Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Classic Enemies: Twoo Wuv

This time around, it's a theme post.  Love is in the air, and we have two very special couples to talk about.  One's a pair of folks who never wanted the limelight, but got it anyway.  The other are a couple of mutant kids just trying to make a go of it in this crazy world.  Let's find out all about Thunder & Lightning, and Panda & Raccoon.

(Technically, these are two separate chapters in the book. But, they're short and kind of thematic.)

Thunder and Lightning (created by George MacDonald) are a tragedy in the making.  A young couple who gained their superpowers in a freak storm during their honeymoon, they wanted nothing to do with superheroics or supervillainy.  They just wanted a normal life.  Of course, that didn't work out.  They began using their powers to steal money to pay their taxes and got caught.  Instead of prison, the judge sentenced them to a year of full-time public superhero duty.  Their identities were made public and they were on 24-hour call.

The experience ruined their lives.  Previously very private people, they had to live under a microscope for a year.  Now that the year is up, they've decided to take it out on the world.  The thing is, they're not really all that powerful...
Margaret Harrington, aka Thunder is a flying brick.  She's strong and fairly tough, but being built on only 200 total points, her flight speed and resistant defenses are low, and she's very vulnerable to mental attacks (and her husband's lightning).

John "Lightning" Harrington is a teleporting energy projector.  He's got decent offensive capability but as he's also built on a mere 200 points, he's very much a glass cannon, especially when it comes to physical attacks.

After Dr. Destroyer, the notion of two villains who are weaker than a starting PC might be laughable.  The thing is, Thunder and Lightning aren't great combatants.  What they are is great campaign fodder.  They're devoted to each other and coming to terms with the fact they'll never have their old lives back.  What will that drive them to do?  They're a terrific pair of villains to start a new team of heroes on because while they can put a scare in the newbies, they probably can't do them serious harm.

In one long-ago game, I set things up so they were still serving their sentence at the beginning of the campaign and even helped the PCs on occasion. When their year was up, well, let's just say it was fun springing that ambush.

And hey, in a long running game, there's nothing that says they have to stay low-powered.  Right now, they're hunted by VIPER, but suppose they turn to them and offer their services in exchange for a power-up.  After all, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Panda and Raccoon (created by Stacy Thain) may be the goofiest pair of villains in Classic Enemies.  Mechanically, they certainly bear the hallmarks of being designed for an earlier version of the game.  Here's their deal:  Panda is a British mutant with, well, ears like a greater panda, and a potent mind blast.  Raccoon is an American mutant (I think), with a raccoon tail, superhuman strength, and the ability to project a field of darkness. They're both potent martial artists as well. They fight...VIPER, I suppose.  Mostly.

That's Panda up there.  She was raised in an orphanage until PSI (The Parapsychological Studies Institutes - a front for a psionic villain group) took her in.  Mechanically, she's just plain weird with two-slot Multipower that contains a (variable) Ego Attack in one slot and (fixed) Mental Defense in the other.  It's a deeply weird arrangement, from my perspective. She also has a very high Speed (7), which does give her a lot of versatility (she can attack from range with the Ego Attacks, or up close with Martial Arts).  She also has Danger Sense, which feels kind of tacked on.  Like I said, she feels very 1st Edition.

Raccoon is similarly all over the map, combining a light brick approach with lots of Martial Arts (seriously, his Martial Kick does 14d6), along with that Darkness power that doesn't really seem thematically connected (though I do like the fact he has a way to see in it when most characters won't).  His story is that he's also a mutant, but raised in wealth and privileged confinement, hidden from prying eyes.  Chafing under the restrictions, he ran away and joined VIPER for some reason, becoming one of their top operatives.  He met Panda when she was sent to kill him and it was love at first sight.

I'm 100% certain I've never used either of these characters in any of my games.  Between the lack of thematic consistency (other than the on-the-nose names and costuming), I just haven't ever had a situation where I needed a psychic martial artist with panda ears and her raccoon boyfriend.  I guess that makes me a bad person.  If you've got ideas or stories about them, feel free to share them with the class.

Next, I'll start with the independent villains. Some days, you'll get a few, others, I may focus on just one.


  1. I always thought Thunder and Lightning's background was really interesting a good fodder, as you say, but I too never used Panda and Raccoon. I like the idea of a "Bonnie and Clyde" villain duo, however, so maybe that concept could be lifted out and used with other people.

  2. I never used Racoon and Panda myself, they just never fit into any campaign I had. Thunder and Lightning however ended up joining a group of players and some NPC characters. The players just thought I was using them for plot hooks or to drive the story. They were secretly just moonlighting their criminal career using info they got on places playing hero with the group. Boy was some of the players mad when they found out how they had been used. Since there was alot of game time played T & L gained XP and got better, they gave the group a good fight in the end.

  3. The problem with Panda and Lightning as written is their entire story is already told in their descriptions. If I were to use them, I'd introduce them separately and let events unfold over time.

    Aren't pandas known for their danger sense? Just like spiders?