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#13794408 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:15 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
Much of our discussions of Champions lore have focused on the magical side of the setting. Since so much of the game's content of late has dealt with that, it's perhaps understandable. But the setting has a very extensive scientific side, so I wanted to balance things out by exploring that for a bit. 😉 I posted a thread on this subject quite a while back, but wanted to expand the discussion by bringing in more diverse info related to it.

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Like the mainstream comics companies' universes, Champions Earth features its share of scientific super-geniuses who have invented near-miraculous technologies, and more advanced alien societies who have left samples of their tech behind on Earth. Many comics fans have difficulty accepting that in those universes these inventions and discoveries seem to have had little or no impact on the average person. Technology in the wider world seems stuck on the same level as the real Earth. Many rationalizations have been offered for why that should be, and the Champions setting shares them to a degree: heroes guard the best tech as too dangerous to release; governments classify inventions with military or security applications or risks; many devices aren't cost-effective to mass produce; most people can't grasp the principles discovered by true geniuses or older civilizations; some inventions are irreproduceable accidents, or actually channeling the "inventor's" innate powers.

However, some of the PnP source books -- notably Champions Universe, Champions Beyond, and Millennium City -- illustrate that new technologies have filtered out to the general public to some extent, and have made qualitative differences in people's lives. As this might make for a change in the "ground rules" assumptions role-players have about how the setting works, I thought it might be helpful to run down some of the more significant, obvious, or pervasive differences.

Advances in medicine and genetics have eliminated, or diminished the impact of, many diseases. Scientists have adapted cybernetic technology first developed for powered armor and similar super-technology to devices that allow people with spinal injuries to walk again, and people with neurological disorders to function without significant impairment.

Communications has advanced significantly. Throughout the United States, Europe, and many other developed or wealthy countries, virtually everyone has access to computers, smartphones, and similar devices that are easily carried, lightweight, fast, high-memory, extremely user friendly, and have extraordinarily long battery lives. Even in Third World countries, ownership of cellular phones and computers may exceed 50% of the population, thanks to advanced manufacturing processes and materials. Holography has improved to the point where Millennium City features animated three-dimensional advertising billboards.

High-tech fibers and materials discovered by superhumans, and scientists working with their data, beginning in the Sixties have led to stronger and more comfortable bulletproof vests, lightweight armored panels for military vehicles, more crash-proof civilian cars, and many similar advances.

Internal combustion vehicles and manufacturing are much cleaner and more environmentally friendly than the machines of old, and major strides have been made in the field of alternative energy. Significant efforts have been made to clean up and repair damage to the environment, and to prevent further damage going forward.

Travel, whether by air, water, or land, is quicker and safer than ever before. Flights from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast can be comfortably completed in just two hours in some cases. The "Smart Roadway" system in Millennium City interacts with Vehicle Control Chips in all cars within city limits, allowing traffic authorities to automatically track them, and if necessary shut a car down remotely. When driving on the Millennium City Highway surrounding the city, the VCC lets a central computer take direct control of the cars, practically eliminating accidents.

While humanity is not yet colonizing other worlds in the solar system, near-space exploration is advancing rapidly. Since 1996 UNTIL has had a fully-functioning space station, GATEWAY, orbiting Earth, with up to 200 inhabitants. The United States launched its own orbital facility, the United States Space Station, in 2006. UNTIL also has the distinction of being the first entity to establish a permanently-manned base on the Moon, Moonbase Serenity, in 2000. It now has over 40 personnel. In late 2004 the United States completed work on the Venus Scientific Outpost, an orbital station designed to study the hothouse planet in detail. It has a crew of eight, six unmanned sensor drones, and three one-man vehicles capable of descending to the middle ranges of the atmosphere. The United States established Ares I, also known simply as the Mars Research Base (or “Marsbase”) in 2008. Marsbase currently houses a dozen scientists, though plans call for expanding it to almost four times that size over the next twenty years.
#13794413 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:22 PM
1257 Posts
Powerful nations, such as the United States or Great Britain, have huge sums of money, well-stocked research facilities, and corps of brilliant scientists at their command — and if they work on something long enough, they may achieve results that would elude lesser strivers. Although most militaries still use standard-tech weapons (explosive-propellant-based bullets and rifles, tanks and howitzers firing explosive shells, manned fighter jets, and so on), the larger and more advanced armies and navies have incorporated some super-technology-derived weapons and systems into their arsenals.

Some Champions Universe governments have fielded units of soldiers equipped with low-strength powered armor (or at least high-tech defensive gear), made use of advanced spacecraft, and equipped special military and paramilitary forces with blasters and similar super weapons. But even then, they often prefer to keep their super-technology to themselves as much as possible, due to the strategic and tactical advantages it provides. For example, the United States has small squads of light powered armor-wearing soldiers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with smart targeting capability able to fly at Mach 10, and many other such weapons. None of them provide the US with an overwhelming advantage in combat, but taken together they definitely extend and expand America’s already potent military capabilities.

In some cases, super-technology developments even trickle down to smaller militaries. The US Department of Defense has expressed concern about countries like North Korea or Awad building and using relatively cheap magnetic “railgun” weapons to shoot down American satellites and planes. Sometimes it seems that for every advance one nation makes, another finds a way to counter it using different super-technology... though the sources from which some lesser nations obtain their super-technology remain a subject of speculation.

Even mercenaries and mercenary companies get into the act sometimes. A few, seeking competitive advantage both on the battlefield and in the marketplace, have invested in (or otherwise obtained) powered armor suits, energy rifles, advanced robotic vehicles, and other super-tech weapons. Supervillains like Lazer, Mechassassin, and the Steel Commando all got their start as mercenaries (at least in part), and still participate in that part of the global underworld if the money’s right.

Private super-criminal organizations such as VIPER and ARGENT have also developed weaponry and equipment beyond the conventional, aided by their willingness to disregard ethical research standards. As an example, here's an entry from the very extensive list of weapons in VIPER's arsenal, from VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent p. 97:

VB-A1 "STRIKER" BLASTER RIFLE

This weapon, the standard field arm issued to VIPER agents, incorporates VIPER's basic blaster technology in assault rifle form. Its large beam generator assembly... can fire in automatic mode if necessary. Squadrons of agents often coordinate their automatic fire to create a "kill zone" on the battlefield and take out enemy officers or superheroes...

VIPER agents sometimes "supercharge" the VB-A1 to increase the power of its beam. This runs the risk of burning out the weapon's energy pack and leaving the agent without his primary firearm, but some agents are willing to take the chance to get that extra burst of firepower. Another common variant, developed by Nests that frequently face foes with intangibility powers, fires a multi-flux beam capable of affecting desolidified matter.
#13794415 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:24 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
According to Champions Beyond various groups, notably the United States government, have salvaged and studied examples of alien technology from the several invasions and known spaceship crashes, with mixed results. They've had the most success understanding and adapting the tech from the Sirians, i.e. the "War of the Worlds" aliens. The highly biological nature of Qularr technology, including the tendency of the bio-components to decay or become dormant over time, has made it difficult to analyze and mostly incompatible with human tech. Gadroon gravity-manipulating devices appear to utilize principles that humans, even super-scientists, have never imagined, so have eluded deciphering. While trying to comprehend the nonfunctional wreckage of the Malvan ships that Ironclad and Herculan arrived in, has been likened to Neanderthals trying to reverse-engineer a supercollider.

OTOH the Warlord (Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains) has had considerable success with technology salvaged from a downed "blueboy" (Hzeel) scout ship, even combining it with human technology to exceed the capabilities of the Hzeel themselves. Hzeel tech is also partly biological, but to a lesser degree, and is less advanced, than Qularr devices. (The Hzeel, Qularr, and Gadroon all have full chapters devoted to them in Champions Beyond.)
#13794416 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:25 PM
1257 Posts
Outside of major industrialized nations, supervillains, and organizations like VIPER and ARGENT, certain smaller (fictional) states on Champions Earth also possess very advanced technology; and in their own ways pose a significant threat to world security.

Awad, a small nation on the Saudi peninsula, between Yemen and Oman on the Indian Ocean, is becoming an increasing world security problem. The sheiks of Awad, most of whom are closely related to its ironfisted ruler Sultan Thamar el-Hiri, are incredibly wealthy thanks to their country’s vast oil deposits, and care little for how their actions affect others if they can increase their own power and bank accounts. Harsh Muslim fundamentalists, they intensely dislike Western culture in general and the United States in particular, and have for years funded numerous terrorist organizations. Awad supported Iraq during the Gulf War and Iraq War.

In recent decades Awad has invested extensively in technology, ranging from computers to bio-engineering. As a result, today it’s considered one of the centers of world technological development, though many high-tech firms deal with it reluctantly (if at all) due to its repressive political climate. Some Western officials fear that the Awadis use their high-tech expertise to equip terrorists with weapons and devices that would otherwise be well beyond the reach of most such groups. They also suspect strong ties between Awad and ARGENT and VIPER.

Western suspicions about Awad’s connection to supercriminal groups are well-founded. For years Awad’s worked closely with both ARGENT and VIPER, providing a haven from extradition for some of their personnel in exchange for cash and technology, allowing them to build special labs and facilities there, and so forth. Recently relationships with VIPER have been strained since the Awadis suspect (correctly) that VIPER took advantage of the chaos during the Iraq War to steal some Awadi technological secrets. As a result, the alliance with ARGENT has become even stronger.

Rumors about a past joint Iraqi-Awadi program to create superhumans are true. Using a secret lab built in Awad (to avoid U.N. observers in Iraq), Saddam Hussein and Sultan Thamar el-Hiri had hoped to custom-build enough superhuman soldiers to avenge Iraq’s defeat in the Gulf War, take over the Middle East, and establish a chokehold on much of the world’s oil supplies. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for the world), the program’s only true success was Saddam Hussein's former superhumanly strong personal bodyguard, whom he referred to as Turs al-Sh’ab ("Shield Of The People," written up in Champions Villains Vol. 3). Many failures were dropped in the deep desert to die. The program has been suspended due to the overthrow of Hussein’s regime and the presence of American military personnel in the region, but it’s possible Awad may try to resurrect it with help from ARGENT. Dr. Bohuslav Strasky, who headed UNTIL's own largely-failed attempt to manufacture superhumans, the "Future Soldier Program," has secretly been offered millions by Awad to bring his expertise to that nation. The sultan has a few other hired superhumans on his payroll.

Larisagrad, located deep in the Ural Mountains, was once a secret Soviet city, but is today an effectively independent city-state. During the Cold War era Larisagrad was where numerous top-secret Soviet research projects were conducted. Merely attempting to enter the city without proper authorization was a capital offense.The foremost of these research projects was Directorate Black-12, the Soviet superhuman soldier program. This project was about as successful as most of the similar American programs — which is to say that it produced a handful of superhumans in exchange for killing, crippling, or driving insane hundreds of “volunteer” test subjects.

When the Soviet Union crumbled and funding for Larisagrad’s expensive research dried up, the scientists there were faced with a choice. They could become legitimate researchers, competing in the world of commercial scientific research... or they could offer their services to the highest bidder, regardless of purpose or morality. Unwilling to give up their high-class (by Russian standards, anyway) lifestyle, they opted for the latter path. A few scientists who couldn’t stomach the decision fled the city, often ending up with European or American research firms. (Larisagrad officials vehemently deny charges they work for criminal elements, and to date world law-enforcement does not have solid proof of it.)

It didn’t take long for Larisagrad to develop a reputation for the quality of its work, not to mention the blind eye it turned to what was done with its technology. The scientists there often put their unique acumen and equipment to work creating technology for supervillains, providing medical care for injured superhumans who don't want their condition revealed to the outside world, and so forth. VIPER soon became a frequent customer, as did the Warlord, the Ultimates, the Crimelords, Utility, and various powered armor-wearing supervillains who needed occasional maintenance, upgrades, resupply, or spare parts for their equipment. Thanks to the influx of cash from these clients, most Larisagradians enjoy a standard of life far higher than that of other Russians.

A “client” who wants to contract Larisagrad’s services contacts any member of the city’s governing council, the Komityet Upravlyeniya Issledovaniyami (“Research Steering Committee,” or KUI). The Committee looks into the request, determines what it can do for the client, and quotes a price. There’s no dickering — a client either accepts the price or walks away (though on occasion the Committee has agreed to be paid in trade or services rather than cash). After a client deposits the nonrefundable full amount into a secret account, the Committee puts Larisagrad’s scientists and factories to work on his behalf. The finished goods are delivered at a time and place specified in the original contract.

Larisagrad would make a rich prize for many villains and Russian organized crime groups, not to mention the Russian government, so it has plenty of defenses to keep unwanted “visitors” away. Besides the assistance of grateful superhumans they have helped, the most prominent of these defenses is a corps of powered armor-wearing soldiers called the “Larisagrad Division” (or simply, “the Division”). The leader of the Division is Shturm, or “Onslaught,” a superhuman created by Directorate Black-12. Gifted with energy projection and teleportation powers in addition to the powerful suit of battle armor he wears, Shturm has earned the gratitude of the Larisagradians — as well as millions of dollars — keeping their pleasant little home in the Urals safe and secure.

(Most of the information in this post is transcribed or summarized from Champions Universe, with additional details from Champions Universe: News Of The World and UNTIL: Defenders Of Freedom.)
#13794417 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:26 PM
1257 Posts
Two other sites and communities on Champions Earth are receptacles for some of the world's most sophisticated scientific knowledge and resources, but are virtually unknown to the world at large.

Arcadia is a city and valley hidden on the Antarctic continent, home to the ageless superhuman offshoot of humanity called Empyreans. The Empyreans have employed technology since before Homo Sapiens evolved on Earth, and their science remains among the most advanced in the world. The climate of Arcadia is kept habitable, and its existence hidden from outside detection, by devices built by the Empyreans' creators, the immortal aliens known as Progenitors. The only samples of Progenitor tech known to still be on Earth, the devices are beyond any others on the planet.

The Himalaya Mountains contain the Vale of Javangari, settled centuries ago by worshipers of a variant sect to the Hindu god Shiva who fled religious persecution in India. Lost to the wider world, the valley was discovered several decades ago by Dr. Destroyer, whom the Javangari worship as an avatar of Shiva. Destroyer remolded Javangari society to serve him, educating its people in cutting-edge science, and indoctrinating them to be the fanatically loyal core of his armies. The Vale is concealed by devices similar in function to those guarding Arcadia, although not as sophisticated.

Arcadia is extensively described in Hidden Lands, and the Vale of Javangari in Book Of The Destroyer.
#13794421 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:28 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
There are several substances unique to the Champions Universe mentioned in various source books, either discovered or created by super-scientists, which assist them in achieving effects beyond what's possible in the real world. Several other substances were added by Cryptic devs to Champions Online for crafting purposes, their descriptions referring to established elements from the setting.

Questionite falls under the category of what Champions Universe refers to as "uncanny metals." Questionite was originally supposed to be rare (before Champions Online showered more of it over the Earth 😉 ), meteorite-deposited, stronger than steel but much lighter, and taking an extraordinarily keen edge able to cut through nearly anything. Speaking of steel, kendrium is a steel alloy developed by Prof. Daryl Kendrick, as strong as questionite and not much heavier than other grades of steel. He keeps the formula a secret, so it can't be in wide production (and so is probably pretty pricey). Another meteoric metal is neutronium, stronger than either of the above, and much denser, to the point where a knife made from it would require a strong man to even lift.

Dr. Destroyer developed a superstrong alloy he calls destreum, which only he knows how to make. DD also invented an "organo-plastic," biosynth, which he uses to create human-looking androids. Biosynth looks and feels like living flesh, and can be crafted to simulate finger prints, retina patterns, even DNA.

Radiation from the rare element called radium X can be used as a high-energy power source for various devices. It also has mutagenic properties in certain circumstances; for example, it's a key element of Dr. Phillippe Moreau's process for creating Manimals. There are a few other mutagens and power-enhancing processes in the lore, a couple of which are particularly notable. Cyberline, used by PRIMUS in the creation of its superhuman Silver Avengers (of whom Mayte Sanchez is only one), is believed by the public to be a drug, but is actually a type of gene therapy. It only works on a fraction of the human population, and requires repeated doses to maintain its effects. The Psi Serum, invented by Dr. Sebastian Poe the founder of PSI, amplifies even the smallest amount of genetic potential a person may have for psionic powers, sometimes to significant superhuman levels. It has no effect on people without such potential. PSI guards its formula closely.

X-9 is a very efficient but unstable rocket fuel developed by Hua Shoi-Ming of China. Exposure to it made him the super-speedster called the Red Bullet, a member of China's official superhero team, the Tiger Squad. X-9 may possibly be related to X-53, another experimental fuel possessed by a French corporation, which turned mercenary thief Hans Zeldte into the fire-powered Feurmacher, now a member of Eurostar. These fuels are both canon from the tabletop game, although X-9 is also a crafting item in CO.

Among the items which have appeared only in Champions Online, fordite is a powerful concentrated explosive, created by Fordham Chemtech (see below). Fordham is also responsible for Regor plastic, a near-impenetrable synthetic fiber. Mechalene is an extremely durable plastic invented by Mechanon. Dragonite is a flexible alloy which can withstand extreme temperatures, of unspecified origin.


#13794424 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:32 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
There are several (apparently) legitimate tech companies in the official setting which are at the forefront of research and development, and would make good places for scientist PCs to work, make discoveries or breakthroughs, interact with NPCs of similar background, or maybe have an empowering lab accident. 😉 All of these are either headquartered in or have major branch offices at Millennium City, since it's a center for cutting-edge research. Aside from additional books which are cited in individual entries below, most of the information about these companies appears in the Millennium City source book.

Advanced Concepts Industries (ACI): One of the world's largest and most diverse corporations, ACI has fingers in almost every endeavor where there's money to be made. High-tech and chemical manufacturing are high on its list of priorities. While most of its employees are normal people with normal motivations, ACI's founder, president, CEO and majority owner is Franklin Stone (Champions Villains Vol. 1: Master Villains), who has no scruples in bypassing law or ethics in the pursuit of wealth and power; so there are certainly covert nefarious activities that could be investigated or stumbled upon, including scientific projects.

Angelstone Laboratories: Angelstone initially made its name as an innovative defense contractor, and that remains one of its major focuses, although it's expanded its research over a broad range of applied and theoretical sciences: everything from physics and genetics, to criminology and economics. But it's become best known for its "Superhuman Studies Division" researching super powers and super technology, and activities and behavior of supervillains. It frequently gives presentations and reports to governments and law enforcement on these subjects, and sometimes assists superheroes directly. In this it competes with the Goodman Institute in America, and the Swiss-based l'Institut Thoth (both described in Champions Universe). Angelstone Laboratories is a for-profit company, but will sometimes offer reduced rates to clients in a good cause. Angelstone Laboratories is thoroughly described in Cops, Crews, And Cabals.

Binary Corporation: This major Millennium City-based company is best known for computer hardware and software, but also researches medical technology, genetics, and is a leader in plasma-based weapon design. It sponsors its own superhero spokesperson, the duplicating Binary Man. BC suffered a major scandal in 2001 when one of its top executives, Monica Knowlton, was revealed to be a Morbane of DEMON, but has since recovered.

Cambridge Biotechnology: Based in London, Cambridge focuses on medicine, pharmaceuticals, and genetics, with many profitable patents. It was the first company to research the biochemical functions of psionic powers, and has developed tests for detecting and cataloguing such powers, licensing their use by court systems around the world. But Cambridge may be best known for employing the simian super-scientist, Dr. Silverback, at its Millennium City facilities. (Dr. Silverback's write-up is in Champions Universe.)

Dew Chemical: One of the largest chemical companies in the United States, Dew is also one of the few major corporations which has been based in Detroit/Millennium City since before Dr. Destroyer leveled it. Dew's programs include development of plastics, adhesives and sealants, herbicides and pesticides, and synthetic biochemical compounds.

Drake-Victoria Inc. (DVI): One of the largest American defense contractors, Drake-Victoria designs military vehicles and weapons, particularly tanks, trucks, rockets and missiles. It continues to research ways to economically manufacture light, reliable powered armor for soldiers. It's also at the forefront of force-field generation technology. In recent years its facilities have been attacked by the supervillain team called the Ultimates (Champions Villains Vol. 2: Villain Teams). Unknown outside of the Ultimates, one of their members, Cyclone, used to work for DVI and has a grudge against them.

Duchess Industries: A huge multinational corporation based in Bonn, Germany, Duchess Industries has holdings in many fields, including aerospace, nuclear energy, biotechnology, computers and robotics, chemistry and mining. DI is privately owned by the mysterious Duchess Henrietta von Drotte. Von Drotte is secretly one of the highest leaders of VIPER (where she's known simply as "the Duchess") and DI conducts several clandestine research projects for VIPER. VIPER's assistance with industrial espionage, sabotage, and assassination has helped Duchess Industries reach its current stature. (The Duchess and DI receive considerable attention in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent.)

Fordham Chemtech: Fordham dominates several niche markets, including manufacturing microchips and other silicoids, and medical films and other related materials. It has several subsidiaries competing in other fields, such as Regor in memory plastics.

Genex Labs: A relatively small company founded at the start of recombinant DNA engineering, Genex patents include treatments for a range of diseases. However, its profile and profit were greatly raised when it invented the Cyberline treatment which PRIMUS uses to create its cadre of superhuman Avengers.

Harmon Industries: Almost wholly owned by James Harmon III, HI is a general-purpose defense contractor, with specialties in rocketry and missiles, aerospace and satellites, and infantry weapons. The Harmon family is unaware of James IV's identity as Defender, and considers him a disappointment for not devoting more time and energy to the company.

Ironwood Industrial Technologies (IIT): One of HI's chief competitors for American space-based defense contracts, Ironwood has its headquarters in MC and major manufacturing facilities in North Detroit. It co-designed UNTIL's GATEWAY space station and contributed to the Champions' V-Jet.

Kendrick and Company: Professor Daryl Kendrick founded this company after his discovery of his superstrong "kendrium" steel alloy. He's received several government contracts to manufacture armor for tanks and other vehicles. UNTIL's nuclear submarine, the Aegir, has a hull made of kendrium. (The Aegir is written up in UNTIL: Defenders Of Freedom.) Kendrick is believed to have found a loophole in patent laws allowing him to patent his formula while keeping it secret; in fact he bribed some corrupt officials at the Patent Office.

Pharos Industries: Perhaps the only corporation rivaling the size and diversity of ACI, Pharos has subsidiaries specializing in electronics (particularly supercomputers), biotechnology (notably medical cybernetics), and transportation infrastructure (it designed and built the Millennium City "smart roadway" system).

Regent Energy: One of the world's largest oil companies, Regent is also a leader in development of alternative energy sources: solar power, geothermal energy, and synthetic gasoline replacements. Its Millennium City offices house some of the top researchers in that field.


NOTE: ARGENT is a special case, laid out at length on this forum thread.
#13794429 Jun 14, 2018 at 04:36 PM
1257 Posts
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. As mentioned earlier on this thread, 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.
#13794552 Jun 14, 2018 at 09:38 PM
PRIMUS Mod
1618 Posts
As a bit of a coda to LL's outstanding work, the Duchess (and others) can be found in the two short stories:

And So This is Christmas

Old Friends, Old Enemies

New sig to follow.
#13795884 Jun 16, 2018 at 08:06 PM
285 Posts
Thanks for this briefing. It's a great resource for future reference and very much what I'm interested in. I will also check out Thundrax's portrayal of these companies later.

Liaden, would you prefer if we asked follow-up questions on this thread or start a new one? The broad theme of my questioning is simply, what are the social/economic repercussions of this supertech?

More action at Champions Online Comics at http://co-comics.webs.com
#13796205 Jun 17, 2018 at 09:25 AM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
Well, I definitely don't object in principle to any questions, commentary, or other input on this thread. I find it much more interesting and constructive to dialogue rather than monologue. 😉 I would say that detailed discussions of very specific issues, e.g. developing a character based on any particular precedent raised here, would probably be best served on their own separate threads. But your question is a more general expansion upon this subject, which IMO is very beneficial and appropriate to its spirit.

From everything I've read and heard, I can quite confidently state that Champions Earth is for the most part the same as real Earth, only intensified. Social, political, and economic structures and interactions are essentially the same. Modern history and geopolitics are largely unchanged, i.e. the same major events occurred in both worlds, and the familiar players are in place. Even most of the current and historical influential people are shared by both.

All this super-science has made Champions Earth a better place in a number of ways, as I highlighted at the beginning of this thread. Some of the things of pressing concern to us real folks are much less of an issue for them. Global warming is less critical. Environmental pollution and degradation are more controlled. Fewer people have to suffer due to disease or injury. The benefits of advanced technology are more accessible and affordable to people around the world.

Individuals on Champions Earth have often made their fortunes from particularly innovative discoveries or designs, but that's hardly without real-world precedent. Earlier on the thread I gave the examples of cyberline and kendrium, but those aren't fundamentally different from microchips, or velcro. However, in keeping with the conventions of comics I spelled out at the start of the thread, various factors restrict really widespread commercialization of developments that are very dangerous, or which would change the world's recognizable familiarity too much.

But those factors don't eliminate the elevated potential this technology has for destabilizing world security, which gives many people in governments and law-enforcement sleepless nights. In fact that potential is one defining characteristic of the superhero genre. There are many examples in the comics and the Champions Universe of a common thug turning into a supervillain just by getting his hands on a piece of bleeding-edge tech. Actually inventing something radically advanced can significantly alter the balance of power. To use recent fictional examples, various Marvel superhero movies have raised the tremendous risk of unscrupulous parties getting their hands on the plans for arc reactors, or the formula for Pym particles, or vibranium and devices based on it. VIPER's relatively small paramilitary force can compete with much larger armies because it arms all its agents with advanced equipment; while the single greatest factor making Dr. Destroyer the magnitude of menace he is, is his capacity for extraordinary scientific breakthroughs almost on demand.

It's not at all uncommon for those in possession of dangerous advanced technology to sell products based on it (although rarely the secrets behind it) to evil but otherwise mundane people who wouldn't otherwise have access to them: organized criminals, terrorists or subversives, petty dictators, or aspiring supervillains. This thread already named several parties involved in that business. While to date none of those developments have turned a relative nobody into an instant global threat, they can become much more of a local danger. I get the impression most of the ultratech sellers are wary of too much destabilizing activity making stopping them a top priority for the whole global community. As one example, VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent p. 132 notes that while VIPER is well able to build nuclear weapons, it eschews doing so for fear that if world governments found out, they would double down on efforts to destroy VIPER before VIPER is ready for world domination.

Perhaps the most dangerous area of scientific research on Champs Earth is the long-standing and ongoing effort to discover a safe, reliable, economical method to create superhumans. Many parties have engaged in projects with that goal. The Soviet Union had its Directorate Black-12. The US military runs Department 17, only the latest in a long line of American "superhuman soldier" projects. Smaller "rogue states" like Awad and Chiquador actively pursue that line of research, as do supercriminal groups such as VIPER and ARGENT. Any party that succeeds would gain a game changing tactical advantage. Smaller players won't need the facilities and infrastructure for a modern mechanized military to threaten their neighbors, if they can field an army whose soldiers can fly, shoot lightning, and/or throw tanks.

(Of course Teleios already has that capacity. He hasn't tried to exercise it to date because ruling the world isn't important to him. OTOH the world first learned of Teleios in 1993, when he sold an army of cloned soldiers to Eurostar so they could invade and try to conquer Poland.)
#13796436 Jun 17, 2018 at 03:55 PM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
I should also point out that what most of society considers the scientific "fringe" is hella smaller on Champions Earth than it is in the real world. With all these radical scientific inventions, not to mention superhuman genetic mutations, multiple alien invasions, rampaging giant monsters, whole cities being shrunken and stolen, and other mind-boggling phenomena they've experienced for generations, humanity seems to have learned to take a lot of weirdness in stride. The majority appear to be inured to the impact of revelations that would spark profound upheaval in our world if they occurred here, like the incontestable existence of non-human intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, often more advanced than humans; or the return of self-professed mythological gods with miraculous powers. I get the impression most people have developed an attitude of, "Been there, done that, and I still have to pay taxes."
#13797556 Jun 19, 2018 at 06:12 AM · Edited 1 month ago
1257 Posts
As usual for a comic-book world, most of the top-tier tech on Champions Earth is confined in the hands of superheroes and villains, but Champions tends to spread them around more internationally than the mainstream comics companies do. For example, the veteran powered-armor hero of Japan known as Tetsuronin is widely considered to wield the most powerful and sophisticated armor of any superhero in the world. He's analogous to Tony Stark in most ways, although much more serious than Stark's movie incarnation. In recent years China has been menaced by a mysterious would-be conqueror calling himself Fandao Junzhu ("the Overlord"), whom some reporters dubbed "the Chinese Dr. Destroyer," although his armor and resources don't equal Destroyer's.

Doctor Destroyer is near-universally acknowledged to possess the most advanced technology of any person on Earth. His followers are armed with a dizzying array of bleeding-edge weapons, vehicles, and robots; while DD's personal powered armor is unquestionably the most versatile and potent on the planet. A very few scientific geniuses may rival or even surpass Destroyer in specific fields, e.g. Mechanon in robotics, Teleios in genetic engineering, or Captain Chronos in temporal physics. But the range and diversity of sciences and related disciplines the Doctor has mastered is unmatched, and he's first in the world in almost all of them.

Tetsuronin is written up in Champions Worldwide, which also describes the Overlord's early appearances. That book focuses on detailing international superhuman activity outside of the United States and Canada. (Canada has its own source book, Champions Of The North, written by our esteemed CORP colleague, Scott "Thundrax" Bennie.) Doctor Destroyer has an entire source book devoted to him, Book Of The Destroyer.
#13799867 Jun 22, 2018 at 08:44 AM · Edited 27 days ago
1257 Posts
Although not explicitly stated anywhere, I would call it reasonable to assume all this super-science has greatly contributed to the predominant skepticism toward magic on Champions Earth. The great majority of people don't believe in magic any more than folks on real Earth do, despite the presence of some high-profile beings who claim supernatural powers. There are more scientific (for a comic-book world) explanations for all these phenomena, with precedents as spectacular as anything magic has come up with. Undead? We have corpses reanimated by chemicals or electricity. Therianthropes? We can name a dozen supers who change to animals due to genetic mutations or serums. Astral dimensions with weird monsters? Earth's been invaded multiple times by non-humans from other dimensions, who used tech to get here. Gods? Doctor Destroyer calls himself a god, and has the power to back it up. Miraculous events witnessed by and affecting millions? Try to top the warlord from the future who shrunk and stole the entire island of Manhattan.
#13799986 Jun 22, 2018 at 12:45 PM
276 Posts
I don't know Liaden, I would make the case that real world people are magic beliving. and very much so. Anyone that goes to their church, belives in an afterlife, refuses to walk under a ladder, circles in front of a black cat, has a rabbit foot, hangs a blue glass eye on the wall, throw salt over their shoulder when spilled, shuffles their feet over the trail of a snake or sets out offerings for their ancestors, or any number of other small harmless quirks people do, is still... beliving in magic. they might say its habit, tradition or something they do to please their grandma- but that's still.. magic. ;)



but that's neither here nor there, please carry on with more superscience goodness! :D I'm enjoying this thread!

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!
#13800023 Jun 22, 2018 at 02:04 PM
1257 Posts
I'm glad you're enjoying it. 😊

As to your point, let me quote the end of the Gilligan's Island episode, "Three to Get Ready," in which Gilligan discovers a gem the Skipper believes is a magic relic granting the finder three wishes. His wishes do appear to come true, although not in the way intended. The whole episode the Professor completely denies anything other than explicable coincidence is at work; but when Gilligan throws the gem away in disgust, everyone rushes off to find it again so they can get three more wishes, including the Professor.

Gilligan - "Professor, I didn't think you believed in all that wishing stuff."
Professor - "Oh, I don't. It's entirely unscientific... absolutely absurd... violates every rule of common sense and it's completely contrary to the rules of logic and intelligence... But just in case!" 😝
#13800043 Jun 22, 2018 at 02:49 PM
276 Posts
I've never watched Gilligan's island- it seems I should remedy this!

Also, I laughed :D :P

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!
#13802460 Jun 26, 2018 at 02:05 PM · Edited 23 days ago
1257 Posts
Radical scientific breakthroughs on Champions Earth aren't just confined to the 20th and 21st Centuries. On our world the fiction of the 19th Century was full of adventures based on the frontiers of science, and in the Champions Universe many of those pioneering scientists actually existed, such as the first Dr. Moreau and his project to raise animals to sapience; Captain Nemo's extraordinary submarine; Baron Frankenstein's reanimation experiments; the invisibility formula developed by a man named Griffin; and Henry Jekyll's discovery to incarnate the evil within every person.

Other notable figures are unique and original to this setting. Prof. Myron Klauss, a.k.a "Professor Clock," a Swiss clockwork roboticist, allegedly inspired some of the more fanciful creations of L. Frank Baum. One of his constructs, the robotic butler "Dalhousie," still functions 150 years later. Dr. Victor Vulcaine was to applied sonics what Nikola Tesla is popularly believed to have been to electro-magnetism. Vulcaine's feats included a sub-sonic vibration that broke every piece of glass in London. Even modern Champs Earth science has been unable to analyze or duplicate all the accomplishments of these geniuses. But some of their lost or stolen notes or prototypes may still await rediscovery.

(Most of the scientists mentioned above are noted in the historical section of Champions Universe, but Klauss and Vulcaine are described in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent p. 7.)
#13802546 Jun 26, 2018 at 04:29 PM
156 Posts
#13802460 Lord Liaden wrote:

Dr. Victor Vulcain was to applied sonics what Nikola Tesla is popularly believed to have been to electro-magnetism. Vulcain's feats included a sub-sonic vibration that broke every piece of glass in London. Even modern Champs Earth science has been unable to analyze or duplicate all the accomplishments of these geniuses. But some of their lost or stolen notes or prototypes may still await rediscovery.

(Most of the scientists mentioned above are noted in the historical section of Champions Universe, but Klauss and Vulcain are described in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent p. 7.)



More on this chap please, Liaden?
#13802687 Jun 26, 2018 at 07:45 PM · Edited 23 days ago
1257 Posts
Soitenly. 😇 There isn't a lot more to tell, but what there is, is intriguing.

The most notorious experiment by Victor Vulcaine (sorry, forgot the "e" at the end above) was to use "sonic reflectors" to amplify and broadcast the music from the London Symphony Orchestra across a twenty-mile radius, with equal volume over the whole area. Today he's held in the same quasi-mythic esteem as Nikola Tesla.

Unfortunately, during the 1890s he experienced bouts of madness, spending days crawling on his belly imitating a snake. Dr. Vulcaine died in 1899 after being stabbed multiple times by an unknown assailant. His attacker stole some of his notes and prototypes, which no authorities have ever recovered.

Dr. Victor Vulcaine was secretly patronized by a cabal of wealthy criminal conspirators calling themselves "the Unholy Order of the Grand Reptile," worshipers of the serpent god Nama and the direct predecessors of VIPER. In their quest for power the Order sponsored several eccentric scientists, including the aforementioned Moreau and Klauss. (More on the Unholy Order in VIPER: Coils Of The Serpent.)