Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bloodlines: A Supers Campaign Seed (Part Two)

The second part of a series drawn from a supers campaign I put together almost ten years ago. It focuses on super-powers which are inherited and limited to certain bloodlines around the globe. This is the first half of the section detailing those families and groups. You can see the first post here which lays out the general concept. I should note in looking back I'm a little disappointed on how much some of this material goes for the obvious idea. I think I'd try to complicate this a little if I went back to revise. 

THE BLOODLINES
AMERICAN
While there are six “American” families, there are also representatives from all of the other international lines, with the exception of Gaptchenko, Tecpatl and Xiaomin. Immigration, war and global travel spread these genes across the world.

Symanski: The Symanski line is an oddly spaced one. There is a strong central core of powered individuals, but there is also a diaspora of lower power persons. The Symanski were among the first to trace and map their bloodline. They then made a strong effort to bring these people together. Their sense of identity is less a member of a family than part of a large social group/corporation.

The primary powers of the Symanski bloodline involves the suppression, drain and negation of energy and force, including super-powers. These can include heat, electricity, biochemical energy, reactions, gravity and a host of other types. Symanski members cannot negate each other’s powers, but can stop those of any other bloodline. Many corporations and agencies fear the use of super abilities on their employees or clients. To prevent this they hire Symanski operatives to prevent this. The natural presence of a Symanski member disrupts passively disrupts mental powers, including precognition. Symanski members are also hired by the government to track down criminal supers. Interestingly, the Symanski bloodline powers have not been demonstrated in any real power in another bloodline.

Symanski organized itself as a private company early on, making sure that they had control over the rights and disbursement of the agents. A government anti-trust lawsuit against them in the early 1990’s failed significantly. Symanski recruits heavily. Most have a real loyalty to the group. Currently, the Symanski organization is run by William O. Symanski, a non-powered patriarch. He has five daughters who all have super abilities. The Symanski organization has an extensive and well-crafted PR arm which has maintained a strong public image. Even those of the Symanski bloodline who have not joined are said to have respect for the group.

Braddock: One of the most popular and well-known of the bloodline families, the Braddock line has assumed the status of American Royalty. They are a tight spread family, with nearly all of the powers happening within a small distinct family line. The Braddocks are wealthy, powerful and well known.

The Braddock line’s primary strength seems to lie in physical or biological enhancements. They have demonstrated enhanced strength, agility, speed, toughness, reactions and so on. If they possess an ability outside of this it is usually only one.

The extremely tight nature of this bloodline means that a very high percentage of the particular family has powers. The Braddock line takes an active interest in politics, society and business. Supers from this line have become politicians, commentators, actors and CEOs. In terms of family identity and notoriety, the Braddocks rank second in America only to the Kennedys and that is a debatable question.

The Braddocks do have a few members who are outside the cluster, but these tend to be “black sheep.” A few scandals have affected the family, including some questionable parentage, but overall they are well respected.

Rakepaw: This line has several small clusters in a tight spread and then a larger group of more loosely spread members. The tight spread members tend to be from several closely affiliated Native American tribes, most notably Pawnee. The looser spread people however, occur at a great distance, where people have an eighth or sixteenth Indian blood. Interestingly, both groups have the same amount of diaspora.

Rakepaw powers have been broadly classified as “transformative.” This category covers to wide a range to be particularly useful but does give a few clues. It can encompass shapechanging, physical augmentation, and physical/chemical transformation of substances. So far scientists have been unable to reconcile the broad array of abilities they possess.

Another interesting factor of the Rakepaw line is the interaction of their bloodline with others. Where it has crossed with that of another bloodline, including diasporas and non-powereds, the percentage chance of the child having actual Rakepaw super powers increases dramatically. As a result, female members of this line are heavily courted. As well, the Rakepaw bloodline may be the largest of those in the world.

Sorrentino: A few members of this Bloodline exist in Italy, but the majority live in the United States. They have a fairly broad spread. Manifested supers tend to come out of tight Italian-American communities in the United States, including Philadelphia and Chicago. While the family has a tendency to low-level psychic powers, their signature ability seems to be a kind of meta-technical and scientific genius. Many of the most important hi-tech developments of the last two decades can be at least partially attributed to their efforts. As a result, Sorrentino supers have been incredibly valuable to the United States and are sought out by recruiters from a variety of corporations and foreign interests. However the genius of the Sorrentino family is a double edged sword as many of their most brilliant minds have eventually shown mental instabilities of various kinds. Several of the most notable villainous masterminds are Sorrentinos who suffered breakdowns.

Gilead: A family that has a fairly traceable Bloodline with members in Canada and the United States. Diaspora make up a fairly large contingent of the line except for a section of the family with an unusual family background. Three brothers who served in Korea married there and returned to the States afterwards. The children of these marriages all developed strong super abilities. In a number of cases other members of the family married into Korean families with the same result in a smaller but significant portion of the members. Gilead members have a wide range of powers but often have a specialty in “material manifestation.” These powers revolve around the super using an object as a focus, temporarily granting abilities to the device. Examples include Flaming Swords, Flying Cars, and so on.

Thrush: This Bloodline is split fairly evenly between Canada and the United States. While many families benefited from the attention gained in the media, the Thrush family did not. In following up on their genealogy a number of unpleasant details emerged and found their way to the public. The split between the two lines seems to have been the result of incestuous activities among the original highly conservative family in Northern Canada. In the early 1900’s a group fled the situation, ending up in the Midwest. This is where the first members of the bloodline were spotted. When traced back, researchers found a large group of highly interbred Bloodliners dominated by strange religious and culturally conservative customs. The advent of these powers had bred a millennial fever among the group, driving them even closer. This led to a number of clashes with Canadian authorities over the course of a decade. Eventually a number of the younger members were removed from the area, but the hardline cabal still remains. Thrush powers tend to be physical, but with almost no exception, all members possess the ability to fly.

UNITED KINGDOM
Edige: Even in their homeland, the Edige family suffers a mixed reputation. While the British like having a native bloodline family some mistrust their powers. This line exclusively possesses mental powers: mind reading, mind control, precognition. The few "physical powers" manifested tend to be versions of telekinesis or other kinetic powers allowing them to seem to possess extraordinary abilities. The Edige family rivals the Symanski and Braddocks for closeness and organization. Outside of the UK the line is treated with wary regard. They are notorious for being able to "convince" diaspora and rogue members of their bloodline to return back to the UK to serve.
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IRELAND
Kavanaugh-Doyle: This is the most recently discovered of the bloodlines. For some time members of this line were classified as members of either the English Edige or American Braddock families. However, in the 1990’s more extensive genetic mapping determined that this group in fact composed a separate bloodline. The core group is tight and associated with a particular region in southern coastal Ireland. There are some members in Great Britain, Canada and America but these are only a handful.

Part of the reason for their prolonged invisibility lies in the nature of their abilities. Their most powerful abilities involved the more “quiet” forms of mentalism: telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, scanning and so on. As with all families, other talents are possible, but in this line they are rarer. Members of this bloodline also have a powerful advantage/limitation. Their powers are normally considered moderate to low-level. However, when working with other members of the line, their strength dramatically increases. Even their natural “super” defenses do not operate at full unless paired. As a result, they have developed ritualized procedures for working in concert. This has led to a number of nicknames, such as covens, wiccans or even witches.

Because of their short time of recognition, the line has not developed an elaborate structure. Older generations tend to exhibit little power, except among the women. Younger generations tend to be split in two directions; one wants a more active recognized role, opting for immigration or joining corporations in groups. The other follows a more traditional role, preferring to maintain their old ways. One result of this has been a high rate of schizophrenia among this bloodline. Some believe that it may be genetic, some the nature of their powers, and others that it is based in social conditions.

Corporations have been recruiting members of this bloodline heavily. However, they have to provide employment to circles of such members. The family, however, suffers from the common dislike and fear of mentalists among normal humans. The Symanski organization tends to keep a close tab on this family. As well, the other most prominent mentalist line, that of the Ediges, tends to look down on this line as provincial.

NORTHERN EUROPE
Drammen: There is a certain chaos to tracing members of this line, dispersed as they were by WW2. The original stock seems to be Finnish, but members can be found in Iceland, the US, Poland, Denmark and Germany. An argument about the naming of this family stretched through many years of legislation until finally settled by a declaration from a UN Scientific Committee. As a result there is some ill will between members drawn from different ethnic communities. Drammen powers are varied but share the feature of creating a bright halo or aura around their user. This halo intensifies the longer a power is used and can eventually cause damage to those nearby the super.

MEDITERRANEAN
Lanfranco: The Lafranco line is one of the least-concentrated and scattered of bloodlines. It appears throughout the Mediterranean basic from Portugal to Greece. As such it is divided across many countries. This has been a problem in anarchic areas such as Bosnia and Serbia. There have been a number of incidents of Supers or Diasporas involved on both sides of such conflicts.

Lanfranco primary talents focus on energy projection and manipulation. This can take many forms, from the projection of bolts of heat, arcs of lightning, magnetic blasts, conversion of various types of energy and so on. Lanfranco Supers often have difficult time finding civilian applications for their talents. One of the most notable is the Lanfranco group at Fermilab in Bern, Switzerland. Their work laid the basis for the new-emerging commercial use of fusion power in several areas. However, many Lanfrancos end up joining security, military or superheroic organizations.

Europe maintains a strong policy on the handling of Supers. For a short time in the 1980’s a number of superteams existed. However, these were closed down eventually based on public outcry and governmental restrictions. Today the only superteams are either government sponsored (Interpol, the European Union team, and the NATO group) or are handled as security for larger corporations. Even these corporate teams require governmental approval to operate.

As one of the most widely dispersed lines, Lanfrancos can be found in most places. Many of their lines immigrated in the late 19thth and 20thth centuries, with many going to the United States.

Next- the rest of the globe...