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Henri Ducard (Batman character) (DC Comics) pointing a pistol

Henri Ducard


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

“Henri Ducard. He taught Bruce the art of manhunting. An expert. A professional. An unprincipled killer.”


Context

Henri Ducard is a Batman character, created by Dennis O’Neil. He first appeared in 1989. As the quote above indicates, he played a significant role in the forging of Batman, though he hasn’t appeared often. Ducard also played an important role in teaching Robin (Tim Drake) during the early 1990s.

He’s not related to the Henri Ducard character appearing in the Batman Begins, though there are interesting commonalities in appearances.


Background

  • Real Name: Henri Ducard.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Paris.
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Gray


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Powers and Abilities

Henri Ducard is the man who taught manhunting to Batman.

His mind is like a steel trap, and he can come up with remarkably accurate conclusions in no time with no apparent effort. Wayne considers him a peerless deductive genius. Ducard deducted that Batman was Bruce Wayne within less than a day of investigative work, though circumstances helped.

Ducard moves in the most dangerous places like a shark. He plays close to the chest and clearly comes across as a deadly operator. He is a cold, remorseless killer and one of Europe’s best assassins and firearms specialist. Beyond his exceptional marksmanship he’s a tall, unusually broad-shouldered man.

It is likely that he has skills beyond those in our RPG statistics, given the breadth, depth and length of his experience.

Ducard knows many places, many things and, most importantly, many people. His ability to obtain pointers, information and small favours in even the most remote corners in the world is astounding. Ducard can scare up leads and intelligence by the time most people have learned how to say ’hello’ and ’thank you‘ in the local language.


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History

Henri Ducard is a French freelance investigator. He has mostly been working for Interpol and/or French police as an international troubleshooter. A typical Ducard job is to track down criminals and terrorists and bring them to justice. But he also conducted far less moral operations.

When Bruce Wayne trained to become Batman, Ducard was the man he went to see – incognito. Wayne wanted the Frenchman to teach him how to hunt down the most dangerous prey and become the world’s greatest manhunter.

Wayne also had Ducard teach him gunfighting. Although he would never use a gun under normal circumstances, he saw the value of being highly adept with them.

One of their known cases was tracking down “Jeremiah”. He was a particularly successful terrorist who had been evading all authorities for years. Ducard and Wayne worked on the case for weeks, using all of their skills. They eventually located the man no one else could catch.

Ducard sent Wayne on a trivial errand. It then became clear what his contract was – the Frenchman sniped Jeremiah dead. Shattered by guilt over having been an accomplice to murder, Wayne left.

Gallic Manhunter

For five years, the well-connected Ducard became a middleman for international arms deals, making millions. He then spotted an opportunity to make even more money. He would serve in Gotham as a witness to the trial of Bruce Wayne. Wayne was being accused by the US government of secret arms deals with Syria, Iran, Lybia and others.

As a further incentive for Ducard, the parties who were engineering Wayne’s fall (called the Cartel) could interfere on the French manhunter’s behalf. They could have his criminal record dropped in numerous countries.

Wayne, however, was shot by a homeless man with an AK on the steps of the tribunal. That he survived was considered a miracle. While the trial was postponed, Ducard amused himself by paying some attention to the Batman and his foes.

He researched the Batman. Then he researched the folder about Wayne that had been assembled by the Cartel, quickly separating the lies added by the Cartel from the truth. Then the TV mentioned Batman had not been seen for a number of days, which closely matched the date Wayne had been in the hospital. The conclusion was trivial for Ducard, who knew a thing or two about Wayne already.

Batman exposed

Ducard offered the secret of Wayne’s identity to the Cartel. But the Cartel didn’t believe him. Batman was by then back in action, while Wayne couldn’t even walk despite the medical care he received.

Ducard almost instantly deduced that Wayne was using a technology allowing him to take remote control of another man and pass this stand-in for the Batman. He went to see Wayne, and told him he knew. He then asked him for a better offer than the Cartel’s – to fabricate him a whole new identity.

Wayne, however, retook the initiative. He cleverly outmaneuvered the Cartel, turning the key witness and Cartel member against his own. The Cartel appeared doomed until Ducard quickly seized the opportunity. He offered to terminate the witness – in return for a long lists of favours, including erasing his criminal record throughout the world.

The deal was hammered out and Ducard assassinated the witness.

As he left the US, Ducard sent a note to Wayne. It stated that he knew he was Batman and complemented him on “his plan”.

The young man who had replaced the Batman had just been killed in the line of duty. Knowing far too well what evil lurks in the heart of men, Ducard could only assume that this death had been engineered to protect Wayne’s secret, and admired this imagined ruthlessness.

A snake trades in horse

Years later, Ducard was paid by the French government to take down one of the deadliest men in the world, Sir Dorrance aka King Snake. This was to be done discreetly, so as not to trigger friction between France and the UK. Ducard tracked Dorrance down to his Hong Kong hideout, and confirmed his extensive involvement in the heroin trade.

Two cops arrested the Frenchman, but Ducard realised something was off. He killed the policemen before they could execute him as per King Snake’s orders, but was wounded in the right arm.

The manhunter arrived mere minutes after the new Robin, Tim Drake, had defeated King Snake. Ducard called the HK authorities, and gave Robin a tip on how to shut down Dorrance’s activities.

Accuracy

After his arm healed, Ducard was involved in a strange machination. It was a high-stake bet in the underworld using Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) as a pawn. Ducard trained a young French thug with a bloodthirsty sense of ambition, Marc Pilar, to become a formidable gunman. He then provided intelligence allowing the young man to steal Deadshot’s uniform and wrist magnums.

Pilar, now with the gear and identity of one of the most feared killers in the world, established his reputation in blood. He started by killing a number of goons in Marseille. Meanwhile, Ducard contacted Lawton in his civilian identity and told him where to find Pilar – then told Pilar that Deadshot was coming for him.

Ducard understood that Lawton, given his psychotic relationship with his costumed identity, would find it extremely difficult to shoot a man dressed as Deadshot. This gave Pilar an edge, which Ducard apparently exploited in calculating the odds for the bets various crime lords placed on the encounter.

The original Deadshot eventually shot Pilar in the head after forcing himself to abandon his Deadshot identity. This meant considerable psychological difficulties for Lawton, and likely a significant loss of money for Ducard.

Ducard then had the elegance to mail to Lawton his Deadshot weapons and costume. The hood still having the bullet hole in the brow. Lawton thus became Deadshot again, an important moment in his life.

Ghouls and robins

Ducard worked with Robin again some time later. That was during Ra’s al Ghul plot to disseminate a mutated Ebola virus known as the Clench throughout the world. Time was running short and Robin, investigating in Paris, had to contact Ducard to gain time.

At first Ducard refused to be involved due to the lack of reward. But he accepted the deal once Robin pointed out that he would die from the Clench too if it was released in Paris.

Ducard swiftly deduced where the attack was going to take place. As a result, Robin and Nightwing could fight off Ra’s al Ghul’s crack operatives long enough to foil the attempt. Robin found himself surrounded but, seconds before Ra’s men could shoot him dead, they were themselves shot from behind by Ducard.

Robin protested. But Ducard coldly told him that, even by moral standards far loftier than his own, the death of a few men was trivial if it prevented a deadly global plague.

Agent of the bat

Some years later, Batman hired Ducard to help him track down Ra’s al Ghul. Al Ghul had then allied with the Joker to cook up a killer spore that could trigger mankind’s extinction.

Alfred, who was accompanying Batman, was disgusted by the French manhunter’s ruthlessness and willingness to kill and torture for expediency’s sake. However, the Batman had allowed for that in the contract he had passed with Ducard. Wayne knew that accepting Ducard’s methods was the price to pay for saving mankind.

Ducard did take Batman and Alfred to one of Ra’s al Ghul base. Though he was disappointed to discover their target was not currently there, Batman gathered enough information there to find the would-be genocidal killer on his next stop.


Description

Ducard is a chain smoker. Although he’s more likely to smoke American cigarettes, we can have him smoking Gauloises  for tradition’s sake. He’s in his 50s, but is not really diminished physically – though he’s not as quick as he once was. He wears an unusual moustache and, usually, a sleeveless white T-shirt (a débardeur) under his shirt.

In the Batman Begins movie, Liam Neeson’s character uses the Henri Ducard alias. There’s not much in common, but Neeson would indeed be a good choice to play Ducard, in terms of features, height and presence. The last two shots in the illustration bar are thus of Neeson with Ducard-like hair.


Personality

Ducard is a stone-cold mercenary. He’s in it solely for the money and only looks after himself. Barring highly unusual circumstances, he will not consider any engagement that is not highly paid. He seems weary and cynical, and appears to be completely amoral.

The Frenchman moves like a shark in a world of constant danger. He is always, always watching if he’s tailed or not, and is constantly expecting an attempt on his life. He is a true professional, and he simply doesn’t make mistakes.

If he gets to shoot an opponent in the back, he will not hesitate for a second. He has a true killer instinct, and beside he knows that he’s not an action movie hero. Although he will not kill needlessly, any person engaging him in armed combat will soon be dead.

Master Ducard

Ducard is a master, and he knows it. He moves and thinks with astounding confidence. The more complex and explosive the situation, the more he enjoys himself in his own cold, professional way.

His possible weaknesses are pride (he dislikes being told he was wrong in his deductions, since he pretty much never is) and an inability to comprehend a truly heroic mindset. He simply cannot accept somebody can act for totally pure, altruistic motives.

He also seems to have a taste for high-stake gambling, though it will likely take the form of deadly machinations rather than casino games.

Ducard has a poor temper, and hates incompetence. When he gets annoyed he tends to pepper his tirades with threats and a broad variety of French curse words.


Quotes

“I was in Sri Lanka when I got the call. There’s a holy war on ; I’d been working both sides, supplying arms on a non-denomitional basis. I hated to leave.”

Young Bruce Wayne (shocked and furious at the site of a terrorist bombing): “… senseless slaughter…”
Ducard (coldly): “No. Never say that. There’s no such thing. However warped the logic, it makes sense to [the terrorist we are tracking down]. Our job is to find out why. Mere rage is useless. Put it aside.”

Ducard : “How serious is the reward ?”
Robin : “There is no reward.”
Ducard : “Then we have nothing to talk about.”
Robin : “Millions will die, Ducard.”
Ducard : “Je m‘en fout. I don’t care. I don’t know them, and those I know I’d rather see dead.”

“Greed is my province, monsieur. And threats do not amuse me. Remember, I know a thing or two about the Cartel as well.”

“I am of course no moralist, but this Batman, I think, has a very poor understanding of the world.”

Robin: “Yuh-you shot them in the *back* !”
Ducard: “The only advantage I had, young friend. There were five of them.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Henri Ducard

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 08 Wil: 12 Min: 08 Occupation: Manhunter
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 008
Init: 019 HP: 035

Skills:
Animal handling (Riding): 04, Artist (Actor): 06, Charisma (Interrogation): 08, Charisma (Intimidation, Persuasion): 06, Detective (Legwork, Counterfeit recognition): 10, Detective (Identification systems, Police procedures): 07, Martial artist: 06, Military science (Camouflage, Tracking): 06, Thief (Stealth, Security systems, Locks and safes): 07, Vehicles (Land): 06, Weaponry (Firearms): 08

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (World), Expertise (Criminology and profiling), Familiarity (Bribery, Use of selected household items as weapons), Iron Nerves, Language (French, Cantonese Chinese, presumably others), Omni-Connection, Schtick (Paired firearms), Sharp Eye.

Connections:
Underworld (High), Street (High), French police (Low), Interpol (Low), Arms dealers (High), Mercenary scene (High), DGSE (French intelligence) (High).

Drawbacks:
Age (Old).

Equipment:
Ducard usually packs one gun — the Beretta in areas where packing is illegal, or one of the Brownings when carrying a gun is legal or tolerated. He’s only likely to have both Brownings (plus some extra clips and possibly the Beretta) if he expects a gunfight.

  • Browning Hi-Power Mk3 (x2) [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 13, R#02].
  • Beretta 9000S 9mm holdout pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 12, R#02].
  • A carton of cigarettes.
  • He often packs high-powered, light amplification binoculars for surveillance.
  • Ducard will use a locally bought high-quality sniper rifle for assassinations.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Batman comics.

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