[ASH] Second Age Sourcebook
Dave Van Domelen
dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Fri Jun 29 11:06:02 PDT 2007
Cover shows various Second Age heroes and villains flying or running
towards the reader.
.|, COHERENT An ASHistory Series
'|` SUPER STORIES Second Heroic Age Sourcebook
copyright 2007 by Dave Van Domelen
Latest Update: 6/28/07 - made public
The following handbook was compiled during the planning for and writing
of Coherent Super Stories #1-4 as an aid to writing, but I decided to clean
it up a bit and post it for all to see once the arc was over.
It consists of three sections: General Topics (groups, places, concepts,
etc), Characters and Timeline. It's entirely possible that it will be
updated later as more stories set in the Second Heroic Age come out, or at
least get referred back to, hence the "Latest Update" bit above.
List: The Second Heroic Age, Aliens, Alliance of Super-Heroes, Anchor,
Antigravity Technology, Department of Super-Human Affairs, Dimension Z,
Edison Project, Galactic Warrior Corps, Ghostworld, Quality Motors,
Paranormal/ Supernormal, Pseudoscience, "Suits and Serums", Teams, Tesla
The Second Heroic Age: 1967-1976, the second era of significant
superhuman activity in modern times. The First Heroic Age ran from 1938
through 1947, the Third Heroic Age from 1986 through 1998, and the Fourth
Heroic Age began in 2022. This is not to say that there were no superhumans
active outside of these eras, however. The Second Heroic Age was marked by a
wild profusion in apparent origins of superhumans and theories regarding how
their powers worked. Most commonly seen were the "suits and serums" origins,
whereby pseudoscientific means were used as crutches or catalysts for
paranormal abilities, but there were those with other origins.
This age was marked by optimism and excitement at the outset, but
disillusionment and pain in the end. Many of the pseudoscientific origins of
powers came with side effects that led to death or madness, and the general
mood of the mid-70s was also reflected in the end of this age.
The remaining entries will be presented in alphabetical order.
Aliens: During the Second Heroic Age, Earth was at the very fringes of
the space explored by the Planetary Confederation, and no official contact
was made until the 1980s. The Galactic Warrior Corps (see entry) did send an
agent to investigate, as well as to help keep an eye on any unofficial
contact that might be made.
The Pranir were the most commonly-encountered aliens during this era,
and they operated using a variety of holographic disguises, leading to the
impression that the galaxy was full of a confusing and contradictory variety
of alien races and empires. To further confuse matters, some Terran
criminals posed as aliens to throw off the police. There were some contacts
with other secondary races, however.
There were no significant alien incursions prior to the 1980s, however.
Alliance of Super-Heroes: In a divergent timeline seen in CSS #4, the
Second Heroic Age does not end in 1976. Instead, Weapons Master founds the
first real superteam of the age, the Alliance of Super-Heroes. Because of
this, and because of other changes made by JakZak Taylor before leaving for
his own timeline, the Second Heroic Age did not end, and blended seamlessly
into what is known as the Third Heroic Age in the main timeline. This will
be referred to as the Alliance timeline in the rest of this sourcebook.
Anchor: The term was not in common use during the Second Heroic Age, and
only a select few knew that there was a qualitative difference between
Anchors and those with supernormal abilities. Most people who even know
Anchors exist think that it's just another common sort of power, like flight
Antigravity Technology: A large number of superhumans had access to this
by the end of the Second Heroic Age, due mainly to the efforts of Dragonfly.
While his particular brand of antigravity tech did require some Violation
Physics to function, it was surprisingly close to that developed using
Normaltech in the Planetary Confederation. As a result, while weaker, it did
function for normals, such as Weapons Master. Not obsessed with "ownership"
as many "mad scientists" were, Dragonfly supplied the technology to as many
of his friends and allies as he could. Additionally, Don Quixote copied it
on his own...although Dragonfly would have given it to him if asked.
Department of Superhuman Affairs (DSHA): Originally formed as a branch
of the military to enforce the Paranormal Warfare Treaty's provisions, by
1971 it was clear that there were enough civilian superhumans that the
government needed a dedicated service to deal with them. So the DSHA was
split off from the military, merged with the remains of the Edison Project,
and slowly given greater and greater law enforcement powers. They were also
initially in charge of dealing with extradimensional entities, but this
function was eventually split off and given to the InterDimensional
Immigration and Naturalization Service (IDINS) in the early 1980s.
By the Third Heroic Age, the DSHA was also involved in the marketing of
superhuman likenesses, with the proceeds being funnelled into a fund that
helped pay for the damages caused by superhuman battles, as well as
supporting superheroes themselves when necessary (it having been recognized
that poverty drove many would-be heroes to villainy, so it was cheaper to put
them on the payroll than to clean up the messes they made after turning
Sometimes jokingly called the NSSA, or National Super-Security Agency.
Dimension Z: An "inverted" pocket reality, home to a race of giants that
could mystically disguise themselves or turn invisible. Where a "normal"
reality expands into infinite possible space, Dimension Z slowly contracted
over time. The boundary of the dimension was the ground, which got pushed up
into ever-higher mountains as the total surface area decreased, resulting in
a terrain full of fjords and mountain peaks. Once a day, the universe would
contract, compressing the air at the very center into a flaming ball of
plasma that served as their Sun. It would generally burn out less than
halfway through the compression cycle.
Unknown to all but a few, the inhabitants of Dimension Z were actually a
lost colony of Jotuns, Norse giants who had abandoned their origins but not
their mystic heritage. Supplementing their magic with technology, the giants
of Dimension Z were able to thrive in the somewhat hostile conditions of
their new home, but they longed for a better place to call their own...
especially once they had calculated how long it would be before the reality
would contract to the point of becoming uninhabitable.
To that end, they refined the spells that had brought them to Dimension
Z in the first place and turned to Midgard...or Earth. They slowly
infiltrated human society over the centuries, occasionally discovered and
opposed by the Quixano family. Tales of their first clash with the Quixanos,
who were the only humans able to see through their disguises, inspired the
Cervantes novel Don Quixote.
Their most recent push started in 1969, culminating in open invasion
when Dragonfly helped the current Don Quixote develop a device that would
expose the giants to the world. After the failure of this invasion, they
were contacted by other Jotuns and brought back into the fold, abandoning the
increasingly inhospitable Dimension Z, which had started to shrink at an
accelerated rate after the destruction of their Dimensional Inverter (a
device intended to turn Dimension Z inside-out and drop it on top of much of
Michigan and Ontario).
The technological savvy of the former residents of Dimension Z was a
great aid when the Jotuns attempted to establish a power base on Earth in the
late 1980s and early 1990s, but they were finally exposed (although the
Dimension Z connection was never made) and defeated in 1994. Dimension Z
itself may still exist in the 2020s, but the odds are that it is no longer
capable of supporting any life.
Edison Project: Formed during the First Heroic Age in parallel to the
Manhattan Project, this governmental organization attempted to study and
understand superhumans and supertech. It made some progress on the
theoretical front, establishing the Tesla Index after rediscovering lost
notes of Nikola Tesla, but failed to provide sufficient hard benefits and was
eventually merged into the DSHA.
Galactic Warrior Corps: An arm of the Planetary Confederation with the
mission of policing "dangerous" technology, initially intended to help keep
the fruits of T!rir tech in Santari hands. However, when the first reports
of Earth started trickling in from the hinterlands of the Confederation,
a rookie Corpsman named Delta Rose was sent to investigate.
Ghostworld: An alternate reality that was partially in contact with the
ASH Universe, allowing occasional overlap and transit. It turned out that
the region with the greatest potential for overlap was an inhospitable
portion of the Ghostworld used as a penal colony, which meant that every so
often an extradimensional criminal would find himself straddling two worlds
and able to affect both. Fantom discovered the existence of this world and
spent several years fighting its criminals in his own world, where they
manifested as all sorts of "traditional" ghosts and spirits, before finally
discovering the truth about Ghostworld and convincing its rulers to move
their penal colony elsewhere.
Paranormal/Supernormal: While these terms were more strictly defined by
the 1980s, they're used interchangeable during the Second Heroic Age to refer
to anyone with powers beyond those of mortal men, including powers granted by
alien technology or even extensive training.
Pseudoscience: A catch-all term for any endeavor that was scientific on
the face of it, but didn't seem to be easily reproducible by others.
Pseudoscience often led to amazing results far beyond what normal science
could even explain, much less duplicate. Would later be formalized as
Quality Motors: A significant "second tier" automotive manufacturer
between 1946 and 1983, after which it was bought out by General Motors.
Focused heavily on "muscle cars" in the early 1970s, and was hurt by the
collapse of that market. Revived as a specialty line in the early 1990s,
only a few models were put out before the economic upheavals of 1998. Their
most famous car was the Caballero, manufactured from 1969-1977 and again from
1994-1998. It was notable as the model most frequently used by Don Quixote,
which brought it both positive and negative press over the years.
"Suits and Serums": A pithy catchphrase often used to describe the
nature of most superhumans in the Second Heroic Age. The inborn powers of
most paranormals were fairly minor, but they could be used to unlock
supertech by providing loopholes in physics, leading to a large number of
device-based heroes and villains. Magic potions or scientific concoctions
were also frequently seen as crutches for those who had more impressive
inborn powers, but had trouble believing in their own abilities.
Teams: The Second Heroic Age saw no large, stable superhero teams.
While there were frequent team-ups and alliances made for specific purposes,
the largest long-term units were either duos (such as Dragonfly and Ladyhawke
or Flower Power and Union Label) or the small cadres of "talented normals"
that worked as support teams for solo heroes. On the other hand, other than
the Tinker Ten, there were very few long-running villain teams either, and
even they weren't exactly a stable roster.
In the Alliance timeline, the formation of the Alliance of Super-Heroes
was considered a watershed event, and some of the pickier scholars of history
claim it marked a dividing line between the Second and Third Heroic Ages.
Tesla Index: This scale had been devised by the time of the Second
Heroic Age, but it was not in common usage due to the lack of reliable means
to measure it. A measure of how strongly someone can violate natural law.
These will be presented alphabetically by codename where there is one,
or by last name when there isn't a codename. When the post-Second-Age
activities of the character are known, they'll be lumped into the final
paragraph of the background. Following the list of more detailed entries
will be shorter entries for characters who haven't been developed as much
yet, or who are more accurately part of a different Heroic Age.
http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/ASH/gallery/secondage.html has art for
many of these characters.
Destroyed: 1976 (Alliance timeline), 1993 (main timeline)
Appearance: Varies. Humanoid robot, spindly in build. Later added various
armor plates and weaponry. Never concerned much with beauty.
Powers: Varies. Killer robot stuff.
One of many seemingly useless projects created by Dr. Samuel King, a
high-end gadgeteer paranormal whose work was never really duplicable by
normals. A victim of the lack of understanding of Violation Physics, he was
laughed out of the academy, swore revenge, etc. Bobby Baines managed to get
LABRAT working, though, and found him a useful lab assistant.
Of course, one day, LABRAT rechristened itself Antiochus V and set out
to replace humanity with robot life. Thus began a series of battles through
the early 1970s, ending with his apparent destruction in 1975.
He briefly reappeared in the late 1980s, but was taken aboard
Devastator's satellite headquarters and studied for several years. In the
early 1990s, when Devastator was lost in another dimension, Antiochus V
suborned the satellite's systems and grew himself a synthorganic body dubbed
"Lysias-13" and once again menaced the world, before being destroyed once and
for all by Tymythy Twystyd and the Raiders.
In the Alliance timeline, he was destroyed permanently on July 4, 1976.
AKA: "Rose Dawson" (real name is a hue)
Born: 1950 (so says her faked ID, she was really born in 1964, but her
species hits adulthood fast)
Died: Still alive in 2026
Appearance: Short pink hair, often dyed brown. Eyes artificial with
variable tint, usually blue as Rose Dawson, pink as Delta Rose. 5'8"
and athletic build.
Powers: Gliding (tech-assisted into flight), light emission, cyborg
A rookie in the Galactic Warrior Corps, Delta Rose is a mutant among her
race, with an uncommon but non-unique mutation that lets her emit light
strong enough to melt steel (her race communicates via light emission, but
most can only glow). Such mutants are often cyborged into a Santaroid shape
and put into service in either the military or the GWC.
Fairly fresh out of training, Delta Rose had been given her first solo
assignment, to check out this strange world the Pranir have recently
discovered and started trading with. It was possible that dangerous
technology could be found on Earth, and early scans indicated that the
natives were remarkably similar to Santari. Her inborn powers made her
well-suited to a mission with minimal support and resupply.
Her cyborg body has great strength and durability, and her artificial
eyes and ears have a wide range of frequency response. Additionally, her
race is able to see with its skin, albeit not very clearly, giving her vague
all-around sight. Her costume during the Second Age was a modified version
of the GWC uniform, and was resistant to small arms fire and temperature
extremes. Plus, it had glider wings to simulate the natural shape of her
original body. She had a full kit of GWC gear and a scoutship, but preferred
to avoid using them in order to maintain her cover as a human mutant. Her
cybernetics were shielded against magnetic influence and detection, at least
at the tech level humanity can manage, so she didn't set off metal detectors.
Recalled to Santar in 1977, she was sent back to Earth during the Third
Heroic Age, and was more or less continuously stationed there from that point
onward. Promoted to the administrative levels of the GWC, she is in charge
of Earth's sector, although manpower shortages mean that most of her
resources are supplied by the United World government rather than by her own
organization. In 2026 she looks no older than she did in 1972, due to her
mostly artificial body.
In the Alliance timeline, she was never recalled in the late 70s, and
was a founding member of the Alliance of Super-Heroes.
AKA: Alessandro Quixano
Appearance: Dashing Spaniard with slightly graying short black hair, hazel
eyes. 6'2" tall and wiry.
Powers: Able to detect invisible invaders from Dimension Z. Magic sword,
high tech gear.
Alessandro was born into a hidalgo family that was lucky enough to flee
Spain the year he was born, but not TOO lucky...they fled to France and ended
up stuck there during the Vichy years. However, after WWII the Quixanos
emigrated to the United States, where family patriatch Eduardo turned
contacts made during the war into a small fortune. Alessandro went to
Harvard Business School and soon turned that small fortune into a large one
as the head of Quality Motors.
Then Eduardo died of lung cancer. On his deathbed, he told Alessandro
the family secret...the story of Don Quixote was indeed based on their
ancestor. But that the truth was that every so often the world faced
invasion by giants from another world, giants who could turn invisible or
disguise themselves as mundane objects. And only men of the Quixano line
could see through these veils. Alessandro was given the family's enchanted
sword, which unlocked his dormant potential...and he saw that a new invasion
With the help of bodyguard Joaquim Panza (who adopted the pseudonym
Sancho), his magic sword, and the best gear money can buy (not to mention the
latest muscle cars from Quality Motors), Alessandro became the new Don
Quixote, fighting a war that no one else could see!
At least, that was, until 1975, when he and Dragonfly found a way to
globally disrupt the disguises of the giants from Dimension Z. Sadly, he
died destroying the Dimensional Inverter that was key to the invasion, but
was remembered as a hero. And one day, should the invaders try to
return...well, he did have three sons and a daughter before giving his life
to fight the good fight.
The fate of his progeny after 1998 is unknown, and they were not
involved in the Jotun affair during the Third Heroic Age.
AKA: Robert "Bobby" Baines
Powers: Super-gadgeteer, specialty on gravity tech
Appearance: Wavy black hair, brown eyes, slightly asiatic features.
Jimmy Baines was a SeaBee in WWII who brought a Filipino bride from the
PTO. Bobby grew up dealing with prejudice because he was different, but it
wasn't quite so bad once the Baines family moved to Seattle. He picked up
tinkering from his father, and showed a natural talent for it. But he really
loved pure science, and went to University of Washington on a full
scholarship, graduating with a Physics BS in three years. He went on to get
a PhD at age 23, and in 1971 was a newly-minted Assistant Professor at
Michigan State University. His specialty was gravitics, and in 1972 he had
realized that he'd been delving into "Pseudoscience," especially with the
antigravity harness he'd invented as a practical test of some of his theories
of electrogravitic interaction. His girlfriend was the original test
After the Antiochus incident, he decided to become a superhero, creating
a flight suit with a laser weapon in a robotic tail. He later created
miniaturized, capacitor-driven agrav "stingers" he could throw into a target
to render it weightless for a few seconds at a time. His girlfriend became
Ladyhawke, in a similar suit, but with razor-edged wings. They married in
1974, and in late 1976 had a son, Rodney. Rodney grew up to become Rad of
the original ASH.
Exposure to esoteric radiation eventually gave Bobby bone cancer, and he
lost his left leg to it in early 1976. He died in 1979. His secret ID did
not become public until the early 1990s when his son joined the original
Academy of Superheroes.
In the Alliance timeline, he mentored a young Eric Harris during his
final years, and Eric took up the Dragonfly identity in 1978.
AKA: Spencer Turner
Died: Unknown (disappeared 1977)
Appearance: Thinning sandy brown hair, gray eyes, sallow complexion. Not
very tall, but thin.
Spencer's father Quentin was a part of the Edison Project, and Spencer
grew up wanting to do whatever his father did...despite security concerns
keeping him from knowing exactly what that was. Taking a fancy to ghost
stories in college, he theorized that ghosts were merely living beings from a
reality not quite properly separated from our own, and built a suit that
would let him visit that other reality. On his return, his father let him in
on the family secret, and Spencer was recruited into what was left of the
Not a great fighter due to his physical frailty, Fantom concentrated on
espionage and psyops. He got very good at frightening opponents, aided by an
assortment of devices he has invented over the years. While his suit's
sickly yellow-green color looked almost silly when inactive, once turned on
the effect of being partially out of phase with reality made the color scheme
eerie and vaguely nauseating.
Fantom vanished into the "ghostworld" in 1977 and was never heard from
again. It's theorized that he simply liked it better there, or possibly he
had met someone in that world and wanted to settle down and raise a family.
In the Alliance timeline, he was contacted by the Wanderer in 1978 and
returned to join Weapons Master's new team.
AKA: Samuel King
Died: Unknown, presumably did not survive past 1998
Appearance: Gray hair and eyes, distinctive European Jewish features
Powers: High-end supergadgeteer
His family barely got out of Germany in the early 30s, but otherwise did
pretty well for themselves. They were so proud when Sam got a job at
Michigan State University in the physics department...but then he started
chasing down all sorts of crazy ideas. He had this notion in his head that
he could make a golem with science, and other foolishness. Naturally, it got
him thrown out of the university, and his family just doesn't talk about him
anymore. Such a waste.
But the fools at the academy would pay! Samuel had indeed uncovered the
ancient secrets of the Temple, and applied them to modern science as well.
But the blind, blinkered fools around him couldn't see that which was
self-evident to any who would open their eyes...and so he would have to SHOW
Sadly for Samuel King, he's a powerful supernormal inventor, to the
point that his inventions are wholly irreproducible. But that doesn't make
them any less dangerous. It should also be noted that the genuine Freemasons
disavow him entirely, so they're on the "fools who will pay" list too. He
sometimes affiliates himself with the Tinker Ten, but generally finds them to
be small-minded fools, if not as bad as most. Most of his minions are
robots, because even the dullest of human thugs has trouble putting up with
him for very long.
His career after the Second Heroic Age has not been revealed, but it is
likely he was a resident of Haven in the 1990s if he survived that long.
AKA: June Hartworth-Blair
Appearance: Blond hair, blue-green eyes. 5'4" tall, athletic build,
like a runner or skater. Despite her age, Lady Lawful looks to be in
Powers: Enhanced strength and invulnerability, slightly enhanced speed.
All boosted by device.
As a telephone operator in Chicago in the 1940s, June Hartworth
overheard plans to rob the lab of Doctor Calvin "Cosmo" Kirby. In the course
of foiling this, she acquired his Enhancement Belt, and thus began a long
career as Lady Lawful. The belt only seemed to work for her, and over time
she found that she had some limited powers even without it.
One of the few heroes to remain active after WWII, her slowed aging due
to the effects of the belt let her stay in the business long after most had
retired. However, she met and married Wilson Blair, and the birth of their
daughter in 1972 effectively ended her secret career, with her last outing as
Lady Lawful happening in the summer of 1974.
She began to age normally after hanging up the belt, but still looked
young for her age when she and Wilson retired to Florida in the 1990s. She
vanished with the rest of the world's paranormals in 1998. Wilson's fate has
not been revealed. Her daughter Jennifer became the second Lady Lawful in
the 1990s, as seen in LL&DD, and also vanished in 1998. The Enhancement Belt
survived into the 2020s, and is rumored to have been passed to a third
Her career in the Alliance timeline is unknown, but she did not leave
retirement to join the Alliance.
AKA: Amy Baines (nee Corrigan)
Powers: Super-Agility, ability to use supertech
Appearance: Reddish-blond hair, green eyes, generally Irish features. Tall
and built like a gymnast otherwise.
Amy was always astoundingly agile and flexible, something that let her
compete in gymnastics despite the fact she hit 5'11" by age 13. Still, she
thought of it as a hobby rather than a career, and ended up majoring in
pre-med at Michigan State. There she met and fell for Bobby Baines, and when
she graduated she decided to take a year off and help him with his antigrav
harness project...her grace made her the perfect test subject for the finicky
After the Antiochus incident, she joined Bobby in becoming a superhero,
under the codename Ladyhawke. Her flight suit used larger wings with razor
edges, and had a small nuclear powerpack at the small of her back. She
discovered she was pregnant shortly after Bobby was diagnosed with cancer (it
inspired her to get a checkup, since she HAD been wearing a nuke on her back
for a couple of years before they had replaced the power packs with safer
alternatives), and decided to retire for the sake of their baby.
In 1980, inspired by what she'd learned in helping take care of Bobby in
his final days, Amy went back to school and became an oncology nurse.
Residency made it hard to raise Rodney, but she managed (superhuman stamina
helped a lot in that department). When Rodney manifested powers in his teen
years, she initially thought it was a result of radiation she'd been exposed
to in her superhero career, but eventually found that it was most likely the
Owens Effect at work. His powers over radiation may have been influenced by
her exposure, though.
In the Alliance timeline, she did still become an oncology nurse, but it
has not yet been revealed if she ever returned to action as Ladyhawke, or if
she passed the role on to someone else.
AKA: Joseph Little
Died: 1998 (presumed)
Appearance: Muscular black man with short-cropped curly black hair and brown
eyes. About 5'11" tall.
Powers: Alchemical serum gives him great strength and lets him change parts
of his body into various elements, but he needs his control harness and
regular injections to use his powers.
Brilliant but denied opportunities in his native Alabama due to the
color of his skin, Joseph grew up to be a bitter young man. After a stint in
Vietnam in the mid 60s, he went to college on the GI Bill, where he found a
talent for chemistry. Working late at night and alone, he rediscovered the
secrets of alchemical transformation of the human form, but was expelled when
his excitement resulted in a fire that burned down the chemistry building.
Stealing what he needed to complete his experiments, Joseph created his
first Perfection Serum, which turned an already well-toned former soldier
into a veritable powerhouse. He has since come up with variant serums that
let him turn his hands (or other body parts) into metal, diamond, water, or
By 1976, while he had avoided jail by dint of luck and sympathetic
heroes (he never seriously hurt any civilians, and tended to stick to
stealing from socially irresponsible companies), he found that the cumulative
side effects of his serums were killing him, and he retired. A bout of "cold
turkey" almost killed him, but in the wake of it he met and fell in love with
Felicia Katzenberg, and they ended up having a daughter (Cassie) who grew up
to inherit her father's strength (and also dated Rodney Baines).
In the Alliance timeline, he was pardoned by President Ford in
recognition for his help in defeating Antiochus V, and the mystic Wanderer
was able to help him refine his serums to reverse their side effects. He
joined the Alliance, and while he never met Felicia, he did eventually marry
AKA: Doublecross (1986-1998), Simon Smith (1998 onward)
Role: Government Agent (1971-1994), Supervillain (1986-1998)
Died: Still alive in 2026
Appearance: Short brown hair, blue eyes, looks like a government agent, even
when he's trying not to. (Hair and eyes gray by 2026.)
Powers: None exhibited (pre-1986), Supertech (1986-1994), Photonic Lifeform
(1994-1998), Magic (2025 onward).
A hot-shot Quantico graduate, Bennett Rush was recruited in 1971 for the
newly-reorganized Department of Superhuman Affairs (DSHA) as one of its first
civilian field agents. He ended up assigned to Detroit and the surrounding
area when it became a supernormal hotspot in the early 70s, and worked
closely with Dragonfly and Ladyhawke.
However, in 1975 he was caught in a tryst with the trophy wife of a
senator and "promoted" to warehouse duty at "Warehouse 51" in Nevada, a
storehouse of seized supertech and alien hardware.
Over the next ten years, he carefully raided the warehouse for
technology that he could use (it turned out he was a low-level paranormal,
but he mostly stuck to alien tech and the odd aberrations like Beacon's Light
Lance that were feasible normaltech) and became Doublecross. He was
transformed into living light by an accident in 1994, then stripped of powers
and memory by the Sun god Apollo in early 1998, becoming the man known as
Simon Smith. By 2026 he had regained his memories and gotten new powers as
the mystical Vizier of Q'Nos, making him one of the few people to be of
importance in three Heroic Ages.
In the Alliance of Super-Heroes timeline, a grateful President Ford
granted Dragonfly's request that Rush be returned to field duty, and Bennett
ended up as DSHA liaison to the Alliance. He never became Doublecross.
The Tinker Ten
Membership: Shifting, rarely actually ten members.
Role: Supervillain Team
Theme: Gadgeteer villains and their minions.
The Communist supervillain Darkshield assembled several "mad scientists"
in 1968 as part of a plot to trigger earthquakes in the San Andreas Fault.
Like most of his activities, it was a mere distraction, but the assembled
scientists found that they liked the synergy of working together. If the
fools in the academy wouldn't have them, they'd form their own academy!
The name was chosen more for sounding good than because there were ten
founders. In fact, over the decade of their operations, only once has the
roster included exactly ten members, and only the Clockwork Ibis was a member
of all rosters.
By 1978, the Tinker Ten was really just the Ibis and his two assistants
trying to set up a protection racket in Cleveland, where they were stopped by
the unpowered Weapons Master. After that humiliating defeat, no one used the
team name again.
In the Alliance timeline, defeating the Tinker Ten was the first case of
the Alliance of Super-Heroes, and while not as humiliating as in the
mainline, it was just as thorough.
AKA: Charles "Chuck" Morse
Appearance: Brown hair, brown eyes. 5'6" tall, built like a boxer.
Chuck Morse was a talented high school athlete, lettering in wrestling
and track, but he didn't have the brains to get into college or the
connections to stay out of the draft, so to Vietnam he went. While he never
really saw combat in his brief tour, he excelled at all the armed and unarmed
melee combat styles offered to him in military training, and even found a
mysterious master in Saigon who taught him a great deal more. Unknown to
him, this mysterious master was actually Japanese WWII supervillain Dragon
Samurai, who was in hiding in Southeast Asia, but who saw potential in Chuck
and wanted to pass on his secrets before dying (Dragon Samurai had been 60
years old at the start of WWII, but spry for his age due to training).
Ending up in Detroit after his tour, Chuck was fascinated by the active
superhero scene there, especially Dragonfly and Ladyhawke. In 1974, he made
himself a costume, outfitted himself with a variety of weapons and entered
the fray...only to get smacked down hard. He wasn't paranormal, and even his
esoteric training didn't give him enough of an edge. But Dragonfly was
impressed by his tenacity, and outfitted Chuck, now calling himself Weapons
Master, with a few gadgets that a normal could use. These included a low
level antigrav belt that let Chuck leap great distances, and variants of
Dragonfly's antigrav "stings".
He continued to act occasionally through the early 1980s, once teaming
up with the contemplative and serene Jiang Sheng in San Francisco, but
"getting too old for this crap" finally took its toll and he retired. It is
not known what happened to him after his retirement.
In the Alliance timeline, after hearing about his lonely fight from
Solar Max he resolved to change things, and he assembled a team of heroes.
As a result, the Second Heroic Age did not end, and may well have continued
unbroken for decades.
Finally, here's a few names that may come up, but don't yet merit full
Arc Wielder and Wanda: Sometime members of the Tinker Ten. Arc Wielder
was a supertech user, but his actual skill at invention has not been
established. Wanda was his normal human assistant.
Beacon: A hero of the First Heroic Age, who invented several light-based
devices, some of which were actually highly advanced Normaltech. He was
involved in the founding of the Edison Project, but passed away some time
before the start of the Second Heroic Age.
Blair, Wilson: Husband of the first Lady Lawful, father of the second.
A leading early researcher in Violation Physics.
Brightsword: Experimented on by aliens, he escaped with the help of a
plasma cutter and returned to Earth as a super-strong but not terribly smart
patriotic hero. His daughter took up the sword in the 1990s. Expect a more
complete entry for him later, as he will figure in a future issue of CSS.
Clockwork Ibis: Roboticist with an Egyptian theme to his automata.
Didn't get along with the Freemason. The only member of every incarnation of
the Tinker Ten.
Darkshield: Secretly a communist agent, his supervillain identity was
pure distraction. His bulky armor really didn't give him the raw power to
beat Brightsword, but his goal as a supervillain was to divert attention away
from his real operations. Hence, his overt plots were often flashy and
totally impractical. His son became a real supervillain in the 1990s.
Flower Power: A hippie-wannabe with plant control powers. Most of the
airhead personality she projected was an act, and underneath she actually
agreed with her partner Union Label in most matters. Believed her powers
came from the pollen of a special flower her parents bred. Retired after the
Dimension Z invasion.
Graybar: A three-time loser who found himself an unwitting guinea pig in
experiments secretly arranged by the insidious Doctor Sheng, he was turned
into living iron. Not particularly smart, and too full of himself to follow
orders for long, he was rarely successful at his endeavors. He was killed
during the Dimension Z invasion.
Harris, Eric: In 1976, he was a college student majoring in physics and
hoping to go into Violation Physics, if he could find a program offering it.
In the main timeline, his research led to a lab accident in 1989 that blinded
him and drove him mad, but also gave him incredible powers over forces.
Adopting the name Devastator, he decided that humanity was a blight on the
universe and needed to be destroyed. The greatest villain of the Third
Heroic Age, he was trapped between dimensions in 1997 and thus survived until
2023, when he freed himself by taking over the body of the Template Killer,
only to be slain by the Academy of Super-Heroes. In the Alliance timeline,
he became the second "official" Dragonfly and was never in the lab accident
that scarred his body and soul.
Montessi, Iago: An alchemist in Renaissance Italy, he discovered the
secret to immortality but was buried alive while in the deathlike coma caused
by his serum. In the main timeline, he would be accidentally freed by
Tymythy Twystyd in 1992 to become the villainous Lord Ebon, but in the
Alliance timeline his prison was reinforced by the Wanderer in 1976.
Panza, Joaquim: Going by the pseudonym Sancho Panza, Joaquim started as
the bodyguard of industrialist Alessandro Quixano and then became his
sidekick when Quixano took up the hereditary mantle of Don Quixote. Panza
was a normal human, but with extensive (and mostly unrevealed) military
experience and training as a bodyguard and driver.
Preston, Sir Montegue: Ally of Jiang Sheng. A globe-trotting Englishman
with no known powers, he was considered more of a holdover from the two-
fisted mysterymen style of the First Heroic Age.
Sheng, Dr. Huang: Alchemist active prior to the First Heroic Age,
notable for two great discoveries. His first was the regenerative agent that
gave him vastly increased longevity. His second was discovering how to
remove his own Magene, which allowed him to survive past 1998. In the Second
Heroic Age he clashed frequently with a rebellious son in San Francisco. By
the Third Age he was deeply involved with Khadam's Council of Technomancers,
and was the driving force behind the Onslaught project that created a
Sheng, Jiang: Son of Dr. Huang Sheng, and possibly the result of some
genetic experimentation intended to make him a perfected specimen of
humanity. Trained in a wide variety of Chinese martial arts, he eventually
rebelled against his father's cruel plans. Due to his genetic modifications,
he was still young and vital during the Third Heroic Age, when he allied with
Morgan Adams. It is unknown whether he survived into the 21st Century, or if
he was truly a paranormal, given his father's later creation of the non-
Tinker Tom: Villain of the First Heroic Age, minimal paranormal talent,
but a genius at souping up normal technology, especially hotrodded cars. Was
a recurring foe of the original Lady Lawful, and a founding member of the
Tinker Ten. Between his lower power level and his code against killing, he
wasn't a very good fit with the more psychotic members, so he left the Tinker
Ten early on. Mentored the young man who would later become Doctor
Developer, died in 1983.
Union Label: Strongly pro-U.S. hero who claimed to have the strength of
America's workers. Dressed like the stereotypical hard-hatted construction
worker with a flag tattooed on his arm. In private was less strident than
his public persona, and he genuinely loved Flower Power despite their public
bickering. Crippled in the battle against the invaders from Dimension Z, he
was forced into retirement.
Valkyrie: Teenaged Argentinian political refugee who dabbled in magic
and was bound to the spirit of a Norse chooser of the slain. Primarily
active in other dimensions until the Third Heroic Age, helping rebuild Asgard
and fighting Jotuns, but did participate in the Dimension Z War for reasons
she never explained (Odin told her they were Jotuns). Founded the Superhero
Bar & Grill chain in 1987, and was later credited/blamed with helping inspire
the more mercantile aspects of the Godmarket.
The Wanderer: Long-lived Romanian mage. He was around during this time,
and occasionally helped out on cases with a mystic angle, but did not become
an out-and-out superhero until the 1990s. In the Alliance timeline, he was
convinced to join Weapons Master's team.
- 1967 -
General: The Second Heroic Age is considered to have started this year.
A few heroes, such as Lady Lawful, were active prior to this, but an upsurge
in activity in San Franciso is generally considered to mark the beginning of
April 14: Brightsword makes his first appearance in San Franciso,
fighting a cell of Communist agitators.
May 20: Communist supervillain Darkshield challenges Brightsword to a
fight atop the Golden Gate Bridge. He has the upper hand until Brightsword
is joined by Union Label and Flower Power, a duo later nicknamed the Odd
Couple of the superhero set. Most mark this battle as the kickoff of the
Second Heroic Age.
August 1: UN Resolution 214, aka the Paranormal Warfare Treaty, declares
that no member nation will knowingly use paranormals in military operations.
Concerned by its lack of paranormals, the Soviet Union and China push for its
acceptance and enforcement (although they publicly disclaim any affiliation
with Darkshield or Dr. Sheng).
- 1968 -
General: There are rumored paranormal actions in Vietnam, but nothing is
March 15: San Francisco's Chinatown is rocked by numerous explosions as
the insidious Dr. Huang Sheng's underground base is destroyed by the efforts
of a loose team of government agents and Sheng's own son Jiang. While never
high profile, Jiang is considered one of the city's superheroes by most who
know of him, even though he doesn't seem to have any powers.
August 21: The Tinker Ten are brought together by Darkshield. While
their Earthquake Machine is destroyed before it can be used, the team of
gadgeteers remains together in some form for the next decade.
- 1969 -
General: Supernormal activity becomes common in New York City.
(Exactly who was active there has not been decided on yet by the writers.)
July 20: Neil Armstrong is the first normal human to set foot on the
Moon. There are rumors of Edison Project launches in the 1950s, but they
have never been confirmed.
- 1970 -
General: San Francisco's status as a supernormal hub starts to fade.
Jiang Sheng is still spotted occasionally, but seems to be fighting mundane
criminals rather than his father. Flower Power and Union Label start
traveling the country, and while they return to their "home" city every so
often (such as during the 1975 Dimension Z affair), they prefer to go
wherever people need help during the next five years.
- 1971 -
General: Miami sees a great deal of supernormal activity, including a
trio of paranormal Cuban exiles who call for the U.S. to withdraw from the
Paranormal Warfare Treaty and send them to Cuba.
November 12: Antiochus V declares his war on humanity and rampages
across the campus of Michigan State University.
December 3: Dragonfly and Ladyhawke are first spotted in Detroit.
- 1972 -
General: Detroit becomes a hub of superhuman activity. Primary heroes
are Dragonfly, Ladyhawke and Lady Lawful.
March 13: The villain known as Powerhouse makes his first known
- 1973 -
General: New York City ceases to be a hub of superhuman activity.
January 2: The Pranir make their first known contact with humanity,
setting up a small trading post in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They are driven
away by Delta Rose, who at the time is not publically known to be an agent of
the Galactic Warrior Corpse.
June 16: Dragonfly and Ladyhawke are wed, in a ceremony presided over by
the original Lady Lawful.
- 1974 -
General: Miami ceases to be a hub of superhuman activity. Watergate
brings down the Nixon administration, but no superhumans are involved in
those events. Some of the Nixon tapes reveal he dismissed the idea of
sending superhumans to Cuba out of hand, seeing them as a worse problem than
May 12: Weapons Master makes his inauspicious debut in Detroit. He is
recognized as the last "new" superhero of the Second Age. While a couple of
heroes make their first public appearances later than this, they are known to
have been active in secret before May 1974.
August 1: Lady Lawful makes her last public appearance, fighting Arc
Wielder and Wanda. There are rumors that she's actually aided by old
sparring partner Tinker Tom. There is no announcement of retirement,
however, and it is not until months later that rumors circulate that she has
hung up the mask for good.
- 1975 -
General: The invasion by Dimension Z becomes harder and harder to deny
as the year goes on. Detroit is the only concentrated hub of superhuman
activity, although this is in part because most of the still-active
superheroes and supervillains have started playing a game of cross-country
hide and seek.
February 2: Antiochus V makes his final appearance in the Second Age (in
the main timeline). After this, he spends nearly 20 years in hiding,
rethinking his plans and developing new technologies.
April 30: Saigon falls, and Brightsword is rumored to have been involved
in the evacuations, although he is never captured on film during the months
leading up to the airlift.
October 30-31: The Z-ruptor designed by Dragonfly and Don Quixote
disrupts the disguises of a group of Z-lians, forcing the invaders from
Dimension Z to move up their timetable and attempt a full invasion
immediately. Forces in several cities across the globe start to seek out
superhumans as well as military bases and attack them, with Boston, New York,
San Francisco, Berlin and Tokyo being particularly hard-hit. A small force
of heroes led by Don Quixote enters Dimension Z and destroys the Dimensional
Inverter, saving the world. But Don Quixote has to sacrifice his life in the
Union Label is crippled during the invasion, both he and Flower Power
retire in its wake.
- 1976 -
General: Detroit ceases to be a hub of supernatural activity. This is
the last year considered to be part of the Second Heroic Age. At some point
during this year, there is a split in the timeline. One branch leads to the
main ASH setting, the other diverges due to an unknown effect, creating the
"Alliance timeline". Events that occur in only the Alliance timeline will be
have an asterisk after the date. Events that only happen in the main
timeline will have two asterisks. Unasterisked events happen in both
January 1: Dr. Robert "Dragonfly" Baines is diagnosed with bone cancer
in one leg. The leg is amputated soon after, effectively ending his
January 8: Amy "Ladyhawke" Baines discovers she is pregnant.
Spring: The Alliance timeline diverges.
June 30 **: Dragonfly and Ladyhawke announce their retirement via a
letter sent to local media outlets. They had not been active for months
prior to this, and many see this as the official end of the Second Heroic
July 4 *: Antiochus V attacks Washington DC and is opposed by Dragonfly,
Ladyhawke, Delta Rose, Fantom, Weapon Master and the villain Powerhouse.
Antiochus V is utterly destroyed. Known to only a handful, the costumes of
Dragonfly and Ladyhawke are worn by visitors from another timeline, who then
act to ensure certain disasters from their own history are not repeated in
the newly diverged Alliance timeline.
August 4: Rodney Baines is born.
- 1977 -
General: This year is not considered to be part of the Second Heroic
Age, but a few events of note related to heroes of that age occurred. By the
end of the year, the only superhero known to be active is Weapons Master, who
spends most of his time fighting the remnants of the Tinker Ten.
January 2 **: Fantom leaves for Ghostworld and never returns.
January 6 *: Fantom leaves for Ghostworld, but he returns in 1978. He
left slightly later in this timeline, due to delays resulting from the
February 13 **: Delta Rose is recalled by the Galactic Warrior Corps,
and leaves Earth after informing key government officials of the true nature
of her mission. She would not return until a decade later.
- 1978 -
General: All events described for this year only happen in the divergent
timeline of the Alliance of Super-Heroes.
April 2 *: Weapons Master founds the Alliance of Super-Heroes, with
Wanderer, Powerhouse and Delta Rose as founding members.
July 21 *: Eric Harris becomes the new Dragonfly, and joins the Alliance.
August 14 *: The Wanderer contacts Fantom in the Ghostworld, and convinces
him to return and join the Alliance.
- 1979 -
April 1: In both timelines, Robert Baines finally dies from metastatized
cancer. In the main timeline, he lived long enough to see the Second Heroic
Age come to a definite end. In the Alliance timeline, he lived long enough
to see it coming into full blossom.
A Final Note:
What can I say? I like worldbuilding. A lot of this stuff came out of
background already established in ASH, or was mined from my Champions
campaign in college, or even taken from my pre-college superhero creations.
And some of it was made up on the spot to fill in gaps or serve the needs of
the story I wanted to tell. I can't even remember the names of all the
people whose ideas found their way into ASH in general, or this sourcebook in
particular, but a goodly chunk of the new material came from or was inspired
by conversations with Andrew Burton. Marc Singer reminded me about the Sheng
family, as mentioned in CSV #19.
For all the back issues, plus additional background information, art,
and more, go to http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/ASH !
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