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Babaeng Lawin (Ehra Madrigal as the Darna enemy)

Babaeng Lawin

(Lady Falcon)


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

Context

Babaeng Lawin is another classic Golden Age Darna villainess that has been updated in the recent series.

Like many of the Darna villainesses, she has a complex and tragic origin, and makes for an interesting character. I have to wonder how many elements of this character may have inspired characters like Wolverine or were inspired by those characters and later overlaid onto this character.

Her name translates a little more easily than some of the villainesses. ”Babaeng” is woman or lady. ”Lawin” is hawk or falcon. So any combination pretty much works.

The most common variations appearing on the internet are “Hawk Woman” and “Lady Falcon” (which the fansub I watched used). I’m also using the latter, since it prevents confusion with DC’s Hawk Woman or the 1985 Michelle Pfeiffer movie.


Background

  • Real Name: Armida.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Father Mateo (Brother).
  • Group Affiliation: Unnamed quartet of Villainesses opposing Darna.
  • Base Of Operations: San Martin (filmed in Plaridel, in the province of Bulacan).
  • Height: 5’4” Weight: 95 lbs by appearance, about 60-70 lbs actual.
  • Eyes: Purple Hair: Brown.
  • Other distinguishing features: She has a small “Makers mark” of 3 dots forming an equilateral triangle on her left hand. Doctors Montgomery and Morgan put this mark on all their experiments.


Powers & Abilities

Armida was an accomplished gymnast and trapeze artist before being dropped by her brother, which shattered the bones in her legs. Until then, she was a superb athlete with near peak human level conditioning.

After her bones were replaced with Element X, her skeletal structure was enhanced to be “as strong as steel but as light as air.” Not only did this repair the damage done to her shattered bones, but gave her enhanced strength and durability.

Armida is unique as being the only subject to survive this process, which indicates there may be unrevealed aspects to her biological physiology, like enhanced healing or endurance. But this isn’t clearly shown or stated in the show. The original comic character, on the other hand, was born with superhuman strength and agility.

The sound of her wings

Her body was altered even further with cybernetic wings which allowed her to fly and to create powerful gusts of wind by flapping them vigorously. More recently, her wings and cybernetics were upgraded giving her the ability to shoot razor like feathers, and allowing her to be “rebooted” remotely in the event she is defeated.

While she was intended to be a weapon by her creators, she isn’t easily controlled. She adapts to whatever mechanisms are put in place to keep her in line.

Finally, for a time she had acquired Darna’s enhanced speed, boosting her flight and other movement speeds to be able to outfly a private jet. She learned several tricks controlling the air with her speed similar to The Flash. She also seemed to adapt these tricks by using her wings to simulate the speed.


History

The Origin Story

Armida was a circus acrobat and trapeze artist along with her brother, Mateo, in the 1940s. They were famous across the country and were beginning to gain some international notoriety when Armida fell in love. A young man named Ramil courted Armida and wanted her to leave the circus life to marry.

Mateo was furious. He thought Ramil was just a gold digger. He also didn’t want his sister to leave the act now that they were so close to breaking into international stardom.

Armida stood firm and the two argued. Mateo lost his temper and the next time they did their act he let her fall from the trapeze rather than catching her. She broke the bones in both her feet and legs in the fall, crippling her.

Armida was filled with bitterness after the “accident.” Worse, Ramil left her shortly after that, which Mateo took as justification for his low opinion of her lover. Armida felt trapped, and constantly argued with her brother.

Perhaps out of guilt, he made her a cart with wheels so she could get around. She used it to run away. On the streets, she encountered cruelty. Children would make fun of her disability and became even angrier at the world. That seemed to change when she met Dr. Montgomery.

Trust him, he’s a doctor

Dr. Montgomery promised to fix her legs and more. He injected her with a mysterious Element X, which slowly augmented her bones. This granted her superhuman strength and durability. He also crafted wings which he fused to her body (apparently made out of the same element), and marked her hand as his experiment.

At first it seemed he had given Armida what she wanted. As he tested her skills and taught her how to use her new abilities, it soon became apparent that he just wanted to continue experimenting on her and make her into some sort of weapon.

Unbeknownst to her, she had been the first of his experiments to survive the process. Thus, he planned not to let her go free until he understood what it was in her physiology that had allowed her to survive.

Armida just knew that she felt like a guinea pig and trapped by her circumstances. Full of rage and bitterness, Armida realized that Dr. Montgomery had given her the tools to free herself. She decided to avenge herself on all those who had wronged or tried to imprison her.

She murdered Dr. Mongomery and escaped. She found Ramil on his wedding day. Swooping in, she scooped him up into the sky and dropped him, killing her ex-lover. She attempted to do the same thing to Mateo, but he managed to grab onto a tree before she got him high enough in the air. Mateo begged forgiveness and she left him alone- for the time being.

Villainess Team up!

She soon teamed up with other villainesses pitted against the hero Darna. They went on a rampage, nearly defeating Darna by catching her in her mortal form (presumably also named Narda) before she could transform.

Narda was forced to reveal the secret of how she became Darna, swallowing the stone in front of them. Darna managed to somehow freeze them all in a block of ice in the ocean that would contain them for nearly 6 decades.

Babaeng Lawin (Ehra Madrigal) fights soldiers at super-speed

In 2009, a tsunami washed four of the villainesses in ice ashore. They were taken by scientists under the leadership of Dr. Morgan. He wanted to study them and determine if there was something in their DNA that could give powers to normal people.

The inevitable return

The scientists were surprised to find the women were still alive. The villainesses soon thawed out and escaped.

The villainesses began their rampage anew, killing several villagers. They called out Darna, but found that she was now just a spirit holding the stone until a new host could take on the role. Threatening to destroy the town and everyone in it, they forced the Keeper of the Stone to give it to them.

Stealing its power with the help of Lady Leech’s abilities, they each gained one of Darna’s primary powers.

However, the spirit of Darna contained within the stone opened a dimensional portal and temporarily trapped them into a limbo dimension. They would each be freed one by one in an indeterminate amount of time.

Pulling the wings off flies

Armida was the second one freed. After coming through the portal back into our own dimension, she found herself in a crystalline prison, having to break through it to escape.

She quickly found that she had absorbed Darna’s incredible speed, and was able to fly and react faster than she ever had before. She decided to track down her brother and avenge herself on him once more. But instead, she soon encountered Darna.

She interfered with Darna’s apprehension of a local crime lord named Shiro. She grabbed him and used him to taunt Darna, clearly mocking her with the speed she had stolen. Putting him back on the ground, she fought Darna, and in the altercation Darna managed to rip off Babaeng Lawin’s wings.

Buying Shiro time, his mother threw herself off the top of a building, forcing Darna to save her. Meanwhile, Shiro and his gang grabbed the stunned Armida and made a hasty exit. Unable to fully defeat Armida, Darna was unable to regain her power of speed from her.

Shiro’s plot

Shiro had a doctor examine Armida. He sedated her and concluded that while she had been momentarily stunned by the removal of her wings, that she was fine. Shiro helped Armida recover her strength. He plotted to get her wings back for her by kidnapping Darna’s friend, Ding, and trading him for the wings.

His plan worked flawlessly. He even provided for an escape by tying Ding to a train track, since Darna had to search for the right track and rescue him before he was hit by a train.

Shiro called on Dr. Danilo Morgan, Dr. Montgomery’s grandson, to reattach Armida’s wings. Dr. Morgan was thrilled for the opportunity as he excitedly studied Armida. He set about to repair her wings. He even upgraded them with projectile blades firing from the feathers.

Unbeknownst to both of them, Armida had overheard Shiro tell his lieutenant (and probable girlfriend, considering her jealousy), Liberty, that he had befriended Armida and showed her such kindness because he wanted her to do the Bazooka Gang’s bidding.

Once she recovered, she tried to escape, but the gang managed to entangle her in nets that prevented her from using her wings.

To help control her, Dr. Morgan attached a shock collar around her neck and gave Shiro the control. However, as they trained her in her abilities, she began to build a tolerance to the pain it caused, unbeknownst to them. One day they decided to run a speed test.

She boldly announced that she knew the best test for her speed. She flew down to snatch the control from Shiro’s hands and flew away.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Armida found out from a newspaper that her brother had become a priest in repentance for what he had done to her. Still seeking vengeance, she flew to the church and confronted him. She, in turn, was confronted by the stern head of the orphanage, Ms. Perfecta.

She revealed that she should be the one seeking vengeance. She had been the one who married Ramil when Armida killed him on his wedding day. Outraged, Armida grabbed them both, flying into the sky.

As Darna began to intercede, Armida dropped them both, trying to force he to decide whom to save. However, Mateo’s acrobat background served him well as he grabbed Armida’s leg, allowing Darna to concentrate on saving Ms. Perfecta.

Showdown against Darna

Once Perfecta was safe, Darna returned and pried Mateo from his sister. Mateo explained that he had wanted to die for what he had done and tried to make Darna promise not to kill his sister. Darna could only respond that she would try to get her to surrender, but ultimately Armida was responsible for her own destiny.

Thwarted in her plans to kill Mateo, Armida decided to go after Shiro and have vengeance on him instead. Catching up to him after he had boarded a plane trying to escape, Armida shot the plane down with a rocket launcher in her back (presumably one of the upgrades provided by Dr. Morgan).

Darna caught up to her by then, too late to save Shiro. Babaeng Lawin tried to kill Darna with her bladed feathers and superior speed, but Darna managed to catch one, and then put it in her path allowing her to impale herself on it.

Unconscious, Babaeng Lawin fell from the sky into the ocean.

Villainess Team Up Redux!

Eventually Armida was pulled out of the ocean by a fisherman and her body “rebooted” remotely by Professor Morgan. She once again confronted her brother and attempted to kill his adopted son, only to be stopped once again by Darna. Darna had become even more formidable by reacquiring her invulnerability from Babaeng Tuod, causing Armida to retreat.

With the help of one of Babeng Tuod’s side-kicks, Babaeng Lawin found Tuod’s body and revived her by tossing her in the ocean and allowing her to absorb the water. Tuod shared her knowledge that Darna was secretly Narda. The pair then schemed to get the magic stone away from the unwary girl on her wedding day.

Armida returned to the church and made a show of forgiving her brother publicly, so everyone would lower their guard. On Narda’s wedding day, they attacked and even managed to get the stone away from Narda. However, Ding chided each of them about trusting the other with the stone until infighting ensued.

Ding managed to get the stone back from the villainous vixens and threw it into Narda’s mouth, allowing her to transform into Darna! However, Armida shot Ding with one of her razor feathers and Darna flew Ding to the hospital while the wicked women escaped.

Armida then kidnapped some orphans and faced Darna at an abandoned logging factory. In the ensuing fight, she tried to cut off Darna’s arm with the industrial buzz saw. But Darna reversed places with her, cutting off Armida’s arm once again defeating her and regaining her speed.


Description

Babaeng Lawin is a short athletic Asian woman with striking, purple eyes and silver lips. She keeps her dark hair in a single, long braid.

She wears a silver and black jumpsuit and metallic armor on her arms that matches her large metal wings. She has visible cybernetic implants on her back and around her eyes.


Personality

Armida was once a loving woman who was rejected and as a result feels deeply betrayed. She has nursed her vengeful streak into a full rage.

If someone shows her affection, she can react with surprising gentility. However, if she feels dominated, smothered or abused, she reacts with ferocity.


Quotes

“Are you afraid to fly ? You said you want to go to heaven. But you don’t fit there.” (Dropping her victim) “Say hello to Satan for me !”

“I have my wings, so I don’t need you anymore. You’re just using me for you own interests. I heard you say that, Shiro. I was once a slave and prisoner to people like you. It won’t happen again !”

“People like you don’t have a right to live in this world !”

(Speaking of her disability) “I felt like a bird with its wings clipped in a cage.”

“All my plans of revenge failed because of you, Darna ! So now, I will kill you first !”


DC Universe History

Obviously Babaeng Lawin is a result of Thanagarian technology. Element X is some raw form of Nth Metal, which accounts for it’s durability as well as its gravity defying processes.

Dr. Montgomery had come into possession of an amount of it from a crashed Thanagarian transport vessel and managed to reverse engineer some of the technology on the ship.

Obsessed with trying to understand and utilize this technology, he experimented on the homeless believing that no one would miss them. Some of his notes were later discovered by Silas Stone who lacked the Nth Metal, but was able to use other alloys to make similar discoveries.


Marvel Universe History

Obviously, Babaeng Lawin was one of the first rudimentary experiments of the Weapon X program, which actually derived its name from Element X, which would later be called Adamantium . During the 40s when Babaeng Lawin was created, the Philippines was a territory of the United States.

Dr. Montgomery was one of the first scientists to experiment with Element X and was the first to test the idea of binding it with a skeleton, and had highly advanced ideas in cybernetics. He was working on the first experiments which would eventually culminate in the Super Soldier and Weapon X programs.


Other Universes History

Much like other Filipino heroes and villains, Babeng Lawin could be dropped into pretty much any comic universe as is. Most of the main comic companies sparsely populate Southeast Asia, and her back story is relatively self-contained.

You could easily have Dr. Montgomery have survived her escape attempt and manage to shut her down and put her in cold storage, or to have her entire back story to take place in the modern day.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Babaeng Lawin (Lady Falcon)

Dex: 08 Str: 07 Bod: 08 Motivation: Psychopathic
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Super Villainess
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 016 HP: 075

Powers:
Skin Armor: 02, Gravity Decrease: 01, Kinetic Absorption: 02, Telescopic Vision: 06, Suspension: 30, Invulnerability: 11, Mind over Matter: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Suspension is automatically activated when Babaeng Impakta’s Current BODY drops below 0 due to damage from cold or suffocation/drowning. In her case this is mentioned as her “automatic shutdown” sequence and will automatically occur if she’s fully submerged.
  • Gravity Decrease is self only, innate and always on. This is due to her bones being “as light as air.”
  • Kinetic Absorption is structural damage only.
  • Invulnerability is remotely activated and cannot be activated if Babaeng Lawin is under water. This is a ’reboot‘ chip Dr. Morgan put into her cybernetics and currently is controlled by his computer.
  • Mind over Matter only usable against bashing electrical damage.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 08

Advantages
Language (Tagalog, English), Misc. (Babaeng Lawin’s bones have been replaced with Element X, although it is unclear if this gives her any special protection from having her bones broken, or just allows her higher Body), Stabilization, Misc. (Much of her body has been cybernetically enhanced and can be repaired like a gadget instead of a medical check).

Connections:
Babaeng Impakta (High), Babaeng Tuod (High), Babaeng Linta (High), Shiro and The Bazooka Gang syndicate (Low), Dr. Danilo Morgan (Low).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Cybernetics), Attack Vulnerability (Entanglement attacks on her wings, -2CS to RV), Attack Vulnerability (Electrical attacks, -1 CS to RV), MIH (Imprisonment), Cannot Heal (25- Much of her body is cybernetic and she has difficulty recovering from damage without medical attention or being repaired electronically when her more mechanical parts are damaged).

Genre:
Mock Real.

Equipment:
WINGS [BODY 10, Flight: 08, Projectile Weapons: 05, Claws: 05, Super Breath: 08, Skin Armor: 02, Air Control: 08 Notes : Wings are retractable into a small, metallic, backpack-like hump on her body. Bonuses & Limitations: Flight is winged; Super Breath and Air Control are contingent on her wings and Flight ability.].


Design notes

Telescopic vision is somewhat speculative; but considering most flyers like her have it to be able to see at the distance they’re flying, and the visible cybernetic implants around her eyes, it seems logical.

Armida had Darna’s Superspeed 10. Her Air Control was first demonstrated as a Power Trick from the Superspeed, but she later used it hovering in place and generating a tornado with her wings.

From a gaming perspective, I presume the Superspeed gave Armida’s player the idea, but that she eventually bought the power (and Super Breath) contingent on her Flight; or a generous GM allowed her to reassign the limitation after losing the Superspeed.

Armida was the only patient ever to survive Dr. Montgomery’s procedure. While not included on this write-up, Armida may have (or had) Systemic Antidote or Regeneration as part of her normal physiology, or some other ability that helped her survive this process.

According to the Darna wiki, the original comic character had been born with some superhuman strength and agility, which would also seem to support this hypothesis.


By Adam Fuqua.

Source of Character: Darna 2009 GMA TV series, character portrayed by Ehra Madrigal.

Helper(s): The Darna Wiki, Dr Peter and Sébastien’s Wolverine and Archangel write-ups, respectively, to help get a feel for how her bones and wings can reflect in her abilities.

Writeup completed on the 1st of May, 2013.

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