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Super Villain Handbook

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  • dirkgentry2000
    So -over at Fainting Goat Games we re working a book for ICONS called The Supervillain Handbook. Or possibly: The Field Guide to Supervillains. We re still
    Message 1 of 30 , Jun 25 4:02 PM

      So -over at Fainting Goat Games we're working a book for ICONS called The Supervillain Handbook. Or possibly: The Field Guide to Supervillains. 


      We're still toying with titles.


      The big idea is that it's going to be an exhaustive look at supervillains. This book will detail 40 super villain "archetypes" that often appear in comics, including their abilities, backgrounds, origins, and most importantly the kinds of stories in which they appear. 


      We've got a rough draft of the manuscript and - we've started a facebook group where we will be posting the archetypes - probably one every few days or so. We've already got most of the art that's finished for the book up there (mostly by the talented Jacob Blackmon).


      We'd like to have a big open discussion with ICONS fans and comics fans about the archetypes as we unveil them. The concept is that a big group of comics fans will have insights and thoughts that we might have missed - and through this collective effort - we can make the best book possible.


      So - that's the pitch. Please go give it a look.

       

    • Mike Olson
      So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM, mikelaff@gmail.com [icons-rpg]
      Message 2 of 30 , Jun 25 4:03 PM
        So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy


        On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM, mikelaff@... [icons-rpg] <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


        So -over at Fainting Goat Games we're working a book for ICONS called The Supervillain Handbook. Or possibly: The Field Guide to Supervillains. 


        We're still toying with titles.


        The big idea is that it's going to be an exhaustive look at supervillains. This book will detail 40 super villain "archetypes" that often appear in comics, including their abilities, backgrounds, origins, and most importantly the kinds of stories in which they appear. 


        We've got a rough draft of the manuscript and - we've started a facebook group where we will be posting the archetypes - probably one every few days or so. We've already got most of the art that's finished for the book up there (mostly by the talented Jacob Blackmon).


        We'd like to have a big open discussion with ICONS fans and comics fans about the archetypes as we unveil them. The concept is that a big group of comics fans will have insights and thoughts that we might have missed - and through this collective effort - we can make the best book possible.


        So - that's the pitch. Please go give it a look.

         




      • Icosahedrophilia
        Mike et al., First, this sounds like a great project. Second, on the title, I’d say that if the format is similar to the Field Guide to Superheroes, then
        Message 3 of 30 , Jun 25 4:25 PM
          Mike et al.,

          First, this sounds like a great project.

          Second, on the title, I’d say that if the format is similar to the Field Guide to Superheroes, then Field Guide to Supervillains is a fine name.

          See you on Facebook!

          Chris Heard
          Icosahedrophilia Blog and Podcast
          http://drchris.me/d20
          ><> ב״ה



        • Tim K.
          ... They Called ME MAD at the UNIVERSITY! Purple & Green: Being Bad in all the Right Colors. Demands & Deathrays: How not to be punched out during your
          Message 4 of 30 , Jun 25 5:09 PM
            On 6/25/2014 6:03 PM, Mike Olson devlin1@... [icons-rpg] wrote:
            So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy



            They Called ME MAD at the UNIVERSITY!
            Purple & Green: Being Bad in all the Right Colors.
            Demands & Deathrays: How not to be punched out during your Monologue!


          • Theron Bretz
            A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot Sent from my iPhone
            Message 5 of 30 , Jun 25 5:10 PM
              "A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot"

              Sent from my iPhone

              On Jun 25, 2014, at 7:09 PM, "'Tim K.' silverlion@... [icons-rpg]" <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

              On 6/25/2014 6:03 PM, Mike Olson devlin1@... [icons-rpg] wrote:
              So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy



              They Called ME MAD at the UNIVERSITY!
              Purple & Green: Being Bad in all the Right Colors.
              Demands & Deathrays: How not to be punched out during your Monologue!


            • Tim K.
              ... Diary of a (Mostly) Successful Super villain
              Message 6 of 30 , Jun 25 5:28 PM
                On 6/25/2014 7:10 PM, Theron Bretz tfbretz@... [icons-rpg] wrote:
                "A Cowardly and Superstitious Lot"


                Diary of a (Mostly) Successful Super villain

              • Fabrício César Franco
                My votes are for: So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy Demands & Deathrays: How not to be punched out during your Monologue!
                Message 7 of 30 , Jun 25 6:28 PM
                  My votes are for:

                  So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy
                  Demands & Deathrays: How not to be punched out during your Monologue!

                  Great project, by the way! I'm already following it at Facebook.
                • Soylent Green
                  Here s a thought. One thing I ve noticed is of all the my campaign pitches, across different groups of players, nothing has ever been met with as much
                  Message 8 of 30 , Jun 26 3:15 AM
                    Here's a thought. One thing I've noticed is of all the my campaign pitches, across different groups of players, nothing has ever been met with as much enthusiasm as Necessary Evil. Even last week, when I in conversation I mentioned in passing the Necessary Evil campaign I'd run last year, one the players eyes widened and exclaimed "We need to play that, like now!".

                    So those who have never heard of Necessary Evil, its a Savage Worlds campaign book based on the premise that in the wake of alien invasion all the superheroes have been wiped out and it is left to the supervillians (the player characters) to lead the resistance. I ended up running it in ICONS and drifting far away from the Plot Point campaign. But even so it was a blast.

                    The point is, from my limited experience, I would say there is a real appetite among gamers for playing supervillains. Doing so however can be problematic. 

                    I wonder if, in your book on supervillains,  spending some time addressing supervillain campaigns with concrete suggestions and campaign ideas might widen he appeal of your book?


                    To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                    From: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:02:04 -0700
                    Subject: [icons-rpg] Super Villain Handbook

                     

                    So -over at Fainting Goat Games we're working a book for ICONS called The Supervillain Handbook. Or possibly: The Field Guide to Supervillains. 


                    We're still toying with titles.


                    The big idea is that it's going to be an exhaustive look at supervillains. This book will detail 40 super villain "archetypes" that often appear in comics, including their abilities, backgrounds, origins, and most importantly the kinds of stories in which they appear. 


                    We've got a rough draft of the manuscript and - we've started a facebook group where we will be posting the archetypes - probably one every few days or so. We've already got most of the art that's finished for the book up there (mostly by the talented Jacob Blackmon).


                    We'd like to have a big open discussion with ICONS fans and comics fans about the archetypes as we unveil them. The concept is that a big group of comics fans will have insights and thoughts that we might have missed - and through this collective effort - we can make the best book possible.


                    So - that's the pitch. Please go give it a look.
                     

                  • dirkgentry2000
                    Soylent That s an intriguing idea. Let me talk to the writer (the handsome and erudite Jason Tondro) and see what he thinks...
                    Message 9 of 30 , Jun 26 3:55 AM
                      Soylent
                      That's an intriguing idea.
                      Let me talk to the writer (the handsome and erudite Jason Tondro) and see what he thinks...
                    • kroh01
                      Necessary Evil was one of the most fun and messed up gaming experiences. My favorite part of the book was entitled , Evil, not psychotic. PEGinc did an
                      Message 10 of 30 , Jun 26 4:06 AM
                        Necessary Evil was one of the most fun and messed up gaming experiences. My favorite part of the book was entitled ,"Evil, not psychotic. " PEGinc did an amazing job on it.I can't wait to see Fainting Goat's take on the Supervillain Handbook. After all, evil needs love too...Regards Walt
                      • Soylent Green
                        Yes it is a tricky balance as you really don t want psychotic or totally dysfunctional characters.But then more supervillains aren t monsters. Mostly the are
                        Message 11 of 30 , Jun 26 4:39 AM
                          Yes it is  a tricky balance as you really don't want psychotic or totally dysfunctional characters.
                          But then more supervillains aren't monsters. Mostly the are opportunists, weak willed or just carrying a massive grudge or chip on their shoulder about someone or something.  


                          To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                          From: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 04:06:01 -0700
                          Subject: [icons-rpg] Re: Super Villain Handbook

                           
                          Necessary Evil was one of the most fun and messed up gaming experiences. My favorite part of the book was entitled ,"Evil, not psychotic. " PEGinc did an amazing job on it.I can't wait to see Fainting Goat's take on the Supervillain Handbook. After all, evil needs love too...Regards Walt
                        • Dan Dillon
                          For several years now I have been playing periodically a rudimentary super hero RPG with my (now 7 year old) daughter, in recent months using a modified
                          Message 12 of 30 , Jun 26 5:17 AM
                            For several years now I have been playing periodically a rudimentary super hero RPG with my (now 7 year old) daughter, in recent months using a modified version of the ICONS rules, very enjoyably.  The "Gamemaster's Guide" for M&M 3e contains 60+ pages of excellent super villain archetypes, which I've found  very useful in our game. A new and different take on that topic would be very interesting.  I look forward to following this project on facebook.

                            Back when I was a teenager in the mid-1980s, my friends and I played super villains as PCs in a  "Champions" game that I still remember fondly.  This was just before "Dark Knight" and "Watchmen" were published in 1986, so there wasn't really any concern about potentially excessively dark and psychotic PCs.  Our characters were more mischievous, destructive, robber/schemer Bronze Age-types.  That worked great in our game, and I remember it fondly.

                            As a result, many years later, when "Grand Theft Auto" first became so popular with kids playing video games (and perhaps notorious among the general public), my first reaction was that it was a modern manifestation of the same instinct that had driven my teenaged friends and I to play supervillains in a "Champions" game years earlier.

                            A couple of years ago, when I first heard of "Necessary Evil," I searched for it on Amazon and ebay.  From just the cover alone and a brief description of the premise, my first reaction was that it likely would've been how my teenaged "supervillain" RPG would've manifested had my friends and I been 5-10 years younger than we were. That being said, it looked a little dark for my personal taste. 


                            To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                            From: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:39:14 +0100
                            Subject: RE: [icons-rpg] Re: Super Villain Handbook

                             

                            Yes it is  a tricky balance as you really don't want psychotic or totally dysfunctional characters.
                            But then more supervillains aren't monsters. Mostly the are opportunists, weak willed or just carrying a massive grudge or chip on their shoulder about someone or something.  


                            To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                            From: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 04:06:01 -0700
                            Subject: [icons-rpg] Re: Super Villain Handbook

                             
                            Necessary Evil was one of the most fun and messed up gaming experiences. My favorite part of the book was entitled ,"Evil, not psychotic. " PEGinc did an amazing job on it.I can't wait to see Fainting Goat's take on the Supervillain Handbook. After all, evil needs love too...Regards Walt

                          • Gerry
                            One of my most successful Champions campaigns was inspired by the comic The Suicide Squad , where bad guys went on covert ops missions for the US government
                            Message 13 of 30 , Jun 26 10:43 AM
                              One of my most successful Champions campaigns was inspired by the comic "The Suicide Squad", where bad guys went on covert ops missions for the US government to get time reduced on their sentences


                              
                              Soultaker Studios Blog: http://soultakerstudios.blogspot.com/
                            • kroh01
                              Actually, Necessary Evil was one of the most enjoyable campaigns I have ever played in. It was smart, and funny, and hit all the right notes the way a game
                              Message 14 of 30 , Jun 26 11:39 AM
                                Actually, Necessary Evil was one of the most enjoyable campaigns I have ever played in.  It was smart, and funny, and hit all the right notes the way a game should.  Of course we had a few players that took goofy to some dark or silly places (why did the pizza delivery guy have to get murdered every time, and why did the cops never ask us about it).  Overall it was extremely enjoyable.

                                Regards, 
                                Walt
                              • dirkgentry2000
                                Jason s post today about the Warlock Archetype is an interesting read https://www.facebook.com/supevillainhandbook?hc_location=timeline
                                Message 15 of 30 , Jun 26 11:56 AM
                                  Jason's post today about the Warlock Archetype is an interesting read
                                • Tommy Brownell
                                  That s pretty easy to explain in a V sori dominated society...if the Pizza Guy isn t relevant to their interests, they don t really *care* if you murder him
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Jun 26 12:00 PM
                                    That's pretty easy to explain in a V'sori dominated society...if the Pizza Guy isn't relevant to their interests, they don't really *care* if you murder him (and the police answer to them).

                                    Necessary Evil was my favorite campaign pretty much ever. =)


                                    On Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 1:39 PM, kroh01@... [icons-rpg] <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                     

                                    Actually, Necessary Evil was one of the most enjoyable campaigns I have ever played in.  It was smart, and funny, and hit all the right notes the way a game should.  Of course we had a few players that took goofy to some dark or silly places (why did the pizza delivery guy have to get murdered every time, and why did the cops never ask us about it).  Overall it was extremely enjoyable.


                                    Regards, 
                                    Walt


                                  • Curt Meyer
                                    Mike, just hurry up and start the Kickstarter already :-) On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:03 PM, Mike Olson devlin1@gmail.com [icons-rpg]
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Jun 26 12:13 PM
                                      Mike, just hurry up and start the Kickstarter already :-)


                                      On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:03 PM, Mike Olson devlin1@... [icons-rpg] <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                       

                                      So You Want To Conquer the World: A Complete Guide to Supervillainy


                                      On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:02 PM, mikelaff@... [icons-rpg] <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                      So -over at Fainting Goat Games we're working a book for ICONS called The Supervillain Handbook. Or possibly: The Field Guide to Supervillains. 


                                      We're still toying with titles.


                                      The big idea is that it's going to be an exhaustive look at supervillains. This book will detail 40 super villain "archetypes" that often appear in comics, including their abilities, backgrounds, origins, and most importantly the kinds of stories in which they appear. 


                                      We've got a rough draft of the manuscript and - we've started a facebook group where we will be posting the archetypes - probably one every few days or so. We've already got most of the art that's finished for the book up there (mostly by the talented Jacob Blackmon).


                                      We'd like to have a big open discussion with ICONS fans and comics fans about the archetypes as we unveil them. The concept is that a big group of comics fans will have insights and thoughts that we might have missed - and through this collective effort - we can make the best book possible.


                                      So - that's the pitch. Please go give it a look.

                                       





                                    • dirkgentry2000
                                      Curt, That s at least a couple of months off :)
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Jun 26 1:13 PM
                                        Curt,

                                        That's at least a couple of months off :) 
                                      • Curt
                                        That s cool. I can t afford it till September anyway. Sent from my iPhone
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Jun 26 1:40 PM
                                          That's cool. I can't afford it till September anyway.

                                          Sent from my iPhone

                                          On Jun 26, 2014, at 3:13 PM, "mikelaff@... [icons-rpg]" <icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                           

                                          Curt,


                                          That's at least a couple of months off :) 

                                        • kroh01
                                          Of course, I m going to buy in at the level that makes a Supervillain in my likeness. It will look like a robot held together by duct tape and hate! Regards
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Jun 26 1:55 PM
                                            Of course, I'm going to buy in at the level that makes a Supervillain in my likeness. It will look like a robot held together by duct tape and hate!Regards Walt
                                          • Gerry
                                            ... Soultaker Studios Blog: http://soultakerstudios.blogspot.com/
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Jun 26 2:13 PM
                                              >Of course, I'm going to buy in at the level that makes a Supervillain in my likeness. It will look like a robot held together by duct tape and hate! Regards Walt

                                              And it's name is Pretty Hate Machine. It thinks it's pretty, but hates because it's always being called ugly for being held together by duct tape


                                              
                                              Soultaker Studios Blog: http://soultakerstudios.blogspot.com/
                                            • Jason Tondro
                                              Hey gang, It s obvious there s a lot of interest in super villains as protagonists. Not only are a few of you asking for it (and if a few of you are, dozens
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Jun 26 3:16 PM
                                                Hey gang,

                                                It's obvious there's a lot of interest in super villains as protagonists. Not only are a few of you asking for it (and if a few of you are, dozens more just haven't said so yet), but there's plenty of recent examples, from comics like Gail Simone's Secret Six and Villains United or Mark Waid's recent relaunch of Empire, to films like Megamind.

                                                I don't want to rewrite Necessary Evil, but I think what I can do is present campaigns other than the one in which all the heroes are dead so villains have to save the world. For example: a Suicide Squad game in which the protagonists are villains forced to work together on dangerous missions, a "Evil Academy" game in which the PCs are the teenage sons and daughters of super villains enrolled in a hidden school, or a Thunderbolts style game in which the protagonists are villains pretending to be heroes.

                                                That sounds useful and fun.

                                                But don't expect me to write about games in which the players get out their antisocial tendencies by killing everyone they see and indulging all their dark fantasies. If you want to do that, go play video games.

                                                JT
                                              • Soylent Green
                                                Great examples. Evil Academy sound fun and the original run of the Thunderbolts was a real breathe of fresh air. I ll throw some other ideas in the mix.
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Jun 26 3:50 PM
                                                  Great examples. Evil Academy sound fun and the original run of the Thunderbolts was a real breathe of fresh air.

                                                  I'll throw some other ideas in the mix.

                                                  Villain vs villains. Marvels original Super-Villain Team-Up was largely about a battle between Dr Doom and Red Skull. Doom is a bad dude, but you are always going to root for him when the alternative is the Skull. Kingpin vs Silvermans,  HYDRA vs The Hand, these guys fight each other almost as much as they fight the heroes. An easy street level set up could be as simple as a new set of even nastier supervillains are  muscling in on your regular stomping ground, what do you do about it?

                                                  Another was to pitch this could be one where the heroes have become the problem. Perhaps in their quest to make the world better and safer they've turned unwittingly into dictators as in Squadron Supreme or the Justice Lords in the JL animated series. Maybe they are under the control of someone like the Overmind. Either way you could get a set up that is a little like Necessary Evil but different.




                                                  To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                                                  From: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
                                                  Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:16:13 -0400
                                                  Subject: [icons-rpg] Re: Super Villain Handbook

                                                   
                                                  Hey gang,

                                                  It's obvious there's a lot of interest in super villains as protagonists. Not only are a few of you asking for it (and if a few of you are, dozens more just haven't said so yet), but there's plenty of recent examples, from comics like Gail Simone's Secret Six and Villains United or Mark Waid's recent relaunch of Empire, to films like Megamind.

                                                  I don't want to rewrite Necessary Evil, but I think what I can do is present campaigns other than the one in which all the heroes are dead so villains have to save the world. For example: a Suicide Squad game in which the protagonists are villains forced to work together on dangerous missions, a "Evil Academy" game in which the PCs are the teenage sons and daughters of super villains enrolled in a hidden school, or a Thunderbolts style game in which the protagonists are villains pretending to be heroes.

                                                  That sounds useful and fun.

                                                  But don't expect me to write about games in which the players get out their antisocial tendencies by killing everyone they see and indulging all their dark fantasies. If you want to do that, go play video games.

                                                  JT
                                                • dirkgentry2000
                                                  Today Archetype is The Villain With All Of Your Powers. Check it out!
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Jun 27 7:55 AM
                                                    Today Archetype is The Villain With All Of Your Powers.
                                                  • dirkgentry2000
                                                    the latest archetype is The Twisted Genius TWISTED GENIUS You were great in your day, Superman. But it just stands to reason. When it came time to cash in
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , Jul 2, 2014
                                                      the latest archetype is The Twisted Genius

                                                      TWISTED GENIUS

                                                      "You were great in your day, Superman. But it just stands to reason. When it came time to cash in your chips, this old 'diseased maniac' would be your banker." ~ Lex Luthor

                                                      This villain is bent on proving his mental superiority and the validity of his theories.

                                                      EXAMPLES: Arnim Zola, Mad Thinker, the Wingless Wizard (Marvel); Mr. Freeze, Professor Ivo, T. O. Morrow (DC); Gru (film)..see more here

                                                    • dirkgentry2000
                                                      today s archetype for the SVH is theThe Super Villain Handbook https://www.facebook.com/supevillainhandbook SUPERNATURAL HORROR Dracula is no MORTAL man -- no
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , Jul 10, 2014
                                                        today's archetype for the SVH is theThe Super Villain Handbook

                                                        SUPERNATURAL HORROR

                                                        "Dracula is no MORTAL man -- no -- he is more -- MUCH MORE -- for NONE may touch the Lord of Darkness less HE so COMMANDS -- none, that is, who wishes to LIVE! Now, you wanton IMBECILES, now you shall see the FULL POWER OF DRACULA, LORD OF THE UNDEAD!"

                                                        The evil counterpart to the Occult Hero, the Supernatural Horror is a vampire, werewolf, zombie, or other “classic” monster.

                                                        EXAMPLES: Selene, Deacon Frost (Marvel); Dracula (many versions!)

                                                        RELATED ARCHETYPES: Warlock, Heir to Lovecraft, Devil, Supremacist

                                                        POWERS AND ABILITIES: Pop horror has presented us with many different versions of the vampire, the werewolf, and their ilk. As a GM, your job is to decide which of these versions is "correct" in your Icons game. Are vampires burned by the sun, or just powerless? Can they transform into animals? Are they repelled by garlic and crosses? Do they appear in mirrors and on camera? Perhaps these creatures come in multiple -- or even infinite -- variety. This is especially likely if you expect monster hunting to be a major element in your game. You will want to present your players with unpredictable foes, and that means raiding the folklore and occult traditions of world cultures, rather than Hollywood.

                                                        Regardless, some level of superhuman strength, speed, and stamina is likely. The Horror may be walking dead, granting it Immunities, and it may be Immortal or Invulnerable to all but specific materials or tactics. He may have the Occult Specialization, especially if his Intellect is only average. 

                                                        If the Horror can cast spells and work magic, like many boss vampires or mummies, he's also a Warlock. See that archetype for advice on villains with the Magic power.

                                                        OTHER QUALITIES: The Supernatural Horror may have begun as an ordinary man, but he made a deal with the devil which has made him into a monster. He might have been cursed as punishment for a heinous crime, usually murder, or made into a monster by an older and even more powerful Supernatural Horror. Alternately, he serves mindless squid in the depth of space, and is an Heir to Lovecraft.

                                                        You will need to decide if the Horror's condition can spread, how this is accomplished, and how it is cured. Such transformations are probably too extreme to be covered by the simple use of a super power. Instead, this is a plot element that is governed by the needs of the story. Player Characters are extremely resilient to this transformation, even if there's no logical reason why they should be; a hero can be turned into a vampire or a zombie and still be cured even when no one else survives the process. You can temporarily transform a PC into a Horror using Determination; just be sure to have a short list of changes to the character sheet handy, so the player knows what her new powers and Qualities are. 

                                                        The Supernatural Horror is a good archetype for many demon villains, but if the demon has authority in Hell, does not generally reside on Earth, and has vast (perhaps even seemingly omnipotent) power, he's really the Devil. A Horror, even a demon, is more likely to reside permanently on Earth, have an independent agenda, and be battled physically rather than spiritually.

                                                        Occasionally a Supernatural Horror is actually a former hero from another reality, the World Where We All Became Zombies (or Vampires). He has received the curse and has all his original abilities plus the unique traits of the Horror. This makes him an Evil Twin. 

                                                        STORIES: Horrors are called such because they make horror stories; the specific form of the story depends on the symbol which the horror represents. Entire books (very good ones!) have been written about horror gaming across genre; here it is perhaps enough to note that super heroics are, by their nature, very difficult to make scary. The protagonists of horror stories are, by and large, powerless. If they had power, they would not be afraid. By extension, that means that superhero horror has to either create antagonists so eye-popingly powerful that the heroes are dwarfed by them (Cosmic Menace, Devil) or else take away the powers of the player characters, thus making them vulnerable. Taking away a hero's powers is usually one of the fastest routes to player anger in a superhero game; however, if everyone understands that we're telling a horror story, such moves can be made more palatable. 

                                                        One effective tactic is to introduce the Supernatural Horror in a "prequel" scene or session. During this session, the players do not play their usual characters. Instead, they play ordinary people who are in the Horror's way. If the Horror is rampaging through a museum at midnight, the PC's are museum staff, a young couple who hid in the museum for a tryst, and the foreign diplomat who is secretly trying to steal artifacts from the museum so he can take them back to his country, from which they were dug up and appropriated by colonial powers. Over the course of the session, the Horror kills one PC and then another, giving hints of its nature at each scene. At the end of the session, the heroes arrive, reconstructing the sequence of events out of the carnage. Session two begins with tracking down the fleeing Horror, still at large. 

                                                        Supernatural Horrors often seek to spread their own kind; zombies do this out of mindless reflex, but vampires do it because they are convinced of their own superiority over ordinary human beings, who exist only to be slaughtered or used as food. This makes them Supremacists.

                                                        Buffy the Vampire Slayer established the basic structure of a Supernatural Horror episode: the Horror kills an innocent victim, the heroes deduce the creature's nature, find its weakness by consulting a traditional or online library, and then force a confrontation in which the plan is about to fail before it suddenly succeeds. Because Horrors tend to have these weaknesses, they are sometimes found at the center of an elaborate plot to remove or circumvent that weakness. Perhaps a vampire wants to "put out the sun" or cover the world in unending clouds. He may just have a scheme to make himself immune to the sun's rays. 

                                                        Sometimes the Horror isn't actually Supernatural at all; instead, he is a vampire or zombie with a scientific origin. These Techno-Horrors are an attempt to demythologize occult creatures, and are especially useful in settings where magic does not actually work (even if people think it does). If the Techno-Horror was an ordinary person before being infected with some kind of freakish virus, his story warns against medical experimentation and scientific hubris. But if he is not human at all, and is instead some kind of alien, he is the hidden menace, the mysterious predator which looks like us but harbors a dangerous secret -- like the serial killer who lives next door.


                                                      • kroh01
                                                        This is one of my favorites. The creepy thing about the Supernatural Horror is that it doesn t have to initially look like something that can mess up the
                                                        Message 27 of 30 , Jul 10, 2014
                                                          This is one of my favorites.  The creepy thing about the Supernatural Horror is that it doesn't have to initially look like something that can mess up the heroes.  Dracula looks like some dude until he starts shape shifting and throwing out combat hickeys.  Very cool write ups so far guys.  Looking forward to more.

                                                          Regards, 
                                                          Walt
                                                        • dirkgentry2000
                                                          the latest archetype is the Nazi NAZI That is the twisted logic they teach you when you become a Nazi. Stop. Wait. I am not a Nazi. Yes, you are! That s
                                                          Message 28 of 30 , Jul 29, 2014
                                                            the latest archetype is the Nazi

                                                            NAZI

                                                            "That is the twisted logic they teach you when you become a Nazi."

                                                            "Stop. Wait. I am not a Nazi."

                                                            "Yes, you are! That's exactly what you are. It's in the SHIELD handbook, chapter one. The Red Skull, founder of Hydra, was a big, fat, freakin Nazi!"

                                                            "That has nothing to do with today."

                                                            "You know, you always had that Hitler Youth look to you. So it's really not that surprising."
                                                            ~ Skye and Agent Ward

                                                            Nazis are the 20th century's designated incarnation of evil.

                                                            EXAMPLES: Red Skull, Fear Monger, Baron Zemo (Marvel); Dyna-Man (DC); Captain Nazi (originally Fawcett, now DC)

                                                            RELATED ARCHETYPES: Supremacist, Conqueror, Faceless Minions, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Twisted Genius, Dark Mirror

                                                            POWERS AND ABILITIES: While Nazi villains have a lot in common, their powers can be diverse. Nazis come in certain common varieties, and each type has a certain array of powers and abilities. 

                                                            Super-Aryans will have superhuman strength and stamina, Invulnerability, and Flight. They are, in essence, Dark Mirrors of Superman. A less powerful version of the Super-Aryan is a Dark Mirror of the Super-Patriot archetype -- strong, fast, and tough, but still human. He is more likely to carry a Luger and have Specializations that include weaponry and hand to hand combat.

                                                            The Hitler Clone will have no powers except, perhaps, Immortality or Regeneration, and will instead rely on weird science gadgetry and an ultimate weapon, neither of which he built himself. Willpower is almost certainly his highest ability, and he can easily persuade the mob to follow him, but heroic PCs are immune to his charisma. 

                                                            The Nazi Scientist is a Twisted Genius inspired by Mengele (and is a fiendish doctor who experiments on human subjects) or Werner Von Braun (in which case he is instead a technocrat who believes science is the solution to all the world's problems). His Intellect is his strong suit, probably augmented by the Gadgets power and some Specializations. 

                                                            OTHER QUALITIES: Nazis are distinguished by three things. First, they are endless. Second, they are instantly recognizable. Finally, there is no moral ambiguity in killing them. These facts account for their popularity.

                                                            The Nazi is, of course, fundamentally a symbol for fascism, a form of government in which the people voluntarily cede power to a single leader figure, who then wields absolute authority in their name. Nazi villains often represent this philosophy through the blind loyalty of numberless Faceless Nazi Minions, but he may actually depend on followers for power. That is, if he can be separated from his minions, the Nazi is easy to defeat, but when surrounded by those who have granted him power, the Nazi is unbeatable. This is a symbolic representation of the fascia itself, the symbol of ancient Rome and the source of the word fascism. 

                                                            Racism is another quick and easy way to make a Nazi hated, but racism based on color or ethnicity has gone out of fashion among modern Nazi supervillains. The idea of racial superiority or inferiority is simply so dumb that, in order for a Nazi to be taken seriously, he has to admit that it is rubbish. Those who cling to racist screeds become not just evil, but stupid. This makes them less interesting. The exception is a Supremacist who bases his racism on super-humanness, something demonstrably provable while still morally bankrupt.

                                                            As a servant of either the Third or Fourth Reich, the Nazi villain commands significant resources. Besides his horde of stormtroopers and a hidden Fifth Column of neo-Nazi agents already concealed within society, he has a hidden base in Argentina, the North or South Pole, or the Moon. His lair is well-stocked with Nazi gold, treasures stolen from the wealthy families and museums of Europe, and dieselpunk technology. He travels to these locations using submarines, massive aircraft, or Volkswagen-built flying saucers.

                                                            STORIES: Nazi stories are terribly cliche, and that's why players love them. They know exactly what to do in these games, and punching Hitler never gets old. 

                                                            The two archetypal stories of the Nazi villain are "Hitler Returns!" and "Invasion from Earth-Nazi!" In the first, Hitler will soon be returned to life through a clone, time travel, a robot, or other device. This effort is championed by a Super-Aryan and his Nazi Scientist assistant, possibly with the unwilling help of a captured scientist whose abduction alerts the heroes to the plot. Sometimes "Hitler" is actually just a figurehead for the Super-Aryan who intends on actually rebuilding the Reich himself. (GMs who would like to run this story are directed to "Anschluss '77," an episode of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series.)

                                                            It is a strange truth of alternate history tales and time travel stories that a large proportion of them involve worlds inhabited by Nazis: Nazis who never lost the War, Nazis who survived in a hidden redoubt, Nazis who went into the past, and so on. Eventually, these Nazis discover "the world where we lost" and an invasion is inevitable. Many books have been written on this subject; the outline of your story depends largely on scale. If you are planning a single-session adventure, then the invasion is probably modest, secret, or dependent on a single object of high technology, like a Stargate or other portal of some sort. If the heroes can destroy this thing, the invasion is thwarted. If, however, you would like something larger, the Nazis can certainly provide. A fleet of spacecraft emblazoned with the swastika ought to give the proper signal to your gaming table. 

                                                            Because the Nazi engenders such strong and rigid reactions, it is (and indeed long has been) common for the Nazi to conceal his true allegiance behind another, less recognizable, fascism. So concealed, the Nazi fights alongside the heroes and earns their respect and friendship. When he reveals himself as a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, it is usually in an effort to change the hero's assumptions. "How can all Nazis be bad if I've saved your life?" Despite modern storytelling's thrust to make every villain sympathetic, this tactic seldom works. 

                                                            Nazi ideology has been well researched and documented, and much of it was so weird or horrifying that a GM can easily spin entire campaigns out of it. This is, after all, an organization which named its commando units Werewolves and its concentration camp guards the Death's Head, which rebuilt and fortified a new Grail Castle in the Black Forest (equipping it with a Round Table that had twelve chairs), which took the Spear of Destiny out of a Viennese museum, which based its political theory of eugenics on Teutonic myth, which sent anthropologists in search of the Holy Grail, and which pursued technology like warships made of ice, flying wings, tanks the size of a city block, guns that shot around corners, and much, much more. None of these things are made up. Anything you do make up will seem tame by comparison. While entire libraries have been written on the Nazis, the most useful books for gamers are, hands down, those written and edited by Ken Hite: GURPS Weird War II, GURPS Alternate Earths, and his most recent The Nazi Occult.

                                                            During the Cold War, Nazi villains were largely replaced by the Communist, an archetype that was ubiquitous in the early Marvel era. Now, however, the Communist is even more anachronistic than the Nazi. He survives only in the form of the Old Guard – a Communist who clings to his ideals even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Unlike the Nazi, the Old Guard can sometimes earn some tragic sympathy from readers.


                                                          • dirkgentry2000
                                                            new archetype over on the FACELESS MINION Hail Hydra! Immortal... - The Super Villain Handbook | Facebook
                                                            Message 29 of 30 , Sep 9, 2014
                                                              new archetype over on the FACELESS MINION "Hail Hydra! Immortal... - The Super Villain Handbook | Facebook

                                                              FACELESS MINION

                                                              "Hail Hydra! Immortal Hydra! Cut off one limb, and two shall take its place!"

                                                              Faceless Minions are fanatically loyal servants of a Mastermind, Conqueror, or other powerful villain.

                                                              EXAMPLES: Hydra, AIM, the Hand (Marvel); Hive (DC); Cobra (GI Joe)

                                                              RELATED ARCHETYPES: Nazi, Supernatural Horror

                                                              ABILITIES: Faceless Minions come in infinite varieties -- such as the Faceless Demon Minion, Faceless Nazi Minion, and Faceless Robot Minion -- but rarely have powers in the usual sense. Instead, they rely on equipment and specialties like Martial Arts or Weapons. Prowess and Coordination will be their best attributes, probably at 4 or 5.

                                                              The exceptions to this rule are Demon Minions, Vampire Minions, Alien Minions, and other Supernatural Horrors. These creatures will have natural weapons like claws and fangs, supernatural abilities such as flight, and they often have enough Resistance to Damage (5 is enough) to make them immune to bullets.

                                                              QUALITIES: It is vital for Faceless Minions to have a Quality which represents teamwork and their ability to coordinate against a single hero; they will activate this Quality almost every page they are in play.

                                                              Otherwise, a single Quality which describes the nature of the Minion's training or origin (Endless Demons From The Pits Of Hell, Feared Ninja Clan, Soldiers of Science!) can help differentiate it from other Minions and provide a convenient catch-all when you need the Minion to suddenly display a power, piece of gear, or trick that isn't on its character sheet. Faceless Minions often take a venomous or poisonous creature as their totem symbol. (No comic book universe is complete without its Faceless Snake/Insect Minions.)

                                                              While not (usually) Faceless in a literal sense, Faceless Minions are anonymous. They wear uniforms that conceal their features, making it harder to know exactly how many of them there are, or even if they are truly human. If alien or supernatural, they are visually indistinguishable from each other. This might be represented by a Quality which is activated when a Minion's anonymity is useful, such as when it tries to escape or is mistaken for another Minion.

                                                              STORIES: Faceless Minions are one of the first obstacles the hero must face when he discovers a Mastermind's plot. They are typically led by a Servitor who abandons the fight after the first page when it becomes clear that the Minions are no match for the heroes. A second confrontation may come with a far greater number of Minions, including a small group of them armed with a super-weapon, armored vehicle, or trick which exploits the hero's weakness. After that, there's not much use in more fights with Faceless Minions, though a sudden rush of them while the heroes confront the Big Bad Evil Guy may give that villain a chance to escape or catch his breath.

                                                              Faceless Minions are also great for separating the heroes, teaching new players how the game rules and their own powers work, taking hostages, and whisking away the real prize while heroes are busy fighting a distraction in the street. Never forget Chandler's Law, from the introduction to The Simple Art of Murder: "When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand." If your players have been discouraged by a dead-end investigation, a villain's escape, or a table argument, few things soothe the savage breast better than walloping a horde of Faceless Minions. I recommend Ninjas.

                                                              Minions are typically taken out in one successful attack. Icons Assembled has an optional rule to handle this; it's on p.42. Here's another alternative: If a hero doesn't do enough damage to take out the Minion he just hit, knock the Minion out anyway and give a point of Determination to the rest of the Minion gang. (They'll need it!) The opposite is also true: sometimes you need a Minion to stick around for one more panel, probably because he's the last one left on top of the speeding train, high-flying airship, or emergency landing strip. In cases like this, a point of Determination can keep him up long enough to pull a lever or bite on a cyanide capsule.

                                                              The Thug is an archetype related to the Faceless Minion; he serves a Crime Boss instead of a Mastermind or Conqueror. He differs in that he actually has a tiny bit more personality than the Faceless Minion (after all, he has a face) and is usually armed with less high-tech gear. He will have a nickname derived from a physical characteristic, and perhaps a distinctive speech pattern. The Thug also appears in smaller numbers than the Faceless Minion, because Thugs are opposed by single vigilantes while Faceless Minions attack an entire team of heroes.



                                                            • dirkgentry2000
                                                              new archetype: the Dark Mirror DARK MIRROR You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods
                                                              Message 30 of 30 , Sep 12, 2014
                                                                new archetype: the Dark Mirror

                                                                DARK MIRROR

                                                                "You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light."

                                                                "Now you're getting nasty."

                                                                ~ Rene Belloq and Indiana Jones

                                                                The Dark Mirror is very similar to a particular hero, but uses his powers for evil.

                                                                EXAMPLES: Venom, Abomination, Cassandra Nova (Marvel); General Zod, Bizarro, Sinestro, Professor Zoom (DC); Black Adam (Fawcett, now DC)

                                                                RELATED ARCHETYPES: Evil Twin, Nemesis

                                                                ABILITIES: Dark Mirrors have the same powers as the heroes they mirror, though like many "evil hero" archetypes (Fallen Hero, Evil Twin, Power Corrupted, Vigilante), they use these powers in a more brutal and merciless way. Icons Assembled Edition refers to these kinds of villains as "Reflections" (on p.186). If the Dark Mirror has powers which are opposite to the hero -- a fire villain opposing a hero with ice powers -- he is actually a Nemesis.

                                                                Many of the differences between a hero and his Dark Mirror are simply trappings; when a villain replaces the repulsor rays in his armor with a machine gun, that changes his damage type from blasting to shooting, but it doesn't change the Blast score on his character sheet. A new extra or alternate power (such as adding the Burst extra to that Blast) can, however, help differentiate the Dark Mirror and illustrate tactics which the hero would not use. (Perhaps the targeting mechanism on the Burst is not entirely reliable, so that the villain occasionally hits civilians. The hero would never use such a weapon, but the Dark Mirror isn't concerned over a little collateral damage.)

                                                                If the Dark Mirror has an edge, it is in the field which the hero is best at. That is, a hero known for his incredible strength will have a Dark Mirror who is just a little bit stronger; a super-genius hero has a Dark Mirror who is a supra-genius. Conversely, the Dark Mirror may actually be a little bit inferior in areas where the hero does not excel. That villain with incredible strength won't be as smart as the hero, and if the super-genius can get close enough, he can punch his rival right in the face. All of this reinforces the basic strategic truth in fights with the Dark Mirror: don't fight fire with fire. The Dark Mirror is designed to force a stalemate; that's the whole reason he exists. Heroes triumph over them by moving the conflict to an arena in which the Mirror is powerless, and that means creativity and a reliance on skills and abilities the hero normally ignores, or doesn't even realize he has.

                                                                QUALITIES: The Dark Mirror usually had a connection to the hero before his powers were acquired. He may have been a relative, coworker, or lab assistant. This connection is the source of both personal angst and interpersonal rivalry, and the two rivals have a shared experience which is alluded to in conversation without ever being fully detailed.

                                                                And their methods differ, not just in the superhuman arena but in their personal lives as well; Rene Belloq, for example, is a "Champagne Villain" in vivid contrast to Indy, the "Beer Hero." If the hero is educated and rich, the Mirror went instead to the School of Hard Knocks. If the hero is respected and admired, surrounded by romantic suitors, the villain is reviled and hated, shunned by all those he most desires. Because there is a trend towards "dark" heroes in current fiction, this can result in Dark Mirrors who are actually brighter, happier, and more well adjusted people than the heroes they battle!

                                                                STORIES: Hollywood's obsession with poetic justice has led to a linkage between the origin of a superhero and the origin of his archenemy ("You made me first!"); this has made Dark Mirrors like Abomination, Iron Monger, and General Zod more prominent on film than they are in comics. It sometimes seems that every cinematic superhero has to debut with a Dark Mirror, and for players new to superhero roleplaying, the Dark Mirror is something of a default super villain. This can be useful for the GM; consider creating a hero's Dark Mirror in play during your first session, at the same as the hero himself gains his powers. When you need to teach a new player how the game works, few things are as educational as beating up on someone with the same powers you have. Just be sure to have a quick finish prepared, because fights with a Dark Mirror are perfectly matched and can go on far too long. Perhaps a nearby scientist has developed a weapon to strip the Dark Mirror of his powers, at least temporarily. The new player can then use this to end the fight after he has learned both how to deal and take damage, and he even got an archenemy out of the deal.

                                                                There is also an opportunity for fun and excitement when a new player confronts a villain which he expects to be a Dark Mirror, but who actually has surprising and unusual powers from an entirely different source.

                                                                And, to be fair, it may in fact be inevitable for a hero to develop a Dark Mirror, should his career last long enough. Many heroes in fact have more than one. Tony Stark had so many he had to devote an entire year to chasing them all down (the Armor Wars). But there is a good reason for this: the story of the Dark Mirror is a good one, rooted in the superhero's obsession with the control and responsible use of power. The Dark Mirror is ultimately a way to demonstrate that powers don't make the man. A hero is more than the sum of his laser vision, nuclear-powered heart, and extensive training. When these same abilities are given to someone else, that new individual does not become a hero. Instead, he uses his newfound powers for selfish reasons, personal gain, and -- when the hero arrives -- vengeance.



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