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The Rope (PL10) - Secondling


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The Rope
Power Level: 10 (150/152PP)
Unspent Power Points: 2
Trade-Offs: +5 Defense/-5 Toughness, +2 Attack/-2 Damage (Shadow Snatch) 

 

Theme: Majula

 

In Brief: Cowl wielding the powers of shadow through a magical rope

 

Alternate Identity: Devon Dancer (current legal name), One Who Watches and Judges (Shadow Title), Kurush/Kūruš (birth name)
Birthplace: Somewhere in the Western USA

Residence: Freedom City
Base of Operations: The Throne of Shadow

Occupation: Professional Dancer
Affiliations: Wu, the Seeker of Knowledge, Master of the Throne of Shadow
Family: Arash, biological father, deceased; Wilhelm Kantor, father's original genetic template, at large; Negar, biological mother, alive; Wu, Seeker of Knowledge, adoptive brother

 

Description:
Age: 25 (DoB: 11 August 1995)
Apparent Age: Mid-Twenties
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Iranian-Caucasian
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 165 lb.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

 

Devon Dancer wears comfortable, if colorful, clothing for the most part. When off the job or between performances, he sees little reason to stand out more than he already does. An attractive, fit man in his mid-twenties, Devon's of clear Persian descent, though the ignorant might mistake him for Pakistani, Arabian, or even northwest Indian descent. His movements are graceful and composed, and moreover, are always deliberate - it is rare for him to express stress through nervous tics, and indeed, most have never seen him do so. Nevertheless, there is a hint of a melancholic cast to his features, as though he's sorrowful about something that he cannot quite put his finger on.

 

Meanwhile, the Rope dresses in sober robes that are black, grey, or dark blue - it is hard to pin down exactly which. He wears a hood that casts a mystical air of shadows over his face -  though he usually keeps it covering only his eyes and forehead, to allow his mouth to be seen wearing its usual daring grin. Omnipresent is his mystic namesake - the rope named the Adumbral Lariat. When in costume, the Rope's movements are almost theatrical as he speaks, emphasizing the drama and importance of his words. There is, however, a distinct note of self-aware mockery of such melodrama, as if he does not take himself very seriously at all. Indeed, such absurd affectations are a game to him, to impress and more often amuse or exasperate those with whom he meets.

 

History:

In the winter of 1987, SHADOW moved to consume another, smaller villainous conspiracy on the West Coast of the US calling itself Behind the Throne. While it was, for the most part, a successful operation, one of the high-ranking members of the organization escaped, taking with her a clone soldier of SHADOW. Using means passed down in secret by her conspiracy, the woman Negar undid his conditioning but preserved his life. The clone took a name for himself - Arash (more properly romanized as Āraš) - and swore loyalty to Negar in exchange for his newfound sense of self.

 

In four short years, the two reformed an organization with them at the head. Naming themselves Undershadow, to mock Kantor's presumption, they began accumulating power and influence. Undershadow turned to a different realm of shadows than the one he claimed, in the hopes of avoiding his notice and coming at him from an ambush. Rather than the legions of cloned troops in SHADOW, Undershadow focused its training on singularly potent agents and mages. They competed with SHADOW constantly, sometimes even aiding heroes in their attempts to thwart it. Magical relics, caches of weapons, funding, Undershadow harried SHADOW from, ironically, beneath its notice.

 

Though Arash became an increasingly capable operative and Negar was an excellent organizer, planner, and strategist, Undershadow was unable to do much damage to SHADOW. Thus, in 1995, they began training a crop of elite agents and assassins to do their mutual bidding. In an effort to do so, they abducted a number of orphaned infants for the purposes of training them from birth. Further, the two performed a magical rite intended to birth a child with an innate talent for shadow magic.

 

When their child was born, they named him Kurush, the Middle Persian pronunciation of Cyrus. As he grew older, however, their attempts to teach him the principles of shadow magic and to use spells left much to be desired. Even as early as five, Kurush seemed incapable of the intuitive grasp of shadow magic that they had expected in their heir. However, he had an incredible sense for kinesthetics, and easily defeated the other children in physical combat.

 

Resigned, Arash and Negar decided to train their son as an assassin, rather than as a high mage to lead Undershadow. To their surprise, he took to it naturally, outperforming their assigned instructors by the time he was ten. For his part, Kurush understood that his parents had been disappointed in him from an early age, and he was eager to gain their approval. He threw himself into training even harder than they required, and spent most of his time either in training, eating, or resting to prepare for more training. 

 

By the time he was thirteen, they began sending him out on infiltration missions for Undershadow, and it was on his sixth such mission that he first encountered the young African American mage who called himself Wu. Wu awed Kurush with his magical prowess as he stole the mission objective - a box that was said to contain the key to the power to summon an ancient army of undead warriors. Wu made his escape as Kurush was distracted, and Kurush, outraged as only a pubescent boy can be, decided to begin tracking him down of his own volition.

 

Unfortunately, Wu proved both cleverer and more magically potent than Kurush, whom he easily evaded. Kurush returned home to report his failure to his parents, whose initial disappointment lashed him like a whip. When he told them of Wu, however, and his skillful shadow magic, their disappointment fast faded. Though he did not realize it yet, Kurush's parents believed they had found the intuitive shadow mage that they had tried to create in him. Though neither seemed inclined to send him out to find Wu, they did tell him to try to recruit him if ever he encountered the mage again. The implicit doubt of his abilities wounded Kurush, who stewed silently.

 

The more advanced agents sent out to find Wu had little success, but within a few months, Wu and Kurush met one another again. This time, Wu bulled over all of Kurush's attempts to recruit him to Undershadow, barely seeming to notice them. However, he did seem interested in the younger boy, and began sharing information with him - specifically about Wu's own immediate plans and goals, which mostly amounted to learning as much as he could about the mystical shadows that he drew upon. Kurush, more than a little annoyed with his parents, decided to keep this and any further encounters a secret from the rest of Undershadow.

 

Their encounters continued apace for the next three years, and gradually Kurush came to see Wu as an unpredictable and brilliant partner - one whose odd antics amused, exasperated, and alarmed him all at once. It was when the two of them met in late 2010 that Wu first expressed interest in learning about where Kurush came from. Mindful of his parents' initial instructions, Kurush arranged for Wu to meet with them. Surprisingly, when Arash and Negar met with Wu, the young mage stood up for Kurush, insisting on keeping him around and working specially with him.

 

Kurush, touched by Wu's interest, decided at that moment to work with him above and beyond his parents' interests. Thus, for the next year he confided in Wu, worked together to discern the greater mysteries of shadow with him, and ventured forth on missions for both Undershadow and Wu in particular. When he was sixteen and killed for the first time, it was not to his parents that Kurush turned, but rather to Wu, who had become something of a surrogate parent/brother to him.

 

In late 2011, Wu decided that the usefulness of Undershadow was at its end, and invited Kurush to leave with him. Together, the two stepped through a portal into a realm of shadows. There the partners had adventures, met with mysterious denizens of the realm, and honed their skills further. Undershadow did not take the desertion lying down, however, and sent several teams of assassin-agents to hunt down their renegade agent and, more importantly, their shadowy mage. 

 

Kurush and Wu encountered the most elite agents - though they were not quite sure how long they had been in the realm of shadows when it happened - as Arash himself arrived at the head of several other assassins intending on either killing or capturing both. The two fought hard, but ultimately could not overcome their assailants. Unfortunately for all involved, the noise of battle drew some of the more hostile natives of the realm to the clash. Shadowy fiends the size of bears assaulted all involved, and only Wu, Kurush, and one of the lesser skilled (but startlingly quick) assassins escaped, and even then not unscathed.

 

At this final cutting of ties with his parents, Kurush cast off his old name, taking the title that the few friendly natives had given him - something approximately translating to "One Who Watches and Judges" - as his new name. Together with Wu, he went through many more adventures, including the discovery of his Adumbral Lariat, the invasion of Light and Dark which threatened to slay all shadow caught in the crossfires, and the theft of the Greater Reach by a masked invader from another Earth. Over the years, the two did visit their home Earth Prime to seek human contact, recent information, and other such things, but much of their time was spent exploring the realm and learning of its powers. 

 

In 2018, the companions discovered what was the beating heart of the realm - the Throne of Shadow. Wu was invested as the (nominal) ruler of the whole realm, while his partner became his strong right hand. With this new position, One Who Watches and Judges took on a new tile, for simplicity's sake if nothing else - the Rope. But after so many years spent in the shadow, the Rope wished to return to Earth Prime and spend at least a few more years there - the investiture had halted both his and Wu's aging, so there would be plenty of time to study later.

 

After much consideration, the Rope decided that the most important thing he could do for the people of Earth was to become a hero. Knowing Freedom City's reputation as a haven for superheroics (and equally for supervillany), the Rope decided to make his home away from home there, where he felt he could do the most good. Thus, late in 2020, a new hero made his debut in Freedom City - the Rope. He also took on a more mundane name and life - Devon Dancer, a professional dancer, rather predictably - so he could experience normal life for the first time.

 

Personality & Motivation:

In his civilian guise, Devon Dancer is a melancholic sort. Slow to speak his mind and frequently silent, he spends a lot of time observing, but when he speaks, he does so with deliberation and a sense of purpose behind every word. Those who haven't spent much time with him are quick to dismiss him as slow or thick, but for those patient enough to spend time with him when he speaks, there are often thoughtful and reflective words of wisdom to be found.

 

As a hero, the Rope is positively chatty. Garrulous and cheerful, no one could mistake him for the child-assassin he once was. Though more than capable of sneaking around and acting with discretion, the Rope adores bringing a dramatic flair to his battles, even if the shadows are the only audience for which he performs. Despite his willingness to talk, it is very rare that the Rope actually says anything. He has so many words to speak, but nothing of note to spend them on. Some might go so far as to call his words nonsense, but when the stakes are high, the Rope grows increasingly reticent and grim.

 

Between these two identities and deeper than both, the true self that is perhaps best described as Kurush resides. His childhood traumas are mostly healed, but their ghosts still occasionally trouble him, when he's not distracted by anything else. He is deeply loyal to those who have done right by him consistently, and would sooner die than betray a friend. Justice isn't really the goal for his actions as the Rope - atonement is. He wants to save lives, as many as possible, to prevent further damage to the world than he has already done. Of course, he cannot deny being attracted to the shadows, excited by the adrenaline and the raw joy of swinging through the skies on his trusty lariat... but at its core, his heroics are meant to try to put his own ghosts to rest.

 

Powers & Tactics:

The Rope favors, unsurprisingly, striking from the shadows to wreak havoc upon his foes. Using both skills and magic, he favors making each fight a performance, even if the only ones around to appreciate it at the end are himself and the shadows that surround him. Naturally, his Abumbral Lariat is key to both his offensive and defensive capabilities, as he uses it to whip, bind, and choke his foes, while also allowing it to protect him from blows. In open combat, the Rope moves with startling swiftness - his eponymous tool even moreso. He focuses on taking down the least threatening foes first, letting their comrades' increasing isolation and dread work for him as he continues to battle. One of his favorite tactics is to teleport out of sight of his enemies, then strike from the shadows. Sometimes he repeats this, waiting longer each time before striking.

 

In more stressful situations, which are rare, the Rope grows increasingly brutal and efficient. Gone are the performance-based combat styles, and in its place a terrible, frigid assessment of threats and weakness. His manner becomes that of a predator, hunting rather than fighting.

 

Power Descriptions:

The Rope's powers are mostly focused on his Adumbral Lariat, a shadow-woven rope that shifts rapidly between being a whip, a noose, a lasso, and almost anything else that its wielder wishes. While some of its abilities seem more or less natural at first glance - one can use a whip to strike, or a lasso to capture - closer examination reveals that the Lariat writhes as though it is alive even when it is being used for a seemingly mundane use of rope. Even if the lasso's bindings are broken with raw strength, the Lariat heals itself swiftly and completely, only truly becoming damaged under extreme circumstances.

 

Its more supernatural powers are rather more obvious, and somewhat unnerving. The Rope can use it as a lasso, spinning it rapidly and stepping through it - only instead of coming out on the other side of the whirling rope, he disappears, having teleported elsewhere. He also can do just that to disappear from Earth Prime entirely as he ventures into one of any number of mystical dimensions. 

 

Furthermore, the lariat is reactive to threats to the Rope - pulling him fluidly out of the way of heavy blows, or intercepting attacks that might otherwise badly hurt him. This is, perhaps, the eeriest demonstration of its powers, for the Rope needs not do anything save let the Lariat do as it wishes, with its alien, graceful motions.

 

Complications:

To Ambush an Assassin: The Rope was trained from early childhood as an assassin. Though he's mostly recovered emotionally (perhaps too much so, say detractors), his training remains, and he sometimes reacts with unnecessary brutality in combat, when his adrenaline spikes. GMs may give him a Hero Point to say he has done more serious damage than he intended when in combat.

Look Away to See: The shadows from which the Rope draws his powers have alien moral systems at the best of times, and are downright resentful of his use of them at the worst. When dramatically appropriate, the Rope's use of his powers can summon Things that do not have his best interests in mind, let alone those of the innocents of Earth Prime.

Bastards Born of Darkness and Light: The Rope's shadowy powers are not hindered by light in any way. Instead, it is total darkness that blocks their use. After all, the brighter the light, the more defined and darker the shadow. In utmost darkness, there is no shadow distinct from the dark. If everything is shadow, nothing is.

Earthborn and Shadowbound: Though the Rope was born on Earth Prime, his long stay in the Throne of Shadow and his investiture as a powerful being there have confused reality somewhat. At the GM's discretion, by giving him a hero point, certain powers intended to banish spirits, demons, and other extradimensional or extraplanar beings might cast the Rope back to the Throne of Shadow.



Abilities: 28 PP
Strength: 12 (+1)
Dexterity: 18 (+4)

Constitution: 16 (+3)
Intelligence: 16 (+3)
Wisdom: 14 (+2)
Charisma: 12 (+1)



Combat: 20 + 14 = 34 PP
Initiative: +8 (+4 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Attack: +10 Melee, +10 Ranged (+10 Base)
Defense: +15 (+7 base, +6 Shield, +2 Dodge Focus), +4 Flat-Footed

Grapple: +11
Knockback: -2



Saving Throws: 4 + 6 + 5 = 15 PP
Toughness: +5 (+3 Con, +2 Defensive Roll)
Fortitude: +7 (+3 Con, +4)
Reflex: +10 (+4 Dex, +6)
Will: +7 (+2 Wis, +5)



Skills: 68 R = 17 PP

Acrobatics 6 (+10)Skill Mastery

Bluff 10 (+11)Skill Mastery

Disable Device 6 (+10)

Escape Artist 2 (+6)

Intimidate 8 (+9)

Knowledge (Arcane Lore) 8 (+11)

Language 3 (Farsi, English [Native], German, Tongue of Shadows)

Notice 10 (+12)Skill Mastery

Perform (Dance) 4 (+8)

Stealth 11 (+15)Skill Mastery 

Feats: 11 PP

Defensive Roll

Dodge Focus 2

Equipment 2

Evasion

Hide in Plain Sight

Improved Initiative

Ritualist

Skill Mastery (Stealth, Bluff, Acrobatics, Notice)

Uncanny Dodge (Hearing)

 

 

Equipment:  10 EP

Throne of Shadow (Headquarters, Castle in Shadows' Crown, a dimension of shadows) [10 EP]

Spoiler

Size: Huge [3 EP]

Toughness: 15 [2 EP]

Features [5 EP]

Defense System

Isolated (Shadows' Crown)

Living Space

Personnel

Self-Repairing

 


Powers: 1 + 2 + 42 = 45 PP

All powers have the Magic and Shadow descriptors unless otherwise noted.

Shadowborne Agelessness: Immunity 1 (Aging) [1 PP]

Twilit Endowment: Super-Senses 2 (Darkvision) [2 PP]

The Adumbral Lariat - Device 10 (Feats: Restricted 2; Flaws: Hard to Lose) [42 PP]

  • Lariat Qualities - 20 PP Array [22 PP]
    • Whip Crack - Blast 10 [20/20 PP]
    • Close Strike - Strike 10 [10/20 PP] 
    • Shadow Snatch - Snare 8 (Feats: Tether, Chokehold, Reversible, Accurate) [20/20 PP] 
  • Gloom Gate - 19 PP Array [20 PP]
    • Teleport 4 (Feats: Change Direction, Change Velocity, Easy; Extras: Accurate, Affects Others) [19/19 PP] 
    • Super-Movement 4: Dimensional Movement 2 (Mystical Dimensions), Swinging, Wall-Crawling [8/19 PP] 
  • Automatic Deflection - Shield 6 [6 PP] 


Drawbacks: (-0) + (-0) = -0PP



DC Block

ATTACK          RANGE            SAVE                                       EFFECT

Unarmed          Touch         DC 16 Toughness          Bludgeoning Damage

Lariat Whip      Ranged      DC 25 Toughness           Bludgeoning Damage

Lariat Strike      Touch        DC 25 Toughness          Bludgeoning Damage

Shadow Snatch Ranged     DC 18 Reflex                    Snare

Totals: Abilities (28) + Combat (34) + Saving Throws (15) + Skills (17) + Feats (11) + Powers (45) - Drawbacks (0) = 150/152 Power Points

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Source and Effect are the two, rough, categories for descriptors, and should generally fulfill on each power.

 

You can just list Magic as a Descriptor for all Powers.

Training is not applicable for powers, as it is used to denote something like a Batman type punch.

So Magic and Shadow for everything but your Immunity and Supersenses, where you can put in Heritage, to reflect that it is inherited magical traits.

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I made all the powers shadow and magical, though he didn't exactly inherit his abilities - they were endowed in him by his taking a position in the shadowy realm.

 

The only reason I had training there was because the Lariat Qualities Array is basically (almost entirely) him doing things with the Lariat which a rope (admittedly magically enhanced) might logically be able to do. Like tossing it a lasso or cracking it like a whip. That said, it also is capable of moving of its own volition when he uses it, so it's not necessarily wholly training.

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The name for the Immunity Aging read that way to me, so I apologize on that.

Yeah, Training serves a different function, and I'd just do Magic and Shadows (and Bludgeoning). Otherwise, Training is applicable to all powers that a character had to 'train' to utilize.

For single Ranks in a Ranked Feat you don't need to put a number (just a book keeping note.)

Though notation within Arrays should list how much of the total PP from the base power they are using, Example: 

Lariat Qualities - 20 PP Array [22 PP]

  • BP: Whip Crack - Blast 10 {20/20 PP}
  • AP: Close Strike - Strike 10 {10/20 PP}
  • AP: Shadow Snatch - Snare 8 (Feats: Tether, Chokehold, Reversible, Accurate) {20/20 PP} 

 

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Yeah, no worries on the misunderstanding - I wrote "Shadowborne" which does seem to imply birth in shadow, but was intended to mean "borne by shadows" as in, the shadows bear X. 

 

The other things have been addressed!

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With a +5 Toughness bonus, the Rope would only have a -2 Knockback modifier. You also have some unspent points inside the device, but I'm guessing you knew that part.

 

Otherwise, this looks good to me!

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