Friday, March 27, 2015

Coming Up: April's A-Z, Towns of Wampus Country

In previous years, Wampus Country hasn't participated in the A-Z madness of April that annually infects some segments of the blogosphere.  A few years back, the Wampus contribution to the ritual was the Arcane Abecediary, although it wasn't a one-letter-per-day exercise, but rather a "dump everything at the end of the month" gambit.

This year, we're going to attempt the full alphabet, daily-posting achievement - ably aided by the ability to pre-write and schedule posts, of course.  By the end of the month, I hope to have presented twenty-six or more towns of Wampus Country, written up in a useful way.

By "town", I mean any inhabited place - we may see some villages, towns, a ranch here and there, a castle, whatever.  No dungeons or ruins count for our purposes this month; and I'm going to try to avoid talking about the larger towns that have already been covered in the past on the blog (Thistlemarch, Frogport, et al).   And by "a useful way", I mean...well, I'm not certain what I mean.  Town write-ups really vary in usefulness.  I can remember seeing a short village write-up in some Forgotten Realms product or another which consisted of a breakdown of population by race (5% halfling) and a short paragraph of description.  Well, that isn't enough.  I only care that the major export is apples if you give me an adventure hook to go with it.  No maps for these.

So that's the goal - to do these short write-ups in a way that provides information that would be a) useful for a DM to riff off of, and b) intriguing for a player (or PC) to hear about.  We want towns that PCs will want to visit!

I'm thinking the layout will look something like this:

Town name
Short description (including location)
What to See - there must be a reason to visit!
Where to Stay
Where to Pray
What to Eat
What to Buy
Who to Meet
Thing to Avoid

Aiming for PC-centric concerns with each of these; sort of mini-answers to some of the Twenty Questions for each locale.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Doing The Things We Otter

Among the lesser-known animal gods of the Wampus Country is Lutraya, the Otter Queen, whose followers ply the waterways. Her faithful include some humans, the odd fish-man, and the few otter-kin families who still live along the Great River.  The Otter Queen is a kindly neutral goddess who appears as either a silver-furred otter with emeralds for eyes, or a beautiful woman in a checkered gown.  She has few clerics, but is known to provide the spells below.

level one transmutation

This is the invocation a priest of Lutraya learns upon completing his initial schooling as an acolyte - the ability to shift into the form of a normal-sized otter. The transformation is instant, and lasts until dawn or until dispelled. While in ottershape, the cleric can understand and speak the language of otters and other mustelids. Casting the spell requires the cleric wear at least one article of checkered clothing.

Spraint For The Haint
level one necromancy

The cleric rubs a bit of otter dung (fresh or dried) on their face and around the eyes. For the next few rounds (equal to caster level), person-affecting spells invoked by the priest will also affect the undead. For example, a hold person spell may not typically function against ghouls; with spraint for the haint, it will.

level four conjuration

The true power of Lutraya revealed! The cleric meditates for a full hour, praying to the Otter Queen. At the completion of the ritual, d6x50 normal otters arrive and do the cleric’s bidding for one turn before melting away into puddles of river-water. This spell can only be cast once per lunar year, and requires a sacrifice of 200gp worth of colorful shells.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fallen Pillars

Smashing together some things the Boy came up with recently, with some lingering concepts adjunct to a session of (They Came From) Under the Waterless Sea I recently ran.  This isn't really Wampus content, although I suppose I could append it to one of the historical eras; I think it has more in common with the occasional DCC games I've been running.  Some of the implied setting there started when I ran Adrift on the Sea of Love at the beginning of the year, and later started banging together a DCC-appropriate late-Bronze-ish setting for running odds and ends (both adaptations of Goodman Games stuff, like Sailors, and classics like The Lost City).  It's floating around in the "Sinbad/Argosy, hoplites, and Polynesia" zone at the moment.

- - - - -


The poet recites:

Those fallen pillars /scattered like gigant-bones by the furious hands of growling Gods, / the whispers of the rumor-mongering sea / echo through the rocky field of graves / where once stood proud Razzioa / the Lion's Hope reduced to dust

This is what most know of Razzioa - a small city-state, a colony founded by a noble family, which fell apart after its populace and rulers defied the Gods.  The city and its temples were destroyed in some physical cataclysm, and its people slain or scattered.  The ruins of Razzioa remain there, atop a windswept promontory, but few buildings yet stand; Razzioa is a scrambled mess of broken marble, rocks, crushed adobe, and rotten wood.  Among the rubble broken pieces of statuary stick out at akimbo angles - here, an alabaster hand reaches for the sun; there, a stern bronze head laid sideways upon a broken wall stares forever at the sea, as though waiting for a ship to come in.  The piers are long-gone, but Razzioa still provides a fine harbor, and may prove an inviting stop for travelers seeking adventure or a restock of food (persimmon and tamarind orchards now gone wild on the northern side of the colony; wild goats here and there in the ruins).

Razzioa was founded, those many years ago, by the Razzi line - a minor family of some nobility who had fallen out of favor, squandered most of their fortune, and were willing to gamble what remained of their money and reputation.  They piled into their remaining ships, flew their lion-and-dolphin banners proudly, and set off.  At first, Razzioa did quite well; the fishing was good, the land was nicely arable, and the weather mild.  The colony sat on potentially-lucrative tradelines between imperial lands and some of the stranger islands of the Sea of Woe.  The Razzis and their associates built up a respectable small city-state in a matter of a few generations - some say, aided by unsavory associations with pirates and slavers.

Eventually, things turned sour, as they are wont to do when a land is ruled by the greedy and foolish.  The governor of the colony, himself a Razzi, declared himself King - divinely-anointed by no less than himself.  Thus began the bloody reign of the god-king Malsippius, known in whispers as the Bootstrapper, and more poetically as The Demigod Who Invented Himself.  Malsippius ruled for thirty years with the aid of Razzioa's strong military and the now-quite-popular cult of Malsippius himself.  Mayhap the Gods could have ignored Malsippius as a curiosity, an object-lesson in the folly of mortals, but for the song.

Malsippius thought himself skilled at many arts - as is only right for a god and king - and composed a hymn to himself.  The lyrics of the song did more than praise Malsippius - they compared him favorably to several well-known Gods, and even disparaged some Gods as being less than the tales say.  Every citizen was mandated to learn the hymn, and practice it in preparation for the King's birthday; and when several thousand voices united to praise the god-king Malsippius at the expense of the rest of the Gods, the heavens opened up and the city-state of Razzioa was sundered.  By morning only rubble remained.


The Marble Fields
What Is It: smashed ruins of the upper city
Of Interest: ruins to dig through for valuables; uneven ground
Threats: a pack of harpies led by a winged, brazen-clawed medusa; carnivorous animated statuary which lie in wait
A Thing To Do: restore one of the shattered temples to the Gods of Law to curry their favor

Smugglers' Caves
What Is It: wet cavern complex attached to harbor
Of Interest: former pirate hideout and all that entails
Threats: giant hellbenders, spectre of murdered pirate
A Thing To Do: assemble the clues hidden in the pirate cave paintings to reconstruct a treasure map

Cult Caverns of the Self-Made God
What Is It: dry caves hidden beneath ruins
Threats: a devil in chains which whispered to Malsippius and drove his rise
A Thing To Do: uncover the ancient cult-writings from which Malsippians cribbed and learn some forgotten clerical magic


Early in his reign, Malsippius put his uncle Balaranthus to death for some small offense, or the seeming of a conspiracy.  Balaranthus, who was a fairly accomplished sorcerer and speaker-to-darkness, was beaten with bamboo rods until his bones were powder; his corpse was then dragged by a jackass to the edge of a crevasse, where Malsippius kicked what remained of his uncle's corpse into the pit.

With his dying breaths, Balaranthus called out to certain small things in the dark, greasy squiggling things from discarded realms; he called out in whispers, and in silent shouts, and he made promises.  Thus was Balaranthus preserved - in a way.  The wizard did not die, but was instead changed.  In the years that have passed, the thing that was once Balaranthus - a boneless, quivering flesh-mass which has taken into itself various lesser life forms which thrive in the darker rock-rifts of this world - has grown to fill the caverns adjacent to the pit.  He lies there, unmoving save for the spiderats which skitter over his skin and crawl through his folds; extra eyes and fingers, some vestigial and some not, have sprung up across the vast expanse of Balaranthus.

Much of the time, the thing in the pit sleeps.  But when Balaranthus is awake, he knows many things, and his hollow voice rings upward out of the pit...


What became of the Razzi family and their trusted servants when the colony at Razzioa was destroyed?  Few now living know, but the answer is obvious to those with eyes to see.

In the waters around Razzioa, and out into the tradelanes of the Sea of Woe, swim dangerous packs of creatures which the tattooed island natives call koua.  The koua appear - if one squints - as the blending of the two banner-totems of the Razzi family, the lion and dolphin.  Indeed, the koua do seem to have catlike faces ringed by manes; wide maws with row upon row of sharp teeth; and the smooth green-grey skin of some sort of dolphin.  But they are indeed more akin to sharks, both in their need to breathe water and their predatory nature.  The koua do not speak, so far as we know, but they are nearly as intelligent as men, and very cunning when it comes to the hunt.  This fearful cunning is supplemented by their ability to scent both fear and innocence in the same way a shark can smell blood in the water.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The City Within The Song

Despite apocryphal assertions, it is widely accepted among the best-educated wizards of the Wampus Country that there are, in fact, only three Cities of Secrets.  These three cities, we are told, hold within them deep, great truths about the nature of reality and the place we call home.  Many scholars and historical treatises agree that the Cities of Secrets are numbered three, however different traditions name varied places as those mystical places.

In contemporary sorcerous circles, it is commonly accepted that the three locations consist of the City Behind The Moon, the City Under Everything, and the City Within The Song [1].  Of these, the City Behind The Moon is best-known; a faerie outpost which occasionally exists just outside the atmosphere of our world, it is a place to which we can easily travel if we but know the way, and its denizens occasionally lower themselves to visit the Wampus Country.  The second conurbation, about which less is known, is the City Under Everything.  A realm of twilight and secrets, this place is, the wizards would have us believe, quite literally under everything - under that lake, under the deepest caves, and under your child's bed; one can only imagine what its denizens best resemble when squinted at in the sickly half-light of its cobblebone streets.

Neither of these storied places, however, are the subject of today's discussion; instead we turn to one of the once-popular candidates for the third mystical node, the City Within The Song.  Much of what is supposed regarding this place comes to us from the memoir-tome Strange Futures Wrought By My Own Foolishness, scrawled in mirror-writing by a time-traveling lich under the obvious nom de plume of Endsworth.  Mr. Endsworth claims in the book to not only have survived til the end of the universe - thanks in part to his undead condition - but also to have inadvertently caused the whole sordid collapse, as alluded to in the title [2].  Regardless, our concern for the work is singular: the lich Endsworth provides a lengthy diversion regarding the City Within The Song during one of the middle chapters, and it is from this source that we know something of the place.

The City Within The Song, called Ghya-Ma-Hau by its inhabitants, exists simultaneously in several places [3].  The city exists, in some physical sense, on several other demi-planes at once, including those known as "Narcosa" and "Thrice-Cursed Ffu" [4].  Endsworth suggests to us that the City does not exist in the same form in each realm, instead one city dreams the next in a cascade: the Ghya-Ma-Hau we can reach from Wampus Country may be a projection of the dream-selves of the residents of Ghya-Ma-Hau in Narcosa, who themselves are the sweaty nightmares of their own analogs in Ffu.  If the lich is to be believed, the citizens of Ghya-Ma-Hau are, generally speaking, aware that they are someone else's dream, and act accordingly - which is to say, with considerable abandon and disregard for their own safety, should the whim strike.

Reaching the City Within The Song from the Wampus Country is not easy to do purposefully, but quite simple to accomplish accidentally.  All wizards of our time are familiar with the bazoul, that psychemotive energy field which binds the living creatures of the Wampus Country and even permeates the land itself, like cheap rum poured over a sponge cake.  The bazoul is the weave of lives and minds, the unspoken communication between the myriad singularities that populate our world.  Every form of communication requires a medium, a language; thus, if the bazoul is the air, there is a song which floats through it, resonating with each mind it passes like a voice against an eardrum.  But this is first-year sorcery, and I do not mean to bore you [5].  Suffice it to say that if the bazoul has a song, and that song has a rhythm, then translating said rhythm into physicality would yield Ghya-Ma-Hau: the City Within The Song, and the right altered state of consciousness will provide physical access [6].  Dreamers sometimes go to Ghya-Ma-Hau, and drug addicts, and those in the depths of depression, and those at the pinnacle of joy; when you find yourself so full of sensation or emotion that this world can no longer parse your existence, your mind and body are shunted to the City Within the Song as a safety measure.

The City itself is a massive iridescent - in some manifestations it stands on the surface of the earth, in others it floats in the sky.  This immense sphere is populated both on the outer surface, and on the inner, and passing between the two is a simple act of will accompanied by a physical push, as passing gently through a soap bubble.  And perhaps a soap bubble is the most appropriate description, as rainbow fractals dance over every surface, seemingly alive, and the entire city is possessed of this unspoken feeling of an impending 'pop' - perhaps yielded by the ephemeral nature of the dreams which form the atoms of Ghya-Ma-Hau.  The population of the City may vary by manifestation and time, but it is certainly immense, with the city's footprint covering many square miles of visible land and goodness-knows how many more microplanar spider-holes and transfolded buildings [7].  Things in the distance are transparent in their nonexistence; as you approach, they coalesce out of nothing in a swirl of melted crayon to become real, so long as they are being observed.  Once you pass, the shops and sculptures and people may be forgotten and unwatched, and thus dissapate and seep away into invisible drains in the walls of reality.  Within the City, thousands go about their dream-business, much of which might be inexplicable to passersby, seeming the actions of mimes and madmen.  The streets and walls and buildings shift and morph in reaction to the unspoken needs and fears of the citizenry, making Ghya-Ma-Hau both a playground and a nightmare.  Few would travel there intentionally, for there is no safety in wandering the collective unconscious - not only are most humans wracked with constant fears and inadequacies, but many of them are quite stupid, to boot, and all these traits manifest in the City Within the Song.

How many dreamers and mushroom-fiends lose themselves amongst the labyrinthine alleyways of Ghya-Ma-Hau?  We cannot know.  Nor can we posit whether their visit to the City Within the Song is temporary, or in some way permanent; the place is so permeated with dream-stuff that possibly tonight you will dream your way there, only to then replace your earthly self with a dream of you, slightly altered.  The next time your companions note you are not acting like yourself, consider the possibility that you are not, in fact, yourself - you are but a dream-painting of the real you, who is now passed out in an alley in Ghya-Ma-Hau, the City Within the Song.

[1] The poetic among you will notice the "Behind", "Under", "Within" pattern; I do not recommend placing too much symbolic stock in these words, as the wizards of both today and the Long Long Ago had an inordinate fondness for prepositions.

[2] If the signposts of apocalypse described by Mr. Endsworth in Chapters Two through Four of his work are interpreted somewhat liberally, then the not-yet-undead Mr. Endsworth is likely alive today, as a young sorcerer.

[3] "Ghya-Ma-Hau" comes to us from the tongue of the aboriginals of the city, a race of portly toddlers lacking both hair and visible gender.  This native race was long ago subjugated, then enslaved, then fashionably modified to be housepets by vivimancers, then rearranged into semisentient furnishings and accessories.  Few natives still survive; during his stay in the City, Endsworth rented a native who had been shaped into a small box, in whom he placed his snuff to protect it from Ghya-Ma-Hau's legendary rains.

[4] I use here the designations given by the Psychlopedia Teratica, as they are in common use by planar scholars even if I personally prefer the hexadecimal system introduced by the learned Ul-Phremion of the Several Matrices, in which the demi-planes are 7A91 and 76CC, respectively.

[5] If your own university did not cover isoplanar parapsionic metaphysics until third year, you have no one  to blame but your parents, who sent you to a sub-par school.

[6] To review: an encrypted pattern hidden within a psychic song-field, which is also an actual city when you look at it sideways.  Wizards who cannot wrap their thinkmeat around such concepts best return to brewing "love potions" for rubes.

[7] Endsworth himself does not describe the size of the City beyond conveying its enormity, but in one dialogue, he quotes a drinking-companion (one Zebulon the Cruel) as noting Ghya-Ma-Hau to be "at least as big as either the City of Oaks or Chicago, and twice as dangerous as the two combined".  Sadly we lack context for this boast.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Asparagus Factor

I know what I like, and I know what doesn't appeal to me.  On a good day, I understand the 'why' behind those things.

This might be a good day.

Over at Rotten Pulp, the learned Mr. Mack has posted about those adventures he calls Negadungeons; those encounters, typified by the much-vaunted "Raggian screwjob", which leave the delvers inevitably worse off, insane, accursed, and wondering why they ever set foot in this place (and sometimes crumples up the campaign world and tosses it in the bin as a by-product).  I have no issue saying that I do not typically like this kind of adventure - and this criticism applies to a number of Call of Cthulhu classics, I'm sorry to say - and do not typically use them except perhaps for occasional inspiration and cannibalization.

Mr. Mack thoughtfully explores the nature of the "negadungeon" - you should read his post if you haven't already - and explains that rather than being "hahaha screw you, players" exercises in GM onanism, the negadungeon is instead its own animal.  For whatever reason, reading that over tonight, the whole thing clicked.  These kinds of adventures are not adventures at all - in the literary sense - but an attempt to do a horror story in rpg form.  Yes, this should be obvious, as I mentioned Call of Cthulhu scenarios, but for some reason even though I've always understood the connection, it took tonight to have the epiphany that the reason I don't like many of these scenarios is because they're trying to be horror stories rather than adventure stories.

You'd think that would be self-evident.  It wasn't.  Perhaps you can see how, measuring these kinds of "adventures" against, y'know, actual adventure stories, they would not measure up in my mind.  I don't much care for horror stories or movies, either.  Is there something about that negative catharsis whatever-you-call-it (no doubt Professor Shear can supply a very fine Greek word) that just plain does not appeal to me?  That might be it.  I don't mind occasionally watching or reading something about a protagonist who descends into darkness and madness and bad choices and whatever; but it would rarely be my first choice for entertainment (for what it's worth, I'm working my way through Breaking Bad now, and enjoying it), and the chances of it becoming my favorite ahead of innumerable comedies and real adventure yarns is effectively nil.  There's a place within adventure, within fairy tales, within pulp, for the frightening, the uncanny, and the gross-out, but to me, their best position is within the framework of the adventure genre.  An ingredient rather than a meal.

So I get it now, even if I still don't like them.  Much in the same way I will not eat asparagus, yet can appreciate my wife's enjoyment of the fetid stalk, or coo appreciatively as the wizards on Chopped unveil a glorious bundle of white asparagus (which, one assumes, grants urine the aroma of fine Madagascar vanilla), I think I can appreciate the craft and cleverness in a "negadungeon" or horror scenario.  But they just don't do it for me, I guess.  Nothing wrong with that, although there may be some rabid dogs out there who would gladly foam at the thought of a plebian misunderstanding obvious genius; but let us not pay much attention to rabid dogs.

If, by the way, your mind went directly into the gutter with the above sentence about my wife enjoying a fetid stalk now and then, that's completely fine; I like double entendre, wordplay, and "naughtiness" of Benny Hill levels.  I just don't much like horror, it seems.

If a pull-quote is necessary, let it be "Raggi-style adventures make my whiz smell bad."  Jim would like that.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A World of Heroes: Part Two (Abject Villainy!)

Part Two recounting characters and concepts for a superhero-verse created by an eight-year-old...

The Awesome Ones - from the previous post - are opposed on a global scale by an organization so evil, it can only be called --


Formed years ago as a foil for the Awesome Ones, the League of Super-Evil represents the ultimate villain team-up.  Although its roster has varied across the years, its central objective has not: to destroy the Awesome Ones (and take over the world and stuff).  A partial listing of their historic membership follows.

The devil of the crossroads, promoted from tempting blues musicians, he now torments super-heroes.  Naturally he is a rival of Saint Dozen.  Demon John appears to be the big mystical baddie of this superverse.

Once a drug cartel enforcer, he manifested the ability to control minds and quickly rose in the ranks.  He runs both the cartels and (secretly) the government of Mexico using a secret identity.

An albino gorilla (I can't make this stuff up), Pure Gorilla wishes to destroy everything he considers impure.  Which, of course, varies from day to day.  Obsessive, super-strong, and very dangerous.

Some sort of martial artist/assassin type.

He fell from the sky in a meteor-ship!  He has somewhat-vast cosmic powers!  He shoots star-energy from his fingertips!

(This could have gone way worse than it did)
"He's like Green Lantern, only he's brown.  And he summons dragons."
"Does he have Green Lantern's powers, but brown?"
"No, he has an old magic ring that's brown, which summons dragons."
"So he's nothing like Green Lantern at all."
"Well, his name is."

Peru Man is from Peru (naturally); he can fly and shoot beams from his eyes and things.  That's about it.  Personally I imagine he has a mystic/ancient-alien origin and has Nazca lines all over his body like circuitry-tattoos or something, but that's all me, not the Boy.  And, full disclosure - when we play superheroes lately, I am typically assigned to be Peru Man.  Serious bias on my part.

"Idaho Ghost was a guy in Idaho who died but now he's a ghost and can walk through walls and levitate things with his mind but he's super angry about something so he does bad stuff."

Saint Zero is the opposite number of Saint Dozen - a man who had all the potential for goodness sucked out of him.  Other than being unkillable, he has no superpowers, but commits many crimes and hurts people.  (The Boy is not familiar with the term "serial killer" but that's totally the vibe I get here).

I don't have any details on this villain, but he/she/it sounds pretty horrifying.

A teenage lad who, via his remarkable ability to shapeshift into human waste and swim rapidly through water pipes, has made an underworld living as an assassin.  Think about that for a second.  Dude's an assassin who can come up through your toilet.  Ass-assin, I guess.

Next time: the wild card teams!  The nefarious New Land Gang, and the second-tier heroes of X-Encounter.

Friday, May 23, 2014

A World of Heroes: Part One

Not much going on in Wampus lately, so let's talk about spandex.

For the past several weeks, each day the Boy has come up with one or more superheroes or villains, which he insists we write down for him, each added properly to one of the hero- or villain-teams he has invented.  As weird as it all is - you can imagine the powers and names a nearly-nine-year-old might come up with, and I have so say I feel blessed only one character has fart-related powers - it's been intriguing watching him come up with things that are somewhat consistent, self-referential, etc.  He builds on what has come before, and things have their own sense of logic.

At first I was going to take some of his more outlandish heroes and villains and give them a fatherly "touch-up", as we sometimes do for Wampus content, but I think this time maybe the Boy's creations should stand on their own.  Thus, the beginning of this multi-post series covering his world of heroes.  We start with the greatest hero-team of all, the Awesome Ones; but soon enough we'll hit the villains and cover the Boy's first attempts to play Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP).  I have no idea if anyone but us will get any use out of these concepts, but it's certainly a walk through a kid's brain.

The Awesome Ones are the world's premier superheroes, with a deep bench and a global reach.  They have secret bases all over the world, and travel between them using high-tech rocket-planes.  Below are listed a mixture of their current and original lineup.

The legendary Saint Dozen is perhaps the best-known and greatest-beloved superhero in the world.  In addition to being a skilled athlete, martial artist, and detective, he has been gifted the special abilities of twelve different saints, which he may use one at a time.  Saint Dozen can conjure flame, talk to animals, disappear and reappear [1], and heal others.  When Saint Dozen is around, other heroes defer to his experience and leadership.

Dr. Emergency's arrival at the scene of a crisis is a welcome sight; she possesses the heightened and combined abilities of a medical doctor, paramedic, police officer, and firefighter.

Once a sheriff in the wild west, Ray Cowboy was abducted by aliens who experimented on him and left him in stasis in a desert cave.  When he awoke in the 21st-century, he had not aged, and had crazy robot eyes that gave him new senses and the ability to shoot death-rays from his eyes.  Now he fights crime in the modern day and tries to solve the mystery of the aliens and why they altered him.

Formerly a professional Ukrainian soccer player, Soccer Boy has the ability to conjure and shoot powerful soccer balls from his mouth.

Defense Patriot was injured in Afghanistan and medically discharged from the Marine Corps, but became an FBI agent.  While on an investigation, she witnessed the earthfall of the strange meteroid-ship which contained Mister Universe [2].  Bathed in the unearthly radiation and pollution of the meteroid gave Defense Patriot her armored skin and uncanny agility.

Captain Africa is super-strong and can shoot strawberries from his eyes.  Little else is known of this mysterious hero.

The "S" stands for "stretch".  Every universe needs a stretchy guy.

A bounty hunter, British Jam's ability to fly [3] has assisted him in tracking down many a criminal.

A young girl who knows many things and can think like a supercomputer.  There was some sort of weird accident and the entire population of Burlington, Vermont was vaporized, but their memories and part of their brainpower were transferred to this girl who was at the epicenter of the event.  Burlington speaks of herself in the third person plural, which is nice and creepy for a twelve-year-old.

Born with the mystical ability to transform himself into a key which matches any door he touches.

Next Time:  we meet the world-beating, villainous membership of the League of Super-Evil!

[1] I am reliably informed that this power is not invisibility.  It sounds more like a delayed teleportation the way the kid describes it.

[2] A rather nasty villain.  We'll get to him in Part Two.

[3] Flight powers are waaay underrepresented in this universe relative to your bog-standard comic assumptions.  So far, anyway.  For all I know, tomorrow he'll come up with eight dudes who can fly.