Monday, June 3, 2019

Champions: The Atlantaverse

I have been running a Champions campaign for about 4-5 years, now, and am making it 'more official'.
Since the campaign grew from 'dead average points heroes in Atlanta' to add 'street level in Hudson City (i.e., Jersey), 'high points in Vibora Bay' and now my 4th son is running 'mid level in San Mateo' we're calling it the Atlantaverse.

Here's some background!

Campaign Notes
Famous Superheroes
The Stranger: There has been a masked man called the Stranger fighting crime since at least 1899. Always a 'normal' man with excellent martial arts and detective skills, the various Strangers (scholars believe the current Stranger is the 10th) have opposed everything from bootleggers to alien invaders. Known for his dress (usually in formal wear with a cape and a mask) and his intelligence, the Stranger remains a foe of crime.
Amazing Man: Amazing Man I was the first publicly known 'superhuman' when he appeared in 1938. During his relatively short he fought everyone from the first Super villain, Doctor Impossible, to Nazi Ubermensch, to alien invaders. After his retirement a younger man with very similar powers who had accompanied him as Amazing Boy took over the role. The Current Amazing Man began as Amazing Boy IV in 1995 and became Amazing Man IV in 2003.
All of the Amazing Men have been super strong, very tough, and able to fly. His various descendants, in-laws, etc. are pretty numerous including at least:
Amazing Man IV
Amazing Woman III (sidekick: Amazing Girl IV)
Mr. Amazing III (sidekick: Amazing Lad)
Amazing Lass
Amazing Guy II (sidekick: Kid Amazing III)
Miss Chief/ Miss Liberty: The quick, tough and strong Miss Chief was part of the 'first wave' of super humans in the early years of WWII, appearing in 1939. Her powers, spunk, and smile made her very popular and she was the first super to appear in movies, having a small role in the “Rocket King of Mars” serial in 1939 and starring in “Super for a Day”, a two-reeler from 1940. After Pearl harbor she hanged her name to Miss Liberty and helped found the first Victory Squad. After the war she starred in 6 full-length films between 1946-1949 when she retired to raise a family.
She was as strong as a male bodybuilder, twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter, and able to see in the dark. Her costume boosted her already-high toughness until she was almost bullet proof and she used smoke bombs, tangle nets, and other gadgets to confuse and trap her foes.
American Eagle: The first of America's 'super soldiers', American Eagle debuted in 1941 and famously was dispatched to Pearl Harbor 'just in case' a tantalizing 2 hours too late to either fight the attackers or locate the Japanese fleet, delaying his first battle with Zero until 1943. Over the years there have been 4 more men to wear the Eagle Armor, the current 'Eagle since 1999. While the various American Eagles have fought a variety of super criminals, they largely focus on national threats.
All 'Eagles have worn cutting-edge (for the time) power armor that grants them flight and protection as well as a variety of weapon systems.
The Fabulous Four/Five: Four co-workers caught in a lab explosion caused by a super villain in 1963 were transformed into Monolith, Inferno, Whirlwind, and Tidalwave – the Fabulous Four. The Fabulous Four fought crime until 1969 when Inferno and Whirlwind married and retired. The team added Hawk, Blackfire, and Zephyr II, becoming the Fab Five, and continued until 1984 when the team disbanded.
The Silver Mage: In 1978 the Silver Mage burst into the superhero scene in San Francisco before moving to New York in 1980. The Silver Mage claims to be the Prime Sorcerer of this dimension, a claim which causes a great deal of controversy in religious and scientific circles. The Silver Mage is open to the idea that “magic” is just 'super physics affected by personal belief' as claimed by the Willis Concept, a stance that causes a great deal of controversy within arcane circles.
Either way, the Silver Mage is a powerful superhuman with access to a great variety of powers and is accepted as a leading authority on arcane matters.
Sunhawk: Astronaut Paul Jersey was performing a space walk from the space shuttle Hiawatha in 1984 when he was caught in an unexpected ion storm which transformed him into Sunhawk. Capable of flight, shooting solar blasts and protecting himself with a field of energy he was one of the most popular heroes of the '80's until his fall from grace in 1991 in a drug scandal.
Star Ranger: According to the formal statement made to the UN in 1970, Star Ranger is a member of an interstellar police force who has been assigned to the region of space surrounding Earth to enforce interstellar law and provide space-oriented search and rescue missions. While some believe him, other think he is either a megalomaniac super, a villain, or a scout for invasion.
Whatever the case, Star Ranger has demonstrated fantastic powers and his willingness to aid Earth against threats from space and was instrumental in the rescue of the crew of the Space Shuttle Pacific.
The first Star Ranger certainly appeared to be alien with mauve skin, three fingers on each hand, and solid green eyes with no apparent pupil. He has demonstrated the ability to survive in deep space, travel between planets under his own power, and to be able to sense things millions of miles away. His claim to have a base on Uranus' moon Titania appears confirmed by two different space probes which have taken pictures of the complex in flybys.
In 2016 new Star Ranger was assigned to Earth sector. She claims to be Silwarran (confirmed by Silwarran delegates).

Famous Super villains
Doctor Impossible: Formerly a relatively obscure physicist, Dr. Otto Unglaubhaft of Augsburg was somehow transformed into Dr. Impossible. As the first person to be called a 'super villain' he clashed repeatedly with Amazing Man I throughout the '40's and '50's until vanishing in 1952. He, or someone claiming to be him, reappeared in 1971, but was seemingly killed in an explosion in space.
Dr. Impossible had super-human intelligence, a heightened ability to create devices, and minor psychic abilities. He used his abilities to create a variety of tools ranging from mind-control rays to disintegration pistols, giant battle robots, cyborg henchmen, and more. He also granted the super villains Iron Ron, Black Cloud, and the Crusher their powers.
The People's Soldier: Originally seen invading Poland as part of the Axis, the Soviet super-soldier went on to fight against Nazi Germany and other versions fought against Western heroes and armies in Korea, South America, Vietnam, and Afghanistan until the fall of the USSR. The 8th (and so far last) People's Soldier was crippled by a Chechen suicide bomber in 1999 and has not been seen since. The Soldier was tough strong, and armed with advanced infantry weapons.
Red Star: The Hero of Communist China was a master of martial arts with the ability to regenerate from injury at a highly accelerated rate. He was active from 1951 until vanishing during the Cultural Revolution.
Lord Engineer: A British peer who used his family's fortune and his engineering education to lead a double life as a power-armor wearing super villain, Lord Engineer was eventually captured and exposed in 1991 after 4 years of terrorizing Europe. He later escaped and continued to wreak havoc until his death in battle with the French military in 2003.
Puppetmaster: Possibly the most powerful psionic on Earth, the Puppetmaster has been thwarted in his multiple attempts to seize control of the world by the narrowest of margins. He has not been seen since his last known attempt in 2004. Some fear that he is secretly manipulating world events with his powers. Some conspiracy theorists argue that he has already succeeded and was so successful that most people are simply unaware.
Twilight: Twilight in infamous for his attempts to use super-powered mercenaries to stage a coup in two different European countries (The Grand duchy of Seborga in 1993 and the Grand Duchy of Molodovia in 1998). He is also wanted for war crimes (related to the Yugoslav Wars) and crimes against Humanity (related to the Rwandan genocide and conflict diamond generation).
Twilight has an array of powers based on light, darkness, and illusion.
Oberst Sturm: Originally named Klaus von Sturm and called Hauptmann Sturm, Oberst Sturm was the first of the Nazi Ubermensch, the most powerful of them, and the leader of a band of ubermensch commandos called the Sturm Wolfen during WWII. After the death or capture of the other Ubermensch in Berlin in 1945 he was believed to have committed suicide with Hitler in his bunker – there was even a body found and buried in a secret location. He returned in 1981 in the middle of a Central American revolution and announced his intention to create a Fourth Reich. It has since been said that Hitler's last act was to 'promote' Sturm from SS Hauptsturmfuhrer (and Hauptman) to SS Standartenfuhrer (and Oberst); award him the Knight's Cross with golden oak leaves, swords, and diamonds; and order him to live and create a 4th Reich.
Oberst Sturm has been a constant threat since his return, especially in Europe. Believed killed 4 more times, he has always returned, usually at the worst possible time and place. In addition to the super villains, mercenaries and fanatics at his command he controls a vast network of spies and moles, some of whom seem to be in the highest levels of world government.
Oberst Sturm has increased speed, stamina, toughness, and strength granted him by the Ubermensch procedures and he is armed and armored with advanced military weaponry and a variety of devices and vehicles developed by the scientists of the Fourth Reich. In addition, he is an expert tactician and strategist with experience as a commando, guerrilla, small unit leader and field general. Last but not least he is a highly-trained and experienced hand-to-hand combatant and Olympic-level sabre fencer. ICICLE considers him one of the most dangerous men in the world, if not the most dangerous.
The Brute- First appearing in 1989 in Portugal, the Brute is less a super-villain than a force of nature. The Brute has Eta-level toughness and durability, Zeta-level speed and reflexes, and is almost certainly the strongest superhuman ever known. He appears to have a healing factor and is resistant to mental attacks and seems to be immune to all known toxins and diseases. He has been seen on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and once fought Amazing Man III on a space platform in orbit.
The Brute has never been captured (or even truly defeated – just driven off) and little is known about him. He appears to be a over-muscled man 8' tall with very dark green skin and dark-green eyes with cat-like pupils. He is invariably dressed in tattered, dirty clothing. While he often seems gripped with rage and only speaks in simple phrases, Euroteam reports that he seems to understand and speak at least 9 languages. White Witch claims to have spoken to him for a few minutes on Mt. Ranier where he seemed to be resting and further claims that when he was calm he seemed 'insightful if not intelligent'.
There are also isolated reports that the Brute sometimes has a varied appearance (indigo skin color and faster reflexes; scaled skin, glowing eyes, less strength and higher intelligence; etc.) . Combined with his penchant for appearing and then vanishing ICICLE speculates that the Brute is a superhuman that transform between a form can pass as non-powered and the Brute. Prof. Weird speculates that the non-powered form may not even be aware that he is the Brute!
Because of his destructive nature, great strength, and unpredictability the Brute is currently the only Omega-level threat listed by ICICLE.

Active Superhero Teams
The Protectors (New York City): Members – Amazing Man IV, Hunter II, Quarrel, Prof. Weird, Jack B. Quick II
The Defenders (Los Angeles): Members – Blue Blazes, Zephyr III, Stopwatch, El Brazos, Shadowman
The Guardians (Chicago): Members – Amazonia, Colossus, Ricochet, White Witch, Miracle Mind.
The Sentinals (Washington, D.C.): members – American Eagle V, Lady Liberty, Crusader, Mr. America, Amazing Woman III
San Francisco's Shield (San Francisco): Members – Dr. Light, Dr. Shadow, Thunderclap, Vanisher III, Powerhouse, Flex
The Texas Rangers (Austin): Members – Texas Ranger III, Sidewinder, Rawhide VI, the Twister, Burly Bill, El Rio, Los Hermanos
The Victory Squad (Miami): Members - Ariel, Hermana Oceano, Lineman, Cobalt, Impact, Dreamcatcher, Amazing Lass II
The UK Guards (London): Members – Britannia, Red Dragon, Highlander, John Bull III, Dreadnought
The French Squadron [L'Escadron Francais] (Paris): Members – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Mirage, Mont Blanc, Marianne
The German Shield [Die Deutsch Schild] (Berlin): Members – Deutscher Michel, Valkyrie, Der Frieschutz, Der Ingenieur, Schwartzenberg
Euroteam (Brussels): Members – Polonia, Ritter, Ushtar Hakuri, Le Citoyen, El Guardian, Banshee, Uomo Gigante, Athena

Active Super villain Teams (known)
KAOS (Western Hemisphere): Members – Killer III, the Anarchist, Overdrive II, Stealth
The Terror League (any): Members – Doctor Dread, Trauma, Plague, Ripper, Bodycount, Panic
Council for World Betterment (any): Members – The Technocrat, the Engineer, Cybermind, Chromedog, Silver Raven, the Uploaded Man
Twilight Army (Europe): Members – Twilight, Salvo, Armadillo, Sprinter, Battlecry, Longarm
Insectus (any): Members – Black scorpion, Steel Beetle, Iron Hornet, Trapdoor, Killer Bee, Tarantula, Black Widow, Waterstrider, Luna Moth, Flea, Bombadier, Lightning Bug
The Fourth Reich (any): Members – Oberst Sturm, Doktor Wunder, Rhinemaiden, Donner, Alptraum, Geist

Government Forces
ICICLE: See separate sheet
Task Force Able: The US military's super-powered special operations team. All members are selected from experienced members of the various branches and then go through the current American super-soldier program. Combined with the best equipment and training available, Able Team (as it is called) specializes in counter-super actions, anti-terrorism, and other high-risk operations.
MI-7: Britain's super-operatives are typically recruited from within the Commonwealth's superhuman community. By treaty MI-7 has full access to all Commonwealth nation military and espionage resources. They are well known for their wide range of abilities.
SmG: Germany's Super-militarische Gruppe selects its operatives in a manner similar to MI-7, especially since super-power induction (i.e., super-soldier programs) are illegal in Germany.
Bureau S: Russia's super-operatives are a mix of super-soldiers and recruited super humans. While the 'base level' effectiveness of the Russian super-soldier program is lower than the American program, it is not as selective (meaning more people are likely to receive improvements) and their drug enhancement systems allow their super-soldiers to operate at American levels during operations.
The People's Protectorate: China's group combines their super-operatives and national super-hero team. The leading members of the super-hero team are (names translated) – Sunbeam, Winter Wind, Spring Rains, Harmonious Conjunction, Re-educator, Strength of Mao Thought, and Forward Progress. While the details of the Chinese super-soldier program are unknown, analysis of their performance indicates it is about equal with the Russian program.

Major Criminal Groups
The Combine: In the 1950's several of the wealthiest and most influential Mafia gangs in America and Canada created an overarching group to oppose the impact of costumed crime fighters. Despite ups and downs in the decades since the Combine always returns.
The Combine uses the money and resources donated by the members gangs to recruit and hire ex-soldiers and super-powered mercenaries to oppose super-heroes.
The Red and Black Triad A group of Chinese super-villains took control of the Red and Black Triad in the 1970's and developed an interesting position in the Asian world by providing super-powered members to other Triads in return for a percentage of the 'take'. Today there are branches of the Red and Black throughout Asia, the British Commonwealth and North America.
BlackStar: In the 1990's BlackStar Research was a darling of the Dot Com boom; a Silicon Valley startup that had won critical DoD projects in its first 2 years of operations, BlackStar was creating new power, weapon systems, and bio-tech solutions at an astonishing pace. The founder and owner, Marie Stella Schwartz, was soon the youngest female self-made billionaire in history, appeared on the covers of Hi-Tech Magazine and Glamour in the same week, and was rumored to be engaged to a French nobleman. Then DoD audits caught what appeared to be data theft from classified computers attached to BlackStar networks.
Within weeks everyone from the DoD to the SEC were finding information theft, insider trading, stock fraud, intellectual property crimes – a list that eventually extended to 406 criminal accusations against Schwartz and her senior staff. After a press conference where Schwartz promised to explain how the charges against her were fabricated, she and her top staff all... vanished. They, their money, their computers, their lab equipment, sometimes their families; all just gone.
By 2002 ICICLE was discovering that some foes had technology they had never seen before; cutting-edge stuff that was sometimes better than anything the world's governments had. Investigators eventually learned that BlackStar hadn't just run; they'd run to hidden labs. Now BlackStar sells power, weapons, and bio-tech to the highest bidder. And sometimes their own operatives steal technology from governments, even superheroes, to add to their own knowledge base. And BlackStar seems to keep the very best armor and weapons fOr its own people.
WASP: In 1983 ICICLE finally confirmed rumors that had been drifting around super-hero circles for decades; there was an international criminal organization that was bent on not 'just' crime but world domination. To this day WASP has been the most persistent and dangerous foe of ICICLE.
The Strangers all claim that WASP is a direct 'descendant' of the International Crime League founded in the 19th Century. Whatever its origins, ICICLE considers WASP to be the most critical criminal threat on Earth.
Wasp operates in cells, called nests. Each nest has a Nest Commander who has connections to a 'communications node' (a dead-drop method of receiving orders from his superiors) and one other nest. Under the Nest Commander are three deputies; one has access to a different communications node, the others each have a connection to a different Nest – this information is never shared between members. In this manner no Nest Commander can deceive his Nest about orders being received (one of his deputies can dispute false orders) and communications can always be assured while not risking the entire organization.
Nests can have an amazingly varied list of goals; some are laboratories engaged in researching weapons; others are focused on raising money to fund WASP operations by crime or by 'legitimate' business. While all nests have at least some as guards, some nests are barracks and training centers for WASP troops; well-trained, well-equipped soldiers in a variety of specialties. At one time WASP employed or even created super humans as 'muscle' (Insectus began as part of WASP) but has spent the last decade relying on their own human soldiers almost exclusively.
WASP's goal seems to be to weaken and destabilize world governments to such an extent that WASP can take control of the entire world. To this end they support terrorists, commit and encourage criminal activity, force politicians into scandals, discredit governmental organizations, and generally promote chaos and fear. Their past actions include; assassinating the first post-apartheid president of Sotartho; sabotaging the space shuttle Adonis; sinking both a Russian and Chinese submarine in proximity to each other in an attempt to provoke war between those nations; detonating an EMP bomb inside the Japanese stock exchange; and many more.

Aliens and Alien Events
Invasion of the Mysterians (1966): In 1965 UFOs were often seen over the Pacific relatively near Japan. In 1966 the Mysterians (as they are called by Humanity) unleashed a dozen giant monsters on major Earth cities, seemingly to weaken Earth's defenses for invasion. After hard fighting Earth's heroes were able to destroy or defeat the monsters and drive off the Mysterians. The island based used by the Mysterions still had the devices they had used to contain the monsters, so the remaining monsters were transported there (now called Monster Island) for containment.
No Mysterian body was ever recovered. Star Ranger states he does not recognize the ships shown in movie footage from the Invasion.
The Mysterians returned in 1974 and briefly freed the creatures of Monster Island, but were quickly driven off and the monsters were soon returned.
Chak'Gur Assault (1985): A number of alien warships appeared near the Earth on November 11th, 1985 and began to bombard the planet from orbit. Warning by Star Ranger, however, had given Earth's military and heroes time to prepare. Heroes capable of space flight engaged the main ships while others dealt with landing parties, atmospheric fighters, and protecting/rescuing civilians on the ground. Several villains also participated with some of them receiving pardons for past crimes because of their actions during the assault. Insectus and even the Fourth Reich engaged the alien forces with Amazing Man, Star Ranger, Black Scorpion, Oberst Sturm, Hunter I and Colossus boarding the flagship.
After inflicting severe damage the Earth team was withdrawing to their boarding ship when Hunter realized the alien commander had set his ship's FTL drives to overload, which would cause incalculable damage to the Earth. Telling the others by radio that he was already clear, Hunter was able to prevent the overload, although he still died in the explosion of the ship's scuttling charges.
The Fourth Reich, Insectus and others slipped away as the battered remnants of the invasion force fled. It was months before remaining pockets of Chak'Gur marines were mopped up. Over 10 million people were killed in the action, almost all during or as a result of the 2 hour space battle and bombardment.
The Chak'Gur are small humanoids about 4' tall with strong legs and 4 fingered hands.
Silwarra Visitations (1991, 1998, 2006, 2014): On June 3rd, 1991 Star Ranger alerted the Earth that a space craft was approaching and that it was unarmed. By Noon local the ship had landed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and its occupants were speaking with ambassadors from around the world.
The Silwarra (singular and plural) claimed to be explorers and scholars interested in cultural exchange with Earth. They provided a large volume of literature, music, art, and other media from their own world and asked for a similar exchange from Earth. After 2 weeks the Silwarra left. They have since returned twice, each time again exchanging cultural elements back and forth. During their 2014 visit the Silwarrans began the process of establishing an exchange of scholars between the planets in 2021. Now a Silwarran ship visits every year and exchanges information via the Asgard Station.
The Silwarra are very human in appearance with golden to dark yellow skin and purple to green hair. While their eyes are human in appearance, they are of bright hues of pink, green, yellow, or orange.
Their exchanges have been extensive enough that some colleges now offer Silwarra Studies and incorporate Silwarra literature, etc., into their programs.

Notable Events in the Superhuman World
Amazing Man Appears: February 3rd, 1938 – “It was a crisp, clear Thursday morning and the ferry was facing the wind.” This famous opening line to the seminal “An Amazing Story” by Walter “Cade” Kincaid (who was 18 when he was the first person rescued by Amazing Man) is one of the most-quoted passages about that famous event. The criminal mastermind known as the Gangster had placed a bomb on the Johnson Island Ferry to distract police and crime fighters while his gang robbed 5 banks at the same time. As the boat began to sink into the frigid waters a man dressed in work overalls with the name tag ripped off and netting wrapped around his head to hide his face flew to the ferry and began pulling 3 and 4 people from the water to safety at the same time. When the waters were clear he grabbed the ferry and pushed it to shore while preventing it from sinking through sheer muscle power. A week later he reappeared, this time in his now-iconic white and blue costume.
The first superhuman was now public.
The Ubermensch and super-soldiers: 1939 – With great fanfare Hitler announced the most recent triumph of Nazi science and military prowess – the various Ubermensch: Blitz, Krieg, Panzer, Eisen-Shark, and their leader Hauptman Sturm. By 1941 America, England, Japan, and the Soviet Union had all announced their own super-soldiers.
The War within a War: During WWII the majority of conflict between super humans was outside of Europe and Japan. As was revealed in the 1960's Hitler had the services of an un-named psychic superhuman capable of controlling the minds of super-heroes across large distances, meaning that any superhuman in mainland Europe was in danger of being added to the Nazi regime. The Japanese had a 'spell' surrounding the islands that stripped any superhuman not touched by the Emperor of their powers.
As a result Allied super humans were limited to fighting in Africa, the oceans, and the Western hemisphere. Highly-skilled normals did fight within Europe.
The Fabulous Four: As described above, the Fabulous Four gained their powers in 1963. At the time they were almost unique in that while they had cover names their personal identities were also public knowledge.
The Red Year: 1973 – heightened tension in the Cold War lead to superhuman skirmishes around the globe. By year end 14 super humans are dead.
The Vault is opened: 1990 – ICICLE's super-secure prison facility, the Vault, becomes active. Located on Malachite Island southwest of the Canaries it was designed to hold the most dangerous super humans in the world.
Desert Sword: 1991 – American, British, French, and German super-soldiers engage Iraqi super-soldiers and Islamic super humans in what was almost certainly the largest super battles in history. Iraqi forces are crushed.
First Twilight Coup: 1993 – Twilight Army attempts to conquer Seborga. While initially successful Euroteam drives them out after 6 weeks.
First Revenger Incident: 1996 – members of the villain team KAOS discover the secret identities of the Boston Guardians super team. KAOS ambushes the heroes in their civilian identities one at a time and murders their families.
Over the next year the families of the members of KAOS are killed one by one; this extends even to close friends, ex-partners in crime and (for the friendless orphan Killer I) his pet dog. Then the members of KAOS themselves are killed one by one. At the last body, that of Killer I, a note was left that read “Families are off-limits. -Revenger”.
Second Twilight Coup: 1998 – the Twilight Army attacks Molodovia, but is driven back with heavy losses.
The Vault Breakout: 2000 – Mister Mind uses a freed creature from Monster Island to breach the Vault's defenses. Dozens of criminals escape.
Second Revenger Incident: 2001 – When Pokerface, a hitman for the Combine, kills the daughter of Red Falcon on orders of the local crime family someone kills a child, spouse, or other close relative of every senior member of the crime family and of all their enforcers (and also kills Pokerface) each time leaving a note that says “This is why families are off-limits”. While the police claim to have secret details that prove these acts were done by the same man as the first incident no arrests are ever made.
The Battle of Vienna: 2009 – While responding to a distress call Euroteam is ambushed by the Fourth Reich. During the 20 minute battle that followed 5 of the nine members of Euroteam, 14 Snowmen, 46 police and rescue workers, and over 30 civilians were killed. Of the surviving Euroteam members Feuer and Carmen suffered injuries severe enough that they were forced to retire.
The new Euroteam, listed above, debuted in January 2012.
The Necromancer War: 2014 (end) – The newly formed Champions of Atlanta learned why Atlanta was the world’s largest city to never have a major superhero nor superhero team; a cabal of evil sorcerers had been driving out or killing all truly super-powered beings for half a century or more. An escalation of violence between the Champions, the Cabal, ICICLE, and local police was dubbed The Necromancer War by the local press. By Autumn of 2014 all known cabal members were in prison, dead, or confirmed fled.

Superhuman Culture
Supers and the Media: Media, especially entertainment, loves supers. The mystery men and crime fighters of the 19th and early 20th Centuries were already stars of penny dreadfuls, dime novels, pulps, and comic books. As these characters were transitioning to serials super-heroes and villains appeared. Many heroes helped with bond drives and some even traveled with the USO. American Eagle, Leatherneck and the All-American each had comic books that inspired Americans as well as gave helpful hints to youngsters about helping with the war effort at home.
The post-war years saw an explosion of books, movies and music about super humans. This glut was reversed in the 1950's when, partly because of the overload of the previous decade and partly because a great deal of superhuman activity at the beginning of the Cold War was secret, supers in the media reached an all time low.
From the '60's onward, though, super humans returned and are now a cornerstone of pop culture.
Print- Most magazines have at least a section on supers ranging from Glamour (fashion) to Connected (technology). The biggest players, though, are Superworld (a news magazine that covers superhuman activity), Superstory (a tabloid magazine infamous for its over-the-top headlines such as 'I am having Oberst Sturms Superbaby!'), and Powered (a teen-focused magazine). All are facing declining readership, although their web pages are robust.
Film- Superhero dramas, comedies, actioners, and documentaries have been popular to one degree or another for 70 years. Important films include 'An Amazing Man' (Oscar-winning documentary about Amazing Man I), 'Night Patrol' (comedy about 3 bumbling supers, highest grossing super comedy), 'Why Me?' (critically-acclaimed drama based on the diaries of the '70's teen/young hero the Fly), and 'No Greater Love' (action/drama film about the Chak'Gur assault and the death of Hunter I; winner of 7 Oscars, the Golden Lion, and 5 Golden Globes).
Several supers have tried their hand at acting with the most successful being, arguably, Red Lion (UK) in the '60's, Silent Lady (Hong Kong) in the '70's, Captain Victory and Siren (both US) in the '80's, The Cat (US) in the '90's, and the Green Swordsman in the last decade.
Television- There has been at least one super-themed program on television every year since 1954. While most are relatively mediocre, a few stand out. 'The Icemen', a crime drama/action series about a pair of ICICLE agents, ran from 1964-1969 and brought a refreshing realism to the super-themed show and told its stories from the viewpoint of normals. 'Monitor Duty' was a surprise comedy hit from 1995-2001 and was based around a group of D-list superheroes sitting around the base of the fictional Indianapolis Enforcers and occasionally getting into trouble. 'Wearing the Cape' has been on the air since 1995 and is a reality show where camera crews travel with superheroes on patrol.
The number of shows where supers have had cameos is quite large.
There is also the Super News Network, SNN, which has provided 24/7 coverage of supers since 1990. It has reporters throughout the world and has won shelves of awards for its coverage. The SNN web page is one of the most visited.
Since about 1995 there has been a wave of (typically low-powered) supers where their primary career is 'light television', a trend started with the 'Jane Maine' show on the SuperKids Network. This led to the current 'Zero/Hero' show which has a cast of 9 teen supers, none of whom 'adventure'.
Music- While the number of songs about supers is huge, there are also songs by supers. These range from novelties (Monolith's 'Halloween is Easy'), the topical (Sunhawk singing backup on the soundtrack to the 'Super Crime' television theme), and the campy (SolarrGirrls' 'Girrl Powerr').
Miss Liberty sang in 2 of her movies and was encouraged to go into musicals, but retired. Siren, already a movie star, tried to also breakout as a singer in the '80's, but her three albums had disappointing sales.
The Rose was largely a singer and entertainer first and a super-heroine second throughout the '80's and retired from 'adventuring' in 1991 to focus full-time on her musical career. Flower Girl had a promising debut album in 1984 which set records, but her death in the Chak'Gur invasion was a tragic end. Soundwave retired from adventuring in 1969 due to injuries and moved on to a 20 year career in the opera.
Currently Sara Myles (former star of the 'Jane Maine' show) is a full-time singer, as is Voltage, a male singer from Canada. The largest 'super-singer' though is almost certainly Rosa Azul; the Argentinian super has been a recording artist since 2009, when she was 17, and now is one of the best-selling Spanish-language female singer in history. She is starting to cross-over into French and English markets. She incorporates her flight, aura, and even energy blasts into her stage show. Her assistance with Gruppo de Proteccion (Chile's national super team) against the Terror League in June 2012 moved her into the adventurer/entertainer group fairly firmly and she has assisted other super teams since.
Online- There are tens of thousands of blogs, pages, feeds, forums and such dedicated to supers ranging from comprehensive and professional (SNN's SuperPage) to the small and amateur (too many to name) the the obscure but fascinating (the probably-run-by-the-retired-hero page dedicated to the 1980's Super-Hornet, for example).
Other- The Ultimate Wrestling League includes a ExtremeHeavyWeight class (for people with a 31 to 40 Strength), MegaHeavyWeight class (41-50 Strength) and UltraHeavyWeight class (51+ Strength); these professional wrestlers compete within special rings that can withstand their strength.
Every 4 years the Superlymplics invite super humans (without felony convictions or outstanding warrants) to participate in olympic-style events for super humans (the 100 kilometer dash; the 4 mile underwater swim race; the flight marathon; etc.) with proceeds from sales and advertising going to charity.

Slang and idiom related to Supers
Cape: a hero; “The Defenders added a new cape”
Mask: a villain or criminal
Iceman: ICICLE investigator
Snowman: ICICLE counter-super assault team member
Blues: (Short for 'boys in blue')A police officer without powers or special equipment; “There were a lot more blues at that bank than we expected”
Redshirt, Shirt: Civilian; “I'll engage the masks while you get the shirts to cover!”
Neck ties, Ties: Government administrators, detectives, etc.; “I spent 5 minutes fighting the masks and 4 hours doing paperwork with the ties”
MDK: 'Mad Dog Killer' – a super-villain that kills without remorse; “Insectus is trouble but the Terror League?! They're all MDKs”
Mook: The non-powered troops of super villains
Bugs: Members of WASP
Thug: normal criminal not associated with super-villains
Henching: Working for super-villains for a wage rather than for ideology, etc. “yeah, I'm henching again. I gotta' pay the rent”
Goon: An under-powered super; this can be general or specific to the situation. “SkyLord talks a big game, but he's just a goon” vs. “I'm pretty good but next to Amazing Man I'm a goon”
GTF: 'Gun To Face'; taking hostages; “yeah, it looked like a normal flying pursuit until he grabbed that window washer and went GTF”
Nerf: A particularly ineffective attack; “I should have assumed my firelance would nerf against a guy calling himself Lava Lord, but I had to check”
Spangle: A particularly effective attack (opposite of nerf); “His power armor is made of crystals – Soundwave's scream should spangle him pretty good”
Adventuring: Being a super-hero
The Cover, Cover: The codename/identity/personality associated with being a super-hero or villain. “I don't really have a Southern accent, but, well, the cover”
The Life: Being super powered and how it affects your life; living the dual life of a superhuman. “Bobby was a nice guy and a good friend but the life got in the way”
The Gig: Being a superhero, specifically referring to the hard parts; long hours, danger, dealing with paperwork, lawsuits, injuries, etc.”Yeah, I still have three cracked ribs and was up 30 hours but this patrol ain't doing itself. It is all part of the gig.”
Camera Bait: A hero that more focused on a press coverage, endorsement deals, and celebrity than the gig. “Glamor Girl? Pure camera bait, kid”
Pre-Parole Job: A high-risk crime
Strange Tech, Weirdwired: The technology of super humans that are so-called 'Type B technology' users. “I picked up Mr. Fixit's pistol but it was weirdwired and only worked for him”.

Sanctioned Heroes
Over time most jurisdictions have issued laws making a special status available for super-heroes, a status generally called 'sanctioned'. Sanctioned heroes do have to follow most police procedures, but are not classified as vigilantes (which are illegal in most places) and have the power to make arrests. Sanctioned heroes can also provide testimony while masked and in heir secret ID by identifying themselves by other means.
American heroes can be sanctioned at the city, county, state, national, and international levels. All require special training. Other nations have very similar procedures.
All the super-teams listed earlier require their members to be sanctioned.

How Things in the Campaign Differ
Obviously – super heroes are real!
Beyond that, the existence of people with super powers has changed the world a fair amount. Most large office buildings and arenas have areas like storm shelters for people to take cover during super battles, for example.
While super-inventors have made stunning advances, the odd nature and lack of general development means that the technology we are used to in the real world is still the norm in the campaign. That being said, police and the military can have access to quite advanced technology - Atlanta, for example, has a special anti-supercrime task force that is armed with pulson energy rifles.
Pulson weapons fire a burst of pulsons (a type of 'intermediate charged particle' first identified in the 1970's by Prof. Inventor) that cause energy damage but carry enough mass to knock targets off their feet (if the attack is powerful enough) while still being less lethal than bullets. This makes them popular with military forces and police since they are capable of harming super tough targets and yet less likely to kill civilians.
Some superheroes and villains can travel in space under their own power and others can use super-tech to do the same – this means there has been better space exploration (more probes, more satellites, etc.), someone has been to Mars (Captain Solar in 1979) and there was only one fatal shuttle accident.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt wished to run for a third term in 1940 but strong backlash at the New York Convention of the Democratic Party led to Cordell Hull being the Democratic nominee. Hull barely edged out Wendell Wilkie to become president in 1940. After Hull the presidents of the campaign world are all also different than in real life (see A Brief Political history of the US in the Campaign).

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