The story arcs start of with Champions of the Golden Age, followed by Sentinals of the Silver Age, Battle for Bronze, and concluding with New Wave.
Michael Panush has distinguished himself as one of Sacramento’s most promising young writers and is delighted to add his creative spark to the world of streaming role-playing games. He discovered Dungeons and Dragons, and the D and D Sacramento Meetup Group about two years ago, and has been enjoying role-playing games ever since. A recurring player on the Blades in the Dark segments in @Time2Tabletop’s Adrenochrome, this is his first time game-mastering a streaming game.
His books with Curiosity Quills include The Stein and Candle Detective Agency, Volume 1: American Nightmares, Volume 2: Cold Wars, and Volume 3: Red Reunion, all featuring a pair of occult detectives in the 1950s, Dinosaur Jazz— where The Great Gatsby meets Jurassic Park — a story about a Lost World battling against the forces of modernization; El Mosaico, Volume 1: Scarred Souls, Volume 2: The Road to Hellfire, and El Mosaico, Volume 3: Hellfire, a Western about a bounty hunter whose body was assembled from the remains of dead Civil War soldiers and brought to life by mad science; and Dead Man’s Drive, a 1950s urban fantasy about a hot rod-riding zombie. With Airship 27, he created the Clay Shamus—a story of a golem detective. His short fiction has been published in Towers of Metropolis and George Chance: The Green Ghost from Airship 27.
Read excerpts from his work at http://curiosityquills.com/published-authors/michael-panush/ and follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Michael_Panush
Michael began telling stories when he was only nine years old. He won first place in the Sacramento Storyteller’s Guild “Liar’s Contest” in 2002 and was a finalist in the National Youth Storytelling Olympics in 2003.
In 2007, Michael was selected as a California Art’s Scholar and attended the Innerspark Summer Writing Program at the CalArts Institute. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 and recently attended the School of Education at the Loyola-Marymount University and currently resides in Sacramento.
Series 1 : Champions of the Golden Age
The superpowered world didn’t truly begin until it was fired with the flames of war. Superheroes battled on all sides of the terrible conflict, forging legacies of courage and daring that will last throughout the ages. For the Allies, the Office of War Powers manages costumed and masked soldiers for top secret missions that could decide the fate of the world. For the Axis powers and the Third Reich, Hitler’s super soldiers of the Jaeger Kommando spread fascist terror and death. The stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world.
– Colonel Mitchell ‘Madman’ McCall: The American soldier behind the Office of War Powers. A cigar-smoking career soldier with a deep hatred of fascism and a ferocious independent streak. This shadowy operator sets up and prepares the missions of the OWP, assuring that super-powered soldiers make a difference on and off the battlefield.
– Lady Liberty AKA Verity Vance: born to a wealthy Midwest family of Oil Barons, fantastically rich gadabout heiress Verity Vance drifted to radical social causes during the 1930s, causing scandal after scandal due to her outspoken nature. After fighting alongside the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, Vance received both a terrible wound and a firsthand look at the growing power of fascism. While she raised money to battle the Third Reich in the later Thirties, she also hired scientists to restore her vitality with experiment treatments. The results? Brilliant silver skin, and internal electric powers, capable of being focused and blasted forth from conductive tube. Now calling herself Lady Liberty, Vance has been recruited for both propaganda and frontline combat duties as America’s angelic champion on the battlefield.
– Big Ben: a rotund clockwork robotic warrior of immense strength, first built by Ada Lovelace and later restarted by Alan Turing. Big Ben was a symbol of England’s industry and technological might. But when war came to Europe, he was the first to answer his country’s call with mechanical might. After famously tackling Panzer tanks on Dunkirk, Big Ben has been instrumental in battling Nazi forces.
– Comrade Gamayun AKA Irina Ozerov: born on a collective farm, Irina Ozerov succeeded in numerous, highly dangerous missions as part of the all-female Night Bomber Regiment. Because of this, she was selected by Stalin himself to become Comrade Gamayun. Given a rocket-pack, the best weaponry of the Soviet Union, and training from top Red Army snipers and soldiers, she’s an elite commando ready to defend the Motherland on land, air, and sea.
– Jean Moreau AKA Jean De Le’Ours AKA Jean the Bear: A burly Resistance fighter who lost everything to the Nazis, Jean Moreau claims that he received a curse (or blessing?) from a mother bear after he hid in her den to escape the Gestapo. Now, he can transform into a massive, ursine monster with a taste for Nazi blood. Calling himself Jean De Le’Ours after the hero of French myth, this bear warrior is a favorite of De Galle and the Free French.
– Ace Valentine: a top Allied spy.
– Doktor Karl Gustav Krieg: Hitler’s top scientist, devoted to perfecting the Master Race. Got his start while piecing together the shattered German soldiers of WWI, and underwent a psychosis where he believed that Germany’s battlefield losses came from an inherent weakness in the flesh of its people that could only be improved with science. While he has a fanatical allegiance to the Third Reich, Doktor Krieg is more interested in perfecting humanity by means of experimentation. He creates terrifying organisms, patchwork monstrosities of steel and metal, to aid the Reich on the battlefield. Many of his creations, including Fafnir, work under the Jaeger Kommando, and he’s always building new terrors to unleash.
– SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Max Mueller AKA Herr Cyclops: the highly intelligent SS officer in charge of security for the Jaeger Kommando. Mueller is a Nazi stalwart, too young to serve in the First World War, who attached himself to the Nationalist Socialist Party in the Twenties and wormed his way up the ranks. During the invasion of Poland, a reportedly run-in with the golem of Prague cost him an eye and scarred his face, but left him with a hatred of superheroes, who he regards as degenerate freaks assisting Allied forces. He later received a fearsome mechanical replacement from Doktor Krieg himself. During Since then, he has been instrumental in hunting down Allied superheroes and spies. A noted bon vivant, he has a buoyant personality at odds with his violent ways. While a capable fighter in his own right, he is frequently in the company of Stahlsoldaten, merciless Nazi robots, who serve as his muscle.
– Fafnir: A powerful mixture of man, lizard, and reptile—half-mindless and wild. The fire-breathing dragon man pet of Doktor Krieg and the Jaeger Kommando.
– Rune Kaiser: a Nazi sorcerer obsessed with the occult. Little is known about the fascist wizard known as the Rune Kaiser. He appeared leading the Thule Society and made a personal connection with Adolf Hitler then. Soon afterwards, he become a leading force behind Himmler’s SS, specializing in studying the occult and leading ancient pagan rituals for the Nazi Elite. An armored figure, his face tattooed with runes of power, he has dark magic deep inside his body, as well as a fiendish intelligence.
– Enzo Gallo AKA Gladius: Mussolini’s personal bodyguard and enforcer, Gladius claims to be possessed by the spirit of a champion Roman gladiator. He utilizes gladiator weaponry to terrible effect, but is somewhat pompous, with a high opinion of himself, and more loyalty to his personal finances than any grand ideas of Il Duce.
- Peaks of Peril: In the first mission of OWP, a team of heroes is sent on a desperate mission—travel to the Alpine Nazi resort town of Adlerfreude, where noted Allied spy Ace Valentine is going to be publicly fed to robotic dragon Fafnir. Their cover? Pretend to be a traveling circus entertaining the Nazi Elite. But Ace Valentine made a terrible discovery of Nazi weird science gone mad, that could throw the world into a New Dark Age.
- The Twisted Experiments of Doktor Krieg: The Invasion of Italy is under way, and Krieg has set up his laboratory on an island fortress off the coast of Sicily. Mafia-turned resistance fighters, Allied heroes, and more must team up to bring Krieg down
- Heroes of the Ostfront: The fight against fascism continues on the Eastern front, as OWP dispatches it young heroes to the Eastern Front, where the Red Army battles the advancing army of the Reich. But making friends with their Soviet counterparts isn’t the only challenge our heroes will face. The Germans are after a number of artifacts left by the Teutonic Knights, in their invasion of Russia centuries earlier—artifacts that point to a disturbing, occult direction of the Reich’s war.
- Swastikas over Atlantis: After discovering the Nazis occult plan in Russia, the heroes must race to Occupied Greece, where Rune Kaiser’s mad scheme could raise the sunken city of Atlantis and turn its magic to the Fuhrer’s side! The OWP’s young hero team faces their greatest challenge yet as the Nazis try to turn back the Allied invasion with Atlantean power.
- Heroes of the Homefront: Victory in Europe seems assured. The OWP’s young champions return to the United States, to raise money for war bonds that can support the final push to Berlin. But even as the Third Reich crumbles, Jaeger Kommando has desperate plans to strike back at America, and wipe away the homeland of freedom once and for all. Can our young champions save America and earn their place in the ranks of heroes?
I am Air Vice-Marshall Merman. Pronounced “Mer-
min”. Though I would forgive you if you pronounced it “Mer-MAN”. Everyone does these days. For obvious reasons.
You may have noticed that I not quite human. I assure you, I once was. Human, that is. Now, I am an 8-foot tall fish monster with scales harder than steel and the strength to tear apart tanks with my bare hands. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
My given name is Mordecai Merman. As a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force, it was my duty and my privilege to test out experimental craft and weaponry to be used against the Third Reich. Many of them designed by my good friend—and resident Egghead—Egwene Head, or Eggsy, as I call her.
I was something of a hot-shot in the air force. My position and demeanor gave me the image of something of a daredevil. And I used the status it gave me to be quite popular among the boys as well as with the ladies.
One fateful night, I was tasked to pilot a new craft powered by something Eggsy called “Enriched Uranium”. The Jewish Scientist Einstein said it would prove to be the future, supposedly. Eggsy said I’d be able to fly to America without refueling. And that’s exactly what I was supposed to do.
And you know what, it nearly worked! However, my instruments started acting strange once I was nearly across the Atlantic. Then the storm hit. The last thing I remember was Eggsy calling out of the radio
“Merman! You’re entering the Bermuda Triangle!”
When I came to, I found myself in the Everglades of Florida as the creature you see before you. After a few fights with Alligators and a few snakes that were much too large for their own good, I finally stumbled onto a human settlement…
Only to find them call the US Army on me! After a bit of explaining in my posh British accent, Eggsy finally found me and took me home.
I have since been given an honorary promotion to Air Vice-Marshall Merman in recognition of my sacrifice and contributions to the war effort. I am now something of a propaganda symbol. The Terrifying Marshall Merman who leads the british forces to victory! I am a soldier! A Hero!
But… I am no longer human.
played by: Erik Seguinte
I’m not anything special. I’m just your average girl.
Small town values, small town life. I never asked to be anything more than average.
It’s just that right now, the world isn’t letting anyone be average.
Mama told me that before I was born, she told Daddy she hoped I would be a boy, so I could help him ‘round the place. I was a disappointment. That it turned out I was going to be their only child, made my girlhood that much worse.
In fact, the first time Mama was glad I was a girl was when the war broke out. A girl, she said, wouldn’t be of any use on the front, anymore than I was on the farm, so I wouldn’t run off and play soldier.
I sort of want to tell her that I’m not playing.
But, I’m also not a soldier.
Technically, I’m a WAC on special assignment. But that special assignment is part of the War Powers Office.
So, as I imagine you realize, there’s a lot I can’t talk about.
I put on a mask because I didn’t want to embarrass my parents. I don’t know why the people in charge decided I belonged with the WPO.
It’s not that I have powers. I’m nothing like the other Special Operatives that are the rest of my unit. They are the unique ones, the ones the world couldn’t live without. They’re the ones that are going to break the Reich.
I’m just a mascot. I smile, and wave, and occasionally there’s a chance for a layout, double back handspring to show off for the kids. Maybe someday I’ll be able to land one right on the ugly mug of a Hun, if they let me see combat.
Still, I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to do it well, if I can.
I’m the Majorette. I’ve got dimples, and a smile, and a baton that could do more than direct the National Anthem.
But, in a time of war, it’s all hands on deck. If they need me to do USO shows, I will. And I’ll be proud to serve my country.
But if, eventually, they want me to put my life on the line, I’ll do that too.
I may not be a hero. I may only be a small town girl who wants to do her part. But behind the mask, I have a chance to really make a difference.
And, in a time of war, who could do anything less?
played by: Samantha Ketcham
Both parents are super-powered, subject has no “enhanced” abilities. However Kyle has demonstrated an innate ability to recall information like he had just read it with remarkable accuracy and detail. Not just newer information things he learned when he was 5 or 6 years of age. Kyle became obsessed with super-powered individuals and the subsequent lack of the gene that was not passed onto him. Becoming disconnected from everyday life he buried his head into books and any technological manuals he could obtain. By any means necessary in some cases. It is believed he this is where he began his life of crime although relatively short lived. By age 16 he had already been arrested for stealing books from the library… the library of congress mind you. He was ultimately successful, however his mother and father found the books and realized what they were. Doing possibly the best thing for him in their minds. While he was in jail he met some new friends. A small group of low level criminals with a couple enhanced individuals. Quickly he became their planner as he was very intelligent exceeding all tests we have been able to get him to participate in. His I.Q. Is quite possibly over 160 on the Lewis Terman I.Q. Test. After a few years of low level planning his gang became less happy with him as genius people are often difficult to get along with for “normal” intelligent people. The group then named Street Smart planned behind his back a plot to get him locked up. Through a lot of lucky planning on their part and some dumb luck on his they were successful. At the ripe age of 18 Kyle AKA MasterMind was convicted and sentenced to 15 years hard time to be served at Metrocell state prison for the gifted.
During his time at Metrocell Kyle still interested in learning began taking some courses on bettering his social interactions. This of course was all an effort to marginalize the chance of him being duped again by some lesser criminals. While taking these courses he met a woman Stacey Henderson. Stacey was the instructor in his new classes. Over the course of the next few years Kyle and Stacey became very close often discussing his lineage as Stacey was fascinated by Super-powered individuals as well. Kyle began to see his parents in a different light grasping the concept that brought them to turn him in when he was younger. After this life altering revalaliation he began to train both physically and mentally. Stacey told Kyle about the Super-Villain Rehabilitation program (Reformed). Kyle after some convincing decided to look into it. Working Diligently he was able to remake himself into a very useful “tool” for the government he hated that they called him a tool. One day an opportunity to escape presented itself Kyle just stood there completely lost in thought. Later it was discovered that he had been contemplating all the possible ramifications of him actually escaping ultimately he turned around and walked back into the Prison. Upon this information being pushed up the chain of command coupled with the many successes of the plans he provided the government it was decided to give him an opportunity to redeem himself.
played by: Charles Ford
“It always seems so peaceful up here,” thought Jonathan. Ever since the team returned to the States he had spent nearly every day flying, lost in his thoughts. The Office of War Powers said it was good for moral, for people to see him flying overhead. Jonathan didn’t care however; he knew what their reaction would be if they knew who he was under the helmet. It was what his father experienced when he returned home from WWI. They would treat Skydancer as a hero, but when they saw a black man instead they would boo, jeer, spit on him. They would go back to the racism of America and see him as less than nothing.
“Why should I fight for a country that hates me?” Jonathan asked himself before a scream snapped him out of his thoughts. He was above the outskirts of Atlanta when he spotted a group of people surrounding two children. He heard ugly words he was all too familiar with and knew they had to be stopped.
As Jonathan scattered the mob with laser fire he remembered that he asked his father that same question. The children cheering him on reminded him of the answer. “This is our home too. If we don’t fight, then how will it ever change?” It wasn’t just the Nazis abroad that needed to be defeated. That war was ending soon. The fight against lowlifes like he just witnessed was only just beginning, and Jonathan knew where he was needed the most. He took the kids back to their home and returned to the clouds. He finally found the path he was looking for.
played by: Marvin Davis
Although diminutive in size, Odessa Stepanova was perhaps the most dangerous operative of the KPG. In her youth, Ms. Stepanova was assigned the name Battle Girl Potemkin and held up as a “super-hero” to inspire the Red Army during the siege of Leningrad. Possessing inhuman strength, Battle Girl Potemkin is rumored to have destroyed an entire Panzer division with no assistance. Later activities, under the name Comrade O then Red Widow, included furthering the Soviet agenda in Cuba, Vietnam, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, the Congo, and Afghanistan.
Records indicate that Ms. Stepanova was taken from her parents (both staunch Leninists who participated in the October Revolution) at an early age to be trained by the Soviet government as a super-soldier. It is unknown if her amazing strength occurred naturally or was due to Soviet experimentation as part of the KPG program. Unfortunately, all of these records burned during the Siege of Leningrad. Apocryphally, we do know that her handlers codenamed her “Battle Girl Potemkin” because her name reminded them of the famous Odessa steps scene in the movie Battleship Potemkin. Ms. Stepanova never cared for the codename and changed it to “Comrade O” shortly after the end of World War II. In 1967, she changed her codename again, this time to “Red Widow.”
During World War II, Battle Girl Potemkin was instrumental in minimizing German destruction of her home city of Leningrad. Alongside Vera Ivashova, aka Mother Russia, she helped to open and maintain the supply lines to both her home city and Stalingrad, saving thousands of lives in the process. Due to her early indoctrination and the horrors she experienced at the hands of the Nazis, Ms. Stepanova was a true believer in the Communist mission to establish world wide Soviet superiority.
Interestingly, Battle Girl Potemkin assisted her future nemesis Betty Brown, aka Majorette, in the Battle of [REDACTED] on [REDACTED] and again in the Battle of [REDACTED] on [REDACTED] against their mutual enemy The Rune Kaiser (actual name unknown). Reports are inconclusive if their future rivalry was merely ideological or reflected a deeper personal struggle.
For post-World War II activities, please reference DOSSIER CMXCIX.
played by: Kat Cahill
Zoe (short for Zuerst – ‘first’ in German) was one of Mengele’s earliest experiments, when he was studying under Otmar Verschuer. She has a male twin (Zweite, ‘second’) who is her nemesis. The experiment gave her alabaster white skin, white hair, white eyes, and she covers her entire head and body, to hide the scars. The experiment was supposed to give them both psychic and physical powers, but Zoe ended up absorbing the psychic powers. She decides to escape. Zweite, her twin, becomes Mengele’s right hand and is extremely powerful and fast. Before she expires, she needs to destroy him because no one else can.
played by: Lucy Zheng
“Enough! End this filth at once!” The Fuhrer’s glass of vegetable juice sailed through the air and shattered against the office wall, staining the black-and-white projection with a pastel smear. The film ended, freezing on the image of the muscled fish monster swinging the metal dragon man his spiked tail. The cloying scent of the juice mingled with the sweat of all the men in the ornate office. Herr Hitler looked worse than any of them, a sheen making his forehead gleam. “The finest creation of Jaeger Kommando turned into a whimpering dog? Our top scientist, the brilliant Dr. Krieg, kidnapped? Adlerfeude destroyed? Fraulein Riefenstahl, the greatest filmmaker in the world, bashed about the head by some American strumpet? Is there no end to these indignities?”
A rhetorical question. Haupsturmfuhrer Max Mueller had long ago learned never to interrupt one of Hitler’s tirades. He stood there, his SS uniform spotless and pressed, hands folded his back, and enduring the shouting of the Fuhrer and the sneer of Goebbels, who loomed in the back of the office like some cadaverous decoration. Mueller still bore the scars from the attack, and the straps of his eye-patch itched.
Hitler rose, tearing his arm away from his private surgeon—before the doctor’s needle could jab into the Fuhrer’s boney arm. Sweating, hateful, sickly—Herr Hitler looked shrunken and pathetic in his undershirt, his finery abandoned for his daily medicinal injection. “And worst of all, the film of our defeat now belongs to the Allies. Jaeger Kommando should be an endless source of pride and victory for the Thousand Year Reich. Instead these degenerates and Jewish filth have made us into laughingstocks!” Hitler reeled under the gaze of the stone eagles set along the walls.
“I am sorry, My Fuhrer,” Mueller whispered.
“They call you Herr Cyclops because of your powerful sight. How come you did not detect these subhuman spies?”
“They were disguised, My Fuhrer.” Mueller shuddered. “As a traveling circus.”
“And your metal eye? Where is it now?”
That stung more than the blows of the barbed wire whip. “The American they call the Mentalist. He took it from me.”
“Your idiocy knows no bounds, Mueller, as does your incompetence.” He raised his voice. “I want all records of the event to be destroyed! All those who witnessed this assault sworn to silence. And these degenerate freaks—this Mentalist, this Majorette—the Cloud Kicker—”
“Skydancer, My Fuhrer,” Goebbels corrected.
“Yes. Thank you. The Skydancer. They are all enemies of the Reich! I want them taken alive, so we can pay them back for what they have done!”
“I will arrange it, My Fuhrer.” Goebbels looked delighted.
Mueller had to give Hitler something. He closed his remaining eye. “We were able to apprehend one of them, My Fuhrer. The Jew Fish—the one the Allied dogs call Marshal Merman. We captured him as they fled with the British machine. I sent the fish to Isola Caligari.”
“Eh? What is that?”
Had he really forgotten? Was the Fuhrer’s mind beginning to fade? “The island fortress, in the Mediterranean. The site of Dr. Krieg’s laboratory, where some of his experiment reside.”
Hitler nodded slow, a dark light shimmering in his eyes. “Good, good. That is good news.” He stepped closer to Mueller and leaned in. “Go there immediately, Herr Cyclops. Destroy this aquatic Jewish filth. Make him suffer. Pain is all that such subhumans respect.” He stank, his body odor sour and seeping from him. His lip, below the famous moustache, twitched endlessly.
That was as best as he was going to get. Mueller jabbed his hand into the air in a perfect Hitler Salute. “Yes, My Fuhrer! At once, My Fuhrer!” He headed toward the door, moving at a good gait.
“And Mueller?” Hitler’s call. Mueller froze.
“Yes, My Fuhrer?”
“Do not fail your country again.”
“Of course, My Fuhrer.” He walked away, keeping his head high. Behind him, Hitler had already began shouting more orders—completely unaware of how ridiculous he sounded. This was the supreme leader of Nazi Germany, the commander of the greatest power in the world? Mueller shivered as he strode down the hall. The fear had always been there, but it now it truly took hold.
The fear that he hadn’t picked the winning side.
Behind the Scenes
Scooter is a husband, a father, an avid all around gamer, and the founder of Time2Tabletop. You will find him in front and behind the scenes of what we do here. He enjoys being part of his local and online tabletop gaming community. He has started up the tabletop RPG community D&D n RPGs in Sacramento and created Time2Tabletop! After leaving a long career in Retail Management and IT (even left Apple to do this) he decided to spread the love of gaming to all. He works on many different projects that encompass community and gaming. He makes time to coach sports for elementary students, teach after school electronic/robotic enrichment classes, and plays a lot of games with the local community. He strongly believes that tabletop gaming brings people together for the greater good. You will find him shouting out to anybody that will listen, “Go big or go BIGGER”, “Gaming can save our lives”, and “You have to make Time2Tabletop.”
For this adventure he clicks buttons, drinks beer, and has a laugh behind his monitor.