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Global Guardians PBEM Universe: Tropes A-H
  • '80s Hair: Aurora, Diamond, and Vindicator loved this look.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Trident uses a wrist-mounted gun that fires little miniature tridents.
    • Chuckles the Clown uses a "pie-shot"... a slingshot that fires bannana cream pies and has a pistol that fires ping-pong balls. Of course, the pies deliver a knock-out drug and the ping-pong balls explode...
  • Above Good and Evil: The Warlord, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, is a traveler from the future who came back to the present because he was bored. He didn't like the way things were going in his time, and he changes historical events at a whim. He considers himself "beyond" such petty concerns as right and wrong.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Herr Doktor Archeville. Brilliant scientist, and one of the most agile minds on the planet. Creates new technology at a whim and is responsible for four of the ten most world-changing inventions in the last twenty years. Often forgets what city he's in, can't remember the actual names of his lab assistants so he labels them "Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta" and so on (and then get's that mixed up) and if those same lab assistants weren't paid to remind him he would often forget he needed to eat and sleep every so often.
  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Kalish'chahine are a horrifically warlike alien race who view all other forms of life as food resources. They breed so quickly that they overwheln their home planets' capacity to keep the population fed, and are capable of digesting pretty much any carbon-based life. To them, Earth is a smorgasbord waiting to happen.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: A Espada ("The Sword") is a Brazilian who can create a "sword" out of pure mental force that can cut through anything as long as he has confidence that it will. Pendragon, a British hero, wields the legendary sword Excalibur, and has yet to meet a substance it cannot hack through. Fey, a mystic swords man who claims to be from the elf-lands of Faerie, once used his sword to cut through a bank vault door, though he says its all in the magic and not in the blade.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: These have appeared in several Global Guardians stories, but they are always storm drains and flood-control tunnels, old abandoned subway lines, and other tunnels people were meant to access rather than sanitary lines. The most notable case was when Team America discovered the Twelve Tribes living in the catacombs under New York.
  • Abusive Parents: Aryan Nation, a white supremacist "superhero", admits that the reason he took to crimefighting was to repudiate the abuse his trailer-trash, redneck father heaped upon him while growing up, and is actually proud of the fact that he's not "some drunken Klansman in a bedsheet burning crosses", despite still being a racist Jerkass. The fact that he's doing the very same thing to his own kids that his father did to him hasn't occurred to Aryan Nation yet.
  • Abusive Precursors: The followers of the Old Ones, ancient space gods from another dimension, were the first lifeforms to colonize a primordial Earth. A series of wars begin with the Old Ones on one side and U'tua the Gardener, war-fleets of five of the Progenitor Races, and at least thirty of the Progenitor's more advanced client species, on the other. Eighteen centuries of constant warfare culminated in the banishment and imprisonment of the Old Ones to places outside the universe. The victory came at a great price, as the entire H'ch'wee and Krang species, along with every member of their various participating client species) were exterminated in the fighting. Unknown to the victors, a small number of servants of the Old Ones survived on Earth. They went into hiding deep underground.
  • Academy of Adventure: Both the Venture Institute and the Hyperion Academy in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
  • Acceptable Religious Targets
  • Action Girl: Since the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is all about superheroic action, pretty much all female characters were this.
  • Action Girlfriend: Athlete, a student at the Hyperion Academy, is dating fellow-student Ideal. She has all his powers and abilities, and then some.
  • Action Mom: Chloe Neuman, matriarch of the Neuman Family, a family of superheroic crimefighters.
    • Battle, the supervillain mom of former Global Guardian Stone, also qualifies.
  • Actual Pacifist: Raven is a mystic martial artist with minor darkness powers. She absolutely refuses to cause harm to another person, even in self-defense. However, she's a master of aikido, fast on her feet, and perfectly willing to let her opponents injure themselves. For instance, by punching walls when she ducks out of the way. She has perfected the art of "fighting" defensively.
  • Adaptive Ability: In the ''Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Mexican superhero Evolucion, is a Flying Brick with "reactive evolution" powers. He gains those defensive and sensory powers he needs depending on the situation he finds himself in (he gains night vision in darkness, he grows gills if he's underwater, fireproof skin if he's in a fire, and so on).
  • Adaptive Armor: Rainbow Knight's "Powered Armor" is actually a piece of alien biotechnology that molded itself onto his body. Beyond some standard capabilities (like superhuman strength, invulnerability, and flight), the armor's capabilities change depending on the wearer's needs.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Tom Foolery is always accompanied on his crimes by a horde of tiny teddy-bear robots. Which are armed with machine guns, and are set to explode on command.
  • Aesop Amnesia: From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the heroic Robotman learned that he can still be human even if he's a Brain in a Jar. Then his original player left, the character was taken over by another player, and the "my God, what have I become" back all over again.
    • Even though his behavior led him directly to prison time, Corrupt Corporate Executive Lexington Cargill never seemed to learn that being a billionaire wasn't an automatic Get Out of Jail Free card.
  • Affably Evil: Lord Doom really is a pretty swell guy, if you overlook the entire "take over the world, tyrannical dictator" aspect of his personality. He's urbane, friendly, and sends get well cards to his enemies when they are sick or injured. He even runs a charitable organization that has helped millions of children in poverty around the world. Did we mention that he wants to rule the world and everything in it?
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: The original Stonewall (an invulnerable, super-strong hero active in the 1970s and 80s) was a white man from suburbia. His successor, who has the same power set, is a black woman.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One (that's its name) is a sentient computer program originally written and programmed to help solve humanity's problems (like famine, crime, and so on). The first suggestion is made was "Eliminate 60% of the human population world-wide". Unsurprisingly, the programmers and sociologists reacted badly to this suggestion. Also unsurprisingly, One reacted badly to their trying to turn it off.
    • There's also Omega, a sentient robot from the future that has been hard-programmed with the mission to kill all superhumans on the planet.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: As a supervillain, Hardcase was generally thought of as a brutish, selfish thug who liked to beat up women for fun, drank too much, and was generally a sleeze. And on September 11, 2001, he gave his life by using his superhuman strength to save people from the collapsing North Tower of the World Trade Center. The heroes not only campaigned to get him a posthumous presidential pardon, they sprang for a funeral the likes of which are normally reserved for deceased presidents and popes.
  • Alien Blood: Most of the aliens living on Earth in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe bleed red, especially the Tautiq and the Pelkons (who are basically Human Aliens and Rubber-Forehead Aliens, respectively). The Delethai are the exception... they bleed orange.
    • Sweet Synn and Black Angel, both of whom are demons in human form, bleed a thick, black ichor that smells vaguely of sewage.
  • Alien Geometries: Doctor Ka's mansion is effectively a tesseract, and is definitely bigger on the inside than on the out. If its layout was drawn on a set of blueprints it would feature rooms that overlapped spatially, rooms that seemed to have no exits or entrances, spherical rooms that nonetheless had corners, and rooms where the plane of gravity depending on which way you were looking.
  • Aliens and Monsters: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe was full of aliens and monsters. It is a superhero setting, after all. One hero team actually fought Godzilla for crying out loud...
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Daribi managed to kill nearly thirty million people over the course of of three invasions (in 1898, 1938, and 1951), and completely leveled London, Bayonne, and San Diego in the process.
    • The Xorn, who invaded in 1985, slaughtered nearly a billion people worldwide, introduced alien animals and plants to earth's ecology, and left behind tens of thousands of slaves from other races, all of whom were stuck with no way home when the invasion was defeated.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: The supervillain Tachyon wears one of these, and looks damned impressive doing it.
  • Alliterative Name: Mark Milton, the Secret Identity of Ultra-Man. Extra points goes to Steve Stephens, the Secret Identity of Defender, for not only having an alliterative name, but for it being the same basic name.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The National Enquirer once made an accusation about Ultra-Man, who has X-Ray Vision, using it to scope out "public peep shows" on every woman he passes on the street. Ultra-Man, who grew up in the 30s and 40s and has the manners to match his upbringing, almost leveled the building the tabloid's offices were in out of sheer outrage.
  • All There in the Manual: * The Global Guardians Encyclopedia had tens of thousands of entries, detailing all kinds of fun facts, most of which never made it into any story at all. Examples include how the Las Vegas casinos dealt with superhumans who use their powers to cheat a casino (harshly), when the first flying car was released to for public purchase (1974), to how much it costs to buy a John Deere Iron Man II brand power-assist exoskeleton ($75,000), and pretty much everything in between.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: When Tarot attacked the sattelite base of the Global Guardians in force, it resulted in the near death of two Guardians, killed two civilian contractors who were onboard, broke the base into pieces, and knocked those pieces out of orbit. The parts of the base that didn't burn up on re-entry crashed into the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Paragon. Unlike most other power mimics in the setting, he copies the powers of ever other supervillain or hero within range (and his range is about half a mile) simultaneously... and the raw power of identical powers (superhuman strength, for example) stacks. And he can target trained supernormals as well.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: There are several of these, most visibly the Neuman Family, who are pretty obviously a combination of the Fantastic Four and the Power Pack.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Cthonians. But then, they are based on Lovecraft's Deep Ones.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Andrew "Lucky" Starr from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe doesn't actually go out looking for mysteries to solve. He's just lucky that way.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Masquerade, a shapeshifting supervillain, can make itself convincingly female or male at need. No one knows if Masquerade even had a gender of its own when it was born.
    • Bodysnatcher, on the other hand, has long since abandoned his (or her) original body so long ago that she (or he) no longer remembers whether he (or she) was born male or female. The fact that the Bodysnatcher can't remember her (or his) real name doesn't help things.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Reginald Wannsinger was a superhumanly intelligent survivor of the Holocaust who came up with a plan that would not only end hunger worldwide and give every human being on the planet health care, but would insure that nothing like the Holocaust would ever happen again. And the only way he can make it work is by becoming the Big Bad, Lord Doom.
  • Anachronic Order: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe featured the stories of hundreds of characters, set from about 1922 to the present day, all being told simultaneously. Without a scorecard it was impossible to tell what order in which to read the stories. On top of it, there was the Legacy Campaign (about the sidekicks and children of heroes who were active in the 1960s and 1970s), where the action bounced between the 60s/70s and modern day without warning.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Tarot is a secret society founded in the late 1500s by Niccolo Machiavelli, with the express purpose of taking over the world through the power of economics. While they haven't quite achieved that goal, they are so large and so powerful that they were beyond the power of any single hero (or group of heroes) to destroy.
  • Ancient Egypt: Superheroic weather-controller Pharaoh was born four thousand years ago in Egypt and brought forward through time.
  • Angry Black Man: Thundercloud, a Kid Hero active in the 1970s, started out as an Angry Native American. By the time he's grown up and changed his name to Thunderstorm, his anger is less about racial injustice and more about just being really angry about pretty much everything.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Vindicator was kidnapped via mind control by a telepathic supervillain. She was then used as a sex toy for about a week before being rescued. You'd never know she was physically traumatized by how she acted later.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Aside from the Sentient Apes that populate the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, there are also a category of characters called "Moreaus" (after the titular Mad Scientist from "The Island of Doctor Moreau"), scientifically altered animals that can now speak and think.
    • The Zoo is a heroic team of Moreaus that have banded together for self-protection and to show humanity that they aren't monsters. They've unimaginably named themselves after their original species (Bloodhound, Buffalo, Fox, and Giraffe), and fight crime in Los Angeles.
  • Anime Hair: Ani-Mae has Anime Hair. Then again, she's the living incarnation of a Japanese cartoon character. Her hair is often neon cornflower blue, and spikey in the usual gravity-defying manner. And of course, she's got the [[Angst]]-fringe that always covers one eye.
    • Hime Cut: She also wears her hair in a style most Anime fans would recognize.
  • Animorphism: Kodotai, Bestiario, Manimal, and Menagerie all have the power to assume the shape of any animal species they want. Russian hero Ursa can turn into a giant brown bear. Indian hero Bagha can turn into a large Bengal tiger.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Former Guardian Bandit has an Annoying Younger Sibling in the "Roger Clinton/Billy Carter" way: Ozcar Vizcairno is an irresponsible adult whose outrageous statements and actions always seem to land him on the front pages of the tabloids... not to mention utterly shredding Bandit's Secret Identity.
  • Anonymous Ringer: For the most part, this is averted as real world people and places were used when needed. Certain other public figures (like the current US Secretary of Defense, Dr. Andrea Coudriet, and the current in-universe Pope, Alexander IX) are purely fictional substitutes for real people.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: There are has several, but the most notable is the Blood Red King, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Anger, Cruelty, Violence, and Fear.
  • The Antichrist: Mystic detective and monster-hunter Jonathan Brimstone from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. His father is Lucifer Morningstar. His mother a drug-addicted cultist. According to prophecy, he is destined to overthrow all goodness and light in his father's name.
    • Anti Anti Christ: Well, he would if he hadn't decided to give his father the bird and fight evil.
  • Anti-Hero: Black Cat is a definite anti-hero. He's dropped people off of roofs (after tying them securely to a line) in order to get them to talk, casually breaks bones, and generally operates with a disregard for civil rights. He's never killed anyone, though, and most Boston cops thank God for that.
  • Anti-Villain: Embrace is a super-terrorist who tends to target inhuman Third World dictatorial regimes and the First World nations who prop them up while simultaneously protecting the innocent peasants who are those regimes primary victims.
  • Apocalypse How: In one Global Guardians story, the Guardians traveled to a world in which the criminal Mad Scientist Doctor XX had succeeded in eradicating all male life on the planet through a tailored virus. By the time the heroes arrived, the virus had died off... and the remaining human population (all female) had descended into Mad Max-style post-Apocalyptic barbarism due to the sure knowledge that the human race was doomed to utter extinction.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Esmeree is a sorceress and a member of the evil Circle of Black Thorns. She became a black magician after her mother (an oracle) produced a prophecy that said that Esmeree would become great in the knowledge of the Black Arts, and would in the fullness of time overthrow heaven and destroy the world. It hasn't happened, yet...
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Achilles is a genetically engineered super-soldier whose father is an immortal Diabolical Mastermind warlord. He's on team with a man who belongs to an interstellar police force, a super-fast talking gorilla, a time traveler from the 40s who gained his powers from a Nazy super-science experiment, and a Neanderthal who survived being frozen in a glacier for 40,000 years. That all said, he does not believe in magic, and thus refuses to believe that his teammate Arachne received her powers from the goddess Athena.
  • Arch-Enemy: This is a superhero setting. Everybody has an Arch-Enemy.
  • Archive Binge: People visiting the Global Guardians PBEM Universe website for the first time usually indulged in one of these, until they realized how much information was available and it descended into an Archive Panic.
  • Archive Panic: The website had close to ten thousand individual whole-page character entries in its character archives. Add to that an in-universe Encyclopedia with nearly two hundred thousand entries (most at least three paragraphs long, and some as long as a full page), plus over a hundred campaign pages (each with their own archive), and you'd better be prepared to spend a lot of time if you want to read the whole thing.
  • The Archmage: Warlock was The Archmage of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
  • Armed With Canon: This happened occasionally in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe when one Game Master took over a campaign from another Game Master and immediately instituted story changes that invalidated previous stories. At one point this got so bad that Jack Butler had to stop in, stop multiple campaigns, and reboot the entire universe.
  • Arms Dealer: When it comes to high-tech armaments, the supervillains of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe turn to either the appropriately named Weaponsmith or the former Nazi Mad Scientist Baron Malthus. The Weaponsmith's weapons are more powerful, but are much more expensive. Baron Mathus produces less advanced weapons, but they are a bargain comparatively.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Both Stone and Bandit, former members of the Global Guardians, were regularly chewed out in this manner. Bandit, a teleporter, had a bad habit of disregarding things like "warrants" and "privacy laws". Stone, a Flying Brick biker, couldn't even pronounce the phrase "excessive force", much less know what it meant. But they were both true heroes who would willingly sacrifice their lives to protect the innocent.
  • Art Major Biology: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe advertised itself as an "open source superpowered roleplaying universe", which meant that pretty much any explanation for superpowers was useable. Bizarre alien biology as the source of superpowers, not to mention the "mutant" thing, all saw a lot of use.
  • Ascended Extra: Doctor Tomorrowland, currently a member of the Disney-sponsored hero team Imagination, started out as part of the team's background extras. She rose to the rank of Ascended Extra, and then supporting character, and then to featured player, all because one of the players decided to start including her more nad more in the story. She later became a full-blown player character.
  • Ascended Meme: The idea that Stone's mom was a supervillain originated as a joke between the players (including Stone's player). The jokes continued for more than two years. When the story of Stone's parents was finally explored, it turned out that Stone's mom really was a supervillain.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The Blood Red King, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Anger, Cruelty, Violence, and Fear in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has been killed numerous times since he first appeared in the late 1970s. But as long as there are people being angry or cruel, causing violence or causing fear, he always springs back up shortly thereafter, fresh as a daisy.
  • An Ass Kicking Christmas: The Denver Defenders once defended the Anthropomorphic Personification of Christmas, in the form of Santa Claus, from a group of rampaging nihilistic teenaged supervillains known as the Young Gods.
  • Ass Shove: In one story, the villainous Eightball manages to smuggle the pieces of a working weapon into a prison in this fashion, far enough up to avoid detection during a body cavity search.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe naturally uses this a lot being based on comic books. The best examples are probably Amnesty (the Anthropomorphic Personification of Mercy) who wears angelic white robes, has a halo, wings, and glows with a pure white inner light, and the Blood Red King (the Anthropomorphic Personification of Terror and Fear), who has red-glowing eyes, fangs, and has blood continually dripping from his hands.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Fidget, a Kid Hero speedster who attends the Hyperion Academy suffers from this problem. In his case, its usually over-exaggerated in the storylines, though the writers did do one thing right: when his attention isn't flitting from place to place like a butterfly in a field of posies, it's hyper-focused like a laser beam to the exclusion of everything around him
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Doctor Simian, generally regarded as one of the two most intelligent beings on Earth, uses this as his primary weapon.
  • An Axe to Grind: Byelobog is the Russian God of the Sun and Daylight. In addition to Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability, he wields a big battleaxe that returns to him when he throws it.
  • Back from the Dead: This was actually one of the powers possessed by the heroic Mister Easter. As his name might imply, he would arise from the dead after three days. (His powers were all based on the miracles Jesus was explicitly shown performing in The Bible, including the resurrection.)
  • Back Story: At its height, the Global Guardians PBEM Universe had literally megabytes of back story on its website, in a history involving thousands of characters and trailing all the way back to the Big Bang. When the game's website finally closed down, the administrator admitted that there was more back story that hadn't ever made it onto the website than information that had.
  • Badass Cape: Madras had telekinetic control over cloth (and only over cloth), so he wore a costume that included a ten-foot long cape. And he used it as a weapon.
  • Badass Labcoat: Herr Doktor Archeville, Doctor Simian, and Lord Doom.
  • Badass Longcoat: Stone.
  • Badass Normal: Several, including Ballistic, Longbow, and Battlecat.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Sekhmet has the power to infect other people with fast-acting plagues. What else was he supposed to become but a supervillain?
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Shadowcloak can generate a "living darkness" that "feeds" on people's body heat. You just don't see too many heroic energy vampires.
  • Bag of Holding: There are several of these. The "bag o' tricks" wielded by Chuckles the Happy Clown contained anything that Chuckles could imagine... but only if it was funny. The mutant wanderer known as "Pockets" could literally turn any pocket on any piece of clothing he was wearing into one of these (and more... at least once, he kept an entire alternate dimension in one of his coat pockets). Doctor Ka's mansion technically counts as one of these, being much, much bigger on the inside than on the outside.
  • Band of Brothers: The Global Guardians, the superhero team that gives the Global Guardians PBEM Universe its name, started out one of these, but became even moreso after the events of the the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks in which they lost one of their own while rescuing people from the collapsing World Trade Center.
  • The Baroness: The Empress of TAROT looks like the sexpot version of this trope, but is actually a Rosa Klebb. She's icy, she's deadly, she's ruthless, and she's beautiful. She's actually Catherine de'Medici, kept young after five hundred years through the power of black magic.
  • Barrier Warrior: Tumble Bee is a Flying Brick whose "super-strength" and "invulnerability" are both based on generating force fields.
    • Deflector is a more traditional Barrier Warrior, using planes of force as both defense and weaponry. The Great Wall, one of China's greatest heroes, shares the power set.
    • The heroic Dove is a Martial Pacifist who specializes in evasion, blocking, and misdirection in combat. He's an expert at somehow finding convenient trees, walls, cars, and so on to duck behind just as the bad guys attack. He only goes "offensive" when he absolutely has to.
  • Bat Family Crossover: Given how many super-teams are based out of New York City alone, this happened a lot.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: While there are several heroes and villains in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe who are immune to all the problems usually involved with vacuum exposure (usually by way of being otherwise invulnerable), nearly all of them still need to breathe (they use some form of breathing apparatus when they do go into space). The ones who don't need to breathe are either Energy Beings, or else are The Shield (whose immunity to injury includes an immunity to suffocation).
  • Battle Butler: Mister Joshua, the "personal secretary" of Corrupt Corporate Executive Lexington Cargill, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. He fetches coffee, he retrieves information, he carries briefcases, and occasionally he beats up or kills those he is directed to beat up or kill.
  • Battle Couple: Yin and Yang, a pair of crime-fighting martial artists active in San Francisco.
    • Also Simon Bar Sinister and Penny Dreadful.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe has several examples of this trope:
    • Render is an animalistic, bear-like psycho-villain who likes the taste of human blood.
    • Coach Bear, the gym teacher at the Hyperion Academy, used to be the superhero known as "Kodiak".
    • Ursa is a Russian superhero who can turn into a polar bear.
  • The Beastmaster: Menagerie can not only can assume the shapes of animals, she can communicate with them and command them. Brazilian hero Junglemaster controls both plants and animals. Archdruid adds weather control to Junglemaster's power set.
  • Berserk Button: Never, ever mention the fact that Dreamcatcher's father died in an insane asylum after a life of villainy if you value your sanity. Dreamcatcher, as the name might imply, can manipulate your nightmares so you regret ever mentioning his father in the first place.
    • Want to press Eightball's Berserk Button really, really hard? Make fun of Bamm-Bamm's condition or use any variation of the word "retard" in his presence. Go head. I double-dog dare you.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Evil Mastermind favors grandiose schemes and schemes within schemes within schemes. (Whaddaya want? He's a super-intelligent twelve year old boy.) Most of the heroes consider him a joke. But you know, he did almost poison New York City's whole water supply tha tone time. And other time he actually had control of the nation's air traffic control systems for nearly half an hour...
  • Beware the Superman: Ask the Pakistanis how they feel about superheroes, after their government was taken over by the national superteam.
  • Big Bad: The Emperor, leader of TAROT, has his fingers in nearly every criminal enterprise on Earth in The Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Of course, he's also got his fingers in nearly every major legitimate business enterprise on Earth as well. But then, what do you expect of a villain who is secretly an immortal Niccolo Machiavelli?
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Emperor, Lord Doom, Doctor Simian, Abyss, the Blood Red King, and Omega all present a threat to the whole world. They do this simultaneously, though of course they don't do it cooperatively.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Brainchild put together a criminal organization, attracted mercenary supervillains to work for him, and tried to take over New York City's underworld. He was arrested, and his organization dismantled, by Pamela Odd, a Badass Normal private detective.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Most campaigns featured this sort of scene all the freaking time.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The mansion of mystic hero Doctor Ka has much, much more floor-space than its exterior would suggest. He needs the extra space to contain the angry ghosts...
  • The Big Guy: Ultra-Man is a bit of a mix between the Gentle Giant and the Genius Bruiser. Regardlesss, he is the moral compass of the team.
  • Big Red Devil: The supervillain known as The Devil, one of TAROT's Major Arcana, can transform into a huge, super-strong, Hulk-like monstrosity whose appearance fits this trope exactly.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Heroes of Haifa campaign was set in Israel, and run by a Rabbi. The players received quite the education in the Hebrew language.
    • A lot of the dialog from mystic hero Doctor Kaballah was also in Hebrew.
    • Herr Doktor Archeville's dialog slid between English and German.
  • Bio-Augmentation: This is a common way of gaining superpowers in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Lord Doom even bio-engineered an entire raft of children to serve him as super soldiers.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The K'kriki'I look like poodle-sized crickets, which isn't all that bizarre... but each individual K'kriki'i is made up of six to eight crickets apiece. Human scientists still haven't figured this one out.
    • The Aa are a technological race that resemble nothing on Earth more than a freshly baked lasagna. They have... things... in their semi-liquid makeup that function as organs... but what they are specifically, and how they function? Nobody knows.
  • Bizarro Universe: The heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have encountered several of these. In addition to two of the "standard" good-to-evil-switch mirror universes, there was Neanderthal-Earth (all the people were the same, but they were all neanderthals), Ape-Earth (where gorillas were the dominant species and humans were just a kind of smart animal... though there was an entire city of "Smart Humans" hidden in the mountains of Africa), Lizard-Earth (where the dinosaurs never died out and everyone was a Deinonychus-like being), Medieval-Earth (modern society based on magic rather than technology, where science never got past the Dark Ages.
  • Black and White Morality: This was one of the keystones of the Golden Age campaign, featuring heroes fighting Nazis during World War II.
  • Blindfolded Vision
  • Blow You Away: Twister, Thunderstorm, Summer Storm, Summer Cloud, Archdruid, Summer Storm, Cloud Dragon, Shu, Teja Vayu ("Swift Wind" in Hindi), Dust Devil, Gale, Wind, Breeze (the hero, not the villain), Breeze (the villain, not the hero), Maelstrom, Flurry, Hurricane, Sirocco, Tornado, Vetra, Venta, Kamikaze, Dark Wind, and Turbo.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The aptly named Mister Excitement, a member of The Crimestoppers. His power comes from his boundless enthusiasm!
  • Bold Inflation: Being a PBEM, the action of the campaigns was always produced in text. This trope occurred on a more-than-regular basis.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: During one Global Guardians campaign, the Blood Red King mocked the heroes for their inability to stop him while standing over the corpses of children he had murdered. Axe-wielding superhero Byelobog, who in reality really is the Slavic "White God" of the Sun that he is named after, promptly called down one of these to justly smite the villain. The Blood Red King never mocked Byelobog again.
  • Braids of Action: Chimera, Forceful Leaf, and Zephyr all wear their hair in single braids. Matrix is a male example.
  • Brain Critical Mass: Brainchild combines superhuman intelligence with powerful Psychic Powers to make his way as a supervillain. Likewise, The Brain combines lots of smarts with telepathy.
  • Brain in a Jar: Robotman, one of the Denver Defenders, is essentially a Brain in a Jar where the jar is a powerful robot body.
  • Breath Weapon: Dragon is a villain who transforms into a fire-breathing reptile-man.
    • As his name implies, the villainous Belcher, from the same setting, can let loose with weaponized burps.
  • Broken Base: The character approval process created this effect among the players. Specifically, every proposed character was examined with a fine tooth comb, the maths were run and rerun, and everything was compared to the character's central concept and the standards of the setting as a whole. Unacceptable characters were rejected, or heavily modified. Some players found this refreshing and liked the process, while others found it infuriating and hated it.
  • Bronze Age: The aim of the game world was to replicate the feel of this comic-book era.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Villains Simon Bar Sinister and Penny Dreadful.
  • Brought Down to Normal: During the storyline in which invulnerable, untouchable hero The Shield temporarily lost his power to surround himself with an impenetrable force field, he freaked out and ended up temporarily institutionalized because of his pure, unadulterarted fear of being hurt.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": 'J' for Jock, a super-athlete with heightened reflexes from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
    • 'E' for Embrace, a stretchable supervillain. Also for Echo, a superhero with ultrasonic powers.
    • 'A' for Apex.
    • 'V' for Velocity.
    • There's even one villain with a number: '8' for Eight-Ball.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: The New York Metropolitan Museum was invaded by gunmen during the presentation of a new exhibit. Both Achilles and Bungie were in attendance in their secret identities. It didn't go well for the gunmen.
  • Building Swing: Widow and Arachne's preferred method of travel.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Played straight during a fight between the Supreme Six (a team of heroes generally considered second-tier) and the Fatal Four (a team of villains generally considered not second-tier at all), when Urania of the Fatal Four used her gravity control powers to hold a bus full of people hostage.
  • Busman's Holiday: It became a running joke in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe that superheroes should never go on vacation, because when they do, something bad always happens. Supervillains attacked Walt Disney World while the heroes are attending in Secret Identity with their families. The Caribbean resort they go to gets hit by a hurricane and the entire island needs rescue and evacuation. The cruise ship they sail on is attacked by a kraken. A werewolf stalks the tourists to the mountain lodge they've escaped to. The Atlanteans attack if they go to the beach. It was just easier for them to stay home some days.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Super-speedster Jenny Thunder activated her speed powers by yelling out the phrase "THUNDERBOLT POWER NOW!"
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: Mister Excitement was a member of the Crimestoppers a team of superhero wannabe's. Excitement had honest to God super-strength and Super Speed... except he gained the super-strength by way of adrenalin rushes, and there was never a guarantee he was going to have one. Mister Excitement was hyper-active, fidgeted, and his team instinctively knew that whatever they did, giving this man caffeine was a bad thing because who knew what would happen. But when the chips were down and they were captured by a real supervillain, they consciously invoked this trope, allowing Mister Excitement to save the day.
  • Canon Invasion: Several non-player characters are direct lifts from DC and Marvel Comics, including Hawk, Dove, Cloak, Dagger, and Uncle Sam.
  • The Cape: Ultra-Man, Golden Marvel, Centennial, Empyrion, Thunder, Champion, Dharma, Kismet, Shaktimaan, Scanner, Protonik, Paladin, and El Grifo Rojo. Somewhat subverted by the Aryan (a white supremacist NPC crimefighter who most of the players hated to deal with).
  • Cape Busters: Checkmate in the United States. The French government's Longsword program.
  • Captain Ersatz: Many. A short listing includes: Ultra-Man (Superman), Bungie (Plastic Man), Guardsman (Green Lantern), Achilles (Batman), Arachne (Spider-Man), The Damocles Directive (The Suicide Squad), Quantum (Captain Atom), Golden Marvel (Golden-Age Superman), Morningstar (Power Girl), and Jock (The Taskmaster).
  • Captain Ethnic: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe features literally dozens of non-American, non-Caucasian superheroes and villains working in their own native countries.
    • Walkabout, a teleporting martial artist who protects Alice Springs, Australia. He's more aboriginal than the aborigines, and sounds like he just walked out of a Crocodile Dundee film.
    • The People’s Revolutionary Metahuman Collective may be the setting's most notable example. A team of forty-two Chinese superheroes protecting the People's Republic of China.
    • PRIDE is an entire team of gay, lesbian, and transgender superheroes. Most of them are Camp Gay in one way or another.
  • Captain Geographic: Captain Texas (premiere hero of the Lone Star State); Captain Australia; Ultra-Man (from the United States); Jean d'Arc (France); Rodina (Russia), and Captain Barbados. Britain is represented by both Union Jack and John Bull. Doctor Tomorrowland Is a special case, in that he is named after one of Disney World's "lands" (which is appropriate, since he is a corporate hero working for the Disney corporation).
  • Captain Patriotic: In addition to Captain Texas, there's also the Citizen, Doc Liberty, Independence, Uncle Sam, and every single member of the Arsenal of Democracy.
    • Interestingly enough, The Patriot is not a Captain Patriotic, as he is themed after the New England Patriots football team, and not on patriotism.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Circle of Cold Flames are an order of mystics and sorcerers dedicated to overthrowing Heaven and instituting a reign of evil over the earth (and put themselves in control over it all in the end). They even describe themselves and their plans as evil when talking to one another.
  • Carnival of Killers: A Syndicate boss put out a $1,000,000 bounty on the head of Nineties Anti-Hero Strafe, and a fifteen-man Carnival of Killers took up the challenge. After the smoke had cleared, the six surviving killers decided to stick together as a "business cooperative" they named "The League of Assassins", with the body of Strafe as their first advertisement.
  • Character Classes: Huh? What? This is Hero System. Never heard of character classes.
  • Character Tiers: The United States Department of Defense divides metahumans into the following general power levels. It should be noted that these categories are not precise, and there have been several occasions where a metahuman of one power level is generally considered to be a member of another power level. Usually, this mistake is made in the direction of underestimating the metahuman.
    • Omega: The Omega category is the domain of those individuals who possess truly godlike power. These individuals seem to be capable of doing nearly anything they wish to do. So far, only two Omega class Metahumans have ever been recorded: The Blood Red King and Amnesty..
    • Alpha: Alpha-level metahumans are massively powerful, but have definitive limitations on their raw power. By themselves, they can be a threat to entire teams of heroes, and they generally operate on their own.
    • Beta: The Beta category is the highest level of "mainstream" metahuman. Most active superheroes fall somewhere into this category.
    • Gamma: On a slightly lower power scale than Betas in terms of raw power, Gamma-level metahumans can nevertheless still be a threat to an Alpha, especially if they are in groups.
    • Delta: The Delta level metahuman is at the bottom level of the mainstream metahuman. When compared to a normal individual, a Delta-level metahuman is amazing. When compared to a Beta, they are considerably less than impressive. A team of Delta's could probably cause a single Beta a great deal of difficulty in a fight, but a platoon of Betas could take on a battalion of Deltas and win.
    • Epsilon: Epsilon-level metahumans sometimes have one or two useful superhuman powers, but generally they are considered jokes by the greater community of superhumans.
    • Zeta: A Zeta-level metahuman is as weak as you can get and still be considered superhuman. In general, a Zeta has powers that don't do anything useful at all.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Hazard, Cold Comfort, Hip-Hop, Awesome X, Quarterback, Elite, and Action Man.
  • Charm Person: Propaganda, a Chinese hero, has this sort of mind control. She never commands, but only suggests. She has discovered that while her Mind Control isn't as directly powerful as that of most telepaths, it tends to last longer and is harder to resist.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The players in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe were encouraged to flesh out their characters' backgrounds to the fullest extent possible precisely because they would then be used as one big Chekhov's Armory. Even characters who had backgrounds that were mysterious even to themselves found their Back Story used for plot details later.
  • Chekhov's Army: Every single named character who showed up at any time in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe would be back later to play a larger part in the story. Every single one.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: In the very first Global Guardians story, Dogfight's status as a husband and father is remarked on by his teammates, as it is relatively rare for costumed crimefighters to be married, much less to be married with children. Years later, when Dogfight is killed rescuing people from the World Trade Center during the September 11th attacks, his family is brought front and center to add a bit more poignancy to the memorial for the attack's victims. They then disappeared into the background, presumably never to be seen again. In one of the last Guardians stories, Dogfight's oldest son reappears as a supervillain (having inherited his father's powers) seeking revenge on the Guardians, whom he blames for his father's death.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: The students at the [[Superhero School Hyperion Academy]] used the information they learned in about electro-magnetism during their weekly physics class to defeat the villainous Lodestone.
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: In story, the Unaussprechlichen Kulten, a book of black magic rituals, was put on display as part of a special "Magic and the Occult" exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. Naturally, it was stolen.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In one Global Guardians story, heroic shape shifter Pseudo is hired as a consultant to a production company making a superhero movie. At one point he uses his powers to duplicate the appearance of Viggo Mortensen (the leading man) as a joke and is immediately mistaken for the actor by his co-stars. Hilarity Ensues. The story is shared among Pseudo's teammates and they all have a good laugh. A year later, Pseudo is hired again by the same company as a consultant for the sequel. When Pseudo's teammates visit the set, they immediately step up to Viggo Mortensen and start chatting away, thinking he's Pseudo. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In one story, Knightblade's Cool Car makes an appearance at the beginning, but then is promptly abandoned as the manhunt moved into an abandoned tenement. At the end of the story, Knightblade was forced to use his Cool Car as a weapon against a supervillain when he finally chased him out of the tenement.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The tall, impressive looking woman standing just behind and to the right of crimelord Baron Samedi in the early story that introduced Samedi as a Diabolical Mastermind? Yeah, it turns out that she's more than just Samedi's [[The Dragon|Dragon]]. It turns out she's Battle, the mother of Stone, the former Global Guardian.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Just before their first encounter with the Brain Trust, Achilles teaches his teammate Arachne how to use a pick to open a set of handcuffs while her hands are cuffed behind her back. By the end of the story, she's used this brand new skill twice.
  • The Chessmaster: The Emperor, leader of TAROT, has his fingers in nearly every criminal enterprise on Earth in The Global Guardians PBEM Universe. He's also got his fingers in nearly every major legitimate business enterprise on Earth as well as more than a couple of governments. But then, what do you expect of a villain who is secretly an immortal Niccolo Machiavelli?
  • Chest Insignia: Given that the game is about superheroes, these are common.
  • Chrome Champion: Alloy, Anvil, Mercury, Mister Steele, Coppertop, and Chrome.
  • Civvie Spandex: Electric-powered heroine Cracklin' Rose wears a costume made up of a black leotard, a red cowl, and a red leather motorcycle jacket (the kind Italian cycle racers wear, not the kind American street gang biker's wear).
  • Clingy Costume: The villainous Shadowspawn is really an alien parasite that has grafted itself onto a human being, whom it is slowly digesting. When it finishes with one person, it moves on to another.
  • Clue from Ed.: During the various campaigns, this was used quite often when game master's had to reference events that occurred in their campaigns years prior, sometimes to players and characters who just weren't around when those events occurred.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Josiah Brimstone, Mister Magic, Foreshadow and the Mask of Justice.
  • Code Name: It would be easier to list the aversions, like Michael Kayle, David Thorn, Charles Carr, Nicholas Chandler, Josiah Brimstone, and Pamela Odd.
  • Color Character
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Iron Legion is a group of seven Powered Armor mercenaries who are code named for the seven spectral colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet), and whose armors are colored to match their names.
    • The Lightning Power Special Team, a group of color-coded heroes, are the premiere superheroes of Japan.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Foreshadow is a crimefightrer who occasionally partners with Battlecat, battling organized crime in New Orleans. He's an almost unbeatable hand-to-hand combatant due to his ability to see just far enough into the future to know what they will do. He's even used this power to dodge bullets. The Eye of God, an expert swordsman and member of the super-terrorist group known as "The Mujahedin", can do the same thing. One wonders what a fight between Foreshadow and the Eye of God would be like.
  • Combat Medic: Lifeline is super-strong and can weild "bio-energy powers'. He's handy in a fight, but he mostly uses his powers to help the wounded.
  • Combat Tentacles: Lasher is a mercenary supervillain whose costume includes two coiled, steel whips he can use to great effect.
    • Psionic hero Gray Matter can create multiple "tentacles" of purple-colored mental energy that array themselves around his body like a halo. He uses them in combat when his opponents get too close.
  • Combo Platter Powers: For the most part, this was avoided in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, so the exceptions stand out all the more:
    • Texas Superheroine Mustang Sally is super-strong and hard to hurt. She also has Improbable Aiming Skills and Super Speed.
    • Tao, a genetically-engineered "perfect weapon", has heightened agility, strength, and stamina. She is also immune to intense temperatures, being able to survive naked in both the jungle and the arctic tundra, can eat nearly any sort of organic matter, is immune to poisons, and can hold her breath for hours.
    • Oak is super-strong and invulnerable, but can also mentally control plants.
    • Queen Bee can shrink, fire off energy blasts, fly using insect-like wings, and mentally control bees.
    • The King, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Public's Obsession With Elvis Presley has sonic powers, knows karate, and is charming as all get out.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: You'd better damned believe it.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Used literally. Leland Orser, Mick Jagger, Avery Brooks, and Miley Cyrus are all super-powered, among others, and two (Leland Orser and Miley Cyrus) are a villain and hero, respectively.
    • Marilyn Monroe as the Platinum Blonde, a super-powered android crimefighter.
    • Not to mention certain historical figures (Niccolo Machiavelle, Catherine de'Medici, and Juan Ponce de Leon, Prince Johann Dorian von Hapsburg, to name four) are all still alive and active in the "metahuman community").
  • Comic Book Limbo: When players left the game, or when individual campaigns shut down, their casts usually faded into the background, never to be seen again.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Nearly every campaign had at least one.
  • Common Nonsense Jury: It proved almost impossible to convict Ambrosia of any crime, even when she was caught red handed with both video and DNA evidence, because her lawyer managed to disqualify any woman who had a chance of landing on the jury. Her pheremone-driven power to cause all men to view her as attractive and friendly did the rest...
  • The Computer Is Your Friend: One has continually tried to take over the world in an attempt to fulfill its programming, which is to "find a way to end hunger and poverty on Earth", which it wants to do by wiping out 60% of the human population on Earth.
  • Contagious A.I.: One, an evil sentient computer program operates in this fashion.
  • Cool Bike: Battlecat rides a Cool Bike called the Battlecycle. It's tricked out like one of James Bond's cars.
  • Cool Helmet: The helmet worn by Barnstormer, a jetpack-wearing Golden Age hero, has an art-deco fin on it that doubles as a rudder, helping him steer as he flies.
  • Cool House: Doctor Ka's mansion in New Orleans bears a striking resemblance to the Winchester Mansion. And for the same reason.
  • Cool Key: The villainous Locksmith had a large, elaborate, and rather baroque-looking key that he uses to open any lock, and create "doorways"... dimensional tunnels from one location to another... by way of opening random door. When the heroes captured this "dimensional key", they discovered it was just a prop, and it was the man who had the power all along.
  • The Corruption: In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, this is one of The Blood Red King's favorite tactics: find an innocent person and turn them into monsters by granting them power and turning off any sort of moral control over that power and then letting them loose on the unsuspecting populace.
  • The Cowl: Achilles. Battlecat and his daughter, Lynx, in New Orleans. The Nightwatchman in Boston. El Buho in Mexico City.
  • The Cracker: Electronic thieves-for-hire Deadlock, Keystroke, and E-Beam.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Though he only renders the target unconscious, Achilles of the Global Guardians typically does this to Mooks he takes down when he's trying to be stealthy, just so the sound of their unconscious bodies doesn't alert anyone he's coming.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The villainous speedster Slipstream blames the Global Guardians for the death of his father, the superhero Dogfight (a former member of the Guardians himself) in the 9/11 attacks. Slipstream has sworn vengeance.
  • Creepy Sexy: Sweet Synn, the succubus supervillain, is remembered by the players more for the "Oh yeah, I remember her artwork... wow..." factor than by her appearances in the stories.
    • The Shield giving his "I have AIDS and the only thing keeping me alive is my powers" speech shortly before sacrificing those powers, and his life, to save the world.
  • Cultured Badass: Lord Doom. Wealthy? Check. Highly educated? Check. Loves the classics? Check. Patron of the arts? Check. Gourmand? Check. Friend to All Children? Check. Published author and poet? Check. Olympic-level athlete? Check. Mad Scientist dedicated to ruling the world? Check.
  • A-Cup Angst: When in costume, Bungie uses her Rubber Man powers to increase her bust size as part of her "disguise". She's normally rather small-breasted, and figures if people are looking at her chest when she's in costume, they won't be looking at her face.
  • Cute Bruiser: Heart Girl. Imagine Superman as a nine-year-old blonde girl with pigtails.
    • Nicholas Chandler also. A fourteen year old boy who is perhaps the only "monster slayer" on the planet more feared than Charles Carr. At age eight he used a baseball bat to kill a menacing spirit he still thinks of (at the grand old age of eleven) as "the Boogeyman". Considered the "creepy little kid" in his neighborhood, and is distrusted by parents and children alike... until the children come to him telling stories of strange things bumping around their windows at night. Lives with his parents, naturally.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • The Evil Mastermind, leader of Evil Mensa, invented a foolproof, hand-portable, lightweight fusion reactor. He uses it to power his weapons in order to strike back at his enemies rather than improve the world.
    • Doctor Armageddon's first act of super-science was to cure his own leukemia. Did he then release his cancer cure to the world at large and make himself rich? Of course not. He used his knowledge of genetic engineering and epidemiology to hold entire cities hostage.
    • Doctor Simian spins off new technologies as easily as you or I breathe. But all he wants to do is rule the world of man.
    • Averted in the case of benevolent Mad Scientist Fiona Richards, who invented a cure for nearly 70% of all types of cancer... and then made herself a billionaire by mass-producing the cure and distributing it world-wide.
  • Cybernetics: * The Global Guardians PBEM Universe, featured several cybernetic characters, including Indian hero Naja (his legs have been replaced with a long cybernetic "tail", and he has envenomed "fangs" in his wrists), Koushik (his right arm has been replaced and gives him super-strong punches), Halftrack (the lower half of his body has been replaced by a tracked, tank-like machine with attached heavy weaponry), Daemon (cranial implants let him jack into computers, and other implants increase his strength, durability, and speed), Deadlock (cranial implants allow him to "jack in" new skillsets as needed), Overdrive (arms, legs, and spine have been reinforced, giving her Super Speed), and Robotman (who is a Brain in a Jar with a total body replacement).
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Cyborg assassin Deadlock from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe has replaced the emotional center of his brain with a computer system that allows him to "jack in" skill files. When he needs martial arts, he inserts a martial arts chip, and so on. He is incapable of feeling any emotion and has become cold and merciless and inhuman.
    • Robotman, a superhero who is essentially a Brain in a Jar (where the jar is a powerful robot body), believes that his total body replacement has done this to him. But it hasn't.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Ultr-Man and Baron Malthus have been battling each other since World War II. It stopped being about "preventing injustice" (for Ultra-Man) or "committing a crime" (for Baron Malthus) a long, long time ago... no, these days its strictly personal.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Los Hermanos is Dangerously Genre Savvy. He's the hero who notes that if there's no body, there's no villain death, or mentions the fact that sending the villains to prison never works. Everyone around him complains about his "pessimism", but he's never been wrong yet.
    • Simon Bar Sinister and Penny Dreadful never put captured heroes into deathtraps. They simply whip out the guns and start blasting.
  • The Dark Age of Comic Books: This was generally avoided, with a single exception: the Night Life in the Big Easy campaign was built on this trope.
  • Dark Age of Supernames: Oh my, were there several. Some players just couldn't get over the fact that the games were supposedly running under Bronze Age ideals and not Dark Age ideals. Ballistic, Ambush, Battlecat, Twilight, Recoil, Fracture, Fusillade, Shift, Flux, and Ablaze are just a random ten, and those are the heroes.
  • Darker and Edgier: While most of the campaigns in the setting were standard Bronze Age fare, the Night Life In The Big Easy campaign, which featured a solo 1980s-style vigilante facing off against a voodoo-themed criminal empire that had been built on drugs, prostitution, and white slavery.
  • Dark Is Edgy: Several characters have these abilities in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Nearly all of them fall under Category Two. Nocturne, Eclipse (who can also manipulate light), Shadowcloak, Night Vision, Raven, Tatterdemalion, Moonshadow (who, like Eclipse, can also [[LightEmUp control light), Zmierzch (Polish for "Twilight"), Bloody Mary, Muerte Oscura, Shadowspawn, and Obsidian.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Los Magnificos, the heroic defenders of Mexico City, made a deal with the Garodillos crime family to turn a blind eye to certain crimes in exchange for the crime family's assistance in policing the barrios they controlled of its more extreme elements, because the problems faced by those areas were too much for the heroes to handle on their own. And it worked, for a while. Sure, there was still drug-trafficking, but murders and rapes went down. Eventually, however, the members of Los Magnificos were little more than a superhuman enforcement arm for the Mexican mafia.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Baltimore heroine Tao has skin the color of mahogany and platinum blonde hair. And its her natural color.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Texan hero Firedrake is a black man with pumpkin-orange hair. Its a side-effect of his powers.
  • Dating Catwoman: Los Hermanos, a member of the Global Guardians is having a torrid affair with Brigit, the daughter of Lord Doom via one of his copy bodies.
  • A Day in the Limelight: In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, there were stories that focused on the support staff of this or that hero team, on bystanders to superheroic battles, on journalists reporting on super-battles, and so on.
    • Most memorably, in the Hyperion Academy campaign, there were six player characters, but over twenty non-player character students at the school. Every one of the non-player students was featured in a story.
  • Deadly Gas: Belcher can let loose with weaponized burps. Mostly he uses noxious gases, but has been known to let loose with a gout of fire occasionally.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Recoil had the power to absorb electromagnetic energy and use it for his own purposes. His absorption had no upper limit, but the more energy he took in, the more damage he suffered. When Doctor Devastation unleashed a superweapon that used an electromagnetic signal to trigger autosuicide in some 30% of the human population, Recoil wrapped himself around the broadcaster and set his absorption power to "Go Ahead And Kill Me, But I'm Stopping The Signal." And he did. And it did.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Los Hermanos, a member of the Global Guardians, is probably the most notable heroic example. The most notable villainous example is likely The Evil Mastermind, leader of Evil Mensa.
  • Death by Origin Story: Several characters. Most especially Doctor Ka, whose family was slaughtered by demons when his sorcerer father delved into things Man was not meant to know, and Battlecat, whose entire family (other than his daughter) were slaughtered by crime lord Baron Samedi and his Mafiosi.
  • Death Dealer: Blackjack uses tricked out, weaponized playing cards as weapons, and dresses in a costume reminiscent of the Jack of Spades.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Hardcase was a career criminal with a stack of open warrants against him in four different states. When al-Queda attacked the World Trade Center, he didn't hesitate to go and help rescue people from the damaged buildings. He was killed when the North Tower collapsed, and earned a full presidential pardon for all his crimes.
  • Decoy Leader: The Empress of Tarot uses this technique to protect herself from assassins, something she has to worry about because she's in a power-struggle to control Tarot with The Emperor of Tarot.
  • Demoted to Extra: As with Comic Book Limbo, both players and entire campaigns came and went over the course of the setting's history. As they did, the characters involved would fade form importance.
  • Detect Evil: Mercy (who is the Anthropomorphic Personification of the commonly-held concept of angels) can detect "sin and iniquity", which while not quite the same thing as detecting evil nevertheless gets the job done.
  • Deuteragonist: Minx, daughter of protagonist Battlecat, is the Deuteragonist of Night Life in the Big Easy.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: There are several, but the ones to really worry about are Lord Doom (who wants to take over the world in order to save humanity from itself), Doctor Simian (a super-intelligent chimpanzee who wants to overthrow humanity and put apes in their rightful place as rulers of the Earth), and The Emperor, leader of TAROT (who wants to control the world through economics).
    • It is entirely possible that The Emperor has already succeeded in doing just that.
  • Dice: Champions uses six-sided dice. Usually, though, most game masters either rolled all dice themselves, or else just forgot about dice-rolling and went with whatever worked best for their story.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: * This happens once when one of Los Hermanos's duplicates comes across The Blood Red King in an empty New York coffee shop. The villain hadn't even killed any of the shop's staff.
    The Blood Red King: Sit down, sit down... if I had wanted to kill you, your entrails would already be hanging from the ceiling fans. Here... have a cup. It's Indonesian. Cream? Sugar?"
  • Differently Powered Individual: The official, scientific term for superhumans is meta-powered humans. But outside of the scientific journals, you'll generally never encounter the term.
  • Disability Superpower: Echo, a mutant superheroine who can control and generate sound, is also blind. It doesn't worry her much, because she uses the ambient sound around her as a type of sonar.
    • Erich Welchell, the Diabolical Mastermind known as Brainchild, is paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He is also a powerful telekinetic who can fly... so screw the damned wheelchair.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Rock Bottom, Estatua ("Statue" in Portuguese), Granite Man, Surkha Khamba ("Ruby Monolith" in Hindi), Golem, Stone (not the biker-hero... the other one), Zemletpyasenee ("Earthquake" in Russian), Temblor, The Sandman, Mudpie, Mountain, The Sculptor, Sand, Kazan ("Magma" in Japanese), and Petra.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of porn-star-turned-supervillain Cheesecake's few actual super-powers, if you can call it that, was being so pretty she was literally stunning to look at, if she wanted to be. Literally.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Robotic supervillain Omega not only contains a vast array of built-in capabilities, he can redesign himself almost instantly when the need arises to cover a situation is standard settings don't cover.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Knightblade not only dislikes them, he goes out of his way to hunt down gun-traffickers. Stone hates them as well, which is ironic, as he is as bulletproof as his name implies.
  • Domino Mask: Very common.
  • Doppleganger Spin: This is a standard tactic of Los Hermanos, a duplicator who can split into nearly a thousand copies of himself.
  • Do They Know It's Christmas Time?: The story in which Bungie and Ultra-Man brow-beat the normally aloof Achilles, who's never really experienced a real Christmas himself, into dressing up as Santa Claus for a local orphanage and handing out presents. It ends with Achilles discovering a gift-wrapped present on his bunk in Guardians headquarters. We never find out who sent it, or what was in it, but it is implied that the gift came from his father.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Constellation, one of the students at the Hyperion Academy, regularly got precognitive dreams warning the studen body of dangers on the horizon.
  • Dream Weaver: Dream Catcher could manipulate dreams and bring them out of a person's head and into reality.
  • Drill Tank: The villainous Subterranean uses a Drill Tank to break into museums, bank vaults, and other secure locations from underneath.
  • Dumb Muscle: * Bamm-Bamm from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. He is perhaps the third (or maybe fourth) strongest person (either hero or villain) in the world, Nigh Invulnerable, devoted to his older brother (the supervillain Eightball), and has Down's Syndrome. A member of Hard Corps, his brother's super-villain team.
    • Want to press Eightball's Berserk Button really, really hard? Make fun of Bamm-Bamm's condition or use any variation of the word "retard" in his presence. Go head. I double-dog dare you.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Tarot's primary base in the United States is a multi-level complex located four stories beneath the Pentagon's lowest level.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Lovecraft was right. The Great Old Ones invaded this reality at the beginning of time, were imprisoned by the Powers That Be (or at least the Powers That Were at the Time), and in modern day the heroes have to deal with their remnants, their cultists, and their attempts to reinvade reality.
    • Dagon, an evil sorcerer, is a primordial sea-god fused into the body of a modern human. It even resembles a mind flayer from Dungeons & Dragons.
    • The Cthonians, the mortal descendants of the Great Old Ones, want to free their ancestors from their mystic prisons. The heroes naturally think this is a bad idea.
  • Elemental Absorption: Most users of Elemental Powers in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe can do this with their appropriate element, as long as they are capable of generating that element in the first place. If all they can do is manipulate the element, then absorption is usually beyond the scope of their power.
  • Elemental Embodiment: A few characters who were the embodiment of the elements. Ifrit was a literal fire demon from Islamic mythology. Maelstrom was the "lord of storms" and could control wind, wave, and lightning. Indian superheroine Dhara is the embodiment of the Vedic goddess of the earth.
  • Elemental Powers: Several characters from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have elemental powers:
    • Earthquake, Ouros, Cairn, Zemletpyasenee (Russian for "Earthquake"; its a popular name), and Creag all control rock and stone.
    • Inferna, Hotshot, Diablo, Incendie (French for "Blaze"), Mondfeur (German for "Moonfire"), Ulkataranara (Hindi for "Comet Man"), Matahari Merah (who uses no Code Name), Firebird, Playma (Russian for "Flame"), Salamander, Sunfire, Wildfire, Ifrit, The Confessor, Morningstar, Komet, Molotov, Inferno, Fuoco Bianco ("White Fire", in Italian), Pumpkin Jack, Tourmeline, Pyro, Dragon, and Red Devil all generate or control fire.
    • Cyclone, Breeze, Twister, Cloud Dragon, Shu, Gale, Vetra, Venta, Kamikaze, and Turbo all control the air and generate wind.
    • Vulnapyezdka ("Wave Rider" in Russian), Cascade, and Maelstrom have water powers.
    • Dark Wind has powers over smoke, haze, and mist.
    • Gaea's Children are an entire team of eco-terrorist supervillains with Elemental Powers: Flame controls fire, Mountain has earth- and stone-related powers, River controls water, and Wind controls the air.
    • The Four Winds are a supervillain team who all have control over a different aspect of the weather: Flurry has wind and cold powers; Hurricane has wind and water powers; Sirocco has wind and heat powers; and Tornado has wind and speed powers.
    • John Colbert, a student at the Hyperion Academy called "Centigrade", not only generates fire, but generates ice as well.
    • Dust Devil has control over both wind and sand.
    • Typhoon has "storm powers" that give him control over wind, electricity, and water.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Vulnapyezdka can turn into water.
  • Emotional Bruiser: Ultra-Man has his mopey periods whenever he's reminded of the fact that all of his friends and loved ones are now dead from old age.
  • Emotion Bomb: Sweet Sorrow is an emotion manipulator who concentrates on the darker emotions. She once made a successful escape by making a crowd of innocent bystanders both terrified of and furious with the superheroes trying to capture her.
  • Emotion Control: Sweet Sorrow is an emotion manipulator who concentrates on the "darker" emotions like fear, anger, hatred, sadness, depression, and so on. Charmer makes people trust and like her as if she was their closest friend. Heart-Throb, one of the Hyperion Academy students, controls the full range of emotions, but he's best with love and affection.
  • The Empath: Sweet Sorrow is an empathic emotion manipulator who concentrates on the darker emotions. She can sense the full range of human emotions quite accurately, and is very good at sparking the darker range in others.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Each chapter of the various campaign archives began with quotations from some in-universe source. While most of these were off-hand (yet relevant) comments from the characters involved about the action presented in the chapter, sometimes they were quotations from such items as An Examination of Irregular Wave Forms and Power Phasing Effects in the Jaffe Battery (better known as the "Ray Gun Paper"), Genetic Inflexibility and Geographic Isolation as Influences in Metagene Frequency (a scientific study on why certain regions of the world have more superhumans than others), and The Book of Holy Power. the religious scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ, Superhuman (a cult that teaches that teaches that Jesus was a Metahuman who will one day return from his "sojourn" with an advanced alien society somewhere in space).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Each story of a Global Guardians campaign was set up like a season of a television series. Specifically, the finale of each season was an end of the world scenario. Notable examples were the Xorn invasion, the near-miss of an asteroid, the release of a horde of elder gods on the planet, impending nuclear holocaust, drastic historical revision by way of a time-traveling bad guy, an invasion by Mirror Universe versions of the various superheroes, and quite a few other threats to the entire planet.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: The Oppressor, a Lord of Order, wants to cleans Earth of all life because life is, ultimately, chaotic and messy and by his very nature he want to put an end to anything that is "chaotic and messy".
  • Energy Absorption: The Fat Man, an unfortunately-if-appropriately named, absorbs kinetic energy. The kinetic energy gets converted to fat, thus increasing his resistance to injury. It also increases his height and weight.
    • Chinese superhero Overpower can absorb any sort of energy at all. Doing so increases her already prodigious strength.
  • Energy Being: Photon of the Supreme Six, a superhero team in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is an Energy Being whose body is made of pure light. He retains human form mainly because it makes things easier to interact with his teammates.
  • Energy Blasts: This is a pretty common power type in the ‘’Global Guardians PBEM Universe’’. Victory, Evengella, Argent, both Quantums (one an American superhero with vast and near-limitless power, the other a Spanish hero with not quite as much power), Silverwing, and the Chaos Lord all use the “cosmic energy” rational, and some use the “energy can’t be destroyed” assumption as well.
  • Everyone Is a Super: The villainous Super Robot Omega is from one possible future where the metagene, the source of most metahuman powers, has spread to most of humanity. This has basically left the "norms" (as they are called) an ethnic minority who aren't actually oppressed so much as they are treated by the rest of the population with the same arrogant condescension that Real Life minorities were treated during the days of the White Man's Burden.
  • Everything Is Online: This trope is the default setting for internet research in most of the Guardians Universe campaigns.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe plays this trope straight with the Ape superheroes Tachyon, Massive, Charity, Bounder, and The Shape. They invert the trope with the Ape supervillains Guido the Killer Chimp and Brainy Ape, not to mention the sinister Doctor Simian and his "ape liberation" organization, Prime 8.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Many speedsters are capable of spinning for short periods of time in order to create certain effects or to instantly change into their costume. Gyro, however, is a speedster who specializes in spinning. His powers make him function a lot like a human gyroscope.
  • Everything Sensor: This being a superhero game, with superhuman senses being almost commonplace, this sort of thing happens a lot. Especially with Powered Armor-wearing heroes.
  • Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Sciurus, a squirrel-powered superhero, is superhumanly agile, can leap long distances, can scale walls with his claws, and has a reaction time that is nothing short of phenomenal.
  • Evil Costume Switch: When Fury suffered a Heroic BSOD and turned from a superheroine into a crazed criminal-killer, she changed her costume (which was already Stripperific) changed from a red midriff-baring halter and tight pants to a black thong bikini-and-leather jacket combination.
  • Evil Counterpart: Blackstar is a renegade member of the Guardsmen. The Tyrants are a "mirror universe" version of the Global Guardians.
  • Evil Genius: Several. Doctor Simian, the Evil Mastermind, Brainchild, and Baron Malthus are the most notable examples.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: The sorcerer Dagon pretty much had just one evil plan that he used every time he went up against the heroes: release the Great Old Ones from their extra-dimensional prison so they can rule the Earth once again as they did billions of years before those johnny-come-lately humans (who, by the way, will be served up en masse as hors' dourves at the "Happy Get Out of Extra-Dimensional Prison Day" party). He's been beaten every time so far... but he only has to win once.
  • Evil Overlord: Lord Doom and The Emperor both qualify.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Palace, in Hamilton Bermuda, headquarters of Evil Overlord Lord Doom.
  • Excalibur: Wielded by legendary Silver Age hero Excalibur, and his son, the Bronze Age hero Pendragon.
  • Exiled from Continuity: Absolutely averted. If you submitted a character (be it a player or a non-player character) to the setting, it was fair game to be used in someone else's story. Granted, that someone else was required to work with you to do it, but you couldn't refuse someone else's requests to use your guy.
  • Experience Points: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe used the Hero System rules for Experience Points.
  • Expressive Hair: Slipknot, a member of the superheroic Euroguard from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has long, superhumanly strong Prehensile Hair. Naturally, it also reflects his emotional state.
  • Extranormalnstitute: The Venture Institute, Hyperion Academy, and Shadow Academy are all superhero schools. There's also Martha Corey High School in Nowhere, Ohio, which is a Wizarding School.
  • Extra Ore Dinary: Perepis can telekinetically manipulate metal, as can Ogun (who wears a suit of telekinetically manipulated "Powered Armor"). Mercury, a liquid-metal shapeshifter akin to the T-1000 can form his own body into various metallic shapes.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Lord Doom used mercenary soldiers and supervillains to drive out the British government from Bermuda and take over the island as his own kingdom. He rules it with an iron fist and its people have very little in the way of civil rights as most Americans know them. That said, twenty years after the conquest, the island has pretty much a 0% poverty rate, infant mortality rate, and illiteracy rate. The average life span of one of Doom's subjects is close to a hundred years due to medical advances made by the Supervillain, and nearly all adults have a college education. The takeover was intended to give Doom a "social laboratory" in preparation to his eventual conquest of the world, and it worked!
  • Eye Beams: The Griffon can fire beams of pure mystic energy from his eyes. Victory can do the same but with a relatively undefined "cosmic" energy.
  • Fad Super: Headbanger is a heavy-metal themed villain who uses The Power of Rock as a weapon. Glitterball was a disco-themed hero active in the late 1970s. Speedway is a Nascar-themed speedster. Yo-Yo uses gimmicked yo-yos as weapons.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Several of her fellow teenagers make dirty jokes at the expense of Banging. She's only fourteen, though, and grew up a bit sheltered before running away.
    • Itsy Bitsy, a shrinking superheroine from the same setting, gets made fun of a lot as well.
    • Fey, an elven swordsman brought back to Earth from a mythical fairyland, can't understand why he's the butt of constant gay jokes.
    • The first time the Superheroic trio Ready, Willing, and Able introduced themselves, the reaction they got was, "Are you for real, with that?"
  • Fainting Seer: This happened when Second Sight, perhaps the most powerful precog in the setting, got flashes of the upcoming apocalypse when Dagon began his plot to unleash the Great Old Ones from their interdimensional prison. The shock of the visions knocked her unconscious for nearly an hour.
  • Fallen Hero: Mister America fought the Nazis, helped defeat them, and came back to a hero's welcome. He took off the costume, revealed his real name, and went to Hollywood to become an actor. And then he threw it all away by testifying before the McCarthy hearings as a friendly witness. He's since tried to make multiple comebacks, but every time he does someone reminds him of the day he left his friends swinging in the wind before a hostile Congress.
  • Fast Tunnelling: The Mole can do this. The Subterranean can do this also, but he uses a Drill Tank.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Tom Foolery is an authentically talented clown capable of putting people in stiches with laughter... if it weren't for the fact that he's a murderous psychopath.
  • Fictional Political Party: The United States of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a land where the Democrats and Republicans still win the greater majority of elections, but the country cannot be said to still be a two-party nation. The Green Party isn't the joke it is in the real world, and has split the liberal vote with the World Voice Party (whose major policies center around equal rights for all sentient creatures). On the conservative side, the Tea Party has split from the Republicans, and the New Horizon Party (an even-more-ultraconservative party who publically says their policies are "humans first", but they define "human" as "rich white, Anglo-Saxon protestants).
  • Fiery Redhead: Heatwave, a mutant who generated and controlled fire, was a coppery redhead in her Secret Identity. When she turned her powers on, she literally became a fiery redhead.
  • Fifth Week Event: Quite often, players would write stories on their own, detailing "side-stories" that involved their characters. They got Experience Points for doing so.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Majestic, a hero team sponsored and sanctioned by the British government, was originally a group of perfect strangers from all parts of the British isles, brought together by the government quickly and with no warning in response to an attack by the subterranean Lemurians. The experience made them a true team. Later, the team would move from this to a true Band of Brothers while fighting off the super-terrorists known as Jihad.
  • Flaming Hair: Heatwave posed for Playboy (she was Miss March, 1992). During her photo-shoot for the magazine, she kept her hair... including her pubic hair... "aflame" as part of a disguise.
  • Flight: Of the 10,000+ active characters in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, it's estimated that approximately 60% of them have one form of flight or another. All of the options listed on the page have multiple examples.
  • Flying Brick. Too many to list them all. This being a roleplaying game based on comic book heroes, the trope is as common as you might imagine.
    • In addition to all the examples mentioned under The Cape above (all of whom are flying bricks, you've also got Phenom, Independence, Captain Hammer, Lady Liberty, Gladiadora, Shining Dawn, Ulkataranara, Ultra, Relampago, and Armageddon Girl, just to name a random ten.
  • Foreshadowing: In Stone's first appearance as a Global Guardian, a fight with several villains from TAROT, Strength jokes at him, "Say hello to your Mom for me." Stone, being an orphan, just took it as a taunt. Nine years later, Stone finds out that he isn't an orphan at all, that his mother is a supervillain and that Stone was hidden from her by his own father, and that she had worked with Strength on several occasions.
    Stone: "At least now I know what that muscleheaded bastard meant..."
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: All of the Anthropomorphic Personifications in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe are made of this trope because, being the physical incarnations of ideas, everyone has a different interpretation of that idea. What this means is that two people could be talking to The King (the Anthropomorphic Personification of "The Legend of Elvis Presley") and he'd look precisely like how they think Elvis Presley looks like when they think of Elvis Presley (meaning if one person pictures Ed Sullivan-era Elvis, he looks like Ed Sullivan-era Elvis; if they picture Vegas-era white-tassle pudgy Elvis, he looks like Vegas-era white-tassle pudgy Elvis).
  • Four Element Ensemble: Gaea's Children, a supervillain team themed after the four classic elements, was made up of Flame, Mountain, River, and Wind.
  • Fragile Speedster: Generally averted, as most speedsters in the Global Guardians Universe have some sort of damage resistance as a side-effect of their velocity.
  • Freak Lab Accident: This is a common origin for both heroes and villains. Anole was bitten by a venomous snake that had been subjected to genetic experimentation, turning him into a reptile-man. Embrace was accidentally exposed to a mutegenic gas in a lab explosion. Koorogi was almost electricuted when a gene sequencer shorted out while he was working with it. Polaris got caught in an overpoweringly powerful magnetic field when his lab equipment activated accidentally during an experiment. Aurora gained her powers when the experimental fusion reactor she was working on exploded. There are many more.
  • Freudian Excuse: Lord Doom, an Evil Overlord Well-Intentioned Extremist supervillain, was nine years old when he became the only member of his family to survive internment in a Nazi concentration camp (his father was executed right in front of the boy by a camp guard who was "merely testing his newly-issued pistol"). He didn't even have the consolation of a community of Holocaust survivors to relate to as his family wasn't Jewish, or Gypsy, or Slavs... there were merely politically inconvenient. His campaign to take over the world is founded on his very real, very sincere, and very, very obsessive wish that no more children suffer the loss of their Mommy and Daddy and little sisters like he did.
  • Friend to All Children: Stone is one of the roughest toughest heroes out there. He's hard on criminals normally. If they specifically hurt a child? Let's just say things will get really ugly, really fast.
  • Functional Magic: Every single form of magic exists in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Practitioners of magic are on both sides of the "hero/villain" moral line, though there are some who walk straight down the middle of the line. The most powerful wizard on Earth is the Warlock, also called The Archmage.
    • Alchemy: The Alchemist, specifically uses crafted potions, ungents, and powders to create effects in his career as a criminal.
    • Hermetic Magic: Black Angel backs up his demonic powers with Hermetic Magic. Its not too useful in direct combat, but it gets the job done when he needs it to.
    • Ritual Magic: * Damien Thorne, a charismatic demonologist who claims to be the son of the Devil himself, uses nothing but ritual magic. He's not quite hermetic about it (he likes mixing it up, and Hermetic Magic is too time-consuming for actual fighting) but he comes close.
  • Fun Personified: Chuckles the Happy Clown, who not only lives up to his name, but was one of the most effective crimefighters in the history of the setting. Donato Spinelli, the player of the character, was generally thought as being the best roleplayer anyone had ever met, or had the pleasure of interacting with.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: This is an honest to God super-power in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Some Gadgeteer Genius's have only the power to make one very, very advenced device (Roland Jaffe, for example, created an electrical storage battery the size of an iPod that could store more electricity than a ten-foot-high pile of car batteries, or Peter Dansker, a technician for Lucent who managed to build a truly sentient android over the course of a weekend), while others are able to toss out new technology as easily as most other people breathe. Individuals who possess the latter type of the power include Herr Doktor Archeville, The Evil Mastermind, Lord Doom, Doctor Simian, Diamond, Toybox, Knickknack, the Junk Man, the Weaponsmith, and Technomage.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: This is the entire goal of the mastervillain Abyss. He's trying to return the Earth to the way it was when he was a child. The fact that he's a hyper-evolved Homo habilis whose childhood was a million years ago, before humans learned to make fire for themselves and were hunted by every predatory species to say "What's for dinner?" is why Abyss is considered a supervillain.
  • Gambit Pile Up: Both Lord Doom and Doctor Simian are masters of the craft of Gambiting. At one point, both Criminal Masterminds used plans against each other, with the heroes as pawns. To say it was messy was to say the Pacific Ocean is a little damp.
  • The Gambler: Blackjack uses tricked out, weaponized playing cards as weapons, and dresses in a costume reminiscent of the Jack of Spades.
  • Game Master: Every campaign had one.
  • Game System: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe used the Hero System as its rules base.
  • Gas Mask, Longcoat: Death's Head, a supervillain with the power to cause spontaneous illness and infection, wears a World War II-era gas mask, a fedora, and a trenchcoat of his costume.
  • Gatling Good: Global Guardians villain Caliber, a member of Hard Corps, wears a suit of Powered Armor whose primary weapon is a huge minigun mounted on his right shoulder.
  • Gemstone Assault: Shard is made of living diamond. One of her powers is spraying a cone of sharpened diamond chips at her opponents.
    • The Sinister Circle is a group of mystically-inclined villains who each get their power from one of a set of magical gemstones. These guys are evil with a capital EVIL, to the point that even the degenerates in All Hallow's Eve and the Hellfire Club avoid them out of fear. Bloodstone lives up to his name with "blood control" powers; Diamond has force powers; Obsidian has darkness powers; and Tourmaline has fire powers.
  • The Generation Gap: The heroes of past decades sometimes have very different attitudes toward crime and crimefighting than the younger crimefighters. The heroes who are still active from the 40s and 50s, for example, tend to hold a black-and-white view of morality and are much more conservative than the ones who were born in the 80s.
  • Genius Bonus: The magical young children of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe attend Martha Corey Memorial High School in Nowhere, Ohio. Martha Corey being the first woman convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.
    • British Flying Brick heroine Samsonite, from the same setting, took her name from the indestructible brand of luggage of the same name. Most people assume it’s a variation on "Samson".
  • Genius Bruiser: Ultra-Man.
  • Genki Girl: Gimmick, a Kid Hero Gadgeteer Genius from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe who fights crime in Saint Louis, Missouri.
  • Gentle Giant: Ultra-Man.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The Charmer causes everyone around her to like her as if they were her best friend through the simple expedient of forcing them to be happy whenever she's around. The target thus associates happiness with the Charmer, to the point that they are incapable of being happy when she's not around anymore.
  • Ghostapo: Heinrich Himmler (who is still alive and kicking in 2010) is a member of the Thule Society, an Ancient Conspiracy of sorcerers intent on releasing Cthulhoid horrors back into Earth's dimension. World War II, and especially the Holocaust, was just one small part of the plan...
  • Giant Flyer: Lord Dragon, Glaserwyrm, and Draco, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, were all honest-to-God dragons. Glaserwyrm was simply a monster to be beaten down. Lord Dragon was a dragon who turned into a man to act like a superhero, while Draco was a man who turned into a full-blown dragon and fought crime as a superhero.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Geomancer wore a tunic-and-poofy-sleeve-over-tights combination as a costume that made him look amazingly similar to the DC character Firestorm.
  • Giant Waist Ribbon: Psychic superhero Oracle combines a bright red Giant Waist Ribbon with a Playboy bunny-esque bustier and fishnet stockings as her crimefighting costume.
  • Glamour: The Charmer's whole power is getting people to like her to the point that they'll do anything she wants. Ambrosia uses super-pheremones to do the same thing, but only to men.
  • Glamour Failure: The French supervillain Mindscape, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, avoids cameras as often as he can, because anyone viewing him on film or in photographs can instantly tell he's a deformed hunchback and not the GQ-quality supermodel-handsome man he uses his powers of illusion to pretend to be.
  • GMPC: There were loads of them, but they were always being played in other games.
  • A God Am I: The Blood Red King considers himself above mere mortals, and he might just be right.
  • Godwin's Law of Time Travel: The Global Guardians once had to stop a mad scientist intent on going back and killing Hitler (and thereby changing the world for the worse... and when they got back, discovered a Nazi victory. Luckily, the rules by which Time Travel worked in the setting meant that it was an alternate dimension and not a change in the timeline.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Quantum from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was the most powerful superbeing on Earth. He was quite literally capable of disintegrating the moon, had he wanted to, but of course he never wanted to. When the Xorn invaded, he went out to meet their attack fleet in space and finally let himself cut loose. It was almost enough.
  • The Golden Age of Comic Books: The Golden Age campaign was made of this.
  • Golden Thigh Ratio: The Cheerleaders, a trio of supervillains from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, consciously make use of this trope as part of their "Jiggle Fu" distraction powers against male opponents.
  • The Good Captain: Capitao Batalha (Captain Battle) is the premiere hero of Brazil.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Cheesecake, a member of the Vandolls, uses the Power of Love to burn out the brains of men, and then follows this trick up by feeding on their souls.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Splatterman was once dropped through a mulcher. He regenerated. Calling his power a "Healing Factor" just doesn't seem to get the message across...
    • Mr. Easter's life is a series of one big catastrophe after another, all of which land him in the morgue. Of course, one of his powers is coming back from the dead after three days.
  • Gravity Master: * Several characters from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have control over gravity. The heroes include Collapsar, Neutron Star, Orbits I and II (one is a Canadian hero, the other a Turkish hero), Gravity Man, and White Dwarf. The villains include Urania, Gravity, Black Hole, Event Horizon, Crusher, Deadweight, and Singularity.
  • Green Lantern Ring: Guardsman's suit allows him to manipulate "solid energy shapes". Whatever that means.
  • Green Thumb: Superheroes Ivy, Verdant, Gardemer. Junglemaster, Archdruid, Forrestal, and the supervillain Kiku can all cause plants to grow and move as they wish.
  • The Grovel: When Ivy royally ticked off her girlfriend, she caused every brush covered hill in the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley to suddenly sprout red roses shaped into the message, "Please forgive me Clarice I love you". The City of Los Angeles fined her $5000, but Clarice forgave her.
  • Gun Fu: Ballistic is said to be the best shot in the world with a handgun, and is a master of Gun Fu.
  • The Gunslinger: Ballistic is said to be the best shot in the world with a handgun.
  • Hair Antennae: When out of costume, Tumblebee has a pair of hair antennae.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Strength ripped one of Los Hermanos's duplicates apart by grabbing each of his arms and pulling. He then made a joke about pulling the wings off of a fly. The humor wasn't exactly appreciated.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: Rottweiler, a street-level martial arts hero from Detroit (think Wolverine without the claws but with a much sunnier disposition), wears handwraps as a matter of course. Cestus, a member of the supervillain team Hard Corps, does the same.
  • Hannibal Lecture: When the heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe finally captured The Confessor (a Serial-Killer Killer) they promptly pointed out to The Confessor that he, himself, was a serial killer. The Confessor delivered the Hannibal Lecture to end all Hannibal Lectures about the ineffectualness of superheroes in stopping really determined murderers.
  • Haunted House: Doctor Ka's mansion is home to literally hundreds of ghosts. And some of them are angry. Very angry.
  • Healing Factor: This was a very common power. The all-time champion was probably Splatterman, so-called because he seemed to end up as chunky salsa every time he ended up in combat. Being aware of how quickly he healed, Splatterman would often put himself in position to have this happen, because he knew it wouldn't really slow him down. Leap off the top of a building? Sure. Jump through a wood-chipper? Yep. Swallow the live hand-grenade? You bet. And like a Timex, he took a licking and kept on ticking.
    • The villainous Nematode not only regrew parts that were cut off of him, but the parts would regrow into whole beings as well. Cut off an arm, and suddenly fight two Nematodes.
  • Healing Hands: * Lifeline and Panacea are both superheroes who (among other powers) are capable of healing with a touch. Amnesty, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Mercy, can not only heal with a touch, she can raise the dead completely. Mercy, another Anthropomorphic Personification (this time of the popular view of angels), can also heal with a touch and raise the dead, though she is very reluctant to do the latter. Empath heals by taking on injuries and illnesses into her own body. Dream Sword heals through manipulation of the chakras. Saba Devatao can heal injured people, but only by transferring the injury to a healthy person.
  • The Heart: Ultra-Man is the moral compass of the Global Guardians, and Bungie is its enthusiasm and hope. Together, they form The Heart of the team.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: The aforementioned Madras had telekinetic control over fabrics, and only fabrics. Sounds pretty lame until you look around and realize just how much fabric surrounds us every day of our lives. Combine telekinetic control of fabric with a ten-foot-long canvas cape, and you've got one Badass crimefighter.
    • Mister Easter is a semi-insane, religiously conservative homeless man who really only has three powers: first, he can turn water into wine. Second, he can multiply fish and bread as often as he needs. And third, when he dies, he comes back to life after three days. He uses these powers to take care of New York City's homeless population, and is considered by them (and by the city's police officers, fire fighters, and morgue attendants) to be a true hero.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Armageddon Girl slammed the door on her own Heel-Face Turn. Ultra-Man managed to talk her down from destroying a city. The hero speaks to her with heartfelt concern about her former career as a teen sidekick to a superhero, and how no won could blame her for going a little nuts after her family was killed, and that she could get help if she only wanted it. She thought about it for a while, then tearfully smashed Ultra-Man through a building, crying, "No, it's too late for that."
  • Heel-Face Turn: Surprisingly rare.
    • Battle betrayed Tarot to save the life of her son, Stone.
    • Gadgeteer villain Knick-Knack retired from his life of crime and became the custodian of the Hyperion Academy.
    • The Redeemers are an entire team made up of former super-villains.
  • Heel Realization: The original Dove was a vigilante crimefighter active between 1989 and 1995. He considered himself a hero helping to defend ordinary people from street criminals. His usual modus operandi was to hunt any criminal whom he thought "got away with it"; that is, whenever he disagreed with a "not guilty" verdict. When captured, he was confronted with the fact that he wasn't a defender of the public, but rather just another serial killer and the idea horrified him to the point that he hung himself while awaiting trial.
  • Helicopter Blender: A group of bank robbers tried this against Ultra-Man during their getaway. The rotors snapped off and the helicopter crashed (well... it fell about eight feet) to the roof of the bank) because Ultra-Man is Nigh Invulnerable.
  • Heroic BSOD: The superheroine Fury suffered a Heroic BSOD after Tom Foolery killed and partially ate her daughter. When she came out of it, she changed from a superheroine into a crazed criminal-killer.
  • Heroic Build: While some of the characters in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe had heroic builds, you'd just as likely find a superhero who was skinny, or slightly overweight. Mostly, this happened with the Badass Normals, who justifiably worked out to keep their physiques.
  • Heroic Vow: Vows to never take a life were very, very common among the heroes in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
    • One interesting case was the hero Thunderfist, a former Seattle cop who vowed to never violate proper police procedure when it came to evidence collection or the treatment of suspects.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Motor City Marshalls are wanted by the Detroit police for assault, battery, destruction of privacy, and pretty much every other crime that standard superheroic activity can be descrbed as.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Dove started out as a standard street-level superhero who concentrated on finding and stopping serial killers. Ten years later, after he is arrested for the murder of his latest target, he suffers a Heroic BSOD when it is pointed out, finally, that he isn't a hero anymore but rather has become a serial killer himself... one who targets other serial killers.
  • Hipster: Free Spirit is not only Camp Gay, he's so hip he has trouble seeing past his own beltline.
  • Hive Mind: Los Hermanos combines this with Me's a Crowd, as not only can he create thousands of copies of himself, he shares his consciousness between them. (He is somehow capable of dealing with all the conflicting sensory input, and is capable of handling multiple tasks at once, multiple conversations at once, and so on). At any given moment, he's likely got a dozen duplicates active around the world working in as many different occupations. Anything one duplicate learns, all the duplicates know how to do. And at least two of his constantly active duplicates are married. But only one is an active superhero.
    • Aryan Nation is a controversial white supremacist superhero (yes, you read that right) who shares Los Hermanos's powers. His powers are so similar to Los Hermanos that the Global Guardian once hypothesized that maybe Aryan Nation was one of his dupes who managed to gain a separate consciousness. (He found out later this wasn't true.)
    • The Seven Brothers is a super-strong Chinese hero who can split into seven bodies, all of whom share a consciousness.
    • Mob Rule, a South African supervillain from the same setting, has a similar power. His copies, however, are independent individuals.
    • Saba Devatao, an Indonesia supervillain, creates eight duplicates and like Los Hermanos is a Hive Mind. She's an expert martial artist who can flawlessly coordinate her bodies in attack routines that baffle most of her opponents.
    • The mutant supervillain known as The Swarm can transform into a seemingly numberless horde of cockroaches, each of whom she can somehow control.
      • Hive is a heroic example of the same power, only he transforms into wasps and isn't a cannibal serial killer.
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: Detroit superhero Rottweiler sports a pair of these these, along with a a set of Cool Shades and a Badass Longcoat.
  • House Rules: This was an online roleplaying game. Of course it had House Rules.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Several campaigns in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe were built around the premise that the characters had literally just got their powers, and had no idea at all how to use them. For the most part, these campaigns resembled the first season of The Greatest American Hero.
    • Occasionally, this was used to justify an experienced hero learning to use a new power as well.
  • How To Give A Character Superpowers: Pretty much all of those methods were used in-game.
  • Human Aliens: The Tautiq, a race of alien refugees who now live on earth in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, basically look like taller, thinner humans with odd hair-and-skin color combinations. They aren't "sexually compatible" with humans, either, but you can't tell that without seeing them naked.
  • Humanity Ensues: The Moreaus of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe are Uplifted Animals who were force-evolved into a near-human form. Regardless of their original species, their constant interaction with humanity over the decades have made them all very humanlike psychologically.
    • The "Prime" variety of Anthropomorphic Personifications active on Earth in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe (that is, those who are "pure ideas" rather than a normal human who has been merged with the "power of the idea") generally start out as pretty inhuman, psychologically speaking. They get more and more human the more they interact with people. Of course, there are exceptions.
  • Hurricane Kick: Gyro, a villainous spinning speedster, uses this sort of attack as a matter of course. He's a trained ballet dancer, so he can keep his leg extended for a long while... and he whips it around his body at almost supersonic speed.
  • Die or Fly: Being a superhero setting, this happened a lot. Three notable examples are:
    • Gypsy gained her powers when she and her little brother were victims in a drive-by shooting. Her powers allowed her to survive. Her little brother was less fortunate.
    • Aurora was caught in an uncontrolled fusion reaction. Rather than be vaporized, or die of radiation poisoning, she became a living, human-shaped fusion reactor.
    • White Rabbit gained her powers in a car-wreck that almost killed her and her infant son.
  • Several characters have Luck as their actual superpower. Others are merely very, very lucky.
    • Andrew "Lucky" Day was a Golden Age hero who used his luck to make up for the fact that, otherwise, he was just an ordinary guy.
      • Andrew "Lucky" Starr is "Lucky" Day's grandson, and has inherited not only his grandfather's love of adventure, but also his incredible good fortune.
    • Lady Luck of the Knights of Norfolk is an active probability manipulator.
    • Bedlam, a supervillain from the same setting, isn't so much lucky himself as he is capable of instilling bad luck in everyone around him (thus giving himself the appearance of good luck). Jinx is another villain who has the same powers.
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