Catastrophe Academy (Dark Hero High)

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pathfinderq1
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:04 pm

Re: Catastrophe Academy (Dark Hero High)

Post by pathfinderq1 »

Prince Charon wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:30 am
pathfinderq1 wrote: Thu Apr 21, 2022 12:23 am >Rules:
-1. There is to be no physical contact between students with express consent. This also applies to use of powers on other students. There is a "Good Samaritan" exception, and other exceptions are made under direct supervision of a qualified staff member- most often as part of training exercises.
The phrasing in that first sentence is confusing. Did you mean 'even with express consent,' or 'without express consent,' perhaps?
>Fixed. Thanks.
pathfinderq1
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:04 pm

Re: Catastrophe Academy (Dark Hero High)

Post by pathfinderq1 »

ADVERSARY Infection (Type 1)
(aka Since the ADVERSARIES can't directly manifest, what are we fighting?)

Spoiler
At this stage, ADVERSARIES cannot directly physically manifest in our reality- though that possibility is (presumably) high on THEIR list of goals. Because our realities have become more tightly linked over the last few decades, THEY can influence things with more precision than the random clouds of psychic pollution that were generated during THEIR earliest ventures.

Most commonly, THEY can (for lack of a better term) "psychically infect" susceptible targets- humans are the best 'victims' but strictly speaking nearly any living creature may be affected. Only beings with some degree of self-awareness and some sort of mobility can be subjected to the more advanced stages of infection however.

When the ADVERSARIES become aware of a "weak point" between our realities, THEY can exert THEIR energies a bit, putting pressure on the spot but not attempting a full-on breach. After a period of time (exactly HOW long depends on a number of factors and can range from hours to days) of sustained pressure, the effects begin to be felt within our world. The area begins to feel "Off" or "Wrong", even "Spooky"- anyone with Awareness to a related phenomenon (Dimensional, Taint, or ADVERSARIES for example) may have a better idea of just what is happening, but even mundane people and animals will be uncomfortable in the area. In most cases, these events tend to occur in lightly-populated or even remote locations- but they have happened even in cities (though in the more run-down or desolate urban zones).

Then things begin to get even stranger- people and animals start to get nervous and jumpy, and then unnaturally aggressive. Various unexplained happenings, often similar to the things one sees in horror movies, begin to occur- flashlights, phones, and other electronics start to become unreliable; there are strange sounds, or shadows, or tricks of the light like movement just at the edge of your peripheral vision, which vanishes when you turn to look. Animals will try to leave the area, if they can.

After a while any animals or 'mundane' humans that remain in the area (or possibly other things- there are stories of Tainted Trees with clutching limbs or roots) are completely infected and begin to act in a mindlessly aggressive fashion, similar to late-stage rabies or the Rage zombies from 28 Days Later. Such subjects are stronger, faster, and far more violent than they were pre-infection. They will attack nearly anything they can find, except for other infected creatures- they display some degree of coordination- not a full-scale hive-mind, but rather an instinctive cooperative instinct, like the swarming tactics of various insects or birds.

Of course, the infection does not provide any additional energy for its victims- after a day or two of hunting, or even a few hours of sustained high-intensity activity (active pursuit or fighting), the infected beings start to break down. Once they start to fail, they quickly begin to resemble more traditional horror movie zombies- slow, shambling, and soon enough basically falling apart. At this stage, they are still aggressive and violent, but only to targets in their immediate area- they will no longer seek out or pursue prey. Instead they begin to gravitate towards the center of the infected area. Once there, they will start to glom themselves together- as their bodies continue to break down, they will form a large shapeless mass that, while still organic, is not entirely mundane flesh. Within a few days, the blob begins to crystallize into a jagged structure of sorts.

These crystalline forms have two effects on the local area. The first is that is "stabilizes" the weak point between dimensions, preventing it from naturally 'healing' and requiring no further energy or supervision from the ADVERSARIES who initiated the hotspot. Secondly, they crystal begins to absorb any kind of negative psychic energy that occurs within the area- and with a stable weak spot, the fear and aggression generated continues to flow. This energy, once collected and concentrated, is pushed through the weakened barrier back into the ADVERSARIES' dimension- it is basically setting out a windmill or solar panel, only for psychic trauma...

Early stage infection can be cured, though only by a few Empowered healers (at least right now). Once a victim begins to degenerate, the cure is less certain, and the victim, even if saved, may require further healing or extensive medical assistance. Once a victim has been glommed into a blob or crystal, they are lost forever.

In addition to curative powers, there is a sort of vaccine which has been developed- it is currently rare and expensive, but it does allow a normal person to operate in one of these tainted zones without risk of infection for a short time (typically a few hours). So far, it has been used to allow trained military personnel to enact rescue missions on valuable personnel or materials that were inside an infected area...
pathfinderq1
Posts: 1437
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:04 pm

Re: Catastrophe Academy (Dark Hero High)

Post by pathfinderq1 »

ADVERSARY infection (Type 2)
(aka "Mommy, where do supervillains come from?)
Spoiler
It is far more common for ADVERSARIES to infect animals or mundane humans, but it is POSSIBLE for them to infect metahumans as well. For some reason, Empowered adults seem to be more susceptible to this contagion.

Most cases of metahuman infection begin in the same way that mundane humans are infected- spending too long in a tainted location. It does takes metahumans longer to be infected- roughly twice as long, if all other factors are equal. In addition, metahumans may also be infected through extended contact with the remnants of one of the crystalline structures produced by an infected glom. This requires either direct penetration )most often from shrapnel produced when such a crystal edifice explodes) or long-term close contact with a crystal fragment (at least one person unwisely took a 'souvenir' and made it into a necklace).

Infected metahumans do not suffer from the degree of hyper-aggression that infected mundanes do, but they do become somewhat more aggressive and irritable than normal (to a degree that might be noticed with Insight, per Detect Influence, though the DC may be higher than advertised). They are also not subject to the effect of long-term degeneration- this is probably due to the unusual durability and healing that nearly all metahumans posses. They do not display the sort of swarming instinct that mundane victims do, though they do gain a degree of instinctive recognition of other infected beings (while infected, they gain Awareness- ADVERSARY).

Instead, infected metahumans start to hear voices in their heads- at first, it is subtle, a whispering "did I hear something?" sort of effect. Over time, it becomes a soft whispering, though not in any recognizable language. This SHOULD be rather disturbing, but instead it has a comforting effect- whatever is whispering to you MUST be your friend, right? Right? Slowly, subtly, ever so slowly the whispers start to make sense- though they are still not in any recognizable language, and they don't actually SAY anything that the subject could relate to someone else (even if they wanted to, which they don't; they want to keep this 'good advice' to themselves). Whatever these voices are saying, it isn't really a call to specific action- THEY Aren't telling the victim to actually DO anything.

While this is happening, the infected metahuman will simultaneously start to experience a noticeable increase in their power level. This both an increase in actual raw power, but also an increase in control- but unless they tend to use their powers regularly, they may not even notice the difference. They will also experience an increase in durability (STA or even Immunities) and healing (gaining or improving any Regeneration, for example). Without even realizing it, they are being prepared for conflict.

Because that is, in fact, what is happening. When animals, mundane humans, or other beings are infected, it is a general undirected sort of event. When a metahuman is infected, they are falling under the direct control of an individual ADVERSARY and being used as a pawn- though individual ADVERSARIES are capable of controlling multiple metahuman "hosts" at once- there is even one ADVERSARY that has a habit of infecting multiple targets at the same time, for the sole purpose of makng them fight one another for its sick enjoyment. This 'linked control' also explains most "Superviallain team-up" situations (as the 'team' consists of a group under one particular ADVERSARIES control, working towards a particular goal- even if that goal is just "chaos" or "Destruction").

The first problem for those involved is that the controlling ADVERSARY can sense anything that its host can sense- once the voice grows to a constant whisper, this sensory link is in operation, though THEIR brains and sensory processing do not operate in the same way that ours do so THEY may miss details or make incorrect interpretations of what exactly THEY are sensing. This lag can be partially corrected if the ADVERSARY in question exerts itself to "pay attention", but concentrating in this fashion also makes IT more obvious (making it easier for those with appropriate abilities to detect the infection and dimensional eavesdropping).

The even bigger problem is that once a target is infected, the controlling ADVERSARY may choose to take control of the victim at any time, for as long as they wish. By winning a WILL contest, the ADVERSARY takes over the host and may use the body and its abilities as THEY wish. Typically, this will involve chaos and destruction or other "supervillain things", but some individual ADVERSARIES may have more devious plots to attend to. Even more frightening is the fact that the host is entirely aware of everything that their body is doing, no matter how terrible, but they can't do anything to stop it.

ADVERSARIES do not actually go this far very often, because full possession is not without its risks. First off, it becomes very easy to detect the possession effect- especially for someone who knows the target, it is very easy to figure out that they are not in control of themselves. Secondly, the degree of psychic connection required means that the controlling ADVERSARY can actual be affected through the host- they cannot be killed, but they can be hurt, and they can be subject to certain other effects. While THEY cannot be physically damaged, THEY can feel pain that the host feels and certain effects may be uncomfortable for the ADVERSARY even if they don't bother the host (particular frequencies of sound seem to be particularly effective- even or especially frequencies that the host can't even hear).

In addition while an ADVERSARY is in direct control, that is the only period during which the connection can be severed.

>MORE TO COME
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