The Darkstormers :
In mid-2004 there was an eruption of “black” mystical energies somewhere on the east coast of the USA. While the origin on the “Darkstorm” is unknown, it was of unprecedented power, reaching across the entire solar system and perhaps beyond. Roughly 3500 mystically-sensitive men, women and children died in seconds. Thousands more plunged into comas, suffered major neurological injuries or simply lost their minds. Many other creatures absorbed some portion of those energies and were transformed thereby. While the list given below certainly isn’t complete, it’s the best that can be done at this early stage of investigration. Known problems spawned by the Darkstorm include;
The Manitou, Western USA; A group of villians empowered by the twisted nature spirits summoned by an undead shaman. Their apparent goal is to restore North America to wilderness inhabited by small tribes, preferably exclusively of Indians. Known members include Toornaq (The Abomination), Thunderbird, Rattlesnake, Grizzly Bear, Wendigo, Raven, and Coyote.
Lerastian, The City Of Pillars, North Africa, somewhere in the Sahara. Described as cursed and haunted in legends across Africa, the abandoned, crumbled, and melted ruins of Lerastian have now abruptly become a nexus for Darkstorm Energies – and a place of nightmare. Travellers are cautioned to avoid the area entirely.
Nezhian Scrolls; The extradimensional imports of some long-forgotten mage, the Nezhian Scrolls were little more then indestructible curiosities for millenia – describing mighty and terrible, but quite unworkable, magics. Unfortunately, they seem to have been attuned to the energies of the Darkstorm; those spells are now usable – and the scrolls have become powerful mystic talismans in thier own right.
Dishon Qwan (“Earthquake Fist”), China/Tibet; This demon-lord of disaster possesses two linked talents; the ability to cause massive storms and earthquakes, and the ability to tap into and focus the resulting surge of necromantic energy into a mortal sorcerer. According to legend he was last called to earth thousands of years ago – but was entrapped “within the pure soul” of a meditating monk, who locked himself into an eternal trance, thus entrapping the demon “for all eternity”.
According to Shu’Conming of Shodian (Taiwan’s official hero team), the legend is no legend – and the harbringer of disaster is no longer bound.
Sycanthar. Apparently humans corrupted by the power of the Darkstorm, most have strong psychic talents and minor physical mutations. All of those which have been identified so far have been mad; this is, in fact, how most have been identified. Whether there are subtler cases which are sane – or simply aren’t insane enough to be immediately spotted – is as yet unknown.
The nomenclature here is still uncertain. Dr Sycanthar (Of New York General Hospital) was the first to describe the “Darkstorm Syndrome” – “As if some sort of dark, personal, electrical storm had swept through their central nervous system”, and his name and description seems likely to stick – but this is in no way official.
“Demon Animals” are the non-human equivalent of the Sycanthar; creatures that have absorbed enough power from the Darkstorm to enhance their intelligence and abilities. They may or may not be inherently hostile – but none of them seem to be especially welcoming towards intruding humans.
Eye Killers. Owl-Demons. Primarily North America but reported worldwide. They appear to be deadly predators – willing to attack and devour most land animals. They are apparently capable of limited size- and (possibly illusory) shape-changing and seem to have the ability to absorb and discharge electromagnetic energies.
Koy-Er-Lu, AKA Coyote Demons. Primarily found in North America at this time. They are believed to be shapeshifters and illusion-casters, but this is – unsurprisingly – unconfirmed. “Fox-demons”, AKA Kitsune, supposedly have very similar powers and abilities.
Tengu (Raptor and Corvine Demons). Worldwide, most notable in the far east. Those seen so far seem to possess instinctive combat skills and an ability to summon and control mystic “Black Fire”. Some groups seem to possess the power to control the weather, but this is, as yet, unconfirmed.
There are reports of Serpent Demons in South America, Hellhounds (Dog and Wolf Demons) all over the world, Pooka (Horse and Bull Demons) mostly in Eurasia, and Rakasha (Cat-demons) in the East. No reliable report on the abilities of these “demon animals” is yet available. Most reports so far note destructive, transmutative and/or dimensional magic however. There are certainly a variety of other demon animals around, but hopefully most other species are even scarcer then these are.
Darkworlders, Worldwide, predominantly in the USA; Refugees from the destruction of a desolate and terrible phantasm world, who took advantage of the Darkstorm to jump to earth. Most possess a variety of malevolent mystical powers.