I am still using Windows 8 which, as you may or may not know, was created by an unholy horde of foul and loathsome demons to annoy mankind as vengeance for some slight upon the Nether Host eons ago. It is slow, unwieldly and just a terrible, terrible design, even with the modifications and improvements I was able to make.
Google and Blogger are being impossibly slow and glitchy, making it a chore just to post an entry. Adding the art is like trying to thread the eye of a needle with a shoelace.
Last but not least, I am also using the ICONS system to translate the characters I have created in a variety of different RPG rules system into a single set of quick-and-easy (*cough*BS*cough) game mechanics for the purpose of this challenge.
Wow. I forgot how much I disliked this game until I started putting the character sheets together. It simply doesn't have enough detail or even categories of things to explain half of what my most basic villains are about/can do. I highly recommend modifying and kitbashing when it comes to this system. By all means expand the list of 'Specialties'. I did.
Oh well, here goes nothing...
True Identity: Unknown
Description/Appearance: Afterlife appears as a ghostly, deep black silhouette or shadow approximately 6 ft. in height, not including its 'hat'. The silhouette resembles a man wearing a trench coat and either a Fedora or a 1800s American undertaker's hat. Its body has a smoke like texture and images of skulls, often seen glowing faintly yellow or green, can be viewed swirling within the dark mist inside him. While he has no facial features, there are two glowing orbs that resemble eyes on what is believed to be his head. The right eye appears slightly larger than the left one.
Origin and Background: Exactly how the being that calls itself Afterlife came into existence (or its unique state of nonexistence or quasiexistence) is unknown at this time.
There is some indication that Afterlife may have been around as far back as the 1800s but it first appeared in modern times during a murder investigation in Chicago. Police were baffled by a series of executions of organized crime figures using the M.O. of Chicago mobsters from the 1920s and 30s.
It wasn't long before the crimes came to the attention of the mysterious costumed detective known as 'The Mourning Man'. With the help of underworld contacts and the supernatural entity known as The Silver Spectre, Mourning Man was able to track the then unknown culprit to an abandoned warehouse where he was shocked to discover a group of mobsters and Afterlife.
As it turned out, Afterlife was performing the murders to keep the police off the trail of a drug smuggling operation being undertaken (no pun intended) by one of the largest of Chicago's crime families.
With Silver Spectre's assistance, Mourning Man was able to capture the mobsters and expose their operation but while they were able to drive off Afterlife, they did not catch him. Afterlife would return numerous times to aid various criminal kingpins and hitmen, each time escaping into the 'great beyond' before being captured. He has faced heroes such as Silver Spectre, The Black Ace (Ace of Spades), Chicago's Nightwatch and The Ebony Angel, among others. Afterlife's arch-enemy remains Mourning Man and the feeling is mutual.
Powers and Abilities: Afterlife has three primary abilities, in addition to other minor ones attributed to its supernatural state. Some of the more well documented abilities will be listed at the end of this entry. As for his major powers:
First and foremost, Afterlife has the ability to perceive and communicate with the spirits of the deceased and, in an as yet not fully understood manner, obtain their knowledge and skills. He is essentially able to duplicate the abilities (though not superhuman powers) of any dead person. The physics knowledge of Einstein, the tactical skill of Napoleon or Charlemagne and the speed and accuracy of Billy The Kid is apparently at his disposal.
Exactly how he does this is not only unknown, it also brings up questions on the nature of life after death and the existence of the higher and lower planes. For now, the truth, like Afterlife's very presence upon the Earth, remains a great enigma.
Afterlife's second most notable trait is his ghost-like form, which enables him to pass through anything, be it matter or energy. There are limitations to this however. It has been noted that his default form is intangible and he must actually concentrate to touch the physical world. Also, he can pass through and is injured by anti-matter and anti-energy. Negatively charged materials and/or energy forms are a definite weakness of this being.
Lastly, Afterlife's form and appearance are so disturbing that he is able to generate unreasonable fear in those that see him. Those with a strong Willpower can resist this effect but it is very affective against the average person.
Other minor abilities Afterlife has displayed include appearing not to need to sleep, eat or breathe, a sixth sense of the approach of other ghostly or supernatural entities and the ability to float (though not fly apparently). In addition, Afterlife usually escapes by passing through the floor or a nearby wall and not rematerializing. Whether this is teleportation, dimensional travel or something else is unknown.
Personality and Motivations: Afterlife is a paradox and his true motivations have yet to be revealed. It rarely speaks and when it does the sound resembles numerous people whispering at the same time. The voices are hoarse and gravelly.
It enjoys playing up its creepy, ghost status and delights in taunting and scaring civilians and heroes alike. Afterlife prefers to fall into a gathering from above or rise out of a table for effect.
It seems proud of its unusual and unique status as well, often working for the dead as much as the living. Long gone gangsters looking to tell a descendant where their last big score is hidden or recently slain wise guys looking for revenge on the guy that offed them.
Afterlife is always looking to add to his repertoire of skills and abilities and therefore looks forward to taking out particularly skilled individuals or helping living employers do so.
Finally, though it speaks very little, a bit can be gleaned from the few sentences it does utter when it appears. It seems to hate the living with a passion, angry at those full of life since it can not enjoy such physical pleasures. At the same time, it feels envy for those it steals skills from since, unlike those spirits whose abilities it copies, it seems to lack quite a bit in the way of knowledge and skill without doing so.
Afterlife first appeared in a Villains & Vigilantes campaign. It has since been used in Champions, Mutants & Masterminds and Stalking The Night Fantastic/InSpectres.
Afterlife for ICONS: