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Kelvarite Info

Those of you who have perused various Champions PnP books, particularly Champions Universe; or have seen the Champions Universe: Unique Character Origins thread, will have come across references to kelvarite, a very handy origin for characters with a variety of powers. Recently I responded to questions on the Champions Online Role Players (CORP) discussion forums by going into more detail about what kelvarite is and what type of powers one can gain from it. As that info would be helpful for any Champions Online player looking to create a PC or NPC with that origin, it seemed only fair to edit it for presentation here.

This mysterious, green-glowing extraterrestrial mineral has been found in meteorites from several falls. It's a powerful source of energy, but is extremely unstable and prone to explosion when disturbed. Some people who have been bombarded by radiation or fragments from exploding kelvarite have gained superhuman powers, typically (but not exclusively) superhuman strength and durability, and some type of enhanced movement capability, e.g. super-running or -leaping, flight, or teleportation. They also acquire a susceptibility to radiation from other samples of kelvarite. Kelvarite mutation has also been known to bring cosmetic benefits, making the recipient larger and more muscular. Known superhumans with this origin include the solo villains Tachyon and Thunderbolt II, Dr. Destroyer's servant Meteor (all in the Champions Villains trilogy), and the African superhero Gazelle (in Champions Worldwide).

The first known kelvarite fall was discovered in 1996 in western Kentucky. The American government secured all from that fall that it could find, but sometimes lends small samples to research laboratories for analysis. Another meteor shower over central Africa in 2006 included a particularly large chunk of kelvarite, which the dictator Joseph Otanga sought to acquire. UNTIL managed to beat Otanga to it, and is now studying it. (That incident is mentioned in Champions Universe: News Of The World.) Other kelvarite meteorites remain to be discovered.

However, what no one is aware of is that what they call kelvarite is actually impure samples, which is why it's unstable. Pure kelvarite doesn't resemble the impure mineral, and is extremely rare on Earth. Its energies respond to the will of intelligent beings in physical contact with it, allowing them to wield formidable energy-projection powers. (It isn't obvious that the power comes from the kelvarite itself.) The only pure kelvarite discovered so far was made into rings worn by the four men who have used the superheroic identity, Meteor Man.

Kelvarite is generally described as stone-like, or crystalline in one instance (not mutually exclusive descriptors, of course). While impure kelvarite (the only kind recognized as "kelvarite") is uniformly described as glowing green, pure samples have been noted as giving off red or purple light. It may be that every piece of pure kelvarite is distinctive.

Unknown to anyone on Earth, the origin of kelvarite traces back to the alien planet Kelvar. Veins of that mineral ran through the planet, which the native Kelvarans (ancestors of the immortal godlike Progenitors) had learned to tap as a power source, and use in many other useful compounds. When Kelvar was obliterated by the Kelvarans' enemies, the Sleynu, fragments of the planet were hurled across space. (That origin is related in Champions Beyond.)

Richard Mapanga is a police officer in South Africa who noticed a small object land in the desert sand near where he was standing. He picked it up, but dropped it as it grew hot, and it exploded, bathing him in green light. Mapanga gained extraordinary athletic prowess, particularly running and leaping. (He's also described as having heightened "Animalistic Senses," but it's unclear whether that's due to kelvarite, or him just spending a lot of time in wilderness areas. But it would be a reasonable enhancement if the former.) Mapanga decided to expand his professional crime fighting with the police by adopting the costumed identity of Gazelle.

Rob Bleskind and Steve Maxwell were university science students, and bitter rivals, who were both assigned to assist in studying a kelvarite fragment. When they were alone together in the lab, an accidental explosion of the kelvarite (the cause of which depends on which of them you ask) imbued them both with super powers. Both became superhumanly strong and durable. Maxwell also gained the power to teleport, and now goes by the identity of Tachyon; while Bleskind became an incredibly fast runner, and took the name Thunderbolt. (Bleskind is actually the second supervillain to use that name. The first Thunderbolt, a member of the Ultimates super team, resents Thunderbolt II taking his name and intends to find and punish him.)

One further note about Tachyon: His teleportation not only includes himself (up to long distances), he can also teleport other people away from him, which can be debilitating to them if done in rapid succession; or teleport nearby small objects into someone or something else, causing nasty wounds. Based on that precedent, a kelvarite mutate with the power of flight might be able to use that on other people or things for offense.

Ricky Murdock was just a teenage punk and petty criminal when he was hit in the chest by a kelvarite meteor. The mineral embedded itself in his sternum, and part of it remained visible outside his skin. Murdock gained formidable super strength and toughness, and fantastic speed. He can perform a variety of Flash-like "speedster tricks" -- run up walls, generate whirlwinds and sonic booms, "vibrate" through solid matter, and the like -- and is the most powerful of the official kelvarite mutates. Ricky had a brief successful solo villain career as "Meteor" before being caught by PRIMUS; but Dr. Destroyer heard of him, decided he'd be useful, and broke him out of confinement. Meteor didn't want to take orders from anyone, but DD's sophisticated brainwashing techniques turned him into a loyal minion. (One does not say "no" to Destroyer.)

All of the aforementioned villains are written up in the Champions Villains trilogy: Meteor in Vol. 1 (under Dr. Destroyer's entry), Thunderbolt I in Vol. 2 with the Ultimates, and Tachyon and Thunderbolt II in Vol. 3. Gazelle's write-up is in Champions Worldwide.


  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 2,244 Arc User
    edited August 2018
    The identity of Meteor Man is one with a long and storied history. The first Meteor Man was Harrison Chase, an astronomer and astrophysicist who in 1938 was camping in Yellowstone National Park when he witnessed a meteor fall. At the crash site he discovered a small meteorite glowing with scarlet light. Strangely drawn to touch it, Chase felt a surge of energy, accidentally releasing a burst of energy which destroyed several trees. He set the meteorite in a ring so it would always touch his skin. After experimenting with his new powers, Chase decided the best use of them would be to join the newly-formed world's first superhero team, the Defenders of Justice.

    As Meteor Man, Harrison Chase became one of the world's best-known superheroes. During WW II he led the government-backed heroes who protected the American homefront. Although he officially retired his costumed identity in 1951, he and his wife Catherine, who had been the costumed sorceress called Lady Mystery, became the "elder statesmen" of the superhero scene, mentoring and training generations of younger heroes. Harrison Chase died of natural causes in 1999. (Meteor Man I's full story is written in Golden Age Champions.)

    In 1956 a young park ranger named Tom Teller discovered a glowing purple stone in a burned-out crater. Holding it in his hand he felt a surge of power, and found himself floating in the air. Originally planning to keep the discovery a secret, Teller later used his new powers to rescue a couple of hikers stranded by a rockslide. Their story of the mysterious "glowing man" came to the attention of Harrison Chase, who recognized the similarity to his own origin. Chase tracked down Teller and revealed his own secret identity. Chase persuaded Tom Teller to become a new Meteor Man, and trained him in the use of the meteorite's powers.

    Meteor Man II was one of the founders of the famous Sentinels hero team, serving from 1961 to 1977, often as team leader; as well as having an active solo career. He emerged from retirement in 1985 to fight in the cross-temporal "Secret Crisis of Infinite Wars," during which he was killed. (You can read all about MM II in issue #14 of Digital Hero, Hero Games's electronic gaming magazine.)

    Tom Teller had retired as a superhero in 1981 to a small town near San Diego. There he met and befriended a young neighbor, an aspiring musician named Roberto "Bobby" Marrero. Marrero discovered Teller's secret identity, and Teller came to see him as the new wearer of his meteorite ring. He began to train Marrero in its use, but perished before he'd finished. Marrero sought out Harrison Chase and persuaded him to finish his training and give him his own ring. As Meteor Man III he eventually brought Teller's killer to justice.

    Marrero joined the Sentinels himself, and served with distinction for nearly a decade; but by 1997 he felt his costumed identity dominated his life. He moved back to California to try to restart his musical career, continuing to act as a hero part-time, including with the informal collection of West Coast superheroes called the California Patrol. (MM III's full write-up appears in the version of Champions Universe written for the Fifth Edition of the Hero System, the game-mechanic engine for PnP Champions. Although mentioned in CU for the current (Sixth) edition, his story was not reprinted there.)

    Golden Age Champions p. 173 notes that Marrero's ring is now in the possession of Owen Henry, who has become the fourth Meteor Man. No other details are given about him. It's also worth noting that we're never actually told what became of Meteor Man II's ring. After his death during the Secret Crisis Tom Teller was "buried on an alien world" (per DH#14 p. 9), but there's no mention of whether his ring was buried with him or lost in battle. It seems unlikely such a potent artifact would have been recovered but never used. In a "war across space and time," no telling where or when the ring might end up...

    The Meteor Mans (Men?) all wielded a wide but very similar range of energy powers (perhaps due to their similar training). They could project "solid energy" in a variety of configurations, from destructive blasts to protective shields, to telekinetically moving objects. They could even form an energy "drill" to tunnel rapidly through earth and stone. They could fly extremely fast, and surround themselves in a life-supporting energy bubble to travel in space. They could generate a blinding flash of light, become invisible, project holograms of any object, and see through solid matter. The energy is controlled by conscious will, and requires flesh-to-kelvarite contact. All the Meteor Mans wore gloves over their rings, so no one would guess that was the source of their powers.

    If one wanted to customize a kelvarite mutate character with additional distinctive powers, the list above would be reasonable to draw from. I would just caution against mixing in a large variety of the Meteor Man powers with the more typical kelvarite enhancements. That would be unprecedented, and closing in on munchkin territory. ;) But it does leave plenty of room for growth as your character gains experience.
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