World of Freedom 2.5 (DVD Commentary)

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Doctor Li

Postby Davies » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:04 pm

[And we're back!]

The man who calls himself Doctor Li Fang (which means that Li is his family name and Fang is his personal name, and he would prefer to be called Doctor) has revealed relatively little about his background. Once, he claimed to have been born in the closing years of the nineteenth century to a woman whom the monks who raised him took for a heroic revolutionary against the Manchus. (In fact, according to this story, she was a common criminal.)

However, it is quite possible that when he told that story, he was lying, or at least appropriating the life story of one of his alleged ancestors. That has always been Doctor Li's way. If a lie will accomplish his goals, he will lie without scruple. Yet he claims to value truth -- which is why he uses it so infrequently, hording it up like gold -- and seems almost pleased when others catch him in his lies.

Likewise, there may be no truth to his claim that he has a doctorate in medicine from Edinburgh, a doctorate in theology from Heidelberg, a doctorate in psychology from Vienna, and a doctorate in metaphysics from an obscure college in New England. A few intrepid souls have studied the rolls of these colleges and failed to find any students bearing the name Li Fang enrolled there. However, he might have used an assumed name, or a different one each time.

What can be positively known is this -- he has been a most dedicated and ruthless foe of Doctor Sin for nearly seventy years, beginning in the 1930s. In the story of his life that he once told, he claimed that he had once employed his own brilliance as a moderately corrupt servant of the Chinese government, but that he had found that path to be so easy as to become boring after only a decade or so. Thus, he decided to walk a path of righteousness, and chose to oppose Doctor Sin for the simple reason that he was the greatest criminal mind of the region.

Again, this may be a lie. Those who have observed his handful of direct interactions with his nemesis have perceived a strong personal animus on Doctor Li's part, which seems incompatible with such a casual motivation for their feud. Some have suggested that his sister, or perhaps his daughter, was the woman chosen to be the Bride of Sin, mother of Jasmine and Ebony. When asked, rather bluntly, about this possibility, he commented that those who'd come up with that notion had also watched too much opera.

He is utterly without mercy in his actions against Doctor Sin, which has led to some -- such as the original Raven -- viewing him as being every bit as much of a threat to the safety of the world. Indeed, Duncan Summers once commented, "If that man discovered that Sin was hiding in an orphanage, he would calmly lock the doors and burn it down around the orphans' ears." When told of this, Doctor Li considered a moment, and then said, "I would make very certain of his presence, first, and then make very sure that he could not escape."

It should also be noted that Doctor Li may be something of a racist, though he doesn't hate people who aren't Chinese -- it's more like a faint pity for anyone who had the bad luck not to be born the correct race, combined with a dismissive attitude towards the accomplishments of non-Chinese. Despite this, he has been quite willing to work with non-Chinese in the past, and has even set aside his enduring grudge against Japanese people to work very closely with the current Crimson Katana. (Of course, in her case he is also taking a great pleasure in subverting the designs of her father, who was another old enemy.)

In terms of his abilities, Doctor Li is an accomplished magician. Though his actual sorcerous abilities are relatively weak -- and this is a sore point with him, which came up during his recent encounter with Seven, whom he lambasted for possessing power, in her teens, that he has had to sweat blood over decades to achieve, and still wanting more -- he is one of the most skilled alchemists that China has ever produced. Doctor Sin is a more accomplished practitioner of the science, but Doctor Li is a far greater theoretician.

One might well wonder what he plans to do if he ever succeeds in destroying Doctor Sin. The simple answer is, nothing. He doesn't believe that he can do it without a complete and total self-sacrifice. And he is willing to do so -- in the case of the orphanage mentioned above, he would lock the door from the inside, and make very sure of Doctor Sin's presence by searching him out in the flames, and then make very sure he could not escape by physically preventing him from doing so ...

[Stats are here.]
Last edited by Davies on Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Libra » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:59 am

Scary, scary man. :shock:

Fascinating character though.
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Current Events: The Vampire Earth (Part One)

Postby Davies » Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:29 am

During Mastermind's most recent scheme to take over the world, involving time travel and cross-temporal communication between Mastermind in the present and in the past, he used a rather elaborate scheme to prevent the Freedom League from interfering. He arranged for them to be sent back in time to various tragic events in their lives, essentially giving them the chance to prevent them, in the belief that if they did so they would either be erased from history or at least unable to return to the original timeline.

It didn't work. Yet it had consequences that Mastermind didn't foresee. Most of the Freedom Leaguers resisted the temptation to change history. But Captain Thunder, sent back to the Terminus Invasion, accidentally revealed to his past self that Centurion was going to die. And although the current Captain Thunder chose not to change events ... his past self chose otherwise.

So it was that when the Freedom League returned to the present after foiling Mastermind's plot, they discovered that Freedom City's history had been changed, and not for the better. The city seemed deserted ... until night began to fall, and the vampires came out. The Freedom League were able to overcome these ordinary vampires fairly easily, but then they found themselves under attack by vampiric versions of the Next Gen!

Shocked and horrified by this development, the League might have perished -- had not Centurion arrived on the scene to rescue them. He led them to the last stronghold of humanity in Freedom City -- Blackgate -- where he, Foreshadow and a few other heroes remained. Centurion, believing that they were travellers from a parallel universe, explained what had happened.

Fourteen years ago, during the Terminus Invasion, as Centurion had arrived to fight against Omega, their clash had been interrupted by Captain Thunder, who attacked the Lord of Entropy more furiously than Centurion had ever seen him before. While Captain Thunder died horribly as a result, he was able to inflict injuries on Omega that allowed Centurion to defeat Omega without suffering fatal wounds.

Mourning for his fallen comrades, Centurion had taken the place that would have been Captain Thunder's as the head of a new Freedom League. Everything else happened more or less as it had on the original timeline ... until Johnny Rocket was exposed as gay. In the original course of events, Captain Thunder made his decision by asking himself what the Centurion would have done. In the revised course of events, the Centurion asked himself what Captain Thunder would have done ... and decided to accept Johnny Rocket's offer to resign.

A number of the Freedom League's members were outraged by this decision, including Daedelus and the Raven, and they quit in solidarity with Johnny. While replacements were found, the team suffered a serious loss in prestige. In the years to come, the Centurion would realize that this had been the most serious mistake he'd ever made. But it wasn't until 2001 that he realized just how grave the consequences of his decision were going to be ...

[To Be Continued.]

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Postby Black Ops » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:27 pm

......... :shock: ......ouch !
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Translation: I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head

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Current Events: The Vampire Earth (Part Two)

Postby Davies » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:28 am

In this altered timeline, when Duncan Summers founded his school for young superhumans, his daughter -- no longer a member of the Freedom League -- sought to fill some of the spare time that she had by becoming an instructor there. As a result, when the Next Gen made their debut as superheroes, she became the "faculty supervisor" and de facto leader of their group. For a few months, everything went well.

And then the vampire lord Dracula came to Freedom City in search of a bride, just as he had in the original timeline. But where he'd chosen the young witch Seven, this time he chose to become the father in darkness to the Raven. And the Next Gen, for a variety of reasons, weren't able to rescue her from this horrendous fate.

The vampire-Raven, however, retained enough of her free will to strike back against the lord of the Undead, destroying him within a few moments of her awakening as a vampire. But that only hastened the doom, for by killing him she absorbed his essence, further causing the flames of her own humanity to gutter and die. The Raven was dead ... long reign Queen Raven, Mistress of the Night.

Even then, something could have been done. Observers noted the oddity at the Claremont Academy, which declared itself a supers-only school in strong contrast to Duncan Summers' stated views that the most important lesson any young super can learn is that he or she lives in a world which is mostly non-super. But those who should have realized that something dark was afoot did not, or at least they never had the opportunity to make their realizations known. It seems likely that the vampiric super-army that was being gathered had something to do with the disappearance of Eldrich that year ...

On Hallowe'en of 2002, they struck. Guided by Queen Raven's genius, the vampires launched their attack on Freedom City. The Atom Family were taken, as was the Freedom League -- all but the Centurion. Of the independent heroes, only Foreshadow managed to escape being transformed into a vampire. And then the vampires turned their attention to the mortals. And there was a great feasting.

Fortunately, the vampires which had been sent to attack the Sentinels failed in their mission, and the New York-based team convinced the U.S. government to declare an emergency quarantine around Freedom City, later expanded to include nearby Bedlam which had also fallen to the vampires. A gigantic force field was erected around the cities, sealing in everyone who hadn't managed to get out.

But Queen Raven had anticipated this, and ended the wanton slaughter of the remaining humans under the dome. Yet this was not an act of mercy. The humans would now only be cattle for the vampiric elite, who would drink only a little at a time, until Queen Raven and her court, which now included the warlock Nevermore, could find a way to undermine the force field.

Five years later, they were very nearly ready to do just that ...

[Nevermore is the "Corrupt Sorcerer" archetype from the main rulebook.]
Last edited by Davies on Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Libra » Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:00 pm

Gulp. :shock:
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Current Events: The Vampire Earth (Part Three)

Postby Davies » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:09 pm

That was the scenario that confronted the timelost Freedom League. During their earlier time travelling adventure, they'd made contact with Dr. Tomorrow, who'd told them when and where he'd next visit Freedom City. Since it didn't seem likely that he'd been affected by the changes in history, that arrival date would seem to be constant. They could connect with him, then go back and prevent Captain Thunder's past self from changing history.

But if they did so, they would be failing to prevent the vampire coven of Queen Raven from performing a ceremony to demolish the force field. When that happened, the vampires would be freed to wreak their bloody havoc across the world. Worse, vampiric assassination teams (secreted outside the dome before it was erected, and lying in wait until now) would be striking against the Sentinels, the Champions and other teams. Whatever resistance the world could offer would be perhaps fatally compromised.

It was the Centurion who made the decision. He and his small band of freedom fighters would try to disrupt the ceremony, providing a distraction that would allow the Freedom League to make their connection safely. The likelihood that they'd fail to stop the ceremony was trivial compared to the possibility of causing all of this to have never happened. Captain Thunder protested, pointing out that even if they succeeded, they'd be condemning this world to non-existence.

The Centurion said, quite calmly, looking right at Johnny Rocket, as he did so, "Whatever world you've come from, whatever history produced you, it has to be better than the one that's led to this."

"You're dead there," Captain Thunder told him.

"Do you call this life?" the Centurion asked.

Eventually, they compromised, with some of the Freedom League (including Star Knight, Bowman and Johnny) going with the resistance to disrupt the ritual, while the rest of the team headed for the rendezvous point -- Heroes Knoll. But when the time came, Dr. Tomorrow failed to appear, and the team came under assault by vampiric versions of the Crime League. Meanwhile, the attack on the ritual went poorly, with Foreshadow falling beneath the fangs of the vampiric Lady Tarot, Star Knight facing off against a vampire Blackstar, and Johnny and Bowman fighting vampiric versions of themselves. The Centurion himself was torn apart by the mystical energies called up by the ritual.

Dr. Tomorrow's time ship showed up several minutes later than expected, due to a time storm produced by the historical deviation. Daedelus quickly briefed him on the situation, and he agreed to help the Freedom League fix matters. Pausing only briefly to rescue the Leaguers at the ritual site, the League shifted back in time -- though not before they saw Nevermore apparently realize what they were about to do, and vanish into the time stream.

Travelling back to the Terminus Invasion, Captain Thunder disguised himself as an Omegadrone and intercepted his "local" self. They fought long enough to prevent the younger Captain Thunder from overhearing his earlier "nonlocal" self mention the death of the Centurion, preventing the historical alteration, undoing the history that led to the Vampire Earth. While the Time Keepers weren't happy about all of this, and have grounded Dr. Tomorrow and forbidden the Freedom League in general from time travel for an undisclosed interval, everything seems to have turned out all right.

Except for Nevermore. On being told of this affair, Eldrich mused that this might explain a few things. As far as he knew, the first time that he and the warlock had ever met had been in 1993, when Nevermore joined forces with Blackthorn to fight the Master Mage and the Centurion. Yet Nevermore had implied that this hadn't been the first time that the warlock faced either of them. If this line of speculation is correct, Nevermore time travelled back from the future of the Vampire Earth to a period before the timeline diverged, and has survived into the present.

Still, this is a relatively minor consequence, and Nevermore has never shown any interest in bringing about a vampiric hegemony in this timeline. Yet there's another, disturbing possibility. It has been known to happen that a sequence of time travelling like this causes an altered timeline to manifest as a full parallel world. (Indeed, Centurion's homeworld seems to have had its origins in such a temporal meddling in the first century AD of Roma Eterna's history, resulting in a different decision by a young man named Brittanicus, the direct ancestor of Centurion's family ...)

If this has happened this time, then there is a world out there where Queen Raven still exists. While Nevermore's defection may have spoiled the ritual, it doesn't seem likely that Queen Raven would have failed to have a contingency plan for such a betrayal. In which case, the field would still have come down, and the vampires would have spread across the world.

And one imagines that a single world will not be enough to satisfy their thirst ...

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Postby shazam » Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:09 pm

A thought:

Wouldn't Foreshadow have been among the first people 'turned' by Queen Raven's minions, even before Halloween 2002? After all, when you're planning global domination, a pretercognitive is a dangerous thing to have on the other team.

(This is, I'd assume, why Lady Tarot is a vampire rather than lunch, because Queen Raven got her to switch teams.)

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Postby Davies » Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:04 pm

shazam wrote:A thought:

Wouldn't Foreshadow have been among the first people 'turned' by Queen Raven's minions, even before Halloween 2002? After all, when you're planning global domination, a pretercognitive is a dangerous thing to have on the other team.

One can assume that they tried. Clearly, they failed.

Chris Davies.

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Postby shazam » Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:17 pm

'Kay! As always, awesome stuff here, Davies. The Marvel Zombies/Wolverine Lord of the Vampires flavor comes through quite crimsonly.

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Postby Libra » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:40 am

Indeed!

A thought:

Wouldn't Foreshadow have been among the first people 'turned' by Queen Raven's minions, even before Halloween 2002? After all, when you're planning global domination, a pretercognitive is a dangerous thing to have on the other team.


One suspects that the problem with that idea is that it's rather tricky to surprise a precognitive.
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Postby tylrlsaa » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:29 pm

shazam wrote:A thought:

Wouldn't Foreshadow have been among the first people 'turned' by Queen Raven's minions, even before Halloween 2002? After all, when you're planning global domination, a pretercognitive is a dangerous thing to have on the other team.


IIRC, Foreshadow has never revealed his precog abilities in the Mainstream setting. I assume that hasn't changed in the Davies-verse. If this is true, it explains why he hadn't been 'turned'.

Seeing as Lady Tarot needs a deck of tarot cards to focus her talents, it's understandible that she was converted where Foreshadow wasn't.
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Postby Rubber Baron » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:40 pm

On the other hand, Foreshadow does the same thing a lot of characters do that tips their hands if anyone thinks about things for even a moment.

Consider Hourman. Gee, has his powers for an hour... Let's wait 61 minutes before we try to take him on.

Foreshadow. Why would he call himself that? I can't think of any reason for that name. He's not particularly shadow efficient. There aren't four shadows. Why would he use that name. Hmmm. If you are foreshadowing something you are revealing its future. Not very scarey. Then again, maybe it's a reference to something he can do. He doesn't step out of shadows, so maybe he has some kind of view into the future? That might explain how he got out of all those ambushes! We don't have a squealer in the inner circle after all! (Lady Tarot heaves a sigh of relief.)

"Secret" power revealed.
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Postby LibertyForce » Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:55 pm

Davies how about giving thought to Lucius Cabot and his law firm. Include more complete write ups of the senior partners.

Lucius would have Immortality if Steve had the UP book when he wrote up Lucius (instead of the immunity that is listed) since in fact Lucius is immortal.

Personally I think Lucius is like a reverse sidekick so that the 'character' is the demon he controls and he is the sidekick. Hence major write up of the demon is needed.

Another option is to give Lucius the Summon Demon 8 power as listed on the Spirit Caller in Instant Heros (with him summoning demons instead)

I hope we get an official write up perhaps along the lines of the adventure done for Toy Boy, but instead a location description of the law firm, its partners, and perhaps lucius home/HQ

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Postby Libra » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:58 am

Soubds like a good idea to me! 8)
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