The Rogue Isles: The 20th Century and Beyond
When Statesman appeared in Paragon City, many of the villains there decided they needed a new home. The Rogue Isles was an obvious choice. Many already had connections there and the little nation’s “friendly” attitude made it a perfect choice. President Oakes was no fool. He knew that if he resisted these newcomers with their gangs and occasional superpowers things would not turn out well. But at the same time, he had bargaining chips – citizenship, diplomatic immunity, and other protections from American justice. And he had friends in the high places of America who were happy with the Rogue Isles just as they were. Deals were struck – in exchange for “playing nice” and taxes, the government turned a blind eye – and the Rogue Isles became a haven for the super-powered and evil.
During this time the first of many Arachnos cells arrived in the Rogue Isles. Representing itself as just another villain organization needing protection, the team quickly set up a base for its operations in the US. Avoiding spectacular raids and sabotage, it devoted most of its effort to intelligence gathering and influencing American policy. Lord Recluse did not overlook the Arachnos cell when he assumed control of the organization itself. Recognizing the value of a base so close to the US, he placed trusted agents (as much as Recluse trusted anyone) in charge and violently purged those he perceived to be troublesome. Once this was done, he ordered the station to go underground for the coming storm. This caution paid off when World War II broke out. President Marchand (Oakes’ “elected” predecessor) officially declared the Rogue Isles neutral, albeit with Allied leanings. When the 5 th Column menace alarmed the US, Marchand’s army waged a visible “war” on Column members on the islands, just to placate the Allies. It was Arachnos’ lower profile that allowed it to survive relatively unharmed.
And then Lord Recluse vanished – but even while the rest of Arachnos slid into turmoil, the hidden cell continued toward some unknown goal. Secret projects were started. Politicians were bought, rivals brought down. Men – and villains – were recruited. Someone was giving orders, but no one knew who.
It wasn’t until the mid-1950’s that it became publicly known that Lord Recluse was calling the shots. At that point he was ready to make his move. He performed a military coup, declared the Rogue Isles under the dominion of Arachnos and began to shape his empire.
The Rogue Isles today are a land of opportunity for those with the ambition and villainy to seize the chances that come by. Lord Recluse tolerates the ambitions of others – to a point. Anyone willing to follow his laws, pay his “taxes” and accept his justice without question is welcome to Spider City. So long as you don’t threaten his plans, you can make schemes of your own. What does he care if a shipment of artifacts for the Circle of Thorns is stolen from the docks? Nothing – so long as the thieves are not so brash as to use them against Arachnos. If you can rob a bank and escape his security forces, then is it a good test of your skill – but rob too many banks, create too much havoc and the Wolfspiders will hunt you down. He tolerates ambition, but not anarchy.
In this setting Arachnos trains and plots. Heroes make occasional forays to bring back their man and there are others who aren’t above hiring local talent for bounty hunter work. Freedom Corps members sometimes show up just to make trouble. And there are always plots and schemes between the various factions.