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Lara Croft Tomb Raider (reboot 2013) concept art

Lara Croft, tomb raider

(2013 reboot) (Profile #1 - Early)


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

Context

Lara Croft is probably the most famous video game character. She appeared in the landmark Tomb Raider game in 1996 – a series that continues to this day. The games offer an unusual view of archaeology that involves a lot of precise jumping, gunfire, physical puzzles, explosions and dodging deadly obstacles. For science, of course.

The series was rebooted in 2013. This time we experience Lara’s career from the beginning, as an inexperienced (but extraordinarily sharp and talented) adventuress. Ms. Croft is also depicted as a more grounded and relatable figure, and the male gaze  issues are thankfully done away with.

This profile is about this rebooted version, early in the 2013 game. It avoids story spoilers beyond the introduction sequence. It describes her capabilities and gear at about 20-25% completion of the game (about 5 hours in, top of the radio tower). It is followed by a second profile, which describes the rest of the game.

There are also older, pre-reboot notes.



Background

  • Real Name: Lara Croft.
  • Other Aliases: Lara is once addressed as “lady”, but it is unclear whether it was a courtesy title or an ordinary turn of phrase. Her two nicknames on the Endurance are “little bird” and “L.C.”.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Richard Croft (father, seemingly deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Crew of the Endurance.
  • Base Of Operations: The Endurance.
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 125 lbs Age: 21
  • Eyes: Light brown (almost grey) Hair: Dark brown


Video

The better trailer, in HD.


Powers & Abilities

At first glance Lara appears to be an ordinary kid, albeit in excellent health and studying for a top-shelf MA in Archaeology program.

However, the building blocks of what will eventually make her a major adventurer are already present in their basic form :

  • Though she presumably doesn’t have her Master’s Degree yet, she’s genuinely knowledgeable about archaeology. She’s a very serious student and quite well-read on the subject despite her age. She’s also knowledgeable about Japanese and Chinese history, and presumably many others.
  • She already travelled the world along with her parents. So she’s not as sheltered as she might look.
  • Conrad Roth, a former Royal Marine Commando , and her father mentored her for years in field skills. These include a robust training in :
    • Mountaineering and rock climbing.
    • Beginner first aid.
    • General handywoman and maintenance skills (particularly where it pertains to weapons).
    • The basics of archery, firearms handling and wilderness survival.

Lara Croft and Conrad Roth near a campfire

Lara Croft and Conrad Roth.

Survivor born

After the wreck of the Endurance, another asset becomes apparent. Croft has amazing survival instincts. At rest she isn’t genuinely fast, strong, precise or determined… But when she’s fighting for her life she can be incredibly dangerous and intuitive. Lara can emerge in one piece from situations that should reasonably have killed her four times over.

Ms. Croft has excellent reflexes. Nothing cinematic, but enough to pass the critical “be faster than the other guy” test when faced with mooks. And when she has to, she runs real fast.

Though she lacked the strength and mass to support her mentor Conrad Roth (who admittedly seems to be about 6’3” and 230lbs) when he passed out, Lara repeatedly demonstrates a remarkable strength-to-weight ratio as a rock climber. She’s not going to powerlift any heavy stuff, but she has serious pull-up power.

Lara is fluent in Japanese, and presumably several other languages.

The healing game

Tomb Raider follows common modern gameplay conventions. Thus, the “hit points ” of the heroine quickly refill. This low-key healing factor  is even present with wounds that are part of the story rather than in the gameplay.

Lara Croft face closeup

For instance, Lara’s abdomen is pierced early on by a metallic debris – though it’s her flank and it presumably narrowly misses puncturing an organ. Albeit this wound is clearly painful and a major tetanus and infection risk, it somehow goes away over a day or two.

There are also various examples of flesh wounds that are visible in cutscenes, but no longer around after Ms. Croft can rest.

In DC Heroes RPG terms this is treated as a mix of narrative immunity (better Genre meaning faster Recovery Rolls interval, and an ability to turn all damage into flesh wounds via Last Ditch Defense) and a minor healing factor. Like many modern video game characters do, Croft heals even faster than non-regenerative super-heroes and action movie heroes.

Bad wounds certainly happen in Tomb Raider. It’s just that Lara Croft magically sail clear of those, and what damage she does suffer just discreetly fades away.

Likewise :

  • Infection is extremely unlikely to threaten Lara’s health.
  • Her bones refuse to break in circumstances where they really ought to.
  • When she does get badly wounded a simple improvised cauterisation is sufficient — albeit very painful.

Gear

Early on, Lara’s two main weapons are :

  • A makeshift bow, though she soon replaces the string with a better one and reinforces the limbs to turn this into a viable hunting weapon. Though it’s not fearsome, it can be operated quickly and Lara is good at finding materials in the wild to make arrows with. It is also remarkably quiet, which allows for stealth kills.
  • A pry axe . This is a primitive equivalent of a horseman’s pick. The curved spike makes it a vicious melee weapon, and Lara also uses it to pry open doors and crates, climb, or even glide on zip lines using the handle.
    It is later replaced with a climbing axe  that is tougher and even more dangerous. And with a good swing, it can be stuck into porous rock or ice. As a well-trained rock climber, Lara can use this tool to get up suitable rock faces with remarkable speed and agility.

Lara Croft climbing a very tall antenna

She also carries her trusty torch, which comes in quite handy – especially after she found a striker. The latter is a piece of metal she can rap her climbing axe against, creating enough sparks to light up her tirelessly reignitable torch. She also finds a two-way ruggedized, waterproofed radio handset which she uses to communicate with other Endurance survivors.

Guns

Lara later procures a handgun. Though the in-game model is some Beretta 92 variant with wooden grips, a better match for the in-game performance and ammunition capacity would be an older model, the Beretta 82 in .380 ACP. With this calibre and a small magazine (8 shots, though Lara soon finds a +2 magazine) the 82 is, by modern standards, more a self-defence weapon than a combat piece.

Ms. Croft also finds a Type 100 submachinegun. This is a typical World War Two Japanese SMG, which as it shapes suggests is a variant over the German MP18. Since it goes through ammunition very quickly this is more of a last resort weapon when beset by multiple opponents. On the other hand, 8mm Nambu rounds aren’t too difficult to find on the island.

Lara-Croft-Tomb-Raider-2013-weapons

A Beretta 81 (source – IMFDB.org ) and a 3D model of a Type 100 SMG (by Luchador )


History

Lara is the daughter of famous British archaeologist Richard Croft. During her teenage years she often accompanied her parents on expeditions. Perhaps as a result, she decided to study archaeology at the famous University College of London.

A frequent associate of Richard Croft was Conrad Roth, a former Royal Marine Commando. Roth hired himself out as a diver, fixer, sailor, security man and general explorer type.

Lara Croft high up on a wind-swept ledge

Mr. Croft disappeared in unknown circumstances. No mention is made of Lara’s mother. One scene in Tomb Raider – The Beginning depicts Roth getting drunk as he tries to forget about missing friends he cannot locate – these might be the Crofts. All other dialogue seems to assume Lara’s parents are dead, though.

Lara described herself as upper class, but doesn’t seem to have any money. Perhaps her parents are still considered missing and thus not legally dead.

One gets the impression that Mr. Croft spent his money and reputation investigating off-the-beaten-track research projects. He was apparently seen as a dreamer focusing on tall tales of magic and lost civilisations. Though determined to become an archaeologist, Lara promised herself that she would stick to more realistic and shorter-term goals, to build up her professional reputation.

On the other hand, Richard Croft was an exceptionally intelligent and capable man. And he apparently was a very competent adventurer.

Aboard the Endurance

Needing to save up to pay for her MA in Archaeology and Heritage of Asia at UCL  after the loss of her father, Lara became a deckhand on Roth’s battered ship, the Endurance. After the death of her father, Roth became a substitutive father for her, and he came to treat Lara as if she were his daughter.

Lara Croft in a cave with a torch

Early during her undergrad studies Lara met her best friend, Samantha Nishimura, a cinematography student from the US. Though they were almost polar opposites, they bonded over a common love for Jaffa Cakes  and became inseparable

One of Croft’s professional projects was to investigate the tale of the witch-queen Himiko. This is an old Japanese legend about an ancient empress and her lost kingdom of Yamatai. Though she had originally learned about it from Sam Nishimura — whose grandmother knew many tales about Queen Himiko — Lara reviewed the literature.

After extensive research, Croft deduced that the origin of the legend was one of the islands South of Japan, in a bad weather area called the Dragon Triangle.

邪馬台国

Yamatai, Himiko and the Dragon Triangle (aka the Devil’s Sea) are all legends in the real world, rather than fictional elements created specifically for Tomb Raider.

To wit :

  • The Dragon’s Triangle  is an actual dangerous weather area to the South of Japan. Back when the Bermuda Triangle  was a thing, there were attempts to build this area up as “the Bermuda Triangle of the Pacific”, mostly on the strength of shoddy research.
    In the Tomb Raider world, the area is as dangerous as it is in the urban legend. Dozens if not hundreds of ships were lost in it, as well as significant military forces (primarily Imperial Japanese) during World War Two.

Lara Croft emerging from a red liquid

  • Yamatai  appears in several Chinese classic texts as an Eastern kingdom – presumably an ancient civilisation in Japan. What and where exactly this antique culture was is a longstanding mystery for Japanese historians, given the paucity of documents.
    One can imagine that Ms. Croft’s research was based on Chinese historical documents stolen by Imperial Britain and that nobody had referenced yet after decades in storage in British libraries.
  • Himiko  (卑弥呼), the witch-queen of Yamatai, is thus a major enigma of the earliest history of the islands of Japan. She corresponds to an era where there were shamanistic rulers in Japan. The myth-like accounts surrounding her (such as having 1,000 female servants but only 1 man allowed in her presence) are presumably Chinese exaggeration to “rationalise” a female ruler.

Boob tube

Not too long after her 21st birthday, Lara ran into a minor celebrity whom she admired. It was Dr. James Whitman, the star of a field archaeology show on American TV. The show was in its second season, and Whitman and his 2-person media crew hired the Endurance and her crew for transportation and general support.

However, the network abruptly opted not to renew the show for a third season. They recalled their staff.

An exhausted Lara Croft and her friend Sam

Lara Croft and Sam Nishimura.

The greedy and self-centred Whitman had grown very attached to his fame. He wanted to film a big-time discovery to reestablish his media cred. His main idea was to attempt to discover the truth behind the Yamatai myth.

Since Lara was coincidentally knowledgeable about it, she could be his researcher. Whitman decided to turn an expedition to Yamatai into a movie and take all the credit for any discovery.

However, Whitman couldn’t finance the expedition anymore. The naïve Lara wanted to help, and arranged for financing via Sam Nishimura’s uncle, a hard-nosed Japanese media mogul.

Sam also joined as the new camera operator and director for the Yamatai investigation documentary. Sensing that Whitman was a jerk, Sam shot extensive interview footage of Lara working, to prove that the scholarship was hers.

魔の海

As the Endurance sailed toward potential Yamatai sites, Ms. Croft and the rest of the crew grew disenchanted with Whitman’s movie star temper. There was a verbal fight between Croft and Whitman about which location to explore first.

Trusting Lara’s instincts, Roth decided to first sail to the locations she suggested, in the Dragon’s Triangle.

Lara Croft near her camp with a crude bow

While sailing near a Dragon’s Triangle island at night, the cargo ship was hit out of the blue by a raging storm. Lara was woken up by the ship nearly capsizing. By the time she could get out of her bunk the Endurance was disintegrating and sinking.

Though she narrowly got out, Lara couldn’t reach Roth in time and was washed ashore, alone.

After waking up in a coastal cavern and narrowly surviving a nightmarish experience, Ms. Croft could take a first look at the island. She witnessed a graveyard of all sorts of boats and airplanes, many of them centuries old, wrecked against the cliffs.

This wasn’t looking good. At all.


Description

On the Endurance Lara is typically wearing big brown leather biker boots, tight cargo-style pants, and a blue-grey tank top with a white camisole top underneath. She also has a small pendant, whose main stone might be jade. One imagines that the latter was a gift from her parents.

The outfit is recognisable as a more sensible and less objectifying variant on the classic Tomb Raider turquoise bathing suit and olive green short shorts.

Lara Croft reads an old tome

She wears tough leather semi-fingerless gloves (or leather and fabric hand wraps, depending on the outfit), which are quite important when it comes to her daredevil athletics. These double as archery gloves.

She has a readily audible English Home Counties accent (video) , but makes an effort not to have a posh RP one. Her usual drink is Earl Grey.

Lara’s physique and overall pulchritude can be distracting. She seems to be on the short side – but this may be because the men on the Endurance are unusually tall. And anyway, being small is helpful when hunting for cover.


Personality

Lara is originally a bookworm. She’s a very serious undergrad, who didn’t seem to fit in well with her peers. Her best friend Sam is much more outgoing, and ensures that Lara lives a little, goes out and does fun things rather than spend her entire life in libraries.

Early on Lara might even be called mousy. But she can be more assertive when defending her work and her dream of becoming a great archaeologist.

Though her friendship with Sam got her out of her shell a bit, Lara is a loner. She feels uncomfortable when people are paying attention to her. Samantha was, in fact, her only real friend.

Young Lara experiences huge enormous growth in character on Yamatai, an island of a thousand dangers and horrors. It reveals her to herself as she discovers just how strong and amazingly capable she really is.


Quotes

Lara (shocked): “They’re killing people… I don’t know who there are. I had to kill some of them, I had no choice.”
Roth: “Can’t have been easy.”
Lara: “It’s scary how easy it was.”

A wounded Lara Croft discovers a ship cemetery

“This coin probably found its way into Japanese circulation sometime in the mid-XIXth century. And that… that is an Edo period  coin, minted in the late XVIIth century. It could have come from any of the old wrecks on this island.”

“Okay. Plane. They need a signal. Fire. Fuel. I can do this.”

Roth: “Listen Lara, we have to help our own, not him. You have to learn to make sacrifices.”
Croft (angry): “I know about sacrifice !”
Roth: “No, you know about loss. Sacrifice means you make a choice.”
Croft: “And I won’t choose to let him die.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Lara Croft (Early during the 2013 game)

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Seeking Knowledge
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Archaeology student
Inf: 02 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 009 HP: 040

Powers:
Kinetic Absorption (Structural Damage Only): 02, Regeneration: 02, Running: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Kinetic Absorption and Running both are Skilled Powers.
  • Regeneration is Form Function and cannot regrow tissues.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing, Athletics): 04, Evasion (Ranged only): 04, Gadgetry: 02, Medicine (First aid): 02, Military science (Survival): 02, Thief (Stealth): 03, Weaponry: 04

Advantages
Credentials (University College of London, Low ; Trinity College in Dublin , Low), Expertise (Archaeology, Weapons maintenance and jury-rigging), Familiarity (Japanese history, Chinese History), Language (Japanese), Luck, Schtick (Blindside adept, Goonbane, Lightning Release), Misc.: Survivor Born (see profile #2).

Connections:
Conrad Roth (High), Samantha Nishimura (High), Crew of the Endurance (Low).

Drawbacks:
Dependents (crew of the Endurance).

Genre:
Gritty… but see the second writeup for more.

Equipment:

  • Medium bow [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 03, Ammo: 01, Rec. STR: 02, R#02, Bow Advantage (effective Range is 05), Thief (Stealth): 01, Limitation : Low Penetration, Thief (Stealth) only to muffle the shots)] and twelve arrows in a quiver. This is the in-game “makeshift bow” with reinforced limbs and a plaited string.
  • Pry axe [BODY 03 /STR/ 03, EV 03, Limitation: /STR/ only for prying stuff open] later replaced by Climbing Axe [BODY 05 /STR/ 04, EV 04, Cling: 02, Limitation: /STR/ only for prying stuff open ; Cling only on rock that is porous enough to stick the axe into, and requires at least 4 APs of Acrobatics (Climbing)].
  • Torch [BODY 01, Flame being: 01].
  • Beretta 82 with +2 magazine [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 10, R#03].
  • Type 100 submachinegun [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 05, R#04, Advantage : Autofire].
  • Radio handset [BODY 04, Radio communication: 09].

Lara Croft inspects a dead, mummified samurai

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Tomb Raider (2013 video game) plus the comics Tomb Raider – the Beginning by Rhianna Pratchett and Tomb Raider – Season of the witch by Gail Simone. Lara voiced and motion-captured by Camilla Luddington.

Helper(s): Darci, Coyote’s Own, Ethan Roe and everybody who explained the solution to the sodding QTE with the wolf, and the one with the collapsing bridge where controls get inverted.

Writeup completed on the 25th of June, 2014.

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