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Firebreather (Image Comics) - Duncan Rosenblatt in costume

Duncan Rosenblatt


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

Context

Firebreather is an Image Comics super-hero created by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn. He flew in in 2002, and chiefly appeared during the 2000s. The lad is half-man, half-dragon. And he gets a profile because I can’t get enough of comic book heroes that undergo that classic Heroic journey from childhood to adulthood.

In this writeup, I ignored any of the shared history between Firebreather and the other Image books, in particular his appearances in Invincible and The Pact. My reasoning is two fold:

  • the continuity between Image books (especially between the Kirkverse and the rest of the Image verse) is very very loose
  • and quite frankly The Pact sucked

Background

  • Real Name: Duncan Xeres Absalom Wu Fan Cassius Draco Draconus Belloc-Rosenblatt Jr.
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Belloc (father, deceased), Margaret Rosenblatt (mother)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Progress, Utah
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 300 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond
  • Other distinguishing features: Bright Orange Skin


Powers and Abilities

As a result of his unique dual parentage, Duncan was born with supernatural strength, endurance and resistance to injury. He can rend metal with his clawed fingers or lift a car with ease. He has weathered heavy blows from his father as well as blows from a variety of robot foes with little to no harm.

In addition, Duncan has two small wings that sprout from just above his shoulder blades. These grant him the ability to fly. His maximum speed and flight distance are unknown, but his father was impressed with his speed. Duncan also surprised his government handlers by making an over 100 mile flight under his own power.

Duncan has inherited his father’s supernatural ability to breathe fire and the requisite immunity to it. Duncan’s fire burns extremely hot. His fiery breath has proven hot enough to burn his father’s flame resistant corpse into ashes.

Finally, Duncan is an accomplished and well trained fighter with an unorthodox style. He is surprisingly capable with his powers despite his relative youth. He has endured constant training via brutal attacks from both his father and his father’s proxies during his weekly scheduled visits.


History

Duncan’s story actually begins during one of his father’s earlier rampages. You see, Duncan’s father was Belloc, a 300-foot tall firebreathing dragon and the former King of the Monsters.

Yelling dragon

Belloc was rampaging through New York, causing massive destruction and fighting the US army, when he happened across a helpless female of human descent. For some unknown reason, Margaret Rosenblatt found herself curiously attracted to the power of the massive dragon instead of being afraid.

Stranger still, the massive beast found himself instantly attracted to the mortal woman.

Belloc’s rampage ended and he absconded with the woman. Belloc returned to Monster Island and the two were wed in a private ceremony. Despite the unusualness of their relationship and the gross physical differences between the two, their love produced a single child who they christened Duncan Xeres Absalom Wu Fan Cassius Draco Draconus Belloc-Rosenblatt Junior.

Firebreather vs. flying stone humanoids

Alas, the couple’s happiness was not meant to last. The exact reasons for their divorce is unknown but it resulted in young Margaret leaving Belloc with her half-breed son in tow.

Fifteen years later…

Over the next 15 years, Margaret did her best to raise her son in as normal an environment as possible. Unfortunately, the pair had to move about a lot due to Duncun’s unusual circumstances. You see, trouble tended to follow the young hybrid wherever he went.

His father continually tested the mettle of his young son through various proxies. After all, in his father’s eyes Duncan was destined to conquer the Earth and inherit his father’s throne as the King of Monsters.

Firebreather smashes a rock

In order to help cope with Belloc’s constant threat, Duncan and Margaret were assigned a government handler, Colonel Barnes. Barnes was the official liaison between the US government and Belloc’s Kingdom. He was always there to ensure Belloc adhered to the custody agreement that was worked out between the two parents.

Duncan found himself at another new school in the Midwest when the first of several life-changing events happened in his life. While Duncan was distracted by a local bully and his prejudiced principal, his mother was attacked and kidnapped from his home. Duncan flew into a rage, and outright defied Colonel Barnes and flew off to find and rescue his mother.

Duncan quickly tracked down his mother’s assailant through the use of his supernatural senses. To his surprise, it was a particularly strong monster from Belloc’s Kingdom that he had faced previously and spared.

Assault on the King of Monsters

Duncan engaged the monster in brutal combat. He unleashed many years of pent up rage on the creature, badly burning it with his flames. In the end though, despite all of his rage and anger, Duncan still couldn’t bring himself to murder his foe.

Unfortunately for the monster, Belloc didn’t possess his son’s sense of mercy. Belloc had been secretly observing the battle, watching his son fight with interest. While Duncan showed the creature mercy, Belloc didn’t. He impaled the wounded creature with his tail killing it instantly, and left the scene.

Firebreather, breathing fire

After ensuring his mother’s safety, Duncan paid his father an unexpected visit on Monster Island. To Belloc’s chagrin, Duncan had correctly deduced that Belloc had arranged the kidnapping to once again test his mettle.

After confronting his father with his knowledge, Duncan stated simply and sincerely that if he ever endangered his mother again, that he would return and kill him.

With that Duncan flew away, missing the large smile that spread across his father’s inhuman face. Belloc had finally seen a glimpse of the monster that he knew lurked within his son.

The Iron Saint, part 1

Several idyllic weeks passed, before trouble found Duncan once more. Duncan’s Spanish class was selected to go on a field trip to Spain in order to immerse themselves in the culture. Before making their way to Spain, Duncan’s teacher, “Mr. M”, made a surprise decision to allow the class some time to take in the sights in the city of London.

While touring a museum, Duncan’s class ran across a mystical suit of armor named “The Iron Saint”. The curator of the museum told the group of its origins. It was a long forgotten suit of armor created for the express purpose of slaying the King of Monsters.

The curator grew agitated when Duncan’s friend, Dre, compared the armor to the legend of St. George. The curator stated unequivocally that the legend of the armor was true and that it would awaken once more and spill monster blood again.

The class left the museum at that point on the prodding of Mr. Martinez. The rest of the day came and went by uneventfully. As night fell and the rest of the students went out to party, Duncan and Dre couldn’t contain their curiosity and returned to the museum to get another look at the armor.

When they arrived at the museum, Duncan found the doors open, and the curator murdered on the floor in front of the armor. As Duncan examined the body, Dre reached out tentatively to touch the now exposed suit of armor.

The Iron Saint, part 2

The instant he touched it, the armor magically sprung to life, enveloping him within its metal form. Before Duncan could react, the suit suddenly exploded into motion and he found himself in a life and death battle with the magical suit of armour that was designed to do battle with his father.

Firebreather strafing with a jet of fire

Duncan managed to free Dre from the armor by unleashing the full strength of his fiery breath against the armor. However he was unable to prevent it from reforming about the body of the true villain, Mr. Martinez. Mr. Martinez had also heard of the legend of the Iron Saint and had decided to reap vengeance on Duncan using the armour.

To Duncan’s surprise, Mr. M was the last living descendant of a Spanish village that Belloc had razed to the ground centuries ago.

The fight thundered throughout the city of London, and even into the ocean. Duncan found that he needed every bit of strength and guile that his father had instilled within him just to survive. As the fight dragged out, Duncan realized that innocents would eventually be hurt if the fight continued.

In a moment of sacrifice, Duncan allowed himself to be impaled on the end of the Saint’s sword. Instead of running him through, the Saint’s single weakness was exposed. The Saint was created to protect human life, any attempt to use the armour against a human being would unmake it.

Fortunately for Duncan, the enchantment considered his half human heritage to be enough. As the suit of armour touched Duncan’s blood, it self destructed and Mr. Martinez was taken into custody.

Another clash with Belloc

Upon his return home, Duncan’s life gained a semblance of normalcy. Months passed without incident. He found himself settling into his home and school life, until his 16th birthday. Duncan found himself celebrating his special day by fighting off yet another robot designed by his father to hone his fighting skills.

Unfortunately, as a result of the fight, one of the local businesses in town was damaged. Duncan’s mother was forced to pay an insurance deductible that she couldn’t afford.

Irritated by the attack, Duncan confronted his father within his own territory later that night. As the two argued briefly, Duncan stole a small gold piece from his father’s hoard to help defray the cost that his mother incurred from the insurance deductible.

At the culmination of the argument, Duncan endured a final assault from a dozen copies of the robot that attacked him earlier that day. Duncan easily destroyed the robots with a blast of his flames and went on to attack his father.

Despite his anger (or perhaps due to it) Duncan was deceived by his father and rendered helpless. His father was amused and impressed by the fire in his son’s heart, and released him to his mortal caretakers.

All The Best Heroes Are Orphans, part 1

On the following day, Duncan found himself confronted by his father at school. To his shock, no one reacted to the massive dragon who seemed to walk amongst them. Duncan quickly realized that he was following an astral projection of his father that only he could see.&

Belloc commanded his son to follow him to his true body and Duncan, sensing the urgency in his Father’s request, followed.

Firebreather decapitates a robot

As the two travelled, Belloc imparted two important pieces of knowledge to Duncan. The first of which was that all of the monsters on Earth were actually of alien origin. The second was that the aliens that brought them to Earth were trying to exterminate them.

The aliens weapons of choice were giant robotic assassins, the last of which fell in battle against Belloc the previous day. Duncan passed the burned out shell of the last assassin from the stars as he approached his father’s mortal body. Before winking out of existence, Belloc’s astral form warned Duncan that what he would see next would not be pleasant.

All The Best Heroes Are Orphans, part 2

To Duncan’s horror, he found Belloc’s still form laying at the scene of his final battle. A massive spear like weapon protruded from the mortal wound in his chest. As Duncan rushed to his father’s side, Belloc’s eyes fluttered open.

He warned his son that the assassin was not truly dead, instead it was repairing itself quickly. He explained that the only thing that could truly defeat the assassin was a weapon of alien origin, or more precisely, the spear that was stopping him from bleeding to death.

Duncan refused to remove the spear. In a rage he rocketed skywards to destroy the remains of the robotic assassin. He unleashed his fury in wave after wave of fire against the robot, but to no avail. The assassin kept coming. Realizing that he had no other choice, Duncan returned to his downed father, and the two shared a few tender words.

All The Best Heroes Are Orphans, part 3

Belloc took a small piece of Duncan’s armor and swallowed it, and told Duncan that no one must learn of his demise. He instructed Duncan to burn his blood and body to ashes when the battle ended and bade his son farewell. Tears in his eyes and rage in his heart, Duncan withdrew the spear from his father’s heart.

With a fury he never felt before, utterly destroyed the robotic assassin. As the assassin fell, Duncan returned to his father’s body and unleashed his flame against Belloc’s corpse, burning it to ashes.

Elsewhere, deep in a lush jungle as single flame was lit on the tip of a pyramid like temple marked with the same script that had been etched into Duncan’s armor. The natives tending the temple gave notice that a new master had been chosen. What they were speaking of is unknown at this time.


Description

Duncan is a tall and wide shouldered young man, with a shock of blonde hair and bright blue eyes. It is there where his human characteristics end. Duncan has bright orange skin, two small horns that protrude from his forehead, four fingered hands and toes and a pair of small wings that sprout from just above his shoulder blades.

His battle armor consists of a golden harness that covers his shoulder blades and the center of his chest, with a few interlocking plates. In addition, he had bracers that cover his forearms. Outside of that, he wears a pair of skin-tight red pants.

When not prepared for battle, Duncan dresses like any other high school aged boy.


Personality

Duncan is essentially a good kid, who has lost hope that he could ever live a normal life. He walks about with massive chip on his shoulder, always expecting rejection from anyone new that he encounters, and embraces his outcast status.

He generally tends to attach himself to other individuals that find themselves on the fringe of society as they tend to be less judgemental. Due to the constant teasing and harassment he has received over the years, Duncan has little to no patience for bullies and the authority figures who allow them to get away with it.

Duncan has a fearsome temper that he struggles to remain in control of. He knows that the world that surrounds him is a fragile one, and that if he loses control for a single moment someone could die.


Quotes

“Let’s see… awkward introduction, whispered insults, confrontation with the principal, fight with bully, expelled by noon… yeah… right on schedule.”

Duncan: “I don’t smoke, I don’t party, I don’t get high, I don’t like your music or your clothes and honestly, I can guess I won’t like most of you. Most of you won’t like me. I don’t care. I’m hanging out with you because, unlike the rest of the stiffs in this school, there’s a chance one or two of you, being outcasts yourselves, won’t judge me.”
Stoner: “Dude. Don’t have to be like that.”
Duncan: “Yeah, it does. I’ve been the new kid in five different schools in the last three years, and believe me… It does have to be like that. It always is.”

“Hang on a minute. My mom told me to give this to the first person that mentioned anything about expelling me. I think it’s one of my Dad’s lawyers. You might wanna put that on your speed dial.”

(After falling hundreds of feet and being buried under rubble) “I… I’m okay. In fact, I feel great. Like I could do anything !”

Barnes: “You okay there ?”
Duncan: “No ! I don’t feel okay… and I want to SHARE it.”

“I’m your son. I always will be, and I’ll always love you, and I still have a lot to learn from you. But if you ever in any way, put my mother in danger again… I’ll KILL you.”

Martinez: “It nearly took you apart when Dre was fighting its will. Now nothing’s holding it back.”
Duncan: “Holding back ? Guess what jackass ? So was I !”

Duncan: “Remember what the curator said about mis-using the armor ? About drawing the blood of your fellow man ?”
Martinez: “But that’s only if it draws a man’s blood. You’re not a man ! You’re not even human.”
Duncan: “More human that you’ll ever be.”

“I’m an idiot. I should have led you out here in the first place. Someplace you can’t hurt anyone. Someplace I don’t have to hold back !”

Belloc: “My responsiblity is to the future. To my legacy. A legacy you bear. A legacy I fear you too weak to advance.”
Duncan: “I’m not weak.”
Belloc: “Let us see.” (punches Duncan through the mountain side)

Belloc: “My blood will lead you places where your mother cannot follow. Her blood will inspire decisions from you that I cannot fathom. You alone must walk this path. Not MAN, not MONSTER. But perhaps the best of both.”
Duncan: “Wow. No pressure or anything.”


DC Universe History

Belloc and Duncan could be slipped into the DC Universe as is, with Duncan becoming a member of the Teen Titans. His freakish nature would make an instant confidant of Cyborg and/or Beast Boy.


Marvel Universe History

Belloc and Duncan can be vassals or even conquerors of the Mole Man’s underworld kingdom. Duncan would fit in well with the Young Avengers.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Duncan Rosenblatt

Dex: 04 Str: 10 Bod: 08 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 03 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Student, King of the Monsters
Inf: 02 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 020
Init: 011 HP: 25

Powers:
Cling: 08, Claws: 06, Density Increase: 02, Detect (Monsters): 10, Flame Project: 18, Flame Immunity: 10, Flight (Winged): 07, Jumping: 02, Solar Sustenance: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Cling only effective on surfaces Duncan can sink his talons into
  • Density increase is always on, and already figured into stats
  • Solar Sustenance uses all actions for the round (-1)
  • Solar Sustenance is Minor Marginal (-1)
  • Flame Project is Lethal (-1)

Skills:
Martial Artist: 06

Advantages:
None demonstrated

Connections:
Belloc (High), Col. “Booshwa” Barnes (High)

Drawbacks:
Public Identity, Strange Appearance

Genre:
Action

Equipment:
BODY ARMOR [/BODY/ 10, Limitation: Partial Coverage (can be bypassed with a +2CS Trick Shot)]

By Bryan Gittens

Source of Character: Firebreather comic book created by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn and published by Image Comics.

Helper(s): Wikipedia, Darci, Ethan Roe, Sébastien Andrivet

Writeup completed March 21, 2010.

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