LNH20: Earth-Twenty Roundup Thread And Getting The New Tag In There

Lalo Martins lalo.martins at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 07:50:26 PST 2011

quoth Adrian James McClure as of Sun, 20 Nov 2011 02:36:22 +0000:

> So Lalo, is there anything you want to tell us about Professor Penumbra?
> I still only have a vague idea of him.

Sure, why not.

SPOILER ALERT: read what follows if you want to work with the character. 
Otherwise, wait for it to be told in the first two or three issues and in 
Tales of the LNH :-)

Penumbra's core concept is based on the narrative device of very clever 
characters that end up learning magic after being forced to deal with it 
a few times too often. Used a few times in comics, a recent example being 
Tony Stark's current dealings with the Asgardians. (Yes, I know in *our* 
world the correct term for a native of Asgard is Aesir... but in the 
Marvel U it's consistently Asgardian, and Aesir means something else.)

When I say he's been around for a long time and possibly in the Saviors, 
the important thing is that he wasn't a sorcerer back then. He was a post-
pulp adventurer, with the low level net.power of learning how to use 
anything a lot faster than normal (with a little experimentation, bonus 
points if he has a manual). His friendship with Kid E starts from the 
obvious pairing of their abilities; Kid E would come up with crazy 
gadgets, and not-yet-named-character-who-will-become-Professor-Penumbra 
would often be the one actually operating it.

Then came the Killfile. He escaped it, possibly by virtue of his powers 
being so weak, and continued “pulping away” at cases that were also below 
the Killfile's radar, probably sometimes with Kid E. I'd imagine in the 
Killfile period he must have had some dealings with WHATEVER and January 
Frost and anything else we're leaving active in that period. (Also, I 
imagine there was probably *some* metaphysical character in the 90s 
scene; if we're being true to the 90s, probably a person with 
supernatural origins, and a trenchcoat. Maybe Blackbird's mother or 
father. That character would have been taken away by the Killfile.)

Then, about a year or so before the expiration of the Killfile, he 
started noticing a huge increase in Lovecraftian cults. Wacky cults are 
always around, but in a place like the Looniverse where up to 10 years 
ago the Dark Gods did in fact respond to your rituals, you can imagine 
the Killfile caused a huge loss of interest in that sort of thing. Well, 
when the third multiple-murder investigation in a row ends up being 
ritual sacrifices, he starts paying attention.

Apparently, word got out somehow amongst Dark Gods and other 
extradimensional entities with revenges to settle on Earth, that the 
Killfile is about to expire. They started building up their forces, 
rebuilding their cults (some who never had cults started building one), 
preparing to attack in strength as soon as they're able.

He knew new net.heroes would probably start popping up the moment the 
Killfile went down. But he figured it would be counting too much on luck, 
to expect that we'd have one mystic type who's powerful and prepared 
enough to deal with the kind of barrage that would probably happen. So he 
got to what he does best: learning. He got all the grimoires and tomes he 
could find (and he probably had a pile in storage from 15sh years of neo-
pulp adventuring) and read everything. Probably very frustrating, since 
magic didn't actually work as long as the Killfile was in place, so he 
had to practice and hope he was getting it right... but on the other 
hand, he was able to read a few tomes that, without the Killfile, would 
have destroyed his mind or corrupted his soul or something like that.

So by the time the Killfile falls, and we see him in the first arc of 
Tales of the LNH, he's an experienced adventurer that some of the others 
have already worked with, but a relative novice in magic. (Relative, 
because it seems we're going for the LNH forming 6 months after the end 
of the Killfile, and if he's been fighting Dark Gods for 6 months and is 
still alive... I'm sure *some* practice was acquired :-P)

No idea yet where the name Professor Penumbra comes from. Maybe it's 
given to him by the formative LNH. Also need to figure out his real name 
and his 90s hero name if he had one (I'm tending towards not). And a bit 
more about his personality.

Physically, I see him as a lanky dude, with the odd skin tone of someone 
of very mixed race but who almost never gets any sunlight (a grayish kind 
of beige), long straight dark hair, and dark eyes. He grew a mustache, 
because you're just not taken seriously without one, but his looks rather 
floppy. Not sure about the style. As for outfit, he'll always have an 
extremely old-fashioned 3-piece suit in a dark color, mystical implements 
and ingredients stuffed in every pocket, and a black or gray trenchcoat. 
Some piece of mystical jewelry around the neck, and a lot of rings; and a 
walking stick that, to twist a popular trope, hides a *ceremonial* sword.

And if anyone says that's a rebooted Weirdness Magnet, I'll be forced to 
answer, “well, not intentionally”.

-- Lalo “ph'nglui mglw'nafh Berlin wgah'nagl fhtagn” Martins

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