SOME MAJOR SPOILERS WILL BE UNMARKED
At the beginning of the story, the Ambassadors are one of Boston's primary supervillain organizations, and one of the wealthiest and most influential.
Tropes for the group as a whole:
- Badass in a Nice Suit: For the men.
- Cool Mask: Each member of the Ambassadors wears one.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit: Taylor considers the dresses to be such for combat.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: For the women.
- Standard Superhero Suits: Subverted — the Ambassadors dress in formal wear instead.
- Super Serum: Rather than recruit capes, Accord recruits followers capable of meeting the standards of behavior his Super OCD requires and then buys powers for them.
The leader of the Ambassadors. Short — barely over five feet — and tends to dress more like a CEO than like a cape (although he wears an ornate wood-and-silver mask). A thinker whose power is believed to scale with the complexity of the problems he faces, beginning with a desired result and backtracking to a solution. He is obsessed with order, ranging from timeliness to neatness to etiquette. Leader of a group called the Ambassadors.
- An Arm and a Leg: Literally, at Perdition's hands.
- Asexuality: A side effect of his power is that Accord is repulsed by the act of sex, finding it far too chaotic and messy.
- The Chessmaster: As a result of his powers.
- Character Death: Gets killed by Perdition during the Crushed arc.
- Complexity Addiction: A natural consequence of his power; the more complex the plan, the better he is at handling it.
- Expressive Mask: His mask is capable of copying his facial expressions due to being made out of overlapping threads of metal.
- Man in White: Wears a neat white suit.
- Meaningful Name: Accord, n.: agreement or harmony of things in general.note In other words, Accord's basic desire in life.
- The Mole: Secretly in league with Cauldron, and friends with Coil.
- Mister Big: The leader of the Ambassadors isn't very tall.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: This is the reason he became a villain; he found that nobody listened to his ideas when he was a civil servant, so he decided to Take Over the World and implement them personally.
- Sherlock Scan: His power is shown to work in this manner in Interlude 20.
- Super OCD: His obsession with order — to the point where he reacts with threats of violence to an interruption of a meeting — fits this trope perfectly.
- Visionary Villain: His ultimate goal is an elaborate villainous scheme to end world hunger.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His motivation for becoming a criminal was to implement his plan for solving world hunger.
One of Accord's top Ambassadors. Her power allows her to attune areas to specific functions — increasing gravity, decreasing friction, changing the progression of time ... and, if someone powered is in the area, provided she has twenty or thirty seconds to get ready, interfering with their powers (e.g. by removing Required Secondary Powers). She is a young blonde woman who wears a formal silk dress in yellow trimmed in gold, a matching mask with citrine gems, citrine earrings, and yellow lipstick.
Classification: Trump, Shaker (?)
The second of Accord's top Ambassadors. Possessed of a 'mirror self' that travels in another world that only has limited interactions with the first. He can drive himself into the mirror world, bringing his other self in from that world at the same time — producing an effect that could be mistaken for teleportation — and he can control the nature of the interactions between his 'mirror self' and the world to attack while remaining apparently invisible and intangible. He wears a black suit and a black-and-white mask.
Classification: Stranger (?)
One of the new Ambassadors. His power launches globes of light that grow as they fly, then stop in mid-air; the orbs have a space-warping effect, causing accelerating motions alongside other increases to certain kinds of energy. He wears a royal purple dress shirt and a grinning mask (like a jack-in-the-box).
Classification: Blaster/Shaker (?)
Another of the new Ambassadors. Her power has two modes — creating geysers of water out of empty space, and sucking water (and, possibly, whatever flows with it) back into wherever her water came from. It takes her roughly a second to switch modes. She has dark skin, complemented by a deep blue-green dress; her mask evokes a conch shell.
Classification: Blaster (?)
A third new Ambassador. He emits an aura which he can intensify to heal his allies, causing their wounds to quickly close and mend. He wears a green dress shirt and a mask with a pattern like a Celtic knot.
Classification: Blaster/Shaker (?)
- Healing Hands: His power causes regeneration at range.
A fourth new Ambassador. A pale woman who wore a white evening gown and featureless white mask as a temporary costume for her first mission as an Ambassador. Her power strikes whoever lies within its area of effect with permanent brain damage and memory loss in exchange for granting her a temporary boost to mental power. The area of effect can be seen in the glowing of her victims' eyes.
Classification: Blaster, Thinker
A gang of Endbringer cultists based mainly within the southern states. Two of their members arrive in Brockton Bay after the Echidna fight.
- Attention Whore: Whenever there's an Endbringer attack, they try to grab as much media attention as they can with provocative and hateful comments about the victims.
- The Clan: They're based around numerous families, of which some of their members have powers.
- Expy: Of the Westboro Baptist Church, according to Word of God.
- Hate Sink: In-universe they love to be loathed, and it works out for them due to their shards feeding off conflict.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: On top of calling for the Endbringers to end humanity, they're also virulently xenophobic. Full-spectrum racism, homophobia, and prejudice against Case 53's are commonplace among them.
- Religion of Evil: The Fallen worship the Endbringers. Word of God has said not all of the Fallen believe in it; some just use it as an excuse for their prejudice.
- Villainous Incest: They also appear to practice incest for the sake of creating more capes.
The leader of the Fallen in Brockton Bay, Valefor wears tattoos, a mask depicting the top half of a woman's face, and a costume meant to evoke the Simurgh.
Classification: Stranger, Master
- Bullying a Dragon: Doesn't take Taylor seriously during Accord's Interlude, despite all her accomplishments. Accord himself realizes that Skitter could have killed him at anytime with a trap she set up, and his arrogance leads to his downfall.
- Charm Person: His power allows him to render anyone eminently suggestible by making eye contact with them.
- Disguised in Drag: Hides in a crowd by dressing as a teenage girl.
- Eye Scream: Taylor has maggots fill his eyeballs in Imago 21.3.
- Hypnotic Eyes: As it turns out, anyone he looks at with his naked eye becomes his thrall, and can be issued both short-term and long-term commands, including ones that alter their memory.
- Lean and Mean: Is thin in build and also pretty nasty.
- Perpetual Smiler: Has a constant smirk on his face.
- Super Senses: Tattletale speculates that he has these in order to keep track of his victims. However they work, they enable him to No-Sell Imp's power.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Often dresses in feminine clothing such as a feminine mask and woman's corset.
A member of the Fallen who modeled his costume to style himself after the Behemoth. A wind manipulator that creates shearing blades of wind that grow as they travel and can boomerang back to him.
Classification: Shifter, Blaster (?)
Once a gang in Brockton Bay, they were nearly wiped out by the Slaughterhouse Nine. They re-established themselves as cells in New York and Boston, and have since rebuilt, though turnover has proved high enough that no original members remain — only the name survives. Savage, reckless, and willing to do anything for a profit. Members of the gang arrive in Brockton Bay looking to seize territory.
Tropes for the group as a whole:
- In Name Only: The current Teeth only has the name in common with the original gang.
- She had the powers of thirteen capes, watered down, plus her own. Some of those capes had possessed multiple abilities. By power or by cunning, each had killed the last. This Butcher had the resources of each of them.
The leader of the Teeth. A long-necked, long-limbed woman with Asian-styled armor and mask, studded with blades, and a string of three skulls draped over one shoulder.
Classification: Brute, Shaker, Mover
- Combo Platter Powers: Each Butcher is granted weaker versions of the powers of all prior Butchers in addition to their own.
- Butcher I had the ability to cause excruciating pain at range.
- Quarrel's contribution is the ability to create a minor spatial-warping effect that ensures her attacks are always on target so long as the target is within range.
- Butcher IX could induce feelings of mindless rage at short range.
- Butcher VIII could reshape matter into objects.
- Butcher IV could induce festering wounds
- Butcher III had a limited danger sense
- Super Strength is what allows her to carry the Gatling gun and pull the compound bow, and the contribution of Butchers I, III, VI, IX, XI, and XIII.
- Butcher VI had explosive teleportation.
- Butcher II could see through walls to spot people's veins, arteries, and hearts.
- The Butcher mantle (and leadership of The Teeth) is passed on when a suitable member of the Teeth kills the current Butcher.
- Driven to Suicide: Is defeated by tricking her into the part of town that Cherish has placed under her suicide aura.
- Gatling Good: Her weapon of choice is a Gatling gun.
- Legacy Character: Is the fourteenth Butcher, having killed the thirteenth in New York the previous year.
- Mind Hive: Each inheritor of the Butcher mantle, in addition to the powers of their predecessors, also gets to have all their consciousnesses living in her head. If the inheritor is a duly promoted member of the Teeth, the voices will work together. If not, as was the case with Butcher III, the voices will reject their host and drive them mad until the Teeth can reclaim their property.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Her armour and mask have an Asian style, yet also have Spikes of Villainy and three bleached skulls. As Accord puts it:The costume, it was asymmetrical, lacking harmony, trying to do too many things at once. The samurai, the headhunter, the bloodletter. None of it fit the title she wore: Butcher.
- Superior Successor: Each new Butcher not only adds a new power to their collection, but is also implicitly badass or clever enough to take out the previous Butcher with just their own powers and skills.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: Quarrel's main weapon is a six foot tall compound bow.
- Four Sprees split off from him as he stood there, slightly hunched over as if bracing himself against recoil. They were produced with such force and speed that they briefly flew through the air, stumbling slightly as they hit the ground running. Three more Sprees were a fraction of a second after the first wave, with even more following a half-second behind them.
Fifteen or so Sprees in three seconds, before I'd even had a chance to call out an order. Duplicates produced at the rate that a machine gun spat bullets.
A member of the Teeth with the power of rapid fire duplicate generation.
- Vex's forcefields were countless, numbering in the hundreds, each sharp enough to cut exposed flesh. Alone, they weren't strong, but the shards had a collective, cumulative resistance.
A member of the Teeth with the power to create tiny forcefields in empty spaces.
- Barrier Warrior: Vex is capable of creating tiny forcefields that are razor sharp.
- Shallow cuts appeared on Hemmorhagia's face, chest and arms as she tried ineffectually to shield herself, and those same cuts exploded violently as she used her power to draw her blood from her body and turn it into hard, physical, cutting weapons. More blood congealed into broad scabs that protected her and reduced the damage of the continuous slashes.
A member of the Teeth with limited hemokinesis with some personal biokinesis.
Classification: Changer (?)
- Bloody Murder: Has the ability to control her own blood.
A member of the Teeth who can transform for a limited time into a four-legged beast that packs a power-nullification scream.
Classification: Trump, Blaster (?)
A magic-themed supervillain group based in New York — its members are trained to use items and rituals to enhance their powers. Own three buildings, doesn't control territory.
Tropes for the group as a whole:
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: One of the Adepts' rules.
Leader of the Adepts. His power involves time travel, and according to Word of God he got his powers from a premium Cauldron vial.
- Time Master: He can rewind, fast forward, or pause anything for approximately ten seconds.
A controller of birds — in addition to influencing their behavior, he imbues them with fire immunity and pyrokinesis. Has a faint accent — Australian or British.
A cape whose power causes her opponents (and herself) to pass out and fall into a trance.
The Red Hands
A team of parahuman master thieves that allied with the Undersiders at some point before the S9000 arc. In keeping with the name, each member of the team wears at least one red glove.
Tropes for the group as a whole:
- Red Right Hand: more literal than most examples. Every member of the team wears at least one red glove.
- Theme Naming: all the members have names that reference larceny or deception (Rifle for instance refers not just to his ability with guns but also to "rifling" through a bag in order to steal something specific.)
Leader of The Red Hands. Was romantically linked with Grue after Taylor gave herself up to the Protectorate. Wears a mask around her eyes, old-fashioned-looking clothes with a lacey décolletage, jacket and slacks festooned with belts, utility pouches and knives. Her non-red glove has a knife attached to each finger.
- Buxom Is Better: Taylor couldn't help but be somewhat annoyed at Cozen's substantial chest when they met.
- Hammerspace Hideaway: Her power lets her make linked pocket dimensions in which she can hide stuff ...
- Teleportation: ... or, under sufficiently calm circumstances, people including herself. This lets her act as a slow teleporter of sorts.
A member of the Red Hands under Cozen's command. Wore a cowl with a hood that peaked in the front, to the center of his mask. His costume had straight, clean lines, as though modeled after a car.
- Teleportation: Can teleport to locations he has set up beforehand.
Member of the Red Hands under Cozen's command. Dresses like a special ops agent out of a videogame with overly-elaborate night vision goggles and a gun modified to fire a variety of custom loads from canisters.
Misc. Superheroes and Rogues
A 21 year old native of Brockton Bay with powers over cloth and threads. At the time the story starts, she is a roguenote using her powers for such tasks as animating mascots for promotional events and making clothes (she mentions in an interview wanting to go to fashion school).
She wears a costume reminiscent of a Victorian-style porcelain doll, with golden curls. Underneath the costume, she stands just over five feet tall and is of obvious Middle-Eastern descent, with dark skin, full lips, and large, dark eyes; her Interlude reveals that her family emigrated from Basra, Iraq while she was high-school age. After joining the Undersiders, she changes her dress from white to black as part of her attempt to make herself more intimidating.
Classification: Master 6
- Evil Costume Switch: After allying herself with the Undersiders, she changes her hair and dress and adds a crack in her mask.
- Fake Nationality: Invoked — before Leviathan, she had made plans to provoke conversation about race assumptions with respect to heroes and villains when she doffed the mask.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Her cloth powers have numerous combat applications, best exemplified with her cloth golems.
- Lipstick Lesbian: She's a fashion student, and she enters into a relationship with Flechette/Foil.
- Mind over Matter: According to the cast page, she can easily and accurately control small, lightweight objects, and she can 'fill' larger objects to give them weight and strength.
- Remote Body: The fabric golems she animates are effectively this.
- Skilled, but Naïve: She has a lot of skill and strength using her power, but until she joins the fight against Leviathan she never used it in a combat situation.
- Took a Level in Badass: Originally used her powers solely for fashion design. That changes after she volunteers to fight Leviathan.
- You Killed My Father: Has it out for the Nine for murdering some of her family members.
A rogue whose power made her a superlatively-good singer — but also made anyone she sang to susceptible to her suggestions. Ended up in the Birdcage thanks to a stupid accident.
Classification: Master 8
- Blessed with Suck: She pretty much had zero interest in using her mind-control powers — she just wanted to be a singer.
- Compelling Voice: When she sings, she makes people susceptible to her suggestions.
- Make an Example of Them: Happens to her after accidentally mind-controlling her ex.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Almost. She was charged with attempted murder after she told her ex, "go fuck yourself." He tried.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!!: Subjected to an incredibly egregious case of this. She gets a life sentence in the Birdcage for what is at worst a case of accidental, involuntary infliction of grievous bodily harm, and the judge even says that he's not allowed to sentence her like this, but he's going to do it anyway. And everyone still goes along with it. Except for Dragon, who vociferously complained at the sentence, but had to stick with what dumbass authority had decided because of her programming — Canary's miscarriage of justice is one of the straws that made her desperate to break her shackles.
A Case-53 whose body consists mostly of a pale face surrounded by a welter of thin tendrils whose strength can bend steel bars. She is presently a patient in a mental institution for parahumans. She is a major character in Worm's sequel, Ward. Tropes relating to her appearance in the sequel can be found here.
- Accidental Murder: The reason she's in the asylum; she can't entirely control her super-strong tendrils, particularly when she is stressed, and they will crush anything or anyone that gets too close. Her body count is in the double-digits, much to her distress.
- Body Horror: Imagine being a normal teen/young adult who gets deliriously ill one day and wakes the next as a wire-tentacled, inky blob with a face in it. To then find that your new body has instincts and neural processing you have very little conscious control of, so you can kiss your artistic and gregarious streaks goodbye for the foreseeable future. Oh, and incidentally, you can make strawberry jam out of other people without even meaning or wanting to, as well.
- Combat Tentacles: As mentioned before her tendrils are capable of bending steel, and ended up being used to kill Doctor Mother.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After spending years in a mental asylum unable to interact with people without killing them, Sveta learns a measure of control over her tendrils. But more than than, she gets a normal body, the ability to hug without crushing someone, and a begins dating Weld.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Her loneliness has led her to go to the Internet in an attempt to find someone to connect with.
- Made of Iron: Sveta is nearly indestructable, and even if you manage to cut off a tendril it will grow back. This is why she was not killed when the heroes went after her during her earlier appearances; she survived everything they threw at her.
- Power Incontinence: Garotte is currently incapable of controlling the strength of her tendrils, leading her to instinctively crush any stressor with them, making her too dangerous to be let out.
Small-time hero capes with relatively low ratings who are tertiary affiliates of the Protectorate. Together they were able to keep Damsel of Distress in check in their own town, at least until the Nine came calling. Edict has the ability to give one word commands, while Licit can control barriers in a way similar to Taylor. Current status unknown.
Classification: Master and Striker respectively
- All Love Is Unrequited: Edict has a thing for Licit, who doesn't reciprocate.
- All There in the Manual: Their powers and situation are only clarified by Word of God.
- Barrier Warrior: Licit has control over barriers, but they're limited to shapes not very good for capture and only go for about 20 feet.
- Compelling Voice: Edict's command power, which randomly causes anything from headaches to colorblindness if it's not obeyed. Edict laments being unable to figure out what causes what.
- Teen Pregnancy: Licit is taking care of two kids from a past relationship.
Considered the very first parahuman apart from Scion, he was among those who first encountered Scion in the 1980s, and gained his powers soon afterwards. He died in 1989 after getting hit in the back of head during a baseball riot. Vikare's death marked the end of the Golden Age of Parahumans.
- End of an Era: His death is considered to mark the end of the Golden Age of Parahumans.
A biological plant-based tinker supervillain based in Boston. His talent allows him to create life out of its raw materials, including making hybrids out of one or more biological samples combined with his special seeds.
Classification: Tinker 6/Plants (sub: Master 5; Blaster 2; Shifter 2; Brute 2)
- And I Must Scream: Is turned into Bonesaw's meat puppet.
- Character Death: Revealed to have died during Bonesaw's Interlude due to a stroke.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Due to having been forced to sing and dance for four solid months without any kind of rest.
- Fate Worse than Death: Courtesy of Bonesaw as a Meat Puppet.
- Green Thumb: His main specialty as a tinker.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Was willing to die if it meant Defiant/Armsmaster would kill Bonesaw. Unfortunately, he wasn't that lucky.
- Meat Puppet: Revealed to still be alive as of the Chrysalis Interlude as one of these courtesy of Bonesaw's contraptions.
- Mix-and-Match Man: He attempts to create one out of Myrddin and the Simurgh.
- Planimal: His creations are made by using plant DNA to fill in the genetic gaps, as he explains to Bonesaw, the process is pretty much the same as that of the dinosaur cloning in Jurassic Park.
- Too Dumb to Live: He attempts to create a hybrid out of Myrddin and the Simurgh!!! using several attempts. Even Bonesaw considers this going a little too far for the sake of your craft: she junks the lot on the grounds that even she isn't that crazy.
A Canadian supervillain who can affect the emotions of anyone nearby. He used his powers to create a harem of adoring women, some of whom he has had children by; some of those children, in turn, have gained closely-related powers.
- Abusive Parents: The worst case for Heartbreaker's children, especially Regent and Cherish. It's also revealed that he pimped out his children (even the ones under the age of 10.)
- Asshole Victim: The guy pimped out his own children. Yeah....no one was mourning him when Imp killed him.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: His children's accomplishments show how he could be much more dangerous and destructive, but all he cares about is his harem and abusing his kids.
- Charm Person: He can make people into his willing slaves with his power.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Heartbreaker would emotionally torture his children for the smallest offences. On one occasion, he subjected a young Regent to abject terror because Regent accidentally woke him up by watching TV.
- Killed Offscreen: Imp kills him during the timeskip. It also serves as an Ironic Death: Mr Egotistical would hate merely being a short footnote in Regent and the Heartbroken's stories.
- Love Potion: Heartbreaker has the ability to control and manipulate emotions, which includes making people fall in love. He's used this to form a harem of beautiful women that commit crimes for him and wait on him hand and foot, making him pretty much Charles Manson with superpowers.
- Parental Neglect: The best case for Heartbreaker's children.
- The Sociopath: Heartbreaker doesn't care about anyone but himself and his own pleasure. He treats people as playthings or and tools, including his own children. The interaction between Alec and Cherie makes it plain that, although they might have been genetically predisposed to start with, how he treated his kids all but ensured they'd all acquire various kinds of antisocial personality disorder, as well.
- Stupid Evil: None of his escaped kids consider him a role model for a reason. When Cherie thinks your goals to be overly hedonistic, ill-considered, lazy and dumb, you've plunked your heinous deeds here.
- Would Hurt a Child: Was stated to have done something horrible to Chastity's first boyfriend.
A black-hat hacker who discovered Dragon's AI nature and used it to defeat her in a series of nine encounters, capturing three of her armored suits on three of these occasions. He subsequently dismantled and reverse-engineered these suits to give his outfit — called the Dragonslayers — armored suits of their own as well as keeping at least one for himself. His face has a tattoo of a cross on it. Is actually not a cape at all, and was merely part of the first group on the scene following Leviathan's inundation of Newfoundland.
Classification: Tinker 0 (non-parahuman).
- Badass Normal: Has become one of the premiere players of the parahuman world despite having no powers whatsoever, but it ends up being subverted when it's revealed that he owes all his capabilities to Teacher.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He equipped his followers with the Dragon suits he captured and reverse-engineered, but is again subverted in than he owes all his capabilities to Teacher.
- Knight Templar: Is entirely willing to shut Dragon down while she's in the middle of fighting the Slaughterhouse Nine, who have the potential to end the world, in order to keep her from eliminating her final safeguards.
- The Cracker:
- Was skilled enough to steal three of Dragon's suits by taking advantage of Dragon's true nature as an AI.
- It's revealed in Interlude 22 that he cracked into the Birdcage's surveillance system.
- Hot for Teacher: As sarcastically lampshaded by Tattletale. The poor sap was just a means to an end for Teacher. Which just so happened to include the end of the world.
- I Just Want to Be Special: His big secret. He has no powers, and isn't actually all that smart. He's just the schmuck who found Andrew Richter's time capsule and brought it to Teacher, who addicted him to shots of low-grade Thinker powers as part of a long-term plot to control Dragon. He is actually so stupid that even after the plan has been completed it takes a dressing-down from Tattletale to make him realize how badly he's screwed everything up.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Twice. Shuts down Dragon in the middle of the fight against the Slaughterhouse Nine. Then he successfully lobbies to get Teacher out of the Birdcage, who then proceeds to reprogram Dragon into his servant.
- Powered Armor: Stolen and reverse-engineered from Dragon to equip him and the rest of the Dragonslayers.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: His true role, entrusted to him by Andrew Richter's last will and testament, is to observe and test Dragon and ensure that she does not go outside her bounds. Understandably, this makes him exceedingly paranoid about her. This was twisted further by Teacher for his own use.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Hates being sidelined and ignored by others, and practically sulks every time it happens. When jokes are made at his expense, he does not react well, either. It's driven by insecurity, of course.
- Smug Snake: He clearly takes great delight in taunting Dragon with his knowledge of her limitations.
- Tattooed Crook: Saint has an elaborate stylized cross tattooed on his face and filled in with faintly-glowing animated circuit diagrams.
A child supervillain not too unlike a pageant star. Is described as looking around eight years old, with curly hair and dimpled cheeks. She can bounce on any solid surface, leaving explosions in her wake. Currently under Protectorate custody.
Classification: Mover 4, Shaker 4
- Attention Whore: Attempts to kill Taylor in Drone 23.2 mainly because her Hazy Feel Turn took attention from one of her stunts.
- Bouncing Battler: Her power lets her ricochet off surfaces and create explosions at the point of contact.
- Can't Grow Up: She ages much more slowly as a side effect of her powers. She has currently been stuck in a child's body for some time.
- Enfant Terrible: An evil child cape.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Talks about how she'd love for Pretender to body snatch some celebrity and do all sorts of illicit sex acts with her. Taylor thankfully doesn't go into detail about it (but the list ends "...with my feet.").
- Terrible Trio: With her partners, Starlet and August Prince.
A girl of about twelve, whose costume consists of overalls that end at the knee, a star at the chest, and far too much makeup. Starlet's power allows her to fire explosive darts of light. Currently under Protectorate custody.
Classification: Blaster 4, Shaker 4
A ten year old with a widow's peak and a serious expression. His power prevents any willful harm from happening to him within his range. Currently under Protectorate custody.
Classification: Master 3, Stranger 3
An Indian man with a disheveled body and opulent clothing, wearing a rich indigo robe, a sapphire set in a gold chain, a gold chain for a belt, and a golden sash. His power involves the use of portals to send things backward (and forward) in time.
- Affably Evil: Despite his extremist tendencies and his incomplete fluency in English, he proves to be quite personable (even funny). In Weaver's words:This guy was borderline unhinged, too much power in too unstable a package, and I almost liked him.
- Character Death: Killed by Behemoth offscreen.
- Charged Attack: The "time bomb" mentioned below.
- Killed Offscreen: Was killed by Behemoth.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Has a daughter who happens to be a hero, who he appears to truly care about.
- Meaningful Name: "phir sē" means "repeat".
- Person of Mass Destruction: Is part of the Thanda, a small and elite group of Indian villains whose powers seem to work on the macro scale. (Other members have been seen teleporting chunks of the landscape and entire buildings around.) In Phir Sē's case, its believed that the energy in his 'time bomb' had the potential to destroy the entire Indian Subcontinent.
- Portal Network: Can create these.
- Pungeon Master: He has a great fondness for wordplay, as demonstrated when he refers to his device — a loop created between his pair of portals, accumulating light to act as a one-shot laser — as a "time bomb".
- Purple Is Powerful: He and the rest of the Thanda wear purple, and happen to be some of the most dangerous capes in the setting.
- Thinking Up Portals: His power lets him create portals with a number of applications.
- Time Master: Which send things back in time. Or the other way.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He justifies the possibility of destroying all of New Delhi, if not much of the Indian subcontinent, by explaining that he considers it worth the risk for the possibility of killing Behemoth.
A Chicago villain whose particular business is as a 'guarantor', an enforcer specializing in gang meets. He and his underlings, in the event of violence breaking out, deal with the situation quickly, promptly and efficiently. Currently under Protectorate custody thanks to Weaver.
Classification: Shaker (?)
- Gravity Master: Has the power to alter the direction (but not magnitude) of gravitational pull for himself, other people and/or any objects within his range.
A professional mercenary with a grab-bag of powers that include acute short-range clairvoyance, short-burst superspeed and 'phantom hands' that can reach into people's bodies to do horrible internal damage to organs and/or nerves. Has a reputation for leaving people dead or quadriplegic. Hired by Topsy. Currently under Protectorate custody thanks to Weaver.
Classification: Mover (?), Thinker (?), Striker (?)
- Combo Platter Powers: Has a mix of powers that work well together but have little to do with each other.
- Consummate Professional: Remains calm and calculating despite the difficult situation Weaver had him in. Didn't help.
- Flash Step: Has short burst super speed.
- Intangibility: Apparently, just his hands.
- X-Ray Vision: 360-degree perception unhindered by shadows, walls, clothing or skin.
Olivia "Olive" Trebilcock
A fourteen-year-old parahuman, wears a hard mask with a stylized smiley face and a headband with screws sticking out like antennae. Her power lets her animate discrete objects — trucks for instance — into roughly humanoid minions. Hired by Topsy. Captured with the rest of Topsy's gang and given the hard sell by Weaver; subsequently seen as a hero called Romp.
Classification: Master-Shaker 6
- Improvised Golems: Her power, essentially.
Lou Joubert (Moord Nag)A black Namibian warlord that has lasted for eight years and more or less runs the country, accompanied by a shadowy familiar with what appears to be a real skull that changes from human to auroch to crocodile and so on over time. Her unknown power appears to be fueled by the lives of other living creatures.
Classification: Master (?)
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Her name translated from Afrikaans means "murder night". Add a little Fridge Horror: whatever her backstory is, she's black (probably Herero) and outright refuses to speak anything other than painfully grammatically correct Afrikaans. That does not scream a happy childhood growing up with a village of family, clan and elders.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Chevalier mentions that she's killed thousands of people. She requests five thousand lives as her price for fighting an Endbringer, the implication being that she needs that many to be powerful enough to do so.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Scavenger is fueled by feeding on corpses, gaining a permeant boost to mass and power. Given that said boost to mass is only the size of a tablespoon and it started out the size of a hand, it's clear Moord Nag's been feeding it quite a lot.
- Power Incontinence: She doesn't control Aasdier directly and treats it as a separate entity, but the two-way trust between herself and her passenger means it acts as a subconscious extension of herself. There's still conflict between them on occasion, specifically if she tries to game the system. On one such occasion she found someone who made clones and fed Aasdier mass produced clones as fuel, only for it to loose all that mass later at a critical moment.
A Tinker supervillain specializing in interdimensional tech, whose actions led to Earth Bet learning about Earth Aleph and other alternate Earths. He died two years before Worm's story began. Some of his inventions included lenses for observing the events of other universes, multidimensional portals, and multidimensional ammunition.
Classification: Tinker(Interdimensional tech)
- Alliance of Alternates: Plotted with two of his other selves from other universes to do crime.
- Dimensional Traveler: Could create portals between alternate Earths, and even plotted with two of his other selves from other universes to do crime.
- Greater-Scope Villain: To the Travelers, as it was his tech that the Simurgh used to open an interdimensional hole between Earths Aleph and Bet and trap the Travelers in the latter.
- Posthumous Character: Died two years before Worm's story began, but his legacy in the form of the discovery of alternate Earths looms throughout the whole story.
The inmates of The Birdcage, a prison for the world's most dangerous parahuman criminals. Most of them are released to join the fight against Scion.
Tropes for the group as a whole:
A supervillain running one of the cell blocks in the Birdcage. A self-professed faerie, apparently in her teens (although as one of the first prisoners in the Birdcage, she is undoubtedly older than that), and whose one-time prison garb has been blacked to make a shroud. Her power allows her to absorb some part of a dead parahuman and to manifest a selection of her stored parahumans simultaneously.
Classification: Master, Trump
- Affably Evil: She's actually quite polite, albeit in a rather warped way, particularly in her interactions with Taylor.
- Always a Bigger Fish: She invoked this trope on Gray Boy.
- The Atoner: Following Scion's death.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Pretty much everything she says turns out to be foreshadowing. Okay, it was aliens, not faeries, but other than that she's eerily accurate.
- The Dreaded: Apart from earlier attempts to defeat her, she apparently even killed the original Grey Boy.
- The Fair Folk: Claims to be one.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Following Scion's FaceHeel Turn she sides against him, then with him when all seems hopeless, before ultimately siding with Khepri and humanity.
- HeelFace Turn: Does one shortly before Scion's death thanks to Taylor. Following the death of Scion, she joins the Wardens as Valkyrie in the epilogue.
- Invisible to Normals: Can see passengers and trigger events, but hers is advanced enough that she can even identify individual Shards.
- It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": It's pronounced "glastick" (like plastic) when-yay.
- Make Way for the New Villains: She did this to Gray Boy in her backstory, before surrendering and entering the Birdcage of her own free will.
- Older Than They Look: She looks like a teenager despite being far older. Though according to Jessica Yamada in the epilogue, her mind was much like a child's right before Scion's death brought on her mental adolescence.
- One-Man Army: Every attempt to fight her before utterly failed, and she ended up walking into the Birdcage of her own free will after surrendering.
- One-Hit Kill: Several characters refer to her ability to remove a parahumans' power with a touch, instantly killing them in the process. However, we never see her use it.
- Power Copying: One of the things she can do to the dead parahumans she touches. Technically she summons ghostly versions of dead capes rather than using their powers herself, but the result is usually the same. (And sometimes, with touch-range powers like Clockblocker, this makes her even more powerful than the original, since she can send the ghost out to use it at range.)
- Heroic Willpower: She was a villain at the time, but she still fought off Taylor's mind control.
- Voice of the Legion: Her voice sounds like a dozen people speaking at once, which is really all the capes whose powers she's managed to absorb.
- Your Soul Is Mine: She can 'claim' dead parahumans, and manifest a ghostly version of them.
Benjamin Terrell (Teacher)A supervillain imprisoned within the Birdcage with the ability to turn people into lesser Thinkers and Tinkers (or to enhance existing powers in various ways) at the cost of their free will. He is described as a mundane looking man with a receding hairline with short-cut curly hair.
Classification: Master, Trump (?), Thinker (?)
- Cavalry Refusal: He's let out of the Birdcage to help fight Scion. Instead, he has his thralls build a device to shut down portals and lock them off from Labyrinth, and sets them up to shut off a world full of refugees and supplies for himself and his flock.
- Subverted when it is revealed that this was merely a diversion so that he could get hold of Dragon.
- The Chessmaster: Masterminded the assassination of a US Vice President and a British Prime Minister, among other targets, through setting up pawns and giving them the thinker abilities they needed to be useful. His big scheme, which ended the world as a side effect, was to manipulate Saint into first shutting Dragon down during the final battle against the Slaughterhouse Nine, then getting him released so he could hijack Dragon. This results in him becoming one of the five most powerful beings in the known universe... as it is coming to an end.
- Complexity Addiction: He thrives on convoluted, multi-step plans which include a lot of calculation, sure, but also adrenalin-fueled seat-of-his-pants stuff. It's not a particularly happy combo.
- Deal with the Devil: This seems to be how he acquires his thralls. Any deal with him to acquire, boost or alter powers includes a massive catch. Like Regent, he can regain full access easily later. Except, it's not your body he's hijacking, but your mind.
- Didn't Think This Through: Getting hold of the only fully functional AI in the world has merit if you don't mind messing with her self-awareness over years, ethics be damned — it even sort of makes sense. Even though it totally screws a lot of other people over while they're busy trying to take down the S9 to save the world you are currently in, too — but, who cares, right? She's just a tool and that's not important in the whole mulitverse-wide, grand scheme of things where you come out on top. However, any plan that includes "most of the multiverse versions of Earth getting depopulated" as a side effect is missing some crucial links in the "increase my odds of winning/ surviving" logic chain. Any plan that includes prodding the Simurgh for purely petty reasons was not going to go well.
- Foil: What Regent could have been without personal standards and limits... And, what Heartbreaker could have been with more ambition. Where Alec hijacks bodies to acquire minions, Teacher, like Heartbreaker hits the mind. Unlike Heartbreaker, however, Teacher hits the executive function (self, personality, decision-making) with a sledge, not the temporal cortex (emotions, emotional memory, emotional ties).
- Framing the Guilty Party: How it's implied they got him into the Birdcage.
- Smug Snake: For all his plotting, the only issue the Undersiders are having with deciding to kick his ass in Epilogue 31: End is that it might break the fragile peace.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: He deliberately awakens the Simurgh as a distraction in his interlude. Sure, she probably saw it coming, but... really?
- Super Empowering: He bestows any of a vast assortment of Tinker and Thinker (anything from precognition to Spider-Sense to X-Ray Vision) talents, and can also subtly improve or alter other people's powers — at the often subtle undermining of the subjects' free will (which can be ratcheted up to Voodoo Zombie levels of mindless), though those who have proven their loyalty get to keep their intelligence.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Taylor describes him as being fairly normal looking.
- Too Dumb to Live: Decides to piss off the Simurgh as part of a distraction to recruit Ingenue.
An Australian vigilante wielding the eponymous weapon who went after the spouses and children of supervillains in order to break them in the days before the unofficial parahuman code or the three strikes rule, who became a cell block leader in the Birdcage. His power works by lessening any damage he sustains, while reducing said damage to a set amount, and he can also transfer his power to his hammer and then to his opponents to pulverize them.
Classification: Brute/Striker, Trump (?)
- 0% Approval Rating: Was especially disliked after he called a villain's seeming bluff, which ended up getting several people killed by a bomb.
- Beard of Evil: First a scraggly one, before shaving it into two straight lines joined at a 90 degree angle.
- Character Death: Killed by Scion during the Venom arc.
- Drop the Hammer: Wields a gavel, and later a steel hammer.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Became just as bad as any villain through his methods of crime fighting.
- Large and in Charge: Taylor describes him as having a bodybuilder's build.
- Malevolent Masked Man: As a supervillain.
- Would Hurt a Child: To Gavel, no one related to a supervillain was off-limits.
A Birdcage cell block leader, a long-haired woman with matronly features whose prison uniform has been modified into heavier cargo pants and a jacket who had women followers with a near religious fervor. Her power involves draining energy from her surroundings in order to make a giant Hard Light body.
Classification: Breaker (?)
- Feminazi: Didn't like men to the point of ordering her followers to humiliate any man they saw, which led to the more fanatical members emasculating and murdering them, as well as mutilating followers who didn't play along.
- One Degree of Separation: Annette Hebert was apparently one of her followers when she was in grad school, though she left once things got violent.
- Sizeshifter: She appears to drain energy from her surroundings to grow in size.
A thin female Birdcage inmate with short-cut blonde hair and pointed features, eyes that appear half-closed, and a strange kind of fluidity to her gait who collected children for their powers to use as soldiers. Her power involves the use of a large sphere similar to a giant glass bead that lets her alter movement within its volume. This lets her redirect enemy attacks, focus friendly attacks and includes, as a Required Secondary Power, a superhumanly intuitive grasp of movement in general. She then leveraged this into becoming an insanely skilled Wuxia-style martial artist.
- Character Death: Killed by Scion during the Venom arc.
- Child Soldiers: Used the parahumans under her care as this.
- Evil Mentor: To her child soldiers, who she also controls with physical intimacy, which also serves the purpose of figuring out how their bodies work. According to Word of God her idea of a legacy is having lots of martial arts students.
- Lack of Empathy: Has very little empathy for other people, and sees her soldiers as only vehicles for her teaching in a way that's very similar to Bonesaw's treatment of her subjects.
- Mixed Ancestry: Is likely of mixed European and Japanese descent due to her surname.
A killer of cops and capes who used his power to horrifically scar innumerable opponents and girlfriends, before being thrown in the Birdcage. He is described as a blond man with circles around his eyes.
Classification: Breaker, Shifter
- Acid Attack: He can turn part or all of his body into acid to enhance his attacks or survive enemy attacks.
- Cop Killer: He was notorious for murdering police officers.
- Domestic Abuse: He scarred innumerable girlfriends with his powers.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: He can turn into a pool of acid.
- Hero Killer: Besides all the cops he murdered, he also killed quite a few capes.
- Scars Are Forever: He gave these to anyone who crossed him.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Invoked. He dyed his hair green pre-imprisonment.
A short woman who looks even shorter due to her slouch with a petite build, her dark hair tied back into a braid, and her lips pulled back into a wide expression halfway between a grin and a smile. A tinker who auctioned off "safeties" to people who would be guaranteed not to be one of her random "targets". She lacks a particular specialty, being capable of building just about anything provided she has enough resources, but anything she creates has a countdown timer. At the time of her incarceration, she was threatening to knock the moon out of orbit.
Classification: Tinker/Non-specialized with a time limit
- Brainy Brunette: Naturally.
- Character Death: Killed by Scion during the Extinction Arc.
- Colony Drop: Was planning to knock the moon out of orbit before getting captured.
- For the Evulz: Targeted places ranging from gas stations in Indonesia to a filled football stadium in Cardiff for no real reason at all, except perhaps the influence of her passenger.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears glasses, is more than a little unhinged.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: As far as Tinkers go she can make just about anything if given enough resources, but it always comes with a countdown timer.
- Mad Scientist: If her plan to knock the moon out of orbit is any indication.
- Perpetual Smiler: Appears to be one.
- Science Foils: With Lab Rat, being a typical looking tinker who worked publicly. Naturally, they don't get along.
A tinker imprisoned in the Birdcage described as having teeth much like a rodent with a mop of hair and heavy brows, tall and broad shouldered, and with a bit of a belly. His power allowed him to create potions that turned people into monsters, who he tested first on the homeless, before testing on anyone who happened to be alone or new once they ran out.
Classification: Tinker/Monster Creation
- Mad Scientist: He's an evil, unhinged tinker.
- Playing with Syringes: Both his main powerset and his method of approaching it, right down to using Disposable Vagrants for testing (which got him sent to the Birdcage.)
- Professor Guinea Pig: He used his formulas on himself, though it isn't known if he did so before testing them on his victims or after.
- Science Foils: With String Theory, being a non-typical looking tinker who preferred working in the shadows. Naturally, they don't get along.
- Small Role, Big Impact: The vial he gives to Taylor ends up saving her life during the battle at the oil rig. After that, another one of his formulas was used on Bastard to turn him into a garden of flesh, psychologically hurting Scion and making Taylor realize what needs to be done to defeat him.
- Was Once a Man: Can create formulas that turn people into monsters... temporarily.
A Birdcage inmate and former mob enforcer turned boss who could empower his soldiers with invincibility and a deadly electric touch.
A Birdcage inmate who is described as a Japanese woman in a ponytail in prison sweats, who went around killing anyone she saw following Leviathan's attack in Kyushu.
Classification: Mover, Striker
- Despair Event Horizon: It's believed the attack on Kyushu was a catalyst for her behavior.
- Flash Step: Her power most likely works like this.
- Lady of War: Taylor describes her as very proper and measured in combat.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Killed at least tens of thousands of people wandering around Japan.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Despite her body count, she looks like a perfectly regular person.
- You Are Already Dead: Her power. She vanishes, reappears some distance behind her target with sword drawn and a few seconds later, they experience the damage.
Miranda Webb (Ingenue)An attractive woman who ended up in the Birdcage after manipulating four heroes behind the scenes into doing horrible things. Her power works by boosting one aspect of someone's power in exchange for dropping proficiency in another. Can change her personality to that of the target's ideal woman.
- Invisible to Normals: Just like Chevalier, it's implied in Doctor Mother's Interlude that she can see passengers and trigger events.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Has the ability to change her personality to that of her target's ideal woman.
- Super Empowering: She can mess around with other people's powers in various ways, such as trading more strength for less control. This has the unfortunate side effect of driving her "partners" homicidally insane after prolonged periods of use.
- The Vamp: Manipulated men into doing horrible things for her by changing her personality to that of her target's dream girl.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The ultimate result of being around her power for too long.
The world's first known parahuman — a long-haired golden figure with incredible powers who was seen floating over the ocean on May 20th, 1982, by passengers of an ocean liner travelling from Plymouth to Boston. In the time since, has adopted a white bodysuit as clothing and dedicated almost all his time to helping people around the world, going continually from place to place using his powers. Believed to be the only being able to take on an Endbringer in a fight.
Has only spoken once, so far as anyone knows — the word he spoke, "Scion", became the name by which he was known.
- Adaptive Ability: If an attack or defense actually works, he can alter his stilling to make sure that the same effect will be useless the next time.
- Alas, Poor Villain: He was unquestionably a sadistic Omnicidal Maniac, but the way that Taylor defeated him makes it hard not to pity him.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Ultimately becomes this in full view of almost the whole parahuman community, but most especially their shard-passengers. Only the very dense would miss the message behind his "meltdown and kill all my kids like ten-year-old bully having a spoiled brat attack" actions. With or without the help of the human POV they're attached to.
- Ambiguously Brown: His features don't concretely identify him as any particular race. This was so he'd further gain the trust of humanity after figuring out they separate themselves by race.
- An Ice Person: To the extent that he can flash-freeze a breached levee.
- Anti-Magic: He can block powers aimed at him, negate powers that manage to affect him, neutralize a power's effect on an object or person, and prevent powers from being used on anyone he's touching. This all works by canceling out specific wavelengths.
- Big Bad: He's the sole surviving member of two pair-bonded aliens who have ravaged countless worlds for their own survival by granting them powers that would eventually destroy them. As a result, he is directly or indirectly responsible for every single bad thing in the story... and then he decides to step up his schedule.
- Big Good: He's the world's defining symbol of hope and its mightiest hero. Or so we're led to believe.
- Blank Slate: He's bereft of purpose, following whatever orders he's given. Luckily for the world, no one really tries to order him around. And then he meets Jack Slash.
- Blue and Orange Morality: While he was busy eating other worlds with his mate. Neither of them saw the difference between their provoking devastating wars on the others, then destroying the remnants to collect the mature shards, as personal growth as people in preparation for bearing children. Subverted when she died, however, as Zion's emotions of grief and listlessness are very human, as is his rage towards existence for taking his beloved from him.
- It's implied, however, that they didn't need to be parasites, that was simply their opinion on what best to do.
- Cast from Lifespan: Activating his powers drains his stored energy, reducing his lifespan as a result. As he has three and a half thousand years worth of energy this isn't a problem until he starts bringing out the big guns.
- Chrome Champion: He literally appears to be made of gold.
- Combo Platter Powers: He has many, many abilities, like flying, regeneration, and precognition, although his most notable one is "stilling," the power to cancel out all kinds of wavelengths, like heat, light, molecular bonds, and pretty much every power.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: After the death of his counterpart, Scion was unable to reproduce or fulfill the purpose of his cycle, and wandered until he ran into Kevin Norton. After Norton's death, he found Jack Slash.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: He's only using one ten thousandth his full power.
- Dumb Muscle: Scion's main weakness-the closest-thing-to-male for his species were warriors, being physically adept and with better combat powers, but not the best at overall tactics or finding direction. That was his mate's job. As a result, he's Strong, but Unskilled, mainly relying on his powers to do the work for him instead of planning with them.
- Eldritch Abomination: Scion in actuality is a multidimensional entity, similar in true form to a worm.
- Evil Feels Good: The conclusion he comes to after destroying Britain is that he likes causing wanton suffering for its own sake.
- FaceHeel Turn: Courtesy of Jack's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Scion has finally found something he enjoys - killing people.
- Flight: Among his many abilities.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Scion chose its appearance to appeal to human ideals of worship.
- Gold and White Are Divine: Invoked, the entity chose his avatar to specifically play into that positive stereotype while the white outfit was given to him by a human.
- Hero Killer: He kills a lot of capes, hero and villain alike. Counting just the recurring or important characters, he kills Grue, Clockblocker, Eidolon, Pretender!Alexandria, Leviathan, and Behemoth.
- Humanoid Abomination: Scion is actually the avatar of an alien entity and the source of half the world's superpowers.
- Light Is Not Good: See the Big Bad and Gold and White Are Divine entries. Zion deliberately picked bright, holy imagery with positive associations for humanity in order to make his very unholy mission that much easier.
- Man in White: Wears a white jumpsuit.
- Meaningful Name: There is much in-universe speculation about what his name means. The most common interpretation is that he's being a Humble Hero, casting himself as a child of humanity protecting his parents from harm. His real name, Zion, was picked for a very different reason. It refers to the paradise or moment of transcendence that will occur when the cycle is completed and him and his partner have harvested all life on Earth, letting them move on to pastures new. It also doubles as an Ironic Name, since he came up with it some time after his partner's death meant that that Zion could never happen.
- Mind Rape: He is able to exploit his connection to the shards to show parahumans his true nature and abilities. Him doing this in the middle of a battle results in a mass Heroic BSoD as most of the capes fighting him simply lose all hope of winning.
- Mondegreen: In-Universe. It's thought that his first word was "Scion," but he was really saying "Zion."
- No-Sell: The vast majority of powers just annoy him at best, and are completely ineffectual at worst. These include Grue's darkness and Gray Boy's time loops, although he's not immune to Foil.
- Nigh Invulnerable: He can sense the wavelengths shards use to create powers and can thus use his stilling to nullify them, meaning he either tanks them or breaks the effect. If something actually manages to hit him, his body is more durable than a human's, and if some tissue is damaged he simply replaces it with undamaged tissue from a reservoir that likely weighs millions of tons, and he does this within a tiny fraction of a second. Also, he will then use his stilling to make himself immune to that attack.
- Omnicidal Maniac: After a conversation with Jack Slash. Notably, he was always this, just on a larger scale-in three hundred years, the powers he provided would have wiped out all possible Earths.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Destroys Great Britain with a thought, and kills billions across multiple alternate Earths within a few days.
- Physical God: Scion is considered the most powerful parahuman in the setting, and has so far appeared Nigh Invulnerable. It helps that he was never human to begin with.
- The Quiet One: He has only spoken once. He speaks for the second time when he says the four fatal words to Eidolon: "You needed worthy opponents."
- Sadist: He shows signs of this in battle, going for causing pain and terror rather than just blowing everyone up.
- Verbal Tic Name: He's known from the single word he spoke. Of course, they did mishear him...
- Villainous Breakdown: Inducing one of these is how Taylor beats him.
- Walking Spoiler: As the most powerful and mysterious being on Earth, this should be expected.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: An interesting case where Destroyer of Worlds came before the Woobie part. Neither he nor his mate cared at all about the other worlds they were destroying, only the continuation of the Entity lifecycle. He did, however, truly love her with every fiber of his being, and her death completely shattered him, to the point where he just did things after being prompted in order to find some meaning in his life.
Scion's counterpart and the source of half of the superpowers granted to mankind. The female equivalent of the Entity race, her duty was to determine the best possible method of propagating their species.
Tropes associated with Eden:
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Her method of reproduction involved smashing her Entity-form self into Scion, breaking pieces of both of them and then spreading the pieces amongst humanity in the form of the shards.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Much like Scion her worldview is incomprehensible to humans.
- The Chessmaster: Her intended job was to manufacture conflicts on Earth so that her and Scion's shards would ripen and mature through extensive use.
- Glamor Failure: The young Contessa meets Eden when the latter is halfway through manufacturing a human body for herself.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: One of her tools for ensuring an ideal state of conflict was directly erasing memories or suspicions that could lead human groups to working together or identifying the Entities as threats.
- Mainlining the Monster: Eden's corpse was harvested by Cauldron to manufacture their formulas.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: According to Word of God quite a few monsters were spawned from her corpse, implied to be what Earth Bet would call Case 53s, and eating food and drink contaminated with her essence also caused humans to trigger.
- Posthumous Character: Died before the events of Worm proper, almost immediately after crash-landing on an Earth.
- Spanner in the Works: Her crash-landing resulted in her losing hold of the shard that would have enabled her to predict the necessary steps needed to ensure the successful outcome of her and Scion's plan for humanity. That same shard was picked up by a young Contessa, who immediately used it to devise a means to kill her.
- Aborted Arc: It was going to be the focus of a PRT Quest story by wildbow before he dropped the idea.
- Minor Major Character: Shows up in all of one chapter and doesn't even interact with any human characters. Despite this, its actions have a massive influence on the story. If not for its interaction with Eden, she wouldn't have been distracted analyzing the new information and would have survived her arrival on Earth. If that had happened, the Entity's plan would have gone off without a hitch, effectively negating large parts of the story.
- Outside-Context Problem: It exchanged shards with Eden in their encounter so they could study each other's developments. As Eden didn't have these shards when she began her plan for Earth, she didn't have time to incorporate them into her plan before she died. As such, these shards act outside of the Entity's plan and lack the typical restraints found on powers.
- The Smart Guy: It was even more cunning than Eden, whose appellation was The Thinker. Part of this is because it's far more nuanced in its ideas and thinking than simple conflict generation to spur research, causing it to develop its powers in a much different way than the conflict-focused Eden and Zion.
Tropes associated with the site and its members:
- Ascended Fanboy: In Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #2), we see a forum thread on Parahumans Online in which a longtime fan of Bitch/Hellhound/Rachel ask how one might hypothetically become a minion. Said fan posts later in the thread to say it turned out "Harder than I thought but all good."
- Big Name Fan: The threads in Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #2) include several In-Universe examples. Bagrat Lampshades his status as such in the post he makes pleading for information on what the hell happened on June 20th.
- Epileptic Trees: One of the major purposes of the Parahumans Online forums In-Universe is speculation on capes and cape-related events, with "Tinfoil Hat" being the slang term for posters whose theories are too far outside credibility.
- Sock Puppet: When one person commented on how remarkably well-moderated the forums are, Wildbow replied, "You'd almost think it was the side project of an A.I. with prenatural processing power and the ability to emulate a handful of moderators."
- Tuckerization: In Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #2), which consists mostly of samples of forum posts from the in-universe website Parahumans Online, the author names most of the forum posters by coming up with Captain Ersatz versions of the names of various fans.
Taylor's dad, a tall, skinny, dark-haired-but-balding bespectacled man of an intellectual bent. A single father since his wife, Annette Rose Hebert, died six months before Taylor started high school. Is working for the Dockworkers Association as head of hiring and a spokesperson — a frustrating job, as the Docks have been doing poorly for years. Has a harsh temper, but tries not to let his daughter see it.
When Taylor took up running as an exercise routine, he gave her a pepper spray tube to defend herself with. In the months since, this has proven to be a critical part of Skitter's arsenal.
- Broken Masquerade: As of Chrysalis, he is aware of Taylor's identity as Skitter.
- Geek Physiques: The beanpole variant.
- Good Parents: Danny is loving and supportive, sympathetic to his daughter's needs, afraid when she is in trouble, and glad when she is doing well.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Defied — he does have a strong temper, but he swore an oath never to lose it with his family.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Part of the reason he can't help Taylor is that neither she nor anyone else wants to tell him what is going on with his daughter — starting with the extent and relentlessness of the bullying campaign, and continuing into her career as a cape.
- Missed the Call: He has the ability to trigger, and even had the Administrator shard before it moved to Taylor. Word of God says he probably would have been able to control rats and would have gone by the name Chitter.
- Only Mostly Dead: He was presumed dead in the wake of Scion's rampage, but is revealed to have survived in the final Interlude.
- Parents as People: He loves his daughter, but doesn't know how to really help her. This doesn't stop him from trying.
- What Could Have Been: In-universe, he had the potential to trigger with the same shard as Taylor, but he never met the criteria before Taylor did and it shifted to her instead. wildbow listed three potential outcomes if circumstances had been just a bit different and led to him triggering.
- Version 1: Annette's death causes him to trigger. He gets general control over rodents, subconsciously causing them to gather together and pile onto each other in the rough shape of his wife, staying in the corner of his vision and in the dark to maximize the effect. overtime, "Annette" becomes more versatile with what it can do and forms it can take, gradually approaching Taylor's level of control over rodents. He withdraws from his friends, coworkers, and daughter to begin lashing out at the local government that screwed him over.
- He triggers when one of his friends calls him out on neglecting Taylor and himself after Annette's death. He gains general control over rats and whenever he eats, any food not needed to keep him body at the bare level of functional is regurgitated in the form of larger, stronger, smarter rats that serve as broadcast relays for his power to increase his range. This comes with the drawback that his own body is only one more data point in the sensory input of the whole swarm, gradually subsuming his sense of self. Unable to care for and really connect with Taylor, he turns to hunting down corrupt politicians and bullies in an attempt to indirectly help her.
- He triggers as a cumulation of being stepped on by the local government and unable to help his workers for years. He gets a large-scale master/Stranger ability that uses bugs, rats, fish, and birds to transmit itself much like Shatterbird's power to cover an area measured in miles. He selects a target, and every human in range, in addition to the creatures of his swarm, develop an irrational hatred of that person that grows worse over time. His anger issues only worsen and he ends up putting on a costume and going out, despite his power working much better if he remained anonymous.
The trio of students at Winslow High responsible for most of the bullying against Taylor. Emma Barnes — a curvy, pretty redhead, attractive enough to get some work as a model — was Taylor's best friend from first grade until the summer before they started high school, when she suddenly abandoned Taylor for Sophia. Sophia Hess — a slender, athletic black girl — is a member of the track and field team. Madison, a late bloomer relative to the others, plays up the cute angle — she is petite, with shoulder-length brown hair.
For one of them as Shadow Stalker, see here.
- Alpha Bitch: Emma seems to be the point woman of the trio.
- Amoral Attorney:
- Emma's father, Alan Barnes, threatens to bankrupt the Heberts with a lawsuit if they attempt to publicize the bullying campaign his daughter spearheaded.
- He was also behind Shadow Stalker being put on probation.
- Beauty Is Bad: All three are explicitly described as attractive in comparison to Taylor, and all three happen to be her main tormentors.
- The Bully: Each in their own way — Madison tends more towards the juvenile (e.g. pouring juice all over Taylor's stuff), Sophia prefers the more physical, and Emma aims for the psychological weaknesses Taylor revealed back when they were friends.
- Break the Haughty: Sophia gets one when she's incarcerated; Emma has one after Taylor manages to resist her attempts to unglue her in Chrysalis, and not only gets punished for her bullying, but is also forced to learn that the friend she tormented is the most powerful gang lord in the entire city. This in turn makes her see that for all of her talk of being a survivor, the person she saw as weak could have annihilated her or made her life hell; she chose not to, meaning that she's been living on the mercy of someone she saw as weak. Her last appearance implies she's well aware of this.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Sophia attacks Taylor in the bookstore for having the temerity to go to the principal about the bullying campaign — a move which resulted in Sophia being suspended and losing her spot on the track and field team.
- Freudian Excuse: Sophia is implied to have been emotionally abused by her mother's boyfriend.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Emma's bullying is at least partially motivated out insecurities related to her family being attacked by the ABB, which only serves to make her look even more evil.
- Ignored Epiphany:
- Emma herself has numerous epiphanies regarding her behavior in her Interlude, only to ignore them.
- Madison had one a few months before the locker incident. After Taylor was revealed to be Skitter Madison remembers the incident and realizes that she should have probably acted on it.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Emma's Interlude reveals her campaign of bullying against Taylor was driven by insecurities caused by a traumatic attack.
- Innocent Bystander: When the Undersiders attacked the dinner the PRT threw to celebrate the defeat of the ABB, Emma turned out to be in attendance. Taylor figures out afterwards that this is probably because her friend Sophia was there in her guise as Shadow Stalker.
- Jerk Jock: Sophia is the more physical one of the trio, and is on a sports team.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: In Glow-worm, it's revealed that Madison feels genuine guilt for her actions; Victoria also gives her a "Reason You Suck" Speech explaining how Taylor is still a better person than Madison even after everything she's done.
- Killed Offscreen: Emma was killed when Scion attacked the city and refused to leave her room because of stress, which confirmed by her father.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Emma's entire reason for hurting Taylor was because she wanted to purge her "weaknesses". Learning that Taylor embodied her "the strong survive" philosophy better than she ever would, as well as learning just how powerful Taylor had become (both as a superhero and as a political figure) pretty much destroys her (She can't even speak after the reveal, is reduced to trying to slander Taylor legally, and never really shows up.) Sophia is forever living with the knowledge that she will never accomplish as much as Taylor, and Madison will also be forced to live with the question of whether her actions helped damn the world or save it, as well as her own guilt.
- Muggle Best Friend: Emma is this to Shadow Stalker i.e. Sophia Hess.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Unlike Sophia and Emma, Madison comes to feel genuine guilt for her actions, and doesn't try to excuse her actions to Vicky.
- Never My Fault: Sophia has this attitude in spades; Alan Barnes also blames Taylor for Emma's death during the Golden Morning.
- Oh, Crap!: Emma has one after Taylor is outed as a supervillain.
- Rich Bitch: Emma is implied to be one; when Taylor encounters the Barnes again it's implied they fallen on hard times over the last two years.
- Smug Snake: All three of them are incredibly smug; notably Emma loses the attitude after Taylor is outed as a supervillain. Sophia has a Villainous Breakdown when Taylor is revealed as Skitter, and Madison has a Heel Realization.
- Teens Are Monsters:
- The trio plague Taylor badly enough that they drive her to near suicidal recklessness and induced a complete mental breakdown that was traumatic enough to trigger her powers. A later point is made of how despite this, none of her classmates got involved other then to join in.
- We find out in an Interlude that Emma's particular reason for bullying Taylor was that she felt the need to purge everything about the old, "weak" her - including Taylor - after being attacked by the ABB. Madison is implied to be a social climber, and Sophia may have been screwed up by a combo of her mom's emotionally abusive boyfriend/triggering.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Seems to have happened with Madison; during her PM conversation with Victoria she expresses regret for her actions.
- Villainous Breakdown: Sophia and Emma have breakdowns in Chrysalis after Taylor is outed.
- Villainous BSoD: Madison has one after learning about Taylor.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never quite learn what happened to Madison following Scion's attack on Brockton Bay. The last mention we have in the story is when Yamada says she interviewed people who knew Taylor.
- Glow-worm finally addresses this; Madison says she moved away after Leviathan. After learning about her role in Taylor's descent into villainy, she also developed feelings of remorse for her actions.
- We Used to Be Friends: Emma used to be Taylor's best friend before falling under Sophia's sway and becoming her bully.
An animated man who likes to be called "Mr. G", assigns a lot of group projects, and tends to let class out early. Short enough and young enough that he could almost pass for a student. World Issues teacher at Winslow High. Taylor's least favorite teacher. There are suggestions that he sees the way Taylor is targeted by the three bullies, but he is unwilling to do anything substantive about it.
- Adults Are Useless: Is unwilling to help with Taylor's bullying problem. When it comes out that the faculty knew who Sophia was, it becomes obvious: when he clearly saw who the bullies actually included during the incident outside the classroom, he knew he had no official grounds to intervene thanks to the school's explicit hands-off policy towards undercover Wards. Hence the back-peddle on the small offer of help.
- Character Death: Was last seen in an Endbringer shelter under the city library when Taylor distracted Leviathan.
- What You Are in the Dark: Provides Taylor with a moment of this when she sees him in the shelter. She could have just left him (and others) to die horribly as indirect revenge and nobody would've been the wiser. She didn't, for all she was sorely tempted.
- Notably, Taylor realizes after this that the fact she was tempted at all probably meant she couldn't be a hero.
Mayor of Brockton Bay at the time the story begins. Well-to-do and ambitious. Has an adult son (Rory) and twin daughters. His house is apparently unaffected by both Leviathan and the Slaughterhouse Nine.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Begs Skitter to leave Rory alone after she nearly kills him accidentally via anaphylactic shock.
The self-proclaimed most powerful man in the world. A British vagrant accompanied by his dog Duke. In his late middle age but dying of a failing liver brought on by hepatitis. Also the only person Scion — or, as he explains, Zion — listens to, at least until he introduced him to Lisette.
- Cassandra Truth: He claims to be the most powerful man in the world, responisble for saving billions of lives. Most people just assume he's a crazy hobo.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Is mentioned offhandedly in Danny's Interlude as Scion's sole contact, though he goes unnamed.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In-Universe. The fact that there were no shelters for battered men is one of the big factors that led to his homelessness.
- Exact Words: He told Scion to fight the Endbringers, not kill them. He really hopes this didn't cause Scion to let them go free. Juding by Scion's murder of Behemoth shortly after, he probably did.
- Incompatible Orientation: He had a great relationship with his girlfriend right up until he realized he didn't like women. Things went downhill from there.
- Kid with the Leash: Keeps Scion under control by giving him purpose.
- Morality Pet: He guides Scion to do as much good as he can. Scion's interlude implies he would have sought Norton's advice when he started feeling lost, but Norton's already dead. Cue Jack Slash.
- Muggle Best Friend: Of Scion.
- Passing the Torch: He gives Lisette his role as Scion's Only Friend.
- Small Role, Big Impact: The reason why Scion helped people at all, rather than simply observe, it because Kevin told him to.
A young woman — described by Kevin Norton as "petite, pretty, twenty-something, her black hair cut to a pixie cut and topped by a dark gray beret". Generous and kind. Has a trace of a French accent. Chosen by Kevin to become the next handler for Zion after she gave him ten pounds and was kind to him.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Kevin wryly notices that, nice as she may be, she's still ready to run if he tries anything.
- Kid with the Leash: Has taken over Kevin Norton's job. It doesn't stick.
- Nice Girl: The reason she was chosen to be Zion's new handler.
- Nice to the Waiter: She treated Kevin with kindness and respect even though she had no reason the think of him as anything more than a delusional homeless man.
A clinical psychologist specializing in working with the Wards, who is described as being rather tall for a Japanese woman. She also performs sessions for some parahumans in a specialized mental hospital.
- Badass Normal: Talks Glastig Uaine, the most powerful being in the world following the deaths of Eidolon and Scion, all the way down from casually discussing killing everyone to becoming a hero.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: To do the meaty part of her job (the therapy sessions), she has to navigate the toxic bureaucracy and convoluted hurdles that have grown up around the PRT's paranoid attitude towards parahumans. It visibly frustrates her, yet she womanfully scales that mountain for her clients on a daily basis.
- Nerves of Steel: As she demonstrates in her sessions with Glory Girl, Garotte, and Glastig Uaine, she can maintain her professional, calming demeanor in extremely frightening situations.
- Only Sane Woman: Feels that the PRT's habit of cycling psychologists is unhelpful to the Wards, but lacks the ability to change things.
- Secret Keeper: Becomes one for Eidolon concerning his slow power loss and offers to become one to Weaver.
A student at Winslow High that was often paired up with Taylor and another kid named Sparky during group assignments. Blond haired and blue eyed.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Turns out to have had a crush on Taylor, but she was completely oblivious to it.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: One of the reasons he's considered a major loser at school.
- Metaphorically True: His claim to have remained in town during the aftermath of Leviathan, the attack by the Slaughterhouse Nine, and whatever happened on June 20th (i.e. Echidna) relies on one of these: he was within the official city limits, but out in the western suburbs in the mountains, which barely count as part of Brockton Bay at all.
- No Social Skills: Is incapable of telling when he's being annoying and/or pushy.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: Subverted; while he figures out Taylor's identity as Skitter, he (a) can't keep a secret, meaning he's not a secret keeper, (b) is so obvious about trying to find Taylor that Charlotte figures out he knows, meaning he's not a secret failed secret keeper, and (c) is convinced that he was mistaken when Taylor catches up to him, meaning he doesn't even know the secret that he failed to secretly keep.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Drops off the story after Taylor becomes Weaver.
A vice-principal at Arcadia High. A not-particularly-attractive woman with bleached hair. Introduced wearing a colorful blouse and scarf.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She goes to significant lengths to try to reduce conflicts between the students who stayed and those who left, and when she sees the record of Emma and Sophia's bullying campaign, she acts to rectify the situation. There are hints that this is a subversion, however, as Taylor Hebert's name was in a list of students that should be treated with special care.
A lawyer specializing in parahumans cases. A handsome Latino man, sharp-dressed, styled black hair, but with a scar on one nostril and cheekbone.
- Amoral Attorney: As a supervillain lawyer. Most notably seen when he has virtually no reaction to Taylor admitting to premeditated murder of a law enforcement officer, commenting only "I've handled worse." Shortly afterwards, she kills Alexandria and the PRT director right in front of him, and he not only continues to work for her but jokes about it later on.
- Badass Normal: Presumably — he is a defense attorney who works for supervillains.
- Boxed Crook: He is employed by Skitter after she surrenders to the PRT.
- Could Say It, But...: He couldn't possibly approve of his clients illegally listening in to his opposition.
- Dashing Hispanic: The first thing Skitter notices about him is his good grooming and attractive features.
- Distinguishing Mark: The second thing Skitter notices about him is a scar marking the corner of one nostril and one cheekbone. (He later admits that he is not an effective trial lawyer because of it.)
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: As evidenced by his reaction to riding in a Dragon-suit, he hates flying.