Monday, January 30, 2017

CHAMPIONS - THE AGE OF CHAOS - Part I

Sorry for the delay in getting out the latest issue of this series. Modern comics always seem to come out late don't they?

Now that you've...

Checked into the origin,
Read the back issues,
and
Gotten a hold of the character spotlight on Starguard,

I think it's time we really got this party started...




***



Campaign I Have Known Played
Proudly Presents...

CHAMPIONS
THE AGE OF CHAOS

An AGE OF CHAMPIONS Campaign






Project: UNITY (in the AGE of CHAOS)

Left to Right:

(In the air)
Starguard, and Omni

(On the ground)
The Arctic Fox, Night Force, Christian Scaramangler,
Pulse, Overload, and Fusion (Floating)



Title: CHAMPIONS - The AGE of CHAOS

This name was actually given to the campaign after about a year, or so of play.

Prior to that it was assumed that the events, and characters within the game were part of The Bronze Age campaign, which had already been running for a year, and a half. Will decided to differentiate it because of the change in tone, and the influx of new character, starting with mine. 

The Age of Chaos is the third of the four campaigns that made up the meta-campaign, The Age of Champions.

System: Champions 3rd Edition, by Hero Games (published 1984).

Will had some minor house rules, but for the most part what he did was pre-figure a lot of the crunch in his notes, and in his head. Combat was extremely fast, with the Phase/Combat Round system used for large battles only. Smaller conflicts (meaning those with fewer than five total participants) were simplified to make them go much quicker (while still keeping a character's Speed, and Dexterity relevant). 

Circa: 1986-1989. The campaign ran for approximately 3 1/2 years. It may have been as long as 4 years, lasting into 1990.

The game was run Monday-through-Friday during the school year (roughly September-to-June) for an average of 5 1/2 hours each day. The sessions were often broken up into 1-4 hour intervals. 

We played before and after classes, and during our lunch period. 

For the first three years of the campaign there were no weekend games, nor any during the Summer months.

In the final half a year-to-a year, games were only on weekends, and even then only one, or two weekend sessions a month. I am based my calculations on the same 5.5 hour average, but there weekend sessions were usually longer than that in point of fact. 

This means there were approximately 552 five, and half hour sessions in total. 

For more details see this post

Gamemaster: The one, and only William Corpening, Champions Guru Extraordinaire! 

Will was, like most of the players, a 16-18 year old, male, New York City native (from Jamaica, Queens I believe). He is African-American. 

Player Base: There were a total of 12 active players in the Age of Chaos campaign, although on average no more than 5-6 were at the table at one time. An additional four players participated 'part-time', often appearing in 'cameo rolls' (joining in irregularly, whenever they were able). 

At least two of the major crossover stories featured 12-16 players at the table all together.

Players were mostly male, with two female part-timers, made up of a vast array of ethnicities, and all between the ages of 16 and 19. 

Characters: Oh boy...

With 12 regular players, and 4 part-timers, there were a lot of PCs. 

But that's just the tip of the iceberg...

The Age of Chaos campaign featured troupe style play. While neither mandatory, nor especially encouraged, it was totally fine to have more than one PC per player. 

Considering how dangerous, and dare I say brutal the campaign was, having an alternate character to play while your main PC was in the hospital wing of the team's headquarters wasn't a bad idea.

In Starguard's second, maybe third appearance, he got hit hard by a super baddie (well, he was a bad guy at the time), and got put out of action for about four, or five sessions. It was nice to have someone to be while Starguard was recuperating. 

Another factor to note here is that some players were playing heroes, while others played villains. I will list the PC villains in a separate post in the section entitled Opposition.

Characters featured in the major of adventures, or who were especially important to a large number of plots will be identified as 'Mains', as in Main Characters. Alternate PCs, played less often, and usually having more minor, or support roles will be identified as 'Alts'. 

With so many characters (and a busy schedule of late) its taken me nearly a week to write up this entry, which isn't complete by a long shot. In the interest of getting out more posts, and making sure this post isn't ludicrously long (it isn't - it's only ridiculously long) I am breaking it up into multiple posts. 

Here then is the main team - all Mains, all A List, full time UNITY member superheroes.

A final note: Christian Scaramangler, although eventually labelled a villain, will be honored here by listing him with the other heroic members of Project: UNITY. Why? Well, for all the trouble he caused, and even the damage he did, the player always thought of him as a tragic hero. Indeed he acted most heroically in many instances, saving the lives of countless civilians. Whatever he became in the end, he started as a member of UNITY, and the game wouldn't have been what it was without him. 


Onward...


Arctic Fox / White Wolf II (played by Pete H. - Main)

Arctic Fox is essentially the Wolverine of a parallel, Marvel Comics homage Earth (Challengers Earth-Mu-1) that our world crossed over with during The Dark Trinity Incident. 

Trapped on Champions Earth-Wilco Charlie-1 following that event, Arctic Fox remained with the team, though he was having trouble feeling like he fit in. Eventually, he took some time off and traveled to this Earth's Canada in an attempt to reconnect with his origins. While in Canada, using a false identity, he befriended a old rancher and the man's daughter. Fox ended up helping the pair fend off gangsters trying to steal the old man's land. Fox also fell in love with the man's daughter in the process.

Eventually, the old man revealed that he was once a superhero himself. In fact, he had been the Golden Age Canadian super known as White Wolf. He told Fox that although this world may not be the one he's from, Fox would always have a home at the ranch. 

Arctic Fox returned to New York with a new name, and a modified version of the old man's costume, becoming White Wolf II. (All of the that was actually run as a side adventure that eventually reconnected with our main plot).

Arctic Fox/White Wolf was born to a Canadian Mountie, and an Inuit Fox Goddess/Spirit that saved the man's life during a terrible blizzard. He possesses heightened senses of smell and hearing, regenerative healing (though not as impressive as Wolverine's), incredible speed (he could run at about 75-100 mph), and magically hardened, razor sharp claws. 

His most interesting power however was his uncontrolled, unconscious ability to generate ice, snow, and high winds the angrier he became.

White Wolf II is a full member of Project: UNITY. Following the 'Invasion: Earth War' he transferred to UNITY Canada. On Challengers Earth-Mu-1 he was a member of The Northern Lights (aka Alpha Flight).



Christian Scaramangler (played by Eric F - Main)

At the age of 6, or so, Christian designed the first version of the Minute Man robots now used the world over to protect numerous nations from rogue superhumans. At 8 he created a Danger Room-like facility for super-beings to test, and practice their powers safely. This design was was eventually replicated by the [Silver Age] Champions. 

It wasn't long before Christian's inventions were seen by a high ranking military official friend of his father, Joseph. With the assistance of the aging Golden Age super scientist, Doctor Jourdain Pascal Jeanias (aka Dr Genius), the senior Scaramangler set up Scaramangler Industries to produce his son's technological marvels as a means of bettering the world, and funding vast improvements to the Scaramangler Foundation. 

Avoiding any public recognition, or appearances for most of his young, and teenage years, the junior Scaramangler nonetheless developed into a handsome, cultured young man. Eventually, he made brief outings, leaving his workshop to support his father's humanitarian, and super-humanitarian efforts. 

When Joseph Scaramangler was accidentally killed by two alien scouts who'd come to Earth as the possible prelude to an alien invasion, Christian designed, and built for himself a custom suit of powered armor to join the search for the extraterrestrial culprits. Successful in apprehending them with the help of Project: UNITY, Christian was offered a position on the UNITY New York team by a joint decision of Omni, and the UNTIL Director assigned to the group. Scaramangler accepted.

Unbeknownst to anyone (at least at first) Christian Scaramangler harbored a vengeful hatred of aliens as a result of his father's death. In addition, he misconstrued many elements of Omni's actions, as well as previous game world history, as the basis for an alien conspiracy he KNEW to be bent on world domination. 

Scaramangler would spend Experience Points, in-game resources, as well as time both in, and out of game planning ways of defeating the alien menace he perceived. This included embarrassing, impeding, and thwarting many of the actions, and efforts of Omni. Scaramangler (and his Player) was extremely deft at deflecting blame, and getting rid of any evidence that he was behind any wrong doing.

Eventually, it started to get out of hand. Omni had difficulty doing much of consequence without his efforts being either deflected, or his public image making it seem as if he were less than competent. So effective was Scaramangler that new players drifted towards being villains as often as heroes. He made it look fun. 

When I entered the picture, it didn't automatically solve the problem, but it did balance the scales.

I will discuss more about The Age of Chaos era Scaramangler in a later installment, discussing his truly villainous actions, and what became of him as a result.

For the duration of this character's existence as a PC he was a full member of Project: UNITY. Even when the truth was finally revealed to the team, and appropriate NPCs, the public was never informed as Scaramangler's dastardly activities, less it cause problems for the Scaramangler Foundation, which was a truly benevolent organization.


Fusion (played by Paulo ? - Main)

Fusion is essentially the Firestorm of a parallel, DC Comics homage Earth (Champions League Earth-Delta Ceti-1) that our world crossed over with during The Dark Trinity Incident.

The major difference between the DC Comics character Firestorm, and Fusion is what enabled Fusion to acclimate to living on a new Earth more easily than Arctic Fox did. Unlike Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Martin Stein, who merge to become Firestorm and then come apart, the, um, people who form Fusion have a very different dynamic.

When the Professor, The Student, and an Android containing the Fusion Matrix merged to form Fusion, the merged entity first turned its power on itself. When it turned 'back' the three individuals had become one being with mixed memories. I forget their names, but it was something like...Professor Alan Bernstein, Student Claudio Acosta, and Fusion Android Mk. III form Fusion. Fusion un-merges to become Prof. Alan Acosta the 3rd. 

Having to come to terms with this, and essentially constructing an identity and a life from the ground up, meant it didn't matter if he did that over on his Earth, or on this one. It was all the same to Fusion. 

Fusion possesses the power to rearrange the atomic structure of matter, with some interesting limitations, and applications. He must know the proper formula, and early on had to say it out loud. For example, in order to turn Steel into Sugar, Fusion would focus on the Steel object and say, "C12H22O11!", the chemical formula for sugar.

Additionally, Fusion could command the atomic structure of an object to 'split', creating an energy blast. Fusion's powers only affect matter, and possibly plasma, but not energy. Later he could affect energy with extreme effort.

Fusion was a full time, fully fledged member of UNITY. Before being transported to our Earth he was a newly recruited member of the Champion League of Justice (the Justice League of America counterpart) on Champions League Earth-Delta Ceti-1.


Night Force (played by David C. - Main)

A brilliant inventor, and engineer, Night Force was previous the Chief of Operations for Project: UNITY's top secret headquarters in New York City. After revamping the base's security systems, the Chief told Omni and the other assembled superheroes that no one, not even the villain Kineto, could break in. Omni asked, "Not even you?"

The next day the Chief called a meeting with Omni and the UNTIL Director of UNITY. The Chief dropped one of Omni's costumes on the Director's desk. He had broken into the base the night before, bypassed his own security measures, and took the outfit to prove it. Omni told him to keep it. Furthermore, Omni suggested the Chief keep the costume, implying his skills might be better used in the field. A few weeks later, the team added Night Force to its ranks. 

Night Force was once described, quite accurately, as "picture Batman if it was Reed Richards under the cowl". While a skilled detective, it is mostly because of his analytical mind. Although a trained martial artist, Night Force is no Bruce Lee. As far as gadgets go however, Batman is using sticks with rocks tied to them compared to what Night Force has.

Night Force's costume has a complex network of teleportation circuitry. What appears to be a utility belt, bracelets, and the like, are actually panels used to activate a teleport sequence that summons a particular device from a 'transporter room' storage facility at the UNITY base. He looks like he's doing hand jive half the time. Devices include moon shaped boomerangs that can explode, create a stun blast, triangulate a capturing force field, and generate an EMP. He can also summon a Jet Cycle, an Impact Foam Shield, and even a gravity field generator. 

Night Force became a full time member of UNITY, and later in the campaign took over field command, and tactical/strategy duties from Omni. Eventually Night Force was officially made Team Leader of UNITY New York.


Omni (played by David C. - Main)

As a small child, Omni was secreted away by his maternal uncle, the loyal court chamberlain when a bloody coup by the commoners killed the Mandaarian Empire's Royal Family. The two aliens hid on the distant, primitive planet of Earth, blending into the population of Queens, NY using their psychic abilities (including generating mental illusions). 


Overload (played by  - Main)

Overload was once a US Marine who sacrificed himself to save his unit by diving onto a makeshift explosive in Libya. As he lay dying in a military hospital, a secret US government organization offered him the chance to undergo an experimental bionic procedure that would save his life, and turn him into a superpowered soldier. He agreed, and was transformed into Overload. 

PRIMUS assigned him as second in command of a team of American superheroes who they hoped would provide the USA with an alternative to always calling on UNITY for help with super-normal crises. That team was F.I.R.S.T. Strike (Federal Interception and Reconnaissance Superhuman Troopers). 

Unfortunately, most of that is a lie.

Overload, like all the member of F.I.R.S.T. Strike were genetically engineered, grown in test tubes, and imprinted with false memories. The person Overload was before he woke up as Overload never existed. 

When the truth was revealed by Night Force during a confrontation between F.I.R.S.T. Strike and UNITY, Overload switched sides as he was already having moral issues with the mission his team was on. 

In spite of being a nearly seven foot tall, cybernetic powerhouse armed with 'Rob Liefeld Guns', Overload is pretty down-to-earth. He tends to spend off hours having beers, playing pool, and watching sports with the folks down at Oddball's Bar and Grill (a popular hang out of the superhuman set), and seems like a fairly regular Joe.

Overload possesses superhuman strength, endurance, and durability, as well as a variety of heightened sensory abilities as a result of an array of cybernetic sensors. He also has a built in transmitter, and transceiver with a satellite link. He travels largely by superleaps achieved thanks to his bionic legs. 

His primary power however comes from his 'Kinetic Exchange Harness'. Overload can absorb a portion of any attack on his person that consists of kinetic energy/physical force and redirect that force through his specially designed 'hand cannons'. The absorbed energy propels the projectiles in these bazooka-life firearms to many times their normal speed, which is already quite formidable. The ammunition in the cannons varies, and has included armor piercing bullets, concussion grenades, gas grenades, and high-explosive, gyro-jet missiles.

In addition to his special abilities and weaponry, Overload is as skilled as a US Marine with ten years active, combat experience (simulated). He is proficient in a number of forms of hand-to-hand combat including the Marine Corps Martial Arts program. (Yep. That's a thing). He is also a sharpshooter, and well versed in the use of numerous types of firearms including bazookas, LAWs, and other rocket launchers from various countries.

Overload started out an anti-hero/enemy, became a probationary member, then a full member of UNITY.


Pulse (played by AJ - Main)

Ah Pulse. I love this guy.

When a lightning bolt struck his science exhibition display, many were certain the brilliant young physics student who would become Pulse was a goner. Instead, he awoke from a coma one month later with no immediately detectable injuries, or issues of any kind. Before long, he manifested his super-powers of speed, and electricity and set out to right wrongs as the pavement pounding Pulse!

Unfortunately, Pulse's initial attempts at superheroing were a mixed bag. While he thwarted numerous crimes, and even tangled with some serious super baddies, he didn't have full control of his powers. His activities caused brown outs, depleted batteries, and disrupted electric equipment in his vicinity. While the people of NYC (especially Queens, and Brooklyn) loved him, the Mayor, and a number of TV personalities weren't so smitten. 

Pulse is very much a thematic homage to both Spider-man, and The Flash.

He isn't a teenager, being in a graduate program when The Bronze Age begins, but he was the youngest member of the UNITY team. He had a Rogues Gallery of colorful villains who pop up fairly often, not unlike Flash, and Spidey. A common opening scene in many sessions was Pulse dealing with one of his many enemies, and needing to finish up with them before he could join the rest of us.

Pulse (but really his player, AJ) was the heart of the team. He was always positive, quick with a quip, and constantly wowed by the superhero world he was a part of. 

He had some great villains too. Arachne, for example, was a spider-themed, gadget using, femme fatale not unlike Catwoman, or Spidey's Black Cat. There was always an underlying romantic angle to their encounters. His arch-nemesis was General Winter, a Russian 'Mr. Freeze' type who wore a 60s/70s era Russian military uniform with a Cossack hat. 

Pulse could run at super-speed, but no where near as fast as the Flash. I think his top speed by the end was Mach 3, or so (it might have been a bit faster). More interestingly, the more and faster he ran, the more he would build up an electrical charge that he could release like a lightning bolt. I always thought it was so cool that the more rounds he spent running and not blasting, the bigger the bolt was when he finally let it loose. Later on in the campaign he could generate a radius/area of effect blast that worked like an EMP, knocking out technology of all kinds. Pulse could also trap enemies in an 'electricity cage' by running around them tossing lightning back, and forth to himself with his opponent caught in the center.

Pulse was the first hero Omni recruited into UNITY. He remained a full member throughout. 


Starguard (played by ME! Yay! - Main)

What can I say about Starguard? He is my favorite PC ever.

He was so fun to play because of his power set, and so interesting to play because he isn't quite like the real me. I wish there was a bit more of Starguard in me actually. Starguard was bold, fearless, and very focused. He was a man of singular purpose when the need arose. He wasn't perfect of course. Every good character has flaws, and he was occasionally very stubborn, and known to hold a grudge. 

Qualities I like to think we share include an unflinching loyalty to our friends, an intolerance of bullies, and bigots, and a strong sense of right, and wrong. At least our own senses of it. Sadly I have been known to do the 'hold a grudge thing'. I've gotten better about it though.

Starguard developed a close relationship with Pulse whom he was protective of like a younger brother. He had a strong friendship/rivalry with the former villain turned regular guy turned occasional hero Adamant. His closest friend was Omni, partially because Omni's player Dave, and I were close and partially because Omni was the real reason Starguard was on Earth (both in an in-game, and meta sense).

I liked that Starguard had come to this unassuming blue marble on the outskirts of known space on the off chance he could forge a lasting peace between his people and their closest, and largest, stellar rival. It's funny to think back on it and realize that the consummate warrior was actually taking the most peaceful, diplomatic approach to the situation possible the entire time. 


OK, here is where I would normally go into the Opposition, but I am not nearly done with the heroes yet. Next up is the B-Listers, the Beta Team, The 'Alts'. Following that, I might do the Fallen - heroes who died in the line of duty.

Stay tuned, and get ready for February!


AD
Barking Alien






2 comments:

  1. That is... Amazing! Spectacular! Astonishing! Waiting to see the next installment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I miss the hours and hours of time I had to play back in high school.

    ReplyDelete