The Third Force

"You see my shirt? Right here? Where it says 'Superhero'? Look closer. See, right here, where it doesn't say, 'Establishment Stooge'? Where it doesn't say 'Crook'? They ain't mutually inclusive terms, you dig? And they ain't your only options." ~ Minister of Freak, founder of the Third Force

For the past few decades, the Third Force (3F) has been a proponent of non-government-sanctioned intervention to protect an endangered public and disaster relief rather then engage in ceaseless powered brawls. Though its political message has changed somewhat, it remains an icon of counter-culture, anti-authoritarianism and freelance superheroics. Generally speaking, this puts it at odds with the apolitical Primacy, though 3F is just as willing to step up to the hard work of protecting the people as much as performing shock-value stunts of public heroism and engineering social change.

Despite internationalist leanings, the Third Force never achieved much influence beyond the US. A few sister organisations and advisory cells such as S3W and 3Way were set up in Africa, Europe and India, but to little effect. Since the mid-nineties, the 3F has become a more typical superteam. Wordplay led an eloquent coup of policy that unseated the more sociologically inclined Minister of Freak, and now directs 3F to prevent supercrimes and intervene in metaterrorism. While this has lead to them being considered less of an counter-culture organisation, it has attracted a greater share of antagonism from the Patriots and the US government, who find the group's displays and statements galling and provocative.

Threat Ratings

GTR: Moderate - Severe; Life/Limb & Property: Generally negligible.

Group Membership

Variable. There are a handful of supers frequently associated with the 3F, and many more who drift in and out of its circles of influence. Generally, the loosely associated friends tend to be lower-powered, and often have criminal records or a history of violent activism and counter-cultural leanings that lead them to pursue their own agendas when not working with the 3F.

Bases/Centres of Operation

None known.

Leaders/Notable Members

Minister of Freak

A British West Indian visiting the US for Woodstock, Frank Bishop was one of a handful of youths given superpowers by exposure to the metaneurotoxic 'Bad Acid' of the pharmacological terrorist, Psychodelius, and became a well-known political activist. He was more a social philosopher and guru than a superhero, however; as an avowed pacifist, he is noted for breaking off his friendship with the Journeymen, considering them too 'militant'. He believed that people with powers needn't feel drawn to being engaging in petty brawls, dividing themselves into 'superheroes' and 'supervillains', and could better use their talents in the humanitarian service of others. Ultimately, he wanted to rehabilitate the term superhero, changing it from meaning 'powered vigilante' to 'Good Samaritan'.

He created the Third Force, inspired by the Nonaligned Movement, as a group to give metahumans and exceptional individuals alike a way to change the world without resorting to violence. He acted as its mentor and spokesmen for many years, until recently he split with the group. Wordplay and a few like-minded members began to advocate a return to active intervention in crime and superpowered politics, displacing the Minister and his more neutral followers. Currently, he is in partial retirement, wandering the world as a vagabond delivering public lectures and dispensing unasked for (and sometimes unwanted) advice to young supers.


Once regarded as a friend of the Patriots, the former antiques and rare-book dealer Jon Dilly is now one of their fiercest, and most sarcastic, critics. They don't like him very much, either. The source of this antagonism is due to an event in which his mind was possessed (so he claims) by the diary of Guy Fawkes, which caused him to attack the Patriots and attempt to set off a large keg of gunpowder under the Capitol Building. He was stopped, but the Patriots remain suspicious of how willingly he went along with this mad plot. The fact that he is the brother-in-law of Darkmatterman, the leader of the supercriminal gang the Challenge, doesn't help matters either.

Wordplay claims his powers are a result of a psionic awakening combined with his obsessive bibliophilia. He describes them as 'mastery over the written word'. He can read, edit and erase the content of books and other forms of text at a distance. While this may seem and innocuous power, almost a 'fizzler' good only for the talent show circuit, he can also wield the power of the words themselves; this allows him to compel actions by speaking in imperatives. Beyond this, he is a capable tactician and demagogue, and is talented at leading 3F both into and out of trouble.


Skyscraper is a tall, skinny girl with short brown hair and tomboyish good looks. She usually dresses in jeans and a swandri or flannel shirt, with sturdy work boots. Born in a quiet mid-western logging town, Nancy Brown never exactly stopped growing through her teenaged years. Her power to increase her size continued to develop, at first in the form of involuntary growth-spurts, but she soon came into contact with some friendly members of the Third Force that helped her tame her abilities. Out of a sense of gratitude and adventure, rather than agreeing with their politics, she joined the 3Fers on their mission: to protect a village of quiet rural Luddites from the encroaching corporate foresters. Her involvement in the pranks and sabotage of machinery had her branded a subversive, and no mainstream teams wanted anything to do with her. With no other options, she remained with the 3F. Wordplay keeps her under his thumb, praising her efforts in the pursuit of the common good and reinforcing their friendship.

The reason for this is her secondary power: Nancy can project psychic static into people's minds, making it difficult for them to focus any metahuman power they possess (and, as a side effect, it becomes almost impossible to read the victim's mind). Wordplay uses her as a trump card, a weapon to counteract other dangerous superhumans, and as a shield against telepathy. She retains her original power, too, and can increase her body size to over ten times normal, gaining sufficient strength and mass to compete with most powerhouses.

Rubber Jane

When she was a political science student, Evangelina Coralez was immensely popular and a gifted orator, and became a rallying point for her fellow students against Greenforge Industries, a local polluting and worker-rights abusing corporation (and, coincidentally or not, a subsidiary of Triland). Someone in the business clearly took exception to this, and hired a laid-off worker to take a shot at her. In the middle of the rally, everyone saw the bullet bounce off a flaring blue-green force-field that suddenly enveloped her. Her metahuman ability to generate elastic screens around herself had subconsciously manifested in time to save herself. With practise, she learned to use these forcefields to bounce long distances, and repel people near her.

With a new found sense of invulnerability, she continued to lead the protests against Greenforge - and eventually won a Pyrrhic victory. Greenforge closed its doors and disappeared, leaving her home town destitute. Evangelina had a minor breakdown, and ran away from the local economic catastrophe she had inadvertently helped create. She wandered for a while, trying to keep criminal and corporate predators from harming anyone else, until she fell in with the Third Force. Calling herself Rubber Jane, she's both a mainstay of Wordplay's missions and a semi-independent spokesperson for the group.

Captain Courage

A Washoe from the Reno-Sparks Colony, Jimmy Jones was always a daredevil youth, diving into the deepest parts of Lake Tahoe, climbing and running on the deadliest cliffs and ridges. His high-risk explorations and games continued to escalate as he grew older, and a series of incidents in which his less-able friends were hurt trying to keep up with him convinced Jimmy to leave Reno-Sparks and seek thrills and purpose elsewhere. He met the Third Force while he was operating as a vigilante in Las Vegas, and liked the adventurous lifestyle they led.

When Jimmy first joined the 3F Wordplay suggested the name Brave, in honest recognition of the youth's daring; but Jimmy thought it was anon-the-nose reference to his ethnicity, and quickly changed it to Captain Courage instead. Wordplay thinks that Jimmy is just being obstinate and contrary, so continues to call him Brave, though the others on the team use his self-selected title. Captain Courage's talents include the ability to suppress his fear, bypassing or overriding any instinctive response and allowing him to tackle the riskiest situations with a grin. He feeds off the adrenaline rush danger brings, bolstering his already excellent dexterity and agility. So resistant to fear is his mutant brain that anyone attempting to project terror into his mind via sorcery, telepathy or metahuman powers find their efforts reflected at them. In addition to this, he's the best martial artist in the Third Force, and his disregard for danger makes him the most willing to lead them into a fight. Jimmy is an athletic, handsome man hardly out of his teens, dressed in civilian clothes, like the rest of the team. He has intermittently dated both Skyscraper and Rubber Jane, and even Witchlight seems to have a crush on him.


As a girl, Purity Fletcher would tag along with the older girls of Arkwright, Massachusetts, though she didn't really understand the strange chants and dances they performed in the darkest parts of the forest on moonless nights. Likewise, she didn't understand the implications of the accusations of witchcraft. The other girls of the coven used their magic to point all suspicion to Purity, having already successfully tried to pin the blame on a handful of women in nearby Salem the previous year. Purity, the only innocent among them, was found guilty of witchcraft and killed horrifically. Her spirit, however, lingered due to its unresolved and unjust end, and has haunted Arkwright for centuries. The bonds that held her in place were partially lifted when the Third Force went to Massachusetts to uncover a plot by corporate-aligned sorcerers to place a Curse of Endless Consumerism on an entire generation of American children, using the Arkwright coven's magic. Purity helped them find and defeat the magicians, and Wordplay was able to muster enough control over the witches old grimoires to rebind the ghostly girl to the 3F. It wasn't the final rest she wished, but it was at least a change of scenery and a chance to do good in the world.

Purity was killed at the age of seventeen, and hasn't aged since then. She is a very pale and wispy figure, dressed archaically, and glows with a faint will-o'-the-wisp light, though she is not translucent unless calling on her undead powers. These powers are quite varied, resulting from her grief and suppressed rage at an unjust death. At one time or another, she has proved able to manifest almost any ability attributed to ghosts in superstition or literature. She can voice her feelings in a banshee wail that terrifies or unsettles those that hear it, and spark chaos with her poorly controlled, poltergeist-like telekinesis. Possessing the living and creating reality-warping visions of horror are not out of her capabilities. Purity remains deathly afraid of fire (given the means of her death, quite understandably), and exhibits extreme dislike of many religious figures, particularly those with a Puritan, hellfire-and-damnation or accusatory nature, often going out of her way to torment them. Apart from this, she tends to vary between being a sweet, somewhat naive girl and a bitter veteran of four hundred years of human cruelty and supernatural taint.

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