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Colossus of the X-Men (Marvel Comics)

Colossus

(Piotr Rasputin) (Gisted profile)


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

Context

This is a gisted profile – offering an overview of the character rather than digging into a specific take or era.

Colossus was one of the “All-New, All-Different X-Men” introduced in 1975 to replace the old version of the team – which had long since run out of steam.

This new team was colossally successful, and the X-Men remained among Marvel’s most successful and beloved characters for decades.

This new team was way more international than was the norm back then, and Colossus was thus a Russian (and, back then, Soviet) character. Despite the Cold War, he was consistently depicted as a noble and pure soul. One suspects that his power was inspired by Stalin (a nom-de-plume  meaning “man of steel”).


Background

  • Real Name: Piotr “Peter” Nikolievitch Rasputin
  • Other Aliases: The Proletarian, Peter Nicholas
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Nikolai Rasputin (father, deceased), Alexandra Rasputina (mother, deceased), Illyana Nikolovna Rasputina (englicized to Rasputin, aka Magik, sister, deceased), Mikhail Rasputin (brother, deceased), Peter (son), Larisa Mishchenko (cousin), Vladimir (uncle), Klara (cousin, deceased), Konstantin (cousin, deceased), Dimitriy (cousin, deceased), Elena (great-grand-mother, deceased), Ivan (great-grand-uncle, deceased), Grigory Efimovitch Rasputin (aka the mad monk Rasputin, great-grand father)
  • Group Affiliation: X-Men, The Twelve ; former member of the Acolytes and Excalibur
  • Base Of Operations: (ante-mortem) Xavier Academy, Salem Center, Westchester County, New York; (former) Muir Isle, Scotland ; Professor Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters; a loft in Soho, Manhattan; Ust-Ordynski Collective, Lake Baikal, Siberia, U.S.S.R.; X-Men Headquarters in Australian outback
  • Height: (normal) 6’6” (armored) 7’5” Weight: (normal) 250 lbs. (armored) 500 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue, (transformed) Silver Hair: Black Age: 24 (or thereabouts)


Powers and Abilities

Colossus is a huge mass of solid organic steel, able to shatter pretty much anything with his armoured fists and to ignore most Earthly weapons. Even in human form, his strength is tremendous – he can unroot most tree stumps with his bare hands and a length of steel chain.

He has intensively trained with the X-Men, and was particularly trained in judo by Cyclops and hand-to-hand combat by Wolverine.

Piotr is also a pure, untouchable soul. He’s very good at resisting and corruption when he’s fighting for selfless reasons. His metallic body likewise seems quite resistant to most magics – even magic who do not have a specific vulnerability to cold iron and the like.


The organic osmium steel transformation

Colossus is a mutant with the superhuman ability to convert the tissue of his entire body into an organic steel-like substance, granting him superhuman strength and a high degree of resistance to bodily harm. This substance, resembling organic steel, is of unknown composition but appears to be analogous to osmium and to carbon steel.

Looking at the number, the metal that constitutes Colossus is amazingly light. See our popular Heroic Heights & Weights article for more about people made of exotic materials.

He is able to transform into this armor-like state at will (the process is virtually instantaneous) and remain in that form for an as yet undetermined amount of time. The longest time he has remained in armored form before the Mutant Massacre has been five days ; after that it seemed he could stay metallic for as long as necessary.

Once in his armored form he remains so until he consciously wills himself back to normal. If he is rendered unconscious, however, he spontaneously reverts to his normal form.

While in his armored state, Colossus possesses the same degree of mobility that he does in his normal form.

The process by which Colossus transforms himself to armored form and back (including his gain of additional mass from an unknown, perhaps extra-dimensional, source) remains unknown. Colossus cannot become partially or selectively armored; his body is either entirely converted or not. Even his eyes become steel-like; his eyeballs can withstand and deflect the impact of a .45 caliber bullet.

In his armored form Colossus is highly resistant to most forms of bodily harm. His armor is capable of withstanding ballistic penetration, including that of a 110 millimeter Howitzer shell. He could survive a collision with a loaded, one-ton flatbed truck at 100 miles per hour or an explosion of 450 pounds of TNT.

He can survive extremes of temperature from 70 degrees above absolute zero (-390 degrees Fahrenheit) to approximately 9000 Fahrenheit. However, it is theorized that above the latter temperature, his armored form would begin to melt. Colossus’s armored form cannot rust under normal Earth conditions.

Colossus is in unusually fine physical health, permitting the transition back and forth from his normal organic flesh state to his armored form to occur with minimal stress on his system.

His normal lungs are capable of holding his breath for 3.6 minutes. Colossus has no need to breathe while in his armored state. However, it is believed that he could not survive for long in a vacuum. His endurance and speed are somewhat greater in his armored form.


Description

The red coverall and beret are his Proletarian costume, which I thought was real cool when I was eight or so ; the purple costume with the cape is the one he wore as an Acolyte.

Colossus transforms and charges in


Personality

Piotr is a shy, self-effacing, modest and selfless young man. For himself, he only desires a rural life as a farmer and painter, preferably in the motherland – but Charles Xavier has entrusted him with a great burden.

Piotr doesn’t fight for himself, and in some ways considers he’s not worth fighting for. He fights for his friends and to defend innocents, especially children. His speech sometimes imply that he’s “not worth” a stroke of luck or the pain of his friends – but this is because he considers himself but a minor piece of a great cause.

Piotr is an innocent teenager from a simple place who was thrust into a world of complexities and conflict. He lacks direction outside of the Cause, and his private life is haphazard, torn between his quest for reassuring female affection and his strong wish to be a decent, caring man.

As years went by he started to be a bit more of an individual, and less of a part of an apparat, but his own wishes weren’t really compatible with his duties. He fought on, until he could resolve his contradictions by making the final sacrifice.

Colossus of the X-Men by Julie Bell

Piotr is a pure, good, untouchable soul and the voice of idealistic humanism among the X-Men. That he killed twice came as a shock, especially to himself.

This, combined with the deeply unfair deaths of his whole family, made for a lasting pain that never went away. Piotr couldn’t reconcile the harsh reality with his big hearted world view. He was, maybe, too much of a good soul for this world.

Colossus speaks in a somewhat formal, literary fashion, without contractions. What he says sometimes feels like a public speech by an idealistic politician, although thankfully he’s much, much briefer.

He tends not to spend his Hero Points  much, which can make him surprisingly easy to knock out – he prefers to burn HPs when the whole team is making an extra effort, or when only he can save the day, and keeps them for those occasions.


Quotes

“By the white wolf !”

“Lenin’s ghost !”

“I do not like striking from behind — it is dishonorable — but in your case, monster, I will make an exception !”

“ Don’t be frightened, little snowflake – it is only me, Piotr Nikolievitch.”

“In order to harm my friends, tovarisch, you must get past me… And I do not think that is possible.”

Kitty : “YOU DIED ! Peter Rasputin died and I know this because I carried his ashes to Russia and scattered them myself !”
(silence)
Peter : “You did ?”
(long silence)
Peter : “Thank you.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Colossus

Dex: 05 Str: 18 (06) Bod: 14 (06) Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: X-Man, Artist
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 018 HP: 075

Powers:
Flame immunity: 02, Lightning immunity: 05, Molecular Chameleon: 18, Invulnerability: 04, Growth: 01, Magic Field: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Molecular Chameleon fully substitutes for STR, but is limited to the BODY of osmium steel (14) for BODY APs substitution
  • Molecular Chameleon Needs No Material To Copy (+3 FC)
  • Molecular Chameleon Only for One Substance (BC 30, FC -2) – Organic osmium steel
  • All Powers are Contingent to Molecular Chameleon (-1 – Molecular Chameleon needs to be active for all other Powers to be active, and Neutralization affecting Molecular Chameleon affects the Contingent Powers)
  • Growth is Already Factored In and Always On
  • Magic field is Self Only (-2)
  • All Powers are Always On when Molecular Chameleon is active (-0)

Skills:
Artist (Painter): 04, Martial Artist: 06, Vehicles (Air, Land): 03

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Familiarity (agricultural work, Russian poetry and literature), Lightning Reflexes, Languages (Russian, Japanese, Royal and Imperial Shi’ar), Life Support (Does not Need to Breathe – Armored form Only), Schtick (fastball special, 20 pts)

Connections:
X-Men (High), Nereel of the Savage Land (High), Callisto (Low), Wolverine (High), Marrow (High), Nightcrawler (High), Kitty Pryde (Low)

Drawbacks:
Exile (voluntary), MIA (Upholding the Good), Mistrust (Mutant), Secret Identity, Power Loss (Piotr’s SPI drops to 02 if only his fate is in balance, see below). For a while he also had a MPR (reverts to flesh when KOed), but that disappeared as he grew more powerful.


Piotr through the years

When he first joined the X-Men, all of Piotr’s stats were 04, except for his STR and BODY (both a 05). His Molecular Chameleon was 12. He also had Uncertainty, which lasted for a number of years, and during his first year in America had something much like the Innocent Drawback. After the death of his little sister, he acquired a Guilt Drawback, which lasted for months.

His Molecular Chameleon was 16 at the time of his near-death during the Mutant Massacre. Magneto resurrecting him increased it to 18 APs suddenly. IIRC it was to such a degree he could not control it well (crushing a phone) ; any action requesting fine manipulation had its OV increased by 2 CSes.

During this adjustment period (a Power Complication subplot), he hardly could transform back to human. Changing back and required extreme concentration. For each Phase he wanted to stay in his human form, he had to make a check using INT/WIL as AV/EV vs. a Strenuous OV/RV (06/06), with failure forcing him to revert to his armored form.

This did use his Dice Action for the phase — he didn’t do much in his human form during this time other than basic movement or conversation.

There was a second period when Piotr could not change back to his human form after he suffered a head injury at the hands of the X-Cutioner. This was later repaired by brain surgery.


Memories from the house of the dead

Likewise, the 075 HPs listed for Piotr are for his glory days with the X-Men. When Illyana and his parents died, he started losing HPs and quickly came down to 050. The degradation continued, and when he was an Acolyte, he had about 035 HPs. Piotr bounced back to 50 HPs when he became an Excalibur member, and sunk back to 025 during the period that preceded his death.

As his point total diminished, he was increasingly overshadowed by other team members, and became a secondary character.


Fastball wizard

Colossus is the master of the Fastball Special Schtick, which consists of grabbing a trained comrade and forcefully throwing him at an opponent. The thrown person can perform a Charge attack, or just attempt a normal, flyby attack.

In both cases, having Schtick (Fastball special) allows Colossus to add, using AP math, his own AV and EV to his comrade’s. A Character with the Schtick (Fastball Special) can also give HPs to the thrown Character, even if he doesn’t have Leadership, during the Fastball Special.

The Fastball Special was usually performed with Wolverine, who was perfectly suited for the role of the projectile due to his compact size, unbreakable bones and razor-sharp claws, but has occasionally been done with other X-Men. Like many other spectacular special maneuvers, it is used solely when dramatically appropriate – once every few issues.

Occasionally, the Fastball Special has been used to simply hurl an acrobatic teammate to a point that person couldn’t otherwise reach, or to provide combat mobility. For instance, Shadowcat cannot deliver an attack as a Fastball Special projectile under most circumstances, but was occasionally thrown close to an enemy so she could land, roll and attack.

Such positioning maneuvers require a Strenuous Acrobatics (athletics) roll for the projectile ; failure means landing in the wrong spot or taking a full Phase to recover from the throw.


There lived a certain man in Russia long ago ; He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow…

Peter, left to himself, is emotionally uncertain and sensitive, as well as unsure of his place. His “baseline” SPIRIT is thus a modest 02. However, his loyalty is astounding. If he is fighting to save his friends or to save lives in general, his SPI shoots up and becomes a 08, making him unstoppable by most spiritual attacks.

The SPI value of 02 is thus only used when Peter is fighting solely for his own life and happiness.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Colossus — Averaged PL 11.2

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
05 (15) 04 (08) 01 01 06 02 01 01

Powers

Organic steel body ● 58 points (Permanent) ● Descriptors: Mutation, Osmium Steel
– Massive — Growth 1 (Already Factored In), Reduced Trait (Defensive Roll -3), Feature 1 (Increased mass, weight 4)
– Super-strength — Enhanced Strength 1 (Limited to Lifting), Enhanced Strength 9
– Invulnerable — Enhanced Stamina 3, Impervious Protection 6, Impervious Toughness 7, Immunity 2 (No need to breathe), Diehard, Ultimate Effort (Toughness)
– Fireproof — Protection 2, Enhanced Fortitude 2 (both Limited 2 to Flame/Heat)
– Conductive — Immunity 10 (Electricity) (Limited 1 to half-effect)
– Cold iron — Enhanced Will 6 (Limited 1 to Magic)

Organic steel body transformation ● 1 point (Permanent) ● Descriptor: Natural
Feature (Change between organic steel form and human form (as a move action))

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Improved Initiative, Interpose, Power Attack, Ultimate Effort (Toughness)

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Friend of Charles Xavier), Diehard, Languages 2 (English, Japanese, Common Shi’ar, Royal Shi’ar), Second Chance (Fear/Intimidation)

Skills

Close Combat (Unarmed) 2 (+8), Expertise (Agriculture) 4 (+6), Expertise (Painter) 6 (+8), Expertise (Russian Literature) 4 (+6), Expertise (Current Events) 2 (+4), Insight 2 (+5), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 3 (+4), Vehicles 3 (+4)

Offense

Initiative +5
Unarmed +8, Close, Damage 5 (15)

Defense

Dodge 8 Fortitude 9 (13)
Parry 8 Toughness 7/4* (14)
Will 10

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Exile Colossus made the choice to leave Russia and not return rather than let his powers be turned into a weapon of the state.
  • Low self-esteem Piotr’s Will drops to 1 if only his fate is in balance.
  • Mutant Prejudice Colossus is a mutant whose powers have obvious effects, setting him apart from ordinary, and sometimes hostile, humans.
  • Secret Identity Colossus is Peter’s cover identity.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 12, Dodge/Toughness PL 11, Parry/Toughness PL 11, Fort & Will PL 12
  • Point total 147 Abilities 42, Defences 23, Skills 13, Powers 58, Devices 0, Advantages 11. Equiv. PL 10.

Uncapped !

If using the optional, open-ended equivalencies, Colossus’s Enhanced Strength is 12, raising his overall Strength is 18. Drop his lifting-only Strength. He also gains one more rank of Impervious Toughness, raising his overall Toughness to 15.

Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 13, Dodge/Toughness PL 12, Parry/Toughness PL 12, Fort/Will PL 12
Point total 154 Abilities 42, Defenses 23, Skills 13, Powers 65, Advantages 11. Equiv. PL 11.
Averaged PL 12


Piotr through the years

  • His powered Strength was 14, with no extra Lifting Strength, at the time of his near-death during the Mutant Massacre. After his resurrection, he suffered a Complication. Deactivating his armor required Extra Effort and Concentration.
  • When he first joined the X-Men, Piotr was considerably less powerful. His armored body power was Sustained, meaning that it turned off if he were unconscious. He lacked ranks in Insight and Expertise: Current Events, being bewildered by a bigger world than he was used to. Use the stats below.

Colossus (Early) — Averaged PL 11.2

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
05 (12) 03 (08) 01 01 04 02 01 01

Powers

Organic steel body ● 44 points (Alternate Form, Activation (Move Action) (-1), Sustained ) ● Descriptors: Mutation, Osmium Steel
– Massive — Growth 1 (Already Factored In), Reduced Trait (Defensive Roll -2), Feature 1 (Increased mass, weight 4)
– Super-strength — Enhanced Strength 1 (Limited to Lifting), Enhanced Strength 5
– Invulnerable — Enhanced Stamina 3, Impervious Protection 3, Impervious Toughness 8, Immunity 2 (No need to breathe)
– Fireproof — Protection 2, Enhanced Fortitude 2 (both Limited 2 to Flame/Heat)
– Conductive — Immunity 10 (Electricity) (Limited 1 to half-effect)
– Cold iron — Enhanced Will 6 (Limited 1 to Magic)

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Improved Initiative, Interpose, Power Attack

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Friend of Charles Xavier), Languages 2 (English, Japanese, Common Shi’ar, Royal Shi’ar), Second Chance (Fear/Intimidation)

Skills

Close Combat (Unarmed) 1 (+5), Expertise (Agriculture) 4 (+6), Expertise (Painter) 6 (+8), Expertise (Russian Literature) 4 (+6), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2), Vehicles 3 (+4)

Offense

Initiative +5
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 5 (12)

Defense

Dodge 6 Fortitude 7 (12)
Parry 6 Toughness 5/3* (12)
Will 5

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Exile Colossus made the choice to leave Russia and not return rather than let his powers be turned into a weapon of the state.
  • Low Self-esteem Piotr’s Will drops to 1 if only his fate is in balance.
  • Mutant Prejudice Colossus is a mutant whose powers have obvious effects, setting him apart from ordinary, and sometimes hostile, humans.
  • Secret Identity Colossus is Peter’s cover identity.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 9, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 9, Fort & Will PL 9
  • Point total 120 Abilities 36, Defences 15, Skills 12, Powers 47, Devices 0, Advantages 10. Equiv. PL 8.

Designer’s notes

Piotr is Tough: Right out of the gate, he “should” have Stamina 4 and Defensive Roll 3 as a general tough guy. However, he really shouldn’t use Defensive Roll in his metal form. I started coming up with a construction in which I Quirked his Protection to cancel his DR (making it effectively cost 1 point, like an Alternate Effect).

At that point, I decided, to heck with this, he’s getting Stamina 7, that solves everything while breaking nothing. It looks like a big number, but the only real problem is if he gets ambushed while in human form. But you know what? Peter is a big, huge guy! He’s the kind of guy who takes a beating.

So for simplicity’s sake, I put him in Bane territory, which might actually be a good representation, who knows? However, that approach just didn’t work. The new method uses Reduced Trait (a Flaw under Enhanced Trait) to strip away his Defensive Roll in armored form. This preserves his Defensive Roll in human form, as appropriate for his martial arts moves.

Since then, I’ve found there are a couple of bruisers with Defensive Roll (like the Warrior archetype in the rulebook). Stylistically, I’d probably be comfortable at this point adding DR to his steel armor. However, because his RV, and hence Toughness, were benchmarked around a particular material, there’s no room in the build for it.

I decided it was simplest to treat his powerful new form as Permanent, with a Feature that he can revert to normal when he pleases. It’s basically Quick Change plus a voluntary Power Loss. The alternative was to build everything as Continuous, which adds nothing mechanically while inflating his point costs.

I was hesitent to give him Fearless. Similarly to Batman, he has exploitable psychological vulnerabilities. His Will is on the higher side and he has Second Chance (Fear/Intimidation).

Invulnerability (DC Heroes) really isn’t a thing in DCA, though it tends to go with Diehard mechanically and Ultimate Effort (Toughness) stylistically. Colossus has a proven track record of surviving severe trauma.


By Sébastien Andrivet and Pufnstuff

Helper(s): Ethan Roe, Sean MacDonald, William Peterson, Jackson, Danielle Mendus, Roy Cowan, Eric Langendorff. DCA stats by Pawsplay. The essay on Colossus’ transformation is from the Official Handbooks from Marvel ; some of the illustrations are from www.uncannyxmen.net 

Source of Character: X-Men Comics

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