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  • LANTERNverse

    The LANTERNverse is my next attempt at a personalized superhero setting. For a given value of "superhero": I find I'm not attached to the dual identity aspects and perhaps find the idea of secret IDs or any sort of "costumed persona" annoying. Costumes themselves are okay, but I still prefer characters go without them. I also really like organizations, thus why the setting name has an ACRONYM in it.

    LANTERN: the Licensed Agents Neutralizing Threats Encounter, Response, and Negotiation. Pedants occasionally throw in a "by", "with", or "via" in there but the honest truth is that the name existed for a long time before someone decided to turn it into an acronym. In fact there is no official expansion for LANTERN; it is something of an officially unofficial contest among personnel to come up with the most ludicrous expansion they can.


    Index

    LANTERN
    LANTERN History
    LANTERN Operations

    Setting
    Sources of Super Powers, Part 1
    Last edited by SilvercatMoonpaw; 07-08-2016, 08:55 AM.

  • #2
    Re: LANTERNverse

    LANTERN History

    Most people mistakenly think the original Lantern was formed by the Allies at the start of WWII to counter the threat of Axis super-science experiments. The origin of this misunderstanding began with the popular show Hogan's Heroes where one of the characters stated (deliberately incorrectly) "LANT" stood for "League of Allied Nations Taskforce", an association which spiraled from there.

    In fact the true origins of Lantern date to the 1920s, when several Western powers created a secret task force, under the direction of HP Lovecraft, to counter the threat posed by a rebirth in ancient occultism and its alien allies. This period is understandably shameful to the organization as Lovecraft was an extreme racist who viewed anything even remotely different as a "threat to all humanity", leading to the death and imprisonment of many innocent aliens and a rift with Earth that wouldn't even begin healing until Roswell. From these beginnings Lantern would grow throughout the 30s into a world-wide organization opposed to extra-normal threats.

    During WWII while Lantern was on the side of the Allies but this had as much to do with that side being willing to work with the organization and heed its warnings as it did with any politics. Lantern even pushed forward formation of the United Nations after the war just so it could distance itself from individual national politics. It was so successful in this endeavor that LANTERN was one of the few organizations that could operate freely across the Cold War divide and gave a boost to the "teeth" of the UN. (This was also when people started writing the name as if it was an acronym.)

    During the 50s and 60s LANTERN, lead by director Steve Rogers and MI6 agent Christine Chase*, battled the Horde*, remains of the Nazi super-science and mystic branches, just barely foiling several attempts to cause the Cold War to go hot. The Horde was believed destroyed in 1965 when its secret island headquarters was raided and killed its leader Anton Hentzau. Unfortunately the Horde was immediately followed by another threat: SHADOW (Secret Hierachy of Agents for Domination Over the World). Formed by New Age guru/Ubermensch wanna-be William Cantor for the express purpose of putting him in charge, SHADOW drew together ruthless scientists left over from the Horde with Cantor's army of life-model androids to nearly take over the world several times before Cantor was defeated and presumed dead in 1979.

    The super-scares of the mid-80s caused pressure to be put on LANTERN to tighten its grip on superheroes and force anyone who used their powers fighting crime to become an official agent. Instead LANTERN officially ended its licensing program......and secretly formed a rebel branch known as BLACKLIGHT to clandestinely aid any true superheroes still operating in the world. Meanwhile the main branch continued to help by promoting the operations of non-powered heroes alongside "private" agencies such as the Foundation for Law And Government. Still the late 80s and 90s were a time when heroes resorted to brutal methods as a reaction against perceived government indifference.

    This all ended on September 2001: An ordinary group of terrorists lucked into an ancient weapons system secreted by the Nazis. Meanwhile BLACKLIGHT had been exposed, and all LANTERN operations had been put in a stranglehold. While the terrorists took over 1 Pyramid Plaza on the 11th, ostensibly to hold it hostage in exchange for the US breaking all ties with Israel, rogue LANTERN agents raced against time to stop the terrorists' true plan: to use the satellite dishes atop the building to bounce the weapon's beam to every major city in the Western world! The terrorists almost succeeded: the agents were captured by law enforcement authorities, allowing the terrorists to get off one pulse that fortunately diffused in the atmosphere, resulting in a radioactive rain that sicked millions around the world. The agents were released and managed to defeat the terrorists just before they could fire a more concentrated beam. Afterward world-wide attention focused on how agency freedom could have prevented the tragedy and the draconian policies were quickly stripped away leaving LANTERN to pursue open superhero cooperation once again.

    Recent years have seen LANTERN expand to cover near-dimension security as Earth takes its first steps into the inter-dimensional space known as the Horizon and act as intermediaries with the so-called "Alien Earths". Also under director Mandale steps have been taken to allow LANTERN to operate even in non-UN-member countries.
    __________________________________________________ __

    * From Rogue Genius Games Super Powered Legends series. The Horde is the Hydra expy.
    Last edited by SilvercatMoonpaw; 07-04-2016, 09:48 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: LANTERNverse

      LANTERN Operations

      In a majority of UN member countries anyone planning on being a law enforcement individual in the area of "super-crime" (a term that has been debated for decades) must undergo a minimum of LANTERN training and gain a LANTERN license. A license ensures a certain amount of police cooperation internationally, access to LANTERN network resources while on the job, and a modicum of Hero Insurance. Such members are known as "assets" -- some prefer "associates" -- and while they are not required to directly follow orders they are expected to step out of the way if asked by LANTERN agents or local law enforcement. They are also expected to cover their own finances, with the exception of an allowance for super-power medical problems (often traded for allowing LANTERN to record said incidents for research purposes). Local LANTERN commanders do have some discretionary power to loan resources to assets.

      "Agents" are those members who are fully part of the organization and expected to follow its rules and regulations. Of course they also get paid for the job and have a very good benefits package as well as access to all non-restricted LANTERN equipment. There is a rank system and chain of command but because its an organization spread out over so many different fields and branches along with the fact that many of its most important members are odd individuals enforcement of said systems is looser than it would be for a military or police outfit.

      Neither assets nor agents are allowed to conceal their non-costumed identity from LANTERN. However both assets and agents may request "Undercover Status" where their non-costumed legal identity is revealed only to a few LANTERN agents and otherwise classified. However under such status members must submit monthly status reports, submit to an identity check whenever asked by senior LANTERN personnel, and are just generally subject to a greater level of scrutiny.

      In addition to its super-crime-fighting branch LANTERN also funds and coordinates numerous super-science projects around the world, studies on the origins and side-effects of super-powers to new technologies for inter-dimensional-space travel. LANTERN is also in charge of all alien contact and defense programs as well as super-incarceration/rehabilitation. In addition LANTERN funds most of the super-schools in UN countries.


      Director

      LANTERN's current director of operations is Olivia Mandale. Appearing to be an Earth human woman in her 30s with naturally purple hair Miss Mandale is a cypher: there are no records of her before she joined the organization in 1990 and no one is entirely sure how she got elected. She has proved herself as the most calm and level-headed person in the organization, but she's a bit deficient in the people person department. Fortunately she knows how to pick assistants to make up for that deficiency. As she appears not to have aged a day since joining it may be quite a while before anyone needs to replace her.........under normal circumstances.


      Response Operations

      This department is in charge of coordinating and undertaking missions involving crime-fighting or world-protecting. Or determining when something unknown is going to involve doing either of those. This is the department with most of the superheroes in it.

      Director of Special Investigations Phillip Coulson: A relative unknown until he helped foil a Horde takeover of AEGIS, Coulson was promoted to director of all SI following his deft handling of the Miscreation* crisis. Though he would prefer to be in the field more he's still as jovial as ever, and Director Mandale repeatedly taps him to be ambassador to whatever new group LANTERN needs to deal with.


      Research Operations

      The intelligence and science department.

      Director of Super-Biology Peter Parker: A witty and remarkably spry man for someone in his 70s Parker was recruited pretty early into LANTERN after some of his more outlandish super-science stunts as a prodigy. Unbeknownst to most Parker was the Silver Age vigilante Spider-Man and actually joined LANTERN to avoid prosecution for unlicensed crime-fighting (though he's long-since forgiven them).


      Resource Operations

      This department oversees funding and resource allocation as well as clean-up following supers-related events.

      Morph Forge: LANTERN wouldn't be able to do half the big projects they do without the lending of a Morph Forge by Aum-Ra. This piece of ancient alien technology can form any object out of an equal mass of matter containing the requisite number of sub-atomic particles (although it takes less time to make uniform pieces rather than a complex object at once).

      Agent Silver Fox:
      The "daughter" of Aum-Ra, a anthropomorphic foxoid composed of only smooth silvery material except for two dark upward-facing arcs to mimic eyes. Silver Fox is capable of tapping into the "spacetime morphic field" to cause non-living matter to return to a previous configuration, repairing it in seconds and reassembling whole buildings in minutes, so long as enough of the original matter (plus appropriate replacement, if needed) remains in the area. LANTERN dispatches her both on operations to clean up supers-related incidents and to help out during disaster reconstruction. Despite her power Silver Fox prefers to see herself as a humanitarian rather than a superhero.


      Training and Licensing Operations

      For a long time this wasn't a separate department, training for each being that individual department's responsibility (with Response Operations covering assets). As part of efforts to increase inter-departmental synergy and communication, as well as provide a support structure for the new 'young assets training facilities', Director Mandale combined the separate branches into one.

      Duncan Summers: And veteran LANTERN agent Summers personally trained his own daughter and developed such a passion for it that he approached Director Mandale about opening a school for aspiring assets and others who needed to get a handle on their super-lifestyle. He now heads the covert Claremont Academy in Freedom City.
      __________________________________________________ _____

      * From Rogue Genius Games Super Powered Legends series. Miscreations are Inhumans.
      Last edited by SilvercatMoonpaw; 07-08-2016, 10:00 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: LANTERNverse

        Sources of Super Powers, Part 1

        Super-Soldier: Standard Captain America story: German program, Abraham Erskine, Red Skull, Steve Rogers, dead Erskine, can't reproduce the formula, blah blah blah. The secret is that even Erskine didn't know exactly how the serum worked. He'd been using the excuse "I'm not giving you the formula" ever since the Germans to cover up the fact that the serum was just bonkers random. Erskine's real breakthrough for the Americans was in stabilizing the stuff so that if you didn't get super-powers it didn't kill or horribly disfigure you.
        The army did try to duplicate the process by mixing what they thought was the right stuff with some manaka root, creating the Patriot. Then after that it didn't work again, so they threw up their hands and tried other stuff.
        Some loony digs that research out every decade or so and convinces someone in the government to fund new research into it. Every time there's only a rare few successes, never enough to warrant looking at the notes till next decade.
        Plus even if you do get powers they come with a chance of being turned slightly freakish, as evidenced by Shayera Hall, aka Hawkgirl.
        Direct exposure is not the only vector: there's always a chance that someone who got the serum but nothing happened to could pass it on to their kids. This stuff is freaky like that.

        Rainbow Radiation Exposure: There's lots of kinds of radiation. Mostly it gives you cancer or doesn't do squat. A few times they give super-powers. Except rainbow radiation -- so named because it really does glow colors -- which has no chance of killing you and a fiendishly random chance of turning you into a mutant, sometimes with super-powers.
        There are three "related" spectrums, each of three colors: white/yellow/brown (Rainbow 1), orange/blue/black (Rainbow 2), and red/green/purple (Rainbow 3). Spectrum colors can come alone, but are often associated with the others in their triplet.
        Of the three Rainbow 3 is the one most people associate with super-powers. Exposure to this rainbow has resulted in the greatest number of powered people from the Viridian Stones (named for their primarily green radiation and not their visible color) of the Emerald City region, to the purple daka-vibranium of the central African mountains, to the red and green “radiation-free” isolates that gave the Hulks their powers.
        Rainbow 2 is something of a mysterious second: it's often described as "alive" due to its effects having a certain "un-random-ness" or "near-intelligent logic" compared to Rainbow 3. It's most often the explanation science types give for "magic".
        Very little is known about Rainbow 1.

        Mystic Bloodline: Certain family lines seem to be part magic, mostly magical creatures but occasionally stuff like undead or even just magic human types like witches. Thing is you can't screen for these genes and their expression isn't completely predictable. These family lines have hidden among humans for who-know-how-long, aware of what they are but having kept it a secret behind illusions and being real good at almost being caught.
        Then recently their populations started increasing to the point at which they knew they weren't going to be able to play the masquerade much longer. So some of them came out. Then random "mystics" started popping up in families that had thought they were "normal". While it's true there were likely some carriers in the non-magic population why is this popping up now?
        In a world of super-powers and people not flipping out because the world is in danger every other week the worst you get is anti-magic religious nuts and racist/paranoid whackos having a new target to blame things on. Yeah, prejudice happens, but no one has gone "giant robots". Yet.

        Wild Force: There's this stuff that turns the environment into the super-wild: plants grow from seemingly nowhere and whatever animal life is around mutates into a new ecosystem. Sometimes it seems to exist in the form of a chemical gas; sometimes it acts like a virus that can infect non-living things.
        "Animals" includes people. Most of the time they lose sapience function. Fortunately this reaction is reversible. Unfortunately the physical transformations are only reducable at this time, meaning anyone caught is going to end up a catgirl at best. Usually you end up a furry. Such traits can be passed on to children and are dominant. And this stuff has been used as a terror weapon since the 80s.
        And of course there are bigoted idiots. As well as the people who pity you until you can't stand it.

        Jiva: “Jiva” simply means “alive” or “living”, and represents the height of ancient Pan science: As technology it is a device that functions with few or any mechanical, energy conduit, nano-robotic, or even life-mimicing parts. In fact many pieces of jiva-tech appear to be uninteresting homogenous units of minerals, liquids, or gasses until they activate, and some "devices" appear to have no physical structure at all. Not even the technology of the Preservers or Sky People is close. As material it is a substance that follows no logical laws regarding matter or energy. Jiva is, simply put, Clark's Law taken to the extreme: science so advanced it is magic.

        Sky People: In the modern age there are many beings that claim to be the gods of mythology. These guys are not gods. They may claim to be gods or to have inspired human ideas of gods, but they're lying: they are not that creative. They're more like con-artists and plagiarists: they find some low-science people, listen to their myths, then put on a disguise and parade around and pretend to be the original thing. In fact they're so good they sometimes convince themselves, keeping up "mythologies" long after they've died off in "mortals".
        They do have some very good tech, Clark's Third Law in full effect. However most of their stuff starts off as scrounged or occasionally stolen and only later do they manage to reverse-engineer it. Even then some of their best pieces are really Jiva tech, including, some speculate, their massive resistance to "mortal"-level injury and their access to magic.

        Cthnoics/Underdwellers: The Cthonics -- with "Underdweller" being a derisive nickname -- are the Sky Peoples' eternal rivals. And also the exact same kind of beings the difference being Cthonics go in for trans-pseudo-humanism, transforming themselves into monstrous -- or, at least, not-so-human -- shapes. They are also not as big into mimicking the stories of "mortals" and prefer to travel by a method which causes their portals to emerge under ground.
        Their tech is comparable to that of the Sky People, though with obviously greater emphasis on things like body/genetic engineering and often a wider distribution of magic talent. Some have tried to propose the Mystic bloodlines might be descendents of Cthonic/Human crossbreeds.
        Last edited by SilvercatMoonpaw; 07-08-2016, 09:01 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: LANTERNverse

          Assets and Agents, Part 1

          The Freedom League
          In this universe the League's modern line-up is different: Captain Thunder and Lady Liberty were part of the US military and joined its domestic team, Callie Summers was an agent of LANTERN instead of Raven, and Daedalus and Siren never existed (well, as a superheroes.....).

          Instead certain roles are filled by different characters:
          * Hecate (Super Powered Legends): Fills the Mystic role. One of the Cthonics but adopted by Sky People, Hecate got her revenge as stated in her profile, but got betrayed by the Titans who were going to conquer Earth. Enlisting the help of the Freedom League she was able to stop and banish them, and afterwards joined the team to keep Earth safe from further Sky People/Cthonic influence.
          * The Hulk: Fills both the Powerhouse and Smart Guy roles. This is the Hulk from the Agents of SMASH TV series, meaning he's always Hulk but also only has the Banner personality and mentality excepting when angry. He's also something of a reservist member, spending a lot of time with his adopted family from said TV show.

          Certain other members of the team have different backgrounds:
          * Martian Manhunter (Pseudo): A prisoner aboard the Grue ship that crashed at Roswell he was the only one to survive. The US army kept him prisoner as a "show of security", but he was later released by LANTERN. He took the name "Martian Manhunter" because people kept thinking his read skin meant he was from Mars.
          * Doctor Metropolis, aka Doc Metro: No one knows who this man is, only that he lost his wife and son to the violence of Freedom's Iron Age. Convinced the city "needed a doctor" he set about becoming the perfect urban crime-fighter. Never a killer like so many other "heroes" of that time this was due to a warped yet well-meaning interpretation of the Hyppocratic "do no harm" and therefore Doc Metro has adapted better into the modern age than many of his contemporaries. He takes the place of Raven as the vigilante, and Captain Thunder as the Old Guy.
          Last edited by SilvercatMoonpaw; 07-09-2016, 05:47 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: LANTERNverse

            I'm digging the combination of different source material here, and how you're re-imagining things, such as LANTERN. I'd love to hear more!

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            • #7
              Re: LANTERNverse

              Thanks, but I don't think it's going to happen: my settings have the life of a duck in a trash compactor so far. I can't seem to care about anything enough to make more than a few posts worth.

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