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From May 1994 to September 2006, the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was the largest and most active privately-owned Shared Universe Play-By-Email setting on the internet, in any genre of Roleplaying Game. It used the Champions rules to present multiple campaigns featuring Comic Book superhero roleplaying. At its height, the setting was host to nearly forty separate campaigns, all interacting in the same background universe, with almost three hundred active and semi-active players. Over the course of the setting's history, it featured almost sixty different campaigns (most of which lasted no more than a year), and nearly a thousand different players (very few of whom managed to continue through the entire history of the setting.
The background universe in which the campaigns were set was the creation of Jack Butler, who originally conceived of the setting for his private Champions campaign in the early 1990s. Butler kept a tight rein on new characters, information, and concepts introduced into the Global Guardians Universe, and for the most part this adherence to a single "vision" is credited for the depth and detail of the setting. It is also the source of the most frequent criticism of the campaigns set there: Jack Butler was frequently (and not inaccurately, to be brutally honest) labeled a control freak with dominance issues when it came to "his baby", and he did not allow dissenters from his central vision the freedom to do as they chose.
The Global Guardians PBEM Universe stuck faithfully to most Comic Book and Superhero Tropes, and was intended to be a "Four Color setting with Modern Sensibilities" (basically Bronze Age). The Iron Age style anti-heroes and vigilantes were generally discouraged (except for a specific, single-player campaign that featured such), and player-controlled villains were likewise banned (again, except for a specific campaign that featured a Suicide Squad-style team of convicted criminals who fought crime to earn time off of their sentences).
The titular team of Global Guardians were:
- Achilles: A highly-trained Super Soldier created through an extensive program of Bio Augmentation and Super Serum injections. His father (and his creator) is the Evil Overlord known as Lord Doom. He's the team's Cowl, as well as its leader.
- Arachne: A female Spider-Man homage. She is the same Arachne that was turned into a spider by the goddess Athena, now released from her curse to fight crime.
- Bungie: A stretchable teenage girl. She is the most enthusiastic and idealistic member of the team.
- Guardsman: A former French soldier given an omnipowerful costume capable of manipulating solid energy
- Gunmetal: An active-duty Air Force officer in Powered Armor.
- Los Hermanos: A duplicator a'la Jamie Madrox from X Factor. He knows nearly everything worth knowing because sometime, somewhere, one of his duplicates has taken a course in it, or read a book about it, or currently works it as a profession. Plus, he's Dangerously Genre Savvy. Is his own One-Man Army, literally.
- Nordkapp Man An Unfrozen Caveman Superhero, literally. A neanderthal with ice-generation powers.
- Tachyon: A talking gorilla with Super Speed.
- Ultra-Man: The Cape to Achilles Cowl. A Flying Brick in a star-spangled costume. Originally fought Those Wacky Nazis but was brought to the present by way of a Time Travel Escape.
Former or past members of the Global Guardians included:
- Aurora: A living fusion reactor. She also served as Ms. Fanservice on occasion.
- Bandit: A teleporting martial artist, jokester, and bad Hispanic stereotype. (The player, being Hispanic himself, claimed N-Word Privileges and thus was allowed to take it to extreme levels of stereotyping).
- Herr Doktor Archeville: a Gadgeteer Genius with a bit of Mad Scientist tossed in for good measure.
- Raptor: A bird-themed Cowl.
- Rook: A soccer hooligan with super-strength and invulnerability.
- Stone: A super-powered ex-biker. Presented a hard, callous, sarcastic front but deep inside he was a Friend to All Children.
- Warlock: The Archmage of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
In addition to playing in PBEM campaigns, players were also encouraged to write Fan Fiction about their characters (and other characters), as well as "homework" projects like writing a "Playboy's Twenty Questions" interview with their characters, and so on.