Humanity in the Marvel Universe is by no means alone; numerous alien and extradimensional races have visited Earth in the past. In some cases, those visits have altered the evolutionary destiny of the human race, creating sub-races, offshoots of the human genetic tree, that share the planet with humanity. Most of these races are few in number compared to humans and choose to conceal their existence from humanity. They are the hidden races.
The Atlanteans (homo mermanus) is an offshoot of the human race adapted for life underwater. They take thier name from the sunken continent of Atlantis, after they colonized its underwater ruins. The origin of the Atlantean race is unknown; they may be descendants of the original Atlanteans, altered by advanced technology or magic to exist underwater, which allowed them to survive the sinking of their island continent.
The Atlanteans have blue-tinged skin and gill slits at their clavicals that allow them to breathe water. They are approximately ten times stronger than normal humans, adepted to survive the rigors of the ocean depths. Their circulation is more efficient, protecting them against the cold, and their vision is more sensitive to the blue-green portion of the spectrum, allowing them to see greater distances underwater. Atlanteans have pointed ears, enlarged to allow them to hear great distances underwater. Normal Atlanteans cannot breathe air and suffocate out of the water, although there is an Atlantean bio-chemical that allows them to take on the paler skin and air breathing qualities of a normal human for a few hours at a time. Most Atlanteans wear water-filled helmets when visiting the surface world.
Atlantean society has been primitive and tribal for most of its history. Unable to light fires, mix chemicals, or perform many of the most basic technological feats underwater, Atlantean science and technology remained at a stone-age level. In the past century or so the Atlanteans have aquired advanced technology from contact with the Deviants and from looting the ruins of Atlantis. This gives them a combination of primitive weapons and armor like tridents and swords along with powerful submarine ships and biotechnology.
Atlantean society is tribal for the most part, organized in small bands of hunter-gatherers who subsist on fish and seaweed, living in ocean caves and coral reefs. A few thousand Atlanteans live in the ruins of the city of Atlantis and have a more advanced society, similar to the Roman Empire in many respects. They are ruled by a king and a Council of Elders, with specialized castes for hunting, farming, the arts, sciences, and so forth. Although the monarchy claims authority over all Atlanteans, technically it only holds sway over the city and the surrounding area. The barbaric Atlanteans outside of it have their own chieftans and warlords. Atlantean religion tends toward pantheistic nature worship, while the official religion of the city of Atlantis is based around worship of the sea-god Neptune.
Atlantis has attempted to invade the surface world on several occasions, but has always been forced back. Surface world relations with Atlantis are shaky at best, and the Atlanteans tend toward isolationism.
Typical Atlantean: Strength 9D, Agility 3X, Intellect 3C, Willpower 2X, Edge 0, Health 10. Knives, Lore (Atlantean), Oceanography. Resistance +4 (Cold and Pressure), Waterbreathing 3 (Swimming). Equipment: Knife +2, Net 8 (Ensnarment), Trident +4. Hindrance: Fatally Vulnerable to Air. Calling: Outcast.
Typical Atlantean Warrior: Strength 10C, Agility 4D, Intellect 3C, Willpower 3X, Health 17. Knives, Spears, Underwater Combat, Lore (Atlantean), Oceanography. Resistance +6 (Cold and Pressure), Waterbreathing 4 (Swimming). Equipment: Knife +2, Net 8 (Ensnarment), Power Trident +3 (Stun Blast 8), Blaster 10 (Energy Blast). Hindrance: Fatally Vulnerable to Air. Calling: Soldier.
A million years ago, the powerful alien Celestials visited Earth and performed experiments on primitive humans. They created two new offshoots of humanity, the highly evolved Eternals (see Eternals) and the Deviants. The Celestials engineered the Deviants to test the plasticity of human DNA by ensuring that their physical and genetic characteristics would vary greatly with each generation. Deviant children bear no resemblance to their parents and, apart from generally maintaining bilateral symmetry, Deviants bear little resemblance to each other.
The Deviants were the first natives of Earth to develop technology and they quickly became very advanced in a number of areas, notably genetics. They engineered the Subterraneans as a slave race (see Subterraneans) and Deviant technology may have been used to transform the Atlanteans into water-breathers (see Atlanteans). The Deviants built great cities and established an empire centered on the continent of Lemuria. They conquered the entire world except for the continent of Atlantis, which fought off a Deviant army. To fend off the Deviants, Atlantis’ King Kamuu opened the magma pits that heated the capitol city. This led to seismological uphevals in Atlantis.
Not long thereafter, the Second Host of the Celestials visited Earth, appearing above Lemuria. The Deviants launched an immediate attack on the Space Gods and the Celestials responded by destroying Lemuria, unleashing the cataclysm that sank Lemuria and Atlantis beneath the ocean. The Deviant population was decimated and retreated to hidden cities deep underground. They built a new underground capitol city in the ruins of Lemuria, the so-called “City of Toads.”
The Deviants are ruled by a noble class but much of the power in their society is held by the priesthood, which works to stabilize the Deviant gene-pool. The priests cull the Deviant population, sending the most mutated Deviants to their deaths in the fire pits during the “Purity Time.” The priesthood also has the greatest understanding of Deviant genetic science and engineering. Such harsh measures do not seem to have significantly affected the Deviants’ random genetics.
Nearly all Deviants are born with non-human appearances (indeed, the Deviant Ransak is considered a “freak” because of his completely human appearance). Many Deviants also have super-human abilities, the most common being super-strength, although they display a wide range of powers and abilities. Deviants with powerful abilities tend to rise to the top of their society as warriors or priest-lords.
Because Deviant children differ so greatly from their parents, Deviants find the idea of reproduction somewhat repugnant, and take no pleasure in it. The sexes are segregated in Deviant society and only mate in order to propigate the race (often at the direction of the priesthood, which determines the best genetic matches). The Deviant birth-rate is unsurprisingly low; there are only a few thousand Deviants in the entire world, making even the great City of Toads seem vast and empty. Many other subterranean Deviant cities are entirely abandoned.
The Deviants have been at war with the Eternals for nearly all of their history, generally motivated by the Deviants’ jealousy of those they see as the Celestials’ “favored” children and their desire to gain the secret of the Eternals’ immortality.
Typical Deviant: Strength 7X, Agility 3X, Intellect 3X, Willpower 2X, Edge 0, Hand Size 2 (10). A “typical” Deviant is almost a contradiction in terms, but most of them have abilities close to these. Deviants often have super-powers. Draw a card from the Fate Deck and assign a power of that suit with an intensity equal to the card’s face value, or add the card’s value to its associated attribute. Deviant warriors often have Strength 10+ and various Strength skills. Priests have Intellect and Willpower of at least 4 (often higher). Hindrance: Monstrous.
The Eternals are one of two races (the other being the Deviants) created by Celestial intervention on Earth a million years ago. The Celestials evolved a group of primitive humans and granted them the ability to tap and control small amounts of cosmic energy, creating the first Eternals.
Eventually a civil war broke out between two factions of Eternals over the course of their race’s future. The more war-like faction, led by Uranos, lost and was banished into space. The winning faction, led by Uranos’ brother Kronos, built the city of Titanos. Uranos’ band of Eternals discovered a supply depot on the planet Uranus, left by the alien Kree. Overcoming the sentry robot left to guard it, the Eternals used the supplies from the depot to construct a warship to return and conquer their brethren on Earth. Four Eternals remained behind and became the founders of a small Eternal colony on Uranus. The returning Eternals never reached Earth, however, because they were intercepted by a Kree armada entering Earth’s solar system. One Eternal, Arlok, was captured and vivisected by the Kree. Discovering that he was from Earth, the Kree resolved to conduct their own genetic experiments on humanity. Their experiments resulted in the Inhumans (see Inhumans). The survivors of Uranos’ followers settled on Saturn’s moon, Titan.
On Earth, Kronos performed an experiment in cosmic energy engineering in Titanos, resulting in an explosion that destroyed the city and exposed Earth’s Eternals to cosmic energy bombardment, activating their latent potential. Kronos was disintegrated in the explosion, although his astral form still exists in Earth’s dimension. After Kronos’ death his sons, Zuras and Alars, initiated the Uni-Mind for the first time in Eternal history, to decide which of them should lead their people. The Uni-Mind chose Zuras, and Alars departed for space to avoid conflict. He discovered the Eternal colony on Titan, devastated by a civil war. He mated with Sui-San, the last survivor of the Titanian Eternals, and together they began the process of repopulating Titan. Alars changed his name to Mentor and he remains the leader of the Titanian Eternals.
Zuras directed the construction of three new cities for the Eternals of Earth: Olympia in Greece, Polaria in Siberia, and Oceana in the Pacific. For thousands of years the Eternals co-existed with the other branches of humanity. Their occasional interventions gave rise to human myths, and they were sometimes confused with extradimensional races of gods like the Olympians and the Asgardians. The Eternals also conflicted with their ancient enemies, the Deviants, from time to time. In recent years, the Celestial Fourth Host arrived on Earth to judge the fitness of their work. The Eternals banded together with the Asgardians to repel the Celestials, but were unsuccessful. Zuras died in the attempt, but the Celestials ruled in Earth’s favor, thanks to intervention by the Earth-goddess Gaia, and departed.
Following Zuras’ death, the majority of Eternals chose to join the Uni-Mind and leave Earth to explore the universe. A small number of Eternals particularly involved in human affairs chose to remain behind. They were first ruled by Thena, Zuras’ daughter, as Prime Eternal, but Thena was later deposed by Ikaris because of her involvement with the Deviant Warlord, Kro. Ikaris is the current Prime Eternal of Earth. For the most part, the Eternals maintain the secret of their race’s existence, and interfere only rarely in human affairs.
Earth Eternals have cosmic energy-based powers, making them virtually immortal and invulnerable. Titanian Eternals have more limited (but still substanial) life-spans and powers, from the genes of Mentor. The Eternal colony on Uranus died out in the 20th century, not long after sending Robert Grayson (alias Marvel Boy) back to Earth. Quasar explored the ruins of the Uranus colony shortly before becoming Protector of the Universe.
Typical Earth Eternal: Strength 15, Agility 4, Intellect 4, Willpower 5, Edge 2, Hand Size 4 (20). Skills based on areas of interest. Cosmic Energy Control 10 (Flight, Telekinesis), Immortality, Invulnerability (Cold, Disease, Electricity, Heat, Poison, and Radiation), Telepathy 4 (Illusion), Teleportation 3. Many Eternals have trained themselves to higher (sometimes much higher) levels of powers and abilities, and mastered particular power stunts (such as Sersi’s Transmutation).
Typical Titanian Eternal: Strength 12, Agility 4, Intellect 4, Willpower 4, Edge 1, Hand Size 3 (17). Skills based on areas of interest, although science and Willpower skills are common. Flight 10, Resistance (Aging, Cold, Disease, Electricity, Heat, Poison, and Radiation) +5. Various “sport” psionic abilities are common among the Eternals of Titan, including Telepathy and Telekinesis.
The Inhumans are an offshoot of humanity created by the alien Kree, who visited Earth some twenty-five thousand years ago. After encountering an Earth Eternal in the outer solar system (see Eternals), the Kree decided to perform their own genetic experiments on primitive humans, possibly to create super-soldiers for their ongoing war against the Skrulls. Kree scientists succeeded in engineering a tribe of genetically advanced human beings, but abandoned their plans for them for unknown reasons. After the Kree left them, the Inhumans wandered across the Eurasian continent, eventually settling on a small island in the Northern Atlantic they called Attilan.
Sometime within the first millennium of Inhuman existence, the Inhuman geneticist Randac isolated a chemical catalyst for human mutation, which he called Terrigen. Randac exposed himself to Terrigen and gained tremendous mental powers, rivaling those of the Eternals. He was chosen as the leader of Attilan for his genetic fitness and instituted a program to expose others to the Terrigen. Unfortunately, half of the subjects developed non-human physical mutations, so the experimentation was stopped. The ruling Genetic Council decided that subjects would only undergo exposure to the Terrigen Mist after careful genetic screening and testing.
Centuries later, an Inhuman leader named Gral, tired of discrimination against the non-human portion of the population, instituted a reign of terror where the entire population of Attilan was exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Three-quarters of the population were transformed into non-human types. For years, the Inhumans were segregated into Mutation Camps, allowed to interact and breed only with their own phenotype. Eventually Gral was deposed, and an Inhuman named Auran taught his people to embrace their diversity and live together in peace and understanding. This era came to an end some 2,500 years ago, when winged Inhumans built a city suspended in the sky above Attilan, leading to conflict between the sky- and ground-dwellers. The small colony of winged Inhumans has existed in relative peace over the years. It became the adopted home of the costumed hero Red Raven.
About four thousand years ago, the Inhuman scientist Avadar convinced the Genetic Council to lift their ban on cloning, allowing him to engineer a clone servitor race called the Alpha Primitives to perform all menial labor in Attilan. Only in recent times has the ban on cloning been re-instituted and the creation of new Alpha Primitives outlawed. The Inhumans freed the Alpha Primitives and gave them a home in the caverns beneath Attilan. Designed as sub-human workers, its unclear whether or not the Alphas are even aware of their chage in status, although some Inhuman missionaries work to try and educate them.
Some 110 years ago, the Inhuman Agon was elected to leadership of the Genetic Council. Agon was a skilled geneticist and popular leader, who made many advances in stabilizing the Inhuman genome. He and his wife Rynda exposed their unborn child to the Terrigen Mist, causing Blackagar to be born as the most powerful Inhuman in history, exceeding even Randac’s abilities. They persuaded their brothers and sisters to do likewise, causing Blackagar’s cousins to be born with powerful superhuman abilities as well.
Ninety years into Agon’s rule, the Kree renewed their interest in using the Inhumans as soldiers in their ongoing war with the Skrulls. Agon’s younger son, Maximus, betrayed his people and began secret negotiations with the Kree. When Maximus’ brother Black Bolt discovered this, he used his sonic powers to blast the Kree ship out of the sky. It crashed into the laboratory where Agon and Rynda worked, killing them along with a number of other Inhumans. Given Agon’s popularity, the Genetic Council elected a reluctant Black Bolt the new king of the Inhumans.
During Black Bolt’s reign, Attilan was moved from the Atlantic to a hidden valley in the Himalayan Mountains, to hide it from the outside world. Shortly thereafter, Maximus overthrew his brother and seized power in Attilan with the aid of mutated Alpha Primitives known as the Trikon. For nearly a decade, Black Bolt and his cousins wandered the world. When they finally returned to Attilan, Black Bolt won the crown back from Maximus. He made several later attempts to oust his brother, but none were as successful.
When the Inhumans proved allergic to the pollutants in Earth’s atmosphere, they were forced to relocate Attilan once more, this time to the Blue Area of the Moon, where the Kree had once built a city outpost. The city remained hidden on the Moon for some time, until the Inhumans moved it to an island near Attilan’s original location, a portion of the Atlantean continent raised above the ocean during an Atlantean invasion of the surface world (see Atlanteans). Magnetic field generators and distortion projectors protect Attilan from outside discovery and interference.
The Inhumans are ruled by a genocracy, rule by the genetically fittest. The ruling body is the tweleve member Genetic Council, the members of which are elected for life. They choose from among their number one to be the ruler (or “king”) of Attilan, who also serves for life. Rulership is not hereditary, although popular kings are sometimes succeeded by their genetic offspring (as in the case of Agon and Black Bolt). The Genetic Council passes laws, while the king acts as Attilan’s sole judge in legal matters. Presently, the Council restricts the science of cloning, and citizens are required to undergo genetic screening before marriage and mating, to ensure the best genetic matches. Exposure to the Terrigen Mist is permitted only after extensive genetic screening. Children may be exposed in utero or at a young age at the discretion of their parents. Adults not exposed as childen may choose to be at the age of 31. Presently, of the some 1,200 Inhumans in Attilan, roughly half have some non-human mutation.
The Inhumans speak their own language, Tilan, but many have also learned to speak human languages like English, Russian, and Chinese. The primary occupation of most Inhumans is science, but they also have various trade and artist guilds. Menial labor is mostly handled by machines since the use of genetic slaves like the Alpha Primitive was banned. The technology of Attilan is highly advanced, sufficient to make the city entirely self-sustaining.
Typical Inhuman: Strength 8X, Agility 4X, Intellect 3D, Willpower 3X, Edge 1, Hand Size 3 (17). Powers: Every Inhuman has at least one power. To determine randomly, draw a card from the Fate Deck and assign a power of that suit with an intensity equal to the card’s face value. If the card also has a neutral aura, the Inhuman has some sort of physical mutation, often linked to his or her power. Hindrance: Fatally Vulnerable to pollution of intensity 15 or greater. Certain medications can offset this Hindrance for a short time.
Alpha Primitive: Strength 9X, Agility 5X, Intellect 1X, Willpower 1X, Edge 0, Health 10. Calling: Soldier. Hindrance: Uncreative.
The Lemurians are a subspecies of the water-breathing Atlanteans (see Atlanteans) who settled the northern regions of the continent of Lemuria after the Celestial Second Host sank it (and Atlantis) beneath the ocean. The Lemurians worshiped the elder god Set and their King Naga wore the mystical Serpent Crown, a channel for Set’s magical power and his touchstone with Earth’s reality. This caused the Lemurians to develop green-tinted skin, often scaled in the case of Set worshipers like Naga and his closest followers.
Other than their differently colored skin and a propensity for learning magic, the Lemurians have the same abilities as the Atlanteans.
The Subterraneans are actually three related races living deep beneath the Earth’s surface. When the Celestials sank Deviant Lemuria (see Deviants), the Deviant race was driven deep underground. They needed a slave race to replace the human slaves they had lost in the catastrophe, so they used their mastery of genetics to engineer such a race. The original Subterraneans looked identical to humans except for their pale yellow skin. They had approximately three times ordinary human strength, making them well suited for hard labor, and their eyes were adapted to see in the infrared, allowing them to operate in very dim light. The Subterraneans carved out tunnels and expanded the underground Deviant cities.
Eventually, the Subterraneans rebelled against their Deviant masters, led by the revolutionary Gor-Tok. They captured several underground cities and expelled the Deviants from them. The Deviants later sued for peace and ceeded those cities to the Subterraneans, who became known as the Gortokians, after their leader.
A demon-worshipping cult later developed among the Gortokians. The demon magically transformed its worshippers into Lava Men, who broke off from Gortokian society and established their own civilization deep beneath the Earth. The Lava Men have rocky reddish skin and radiate great heat, which they are virtually immune to. They are ruled by their shamans, who have mystical powers over lava, ash, and rock.
The Deviants, meanwhile, engineered a new slave race. This time, they made sure to engineer their new slaves to be completely obedient to authority and virtually incapable of rebellion. They created one breed as short and stocky, with rounded heads that later became known as the Tyrranoids. The other was small and thin, later known as the Moloids.
They proved the ideal slaves for the Deviants but they were no match for the Gortokians, who attacked and drove the Deviants out of their cities, forcing them back to the City of Toads in Lemuria. The Deviants abandoned their new slaves, leaving most of them to fend for themselves. The Tyrranoids and the Moloids degenerated, becoming weaker (about the strength of a normal human) and incapable of speech, although they continued to maintain the old Deviant machines, as they were instructed. The Tyrranoids were eventually discovered by the exiled Roman Tyrranus while the Moloids were discovered by the Mole Man. Desperately in need of leadership, the Subterraneans latched onto these men as their new masters.
In recent years the Gortokians prepared to conquer the surface world, but their capitol city was destroyed a nuclear weapon test by humans ignorant of their existence. Radiation sickness and plague wiped out all of the Gortokians except for the heir to the throne, Prince Gor-Tok, named for his legendary ancestor. Radiation mutated Gor-Tok and he attempted to avenge his race by destroying the surface world, calling himself Grotesk. His efforts were thwarted by the X-Men.
Subterranean: Strength 4X, Agility 3D, Intellect 1X, Willpower 1X, Edge 0, Hand Size 2 (10). Repair (Deviant technology). Hindrances: Monstrous, Physically Disabled (blind in bright light), Uncreative. These abilities are the same for the Moloids and the Tyrranoids.
Lava Man: Strength 9X, Agility 3X, Intellect 3X, Willpower 3X, Edge 0, Hand Size 2 (10). Body Transformation (Rock) 9, Energy Sheath (Heat) 8 (Resistance to Heat). Hindrances: Monstrous, Susceptible (Cold).