Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Super Teams: The European Union Super Soldiers

The first of my Hero teams for my Equalisers setting: 

European Union Super Soldiers

Victoria, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Jean d'Arc, Herakles

Following the appearance of The Equalisers in 2009 and the subsequent Methuman Soldiers Treaty of 2011, the European Union started to invest in a team that could protect EU member states from rouge Meathuman threats. The result was the EU Super Soldiers, a team of elite soldiers, hand-picked from each member state and equipped with the latest weapons and equipment. Each member of the team assumes the identity of a national hero of myth or history, so that the role can continued to be filled should that soldier be forced out of action.
Each Super Soldier is equipped with high-tech armour that, as well as being totally resistant to small-arms fire, increases the wearer’s strength and agility to superhuman levels, even enabling prodigious leaps and running speeds in excess of 50kmph. Each Soldier is also equipped with the Hero Blade, a diamond-edged, ceramic sword which is almost unbreakable. As well as being deadly sharp, the flats of the blades feature stun panels for subduing foes non-lethally.

Saladin: The Super Soldier for Turkey, Saladin, as the most experienced and highly decorated, often acts as the leader of the EU Super Soldiers when more than one of them is deployed to a situation. The current (and to date, only) Saladin is outspoken on many contentious issues, especially the treatment of Muslims in Western Europe and Palestinian land rights. As the Turkish government does not see fit to remove him, however, Saladin is the longest serving member of the EUSS.

Richard the Lionheart: The third to use the armour and title, England’s Richard is a man of few words, preferring to let his sword do the talking. After the first Richard was killed in the Blackwing Attack and John Fallstaff (The Anachronism) returned to The Equalisers, England decided to weave a tighter net of secrecy around their Super Soldier. This has led some to suspect that England has more than one Richard active at a time.

Jean d’Arc: The French addition to the EUSS is the most recent, the motion to create one having been repeatedly defeated in Parliament. The only Super Soldier, other than Saladin, to not hide her identity, Jean’s privacy and identity are still closely guarded because of her history in the French Special Forces.

Herakles: Rumour has it that that Greece had to borrow heavily from Germany in order to afford a Super Soldier, which may go some way to explaining why the Herakles armour is far more primitive than its counterparts. Herakles does not possess a Hero Blade, so must resort to battering opponents with his crushing fists.

Victoria: Named after the Roman Whim of Victory, Victoria’s armour harkens back to the great Roman Republic, making her an overnight sensation in her home country. Just how Italy came up with the money for a Super Soldier is something of a mystery, though Mafia involvement is often hinted at. Victoria occasionally demonstrates a tactical awareness that borders upon prescience, though Italy assures the world that it would never break the Metahuman Soldiers Treaty. 

Closeups of Victoria and Richard. 

Saladin, Herakles and Jean

Saladin, Richard and Jean are from Infinity, Herakles and Victoria are from Reaper. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

An introduction to the Equalisers

A first [quick] look at my Super System setting and how supers and super powers are handled. 

Where do Metahumans come from?

        In an age of history where people with extraordinary powers fly through the air and fight grandiose battles in our cities, the question of where they all come from is a pertinent and reasonable one to ask. At no time in living memory have Superheroes been so prevalent in our society; it almost seems impossible that they could have all appeared as quickly as they did. Is it due to environmental change? A general increase in radiation? Aliens? Gods? GM foods? The simple answer seems to be that the increase in Metahumans is down to two main reasons.

1. Population
        The Twentieth Century saw an unprecedented explosion in the human population worldwide; after the mass slaughter of the Second World War, the Earth’s population looks to be growing at the rate of a billion people every few decades. Even if a Metahuman is only one in a million, their population must be steadily growing as well.

2. Rationalism
        In ages past, those with extraordinary abilities may have hid their gifts for fear of persecution. Ancient Civilisations and the Dark Ages hunted “witches” and killed them. Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Europe exhibited and exploited the freakish for profit. Even until the vaccine and communications revolutions of the 20th Century, “different” people were regarded with, at best, suspicion. With the spread of Scientific Rationalism as the prevailing doctrine of humanity, being Metahuman has never been safer.

How long have Metahumans been around?
        It is reasonable to assume that Metahumans have been a fixture of the human race since prehistory. Extraordinary feats attributed to heroes in Mythology could well be an ancient attempt to explain early Metahuman activity. The first, suspected, but yet to be confirmed, Meathuman on record is Sir John Fallstaff, also known as The Anachronism, who claims to be a Crusade Knight, though this cannot be verified. Tenuous evidence exists for, if not actual Metahumans, costumed adventurers during the period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
        Concrete evidence and eyewitness accounts confirm that Methumans were active, in limited numbers, during the Second World War for both the Axis and the Allies. It seems that some of these Methumans were even created in laboratories, though the same methodology was rarely successful twice. Due to their limited numbers and a need, from a command perspective, to preserve such a resource, no single Methuman ever had much impact on a battle of the War (the final Battle for Berlin being the exception) and because of this (and the secrecy that developed around Metahumans during the Cold War) most of these Heroes were airbrushed from history.
        The 1980s marked an important phase of Metahuman history; fifty years after the advent of the Superhero comic, costumed heroes started appearing in limited numbers. Less than fifty confirmed Metahumans operated between the period of 1982 and 1994, most were dead or in self-imposed retirement within five years of their first public appearance. Law enforcement had no idea how to deal with Superheroes or Supervillains, so many were quickly incarcerated or killed. The 1980s also marked the first major appearance of Mutants, a group who would come to define events in the 21st Century.

Mutants and Mutation
        Mutation has caused a great deal of tension and confusion, both in the public and scientific arenas. After years of research, Professor Robert Cox was the first to isolate the Gene responsible for Metahuman Mutation as a recessive trait on the X chromosome. This gene causes drastic changes in the way in which proteins are coded from other chromosomes, resulting in startling physiological changes in the developing fetus. It is hypothesised that these changes are most often so drastic that the fetus will fail to survive, as this would account for the limited number of mutants in the world (about 12 publicly known, and a suspected 60 in total).
As many more humans may carry the recessive trait but do not express it, gauging mutants accurately is difficult because some may not manifest Metahuman abilities in the way that most mutants do. Changes should manifest physiologically, such as Edward Caan’s increased agility or “Helia’s” increased body temperature. However, sometimes the mutant change manifests in ways that cannot, by conventional science, be linked to a physical change (“Tempest” and “The Machiavellian” fall into this category). This becomes more puzzling when we consider that the Mutant Gene can be introduced artificially into adult cells and cause changes of an even more drastic (and often lethal) nature (see “Counter Culture”).

A bit text-heavy this time, but I had a bit of fun putting it together.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

SSUA Issue #3 - Embassy Attack!

The Wakandan Embassy is under attack by Super-Terrorists and the team must race to prevent an international incident. The Police have blockaded the Embassy, but, to make matters worse, a local gang have just robbed a nearby bank and are escaping under cover of the conflict.

The defensive line in front of the embassy. Jim Gordon leads SWAT 4, John McClane and Robocop (all played by Brendan).

Two-Face tries to escape with the 2 Million he stole from the 2nd National bank on Tuesday with the help of Clayface, Hydroman and some hired goons. (Played by me)

Black Manta leads Juggernaut, Constrictor and some Mercs to attack the Embassy. (Played by Leith and Greg)

The heroes coming to help, Flash Gordon (played by Phil), Captain America (played by Tim), Thor (played by Liam) and The Thing (played by Nick). 

...And it's usually such a quiet part of town... 

Two-Face's Thugs move forward to clear a path for their boss. 

The Mercs use the alley for cover. 

McClane moves forward to take a shot at the Thugs. 
 With devastating effect.

The SWAT Team move in next... 

...and clean up. 

The Assault Team moves in, hidden by the shootout raging down the street. 

Two-Face makes a dash for cover. 

The Mercs spot something in the distance. 

They open fire on The Thing, their high calibre weapons managing to injure Aunt Petunia's favorite nephew. 

 Cap moves in to stop Hydro Man. 

As Cap and Hydro Man clash, McClane and the SWAT team open fire at the villain. 

The Thing returns the Merc's fire with a handy tree. 

This gives Juggernaut an idea and he hurls a handy civilian at Thing, blinding him with gore.

Clayface moves in to help Hydro Man. 

Black Manta pushes ahead. 

Thor has an idea, and grabs a nearby propane tank. 

The God of Thunder hurls the volitile tank and his watery foe. 

The explosion damages Hydro Man, but knocks out Cap! 

Juggernaut returns the tree to The Thing, knocking him unconscious. 

Sick of Robocop trying to arrest him, Clayface charges in to rip him apart. 

The battle between the liquids and the solids rages! 

With the SWAT Team's fire telling! 

Flash Gordon uses his Ray Gun to keep Manta pinned down. 

Manta isn't happy and calls for backup. 

Clayface and Robocop give the Police department a show. 

Some daring Thugs try to get a name for themselves firing at Black Manta. 

Villains gang up on Flash....

...but even machine gun fire doesn't bother the savior of the universe! 

Flash dives for cover but Manta won't let up! 

An injured Flash is no match for the would-be dictator. 

The last remaining hero, Thor uses a handy truck to finish off Hydro Man. 

"Shoot! Before he kills us all!" 

Weight of fire finally brings down Clayface. 

Constrictor is sick of the Thug's attempts to take down his teammates... 

...his deadly coils sort the problem out. 

Thor mops up the last Mercs. 

Titans clash! 

McClane surveys the destruction, feeling oddly at home. 

Manta doesn't want to see a fair fight today. 

The last few Mercs wade in, hoping to turn the tide against Thor. 

Gordon considers the situation. 

The police open fire, wiping out Manta, Juggernaut, the Mercs and even Thor!

Seeing that the day is lost, Constrictor makes his escape. Leaving an unscathed Police force the only people standing at the end of the day. The embassy is safe. 

Thing, Thor and Cap were badly injured and rushed to hospital, where they'll be for a little while. Flash was only scratched by a hurried and overconfident Manta, so once again, he'll be seeking more help for the team. 

After the battle, Flash caught up with Nick Fury: 

"Someone has been putting a great deal of funding into Black Manta’s private war on the West, how else could he afford people like Juggernaut and Constrictor? The change of target from Atlantis to Wakanda is also interesting as Manta is more motivated by ideology than by money, so he can’t be after the Vibranium horde. All signs point towards someone with big money and big influence pulling Manta’s strings."

To be continued in Issue #4: Arkham Horror!