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Gentlemen in the street (Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Hush)

Gentlemen


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

“Can’t even shout, can’t even cry, the Gentlemen are coming by
“Looking in windows, knocking on doors, they need to take seven and they might take yours
“Can’t call to mom, can’t say a word, you’re going to die screaming but you won’t be heard.”


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: The Gentlemen
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile
  • Height: 5’6” to 6’ Weight: Unknown
  • Eyes: White Hair: None


Powers and Abilities

According to the stories the Gentlemen cannot be killed by any sword but “(t)he princess screamed once and they all died.” The stats above assume that the Gentlemen are extremely difficult to kill by conventional means (BODY, Invulnerability). Even energy blasts powerful enough to take down vampires and demons in a single shot only knock a Gentleman down, with the Gentleman recovering immediately. However, a single scream can shatter their heads explosively (Attack Vulnerability).

Beyond their formidable durability, the Gentlemen have two minor mystic abilities. The first is their perpetual levitation (Air Walking). They never walk on the ground, drifting through the air one foot above the ground in utter silence. This makes their movements exceedingly quiet (Thief (Stealth)).

Their second mystic ability is an ability to sense appropriate victims for their work (Detect). This sense has a limited range, which is why the Gentlemen have to go from door to door searching for their prey. They can sense when the residence they have arrived at has such a person and only then will they attempt entry.

The Gentlemen have a few items to aid them in their work. The more mundane ones are doctor bags with scalpels and jars for their work. The critical one is their voice box, a mystic artifact that steals the voices of the townsfolk and allows the Gentlemen to hunt their victims without their prey being able to call for help or to kill the Gentlemen with a loud yell.


History

The origin of the Gentlemen is unknown, though they have apparently been around long enough to become known as fairy-tale monsters, albeit very obscure ones. Their motives are likewise a mystery, though their modus operandi is not.

The Gentlemen travel in a group of six with at least as many minions. On the first night that the Gentlemen arrive in town, they will select a central base such as an abandoned church and then use their voice box to steal the voices of everyone in town. On subsequent nights they roam the streets in pairs consisting of one short Gentleman and one tall Gentleman accompanied by two Footmen.

The Gentlemen select young victims through criteria known only to them. Once a victim is selected, the Gentlemen enter the premises. They will knock politely and if that doesn’t work they will simply have the Footmen break into the residence. Once the Footmen restrain the hapless youth, the Gentleman with the doctor’s bag hands a scalpel to the other Gentleman, who uses it to remove the victim’s heart.

The Gentlemen’s immediate goal is to collect seven hearts, but their ultimate goal once they have attained that end is an enigma. The Gentlemen have apparently been defeated before, since the fairy tales include descriptions of what sort of attacks will and will not affect them. Since exploiting their vulnerability inevitably results in their deaths, the continued existence of the Gentlemen after having been beaten in the past raises questions about their current existence. The Gentlemen may be reborn or recreated elsewhere after being killed or there may be more than one group of them.

When the Gentlemen came to Sunnydale, California, in late 1999, things proceeded normally for them in the beginning. They were able to steal the townspeople’s voices on their first night in town. On the second night they found the first two victims that they were seeking. On the third night Buffy Summers and Riley Finn tracked the Gentlemen’s minions back to the church they were using as a base. Once Riley destroyed the voice box, Buffy gave out a single shrill scream that paralyzed the minions and made the Gentlemen’s heads explode, ending their reign of terror in Sunnydale.


Description

The Gentlemen are skeletally thin bald men with light gray skin and sunken white eyes. They have a perpetual leering grin that prominently displays their silver teeth. The Gentlemen’s name is taken in part from their attire, which is always a simple black business suit with matching black tie and shoes, a white shirt, and a white handkerchief in the jacket’s left breast pocket. In short, they look like cadaverous morticians.

The Gentlemen’s faces range from long and thin to broad (sometimes almost inhumanly so), though all of them have aquiline noses. When a Gentleman is killed by a human scream, his head explodes in a splash of viscous bright green liquid.


Personality

Because of their utter silence and lack of interaction with others, their personalities can only be described in the broadest strokes. The Gentlemen are very polite, of course. They knock on their victim’s doors before coming in, seek the nodding approval of their fellows before embarking on a course of action, and will give silent golf claps to applaud one another’s work. They usually communicate with one another with languid, grandiloquent gestures much like those of a silent movie star.


DC Universe History

The Gentlemen would make good villains in any campaign featuring baroque mystic enemies. Their enigmatic background and motivations make it easier to tailor them for any setting, adding more macabre or outré elements as necessary.

The episode’s gimmick of leaving everyone speechless for the second half of the episode after the Gentlemen arrived can also be applied during a role-playing session, adding a new wrinkle to the game as everyone is forced to communicate non-verbally. It may be worthwhile to emphasize verbal communication in the events leading up to the Gentlemen’s arrival to give the subsequent silence a greater dramatic impact.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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The Gentlemen

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Unknown
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Fairy tale monsters
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: N/A
Init: 013 HP: 020

Powers: Air Walking: 00, Detect (Suitable victim): 03, Invulnerability (DL): 12, Object Awareness: 15

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Air Walking is Always On and only raises a Gentleman one foot of the ground (-1FC)
  • Invulnerability cannot be used to remove damage done by human voices (-1CS)
  • Object Awareness is Always On and only focuses on the Voice Box (-2FC)

Skills: Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Scalpel): 05

Note: Though the Gentlemen demonstrated no knowledge of advanced medical procedures, their methodology and demeanor would make addition of the Medicine Skill highly appropriate for GMs wishing to expand further upon these characters.

Drawbacks: MPR (Mute), Strange Appearance, Attack Vulnerability (see below)

Equipment:

  • Doctor’s Bag [BODY0 1. This is an old-fashioned soft black leather doctor’s bag. One Gentleman in each stalking pair carries one of these. The only known contents of the bags are scalpels and presumably the canning jars in which the Gentlemen keep the hearts that they have removed]
  • Scalpel [BODY 02, EV 01 (05 w/STR)]. The scalpels which the Gentlemen use to carve out their victims’ hearts appear to be basic high-quality surgical steel implements. If the Gentlemen are attacked, a Gentleman may attempt a Blindside Attack with a scalpel while the Footmen are keeping the attackers occupied]
  • The Voice Box (see below)

The Gentlemen’s Attack Vulnerability

The Gentlemen are extremely sensitive to the sound of the human voice. A single scream can make their heads literally explode. To represent this, anyone who screams in their presence is treated as if they have Sonic Beam at APs equal to the screamer’s BODY (up to a maximum of 6).

The scream must be made by a live human voice, not artificial means such as a recording, TV broadcast, or computer synthesizer. The Gentlemen have a -4CS to their RV versus such attacks and they cannot be spent HPs to mitigate the attack by raising OV/RV or using Last Ditch Defense or Desperation Recovery. As noted above, their Invulnerability does not aid them against such attacks either.

Use of a scream against the Gentlemen is considered Killing Combat for damage purposes, but this should not be counted against PCs for purposes of HP rewards. As a Genre Rule, the HP reward penalty for Killing Combat does not apply to killing evil supernatural creatures such as demons and vampires in the Buffyverse. This Genre Rule applies to most other fictional universes as well. Characters who do not want to kill the Gentlemen can reduce the APs of the attack by speaking at a lower volume. For example, one could reduce a 5 AP attack to 2 APs by whispering instead of screaming.

Characters who already have an attack like Sonic Beam can add the APs of their Sonic Beam and the Sonic Beam from above using AP math. This addition cannot be used to overcome the effects of the Voice Box, i.e. combining the two to exceed the Box’s APs of Sound Nullify. In such cases, Sound Nullify will affect each Power separately before they are combined.


The Voice Box

[BODY 01, Sound Nullify: 12, Bonus: Sound Nullify has +24 Range for a total affected volume of 35 APs (+6FC), Limitation: Sound Nullify only affects live human voices (-2FC)]

This small wooden box with branded ornate patterns is an integral part of the Gentlemen’s methodology. The Gentlemen use the box to steal the voices of everyone in the town that they are visiting. This serves the dual purpose of keeping their victims from crying for help and protecting them from their vulnerability to live human voices.

When the box is opened it draws the voices out of every person in the surrounding area. The voices float out as wisps of fog and drift into the box. Once the town’s voices are collected the box is shut to keep them contained. If the box is opened or shattered, the voices are released.

Those affected by the box are completely mute, though they can make noise through other means such as gasps and snapping their fingers. Voices from recordings, computer synthesizers, and radio and television broadcasts from areas outside the box’s influence are not affected. It is unknown if anyone entering the area after the box is shut would also lose their voice, though it can be speculated that the box no longer steals voices once it has been shut.


The Footmen

The Gentlemen’s minions have the following stats :

Dex: 05 Str: 05 Bod: 06 Motivation: Serve the Gentlemen
Int: 01 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Minion
Inf: 01 Aur: 02 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: N/A
Init: 007 HP: 020

Drawbacks: Attack Vulnerability (Same as the Gentlemen), MPR (Mute)

Notes: The Gentlemen use the Footmen as classic stupid muscle. They are garbed in black pants, dirty white straightjackets, and bandage-wrapped heads. The straightjackets are fastened except for the sleeves, leaving their arms free to move. The Footmen’s head bandages do not cover their faces and are the same color as their skin, which makes them look horribly scarred if one only gets a glancing look.

The Footmen caper alongside the Gentlemen as they make their rounds, holding down victims and battling interlopers as needed.Though they do not enjoy the same invulnerability as the Gentlemen, the Footmen can take a great deal of punishment before finally going down. Their HPs should only be spent on RV increases and Last Ditch Defense.

By Roy Cowan

Source of Character: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series), episode 4×10 “Hush”

Helper(s): Vincent Paul Bartilucci Bartilucci, John Colagioia, David Johnston, Eric Langendorff, Danielle Mendus, Nick Yankovec

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