“So, this is The Traveler’s version of a Fortress of Solitude.”
Vandal Savage stood in the middle of The Traveler’s safehouse in Detroit, Michigan. It was a non-descript house with two bedrooms that blended easily into the area of the city he called home, close enough to the major venues of travel that he could get into the city easily for his superheroics, but far enough from the populated areas that he’d have the privacy that he needed. The Traveler always was a private person, staying out of history’s way as much as possible.
The first thing Savage noticed about the interior was how spartan the room was, far more functional than decorative. Everything from the furnishings to the appliances was kept to a bare minimum and as basic as it came. Shelves lined two walls, holding the varied equipment The Traveler used to fight crime. Comfort didn’t even enter the equation. The chair at his computer desk was serviceable but uninspired, and the cot in the other room made a lackluster bed.
He also noticed the lack of any solid intel on the computer, despite its password protections and security measures to keep people from gaining access. That was mildly disappointing, but Savage took it as another piece of evidence that The Traveler was indeed working as a member of the Justice League. Why leave sensitive materials in his home base when he had the Metro Tower and the Watchtower fortresses to safeguard all of his most sensitive data?
“You’re moving up in the world,” Vandal Savage muttered with a proud smile. “But then, so am I.”
Savage and The Traveler had been playing this game for centuries, back in a time when superheroes were called demigods. As the wheel of ages turned and time marched on, they’d been both allies and enemies, sometimes working on the side of justice, sometimes working against it. It was a routine that they knew well, the two immortals balancing each other out era after era. Where The Traveler was always trying to get out of history’s way, however, Vandal Savage sought to bend it to his desires.
Now here they were, at the dawn of a new era, one where the majority of Earth’s greatest heroes had disappeared without a trace, leaving the world’s villains unchecked and the lesser heroes scrambling to pick up the pieces.
Perhaps it was time to reconnect with his old friend.
Vandal Savage picked up a sheet of paper and scrawled a note on it, requesting his presence at a nearby café to speak of the future. He left it out where The Traveler was sure to see it, tacked right onto his front door. In addition to the written message, the bold display would send a second unspoken message, that his safe haven was no longer safe. The Traveler would likely abandon this residence, maybe even this city. Savage would have to find him again, but that thought made the immortal smile.
After all, that was all part of the game.
Let’s talk a little bit about the superhero headquarters for just a moment.
Every hero has some place that they return to after a night of superheroics, a place they call home where they can regroup, maybe even do some further investigating or training. Batman has the Batcave, the Teen Titans have Titan Tower, and as noted in the story above, Superman has the Fortress of Solitude. It’s a staple of the genre, just like the secret identity. Even villains have a place they retreat to after yet another defeat by their nemesis, and I wanted to make sure my game’s heroes had their own base of operations independent of the Justice League’s Metro Tower (pictured below) and Watchtower.
The important part about the headquarters is that it should reflect the personality of the hero who owns it. You wouldn’t expect Superman to have a dark, dank cave filled with crimefighting gear, but it works for Batman. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect Batman to have a massively shiny headquarters made of crystal and ice, it just doesn’t fit his persona. The base of operations that Chris came up with for The Traveler fits him to a tee. It’s not fancy, but it is functional, the perfect headquarters for someone used to picking up at a moment’s notice and relocating as necessary. Chris himself stated that it’s the kind of place where The Traveler “could grab a couple duffels, split, and leave everything behind without a second thought,” an appropriate contingency plan for a man who has spent centuries moving from place to place.
The other heroes are not without their individual base of operations, of course. I just haven’t had a chance to feature all of them yet, though The Phoenix has been a constant presence in each of the games and deserves its own write-up in the near future as Jonathan Else’s mobile headquarters. More on that as it develops!
As for the set-up of this mission, I had been giving serious thought about creating a specific “Injustice Gang” type of supervillain team containing antagonists who would be natural fits for each of my players’ heroes. In coming up with one for The Traveler, a man who is essentially immortal and may be far older than even he knows, one name was the obvious choice: Vandal Savage. I easily imagined the two as butting heads through the ages, but also as gravitating toward each other as the only people who understood the burden that the other carried. The recent Demon Knights series, which casts Savage as a man who has no problem switching sides at the drop of a hat, inspired me to create a sometimes ally, sometimes adversary history between him and The Traveler, a backstory that Chris embraced easily. How will their current relations play out in-game? Time will tell…
Next week, Vandal Savage points the Justice League Alternates in the direction of Metropolis, just in time for a massive battle of the cloned Kryptonians! Be here in 7 days for the next DC Adventures mission as Bizarro takes on… Power Girl? You bet! See you in one week!