This is a background piece for my Super campaign that I am providing to my players (who are reading it here). Feel free to comment on what you think is cool or not cool.
History of Super Powers
(at least what is common knowledge)
The first public superhero began operating in New York City in 2003. There had been reports of people with strange powers for years, but nothing confirmed or widely believed. However, when a 20-something woman single-handedly ended a massive police standoff with organized crime in an old warehouse, there was no doubt. Multiple cameras and witnesses saw her get shot multiple times with no apparent effect, move with inhuman strength and speed, and knock people down without touching them. The public called her Superwoman. She has appeared multiple times since then, saving people from disasters and overwhelming criminals. Her identity has never been discovered and she remains something of a mystery, but she marks the beginning of the super-hero era.
After 2003, many cities around the world began reporting on strange circumstances and asking if they have superheroes of their own. Reliability varied a lot, but occasionally something irrefutable surfaced. There confirmed heroes operating in Los Angeles, London, St. Petersburg, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, and a few other places. China was notably silent on the matter, but leaked videos and reports suggest there are heroes operating there as well.
In 2012, an unidentified man walked into a bank in Chicago, killed ten people just by touching them and stole an unknown amount from the safety deposit boxes. He seemed to be able to open them without using keys. In response, many city and state governments started to form task forces to decide what to do. Despite other instances of ‘super-villainy’ the Federal Government has made no progress on any comprehensive legislation.
There are publicly super-powered individuals who are not exactly heroes nor villains. The most famous by far is the supposed Archangel Michael, who appeared in 2016. He claims he is the incarnation of the Archangel Michael and he certainly looks the part with large white wings and a faint golden glow. He has staged many demonstration of ‘miracles’ and has called all true believers to join him at his property in upstate New York. It is unknown how many followers he has amassed, but no official church has supported him. In fact, both Catholic and Orthodox churches specifically deny his status, as do many Jewish leaders.
Experts in 2017 estimate that there are probably around 100 superheroes operating around the globe. Some are known, but many are not. The total number of people with strange powers is estimated to be much higher, but almost nothing is known. There are rumors of governments forming super powered military units, but nothing has been made official. You have all gained control of your powers relatively recently, but are unknown to the general public. What kind of heroes will you be?