Let's Play Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2

Mad Writter

"Strikeforce Freedom"

This time, the series is the "G.I. Joe" homage, in the form of Strikeforce Freedom. I'm going do the same thing I did the last time. Letting CCM talk until she gets to the characters.

"PC Creation Guidelines

Proof of Purchase Points: P Cs are created using 30 Po P Ps. Maximum Trait Ratings (Regular Traits): 4 Maximum Trait Ratings (Action Features): 8 Miscellaneous:
  • The characters must be members of Strikeforce Freedom, therefore a military background is required.
  • Most Action Features should be derived from technology. Very few “weird powers” exist in the series.
  • Members of Strikeforce Freedom have a code name that they primarily go by in the series.


It all started with the idea to make a comic book series that would foster patriotism in children. This idea was the brainchild of Zell Comics then-president Gabriel Martin in 1981. He assigned the project to scripter Joseph Farney, a trusty hand who had a reputation for uncompromising professionalism. Martin developed the individual characters himself and then handed them off to Farney, who then tweaked them to match his story ideas. Strikeforce Freedom was about to be born!

Shortly before the series was to be launched, however, Martin was caught skimming off the top and was subsequently removed from the company. Taking his place was an ambitious marketing whiz named Augustus Merle. Merle saw a lot of potential for Strikeforce Freedom and wasted no time setting up meetings with animation and toy companies. At the time, though, a law was in place that prevented a cartoon from having an associated line of action figures. Merle had a tough decision to make. Should he go through with a cartoon or a line of toys? Ultimately, he opted for the cartoon and hooked up with Arbor-Wilson Productions, a moderately successful animation company out of Boston. The collaboration went smoothly and the cartoon and comic book series debuted on the same day in October of 1982. Sadly, neither venture garnered much success. They limped along, barely managing to remain profitable enough to continue production. By mid ’83, the law regarding cartoons and action figures had been essentially lifted. This opened up a window of opportunity for the desperate Merle. He needed a miracle and he needed it quickly. He soon found out that a property based on a low-rated cartoon and comic book was a hard sell for toy manufacturers. Just when it looked like all was lost, Merle received a phone call from Benner, a toy company from Los Angeles, who agreed to produce the toys with the condition that Zell Comics invested some cash into the venture as well. Eager for a success, Merle agreed and production began shortly thereafter.

This move saved the Strikeforce Freedom brand and even Zell Comics itself. With the added visibility afforded to the property by the toys, sales rapidly skyrocketed on all fronts. Kids began to take notice in a big way.

The remainder of the 1980s was profitable for Strikeforce Freedom, though the comic went through a sales slump in late ’86 and early ’87. One thing heralded the end of this prosperity. Well, four things, actually. A quartet of cartoon martial arts turtles became immensely popular and the kids seemed to forget all about Strikeforce Freedom. By 1990, the property had run its course. The cartoon was cancelled in August and the comic book followed suit in November. Without any manner of fiction to accompany it, the toy line ceased production by Christmas.

The Genre

Strikeforce Freedom is essentially military sci-f. It contains all the trappings of the military genre while mixing in some elements of sci-f. It foregoes a realistic approach by introducing vehicles, weapons and gear that don’t yet exist (especially not in the ‘80s).

The Series

When the cold war was in full swing, an evil terrorist organization known as SPIDER formed. Their goals were to spread tyranny and terror, but most of all to put their leader, a vile man known only as General Arachnid, in control of the world. They use high technology and experimental devices to achieve this end, usually raiding laboratories, kidnapping scientists, and building vast bases all over the world to exploit a variety of resources.

To combat this, the United States formed a paramilitary organization called Strikeforce Freedom. The ranks were filled out by the military’s best soldiers and specialists. Only the most elite individuals were asked to join the team, ensuring that it would be the premiere group of anti-terrorists in the world.


Technology plays a large role in Strikeforce Freedom, as the team is equipped with cutting edge equipment and vehicles. As such, the technology level is higher than what was available in the 1980s by a long shot. However, such technology isn’t commonplace in the setting. Normal citizens don’t fly around in jet packs or have access to laser-guided weapons. Outside of Strikeforce Freedom and SPIDER, that level of technology just isn’t to be found. Since this is the case, the following sub-sections are only aimed at these two organizations.


For the most part, vehicles are slightly exaggerated versions of actual military vehicles, at least for mundane travel. Simple jeeps and motorcycles are the most common forms of transportation for Strikeforce Freedom members. Battlefield vehicles, on the other hand, are far more advanced than their normal 1980s counterparts. In fact, many of these vehicles have a stark sci-f look to them, except for the military coloring and such.


In many episodes, team members were depicted as having a small device that would allow them to communicate verbally with one another while on missions. The GM may allow these to be used whenever he feels the mission warrants it. Aside from that, communication technology is the same as it was in the real world of the era.


Traditional military weapons are the default weapon types in the series. It wasn’t uncommon, though, for certain characters to possess a weapon of a higher technology level.


The following groups play an important role in Strikeforce Freedom.

Strikeforce Freedom

As mentioned previously, Strikeforce Freedom is comprised of the best the military has to offer. They are the elite few selected to play a role in thwarting the threat posed by SPIDER. Despite being a military-based series, very little attention is paid to ranks, with the exception to the muckety-mucks.

The public is aware of the existence of Strikeforce Freedom, but the name and what the group does is about all that John Q Public knows.

The group’s headquarters is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The base itself, known simply as “the Compound”, is a highly fortified series of buildings, some of which are built right into the mountainside.


Founded by the mysterious man known only as General Arachnid, this terrorist organization has made a global impact due to its over-the-top plans to rule the world. During the first season of the series, the location of SPIDER’s headquarters was not addressed. On the first episode of Season 2, SPIDER took over a large island off the coast of Brazil and renamed it “Spider Island”. Through legal trickery, it was turned into a sovereign nation.

At the center of the island lies the Web, a sprawling fortress made of high-tech material and protected by an untold number of cannons and missile systems. The Web also stretches beneath the surface itself, and it is within these lower levels that SPIDER’s most important activities are conducted. It’s also where General Arachnid’s elaborate throne room is located."

Next comes the heroic characters. The remind you the first season is 1982

For we get our Duke, in the form of a decent of a army family with the code name of Bullethole.

We get a combination of The Big Guy and The Smart Guy in he form of Hairtrigger.

Next, we get a General Hawk in the form the scar-ed Hardcore.

To explain Jumping Jack, I'm going to let CCM talk about him:

"Jumping Jack “Jetpack Trooper”

Quick Bio: Jumping Jack (File Name: J.J. Ellis) was a natural stuntman, which earned him a lot of jobs in Hollywood. Eventually, he began to feel as if he wasn’t doing anything meaningful with his life, which led him to join the US Air Force. With his daring, often foolhardy, style of doing things, he became a wonderful asset to the military. When approached about joining Strikeforce Freedom, Jack saw an opportunity to carry out even bolder operations.

Appearance: Jumping Jack is a red-haired Irishman with a devilishly sly smile and a twinkle in his eye. He wears a red-orange bodysuit with yellow and blue trim. A yellow helmet protects his head. Lastly is his large, silver jetpack on his back.

Factoids: “Affable”, “Daring”, “Known to be a practical joker”, “Has an Irish accent”, “Drives Hardcore nuts by doing foolishly risky stunts during combat”

Subplots: Mental Hang-Up (Takes unnecessary risks) Traits: Jetpack 3 [Vehicle; TRAITS: Maneuverable 7 (Enhancer +4), Fast 6], Pistol 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Piloting Aircraft 4, Great Personality 3, Daredevil Stunts 4, Shooting 3, Fighting 2, Endurance 3, Strong 2

Stats: Threshold 11, Battle Rating 3"

Next we get a martial arts in the form of Kayo.

We get a female equal to G.I. Joe's "Mainframe" in the form of Mayday.

Since the military need sneaky people, that arrives in the form of Kayo's girlfriend, Tight-Squeeze.

The second season of "Strikeforce" took place in 1983, the same time that "Warriors of Cosmos" was just starting up. This is going to hard to be explain the following characters, so I'm letting CCM do the work for me:

" Big Bang “Bazooka Soldier”

Quick Bio: They say that big things come in small packages and Big Bang (File Name: Morris Monfrey) is proof of that. Big Bang is rather diminutive in stature, but make no mistake about it: he’s stronger than he looks. Strong enough, in fact, to lug around and fire a bazooka like it was a sidearm. Big Bang has one problem, however. His vision is terrible. This almost kept him out of Strikeforce Freedom, but he put on vision-enhancing goggles that he designed himself and wowed his peers with his uncanny accuracy with large weapons.

Appearance: Big Bang stands barely over 5 feet, but is extremely muscular. He has crew cut black hair and deep-set blue eyes. As for clothing, Big Bang wears camouflage pants and an olive green tank-top shirt that says “Kaboom” on it in white letters.

Factoids: “Sensitive about his height”, “Pampers his blue-colored bazooka (which he has dubbed ‘Grace’)”, “Is not humorless, but doesn’t get most jokes”, “Is about as subtle as a nuclear bomb”

Subplots: Physical Flaw (Poor eyesight without his goggles)

Traits: Bazooka 8 [Area, Big Gun, Enhancer +4, Accessory, Disadvantage (big and unwieldy)], Goggles 4 [Enhancer +2 (to sight-based checks), Accessory], Bazooka Expertise 4, Scrappy Fighter 3, Inventor 2, Stout 3, Likeable 2, Poor Eyesight 1X

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 8

Lonestar “Pilot”

Quick Bio: There’s not an air vehicle that Lonestar (File Name: Darren Colt) can’t operate efficiently. He claims to have driven his first single-engine plane by the time he was ten years old, though he’s known for tell tall tales for the sake of entertaining others. He enlisted in the US Army the day he turned 18, where he found his niche for driving and piloting military vehicles right away. When the Strikeforce Freedom team was assembled, the brass knew they would need an unshakable pilot… and Lonestar was the ideal candidate.

Appearance: Lonestar is a Texan and proud of it. This pride manifests itself in his appearance as well. He looks like he stepped right out of the Wild West. He sports a large handlebar mustache and wears clothes that match the image, usually consisting of a white shirt with a brown leather vest over it, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.

Factoids: “Loves Texas and references it often”, “Extraordinarily friendly”, “Stretches the truth for the sake of a good story”, “Raised on the Triple Q Ranch”

Subplots: Mental Hang-Up (Hates being in/on water-based vehicles)

Traits: Shotgun 3 [Enhancer +2, Accessory], Pistols 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Jawbonin’ 2, Piloting Helicopters 4 [Specialty], Piloting Airplanes/Jets 4 [Specialty], Vehicle Repair 2, Shootin’ 2, Fist Fightin’ 2, Athletics 2, Get Out of Harm’s Way 3, Swimming 2X

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 3

Wild Ride “Vehicle Driver”

Quick Bio: Since the day he was born, Wild Ride (File Name: Todd Grater) was obsessed with vehicles, particularly fast ones. Unlike most young boys, he never “grew out of it” and went on to drive racecars professionally before joining the Army. It was there that his affinity was noticed by Jumping Jack, who had much in common with him. Jumping Jack pulled some strings in order to get Wild Ride on the team, where he has continually impressed his teammates with his flawless driving skills.

Appearance: Wild Ride is a very handsome man with slightly shaggy blonde hair and a roguish smile. He often has five o’clock shadow on his face, as he has better things to do than shave every day. He wears green army pants and a black tank top with a green jacket over it.

Factoids: “Is a bit girl-crazy”, “Obsessed with fast vehicles”, “Is known to be a practical joker”, “Doesn’t take things too seriously”, “Often tells tall tales about his Aunt Gracie, who (according to him) is outrageously tough, smart, clever, and influential”

Subplots: Mental Hang-Up (Addicted to high-speed vehicles)

Traits: Pistol 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Fast-Deploy Motorcycle (F.A.D.E.) 7 [Vehicle; TRAITS: Maneuverable 6 (Enhancer +4), Fast 7, Sturdy Frame 4, Laser Blaster 3 {Enhancer +2, Disadvantage (Rigidly fixed position – forward)}], Operate Ground Vehicles 4 [Specialty], Shoot Gun 2, Physical Activities 2, Brawl 2, Handsome 4, Clever Remarks 1

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 2

Wolfheart “Ranger”

Quick Bio: Nothing pleases Wolfheart (File Name: Thomas Wolfheart) more than traipsing around the wilderness, dealing with bad guys and protecting his country in the process. He’s a very formidable fighter, but it’s his traditional Native American wisdom that makes him truly unique. He has a way of looking at things that often saves the day for the team.

Appearance: Wolfheart is a tall Native American with long, black hair and wide shoulders. He wears tan pants with fringe running down the sides and a dark brown shirt, usually kept partly buttoned.

Factoids: “Believes in Native American spirits”, “Often speaks in riddles that only become apparent later on”, “Is an environmentalist”, “Never loses his temper”

Subplots: Vow (To protect the earth)

Traits: Hunting Knife 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Machine Gun 5 [Enhancer +3, Accessory], Set Traps 4, Wise 4, Good Fighter 3, Marksman 3, Athletics 3, Confusing Riddle-Speak 4, Strong 2

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 4"

For Strikeforce Freedom vehicles, we get tanks called HOCT or Heavy Ordnance Command Tank (H.O.C.T.), bikes called RAB or Rapid Attack Bike, jeeps called APAV or All-Purpose Assault Vehicle, a jet fighters called Skyrazor (Which reminds of the Skystrikers from "G.I. Joe"), and a watercraft called Sea Strikers.

For SPIDER characters, our first group are the first season characters, and looks like we get our Destro equal in the form of Baron Vile first up

General Arachnid is of course, the Cobra Commander, which could be consider leader of this group—even if he's gets his plans ruined by Strikeforce Freedom.

Next we get their weakest goon squid, the SPIDER Troopers, equal of the Cobra Troopers who just their to get their hides knock six ways to Sunday.

We get our evil version of The Brute in the form of Tarantula.

And then we get a blonde hair Baroness, in the form of The Widow. She has a Secret subplot that she was weak and dependent on others when she was a child.

In the second season, we get a Dr. Mindbender in the form of Dr. Thoraxx.

Next up is some more advanced goons, in the form of SPIDER Huntsmen.

The next three, I let CCM do:

"Redback “Task Leader”

Quick Bio: Since his introduction in Season 2 of the series, Redback has been used as General Arachnid’s right-hand man, leading missions and carrying out important tasks. Prior to coming aboard SPIDER, Redback (aka Sam Brogan) was an international criminal of much renown. His services were sought after by nearly every criminal organization in the world because of his ability to get the job done.

Appearance: Redback wears a dark blue bodysuit adorned with pouches, straps, and bandolier belts. Over this is a gray vest with a red SPIDER symbol on the back. He has a collection of oval pods on his belt. These pods fold out to become boomerangs that perform various functions. He also wears a dark blue helmet with chrome trim that covers his entire face.

Factoids: “Has an Australian accent”, “Is a smart-alec”, “Likes to talk trash on his enemies”

Subplots: Mental Hang-Up (Overconfident)

Traits: Specialty Boomerangs 4 [Clusters (Attack/Defense and Manipulation), Enhancer +2, Advantage (The boomerangs return to him), Accessory], Battle Helmet 2 [Enhancer +1, Disadvantage (Only protects against attacks to the head), Accessory], Master Marksman 4, Athletics 2, Command 2, Skilled Fighter 2, Resilient to Damage 2, Criminal 4, Notice 2

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 4

Shadowstalker “Cyber-Ninja”

Quick Bio: Shadowstalker is a mysterious ninja from the Harashika Clan. He tends to remove himself from social situations, standing back to assess everyone. This behavior makes others nervous (except General Arachnid), as they feel as if they are being studied or analyzed… which actually is the case. Shadowstalker is cautious and observant, always looking to learn about his environment before moving in for the kill.

Appearance: Shadowstalker wears a variation of traditional ninja attire. He foregoes the dark colors that his brethren prefer, opting for a more flamboyant color scheme of blue and gold with red trim. His most distinctive feature is his array of cybernetics; the entire left half of his body is mechanical in nature. He usually carries two swords and a selection of odd-shaped shuriken.

Factoids: “Analytical”, “Cautious”, “Never loses his temper”, “Speaks little”

Subplots: Secret (He required cybernetics due to losing a fight against an unknown assassin), Vow (To learn the identity of the man who defeated him)

Traits: Metal Body 5 [Enhancer +3, Disadvantage (Only on the left side of his body)], Dual Swords 3 [Enhancer +2, Advantage (If the swords cause a Setback Token, roll a die; if you get a 10-12, it deals another Setback Token), Accessory], Ninjitsu 4, Astounding Agility 4, Strength 2, Observant 3, Impenetrable Will 3, Shuriken 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Stealth 3

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 5

Slimeball “Saboteur”

Quick Bio: It astounds everyone that the normally loud and obnoxious Slimeball is so adept at sneaking around and planting explosives undetected. He’s good at his job. So good, in fact, that General Arachnid puts up with his repugnant personality and hideous odor in order to retain his services.

Appearance: Slimeball is a slightly muscular man with tangled and matted black hair, a scraggly beard and rotten, yellow teeth… all due to his poor hygiene. He wears dull gray pants, a dark blue long-sleeved shirt and a toque/stocking cap.

Factoids: “Speaks in a slightly slurred, lazy manner”, “Has rancid body odor”, “Is known for his repulsive and overbearing personality”, “Usually says ‘Question!’ immediately before making a query”, “No one likes to be around him”, “Loves to drive vehicles”

Subplots: Stigma (Due to foul personality and body odor), Mental Hang-Up (Fear of water)

Traits: Machine Gun 5 [Enhancer +3, Accessory], Hunting Knife 1 [Enhancer +1, Accessory], Infiltration Kit 3 [Enhancer +2, Accessory], Good Shot 2, Capable Combatant 3, Stealth 4, Demolitions 4 [Specialty], Breaking In 4, Toughness 2, Strong 1, Athletics 1, Terrible Driver 2X, Unlikable 2X

Stats: Threshold 10, Battle Rating 5"

For SPIDER vehicles we get tanks called Venom Tank, helicopters called Wasp, a watercraft called Black Beetle. Now back to CCM for the episode seeds.

"Episode Seeds

“Distress Call”

A distress call is coming from an unknown source in the jungles of South America and Hardcore assembles a group of characters (i.e, the P Cs) to track it down. They are given a locater device that shows them the precise location the distress call originated from.

The P Cs are dropped from Skyrazors directly over the jungle, a little more than two miles from the beacon’s source. They are ordered to meet back up with the Skyrazors at a nearby village after the signal is investigated.

The players will most likely think it’s a trap, but likely to their surprise, it isn’t. The individual sending out the distress signal is a pilot whose plane was shot down by SPIDER Wasps. His name is Rico Hernandez and he was transporting electronic devices from a mysterious man who paid him well to do so. As soon as this is explained, several squads of SPIDER Troopers hit the scene (one for each PC).

Once the troopers are dealt with, the P Cs will almost certainly try to get Rico back to the Skyrazors (along with his cargo). This gives you an opportunity to throw in all manner of fun jungle-based encounters and hazards at them (hostile tribal natives, a river with piranhas, huge snakes, and so forth). Of course, before they can reach safety, more SPIDER agents will show up to rain on the P Cs’ parade.

The bonus of this episode is that it leaves a few unanswered questions that can be used in later episodes (Who is the mysterious man who hired Rico? What are the devices for? Why does SPIDER want them so badly?

'“The Takeover”

The P Cs have been out on a routine training mission all day and come back to find that the Compound has been taken over by SPIDER forces. The heroes are on their own and must sneak or fight their way into the various buildings of the Compound in order to free their comrades and retake the headquarters.

This is a highly freeform episode in which the players are in the driver’s seat. Let them concoct a plan and attempt to carry it out. Don’t make it a cakewalk, however. The heroes should be in for a big challenge, regardless of what approach they take. For an operation this big, General Arachnid is certain to have deployed all of his best agents.

An underlying sub-plot could be for the P Cs to find out how the takeover happened. As it turns out, treachery is involved. The Widow has recently been in deep cover as a new recruit for Strikeforce Freedom (using the code name of Jaguar). She utilized the air circulation systems in the buildings to disperse paralysis gas, giving her enough time to imprison the team members in the brig. To really add some meaning to this, the opening scene of the episode could involve Jaguar interacting with the P Cs. This gives the players a chance to bond with their supposed new teammate.

“The Doomsday Comet”

Dr. Thoraxx has developed a new device that is capable of triggering a collision course between a huge comet and Earth itself, eradicating all life on the planet upon impact. General Arachnid has issued a demand to every nation. Either they surrender to him or there will be an apocalypse. Should they all comply, he promises to turn the machine off. He informs the leaders of the nations that the collision will occur in three days if they refuse to give in to his demands.

Needless to say, Strikeforce Freedom is on the case. The team has been split into several groups (with the P Cs being one of them). They must figure out a way to avert the disaster at all cost. This can be done any number of ways, but the most probable plan will be to locate and destroy Dr. Thoraxx’s room-sized device.

General Arachnid’s no dummy. He knows good and well that everyone under the sun will be seeking the device. To these ends, Dr. Thoraxx has made the device modular and split it up into three different segments. In order to stop the machine, all three pieces must be destroyed or deactivated. The device segments are hidden in a subterranean cave in Antarctica, in a hidden base within the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt, and in a secret outpost in the forests of Russia."

Next up is "Transformers" homage in the form of "Transbots".