Worldbuilding #5: Cthulhu Armageddon

How Cthulhu Armageddon came to be

Cthulhu Armageddon is a special case of world-building because it’s not completely my world. Instead, it is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmology created in the 1920s until his death in 1937. H.P. Lovecraft was an early believer in “open source” writing and often cross-pollinated with other others as well as encouraged them to use his concepts as well as ideals. Some of his fellow writers in the so-called Lovecraft Circle included Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Robert Bloch (Psycho).

For those unfamiliar with HPL’s writings, essentially the concept is that the world is sitting on top of a bunch of incredibly powerful aliens that have been sleeping since ancient times. These Great Old Ones are the size of Godzilla and possess vast reality-altering powers. There are also numerous offshoot races of humanity that worship them that are each more horrifying than the last, living among humanity in secret or in the dark forgotten corners of the Earth.

Above both are the Other Gods who are the lords of the Dreamlands where everything is possible and they are, at best, casually indifferent, and, at worst, amused with humanity the same way a child might torment an insect. Magic is real but eventually drives users insane and is tied to the terrible forces above. Eventually, the Great Old Ones will awake “when the stars are right” and destroy humanity.

Lovecraft’s work was very imaginative and influential despite not giving him financial success in his time. In simple terms, it was just too darn weird. Many writers from Brian Lumley, J. Michael Straczynski, and Stephen King have found it to be inspirational. Others have found Lovecraft to be troublesome or even offensive due to the fact, in simple terms, dude did not like minorities.

Some writers like myself, Matt Ruff, Ruthanna Emyrs, and Victor Lavalle have even addressed that as we’ve adapted his works. Nevertheless, his works helped inspire everything from movies to television to music to video games. I was introduced to it by the Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game.

The ideal for the Cthulhu Armageddon world came from a combination of factors that have competed for attention ever since. The first was the idea as a logical endpoint for Lovecraft’s writings. Eventually, the stars would be right and the world would be destroyed. However, humanity is remarkably good at surviving mass-extinction events and it occured to me there was potential in stories about the remnants of our once proud race struggling to survive in the shadow of literal giants. Sort of Call of Cthulhu meets Fallout: New Vegas if you will.

Even more so, as I wrote out the world, I started to get a sense of a Wild West feel to the place. Perhaps it was the Mad Max and New Vegas influences but hundreds of tiny little communities, lawlessness, tribal communities, and an eternal frontier invoked the idea for me. Thus, Cthulhu Armageddon became the Weirdest Western of them all. Even if it takes place in the Esoteric East.

Themes and Mood

Cthulhu Armageddon is a somewhat existentialist work that follows the fact there is no judgement or morality beyond the principles the protagonists choose to follow themselves. The gods are real but they are amoral and uncaring to the works of man. Life is cheap and arguably pointless since humanity’s civilization has been washed away and extinction is a very real possibility. It is a stark and uncompromising world where the definition of “human” is also changing and what that means. The protagonists must define what provides their life meaning in the very probably few decades that humanity has left and whether it is better to live eternally as a monster or to experience merciful death as a man.


Pre-Earth History

Human history is similar but different. Long before Earth, the universe was created by Azathoth the Blind Idiot God, who was there alongside Yog-Sothoth, and the Other Gods. Incarnations of physics and the universe’s laws, they transcended human understanding or even alien. Mutation and capriciousness created many races across space that evolved, lived, and died. Consciousness, however, created the Dreamlands that spawned ideas of gods.

These gods, called the Elder Gods or Small Gods, were more akin to the races that existed. They were less powerful but less inscrutable than the Other Gods. One of the Other Gods, Nyarlathotep, developed a fascination with these beings and became both their guardian as well as minder. It assumed countless visages across time and space, inspiring many gods and taking their forms.

Many of these races went extinct without issue but a small number developed science and magic to the point that they transcended normal existence to become immortal godlike beings. Nyarlathotep cultivated these quests no matter the morality and a handful of beings became the Great Old Ones. Some were gestalt hive-minds of their entire race and others were powerful individuals in their own right. Cthulhu was allegedly the first of their beings or, at least, among the first and led many to settle on the primordial Earth.

Pre-Human History

Earth was unimportant except for the home of several of these beings but attracted a fair number of alien colonists long before the primordial soup cooled. The Elder Things were the first of these races, dwelling on Earth for a billion years as scientist-kings. They created the protoplasmic shoggoths to serve as their slaves and would, in the twilight of their reign, help “uplift” humanity to replace them when the shoggoths rebelled. Eventually, the Elder Things would retreat under the continent of Antarctica’s surface before leaving the Earth altogether.

Another race that came to inhabit the Earth were the Great Race of Yith that lived during the time of the dinosaurs with vast cities as well as psychic powers. Destroyed by a ravenous infestation called the Flying Polyps, because their name is untranslatable, they psychically projected themselves into the future to escape extinction. It was their intent to possess a nonhuman race after the extinction of humanity, who they learned of via time travel, but this proved impossible given the events of the Rising.

Early Human History

The humans altered by the Elder Things escaped their captivity and interbred with mortals, some of them learning the secrets of Elder Thing technology. Knowledge is corrupting and a source of madness, though, as early humanity would soon learn. Early humans sought out the resting places of the Great Old Ones and attempted to make contact with them using primitive misunderstood magical rites or their Elder Thing bestowed psychic powers.

These poor fools were inevitably mutated, driven mad, or enlightened. From their brief psychic contact, they learned the Great Old Ones were almost omnipotent in power and would eventually emerge from their slumber to reshape the world in their image: an action that would result in humanity’s extinction. This time would be known as “when the stars were right” and created the earliest doomsday cults of the Great Old Ones. Nyarlathotep sent several of his avatars among them to help uplift the resulting doomed race in order to see if they would amount to anything.

Contact with the Great Old Ones resulted in the offshoots of humanity known as the Deep Ones (worshipers of Cthulhu), the Faceless Ones (worshipers of the Other Gods), Serpent Men (worships of Yig-Seth), and ghouls (worshipers of Shub-Nigguarath and Tsathoggua). These offshoots maintained the ability to breed with humans even as they eventually moved to different portions of the Earth or disguised themselves.

Much of the early human history with these offshoots passed into myth and legend with the fall of Atlantis, Acheron, Hyborian Age, and Stygia. Simply put, modern scholars or cultists obfuscated the true history of Earth as legend or mythology. The cultists of the Great Old Ones believing that the end of the world would make them gods beneath the gods rather than exterminate them like any other vermin.

The End of the World (“The Rising”)

Much of human history would be secretly defined by the conflict between cults fighting conflicts over which Great Old One or Outer God was the greatest (as if they would notice or care about such efforts). Much of human religion and science would be defined by half-understood glimpses into the greater universe by psychics or fragments of knowledge.

Perhaps the most complete and authentic book on the subject of the world’s true history would be authored by Abdul Al-Hazred, called the Necronomicon. It would describe the Old Ones, Other Gods, branches of humanity, the End of the World, and many rituals to channel the power of the sleeping beings.

By the 1920s, it was understood by many governments and academic institutions there were secret forces in the world. The greatest center of learning about this subject would be Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts. Humanity believed after several small occult wars in the shadow of “normal” history that it could survive the coming apocalypse or perhaps outlast it.

Humanity was wrong.

When the Great Old Ones rose, humanity was slaughtered en masse by the massive psychic powers of their kind. It not even war as attempts to use weapons of mass destruction were barely noticed by the beings. Worse, the laws of physics and time were broken. The Dreamlands swallowed the universe and not only was the Earth consumed but every galaxy as well as every star. What followed was not the end of humanity but the beginning of a new universe hostile to life as it once was. Humanity has survived 100 years in the shadow of the Great Old Ones. It may not survive much longer.


The Esoteric East (“The New England Wasteland”)

The Esoteric East consists of the North East of the former United States and parts of Southern Canada. It is a vast desert that is crisscrossed with small towns, villages, and the occasional city that has managed to emerge in the Rising’s wake. Most of humanity has been rendered extinct but the survivors are hardy as well as benefiting from the fact that few creatures of the New World actually care about their existence. While the universe is immensely hostile, indifferent, and uncaring to mankind–that applies to other species too.

Technology has roughly reverted to a early Industrial level with a focus on steam, easily repairable weapons, and domesticated creatures. Many of the animals and foods humanity lives on are changed in strange ways but they have been able to subsist on them regardless. Part of this may be that magic is much more powerful as well as prevalent. In a very real way, humanity continues to be able to live because they dream powerfully that they can and that has a tangible affect on the world even in a small way.

Humanity continues its bigotry in some forms, though, as while most humans have gotten past their previous racial bigotries, they now hold distaste toward mutants or those who bear inhuman ancestry. Ironically, the human offshoots are struggling to survive just like humanity and some have made peace with the race they formerly held in disdain. If mankind is to survive the next few generations, it will certainly have to change to become something else.

Religion has been strongly impacted by the cults that were prevalent in the region Pre-Rising and now mix openly with more traditional faiths that have become “weird” now that the apocalypse has occurred. Atheism and agnosticism mix with maltheism as well as polytheism as beings exist who are not gods but might as well be are everywhere. Many psychics and regular humans touch the Old Ones with their dreams now and go mad but it is impossible to tell as it is an insane world.

Sample Communities

New Arkham – A former US Air Force base turned city inhabited by the descendants of soldiers and “pure” humans of various races. They tend to be more technologically advanced than your typical Wastelander community but practice a nonsensical ideology about reclaiming the Earth for regular humans. They also bully and intimidate other communities for resources. They are one of the few places with any actual industrial manufacturing capacities, though.

Dunwych Nation – The descendants of a tourist group that took up residence in the ruins of Dunwich,MA. The Dunwych Nation is an alliance of tribes united by a shared culture and worship of the Other Gods as well as Great Old Ones. They have combined technology, survivalism, and magic to become a hardy but dangerous power in the region. New Arkham and the Dunwych maintain an uneasy rivalry.

Kingsport – One of the largest cities in the region and most prosperous. Kingsport caters to the Dunwych and other communities with trade and vice. It also possesses a still-functioning electrical plant of unknown energy sources. Sadly, Kingsport is also a place where slaves are marketed from by the Deep Ones.

Miskatonic – A community constructed around the libraries of the university that have since been moved to the building’s old steam tunnels. Miskatonic has become, ironically, a cult itself as it works with the Great Race of Yith to seek some way of keeping both their races alive.

New Innsmouth – After Cthulhu failed to recognize the Deep Ones for their faith, a purge of hybrids commenced to rid their race of “impurities.” The survivors included one band of refugees that headed in-land nearby a saltwater lake. They are a decent, albeit fishy, frontier people.

Scrapyard – A fairly typical settlement in the region that is built around an oasis. The locals practice an uncomfortable relationship with a nearby ghoul settlement that provides them resources in exchange for the bodies of their dead.

The Rules of Vampires in my books

So how do vampires work in The United States of Monsters and Supervillainy Saga verse? Probably not a question you have spent much interest in but something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. There’s hundreds of different kinds of vampires in fiction and getting the rules down for how they work is just the kind of thing I like to do. So, I figured you would like the notes I keep to when writing about them.

If not, well, don’t read the article.

The Origins of Vampires

Vampires are descendants of the demon queen Lamia, who was a human girl from a tribe of early humans from something like 100,000 years ago when neanderthals still roamed the Earth. Sacrificed to demonic forces by her tribe, she was instead possessed by the spirit of Tiamat-Abaddon, Queen of Hell, and transformed into the first vampire. 

Lamia constructed the ancient demon-ridden civilization of Acheron and Stygia before ultimately having it destroyed by a volcanic eruption followed by the revolt of transformed human slaves. The vampires, rather than side with Lamia, revolted against her and her demonic masters in order to become masters themselves. Their leader was Lamia’s grandchilde, Marduk, who became known as the savior of the vampire race. Most of their kind died in the subsequent civil wars or at the hands of shifters, mages, and human warriors. Either way, the survivors have forever remained with humanity.

How to create a vampire, draugr, dhampyr, or Blood Servant

The most common way to make a vampire is to suck the blood of a human being and share blood. However, this is actually not enough by itself. The blood is merely a vessel for a sharing of life force. Vampire blood alone cannot turn a dying person into a true member of their race but will instead turn a human being into mindless cannibal draugr

Instead, the vampire must sacrifice some of their power and it leaves them weakened until age restores it. As such, vampires do not create regularly and it is suicidal to try to change someone under at least fifty or sixty years of age. Most don’t turn until they at least a hundred. Much more common for younger vampires is to make Blood Servants who drain only a little of their master’s power in exchange for halted aging as well as health. It also creates a psychic link between master and slave.

Vampires are capable of procreation, though only a handful of sexual couplings will produce offspring out of thousands. Dhampyr are effectively Blood Servants without masters and age to adulthood before dramatically slowing their aging to a tenth of its normal progression. Most, ironically, end up becoming Blood Servants to gain full immortality. Dhampyr blood is rich and intoxicating that those unprotected by a master often end up as food or pleasure slaves to Old Ones. Dhampyr are notably frighteningly intelligent as well as freakishly strong even as children.

In addition to direct transformation, it is possible to become a vampire by using the Book of Midnight, Bloodsword, or Chalice of Blood that directly transforms one into a Old One. These objects of power created by Lamia are sacred objects to the vampire race and icons representing them are among their few religious objects. Known Progenitor vampires who did this are Dracula and Mandy Karkofsky.

The Vampire Life Cycle

Newly created vampires are called Youngbloods and are extremely weak compared to later incarnations of their race, sometimes causing those changed to be furious with their condition. They are vulnerable to many traditional vampire weaknesses including verbena, holy items, holy places, holy words, wooden stake, fire, decapitation, sesame seed counting [yes, really], or sunlight. Entering a home uninvited weakens them and they are physically dead during the day even in sunless rooms. They are subject to the mental domination of their creators and usually only display enhanced physical attributes plus one or two powers. 

The Need is at its worse during this time and few are able to avoid killing if they feed directly, at least not without their master’s control keeping them in line. One small benefit is that animal blood will sustain most of their needs but they must feed at least once a month on human blood or they will degenerate into draugr. They also sometimes develop one or two abilities like the power to summon animals or read minds.

Roughly two hundred years into their life cycle with rare exception, vampires become Old Ones and undergo a metamorphosis. They lose their vulnerability to sunlight, though it leaves them lethargic and also lose most of their vampiric weaknesses. Indeed, they will regenerate any injury even to the point of death barring it was inflicted by another powerful vampire or astral being [demon, angel, or god]. Old Ones have stronger control over the Need and can go weeks without feeding, though doing so can result in them entering hibernation (possibly for all eternity). Only human blood can sustain them, though.

Old Ones develop multiple powers like shapechanging, psychic abilities like the domination of others [animal or man], shadow manipulation, and preternatural movement through time. Most use their shapechanging and mental domination to become unnaturally beautiful and appealing to victims. Magic remains the province of those who could learn it in life and only a handful of vampires possess the ability. 

Finally, those vampires who reach a thousand years of age go through a third metamorphosis that turns them into Ancient Ones. Ancient Ones are the inspirations for beings like the Gorgons, Grendel, Baba Yaga, and a variety of other monsters throughout history. They are hideous to behold but capable of assuming pleasing forms when they desire. Ancient Ones have strength and speed that vastly exceed that of their forebearers. They have also usually mastered dozens of abilities that allow them to perform miracles even to other vampires.

Ancient Ones are almost impossible to kill without a holy or unholy weapon of great power. Gods have been known to take human form to prevent their domination of the Earth. Thankfully, a great lethargy usually takes over the Ancient Ones as their Need weakens to the point that even blood provides little joy. Those that do regularly feed on emotional energy as well as life or the Earth itself, leaving their surroundings dead as well as depressed.

Ancient Ones can and do live in caves or ruins with no contact for centuries as they ponder memories or eldritch mysteries. Many live vicariously through their descendants, often possessing them or experiencing life through them. Only a handful have the iron will to maintain active ambitious lifestyles. 

Progenitor vampires possess the power of the Ancients potentially but none of the disfigurements or knowledge of how to use their powers.

The Bite

Despite vampires being capable of sexual reproduction, blood is their primary desire as well as release. For the vampire, the drinking of human blood directly is intoxicating as heroin mixed with sex. So much so that many vampires kill even when full and live for the pleasure of the hunt even when more ethical opportunities for sustenance. A vampire that cannot control their Hunger as a youth is called a Bleeder and considered a danger to all their kind, though, so few are allowed to live if they do not develop control within a couple of weeks.

The Bite noticeably causes an incredible euphoric rush with humans akin to sex or drugs and is every bit as pleasurable for humans as it is for vampires. The magic of it results in the wounds allowing the release of blood at a slower level so that they are not fatal even if they reach arteries as well as seal up quickly. Feeding from the same human more than once every two months is dangerous, like giving blood but many vampires create Harems using their Blood Servant bond. This allows humans to be fed on every few of days and makes them ravenously hungry. They also tend to be addicts and toys for their masters. More like pets than people.


Hey folks,

This is a long-time coming bit of world-building because my United States of Monsters series is multiple series and is an entire planet’s worth of history. For those unfamiliar with the United States of Monsters, it consists of the following series:

* Psycho Killers in Love (Psycho killers in Love)
* The Red Room Saga (Esoterrorism, Eldritch Ops, The Fall of the House)
* Straight Outta Fangton (Straight Outta Fangton, 100 Miles and Vampin’)
* The Bright Falls Mysteries (I was a Teenage Weredeer, An American Weredeer in Michigan)
* The Morgan Detective Agency (Brightblade)

The premise of the world is the creation of a shared universe for telling my favorite urban fantasy and adventure horror yarns. It is a world where the supernatural is open and public as of 2008. Unfortunately, this has not led to peace between the races and every day is a new challenge for those who are human or mundane. It’s heavily inspired by White Wolf’s World of Darkness, Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, and the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries.

Pre-History (??? to 12,000 B.C.)

The universe began in light. The Earth began in darkness.

The Great Celestial War was fought between the Primals, Elder Gods, archdemons, archangels, and young gods. The conflict resulted in the Elder Gods being banished to the desolate third rock from the Sun where they were buried deep underground. Humans eventually evolved on this world, influenced by the dreams and will of the ancient beings. Human sacrifices awakened the Elder Gods and through their influence, they conceived a priestess named Lamia who prepared to make the human race a source of food as well as souls to restore her masters to full strength.

Ancient civilizations rose that were later wiped from humanity’s memory like Acheron, Babel, Atlantis, Stygia, and Ultima Thule. The humans of these lands worshiped demons and committed countless atrocities in order to guarantee their immortality. Lamia would share the blood of her goddess, Tiamat-Abaddon, with her followers and thus would the first monster races be born. Vampires, hunters, shifters, and mages would be created.

The atrocities of Earth would eventually draw the attention of their masters enemies. Inspired by a lesson from the Creator, Death, and other Primals, the vampire known as Marduk was driven to mount a successful revolt against the Elder Gods. Much of humanity was slaughtered in the resulting battles until only scattered nomadic tribes existed. Powerful magic forced the Elder Gods back into slumber and left the half-human supernaturals to inherit the Earth as a reward for their aid against the foes.

But immortality has its advantages.

Heroic Age (12,000 B.C. to 900 A.D.)

The conflict among humans and supernaturals would define much of the rest of human history. The survivors of Lamia’s empire would set themselves as gods, kings, and warlords. Normal humans were frequently unable to resist, so they turned to lesser magic (“hedge magic”) to make deals with spirits as well as demons. Others betrayed their own kind to become Blood Slaves, cultists, and soldiers for their miracle-working masters.

Gradually, humans armed themselves with tools and weapons that allowed them to overthrow their masters the same way that the supernaturals overthrew theirs. They learned the weaknesses of the undead and shifters. In-fighting among the supernaturals also prevented them from establishing any kind of order among themselves.

Aiding this conflict was the fact that both hunters as well as wizards chose to side with humanity against the monsters. They denied that demon blood, however diluted, was responsible for their powers as they battled for dominance. The hunters soon found themselves corrupted by the demonic magic they wielded, becoming obsessed more with killing than protecting. Ancient heroes like Herakles, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and others found their wrath lashing out at their own subjects. In the centuries to come, they would become known as slashers.

Still, the conflict among supernaturals kept humanity at an age of perpetual war and denied them the benefit of civilizations. Only those places where they had been driven underground or forced to cooperate with humanity thrived. It was with this awareness that Kim Su, immortal archmage charged with protecting humanity by the Primals, sought to create societies of mages that would protect mankind while raising civilization.

The Kingdom of Arthuria Pendragon would prove to be her last experiment in such, building an organization of wizards and knights that hunted down all hostile supernaturals in the British Isles. Her actions proved to be a mistake rather than a blessing as the knights’ objective turned from protection to conquest and genocide. The Fairy Kingdoms were annihilated and thousands of magic-users were enslaved or put to death.

After the defeat of Morgana Le Fey and her son, the knight known as Gawain reformed the Knights of Camelot to become the Knights of the Castle (later the House). The Black Knight, Red Knight, Green Knight, and Blue Knights would each raise their own order and spread across the land. Gawain created a false Siege Perilous and declared himself the Lord of the Throne (later, simply The Chairman).

The Great Lie (900 A.D. to 2008 A.D.)

The attempted conquest of Europe by the Knights of the Round Table had resulted in a humiliating defeat at the hands of both the Catholic Church as well as the remains of the Roman Empire. Norse raiders, led by King Karl Bjornson wielding the Eye of Odin, destroyed the majority of their forces. Gawain, realizing that sheer numbers would never allow the House’s supernatural forces to triumph over humanity or all other supernatural races, conceived of a plan that would allow them to defeat their enemies over the course of centuries rather than years.

Using a combination of religion, mind-magic, money, and propaganda–the House eradicated almost all knowledge of the supernatural in the world. Wizards were offered lives of wealth and comfort if they joined the House or death if they refused. Treaties were drawn with the other supernatural nations that allowed them to prey upon humanity “within reason” in exchange for keeping themselves secret from humanity. The House used puppet kings and infiltrators to weaken their foes while proclaiming peace. Groups like the Knights Templar, Legalists of China, Lions of Judea, and others were absorbed into the ranks of the organization.

Resistance against the House would become increasingly militant and turned to powers darker than black to fight them. Newly turned vampire warlord, Vlad Dracula, used the Book of Midnight and Chalice of Blood to empower himself with the power of Hell. He formed an alliance of the Ancients to create the Vampire Nation so that the undead could build the same vast wealth the House had accumulated. Similarly, Karl Bjornson forged alliances with the Rakshasa of India and shifter Pact in order to stand against the House. Non-House magicians created the Network to help smuggle supernaturals away from the oppressive politics of the House to freedom.

Strange stories like the Vampire Nation building their first capital in Nassau during the Golden Age of Piracy, the American Revolution being orchestrated by feuding House Divisions, Queen Victoria being a werewolf, and other stories were lost to time. The House used media like the novel version of Dracula and later the entire horror entertainment industry in order to help cover up the supernatural.

People claiming monsters exist was hard enough to believe but doubly so if penny dreadfuls talked about the exact thing they discussed. Some monsters, like slashers, actually fed from the infamy such works gave them. The Vampire Nation conceived of a hundred year plan following Dracula to transform the image of the undead from villains to heroes, believing sex and glamor would overcome common sense.

Unfortunately, the march of history started to work against the House. The World Wars resulted in the Houses’ one hundred “Divisions” being split along national lines. Corruption and demon cults perverted House magicians as other used their sorcery to create vast financial Empire. The largest of these, Pantheon Corp, became the dominant financial institution in the world. Laws against monopolies failed as it became the world’s largest arms dealer, bank, computer, energy, and medical firm. The treacherous Cassidy family, descended from Nazi collaborators, used the institution to leverage the House to their own ends.

Ironically, it was the invention of the cell phone and proliferation of the internet that made the Reveal inevitable. Traitors to the House helped bring the organization down and revealed the supernatural to the world after the US military encountered “monsters” during the War on Terror. The House’s leadership was assassinated and its Divisions broken up on national lines. The Chairman met his end at the hands of Morgan Le Fey’s youngest descendant, Arthur Morgan. Such was the chaos that, combined with the deaths of the World Wars, the Elder Gods began to stir anew and the world was flooded with alien monsters that made the chaos even worse.

The Reveal and Modern Times (2008 A.D. to Present)

The Reveal was accompanied by mass chaos across the globe as people struggled with the revelation that everything they knew was a lie. Ironically, money proved to be the deciding factor as the United States accepted a Bailout for its institutions from the Vampire Nation. Laws were drafted, many prepped ahead of time, that gave supernaturals legal protections while propaganda had been in place for decades to “soften” the blow when it happened. Still, mass racial strife occurred as many humans reacted violently to the presence of the superhuman among them.

The city of New Detroit was created as a shining example of what supernatural and human cooperation could do. Michigan’s state government was bribed and intimidated into giving supernaturals special rights within its boundaries while its most famous city was rebuilt into New Detroit. The Vampire Nation played on sex and vice to turn it into a second Las Vegas where humans could enjoy their every depraved whim while the undead bled them dry both figuratively as well as literally. New Detroit proved a fantastic success as vampires parlayed their allure into being the most accepted of all supernaturals despite being among the worst.

Ironically, the Vampire Nation overplayed its hand. Modern vampires were created with belief in rights and democracy that contrasted heavily with feudalist oppression of the Ancients. Many also desired to live peacefully among humans, trading the pleasure of the Bite for blood in place of violent attack or slavery. The Network became a full-scale resistance to both the Vampire Nation as well as the bigoted forces in the world’s governments.

The town of Bright Falls, Michigan would also prove to of interest as the tiny lumber community proved to have a population that was almost entirely composed of shifters. Unlike vampires, shifters proved subject to “varmint laws” and other legal restrictions that forced them to live among each other in poverty. The attempts by local leaders to organize the shifter nation to make a life for themselves ranged from the grass roots to criminal.

In 2016, celebrity businessman Karl Trust would be elected President on a platform of “law and order” as well as “human only rights.” This would spark crackdowns and the creation of a organization based on the popular image of the Men in Black (itself inspired by the House). Supernaturals now plot to overthrow the current administration and humans turn to demonic magic to fight their neighbors. History might not repeat but it seemed to rhyme.

I hope you guys will check this world out!

Word-Building 1#: The Supervillainy-verse

Hey folks,

I’ve decided to do something cool and that’s do articles on my various universes. World-building is the key to making my novels work and sharing background information about what goes into the settins is something I thought my fans would enjoy. Each article will go into discussion about one of the worlds and its history as well as how they are currently set up. My long history of being a tabletop roleplaying gamer was a big infuence on my writing style and a lot of that depended on the awesome supplements people did.

I’m going to start with, unsurprisingly, The Supervillainy-verse that is my most popular work.

The Setting

The Supervillainy-verse is my homage to comic books everywhere and meant to be the kind of place that combines dozens of different genres together. It is a place where there is fantasy, science fiction, crime, horror, and more going on at any given time. Much like the comic book universes of Marvel and DC comics, it is a place where literally anything can happen and frequently does.

The funny thing is that, despite being a comedy series, I try to keep the world consistent and serious. It’s a parody of superhero settings but the best kind of parodies are also good examples of the work in question. I may poke fun at some of the weirdness that goes onto your typical comic book universe but I also try to keep it at least vaguely plausible. A world can have any rules you like but once you establish those rules, you have to follow them.

The Supervillainy-verse is set in what I term to be “The Twilight of the Superheroes.” Superheroes have existed for almost a century in the setting and have fought off countless evils threatening the people of Earth-A (Gary’s planet in the multiverse). However, Gary has the misfortune of becoming Merciless as the system is sort of breaking down.

Weirdly, it’s a bit similar to Red Dead Redemption with the idea of John Marsden coming back to the Old West right as the age of cowboys and gunslingers is ending. In Gary’s case, he’s a supervillain when the public has become sick of both heroes as well as villains. The never-ending conflict between good and evil has worn thin. There is a reckoning coming and how its going to settle down is anyone’s guess. Gary as the Wild Card between supervillains, humans, and superheroes makes him uniquely able to slip things one way or the other.

Or so he thinks.

The ‘Double Anarchy’ seal of Merciless.


The Supervillainy-verse was created by beings called the Primals in the early distant epoches of the Multiverse. Fragments of a greater creator being, the eight beings of Creation, Destruction, Chaos, Order, Death, Life, Conflict, and Balance. They are beyond omnipotent and have created the multiverse as it’s known to both amuse themselves as well as explore their concepts. Opposing them are the Great Beasts, seven (or more) beings made of concepts banned from reality in order to give physical laws substance. Zul-Barbas is the most famous of these things, inspiring many culture’s concept of the Devil and H.P. Lovecraft’s idea of the Great Old Ones.

The first race to evolve would be the god-like Ultranians (or “Firstborn”) who would exist for billions of years, bestowing superpowers on various races and creating the celestial networks of magic. The Ultranians themselves strongly resembled human beings despite being made of energy and would influence many cultures’ ideas of gods and goddesses. They also revered the Ultra-Force, that was the physical manifestation of the greater universe.

Much of Earth’s history remains the same with sorcerers, monsters, gods, and heroes being background noise for the greater conflicts of the world. New nations were born, hidden cultures, and things were slightly different in places (like the occasional cowboy vs. ninjas plot) but things didn’t really change forever until the arrival of Ultragod.

Moses Anders, an African American astronomer, was chosen by the Primals to merge with the Ultra-Force and became Ultragod. It bestowed upon him immense reality-bending powers that he chose to present to the world as similar to recently published comics of the time. Meanwhile, ex-cop Lancel Warren studied magic after the death of his wife and child and became the Nightwalker. Other heroes during this time were Aquarius, the Americommando (later the Prismatic Commando), Gold Medalist, Tank Man (later Android John), and Guinevere.

WW2 would go dramatically differently as Ultragod would attempt to stop it in its tracks by capturing Stalin and Hitler both. The Third Reich was instead taken over by the Supreme Phantom and a cabal of supervillains who were even more dangerous. The Soviet Union would be ruled by a council that proved more effective than Stalin, eventually headed by the Red Star for decades to come.

Before the defeat of the Nazis, Tom Terror and other high-ranking Axis superhumans would create P.H.A.N.T.O.M as a way to preserve their power as well as research into both the occult as well as super-science. The organization had also attempted to sell the Earth to the Thran Empire, explaining how they held out against the Allies for so long.

After the defeat of the Nazis, the United Governments (or U.G.) would rise to power and create the Foundation for World Harmony to hunt down superhuman terrorists and P.H.A.N.T.O.M. Countless brushfire conflicts would be fought between superhuman dictators, superpowered terrorist organizations, and even the occasional unexpected alien invasion.

The Society of Superheroes (S.O.S) would be fully formed in the 1960s in response to the first incursion by the Thran reptile men and Tsavong shapeshifters. The Vietnam War would be fought in three parts with the third one resulting in an international treaty banning the use of superhumans in wartime. It was during this time that Aquarius became King of Atlantis and ended that underwater kingdom’s belligerence against the surface.

The 1980s saw a massive spike in the number of the world’s superhumans with magical and superhuman abilities appearing naturally among the populace. This resulted in the creation of the Texas Guardians who masterminded the first “boot camp” and “prestige academy” for superhumans. It also resulted in the appearance of Ultragoddess, the daughter of Ultragod, who was the icon for the next generation of heroes even as a child. It also resulted in the label Supers as a distinct ethnic group that many regular humans (“Mundanes”) saw as threatening.

The 1990s proved a disaster for superheroes as sinister luchadore Diabloman killed multiple members of the Texas Guardians, forced the universe to be rebooted, and exposed heroes as vulnerable. Insane SWAT officer Theodore Whitman a.k.a. Shoot-Em-Up went on a multiple state killing spree against retired or paroled supervillains, inspiring numerous copycats until he was killed by an unknown assailent (actually 14-year-old Gary Karkofsky in order to avenge his brother).

Ruthless murder-happy antiheroes emerged like the Extreme! and Bloodscream the Retributive that the public initially embraced then rejected when it turned out some were white supremecists or outright supervillains themselves. The end of the Dark Age of Superheroes was official with the election of Android John as President, the country’s first superhuman president. Android John was the world’s first artificial being and his election sparked their acceptance as people as a matter of course.

The 21st century has proven a decline for superheroes as the War on Terror proved the governments of the world no longer wanted superhumans involved in global conflicts. The exception would be the Ultragoddess founded the Shadow Seven. The Shadow Seven incorporated semi-reformed supervillains and minor superheroes in covert ops against the worst of humanity against international law. Its illegality and the potential for blowback helped convince Ultragoddess to end her engagement to her fiance Gary Karkofsky.

The only supervillain to ever destroy reality. It got better.

The construction of powered armor, cybernetic enhancements, and artificial Supers became a major concern. Omega Corporation rose to power in this time, reverse engineering superhuman power and technology for the public. Running on a campaign of anti-Super vitriol and promises of a new America, Charles Omega became President of the United States. Rumors of mind-control, voter fraud, and threats dogged his campaign. The Society of Superheroes worked delicately around him even as he privately prepared to build a country without superheroes.

But it all came to a head when the Nightwalker, over a hundred years old, finally died.


Like DC comics, there are many fictional cities in the setting that have the unique advantage of being places you can blow up and turn to zombie-filled hellholes without affecting the real deals.

Atlas City: Atlas City is a metropolis located in central Florida that is considered to be the City of Tomorrow Today. It was originally a relatively minor city in the 1930s, being little more than a small town, when Ultragod’s influence attracted millions of citizens to come live there. It is now an epicenter of technological development, interstellar trade, and space exploration. The city has a dark side despite being the source of the United States’ pan-stellar wealth. It is home to massive slums of refugees, aliens unwanted in the rest of the country, and Supers. Crime has been on the rise due to its protectors being unable to regulate it and there is a conflict with P.H.A.N.T.O.M based hate groups. The most recognizable landmark of the city is the Observatory, which is Ultragod’s alien-built fortress where he and his daughter take time to rest their minds.

Falconcrest City: A city along the Canadian border and Lake Falconcrest, Falconcrest City is literally cursed. It is a city founded in the 17th century by French fur trappers who slaughtered a cult of Satan-worshiping Englishmen with the help of Native American tribesmen. Unfortunately, the trappers built a city over their twisted labyrinth base that would affect the metropolis for centuries to come. The city has art deco skyscrapers, gargoyles on every building, huge towering cathedrals, and slums where insanity seems infectious. The city’s colorful criminals are empowerd by eldrtich energies and terrible ceremonies are performed by the Brotherhood of Infamy every month. The Nightwalker kept the worst of these villains in check but his death due to old age threatens to change everything.

The second Nightwalker.

New Angeles: Gary’s old stomping grounds, New Angeles was constructed on the ruins of Los Angeles after Atlanteans attacked the city during World War 2. New Angeles is every bit as rich, glamorous, and gritty as its predecessor city would have been. Much of the city has been rebuilt with Atlantean reparations, though, and there is a decided marine feel to many parts of it. It is also one of the few cities with a good chunk of it underwater (and thriving). The city has a unique relationship with its supervillains as they tend to be considered local folk heroes as often as enemies of the public.

As such, there’s the “Villains Code” where they attempt to minimize collateral damage and keep out the worst of their kind. The city is protected by the Silver Medalist and Bronze Medalist, a pair of superheroes that were among the first queer superheroes to come out. While some criticized their former mentor-sidekick relationship, they are generally beloved by the public.

New Avalon: One of humanity’s greatest achievements, New Avalon is a city built on the surface of the moon and serves as a city of twenty thousand people living in artificial gravity as well as an artificial environment under the Society of Superheroes’ protection. It is also, unfortunately, home to the world’s most terrible prisoners that the Earth has effectively exiled to the prison here. Lunarians are disproportionately Supers and it is expected that many immigrate there in hopes of escaping the persecution on Earth.

Random Factoids

* Superhero comics are mostly historical in the setting. DC and Marvel comics have long since taken to publishing romance, pirate, fantasy, and Western comics instead. Yes, I stole this from Watchmen.

* Pop culture is largely unchanged despite the fact superheroes are almost completely absent. This doesn’t make any sense due to the influence of sequential art on other mediums but happened anyway.

* Soda still uses real sugar. Artificial sweeteners are a product of other realities.

* Earth is considered the equivalent of Afghanistan in the rest of the galaxy. Empires invade this small blue dot and get their asses kicked.

* Magic is known to exist but only a handful of people can learn more than to light matches with their mind. Frauds are every bit as common.

* Despite having a space port or two on the planet, very few aliens other than refugees and criminals come to Earth. It is too remote and disliked.

* The Tsavong have a colony on Venus despite its horrific atmosphere. They are on semi-good terms with Earth.

* Supervillain rap is a popular style of music.

* The Supervillainy-verse is part of a multiverse than includes my other universes.

* Technology is slightly more advanced in this world with the general public but getting its biggest advances approved is an ongoing legal slog.

* Dinosaurs are no longer extinct due to the discovery of the Hollow Earth and many zoos now feature them.

* Time travel has made reality somewhat flexible and sometimes the ages of people change as well as events. It hasn’t broken the universe yet. Yet.