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Starburst campaign timeline


Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This timeline is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these timelines were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

The Starburst campaign was run by writeups.org contributor SRC Smith during the 1990s.


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Chronology

1880-1910

  • The Starburst Era truly began when London police officer Bradley Jaymes, frustrated by his inability to make headway on the Jack the Ripper case, decided to take matters into his own hands. he created the Knighthawk costumed identity.
  • First in a long line of Knighthawks, Jaymes’ career included such highlights as finally solving the identity of the Ripper with the help of a local consulting detective. He also fought famous jewel thieves, murderers, masterminds, and supernatural horrors.

1900-1920

  • World War I caused the first wide-scale activation of the genetic factors involved in the enabling of “super powers” in the modern world. Due to the long-dormant nature of the genes, their full activation manifested not in the soldiers and victims of the war, but in the children conceived by them afterwards.
  • Bradley Jaymes Jr., son of the original Knighthawk, revived the identity in an updated costume during the war as a “phantom ace”. He flew an aircraft considerably ahead of its time. This Knighthawk fell in love with an American nurse and settled in Chicago.

1920-1940

  • A legacy was born as Bradley Jaymes III became the third Knighthawk, again modifying the costume. This Knighthawk assembled a group of super-powered individuals into the world’s first hero team, called the Gangbusters. The Gangbusters fought Al Capone and his handful of super-powered thugs alongside Elliot Ness and the Untouchables.
  • A major highlight of this Knighthawk’s career was confronting a villain known as the Reaper. The Reaper was revealed to be the original Jack the Ripper, a mutant psychic vampire that was born in prehistoric times.

1940-1960

  • World War II erupted, and dozens of soldiers who had inherited the genetic potential of super powers had their dormant abilities activated in the heat of battle and the devastation of war.
  • Super-powered combatants lined up on both sides of the conflict. But their efforts didn’t make that much of a difference, as they spent most of their time fighting each other.
  • The fourth Knighthawk, again in a modified costume, fought the Axis alongside Homefront, the battalion of superheroes he assembled at the request of the President.

1960-1980

  • In 1960, Paul Revere appeared in Boston. He was quickly joined by several other heroes in forming the world’s second private superhero team, The Patriots. Teams proliferated quickly in the next few years, until it seemed that every small town in America had at least one superhero. By 1965, several large private teams claimed membership in the dozens.
  • However, for every hero that stood for the cause of good, it seemed as if three super-powered criminals appeared to prey on the weak and helpless. It was estimated that at the super-powered population’s peak in 1968, there was one powered person for every 100,000 normals.
  • The invasion changed that dramatically. In 1969, the Sirian Confederation invaded earth. The resulting casualties totaled in the hundreds of thousands, mostly superhumans. Heroes and villains put aside their differences to defend the Earth.
  • The Sirians were defeated and the Sirius Compact signed in 1972. It established Earth as a stargoing power as per the terms of the Galactic Constitution. Previously, Earth had only been dimly aware of due to the various alien presences that had visited over the years since the Roswell crash.
  • By 1975, many of the devastated areas and cities had been rebuilt. Some combined in the larger City Complexes which are so prevalent today. Technology advanced at an accelerated rate due to the Galactic Merchant’s Council establishing Earth’s moon as a Trading stop.
    The super-powered population now numbered approximately 1 per 1,000,000 normals, and has seemed to hold fairly steady.
  • During this time, he fifth Knighthawk modified his costume to include functioning jet-powered wings; He also added a utility belt patterned laden with gadgets. When the Reaper reappeared in 1977, he shed this outfit and revived the 1920’s suit in honor of his grandfather.

1980-2000

  • In 1980 the US Government decided to get into the hero business. Its first, failed attempt resulted in the creation of Battalion H, a military Special Forces unit of secret government superheroes recruited from the regular ranks of the military. The Battalion H project ended in failure after all but two members were killed in action.
  • In 1984, the United States government established an agency to monitor and control super-powered activity. Under supervision of the Department of Defense, the agency, named CORPS (Command for the Oversight of the Resources of Powered Superhumans), recruited four superheroes with government security clearance to form a semi-independent organization. They pursued their own agenda much of the time as a private hero team and undertakook government missions when so ordered. After noticing a coincidentally similar design on each of their costumes, they named the organization Starburst.
  • In 1985, the Second Captain Paragon and his partner Ringer formed the Crusaders. This small super-team in Great Lakes, New York, remained relatively obscure until the Demonfire Crisis, which they almost single-handedly averted on national television. This group frequently interacted with the fifth Knighthawk, who had moved into their area in 1984.
  • Starburst grew in size until they had over 50 members. When the US Government closed down CORPS, the team was made an independent peace-keeping organization with a United Nations charter in 1986.
  • However, the organization was the victim of a massive smear campaign in 1990. It was revealed that one of the organizations trusted advisors was an agent of a terrorist nation seeking to discredit both Starburst and the UN. He had misappropriated funds in a way that made Starburst appear to be corrupt and criminally negligent.
  • Although the team was cleared of any wrongdoing, several heroes left the group. The smaller group was re-organized to be more efficient.
  • Also during this time, the Crusaders disbanded and Captain Paragon (II) (the group’s former leader) and the sixth Knighthawk agreed to honor the fifth Knighthawk’s wish to revive the Gangbusters. They moved to Chicago and established the New Gangbusters, who are privately funded by the elder Jaymes.
  • In 1994,the New Crusaders formed almost by accident when a group of new, independent superheroes averted a disaster that originated in Crusader’s Citadel. The press gave them their name and the city deputized them and gave them the old team’s property.

By SRC Smith.

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