Golden Hunter is based on a tabletop champions character of the same name. The online version starts from the same story, but his life has developed in different directions since his arrival on earth. Other differences are due to the difference in media, with certain powers not being available in CO, and certain powers available (or at least RP-able) in CO not being good for game balance in a tabletop game.
Long before mankind was recognizable as such, eons before the current great powers of space, the Xenovores and Mandaarans and Se'ecra, the Varnayi and Qu'Laar and Gadroon and Hzeel, the single most powerful, most expansive empire in the galaxy was that of the Malvans.
The Malvans were in many ways not unlike most of the modern races, but perhaps moreso. Children of an earlier creation, they were simpler, and purer, than those who would come after. Great in stature and in knowledge, using a craft both like and unlike modern technology and magic, they were long lived, powerful, and relatively kind overlords of the galaxy. Inasmuch as they took notice of the other powers of their time, their attitude was one of benevolent neglect and only occasional intervention.
The Elder Worm were a servitor race of the greatest darkness the universe had ever known - the Kings of Edom. In pursuit of their dark master's plans, the Worm brought war from their cold, dark world on the rim of the galaxy, and conquered as much as half of the glowing, galactic disk at their height. The various lesser powers cried out for aid, for help, as their worlds were conquered and, at some basic level, polluted, corrupted by the Worm.
The Malvans responded. They took the first steps to becoming a truly military empire as their craft turned from beautiful works of life into the necessities of war. Great warships sailed the space-lanes, brilliant beams tore the night sky, and planets burned as the Malvans made war upon the darkness.
The most terrible weapon of the Malvans was not even, really, a weapon. A small number of them were voluntarily subjected to terrible power, a burning light that seared away any impurities and reforged them as radiant beings. Those who survived became the Golden Hunters of Malva, sailing the space-lanes on wings of light, bringing the war to the doorsteps of the Elder Worm.
In time, the war was won, and the Elder Worm belived extinct. In the war, much was lost, and it is assumed that the last of the Golden Hunters either died with the war, or in the years thereafter. In time, the great and glorious people of Malva, and all of their empire, crumbled into dissolution and decadence, until they are mere corrupt, pleasure-seeking shadows of themselves, withdrawn to a single world and decaying behind the crumbling walls of a vast art, a magic and technology that they no longer understand or can duplicate, which serves to protect and comfort them in their declining years.
Ariel Thone was born to Dayal Thone and Andriel Zind in the city of Zalagen, a minor local capitol on the planet Tirenia, a Malvan agricultural colony, approximately 512,000 years ago. His family was involved in the business of growing fruit and making drinks from those fruit. Growing up essentially on, essentially, a working vinyard, Ariel was quiet and dreamy, even among a quiet and dreamy people. Being less drawn to the work of his family than his elder brother, Ariel eventually because the Malvan equivalent of a florist or flower arranger, encoding complex messages or emotions in the careful selection of blossoms. Although little involved in the ongoing war, word of it continued to reach even the sleepy world of Tirenia.
And war's reach is not without limit. An Elder Worm fleet broke through local defenses and attempted to assault Tirenia. Though they were turned away, many lives were lost in the major cities of the world to the beams and poisons of the attackers. It was when working with the relief efforts that Ariel was convinced of the necessity of becoming involved in the war. Over the objections of his family, he journeyed to Malva, walked into the Light, and became a Golden Hunter.
The Golden Hunters of Malva were like snowflakes. Certain things were common to each. They could fly in space, far faster than light. They could sense and manipulate the most basic, underlying form of energy, the undifferentiated mass-energy that existed before the laws of physics condensed in the big bang. They could project and manipulate that energy.
But what they could do with it, and how well they could do it, varied. Some were greater warriors. Some saw further. Some could speak from mind to mind. Some could heal the sick, others raise the dead. Some could smash planets.
But of all of them, perhaps because he was the last, Ariel was, if only in his mind, the least. Nevertheless, he was chosen as a partner by two of the greatest of the Hunters - Dyvim Slaar and Sarlassh Rees. Dyvim was the mind - a cunning, calculated, careful warrior, a leader whose plans always worked, a wise word and a calm counsel. If he was not the greatest of the golden Hunters, then Sarlassh was... a barely-contained supernova of passion and energy, of fire and fight and pure, unyielding will.
Ariel was, in essence, the third. But they saw value in him, and in time, the three were not just partners, but partnered. Formally married, as was not uncommon among Hunter teams, and planning the house where they would, in the best of all possible futures, retire to after the war was over.
This is not the best of all possible futures. Both Dyvim and Sarlassh fell in the last assaults on the last Elder Worm strongholds. Ariel escaped their fate, but was caught by a powerful spell, and lost to time and space for a half-million years.
He awoke after that eternity to gaze out on a changed universe, a later creation. His people were a shadow of themselves. The very races of the galaxy seemed petty, scheming, warlike. He traveled the cosmos, searching for something familiar. He followed the trail of one both like, and unlike, him... another Malvan, named Firewing, given power both like and unlike his own.
He crashed on a backvoid world, in a primitive village named Chee-Ca-Go.
Friendly, somewhat outgoing. Generous to a fault both with his time and his power. Tends to sometimes talk down to people, both by being professorial and because, as a Malvan, he just assumes that it is his burden to aid those plucky, lost, but educable 'lesser races'. Think the poem 'Take up the White Man's Burden', with all its racist overtones and good intentions. The Golden Hunter suffers from fits of situational depression, usually dealt with by ignoring them or suborning them in a really massive guilt complex over his own survival and what he perceives as his failures. Incredibly proud, some of which is based on some very basic insecurities.
Powers and Abilities
Cosmic Energy Manipulation
The process that creates a Golden Hunter of Malva ties them into the underlying field from which matter and energy are created. All the specific abilities are secondary to that, and vary somewhat from one individual to another, based on how they exercise their abilities and their natural proclivities. In general, one can anticipate superluminal flight, the ability to detect and identify energy at extended ranges, the ability to create and transmit energy, and superhuman strength and resilience based on the infusing of the Hunter's cells with that underlying energy. Extended life support and life span are also typical. Ariel, while never very powerful for his kind, displayed a minor talent for using that energy to manipulate complex matter, allowing healing of others and minor acts of creation.
All Malvans have a slightly superior to human normal sense of smell. This is due to the fine, feathery hairs of their eyebrows, which also serve as scent receptors. As a result, however, Malvans find any strike or blow to the eyebrow ridge extremely painful, as those areas are very sensitive.
Weaknesses and Limits
It is not without reason that the first sin is pride. A being of an older, and he belives better or purer creation, Ariel is arrogant to a fault. He does not think less of others.. he just assumes he knows better, is better, and that it is his duty to protect and lead humans. He tends to give ETs from superluminal cultures a bit more respect, as he does mystics for their knowledge and heros for their willingness to sacrifice. As a result, he tends to overlook the good ideas of others, leaving himself open to being blind-sided in one sense or the other.
Additionally, Ariel suffers from depression, bordering on something of an internalized death-wish. Though a cunning warrior, he is too willing to leap into situations where he can sacrifice himself to save others, or where he can die heroically battling some unstoppable foe. An intelligent opponent could well trap him with this, and possibly encourage him to commit effective suicide in the name of a noble-seeming gesture or act.
As noted above, all Malvans are vulnerable to strikes to the forehead and eyebrow area. Additionally, as a Golden Hunter, Ariel is both strong against and vulnerable to any energy-manipulating effects that tend to tap or absorb or steal energy. Though he is aware of his own personal energies and can take steps to protect them, any successful attack on any part of his power will undermine all of it, because there is essentially only one 'power' to begin with. Also, as a Golden Hunter is no longer really a flesh and blood being, but more a manifestation of that energy in the shape of a person, any serious draining or long-term suppression of his powers can be hazardous. Extended time in power-suppressor cuffs could, for example, not only drain his powers but kill him.
The Ministry of Order - Home is where the heart is. Gabriel and Rezz's little project speaks to the warrior soul in the Golden Hunter, aimed at treating not just the symptoms of corruption, but at going into its heart and cutting it out, for good.
Azunai - Leader of the ministry and an honored friend. Ariel does not yet know Gabriel as well as he would like, and worries deeply about some of the connections Gabriel has made in the name of power...
Zen - Fellow warrior and common cause. The psychic alien is the single being that Ariel feels he has the most in common with. As a result, they dont actually talk all that much, but nothing really needs saying.
Destiny Certo - Ariel's redemption, perhaps. Her passion reminds him of everything he loved about Sarlassh Rees, and her conflict and pain reminds him of the failure of the Golden Hunters to protect the galaxy from the corruption of the worm.
Opinions From Friends and Enemies
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Facts, Trivia, and RP Hooks
Ariel loves opera, especially the sturm-und-drang of Wagnerian Opera.
Ariel still arranges flowers, both real ones and ones created of 'solid' light, and sells his creations to raise money for charity.
A small group of humans have insisted that Ariel is some form of divine being. Ariel disputes this, as he considers human divinities to be johnny-come-latelies.
Ariel lives in a small, open-floorplan apartment overlooking Memorial Park. The decor is spartan and reflects alot of various earth sensibilities, but the most noticeable influence is Japanese. The entire thing still feels a bit 'impersonal', but the presence of multiple flowers, an exceptionally comfortable quilt, and a small grey and white cat found wandering the apartment complex are changing that.
Ariel loves human religion, despite the above, and is fascinated by peoples ideas, far more than by the gods behind them.
Ariel enjoys the vast breadth of human food, and dines out frequently. His recent experiments with cooking have not been nearly so successful. Although his love is not for sale, it can be briefly rented for Sushi or Irish Coffee.
Ariel is uncomfortable with crowds, noise, and suprises.
Ariel likes to fly into space and listen to the stars.
Ariel needs to sleep only a few hours a week. This allows him to spend alot of time on his charity work, which includes food drives, hospital work, and a children's reading circle in a local library in one of the harder hit west side neighborhoods.
The Golden Hunter owes his existence to an off-the-cuff comment by Steve Long, where he discussed an high powered superhero setting set in the far past of the Champions continuity, and to a character that someone posted to the HERO game forums some years ago, based on that concept. While the original concept was probably more like Firewing, I took the different name as a chance to go into a different direction, more Silver-Surfer-ish.
Golden Hunter is intended to explore themes of loneliness, loss, and sacrifice, of survivals from a forgotten age, as well as of endurance and an unwillingness to quit, or to compromise. I also wanted to ask, and answer, some questions about what is good, what is the responsibility of power, and how should a person use that power. I further want to look at how a person could simultaneously be both very flawed and weak (as GH is, internally), while achieving great good and preventing the world from really seeing those flaws.
Boy, I ask alot of this guy. So, without further talky, the stuff that evokes GH for me the most:
“The White Man’s Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899.” Rudyard Kipling -Whatever your opinion on the piece, Rudyard Kipling is a powerful poet, and the sentiment of both superiority and duty is entirely appropriate to how Ariel sees the 'lesser races' of the modern world.
"The Second Coming" - William Butler Yeats -Written at the close of WW1, this piece is a beautiful commentary on the decay of things, of the old ways passing on and a darker, crueler world being born. This is all too often the world before Ariel's eyes.
"Hazy Shade of Winter" - Simon and Garfunkel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSd4QJBEMvk -Should be obvious. Bangel's version isnt bad, either.