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#8637867 Oct 28, 2013 at 04:06 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1158 Posts
The Champions Universe, being inspired by the major mainstream comics companies, embraces the full range of classic super character origins you see in those comics: mutagenic accidents, genetic mutation, radical scientific inventions, mystic martial arts, aliens, spellcasting sorcery, gods and supernatural creatures, cosmic entities, etc. However, there are a number of origin concepts, described in the Champions Pen and Paper books, that IMHO are pretty original and distinctive to the setting, but don't require characters with unusual backgrounds. I thought it might be helpful to the community if I outlined a few of my favorite unique origins here, which someone might find useful for their own Player Characters.



Alien Gene-Tampering: Superhuman powers resulting from aliens mucking with Human DNA is a well-established comic-book trope. On Champions Earth the Qularr are one likely candidate. The main reason the Qularr invaded Earth in the first place was so they could study the Human genome on a large scale, to understand why and how Humans manifest superpowers with greater frequency and average power than nearly any other species, including the Qularr. They hope to engineer that capacity in themselves. At least one experiment along those lines has yielded a super-powered hybrid, although by accident. It's highly likely other similar experiments are being conducted by Qularr currently on Earth, or perhaps on Humans kidnapped and brought back to Qularr space.

What virtually no one knows is that one reason Humans do manifest powers more often, is because that genetic potential was placed in them by incredibly ancient and advanced aliens called the Progenitors. Two million years ago the Progenitors advanced the evolution of Humanity's ancestor species to the next stage of sapience. Half a million years ago they experimented on Homo erectus, creating the first of the ageless superhuman Empyrean race. Champions Universe suggests they might also be responsible for the creation of the Birdpeople of Thaar twelve thousand years ago.

In any case, the Progenitors still exist, continuing their experiments and periodically monitoring the progress of past ones. It's not unreasonable to assume that they would do some "followup" work on Human DNA.

You can read much more about the Qularr and Progenitors in Champions Beyond.


Coruscations of Power: In the worldwide accidental cataclysm which devastated the alien planet Ashraal centuries ago, and gave birth to the awesome cosmic villain Xarriel, discreet bursts of energy from the main explosion were cast across space and time, emerging in random locations in the space-time continuum. To date at least five of these "coruscations of power" have appeared on or near the Earth in recent years, and affected humans in their vicinity, creating the supervillains Photon, Stareye, Sunspot, and Vector, and the superhero Victory.

The coruscations can manifest as bursts of light from space, but in the past have been mistaken for solar flares or lightning storms. Powers induced by them can, but not must, include various forms of energy projection, flight (usually very fast), mind-affecting abilities, enhanced physical strength, speed, and durability, and the ability to survive in hostile environments (even space).

Xarriel is fully detailed in Champions Beyond, while the other villains mentioned are in the Champions Villains trilogy, and Victory in Champions Universe.


DEMONic Experiments: One of the classic superhero origins is the person unwillingly subjected to villainous scientific experiments who uses their newly-gained powers to escape. In the CU quite a few official supers came about that way, particularly due to actions by VIPER and ARGENT. But DEMON, the worldwide supernatural villain org, often conduct their own magical analogues to scientific research, which have spawned magical superhumans.

One official villain, named Riptide, was a young runaway girl before a member of DEMON found her and turned her over to his Morbane. The Morbane attempted a magic experiment to bind the girl to a water elemental, hoping to create a strong but mentally pliable minion. But Riptide's crazed fear at what was done to her was now backed with elemental powers, enabling her to force her way to freedom. The supervillain now called Morningstar was the result of a tactic that DEMON often uses since it became estranged from the rulers of Hell: forcing a summoned demon to temporarily occupy the human body of a DEMON Brother, giving the Brother a measure of demonic power but with the human personality in control. For unknown reasons, Morningstar's possession proved permanent. He fought DEMON's enemies for some time, under enchantment to ensure his loyalty, until a battle with magical heroes severed the control spell and returned his free will. Morningstar left DEMON to become an independent supervillain. (Both characters are detailed in Champions Villains Vol. 3.)

Another villain in the service of DEMON, Professor Samedi, was a minor DEMON member, and lackluster musician, before his Morbane had him try to play an enchanted fiddle the Morbane had acquired. Samedi found he could cast several potent spells with the fiddle's music, but it changed him physically, making him look almost skeletally gaunt; and changed his personality, to more actively, confidently malevolent. So there's precedent for a Morbane to have one of his disposable minions "test drive" a magic item. Perhaps a given item would change the wielder's personality in a more positive way. (Prof. Samedi is detailed in DEMON: Servants Of Darkness.)


Department 17: Since World War II, the United States government has researched ways to safely and reliably create superhumans, as well as to more effectively control them, with few successes. Their efforts have often resulted in severe, even fatal physical and mental side effects to their subjects, and produced as many supervillains as superheroes. During WW II the US military set up the Haynesville Project for this purpose, at Fort McLaughlin (now McLaughlin Air Force Base) near the small town of Haynesville, Kansas. After the war the Project was declassified and officially shut down, and McLaughlin AFB appears nearly abandoned today.

This was a ruse. The Haynesville Project was never shut down. Still secretly based at McLaughlin, what is now titled Department 17 is the Defense Department's hub for research into superpower generation and superhuman control. Under its current director, General Clarence Smith, it conducts a wide variety of research involving drugs and chemicals, radiation treatments, genetic engineering, and other exotic methods. Much of the Department's current research focuses on refining the Cyberline procedure used for PRIMUS's Avenger program. The Department's scientists are also very interested in investigating any reports of new manifestations of superpowers.

General Smith might go to great lengths to keep 17's existence and activities secret. He's also used some "creative" accounting to keep his department funded. Department 17 is described on Champions Universe p. 138.


"Divine" Intervention: In the Champions Universe, all the gods and demons of myth and religion that humans still remember actually exist. Although very powerful in their home astral dimensions, a metaphysical barrier called the Ban prevents them from manifesting on Earth with their full power. But there are a few ways divine beings can create lesser-powered Earthly agents to champion their causes.

One of these ways is to infuse some of their power, and sometimes personality, into a deserving human host, creating a superhuman reflecting the qualities of his or her patron deity. Quite a few official Champions heroes and villains have been empowered in this way. In keeping with comic-book origin conventions, their empowerment typically comes under unusual and dramatic circumstances, often at a key turning point in the life of the hero. For example, the first Johnny Hercules was given an amulet by an "apparition" of Zeus when the circus he worked for toured Greece, containing the "Hercules Force," the power of Hercules as a demigod which he abandoned when he became fully a god. The Nigerian hero Ogun gained power over metal after being beaten near to death by criminal thugs, when he received a vision of the Yoruba god of the forge of the same name.

Ogun is thoroughly detailed in Champions Worldwide, while the current Johnny Hercules is featured in the PDF book The Hercules Force, available from the Hero Games website store. Much more on CU gods and the Ban can be found in The Mystic World.


Empyrean Heritage: For hundreds of thousands of years, the immortal superhuman offshoot of humanity called Empyreans have existed alongside their human cousins. While they maintain their own city of Arcadia in Antarctica, hidden from human discovery by advanced devices, the majority of Empyreans choose to live incognito among humanity. The general population is ignorant of their existence; only a few superheroes have been trusted with the secret, although the Lemurians know of Arcadia and have been enemies of the Empyreans for many millennia. A few Empyreans have acted as superheroes or villains in the modern era.

Empyreans sometimes have children by humans, who are always either normal humans or full Empyreans. These children may grow up unaware of their true heritage; but the Empyreans' leaders scan the world for any new Empyrean offspring, and when they discover one induct him or her into their society. But individual Empyreans can follow whatever activities they like, provided they don't reveal their race's existence to mankind.

All Empyreans are ageless, physically superhuman to a greater or lesser extent, and can fly. They can manifest a wide range of mental or energy powers, although the type and degree varies based on innate ability and the interest a given Empyrean has in developing specific powers, usually related to their preferred pastimes. The Empyreans and Arcadia are extensively described in Hidden Lands.


Golden Age Legacies: In the real world the earliest comic-book superheroes appeared starting in 1938, and continued to be created over the course of World War II. Champions Earth's first actual superhumans also began to appear during this period. Most of those heroes eventually retired, to be replaced by newer generations; but often those newer heroes were inspired by their predecessors, in many cases even to the point of adopting their code names as an homage. Most such "legacy heroes" were either the relatives or proteges of the originals, or sought their blessing to carry on their names. However, certain lineages originating in the Golden Age have been particularly fertile in continuing to produce new heroes to uphold the family tradition.

In the winter of 1939 Kiril Lenskii was a young officer in the Soviet army serving in his country's war against Finland. Badly wounded in an attack that wiped out the rest of his unit, and overcome by the severe winter cold, Lenskii collapsed unconscious over underground caverns which released strange gasses. As they entered his lungs his body began to change. He awoke to discover that not only was his body healed and stronger than before, but he was now immune to the cold, and could even create intense cold, snow, and ice over limited areas. Given the code name, General Zima ("winter"), over the course of World War II Kiril Lenskii became the Soviet military's leading superhero, and remained so for many years.

The three sons of fisherman and former naval sailor Morimoto Takashi (by a mysterious woman who may have been a supernatural spirit) were each born with extraordinary abilities: enormous strength and durability (Ichiro); incredible speed (Jiro); and probability manipulation (Saburo) manifesting as phenomenal luck for himself, and phenomenal misfortune for his opponents. The three young men were recruited by the Japanese government to fight their country's foes, first China in the 1930s, and later the Americans and their allies during WW II. They were among Japan's most prominent superhuman champions during and after the war.

Each of the three Morimoto brothers had more than one superhuman offspring, while all seven of General Zima's children developed super powers. Today there are over two dozen "super" members of the extended Morimoto family, and descendants of General Zima, active in their respective homelands. It would be reasonable to expect a few of their relatives to have emigrated to other countries at some point.

Although the histories of these characters don't explicitly state it one way or the other, there's no reason to assume superhumans from their lineages necessarily manifest the same types of powers as their ancestors. The mutations of all three original Morimoto brothers were radically different from each other; while General Zima's origin implies his abilities resulted from his body adapting to a specific environment.

The full write-ups for General Zima and the Morimoto brothers appear in the latest edition of Golden Age Champions (for Hero System Sixth Edition).


Hzeel Biomatter: Champions Earth has experienced several alien invasions in the past, and of course is currently dealing with renewed intrusions by the Gadroon and Qularr. What no one on Earth knows yet, is that another aggressive species, the Hzeel, also have the Earth in their sights. These short, blue-skinned humanoids have scouted Earth for nearly two decades, wanting it as an advance staging area in their war against the Dorvalans (Ironclad's race).

At least two Hzeel scout craft have crashed on Earth and been discovered by humans. One of these was salvaged by Roger Warwell, aka the Warlord, and its technology became the basis for his own weapon designs. Hzeel technology is partly biological, and can have radical unpredictable effects when it comes in contact with human tissue. Two humans, the solo supervillain Howler, and the Warlord's minion Warcry, gained superhuman vocal powers when Hzeel communications devices were implanted in their throats (this happening spontaneously on contact in the case of Howler).

The effect also extends to tissues from Hzeel themselves; VIPER's staff supervillain Oculon gained his powerful eyebeams from eyes from an Hzeel corpse transplanted to his sockets. (Hzeel don't have eyebeams, they're the result of interaction between the two species' biologies.) Anyone using recognizable Hzeel materials would undoubtedly be of interest to both the Hzeel and the Warlord.

The Hzeel have a whole chapter in Champions Beyond. The other villains mentioned are in the Champions Villains trilogy, except Oculon who's written up in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent.


Kelvarite: This mysterious, green-glowing extraterrestrial mineral has been found in meteorites from several falls. It's a powerful source of energy, but is extremely unstable and prone to explosion when disturbed. Some people who have been bombarded by radiation or fragments from exploding kelvarite have gained superhuman powers, typically (but not exclusively) superhuman strength and durability, and some type of enhanced movement capability, e.g. super-running or -leaping, flight, or teleportation. They also acquire a susceptibility to radiation from other samples of kelvarite. Known superhumans with this origin include the solo villains Tachyon and Thunderbolt II, Dr. Destroyer's servant Meteor (all in the CV trilogy), and the African superhero Gazelle (in Champions Worldwide).

Large organizations such as the US government and UNTIL have secured all the kelvarite they can find, but sometimes lend samples to research laboratories. Other kelvarite meteorites remain to be discovered. However, what no one is aware of is that what they call kelvarite is actually impure samples, which is why it's unstable. Pure kelvarite doesn't resemble the impure mineral, and is extremely rare on Earth. Its energies respond to the will of intelligent beings in physical contact with it, allowing them to wield formidable energy-projection powers. (It isn't obvious that the power comes from the kelvarite itself.) The only pure kelvarite discovered so far was made into rings worn by the three men who have used the superheroic identity, Meteor Man.


Martial-Arts Temples: For centuries, hidden enclaves have existed in the Far East where dedicated monks have practiced the most advanced physical and spiritual martial-arts techniques, including virtually superhuman abilities for those with the skill and determination to master them. The most legendary of these sites among knowledgeable martial artists are Yengtao Temple, somewhere in the mountains of China; and the city of Shamballah, in a cave beneath a mountain in the Himalayas. Both sites are hidden from the outside world both physically and magically, so that only those already highly disciplined in body and mind can find them. But those who do can study almost any martial art that has ever existed, and perhaps achieve abilities like the heroes of legend.

Various students at Yengtao Temple have returned to the outside world to become heroes, or villains. In the present day the Millennium City superhero Nightwind, his bitter rival Jade Phoenix, and the Hong Kong hero Golden Dragon Fist, all learned their extraordinary skills and ch'i powers from Yengtao. Jade Phoenix was responsible for the destruction of Yengtao Temple and murder of the monks in 1996, but there may be other former students alive in the world. And Shamballah, second only to Yengtao as a repository of mystic martial-arts secrets, still stands.

But Shamballah also guards a dark secret even further beneath the mountain: its evil twin city, Agharti, prison of the Dark Monks, also extraordinarily skilled but utterly corrupt. While the Shamballans prevent the Dark Monks from escaping, they don't forbid outsiders from visiting the city, or leaving afterwards.

The story of Yengtao Temple, and description of some of its unique techniques, appear in Champions Universe. Shamballah and Agharti are described in considerable detail in Hidden Lands.


Professional Armorers: One of the staples of the superhero genre is the gadget-using super, with no actual super-powers but employing equipment made of special materials and/or incorporating advanced technology. Most comic-book heroes build their own gadgets, or have them designed for them by benevolent patron inventors or agencies. Some heroes acquire prototype devices by accident, including "liberating" them from their villainous makers (often earning them pursuit by the vengeful villain). But it's not unheard-of in comics for a scientist -- usually one of criminal bent -- to sell his technological services to whoever will pay.

In the official Champions Universe there are several possible sources of scientific expertise for hire to aspiring supers. Most of these are considered criminals by most world law-enforcement, so don't typically contract with anyone of obvious heroic bent who might cause them trouble. But for another criminal, or a mercenary or vigilante of grey morality, they're often the route to quick super status.

Millennium City is the home base of Wayland Talos, a brilliant inventor with a pathological hatred of superheroes. To strike back at them he supplies villains with everything from questionite hand weapons, to energy blasters or jet packs, to full suits of powered armor. He's considered one of the underworld's premier armorers, with few individual competitors. One of those competitors is known as Brainchild, a telepathic gadgeteer who primarily supplies tactical and technical support to other criminals, rather than take the risk of committing his own crimes.

On the international front, the Warlord is a powered-armor villain and would-be conqueror who's also a major dealer in high-tech armaments, and who has created super-class weaponry and armor for individuals for the right price. The unscrupulous corporation called ARGENT does a thriving business in service to criminals; not just supplying gadgetry, but even physically augmenting a person through bionic implants or experimental biochemical treatments. The independent city-state of Larisagrad was once a center for the USSR's classified scientific research, including advanced weaponry, and experiments to create true superhumans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus their funding, the scientists of Larisagrad chose to freelance to the highest bidder.

The only truly benign inventor engaged in remotely similar activity is named Ralph Polarewski. Formerly the full-time technical supervisor to the famous Sentinels superhero team, Ralph left them after a bitter argument with the team's leader. He's become a well-known freelance contractor to members of the superhero community who use gadgets but have no technical skills of their own. As written he primarily works for people already established as heroes (and would never sell his services to someone of questionable morality), but would be well able to supply an equipment-based origin to someone who could convince him of their sincerity and dedication.

ARGENT and Larisagrad are described in Champions Universe. The Warlord and his organization are fully written up in Volume One of the Champions Villains trilogy, while Brainchild and Wayland Talos get the same treatment in Volume Three. Ralph Polarewski is detailed in the book, Everyman.


Project Sunburst: In 1994 a group of American "rogue generals" assigned over 200 volunteer soldiers to what they were told was a war game. In fact the generals were experimenting to try to create superpowered soldiers resistant to radiation, by detonating a nuclear device near them while they wore protective suits. Most of the volunteers soon died of radiation poisoning, while a handful slipped into comas. Most of the comatose were placed into a secret holding facility, codenamed "The Crypt," while a few were stored at other sites.

In the intervening years, several of these survivors have developed superhuman physical and energy powers. A few, such as the master villain Sunburst and his follower Radium, awakened spontaneously. Others, like Dr. Destroyer's security chief, Gigaton, were aroused with help from other villains. Some escaped the Crypt on their own, while others were "liberated." All the active survivors except Gigaton and the powered-armor villain, Armadillo, have joined Sunburst. However, the remaining comatose subjects are still being kept in secret in the Crypt, not just from the public but from the generals' own superiors.

All of these villains are fully written up in the Champions Villains trilogy.


The Swords of Nama: During the Dark Ages the serpent-god Nama, who is today the patron deity of VIPER, set out to become a great power among Men. He gathered six mighty warriors from across Eurasia to be his agents and generals, to conquer an empire in his name. For each warrior he forged a powerful enchanted sword. But before they could achieve any major successes the warriors quarreled, which ultimately led to all their deaths. The Swords of Nama were scattered. Over the intervening centuries some of these legendary swords reappeared, and a few were destroyed; but others remain to be discovered in ruins across Eastern Europe.

The story of the six "vipers upon the land" appears as a small part of the history of Nama and VIPER, on p. 6 of the book, VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent. Aside from being called "serpent-blades" the Swords of Nama aren't described, nor are any of their qualities defined, which leaves a player free to imbue a particular sword with any powers desired. Note that Nama is neither good nor evil, and has helped heroes or villains as the mood struck him; so there's no inherent reason for his Swords to be one or the other.


Teleios, the Perfect Man: Many people who have only encountered Teleios during play in Champions Online may think of him just as a cloner of people, and a creator of animalistic monsters. While he certainly does such things, the range of his genetic expertise goes far beyond that. More than half a dozen official supers, villainous and heroic, owe their powers or very existence to The Perfect Man.

Teleios has the skill to induce almost any super power in any human, whether or not that person already has powers or the potential for them. Teleios will do this for pay, or in exchange for services or favors, as he did for the supervillain-turned-hero Flashover (Champions Universe: News Of The World), and her brother, the villain Hurricane (Champions Villains Vol. 3: Solo Villains). Teleios has been known to bestow powers on someone on a whim, whether or not they want them, like after a dalliance with the Indian woman now known as Monsoon (Champions Worldwide).

The Perfect Man can grow completely original, humanoid or human-looking superhumans with any abilities he chooses. He sometimes sells his creations, as when he supplied VIPER with the powerful monster named Obelisque (Champions Worldwide). Sometimes Teleios turns a creation loose in the world uncontrolled (although not unmonitored), to see how it responds and develops. He did this with the beings labeled the Landsman, and the Lodge (both in Champions Of The North).

The master geneticist can program his creations with whatever skills he or his employer desires. He can even implant elaborate false memories, to the point where the person has no idea he or she is artificial or has any connection to the Perfect Man. This is how Teleios programs the cloned soldiers he sells to other villains and groups. The superheroine called the Teen Dream (Teen Champions), whom Teleios designed as an experiment in social manipulation, is unaware of her real origin and considers herself a true hero. When he makes a creature Teleios implants controlling genes that make it psychologically impossible for that creature to harm him, or may even make it a loyal follower. Those controls can be so subtle that a person isn't consciously aware of them. Although the lore doesn't specify it, it would be reasonable to assume Teleios does this to humans he augments. He's also been known to build in exploitable weaknesses.

Teleios is fully written up in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains.


Vandaleur Bloodline: Founded a thousand years ago by their immortal progenitor, Adrian Vandaleur, this widespread clan of sorcerers is one of the premier occult dynasties in the Western world. Although the majority of Vandaleurs have no more talent for magic than most people, the gift for spell casting is far more common among them than in the general populace; and their ranks include some of the most powerful mages in the world.

Members of the family are aware of each other, and sometimes cooperate, sometimes conflict. But Adrian Vandaleur, whose power dwarfs that of his kin, keeps any factionalism from descending into violence. Otherwise individual Vandaleurs are free to follow whatever activities they like. Their personalities and morality vary widely. Some are benevolent, even heroic; others are amoral and ruthless, up to megalomaniacal psychopaths. Most are simply concerned with their own interests.

Any Vandaleur with magical ability and desire to develop it could find family members able and willing to train him. The Vandaleur family are described in detail in Champions Villains Vol. 2: Villain Teams.


The Vita-Man Clan: Percy Yates was born in Los Angeles in 1910. Brilliant but sickly throughout his youth, he studied biology, chemistry, and nutrition to find ways to improve his own health. In 1939 he discovered a compound which when administered in a pill had a miraculous effect on him, transforming his body to one of perfect health and exceptional physical vigor. Further experimentation led to additional pills granting him true super-powers, including X-ray vision, invisibility, flight, growth to giant size and strength, or shrinking to the size of a mouse.

Yates's discoveries had two major drawbacks. Their effects were only temporary -- his main vitalizing pill lasted about an hour per dose, while his additional abilities endured for only a minute. Yates was also unable to make them work for anyone else -- they interacted with his own unique physiology. Nonetheless he used his new abilities to fight crime under the costumed identity of Vita-Man. Vita-Man was recruited by the Drifter as one of the founding members of the Justice Squadron superhero team, protecting the west coast of the United States during WW II.

Percy Yates's health continued to deteriorate over time, leading to his retirement as Vita-Man in 1948, and his death in 1964. But in the intervening years he learned that several of his family members shared the biological factors which would allow them to use his empowering treatments. Today half a dozen of his kin are using "variations of his discoveries" (wording suggesting that other powers are possible).

Vita-Man's full background and character sheet are included in the Golden Age Champions Secret Files, a PDF collecting outtakes from the manuscript for the latest edition of Golden Age Champions.


The Zodiac Working: In 1979 the late master villain Archimago, greatest sorceror of the Twentieth Century, attempted this fearsome ritual, to impregnate twelve women by twelve powerful demons. The resulting hybrid children could be used by the demons as hosts to incarnate themselves on Earth with all their power. The ritual was interrupted and the women rescued by the superhero team, the Fabulous Five. The women seemed unharmed and weren't pregnant, so returned home.

Two years later one of these women married and gave birth to a girl who later manifested powers of destructive energy, as well as a propensity for rage and vandalism. She grew up to become the supervillain Frag (fully written up in CV Vol. 3). She has no knowledge of her true origins, thinking herself a mutant. Although she usually appears human, when enraged her form becomes more demonic-looking.

Another of these women gave birth to a son, who now acts as the superhero Pagan (described in the book The Ultimate Mystic). In his superhero identity (resembling a satyr) he's physically superhuman and can project powerful mystic light. Pagan discovered his true heritage when his demonic father Belial attempted to seduce him to his service. Although his diabolical inclinations are strong, Pagan's inherent decency has so far won out.

To date nothing has been revealed about the other ten victims of the Zodiac Working.
#8639666 Oct 29, 2013 at 04:25 AM
Member
33 Posts
Wow, this is actually really awesome to know! I've been really slack with giving a definitive answer as to where my character Stellar's powers actually come from, except that she was randomly "struck by a falling star" that gave her her powers of being able to control light, fly, move at super human speeds and project cosmic energy. The "Coruscations of Power" seems very applicable to her. I may actually use that! Thank you!!
#8641909 Oct 29, 2013 at 01:21 PM · Edited 4 years ago
1158 Posts
I cross-posted this thread over on the Champions Online forums, and as a result of discussion there another, more obscure unique CU origin came up, which might be interesting to share here.

In the Champions Universe, not every star is created out of condensation of nebular gas. On rare occasions the universe gives birth to a starling, a being who resembles one of the sapient species inhabiting it, but who will eventually metamorphose into a star. (This "starling theory" is known only to the Mandaarians, and many of them don't actually accept it.) A starling looks like an organic being, but is physically superhuman and wields formidable stellar energy powers, which grow as the starling matures. The type of life a starling leads affects what kind of worlds and lifeforms will arise from it after it becomes a star. A starling raised in a gentle, loving environment would nurture life and promote piece, while one who suffered pain might give rise to hostile worlds and warlike species.

One starling appeared on Earth some years ago, in the form of an adolescent girl, with no knowledge of her past. Dubbed Gloriana, she studied briefly at Ravenswood Academy (the setting's school for superhuman youth) before an accident drove her insane. She's caused considerable random trouble since then, but her current whereabouts are unknown. Gloriana is written up in Teen Champions.
#8642081 Oct 29, 2013 at 02:00 PM
398 Posts
Those are quite interesting. I'm all for alternate character origins, both for the sake of uniqueness, but also because it's just fun to try to find something nobody else has. Speaking of it, I'm currently trying to come up with a source of powers for a character. The powers would include enhanced perception and agility, strong regeneration (shedding skin), the ability to summon, communicate and control snakes of all kinds and snake physiology, namely extreme elasticity. I know that Nama has had a third child apart from Viperia and the Spirit Serpent, but taking that origin seems presumptuous.
#8642417 Oct 29, 2013 at 03:23 PM · Edited 4 years ago
1158 Posts
#8642081 Das Kauf wrote:

Those are quite interesting. I'm all for alternate character origins, both for the sake of uniqueness, but also because it's just fun to try to find something nobody else has. Speaking of it, I'm currently trying to come up with a source of powers for a character. The powers would include enhanced perception and agility, strong regeneration (shedding skin), the ability to summon, communicate and control snakes of all kinds and snake physiology, namely extreme elasticity. I know that Nama has had a third child apart from Viperia and the Spirit Serpent, but taking that origin seems presumptuous.



Hmm... well, since his abilities are snake-themed, the obvious route is a product of VIPER supervillain research, but that might be a bit overdone. Likewise gene-splicing inflicted by Dr. Moreau.

The way I personally would go depends on whether you would want to use King Cobra. Although a well-established part of the PnP game setting, KC has yet to appear in CO. In fact his human identity, Dr. Timothy Blank, became a very different type of superhuman, in the CO mission, "Blank and Stein's Monster."

If you did want to use KC, I'd have your character be recruited, or press-ganged, into KC's support organization, COIL. His powers would mostly be the result of the King's transformative Coil-Gene Touch. Normally the Coil-Gene makes its recipient fanatically loyal to King Cobra, but two superbeings with their own pre-existing genetic mutations -- KC's lieutenant Krait, and his former minion Firedrake -- proved immune to its loyalty effect. Your character might have had a minor inborn mutation which attracted KC, for use in his experiments to improve the efficacy of his Coil-Gene.

King Cobra, his superhuman followers, the Ouroboros, and his COIL agents, are all detailed in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains.
#8642578 Oct 29, 2013 at 04:01 PM
398 Posts
#8642417 Lord Liaden wrote:

Hmm... well, since his abilities are snake-themed, the obvious route is a product of VIPER supervillain research, but that might be a bit overdone. Likewise gene-splicing inflicted by Dr. Moreau.

The way I personally would go depends on whether you would want to use King Cobra. Although a well-established part of the PnP game setting, KC has yet to appear in CO. In fact his human identity, Dr. Timothy Blank, became a very different type of superhuman, in the CO mission, "Blank and Stein's Monster."

If you did want to use KC, I'd have your character be recruited, or press-ganged, into KC's support organization, COIL. His powers would mostly be the result of the King's transformative Coil-Gene Touch. Normally the Coil-Gene makes its recipient fanatically loyal to King Cobra, but two superbeings with their own pre-existing genetic mutations -- KC's lieutenant Krait, and his former minion Firedrake -- proved immune to its loyalty effect. Your character might have had a minor inborn mutation which attracted KC, for use in his experiments to improve the efficacy of his Coil-Gene.

King Cobra, his superhuman followers, the Ouroboros, and his COIL agents, are all detailed in Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains.



Depending on King Cobra and COIL ever showing up in CO in any form, I guess I'll leave his origins amibigous and play him as a VIPER supervillain. If they ever make an appearance that could be retconned to being a double agent for King Cobra he sent back to VIPER to spy on his old masters.
#8642904 Oct 29, 2013 at 05:25 PM
1158 Posts
Oh, did you want this origin for a villain? I didn't realise. That raises more possibilities. :D

Want sort of role did you want this character to play? Is he solo, or does he work for someone? What's his personality like?
#8643169 Oct 29, 2013 at 06:28 PM · Edited 4 years ago
398 Posts
It's alright, I'll go with the Coil-Gene Touch for now, at least unofficially. If King Cobra makes an appearance in the future, I'll reveal Snakehead (*) as a double agent for COIL. Until then he'll simply be a Dragon Branch member with ambigous origins. If COIL doesn't show up in forseeable time, I'll go over this problem again.

* As in 'invasive species'. He's invading VIPER.
#8643180 Oct 29, 2013 at 06:30 PM
510 Posts
You know what deserves to be in-game?






Eurostar!
"The world,' said he, pursuing this train of thought, 'ridicules a passion which it seldom feels; its scenes, and its interests, distract the mind, deprave the taste, corrupt the heart, and love cannot exist in a heart that has lost the meek dignity of innocence. Virtue and taste are nearly the same, for virtue is little more than active taste, and the most delicate affections of each combine in real love."
― Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho
#8643268 Oct 29, 2013 at 06:58 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
597 Posts
Kinematik and his cronies.
Though Blindside is probably impossible to make in MMO.
#8643313 Oct 29, 2013 at 07:10 PM
1158 Posts
Pretty much any of the Champions supervillains, really. Enough of fighting agents and flunkies.
#8643352 Oct 29, 2013 at 07:19 PM
510 Posts
Speaking of, how crazy is the idea of Rampage: Skarn? But, like, instead of 10-man teams, why not 30!?!? OR 100!?!?!!?
"The world,' said he, pursuing this train of thought, 'ridicules a passion which it seldom feels; its scenes, and its interests, distract the mind, deprave the taste, corrupt the heart, and love cannot exist in a heart that has lost the meek dignity of innocence. Virtue and taste are nearly the same, for virtue is little more than active taste, and the most delicate affections of each combine in real love."
― Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho
#8643659 Oct 29, 2013 at 09:05 PM
1158 Posts
Something else came up on the CO forums that's relevant to the topic of this thread, involving the abovementioned Fabulous Five, the premier superhero team of the 1960s and '70s. (Yes, they're more or less who and what you think they are.) ;)

The origin of the Fabulous Five involved launching their prototype spacecraft to intercept a comet threatening to collide with Earth, only to discover the comet was actually a ship of the alien Kuzane, who were planning the conquest of Earth. The Five destroyed the Kuzane ship, and the energy from its explosion mutated them into superhumans.

But that blast also hurled at least one artifact of Kuzane technology to Earth -- not just through space, but through time as well. It landed in the Himalayas centuries before the Kuzane arrival, where a group of monks found it and guarded it as a sacred item: the Bell of the Chosen. It was this Bell that changed Jeffrey Sinclair into the world's mightiest superhero, Vanguard.

To anyone's knowledge, no other Kuzane artifact has been found. But given the circumstances, another one might turn up anywhere on Earth, and anywhen.

(More about the Kuzane, the Fab Five, and Vanguard can be found in Champions Beyond.)
#8645192 Oct 30, 2013 at 07:29 AM
42 Posts
So aside from The Ultimate Mystic and the CV Vol 3 books, where else can I learn more about The Zodiac Working? I have a half demon hero with a convoluted backstory I want to rework, and this would be perfect to work in without needing to make too many retcons to his ongoing stories.
#8645319 Oct 30, 2013 at 08:01 AM
1158 Posts
#8645192 Moonlight Cat wrote:

So aside from The Ultimate Mystic and the CV Vol 3 books, where else can I learn more about The Zodiac Working? I have a half demon hero with a convoluted backstory I want to rework, and this would be perfect to work in without needing to make too many retcons to his ongoing stories.



The most information about the Zodiac Working in currently-available books is on p. 65 of Champions Universe, the premier source for general info about the setting. Honestly, though, it doesn't give much more detail about the Working than what we've discussed here. The entry for Frag in Champions Villains. Vol. 3 is one example of a product of the Working. Another is the brief description of the superhero Pagan in The Ultimate Mystic. While that book was written by the same author of the Champions sourcebook The Mystic World, and refers to the CU from time to time for illustrative examples, it's mostly a general reference on translating the traditions of real-world occultism and fictional magic to role-playing games in general, and HERO in particular. At that it's excellent, but it isn't really a good source for info on the Champions Universe. (If you'd like I could e-mail you Pagan's background, if you PM me an address.)
#8646376 Oct 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM
200 Posts
I've had two characters with Kelvarite involved in their origins so far. It's a handy thing.
#8669737 Nov 04, 2013 at 09:44 PM
1158 Posts
#8637867 Lord Liaden wrote:

Coruscations of Power: In the worldwide accidental cataclysm which devastated the alien planet Ashraal centuries ago, and gave birth to the awesome cosmic villain Xarriel, discreet bursts of energy from the main explosion were cast across space and time, emerging in random locations in the space-time continuum. To date at least five of these "coruscations of power" have appeared on or near the Earth in recent years, and affected humans in their vicinity, creating the supervillains Photon, Stareye, Sunspot, and Vector, and the superhero Victory.

The coruscations can manifest as bursts of light from space, but in the past have been mistaken for solar flares or lightning storms. Powers induced by them can, but not necessarily must, include various forms of energy projection, flight (usually very fast), mind-affecting abilities, enhanced physical strength, speed, and durability, and the ability to survive in hostile environments (even space).

Xarriel is fully detailed in Champions Beyond, while the other villains mentioned are in the Champions Villains trilogy, and Victory in Champions Universe.



#8639666 Stellar wrote:

Wow, this is actually really awesome to know! I've been really slack with giving a definitive answer as to where my character Stellar's powers actually come from, except that she was randomly "struck by a falling star" that gave her her powers of being able to control light, fly, move at super human speeds and project cosmic energy. The "Coruscations of Power" seems very applicable to her. I may actually use that! Thank you!!



I'd like to offer a character concept I invented for my own use of Xarriel, which you might consider for character background or role-playing purposes, or if you want to create a nemesis for Stellar. Although it's not official lore, it is based on and extrapolated from it; and it's highly unlikely that anything official will be added for Xarriel anytime soon.

The eruption of cosmic energy that spawned Xarriel also wiped out the billions of inhabitants of the planet Ashraal; but Xarriel used his godlike power to resurrect them, now as his utterly obedient slaves. He did have to leave a few of them with a certain amount of free will so they'd have the initiative and imagination to carry out his plans. All of the preceding is taken directly from Champions Beyond.

What left me feeling a little dissatisfied was the lack of any specified minions for Xarriel, especially of the super kind. His PnP stats are so overwhelmingly powerful, only the mightiest of super teams could hope to stand against him; but without lesser-powered servants, that limits his use only to really high-level games. Besides, if he's the setting's analogue to Darkseid, IMO he would be more interesting if he had servants comparable to Darkseid's Elite.

It occurred to me that if Xarriel's Coruscations of Power could bestow superpowers on beings across the galaxy, perhaps some of them came to rest in the bodies of the deceased Ashraalians. If that happened, when Xarriel resurrected them, would some of them wield the same sorts of powers?

That led me to invent The Lightbearers, Xarriel's cadre of super lieutenants, who lead his troops, execute and supervise his plans, and act as enforcers against those who displease him. (The Latin translation of "lightbearer" was the source of the name, "Lucifer.") The published characters who owe their superhumanity to Coruscations of Power provide examples of the abilities Lightbearers could possess.

One way I thought to use the Lightbearers, would be for Xarriel to send some of them to track down the other superbeings in the galaxy who received fragments of his power, to either persuade or compel them to serve Xarriel, or if that proved impossible, to kill them and deliver their power to their master for bestowel on more loyal servants.
#9188282 Mar 03, 2014 at 07:38 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
1158 Posts
I was recently reminded of another potential CU character origin of general utility, which I've also added to the list on the first post on this thread.

The Swords of Nama: During the Dark Ages the serpent-god Nama, who is today the patron deity of VIPER, set out to become a great power among Men. He gathered six mighty warriors from across Eurasia to be his agents and generals, to conquer an empire in his name. For each warrior he forged a powerful enchanted sword. But before they could achieve any major successes the warriors quarreled, which ultimately led to all their deaths. The Swords of Nama were scattered. Over the intervening centuries some of these legendary swords reappeared, and a few were destroyed; but others remain to be discovered in ruins across Eastern Europe.

The story of the six "vipers upon the land" appears as a small part of the history of Nama and VIPER, on p. 6 of the book, VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent. Aside from being called "serpent-blades" the Swords of Nama aren't described, nor are any of their qualities defined, which leaves someone free to imbue a particular sword with any powers desired. Note that Nama is neither good nor evil, and has helped heroes or villains as the mood struck him; so there's no inherent reason for his Swords to be one or the other.
#9188332 Mar 03, 2014 at 07:59 PM
398 Posts
#9188282 Lord Liaden wrote:

I was recently reminded of another potential CU character origin of general utility, which I've also added to the list on the first post on this thread.

The Swords of Nama: During the Dark Ages the serpent-god Nama, who is today the patron deity of VIPER, set out to become a great power among Men. He gathered six mighty warriors from across Eurasia to be his agents and generals, to conquer an empire in his name. For each warrior he forged a powerful enchanted sword. But before they could achieve any major successes the warriors quarreled, which ultimately led to all their deaths. The Swords of Nama were scattered. Over the intervening centuries some of these legendary swords reappeared, and a few were destroyed; but others remain to be discovered in ruins across Eastern Europe.

The story of the six "vipers upon the land" appears as a small part of the history of Nama and VIPER, on p. 6 of the book, VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent. Aside from being called "serpent-blades" the Swords of Nama aren't described, nor are any of their qualities defined, which leaves someone free to imbue a particular sword with any powers desired. Note that Nama is neither good nor evil, and has helped heroes or villains as the mood struck him; so there's no inherent reason for his Swords to be one or the other.



Oh, this is interesting and would fit very well with a villain of mine, but more of the aspect of being forged by Nama, than by virtue of being an enchanted sword. Could one be touched by the power of one of those swords, rather than actually using it?
#9188598 Mar 03, 2014 at 09:55 PM
1158 Posts
#9188332 Das Kauf wrote:


Oh, this is interesting and would fit very well with a villain of mine, but more of the aspect of being forged by Nama, than by virtue of being an enchanted sword. Could one be touched by the power of one of those swords, rather than actually using it?



Since there's nothing lore-wise to say otherwise, if you have a good rationale I say go for it. ;)