First Loyalty: Yourself
This is just an idea for a Mutants & Masterminds
setting I've been thinking of for a while. Sure, a lot of ideas are
borrowed from other sources, but as it is in cases like this, I don't care.
Millenia ago, there was a race of humanoid beings living on another world called Prosek; a world more advanced than ours. Extremely long-lived
, yet extremely infertile (only a 1 in 5000 chance of siring children), theirs was a planet with technology more advanced than Atlantis
, but not quite at New Genesis
' or Gallifrey
's level. Among other discoveries, they had a developed a method similar to the Terrigen Mists of Attilan: upon reaching physical puberty, the children would be exposed to treatments designed to trigger latent superhuman abilities in them (though these powers varied from individual to individual).
The only exception to this rule were those children that were deemed "genetically appropriate" for an elite squad known as the Mandao. A blend of Spartan warriors
, Special Forces
soldiers, and Amazons, these children were trained from a young age in the ways of combat, and became genetically augmented to help improve their skills.
Sadly, as fiction and reality tell us, no utopia can last forever. Thousands of years ago, a civil war broke out with Prosek and a race of shape-shifters similar to the Skrull. After a few centuries of war, around the 16th century BC (by our calendar), the shapeshifters resorted to a weapon designed to cause massive environmental damage to Prosek (think "The Day After Tomorrow
" meets "Evil Dead
" meets "Independence Day
", and you'll get the idea).
In order to survive, thousands of the Prosekians escaped in ships, heading in various directions to throw their enemies off their trail, hoping to rendevouz with their allies eventually. The intense amount of energy required to engage a warp drive caused one of the ships, short on fuel and supplies, to land on a worthless blue speck
, that happened to be third from the sun. Fortunately, the nearly 700 humanoid aliens
were able to blend in with society and pose as ordinary folk. (NOTE: None of them ever posed as historical figures like da Vinci or Socrates, since that's such a cliche).
For their own safety, the Prosekians chose to go their separate ways, finding their own paths in their world (not to mention preventing their shapeshifting nemeses to kill 'em all). With their knowledge, training and abilities, they managed to survive on this world without detection, occasionally taking part in various historical events (Troy, Salisbury Plain
, the Crusades, etc).
However, in the early 20th century, an incident
occurred that wiped the knowledge of their extraterrestrial origins from their memory (as well as knowledge of their paranormal abilities). As a result, the surviving Prosekians simply began living the lives of regular "civilians", some of them even marrying and siring children with Earthlings (actually, this had been done in past generations; just not with as much frequency). It was eventually discovered that the these human-alien hybrids
would begin to spark paranormal abilities, much like ''homo superior''
. However, the generation which developed powers was essentially set on "wild card", i.e. it might be their first kid; powers might not "spark" for 5 generations; it was completely variable.
During the Second World War, we saw the surfacing of "science-heroes": costumed men and women with paranormal abilities, with origins as variant as a bookstore. Sadly, their origins were a complete fiction. In the early 1930s, a German scientist who had escaped to the US had developed a serum referred to by most as "Compound X"
. It's been theorized by some that a majority of the formula was created via collected blood and cell samples from deceased Prosekians
, but it's unproven.
This was the real source of paranormal abilities. The pure, undiluted version of the formula would grant individuals superpowers (though these powers varied from person to person); a "watered-down" version could give people short-term super-speed or strength. As a result, stories like "The Spirits of Justice granted me powers for goodness"
, "I was vaporized in a nuclear blast, only to be reborn via atomic energy
", and so forth, were complete fabrications by the wielders of said powers.
Tragically for them, though the individuals had vast power, which also slowed their aging processes, had the side effects of either causing variant madnesses, or eventually causing them to "burn out". Fortunately, since the early 1960s, many of the original Prosekians began regaining their memories about their long lives. With all of the other science-heroes that were still around at that point, several of the Prosekians (not to mention their descendants) began wearing various costumes, using their abilities to assist law-enforcement, as well as hunt down "burnt-out" heroes. (Many of them had begun to suspect there was something wrong with them when they were essentially the same age they'd been years ago, but were unsure about it. Now, they knew).
Another change that occurred due to restored memories was the fact that a few pieces of Prosekian technology had been successfully reverse-engineered, primarily as equipment used by costumed heroes. However, some items were successfully developed for use by the general public. As of 2010, "sky-cars" are used by emergency services (police, ambulances, etc.), while nearly 60% of automobiles run on an alternate energy source (similar to a Bussard ramjet). Much like in Adrian Veidt
's world, clean, economical airships enable travel for leisure and comfort. A few other bits of Prosekian technology are available to the general public (nothing too big, mind you), but vehicles are the real biggies.
While costumed adventurism isn't as big as it was in its heyday of the '60s and '70s, there are still a several that still remain active (some have different code-names, or they've "come out" as immortal aliens). Most of the time, they focus on dealing with "rogue" heroes, victims of watered-down Compound X, or alien invasions.
So that's the basic premise. Though aliens are the major source of superheroics in this world, there are others who aren't connected to the Prosekians. Generally, they either wear variations on Powered Armor
, or they're Tom Strong
Embroiled in slave rebellion, I escaped crucifixion simply by declaring 'I am Vito', everyone else apparently being called 'Spartacus'.