit or even find.  But, I think the lower limit to that might be closer to action-figure sized, like the classics Dr. Cyclops and Land of the Giants.
  13. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Christopher R Taylor in How Would You Make an "Evil Scientist" Shrink Ray ?   
    Tiny ants is getting into the realm of not really interacting with regular-size creatures anymore, so you might go with X-D move, and have a whole micro-setting for the shrunken characters to interact with.
  14. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Lord Liaden in How Would You Make an "Evil Scientist" Shrink Ray ?   
    Tiny ants is getting into the realm of not really interacting with regular-size creatures anymore, so you might go with X-D move, and have a whole micro-setting for the shrunken characters to interact with.
  15. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Christopher R Taylor in Old school is the best school   
    I used to wear a t-shirt that said DNPC.

    People often assumed it was from a computer company. It got the odd laugh at cons though.
  16. Haha
    Opal reacted to BigJackBrass in Premade Campaign Poll   
    That certainly surprises me, but then the popularity of child and teen protagonists was something I was baffled by even as a child and a teen 😁 
  17. Like
    Opal reacted to Christopher R Taylor in Just looking for some feedback on 6th   
    An option could possibly be meta-skills, you take this and get all these bundled and assumed.  For example: Detective gets PS Detective, KS: Detective work, Deduction, Conversation, etc.  That way people can take packages of skills without having a 9 yard character sheet, and maybe give them a cost break for consistent concept and building to theme.  The problem is that if you spend 30 points on skills they aren't nearly as useful to you in most games as 30 points in, say, resistant defenses.
     
    It got so bad in 5th that I was buying street detective types with an elemental control to trim the cost down a little.  Cheesy and questionable, but it made the characters more eqivalent.
  18. Thanks
    Opal reacted to IndianaJoe3 in Any Advice for Designing a Hand of Glory ?   
    I think you can use the quote style.
     
     
    But I haven't figured out how to attribute that style of quotation.
  19. Thanks
    Opal reacted to eepjr24 in What is a skill? What would say, 6 top-level realms of Skill be?   
    Knowing things. Doing things. Teaching things.
     
    All things are Physical, Mental or Other.
     
    6 things, 9 combinations, covers it all for me.
     
    - E
  20. Like
    Opal reacted to Duke Bushido in Just looking for some feedback on 6th   
    Ooh! Good question!
     
    Obviously there is no correct answer, as it is an opinion poll, but I will offer you my own opinions, briefly:
     
    Was it a mistake?
     
    No.
     
    Do I like it?
     
    Also no.
     
    I see the validity of it: there are more options and powers and skills-- there are more things you can spend points on than ever before.  Some of them are pretty pricey: Desolidification was once a movement power, bought in increments to a point you felt was appropriate for your character.  Now its 40 points, period.  I will spare a long discussion of all the little xhanges and how they add up and skip to why I don't think it was a bad idea. 
     
    The end goal of any company is growth, and at a bare minimum, long-term survival.  The goal of gamers is more gamers: more players, more GMs, more opportunities for games, discussion, friends, etc.  Both of these require new customers for the company.  Champions /HERO has a bottomless complexity, _once you really learn the system_.
     
    Experienced pkayers know how to design the "just right thing," using various modifiers to control costs and create specific game effcts relatively inexpensively by focusing on the individual aspects they want (and negotiation skills with the GM).  "Shrinking: only to reduce mass" is a build I remember approving years ago, but I no longer remember the particulars.  There was a simialr thing with density increase for the same character, but it doesn't matter for this conversation.
     
    Anyway, this fine tuning- the skills and know-how to get exactly what you want and increase your cost-efficiency come with practice, and nothing but practice.
     
    Upping the points makes it easier for new players to build the character they see in their heads: he can fly, so I will buy flight.  He shouts beams of solar radiation, so I will buy Blast.
     
    No modifiers, no fractions, no multipowers and VPPs-- no complications at all.
     
    Thus, I dont think its a bad idea.  I dobt like it because it lets us old hands really, really ramp up the power level, and in a hurry.   however, I can let it slide simpky because eveeyone has to learn, and there really ia a lot more to spend points on these days.
     
    I would have preferred to have seen a talk covering the value of higher piints for new players or simpler builds, and regulating points up or down in later campaigns as pkayers gained experience, but likely that would have added more words, so I am quite content to keep my disappointment personal, and not find fault with the book(s).      
     
     
  21. Thanks
    Opal reacted to archer in Any Advice for Designing a Hand of Glory ?   
    AKAIK, you can't get quotes to work for outside-of-the-thread sources since the site update ("upgrade") last year. The best you can do is copy-and-paste then put quotation marks around it.
     
    For quotes from people who have posted in the thread, hit the quote button underneath their comment. Then after that content shows up, you are free to add or delete from that content if you want to respond to some particular section of what they said.
  22. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Tech in Just looking for some feedback on 6th   
    I'm no authority on 6th, but as I understood it, another major change was that Figured Characteristics (including OCV & DCV?) are no longer figured, so the overall points spent on characteristics is higher, and Elemental Control is gone (replaced by a relatively minor 'unified' limitation). I don't recall the fate of other power frameworks, but it seems like you can expect to spend more on powers, too.
    Also, skill inflation has continued apace. IDK if you remember all the way back to the introductions of professional skills in Champions II, but back then you could be a lawyer for 2 pts. by 4th you needed a perk to be a member of the bar, and, well, probably more, maybe a lot more points invested in skills to be any good at it. I seem to recall early examples from 6e having the skill set to be a lawyer adding up to something like 60 points.

    So, characters build and balance quite differently than in 3rd/4th. It doesn't seem like it should feel that different, in play, though, FWIW.


    Full disclosure: I had been away from Champions for a few years when my group's interest in D&D revived with 4e, and it was the discussions leading up to Hero 6th, here, which convinced me not to return to adopt the new ed. I'd been using 5e, nominally - I've always mixed up details of prior editions, since I started with 1st on - with plenty of 4th mixed in, and the odd variant. I wrapped my last Champions! campaign in 2009, were I to come back whole-heartedly to Champions!, I'd probably perfer 4th. The BBB wasn't perfect (I'd argue its as close as any universal system ever got), but the game has drifted from it's original strengths since then, I'd be happier to fix up 4e here & there than tackle 5th or 6th.
  23. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Jhamin in Any Advice for Designing a Hand of Glory ?   
    (BTW, how do you get quotes to work on the forum these days - I've been away since 2012... yeah...)

    Obviously, you can't wake up from 0 or less stun with a PER roll, so sleeping is not quite the same as unconscious, even if the two states are otherwise very similar.
    While unnaturally putting a waking target 'to sleep' could be F/X for reducing stun below 0 in a variety of ways.

    So does the Hand put people to sleep, say, in combat, or does it keep already-naturally-sleeping people from awakening? My feel for it from the versions of the folklore I've heard over the years is closer to the latter. So, while suppressing a talent is maybe a bit cheesy, and a silence field could have issues of it's own, I think working to induce failure on that PER roll would be more apropos than an actual attack, since it's the existing mechanic for waking up, which is what the Hand is supposed to prevent.

    But an attack mechanic would be right for a version where you could, say, light it, step into a bank, and have the customers and tellers all fall asleep while you rob the place.
  24. Like
    Opal got a reaction from Jhamin in Just looking for some feedback on 6th   
    IDK about this comparison of sample characters and 6th being 'more complex' - the Hero System has always been a poster child for complexity, especially in chargen, and 4th was a high point in it's day, 5th wasn't meaningfully more complicated, even though the book was thicker, and I can't imagine, and don't see from the 6th character sheets I've glanced at, any reason to think 6th characters need to be more complex than 4th or 5th. They might need more skills to model the same concept, and they might take more points to model the same powersets, but that's as far as it seems to go.

    I wouldn't let fear of complexity scare me away from 6th.
  25. Like
    Opal got a reaction from eepjr24 in Just looking for some feedback on 6th   
    IDK about this comparison of sample characters and 6th being 'more complex' - the Hero System has always been a poster child for complexity, especially in chargen, and 4th was a high point in it's day, 5th wasn't meaningfully more complicated, even though the book was thicker, and I can't imagine, and don't see from the 6th character sheets I've glanced at, any reason to think 6th characters need to be more complex than 4th or 5th. They might need more skills to model the same concept, and they might take more points to model the same powersets, but that's as far as it seems to go.

    I wouldn't let fear of complexity scare me away from 6th.
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