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Marathon of the Strikeforce Morituri (Marvel Comics)

Marathon

(Robert Greenbaum)


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

Context

Strikeforce Morituri was an intriguing 1986-1989 Marvel series, taking place in its own universe. It was a military sci-fi saga, centred on superhuman soldiers fighting to repel alien invaders who very nearly crushed Earth.

The main twist was that the treatment giving powers to volunteers was invariably fatal, leaving little life expectancy to the super-soldiers. Hence the name, derived from the famous Latin phrase morituri te salutant  (“those about to die salute you”).


Background

  • Real Name: Robert Greenbaum.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Strikeforce Morituri.
  • Base Of Operations: Morituri Mountain.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Red.


Powers and Abilities

Marathon was physically the most powerful Morituri ever. His strength and durability continued to increase over time.

Partway through his career as a Morituri he survived a Horde mothership’s engines exploding while he was inside them and the consequent unprotected reentry into Earth’s atmosphere from orbit, all without suffering any harm. Then, after landing in the ocean, Marathon swam 75 miles to the nearest coast without resting.

Shortly before the Morituri Effect claimed his life, Marathon’s resistance to physical injury was so great than even blasts from the heavy energy weapons used by the Horde simply refracted off of his skin.

His strength and endurance increased even further so long as he did not exert them. But he still exercised regularly, which increased his base strength and thus also raised the maximums that his built-up power could reach.

Early in his career he was provided with a shield to use for additional protection, but as his powers grew he eventually discarded it as unnecessary.


History

Robert Greenbaum was a pilot, second class, in Earth’s military forces when he learned he was eligible for the Morituri Process. His father was a famous scientist, and Robert sought a way to make his mark on the world the way his father had. He volunteered eagerly and initially was an enthusiastic fighter.

As he watched his friends and teammates die, he began to grow more somber. Marathaon vowed to kill as many of the Horde as possible before his time ran out. He earned the distinction of single-handedly destroying two Horde motherships.

The first one, in Earth orbit, was destroyed when he stayed behind after his teammates left to prevent a Horde strike against Los Angeles. He blew up the engines and returned to the Morituri base after surviving reentry.

Later, when the team attacked the Horde treasure ship by Jupiter, he felt the Morituri Effect building within him. Once his teammates escaped he channeled his power into it, causing an explosion that consumed the vessel.


Description

Originally a scrawny weakling, Marathon became the largest and most physically impressive member of the team. At least seven feet tall and built like a tank, he wore a blue bodystocking with a yellow colar, yellow boots, and a white lower torso.

He wrapped his right arm in the style of old roman gladiators. He also briefly wore a helmet and carried a shield. All of those accouterments were silver.

Shortly before he died, he used an industrial laser to burn a black “M” onto his face. It was over roughly the same place a domino mask would have covered.


Personality

At first overjoyed with his new powers and size, Marathon became very moody and fatalistic. He saw himself and the others as already dead and caring only about how many aliens he could kill before his death caught up with him.

He was extremely protective of Adept, though the two never had a chance to do more than express their love for each other.


DC Universe History

As written, the Morituri were in their own stand-alone universe.

However, the idea of the Morituri process works in any universe. Perhaps a new, more determined alien invasion attacks and earth’s normal superheroes are outmatched. STAR Labs or Lexcorp could develop this process to help turn the tide.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Marathon

Dex: 08 Str: 16 Bod: 16 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 03 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: n/a
Init: 015 HP: 055

Powers:
Growth: 01, Power Reserve: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In (-1).
  • Power Reserve can only add to STR and BOD in the following recurring sequence: +2 STR, +1 BOD (-1).
  • Power Reserve can only add +1 AP each per minute (4 APs of time) (-2).
  • Once STR is used (either for lifting or EV of an attack) or Marathon takes RAPs of Physical Damage, the APs of Power Reserve in use diminish on both STR and BOD at 1 AP per phase until those Attributes fall to their normal levels (-2).

Skills:
Vehicles (Air, Land): 06, Weaponry: 05

Advantages:
Credentials (Padeia Institute, Low), Expansive Headquarters, Limelight, Popularity.

Connections:
Strikeforce Morituri (High).

Drawbacks:
Public Identity, Morituri Effect.

Equipment:

  • FLIGHT SHOES [BODY 06, Flight: 07].
  • MEDIUM SHIELD [BODY (Hardened Defenses) 14, EV 04 (13 w/STR), Recommended STR 05, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs].
    The shield was only used at the start of Marathon’s time as a Morituri, when his STR and BOD were only 12. His physical durability quickly increased to the point that the shield became redundant, so he no longer bothered with it.

The Morituri Effect

All Morituri have a lifespan of 1 year (23 APs) or less from the time they undergo the Morituri Process. Starting 1 month after the Process, the Morituri must roll against their R# each day. For the first six months the RN is 5. The next three months the RN is 11, and for the last three months the RN is 18. The Effect automatically occurs at the end of a year.

Each Morituri experienced a power surge shortly before the effect took place. Add 2 APs to their Powers (or STR, if that was their primary ability) when they fail their R# roll. The number of APs of their highest Power after this addition is the number of phases they have until the effect takes place.

The precise manifestation of the Morituri Effect varied from person to person, but was related to their powers. Scaredycat’s superspeed increased so greatly that she overheated and died. Snapdragon, Vyking, and Marathon exploded. Snapdragon’s explosion affected little more than herself while Marathon’s explosion destroyed a Horde mothership.

The GM should select an appropriate fate based on the powers in question and the dramatic potential of the moment.


Design Notes

Marathon was described as having strength that increases “minute by minute as long as he doesn’t use it.” These stats is my current best guess at this, but if anyone has a better idea I’d love to hear it.


By Andrew Ross.

Source of Character: Strikeforce Morituri (Marvel).

Helper(s): Roy Cowan.

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