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Excaliber (Marvel Comics) (Spider-Woman enemy) strange headgear

Excaliber


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

Context

Excaliber appears in but one issue (Spider-Woman Vol. 1 #2). He’s there for but a few pages, does nothing of significance, and wasn’t memorable in the least.

So *of course* he gets a profile. Otherwise nobody else will do it ! Because they have some common sense !


Powers & Abilities

Excaliber is actually composed of several entities :

  • A cursed broadsword, enchanted by Morgan Le Fay.
  • The spirit of one Excaliber, a knight who served Morgan during Arthurian times.
  • A suitable human host, who by holding the sword will allow Morgan to dispatch Excaliber’s spirit to possess them. This person must be “a man totally without compassion”. Furthermore it seems that each possession can only last so long, and that there’s a “cooldown” between possessions.

Excaliber is a well-trained, strong knightly type. Through concentration, he can mentally consult the person he’s possessing – for instance to learn about the modern world. However, if he’s not holding the sword the possession will cease within a few seconds.

He can enhance the speed, accuracy and strength of the man he possesses. Excaliber is thus in the same superhuman ballpark as Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) during her early career.


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Edge of steel

The sword is magically reinforced. Furthermore, it can :

  • Kill its wielder in an undisclosed fashion. But if that fails, the sword will apparently be shattered.
  • Enhance the strength and durability of the wielder.
  • Allows the spirit of Excaliber to manifest chain mail, a tabard, a sword sheath, boots, etc. to clad his host body.
  • Shoot energy beams that could harm Spider-Woman.
  • Catch fire, then strike with magically-enhanced power. That was enough to halt a subway train.
  • Transmogrify  a horse to make it faster, stronger, and clad in barding.
  • Magically disappear when the possession ceases, yet be considered to still be “held” by the possessee. This means that the next possession can take place without hindrance, with the sword rematerialising in hand when it goes live.

History

During the VIth century, leading evil mage Morgan Le Fay enchanted a sword. It was a trap. She expected her half-brother Arthur to make it his weapon, and the magic sword would then kill him. But that didn’t work, and the sword was shattered.

Dogged as ever, Morgan later reforged it and added enchantments. If the blade were picked by a man without any compassion, the enchantments would alert her and go online. How many times this occurred is unrevealed.

By 1978, the sword was kept at the British Natural History Museum . It was misidentified as “Excalibur”, which led to it being displayed stuck into a fetching boulder.


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Knight vs. spider

1978 is when sordid, murderous thug “Slapper” Struthers broke into this museum. A nearby encounter between Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) and the constabulary gave him an occasion to seize the sword and run. He meant to fence it.

But the sword immediately lit aflame, and the astral spirit of Morgan cheerfully turned Struthers into her catspaw. She shoved the spirit of her long-since-dead knight Excalibur into Struthers, trapping the thief into his own body.

Excaliber apparently killed several cops, and blasted Spider-Woman as she protected the beleaguered bobbies. But Morgan, in constant telepathic contact with him, ordered Excaliber to move on toward his real target. Yet the first possession didn’t last enough to achieve much, and Excaliber vacated Struthers’ body.

Soothsayer vs. knight

Struthers was left alone for a short while. He was confused and thought he was having nightmares, but the transformation was then forced again upon him. However, Excaliber was also confused by the modern world. Thus, he smashed a subway train which he thought was a dragon.

Irritated, Morgan ordered him to draw from Struthers’ mind to understand the world around him and progress faster. After doing so Excaliber left the Tube , unhorsed a police officer, enchanted the horse and galloped away.

This time he could locate Morgan’s enemy, Magnus, while the possession was still active. But Spider-Woman was present and attempted to stop the evil knight.

Queen takes knight

Excaliber managed to repeatedly repulse Spider-Woman, and reach Magnus. While the two men were busy uttering their pseudo-Shakespearean imprecations, Spider-Woman grabbed a spear and hurled it, disarming Morgan’s agent.

Excaliber (Marvel Comics) (Spider-Woman enemy) by Infantino

Within a few seconds the possession was broken. Drew flattened Struthers with one punch, and left him for the police to find.

Spider-Woman would clash with Morgan and her servants many more times, but Excaliber wasn’t clearly seen again. Howbeit, we can’t exclude that he was a face in the crowd (or, more likely, under a helmet) during scenes where Morgan Le Fay was escorted by evil knights.

Furthermore, Will U of Marvunapp also suspects  a discreet return in Avengers Vol. 3.


Description

What a strange person.

The headgear is especially… atypical. Perhaps it was inspired by Eternal body armour ?


Personality

He’s not the sharpest sword on the rack, but he’s a dutiful soldier. And he’s eager to unquestioningly serve Morgan. However, he’ll tend to call upon Le Fay’s help whenever he has a problem, which annoys her.

He does pompous, interminable pseudo-Shakespearean speeches about how mighty he is, how Morgan is the best witch ever, how their enemies should tremble in fear, these things.


Quotes

“The maiden strikes again ? I thought you had learned your lesson ! But, if you have not… then let Excaliber sing its death-song once more !”

(This quote has been adjusted, since the dialogue erratically jumps from “Excaliber” being a man (“his”) to being an item (“its”). But heh, perhaps it’s a clue about their nature rather than a mistake caused by self-editing. P.S.: don’t self-edit.)


DC Universe History

He would have fought the Shining Knight (Sir Justin) in 1947, and the Demon (Etrigan/Jason Blood) in 1973.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Excaliber

Dex: 07 Str: 07 Bod: 06 Motivation: Uphold Morgan
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Knight
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Wealth: N.A.
Init: 013 HP: 015

Powers:
Dimension Travel: 02, Mind probe: 04, Personality Transfer: 05, Self-Link (Spirit travel): 03, Telepathy: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Dimension Travel is Micro-Tesseract Only, and has Area Knowledge.
  • Mind probe only ‘pon the person whom Excaliber possesseth (and it has No Range, obvs).
  • Personality transfer will imbue the target with Excaliber’s Physical Attributes if desired.
  • Personality Transfer is Transdimensional, but can only be done against “a man totally without compassion” who is in possession of the sword (either physically touching it, or having it in the Micro-Tesseract after a successful possession).
  • Personality Transfer only needs one RAP to work. OTOH, a given possession can only be maintained for 1d10 hours, then has a “cooldown” of 10 hours. And I suspect that the cooldowns keep rapidly increasing with successive possessions.
  • Telepathy is Transdimensional, but can only establish contact with a nearby astral form that Excaliber thinks is there.

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 05

Advantages:
Familiarity (Knightly procedures and equipments, Arthurian lore), Insta-Change.

Connections:
Morgan Le Fay (Low at best).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward serving Morgan, Loss Vulnerability (Excalibur’s Physical Attributes likely are magic that could be dispelled to bring him back to 04 across the board, but this is is a guess).

Equipment:

  • MAGIC CHAINMAIL [BODY 06, Force field (Self only): 03].
  • MAGIC SWORD [BODY 11, Accuracy (Flame project, Mystic blast): 08, Claws: 12, Enchantment: 03, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 10), Flame being (sword only): 02, Flame project: 06, Mystic blast: 07, Bonuses & Limitations :
    • Claws can only be used once an hour.
    • Enchantment only to increase a horse’s STR by 1 and its BODY by 2 (most of the latter is barding, but let’s keep things simple). The speed also seems increased, but not enough for an AP enhancement.]

Design Notes

Claws gets used but once, even though it was devastating. This modelled in part by the Mystic Blast having a much better AV, but having a more heavy-handed “cooldown” Limitation as well helps rationalise this lack of use.

It’s presumably held in reserve for when a key opponent is stunned.

My intuition is that the sword can kill the wielder through some sort of poison spell. Presumably Merlin was able to detect and counter it, saving Arthur.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 15th of >December, 2017.

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