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