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Supers Idea: EuroVigil

Be it a comics pitch, background worldbuiding idea, or a supers adventure sketch, here’s a quick rundown on the concept of EuroVigil.

The EuroVigil Hero Contest has been held every year, in one form of another, since 1946. Hosted by the European Broadcasting Guild (EBG), it was originally an opportunity for the ad hoc WWII costumed heroes to gain greater visibility and compete to be members of the Peers, the Eurpoean Superhero Group set up to ensure the escape Nazi villains of the era would be unable to clone fallen madmen and tyrants, build factories to produce hordes of evil robots, train cyborg wolf armies, or unleash mind-control devices, all of which were surprisingly common concerns at the time.

Each hero for the EuroVigil is nominated by local agencies in their home country, the process for which can vary wildly. In France, it is determined by popular public acclaim. Germany trusts the Federal Minister for Empowered Affairs. In England, it remains one of the legal prerogatives of the Monarch to choose an entrant, though the decision is normally vetted and researched at great length before an announcement is made. Norway leaves it to their oldest serving Peer to select a candidate. Greece, Italy, and Spain all have a series of regional contests, and so on.

One selected, the contestants are broken into “Flights,” each of which is assigned to a region of Europe half the time, and to the Peer’s training facility half the time. While assigned to a region, each Flight is assisted in finding and handling crimes, disasters, and public appearances. When at the Peers facility, the heroes are tested in a variety of ways, from obstacle courses to sparring matches to being pitted against various simulated common dangerous situations (burning buildings, hostage rescue, sinking boats, and so on).

After each weekly set of events is finished television and radio broadcasts are put together to show highlights, and nearly all the raw footage can be viewed online. Each participating country then issues a set of votes, half determined by a panel of experts (often including retired heroes, firefighters, and civilian oversight groups), and half by the popular vote of the country’s population. The lowest vote-getters are cut from the program immediately, and a new week of events begins.

Though the program has remained popular for 3/4 of a century, there are criticisms. Often charismatic or kitschy contestants receive more votes than boring but effective heroes. National and international politics are seen as playing an oversized role in early selection and the editing of each week’s broadcasts. Some entrants are accused of seeking fame and fortune rather than a life of service and helping others. However, most winners do receive and accept an invitation to become one of the Peers, now the official European Union superhero team, and numerous runners-up have attracted enough support to become successful major international heroes.

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Mighty Justiciar’s League: The Green Knight

Jessica Steele was raised with high expectation by her wealthy parents. They knew she could do anything she set her mind to, and they expected her to set her mind to being rich. They arranged for her to get into every gifted and talented program, every extraordinary summer camp, every corporate internship — whether she wanted to or not. Her parents assured her they didn’t care if she was a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO, or a judge — she could be whatever she wanted, as long as put her in charge and made her vast sums of money.

What Jessica Steele wanted was to help people. So when her engineering and material sciences degrees turned out to be her path to working for nonprofits and humanitarian groups, her parents disowned her.

She was thrilled.

She set about trying to make the world a better place by directly addressing human misery, especially natural disasters, and loss of personal mobility. A genius engineer without peer, she spent her career designing exosuits to protect first-responders and augment their ability to help in disaster situations, and to serve as mobility and qualify-of-life enhancements for people who for whatever reason needed help being able to move freely and care for themselves. Her more modest designs were often adopted by companies for those pruprosed, but she had to work on her pie-in-the-sky projects on her own time and using her limited financial means, because she beleived in designing beyond the limits of current technology. Her best ideas were spectacular, but she had yet to find a functioning power source to make them work.

When the heroine Thriae realized the planetary-scale villains Ægishjálmur, Disir, and Hodmedod had formed an alliance to invade the Earth and turn Empire City into a pan-dimension beachhead, she called every hero she could find to aid in stopping them, famously including Huntsman and Stormhammer. The battle that waged through Empire City crashed right into the office building where Steele did her private work, and civilians were hurt, trapped, and in danger. Rather than save herself, Steele immediately set about saving everyone she could, and coordinating to evacuate the area. In desperation, Steele grabbed some of her untested equipment that had extreme power needs, jacked it into a broken power main, and despite the risk to herself used it to rescue civilians trapped in collapsed sections of the building.

At the exact same time, the Spectrum Corps (who send sets of 7 Spectrum Weapons to each of the 667 Cosmic Anchors that stabilize the space-time continuum) concluded that the attack on Empire City could pose a direct threat to the Cosmic Anchor on Earth. None of the last wave of Spectrum Agents on Earth being active, the Spectrum Corps sent a new wave of Spectrum Weapons, each of which sought out its best possible wielder. Steele’s heroism caused her to be granted the Grün Zweihänder, making her Spectrum Agent Green.

Steele realized the sword could power her most advanced armor, and successfully saved everyone she was aware of trapped or hurt. Then, the invasion still ongoing, she immediately joined the fight. Later, she become a founding member of the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

NEMESES
The Green Knight’s major foes include the Amber Warlord, Blue Knight, Necromancer Noir (all Spectrum Corps Agents), Gray Guardsman (a rogue military agent with a suit of powered armor that can neutralize Spectrum Weapons), Decker Damocles (A Chaos Telepath working to destroy the Cosmic Anchor), The Color Out of Space (An ancient split-off of the Spectrum Corps), Piper Steele (The girl Jessica’s parents adopted when they disowned her, who wants to prove her desire to rule everything makes her better than Jessica), the Jarl, Slaymaster, Plasmaman, Megagunmech, Fade, Croc King, Jacoline Glaive (international arms and mercenary dealer), and, more than any other, Chainbreaker Master of the Chains of Power.

PLOTLINES
Favored plotlines include Devil in the Painkillers, Enemies at the Gates, Green City, The Grün Guards, Lights of the Round Table, Origins of the Spectrum!, Revenge of the Jarl, Verte Challenge, Verte Restored, Verte Twilight, Weapon Wars, and Zweihänder Zero.

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I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more of the Mighty Justicier’s League, or Pathfinder 1st edition, Starfinder, or ShadowFinder content (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

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The Mighty Justiciar’s League

Jacob Blackmon and I will be doing more with this group in time (for Mutants & Masterminds and ICONS, is the current plan, with Mike Lafferty’s help), but I like sharing bits of this new supers world and it’s biggest and most powerful hero group, the Mighty Justiciar’s League, as it develops.

Here’s the current lineup.

(Art and visual design by Jacob Blackmon; characters and art direction by Owen K.C. Stephens)

From Left to Right, they are:

Thrae
A heroine who has been fighting supernatural and fascist threats since the 1930s, Thrae is gifted with “Melissa’s Sting,” and nearly a century of experience and training. She is bulletproof, superhumanly strong, carries and indestructible spear, flies, and can shrink down to the size of a bee, gaining a ranged blast power when that size.
She also called forth the heroes who became the founding members of the Mighty Justiciar’s League in order to stop a great disaster she saw unfolding, and was the first member and chairperson of that organization.

Stormlad
An eoten orphan taken in, trained, and raised as his own son by the Giant Emperor Ægishjálmur, one of the greatest of Stormhammer’s nemeses. Ægishjálmur plotted to set him against Stormhammer once he was of age, but Stormlad eventually saw through to Ægishjálmur’s true nature and tried to prevent him from killed innocent mortals. Ægishjálmur sought to destroy Stormlad, but was stopped by Huntsman, Stormshield, and Stormhammer, the last embracing Stormlad as kin and placing to be raised with the same mortal parents who raised him.
Stormlad is not as strong or tough as Stormhammer or Stormshield, and has no divine powers, but has a beginning mastery of rune magic allowing him to do things they cannot. He is a senior member of the Young Justiciars, and thus a reserve member of the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

Stormhammer
The Last Aisir, Stormhammer is powerful beyond the ken of mortals. He bears the rune Úr on his chest to mark his name, Vænn, meaning Hope. He is the strongest and most resilient of all known heroes, the storms obey his divine will, and his eyes and ears cannot be deceived. Only shards of shattered Mjolnir weaken him. He is among the heroes summoned by Thriae to stop a great disaster she saw unfolding, and became a founding member of the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

Stormshield
Eirwind, daughter of Queen Freya Valkyr, Stormshield is the Last Valkyrie. Raised by Helalok to ensure a valkyrie would remain to carry Stormhammer’s slain form to Valhalla, she is Queen of Valkyries, has the strength and might of a goddess, is commander and guardian of the Honored Dead, and inheritor to the hair and armor of Sif, and the artifact-shield Svalinn. She was unwilling to take Stormhammer’s life unjustly, turned from Helalok, and joined the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

Green Knight
Jessica Steele is the current Green Knight, an agent of the Spectrum Corps (who send sets of 7 Spectrum Weapons to each of the 667 Cosmic Anchors that stabilize the space-time continuum). Earth has had many waves of Spectrum Corps agents sent over the centuries, with each agent in each wave deciding for themselves how best to keep the Cosmic Anchor secure. Jessica Steele is a genius engineer who spent her career designing exosuits to protect first-responders and augment their ability to help in disaster situations, but had yet to find a functioning power sources for her most potent designs. While helping evacuate civilians in the disaster that caused Thriae to call upon those who would form the Mighty Justicier’s League, which occurred exactly as the Spectrum Corps was assigning a new set of Spectrum Weapons to Earth, Steele’s heroism caused her to be granted the Grün Zweihänder, making her Spectrum Agent Green. She realized the sword could power her most advanced armor, and immediately joined the fight, later becoming a founding member of the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

Huntsman
The adopted then orphan survivor of a wealth family who were killed by huntsman spiders guarding a secret land his parents hoped to raid for antiquities and exploit when he was a child, Huntsman was saved with an experimental antivenin that granted him spiderlike abilities, including the ability to process input from 8 different inputs (though he had to have a helmet designed to input such data, as he didn’t grow extra eyes), and superhuman strength, speed, and balance. He has given away the majority of his parents fortune, and become Huntsman to ensure the privileged and powerful don’t tread on justice and fairness the way his family did. In addition to his mutated enhancements, he has dedicated his life to being a trained criminologist and tracker. He is among the heroes summoned by Thriae to stop a great disaster she saw unfolding, and became a founding member of the Mighty Justiciar’s League.

NEMESES
Since it’s inception, the Mighty Justiciar’s League has been the target of multiple major foes and fiendish organizations, including the Lawbreaker Legion (formed of notable foes of all the Justiciar’s members), The Morlock King (a time-travelling cannibal monarch from 100,000 years in the future), the Crime Church (an ancient cult who literally worship lawbreaking), the Conquering Star (a sentient star that runs an evil empire of fusion entities that wish to turn all matter into plasma), the Jotunn Guard (super-powered giants and Ægishjálmur’s interdimensional strike force), Ultriac (the ultimate intelligence, an AI wishing to destroy all life, which was created by an ex-Justiciar when trying to prove biological heroes were too variable to be trusted), Penumbro (the Shadow God, who wishes to crush the light of hope), Doctor Future (a time travelling genius and android-maker who believes the Justiciars must be destroyed to humanity will toughen up enough to avoid being conquered by the Morlock King), Exergy (the cosmic embodiment of all the unused potential in the universe), Crimson Brigade (a now-rogue spacefaring peacekeeping force created by the Spectrum Corps before the Spectrum Weapons) , Korgath Vralk (an ancient reptilian sorcerer from a billion-year-old lost civilization from early earth), Genghis Kong (a super-genius gorilla psychic and conqueror), The Central Assassination Industry (superkillers-for-hire), Fimbulwinter (the personification of endless winter and night), the Slaugh (shapeshifting ancient sorcerous aliens), O.P.T.I.C. (Organization for Powerful Technologies, Intelligences, and Construction), the Madalief (crime cartel), the Kruthe (hostile and warlike colonizing alien species), Dark Justiciar (undead versions of the Justiciar’s from an alternate reality where the undead rule supreme), and the Demo Team (thug villains for hire).

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more of the Mighty Justicier’s League, or Pathfinder 1st edition, Starfinder, or ShadowFinder content (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

If you prefer, you can drop a cup of support in my Ko-Fi. It’s like buying me a cup of coffee, but more convenient!

A Supers World Begins

I’ve had fun recently working towards an original (though obviously heavily-inspired) superhero team, the Mighty Justicier League. Originally just one of the thigns I let my mind churn up when I need to write as relaxation, therapy, or to break writer’s block, working with Jacob Blackmon on a couple of character designs (he did all the art on this page, and more) has pushed this towards actually becoming a “thing” (And he and I are working out what that will come together as.)

There’ll be more to this, but I thought it’d be nice to have everything I have now in one place. So, this is a rundown of what I have said about these heroes, and the 80 years of comics I’m pretending they have behind them.

HUNTSMAN

As a child, Huntsman’s billionaire family explored a “lost” hidden culture. Their inept trespassing got them killed from bites of local huntsman spiders. Huntsman was saved local doctor saved him with an experimental antivenin, giving him spider powers.

Huntsman dedicated his life to making up for the damage his parents had done, and turned over 99% of his fortune to charitable foundations. He trained through childhood to become a well-equipped costumed hero, to tackle threats beyond the reach of the law.

Some of Huntsman’s major villains (sometimes called “Huntsman’s Nemesis League”) include:
Grimaldi Goblin: Fell-into-acid-vat sadist genius with “Grimaldi’s Grin” gas bombs and a jetpack.
Manhunt: A clone of Manhunter, wants to destroy him, regain his fortune, and live in luxury at any cost.
Also: Aunt Asylum, The Black Bat, Clayman, Crimespree, Doc Croc, Doctor Zodiac, Gecko, Doctor Hugo Fate, Lady Passerine, Pallas Cat, Riddle Master, Spider Wasp, Swordfish, The Toadie, Tarantula Hawk, Tomb-Face, Two-Step, Weaver, The Web of Spies, Autarch, Doctor Syn, Feathertop, Harpy Eagle, Hodmedod, Jimmy Da Ooze, Mega-Fauna, Obtshak Council, The Parafoiler, The Punster, Rokkaku, River Monitor, Saint Assassin, Shock Jock, Skunk Ape, Queen Gale, and the Ultra-Nationalist.

That said the “Classic” Awful Eight group that are comprised of Huntsman’s Nemesis League is Clayman, Doc Croc, Green Ghoul, Grimaldi Goblin, Manhunt, Pallas Cat, Spider Wasp, and Tarantula Hawk (Lady Passerine has been a member, but she’s better when she’s running her own group.)

I still love the classic Huntsman storylines.
The Hunt: Year One
The Awful Eight
How Green My Ghoul
Siege at Sedgefield Sanatorium
Huntsman — Hunted!
Duty of the Family
Arachnarok
Cat, Spider, Wasp
SpyWeb Wars

STORMHAMMER

And, lo, then did come Ragnarök, but Thor and Sif defied the wyrds that declared all Aisir would die, and placed their son Vænn in a ship made of wood of Yggdrasil, and sailed him to Midgard, though a babe, that he might survive Asgard’s destruction. In Midgard’s he came to the farmer family Morven, who raised him honorable and true. Powerful beyond mortals, he became the hero Stormhammer, the rune Úr on his chest to mark his name, Vænn, meaning Hope. Only shards of shattered Mjolnir weaken him.

My favorite classic #Stormhammer villains are:
Trillionaire genius Dexter Duncan
Berzerko, the Antihero of Ragnarok
Járngreipnoid the Iron Warrior (powered by a sliver of Mjolnir)
Lord Sunstorm of the Elder Gods
Helalok, the Last Vanir
Seidhriac the Machine Shaman (who wishes to absorb all Norse magic)
Ms. Ratatoskr, denizen of the Wyrd Dimension,
Nidhogg the Magic-Eater
Ægishjálmur, the Giant Emperor

I’m NOT a fan of The Eschatologist, and it was B.S. to create a new villain for the “Death of Stormhammer” storyline.

But I *love* the “Storm On A Farm!” story where we discover Tanngrisnir came on Vænn’s ship as a cute kid, moved into the Morven farm, and no one knew he was Asgardian for 20 years because no one ever shot lasers at a small Wisconsin farm! The “Goat of Thunder!” stories rocked!

I still love these classic #Stormhammer storylines:
Last Son of Asgard
Mjolnirite Nevermore
Will of Iron
Storm on a Farm
Only Human
The Saga of the Stellar Seven
The Herokiller
Valhalla Comes

Also, “Gardenbound World of Álfheim,” where we discover a tiny acorn of Yggdrasill survived, and when Stormhammer saves it, it turns out to be growing into a new World oak, but it’s currently tiny, and it has a single one of the old Nine Realms in it, but currently also super-tiny.

And, especially, the classic Rainbow Bridge saga, when Stormhammer had to confront his own death and rebirth in order to understand that the loss of his powers was due to his fear of what mortality and resurrection meant. (h/t to Jim Milligan)

WORLD”S MIGHTIEST HEROES

And, of COURSE, the first #Stormhammer and #Huntsman teamup, “World’s Mightiest Heroes,” which is often seen as a prequel to the formation of the #MightyJusticierLeague

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more Movie Pitches, or Pathfidner 1st edition, Starfinder, or ShadowFinder content (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

If you prefer, you can drop a cup of support in my Ko-Fi. It’s like buying me a cup of coffee, but more convenient!