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Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) (Captain America ally) (Marvel Comics) Classic

Diamondback

(Rachel Leighton) (Profile #1 - classic)


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

Context

Rachel Leighton a.k.a. Diamondback was originally a minor Marvel Comics costumed criminal, who appeared in 1985. She gradually became Captain America (Steve Rogers)’ girlfriend during the late 1980s and the 1990s.

She’s a fondly-remembered character, though she’s less prominent now.

This profile depicts roughly the first half of her career, and is followed by .

Rachel is strongly associated with Mark Gruenwald’s great, long run on Captain America. Re-reading those is always a pleasure, especially when Ron Lim was drawing.

Since she’s one of his signature characters, this profile is dedicated to Mr. Gruenwald’s memory .


Background

  • Real Name: Rachel Leighton.
  • Other Aliases: “Ratsel”, “Ratzel”.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Mrs. Leighton (mother, likely deceased), Mr. Leighton (father, deceased), Danny (aka Cutthroat, brother), William (aka Willy, brother, deceased), Richard (aka Ricky, brother, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Partner of Captain America, unofficial member of the Avengers Ground Crew. Former member of the Serpent Society (Sidewinder‘ s version) and the Femizons (Superia’s version).
  • Base Of Operations: Avengers’s Mansion. Formerly the Serpent Citadel (upstate New York), formerly an apartment somewhere in New York City.
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 142 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Light brown (usually dyed magenta, and later dyed eggplant)


Powers and Abilities

Her original training was at the Taskmaster’s academy. She picked up other skills (such as knifefighting, lockpicking, fast-talking, basic seduction, poker…) on the street.

The Taskmaster training involves a good level of familiarity with advanced technology. It’s enough to operate the sort of vehicles, weapons and gadgets a supervillain may want his henchmen to use. It also includes broad vehicular skills, some first aid, basic explosives handling, and the like.

Throughout her life, Rachel has had an absolutely rotten luck. Nothing ever seems to turn right for her, and fate tends to hammer her down. However she does not seem to have Unluck in DC Heroes RPG terms.

Diamondback is a talented and highly trained athlete – chiefly a gymnast. She has good training in hand-to-hand combat, but her most remarkable talent is with thrown projectiles.

It’s all in the wrist

Leighton has exceptional accuracy and power with those and some related weapons, like slings.

Diamondback can even efficiently throw oddly-shaped projectiles, such as syringes. However, unlike extraordinary talented people such as Bullseye or Hawkeye, she cannot inflict disproportional damage with those. Her talent with projectiles includes catching weapons hurled at her, such as knives.

Diamondback will often attack by throwing two matching diamonds at once if she has no special reason to fear that she’ll run out of ammo (in DC Heroes RPG terms, she uses the Dart Bonus). She can also stab with them as impromptu, very short knives – or flick them open like a Zippo, for instance to release a gas payload.

She is very practised when it comes to fast-drawing her diamonds, even those in secret pockets.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friends

Diamondback is themed around diamonds, not legless reptiles. That there is a snake with “diamond” in its name is a lucky coincidence that allowed her to join the Society.

Schematics for Diamondback's throwing diamonds

Her arsenal is made up of darts looking like diamonds, most of which are filled with a small payload. Those weapons (originally designed and produced by the Trapster, but later bought from the Tinkerer) are usually 4” hollow zirconium shells.

Most are kept on four bandoleers around her biceps and thighs. She also keeps a number of “diamonds” in secret pockets throughout her costume (boot tops, heels, glove tops, bra and possibly others). Lastly, she has two much smaller “diamonds” she wears as earrings.

Aside from the earrings, the places her diamonds are kept varies from costume to costume – some had no bandoliers, other had a cluster of three diamonds above and between her breasts, etc.

See the game stats for a list of “diamonds” she has used.


History

Rachel was the youngest kid of an Austin, Texas family – but soon after her birth the Leightons moved to New York. Mr. Leighton apparently died a few years after the move. His role was assumed by the older brother, Willy, a crippled Việt Nam war veteran. During much of her childhood and adolescence, Rachel was nicknamed “Ratsel”.

Whereas Willy was much older than Rachel, the two younger brothers, Danny and Ricky, were closer to her age. Being tomboyish, she spent most of her time with them. The older of the three kids of the family, Danny, became fascinated by street gangs and started running with them. He was soon imitated by Ricky and Rachel.

While this worried Mrs. Leighton endlessly, Rachel and her two younger brothers were enthralled by how much power and respect the local gang, the Savage Crims, seemed to have. Rachel in particular wasn’t really interested in doing girly things and wanted to join the Crims. She was too young to understand that the girls in the gang were at best molls.

Savage Crims

Spying on her older brothers at the Savage Crims hangout, Ratsel was caught by the gang’s leader. He was an unbalanced, sadistic youth called Brock Rumlow. Rumlow backed his attitude with deadly streetfighting skills and a highly athletic physique.

Amused that a 15-year old girl wanted to join, he had her sent home. The stubborn Ratsel soon came back and sneaked into the Savage Crims’s hangout, only to stumble on Rumlow again. He told her she could join if she would “be his girlfriend” for a few hours. Ratsel agreed, but Rumlow turned out to be a sadist, and he badly beat her up.

Seeing the battered Rachel, Danny and Ricky went ballistic. They rounded up the Crims to find and punish whoever had beaten up their sister. The Crims were apathetic, and the more streetwise Danny soon realised it was because one of them was the perpetrator. Unlike Danny, Ricky refused to let it slide and told Willy.

Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) recap

Upon learning that his 15-year old sister had been raped and beaten up by a street tough, the crippled veteran grabbed a rifle. He went to confront Rumlow, who fatally wounded him with a sudden knife throw. Ricky charged Rumlow but was easily beaten up.

Consequences

Willy died at the hospital.

Ricky became wild and angry, and was shot dead by a cop three months later during a grocery store hold up.

Danny was so ashamed that he lacked the courage to face Rumlow that he fled. He would eventually become the costumed mercenary Cutthroat.

Rumlow fled the country for a while. He later became an instructor with Taskmaster, then a mercenary under the nicknames of “Bingo” and “Frag”. He eventually rose to become Crossbones, the deadly enforcer of the Red Skull.

The Academy

Angry at the world and lacking any marketable skill, Rachel had an undocumented criminal career in New York City for about two years. After dropping out of high school, she became a pickpocket and a con artist.

However, she qualified to join the Taskmaster’s Academy. The Academy is an underworld institution training thugs to become professional henchmen for supervillains such as Doctor Octopus.

At this point Rachel was about 18. It was stated that her mother was ’gone‘, without further explanation. At the academy her calisthenics instructor was Blanche Sitznski (who would years later become her colleague and friend Anaconda). Her martial arts instructor turned out to be Rumlow, still on his way up in the mercenary business.

Hurriedly hacking her hair off and smearing on heavy makeup, Leighton managed not to be recognised by Rumlow.

Leighton graduated from the Academy, which has a 50% elimination rate. She soon developed her Diamondback identity. It seems likely that her ties with Anaconda helped, as Sitznski had become a founding member of the new, Roxxon-backed Serpent Squad.

Leighton had the Trapster develop diamond-shaped thrown weapons for her. She apparently paid the dorky villain in sexual favours, having no money. Rachel then put a costume together and joined the nascent Serpent Society as a founding member. This would prove lucrative.

(There is a tiny continuity error at this point. Diamondback once said it was her brother Danny who connected her with the Trapster to have her “diamonds” built. But it was later established that Danny had already left the survivors of the Leighton family behind at that point. I’ve arbitrarily retconned  Anaconda into having been that contact.)

One of her first moves was to make a pass at the Society’s leader, Sidewinder. But her colleague Black Mamba was the one who seduced him.

Along with Bushmaster, Diamondback conducted the sales pitch that landed the Serpent Society their first big contract. The job was eliminate the renegade MODOK for AIM.

Killer snakes, part 1

Bushmaster and Diamondback managed to find and engage MODOK. However, he was too powerful for them. In the fight Bushmaster had both of his artificial arms destroyed, and would have drowned had Diamondback not managed to swim back all the way to the shore while hauling him.

The Society came in with reinforcements, and Diamondback joined the second attempt on MODOK’s life. During that operation they ran into Captain America.

Along with two other lady Serpents who would become her close friends, Black Mamba and the Asp, Diamondback nearly managed to defeat Captain America. Howbeit, she faltered at the last second when she realised she was strongly attracted toward him, and he knocked her out. Still, they kept Cap busy long enough for other Serpents to kill MODOK.

Killer snakes, part 2

Days later, Diamondback was part of a Serpent Society team that came to check on the Porcupine (Alexander Gentry). The Porcupine had just called the Society to announce that he had captured Captain America and was selling the killing rights.

Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) hurls diamonds at pursuers

It was, of course, a trap. Diamondback was the last one to realise it, since she was turning her back to the scene as she could not bear to see her colleagues killing the bound Cap.

The living legend burst free of his fake bonds to engage the Serpents, and Diamondback chased the Porcupine. During the fight, the Porcupine accidentally died when he fell on one of his own quills, which had been dislodged by one of Diamondback‘ s explosive projectiles.

Diamondback fled after seeing that Captain America was mopping up her colleagues, knowing it would be trivial for Serpent Society manager Sidewinder to free them.

Death in the Society

After Serpent Society member Death Adder was murdered, Diamondback joined the Society’s quest to avenge him. During that search, Rachel ran into Cap again, as both happened to be checking on the sanatorium where the second Foolkiller was held.

Her overwhelming attraction toward Captain America overruling caution and common sense, she managed to convince him to join her in looking for Death Adder’s murderer.

Inflamed by Cap’s presence, Diamondback tried to hit on him repeatedly and without any subtlety. She went to such lengths as to threaten to crash the Serpent Saucer aircraft she was piloting if he didn’t agree to have sex with her. Cap refused.

Mortified over having made an utter fool of herself, Diamondback ran to Cap after they had landed, asking to accompany him despite her antics. At that point she was shot in the shoulder by a paranoid farmer thinking they were Martian invaders. Cap defused the situation and took her to a hospital.

The Viper’s plot, part 1

Despite her passion for the very symbol of the straight arrow super-hero, Diamondback was apparently successful and well-regarded as a Serpent. She and Black Mamba seemed to be operatives Sidewinder trusted the most.

This was a good choice. When the nihilistic terrorist the Viper (Ophelia Sarkissian) launched her plot to take over the Serpent Society, Diamondback and Black Mamba were among the handful who did not turn against Sidewinder.

Diamondback saved Sidewinder from the Viper’s venomous bite. She then called Cap (then known simply as the Captain) since she had no way to tell which of her colleagues had sided with the Viper. Repelling Viper agent Fer-de-Lance, she had the sick Sidewinder teleport out with her and rendezvoused with the Captain.

The Captain and his allies agreed to storm the Serpent Citadel, and Diamondback fought at their side. She was dejected to realise that even trusted colleagues such as Anaconda and Cottonmouth had betrayed Sidewinder.

As it turned out, only her close friends Black Mamba and Asp had remained loyal to Sidewinder – plus Bushmaster, who owed his life to Diamondback and his new cybernetic arms to Sidewinder.

The Viper’s plot, part 2

Diamondback stuck with the Captain and his crew, trying to look competent and likeable. Nevertheless, she and Nomad (Jack Monroe) nearly killed the Captain when they used excessive force and fired an air-to-air missile at an aircraft piloted by the Viper. Kicking herself over her rash actions, Diamondback continued to help Cap and his allies against the Viper and her agents.

The Viper has planted mutagenic chemicals in water reservoirs. These turned the population of Washington, D.C. (including then-President Reagan and the First Lady) into snake people. Cap and his allies fixed this after a few hours.

While helping save Washington, Diamondback and her friend the Cobra ran into each other. Since neither wanted to fight it out, the Cobra improvised a lie. He told Rachel that he was actually a double agent among the Viper’s forces and worked for Sidewinder. Rachel more or less believed the lie. This later was instrumental in allowing Cobra to take over the Society.

The wake of the coup

Since the Captain and his allies had been operating without official clearance, two members of the crew (Nomad and D-Man) and Diamondback were arrested and jailed. The faithful Diamondback hoped that Sidewinder would come to the rescue.

She was correct, and Sidewinder teleported into their cell. She convinced the reluctant criminal ringleader to also teleport out the vigilantes, though the principled D-Man turned down the offer.

The Society, as an organisation, survived the Viper crisis. However, Sidewinder was too demoralised to rejoin. Diamondback did go back to the Society (now run by Cobra), but her loyalties remained with Sidewinder.

The artefacts hunt

The Society was then hired by Ghaur and Llyra to retrieve various mystical artefacts. Diamondback and Sidewinder covertly plotted to snatch the contract from the Serpents’s hands at the last minute.

As a Society member, along with her colleagues Fer-de-Lance and Copperhead, Diamondback was sent to steal one of the artefacts from the mystic Mister Jip. She was captured, and ended up in the same cell as mutant heroine Dazzler. Jip, for no reason but to amuse himself, magically switched the consciousness of the two women.

Diamondback-in-Dazzler’s-body and Dazzler-in-Diamondback’s-body reached Dazzler’s team, the X-Men. The mutants stopped the various Serpent Society teams from getting the artefacts they were after.

Diamondback made various passes at Wolverine without results. She was more successful in her other goals. Jip did end up restoring her and Dazzler to their proper bodies, and Diamondback and Sidewinder filched the artefacts from the X-Men to deliver everything to Llyra and Ghaur. Sidewinder left 10% of the benefits to the Serpent Society for their unwitting help, and retired.

The Bloodstone Hunt, part 1

Rachel’s betrayal went undiscovered by the Serpent Society. She then apparently threw herself in her work as a criminal and mercenary to forget about her huge crush on Captain America.

Learning that the Batroc’s Brigade had been hired to steal from a museum, Diamondback tried to snatch their prize first to resell it through the Society. It didn’t work, and she was spotted and completely outmatched by the deadly fighters of the Brigade.

The Brigade’s employer, Baron Zemo, told them to dispose of her. They shoved the unconscious Diamondback into a handy coffin, which was then thrown into a pit.

Surviving the fall but trapped in the long-since abandoned headquarters of the Conspiracy, Diamondback activated the distress beacon on her old Serpent Society radio. She had left a matching communicator with Captain America, who thus received the signal and eventually managed to find her and get her out.

Diamondback briefed him on the situation with Zemo, and asked to accompany him on this case. Sensing she was sincerely trying to help, Cap accepted and they embarked on an epic adventure to prevent Zemo from collecting the last fragments of the mysterious alien gem, the Bloodstone.

The Bloodstone Hunt, part 2

While Rachel hoped to show Cap that she was competent and reliable, she soon discovered that the living legend was operating at a staggering pace – and with a skill and power almost no human could hope to match.

While somewhat discouraged, she actually got results. She even briefly captured Baron Zemo, and right after Cap failed to stop the Brigade from getting one of the last fragments, slyly stole two fragments from them.

Still, she was out of her depth against the Brigade and Zemo. Diamondback ended up nearly drowning and with a knife lodged in her shoulder before Cap fished her out.

Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) balances a throwing diamond on her finger

Despite her wounds, Rachel doggedly continued to try and demonstrate that she was capable of being Cap’s partner. She worsened her shoulder wound and passed out from the pain when rescuing Cap, as she hauled 240 pounds of sentinel of liberty (plus armour and equipment) out of a deathtrap.

Thankfully, she was found by the Living Mummy, who used poultices to heal her wounds.

The Bloodstone Hunt, part 3

Diamondback got another chance to shine when she managed to communicate with the Mummy, having learned some Egyptian Arabic from her friend Asp. This was instrumental in securing the Bloodstone fragment they had been looking for.

Diamondback and Captain America continued to criss-cross the globe to find the remaining fragments. However, whilst they were in Tōkyō, Rachel was captured by Brock Rumlow — now Crossbones. The Red Skull had sent Crossbones to shadow Zemo and see what was going on. Rumlow had spotted Diamondback with Cap and, this time, recognised her as Rachel Leighton.

He hoped to use her as an hostage to lure Cap into a trap in Madripoor, but Diamondback managed to escape. She fought off Crossbones’s allies and took down a particularly tough enforcer, Mister Phun. She then located Cap and they were reunited.

Captain America

Though Diamondback has earned a lot of brownie points during Bloodstone Hunt, Cap still refused to involve her further in his work. Furthermore, he soon had to leave on Avengers business. Dejected and lonely, Diamondback realised she couldn’t bring herself to commit crimes anymore, fearing that Cap would never love her if she did.

Soon, she had a cash flow problem. In particular, she couldn’t afford to replace her throwing diamonds.

Her friends Black Mamba and Asp found a way to alleviate her difficulties. The Society had been hired to locate Magneto, and since Rachel had heard useful titbits while she was with the X-Men, they paid her for the information from Society coffers.

Diamondback got herself a new fresh haircut (a sideshave), replaced her ruined costume with a new design (with a darker shade of pink than the old one) and bought a new batch of throwing diamonds from the Tinkerer. This new provider slightly improved over the Trapster’s designs.

Rearming herself without doing anything genuinely criminal was done just in time for Cap’s return. This was a good thing, since Cap and Diamondback ended up clashing with the Skeleton Crew, the security forces of the Hellfire Club, and Selene. They were briefly trapped under tons of collapsing masonry, but got out unhurt.

Through her underworld connections, Diamondback learned that the Skeleton Crew was working for the Red Skull. When Cap also learned that activity had been observed at the Skull House, he decided to investigate – and Rachel insisted to accompany him. Investigating the Skull House revealed that the original Red Skull was still alive, which shocked Captain America.

Cap’s girlfriend, part 1

After Steve recovered, Rachel assured him that she just wanted them to be friends. She then immediately fast-talked him into accepting a date. Though he realised that he had lamentably been played, Cap was true to his word. He and Rachel had a date with the masks off (though Leighton had adopted a more conservative hair colour and wardrobe for the occasion).

Diamondback feared that some sort of crisis would interrupt the date. She had her friends Asp, Black Mamba and Anaconda shadow them and prevent any incident that would require Cap’s intervention. Of course, she didn’t tell them who date actually was. At the evening’s end, Rachel managed to steal a kiss.

Since she wouldn’t return to crime out of love, Leighton started working as a sales clerk. She found a job with Collette’s Fashion Boutique in New York, owned by Sidewinder’s sister. She also had a new costume made so onlookers wouldn’t associate her with the Serpent Society.

Cap’s girlfriend, part 2

She continued to be a part of what little social life Steve had, such as attending parties thrown by Sersi. They apparently spent enough time together that Peggy Carter, one of the persons managing the logistics behind the Avengers, added Rachel to her call list if Steve was ever declared MIA.

Diamondback again played an important role when Cap was accidentally exposed to street drug Ice. The chemical reacted oddly with his peculiar body chemistry. It made him increasingly cocksure, aggressive and irritable. Though initially liking that Cap was acting more like a macho bad boy, she soon realised that something was off.

Being streetwise, she was the first to establish a connection with Ice. Rachel then helped the Black Widow knock out the irrational Cap so he could be cured. During the case, Diamondback heroically risked her life to save John Jameson, another Avengers support specialist.

A trial of Serpents, part 1

Diamondback was now a small part of the Avengers – albeit in a completely unofficial manner and without involvement in any mission. But that meant that the Serpent Society finally realised whom she was seeing. The Serpents kidnapped Rachel and put her on trial for treason.

According to their statutes she was to be judged by her peers, and one Serpent was to defend her. Black Mamba was the one who volunteered to be Rachel’s defence counsel.

Four Serpents voted her innocent (Asp, Black Mamba, Bushmaster and more surprisingly Rock Python) and seven voted for her death (including Anaconda, who apparently felt betrayed that her former friend dated a hero). Cobra (now calling himself King Cobra) offered to commute the death sentence if she would tell them everything she knew about Cap, but Rachel refused.

Black Mamba and Asp called Sidewinder, whom they knew was a principled man owing his life to Diamondback. The former head of the Serpent Society did come through, teleporting away with Diamondback seconds before she was to receive a lethal injection.

A trial of Serpents, part 2

In turn, Diamondback realised that the Serpents were likely to determine who had called Sidewinder. She wanted to raid the Serpent Citadel to get her friends out of there. When she asked Cap, he briefly hesitated to help hardened criminals. The very tense Rachel immediately flew off the handle, telling him she was dumping him and would rescue her friends herself.

Diamondback blew her savings on hiring the mercenary adventurer Paladin and raided the Citadel with him. The operation failed – they were ambushed by King Cobra, who forced Diamondback and her friend Bushmaster to fight each other. Cobra then shot her in the back with a fatal dose of venom.

Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) by Ron Lim

Thankfully Captain America, kicking himself for having given the impression that he would not intervene, had also come to the Citadel. He rescued Paladin, Diamondback, Asp and Black Mamba. The group made their way to the stash of antidotes, and Mamba saved Diamondback’s life with an injection.

Serpent Society member Coachwhip then tried to kill them. As King Cobra’s moll, she apparently considered Diamondback and Mamba as rivals. However, Diamondback took her out by throwing a syringe filled with concentrated antivenin between her eyes.

The raid was an unprecedented blow to the Society. Most Serpents were arrested at once (though Cap let Black Mamba and Asp slip away).

Still misunderstanding Cap’s stance, Diamondback pettily decided to get back at him by conspicuously taking up the roguish Paladin on his offer for date. However, it would seem that Steve and Rachel kissed and made up shortly after that. They started a full relationship off-panel  during this general time frame.

BAD Girls

Black Mamba, Asp and Diamondback formed a team, the BAD Girls (BAD standing for the first letter of their code names). This was both for protection against revenge-minded Serpents and to sell their services since the Society was gone.

Knowing that three other Serpents had not been arrested, they tried to lay a trap for them. It didn’t work. The Girls were ambushed in turn and felled by Puff Adder, Rock Python and their former friend Anaconda.

The three attackers shoved the unconscious Girls in a Serpent Saucer, but the aircraft was almost immediately attacked by MODAM. MODAM had been sent by Superia to gather female villains to attend a recruiting event. She threw the two men present out of the Saucer, subdued Anaconda and commandeered the aircraft, bringing the four women to Superia.

The event included a free luxury cruise and a $100K cheque, which the four ex-Serpents enthusiastically accepted.

Snapdragon

During the cruise, the BAD Girls met Impala, who would later become an occasional associate. However, another felonious female fighter was present – Sheoke Shanada, the combat specialist better known as Snapdragon.

Though the cruise was meant to be a truce (which the pragmatic Anaconda obeyed), there existed a bitter feud between Diamondback and Snapdragon. It dated back to their days at Taskmaster’s Academy. They broke the truce. The much more skilled Snapdragon mauled Diamondback, then threw her overboard.

Leighton was narrowly saved from drowning by Superia’s staff. The unconventional but highly skilled Deadly Nightshade then brought her back from clinical death. Shocked by her near-death, Rachel told her friends that she was giving up being Diamondback.

Leighton now considered she had been crazy to try to be a costumed villain while armed only with a handful of minor gadgets, and talents that didn’t compare well to the incredible skills and powers out there.

Back among the living

Captain America and Paladin then came to stop Superia and investigate Rachel’s situation. They were overwhelmed by the female villains attending the cruise. Leighton convinced her friends to help her free the two men, and the BAD Girls helped foil Superia’s secret genocidal plans.

The BAD Girls left with the Avengers, but the depressed Diamondback didn’t want to tell anybody what had happened during the cruise. She decided to have a normal, safe life and retire from being Diamondback.

Captain America arranged to have Rachel hosted at the Avengers’s Mansion as she recovered from her near-death. She started considering joining the Avengers’s support crew, perhaps as a secretary.

Meanwhile, her friends Asp and Black Mamba, trying to understand what was wrong with Diamondback, ended up having Black Mamba use her power on Rachel to visualise what had traumatised her. This produced an image of Snapdragon ; though Diamondback was furious at her friends, this told them whom she was terrified of.

At this point, that Captain America and Diamondback had a relationship off-panel was confirmed. They were seen holding hands and Cap explained to friends of his (such as his ex, lawyer Bernie Rosenthal) that he was now involved with someone.

There was some tension when John Jameson started falling in love with Rachel against his better judgement, but though embarrassing for everyone this did not have serious consequences.

Rachel started classes to become an executive assistant, in particular typing and computer use, in preparation for her new, normal, safe life.


Description

Diamondback works out a lot, and is in superb shape. Though she was born in Texas, Rachel doesn’t have a Texan accent but a New York City one. That’s where she grew up.


Personality

Early on Diamondback was a sly, flirtatious, confident, fast-talking rogue. She was highly driven, and put a lot of effort into trying to become rich and successful. She attempted to leverage her every advantage to beat the rotten breaks she kept getting for much of her life.

Diamondback rarely hesitated to use seduction and sexual favours to improve her lot when necessary. She stopped using these assets when she reached a level of financial security through the Serpent Society.

Rachel is a health and fitness nut. She works out vigorously almost every day, and neither drinks nor smoke — which was less common back in the 1980s. She seems very proud of her body. Perhaps it is because it’s the one thing she could consistently build up and claim as an achievement. She seemed to put that body to good use through a very active sex life.

Steve

Her early career before meeting Cap is not documented much. But from the moment she saw him she went completely gaga over him, to the point of dangerously irrational behaviour (such as threatening to crash her airplane if he did not have sex with her).

Initially, she kept pretending it was all about sex and that she was shallow and just drooling about his physique. But it was fairly obvious she was at least as attracted by what he represented and she soon admitted she was genuinely in love with him.

She is a hopeless romantic despite her harsh background, and believes in such quaint notions as redemption through the love of a good man.

Even during her career as a villain, Rachel demonstrated remarkable loyalty toward any community she was a part of. Frex, she unhesitatingly took great risks to save the lives of other Serpents when necessary.

This trait (which may in part come from her guilt over the deaths in her family) was so strong that she had trouble wrapping her head around the notion that most of the others did not share those values. She couldn’t believe that so many Serpents betrayed Sidewinder.


Quotes

(Seeing Captain America, whom they have come to kill) “It’s really him all right. I’d recognize that cleft and his aftershave anywhere. […] But he’s so… manly… it would be such a waste [to kill him].”

(Semi-sarcastically) “Really, Captain — I’m not such a bad sort once you get to know me. I just had a very unhappy childhood !”

(Thinking about her love for Cap) “It’s not my fault I’ve had rotten breaks all my life. All it would take is the love of a good honest man like [him] and I could be a good person ! A hero even ! How can I make [him] see that ?”

“I’ve got an old score to settle with Crossbones, one that a straight arrow like Cap could never understand.”

(Successfully fast-talking Cap into a date moments after she told him she just wanted to be his friend) “Now wait a minute, Cap. When’s the last time you relaxed and forgot your responsibilities for a couple hours ? All work and no play — you’re heading for job burnout ! […] When was the last time you went out on the town with a pretty girl hanging on your arm ?”

(During a PT session) “You were always a hard guy to keep up with, Cap — but I’m hanging in there as best as I can !”

(While working out) “I don’t intend to go from being Diamondback to being Flabbybutt !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Diamondback (classic) – before the encounter with Snapdragon

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Serpent Society member
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 016 HP: 020

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Artist (Poker): 04, Charisma (Fast talk): 04, Evasion (Subvelocity ranged only): 07, Martial artist: 04, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science (Demolition) : 03, Thief (Concealment, Locks and safes, Pickpocket, Security systems): 03, Vehicles (Land, Air): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 03, Weaponry (Thrown): 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
Thief (Concealment) is only ever used to hide throwing diamonds in secret pockets.

Advantages:
Attractive, Language (Egyptian Arabic), Schtick (Make-do Equipment (Weaponry (Thrown))).

Connections:
Serpent Society (Low), Black Mamba (High), Sidewinder I (Low), Asp II (High), Anaconda (Low ; this Connection disappears when Anaconda discovers Rachel is dating Captain America), Captain America (Low), Underworld (Low), Paladin (Low).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Captain America, MIA toward proving herself as tough as any guy on the team.

Equipment:

  • See below for her ’diamonds’.
  • COSTUME [BODY 04]. Most versions of the Diamondback costume were standard costumed adventurer skin-tight Spandex, but one later version included body armour :
  • UNDERCOVER COSTUME [BODY 06, Blunting: 05, Radio coms: 12, Limitation: Radio coms is limited to a homing signal]. This is the darker costume (though it still had the basic Diamondback motif) with a tailored, fitted, shrunken leather jacket, which Rachel ordered so she could operate without looking too much like her old ID ; it likely was provided by the Tinkerer.
    It includes layers of Kevlar which proved sufficient to stop submachinegun fire – though the impacts were still very painful and likely to knock her down. This costume comes with a long strawberry blonde wig, and one of the high heels can be twisted back and forth to trigger a homing signal, with the receptor being held by the Avengers and Captain America.

Precious little diamond

After her near-death experience at the hands of Snapdragon, Rachel renounces her Diamondback identity and largely loses the will to fight. While she keeps herself in shape, she is considerably diminished, though she finally manages to acquire some basic work skills. An estimate of her stats during that era is given below.

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Have a safe, nice life
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Secretary-in- training
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 012 HP: 005

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Artist (Poker): 02, Charisma (Fast talk): 03, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science (Demolition): 03, Thief (Locks and safes, Pickpocket, Security systems): 03, Vehicles (Land, Air): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 02, Weaponry (Thrown): 04

Advantages:
Attractive, Language (Egyptian Arabic).

Connections:
Black Mamba (High), Asp II (High), Captain America (High).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Captain America, Traumatic Flashback (drowning).

Equipment:
None.


Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Her normal loadout is:

  • Right earring [BODY 01, Acid: 02, Grenade Drawback].
  • Left earring [BODY 01, Chemical attack: 02, Fog: 02, Bonus: Chemical Attack can be Combined with (and is active throughout) the Fog, Grenade Drawback].
  • Basic diamond with depleted uranium core (x6) [BODY 02, EV 05 (04 when wielded as a melee weapon), Dart Bonus].
  • Explosive diamond (x4) [BODY 01, EV 08, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback].
  • Acid-filled diamond (x4) [BODY 01, Acid: 06, Grenade Drawback].
  • Poisoned diamond (x2) [BODY 01, EV 03, Poison touch: 06, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback, Note: EV and Poison touch can be Combined and the Dart Bonus applies both to the EV and Poison touch]. Diamondback carries several doses of matching antidote.
  • Tear gas diamond (x2) [BODY 01, Chemical attack: 06, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback].
  • Sleep gas diamond (x2) [BODY 01, Knockout gas: 06, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback].

Design Notes

It’s one of those writeups that use loosely- defined ’custom‘ Subskills (Artist (Poker) and Charisma (Fast talk)) to model the character.

Nothing special about those, really – just use those APs to roll when Rachel plays poker or is trying to fast-talk someone (which more or less maps with Persuasion, but with a different style, slightly different applications and not lasting anywhere as long). Use common sense about what can be achieved since there are no special rules for playing cards or confusing people.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (chiefly Captain America comics).

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Darci, Chris Cottingham, C. Beford Crenshaw, Capita_Senyera, Adam Fuqua, Darci.

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