Story Concept: Freak Legion
Legends persist of nightmarish creatures that lurked in the shadows and manipulated mankind to feed upon his flesh, blood, and spirit. Likewise tales have risen in popular consciousness of the rugged heroes and heroines who using ancient techniques and weapons vanquish these beasts in human shape…or otherwise.
But what's less well known is that these tales are the truth, distantly remembered.
Man is not so unchallenged as ruler of the planet Earth.
There are things older and darker that are constantly trying to wrest power from the upstart species that tore control from their grasp with silver and fire and wooden stakes.
This war has lasted since the beginning and it still rages today.
World governments have long known of this secret conflict and many actively engage the services of the many centuries old organizations who battle these monsters on their own ground. The Templars, The Malleus, The Ekusoshisuto, The Surat Al-Falaq and others tirelessly strive against all supernatural evils although due to their longstanding nature sometimes they can fight each other as often as their mutual enemies. But these are just humans with the know-how and devices to stand a fighting chance. For the worst out there only one option remains: using monsters to fight monsters.
This is where Freak Legion comes in.
The real name of the government subsidiary is The Agency of Uncanny Security (The A.U.S, pronounced 'Oz') but 'freak legion' is its more widely known moniker by both its employees and other agencies and groups. The reason for this is that instead of hiring ordinary humans for its strike team the agency maintains a group of monsters and people who have been touched by the unknown or have learned to utilize it. For awhile the A.U.S was defunct and disavowed as part of a cost-cutting plan when the current administration didn't believe the extravagant costs necessary to guard against 'ghouls and ghosts'. However with the return of some truly heinous monsters led by an unknown coordinator referred to as The Overseer the Freak Legion had to be called back into service with a new generation of abnormal warriors.
In the past great heroes of the dark side had been recruited when the Legion was at its peak of strength. Legendary names like Van Helsing joined the struggle and even monsters like Dr. Jekyl and his alter ego Hyde pledged their loyalty to the cause of humanity. The cream of the crop used to be the rule, not the exception.
But now it was whomever they could round up on short notice. The most powerful monsters had already joined the mysterious machinations of Overseer, leaving behind the runts and the outcasts alone. Given the choice it would have been likely these bedraggled freaks would have been left behind as lost causes, but the recent attacks had led to a distraught president issuing an edict for a renewed legion so there was no choice.
A worldwide search eventually pulled together this eclectic crew…
Drake: A young man from Romania who has a large ancestral castle, plenty of money, never has company and only walks around in the daylight if he's bundled up in a long dark cloak. The Legion traced his ancestry back to a certain more famous forbearer but when they attempted to invite him into their group he battered them senseless with superhuman strength and was preparing to suck their blood dry until one thought to mention that if he accepted the offer he'd be fighting against a group rumored to include his ancestor. Nearly giddy with thoughts of vengeance, Drake agreed.
Drake is an egoist, a loner, has a violent temper and a long memory for grudges (he hates his ancestor for some kind of slight he received several centuries ago).
On the plus side he's impeccably polite, neat, and has a sense of honor. He also possesses strength rivaling any human and many monsters, can transform his body into a bat, wolf, or red mist, crawl up and down walls, and dominate the wills of others. He's extremely susceptible to sunlight, fire, needs to sleep in a coffin and subsists on blood as his only food source, but The A.U.S was founded to furnish such unusual needs.
It's an unspoken rumor that he's the bastard son of one of the famed Sanguinem Domini (blood lords) who once served Dracula in the dark days of the count's rule. Perhaps because of his less then commendable past he's never revealed his last name.
Adam Frankenstein: A college student who has spent much of his life deflecting any association with his illustrious ancestor in public while practicing and improving upon the unorthodox experiments of him in private, Adam was on the radar of the A.U.S for some time but thought to be not powerful enough to be an asset. That is until a fully armed recruitment team was sent packing by Frankenstein's latest and greatest creation: a stitched together living corpse named Boris. Adam is a timid but ambitious young man and when he was promised access to a government grant he agreed to work for The Legion on the condition that any patents he developed would be his alone.
Adam is genius but a bit of a snob, easily annoyed and highly sarcastic. He is invaluable as a technician and engineer and thanks to his dabbling in 'mad science' he can discern the same when it's used against the agency by its foes. He tends to combine the modern and the medieval: using in one both electricity via lightning and highly sophisticated computers. He's also a compulsive collector and a hypochondriac, which can lead to problems because of his use of toxins in his work.
Boris is by no means as complete or effective as the original Frankenstein's Monster, which has gone missing from its resting place, rumored to have joined The Overseer. However as a first draft he's very strong, surprisingly agile, and his parts can be swapped out for maximum efficiency. However this leads to him falling apart at awkward times. Boris seems to have a basic personality and although he never speaks he has been seen to read and study nature, although Adam constantly refers to him as an 'it' and calls these traits 'anomalies'.
Akana: In ancient Egypt a high priest named Imhotep was mummified alive along with his entire coterie of servants and sentenced to live forever in undeath for the crime of wooing the Pharaoh's mistress. Imhotep would be unearthed centuries later, possessing terrible powers and take his place in lore simply known as The Mummy.
Akana, Imhotep's chambermaid would only be found much later and hardly given any notice despite the fact that she too was a living corpse with limited magical powers. Grateful to simply be found, Akana agreed sooner then any other member to join The Legion and tends overall to be the most pleasant of their group. Although in actuality a sunken and decomposed shell animated by her curse she can assume her old form of an attractive young woman although prolonged use of her abilities diminishes her illusion until she's revealed as the rotted husk she truly is. These abilities include command over sand (or at least dry dirt), which she can shape in a variety of ways, her bandages she can control like sentient whips, insects (living in her flesh) she can send out as spies, and a draining touch that renders living beings unconscious or potentially if she held on long enough, dead. She's also versed in most existing languages because she knows the original long dead root language the Egyptians understood from which all tongues are derived. She's claustrophobic due to decades of being wrapped up and stuffed into a coffin but otherwise is cheerful to the point of ecstatic when offered the chance to explore outside, curious and willing to try new things, and always does what she's asked to do. Old habits are hard to break. However in addition to subservience and pleasantness maids of the court were also taught self defense so she is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter and still carries concealed on her person twin bronze khopeshs (sickle-sword) for emergencies.
Maria Talbot: Apparently there's something in heredity and even curses can jump a generation or two. The Wolfman was famed in his own right as an innocent man transformed into a raging animal by the infected bite of a monster. Like surprisingly many myths, this one was the real deal and now decades after those events his descendant has unfortunately contracted the same condition. Only it's to a minor extent compared to her illustrious predecessor. She gains significant strength and ferocity but her skin barely takes on a fuzz, the most noticeable change being to her features which become more bestial. Because of this diluted curse however she can turn on and off this alternate form mostly at will, although strong emotions can bring it to the surface. A full moon activates her 'gift' in full force, turning her into a monstrously deformed beast with no human will beyond the blind desire to destroy and kill. The trade off is that then she's strong and vicious enough to contend with even the most dangerous monsters.
As a human Maria is not much more approachable then her animal form. She's solitary and anti-social preferring the company of animals to humans. She might be suspected to be an animal rights activist but Maria is a dead-set pragmatist, believing first and foremost in the survival of the fittest. It helps that she's an exclusive carnivore and she enjoys shopping and soap operas. Even in human form Maria has amazingly acute senses, tracking ability, super human resilience, and rapid healing.
Desmond Marvel: Everyone knows of The Invisible Man and his crazed rampage, but few read to the end of H.G Well's classic to see that the secrets of the substance which could mask a naked human form but eventually lead to madness were kept on by the original man's associate Thomas Marvel. Following a lead the agency located a boy delinquent reportedly able to slip away from police as if he was capable of 'disappearing altogether'. Naturally the young Desmond had discovered his ancestor's secret: the chemical compound called monocane. Luckily, having read the book and seen the film, Desmond knew enough to take only limited dosages to accomplish the effect by avoid being driven insane. When offered work he initially refused being a major distruster of the government but when The Legion threatened to blackmail him he eventually conceded. Invisibility isn't just vanishing from view. Monocane allows total radar, sonar, laser security scan and infrared blindness. The only thing it can't mask is his scent and footsteps. Desmond himself is an expert lock picker, safecracker, stealth artist, forger, impersonator, ventriloquist, card shark, and straight-faced liar. This makes him a fine infiltrator but it also means he can never be entirely trusted because he's so inured to betrayal and deception he tends to lie about even the simplest things and betray people without really thinking about it. At heart he's not mean-spirited and can even be compassionate when it comes to the disadvantaged whom he has a kinship with. He hates authority and is a radical conspiracy theorist but he values honesty and decency, probably because he's too aware he possesses very little himself. His prime weapon is Griffin (the original Invisible Man's) cane: the only known substance to be successfully treated with monocane so that when Desmond himself is treated with the potion the cane also becomes invisible. Another tool in his arsenal as well as devices of his thievery trade is a gauntlet that sprays monocane as a mist. In this form it creates hallucinogenic and disorienting side effects, driving the affected to throw down their weapons in fear, huddle in whimpering terror from an imagined threat, or attack their own fellows in panic.
The problem with monocane is that prolonged or large doses of it lead to incurable madness. Because of this Desmond makes the material himself and he has never shared the formula.
Gill: The Creature from The Black Lagoon was no mere evolutionary dead-end, but instead the prehistoric survivor of an ancient race which is rumored to have an empire that ruled the land from beneath the waves. Gill is only a few decades old so he doesn't recall this of course. It not even known for sure, despite his resemblance, whether he has direct ties to The Creature (who once again may have joined The Overseer). Regardless, Gill is just an oddity from head to foot. He's a runt (short even for a human), covered in scales and matted hair. He communicates in sign language, as his vocal chords are unable to do much besides growl or howl. He's very strong and hardy as well as capable of breathing perfectly well underwater and being able to hold his breath for hours. Natural defenses manifest as a sticky slime he can spit at people he's not fond of. His talons can cleave through most things short of steel and if they pierce the skin contain a sleeping toxin. Most unexpected of his abilities is his understanding of his people's language and operation of their highly advanced devices that have survived the end of the creature empire long ago. Gill is a prankster, a vegetarian, and an avid video game and anime enthusiast, approaching addiction levels of obsession.
This motley crew stands against a rouge's gallery of the worst adversaries humans have ever known…
Count Dracula: The son of Vlad the Impaler, Dracula despite not being the only or original vampire is indisputably the strongest in existence due to his insatiable and immeasurable capacity for sheer cruelty. He has a hatred of all living things and contempt of everything else. He will only coincide his considerable power if he can see it helping him to wreck havoc and devastation, which is the only thing he finds remotely entertaining in his eternity of boredom. Its rumored Dracula is only aiding The Overseer's shadowy plans because he finds it amusing to do so, not because he's been cowed.
Interestingly he really likes Drake and takes every opportunity to offer him a potential position in the planned new world order where freaks will be the dominant species.
The Wolfman: Tragically, there's little left of the man Lawrence Talbot any longer. After being stabbed with a silver blade he was thought to have perished, but after he awoke from his deathlike torpor he found himself eternally in the shape of the beast, and stronger for it. The Wolfman now has no inhibitions, no moral latitude, and no humanity outside of an innate cunning. He joined The Overseer because he liked having the opportunity to main and slay on such a scale, personally looking at his associates as playthings for his own whimsy. He's taller then any human, muscular beyond belief, each inch long claw capable of carving through Kevlar like cheesecloth. His howl has the effect of a concentrated gale force wind; he can leap many feet in the air, and lift and hurl entire trees.
On a full moon he grows to roughly the size of a small building and can personally rip apart armies: a living weapon of mass destruction.
He also has no love for the 'whelp' Maria and wishes to either whip her into a proper raving beast…or utterly destroy her.
Imhotep: The Mummy himself; he was cursed for all time because of his infidelity with Anck Su Namun, the Pharaoh's concubine. Luckily for him damnation came with inconceivable perks such as sorcery enough to call down the stars themselves, breach the veil between life and death, summon an army from dust and bones and generally live as a plague. Imhotep does have the goal of resurrecting his lover and needs vast magical energy to do it which The Overseer has promised, but his ambition burns brighter then his love and his desire to rule overrides his professed desire.
He doesn't recognize or greatly care about Akana, which greatly annoys her since she spent the better part of her life in tireless service to him and even died in agony for being on his staff.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon: The last survivor of an aquatic race of conquerors (or suspected to be the last before the discovery of Gill) The Creature is a cold-blooded animal with designs on retaking what he sees as rightfully his kingdom…namely everything above and below the water. Unlike Gill (who is amphibious) he is fully aquatic to the point that he'd likely die out of the water if forced to be so for long. He attends meetings of The Overseer's council by being carried via his minions in a glass aquarium of sorts. The Creature has the terrifying ability to slash his victims and turn them into mindless fish-like zombie slaves, and uses this power to create bodyguards, servants, and caretakers who guard him while he sleeps and carry him to council gatherings. He is no weakling despite this disadvantage; able to pull down boats by their anchor chains, gnaw through most substances, and excrete an acidic fog around him that can melt flesh from bone. He communicates in his own language, which The Wolfman translates, being able to understand animals.
The Overseer or The Frankenstein's Monster: Central to the influx of monster assaults is the most famous freak of literature, film, and monster myth itself: The Monster designed by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The creature is hideous: hideously deformed but also hideously powerful, hideously intelligent, and hideously wrathful. Having spent his unnatural life being hunted and hounded he sees his murderous attacks as being a way that freaks will finally be able to step from the darkness and take their rightful place as rulers of the world. He sees The Legion as unwitting pets of human masters who would just as soon betray them as use them like tools, and although he rarely shows up in person he's not shy to let his envoys make his beliefs known.
If The Legion were willing to accept his vision of the future they would be spared. The Monster is cautious to tell the soldiers he sends against the freaks to kill if they must, but leave alive if they can. These children must be allowed to grow up, suffer, and see that his path is the right one.