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@Crasical's Characters: The Tournament Arc


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I have kind of a lot of alts. 


I say 'kind of' because I know there are people who are going to say that 26 isn't actually that many, but I wanna clarify none of these are throwaway characters, I've dragged most of them to 50 the slow way. Regardless, it's enough that "I'm a lot of people." has become sort off a recurring stock response to people remarking "Oh, You're [Character]?!"


So I've been sort of on and off been thinking of making one of these threads, but never quite got around to it. Well, I've realized that I have a whole toychest of action figures here: Might as well smash 'em together and go 'pchoo pchoo crash bang'.




That's right: It's a character list in the form of a tournament.


I've gone ahead and seeded characters based on the sum of their archetypes' Survivability, Ranged and Melee damage, based on that graph that pops up when you're picking the archetype. Those are, of course, only very broad suggestions at best and outright misleading at worst, and variable on powerset picks,  so we're likely to see some upsets here.


As it is, it seems like the general ranking seems to be
Blasters > VEATs > Brutes > Scrappers > Stalkers > Tanks > Sentinels > Dominators > Masterminds > Corruptors > Defenders > Controllers 
Which, we'll see how that bears out. Also yes, this is excluding the HEATs, because it turns out I kind of don't like playing Kheldians. So they're being excluded, which does constitute bullying but I don't care.

There's two of each archetype, one hero, one villain, except for the VEATS who are both villains, so team evil has a very slight edge in this showdown.


I suppose that's it for the ground rules. Next post will start off the tournament proper.


Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Coming in hot off the block at Seed 16 is Samuel Hain, though his friends just call him 'Sam'. Or they would, if he had friends. To be fair: It's not easy to make friends when you're an unseelie fey, evil trickster, and creature of darkness. Sam is minor fairy nobility, a liminal spirit and barrow-guardian, having authority over the festival of Samhain. In practical terms he's a supernatural border patrol officer, keeping dangerous creatures from the spirit world from sneaking into the mortal plane, and warning humans away from accidentally wandering over to the Oher Side during periods when the worlds grow too close.


Or at least, he's supposed to. In actuality Sam is bored of his vigil and open enough to being paid off to let travelers cross over illegally, both ways. He's always willing to bargain, and often enough to cut a deal that seemingly favors the other party: A minor magical enhancement in exchange for not eating a specific candy, knowledge of a hidden passageway to the spirit world in exchange for carrying and never losing a pretty stone, or magical tutelage in exchange for a tithe of Halloween candy gained trick-or-treating. What Sam actually gets out of these banal pacts is the right to enforce them: Specifically, the right to cross over into the mortal world and make sure the other party is holding up their end of the bargain. The bargains are largely pretext for him to abandon his post and go roaming about causing mischief.


Unfortunately, Sam's sense of mischief is defined by a inhuman fey sense of morality. While he might find harmlessly wandering about shapeshifted into the Headless Ghost of Statesman amusing, he also thinks that a whole squad of Longbow agents waking up in the hospital collectively wondering 'What the actual fuck was that' after a sudden and savage attack is equally funny. Generally, seeing the scarecrow out and about means one of three things: Either he's shirking his duties guarding the borders off the spirit realm, he's fulfilling one of the many bargains he actually has to put some effort into himself, or it's Halloween. 


While the first case is hard to predict, as what happens to amuse Sam from moment to moment is subject to his strange whims, it's increasingly common to see him bound to a particular task: The Cabal, M.A.G.I., The Midnight Squad and Arachnos have all entered pacts with him in the past to deal with a specific problem. Sam has been fairly free in allowing himself to be summoned and is starting to regret it; The day when he starts try and wriggle out of some of his more time-consuming and onerous obligations is fast approaching. Ironically, the method he currently favors is to make a new bargain, with the required payment being preventing someone else from fulfilling the terms of their obligation to Sam so the earlier contract is nullified. The drawback that this leaves him with the same number of contracts doesn't dissuade Sam, he pacted and pledged his way into this mess and by the high throne he's going to pact his way out of it.



Being a spirit of Samhain, it's not a surprise Sam is very active during Halloween, but during the month he's generally unusually focused on his actual job, catching up on months of backlog while the proximity to the spirit world throws the world into chaos and spirits cross back and forth freely, throwing the world into eternal night as they do. While unseelie hunting bands cross over to earth with Eochai and Jack of Irons in tow, or powerful Hollow Reapers stalk the streets for souls to harvest, he must work to keep his position within the Courts.



Sam is a Magic Dominator with Darkness Control and Savage Assault as his powersets. His ancillary set is Primal Forces, with pool picks in Concealment and Fighting. His notable powers are as follows:


  • [Shadow Manipulation] Darkness moves at Sam's command, simultaneously the least and greatest of his abilities. His opponents will find their shadows rise up as murky tentacles or grasping hands, in a single petrifying binding or a whirling maelstrom of darkness that blots out the senses. 
  • [Spirit Conjuration] Sam rarely is entirely alone. Drawing in shadows, he can create temporary vessels for lesser unbodied Unseelie to inhabit, ranging from wispy ghosts to terrible stalking black dogs to murders of crows that swarm and peck. Sam can also manipulate his opponent's shadows to open the up to possession by this same cadre of malicious fey.
  • [Shapeshifting] Sam can take on many forms, some more convincing than others: While he doesn't expect appearing as Ms. Liberty to fool anyone for very long, it might be good for a laugh. Similarly, he often appears as different monsters when in combat: An alien beast, a frightening clown, a hockey-mask wearing slasher. 
  • [Claws] Despite his shapeshifting. Sam's combat forms generally have the 'tell' of long, sharp talons. While more than willing to savage and maim his foes, Sam isn't truly equipped for a fair fight with a dedicated melee combatant, and he tends to only approach to put these natural weapons to use once the enemy is helpless with fear.
  • [Jumpscare!] Sam likes to lurk about unseen and pick his engagements: He often starts fights by appearing from nowhere in a burst of shadows and cackling laughter, terrifying his opponents. Even during a fight he blends concealment and speed to rush up to opponents in a flurry of claws, appearing suddenly in front of or on top of a foe already attacking.
  • [Curse of Annihilation] Sam tends to hold this attack in reserve, as the weight of evil summoned by this attack is so powerful that it causes a backlash or recoil, withering and corroding his own body when used, his hands harmed by the same eerie green light he uses to smite his opponent. However, it provides a potent 'tankbuster' attack against enemies that are resistant to his claws. making it a risky but viable strategy.
  • [Sturdy] Sam has some of the eerie, dreamlike inevitability of a nightmare. fists, blades, guns and the like seem to always do less damage than they should. However, while it's enough to delect some panicked, glancing hits and increase his aura of fear and invulnerability, Sam is a Dominator and remains relatively frail. 



Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Our seed 17 and heroic Mastermind is a transdimensional Czech and Portal Corp employee, Dr. Oleg Makovic, better known in the hero community as Comrade Utopia.

Oleg was born on an alternate earth where corporations eclipsed governments in power and became the law unto themselves; Caped heroes were little more than advertisements for the corporations that sponsored them, and the greatest measure of one's personal worth was the size of their bank account. Wealth inequality was staggering, with ever-more of the population falling into poverty every year. Those living in the outskirts, the slums and backstreets of the big city were squeezed for every eurodollar, forced to toil in dead end jobs with no hope of advancement, or to constantly move between part-time positions. Many turned to crime just to make ends meet and avoid being rounded up by the street sweepers as homeless, sent off for 'processing' and never seen again. Whole 'academy towns' sprung up outside the gates of the corporate enclaves of desperate aspirants hoping to study for and pass the incredibly stringent examinations to become a cog in the great machines, to ascend to the arcologies and live a life of security and comfort.


Oleg was clever and a fast study, gifted. He was always a few steps ahead of his fellow students, even before his mutations expressed. Once they did, he was practically a living computer; neurons and nerves rewired with supercooled organic metal allowed for speed and reaction far greater than even peak human ability. The half-semester he missed as his body painfully reworked itself into a frigid vessel of intellect was made up for in days. Oleg passed the entrance examination to the Prague arcology with flying colors, and tried to ignore the feelings of guilt he felt, the resentment and jealousy directed his way. 


Life in the arcology was infinitely safer and more comfortable than the dangerous squalor of the backstreets, even in the relatively clean and controlled academy town. Working as a maintenance engineer, Oleg kept the arcology running, performing simple routine inspections and fixes to the systems and machines around him, including the arcology's force of robotic drones. These simple robots became a subject of fascination for him, something he felt internally conflicted about: Every robot replaced a job that one of his comrades from the academy town could have worked; and yet, those drones did dangerous and dirty work; would it better to have one of his learned, studious colleagues here with him but relegated to scrubbing the floors? The questions grew and grew, and Oleg became increasingly dissatisfied. He was here on the strength of his natural gifts, his position felt unearned. Why was he living in comfort while others starved outside? When Oleg shared his thoughts with other arcology dwellers, they laughed his concerns off. The people outside hadn't done anything for the corporation, so why would the corporation throw away money keeping them safe and fed? Wasn't it arrogant to think that doing nothing entitled you to pay? Wasn't it arrogant to think that being alive entitled you to keep on living? Communism was, in Oleg's world as on Primal Earth, as failed ideology, unworkable. The nickname 'Comrade' he received from his fellow engineers was, then, not a flattering one.


Contact with Primal Earth scientists, though it happened half a world away, sent shockwaves through society. Other earths, other dimensions, existed. This other earth had a 'portal corp' dedicated to exploring them. A bidding war erupted amongst the megacorps, who demanded that Primal Earth sell them the technology, this new competitive edge to their enterprises. No amount of money seemed to tempt the scientists, however, and they retreated into the portal from whence they came, declaring Oleg's native earth to be a 'Dystopic Dimension', one that would not be contacted again for security reasons. In time, the excitement died down, and with no breakthroughs forthcoming, dimensional travel was decreed to be just as much of a financial dead end as space travel, and all research projects were officially abandoned. Unofficially, the information galvanized Oleg. He had long given up on his own world, but if others existed, perhaps in one had succeeded where his had failed, and created a society based on the principles of liberty, equality, peace, justice, and progress rather than the endless naked greed and drive for profit that his own represented.


Researching in secret, Oleg spent years assembling a prototype dimensional transport harness. After dozens of failures, he managed to create an unstable warp suit, hurled between different dimensions trying to find his dreamed-of utopia. None of the other worlds he found met his criteria, many were dead or dying after a civilization-destroying disaster, some were fascist dictatorships, or primitive, savage and even crueler than his native dimension. The closest he ever found was Praetorian Earth, where despite the tyrannical reign of Marcus Cole, he found the vast proliferation of robot labor and the extremely high quality of life for its citizens inspiring. With Praetoria's destruction, the last few rays of a setting sun vanished, and he chose to evacuate to Primal Earth with the rest of the city. With the remaining people of Praetoria living here, as well as the offices of Portal Corp, he has chosen to put a temporary end to his aimless wandering, instead assisting the displaced Praetorians as a Clockwork technician, and to assist Portal Corp in exploring other dimensions, hoping that somewhere out there, a better and more perfect world exists.


Comrade Utopia is a Mutant Mastermind with Robotics and Cold Domination as his powersets. His ancillary set is Chill Mastery, with pool picks in Super-Speed, Leadership, and Medicine. His notable powers are as follows:


  • [High Speed Thought] An across-the-board boost to many attributes. Medicine, rapid repair of his machines, optimized combat routines, and more.
  • [Roboticist] Enhanced mutant intelligence has a great many benefits, but the swarm of custom robotic servants and bodyguards that surround the doctor are the most obvious example of his genius. Equipped with a steel hammer-fist and MKVI 'Sickle' laser weaponry, the robots original roles acting as lab assistants and cooking and cleaning as robotic maids have been largely superseded by their duties as bodyguards and soldiers.
  • [Supercooled Nervous System] The other half of High Speed thought, Oleg has a low-gade superspeed, his nervous impulses traveling faster along supercooled metal nerves, while his muscles and skin are reinforced to operate at subzero conditions. This lets him run without tiring and at great speed, as well as a dodging most physical attacks thrown at him. However nimble he is, however, he is still only a Mastermind, and is unsuited to frontline battle.
  • [Cryonic Emanation] Oleg eschews weapons and simply projects beams of extreme cold, should he deign to personally engage enemies. These attacks weaken, slow, numb and expose enemies, more suited for finishing off weakened enemies or opening strong opponents up for his robots to dispatch.
  • [Cryonic Bloom] While his robots are designed to benefit from Oleg's mutations, with exposed heat-sinks that he can drain to keep the laser weapons from overheating and their defensive forcefields working at optimal levels, Cryonic Bloom is the focused culmination of his abilities. Creating a spark of absolute cold that expands into waves of frost like a blooming flower, Oleg can supercool himself and his robots, letting them achieve optimal performance for a brief period of time while subjecting his opponent to bitter, hostile conditions. 
Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 1: Seed 16 Samuel Hain Versus Seed 17 Comrade Utopia


Claxons blared as Oleg skated through the hallways, the ice forming under his feet crunching and cracking under the heavy metal of the robots that followed in his wake. Between the buzzing wails of the alarms, an automated message was piped over the intercom:


"Alert. Villain activity is present in building 112. Occupants of building 112, please evacuate the premises in an orderly fashion. Occupants of building 111 and 110 please shelter in place until an all-clear is given. This message repeats. Alert. Villain activity is present..."



No scientists in sight, he mused. They've all evacuated by now, or have been captured for use as hostages. He crushed down the cynical part of him that followed this up with 'or they're all dead already'. No point. Run faster. Arctic mist poured off his body as he pushed himself further, tensing his muscles as he turned the last corner and leapt, flying over the railing into the primary portal room. Time slowed to a crawl as he fell. Portal open, unstable. arcs and whips of energy lashing out from the central wormhole. PPD on the floor, down. The drones ripped apart, shredded by jagged-edged claws, the Awakened leaking streams of light and pale, luminous blood from deep gashes. Culprit... there. The grotesque parody of a scarecrow. gathering cold in his right hand, he hurled a bolt of frozen energy at the villain, before thrusting out his left to arrest this fall. Landing with one knee bowed, one hand out to quickly push him back upright, he jerekd his head up in time to see the pumpkin-headed transgressor jerk out of the way of his snap shot.


"Oho. Quick one, aren't you. I admire your lack of hesitation." The scarecrow sketched a mocking bow as Oleg rose, holding his hand up, palm forward, where a spike of ice gathered. "Halt! By Longbow directive 22-A, you are under arrest! Place your hands behind your head and come quietly, comrade."

The villain let out a bone-chilling laugh at that. "Oh, I'm afraid I'm no comrade of yours. The name is Hain, Samuel Hain. A friend of mine needs access to your fancy portal machine, so kindly stand aside. Otherwise, well, you'll meet the same unfortunate fate as these constables..." 


There was a deafening CLANG as Utopia's demolitions robot landed behind him, its skeletal frame half obscured behind layers of thick, ablative ice. The protector bots followed, filling the air with the static tingle of their forcefields, with the general service trio bringing up the rear. Utopia kept his hand upraised, pointed at Hain, but even behind his thick goggles the expressive eyebrow raise came across clearly. "Yes? And now? No need to do anything foolish, comrade." Sam made a noise as if he'd just clucked his tongue, though the jack-o-lantern remained motionless, expressing only its fixed grin. "Tsk... Very well." Raising his hands, the shadows pooled around the fallen bodies of the Kheldian officers slithered and writhed, sliding forwards as clumps of darkness, shapeless wraiths taking form. A great stalking black dog erupted with a howl, its jaws dripping ichorous black drool as it set itself between its summoner and the mechanical soldiers. "Let's dispense with the ultimatums and begin." Utopia grimaced, bracing himself. "You asked for this. Robots! Attack pattern Sigma nine!" 


With that command, Utopia fired off that spike of ice, leaping backwards as he did, the huge dog's jaws snapping shut where he'd been a split second before. The ice sailed through the air between a hail of laser fire, skewering Sam an sending a burst of straw and tattered fabric flying as it passed through his skinny body. Skidding backwards, he slammed a palm against the floor. As the huge shadowy wolf gathered its legs under it to pounce, a tiny pearl of sheer cold formed below it, sending out a rippling wave of supercooled air, layers and waves of frost and mist peeling off it like a blooming flower, fractal patterns frozen across the floor in its wake. Caught in the eruption, the shadowy spectre was unable to dodge when it caught a demolition charge to the face, screeching demonically as the blast ripped open the mass of nether-darkness that made up its body.


Utopia's eyes darted around frantically, his robots advancing between sprays of laser and plasma, the beam weaponry quite effective on the shadowy fey constructs. But he'd lost sight of the main opponent, having expected the Dominator to advance along with his pet. Instead, Sam had hung back, howling with laughter as the long shadow he cast on the ground, backlit by the portal, erupted. Grasping tentacles of abyssal blackness rose to grip and entangle, while a seemingly unending cloud of cawing crows poured out around him, swooping in to peck at the ice and steel of Utopia's robotic drones. Laughable, until they began to target the optics and joints, the precise and regimented weapons fire becoming erratic as the drones started to try and blast at the attacking murder. Grunting, Utopia started to perform manual targeting overrides, the repair drone would be enough to keep the drones functional until...


And then Sam was upon him in a blink of an eye. The wobbling stick legs the wicked fairy balanced on suddenly propelled it into the fray with a wicked lunge, Utopia avoiding a swipe to the throat by scant centimeters. The razor-sharp claws ripped at the same weak spots as the group of birds, tearing into robots that would be repaired seconds later, the searing-green nano-repair-ray unmaking a damaged component only to dynamically re-forge it on the fly. Everything in his HUD was green, with the cryonic bloom, the machine-servants were in no danger of overheating, with the repair drone actives, the villain couldn't damage them fast enough to destroy any of them. This was his method of fighting: Despite being a speedster, he wasn't a fan of blitzkrieg tactics. Instead, outlast your opponent; repairs, refueling, the thick defensive layer of ice, the forcefields. Never let up on your implacable offense and grind the enemy away.


This was all well and good in theory, and in practice it had served him well. That was up until a cackling, howling magic scarecrow became determined to rip out his jugular vein with its fingers. None of his simulated battles had really prepared him for THAT. Feinting left an juking right, Utopia dodged a pair of claws trying to open his ribcase like a book. One of his demolition bot's incendniaries went off, vaporizing a wraith and leaving a spreading pool of burning accelerant on the floor, but the implacable pursuer followed him through the flames, claws lashing out again and again. Still, he was keeping up, at least until his opponent let out a bellowing "ENOUGH!"


The shout, laced with dark magic, froze Utopia and his drones in place. Deep, bone-chilling fear overwhelmed him, leaving him cowering as Sam approached at a stately pace. "You're an excellent defensive combatant. If I kept fighting a conventional battle, I have no doubt you'd use some mortal trick or medicine to heal yourself should I land a blow. You'd have backup drones ready should I actually disable one. So..."


An eerie, unearthly light gathered around the scarecrow's talons. "...I'll end this in a single strike, instead."


Utopia couldn't make a sound, words frozen at his lips, but he DID scream when Hain thrust his needle-like fingers into his chest. The horrible, crawling blackness that came with it was like a poison on the soul itself, a writhing, primordial curse. There was a lot less blood, Oleg thought, than he expected, as the unseelie fey drew his hand bacck, a long, fleshy tongue flicking out from inside the jack-o-lantern to lick the red stains from his fingers. Bonelessly, he collapsed, clutching his chest. It felt like he was having a heart attack, like he couldn't draw breath... His drones fell to the grondn with a clatter, empty automatons.


"Hahaha! Yes, don't worry, 'Comrade'. I'm sure your heroic mages can break this curse before it consumes your soul entirely. Run along now. I have work to do..."
"Ngh...! Mediporter, one to teleport!"




Samuel Hain V S Comrade Utopia
Deals Lethal and Dark damage, Does not resist Energy or cold damage. - ✔️ Deals Energy and Cold damage, resists Lethal but not Dark damage
Powerful Mez Capability (Confusion, Fear) - - Resistant to Confusion and Fear
Powerful Mez Capability (Hold, Stun) ✔️ - Mez Vulnerability
Good AoE Capability, Multiple Pets - - Good AoE Capability, Multiple Pets
Bonus Perception, Invisibility - - Bonus Perception, Invisibility
Trump Card is a large amount of melee spike damage ✔️ - Trump Card is a resistance debuff and endurance sustain ability


Hain and Utopia ended up having a LOT of abilities that just counterplayed or nullified each other. Both had the ability to bring a fair number of pets to the fight, and the AoE to wipe out opposing henchmen. Both had both stealth abilities and bonus perception to block being ambushed or counter-ambushed. While Utopia's robots couldn't be feared or confused, Hain still had some very powerful controls that Utopia didn't have a counter for, while Utopia had a general advantage in dealing damage. The final tiebreaker came into their trump cards: Utopia's supports his playstyle of slowly grinding out an enemy with high defense, exhaustion effects, and lots of healing, while Hain's is a very powerful melee hit that's off-type for his usual offense. One of the ways that Utopia can LOSE fights is to get spiked from full health to zero in one hit before he can self-heal or Hibernate, and dropping a Heart of Darkness gave Hain the opportunity to do that. 


The winner of the first round is Samuel Hain, who will go on to face our first seed, Looter Goblin, as we continue down the initial set of bouts. Next round will be the Stalker, Lord Romulus, versus the Controller, Slumberlamb. See y'all next week.

Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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I don't know why we've got such a lopsided mismatch this week considering how close the first round was, but here we are.





Our 9th seed is Caleb 'Lord Romulus' Katsuros, the genius billionaire philanthropist... or so he likes to imagine himself.

Caleb, at the very least, has plenty of imagination to go around. Born into wealth and power as the heir of a shipping empire, Caleb was clever but bookish, generally withdrawn from the people around him, usually immersed in some other fantastic fictional world. Books and videogames, tales of knights and wizards and epic heroes were his companions for much of his childhood.  It was entirely to his delight when the young boy found out that his family could trace their ancestry back to the mythic past he so adored, to the emperors of rome. The fact that their heritage was that of Romulus Augustus, the infamous and reviled traitor and sorcerer-tyrant, did not bother him at all. The larger-than-life nature of the ancient warrior was what he admired, his morality was a secondary consideration if factored in at all.

It was at some otherwise unremarkable family function that Caleb met Anna Katsuros, his cousin and who would become his closest friend and confident. His elder by a few years, Anna also shy and withdrawn, and easily drawn into Caleb's hobbies of fantasy and adventure; as the two grew older, they spent hours devouring novels, running tabletop roleplaying adventures for each other, writing their own amateurish attempts at fiction, and exploring online multiplayer games together. Seeing the two loners become so close was generally seen as a good development, and neither of the pair's parents nor their caretakers noticed a decidedly sinister bent to the two's games; the tabletop adventures less concerned with saving the kingdom as with conquering it, their online adventures resulting in a reputation as vicious PKers that attacked indiscriminately, a demon king and his queen that rivaled end game bosses in the threat they posed.

Skipping several grades, the young Caleb joined his cousin at Aeon University, the most prestigious place of higher learning in the Rogue Isles. Deciding to shed his previous reputation as a gloomy loner, Caleb made his debut with a splash: He flaunted his 'villainous pedigree' as the descendant of an ancient tyrant, play-acting with the ego and dramatic flair he put into his tabletop character. He followed up by splashing about his family fortune, throwing lavish campus wide parties that everyone was invited to. Donning a toga and golden laurel, he presided over the drinking and feasting as Lord Romulus. Despite Anna's teasing that he was basically LARPing a supervillain, the parties were a huge success, causing Caleb to throw more and more effort into redoubling the spectacle each time he hosted one: Hired entertainers, Olympic feats of strength and finesse with medals and seats of honor up for grabs; then mock gladiatorial combat and 'sexy roman slave girls' (his hormonal teenage brain may have gotten the better of him with this particular idea); and eventually chasing decadence with danger, inviting the infamous of the isles, supervillains, as guests of honor; the things you'd see and the people you'd meet at these events going down in campus legend.

Supervillains, alcohol, and mock combat seemed like a general recipe for disaster, but oddly enough it wasn't that volatile mix that eventually lead to tragedy. Not everyone was fond of Caleb's large, disruptive parties, nor of his boisterous, swaggering attitude. And while he'd laugh off most complaints, he wasn't above just using his wealth to squish any criticisms (or the critics themselves) with brute force. Rather than directly, then, their displeasure was vented at his constant companion, shy and unlikely to defend herself. Insults, harassment, and vicious rumors circulated, all of which Anna bore stoically, not informing the faculty, nor her cousin, and not allowing the critics to see how deeply their insults stung. Her lack of reaction only caused them to redouble their abuse.

His cousin's suicide shook Romulus to his core. Grieving, he withdrew from public life. In isolation, surrounded by books, games, toys all linked with memories turned bitter and painful, his thoughts turned dark, curdling and growing more toxic. The most important person in his life was gone, no, she had been taken from him. He had been blind, unaware, unable to protect her. His delusions of grandeur and importance were shattered; and so he created new, stronger delusions. He'd played the part of a villain, but now he would become a villain for real. He'd played at having power and authority, and now he would seize it or real. Thankfully, rubbing elbows with supervillains and attending Aeon University, alma mater of many evil geniuses, had given him plenty of inspiration on how to turn his stockpiled wealth into real power.

It started with espionage, locating the ringleaders of the group of students who had started the worst of the rumors. From there it escalated to stalking, before finally constructing and luring the miscreants into a series of deathtraps; over which he presided in full costume and person (The spectacle of seeing these classmates eaten alive by starving beasts in his 'Coliseum of Vengeance' was not worth the difficulty of importing live lions, he later decided). With his beloved Anna avenged but feeling unfulfilled, Caleb decided that he needed to go further, to seize power. A cruel and unjust world that would allow this sort of tragedy to occur was unacceptable. The world needed to be brought to order, and he was the one to do it.

To rule the world with an iron fist, one first needs an iron fist. Driven to the laboratories under Aeon University, Caleb found he had a knack for weapon development, and for robotics. Combining the two, he assemble his first suit of power armor, a hulking, overdesigned armored warrior in the shape of a Praefectus Castrorum, one of the Cimeroran warriors, the greatest fighters history had ever known. From behind this metal faceplate he would rule over Cap Au Diable, then the rogue isles, then the world! 


Lord Romulus is a Technology Stalker with Broad Sword and Shield Defense as his powersets. His ancillary is Body Mastery, with pool picks in Fighting and Teleportation. His notable powers are as follows:


  • [I'm a genius! A GENIUS!] Romulus is not a genius. But he is smart, and has a real knack for the process of designing robots, weapons, and powered armor.
  • [My superpower is that I'm rich] While he doesn't command the whole financial might of Katsuros Shipping just yet, he still has more than enough to design and maintain a suit of state-of-the-art battle armor.
  • [Direct-Neural-Interface Electrode Band] The golden laurel crown that Romulus wears is actually a sophisticated 'speed-of-thought' interface to several computer networks, as well as his armor. It's also a posititonal beacon for his teleportation matrix, allowing him to teleport straight into his armor, or his armor straight onto his body.
  • [Tyrant-Pattern MK IV Battle Armor] Pretty much everything of note that Romulus can do in combat is the result of this custom designed, high-yield armament.
    • [Optimized Stealth Camouflage] A powerful stealth field that camouflages against most of the visible spectrum of light, baffles radar, dampens thermal signatures and silences the noise of motion. Considering that the Tyrant Armor is gigantic, towering over the average civilian and looming over even Council supersoldiers, completely obscuring its presence is an impressive feat. Opponents are often left wondering how something that weighs half as much as a truck snuck up on them.  
    • [Advanced Metalurgical Processes] Twice the durability of steel and half the weight, the composition of the Tyrant armor allowed Romulus to build an efficient, lightweight suit. He instead reasoned that if it weighs half as much, you can layer on twice the armor if you don't particularly care about being sleek or subtle. The suit is generally very resiliant, especially against physical attack.
    • [Redundant Expert Targeting Systems] Romulus is not much of a swordsman, but with his armor crammed full of computer assistance, he doesn't need to be. The varioius agent programs adjust his stance and positioning, and accelerate his motions to lethally fast and effective swordplay. The sword-and-board style of close combat provides a great deal of defense as well as offense; making him a well-rounded combatant.
    • [Hardlight Energy Matrix] Glowing purple scifi blades and shields, the coherent energy projected by his powersuit provides constantly-reforged, instantly repairing armaments. While the benefits of a nigh-unbreakable shield andnd sword is obvious, theh system also gives the armor powerful eye-lasers; something that Romulus finds particularly cool. 
    • [Mobius Infinity Reactor] While not *actually* producing limitless clean power, it gets close enough for Romulus' purposes. The suit will rarely depower without outside sapping interference, and its self-repairing systems will constantly replace damaged components.
  • [Tessaract Wormhole Drive] While Romulus grouses that now everyone and their mother taps into the teleport grid to get around, something that was once solely the domain of dedicated teleporters, he does find the ability to blink up to a foe and obliterate them with an assassin's strike very satisfying.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Our 24th seed (Reckoned to be the single weakest entrant into the tournament) is Anna "Slumberlamb" Gallagher, Part-time heroine, librarian, and fluffy sheep person.




Anna was born in Brickstown, living a stones throw from the laboratories of the famous Dr. Brian Webb. Her parents, gifted with good fortune or a powerful gift of instinct, decided to move to a larger home with their new daughter, their moving van departing mere days before the invasion of The Reichsman and Axis Earth through Webb's original portal laboratory. 
Moving away to the growing suburbs of Eastgate, a lovely residential area that had a nice view of the ocean, they had a peaceful and happy ten years, Anna being very well loved by both her parents. With payments on the house skyrocketing and concerns about their plans to retire, the family moved from their increasingly pricey family home in Eastgate to the affordable and comfortable apartment housing in Steel Canyon. When Eastgate collapsed in on itself durin the Hollowing, destroying everything in a cataclysmic collapse, the family thanked their lucky stars, and settled in for another comfortable comfortable couple of years. 

When the Portals appeared over Paragon City, Anna's parents had had enough close calls. Packing up, the family relocated to a hotel in their favorite vacation spot, the sleepy town of Salamanca. As night fell, and the First Rikti War began, the family blessed the fortune that had so far kept them one step ahead of disaster. Though the six-month war didn't leave the lakeside resort town entirely unscathed, they weathered it far better than many others, eventually purchasing a small home to stay in while Paragon City rebuilt itself in the aftermath of the war. 

Another two years later, misfortune finally caught up with the Gallagher family. The fey incursion, the site of the magical war between the allied Fir Bolg and Cabal against the Red Caps and their Tuatha de Dannan slaves. Captured by the Tuatha for the torturous amusements of the Red Caps, the wicked fairies realized the aura of sheer fortune surrounding the family would be best used elsewhere: Working the same magic that degenerated the Tuatha into beasts and the Fir Bolg to ambulatory gourds, they cursed the Gallaghers to become sheep, their good fortune spun into wool that the Redcaps would clip and weave into their signature caps, carrying the protective good luck of the family with them. 

And so, as simple penned sheep they remained for years. Years of only being dimly aware of their surroundings, content to graze and sleep, only troubled by dreams of once having had only two legs, of standing upright. Thankfully for Anna, in the spirit world the Red Caps inhabit, dreams have power. Like a rasp, it ground away the shackles on their minds and forms, until the curse was broken: Though changed by their long durance as slaves to the Red Caps, they were themselves again, and managed to escape back to the living world. 

Resettling into their old lives, albiet with horns and silky, fluffy woolen hair, Anna in particular was troubled with prophetic dreams, dreams she started to share with the townsfolk to assist their survival while living in the crossfire of an ongoing supernatural war. Eventually, this gift for prognostication drew the attention of Percy Winkley and Buck Salinger, both agents of the mysterious Midnight Squad. Offering Anna an invitation to the secret society, she gladly accepted, beginning training to control her budding new abilities: It seemed that she had brought some spark of magical talent back with her when leaving the spirit world. From this ember of supernatural power, she slowly grew into a strong sorceress, a talent at Oneiromancy, the magic of sleep and dreams.

Anna's still leaving a peaceful, trauma free life as a Midnighter librarian, with loving and supportive parents (now happily retired); but she sometimes now puts on some spandex and goes out into the city to do some good with her parents. She has these powers, now, and feels obligated to do something with them. While she might be concerned with getting enough sleep and if her love of crispy fried snackfoods is going to make squeezing into her hero suit an issue the next time she goes on patrol, her life remains a happy one.


Slumberlamb is a Magic Controller with Illusion Control and Empathy as her powersets. Her Ancillary pool is Primal Forces Mastery, with pool picks in Force of Will. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [Sleep!] A spell that puts the target to sleep. A simple but devastatingly effective way of ending a fight, but it only affects a single target and only works on the simple-minded.
  • [Sleepwalk] Forces the target into a near-asleep state. In this suggestible state, they can be convinced to walk about and even use their powers on Slumberlambs behalf.
  • [Nightmare!] A bad dream that can leave the target weakened, frighened, and fatigued. A waking nightmare formed of nebulous dream-fluff that exists in the real world is also possible.
  • [Dream-fluff] Bundles of good feelings and positive emotions gathered from the dreamscape and collective unconscios, these can be absorbed to heal wounds, both physical and mental, and even empower allies. These generally don't work on Slumberlamb herself.
  • [Dream Ally] Plenty of citizens of Paragon City dream of having superpowers of their own. Drawing a dreamers psyche into a construct of dream fluff, their mental-self-image of being a hero manifests as a temporary ally with real superpowers, before returning to their sleeping mind.
  • [Sheepy Leaping] Boing! Lowering her own weight and reinforcing her legs, Slumberlamb can make drifty, floating leaps
  • [Pew pew!] Firing bolts of energy has nothing to do with her main skillset, but no wizard would resist learning how to shoot laser beams. These powers are pretty inaccurate and inconsistent in how much damage they do, but she does know the spells.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 2: Seed 9 Lord Romulus vs. Seed 24 Slumberlamb


"Excuse me. That book. Give it to me."
Turning around, Anna looked left and right, then down, blinking at the short young man holding his hand out to her expectantly. 
"...I'm sorry?"
"Book. Hand it over. This is a library? You are a librarian? I want to check that book out."

It took her a minute to sort through the chain of events. She was, indeed, a librarian, and dressed as such. She was indeed holding a book absent-mindedly, the Ravenna Grimoire. The problem came in that she was not a librarian at *this* library, here in Cap Au Diable, but of the mystic order of the Midnight Squad, who's secret lair just happened to exit out onto the campus. She'd just ducked out to use an invention terminal! And the book was definitely not something that an bossy young college student should have their hands on.

"I'm sorry, this book isn't part of the library catalogue, so..."
"I'll buy it from you, then, if it's a personal possession." He interrupted briskly. "A rare volume for 500 dollars cash, right this minute."
She stared. Who was this sassy child? "It's not for sale." "I don't believe that and I'm not taking no for an answer. 750." "It's NOT for SALE! This tome is very dangerous! It has knowledge that-" "Knowledge that I need! If you aren't going to give it to me, I'll take it by force!" "You'll *WHAT*?!" Anna bristled. "Who do you think you are?! You little-"
"HEY! TAKE IT OUTSIDE!" The two both looked up to find the Dean, John Yu, glaring at them. "...Fine." "Yes, sir."

Squaring off in the courtyard, Anna let out a sniff, waving a hand as she sent a pulse of energy toward her opponent, expecting him to be sent to the paving stoned in a snoring heap with just this lightest expenditure of her power. "You've got a lot to learn about manners, Mister..." "Romulus. Actually, that's Lord Romulus to you!"
Her head snapped back in surpise as shadowy purple energies coalesced around the student, a violent flash of energy leavin behind a towering machine in its wake, a sword and shield in its hands, eyes glowing a ominous purple. "Now. The book." He repeated, expecting the powersuit to intimidate her into compliance.

Slumby paused for just a moment before raising her hands, soothin blue and purple light flowing together. one, two, three, four humanoid shapes, a lingering cloud of darkness, as she quickly dropped all of her summons at once, shapes of dream and light manifesting as colored heroes and heroines, that all converged on Romulus in a rush. His shield snapped up to intercept a flaming sword, while his blade lashed out to find the phantom army intangible, his rapid strokes with a sword passingn through their bodies. He was driven onto the defensive, forced to block and parry, using small teleporting jaunts and invisibility to elude and baffle their strikes. He cast his gaze about, trying to find the summoner, to put an end to the onslaught, but she was nowhere to be found, having vanished in the confusion.

"So, you're a little bit more dangerous than I first assumed... So I'm going to let you tire yourself out fighting some dream warriors. Once you've exhausted yourself, it'll be naptime, okay?"
"Don't you... take me lightly!" Knocked and battered about, he was forced to go wholly on the defensive as figments swirled around him. His consciousness flickered and faded, forcing him to bite down on his lip, the sharp shock of pain keeping him from falling asleep entirely. The suit's defenses and auto-repair was holding, so if he just focused on keeping himself awake, just forced himself to endure...! There was no way she could maintain an assault for long, could she? The readouts on the inside of his suit flashed with dire warnings, but he couldn't trust them, couldn't trust anything, just keep fighting, and hope he didn't lose consciousness...



Sweat ran down his face, eyes unfocused as he sagged, the pavement cracking as one heavy metal knee struck it. staggered, he could barely keep himself upright, pulling his head up weakly as Slumberlamb shimmered into view, now wearing tight white spandex instead of the skirt and sweater-vest she'd had on before. Her myriad summons were gone, only the sheepy illusionist remaining. "So, are you done yet? Willing to give in?"

"Not...Hardly." Willing aching muscles to move, servos to fire, he hauled himself upright and charged. Three steps was all he needed.
First step... Knock on the door! 
Rushing forward, several microthrusters activating along the back and feet of the powersuit to accelerate it to max speed in an instant, the broad surface of his shield turned from a barricade to a ram, from armor to a weapon! The full weight of the shield and armor crashing into Slumberlambs slight form flying backwards, as if struck by a speeding truck, but he wasn't done yet.
Second step! Insert the key!
In a flash of purple haze, Romulus vanished, reappearing behind Slumberlamb. Having rotated 180 degrees and facing her back, he lunged forward with what remained of the shield bash's momentum. The blade pierced through the heroine's midsection cleanly, emerging from the front in a gout of crimson.
Third step! Open the door!
With a horrible wrench of exertion, he twisted the blade, turning it sideways and ripping it out of her body in a horizontal sweep of thhe sword. Disemboweled, cut nearly in half, the three strike sure-kill combo, Gate of Tartarus, was-


"Wow. You really did such a brutal attack on an ordinary person with no hesitation? How bloodthirsty... You're actually kind of gross, aren't you?"
Romulus' head jerked to the sidelines, where Slumberlamb was giving him a faintly disgusted look, arms folded across her chest. Looking back, he found his sword unbloodied...

"What part of you qualifies as 'Ordinary'?! What was that, another Illusion?"


"Fufufu." Slumby puffed up smugly. "You're starting to sleepwalk... your attacks won't land in this state. I can erode even your willpower with enough time, and you've given me plenty!"
"...Is that so? Then..."The armor straigthtened up, joints locking in place. 
"How about this?! A perfect psionic impervium barrier! I can counter your attacks on the fly! Go ahead! Do your worst!"


"Hhmm..?" Slumby frowned, putting a hand to her forehead. Casting out her mystic senses, she found she couldn't find Romulus' mind anymore, as if it'd fully vanished. "What?! That's impossible! You can't perfectly veil your thoughts like that! If you can think enough to carry on a conversation, that's enough for mental powers to take hold..."
"Hahah! Common sense like that doesn't apply to geniuses like me!" Romulus' armor stood immobile, tauntingly, as Slumberlamb cast forth waves of psychic energy, attempting to circumvent or overload whatever last barrier he'd erected, sweat trickling on her forehead  as she devoted all her energy and focus into the task. Drawing in all the mind-fogging slumber she could muster, she supplemented it with black threads of nightmare, a woven spectre of terror building around her.


In her intense concentration, she failed to notice the subtle blurring of optical camouflage creeping up behind her, until Lord Romulus de-cloaked behind her a long fallen stick picked up from the ground as a sword. Swung without finesse, held two handed like a baseball bat, he let out a short yell as he swung with all his might, horizontally landing a strike across Slumberlamb's spandex-clad backside with an almighty CRACK!


"HhhKYAAAAAAHGH!" Pitching forward, Slumberlamb bounced once, landing flat on her face, both hands gripping her butt, legs kicking wildly as she struggled on the floor. "OOOOOW! You BULLY! You little brat! How on earth did you-"
"Teleportation. I teleported *myself* and left the armor behind. I figured as long as I kept using the speakers, you wouldn't notice it was empty." Examining the now broken stick, he shrugged and cast it aside. "Now. The book!" "Grrr...! Fine, it's yours! But I won't forget this!"
Romulus puffed himself up smugly. "Hah. Fool! If you want to get spanked again, I'll give you a rematch any time! But today, the win, and the book, are mine!"



Lord Romulus V S Slumberlamb
Deals Lethal and some energy damage. Resists all damage except for Psionic. ✔️   Deals Psionic and energy damage (low damage). Resists Smashing and Lethal damage.
Resistant to Holds, Confusion, and Fear     Mez Capability (Hold, Confuse, Fear)
Superior Stealth, no Perception bonuses     Superior Stealth, no Perception bonuses
Only Shield Charge for AoE   ✔️ Dream Allies
Trump Card: Tartarus Gate (Single target high-damage series of attacks ✔️   Trump Card: Champion of Dreamtime (Powerful Ally Buff)
T-that name...   ✔️  'Anna'


So, really, this match should have been a draw, not because the two had evenly matched abilities, but because both can become invisible but not see through invisibility. However, no ties in this tournament, and I really do think that the sheer amount of damage a stalker can do, even a broadsword stalker, outweighs the ability to dump Phantom Army, Phantasm, and Spectral Terror on someone to mess up their day. As it is, Slumberlamb just has so much of her kit locked behind having someone to back up and support, she's just not meant for one on one duels like this. So in the end I gave th edge to Romulus, who will be moving on to face the Luchadora Colmilla. See you next week!

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Please welcome our first contestant for the third match, Seed 13, Wunderwoofen! Nicknamed 'Einz', short for 'einzigartig', 'Unique', for her... well, singular nature.

Wunder is, in her own words, a 'super-warwolf super-soldier super-prototype, with three times the super'. What that means practicality is that she's the only success(?) of an experimental procedure that occurred in the Council base on Striga Island prior to its destruction. In his never-ending medical experiments to restore his own hearing, Maestro had found a way to induce a similar sonic resonance to his own in test subjects. The possibility of Sonic Troopers was interesting to Maestro, but the process was very unstable. Maestro decided to reach out to Nosferatu, the originator of the original supersoldier formula, for help in improving the procedure. Nosferatu was able to make the procedure work consistently, but they found that the human body could not sustain the resonance for long without tearing itself apart; and not even Nosferatu's Vampyri could integrate the procedure successfully. They needed more durable test subjects, and for that they turned to Arakhn, who had inherited the Warwolf Corps after Requiem's defection.

This lead to three archvillains nudging the parameters of the project, each with their own goals and ambitions. Maestro wanted a personal bodyguard of Sonic Soldiers, more powerful and precise in their powers than the simple rifle-carrying infantry the Council already had. Nosferatu saw the project as a test-bed for adapting the sonic resonance as yet another customized, personal procedure for powers to add to his Vampyri. And Arakhn was looking to dispose of as many Warwolves as possible, having no interest in that branch of N-fragment research and seeing them as a relic of Requiem's era, while keeping an eye out for any way to bend the project towards Nictus benefit.

Wunderwoofen (an ironic nickname from Nosferatu that stuck) was not exactly what anyone had wanted from the experiment. On paper, it was a success: The subject inherited most of the speed and strength of a warwolf, some of the Vampyri's hypnotic gaze, and a great deal of sonic resonance potential. But the procedure was mentally draining and traumatic, with best success coming from totally erasing the memories of the warwolf after the procedure was completed. That made it poorly suited for a Vampyri upgrade, from Nosferatu's perspective. While the trooper was a lot more powerful than a line infantryman with a sonic rifle, the overlapping efforts needed by three archvillains made their training and creation a lot harder to coordinate, making massed sonic infantry more cost efficient for Maestro. And despite her best efforts to sneak them in, the final product contained no N-Fragment or Galaxy technology whatsoever, leaving no assurance of their loyalty to the Nictus.

There was also the... aesthetics of the project. To put it mildly, the subject was diminutive. Unable to properly shift into true warwolf form or to shift back into a human form, the end result was a human with canine ears and a tail. The tiny, yapping anime dog girl was not in line with the disciplined, intimidating air the Council wanted to project. Whether this was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, or just a sheerly random mutation is unknown. Mad science is not, after all, a precision instrument.

So, Wunder was shuffled off to the small Council base on Sharkhead Island, where she became a guard-dog. Fighting off the slag golems, sky raiders, arachnos, banished pantheon, and stray villains that would attack the base, she was both a useful tool and perpetual headache for Archon Higgs, under who's command she was entrusted. As Wunder's skills and power improved, so was the length of her leash, she was allowed to launch attacks on the Sky Raider's floating aircraft carrier, on Arachnos bases, and eventually on raids to Paragon itself, pulling bank heists for money. She has self-trained in 'espee-ownage' and will clumsily attempt to spy on and report back the weaknesses of heroes and villains, a process that has thus far yeilded absolutely no useful results. Wunder's astounding loyalty to the Council and to the Center in particular is the singular area where she excels, having apparently too small of a brain to doubt the doctrine and brainwashing charisma of The Center.


Wunderwoofen is a Science Sentinel with Sonic Attack and Invulnerability as her powersets. Her ancilary pool is Psionic Mastery, with pool picks in Fighting, Super Speed, and Leaping. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [Yip yip yip!] The most basic form of attack, sonic barks that rattle and shake the target. As the inner ear is effected, the target is disoriented, naueated, and generally collapses unconscious before death or permenant damage is inflicted. 
  • [Yap yap yap!] The more advanced version of sonic attack, wide cones affect material objects more than flesh. Targets can be thrown away, temporarily black out, or, if Wunder can target the harmonic vibrational frequency of their equipment, find gadgets, inventions, focuses and often their very costumes disintigrating around them. Many opponents will retreat rather than continue to do battle with Wunder in the nude. 
  • [AWOOOOOO!] The ultimate sonic attack, Wunder stops attempting to control her sonic powers and simply unleashes them in a deafening howl. The sonic bomb is devastatingly powerful to all around her, combining both frequencies of attack in an indiscriminate nova.
  • [Warwolf CQC] Above-average strength combined with the heavy armored gauntlets and boots of her uniform make charging in and simply punching and kicking a suprisingly effective strategy. Opponents are often taken by surprise to find that closing to melee doesn't render her vulnerable, as it might with a dedicated ranged combatant like a Defender or Corruptor.
  • [Universal Chew Toy] Attacks often just bounce off Wunder, or deal glancing blows at best. She's functionally immune to physical abuse, and resistant to positive and negative energies, heat and cold. Poison and especially psionics are effective. Beyond that and her seemingly limitless stamina, The universe just doesn't seem to be willing to let Wunder die; she survives insane circumstances to recurr again, leaving some to wonder if she's actually a line of clones being decanted with no memory of the previous Wunder's death.
  • [The Zoomies] Wunder has the enhanced run speed and jump height of a Warwolf. The only thing notable about this is that she often drops to all fours when running long distances, some atavistic throwback not present in mainline warwolves.
  • [Vampyri Hypnosis] While the red-tinted goggles are actually a prescription lense designed to correct Wunder's colorblindness, Nosferatu's tinkering did give her some low-grade vampyre abilities, specifically a hypnotic stare. 'Puppy-eyes-attack!'

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Our seed 20 is our first Corruptor, Henry 'The Cartoonist' Haumann.
Well, probably Henry. It's a matter of some debate. To get the whole picture, we roll back to the foundation of Inkstain Studios. A small studio founded in the early 20s, they were part of the earliest days of animation, contemporaries of what would become the largest and most influential animation studios of the era. Inkstain was sadly also a money sink, nearly bankrupting Hugo Haumann, the founder. Moving the studio to the Rogue Isles, Hugo became a costumed thief known as the Illustrated Man to keep the studio solvent. The studio prospered for a time, until the Arachnos Coup seized control of the island, Hugo, a Marchand Loyalist, was killed in the fighting. 

Hugo's son, Harvey, abandoned his studies of the occult and arcane to take up the mantle of running the studio. In the face of declining sales and popularity, he also chose to become a costumed thief like his father, becoming The Painter, a famous Isles villain who used paintings to teleport to distant locations. Harvey managed to keep the studio running for years, having a long and successful career as a mage and thief, even surviving the Rikti War as a member of the Midnight Squad, raising a son, and passing the studio off to young Henry, his successor. 

Harvey's death during a botched heist years later sent Henry into a long, deep, and dark depression. Drinkin heavily, keeping the studio and making rent became impossible, and he chose to sleep in the decrepit office. Doing small, high-risk-low-pay jobs for The Family, he barely scraped by, feeling all the time that he was an unworthy inheritor of the studio, of the Haumann family legacy.

At the end of his rope, Henry went on a suicide run of risky ventures, gathering up enough money to buy a cocktail of different super-serums, mutagens, and drugs: A lethal cocktail of chemicals designed to introduce superpowers. The concoction, when imbibed, dissolved him from the inside out, rendering him into a black sludgy stain on the studio floor.

And that's where his sad tale should have ended, but something persisted. some scrap of consciosness that taught itself how to think again, how to, at great effort, maniplate the mortal remains on the floor.absorbing the ink and paint leftover from the days when it was an active animation house, it formed a new body of itself, a 3D cartoon, a living animation, a creature of ink. Though The Cartoonist has Henry's memories, he isn't sure he's truly the same being: No ordinary human can survive being liquified, nor become a disembodied intelligence as he did. Still, he has decided to keep the studio alive, to follow in the family name as the dashing gentleman art thief, with his crime spree of thefts, forgeries, and heists continuing to mount in infamy by the day.

The Cartoonist is a Science Corruptor with Water Blast and Poison as his powersets. His ancilary set is Dark Mastery with power pool picks in Leadership, Superspeed, and Fighting. His notabl powers include:


  • [Ink Manipulation] The foundation of everything The Cartoonist can do. Fluid is absorbed, corrupted into a viscous black ink, and then used for form a solid body that the Cartoonist can interact with the world through. Too much liquid too fast overwhelms his ability to convert and can dilute and disrupt him.
  • [Ink Body] The Cartoonist is a liquid, with attendant abilities to stretch and squash, contorting himself to avoid damage or squeeze through small gaps.Becoming an amorphous mass lets him travel extremely quickly overland, or through pipes and across wires.
  • [Sketching] By detatching stored ink, The Cartoonist can create projectiles, from simple bullets of ink to more complex shapes that fit his current fit of whimsy, which can range from projectile boxing gloves to falling anvils.
  • [Toon Physics] The Cartoonist can coat others in his ink to gain a certain degree of power over them. He uses this to support his allies by turning lethal blows into cartoony slapstic that can be easily walked off. Allies find themselves with the ability to shrug off explosions with just a scuff of soot, while enemies find their best attacks landing with all the power of a pie in the face.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 3: Seed 13 Wunderwoofen vs Seed 20 The Cartoonist

Another day, another 5th Column vault of priceless paintings.
Well, Council paintings, anyway. The Cartoonist mused on the distinction as he used a needle to puncture some plastic tubing, watching the hydraulic fluid turn a murky black as he injected just a drop of his ink into the mechanism. The blast door sealing the storehouse was nearly impenetrable, and even a frenzied Brute could hammer at it for hours before leaving a dent, but for someone with even his limited hydrokinesis, the hydraulics needed to open and close the huge slab of metal were a crippling security vulnerability. With a little effort of will, he could move the ink in the hydraulic pistons, the vault door starting to ponderously grind open. With a sense of satisfaction, he applied a piece of tape to the pinprick, shut the access panel and turned around.

Wunder was On Patrol. Which meant more generally she had no specific duties at the moment, having been foisted off on another base by Archon Higgs and her new commander hadn't given her (enough) work, so she was wasting time wandering the base looking for Intruders. She'd found one, but was just kind of staring at The Cartoonist, not really sure what she was looking at. Red goggles and white-framed glasses locked, and the two shared a silent moment just oggling the other in bafflement.

As the mini-warwolf opened her mouth, the spell broke, and The Cartoonist immediately launched his best sucker punch, thusting out a hand, launching a glob of ink that resolved into a flying boxing glove, impacting Wunderwoofen squarely in the face and sending her reeling backwards, stumbling and falling onto her butt as a second block of ink shaped like a bundle of dynamite landed in her lap and exploded, painting the whole vicinity like a water balloon had gone off, Wunder laying flat on her back in the middle of the blast, motionless.
Toons slowly relaxed his posture, drawing a handkerchief and dabbing at his brow, addressing the prone form. "Oh, my apologies. You startled me. Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a vault to rob-"

He had nearly taken his eyes off the little warwolf when she sat up, unleashing a deafeningly loud bar. He twisted his body, bending and contorting out of the way of the blast bonelessly, but the sonic bolt blew the small maintenance hatch to pieces, ink-tainted hydraulic fluid leaking out messily, the vault door grinding to a motionless hault. "Intruder! In the base! Base intruder!"

A series of violent sonic bolts followed in a rapid 'yip yip yip' of barking, The Cartoonist twisting and weaving to dodge the onslaught while returning fire, distantly aware of an alarm activating elsewhere in the base. So much for being a phantom thief, now he was going to be lucky to fight his way out with any loot at all. Wunderwoofen was proving to be an agile, fast-moving target, leaping and pouncing out of the way of a lot of his thrown projectiles, the fight rapidly devolving into a comical slapfight in which neither party could hit the other. He was just starting to ponder his next move when Wunder pounced at him, suddenly closing the distance in a blink and swinging at him with a whirling, spinning kick, metal boot scything out at his midsectioin. He had to jerk his whole whohle torso back a foot, his limbs and head remaining in place, before snapping back like a rubber band, ducking under a swingin fist and then juking to the left of a straight jab. Every little dodge left a splash of ink, coating the heavy metal goggles, neutering the power of the onslaught. "Hey! Stop dodging and lemme hit you!" "...I'll give you credit for just straight-up asking, but no. I may be only ink, but I can still feel pain." "...Huh?!" "I'm merely a figment of pigment, girl. Your attacks won't ever connect. You can't hurt a cartoon, can you? While I..."

Wunder realized a little too late that The Cartoonist had just been dodging for a while now, his counterattacks having ceased. The ink that had been splashed around, on the floors, walls, and ceilings, surged in, stygian arms with pristine white gloves eruptinig from the puddles on the floor to grab and snatch at her, slowing her retreat as a great mass of ink gathered on the ceiling. Gliding backwards, The Cartoonist gave his fingers a dramatic snap, dropping a piano, a large floor safe, and an anvil in rapid succession.

"...can give you a private screening of some slapstick mayhem you won't be walking away from." "Hnnghhh..." "Oho? You're stronger than you look." Wunder gritted her teeth, straining under tthe weight of the ink constructs, throwing the enormous weight off with a gasp. "Give it up, little dog. You're clearly out of breath and out of energy, and I'm out of time. Call this a draw and run away." "Never! For the Council! For the Center!" Planting her feet, Wunder took an increasingly deep breath. "If you're gonna be all noodly and dodgy, I'll just attack everything at once! That way there's no way for you to dodge!"


Throwing her head back, she let out a thunderous howl, the sheer noise throwing the cartoonist back against the metal vault door like a physical blow, dazing him. Wunder pressed the advantage, barking as she walked forward, each attack pressing him flat against the armor plate. His body started to lose cohesion, his protests drowned out as his outline became indistinct, a great circle of ink spreading out around him as his features started to wobble and melt.

He was just about to lose consciousness as the attack ceased, letting him flop weakly to his knees, concentrating to avoid simply collapsing into a puddle. Weakly, he flicked a finger. sending trails of his ink toward the warwolf, but there wasn't any power behind the attack, simply sending a pair of trails towards the Council agent.

"Hah! You lose!" Wunder puffed out her chest smugly, tail wagging excitedly behind her. "You're powerless to defeat the awesome power of The Council! Glory to the Center! With our power, our tenacity, we will crush our enemies! The false heroes of paragon will fall, the fascist Arachnos, the traitorous scum of the 5th Column! Our genius leader shall assume control over all and lead the world to a period of peace and prosperity never before seen on... Hey, what are you doing?"

Wunder cocked her head. The two streams of ink terminated at her boots, and The Cartoonist had been busily adding cross-strokes. From her perspective, it looked like a series of Hs stacked atop each other.
The blaring of the horn made her snap her head up. As a whole cartoon steam engine erupted from the large black smear of ink she'd left on the vault door by smashing his body into it repeatedly, emerging from the black disk like it was coming out of a tunnel, she could only gawp in disbelief. The train struck her head on, slamming into her like a tsunami of ink, sending her down the hall with a howl of impotent frustration as she was carried off.


The Cartoonist rose unsteadily, adjusting his top-hat. "...Time to leave, I think..."


Wunderwoofen v s The Cartoonist
Deals smashing/energy and some psychic damage. HEAVILY Resists Smashing Damage.   ✔️ Deals Cold and some Smashing damage. Resists Smashing damage.
Multiple melee attacks     Automatically debuffs enemies in melee
Multiple ranged attacks     Evades ranged attacks
Multiple cone attacks ✔️   Can't dodge AoEs
Evades Cold attacks ✔️   All attacks have Cold component
Minor debuff resistance   ✔️ Powerful debuffs (-acc, -dam)
Some debuff resistance   ✔️ Powerful debuffs (-res, -def




The post-fight wrap-up got delayed over the weekend due to taco emergency reasons, but it's finally up. Wunder had a really good showing due to how solid invulnerability is as a secondary and how her mix of melee/ranged/aoe made her an all-ranged fighter, but the real deciding factor was just how nasty Poison's single target debuffs are. Stripping away her defense and resistance, accuracy and damage brought Wunderwoofen down from a pint-sized powerhouse to a pitiful pup, leaving The Cartoonist with the win and our first upset victory of the tournament so far.

Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Seed 12 is practically the defintion of a hard target. Representing the hero side Tanker archetype, we have the Praetorian, Matthew 'Mister Midas' Miller.

Matt grew up in a world already dominated by Marcus Cole, The Chairman, the Emperor. Imperial City was his hometown, and his schoolbooks were constantly being revised to suit whatever truth was convenient under the regime. Matt, to the great chagrin of his parents and teachers, turned out to have one of those recalcitrant personalities; and one that he refused to grow out of. From day 1, he was a disruption, a delinquent, a bull-headed and strong-willed person who refused to crack regardless of how much discipline was heaped on him. While he always kept his criticism just below the level that would get him labeled a resistance sympathizer or tagged for re-education at the Mother of Mercy Psychiatric Hospital, he was generally considered a dissident, protestor, troublemaker.

However, walking that line was never going to be something he could pull off indefinitely. And everyone knew which way he'd tilt when push finally came to shove. Wrong place, wrong time, the PPD arresting Resistance members. Matt, full of more spirit of rebellion than good sense, threw a brick. A thrown brick didn't do much to the power-screened shields on PPD armor, but it was enough of a distraction for the Resistance recruit to put a plasma-sheathed bullet directly through the officer's faceplate. One dead cop later, Matt had no choice but to abandon his family and friends and run away, to life underground, life in the resistance.

Matt was not exactly a popular member of the Imperial City resistance. He was too softhearted to really jibe with the brutality of the Crusaders, and the Wardens found his rebellious streak to be shallow. Matt didn't have any deeply held ideals or motives: Rebellion was just 'cool'. His preening pompadour, mirror shades, and cigarette habit all evoked a 50s greaser, a pretentious idiot more concerned with the appearance of rebellion than any actual substance. However, the Resistance needed soldiers, always, and Matt could hold a gun, so his presence was tolerated. His loyalty and willingness to fight for the Resistance couldn't be argued, at least, and any complaints dropped off after being violently savaged by a ghoul protecting his squad left him needing a hastily-installed clockwork arm as a prosthetic.

A routine raid on one of Praetor Berry's labs yielded an unexpected treasure. The project had been scrapped, but the little polished chrome egg, the Mental Interface Dynamic Aura System, was still an intriguing branch of unexamined technology. While Splice, the resistance technophile, was irritated at having her work schedule interrupted by a grunt recruit, she got the psi-amp working and installed the focus into his cybernetic arm anyway. Matt, with some practice, was able to manifest a telekinetic shield around himself, hard constructs of golden light. With some tutelage under the Carnival of Light, the Resistance's allies, he learned the nature of the golden aura: It was tied to his willpower and self-image. His raw determination was the integrity of the barrier, and as long as he didn't *think* of it shattering, it wouldn't. 

With Matt's staggering ego weaponized, he became the point man to a lot of Resistance operations, there to absorb a staggering amount of gunfire, PPD force gauntlets, or ghoul claws while his allies did their job. The invincible man, who faced down syndicate assassins and Destroyer brutes in nothing but jeans and tank-top. The gold plating on his cyberarm became iconic, the Hand of M.I.D.A.S., and Matt himself 'Mister Midas'. Losing would be uncool, so he did't let that happen. Letting his allies get hurt would be uncool, so he didn't let tht happen either. Letting civilians die was also uncool, pushing him even further away from the Crusaders and into the Warden camp. 

Matt kept fighting, growing stronger and stronger, wonderingng if someday he'd be doing battle face to face with the praetors themselves. But that day never came. The portal wars, the war with Primal Earth. Matt was one of the last evacuated to primal earth, and he found himself in Paragon, feeling directionless. He threw himself into heroics, because the world could always find a use for an invincible man, but his heart wasn't in it. When he disappeared without a trace one day, it was assumed he'd just retired, his vanishing very little remarked upon. 
The truth was, Mister Midas had become Mender Midas. Recruited by the time-correcting organization Ourobouros, Matt was to examine the ramifications of the Praetorian war, explore alternatives, and map out variant timestreams. It was a job that he threw himself into. He became a violent crusader, a PPD operative, a self-centered powers division member, a syndicate agent... every alteration was designed with the belief that a perfect, golden ending was possible. Cole deposed, peace with primal earth, the destruction of The Hamidon. No matter what variables he tried, though, there was no way to reach this ideal. 

Mister Midas is back on the streets of Paragon. There's always something an invincible man can do. He can't save his world, but he'll do what he can to save this one. His gold is tarnished somewhat, his ideals have taken a beating, but his powers are stronger than ever. He can't, won't, give up. To do so would be... uncool.


Mister Midas is a Natural Tanker with Willpower and Psionic Melee as his powersets. His ancillary set is Energy Mastery, with pool power picks in Force of Will and Fighting. His notable powers are as follows:


  • [Psionic Amplifier: M.I.D.A.S] While the MIDAS is a powerful focus, it's essentially only that: A focus. Intense training with the device was necessary to unlock Matt's latent psychic abilities, and it's his raw determination and strength of will that makes him as powerful as he is.
  • [Golden Aura] A combination of Midas' various defensive techniques. In short, he's nearly completely invulnerable. Only highly accurate attacks aimed at his weak points will pierce the field to begin with, and after that will be reduced in power substantially. Layered onto this is the fact that his mental self image is constantly reinforcing his body, restoring his body to its original state, and fights with Mister Midas are usually dragging battles of attrition.
  • [Losing is uncool] Not only is it difficult to pierce his personal forcefield, not only does it reduce the power of physical attacks to near nothing, not only does his body constantly regenerate, Midas will stubbornly reject defeat should he actually be downed. Entering a crisis mode, he will rise and must be defeated all over again to rattle his confidence and have the defeat actually stick. Worse, if he isn't convinced he's outmatched, it's possible for this cycle of defeat and resurgance to continue indefinitely, meaning  that the second loss has to be swift and definitave.
  • [Golden Fist] While the golden cyberarm is good for delivering a solid jab (and Mister Midas uses it for just that fairly often), it also focuses and shapes his telekinetic powers. While he can create quite a few different shapes, telekinetic constructs, creativity is not his strong suite. He mostly contents himself with enormous gold telekinetic fist and energy blades.
  • [Golden Wave] Midas' only real ranged or AoE techniques, a highly compressed ball of telekinetic energy compressed and fired/thrown like a baseball, a sweeping wave of force, or a lifting surge of power that lanches those around him are his best bet for dealing with distant foes or crowds.
  • [Golden Leap] Matt has, despite his best efforts, not figured out how to lift himself with his own powers and fly. Instead, he reinforces his legs with telekinetic force and launches himself into the sky with mighty leaps. He also owns a hoverboard, which he has decreed to be 'very cool', and is used as an alternative to jumping long distances.
Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Our seed 21 is the swiss archer, Karina 'Jungfrau' Steiner.


Born in the shadow of Mt. Eiger, Karina's factor was shaped around two defining pillars: An intense of love of the outdoors, and a radiant sense of justice. Thankfully, her parents were wealthy landlords, freeing her to pursue her two drives to their limits. Hiking, biking, swimming, mountain climbing, kayaking, marksmanship, archery, martial arts, the list went on. The mountains called to her, and she responded eagerly, soon becoming an olympic-level athlete, though she only competed in ski-archery, an obscure variant of the biathlon. 

At the same time, she pursued law and politics, using her victories as a platform to  criticize Switzerland. The beautiful country was known for their beautiful alpine landscape, their progressive policies, the great wealth and cost of living. However, their banking and financial services, which had a long history of secrecy, had become a point of national shame, a facilitator of corruption, through which the criminals of europe evaded taxes, hid assets, and commited financial crime. Karina suspected that the money that moved through swiss banks was funding criminal syndicates and terrorist organizations, and took up a series of private investigations intending to prove that these groups were active in the country, quietly manipulating funds to bankroll the rest of their organization.

She was, tragically, entirely correct. Like a priest or a lawyer, Swiss bankers hold anything their client told them as strictly confidential. That included, in this instance, a client that was a literally inhuman monster. Archon Huber was an agent of the criminal syndicate and private army known as the Council, and a Vampyri, a super-soldier slash scientist that had cast away their humanity in exchange for speed, strength, and power. Karina's snooping about hadn't gone unnoticed, and so Huber simply leaked a tiny bit of information. Karina pounced on the lure immediately, and fell into the Council's trap. 

The logic that the vampyri laid out was simple: If left alone, Karina would discover their illegal dealings. If they chose to close down the account, move everything, she would simply keep digging. If she was to disappear suddenly, that would prompt others to investigate. Then, they simply needed to relocate, hide the money trail once again... and 'convince' Karina to stop investigating without killing her. Not with simple torture, either, as they knew she was strong willed. After some consideration, he told her, he had elected to have her left arm removed. One could live a perfectly fulfilling life with one arm, he said. She could still hike, still bike, still swim, still enjoy the lakes and mountains she loved so much. But she would not hold a bow again. Using his hypnotic power, Archon Huber had Karina place her arm into the mechanical claw of a Council Mech Man. This, then, would be the price for crossing the Council, and in a flash of pain, the crack of bone and the shearing of flesh, shock, pain, and blood loss overwhelmed her.

The Archon did not realize the menace he'd unleashed on the Council. As her friends and family knew, Karina could have done quite well in both skiing and archery, if she ever chose to compete in those competitions. Instead, she limited herself to JUST Ski-Archery. That was because, behind closed doors, Karina was an incredibly sore loser. A serious loss would result in cursing, raving, a complete tantrum being thrown even as a grown woman. She'd then redouble her dedication to that particular area of her skillset until she had 'corrected the error', and won whatever inevitable rematch she could arrange. When Karina awoke in a hospital some time later, she lamented the loss of her left arm, severed below the elbow, but also immediately swore vengeance on the group. The Council would pay. Justice would be done. 

Karina went into a frenzy of training, her public speaking and political career put on hold in the name of sheer self improvemnt. A cybernetic replacement or surgically grafted clone arm were refused. The Council had cut her, changed her, and she was going to remain changed, remain a weapon aimed at their destruction. Adaptive Skills to handle living with one hand, a simple prosthetic that could do one thing; the only necessary thing: Hold a bow. The replacement was magnificent in that way, tightly wound memory metal and cord that could, at a simple electric charge, snap out into a high tensile recurve bow. With the forearm included, it was somewhat like a crossbow strapped to ones arm. Karina liked the image, it reminded her of William Tell, the folk hero of switzerland, and famed marskman and tyrannicide. 

Like the famous WWII archer, Manticore, she assembled a collection of trick arrows, bolts, and trained excessively. Marksmanship, athletics, infiltration, tactics. She honed herself until she was as cold, as distant and unreachable, as untouchable as the mountain peak after which she named herself: Jungfrau, the Maiden. And under that name she wreaked a trail of destruction, exposing and destroying council cells through the various swiss cantons, until she uncovered one of their main bases. The swiss authorities took in many Council agents wanted in other countries, but Archon Huber died resisting arrest, fighting to his last breath even when riddled with arrows.

Karina's vengeance has only just begun, however. She has come to Paragon City, to continue her crusade. Until the Council, tenacious as it is, is ground to nothing, and the Center himself falls to her bow, she will not rest.

Jungfrau is a Natural Defender with Trick Arrow and Archery as her powersets. Her ancillary pool is Power Mastery, with pool picks in Concealment and Leadership. Her notable powers include:


  • [Apfel Schießen] Or, 'Apple Shooting'. Jungfrau has no powers, and makes do with supreme physical conditioning and regimented training, along with a selection of simple gadget 'trick arrows'. But even firing simple bolts, the effect she can achieve with 'sharpened sticks' is astounding. The Jungfrau never misses.
  • [Trick Arrow: Mountain Series] While she uses a few arrows that are more useful than thematic, like the Mech-Man scrambling EMP arrow or the Tear Gas arrow, Jungfrau's arsenal tends towards the alpine in theming. from the climbing-aid Piton arrows that are used for climbing, swinging, and entangling foes, the Snowblind flash-bang arrows, the freezing adhesive Snowfield arrows, Ice Slick arrows, and the bitter Winter Bolt that freezes the target solid.
  • [Special Operations Training] Jungfrau rarely allows her prey to notice her beforehand, letting her select her arrows and tactics at her leisure. She can move unseen even through a crowded military base using misdirection and stealth.
  • [Special Tactics Training] The Council are a military organization, and in fighting them, they have rubbed off on her in several ways. She is tactically minded, striking where the enemy is weak, maneuvering to protect herself, and always calculating the damage inflicted to the risk and expenditure of research.
Edited by Crasical
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Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 4: Seed 12 Mister Midas versus Seed 21 Jungfrau


A sweltering day at the start of summer, and the ice maiden was in full tactical gear. Atop a building in brickstown, she stared fixedly down at the walls of the Zigursky Penetentiary. A smooth, practiced motion selected a heavy broadhead arrow on a heavy shaft, a sharp metallic 'snap' ringing out as the magnetic locks on her arm disengaged, allowing it to snap out, twisting into its true shape as a recurve. A prisoner transfer was happening today, and she was going to ensure the new resident's first visit was to the prison infirmary, if not the morgue. 

Her attention narrowed to a police transport van. Archon Higgs, one of the Council's ranking officers, had been captured on a rare trip outside the Rogue Isles, and was being incarcerated in the Zig until it was decided what to do with him, and who exactly would prosecute. A bolt was nocked, pulled back. She slowly elevated her arm, the bow. This would be a long shot, coming out of the sky. She'd picked this spot to put her back to the sun, to not have to fight the glare. The back of the van was opened, Higgs escorted out in cuffs, the Council's super serum still in his body, towering over the merely-human prison guards. 
One bolt, right through the head... he was the sole administrator of some Council 'wonder-weapon' project, and that project would grind to a halt. Her vision narrowed to a pinpoint. Someone was shouting. One single, perfect, instantly lethal shot... the shock of the snap of the bowstring, the bolt launched into the air. She felt something rush past her, a blur of dark colors and shining gold that launched like a missile on an interception course. 

Matt wished he could fly. He also wished he hadn't bobbled snatching the arrow out of the air. Uncool. He'd also lost his cigarette somewhere in his sprint past the archer lady, which meant that he no longer had a cigarette, and also he was littering. Neither of those was good. He took a second to contemplate his situation: Mid superjump, Arrow was now *beneath* him after it'd slipped out of his hands like trying to snatch up a fleeing squirrel at the park. Time to do the simpler solution he probably should have lead with: A glowing hand of golden psychokinetic force materialialized and swung down, grabbing the arrow, tiny like a worn-down nub of a pencil in his manifested grip. He kicked his legs up, killing some of his forward momentum turning it into a flip, and ended the leap landing near the edge of the roof. Turning around, he used his left hand to adjust his glasses, holding out his right cyberarm and dropping the arrow into it as he faced off against the assailant. There we go. Cool.

Jungfrau casually nocked another bolt. "Mister Midas. I've heard of you." "Hah, have you? I guess people have been talking. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't say the same." "That's only natural. I prefer to do my work out of the spotlight." Drawing the bolt back, she aimed squarely at the tanker's breast, at his heart. "I have an important shot to make. I don't think you're working with the Council, so you must have merely made a mistake just now. Stand aside." "...I don't think so. There's nobody that way except a guy in handcuffs. I'm sure he's a real scumbag, but attacking an unarmed opponent's not cool."

"..." Jungfrau relaxed the draw on the bow somewhat. "...There's a theory I have. Your code of conduct, your sense of justice... It's a luxury. It's a luxury you've bought with your powers. The golden, invincible man... of course you can hold yourself to such a high standard. Those of us without such abilities have to make do without. Every advantage, every dirty trick, going without compassion or mercy, to operate at your level. I can't handicap myself by passing up an opportunity to remove an enemy's piece from the board."

Matt scratched the side of his head, frowning. "...It's a compelling sort of argument, I'll grant you, and I gotta admit I oughta reflect on how I'm speaking from a place of priveledge, but being this cool ain't a cakewalk either, y'know? I didn't just luck into these powers, I did train-" "...Oh, you're an idiot. Well, I'll make it simple: If you won't stand down, I'll *put* you down!" Her arm snapped up again, string drawn taut, and the bolt loosed. It deflected off the intense golden aura that wrapped itself around Mister Midas, pinwheeling off, but by that time two more were in the air. Mister Midas batted the first aside ,snagged the other in his hand with a triumphant 'Hah!' before realizing that it had a gadget tip, the bolt erupting into a cloud of tear gas right in his face. "Gack!" 

More bolts rained down around him, unleashing a variety of payloads: a thrumming resonant field, a pool of cryogenic liquid that instantly froze into an ice-slick, sending him sliding, a thick and inhibiting field of powder snow. Then the barrage in earnest started: Attacks aimed at his heart, his lungs, his eyes, his head, then at the parts where his forcefield was thinner, easier to penetrate. Steel and titanium and impervium tipped arrows nicked and scratched his skin. It was like being in the middle of a whirling snowstorm, sound, light, sensation all overwhelming. While he fought back, throwing out arcs and spheres of golden light from his hands, the lashing telekinetic force couldn't find its target. He half-exhausted himself blindly attacking, trying to estimate where the bolts where coming from. Then, For the longest time he just stood dazed, used as a practice target. 


"Well, this is disappointing. Aren't you the very stereotype of a big dumb brick." Jungfrau mused, taking her time. Every arrow was placed were it would count, even if it barely penetrated his field. the tiny nicks, the little trails of bloodloss, had been ineffective, so she'd begun using her trump card: Cryogenic freezing arrows. More than a dozen were stuck in the tanker now, spreading patches of white frost extruding out over his skin below the armored golden field. "The ferocity of the mountain isn't something you can weather with just raw strength." Taking her time, she aimed and loosed another arrow, another spreading patch of ice, dropping him ever closer to being frozen solid, dipping into a vicious hypothermic episode. 


"You can't move, can't fight back. Which makes this fight a matter of time."

"...rong" There was a crack of ice, one sneaker ripped free from the frozen ground, the frost built up around his knee cracking into a spiderweb pattern.

"I said... you're wrong... I can still move..." One step. Then another, the other foot ripped from the ground. "I admit... those trick arrows are nasty. I couldn't see, couldn't hear... couldn't fight back." Another step, forcing himself to walk; forcing his, freezing, numb, aching body to take another step, trudging through the snow. "But I could always move... and I won't get taken down while I'm helpless! That shit ain't cool... Besides... You've been doing nothing but pepper me with arrows for a while now. By my count, you must not have all that many left!"

"Once you fall, I'll only need one. The Jungfrau doesn't miss." "Jungfrau, huh...?" An arrow sunk deeply into his shoulder, making him grimace, his barrier, his focus, was starting to fade. "That's right. I'm the mountain peak. Cold, and inviolable. Beautiful, and deadly." A little bit of a boastful name, ain't it?" Another bolt skewered his thigh, making his next step drag a bit before the damage repaired itself. "You don't have much room to talk, Mister Midas. The golden man, huh?" "Heh. Well, you've got me there. Ngh. I don't know if the story's the same on Primal, but here's the thing: King Midas had a touch that'd turn anything to gold. My powers don't transmute things like that. Instead..." He took a deep breath. blocked out the pain. Focused. Don't lose. Don't give up. One step, the next step. You only lose if you surrender. You only lose if you stop. "I'm gonna turn even a shitty situation like this into solid gold."

"You *arrogant*..." WIth a hiss, Jungfrau grabbed a fistful of bolts, loading and firing them in rapid succession. A barrage, a rain of arrows followed, every one aimed for maximum lethality. With a last crunch, one of Midas's feet left the slowing snowfield, and he lunged forward, breaking into a run. The golden manifestation of his arm, his fist, appeared, and he used it to shield his body, yelling a battle cry as he ran forward, a flurry of rapid one-handed punches creating a wall of blows. "Oraoraoraoraoraora!" Arrows glanced off, were slapped away, as shot after shot rained down. Jungfrau backed away, continuing her assault, until her back hit a wall. She nocked, aimed, and fired one last arrow, through the tanker's block. The shot struck but Midas jerked his head aside, leaving a broad, bleeding gash along his cheek. One huge metal hand slapped firmly against the metal of the large air conditioning unit she'd run into, Midas looming over the slight archer. She winced, awaiting the rain of golden fists. Instead, Midas just leaned there, out of breath, bleeding, bolts sticking out of him like pincushion. 

"...I win. That was your last arrow." Reaching back to her quiver, she realized he was right. The one arrow she'd planned to save for Higgs had been used here, instead. Impotent fury welled up inside her, and she ineffectually threw a fist at the tall Praetorian's chest. Suprisingly, it connected, so she threw another, and another, while Midas just let her vent her frustration. He did twist his hips, raising a leg to block, when she aimed a knee-strike at his groin, though. "Whoah, okay, that's not cool." Stepping away from the wall-pin, Midas dug into his pockets, pulling out a crumpled pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Lighting up, he turned and offered the pack to Jungfrau, who'd slid down the wall, her bow collapsed back into her arm. She glances up at the offered pack, then took one, tugging her mask down to expose more than the narrow strip of face, putting the cigarette to her lips and letting Midas light it.

"Well, you were right." "Hm?" "Your name. You are beautiful." "...pfeheheh." She snorted out a coarse laugh. "Do you use pickup lines like that on all the women who try and kill you?" "No. Most of the women who try and kill me wear masks." The snorting, indelicate laughter just got worse. Especially once she realized he was being sincere. "You're an idiot." "Well, yeah." He shrugged. "...Someone should be." "An idiot?" "No, you said earlier that I'm lucky to have powers that let me do things like... not killing. Saving even the bad guys. You're right. Not everyone can do the things I do... or you do, for that matter. But... well. Somebody should. And I can." He shrugged. 

Midas looked up as an alarm started to blare distantly. With a sigh he stood up, pulling a few sticking arrows out of his skin. "That would probably be your man-" "Higgs." "-would be Higgs' buddies trying to spring him. You coming?" She raised an eyebrow. "You want me along?" "Sure." Folding her arms, she studied him. "...I"m out of bolts." He blinked at her, then yanked another one out his body and tossed it to her. "I thought they were arrows." "They're bolts." "Well, you've got one now. And the Jungfrau doesn't miss, right?" "...No, I don't."


"Then let's go." He held a hand out, glittering with golden light. After a moment, she took it.


Jungfrau v s Mister Midas
Deals low Lethal and some minor Fire damage. Strongly resists Smashing/Lethal damage   ✔️ Deals Psionic and Smashing damage. Immune to Smashing/Lethal Damage. Strongly resists Psionic damage. Resists all damage.
Invisibility     Bonus Perception
High accuracy and defense debuffs     Deflects attacks
Powerful accuracy debuffs ✔️   No accuracy debuff resistance
Many slows, holds, immobilizes     Taunt and a few ranged attacks


This fight wasn't really even close. Jungfrau can debuff Midas all she wants, with low damage and it being a type that Midas explicitly is nearly immune to, she simply didn't have a prayer of actually defeating him. Beating up an weaker opponent isn't cool, though, so Midas wins via attrition despite never landing a hit on Jungfrau.

Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Can you believe I've been doing this for five weeks? I can't. If I keep up at this pace I'll be done sometime in october. Maybe I'll schedule a few breaks and set it up so this finishes on Christmas.




Our first competitor for match 5, at seed 15, is Kilauea, the volcanic powerhouse.

Leilani Lee was lucky. She was born on O'ahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian islands. Perfect weather! beautiful scenery! Fresh fruits, and simple island life. Well, that's a popular view of the state, at least. In reality, life for those who actually LIVE in Hawaii isn't all sunshine and roses. Islands are, by their nature, small, and so the flood of wealthy immigrants pushed out the natives, the housing prices and cost of living spiraling out of control, all while any job that wasn't in the service industry dried up as the island chain converted to a purely tourism-based economy. Poverty lead to resentment, disdain for the hordes of tourists that flocked to their shores. 

While Leilani tried to keep the upsides in mind, and be content with helping out at her family's restaurant after high school, others on the island were less so. Others, who had heard whispers in their dreams, nurturing their sorrow, pain, and desire, and had learned dark and forbidden names: Lughebu, Rambetu, M'teru, and Mot. Forbidden names of forgotten gods, the Banished Pantheon of cruel spirits that hungered for souls. 

Leilani was one of those unlucky souls. The shamans, having a cruel sense of irony, decided that she would be sacrificed in a manner befitting hollywood cliche: a virgin sacrifice to the volcano. Being burned alive in molten rock would surely be an agonizing death that not even the Banished Pantheon had seen before, and would reward commeasurately. Their plan went nearly flawlessly: However, in something they couldn't have forseen, Leilani failed to die from her plunge into hot magma. When the Hawaiian hero, Blue Kahuna, arrived and dispatched the cultists, their totems and zombie minions, he found Leilani still alive, and fished her from the magma. The fire had burned away her clothing, and the Kahuna gave her his cape to cover her nudity... and the fiery orange brands that had appeared on her skin, rings of orange light that glowed with the banked fire of the volcano itself. 

Her trip into the lava had given Leilani some manner of magic blessing, a spiritual gift from Pele, the Volcano Goddess. Inspired by the hero that had saved her, and troubled by powerful and dangerous her abilities were, Leilani begged her parents for money to travel to Paragon City, the City of Heroes, to learn how to control her powers, and maybe become a hero herself. Eventually they relented, and off their precocious daughter went into the care of M.A.G.I.

Since then, Leilani (Who took the hero name of Kilauea, the volcano she was sacrificed at and the home of Pele in hawaiian mythology) has been bounced around Paragon City as a sidekick. She's worked part time jobs as a waitress, delivery girl, and cashier, she's worked with the PPD investigating the Minions of Igneous in the hollows, she's worked with the Shining Stars (and burned down a wing of Manticore's mansion, in an incident she feels she'll never live down), she's worked under the F.B.S.A. to fill-in illegally constructed 5th Column and Council bases with her lava powers, and she's recently undergone basic training with Longbow, reasoning that if she can't control her powers well enough to not burn down or collapse buildings, she might as well use her powers in villain bases that will get demolished anyway.

Every day is a mess of training, working her day job, and doing hero work, going out on patrol with any hero or group of heroes who are wiling to ignore her reputation as a jinx and collateral-damage hazard. She's able to afford a place to stay, send some money home, and she's slowly, but surely, getting closer to her dream of being a real hero.
Kilauea is a Magic Dominator with Earth Control and Fiery Asault as her powersets. Her ancillary pool is Fire Mastery, with pool picks in Concealment, Teleportation, and Fighting. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [The Blazing Earth] Eruptions of nearly-molten stone, shaking earth, whirling volcanic ash, rains of searing embers, fighting Kilauea is like fighting a volcano itself. While her ability to focus all of this on a single target is limited, when she can merely unleash her power on a group of enemies, the effect is quite powerful.
  • [The Raging Flame] Kilauea rarely engages in melee combat, merely standing at range and hurling handfuls of volcanic fire at enemies. It varies in form, from explosive bombs that erupt into explosions, to bolts of concentrated heat, to things in between. Once enemies are locked down in the cataclysmic eruption of her power, they are helpless to the lash of her fire bolts.
  • [Flashfire] Kilauea can perform quick jaunts, exploding into fire and reforming meters away in short-range teleports that she uses to elude foes that slip her net and move to engage her in close quarters. It also lets her conceal herself, fading away to a shimmering heat haze before she reveals herself to attack.
  • [Volcanic Servant] In short, a lava golem. While it's not truly intelligent, it will carry out commands to the best of its ability. Generally those commands are to charge into combat and absorb a truly staggering amount of damage, only to be resummoned if destroyed. The shield wall that Kilauea hides behind when facing aggressive foes.
  • [BOOT] Kilauea rarely has any reason to enter close quarters, but she has a surprisingly vicious kick to the shins that she'll sometimes employ before teleporting away when enemies make their way up to her, or if her powers are nearly exhausted and an enemy is prone. 

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Seed 18 is a mercenary commander of Marchen Security Services, Rachel "Red Riding Hood" Rosenfeld.
Rachel only dimly remembers her life before her service to Marchen. She had parents. A sister, an older brother. She loved them, she was happy. They're dead, now. At the teeth and claws of a pack of werewolves, while she hid and cowered in a concealed crawlspace below the home. German authorities found the mute, traumatized girl at the site of the gristly mass murder, a random act of violence and hunger by the roaming band of supernatural killers. 

She reasons that at some point during the aftermath of the attack, some money surreptitiously changed hands. Rather than becoming a ward of the state, or being shipped off to some distant relative, she was picked up by men in black suits and taken to a little farm in the rural part of the Geman countryside. She was welcomed by a pair of men who gave a rather long speech that she didn't understand much of. She was fed, bathed, clothed, and brought to a dormitory with a lot of other girls her age. Her training began the very next day.

'Marchen' is the German word for a 'Fairy Tale'. Marchen Security Services is a Private Military Company (PMC), founded and run by a pair of twins who go by the 'Brothers Grimm'. Marchen has from the moment of its conception been an organization with a specific goal: The ability to counter superpowered (and specifically, magical) threats using small fireteams of conventional troops. Marchen's security contractors are elites, considered to be the equal of any Navy Seal or GSG-9 operative. They are given the best conventional munitions available, as well as special mental, tactical, and physical training to deal with the paranormal threats they face.

Every fireteam of Marchen security contractors is accompanied by a 'Maiden', as they are officially designated within the organization. Almost always survivors of supernatural attack, these young girls undergo even more intense training than the frontline troops, as well as mysterious 'upgrades' of an unknown nature. They recieve codenames and costumes to evoke the heroines of various tales: Goldilocks, Alice Liddel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and of course Red Riding Hood. 

The precise reasoning for using these young girls is known only to the Brothers who oversee the organization, though speculation abounds. It ranges from the mundane, the usual benefits to utilizing child soldiers: Their willing obedience to authority; the ability to fully control their schedule and education, molding them to your desires. Others are more esoteric, that their age somehow ties into the mysterious benefits they recieve from the Brothers, that whatever curse, echantment, nano-treatment or super-serum they recieve is most effective on children; or that by naming the agents after fairy-tale figures they somehow carry some narrative causality with them, a protective charm of sorts. 

Naturally, Marchen's use of child soldiers, as well as their pragmatic approach to monster hunting, using explosive booby traps, poison gas, and other human-rights violating tactics, leave them as social paraiahs. Deemed mercenaries, war criminals, even terrorists, they have a single redeeming factor: They get results. Monsters, ghosts, evil mages, wicked fairies, incursions of the walking dead: A Marchen fireteam will solve your issue, for the right price. Vanguard, Wyvern, and even some unscrupulous Longbow commanders have hired the group under the table to neatly resolve issues without risking their own troops.

Rachel has been Red Riding Hood, fireteam leader for Marchen, for several years now. Her team respect and trust her; other than the unhinged sadistic glee she takes in hunting werewolves she is a competent, seasoned commander who has lead them to victory on many occasions. Reassigned to the Rogue Isles, she has been making brisk profit dealing with the local magical threats, the Circle of Thorns, the Coralax and Slag Golems, the Wailers, Carnival, and Tsoo.


RR Hood is a Natural Mastermind with Mercenaries and Traps as her powersets. Her ancillary pool is Mace Mastery, with power picks in Leadership, Medicine, and Concealment. Her notable powers are as follows:

  • [Fireteam] Red is proficient soldier, but an even better commander.The elite Marchen security contractors she leads are heavily armed and well trained, with her bringing the knowledge and tools needed to let them punch above their weight class and defeat strong supernatural foes.
  • [Sniper Support] Wielding a powerful Malta Group anti-material rifle, Red uses the accurate, long-range covering fire for support, eliminating key targets, and to goad or lure enemies into ambushes the rest of the team can take advantage of.
  • [Communications Officer] Expert leadership and an inspiring presence. Marchen has invested much into the fireteam, and isn't interested in throwing their lives away lightly. If gravely injured, a Marchen operative will drop smoke and flash grenades, and escape in the confusion. Hiding nearby, they wait for Red to give the all clear for them to regroup or rejoin the fray. 
  • [Field Medic] Though one of the Marchen agents (Ziegel) has medic training, Red is the one dropping out field medkits for the group to grab from, giving on the spot healing, and is more proficient at getting her troops patched up and ready to fight again. She also carries stim-packs used to numb pain and increase aggression, though they are hazardous to the user's health, and distributed only sparingly.
  • [Sapper] Web grenades, caltrops, razor wire, C4 booby traps, CS and nerve gas, RR Hood can rig hallways or doorways to slow enemy advances, leaving the target in a defilade with no cover, getting shot to pieces, if she doesn't just blow them up on the spot. Marchen operatives don't fight fair except as a last resort.
  • [Drone Control] A small remote-controlled turret loaded with solvent chemical rounds, and a pair of commercial quadcopter drones with a duct-taped flashbang grenade. Cheap, disposable, effective. Their crudeness does not mean they should be underestimated.
  • [Forcefield Engineer] The most future-tech part of the team's kit, a Sky-Raider forcefield generator. Red carries a special amplifier that boosts its effectiveness for herself specifically, and can overload the generator to create a nigh-impenetrable barrier for a short time.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 5: Seed 15 Kilauea versus Seed 18 RR Hood


The reverberating 'THOOM' of the demolition charges going off echoed through the mall, the shockwave shattering the huge domed skylight that took up most of the ceiling and bringing down a crystalline rain of broken glass. The glowing glyphs on the stone obelisk winked out, cracks running through it before it slowly, ponderously toppled over. 

Red clicked the detonator in her hand a few more times out of habit, before stowing it on her belt. "Who even buys an obelisk as sculpture for a shopping mall. Get a fountain or something." She complained, turning to go, her fireteam falling in beside her. "I don't know. I rather liked it. Just a shame about the soul-devouring runes of zombie summoning." "Indeed. More malls need menacing black obelisks." "It adds a certain gravitas to the american shopping experience you don't get otherwise."

Red gave her squadmates a suspicious stare, but his expression was unreadable behind the gas mask. Sarcasm had been elevated to an art form amongst the fireteam, who'd leaned into their status as faceless gas-mask goons, who now were competing to say the wildest or stupidest things with a straight face. Red was confident that Holzfaller, her heavy weapons operative, was currently wearing a shit-eating grin behind the mask. Unable to prove it, she opted to instead sigh and continue on towards the exit. 

Kilauea felt that orange flash wash over her, the searing heat of the heart of a volcano as she jolted forward, landing with one bent knee and one palm flat on the floor, quickly rising and starting to sprint forward. Khallisti Wharf was underpoliced, underpatrolled, and it had taken time for the garbled reports of a zombie horde to filter their way back to the city proper and onto PPD scanners. She'd teleported here directly, which meant no backup, no teammates.. her heart was pounding as she rushed forward, blinking forward in snaps and bursts of flame. She had just barely started to note the scattered, rotted corpses that had been shredded by gunfire when she turned the corner and nearly ran headlong into a squad of gun-toting troops. 

The two parties just stared at each other for a moment before the leader, a girl wearing a red cape and hood, barked out an order. She knew English, some Pidgin Hawaiian, a little Korean and Japanese, but not whatever language the girl was speaking. She was pretty confident in the meaning, though: 'Light the cape up'. She panic-teleported backwards, then to the side, ducking into a side store as the chatter of suppressed automatic rifles filled the mall. 
"Fall back! Fall back!" Red was already shouting orders. Her squad was already dashing into cover, entering overwatch. She dropped into a baseball slide, one hand modestly holding her skirt down as she slid across the polished mall tile behind a large chunk of cursed obelisk. She froze there, willing her heart to stop pounding as she assessed the situation. Wizards where actually the worst. That sudden flashy appearance of a caster had all the trademarks of a 'Scry and Die', the industry term for a peevish magician using magic to locate you, teleporting directly to your location, and killing you (and the rest of your squad) with magic before you could react. 

Smart wizards, though, waited until you were asleep. Really powerful ones would drop a time stop or something equally nasty so you didn't have a chance to fight back, or would just send a powerful bound demon instead of coming themselves. What they didn't do was get startled and dive for cover. So.... 
She cleared her throat, speaking in English. "This is Red Riding Hood of Marchen Security Services. Identify yourself!"
"I'm, um, Kilaeua! I'm a hero! Well, a sidekick." The brown-skinned girl peeked out from behind a rack of clothes, staring at the fireteam. After a second's consideration, Red gestured for weapons down. "...Understood. MSS has already secured the area, the artifact has been neutralized. The situation is under control." "Lucky cape. We've already done your job for you." Red shot Ziegel, their medic, a glower. Thankfully he'd chosen to snark in German, and not senselessly aggravate the situation. "Our mission is already complete. We'll be handing the custody of the site to you, and-"

"Wait wait wait. You said 'Marchen'?" "Marchen Security Services, yes." There was a pause. Very faintly the loud 'click click click' of the virtual keyboard carried over the battlefield. "...Hey! This says you're villains!" "We're a PMC. Mercenaries." "Either way, you've got a warrant.. You're under arrest!" "...Negotiations have broken down. Fuchs, one pipe tear gas into the lingerie shop." "My pleasure." The spec-ops' rifle snapped up, launching a tumbling canister of choking smoke from its underbarrel mount.

The attack had the desired effect of driving the young heroine out of cover, but the team had underestimated the fiery dominator. She flashed past the cordon, and in the she seconds of confusion while they re-aquired their targets, slapped her hands together, the ground ripping open and molten spears of rock lancing out beneath the Marchen fireteam. The earth started to rumble, sending riflemen rocking and staggering, the power of a volcanic eruption spinning from Kilauea's fingertips. The second they started to get their bearings, a new issue would present itself: Deep fissures gushing out choking volcanic ash, a crushing grip of molten stone, a rain of searing hot embers, flaming spears of obsidian. Through it strode Kilauea, untouched by it all, unshaken by the eruption that was happening all around her, finding the Marchen troopers and hurling clinging volcanic napalm at them. Shadowing her was a looming shape in the ash and smoke, a lumbering stone giant that soaked up gunfire like it was nothing, delivering bone-crushing punches and brute smashing strikes.

"Normal rounds are bouncing right off the thing's hide! Cover me, I'm swapping to AP!"
"Fucking hell, I can't breathe! This stuff goes right through the mask! I'm falling back!"
"Frags out! Watch your heads!" "I'm hit, I'm hit! Shit, Medic!" "Red, I'm pinned! Dropping a flash and getting the fuck out!" "I'M ON FIRE!" "Orders, ma'am!? ORDERS?!"
"I've got webnade on the rock monster. Drop your webs on it if you have them, lock it down. Medkit is down, grab supplies if you need bandages or ammo. Flash out if you need to retreat. Anyone who needs immediate medical attention come to me. Call out the mage if you see her, we need to focus fire on-"
There was a combination of crunch and electric buzzing noise as the pale blue-green filter over Red's vision that she was used to seeing receded. "Force fields are down. Everyone, smoke and flash out. None of you are fireproof, I don't care how badly you want to play with the lava monster, you are leaving the zone of engagement. Ziegel, take care of the wounded...."

The smoke was starting to thin out, not that it had ever really impaired her vision. The orange-tinted thermal goggles she wore with her costume had been a gift from a gadgeteering hero, a present that she didn't actually need but hadn't had the heart to refuse, and usually wore on her forehead instead. She held a small circular stone in each hand, wreathed in flame and ready to throw, as she carefuly surveyed the collateral damage. These mercenaries were squirrely, and always seemed to run away instead of properly getting defeated, but she was pretty sure they were mostly gone now. She hadn't exactly been keeping track, admittedly... 

She heard a loud SLAM at the edge of her vision, and instantly blinked towards it. It was one of the large, heavy staff only doors. "Oh no you don't...! You're not getting away!" Flinging the door open, she saw that familiar red cape and hood, rushing forward to grab the fleeing villainess. Her sense of triumph faded as she hauled back, the bundled red fabric in her hand, the mop that it'd been propped up on falling over. Looking around, she realized she was in a small utilities closet, full of janitorial supplies, and that she'd just been duped by the equivalent of a coat propped up on a stick. 

A sharp whistle made her whirl around. Without her hood on, Red's hair was blonde, done up in high, girlish pigtails, her face still obscured behind the gas mask and it's tinted lenses. One gloved hand waved, while the other held up a small electronic device. Kilauea had just enough time to register the arch of C4 blocks stuck around the doorframe before the super-merc squeezed the detonator. 

The explosion was terrific, and Red was an experienced connoiser. Maybe it was the lava-girl's powers, or the constrained space, or maybe some of the cleaning chemicals had been flammable. Either way, it was shockingly loud, sudden, and violent, with an impressive gout of flame to go with it. Out of habit, she clicked the detonator several more times before stowing it. That had been closer than she woud have liked, and-
The fire banked suddenly, as if being dragged away by some reverse backdraft, sucked into the sillhouette that stood up in the blazing conflagration. The symbols on her skin were ablaze with vibrant orange light, now more in common with the earth's core than with a banked fire. The flame had gathered around her like a corona, a halo of flame gathering behind her like a symbol of divine authority. 
-...and superpowered enemies never made things easy. She was out of traps, out of explosives, out of...
"Red. Squad has regrouped and is in position. Give the word." A ferocious grin found its way to her lips. Not out of friends. "Open fire! All-out attack!"

A hail of fully automatic gunfire, grenades, even a rocket launcher rained down, but Kilauea was riding high on a surge of divine power. Round 2, same as Round 1.... Eruptions, rains of fire, the enemies sent scattering. That was the plan, but this time their attack was much more savage, fearless. They weren't coming in off-guard and surprised like last time, but confronting a known enemy. They knew her tricks, eluding her snares and stuns, fighting through the chaos of her assault to strike and fade, attacking from another flank to keep her pinned, unable to pursue any of them without opening herself up to a back-attack. They began to press her, and she started to sweat, to breathe hard, pushed to her limits. Her vision started to swim, as fatigue pressed down.


The tips of her fingertips were numb. 

She glanced down. The little canister at her feet was hissing quietly, but no smoke was coming out. Nothing visible... Oh.

She fell hard. It should have been painful, but the ache of the bruise felt very distant. Those blond twintails, devil horns over a blank inhuman face, leaned into her field of view. 
"She's down. Safeties on. We're done here. Prepare to exfiltrate." Undoing the straps, she pulled her mask off, Kilauea struck by just how young she was. Red knelt over her, affixing the gas mask to her face. "Here. You don't want to breathe in any more of that than you already have." Kilauea weakly protested, trying to bat away the slim, calloused fingers from her face, but her arms wouldn't obey her. "...I'm a mercenary. Not a villain. There's a difference." "..." "No hard feelings, Hero. This is just a job."



Kilauea v s RR Hood
Deals high amounts of Fire famage and some Smashing. Slightly resists Smashing, Lethal, Fire and Cold ✔️   Deals high amounts of Lethal with some Smashing, Fire, and Toxic. Slightly resists Toxic.
Powerful Mez Capability (Hold, Stun, Immobilize)     Powerful Mez Resistance
Invisibility     Bonus Perception
Good AoE Capablity ✔️   Multiple Pets
Eludes Ranged attacks     Heightened accuracy
Teleporter mobility     Caltrops and Webnades
Traps are cheating!   ✔️ Trip Mines and Gas Traps
Trump: Spirit Blaze. Revive at full health in a pyroclastic explosion once.   ✔️ Trump: All-out-Assault. Fire resistance, bonus damage, full mez immunity
Just a sidekick   ✔️ A rookie can't defeat a professional!


This was a a real close match, because both of these girls are extremely powerful. Another Dominator/Mastermind matchup, Kilauea has huge mez and huge AoE damage to burn down whole packs of enemies, with Domination for irresistable mezzes.... Except that Serum (All-out-Assault) makes the henchmen basically Mez Immune. I love both these alts and I feel bad shutting down Kilauea, she would have gone far in the tournament, but I just have to give the very slight edge to RR Hood, she's one of the few characters I have that can roll through high difficulty content on her lonesome.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Our seed 10, the heroic Stalker, is Joyce 'The Mushroom Witch' Hewet.

Joyce is getting close to her 450th birthday, having been born in the mid 1570s, in England. Poor farmers, her family decided to risk their life and goodwell traveling to the New World under the stewardship of one John White, who was to found a new colony there. The trip did not go as planned, stranded on and island by a mutinous navigator, arriving at the end of summer with no time to plant a crop. The native tribes were largely hostile, and the one friendly group soon had relations soured when an expedition stumbled on and then fired upon them, mistaking them for an unfriendly tribe. 

With supplies dwindling, winter approaching, their leader, White, returned to england to request more supplies and to inform the crown that the colony had not been founded in the expected place. As food and hope both dwindled, an unexpected group of visitors arrived at the colony. Towering men with the bodies of trees and the heads of pumpkins, the Fir Bolg were immigrants to this new world themselves. Irish warriors, they had once been the lords and people of Ireland, a council of royals under High King Eochai, who was said to have been the perfect king. Despite fearing these monsters, the people of Roanoke recalled the teachings of their god, and agreed to shelter and feed these strangers.

For a time, things seemed to improve: The Fir Bolg were mighty warriors, well-equipped to defend the colony, and strong workers, capable of felling trees, uprooting stumps, and tilling soil barehanded, mighty hunters, they brought game and fish back to the colony. Wariness gave way to respect and friendship. But it was not to last, for the Fir Bolg had been pursued.
The Fir Bolg, kings of Ireland, had been invaded by the tribe of Tuatha De Danaan, and the powerful gods that united them. While the Fir Bolg were mighty, with their champion, Streng, cutting the hand from King Nuada of the Tuatha De in a single stroke. The battle had raged for four days, until the god of war and fate, The Morrigan, deigned to intervene, striking a dark bargain: In exchange for the lives and souls of many of the Men of Tuatha, she would receive the alliance and aid of the Red Caps, vile and dark fey spirits. With the combined armies of the Tuatha De and the Red Caps, the Fir Bolg were defeated, driven from Ireland, with their beloved king Eochai slain in personal combat with the Morrigan.

The Red Caps took their owed slaves, contract fulfilled. While the gods of the Tuatha De were willing to let the Fir Bolg flee, the Red Caps considered there was still fun to be had. Taking the Tuatha De they were owed and twisting them into bestial, monstrous shapes, they hounded the Fir Bolg, cursing them with pumpkin heads and wooden bodies, setting their Tuatha servants on them, chasing them over land and sea, through the mortal realm and through the spirit world. Though the Fir Bolg thought they had escaped, the Red Caps were unwilling to release their new toys just yet.

The Red Caps, the Tuatha De, emerged from the spirit realm in great numbers, enraged that the Fir Bolg had, for a short time, eluded them, and driven to even greater heights of wrath that they had earned succor and comfort. For spoiling their fun, they extracted a great price from the Roanoke colonists. Luring the Fir Bolg away, they entered and rounded up every human inhabitant of the colonist, and proceeded to butcher each and every man living there. The Fir Bolg returned to see their protectors dead, their wives and daughters weeping, and knew they had lost their home for a second time. 

Dragged into the spirit world to be subject again to the Red Caps cruel games, the women of Roanoke formed a dark Cabal. Spirits, Fairies, did not properly understand magic. God had abandoned them, so it seemed, to this strange hell. Unaging, undying, the woman of Croatoa turned to secret, dark arts. Though a young woman at the time, Joyce was among them; though she never took to the same sorceries that her fellow witches did. Her interest was not in the sky, the lightning, but in root and rot, earth and mushroom. Strange brews, stranger potions, bottled and molded magic trapped in staffs and wands. She is one of the few Cabal that must ride a broom to fly, but the vile and toxic poisons she created killed Red Caps just as well as a bolt of lightning. 

Joyce has lived a long life at war. Loss and gain, sorrow and joy. She has felt the warmth of friendship, comradery, even romantic love with her sisters in the Cabal and their Fir Bolg allies. Even though the Cabal has escaped the spirit world, made peace with the heroes of Paragon City, and received their aid in the endless supernatural war against the Red Caps, outsiders find the Cabal strange, unsettling, and Joyce is no exception. She tends to keep to herself as a result; venturing out of Croatoa only to test some new alchemical concoction on the villains of Paragon City. While generously one could say she is focused on ending the war, in truth she wants to massacre the Redcaps, to genocide them down to the last wicked fey. With such a dark goal in mind, her methods and means both sinister, she is a poor fit for a hero. Still, she still cannot help but intercede on the behalf of imperiled citizens; her memories of the redcap massacre too strong to let her leave innocent civilians at the predations of cruel and dangerous villains.


The Mushroom Witch is a Magic Stalker with Staff Fighting and Bio Armor as her powersets. Her ancillary pool is Dark Mastery, with pool picks in Flight and Fighting. Her notable powers are as follows:

  • [Witch's Broom] If you need to carry a broom around to be able to fly, you might as well be able to hit people with it. Hence, the broom is magically reinforced. If you're going to hit people with a broom, you might as well get good at it: Hence, the practice staff fighting. If you're going to use a broom to staff fight, you might as well use it to distribute your signature poisons. So, the bristles of the broom conceal a mass of poisonous fungus, that emits puffs of choking, toxic spores on impact. Ironically, this means that the broom is incapable of sweeping anymore. Is it really still even a broom?
  • [Potions of Power] Potions that turn the skin as durable as an ancient oak tree's bark, potions that give the strength of ten men, potions that make the drinker invincible, super-fast, intelligent, fast-healing... when your primary skill is brewing, you'd take time to pre-buff before fights, too. With no native attribute boosts, the temporary enhancements help her keep up with superpowered foes. 
  • [Mushroom Expertise] More long-term magical experiments have lead to strange and specific breakthroughs. Mushrooms that sprout out of the skin, allowing her to cushion her body with a fungal shield, or siphon the life out of enemies and transmit it back to her. Some speculate that the witch herself must be at least half mushroom herself to make these strange magics work.
  • [Hallucinogenic Spores] Always creating a cloud of spores from her body, those affected find their senses pleasantly dulled, their mind wandering, allowing the witch to pass by unmolested. Up close, the affect is even more potent. Some opponents even doze off, going to sleep in the middle of combat. For those of stronger will, a faceful of spores blown from the palm will generally placate them, allowing the witch to escape or launch a new and deadly counterattack. 

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At seed 23 and marking our second Stalker-Versus-Controller match, we have Sergio 'Mr. Krampus' Romano, the mafia magician and kidnapping specialist.

To all accounts, Mr. K just showed up one day in Paragon City, offering his services as a wizard to the Frost Cartel. While friendly and chatty, when pressed about his origins he leaves the details deliberately vague. He states he was born in Italy, but not where, exactly, beyond 'the north'. He claims to have had his horns, hooves, tusks and fur since he was a child, leaving his actual age unknown beyond 'younger than 85'. He makes a great many claims about his life, none of which can be verified. Sergio Romano may not actually even be his real name. 
He claims to have grown up in a loving household, to two open-minded parents willing to look past their baby's 'monstrous deformity'. Despite or because of his devilish looks, he received a strict religious upbringing, instilled with a strong moral compass, and even served as a deacon for several years, to the general discomfort of his church's laity. He claims, as well, that he abandoned the church to focus on secular matters, focusing on earning money to support his aging, ailing parents. He claims to have found the love of his life, made her his wife, had a daughter, focusing then on being a good parent. He became a pillar of the community, known, respected. He was even approached by a local secret society who thought he had the makings of a fine magician, strong of will and intellect, with the moral clarity to use his powers for good. Under their tutelage, he began to unlock the secrets of magic, the mysteries of the universe opening up to him.

 He says that at this point he began to suspect that something must be seriously wrong with him.

The love of his parents, his wife, his daughter. The wealth and the comforts that wealth brought, expensive clothing, cars, a house, good food and wine. Devoting himself to the service of others, doing good in his community, the respect of others, giving himself to God. The study of the occult, the power of magic, the knowledge of unearthly mysteries. Not a single one of these things had ever made him happy. He had everything, and it meant nothing. A creeping emptiness overtook him, a hollow brokenness that he masked with a facade of cheer. He continued to be the friendly neighborhood mutant, a devout Christian, a loving husband, a doting father. 

His story on just what happened that caused him to realize his true nature varies. Sometimes Sergio sometimes claims to have simply realized the truth one day, while other times that self-defense against a mugger escalated to beating the man nearly to death. Other times he'll claim he coldly, calculatedly, killed a sleeping man with an icicle, simply because he knew he could kill without being caught. The conclusion was the same: He was a sadist, a natural born villain. Where everything in his life thus far had left him unfulfilled, domination, destruction, the suffering of others, the bullying of the weak and helpless, sent an electric thrill down his spine. Soon, he began looking at his wife and even his daughter, dark thoughts the terrible thing he could do to them at war with his conscience, the horrified part of him that was appalled by these new urges. 

So, he departed. Like anything else he did, it was meticulously planned. Insurance was purchased, his affairs put in order. His parents were moved into his home, a gardener, maid, and cook employed. His businesses had all essentially run themselves. He did find it a regrettable waste, watching his expensive luxury subcompact go careening through a railing and over a cliff, down into the sharp rocks and ocean below. But he already had a ticket to the Rogue Isles paid for in cash, and a boat to catch. His old life was left behind for one of crime and debauchery in Port Oakes. 

His arrival, his ingratiation to governor Don Manuel Marcone, are some of the first parts of Sergio's story that can be independently verified. Knowing how to properly baffle magical surveillance and tracking was worth its weight in gold, and Mr Krampus, as he called himself, after the alpine fairytale of a child-tormenting demon, was quickly made a Made Man for what his specialized skills offered the organization. When the Don was arrested by Interpol and the Port Oakes succession crisis cum mob war started, Krampus became a terrifying independent force. While he still performed his magical services protecting the now-split Mooks and Marcones from the authorities, he entered the fray against both sides with obvious delight, freezing street soldiers solid and trapping them in twisting, warping snowstorms. 

It was during this war that he got his nickname, Mister Krampus, the goat-demon, the child-punishing demon of alpine folklore. And it was for good reason: Krampus had no compunctions using a mafioso's family against them, wailing sons and daughters stuffed into his wicker bag to be ransomed back to them. Kidnapping became an especial forte and passion for him, the fear and pain of both parent and child exciting him. His skill in magic has only grown since that war, though his methods have not: He now works for the disparate Families of Paragon and the Rogue isles, traveling between them for simple maintenance of magical wards and for specialist jobs against even terrifying organizations like Arachnos and the Malta Group. Anywhere someone's loved ones are a potential weakness, for the right price, he would be there.

Publicly, Krampus revels in his villainy. Privately, he is lost, disillusioned, and confused. He was raised with a strong sense of morals, and faith in God. That faith is in tatters now, as he does not understand why God would create someone so inclined towards evil, why he would be born with such frightening devilish features and an inclination towards malice, but a nagging sense of guilt from a long-abused but never extinguished conscience. His magical training has given him deep insight into demons and the netherworld, but barely a scrap of information about heaven. He does not understand why he cannot enjoy anything but villainy, and yet has enough of a functioning moral compass to regret his evil deeds. His theurgic magic, binding spirit and demons to fuel his abilities, has revealed hidden truths about the ancient gods of the world that have shaken his belief that a supreme creator god could actually exist. His escalating evil deeds are, on some level, a challenge to the heavens themselves; daring them to smite him, to destroy him for his wickedness. The lack of any response only leaves him more uncertain.

Mr. Krampus is a Magic Controller, with Ice Control and Time Manipulation as his powersets. HIs ancillary pool is Psionic Mastery, with pool picks in Fighting and Sorcery. His primary powers are as follows:

  • [Mutant Body] Though is powers have nothing to due with his mutations, Krampus is larger, heavier, stronger and more Durable than he should be, with horns, tusks, hooves, a tail, and a surprisingly long tongue. His visage recalls satyrs or some depictions of the Devil. While not super-durable or strong, he has a very nasty right hook.
  • [Theurgic Sorcery] Mr. Krampus's magic is based on theurgic, rather than thaumaturgic principles. While a thaumaturge would use a particular spell to warp reality to, for example, light a candle, a theurge would entreat, bargain, or force a spirit of fire to grant them some of its ability to control flames, on a short or long term basis. Krampus is on speaking terms with a hole coterie of wicked spirits, giving him a broad spread of abilities he can invoke.
  • [Spirit of Bitter Winter] Krampus's feared ability to freeze enemies solid with just a glance is due to his pact with a spirit of winter ice. Krampus can focus his abilities on a single target to freeze them solid, on a crowd to immobize them, or on the ground itself to create a slippery near-frictionless ice patch. While he's not truly immune to the cold himself, his hooves have good traction and a heavy winter coat helps against the worst of it.
  • [Spirit of the Winter Horde] Entreating with Lady Winter, one of the Elemental Lords, Krampus has secured the loyalty of members of the Winter Horde, which he may call into the world for the purpose of freezing anything they see.
  • [Spirit of the Hunt] A savage and predatory elfin hunter, this malicious fey invoked brings speed and accuracy to Krampus' motions, an instinctive understanding of the flow of combat that borders on prescience.
  • [Spirit of Benevolence] The first spirit Krampus, Sergio, ever made a pact with. A spirit of light and kindness, it has strangely never abandoned him no matter how blackened his soul become. With its gifts, Sergio can quicken the healing of wounds.
  • [Spirit of Memories] A spirit that can call forth painful or regretful memories. Krampus' joking ability to 'know who has been naughty' is somewhat true, due to this spirit, which tears at the mind.
  • [The Snowglobe] A power that is part theurgy, part thaumaturgy. A whirling spherical snowstorm 50 feet across, with Krampus in the center. Those inside find their minds, spirits, and bodies attacked by the cold, the ephemeral memories, and the host of wicked spirits that Krampus controls. Many lose their sanity and attack their colleagues, all find themselves slowed, unable to attack or retreat. The snowglobe is a zone where Krampus has control over the battlefield, with only the mightiest enemies able to resist its effect.
  • [Wards] Krampus, meticulous bordering on paranoid, layers protections. The spirit of the hunt's blessing, his own combat expertise, a magically-armored long coat, and several spells that fortify his concentration against interruption. Losing focus and having his spells be interrupted is death for a mage.
  • [Runeworking] An area of magic that Krampus merely dabbles in, runes of protection and destruction are within his arsenal. The rune of destruction creates a frozen sigil that strikes a foe for great damage, while the rune of protection wards him against harm or distraction.
  • [Stiletto] Ice control lets him drip a long, thin, razor-sharp icicle that is sturdy enough to use as a stabbing knife, used when fighting with his own fists is unwise for some reason.
  • [High-speed incantation] Elocution lessons and a working knowledge of spellcraft let Krampus say the magic words faster, more precisely, and taking shortcuts that reduce the length of the build-up of his non-theurgic powers. Faster casting is good, but despite all his protections against anything that would snare or silence him, Krampus occasionally tires himself out and bites his own tongue trying to cast too quickly, interrupting all his active spells and usually prompting a rapid retreat before his enemies come to their senses.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 6: Seed 10 Mushroom Witch versus Seed 23 Mr. Krampus


The flames had risen from a merry crackling to the roar of a bonfire, flames consuming the row of houses. The firbombs had done their work. Mr. Krampus pulled a flask from an inner pocket at his coat, taking a swig as he surveyed his handiwork. Overdrive, Miss Thistle, Sky Dragon, Desdemona. Four of Paragon's heroes encased in ice, frozen solid. Arson wasn't his usual line of work, but...

The impact was like a sledgehammer to the spine, sending him spinning, staggering. The clump of sizzling alchemical mycellium took root, starting to transform his longcoat into a bed of mushrooms. Reflexively, he sent out a pulse of cold, freezing the sprouting spores and sending them sloughing off to crumble to powder on the ground.

Turning, he faced off against his assailant, a petite witch of the Cabal, riding sidesaddle on a broom, another potion bottle of sizzling green and brown extract. The burning houses were already being extinguished, curtains of fuzzy brown mold expanding and smothering the flame. The Mushroom Witch, one of Croatoa's inhabitants: Though she rarely came this far into the town proper. 

"Just so you know. Salamanca has its own problems. The ghosts from those who have passed on haunt the city, our Fir Bolg allies get into destructive brawls with the Tuatha de Danaan. The redcaps steal things, and people, to take back to their tunnels and fortresses in the hills. Even my sisters get so excited by the idea of men that they take leave of their senses and start trying to corner townsfolk, making the whole situation worse..."

She moved forward in a flash, going from seated on the broom to whirling down, holding it like a staff and bringing it down like a hammer, cracking the pavement. "So we ABSOLUTELY don't need Villains from the city coming here to make more trouble! So sorry, 'sir'. I'm going to make an exception to my normal rules and use all the curses and poisons to make an example of you."

"...Cheeky little brat, aren't you." Krampus took a moment to crack his neck and muscles, gathering up spiritual power, the winds picking up, whirling around in a freezing whirlwind, blowing away the gathering loud of mushroom spores the little witch was putting out. "I already took out four capes, and you still jumped right in, talking big about how you're not going to hold back." ice dripped from his fingertips, forming some long, sharp claws of ice, that clatterred to the ground as he flipped the largest, sharpest icicle up into his hand, holding it like a stiletto. "Think I'll take you home as a trophy, kiddo. You're about the right size to fit in my sack, and I can't say I've got a witch in my collection yet."

Rushing forward, he used a few quick jabs followed by a lunge, the swirling maelstrom of magic surrounding the both. Ice grew thick on the Mushroom Witch's limbs, the whirling snow blinding her until the last minute, spectres and phantasms just at the edge of vision, suggestions of luring or horrifying scenes just out of view in the blizzard. She had the longer weapon by a good few feet, an advantage that would be dominating in an ordinary fight but with all the advantages afforded her opponent it was enough to barely keep her in the fight, as the ground grew ice-slick, the growing weight of ice on her body bore her to the ground, negating her flight, a shape lurking in the flurries sometimes being a trick or illusion, sometimes being the villain coming in with a frozen knife and murderous intent.

She scored a few good hits here and there, but he'd always just step back and use magic to renew himself, healing before returning to the fray. She did the same, driving him off and then going in to quickly swallow one of her many healing potions. They danced back and forth, roaming from the back streets to the plaza to the village's henge, the roaming snowstorm concealing the brawl from any that would observe their duel. Krampus's stamina slowly faltered and flagged. Eventually, he made a mistake, though a brief one: a stuttered syllable, accidentally biting his own tongue, left a flickering gap in the conjured whirlwind, his impenetrable snowglobe. Through half-frozen, the witch rushed forward with her broom held like a spear, slow, clumsy, numb. Slow enough for him to catch the little girl by the throat, lifting her up before planting the icicle in her guts, stabbing her violently and leaving the sharp spike of ice lodged in her, frost growing over the wound to keep her from bleeding out.

"Finally got you, you little shit." He panted, exhausted and enraged. Any further taunts or banter got cut off, a bar of wood planted firmly across his throat, a pair of buckled shoes planted between his shoulderblades. The floating witch's broom served as an improvised garotte, strangling the Controller as he flailed about. The witch that he'd held in his hands a second ago, that he'd stabbed with his knife, had vanished, while the girl held on for dear life as she choked him unsoncious. "...Your storm let up just long enough for me to dose you with some spores. You must have been hallucinating something naughy, mister!" 
Krampus raged and gurgled, scrabbling at the broomhandle, throwing elbowing strikes back at the Stalker riding his back, but with no breath, he couldn't incant, couldn't cast any spells. His vision turned red, then black, as blood and breath were denied him, and he fell to the cobbled streets like a sack of bricks. 

"...Geeze, so troublesome..." She sighed, looking around. Frozen heroes, mushroom-covered houses, unconscious villain. "...There's going to be such a fuss about all this... can I just fly away and let somebody else deal with it...?



The Mushroom Witch v s Mr. Krampus
Deals Smashing and Toxic Damage.
Strongly resists Smashing and Lethal damage.
Powerful self heals and regeneration.
✔️   Deals Cold, Smashing, Energy and Psionic Damage. Eludes ranged damage. Self-heals
Invisible     Snowglobe counters stealth
Flies     Flies and Teleports
Mez Reistance     Mez Capability (Holds, Immobilizes, Knockdown)
No Confusion Resistance   ✔️ Mez Capability (Confusion Aura)
Resists some Movespeed/Recharge debuffs, does not resist -Dam, -Acc)   ✔️ Horrible scrungling Debuff Aura
High spike damage can overwhelm self-heals and regeneration ✔️   Deals damage gradually, limited ability to spike
Decent AoE capability     A single pet
Looks like a kid   ✔️ A kidnapper
An Enchantress with centuries of experience ✔️   A Theurge with decades of experience


Hmmm. So, I'm having a lot of trouble calling this one. Mr. Krampus is *way* stronger than his seed number would imply, but The Mushroom Witch is quite powerful in her own right. Magic, Might, and Subterfuge, they're both quite skilled in multiple areas. Even their qualities are something of a back and forth. I'm going to hold off on declaring a winner for this one just yet while I ponder. 


EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: Eventually, I have to hand this one to Mushroom Witch. As much as I wanted Krampus to win and show off that Controllers can punch over their weight class, in this case Joyce just has the upper hand. 

Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At Seed 14, we have the heroic sentinel, Indira the Tibetan.

Yeti are a white-furred beast-man race of cryptids native to the Himalayas. Poorly documented, they are generally seen as unsophistocated hunters and gatherers. Tibetan Buddhists, who most often observed these creatures, considered them to be mebers of the Tiryagyoni, or animal world. Separated from humans by ignorance, a lack of clarity, they exist mostly on instinct.

However, some monasteries dispute this, stating that Yeti are close enough to Human to be able to follow Dharma, live righteously, improve their karma, and achieve a better rebirth when the time comes. Some Monasteries will have Yeti students, or even have them promoted to full monks. 

In March of 2012, the spiritual world shook as the ancient carthiginian god of death, Mot, escaped from his prison, awakening and returning to the mortal world. Sensing the danger that this dread soul-eater could do to the cycle of Samsara, Indira, one of the yeti monks, was dispatched to Paragon City to deal with this emergent threat. Fighting alongside heroes, villains, the Circle of Thorns and the Tsoo, Mot was sealed away again, this time, permanently. 

Though the threat that Mot posed had passed, Indira did not feel her work in the city was done. While the Tsoo had proven to be steadfast allies, the Circle of Thorns had revealed their true nature: populated with demon summoners, death mages, and soul-stealers; they were a threat to reincarnation itself, just as Mot had been. As well, the Banished Pantheon had been struck a blow but not defeated entirely, and their hungry gods thirsted for humanity. Even the Carnival of Shadows posed a threat to the spiritual journey that humanity must undertake. 

So, the yeti monk has remained in Paragon City, a strange traveler. Her journey is hindered by her naivete with the modern world, as well as the fact that nobody in Paragon seems to speak her particular yeti dialect of ancient Tibetan. Being almost entirely unable to communicate with her allies restricts her less than you'd think.


Tibetan is a Magic Sentinel with Ice Blast and Ice Armor as he powersets. Her Ancilary pool is Leviathan Mastery, with pool picks in Leaping and Fighting. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [Yeti Physiology] Taller, Stronger, Sturdier. Substantially hairier. Capable of leaping and climbing great distances. Also adapted for a much colder climate.
  • [White Crane Style] Not a simple brute, the Tibetan uses her ogreish Yeti strength to deadly effect refined through human martial arts.
  • [Vajra] A Tibetan Buddhist ritual object, the Vajra represents the indestructibility of the diamond as well as the power of the thunderbolt. The focus allows her to manipulate her qi to powerful effects.
  • [Winter-Bellows Lung Attack] Transmutes the lungs into a furnace where qi is recirculated and refined, transmuting the air into a frigid blast.
  • [Diamond Rain Meditation] Spreads one's qi into a cloud, hardening into cold, hard fragments that rain down in a blizzard.
  • [Unyielding Mountain Technique] Sheathing the hands and feet in frozen qi, they may be projected as freezing bolts that spread clinging frost across the opponent.
  • [Seven-layer Diamond Armor Style] Seven layers of Qi shroud the body, each a powerful defense. Protecting from physical blows, energies, spiritual attacks, healing oneself, promoting good health, and promoting a sturdy body are the first six. The seventh is used only in an emergency.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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At seed 19, we have Red Tezcatlipoca, Lord of the East, Xipe Totec('s Cursed Gold Idol).

In Aztec mythology, the four Tezcatlipoca were born of the creator diety and made to rule over the four cardinal direction. Xipe Totec, 'Our Flayed Lord', was lord of the east, was a dual-natured diety. A god that presided over life, death, and rebirth, Xipe Totec's portfolio was associated with spring, fertility, and rebirth, as well as death, war, and disease. As a snake sheds its skin, or maize sheds its husk, Xipe totec would ritualistically flay himself, peeling away his human skin to reveal the golden god within. In this act of self sacrifice, it drove the forces of renewal, turning death into life and feeding the Aztec people.

The Idol was located in a temple devoted to Xipe Totec, unearthed by archaelogical expeditions in the Pueblo region. Recognized as a cultural treasure, the very real concerns that the idol was cursed, haunted, or otherwise mystically significant prompted them to send the golden statue to North America, to M.A.G.I., for inspection. 

Stolen from M.A.G.I. vaults by the Hellions, the demon-worshippers tried to figure out how to power up what they assumed must be a powerful magical artifact. Correctly identifying it as of Aztec origin, they figured blood sacrifice was worth a shot.Grabbing a little girl off the streets of Skyway City, the Hellions brought her back to their lair in Perez Park, tied her to a stone altar, and cut out her heart, offering her blood as a sacrifice to the idol. 

Whether the spirit had existed beforehand, dwelling dormant within the idol, or if it was generated by the fervent prayer and bloody sacrifice of the cultists is unknown, but something awoke within the idol. A spirit of intermingled blessings and curses, of life and death, resonating with the gold idol, awoke. 

The spirit claims to be the one and true Xipe Totec, a god that loves humanity. Mystics and magicians tend to disagree, though the spirit defiantly and stubbornly continues to claim the title. Whether diminished by a long slumber or newly created, it is naive, innocent of the ways of the world; reinforced when it takes human form, a young girl resembling the sacrifice that awakened it. It simply wishes to grant the prayers of those who pray to it, seemingly out of a sheer desire for worship and a strong desire, or perhaps a need, to be loved by humans. 

The omnibenevolence is somewhat tampered by several factors. The first is an unclear understanding on the natures of blessings and curses. If it was, for example, asked to help win an athletic competition, cursing the opposition with burns and sickness would be seen as equally valid to blessing the devotee with speed and strength. Secondly, the spirit is not omniscient, nor omnipotent: It can perform substantial divine workings in its narrow purview, but everything else has to be performed manually: Praying for a friend to be retrieved from prison will result in the idol smashing through the walls to grab them and haul them back to the hideout with the police hot on their tail. The third is a general lack of knowledge of the modern world, of humanity, and of ethics: All humans are worthy of blessings, and thus even the demon-worshipping hellions were able to extort it to bless and protect them.

Even as it did battle with heroes, passed up the chain from the Hellions to the Warriors, to the Circle of Thorns, moved from Paragon City to the Rogue Isles and back, the wandering idol continues to grow in power, if not in scope. As long as there are mortals who call out for it in their hearts, as long as desires remain unfulfilled, it will continue to attempt to grant their prayers.

The Cursed Gold Idol is a Magic Corruptor with Radiation Blast and Kinetics as its powersets. It's ancilary set is Dark Mastery, with pool picks in Fighting, Leaping, and Leadership. It's notable powers are as follows: 


  • [Body of Divine Gold] Somewhat sturdier and much heavier than flesh. But gold is, after all, a soft metal.
  • [Golden Solar Radiance] The beams of sunlight fired from the idol's palms or the searing red eye beams are the least of its arsenal. For its more powerful attacks, it can summon copies of the previous suns that existed over the aztec pantheon's earlier attempts at creating the world. These blazing orbs are sparks of nuclear fusion releasing the flaming heat and radiation of the sun, from the small [First Sun: Half Light/Half-life], to the enormous blazing [Fifth Sun Flame: Nuclear Fusion]. Of course, throwing around miniature suns is quite dangerous. 
  • [Blessings and Curses in Equal Measure] The Idol curses enemies, and blesses its allies. Their withering turns to our renewal. Their loss is our gain. Their sloth is our haste. Their weakness is our strength. These curses and blessings are quite powerful.
  • [Kneel Before Me] The Idol's radiance is overwhelming. Enemies that stand before it may be stunned, or forced down and made to kneel. Any enemy who kneels before the idol only feeds its megalomania, increasing how ferociously it acts. 
  • [Involuntary Sacrifice] Aztec gods are well known for their affinity for sacrifice. Beyond the curses that steal an enemy's power, the Idol may take from their vitality directly, either to recharge and resume motion after being defeated, or simply to amplify its power. Xipe Totec's great curse, combined with an Involuntary Sacrifice taking from many opponents, can send its attack power to unbelievable heights.
Edited by Crasical

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 7: Seed 14 The Tibetan Versus Seed 19 The Cursed Gold Idol


"Now, as you know, the harmonic resonance of the leyline..."
He was hardly listening. They'd met in Pandora's Box, a shared interest in the occult. A few dinner dates, and now they were in his penthouse hotel room, his hand on her thigh as she chatted happily about magical power sources. 
He raised his hand, grabbing the back of her neck, her face going stoney with shock as he pulled her in and kissed her on the lips. For the first few seconds, it was like kissing a wall, before she began to reciprocate. Hesitant at ffirst, then with more confidence, sharp teeth gently nipping his upper lip, a snarl deep in her throat as she pressed against him. He felt something coiling around his other arm, was that a tail? It began to gently squeeze at him rhythmically, in time with her biting little kisses. Her skin began to grow warm, pleasantly and then painfully, like hot coals were banked just below the skin. He broke the embrace, staring at her while her face flashed between confusion, then anger. 
"...What? Am I not a good kisser?" 
"No, your skin... it's gotten..." There were little whisps of smoke rising from her evening dress at this point.
Glancing down, she flushed. her long, spade-pointed tail uncoiled from his arm. "...Fiendish blood... It's never done that before, though..."

He raised a hand to reassure her, when the window to the room smashed open. A wave of flurrying snow rushed in with a blizzard, dumping cold water over the two lovers, as a heavily bundled figure climbed in through the window. The implausibility of this happening on the 20th floor of the Hotel Geneva was brushed aside as the man recognized the white hair, no, the white fur adorning the intruder's head. Pulling down the heavy muffler, the yeti spoke in an incomprehensible language, pointing at the man. 

"...Ah, so it's you." His eyes flashed with anger, literally, spiritual green fire flickering to life as he slipped his arms under the fiend-blooded mystic, pulling her up into a bridal carry. "I have no idea what you want, beast, but you won't be getting it."

Gathering a ball of whirling cold into a ball of powder snow, the yeti bounced it in her gloved palm once or twice, menacingly, along with another unintelligible statement in Tibetan. Pulling her arm back, she went in for a throw, only for a flash of motion to interpose between her and the Circle of Thorns sorcerer. What she'd taken for just a golden statue had suddenly grown several times larger, and leapt to its feet, taking the attack for the green-eyed mage, who was rapidly abscoding with his paramour. 

The Tibetan pointed angrily at the escaping wizard, shouting something in her native tongue at The Idol. "...I am Xipe Totec. Lord of the East, the Red Tezcatlipoca. I am a god that loves humanity. Those who pray to me, will have their prayers answered. That man...I will protect." The monk and the idol started at each other for a moment. No way to communicate. Nothing to solve this with words. Just a fight.

The drifting snow intensified into a proper blizzard, hail and biting snow and ice sleeting down as the two began to clash, beams of searing light from the idol's eyes deflecting off crystaline frozen armor, swirling darkness swallowing hurled snowballs and shards of ice or the cold just bouncing off the idol's skin. Rays of sunlight so intense they left searing trails in the wallpaper, or a grabbed end table hurled only to break across the idol's monstrous visage; the exchange of fire had little effect, and so the yeti rushed forward, white crane style martial arts landing blows that dented and bent the idols' metal body. 

As the idols' eyes flashed red, a backwards flipping kick struck it on the chin, sending it staggering back, the eye-beams firing up into the ceiling and splitting the canopy of the large luxurious bed as it fell flat onto its back amidst the blankets and pillows. Inhaling deeply, she exhaled a massive cloud of freezing ice, layering itself into a rigid snowbank over her prone opponent. A surge of solar radiation set the comforter ablaze as the ice cracked and the idol rose, hellish, and launched itself back into the fray. 

Its fists were shrouded in luminous golden light, the traded exchange of heat and light amidst the swirling snow sending prismatic rainbows as the two exchanged point-blank blasts and swung fists, fistfuls of freezing cold and flashing kicks and searing rays of light. The Tibetan struck a few mystically significant pressure points, drawing out the idol's qi, only for the idol to drag it back, the two beginning a mystic tug-of-war on their energies. The idol would wash out a flare of solar radiance, the monk would restore herself by channeling her qi to reinforce her diamond armor. They would take the whirling power back and forth, via technique or terrible curses, a technique sending the monks's strength skyrocketing only for it to be stolen, the idol matching her speed, her strength. 

Her breathing faltered, stuttering her qi-based defenses long enough for the ongoing spiritual attack to force her down to her knees, genuflecting before the altar. Re-solidifying her defense, she looked up to see the idol holding a miniature sun, a glowing ball of nuclear fusion over its head like a enormous beach-ball, before bringing it down on her head. She rolled out of the way at the last moment, the explosive blast sending her careening over to the wall, rising unsteadily as the door slammed open. 

"Freeze! PPD!" Several Paragon Police psi-cops rushed in, fingers held comically with a raised thumb, middle finger, and index finger, making finger-guns that they aimed at the intruding yeti. She stared at them incredulously, then glanced at the idol, which had suddenly shrunk itself down to its smaller size and begun to feign immobility. Raising her hands, the Tibetan babbled some excuse or apology, but the telepaths advanced. Frustrated, the yeti finally turned and leaped back out the window, landing on a slightly shorter high-rise some distance away. Foiled this time, but the trail hadn't gone cold just yet.



The Tibetan v s The Cursed Gold Idol
Deals Cold and Smashing damage   ✔️ Deals Energy, resists Smashing
Strong ranged options     Evades Ranged
Strong melee options     Trump card punishes melee
Strong AoE options ✔️   No AoE resistance
Limited self healing   ✔️ Spammable Self Heal
Resistant to both damage and speed debuffs     Some damage and speed debuffs
Mez Resistant ✔️   Mez Vulnerable
Endurance draining attack   ✔️ An even bigger endurance draining attack on a shorter timer


Ice Armor's kind of bad on sentinels, huh.
While getting slept or held would be really bad for The Idol, it also has Transfusion and Transferrence, both of which are ranged-tagged only and go right for the positionals, which Ice doesn't protect. Losing 73% of your endurance in the opening seconds of the fight is hard to recover from, especially since it's going to happen again ten seconds later. All those toggles drop, the Idol has time to set up its damage boosts, and the cycle of hurting begins. Poor Indira. 

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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  • 2 weeks later


I think I'm coming down with a stomach bug or something. Which is apropriate, because after a week off for the 4th of july we're back with Match 8, and our first contestant is the virulent, electric Eve Vahzilok.

Evelyn Vacher was the latest in a long line of proud, french-descended Etoile nationalists. While she may have decried Arachnos' takeover and often referred to the islands under President Oakes and President Marchand as the nation's golden years, she wisely kept her head down. Working as a high-school home-economics teacher, she taught her students how to repair their clothes, how to clean, and how to cook nutripaste to make it halfway palatable, all vital life skills for the often improverished citizens under Arachnos rule.

Evelyn was also living a secret double life. Nothing as dramatic as secret vigilanteism or villainy, but she still had a secret costume, a suit that came with a mask. After school hours were completed, she would frequent secret clubs, where ropes, leather, belts, and other restraints were the order of the day. A little frisson of the forbidden, it was also fairly expensive, especially on a teacher's salary. That's perhaps what brought her into the orbit of a charming, charismatic individual, a shadowy figure that offered to finance her hobby. 

A secret, passionate romance, lavished with praise, toys, and gifts, ended with an offer to have her permenantly bound in belts and leather. Evelyn mistook the offer for a contract for full-time BDSM lifestyle. Tragically, she paid insufficient attention to the fine print; and what she expected to involve light kink ended with her strapped to an operating table, her brain being cut out by one of the mad surgeons of the Vahzilok.

Eve is the first and possibly last Voltaic Eidolon. An experiment by one of the Facemaker's disciples, Eve was given the usual suite of cybernetic, chemical, and surgical augmentations, but with a particular bent towards harnessing bioelectricity. It takes close to a million dollars to make an Eidolon, and 30-45 thousand dollars a month to maintain their bodies with fresh components and rejuvenative drugs. 

Eve's creator saw the inherent problems with this setup, even before Dr. Vahzilok's arrest, before the decaying Eidolons were forced to choose between death, service to Doc Buzzsaw and the Freaklok, or service to The Facemaker. What good was immortality if you weren't truly perpetual, self-sustaining? Exchanging the finite lifespan of a human body for a dependancy on monthly surgical procedures was just a different flavor of limitation. 

Despite their public declarations that Dr. Vahzilok is a criminal and a madman, it's known to those with contacts inside the Crey Corporation that whole divisions are set to analyze the mad doctor's writings and experiments. Crey infiltrators often used to join the Vahzilok as Reapers or Mortificators to learn from him firsthand. During the succession crisis, an opportunity provided itself to trade information with those moles for favors as they pulled out of the collapsing organization: Specifically, for Paragon Protector 'blanks', clones that had not yet been uploaded with personalities. 

Using their own research and the techniques pioneered by Dr. Vahzilok, Eve's Creator blended the power of Paragon Protector regenerators with their own bioelectric mutations: A body that could simply draw on electrical power from outside to kick-start their own regeneration, limitlessly regenerating and keeping their organs 'fresh' even inside an undead body. One massive jolt from the AP-33 Continuous Discharge High Voltage Capacitor brought the young woman that they had selected for a test subject back to life.

The result was not an unqualified success. Evelyn did not retain her mental faculties from the process, the excessive voltage burning out synapses, leaving speach painful, difficult, and her higher functions prone to shorting out, leaving her a swaying, shambling zombie. Her creator has yet to fix these flaws, finding her brainless obedience charming in its own way, the idea that they may have destroyed the original Evelyn not dissuading them from continuing their research into more Voltaic Eidolons.

Eve is a Science Tanker with Electric Armor and Titan Weapons as her powersets. Her Ancillary Set is Mu Mastery, with pool picks in Experimentation. Her notable powers are as follows:


  • [AP-33 CDHVC] A spark of green lightning contained in a metal shell that drains away and regulates the surging bioelectricity of Eve's body. Torn from the machine that animated her, it's now used as a bludgeon wielded with super-strength to crush and destroy. There is no technique to her wild flailing, only raw power and the ability to power through incoming attacks.
  • [Electric Conversion] Simply put, near total invulnerability. Kinetic force, fire and cold, Energy, even psionic attacks. Negative energy is only half as effective, while toxic damage remains Eve's one remaining true weakness. All incoming attacks are converted into more electrical energy and used to fuel the ceaseless discharge of lightning that fuels the Eidolon.
  • [Electric Renewal] The ability to rev her engine, essentially, drawing in power from enemies or just stimulating her own regenerative abilities to heal herself. A tireless automaton that can fight endlessly, even dragging out a fight isn't an option.
  • [Electric Conductivity] Like a tesla coil, the fire still burning in the heart of a lightning-struck tree, the innate banked energy of her body lashes out in all directions. Arcing strikes around her wildly, making her difficult to even approach.
  • [Lightning Crack] Charging her muscles, eve can sprint at super-speeds, or even convert herself to pure energy for a split second to jaunt forward past physical barriers or into the air. 
  • [Chemical] The toxic zombie vomit of the Vahzilok is something that often traumatizes young heroes. While it was deemed too unseemly for Eve to possess, her creator still furnishes her with darts, syringes, and vials of dangerous chemicals that can be used to subdue prey that is resistant to both lightning and a savage beating with a giant club.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Today, at Seed 22, We've got the villainous dark defender, Sable Tentacle.

For a lot of heroes and villains, there's a single distinct catalyst, the start of darkness or the moment they rose to become an agent of justice. For Sable, it was a slow and steady decline.

Working in an office building, spending his tedious days adjusting spreadsheets and rubber-stamping projects, drafting product specifications and coordinating between marketing, the lab techs, and the engineers, That Guy (who wasn't Sable, just yet) decided that the corporate mandated suit and tie, the corporate mandated haircut, the corporate mandated shiny shoes were grinding a rut into his soul. Needing some outburst, he got a tattoo, a tiny little scrap of rebellion that could be hidden under a starched white shirt. More tattoos, piercings, more little secret messages to himself; reminders he wasn't entirely dead inside.

That Guy was pretty smart. He'd graduated from MIT, after all. But he didn't really 'get it'. His corporation ran an algorithm and it said to fire him, so they did. No severance package, no retirement bonus. It was cheaper to just slot in a replacement cog. That guy moved to Paragon, rebuilding after the Rikti war. There wasn't any office work, but he made ends meet as a construction worker for a while; living in a small apartment, going home every day exhausted. He got a phone call one day, his favorite aunt had died. She'd been struggling with an illness for years, but knowing that she didn't have the money to pay for treatment, had kept it a secret from the family, and died alone and in poverty. When the construction work dried up, he worked in customer service and then IT; dealing with both stupid and rude customers.

That Guy woke up one day, years later, and thought to himself: "Society actually kind of sucks, doesn't it?" The corporate, capitalist, homogenized, anti-intellectual America was a dystopian mess. And while superheroes daily beat back nazis, madmen, aliens, and mutant plants, there wasn't any hero that could fight the status quo. 'The way things are' doesn't have a face you can punch. 

It wasn't long before he fell in with the Freakshow. His thoughts echoed a lot of the words of the Upstart faction, and he dusted off his long atrophed MIT degrees and started helping maintain the group's cybernetics, starting to earn his own Excelsior feeder and cyberware. For a while, he was actually happy. Even fighting the city's Heroes, he felt like he was at least DOING something with his life, on the road to affect real societal change, even if it was by smashing society to dust and letting it be reborn from the ground up. Upstart's imprisonment, the reveal that Drek had been behind it, and the documents leaked by Bile's technophiles that recorded Drek's dealings with Crey, with the Council, hiring out the group as muscle to fascists and corpos, broke That Guy, and he fled to the Rogue Isles, offshore, away from Drek's immediate influence, knowing that the now-leaderless Upstart faction would get picked apart and absorbed in the coming weeks.

That Guy bummed around the Isles, disillusioned and pissed off. While he had a good setup on Sharkhead Island, recruiting the impoverished, criminal and miserable Scrapyarders into the Freakshow, they still had to get their Excelsior from the Crey labs on Nerva. They were still corporate dogs on a leash. While he took out his frustration on Cage Industries and their goons, opportunity dropped into his lap. A modified Aeon Corp dimensional jaunt unit, recovered from a tech raid. Having been considering the upgrade to a Freak Shocker, That Guy suddenly had a new opportunity. 

"Hey. That unknown, unstable dimensional rift generator? Wire that up to my spine."

A flood of black and purple, a squirming, cacophanous darkness. A stygian netherworld of writhing tentacles; the lights on his new warp pack the only lights in the abyssal depths of this cthonic realm of death and rebirth, of an endless proliferation of life, yet antithetical to existence as we knew it. The thin shell of energy provided by the pack let him submerge into this nether-reality, a deep-sea diver into this churning primordeal sea. That Guy was gone. Sable Tentacle, the Abyss Diver, emerged from the first experimental teleport. 

Skimming the border between the cthulian realm of endless tentacled offspring, of surging and all devouring life, has not done Sable's sanity any favors, but it has helped him rise a head and shoulders above his fellow anarchists. He is more impassioned, more aggressive, more wild and libertine than he has been before, using his new powers to carve out his own area of infuence in the Freaks of the rogue isles. The new Freaklocks concern him, as does Clamor and Drek's freedom. But providing for his flock, getting them the technology, weapons, and excelsior to take and keep territory, is his primary goal. He'll burn it all down, Cage, Crey, Arachnos, and then spread his influence to Paragon City and the rest of the United States, if he can.

Sable Tentacle is a Technology Defender with Dark Miasma and Dark Blast as his powersets. His Ancilary set is Dark Mastery, with pool picks in Fighting and Teleportation. His notable powers are as follows:

  • [Abyss Diver] The power from which all others spring, the ability to cross the dimensional barrier. Sable has mastered the art of using the other world to 'dolphin dive', thrusting himself into the other world and traveling a great distance before re-appearing in the real world. 
  • [Tentacles!!!] Just like one of your Japanese animes. Tentacles of the great beast of the abyss, the stygian leviathan, reach forth into our reality to entangle and grip those before Sable.
  • [Eldritch Geometries] Normal rules of physics start to break down as more of the tentacle dimension bleeds over through Sable's dimensional rifts. While Sable is acclimated to the realm, others *aren't*, and find themselves blind, slow, vulnerable, slipping into blindness and madness at things they can't see or can't comprehend. 
  • [Profusion of Life] The other dimension is one of wild and cancerous growth, squamous and squirming life. Sable can tap into this to revive himself or his allies, making his freakshow allies even harder to put down permenantly than they already are.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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Match 8: Seed 11 Eve Vahzilok vs. Seed 22 Sable Tentacle

Sable erupted from the ground in a splash of purple ichor, purple and black and a kaleidescope of other shades glittering like the rainbow found in an oil slick. He had essentially only a second to assess the damage: one of the scrap metal walls had been breached, many of his comrades were down already, crushed and beaten. A pair of freak-tanks had even been bent and deformed into immobility. The only ones still up were the Stunners, who were abusing their ability to fly to get out of range of the rampaging zombie, ineffectually peppering her with lightning bolts from above. 

That was the first second. The second was that the leather-bound zombie, the Eidolon, noticing his presence on the ground and flash-stepping over to him, blinking over at super-speed and bringing that giant piece of machinery, like a spiked mace, around in a huge horizontal swing. He resisted the urge to warp away and leaned back, avoiding the strike. 
"Wh4t the fuck, d00d?!" The portal-lights on his pack flared into eerie incandecence, the local area starting to twist and deform as the pool of ooze spread forth, tentacles erupting from the muck to lash at the vahzilok. "Bro! Sabes! She just showed up out of nowhere!" "We ain't even been beating on Facemaker's dolls or anything!" 

Unprovoked aggression? OR just a random wandering super-zombie? The politics of the situation could wait until- And then he took a wrecking ball of a club to the face. Excelsior turned the pain to a distant sting, but he felt his nose and jaw crunch, his skull probably fracturing as well. The attack bore him onto the ground, onto his back, a spray of black gravel being thrown up as she slammed him down hard enough to crack the dark stone that made up most of Sharkhead Island. Right, the 'why' could wait until the zombie wasn't crushing people at random. His cybernetic arms snapped up, gripping the huge mace and drawing power from it, stealing the zombie's bioelectricity and feeding it back through to the other dimension, sending a pulse of wild, chaotic life energy through him and the Freaks around him. 

The wyrd reconstruction popped bones back into place and mended or regrew flesh, while he focused on heaving the weapon to the side, rolling to the side to bait out a follow-up swing, then dropping through the rock, passing through a split second of writhing purple darkness and re-appearing behind the zombie, a few feet away. She stumbled and turned, groaning. This eidolon wold have been pretty if not for all the surgical scars, he mused. 

Gathering fistfuls of coruscating purple light and darkness, he hurled it in clinging handfuls at the zombie, the lightning aura around her deflecting some but not all of it. Bubbling purple darkness flooded the ground, sticking to the feet, and reality started to fold and warp, inhuman physics starting to take hold. He blinked past the zombie, turning, only to see that she was utterly unaffected by the gripping tentacles and extradimensional sludge, charging at him with distressing speed. Another huge crack and he went flying like a baseball off a line drive, ragdolling until he hit a scrap-metal watch tower. 

Rising woozily to his feet, he bemusedly watched her approach and then snapped past her again, the lights on his dive pack flaring blinding-bright as he ripped them both through veil. The metal towers and walls became hazy and indistinct, the stygian abyss flooding around the both of them. Eldritch tentacles undulated like the fronds of some huge anemone, while things with eyes and teeth lurked just outside the circle of light cast by the teleporter pack. Floating untethered, drifting, the vahzilok zombie started to flail about, lashing out wildly with her huge club.

"G0tcha, b4be." He focused, drawing in more currents of darkness into his enemy, crushing her in the metaphysical blackness that he'd dragged them both down into. Unable to see, unable to move, unable to escape or fight back. Sinking deeper and deeper into a bottomless bog, a corrosive nightmare. This strange netherworld was oppressive, and by adapting to it, he'd found a place where he had supreme advantage.

It was long, hard, grueling work. The zombie bucked and kicked, wildly thrashing and blindly swinging, but he had a leash on her now. He had to carefully manage his stamina, keeping his augments from overheating or overloading, as he slowly chipped away at her seemingly limitless electrical supply, lashing her with tentacles of abyssal darkness, intangible life-stealing predatory darkness. When the zombie woman finally collapsed, her internal battery finally drained, he went down right after her. That blackened otherworld receded, corrosion and tendrils fading away as he lay on his back, breathing clean air, staring up at the sky. He could hear his comrades approaching now that the eidolon was down. so things would go ahead okay without him for now.

"...Wh4t the h3ll w4s th4t all ab0ut, anyw4y.....?"


Eve Vahzilok v s Sable Tentacle
Deals Smashing and Energy Damage with some Toxic. IMMUNE to all but Negative and Toxic   ✔️ Deals Negative, heavily resists Smashing, somewhat resists Energy
Slow and immobilize immune     Slows and immobilizes
Teleports     Teleports
No resistance to fear or -tohit   ✔️ Fear and -tohit
Strong self-heal     Strong self-heal
End-Drain ✔️   Unstable Endurance


Eve got *really* unlucky to get paired up with one of the very few people in the tournament that can actually meaningfully hurt her. Scads of -tohit, -res, -regen, and more sealed the deal, the usual abyss that Dark/Dark defenders like to unleash.

Tanking is only half the battle. The other half...

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