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Red Rube (Icons Writeup)

Red Ruberedrube-ww
aka Rueben Rueben

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 8
Intellect 5
Awareness 5
Willpower 5

Stamina 13

Powers
*Damage Resistance 7
*Superspeed 3
*Leaping 6
*”Hey, Rube!” – The abilities listed above are for the Red Rube in his adult, heroic form. When he’s  Rueben Rueben, all abilities decrease to 3. (Limit: Must be able to speak his phrase out loud in order to change)

Specialties
Athletics (+1 bonus), Journalism (+1 bonus), Martial Arts (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Empowered by his ancestors
*One of the world’s mightiest mortals
*Hey, Rube!

Background
Rueben Rueben was a young orphan who ran away from the orphanage. He hid out in an old castle, but discovered it was his ancestor’s home. His ancestors still haunted the castle as ghosts, all sharing the same name as their descendant, and wanted to help him. Red Rube was given a magical gift, whenever he shouts “HEY RUBE!” he is transformed from a child into an adult superhero. Each Relative gave him an aspect of their greatness, together it made him superhuman.

Rueben later became a cub reporter for the Daily Sun.

The Monster (Icons Writeup)

The MonsterMonster
aka Bram Lewis

Prowess 4
Coordination 4
Strength 5
Intellect 5
Awareness 4
Willpower 5

Stamina 10

Powers
*Glider Wings – Flight 3
*Claws – Strike 6
*Immortality 1 (Limit: requires occasional doses of his special formula)

Specialties
Athletics (+1 bonus), Law (+1 bonus), Martial Arts (+1 bonus), Psychiatry (Expert +2 bonus), Science (+2 bonus)

Qualities
*The world doesn’t understand the importance of my work!
*Wants to live forever
*Master of Fear

Background

Bram Lewis was the warden at a youth prison during a series of a bizarre attacks conducted by a fearsome entity known as The Monster. Eventually the Wizard and his sidekick Roy managed to uncover the truth – Warden Lewis was conducting horrific experiments on young people, draining their youth in an attempt to extend his own. Lewis had previously been both a scientist and a child psychologist – his position at a local university ended when it was discovered that he was performing experiments upon unwilling teenagers. Lewis believed that if you instilled fear into an individual and then drained their blood, you would end up with a life-extending formula. Given that his victims ended up looking like wizened old men, it seems that his process worked. He was capable of extreme cruelty and showed a willingness to kill anyone that threatened his position.

Lewis wears The Monster costume to terrify his enemies but I think it might be fun to say that the formula he used might have actually transformed him into this appearance. It’s your call since it’s your campaign, after all!

Stone Face (Icons Writeup)

Stone FaceSTONE-FACE
aka Lionel Fenwyck

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 5
Intellect 3
Awareness 2
Willpower 3

Stamina 8

Powers
*Face Made Out of Stone – Damage Resistance 3
*Face Made Out of Stone – Headbutt 6

Specialties
Martial Arts (+1 bonus), Performance – Actor (Expert +2 bonus), Wrestling (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*He has a stone face
*Eterno’s henchman
*Wants to be a star

Background

Lionel Fenwyck was one of several henchmen Eterno the Tyrant “materialized” to fight the Mighty Crusaders. He was originally a non-powered actor making a movie when Eterno found him and “transformed” him to a “real” super-villain. He was apprehended shortly after battling the “Mighty” team and changed back to a normal person.

Something about this guy screams mafia boss to me – it’s probably memories of Spidey villains like Hammerhead influencing me. Despite his lack of powers, I think he has an interesting gimmick and think you could use him to good effect in a street-level campaign.

Dovi (Icons Writeup)

DoviDovi

Prowess 4
Coordination 3
Strength 4
Intellect 5
Awareness 4
Willpower 3

Stamina 7

Powers
*Time Machine Shuttle – Handling 8, Speed 10, Structure 5, Armor 5, Blast 8, Time Travel 8
*Helmet – Damage Resistance 2, also offers protection from the rigors of time travel
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Pilot – Time Machine Shuttle (Expert +2 bonus), Science (+1 bonus), Technology (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Would-Be Master of Time
*Appreciates the Ladies
*Member of the Anti-Fly League

Background

Dovi was a criminal from the future who sought refuge by escaping into the past. It was during this “time period” that he joined fellow Fly foes and became a member of the Anti-Fly League. During their first confrontation, the Fly was able to trick Dovi, and sent him back to the future.

Still seeking vengeance, Dovi recruited the beautiful Cleopatra as his crime partner, and they went back in time to destroy their enemy. Unfortunately, Cleopatra fell in love with the Fly and planned to stay and marry him, instead of luring him into Dovi’s trap. Yet, Dovi had a surprise for her, as he already arranged a punishment if Cleopatra did not follow through with their original pact.

He was aware that his partner’s facial tissue was not protected from time traveling (this is why he wears a special helmet), and she was beginning to show signs of rapid aging. As punishment for being a traitor, she had to make a choice, stay in the present time with the Fly, and continue to lose her bewitching beauty, or go with Dovi in order to regain her looks. She chose her looks, and they both traveled away together.

Dovi could return at any point – or someone might steal the time machine that he possesses. There’s potential here.

Cyclops (Icons Writeup)

Cyclopscyclops
aka Scott “Slim” Summers

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 4
Intellect 4
Awareness 6
Willpower 5

Stamina 9

Powers
Optic Blast 8 (Limit: Constant. Optic blasts are uncontrollable without the Ruby Quartz visor or Ruby Quartz sunglasses)

Specialties
Leadership (Expert +2 bonus), Linguistics (Expert +2 bonus, speaks English, Japanese, and Russian), Martial Arts (+1 bonus), Mental Resistance (Expert +2 bonus), Pilot (Expert +2 bonus), Power – Optic Blast (Master +3 bonus), Technology – Aircraft Repair (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*”The Professor used to tell me the most important part of leading wasn’t personality, tactics, or training. It was doing whatever it takes to get your team back alive.”
*Mutant Rights Advocate
*Complicated Family Tree

Background

Cyclops was my favorite member of the X-Men, until they had him abandon his wife and child to form X-Factor. Since then, it’s been one heel turn after another for Scott.

Scott Summers was the first of two sons born to Major Christopher Summers, a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force, and his wife Katherine. Christopher was flying his family home from vacation when their plane was attacked by a spacecraft from the interstellar Shi’ar Empire. To save their lives, Katherine pushed Scott and his brother Alex out of the plane with the only available parachute. Scott suffered a head injury upon landing, thus forever preventing him from controlling his mutant power by himself.

With their parents presumed dead, the authorities separated the two boys. Alex was adopted, but Scott remained comatose in a hospital for a year. On recovering, he was placed in an orphanage in Omaha, Nebraska that was secretly controlled by his future enemy, the evil geneticist Mister Sinister.

As a teenager, Scott came into the foster care of Jack Winters, a mutant criminal known as the Jack O’Diamonds. After Scott began to suffer from severe headaches he was sent to a specialist who discovered that lenses made of ruby quartz corrected the problem. Soon after, Scott’s mutant power first erupted from his eyes as an uncontrollable blast of optic force. The blast demolished a crane, causing it to drop its payload toward a terrified crowd. Scott saved lives by obliterating the object with another blast, but the bystanders believed that he had tried to kill them and rallied into an angry mob. Scott fled, escaping on a freight train.

Winters sought to use Scott’s newfound talent in his crimes, and physically abused the young boy when he initially refused. However, Scott’s display of power had attracted the attention of the mutant telepath Professor Charles Xavier, who teamed up with F.B.I. agent Fred Duncan in their mutual attempt to find Scott. Scott was rescued from Winters’ clutches and was enlisted by Xavier as the first member of the X-Men, a team of young mutants who trained to use their powers in the fight for human/mutant equality.

As Cyclops, Scott became deputy leader of the X-Men. While he was a skilled tactician, his social skills were lacking. Scott had fallen in love with his teammate Jean Grey, but his reserved demeanor prevented him from expressing his feelings for her for years. When Xavier’s other original recruits left the fold following an encounter with the sentient island-being Krakoa, Cyclops stayed on as deputy leader of the new team.

Shortly thereafter, the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force took Jean’s place. When it committed suicide, Scott believed the love of his life had died and he left the X-Men. During his time away from the team, Scott met fishing boat captain Lee Forrester who helped him work through his grief. Scott eventually returned to the X-Men whereupon he met Madelyne Pryor, a woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jean. Unaware that Madelyne was a clone of Jean created by Sinister, Scott fell in love with Madelyne and they were soon married. Madelyne fell pregnant and bore Scott a son named Nathan Christopher.

When the real Jean emerged from suspended animation, Scott abandoned his wife and son and rejoined the other original X-Men in establishing a new team, X-Factor. During a demonic invasion of New York City, X-Factor and the X-Men fought against a super-powered and insane Madelyne. The invasion was thwarted after Madelyne perished in combat with Jean.

Later, the mutant warlord named Apocalypse infected baby Nathan with a techno-organic virus. To save his son’s life, Scott had to allow a member of the Clan Askani to transport Nathan two millennia into the future, where it had been foreseen that he would deliver the world from Apocalypse’s clutches. X-Factor disbanded soon after, and its members returned to the ranks of the X-Men. Scott and his long-time love Jean were married, and whilst on their honeymoon their spirits were taken into the timestream by the Clan Askani’s matriarch. Arriving in the future, they inhabited new bodies and raised Nathan for twelve years. When they returned to their own time and bodies, Nathan remained in the future and ultimately matured into his time’s greatest hero: Cable.

Following Professor X’s arrest for crimes committed as the evil psionic entity Onslaught, Scott assumed the role of leadership of the X-Men once more. Soon after, the government sponsored mutant-hunting operation known as “Zero Tolerance” took effect, and the villainous Bastion captured the X-Men. In his attempt to destroy mutantkind, Bastion placed a nanotech bomb inside Scott’s body. The X-Men escaped, and the mutant doctor named Cecilia Reyes saved Scott’s life. Scott and his wife soon took a leave of absence from the X-Men for a period of recuperation.

Not long after returning to the team, Scott and Jean soon found themselves embroiled in Apocalypse’s bid for cosmic power by assembling “The Twelve” – a group of mutants who would determine the fate of their kind that included Scott, Jean, and Cable. They were wired to a machine that would channel their awesome energies into Apocalypse, allowing him to absorb the body of the time-tossed powerful mutant teenager known as X-Man. As his teammates fell around him, a powerless Scott saved X-Man and merged with the would-be conqueror to create a new evil entity. Jean detected Scott’s psyche inside Apocalypse and prevented the X-Men from destroying him, however he was presumed dead by most of his teammates. Only Jean and Cable refused to believe Scott had perished.

Investigating rumors he was alive, the pair found him in the birthplace of Apocalypse in Akkaba, Egypt, struggling to reassert his mind over the villain’s psyche. Ultimately, Jean was able to physically rip Apocalypse’s essence from Scott’s body using her mental powers, and Cable destroyed it with his own powers.

Scott left for a small period of recuperation, during which he met and reconciled with his father. Afterwards, Scott returned to the X-Men, but his association with Apocalypse had given him a grimmer, more serious personality than ever before. As a result, many of his relationships became strained, including his marriage to Jean. Scott sought the counsel of his teammate Emma Frost and the pair began a psychic affair. When Jean discovered Scott’s betrayal, he left the X-Men in order to sort out the mess his life had become.

Following the outing of Professor X as a mutant to the world, his school was rechristened the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning and opened its doors to the mutant population at large, training and educating dozens of young new students to help them cope with their burgeoning abilities. After the death of his wife, Scott assumed the position of co-headmaster of the School alongside his new love, Emma.

Cyclops’s world was further upset when a mysterious mutant attacked and brought him and Marvel Girl (his and Jean Grey’s daughter) to a secret abandoned facility. Cyclops eventually discovered that the mutant was none other than his brother Gabriel, who had been a student of Moira’s that Professor X had sent to rescue Scott from Krakoa. Scott had witnessed the apparent deaths of Gabriel and his teammates; Xavier had mind-wiped him to alleviate the psychic trauma of the event. Shaken to the core, Cyclops expelled the then powerless Xavier from the Institute.

My Days in the Roleplaying Game Field

I’ve always loved tabletop roleplaying games. I’ve played literally dozens and dozens of different systems but my all-time favorite is the D6 system invented by West End Games. They used it most famously in their Star Wars games from the late 80s through the 1990s. Elegant simplicity.

So after I’d been writing at Marvel for awhile, I decided I’d branch out into other avenues. I knew Nikola Virtis fairly well, since I ran a fansite devoted to West End’s DC Universe game and she’d been nice enough to send me some free stuff. When I asked if I could write for them, she put me on a book called D6 Space: The Fires of Amatsumara. By this time West End had lost the Star Wars license and were trying to reinvent themselves with various in-house setting. Amatsumara was basically Firefly, with a few modifications. When Nikola described it to me, it was Firefly-meets-Cowboy Bebop. Anyway, I was assigned about half the book to write and given a ton of free reign with the characters. Basically, the high concept of the setting and brief descriptions of the planets were already in place but I had to flesh them out, fill the planets with characters (and stat them out!), then give a bunch of story ideas for each. It was fun and I included a few of my own homebrew characters in the setting, figuring that this would be the only way I’d ever see them in print. I enjoyed it quite a bit and even started work on a second book for them (The Long Winter, about an earth frozen in ice after another Ice Age) but it was cancelled after I’d written about 8,000 words.

And then… well, I kinda wanted to get paid for the Amatsumara book. I had a contract, after all. But West End didn’t send that check… and when I called the phone number on my contract, it had been disconnected.

Uh-oh!

So I tried emailing the guy in charge (not Nikola — she was always aces with me) and wouldn’t get a response, again and again. So I posted about it on the WEG message boards, which did two things: it finally brought the publisher’s attention to me (he wasn’t happy) and it brought out a bunch of fanboys who jumped all over me because they would have been glad to have worked for free. As I explained, I loved West End, too — and you know, I might have worked for free if they’d asked me to. I really dug the company and its system. But they didn’t. They offered me a contract and I felt I should get my money. I eventually did but it was well over 18 months after they had initially said I would get it.

I then did a book called Godsend Agenda: U.S.E.R.’s Most Wanted, which was basically a collection of villains. I got to dream up several dozen villains and stat them out — they used a variant on West End’s D6 System, so I was right at home. I enjoyed the experience and the folks at Khepera Publishing were easy to deal with. They wanted me to do more for them but I got too busy with the pulp stuff and never did.

And that’s my exciting adventures in the roleplaying game world. I learned that rpg publishers are, by and large, living on the edge financially. Anyone who thinks comics or pulp sales are low should look at the lower-tier rpg publishers to feel better about themselves. But the rpg world is filled with fans and it’s nice to see people working on things that they love. I’m glad I got the chance to work with WEG and Khepera.

Starchild – KISS (Icons Writeup)

StarchildPaul_Stanley
aka Paul Stanley

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 6
Willpower 7

Stamina 13

Powers
Paul possesses the KISS Talisman of the Stars. It allows him to manipulate living souls and provides the following powers:
*Damage Resistance 4
*Flight 8
*Emotion Control 7
*Kinetic Bolt 7
*Languages 9 (Paul can understand any spoken language)
*Soul Absorption 10 (This power allows Paul to literally absorb a victim’s mind. The victim’s body is basically a zombie and will remain as such unless Paul returns their soul to the body) (Limit: Exhausting)

Specialties
Leadership (+1 bonus), Performance – Singing (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*Mystic Defender and Musician
*Calming Influence on Others
*I was made for loving you

Background

Gypsy wizard Dizzy the Hun tried to prevent the Box of Khyscz to fall in the hands of Victor von Doom; he identified some worthy teenagers and threw them the Box. The Box gave the teenagers and some of their friends superhuman powers, and then sent them in an inter-dimensional, interplanetary trip to test their mettle.

Paul is the leader of the group, though some of the others (particularly Gene) often refuse to do what he says. He is in many ways the center of the team, however — he’s effective in battle but not as bloodthirsty as Gene, he’s sensitive but not as much as Peter, and while he has intense abilities, he’s not as overwhelmed by them as Ace. He’s the closest to Gene on the team and is often responsible for holding his buddy’s rage in check.

Space Ace – KISS (Icons Writeup)

Space AceAce_Frehley
aka Spaceman aka Ace Frehley

Prowess 4
Coordination 6
Strength 4
Intellect 4
Awareness 9
Willpower 5

Stamina 9

Powers
Ace possesses the KISS Talisman of Space. It gives him the following powers:
*Vibration Control 8 (Extras: Blast, Phasing)
*Life Support 10
*Cosmic Awareness 10
*Teleportation 10
*Dimensional Travel 6 (Limit: Unpredictable, on a roll of 1 or 2 Ace ends up in a dimension that he did not intend to go to – this sometimes separates his teammates, as well)

Specialties
Performance – Guitar (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*Calls everyone ‘Curly’
*Often distracted or overwhelmed by his powers
*In a New York groove

Background

Gypsy wizard Dizzy the Hun tried to prevent the Box of Khyscz to fall in the hands of Victor von Doom; he identified some worthy teenagers and threw them the Box. The Box gave the teenagers and some of their friends superhuman powers, and then sent them in an inter-dimensional, interplanetary trip to test their mettle.

Ace is an important part of the team as his teleportation powers frequently save the team’s bacon. He is a somewhat ‘spacey’ personality, making odd jokes, random comments, and insisting on calling everyone ‘curly.’ He’s very close to Peter.

The Catman – KISS (Icons Writeup)

CatmanPeter_Criss
aka Peter Criss

Prowess 5
Coordination 6
Strength 4
Intellect 3
Awareness 5
Willpower 5

Stamina 9

Powers
Peter possesses the KISS Talisman of Beasts. It allows him to tap into the Happy Hunting Ground, improving his physical abilities and giving him the following powers:
*Super-Senses 5 (Extra: Night Vision, Limit: Peter has no color vision while in his Cat form)
*Claws 6
*Fangs 6
*Regeneration 5
*Resistance to toxins and disease 10

Specialties
Performance – Drums (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Attracted to Alien Cat Ladies
*Loves a good (or even terrible) feline-related pun
*Beth, I hear you calling…

Background

Gypsy wizard Dizzy the Hun tried to prevent the Box of Khyscz to fall in the hands of Victor von Doom; he identified some worthy teenagers and threw them the Box. The Box gave the teenagers and some of their friends superhuman powers, and then sent them in an inter-dimensional, interplanetary trip to test their mettle.

Peter is quite effective in battle but prefers to use his acrobatic skills to avoid heavy combat. He has a tendency to engage in feline-based puns in battle. He is closest to Ace amongst the other members of KISS.

Demon – Kiss (Icons Writeup)

DemonGene_Simmons
aka Gene Simmons

Prowess 6
Coordination 5
Strength 7
Intellect 4
Awareness 5
Willpower 4

Stamina 11

Powers
Gene possesses the KISS Talisman for the Demon. It allows him to channel Hellfire into his body for several effects:
*Leaping 1
*Glider Wings 4
*Hellfire Breath 8
*Regeneration 6
*Damage Resistance 6
*Detect – Sins 8 (Limit: Only allows Gene to know an individual’s guilt or innocence and what sins they have committed)
*Living Boots – Gene’s boots have a mind of their own and sometimes fly off his legs to attack his enemies on their own. They possess the following abilities: Bite 6, Flight 3.

Specialties
Performance – Bass Guitar (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*Mystic defender and musician
*Powers are seductive
*I’m a war machine

Background

Gypsy wizard Dizzy the Hun tried to prevent the Box of Khyscz to fall in the hands of Victor von Doom; he identified some worthy teenagers and threw them the Box. The Box gave the teenagers and some of their friends superhuman powers, and then sent them in an inter-dimensional, interplanetary trip to test their mettle.

Gene is the bruiser of the group, using his flame breath to good effect and in general being more violent than the others. He enjoys his powers and the fear that it induces in others. He is closer to Paul than to the other two members of the team.