A New Heroic Era
The White Night
The White Night refers to the events of April 30 – May 1, one year prior to the beginning of the campaign, ending a year long war between the world’s heroes and villains.
The Apotheosis Gambit
The principal instigators were 5 of the world’s most powerful villains who became known as the Cabal:
*Dr Nihlus – A brilliant physicist who accidentally infused himself with Shadow Matter, driving him mad.
*Technologique – An amoral biotechnologist and robotics genius who sought to “improve” the human race with cybernetic implants.
*Deus- A meglomaniacal mutant with the power to manipulate matter on a subatomic level.
*Demetrius Steelwind – Head of the world’s largest crime syndicate
*Archimago – master of the blackest arts of magic
Nihlus and Archimago approached the others with a means of tapping into the very primal energies of the cosmos and channeling it into themselves. This would tie them into the very fabric of reality, effectively making them gods. Nihlus and Technologique would see to the actual construction of the device, Archimago would handle the mystic aspects, Deus could transmute some of the more exotic materials necessary, Steelwind’s wealth and organization could procure what could not be created there.
As part of the procurement process, Steelwind managed to recruit the majority of the world’s villains, promising them wealth and power beyond dreams. For those he could not win over, such as the terrorist organization VENOM, he had a simple message: “Stay out of our way.”
For nearly a year, the Cabal’s agents gathered the necessary materials from around the world, often coming into conflict with the world’s heroes, who slowly pieced together the Cabal’s plot. As the device neared completion, Archimago and Nihlus revealed the final component: the hero named Star Templar, member of the Paladins, the world’s preeminent superhero team. The heroes powers were derived through manipulation of quantum energies which would serve as a stabilizing element. Naturally, the process would kill him.
A raid on the Paladin’s headquarters not only managed to capture the hero, but resulted in the death of another of the Paladins, Serket. The Paladins quickly organized as many heroes as they could find to track the Cabal to their headquarters. The Castro League, the Young Rangers, and many others threw in their support.
The White Night
On the afternoon of April 30, Archimago broke the enchantments concealing their headquarters in caverns deep beneath Bay City, allowing the master mystic Damien Darkstrom to find them. As night fell, the Cabal activated the device and began the process that would give them ultimate power. The quantum and mystic interactions turned the skies white and the stars black around the world.
The heroes launched an all out assault on the Cabal’s base. The brutal combat resulted in fatalities on both sides. The specifics on the nearly 36 hour long battle remain unknown to this day, as few of the survivors will even speak on the subject, but what is known is this:
When the heroes breached the chamber containing the device, all members of the Cabal, save Archimago were nowhere to be found. The mage himself was found dead of a heart attack. Many of the villains left alive fled, while the remaining heroes attempted to disengage the device, which was now running out of control. The rampant energies unleashed threatened to rip the world apart.
In the end, the two remaining Paladins, Paragon & Calibre, were forced to kill Star Templar (reportedly with his blessing) to stop the device. Calibre suffered severe injuries which forced his retirement. Damien Darkstrom fell into a deep coma and has yet to awaken. Paragon, after informing the authorities and the press of the events, has gone into seclusion and has only been glimpsed since, during times of great emergency. Out of the legion of heroes that had lain siege to the Cabal’s headquarters, only a few remain alive.
The world mourned the loss of so many of its defenders, but they were not given much time to grieve. With so many heroes dead, the remaining villains began to show their hands. Vanguard, the special federal metahuman tactical threat and response division was given increased funding. This occurred none too soon, as VENOM launched an attack against Washington DC, less than 6 months later and were only narrowly repulsed by Vanguard. It is rumored that the fascist organization known as the Reich has begun to reform, even though their founder and leader, Dietrich Nuemann died fighting the Paladins a year before the White Night. Deus’ son has taken his fathers title and has begun to seek out mutants that share his views. And new evils have begun to rise. The world hopes and prays that the heroes remaining and new heroes are up to the challenge.