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Villain A Day (Assembled): The Troll

The Troll

Notice that the Troll’s creator is now unnamed. It might be the same person as it used to be, or it might not. Here’s what we know:

Twelve feet of claws, horned, and leathery green muscle, Troll was once Carter Cassidy, a hard-bitten mercenary, until one of his employers, a villainous mastermind with plans for conquest, used Cassidy as a subject for his newest “super-soldier” formula. It tapped into the merc’s “killer instinct” but manifested his darkest inner nature on the outside. Cassidy became the monster he truly was. In a rage, he destroyed the lab and escaped. Since then, he has become one of the most in-demand (and expensive) mercenaries in the world.

Text quoted with the permission of Steve Kenson and Ad Infinitum Games, and is not intended to challenge the copyright.

I’d argue that there isn’t really a way to justify neutralizing the Troll’s Growth without neutralizing everything else; in the terms of another game system, it is innate. To get rid of one, you have to get rid of the rest. But that might be an interesting way to go with the Troll as a background plot that keeps resurfacing: Someone (a PC or a friend of the PCs) has come up with the “4F Serum,” the one that acts as an antidote to the super serum used on the Troll. (Fortunately, it can be inhaled, bypassing the problems with

The obvious answer to the question “Where does a 12-foot tall one-ton behemoth go for a beer?” is wherever he wants, but the Troll isn’t the only supervillain who looks unusual, or who would spend every waking hour being followed by the authorities. Ultra-Mind set up a bar (originally a bar; now more of a bar-hotel-mail drop) called Coventry. No fighting is allowed (except in the Fight Club, a big bare room set aside for disputes). Violators of the rule don’t get to go to Coventry; neither do villains trying to use Coventry as a getaway route (into Coventry, out some other city). Repeat nuisances get teleported to somewhere in space that’s just as far away as Coventry.

There are teleporters set up in two dozen cities. Each teleporter scans the individual for biometrics, and teleports approved members to Coventry. Anyone who can go is a member of the Coventry Club. (This has been mis-heard as “country club” more than once.) New members have to be sponsored by existing members. (Yes, this means that Ultra-Mind has full biometric data and fighting recordings on a number of violent supervillains. I’m sure that he will do something with the information.)

Satellite surveillance means that Leaping isn’t particularly useful for getting away. Burrowing works, but it’s slow. Coventry is where he goes when he wants to get away. He doesn’t know where it really is, and he doesn’t care.

Troll: The Miniseries

Trip Trap

A set of shadowy figures came up with the solution to the Troll problem: the Sub Serum, the one that counteracts the Super Serum that the Troll got dosed with. (Fortunately, it affects the subject by being inhaled or injected.) They put it in the equivalent to a smoke grenade and gave it to the PCs with instructions. The PCs threw it in an enclosed space, and then got beaten up by the Troll until it took effect.) When it was all over, Carter Cassidy was normal…or as normal as he could be.

Once the berserk rage had passed and he had escaped (he’s not stupid), Carter Cassidy tried to return to a reasonable lifestyle: he returned to being a mercenary in countries without extradition. The results were unsatisfying. He enjoyed some of the physical benefits (he was able to stop checking every building to see if it would hold his weight, for instance) but in a very short period of time, he had his answer:

He missed being the Troll.

So Carter Cassidy set out to be the Troll again.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

His first stop was the lab where he was changed the first time. The ruins were still there; treasure hunters went in on a regular basis to find the secrets that must be there, but none ever came out. Carter called an old acquaintance, Steven Porter, who made a living of that sort of retrieval. With the help of Porter’s cousin, Dana (an excellent hacker, and not known to the supers community), they found someone who had escaped the Troll’s rampage, and ventured into the ruins of the lab. They found a number of interesting weapons and devices, but someone had cleaned out the super soldier serum and notes. The rest of the place was untouched, so they had come specifically for that.

They went back to their source, only to find he was dead…and they were facing a superstrong opponent, later called the first Billy Goat Gruff, who specializes in wetwork. Cassidy and Porter used devices from the lab to get away. Cassidy intended to use Coventry as his transport method, but discovered he could no longer enter Coventry: his body was too different.

Porter helped Cassidy get back into the country, to the place where he was de-powered. There they encountered the second Billy Goat Gruff, and used the last device from the lab to escape. Through Dana they pumped the PCs for information on the shadowy figures that had supplied the Sub Serum. The PCs had the antidote to the Sub Serum (all of them had been exposed while taking down the Troll), but would not provide it.

Dana stole it and passed it to Cassidy. He breathed it in, but to no effect. There was, he thought, too little, or it had been too long since exposure, or something. It’s a shame, because he had just been found by the third Billy Goat Gruff, who had come with his siblings.

King of the Troll People

The Billy Goats Gruff dropped key information while trying to eliminate Cassidy. Because of a call from Porter, the PCs showed up to rescue the normal who was being attacked by three supervillains. Carter Cassidy was able to tell them that the shadowy figures were in fact agents of Ultra-Mind, though it turned out that the Billy Goats Gruff were not.

Still as a human, Cassidy managed to escape from the PCs (or did they let him?) and then went to find another villain who could get him into Coventry, and from there to Ultra-Mind: ConfederApe. By threatening ConfederApe’s troop of apes with exposure, he was able to get the gorilla’s cooperation. In return, ConfederApe took Dana as hostage to ensure Cassidy’s cooperation even if he succeeded.

Cassidy never got to Coventry; the teleporter sent the three of them to one of Ultra-Mind’s lairs. The brain in a jar thanked him for providing information about the Billy Goats Gruff, which the Ultra-Mind said were agents of the same supervillain who had transformed Cassidy in the first place. Now he could get test subjects. Out of thanks, Ultra-Mind would make Cassidy’s death quick and painless, and shot him, using a gun built into the chassis of his holding tank.

The bullet bounced off Cassidy. The Sub Serum antidote had done something.

As a half-Troll, Cassidy evaded the Ultra-Mind, staying out of sight to save his mind, and searched desperately for the rest of the Sub Serum antidote. By using ConfederApe’s brawn and Dana’s brains, they held off the Ultra-Mind until Cassidy found the rest of the Sub Serum antidote. They lost, but the Troll put the Ultra-Mind in the teleporter before collapsing. Who knows where the teleporter was set for?

After regaining consciousness, Dana rigged the transport system to ban the Ultra-Mind from Coventry and the teleporters.

Story Ideas

  • The Troll is acting up and the PCs go to stop him….but he’s bailed out and charges are dropped. It turns out he’s acting on government orders. (“Hey, I’m a mercenary. I can be bought.”) Those orders are against the PCs’ interests, though—possibly some subgroup rather than the entire government.
  • A man’s gotta eat, says the Troll, and he takes advantage of his charge-free status to fight in the MMF (mixed metahuman fighting). Except the Troll’s opponent dies in the ring, and the Troll is blamed. He asks the PCs to look into it. He can escape this rinkydink jail at any time, but he might as well do this legally while he can. What the PCs discover is a murder mystery or a conspiracy to get the Troll back in the government’s bad graces, so the Troll will work for someone else.
  • A small country hired the Troll as muscle, and the Troll decides to make himself king. He’s never been king, but the example of Coventry has inspired him to create a supervillain country. What do the PCs do?
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