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Black Alice (Birds of Prey) (DC Comics)

Black Alice


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

Context

Black Alice is a somewhat troubled, somewhat gothic lass with impressive magical replication powers. She primarily appeared in Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey and Secret Six comics books from 2005 to 2011.


Background

  • Real Name: Lori Zechlin
  • Former Aliases: Estrogan
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: John (father), Sandra (mother, deceased but animated), Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe (Misfit, unknown relationship)
  • Group Affiliation: Secret Six
  • Base Of Operations: House of Secrets; formerly Dayton, Ohio, and Platinum Flats, California
  • Height: 5’5” Weight: 110 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Black Alice can temporarily steal the magical powers of any being, without needing to be near them at the time. She also physically transforms to resemble the target, either her clothing altering to match their uniform, or her appearance changing such as when she took Etrigan’s powers.

She is known to have taken the powers of the following:

Even without stealing other’s powers, she appears to have some innate mystical abilities of her own. She can sense magic, and see through simple glamers .


History

[A general history of the Secret Six can be found in their team entry.]

Lori’s abilities manifested the day she found her mother dead in the swimming pool, having committed suicide. Her mother had been a drug addict, so Lori blamed the unknown drug dealer who’d supplied her. She began using her abilities to operate as a vigilante targeting those in the drugs trade.

Black Alice saying Shazam

With her father shattered by his wife’s death, and becoming increasingly reclusive, Lori had to maintain her composure for him. Thus she probably didn’t fully deal with her grief.

The tensions continued to build. Lori was asked to leave her wiccan circle, ostensibly due to the negative energies she was bringing. In actuality the circle leader Dawn was seeing her boyfriend Kyle.

Birds of Prey

Her vigilante activities came to the attention of Oracle, who sent the Birds of Prey to observe her. They intervened when Lori seemed about to kill some drug dealers with Doctor Fate’s powers, forcing Lori to flee.

Trying to work out what to do about them, Lori stumbled across Kyle and Dawn together. She flew into a rage, nearly killing Kyle before the Birds managed to talk her down.

They turned her over to Doctor Fate for guidance with her powers, and Oracle smoothed out the legal issues.

Day of Vengeance

When the unguided Spectre unleashed devastation on the mystic community, the newly-formed Shadowpact recruited Black Alice to help subduing him. The recruitment resulted in her father learning of her abilities.

Black Alice channels Doctor Fate and Zatanna

Agreeing, she joined the team as they lay in wait for the Spectre and Eclipso. Alice just about managed to take the Spectre’s power. But she was unable to use it against him since he became a pure ghost without it.

Turning on Eclipso instead, Alice managed to turn the tide of battle in Shadowpact’s favour. She took Eclipso out of the picture before she lost her grasp on the Spectre’s powers. That battle won, she returned home.

The Society

After her father finally returned to work, he brought his company’s new owners home to meet her. They claimed that they wanted to offer her a scholarship, but she recognized Felix Faust and a glamered Cheetah.

Getting her father out of the way, she confronted the three (who also included Talia al Ghul). Representing the Society, they were there to recruit her, offering to return her mother to her.

When they pointed out the Birds of Prey again spying on her, Alice flew into a rage. Despite the Society bringing back her mother (albeit pretty much as a zombie, barely speaking as she goes about her household chores) she saw both groups as trying to manipulate her. She expelled them all from her town with a warning not to return.

Fate

The return of her mother only caused further deterioration to her home life. Her father turned to drinking, and Lori becoming increasingly alienated at school.

Summoning the unoccupied helmet of Doctor Fate, she attempted to control its power. But it proved too much, taking its revenge by making even the slightest thought of petty revenge become manifest, hurting even those close to her. So she let it go, seeing this as proof it had been afraid of her.

However, she continued to become more stressed. She started becoming addicted to the anti-depressants she needed to control her mood swings.

When Oracle contacted her for help, Lori responded, looking for somewhere to belong. She quickly drew the ire of junior Bird, Misfit, though, who saw her as taking her place. Misfit’s actions snapped Alice out of the haze her addiction left her in, causing her to lash out, and forcing Oracle to send her away.

Dark Side Club

Kidnapped by agents of Darkseid, Alice was inducted into the arena fights of the Dark Side Club, where teen metahumans were forced to fight. Her anti-depressants countered the drugs they used to keep the combatants docile between fights, but something about the Club prevented her from accessing the powers of anyone outside.

Black Alice channels Zatanna

She found herself bunking with Misfit, and managed to take her teleportation powers to get out of the cell. Sneaking around, she found blood results stating that she and Misfit were blood relatives. But before she could do anything else she was recaptured.

Coming to inside the arena, she found herself facing the brainwashed Misfit. She again stole Misfit’s powers, teleporting out with Granny Goodness, who exploded due to the nature of the powers.

The shock of seeing it caused Alice to lose hold on the powers. Misfit joined her moments later. The pair escaped but quickly separated, Lori having no interest in learning how they were related.

A New Start

When her father’s job saw them move to Platinum Heights, Lori again encountered Misfit. Both of them were attending the same school since Oracle had relocated there to root out the local organized crime. Lori found acceptance at the new school, however. Her “exotic” lifestyle gained her acceptance among the school’s elite.

Reign in Hell

After a portion of her power was stolen (leaving her only able to copy, not steal, a person’s powers by touch), she travelled to Hell during the civil war there to try finding them. But she found herself overwhelmed despite her power.

Her attempt to steal Satanus’ power allowed Blaze to take control of Hell. Blaze then banished Alice back to Earth, scarred by what she’d seen in Satanus’ mind.

(Alice was also implied to have lost her powers, and certainly didn’t seem to recover them at any point. That they were taken would imply they may be at least partly infernal in nature. But in her next appearance is back to full power. The easiest explanation is that they recovered naturally.)

Healing Touch

Trying to cure her father’s asthma, Lori stole Raven’s abilities, and believed she’d succeeded.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, however, she worried she may’ve been responsible. Her life continued to deteriorate as they had to face a future of expensive medical bills.

Secret Six

Black Alice continued her vigilante activities. Having moved back to Dayton, Ohio, she spied members of the Secret Six abduct a serial killer on behalf of the father of one of his victims. Seeing them using their abilities as a way of making money, she demanded to be allowed to join. Bane agreed, despite reservations among the others.

She began to develop a crush on Ragdoll (III), his scars and effeminate nature appealing to her.

Blackest Night

Black Alice was quickly disillusioned when their first mission involved breaking a drug lord out of prison. But she focussed on the necessity of getting money.

She started getting overwhelmed when the Black Lanterns attacked, though, and froze in combat.

Cats in the Cradle

She accompanied the Six members who searched for Catman. Why exactly is uncertain, since she allegedly joined for the money. Possibly it was because Ragdoll went, or maybe she’d started to become attached to the team members.

She was slightly overwhelmed by the sight of what Catman had done to the men who’d taken his son. This added to her existing anxieties causing her to lash out at the others. During this incident she finally admitted to them that she believed she’d caused her father’s cancer.

The Reptile Brain

Lori was ecstatic when her father’s doctor told her she couldn’t have been responsible for the cancer. She was unaware he’d done so due to Deadshot threatening him, and she had probably been responsible.

She was the most vocally opposed to the Six interfering in Skartaris , arguing that the imperialist actions could only destroy it. Part of her emphasis may have been due to feeling useless since her powers didn’t seem to work there. It was only during the final battle she was able to use them, draining Deimos.

His power proved overwhelming at first. It caused Black Alice to lash out at everything (killing some) until Ragdoll talked her down.

When they returned to Earth, she took a healer from Skartaris back with her to try curing her father.

The Darkest House

Unable to face the prospect of returning to Hell, even to rescue Ragdoll, Alice showed the team how to follow him. She then left, clearing out her room at the mansion without waiting for them to return.


Personality

Emotionally unstable and prone to outbursts, Alice puts up a front of confidence and toughness. This sometimes gets away from her as she barges into situations where her sheer power isn’t enough.

Resistant to being controlled, Lori will often lash out at anyone trying to do so. However she’ll take orders as part of a team if she feels she’s being treated right.

She’s primarily looking for somewhere to fit in, but has a tendency to be defensive, preparing to be rejected at any moment.


Quotes

“I don’t kill innocents. But don’t get in my way. Because it’s more of a guideline than a rule.”

“All right… I smell wild magic on you, lady. And I can see your true face. And give me a break… You think there’s a deathcape lover who doesn’t know Felix Faust ? I have your poster in my locker. You did not have my permission to enter my home. You have five seconds to leave here alive.”

“I’m Black Alice ! I don’t take crap from anyone, and I don’t take orders from you !”

“It’s not your power anymore, Spectre. It’s mine. I’m the divine engine of vengeance now !”

[Enraged with jealousy at Scandal while using Etrigan’s powers]

“From Hell’s black heart to desert haunt,
this rage still crawls between us,
and don’t pretend that you don’t want
my boyfriend’s bendy &^*%^% !


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Alice

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Anti-Heroic Seeking Justice
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 015 HP: 040

Powers:
Chameleon (ML): 01, Fabricate: 40, Magic Sense: 06, Power Drain (ML): 40, Truesight: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Chameleon can only, and always does, duplicate elements of the costume or appearance of a victim of Power Drain (-1)
  • Fabricate is Contingent on Power Drain (-1), and can only be used to duplicate Mystical Gadgets following a successful Power Drain (-1, see below)
  • Power Drain can only drain Mystical Powers (-1), can drain (Mystically-based) Physical and Mystical Attributes and Skills (+3), and the target recovers them as soon as Alice loses them (see below)

Skills:
Occultist (Occult Knowledge): 03, Occultist (Ritual Magic): 05

Advantages:
Schtick (Mystique (mystical community))

Connections:
Secret Six (High), Oracle (Low), Shadowpact (Low)

Drawbacks:
Minor Rage


Design note

In the Reign of Hell mini-series she drains Lobo’s strength. Since his strength has never been magic (TMK) I’m putting this down to them being in Hell, with her powers not working properly, and Lobo being faintly infused by the place, enough to allow her to copy his powers.


Black Magic

Black Alice is able to steal the Powers of any mystical being (even managing to take the Spectre’s abilities for a brief period). While she needs to be in the same dimension, she appears able to target anyone on the planet (or even in space).

Initially they were taken at random, without her necessarily knowing the target, but she’s gained more control over them, and now appears able to select targets, even searching for those with the required skills.

Selecting a target, Alice makes a multi-attack against their Powers (and any Artifact abilities, Physical or Mystical Stats, or Skills she wishes to copy). This may be easier to handle with a single roll, after adding the AP levels together through AP maths.

Assuming she scores RAPs higher than the highest single target AP level, she steals all the Powers (although Mystical Stats aren’t reduced for her target).

In addition to Powers she’s also been known to copy artifacts, such as Wonder Woman’s lasso, bracelets, and tiara, as well as the skill to use the latter two. These artifacts are handled as described in the previous paragraph for the theft part, and recreated by Fabricate.

While the skills she displayed aren’t themselves Mystical, it seems safe to assume she can Drain any Skills related to using duplicated artifacts. She also displayed Wonder Woman’s Physical Attributes, so it also seems she can Drain the Physical Attributes of Mystically-powered targets (which would also include the Spirit of characters with Sorcery so she can use it without the Bashing Damage flooring her straight off).

She can usually maintain the stolen powers for around half an hour, with them returning to their true owner as soon as that time has passed, or earlier if she discards them. If the powers are slightly beyond her normal reach, though (such as when she had to spend HPs to steal the Spectre’s powers), she can’t hold on to them as long.

Each time she actively uses the Powers, the victim of her theft automatically makes an attempt to regain their Powers with an Action Check using their INF/AUR as AV/EV and her APs of Power Drain as the OV/RV. Success means she loses all the Powers drained from that individual.

She also appears to take any Drawbacks or Limitations linked to the stolen powers. When she took Etrigan’s abilities, she also began speaking in rhyme (presumably because some of his powers are based on his status in the rhyming caste).

While on anti-depressants (which neutralized her Rage) she found it hard to fully access her powers, having trouble locating the target she wanted, her powers seeming in a bit of a daze. In game terms this could be considered as her needing to locate them first by making a roll with her AP of Power against the highest AP Power of her chosen target, with any RAPs resulting in success, and allowing her to try Draining them on the following turn with a -1CS penalty to her roll.

When travelling to other dimensions her powers can take a while to adjust. (This wasn’t evident during her trip to Hell, where her powers were already altered, but this could be due to her power apparently originating from there in some way.) When she travelled to Skartaris it took a while for her to become accustomed to the dimension before she could even steal the powers of those who’d also come from her home dimension.

To overcome it she must make an Action Check with her INFL/AURA as AV/EV against the dimensional distance of her current dimension from her home dimension (7 AP in the case of Skartaris), with any RAPs resulting in her overcoming the block, and being able to use her powers there from then on.

By Gareth Lewis

Source of Character: DC Comics

Helper(s): wikipedia, Sébastien Andrivet, Darci

Writeup completed on the 9th of June, 2012.

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