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Runaways (Marvel Comics)

Runaways


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Runaways are a team of underage superhumans (most of them), on the run from their shared origin sequence. This little group has met with some success, particularly youngest member Molly Hayes. They first appeared in 2003.

There have been several takes on these characters. Our profiles are centred upon the take of their creator Brian K. Vaughan, and cover the first three volumes.


Profile

ORGANIZATION

Full Name:
Runaways

Purpose:
Protect each other.

Modus Operandi:
Fight super-villains trying to take advantage of their parents’ absence in the crime scene. Also avoid getting put in care.

Extent of operations:
Variable.

Bases of Operations:
Los Angeles.

Major Funding:
Parents’ old bases.

Known Enemies:
Adults

Known allies:
Young Avengers, Cloak & Dagger

MEMBERSHIP

Number of active members:
6.

Number of reserve members:
None.

Organizational structure:
Nico is team leader. Other than that there isn’t really much structure.

Known current members:
Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Molly Hayes, Karolina Dean, Victor Mancha, Klara Prast.

Known former members:
Alex Wilder, Gertrude Yorkes, Xavin.

Membership requirements:
Teenager, either without parents or having run away from them.


History

Pride and Joy

The Pride was a secret cabal of six couples. These controlled a vast criminal network centred in Los Angeles. They practically owned the city.

They were recruited by ancient giant beings, known as the Gibborim. These planned to wipe out humanity. The Gibborim offered the Pride 25 years of dominance, and that six of them would survive to rule the world that was left, becoming immortal.

The Pride met annually for the Rite of Blood. That was a ceremony where they sacrificed a young girl, trapping her soul. It was followed by the Rite of Thunder, where they would meet with the Gibborim, offering up the captured soul.

When the Steins fell pregnant, the couples of the Pride decided that they would each have a child. The children would be given their places in the world that followed.

Offspring

Years later, most of the children were in their mid-to-late teens. During one sacrificial ceremony at the Wilder’s house, Alex Wilder revealed to the other children that he’d discovered secret passages in the house. Left to entertain themselves, the children decided to spend this year spying on their parents. They were curious to learn what they actually got up to.

Surprised to find them dressed in weird costumes, they initially thought their parents may secretly be superheroes. Until they witnessed them murder a young girl. Keeping it from their parents, and the young Molly, the other kids met later that night. They decided to try and find evidence to take to the police.

Sneaking into the Yorkes residence, where the chest which probably contained the dead girl was taken, they discovered the Yorkes were stranded time-travellers. Their daughter, Gertrude, found a dinosaur genetically-bonded to obey her, which she would name Old Lace.

Unable to find incriminating evidence, they next investigated the Dean residence. There they discovered the Abstract, an encoded history of the Pride. Karolina learned her parents were aliens, and that the bracelet they made her wear inhibited her natural powers.

Their attempt to sneak into the Steins wasn’t as successful, and they had to subdue the Steins and Minorus to escape.

Running away

Unable to convince the police to investigate their claims, they were contacted by their parents. The Pride threatened to harm Molly if they didn’t surrender. The kids rescued Molly, fighting some of the Pride. But they were prevented from going to the police when the Pride, controlling the police and media, turned them into fugitives.

They hid out in a submerged hotel that Chase had found a while before, calling it the Hostel.

The Runaways posing for a group photo

The teenagers decided to strike back at their parents by fighting crime in LA. They soon encountered super-powered enemies such as the young-looking vampire, Topher, who they unknowingly invited back to the Hostel. They also met Cloak and Dagger, who were convinced by one of the Pride’s police agents that the Runaways were holding Molly hostage.

The group convinced Cloak and Dagger they’d been duped. As a result, the pair promised to contact the Avengers to come to the kids’ aid. The runaways later learned their parents had ambushed Cloak and Dagger before they could return to New York, wiping their short term memories.

Fighting back

Alex deciphered enough of the Abstract to learn the Rite of Thunder would happen soon. It would take place when their parents would have to go unarmed into the presence of the Gibborim. He decided that would be the best time to confront them.

Almost immediately, the youths were confronted by the Pride’s police servants, who’d been led to the Hostel by a traitor within the group. Escaping, they journeyed to the Marine Vivarium.

Confronting their parents, they gained the upper hand. That lasted until they were betrayed by Alex, who revealed he’d discovered their parent’s secret the year before. Alex had manipulated the others all along into working against a betrayal with the Pride’s ranks.

He’d decided that he, Nico, and their parents should be the ones to survive. But Nico turned against him. During the ensuing fight Molly released the captive soul of the girl the Pride sacrificed.

This angered the Gibborim when they arrived. They killed the Pride and Alex, and collapsed the Vivarium. Escaping the destruction, the Runaways encountered Captain America and the Avengers, who’d finally learned about the Pride.

Teenage Wasteland

Placed into care by the authorities, they managed to sneak away and meet up. Chase revealed that he’d discovered where Old Lace was being held. They freed the she-dinosaur, recovered their parents’ Leapfrog vehicle, and decide to stay together on the run.

Finding one of their parents’ bases, beneath the La Brea Tar Pits Museum , they used it as their new Hostel. They then confronted an influx of super-villains taking advantage of the power vacuum left by their parents’ deaths. Thus they battled Batroc, Flag-Smasher, the Swarm, the new Tarantula, and the Wrecking Crew.

They were visited by the dying adult future version of Gertrude. She had travelled back from where she led the Avengers to warn them of Victorious, a traitor. Victorious was the son of an infamous super-villain, who’d killed her Avengers. The Runaways had accepted/would accept him as a member.

They decided to hunt down his younger self, Victor Mancha, but confronting him shock-awakened his powers. The Runaways subdued and abducted him, despite interference by Excelsior. These were a self-help group of former teen superheroes trying to “rescue” the Runaways.

The man of the Mancha

Victor pled ignorance of his powers. He told them his mother had told him his father was a soldier who’d been killed in combat. But Victor was then phoned by his mother, captive of Dr. Doom, who claimed to be his father.

Victor and the Runaways confronted Doom, only to discover that he was a robot controlled by Ultron, Victor’s real father. Ultron then murdered Victor’s mother. Surviving the battle with Ultron, Victor, having nowhere else to go, joined the Runaways.

The team was confronted by Prince Xavin, a super-skrull in training. He revealed he and Karolina had been betrothed by their parents, and that he needed her help to end hostilities between their races. Interested in seeing her homeworld, she agreed to accompany him.

When Cloak appeared asking for their help to prove himself innocent of an attack on Dagger, the Runaways travelled to New York and helped capture the impostor.

Live Fast

Returning to LA, they were attacked by a group of Alex’s old online friends. These believed the Runaways were criminals who’d murdered Alex and their parents. Following a ritual Alex had left as a contingency, the group had tried to restore him to life, but instead managed to pull his father, Geoffrey Wilder, from early in his timeline.

The Runaways celebrating

He convinced them Molly was a captive, and they rescued her. Wilder then took Molly to sacrifice her to the Gibborim. The Runaways caught up to them, along with Karolina and Xavin, who’d fled the destruction of their homeworlds. Molly was saved, but Wilder managed to stab Gertrude, killing her.

Distraught at her death, Chase took off. He contacted the Gibborim to try and get them to bring Gert back. They agreed, in exchange for his sacrifice of an innocent soul. Kidnapping Nico, he told her he intended to offer his own soul. The Gibborim refused, since suicide would have made his soul less than innocent.

The rest of the Runaways arrived to try stopping him. Then the Gibborim, dying from lack of sacrifices, tried to take them. The Runaways survived, and the Gibborim faded away.

Civil War

In their rush to rescue Chase, the team had forgotten to make themselves invisible when leaving the Hostel. Returning home, they thus found Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. waiting for them, forcing them to run. Evading the authorities became more of a task as the SHRA came into effect.

Trying to work out how to deal with events, they were located by the Young Avengers. These were part of Captain America’s resistance to the SHRA, and wanted to take the Runaways somewhere safe. After the inevitable fight, both teams were attacked by the brainwashed Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr), who abducted members of both groups.

Working together, they tracked the abductees to the Cube, a super-secret prison and torture centre. Breaking in, they freed their friends. They also managed to break Marvel Boy’s programming, allowing him to take over the prison. Free, the Runaways declined the Young Avengers’ offer of sanctuary, and they parted on good terms.

Dead-End Kids

Travelling to New York, a poor decision saw them getting involved with the Kingpin. The kids carried out a theft on his behalf. It was actually for a third party, and the object in question was one of the Yorkes’ devices.

The theft brought them into conflict with the Punisher, whom Molly punched in the stomach, not knowing he had no powers. They also clashed with a mysterious winged and scarred man, who gave Victor a message to deliver.

The kids were attacked by Kingpin’s ninjas when they considered keeping the Overdrive device. They fled, fitting the device to Leapfrog to escape. It activated, and transported them back to 1907, where it promptly ran out of power.

The past isn’t quite another country

Befriended by the Swell, they were introduced to the Street Arabs, a faction of street Wonders (super-powered individuals). Victor developed a mutual attraction with Spieler. The group also recognized Tristan as being the winged man who’d attacked them, although significantly less scarred.

The Swell also tried to sell them out to the Sinners, a Wonders gang working for the mysterious Others. He arranged a meeting between Chase, Xavin, and Mr. Maneater, the leader of the Sinners. But when Chase pushed to meet his bosses, they found themselves faced with the Yorkes. After a brief fight, Chase used their time machine to return to the future, while Xavin fled back to the others.

Captured by the Upward Path, a hardlined law-enforcing group of Wonders, Nico was tortured by Witchbreaker, actually her great grandmother. She wanted to test her descendant’s worthiness.

Molly and Karolina met Klara Prast, a scared young Wonder. Prast was married to an older man who abused her and forced her to work to pay for his drink. They befriended her, and tried to convince her to come back with them to the future.

Gangs war

Events spiralled into a street battle when the Sinners hunted down the Runaways and Street Arabs, slaughtering most of the Arabs. The Upward Path also joined in, and the Yorkes set a bomb to destroy the city.

Recognizing the bomb for what it was, the Runaways stopped it. Karolina and Xavin used their force fields to block the force of the blast after Tristan had flow it high above the city. Tristan survived the blast, but was badly disfigured.

Fleeing the battle, the Runaways were confronted by the Yorkes. However, Chase’s return let the youths win the fight. Nico cursed the Yorkes to live the rest of their lives knowing their fate, and Gertrude’s, but being unable to change it.

Victor gave Spieler the message he’d been given, trying to convince her to accompany them, as Klara did. Spieler couldn’t. Instead she grew old and became the mysterious figure who’d hired them through the Kingpin, and who’d given Tristan the message for Victor to pass to her which failed to convince her to go with him.

The Runaways returned to their own time.

Dead Wrong

No sooner had they returned to the New York of their time than they got caught up in the Skrull invasion. Meeting up with the Young Avengers again, they managed to escape the battle, and returned to Los Angeles.

With the Hostel seized by the authorities, they managed to track down one of the Stein’s beachfront houses that hadn’t been disturbed. The Runaways set up in it. Since they were also low on money, Chase, being 18, had to get a job. He chose one with radio shock jock, Val Rhymin.

Before fully settling in, the kids were attacked by a group of Majesdanian soldiers. These had been off Majesdane when it was destroyed. They wanted to take Karolina back with them for trial for her parents’ role in the planet’s destruction.

Their initial attack was foiled when Nico’s spell caused them to “scatter” to the corners of the globe. It also unfortunately caused divisions within the Runaways. Thus, the kids barely managed to come together in time to deal with the Majesdanians when they returned.

Deciding she couldn’t let anyone else be hurt in her place, Karolina decided to hand herself over. Xavin had other ideas. Knocking her out and impersonating her, he surrendered to the Majesdanians and returned to stand trial in her place.

Homeschooling

Chase’s boss, Val Rhymin, turned out to be less than sane. Working with friends of Nico’s parents, he broadcast a spell in the form of a song. It zombified every listener who’d ever had plastic surgery. Sending them to riot, he ordered them to steal stuff for him and bring it to the Hollywood Bowl .

After battling zombies on the streets of LA, the Runaways infiltrated them during the gathering at the Hollywood Bowl. They attacked Val and his ally, Mother. Then, Molly had the idea of playing the song backwards to reverse the zombification. It worked, and the Runaways got out before the police got there.

The team’s night was disturbed when an illegal drone plane crashed into their house. The damage was serious, and Old Lace threw herself over Klara to save her. The beast took a fatal wound in the process. In shock, Klara defensively caused the nearby plants to engulf the house.

Finding the house surrounded by an illegal military operation trying to recover the drone, the Runaways were helped to escape by Chase’s uncle, Hunter Stein. Hunter had been keeping an eye on them. He offered to provide them somewhere to live, and to fund them, but they declined. He left the offer open.

The Leapfrog was also destroyed in the crash, but they saved its operating system/mind. The Runaways transferred it to one of the other Leapfrogs they found in the secret garage.


DC Universe History

The Gibborim are actually the Demons Three (Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast). The ceremonies performed by the Pride were part of a ritual that would releases them. Most of the team’s history can be imported as it is, since they don’t have strong ties to any established characters.

The Runaways keep getting pestered by Flamebird to form a new Teen Titans West with her. So they do their best to avoid her.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Previous Stats

While they were on the run from their parents, the Runaways had the Mistrust Drawback. After this they were avoiding the authorities so they don’t get put into care. But as long as they don’t make too much noise the police won’t be looking for them as actively, so this should be covered by their Age Drawbacks.

They’ve also had a number of Headquarters, but are currently without one.


Leapfrog

The Leapfrog is a roughly frog-shaped vehicle that:

  • Moves through the air by jumping large distances.
  • Can travel underwater.
  • Possesses stealth capabilities, allowing it become invisible.
  • Is armed with lasers.
  • Sports an onboard computer which can speak 5000 languages.
  • Warns its pilot when it has been targeted by missiles.

They’ve recently started using a newer version of the Leapfrog, which seems able to hover permanently, and doesn’t have legs. It doesn’t have Cling or Jumping, but has an extra AP of Flight.

Molly: “Hey, Leapfrog. Do you know where Gert is?”
Leapfrog: “Affirmative. Miss Yorkes is buried five-and-a-half feet below the Earth several metres behind the Hollywood sign.”
Molly: “Not her body, dummy. Her soul. You know, is she in Heaven?”
Leapfrog: “My global positioning satellite is unable to provide you with that information, Miss Hayes.”
Molly: “Then what good are you, you… you stupid, freakin’ jumping thing?”
Leapfrog: [beat] “Stand by, software has been updated. Affirmative, can now confirm that Miss Yorkes’ coordinates are in location: Heaven.”
Molly: “For reals ? Are my mom and dad there, too?”
Leapfrog: “Rbbt. Insufficient data. Perhaps you should query Master Stein about such matters on his return.”

Leapfrog [BODY 14 STR 10 INT 06 WILL 06 MIND 05, Cling: 10, Danger Sense: 05, Flight: 05, Invisibility (Serious Burnout): 06, Jumping: 12, Laser Beam: 10, Magic Field (’Frog only): 06, Radar Sense: 10, Sealed Systems: 12, Swimming: 08, Advantages – Languages (5000 of them), Hardened Defences, R#: 03]

The Runaways' Frog vehicle

By Gareth Lewis

Source of Character: Marvel Comics (covers up to the end of Runaways vol. 3)

Writeup completed on the 21st of January, 2012.

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