Web fiction Community Collab. Superhero Story Thread 4: The Meat!

Okay, so the truths about the world thing fell flat. So on to making characters!

I'd like everyone that wants to be involved, to create 2 characters. A villian, and a hero. Please post a character sketch of each. They can be any time frame, any creation of power story, ect. The only rule is... They can not be each others prime nemesis. You are creating villians and heroes to interact with OTHER people's villians and heroes.

I think it might be a bit too early for this. I was actually thinking about this yesterday, when some more things came to mind, and I was wondering if we want to resolve these before we take this step. First, one of the issues is the frequency of the supers. We can go the route of Watchmen where only a select few have actual superhuman abilities and the others rely on skill and equipment to allow them to do their various things. The other option is to go the Marvel/DC route where there are numerous supers and they are everywhere. We'd have things going on in the background such as Booster Gold pushing some kind of new brand of smartphone. Secondly, we have to decide what is the government's stance on supers: are they allowed to do whatever they wish as long as they keep the casualties down, are they able to work as long as they are "licensed" by the government, or are they actively sought out and attacked upon being spotted? (I'm a bit pressed for time atm, so I'll continue this later if I'm able to edit)

While we can each do our own thing, if we want to share a common world, we have to work out a few things before we start stomping on one another's feet.

One of the ideas I hadn't fully fleshed out yet (I've been chatting with one or two other people about it) is trying an extensive superhero serial that starts way back in the 1930s (with hints that it's happened back in the mid 1800s, immediately preceding the American Civil War), focusing around a single object that passes through the eras and serves as the primary reason things 'happen'. Something like Marvel's Cosmic Cube, except more mysterious.

The object, when discovered in America, is locked up by the newly formed Secret Service (a government organization founded by Lincoln to investigate the various bizarre weapons and monsters created in secret by the Confederates using it, now left open for abuse in the aftermath of the war) and is researched by some of the greatest scientific minds in history, inspiring impossible inventions in the process. At some point, it 'creates' supers--people with powerful, impossible abilities--through an experiment gone wrong. Eventually, the object's ultimate point is revealed, but not until the modern era of superheroes begins.

The idea is that the object is a complete background element--every so often a story will be dedicated to someone trying to figure it out or encountering it, but its mystery is never fully explained until the very end, and it always exists just behind the scenes, causing things to boil over. Kind of like the evil green crystal (Loc-Nar) from the bizarrely awful 'Heavy Metal'.

Well, youre more than welcome to work it into the collab, if you'd like to share worlds. But keep in mind that while its A mover in terms of creating Powers, it won't be the ONLY one.

Yeah, part of my fascination with this idea is that the object would be a central storytelling piece, giving all the tales a sort of cohesive direction and type of momentum--one of the problems in collective work is that a lot of people aren't fascinated by the things that fascinate you, though. I thought I'd mention it and see how everyone responds, but if it's not a limitation everyone feels comfortable taking on, I understand.

EDIT: Though I hasten to add, in the Heavy Metal example I mentioned, Loc-Nar features prominently in some stories and is barely even present in others--that's my favorite version of the trope, because it lets you tell any type of story you want, yet simultaneously unites all those stories into the same setting via a continually present artifact--even if the artifact isn't featured, only implied.

Anyway, I'll throw out two characters here just to see what happens--keep in mind, I may want to use these characters for something else of my own later on!

My hero!

TITLE: The Nose

REAL NAME: Jeremiah Baleforte

DESCRIPTION: The Nose is a mantle held by several famous detectives throughout history; each of them (except the modern variant) are related, and have inherited an immense nose (the modern variant is an ingenius detective who lost his nose and had it replaced with an electronic prosthetic--he took up the mantle with the permission of the last Nose's widow). The first Nose was Jeremiah Baleforte, a French veteran of World War I and a French, Canadian, and US government consultant active in the 20s and 30s; known for his brilliant deductive reasoning, it was occasionally implied that he had been trained by the legendary Sherlock Holmes in secret after the famous detective's 'death' (a claim that he rigorously denied, stating that Holmes had died at Reichenbach Falls).

POWERS: An encyclopedic-like knowledge of chemistry, various odors, and important bits of scientific trivia--a brilliant deductive mind--and an astounding sense of smell. So great was the original Nose's abilities (and those who followed him) that he and his descendants would often be described as 'walking crime labs'. In addition, the original Nose had formal training as a soldier and was familiar with the maintenance and use of a variety of firearms. He was considered a 'crack shot' with the rifle, and often carried a small pistol ferreted under his sleeve as well as a needle in the tip of his cane (often laced with a powerful sedative, useful for quickly subduing criminals).

PERSONALITY: The original Nose was polite, affable, and possessed a self-depreciating sense of humor. He spurned the fame that his talents could afford him, but his distinctive silhouette combined with his powerful deductive abilities still led to an international rogue's gallery of criminals who either struggled to one-up his genius or otherwise dispose of the meddlesome detective. French by birth, he returned to the country of his origins at the outset of World War II, where he trained his nephew (who had inherited his family's primary trait) in matters of deductive reasoning and joined in the French Resistance against Nazi incursions. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared without a trace.

My villain!

TITLE: Noble

REAL NAME: Alexander Noble

DESCRIPTION: No one knows exactly how old Alexander Noble actually is. The viking-like giant claims to be several thousand years old, but judging this claim has proven difficult. Recent archeological evidence has emerged that supports this, but only circumstantially. Regardless, Noble *has* been around longer than anyone else seems to remember. His first 'recorded' appearance in modern records is in Europe during the early 1900s, where it's been implied he might have been indirectly responsible for arranging the outset of World War I with the intent taking Europe over after it was reduced to smoldering ruin--this plan was interrupted by the emergence of several heroes facing off with him in his Prussian castle, where he was finally loaded into his own experimental rail gun and fired directly at the moon. For fifty years, he remained on the moon's surface, until the Apollo Expedition unwittingly discovered him--he sucker punched an astronaut and hijacked their ride back to earth. The widely broadcasted 'moon landing' was, in fact, filmed in Arizona--the landing happened, but the footage was faked to prevent panic and mask the US government's incompetence (in forgetting that Noble's last whereabouts were listed as 'the moon'). Alexander Noble remains at large.

POWERS: An incredibly brilliant scientific mind, a devastating command over the powers of alchemy and magic, and *complete* invulnerability to harm--one physicist described Noble as capable of 'walking on the surface of the sun without getting so much as a tan'. Noble's invulnerability extends beyond merely the physical; psychics cannot read him, time does not effect him, he has no need for food or air, and he appears immune to all forms of magical enthrallment and transmutation. The only known effective means of stopping him in the past has been either containment or complete isolation, both of which he has inevitably escaped.

PERSONALITY: Complete and absolute meglomania. Alexander Noble considers himself one of the 'chosen few', best suited to rule because of his brilliant mind and invulnerable nature; he fancies himself an Alexander-the-Great reborn, intent on conquering the world. This is his destiny for several reasons--he seems humans as a self-destructive species in need of guidance, much like a father might guide his children--he also believes that by funneling human development into specific directions, he will be able to repel a 'world-wide threat' that is due to come shortly after the turn of the century (in the 2000s).

EDIT: I should add, I've got like, thirty or more of these characters all written down in a notepad on my computer, most of them unused (a lot of them were for the unfinished Skullverse). I've also got a number of organizations written down for the same purpose.

About the object itself Rodger, I too had an idea in mind of something along those lines. I was thinking it would be a condensed collection of quintessence/ether/vril (Plato's mythical 5th element). By connecting it to Plato, it would exist through the various eras, and as it moves it can cause wars. My angle through this project was a strong conspiracy slant (hinted by the Forefathers being supers). This material can be the make or break in various wars. Stealing a small sample of it from the British could have secured the Americans victory in the revolution. Hitler may have based all of his plans around the destructive power that it contained, but the quantity he had was stolen by the scientists that defected and helped in the creation of the atomic bomb.

Going more into the angle with conspiracy, I was planning on working in a "shadow society" that is trying to manipulate the events taking place around the world (I've just referred to them as the NWO in my initial ideas). For what I had in mind, they had the largest collection of quintessence and they are using it to power some of their new weapons. We can work out more of the details, but there are three weapons I had in mind, two of which you are going to shortly be reading about (the 3rd one I was thinking of making my hero's nemesis).

Hero: Machina Soma (Soma for short)

Real Name/Pilot: Unknown as of now

Description: 8' 10'', approximately 700 lbs., confidential: armor powered by a small piece of quintessence

(weak to deep water and high quantities of sand)

Machina Soma is the defensive based weapon created by the "NWO" for their plans. The development of this machine was given to one of their most trusted members, who in reality is a double agent. In order to rebel against the "NWO", a pilot for this machine would be needed, someone who lives like a ghost, exhibiting extremely antisocial nature and borderline sociopath tendencies to give the impression that Soma is a machine operating on an AI instead of housing a human. Soma will be deployed to combat enemies of the "NWO", but due to his true nature, the activities may take unexpected turns.

Personality: While inside Soma, the pilot's aloof nature deceives people from realizing that he is actually inside, and protective shielding to scramble the brain waves being emitted from Soma prevent telepaths from determining the truth. The pilot follows the orders he is given to the most excrutiating detail, never questioning them (from his handler, the "NWO" double agent). Outside of Soma, the pilot's attitude shifts to be somewhat agreeable to whoever he is speaking, but his cravings for chaos leave some people rattled. The pilot himself is fairly young, but lacks features that makes him stand out like the people around him. Detests people who he considers to be rude or vulgar. (I'm thinking about giving him an obsession with materials that have taken lives, such as bullets and blades used to kill people)

Primary Weapon: Pneumatic piledrivers mounted on each arm, grappling hooks contained around the waist

Alternative weapons: Sound based cannon, light based cannon, hydraulic tools, and potentially more

Power: The pilot has the currently unconscious ability to perceive complex patterns and perform calculations on the level of a super-computer, allowing him to get a deep understanding of how things work (especially machines), as well as allowing him to maximize the destructive potential of Soma and bring about the downfall of his enemies. This ability will allow him to reverse engineer and determine the weakpoints of enemy equipment.

Villain: Machina Anima (Anima for short)

Real name: None yet

Description: Soma is the exoskeleton used for defense, but Anima is the endoskeleton used for offense. Wounded in a military operation (not sure about where just yet), the man to be Anima lost his arms, legs, and other parts of his body. Given the option to live, lying around, barely able to interact with the world around him or undergo a procedure that will mechanize the missing parts of his body and some of the remainder. Being lighter than Soma, Anima is much faster, and carries weaponry specialized in assassinations. His new limbs contain various concealed weapons, such as blades, rifles, and more to be decided later. Like Soma, his machine parts are powered by a very small piece of quintessence.

Personality: By allowing him to return to action, Anima has become fanatically loyal to the "NWO" and has no qualms or questions about carrying out their dirty work, attacking anyone who gets the way of their plans. I've been tossing around the idea of his sanity going down progressively, but I'm still undecided. Due to the nature of his condition, his immune system has been suppressed making him very vulnerable to biological weapons.

Power: Nothing beyond the superior speed, strength, and destructive power given to him by his new machine parts and his years of training and combat experience as a soldier.

Other than these, I was thinking about having less powered people running around him, but like I mentioned earlier, I don't know how everyone feels about the number of supers. One of the other things I was wondering about would be the tone this is going to take, because Soma's disconnect from the people around him could lead to humorous situations. By having a minority of powered people, we could have many people without powers running around in costume and leading to situations that can either be humorous or tragic.

Beyond this, are these heroes going to be together often, or they do their own thing until an event takes place that causes them to unite against a common enemy (this might allow for better characterization). Since I came up with Soma thinking about a spy game angle, I don't think it would make sense for him to be in an area that is dense with supers, and I can't really see him being in a long term team. There is still more, but this took a long time to type out, and I'm still pressed for time until Wednesday at best.

Denizen, i totally missed your first comment.

I was under the impression from the previous threads that the concesus was super powers should be a rarity.

Got it. There are still other things, like the tone that I mentioned. Are we going to try to go old school fantastical feel, a parody of supers, or are we going to try for a modern, gritty tone?(there are even more options than just these) The other thing is whether or not we begin with a definite ending in mind (like Watchmen), or if we start out with the plan that things can essentially go indefinitely (like almost every other super story). Both Robert and I want a "relic" that goes through the ages, but we have to find out if we can use the same one, or if there is going to be another one with condensed quintessence.

The more I work on the specifics for Soma, the less I want him to go indefinitely, and I'm even starting to lead toward the tragic hero angle for him. Also, the more I think about both Soma and Anima, I can imagine them being today's allies and tomorrow's enemies for the other supers depending on the objective at hand.

I imagined the tone reflecting the comics/fiction of the era you were writing in; 1920s/30s takes on the pulp serial feel, 40s/50s is more like the golden age, etc. With a bit of healthy deconstruction to avoid being *too* cliche; obviously, having Superman punch Hitler and Spiderman defeat villains with Hostess pies isn't going to feel right.

Which is one of the reasons the characters you suggested seemed a little off the wall to me, denizenoftherift; I can't imagine what sort of comic book setting they exist or fit in--tone-wise, they feel more like anime to me. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I suppose, though it depends on what you're going for.

I wrote a short piece to introduce the sphere in 1899, along with my idea for an omnivillain (ala Magneto, Dr. Doom, etc--a villain who unites several stories beneath one umbrella) for the pulp age (1900s to 1930s), but I'm not sure if this is the place to throw it up, or if my idea(s) would even work in this particular collaboration.

To be quite honest, I don't know if there is a comic that really describes it (I didn't know there was an anime either, can you tell me which one so I can check it out?). Soma isn't really paranoid enough to be like the Question or Rorshach. Maybe trying to picture him as an agent of SHIELD(in a world without supers all over the place) might help you picture what I have in mind. I can't really think of a hero that has such a disconnect from the world around him like the pilot is supposed to have. The primary angle I was looking at was having him involved in a government-involved conspiracy (and the conspirators believe he is on their side) with mystery vibes (the quintessence isn't going to be revealed from the start to him). Some of the other things is that I was thinking of having some of his earlier encounters resemble the type of villain that most comic writers would consider as rejects.

I'm willing to try throwing together a few chapters "intro" for him, but I'm getting new minions in the lab tomorrow, and I have to break them in. Most likely, I won't get a chance to throw anything together until the start of September at the earliest. I'll probably have time to check out your piece though if you're comfortable posting it.

Here's a pastebin link: http://pastebin.com/2ZWwuFeW

Just a rough draft (it needs a little editing and tightening), but it probably gives you an idea of what I had in mind.

I checked it out and from what's there I think it is workable. I don't know what your plans are for the "agency", but I think it might be possible to work in that the condensed quintessence was derived from the artifact. Perhaps the formulas on it allowed a small quantity to be made, which are used to power the three machinas. It might even be possible to work in that the designs for Anima and Soma came from the robots that were destroyed. I'm not sure which of the characters mentioned is supposed to be the omnivillain (one of the agency guys?)

Going into more detail about what I plan to happen in my story (contemporary age): I was thinking that long term exposure to the material may not be the safest thing, and the pilot of Soma will reflect that in what all happens to him. One of things is that he is going to "reverse engineer" it, with results that may not be too desirable.

Like I mentioned before, I don't know if this is planned to go on indefinitely, but there is going to be a limit to what the pilot can endure. (I'm still working on names for them, and I'm working on a non-super, non-mech villain, details to be revealed later)

I don't suppose anyone is still interested in this?