Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Classic Enemies: It's Like A Salad Bar

As I go back and review the characters in Classic Enemies, I'm often struck by how often I folded, spindled, and mutilated characters, using the names and the powers, but ditching the backgrounds for something more "interesting" (or, at least more suitable for my campaigns).  Case in point, this guy...

Dragon Master (created by Glenn Thain) appeared in the first Enemies collection.  His basics were already in place: a Chinese super-spy who'd fled to the US after he became a political liability.  In America, given a choice between poverty and crime, he chose crime, seeking vengeance on the government that spurned him.

For Classic Enemies, Scott Bennie took this basic origin story and used current events to good effect.  After he fled China, Dragon Master tried to live a life of simple seclusion until he learned of the events at Tienanmen Square.  His criminal network is now politically motivated, using ill-gotten gains to support subversion against his homeland.

Stats-wise, Dragon Master is a solid comic book martial artist.  He's not fancy, he doesn't have a lot of weird abilities (North Americans being mostly unaware of the amazing goings on in Hong Kong Cinema) and, without his Followers and Bases would come in at just a bit over 250 points.  At 75 points, his followers aren't a serious threat to a superhero individually, but in numbers (he has over 100), they can pose a serious problem.

Of course, as I alluded to above, I don't think we ever used him as written. In one of the early Champions campaigns I played in, I created a Martial Artist, who I called Black Dragon.  I originally planned to have him hunted by Green Dragon (one of the stock villains the Champions rulebook).  But then, I noticed Dragon Master and my inner D&D nerd kicked in.  What if Green Dragon was a minion of Dragon Master and Black Dragon had run afoul of them by trying to leave his organization?  If that's the case, it stood to reason there were also Blue Dragon, Red Dragon, and White Dragon (at the least).  Thus was born the Dragon Brotherhood, an idea I've used pretty much ever since.  While this has made Dragon Master a (mostly) off-screen threat, it appeals to my HK film fanboy urges.  As far as I remember, I've only used the full brunt of the Brotherhood once, but it was fairly epic.

And Black Dragon?  I've used him as a PC and NPC in multiple campaigns.  Over the years, his background became a bit shadier.  When my Tuesday crew tried some 6th Edition, I even revived him one more time.  He was 70s-tastic.


  1. If I had an ongoing superhero campaign I would so steal this idea. Nice job.

  2. Yeah I tend to merge backgrounds on some of the writeups myself depending on how I want the character to fit into my world. I did something similar to what you did with black dragon. There was the Dragon temple that alternated training and sending into the world a good and a bad "Dragon". I think it was something about maintaining cosmic balance.

  3. Dragon Brotherhood is good but Brotherhood of the Dragon is better!