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”I don’t know what the final result of my work will be. I am not looking for an answer. I’m looking at all of the possible answers to figure out the question.”

Context

This character is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these characters were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

This specific character was created for the 2015 DC Heroes list Halloween contest. She earned one of the bronze medals (since two entries were tied for third place).


Background

  • Real Name: Alice Kinder
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 230 lbs
  • Eyes: Red Hair: Gray


Powers & Abilities

To facilitate her explorations of the ways in which the human body can be altered, the Apocalyst has cultivated considerable skill as a physician, engineer, and occultist. She has visibly applied some of these techniques to herself, resulting in an inhuman appearance and unusual means of locomotion. The latter varies but currently consists of membranous wings that allow her to glide.

Alice can also enter a state of suspended animation. She often does this as a form of meditative aid while considering particularly intractable experimental issues but has also used it on occasion when evading the authorities, literally going underground for extended periods to avoid detection.

To keep her subjects compliant, Alice has developed a number of techniques. These include traditional brainwashing, a cybernetic implant that can negate the superhuman abilities of others, and the mystic ability to control their actions or inflict debilitating pain.

The latter magical methods require the creation of a symbolic fetish incorporating a piece of the subject’s body such as a lock of hair or some drops of blood.

The Apocalyst usually has an isolated building of some kind with a laboratory for her research. At the moment this is an old mansion secluded in the woods, with an ever-expanding basement to house her experiments. Her last headquarters, an aerie built into the side of a mountain, was recently destroyed and she has not yet obtained the necessary resources to fully rebuild her operations (so to speak).


History

Though she was the child of Catholic parents, Alice’s personal rebirth was not from a religious revelation but rather during a chance encounter with Anton Arcane’s Un-Men during a family vacation to the Florida swamps.

At but a few years of age, Alice’s first memory of beauty was the irridescent shell of the insectoid form of one particular Un-Man. Her first memory of elegance was the mechanical yet smooth way that its leg moved as it ran. Her first memory of pain was the startling tearing sensation of the Un-Man ripping her lower right leg from her body just below her knee.

In the hospital and beyond, Alice found herself fascinated by the new mechanical prosthetic that replaced her lost limb. It reminded her of the un-man’s odd limbs and she found herself thinking of how she could change her walk to take advantage of it. She also appreciated that it felt no pain.

She did not feel unkindly toward her mutilator — she had already developed much of the detached affect that would define her as an adult and recognized that the Un-Man had only acted on instinct — but had an understandable desire to avoid such pain again.

Alice began adjusting her prosthetic leg at home using the physical and intellectual tools available to her as a child, with her parents’ encouragement. Alice had inherited her detached perspective from her parents, but they were fond of her nevertheless in their own way and were satisfied that she had found a hobby that might one day lead to a practical vocation.

A clever, dedicated youth, Alice expanded her studies into increasingly esoteric fields and began exploring biology and the occult as much as engineering.

The Beginning of the Apocalyst

A few years after she entered college, Alice’s parents died of natural causes. The inheritance from their estate and the knowledge she could now act without affecting their lives provided the freedom to move to her next stage.

While Alice’s parents had never held her back, she knew the paths she would need to travel to pursue her growing obsession with human alteration would have brought them grief. She had wanted a traditional education in biological science and engineering in any case, so it was no sacrifice to focus on that while waiting for them to pass.

But now that they were gone…

Alice dropped out of school and sought out projects in remote locations where she could put her education to use while studying other opportunities on the side. These included studies of biological, cybernetic, and mystical resources as well as conducting her own small experiments to connect all of the different domains of knowledge she was exploring.

This included moving higher and higher into projects that the rest of the world would consider increasingly dubious ethically. But the further she immersed herself, the more her obsession consumed her.

Finally she was ready to operate on her own, devoted solely to conducting her own experiments and expanding her research. In her recreational rereading of theosophical works she was struck by the word “apocalypse”, generally referring to a great disaster in modern parlance but in earlier times meaning revelation or disclosure of knowledge.

With faith that her discoveries would remake humanity and thus the world, she took the title of one who believed such an event was coming: The Apocalyst.

The Racket

To ensure her freedom to continue her experiments, the Apocalyst has developed a system that has been dubbed “The Racket” by international law enforcement. She has a memorized list of powerful personages who have a dear friend or loved one suffering from a lingering and incurable illness.

When the Apocalyst is in danger of captivity or needs additional resources for her work, she contacts the one most likely to be able to provide the appropriate assistance and offers a cure for that condition dependent on their fulfilling her requests.

Once she receives the boons she has asked for, Alice will release information on the necessary treatment to the general public along with providing her benefactor with specific samples or other items necessary to facilitate quickly curing their sick friend or family member.

This has caused her to be seen as a controversial figure as she has conducted horrific experiments but has also saved thousands of lives. The mitigating factor of the latter is the very reason she has chosen to release each cure to the public as part of the racket.

A few individuals have attempted to game the Racket to their misfortune. One person attempted to force the issue by creating difficulties for the Apocalyst and then offering their help in exchange for a cure.

When Alice learned of his perfidy, she saw to it that every friend and loved one of that person was inflicted with the same disease that he sought a cure for…and that he had brought this upon them.

A pharmaceutical company that was undercut by the Apocalyst releasing cures for several diseases that they were researching sought to cast doubt on the efficacy of her work. Alice identified their most profitable treatment and then released a virus that altered the disease so that the company’s treatment now worsened the condition.

As the lawsuits started rolling in, the Apocalyst gave a rival corporation a complete cure for that disease along with releasing forged documents suggesting the original company had developed a full cure some time ago but went with their lesser treatment because it was more profitable, a final one-two punch that ruined the company’s finances and reputation.

The Work Continues

The Apocalyst suffered a recent setback when her aerie headquarters in a mountain range was destroyed in a raid. She was able to unleash her latest round of failed experiments to hary the attackers while escaping but was forced to restart entirely anew elsewhere. She has relocated to an old secluded mansion in the deep woods and is slowly rebuilding her operations.


Description

Though she was born female the Apocalyst’s ongoing alterations of her body have rendered this moot in terms of her physical appearance. Her upper body is a slender, gaunt, pale white androgynous humanoid frame with arms slighty longer than the human norm, a fringe of stringy gray hair around her cranium, pale red eyes, and and a ridged bronze mouthpiece that looks like a stylized version of a grasshopper’s closed mandibles.

Alice’s lower body is a squat mechanized burnished bronze pedestal ending in a set of mechanical legs. The current arrangement resembles spider legs but the Apocalyst periodically alters the number, arrangement and articulation of her legs as an on-going study of optimal multi-pedal arrangements.

The Apocalyst’s gliding wings are a thin articulated framework that looks like a melding of the bones of batwings and copper umbrella arms supporting a membrane that is on the borderline between translucently-thin flesh and a spider’s web.

The Apocalyst’s only garb is a tan-colored thick rubber lab coat with a few sizeable pockets carrying various instruments and tools.

In keeping with her appearance, Alice’s body language is likewise inhuman. Her slow, flowing movements have an air of elegance with an odd sort of flourish, as if her movements are leaving streamers in the air that only she can see and appreciate.


Personality

Using her skills to discover the myriad ways the human body can be reshaped is the whole of the Apocalyst’s life. Even her recreational moments are taken only because she recognizes their importance for maintaining her mental and emotional acuity.

Though she has no personal regard for others’ feelings, the Apocalyst recognizes the importance of maintaining good relationships with potential assistants and partners. She will take any reasonable steps to assuage their concerns and keep their favor so long as it does not interfere with her pursuits.

She also tries to avoid inflicting physical or emotional distress upon her experimental subjects when possible, if for no other reason than being aware that such things will affect their physiological state and she wants to maintain a proper baseline for evaluating the results of her work.

Likewise, while Alice will attempt to ruthlessly eliminate anyone who is a threat to her or her work or carry out retaliation in direct response to interference, she does not hold grudges nor pursue revenge for its own sake. These are distractions from getting back to her obsession.

Though the Apocalyst does not hold to the faith of her parents, she still enjoys the writings and artwork of Catholic theosophists for sentimental and aesthetic reasons. This is demonstrated in her living spaces’ decor and occasional allusions and quotations in her written communiques.

A few people have tried to convince Alice of the error of her ways using her presumed faith as rhetorical leverage, to which she responds solely for the sake of the intellectual stimulation of debate but never with any true interest in altering her life’s path.


Quotes

“I know you are horrified. I wish you could see your transformation through my eyes, to realize how wonderful it might be. Alas, transposing my perspective is not a blessing that I have learned to bestow as yet.”

Assistant: “You always have the sound feeds from your cells playing in here. Do you revel in your subjects’ pain ?”
The Apocalyst: “Not at all. A fit parent does not enjoy their children’s cries, but they learn to interpret what they mean. Which cries mean their child is hungry, that they are tired, that they are in physical pain, that they want attention. Likewise, I’ve learned how my subjects express themselves. When they are howling in despair because they sense their end is near, if they wail in agony because their procedures twist their bodies uselessly… or when they give the birthing cries of something being reborn. Hmmm ! Upon consideration, that last kind of cry? I do revel in it after all.”

“I suppose you could label me a physician, an engineer, even a wizard. All of those are accurate in their own way. But I think the most fitting would be an artist. My canvas is the human body freed from the shackles of its initial innate biology. My aesthetic is that form follows function, and that with the right tools our functions can be so much more than we thought.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Apocalyst

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill Seeker
Int: 08 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Researcher
Inf: 05 Aur: 06 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 016 HP: 023

Powers:
Control (ML): 06, Gliding: 08, Neutralize: 05, Suspension: 05, Voodoo: 08

Bonuses and Limitations:
Using Control on an individual requires the same sort of avatar as Voodoo – the same representative object can be used to apply either Power to the same person (-2FC to Control).

Skills:
Gadgetry: 06, Medicine (including Brainwashing and Enhancement): 09, Occultist: 06

Advantages
Expansive Headquarters (Mansion w/ 6 AP Laboratory), Familiarities (Animal Physiology, Catholic Theosophical Literature and Art, “The Racket” List), Gift of Gab, Iron Nerves, Magical Background, Scholar (Scientific School of Magic)

Connections:
None

Drawbacks:
Forced Exile (Mainstream Society), SIF (Not being able to continue her work), Strange Appearance

Equipment:
The Apocalyst’s standard research involves permanent alteration by means of surgical procedure, cybernetic enhancement, mystic transformation, or a combination of the above. However, she has on occasion explored drugs as another vector for change. She currently has no samples of the following due to her recent forced relocation.

VELOCITY-9 DRUG [Superspeed: 09, Limitations: each dose only lasts for 15 APs (one day), regular use of V-9 causes a CIA to taking superspeed drugs, an SPI (violent paranoid psychosis), and each use after addiction attacks the user’s Body with an AV/EV of 04 — any damage taken is permanently subtracted from the user’s Body.]
This superspeed drug was created by scientists working for Vandal Savage. Inspired by it, the Apocalyst gathered samples and tried creating her own variant, XLR-8.

XLR-8 [Superspeed: 08, Limitations: XLR-8 is only safe for the first 9 APs after taking it ; then the user goes into a Rage as if possessing that Drawback and gets Flame Being at APs equal to their BODY that also attack the user each phase. When the user dies (reaches negative BODY APs of Current Body Condition) their body explodes with Bomb: 04]
This was an attempt to create a cleaner version of Velocity-9. It serves this purpose well for the first half-hour, after which the users metabolism quickly accelerates beyond control until the victim catches fire and then explodes.

HardRock [Power Reserve (STR & BODY): 04, Skin Armor: 01, Catastrophic Rage, Limitations: Power Reserve must be evenly distributed between STR and BODY; After the first two hours of use, Skin Armor gains 1 AP per hour while all Physical Attributes lose 1 AP at the same time. Once a Physical Attribute reaches 0 APs, the APs that would have been subtracted from that Attribute in subsequent hours are subtracted from Current BODY Condition instead until the user dies.]


Building a Mystery

As a quick way to populate the Apocalyst’s lab with test subjects, the GM can use baseline stats (02 APs in all Attributes) and then apply the Mutation Power, rolling on the chart three times. The first is for chemical/surgical alteration, the second is for cybernetic alteration, and the final roll is for mystical alteration with the rolled Power being Mystic Linked.

If the same result is rolled more than once the result is stacked using normal math rather than AP math and the nature of the Power is a mix of rolled categories. For example, if the first and second rolls both resulted in “2 APs of Flight” then the final result would be 4 APs of Flight with wings that were a combination of machinery and flesh.

The Powers in this use of Mutation are permanent unless undone by subsequent surgeons and/or occultists as appropriate. In addition to Strange Appearance the subjects will often have either an SPR or a CPI either as a result of the alterations themselves or due to the trauma of being forcibly altered.

If the Apocalyst is forced to abandon her current headquarters due to a raid, she may dose her subjects with XLR-8 or HardRock to further boost their abilities and then release them to provide a human smokescreen for her escape.


Getting There is Half the Fun

For sentimental reasons, the Apocalyst frequently explores different types of locomotion as a form of relaxation. So when she has some down time while waiting for test results on an experiment or needs a break while contemplating a seemingly-intractable research obstacle, the Apocalyst will tinker with her own body.

She currently has Gliding as she built herself a pair of retractable wings to flit about the aerie she was previously based in, but future encounters may see her exchange that for other movement Powers. Previous examples, which she may exchange with Gliding between scenarios, include Air Walking: 01, Cling: 04, Jumping: 03, Running: 05, and Swimming: 05


Design notes

This is the character as rolled with the following exceptions: added a thematic Limitation to Control, specified that Brainwashing and Enhancement were included Subsills with Medicine, purchased a Lab with some of the HPs rolled for the character, and added three Familiarities.

The character was rolled as having no equipment, which I skated around by providing stats for enhancement drugs she had developed but noting that she currently had no doses available.


By Roy Cowan

Source of Character: The 2015 Halloween/Fall Character Contest

Helper(s): My original writeup of the post-Crisis Crime Syndicate version of Johnny Quick. I’d included a speculative history that has since been removed from that writeup and had intended to write up an original character using concepts from that work. Since it meshed so well with what I came up with here, I’ve grafted those elements into the background of this character.

Writeup completed on the 14th of November, 2015.

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