Counterforce
Hero Name: Counterforce
Real Name: Svetlana Anatolyevna Kragova

Look: woman; White; tall and skinny body; vintage clothing; sleek costume

Abilities:
Incredible intellect, energy manipulator device

Labels:
Danger 0
Freak 0
Savior +2
Superior +2
Mundane -1

Conditions:
Afraid [ ], Angry [ ], Guilty [ ], Hopeless [ ], Insecure [ ]

Backstory:

How did you first reveal your genius to your friends or family?

“I have a lot of ‘geniuses’ in my family tree. Ivan Kragov, whom you might know as the Red Ghost, was my paternal grandfather’s brother, but there were others as well. My father, Anatoliy Kragov, thought he was one too, but his bosses at the Omsk Scientific Research Institute of Energy disagreed after one failed bio-energy experiment too many. Having lost his stable government job, he ended up dividing most of his time between more dubious employments, tinkering in his workshop, and drinking.

“My mother had vanished so long ago I barely even knew I had one, so I was raised by his mother instead. Pavlina Kragova took it for granted that I was a genius, and when asked, he claimed to agree. I am not sure if he really believed that before I, as you say, ‘revealed my genius’. I picked the lock on his workshop, disassembled most of his equipment, and started to assemble a primitive bioelectric amplifier in hopes of giving myself superpowers. I think I was seven at the time. He was furious when he came home, but afterwards, he began paying more attention to my development.”

Why did you decide to use your intellect for the benefit of others?

“As I said, my grandmother always thought I was a genius. That did not mean she spoiled me, quite the other way around. She was – and is – a very ‘old school’ Soviet woman who always told me that my intellect gave me the obligation to be, how do you say it… useful to society. We all must contribute something, but people like me needed to solve big problems and move humanity forward. As well, I think she was afraid I would follow in the footsteps of her brother-in-law, as well as so many others who gave my family and my country a bad name.

“I suppose she had good cause to worry. I was never a very personable child. Although I made some friends eventually, my early interactions with my peers were often very antagonistic. It was one of the reasons why I ended up being homeschooled after the first few months of school. If I had given myself superpowers when I was seven, I would probably be one of those ‘supervillains’ by now, getting back at an indifferent world. As it was, I had enough time enough to think, and to read, and to agree with my grandmother. It may sound banal, but I want to make the world a better place. It seems like a more interesting challenge – and it would make the better parts of my family proud.”

What accident or misfire taught you some sense of humility or responsibility?

“Since my father started letting me use his workshop there have, of course, been many accidents and misfires that taught me… some sense of safety techniques. Humility and responsibility came later. After many years, my father finally managed to pitch his ideas to a sympathetic sponsor – the local branch of a foreign company called Zenith Energy Augmentation Labs. My father insisted on bringing me along as an assistant – he told me I could use the experience, but I think he also needed my help, as I already improved on many of his ideas by then.

“I did not mind that, though, as I had already come up with a utopian plan to use our technology to improve the world. Going beyond just bio-energy, we had come up with a device that could harness and amplify energy of different types from different sources and redistribute it in controlled ways. In brief, it could allow ordinary people and organisations to emulate various energy-based superpowers. I saw – and still see – countless benign uses for this technology. As a bonus, it would make humanity less reliant on the whims of a few seemingly benevolent superpowered individuals. My plan was to develop it with the company’s help and then make it open-source.”

“I thought I only had to worry about stealing the designs and distributing them in a way that made them widely available and useable without bringing my family to harm. The misfire, if I can call it that, was in the choice of our employers. Z.E.A.L. was secretly an offshoot of a group called Advanced Idea Mechanics. Soon after we reached the prototype stage, they copied the design to make power-capturing exosuits for some of their… other employees. At first, I did not even connect the dots when I overheard the television talking about some high-powered American superheroes being attacked and kidnapped. Then the outskirts facility where we worked received… test subjects. When I tried to protest, the security quickly took me into custody so I would not interfere, since they have had their eyes on me for a while. That was when I learned that even if I was a genius, I was not nearly as clever as I thought I was.”

Who helped you realize you need other people?

“You could say I realized that on my own, while sitting in the facility’s secret holding cells. If I had anyone to help me, I could have done something. As it was, all I had was my father, and while he promised to ensure I was set free, he seemed perfectly willing to go along with Z.E.A.L.’s experiments. While they were distracted by unexpected test problems, I was able to escape, retrieve a miniaturized version of the manipulator I had hidden earlier, and use it to set off a flare to help anyone looking for the missing people. That was as far as I could get on my own, though.

“Fortunately, the Avengers were already on the way to rescue their teammates and burst in just in time to keep me from returning to the cell. I admit, I never really liked them before, and I still have my doubts. Yet on that day, what I saw was worthy of being called heroes. How do I put this... It was not just that they were powerful or skilled. They were willing to throw themselves into danger while not letting more people come to harm than necessary. That was when I first thought that maybe with allies like that, I could do more.”

Why do you care about the team?

“When the battle was over, my father was arrested for working with a terrorist group, while I was simply sent back home. Yet shortly afterwards, several of them paid us a visit. Apparently, my father had told them about my role in both developing the technology and helping free their allies. So they made me an offer to try and study abroad. Much to my surprise, my fervently anti-capitalist grandmother encouraged me to take them up on the offer.

“This stay abroad, this school, this team… all of them currently represent my best chance to help the world – as well as to fix our mistake. Z.E.A.L., A.I.M., and any number of other organisations now had access to our technology. At best, they could simply use it to hurt others and themselves. Perhaps they could do worse. Taking care of that is my responsibility, but I know now that I could never manage it on my own. Also, whether I wish to replace or reinforce the superhumans, it would be better – more scientific – if I got to know them first… and if I want to help humanity, perhaps I should see more of that, as well.”

Relationships:

You told ____________________ about your shame and asked them for their confidence.

You wish you could be a better hero, more like _____________________.

Influence:
You need these people as much as they need you. Give Influence to two of your teammates.

Under Influence from:
Influence Over: Octopus

Moves:

Logical angle: When you comfort or support someone by rationally pointing out their mistakes so they can do better next time, roll + Superior instead of + Mundane. If they do not open up to you, mark a condition.

Scientific insight: You have achieved mastery over a field of science and technology. Name it: Energy Science
Whenever you assess the situation and your field of study is directly relevant, you may ask a single follow-up question.

Tactical genius: When you point out the obvious flaw in a known foe’s plan, roll + Savior. On a hit, you’re right, and another teammate (your choice) can take advantage; they get +1 ongoing to act on your information. On a 7-9, pick one:
- You missed something important. The GM will tell you what.
- You look like a showoff. Your chosen teammate takes Influence over you, and you lose Influence over them.
- You make your teammates feel like little more than pawns. Your chosen teammate marks a condition.

On a miss, you’ve played into your enemy’s hands; watch the trap spring.

Your Shame
You have a deep and abiding sense of guilt for something you have created or had a hand in
creating. It could have been something you invented when you first came into your genius,
or something you set into motion that you no longer have the power to stop. It may even be
something beyond your ability to achieve again, this once-in-a-lifetime creation. Just as you are a
world-class intellect, your shame is a world-class problem. Whatever the case may be, your role in
its creation is not publicly known...yet.

What is your shame?
A catastrophic weapon

Whenever you are confronted with your shame, either mark a condition or shift Superior down and
Danger up. If your shame is an NPC, they can never lose Influence over you.

At the end of every session, answer the question:
• Did you take steps to make amends for your shame?

If the answer is yes, mark potential. If the answer is no, give Influence to one of your teammates.

Moment of Truth:
Sooner or later, all the super powers, elite training, and experience are helpless in the face of evil
or disaster. That’s when somebody like you, gifted as you are with a peerless intellect, can rise to
the occasion. Your plan, your invention, or your lightning-fast thought processes save the day, in
a way no one else could have foreseen. Of course, after you’ve shown how different you are from
them, that distance between you and the others is now that much greater. And the world is only
going to pull you farther apart...

Team Moves:
When you share a triumphant celebration with someone, ask them if they felt they could have
done it without you. If they say yes, give Influence to them and mark a condition. If they say no,
they give Influence to you.

When you share a vulnerability or weakness with someone, hold 2. Spend the hold 1-for-1 to clear
a condition or add 1 Team to the pool when you are with them.

Potential:
[X] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Advances used: