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EternalPhoenix

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About EternalPhoenix

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    Doesn't Always Know What He's Doing
  • Birthday 07/08/1986

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    Curtis Bay, MD
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  1. Kingston, post Invasion, had its issues. Violent crime had been skyrocketing. The persecuted criminal underclass that lurked in the Fens and Lincoln had been…branching out, shall we say? Which, of course, left Terrifica with yet more work to do. Like the proverbial Hydra. Lock one off, and two more leaped in to take their place. She was merely looking for the latest hotspot in this part of Freedom. Dimensional teleportation tech, building off what the Terminus had left behind. Someone there had brains. So she had the scanner on her face when the literal frog man rode through dimensions. It lit up her screen like a neon sign. So she rode right over there on the Terrifi-cycle. Just in time to hear him yelling. Dear god, as if there wasn’t enough problems. “Hey!” She pulled over and got off her bike to stand in the middle of the road. She shook out her staff, juuuust in case. “Hey! Could you not?! People are trying to sleep, for one, and I don’t want to know what happens if you blow up a Doomforge!” Seriously, what deity had she pissed off to encounter a frog man with a burning itch in his trigger finger? “Look around! You are not in the Terminus! There are no Omegadrones! So would you please go home!” Did her annoyance slip in her voice? Yes, yes it did.
  2. Neutronica Power Level: 10 (180/180PP) Unspent Power Points: 0 Trade-Offs: -+5 Damage /-5 Attack, +5 Toughness/-5 Defense In Brief: Cosmic accident turns teenager into living neutron star Catchphrase: Themes: Alternate Identity: Sofia Birthplace: Residence: Claremont Academy, Freedom City, USA Base of Operations: Freedom City, USA Occupations: High School Student Affiliations: Claremont Academy Family: Description: Age: 16 (Born 2004) Apparent Age: Late teens Gender: Female Ethnicity: Height: Weight: Eyes: Hair: Appearance: History: Personality & Motivation: Powers & Tactics: Power Descriptions: Complications: Abilities: 0 + 2 + 4 + 0 + 4 + 8 = 18PP Strength: 40/34/10 (+15/+12/+0) [+24 Density, +6 Enhanced Statistic] (Max Lifting STR 140) Dexterity: 12 (+1) Constitution: 28/14 (+9/+2) [Enhanced Statistic] Intelligence: 10 (+0) Wisdom: 14 (+2) Charisma: 18 (+4) Combat: 10 + 10 = 20PP Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex) Attack: +5 Base Defense: +5 Base, +2 Flat-Footed Grapple: +40 (full Super Strength), +25 (without Array Super Strength), +5 (without Powers) Knockback: -18 (-10 Impervious, -2 Toughness, -6 Immovable, -1 without Powers) Saving Throws: 3 + 4 + 6= 13PP Toughness: +15/+2 without powers (+2 Con, +7 Enhanced Con, +6 Protection) Fortitude: +12 (+2 Con, +7 Enhanced Con, +3) Reflex: +5 (+1 Dex, +4) Will: +8 (+2 Wis, +6) Skills: 48R = 12PP Bluff 4 (+8) Concentration 6 (+8) Diplomacy 4 (+8) Gather Information 4 (+8) Intimidate 4 (+8) Knowledge (current events) 5 (+5) Knowledge (popular culture) 5 (+5) Notice 8 (+10) Sense Motive 8 (+10) Feats: 6 PP Accurate Attack Luck 3 Precise Shot Takedown Attack Powers:75 + 36= 111PP Container 15 (Neutronic Body; 75 PP Container)[75PP] (mutation) Density 12 (Enhanced STR 24, Impervious Protection 6, Mass x25, Super Strength 4, Immovable 4) [36PP] Enhanced CON 14 [14PP] Enhanced STR 6 [6PP] Flight 1 [2PP] Immovable 2 [2PP] Immunity 7 (All Environmental Conditions, All Suffocation) [7PP] Impervious Toughness 4 [4PP] Super Strength 1 [2PP] Array 15 (Gravity Control; Power Feats: Alternate Effect 2) [36PP] Base Power: Blast 15 (Gravitic Blast) Dynamic Alternate Power: Enhanced Flight 15 (BoostedFlight; Power Feat: Dynamic) Dynamic Alternate Power: Super Strength 15 (Power Feat: Dynamic) Alternate Power: Move Object 30 (Personal Gravity Control; STR 150; Rank 10 for opposed checks; Extras: Area [Burst, 150 ft radius]; Flaws: Limited Direction (toward self only), Range [Touch]) Alternate Power: Paralyze 10 (Heavy Gravity Zone; Extras: Alt Save [Fortitude] [+0 Extra], Area [Burst, 50 ft radius], Selective Attack; Flaw: Slow) DC Block ATTACK RANGE SAVE EFFECT Unarmed Touch DC 30 Toughness Damage Neutronic Energy Blast Ranged DC 16-30 Toughness Damage Unarmed (without Powers) Touch DC 15 Toughness Damage Totals: Abilities (18) + Combat (20) + Saving Throws (13) + Skills (12) + Feats (6) + Powers (111) - Drawbacks (0) = 180/180 Power Points Right now I just want to be sure the build is good and tight. But I'll take your fluff suggestions, sure.
  3. BLACK & The Phantom Network in the Freedomverse Let’s get one thing clear first. In the Freedomverse, BLACK is generally regarded a supervillain group. Let’s be real, here. They’re basically Vincent Mortelini’s personal murder squad. They answer to no authority but their own, and globetrot like national boundaries don’t exist. So yeah, regarded as supervillains. But to treat them one note mustache twirlers in your game is to, I think, do them a disservice. The point of my creating them in the first place (aside from making a boogeyman to get all the evils of the world thus making me feel better; I am self aware about that part) is to introduce moral uncertainty into a superheroic world. Because there are people the law will never significantly touch, even in the most optimistic of superhero comics. Superheroes don’t go around deposing dictatorial governments, or fighting other countries civil wars. You don’t typically see superheroes digging into the really nasty and hideous things that humans do to one another. Superheroes can’t solve larger scale problems like the drug trade, international terrorism, or human trafficking. At least, not within the rules they have set for themselves. Don’t kill. Work within the law. Protect and serve. Etcetera, you know how this works. BLACK, to a person, has had experiences that caused them to throw that rulebook out. People are suffering, and they have the power to make it stop. Or at least, to make sure that specific flavor never happens again. Unlike every other example of such a group from the superheroic world, they make no claim of being heroes or having the moral high ground. They don’t seek out admiration or glory. And most importantly, they’re extremely effective. Which brings us back to the moral uncertainty. They are all (with the possible exception of Prodigy), unrepentant killers. However, all that bloodshed has been a net good. The world is demonstrably a better place with them in it, doing what they do. So what does a regular superhero do? What they’re doing is wrong, no doubt about it. But stopping them would make the world a worse place. It’s an interesting dilemma, I think. And for the record, in the Phoenixverse both approaches are necessary. The ones who can be stopped by reason and law are stopped by superheroes. But when that’s not effective, BLACK comes down like the Wrath of God. Moving on to the Phantom Network, the moral uncertainty gets worse. Because the vast majority of them are ordinary people. They’re not killers or spies. They’re people who keep their eyes and ears open and say something. They come from all walks of life and work in all occupations. They could be your doctor, your kid’s school bus driver, or who you call for tech support. The lower levels could be literally anyone, and that gives UNISON fits. The only thing these people have in common is some sort of tragedy in their background. They, or someone close to them, were made to suffer a horrible fate by the deliberate actions of someone else. Oh, and the experience made this person determined to never see such a thing happen to anyone ever again. No vengeful motivations here. Sigh. Needle, meet haystack. The mid levels are a bit easier to track. As a rule, they tend to be roughly equivalent to police detectives or government agents in ability, and that means training. Such training can often be tracked or traced. This, along with the prior partial psychological profile, makes the haystack smaller. But the high levels go right back to maddeningly anonymous. Because these are the people who’ve learned something about covering their tracks, and the people Paradigm makes a personal effort to keep hidden. And the hell of it is, this means there’s no way of knowing who in UNISON (or AEGIS, for that matter) is a member of the Network. These people don’t have different loyalties, like agents of SHADOW would. They do their jobs properly, and when their parent agency (whoever it may be) can’t handle a situation they pass that info on to the Network. Who may, in turn, quietly reciprocate. Nobody knows how many hot tips from an agent’s sources originated from the Phantom Network. So, once again, moral uncertainty appears. With that out of the way, let’s talk actual supervillains and supervillainous organizations. BLACK and the Phantom Network have done more to disrupt SHADOW’s operations globally than any other organization. Overshadow would pay dearly for Vincent Mortelini’s head on a pike, as he’s cost the old Nazi sorcerer much in skilled personnel and material over the years. The Foundry, being composed of more robots and androids than people, has been a tougher nut to crack. Still, they make their weapons deals with people and as the Network has expanded there have been more and more people to pick on a clue to the location of one of their facilities. Talos’s efforts to counter BLACK have so far been unsuccessful, and it is said that he is growing increasingly irritated. The Labyrinth, on the other hand, BLACK and the Phantom Network have no idea exists. Vincent’s known for decades (that “knowing how people think” thing in action), and many of BLACK’s missions that he’s done on trust and not intel have hindered a piece of Taurus’s operations. So far, Taurus has not open tipped that he knows that Vincent knows, but the big bull has to know by now. Paradigm is on the verge of figuring the whole thing out for herself, and then there’ll probably be some fireworks. And of course, BLACK and various Network squads spend the rest of their time hammering organized crime, terrorists, nefarious cults, etcetera.
  4. Zack Mortelini Power Level: 11; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +10 (20/30), DEX: +3 (16), CON: +10 (-/30), INT: +3 (16), WIS: +3 (16), CHA: +3 (16) Tough: +10/+11, Fort: +10, Ref: +10, Will: +10 Skills: Acrobatics 12 (+15), Diplomacy 7 (+10), Drive 7 (+10), Gather Information 12 (+15), Intimidate 12 (+15), Investigate 7 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 12 (+15), Notice 12 (+15), Search 7 (+10), Sense Motive 12 (+15), Stealth 12 (+15) Feats: Accurate Attack, All-Out Attack, Attack Focus (ranged) 4, Attack Specialization (Unarmed Attack), Benefit (Status (Director of Dean City Operations, Only Mortal Enterprises), Benefit 2 (Wealth), Chokehold, Defensive Roll, Dodge Focus 2, Improved Critical (Twin Handcannon Shots (Blast 6)), Improved Pin, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Gather Info, Intimidate, KN (streetwise), Stealth), Startle, Takedown Attack 2, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory) Powers: Living Dead Man (Container, Passive 23) Enhanced Constitution 30 (+30 CON) Enhanced Strength 10 (+10 STR) Immunity 10 (aging, life support) Immunity 30 (fortitude saves; Limited - Half Effect) Immunity 40 (nonlethal energy damage, nonlethal physical damage; Limited (Converts to Lethal)) Impervious Fortitude 10 Regeneration 20 (ability damage 8 (recover 1 / round without rest), recovery rate (disabled) 4 (recover 1 / 5 mins), recovery rate (injured) 6 (recover 1 / round without rest), resurrection 2 (1 day)) Twin Handcannons (Device 4) (Easy to lose) Twin Handcannon Shots (Blast 6) (DC 21, Feats: Improved Critical (Twin Handcannon Shots (Blast 6)); Autofire (interval 2, max +5); Accurate (+2)) Attack Bonus: +10 (Ranged: +14, Melee: +10, Grapple: +20) Attacks: Twin Handcannon Shots (Blast 6), +16 (DC 21), Unarmed Attack, +12 (DC 25) Defense: +10 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -5 Initiative: +3 Languages: English Native Totals: Abilities 24 + Skills 28 (112 ranks) + Feats 21 + Powers 127 + Combat 36 + Saves 14 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 Age (as of Jan 2019): 70 (chronological) / mid 30s (appearance) Height: 6’ 5” Weight: 280 lbs. Ethnicity: Dead-ish Italian American Hair: Black (Dyed; naturally bone white) Eyes: Dark brown Background: Zack Mortelini is Vincent’s son. Kind of. You see, Zack Mortelini, original version (by the name of Sergio), died with his parents and his sister Emilia. This was not, however, the end of either. Vincent’s first death made him reach out instinctively with his still unknown Guardian of Death powers to save his children. He neither knew what he was doing or that he was doing it. He was too busy dying at the time. So, obviously, he screwed it up. Not only were the effects not immediately apparent (as in Vincent was long gone from Dean City before either effect finished), but they were straight out of a horror movie. Sergio came back from the dead, all right, but he wasn’t alive. He was just (mostly) a zombie with the intellect of an eight year old. He clawed his way out of his casket (because yes, he didn’t wake up until after he was buried) and wandered dull minded out into the world. Emilia’s soul was split in half. Half flew on up to heaven, and half was stuck on Earth. This was extremely disorienting, to say the least, and it would take her decades to realize what had happened. When she did, she would become a major thorn in the side of her father and BLACK. Meanwhile, nonsensically, Sergio grew up. On the streets, no less. He was kind of a superhero for a few years (inspired by the first Starman’s debut in 1961), then ran into something his undead (mostly) body couldn’t handle (Combat training? What combat training?) and was blown to tiny pieces. He was dead. Again. But, again, this wasn’t the end of him. Because an old mad scientist cloned him. Still with me? Good. Sergio lived again, in a different body. His memories were intact, up to the point of his second demise. Did this make sense? Hell, no. But you know what? Screw it. He was back, baby. And not too dull witted this time. Good deal. His heroic career lasted significantly longer this time (three cheers for combat training) and he died a hero, saving Chicago from a massive bomb on a blimp. He was completely incinerated. But the mad scientist, now very old, cloned the clone. It was the last thing said mad scientist ever did, as their body finally gave out of them. Sergio, round…four? Yeah, sure. But you know…he didn’t feel like Sergio anymore. He was the clone of a clone of the original, who had literally died (Twice!) before being cloned. So…hell with it, he’d take a new name. Zack. He superhero’d (in violent Iron Age fashion) for a while longer, then felt Dean City calling him home. He arrived just in time for his dad to start his war against the Twelve Families. Ah, father and son reunited. Kind of. They’ve worked together off and on ever since. Powers & Tactics: Zack Mortelini is dead. Kind of. Look, it varies from day to day and week to week. His body is suspended between life and death, the changes in him apparently written into his very DNA. Without his powers, he would be nothing more than a fresh corpse. With them, he almost doesn’t need to eat or sleep. He has no need to breathe. Disease, poison, summer’s heat and winter’s chill have no effect. His bodily cohesion is incredibly strong. He’s strong enough to crack steel and can endure blows that would crush normal humans. He heals rapidly from injuries, though more severe ones take a few minutes. Hell, if his body hasn’t been destroyed, he’ll just come back from death (the mechanical state, he’s not actually dead) the next day. But it’s not all rosy. His position between life and death oscillates. He can swing toward life and suddenly find himself needing to breathe with a pulmonary system that can barely perform that function. He can catch a cold, start sweating on a hot day, shivering on a cold one, or get unexpectedly drunk from all the liquor he swills. And it always hurts. The closer to life he gets, the more pain he experiences. Such agony, as only a man with all of his organs near total failure can experience. If he swings closer to death, well…his mind dulls. His reflexes grow sluggish. A terrible hunger gnaws at his belly that cannot be sated by mere food. But what the hell, he’s still around. Might as well may something of it. He has two heavy pistols that he’s had modified to be real nail drivers. He’s a masterful shot with them, and an expert in hand to hand combat. Tactically, Zack is a brawler with a pair of nail driver pistols and an utter disregard for finesse. He can sneak and play it quiet, sure, but when the fight starts he’s only got one speed. All out, pedal to the metal violence. Personality: Have you seen the movie Sin City? Or read the comic it’s based on by Frank Miller (prior to his descent into insanity)? If you have, Zack is Marv. Especially as portrayed by Mickey Rourke in the movie. Tough guy. Got rules. Keeps his word once given. Doesn’t hit girls. Chain smokes and drinks excessively. A good old fashioned badass. Whose mind can get fuzzy and confused sometimes. He’s probably a little too violent, if such a thing is possible in Dean City. (Spoiler: It is generally not.) Thuggish, sure, but with a firm sense of honor and strong loyalty to those who earn it. And in the grand tradition of Dean City (be they “hero” or villain), he just doesn’t give a fuck. Pull a knife, and he’ll break your arm. Pull a gun, and he’ll break your face. Threaten someone he cares about or has promised to protect, and he’ll put you in traction. Actually harm them, and he’ll put you in the morgue. Whatever you’ve got going on isn’t going to impress the guy who’s literally died three friggin’ times. And he really enjoys a good scrap, so go ahead and start one. He’ll gladly finish it for you.
  5. Talia Mortelini Power Level: 11; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +5 (20), DEX: +7 (24), CON: +5 (20), INT: +3 (16), WIS: +3 (16), CHA: +5 (20) Tough: +8/+9, Fort: +8, Ref: +12, Will: +10 Skills: Acrobatics 8 (+15), Bluff 15 (+20), Diplomacy 10 (+15), Disable Device 12 (+15), Disguise 10 (+15), Drive 3 (+10), Escape Artist 8 (+15), Gather Information 10 (+15), Knowledge (behavioral science) 7 (+10), Knowledge (business) 7 (+10), Knowledge (current events) 7 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 12 (+15), Language 1 (+1), Notice 12 (+15), Search 7 (+10), Sense Motive 12 (+15), Sleight of Hand 8 (+15), Stealth 13 (+20), Survival 2 (+5) Feats: Acrobatic Bluff, All-Out Attack, Attack Specialization (Sword (Device 2)), Attack Specialization (Telescoping Spikes (Blast 3)), Benefit (Status (Vice President of Public Relations, Only Mortal Enterprises)), Benefit 2 (Wealth), Challenge - Improved Feint, Challenge - Improved Taunt, Chokehold, Connected, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Dodge Focus 4, Elusive Target, Equipment 3, Evasion, Fascinate (Bluff), Grappling Finesse, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Critical 2 (Sword Attack (Strike 3)), Improved Initiative, Improved Pin, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Quick Draw, Skill Mastery 2 (Acro, Bluff, Diplo, Dis Dev, Notice, Sen Mot, SoH, Stealth), Takedown Attack 2, Taunt, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory) Powers: Immortal (Immunity 1) (aging) Literally Can't Die (Regeneration 45) (ability damage 8 (recover 1 / round without rest), recovery bonus 4 (+4 to recover), recovery rate (bruised) 3 (recover 1 / round without rest), recovery rate (disabled) 8 (recover 1 / round without rest), recovery rate (injured) 6 (recover 1 / round without rest), recovery rate (staggered) 6 (recover 1 / round without rest), resurrection 10 (instantly)) Numbed Emotions (Immunity 5) (emotion effects; Limited - Half Effect) Polyglot (Comprehend 3) (languages - read all, languages - speak all, languages - understand all; Limited (To Earth languages with more than a million speakers)) Surprisingly Tough (Protection 3) (+3 Toughness) Sword (Device 2) (Easy to lose) Sword Attack (Strike 3) (DC 23, Feats: Improved Critical 2 (Sword Attack (Strike 3)); Penetrating [1 extra rank]; Mighty) Telescoping Spikes (Blast 3) (DC 23; Mighty 5 (+5 to damage)) Vest (Impervious Toughness 6) (Limited (To Ballistic, Slashing, and Piercing Attack descriptors)) Equipment: Telescoping Spikes [Telescoping Spikes (Blast 3), DC 23; Mighty 5 (+5 to damage)], Vest [Vest (Impervious Toughness 6), Limited (To Ballistic, Slashing, and Piercing Attack descriptors)] Attack Bonus: +12 (Ranged: +12, Melee: +12, Grapple: +19) Attacks: Sword Attack (Strike 3), +14 (DC 23), Telescoping Spikes (Blast 3), +14 (DC 23), Unarmed Attack, +12 (DC 20) Defense: +12 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -7 Initiative: +11 Languages: English, Italian Native Totals: Abilities 56 + Skills 41 (164 ranks) + Feats 37 + Powers 61 + Combat 40 + Saves 15 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 Age (as of Jan 2019): 102 (chronological) / 25 (permanent biological) Height: 5’ 7” Weight: 140 lbs. Ethnicity: Italian Eyes: Brown Hair: Black Background: Talia Mortelini was born to the Mortelini family, a family of professional assassins. She was well trained and earned the family quite a pretty penny over the years. This was a little unusual, as the family’s assassins were traditionally male. But Talia, from a very young age, showed a real aptitude in the skills and attitude required. And so it was…until 1957, when everything changed. Though technically the Mortelinis were independent contractors, in practice they tended to work out of Dean City for one of the Twelve Families more than anyone else. Which ended up presenting a problem. The Families’s new overboss wanted them all to himself. One those young men who values shows of loyalty over honor. Talia’s father refused. The Mortelinis had been independent for decades. There was no way that would change. The new boss was angry at having his authority flouted so casually, and decided to have the family annihilated. They killed her father and her brother, and they thought they’d successfully gunned her down as well. Then they went for her nephew, Vincent, and his family. The specifics of that are in his entry. Talia was merely trying not to bleed to death when her survival was discovered. She fought her way up through the building and to the roof, only to be shot off it.Three stories later she bounced off a car. She had nothing left, struggling to even crawl away. Vincent came to her rescue. She had just enough time to tell him what was happening and who was responsible. And then, Talia Mortelini died. She was 40 years old. In 2005, loyal ninja cultists performed a profane magical ritual to summon an avatar of their terrible deity. Said rituals had been mistranslated many years ago, however, and the result was the resurrection of Talia Mortelini. She did not know it then, but she now bore one of the Seven Sorceries, incredibly potent enchantment created near the dawn of civilization to protect humankind from the monsters and demons of the day. Every erg of magic and life in seven of the mightiest magicians to ever walk the earth is in one of the Sorceries. Together, a full 49 are represented. Life itself now flowed through Talia in nigh infinite quantity. The cultists did not know what their avatar would look like, exactly, so they thought it was Talia. They offered up their sacrifice, a young girl and her mother. Talia declined to murder a child, specifically by taking the offered knife and slaughtering every cultist in the room with it. She escorted the mother and child out of the area, and then had to play bodyguard for a while afterward. The ninja cultists weren’t all in that room and were very offended by her killing of their associates. So not only did the girl and her mother have to die, she did too. The escalating series of battles attracted the attention of the Phantom Network. Soon, BLACK eradicated the ninja cultists and Vincent met his aunt again, 48 years later. Powers & Tactics: Talia is an assassin. She is stealthy, acrobatic, and a masterful face woman. She has masterful skill in a wide variety of melee combat options (including unarmed styles such as Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do), but prefers her sword. She is a great shot and masterful with her train mark telescoping throwing spikes that she keeps in her wristbands. Her assassin training and natural aptitudes have resulted in a degree of emotional numbness that provides resistance to attempt to manipulate them with words or powers. Prior to her death, she had no powers of any kind. However, since her resurrection she has been merged of one of the Seven Sorceries. As stated, life flows through her in nigh infinite quantity. What this does is render her effectively immortal. Any damage is completely healed in seconds. She is flatly incapable of aging. She literally cannot die. (M&M rules aside). Tactically Talia is, well, an assassin. She’s a much bigger fan of the Power Attack from Stealth than a straight fight. If she can do it with her Telescoping Spikes instead of her Sword, all the better. With her Stealth bonus, Skill Mastery, and Hide In Plain Sight, this is borderline effortless. But she’s also got more than enough skill to Feint just about anyone out of their shoes. As an assassin, she doesn’t hesitate for a moment to kill. But these days her targets are as far from innocent as it’s possible to be. Personality: To study Talia is to quickly become confused. Is she an actual sociopath pretending to not to be? Or is she someone whose training and experiences have made her very good at pretending to be one? The answer isn’t an easy one. She says she doesn’t remember being dead, but one would think with her skill at lying she’d tell that one better. She wasn’t anywhere near this sexually promiscuous. She didn’t seem to turn her emotions on and off like there was an internal switch. She did not find actual pleasure in killing, she merely had a talent for it. She did not cling to her Catholic faith this strongly, either. She barely went to Mass before. There are times when it seems like there’s something deeply, deeply wrong with her on a fundamental level, and then there are times where she’s a perfectly normal person. So what’s the truth? Even Talia herself doesn’t know, but there are a few signposts. She went to Hell when she died. Hell is more horrific than the mortal mind can conceive of, and she spent almost five decades there. And very minute she was reminded of how much she deserved to be there. The Mortelini mental training taught her how to disassociate emotionally so they could perform at peak efficiency on missions. In her nephew Vincent, this manifested as the idea that someone else named Ghost was doing the killing. But he wasn’t especially talented with the technique. Talia was extremely talented with it. She could effectively shut the feeling human part of her off for a while, long enough to do the job. The problem, however, is that it was never meant to deal with what she has. The psychological damage of betrayal, death, Hell, a mass murderer’s guilt, resurrection, and learning she’d live past the heat death of the universe has broken all of her mental machinery. She hasn’t gone utterly insane, which is a testament to the strength of her mind. But the scattered bits of her mental technique are no longer entirely under her conscious control. Parts of herself she’d always kept under control (everyone has weird and/or horrifying impulses/thoughts/desires, after all) can and do go wildly out of it. Her mind has gone from a disciplined and orderly place to a chaotic disaster. She retains enough self discipline to keep a lid on it, but only just. As stated, she’s not aware this has happened. She’s not even consciously aware there’s anything wrong. At any rate, certain things remain constant. She loves her nephew and supports him in his endeavours. Even if it’s an act for today, she’s the single most personable and approachable member of BLACK. She has utterly abandoned being an assassin for pay, and now kills to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
  6. Relena (unleashed) Power Level: 15; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +2 (14), DEX: +4 (18), CON: +10 (14/30), INT: +5 (20), WIS: +0 (10), CHA: +7 (24) Tough: +20, Fort: +10, Ref: +10, Will: +15 Skills: Acrobatics 11 (+15), Bluff 8 (+15), Concentration 15 (+15), Gather Information 1 (+8), Intimidate 13 (+20), Knowledge (business) 10 (+15), Knowledge (civics) 5 (+10), Knowledge (current events) 5 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 15 (+20), Language 1 (+1), Notice 8 (+8), Sense Motive 8 (+8) Feats: Benefit (Status (Leader of the Dean City Yakuza)), Benefit 2 (Wealth), Connected, Improved Initiative Powers: Immunity 1 (aging) Magical Body (Linked) Enhanced Constitution 16 (Linked; +16 CON) Protection 10 (Linked; +10 Toughness) Suppression Necklace (Device 1) (Hard to lose, Only you can use) Morph 1 (morph: single appearance - restrained form, +5 Disguise; Action (reaction), Duration (continuous); Metamorph, Subtle (subtle), Notes: Reaction to being put on.) Unstable Mind (Immunity 10) (emotion effects, interaction skills; Innate) Vast Magical Power, Unrestrained (Array 38) (default power: transform) Careless Destruction (Corrosion 15) (Array; DC 30; Burst Area (75 ft. radius - General)) Regeneration (Healing 18) (Array; Action (standard), Restoration, Total; Personal; Persistent, Regrowth, Triggered 2 (any trigger)) Standstill (Snare 15) (Array; DC 25; Burst Area (75 ft. radius - General), Constricting, Regenerating, Transparent; Range (touch); Precise) World Is My Plaything (Transform 15) (Default; affects: broad > broad - inorganic to inorganic, Transforms: 50000 lbs., DC 25; Burst Area (75 ft. radius - General); Range (touch); Precise) Attack Bonus: +8 (Ranged: +8, Melee: +8, Grapple: +10) Attacks: Careless Destruction (Corrosion 15) (DC Fort/Tou ), Standstill (Snare 15) (DC Ref/Staged 25), Unarmed Attack, +8 (DC 17), World Is My Plaything (Transform 15) (DC Fort 25) Defense: +10 (Flat-footed: +5), Knockback: -10 Initiative: +8 Languages: English Native, Japanese Totals: Abilities 40 + Skills 25 (100 ranks) + Feats 5 + Powers 123 + Combat 36 + Saves 21 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 **************************************************************************** Relena (w/Suppression Necklace on) Power Level: 12; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +5 (20), DEX: +7 (24), CON: +5 (20), INT: +5 (20), WIS: +0 (10), CHA: +7 (24) Tough: +5/+7, Fort: +10/+15, Ref: +12, Will: +12 Skills: Acrobatics 13 (+20), Bluff 13 (+20), Concentration 15 (+15), Diplomacy 3 (+10), Disable Device 5 (+10), Disguise 5 (+12), Escape Artist 13 (+20), Gather Information 3 (+10), Intimidate 13 (+20), Investigate 5 (+10), Knowledge (business) 10 (+15), Knowledge (civics) 5 (+10), Knowledge (current events) 5 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 15 (+20), Language 1 (+1), Notice 12 (+12), Search 7 (+12), Sense Motive 12 (+12), Sleight of Hand 8 (+15), Stealth 13 (+20) Feats: Attack Focus (melee) 8, Attack Specialization 4 (Relena's Spells (Array 9)), Benefit (Status (Leader of the Dean City Yakuza)), Benefit 2 (Wealth), Chokehold, Connected, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Dodge Focus 5, Elusive Target, Improved Critical (Wushu Techniques (Strike 3)), Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Instant Up, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Takedown Attack, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory) Powers: Relena's Spells (Array 9) (default power: blast) Magic Blast (Blast (Default; DC 23; Variable Descriptor 2 (Broad group - Any Magical)) Magic Singularity (Teleport 5) (Array; 500 ft. as move action, 5 miles as full action; Accurate; Change Direction, Change Velocity, Easy) Mystic Bonds (Snare (Array; DC 18; Variable Descriptor 2 (Broad group - Any Magical)) Shadow Cloak (Concealment (Array; all aural senses, all olfactory senses, all visual senses; Close Range, Precise) Unstable Mind (Immunity 10) (emotion effects, interaction skills) Vast Magical Power, Restrained (Container, Passive 4) Enhanced Trait 5 (Traits: Fortitude +5 (+15)) Immunity 1 (aging) Regeneration 12 (recovery bonus 4 (+4 to recover), recovery rate (bruised) 2 (recover 1 / action), recovery rate (disabled) 2 (recover 1 / hour), recovery rate (injured) 2 (recover 1 / 5 mins), recovery rate (staggered) 2 (recover 1 / 5 mins)) Wushu Techniques (Strike 3) (DC 23, Feats: Improved Critical (Wushu Techniques (Strike 3)); Mighty) Attack Bonus: +8 (Ranged: +8, Melee: +16, Grapple: +21) Attacks: Magic Blast (Blast 8), +16 (DC 23), Mystic Bonds (Snare 8), +16 (DC Ref/Staged 18), Unarmed Attack, +16 (DC 20), Wushu Techniques (Strike 3), +16 (DC 23) Defense: +15 (Flat-footed: +5), Knockback: -3 Initiative: +11 Languages: English Native, Japanese Totals: Abilities 58 + Skills 44 (176 ranks) + Feats 34 + Powers 56 + Combat 36 + Saves 22 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 Age (as of Jan 2019): 29 (chronological) / 21 (permanent biological) Height: 5’ Weight: 115 lbs. Ethnicity: Japanese-American Hair: Black Eyes: Dark Brown Background: Relena was born a true Yakuza princess. And probably the most powerful natural mage who’s ever lived. Immense magical power was at her fingertips from the moment she left the womb, enough to casually warp reality in her immediate environs. Fortunately, babies don’t have too much going on in the head initially, so nobody got erased. Unfortunately, such power breeds the desire to possess it for one’s self. The Dean City Yakuza (a member in good standing of the Twelve Familes) were strong in those days, but demons and fell sorcerers were beyond their expertise. Fortunately again, they were not beyond the expertise of the man who calls himself Daimyo. He was not a mage, but a swordsman. Who wielded one of the Three Swords of Amaterasu-no-Okami, one of the most powerful divine artifacts on the planet. Any being that got close to her, he cut. Whoever he cut, died. The beings devious enough to escape his notice Relena herself destroyed. Her parents did not survive the onslaught of her childhood, but Daimyo certainly did. Truthfully, what happened to her parents is unclear. They were not killed, they did not run away, and they were not taken. Relena has no memory doing anything to remove them. They simply…disappeared between bedtime and breakfast one night. Vanished as completely as if they had never been, were it not for their belongings left behind. Daimyo took on the role of surrogate father figure and soon, Dean City’s demented Japanese schoolgirl began to hold greater and greater say in the city’s affairs. And then Vincent Mortelini came home. Over twelve months, he systematically destroyed the Twelve Families. The Dean City Yakuza were not immune to his predations. However, the sheer power of Relena and Daimyo manage to keep him something resembling in check where the other Families mostly could not. And so the schoolgirl quickly became his archnemesis, while she quickly developed a fondness for the broken and murderous vigilante. Then he was locked away. Then he wasn’t. He spent less and less time in Dean City, or at least bothering the Yakuza. Relena missed him. Running/rebuilding a tattered crime syndicate had started to become a dreadful bore without Vincent to spice things up. Even if Daimyo did most of the work. And then, a Dean City PD detective named Katherine died. The dead rose. The resurrected died and joined them. The world-no, all creation-was coming to a swift and terrible end. The Darkest Night was upon the multiverse. Relena could not have possibly cared any less about that. However, Vincent-her Vincent-was in such raw psychic pain she didn’t understand how anyone could possibly ignore it. Oh, right. The dead. End of everything. Tch, people were so easily distracted by unimportant things. She went to him, took him away (pocket dimensions were so useful), and helped him feel better. She did not do this to save the world. She did it to save him. The fondness had developed into a full blown platonic love. For him, she agreed to learn what he would teach. For him, she agreed to the magic power suppressor necklace and tutelage in controlling her magic. For him, she agreed to work with BLACK and leave Dean City. Daimyo looks after things in her absence. Though she still finds ways to keep life…interesting. Just because she’s his sidekick doesn’t mean she’s about to start neglecting her archnemesis duties. No, sir. Not gonna happen. Powers & Tactics: Relena is most likely the single most magically powerful mortal on the planet. Hell, in the entire Milky Way. Constantly regenerating magic power is infused into every molecule of her body and completely suffuses her soul. She is able to warp the very fabric of reality with a thought and do things that the most learned of mages deem impossible. It even makes her more durable than titanium. She is not, however, omnipotent. She can do virtually anything, but only in her line of sight. What she cannot do is resurrect the dead or create new matter or energy. She is also limited to her own mortal intellect and imagination. A large enough expenditure of power can leave her fatigued, though those occasions have seen entire neighborhoods rendered unrecognizable or her match her power with beings at the level of a full deity or demon lord. Additionally, until relatively recently she had no magical training of any kind. Thus her subconscious exhibited…interesting effects on her environment and her every stray thought had a chance of becoming reality. This generally doesn’t happen anymore, unless she’s very angry or in some other way has stopped caring enough to contain herself. With the Suppression Necklace on, she’s become a skilled mage, capable of a wide variety of spells. Blasts & Snares for combat, Concealment for stealth, and teleport for movement. She also bothers to use her expertise in several styles of Wushu. She prefers the more dynamic and flashy styles, but she’s capable of changing gears to more directly punishing styles. Instead of boosting her durability, the restrained magic instead heals her rapidly over time. Lastly, in both states her mind is so unstable that neither words nor emotion controlling powers have any effect on her. Relena unleashed doesn’t have any combat tactics. The list of beings that are a threat to her is a short one, and highly unlikely to include anyone in the immediate vicinity. So she plays with her foes, earning her demented Japanese schoolgirl reputation. Liberal use of World Is My Plaything, with Standstill for anyone who gets too…dodgy. Regeneration is always set up and ready to trigger on a Staggered or Disabled condition. Or if she feels like it. Careless Destruction is just that. Breakin’ stuff for the sake of breakin’ stuff. She is, of course, fully capable of power stunting anything under the sun, but those are the most common effects. She does not use lethal damage on living beings under any circumstances. Suppressed, she plays it with considerably more finesse. Still, she’s here to have a good time. Her base spells have pretty well defined uses. Damage, restrained, transportation, and stealth. She has other spells, but eh. Those get the job done most of the time so they’re good enough. She does not use lethal damage on living beings under any circumstances. Personality: Relena is…unstable. She’s a cheerful, happy, playful, and highly eccentric young woman. She always wears a pleated skirt, and gets very fussy when she can’t for whatever reason. She doesn’t…do fear. She seems to think the universe exists for her entertainment, and it’s doing a fine job most days. Authority is a concept without meaning to her. She literally doesn’t understand when anyone tries to command her to do something. She also isn’t good at listening when people talk. At any moment, she may become bored and wander off to do her own thing, without saying anything to anyone. In a way, one could say she’s doing her best Peter Pan impression. Capricious and flighty. Fiercely loyal to those who’ve earned her fondness. Extremely dangerous when crossed. And in possession of the emotional maturity (but not the physical or mental maturity) of a child. She isn’t insane, crazy, or whatever word you’d like to use. However, her perspective on reality is deeply skewed by two things. The first is that the world around her has bent to her whim one way or the other for her entire life. The second is that demons and fell sorcerers have been trying to, in one terrible and violent way or another, take her magic for themselves for her entire life. So if she doesn’t like what she’s looking at, she’s always been able to change it with a thought. Daimyo is very likely the only thing that’s kept her on a relatively even keel. Of course, that even keel is a casually amoral reality warper. So a thousand grains of salt on that one. But you know…she’s never actually killed anyone. Demons don’t count. And there’s a thousand terrible ways she could have done permanent harm to other people. Mind alteration being the least of them. But she’s always put people back the way she found them. She says it’s because a person shouldn’t break their toys, but truthfully? Deep down, she doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone. She’s just a girl who wants to have fun. Oh, a girl who wants to have fun. And Vincent Mortelini, in her eyes, is several barrels of fun. Except when he makes the mean eyes at her. She doesn’t like the mean eyes. They’re very hurtful.
  7. Paradigm (Leona King) Power Level: 8; Power Points Spent: 180/180 STR: +5 (20), DEX: +5 (20), CON: +5 (20), INT: +7 (24), WIS: +7 (24), CHA: +7 (24) Tough: +5/+8, Fort: +8, Ref: +8, Will: +8 Skills: Acrobatics 10 (+15), Computers 13 (+20), Disable Device 8 (+15), Disguise 8 (+15), Drive 5 (+10), Gather Information 13 (+20), Investigate 8 (+15), Knowledge (earth sciences) 3 (+10), Knowledge (physical sciences) 8 (+15), Knowledge (tactics) 3 (+10), Knowledge (technology) 8 (+15), Notice 3 (+10), Pilot 5 (+10), Search 8 (+15), Sense Motive 3 (+10), Stealth 7 (+12), Survival 3 (+10) Feats: All-Out Attack, Contacts, Eidetic Memory, Equipment 10, Evasion, Improved Aim, Improved Critical (Sniper Rifle (Blast 5)), Improved Initiative, Improvised Tools, Jack-of-All-Trades, Online Research, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Acrobatics, Computers, Disguise, Gather Info), Takedown Attack, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory), Well-Informed Powers: Arsenal (Array 10) (default power: dazzle) Assault Rifle (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)) Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (Default; affects: 1 type + visual - auditory, DC 15; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Heavy Pistol (Blast 4) (Array; DC 19) Sniper Rifle (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20, Feats: Improved Critical (Sniper Rifle (Blast 5)); Improved Range 2 (250 ft. incr), Progression, Increase Range 2 (max range x5, 2500 feet)) Concealed Body Armor (Protection 3) (+3 Toughness; Subtle (subtle)) Super Soldier (Container, Passive 2) Immunity 1 (aging; Limited - Half Effect) Leaping 1 (Jumping distance: x2) Quickness 1 (Perform routine tasks at 2x speed) Speed 1 (Speed: 10 mph, 88 ft./rnd) Super-Senses 6 (extended: Normal Olfactory 1 (-1 per 100 ft), extended (type): Visual 1 (-1 per 100 ft), extended (type): Auditory 1 (-1 per 100 ft), scent) Equipment: Arsenal [Arsenal (Array 10), default power: dazzle], Binoculars, Cell Phone, Concealable Microphone, Concealed Body Armor [Concealed Body Armor (Protection 3), +3 Toughness; Subtle (subtle)], Desktop Computer, Digital Audio Recorder, Flash Goggles, Flashlight, Gas Mask, Laptop Computer, Lock Release Gun, Multi-Tool, Night Vision Goggles, Parabolic Microphone, PDA, Rebreather, Toolkit (Basic), Video Camera Attack Bonus: +11 (Ranged: +11, Melee: +11, Grapple: +16) Attacks: Assault Rifle (Blast 5), +11 (DC 20), Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (DC Fort/Ref 15), Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (DC 20), Heavy Pistol (Blast 4), +11 (DC 19), Sniper Rifle (Blast 5), +11 (DC 20), Unarmed Attack, +11 (DC 20) Defense: +8 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -4 Initiative: +9 Languages: English Native Totals: Abilities 72 + Skills 29 (116 ranks) + Feats 24 + Powers 10 + Combat 38 + Saves 7 + Drawbacks 0 = 180 Age (as of Jan 2019): 10 (chronological) / (26 biological; born 21 biological years old) Height: 5’ 9” Weight: 145 lbs. Ethnicity: Caucasian Hair: Dark Brown Eyes: Brown Background: Leona King is a clone created by a rogue member of deep black elements of the US government. The greatest soldier who ever lived provided the DNA. The tale of that soldier, Leonard Kingman, is detailed in Spartan (Leonidas King)’s entry. Leona was trained differently from Leonidas, her “brother”. He was supposed to be the ultimate soldier, and honestly he virtually is. From his personality to his entire skillset, a soldier is who he is. That was the whole point of the project. However, Leona was trained by a old man lonely for his daughter. He didn’t want to make a mere killer. He has higher ambitions. So while Leona was well schooled in combat, she was also highly trained in both the creation and use of technology and spycraft. Finesse as opposed to Leonidas’s brute force. And more than that, that lonely old man provided Leona with a basic grounding in human interaction that Leonidas initially lacked. But alas, the old man’s ambitions were not to be. Elements of the old project discovered how he’d gone rogue, and tracked him down. He was gunned down, only barely able to warn Leona they were coming for her next. She’d been matured for perhaps a week, but she slaughtered the hit team nonetheless. The activity showed up on Vincent Mortelini’s radar through the Phantom Network. He sent Leonidas and a small team to investigate. An…interesting (see tropes: Let’s You & Him Fight and Mirror Match) conversation later, Leona joined BLACK and the Phantom Network. She wasn’t always at the top, but quickly proved she was the only person for the job. Powers & Tactics: Prodigy technically doesn’t have any superhuman powers. What she does have is the absolute peak of human mental acuity and once in a generation physical ability. Even her senses flirt with being more than human. This was unlocked through genetic experimentation on an already incredible human being in Leonard Kingman. Prodigy surpasses him in every respect by a solid margin, but remains within human possibility. She is a excellent marksman and hand to hand combatant. When in the field, she carries military grade weaponry such as an assault rifle, sniper rifle, and frag grenades. Let’s get one thing straight. Prodigy doesn’t do a lot of field work for BLACK. She’s far, far more often Mission Control. The entire team relies on her intelligence work much, much more than her gunplay. With that said, she is still beyond what mundane special forces are capable of. When in the field, she follows the same playbook as Spartan does. She doesn’t have his masterful grasp of small unit tactics, however she is better than most. And she has no ego about who gets the credit as long as the job gets done. Personality: Prodigy is not primarily a soldier. She is a spy, a saboteur, and a consummate master of information gathering. She. Knows. Stuff. It’s her thing. With that said, she is a clone of Leonard Kingman. She has much of the same training as Spartan. As such, her entire personality revolves around her work. She is respectful and polite when addressed, and shows the correct amount of deference to her superiors. She is simply…professional. All the time. She uses her time efficiently. Events and activities are scheduled, with enough flexibility to react to changing circumstances. She does not show much emotion during missions or meetings. However, when gathering information she can be as expressive as anyone. Both the internet and public spaces can be vibrant, emotional places and she can fit in rather easily. She is not a hero, and never claimed to be one or hold to their moral code. Her job is to find the enemy so BLACK or a hit team can kill them. Those who cause significant human suffering and/or profit from same. End of story. Her loyalty to Leonidas is ferocious and ever strengthening. Her commitment to the mission is absolute and has nothing to do with any personal feelings of any kind towards Vincent Mortelini. She’s seen the depths that humanity sinks to, and her ideas of how to deal with such scum are just as murderous as his are. So her feelings on him in particular are irrelevant.
  8. Prodigy (Regina Marcus) Power Level: 10; Power Points Spent: 200/200 STR: +2 (14), DEX: +5 (20), CON: +3 (16), INT: +2 (14), WIS: +5 (20), CHA: +2 (14) Tough: +3/+5, Fort: +7, Ref: +10, Will: +10 Skills: Acrobatics 10 (+15), Bluff 8 (+10), Concentration 5 (+10), Diplomacy 8 (+10), Escape Artist 10 (+15), Gather Information 13 (+15), Investigate 8 (+10), Knowledge (physical sciences) 8 (+10), Knowledge (tactics) 3 (+5), Knowledge (technology) 8 (+10), Language 2 (+2), Medicine 5 (+10), Notice 15 (+20), Search 8 (+10), Sense Motive 15 (+20), Stealth 10 (+15) Feats: Acrobatic Bluff, Assessment, Attack Specialization 2 (Beam Saber (Device 5)), Blind-Fight, Challenge - Improved Acrobatic Bluff, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Dodge Focus 5, Equipment 3, Evasion 2, Improved Initiative, Improved Trick, Improvised Tools, Jack-of-All-Trades, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Redirect, Takedown Attack 2 Powers: Adept Training (Immunity 9) (dazzle effects, disease, poison, sleep, starvation & thirst; Limited - Half Effect) Beam Saber (Device 5) (Easy to lose, Restricted use (Adept training)) Beam Saber Attack (Corrosion (DC 23, Feats: Redirect) Life Force Manipulation (Array 9) (default power: telekinesis) Distance Matters Not (Speed 3) (Alternate; Speed: 50 mph, 440 ft./rnd) Height Matters Not (Leaping 3) (Alternate; Jumping distance: x10) Obstacles Matter Not (Super-Movement 5) (Alternate; perfect balance, slow fall, sure-footed 2 (50% penalty reduction), swinging) Healing 8 (Array; Restoration; Personal; Persistent, Regrowth) Not What You're Looking For (Mind Control (Array; DC 18; Conscious; Duration (instant); Precise, Subtle (subtle)) Push (Trip 6) (Array; Knockback, Range (perception)) Telekinesis 6 (Default; Strength: 30, Carry: 532 / 1.1k / 1.6k / 3.2k; Perception) Trust Your Senses Not (Illusion 6) (Array; affects: 1 type + visual - auditory, DC 16; Selective Attack; Phantasms) Life Sense (Super-Senses 11) (accurate (type): Mental, acute (type): Mental, danger sense: Mental, radius (type): Mental, ranged: Mental, uncanny dodge: Mental) Twin Heavy Pistols (Blast 4) (DC 19; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)) Equipment: Twin Heavy Pistols [Twin Heavy Pistols (Blast 4), DC 19; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)] Attack Bonus: +8 (Ranged: +8, Melee: +8, Grapple: +10) Attacks: Beam Saber Attack (Corrosion 8), +12 (DC Fort/Tou ), Not What You're Looking For (Mind Control (DC Will 18), Push (Trip 6) (DC 16), Twin Heavy Pistols (Blast 4), +8 (DC 19), Unarmed Attack, +8 (DC 17) Defense: +13 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -2 Initiative: +9 Languages: English Native, German, Spanish Totals: Abilities 38 + Skills 34 (136 ranks) + Feats 27 + Powers 55 + Combat 32 + Saves 14 + Drawbacks 0 = 200 Age (as of Jan 2019): 28 Height: 5’ 5” Weight: 130 lbs. Ethnicity: African American Hair: Black Eyes: Dark Brown Background: Regina Marcus was a young woman at loose ends. She was about to graduate with her bachelor’s in astronomy. She did not have a job lined up. This was the end point of her life plan, but they weren’t hiring rookie astronomers. She’d always loved the stars. There had been enough encounters over the past several decades for even an amateur researcher to realize there was life out there. It was a busy universe, and Regina wanted to see it all. She wasn’t good enough to qualify as an astronaut, and NASA wasn’t doing anything special in space anyway. Astronomy was the only way she’d ever get to see the stars in her lifetime. And nobody was hiring. Then she met a man who called himself Brian. He told her he felt something from her he genuinely didn’t expect to find on this planet. A connection to the wider universe. A life force that ran throughout everything in the universe, and she had a small connection to it. He could train her, if she wanted. Teach her how to cultivate that connection and make it stronger. Intrigued, she agreed to meet with him again. And then again. And then again. And finally she agreed to be his apprentice. She learned more in the next four months than she had in the last four years. Brian was, of course, Brian Matthews aka Adept. As Regina learned more she began to be able to replicate his abilities, albeit at a much lower level of power. She could feel the stars, even if only faintly. He taught her swordsmanship as well, although without using his Beam Sword. This took many bruises, as she was not a natural talent. But most importantly, he taught her the philosophy underlaying all of it. The emotions and/or desires Adept puts into using their power are returned tenfold. Over time (sometimes shockingly short periods) they can alter the Adept’s personality itself. To strike out in anger means becoming a person more likely to do it again, for example. The perils of using an Adept’s power are many. It is all too easy for even those with the best of intentions to become the worst of monsters. It does, however, work both ways. Selfless uses of the power will change the user into a person more likely to be selfless again. So there is a way back for those who fall into the darkness. At last, he deemed her ready. He presented her with a pile of parts and a blueprint. Her own Beam Sword. However, there was more to the creation of an Adept’s Beam Sword than the physical. Life force had to be integrated with the construction on a fundamental level. They could, of course, function without this step but those would be mere weapons that could break or fail when most needed. Infusing one with life force during construction linked a Beam Sword with its Adept so that it would be an extension of the Adept their self. Such a thing would be more than the sum of its parts just as an Adept was more than a crude being of flesh and bone. It was the single hardest thing Regina had ever done in her life. The assembly itself was a simple matter of fitting the parts together while bathing them in life force. What would turn it from a mere object to an extension of herself was the initial charging. In perfect meditation, cleansed of toxins and unwanted thoughts, she plugged it in. She bathed every molecule of the weapon in life force and, as energy flowed into its circuits for the very first time, they shifted subtly. They became stronger and more efficient. Even the most minor structural flaws in the components ceased to be. More importantly, she felt these things happening. When she opened her eyes and looked up, two things happened. One, Brian told her it had been three days. This was a record, as far as he knew, so he bestowed the name of Prodigy upon her. The second thing was inviting her to join his work. Regina was of two minds. BLACK was flouting international law, and that could get her in an incredible amount of trouble. She didn’t want to kill anyone. Who did? Yes, the people BLACK killed, obviously. On the other hand, a lot of people needed protection from mighty enemies, and what else was an Adept (or a Prodigy) for than to save them? So she joined up. Yes, she’s killed people now. No, she’s not happy about it. But pure idealism gave way to a more nuanced practicality a long time ago now. She’d just like the fight to have an end point, but there isn’t one in sight. The cost of seemingly endless warfare is pushing some of her darker emotions to the surface. Whether her self-discipline or her guilt, rage, and despair will dominate her remains to be seen. Powers & Tactics: Like her teacher Adept, Prodigy has a variety of abilities based on her manipulation of a mysterious “life force” that permeates the entire universe. There’s a long list of things she can do. Enhanced movement, telekinesis, mental illusions, and even a bit of rapid personal healing should she need it. She does not have the power of her teacher, but he says she will get there eventually. She is also a skilled swordswoman, especially with her Beam Sword. It’s magnetically contained plasma (the fourth form matter takes at incredibly high temperatures) in the form of a cylinder. It comes out of a cylindrical handle and it can be turned on and off. And yes, it turns on with that snap-hiss. She was surprised, too. The technology is beyond anything Earth can reproduce outside of the usual gadgeteer geniuses, and even some of them get stumped. It can cut through anything, given a few seconds to work. In a fight, Prodigy is kind of superheroic. Protecting people comes first, then taking out enemies. Otherwise, she’s a lot like her teacher Adept. She tries to deescalate things and convince the enemies to surrender. But when a fight breaks out, she’ll defend herself with lethal force. She’s just as capable of power stunting as Adept, but bothers about as often as he does. Move Object without the Perception Extra (and thus having 10-11 ranks instead of 6) is also a possibility should she ever need that much lifting ability. In the rare cases she needs ranged power that her pistols can’t provide, there’s always a telekinetic Blast 10 (Accurate, Precise). However, her most useful tool for removing enemies is her Beam Sword, and she uses it more than anything else. Personality: Prodigy is a woman at a crossroads. She’s come to the gradual realization that what BLACK does is often just as monstrous as what their targets have done, and it’s stirred up all kinds of mental conflict. She knows their targets can’t simply be left alone, and the law is alarmingly insufficient in most cases. Add to that the fact that she’s suffering from post traumatic stress (from A. spending more time in warzones than most soldiers do with no training on how to handle it and B. feeling the vibrant life fade out of people when she or BLACK kills them) and she’s cracking down the middle. What the hell do you do when your moral compass is spinning like a top? What do you do when there aren’t any good choices? The lesser among evils is still an evil. She wanted to be a hero. Save people from darkness and evil. If she had no choice but to spill a little blood, that would be okay. But it never ends. There are always more people willing to go to terrible lengths for their country, their god, money, or just personal enjoyment. It’s enough to make a woman want to tear the world down.
  9. Pyrewing (Karen Murdoch) Power Level: 10; Power Points Spent: 200/200 STR: +8 (18/26), DEX: +4 (18), CON: +4 (18), INT: +0 (10), WIS: +2 (14), CHA: +4 (18) Tough: +4/+6, Fort: +7, Ref: +10, Will: +7 Skills: Acrobatics 8 (+12), Bluff 7 (+11), Concentration 13 (+15), Diplomacy 7 (+11), Disguise 8 (+12), Gather Information 8 (+12), Intimidate 11 (+15), Knowledge (current events) 10 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 10 (+10), Language 10 (+10), Notice 8 (+10), Sense Motive 8 (+10), Stealth 8 (+12) Feats: Accurate Attack, All-Out Attack, Attack Specialization 2 (Oxygen Burn (Suffocate 8)), Attack Specialization 2 (Unarmed Attack), Attractive (+4), Challenge - Improved Demoralize, Challenge - Improved Startle, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Improved Initiative, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Startle, Takedown Attack, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory) Powers: Enhanced Strength 8 (+8 STR) Fire Immunity (Immunity 10) (common descriptor: Fire/Heat) Real Fire Power (Array 12) (default power: blast) Fire Control 12 Fireball (Blast 12) (Default; DC 27) Firebomb (Blast (Array; DC 23; Burst Area (40 ft. radius - General)) Flash Burn (Drain 12) (Array; drains: single trait - toughness, DC 22; Affects Objects) Oxygen Burn (Suffocate (Array; DC 18; Range (ranged)) Wings of Fire (Flight (Speed: 2500 mph, 22000 ft./rnd) Attack Bonus: +8 (Ranged: +8, Melee: +8, Grapple: +16) Attacks: Fireball (Blast 12), +8 (DC 27), Firebomb (Blast (DC 23), Flash Burn (Drain 12), +8 (DC Fort/Staged 22), Oxygen Burn (Suffocate 8), +12 (DC Fort 18), Unarmed Attack, +12 (DC 23) Defense: +12 (Flat-footed: +6), Knockback: -3 Initiative: +8 Languages: English Native, Arabic, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Kurdish, Malay, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish Totals: Abilities 36 + Skills 29 (116 ranks) + Feats 19 + Powers 62 + Combat 40 + Saves 14 + Drawbacks 0 = 200 Age (as of Jan 2019): 34 Height: 5’ 8” Weight: 140 Ethnicity: Caucasian Hair: Red Eyes: Green Background: Pyrewing is from a parallel Earth. Things are different there, with super smart humanoid animals ruling humanity and doing whatever they please to them. Karen Murdoch was one victim. Her DNA was entirely altered, changing her into a feathered and winged falcon hybrid. She took the name Falconess and joined the human resistance alongside her father Stuntman (real name Daniel). But the resistance hit tough times and were forced to flee their world. Her father seemingly died in the struggle to escape. But she was on a new world now. She could be a true superhero. And for a while, she was. She even fell in love with an winged alien fire controller who called himself Firebird. Then the exciting news. An ally, Morgan Knight (alias Lady Alchemist, a superhero in her own right and the World’s Finest Chemist) had figured out how to revert Karen’s DNA. Being a human/falcon hybrid was awful, so she jumped at the chance. Karen Murdoch was human again, just in time for Firebird to sacrifice his life to save the world. Distraught, she begged Morgan Knight to clone him or something. Anything. She was a genius, right? Morgan distilled his genetic ability to control fire into a serum. She warned Karen that this was insanely dangerous. She said don’t do it, I can’t undo this if you do. Karen did not care. She had nothing. No life skills. No powers. No love. She injected herself. And burned. When Morgan Knight made a gene altering serum, she made them right. Karen Murdoch’s world drowned in fire (breathe in the irony there). It was only several hours, but it felt like days. What nobody but Firebird knew about his powers was they had a mystical component. And a normal human body was ill suited to hosting it. The fire was changing Karen’s body on a fundamental level, burning away what was in the way or unnecessary. She thought she’d die, and she was okay with that. But she did not die. The burning lessened, and then ceased entirely. Someone who looked human was left. She could generate or control fire with a thought. She could fly again, but now her wings were made of fire. Her strength was just this side of superhuman, too. Karen wasn’t human anymore, not entirely. If she couldn’t have her love, she could have his powers. However, her idealism had died with him. The ethical, no killing behavior of superheroes simply didn’t suit her any longer. The Phantom Network found her, and her call to Vincent led to her joining BLACK as living artillery and air support. She took the name Pyrewing, to represent the fire that burned away who she was, and returned her wings. In truth, she had some reservations about killing initially, however years of exposure to the worst humanity has to offer has worn those reservations away to nothing. Her spy and undercover skills have improved over the years, and she makes use of her attractive figure in both pursuits. She isn’t just BLACK’s artillery anymore, but a full member of the team. A little over a year ago, she returned from a trip back to her native Earth with her fellow resistance members. Her father, surprisingly, among them. More powerful and with a pair of superpowered offspring in tow, they took back their home in a series of dramatic battles. Some of them stayed, however Karen decided to return to Earth and BLACK. There was more work to be done and only bad memories remained there for her. Powers & Tactics: Pyrewing is, at first glance, just a fire controller. While this isn’t technically wrong, it ignores her physical strength (barely superhuman, but truly so) and that she draws the flames from a mystical source. Hence why they have conformed to her internal self image and granted her wings. Said wings function, strangely enough for being made of fire, just like normal wings. They don’t even burn things unless she wants them to (a power stunt off of the Flight power). However, unlike normal wings, they cannot be restrained by normal means and instead of folding them up behind her when not in use they simply disappear. It would take another fire controller or someone using another appropriate descriptor (Ice, or maybe magical wind? Dunno really) to restrain them. In a fight, Pyrewing is living artillery and air support to BLACK. She streaks in, drops a Firebomb, and streaks out again. She’s strong enough to airlift one (or two, if they combine for 300 or less pounds) out of a combat zone without losing speed, which can compensate for the rest of the team’s lack of raw speed. She does have the highest raw attack power regularly available on the team, and can instead drop a Fireball instead of a Firebomb on harder targets. She’ll use Flash Burn to knock down walls, and Oxygen Burn in one on one fights. When not in her artillery and air support role she can be alarmingly reckless on the battlefield, throwing herself into combat with wild abandon. She can of course power stunt, and does. The mystical element to her flames permits her to put Alternate Save (Will) on her Blast, and she’s thrown up Create Object walls of fire that inflict damage instead of being solid objects with a toughness save. She can flex the wings with a Strike (be it vanilla or an Aura) power stunt off of Flight as well. Fire isn’t the most…flexible power otherwise, but she’ll pull out other power stunts at need. Personality: Pyrewing isn’t a happy person. She’s still (years later) mourning Firebird and the things she’s seen with BLACK…the people responsible burn. She has a temper and an aggressive streak like all proper fire users. She has a bit of a death wish, still mourning Firebird as she does. It isn’t enough to actually actively get herself killed, but enough that she doesn’t entirely care if she dies in combat. And while she isn’t as intimidating as Vincent or Relena , she thrives on it in a way that those two certainly do not. She uses her wings for maximum effect in these scenarios. Of all of the team, she’s probably the closest to an actual normal superhero without actually being one. She does still believe in truth, justice, and saving lives. It’s just that she now knows that truth used carelessly can do more damage than any lie, justice isn’t necessarily found in a courtroom, and to save lives sometimes you have to take them.
  10. Spartan (Leonidas King) Power Level: 10; Power Points Spent: 200/200 STR: +7 (25), DEX: +7 (25), CON: +7 (25), INT: +5 (20), WIS: +5 (20), CHA: +5 (20) Tough: +7/+10, Fort: +10, Ref: +10, Will: +10 Skills: Acrobatics 8 (+15), Bluff 5 (+10), Climb 3 (+10), Disable Device 5 (+10), Disguise 5 (+10), Drive 3 (+10), Escape Artist 3 (+10), Gather Information 10 (+15), Intimidate 10 (+15), Knowledge (current events) 5 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 5 (+10), Knowledge (tactics) 5 (+10), Notice 5 (+10), Pilot 3 (+10), Search 5 (+10), Sense Motive 5 (+10), Sleight of Hand 3 (+10), Stealth 8 (+15), Survival 5 (+10), Swim 3 (+10) Feats: All-Out Attack, Assessment, Attack Focus (ranged) 2, Chokehold, Contacts, Eidetic Memory, Elusive Target, Endurance (+4), Equipment 8, Grappling Finesse, Improved Aim, Improved Critical (Sniper Rifle (Blast 5)), Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Improved Pin, Improved Throw, Improved Trip, Jack-of-All-Trades, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Quick Draw 2, Stunning Attack, Takedown Attack, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory) Powers: Arsenal (Array 10) (default power: dazzle) Assault Rifle (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)) Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (Default; affects: 1 type + visual - visual & auditory, DC 15; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Heavy Pistol (Blast 4) (Array; DC 19) Sniper Rifle (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20, Feats: Improved Critical (Sniper Rifle (Blast 5)); Improved Range 2 (250 ft. incr), Progression, Increase Range 2 (max range x5, 2500 feet)) Body Armor (Protection 3) (+3 Toughness) Super Soldier (Container, Passive 2) Immunity 1 (aging; Limited - Half Effect) Leaping 1 (Jumping distance: x2) Quickness 1 (Perform routine tasks at 2x speed) Speed 1 (Speed: 10 mph, 88 ft./rnd) Super-Senses 6 (extended: Normal Olfactory 1 (-1 per 100 ft), extended (type): Visual 1 (-1 per 100 ft), extended (type): Auditory 1 (-1 per 100 ft), scent) Equipment: Arsenal [Arsenal (Array 10), default power: dazzle], Body Armor [Body Armor (Protection 3), +3 Toughness], Camo Clothing, Flash Goggles, Flashlight, Gas Mask, Multi-Tool, Night Vision Goggles, Rebreather, Toolkit (Basic), Video Camera Attack Bonus: +13 (Ranged: +15, Melee: +13, Grapple: +20) Attacks: Assault Rifle (Blast 5), +15 (DC 20), Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (DC Fort/Ref 15), Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (DC 20), Heavy Pistol (Blast 4), +15 (DC 19), Sniper Rifle (Blast 5), +15 (DC 20), Unarmed Attack, +13 (DC 22) Defense: +10 (Flat-footed: +5), Knockback: -5 Initiative: +11 Languages: English Native Totals: Abilities 75 + Skills 26 (104 ranks) + Feats 32 + Powers 10 + Combat 46 + Saves 11 + Drawbacks 0 = 200 Age (as of Jan 2019): 20 (chronological) / (31 biological; born 21 biological years old) Height: 6’ 3” Weight: 225 Ethnicity: Caucasian Hair: Dark Brown Eyes: Brown Background: Leonidas King is a clone created by deep black elements of the US government. The greatest soldier who ever lived provided the DNA. Leonard Kingman was a phenomenal soldier, but unfortunately could not adjust to a world of peace after the Cold War ended. He started his own small nation for disaffected soldiers like him, and soon amassed an arsenal and an army. He was a man who needed war to define who he was. He was also a man who died after one man stormed his small nation and gave him the war he sought. That man both was and wasn’t Leonidas. The project that created him had made three of him. The first was the man who killed Leonard Kingman. His wounds from that proved fatal, however, and his memories were transferred to the second clone. This transfer was botched, and the clone went a bit crazy. He began assembling advanced tech and high powered operatives to stage a coup on…who was never entirely clear, but apparently they ruled the world from the shadows. Leonidas was the one sent in to destroy him and his operatives. Surprisingly, he proved more than equal to the task. The memory transfer was not botched for him, and he and the second clone had a brutal fist fight to put an end to the bloodshed the second clone was planning. Leonidas, however, was showing signs of a similar instability to Leonard Kingman. Without battles to fight, he was lost. The project was considered a failure, and about to be scrapped when Vincent Mortelini effectively stole him from under their noses. Leonidas had his forever war, and Vincent had one of the finest soldiers of all time under his command, codenamed Spartan. Because why not. However, a rogue member of the project had, unknown to anyone, created one more clone of Leonard Kingman. This would turn out to be Leona King. Spartan brought his “sister” to Vincent and BLACK. Originally, Leonidas was remarkably innocent about how the world worked. Social customs, how to drive on roads, basically everything that wasn’t directly related to warfare he had no knowledge of. This has, obviously, changed a great deal. He is now highly skilled in a wide variety of areas. He’s killed people on five continents (excluding North America and Antarctica), fought in battle after battle until battle-hardened doesn’t even begin to describe him. But he’s also learned how to live during downtime, and why that balance matters. He will never be what Leonard Kingman became, a despot desperate for one more fight. And this is a good thing. Powers & Tactics: Spartan technically doesn’t have any superhuman powers. What he does have is the absolute peak of human physical ability and once in a generation mental acuity. Even his senses flirt with being more than human. This was unlocked through genetic experimentation on an already incredible human being in Leonard Kingman. Spartan surpasses him in every respect by a solid margin, but remains within human possibility. He is a masterful marksman and hand to hand combatant. He carries military grade weaponry such as an assault rifle, sniper rifle, and frag grenades. Spartan is a soldier with a masterful grasp of small unit tactics and no ego about who gets the credit as long as the job gets done. As such, support fire from him is often essential. A well timed flash bang is always appreciated, and he can throw down with anyone on the battlefield as he often physically outclasses even genuine supervillains in some way. He’ll do what he needs to do when he needs to do it. He follows orders from Vincent or Adept yet shows initiative and original thinking in completing them. He is the bedrock on which BLACK’s teamwork is built, and also the one who’s most often underestimated. After all, there’s Vincent himself, two Jedi with lightsabers, and the woman throwing fire around while having literal flaming wings. Even Relena looks a little too harmless. The buff guy in tactical gear just isn’t all that impressive by comparison. Even the part timers are generally more impressive on first look than Spartan. Personality: Spartan is a soldier. It defines him in a way that some can fail to grasp. He did not have a life before warfare. Fighting is, quite literally, what he was born to do. As such, his entire personality revolves around it. He is respectful and polite when addressed, and shows the correct amount of deference to his superiors. He’s simply…professional. All the time. He uses his time efficiently. Events and activities are scheduled, with enough flexibility to react to changing circumstances. He does not show much emotion except during official downtime. His life is one lived by precise rules and defined by routine (barring the unexpected), and he’d have it no other way. He is not a hero, and never claimed to be one or hold to their moral code. He believes in killing the enemy before the enemy kills him. Who is the enemy? Those who cause significant human suffering and/or profit from same. End of story. His loyalty to Vincent Mortelini and the mission is absolute.
  11. Adept (Brian Matthews) Power Level: 13; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +2 (14), DEX: +5 (20), CON: +4 (18), INT: +3 (16), WIS: +7 (24), CHA: +3 (16) Tough: +4/+7, Fort: +10, Ref: +12, Will: +12 Skills: Acrobatics 15 (+20), Bluff 12 (+15), Computers 2 (+5), Concentration 8 (+15), Diplomacy 12 (+15), Disable Device 2 (+5), Escape Artist 10 (+15), Gather Information 12 (+15), Investigate 7 (+10), Knowledge (physical sciences) 7 (+10), Knowledge (tactics) 7 (+10), Knowledge (technology) 7 (+10), Knowledge (theology & philosophy) 2 (+5), Medicine 3 (+10), Notice 18 (+25), Search 7 (+10), Sense Motive 18 (+25), Sleight of Hand 5 (+10), Stealth 10 (+15) Feats: Acrobatic Bluff, Assessment, Attack Specialization 3 (Beam Saber (Device 5)), Blind-Fight, Challenge - Improved Acrobatic Bluff, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Dodge Focus 4, Equipment 3, Evasion 2, Improved Initiative, Improved Trick, Improvised Tools, Jack-of-All-Trades, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Redirect, Takedown Attack 2 Powers: Adept Training (Immunity 9) (dazzle effects, disease, poison, sleep, starvation & thirst; Limited - Half Effect) Beam Saber (Device 5) (Easy to lose, Restricted use (Adept training)) Beam Saber Attack (Corrosion (DC 23, Feats: Redirect) Life Force Manipulation (Array 15) (default power: telekinesis) Distance Matters Not (Speed 5) (Alternate; Speed: 250 mph, 2200 ft./rnd) Height Matters Not (Leaping 5) (Alternate; Jumping distance: x50) Obstacles Matter Not (Super-Movement 9) (Alternate; perfect balance, slow fall, sure-footed 4 (no penalty), swinging, wall-crawling 2 (full speed)) Lightning (Blast 14) (Array; DC 29; Precise, Split Attack (2 targets)) Not What You're Looking For (Mind Control 10) (Array; DC 20; Conscious; Duration (instant); Precise, Subtle (subtle)) Push (Trip 10) (Array; Knockback, Range (perception)) Telekinesis 10 (Default; Strength: 50, Carry: 4.3 tons / 8.5 tons / 12.8 tons / 25.6 tons; Perception) Trust Your Senses Not (Illusion 7) (Array; affects: all sense types, DC 17; Selective Attack; Phantasms; Precise, Subtle (subtle)) Life Sense (Super-Senses 11) (accurate (type): Mental, acute (type): Mental, danger sense: Mental, radius (type): Mental, ranged: Mental, uncanny dodge: Mental) Twin Blaster Pistols (Blast 5) (DC 20; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)) Equipment: Twin Blaster Pistols [Twin Blaster Pistols (Blast 5), DC 20; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)] Attack Bonus: +12 (Ranged: +12, Melee: +12, Grapple: +14) Attacks: Beam Saber Attack (Corrosion 8), +18 (DC Fort/Tou ), Lightning (Blast 14), +12 (DC 29), Not What You're Looking For (Mind Control 10) (DC Will 20), Push (Trip 10) (DC 20), Twin Blaster Pistols (Blast 5), +12 (DC 20), Unarmed Attack, +12 (DC 17) Defense: +16 (Flat-footed: +6), Knockback: -3 Initiative: +9 Languages: English Native Totals: Abilities 48 + Skills 41 (164 ranks) + Feats 28 + Powers 67 + Combat 48 + Saves 18 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 Age (as of Jan 2019): You know, he’s never actually said and he doesn’t appear to be aging… Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 200 Ethnicity: Caucasian? (Not from Earth but human) Hair: Brown Eyes: Light Brown Background: Adept is not from this Earth, yet he is a human being. He has no genetic link to anyone who has ever lived on this planet. He says he’s from a galaxy far, far away, but right now as opposed to a long time ago. He smiles when he says this, as if it was a joke. It is not. He is a human being from a distant galaxy that remarkably resembles the Star Wars media franchise. There are differences, of course. Virtually all of the names are wrong. Planets, people, technical terms, etcetera. Almost all wrong. The events from the movies, books, and comics happened so long ago that he considers them ancient myths. Also, they typically get as much wrong as they do right with some being entirely fictional in his eyes. Then again, he’s not a historian. He’s, well, an Adept. Equivalent to a Jedi Master, though he says his Order would never be so arrogant as to call any of their own a master of anything. Though they did exile him. And then all die. So that was a thing that happened. He had to run to escape with his life. He ran far, and fast. It was not far or fast enough, and he was forced to burn out an ancient place of power to teleport himself to the last place the dark siders would look for him. A galaxy so far away, they’d only ever heard of his in their popular media. He needed a place to call his own. He found Vincent Mortelini. And well, he’d been exiled from his Order for a reason. He became a founding member of BLACK, and has never looked back. A few years back he took on an apprentice. Regina Marcus, alias Prodigy. And no, the Order didn’t have a fancy name for them. They were just apprentices. Powers & Tactics: Adept has a variety of abilities based on his manipulation of a mysterious “life force” that permeates the entire universe. There’s a long list of things he can do. Enhanced movement, telekinesis, throwing lightning around, mental illusions, and even a bit of brief mind control. He is also an incredible swordsman, especially with his Beam Sword. It’s magnetically contained plasma (the fourth form matter takes at incredibly high temperatures) in the form of a cylinder. It comes out of a cylindrical handle and it can be turned on and off. And yes, it turns on with that snap-hiss. He can’t help that. The technology is beyond anything Earth can reproduce outside of the usual gadgeteer geniuses, and even some of them get stumped. It can cut through anything, given a few seconds to work. Tactically, Adept isn’t aggressive. He’s always the one trying to deescalate things and convince the enemies to surrender. But when a fight breaks out, he defends himself with lethal force and zero hesitation to kill. Many a foe has met their end with a sweep of his Beam Sword, or been thrown into the sky for a lethally long fall. He has never felt the need to power stunt, but he does have capability. There’s enough in his array to casually add Autofire to his Beam Sword attacks should he need the extra power. Move Object without the Perception Extra (and thus having 15 ranks instead of 10) is also a possibility should he ever need that much lifting ability. In the rare cases he’s significantly injured, Healing is additionally on the table. He is the most powerful and dangerous member of BLACK (unless Relena is operating at full power, and that’s relatively rare), and works quickly to remove equally dangerous foes from the battlefield. Personality: Adept is actually a pretty nice guy, for someone who’s killed as many people as he has. Granted, they were all trying to kill him at the time, but it flatly doesn’t bother him. He’s the kind of man who carries peace in his heart and a sword in his hand. This is what got him kicked out of his order. They always were (even from very early days) pacifists. Adept is not a pacifist. They saw killing as a loss to the entire universe, a diminishment of the total life force in the universe. They weren’t technically wrong, but then (Adept says) isn’t that power diminished every day? People were killed every day, and they sat in their ivory tower and let it happen. Screw that, said Adept. He would save them. It was the right thing to do. And if saving them required killing the smaller number who would harm them? So be it. Death was not the goal, but he’d only show mercy to those who weren’t actively trying to kill people. There is a bit more nuance to his position than “killing killers so they don’t kill people”, of course. He does believe in redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. He simply also believes those who truly desire them will seek them out and not instead fire assault weapons at him with lethal intent. He is a marked tempering influence on Vincent Mortelini, a man who is not easily influenced by anyone. If anyone but Mortelini was involved, it’d be easy to call the two men friends. Close, personal friends. But that can’t be right, can it?
  12. Ghost (Vincent Mortelini) Power Level: 12; Power Points Spent: 250/250 STR: +5 (20), DEX: +5 (20), CON: +7 (24), INT: +5 (20), WIS: +3 (16), CHA: +5 (20) Tough: +10/+11, Fort: +10, Ref: +10, Will: +15 Skills: Acrobatics 10 (+15), Bluff 10 (+15), Climb 5 (+10), Disable Device 10 (+15), Disguise 10 (+15), Drive 5 (+10), Escape Artist 10 (+15), Gather Information 10 (+15), Intimidate 17 (+22), Investigate 10 (+15), Knowledge (behavioral science) 15 (+20), Knowledge (business) 5 (+10), Knowledge (civics) 5 (+10), Knowledge (current events) 10 (+15), Knowledge (life sciences) 5 (+10), Knowledge (streetwise) 15 (+20), Knowledge (tactics) 10 (+15), Notice 12 (+15), Pilot 5 (+10), Search 10 (+15), Sense Motive 12 (+15), Sleight of Hand 10 (+15), Stealth 17 (+22), Survival 7 (+10), Swim 5 (+10) Feats: All-Out Attack, Assessment, Attack Focus (melee) 2, Benefit (Leader of BLACK), Benefit (Leader of the Phantom Network), Benefit 2 (Wealth (CEO of Only Mortal Enterprises)), Challenge - Improved Demoralize, Challenge - Improved Feint, Chokehold, Connected, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Dodge Focus 5, Elusive Target, Equipment 6, Fearless, Hide in Plain Sight, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Improved Pin, Improved Trip, Instant Up, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Quick Draw 2, Skill Mastery (Bluff, Intimidate, Sense Motive, Stealth), Stunning Attack, Takedown Attack 2, Uncanny Dodge (Auditory), Well-Informed Powers: Arsenal (Array 10) (default power: dazzle) Assault Rifle (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Autofire (interval 2, max +5)) Combat Knife (Strike 1) (Array; DC 21; Mighty, Thrown (Range: 50 ft., incr 10 ft.)) Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (Default; affects: 1 type + visual - visual & auditory, DC 15; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (Array; DC 20; Burst Area (25 ft. radius - General)) Heavy Pistol (Blast 4) (Array; DC 19) RPG Launcher (Blast 10) (Array; DC 25; Explosion Area (100 ft. explosion - General); Unreliable (5 uses)) Guardian of Death (Features 1) (Notes: As the Benefit (Status) feat.) Just Can't Stay Dead (Container, Passive 3) (Custom 2 (Container 2.6)) Healing 1 (Total; Personal; Persistent, Regrowth, Triggered (After Resurrection)) Regeneration 8 (recovery bonus 2 (+2 to recover), resurrection 6 (5 minutes)) Martial Arts Techniques (Damage 3) (DC 23; Mighty (+5 to damage)) Polyglot (Comprehend 3) (languages - read all, languages - speak all, languages - understand all; Limited (To Earth languages with more than a million speakers)) The Jacket (Impervious Toughness 6) (Limited (To Ballistic, Slashing, and Piercing Attack descriptors)) Tough As Nails (Protection 3) (+3 Toughness) Equipment: Arsenal [Arsenal (Array 10), default power: dazzle], The Jacket [The Jacket (Impervious Toughness 6), Limited (To Ballistic, Slashing, and Piercing Attack descriptors)] Attack Bonus: +14 (Ranged: +14, Melee: +16, Grapple: +21) Attacks: Assault Rifle (Blast 5), +14 (DC 20), Combat Knife (Strike 1), +16 (DC 21), Flash Bang (Dazzle 5) (DC Fort/Ref 15), Frag Grenade (Blast 5) (DC 20), Heavy Pistol (Blast 4), +14 (DC 19), Martial Arts Techniques (Damage 3), +16 (DC Staged/Tou ), RPG Launcher (Blast 10) (DC 25), Unarmed Attack, +16 (DC 20) Defense: +12 (Flat-footed: +4), Knockback: -8 Initiative: +9 Languages: English Native Totals: Abilities 60 + Skills 60 (240 ranks) + Feats 44 + Powers 24 + Combat 42 + Saves 20 + Drawbacks 0 = 250 Age (as of Jan 2019): 90 (chronological)/31 (biological) Height: 5’ 10” Weight: 240 lbs. Ethnicity: Italian American Eyes: Brown Hair: Black Background: The story of Vincent Mortelini starts in 1957. He was a professional assassin, scion of the Mortelini family. Their pride and joy, one could say. Though technically the Mortelinis were independent contractors, in practice they tended to work out of Dean City for one of the Twelve Families more than anyone else. Which ended up presenting a problem. The Families’s new overboss wanted them all to himself. One those young men who values shows of loyalty over honor. Vincent’s father refused. The Mortelinis had been independent for decades. There was no way that would change. The new boss was angry at having his authority flouted so casually, and decided to have the family annihilated. It…wasn’t a large task. Barely five adults, including Vincent. After removing three of the other five, they came for him, his wife, and two children. The four of them were machine gunned down during dinner. Vincent woke to a house on fire and knowing nothing of why. The sight of his family slaughtered so casually broke something in his mind. The willful cognitive dissonance he wore to spare his conscience the guilt from killing people fractured, and then strengthened harder than steel. There was only one way to reply to these actions. Blood vengeance. An encounter with his dying aunt Talia provided the culprits. It turned into an action movie, and vengeance was served on the Families. With bullet, blade, bomb, and fist. It would take years for them to recover, and by then the Feds were giving them other problems. However, one thing the movies rarely address is what happens next. Vincent kept going. Out of Dean City and into the wider world. Organized crime never knew what hit it. As the years went by, Vincent picked up detective skills and a small network of dedicated followers. By the 80s, with the advent of darker times, he realized he needed to think bigger. The Cold War was ending. Russia was broke. The world was primed for a ton of bad people to get their hands on a lot of people and things they absolutely shouldn’t. This was the beginning of The Phantom Network. As the sole (known) survivor of the Mortelini family, he was by default CEO of Only Mortal Enterprises. Those funds helped bring the network into being, and right into direct competition with INTERPOL and other agencies. Neither of which had particularly high opinions of the man to start with. The problem was that he was almost impossible to catch. Then man lived up to his codename. Ghost. Whenever they managed it, he had to be placed in gen pop, meaning that the very type of people he hunted down outside of the jail were now trapped inside one with him. And of course, sooner or later the network came through and got him out of there. As the 90s rolled to a close, the network went global. Also, Vincent dropped dead of a massive coronary brought on by the extremely poor eating habits of a life lived on the move. However…his powers brought him back from even that, deaging him back to being barely old enough to drink. As time went on, he seemed to be aging slightly slower this time around, as well. Strangely, the most learned of the mystic types started calling him the Guardian of Death. It didn’t mean anything to him or his mission and he was well informed that he couldn’t do anything about it, so he ignored it. September 11 and the resulting War on Terror convinced him he needed a superpowered strike team, and thus BLACK was born. But there was one last piece of business before he left the US to work the rest of the world full time. The Twelve Families still owned Dean City and this he could not abide. Vincent Mortelini went home. One full year. Twelve months. Vincent was a threat before, but this…each month he destroyed a Family, all but wiping it from the Earth. Hundreds of people every month, dead or fled far away never to return. Dean City’s population experienced a noticeable decline. He blew up cars, multiple small buildings, destroyed a train, and (in his crowning achievement) demolished a small skyscraper. The Twelve Families virtually ceased to exist. The collateral damage and devastation to a minor American city did not go unnoticed. The single largest manhunt in US history ended with Vincent Mortelini in the deepest, darkest, and most secret cell the Feds could come up with. The next day, everything went to hell. Crime, terrorism, you name it, it all jacked up 300% literally overnight. Word had gotten out fast. The world’s heroes and law enforcement coped as best they could, but it was not enough. Folks accused Mortelini of plotting this, which was hilarious to anyone who’d read his psych profile. Then (as days went by and things got worse) they pleaded with Mortelini to do something, but he shrugged. It wasn’t any one thing he could do, after all. It was the fear of what he might do that kept an alarmingly large number of awful people in check. There really wasn’t any choice. The Feds cut him loose. And he went back to work. So many monstrous people had emerged from hiding, and they all needed killing. Not too long after that he met Katherine. She was a Dean City police detective, and a very rare honest one. They began working together off and on. He trained her in martial arts and marksmanship until she was the best at each on the force by a wide margin. With the tattered remains of the destroyed Twelve Families losing their grip on Dean City, between the two of them a lot of the decades-long corruption was finally rooted out. They were slowly falling for each other, as well. It sounds…strange…but Vincent Mortelini (not Ghost, the Vincent underneath all of that) is not an evil man. It was enough to win over a middle-aged detective in the hellhole that was Dean City, anyway. His grief for his lost family abated, and his long quest to rid the world of the worst humanity has to offer slowed to a crawl. Even when he was on the job, it felt like he was going through the motions. There was little of his previous savagery, and his legendary instincts were fading. He wondered if it was all right, not to hurt. He decided that it was, and bought a ring. He was going to move on. And then Katherine, on a routine street chase, was hit by a car. Vincent was there, but there was no saving her. Vincent’s powers kept her in the world when nothing else would. But in the end, he had to let her go. The effort utterly shattered his sanity, and the Guardian of Death (not that he knew what that meant) let go of Death’s chains. This night was, is, and forevermore will be known as the Darkest Night. The dead rose from their graves. Those who’d cheated death of its prize by any means of resurrection died and joined them. And across the multiverse they struck out at the living. Heroes are all stripes fought valiantly, but this was the zombie apocalypse. There could be no victory. There was no source to shut down. No perpetrator to defeat. Just a broken man who simply didn’t care anymore. Nothing mattered. He had no one. And then Relena literally picked him up off the ground (he had simply lied down next to Katherine’s body-which strangely was the one that didn’t reanimate) and informed him in no uncertain terms that he was wrong. He was not alone. He had someone. Her. Relena was, from Vincent’s perspective, his archenemy. Leader of the Yakuza, the member of the Twelve Families who wasn’t utterly decimated thanks to her. But she’d never seen it that way, not once. She loved him in a way best described as “familial”, like that love you have for that uncle who’s also kind of your best friend. She didn’t know about the specifics, but she knew he was the source of the problem. One look at Katherine told her everything she needed to know. She tore a hole in reality and pulled him in behind her. It was their own cozy pocket dimension. Over the course of several days, she dragged him, metaphorically kicking and screaming, back to himself. Then they returned and he picked up the chains again. Time, as it turned out, was different there. The days spent there were mere hours in reality. The sun had not yet risen, yet the Darkest Night was over. With no one the wiser as to the source of the disturbance. Everything Death itself had done (not any of the dead had done) was reversed. One thing, however, remained different. Relena was kind of Vincent’s sidekick now. Vincent’s skills have improved over the years, and he’s one of the very few more or less normal humans to be considered a top level threat by everyone under the sun. These days he doesn’t set foot in North America north of Mexico. Superheroes, for the most part, have it well in hand. The name Mortelini is known and feared by traditional organized crime, drug cartels, and terrorist organizations alike. They all pray they remain beneath his notice, never realizing none of them are. There’s just only but so many hours in a day. A man’s got to prioritize. As a side note, cultists resurrected his aunt awhile back. The ritual somehow made her incredibly immortal. She works for the network, and is a part time member of BLACK. Also, Vincent’s first resurrection had the side effect of turning his son Zack into a weird kind of zombie. He too, works for the network and is a part time member of BLACK. Relena is currently his sidekick and a member of BLACK. His personal life is…complicated to say the least. Powers and Tactics: Vincent Mortelini is a master of several martial arts disciplines, most notably Muay Thai, Krav Maga, and Jiu-Jitsu. He is also an excellent shot, bordering on the preternatural. He carries a variety of military grade weaponry including an assault rifle and a RPG Launcher. His actual powers, however, are very strange. On the face of them, he simply revives five minutes after death, healed of all serious injuries. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not magic, tech, genetics (mutated or alien), or even divine power. You could name literally any Descriptor, and you’d be just as wrong. Everyone who’s tried to analyze why he does this has been stumped. It is literally a thing that cannot be. However…there are those who can sense things on the spiritual plane. They can detect the chains wrapped around his spirit’s left arm and held in a tight grip in that hand. The chains extend far off into the distance. Those that peer down them have been unfailingly driven completely insane, for at the end of those long chains lies Death itself. Not some conceptualization or an anthromorphized version, but the unfiltered thing whose gaping maw all life inevitably disappears into. It is the nothing at the end of space and time, and Vincent Mortelini is the only thing stopping it from doing whatever it wants. The few who get this far with sanity intact theorize that Almighty God has done this to Vincent before they begin gibbering. However, He remains characteristically silent on the matter, and the entire angelic host is ignorant of it. The Guardianship cannot be transferred, either. He looked into it after the Darkest Night, and anyone else Death would eventually just eat. There’s something unique about Vincent that allows him to survive in this role where literally no one else could. Time for a fight? Take’em down hard. As with everything else, Vincent is practical, pragmatic, and prizes efficiency. He’s not looking to have a long brawl. He’s looking to end the fight as soon as possible. Honor is pointless and leads to a painful death. So he cheats vigorously, and routinely portrays himself as less capable in combat than he is. Stealth, guile, and misinformation are of the order of the day. If he’s facing someone in a straight fight, it’s on purpose. Period. Personality: Vincent Mortelini is a prick. An asshole. Jerkus Maximus. He is standoffish, emotionally distant, and in general just not a nice guy. He is practical, pragmatic, and prizes efficiency. He does not shirk from killing. However, that does not mean he finds it pleasant or pleasurable in any way. The fun parts are everything leading up to the kill, not the kill itself. Furthermore, he is well aware of what he is and how he is perceived, and uses both to his benefit. He is a monster, the kind of man who keeps people awake at night from fear, and he is very much aware of it. These, however, are the primary personality traits of Ghost (the code name he used for his murderous alter ego before his family was murdered). The seismic divide in his personality has become a very strange thing. It isn’t quite on the level of a split personality. Both men share many personality traits and answer to the name Vincent Mortelini. They are, in a very real sense, the same person. And yet…not. Most of what Ghost does the “real” Vincent (for lack of a better term) would never do. Initially it was simply compartmentalization, as his assassin training dictated. Now…heaven only knows what’s going on in his head. The “real” Vincent (again, for lack of a better term) doesn’t come out much. He’s spent decades grieving the deaths of his family plus Katherine, and of the terrible monster he’s become. He could stop it, easily, but he’s buried under grief, guilt, and despair. Vincent is an incredibly broken man, leaving Ghost to act freely. Ghost’s motivation (Vincent shares but would never act on it) stopped being a twisted sort of vengeance long ago. Now, he is the monster who slays his own kind. Those who prey on the weak and helpless, those who kill, and those who profit from human suffering without remorse or compunction he will destroy. Those are his targets. Those are the ones who die screaming, or wishing they still could scream. After all, if you’ve done enough to cause Mortelini to come visiting in the dark of night…you more than deserve it. Regarding superheroes…Ghost tries to stay out of their way. Different fields, professional courtesy, and all that. Ghost doesn’t normally do supervillains. The heroes have proven they can handle it, so he lets them until one absolutely crosses the line. Supervillains like that quietly disappear, and everyone knows what happened to them and why. That…really doesn’t apply the other way around. Idealists tend to despise him, but true cynics often acknowledge his effectiveness. His instinct for how people think is legendary, leading some to think he’s actually telepathic or a precognitive.
  13. BLACK and the Phantom Network Overview Let’s get one thing straight before we even start. These are not heroes. They’ll tell you so themselves. They’re not the ones walking the shining light of day, saving people from colorful super criminals. They don’t patrol the streets, looking for trouble. They don’t leap into burning buildings to save people, at least on a collective level. No, what BLACK does is hunt down the worst of the worst and take them off the board. Generally by a brutal, violent death. To facilitate this, the Phantom Network is essentially the best intelligence network on the planet. Phantom agents are everywhere, to the point where it’s much easier for virtually all law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and all criminal and terrorist organizations to assume they’re compromised and act accordingly. I will detail how each functions below, but first some backstory on how each group was formed. The genesis of the Phantom Network was in the late 70s. Vincent Mortelini had been operating for two decades, and had accumulated significant contacts and connections in various fields. This initial group did not have a name, and for the most part did not know they were even working together. Vincent has always kept things close to his chest both out of preference and sheer necessity. Financing was provided by Vincent being the CEO (and sole owner known to be living) of the Fortune 500 company Only Mortal Enterprises. As the 80s rolled into the 90s, this network got larger and larger, appearing on the radar of various intelligence agencies. As the 90s rolled to a close, the network went global. September 11 and the resulting War on Terror convinced him he needed a strike team, and thus BLACK was born. Vincent was only one man, and a lot of awful people needed killing. BLACK is functionally Vincent Mortelini’s hammer. His Wrath of a furious God. Team members have come and gone, but for the moment the core team is stable. He does have a massive stable of part timers that he can rotate in and out as needed for each mission. Pick any build from the Blendarama (or anywhere else) that you like and throw a name on it. Basically, when a given criminal is simply too well protected for covert removal, Vincent wants to send a message, or the target is a entire group, BLACK is the one who hits them. The core team’s individual histories are detailed in their entries. The Phantom Network uses a cell structure, all the way down to an individual level. The lowest level agents are essentially ordinary people (not literally the Bystander archetype, but no more than PL 1) who use their eyes and ears and then report to a phone number. This number reaches a handler (also more or less an ordinary person) who updates the cell database. Each cell’s database is routinely checked by the next level up and if necessary flagged for review. Flagged intel is then reviewed by the third level and again, if necessary, flagged for further review. This continues until the intel is either no longer flagged, or reaches BLACK’s intel operator, Paradigm, who automatically brings such things to Vincent’s attention. The first three levels (there are ten, with the tenth being Paradigm) are not permitted to take independent action. Beginning at the fourth, however, they may act. Levels 4 through 6 may warn law enforcement and intelligence agencies anonymously, and in emergencies take direct action. Naturally, these agents are not ordinary people. They have training or experience in combat from the occasional agent training meetups, or from their profession (many are in law enforcement or ex-military). These agents can reach PL 4, and often carry Light or Heavy Pistols and may even wear an Undercover Shirt or Vest. Level 7-9 have considerably more latitude in what they can do to act on intel, including giving instructions to those below. These are the most trusted agents with 7s having over a decade in the Network. 8 and 9s often have far more. 7s are generally PL 5, with military grade training, weaponry, and body armor. 8s are generally PL 6 with same. 9s, however, resemble PL 7 superheroes without necessarily having actual superhuman powers. These agents take up the vast majority of the Network’s operatives. However, there is a select group of special forces grade (PL 6) agents. Their countries of origin vary, but there is at least one available squad of five for each member of levels 7-9 to call on for support. They are on par with levels 7 and 8 in equipment and go beyond in specialist gear, and their skills and feats are more tailored to combat applications. They have super powers as often as not. The basic set up of the Phantom Network’s cell structure is as follows: Level 10: Paradigm Level 9: 5 agents Level 8: 25 agents Level 7: 125 agents Level 6: 625 agents Level 5: 3,125 agents Level 4: 15,625 agents Level 3: 78,125 agents Level 2: 390,625 agents Level 1: 1,953,125 agents Yes, you read that correctly. There are almost two million agents in the first level alone, which is how they’ve acquired the reputation for being everywhere. These numbers are, of course, approximate. Agents come and go for a variety of reasons (death, capture, retirement, etc). The upper levels are more stable, but shakeups do occur from time to time. The other part of that reputation is how the Network recruits. They don’t seek out hotshot college graduates. There are people in the world who have suffered tragedy of some kind or another. Lost someone important to them through violence. What happened to the perpetrator is…almost immaterial. The point this that these people would like to prevent what happened to them from happening to anyone else, and they aren’t especially concerned about the means to that end. These people are contacted and given a phone number. If they call, Vincent Mortelini is on the other end. Few refuse the chance to aid him in his work. Let’s get one thing perfectly clear. The Network does not recruit revenge seekers. Vincent may do them that favor if the target meets his standards, but those consumed by the need for vengeance do not receive that phone number. These are people who would be superheroes, but lack the powers, talent, and/or skill required. They also, as stated, have a strong tendency towards the ends (people protected from murderers and similar criminals) justifying whatever means is used to achieve them (up to and including brutal killing). With that said, most would shrink from doing such things themselves. As previously stated, BLACK has a core team (to be introduced here and detailed on their own posts) and a wide assortment of part timers (who you can use the Blendarama and basically any build thread anywhere that has PL 10s and lower in it to represent). With that restated, the core members of BLACK are: Ghost (Vincent Mortelini) Adept (Brian Matthews) Spartan (Leonidas King) Pyrewing (Karen Murdock) Prodigy (Regina Marcus) Paradigm (Leona King) Relena Some specific examples of part timers include but are decidedly not limited to: Talia Mortelini Zack Mortelini Nila (Moon) Teška (Heavyweight) Khiimori (Wind Horse, mythological) Alhelí (Wallflower) Umeluleki (Mentor)
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