The Dark Society

While I try to be relatively spoiler-free, there ARE some slight spoilers to be found here – so read on at your own risk!

As with many things that are supernatural, the origins of the Dark Society had their roots in Grove’s Folly, the sleepy hamlet located just down the road from Sovereign City. Grove’s Folly is chiefly famous for two things: its massive Pumpkin Festival held every Halloween and the fact that it was host to one of the bloodiest — and most unusual — battles of the American Revolutionary War.

In recent years, a viral video of the cryptid known as the Straw-Man has given Grove’s Folly a new revenue stream: a surge in tourism related to monster and ghost hunters. Though few know that the city was built atop an open pit to Hell (known as a Hellmouth), the arrival of the Straw-Man has coincided with a number of supernatural sightings and events. The Straw-Man (in actually a gestalt being formed of a young local man named Samuel Hain and Gwydion fab Dôn, a magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology) also kicked off a new generation of heroes within the area. In addition to the Straw-Man, several other heroes frequented the area to team up with the Straw-Man or, in some cases, to fight him: Jupiter, Catalyst, Singularity, and the American Crusader.

When a cult attempted to use the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to open portals to both Heaven and Hell in an attempt to bring about the supposed end of days, a collection of heroes came together to oppose this plan. In addition to the heroes named above, Geist, Babylon, and Calavera journeyed to Geneva. In the end, the group saved the world — but at great cost: Babylon was seemingly destroyed in the conflict. In the aftermath, the team swore to come together again if needed.

All of the above is depicted in The Dark Society Book One: Calavera.

Later in the same year, the Dark Society established a headquarters in Romania. It was dubbed The Dark House. They were soon caught up in the machinations of August Messenger, who sought the resurrection of Cthulhu. The Society teamed up with The Peregrine for the adventure, which is shown in The Dark Society Book Two: August Messenger.

If you want more information about the individual members of the team, follow the links to roleplaying game writeups of each — and be on the lookout for the Dark Society tomes, which should be released after the first three Straw-Man titles are released.

Our art is by Gilbert Monsanto.

American Crusader (ICONS Writeup)

American Crusader
Jada Grant
Original American Crusader is public domain;
Jada Grant version created by Barry Reese

Prowess 4
Coordination 3
Strength 8
Intellect 3
Awareness 3
Willpower 4

Stamina 12

*Flight 6
*Damage Resistance 6

Aerial Combat, Art (fashion design)

Legacy Hero
There’s not much I can’t solve by hitting things.
It’s time for someone to remind America of what makes it great… might as well be me.

Background: Once upon a time, there had been a man named Archie Masters. A shy, timid astronomy professor, Archie had mistakenly believed that he had discovered the existence of a new planet, one located near Uranus. Excited to share his news with a colleague, Archie had mistakenly wandered into the middle of an atom smasher experiment. His close proximity to the atom smasher had unexpected results, rewriting Archie’s DNA. He became the most powerful being of his era, able to fly, smash tanks with his bare hands, and bounce bullets off his pectorals. As the American Crusader, he fought first on the homefront and then in Europe. From 1941-1943, he became a household name… and then, as quickly as he had burst onto the public consciousness, he was gone.

Archie had vanished in ‘43 and popped up next in 2021… on Jada Grant’s couch, no less. The twenty-three year-old college student had wandered out from her bathroom, wrapped up in a towel, and found a wizened old white man on her couch, his shrunken form wrapped up in what she considered one ugly-ass costume. She had screamed, punched him twice right in the face, and then screamed again when she realized that she had just broken her hand. 

Archie hadn’t taken any offense to the attack. He had reached out to her with one trembling hand, opened his mouth in a toothless grin, and said the words that she’d never forget, “Jada Grant… You have been chosen. Eat of my flesh and gain my powers.”

Jada had not been made any calmer by his request that she ‘eat of his flesh.’ Though he’d never told her exactly how he’d been transported through time, Archie did reveal that he knew somehow that she was going to be his successor… and he further explained that she didn’t need to eat all of him… just a small part. After much prompting and convincing, she followed his instructions on how to prepare a small section of his flesh after he had used his own incredible strength to remove it. Immediately upon ingesting it, she had been altered, gaining the same powers that Archie had used as a hero. Now, the crotchety old man serves as her mentor as she protects her hometown and the world from threats of all types. She knows that he believes that whatever dispatched him through time might return and she hopes that he shares the details with her before it arrives.

She is currently dating Samuel Hain, the human host of the Straw-Man. Jada is sassy, bold, and confident — and she’s increasingly proud of being the American Crusader, weird costume design choices and all.