Legion of minor characters 2 – Serpentina’s Sneaky Subtle Serpentine Super Servants

Salty

Klaus Voorhees was one of those kids that was born competitive.  He strove to beat anyone and everyone at anything.  The only thing Klaus liked more than challenging others to races or fights or dangerous “dares” was being challenged to them.  His parents tried to channel that competitive drive into team sports, but while Klaus excelled at soccer, he didn’t find it to his taste.  He liked the running and competing but what was lacking for him was brutality.

Despite his indifference, Klaus attracted attention in the athletic world and he made it his goal to become the youngest player ever on the national team.  Finally his competitive nature and ego outpaced his skill.  He fell into the trap of booze, partying, and the feeling of being “untouchable”.  When he missed a practice due to a hangover and was told he wasn’t going to play in an upcoming game, Klaus attacked his coach.  When his teammates tried to restrain him, he attacked them too. 

Klaus left the field in a fury and tore off in his car, striking two pedestrians before slamming into an oncoming truck.  In addition to a concussion, Klaus was left with fractured ribs, a broken collarbone, two separated shoulders, a perforated bowel, and a leg that would be mostly pins for the rest of his life.  Had he bothered to ask, he would have found out that the driver of the truck died.

Facing a lengthy physical recovery which would likely be followed by an even more lengthy prison sentence, Klaus couldn’t say “yes” fast enough when approached by an agent for a mysterious company seeking test subjects for a new performance-enhancing drug.  The drug was concocted from material harvested from dead NBH’s with reptilian blood enzymes as a stabilizer.  When the first injection worked miracles in healing his broken body, Klaus demanded a second.  This was unwise. 

Within moments of the second shot entering his system, Klaus underwent a catastrophically painful transformation into a huge reptilian beast.  He smashed through the wall of the hospital, fell thirtysome feet to the sidewalk, wrecked two police cars, and put five officers in the hospital he had just come from before disappearing into the night.  After coming to some sort of terms with what he had become, he chose a life of crime and resurfaced working as hired muscle in Australia where, much to his chagrin, he was dubbed “Salty” due to his mild resemblance to a salt water crocodile as well as his crummy personality.

Tigerclaw

Tigerclaw never had a desire to be involved in a globe-spanning criminal enterprise.  She had intended a life of peaceful seclusion far away from civilization.  But the order that trained her had other ideas.  The abbot of the temple where she became a master of the Tiger Crane style owed a favor to some unsavory types and 10 years of her service was payment of that debt.  After a year of her service was up, her masters passed her along to fulfill another favor for a different group of criminals and so on, with her ten years of service turning into the life of an assassin for hire – only without the part where you get any money.

Honor-bound to obey the dictates of her order, Tigerclaw will fulfill her obligation despite the fact that her loyalty is neither earned nor deserved by those giving the commands.  She tells herself that she bears no responsibility for the crimes she is guilty of while acting on the orders of others. Most of the time, she believes this.  Her vice is her pride.  She will seek to overturn any defeat she suffers. She is not driven by revenge – only the desire to be the best.  She has vanity about her abilities, a long memory, and infinite patience.

Tigerclaw is so called for the relic of her order she carries of the same name, a deadly sword said to be crafted by a smith consumed with such pain and suffering that he abandoned his humanity to overcome the torment and turned his heart into a cold, dark rock.  Those feelings were poured into the blade as it was forged and are said to give it the capability of draining both the nightmares of its owner and the life of its victims.

Militia

Jessi Bardin grew up in southern Canada and married her high school sweetheart, Jason.  Jessi and Jason loved the outdoors and spent much of their time hunting and camping.  Jason’s belief that federal taxes were unconstitutional resulted in them spending more and more time camping away from things like jails and federal marshals.  In Jason’s mind, legal authority ended at the beginning of his land.  Or maybe just anywhere he happened to be.

Jessi and Jason started spending more and more time with like-minded couples and when it was time to start raising a family, they moved to a large piece of land north of Denver with several of these new friends.  In ’71 the RCMP, backed up by several enhanced individuals associated with law enforcement, raided the compound with a warrant for illegal weapons, and to the surprise of no-one, it turned into a small warzone.  Jason was killed in the fighting and Jessi murdered the “superhero” Badger before escaping the firefight.

Traumatized and filled with hatred for the federal government and their costumed lackeys, Jessi, now calling herself Militia, is absolutely convinced that the federal government is unlawful and that she is a true patriot. She is directly responsible for the murder of another Canadian “superhero”, the death of two servicemen, and the drowning of a Navy recruiter.

Jessi and her followers have fled to Madripoor to build up the forces and armory necessary to free a country that exists only in her mind.  Jessi’s only “power” is never being without a sidearm and having access to assault rifles, grenades and chemical weapons, and anti-vehicle or anti-aircraft weaponry such as rocket propelled grenades.  Given enough time she can acquire military vehicles, weapons, and other gear.

Tremble before my procedurally generated terror!

I don’t really have anything for background this week so I’ll roll some random tables for a new character and build them.  That should be interesting?

Type – Magic, Mystically Bestowed 

Appearance – Tall, overweight 

Disposition – Self-reliant, tough 

Age – Elderly 

Origin – Europe, non-English speaking, large city 

Background – Wealthy 

Powers manifested – Recently 

Other – Physical limitations 

Abilities – Spellcasting 

In this context, mystically bestowed is a power source like Shazam, you speak the magic word or drink your magic tea and you’re transformed from whatever, in this case an old man with physical ailments, to a young strong alternate self.  Who in this case also knows magic.  Which is a little weird, seems like if you knew magic, you’d just know it no matter what. 

I’ll say this guy is from Italy.  The only big city that I know of in Italy is Rome, but that seems too on the nose.  Internet says Milan is the second biggest city in Italy, so we’ll go with that.  So we have a wealthy old man in Milan.   

What was going on in Italy in this alternate timeline?  The Great War (aka WW1) was pretty much the same.  If this guy is old in 1973, he was probably the right age to be in the mix in 1914.  As a rich man who fancies himself a tough guy, he was likely an officer in the Italian army.  I don’t know a ton about WW1, but I think Italy fought a bunch of battles against Austria and lots of people died and it was all kind of pointless.  Which is more or less WW1 in a nutshell.   

I should probably give this guy a name, I’ll go with Dino Fossella, which I think is the name of one of the kidnappers in Man on Fire.  The novel. The movie was in Mexico instead of Italy.  Sidenote – I love that movie and I don’t care what anyone says about it.   

Dino was embittered by his experience in the war, he expected to come home and be a big hero and get a parade but instead, no really cared because they didn’t get all the sweet Austrian booty they were after. (note to self, register domain name sweetAustrianbooty) But old Dino wasn’t going to be denied his fame so easily.  Let’s say he was a big-time piano man and after the war, his goal was to become a celebrated concert pianist. 

He was good, but he wasn’t that good.  But, as a pretty good pianist with a boatload of cash, he managed to get his name out there at the expense of other, better pianists.  So he spends a good decade being a man about town and having concerts that are really just parties for his rich pals.   

I’ve established that there was no WW2 as we know it, just “another war in Europe”.  Without an expansionist Germany and a more laid-back USSR, what was going on?  I’m no historian, so I don’t know the roots of Italian fascism – but let’s say the march on Rome in ‘22 still happened.  So we have France and Britain fighting the Empire of Japan in the east while Germany and Russia are playing it cool.  That probably leaves Italy free to attack the Balkans like they always wanted. 

So we have Italy at war again.  Dino once again wants to be an officer but they say he’s too old – go back to your piano, old man.  Dino doesn’t like that.  He likes it even less when his villa is bombed by Greek and Yugoslavian operatives.  Dino survives but his legs and hands are damaged, no more piano for him, also now he can’t get around so well.   

If you thought Dino was embittered before, oh man, watch out now.  But what sparks Dino’s interest in the occult?  Perhaps one of the operatives was mystically inclined.  One of the bombers supernaturally clouded the minds of Dino’s men and walked right in with the bomb.  Dino saw his guards standing there like statues while a dude just rolls up and plants a bomb.  He becomes obsessed with finding out more about it. 

He spends the next thirty years or so frittering away all his money on raiding Egyptian tombs and whatnot looking for magic.  I don’t know much about Italian folklore, but google told me there’s a tale of a 7-headed dragon that was causing a ruckus in Bergamo province and a big army went to fight it.  The battle was a draw and the dragon retreated into the river.  Folklorists say there was a “maga” – a sorceress – involved somehow but that part of the story is lost.  Here’s the deal, the sorceress was the dragon, transformation style. 

And check this shit out, Milan is in Bergamo!  So old lady 7-heads is injured and she goes into the river to sleep it off for a couple centuries and when she wakes up and looks around she’s like “da fuck? Where’s all the old timey shit I know?”  She goes to the first place she sees, the now empty villa of Dino, where he sits alone and broke being old and bitter.  Probably it would be hard for them to communicate, the Italian language surely changed some in a thousand years, but she’s magic so she figures it out. 

She asks Dino what’s up.  He says give me the magic power and I’ll tell you.  She’s all like “sure” and he wigs out because he’s been after magic forever and now it just falls into his lap.  Dino speaks the word of magic power she bestows upon him, “Drago” and suddenly he’s a young strong able-bodied man that has a little magic of his own. 

But why can he only do magic when transformed?  Let’s say that this form of magic is physically taxing and in his old broken body he can’t manage it.  Dino says “thanks, old time Italian sorceress! Now I shall have the fame and coolness I deserve, by being a supervillain!”  And she’s like, whatever floats your boat man.    

I like duos (of people, not the gum, although the gum is okay) so he’ll probably have a partner but this post is already long so maybe I’ll do that next week.   

One of these days Alice, bang, zoom, straight to the moon!

A brief summary of the history of space exploration.

In 1863 Project Epicus, an effort by Baltimore based industrialists and munitions manufacturers, succeeded in firing a projectile that impacted on the surface of the moon.  In 1865 a second mission was attempted with a capsule-projectile containing three passengers.  Although the projectile successfully circumnavigated the moon and return to splash down on earth, upon retrieval it was discovered that the first “space travelers” had been killed instantly by the force of the acceleration required to escape earth’s atmosphere.   

Despite various proposals to protect potential spacefarers, the fragility of the human body was considered an insurmountable obstacle to travel by means of space cannon.  This was proven incorrect (depending on your feelings about non-baseline humans, evolution, and genetics) in 1909 when Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as the indestructible man, was launched into space – although no one would know this until 21 years later. 

Able to withstand the incredible force involved due to his superhuman durability, Gaspard survived the launch, the 5-day trip around the moon, and was headed back towards earth when an encounter with space debris caused his module to deviate from its course.  Although the capsule was equipped with rudimentary maneuvering rockets, Gaspard was unable to course correct to achieve re-entry, and his craft ended up in orbit around the Earth and the moon which scientists predicted would last more than a century before decaying.   

Attempts were made to launch equipment into orbit that could be used to help Gaspard reach earth, but because there was no way to communicate with Gaspard, and due to the limitation of what equipment could be sent because of the large g-force experienced by a ballistic projectile, these efforts were failures.  Gaspard was given up for dead, his silver bullet circling earth a grim reminder of his presumed fate. 

Gaspard proved as good as his name however, his body entering a state of suspended animation after running out of oxygen.  Gaspard’s inert body was examined by an extraterrestrial scout ship that mistakenly took the projectile for an artificial satellite (which technically it was).  Incorrectly surmising that earth had achieved space flight (which technically it had) and therefore was primed for first contact, the alien ship instead found a dormant, yet still technically alive, Frenchman. 

The aliens returned the capsule to Earth in 1930 and a few weeks later, Gaspard revived to tell his astonishing tale.  Gaspard was ready for another trip, he hoped to visit Mars. But in his absence, space cannons had largely been abandoned in favor of rocketry research. 

Gaspard’s return reinvigorated interest in space exploration.  1933 saw the birth of Project Archimedes, which many consider the most progressive scientific undertaking in human history.  Project Archimedes was a top-level scientific exchange involving nearly every major industrial power in the world (the Empire of Japan being a notable exception) with the goal of space exploration and eventually, colonization.   

In order to facilitate this novel project, the city of Artesia on Merritt Island was carved off as a separate legal entity of the United States, like the District of Colombia, where laws could be crafted specifically to serve the needs of the exchange of sensitive scientific information between world powers and to allow for the project’s many unusual requirements.   This project was opposed by many in the US government but ultimately was pushed forward (possibly due to bribery, blackmail, and assassination depending on who you ask). 

Artesia became the site of a massive scientific center, home to more than 15,000 researchers and scientists as well as a residential and office complex for more than 50,000 support staff.  Buoyed by a surge of enthusiasm for space exploration, Project Archimedes was an unbridled success (and a massive financial windfall to the US).  Several of the project milestones are as follows: 

  •  1946 first artificial satellite is launched into orbit 
  •  1948 first pictures taken of the dark side of the moon 
  •  1950 first application satellite launched 
  •  1952 first data retrieved on another planet (Venus) 
  •  1955 first spacewalk
  •  1955 first pictures of Mars
  •  1956 first baseline humans walk on the moon

In 1957 with the aid of several NBH’s capable of orbital flight and surviving in space, a joint CSA, USA, and Canadian project began constructing space station Daedalus, largely using the once abandoned space cannon technology, which proved efficient for transporting freight, fuel, and ruggedized equipment into earth orbit.  This station would work in conjunction with Project Archimedes as part of an overarching plan to construct a base on the moon designed for launching craft to Mars.   

In 1960 as the station was nearing completion, Project Archimedes was derailed in a manner that no one anticipated.  An alien being appeared before Congress and accused many of the top scientists involved in the program of being alien imposters and moreover, galactic criminal fugitives.  The initial reaction of the governments involved in Archimedes was hostile to say the least, but a few months later one of the project leaders, Dr. Kyle David Pennington, came forward and confessed.  He and a dozen other critical members of the project really were criminal extraterrestrials posing as humans. 

The alien law officer declared her intention to arrest Dr. Pennington and his cohorts and remove them from the planet.   Since earth was benefiting from the actions of these criminals, many people were in favor of ignoring whatever extraterrestrial laws or covenants had been broken by Dr. Pennington.  Grant he and his fellow exiles asylum and make them citizens of earth nations – some claimed that the work of Project Archimedes would lead to a golden age, ending world hunger and war, and expanding human lifespans by a hundred years.   

The alien official declared that any such act would be considered unlawful and met with force, a small legion of additional aliens was called in as reinforcements to back up this threat.  The only card the technologically inferior earth governments had to match this force of “alien invaders” was to martial their NBH assets.  The world prepared for a war unlike any had seen before.  Spacefaring aliens against the supermen of earth. 

The conflict did not come to pass.  The governments involved in the project eventually offered their full cooperation with the alien authorities in the hopes that this would build goodwill towards earth’s early entry into The Alliance of Free Stars.  The alien forces took Dr. Pennington and his friends into custody as planned.  However, what was not expected was that hundreds of humans were taken into custody as well, their knowledge considered “fruit of the poisonous tree”.  The aliens stated they could not be allowed to continue teaching and using what they had learned from Dr. Pennington.  This was followed by the further outrage of the disassembly and destruction of all technology created by the project. 

Considering this a betrayal of their good faith agreement, several governments reversed course and once again prepared their NBH assets for an armed response.  However, public opinion had shifted.  Factions that had opposed the project spoke the loudest – earth is for earthlings, take away corrupt alien technology, we don’t need their help.  Rivals and political opponents whipped up anti-alien sentiment into a frenzy.  Many industrial business interests saw opportunity in the collapse of Archimedes and threw fuel on the fire.   

In the end, the project governments backed away from the edge of conflict.  In one of the more shameful moments in history, hundreds of citizens of various nations were allowed to be taken from their homes to spend the rest of their lives incarcerated on alien worlds for the crime of trying to make the world a better place for everyone.   

Many consider the spectacular collapse of Project Archimedes to be the death of space exploration as a human endeavor.  While enthusiasm for space research is certainly at a nadir, there are many who have already started to pick up the pieces and begin anew.  Government funding for space programs has been wildly curtailed, but it persists in one form or another.  As Konstantin Tsiolkovsky said “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.”  The dream of space travel can be delayed only, never denied.

I got kicked out of model UN for this – The Coalition States of America

After the Rebellion of 1768 successfully prevented the transfer of the French Louisiana Territory to Spain, New France was fragmented between the settlers of the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes Acadians who wanted stronger support from France to resist the British colonies, and the rebels to the south who had lost faith in the continental government.  

When the Treaty of Versailles in 1781 gave all former British claims in New France below the Great Lakes to the newly formed United States, the Upper Louisiana/Illinois Country contingent of New France was pushed into alignment with the southern rebels.   In 1783, the bulk of New France south of the Great Lakes declared their independence from France and formed a new nation called Illinois.  When British forces captured Louisbourg, allowing them to blockade the entrance to the St. Lawrence River, the remainder of the colony of New France threw in their lot with the nascent government of Illinois. 

Facing increasing pressure from Britain in the north and the specter of France capturing New Orleans in the south, the government of Illinois collapsed within two years.  It was replaced by two even shorter-lived governments.  The Native American confederacies that made up more than half of the population of the new nation were the only thing keeping it even slightly viable, but also presented the largest hurdle to coordinated action.  The area was effectively ungoverned until 1791 when the Coalition States were formed at the Saint Louis Convention. 

The Coalition States were strengthened by waves of new settlers in the following years, including many veterans of the US War of Independence who were upset by the events of the Whiskey Rebellion, feeling betrayed by the country that they had fought to create and seeking a new start farther west.  The Coalition States tried to assert authority over the Saint Lawrence and Mississippi Rivers but were largely ineffective, losing New Orleans back to France while Britain maintained control of the river way to the Great Lakes.  The discovery of gold in the Dakotas was the only thing keeping the Coalition States from total collapse throughout the early 1800s.   

The fortunes of the CS turned around with the formation of the Arkansas Republic in 1815.  The United States focused on bringing their “wayward son” back into the fold, and New Orleans (at this time a free city) asked to be annexed into the CS in 1824 after the easternmost chiefdom of the Arkansas Republic destroyed the homes of the Creole leadership and smashed the Louisiana militia.  The Texas Revolution in 1836 provided the CS with a trading partner and protection from Spanish conquest from the south. 

With control over the mouth of the Mississippi and the two Republics as buffers against more powerful nations, the Coalition States were able to take their first significant action as a regional power, defeating British Canadian forces in several engagements to claim possession of the Great Lakes in the 1830s.  The CS was able to establish peaceful relations with Britain and the US, but tensions remained high with the Arkansas Republic throughout the latter half of the 1800s.  New Orleans would be lost to the Republic during fighting in the 1860s and the bulk of CS territory below the Arkansas River would be ceded to the Arkansas Republic in 1872, at which point hostilities were largely over. 

After dedicating significant resources to building up railroad infrastructure, the CS experienced significant growth at the turn of the century, becoming a trading hub for the North American nations.  In the early 1900s while the US indulged itself in military adventurism, the CS took pride (too much many would say) in building “strength through peace”.   

The CS, long considered internationally to be a minor power existing at the indulgence of the US, is starting to move out of the shadow of their more flamboyant neighbor.  While the US is experiencing economic crisis, civil unrest, and violence, the CS is enjoying an economic, scientific, and cultural boom time as they take their first steps towards being a true world power. 

Ten states make up the Coalition.   

Beauharnois 

Illinois 

Ishpeming 

Kanadario 

Louisiana 

Manistique  

Michilimackinac 

Minnesota 

Missouri 

Saint Pierre 

President: Joseph Edelman 

Total area: 233,089 sq mi (603,700 sq km) 

Population (1964 est.): 44,291,413 (growth rate: –0.6%); birth rate: 9.41/1000; infant mortality rate: 8.1/1000; life expectancy: 69.14; density per sq mi: 191 

Capital (1964 est.): Chicago 3,275,000 (metro. area), 2,847,000 (city proper) 

Other large cities: Toronto 2,703,018; Saint Louis, 1,441,622; Detroit, 1,001,962; Saint Paul, 962,024; 

Monetary unit: Coalition States Dollar  

National name: The Coalition States of America 

Official Languages: None at the national level  

Literacy rate: 99.7% (1964 est.) 

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (1964 est.): $333.7 billion; per capita $7,400. Real growth rate: 0.4%. Inflation: 0.7%. Unemployment: 8% officially registered; large number of unregistered or underemployed workers; International Labor Organization est.: 7%. Arable land: 53.85%. Agriculture:  wheat, corn, other grains, fruits, vegetables, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; Labor force: 22.17 million (1964 est.); industry 18.5%, agriculture 15%, services 65.7% (1961). Industries: coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing. Natural resources: iron ore, coal, manganese, oil, natural gas, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land. Exports: $71.14 billion (1964 est.): ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, food products. Imports: $87.21 billion (1964 est.): energy, machinery and equipment, chemicals. Major trading partners: United States, Canada, Arkansas Republic, Pecos Republic, Mexico, Great Britain, Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping (1970). 

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 12.182 million (1970); Radio broadcast stations: AM 134, FM 289, shortwave 4 (1967). Radios: 45.05 million (1967). Television broadcast stations: at least 33 (plus 21 repeater stations that relay broadcasts from the US) (1967). Televisions: 18.05 million (1967).  

Transportation: Railways: total: 13,433 miles (21,619 km). Highways: 105,442 miles (169,694 km) Waterways: 1038 miles (1,672 km).  

The most creatively named villain since Paste Pot Pete – Mr. X!

The publically accepted history of “superbeings” dictates that the first non-baseline humans were the results of experiments conducted in the early 1900s.  The man codenamed Majestic, deployed in the Great War, is considered by many to be the first superhuman.  This is incorrect on two counts, first count being that Majestic is not human, and the second count being there is evidence of naturally born superbeings since at least the 1500s and there is no reason to believe that they have not existed since the dawn of humans. 

Exact estimates vary, but the distribution of the biologic profile that allows for the potential of NBH enhancement by scientific methods is believed to be approximately one person in every eight million.  The subject of natural NBHs has not been widely studied yet but it is unequivocal that they are far more rare, possibly in the range of one in a hundred million or more.   

Armend Lusha, the mysterious Mr. X of the infamous Madripoor fighting tournament, is one of these uncommon naturally occurring NBHs.  Born in Tirana in 1940 to a wealthy family, Armend’s parents were killed by Black Cross anarchists during the riots in 1948.  Armand was shuttled from Budapest to Vienna to Madrid where he gained international fame of a sort when he was featured in a Life magazine article as “the world’s richest refugee”. 

Shortly after this publicity, Armend was adopted and brought to the US where his new parents renamed him Drexler Walsh.  In doing so, the Walsh family took control of the remaining assets of the Lushas, most importantly tobacco, oil, and mining concerns — increasing their already substantial holdings in shipping and real estate.  This made the Walsh family a major player in European markets overnight.

Their interest in raising Armend was significantly overshadowed by their interest in acquiring the resources and contacts that made up his inheritance.   

When Armend began killing his pets, it’s questionable if his adopted parents even knew. If they were informed, they certainly couldn’t be bothered to care.  Armend’s telepathic abilities had awakened during the murder of his biological parents, connecting him to them at the moment of their death. Through his psychic connection, he experienced the sensation of dying.

By his own admission, Armend has been obsessed with death since that moment.  Finding animals to be a poor substitute for the “real thing,” Armend committed several murders in his youth, intent on recreating the exhilaration of telepathically connecting with another person at the instant of their death. He pushed a maid down the stairs.  He poisoned a nanny.  He caused a family friend to be run over by a car. 

Armend is an addict and his drug of choice is murder.  On his 18th birthday, he killed his adoptive parents and over the next several years, one by one murdered his adoptive brothers and sisters as well.  Taking control of his family’s considerable wealth, he turned his attentions to funding and participating in violent anti-anarchist groups and government actions against anarchists.  Whether he truly desired any manner of revenge for the death of his biological parents or if this was merely a smokescreen to indulge his dark desires is unknown.   

Armend was in Italy “hunting” with a group of anti-anarchist soldiers of fortune when they were ambushed by the quarry they had been seeking in the mountains.   In contrast to his previous murders, which he had executed with no physical risk to himself, Armend found himself in a life or death struggle with a knife wielding assailant.   Armend was the victor and ended his attacker by strangulation.

The thrill of killing an opponent in hand-to-hand combat provided Armend with a feeling of euphoria that eclipsed anything he had felt to date.  Abandoning his “childish” methods of murder free of personal danger, Armend used his fortune to travel the world and study with the best fighters he could hire.  After learning all he could from them, Armend would kill them.  Maintaining a public image of a philanthropic sportsman with an interest in cultural studies, Armend circled the globe fighting and killing martial artists and streetfighters and brawlers of all sorts.

He gathered an inner circle of followers that he calls his “new murder avant-garde” including at least one other NBH.  Armend’s goal is to be the greatest melee fighter the world has ever seen which, of course, means killing all of the world’s best fighters.  Finding the secrecy of his efforts annoying, Armend traveled to the only place that would indulge this blatant bloodlust, Madripoor, where if you have enough money, anything can be yours.  With the help and backing of several local businessmen and criminal groups, Armend held the first Madripoor bloodsport in 1968.  Although not exclusively for NBHs, the participants typically are, since a normal human usually is no match for the elite of the enhanced killer world.   

For those who know of it, the tournament is often misunderstood to be a mandatory fight to the death.  While deaths are common (Armend has killed everyone he’s faced in the first four tournaments, for instance) it isn’t strictly necessary to be the victor.   

Bonus Post – It’s a map! Beeeaaaaaaaaah!

I really wanted to write bonus pope instead of bonus post. I wonder what a bonus pope would be. Just an extra pope I guess.

Talking about how great Dolly Parton is has become so trendy that I now hate Dolly Parton. And she didn’t even do anything. You did it.

Here’s North America in the alternate world of Elaverse #2. If you look very closely you can see there are some very subtle differences from the North America we know today.

Madripoor – People at their most beautiful, humanity at its ugliest

As part of my continuing promise to deliver significantly less content with 70s super-Ela than D&D Ela I think what I might do is make narrative posts on Monday and Friday and have Wednesday for backgrounds posts.   When I was thinking about where to kick this story off I thought of someplace like Madripoor.  Then I decided to just call it Madripoor.  It’s already an expy of Singapore, no reason to get meta-removed another level.  Unless I get sued by Marvel.   

Madripoor 

The city of Madripoor is the capital and lone urban area of the Kingdom of Madripoor, located in the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca, southwest of Singapore.  There is no official data but most estimates put the population of Madripoor around 9 million, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world.  

Madripoor is controlled by a cartel of influential individuals and families that reestablished the government after the death of the King and the dissolution of the parliament during the Japanese Empire’s invasion in 1942.  A treaty constructed under the influence of the United Nations in the early 50s secured Madripoor’s sovereignty, ending years of occupation.  

After independence Madripoor saw a population explosion as refugees from other Japanese Imperial conquests, having lost both home and property, flooded into the “free” city.  Madripoor does not extradite criminals making it a haven for people fleeing political or criminal issues as well.  

Dutch political scientist Amelia Guttmann described Madripoor as a “non-aligned crypto libertarian pseudo republic”.  Heiress Robin Hayworth said that Madripoor was “a great place to be rich”.  Travel author Kimble Anders called Madripoor “the closest thing I’ve seen to Hell on earth away from an active battlefield”.

Languages

The major languages spoken in in Madripoor are Indonesian, Malay, English, French, and Filipino.

Economy

Madripoor is home to the most luxurious and expensive hotels and high-end service industry in the world, while also possessing one of the most severe wealth inequities in history. This economic polarization has effectively divided the city into the ultra-modern haven of the very rich and powerful, and the domain of the hopelessly poor.

Madripoor grew prominent as a transshipment hub port during the days of wind-powered shipping. In modern times this aspect has declined but it remains a duty-free port with a high volume of re-export trade.

For several years, Madripoor has been one of the few countries with an AAA credit rating and the only Asian country to achieve this rating.  Madripoor attracts a large amount of foreign investment as a result of its location, skilled workforce, low tax rates, and advanced infrastructure.  Despite market freedom, Madripoor’s government operations have a significant stake in the economy, contributing 44% of the GDP. It is a popular location for conferences and events.