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Animal Man 2995 (DC Heroes RPG) (Legion of Super-Heroes)

Animal Man 2995

(Imaginary Elseworld version)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The canonical version of this character appeared, as Animal Lad, in a few very obscure panels of Adventure Comics #331 in 1965. Oddly enough, this earned him a writeup on WORG.

Odder still, this obscure character made an impression on me, perhaps because he’s one of the few rejected Legion applicants who didn’t flip out and turn evil. I brought him back for my version of the Giffen/Bierbaum “Five Year Gap” Legion of Super-Heroes timeline (published from 1989-1995).

This version of the character was imprisoned in the Dominion’s hidden Chambers for metahuman experimentation. He and several others were freed when the SUBS (formerly the Legion of Substitute Heroes) attacked the Chamber. He became a freedom fighter in the effort to free Earth from Dominion, er, domination. He’s now a potential recruit for the newly reorganized Legion of Super-Heroes.

It should be noted that I’m only calling him “Animal Man 2995” because it’s a convenient description. He’s not actually using any super-heroic codename at this point.


Background

  • Real Name: Ennis Jahnson
  • Other Aliases: Animal Lad, Animal Man
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: none
  • Group Affiliation: Anti-Earthgov Resistance
  • Base Of Operations: 30th Century Earth (Metropolis)
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 220 lbs Age: 35
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

Animal Man is a projective metamorph — he can turn people into animals, or one animal into another kind of animal (Transform). He can also make wild beasts tame and obedient (Animal Control).

He’s trained in the zoological sciences, including studies of extraterrestrial species. He also retains the battered combat armor and blaster pistol he used in the Anti-Earthgov Resistance.


History

Ennis Jahnson, aka Animal Lad, has the dubious distinction of being the only applicant in the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes to be rejected for being too good. What’s worse, for about 20 years neither neither he nor the Legion knew it.

Jahnson tried out for Legion membership in 2976, when he was 16 years old. This was the fourth year of the Legion’s existence and it was already becoming a legend, but in some ways was still as much a club as a team of super-heroes. This caused a great deal of trouble both for Jahnson and for the Legion itself.

Although his metamorphic powers were impressive, Ennis had the misfortune of attending a tryout run by new Legion Leader Dynamo Boy. Dynamo Boy was secretly a criminal named Vorm, who had infiltrated the Legion on behalf of the Space Pirate Pack.

Vorm, as Dynamo Boy, studied and exploited the rather sophomoric Club rules of the young Legion’s Constitution. He was able to get himself named Leader and to expel the rest of the team on various trumped-up charges. He then held an open call for new members, looking for recruits who would keep up appearances while secretly acting as villains.

When Vorm’s empathic analysis revealed that Animal Lad was noble and incorruptible, the pirate rejected him.

Vorm, of course, did not tell Animal Lad the reason for his rejection, instead belittling his powers. Nor did he bother to keep proper records of the tryouts. When the real Legionnaires uncovered Vorm’s plot and took control of the LSH back, they apparently never learned of Animal Lad.

Vorm’s successful infiltration of the LSH was not publicized, so Jahnson never realized his tryout was tainted. Saddened and discouraged, he abandoned the dream of joining the superhero club and moved on with his life.

Losers League

Jahnson found employment with the Metropolis Game Preserve Council, in time becoming their Central Director for Endangered Species Control. His powers saw occasional use in helping to repopulate depleted animal species and to control dangerous specimens.

One particularly memorable event saw him take on a band of poachers, who became Thalassian Stink Slugs until the Science Police arrived to take them into custody. That episode introduced Jahnson to Lieutenant Roon Dvron of the Science Police, and the two became friends.

Jahnson settled into normal life as a citizen and scientist. He was the envy of Dvron and his other male friends, for the animal-powered scientist had a certain “animal magnetism” with the ladies that served him well. Jahnson never told any of his friends about his youthful Legion tryout, preferring not to dwell on his failure.

Dvron’s occasional stories of encounters with Legionnaires filled him with a vague regret, but on the whole he was fairly content with his life. Occasionally he struggled with feelings of disappointment over his rejection, never realizing that the real Legionnaires had not been involved.

But for the most part, he still believed in the Legion, trusted that they knew what they were doing, and tried to be of service as a civilian. He worked hard, and volunteered in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations.

Following the Magic Wars, the Great Collapse of the UP economy and political structure, and the secret takeover of Earthgov by Dominators, the Legion was badly persecuted. Jahnson, as an average citizen, often spoke out in favor of the Legionnaires and emphasized that the post-Collapse UP needed heroes more than ever.

When Earth withdrew from the UP and the LSH eventually dissolved under Earthgov pressure, Ennis was badly disillusioned, believing that the Legionnaires should have persevered. Dvron gave dark hints about the nature of Earthgov, and Jahnson, feeling stirred to the heroic fervor of his youth, considered joining the fledgling Anti-Earthgov Resistance.

In late 2992, before he could make a decision, he was abducted by pro-Dominion forces and taken to one of their secret underground Chambers for metahuman experimentation.

Freedom Fighter

Jahnson spent most of the next 2 years in suspended animation inside a Dominion pod while his DNA was examined. Most of his fellow captives were killed in April of 2995 when the Dominion responded to a takeover of one of the Chambers by the Resistance forces under the leadership of the SUBS.

When the Dominion attempted to re-take that Chamber, a chain of linked self-destruct mechanisms was set-off in every one of the Chambers. The breach also caused some of the pods’ sleep mechanisms to malfunction. One captive, Danielle Foccart, woke in time to use her mental power over computers to suppress some of the explosive charges. Hundreds were still killed, but a handful of Chamber captives survived.

These included Jahnson, an off-worlder telekinetic named Zoe Saugin, Legion Academy graduate Bobb Kohan (aka Crystal Kid or Crystal King), speedster Jenni Ognats (the granddaughter of the Flash), a young sorcerer named Xao Jin, and Foccart herself, the younger sister of Ex-Legionnaire Jacques Foccart. These five swiftly joined forces with each other, battled their way to freedom, and linked up with the Resistance.

The battles against the Earthgov and Dominion forces allowed Jahnson to prove both his power and courage once and for all. When he could not get close enough to use his powers on the Dominators, he used them (with consent) on his fellow troopers.

On one occasion, his squad became a stampede of Jovian Camelephants, smashing a convoy of Dominion battletanks. They then morphed into Mirror Monsters when the Dominion brought in air support, the reflected fire bringing down the entire flight group. The only casualty among the anti-Earthgov forces was Jahnson, who could not transform himself, and was struck a glancing blow from a reflected nega-pulse.

Jahnson’s injuries were not too severe to prevent him from restoring the squad to their rightful forms, although it did make his commanders more leery of risking Jahnson in open combat.

With help from the UP Starfleet, the SUBS, the surviving non-mindwiped Batch SW6 Legionnaire clones from the liberated Weisinger Chamber, and a few members of the reformed Legion of Super-Heroes, the Earth was freed from Dominator control.

In the aftermath, the war-torn planet was made a protectorate of the United Federation of Planets which it had once helped found. The surviving teenaged Legionnaire clones from the Weisinger Chamber (the clones of Matter-Eater Lad, Karate Kid, Chameleon Boy, and Mon-El were killed in the war) were provisionally licensed to operate on Earth (only on Earth, for now) as the Justice Legion Beta, or JLB.

Jahnson’s fellow survivors Zoe Saugin, Jenni Ognats, Xao Jin, and Danielle Foccart were recruited for the JLB as Kinetix, XS, Dragonmage, and Gremlin, respectively.

Meanwhile Resistance Leader Jacques Foccart brought Jahnson and Kohan to the attention of the re-formed LSH, now based off-Earth and with UP-wide credentials. Both were invited to join the group, as were the SUBS. Caught off-guard, Jahnson for the first time revealed his rejection of 19 years earlier.

In turn, the Legion shared that it had no knowledge of his earlier application for membership and urged him to make things right by joining them now. Conflicted, he is still considering their offer while deciding how he wants to spend the next phase of his life.


Description

Ennis Jahnson is a big, brawny, blond man with a beard. He favors wearing a black undershirt with a loose blue overshirt. In combat as a Resistance fighter, he used a battered blaster and combat armor — both obviously scavenged, as the freedom fighters always had limited resources.


Personality

Jahnson is, it would seem, both uncomplaining and incorruptible. He believes in doing the right thing and making the best use of his unique abilities. His native confidence took a hit when the LSH rejected him for membership in the 2970s, but he mostly took it in stride. Any lingering self-doubt has been erased by his decisive actions on the part of the Anti-Earthgov Resistance.

Doubts about the Legion are another matter. He was very disappointed when they disbanded under Anti-Earthgov pressure in the early 2990s. He believes heroes should persevere no matter what — lately, he’s beginning to get a bit preachy about it — and he hasn’t forgiven them for not measuring up to his high standards.

This remaining spot of naïveté shows how little he understands what the Legionnaires actually went through. Oddly, learning the story behind his rejection has actually increased his anger towards the Legionnaires. Whereas he once trusted the LSH and accepted its judgment of his worth, the revelation of how badly his heroes bungled things turns his years of uncomplaining acceptance into years of waste and negligence.

Jahnson isn’t sure what he thinks about the reformed LSH or its past mistakes, and not sure that he wouldn’t prefer to remain on Earth and be a part of the rebuilding effort.


Quotes

“Turns out the Legion never gave me a chance. Well, I didn’t give me a chance either. I figured, if I’m not a Legionnaire, I’m not a hero. But then you super-heroes quit. Things on Earth were getting worse than ever, and you gave up! And without you we, everybody, figured Earth was easy pickings. But we were wrong. We saved Earth without you. I became a hero without you.”

“FREEZE, soldier ! If you prefer lungs to gills, you’ll stop right there.”

“Hey, diskhead, have you met Lennie ? He’s my pet rabbit. Except sometimes, he’s my pet Graanian Deathbeast… see ?”


DC Universe History

Other Elseworlds versions of Jahnson might have joined the LSH after Adventure Comics #331; or have been mindwiped and cloned by the Dominion; or joined the Anti-Earthgov Resistance prior to being caught by the Dominion. In that latter case, he’d either have been attached to the SUBS by Foccart, or brainwashed by Universo.

It’s a little far-fetched to suppose that Jahnson is any relation to Buddy Baker, but stranger things have happened (in comic books). Animal Man 2995’s powers may well come from the morphogenic field, i.e. the Red.

This might bring the attention of Mordru, who would see him as a living talisman or Ritual Component, alongside the new Erl King (Chlorophyll Kid) with powers derived from the Green and a new water elemental, Lamprey, with powers derived from the Clear. You could throw in Nightwind as an Air Elemental and Fire Lad as a Fire Elemental if you want. Blok or Stone Boy might get in on the action as well.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Ennis Jahnson (Homemade Elseworlds version)

A 1375 pts Character

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Xeno-zoologist, freedom fighter
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 013 HP: 030

Powers:
Animal Control: 08, Transform: 18

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Transform has a Range of 10 feet (0 APs) rather than a Range of Touch (+1 FC), but when used at Range has no AV — use Accuracy instead (-1 FC).
  • Transform’s OV/RV are DEX/BODY (not INT/MIND) (+0). Involuntary Targets are Transformed if RAPs exceed the target’s APs of BODY (not MIND).
  • Transform has an extended Duration. Involuntary Targets are transformed for a time equal to the APs of Power (+2 FC). A Transformed Target may attempt to change back to normal through an Action Check with AV/EV equal to STR/STR against OV/RVs equal to the RAPs of the original Transformation attack. If cumulative RAPs equal or exceed the Transformation RAPs, the Target reverts to normal.
  • Transformed Targets can be changed into alien (non-terran) animals, but not magical or imaginary ones (+2 FC).

Skills:
Accuracy (Transform): 07, Animal Handling: 04, Scientist: 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Advantages:
Expertise (Zoology) [including non-Terran animals — costs an extra 5 points]

Connections:
SP Officer Roon Dvron (High), Kinetix/Zoe Saugin (High), Gremlin/Danielle Foccart (High), XS/Jenni Ognats (High), Bobb Kohan/Crystal King (High), Dragonmage/Xao Jin (High), SUBS (High), Anti-Earthgov Resistance (Low), Metropolis Game Preserve Council (Low), LSH (Low)

Genre:
Real to Mock-Real (the “Five Year Gap” Legion hovered in the middle of these genres)

Equipment:

  • Beat-up Blaster Pistol [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 07, Ammo: 12, R#04.]
  • Spare Power Pack [Body: 03, R#: 02, serves as Ammo: 12 for a depleted Blaster Pistol.]
  • ARMOR [/BODY/ 06, Armor is Partial — can be avoided with a +2 CS Trick Shot.]

Design notes

  • For this character to be used to his full potential, you need stats for lots of alien beasties. Such futuristic alien critters will eventually be featured on WORG, I hope, in the 30th century Bestiary.
  • Animal Man 2995’s main power is Transform, from the Blood of Heroes rules. His Power has several Bonuses and Limitations that make it function a little differently from the version in the book. As per normal, those Bonuses and Limitations are noted in the stats block; the standard version of the Power is included in the New Rules section at the end of the writeup.


New rules – Transform (BoH: SE, p 105)

Link: Will
Range: Touch
Base Cost: 35
Mental Power
Type:
Dice
Factor Cost: 10

Transform allows the user to transform a target Character into an animal of the user’s choice, as though the target is forced to use the Shape Change Power. AV/EV of the Dice Action equals APs of Transform, and OV/RV equals the target’s Int/Mind. If RAPs exceed the target’s APs of Mind, he is transformed.

Transform is automatic for voluntary targets. Involuntary targets are transformed for Phases equal to RAPs achieved, and voluntary targets are transformed for time equal to APs of Power. RAPs from cumulative Transform Attacks may extend this time. This Power will not work on the user himself, who requires the Shape Change Power to transform. APs of Transform do not add to the APs of the changed animal.

A Transformed target may attempt to change back to normal through an Action Check with AV/EV equal to his Will/Will against OV/RVs equal to the RAPs achieved in the original Transform Attack. If cumulative RAPs from this Action Check equal or exceed the Transform RAPs, the opponent is back to normal. The user of this Power may remove the Shape Change at any time.

This Power may be purchased with the following Factor Cost Bonuses: Target does not have use of Powers while Transformed (+3 FC); Humanoids Allowed (+1 FC); Can Assume Imagined Animal Form (+3 FC). These last two Bonuses work the same way as the ones listed under the Shape Change Power.

This Power may also be purchased with the following special Factor Cost Limitations: Can Only Assume Limited Range Of Forms (birds, reptiles, creatures of the night, etc) (-2 FC); Can Only Assume One Specific Form (polar bear, white shark, etc.) (-4 FC).

If Mystic Linked, the OV/RV of a Transform Attack is changed to the target’s Infl/Spirit. The AV/EV of an attempt to change back to normal is changed to the targets Aura/Aura.

By Chris Cottingham

Source of Character: DCU (Adventure Comics #331) adapted by me

Helper(s): Jeff Gilbert (careful proofreading), Frank Murdock (interest and encouragement), Sébastien Andrivet (jogging the memory). There are also certainly bits of Trent the Transformer (from the Piers Anthony Xanth novels) in here. Yes, I liked many of the early volumes, I admit it.

Writeup completed on the 15th of April, 2011.

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