Age of Wonders thread IV

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Libra
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:23 am

Voltron, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but it's a little unfair to expect poor old Charles to keep EVERYTHING straight, given that he has Real Life worries to deal with (over and above those we all share), given his wife's recent accident.

I think we can risk cutting him a little slack, eh? :)
By the way your choice of leitmotif for Fool is rather good!

Charles, I enjoyed hearing your thoughts concerning the Diabolical Dozen and was particularly interested in seeing where your ideas diverged from my own; I fully intend to borrow the bits I like and quietly pass over those I disagree with (which will not keep me from posting a more detailed reply in a little while, before I start researching my Esoterics-related remarks). :wink:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:05 am

I look forward to your thoughts on everything, Libra!

And don't worry, I know Voltron exists to keep us all honest.

He's the HIGH INQUISITOR!

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:50 am

EGAD - NO ONE EXPECTS THE JEWISH INQUISITION! (except, perhaps, Mr Mel Brooks).


On a more serious note Charles, I can't claim to be prepared to post on EVERYTHING, I'm more than willing to share my thoughts on Age of Wonders ... eventually. :wink:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:55 am

Libra wrote:EGAD - NO ONE EXPECTS THE JEWISH INQUISITION! (except, perhaps, Mr Mel Brooks).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxGCFZcd73g

:wink:

All I can say is I look forward to your upcoming work on the Outrageous Order in particular.

Because they're a group wacky and adventurous enough to garner your attention. And are you not a lover of wackiness and adventurousness?
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:34 am

As noted above Charles, I have decided to take the liberty of beginning my series of commentaries regarding your recent posts with a subject I am somewhat better-equipped to address than the other - The Diabolic Dozen!

I've said it before and will say it again, I like what you've posted (and suspect that Grey Crusader will appreciate it also, although I'll leave him to compliment you in his own words!) but will incorporate only some of your ideas into my own versions of these characters because some of the former do not entirely match the latter (but then I suspect that you've seen ideas of mine that you like, but would not include in your own personal canon).

It strikes me that were we ever to put together an Age of Wonders sourcebook, there'd be a considerable amount of cautious negotiation going on behind the scenes as we settle the 'canon' versions of these characters!

Aggro's irritation with humanity is built around the fact that he hasn't exactly been treated all that pleasantly amongst 'civilized' humanity. The filth, cruelty, and overall RUDENESS of humanity lead him to believe he could do things better.
In fairness to Humanity they were at least POLITE to Aggro before he began to conceive an attitude towards Humanity roughly as loveable as Kipling's 'White Man's Burden' would be to a modern African or Asian or any nationality of Liberal; I also suspect that Aggro's opinion of humanity might well have taken a nosedive during his first period of imprisonment and due to the fact that it would not be his last (when most of your experience of individual humans takes place on the wrong side of The Law, you tend to conceive a jaundiced view of their society).

It didn't help that at one point he was the subject of repeated tests intended to help the lab boys work out how to create something similar to him out of their very own trained primates - something that has left a mark on his personality.
The fact that his efforts go unappreciated, in large part because of his "brutish" appearance (he actually is something of a nerd amongst his people--more Ray Palmer than Doc Savage) lead him to develop a rather peculiar form of misandry. In truth, the fact that he's developed himself to be a figure of terrifying brute force has its appeal to him.
It doesn't help that he's always been something of a genial bully; he prefers to wield his aura of superiority like a club rather than break arms, but he's resorted to the more direct approach when he felt it necessary (Atomicus in particular had a relationship with him that resembled that of a son with an overbearing father, with all the neuroses you might expect as the result - why do you think he joined The Octagon in the first place?).

Well, BULLY might be a bit too unfair a judgement, but Aggro IS overbearing to the last degree (Just ask Strongman or Atomicus).

He's been forced to act otherwise but, really, if not for these--no one would realize he exists.How many people has he personally murdered? He recently passed the five figure mark.
My take on Mr Pity is that he HAS slowly worked his way to this sort of body count, but that for him 'personally' means something a little different than you might expect - his methodology basically revolves around spying on communities which have suffered some tragedy (economic, military, supernatural or villain-induced) and finding individuals, groups or families that are suffering the consequences, then just ... watching until the time of crisis is past.

At this point he will approach the survivors and quite frankly after surviving all this, many welcome death - which is where Mr Pity comes in, usually experiencing a characteristic mixture of religious ecstasy and regret that things could not have turned out otherwise (not least because he has ensured an extraordinary, although crucially not QUITE artificial level of isolation). Mr King may not kill many through direct action (at least not outside self-defence), but he has indirectly killed far, far more than his personal bodycount might suggest by refusing to offer any help until it's all over.

Mister Pity is, quite bluntly, a fatalist and part of the reason he targets The Adventure Family is that they give the lie to his fundamentally nihilistic philosophy - not least by offering the sort of post-villain reconstruction that makes it very hard to find families, groups or individuals enduring the sort of dilemmas or trauma that leave behind the survivors whom he targets. On another level he also embraced the super-villain lifestyle as therapeutic - by his own, horrible standards a lot of what he does with The Diabolical Dozen is 'harmless fun or at most mere theatre'.

I am not sure if I have properly conveyed my take on the character, but I confess my mental image of Mr Pity hardened when I thought a bit about old Horror anthology hosts and wondered what sort of being could watch all these tragedies unfold and would do NOTHING to avert them - then I made him a serial killer and a supervillain (although almost never at the same time), as well as religiously devoted to what he does, yet somewhat conflicted about it to boot.

Doctor Oculus isn't actually all that interested in getting a new physical form, though he'x considered it. As deliberating as his condition is, he finds it has its advantages. Not the least being that his brain is better at learning than most adults as well as the fact that he is not especially tempted by thoughts of romance to distract him from SCIENCE.


Well, not any more at least; amusingly I rather imagined the younger Doctor Oculus as devoted to SCIENCE yet frequently side-tracked by his own curiosity about ROMANCE (mostly because he had never enjoyed any and probably never would, which just made him more curious), at least he WAS before meeting his own dear wife through the prison mail system - think Lex Luthor in Superman Returns - before finding himself father to three children in short order.

To say the least that rather killed his appetite for ROMANCE, although unfortunately not for mischief (for added amusement value, think of him as a superannuated Neil Patrick Harris playing Dr Sivana, crossed with a little of Gene Hackman's Luthor - as opposed to The Professor's EVIL Steven Hawking played by Benedict Cumberbatch).

He's also a frequent foe of El Grande, having found a stable portal to Earth-0.
He knows he probably shouldn't, but there's something TOO satisfying on a fundamental level about matching wits with El Grande for him to resist (admittedly he'll have to share the existence of this portal with The Diabolical Dozen - they mostly work in the open as a team only when they can Nexus-trot these days; also they need to make sure The Octagon never get back to E-38 because they HATE those guys).

I honestly love your take on El Grande, Charles and the only element I would add is to suggest that while he LOVES being Super, he still feels a degree of guilt about being a villain that varies depending upon just what sort of wrongdoing he's been responsible for most recently.

I admit that a major part of my thinking concerning the elaboration of The Diabolical Dozen has been the intent to depict them as a sort of case study in the moral spectrum of super-villains in the way The Octagon never quite could be (being violent revolutionaries, terrorists and hardened scum to the last one thanks to their peregrinations and the ensuing counter-attacks).

Father Christmas falling to the Dark Side isn't actually an unprecedented event, actually. A life of charity, good will, and nobility forever and ever (and on nearly every world) is a hard thing to do. When a Father Christmas falls to the Dark Side, this results in them becoming a Black Peter.
This might actually work more neatly than the slightly-convoluted story I wrote up as part of Krampus' character arc - instead of killing The Spirit of Christmas, The Krampus and Mr Pity left him horribly corrupted, a figure of such terrifying ruthlessness as a scourge of evil (and naughtiness) that even Krampus is horrified by what he has wrought, to the point where his own chastisement might well be designed to scare the 'Naughty' list straight before Black Peter comes for them ...
As a result, the PREVIOUS Father Christmas has decided to track down and eliminate his doppleganger.
Instead of making this a PREVIOUS Father Christmas (which doesn't quite make sense for the version of the character I'd like to use on E-38), I would suggest that this individual is not 'a' Father Christmas but THE Father Christmas - the Fictional-turned-Aeon who goes where he is needed all across The Nexus and has inspired individuals on almost every one of the worlds he has visited to take up his mantle, in their own way.

For example there's the E-38 version, created and maintained through the Deep Magic of self-sacrifice (at least it was before The Dark Times), The E-86 friendly neighbourhood conspiracy of superheroes that does what it can to keep Hope alive (especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), the Earth-Cabal legacy that did what they could to summon up the sort of psychic-supernatural positivity that toppled Tyrannus on Greenworld (yet tragically failed, though they banished many a demon in the process) and even a version on E-92 that remains just as kind-hearted as he is double-tough, as well as fearless to boot.

Ironically this last one comes closest to matching THE Father Christmas in power (probably because on E-92 hope doesn't have a lot to focus upon).
Which is a bit terrifying to the Krampus (who maintains a love of children and thus hasn't made the complete transition to becoming Black Peter).


It helps that he isn't QUITE a demon by nature, just through his own horrible self-centredness and a particularly nasty case of Greed - as a note Krampus quite likes the company of children in moderation, but he doesn't LOVE them or having to spend time with them on any terms but his own).
That's why he had so many weapons for some kids in the Land of the Lion. Speaking of which, he intends to make said Lion's brethren pay for harming that particular avatar.
I hope that my versions of The Celestial Lions met with your approval (although oddly it has occurred to me that The Great Lion may not have been a bone-fide Lion, but a more human-looking entity who adopted the identity through vaguely-shamanistic super-science armour).

Her relationship with the Doctor Occulus is strickly scientific. Crazy Amazon scientist warrior women is sadly lost on the boy.
Even in the Good Old Days before he was happily married Doc Occ. didn't much like the idea of getting a woman who could beat him like a hasty retreat hot and bothered - hence their mainly cordial relationship as lab partners and occasional partners in crime.

As for Lilliputia, a wheezing cross between a withered ancient and a weedy pre-adolescent really isn't her cup of tea; she prefers stronger game!

The true identity of the Eternal Empress would potentially shake the whole of creation.
I thoroughly enjoyed this section of your write-up Charles and I hope Grey Crusader will too (mind you, calling The Deceiver 'delightfully decent' during her career as a super-villain would be misleading - she didn't do Evil, but she had to do her share of bad things to stay alive before finding her way towards a better future). Not least because it helps explain why Dakki granted such a potent artefact of power to Ms. Trix and why The Nine-Tailed Fox has taken such an interest in her career (that personality of hers and THOSE legs help too).

On another note I suspect that Doctor Tao might be one of the few beings on E-38 with an inkling of who The Eternal Empress might be - which is why he stays a LONG way away from The Diabolical Dozen and even further away from the last known location of The Empress.

The villagers who drove her out wore quite impressive black clothing with buckles and muskets.
While I like the idea of Wither-Witch being effectively immortal (and being more than passingly-familiar with traditional hedge-magic of the less benevolent sort), I would prefer to depict her as having an origin in The Dust Bowl of the last century - partly because it allows me to imagine her as effectively Dorothy turning into The Wicked Witch, partly because it makes the point that the combination of agricultural depression, social victimisation and desperate scapegoating that led to The Witch Hunts can hardly be called unique to that place and time period, much as we'd like to think otherwise.

As a note, it occurred to me today that the continuing operations of The Wither-Witch might be fuelled in part by her determination to hunt down those that trigger witch-hunts (for example the likes of Senator McCarthy during the period of HUAC); it's one of her more sympathetic tendencies.

Though it doesn't mean it isn't true.

*pause*

What?
For the record I see Adventure Lass as a bone fide superheroes who lives and works by the motto "Do good by all beings, but remember to collect your fee afterwards" for better or worse (usually the former, as she's enough of a philanthropist and pragmatist to plough her takings back into the community).

She's not QUITE mercenary, but she IS almost alarmingly commercial.
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:35 am

Because they're a group wacky and adventurous enough to garner your attention. And are you not a lover of wackiness and adventurousness?
Aren't we all? :wink:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:36 am

MightyDavidson wrote:Just as Sailor Cosmos has formed a dynamic duo with Super Dragon Girl Ten, so has Dr. Justice formed his own group of superheroes to aid the world though both siblings are still members of the Phoenix Force Seven. Originally this was a four man team composed of Dr. Justice, Alexander Tesla, Silver Tiger and Petros (who has acquired the sobriquet Prince Boyfriend from a smart alec reporter, since Pretty Prince of Pluto is a bit of a mouthful.) Over the course of many adventures, the quartet encountered numerous teen heroes that they decided to take under their wing and Jetpack Girl became a member of the team during an extended adventure amongst the worlds of the Celestial Commerce Guild.

The team is currently eleven members strong. Members not already mentioned are listed below.
This is part of a larger movement on Earth-0 that is a sign of things to come. The "classic teams" are breaking up because everyone is going their separate ways or doing more on their own. This is actually a good sign because the more experienced members are passing along their learning to new ones and Earth-0 is becoming a safer place by far. Unfortunately, this is just in time for having to deal with all of the attention the various superheroes have brought down on their world by their interferance in other planetary affairs. Earth-0 has, after all, made itself a mecca for heroes in a very short time.
The Angel Twins: A model and an aspiring singer respectively, Angel and Angela Rawlins encountered Dr. Justice's team when the Octagon tried to force the two of them to join when their powers started developing. Kidnapped by the malefactors, the twins' abduction made the evening news due to witnesses recognizing one of the Octagon members. This resulted in Dr. Justice's team investigating and teaming up with the twins to defeat the villains.

The twins have proved somewhat controversial, particularly due to Angel becoming the Silver Tiger's boyfriend and rumours surfacing about him doing porn. The impression that the two are using their superhero activities to further their careers has annoyed some people as well, despite that the two have developed quite the following.
The issue is complicated by the fact that Angel and Angela are primarily interested in their entertainment careers rather than their superheroic ones. They're still happy to help in any way they can but they are STARS who just happen to be blessed with powers they intend to use responsibly. The issue is complicated by the fact they're very good at being superheroes but SUCK at their particular job. Porn is about the height of Angel's skill level while Angela would do better at any job which didn't require her to talk. Still, being a famous porn star isn't beneath Angel and autotune exists for a reason.
Ser Justice: A boy gladiator from one of the worlds of the Celestial Commerce Guild who encountered Dr. Justice's team when they were traveling through the area as a result of a plan by Pinball and his children to eliminate the Phoenix Force Seven that had gone awry. Their attempts to get home were complicated when the heroes got caught up in Tancred's plans to liberate his fellow gladiators, as well as the schemes of a high level CCG executive who may or may not have been a duplicate of Dr. Justice or Sailor Cosmos from that world.

At any rate after several conflicts with several factions, the mysterious exec's apparent plan to seize control of the CCG was thwarted though nobody was able to pin anything on him and the boy gladiators were freed. Still in hot water with the CCG however, Tancred was taken back to Earth 0 where he became the ward of Dr. Justice and named himself Ser Justice in honour of the hero who'd assisted him. In his civilian identity he calls himself Tancred Davidson.
Ser Justice is a figure who has very UNIQUE ideas about the way the world should run. Having grown up in one of the CCG's bloodsport arenas, he has no problem with killing but doesn't because Doctor Justice wants him to stop. Likewise, he happily markets everything under the sun with his limited superhero experience and is surprised anyone would find a problem with that amongst heroes. He's also genetically engineered for maximum appeal so he has no family, parents, or other ideals. He's also bisexual because that doubles test markets on many worlds. This has lead him to an attraction to Doctor Justice and Sailor Cosmos both, not the least because his creators engineered him to be their "companion."

Needless to say having a passionately devoted guard dog is awkward for them both. Particularly one who is both their slave and in love with them. Not that they'd ever take advantage of it but they can't put him away either since he becomes deeply troubled without them.

Needless to say, a certain supervillain is TERRIBLY jealous of the man.
Hot Shot: A precocious redhead boy named Kay, he got caught up in the activities of the Organization and Professor Proton due to the activities of his parents who were part of the Organization. Basically a good kid, Kay was very reluctant to do anything really evil and was only to willing to rat out his hated parents when pushed by Dr. Justice. Of course this was only after Professor Proton had tried to kill him due to being 'evil', which ironically prevented Kay from achieving his good deed for awhile as he defended himself.

Irrepressible and prone to mischief, Kay and Dr. Justice got along famously particularly after Kay helped the team defeat Professor Proton by lighting the villain's pants on fire. Having fire powers, the name Hot Shot was a natural moniker for him. The name had actually been coined by Jetpack Girl, who sarcastically called him a hot shot when he crowed about defeating Professor Proton.
Kay's parents are a little more dangerous than he really suspects what with the fact that his mother is actually the cartel leader, Lady Scorpion. His father's identity remains a secret, though obviously he had to have some pretty powerful ginger genes. The Organization is so far letting him "play at being a hero" but is quietly gathering data on his every move. Unbeknownst to Kay, his mother had him outfitted with CCG tracking technology that allows her to hear, see, and record everything he encounters.

He'd be horrified at being their spy.
Phalanx: A boy named Ulysses from Greece, Phalanx was remanded to the custody of the team by none other then Wolf Jager. The circumstances under which the boy met the famous secret agent are unknown though they're believed to involve an attempt infest most of Europe with harpies as a distraction while a team of Titan worshipers tried to summon Typhon from underneath Mount Etna. How this threat was averted is currently unknown.

What is known was that Wolf took Ulysses to Dr. Justice so the boy could learn to control his powers and be amongst superpowered people his own age. What are his powers? Ulysses is a duplicator, capable of forming up to 32 duplicates of himself.

Ulysses, Kay and Tancred have since become fast friends.
There is a slight downside to his abilities. Basically, each of his duplicates is another part of his personality. As a result, they tend to have wildly different aspects enhanced and can be somewhat tumultuous to control even for their so-called leader. A couple have also been killed over the course of his adventures, which re-arranges his personality even if these elements reform somewhat.
Miss Badass: This is what happens when you give a sixteen year old the chance to choose her own superhero name, though one cannot say that it's not accurate. Possessed of superhuman strength and durability, Danielle certainly qualifies as a badass. Especially since she was working as a vigilante when the team encountered her, one who specialized in hunting creatures spawned of the Titans, though she would happily face off against the Organization and the Octagon whenever she got the chance to do so.

A pretty girl, Danielle choose her sobriquet under duress as she wished to use her real name as the Angel Twins did. Since she was still able to maintain a secret identity unlike the twins, Justin insisted that she try to do so.
Miss Badass certainly lives up to her name. Despite not being old enough to drive and petite as well, she behaves in a manner rather reminescent of Hit-Girl. It's not that she doesn't like her civilian identity, it's just that it's hard NOT to tell her friends she's a superhero. Doctor Justice has had to reign her in numerous times despite her thoroughly normal childhood.

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:47 am

Great notes, Libra.

It will take a genius of great caliber to stop the Dozen!

Mister Arcane, how would you do it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9kejvxRokg

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:57 am

Either that, a Superman or a FAMILY of Superheroes! :wink:

Thank you kindly for your patience with my opinions, long may it continue. :mrgreen:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:20 pm

Might I suggest that the same Aeon known as Father Christmas (which is only just one of his identities) be also the father of Berserker?

:wink:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by MightyDavidson » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:21 pm

Great notes on Team Justice Charles, though I'm a bit saddened that you didn't comment on Petros' unintentional nod to The Venture Bros. Yes Petros' new moniker was inspired by Dr. Girlfriend. :lol:

Some other thoughts as well: I like your ideas for Ser Justice but I think rather then him being engineered to serve Dr. Justice and Sailor Cosmos specifically, he was engineered to serve that mysterious exec which lends credence to the idea that said exec is a duplicate of Dr Justice or Sailor Cosmos. However this does not mean that he's without free will, as evidenced by his efforts to free his fellow gladiators and his working with Dr. Justice's team against the efforts of said exec. Though this could just mean that Tancred imprinted on Dr. Justice before the exec could take advantage

Also, Tancred is about fifteen at the moment so Professor Peril isn't going to be TERRIBLY jealous until Tank's legal. After all, Dr. Justice would wait until then.

As for the twins, I disagree that Angel sucks at his job. He's good looking after all and since his job entails standing there and looking pretty, I'd say he's fairly good at it. Being a practical boy however he has no illusions about his acting skills and yes, he's fine with being a famous porn star. As for Angela, I'm thinking that she can sing though she probably would be better off in some other profession. She has a sweet personality and is good at getting people to work together so some sort of job that allowed her to use those skills would likely be best.

I'm also thinking that Angel is more comfortable with their celebrity and lack of secret identity then Angela is. While she can be a bit of a ditz sometimes, she's aware that her current popularity is due more to being a celebrity then her efforts in the entertainment industry and sometimes it irritates her. Maybe she might not have made it as a singer on her own but part of her would've liked the opportunity to try. Angel on the other hand is quite happy with being famous for simply being famous and happily pokes fun at his lack of secret identity (by trying to 'hide' his identity with Groucho glasses for example, or a t-shirt with NOT ANGEL RAWLINS written on the front, or if he's feeling more subtle he'll dress like Clark Kent and see who gets the joke.]

Finally: how does Lady Scorpion keep the tracking tech in Kay a secret from Dr. Justice's powers? Seems to me this particular plot could backfire on her. Or was that the point?

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:32 pm

Vampires on Earth-0 part 1

The Nexus event bestowed people powers and abilities based around their personalities as well as aspirations. How these powers manifested varied tremendously with some shy people gaining near-omnipotence while otherwise dominant individuals received the ability to heat coffee. Sometimes, the reverse was true.

One element which was obvious was that supernatural creatures manifested in many places. Byron is the most famous and prolific creator of vampires on Earth-0 but he's hardly the only one. The destruction of Earth-Cabal also changed things as many of their darker members managed to find their way over.

Only now, as things settle down after Cologne's destruction, are people starting to realize that vampires are a thing now. The fact these vampires range from relatively harmless to terrifying serial killers is not laying the public's unease to rest. Simultaneously, not everyone is ready to treat them like the Hungry Ghosts either.

For now, vampires have the same legal protections as other Nexus. Only a few countries have any legal restrictions against them and those are either the ones with Hungry Ghost problems or who hate Nexi anyway. Amusingly, one of the few places vampirism is heavily restricted is East Panya where one needs special citizenship papers. Which strikes many as massively hypocritical, except for the fact Dark Sun is one of the most prolific vampire hunters around.

The reaction from various teams towards the undead varies. The High Aeons kill vampires indiscriminately, considering them to be creatures who are innately evil. Even if they're not connected to the Titans.
This doesn't stop Namtar from bestowing his own branch of vampirism to certain followers. These undead are loyal to Namtar and primarily made up of hardcore fantasy fans. Forming a sort of anti-Wands, the vampires are not actually at the top of the pyramid. Instead, Namtar's direct followers are Liches.

It's a pity those things didn't stay on Middle-Zoth.
Phoenix Force Seven has a Vampirism Research Center on Phoenix Island, staffed for the creation of cloned blood (they were doing it before Sookie Stackhouse) as well as drugs for controlling the worst symptoms. Amusingly, they're also studying the medical benefits as well. The Order treats vampires on an individual basis but are perceived as hard-line given, well, they kill a lot of their opponents. The Esoterrics face vampires on a regular basis but also have many allies amongst the undead.

Vampires on Earth-0 come in numerous varieties but are not innately evil. Even those created by the Titans are actually only having Nexus-based abilities granted to them. The hunger for blood as well as extreme emotions which come with vampirism can lead to brutality and murder but there is no innate spiritual corruption. That comes from worshiping the Titans or accepting their power to enhance one's already considerable abilities.

It should be noted that Nexus-based vampires are also not, technically, undead either. Much like the vampires in Blade, Nexus-based vampires are simply beings with a different biology. Their blood is altered by bacteria that is based on and turns people into vampires. This is a direct contrast to Revenants, who are Hungry Dead who have risen from the dead in their corpses and feed on human chi (via blood, flesh, or simply energy).

Revenants, being Hungry Dead from the Titans realm, are your typical soulless evil vampire and actively searching to broaden their ranks. Ironically, they can't create vampires themselves and have to do so by forming cults that have mortals voluntarily agree to rise from the dead after they're killed. This is a lot harder pitch than most Nexus-based vampires have to go through.
Notably, Earth-17 has a massive vampirism problem with Revenants and Hungry Dead having been formerly contained with seals that have recently failed. As a result, they are reliant on Earth-0 heroes to deal with the problem when it flares up. Many believe this is the work of the SINISTER DOCTOR TAO but this is unlikely.

He knows the Hungry Dead will never stop.
The number of vampires in the world has grown from a few dozen to a couple of thousand in recent years with more expected to appear every year. This is, so far, a fairly small number but the fact the creatures can replicate uncontrollably is likely to make things a concern soon.

It doesn't help that while Revenants are the kind of cannon-fodder Buffy slays, the majority of Nexus-based vampires are actually quite powerful and capable of throwing down with typical mid-range superheroes. These PL 8-10 beings are enough that even six or seven in a single city is enough to drastically altar the balance of power.

While the majority of vampires belong to individual covens, there's also The Family controlled by Byron, Clan Ruthven headed by Scottish Lord Ruthven (the TRUE inspiration for MacBeth) and his refugees from Earth Cabal, The Midnight Club (Emma Frost in full-lingerie + vampirism!), The Bloody Damned (evil vampire bikers!). There's also the Knight Foundation, which is an organization entirely composed of Friendly Neighborhood Vampire superheroes and brooding antihero detectives. Yes, named after the titular character from Forever Knight.

Opposing the sudden surge in the undead is The Knights of Saint Uriel (Archangel of the Sun), a pseudo-Catholic hate group which has been created by the Archangel for the purposes of eradicating magic on Earth-0. There is also the Dawnblade, which is a multinational group inspired by a miraculous vision of God that told them to go forth and fight evil.
The Dawnblade's powers include all of the kind of paladin-like abilities the Knights of Charming have with none of the storybook romance.
Oddly, the Dawnblade finds the Knights of Saint Uriel every bit as psychotic as the vampires they oppose. There is also the Blood Reavers, a small branch of PHOBOS which devotes itself to stealing the parts of vampires as well as other supernaturals. They sell these parts on the black market and lace them with other drugs to make a fortune in illegal money.
Last edited by Charles Phipps on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:52 am

Vampires on Earth-0 part 2

The Family

Byron has done something that just about no other figure in the AoW setting has successfully done, in defiance of natural law, in that he's come back from the dead. Unlike in comic books, this is a huge [censored] deal and has left the Hollywood actor changed. Amusingly, the experience of being staked, decapitated, burned, and his ashes scattered to the wind before being unholy resurrected by black magic has restored his sanity. Byron no longer believes himself to be a character from one of his movies and is aware he's a washed-up Hollywood actor turned supervillain.

He's also aware he's an immortal demigod now.

Now blessed with the Vampire Lord template and PL 12 abilities, Byron has made himself ruler over all of those poor women and handsome men he transformed as well as their creations. He's less about simply living as a parasite off the human race in decadent luxury than actively trying to accumulate power and influence. He's also gone from being a somewhat "funny" villain to being a person who is quite willing to slaughter whole families if he believes it will grant him respite from the dull ache his condition now curses him with.

The family is composed of covens scattered across the United States and Europe, each answering to Byron's telepathic control. Contrary to what its name implies, the vast majority of the Family loathe their patriarch but are enslaved to his will. The fact he regularly abuses them both mentally and sexually doesn't help matters one bit. A rare few of his followers DO hold a cult-like reverence for Byron and call him the Dark Messiah. While Byron was never religious, he's learned to adapt smatterings of Biblical passages as well as his enhanced charisma to projecting he's some sort of evil god.

He's not sure what his purpose is now but he knows it is to CRUSH those who wronged him (particularly his killers) and share the agony that is his life.

Clan Ruthven

There exists a race of people who dwell in a dark decaying land, wind-swept and filled with shadows, that know more about treachery and blood than any other. One known for their brutality and devotion to kinship in equal parts. A people who have long known the role of both oppressor and oppressed.

I am, of course, speaking of Scottsmen.

Over a thousand years ago, on Earth-Cabal, Ruthfann mac Findlaich was the identical brother to King Mac Bethad who had won the title of High King by slaying Duncan Ist in open battle. Ruthfann, however, was visited by three Daughters of Agnes a.k.a Crones. They spoke of the fact he was destined to kill his older brother and feeding on the jealousy he'd already been feeling his entire life, Ruthfann murdered his brother and assumed his place.

The act of kinslaying was bad enough but nothing new to Scottish politics. It was his turning to the black arts, taught to him by the Crones, in hopes of driving away his brother's ghost (and later his suicidal wife who'd been engaged to Mac Bethad before politics had stood in their way). When Ruthfan Mac Findlaich was finally killed by a spear through the heart, he'd already resorted to all manner of evil spells in order to maintain peace.

This would be a very short article were he to have stayed dead, however, and Ruthfann recovered from his heart being pieced when the undertaker removed the broken part of the shaft lodged in his chest. Now cursed with an unholy lust for blood, the future "Lord Ruthven" stalked the moors and became a fixture of Scottish lore. Allied with Sluagh, Wights, and a thousand other monsters, he eventually rose to become the Earth-Cabal equivalent of Dracula.

Then his world died.

Lord Ruthven and his clan of lovely Scottish maids in low-cut bodices as well as chiseled jaw descendants escaped but now find themselves in a new and stranger world. Ruthven is not without honor and hates the Crones as well as the Titans they serve. That doesn't mean he doesn't see this place as one where he can regain his kingship. After all, it seems the undead are rather accepted in this new world.

The Midnight Club

The link between vampirism, sex, luxury, and wealth has long been a well-documented phenomenon.The Midnight Club is a natural extension of this, composed of those extremely famous and wealthy people who have decided to make use of the Nexus. Unlike PHOBOS, they're not so much afraid of the Nexus as hoping to exploit it for their own ends.

Do they ever.

The Midnight Club's upper ranks are all composed of the undead with many more being members of the Netherworld, Organization, and other groups who have decided immortality is an excellent recruiting tool. Many of the groups which are already manipulators, killers, and ruthless practicioners of ne'er do well have found the prospect of an eternity of doing so more appealing than their other idealogies.

The Midnight Club owns exclusive clubs and skyscrapers across the world. Inside, a bevy of mind-controlled slaves service their every whim. More disturbingly are those slaves there voluntarily, hoping to gain the gift of immortality or a fraction fo the members wealth in exchange for whatever degrading act they desire.

Disturbingly, the Midnight Club isn't limited to vampires in its supernatural members anymore. They've recently opened up their ranks to werewolves, One-Above-All renegades, changelings, sorcerers, and a couple of Daemonites who feign independence while watching these mortals gleefully throw themselves into the jaws of hell.

The Midnight Club even has a number of superhero and supervillain members, a few of the Octagon's board finding their antics quaint.
Last edited by Charles Phipps on Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:24 am

Charles Phipps wrote: Clan Ruthven

There exists a race of people who dwell in a dark decaying land, wind-swept and filled with shadows, that know more about treachery and blood than any other. One known for their brutality and devotion to kinship in equal parts. A people who have long known the role of both oppressor and oppressed.

I am, of course, speaking of Scotsmen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5WizElFlDc

:mrgreen:
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

Charles Phipps
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:23 am

Vampires of Earth-0 part 3

The Bloody Damned

The Bloody Damned is a rather brutal return to the outlaw biker gangs of the past. A collection of young, old, and in-between outlaws who have added vampirism to their attributes. The Bloody Damned remove the glamour and seductiveness of the undead for raw brutality. The biker gang and its various chapters roves across the Mexico-United border, killing and plundering at will. They, more than any other group, contribute to the image of vampires as nothing more than murdeous freaks.

The Bloody Damned are aware of the benefits to come from vampirism, they just don't care to use it for anything other than brutal hedonism. When the Bloody Damned rides into town, they take what they want, do what they want, and ride away after its done. Pendulum, working with the Dawnblades, have managed to eliminate a number of Chapter Houses (forcing the group to go underground) but its proven surprisingly elusive to eliminate the group. The sheer power of the group is an incentive to many people who have long desired to be utterly free of restraint.

Initiates to the Bloody Damned are required to display their loyalty before they're allowed to become full members. This requires a murder at the very end, illustrating that one is willing to do whatever it takes to be a member of their sick sect. By the time the initiation is over, the Bloody Damned members have usually several corpses under their belt.

Other rituals of the bloody damned involve using mortals as "keg parties", bowling with heads, and other sick displays that make one wonder if they were ever human to begin with. Initiation into the bloody damned often involves being buried alive, locked up until the hunger is unbearable (with an innocent victim nearby), and "Wild Hunts" where they race down a dozen mortals in a sick scavenger hunt.

Even King Frost hates these guys and is willing to cooperate with any group that wants to take them down.

The Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation is the product of numerous individuals discovering their transformation into vampires but NOT wanting to become amoral killers. More numerous than one might think, the Knight Foundation has gathered together as a sort of Alcoholics Anonymous meets ACLU. The group attempts to do as much good as possible to avoid bringing down massive witch-hunts on their heads while also struggling to watch over one another so they don't slip.

The Knight Foundation primarily works as investigators and supernatural detectives because, in addition to being in-genre, their abilities are quite useful in this regard. Vampires are too edgy to be traditional superheroes but they've won numerous allies with their work against supernatural threats.

The Knight Foundation is an avowed enemy of the Family, not the least because many of its members were created by Byron or his minions. This has lead to numerous altercations between the two with Knight Foundation members attempting to destroy the cult through legal (or illegal) means. The Knight Foundation is hampered in this respect because they want to work through the law, if they can, in hopes of making sure vampires maintain their legal status or have it improved.

The Knight Foundation is tentatively allied with both Pendulum and the Wands with the former having reluctantly allowed vampires to be members of their society. These individuals are at the forefront of the group's attempt for acceptance.

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