Tuesday, July 22, 2014

D&D 5e: Character Sheet Try-Out

Trying out some of the character sheets for D&D 5th Edition EnWorld stuff. I really like the compressed nature of the stats on this one done by Verys Arkon, as well as the layout of the skills grouped into each Stat.

Wish there was a similarly clean way to handle character abilities, but that's another animal.

The variances of the font sizes can't be avoided, I suppose, given the length of the skill names.

The Combat column is nice, though I feel a bit strange about that proficiencies portion. Could the Proficiencies be combined with the Exploration portion? Or perhaps with the skills associated?

Perhaps after a bit more adventuring, there'll be a few more options for useful blocks on the character sheet front portion.

Rinaldo Cardano is my character for the Echoes 2 campaign, being run by a friend of mine. It's in a homebrew setting which doesn't have native divine or arcane magic, so I guess we'll see how my cleric will deal with things. He assures us that I have herbal-based healing abilities; we'll need them based on the feedback from other bloggers on the nature of combat in this edition.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Echoes Book 2: The Echo of Treviso

A Watery Reality

This reality is composed of really quite a lot of water, islands, and approximately five hundred archipelagos, each comprising anywhere from two to thirty, but most typically an average of three to four large islands, with numerous islets.

These archipelagos do not necessarily form countries, but more often than not are clustered into loose collections of city-states, including that of Piacenza.

The City State of Piacenza

Map of the City-State of Piacenza
(by Andrew Drilon)

Piacenza, due to its geographical location, is a crucial waypoint in sea or air travel to many places of the world, and has thus become a flourishing trade city, its population frequently hosting as well as interbred with foreigners of various stripes.

It is composed of fourteen major islands, each privately owned by one of Piacenza’s fifteen noble families. Each family and therefore island is responsible for a certain Mandate of governance, with the fifteenth (or first) family – that of the Doge – enjoying (or not) oversight and a modicum of rulership over the whole.

The assignment of Mandates (and thus home islands) among families is a shifting affair, such that a family may ‘go into ascent’, taking the office of the Doge, thereby forfeiting their previous island and its rights, resources, and income to another family.

The majority of noble families normally do not wish to ascend, as the Doge and his or her kin live on an artificial island that generates no income aside from a percentage of tithes and taxes from the other fourteen, although this can be fairly substantial.

The Doge, however, has the privilege of assigning Mandates and their associated islands among the fourteen, which may be levied as either favor or burden, as the assigned family thus receives not only the potential income and influence, but also the entire responsibility – financial and otherwise – of operating their designated Mandate.

Mandates & Districts

Each Mandate is linked to a specific island and its neighboring islets, collectively referred to as a District. Each District houses a variety of residential, commercial, and government establishments, along with a number of Guild headquarters.

The Guilds, essentially, are trade associations that operate across the archipelago, some functioning directly under particular Mandates, while others are staunchly independent.

Politically, then, authority in Piacenza is held and granted by, first, the Doge, then the ruling Houses of each District, then the Guilds for professional matters and the Councils for domestic concerns, and lastly, very unofficially, the Fellowships.

Councils are subgroupings of five to ten households, which may or may not be related. The Councils handle non-business-related concerns before elevation to the District level, often with support from the Judiciary or, preferably, Diplomatic Mandates.

Fellowships are informal gatherings of friends or allies toward a common cause or agenda. These are formally banned, but nevertheless thrive in secret.

Fourteen Mandates/Districts, along with some of their linked Guilds

  1. Water
    1. Sanitation
    2. Distribution
  2. Resources – No more than three tree preserves exist in all Piacenza.
    1. Forestry
    2. Animal Husbandry
  3. Transportation – Two airships are maintained under this mandate.
    1. Freight
    2. Drivers
    3. Transport Maintenance
  4. Infrastructure
    1. Architects
    2. Maintenance
  5. Public safety
    1. Police
    2. Fire
  6. Military
    1. Veterans
    2. Mariners
  7. Trade
    1. Merchants
    2. Fishermen
  8. Judiciary
    1. Barristers
    2. Judges
  9. Diplomacy
    1. Spies
    2. Linguists
  10. Finance
    1. Accountants
    2. Coral
  11. Sciences
    1. Steam
    2. Clockwork
  12. Communication
    1. Genealogy
    2. History
  13. Far Water
    1. Cartographers
    2. Explorers
  14. Culture – The head of the Culture District is married to a Civita Vecchia native.
    1. Courtesans
    2. Actors
The five most important Guilds include the Jewelers’ and the most powerful, the Guild of Smoke (The Thieves’ Guild).

Given its resource limitations, Piacenza tends to be highly-regulated in virtually in every aspect of life, not least of which is marriage. Since the islands are relatively small, intermarriage is far from unusual, and often even encouraged, as Piacenzans are not generally very fertile. On the other hand, every Piacenzan is, from birth, considered to be an asset belonging to his or her District, so unions between Districts, while ideally welcomed, are, in practice, subject to long and complex bureaucratic processing. (The couple eventually chooses – or is ‘guided’ to choose – one of the relevant Districts to live in and be affiliated with; any children of the union will be citizens of that district.)

Both despite and because of such regulation, Piacenzans by nature tend to be very savvy people – especially about the rules that relate to them personally – and exceedingly devoted to their families first and friends second. They love to celebrate and are extremely fashion-conscious – it’s a rare Piacenzan indeed who does not sport some form of jewelry on a daily basis, and is not able to make a rapid assessment of another’s general social status based on attire. They are quick to take offense, and quick to forgive – situationally, and at times, only quick to appear to forgive.

There are no private armies, no magic, and no particularly-revered gods in Piacenza. Perhaps as a result of this lack of religion, courtesans are publicly recognized and well respected. A notable aspect of the regard in which they are held is that, while married Piacenzans are expected to refrain from affairs once their unions have resulted in children, dallying with a courtesan or three is not viewed as a violation of this – it is merely a transaction with a businesswoman or businessman, as the case may be. Most courtesan houses and private courtesans reside in the Culture District, although there is one powerful establishment situated elsewhere – a subject of some tension.

Other recent unrest in Piacenza is attributed to a suspected underground group partially composed of inhabitants from, or influenced or financed by Civita Vecchia, one of Piacenza’s three main external trade partners. These are:
  1. Savona – which enjoys a long-standing, harmonious relationship with Piacenza, where they have a permanent embassy (real-world equivalent = Caucasian)
  2. Portici – formerly known as Porti, with which Piacenza once had a troubled relationship, but is now under new governance (Middle Eastern & African)
  3. Civita Vecchia – at war with Piacenza as recently as two generations ago, in the course of which two of the three fallen (and since replaced) noble families collapsed; one of these held the Mandate of War. Currently, only the Cultural and Diplomatic Districts interact with Civita Vecchia. (Middle Oriental)

Using D&D 5th Edition: Blowing on the Embers

The emergence of D&D's Basic Rules (5th Edition, yo) has made its way into our normal rules lite gaming habit.

Season 01 of the Echoes campaign concluded last month, and the second season is undergoing some world- and character-building exercises.

Part of that is actually reading the rules for D&D and seeing what we can use for the (for now) magic-free world of Treviso.

Being called on to create much of this world is forcing me (for reasons that will become clear in subsequent posts) to not only become familiar with the ruleset and subsequent extensions (and cribbing from the OSR library, whee!), but to also unearth some great source material from Blue Planet and other RPGs with similar settings.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mining Firebirds: Grimjack 01 - The Setup

The inaugural issue of Grimjack was not the first Grimjack story. He'd already appeared as a backup feature in Starslayer, and quickly proved that he could stand on his own. But I start here for several reasons: because it's issue number 01, and that carries some weight with me; because it's a solid story, and made an impression on me in terms of the writing by Ostrander and the visual storytelling by Tim Truman; and because it's one of my fave Grimjack stories.

Now, let's get on with mining some plot, character, and setting elements from this issue for use in Fading Suns! I hope it goes without saying: SPOILERS galore for those who've not read this 30 year old story.

Here's part 01 of Grimjack #1: A Shade of Truth -- the adventure setup.

We start with a suicide. A young girl plummets to her death in a place that is clearly not Earth (note the satellites or planets above the building). That's because Grimjack's default setting is on Cynosure -- a place where dimensions meet, and where ultimately, every dimension or bit of the multiverse will intersect eventually.

Firebird 01: This kind of matches the Fading Suns setting, with its mix of low tech and high tech, psychic abilities and theurgical rites, and other hidden secrets of magic and science.

A bit mysterious at the beginning, but deaths and suicides are possible in the Fading Suns universe. In the Known Worlds, there are limits to healing, limits to technological regeneration -- and if the suicide was very thorough despite access to miraculous healing tech, that says something too about the desperation or the purpose of the death.

Of course, in the tradition of many great RPG adventures, someone wants to find out why the victim took her own life and drags the PCs into it.

In the case of the late Marcie, her mother (Mrs. Sondra Grant) wants to find out the truth about her daughter's suicide. She wants it bad enough to go into one of the roughest parts of Cynosure -- the Pit -- and seek out one of the oldest and toughest guys with a rep for solving difficult problems: John Gaunt a.k.a Grimjack.

I like the line "She looked like an angel slumming." It really drives home the disparity between the quality of her clothing, the care of her skin and hair, and the breeding that must show in her body language, in her poise, and in her speech.

Of course, that's to be expected. The ex-wife of Cynosure's Finance Minister would certainly be of excellent stock and upbringing.

Firebird 02: Of prime importance is this type of character -- one that the PCs are unlikely to ignore out of principle, or curiosity, or profit, or personal interest. She becomes the embodiment of the problem they're trying to solve, the one who helps facilitate things that may be out of reach, and the one who pushes them when they're stuck.

Also, she has ties to very powerful people that are somewhat blunted by the implied severance (or perhaps weakening) of those ties. And she's motivated by very strong emotions to keep close to the PCs to find out the truth.

Of particular interest is this bit: the ghost of Marcie. Her mother, Sondra, went to her former room to look for clues to her suicide.

There, she finds an apparition of her deceased daughter scribbling furiously before taking a step out into the open air. It keeps repeating until dawn.

Now while this may seem tragic and *ahem* haunting, Sondra is also a sharp and practical woman. She searches for the note, paper, or diary that her daughter must have been writing on, but she cannot find it.

Someone must have taken it: why?

Firebird #03: this is the McGuffin that the PCs will be after. Sure, in the process of investigation they'll probably get a lot of additional information from witnesses and antagonists. But the diary will be the words of Marcie -- a deathbed confession of sorts -- to give her own version of events that led up to her extreme actions.

Firebird #4: In the Fading Suns universe, given the religious themes and elements, engaging in activities that will lay a soul to rest would be of critical importance to many. However, this may be balanced against the secrets that some one like to keep. And perhaps some would argue that some souls do not deserve peace -- but that won't sit well with her mother, and probably not with the PCs as well.

NEXT: Grimjack 01 -- The Investigation. Wherein we see how the progress in this case introduces us to different corners and players in the setting of Cynosure, and how such a framework might be used for Fading Suns adventures as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

IDIC Files: Introduction (or Is Romeo Tanghal Filipino?)

I'm going to start posting about little mentions of the Philippines and Filipinos (and Filipinas) in gaming and geek culture. But for some reason, I feel the need to explain why.

And that's why I'm going to talk a bit about The New Teen Titans and Romeo Tanghal.

In the days before the world wide web, you couldn't just Google things that you were curious about. And in the infancy of my fandom, there were many things I wanted to find out -- and tried to, the old-fashioned way:

library searches
fandom magazines
letter columns of comic books
and so on..

One of the things I wanted to know -- something that many of my comic-book reading grade school classmates wanted to know -- was this: is Romeo Tanghal, inker on The New Teen Titans and other comics from DC, Filipino?

In the days of Google, a quick visit to a suggested link reveals that, yes, Romeo Tanghal was and is Filipino.

But back then, going only on his name, we guessed he was. (We originally though Perez might be too, but we also knew that Perez was a name that was more Spanish-derived in origin, and we quickly found out via the letters pages and fan publications that he was Puerto Rican.)

Why was this of interest to us?

The thrill of identification

I suppose it's very similar to the feeling of knowing that someone from your family, from your neighborhood, from your hometown, from whatever you consider your "tribe" or "group" is doing well or doing something cool.

Perhaps because we all liked comics, and a fair number of us had given some thought about getting into the industry, it was like hoping that someone from the Philippines had already made it into the industry. (Of course, we didn't know about the Filipinos that HAD already made it into the industry, because they hadn't really been the focus of the sources of info available to us; but that's another story).

It's not (necessarily) about being a minority

Before this threatens to become a talk about being a minority looking for more equitable representation in media (which is a worthy goal, though I'm not necessarily agreeing with all the ways that have been suggested online and offline), let me just make a few statements as to why it isn't exactly that.

At the time, I was living and studying in the Philippines. I was surrounded by Filipinos, and the mestizos and folks who could pass themselves off as American or European were few and far between. I guess what I'm saying is, we didn't necessarily need to see more Filipinos represented in media -- because we got that every day by virtue of where we lived.

So why did we look for it? Why did I look for it? I mean, it's not like it was this big thing that I spent nights wondering about -- but it pleased me when I found out.

It's a big world, and I'm just one guy

Well, I can only speak for myself, and introspection isn't always my strongest suit.

I do believe that it's not just one reason, but a multitude of reasons of varying intensitives. Here are a few:
  • I can be president after all -- one of the major exports of the U.S. to the Philippines is the American Dream, the one that says anyone born anywhere (in the U.S.) can become whatever they want to become, even president, so seeing someone from the Philippines doing something you want to do yourself, seems to re-affirm that possibility and chip away at barriers (like the fact that I'm NOT someone born in the U.S.)
  • I'm not alone -- you get made fun of for having strange, unpopular hobbies, and perhaps not-so-practical plans for your future; and it's nice to see someone you can identify with doing the very thing you want
  • That person's like me -- I believe it also has something to do with looking for something that resonates with you in media -- whether it's in a profession, or on the news, or in fictional exploits. For example, I tend to react less strongly to, say, a Filipino in the news who is an ultra-athlete than a Filipino who had a very nerdy childhood

Mining Firebirds: Grimjack

Way back in 2011, I mentioned how I'd been using Grimjack as an inspiration for some of the Fading Suns games that I'd run in the past.

And that I might do a series of posts mining the ideas in the comic for adventure seeds, characters, and setting ideas.

Given the sudden ton of work that has descended on my head, I think I'll be doing more of that in the future.

It'll work nicely with my returned fascination with comics in general.

I'll try to go sequentially through the series, but be advised: this comic didn't start with an origin story. In fact, the protagonist is already old and ageing, and comes with a ton of backstory between him and many of his supporting cast.

Any other Grimjack fans out there?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Things I Learned from Champions: The stories are spectacular

A classic trope: protagonist team meets
other protagonist team for
the first time, and fights!
All RPG adventures and campaigns have a chance at immortality -- living on in a story that gets told again and again when you and your friends get together. Supers RPGs are no different -- but the uniqueness is the genre, of course.
Sometimes it's heroes vs. heroes, sometimes it's heroes vs. villains, and sometimes it's the team hunted by the government or some corporate paramilitary group.

The complex interplay of individuals wielding powers and abilities far beyond those of mere mortals, overcoming normal and extraordinary challenges on a regular basis is part of the attraction of the genre. And there's a lovely shorthand that emerges with every group, a mixture of modern parlance and game system speak:
It was glorious! Alex Raven took five turns of an uncontrollable continuous autofire middle attack. On top of that, he was taking 15 missiles per round for four rounds because everyone else except for Silent Strike and Ayano were down. The Indestructible Man was taken out by one of [the Campaign's] old villains. I took the time to one shot him in the head while being riddled by missile fire. 

Silent Strike and Ayano moved the target out of range before Silent a Strike returned. The Crone did a Body Drain on one of the Black Eagle armor units to kill him on the next turn. Siphon was obliterated in the first salvo but was healed and came back to the fight. 

Oh, the armor units were hitting us from a quarter mike away.

Ah, the stories. They live in our memory for a long, long time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Source Files: LSH #285 - Night Never Falls on Nullport

This was my jumping on point for collecting the Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH). I'd encountered them before, in something known in the Philippines as National Bookstore reprints -- an interesting Philippine artifact that I'll tackle in another post.

I suppose it was time -- I was reading the comics of my classmates, began dabbling in Marvel & DC comics, and this cover jumped out at me.

Now, the Legion wasn't new to me. My Superman / Superboy fandom had brought me to various anthologies, compilations, and trivia books and had prepared me for most of the cast of this book.

However, the ongoing plotlines and the visually arresting cover and contents of this book really hooked me, and sustained my interest for many issues to come. This cover, in particular, promised action and the use of a rarely used superpower (even to this day) among super-heroes, along with some great space opera action (assaulting the bridge of a space ship)!

The story starts with a handful of members from the Legion of Super-Heroes (Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Colossal Boy, Star Boy, and Shrinking Violet), sent to Nullport -- a key spaceship drydock of the United Planets -- to pick up their Legion starcruisers.

After some expository captions, dialogue, and good-natured ribbing between the teammates, there is an accident. A starcruiser undergoing work suddenly begins to topple -- Mon-El manages to save the workers, but Colossal Boy (as seen to the right) misjudges the effect of reduced gravity on Nullport, and is unable to prevent damage to the afflicted ship.

RPG Comments: This is a great little scene, allowing a GM to establish the setting and situation, and the initial goal of the team, while immediately bringing the overall conflict into play right away with a related inciting incident.

In FATE (and FATE-like systems), this would be an incident where Colossal Boy's player gets a FATE point for his failure. In more physics-emulation systems, the low gravity effect would be reflected as a penalty to an attempt, especially during the initial acclimatization period.

MEANWHILE, on Orando:

This cut to Karate Kid and Princess Projectra on Orando -- a world considered incredibly backwater by the United Planets (a sword & sorcery world in a science fiction setting) -- may seem a bit odd.

While it does help to establish for new readers the breadth and variety of worlds in the the United Planets and the overall setting, it really just sets up a plotline that gets resolved in a later issue.

Of additional note is the artwork of Pat Broderick, who seems to be quite fond of this 'stop-motion' effect used to show the sudden collapse of Orando's reigning monarch. He used it several times earlier to depict Colossal Boy shrinking to normal size, Star Boy performing some acrobatics, and Colossal Boy growing to giant-size once more. I also liked much of his panel-to-panel storytelling in this issue.

This was also part of the appeal of the LSH comic book. While one team was doing some thing in one corner of the United Planets, others were doing other things elsewhere, some were back at base, others were back at home -- lots of interesting locations and mostly interesting plot threads, back in the days before decompressed storytelling became popular in comics.

RPG Comments: You may consider this as an approach for troupe-style play in a supers RPG. This scene could've been run by a different GM, using all the same players + the GM for the main storyline, allowing everyone a chance to play and a chance to run. I believe some similar ideas were broached in the ICONS Team-Up sourcebook.

Back on Nullport: I really enjoyed this one-off alien with an interesting personality who was in charge of running Nullport. H'hrnath, a horse-headed creature with hands, hooves, and tentacles, with a very strong concern over costs and profit.

It really drove home the alien, far-future setting of the LSH, in a pretty matter-of-fact way.

RPG Comments: This scene shows a way that a GM can establish an interesting-- but not that insurmountable -- obstacle, to PC investigations. H'hrnath is a foil, a person of authority who isn't necessarily a power-mad control freak, but has legitimate reasons not to let well-meaning, unknown quantities (the Legionnaires) investigate supposed sabotage taking place at Nullport.

It's also a great opportunity to drop clues or setting-building exposition in a non-boring way (through a colorful, opinionated character), letting the PCs pick up on any interesting tidbits that may catch their attention.

With the Legionnaires finally allowed to investigate, after another 'accident' on Nullport, the heroes get to use their powers to investigate (it's not all about combat, folks!) and get to the causes of the sabotage once and for all.

Mon-El gets to use his microscopic vision to keep track of Violet's progress in the circuitry. While there are communication devices, it's nice to have this kind of investigative teamwork between super-powered individuals. Especially with Mon-El being the heavy hitter that he is, normally trading blows with the toughest creatures in the galaxy.
Shrinking Violet discovers, after some exploration of the circuitry, the source of the remote controlled accidents on Nullport, and vaporizes it -- presumably with some handy equipment from the local authorities.

But this is a temporary solution to a specific problem. Having identified that the culprits must be the Khunds, and that Nullport is a target due to its strategic importance to the military capability of the United Planets on this border, the Legionnaires struggle to come up with a way to prevent this type of thing (or something worse) from happening in the short to medium term.

Star Boy -- at home with a costume sporting a plunging neckline (Legionnaires don't care about your 21st Century fashion sense!) -- carefully explores their options, finally coming to the conclusion that there must be a nearby base or ship controlling the devices that they can knock out of commission.

RPG  Comments: This is where the comic book for me really shifted away from mere superheroics, into a sort of space opera procedural with superpowers. And it really reminds me of players sitting around, strategizing about how to resolve a situation with finality -- beyond merely barreling through obstacle after obstacle.

And a good thing he does, too.

Because, like any good Klingo -- Khunds, the espionage / sabotage team near Nullport has just decided to launch an all out attack. And that team is located on the flagship of a fleet of Khund ships!

What a Khundish thing to do -- death for failure, even if it's your son. Very brutal (and wasteful) warrior culture that is unlike anything we've ever seen before in Science Fiction (ahem). They also clearly disdain hiding from their opponents, as evidenced by the bright red and yellow military uniforms, and the green hue of their flagship. Ah, what the heck, they're great villains.

The look of the Khunds changes after this issue, by the way, when Keith Giffen takes over as artist for the Legion of Super-Heroes.

This was a great little bit for me, Mon-El using his superstrength to hurl a giant-sized Colossal Boy at the Khund flagship. Colossal Boy wreaking havoc from inside the ship. And Mon-El and Star Boy generally disabling the various ships of the fleet with their respective powers.

How'd Mon-El find the fleet? Telescopic vision, man! Yeah, in a procedural type of show or comic, folks with the powers of Superman are pretty handy to have around, even if you discount the sheer firepower at their disposal. It just goes to show that, sometimes, non-combat abilities are just as useful as combat abilities.

Speaking of non-combat abilities, Shadow Lass uses hers on a pretty large scale -- enveloping the entirety of Nullport in shadow stuff! This will allow the Legionnaires to essentially move Nullport to a different location while the Khund fleet is otherwise preoccupied. It's not a permanent solution, but it'll buy some time, we assume, for the United Planets to ready a better plan to defend this oh-so-vulnerable drydock.

I always loved team stories like this, where everyone has a chance to shine -- or at least perform one critical action relevant to the resolution of the plot.

As a kid, I didn't think that much about Shady's rather racy attire. Super-heroines all had pretty tight outfits, like many of their male counterparts. In Legion of Super-Heroes comics, I was more perturbed by Cosmic Boy's famous black bustier outfit. But that all changed when I grew into my teens, of course.

Star Boy increases the mass of Nullport to allow it to generate its own gravity! Wasn't sure about the science of this, but gleefully accepted this as a kid because of how superheroic teamwork resolved a key problem in the story. And it wasn't even combat related! By this time, of course, they'd incapacitated the Khund fleet and had turned their attentions to fixing the Nullport problem.

And what a solution by Pre-Crisis Mon-El! Moving the entire drydock to a different location using flight and strength alone.

Again, a non-combat use of superpowers.

For their efforts, the Legionnaires get a fantastic reward.

The miserly H'hrnath gives them five Mark 494 starcruisers for the price of one + a trade in on their old ship!

The Legionnaires muse about him and his heart of gold, talk about their patron R.J. Brande, and generally establish threads for future stories.

But on Orando, all is not well. The King has died, and Projectra stands to inherit the throne of Orando!

RPG Comments: This would make a great resolution to a well-played adventure. A generous reward, a friendly (but perhaps not so generous in the future) ally on a drydock, and some brownie points with the United Planets for resolving a stick situation. Something to keep in mind for any future adventures!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Source Files: The Legion of Superheroes

I began comic book collecting in earnest slightly before the start of that classic Legion of Superheroes storyline known as The Great Darkness Saga.

Since my current interests run along Science Fiction and Super-heroic lines, reviewing the source material around this era should make for some good inspiration and ruminations about gaming in the genres where the two intersect.

I'd like to point out that, while the Legion did take on the occasional 'cosmic' opponent, they also handled quite a number of other challenges, criminal gangs, political maneuverings, alien races, new discoveries, and so on. It wasn't quite in the 'cosmic' adventuring space; it really was an intersection of the super-heroic genre with traditional Science Fiction tropes.

And, perhaps along the way, I can point out some of the existing gaming material out there that can be tweaked or mined (and perhaps were inspired by) this sadly absent team in the modern DC Universe.

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