The descriptions follow a standard format. The NPC's game statistics are explained, followed by a story that tells how the character gained his powers, what he has done since then and numerous other valuable pieces of information. Finally, there might be some additional material to use as you see fit. Note: All NPCs have a base power level 1 unless otherwise indicated.
If you have good NPCs with all the info that is required for inclusion in this series, please e-mail them to me. I will put them into the next installment of this series, and naturally give full credit to you.
Good/Bad Things: Breaker is Handsome, Well Educated, Cultivated, Determined and In Good Shape. In other words, the ultimate Wall Street yuppie.
Story: Jason Patrick Hawke is a perfect example of an American success story. He was the only son in an obscenely rich family, so he always got what he wanted. Naturally he graduated from high school with the best possible grades. Since money was no object, he entered Harvard, and again graduated with top honors.
Upon graduation he spent one year traveling around Europe since his parents considered it to be a necessary part of a well-rounded young man's education. When he returned home, he was made a CEO in one of the family's enterprises. Hawke did not fail his parents. In just one year he managed to increase the company's profits by 25%. During the next few years he received increasingly responsible positions, and never failed to prove himself worth it.
When Hawke was 28, he decided that despite his great achievements, his life was lacking something. With his considerable personal savings he founded a company called Heroes Inc. His sharp instincts enabled him to choose a number of skilled superheroes to work in his firm. Today Heroes Inc. is 15 years old, and the most respected name in the rent-a-hero business. Its agents take on all kinds of assignments, but the standard policy is to avoid illegal activities. However, it is suspected that the firm has accepted some missions which were directed against organized crime, despite of their steadfast denials.
Heroes Inc. has 12 superheroes (including Breaker), of which only a few are detailed in this text. The GM is encouraged to develop his own characters to fill the ranks, and the firm is a possible employer for PC groups as well. They also have some normal personnel, who work in security, logistics and office staff. The company's head office is in NYC, while their actual base is in Connecticut.
GM Note: Even though the listed power level is 6, Damage has never been hit with anything more powerful than level 4. Thus he has no knowledge of the actual limit of his invulnerability, and would think twice before attempting to survive a nuclear bomb. He has walked out of a burning APC, but he wouldn't want to try that again.
Good Things: Military Training (which enables him to use various weapons), Good Reputation (as a pro soldier) and Athletic Body (which impresses women). Damage is also a Natural Leader.
Story: Javier Marquez was born in Cuba in 1955. His parents fled to Florida in 1960, taking their four children with them. Marquez struggled through high school and graduated with a so-and-so average. After three weeks of unemployment he joined the US Marine Corps. After going through boot camp at Parris Island, Marquez went on to become an infantry squad leader, and later he followed the USMC "mustang" tradition with a promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. Some years passed and he made 1st Lt.
For some reason Lt. Marquez's service record is very hazy during his last years in the Corps. It barely mentions the fact that he was assigned to an embassy security unit somewhere in Middle East. What happened there is still classified top secret. Apparently his power manifested itself during this time, since there are rumors that he saved the life of a VIP by throwing himself on a grenade. However, to this day these remain unconfirmed gossip. Still, it is known that he has a Silver Star, which is very rarely awarded for peacetime service.
In the mid-80s Marquez did not re-enlist for another stint in the USMC. He worked as a police officer in Miami for several years, and during this time he also got married to his childhood sweetheart. One day he was approached by a representative of Heroes Inc. Initially he was disinterested, but after a couple of months' consideration he joined the company. He is in charge of all their combat operations.
Damage, as he is now called, uses a wide variety of firearms and heavier weapons to carry out his missions. Some of his favorites include SIG P226, H&K MP5, M16A2/M203, H&K PSG1 and Mossberg ATP8. Because of his invulnerability, he almost always leads by example, charging the enemy and absorbing their fire. Together with Hardball (see below) he forms one of the most efficient two-man units there is.
Good/Bad Things: Hardball is a Legendary Celebrity. His Charming Smile is familiar to most Americans and many foreigners. But his rapid success has made him Somewhat Egotistic.
Story: Chris Bradford has always been a phenomenal baseball pitcher. As a kid he was always the first choice for any neighborhood team. In high school he was as good as the best college players. In college it was clear that he would be the next big name of the sport, the next Babe Ruth or DiMaggio. All this meant that his college got a very large sum of money when they made a deal with Boston Red Sox. The exact amount was not revealed, but according to the Sox' PR men, it was the largest sum ever paid of any man, in any sport.
If the team's managers had any concerns, they were quickly proven groundless. Bradford broke all single-season pitching records with his amazing arm. As a batter he was only average, but that was more than offset by his specialty. When his second season with the team was over, Boston had won the World Series and he was the most famous athlete in the USA. His best hardballs were often called "inhuman", but no-one really thought he had any super powers.
Then came the opening match of the next season. When Bradford was getting ready to pitch, the packed stadium roared. Then silence followed, as usual. The fans didn't want to disturb their hero. Bradford's arm moved far faster than eye could follow. The ball whizzed past the batter before he could react. It tore a gaping hole in the catcher's glove, broke his wrist and smashed some of the stadium's structures.
Bradford was forced to leave the sport. He, his fans, and the Red Sox all mourned it, but it was ruled that super powers are an unfair advantage to an individual. He was still a celebrity, though: the government wanted to study his power, and he gladly accepted their offer. After one year he did not dare to use full power anymore. After two years the government's best scientists could not even estimate his potential. They knew that he was the most rapidly developed super hero in existence, but that was about it.
Many tests were performed. Some are still classified, but most are public knowledge, and indeed folk legends. Perhaps Bradford's most famous feat was his "Spaceball". NASA manufactured a special metal ball, which was supposed to withstand atmospheric friction. With that ball, Bradford hit the Moon. He calculated the trajectory all by himself, in a matter of few minutes. Then he concentrated, and threw the ball on its way. Later NASA confirmed that he had hit.
Today he is 27 years old, and an agent of Heroes Inc. He usually acts as a fire support section, tossing hand grenades and other small explosives from far away. He is also a very good sniper: with a 10X scope and a .50 inch lead ball he can hit anything he wants. Every now and then he complains about his equal status with other agents, but Damage and Breaker have always calmed him down, though they use completely different methods.
Good/Bad Things: Parrot has a Huge Collection Of Different Clothes And Personal Effects, which he uses when imitating people. He has also studied Acting, which makes it easier for him to copy other people's behavior patterns.
Story: Gerard O'Donnell was a poor actor from New York City. He had various small parts in theater and TV. Little by little he began to get better roles and more positive comments from the press. His ability to change his appearance and get into the character was thought to be exceptional. Soon he didn't need any makeup for his roles, no matter what the character looked like. O'Donnell also discovered that he could very easily change his voice, even beyond normal human scale.
All this naturally made him a sought-after actor, especially since his acting skills were also above average. The studio could save a considerable amount of money in special effects if they hired O'Donnell. His last role was the good T1000 in Terminator 3: Future Encounter. It catapulted him into stardom, but at this point he put his acting career on hold and joined the ranks of Heroes Inc. Should he ever want to make another movie, he could choose from many high-profile projects.
O'Donnell is considered by many movie freaks to be a cult actor, and bootleg videotapes of his TV performances are in high demand, since almost none are available from official sources. The exceptions are two low-budget action films called Infiltrator and Infiltrator II. O'Donnell does not like either of them, commenting that "I only did those movies for money. The producer had a third script ready for filming, but fortunately I got that part in Northern Exposure just in time to avoid it." The company that owns the rights is allegedly looking for another actor to take over the role, but so far no definite plans have been announced.
Parrot has only been in the firm for 9 1/2 months, but he has already proved his ability to impersonate almost anyone after a short period of observation. He tries to avoid the use of violence (but will use it if there is no other option left), and thus rarely participates in straightforward combat missions. Otherwise he has little or no moral qualms.
Good/Bad Things: Tutor is tall for a woman (5'11"), and Very Beautiful. This tends to draw people's attention to her. Since she grew up in Harlem, she Knows The Area Well and is quite Streetwise. Her Determination helped studying and getting good grades. Tutor was successful as a teacher because she Likes Children and is Very Charismatic.
Story: Martha Jackson was born in Harlem, NYC and has lived there for most of her life. Her parents always stressed the importance of education, saying it is the only real way of getting out of the slums. Of course, for an attractive young woman there was one other option, but Jackson refused to even think about it.
She focused her energy on studying, and the results mirrored that dedication. After high school she entered college and upon graduation chose a teacher's career. Jackson could have chosen from many schools in the NYC area, but she returned to teach in the school where she had been as a kid. Her tireless work raised the school's status slowly, but surely.
Because Jackson stood out of any crowd, she often had to cope with the local gangers and tough guys. Since there are no records of her ever being harmed in any way, some researchers believe her telepathic powers were functional even in her adolescence, though it was likely to be a kind of subconscious instinct instead of an active power. Later, when Jackson worked as a teacher, many of her colleagues commented on her incredible empathic skills and superb understanding of kids. It is very probable that her power was growing stronger little by little during this time.
A few years ago Jackson apparently found out that she was indeed a super-powered person. She quit her work and joined Heroes Inc., saying that her powers would do more good there. At this writing she is the only telepath employed by the firm. Her code name, Tutor, partially reflects her responsibilities, since she is in charge of hiring new personnel, both super-powered and not. Like Parrot, Tutor does not like violence. She says she saw enough of it growing up in Harlem. She also considers carefully whether it feels right to use her powers on anyone. As a result, she and Damage often argue about something on missions.