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    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Campaign Stuff, Characters

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    Today’s mission? Rebuild S.A.A.T. I know, who the fuck is S.A.A.T. right? Well, decades ago when I was first getting started GMing for Champions, there were all these villain groups around. Deathstroke, Eurostar, Terror Inc. … well, those were sorta old hat by that time so I assembled my own group. I gathered up solo villains nobody was using and stuck them together just for a change of pace from Deathstroke. With my personal history with Rainbow Archer, I just had to bring her into things, then Shamrock, just ‘cuz I love the guy … anyway I finished it off with Dragonmaster, Fire and Ice and Thunderbolt. Five was a good number.

    Well, along the way I decided I try my hand at making my own villains … the Witches came out of that. I was evil even back then. The two girls turned into a pain in the ass for my players. First of, I am playing with all guys and these two are smokin’, which one really must play up a little, right? Now give them a couple of weak minded hormonal teen boys to play with and … blithering idiots. I pretty quickly figured out that my tactical sense was a hell of a lot better then any of my players. It was a condition that never changed. The Twins, pretty much made fools of the team, with the rest of SAAT poking them with sticks.

    Oh, that’s right, why the name? I didn’t want another kill hungry group or one that was just out for money, no, I needed a plan. Enter Timemaster. This guy’s lost in Time so let’s get him to hire SAAT to steal all the good research on time travel … the the stuff he needed to build a time machine. Okay, we got superthieves. Non-deadly. They don’t even threaten the normals. In fact several times one or more have been captured rather than endanger normals. This sorta made them more friendly enemies then say Eurostar. My team started to get to know them … and all this lead to Zodiac.

    -look for the next post-



    Okay, I lost it …

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Gamers

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    Okay, I’m on Facebook, and I’m following a dozen or so different groups. Last night I joined the Critical Role Fan Club group. If you don’t know Critical Roll, look it up, its great. So reading the comments, I come across this:

    Context: the Party is traversing in a mountain pass in a blizzard ala Lord of the Rings scene. DM has everyone roll dice to see if they don’t fall down the cliff, and dwarf warrior in heavy plate armor fails the check.

    DM: Heavy gust of wind pushed you off the path. You slip and fall off the cliff. What do you do?

    Dwarf: I flap my arms really really hard.

    DM: Seriously?

    Dwarf: It’s not like I got better options.

    DM: ok, roll the dice.

    Dwarf rolls natural 20

    DM …

    Party …

    DM: Roll again.

    Dwarf rolls another 20.

    DM: …!

    Party: …?!

    DM: …sigh With astonished look on their faces, the party beholds a most miraculous sight. A dwarf in heavy plate armor is slowly rising up in the air above the cliff edge by flapping his arms really really fucking hard.

    I lost it. Can’t wait for Cody to get up so I can tell him … honestly? I almost went in and woke him up for this shit.



    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Characters

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    So, here I am changing the look of the Wild Hunt … and while I am at it, cleaning up a few characters … okay, kidding. I’m FIXING a few … okay, a bunch … of characters. I’ve been working on the twenty-five pages of Genocide today. Rebuilt the Index page, split it into two parts, had to punch in the Rooks, Knights, and the two Minuteman robots. Seems they had been left behind when I started using the new HTML export file on Hero Designer. Had to FIX that too. No, it wasn’t mine but I found a couple of errors in Microsoft Expression Web 4.

    I’ve been at this a couple of days now, first time I’ve done any character building work that amounted to anything in many moons. I’d forgotten how much fun it can be. For instance, I got to working on the Seven Horsemen and found I’d misplaced the Wrath of the Seven Horsemen book … boo me. SO, I had no references other than what I’d done some decade or so ago. Yeah, really the files where from 2007. Well, I got to reading them over to try and figure out what they were all about. That’s when the fun kicked in. I found more than a couple didn’t really work for me … like Famine. This guy is supposed to be the incarnation for starvation. So, out comes the evil me … How about an END Drain, 0 END, uncontrolled, Persistent, Continuous, AOE Radius, Selective, Damage Shield? Looked fun to me … everybody in ranges starts having hunger pains and starts losing END. Then there was Fear … Aura of Fear: Mind Control 1d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Uncontrolled (+1/2), Continuous (+1), Cumulative (96 points; +1 1/2), Area Of Effect (32″ Radius; +2) (32 Active Points); Independent (-2), Only to Cause Fear (-1/2), OIF: Sword (-1/2). I figure fear slowly grows on the targets until it becomes overwhelming. Fun being evil … sadly, I’ll never get to use any of those on a real player.

    Like I said, the last couple of days its been Genocide. I actually had the most fun building the mobile base system. I figure after the Black King got his ass handed to him by just about every super, hero or villain, he’d be looking for a deep hole. But then he was never one to shirk form a fight … so, the mobile base was developed. Then there’s the expense of rebuilding the Minuteman robot army … which isn’t going to happen any time soon … and the fact that like the BEF in France, a lot of Genocide equipment was lost to the enemy, along with thousands of highly trained soldiers … hard to replace those too. That’s why the GCU, Genocide Combat Unit, came into being. Powerful armored suits that an idiot can pilot and there are a lot of idiots that will jump at the chance. Now Genocide isn’t as scary as it was before Death Valley but it can still be a bother to areas with a smaller or weaker superhero population than the Wild Hunt’s jurisdiction. I think Des Moines is in trouble.

    One thing I’d forgotten was how easily I can lose track of time when I am working like this. It is kinda nice to look up at the clock and see it is nearly midnight. Brings back old times. Oh, my son took my old Judge’s Guild City-State of the Invincible Overlord with him to his D&D game. They loved the map, especially. Like thirty years ago I used some kinda glue to paste it to one of those stiff white boards you can buy at Walmart for science project and shit. The paper was tan to start with but all those years in the closet, and the lastg four in the garage have left it a little worst for wear. Cracked, torn, stained, dirty, fragile … all the hallmarks of an old treasure map. And Cody’s friends were stunned by the fact that each and every building had a name and a listing of who lived there. Probably half a thousand houses and building … and Bruce the gay troll. But since they were more concerned about having leveled up, they didn’t get into the city quite yet.

    Found a couple of other things when going through a box of D&D stuff, like four of Deb’s, that’s Ghost Archerette, autographed photos of celebs she’s worked with. Phyllis Diller, Barry Bostwick, Dirk Benedict and Lee Horsley. Haven’t found the Barbara Eden or Richard Kiel (his hand was bigger then her head) yet. Haven’t found the pictures Ed Hughes took of her when they visited the Trump Princess yet (yeah, she’s been on Trump’s yacht …). Also found a cartoon with to guys rolling dice on a Napoleonic battlefield with a caption “Seven, you take your cavalry back to the hill I capture all of your artillery and advance to the edge of the moat.” Dated Feb. 12, 1972. It was given to me by my high school librarian, the woman that got me started on war games. Thanks Mrs. Menken, wherever you are!


    Cosmetics and Thoughts

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Characters, Gamers, General Thoughts

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    My website will be 20 years old at the end of next year. Quite an accomplishment if you ask me. It began as a free website in the old Geocities that only included a dozen pages or so. As my gaming moved from face to face stuff at the White Heron and then my home, play online began to evolve. When all the face to face ended I was left with the online and no idea what to do with it. So … Yahoo chat gaming … which just pissed me off because it had nothing to do with any type of game system and relied only on the writing abilities of your opponents … and their typing speed. To change that I created a Yahoo Group and began to mold my guests into Champions.

    There I met … let’s see … Lauren, first and foremost, Brandie, Sean, Heather Marie, Sharifa, Jessica, Tiffy … they were my first round. Of course there was also JJ who followed me everywhere I led. As with everything, over time, life began to happen to each of us but I kept the Group open and now and then I hear from Brandie or Sharifa … but it wasn’t really a good venue for using a game system. I found WebRPG, a virtual tabletop.

    Lauren followed me, as did JJ, but the rest drifted away and I pick up new players … Raven, Wayne, Allen, Drakeon, NtvBlood with a few others in and out and it all led to the Wild Hunt website exploding. It is now something like 300 characters, Champions, Fantasy Hero, Danger International, Star Hero even Urban Fantasy. Characters all over the place.

    Now, over 18 years on I find myself reviewing a lot of what has gone before. It really started with a small makeover. I decided to get rid of the stark white of every character sheet opting for a parchment look. Take a look.   New Character sheet for Ghost Archer

    Anyway, so I am going through page after page, making the changes, I’ve gotten through the Wild Hunt, the Seattle Hunt, the Legacy, the Minutemen, the Lothlorien Academy, and part way through Storm Watch, Strike Force, the Network and the Protectors.  That’s actually a lot of character sheets, 132 so far,  and I was getting bored doing the same thing over and over.  I can grind with the best of them but … I started reading backgrounds.  Seems I missed a few I had written like Dawn, Eric, Isabeau, Marina and Matt, all from Lothlorien.   I realize also, how many character have no background and really how little I knew about them OR their players.

    Few provided me with background that are really quite good,  I’m thinking Lauren’s Lady Rogue and Everith, SA’s Trade, Alexandra’s Xiphidae, Smokie’s Avangion,  M’s Starspangled Kid, Brandi’s Psyche and Torii’s Red Eagle.  As you can see it was rare for me to get anything other then a list of powers desired with no explanation.  Originally I figured I would just write them up myself … Well, I have my own characters to worry about, damnit.  I managed for a few, Spurt was fun, Samantha Vicks is another and pretty good if I say so myself.  I did Matt Doppler for Wayne, Isabeau for M, Ian Manes for Alphascuba, Michaela Sharpe for Willow … in other words, quite a few.  It leaves so many blank though.

    Now as the Wild Hunt heads for drinking age, I find myself running out of writing steam though I still have occasional bursts like the few Pride members I written up.  I also find my backgrounds are becoming less … uplifting.  Heck, out of my eleven Legacy characters we have only ONE character with both parents living, Slater, and five with no parents at all, the remaining five come from broken families.  Life’s pretty hard on newly emerging metahumans I guess.  Some things will never change though … Archer will always be Archer and Nathaniel will always be a Boy Scout.

    Another thing I started thinking about, my past players, in particular the ones who taught me something.  Mark showed me that no matter what happened in the game, have fun and don’t take it home.  I could get him yelling at me and cursing me up one side and down the other toying with his character, Sarge but before he left he came to me and thanked me for the most fun he’d ever had.  He was also the guy I got onto his first roller coaster and had him cussing at me the whole ride … only to say ‘let’s do another one’ right after.

    Enough for now. Laters.


    The Very Reason

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Campaign Stuff, Gamers, Philosophy

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    I was talking about AD&D in my last post and tonight Cody came to me with a question … concerning a D&D 5 character of his. He wanted to know what kind of defense using a person’s body as a meat shield would afford him. Its D&D, son, how the hell do I know? So we talked it out and he grabbed his Player’s Handbook and looked up a few things. No rules, not even a hint … and that’s the very reason I tossed AD&D into the ‘never play this crap again’ pile.

    I hadn’t had that AD&D DM Guide for more than a few weeks when I ran across my new favorite stupidity. Opening a door. Gee, I have STR of X so to bash a door down I have to roll X or less on a six-sided dice. What if the door is a flimsy modern indoor house door? Is it easier … nope. Or if it is an iron bound solid oak door, is it harder? No … I didn’t see anywhere that things like that were taken into account. So now we have my mighty son wishing to use a body as a meat shield.

    I suggested an increase in Thexes’ armor class based on the armor the body is wearing. Of course ‘armor class’ is a pretty screwed up system in the first place since as a Hero player I can see all kinds of possibilities. D&D … no rule. Does it increase AC? Does it have any penalties for trying to maneuver a limp corpse … nah. How about any idea how much strength it takes to maneuver said corpse? Nope. And what if they hit the corpse with say … a nice long sharp spear? Does it go through and nail the shielded person? I could answer all that with Hero … He still hasn’t seen the Light …

    I told him with a 100 kg corpse, he’d need 10 STR to pick it up but since he wanted to keep it upright and between his attacker and himself, he’d probably need a 12 STR. Would it lower his Defensive Combat Value (DCV), heck yeah. Ask any fireman who has ever pulled someone out of a build and they’ll tell you it slows you down, a lot. I would hit him with a -2 DCV at least. Then there’s defense. Treat it as a wall with PD/ED equal to the PD/ED of the body plus and armor, rPD/rED, natch. Then there is the ‘BODY’ of the body. Pretty obvious, that of the corpse when alive. So, any STUN or BODY that exceeds the meat shield’s, the character takes against his own defenses.

    Is that unnecessarily complex? Personally, I don’t think so. Why? Logic. Hero is pretty logical, D&D … not so much. That first time I lifted a foot to kick in a door as Ghost Archer, I knew exactly what was to be expected. I knew how much damage I could do and how much the door could take. From there, easy … of course unless you are JJ. Playing Champions, a SUPER hero game for crap sake, we watched JJ valiantly attempt to kick down a fire door over and over. I think he gave up after three tries, unlimbered his plasma rifle and blasted the top of the building off (it was the access door on a roof). The primary reason War Eagle now has a 50 STR instead of his original 10 is because of that door. JJ was never going to be thwarted by a metal sheathed hunk of wood ever again.


    A Legacy Character

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Characters, General Thoughts

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    Eons ago, before the Enlightenment, i.e. before Champions, I dabbled with AD&D. Okay, it is like this … I dropped by the Dragon Cave up on North Military Hwy. in Norfolk in August of 1979. Objective? War games. That day I made two purchases that started me on two very different paths.

    The first was this little folio game called Star Fleet Battles. It consisted of a small blue hex map, a sheet of 1/2″ counters, a thin rule book and these half sheet sized diagrams of star ships called SSDs. That’s ‘ship’s system display’. And it was Star Trek. This was 1979, only ten years after Star Trek had gone off the air. The only Star Trek gaming stuff I’d seen prior to this was Lou Zocchi’s Star Fleet Battle Manual miniatures rules that I’d never played. I was, however, very familiar with Zocchi’s Avalon Hill Jutland, at the time, my favorite war game to play with JJ. So, here’s this game about Star Trek with a ship system display in the same vein as Jutland … I loved it instantly and have played thousands of hours of SFB with probably half a hundred opponents. Still a great game only now the rules have expanded to encyclopedic size and everyone that sees the rules book runs away screaming in terror. That’s SFB!

    The second discovery that day began as a meh … what’s this about? The AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide. I picked it up more out of boredom than curiosity thinking that perhaps I could entice JJ into something he doesn’t have to worry about losing when ever he played me. It was my introduction into role playing and it barely lasted three years. In that time though I did manage to gather a couple of novices, including my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, two other kids in the neighborhood and, of course, JJ. Heck, I even ran a little game at work. So, anyway, this is where the Legacy Character comes from.

    Like everything I do, I gathered up everything I could on the subject, i.e. modules for AD&D. This happened to include a few things from a company called the Judge’s Guild. One of their modules, the City-State of the Invincible Overlord became my primary game setting. This was very early days for RPGs and CSotIO was pretty basic but better than anything else … well, more like the only thing available. Its a great city, with every building briefly described, NPCs all over the place, little tidbits like rumours but a lot of things left up to the DM.

    One entry amused me. The Park of Obscene Statues off the Plaza of Profuse Pleasures. In the description of this park, which is like three lines, there is a mention of ‘capering trolls’. I blinked, imagining trolls ‘capering’. Well, from that little mention there came da dum Bruce the gay troll. Now, Bruce was THE capering troll in the park and while my party never confronted said troll, Bruce became a fixture, a legend, in my games both in AD&D and Fantasy Hero games. I never wrote him up, or even used him but he was always lurking amongst the statues …

    Why Bruce? I dunno, honestly, just at the time ‘Bruce’ was synonymous with ‘gay’. Who knows where we get this shit … though thinking back, there was Bruce Jenner so perhaps Bruce is now synonymous with transgender … So, anyway, my son has taken up D&D, something I am trying very hard to break him of but more on that later, and in telling stories of my various adventures, Bruce reared his ugly head and Cody got a kick out of the concept. Between the two of us joking about a gay troll, we managed to push a couple dozen gay stereo-types together for fun. Cody told his gaming friends and they loved the story so I wrote up a quick Bruce character sheet for D&D 5. I am interested to know how Bruce will fare with this new generation of adventurers.

    For fun I decided to also write up Bruce for Fantasy Hero. Let me tell you, Bruce FH is a lot more interesting then Bruce D&D! At the same time, I took Cody’s new D&D character and wrote him up for FH. Printed both the FH sheets and gave them to him to compare with his D&D sheets. First thing he said “This makes my head hurt.” Smartass … Now I am hoping he will show his player friends MY sheets just for fun. Maybe one of them will have an epiphany like mine so many years ago and become Enlightened by the One True Game!


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    If you think about it, they are pretty much the same thing.  What you write can be used in gaming and vise versa.   This, then, is going to be a character post.  What goes into making a character for me.  In fact, I think I’ll actually build one while I am writing this.  Where to start?  It all begins with an inspiration, some spark of something.  In this case?  A picture.  I hit this one looking for a new Alicia …

    Pretty hot, huh?  Well, since I am doing Legacy, which is super heroes, she’ll got in there.  Now, hero or villain?  Let’s see, I have three Minuteman teams.  Red, White and Blue.  Red, the first team has ten members, White team has eight officially and eleven actually.  Don’t tell Miller, he’ll have shit fit.  Blue team is just getting started, none of which I have published but so far there are just four.  I see a small pattern and think I’ll shoot for ten members each.  That means White will need two more ‘official’ members and Blue needs six.  Next, I gotta look at the sex ratio.  Red is 6 female, 4 male.  White is 4 and 4, ‘officially’.  Blue is 2 and 2.  I will leave Red alone, they are fine.  So for hero teams, I have two choices.

    Over on the villain side I have the Predators and the Pride.  I’ve only started publishing the Pride at this point and there are to be pretty low level, not up to the Minutemen level at all.  But … I am already seeing a possibility here.  I can see Miller deciding to throw a monkey wrench into the White Team since they are too damned independent for his liking.  What if he found a meta whom he could … subvert to his side?  Then there would be the plus of jamming a wedge between the smug Wren Collins and her surfer boy … This girl looks hot enough to do that and confident enough to figure it would work.

    What kind of powers to give her?  What is the White team lacking?  A mentalist.   Makes it extra evil having a girl that can read the minds of the team and report to Miller.  Okay, got power set, mentalist.  Now, where’s she from?  Since the rest of the team is west coast, let’s go east.  Ah, while I am thinking about this … I get the impression she’s a pretty hard ass kinda girl.  So hard ass northerner or hard ass southerner.  Could be cute having this sweet southern bell with claws and a bad attitude …  Georgia?  No, Florida, I think.  Ft. Lauderdale I think.  Sixteen, going on thirty.  Got tangled up in Spring Break this year and found out she loves to party.  How did her powers manifest?  Sixteen is a little old for a manifestation. it had to happen at say … thirteen.  I need to make a thirteen year old just getting her powers then.

    She not very strong, and she’s about average when it comes to DEX, but she makes up for it in EGO.  Good CON, light on the BODY, good INT, well just a bit above average then … what would you say?  14, 16 COM?  Though to be honest, she’d never compare to Wren so I’ll have to bump it to 18 or 20.  What about PER? I did say she was ‘hard assed’ so maybe a couple points, 3 I think. I don’t see any extra PD/ED though I will give her a couple of points for SPD since I think metas should be faster than a normal. REC, END and STUN will all be as figured … 75 points in Characteristics.

    Looking at her costume … LARPer maybe?  Thinks of herself as a thief?  Maybe she discovered her powers at a RenFaire and actually stole a few things … She would not get caught.  Bringing me to money.  She must have some disposable income to be able to buy a costume like that plus is she robbing people for the thrill or money?  Thrill, I think.  She’ll have to be adventurous to be of any help to Miller.  Acting skills too.  The mental powers will help with Conversation, Persuasion and other social skills.  Sounds like she might be a bit of a daredevil.  Convinced she’s hot too, judging be the cut of her outfit.

    What type of mental powers?  Telepathy and mind control I think.  Not Telekinesis or Mental Illusions (yet on that one).  Ego attack, yeah.  She’ll need that.  Let’s keep it basic, a plain old Strong Mind Blast … let’s go with 60 points to start.  Some Deep Telepathy. These are right out of the USPD (UNTIL Super Powers Database).  Mental Domination next.  Okay, three attacks.  Throw them into a 30 point Elemental Control Telepathic Powers (120 total active points)

    Need a defense.  Since I am not going to give her TK, so Force Field seems out.  What can I use instead?  Maybe something that makes them miss a lot, some type of mind control off-shoot?  Extra DCV?  Something like Combat Luck?  I can see that.  Let me look.  Maybe Combat Luck linked to an Area Effect Telepathy.  She subconsciously reads everyone in the area and sort just isn’t quite where they think she is.  Extra DCV or some PD/ED like Combat Luck?  I think the extra DCV is more appropo.  Let’s see how this turns out.  DCV skill levels are what?  8 points?  5 points, Combat Skill Level.  Think I’ll need at least 8 since she is going to be relying on them to survive … so, Compound Power, 8 DCV, nah, that won’t work.

    +8 combat skill levels with DCV, Uncontrolled (+1/2), Triggered by Danger Sense (Activating the trigger is an action that takes no time, Trigger automatically resets, immediately after it activates, character does not control activation of personal trigger; +3/4) (90 active points)

    Wow, expensive but hey, have you seen my characters? I kinda don’t care about costs if I can get the results I am looking for. So, +8 DCV, coupled with her natural DCV, which should be about 3 will give her a 11 DCV. Pretty hard for a normal 3 OCV to hit though not so hard for a meta like say Venetrix to hit with her 10 OCV.

    Next she will need that Danger Sense which is really a substitute for an area effect lower level telepathy that picks up on a person’s intent to attack her.

    Read the Room: Danger Sense (immediate vicinity, out of combat, Character can only perceive dangers to herself, Function as a Sense) 14- NOTE: Based on a form of Area Effect Telepathy that allows her to ‘pick up’ on hostile intent. This requires active hostility and so does not detect passive attacks such as traps. (30 active points)

    Let’s see, up to 315 points so far. Incase you haven’t noticed, generally my characters are 200 base points with a 150 point disad cap. This leaves me with 35 points for skills and minor stuff. From here it is all down hill design-wise. This leavs me with the fun part, background. I’ll cover that in another post.



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    One of the problems I have writing is getting caught up in a character … which leads to more characters … which leads to … well, interaction. After a couple of dozen characer ideas hit the fan, say Legacy and the Minuteman teams, interactions can get confusing. Did Kena like Slater? Who does what with which? Solution? A Character Interaction sheet. This thing came about originally when I was gamemastering which necessitated numerous villains and non-player characters. A good GM tries to keep a character ‘in character’ by remembering past interactions with the player characters (PCs).

    Most of the time that’s not too big of a problem a villain have as tendency to pretty much react the same way each and every time a superhero shows up … and a battle begins. Sometimes though, there’s some kind of back story involved. Of instance, War Eagle and Bora. Who’s War Eagle and who is Bora. War Eagle, PC, good guy. Bora, villain, and so controlled by me, very bad, very badass. Thing is, at one time, for about a week, War Eagle and Bora were married. Okay, granted she still tries to kill him regularly, like every time she sees him, but how does she see that week of wedded bliss. Gotta keep notes every time War Eagle talks her out of killing him and into the bedroom …

    That’s just two people. For Legacy I have over twenty and that is just the metahumans. Then there is family, government people, the news media, the president (NO, not THAT president, one that is entirely made up … come to think of it, am I even capable of coming up with one as insane as our current … nevermind). Anyway, lots of people. What I do is make a list … I’ll show you what I mean below:

    • Ranger:
    • Glory:
    • Eagle:
    • Spirit:
    • Bell:
    • Nemesis:
    • Bolt:
    • Mercury:
    • Patriot:
    • Blur:
    • Ember:
    • Giselle:
    • Goliath:
    • Huntress:
    • Laze:
    • Midnight:
    • Mountain Wind:
    • Psiblade:
    • Tempest:

    That’s everybody in the Red and White teams. Then I add a name, of course, and a brief personality synopsis: I’ll Rachel Moore, aka Venomancer:

    Rachel Moore (Venomancer): aka Ra’ch’el Mo’ar: Rachel is a born follower that requires regular approval of her contemporaries. Though powerful in her own right, the addition of her ‘pets’ puts her in par with many of her new world’s ‘metas’. The main problem, as Nat see it, is her insecurity in combat situations. She will follow his directions and plans flawlessly but if she finds herself in a situation not covered in previously made plans, she tends to become lost for what to do next. Out of combat she is fun and breezy and very easy to like.

    See, not hard and not long. Then I list all the people I want keep track of. Sometimes I speak with the character’s voice, sometimes not. Here’s how Rachel sees the Minutemen teams.

    • Blur: She is so much fun to be with and once I got used to her appearing and disappearing at random we became great friends. Also, all the rest of the team seems to be comfortable and highly competent in what they do, Brit is the only one I can share my doubts with. However, as much as she tries, I am NOT going to wear bicycle shorts or any other tight fitting clothes!

    • Ember: Meatball hisses every time Kena enters the room and I can’t blame her. Everything about this girl screams ‘wraith’ no matter what Papa Nat says. I’d rather not find myself in a room alone with her ‘cuz I am afraid she’d turn on me.

    • Giselle: Wren is like no one I’ve ever met. She can be scary and cold but she can also be so kind and gentle. Meatball loves her and that says a lot. It is not unusual to find my kitten curled up on Wren when she’s reading. I don’t understand her powers but from what I’ve gleaned from the others, she can control something called ‘gravity’.

    • Goliath: Nat is so nice, I can’t believe it. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Unca Tad or Papa Dash only without the fur. He’s bigger than either which takes some getting used to but I’ve never seen any evidence of a temper so typical of my own kind. The thing that truly astonishes me is his strength! If I could get him to Archosaur, he could wipe out the wraith single-handed and if I could get all of my new friends there, our world would be safe forever.

    • Huntress: I have never before met a human more dedicated to improving her combat skills. Watching her ‘work out’ is scary but Rocky seems to enjoy duels with her, I just have to remember not to use my own magic on her.

    • Laze: Zach reminds me a great deal of Mody, always flirting and just like Mody, it makes me uncomfortable. I try to make sure someone else is around if Zach is nearby. Maybe he isn’t Mody, but from what others say, he is the same.

    • Midnight: I don’t know how to take Alicia. She seems quiet, almost withdrawn, unless Slater is with her. Unlike Wren, when Alicia is in one of her ‘studies’ I prefer not to interrupt her. She is very . . . I don’t know

    • Mountain Wind: Fuji is unobtrusive, almost invisible when she wants to be and so polite. Guessing by what she likes to do in her free time, some visual game, I doubt we will ever have much in common and very little to talk about though she likes Vanilla very much.

    • Psiblade: Slater is something of an enigma as I have had very little experience with his ‘type’. In some ways he reminds, me of Blademasters I have fought beside. Perhaps it is just his humanness but I see his feelings for Alicia emblazoned on his escutcheon. I have met many an odd pair, Tad and Boby being one, but these two seem even more different.

    • Tempest: Josh is like a wizard that has thrown one too many Pyrograms. At times he seems very normal then as quickly as ever an Untamed did rage, he is off in his own bizarre world. While I do not think him a threat, I am uncomfortable during these times.

    In general: These new companions I find myself allied with are so diverse from the familiar that it is difficult to grasp many of their personalities. Coupled with the strangeness of this new world I find myself adrift and very scared. This place under the ground seems safe but I cannot sleep soundly fearing a sudden wraith attack as they break through a cave wall from below. I miss Thistle very much, she was always calm and confident in any situation we found ourselves in. Now all I can do is imagine what she would do and try to do that.

    At last I have met the other ‘team’. They are called the Minutemen but I do not understand the reference. I have been asked by Papa Nat not to let them know of his Legacy and have taken some pains, literally to my poor ears, to hide my true nature. Luckily my fox form does not illicit comment when I come thus to observe their training. Papa Nat has asked me to ‘keep an eye on’ this group while he and his friends are in their school. I think I have been made a spy and it is very fun to sneak around and keep from being seen. Vanilla, Wren explained, being a white bunny and somewhat larger then native rabbits, would make a poor scout in this case but Meatball is prefect, much to Vanilla’s annoyance. So far, these are conclusions drawn only through observations and while I believe that are fairly accurate, it is possible I may be wrong.

    • Ranger: The one called Mark is so blademaster-like it is hard to credit. Always snapping orders and demanding things be done ‘his’ way. He is quick to criticize and miserly on praise. Should I find myself in a squad with him I would leave in hopes of finding a better man. Papa Nat tells me this one is supposed to lead and that he is a ‘tank’ but I find this hard to believe . . .not that I mistrust Papa Nat but on my world, the tank must be steady and strong, ready to take the damage that others may strike. I do not see this in the one called Mark. I do not like him, nope, nope, nope.

    • Glory: She is very like me, intimidated by the situation in which she finds herself and I feel a great empathy toward her. I believe I could easily be friends with her as we are more alike than I am with any other of my new friends. Like Wren, Meatball finds her hard to resist and many times I have been forced to recall her as she seems content to remain with Shannon. Meatball tells me she must protect Shannon though I do not know from what.

    • Eagle: At first glance, Ern made me and Vanilla VERY nervous, he does, after all, have the seeming of a great bird of prey and what can be more feared by a rabbit than death on silent wing? But then I followed him one early morning to the green sward they call Balboa Park and watched him with the small creatures there. They have no fear of him whatsoever and this heartened me. I have also noted he is very protective of Shannon and she is very comfortable in his presence. For these reasons I have deemed him to be a very fine male with a good heart and love for all things natural. I hope sometime soon, to make my presence known to him and that, together with Shannon, we three might become the best of friends.

    • Spirit: Mal, as she is called, is very hard for me to read. Initially I compared her to Wren in that both are somewhat aloof but truly the similarities end there. Mal is very much comfortable in the roll she has taken, that of mother to her team. She is patient, kind and understanding to all, including the more difficult members. I have never seen in her any display of ire or disappointment, no hint of condescension or sarcasm and best of all, she treats all fairly even during times I would find my temper, a little as it is, tested to the limit.

    • Bell: This one is like Ern in one way at first. She exhibits powers and traits that was an anathema to a bunny but where this is mitigated in Ern by short association, Belle has no such saving grace. She is loud and obnoxious and reminds me of nearly every ‘sin I have encountered. Just her approach will have Vanilla or Meatball heading for cover usually very quickly followed by a little fox. I have no desire to have even the least to do with this one and hope to never find myself up close to her when alone. I fear she might draw from me an instinctive hostile reaction, probably in the form of Rocky

    • Nemesis: I am told the word ‘nemesis’ can mean dire enemy and do not understand why such a name would be chosen but then I have seen odder names in Archosaur. In some ways she is like on to my own race with the ability to change forms but where we are limited to two forms, our ‘human’ and our ‘true’ form, she appears to be under no such limits. While she delights in taking the form of others to occasionally play tricks on her friend and teammates, I am able to detect her in an instant. I suppose having the nose of a fox helps. She is at all times very friendly and enjoys the company of others but I have seen a longing in her at times, when she thinks none can see, for the one called Mercury. This I do not understand for I wholly believe Nemesis to be female as is Mercury. I shall ask about this.

    • Bolt: This one, he IS Mody in all ways. I have seen him place his hands on many females and do not understand why they allow it . . . well, not all allow it. Mercury has on more than one occasion sent this one flying with a simple movement of her hips. He is called Charlie though he complains at the name, preferring Carlos. He says many things of a perv nature to Wren and I wonder sometimes as her patience. If he ever tried to touch me as he has others, I fear Rocky might be forced to teach him a lesson in manners. If he is around I shall never take my human form for fear of drawing his eye. While I do not care for Belle because of her noise and grating personality, this one I do not care for because of everything he is.

    • Patriot: It is inconceivable that any human should allow such a child to enter into combat under any circumstance short of an all-out wraith attack on a home city. I have not observed him display any type of power or expertise in combat that defines all of the others. Though he seems to be very knowledgeable in the technology of this world, he is nonetheless a child and so lacks true experience with life beyond the classroom. I fear that should such as the wraith appear, this child will be the very first casualty.

    Note: Rocky is like a rock golem, Meatball is a small orange tabby cat, and Vanilla is a largish white rabbit. All three are like Pokemon to a Venomancer. She can summon them as required to fight for her or beside her. Also Rachel is not human but rather a race called ‘the Untamed’. She has two forms, a red fox and her ‘human’ form which happened to have bunny ears rather than human ones. So when she speaks of ‘her poor ears’ she could either be referring to noise, she has sensative hearing, or the occasional need to ‘fold’ her ears down to hide them as a human girl.

    Note: She refers to several friends from her home world, Thistle is an elven cleric who rescued Rachel during a battle. Wraiths are about comparable to ‘demons’ and come up from underground, particularly caves. They vary in size and form and power. Papa Dash may literally be her father as he, too, is Untamed as is ‘Unca Tad’ though I think Tad is an honorary uncle. Tad, though Untamed, has married a human girl, Boby. Nathaniel has been given the honorary ‘Papa’ because he reminds Rachel of Dash’s functions in her group. The term ‘tank’ is used to denote a powerful individual who will stand in the front and absorb damage … okay, I know any reader here knows what a ‘tank’ is if you’ve ever played an MMORPG. ‘Blademaster’ is the guy who runs into a cave and draws aggro from everything bad and pulls them to an ambush point where the rest of the team would be waiting. I make a lousy ‘Blademaster’ being a sniper at heart.

    Note: Mody is an annoying blademaster that was constantly hanging around Thistle and Rachel.

    Note: A ‘pyrogram’ is a fire magic spell.

    So, that’s what I end up doing with the characters in my stories, just so I can keep things straight as to who hates who.

    Whatcha think?



    Thankful for the Internet …

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: General Thoughts

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    I prefer to try to fit real world stuff into my background stories. The 1962 Typhoon called Wanda really hit Hong Kong and killed hundreds. The Bei Jiang and Xi rivers exist. Yingdehong tea grows in the area near Yingde China. When it comes to foreign languages, like French Wren, I try to get it right but translation programs always screw up grammar. The Great Leap Forward killed an estimated 30 million Chinese. Shenyang J-6 jet fighters existed … that kinda thing. I always get caught up in the history of shit and get side tracked … but we have this fantastic tool at hand that makes nearly instant research possible.

    Thanks to Al Gore … FAKE NEWS!



    The Divine Farmer

    Written by Ghost Archer. No comments Posted in: Characters, Fiction

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    August 26, 1962: East bank, Bei Jiang (“North River”), 22 kilometers south of Yingde, China

    For seven thousand years, since the legendary time of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, the lot of the Chinese peasant had changed little. Born to till the land in their hundreds of millions any hope of improving their place in the world was little more than a passing dream. At the age of seventeen a boy born to a farmer took up the harness of the ancient plow that had served his family for centuries and began to trudge across the field. Hard times had fallen abruptly on his family when one of the local Communist ‘warlords’ had taken their oxen to give to a favored cousin. Left with no option, the boy and his father had placed themselves in harness and, with his younger brother steering, dragged the plow from one side of the plot to the other. He had been thirteen at the time. Now, over four years later, he did not need the help of his father to pull the plow. Though not yet fully grown, at 187 cm, the boy stood nearly a head above any in the village. He had a broad, powerful chest, massive legs and the arms of a weightlifter. His strength was attributed to his years at the plow because in 1962, no one had ever heard the term ‘meta human’.

    The band of soldiers swept into the small village aboard rusted-out American deuce-and-a-half trucks left over from the Second World War though the Chinese-made assault rifles were much more recent. Quickly, efficiently, the soldiers piled out of the trucks and began a systematic search of each house, forcing the cowering peasants out into the open where they were herded into the small village center. Times had been hard in China with the failure of the Great Leap and the ensuing famines that were to cost China 30 million lives. The village and surrounding farms had been ‘collectivized’ several years earlier and all private farming outlawed. Now the soldiers had come for what little the exhausted land had given up.

    The boy was forced into the village square with his family and stood mutely watching as every last sack of the yingdehong tea the village grew was piled onto the waiting bed of a truck. Rage seethed within him knowing that the pile of sacks represented the money needed to buy food and was all that stood between his village and starvation.

    “What will we eat?” the village elder asked the soldier in charge.

    “Each other!” the soldier laughed and slammed the butt of his rifle into the elder’s face. “Kill them all!”

    Not one villager made a move as the man’s words penetrated then as rifles were raised to shoulders, the small crowd broke. None took more than a few steps before the bullets ripped into the cluster of humanity. Instinctively the boy turned to his sister and mother, covering them with his body. Blood erupted, people screamed, bodies fell, the young man toppled, covering his sister completely but leaving his mother exposed. When the last had fallen and the gunfire ceased the crunch of boots on the gravel was loud as the commander of the soldiers began to move through the corpses making sure all were dead with a shot to the head. When he reached the boy, he paused, then using the barrel of his rifle, tried to roll the youth over. He had seen the girl beneath move.

    A hand shot out to grip the barrel and twisted, bending the hardened steel like a pipe cleaner. A jerk on the gun pulled the soldier down and against the blood soaked young farmer. The man didn’t make a sound as the boy rolled onto his back, pulling the commander into a bear hug that snapped his spine. With a heave, the body slammed into three of the solders, sending them sprawling then the farmer was on his feet. In two steps he was on a pair of soldiers and slamming them together hard enough to crush their ribcages. The last lost his nerve and turned to flee but a sack of tea brought him down before he’d gone ten meters. The three on the ground, entangled with the body of their commander, fumbled to bring a weapon to bear, two succeeded but one managed only a single round before the weapon was empty and the other watched in horror as five rounds bounced off the young farmer.


    The pillar of smoke disappeared into the night as the boy used an oar to steer the small boat to the center of the Bei. There was no need to expend energy as the slow current pushed them south. Both were dirty but all traces of blood had been washed away. The boy, grim-faced, held his sister across his lap, her head resting against his shoulder. The girl’s tiny body was wrecked with sobs, her tear streaked face buried in a tattered and filthy rag doll. In the bottom of the boat were three sacks stuffed with tea leaves, two blankets, two stoppered gourds for water and a bag filled with the village’s meager stock pile of food that none there would ever need.

    Rolled up tightly and hidden within the shabby doll was the money the soldiers had been carrying which was far more than the boy would ever have been expected to earn in a lifetime. It would be a start in a new place and meant life for his sister.

    The next morning a squad of soldiers, seeking their tardy compatriots, rolled into the village to find a pile of blacked corpses and the burned out carcasses of the trucks and the tea nothing but ash. None lived to remark on the missing boat.


    September 1, 1962: West of Canton, China

    The journey down the Bei had been uneventful for the most part with only a single encounter with three PLA soldiers at a river crossing. Their interest had waned quickly when they got a closer look at the two and the battered boat. Peasants taking tea down to market, and that a very small amount of tea. Not worth the trouble to take and worth even less than the trouble selling the stuff would be. They let them pass unmolested and returned to their smoking.

    At dusk the following day the boy had pulled the boat up on the west bank of the river having spent the daylight hours constantly pushing off one sand bar after another. It had not been hard work but the numerous stops and starts had made it impossible for his sister to nap in her accustom place, his lap. Coupled with an increase in river traffic as the river meandered into more civilized regions the two had needed sleep as well as something hot to eat so the boy had nosed the boat into the shore at the base of a thickly forested hill.

    With his sister clutching his hand, the boy hoisted the boat, sacks and all up onto one shoulder and moved into the forest. There he found a sheltered hollow in a rock outcropping and settled them in. Long skilled at making fire without matches the boy soon had a small but comfortable fire going with a small pot of tea brewing. He shared out the day’s rations to his sister, a single stale loaf, all that remained of their scant provisions. Without hesitation broke the loaf into two pieces, presenting the larger to his sister. She took it eagerly and was already chewing her first bite when she noticed he had tucked his half away in their nearly empty sack.

    “Brother, why do you not eat,” she asked.

    “I am not hungry, little sister,” he replied. “I will eat it later.”

    It was an easy lie and she was too young to further question him so she finished her bread then moved off behind a rock to relieve herself. When she returned he had spread one of the blankets atop a pile of leaves and held the second out to her. She stepped into it and he wrapped it around her. Lifting her and laying her on the covered mound of leaves, he folded the edges up to cover her, creating a warm cocoon for her. She was asleep in an instant.

    The morning dawned clear and crisp with hint of what the day would bring. The boy presented the girl with the crust of bread he had stashed the night before and she took it without a thought. Once she was finished, he bundled all back into the boat and lifted it to his shoulder. Setting it once more into the river, he lifted her from the shore to the boat so as not to get her wet, and then climbed in after her. Though they did not know it they reached a confluence of the Xi and Bei rivers within an hour and found far more traffic than anything they’d encountered in their entire trip to that point. Power boats began to appear then the first large freighter cruised by nearly swamping their small boat with its wake.

    The little girl watched the second great vessel pass by then screamed in fear as the wave of its passing topped the boat’s gunwale and left nearly a foot of water in the bottom of the craft. Now paddling rather than letting the current carry them, the boy steered toward the east bank to clear the shipping traffic. Closer in to shore, though the wake of passing ships still presented a problem, they felt safer with the shallower waters.

    For hours the boy pulled the boat south into broader areas of the river careful only to note the passing of these larger vessels. Sometime after noon though, the river traffic disappeared. The boy lifted his head and scowled. From the east a thick layer of clouds rolled toward them and the fresh scent of rain reached his nose. A storm was coming and fast. Digging deep he pulled toward the nearest structure, a pier and squeezed the small boat in between the pilings into the darkness beneath.

    They spent the remainder of the day and all of that night tied up under the protection the pier offered as Typhoon Wanda roared inland from Hong Kong to dissipate. In its path 434 people died and 72000 were left homeless in the British Protectorate alone. It was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in Hong Kong.

    The two reached Macao two days later and were in Hong Kong the following day.


    December 31, 1962: Hong Kong

    The man grinned at the boy, his hand resting on the leg of the little girl. The boy wanted to kick himself. He had left her only long enough to run to the local inn for a meal and when he’d return, two men with guns were waiting. Now he stood in the office of the man he knew to be the boss of the local gang.

    “You have not paid your fair share,” the man said, stroking the girl’s thigh.

    The girl was tied and gagged, wearing only the thin shift she slept in.

    “What do I owe,” the farmer said through his teeth.

    “I think this girl will be enough to pay your debts,” the man turned his attention to little sister.

    It was the gangster’s last mistake. The three shots did not startle the six men in the other room, instead it elicited smiles and chuckles of amusement. They turned their attention back to the dominoes and beer. It was the sound of breaking furniture that made them pause. One, senior of the group rose from the table and pulled a Webley Mk IV .30/200.

    Of the nine men in the building that day, six died, and suddenly the boy found he was the new leader of the local gang. The first thing he did was change the way the gang made money. No more drugs, no more prostitution and especially child prostitution.

    May 10, 1963: Hong Kong

    “Brother,” the little girl said, her eyes wide as they watched the news report displayed on a wall of new television sets stacked in the front window of a Hong Kong department store. “Is he like you?”

    She sat on a broad shoulder, her small arm around the top of his head. On the screen a grinning Nikita Khrushchev stood before a bank of television cameras with one hand on the shoulder of a man dressed in a tight leather costume with a gold star on the chest. His face was covered by a domino mask that did nothing to hide the red glow of his eyes.

    “No, little sister,” he replied. “He is nothing like me.”

    Turning away he carried her back to the small room they shared, his mind turning over the possibilities.

    November 12, 1963: Near Hong Kong

    The first attack came at one of the border crossings from the PRC to Hong Kong, the weapon? A tank, a flying tank. It came from the PRC side of the border and landed on the roof of the border post building. The forty ton vehicle flattened the structure and killed the four men inside. Investigations, aimed at finding a way to lay blame on the British, could only conclude that the vehicle belonged to the PLA, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. How it flew nearly 50 meters to land atop the building was not explained until much later.

    December 22, 1963: Canton, China

    “I am Shénnóng, the Divine Farmer, and I have returned to restore China to the people!” read the flyers scattered around the military base. Crews armed with hoses battled the flames of the burning aircraft that half an hour before had waited in pristine glory for the call to defend the PRC, a call none would ever answer. Eleven new Shenyang J-6 jet fighters burned as the Chinese countryside erupted in a search for British or American saboteurs. No one noticed the young peasant with a little girl.

    March 10, 1964: Hong Kong

    ‘The Divine Farmer Sinks PRC Warship’ proclaimed the English language newspaper. The boy grinned as one of his men read it aloud. His campaign against the PRC was progressing and the Chinese government was in an uproar, totally at a loss to explain the military assets being destroyed by this so-called Divine Farmer. Hundreds had died in the sinking adding to the body count of this terrorist. Over forty tanks and two dozen aircraft had been destroyed but the sinking of the PRC’s Soviet built warship had been a stunning disaster. Three generals had been relieved, more than a dozen men had been imprisoned under suspicion of working with this Farmer but nothing was ever found.

    Little sister ran into the room dressed in a frilly pink dress, white calf-high stocking and patent leather shoes. Without hesitation she threw her thin arms around her brother’s neck and squealed with childish delight.

    “Do you see, brother,” she cried relinquishing her hug and stepping back. She spun on a toe, the dress flaring out.

    “You are very pretty, little sister,” he said with a gestured to the two men in the room. They stepped out, closing the door behind them. Only then did he gather the girl into his arms and hug her tightly.

    June 14, 1964: Taiwan, China

    The broadcast came from Taiwan and was instantly suspect by the PRC but there was no denying the costumed man’s demonstration.

    “I am Shénnóng, the Divine Farmer, and I have returned to restore China to the people!” the man announced, then tossed a tank into the ocean. The background was the Shanghai harbor.

    The Taiwanese announcer appeared on screen.

    “This film was sent to our studios from Peking and the Taiwan government does not claim any knowledge of actions taken by this individual.”

    World headlines the next day where rife with speculation of the world’s second ‘metahuman’. This one was not acting against criminals and for a government but in direct opposition to the vast power of the People’s Republic of China. Chinese newspapers labeled him the world’s first recognized ‘super villain’ and an enemy of the state. It promised massive retaliation against any nation that chose to harbor the man.

    Secret Identities would become the norm for all ‘metas’.