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Re: Villain A Day

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  • Ron
    Yes: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113120229222506788636
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 24, 2013
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      Yes:

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113120229222506788636

      --- In icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com, Soylent Green <gsoylent@...> wrote:
      >
      > There is a Google+ Icons group? Why wasn't I informed? What goes on there?
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      > CC: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      > To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      > From: jhmcmullen@...
      > Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2013 09:42:09 -0400
      > Subject: Re: [icons-rpg] Villain A Day
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      > Sure. I had forgotten the Google+ community because I haven't used it myself (though I'll try to in the future).
      > On 2013-06-23, at 8:34 AM, Ron Frazier <ronfraz63@...> wrote:
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      > John,
      > Can I share these in the Google+ Icons Community? They're really good.
      > On Jun 23, 2013 8:28 AM, <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
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      > ICONS Group
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      > 3 New
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      > 1a
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      > Villain A Day (Dr. Sin)
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      > by
      > "John McMullen"
      > jhmcmullen
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      > Re: Villain A Day (Dr. Sin)
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      > by
      > "Soylent Green"
      > gsoylent
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      > 2a
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      > Re: Villain A Day (Diamond)
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      > by
      > "Soylent Green"
      > gsoylent
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      > 1a
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      > Villain A Day (Dr. Sin)
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      > Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:54 am (PDT) . Posted by:
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      > "John McMullen" jhmcmullen
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      > Alphabetically, he's next, even though he's hidden off in the adventure.
      >
      >
      >
      > Dr. Sin
      >
      >
      >
      > One-sentence summary: A twenty-five hundred year old Taoist alchemist, searching for true immortality.
      >
      >
      >
      > Taoist alchemy probably started at about the same time as given for Dr. Sin as a search for immortality and perfection of the body. The idea was that you could take the elixir once, your body would be perfected, and you would be immortal. (Hundreds of years later, the idea of creating gold turns up.)
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > But why was the prolongation elixir never given to the emperor of the Middle Kingdom? Partly because it is not the immortality the emperor wanted, it is only nei tan, a life prolongation serum. The emperor didn't get it, either: perhaps the emperor died before it could be deliver, or perhaps it wasn't finished, or maybe it didn't work on
      >
      >
      > him. Perhaps Dr. Sin is a mutant, one of a small number of people on which his nei tan works. Or perhaps the elixir is quite similar to the one in The Sins of the Past, and it requires the subject to be different: the Golden Agents were dosed with cosmic rays; Dr. Sin might have been exposed to a natural radioactivity that made him "extensible."
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Alternatively, the emperor was the mutant, the one who it would not help...but Sin could not have known that.
      >
      >
      >
      > The failure of the elixir to save the emperor is a source of shame to Dr. Sin. He believes that only by finding true immortality will he blot out the shame, and will only then permit himself to have children.
      >
      >
      >
      > Dr. Sin can be involved in situations by the promise of a serum, but be careful: A two-thousand year old man is not easily taken in. He is cautious about immortality formulae: if the person claiming the serum is not at least five hundred years old, the formula is dismissed out of hand. How could they know if it offers immortality?
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > How does he know about these supposed immortals? There's an internet chatroom for immortals and for the very long-lived. It's a place to go when you miss an older, simpler time. All names are false, of course, though members have ways of finding out who is who. By agreement, they do not hunt one another, not even the vampires: after all,
      >
      >
      > personal knowledge of a long-ago time is much more valuable than the lives of mayflies.
      >
      >
      >
      > Dr. Sin has an astounding intellect, but he is hobbled by two thousand years of wrong thought. He himself is aware of this. He has a tendency to prefer the old over the new, partly because he would prefer that the immortality serum has had time to be tested, but also partly because he chooses not to study more of the modern sciences than he needs to. Yes, they work, but they have no elegance.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Other villains occasionally hire Dr. Sin for his mind, to solve chemical problems. Often, he needs only to glance at the problem to understand it. He will not help someone else with immortality.
      >
      >
      >
      > For your needs, though, Dr. Sin is a fine shadowy figure who can be behind any number of things. Unlike Rex Mundi, he doesn't create gadgets that might let him go toe-to-toe with superheroes, nor does he have powers that let him do much more than escape...or control the mind of an individual.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > We know that he has control of the Qing Ri assassins (possibly translated as "the clear sun"), and there might be other groups as well. Members of these groups might not even know he was instrumental in the founding, but he knows the correct passwords. He might, in fact, be The Face That Is No Face, the ruler of the Black Hoods--or in a deadly war with them.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Story ideas
      >
      >
      >
      > 1. To create a true elixir vitae, one needs the Philosopher's stone, which is being sold on Ebay. The seller claims it is genuine...but the seller is a Harry Potter fanatic and she believes many untrue things. Dr. Sin has decided to make an example of her. Dr. Sin warns her he is coming (what good is a warning if there is no publicity?), she contacts the PCs. Can they protect her? Is the obvious attack on her the real attack? And can the player characters stand her long enough to do their jobs?
      >
      >
      > 2. Dr. Sin tested one variant of his prolongation serum on a servant who volunteered, Lo Fat, and later escaped. Alas, the variations did nothing to improve the serum, and Lo Fat is showing signs of aging now, after a hundred and fifty years. (A more modern researcher would use mice, but that option wasn't obvious in 1880.) In expectation of this time, Lo Fat has studied martial arts and weaponry, because he feels he is going to have to take some of the elixir by force. To practice those skills, he has chosen to battle the PCs. If they win too handily, he might enlist them in his battle against Dr. Sin.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > 3. Another variant on the elixir actually shortens people's lives and grants them superpowers. The length of life depends on the person's life force, but it has never been more than a year and is usually several months. Upon learning that they have only thirty to sixty days to live, most people go through a violently angry phase…which is where the PCs come upon them: a crazed new superhuman who will burn out in weeks.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > 4. Dr. Sin founded the Black Hood, but it was stolen from him by a student, Nicholas Flamel. (In part, the founding of the Qing Ri assassins was to compensate for that loss.) Now it is time to destroy them. The players begin to get hints that point them at Black Hood activities. Rather than dealing with the Black Hood directly, Dr. Sin plans to use the authorities and the PCs. Will they discover that he is their benefactor? If so, what will they do?
      >
      >
      > 5. Because of the destruction of habitat, one of the ingredients that Dr. Sin needs for his elixir of life was believed extinct…but there is a close relative in the seed banks of Russia. Dr. Sin needs that plant, to see whether it is suitable or not. However, they won't just give him the seeds. He needs to steal some of the seeds, and he needs the Creeper to accelerate the plant's growth…except the Creeper is currently in prison, and is not allowed plant matter. Players can be involved in either the theft (which Pulsar will not do; he has some loyalty to Russia), or in the operation to free the Creeper and possibly other supervillains as well, to cover his tracks.
      >
      >
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      > John McMullen (Searching for a .sig)
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      > jhmcmullen@...
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      > 1b
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      > Re: Villain A Day (Dr. Sin)
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      > Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:09 am (PDT) . Posted by:
      >
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      > "Soylent Green" gsoylent
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      > Oh I like the idea of linking Dr Sins origin to that of The Golden Agents from Sins of the Past. He could have been exposed to the same alien radiation and his Elixir Vitae is chemically the same potion that Madame Curious discovered several centuries later.
      >
      >
      > Just so you know I am saving these Villain A Day posts in their own folder for future reference.
      >
      >
      >
      > To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > From: jhmcmullen@...
      >
      > Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 11:54:12 -0700
      >
      > Subject: [icons-rpg] Villain A Day (Dr. Sin)
      >
      >
      >
      > Alphabetically, he's next, even though he's hidden off in the adventure.
      >
      >
      >
      > Dr. Sin
      >
      >
      >
      > One-sentence summary: A twenty-five hundred year old Taoist alchemist, searching for true immortality.
      >
      >
      >
      > Taoist alchemy probably started at about the same time as given for Dr. Sin as a search for immortality and perfection of the body. The idea was that you could take the elixir once, your body would be perfected, and you would be immortal. (Hundreds of years later, the idea of creating gold turns up.)
      >
      >
      > But why was the prolongation elixir never given to the emperor of the Middle Kingdom? Partly because it is not the immortality the emperor wanted, it is only nei tan, a life
      >
      > prolongation serum. The emperor didn't get it, either: perhaps the emperor died before it could be deliver, or perhaps it wasn't finished, or maybe it didn't work on
      >
      > him. Perhaps Dr. Sin is a mutant, one of a small number of people on which his nei tan works. Or perhaps the elixir is quite similar to the one in The Sins of the Past, and it requires the subject to be different: the Golden Agents were dosed with cosmic rays; Dr. Sin might have been exposed to a natural radioactivity that made him "extensible."
      >
      >
      > Alternatively, the emperor was the mutant, the one who it would not help...but Sin could not have known that.
      >
      > The failure of the elixir to save the emperor is a source of shame to Dr. Sin. He believes that only by finding true immortality will he blot out the shame, and will only then permit himself to have children.
      >
      > Dr. Sin can be involved in situations by the promise of a serum, but be careful: A two-thousand year old man is not easily taken in. He is cautious about immortality formulae: if the person claiming the serum is not at least five hundred years old, the formula is dismissed out of hand. How could they know if it offers immortality?
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > How does he know about these supposed immortals? There's an internet chatroom for immortals and for the very long-lived. It's a place to go when you miss an older, simpler time. All names are false, of course, though members have ways of finding out who is who. By agreement, they do not hunt one another, not even the vampires: after all,
      >
      >
      > personal knowledge of a long-ago time is much more valuable than the lives of mayflies.
      >
      > Dr. Sin has an astounding intellect, but he is hobbled by two thousand years of wrong thought. He himself is aware of this. He has a tendency to prefer the old over the new, partly because he would prefer that the immortality serum has had time to be tested, but also partly
      >
      >
      > because he chooses not to study more of the modern sciences than he needs to. Yes, they work, but they have no elegance.
      >
      > Other villains occasionally hire Dr. Sin for his mind, to solve chemical problems. Often, he needs only to glance at the problem to understand it. He will not help someone else with immortality.
      >
      > For your needs, though, Dr. Sin is a fine shadowy figure who can be behind any number of things. Unlike Rex Mundi, he doesn't create gadgets that might let him go toe-to-toe with superheroes, nor does he have powers that let him do much more than escape...or control the mind of an individual.
      >
      >
      > We know that he has control of the Qing Ri assassins (possibly translated as "the clear sun"), and there might be other groups as well. Members of these groups might not even know he was instrumental in the founding, but he knows the correct passwords. He might, in fact, be The Face That Is No Face, the ruler of the Black Hoods--or in a deadly war with them.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Story ideas
      >
      > To create a true elixir vitae, one needs the Philosopher's stone, which is being sold on Ebay. The seller claims it is genuine...but the seller is a Harry Potter fanatic and she believes many untrue things. Dr. Sin has decided to make an example of her. Dr.
      >
      >
      > Sin warns her he is coming (what good is a warning if there is no publicity?), she contacts the PCs. Can they protect her? Is the obvious attack on her the real attack? And can the player characters stand her long enough to do their jobs?Dr. Sin tested one variant of his prolongation serum on a servant who volunteered, Lo Fat, and later escaped. Alas, the variations did nothing to improve the serum, and Lo Fat is showing signs of aging now, after a hundred and fifty years. (A more modern researcher would use mice, but that option wasn't obvious in 1880.) In expectation of this time, Lo Fat has studied martial arts and weaponry, because he feels he is going to have to take some of the elixir by force. To practice those skills, he has chosen to battle the PCs. If they win too handily, he might enlist them in his battle against Dr. Sin.
      >
      >
      > Another variant on the elixir actually shortens people's lives and grants them superpowers. The
      >
      > length of life depends on the person's life force, but it has never been more than a year and is usually several months. Upon learning that they have only thirty to sixty days to live, most people go through a violently angry phase…which is where the PCs come upon them: a crazed new superhuman who will burn out in weeks.
      >
      >
      > Dr. Sin founded the Black Hood, but it was stolen from him by a student, Nicholas Flamel. (In part, the founding of the Qing Ri assassins was to compensate for that loss.) Now it is time to destroy them. The players begin to get hints that point them at Black Hood activities. Rather than dealing with the Black Hood directly, Dr. Sin plans to use the authorities and the PCs. Will they discover that he is their benefactor? If so, what will they do?Because of the destruction of habitat, one of the ingredients that Dr. Sin needs for his elixir of life was believed extinct…but there is a close relative in the seed
      >
      >
      > banks of Russia. Dr. Sin needs that plant, to see whether it is suitable or not. However, they won't just give him the seeds. He needs to steal some of the seeds, and he needs the Creeper to accelerate the plant's growth…except the Creeper is currently in prison, and is not allowed plant matter. Players can be involved in either the theft (which Pulsar will not do; he has some loyalty to Russia), or in the operation to free the Creeper and possibly other supervillains as well, to cover his tracks.
      >
      >
      > John McMullen (Searching for a .sig)
      >
      > jhmcmullen@...
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      >
      >
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      >
      >
      >
      > Reply via Web Post
      >
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      > 2a
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      > Re: Villain A Day (Diamond)
      >
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      >
      > Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:05 am (PDT) . Posted by:
      >
      >
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      > "Soylent Green" gsoylent
      >
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      >
      >
      > Those are some really good ideas John. You'd need a reasonably long campaign to fully play out the before and after but I think it would be really cool.
      >
      > Diamond should be featuring in my Icons campaign this Monday. I've gone for a less canonical take on Diamond in which she publicly acts as a hero but secretly works for the Octofather. That's a lot less subtle but I only have a short campaign to work with. Her role will be to lead the characters into an ambush. The characters will have a chance to catch her out before that happpens, we'll see how it goes.
      >
      >
      > As an aside, I feel Diamond's is too powerful (Strength 10, Invulnerability 8) for someone who is essentially a fraud and feels she needs to stage fights and deck the stack in her favour.
      >
      >
      >
      > To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > From: jhmcmullen@...
      >
      > Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2013 06:55:42 -0700
      >
      > Subject: [icons-rpg] Villain A Day (Diamond)
      >
      >
      >
      > Diamond clearly has a before situation and
      >
      > an after situation: do the heroes expose her or not?
      >
      >
      >
      > I think Diamond is great setup, and the before period with the slow discovery of the reveal can be strung out for months.
      >
      >
      >
      > One-Sentence Summary: The beautiful fraud,
      >
      > Diamond defeats villains she created or lets other people wear villains down,
      >
      > then knocks them out.
      >
      > Before the heroes know of her situation
      >
      >
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      > On the wall in her office is a calendar for
      >
      > a future year, with a date circled. That is the date of her planned retirement.
      >
      > She will be hit by a "villain" (she hasn't quite decided what his
      >
      > name will be, but demographics suggest a white upperclass male, probably with
      >
      > facial hair) and, though she will win, her powers will become
      >
      > "unreliable" and she will have to retire from heroing. She will be
      >
      > able to make a reappearance if her popularity needs a jolt, but she won't be
      >
      > expected to risk herself.
      >
      >
      >
      > After two alien invasions, one uprising of
      >
      > the Subterraneans, a mystic conjunction, and any number of malevolent AIs and
      >
      > robots, she doesn't want to do this any more. She no longer faces only threats
      >
      > that are easy or that she has created; sometimes she has to face real
      >
      > threats. That's the price of being the most popular metahumans on the planet.
      >
      > That's the price of the fame she wants. So she's slogging through to that date,
      >
      > the one she and Marketing figured out in the ten year plan.
      >
      >
      >
      > She's more than halfway there. And she's
      >
      > terrified it will all slip away. The average popularity period for a meta is
      >
      > six years; her plan takes her beyond that.
      >
      >
      >
      > She has become an encyclopedia of metas:
      >
      > there are some she will not face, because she does not want to lose. (Physical
      >
      > threats don't bother her; only The Grudge and The Troll can scratch her without a lucky shot. Life drain is awful. Mentalists scare the crap out
      >
      > of her.) For others, she knows their weaknesses. If someone discovers her
      >
      > secrets, she needs to know theirs. She has private detectives on retainer, and
      >
      > the authorities will often help the most famous metahuman on the planet. If she
      >
      > needs to know about someone, the information is there.
      >
      >
      >
      > Her private life? That seems to have
      >
      > slipped away. She has no secret identity. Oh, she's seen in public with movie
      >
      > stars (she might be ready to consider another meta after the whole *Diamond Is
      >
      > Forever" fiasco...really, whose idea was it to use real zombies?) but
      >
      > instead of dating, it's business, or more acting lessons. Still, there will
      >
      > come a time when no one cares about her private life: this work is to make sure
      >
      > that's a distant time.
      >
      >
      >
      > When she shows up in combat, she's not
      >
      > totally ineffectual: she's hard as steel and can lift a mountain, after all.
      >
      > (The costume is designed to tear artfully, so she has no wardrobe
      >
      > malfunctions.) Heroes must be really mishandling the situation before she will
      >
      > share any of her secret knowledge of villain weaknesses. Best that she get the credit.
      >
      >
      >
      > As her goal gets closer, she gets a bit
      >
      > more strident, a bit more anxious, a bit more determined that it doesn't all
      >
      > fade away. She keeps looking at that calendar.
      >
      >
      >
      > Story ideas
      >
      >
      >
      > Before discovery:
      >
      >
      >
      > 1. She and her family didn't have the best
      >
      > relationship, and she pays them every month to be quiet. But someone finds out
      >
      > and kidnaps her awful, foul-mouthed ungrateful mother. Diamond's first instinct
      >
      > is to say, "Fine, kill her," but they send a copy of the ransom note
      >
      > to the police, so it's public. And they're protecting her with several of the
      >
      > villains that Diamond absolutely hates: mentalists and power leeches. She's not
      >
      > going in alone--not first, either. n. So she calls the PCs. either because
      >
      > they're local (contacts, knowledge of the local scene) or because they're not
      >
      > local (not ever likely to run into her family again). What might be a covert
      >
      > operation becomes a media circus, due to Diamond's involvement. Ear Worm has
      >
      > set this up, so he can get her body. He`s using an android duplicate of her
      >
      > father (from Smith or Dr. Kafka) as a host, and he plans on her not entering
      >
      > the fight until the end (he`s going to run into the aftermath and grab hold of
      >
      > his little girl in gratitude).
      >
      >
      >
      > The exact composition of his villain team
      >
      > depends on your players, but there needs to be a known mentalist. Something
      >
      > like Mister Mastermind, Tarpit, Copy Cat, and Beast Man might do.
      >
      >
      >
      > Do the heroes discover the plan? Or do they
      >
      > have to deal with a mind-controlled Diamond?
      >
      >
      >
      > 2. Diamond has decided to date one of the
      >
      > player characters, probably whether the PC wants it or not. (Though it might
      >
      > well be flattering at first.) Someone strong is her first choice, but a trained
      >
      > or powersuited sort would do, too. (And Diamond is not above implied
      >
      > lesbianism, though real lesbianism would hurt her appeal in the heartland.) She
      >
      > mentions this for the first time on the Ellen show, which means that the
      >
      > paparazzi begin to seek out the character, hoping to get a glimpse of Diamond. The dates might or might not be real,
      >
      > depending on the player and the GM's decision on Diamond's orientation, but the
      >
      > entire relationship will be closely choreographed for maximum marketing impact.
      >
      > The hero will undoubtedly be cast as the bad guy, no matter what actually happens (Diamond is
      >
      > paying one of the paparazzi).
      >
      >
      >
      > 3. One of the inventors she paid to create
      >
      > a powersuit with a hidden weakness decided to make two powersuits, one without
      >
      > the weakness. That's the one he wears for actual crimes. And now she's in trouble. The suit has at Strength or some
      >
      > kind of attack at 9, Invulnerability 10, can fly, and it probably has a ranged
      >
      > attack. She usually fights with the fix in or a weakened foe. Can the PCs help?
      >
      > Can she summon them without revealing her special knowledge?
      >
      >
      >
      > After the reveal:
      >
      >
      >
      > Much depends on how the PCs reveal her situation.
      >
      >
      >
      > 1. If they merely force Diamond into
      >
      > retiring early, she dislikes them but is still available in case of a
      >
      > world-threatening situation. However, then someone steals her files…the ones on
      >
      > every hero and villain that she's ever dealt with. The ones containing secret
      >
      > information from the government. She can't go after them; she's claimed her
      >
      > powers don't work any more. She calls the PCs, who know her whole situation.
      >
      >
      >
      > 2. If they shame her publicly, her first
      >
      > step is damage control. Yes, she still has money (diversified portfolio, after
      >
      > all), but not nearly as much as she was going to have: she loses the clothing
      >
      > line, the perfume, the endorsements. With some help from loyal fans who don't
      >
      > believe these scurrilous lies, she sets out to destroy the PCs. She can still
      >
      > pay powersuited thugs to distract them, or to hit them in (known) weak spots.
      >
      > She might even save them.
      >
      >
      >
      > 3. To try and rehabilitate her name, she
      >
      > decides to take something big on her own. After all, she's super. She doesn't
      >
      > need to cheat, she just gets better results that way. So when reports of Dirge or
      >
      > Tempus Khan come in, she swoops in to try and handle it. She probably won't win,
      >
      > so what do the PCs do? You can also use this tactic if the PCs drastically lose
      >
      > an adventure: she tries to fix it. Again, she probably won't win—the bad guy(s)
      >
      > did just beat your whole hero team—but she might give them a breather so they
      >
      > can win. It's up to the players whether they trust this change of heart.
      >
      >
      >
      > 4. She's got money problems: she's been
      >
      > sued for all the property damage caused by villains sponsored by her, and her
      >
      > income isn't what it was. The only solution she can see is theft. She'd rather
      >
      > plan the attack (well, have her business manager do it) and then split the take
      >
      > with the actual crooks, but her business manager has left her. She has to wear
      >
      > a disguise (perhaps calling herself Carborundum) and do it herself. She knows
      >
      > enough about various people to blackmail them or hire them. Can the PCs defeat
      >
      > her new villain group? If she loses and escapes, she'll probably go on an
      >
      > extended tour of non-extraditing nations.
      >
      >
      >
      > John McMullen (Searching for a .sig)
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