HHL Rumors [Background] [Prep]

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Doyce T.
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Main members Golem [Harry heard] Taking a drug that counters degeneration from their power use. No one knows where it comes from or who developed it. Nautilus [Jason/Harry] Has a kid at Gardner Academy. Real asshole. Nobody’s favorite. Genius inventor. Probably/definitely on the spectrum. Very occasionally reviews beard oils on YouTube. Oya [Harry heard] Technically used to be a super-villain (Dad always says that with sheepish air-quotes), of the eco-terrorist sort. Some people don’t think she ever gave it up, just got better at hiding her involvement. Silver Streak Tempest Transcendent Bit of a running joke that they have a tendency to briefly turn evil and try to subjugate the world. Would be funnier if it weren’t kinda true. [Jason heard] Toppled an interstellar empire’s despotic ruler, but left the empire itself in civil war rather than stick around and rebuild. Secondary or less-well-known-to-the-public members Blackbird Technically Blackbird II - her mom was on the team. The youngest member by a wide margin. Guardian Going through an ugly, public divorce.  Jokes about retiring in every interview in the last five years. Hecate Takes a lot of heat in some social media circles as a vocal TERF . [Harry heard] Used their powers to spy on a rival and reported their activities to AEGIS as suspicious. Paladin [Leo heard] Stole a villain’s tech, then incorporated it into their own. Phantasm [Jason heard] - had an affair with the spouse of another super (Ex member of the team). A couple of downtown buildings came down when the situation came out and they had an ‘argument’. They made up a story of a supervillain who got away to cover up the damage. Sigrun the Valkyrie Was a porn star before they had a breakthrough as a hero that put them on the map. Causes a lot of clashes with a few members of the team. Women’s rights activist, but frequently throws massive shade at Hecate on social media. Tatanka Neither likes nor is liked by the U.S. government. Very outspoken (peaceful) activist on many topics.  Likes to repost the Morpheus “What if I told you… you could care about more than one thing?” meme. Writing an indie comic book. Vigil General Perennial Team Rumors They run a private prison for villains, in violation of multiple international laws and general morals.
They run a private prison for villains, in violation of multiple international laws and general morals Legal interpreters of the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on Human Rights makes it very clear that a diet of Big Belly Burgers does not constitute "adequate nutrition to sustain health".
"And they're all a bunch of self-righteous pricks," quoth Byron Quill.
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A few suggestions for powers, based on this. Edit: I expanded each one a little bit. Blackbird: high-altitude flight, extremely keen vision (think SR-71: her mother, not the plane, was the skunk works program the gov't invested in). Options: moderate strength and toughness. Would be amusing if she was related to A10. The adult Beacon or Protege. Phantasm: can conjure immaterial illusions, got a xeno-graft from an alien or super that lets them project force fields to make them solid. The adult Delinquent. Tatanka: Lakota Sioux psychic - transmutes psychometric energy into psychokinetic energy, allowing themselves to grow stronger around places and objects of great historical significance. Dresses in traditionalist garb, but this is (a) because this is literally their power source and (b) doing so promotes cultural & political goals. The adult Legacy.
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If those work for people, and nobody has other ideas for these, here's two more: Guardian: inertial manipulation, can anchor self or other objects in place, absorb kinetic damage from incoming attacks over an area, and many other things. Very tired of reputation as third-rate "shield guy" who doesn't have many offensive powers, resulting self-esteem problems threaten romantic and professional relationships. Paladin: uses a lightweight exo-suit with hard light projectors able to provide full-coverage armor, weapons, flight, etc. "Borrowed" a nanotech artificial immune system from a villain that also provides regeneration and negates fatigue, but the system has vulnerabilities.
I updated  the wiki with the above info (rumors and suggested power sets). "HHL" now also redirects to "Halcyon Heroes League".
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I left all the major players alone and didn't suggest powers for 3 of the minor characters, to leave room for others to jump in. After two weeks, I feel like I might have some room. However, as usual, my suggestions are weirdo, so consider carefully if this works and doesn't defocus a game too much. Hold my beer: Hecate : born 28 times in 28 parallel universes, once per day of the moon cycle, and each version was blessed or cursed with different powers. They are all in telepathic communication and share wisdom with each other. One of the Hecates, however, turned dark and eventually conquered her dimension. Dark Hecate can answer almost any question "our" Hecate puts to her, but gets her knowledge of people by torturing/interrogating/mind-reading her captive subjects, and our Hecate knows this, leaving her guilt-ridden every time she calls on this knowledge. The adult Doomed. Sigrun the Valkyrie : an attempted clone of the Golden Generation heroine Sváfa. The scientists who made her couldn't get her powers to activate, and left her on the street to make her own way. Her role in adult video was due to the close resemblance and an audience interest in "lookalike" smut. That experience activated her powers after all, though she is very secretive on just how. She has a standard suite of flight, super-strength, and durability, and carries a "sonic spear" devised by Nautilus. The adult Bull. Vigil : the most mysterious member of the team, Vigil never appears in person, only on video, still photos, mirrors, paintings, or other media. They communicate with hand-written messages or (media allowing) voiceovers, and appear able to converse with people interactively even through previously handwritten notes (!). See  here for examples. Vigil's role on the team is vague, though their power to bypass barriers and talk to almost anyone in spite of interference, jamming, or other blocks is situational but useful. When asked what Vigil wants as a hero, they only comment that they are "waiting for something", and learning about the world while they wait. The oldest known depiction of Vigil is in a cave painting in France.... The adult Outsider.
Nice.
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Options for Hecate: she's a TERF because some of the parallel Hecates are male and she vigorously rejects that identity, even though they "feel" like "her" through the telepathy. Not a healthy attitude to project onto other people, but not just a product of bigotry either. Disclaimer: TERFs are one of my IRL pet peeves due to experiences with them in Washington D.C. (members of my social/gaming circle were M2F and feminist), and people with similar attitudes elsewhere and later. It's hard for me to empathize, but this is my pitch for why someone might think that way.
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Doyce T.
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Bill G. said: Disclaimer: TERFs are one of my IRL pet peeves due to experiences with them in Washington D.C. Don't feel as though you need to find Hecate a sympathetic character. She... is not written that way. That said, I DO like her powerset.
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Doyce T. said: Don't feel as though you need to find Hecate a sympathetic character. She... is not written that way. That said, I DO like her powerset. That's fair. As the powers are written, she's already the Raven that came to an accommodation with Trigon, only Trigon is also herself. Any secondary negative traits are icing on that particular shit sundae.
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Doyce T.
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Bill G. said: Vigil : the most mysterious member of the team, Vigil never appears in person, only on video, still photos, mirrors, paintings, or other media. I love this. Vigil almost never comes up when discussing the HHL. HOWEVER, if/when they are discussed during your pre-meeting briefing, Harry thinks about it a second, staring into the middle distance, and says: "You know... whenever my parents are talking about some big decision the HHL has to make, my dad always asks 'What did Vigil think?' and my my mom ALWAYS knows. Like... she makes a point to find out. I think they're kind of scared of them."
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Alright, here's the big guns. One part respect, one part power, one part "childish and short-sighted" per the principles. Golem : an Ashkenazi Jew who went into biology to understand torsion dystonia - a disease they suffer from that causes muscle contractions and leads to debility, but also correlates to a higher IQ. Golem developed a treatment that transformed their body into a sturdy, rock-like powerhouse, but at the cost of much of their intelligence. They carry an enzyme release tab under the tongue that allows allies to (carefully) pull them out of this rocky state as needed (for example, to access the scientist's mind at full power), but leaves them in considerable pain due to the ITD. Recently Golem's body has built up an immunity to the enzyme, forcing them to turn to a cocktail of street drugs and experimental Silicon Valley nootropics as a supplement. Golem considers this exchange worthwhile for many reasons (their decision-making is done during their less intelligent golem state; their personal relationship with the nootropic makers blinds them to the medical risks; they are partially addicted to heroics and cannot bear the thought of losing their powerful body). The adult Transformed. Nautilus : Has a power similar to Link and Rossum - a brain with a wave-function collapse mutation that allows him to short-circuit scientific research. Like Leo, this has led to some brain damage; unlike Leo, has no corrective neurochip. Styles himself as a Captain Nemo or sea-captain type, complete with beard. Operates a fully equipped submarine-laboratory in the Atlantic Ocean, launches himself in armor like an ICBM to trouble spots around the region. Has an unaccountably hot and loving wife who puts up with his oddities. Active philanthropist. Nobody knows what playbook spawned this social Martian, but the Brain is possible. Oya : Can cause thermal expansion or contraction in liquids and gases over a large area. Uses this power to control the weather, but can also (for example) call down lightning, cause gasoline to explode, or similar feats. Worked as a "weather-witch" in Nigeria, bringing rain and controlling climate for a price, but was hunted by Western industrialists trying to take advantage of poor local conditions. After fighting back in Nigeria, they came to Halcyon City to deal with the capitalists at the source. Teamed up with the HHL while doing so, and has been with them (or using them as a cover, depending on who you ask) since that time. The adult Nova.
Don't feel as though you need to find Hecate a sympathetic character. She... is not written that way Given the character she's based on, I would tend to agree, though "everyone's a hero in their own story," so understanding those aspects is useful, too.
Also, when Byron made the comment above he was intentionally looking straight. at. her .
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Doyce T.
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*** Dave H. said: Also, when Byron made the comment above he was intentionally looking straight. at. her . Yes, you can comfortably assume Byron and Hecate each found the other both toxic and vile. Played by Kyra Sedgewick.
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Doyce T. said: Yes, you can comfortably assume Byron and Hecate each found the other both toxic and vile. And, no doubt, she is all-in on "sins of the fathers" ...
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Doyce T.
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*** Dave H. said: Doyce T. said: Yes, you can comfortably assume Byron and Hecate each found the other both toxic and vile. And, no doubt, she is all-in on "sins of the fathers" ... Thankfully, Jason won't be in his body when he meets her. Oh. Wait...
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As written, three characters have powers that could detect the switch immediately to soonish: Vigil (be everywhere or anywhere), Hecate (this dimension's specific power was left unstated but telepathy is on the table), and Tatanka (may have psi other than just psychometry). Notably they are all secondary characters, not the influencers, and all might have very different views on what the body swaps mean.
Doyce T. said: Thankfully, Jason won't be in his body when he meets her. Oh. Wait... This gets better and better...  I'm going to sing the Doom song now . 
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I think.you mean https://youtu.be/PqCt54Wx2e0
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Okay, last suggested power, for the HHL member that's off the charts. Transcendent is a tulpa - a psychic projection, with its own free will and consciousness. While individual human mystics and psychics have produced relatively weak tulpa on their own, Transcendent is the tulpa of an entire alien civilization, with a corresponding power level. They are a combination first-contact space probe and ambassador. They have been on Earth their whole existence, and socialized as a human being, but they know who and what they are as well. From time to time, different factions within that civilization become dominant, advocating violence or conquest, and Transcendent turns evil. Other times, the aliens lose interest in their exploration mission, or must turn their attention to some more crucial issue, and Transcendent's power fluctuates. But it's also true that the alien attitude toward Earth and its people is influenced by how people treat their creation. By being Transcendent's friend, comrade, and support, individual people have a chance to create a lasting positive relationship with a whole other species. ---- As a general note for all these characters, maybe nobody else knows what their real power is. Hecate, for example, has no motive to tell other people "yeah I get my best intel from an evil version of me who's oppressing a whole dimension a few doors down". Nobody might understand what really powers Big T, just whether or not we can stop them if they flip out again. So having powers posted here does not imply that they're public record, or known to the PCs.
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Doyce T.
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Bill G. said: As written, three characters have powers that could detect the switch immediately to soonish: Vigil (be everywhere or anywhere), Hecate (this dimension's specific power was left unstated but telepathy is on the table), and Tatanka (may have psi other than just psychometry). Notably they are all secondary characters, not the influencers , and all might have very different views on what the body swaps mean. Well... "Secondary or less-well-known-to-the-public" isn't the same as as 'secondary within the team dynamics.' In some cases, the a-listers are a-listers because of what they've done, not necessarily what they do right now. Or they're the flashy, obviously powerful ones that sell action figures. What Harry would know: Golem doesn't do a lot of heroing anymore, unless it's an all-hands on deck sort of deal. Nautilus ... prefers to work alone. Oya has teamed up with Harry's mom several times, his dad exactly once, and it did not go well. She often works with just a few other members of the team, and is powerful enough people don't ignore her in meetings, but doesn't have... friends, as such, on the team. Full disclosure: I'm modeling her team dynamics off "Black Panther is currently 'on' the Avengers... until he decides not to be" sort of thing. Transcendent - has been a member of the HHL since forever, but half the time it feels like it's as much for it to watch us and us to watch it as anything. Blackbird - does a lot of the teams day-to-day heavy lifting, but little publicity related stuff. Guardian - the opposite. Hecate - the sharpest, if not loudest voice in team meetings. Once an absolute b-lister, but gained tremendous leverage as the sole voice on magical theory after the team lost the Magus when Everard took over that mantle. The only member of the league that Harry's dad has repeatedly advised him to steer away from, with no joking. Paladin - Dad: "Well... he sells a lot of toys." - always involved in public league throw-downs, and popular with the press and public, but isn't allowed to do interviews. Phantasm - stays quiet most of the time. Tends to follow the lead of Tempest and, more and more, Sigrun. Sigrun the Valkyrie - does the lion's share of the day-to-day work of running the League, a job that used to be all Nautilus and Golem. Would have more sway in the meetings, if not for Hecate, who blocks her on basically everything. (Hecate only ever shows up for 'all hands on deck' fights and rescues, so they rarely interact, day to day.) Tatanka - never around the base, 33% at meetings, but 100% reliable when called on for 'the work.' A-10's uncle. Vigil - no one argues with Vigil. "It's not fun losing a debate to a grainy vhs tape and a stack of telegrams from 1902."
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Mike
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Doyce T. said: Vigil - no one argues with Vigil. "It's not fun losing a debate to a grainy vhs tape and a stack of telegrams from 1920." :D
This is great stuff. I hope we can keep track  (albeit we're a bit distracted at the moment). 
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Doyce T.
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I'm mostly getting it down for myself as much as anyone, so it informs how I play folks. Not everyone will be at the tower this time, and not all them are going to be super-involved in every conversation, so hopefully it'll work out.
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Doyce T. said: "Secondary or less-well-known-to-the-public" isn't the same as as 'secondary within the team dynamics.' In some cases, the a-listers are a-listers because of what they've done, not necessarily what they do right now. Or they're the flashy, obviously powerful ones that sell action figures. What Harry would know: Yeah, I can unpack secondary vs. influencing a bit. "Does Adam belong with this team" was on the table already, and adults might also decide they didn't like how Leo led his merry band to HAI to shut the place down - among other stuff. There's a continuum of responses to that, from muscling the team directly, to telling AEGIS to revoke whatever we have that makes us "official", to spreading rumors. If the Gales (for example) came out and said "yyyyeah, Menagerie, we're not feelin' it", I imagine that would have more impact than if Hecate (for example) said "Jason Quill is a bad influence!" In the latter case, people might be like "yeah you're just bitter about his old man" and be less inclined to listen. That's the influence I'm concerned with.
Yup. "Ghost Girl" is going to be positively grim in "her" intensity in all this. 
As a general note for all these characters, maybe nobody else knows what their real power is. Hecate, for example, has no motive to tell other people "yeah I get my best intel from an evil version of me who's oppressing a whole dimension a few doors down". Nobody might understand what really powers Big T, just whether or not we can stop them if they flip out again. So having powers posted here does not imply that they're public record, or known to the PCs . That should go without saying ... but that probably means it should be said.
I have updated the  wiki page with the above.
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I felt I should say it anyway, because I'm only making suggestions that Doyce is going to adopt, ignore, or modify, and even if he says "I like that power set", that's not necessarily followed by "and so I'm using it". :)  For our purposes, their powers are secondary to their attitudes, but it still might be useful (for example) to understand how Hecate's powers interacted with GG's, or whatever, in case one of the HHL decided to try and Pierce our Masks with their abilities.
I'm only making suggestions that Doyce is going to adopt, ignore, or modify, and even if he says "I like that power set", that's not necessarily followed by "and so I'm using it". :) But ... but ... it's in the wiki now! It must  be true! ("Hecate has craftily spread rumors that she draws her powers from 27 alternative versions of herself ...")
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Doyce T.
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She actually gains her powers by consuming souls only lightly tethered to unfamiliar bodies.
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Doyce T. said: She actually gains her powers by consuming souls only lightly tethered to unfamiliar bodies. Leo: "You try it, I'll give you the worst case of heartburn you ever had, let's go."