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#13061030 Feb 12, 2017 at 10:32 PM
79 Posts
Hey all, I was reading up on the lore about the African nation known as Lugendu and its dictator, Joseph Otanga, and I had a thought. It's said his piers come from an alter he discovered in the jungle, that only he knows the location of, and from there he received his abilities of animal transformation, on himself and unwilling others.

It sounds like a situation a potential hero could arise from, the idea being that my hero is perhaps the son of a rebel leader of one of the many failed coups to wrest Otanga from power, and before he was killed in an 'unfortunate lion mauling, he was able to either take a piece of the alter or shrine or some other affect Otanga uses in his rituals, the location of perhaps a similar, perhaps more benevolent alter or shrine, or some other way to give his allies and specifically his next of kin a way to depose the superpowers dictator with animal like powers of their own.

Thoughts and ideas on how to flesh out this concept would be definitely appreciated-thanks! :)
#13061455 Feb 13, 2017 at 04:06 AM
73 Posts
Sounds like an awesome concept Vesta. Reminds me a little bit of Vixen, with some Black Panther thrown in. I do have a few questions to help with this particular character idea.

- Does the character change into full animal form or a hybrid form?
-Can he use multiple animal as forms, or just one?
#13061498 Feb 13, 2017 at 04:42 AM
79 Posts
Thanks DBA, and yeah those two heroes (with Vixen being one of my absolute favorites) were certainly inspirations!

I had in mind that he he draws on the aspects of animals based on his emotions, their traits, or adopts a sort of hybrid form when he channels their powers; i.e. the claws and speed of a cheetah, the gills of a fish, the fangs of a pit viper, etc.

Who's to say an event or magical manipulation or experience might allow him full transformations one day~ :P

He can only access one animal or creature at a time, though, I think, or rather one trait or aspect. A bit of a limit, and something he'll discover doesn't hinder him as much as he thinks.
#13061563 Feb 13, 2017 at 05:26 AM
73 Posts
Ah okay, and how do these forms manifest? Does he call them out like the Wonder Twins, an aura like Vixen, or not at all like Animal Man? Perhaps for his origin he could even have an affinity to animals as a young child, perhaps even Doctor Dolittle communication? What if the shrine/alter was somehow related to one of the different realms, there might have been one regarding animals if I remember correctly.
#13061797 Feb 13, 2017 at 07:18 AM
79 Posts
I was thinking more of an aura personally but the idea that he has to call them out could be a cool limitation until he grows in power and realizes he may not have to.

A relation to one of the realms, especially one that deals with animals would be an awesome source of power for him to potentially draw from.
#13061805 Feb 13, 2017 at 07:23 AM
79 Posts
I forgot I also need a name for him 😅 I was thinking something along the lines of Sarangheti, though I'm definitely looking for ideas.
#13061898 Feb 13, 2017 at 07:58 AM · Edited 10 days ago
980 Posts
There's a lot of grey area to work with here. Just what Joseph Otanga's altar is dedicated to hasn't been revealed. We have no idea of the motivations of the entity or entities it's connected to. Blood sacrifice upon the altar does grant magical power, which is why Otanga built a prison over it, with a grated execution yard directly above it; but blood sacrifice is a common feature of several African religions, not necessarily reflective of a god's malevolent attitude. The shaman who used the altar before Otanga forced its secret from him only sacrificed small animals in exchange for cures for disease or healing of wounds. The bigger the sacrifice, the more the power. Maybe the altar's supernatural patron isn't entirely happy with how Otanga uses it; or a more benevolent god or spirit who opposes its patron would want to create a champion to battle him.

I can suggest an alternative origin for your character which isn't directly connected to Joseph Otanga, although he can be involved if you want. The Champions villain called White Rhino is based mostly in Central Africa, although you may have seen him in CO on Monster Island, working with Dr. Moreau. He was once a thief who stole an artifact from a museum in Uganda, an amulet with the motif of a white rhinoceros. When he put it on it merged with his flesh, and granted him the power to transform into a super-strong rhinoceros-man. Most of the time White Rhino is a selfish criminal, but sometimes he magically senses danger to the land or people of Central Africa, whether natural disaster, environmental degradation, or criminal violence. Rhino is compelled to go to the source of the danger and defeat it, which has made him a hero to many people in the region.

There's no reason there couldn't be more such amulets with similar or even greater powers. Maybe like the Crowns of Krim, there are multiple amulets based on different animals, and one that's the "master" over them all. Joseph Otanga funnels all manner of contraband through his country of Lugendu: drugs, conflict diamonds, animal parts, slaves, anything he can make a profit from. That would surely include stolen cultural antiquities. Also note that White Rhino's write-up in Champions Online mentions that he feels an instinctive antipathy toward Otanga -- not strong enough to make Rhino attack him, but enough that he won't work for Otanga.

Vesta, there is a potential dimensional source for the kind of powers you want. The four Imaginal Realms in the Astral Plane created out of human belief aren't the only Parterres generated by life on Earth. Non-sapient animal life has produced its own Astral dimension, which mystics call the Blood Tide. For that matter even plant life on Earth is responsible for such a realm, commonly referred to as Yggdrasil. These are very alien and dangerous to humanity, and difficult for humans to enter, but channeling the power of the Blood Tide does not seem unreasonable to me.
#13062147 Feb 13, 2017 at 09:32 AM
79 Posts
#13061898 Lord Liaden wrote:

There's a lot of grey area to work with here. Just what Joseph Otanga's altar is dedicated to hasn't been revealed. We have no idea of the motivations of the entity or entities it's connected to. Blood sacrifice upon the altar does grant magical power, which is why Otanga built a prison over it, with a grated execution yard directly above it; but blood sacrifice is a common feature of several African religions, not necessarily reflective of a god's malevolent attitude. The shaman who used the altar before Otanga forced its secret from him only sacrificed small animals in exchange for cures for disease or healing of wounds. The bigger the sacrifice, the more the power. Maybe the altar's supernatural patron isn't entirely happy with how Otanga uses it; or a more benevolent god or spirit who opposes its patron would want to create a champion to battle him.

I can suggest an alternative origin for your character which isn't directly connected to Joseph Otanga, although he can be involved if you want. The Champions villain called White Rhino is based mostly in Central Africa, although you may have seen him in CO on Monster Island, working with Dr. Moreau. He was once a thief who stole an artifact from a museum in Uganda, an amulet with the motif of a white rhinoceros. When he put it on it merged with his flesh, and granted him the power to transform into a super-strong rhinoceros-man. Most of the time White Rhino is a selfish criminal, but sometimes he magically senses danger to the land or people of Central Africa, whether natural disaster, environmental degradation, or criminal violence. Rhino is compelled to go to the source of the danger and defeat it, which has made him a hero to many people in the region.

There's no reason there couldn't be more such amulets with similar or even greater powers. Maybe like the Crowns of Krim, there are multiple amulets based on different animals, and one that's the "master" over them all. Joseph Otanga funnels all manner of contraband through his country of Lugendu: drugs, conflict diamonds, animal parts, slaves, anything he can make a profit from. That would surely include stolen cultural antiquities. Also note that White Rhino's write-up in Champions Online mentions that he feels an instinctive antipathy toward Otanga -- not strong enough to make Rhino attack him, but enough that he won't work for Otanga.

Vesta, there is a potential dimensional source for the kind of powers you want. The four Imaginal Realms in the Astral Plane created out of human belief aren't the only Parterres generated by life on Earth. Non-sapient animal life has produced its own Astral dimension, which mystics call the Blood Tide. For that matter even plant life on Earth is responsible for such a realm, commonly referred to as Yggdrasil. These are very alien and dangerous to humanity, and difficult for humans to enter, but channeling the power of the Blood Tide does not seem unreasonable to me.



Thanks once again for the information, Liaden. I think it would be indeed wiser to not have Otanga directly involved in my character's origin, but maybe as a motivation for heroics.

Regarding the information on White Rhino magical amulets, and the potentiality of artifact funneling, especially when a Demonhame exists in the country, I had a thought. Considering the alien and dangerous nature of the Blood Tide, could an amulet be created to harness a manageable portion of it?

Any benevolent gods who would maybe champion a hero like this?

And any more information on the Blood Tide in particular?
#13063091 Feb 13, 2017 at 05:16 PM
980 Posts
There's very little information about the Blood Tide in Champs books, and almost nothing beyond what I already mentioned. As far as putting power from that dimension into some talisman, like I always say, this is a comic-book world. If it's logical and sounds cool, and there's nothing specifically against it (which there isn't), then why not? 😜 Mind you, it would also be logical for someone tapping that power to sometimes have difficulty controlling his/her bestial instincts, given that the dimension is the product of animal brains and spirits. That is, if role playing that would be interesting for you.

Lugendu falls within the ethno-cultural sphere of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and its neighbors, and I'm sure there would be a benevolent god of their still-widely-worshiped pantheon who might empower a mortal agent. In fact, Ogun the god of war and metal-working did just that for a young engineer in Nigeria, who now fights crime as a superhero using the same name. (Ogun the hero is written up in Champions Worldwide.) You could start researching Yoruba religion online if you want to find a suitable god. You can always start with Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_religion .
#13063486 Feb 13, 2017 at 11:21 PM
79 Posts
#13063091 Lord Liaden wrote:

There's very little information about the Blood Tide in Champs books, and almost nothing beyond what I already mentioned. As far as putting power from that dimension into some talisman, like I always say, this is a comic-book world. If it's logical and sounds cool, and there's nothing specifically against it (which there isn't), then why not? 😜 Mind you, it would also be logical for someone tapping that power to sometimes have difficulty controlling his/her bestial instincts, given that the dimension is the product of animal brains and spirits. That is, if role playing that would be interesting for you.

Lugendu falls within the ethno-cultural sphere of the Yoruba people of Nigeria and its neighbors, and I'm sure there would be a benevolent god of their still-widely-worshiped pantheon who might empower a mortal agent. In fact, Ogun the god of war and metal-working did just that for a young engineer in Nigeria, who now fights crime as a superhero using the same name. (Ogun the hero is written up in Champions Worldwide.) You could start researching Yoruba religion online if you want to find a suitable god. You can always start with Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoruba_religion .



So I see, m'lord. :) I had actually planned on roleplaying that aspect of the character having difficulty controlling the bestial instincts of the animals they invoke, so that fits perfectly.

I'll take a look at the Yoruba and see what I can dig up~ Thanks for the lore as always Liaden.

The final thing I'm debating over is well, his name, or hero alias anyway, and I'm thinking Sarangheti is a strong candidate.
#13063992 Feb 14, 2017 at 05:17 AM
980 Posts
If you mean "Serengeti," that's a region in eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). The name is derived from a word in the Maasai language meaning "endless plain." It's a long way from Lugendu, and a different cultural group than the Yoruba. But if you're referring to something else , I couldn't find "sarangheti" with a quick Internet search. Regardless, you should use what you want. 😎
#13064482 Feb 14, 2017 at 09:11 AM
79 Posts
#13063992 Lord Liaden wrote:

If you mean "Serengeti," that's a region in eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). The name is derived from a word in the Maasai language meaning "endless plain." It's a long way from Lugendu, and a different cultural group than the Yoruba. But if you're referring to something else , I couldn't find "sarangheti" with a quick Internet search. Regardless, you should use what you want. 😎



You are indeed correct, that is within the eastern portion of Africa, and yeah the group there is completely different. I'll figure out a name for this toon, thanks for the help apiaden. :)


#13066094 Feb 15, 2017 at 12:44 AM
PRIMUS Mod
906 Posts
Safari, perhaps?

This topic's interesting to me because one of my own characters happens to be an animal mimic. :P
In-Game: @epelesker // COMPASS | PRIMUS | deviantArt | Twitter
Reaching from the space between the eyes circa 1988
#13066778 Feb 15, 2017 at 07:33 AM
980 Posts
Now that I think of it, Nama, the patron "god" of VIPER, could be behind your character's empowerment. VIPER's secret world headquarters is in the Mbang Mountains in the same region, and VIPER considers Joseph Otanga to be encroaching on their territory. Their forces have clashed with Otanga on several occasions, according to Otanga's write-up in Champions Villains Vol. 1. Nama might decide it would be helpful to create a nemesis for Otanga to keep him occupied. There's no reason said super couldn't be of heroic bent -- Nama often does things purely for his amusement, and has patronized heroes as often as villains over the millennia, as the mood struck him.
#13066840 Feb 15, 2017 at 08:02 AM
980 Posts
#13066094 Epelesker wrote:

Safari, perhaps?

This topic's interesting to me because one of my own characters happens to be an animal mimic. :P



I think it comes down to whether you want a character's name to be culturally and linguistically relevant to a character's own background; or to be recognizable to most English speakers, and evocative of the character regardless of background. "Safari," for example, is of Swahili extraction (East Africa), but has entered the English lexicon and so is recognized wherever English is spoken.

Animal shape-shifting and powers among super characters can have various mystical or scientific explanations. Beast Boy/ Changeling from DC Comics is an example of a science-based origin for such a character. In Champions canon two villains, Menagerie and El Sauriano, are genetic mutants who can assume multiple animal forms.
#13070684 Feb 16, 2017 at 08:37 PM
980 Posts
Vesta, I should probably mention that there's a good reason for your character to come to Millennium City. Joseph Otanga has secretly invested a substantial amount of his ill-gotten wealth in several cutting-edge tech companies in MC, because he believes in the long-term value of tech stocks. What he plans to do should he gain a controlling interest in any of them is unspecified in the books; but it sounds worth investigating for anyone motivated to oppose Otanga.
#13078332 Feb 20, 2017 at 09:53 AM
79 Posts
#13066778 Lord Liaden wrote:

Now that I think of it, Nama, the patron "god" of VIPER, could be behind your character's empowerment. VIPER's secret world headquarters is in the Mbang Mountains in the same region, and VIPER considers Joseph Otanga to be encroaching on their territory. Their forces have clashed with Otanga on several occasions, according to Otanga's write-up in Champions Villains Vol. 1. Nama might decide it would be helpful to create a nemesis for Otanga to keep him occupied. There's no reason said super couldn't be of heroic bent -- Nama often does things purely for his amusement, and has patronized heroes as often as villains over the millennia, as the mood struck him.



After a bit of this thought, the name I think I decided on was 'Pride'; to represent Pride in his native heritage in Lugendu and the Yoruba people, and sort of like the 'Pride of a Lion'. I also like the idea of the empowerment via Nama, heck, could by the reason why his abilities are so tricky to control and he risks being dominated by the various animal instincts he invites.

Any thoughts into how the ritual was performed to give him his abilities and connection to the Blood Tide, or if Nama just dropped them on him like a magical mutation.

#13078349 Feb 20, 2017 at 09:58 AM
79 Posts
#13070684 Lord Liaden wrote:

Vesta, I should probably mention that there's a good reason for your character to come to Millennium City. Joseph Otanga has secretly invested a substantial amount of his ill-gotten wealth in several cutting-edge tech companies in MC, because he believes in the long-term value of tech stocks. What he plans to do should he gain a controlling interest in any of them is unspecified in the books; but it sounds worth investigating for anyone motivated to oppose Otanga.



A hook I planned to use, as it happens-had the idea that he blantantly attacks a small tech firm not realizing that it isn't that simple and might look a bit...criminal at first. :P
#13078871 Feb 20, 2017 at 01:53 PM
980 Posts
#13078332 Vesta~ wrote:

After a bit of this thought, the name I think I decided on was 'Pride'; to represent Pride in his native heritage in Lugendu and the Yoruba people, and sort of like the 'Pride of a Lion'. I also like the idea of the empowerment via Nama, heck, could by the reason why his abilities are so tricky to control and he risks being dominated by the various animal instincts he invites.

Any thoughts into how the ritual was performed to give him his abilities and connection to the Blood Tide, or if Nama just dropped them on him like a magical mutation.



According to VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent, the cult of Nama (and of his tyrannical brother Beda) has persisted in West Africa for thousands of years. Pride might be a member of such a cult in Lugendu, which invoked Nama to empower a champion to oppose Joseph Otanga's oppression. For more of a a classic comic-book scenario, Pride could have accidentally (apparently) stumbled into a lost shrine to Nama. He could be a rebel against Otanga, or even an innocent whom Otanga wants eliminated for some reason, real or imagined. Pride manages to escape the soldiers sent to take him to Otanga's prison and flees into the jungle, eventually seeking shelter in what turns out to be Nama's shrine. Perhaps Pride was wounded, and his blood functions like a "sacrifice" to draw Nama's attention. Nama also has the gift of prophecy, so he may have foreseen Pride's arrival, maybe even led him to the shrine.
#13079443 Feb 20, 2017 at 07:32 PM
79 Posts
#13078871 Lord Liaden wrote:

#13078332 Vesta~ wrote:

After a bit of this thought, the name I think I decided on was 'Pride'; to represent Pride in his native heritage in Lugendu and the Yoruba people, and sort of like the 'Pride of a Lion'. I also like the idea of the empowerment via Nama, heck, could by the reason why his abilities are so tricky to control and he risks being dominated by the various animal instincts he invites.

Any thoughts into how the ritual was performed to give him his abilities and connection to the Blood Tide, or if Nama just dropped them on him like a magical mutation.



According to VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent, the cult of Nama (and of his tyrannical brother Beda) has persisted in West Africa for thousands of years. Pride might be a member of such a cult in Lugendu, which invoked Nama to empower a champion to oppose Joseph Otanga's oppression. For more of a a classic comic-book scenario, Pride could have accidentally (apparently) stumbled into a lost shrine to Nama. He could be a rebel against Otanga, or even an innocent whom Otanga wants eliminated for some reason, real or imagined. Pride manages to escape the soldiers sent to take him to Otanga's prison and flees into the jungle, eventually seeking shelter in what turns out to be Nama's shrine. Perhaps Pride was wounded, and his blood functions like a "sacrifice" to draw Nama's attention. Nama also has the gift of prophecy, so he may have foreseen Pride's arrival, maybe even led him to the shrine.


I like the idea that he stumbled onto the shrine and his blood from his wounds served as a sacrifice-I had the idea that he was to be executed along with his father for inciting rebels in the area, and his father gave up any chance of escaping his fate by helping Pride flee into the jungle, sealing his death.

With Nama being the benefactor for his powers, i imagine he would be amused by the idea that while Pride has potentially great power, it is unpredictable, and moreso, he is more like the man he opposes then he knows, given their ability similarity.

How would VIPER feel about him? Can cults or senior members or members of the Dragon Branch tell when someone has been touched by Nama?