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Charles Phipps wrote:Agents of the Foundation for World Harmony
The transfer of power from Dame Michelle Holmes to John Hepburn hasn't exactly gone without its speed bumps. Many of Dame Michelle Holmes' loyalists were transferred to dead-end jobs, kicked upstairs, or forced into retirement.
Other extremely-competent agents, one who have no real interest in the drama, are being forced to deal with the fact that John is a tool for whatever political factions ask him to do something. Director Hepburn's not incompetent at his job but the extreme mediocrity of his work and the occasionally insane nature of his solutions doesn't fill the people with confidence.
Dilbert cartoons have never felt more real at the Foundation. Here's a short list of the Foundation's best and brightest.
Alexander King: Nicknamed "Alexander the Seer", Alexander King is the head of the Supernatural Investigation Division of the Foundation for World Harmony. Alexander is a literal psychic detective. A former FBI agent, Alexander joined the Foundation for World Harmony when his Metaman ability to see the immediate future (later developing into full-fledged psychometry) became too obvious for the FBI to ignore.
Alex is supremely uninterested in the larger spy-game and focused entirely on the Anti-Crime/Terrorism efforts of the organization. He has no interest in politics and really would just like to catch killers. He has an antagonistic relationship with the new Director and desires to be left alone.
Alex's motivation isn't just a loyalty to the job, he was married to a fellow Foundation for World Harmony agent until she was killed by a Blood Wing imitator. As a result, he's exceptionally devoted to taking down Blood Wing's many copycats. He's considered the world's greatest expert on Blood Wing-related crimes.
Alexander King is a cynical, sarcastic, and makes roughly as many pop-culture references as an adult Buffy. He smokes like a chimney, drinks way too much, and takes too many risks despite his relatively "squishy" nature as a normal human with some minor psychic abilities.
Colonel Liddy: Joshua Liddy is the muscle-bound, eye-patch wearing, gun-toting supervisor of Foundation Island security. Colonel Liddy was a veteran of the Gulf War who ended up becoming a mercenary after his home life fell apart. Patched together by the House of Serpents and given a new background, Joshua is supremely loyal to his secret masters.
The irony is, honestly, is he's not really infiltrating the Foundation anymore since he absolutely despises Jack Washington III as a "limp-wristed New England liberal wannabe intellectual." Seriously, that's his reason, not the fact JWIII is a psychopath. Jack Washington III has no real interest in Colonel Liddy's activities and has ignored him since coming to power.
Colonel Liddy is now assembling his own private group of "super-patriots" in the Foundation for World Harmony called the "The new Founding Fathers" who are pretty much a bunch of paranoid extremist wackos who share Colonel Liddy's views. They advocate a much harder policy of Anti-Metaman, Pro-American (or at least Pro-West), and Pro-militarism policies. They really don't have any influence over policy but are affecting the opinions of new agents. Colonel Liddy's biggest danger right now is the fact that if any PCs need to get into Foundation Island, he's more likely to shoot first and ask questions later. And by shoot first, we mean blow up floors with C4.
Miss Frost: Electra Frost is the head of the Foundation for World Harmony's cryptography department and is in line for becoming head of the New Technologies division. Her name lends itself to jokes about being an ice-queen but the fact is that she has the demeanor of a female Agent Smith makes the joke just accurate. Electra has had herself extensively cybernetically modified so the fact she's 5'2, Asian, and
thoroughly unintimidating doesn't effect her ability to break people's arms when necessary.
Miss Frost is constantly visiting the aftermath of superhero battles in hopes of recovering new technologies. Likewise, she's extremely hostile to alien lifeforms in hopes of confiscating any otherworldly technology. Miss Frost has attempted to dragoon any Metamen with computer-related abilities into her service. She believes technological superiority is the key to humanity's survival and has even attempted to confiscate Ultramind 2.0 from the Patriots.
A third-generation Illuminatus, Samantha Frost mourns the destruction of the organization and believes the Foundation for World Harmony must take up the slack to guarantee world security. Despite this, she's supremely loyal to the United Nations and her home nation of Great Britain. Unfortunately, her loyalty consists of a willingness to do anything to protect both. Already, she's considering flagging Colonel Liddy not for being a House of Serpents infiltrator but the fact he's an incompetent boob.
greycrusader wrote:Interesting. I almost wish I had thought to include an option like that in the actual ending of the adventure. If I may ask (and if you feel like answering), who were the local villains who filled out the ranks of Professor Purgatory's minions, and what newly minted godlike beings were created when the Professor's efforts went awry (as they usually do in the end).
Yes, though the forces of good are almost chronically under siege in HED (Deathmask, the Entropic Masters, Black Hand, HofS, the A-Zone), the world remains a basically decent place where things do go slightly better for people overall than in an Iron Agish setting such as Bedlam or even a Post-Modern comics setting.
So in the HED-verse, Angelica Lynn actually now has a popular talkshow that focuses on superheroes/villains, their effects on people around them, and presumably super-pop-culture? Is the show pro or anti-metaman? Any interesting advertisers, such as Timmons Industries perhaps? Or is it on an all-supers cable channel, maybe the same one running the Elite reality show (now replaced by The Mighty Asgardians reality show) sponsored by Project Icarus and Spartacorp? Maybe Sherry "Showbiz" Strider (now pushing a well-preserve sixty and retired as Celestial Crane) has a version of Next Top Model or Project Runway, with Lady Grayhaven serving as a judge/mentor? Lots of possibilities.
So is the "Blessed With Suck" bit how the aforementioned "godlike beings" got spawned?
And did Angelica got some super-power to go along with her vastly epanded girth, or did the HED version get a different physical transformation altogether? Just curious.
PS: To answer an earlier question Charles, I think Infamy and Penny Painful are among my favorite characters of yours because you made sure to include a bit of light-hearted fun in their biographies. Both could simply have been GrimDark Serious antiheroes, but both have a certain playfullness to their personalities. I feel as if Johnny Mercy and Misty Weiss' dark twin enjoy themselves, that they genuinely like being Infamy and Penny Painful. Even when their lives get complicated or situations turn dire-they have superpowers! They live interesting, exciting lives. Why shouldn't they enjoy themselves, even when things seem bad?
See I don't really care for either The Darkness or The Hood (both of whom inspired Infamy unless I'm mistaken). The closest inspiration I can think of for Penny is maybe the "Mad" Scarlet Witch or perhaps Zatanna's foe, Talia the Queen of Evil, though neither seem very close. Is there a comics analogue or is she more of a non-pastiche?
And the Dark Undermaster as leader of the Gatekeepers really needs to be expanded upon. I've got to get back to work on other project for the next solid week or so, but I hope someone takes up this concept and the Lost Legion.
Charles Phipps wrote:Miss Cannis: A Berkley educated Neo-Hippie with a love of New Age medicine, crystals, environmentalism, and modern Atlantean mysticism (which actual Atlanteans look at strangely).
Oh, and she's also a werewolf. Samantha Cannis isn't exactly the kind of person you'd expect to be a Foundation for World Harmony's Sub-Chief. Despite this, Miss Cannis has steadily risen through the ranks and has an almost flawless record for dealing with superhuman problems.
Miss Cannis bases her offices in Los Dios, unsurprisingly, and has an excellent relationship with that city's otherworldly population. Miss Cannis is close friends with Athena and Ymir with both superheroes counting her as a member of their supporting cast. Despite her exceptional skill as an investigator and networking talent, even some of her supporters in the Foundation believe she might be a little TOO soft for the job. Dame Michelle Holmes said it best, "we are not in this business to be nice."
Despite these accusations, Miss Cannis has killed in the line of duty and has a tremendous hatred for the Gene Nation. This is due to the Red King killing one of her past lovers. She also strongly disagrees with his ideology, considering it close to pure evil.
George O'Grady: A North Ireland secret agent, George O'Grady was extremely efficient and considered by many to be a natural successor to Dame Holmes. Unfortunately, George O'Grady dramatically overestimated his ability to handle the Vampire Nation. Attempting to remove some of the vampire-backed slaving rings in Belfast, he was captured by Lord Ruthven and transformed into one of the undead.
George O'Grady was lucky to be one of those rare vampires not vulnerable to sunlight. Deciding to continue his career in the Foundation for World Harmony in the service of his new masters, his work has suffered. George, formerly considered a charismatic and likable fellow, is now considered to be "creepy" and "disturbing." Only the fact he's capable of mesmerizing many of his subordinates keeps them from abandoning his division en masse.
His division has degenerated to become one of the most corrupt, unhealthy, and downright spooky parts of the Foundation. George has transformed a couple more of his agents and made many more of them into "Renfields" with his blood. The fact John Hepburn hasn't noticed anything wrong due to George's ability to think rings around him doesn't help.
George O'Grady is currently angling to get Alexander King's position as head of the supernatural division. He is working very slowly at this due to the potential danger of being found out.
Ultradoom the Destroyer: The Ultradoom bot was created for the purposes of exterminating Earth's Metamen population by the Neo-Nazi government of the future. It can imitate and absorb the ability of virtually any superhuman. Sent back in time, Ultradoom managed to mimic the power of a powerful telepath and developed an overwhelming love of humanity.
Ultradoom now serves as an office boy in the Foundation for World Harmony. He's a pacifist and refuses to use any of his abilities for anything violent. This frustrates many people who would love to use him as a giant weapon. Ultradoom appears as an 8ft tall bronze-skinned Adonis who resembles the statue of Atlas from the covers of Atlas Shrugged.
Ultradoom has, on occasion, teamed up with one specific team. Yes, the Great Lakes Patriots! He babysits the Big Answer's niece and nephew while she does work with her husband.
Brigadier Anne Stuart: An Anglo-African woman in her early forties, Anna Stuart is the daughter of one of the Foundation for World Harmony's most decorated military officers. Despite the fact that there was considerable resistance to her rise to her father's former position, Anne Stuart has successfully risen to become head of the Foundation's military assets in the United Kingdom.
She has a long and storied career of dealing with vampires, aliens, fairies, more vampires, robots, demons, and more vampires. She's even worked with her father's frequent cohort, Merlin, on occasion. It's been observed that Anne is one of the few people who can talk the manic pixie wizard down.
Anne Stuart is an appointee of John Hepburn and is rather ashamed of this fact. Mostly, she feels like she's done an excellent job and is annoyed she's been elevated as part of a larger game of cleaning out the Old Holmes supporters. Otherwise, she's completely uninterested in politics and mostly just wants to do her job.
She has a long distance friendship with Alexander King and thoroughly loathes George O'Grady (she did so even before he was an undead monster). George takes extra precautions when meeting with her due to the fact Anne is quite good at sniffing out the undead.
Ops: A frighteningly efficient black ops mission director who seems to have thoroughly subverted the chain of command and answers only to John Hepburn's bosses. Even then, it's questionable how much they keep said individuals "in the loop." Ops runs their own Mini-Foundation consisting of expendable captured criminals and former terrorists. Ops collars these individuals and uses a combination of torture and brainwashing to ensure their loyalty. Also, the literal "explosive collar" has since been altered by their to be something more efficient (it's now a sub-dermal implant).
Ops is, disturbingly enough, believed to be a remnant of the original House of Serpents. Where as the rest of the group went rogue, Ops actually retained a certain degree of legitimacy with the world's governments through assembled blackmail material. They continues to run anti-terrorism missions with no restrictions, sparing no one including their former associates. No one knows who Ops is, what their goals are, or even if there's one or many. No one has yet discovered Ops existence since all their missions are usually blamed on one or more terrorist groups - efficiently keeping them from forming alliances. They have no objections to performing terrorist acts themselves if it infiltrates their agents into various groups' high commands.
Ironically, John Hepburn found out about Ops before Dame Michelle Holmes due to his superior ability to follow paperwork (defeating even Holmesian logic). He's currently sitting on it because he's received no orders for dealing with it and taking care of the problem would require initiative.
Phrozen wrote:or have moved into other positions. The big merc companies and Ultra Force 1 do need support staff.
They are finding out the true meaning of the phrase "good enough for government work".
Also it became a "we don't handle that" thing. Ironically, as noted earlier the Federal Marshal service handles all the supernatural stuff. Though King's abilities would of made him an excellent tracker, as much as the marshals actually hunt the supernaturals. He declined a transfer since he was dating a Foundation liaison.
And being dragged away from his primary interest. Also, King actively flaunts the no smoking indoors and the do not drink on the job rules that drive a petty bureaucrat like Hepburn crazy.
Also, epic Shut Up Hannibal moments when confronting said copycats. You know you are good when you break down a once psychopathic blood thirsty murderer to a bawling mess. His ability to take apart people on a psychological level is considered an art.
Its part death wish and part that he has friends in low places. Being able to partially see the future helps as well. Also, being owed favors by said friends in low places helps as well. You only have to hold off the blood crazed sociopath for 3 minutes while you wait for the werewolf who owes you a few favors comes tearing into the scene.
Its to bad that his employers never had such loyalty. Like Supreme, Liddy was going to be on the chopping block once the revolution was complete. General Venom doesn't need monsters after the revolution.
Birds of a feather don't flock together. Ironic if the two actually met they might like each other. Also, JWIII is not planning on actually taking on the Foundation rather turning it into his own Gestapo/KGB/secret police organization that every authoritarian state must have.
Ironic since the HoV isn't actually anti-metaman. Mainly anti-Gene Nation because well The Red King combines the worst parts of Divine Right of Kings and somewhat less heinous parts of the Eugenics movement. JWIII is also not anti-anybody as long as they are under his control.
Also, case number one for cybernetic remove your emotions. Not that Frost showed a lot of emotion before upgrading.
She has a fairly big list of things she wants to get a hold of. Reading the list is rather frightening. It includes of course Ultramind 2.0, Catacomb's core programming, Phantom Works armored suit, The Locusts mini-robots, and the remains of Seventh Heaven. The list of talent she wishes to acquire is similarly scary.
The fact is that she doesn't trust the HoV or anybody else to do the job properly. Of course she sees herself as the person who is most able to actually run the Foundation of World Harmony and ultimately the world. The difference between her and JWIII is really a difference in degrees and the steps each one is willing to stoop too.
Phrozen wrote:Very strangely. Though if you squint and tilt your head slightly it kinda sorta looks like something they may possible have believed in at some point of time. Maybe.
She is just so cute and bubbly that you have to be a really cold hearted person to hate her. For those people then the snarling rampaging beast comes out. Instead of phases of the mom, Samantha's werewolf side comes out due to emotions. You know that whole saying about a woman scorned. That is Samantha.
She also uses a fair amount of obfuscating stupidity to make her seem much less harmless then she really is.
Of course Dame Holmes was of the Si vis pacem para bellum type of mind. Though Cannis would rather defuse situations peacefully.
Not just strongly, violently. There is no that angers her quite as quickly as a Gene Nation apologist. Los Dios was full of them, but their numbers have dwindled as the Genesis Island Crisis exploded onto national news and the facts of the regime were made public. Ms. Cannis was one of the few Foundation supervisors in the upper circle that was pushing for intervention. Partly, to of course get back at the Gene Nation but also partly hoping that the victor wouldn't fall into the circle of PHANTOM or the Iron Khan.
He went at it alone and didn't expect such a powerful vampire to actually be running said rings.
As Mick Drake says, "When hunting vampires make sure to bring back up, even if said backup is there to put you down if you get turned."
His missing in action reports are quite sketchy and if one would look it seems like his MIAs always show up a couple days later perfectly fine. If one were more suspicious instead of just checking to see if the paperwork was complete.
He figured that as long as he turns in complete paperwork on time, he won't be bothered. For the most part he is right.
So far, King's abilities have warned him of the danger.
He takes care of the mail, faxing, and copying duties. He does not answer the phone. He will not deal with the negative vibes coming from the phone.
Her nickname is Queen Anne. Most of the resistance was related to feelings of nepotism and cronyism. Anne has proved her abilities time and time again and such thoughts have pretty much gone away.
Talk and a fear of being punched. Frankly, Brigadier Stuart has no problem dressing down Merlin. She has a way to make him feel very small.
There has been some talk of a coup to replace Hepburn with Stuart. Mainly because Hepburn has some crazy ideas and hasn't done well with what crisis have been going on during his tenure.
Also, its kinda bad for an agency of super spies to have a video of their director peeing their pants up on youtube in the midst of being held for ransom.
There are lots of theories. An anti-alien conspiracy, a hold over of the cold war spy games, and a collection of spy directors to do off the record missions. Also, some say it is the Illumanati back in a more secret form.
I am glad that you liked Charles Freeman, I was worried that you would think that it paints George Timmons in a not so great light.
greycrusader wrote:Why do I like the HED version of SHIELD's super-agent squad better than the actual MU version?
(Maybe because I find a sense of fun and the absurd lacking in mainstream comics these days, sadly, with a few exceptions).
Charles, I really like how you envisioned Promise of Purgatory playing out in the HED world (did you actually game it?), and I'll comment on Celestial Maiden and Antithesis soon enough.
Phrozen wrote:I want to try a different take on a Black Wing II villain. Please feel free to comment even to say it sucks.
"You want to know why I have chosen to take on one of the largest companies on Earth, Alex? It seems like a fools errand doesn't it.
You see I knew George Timmons as well. Not as well as you do. He exited my life as soon as he entered yours. I grew up in Falconcrest. Never knew my mother or father. My first memories are were of the orphanage I spent the first 16 years of my life. It was not a happy childhood as you can imagine. There were days that were happy though. They were the days when Mr. Timmons would visit.
Sure, he donated to the orphanage every year but unlike others he came to see us. He took us out to see movies or museums. He genuinely seemed to care about us for more then a photo op and some good publicity. Then one year he stopped showing up. You should know that year Alex, he adopted you that year. At first we were excited. We would have a new friend and maybe Mr. Timmons would adopt some of us. As the weeks and months dragged on but Mr. Timmons never came back. He cut the check every year but never came to see us.
We never wanted his money Alex. Just his time, to feel for a few hours that somebody wanted us. I know it broke a lot of the younger kids. It hardened many of the older kids. I will tell you Alex, they cruelest thing one human can do to another is give affection and then yank it all away. For me, it awakened my ambition. I excelled at school because I wanted to make sure that people would compete for my attention. I got a Rhodes Scholarship and well I am sure you have read up on my biography. I have seen the pictures taken of your graduation from college. Full of happy people. I don't have pictures from my graduation Alex, there was no one there to take them.
You ask why I am taking on your company? Because I want it. Because you are soft. Because you are weak. But most of all for revenge. I am going to break you Alex. I am going to put you into the poorhouse. I am going to take your whole company, rip out the value and bury the corpse. I made my promises to my brothers and sisters who didn't make it out. To those who couldn't salvage enough to deal with life. I am going to make you and your father just footnotes in history. Your company or your market share. I will take one and then the other."
Charles Freeman is the owner of Freeman Resources. While the company is only about a decade old. It has seen rapid growth mostly through buying up competitors and companies in similar fields. There have been reports that these purchases have been accomplished through blackmail and espionage but so far those rumors have been just rumors. Some find it odd that Freeman keeps a team of forensic accountants on staff though. Freeman's managerial style differs greatly from almost all other business leaders. His speeches come off more like some ancient warlord then a businessman. He frequently includes quotes by Sun Tzu, von Clauswitz, Musashi, Patton, and Horatio Nelson in his communications. His office is filled with historical weapons and armor. Originals not reproductions and not parade weapons either.
What does mark Freeman is his naked and ruthless ambition, which is strange since he doesn't pay himself much more then his senior executives. It seems that money isn't what he is after, rather the the thrill of taking. While charismatic with his employees, he is cold and emotionless when dealing with outsiders. He doesn't seem to have a social life other then what is required to network and find in roads into other ventures. Freeman Resources doesn't participate in any charity, all profits are used to leverage the next buy out. Surprisingly, his employees are paid extremely well after about of three years of being worked to death. Freeman figures that anybody who got through that is good enough to keep.
After a company is acquired, anything of value is stripped out and taken under the Freeman Resources name. All acquired employees are not terminated and like any new employee given about three years of constant grueling work. Those that stick with it are given rapid promotion, raises, and bonuses. All trace of the acquired company is wiped out and Freeman won't even sell the name.
As noted above Freeman has a hatred for the Timmons family and is currently targeting Raven Industries for acquisition. Freeman has worked up a biography and profile of Alex Timmons. He even hired a private detective to tail Alex. Though he isn't sure that Alex is Black Wing, he does know that Timmons has something other then his playboy facade going on. So far, Freeman hasn't delved fully into outright supervillainy rather taking on Alex socially and through business channels. If Freeman takes the plunge he could become one of Alex's more dangerous foes.
Charles Phipps wrote:
George was, of course, always trying to make sure the next generation turned out. Prior to Falconcest City's version of Kris Kringle, it had one of the worst child-abuse rates in the world. The very fact people used the term orphanage as opposed to foster home should tell you how bad it was (and foster homes can vary tremendously in their quality as we all know). It's one of the reasons why so many criminals existed in Falconcrest (that and the terrible economy).
It also has a cruddy mental health system.
It should be noted that George's attention was taken up so much by Alex because he didn't really have an Alfred to take care of the duties of caring for a child. Even though Alex was abnormally intelligent even as a baby (speaking like a Rhodes scholar at 4), it wasn't exactly easy raising him.
Delousing the city has been something George and Alex have devoted themselves to for decades. It's a testament to their efforts that 2011 Falconcrest is now ONLY as nasty as a really heavily-crime filled Chicago.
It makes me wonder what George would think of all this. In Alex's case, he struggles with balancing his own work schedule just as much as George. Though, admittedly, he always takes Christmas Eve off to deliver toys.
As Black Wing.
Charles Freeman is pretty much the anti-Alex is many respects. He's made his fortune entirely through hard work. To an almost Ebenezer Scrooge-esque level. Charles Freeman divorced himself from friends, a social life, family, and entertainment to become a juggernaut of corporate business. Plenty of real-life overachievers are capable of doing this but he took it to the next level where he eliminated virtually every trace of sympathy in his body as a result.
What's amazing is he's one of the most honest businessmen in Falconcrest City.
He didn't need to do Mafia ties or cheap-quick fixes to make his fortune. He did, however, do every legal dirty trick he could.
This strategy, it should be noted, isn't terribly new. Wallstreet Piracy even got a movie made about it starring Michael Douglas. The thing with Mister Freeman is that he really is about grinding people down to soulless drones. It's difficult enough living in corporate america without someone DELIBERATELY trying to create an almost Soviet-Union esque conformity for his workers.
Freeman employees sort of have that "Stepford smile" where they KNOW fabulous riches await them if they sacrifice their souls.
It's one of those bizarre things where the people who really SHOULD be able to tell Alex is Black Wing can't because they're so focused on the contradiction they can't see the forest for the trees. Unlike the average Black Wing villain, Freeman doesn't need to have been fooled by the dozens of Black Wing/Alex doubles that have taken place. No, the bigger issue is that it's hard to reconcile Alex is simultaneously a bit of a know-it-all prig/playboy/genius inventor but is still so WELL INTENTIONED and HAPPY.
It's a bit like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 when he gives strawberries to his secretary. Alex is the sort of guy who would buy his friend an ultra-rare Pokemon card. Admittedly, the man might hate Pokeman but he'd think of doing it.
Freeman can't comprehend that someone who, in addition to skating through life and having every advantage imaginable, can still achieve so much success without giving up something. Either he should be a completely spoiled idiot who doesn't help anyone save to elevate himself or he should be a ruthless sociopath every bit as nasty as Freeman's competitors. Alex isn't even particularly selfless, which Freeman could understand in a Calivinist work-ethic sort of way, it's the HAPPINESS that bothers him.
Charles Phipps wrote:greycrusader wrote:Why do I like the HED version of SHIELD's super-agent squad better than the actual MU version?
Grimdark tends to get so nasty that it kills the fun. Comics can be silly as well as serious.
I'm glad you like them and would love to hear which one you like.(Maybe because I find a sense of fun and the absurd lacking in mainstream comics these days, sadly, with a few exceptions).
Oh yeah. You can't be shocking unless a planet blows up or someone dies horribly.Charles, I really like how you envisioned Promise of Purgatory playing out in the HED world (did you actually game it?), and I'll comment on Celestial Maiden and Antithesis soon enough.
Charles Phipps wrote:1. I actually used my version of the goddess as the leader of a star spanning cult of women while Professor Purgatory's evil psycho side was weirdly possessed of a lot of "enemy mine" moments versus the kind of star spanning evil the Magnus was.
2. Sure, go ahead and create your own.
3. Glad you liked them.
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