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Joker (Mass Effect 1)

Joker

(Jeff Moreau profile #1 - Mass Effect)


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

Context

Flt. Lt. Jeff “Joker” Moreau is one of the main, recurrent characters in the Mass Effect video game trilogy and related media. This profile assumes some familiarity with the setting. If that’s not your case, you should first read the Mass Effect 1 setting article and the SSV Normandy article. The first Commander Shepard profile can’t hurt either.

This profile only covers the first game. Events taking place before the game, chiefly meaning the He Who Laughs Best comic, are covered – but in a separate section. For the second game, there is a separate .

Our Joker profiles include major S P O I L E R S.



Background

  • Real Name: Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Crew member on the SSV Normandy.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile aboard the SSV Normandy SR-1.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Joker’s bluster about his piloting skills is no braggadocio. He’s genuinely good. He can fly the Normandy with impressive proficiency despite the unusual flight characteristics caused by her very heavy, very powerful Tantalus drive core.

He performed exceedingly well in space combat. Furthermore, Joker can pull off crazy stunts like dive-bombing to deliver a Mako tank destroyer in one-fifth the normal landing space, or using Mass Effect physics to perform a bootlegger reverse in space.

He’s also a dead shot with onboard weaponry. Joker uses aggressive manoeuvring in space combat to line up a bead with the Normandy’s spinal mass driver canon. This entry assumes that he would be able to operate other heavy weapon systems with a high degree of accuracy, as long as he doesn’t have to stand to use them.

Joker (Jeff Moreau), Kaidan Alenko and Commander Shepard

Joker is a boss with evasive manoeuvres. The Normandy fought the entire battle at the Citadel without taking a single solid hit. Several scenes set before or after the events in Mass Effect also demonstrate that even fighter pilots giving chase find it exceedingly hard to hit the Normandy when Joker mans her helm.

Bad to the bone

Flight Lieutenant Moreau was born with Vrolik’s Syndrome, aka “brittle bones disease”. His skeleton is practically hollow, especially in the legs. It is trivial for him to break a bone. He was born with a dozen fractures – and would have died within months without the extensive medical technology available in the 2150s.

Even current gene therapy cannot help much. Joker spends most of his time in his customised seat, using braces and crutches when he has to move around. He seems to prefer using those when nobody else is present.

Moreau has been medically monitored for years by Dr. Chakwas. While his poorly-documented condition cannot be cured it can be treated, and Chakwas is now an expert with Vrolik’s Syndrome.


History

Jeff Moreau was born with a very rare, severe condition making his bones brittle like glass. He couldn’t walk, and he couldn’t run – but he became determined to fly. In order to show his worth, the close-faced, bitter youth applied himself to become the best pilot he could, and enlisted with the Systems Alliance Navy.

The hard-working Moreau became the best cadet pilot of his cohort, allegedly better than the flight school instructors. His closed attitude led to an instructrix sarcastically nicknaming him “Joker”, which stuck. The legend has it that the first time he smiled in flight school was when he graduated valedictorian.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) half-smiling

Though his career is not described in the game, Moreau earned numerous commendations. Thus, he was selected in 2183 by special warfare legend Captain David Anderson to be his helmsman. He thus met other hand-picked servicepersons. These included :

  • The veteran Navigator Pressly.
  • Anderson’s second-in-command the famous war heroine, Staff Commander Shepard.
  • Dr. Chakwas, who became his physician.

(For an account of how Joker became Anderson’s helmsman, see the “He who laughs best” section below.)

The Normandy

Beyond the prestige of being Captain Anderson’s helmsman, Joker gained access to an incredible ship — the Normandy. Named after the 1944 Operation Overlord battle , the SSV Normandy SR-1 is a first-in-class experimental stealth frigate.

It sported a one-of-a-kind emissions sink stealth systems, as well as a prototype high-performance Tantalus drive core with about twice the horsepower of a normal frigate.

Her unique handling characteristics make the Normandy a demanding ship to fly. But Joker learnt her peculiarities and became a wizard with his pride and joy during tests, falling in love with the ship.

Ship aweigh !

When the time came for the Normandy’s shakedown cruise, Flight Lieutenant Moreau was startled to find a full crew embarking. This included the marines detail, Anderson and Shepard themselves, plus a reputed Turian Spectre – a special agent for the Citadel Council. Obviously, the shakedown cruise had become a cover for an urgent special operation.

Thus did Lt. Moreau end up being the main pilot for Staff Commander Shepard’s Spectre mission to derail the Saren Plot.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) and a perspective to the command deck

Joker and the Normandy performed exceptionally well. They criss-crossed the galaxy at record speeds as the campaign unfolded, crossed enemy turf without ever being detected, and successfully infiltrated and exfiltrated special forces shore parties from all sorts of dangerous areas.

Joker saved the day by fetching the ground team in the nick of time during the combat rescue operation to secure Dr. T’Soni. He also landed a shore party in seemingly impossible circumstances during the desperate final rush to the planet Ilos.

The battle of the Citadel

While Shepard and her commandos engaged Saren on the Citadel, Joker rejoined the Fifth Fleet of the Alliance as it was being scrambled to respond to the threat. Thanks to the Normandy’s velocity, she was the lead ship as the massive Human forces poured into the Widow system to engage geth assets.

Under the command of Shepard’s XO Navigator Pressly, Joker flew the Normandy as the spearhead of the detachment that broke the forces attacking the Asari super-dreadnought Destiny Ascension. This saved the lives of the Citadel Council, among thousands of others.

Rescuing the Destiny Ascension cost the Humans cruisers (Shenyang, Emden, Jakarta, Cairo, Seoul, Cape Town, Warsaw and Madrid). But the Normandy was unscathed and was the first ship in during the last phase of the battle.

After massed naval fire took down enemy shields, Joker made a daring power dive to the core of the Citadel. He perforated the enemy ship at close range with the Normandy’s spinal mass driver cannon. This proved his ship’s worth as a warbird and not solely as a fast vessel and shore party delivery craft.

In the wake of the battle in the Widow system, the Normandy was retasked with mopping up geth marauders who escaped the battle – with Flight Lieutenant Moreau still at her helm.


He who laughs best

A 2013 free comic book titled He who laughs best offers a flashback to how Lieutenant Moreau became Captain Anderson’s helmsman. We’ve kept it in a separate section to minimize S P O I L E R S. The action takes place in early 2183, some months before Mass Effect.

Despite his extraordinary qualifications, Moreau was stuck piloting shuttles and playing taxi driver on Arcturus Station. His visible medical condition and ever-present crutches meant that he was never selected for high-stakes assignments. When the brand-new Normandy was to start her test flights campaign he excitedly applied, but was predictably rejected.

As a shuttle pilot, Lt. Moreau taxied to Arcturus Station the Turian senior officer overseeing the Normandy project, General Invectus. He tried to schmooze with Invectus, but the Turian bluntly shot him down and told him that the Hierarchy would never, ever allow a “cripple” to touch the prototype.

His heart sinking as he realised that he faced a lifetime of frustration, Jeff decided that he had nothing to lose.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) discussing with Commander Shepard in ME1

As the Normandy was about to perform a trial demonstration, Lt. Moreau tricked the test pilot. He locked him into a shuttle, then hijacked the ship and sealed himself at the helm. After quickly memorising the obstacle course and reading the manifest, he gunned up the engines and took the Normandy through the performance test.

The furious officer in charge of the trials, Captain Dillard, sicced fighters after her. But the sarcastic Lt. Moreau handily evaded their fire while completing the entire obstacle course with time to spare, then docked back on Arcturus Station and surrendered.

While Dillard wanted Moreau locked away forever, Captain Anderson was much more sympathetic. He torn between the necessity of having Moreau disciplined and his interest in having him as his helmsman given his superior talent. However, the deciding factor was General Invectus.

As a product of the Turian Hierarchy, Invectus strongly believed in meritocracy. He pointed out that Moreau’s courage, adaptability and talent had been exceptional. Invectus strongly hinted that the Turian Hierarchy now wanted “the cripple” at the helm of the Normandy joint project.

Anderson deftly caught that ball and sealed the deal in front of the incredulous Joker.


Description

Joker is always wearing an Alliance cap, and grew a full short beard just before he was assigned to the Normandy. Given how much he enjoys his job, there’s usually a faint smile floating on his lips as he seats at the helm.

Joker is voiced by actor Seth Green, to whom he bears a distinct resemblance.


Personality

Joker is passionate about space and spaceships. He lives to “fly”, to see the majesty of celestial bodies, and to learn about new and exotic vessels. Flying a cutting-edge, high-performance ship like the Normandy is his life’s dream come true, and he’s obviously very attached to her. He also likes the image of the maverick, dashing pilot.

Joker (Jeff Moreau) at the helm of the Normandy SR1

Joker is touchy about his medical condition, and determined to prove that he can do the job better than anybody else. He’s completely, blatantly overcompensating for his handicap. But after the Normandy test flight stunt having his skills and initiative recognised taught him to relax.

He still acts defensive and arrogant about his skills and worth, but he’s learnt to wrap this using humour and exaggeration to sound less aggressive.

Though he was apparently a grim youth, Joker is now happy with his lot in life, and good-natured. The previously sarcastic nickname is now a reasonable handle for the light-hearted, satisfied Moreau.

He’ll occasionally indulge in sarcastic remarks (see the quotes). But this usually occurs as he comes down from the adrenaline rush and exults in having pulled off some daring manoeuvre. These are obviously meant in jest and as a victory dance.

Seeing himself as the daring pilot figure, Joker is generally quite informal for a military officer, and accentuates this aspect by sporting a cap and a beard.

Moreau is highly loyal toward any CO  who clearly values his skills, such as Captain Anderson or Commander Shepard. He seeks their approval. He was concerned that Anderson didn’t like him as a person, and sought Shepard’s friendship rather than simply acknowledge her as his commanding officer.


Quotes

“‘Good ?’ Look, you remember to zip up your flight suit on the way back from the bathroom, that’s ‘good’. I just shot us halfway across the galaxy and hit a target the size of a pinhead, so that’s incredible.”

“Board is green, stealth systems engaged. Running silent.”

“The Normandy is probably too much ship for the average Alliance pilot, Commander. Luckily for you, I’m anything but average.”

Joker (irrationally defensive): “I can see where this is going. You did a background check. I’ll tell you what I told Captain Anderson. You want me to fly this ship. I’m not good. I’m not even great. I’m best goddamn pilot in the whole Alliance. Top of my class in flight school ? I earned that. All those commendations in my file ? I earned every single one. They weren’t given to me as charity for my disease.”
Commander Shepard (empathic and concerned): “You’re sick ?”
Joker: “…” (beat) “You mean you didn’t know ? Aaawwww, crap.” (laughs silently at the irony of the situation).

“Too close, Commander. Ten more seconds and we would have been swimming in molten sulphur. The Normandy isn’t equipped to land in exploding volcanoes. They tend to fry our sensors and melt our hulls. Just for future reference.”

“I prefer gold to silver. You know, for my medal. I figured you’d recommend me for one since I pulled your bu… your boots out of the fire.”

“Ah, hey, Commander. Next time we touch down, let’s try not to park the ship in a colony of mutant zombies. Just thinking out loud here.”

(To Commander Shepard) “I’m with you all the way, ma’am. I want to be there when you kick their sorry asses.”

Destiny Ascension, you’re all clear, repeat – you’re all clear.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Joker (Flight Lt. Jeff Moreau during ME1)

Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 01 Motivation: Prove he’s the best
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Helmsman
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 009 HP: 025

Powers:
Enhanced initiative: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
Enhanced Initiative is a Skilled Power, is Linked to Vehicles (Space) and is only active when flying a starship. When piloting, Joker thus has an Initiative of 018.

Skills:
Vehicles (Space): 09, Weaponry (Heavy): 06

Advantages:
Expertise (Astronavigation and Mass Relay navigation, Military spaceships and protocols), Language (Council Trade).

Connections:
Staff Commander Shepard (High), Crew of the SSV Normandy (High), Systems Alliance Navy (Low).

Drawbacks:
SPR (Joker’s bones are very fragile ; in particular using his legs to support his weight is very painful and they’ll snap under the strain if he has to force the issue. He has zero APs of movement speed, and his RV against any attack that can break his bones is zero.).


He’s a leaf on the wind

Joker’s Vehicle Skills assumes the use of the dogfighting combat rules in Blood of Heroes : Special Edition p182, allowing him to deny more ordinary pilots from drawing a bead on his ship.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Joker — Averaged PL 0.8

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
-2 -2 -2 05 -2 02 00 01

Powers

Not your average helmsman ● 9 points (Removable – must be piloting an appropriate spaceship) (Quirk – these applies to the vehicle Joker is helming, not Joker himself) ● Descriptor: Skill
Defensive attack, Defensive roll 2, Diehard, Evasion 1, Improved Critical (main shipboard cannons) 2, Improved defense, Improved initiative 2, Power attack, Ranged attack 1, Seize initiative

Combat Advantages

None demonstrated

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Systems Alliance military officer)

Skills

Expertise (Military) 4 (+6), Expertise (Spaceships and astronavigation) 10 (+12), Insight 1 (+1), Perception 2 (+2), Ranged combat (Naval weaponry) 2 (+8), Vehicles 7 (+12) (Limited 2 to Systems Alliance lighter SSVs)

Offense

Initiative -2 (+6 when piloting)
Unarmed -2, Close, Damage -2

Defense

Dodge 0 Fortitude 0
Parry -2 Toughness -2
Will 4

Complications

  • Disability Joker’s bones are extremely brittle.
  • Disability At this stage Joker can only move around using crutches and braces.
  • Temper Joker will be irrationally defensive if he expects to be judged due to his medical condition.
  • Approval Joker craves the approval and friendship of his legendary COs – Captain Anderson and Commander Shepard.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 0, Dodge/Toughness PL 0, Parry/Toughness PL 0, Fort/Will PL 2
  • Point total 29 Abilities 0, Defences 8, Skills 11, Powers 9, Devices 0, Advantages 1. Equiv. PL 2.

Notes

Joker can also be considered to be PL2 (his highest Skill minus ten).

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Mass Effect video game trilogy.

Helper(s): Eric Langendorff, Roy Cowan.

Writeup updated on the 9th of May, 2013.

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