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Half-Life - Gordon Freeman - High-definition portrait

Gordon Freeman


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

Context

Dr. Gordon Freeman is the protagonist of a famous and highly influential video game, HλLF-LIFE, released in 1998. With its immersive environments and immediate storytelling, HλLF-LIFE changed First-Person Shooter games.

This profile has two companion profiles of sorts – the Black Mesa Incident Report article about the storyline, and the Half-Life Weapons Locker article about the equipment used by Dr. Freeman and others in the games.


Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Gordon Freeman.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None, though there was a picture of an infant in his locker, who might be a relative.
  • Group Affiliation: Black Mesa Anomalous Physics Team.
  • Base Of Operations: Black Mesa Research Facility (BMRF).
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 145 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Gordon Freeman focused his education in the area of physics. But his talents also extend to physical skills — Freeman was the current champion in the BMRF HEV Suit Olympics, outmaneuvering even the highly trained security staff.

He also enjoyed considerable skill with military hardware, undoubtedly a side benefit of those hours of testing unusual devices in the Anomalous Physics labs at Black Mesa.

HEV suit

The HEV suit is commonly used by Black Mesa Facility personnel when they are entering potentially hazardous environments. It is not intended for long-term use in such environments, but rather as a temporary protective measure that lasts long enough for the wearer to extricate himself from danger if his environment suddenly becomes untenable (in DC Heroes RPG terms, Sealed Systems).

The HEV suit has various sensors giving the user feedback on current environmental conditions as well as his current medical status (Detect, First Aid).

In addition to the protective properties of reinforced armor (/BODY/), the suit also uses a revolutionary new Magnetic Enforcement Generator System a.k.a. MEGS. This system reinforces the suit against damage by using magnetic fields to effectively boost the integrity of the suit (Damage Capacity). Rumors of the deleterious health effects associated with long-term MEGS exposure are so far unsubstantiated.

Freeman used an HEV Suit routinely, as he often worked inside of the Anomalous Physics Testing Chamber during experiments. It was this suit that allowed him to survive many of the dangers of Xen incursion.

Jump module

The Long-Jump Module is another triumph from the Anamolous Physics Section. Using an Inertial Flywheel™ the LJ Module stores momentum. It can release it in an amplified form, allowing wearers to leap much further than they would normally be capable of doing.

To use the module, the wearer simply attaches it to the locking clamps on the back of the HEV, and then runs a short distance before leaping to get the appropriate boost.

Freeman attached one of these experimental modules to his HEV Suit before entering Xen. Its unique abilities turned out to be crucial for maneuvering in that alien environment.

Armament

This was the first weapon Gordon picked up after the Incident began was a simple crowbar. It served him well in many close encounters. He next acquired a number of 9mm Glock pistols, which were the standard sidearm of Black Mesa security guards.

Later, heavier weapons are covered in our Half-Life Weapons Locker article.


History

Gordon Freeman’s lifelong interest in theoretical physics was inflamed after he observed teleportation experiments at Austria’s Institute for Experimental Physics . Freeman subsequently earned a doctorate in theoretical physics at MIT .

His thesis, Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement on Supraquantum Structures by Induction Through Nonlinear Transuranic Crystal of Extremely Long Wavelength (ELW) Pulse from Mode-Locked Source Array, concerned teleportation through dense matter.

Thanks to his mentor at MIT, Dr. Isaac Kleiner, Gordon was ultimately employed by the Black Mesa Research Facility (BMRF). Given a Level 3 Research Associate position, Gordon began work in the Anomalous Materials Department.

Black Mesa

Though he had a doctorate in this field of study, Freeman was primarily used for grunt work such as positioning samples for tests and operating machinery on his superiors’ orders. Despite his lowly position, Gordon did well enough to earn a BMRF Employee of the Month award.

In his free time, Gordon struck up a friendship with Barney Calhoun, one of the BMRF guards. Freeman and Calhoun amused themselves with self-made challenges. A typical one would be seeing who could retrieve Dr. Kleiner’s keys first using “unconventional means” every time Kleiner locked himself out of his office.

Said means often included crawling through the ventilation shafts, their experience in which would prove unexpectedly valuable in both men’s futures. Freeman also refreshed himself periodically on the HEV Suit Hazard Course in the morning before work, often showing up slightly late for his shift as a result.

The incident

On May 16th [YEAR REDACTED], Gordon took part in an experiment on sample GG-3883 in Sector C’s Anti-Mass Spectrometer. He pushed the sample’s cart into place and powering up the spectrometer’s mechanisms. The experiment came to a catastrophic conclusion when the sample’s exposure to the spectrometer’s radiation triggered a Resonance Cascade.

Transient portals to another universe began opening continuously throughout Black Mesa, unleashing hostile alien beings upon the complex. At the epicenter of the event, Gordon was briefly transported to the other world himself before being dropped back into the spectrometer’s testing chamber.

Making his way upward to seek help for his injured comrades, Gordon was forced to battle a variety of dangerous otherworldly animals. He also had to fight apparently intelligent but equally hostile alien invaders.

Earth-side reactions

Freeman finally made it to the surface only to be attacked by human enemies as well. The US Marine Corps’ Hazardous Environment Combat Unit (HECU) had been sent in to exterminate alien threats and human witnesses alike.

Along the way, he was shadowed by a mysterious government agent he’d seen speaking with BMRF administrators before the cascade, though every attempt to actually meet the man face to face was stymied by one circumstance or another.

Freeman’s trek was given new direction when the research team in BMRF’s Lambda Complex contacted him with a plan to stop the cascade. Directed to the High Altitude Launch Facility in Sector E, Gordon was able to launch a satellite intended to stop the cascade.

Gatekeeper

It was only a partial success and the Lambda Complex team determined something on the other side was holding the portals open. Freeman continued onward to Lambda Complex, battling aliens, HECU troops, and covert ops assassins the entire way.

The Lambda Complex proved to be a revelation. The research team had been studying the other side, dubbed “Xen”, for some time prior to the cascade thanks to their dimensional teleporter. They had gathered both data and samples from Xen including the material that triggered the cascade.

Nevertheless, they could not determine the precise nature or location of the entity from Xen that was holding the portals open. Desperate to end the crisis, the research team equipped Freeman with all of the weapons and equipment he could carry and sent him through their teleporter moments before it was destroyed by the Xen invaders.

Another world

Arriving at Xen, Freeman followed the only clues he had available by infiltrating progressively more dangerous alien complexes. Exploiting every means of travel available from riding the backs of flying beasts of burden to crawling through alien tunnels and ultimately using a series of portals to access the secret depths of Xen, Gordon finally discovered the Nihilanth.

Confronted with this enormous levitating being capable of using portals to summon guards and banish enemies, Freeman used every trick at his disposal to vanquish the threat and seemingly end the attack by Xen.

Afterward, Gordon finally met the agent who had been following him, whom he thought of as “the G-Man”. The G-Man used unknown means to transport the two of them to locations throughout Black Mesa and Xen, showing Freeman that the human military forces had taken command of Xen.

He then offered Freeman the option to either die fighting an overwhelming mass of Xen aliens or to accept working for the G-Man’s employers. Freeman agreed to work for the G-Man only to be swept away to a timeless empty place…

(To be continued in Half-Life 2)


Description

Gordon is a tall thin Caucasian male with short hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and a stylish pair of spectacles. When on-duty, he’s usually wearing an HEV Suit, a protective armor that looks like a slimmed down and nicely detailed version of the spacesuits from 2001: A Space Odyssey.


Personality

Rather laconic. Freeman does have the Everyman charm typical to nuclear physicists with Olympic-level athletic abilities.

(A famous design choice in Half-Life games is that Freeman never speaks while on-screen, which other characters occasionally joke about.)


DC Universe History

If the incident at Black Mesa Research Facility is dropped into the DCU whole cloth, then Gordon might serve as a guide as the PCs work their way through Black Mesa.

Otherwise, he might be a helpful inventor who assist the PCs in any number of situations at a S.T.A.R. Labs center or any similar private or government facility.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Gordon Freeman

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 07 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Physicist
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 06
Init: 19 HP: 045

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 06, Gadgetry: 05, Scientist: 06, Weaponry: 07

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Black Mesa), Government Credentials (BMRF Associate Researcher — Low), Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (Anomalous Physics).

Connections:
Black Mesa Research Facility (Low), G-Man (High, after the Incident only).

Drawbacks:
Mistrust (after the Incident).

Equipment:

  • HEV (Hazardous EnVironment) SUIT, MARK IV [/BODY/ 06, Damage Capacity (Physical): 04, Detect (Hazardous Chemicals, Radiation): 04, Flash: 02, Medicine (First Aid): 03, Sealed Systems: 03, Limitations: Damage Capacity can only be recovered by recharging with a suitable power source (-2FC), Flash represents the suit’s spotlight, providing only forward illumination (-2FC), First Aid only catalogues injuries the wearer has suffered to aid medical personnel in applying the appropriate treatments and thus can only be used to enhance others’ First Aid Skills like a Computer Ability (see pg. 178-9 of BoH:SE) (-1FC)].
  • LONG-JUMP MODULE [BODY 02, Jumping:0 2, Limitations: The Module can only be used by HEV Suit wearers (-2FC), Jumping requires the user to use an Automatic Action to run in the same round prior to Jumping (-1FC)].
  • Crowbar [BODY 06, EV 03 (04 w/ STR)].
  • 9mm Glock [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 17+1, R#: 3, Cost: 11].
  • For more of the weapons that Freeman used, check out the Half-Life Weapons write-up.

By Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: Half-Life (PC game — this entry only covers the first game).

Helper(s): Mark Ayen (original Half-Life creature stats), Sierra (Gordon Freeman history), ’Lord‘ Rev. Dr. Paul Soth, Half-Life Wikia.

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