World of the 400
The World of the 400 is the background for two
currently running Champions campaigns.
Other links to the World of the 400 are
Players in either campaign, and anyone else, are welcome to read the
following page, its information is all public knowledge in the World of
the 400. Players in UN PEACE MUST NOT read the home
page for Academy. Players in Academy MUST NOT read
the Open Questions page for UN PEACE. Since UN PEACE is a public
superteam, Academy players may read the other UN PEACE pages if their
characters follow superhero news.
It's modern day earth, with the difference that
there are about 400 significant superbeings on Earth; distributed
evenly about 1 for every 10 million population except that the U.S. has
twice as many as it should have and China appears to have none so far
as anybody knows.
About 1/3rd of them protect human society and laws
(let's call them "superheroes"), 2/3rd believe their own desires or
plans override the rule of law (let's call them "supervillains", but
not where they can hear us), and there don't appear to be any sitting
on the sidelines. When a superbeing dies (not as rare as it used to be),
another one pops up
eventually. There are estimates that perhaps 4000 people world wide
have at least some paranormal ability but 90% of them aren't powerful
to make any difference, and further estimates that perhaps 1 in 10 of
the 400 are powerful enough to destroy a city. Speculation regarding
whether the 1 in 10 step up in power applies to those 40 as well is
strongly discouraged as being too unsettling to think about. There are
a handful of people who dress up and play superbeing even though they
don't have superpowers; it's pretty rough.
The following is what the average US teenager somewhat interested in supers
in the World of the 400
would likely know, mostly from comic books and news reports.
Apparently there were superbeings on both sides of WW II, ending
abruptly July 28, 1945 when The Golden Agency and their arch-enemies all
died when the B-25 they were fighting in crashed into the 79th floor of the
Empire State Building. The Golden Agency included Liberator, Fox, Dreadnought and
Torch, but their comics aren't as popular in the 80s and so you may not
know much about them. They formed in the early 40's when they saved
FDR, and seem to have spent most of the war foiling various insane
plots by the brilliant Doc Odin, his unstoppable army of Aryandroids,
and the Legion of Doom. The Legion and Doc Odin himself also died in
the B-25 crash, and there was no super-being activity after that until
The members of Team One saved President Reagan in 1983 and formed a
team; the original members were Paladin, Key and Monolith. Laurentide
joined in issue 4, Centurion in issue 25. Monolith turned out to be an
alien princess and returned home to the stars in issue 50 (remember,
this is how the comic book reports it). Key turned evil in issues
91-99 and Slipstream joined in issue 96; in 100 Key left the team for
good. It's somewhere around issue 180 as of July 1998. All the team members have
their own comic books as well as the team book.
Team One is often called "The National Team" because they'll go
anywhere inside the US to fight evil or injustice too strong for
ordinary measures. They're not officially affiliated with the US
government but the President has a golden phone to call them with, and
in practice most everyone considers them America's Team.
Current members are:
- Kid Thunder - strong and nigh-invulnerable leader of the
rebuilt Team One, with 10 years of training even though he's only 17.
- Tsunami - can turn herself into water, and generate high pressure water blasts, and is the daughter of the ranking minority party member of the U.S. Senate committee on Paranormal activity. Formerly a member of UN PEACE.
- Radiant - has powerful light based powers, and claims to be the phase-conjugate ("twin") of Lightwave, who was buried under a building fighting the Legion of Doom in 1997.
- Ravenfire - is a teenage Navajo girl with solar-based fire powers, and worked with UN PEACE before moving to the big leagues. Injured
by the Legion of Doom in late 1997 but resumed active duty in July 1998 when
Team One reformed.
- Blue Boy - Mysterious superhero dressed like a
19th century cavalry soldier who helped save the president July 4th, 1997 in
Washington. Powers unknown but apparently bulletproof.
Previous members include:
- Rebel - Cool Luck powers weren't enough to save him from Monolith in Issue 99, but his death snapped Laurentide back to sanity.
- Monolith - Stronger than Centurion, and tougher than she was strong.
- Key - could step through any door and out of any other door.
Anywhere. Could take people with her. Became a supervillain, was
thought dead, then reappeared in December 1996 to heroically save a
transatlantic 747 from terrorists with the help of UN PEACE, but died in
the process. Paladin's eulogy at her funeral on Iceland brought tears
to everyone's eyes. Her body was cremated.
- Paladin - like Captain America but without the moral ambiguity.
A very skilled human (with a staff rather than a shield) whose only
superpower seems to be that he always makes the correct decision in any
situation. Team leader, of course. Resigned in December 1996 to spend
some time in reflection; greatly missed.
- Laurentide - the coldest man in the world; glacial powers over snow and
ice. Briefly turned evil in Issue 99 and called himself Black Ice
then, but recovered fully. He spent a lot of time in Chicago when
he's not with Team One. Took a leave of absence in mid-Decmber 1996 to
move to Chicago following its near destruction in an huge unexplained
blizzard. Went missing in mid-February 1997 and turned up later as Black Ice
again, in the villainous Seven Booted League.
- Slipstream - The fastest woman in the world, and the most popular superheroine, far and away. (Rockette's fans will hotly dispute the
latter point, but are simply wrong.) Died Christmas Day, 1996, saving the world.
- Centurion - The strongest man in the world, possibly even stronger than
Monolith was. Died Christmas Day, 1996, saving the world.
- Halo - An angel of fire, complete with burning wings,
a terrible flaming sword, and an infectious giggle. Joined briefly in early 1997, resigned February 14, 1997.
- Shimmer - joined briefly May 26 after the New York Rangers broke up, but hasn't been seen since the July 4th Washington attack. There are rumors he may be dead or badly injured, although the remaining Rangers deny that.
- Hurricane - has the sort of powers you'd expect
with a name like that, and his own comic book. Joined Team One on
Christmas Day 1996 after teaming up with Slipstream and Centurion the
previous week to save Orlando from
the supervillain Inferno. Previously Orlando's resident hero, although
sometimes accused of being Disney's corporate hero. Badly injured by
the Legion of Doom and retired in late 1997.
New York Rangers
New York City has its own team of superheroes, the New York Rangers,
headquartered atop the Empire State Building from 1989 to May 1997.
They split up temporarily in May 1997 but like each other too much to stay
seperate for long, it's thought. And New York badly needs heroes, with the
recent wave of supervillains laughing off the attempts of New York's finest
to bring them to justice.
- Rockette - no superpowers, but has a rocket pack, the famous
rocket-sling, and all the attitude any hero could ever ask for. Very
popular. Female. Teamed up with Action Girl in LA from May to August,
missing since August 1997, found in May 1998.
- Snap - Rubber Band Girl. Hung out with
Goldenwatch in San Francisco May through September, although she had to
promise to stop jumping off the golden gate bridge because the
rubberneckers slow down traffic too much. Badly injured fighting The Legion
of Doom with Team One in late 1997, but bounced back by May 1998.
- Shimmer - Male with invisibility, frictionless walls of force, and an
infinitely thin edge that cuts through anything, that he never uses on
people no matter how much they tempt him. Joined Team One 5/26/97, missing
and rumored to be dead or injured since 7/4/97.
- Thunderbolt - brilliant scientist, tends to
out-think enemies rather than out-fight them. Indestructible since
issue 24. Male. There were a lot of rumors after Paladin's departure that he may
quit the NY Rangers to lead Team One. Currently believed to be dead,
having sacrificed himself to save the world in February 1997.
Manhattan also has a solo hero, Spookshow, best
described as a a cross between Spiderman (with his black costume) and
Batman (think, "Marshall Rogers cape that eats people"), who
wages a campaign of psychological terror against street-level
criminals. He (possibly she) has several
comic books, some cartoony, some quite dark and violent. Spookshow
never uses guns and never harms innocents. While officially a wanted
criminal, has saved enough cops' lives to be practically untouchable by
New York's finest. Currently stretched very thin by being the
only active local superhero in NYC.
Pax, the UN's only superhero until recently,
operates out of UN HQ in Manhattan but
doesn't have any adventures in the US itself, apparently. Mostly he's
off doing good deeds and foiling evil ultranationalist plots to derail
peace processes, and that sort of thing. His comics tend to have heavy
moral or social lessons pounded into them. Was badly injured saving the
UN Security Council in early July 1997 but recovered enough to fight
the Legion of Doom to a standstill on the steps of the UN Building in
spring 1998. Hasn't been seen since.
As though Pax weren't enough by himself, there are now
The United Nations Paranormal Education and
Cooperation Envoys, Envoys for short.
- Blindspot - Bulgarian who turns people invisible, blinding them
- Emoticon - French projective empath
- Rime - Canadian figure skater who can create ice, from a cop family
- Doc Stingray - Possibly the smartest girl in the world, with a suit of living powered armor she won in a writing contest on "Why I Want to be a Hero" in Japan.
Associate Members (in training in Switzerland but do not go on missions):
- Eclipse - 14 year old girl from the Congo with mysterious dream powers
- Sparrow - Thai teenager with light-based powers
- Ricochet - Young and well-liked superhero from Australia with strange bouncing powers; has worked with the A team several times. Unfortunate tendency to precipitate property damage on a massive scale.
- Victory - 14-year old German girl whose powers have not been publicized yet.
- Chimaera - beautiful
shapeshifting princess-in-exile of Montenegro, who resigned in mid '97 to spend
more time working on her people's causes.
- Navy - US water-controller who really wants to be in the navy; "graduated" from UN PEACE in August '97 after his 18th birthday, currently attending the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
- Harmony - Popular Brazilian singer with sonic powers
- Tsunami was a member of UN PEACE before leaving to join the US Team One.
There were a couple of reports of a mysterious team of heroes calling itself
Force Ten operating in the Midwestern U.S. They defeated
Tar Babe in Akron Ohio in the spring of 1997, and some believe they may
have been involved in saving Chicago in the winter of 1996. The Seven Boots
League has issued a public challenge to them but so far they've remained in
the shadows, their intentions known only to themselves. They briefly fought
the Legion of Doom in New York City in August 1997, saving the Statue of
Liberty at considerable risk to their own lives.
There is an unofficial Force 10 Comic book which may or may not have
any link to reality. The heroes in it are teen
escapees from a secret government project, now masquerading as a rock&roll
rock band until trouble looms, then turning into:
- Tesla Girl - Biker Punkette with electrical powers
- Metalhead - Heavy Metal headbanger who turns to and controls magnetic metals, Tesla Girl's on-again off-again boyfriend
- Champagne - Stylish high-society girl, strong and bubbly
- Toast - Black fire projector from the wrong side of Detroit streets, secretly in love with Champagne
In 1998 Force 10 was unveiled as Team Two, working for the US
Secret Service. The actual members consist of:
- Champagne - Strong bubbly girl
- Choir - A cubic foot of genius-grade goo with the voice of an eight year old; sickening to behold but actually very sweet
- Katydid - Bug girl of the future, not as strong as Champagne, but at least she can fly
- Glacier - Frozen master of fire
- Shadow Lotus - Silent mistress of Ninjutsu
Weirdness by the Bay
Goldenwatch (or possibly Golden Watch, accounts differ) in San
Francisco doesn't have a comic book of its own (or rather, they do,
but even kids can tell it has no hooks to reality, and the writers
change every few issues), so about all that's commonly known about them
are 3 of the 4 team member names (Kohl,
Svaha, and Pandora), that they
never operate outside the bay area, and that it's just maybe possible
that ALL of them belong in the 40.
Los Angeles has a B&W comic with the Adventures of Action Girl
("Trinity's Best Friend"). She doesn't have any superpowers ("a little
judo, and I can draw a bit") but she's pretty clever, and can actually
pull off looking cool in a costume with a skirt and a big A across the
front of her jacket. She runs around LA and southern California on her
motorcycle and tricks villains into defeating themselves or at least
not beating her up. Trinity Herself doesn't appear in the comic book.
Action Girl was inspired by the wonderful comic
Action Girl Comics ("Girl-positive and female-friendly -- never
anti-boy") by the amazing Sarah Dyer, which you should rush out
and buy lots of, 'cause it's cool. Especially the issue with the paper dolls
on the cover.
A by-no-means-exhaustive list:
- ! - pronounced "Bang!", a very fast and dangerous teen boy, now imprisoned.
- Adobe - Popular Mexican superhero, very strong when dry.
- Basilisk - Mercenary supervillain with power to turn people to stone with a glance. Very tough, not too brave. Last seen in Bulgaria, before that, South Africa and Switzerland.
- Black August - The combined strength, skills, memories, hopes and dreams of everyone who died August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan. Casts 60,000 shadows. Immensely strong. Responsible for sinking a US Aircraft Carrier, and extensively hunted by both Japan and the United States. Appears to have integrated his personalities before appearing on Iron Chef, so now more dangerous than ever.
- Blood Red Queen - The archnemesis of Spookshow.
- Blur - Invisible supervillain who attacked the president July 4th, 1997. May have been killed. Rumors that he was Shimmer turned evil have not been confirmed.
- Borealis - Canadian Nationalist supervillain, captured in spring 1998.
- Bulldog - Britain's most popular superhero
- Caret - South African supervillainess with diamond powers.
- Cataphractal - Teleporting Turkish supervillaines in fancy armor
- Catapult - Acrobatic Turkish supervillain with catapult powers
- Corn Silk Woman - Native American supervillainess operating in the western U.S.A., captured by UN PEACE and Goldenwatch in late 1997.
- Democratic Patriot Force - Soviet, err Russian, superhero team, formerly known as October Patriot Force. Involved in the Kunashiri incident. Very rarely used outside ex-Soviet boundaries. Radioactive.
- Bomb - Explosive teleporter that whines too much
- Fallout - Radioactive steam woman, involved in attack on US President 7/4/97, possibly under mind control from renegade U.S. telepath trying to start a war
- Meltdown - slaglike gentle strongman.
- Doctor Fenris - Genius inventor perished with his blizzard engine 12/1/96 in Chicago
- Fleur de Lis - France's greatest hero (for what that's worth)
- Great Chicago Fire - Greedy redheaded mistress of fire, Laurentide's arch-enemy, apparently leader of the Seven Booted League.
- Heart - Zairean President Mobotu's strong-arm superthug, now a freelance following Mobotu's death September 9, 1997. Works with Ivory. Gains victim's power by eating heart, knowledges and skills by eating brains. Not a nice guy.
- Inferno - Another firebug, currently imprisoned.
- Iraqi Attack Pack - Supervillain team that attempted to kill the UN Secretary General; eventually brought to justice by UN PEACE. Members included:
- Doc Scud - Master of the mis-aimed explosion. Taken into custody with severe injuries by UN PEACE New Year's Eve 1997. Died of injuries spring 1998.
- Kryton - Extremely annoying teleporter with strange time powers. Was in Canadian custody in a coma with severe neurological damage, died spring 1998.
- Republican Guard - Immortal tactical mastermind, serving a life term at Fort Cheer. Died spring 1998
- Scirroco - In custody, believed to have lost powers.
- Vapor - In Canadian custody.
- Iron Cross - German nationalist super...? Possibly a member of the Front for the Preservation of National Sovereignty (Sovereigns).
- Justice - France's newest hero, with zero tolerance for crime
- Kazan - Japanese supervillain with volcano powers, believed dead in 1995.
- Koroshi - Japanese Supervillainess specializing in elegant murders.
- La Chat - Stylish French Cat burglar, possibly without superpowers. Stole 7 billion francs worth of paintings from the Louvre to save them from the marauding Eiffel Tower.
- La Pantere - French supervillainess with panther control powers and the ability to turn people into savage panthers
- Lamia - ally or creation of the Blood Red Queen, who bled monsters. Imprisoned in Ft. Cheer.
- Legion of Doom - The original Legion of Doom was a German
superteam in WW II, who died July 28, 1945. There have been several more since
then. The current team calling itself that appeared in August 1997 and have
since more or less taken over New York City, with a brief diversion to Washington
where the Washington Monument was toppled. Can no one stop them?
- Chain Lightning - Martial Artist Brick
- Express - Speedster Brick
- Hammer - Brick Brick
- Starlight - Energy Projector Brick
- Liberte - Quebec separatist supervillainess, now in prison.
- Lightwave - Laser-powered heroine who debuted July 6th in Washington. Offered a position on Team One but refused. Not seen since she was buried under a building fighting The Legion of Doom in New York City (although she had two of them down before going down herself.) Believed dead.
- Lioness - Protector of Africa, apparently has the powers of any animal in sub-saharan Africa larger than herself. Blown up by Ricochet in northern France.
- Lionheart - Very dangerous Zulu superhero, operates in Soutern Africa
- Mr. Clear - German supervillain working for an outlawed cult
- Mole - Congo's only remaining superhero, deformed but with dangerous tunneling powers. Not well-socialized.
- Moon Blossom Zeta Force - Four powerful teen Japanese superheroines, Cherry, Lily, Rose and Chrysanthemum, who rescued the Peruvian Hostages Christmas Eve 1996 and are believed to have perished Christmas Day saving the world. An unreliable news report claims to have spotted them in Boston February 15, 1997.
- Nemesis - Southeast Asian supervillainess who steals any powers used against her.
- Night/Wraith - Mercenary assassin with detachable shadow, last seen in South Africa.
- Obsidian - Razor-sharp sentient cloud of obsidian fragments
blown up in attack on president 7/4/97, not seen since.
- Photon - Dangerous Light-powered mercenary, not seen since summer '97.
- Push - Indonesian pirate brick whose plans for world conquest were foiled by UN PEACE in November '97.
- Red Hand - Cambodian supervillain with power to boil victims' blood with a touch. Placed in medical custody following early July 1997 attack on the UN Security Council in a failed attempt to free Pol Pot. Later escaped and was foiled by Force 10 in a Sunnyvale fab.
- Red Streak - Soviet Speedster attacked the president in July 4th, 1997, knocked overboard during fight and not seen since.
- Roadkill - A teenage boy with tar powers like Tar Babe but even more obnoxious. Possibly killed by Force 10 in spring 1998.
- She Who Laughs - can animate any object, but was cleverly captured by UN PEACE after rampaging through Paris as the Eiffel Tower.
- Silver Dragon - Japan's National Heroine, currently "going through sort of a Miyazaki phase"
- Slick - Indonesian Pirate supervillain crushed and killed in October '97 in a boating accident.
- Sons of Liberty - U.S. Freedom fighters with a dangerous agenda, all teenage although they have adult associates with military training.
- ? - Strong
- N Wave - Neutron beam powers
- ? - Flyer
- Aqua Regia - Girl of acid
- Stormhawk - Very powerful and dangerous shapestealing Montenegren supervillain
- Sunsword - Japan's National Hero, with a solar blade.
- Swap - Turkish supervillainess able to swap paranormal powers with a touch
- Tar Babe - "The Madder I get, the stickier I get!" Last seen absorbing the Akron, Ohio tire dump, where she was defeated by Force 10. Believed dead.
- Titaness - Russian supervillainess whose growth is matched only by her dislike of authority. Has vowed vengeance on Emoticon. In U.S. Custody following 7/4/97 attack on president.
- Tempest - Mercenary weather controlling supervillain; possibly killed in Switzerland August '97
- Tengu - Stylish Japanese supervillain based on legends of the goblin crow swordmasters. Believed to have been executed for his role in the Kunashiri Incident, but recent reports indicate he may be working with the Seven Booted League, although that may be someone else using the same name.
- Thousand Cranes - Highly Distributed Japanese Supervillain, believed to be dead after falling (or maybe being pushed) into an active volcano in Japan in 1995.
- Tin Angel - Genius jury-rigged Cyborg protecting the streets of Boston from scum and Harvard grads. Rumored to be forming a superteam called Everyday Angels.
- Trekker - Boer superhero and master hunter (South Africa)
- The Turk - Turkish strongman supervillain.
- Vox - European supervillain with sound powers, an enemy of Pax, involved in Harmony's origin. May be a member of the Sovereign Front.
- Vox Populi - SF supervillain who gets stronger from crowd noise. Bad news at rock concerts.
- Weather Girl - kind-hearted but with dangerous weather powers, possibly shot while trying to escape Force 10 in Los Angeles. Current whereabouts unknown.
- Zip - Mercenary speedster reported killed in Switzerland August '97.
- Zodiac - Greenpeace has its own hero. Considered by some (France, Japan) to be a supervillain.
UN PEACE has encounted another teen team whose name and goals are not known, currently in Canadian custody:
- Paper Tiger
Copyright © 1996 Carl Rigney
except for Action Girl, who belongs to Sarah Dyer.