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.