In the night sky, the citizens on New Camelot can see a trail of fire. They can remember the stories their parents told them. Stories of a paragon hero named the Phoenix, a hero who was a member of the Knights of Justice and stood against them when the Knights tried to take over the city in an attempt to uphold order. And the stories of how the Phoenix died in the ensuing battle when he, among others, saved the city. Seeing the trail of fire tonight rekindles their memories, reminds them of the great hero that was. A new Phoenix has risen, one that must fill an awfully big shoes.
What very few actually know is that being the Phoenix is not just a mantle handed over to anybody. The Phoenix that is currently flying over New Camelot is not just someone with similar powers as the old Phoenix, trying to do good or make a name for themselves. In fact, it is the same hero. “But… we saw him die,” is what a lot of people would say upon hearing the news, and the fact that he doesn’t look the same as the way he did kinda makes people doubt. But the fact of the matter is, the Pheonix did die in his battle against the Knights of Justice. And he remained dead.
For couple of weeks.
A sudden burst of flame, where the Phoenix was buried, signalled his reincarnation into a 20 years old body. All of his abilities and powers remained, but the body and mind were different. They were his own. The reincarnation process creates a different person, but one that has all the same knowledge and powers as the one before.
It is a cycle that has been going on for thousands of years, since the early days of civilization. Anyone looking into world history will notice a few hints of the Phoenix every few decades, or hundred years. But the character portraied is never the same. A man here, a woman there. A hero one year and a villain the next. Is today’s Phoenix a hero, or a villain?
His name is Troy McKinley, a name I chose for himself shortly after his most recent reincarnation. He has tried to keep his true self hidden and out of sight, worried that the city isn’t ready for the Phoenix to return and that the city wouldn’t forgive him for what his former allies did. However, recent events caused him to suit up, stand tall, and fly.
Pheonix is the hero that has existed forever with an extended legacy. Very few people have made the connection between the different Pheonixes and most people would rather believe in immitations rather than reincarnations.
Although his powers allow him to be brought back from the dead, the Phoenix is never reincarnated into a new body or with a new mind, but with all the knowledge that his former incarnations had. This can cause complications for any of his allies who overshare; what if he is reincarnated as the villain next time? He’ll know all of the superheroes’ identities.
This has also caused him complications in the past, when people were less welcoming of minorities. His reincarnation reaches beyond gender or race, and his mind can change political or religious views between reincarnations. And, like has happened to this reincarnation, he can reincarnate as gay.
The GM has ultimately a decision to make regarding this reincarnation. On one hand, all his abilities and powers remain, and he knows everything that his old reincarnation knows. On the other, his personality can warp into pretty much a completely different person, a new character almost. Does the Immortality power cover this, or can this power be nulled in favor of creating a new character? The player can take it a step further, remove the Immortality power and create a new character from scratch each time (assuming it happens at all), but always with thematically the same powers. The difference are the secrets he knows, which could be a hook by themselves.
Being nearly immortal has its perks but it also has its downsides. First of all, the Phoenix has lived for millennia, operating either as a hero to thwart evil plans or as a villain to create them. In either scenarios, it can create enemies, and the Phoenix has made a fair few who can transcend time. Some are immortal, just like he is or more so even, and in some cases the enmity has passed down a bloodline for generations. The appearance of these enemies can be sudden and unexpected, and cause much trouble if they are actually good people seeking vengeance for something a Dark Phoenix did.
The second complication is almost always a personal one that is tied to the current reincarnation. Troy McKinley for example is a closet homosexual, and he believes that it would have a negative impact on how the people of New Camelot sees him. It wouldn’t matter as much if he didn’t believe they already see him in a negative way after his former allies tried to take over the city.
Here are some story ideas for the Phoenix.
BRING OUT YOUR DEAD: An old, very old, enemy of the Phoenix, the Necromancer, comes to New Camelot to destroy his enemy. The two of them have clashed before on several occasions through the ages, and the Necromancer knows many of the Phoenix’s tricks and abilities. The Necromancer brings with him a horde of undead, so the Phoenix seeks out alliance with new superheroes, which the Necromancer is unfamiliar with, in hopes to defeat him.
HUNTED: A new Phoenix has just risen from the ashes of the old one. However, the old one was an evil, monstrous villain that had to be put down after years of thwarting. When the heroes who put a final end on the Dark Phoenix’s villainy find out that he has reincarnated, will the Phoenix be able to earn their trust? Or is he just as evil as his predecessor?