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Bengal (Duc No Tranh) with a shuriken

Bengal

(Profile #2 - Initiative)


Context

This profile is continued straight from Bengal (Profile #1 – Montagnard Avenger).


Background

  • Real Name: Đức No Trần (usually rendered as “Duc No Tranh” in English).
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Unidentified wife, Minh Tranh (son).
  • Group Affiliation: Former agent of the Initiative and Shadow Initiative.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 175 lbs.
  • Eyes: Dark blue Hair: Black (shaven bald).


Powers and Abilities

Bengal might be a bit more martially proficient than before due to additional training and experience. There isn’t enough material to tell.

He’s now entirely fluent in English, and speaks with very little accent.

Phantom powers of the Bengal – olfactory

During this era, one gets the impression that Bengal is a low-level superhuman. But the evidence is hardly conclusive. These abilities are demonstrated in a single Initiative issue. But there’s *vague* precedent for them.

Bengal once demonstrates, in DC Heroes RPG terms, Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 05. This is never really mentioned before or after.

Howbeit, Night Thrasher once thought that the Bengal could “smell” the blood of Tai on his hands, as he somehow knew Thrash had killed before. Given the context, however, it is almost certain that it was metaphorical. Or rather, a result of the empathic Bengal sensing Thrash’s guilt.

Phantom powers of the Bengal – strength

Bengal once punches through the head of an alien Death’s Head cybernetic trooper. Secondary sources indicate that Death’s Head robots have an entirely metallic body (though Bengal was not punching through the atlasium faceplate). Such a feat would clearly indicate superhuman strength.

Bengal leaping

This may stem from a generous reading of Bengal’s duel with Night Thrasher, where Duc No Tranh could shatter bits of armour with the pommel of his daggers.

Official Marvel data doesn’t list any super-power (or even superior strength, for that matter).


History

(This is directly continued from the previous profile.)

Drafted into the Initiative

His life’s mission being done, the Vietnamese warrior retired from fighting and violence. He came to live in the US and soon married an American woman. She may have been the reason why he decided to establish himself there. They had a son. The former Bengal learned to speak and write English, reaching full fluency.

When the Superhuman Registration Act went live in the 2000s, Duc No Tranh was drafted by the Initiative. That was despite not being American, not having any powers and being retired from his life as a fighter. Considerable pressure was exerted on him since he was married to an American national and the father of an American son.

Using the Bengal costume and identity again, he was processed along with a batch of young super-powered cadets. He then was pressed into service with the Shadow Initiative, the special operations arm of the project.

Bengal’s wife and son came to live on Camp Hammond. Little Minh was raised with the other kids at the day care center. That implies that Mrs. Tranh was assigned to some sort of job on the base.

Drafted into the Shadow Initiative

When the Bengal joined the Shadow Initiative, the roster was made up of three Scarlet Spiders (secretly clones of Michael Van Patrick), the Constrictor, Trauma and Mutant Zero (secretly Typhoid). The Shadow Initiative was deployed early on during the project, to rescue a group of cadets who had engaged the Hulk and his alien Warbounds against orders during the so-called World War Hulk.

The operation, in which Bengal served as a field leader, was a success. Its one failure was that it established that team member Trauma couldn’t take down the Hulk with his mental powers. The Shadow Initiative was later scrambled to protect Henry Gyrich from insane clone KIA, which they did.

Along with other Initiative troops, Bengal fought Skrulls  during the Secret Invasion  in its least secret stages. When Camp Hammond was invaded by Skrull troops led by their Queen, the Shadow Initiative decided to take the monarch out as a strategic strike.

This nearly worked, but the Skrull the team assassinated turned out to be a ringer. The Shadow Initiative was taken down in return by Skrull trickery. Still, this strikes allowed their associate Ant-Man to escape with strategic plans held by the Skrull Queen, facilitating Earth’s eventual victory.

The Shadow Initiative was held and briefly tortured for intelligence. But the Skrull invasion was soon defeated and the prisoners recovered before permanent damage was done.

Mission in Madripoor

The Shadow Initiative, with a slightly changed roster still including Bengal, was then sent after Hydra plant Hardball. Hardball was a former Initiative cadet, who had returned to his actual employer. They parachuted over Madripoor for a commando mission, but were located by Hydra first and surrounded.

Hardball produced a SPIN powers-neutralising weapon and captured Initiative member Komodo, his ex-lover. This forced the unit to retreat without her to regroup. As they did, they learned that the Initiative had been disbanded. This likely meant that there would be no exfiltration flight from Madripoor.

Bengal and his wife at home

Mr. and Mrs. Tranh.

Taskmaster, who was leading the commando, decided to scuttle the mission and have the team switch sides. But it was a ploy – for starters, Bengal was not leaving Komodo in Hydra hands. This ruse enabled the team to briefly infiltrate the Hydra headquarters in an attempt to abscond with the SPIN weaponry.

The Shadow Initiative eventually prevailed and secured the weaponry and Hardball, also recovering Komodo.

All work and no play, part 1

When they came back, HAMMER liaised with them and made them offers. The job was to take over and reorganise the remnants of the Initiative. A new Shadow Initiative was created under the leadership of Taskmaster, but it was an expendable goon squad packed with superhuman criminal nobodies.

The 42 prison in the Negative Zone  was then taken over by local aliens. This new Shadow Initiative (including Bengal and Komodo) was thrown at them to absorb the casualties and soften the opposition.

Bengal and Komodo were essential in preventing a massacre and limiting the casualties. They took command and made the situation clear to the troops. Their expendables breached the prison and held until the more valuable troops could be safely sent in to mop up.

All work and no play, part 2

Bengal had made it clear to the Shadow Initiative that they were all just being used as cannon fodder. As a result, the handful of smarter and less tractable members were kept under armed guard. Meanwhile the more easily manipulated mooks were deployed to storm Asgard. Though HAMMER had Bengal’s wife and kid under their thumb, they kept him with the dangerous ones.

Bengal fighting along the Shadow Initiative

Along with minor superhumans Butterball II and Batwing, Bengal was freed from this headquarters by Penance when he rebelled against his masters. The foursome engaged HAMMER’s close underworld ally, the Hood. This occurred just as the Avengers Resistance attacked the facility.

The former Shadow Initiative agents essentially joined the Avengers Resistance on the spot. Howbeit, the Hood magically escaped. Bengal and his ad hoc allies then fought the Hood’s army of minor supervillains and HAMMER agents. They eventually prevailed, and as the news that HAMMER was over spread the troops surrendered.

A free man again

In the wake of the fall of the Osborn regime the former Captain America, Steve Rogers, took over the superhuman assets of the US and started fixing things. Bengal was freed from his obligations, as were his wife and kid.

The family moved to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Duc No Tranh opened a martial arts school and put the Initiative part of his life behind him.

Bengal hasn’t been seen since, and likely intends to keep it that way.


Description

No change from the previous entry.


Personality

The main personality changes are :

  • Bengal speaks in an articulate, slightly formal manner. He’s obviously a smart, observant, experienced, calm operative. He behaves like a genuine professional. Somehow he always knows what’s really going on, usually though observation and deduction.
  • He’s generally heroic, looking to save lives. He’s also loyal to his current team, respecting their qualities even if they’re otherwise less than savoury.
  • Bengal obviously cares about little children, and enjoys spending time with them and raising them.
  • Bengal was remarkably proficient at understanding the political manoeuvring of his superiors in the Initiative. He always caught on when the mission was rotten.

It is odd that the Bengal had such an understanding of large organisation office politics. But his insight was presumably not based on experience, but a combination of his ability understand non-verbal communication, and deductive intelligence.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Bengal (later stats)

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 06 Occupation: Assassin
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 024 HP: 030

Powers:
Empathy: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Empathy is a Skilled Power.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 07, Detective (Legwork): 03, Martial artist: 08, Military science (Tracking): 04, Thief (Stealth): 07, Weaponry (Martial arts weapons, archery): 08

Advantages:
Familiarity (Survival), Language (Vietnamese and likely a Montagnard language such as Jarai), Lighting Reflexes, Schtick (Paired sai ; Pain Management (Low)).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Dependants (his wife and son).

Equipment:

  • Spring-open daggers (x2) [BODY 09, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 05), Enhance (Disarm Manoeuvre EV): 01 (cap is 06) ; Descriptors: Piercing, Blunt ; Note : OV/RV when using the Block Manoeuvre is 1 AP, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 1 AP, Limitation: Blocking bonuses can only be used against melee attacks, and the GM may rule that some weapons are too large for the daggers].
  • Quiver [BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 02, Ammo: 06, Limitation : Ammunition load for self bow].
  • Shuriken (x12) [BODY 03, EV 03, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback].

The strength in DC Heroes RPG terms

Individual GMs may wish to up his STR (perhaps to 06) and add some striking power – perhaps the Iron Fist Schtick, to take a conservative approach. Both this STR score and the presence of one of these Schticks would remain compatible with other appearances by the Bengal.

It would also match this specific scene, where he knew that he couldn’t take on a number of Death’s Head robots after felling one.

Those taking the interpretation of low superhuman strength can also raise Bengal’s BODY to 06. A higher score would not match the material.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Bengal (Later) — Averaged PL8.8

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
03 03 05 04 08 03 03 02

Powers

Spring-open daggers ● 1 points (Easily removable – needs paired parrying daggers or sai) ● Descriptor: Skill
– Enhanced Advantages (Improved Defense, Improved Disarm)

Combat Advantages

Close Attack 4, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Improved Critical 1 (Unarmed), Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 4, Takedown.

Other Advantages

Equipment 2, Great Endurance, Instant Up, Language (Vietnamese and probably a Montagnard language such as Jarai), Tracking.

Skills

Acrobatics 5 (+10), Athletics 7 (+10), Close Attack (Knives) 1 (+13), Deception 2 (+4), Expertise (Wilderness survival) 4 (+7), Insight 10 (+13), Perception 6 (+9), Persuasion 1 (+3), Ranged combat (Archery) 3 (+11), Ranged combat (Small throwing blades) 4 (+12), Stealth 5 (+10)

Equipment

Spring-open daggers Strength-Based Piercing Damage 1, Improved Critical 1 ● 2 points
Shuriken Ranged Multiattack Slashing Damage 1 ● 3 points

Offense

Initiative +9
Unarmed +12, Close, Damage 3, Crit 19-20
Parrying daggers +13, Close, Damage 4, Crit 19-20
Shuriken +12, Ranged, Multiattack Damage 1

Defence

Dodge 12 Fortitude 08
Parry 12 Toughness 03*/05
Will 09

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • In the Army now Bengal has been pressed into service with the Shadow Initiative, a bad and dangerous place to be.
  • New roots in a new land Bengal now has a family.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 9, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 9, Fort/Will PL 8.
  • Points total 133. Abilities 62, Defences 23, Skills 24, Powers 1, Devices 0, Advantages 23. Equiv. PL 9.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): David Johnston, Pufnstuff, Jack, Capita_Senyera, Chris Cottingham.

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