Setting overview

Age of the Paragons

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Setting overview – If you are new to this game, start learning here about the custom world Character Creation – Everything you need to know to build a superhero for Jet City
Character Advancement – Grow your hero with rules for gaining and spending experience. Out of Character Resources – From the Periodic table of Superhero Origins and Powers to the HeroBuilder character tool.

Below is the basic history of the world, as well as references to some of the more well known hero teams in the world.

Ages of High Adventure

immortals-the-gods_1_.jpgThroughout time there have been stories of those with exceptional abilities. Demigods like Hercules, destined heroes like the Knights of the Round Table, Beasts and Men of historic power, like Babe the Blue Ox, John Henry, men and women of exceptional valor and skill that seemed almost superhuman in their abilities. The crack shots of Annie Oakley, the Magical Lute of Orpheus, the ability to dive deeper than any other human in the hidden world of Jacques Cousteau.
Something more than storytelling is behind these myths and legends. Something that gave these heroes an edge over the common man.

These and many others in history were in fact Parahuman. Exceptional at the genetic level, imbued with magics, even touched by other worlds beyond our own.

And these abilities in humans have grown of late. Like the dinosaurs before them rose above the mere amphibious shore-dwellers that were their ancestors, more and more humans have become capable of legendary power.

The Golden Age

SpySmasher.jpgIn the Golden Age of heroes surrounding World War II, Metaman, the most powerful of all known Parahumans led a special unit of US Parahumans against the Axis. power’s UberSoldiers. Heroes sprung up in Europe, China and Japan as well, some with powers, others with costumes, technology, ancient hidden arts, skills or just pure chutzpah. The world’s darkest hour brought out the best in humanity. Men and women reached beyond themselves and grasped eternity.

These heroes returned from WWII to great fanfare, and became symbols for their countries as powerful as any sports or movie star. Some of them remained with the military, some entered private business, others law-enforcement, while still some disappeared. Some became vigilantes, or worse, the horrors of the war to end all wars made a few villains themselves. This, along with many postwar changes would take the shine off of these heroes for many however.

JFKSuperman.jpgIn the US, few Parahumans acted openly using their powers after the worries of the Cuban Missile Crisis began the Cold War. Parahumans were strange and new, and paranoia was high, so those that weren’t directly under government control were quickly labled as dangerous and blamed for many problems not directly related to them. Canada was just the opposite. They adored their Parahumans, and treated them accordingly. Europe treated the few that had survived WWII reasonably well, though not many remained in service in a public fashion. A few became spies however. In China, many new heroes surfaced, but just as many villains, and internecine wars sprouted up between many cabals there and Chinese Parahumans remained locked in their own country, fighting over what appeared to be ancient feuds. Japan’s Parahumans were accepted, so long as they remained strictly under government control. In South America and Africa, whatever Parahumans might have existed seemed likely to vanish into the jungle, or become warlords of brutal regimes.

Parahuman hatred reached a fevered frenzy however, following two separate tragedies.

The Fall of the House of Urth

BREED.jpgIn the year 1996, the world learned it was not alone in the universe. The earth was invaded by a race of aliens known as the Ka’Hadan Dominion. The Ka’Hadan had identified Earth as a useful slave race, and began a campaign of conquest starting in modern day Iraq, a location they had determined to be a ‘genetic priority’ as the former cradle of civilization. Parahumans from around the world answered the call. The Ka’Hadan however had been watching the Earth for some time, and had developed a virus capable of infecting and controlling Parahumans, making them into soldiers for their own cause. Weakened by age and targeted by reputation, some of the earth’s most powerful Golden Age heroes were turned to the Ka’Hadan cause through the Breed Virus, including the most powerful known Parahuman; Metaman.

After almost a year of battling the Ka’Hadan in cities across the world, the Ka’Hadan forces were defeated by new, as yet unheard-of heroes who rose to take the place of the Golden age, managing to turn their own technology against them, and controlling the leader of the Ka’Hadan forces into a retreat. Without the control of their alien masters, many controlled Parahumans went mad, and Metaman was killed in ignominy at the Valley of the Kings battle in Egypt, by his own son, but not before rerouting the Nile, killing hundreds of thousands of people and causing much devastation. The term ‘metahuman’ came into being, and ‘meta’ became slang for mongrel deranged superhumans, and resulted in new kinds of hate crimes and depredations against those who were different. Those without ‘exceptional’ powers were often targets of ignorance and attack by the fearful. If public opinion in many countries turned against Parahumans then, it plummeted to worldwide outrage after the next incident, only one short year later.

Vengeance of the Atom

AfterimageIn 1997 a Parahuman called Afterimage who claimed to be seeking revenge for the angry spirits of those killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima ‘went nova’ over Hiroshima Japan, killing hundreds of thousands in what is called second Hiroshima. After the horrific disaster, which nearly sent many countries spiraling toward a widespread nuclear launch, Japan successfully lobbied the UN to remove it’s budgetary constrains regarding military spending after World War II and developed NUFON, a highly funded, cutting-edge technological ‘super-group’ with NO Parahuman genetic ‘defects’. Additionally it is rumored they began the systematic genetic ‘alteration’ of any Japanese born Parahumans to remove any powers they found. Using advanced robotics technology and cybernetically enhanced humans, Japan remains Parahuman-free. NUFON is a greatly feared organization among Parahumans, rumored to be possessed of extremely advanced and unfettered technology and a brutal policy against any Parahuman ‘threat’ that nears it’s borders. Japan’s military, no longer limited by treaty, has in the last decade become what some believe to be the most advanced and dangerously effective military force in the world.

The Silver Age

Icons of the PastWith many Parahumans killed in the war with the Ka’Hadan Dominion, or purged in riots, forced into hiding, jailed in Paragon prisons for refusing to register powers with their governments, genetically stripped of powers by the Japanese, or simply died of old age, the Golden Age of heroes had ended, and the Silver Age began. Slowly, over the last decade, new heroes have emerged, some working solo, some taking up the mantles of dead heroes, some slowly forming teams and gaining some limited acceptance among the populace.

By the year 2009, superheroes have become a major daily news item. They had (many of them) as much status as movie stars and as many privacy problems, Legal issues, federal registration problems and often butted heads with the existing establishment who were not super powered. But though they were beleaguered by the establishment, to some common folks, they were also a source of a lot of hope.

In the United States, there are four or five established superhero teams and two government teams. Learn about them in the characters section.

This is the world into which your characters emerge.

Setting overview

Silver Age Seattle brightwyrm