Real Men Hate Affection: Achilles and Guardsman love each other like brothers. They support each other and are there for each other when it's needed. But they do this all without ever actually demonstrating their feelings for each other in any way, shape or form that isn't "100% manly".
Reckless Sidekick: Barnstormer's sidekick, the young Tailgunner, certainly qualifies.
Redeeming Replacement: The current Stuntman, an indestructible hero, is the only son of the original Stuntman, an indestructible villain. The father of Dream Catcher, a psychic hero with the power to turn dreams into reality, was active as a villain and used the same name (he's now in a mental institution).
Red Skies Crossover: The invasion of the alien Xorn in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was this. In any campaign other than the primary Global Guardians game, the "invasion" consisted of perhaps an afternoon of beating up alien warriors, or helping in a recovery effort after a primary battle. In the Global Guardians campaign, the characters were fighting the Xorn for weeks, invading their mother ship, and eventually successfully driving them off. As one player in the Denver Defenders campaign put it, "anyone else feel like a benchwarmer?"
Reed Richards Is Useless: This trope is utterly averted in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, and the world has a generally higher base technological level that the real world as a result. A workable AIDS vaccine exists. Medical nanotechnology mean that if you can get to a hospital in time, you can survive nearly any amount of gross physical damage (the operative phrase being "if you can get to a hospital in time). Nearly 70% of cancers can be cured. Flying cars, microcomputers small enough to wear as jewelry, and programmable ingested "makeup pills" that can alter a person's hair color or change a character's skin color in the appropriate places (such as the eyelids) all exist. True, broadcastable holography is being worked on, and the internal combustion engine is thought of as a quaint relic of the past.
Reference Overdosed: This phenomenon was a constant in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, and given that the players involved included ordained ministers, a professor of quantum physics, a member of the British House of Commons, several professional writers, a television producer, a movie special effects expert, a chef, three lawyers, active duty soldiers, artists, actors, attorneys, doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, a librarian, a stock broker, computer programmers of various types, a Roman Catholic priest, a biochemist, the mayor of a small Florida town, and a professional dominatrix, amongst others, all of whom were highly educated and all of whom were widely read, this was to be expected. Some stories were so thick with various references (from pop-culture to legal to scientific to political) that the story itself was lost in the mix.
Referential Mania: The supervillain known as Prophet believes he sees personalized signs and omens that are directly referential to himself and his plans in everything. The shape of clouds, traffic patterns, the sound his rice crispies make when the milk hits them... everything. Most of the heroes think he's crazy... most of them.
Required Secondary Powers: It was generally assumed that all characters had these as a matter of course. Exceptions tended to make for interesting side-stories.
The Reveal: The biggest reveal in The Global Guardians PBEM Universe was the fact that Stone's mother was a supervillain, and that his father abandoned him at an orphanage in order to hide him from her.
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, New Orleans oil-billionaire Spencer Troy is supposedly the President and CEO of Troy Petroleum. That said, to the general public, his "job" is fishing on the Gulf of Mexico, dating supermodels, and playing golf. At night he patrols the city as the heroic Battlecat.
Spencer Troy's daughter, Diedre Troy, is also a Rich Idiot with No Day Job. While secretly fighting crime alongside her father at night as Minx, during the day she does a remarkable imitation of the Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan party-girl lifestyle.
Battlecat's Rogues Gallery includes Demise, Baron Samedi, Blackwing, Domino, James Delongis ("costumes and fancy names are for pussies), Jane Doe, and Black Annis.
The Crimestoppers regularly fight Evil Mensa, the Seventh-Inning Stretch, the Capital Gang, The Blank, the One Name Bandits, and the Five Senses (Not Six, Because ESP Isn't Really a Sense in the Traditional Sense of the Word).
The New York Knights fight the Brothers Grimm, Bodyshop, Play Time, Overdrive, and the Brain Trust.
Disney's official hero team, Imagination, regularly opposes the Gear Grinders, Small Wonder, Tom Foolery, the Marauders, and the Heroes of Filmland (a rival hero team sponsored by Universal Studios).
The Students at the Hyperion Academy have come up against the Exiles (a group of disaffected, superpowered runaway teenagers), Doctor XX and her minions, the Scions (a group of telepathic teenage siblings), and El Cerebro.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Doctor XX was originally created to be an ongoing antagonist for the titular Global Guardians team. But then, after the Game Master for the Hyperion Academy campaign got ahold of her, she tended to never appear in any other campaign so as to "not ruin her amazing portrayal in that campaign".
In a reverse of the previous example, The Blood Red King was originally intended to be a semi-demonic villain for the Knights of Malta (a team of superhero priests, monks, and nuns sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church). He ended up fighting the Global Guardians more than any other hero team in the setting.
Royal Rapier: Italian supervillainess Vendetta uses two of these, Florentine style.
Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Pelkons are humanoid, and have the right number of fingers and toes and such, but their eyes are pure milk-white, their hair is thicker and more brush-like, and they have spots like a leopard. on their forehead that run down the back of their necks and across their shoulders.
Rubber Man: Several characters have these powers (to the point that "Bendy Toy" has become a commonly used in-universe term for people with such powers). Bungie, a member of the Global Guardians team, is most notable, but other good examples are Embrace (a villainess who combines this with superhuman strength) and Elastorang, a sentient orangutan rubber man.
Screw Yourself: A muckraking tabloid once accused superher Los Hermanos of having done this. While he denied he ever had done so (or even having ever thought about doing so), he also shocked his teammates by admitted that the idea wasn't as repugant to him as they thought it should be as, given that he and his duplicates are a Hive Mind, it would be more akin to masturbation than anything else.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Dagon, a world-threatening evil sorcerer, started out as an primordial god trapped in a mystic prison until accidentally released by a human gangster. One body-warping soul-merge later and the gangster's mind is gone and Dagon is loose on the Earth to fulfill prophecy by destroying the planet.
Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Ancient Egyptian sorcerors ireversibly bound Nephthys, Goddess of Chaos and wife of the Jackal-God Set, in the body of a twelve-year-old girl and sealed her into a Pharaoh's tomb, to be imprisoned for all time. Little did they suspect that the goddess would find such treatment to only be a temporary inconvenience.
Secret Identity Change Trick: Breanna Mae Siegert, better known as Bungie of the Global Guardians, once used the excuse "I've got to take my poodle to the post office. She's expecting a very important package" in order to get away so she could change into her costume. The other players thought this was so funny they started using it as a Stock Phrase everytime their character needed to get away to change into their Secret Identity.
Secret Identity Identity: Achilles is, for all intents and purposes, the only identity Joshua Wilson has anymore. The same can be said for his siblings, all of whom (like Achilles) are the children of Diabolical Mastermind Lord Doom.
Secret Public Identity: Josiah Brimstone, a mystic hero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, fights crime under the codename "Josiah Brimstone". Also, most people think that the telepathic superhero Martini is using a codename, when he's actually just using his real last name (his full name being Benieio Martini). Martini encourages this opinion (by using a tuxedo as a costume and acting very haughty and upper-class), while Josiah Brimstone just doesn't care.
Seldom Seen Species: Capricorn, Quill, Black Betty, Mister Toad, and the aptly named Giraffe, who have the powers of a goat, a porcupine, a skunk, a toad, and a giraffe, respectively.
Sentai: The Lightning Power Special Team, a group of color-coded, similarly powered and costumed heroes operating in Tokyo.
Sexbot: The Platinum Blonde, an android crimefighter in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, started her existence as one of these. The company that created her, Android Companions, Incorporated, specialized in custom, made-to-order Sexbots who were identical in appearance to celebrities (the Platinum Blonde being a Marilyn Monroe-bot).
Sex Is Interesting: Vindicator's characterization and story was centered around her status as a Token Lesbian Superhero. It got tiring after a while, and then got Squicky when it was revealed that the player was a sock puppet for a creepy internet guy just looking to have his jollies by being creepy.
The Shadow Knows: Supervillainess Sweet Synn has the power to appear as whatever it is you want in a woman. Her shadow, on the other hand, reveals the batlike wings and tail of the demon she actually is.
Shapeshifter Identity Crisis: The Blank is a shapeshifting teenager who can make himself... or possibly herself... look like any human. She... or perhaps he... has lost track of his... or is it her... original gender and appearance. The fact that her... or is it his... real name is "Leslie" doesn't help matters.
A Shared Suffering: The Golden Marvel and Ultra-Man are close friends who often dine together to remember life during the Great Depression, the Spanish Influenza epidemic, World War II, and other events of the first four decades of the 20th Century.
Most of the true immortals in the Global Guardians Universe, like Abyss, Master Mist, Black Angel, and Ishmael, tend to treat each other as competitive rivals rather than as true enemies (if they were, in fact, enemies in the first place), because they all know that the only person a truly immortal being can talk to about how hard it is to be a true immortal is another true immortal.
She's Got Legs: Cheesecake has the power of "ZOMG SHE'S SO DAMNED HOT SHE BURNS MY EYES JUST LOOKING AT HER", and she uses it to mentally manipulate weak-willed men. Naturally enough, this is all a part of it.
Shock and Awe: Electricity is a favorite power in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Canadian superhero Acolyte, the villainous Chain Lightning, electrical-powered speedster Lightning Dancer and her identical (and evil) twin Blitz, Chinese hero Voltage, Disney-sponsored hero Big Thunder, Juice, the super-strong Relampago, the Italian super-criminal Dinimo, Russian super-assassin Molnya, Thunderfist, Lightning Rod of the Hyperion Academy, and Cracklin' Rose all possess electrical powers.
Shooting Superman: This happened to The Shield all the time. The Shield's one schtick is being completely and totally invulnerable, so naturally mooks would empty clip after clip into him to no effect. Occasionally this would escalate and they'd use grenades, miniguns, and rocket launchers on him to equally no effect. Once, one villain even dropped him to Earth from orbit. To no effect. You'd think that sooner or later word would get around...
Sidekick: Surprisingly, given that it is a superhero setting, there was only a single incidence of a hero (or a villain, for that matter) taking a sidekick: Barnstormer and his “youthful ward”, Tailgunner.
Single-Power Superheroes: Due to the way the Hero System rules work, most of the characters from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have multiple superpowers on paper. Functionally, however, what most of them have is just a single power for which they've discovered multiple uses. For example, Bungie is a Rubber Man who has superior strength (because she can use her strechability to change her point of leverage in her own body) and invulnerability to most physical attacks (because her elastic body stretches with the force of the attack), and can change her shape (by stretching her body into various forms), but it all boils down to Bungie stretching.
Skinny Dipping: Aquatic superheroine Calypso, being from the undersea kingdom of Atlantis (a society with No Nudity Taboo), has a hard time figuring out why the surface dwellers insist on wearing clothing when above the water, much less when they are in it. Her default mode of dress when swimming is total nudity. This is her default mode of dress while out of the water 70% of the time, as well.
Slave to PR: This is the open reason why the White Legion, the official hero team of the Ku Klux Klan, does what it does: to generate some good PR for the Klan. And these guys aren't villains in hero's clothing, either. If it weren't for their vile opinions on racial supremacy and the place non-Whites should have in society, they’d be true-blue, noble heroes. They don’t even hesitate to help non-Whites, as they see such actions as “setting a good example for lesser peoples”. Nevertheless, they are not looked on too favorably by anyone but racists and neo-nazi white supremacists, even when they do good deeds like rescuing over 300 flood victims during the worst of the New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina debacle.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Cheesecake appears to everyone who sees her as the most beautiful woman they can imagine. When she was a teenager, the eruption of her power made her a gang-rape victim and turned her against men in general. She has since learned to use her hatred of men, and her natural attractiveness to them, as a weapon.
So Last Season: Super Robot villain Omega from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe uses this trope every time he appears. Part of his schtick is that, between his attacks on the heroes, he re-engineers himself to be immune to whatever defeated him before. Did you beat him once with an electro-magnetic pulse? Sorry, this time he's got tempest shielding. Burn through his chassis with a laser? Sorry, this time he's coated himself with a reflective polymer, making him resistant to lasers. The heroes had to figure out a new way to beat him every time he showed up.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The primary Aesops of the setting were "Don't fight the battles that you can win, fight the battles that deserve to be fought", and "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Do not allow evil to triumph. Do not do sit by and do nothing." Which are sentiments that need to be said, and undertaken, quite a bit more than they are.
Someday This Will Come in Handy: The Hermit, one of the TAROT villains, retains a perfect memory of everything he ever experienced from the time of his childbirth, and is a voracious reader. He's also one of the world's smartest people, allowing him to put his encyclopedic knowledge of everythingto use against his opponents. He's a villain the heroes hate going up against, simply because he's so annoyingly effective.
Someone Has to Do It: There is always an Archmage, he mystical defender of Earth. When the previous Archmage dies, is incapacitated, or gives up his power as Archmage, the next Archmage is chosen immediately and gains all the powers and responsibilities of the office.
Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: In one Sunshine Warriors story, Arrowstar's nephew Ralph discovers his uncle's Powered Amor and takes it for a spin. He does okay for a little while, and actually manages to stop a crime without causing too much property damage. But then he accidentally hits the suits afterburners and puts himself into orbit. Luckily, he's rescued before the suit's oxygen supply runs out.
Sorry That I'm Dying: Dogfight's lasts words before he was crushed in the collapse of the North Tower after the 9-11 attacks was an apology to his son for not being there to watch him grow up. This was part of his son's Freudian Excuse to become a supervillain.
Soul Power: Binder of the Canadian Shield superhero team is a mystic sorceress specializing in this sort of power. Her full name is "Binder of Spirits". Her teammate Ghostkeeper gains his powers from the spirits of his ancestors.
Indian sorcerer Tauji also specialized in spirit magic.
Maahes and Menhit are two Egyptian supervillains who gained there powers when they were possessed by the lion-spirits of bloodshed.
Deadworks is a ghostly villain who possesses corpses and uses them for his own purposes.
The Gentleman Ghost is a Disney-sponsored hero with ghostly powers.
Space Station: The orbital headquarters of the Global Guardians, and the Stronghold Orbital Super-Maximum Detention Center.
Spider-Sense: There are many characters who can sense dangerous situations before they happen, ranging from a quick adrenaline rush that warns them that they, personally, are about to be in trouble to vague clairvoyant flashes that tell them A Storm Is Coming. Second Sight, a precognitive hero, uses this ability to "read" the intentions of those she is fighting, and thus is often able to counter their maneuvers before they make them. Agniputra, on the other hand, has senses that are so heightened her "danger sense" is less her actually sensing danger and more her simply being able to react to it faster than anyone else.
Spin Attack: Gyro, a villainous speedster, could spin himself like a super-sonic top. His primary method of attack was to move in on a person while keeping his fists extended.
Spinning Clock Hands: This was used to let the Global Guardians that the villainous Chronos had sent them on a (supposedly) one-way trip into the future against their wills.
Squishy Wizard: The Beacon was once described by a teammate as "fluffy". Another teammate called her "well padded." She describes herself as a big beautiful woman. Either way, she tends to avoid close combat as she's horrible at it and always gets her butt kicked when it happens.
The Stakeout: Battlecat and Minx (Battlecat's daughter) had a lot of rooftop stake-outs in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. They'd inevitably descend into discussions about whatever guy she was seeing that week and how Battlecat doesn't think he's good enough for her.
Spies in a Van: When Battlecat and Minx (Battlecat's daughter) weren't hanging around rooftops staking out a wanted criminal, they were usually parked in Battlecat's Cool Car staking out a wanted criminal. While their rooftop stakeouts always ended in discussions about Minx's current boyfriend, the car stake-outs would always end up being about Battlecat's still being in love with Minx's mother some five years after the divorce (and after his ex-wife remarried).
Star-Spangled Spandex: This was the chosen uniform of the Neumans, a family of superheroic crimefighters.
Supervillainesses Urania and Star also dressed in star-covered black leotards.
Steven Ulysses Perhero: In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the real name of the Disney-sponsored superhero Tinkerbelle is Tina Kerri Bell. Las Vegas superhero Argent is really names Harry Silver. Doctor Ka, an Egyptian-themed mystic hero, is actually named Doctor Anthony Fairo ("Pharoah"). Super-athletic martial arts hero Elite is really Primo Best (Yes, his name is "First Best", and his hero name is "Elite".)
Stout Strength: Bouncer is a Kid Villain whose incredible strength is matched by his incredible bulk. His "super-fat" makes him almost impossible to physically hurt.
Bouncer has no idea that his father is the second-string villain known as The Walrus, who had the same powers.
The Fat Man absorbs kinetic energy, which manifests as fat after absorption. He's nearly eight feet tall and weighs close to a thousand pounds, and can lift small buildings over his head.
Super Breeding Program: The People's Republic of China did this with their superhumans for nearly forty years, with the intention of creating an army of superhumans that were loyal to the People's Republic. They had about a 50/50 success rate.
Super Hero School: There were two: the Hyperion Academy (in New York), and the Venture Institute (in Minnesota).
Super Loser: One of the superheroes active in the Boston area was The Patriot, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the New England Patriots football team. Gifted with heightened strength and toughness, he was nevertheless a pretty ineffective crimefighter due to basic incompetence. The character was generally considered to be a cheap Take That on the part of creator Jack Butler, who had long held that his two favorite football teams were "the Miami Dolphins and any team playing the New England Patriots."
Superpowered Evil Side: Josiah Brimstone is a skilled and powerful sorcerer, but when his spells are not enough, he can unleash his inner demon on the bad guys. The inner demon doesn't always stop at beating down the bad guys, though, so Brimstone is really reluctant to do this. Viviane von Klause, the "Witch of San Francisco" tries to avoid overusing her magical abilities because if she goes too far and pushes her magic too far, the ghost of her Satanist grandmother takes over for a little while.
Superpowerful Genetics: Regardless of what real-world genetic science says, its pretty much guaranteed that the child of two superhumans will have either the same powers as one of their parents, or a mix between the two. (Children with only one superhuman parent tend to have a 50/50 chance of getting either the same powers as their parents, or else no powers at all.) Of course, people who get their powers from technology don't count.
This is the primary superpower of the villain Whiteout (he's an albino assassin). His reflexes are fast enough to dodge bullets (and pretty much anything else) if he knows they're coming. He doesn't move with Super Speed, though.
Super Robot: The Platinum Blonde, a heroic android in the shape of Marilyn Monroe, started out a Real Robot. After leaving her life as a Sexbot and looking for the meaning of her existence, she tooled up, installed some over-the-top weapons systems, and started defending humanity.
Super Serum: Several characters gained their powers through one of these. Most noable would be Achilles, leader of the titular superteam, and Alloy, a shiny metal supervillain with superhuman strength.
Super Speed: Many heroes and villains possess this power. Most notable are Tachyon (a super-fast gorilla hero), Speedway (a Nascar-themed hero), and Jenny Thunder (daughter of sixties speedster Johnny Thunder).
Super Strength: * Scientists in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have determined that this is the most common superpower in the world. An estimated 60% of all metahumans have Super Strength to some degree or other, ranging from people who are still within normal ranges for athletic humans (but who obviously are much stronger than their height, weight, build would indicate) to people capable of lifting megatons worth of weight.
An example of the first would be Audrey Cohen, a seven year old girl featured in a People Magazine cover story in 1995. In front of a dozen witnesses, Ms. Cohen lifted nearly two hundred pounds over her head. She was restested in 2010 at age 21, where it was shown that her maximum lift capacity was about 320 pounds.
An example of second would be the supervillain Rampage, whose strength no upper limit has ever been found.
Super Team: Most of the campaigns were based around a Super Team of one sort or another. Notable exceptions were the Big Easy campaign and the aptly titled Solo campaign, both of which were about a single hero, and the Hyperion Academy and Venture Institute campaigns, both of which were about schools for superhumans.
Super Wheel Chair: The controversial superhero Slave is a powerful robot remotely operated by the brain of a quadrapelegic genius. The operator gets sensory input from the robot, and while hooked up to it the robot is functionally the operator's body. The designer of Slave intended it to be a way for paralyzed people to regain their mobility, after a fashion. One wonders why he isn't hooked up to the robot 24/7.
Tainted Veins: When the supervillain Virus injects his victims with the mind-control serum, their veins turn dark green around the injection site.
Cyborg supervillain La Constructeuse has this sort of thing going on with her own body, but the vein-tracery looks like circuitry.
Talking Is a Free Action: One of the basic rules of Champions is that soliloquies are a zero-phase action that take no time at all; technically, a character could recite the entire text of Wikipedia as a Free Action.
Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: This was a running joke with Mister Easter, who had the power to come back from the dead after three days (he's Mister Easter, get it?). One of Mister Easter's Disadvantages was Fated to Die at Least Once Per Story and boy did he live up to that. During his crimefighting career he was hit by the bus several times, choked on a fish bone, was hit on the head by a falling fire-escape ladder, accidentally electrocuted himself, and once was stabbed to death by a bad guy who wasn't quite dead. And the GM always managed to make his death a perfect Take a Moment to Catch Your Death moments.
Gorgon can turn people's skin into a layer of stone that is just thick enough to keep them from moving. The effect wears off after a while. Anyone who is strong enough can break through this thin stone shell... if they don't mind being flayed alive when their petrified skin shatters.
The appropriately-named villain Stone can transform himself into a living statue, giving himself Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability. The Brazilian hero Estatua ("The Statue") has the same power. Granite Man and Golem are both like that permanently. Surkha Khamba ("Ruby Monolith") can turn herself into solid ruby.
Take Our Word for It: The apocalyptic battle between interdimensional conquerer Tyros and Quantum of the Global Guardians was all off-screen, and the only thing that appeared in the story was the general public's reaction to it. This is because it took place on the moon... though the lightshow from it was still visible in broad daylight on the Earth.
Technical Pacifist: Lucky Star, a street-level crimefighter in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, who is often called "the luckiest man alive", refuses to start fights, always tries to use reason and understanding to defuse conflict and absolutely, positively refuses to use a weapon, nonetheless is quite capable of kicking ass and taking names when reason and understanding don't work. And heaven help you if you threaten a child in his presence.
Technopath: The Operator is a superhero from Florida who can control machinery and computer systems remotely. Online is a cyberpath who works as a "Hero For Hire", primarily as an electronic security expert (there is also a villainous Online, with the same power set, and the two are harsh rivals simply over who gets to keep the name). Likewise, Cyba is a Canadian superheroine who can "talk" to machines. Perepis, on the other hand, is a "cyberkinetic", and can mentally animate and control machinery (including remotely redesigning them). Perepis's Arch-Enemy is Technyik, who not only shares her power, but wears a suit of Powered Armor on top of it all.
Teen Genius: The Evil Mastermind, leader of Evil Mensa, is only twelve years old. He is also the third smartest person on the planet.
Telepathic Spacemen: There aren't any inherently telepathic alien species; that said, the Tautiq and the Pelkons are both more likely to acquire Psychic Powers than humans are, and are less likely to be driven mad by those powers. Xorn and Delethai, on the other hand, are even less likely than humans to gain such powers.
Telepathy: * Though Psychic Powers in general are the rarest of all superpowers in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Telepathy is definitely the most common mental power. The most powerful telepath in the setting is Oracle, a former member of the Global Guardians, though the supervillain Cerebellum contests this point. Other notable telepaths are Headcase, Iron Angel, A Espada, Halazgo, and Mikula.
The Scions are a group of four telepathic siblings. They've been pursuing a private war against their father, Cerebellum, in addition to their normal super-villainy.
That Satisfying Crunch: When a muckraking reporter and her film-crew kept following Stone around, looking for something to tarnish up his already shaky reputation with, he finally got so fed up with her that he flattened the newsvan they were using to follow him. And you should take the word "flattened" literally, as he used his [[Super Strength]] to drop a bulldozer on it eight or nine times in quick succession. Then he got himself a beer.
The Force Is Strong with This One: Boris "The Bloodhound" Lydecker is a reporter for Capes and Cowls magazine (imagine Us Magazine if it concentrated on metahumans rather than celebrities). He is, himself, a metahuman with the sole power to detect other metahumans, including the general nature of their powers and power level (along the lines of "something to do with fire... but wow does he have a lot of it"). His usual assignment is to "out" superheroes who haven't revealed their real names to the public yet. Naturally, he's not well liked in the superhero community.
Mentalists in the GGU can always sense other mentalists whenever they get into close proximity; ironically, it is the least powerful and least experiences telepaths who are sensed more strongly, because they have a harder time keeping their "psychic leak" as it is called, under control. Powerful telepaths, or very experienced yet only mildly powerful ones, only leak a little.
Wizards and other mystics in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe can automatically detect the presence of other wizards and mystics, but they can only detect each other's power level if the other mystic is either currently spellcasting or if they voluntarily "project their aura of power", thus intentionally advertising just how powerful they are.
This Is a Drill: The villainous Subterranean uses a tank equipped with a tunneling drill to break into bank vaults, museums, and other secure locations from underneath.
This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Lampshaded and subverted during a third year story. Achilles, leader of the titular hero team, discovers the bad guy who has been causing them so much havoc is his own brother. Cue Gunmetal asking "Is this going to end up one of those 'I have to face him alone' things with you?" To which Achilles responded, "Oh hell no. Take his ass down the moment you can get a clear shot."
Those Wacky Nazis: The most common villains in the Global GuardiansGolden Age campaign were these. The specific villains ranged from Baron Maltus, the head of the Nazi Super Soldier Program, to Herr Doktor Ubrist, Adolph Hitler's personal astrologer and a powerful mystic, and pretty much all the other stereotypical Nazi villains in between.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: This trope was actively enforced. Player characters who were casual killers were absolutely not welcome, and those that became it later were booted from the game. Accidents still happened, of course.
Time Abyss: The Abyss is an immortal homo habilis who has kept most of his memories of the last five or six hundred thousand years. He once gave a Hannibal Lecture in which he described the day he was nearly killed by a terror bird.
Time Travel: The Warlord, a Powered Armor-wearing villain from the future, didn't like the way things were going in his time, so he came back to change them. Every story featuring him involves him trying to change some historical event to fit his own whims.
Time Travel Escape: Ultra-Man originally fought the Nazis in the 1940s. He was brought to the present when a villain's superweapon accidentally ripped a whole in the Time-Space Continuum.
Tin-Can Robot: The Gadgeteer Genius known as The Garbageman guarded his lair with robots that looked like they were thrown together from old car parts, some galvanized steel garbage cans, and a lawn mower or two. They looked like that because they were thrown together from old car parts, some galvanized steel garbage cans, and a lawn mower or two. More dangerous than they sounded.
Totalitarian Utilitarian: Lord Doom is dedicated to solving the world's problems and making the world a better place so no other child has to watch their family be systematically killed like he did during the Holocaust. To that end, he intends to overthrow every government on the planet and replace them with his own benevolent rule, modify the general behavior of the human race through genetic engineering, drug thereapy, and branwashing, end crime by ending the criminals, permanently, and insuring that the only people who have the capacity to make war are those who have been programmed to be loyal to the cause. Among other things, he is a Mad Scientist who is all about Playing with Syringes when it comes to making people better, and insists that Happiness Is Mandatory, and anyone who disagrees with him or gets in his way, even if they are his own children, must be eliminated. Sure, his plan is a bit harsh, but you cannot make omelettes without breaking a few eggs.
Lord Doom wants to make the world a Utopia without war and hatred, and he doesn't care how many people die in the process of making his vision of a peaceful earth a reality.
Abyss wants to rid the world of pollution and return nature to a clean, balanced, pristine state... and if this means wiping humanity off the face of the planet, so be it.
The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Doctor Thadeus Thanos. a Mad Scientist villain, was an ugly, scrunched up hunchback whose face looked half-melted. His daughter Gladiola, on the other hand, was not just beautiful, she was stunningly so. Of course, he did genetically engineer her to be that way...
Underboobs: After her Heroic BSOD, Fury, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, took to wearing a black-thong-bikini-and-halter costume. The "halter" part was little more than a strip of black cloth that showed off the underboob quite nicely.
Underwater Base: The Caribbean Crew's base is sunken off the coast of Key West, Florida.
The Unfrozen Caveman Superhero: Nordkapp Man. Within a few years of his being thawed out of the glacier he'd been trapped in for 30,000 years, Nordkapp Man (a neanderthal with superpowers) had become a university professor, a regular club-hopper, and, of course, an ice-wielding crimefighter.
Unreliable Narrator: The "Lost Soul" stories are told from the singularly self-serving point of view of an immortal Erzebet Bathory, who is trying to win redemption for herself.
Vagueness Is Coming: For weeks prior to Dagon beginning his ritual to release the Great Old Ones onto the Earth, every mystic hero (and villain, for that matter) whose name wasn't "Dagon" started receiving the same warning, "They are coming!" The warning showed up in the dialog of TV shows, it would appear in casual conversations with friends, in crossword puzzles, in dreams, and so on. As Dagon's ritual neared completion, the warnings became more and more blatant and obvious until, at one point, a random stranger walked up to Warlock and screamed "THEY ARE COMING!" into his face.
Villain by Default: Being a comic book universe with a lot of Black and White Morality (as most comic book universes have), the heroes of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have faced off against a metric buttload of bad guys who were villains by default. Corrupt lawyers, gangsters, bikers, hit-men, big game hunters, neo-nazis, evil businessmen, white supremacists, satanists, various other cultists, voracious aliens, terrorists of every stripe and creed. And of course your average supervillain is in it for the greed and the breaking things. The number of villains that introduced shades of gray could be counted on one hand.
Villain over for Dinner: All-Star, a student at the Hyperion Academy, came home for the holidays to find the villainous Doctor XX (who didn't recognize him out of costume) sitting at his family's dining room table. Turns out the villainous doctor had gone to college with his mother and they were catching up on old times.
The Virus: The aptly named Virus is a villain who takes control of people using a tailored infection that slowly transforms them into copies of itself. Its ultimate goal is to make all life on earth a copy of itself.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Shapeshifting is surprisingly not all that common in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. Menagerie and Manimal turn into various animal species; Pseudo says'' that all he can do is replicate any human appearance (in reality, he's a plasmoidal alien who "went native" and pretends to be human... but he keeps that a secret); Mu Shu (a member of the Disney World-sponsored hero team Imagination) can shapeshift into a small, red, firebreathing dragon; Indian hero Bagha can turn into a tiger; Chameleon, a student at the Hyperion Academy can become any animal or human shape; Lord Dragon, thought to be a human who can transform into a Chinese dragon, is actually a Chinese dragon who can turn into a human; both Chimera and Proteus can assume any shape they can imagine.
Silly Putty is technically this. He can assume pretty much any shape, but his outward appearance doesn't change, and his flesh has to be manually manipulated into the desired shape (usually by other people).
Wall of Text: It was an email campaign, and some of the player's were very enthusiastic participants.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lord Doom has a plan to save humanity from overpopulation, hunger, crime, war, and tyranny. His plan promotes universal literacy, tolerance for other ethnicities, political creeds, and sexual orientations, grant universal health care for all, and generally make life more pleasant for everyone, as long as you didn't mind giving up a couple of small, tiny, insignificant things in the meantime... things like a right to vote, or freedom of speech, or the right to choose your own occupation. Small things like that. Oh, and he's in charge. Forever.
We Work Well Together: This is how The Crimestoppers, a team of low-powered superheroes, came together. They all responded to the same crisis and discovered they were better together than they were by themselves. Not that this was hard.
Whatevermancy: Madras, who could telekinetically control fabric, called his power "Fasmokinesis", bastardizing "yfasma", the Greek word for "cloth".
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Crimestoppers campaign was made of this trope. The team consisted of Doctor Destiny, a sometime-clairvoyant who gets visions of the future with the aid of his magic 8-ball; Mister Excitement, a hero who gains his super-strength through adrenalin rushes, but who has no control over when those rushes occur, Rex, a talking German shepherd (that is his power, he's a dog that talks); Silly Putty, a shapechanger who has to be physically manipulated to change his shape, and cannot change his color (but could do that "lift an image from newsprint" trick); and the Tagger, who possesses the power to spray any color of paint he wishes from his fingertips.
Also the mysterious Mister Easter (not a member of the Crimestoppers), who had the power to change water into wine, multiply a single fish and a single load of bread into many fishes and loaves of bread, walk on water, completely cure leprosy, blindness, and a very small range of disabilities that prevented people from walking. Plus, if he was killed, he rose from the dead after three days.
The setting also featured the Flower Lady could project a spray of rose petals from her fingers. Mr. Rainbow could change the color of his own skin, but only to one of the seven prismatic colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, or Violet). The Great and Powerful Oz could shape-shift, but only into one of the characters from the 1939 musical version of "The Wizard of Oz", and Soundtrack had the power to cause any piece of music (be it a song or an orchestral piece) ever used in any film to play out of thin air around him.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: While intelligent apes have been given full civil rights, robots, androids, and other artificial intelligences are still not considered people in the legal sense even though they cannot be harmed with impunity (property laws come into consideration). Demons, the undead, and most other forms of monster are free targets, however.
What Measure Is a Non-Super?: For the most part, this is avoided, even by the villains. Of course, there is a reason why there are so many derogatory slang words for normal humans. "Mere" (as in "merely human"), "flatline", "baseline", and "Norman" (as in "Normal Normal") are just four examples.
What the Hell, Hero?: Oracle is a powerful telepath and one-time member of the Global Guardians. When Doctor Devastation hid a nerve gas bomb in a subway terminal in Washington, D.C., she used her telepathic powers to slowly turn his brain into cole slaw as she forcibly searched it for the bomb's location. While she saved the day, she was also expelled from the team.
When Things Spin, Science Happens: Herr Doktor Archeville possessed a machine that his teammates called "the spinny gizmo". No one was sure what it did, really, but it sure looked fancy, and it had that spinny part on the front of it.
Who Needs Their Whole Body?: Splatterman has a Healing Factor that works so quickly it makes Wolverine green with envy. He lost both his legs an arm, and half his torso to a supervillain once, but kept crawling after the guy as his body regrew itself.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: The chronologically last Global Guardians story is "The Last Man on Earth", featuring The Shield, whose power was immunity to harm. Having lived for billions of years, he's the last human on Earth when the sun finally begins its expansion. The story ends with the Shield sitting on a cliff on Mount Everest, watching the sun get bigger and bigger and redder and redder in the sky, hoping that this time, he's finally found something that's powerful enough to overcome his power, and dreadfully fearful of what will happen if it isn't.
The Wiki Rule: During the last three years of the setting's run, the website was wiki-based.
American Eagle is a winged energy blaster with sonic powers.
Black Angel is a sorcerer with demon-style leathery wings and dark powers. Claims to be a medieval-period sorcerer who made a really bad deal (or good, depending on your point of view) for immortality and power.
Witch Species: The Global Guardians PBEM Universe includes a subspecies of humanity called Homo magi. Every human user of magic, regardless of its form, is a member of this subspecies, including every mystic hero and villain.
World's Strongest Man: Strength, one of the villains working for Tarot, is literally the strongest man on the planet.
Wreathed in Flames: This was actually pretty common among characters who controlled fire. Starfire, Ablaze, Firefall, Inferna, Centigrade (who is also An Ice Person), Incendie ("Blaze" in French), Mondfeur ("Moonfire" in German), Ulkataranara ("Comet Man" in Hindi), Playma ("Flame" in Russian), Salamander, Sunfire, Wildfire, Flame, Ifrit, Komet, Inferno, Fuoco Bianco ("White Fire" in Italian), Pumpkin Jack, Tourmaline, Pyro, and Red Devil all could wrap flames around themselves like a blanket.
You Can't Go Home Again: Ultra-Man can't go home again because his home was seventy years in the past. His parents, his siblings, and all but one of his friends are now dead, and the surviving friend is almost ninety years old and has alzheimers. The town he grew up in has ten times as many people in it now than it did then, and looks nothing like it did. And of course, his house is long since been bulldozed down and replaced by a shopping mall.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The members of the Lightning Power Special Team, a color-coordinated hero team from Tokyo, have hair colors (violet, cornsilk-yellow, green, and purple) that match the colors of their costumes.
You Never Asked: In one Global Guardians story, a villain tries to hold inoffensive precog heroine Second Sight hostage in order to escape. Second Sight, whose powers all revolved around her clairvoyant ability to see the future, took the villain apart with previously unseen Kung Fu skills. When her amazed teammates questioned her about them, her response was the classic, "You never asked."
It turns out the skills had been there since the creation of the character. They'd just never been needed before.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The terrorist organization known as "Prime 8" is an army of gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans who all have a need to serious punish the humans. They are lead by a band of eight simian supervillains who a lot of the talking ape population consider heroes and freedom fighters, not criminals.
Zerg Rush: Los Hermanos is a duplicator who can create thousands of clones of himself. Other than that, he's basically just an athletic, somewhat skilled martial artist. Guess what one of his primary tactics is when fighting a villain who is obviously much more powerful than he is?