Thursday, May 15, 2014

NO:LA Nightwatch: Villains for a Supers Campaign Seed (Part Seven)

More pre-campaign bits and pieces I distributed to the players- this time VILLAINS! 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 (such as Dr. Simian who I use in everything). 

Villains of Note: Technology
Coder: Originally an inventor with a passing fascination with crime, Coder has become more dangerous as the world has come to rely more and more on high-tech instruments and communications. His powers apparently originate from a set of implants which allow him to see, hijack, and reprogram nearly any higher level device. His skills have evolved from being able to make simple alterations to his confirmed current ability to lay in delayed programs and commands. He's also become a connoisseur of the latest advanced weaponry, giving him a significant arsenal at his disposal. While his skills and knowledge might have been employed usefully in the private sector is has become apparent that his devices are intrusive and often cause long-term permanent damage to those he interfaces with. While he is still at heart simply a thief, the scale of his targets has increased significantly.

Fiend XIII: For a brief time in the late 1980's, notorious villain Fate held command of a small island nation located in the Pacific. Seized from a shadowy independent spy organization, Fate declared this island to be his sovereign territory. He began to recruit, willingly or otherwise, notable fringe scientists and super-villains to help him “reclaim” his position as master of the world. For several years, the land of Fate, became a hotpoint for elite organized criminal activity and a distribution center for advanced weapons. However, Fate's plans came to an end in an incident simply known as The Zero Point. Most of the population vanished as well as the bulk of Fate's resources. Interpol's elite super group, Interguard, seized the island shortly thereafter and returned control to democratically elected officials. It would be several years before Fate would make his appearance again.

However, a number of devices apparently created by Fate or his scientists, began to turn up across the globe. Fiend XIII is one of these. Originally intended to be a suit of powered armor, the device has developed a higher level of understanding and an independent agenda. It can reduce itself to a small size not unlike a robotic spider. It can operate in that form for some time, but eventually due to some defect on the part of the device, it requires a human “pilot”. Some have speculated that it feeds on the energy of this pilot, recharging its very specific power source. Most pilots are unwilling, but the Fiend has methods of unpleasant persuasion to convince them. There have been some willing pilots (notably Fiend XI piloted by the arch-villain Grimstar) but most are simply tools for the Fiend's plots. Interestingly, though the destruction of the armor has usually been followed by its managed to resurrect itself, the persona of the Fiend has shifted in each incarnation-- as it the process of rebuilding also includes a reboot that changes the monster.

The Sound and Fury: A team of villains utilizing sonic based technology. While the membership has changed over the years, their modus operandi has not. The effects they can manage has varied from simple destructive vibrations to more complicated neurological attacks. At least three current members are known: Bedlam, whose devices cause disorientation, fatigue, and confusion (because his attacks actually resonate with the target's own physique, armor and even hearing protection is ineffective); Pierce, who can project deafening high intensity beams of sound that can rip through objects when focused; and Mr. White who seems to be able to actually convert his body into a sonic form, making him the break-in master of the team.

Oubliette: The latest organization apparently devoted to supplying advanced devices and weaponry to the criminal population. They were founded by renegade agents of TRIAL, an organization that had existed in one form or another since the Second World War. TRIAL had been the prototypical international spy agency primarily affiliated with European countries but drawing and operating across the globe. During the 1990's and the rise of the EU, a series of public fiascoes derailed TRIAL and resulted in its dismantlement. Oubliette arose out of one of those splinters, but did not assume a real identity as a supplier of devices until after the millennium. They took advantage of the recent destruction of two other groups, caught in the post 9/11 cooperative environment and managed to seize control of many assets in the former Soviet Union. Reports suggest that they have been operating in the United States since the Sunder War.

Villains of Note: Parahuman
Night Jack: A villainous super-mercenary who possesses a body seemingly made of a rubbery Kevlar. He's shown an amazing resistance to damage, even energy based attacks such as Tasers or fire. He can flatten his form, though not completely. He has limited stretching powers, his form apparently snapping back into place fairly quickly. He can bounce, entangle, and slingshot with enormous ease having honed his skills over the years. He is also reportedly blindingly fast. While he has only rarely battled superheroes, these incidents have mostly involved high-profile thefts or kidnappings where his innate greed has gotten the better of his common sense. He has yet to reveal a client, but is rumored to have dealt with some finality to several who betrayed him. So far he has managed to escape from at least five prison cells designed especially to hold him, including one located in the original Block.

Fate: (alternately known as The Fate or The Word of Fate). Fate first appeared in the mid-1970's as a potent recurring super villain who struck in major metropolitan areas. His first several crime involved attacks on superheroes-- and in fact he killed one notable hero of that day, Meta-Omega. Fate became known as a dangerous, but ranting adversary. He seemed caught up in some grand delusion about the nature of the world. After several battles, and likewise several defeats, Fate vanished for several years. When he reappeared he had amassed a sizable organization which he used in various attempts to seize control of key locations, weapons and resources. It was during one of these battles that the superteam Citadel discovered Fate's apparent origin. He had come from the future where he had managed to seize global control-- there he governed a world wholly under his iron fist. But, apparently this empire had weaknesses his enemies had exploited and they had managed to depose him. He had managed to escape back to this day. His first crimes had been targeted at the ancestors of those who had opposed him.

Fate continued his battles through the 1980's when he briefly seized control of an independent island nation and used it as the center point of a vast criminal empire. The destruction of that base and Fate's subsequent vanishing led to speculation of his death. He reappeared in the late 1990's, having disguised himself as the superhero Proximity and infiltrated The Guard. Revealed, he reassumed his identity and began conducting his grand plans again. Again, in battles with superheroes, more details emerged about Fate's background. In his world, he'd had his empire created and established by the millennium-- however many of the events which had led to his rise had never occurred here. In fact, his apparent past-self had gone over to the side of good in this world, becoming the hero, Tangent. Whether this time stream had been so shaken by his actions or if he had never come from this future in the first place, he'd determined to apparently not wait on the Empire he'd hoped would rise and allow him to simply step into control. His plans became larger up until the Second Sunder War. Many of his operations were severely damaged by Sunder's assault and many of those he'd recruited left to join one side or the other. Rumor has it that the death of Tangent in New Orleans has further unbalanced him, but for now that is merely a rumor among the criminal underground.

Fate's possesses several powers. He combines a hyper-intelligence with a certain degree of probability control and limited precognition. He's exhibited the ability to mimic the powers of some opponents but also seems to have control over some gravitational energy. At times he's seemingly internalized that power to grant him protection, super-strength and the ability to fly. In fact, the one common factor in Fate's appearances has been the shifts and changes in his power set. He is considered highly dangerous and is at the top of the DHS most wanted paranormal terrorist list.

Dr. Simian: It remains unclear whether Dr. Simian is a gorilla who gained the power of super-intelligence or a human mastermind transformed into beast. Regardless, he is a dangerous foe who combines enhanced brutal strength with a cunning intellect. His personal team of super-villains, The Safari, has had a remarkable success rate. In fact, he might have a greater success rate if if weren't for his great weakness-- a desire to outwit, trick and trap superheroes. More than most current villains he falls into the classic mode and revels in it. As he said in one prison interview, "I have replaced by bestial bloodthirsty instincts with another instinct, the desire to humiliate my opponents-- which would be better I remain unsure." Simian steered clear of involvement in the Sunder War except for several actions to rescue trapped animals from zoos and parks in the path of Sunder's armies.

Villains of Note: Supernatural
Ghostborne: Apparently born with the natural ability to see and speak with the spirits around us, Ghostborne for many years attempted to help the spirits to finish out their desires and move on. However he did this at great cost to himself, becoming institutionalized and arrested several times. By the time he'd become an adult, he'd had enough of it and he turned his energies to finding a way to control this power and master the spirits around him. Somehow he did, whether through the intercession of an evil spirit or through the powers of a magical instructor, he learned to channel his gifts into a form of necromancy.
Already deeply broken by his experiences growing up, he turn to a life of crime and, as his powers grew, he became a super villain. He can summon spirits and bind their strength to his own, allowing him to become stronger and faster than a normal human. By commanding ghosts he can force them to expend their energy to hold the living or drain a person's strength. Additionally he seems to be able to see the spirits surrounding a person's past and be able to draw out information about them. Two years ago he manage to uncover the identity of a minor supernatural super vexing him by these means. Ghostborne then struck at the hero's loved ones, forcing him to flee the city.

The Changeling: The world of Empyre possesses certain kinds of magic, but they are strictly regulated and assigned to the interests of the Imperial Seelie Masters. More often they rely on certain kinds of supplemental technology rather than outright spellcasting-- magical items, improbable vehicles, and weird machines. Before they closed their gates, one of the real weaknesses of the Empyre was that this combination of technology and complex magic often failed when brought over to other worlds. This combined with the hidebound strictures of the Imperials themselves meant that any attempts made by them against our own world failed in execution.

In this world of strict regulation, there existed some who managed to cling to old ways and elder magics. However these magics were dark, dangerous and stained with blood. One of these practitioners turned his magic to striking against the Imperials at first, but latter against anyone and everyone. Some of his strength came from the ignorance of the populace-- once there had been methods to turn away his dangerous visitations, but they'd been forgotten or kept only in the hands of the authorities. Eventually this bloody trickster drew enough attention to warrant pursuit and the Officers of the Wild Hunt were sent upon him. To make his escape, this criminal manage to break through a sealed gate, appearing on our world. Here he found a people even less prepared to deal with his brand of mayhem. Drawing from our own legends-- said by some to the misreadings or reinterpretations of the rules of Empyre-- he called himself The Changeling.

His method is regular and without obvious purpose beyond causing harm and creating chaos. He finds a family and takes the place of the child, using his magic to disguise himself completely. Then he sets to work. Sometimes his goal is simply to disrupt their lives, to turn loved ones against one another. But often his works are more bloody, pushing his victims with subtle illusions and mind control into psychotic fits, breakdowns and murderous rages. At time his works have infected whole neighborhood, schools and communities. He prefers to prey on isolated places or those already weakened and more easily victimized, as in the case of one of several siblings dying. The Changeling has not been seen in some months, but it is only a matter of time before he reappears again.

Lost Dawn:This organization may trace its roots back to one of the older magical orders-- The Templars, the Golden Dawn, the Masons, but no one has ever been sure. Certainly they would be a fringe splinter group, likely driven out because of their own strange and dangerous beliefs. Historical evidence suggests that they have existed for many years-- references exist in certain heroic memoirs that point to the Lost Dawn having been active and established in the 1920's and 30's. Other evidence suggests that they have many highly placed members and a great deal of wealth held internationally. Some have suggested they assisted Hitler's Thule group, others that they supplied certain special items to crazed figures like Idi Amin.

The Lost Dawn's goal seems to be nothing less than opening the way and heralding the coming of a group of Dark Elder Gods. They may be the ones spoken of by the founder of the FBI's Paranormal Investigation Office, Director Lovecraft. It is unclear whether they are nihilists, corrupted by dark forces or actually believe that they will survive the coming of these creatures. That may be a topic of debate among their own numbers. Regardless, they have access to magical knowledge, vast wealth, and agents with few compunctions. They seem to work towards causing great harm or tragedies perhaps as a way of generating psychic trauma for energy. This way be a cover for other, more nefarious plans.

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