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Having two daughters now I think about the roles of women depicted in media a little beyond "she's HAWT."  Usually.  To that end I have had some thoughts lately about some of DCs more prominent female figures.

Wonder Woman:  Right off the bat I am leaving this one alone.  Not because she has been done so well in the past, but because the DCNu version of her is just about perfect.  Lots of modernized mythology, strong independent woman who isn't just Superman in a swimsuit.

Supergirl:  Talk about Superman in a swimsuit, on it this case a magical girl costume.  Recent writers have, finally, picked up on the fact that one way to distinguish S-girl form her cousin is to highlight her "fish out of water" problem.  She arrived on Earth as a teenager (age depends on version) and is having trouble fitting in.  Fine, all well and good, but then she goes and fights B-list Superman villains and once again becomes another cape with boobs.  To complicate things?  Roommates, boy friends, etc.  The only writer with evenly a marginally different take on it was years ago Peter David post-Crisis with the whole "Earth Angel" thing.  So, what do we want?  Supergirl with her own purpose and her own life. One that can be heavily influenced by her cousin, but not his life. 

If I were DC I would go and find the best selling female young adult writer and tell her she can have Supergirl for a couple of years.  Writer like a protagonist in one of the books.  What if people talked about Supergirl the way they did the female lead in Hunger Games?

Barring that magic bullet, we need to divorce Supergirl from Superman's milieu.  No hanging out in Metropolis.  No fighting nock-offs and also-rans.  Instead take a different tactic.  Say immigration.  Why?  She, even more that Kal-El, is an immigrant.  She knows what its like to be an alien.  And let's face it, there have got to be plenty of honest to Rao aliens roaming around the DCU who need help, who have no superpowers nor fancy tech. Maybe because some organization is rounding them up, etc.  Kinda JLA Division 6 for her.  Move her to Chicago or SanFran or London even.  Make her more Buffy and less Superman in Drag.

Batgirl:  Another Fem Version of a male Star (where is the distaff Wonder Woman?).  Don't get me wrong, I love Barbara Gordon and always have - always (I blame Yvonne Craig), but her revival has been...only OK.  She was at her best as Oracle.  She had a place in the DCU separate from male counterparts, and she was sexy and bad assed.  But now she back in cape and cowl and seem to have never been Oracle.  So what do we do? We change her focus.  Bring back a little bit of Barbara the librarian and a little of Oracle and a little of the daredevil wanna be gymnast.  Give her the Cold Case files.  Not every villain in Gotham is either mobbed up or dresses in garish colors.  Let her investigate, let her do the leg work, let her confront the guy who was getting away with murdering his girlfriends and beat the hell out of him.  Let her be the investigation procedural of the Bat-Family.

Harley Quinn:  No wait, don't get me wrong.  Harley has a place.  She is one of only a few characters to make the transition from another media based on comics back to comics (she, Bullock, and Montoya were all on B:TAS before they appeared in comics).  Her back ground is that she was a criminal psychiatrist who fell for the Joker.  She has been variously depicted as bubble headed groupie, sex doll, and psycho killer.  Let's instead play up her origins.  She is a criminal psychiatrist.  Maybe she is the one pulling the strings of the Joker while letting him thing its the other way around.  She is the super criminal, the Joker is the weapon.  She runs the gangs that all worship the Joker, taking a cut, and she is the one who gets the Joker his toys.  But she is walking a fine line, juggling the Joker is like juggling armed nuclear weapons.  But she can do it, for now.  Make her smart and sexy and manipulative.  Make her the Emma Frost of Gotham, going to parties with Bruce Wayne as Dr. Quinzel and seducing city councilmen, whose secret identity is the bubble head bubble bod killer groupie Harleyquinn.

More later maybe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hey LiveJournal, Don't purge me Bro.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current Year: 1953
-Alan Scott is President.  No one knows where his ring is. 
-Thanks to the Knight Industries Cosmic Engine the USA puts the first man on the moon, Sylvester Pemberton (the former Star Spangeld Kid)
-Tyler Pharmasuticals releases the first Cancer Vaccine derived from Miraclo
- The World wonders where Superman went.
-Clark Kent's series of articles on the plight of returning black soldiers in the South ignites racial tensions and national debate.
- Increasing tensions between Germany and the Soviet Union theaten to ignite a new European War
-The US signs mutual protection pact,  with the Democratic Chinese Union, angering the People's Republic of China
- Carter Hall continues his campaign to unite North Africa under a New Egyptian Dynasty, the Society of Nations makes a formal protest, no word from hsi former JSA allies
- the New Occultism continues to rise in the US as the result of the confirmation of supernatural powers demonstrated by members of the JSA.

The Mission:
It is a fairly open secret that following Superman's intervention in Germany that the majority of the Nazi leadership, not to mention party memebers as a whole, escaped or covered up their involvement.  Today many of the members of the German Republic's New Future Party are, in fact, one time Nazis.  More troubling is the rumors that immediately after Hitler's arrest the Nazi leadership sent teams abroad to "develop a counter to the threat of the American Superman so that the true Aryan Ubermensch may emerge." 

Witht he conclusion of the Pacfic War and the formation of the Society of Nations, Secretary of Defense Terry Sloan has authorized the Overseas Intelligence Agency and the FBI to begin the hunt for the remaining Nazis through an interdepartmental taskforce code named Operation Titan.

Members include:
Richard Grayson, Agent R, (1st apperance April 1940, 12 yrs old?,approximate current age: 23) - The one time sidekick served as an intellgience operative in the Pacific War and, although tone of the youngest members,  now leads a field team.
Roy Harper, Red Arrow (1st appearnce Nov 1941, 16 yrs old?, approx. current age: 28) - After Green Arrow's death at the hands of a arrow themed villain Speedy has become one of the worlds greatest snipers.
Wing How, the Avenger (1st appearance Oct. 1938, 16 yrs old?, approx age31)-Wing's martial arts skills and knowledge of local customs proved invaluable in China.
Sanderson Hawkins, Sandman (1st appearnce Dec. 1941, 16 yrs old?, approx age 28) - Sandy specializes in nonlethal means to subdue his opponents.  Since the passing of his mentor he has also begun to demonstrate limit precogative abilities.
Daniel Dunbar, TNT (1st apperance April 1942, 14 yrs old? approx age 25) - Dan has internalized the power of the rings he and his mentor once used to become a human demolition squad.  His personality, however, is equally explosive.
Merry Pemberton, Gimmick (1st apperance June 1948, 16 yrs old, approx age 21) - Sharing her brother's talent for adventure and invention Merry serves as the team's technical expert.


Other possibilities include: a succesor to Alan Scott's ring (although Hal Jordan has to get it a decade or so later),  Dr. Fate's apprentice, or a new Atlantian or Amazonian representative.

Further down the timeline I can see a gray haired Clark Kent, long time champion of human rights, standing next to MLK in Memphis, catching the bullet and revelaing himself to be the missing Superman; haivign long ago decided that the was to change the world was Clark's typewriter and not Superman's fists.
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, we have been told that the JSA will bemoving back to Earth-2 in the new DCU.  This has lead me to thinking about those characters, whom I have loved ever sense I found out that there was another Flash and Green Lantern in the first JLA/JSA crossover I ever read.

As a Mutant and Masterminds game that will never be played, a thought experiment, or as some vague foundation for future work I present the basis for JSA Operation: Titan:

Premises
1) DC Characters appeared in public based on the date of their first actual appearance in comcis.
2) Adult characters are assumed to be in their late 20s or ealy 30s while teen or kid characters are between 12 and 16 unless we have textual evidence otherwise.
3) People age and time passes. 
4) Superheroing is hard work and the non-superpowered have a career length somewhat similar to professional atheletes. 
5) Superheroes have a impact on the real world.

Main Point of Divergence:  Based on his early appearances Superman is very much a crusader for social justice.  The reports of refugees from Europe servce as a motivation for him to act.  By 1940 he overthrows the Nazi government, bringing Hitler to the League of Nations for trial. Germany, under League guidance, is reorganized.  Many of the Nazi heirarchy disappears.  Japan, seing Superman's intervention, alters its plans for US controlled areas of the Pacific and focuses its attention on China.  Stalin issues a statement that if any American 'mystery man' sets foot on Russian soil he will destroy a city, using his own people as hostages against. Superman.  Global tensions, however, continue to rise and several smaller wars errupt over the course of the decade.  The main one is the inevitable Pacific War with Japan.

More later, fussy baby now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Played a quick and dirty ressurection of our Pathfinder game this Saturday.  We are going to do a "soft reboot" to Pathfinder rules. So, before I start trying to figure out what we are doing (I have a clue and am going to abandon the whole "Night of Dissolution" thing for more personal adventures for the PCs), I have updates the two Ptolus Races we use.  The Litorain required a bit more work, but I think we end up with something that is playable and fairly balanced against the core races.  The Grailwarden dwarf was easier, I just found two alternate racial traits that already existed that were close to the Ptolus version and fit the setting.

Ptolus Races Pathfinderized

Litorians

+2 Dex, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence

Medium Size

Low Light Vision:Litorians can see twice as far as humans in conditions od dim-light.

Scent: Litorians have the scent special ability. This extraordinary ability lets a creature detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

A creature with the Survival skill and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. A creature with the scent ability can attempt to follow tracks using Survival untrained. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry's odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill in regards to tracking. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures. Water-breathing creatures that have the scent ability, however, can use it in the water easily.

False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 1

Fierce:+2 bonus to Intimidate,

Born to the Hunt: +2 bonus to Perception and Survival

Bite: A Litorian can bite an opponent for 1d4 points of damage. A Litorian is considered proficient with a bite attack.

Languages: Automatic:  Common (Imperial), Litorian  Bonus: Elven, Gnoll, Goblin, Orc

Grailwarden Dwarves

Replace (see Pathfinder SRD):

Greed Racial Trait with Craftsman trait (this trait covers all technological Craft, Knowledge, and Proffesion skills related to stone or metal as well)

Hatred with Ancient Enmity



Rule Update:
Guns will be those found in the Pathfinder Ultiamte Combat Book.  They are fairly common, but still emerging.  Weapons listed as "Early Firearms" are martial weapons and cost 25% of the listed amount in the book.  "Advanced Firearms" are newer and rarer.  They cost 50% of the listed price and require the Exotic Weapons Proficiency feat for non-Gunslingers. Thus any fighter might have a 250 gp pistol but only Gunslingers and the most dedicated are going to be using 2000gp Revlovers.

Ptolus Traits
Cityborn: You hail from Ptolus.  You may use Knolwedge(local) untrained within the city.  Choose one home region and you gain a +2 bonus to Knowledge(local) checks in that region.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aquaman does not suck.  Many people who have tried to write Aquaman, on the other hand....

The trick is to make Aquaman unique and not just a superhero underwater.  To that end we take heavy influence from Peter David's run, Conan the Barbarian, and the old Sword and Sorcery/Sword and Planet adventure pulps of the 20th century to rework the setting and motivation of Arthur Curry.

Aquaman the Ocean Master

The Cities of the Deep have been at war for generations.  Ancient civilizations and mutant monsters vie for power.  The leviathans rise from their abyssal nests.  All will be undone.

But a child of prophesy is born.  One who will either unite the cities, or destroy them. Orin, son of a priestess of old Atlantis, was born with sun touched hair - as sign of ancient blessing, or curse.  The child is taken by a faction determined to thwart the oracles and left to the mercy of the sea.  He is found by a human, Arthur Curry, and raised in isolation from both the surface world and the Deep.  As a young man, however, he learns of his heritage when a kill squad finds him and drags him to Atlantis' chief rival city: Lemuria. 

Orin, or Arthur as he prefers, is seen as a barbarian, tainted by the surface world.  He is to be sacrificed to the Lemurian monster-gods as a prelude to the invasion of Atlantian territory.  Arthur, however, is stronger, tougher, and faster than any in the Deep, and he has an ancient connection to the sea life of the Deep.  Arthur leads an escape from Lemuria, killing one of the monster-gods in the process. 

Feared by the current rulers of Atlantis, hated by Lemuria, revered by the wandering fringe cultures of the Deep, Arthur now leads a small band of warriors across the face of the Deep against the sorcerer and priest kings of the Cities.  By his side is the water witch Mera, the scholar Vulko, the ill tempered orphan known only as Tempest, and the kraken spawn Topo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
OK some explination this time around:  One thing has always bothered me about Green Lanterns.  What are they supposed to be doing? Keeping the peace?  If so what constitutes peace? Enforcing the law? Which law, whose law, and what are  my rights? If they are no more than obeing the guardians then we are at the mercy of strange near immortal beings with no clearly defined ethics or agenda. Conceptually I love Green Lantern, but even with  Johns' recent work on the property's mythos its not really a well defined group.

Oh, and if they are Guardians of the Universe how come so few GLs?   3600 or even 7200 spread out across near infinite space is not going to cut it.  Some depictions indicate they are meerly Guardians of this galaxy, that would make much more sense, especially if they are really asigned to guard clusters of life bearing worlds adn not actually patrol the void.


Green Lantern

Millinea ago a race of advanced beigns developed on the planet Malta. As they reached the peak of their technological advancement they uncleashed a war between factions that not only nearly exterminated them but several developing civilizations they had inlisted in their conflicts.   The surviors of the war retreated to a sanctuary near the heart of the Galaxy, Oa.  For centuries they debated on how to proceed. Civilization, they ultimnately decided, in whatever form it may manifest must be protected.  They knew, however, they had their own internal biases.  To overcome those they would need to diversify those who could make desicions, and they would have to give those beings the power to back them up.

Thus they created the central power battery and a multitude of lenses that could harness its power from anywhere in the galaxy.  They chose 3600 sentient beings from around the galaxy and gave them these lenses.  They were selected for their fearlessness and their compassion and for the ability to see beyond the constraints of their own biology  to the needs of other beings.   They new such diversity would strain against itself, even with a united purpose, but that was part of the plan.  There would be no central authority, no unifying structure.  Each of these new Guardians of Civilization's near limitless power would be checked by its fellows. None could pursue their own agendas without risk of calling the rest down upon them. 

The Council of Oa trained these Guardians in the use of their powers and the value of civilization as a corrective and protective  force for the worst instincts of sentient life, and they taught them the pitfalls of civilization.   The Guardians, once chosen, would even stand apart from the rest of the Galaxy, doing their best to keep it alive.

Once their tasks were completed the Council left.  Where they went no one knows.  The Guardians were left to tend themselves.

In countless ages since many of the lenses have been lost, some never to be recovered.  Guardians have gone bad, formed factions, and made war upon one another.  Some have retreated unto themselves, nurturing but a single world or culture.  Overall, however, the Council's vision has been true and the Guardians have been a force for good in the galaxy.

Currently ruled by an Honor Guard of seven, the Guardians distribute the lenses, often called Green Lanterns, to worthy individuals and oversee the training of these neophytes.  They arbitrate disputes, not only between Guardians but frequently between star faring civilizations.   On occasion they give suggestion or direction to individuals or groups of Guardians, but each rules himself his own way. 

Ten years ago Abin Sur, one of the Honor Guard, came to a human to offer him the  chance to be the first from our world to wield the lense.  He chose a former warrior, a marine, who had turned his passion to building of society though architecture.  He showed him worlds destroyed by their own weapons as well as those obliterated from without.  He showed him the star spanning empires and the colonies of sentient molds that grow at the base of the global forests.  He taught him to wield power andshow restraint, how to use the lense to  create anything he might will, and how not to let his will get away from him.  Finally he was deemed ready and five years ago he was brought back to Earth to be its first Guardian.

Since then he has fought the leftover androids of a mad Oan, the Manhunters, and the remants of the ancient war in the Weponeers of Qward.  He has fought human terrorism and villany.  He has saved this and other worlds.  He is John Stewart, the finest of the Guardians.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Manhunter

Hear now the secret history of the modern world.  In the last days of World War 2 an advanced reconcisance squad breached German lines and secured the equipment of a Nazi project known as Kreigsgott and its chief scientist Dr. Erdel.  Dr. Erdel had found a unique cosmic resonance in a mysterious artifact that would allow teleportation across planetary distances, specifically to Mars.

In the late 40s and early 50s this technology was perfected in the US as part of Project Ares.  By 1952 America sent its first manned expidition to another world.   Soon after a base was established contact with the unexpected natives began.

The Maritans were a psychic and communal race, with little thoughts of individuality.  They were curious and physcially and mentally adaptive.  What were once ill defined morphous forms became green men and women, and as is so often the case the explorers infected the natives.  Not with a disease, but with ideas.

Mental contact with the humans drove the Martians insane.  Individuallity led to factionallism and factionallism led to war.   The war ravaged the planet and soon Project Ares was recalled, but not before they had scavaged and harvest the Martian biomass for their own experiments.

Today men and women across the globe are the willing and unwitting recipients of Martian genes and grafts.  They have created psychics and self healing warriors and shape changing spies.  They are slowly infilitrating the goverments and intellifence agencies of the world. 

They think they know everything, they do not.  They missed something on Mars.

A single Martian.  A Maritan infected with human ideas of individuallity, freedom, responcibility, and one other thing.

Revenge.

The Manhunter is coming. 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
While I have ideas for Batman's supporting casting, let's go to the next entry.

Wonder Woman
Motivation: An actual female friendly book.  A little of the current storyline pluys a healthy dose of Buffy. A little more urban fantasy/supernatural thriller that straight on superhero tight- fest.

The Sisterhood has existed for thousands of years and have been known by many names.  They exist seperate from society, but woven through it.  They keep the light of civilization from falling to darkness, whether from without or within. They are scholars, artists, philosophers, and warriors.  They wield paratechnology and mystic weapons side by side with forgotten godlings against mythic nightmares.  They are strong.  They are brave.  They are wise.  They are our best hope.  They are Amazon.

Twenty years ago a child of prophesy was born to the leader of the Sisterhood.  At her birth were gathered avatars of those things once called gods by man.  From every corner of the world they came to convey their blessings and offer gifts to the new daughter, for  they new the tides of darkness were rising and a fortold age of monsters was coming.

Diana grew up cloistered, learnign, training and growing to know and trust her supernatural gifts.  She was going to do something that no Amazon had done in generations:  she was going to make the fight public.  She is a bit naive about how the world works, a bit unsure of heself, but not unsure of her abilities.  She was born to kill monsters, and thats what she does.

Diana is dubbed the "Wonder Woman" by a young FBI agent named Steve Trevor, whom she seems to constantly run into.   She is also courted by Mark, an aspect of the god Mercury, and tormented by a rouge Amazon named Artemis who seems to know a secret about her birth.  She must find her way in this world or the Labrynth, a secret society of the would be kings of this world, and their monsterous allies will soon have us all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
With the Silver Age appearance of the Flash DC reinvented itself and its characters.  Whats coming up is more of a "soft restart" that a true reboot.  I got to thinking, what would I do if I could really restart the DCU, keeping only the names and basic concepts?

First: Batman
Motivation: Superman once called Batman "the most dangerous man in the world" lets go with that and modern crime/spy drama.

Bruce Wayne left Gotham when he was a teenager, bored, unchallenged, and unable to stomach the staid and hypocritical life style of his father. He spent the next ten years of his life bumming around the world.  He was a big game hunter, a mercenary, and race car driver and, when it came to his parent's company, a thief.  Then he was called back to Gotham. His parent's car exploded killing them both.  All evidence pointed to a mob hit, but in Gotham it was labeled an "accident."  He returned to claim his inheritance, along with his loyal assistant Alfred Pennyworth - former British Special Forces and an ex-mercenary and surrogate father for Bruce.The Gotham that he returns to is a failed city, barely kept alive with the remains of Wayne Industries and the mob money with an international reputation as haven for criminals where anything to goes.  Everything would have been fine, except the same people who killed his parents tried to kill him. Bruce Wayne isn't easy to kill. 

Recovering from the attack and in a drug induced haze Wayne sees a vision of a huge and almost demonic bat, hunting skies full of insects, insects rising from the corpses of his parents.  Bruce makes a decision. He has hunted the biggest game in the world in the most dangerous locales, now he will hunt Gotham.  The Batman identity isn't so much to protect Bruce Wayne as it is totemic for him. No one who matters doubts that Wayne and the Batman are one and the same, but that information doesn't do them much good.  So now Gotham has another predator who hunts its skies on glider wings, who kills the bugs swarming over its corpse.

 
More later.