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The Kingpin (Marvel Comics) during the 1980s

Kingpin

(Wilson Fisk) (Gisted profile)


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

Context

These are our old, scattered notes about the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk). Back then it started as a technical backstage discussion about modelling his durability, and the concept of human maximums in DCH.

These notes will have to be replaced by a series of modern profiles covering the Kingpin’s evolution.


Background

  • Real Name: Wilson Grant Fisk
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Known Relatives: Vanessa (wife), Richard (aka the Schemer then the Rose, son), parents (names unrevealed, presumably deceased)
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Group Affiliation: None. Briefly the Las Vegas HYDRA faction ; many years ago the leader of a coalition of East Coast non-Maggia criminal organizations.
  • Height: 6’7” Weight: 450 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Bald


Powers and Abilities

The Kingpin is a 6’7”, 450 lbs titan (actually he looks even heavier, probably 500+ lbs). He can out-sumo a top Samoan champion. Not only is he a top-level sumotori, but he’s an expert body-builder (his body type may make it look like fat, but is actually powerful, healthy muscle).

He’s also a noted expert in several other martial arts. A good morning workout will pit him against seven or eight black belt sparring partners, half of those with blunt melee weapons.

His muscle mass is so impressive that it takes at least Captain America-level strength to hurt him. Even a half-dozen 9mm bullets were not enough to slow him down – at least until adrenaline receded.

However, that’s not the worst. He’s a criminal genius with an immense amount of talent for organization, politics and criminal tactics and strategy. He also evidenced as strong charisma and unshakable willpower.

He has once described himself as a magician, able to make anything — or anyone — disappear, and there is little exaggeration in that statement.

He’s the master of pretty much all organized crime on the East Coast, which gives him immense wealth and influence. He has access to numerous hired killers, up to and including Bullseye or, at one point, the Answer.

The Kingpin is best used against street-level, human characters, as he loses much of his mystique against most superhuman opponents.


History

Wilson Fisk has described himself as “an unpopular, blubbery” child. He came from a very poor home, his mother a harridan and his father (a large and powerful who greatly impressed his young son) was working extremely hard in ill-paying blue collar jobs.

The other kids were calling the poor, obese, unattractive Fisk “fatty” and hated him.

Fisk found himself a highly intelligent kid with strong willpower and great loneliness. His incompetent mother and his father’s work hours made him very self reliant, and he developed a vision of the world where he had to be the best, the toughest and to be in control -the one who was actually prepared, who won, who was strong.

This led him to read various authors on the art of war and the philosophy of strength, from Nietzsche to Sun Tzu to MacArthur to Napoleon to Musashi.

He developed a very martial, voluntarist philosophy. He used his obesity as a weapon, using his mass to beat down the kids who were mocking him and even start an extortion scheme bringing much needed money. He used his own fear and loneliness as weapons too, making them his friends – the only one he would ever have.

Horror, fear and loneliness would be his swords, not things making him weak and miserable.

Life of crime

He killed his first man at 12. He had been hired to commit arson and a maintenance worker got in his way. Using a claw hammer and the simple fact he was as big as a 15 years old, he killed the man – as he noted, he was one year younger than the age where Musashi himself killed his first opponent.

He trained himself hard intellectually, stealing books and spending large amounts of time at the library. He avidly learned in other books and then in practice how to manipulate people, break them, tell them what they wanted to hear.

He studied history so as not to repeat the errors of the past. He studied enough political science to realize as a teenager that actual power in society was to be had in the underworld. He threw himself in physical training. His passion for Japanese martial culture made him an excellent sumotori.

During his late teenage years the now imposing and highly convincing Fisk started to build up and organize a gang. It evolved at an astounding speed toward an actual, organized, professional band of criminals. Fisk’s gang grew rapidly in size, influence, power and wealth.

However, he was careful to invest his ill-gotten gains in legitimate businesses.

The first company he owned dealt spices in the Far East. He spent a few months in Japan refining his martial arts techniques.

Gangland

When he came back 4 of his old lieutenants had staged a coup against him and held him at gun point when he got out of the private plane. The Kingpin easily disarmed them and proceeded to kill them with a nearby baseball bat, in a brutal scene reminiscent of Scarface .

During his first decade Fisk also associated with an Amerind criminal, William “Crazyhorse” Lincoln, thus nicknamed due to his heritage and mental instability. At first it was only converging interests and the amusing similarity in their names (Wilson Grant and William Lincoln), but Crazyhorse and Fisk became friends.

His partner’s deteriorating sanity eventually forced Fisk to execute him. But Crazyhorse made him promise he would take care of his daughter, Maya Lopez. Although amoral, the Kingpin always was a man of honor and respected his word.

Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) painted portrait by Ribic

After about a decade as a criminal leader, Fisk had achieved enough success in legitimate business to become a prominent member of New York society. He met and soon married Vanessa, a beautiful woman not yet 20 years old. Her love granted him the peace he sought after his constant struggle for power.

Superhumans

Fisk had become one of the most powerful criminal leaders in New York and Las Vegas after about two decades, and had won the respect of numerous other bosses. When the wisecracking, web-slinging super hero known as Spider-Man appeared to have retired, the Kingpin seized the opportunity to fulfill his master plan.

Fisk proposed the unification of New York’s gangs under his leadership, meeting with nearly unanimous acceptance.

The Kingpin directed a major crime wave in Manhattan that came to an end following his first confrontation with Spider-Man. Moreover, the Kingpin’s attempt to silence Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson backfired when the web-slinger rescued the newspaperman, who then publicly exposed Fisk as the Kingpin.

The crime coalition crumbled.

Vanessa, sickened by the Kingpin’s lifestyle, eventually demanded that Fisk abandon his criminal tendencies — or else she would leave him. He accepted her ultimatum, and the two retired to Japan. Vanessa even persuaded Fisk to surrender his files on the activities of the other bosses to the authorities.

To prevent this, the new leaders of the Kingpin’s crime syndicate kidnapped Vanessa. She apparently was slain by a Kingpin aide who saw her as the only obstacle preventing Fisk from returning to crime.

Not only did the enraged Kingpin resume leadership of his former organization, he turned over his files to the law through his costumed archenemy, the blind adventurer called Daredevil.

The Kingpin’s plan to rid himself of his rivals proved successful, as the evidence in the documents he had provided led to the conviction of countless criminal leaders. The Kingpin assumed control of the majority of gangs dealing in conventional crimes, making his organization the most powerful on the East Coast.

Rise back

Fisk then turned his attention to politics, and it appeared for a short time as if he had scored his greatest coup. His puppet candidate, Randolph Winston Cherryh, won New York’s mayoral election. But the mayor-elect never took office.

Daredevil discovered Vanessa alive, though suffering from severe mental problems, and told Kingpin he would release her to his custody only if Fisk ordered Cherryh to decline the post. Grudgingly, an infuriated Kingpin acquiesced.

Soon, Fisk would find himself on even ground with his masked opponent. When Daredevil’s former lover — Karen Page, a heroin addict — sold the hero’s secret identity as attorney Matt Murdock to a drug dealer, the information eventually came into the Kingpin’s possession.

This was merely the initial move in what would develop into a deadly, years-long chess match between the two adversaries. The Kingpin at first thoroughly destroyed Matt’s life, had him barred from law practice, blew up his brownstone and reduced him to utter poverty.

On the verge of a mental breakdown, the man without fear survived it all through the power of his will and faith. He crawled from the ruins to rebuild himself and his life. He then took the initiative and likewise destroyed the Kingpin’s life, exposing him as a crime lord, having his assets forfeited and turning everything against him.

The Kingpin was broken and penniless for the first time since childhood, and retired to Europe with Vanessa.

Like Murdock has emerged as strong as before from Fisk’s ordeal, Fisk came back. He somehow gained power within the Stark-Fujikawa corporation, and used his genius to rebuild his empire of crime with those assets. He again became the Kingpin of Crime on the West Coast – and Daredevil’s nemesis.

While the fact that he was proven as the Kingpin of Crime was clear at first, Fisk maneuvered so that it became again shrouded in doubt and suspicion.

Plans within plans

Strangely, one of the hardest blows he dealt to Daredevil was when he was approached by Mysterio, who wanted to destroy a hero’s sanity before he would die of cancer.

For a million dollars Fisk accepted to tell Mysterio what he knew and to his considerable pleasure and surprise Mysterio actually managed to mount a vicious assault on Daredevil’s sanity that almost broke him – although Daredevil ultimately prevailed.

A blind Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) by Maleev

The Kingpin and his holdings later weathered an operation by the Avengers to put plants in his organization – Fuse and Shift. He brainwashed Shift and even allowed himself to luxury to order a counterstrike at the Avengers (which was mostly symbolic, as his operatives were not powerful enough to take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes).

During one of their games of cat and mouse, Fisk led the femme fatale known as Echo to believe that Daredevil had killed her father. Meanwhile, she began to date Murdock in her civilian identity as Maya Lopez, unaware he was Daredevil.

Fisk’s two pawns battled across the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen until Echo learned the truth behind her father’s murder. The Kingpin’s illegal doings finally caught up to him when he was shot several times by the young woman he had so callously manipulated. Fisk survived the shooting, but now — like his foe, Daredevil — was completely blind.

The Kingpin takes pleasure in physical combat with his enemies, but knows he can never allow himself to be connected to his crimes. Consequently, Fisk has never been convicted of any wrongdoing.

Today, even though Fisk has built a vast, legitimate business empire in various fields, he still professes to be merely a “humble dealer in spices.”


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

The Kingpin is both the personification of Crime and a tragic figure. As a personification of crime he’s a shady, almost infernal power of corruption and capitalizing on human weaknesses. He’s a ruthless, gifted tactician and strategist who can pull a formidable number of strings in every walk of life.

He’ll stop at little to expand his power base. He knows that men are weak, fallible and easily seduced by the dark side, and simply exploit that side to make himself ever more powerful, rich and influential.

Like some versions of the Devil, he’s not in himself particularly debauched and corrupted, but his business lies in exploitation of human weaknesses and he does it with great skill and acumen.

The Kingpin has more power than any real-life mobster. He rules on 80+% of the East Coast’s organized crime, and he *is* organized crime in New York. Not much can happen in his sphere of influence without his say so.

Being top dog, he’ll work mostly through agents ; from Eric Slaughter’s mad dog killers to superhuman agents like Bullseye, Elektra, Tombstone, Typhoid, Echo, the Answer and so on.

Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) sparring with martial artists

The Kingpin’s tragic side is his genuine, pure love for his young wife, for whom he would have abandoned crime altogether if not for a cruel twist of fate.

What happened with Vanessa (considered by most as a weakness, not the strangely redeeming trait it is) has left him convinced that love is the only mean to destroy the strongest men (he’s probably right).

While many villains, once hit hard, start to weaken and become gradually less impressive than they first were, it is not so with the Kingpin.

He’s been nearly destroyed several times (Daredevil once managed to ruin him so thoroughly he was but another homeless roving in the New York City subway), but nothing was ever enough to prevent him from rising back to the top with a vengeance.

Even with nothing to back him up he still has his prodigious strength, great will and stark intelligence.


DC Universe History

The Kingpin is very important in the Marvel Universe, and can only be ported with care in the DCU. He can still reign on the East Coast, but you have to make him so legendary, a underworld ogre like Kaizer Sauze (from the movie Usual Suspects ), that almost nobody believe he’s real.

Luthor has his doubts, but nothing tangible enough to start investigating. Batman has beaten the Kingpin a few times years ago (replacing Spider-Man in the above chronology), but the Kingpin made sure the Batman never understood the Kingpin’s full power, and fed him disinformation.

Wayne has actually been outmaneuvered and thinks the Kingpin was made powerless years ago after those defeats.

If the Kingpin exists, Luthor has less power on the criminal element than he does in the DCU, except in Metropolis proper. In fact, some of the mobs he thinks *he* controls actually take their orders from the Kingpin. Some of his own advisors are in fact Kingpin plants, including his two Amazon bodyguards.

And there is a reason why Intergang fell so fast and was so ineffective : plants from the Kingpin who didn’t want a rival.

The Kingpin is quite wary of Gotham ever since the Roman has fallen, and will never again underestimate Batman. He can handle the likes of the Joker and Two-Face, but they take far too much attention and energy and there are too many of them. Besides Gotham is quite isolated.

As often, he works through proxies : Black Mask is actually in his employ, and he’s the one who secretly “created” Nicholas Scratch, using the same means that enabled him to empower the Black Cat in the Marvel Universe. But even Scratch thinks the Kingpin is an urban legend.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Kingpin

Dex: 07 Str: 06 Bod: 07 Motivation: Power
Int: 11 Wil: 09 Min: 08 Occupation: Humble spice dealer
Inf: 09 Aur: 08 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 029 HP: 075

Powers:
Growth: 01, Joined: 03, Skin armor: 01, Systemic antidote: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In
  • Joined is actually a Skill
  • Skin Armor only against blunt weapons and punches (-1)

Skills:
Charisma: 09, Detective (Counterfeit recognition, law): 08, Martial artist: 09

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (New York City), Expansive H.Q., Iron nerves, Omni-Connection, Scholar (business, finance, crime), Silent assistant (The Arranger (deceased, but certainly has a successor))

Connections:
Underworld (High), City government (High), East coast business community (High), East coast law enforcement (High)

Drawbacks:
Authority figure, Dependent (Vanessa), Distinct Appearance, SIA to keeping his word, MIA to Power. Recently acquired a CPR (blind) after Echo shot him – it is likely he has started developing blind-fighting techniques.


Previous stats

In the 60s, for his Spider-Man appearances, the Kingpin had 2 fewer APs in all Mental and Spiritual stats, and “only” 50 HPs.

He did have a Trick cane [BODY 08, Heat vision: 06 (Ammo: 03), Knockout gas: 12 (Ammo: 02, Can Affect User)], as well as a diamond stick-pin with a dose of sleeping gas as in the trick cane, to use against opponents caught in his bear hug.


Eric Slaughter’s killers

Slaughter’s men are a good indication of the type of thugs, killers and madmen that are under the direct employ of the Kingpin. They have the following stats :

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 03 Occupation: Mob soldier
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 007 HP: 005

Skills:
Vehicles (land): 03, and either Weaponry (firearms): 04 or Martial Artist: 04 (used to wield weapons).

Equipment:
Those specialized in close combat (about a fifth – remember, close combat is a viable tactic in comic books) will have the likes of nunchaku [BODY 05, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 05 w/Martial Artist)] or a machete [BODY 05, EV 04 (05 w/Martial Artist)].

Those preferring firearms will carry stuff like Colt .45s [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo 08, R#03], Remington shotguns [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06 (Diminishing), Range: 03, Ammo 07, R#03, Advantage: Scattershot, Limitation : Projectile weapons has No Range – use the Range listed instead, Drawback: Very long reload time], Uzis [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#03, Advantage : Autofire] and the like.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (mostly Daredevil comics)

Helper(s): Marvel.com, Phil Dixon, VBTusky, John Colagioia, Sean MacDonald, Jackson, Douglas Ohlson.

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