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#12614809 Aug 10, 2016 at 10:08 PM · Edited over 1 year ago
1162 Posts
Those who have followed lore discussions here on the forums have probably heard references to the assertion in the Champions PnP book, Stronghold, that the undead do not enjoy the protection of "civil rights" in the United States as defined and guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the country's Constitution. I've read quite a few posters here who seem to take that as meaning it's an "open season" on destroying such creatures without repercussions, which I believe is not warranted by logic based on other precedents in the lore. Recently I responded to a poster on the Champions Online website forums who wants to play an undead hero, and was asking how such a character would be treated by the public and authorities in the setting; also, whether there were any official examples of heroic undead; which reminded me that this subject continues to be brought up among CO role-players.

The rather lengthy answer I gave that poster is based on my personal inference gleaned from infrequent references in Champions books, and extrapolated by logic. The source books simply don't make a big deal about undeath -- I don't think the authors anticipated many players of a superhero game wanting to play heroes with that background. Undeath is a rare state of existence for heroes in the comics, and so it is on Champions Earth. In the Champions Universe most beings in that state either don't or can't advertise the fact. Most of the Mystic World sub-culture, including both magic practitioners and supernatural creatures, tend to keep a low public profile (as described in The Mystic World source book for that side of the CU), despite the occasional high-profile mystic acting as a hero or villain. However, the subject seems to be enough of a concern within the CO community, that I feel the issues I raised on the CO forum bear repeating here.

It's necessary to keep in mind that, as noted on Champions Universe p. 64, the general public on Champions Earth is as skeptical of the reality of magic and the supernatural, as people on the real Earth are. The overall secrecy by members of the Mystic World help promote that attitude. Most people prefer more scientific (for a comic-book world) explanations for abilities that someone proclaims are magical: inborn or induced genetic mutation yielding super-powers, or advanced technology disguised as magic. The average person would likely dismiss claims to magical power as an act to fool the gullible.

From all of the above, I infer that the public is generally skeptical of the existence of the undead, as they are of magic broadly speaking. In this setting creatures that look "undead" can be, and sometimes are, something entirely different; or owe their return from death to scientific rather than magical causes. Then there are undead that may look completely human, like many vampires -- only some type of test (which likely aren't commonly performed or available) can determine they're not "alive" in the traditional sense . So I don't think police or the military are inclined to take potshots at something simply because it resembles preconceptions of an undead being, or is rumored to be one. Similarly, someone who is a human-seeming undead would probably be treated as a living human by the authorities unless and until proven otherwise. I would also assume that someone who routinely and publicly kills such "monsters" without provocation is going to be treated as a murderer by the authorities, at least initially; if arrested, he'll probably need to prove the status of his victims in court to escape punishment. (Evidence that would stand up in court may be difficult to come by, particularly after the fact.)

For the sake of making sure everyone is up to speed on the legal precedents behind this discussion, let me repost the relevant passages from p. 30 of Stronghold:

The second and more important issue is the rights of so-called "non-humans": alien and extra-dimensional life-forms; artificially intelligent computers, androids, and robots; human mutants; the undead; clones and genetic constructs; and so forth. The Supreme Court dealt with this question in 1978 in six consolidated cases: One Unname-able Alien Life-Form From Tau Ceti 11 v. United States (alien being), Mechanoid-5 v. New York (artificially intelligent android), Ohio v. Julesz the Kind (vampire), Gordon "Powermonger" Lowder v. California (mutants), Phillip "Infrared" Cowling v. United States (mutates), United States v. The Lizard-Thing (extradimensional beings), and Number 32 v. Central Intelligence Agency (human clone with genetic enhancements), 428 U.S. 1471 (1976) (collectively, Tau Ceti 11). The Court stated:

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection extend to all persons within the United States or its territories. But... the term "persons" means humans. Neither alien and extra-dimensional life forms, nor artificial intelligences, nor the undead are "persons," and hence they have no rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Mutants, mutates, clones, and genetic constructs from human stock are a different matter. Essentially, they are "subspecies" of humanity. In many cases, even the most thorough examination of them cannot differentiate them from humans. The are so close to being human that there is no legal justification for considering them not to be human. We hold that free-willed mutants, mutates, clones, and genetic constructs, from human stock, are 'persons" under the Fourteenth Amendment and are possessed of all rights thereunder.

Id. at 1480-1483 (citations omitted).


In response, Congress passed the Android, Artificial Intelligence, and Alien Life-Form Rights Act of 1979 (usually known as the "Triple-A Act"). The Triple-A Act grants civil rights to most "sentient" beings who can prove that they are independent and free-willed. The law defines "sentience" in various ways, usually relating to the capacity for creative and philosophical thought, not just problem-solving capability. Most states have also enacted laws or passed their own constitutional amendments granting "alternate sentiences" various civil rights. However, this law and all related laws, state and federal, make one exception: the undead do not have civil rights. The legal ramifications of that, particularly the question of who owns the formerly deceased's property, combined with the typically evil or destructive nature of such beings, has kept them outside the ambit of the laws.


To me the above passages establish that the American government as a whole recognizes that the undead do exist, although some members of government probably deny or dispute that. Whether a supernatural origin for undead is also officially accepted is a matter for conjecture.

There are a few official prominent undead in the CU -- that is, creatures who openly play the game of supervillain versus superhero. Vladic Dracul, who appears in Champions Online in Vibora Bay, is an example of a very powerful (and monstrous-looking) villainous vampire. A very few other vampires are named, most more human looking, and not all malevolent. In fact, a vampire called Shade, described as "kindhearted," is a member of the informal team of supernatural British heroes dubbed "the Nightwatch" by the press (mentioned in Champions Universe p. 78).

A few ghosts are mentioned in the lore, with different motivations depending on what kind of person they were in life. One official hero falls in this broad category: the Constable, a member of Canada's foremost superhero team, StarForce, is a revenant, the spirit of a slain person returned in a fleshly-seeming form to take revenge on his killer (although the Constable has avoided seeking his own killer, so he may remain in the world of the living to continue to do good). The Constable gets a write-up in the source book for Canada, Champions Of The North.

Then there are individuals who are not themselves undead, but practice the art of necromancy, and so may be responsible for the creation of such creatures. The closest thing to a heroic necromancer is the vigilante called Dr. Teneber (Champions Villains Vol. 3). Dr. Teneber seeks out restless spirits who died before their time, and people of low moral character whom the world is unlikely to miss. Teneber kills the latter in a way that doesn't permanently harm his body, so the spirit will leave it; then places one of the former into the empty body and uses medical skills to revive it, for a kind of reincarnation. Mystic heroes who know of Teneber generally don't approve of his tactics, but he's fought on their side often enough that they tend not to actively pursue him as long as he keeps a low profile. Dr. Teneber's PnP write-up notes that he's being watched by the police, so I would guess they suspect his activities but don't have enough evidence to charge him.

One other point I think is important to mention: I would have to assume that if an undead hero is publicly known and has a good reputation, particularly if he works with law-enforcement authorities, those authorities would take a dim view of someone trying to destroy him, whether or not he technically has legal rights. The government might even grant him official sanction if he wants it, in recognition for his service.
#12616530 Aug 11, 2016 at 01:13 PM
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Thank you for all the lore bombs you drop on the community. I always like it when the RP'rs are up on the lore so everything meshes well in RP
When I die, I'd like to go as my grandfather did, peacefully in my sleep. Not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

#12623489 Aug 14, 2016 at 12:06 PM · Edited over 1 year ago
1162 Posts
You're welcome, it's my pleasure. 😊 I hope that what I provide becomes useful to someone in role-playing or character creation. And pursuant to that goal, I thought I would offer a bit more of what the lore suggests in the way of undead character concepts. The following draws heavily from The Mystic World, supplemented by examples from the Champions Villains trilogy and other Hero Games PnP books dealing with the undead.

Ghosts: While the great majority of human souls pass quickly to their next plane of existence, a few linger on the Astral Plane near Earth for an extended period, sometimes even centuries. This is most common for people who died before their time, and/or due to a traumatic event. Although they can dimly see and hear Earth from the Astral Plane, most ghosts are imperceptible to living humans who don't have appropriate magic or psychic senses. But long-lived and strong-willed ghosts can learn to make themselves perceivable to the living, and even to take on different appearances from how they were in life (often terrifying ones). They may be able to move physical objects by force of will. Although not themselves physically tangible, the "touch" of a ghost may drain the strength and even life from a person. Some ghosts learn to enter and animate corpses, and even possess and take control of the living.

While most ghosts are tied to the general area in which they died, others can gain the ability to roam freely. Ghosts might lack some of the memories of their lives, and even be unaware they're dead. People with spell-related abilities often retain some or all of those powers as a ghost.

Zombies: The classic supernatural zombie is a mindless creature reanimated through the art of necromancy. It's typically stronger and harder to injure than it was in life, but can only obey the commands of its creator. However, some zombie-like creatures retain their memories and personality, and may be free-willed. The super-assassin Deadman Walkin', whom you can see in Vibora Bay in CO (and in Champions Villains Vol. 3), is one such zombie, who also appears to have returned from death spontaneously, for unknown reasons. This superior status is more likely to occur to corpses which were properly preserved mostly intact, and buried in protective tombs or crypts.

There is also precedent for a zombie-like creature to be reanimated through scientific rather than magical means. Mr. Zombie, a member of the Champions villain team, the Brain Trust (found both in CO and in CV Vol. 2), was revived and transformed by illegal experimental chemicals leeching into the ground water of the graveyard where he was buried. Mr. Zombie retains only part of his memories and personality, but has free will.

Mummies: The stereotypical mummy is a product of ancient Egypt, but any culture which practiced mummification can produce the same type of ritually-embalmed corpse. The average mummy is an automaton, as the zombie above; its usual motivation is to attack anyone who violates its tomb, possibly trailing them relentlessly. However, some mummies are fully sapient, particularly well-preserved ones, or those who were mystically adept in life. Mummies are physically tough and powerful, like a zombie on undead steroids. They may possess other powers related to any curses placed upon them or their tombs, e.g. inflicting a virulent magical disease by touch, or sensing and tracking tomb-robbers over great distances. The mummified super-assassin called the Curse (Champions Villains Vol. 3) bears an aura of Death so potent, it can even destroy inanimate matter. Other mummified persons may retain the skill to cast various magic spells.

In the case of both mummies and zombies, it's not unprecedented in the lore for well-preserved specimens to pass for living humans, at least with the benefit of some cosmetic touch-ups.

Liches: A staple of the fantasy game genre, the lich is a known concept on modern Champions Earth thanks to Takofanes, who claims the title, "Archlich." Although there are no other official examples of this class of undead in the present day, in past prehistoric eras it was a not-uncommon choice for powerful sorcerers, particularly necromancers, to prolong their physical existence well past their natural deaths. (Others might prefer to become free-roaming ghosts, often called "specters," although their lack of physical form seems to leave them less powerful.) The lich is by definition a mighty magician; no official examples exist of one being created save by its own deliberate act. Takofanes' appearance is fairly typical for a lich -- there are no official ones who aren't obviously animated corpses. It's unknown whether this is an inevitable side effect of the magic which creates them, or just due to other circumstances.

General Notes: Sapient undead of any class almost always are or eventually become evil. The inherently malevolent nature of the magic which creates such monsters, plus the inevitable changes in way of life due to undeath, reinforce the worse instincts in human nature. However, there are a few examples in Champions lore of people with strong moral character who can resist that temptation and continue to do good, at least for a time.
#12623576 Aug 14, 2016 at 12:32 PM
249 Posts
Liaden, I have a question. The undead you've listed is very helpful- but some aspects of undeath, particularly in the Vodun Religion I do wonder about. Would Psychopomps/archetypes such as Baron Samedi or the Ghede Loa [who typically are portrayed as once human but no longer am, quite] fall under these "undead" listings- or are they something else entirely? Some listings classify them closer to angels rather then the more human saints- would that make the Loa subject to the ban then?

I don't expect the pnp books to have anything on them specificly but as the Loa tend to pop up in my RP, I'm rather curious. You understand. :)

Teleios Clone Mark II: I wish Teleios would create some perfect women. It’s lonely out here!
Snookums! The Snookii! Homicidal Cheerleader! Klepto Elf! Molly!
#12623588 Aug 14, 2016 at 12:36 PM · Edited over 1 year ago
1162 Posts
Here are a few examples of non-evil undead, from The Mystic World:

Lieutenant Mark Gentry, Deceased: This police lieutenant died when his partner accidentally shot him in the line of duty. His partner didn't admit his mistake, and blamed the shooting on the escaped perp. Gentry now provides investigative services for mystics who can perceive him in return for favors to the city's less mobile ghosts, such as passing messages to loved ones and protection against astral predators.

Dr. Ibrahim Khalseran: When the Nazis unearthed this Egyptian priest-magician's tomb, they awoke the mummified priest, who expressed his dislike of grave robbers quite forcefully. He eventually created the identity of Dr. Khalseran and found work in the Egyptian National Museum. Khalseran doesn't look for trouble, but he protects the museum, and the legacy from his era, with a terrifying array of curses. Mystics who need to learn about ancient Egypt's magic can find no better teacher.

Nyssa Tarchaniotes claims that in life she was an oracle at Delphi; and although Apollo withdrew his gift of prophecy when a vampire raped her into undeath, Hecate replaced it. Nyssa still has a high reputation as a seer, but only a true sorcerer can track her down and penetrate the illusions that cloak her dwelling. In addition to cash, Nyssa charges each client a pint of his blood. Nyssa avoids killing the mortals she feeds upon so heroic mystics won't decide she is too evil to consult. But she doesn't discriminate in her clients: good, evil, or neutral mystics may all seek her help.
#12623652 Aug 14, 2016 at 01:01 PM
1162 Posts
#12623576 Snookums wrote:

Liaden, I have a question. The undead you've listed is very helpful- but some aspects of undeath, particularly in the Vodun Religion I do wonder about. Would Psychopomps/archetypes such as Baron Samedi or the Ghede Loa [who typically are portrayed as once human but no longer am, quite] fall under these "undead" listings- or are they something else entirely? Some listings classify them closer to angels rather then the more human saints- would that make the Loa subject to the ban then?

I don't expect the pnp books to have anything on them specificly but as the Loa tend to pop up in my RP, I'm rather curious. You understand. :)



I do indeed... though I suspect few people outside the RPG hobby really would. πŸ˜‡

According to The Mystic World pp. 30-31, the dimension of Elysium is the abode of, among others, deified founders of religions, such as Lao Tzu and Gautama Buddha; although probably not the original persons, but creations of the belief of their worshipers. These beings are effectively "gods," and constrained by the Ban just as other gods are. But Elysium also holds the spirits of deceased humans, and those of great virtue and faithfulness are sometimes delegated power and responsibility by their patron gods after their death. TMW uses the general term, "saint," for such spirits, although it applies not just to Christian figures, but great Hebrew prophets, Muslim imams and Sufi mullahs, Hindu gurus and yogins, Buddhist boddhisattvas, and Taoist and Confucian scholars. Saints are also constrained by the Ban, but may help the faithful through visions and subtle miracles.

Although, as I replied to a previous question of yours, I believe Vodun spirits would be found in Faerie rather than Elysium, most of the "pagan" religions have a tradition of mortals achieving divine or semi-divine status, so IMHO they would fall into the same classes of spiritual being as the above, with the same restrictions applying to them. The undead are a different, and generally inferior, type of supernatural entity.

#12623775 Aug 14, 2016 at 02:07 PM
148 Posts
Tons of helpful stuff here, Liaden!

But here's my boggle.

I believe I've heard mentioned that the Mystic World has a slight cloaking power, collective denial, etc., and you've established that most people just don't really believe in magic or the supernatural.

I'm just curious if its ever been explained how it is Takofanes hasn't broken that 'Masquerade' to bits? His emergence in 1987 if I recall was a huge multi-state rampage with an undead horde, and the events of the Blood Moon seemed anything but easily explained away 'logically'.

And hey, on a vaguely-related subject.. how much does the CU interface with 'comic book death' in general? Are such revivals as prevalent as they can seem in comics?
#12624123 Aug 14, 2016 at 04:50 PM · Edited over 1 year ago
1162 Posts
Well, this is a world that's experienced multiple extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional invasions, with hordes of non-humans running around sporting ultra-tech weapons; that has a desert full of zombie-like creatures mutated by radiation from an experimental bomb; where cities around the world have been attacked by grotesque giant monsters created by aliens; where one man can grow from normal height to 200' tall at will, and one woman levitated Washington's entire Capitol Building 500' into the air; where a plague turned thousands of people into berserk serpent-men (okay, that hasn't happened in Champions Online continuity yet, but you get the idea).

These and other things were all really radical, but almost no-one suggested "magic" was responsible for any of them. Scientists had explanations for them, which made sense within the context of comic-book science. Champions Earth just has a much higher threshold of credulity for such things than real Earth would, thanks to a long history of, "Been there, done that, and it wasn't magic then, either."

As to "comic-book deaths," I'd have to say they're not as prevalent in the Champions Universe as in mainstream comic books. To be sure, there have been some apparent deaths that turned out to be mistaken assumptions, or deliberate frauds -- Dr. Destroyer's demise at Detroit being an outstanding example. Several hero and villain origins involve them returning from death, but that's not the same as someone who's already super biting it, then later showing up alive. For the most part, a character whose death is part of official Champions history, has stayed dead subsequently.

But the storytelling priorities of an RPG aren't exactly the same as for a comic company. The latter are regularly turning out new stories for their setting; but interesting heroes and villains that become popular with the public are hard to come up with on demand. That's why so many comic-book characters end up being recycled after their apparent deaths -- the companies have too much invested in them to keep bumping them off. But in an RPG the player-characters are supposed to be the stars of the show, the ones the players of the game become attached to. Everything else is created as a stage for them to act on, the non-player characters only there to serve their needs.
#12624216 Aug 14, 2016 at 05:30 PM
1162 Posts
On reflection, I think I should probably add a little more about the ever-popular (though inexplicably to me):

Vampires: Contrary to what you see in some other settings, there is no vampire sub-culture to speak of in the Champions Universe. Most Champs vamps are solitary, since every other vampire is a potential competitor for prey in their territory. Occasionally a powerful vampire will create a number of followers and form a gang or pack; but such groups rarely last long, since their collective activities attract much more hostile attention.

A vampire newly created is less powerful than its "sire," and is to some extent under mental domination by its creator. If its master dies the lesser vampire is free to act on its own, and to grow more powerful and sire other vampires. Occasionally an experienced or particularly strong-willed vampire is able to break free of its master's control.

Champions vampires can have all the classic gothic-vampiric powers and weaknesses. However, vampires don't start out with every such power; they grow in capability over time. Experienced vampires may also overcome any of their weaknesses, so not all tactics will work on every vamp. Some may have no aversion to garlic, or easily cross running water, or even be able to withstand the sun for a limited time.

Every CU reference I've found implies that vampires need to feed on the blood of living humans. So would-be nice-guy vamps would not have recourse to bottled blood, or animal blood; they have to hunt humans to survive. That harsh necessity is a major factor in turning off a vampire's empathy toward humanity, and easing the path to evil. It's also another reason most vampires try to keep as far under the radar as they can. More compassionate vamps will try not to kill the humans they feed on, but leaving living witnesses increases the risk of discovery.

As I noted upthread, Vladic Dracul is a particularly grotesque, Nosferatu-looking vampire. Some vamps do become uglier over time -- perhaps under the influence of their lifestyle -- but others look quite human, except perhaps for seeming to need to get out in the sun more. πŸ˜‰ Age does not necessarily lead to physical change. Nyssa Tarchaniotes, whom I mentioned earlier, looks like a plump, middle-aged Greek woman, despite being nearly two millennia old.
#12625721 Aug 15, 2016 at 08:00 AM · Edited over 1 year ago
1162 Posts
One other general point about the undead is worth clarifying. Some, but not all undead are negatively affected by "holiness." They may be repelled by religious symbols, be damaged by contact with sanctified objects, debilitated when on consecrated ground, and/or suffer more damage from "holy" attacks. The type of undead, or its relative power, isn't a guarantee that it will or won't have this vulnerability. Even Takofanes has it, although not to the point of being instantly killable by it.

Since this effect is noted in undead during eras long before the rise of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism/ Christianity/ Islam), IMO it would not be reasonable to assume things drawn from those faiths would be the only ones applicable. For my own Champions games, I've ruled that anything consecrated to or drawing power from any god of essentially benevolent nature, from any religion or mythology, would count as holy, such as a hero empowered by the god Balder, or the grounds of the Parthenon. But that's only my interpretation of the precedents.

Similarly, it would be up to individuals to decide whether the potency of a holy symbol lies in its innate nature, or the strength of faith of the person wielding it. Personally, I doubt a cross in the hand of Joe Average Churchgoer is going to phase Takofanes in the slightest. But Champions/Hero Universe sources don't define it that precisely.
#12626372 Aug 15, 2016 at 12:23 PM
249 Posts
Theres a jolly good mental image; some pudgy balding man snatching the crucifix off his grandmother's wall, beside the decorative plates and row of souveneer teaspoons to wave it franticly at some prowling zombies that just lurched into the front yard, whist trying to remember the lords prayer and going for "The Power of Christ Impales you!" instead!

I think that just made my morning Liaden- thank you :)

Teleios Clone Mark II: I wish Teleios would create some perfect women. It’s lonely out here!
Snookums! The Snookii! Homicidal Cheerleader! Klepto Elf! Molly!
#13530214 Nov 16, 2017 at 04:36 PM
73 Posts
This thread has been illuminating, thanks to all who've contributed.

I'm in the process of cementing a backstory for one of my characters, Inquisitor, who is a vampire.

I have a question for ya, Lord Liaden, and anyone else who could weight in: is there precedent in the Champions lore for a government initiative or agency to not only attempt to understand the undead, but use them against the "bad guys"?

UNTIL Project Hermes seems like a decent candidate, but the description seems to suggest their interest in 'recruiting' monster to fight monsters would be minimal, given their mostly scholarly/informational bent.

I'm thinking of something similar to Hellboy and the BPRD. I have no problem simply creating my own, but would love to tie it into the lore if at all possible. Thoughts?


Check out the Calamity Cain Cast of Characters here on PRIMUS Database!
#13530358 Nov 16, 2017 at 07:05 PM · Edited 27 days ago
1162 Posts
Hmm... interesting question. While I can think of a few ways one could go with this, it would help me fine-tune any advice I might give to clarify a few points. One, do you want your character to be actually employed full-time by whatever group is sponsoring him, or just be an associate who helps them from time to time? Two, do you definitely want his patron group to be "government," as in national or supra-national like UNTIL? Or would a private organization be suitable? Three, are the "monsters" you want to fight exclusively supernatural, or would he face the full range of super-villainy? Four, do you want his association with this operation to be voluntary, or coerced? (A corollary to that would be whether the character is a would-be "good guy" or less noble in motivation?)

Just to toss out a few points for preliminary consideration... Champions Earth doesn't feature an official supernaturally-focused government agency which routinely recruits "monstrous" operatives to battle occult evil, such as we see in the Hellboy world. Supervillainous threats are treated as more of a mixed bag, although categories of threat may have divisions within larger agencies devoted to them, as with Project Hermes. However, various departments of the American government in particular -- law enforcement, the military, the intelligence services -- employ a number of diversely-powered superhumans in a range of capacities, both public and covert. I'm sure any of them would have a use for the abilities of a gothic vampire. It would also be possible for such a vampire to work with the agency less formally, on a case-by-case basis. UNTIL especially has a program by which supers can be associated with them without joining the agency full-time, gaining some benefits from UNTIL in exchange for their aid with appropriate situations. Also note that Drs. White and Black of UNITY work with Project Hermes from time to time, so there's precedent for supers to associate with them at least part-time.

It's also worth noting that, since the undead are almost never extended basic human rights protections under American law, a vampire in American territory coming to the attention of the United States government might be offered official government sanction and protection in exchange for his assistance. Or, if you prefer a more coercive, Suicide Squad-esque relationship, they could agree to forego destroying him if he works for them.

If you prefer to focus on occult menaces, and aren't wedded to your PC's patrons being governmental, the Trismegistus Council is the premier "white" magical faction in the setting, an international organization of occult scholars dedicated to opposing supernatural evil. Few of them are powerful magicians in their own right, so they concentrate on investigation and alerting heroes to threats. But they do provide sanctuary and training for heroes at least on occasion. Witchcraft of the Champions was taken in by them when she first fled the Circle of the Scarlet Moon, and worked with them for several years.

Well, those are some of my preliminary thoughts. Let me know if any of them strike your fancy, or if you have other issues you want to address, and we can build from there. You're welcome to contact me by Private Message if that would be more comfortable for you. 😌
#13531358 Nov 17, 2017 at 11:10 AM
80 Posts
I once was a part of a sort of BPRD/Creature Commandos group. Although it never really got off the ground well. It was called the "Volatile Entity Investigation League" or V.E.I.L. it was sort of like an occultist detective agency, working in the shadows of Vibora Bay. My vampire Felix DeLazar had the HQ in his manor, which functioned sort of like the House of Mystery. If you wanted to use that as a basis for the group.
#13531396 Nov 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM · Edited 26 days ago
1162 Posts
Another way to go might be an informal partnership with someone in some government agency; kind of like Batman with Commissioner Gordon. As an example, Lieutenant Martin Dessart, from the source book, Everyman, would be a good candidate from the CU to partner with your kind of PC. Dessart is a well-trained, experienced Vibora Bay homicide detective, who due to past traumatic contact with it has studied the occult extensively, although he's no spell-caster. Among the wider law-enforcement community he's considered an expert on cult killings, Satanic rituals, and the like, so could be called elsewhere to provide his expertise.
#13531502 Nov 17, 2017 at 01:46 PM
37 Posts
If you wanted to play it strictly government then Project Hermes might be the only already established way to go. Just some mental gymnastics to explain the actual team up so to speak.

It might be easier to make your own group though (I'd place them as a PRIMUS department just to prevent overcongestion of this kind of stuff in UNTIL). Something small and underfunded to drive the point that claims of magic isn't taken credibly coupled with your character's claim to vampirism taken rather dubiously by the bosses. Because seriously, Witchcraft turns people into rabbits and people will still say to her she's not really doing magic.
#13531638 Nov 17, 2017 at 05:02 PM
1162 Posts
Bready's observations above are certainly justified as far as the wider public goes. But the existence of Project Hermes, or Japan's Bureau 19, imply that at least some parties within government, and/or in other countries, accept that the supernatural exists and is a credible threat. So if CC created or adapted a government group, it wouldn't necessarily be treated as a joke, unless he wants it to be.

PRIMUS suffers somewhat from not having a dedicated source book published for the current incarnation of the Champions Universe. There is considerable material for the agency from years past, and a few references from that seem to have carried forward to the revised setting; but there's no way to tell how much of that could be considered canon now. OTOH that does leave one free to adapt it to your purposes.

However, there is another source of information about PRIMUS which might prove useful in this context. For several years Hero Games published a PDF magazine with articles covering a wide range of Hero gaming issues, called Digital Hero. A few of those articles updated and expanded the older material about PRIMUS. One of them, in Issue #2, described a PRIMUS division officially called the "Detached Department for Research and Experimentation of Metapsychic Activity (DDREMA)," but whom everyone in PRIMUS refers to as "the Wizards." Congress refused to fund the department when it was first proposed, but the then-director of PRIMUS put a number of agents on detached duty as an "unofficial" department. As presented in the article the Wizards are the kind of underfunded and mocked-by-their colleagues group suggested above; but the various Area Agent Directors of the Wizards report directly to the Director of PRIMUS, so they're taken seriously at the top of the agency.

Hero Games management always stressed that anything concerning the Champions Universe appearing in DH should not be considered canon unless and until it made it into a published source book. But there's nothing like that for PRIMUS on the docket for the foreseeable future; so this might make a good basis to build from.
#13531666 Nov 17, 2017 at 05:44 PM
37 Posts
I'll be honest.

I may have gotten lost with how fun the idea itself sounded as I was typing.
#13531669 Nov 17, 2017 at 05:48 PM
1162 Posts
I hope that wasn't an apology, because that's definitely what motivates me to do this stuff. πŸ˜ƒ
#13532457 Nov 18, 2017 at 09:09 AM
73 Posts
One, do you want your character to be actually employed full-time by whatever group is sponsoring him, or just be an associate who helps them from time to time?


Definitely a full time arrangement - and compulsory. See below!

Two, do you definitely want his patron group to be "government," as in national or supra-national like UNTIL? Or would a private organization be suitable?


It needn't be government! But I'm leaning in that direction for the tone I want to strike, and a government agency/initiative/cell would have enough pull and the resources to do what I need. On the other hand, some of the less savory activities, like allowing Inquisitor to feed (he cannot feed off animals or blood bags, it must be fresh from source) on select persons, might be better suited to a private organization without the oversight of a government entity.

Three, are the "monsters" you want to fight exclusively supernatural, or would he face the full range of super-villainy?


Perhaps not exclusively, but I want to focus on it. I intend to throw all manner of curve balls at the character, but right now I'm definitely leaning towards this unnamed agency using Inquisitor as a countermeasure, a hunter of hunters, so to speak.

Four, do you want his association with this operation to be voluntary, or coerced? (A corollary to that would be whether the character is a would-be "good guy" or less noble in motivation?)


The relationship definitely has an air of hostility, and involves coercion, but both parties understand that they have something to gain from the other. The organization and Inquisitor essentially strike a deal, though it is definitely in the organizations favor, since they know of his existence, and know how to kill him.

The deal is essentially that Inquisitor will submit to incarceration and study. Eventually, it includes having to perform missions for the organization as they see fit. In return, he remains a secret, he remains safe from others who would see him dead, and has an opportunity to learn more about himself. They also allow him to feed, under controlled conditions, and live with a measure of comfort and dignity.

Naturally, this relationship begins to strain under the weight of the organization's demands on Inquisitor, his growing thirst for autonomy and understanding, and outside threats. But it remains the basis for the stories I want to tell.

As for your corollary, the character is somewhat amoral in motivation. He has a chivalrous bent, and a penchant for noble acts, but usually only for those he cares about. He is often curious, more than anything, about the monsters or villains he is loosed upon, but in the end, only destroys them because the organization requires it. He views most of his captors as a threat, with a few exceptions, and if he could gain what they offer somewhere else, he would have few scruples about deceiving, threatening, or even slaying them to get it.

It might be easier to make your own group though (I'd place them as a PRIMUS department just to prevent overcongestion of this kind of stuff in UNTIL). Something small and underfunded to drive the point that claims of magic isn't taken credibly coupled with your character's claim to vampirism taken rather dubiously by the bosses. Because seriously, Witchcraft turns people into rabbits and people will still say to her she's not really doing magic.


I hear that - I hate lore clutter, as inevitable as it is. haha And I agree, it would be nice to piggyback off another group besides UNTIL, though I intend this organization to have an international purview. PRIMUS, being DoJ, would have to be strictly domestic, wouldn't it? For the most part, anyway?

However, there is another source of information about PRIMUS which might prove useful in this context. For several years Hero Games published a PDF magazine with articles covering a wide range of Hero gaming issues, called Digital Hero. A few of those articles updated and expanded the older material about PRIMUS. One of them, in Issue #2, described a PRIMUS division officially called the "Detached Department for Research and Experimentation of Metapsychic Activity (DDREMA)," but whom everyone in PRIMUS refers to as "the Wizards." Congress refused to fund the department when it was first proposed, but the then-director of PRIMUS put a number of agents on detached duty as an "unofficial" department. As presented in the article the Wizards are the kind of underfunded and mocked-by-their colleagues group suggested above; but the various Area Agent Directors of the Wizards report directly to the Director of PRIMUS, so they're taken seriously at the top of the agency.


This sounds like a veritable playground. I'll have to mull it over - if nothing else, it's a very neat idea.


Check out the Calamity Cain Cast of Characters here on PRIMUS Database!