April 12, 2018 — As is the case with all superhero universes, there’s been some retconning going on with the Gem City Universe. Some/most of the information below is now out of date and/or subject to change as I revise this post. Watch this space for updates!
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This is going to be the master post for information on the people, places and things fo the Gem City universe. At least until it eventually becomes too big and unwieldy and needs to be chopped up into other posts but even then, this will likely still be the place where all the links are kept in a semblance of order.
12/4/2013: For the inaugural post, we have a 10 point list to get us started:
11/5/2014: Updates to Snob Hill and added the 247th Precinct.
- Gem City: Not-exactly Chicago with superheroes, subterranean super-geniuses, transgenic humans and trilobite on a stick. City of Capes! City on a large, inland lake. Population of several million. Neighborhoods include:
- Snob Hill: wealthy and exclusive suburb located om the northwestern portion of the city near the lake shore. Part of the area known as the Gold Coast.
- Mook Town: poor area near the industrial section of the town, full of slums, abandoned warehouses and gang headquarters. Ideal recruiting zone for supervillains looking for mooks, henchmen and palookas. Also, conversely, an area where many superheroes and sidekicks have originated from.
- Timson Heights: a less drastically poor neighborhood where the folks are at least glad that they don’t live in Mook Town. The city’s port serves as an unofficial neutral zone between these two neighborhoods.
- 247th Precinct: aka the 24-7 Precinct and The Madhouse. It is unofficially the official Enhanced/Augmented Crimes and relations center not only for Gem City itself but also for much of the surrounding region. If someone with powers, abilities or augmentations commits a crime, chances are the highly trained (and often highly eccentric) officers of the 24-7 will be brought in to help deal with the situation.
- Will O. Cartwright: driven to PI work because parents killed by costumed crime fighter during a bank robbery — that they were committing… Currently the owner/lead investigator for Q.C. Investigations. Son of 1960s supervillains, the Draft Dodger and Flower Child. Funds his work with the money gained from suing their killer, the vigilante known as The Vindicator for their wrongful deaths. Tells people his name is William Oscar Cartwright but was originally named Willow Tree Cartwright; considers this easily one of the worst crimes his parents ever committed.
- Q. C. Investigations: Who Watches The Watchmen? We do. And we serve them with divorce papers and repo their jetcar for fun and profit. Company Will founded with the proceeds from his successful civil suit against Norman Fort, The Vindicator
- Augustus Horridge: Allegedly former criminal turned allegedly reformed accountant. Green skin, descended from a subterranean race of beings known as Deros (see also: Richard Shaver @ RationalWiki). Sadistic and malicious with all the warmth and human feeling of a band saw. But a very good accountant. Stands 3’6” tall. Green-grey skin, solid black eyes, shark-like pointed teeth.
- Franklin “Frankie” Rourke: Third generation thug from Gem City’s Mook Town who now works for Will. Works as a process server/investigator for Q.C. Investigations. Has mutant powers of healing and regeneration.
- Kylie Arlen-Hollow: Adopted daughter of supervillain Smilidon and anti-hero Howler. Smart-ass party girl and part-time villain. Friend of Will’s since he was in college.
- Smilidon: Stephen Arlen was a paleontologist who specialized in the megafauna of the Western Hemisphere, with an especial interest in the ancient big cats colloquially known as sabretooth tigers. His interests stemmed, in part, from his shapeshifting powers. Smilidon turned to a life of crime to help fund his research but soon shifted almost exclusively to criminal acts after finding himself well-suited to the lifestyle. He maintained an off-again/on-again relationship with the anti-hero Howler and the pair adopted a daughter together.
- Howler: Not much is known about the enigmatic anti-hero known as Howler. He was born, allegedly, in the 1890s in Honduras, near the Mayan ruins at Copán. His father was an archaeologist from Harvard University and his mother a local woman of Mayan descent. Howler’s childhood was, by all reports, happy and uneventful until he reached early puberty. During this time, his mutant powers came to the forefront and, after a tragic fight, he was forced to escape into the jungles near his home. Another story holds that he is the incarnation of one of the howler monkey brothers found in Mayan myths. Still another story has it that he is not a mutated human but is, instead, a mutated howler monkey. Regardless of his origin, Howler is a well-known figure among the heroes of Gem City. He is known for being a gruff loner – who nonetheless has been a member of several hero teams, most currently the Third Coast Crusaders. His off-again/on-again relationship with Smilidon as well as his flirtations with the heroine Arjean Lesley, formerly known as Prodigy Lass, currently known as the Prodigy, as well as his rivalry with fellow Crusader, Titan for her affections, keep him on the front page of the tabloids.
- Third Coast Crusaders: The largest superhero team based out of Gem City. Their headquarters, the Crusaders Campus, located in the ritzy suburban neighborhood known locally as Snob Hill is a popular tourist attraction. It also houses their training academy, the Dr. Bartholomew Newiss College of Hypergenical Excellence, a world-class private institution of learning aimed at aiding in the development of new generations of heroes and/or metahumans.
- The Elementals: A group of science heroes/adventurer made up of a group of college chums who suffered a terrible super science related accident. As y’do:
- Bernard Redding, aka the Dapper Don: air and gas-based powers; can control the density of his own body, fly, and transmute into various gaseous elements
- Able Seaver, aka the Noumenon: rock-like outer structure; has increased strength, increased invulnerability. Still a brilliant mind in his own right.
- Lily Gale, aka Crystalline: Former cheerleader for the Gem City College football team (the Whim-Whams). Has water-based powers and can manipulate water in all its forms and states of matter.
- Ian Gale, aka Backdraft: Former mascot for the Gem City College football team, Wacky Willie Whim-Wham, he’s much less embarrassed to be known these days as Backdraft. Able to control fire and heat and can generate fire.