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Queen Topaz of Ultraforce

Queen Topaz of Gwendor


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

Context

Topaz appeared in 1994, as part of the Ultraverse super-hero imprint. Though interesting, the Ultraverse was unfortunately short-lived. Topaz became a member of Ultraforce, the setting’s equivalent of the Avengers or the Justice League.

In most respects she’s the exotic warrior princess from a strange land archetype. But there’s enough backstory, setting details and good visuals to make it work serviceably.


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Background

  • Real Name: The Topaz Queen of Gwendor. She had another name before earning the position, but this name is nullified for as long as she’s Queen.
  • Marital Status: N.A.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Ultraforce.
  • Base Of Operations: Washington, D.C. and later a large Miami hotel rented by the government for Ultraforce ; formerly the realm of Gwendor on the Godwheel.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 140 lbs. (possibly more with the metallic-looking skin active).
  • Eyes: Blue-green (Reddish grey when transformed). Hair: Red.


Powers and Abilities

Topaz is an aggressive, acrobatic fighter with world-class reflexes and melee combat skills. She’s skilled in sword-fighting, staff-fighting, unarmed combat and presumably other techniques.

Whether her strength is superhuman for her bulk is unclear, but she could take down a professional gridiron defensive lineman in full armour with her bare hands within seconds.

In battle, Topaz manifests a metallic staff charged with energy in her hands. It can serve as a melee weapon or an energy cannon. She can disperse and recreate this weapon at will. The staff often glows hard enough as to look like solid energy.


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Other assets

The Topaz Queen can have her skin also go from a Caucasian tone to a metallic, reflective grey-blue. What is happening and what it entails was never explained, but Topaz once called it a “self-generating armour” and we’ve assumed protective properties in our game stats.

In her metallic-looking form, Topaz can fly. The change of skin colour is instantaneous, and the metallic-looking state protects her against hard radiation.

The staff and skin probably are magical weapons of similar provenance to Mantra’s armaments. Presumably Topaz’s skin gets transmogrified  or armoured by some jewellery or… well, an item of uncomfortable-looking metallic lingerie, if the designs are similar to Mantra’s.

The precious stones on her collar glow when she turns her skin and summons her staff. So it might be the — thoroughly hypothetical — item hosting her powers.


Milieu

The Godwheel

The realm of Gwendor, from which Topaz originates, was briefly thought to be in another dimension. It actually lies within the Ultraverse, though in a distant galaxy – on the Godwheel.

The Godwheel is an Alderson Disk . That is, a giant platter existing on a solar system scale and built around a sun – or two suns in the case of the Godwheel. It has a diameter of about 830 million miles. Thus, in the Sol system, the disc would extend roughly from Mercury’s orbit to Jupiter’s.

The Godwheel is only 40 miles thick (!), and both sides are inhabitable. Reportedly the edges are inhabitable too. This implies bizarre properties of the platter when it comes to gravity – perhaps related to its impossible structural resilience.

An uncountable variety of creatures inhabits the Godwheel, with one side of the disk favouring science and another magic.

Queen Topaz among her soldiers

The Godwheel used to have quasi-divine caretakers, but these gods mostly destroyed each other in a civil war. They used to live in a giant city called Vadhala, hovering above the Godwheel, and their skyfather  was called Ogma.

The realm of Gwendor would presumably be on the more science-ish side. It’s likely within one or two hundred million miles from the central “donut hole” where two suns orbit each other – since it was brighter than the usual twilight-ish illumination found on much of the Godwheel.

This is not very important, though. The surface area of the Godwheel is so absurdly vast that the exact position is irrelevant.

A tale of two cities

This specific area is dominated by two city-states, completely segregated by gender. Gwendor is the city of women, and Heros the city of men. The two have traditionally been in a state of armed hostility. However, by the 1990s a fragile peace existed. The two rulers were in regular contact through telecommunications.

Queen Topaz among her guards

Both cities have a mix of futuristic and ancient technology. The troops are equipped with potent energy weapons and modern armour, and the rulers communicate through hologram projectors, but the standard vehicles are catlike horses. Gwendor’s building feature telepathic walls that can extrude furniture with but a thought of the occupant, complete with plumbing if needed.

The two cities share a language. Though it sounds like no Terran language, their telepathic technology allows both city-states to “teach” their tongue to outsiders in seconds. This is done by having them wear a sort of crown and having a local wear matching headgear to transfer knowledge.

The Great Madness

The central ritual of both Heros and Gwendor is the biennial Great Madness. It takes place in the large gorge between the two city-states. This is essentially a huge sex orgy, allowing for reproduction of the species.

All female participants are aged 16 to 32 (one suspects that the upper age bracket is wider for males), and their menstrual cycle is adjusted using herbs to ensure that they are at the peak of their fertility during the Madness.

It is called the Great Madness since most participants find it very difficult to remember what actually happens. This comes from as a combined result of sexual repression and sensory overload. Aside from the sex, pounding drums and potent incenses are involved.

Such arrangements lead to wonder about the role of gay, lesbian and bisexual locals. But from context one gets the impression that the quasi-humans of the area, unlike Earth humans, are strictly heterosexual. It is possible that the usual arrangement are Platonic same-sex romances, with the Great Madness as the sole moment where sexual release is possible.

Topaz herself is “heart-bonded” to a Captain of the military, Lady Lyra, since they were little girls. What this form of relationship involves wasn’t explained, but it did not seem to involve sex. When Pixx obliquely wondered whether the Topaz Queen was hitting on her, Topaz completely missed the implication. She apparently had no notion that the situation might seem ambiguous.

Male children are ritually returned to Heros after a year in nursing in Gwendor, halfway between two Madnesses.

Women’s civics 101

Gwendor is ruled by three dignitaries. They are “at once peers and rulers to each other” – which may be a fancy way to say that decisions are taken with a ⅔ majority. Each Queen rules over an age bracket. The Topaz Queen is the ruler of young women, the Sapphire Queen rules over mature women, and the Opal Queen has authority over aged women.

Queen Topaz's full costume

As Queen to young women Topaz embodies the virtues associated by her culture with those. She is warlike, brash, adventurous and bold.

It seems that each of the Queens wields a relic of a mythologised heroine called the Deliverer, with the Topaz Queen wielding the Deliverer’s sword. However these symbols were stolen in the recent past.

Women’s civics 102

The triumvirate of Queens is not a hereditary position. The Topaz Queen, responsible for defence, is chosen for her martial skills. She is to be the finest warrior in the city. Presumably there is some sort of tournament involved, but also some military experience. Topaz noted that she nearly died twice in battle when aged 16.

The Sapphire Queen, running the city administration, is elected by other civil servants as the most skilled among them. How the Opal Queen is chosen was not explained, but the older women are in charge of raising the children.

Conflicts that cannot be peacefully solved are, by Gwendor custom, decided by an arena duel. If the insolvable conflict involves the state, the Topaz Queen serves as the state’s champion.

Queen Topaz and Hardcase in battle

During the 1990s the two cities were enjoying a fragile peace and intended to keep things that way. They were obviously wary of persons of the other gender and wanted them out of their hair, but it was certainly not a shoot-on-sight policy. For instance the warrior-sorceress Mantra was allowed to consult archives in Heros, as long as she had no contact with the male population and left ASAP.

Rebels are known to have small mixed-genders communities hidden in the wilderness. These are viewed with repulsion by those living in the city-states.

Herstory, part 1

A long, long time ago, unspecified beings armed with magic weapons captured a quasi-human population. They then brought them to the Godwheel. The nature of the population wasn’t explained. They look just like Earth humans, but differences in sexual diversity led us to hypothesise that they’re quasi-humans.

Queen Topaz and Mantra

“The men” (presumably meaning a specific group of male soldiers, hunters or some such) stole the magic weapons and freed the population. However, being so powerfully armed, they gave in unto temptation and enslaved the rest, particularly the women. All women were reduced into slavery and sexually abused for scores of generations.

Eventually, a heroine called the Deliverer, looking very much like modern-day Mantra, stole a magic sword and magic armour from the rulers. This is apparently the exact same equipment now used by Mantra. With her sword, later called the Claw of Gwendor, she led a rebellion of women who then established their own city.

Herstory, part 2

Curiously, the city-state of Gwendor was established a very short distance away from the city of Heros, ruled by the men. Perhaps two or three kilometres, if that. The men attempted to attack, but some quasi-human biological imperative of theirs made them unable to bring themselves to seriously wound or kill women.

Somewhat short on options, they assumed that the women would end up coming back to them. But the females instead launched raids to steal more magic weapons – including perhaps, the gear now used by the Topaz Queen.

The males eventually forced themselves to attack as the females were not coming back. But the women were now sufficiently well-armed to meet them in the battlefield. This further embittered the situation, as it was obvious to both genders that the men’s reluctance to hurt women had deprived them of their only credible chance at victory.

Both genders grew determined not to let such feelings hinder them, and the subsequent millennia of fighting did produce significant casualties.

Big wheel keep on turnin’

In 1994, the magician Mantra accidentally ended up in Heros during her pursuit of the necromancer Boneyard. After some commotion, Heros authorities decided to hand her over to the females of Gwendor. During the negotiation, the Topaz Queen recognised Mantra’s sword as the Claw of Gwendor.

Gwendorian authorities repossessed the sword and demanded to know where Mantra had found it, but Mantra refused to submit to telepathic interrogation. Being actually a man whose soul occupied a female body, Mantra assumed that the locals would view her nature as an abomination.

Queen Topaz in the middle of a battle

This left no legal recourse but a duel against the Topaz Queen. The initially confident Mantra soon realised that the young queen was highly skilled and quite powerful. Thankfully, the arena duel was interrupted by a treacherous attack from a small faction of Heros soldiers working with Boneyard, who launched an infernal device in the arena.

This attack almost killed the two older queens, but Mantra extinguished the flames with her magic. Meanwhile the Topaz Queen and her troops repelled the invading commando. Seeing Mantra’s behaviour, the Topaz Queen decided that she was sister to Gwendor and that her story about Boneyard was true.


History

Left a good job in the city

The Topaz Queen and a cadre of warriors thus accompanied Mantra to locate Boneyard’s base on the Godwheel. Given the potential diplomatic damage from the attack by the Boneyard-aligned cell of males, the Overlord of Heros sent a cadre of soldiers to support the women’s expedition. The Topaz Queen agreed to this to as a gesture of goodwill.

The mixed forces, desperately pretending not to ogle at each other, nearly reached their objective. However, reflexive use of magic by Mantra to protect a mixed-genders clandestine community from her allies alerted Boneyard. The necromancer lured in demons to attack the party commanded by the Topaz Queen. He then sent in several of his wives to finish off anything still standing.

Queen Topaz recreating her staff

Mantra and her allies withstood the demonic attack. But Topaz and her women mistakenly prostrated upon seeing the wives, who were clad in the armour of the Deliverer. Mantra defended them, but a stray magical blast from one of the wives hit the Topaz Queen and seemingly disintegrated her.

The Topaz Queen was actually teleported on Earth. This may have been a result of Mantra’s mystical atunement with her gear, though it was at that point worn by wives of Boneyard. Upon arrival the Topaz Queen was speaking fluent English, which had to come from somewhere – presumably Mantra’s imprint on her magical equipment.

Working for the man every man and day

The Topaz Queen landed right in the middle of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  during a pre-season gridiron football match. Disoriented, she assumed that she was under attack by an army of men. The newcomer beat up three players, then attempted to rally the cheerleaders to fight along with her.

Seeing that she was frightening the women and that the men were just staring at her in confusion, Topaz leapt out of the “arena” in incomprehension. She landed in the middle of an expressway, causing considerable chaos.

Horrified by the urbanism, the pollution and seeing men and women cohabiting, the Topaz Queen was about to enter a pitched battle with the LAPD when she was teleported out. She had been snatched by Contrary, a mastermind scheming to be the guiding hand behind the current wave of ultra-humans.

And I never lost a minute of sleeping

Since Contrary and her young technician Pixx were both females, the Topaz Queen trusted them and quickly explained her backstory. Though she wasn’t an ultra-human as Contrary had hoped, the two women hammered out a deal. Topaz would fight as her ally while Contrary devised some means to send her back to Gwendor.

Queen Topaz doing acrobatics and blasting

When the heroic Hardcase requested that Contrary and her allies join him as a new team called Ultraforce, Topaz agreed to join even though that meant working with men. Not only was Contrary her only ticket out, but the mastermind had openly manipulated Hardcase into assuming leadership. This made it acceptable for Topaz to be on the team since the power behind the throne was a woman.

The newly-formed Ultraforce was presented to President Clinton  and other high-ranking officials, as Hardcase attempted to assuage rising tension about the ultrahuman situation in the US. Topaz grew agitated when Hardcase mentioned that he knew Mantra and demanded to know why all the officials were males.

Ultraforce member Pixx, who was standing next to President Clinton, projected the first powerful woman who came to mind – Hillary Clinton . The glowing apparition assuring Topaz that she was the guiding hand behind these men.

Surprised, the Topaz Queen agreed to reign her temper in for Pixx’s sake. Pixx volunteered to be Topaz’s guide. The two women developed a strong rapport, though the teenaged Pixx was boggled by Topaz’s alien culture and wasn’t quite sure why Topaz liked her so much.

Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

The crisis that forced the speedy creation of Ultraforce from such disparate individuals was the menace of Atalon, leader of the subterranean Fire People. Atalon killed untold thousands and procured an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Hardcase essentially grabbed the most powerful people he could get. The severity of the threat convinced everyone — even the alien Topaz — to fight alongside him until the menace was overcome.

Queen Topaz dodging a blast

After a series of brutal fights and desperate stratagems, Ultraforce put an end to the menace of Atalon and his people. However, dismantling Atalon’s nuclear arsenal during the battle cost them the life of Topaz’s young friend Pixx.

The Topaz Queen remained a member of Ultraforce. That was :

  • In part to honour Pixx’s memory.
  • In part because nobody could locate Mantra to send Topaz back home.
  • In part because Contrary was the person most likely to detect when Mantra would be back.

Topaz also had grown to respect Hardcase and feel attracted toward him. Furthermore, she began to develop a friendship with Ghoul – who being quite manifestly dead did not have a physical gender.

Ultraforce went on to stop the spread of experimental energy forms. During this case they were reinforced by Black Knight (Dane Whitman) of the Avengers, who had left Earth-616 . At this point the team was Topaz, Black Knight, Prime, Prototype, Contrary, Ghoul and Siren.

And then, well, Black September. Sorry.


Description

Topaz uses a peculiar pattern of make-up around her eyes. On her normal skin it can be seen that it’s done with some sort of mascara-like black cream and wand brush applicator, but when her skin goes grey the contrast makes the make-up go solid black.

Note the shape of her eyebrows – another hint that her people are very close relatives to humans, but not actually human.

Topaz’s lush hair extends to below her knees. But it’s kept attached in the back of her neck and then by several metallic rings so it “only” extends to mid-thigh level.

Her costume is typical of the Gwendor military, though most women wearing it have slightly different designs. Perhaps that denotes rank.


Personality

The Topaz Queen is a brash warrioress, gung-ho and direct. She’s used to being the boss. While the Queens are a triumvirate, the Topaz Queen often operates as the supreme field commander. This doesn’t means that she wants to take over everything around her, but she expects to be feared and respected when she throws her weight around and expresses displeasure.

Tactically she has all the deft touch of a large moose. “Charge in and beat everything up” is in her opinion a sexy, cool, clever battle strategy.

The Topaz Queen is a champion and sees herself as a heroine as well. Thus her enthusiasm for battle is qualified by the fact that she fights in gallant defence, to save lives – not as a warmonger. Furthermore, for all her brashness, she is a ruler, and understand the value of compromise and negotiation over blind glory.

Her forceful approaches should not hide the fact that she’s actually quite intelligent and capable of nuance when needed. She even has something of a sense of humour.

The staff sex

Topaz is very wary of men. She expects all sorts of treachery and unpleasantness on their part. She insists on peace protocols, such as having a neutral female observer present if she’s to operate with men and something goes wrong. She doesn’t hate men per se — but there seems to be a very long past of war, treason, abuse, rancour and violence that shaped her perceptions.

In particular she has aggressive reflexes whenever she sees a man touching a woman against her will, regardless of context. She treats it pretty much like most policemen would treat the drawing of a firearm.

Another source of tension toward men is her own sexual frustration. She has to withstand the tension of now having males constantly around her, including some she likes and finds attractive such as Hardcase. Her quasi-human species seem to have a strong sex drive and to be in awe of the other gender, and that is *before* the effects of having formed same-sex societies.

This result in them tying their brain into knots out of frustration and tension. Especially since their instinct to put the other gender on a pedestal has been proven to be a war-losing proposition. The Topaz Queen can thus have weird, very strong, weirdly immature emotions about dudes. Furthermore, she has next to no context to work with.

She did learn at record speed, finding ways to navigate her very strong emotions despite being plunged into an alien world. But her situation is obviously very tense.

Strange visitor from another megastructure

The Topaz Queen admires courage, integrity, aggressiveness, frankness and other virtues of young Gwendorian warriors. She will be very friendly toward women displaying these virtues (sometimes to the point of giving the mistaken impression that her interest is romantic).

The presence of such virtues in a man, such as Hardcase, will greatly mollify her defiance toward males as she grows confident that they are genuine warriors.

Topaz is obviously homesick. But she generally avoids criticising Earth and noting how insane it is by her standards.


Quotes

(To a scared cheerleading squad) “Why don’t you join me in this battle ? I see no chains around your limbs !” […] “Are you not WOMEN ?!”

“Gwendor is on another world.” […] “It is a city of women only. Proud, powerful, compassionate, graceful women, enlightened enough to have no contact with men. Except in combat. And… one other circumstance.”

“[Me], alone with a man ? With no other women to ensure that the truce is maintained ? I’m desperate to find Mantra, but this goes against everything right and natural !”

(To Hardcase) “It’s good to know there are true warriors on this world ! I’m with you !”

“I have come to care for this girl like a younger sister… and my heart would tear in half if anything happened to her. But I know that denying a girl’s chance to be strong and courageous is no way to show your love for her.”

“Blast at me, Atalon ! You won’t hit me ! You have no discipline ! No dignity ! You do not deserve to live !”


Marvel Universe History

The Femizons are conceptually close to Gwendor. See our big Thundra entry for the data about the Femizons.

Topaz might have come to age between the time of Thundra and the adulthood of She-Hulk (Lyra), Thundra’s daughter.


DC Universe History

Odin once created a notional world, a tiny eternal Ragnarok to learn about the real thing. A possible scenario is that Zeus, fearing that his design to create a new society of Amazons and Gargareans had been ill-advised, came to create after the fact a similar mini-universe to observe what would likely happen.

The answer would be “nothing good”, with the men and women coming to a war that escalated to a global scale and swept over Earth. The Topaz Queen would come from far in the future of this notional world, a refugee from this dire small fiction to the real world.


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Topaz

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Warrior
Int: 06 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Adventuress
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002 (on Earth)
Init: 023 HP: 050

Powers:
Flight: 07, Jumping: 01, Radiation immunity: 05, Skin armour: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Jumping has the Catfall Bonus.
  • Skin armour also protects against Energy attacks (+2).

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 08, Animal handling: 04, Martial artist: 08, Military science (Field command): 05, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Familiarity (Law, history and traditions of Gwendor), Language (Gwendor-Heros language), Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
Ultraforce (High).

Drawbacks:
Exile (Involuntary), Minor Rage, Attack Vulnerability (-1CS OV/RV vs. Persuasion attempts from women).

Equipment:
ENERGY STAFF [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 09 w/Martial Artist), Energy blast: 11, Bonus: Energy Blast can have the Scattershot Bonus]. Note that the STAFF cannot be Taken Away in practice – Topaz will just disperse it and instantly create a new one in her hand.


Design Notes

Note that, due to the lack of information, the stats for the Topaz Queen are conservative and lowballed – she could easily be stronger, more durable, and perhaps even faster than the numbers used here. For instance STR 09 and Sealed Systems (rather than Radiation Immunity) when she goes armoured would be entirely compatible with her known appearances.

It is *possible* that are Powers are instead an Artefact.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Ultraverse.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 12th of October, 2011.

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