A History of Task Force X

In my last post I took you though some in-universe history on a very top-level scale. This time I’m going to focus on the history of a group of men and women. For my first game set in Earth-592 I selected the Suicide Squad as a backdrop. Before we start seeing how they were shaped lets throw out my standard disclaimer; There isn’t going to be anything posted below that you can’t find on http://earth-592.robjustice.net.

“This ain’t no task force. Let’s call it as it is – Welcome to the Suicide Squad.”
– Deadshot

Task Force X, sometimes called the Suicide Squad, is an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States government agency S.W.O.R.D., undertaking high-risk black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, under the directorship of Dr. Amanda Waller.

The Squad’s existence is top-secret, creating much tension within the group, and leading the Squad to be targeted by the likes of Superman and Batman (the latter was forced to back off from his investigation when the Squad leader threatened to use her considerable government resources to expose Batman’s secret identity).

This might be confusing, but Task Force X is a team within S.W.O.R.D. which is a division of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is an agency for the Department of Defense. S.W.O.R.D. also has three top-secret sister agencies E.A.G.L.E., A.R.M.O.R., and W.A.N.D. that were created in recent years.

Task Force X

Timespan: c.1959 – c.1959

The original team consisted of Rick Flag, his girlfriend Sharon Race, Dr. Hugh Evans, and Jess Bright. The team’s earliest incarnation was expressly formed to fight monstrous menaces as a replacement for the Justice Society of America, whose members had mostly retired in the wake of unjust accusations during the McCarthy Era.

Though this early incarnation of the team did not have the espionage trappings of later Squads, field leader Rick Flag’s personal history laid much of the groundwork for the future of the team.

The original Task Force X revolved around a quartet of non-powered soldiers fighting super-powered opponents. Their missions often involved conflict with dinosaurs, giants, and other monstrous creatures. In the team’s final mission, Dr. Evans died, and Jess Bright is captured by forces of the Soviet Union and transformed into the monstrous Koshchei. Rick Flag and Sharon Race were married.

The Suicide Squad

Timespan: c.1987 – c.1992

In the midst of Darkseid’s attempt to turn humanity against Earth’s superheroes, Dr. Amanda Blake Waller pulls Rick Flag’s son into active duty and assigned leadership of a reformed Task Force X, including Blockbuster, Captain Boomerang, and Deadshot. The Squad’s first mission is to eliminate Darkseid’s rampaging fire elemental Brimstone; Blockbuster died during the conflict, and Deadshot took the creature down with an experimental laser rifle.

When this new team was revived their new mandate involved the government employing a group of supervillains to perform missions that were almost certainly suicide runs, hence the nick name the Suicide Squad. Over the course of five years, this incarnation of the Suicide Squad undertook numerous high-risk missions for the U.S. government. The reason for their disbandment is still classified.

The Suicide Squad also took pains to humanize its relatively obscure team, partly via an in-house chaplain and psychiatric staff at the Squad’s Belle Reve headquarters. These staff members are frequently seen interviewing various Squad operatives or providing evaluations of their mental states; entire months were dedicated to examining personal lives and motivations of prominent members.

The Imposter Squad

Timespan: c.2001 – c.2002

This short-lived Suicide Squad, now designated Task Force Omega, was run by Sgt. Frank Rock. Together with his right-hand (and wheelchair-bound) man Bulldozer, Rock taps new members to round out the team’s mobile HQ. Rock is thought by several other characters to have been deceased since the end of World War II, and they are surprised to see him alive and well. Members on the final mission have strongly implied that Rock was an impostor, explaining the Squad being shut down after such a short time.

The New Squad

Timespan: c.2011 – 2014

In 2011, after a botched government mission forced her to execute an injured teammate, Amanda Damita Waller assembled an expendable field team, prompting the formation of a new Suicide Squad. After pulling former Squad member Deadshot into the program as the team’s leader, Waller forced dozens death row inmates into a series of rigorous tests and torture scenarios to evaluate their loyalty and value as potential Squad members. The finalists Were outfitted with micro-bomb implants, and inducted into the Squad.

The Suicide Squad’s missions typically involved the elimination or retrieval of high-value targets, tracking down AWOL team members, dealing with various terrorist groups, and targeting ‘problematic’ heroes.

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome,! The sincere tragedy here is that because of licensing you wouldn’t be able to sell this setting info as a PDF.

    If you made a similar independently created superhero setting like this with the DC/Marvel serial numbers filed off I think you’d make a killing on Drivethrough-RPG etc.

    With all the new superhero RPG’s released recently to great success on kickstarter etc (seriously were in kind of a “golden age” of smaller press superhero RPG’s), I feel a cool block-ops- focused -superhero -systemless setting is calling out to be made.

    • I honestly never thought of filing off some serial numbers and presenting it as a fill-in-the-blanks setting. Maybe that’s worth considering…

  2. Pingback: A History of Detroit | RobJustice.net

  3. Absolutely! As someone who spends a lot on micro-transactions on Drivethrough etc. This is definitely an epoch where a LOT of indie superhero RPG have either been released for the first time or had a second edition in the last year or so via successful kick-starter(Bulletproof Blues, capes cowls villains fowl, Supers! Icons, Cold Steel wardens etc).

    Seems like every second day theres a post on RPG forums about “which superhero game would you use for X” or “which is the best”. The one thing that does seem to be missing so far is a superhero setting that is well fleshed out with a tight focus rather than the insufferable “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING”!!!!

    The ones that exist are mostly bland/sparse sections in the main core-books, or just poorly done, with the exception of Base Raiders, and Extreme Earth. The latter is probably the closest example of what you could do and it made almost 10’000 on kickstarter (And both are getting quite a good bit of success in sales by the way which further proves the point).

    The fact is if you can put this amount of effort and care into your GM notes and having to work within the structure of two established universes, there is NO way you couldn’t pull a “Watchmen” and just file of the serial numbers and go all out on your own ideas and characters. I mean hell, you’ve pretty much done the work anyway, why not try to make some humble, humble RPG bank for it 😉

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