[CLASSIFIED] Preview of Action and Wonder

Heroes of Action and Wonder! acts as a sourcebook for They Came from [CLASSIFIED]! and They Came from the Cyclops’s Cave!, providing a wealth of content for both games! Check out one of the upcoming Archetypes as an example of the various things you’ve got to look forward to, not limited to even more Origins, Covers, Quests, Quips, and Cinematics:


The screenwriter moved to the front of the smoky screening room, turning to face Boorman. The smoldering glow of the cigar burned with the same intensity as the Director’s legendary temper.

“Get on with it, I’m a busy man!”

Brooklyn T. Bridges had served her time as a freelance assassin. Her work had taken her all over the world, as well as introducing her to all manner of heads of state — and their legs, stomachs, backs… sometimes you had to take the shot no matter how unclean it was.  She should be enjoying her retirement while consuming mountains of Columbia’s finest, but no! She had to get herself caught up in this mess — and all because she knew the grounds after nearly taking this hit herself! Now she found herself running protection with this bunch of do-gooders!

“Yeah yeah, lovely but out of date.” Boorman interrupted “We switched the movie to fantasy after Harryhausen gave me the stink-eye. A good writer can pivot.”

“Ah, yeah, sure, I can pivot no problem, lemme see…”

Ragnor stopped his chewing and spat a lump of gristle to the floor. “This poet spoke with such eloquence; I expected him to taste better; like a summer’s morn.”

The heroes sat nervously around the chieftain, untouched plates congealing in front of them. As abhorrent as his eating habits were, they needed him to stand any chance of slaying Zohaki.

“What are you now, squeamish? The songsmith was dead already, and you’d prefer what, that his death was wasted? No, eat up, our friends keep us strong, and if I die fighting the Hell Wyrm, then I hope you’d eat me too! Dine! Feast, for tomorrow we face Zohaki — and if he tries to eat me, I will give him the shits!”

Heroism seems so straightforward on paper; show up, be brave, and rescue whatever’s in trouble — be it the princess, the kingdom, or even the world itself. Still, few are cut out for the rigorous pressures of true heroism, and once you peel back the layers, the reality is hard to nail down. Thankfully for the Antihero, they’ve no such compunction regarding nailing someone down, especially if it gets them what they need.

Consider some popular “heroic” descriptors: brave, selfless, driven, determined, helpful, honest, inspiring, courageous, protective, willing to self-sacrifice, moral… It’s a big list, and all qualities most would aspire to, but for the Antihero, this reads like a laundry list of things to avoid. If they display any of these characteristics, it’s accidental or a source of conflicted emotions.

The Antihero is someone we root for despite knowing exactly how bad they are and what dastardly deeds they’re capable of committing should it get them what they need — or the whim takes them. Sure, you could placate the unicorn to obtain a vial of its healing blood, but the the rest have done such a swell job distracting it and the sword is right there! To the average person, stepping up to stop the weather bomb from wiping out millions is simply the right thing to do, but have they ever considered how much more money they can make by playing a little hardball first?

If there’s an easy way out, a low road to take, or a way to profit first and help later, then you can bet your bottom dollar (or final gold piece) that the Antihero has already packed their bags, prepared some snacks, and scoured the low road on the map, taking measures to not get undercut by someone just as morally vacuous. They’ve certainly not given the moral implications anything other than a derisory glance.


Antiheroes emerge from many walks of life, but if they can be said to have any sort of uniformity, it’s that by and large, they’re well presented — unchecked ego and rampant narcissism will do that to someone. The Antihero is the center of their own world, and they dress to suit their own vision of that world — it’s not like they care about upsetting someone else. It’s not uncommon for antiheroes to affect a particular look of their own choosing, be it ultra-smart, strikingly flashy, or breathtakingly flamboyant. They are rarely anything less than effortlessly cool and comfortable in their own skin.


Antiheroes are proud, self-serving creatures with their own best interests in mind— even if some prefer to pretend it’s for a noble cause. It’s easier, or at least more palatable to the masses, to suggest your lust for filthy lucre is not to buy that snazzy new speedboat you’ve always wanted but is in fact to provide for your estranged family once you’re gone. Your bloodlust and “kill-first-question-later” attitude isn’t driven by fear and laziness, but is really just an urge to protect your friends — although if anyone believes that nonsense, you’ve just found yourself your next meat-shield martyr!


The Antihero accumulates Connections as and when the need arises. These people have value, or at least they do until someone even more impressive becomes available.

      Arms dealer: Devastating choppers; Explosives; Big guns; Little friends

      Innocent victims: Accommodation; Alibis; Character witness; “rehabilitation”

      Legal eagle: Advice; Background threats; Get-out-of-jail-free; Representation

      Thugs: Backup; Human shields; Manpower; Threats

      Vice merchant: Drugs; Fun times; Gossip; Pointers on debauchery fans


Antihero Skills are driven from a place of selfishness; why would you waste your energy on something that doesn’t directly benefit you? Aim allows them to keep their self-centered goals firmly in mind, with Larceny removing any potential physical blockers, and Persuasion taking care of the societal ones. Survival represents their isolationist attitude — and their need to break away when they’ve broken one too many rules. The more creative, egotistical, or megalomaniacal can swap a Skill for either Command or Science.


I just can’t help myself

Skills: Persuasion, Science

Attribute: Cunning

Shedding dead weight

Skills: Athletics, Survival

Attribute: Might

I didn’t do it for you!

Skills: Aim, Integrity

Attribute: Resolve

A selfish heart

Skills: Command, Larceny

Attribute: Manipulation

Right path, wrong reasons

Skills: Close Combat, Technology

Attribute: Intellect   


All heroes start with three Tropes, with the Antihero’s Player choosing two from the Antihero list, and one from any other Archetype list:

All’s Fair in Love and War: You don’t mind who you’ve got to cozy up to if it gets you results. Once per session, you spend some alone time with an enemy and say enough of the right things to have them vouch for you, or get you somewhere you shouldn’t be. Having witnessed your vulnerable side however, they receive +1 Enhancement on all Social rolls against you — ensuring few live long enough to exploit your momentary weakness.

Bada-Bing-Bada…: You’ve an affinity for things that go boom in the night (or day, you’re not fussy). Once per session, you’ve surreptitiously arranged for some explosive goodness to be visited upon any inanimate object within your line of sight. The results are more narrative than fatal and vary from use to use.

Ezekiel 25:17: You’re known to utter some truly chilling Bon mots before delivering your killing blow. Select one of your Quips; this never leaves your hand, but also doubles the amount of bonus dice when used to intimidate, or before a kill. If your roll fails, you receive a Complication of the same value for the remainder of the scene as you ponder your entire existence.

Go Big or Go Home: You don’t take half measures, so when play gets rough, you fetch your big toys. Once per session, you can produce an object, gadget, or weapon that will absolutely suit your needs, but in an overly bombastic (and quite likely destructive) manner.

Headshot: Why do the honorable always wait for others to make the first move in a ruckus? Better to catch them unawares with a clean kill! If combat hasn’t commenced, you can make a single attack that automatically kills any henchperson-level baddie, however this act kickstarts Combat, and for the first round, inflicts 1 Complication on everyone present (including your allies). Failure to buy it off sees them stunned with slack jawed incredulity.

I Make This Look Good: What is life without a bit of style and pizzazz? By going out of your way to add your trademark flourish to an action, you gain Directorial Control to your result. This can be used once per session, but it’s clear you were responsible.

Know Your Enemy: Bad blood calls to bad blood, and far from experiencing any guilt for empathizing with the enemy, you relish your ability to exploit this bond. After spending time talking with, spying on, or studying your enemy, you and your allies gain +1 Enhancement on all rolls to detect, attack, or manipulate them during the next scene you share.

Meat-Shield: In the game of you or them, there’s no contest, and you’ve no compunctions regarding using someone as a human shield — hell, if you use an enemy, you should be congratulated for your efficiency! Once per session, you can automatically grapple any minor character, with any damage dealt to you inflicted on them first. The shield expires when they do.

Poker Face: You lie so much it’s like breathing, and trying to catch you in a lie is harder than skinning a lion with a spoon. Once per session you can tell a lie that is believed by all, no matter how incredulous it seems.

Putting on the Squeeze: They say torture and threats don’t work, but your experiences in the field tell you differently. Once per session, if you have a subject at your mercy, you can make them divulge everything they know — however, out of desperation, they always insert one false fact, typically confirming your own biases.






One response to “[CLASSIFIED] Preview of Action and Wonder”

  1. Mediocrites Avatar

    Human Shield, a..k.a. the Fiona Volpe Maneuver!