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1990s Aquaman over a white background

Aquaman

(Arthur Curry) (Gisted)


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

Context

This is a gisted profile about Aquaman (Arthur Curry) in the DC Universe. This was written in the second half of the 1990s, so it covers his post-Crisis On Infinite Earths career up to that point and considers that the “hook-hand” is his normal state.

As with many of these old profiles, the chief goal was to establish a shared benchmark about his game stats, then add various primers for the benefit of those less familiar with the character.


Background

  • Real Name: Orin Arthur Curry
  • Marital Status: Divorced
  • Known Relatives: Atlanna (mother, deceased), Atlan (father, deceased), Orm (Ocean Master, half-brother), Arthur Junior (son, deceased), AJ (possible son, living in another dimension), Mera (former wife), Koryak (son, exiled from Atlantis)
  • Group Affiliation: JLA
  • Base Of Operations: Poseidonis (also has a refuge commonly known as the Aquacave)
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 325lbs
  • Eyes: Aqua blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

Since he’s adapted to moving in the depth of the ocean, Aquaman’s speed, power and resilience are fearsome to behold.

Tese assets are topped with an experienced, intelligent mind and a… powerful personality. His hearing and vision are likewise enhanced to function in the ocean’s depth.

Aquaman pointing his harpoon hand

While before Aquaman had telepathic abilities and a certain command over sea life his newly opened link to the Clear has opened up a whole new world to him. The Clear can best be likened to the Green of the Swamp Thing, it is a universal consciousness of all sea life.

Via it he can communicate or command sea life on the other side of the planet. He can see what they see and much more what he is only beginning to realize. He can also push his telepathic powers to reach out to the higher land creatures to find that element of their brains that dates to their ancestors’ time in the ocean.

Since his left hand was severed by piranha he has used a prosthetic hook developed by STAR Labs that he can control psionically  so it can become almost any shape. Basic uses include being able to shoot a thin cord to ensnare an enemy, or being used as a rope for climbing or swinging. The blade is also able to drill through objects.

The prothesis can be retracted into its housing, and covered with the fake hand.


History

The mysterious sorcerer Atlan was father by Queen Atlanna of Atlantis to the adventurer known as Aquaman and by an Eskimo woman to the villain known as Ocean Master. Thereby he satisfied the ancient Atlantis prophesy that two brothers will always be battling over the fate of Atlantis.

When Aquaman was born as Orin, he was left by King Trevis to die on Mercy Reef, so called because it was used by the water breathers to leave others of their kind to die as the waters receded with the tides exposing them to the open air.

However Orin was no normal child, abandoned because of a disturbing similarity between Orin and an ancient Atlantis monster known as Kordax. It was this Curse of Kordax, of having fair hair, that caused the abandonment of Orin to the air.

1980s Aquaman model sheet and coloring guide

As the waters drew back Orin was nurtured by the warming effects of the sun. He was truly of both worlds able to breathe both water and air. He was raised by the female dolphin named Porm and wandered with her pod across the oceans. While a teenager Orin was found by the lighthouse keeper Arthur Curry.

It was this kindly lighthouse keeper that was to be Orin’s first prolonged exposure to humanity. Arthur raised him as he was his own son, teaching him the ways of the surface world and how to read.

After Arthur Curry disappeared Orin took the name as a mark of respect. Orin swam north and lived for months above and below the water avoiding all human contact until one fateful date he saved a young Eskimo woman by the name of Kako from a rampaging polar bear.

Perhaps it was destiny that had drawn Orin there but it brought about the first meeting between him and his half brother Orm who was deeply jealous of Orin and Kako. He set in motions that would lead to Orin being driven out of the settlement.

Orin returned to the seas, he crossed paths with humans from time to time but for the most parts he stayed well out of the reach of humanity. Until one fateful day Orin happened on the city of his birth. Quite by accident he had found Atlantis. He was captured by the then dictatorial government of the city and placed in the prison camp.

He was help with another prisoner Vulko who taught Orin the language and ways of the Atlanteans.

A clear screen separated the male from female prisoners and through it he kept getting glances of a woman that he instinctively knew as his mother. When she appeared at the screen no more he knew that she was dead, there was no longer anything to keep Orin in this foreign city. He broke out and fled back to his endless oceans.

1970s Aquaman fighting underwater

As time passed Aquaman took more of an interest in the surface world. The media began to call him a superhero and he was christened Aquaman by Barry Allen (aka Flash II). Not long afterwards he became a founding member of the Justice League of America, an organization he would even lead for a time.

When he eventually returned to Atlantis, though he was surprised to discover that Vulko had led the overthrow of the oppressive religious regime, inspired by Aquaman. He was recognized as the son of Queen Atlanna and so he became the King of Atlantis.

Times were happy for Aquaman, the new ruling house of Atlantis slowly reintroduced it to the outside world and the society and it ruler grew together in peace. He met Aqualad, who became his friend and almost-son. He married Mera, a queen from another dimension, and had (another) son with her. Life was going great !

But, of course, there were those that would oppose his rule and the supervillain called the Shark deposed Orin for a time. Once the Shark was defeated Aquaman refused to take up the throne, once more preferring to act more as the traditional superhero (a title what he would come to hate).

The cost was high when the villain Black Manta succeeded in killing Aquaman’s young son, and Aquaman lost the trust of Aqualad at the same time.

The death of Arthur Jr. put a rift between Orin and Mera so they tried relocating to a flooded city on the East Coast as a change of scene. It was during this time that as Aquaman he sought to reform the Justice League.

Actually going in front of the United Nations he disbanded the Justice League and later reformed it only taking dedicated individuals and four new young heroes in the guise of Vibe, Vixen, Steel II and Gypsy. Accustomed to the rank of monarch, his leadership style was harsh and caused authority problems with some of the younger members. Eventually Aquaman would leave this League.

2000s Aquaman with cybernetic hand

But, meanwhile, Mera had been driven insane by grief and had been committed to an asylum in Atlantis. Shortly afterwards an alien force took the city while Orin, on a quest of revenger against Manta, was away. Orin was forced to save the city and in the process was hampered by an escaped Mera who personally blamed Orin for the death of their son. In a fit of rage she left this dimension.

After Atlantis was freed Orin remained tied to the city. For a time he served as it’s representative to the United Nations but always finding himself thrust into the superhero role.

Becoming more and more of a workaholic and solitary figure he returned to the oceans where he eventually learnt the truth (from the old Chronicles of Atlantis that he how keeps) about his birth and the Ocean Master was actually his half brother.

Spurred on by Aqualad, Orin was forced to return to action where he lost his hand. The shock caused him to become delirious he experienced dreams filled with portents and omens, of things to come and things’ past.

Shortly afterwards he adopted a harpoon in place of his hand (later to be upgraded to advanced STAR labs psionically controlled model) and set out to protect the seas in his own way. Making friends along the way he started a romance with the mysterious girl named Dolphin, little knowing that she was being controlled by the monster Kordax in an effort to kill him.

Lost to all diplomacy, Orin found himself fighting former allies such as Superboy and even gaining the respect of Lobo of all people. He found himself reacting to the world around him rather than acting, discovering he had a son in the form of Koryax and that his former lover Kako had become the latest fire elemental.

Meanwhile, behind his back, King Thesily, the current monarch of Atlantis, was plotting to kill Orin. He was driven by jealously due to the place that Aquaman had in the hearts of his subjects. In the end Thesily was killed during an earthquake, one of the many that forced the Poseidonians to flee to Tritonis as the city began to rise to the surface.

Aquaman by Erik Larsen (presumably)

Koryax lead the Poseidonians away as Orin returned. Orin was forced to deal with the aftermath of his meeting with Thanatos (who had been using Atlantean equipment to broadcast threats in the guise of Aquaman) by battling the current Justice League who had come to investigate with the now floating city of Poseidonis.

Not long afterwards Orin bonded with the ancient cybernetic entity that the Hunters had left to observe Atlantis. In the process he learnt of the impending return of the Hunter/Gathers and so began an epic struggle to gather together the ancient cities of Atlantis under one banner.

He united all the undersea forces and many of the water related superheroes while at the same time having to contend with the return of Kordax who was telepathically controlling the citizens of Poseidonis.

The Hunter/Gathers had returned to Earth and had begun wooing the surface world around to their overtures of peace. However only the undersea forces of Aquaman knew the truth. Assembling a task force of undersea superheroes Aquaman took the battle to the Hunter/Gathers at the White House.

They tried to convince Aquaman of their worth by allowing him a glimpse of future powers, but he refused and tricked them into revealing their plans to the world. The Hunter/Gathers were then forced to retreat.

During the battle with the Hunter/Gathers Orin had become more and more the Monarch of Atlantis. However there was a difference, whereas before he had been only acting what he thought that a king should do, he now was truly acting as a king should, ruling the subjects below him.

Aquaman swimming with harpoon hand

The change did not sit easily with Orin. Having a magical heritage and destiny he began to feel the inner conflict physically. His body became mutated, his hand webbed and his skin scaled, and then he went mad after his dolphin mother was killed by a Japanese dolphin hunter seeking revenge.

He lost control of his powers, which he learned were more formidable than he suspected. He endangered the world enough for the Earth Elemental, Swamp Thing, to step in.

The Swamp Thing awakened Aquaman to his true nature via a form of vision quest into the past of Atlantis. He saw the origin of Kordax as a frightened young boy and not the monster that he became. After finding himself again, he asked the sea life to forgive him, and accept him again as their King.

In his insanity, though, the sea had fled to the protection of Poseidon, and he had to fight Poseidon’s son Triton to regain his status. When he won (partially because Triton let him win), a ticked off Poseidon gave him the power of a god to show him that he can’t handle it.

Instantly blinded Aquaman discovered that Poseidon has opened a link between Aquaman and the Clear (the unified life energy field of all ocean life). His sight slowly returned and with the help of Animal Man he discovered that he also possessed the ability of echolocation.

The new abilities that Aquaman now possesses reinforces his dominion over the creatures of the sea and it’s inhabitants. He has established the position of Poseidonis in the surface world (even to the extent of a trial period where he opened it up to tourists).

However his actions have not won universal acclaim amongst the people of the city. Vulko in particular feels as if he is out the decision making loop now that Aquaman is making his own decisions as King.

Troubles brew for Aquaman in every corner, Triton recently killed his father and now sees Aquaman as his main obstacle between his goal of supreme command of the element of water. After killing Atlan and Poseidon, Triton killed Aquaman and took over the city.

Aquaman, in the mythical underworld of Hades, saved Poseidon and returned to life, defeating Triton with Poseidon’s help. Then Aquaman went off to another dimension to save Mera, returned and exiled his son Koryak, and had a birthday party. Then the series began being written by Larsen, who left. 🙂


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

As for Arthur’s current personality, well… The idea is that Arthur is “a bombastic… warrior-king” a man of great melancholy and great mirth (where have I heard that before 😉 ).

Basically, under the sea Arthur is a king and he expects to be treated as such. Those who enter his realm must to defer to his wisdom. He speaks his mind regardless of the consequences and his word is not questioned except by his closest friends and advisors… but not often, even by Vulko.

He rules Atlantis with an iron hand, which is just as well since the Atlanteans, with very few exceptions, are an ugly assortment of hateful bigots and mindless sheep. Of course, part of the harshness with which Arthur treats the Atlantean population could be payback for their treatment of him through his young life.

Aquaman in his mid-1980s blue camouflage costume

On land, Arthur quickly fills the role of first-rank hero and all-around curmudgeon. According to recent sources, Arthur isn’t very vocal in the heroic community choosing instead to keep his own council. That could be because Grant Morrison has admitted in interviews that Aquaman is/was the hardest JLA member to script.

In the JLA PBEM that is just now restarting, I’ve tried to play Arthur as Eyeore. Almost always dour, quick to point out flaws in a theory/plan, but nevertheless loyal to his friends.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Aquaman

Dex: 10 Str: 09 Bod: 09 Motivation: Upholding Good
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Protector of the seas
Inf: 08 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 05
Init: 028 HP: 060

Powers:
Animal Control: 17, Animal Summoning: 20, Cold immunity: 02, Control: 08, Density Increase: 01, Empathy: 20, Extended hearing: 02, Eyes of the cat: 24, Jumping: 02, Sonar: 04, Speak with Animals: 20, Swimming: 07, Telepathy: 06, Ultra Vision: 07, Water Freedom: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Animal control, Animal summoning, Control, Eyes of the Cat, Speak with animals work only on marine life forms (-2)
  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In (-1)
  • Empathy can work on land creatures, but only with 6 APs of power (+1)

Skills:
Animal Handling (sea life): 06, Vehicles: 06, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Languages (undersea languages, Inuit)

Connections:
Poseidonis (High), JLA (High), Tempest (High), Dolphin (Low)

Drawbacks:
Authority Figure, Dependents, Public ID, Fatal Vulnerability (to lack of water. Pre-Crisis time limit was one hour, now is uncertain and depends on air moisture), Serious Physical Restriction (one hand)

Equipment:

  • CYBERNETIC LEFT HAND [BODY 08, EV 10, Omni-arm: 04, Limitation: Omni-arm is limited to simple shapes without moving parts (-1)]
  • COSTUME [/BODY/ 10, Bonus: prevent his Fatal Vulnerability from being active for 15 APs of time]
  • UNDERWATER CAMOUFLAGE SUIT [BODY 06, Thief (stealth): 06, Limitation : Thief only works underwater. Yes, we know that his Thief is higher when used Unskilled, but many people houserule that point, so…]

By Sébastien Andrivet ; v1 is the one in the rulebook, v2 by Rob Maple

Source of Character: Aquaman comics (DCU)

Helper(s): Vinnie (for the personality section), Steven Howard, Secret Files issue of Aquaman, Dan, Kal El el Vigilante and Roy Cowan – plus three defunct sites (www.eskimo.com/~tegan/aqua ; web.aimnet.com/~hyperion/star_labs/aquaman/aquaman.html ; home.get2net.dk/DC.Guide/Aquaman_Bio.html#AQUAMAN)

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