Today is a very special lore update with a bit of art attached. We’ve been focusing on the code and tech side of the game pretty hard recently, and things are moving along.
Quite literally - we’ve got people riding things like subways and blimps right now. I can’t wait till we can show it to you, it’s one of those classic setpieces everyone’s wanted.
But today is about The Twelve. We’ve got a lot of lore in the game, and you’ve met some of the characters. But not all of them. And we’ve collected twelve - plus a few - characters that are the exemplars of our alignment system.
You’ve met the first. Our Iconic Heroic character, the one who has fought, and struggled, and chosen the right thing every time - not because it is easy, but because it is hard - is Anthem.
An early Anthem look
And her modern design, thanks to Cajun Catfish
Our Iconic Merciful character is Lady Latoki. She is firm, but kind. Interestingly, her artist also happens to be Native American. She’s the one who came up with the blanket-cape, which I think is a wonderful use of classic superhuman design intersecting with a character’s background. If anyone’s curious, our Pyewacket’s Quinault. She says her mom's grandfather carved totem poles and her grandmother read the clouds. (She also says that means her family just gets these headaches before storms. I get them too.)
The Lady's headshot
And her current costume
An assistant professor of exotic biology (metabiology) at the Alexandrian Institute of Technology. Intelligent, with the mind of a scientist; curious, rational, and open-minded, Amelia Reeves channels the powers of Latoki, an Amerindian nature spirit from the deep woods outside of Titan City that her parents served. Driven by a desire for knowledge, particularly involving the biological sciences. She sees the best in people, even at their worst, is forgiving of mistakes, and seeks to resolve conflicts peacefully. This leaves her vulnerable to giving the benefit of the doubt when it is not deserved, or being conned by a clever villain. Her attitude towards allies is maternal; she considers herself responsible for the well-being of those she works with and supports. She is protective of the weak, and firmly against causing serious injury, unnecessary suffering, or death, even when villains are concerned. Like so many Amerindians today, she is of mixed heritage.
Slightly earlier costumes
Lady Latoki is not a widely-known hero, primarily because she typically supports other heroes rather than operating on her own. She has a small reputation as a healer who helps other heroes and heals wounded civilians during and after powered battles. What little fame she has comes from some of those she has assisted publicly thanking her. She has given a few short interviews with local press after major incidents she was involved in, although she typically allows other heroes to garner the lion’s share of the attention.
Amelia Reeves does not have a public reputation outside of the the scientific community, where she is known for studying and publishing journal articles on metabiology, particularly in regards to plant life. She is also known for conducting environmental studies and analysis; EdenTech often uses her as an independent consultant to back up their claims against local polluters. This has caused less enlightened corporations, in particularly Santiago-Yuri and Tyrosine, to consider her a minor irritant.
And an earlier face.
She wants safety, security, and happiness for all, sentient and non-sentient alike. A world without disease, disaster, or death. She seeks to educate and enlighten others in the hopes that they will become more empathic, and to understand the motivations of even the most vile villains, in the hopes that it will lead to turning them from their evil ways.
She is often disappointed. But she does not give up easily.
Our Iconic Weird character is Pale Ride.
Who is Pale Ride?
What is Pale Ride?
Our first concept from Exile. Still a work in progress.
As far as the public is concerned, the Motorheads are an urban legend. According to that legend, Motorheads are like robotic gnomes or elves of yore: if properly appeased through an offering of junk, they will mysteriously repair your car in the night. But if one sees you looking at it, it will attack you, and if your offering is insufficient, it will steal your car. Some variations of the myth paint the Motorheads as the ghostly spirits of dead automobile enthusiasts.
From a distance or in darker quarters it is exceptionally difficult to fully discern Pale Ride’s form. Much of his body is covered by a patchwork ‘cloak’ and accent plates made from old car panels. These panels clearly belonged to a luxury hearse at one point or another and indications of its formerly pristine white paint job and chrome accents still linger along the edges of the ‘cloak’. Everything else though has dulled considerably with rust spots making it look weathered and haggard. This cloak is what lends the Motorhead his name, and the hood, made up from the hood of the aforementioned hearse, serves to hide his face from most giving him a ghostly, intimidating visage.
Under the ‘cloak’ it is far easier to tell who and what Pale Ride is. The iron lung that is the basis of his being serves mainly as his torso while his limbs are made up largely of light farm and light industrial equipment. His left hand is derived from a jaws of life and he frequently carries a scythe containing parts from a threshing machine.
Saying how Pale Ride came to be different from his peers is difficult at best. It is assumed that the hazy remembrance of his birth is similar to what happened with every Motorhead. While he is aware of his creation on some strange level it was not until some time into his operation that Pale Ride became truly aware that he was, for lack of a better word, himself.
Other concept sketches - but we like the one above best.
It began with his hand. Pale Ride first noticed that his current left hand, while made up of several functional tools, just seemed wrong. Sitting among a heap of spare parts Pale Ride began to disassemble this hand and add new features. It took several days of nonstop work to finally settle on the jaws of life he now sports. This was a simple change, and not really much of a true improvement. It was important simply because it was his change based on his decision.
Pale Ride has always lived by his decisions. His thoughts and feelings, his deep introspection have left him a true anomaly among his peers. Pale Ride has constantly sought to fully understand what it means to be alive. He seeks it to help lift up his brothers and sisters to a statis such as his own. Sadly the isolation and darkness of his introspection has left Pale Ride rather fatalistic and depressed.
Many people have used Pale Ride’s existence as proof that the Motorheads are in fact aware and willfully breaking laws. In truth he, like the other Motorheads, is tied intrinsically to the same frequencies and understands the same programming language the others use. This is not to say that he directs every attack, but he can work and act though others indirectly and on occasion directly. This is the reason for the occasional acts of seemingly self-aware behavior among the faction. Unfortunately it also provides another layer of frustration to Pale Ride himself. He may be able to simulate life, but he cannot yet grant it.
For the whole of his aware life Pale Ride has sought nothing less than the uplifting of his people. Every move and thought is bent towards giving all Motorheads what he has attained. As a result he is known for attacking factories, junk yards, and even research and production facilities in the high-tech sector. With every passing attack outside authorities and more nefarious concerns alike grow more impatient and vengeful towards the strange leader of these otherwise mindless machines. This has led to heavy retaliation on the part of authorities and villainous organizations.
Our iconic Law Abiding character is Overclock. You’re going to see a lot of him - or rather, you already have. His body shell is designed to resemble the robot you’ve seen in our previous videos. But robots are always upgrading.
Our only digital concept of Overclock
Overclock is a simple individual. His two motivations in life are “Save People” and “Have a Rich and Fulfilling Existence”, the second of which was inserted into his programming by Professor Progress in an explicit attempt to keep Overclock from developing Rossum Syndrome. Because Overclock does not sleep, and is constantly online, he spends every moment of every day doing something, often weaving between Recreation and Duty multiple times within the span of a few hours. Unlike other Paragons (who follow a more human-like cycle of being on and off duty), Overclock always considers himself to be on duty, even when doing something for fun.
Overclock was designed by Professor Steven Progress as the “Gyroscopic Rescue Droid”, a blocky, uni-wheeled robot that was equipped with a Fringe Tech level Gyroscope in his chest. This Gyroscope allowed him to absorb, redirect, and manipulate Kinetic Energy. He was also equipped with a Genuine Person Personality (Three Laws Compliant!), that in addition to making him very humanlike in personality, has also made him remarkably difficult to hack.
Overclock’s current, upgraded form came when he was destroyed while defending the TIAS Campus from falling Skyway Debris during Hurricane Atlas. The students rebuilt him into a sleeker, more humanoid chassis, and put in an internet connection.
Overclock has all the powers one would expect of a robot, but his real claim to fame are his kinetic abilities, which grant him control over momentum and inertia. He can take off at massive speeds in a matter of seconds, manipulate his inertia to run on walls and ceilings, rob things of their kinetic energy (slowing or stopping them), and generate blasts of force. He can also augment the power of his attacks, allowing him to generate powerful bursts of strength. A common party trick of his is to use his Gyroscopes to suddenly toss something into the air, then rob it of its kinetic energy to hold it in place, giving him a sort of “super strength” that is not as precise as the likes of Cambion or Anthem’s. He is also generally stronger and more durable than a human.
His processors are also extremely fast, and this (combined with his internet connection) have led to situations where Paragons like Particle attempt to use him to carry out complex calculations in record time (a task he cheerfully agrees to perform).
Overclock is programmed, and will readily admit to being so. However, his Genuine Person Personality has so far proved extremely difficult to hack. He can be shut down, but no one so far has been able to properly subvert his programming.
In the late 1980s, the aging former superhero Professor Progress, invented what he believed to be the perfect superhero companion: The Gyroscopic Rescue Droid. Equipped with advanced Kinetotonic Gyroscopes, and programmed with a Genuine Person Personality that was both friendly and inquisitive, the Gyroscopic Rescue Droid was designed to provide valuable services to Law Enforcement while serving as a steadfast companion to the superheroic community.
The project was a bit dated from the start. The GRD didn’t resemble a human at all (Prof. Progress’s son Peter described it as a “Trashcan on a Unicycle”), and in the rapidly darkening environment of 1980’s Titan City, a robot that could fight crime and bake cakes was a tough sell to law enforcement. Ultimately, the project was never finished, as Professor Progress perished in a freak accident during an unrelated experimental presentation. As neither of his children were particularly enthralled with science, the GRD remained inactive in a forgotten annex of the Titan Institute for Advanced Science, untouched.
During Hurricane Atlas, the Northeastern Research District found itself near the heart of the raging storm, and the district’s futuristic architecture proved ill-equipped for such a disaster. In particular, the Skyways above the district had begun to deteriorate from lack of use, and were in great danger of falling onto the district below. One section of road in particular was swaying dangerously above the Titan Institute as the storm raged…
No one is sure why the droid was activated. Perhaps it was a long forgotten failsafe that Professor Progress built into his own institute. Perhaps it was the energies created by Cumulus Rex’s storm machine. Perhaps Professor Progress, trapped in some out of phase dimension (as several students theorized), had activated the droid himself. All that was certain was that the incomplete robot suddenly found itself thrust into consciousness with a sense of urgency. People were in danger, and he was the only one who could help.
The robot zipped to the campus grounds, just as the dangerously unstable piece of skyway was about to fall. Putting his Kinetotronic Scopes to the ultimate test, he drained the skyway of its kinetic energy just as it began to fall, redirecting it away from the campus and causing it to drift harmlessly to the ground. The effort (combined with the damage from the storm, and the robot’s incomplete nature) was too much for his untested components, and the robot soon found its newfound consciousness fading as it began to break down. The last thing he remembered were a group of students dragging him to safety. When the hurricane subsided, the city was in mourning over the death of American Star.
But the students and faculty of the TIAS were determined not to allow another hero to join the ranks of the fallen. Gathering some of the best roboticists in the world, the TIAS rebuilt the damaged robot into a sleeker, more humanoid form. After weeks of work, the gyros of the Rescue Droid spun to life for a second time. The robot responded to being reactivated by asking if the campus was okay, and then (upon getting an affirmative response), immediately hugging the person who reactivated him.
Overclock, as the robot came to call himself, immediately joined the recovery effort for Hurricane Atlas, approaching the entire disaster with a sense of unrelenting optimism that seemed almost strange in the aftermath of a disaster that had claimed the city’s greatest hero. It was with this attitude that he approached Harriet Ross, mere days after the loss of her mentor, and asked what he could do to help.
They ended up having a long conversation about heroism, and while Ross was a bit annoyed by some of Overclock’s naivety, she couldn’t help but sense something inside of him. A sort of simple sincerity that reminded her of her old mentor. Things that she had spent years trying to learn, about pity, heroism, and hope… were things hardwired into Overclock’s code. The robot didn’t really know much about how the world actually worked, but… after everything that had happened… the conversation was kind of refreshing.
Overclock had a bit of a solo career in the years following Hurricane Atlas, and eventually forming a strong working relationship with Ross. She’d help educate him on the realities of modern superheroism, and he’d (inadvertently) remind her of what she was working for in the first place. When she finally made the decision to reform the Paragons, Overclock was near the top of her list of recruits.
This update has been brought to you by the letters T and E, and the number 12.
Also, the Composition department - Cube, General Rhyolite, Kitsune9Tails, and LuchRi, as well as Robin and Furballs.
Also, the Art Department - Petalstorm, Exile, Pyewacket, Cajun Catfish, and so many more.
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