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Kitty Pryde of the X-Men (Marvel Comics) (Earliest profile)

Kitty Pryde aka Ariel aka Sprite

(Profile #1 - Earliest)


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

Context

Katherine “Kitty” Pryde is a fan-favourite X-Men character, who was introduced in 1980. She had the mutant power of intangibility, and back then was a young teenager. However, she was exceptionally intelligent and mature for her age. She’s had a number of code names, but they didn’t really stick.

Writeups.org offers a series of 3 profiles covering her early career. This trilogy ends just as the famous Kitty Pryde/Wolverine Limited Series starts, in 1984. This profile are, in order :

  1. Kitty Pryde (Earliest) — this here profile
  2. Kitty Pryde (Earlier)
  3. Kitty Pryde (Early)

All the descriptions reflect the vintage material. In particular, her powers are modelled to work like they did back then – later depictions of her phasing  ability were different.

However, these profiles also use characterisation elements from Wolverine First Class comics. These were published much later, but are flashbacks to this era. These develop young Kitty’s characterisation by giving her more screen time, and make it more modern.


Background

  • Real Name: Katherine “Kitty” Pryde
  • Other Aliases:Ariel, Sprite, “Kitten”, “Pun’kin”, “Little one”, “Katzchen”, “Katya”, Aerial (only mentioned in a letter column), “Suburbia”. Kitty also considered “Phantom Girl” and “Phase” as code names.
  • Marital Status: Single (minor)
  • Known Relatives: Carmen Pryde (dad), Theresa “Terri” Pryde (mum), Samuel Prideman (grand-dad, deceased), Chava Rosanoff (great-aunt, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: X-Men ! And briefly the New Mutants (or “X-Babies”, at least according to Kitty)
  • Base Of Operations: Deerfield, IL ; later the X-Mansion
  • Height: 5’2” Weight: 95 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Kitty starts this era as a skinny 13 ½ kid. At first she’s hardly athletic, but she takes dancing and gymnastics lessons and gradually develops her prowess. Her modest stature and slightly-above-average agility allow her some degree of stealth even before training.

Her mental and mystical stats, as well as her Hero Points , are ridiculously high for her age, though. She has genius-level intellect, and her overall mental competency is quite a few sigmas above average, even compared to adults.

Phasing

Kitty’s mutant power is that she becomes intangible. This process is called “phasing” since she goes out of phase with most matter. In this state she is immune to most forms of physical attack. She can also pass through all forms of solid matter, even very dense ones.

Psychic effects still affect her normally, and exotic forms of energy or matter can be difficult or impossible for her to cross. Exceptionally intense magnetic fields (such as Magneto’s body) will also interact with her – she can disrupt them, but can also be disrupted by them in return.

Ariel is vulnerable toward some sonic assaults, but she soon learned to phase though the vast majority of these. Those that can hit her are actually mental attacks in game terms. It’s not uncommon for mental attacks to be described as sonics in comic books, especially when they are tech-based (in game terms, mental attacks are against Will (DCA) or target MIN (DCH)).

Kitty faces a powerful N'Garai demon

She also learned to better interface with gasses, by making herself very slightly material. This allows her to breathe whilst intangible. However she cannot cross sufficiently large masses of solid matter, since she would suffocate from the lack of air within those.

Interacting with gasses also allows her to stand or even walk or run on air. She soon learned to climb up or down as if the atmosphere was a stairway. Of course the reverse is true. If she’s solid enough to interact a bit with air she can be affected by toxic gasses, or displaced by very strong winds.

Kitty is still susceptible to becoming solid when startled. But she has already developed the reflex of going intangible nigh-instantly if there’s any sign of an attack. However, states of extreme stress and fatigue can also still prevent her from phasing.


History

Katherine Pryde — universally nicknamed Kitty ever since she was three — is the daughter of Carmen and Terri Pryde.&emspCarmen, her father, served in the Korean war – apparently whilst underage. Thus, he was probably born in the early 1930s. He thus had his daughter late in life, and it is likely that his wife Theresa is younger than he is by about 10 years.

(As usual, we aren’t assuming a sliding time scale. See the Ageing in the Marvel Universe article for more.)

Pryde’s early life was unremarkable. She was a mostly ordinary White suburbanite kid in Deerfield, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. After puberty, however, she started experiencing painful, persistent migraines. These worsened as the months passed. Doctors could do little to relieve those symptoms or determine the cause.

Kitty was a mutant. The migraines were caused by the emergence of her power – to become intangible. By age 13, she was experiencing scary episodes of becoming intangible while asleep. She inexplicably ended up downstairs after floating through the floor. She also started registering on mutant detection sensors.

Now recruiting

Two parties interested in recruiting powerful young mutants thus detected Kitty. The first to reach her was Emma Frost, the headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, a private boarding school. Close behind was Professor Xavier’s staff, secretly the X-Men.

This sudden interest in their daughter by reputed boarding schools did not surprise Katherine’s parents. Their daughter’s school grades marked her as extraordinarily gifted. They had strongly been considering sending her to a specialised school when she would reach grade nine – on the next school year.

Her teachers recommended that Kitty skip high school material entirely and go straight to college-level classes.

As it turned out, Carmen Pryde knew Charles Xavier. They had served together during the Korean War, in a search-and-rescue unit. However, that was more than a quarter-century before, and the two men had long since lost contact. The connection that determined Kitty’s future would thus not come from Professor Xavier, but from one of his students.

A Storm is coming

The X-Men’s Ororo Munroe openly told Kitty that she was Storm. She was starting to explain that Kitty was a superhuman mutant too when armoured stormtroopers attacked. Those Hellfire Club shock troops held Storm, Colossus and Wolverine’s attention long enough for Frost to psionically fell and kidnap them all. This way they wouldn’t interfere with the recruitment of Pryde.

However, in the commotion, the kid discovered that she could pass through walls if she concentrated hard enough. She impulsively used that ability to sneak onto the Hellfire aircraft taking the unconscious X-Men away.

Kitty formulates a battle plan

Impressed by the beautiful and regal Storm, Pryde sneaked and phased around to find her in the Hellfire Club’s dungeons. Spotted after Storm gave her a number to call, Kitty dove through the floor and phoned the X-Men to the rescue.

After hours of being chased by Hellfire mercenaries, the terrified teenager was rescued by the arriving X-Men and debriefed. Given her courage and initiative, Cyclops gave her an uniform. He tasked her with rescuing the captured X-Men while the rest conducted the main operation against the Hellfire Club.

When the X-Men brought Kitty back home, her father was furious about her unexplained disappearance. Jean Grey, in one of her first actions betraying her nature as the Phoenix and the early stages of her corruption by Mastermind, summarily rewrote Carmen Pryde’s recent memories. He thus gladly agreed to have his daughter enlist with the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters.

Pryde vs. Pryde

From what can be pieced together, Kitty’s parents had recently divorced but had not told her yet. Thus, part of their interest in enrolling their daughter in a boarding school was that it would allow them to separate.

Despite her intelligence, the still-naïve Kitty did not suspect. She would only learn of the divorce off-panel , months later. It was apparently Carmen Pryde who remained her legal caretaker.

Theresa and Carmen apparently considered reconciliation, spending time together for their anniversary early during the 1980s. But that did not hold.

Mansion on the hill

A few weeks after the Hellfire Club incident, Kitty came to the School. She started her specialised education with Professor Xavier as her tutor. She was also given one of the older, basic black-and-gold X-Men jumpsuits (along with a mask). The Professor showed her the X-Men training for action.

Xavier wanted to code-name her Ariel, likely after the spirit of air in Shakespeare’s  The Tempest. Seeing that Pryde was less than enthusiastic when receiving her code-name, her friend Storm instead suggested “Sprite” (likely by Shakespearian association with “Ariel”). Kitty agreed.

Given her interest in dancing and the necessity of starting an age-appropriate physical exercise regimen, Xavier also secured a teacher for Pryde. It turned out to be the famous dancer Stevie Hunter. After an accident that ended her performing career, Hunter had opened a dance studio in nearby Salem Center. Pryde received private lessons there.

Kitty with Storm and Jessica Drew

(More recent material establishes that Kitty was also taking classes at the local high school, perhaps in areas where her genius did not allow her to ride years ahead of the curve. These retcons  also show her taking part in some group classes at Hunter’s studio. One assumes that Xavier’s goal was to allow her to maintain a social life with kids her age.)

Fitting in

Shortly after Kitty began this new phase of her education, the Professor paired her with the scary Wolverine. He sent them investigate a strong mutant power manifestation in West Virginia.

The experience was unpleasant. Wolverine resented being saddled with baby-sitter duty, thought that he would be a terrible influence on a child, and was missing the Leafs vs. Penguins match . But Kitty performed well during the mission, helping Wolverine regain control after he was accidentally subjected to telepathic backlash from the mutant.

Said mutant was a girl of Kitty’s age, who was code-named Amp. Amp was later sent to Muir Island to control her abilities. During her stays at the Mansion back in the US she was a friend of Kitty.

Though she was by far the youngest long-term resident at the Mansion, Kitty soon became friends with everyone. She rapidly overcame her nervousness at the demonic-looking Nightcrawler and the dangerous-looking Wolverine. When Wolverine later referred to her as a X-Men member, Kitty was overjoyed.

Growin’ up

Storm treated Sprite like her little sister or even her daughter. She wanted Pryde to have the pleasant childhood Ororo herself had been harshly denied. She soon became to Kitty a combination of best friend and surrogate mother, a close relationship that was very important to Kitty whilst growing up.

Kitty with her spangly costume and roller-skates

During the summer, Kitty intrigued to borrow Xavier’s huge limousine and find a chauffeur. Her goal was to impress her new friends and take them in style to a Dazzler concert. She attempted to strongarm Wolverine into being their chauffeur by throwing a surprise birthday party for him, after using subterfuge to check Xavier’s notes as to Logan’s date of birth.

She even invited his ladyfriend Mariko, then took them to a restaurant close to where the concert was to take place.

However, Wolverine was back then attacked every year on that date by the more powerful Sabretooth. Though Kitty was taken completely by surprise when that occurred, Wolverine’s nemesis was unaware that she was a mutant. The teenager thus easily escaped, then caught Sabretooth in a gas explosion to get rid of him.

Kitty leveraged this exploit by having Wolverine drive her and three other hyper-enthusiastic Dazzler fangirls to the concert.

A short time after that incident, Kitty aced her first solo Danger Room session. However, that was by walking intangibly through the entire gauntlet with her eyes firmly closed out of nervousness.


Description

During much of this era Kitty is training with her powers and thinks they’re pretty spiffy. Therefore, she rarely misses an occasion to phase through a door or wall.

Katherine always wears a small star of David as a pendant. It is made of silver and usually worn over her clothes.

Pryde is rarely addressed by her code-name. It was entirely possible to read several issues of Uncanny X-Men back then without realising she had one.


Personality

The main aspects to keep in mind when it comes to Kitty’s characterisation during that era are :

Maturity

In terms of emotional development, Kitty is well ahead of her age – though she remains a bit awkward and has childish moments and remarks. Intellectually, she’s miles above the curve – sensible, analytical, observant, rational and capable of highly sophisticated reasoning. She has a special interest in the sciences (especially physics) and computer science.

This relative maturity can be disconcerting. Given her clear thinking and composure, Kitty acts in many ways about 3 years older than her actual age, which for a teenager is a considerable gap. This can be creepy to some. She was determined to start dating by the time she was 14 ½, since her intellectual maturity was closer to that of a 17-year old.

However, she kept being let down by how young she looked, and by the fact her body was still that of a skinny 13 or 14-year-old. Her attempt to wear high heels to look as adult as she felt was for instance a disaster. She kept wobbling and tripping at all the worst times.

With Claremont as a writer, Kitty simply was older than her actual age. More recent takes on these years by Van Lente and David showcase her superior intelligence, courage, analytical reasoning and engagement with the world while still having her have many of the centres of interest and emotional reactions of 13- or 14-year old girl.

More recent takes also have more people of her age to interact with. By contrast the Claremont tales usually had her living in places where everyone else was an adult.

Competence

Kitty is remarkably courageous. While she’s not foolhardy, she’s good at evaluating risks she can reasonably take (rather than, say, panicking) and she’s very loyal toward her friends. And she’s certainly not going to be treated like a kid or mollycoddled.

The later does not mean she has a bad attitude. On the contrary, she’s generally very pleasant and lively. But she prefers to be treated as a bright young adult rather than as an ordinary teenager.

This doesn’t mean that she’s fearless — far from it. But she’s very good at controlling her fear and keeping a clear head.

As the months pass, she becomes increasingly eager to prove her worth and to jump into action, to the consternation of the others – and in particular of the protective Storm.

Relationships

Kitty is on close terms with the other X-Men. She treats Storm like a big sister and surrogate mother (at one point, when Kitty is knocked out, Storm spontaneously refers to her as “my child”). She also has a big crush on Colossus, trying to be with him as much as she can. Though she was initially somewhat afraid of Nightcrawler, he soon became one of the most accessible X-Men to her.

Kitty genuinely considers the X-Men and its collection of larger-than-life personalities to be her second family. To be considered a full X-Man is super-important for her. Her ties with the X-Men are very powerful and very emotionally-charged, especially with Storm and Illyana.

In more recent material, Banshee’s niece Theresa O’rourke (aka Siryn), who’s about a year older than Kitty, stays at the Mansion somewhat often. She is a friend (and occasional rival, given Kitty’s teenage jealousy) of Ms. Pryde. Kitty also occasionally spends time with Sarah Grey, who’s about her age.

Kitty’s huge, huge crush on Piotr Rasputin was an important feature of the time period between her joining the School and the Secret Wars. She would sometimes behave oddly and inappropriately as a result, especially in more recent material. This included having absurd fits of jealousy or working herself up into strange emotional states for no reason, as 14-year-old kids sometime do.

Though on a budget, she loves wearing sophisticated clothing when going out – especially those that allow her to look older than she is. This is not always successful, though, especially if the dreaded high heels are involved.

1980s geek chic

Pryde also has a number of geek interests from that period. That includes wearing an Elfquest t-shirt, reading Larry Niven’s novels, being a big Star Wars fan, being interested in the nascent personal computing scene, reading comic books, etc. Generation X role-players portraying Kitty during that era will thus get to indulge in geek nostalgia.

Like just about any young teenager in America during that era, she’s also a huge Michael Jackson fan and an even bigger Dazzler fan.


Quotes

“I don’t believe I’m taking this so much in stride. I’m scared, yet… I’m coping.”

Kitty: “I need to make the night really special ! I just moved here from Chicago and I really have to *show* those stuck-up brats !”
Charles Xavier: “I thought these were supposed to be your friends.”
Kitty: “You’ve never been a girl before, have you ?”

“I’ll go with Peter — I mean, Colossus. And I’ll keep him out of trouble, too !”

“I’m not a kid. I’m 13 and a half.”

“I’m an X-Man. You guys are depending on me. I won’t let you down.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Kitty Pryde (Earliest)

Dex: 03 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation : Responsibility
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation : X-Man-in-training
Inf: 03 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 011 HP: 020

Powers:
Air-Walking: 05, EMP: 09, Self-Link (Spirit Travel): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Being Self-Linked, Spirit Travel does not leave her body behind
  • Spirit Travel does not remove her need to breathe real air. The main consequences of this are :
    • She is affected normally by aerosols, fumes, gasses, etc. that act by being breathed in — though she can hold her breath normally
    • She cannot spend too long within materials without breathable air, or she will suffocate
    • Unless she’s not breathing and/or is in the middle of solid or liquid material, she still gives off an extremely faint scent (07/07 to pick it up with Analytical Smell/Tracking scent)
    • She can be moved along the masses of air around her (through, say, Air Control) unless, again, she holds her breath and stops interacting with air
  • Kitty did not know how to use Air-Walking before she started training with the X-Men
  • Using Air Walking means a slightly stronger degree of interaction with air – even is she stops breathing whilst Air-Walking she still suffers from the air/gas-related vulnerabilities above
  • Air-Walking does not really have a maximum height – but if she reaches an altitude where the air is too thin for her to stand on, it can only be used to gently float down. Her maximum practical altitude seems to steadily improve as she trains with her power (very early on it’s her APs of Power, but she’s later seen walking between skyscrappers).
  • Spirit Travel does not have a movement component (though she can Air Walk whilst Spirit Travelling)
  • Spirit Travel can be blocked by several types of Force Fields, Force Shields and Force Walls, as if Kitty were solid (GM’s call as to which force constructs do not produce this effect). Many artificial force fields have oscillating frequencies which she can penetrate given enough time to study and test them.
    This can he handled as an INT/WIL roll (or appropriate Scientist Subskill) agains a GM-determined difficulty on the Difficulty Table.
  • EMP only works in Spirit Travel state, has a Range of Touch (affecting whatever she phases through) and is Always On
  • Spirit Travel only extends to her clothing and a few items(pendant, wristwatch, etc.) at first, but this weight increases as she trains (about 25 lbs. of extra weight by the end of this era)

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging)*: 03, Artist (Dancer, Gymnast): 02, Gadgetry: 02, Medicine (First Aid): 02, Scientist (Computers): 04, Scientist (Research): 03, Thief (Stealth)*: 03, Thief (Locks and safes): 08

Bonuses and Limitations:
Thief (Locks and Safes) is a Powered Skill, is Contingent on EMP, and can be performed within a single Phase without any equipment. It is restricted to electrically-powered locks and safes.

Advantages:
Familiarity (Chess ; Physics ; Dancing and prominent dancers ; Jewish traditions ; 1980s geek stuff), Rich Friend (Professor Xavier)

Connections:
X-Men (High), Stevie Hunter (Low), Illyana Rasputin (aka Magik, High)

Drawbacks:
Age (Young-and-a-half), Misc.: at this point Kitty only weighs one AP, Misc.: As she joins the School for Gifted Youngsters, she develops a mild case of Secret ID, worth 5 points.

Equipment:
Her more common costume, the standard old-school black-and-gold X-Men suit, is insulated [BODY 05, Cold immunity: 01, Flame immunity: 01]


Design Notes

Spirit Travel vs. Dispersal for her DC Heroes stats was discussed at length (and the discussion reviewed several versions of Dispersal). IMO Spirit Travel ends up being cleaner and with much fewer uncomfortable technical side effects.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Kitty Pryde (Earliest) — Averaged PL 4

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
-1 00 02 00 02 03 01 01

Powers

Shift Phasing ● 78 points ● Descriptors: Mutation, Electromagnetic
– Insubstantial 4, Feature (Electromagnetic Interference), Quirk (May only walk on solid surfaces), Reaction
– Weaken Electronics 9, Affects Corporeal 9, Affects Objects (only), Alternate Resistance (Fortitude), Broad, Increased Action (free), Limited (Always On), Linked, Quirk (always at maximum force), Reaction, Simultaneous
– Enhanced Advantage (Move-by Action)

Combat Advantages

Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 1, Improved Defense, Move-by Action

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Friend of Charles Xavier), Equipment 1

Skills

Acrobatics 1 (+3), Athletics 1 (+0), Expertise (Chess) 4 (+7), Expertise (Computer Science) 5 (+8), Expertise (Dancing) 2 (+5), Expertise (Gymnastics) 2 (+5), Expertise (Science) 4 (+7), Insight 2 (+5), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 2 (+3), Stealth 2 (+4), Technology 4 (+7), Treatment (Limited 2, to Revive and Stabilize Only) 1 (+4)

Equipment

Costume ● 1 point
Enhanced Fortitude 1, Protection 1 (both Limited 2 to Fire/Heat/Cold)

Offense

Initiative +2
Unarmed +2, Close, Damage -1
Touch (while phasing) +2, Close, Fortitude DC 19 (Affects Objects), Special

Defense

Dodge 2 Fortitude 0
Parry 2 Toughness 1/0*
Will 4

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Responsibility Kitty constantly strives to live up to her ideals, which are shaped by her relationships with her adult role models.
  • Teenager As a young teenager, Kitty faces numerous legal and social constraints. As a youngster, she also weighs in at less than 100 lbs.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 6, Dodge/Toughness PL 2, Parry/Toughness PL 2, Fort & Will PL 2
  • Point total 119 Abilities 16, Defences 3, Skills 17, Powers 78, Devices 0, Advantages 5. Equiv. PL 8.

Notes

  • Kitty disrupts any electronics she phases through. Normally, this occurs when she uses a Move action to pass through one or more inanimate objects, or when she makes an attack against an opponent’s electronics by phasing through them. This effect always occurs and at full strength when she is phasing.
  • One of Kitty’s most common power stunts is a version of her Insubstantial effect that Affects Others, but is Distracting or Tiring.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Vintage X-Men comics plus 2008-2009 Wolverine : First Class flashbacks (up to and including issue #18).

Helper(s): About.com paediatrics chart (for height and weight at 13 ½). Pufnstuff, Chris Cottingham, Alan Wilkinson, Gareth Lewis, Eric Langendorf. M&M stats by Pawsplay.

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