5840 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

King Tiger (Dark Horse comics)

King Tiger


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

Context

King Tiger was one of the lead characters when Dark Horse Comics launched its imprint World’s Greatest Comics, in 1993. This was a new super-heroes setting. This line almost ended when the comic books market crashed, not too long later.

King Tiger continued to make appearances in surviving books (namely Ghost). Much later, new mini-series were released (under the rescoped brand Dark Horse Heroes), including several with King Tiger. Howbeit, that came much later than this profile, which only covers the 1990s material.


Background

  • Real Name: Chung K’uei (“Great spiritual chaser of demons”) might be King Tiger’s real name, at least on his mother’s side.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Father (name unrevealed), mother (a female demon, name unrevealed).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile ; a sprawling hacienda in Hoyo Grandé, Nevada.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 158 lbs Age: 25.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

King Tiger is solidly trained, with an improbable breadth of action skills :

All these support his main asset, which is archery. King Tiger is talented enough with his bow and magic arrows to “double tap”, in a way. That is, the second arrow hit the first arrow, driving hit further into the enemy’s skull (in DC Heroes RPG terms this is a fancy Critical).

If there are multiple opponents though, like an irremediably possessed crowd or enemy soldiers, he’ll go for the twin pistols.

Other assets

His unique heritage gives him a peculiar ability to detect and even predict demonic ability. Tiger will hear a tearing sound when reality is being ripped by demonic reality.

If the infernal events are going to happen close by, he can predict them in advance. If they happen far away he relies on conventional news sources, but will normally be able to locate the events once he gets close enough. His supernatural senses extend to non-demonic stuff, though they are far less keen in such applications.


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His most common use of magic is to enchant his arrows to endow them with demon-slaying properties. These force the defeated evil creatures to leave Earth’s plane. After he started using firearms, he also started enchanting bullets.

Though the scene is not very clear, I think King Tiger can, with the proper supplies (which Rikki can carry around in a big leather bag) operate on himself (even conducting surgery). In this way he can fully recover from even grave wounds in an amazingly short time.

Tiger seems incredibly resilient to pain and damage. Rikki was unimpressed when Ghost brought him with a table leg rammed into his chest, indicating in a blasé manner that her lover had survived much worse wounds. Indeed, through obviously wounded and in pain, King Tiger could walk and be somewhat active within two days of being nearly killed.


History

King Tiger was raised by a secret sect of Tibetan monks, led by his father. He was brought up believing that the ritual sacrifice of his life on his 20th birthday was necessary to forever close a portal between Earth and an infernal dimension.

During his childhood and teenage years, he extensively practised the religious disciplines of the sect. That included a heavy martial arts regimen. On the eve of the sacrifice, the youth learned that his mother was actually a demon. Thust, the spilling of his blood by his demented and corrupt father would actually open the gateway rather than close it. Rebelling, he escaped.

Hitting the jackpot

After he escaped his sacrificial fate, King Tiger became a knight errand. He would divine the presence of supernatural threats then to destroy them. He dedicated his life to the destruction of demons and their ilk. Under unknown circumstances he eventually established himself in an hacienda in Nevada with girlfriend Rikki and assistant Milo.

King Tiger leaping and shooting

He likely wanted to be close to the Cinnabar Flats US Army Research Centre, where the Vortex was secretly being studied. The place attracts supernatural weirdness. Apparently, King Tiger used magic to win big at the local casinos (Hoyo Grandé being a sort of mini-Vegas) and spend it on the house. He was eventually blacklisted by the aforementioned gambling dens.

Another factor drawing him to Nevada was the presence of Szothstromael, a shape-changing demon lord. King Tiger found the thing and fought it. He managed tocast it back to the demon plane and seal the way with paper chains, fire, and an ancient British dagger he had used to harm the demon in the first place.

The man from the Vortex

When the alien Seekers came to destroy the alien Man from the Vortex and invaded the Army base, a ball of light shot out of the Vortex and over the desert. This had been predicted by an alien computer at Cinnabar, who warned his human host, young David McRae, of the danger.

As Hero Zero, McRae intercepted the intruder, who turned into a giant Chinese-style dragon. Hero Zero fought until the dragon exploded into five more or less Tibetan-style demons, who fled from the young hero.

But King Tiger’s fortune-telling showed him where the demons would be. Thus, he ambushed them into the desert. He managed to kill two, but things were not looking good until Rikki rammed the remaining demons with her car. This saved Tiger but allowed the surviving demons to flee, since she had broken the mystical circle.

Will to power

Due to the Man from the Vortex’s mystical nature, King Tiger foresaw how Titan would come after the alien. Tiger spent a week crafting and enchanting a special arrow. When his visions got more precise, he had Rikki and Milo bring him to a specific spot. He knew Titan would crash at one point in his battle against the alien within the Vortex.

King Tiger is about to shoot Titan

King Tiger confronted the demented powerhouse. To general awe, his arrow fatally wounded Titan.

At the peak of his monstrous power, Titan managed to resuscitate himself though sheer force of will. He ripped away and incinerated the arrow. But his brief death had badly weakened him and the alien from the Vortex managed to kill him, this time for good.

Tiger left, regretting the deed/ But he knew that there was no other way and that Titan was just too uncontrollable and murderous a menace, having already killed hundreds.

Enter Ghost

King Tiger continued his aggressive watch for demonic deeds. Reading about a series of bizarre murders in Arcadia, he came there to investigate. The entity, oddly enough, did not register on his demon-sensing senses. After he found it via the police band his special arrows proved to have little effect on it. Tiger ended up with a table leg rammed into his torso but was saved by Ghost.

While bed-ridden, he told Ghost that she was probably tied to the demon – which called itself Cameron Nemo. Tiger thought that he was going to keep coming after her, but that there was a way to destroy it. He then gave Ghost an inscribed .45 bullet.

King Tiger crouching with a readied arrow

Ghost was seemingly destroyed by the creature. Tiger sensed this. Though still badly wounded and weakened, he located Ghost with Rikki’s help, and freed her from a jade prison. Tiger could not detect anything demonic going on, and Ghost was in a pretty bad coma of supernatural origin, about which he could not do much.

Ghost eventually awakened on her own, having beaten Cameron Nemo in her mindscape.

Still puzzled over the fact that he couldn’t sense a thing and that Cameron Nemo was not obeying any of the ethereal rules, King Tiger reached the conclusion that it was all a creation of Ghost’s mind. Howbeit, this conclusion was later proved incorrect. He also gave her some advice about meditation to help her resist her own demons.

Motorhead

King Tiger was next seen tracking the demonist and fake stage magician Gui Xian. Like Tiger, Gui was a demonic hybrid who could use magic to open gates to the demon plane. Tiger tracked the warlock along the Mississippi. But his first attempt came in too late. The demon hunter had little choice but to shoot dead a dozen people who had been irremediably possessed.

His next confrontation was more successful. He beat back the three terrors summoned by Gui Xian with Motorhead’s help. Then the heroes used the Abattoir Key to stop Gui once and for all.

King Tiger’s plan worked. The demon-summoning artefact Gui was using was telekinetically transferred to King Tiger. KT used the mystical properties of his dual heritage to open a gateway just long enough to suck the demons that were already there in, then slam the door behind them.

Ghost returns

Some months later, Ghost called King Tiger for assistance about how to handle a guardian golem. At that point Ghost was also working with a a female covert agent codenamed Focus.

King Tiger shoots a special arrow at a demon

Focus and Tiger were immediately attracted toward each other. Focus started flirting with him. The attraction (possibly enhanced by Focus’s unique gifts) was strong enough that Tiger was unfaithful toward Rikki. He and Focus started making out at the first opportunity.

Soon after that, a shadowy silhouetted guided them into Arcadia’s underground, bringing them where Ghost, X and several goblins were clashing with the heavily-armed forces of a superhuman crimelord. Ghost and her allies won the war, though Focus suffered from several gunshot wounds.

When King Tiger left Arcadia to go back to Nevada, he was ambushed and captured by Doctor October. She used stolen paranormal powers to do so. Ghost eventually killed October and rescued those allies the madwoman had captured.

Chi  unravelled

King Tiger would soon hit his lowest point. The guilt over his affair with Focus greatly affected him. And when he told Rikki, she threw him out of her home. King Tiger’s inner balance was wrecked. He started drifting and neglecting his duties, becoming a booze hound and a hotel detective for the local casino industry (though he still couldn’t play).

This lasted about a year. Early during that period, Szothstromael could act despite his confinement – in part thanks to King Tiger neglecting his duties to keep the mystical wards up, and in part due to power pulses emanating from the Vortex. The demon lord thus gathered his offspring, who had grown up very quickly whilst he was imprisoned. They came to Hoyo Grandé.

Thus, when Ghost came to consult King Tiger about the shade Silhouette, she found him dramatically diminished and unable to help much. At this point the demon shapechangers started to strike around Hoyo Grandé. It became obvious that KT lacked the focus to successfully engage them, though he did try.

Ghost and several friends accompanying her, including Concordia Leveche and Ghost’s dead sister Margo, were sucked into the problem. Thus, they ended up helping him. As he talked a bit with Ghost (who also had been hurt by Focus) and started taking his responsibilities seriously, Tiger’s senses and acumen started returning to him.

Chi restored

After King Tiger sent Ghost to negotiate with the alien in the Vortex to put an end to the energy pulses, Rikki, Milo and Ghost’s friends were attacked the full pack of shapechangers. Rikki used a telepathic ritual to call Tiger for help.

When Tiger burst in he was obviously back in full form. Milo instinctively reacted to their usual partnership and passed a mystical sword to him with a perfect sense of timing.

Obviously back at the top of his game, King Tiger killed all the shapechangers with Ghost’s help. He even prevented the murder of one of the demons, whom he was sure was not a monstrous murderer like the others and was basically innocent.

King Tiger has not been seen since. But it seemed that he was fully recovering from his ordeal and that Rikki would accept him back.


Description

King Tiger is a young, good looking Asian man. He dresses in modified Tibetan garb : blue-black tights, a loose-fitting orange tunic and soft hide boots. He moves with perfect balance, his body language conveying great ease and assurance.

He has green dragon tattoos on his forearms, which seem to have some slight reflecting/day-glo properties. His body type and exceptional muscle definition are quite reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s, and seem to be a hit with many women.

When he starts crawling out of his sorry state after betraying Rikki, he starts wearing black robes instead of his usual outfit, though it’s still more or less the same cut.


Personality

King Tiger is almost a stereotyped “Inscrutable Oriental™”. He is somewhat taciturn, and obviously believes in the Comic Book Magician’s Code of not telling non-mystics (including his own friends) more than he thinks they need to know.

He does however have a reasonable sense of humor and a recognition of the fact that his crusade against all things demonic borders on obsession. And the more time he spent in the US, the more he drifted away from his Young Inscrutable Master thing and the more he became a wise-cracking cinematic action hero with one-liners and spectacular entrances.

King Tiger’s mains weakness is probably that he’s a bit too cocky and confident in his numerous skills and abilities. He has a certain tendency to show off and jump right in front of the danger, unreasonably assuming he can handle more than he actually can. His confidence in his abilities also leads him to draw firm conclusions even when he should be more careful.

Basically, while King Tiger is very competent and pretty smart, when he makes mistakes those tend to be big ones. Since he doesn’t really consider the possibility he might be wrong or lack information.

In the thick of it

His “flippant action hero from a B-movie” persona feels a bit forced at times. From some of his remarks, I would *assume* that he’s a bit like a 14-year-old who wants to be cool and admired and has a bit of a power fantasy. The only reason he calls himself “King Tiger” is because… it sounds cool.

King Tiger stands with his bow over a dead demon

He spent his life sheltered in a Tibetan monastery working out and meditating upon his necessary death. As a consequence, getting out of this presumably austere environment to be thrown into the modern US may make him a little giddy and performing below his normal maturity level, driven by all the entertainment and shallow role models he sees.

Presumably, that will eventually makes him stronger as he genuinely moves beyond the culture shock and becomes truly dual-cultural, rather than just wanting to be like Jet Li and Bruce Willis.

In the meanwhile, of course, he really enjoys all the stuff you don’t usually find in a monastery (such as partying, alcohol and sex). Yet his mission remains of course a strong priority over having fun.

Tiger seems to generally prefer Asian food, neighbourhoods, etc. but to have a weakness toward Caucasian women.


Quotes

“I’m serious. You must not cross that line in the ground — no matter what.”

“DIE, demons !”

Titan (standing Superman-style in front of KT): “What do you think you’re going to do with that bow and arrow, kid ?”
King Tiger: “Kill you.”

(Taunting a demon) “Leave that host, coward ! Face me on your own !”

“Nothing can bring them back. But King Tiger can bring them vengeance — and maybe that will let their souls rest easy.”

“I’m hungry. Never fight demons on an empty stomach. Know a good noodle shop ?”

(After having unexpectedly produced a holdout pistol) “You’d be surprised at the things I have in this robe. Why do you think it takes me so long to get dressed ?”

“Looks like you and your boyfriends brought along a new plaything, deviltry… fortunately, I brought enough ammo for everybody ! Chewing gum, too, if anybody wants some.” (Boom Boom Boom !)

King Tiger: “It’s better to have a weapon and not need one, than to need a weapon and not have one.”
Ghost: “What’s that from ? The Tao of John Woo ?”

“We encountered the bastard child of a pleomorphic demonlord and a human host.”

“I’ve neglected my duty. I’ve been distracted by material intemperance. My chi is as tattered as these robes. I have to tell you, I regret my tryst with Focus.”

Ghost: “You’ve got Excalibur stored in your garage.”
King Tiger (cleaning the sword and correcting her) “I have King Arthur’s mystical sword in my garage, yes.”


DC Universe History

Instead of having Ghost as one of his closest allies he presumably would have worked with Hawkgirl before she met Hawkman, helping her deal with mystical menaces from her past lives.

He could also have occasionally collaborating with the JSA, at one point appearing to kill Johnny Sorrow with an arrow to the amazement of everybody present.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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King Tiger

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 07 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Demon hunter
Inf: 06 Aur: 07 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 024 HP: 040

Powers:
Awareness: 10, Invulnerability*: 06, Magic Field: 02, Magic Sense: 16, Regeneration: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Magic Field is Self Only, and doesn’t work against straight Magic Blast.
  • Magic Sense has a Loss Vulnerability – only half the APs can be used against non- demonic stuff.
  • Magic Sense is Discerning – in particular he can concentrate on Sensing a specific supernatural entity such as Ghost, and whether that entity is alive or dead, diminished or fully powered, etc..
  • Invulnerability and Regeneration requires being treated with special teas, poultices, etc. he made.
  • Note that the Vortex (the fissure itself, not the alien scientist) is considered to also be magical in nature – though not demonic – which means it registers on KT’s Awareness and Magic Sense (for instance he predicted fairly precisely what would happen between Titan and the Vortex).

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Martial Artist: 08, Medicine (First aid, Treatment, Surgery): 06, Occultist: 08, Thief (Concealment): 04, Thief (Stealth): 06, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms, Melee, Missile): 08, Weaponry (Archery): 09

Advantages:
Buddy (Rikki Boyd and Milo), Expertise (Demon lore – he can further use this to increase his Magic Sense, and his Awareness when it comes to sensing demonic activity), Headquarters (Extensive), Iron Nerves, Language (an unspecified Tibetan dialect), Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (Lightning Release, Pain Management (Low), Paired Firearms).

Connections:
Ghost (High), Motorhead (Low).

Drawbacks:
SIH of Demons, Loss Vulnerability (see below).

Equipment:

  • Badass Longbow [BODY 05, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 01, Rec. STR: 04, R#02, Bow Advantage (actual EV for King Tiger is 05, actual Range for King Tiger is 07), Limitation : Low Penetration] with about 15 arrows.
  • Tibetan longsword [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist)].
  • SIG P220 pistol (x2) [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo 15, R#2] with two extra clips.
  • Nunchaku (x2) [BODY 04, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Holdout 9mm pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 09, R#02, Limitation: Projectile weapon has no Range, use the Range listed instead].
  • Blades of Riothamus (x2) [BODY 12, EV 03/04 (05 w/STR, 09 w/Martial artist), Sharpness (EV): 06, Bonus: EV is Transdimensional ; Limitation: Sharpness only works against supernatural defences or the BODY of mystical creatures such as demons]. The first blade is the Shortblade (a fighting dagger – this is the one with EV 03) and the other is a broadsword (with EV 04). They supposedly belonged to King Arthur, and inspired the legend of Excalibur.
    According to Tiger (who is not quite sure what the exact properties of the blades are), the Blades comprise the “Parzifal Armoury” or “Weapons of the Graal” and, after their stay with Riothamus, were used by the Templar Knights during the defence of Outremer after the first crusade.
  • King Tiger also has access to ancient swords imbued with demon-killing powers, makes bullets bearing magic inscriptions, and has a staff apparently carved from the femur of a giant demon.

Rituals: Probably one for every occasion, but here are the known ones :

  • Spell of dissolution
    Effect: Projectile weapon: 09.
    Casting time: One minute.
    Components: Caster’s blood, one arrow of fine quality (which gets consumed).
    Special limitations: Projectile weapon has no AV – use the user’s AV with the weapons from which the arrow is shot instead (-1 or -0 depending on house rules) and has no Range (use the Range of the bow instead).
    The spell is inscribed on the arrow and the arrow is shot normally at a later time. King Tiger uses it against demons and generally prepares one arrow per demon. Note that those arrows actually detonate in a fireball when they hit something.

 

  • Magic cage
    Effect: Force wall: 12, Lightning being: 04.
    Casting time: One hour.
    Components: Possibly a special staff carved from the femur of a demon.
    Special bonus: The Force Wall’s Volume can be as big as the circle, and the circle doesn’t have to be perfect – for instance King Tiger once traced the circle whilst riding in a car Rikki was driving in a large circle.
    A circle is traced on the ground after some preparation. This circle becomes a force field that exists only to keep things in. It is intangible and invisible from outside ; from outside it manifest as a sphere made of giant ectoplasmic hands with eyes in their palm and impossibly long, rubbery fingers forming a web-like pattern. Attempting to breach the Force Wall from the inside will trigger the Lightning Being power on the Force Wall itself.

 

  • Slaying arrow
    Effect: Projectile weapon: 20.
    Casting time: One week.
    Components: A masterwork arrow.
    Special limitations: Projectile weapon has no AV – use the user’s AV with the weapons from which the arrow is shot instead (-1 or -0 dep. on house rules) and has no Range (use the Range of the bow instead).
    This is an extremely powerful version of the spell of dissolution, and was used by King Tiger to slay the mighty Titan.

 

  • Call for help
    Effect: Telepathy: 12.
    Casting time: One Phase.
    Components: None.
    Special limitations: Telepathy is communication only, can only transmit a call for help and a location, and can only contact the person who loves the ritualist the most.

 

  • Harmonic pattern compass
    Effect: King Tiger isn’t quite sure – possibly Detect (one specific supernatural being): 20.
    Casting time: One minute.
    Components: A special enchanted arrow.
    This Ritual is what King Tiger uses when he has nothing to go on. The enchanted arrow hangs from a wire, and will supposedly align with the harmonic pattern created by whatever he’s chasing ; King Tiger walks or ride around and goes where the arrow points toward.
    Tiger doesn’t quite know how this thing is supposed to work, or, indeed, how reliable it is. Sometimes, it works – basically it leads wherever the GM wants it to.

 

  • Time-crawl arrow
    Effect: Time slow: 14.
    Casting time: Unknown, maybe two or three hours.
    Components: A masterwork arrow.
    Special limitations: Time Slow has no AV – use the user’s AV with the weapons from which the arrow is shot instead (-1 or -0 dep. on house rules).
    This Ritual was actually used by Doctor October, who stole it from King Tiger. When she shot an enchanted arrow at X, it created a bubble of greatly slowed time around him. His bullets were hanging in the air and barely moving forward. Yet Dr. October could move with normal alacrity within the bubble.

 

  • Fishing kappas
    Effect: Occultist (occult knowledge): 11.
    Casting time: About 30 seconds.
    Components: Blood, a cucumber and some kind of fishing line (often an arrow with some wire, since he always carry some of both).
    This allows for fishing kappas (Japanese water spirits), which are great gossips, always with late news about the mystic world in exchange for a great delicacy to their kin – namely, bloodied cukes.

 

  • Demon gambler
    Effect: Wealth: 07, R#05.
    Casting time: Unrevealed.
    Components: Unrevealed.
    This Ritual grants the user paranormal luck, which can be used to amass a fortune in casinos (though at some point the user is going to be blacklisted).

Rikki

King Tiger’s American girlfriend Rikki seemed to be both very much in love with Tiger. Furthermore, she is quite used to his rather dangerous and creepy adventures. She also seems to be a good driver (Vehicle (Land): 03 or 04) and has at least Medicine (First aid): 04 – she might be a former med or EMT student.

Other talents of hers include Weaponry (Firearms) at 03 or 04, quite possibly Iron Nerves (and/or MIN and SPI of about 04), packing a 9mm, and *very tentatively* being a skilled auto mechanic.

She seems to be in her early 20s, might be from Nevada, and works as an assistant to Tiger, especially when he is wounded – carrying a bag of special medicinal supplies in her pink convertible T-Bird (her favourite collection car, though she has at least two other classic, brightly-coloured convertibles).

Remarkably, Rikki knows and can use the Call for Help Ritual described above.


Milo

Milo’s role is less well-defined, and he seems to prefer to stick around Hoyo Grandé. But he is there he caddies around King Tiger’s artefacts.

He has a good throwing arm (he could throw an unsheathed broadsword to a leaping King Tiger in such a way as for Tiger to grab it and use it whilst still in the air) and knows how to use firearms (Weaponry (Firearms): 03, I assume). When he was seen armed he had a Desert Eagle.


Freed from desire

After he betrays Rikki to have sex with Focus, King Tiger enters a severe Subplot (or rather a bundle of Subplots). The guilt over what he has done leads him to become a alcoholic and to badly disrupt his chi – and thus his overall acumen. The consequences are:

  • Rikki throws him out and Milo sides with her.&emsp.Thus, KT loses the Buddy and Headquarters Advantages.
  • King Tiger develops a MIA toward Alcohol, a MIA toward Depression, Uncertainty, and has occasional bouts of Guilt.
  • All of his OVs for physical actions, social interaction and perception rolls are increased by 2 CSes (!).
  • All of his Powers Burn Out, and cannot be Recovered as long as any of the Subplots last.
  • He develops a Low Connection in the casino industry in Hoyo Grandé – and in particular his friend Donovan “Donny” Brooke, the security man at the Wizard Grandé Hotel and Casino.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Lost to time (Rafael ?) ; later Jackson, John M. Kahane ; later still Capita_Senyera.

Source of Character: Dark Horse’s Comics’s Greatest World.

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