Written by Dennis Detwiller and illustrated by Todd Shearer, © 2007.
The Odd Squad is a group of four strange superhumans that emerged in the decades following World War II, when Talents emerged who were not limited by the seeming laws that had governed wartime superpowers during the era of GODLIKE. The Odd Squad wreak havoc in the postwar timeline of Wild Talents.
Weight: 140 lbs
APPEARANCE: Old Glory is hard to describe. His face seems to differ depending on who is viewing him at the time. Non-Talents who focus on him for too long often lose their chain of thought and find themselves flustered. He seems to be a man of slight build dressed in 18th-century American colonial regalia. He wears a saber, a flintlock pistol with an ammunition pouch and a powder horn, and a tricorn hat reminiscent of a Revolutionary War soldier.
KNOWN SUPERHUMAN ABILITIES: In addition to his abilities to distort perception and concentration, which seems to be unconscious, Old Glory is incredibly, insanely lucky. He has tripped over a curb seconds before being erased by machine gun fire. He’s seen buildings with no history of structural problems suddenly collapse on his enemies. He’s stopped a Sherman Mk III tank with a single saber strike, by hitting it just so.
It also seems that when he is unobserved, Old Glory can “ignore” obstacles that would otherwise keep him out, such as doors, fences and solid walls.
Though this claim has never been tested, Old Glory says his power is generated by “the American spirit.” He doesn’t know if will operate outside of American territory.
HISTORY: Patient #11351 was another in a chain of disturbed individuals brought to a Red Cross hospital in San Francisco in the months following the end of the Second World War. He had no name, no dog tags, no discernible injuries, but he was apparently an American; the doctor who admitted him to the hospital ship claimed he was dressed in Marine gear.
Despite his symptoms, which included violent dreams and panic attacks, the patient, who went by the nickname “John,” was quite cooperative and even helpful to the hospital staff. John seemed to hold sway over other disturbed individuals, and on more than one occasion managed to “talk down” patients from dangerous situations. This ability was so profound that he was studied by Section Two with the belief he might be a Talent. No such power could be detected.
By 1946, John was living in the hospital as a handy-man and helper. It was during the fall of 1946 that his alter-ego came to light. During this time, the newspapers reported several thwarted muggings by an individual dressed in “a Revolutionary War get-up” in the San Francisco area. These culminated in a November 1946 vigilante attack on six bank robbers in front of authorities. Witnesses reported that the vigilante leapt “from car top to car top” and landed in the convertible that was carrying the criminals. He managed to disable them while successfully steering the car—with his foot—away from several innocent bystanders. When the car came to a crashing halt at sixty miles an hour, every passenger landed unhurt in a delivery of topsoil that just happened to be present at the scene.
After a tense standoff where the mysterious individual was assured he would be allowed “due process of the law”, John voluntarily surrendered to authorities, cooperating fully—even happily—with the police.
He called himself “Old Glory” but refused to acknowledge any history before the incident with the bank robbers. He was remanded to the custody of the San Francisco Home for the Criminally Insane in the fall of 1947. By then other Wild Talents had come to the attention of the military, and Section Two was actively searching for more.
After a second examination, Old Glory was remanded to military custody in December 1947. There he was studied at length by military scientists as a classified oddity. Though he was cooperative and even eager to help American scientists, he could tell them little of his abilities. They just seemed to work. Even worse, he routinely escaped from secure areas, often turning up miles from the facility, invariably in the prevention of some crime or injustice. This went on for three years, until a clever doctor, Dr. Emil Osterbruck, realized Old Glory was true to his word.
After several conversations with the Wild Talent, Osterbruck convinced Old Glory to restrict his “wandering.” The increased security had been a mistake; all they needed to do was ask.
While in custody Old Glory was exposed to constant anti-Communist propaganda, which, of course, he fell for, hook, line and sinker. Old Glory’s politics, obsessed with all things American, found an implacable enemy in the Soviet Union.
Old Glory remained unchanging throughout nearly twenty years of incarceration. He was upbeat, eager and cooperative, and seemed to enjoy both showing his abilities to examiners and exploring their limits. In 1966, he was moved to Gafton Air Force Base as part of Project JUNG, an attempt to “jump-start” several Wild Talents in American custody who seemed to be deteriorating. Old Glory was seen as the key to the project’s success, a prime for the pump as it were.
Old Glory did indeed revitalize the dwindling powers of the others, and found like-minded beings in the group which would become known as the Odd Squad.
Old Glory became the de facto leader and spokesman of the Odd Squad, and he seems to have unquestioned authority over the others, though no one really knows why. He is obsessed with “protecting the American way of life” and fighting the “enemies of the Constitution.” In short, he seems too altruistic and gung-ho to be real, but he wears his beliefs on his sleeve and is not capable of deception. That alone makes him extremely dangerous.
Old Glory (‘The Odd Squad,’ circa 1969)
Point Total: 500 Points
Archetype (15 pts): Human+
Stats (123 pts)
Body 2d (10 pts)
Coordination 2d (10 pts)
Sense 2d (10 pts)
Mind 3d (15 pts)
Charm 4d (20 pts)
Command 5d (25 pts)
Base Will 30 (63 pts)
Willpower 32 (2 pts)
Motivations: Loyalty to the Odd Squad (15); Passion for protecting the American Way of Life (15).
Skills (38 pts)
Horsemanship 3d (5d), Knowledge (constitutional law) 5d (8d), Leadership 2d (7d), Melee Weapon (sword) 3d (5d), Persuasion 3d (7d), Ranged Weapon (flintlock pistol) 4d (6d).
Superpowers (292 pts)
Lucky Strike 10wd (A; 2 per die; 80 pts)
Attacks extras and flaws: Augment +4, If/Then (does not affect initiative) –1, If/Then (only for Augment) –1, If/Then (requires a success) –1, Willpower Bid (–1).
Effect: Old Glory can add up to 10wd to any attack dice pool, but the extra dice apply only if he rolls a successful attack. He must declare that he intends to use Lucky Strike before rolling the attack; if the attack fails, he cannot add any dice and he loses a point of Willpower. When the extra dice expand a set they do not affect initiative; Old Glory uses his rolled width to determine who goes first.
Lucky Break 3d+1wd (A D U; 24 per die; 168 pts)
Attacks extras and flaws: Augment +4, If/Then (only for Augment) –1, Willpower Cost –2.
Defends extras and flaws: Controlled Effect +1, Interference +3, Permanent +4, Radius +2. Capacities: Self.
Useful extras and flaws: Augment +4, Controlled Effect +1, Radius +2. Capacities: Range.
Effects: Old Glory can add his dice to any of his own actions and those of any other characters he designates in a 10-yard (10-meter) radius, and his power can activate to make bizarrely unlikely things occur; or he can remove dice from enemies’ attacks against him and designated characters in the radius; or by spending Willpower he can add his Lucky Break dice to one of his own attacks.
Bypass Obstacles 2hd (U; 2 per die; 8 pts)
Useful extras and flaws: If/Then (not when observed) –1, Subtle +1.
Effects: Old Glory can simply ignore walls, doors, gates or other barriers, as long as nobody is watching. If he’s observed, even if he doesn’t know about the observation, the power fails. Exactly how this works is a mystery to everyone except Old Glory.
Regeneration 2hd (U U; 9 per die; 36 pts)
Useful (healing) extras and flaws: Engulf +2, Limited Damage (Killing) –1, Limited Width –1, Permanent +4, Self Only –3. Capacities: None.
Useful (immunity) extras and flaws: Permanent +4, If/Then (only for immunities) –1, Self Only –3, Variable Effect +4. Capacities: Self.
Effects: Each round, Old Glory automatically recovers one point of Killing damage on every hit location. The power’s second Useful quality makes him immune to most poisons, diseases, old age, and other sources of physical debilitation.
Punch 2d (width in Shock).
Flintlock pistol 6d (width + 1 in Shock and Killing; reload time: 7—width rounds with a skill roll).
Saber 5d (width + 1 in Killing).
—Any attack with Lucky Break: Up to +3d+1wd.
—Any attack with Lucky Strike: Up to +10wd with a successful attack roll.
Lucky Break 3d+1wd.