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Martian Manhunter over a muscular white background

Martian Manhunter


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

Context

The Martian Manhunter appeared in 1955, during a low ebb of super-hero comic books publication. However, that meant that he was right on hand when the Silver Age of comics  rolled around, allowing him to become a founder of the Justice League of America. The JLA is one of DC Comics’s highest-profile super-hero team.

The Manhunter has an endless array of super-powers, and a very high power level, as well as being a detective, a mentor and a mysterious space alien. Howbeit, he never had a clear hook that resonated with the greater comic-book-reading public. He has thus remained a perennial C-lister, but his role as the heart of the JLA gives him a distinctive — or at least enduring –niche.

This is an older, generic write-up primarily meant to fine-tune the DC Heroes game stats for J’onn J’ozz – not a modern profile.


Background

  • Real Name: J’onn J’ozz
  • Other Aliases: John Jones
  • Marital Status: Widower
  • Known Relatives: Wife and Child (both dead), Malefic (brother)
  • Group Affiliation: Justice League Inc (JLA, JLI, JL Task Force, etc)
  • Base Of Operations: The Watchtower or NYC, New York.
  • Height: 6’7” Weight: 250lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown/Black, but usually bald


History

J’onn J’ozz was a Martian, living on Mars if you can imagine that. He was drawn through time and space by Dr. Erdel. He was treated kindly by the doctor and so when he apparently died, J’onn attempted to fit in and live up to the kindness Erdel had shown him.

He became a police detective under the name of John Jones. He was fairly famous for his deduction and the results he got, hunting down criminals of all sorts. When the next heroic age came along, he showed people his mostly human but still alien form and helped 4 other heroes stop an alien invasion. These people became the first Justice League of America.

The Martian Manhunter in flight over white background

J’onn has always been a member of the Justice League. There wasn’t a time when there was a league of some sort and he wasn’t there as a member, or advisor. During the Justice League International days, he was shocked into remembering the reality of his life on Mars.

He also discovered that Dr. Erdel was still alive, and had constructed the fabrication of his life that J’onn had remembered before that time.

After that he recovered from his crippling fear of fire which was caused by having to give his wife to the flames during a funeral following a plague on Mars. He began searching for any other members of his race.

J’onn later took up the mantle of teaching young heroes how to work together and use their powers effectively and responsibility. He has worked with Gypsy, Triumph, Mys-tek, the second Ray, and Damage. Later, he went deep into space in search of a widely travelled intergalactic monk who might have come across his people elsewhere in the universe.

The Martian Manhunter in flight over white background, side view

J’onn is obviously well travelled throughout the universe. He is somehow is capable of traversing vast distances without apparent outside aid (or maybe he’s just got an invisible spacecraft), because he has taken over the title of ’Most at Home in Space Justice Leaguer‘ from Hal Jordan.

There are people he runs into who he knows, places he has been and cultures he has experienced that others know nothing about.

As of this writing, the Manhunter is a member of Justice League America and appears monthly in JLA.

Note: This is the history of the very beginning and the Martian Manhunter miniseries, and leaves out the things you could currently find on a comic shelf or back issue bin that’s rather generic.


Description

The Martian Manhunter is a green humanoid with a protruding brow that makes him look somewhat grim. He looks to have no hair on his body, and has a developed musculature. He wears blue trunks, blue boots, and red straps that criss-cross his chest and merge into his belt, which has a circular design on the buckle. A blue cloak is slung around his shoulders.

As John Jones or any other identity he assumes, he can look like any human you have or haven’t seen before. John Jones in particular is about the same build as the Manhunter, with brown hair, and blue eyes.


Personality

J’onn is a serious being, often having his actions dictated by logic and the desire to see justice done. He can be stern, and even seem irrational, but he is nearly always in control of his emotions and acting according to some plan. He does have a sense of humor, but it doesn’t manifest very often, especially not where his students are concerned.

He takes teaching the younger generation very seriously. He is also extremely interested in the affairs of aliens on Earth, it’s almost an obsession but he only really exercises it when he senses injustice.


Quotes

“Do you see what a man is capable of when he has his milk and cookies every day ?”

“I like Oreos. Captain Marvel introduced them to me.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

J’onn J‘ozz

Dex: 07 Str: 19 Bod: 15 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 10 Wil: 11 Min: 09 Occupation: Full Time Adventurer
Inf: 09 Aur: 08 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 10
Init: 033 HP: 145

Powers:
Chameleon: 12, Density Increase: 05, Dispersal: 18, Energy Blast: 10, Extended Hearing: 08, Flight: 13, Growth: 10, Invisibility: 10, Mind Blast: 08, Mind Probe: 11, Sealed Systems: 11, Self Manipulation: 10, Super Breath: 10, Superspeed: 05, Telepathy: 18, Telescopic Vision: 08, X-Ray Vision: 08

Optional Powers:
Omni-Power: 10, Mental Illusion: 20

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Chameleon can duplicate voices
  • Dispersal allows partial dispersal and is not impeded by force fields
  • Invisibility requires incredible concentration to use, so he cannot use any dice actions while invisible without first making a Int/Will vs. AV/EV of the action he wants to attempt. This counts as an automatic action, not a dice action, for the phase. If he fails the check he becomes visible instantly
  • Self Manipulation allows him to shape his body in a free form manner, controlling each molecule mentally. He however cannot gain physical abilities he does not already have that aren’t suggested solely by the form itself, such as Extra limbs and so on
  • The top 3 APs of Density Increase and all APs of Growth can only be used when on a planet (-1) – unless that planet is Mars, all of MM’s Powers acquire a Serious Burnout until he ejects the alien mass or replaces it with Martian dirt (-2)
  • Powers that burn out can either cease to function or function unpredictably (-1)
  • [Omni-Power does not cost HPs to use, however he must devote all his improvement HPs to buying that power before any other character advancement. He may not mimic the same power with Omni-Power again
  • Mental Illusion can only be used once, ever. It grants the heart’s desire of whatever being it is used upon.]

Skills:
Detective*: 10, Gadgetry*: 10, Vehicles*: 07, Weaponry: 05

Advantages:
Genius, Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Omni-Connection, Popularity (Outside USA), Scholar (Martian Lore)

Connections:
Justice League [ad Infinitum] (High), Justice Society of America (High), Students (Low), Super Hero Community (High)

Drawbacks:
MIF (Flames), SIA (Mysterious Situations) [Note: Earlier in his career the fear of flames should be represented by Traumatic Flashbacks triggered by flames as well as the irrational fear. He also had a -3 CS Attack Vulnerability to Fire and Flames. During the 50’s, he had the Mistrust drawback.]


Morrison JLA Version

Add :

  • Expansive Headquarters (Martian City of Z‘Onn Z‘Orr)
  • Power Reserve: 02
  • Power Reserve only affects mental attributes and powers, but can only be used when dramatically appropriate to do something the Manhunter has never done before and shock a compatriot. This is an aspect of his Omni-Power
  • Attack Vulnerability: -4 CS to Fire
  • Traumatic Flashbacks (trigger event is Fire), remove MIF of Fire

Inconsistent Appearance version

Self-Manipulation, Energy Blast, Dispersal, Enhanced Senses, Sealed Systems, Density Increase, Growth and Mind Blast all have a serious burnout due to his writers not remembering he has the abilities.


New rules

J’onn’s Dispersal applies its APs normally to his defenses against physical and energy attacks but he ignores force fields entirely.

J’onn often uses his Self Manipulation extend his limbs to long lengths (by giving himself Stretching of usually 3 APs), but he can become a living sculpture unique to Martian culture if he desires to.

At the end of the Martian Manhunter mini-series he used his shape changing abilities to form an undulating mass of constantly changing shape and size as he ’danced‘ in joy at regaining what he had lost.

He also can gain abilities that are physically a part of the body he is mimicking, such as gills, wings, claws etc, but abilities created by a metagene or magic he cannot produce. Also, I theorize he can’t produce effects that are properties of the body but are dependent upon glands, or other biological properties those bodies have that his does not.

By Byron Molix

Helper(s): Jase KT, John Colagioia, JD Marquart, Sean MacDonald, Jeffrey Knight, Sébastien Andrivet, Roy Cowan, Kal El el Vigilante, Tiago Quintana

Source of Character: DC Comics (old and new)

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