Champions Online: From Pen & Paper to MMORPG

The year was 1983.  A starry-eyed, younger version of myself was in middle school and I was badly faking paying attention in Mrs. Cortez’s history class.  Actually though, I was busy working on my latest Champions character sheet.  The super hero of the day was Uridium.  Named after a game available on my beloved Commodore 64 platform, this character was a super cool nuclear powered hero with fire and radiation powers.  Uridium had surely gained his powers in some accidental exposure to obscene amounts of  radiation in a secret government run lab.  I was a little sketchy on his exact background, but even then I knew that surely this character would develop a life of his own as time and play sessions marched on.

I had other characters on my mind as well.  I had Arrowhead kicking around in there.  A self-made millionaire, not some foppish entitled brat, like Batman; Arrowhead used his technical savvy and a penchant for impalement as his primary weapons. He took a darker than usual path as he worked to rid the streets of criminals and anyone standing in his way.  Armed with one bad-ass tech-bow and an assortment of munitions in various arrow forms, he was a one man wrecking crew for his own style of justice.  

Here then is my “artistic vision” for Uridium in the form of his Champions character sheet:

Uridium - Character Sheet

And here is Arrowhead in character sheet form:

Arrowhead - Character Sheet

Flash forward to the year 2009. No, we haven’t found alien artifacts on the moon and spawned a star child comprised of a sentient AI with the moniker of HAL and an astronaut named David Bowman. No, we haven’t even been out beyond Earth orbit in a long damned time, but we do have some pretty cool games called MMORPGs. One, in particular has come out called Champions Online that actually exists in the universe of the old pen-and-paper game Champions, from Hero Games. There’s a long and sordid tale here of comic book publisher Marvel pulling out of a deal with Cryptic at the last second for a game, some scrambling for a universe to exist in and other things but suffice it say, I was one happy camper when the end result came to pass. My favorite game from the past just got a fresh breath of new life!

Recently, I was tasked with the “Honey-do” mission of cleaning out my garage. If you’ve ever seen my garage you’d know that this was no small feat. My wife and I had moved several times before ending up at our home in Denver. At some point in that process, a few select boxes managed to go into the “whatever is in them can’t be important enough to unpack” category. Our logic was that if we’d have needed what was in the boxes, we’d have opened them years ago. Well, somehow, during my cleaning I came across one particularly ancient box. I discovered a treasure trove, consisting of old pen & paper RPG manuals, game boxes, and my beloved character sheets. About halfway through my investigation of this cardboard time capsule, I came across my Champions character sheets.

As a child of the 80′s I had some really stupid looking characters which I will not speak of, but let’s just say mullets were in at the time. A couple of the characters weren’t so embarrassing so I decided to see if I could realize my old Champions the RPG characters in Champions Online. Behold now the rebooted versions of Uridium and Arrowhead. They’re both currently battling through the introductory Crisis zones in Champions Online but I managed to snap a couple of screenshots showing them in action.

From pen-and-paper to high tech video game, here then is my interpretation of two of my favorite characters.  It only took me 26 years to realize the dream of seeing them come to life!

The new Uridium:

Uridium - co

The new (and way cooler) Arrowhead:

arrowhead - co

I hope you enjoyed my nostalgic voyaged into yesteryear. If you’ve ever done something similar I’d love to hear about it. Write me at or comment, I’d love to hear your stories!

6 Comments to Champions Online: From Pen & Paper to MMORPG

  1. Blamefulgecko's Gravatar Blamefulgecko
    December 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    This was pretty darned fantastic! This has inspired me to make a few of my childhood concoctions into CO!

  2. Blue Kae's Gravatar Blue Kae
    January 3, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Very cool seeing how close you were able to get to your original concept art.

  3. January 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Don’t let that lifetime subscription go to waste… create one of your mullet’d ’80s heroes for us to see, please. :)

  4. January 5, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Mark, you are simultaneously one of the biggest nerds, and one of the coolest people I have had the pleasure to know. This post gave me a big smile.

    On a side note, in regard to your Honey-do task of “cleaning out” the garage, I not only have seen your garage before your mission, but also after. As far as I can tell, you just shoved half of 10-years worth of clutter over to one side of a two-car garage (perhaps minus one box of nerddom that was relocated inside for digital conversion to fodder this blog). At least your wife can actually shelter one of your two cars from the elements now — so, “mission accomplished.” Of course, if you would have really taken the time to clean out the garage, someone would have probably accused you of being a poor father. ;)

    I suppose I shouldn’t be too harsh, considering that I am contributing to the clutter in the form of a rather large Bank Panic game that will someday become a fully functional MAME cabinet. (Perhaps 2010 is the year?) Thanks for not calling me to come pick up my shit.

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