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#6068481 May 03, 2012 at 01:40 PM · Edited over 10 years ago
85 Posts
Preface: Another guide for people to reference to get an idea of where various (mostly) non-government organizations stand in the Champions Universe. I split it into organizations that are represented in Champions Online and ones that aren't. There's a lot of detail about some of the not-appearing-in-Champions-Online organizations, I left out most of it since it's not entirely relevant, instead tried to give a basic idea of how they worked and how people might use them with their characters (if you want more info let me know). I also tried to give them some basic types (magic/military/science/etc.) and rank their moral standing based on D&D's morality system (Lawful Good/Neutral Evil/Etc), both of those are based on my opinion, not from sourcebooks, feel free to correct me if you think one is wrong. All of the information is taken from the Champions Universe sourcebook and Cops, Crews, And Cabals sourecebook, I avoided direct quotes but paraphrased much of it.

Represented in Champions Online:

Argent
Type: Paramilitary
Morality: Neutral Evil
History: Founded in 1974 in America as the "Advanced Research Group", it was dedicated to high tech research, it established a reputation for skillful researches. Through the 1970s and early 80s it operated as a major defense contractor for the US Government. It changed it's name to Advanced Research Group Enterprises (ARGENT) as a marketing ploy. ARGENT's success came to an end in 1983, when investigative reporters from the Washington Post discovered that ARGENT had been selling US defense technology secrets to criminal organizations, hostile countries, and super villains. The executives and chief scientists of ARGENT fled the United States and relocated to a country called Awad, who harbored them in exchange for a slice of their profits. Currently considered a criminal organization, ARGENT is a major player in the black market sales of technology and information to anyone willing to pay.
(Note: Despite Champions Online featuring an ARGENT headquarters building in Millennium City and the ARGENT logo on a number of gas stations, the ARGENT from Champions lore has no legitimate branch of it's organization.)

The Circle of the Scarlet Moon
Type: Magic
Morality: Neutral Evil
History: The Circle's start is unknown, but is said to trace back to witch covens in Medieval Germany. What is known is that it was formally founded as a coven in France in the 1780s. The French Revolution resulted in a great deal of the core leadership of the Circle getting beheaded, the survivors fled the country to find safety in the New World, setting up a new coven in the British Colonies in America. It discovered a new enemy there: The Trismegistus Council, which it waged a war of attrition with until in the turn of the century it tried to cast a cataclysmic spell to destroy the council, which ended up backfiring, leaving them severely weakened. Since then they have worked in the shadows, only surfacing to hatch the most secretive plots and schemes
(See more: The Mystic World and You)

DEMON
Type: Magic
Morality: Chaotic Evil
History: Started in 1925 as a Satanic cult in the United States, Demon's origins are obscure, even to mystical heroes. It remained mostly quiet until the 1950s, when it became a full-fledged criminal organization, with a goal of world domination through mystic power. Despite this, no one really took the group seriously until 1968 when they stole a powerful object called the Basilisk Orb. With this in their possession, they nearly did take over the world, only stopped by the young organization UNTIL and a number of super humans, the orb being lost in the process. It took the loss hard, and struggled as an organization until 1981, when it managed to lure in a number of UNTIL agents and superheroes into a trap and kill them all as sacrifice to their gods. Since then, they are considered one of the top ten most dangerous organizations in the world.
(See more: The Mystic World and You)

PSI
Type: Psionic
Morality: Neutral Evil
History: The Parapsychological Studies Institute was formed in 1986 by Dr. Sebastian Poe, an expert on superhumans and psychic powers in general. It's stated purpose was to study parnormal phenomena and train young people with psionic powers. However, in 1994, a failed operation revealed it's true purpose: a criminal conspiracy of super villians with psionic powers. After of which, PSI officially became a criminal organization and went underground. PSI's methods are all subtle, using their telekinesis to gleam passwords and data from minds, using their telekinesis to pick locks and break in to locations, and erasing themselves from the minds of people they encounter. They are somewhat nomadic and move from location to location, keeping very few bases. None of their members are anywhere near as powerful as their leader, Menton, but they make up for it by working in groups.

UNTIL
Type: Paramilitary
Morality: Lawful Good
History: In 1963, the UN sponsored a tribunal to study the threat that superhumans represented. It was found that supervillains were a threat not just on a national level but a global one, as they were able to move between national borders with ease, and often tends to have aspirations on a global scale. In response, a radical solution was proposed, that UN should form a police force that would have jurisdiction on a global, regional, and even national scale, able to freely enter any UN nation territory to combat superhuman crime. The idea was extremely controversial for both it's political and financial ramifications but eventually the idea won over. On November 27th, 1965 a treaty was signed (called the "Tribunal Treaty") which formally established United Nations Tribunal on International Law (UNTIL). Every member nation signed the treaty, with the exception of the United States, China, and the Soviet Union, the US not signing was a particular blow to the newly formed UNTIL, as most superhuman activity took place there. Over the next 25 years, UNTIL grew rapidly and became known for competence and professionalism, becoming one of the most technologically advanced organizations in the world. Still, UNTIL wasn't allowed to operate in the US, despite the US supporting the organization in building their own super prison ("The Guardhouse", which exists on an isolated island in the North Atlantic). This changed in 1992, when UNTIL was unable to assist the US when Dr. Destroyer attacked, and it was found later that UNTIL had a number of new technologies that could have potentially stopped Destroyer, if not saved the city. Responding to the public outrage when the population discovered this, US reversed it's position, signing the Tribunal Treaty and allowing UNTIL To operate unhindered in the US, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia also signed the treaty, leaving China as the only UN Member country who has not signed the treaty. Today they are recognized as the world's most advanced, competent, and successful law enforcement agency.
(See more: UNTIL: What it does, is and how it works)

The Trimegistus Council
Type: Magic
Morality: Neutral Good
History: Started in the turn of the 19th century in part by mystics sensing the formation of the Circle of the Scarlet Moon. It grew slowly from then and operated in secret against the Circle. In 1938, it failed to stop the Circle from helping the Nazis raise the level of the world's magic, which ultimately ushered in the era of the superhuman. Since then, it has again operated in the shadows, working more as advisers and watchers. It considers most heroes to be bumbling amateurs, and only helps those it considers to be worthy.
(See more: The Mystic World and You)

VIPER
Type: Paramilitary/Magic
Morality: Chaotic Evil
History: Venomous Imperial Party of the Eternal Reptile (VIPER) is the most powerful and dangerous criminal organization in the world. It was built off of a hundreds of years old cult of Nama, a snake god, but the proper VIPER organization started in the 1940s, when members of the snake cult began having visions of the Serpent's Lantern, they began an expedition to find the Lantern. In 1954, they found it and used the lantern to have a vision from Nama, telling them to found an organization with the goal of dominating the world in the name of the snake god Nama. From there they grew and consolidated their power, keeping hidden until August 22nd, 1962 (Known as "Green Monday") when VIPER launched a coordinated large-scale strike, assassinating dozens of underworld, political, and industrial figures. From there on, VIPER became a major power player in the underworld, though having instances of severe internal turmoil and power struggles to the point that it nearly unraveled in the early 90s. An intervention from Nama in 1992 revived the organization with new leadership and techniques. Today, VIPER is more powerful than ever, and it has been speculated that if VIPER were a country, it would be one of the top twenty most powerful in the world. They operate in a "franchise" structure, with dozens of terrorist cells (called "Nests"), which all have their own leadership, working on the strategy "cut off one head and two eggs hatch".
(Note: Though VIPER is extremely well known now, their pre-1960s history is still shrouded in mystery, as no one has ever captured a VIPER ranked high enough to have that knowledge)
(See more about VIPER's mystical roots: The Mystical World and You).

Not Represented in Champions Online:

Angelstone Laboratories
Type: Science
Morality: Lawful Neutral
History: Founded in 1958 by Preston Angel II, it functions as a defense industry contractor and research organization. In 2003, it fought off a hostile takeover by ACI and was saved by Harmon Industries, James Harmon is now partial owner of Angelstone Laboratories. Angelstone Laboratories functions as superhuman research, and often helps heroes research technology they don't understand, as well as pays heroes for first-hand information on villains, technology, or super-science.

Bastion Alpha Security
Type: Paramilitary
Morality: Chaotic Neutral
History: Founded in 1995 by Anderson Powell, it functions as a Security firm in the United States, offering super powered security for private customers, it's motto is "Protection Beyond the Merely Human". Despite being presented as a security firm in the US, it's operations in Nairobi, Kenya, Tashkent, and Uzbekistan show the firm really is a band of mercenaries willing to work for anyone willing to pay. It does have restrictions on what kind of mercenary work it will do, it won't do assassinations, spearhead assaults, or other such things. It primary offers mercenaries as support, to supplement a main attack force. Most employees of Bastion Alpha Security are of the super-soldier type (using a secret augmentation process), being faster and stronger, but primarily relying on guns and armor.

Executive Control Solutions (ECS)
Type: Paramilitary
Morality: Lawful Good
History: A mercenary and security firm founded in 1993 by three ex-UNTIL agents, it offers solutions to supervillain problems using human intelligence, toughness, and technology. ECS was originally focused on being a morally responsible mercenary outfit dealing with non-superhuman affairs, refusing jobs that seemed shady that other mercenary outfits would have accepted without qualm. This strategy proved to be financially irresponsible however, and the firm went through tough times. In 2002 however, it discovered when it, through another operation, came to capture an Argentinian super villain that there was a good deal of money in superhuman affairs. It began to retool the company towards anti-superhuman security and super human bounty hunting, and revamped their equipment, training techniques, and uniforms to be more similar to UNTIL and PRIMUS. The response was enthusiastic, they found that they had tapped into an untouched market of people who didn't want to rely on unreliable superhumans to handle their problems, and soon had more work than they could handle. Today it is one of the most respected security organizations and has a positive reputation for retrieving supervillain bounties. ECS works as body guards, bounty-hunters, security and mercenaries. They only hire non-super humans, and only those with a military background (especially UNTIL/PRIMUS).

The Exoplanetary Society
Type: Alien/Science
Morality: Lawful Neutral
History: Founded in 1974 by a group of UFO enthusiasts in a small Boston book store, in order to discuss and share stories about aliens, UFOs, and experiences therein. In 1982, James and Deborah Dobbs joined claiming to have been abducted by aliens in 1980, they also brought in a respectable amount of money to the organization, and with their financial backing, the society quickly grew and became a legitimate organization, by the 80s and 90s it claimed millions of members, developing as a watchdog and resource group for alien activity. Members of the society are often called on as experts on alien activity, and are often used by heroes as sources of information.

The Goodman Institute
Type: Science
Morality: Neutral Good
History: Founded by billionaire Horatio Goodman in 2003, the Goodman Institute is a for-profit research and technology company specifically dealing with super-tech, superhumans, biology, and even mysticism. They've aggressively expanded in the short amount of time they've existed, opening up branches across the United States. It's primarily concerned with utilizing research on superhuman abilities and technology for the benefit of mankind (and for their own profit). The Goodman Institute is closely watched over by DOSPA and UNTIL, but Horatio's lobbying efforts with Andrew Rochester keeps the government at bay despite it's reservations over the possibilities of this data being abused or falling into the wrong hands. The Goodman Institute both employs super humans and will work with them free of charge, but under the agreement that if any new technology is discovered, the Goodman Institute gets full legal rights to it. The Institute sends out "Encounter Teams" which are sent to research events and support heroes in super-human related disasters, despite being researchers, every member of this team is armed with non-lethal weaponry, body armor, and trained to defend themselves.

Grand Cinelago Islands
Type: Vacation Spot
Morality: Neutral
History: Officially opened in 1999, the Grand Cinelago Islands are a manufactured series of islands specially designed as a vacation spot especially for superheroes. The entire island was constructed completely by superhumans, and is covered in an invisibility cloak and force-field, it's location is a well-kept secret. It specially tailors vacation packages to each superhuman's needs, and maintains a no-combat rule, enforced by a small army of specially built robots. It takes any superhuman without a criminal record, and charges on a sliding scale based on the person's ability to pay. It's advertised only by word of mouth with Super heroes, who are instructed to only tell people they truly trust.

Institute for Human Advancement
Type: Political
Morality: Lawful Evil
History: Founded in 1982 by Annette Berkelheimer as a political lobbying group, the Institute for Human Advancement (IHA) focuses on issues on the Superhuman world, primarily related to mutant humans. Though it's name makes it sound like a benevolent think-tank science group, the IHA lobbies against the activities of Super humans, especially mutant humans, which it considers the single greatest threat to humanity today. It produces propaganda describing how mutants will one day supplant humanity and force the remaining human population into death camps, and can be found distributing said propaganda any time there is a superhuman and especially mutant incident that results in a loss of human life. Most agencies and people consider them to be crackpots, but they are professionally organized and can be persuasive to scared people. The IHA, though a hate group, is protected by freedom of speech, and it is not known whether they're connected to any criminal activities.

L'Institut Thoth
Type: Science
Morality: Neutral Good
History: In 1954, the UN sponsored a study into aspects of the superhuman and paranormal; a respected French scientist named Dr. Etienne Ste. Germaine was put in charge. The main purpose of the organization was to study the superhumans to help capture super villains, but many of the researchers preferred a "pure research" approach, and resented the focus on military applications. When UNTIL was founded in 1965, the organization was transferred over to it. In 1966, Dr. Etienne Ste. Germaine stepped down and transferred control of the organization to his daughter, Dr. Yvonne Ste. Germaine. However, Yvonne resented the military control even more than her father, and in 1972, so left the organization, taking the majority of her staff with her, and relocated to Switzerland. From there, she pooled together money, donations, and anonymous backing from wealthy super humans, and formed L'Institut Thoth (Named after the Egyptian God of Wisdom), which the focus on studying all aspects of the paranormal, both the good and bad, in order to increase human understanding. It now operates as part think-tank, part research institute, and part hospital, taking money on the basis of the person's ability to pay for consulting, study on cures to super-diseases, and other research. Though it has an ethical rule against helping supervillains commit crimes or evade law enforcement, the Institute will work with anyone who needs help. The Institute has branches in a number of cities, including Millenium City, London, Paris, San Francisco, Vibora Bay, and Tokyo, and much of the research information it obtains is made freely available to law enforcement.

Ravenswood Academy
Type: School
Morality: Lawful Good
History: Founded in 1989 by Telekinetic mutant Kristina Pelvanen, Ravenswood Academy is a prestigious school located in the suburb of Orchardsville. It's motto is "Tomorrow's leaders, today", graduates from the school are known for their civic responsibility and desire to give back to the community. The status of the school as a superhuman training ground is mostly a secret to the public however, but has graduated many students who've gone on to become superheroes.

Sickbay
Type: Medical
Morality: Lawful Good
History: Started in 2003 when the philanthropic Dr. Jeffery Hansen won a $100 million dollar lottery jackpot. Sickbay is a secret hospital specially for superheroes, spread by word of mouth in the superhero community. It's located in a 4-story building near Mercy Hospital in Millenium City, which is ready to be abandoned at a moment's notice if there's a threat. The building keeps up a constant sham of being a telephone answering service, and looks more rundown than it really is, patients enter through an alley in the back door, a sewer system entrance, or the roof. Sickbay has advanced medical facilities for super heroes and requires no payment for services rendered besides the patient's total secrecy.

Trans-City Construction(TCC)
Type: Construction
Morality: Neutral
History: Founded in the 90s by Jeff Baker, a mutant born with the ability to transmute matter, he started it on the basis of wanting to help people, but not feeling like his abilities were useful for combat. Starting Trans-City Construction, his powers allowed the company to complete jobs in a fraction of the time. The company mostly uses Baker's powers with normal construction workers, but employs a number of other superhumans to do construction work (Telekinetic and super strength especially), both repairing damage done by superhuman battles as well as constructing entirely new buildings.

Villainy Unlimited
Type: Legal
Morality: Lawful Evil
History: Started in 1998 by superhuman criminal defense lawyer Thomas "Tom" Franchetti, and located in Downtown Millenium City. Villainy Unlimited is a secretive consultation agency for villains, offering help with legal-representation, money-management, insurance, bail-bonding, etc. to villains. The agency is careful however and skirts the law as much as possible, they will not help villains obtain equipment that's intended to be used in a crime, they won't provide villains with a hide out from the law, and they will not directly launder money for a villain.
#6072265 May 04, 2012 at 08:25 AM
Moderator
4314 Posts
If I may suggest for the few incidents of note for say, PSI or ARGENT, their game portrayal and that of the canon is something that ought to be reconciled a bit for the sake of ease of understanding.

In the case of PSI for instance, I recall the quest line for them being the discovery of Mind Inc. as being a front. In the same sense that MMORP requires a certain stasis on events, it might be better to suggest that Mind Inc's being a front is not a well known fact. Given the additional notion tat they've got many powerful psionics in the organization, a supposition could be made that the times they've come close to discovery, they've used teir powers to help maintain heir cover, while PSI operates independently. The essential conclusion being that it isn't patently obvious that Mind Inc. is PSI or vice versa. It isn't perfect, but it may be one of the compromises that need to be made for the sake of coherency and consistency.

ARGENT faces a similar dilemma. Their backstory and the game story involving them are hard to reconcile, however again the possibility exists. For instance, one could suppose that there WAS a very big scandal involving the illegal sales of weaponry and other things to super criminals and villains and the like. But the "rot" was associated its the Board, who still fled to Awad. There, they could secretly control ARGENT through their own special channels. Meanwhile, the company itself could have rebranded itself to become more generalist, hence things like oil or the gas stations carrying the ARGENT name. The public has a remarkably short memory, and in the time since the massive scandal, they could have reassembled teir former power base, which leaves us where we are with them now. The trick is that it would seem as if the public is unaware of all the evil things ARGENT could be linked to, think in the same vein that people are unwilling to condemn Apple or other major companies for inhumane practices, because they like and rely on their products. You'll of course have your dedicated protesters, and I'm certain that organizations like UNTIL might be able to point to unsavory activities by te company, but a mammoth legal team and "comic book PR" might allow them to disavow any criminal enterprises that are discovered.

I apologize for the wall of text, but these are two thoughts which could potentially bridge te gap between PnP portrayal and te game. There are plenty of things in te game, mostly quests and the like, that one can simply ignore. Its much harder to get everyone on the same page if there's a fundamental disagreement, like the presence of *an* ARGENT HQ despite criminal affiliation or the presence of PSI's office.vrather than telling people they simply shouldn't be, it might be helpful to instead note the inconsistency and propose a solution.
This is my Mod voice.
@leetsepeak ingame.
"He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it." - George Orwell

#6074904 May 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
85 Posts
You're totally right about PSI. The self-help group was Mind Inc, not PSI, and as far as I remember, they were careful to hide the connection (going so far as to keep their troops psionically disguised), so that could definitely be taken as just a temporary front for PSI. I'll just remove that bit.

ARGENT's one is a lot harder though. In Champions Online they seem to be portrayed as a legitimate company with a lot of shady dealings. It's kinda hard to suspend disbelief that a company like ARGENT could continue existing after getting caught red-handed so many times, and I already ignore most of what happens in Millennium City. Like I don't consider the prison to be in the process of a 24/7 break out, or gangs to be standing around out in the open everywhere, may as well ignore that there's an ARGENT headquarters and ARGENT logos on the gas stations, I'm sure most people didn't even notice the latter.

There's a lot of problems with consolidating the lore and Champions Online, sometimes they just don't bother to explain things in CO, sometimes they just ignore the Champions Lore, which creates a lot of confusion. Like the idea that magic is, by most people, considered impossible in the lore and mages are happy to keep it that way as they're all secretive people. Whereas in Champions Online, magic and mages are everywhere and are happy to shout from the mountains about how magic they are.

I think I'm just going to leave it as it is for ARGENT, but clarify that that's how it is in the Lore. I guess people can make their own decision on how to treat it.
#6077365 May 05, 2012 at 08:41 AM · Edited over 10 years ago
Moderator
4314 Posts
Yeah, that sounds good. Wish they'd do a bit more than pay lip service to lore in so many instances. Poor White Rhino getting the backstory shafted. :(

Also I should've said it before, but excellent work on this, it'll really help make lore all the more accessible to people. :D
This is my Mod voice.
@leetsepeak ingame.
"He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it." - George Orwell

#6169749 May 25, 2012 at 09:52 AM
85 Posts
Added the Goodman Institute to organizations not represented in Champions Online. Found it in "Champions Universe: News of the World" source-book.
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