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20 Questions: Interview with Rick Royer

1.    Where are you from?


Switzerland, a little town by a lake. 


2.    How would you physically describe yourself?


Tall, blonde and handsome? And my eyes have a silver shine to them. 

3.    Does your hero have distinguishing speech characteristics or recurring mannerisms?


I have studied and lived all over Europe so I have this pan-European accent. I tend to speak in a low, soft, slow voice most of the time. 


4.    What is your hero's motivation?


Clean up my family name. I would like to hold the plutocrats to account. 


5.    What are your hero's greatest strengths and weaknesses?


My strengths are my experience and cunning. My weaknesses are my attachment and concern about my family and history, and my passion (some say addiction) to gambling and risk. 


6.    What does your hero love? What does your hero hate?


My family might fall into both of those categories. I love artists and anyone dedicated to helping humanity, and I have several friends of that kind. I hate cold, callous politicians and millionaires…


7.    How would you describe your character's mental and emotional state?


Other than my fondness for gambling and my various passions in life which can distract me, it is fairly stable. 


8.    What does your hero fear the most?


My secrets. 


9.    What is your character's greatest ambition?

I would like to redeem the family name. I would like to have a legacy I could be proud of on my death bed. 

10.    How does your hero feel about the state of the world and his/her place in it?

It’s a good place that’s getting better, for the most part. I worry about political, social, and religious instability in certain parts of the world. I am concerned on the other hand that the Western world is suffering under too much money in too few hands. 

11.    Does your hero have any prejudices? How does he/she get along with others?

I have a dislike of far-right political organisations and individuals. Other than that I get on pretty well with most. 

12.    Where do your heroes loyalties lie? In what order?

I cannot say I am a particularly loyal person as I try to work out what is best on merits rather than history. In that respect, I am loyal to myself and my beliefs first. I do of course have some loyalty to my friends and family. 

13.    Does your hero have a lover or partner?


Not at present, although I certainly have had many, and I hope I will again. 


14.    Does your hero have a family? What is the relationship there like?


Only my father, Henri. It is a strained relationship due to his illness and certain aspects of our family history, but by and large we love and respect one another. 


15.    How would the people closest to your hero describe him or her?


Sane, Good, and Dangerous to know…


16.    Is your hero a role model?


In some regards, but I would say be yourself rather than follow a role model. 


17.    How spiritual is your hero? Does your hero follow a religious tradition?

Only vaguely. I have a passing interest in these matters, and take something from Buddhism, but it is not part of my life. 

18.    Is your hero part of a team, or would he/she like to be? Why?

I am not part of a team, but I certainly could be. Life is better with friends and companions. We all need company, allies, friendship. 

19.    How does your hero feel about the place of metahumans and aliens on Earth?

It is a positive thing in the main. Overall, they make the world better. And certainly more interesting!

20. If you could give one piece of advice to your hero, what would it be?

Be bold, take the right risks, remember why you do what you do…

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Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.

Laser sharp Businessman


Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?



What is your full birth name?

Auguste Zoss, no middle name.


Where do you live?

Mainly in Europe. The family home is in Switzerland although I spend most of my time elsewhere, such as Paris, Berlin, London, and Freedom City.


How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)?

37. I was born in 1980


Physical Traits



What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.



How would you describe your heritage?

European, presumably. Probably more Germanic or Nordic than Latin.


How tall are you?



What is your body type?

Fairly fit, but otherwise unremarkable.



Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?

A touch of hayfever, but otherwise, no. My left knee can get a bit cranky in the cold after walking.



How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence?

I walk with confidence, but otherwise fairly unremarkable.


Describe your skin, eye, and hair color.

I tend to be fair but spend a lot of time in the sun, so have a fairly tanned appearance. My hair is a kind of dark blonde. My eyes were a dark blue, but now have a silver hue to them.


How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?

If I don’t shave I get a bit of a shadow! My hair is shortish, with a bit of length to it – not close cut.


Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?



Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?

I have a scar on my knee after a skiing accident busted my leg when I was fifteen.


Do you resemble anyone famous?



Do you have a dominant hand?

Right handed


What kind of clothing do you wear?

All sorts, usually expensive and stylish. I quite like jackets and turtlenecks!


Do you wear makeup?

Not usually


What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?

It is slightly low but fairly unremarkable.



Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people?

I tend to press my fingers together when thinking. But, being a poker player, I am very careful to avoid habits, tics, or mannerisms.





Where do you come from?

My birthplace, in Switzerland.


Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?

I studied in London, Brussels, and Paris universities in my twenties.


Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?

A passing loyalty, perhaps. More of a fondness. I consider myself European more than Swiss. I am concerned about the growing far right wing sentiment in Europe and Switzerland.


How do you feel about the place you come from?

It is beautiful and clean!


Where is your home town? What was/is it like?

It is a small old town built by the sea, it is a lovely place, clean, calm, friendly, and gorgeous.


Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you?

In my home town the Zoss family were rich and well known, so I was different, but I still mingled and by and large this was positive. I have however travelled around the world growing up and that was an eye opening experience to different cultures and sub cultures.


Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life?

I was always pretty good at reading people, understanding them and what was going on in their head. Whilst I am good with people, I never got on with animals!


Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?



Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.

I was in a skiing accident aged 15. I took a risk and paid for it. Ended up four months in plaster and plenty of physiotherapy afterwards. It took a lot out of me, made me study a lot. But it also, perversely, gave me a sense that I needed to take risks. I was drawn to that ever since.


What stupid things did you do when you were younger?

Played truant a few times. Stole my fathers’ speedboat for a joy ride and crashed it.


Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?

In a private school near my home town. I enjoyed it.


Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?

Plenty; from family heirlooms to photographs and even some paintings. They are at the family home.


When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?

I slipped into that mindset over the last decade as I became more aware of the world and its problems over the years. However, finding the family Daka crystal and getting fried by it certainly was the tipping point!


Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?



Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?

Yes. The family Daka crystal was a relic from world war 2. Essentially it is a stolen Nazi item.


Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?

Not really. Although we all tend to muffle our less attractive qualities.


If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets?

It would possibly kill my father, who is reliant on the Daka crystal to keep him alive. It would certainly cause considerable shame to our family. I would go far to protect that secret, but I would cause injury to do so.


Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?

No, my father wrapped up an low level criminal activity! It was nothing serious; things like drunk and disorderly.





What are your biological parents' names?

Henri and Marie


Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.



What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?

Fairly good. They were liked but not loved. They both ran the family businesses.


Where are your parents now?

My father is very sick and lives almost as a recluse. He was broken after my mother died last year.


Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?

Both. We always lived in the same area but we travelled a lot.


How did you get along with their parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).

Very well. It is a bit more strained with my father now he is ill and I know the family secret, but I love him still.


How do your parents view you now, or how would they?

With pride, I would imagine. They would disapprove of some of my habits, however.


Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.



What was your birth order in the family?



Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?

There is only my father to love or hate!


Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.

My grandfather; he did not directly work with the Nazi party, but he did help members of the Nazi party.


Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.

Not particularly. The Zoss family are mentioned in roughly neutral terms through the seventeeth to twentieth century as merchants.


Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.



If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?

Yes, I would. But perhaps in a few more years…


What type of person would be your ideal mate?

Rebellious, intelligent, thrill seeking, sexy.





Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.

Several close-ish friends, but few close ones. Anna Marie and Rose from school, a particular mention to Winston Lake, a very skilled neurosurgeon I met at Cambridge who I keep in close contact with, and James Boyo, an African anthropologist.


Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?



If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?

My friends, my family, and presumably my business partners.


Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?

Several. I suppose the hardest cut is the first. Jennie Coppersmith, who broke my heart when I was sixteen on holiday in Spain with our families…


Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.

Not yet.


If you have enemies, how do you think they might attempt to work against you in the future?

I have plenty of enemies, like the wealthy crooks I have humiliated at cards. I shudder to think about how they might work against me – I would imagine via my family or my friends first. Although blunt violence is always on the menu.


What is the worst thing someone has done to you?

The worst experience was finding out about the family history. My father told me. I do not think it was malicious, but it was the worst thing.


Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

I cannot say I am a particularly loyal person as I try to work out what is best on merits rather than history. In that respect, I am loyal to myself and my beliefs first. I do of course have some loyalty to my friends and family. 


Who or what do you trust the most? Why?

That is a good question and I do not have a good answer. I tend to trust my friends. But I generally trust people.


Who or what do you despise? Why?

The Far-Right Political movements, and the rich and irresponsible.


What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?

An artistic sensibility (in any field), an open and inquiring mind, a love of life. I have all of those three to varying degrees. I would like to be more artistically talented though.


What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?

Callous hedonism and cruelty. I am not cruel, but I like my wealth more than I would like.


Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why?

No. I do not brazenly advertise my powers but I do not conceal them either.


Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?

I like teams. I do not particularly desire to be a leader but I do not shirk from this either. On the other hand, I am not a good follower. I don’t take orders easily.


Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?

Not yet.


Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?

I am on a few charity boards, particularly trying to get aide into Africa where most needed and free of corruption. I spend a moderate amount of time on this.



Personality & Beliefs


Who are your heroes?

Various politicians like Mandala or Ghandi, as well as historical figures like Da Vinci, Freud, Newton. People who change the way we look at the world.


Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?

Not yet.


Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?

I like being me. I am not sure when I became a hero. I have tried to be all my life.


Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?

The latter, no. When I get old and tired, then yes. Or perhaps if the world lets me down too badly.


What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?

I would like to find a way to recompense for the family history. I doubt I can do this in a year, but its my shortest term goal.


What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?

Set up a successful business, be comfortable and influential. And have fun.


What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?

Exposure of my history. I tend to keep a clear head when afraid.


Is there anything you would give you life for?

Not much, to be honest. Ill suffer for others, but my life is pretty valuable to me!


How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?

I love it. I would like to share it, but I do love it and the pleasures it brings. I view it both as a mask of success and a means to an end.


How do you generally treat others?

Fairly and warmly.


Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?

Yes. Of course it has been abused at times and I keep a sharp eye out – I am good at working people out. But people are generally worthy of trust.



Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

Ultimately, I recharge by being alone, but I am happy in company. I am full of confidence.


How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex?

Polite, charming, flirty.


What are your most annoying habits?

Gambling, certainly!


Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?

Not massively. But people who use their wealth to generate more wealth for themselves without wider concerns, perhaps.



What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?

Steak. Rare.


What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

French wine. Pinot Noir.



What is your favorite treat (dessert)?

Crème Brule.


Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?



What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?

Blue. And Purple. I find yellow a difficult colour to wear.


What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?

Anything except Country and Western. Or folk.


If you have a favorite scent, what is it?

Snow, I think. Does that have a smell? Well, the crisp mountain air then.


Do you have a favorite animal?

I am not an animal person. But I always respected the Bear.


What is your most treasured possession? Why?

I am not sure I possess it in entirety, but the family home in Switzerland. And the view that goes with it.



Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?

Creature comforts! I can rough it. But I would rather not.


Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?

Clean toilets.


Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life? How important is it to you?

Only vaguely. I have a passing interest in these matters, and take something from Buddhism, but it is not part of my life. 


Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?



Could you kill? Have you killed?

I have not. I could, but it would have to be desperate circumstances indeed. I can imagine possibilities were it would be necessary or right.


 What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?

Thinking about it!


Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?

I do not think you can cover every eventuality here. There are a thousand or more circumstances. The point it is that is an act of gravity, and the situation should be grave too.


How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours?

I would want to understand why.


How would you react if something important was stolen from you?

Pretty angry. I can replace it, but the intrusion would vex me greatly.


How would you react to public humiliation?

I would run. It would be horrible.



How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?

It has not happened, but I would be extremely angry. I would actually be vengeful.


What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?



If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?

Eat a fine meal, drink a fine wine, go back home and make love to a beautiful woman under starlight by the lake of my upbringing.


Career & Training



Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?

Not in hero skills, no! I don’t do cartwheels or detective work.


Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?

I am still learning.


Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?

I have studied and practiced gambling at cards most of my life. I have degrees in psychology, law, and economics. I liked being a student!


Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?

I run a multinational business. It is growing!


What is your preferred combat style?

Laser swords! I know some broad martial art skills but I don’t have a style and am not an expert.


Have you ever received any awards or honours?

Yes, in my academic work whilst a student.


What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?

Learning how to be a hero? Detective work?


How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?

I am a perpetual student, so I would definitely learn. Maybe a hint of jealousy, but I use that to motivate me.



Lifestyle & Hobbies


What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?

I really don’t have a usual day. I could be anywhere or do anything!


Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?

Cards, art history, politics. I have grown into these hobbies. I like skiing still.


What do you do for fun?

Drink, eat, visit the theatre or museums. Socialise.


Do you have a costume? What does it look like?




How do you normally dress when not in costume?

Smart casual, with Jackets usually. It does, of course, depend on the weather and circumstance.


What do you wear to bed most nights?



Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?




Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?

The family safe in the family home.


What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?

Helicopter or sports car. Private Jet for long distance!





Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make?

No. Now that you mention it, I probably should!


If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?

Other than my DNA, I doubt it.


What would you like to be remembered for after your death?

He grew up.


Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?

Like anybody, possibly, but I think it unlikely. I am not a criminal, I am not unstable, and neither are my powers.


What do you perceive as your greatest strength?

My head, in many ways.


What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?

My head. I take unwarranted risks.


As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...

Be bold, but think before you leap. You know it can lead to disaster if you don’t….

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