Thursday, May 1, 2014

NO:LA Nightwatch: A Supers Campaign Seed (Part Six)

More pre-campaign bits and pieces I distributed to the players. I released a new "sheet" every couple of days leading up to the campaign. I wanted to give the players something they could quickly and easily read. More importantly I hoped these entries would give them names and ideas they could play off of. They would know if they wanted to find out X thing, they could talk to Y person. Note: some of these elements/characters are reworkings from other sources. You can find the first post and more explanation here. The history of the Second Sunder War is here.

NOTABLE NPCS OF NEW ORLEANS
Merc Mirabilis: It may well be that Mirabilis was once the criminal simply known as Trick. If so, he had a long career tangling with superheroes despite lacking any real powers. Using simple illusions, stage magic, and a cleverness for traps, Trick managed to evade capture-- although many of his capers were unsuccessful. Mirabilis himself appeared about ten years ago, with rumors of his past life dogging him. He settled in New Orleans and bought several properties. Despite several financial investigations, all of his activities seemed in order. He opened a club, a restaurant, and a boutique grocery store which served the upper crust of the city for several years. However, all of that was lost in the Sunder War. He has rebuilt somewhat, but with a much scaled-down vision. He opened a simply jazz club that has drawn from a slightly different crowd than before-- people on the fringe, younger up and comers, and some of the old school players who needed a venue when they returned. Merc is a figure of contradictions-- on the one hand ruthless and on the other hand spending large amounts of money to help musicians who lost their livelihoods and homes in the disaster. Rumor has it that Mirabilis (still) has close ties to the criminal underground network, especially to the mooks and agents often recruited by more powerful figures.
Lillian Sable: Once a leading scientist in the investigation of paranormal powers, she retired after her husband died while fighting crime as a super. She returned to her old family home in New Orleans to finish her days doing casual research and writing the odd paper or two. However recent events have kept her active, with members of the local police often calling on her for advice. She generally resists this, sharing a common local belief in the corruption of the NOPD. Still her appraisal has been invaluable in a handful of cases. She's sunk the modest stipend she receives from this back into the upkeep and repair to her family mansion, which has seen better days. Suprisingly fit despite being nearly 70 years old, she often does volunteer work in her neighborhood.
Augustin DeKonnick: Though nothing has been proven, DeKonnick remains a heavily watched figure by the FBI and State Police. Many believe he runs a crime organization known as The Fortune. Rumor has it that the Hurricane Mafia have in the past asked DeKonnick's permission to operate in the city, though that mutual respect seems to have broken down. Now, with several criminal operations battling for territory, all bets are off. DeKonnick presents himself as a cultured and wealthy financier, and as a man devoted to the health of his city. Rumor has it that many of the most established political figures owe at least a little something to him. His precise background is unclear, except that his father was a Dutch Trade Ambassador and his mother was a local stage actress. How he came into his money, formed his group or managed to maintain a classic crime family without ethnic ties remains a mystery.
Heather North: On the fringe of acceptable technology and scientific research, there are hackers and freelancers like Heather North. She works in a grey area, watching the kinds of paranormal and futurist technologies that pop up here and there and trying to figure out how they work. She also tries to trace the line of invention and the location of various uses. While some have tried to recruit her, a devotion to open source concepts and information freedom makes her too wild to be trusted. In recent years she has been grabbed up by the government several time usually on charges related to possession of information helpful to terrorists. So far she's managed to evade any jail time, but she's had her work and records seized on several occasions. She is considered something of a guru among the para-techno otaku despite (or because of) her young age.
Franklin Glass: Before Sunder, New Orleans had been a hotbed for several schools of occult activity, notably the Voodunista. However, many participated actively in the war-- and were instrumental in distracting Sunder towards the end at the cost of their lives. The few remaining left for other locations in the south, haunted by the events. Glass, who had been in New Orleans for some years, bought out several of the most notable occult shops, opening his own with a sideline bar for those with more esoteric interests. He is an old school occultist in the tradition of Crowley. In fact, at times he's claimed a direct descent to him, but at others he's claimed to be the love child of John Whiteside Parsons and an extradimensional creature. In any case, Glass has proved an excellent source of occult knowledge for those willing to listen to his rambling stories and crazed ideas. Rumor also has it that he has a sideline in moving artifacts through the occult underground, as well as possessing the means to destroy certain unsavory or cursed items.
U.S. SUPERTEAMS
Government Super Teams
Currently the US government fields three super teams, two officially and one more quietly. They have an undisclosed number of other powered individuals on the payroll in various departments. As signatories to the Super Powers Military Containment Act (1978), they are not supposed to field superhumans in conventional conflicts, however it has been subject to increasing accusations of violating this law or at least skirting it.
The two public groups are Frontline and Interdict, both under the control of the department of Homeland Security.
Frontline, previously under the sole authority of the FBI, operates out of Pittsburgh and covers the eastern half of the country. Team Leader Alter is relatively new to the position, many of the team having died in Boston towards the end of the Second Sunder War. Interdict operates out of Phoenix and covers the western half of the US. Team Leader Gauntlet is the veteran of a number of government superteams and has-- to say the least-- an extremist reputation. Another team, Security One, covered the Midwest but was completely annihilated in Boston at the beginning of the war. Rumor has it several members of the team were converted by Lord Sunder and fought against heroes at several major skirmishes.
The third team, apparently under direct orders from the White House, likely handles internal security for the White House. So far the only confirmation of this team has been a simple acknowledgment that the government has supers on staff for security. Conspiracy theorists and bloggers have taken to calling this shadow team The Cabal.
Though the policy has never been explicitly stated the government narrowly recruits and hires supers only of scientific or technological origin (those with powers provided by devices or given by scientific accidents or deliberate programs). In the early days of the Hadley administration supers with naturally occurring or magical powers found themselves pushed out or placed in lower level positions. It is rumored that the government does employ a small group of supers with magical knowledge particularly dedicated to Presidential security and continuity of government.
Corporate Superteams
Where there were once a number of corporate sponsored superteams, only two remain. The first-- Advantage, Inc-- is better known by the nickname, Damage, Inc. Originally brought together by an alliance of private security firms and contractors, the group was spun off a number of years ago to avoid certain legal entanglements. While it is said to operate on its own, the team is clearly beholden to corporate interests and often handles problems and PR for the same companies that originally created it. The team roster often rotates and they have a large staff of second tier operatives and agents. Currently Risk Factor leads the team largely based on an internal shareholder struggle that meant a shake-up of membership.
Funded with money from several philanthropic organizations as well as a sizable legacy from one well-connected family, is simply known as Rescue. They focus mostly on the west coast and much less on crime-fighting than on public assistance, disaster relief and charitable acts. Despite this aim they have had several well publicized battles with super-villains, with footage usually appearing nearly immediately on YouTube. A number of co-called "Para-Celebrities" are honorary or adjunct members of this team.
Private Superteams
Many fewer active teams remain for several reasons. Most important may be the general nervousness about having super-powered persons active in a city given the devastation of recent events. Some places have begun to recruit one or two heroes to assist against a rising tide of crime (including some super-powered villains).
The Guard was once Chicago's primary superteam and went through a number of roster changes. However most of the team was lost in New Orleans. Some months ago former member Bodyslam decided to reconstitute the group under the new name Sentry. They have yet to receive real public acceptance and in fact have managed to get themselves restricted from entering certain neighborhoods of the city.
Once associated with Boston, The Yes Men still operate along the East Coast, particularly in New England. Several founding members have joined the reconstruction efforts in Boston and so the current roster is mostly made up of younger and more inexperienced heroes. They've also added more than a single token female hero and there has been some discussion of changing the group's name.
Little can be said for certain about the vigilante team calling itself The Tocsin. The appearance of this group sent many running to their dictionaries. It is believed they have at least one or two paranormals among their number, including a master of sonics known as Clarion Call. They move around the country and appear to have a political message, but the exact nature of that message is unclear. Some suspect that they are radical Libertarians or Randians. They are listed by the DHS as an "organization of concern."