5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Pit Bulls - Queen in uniform

Pit Bulls (Butch, Duke, Queenie, Spike)


Context

The Pit Bulls are one of the character concepts that was tried during the 1993 launch of Dark Horse’s Comics’ Greatest World, a new super-hero setting. There was a certain “throw characters at the wall and see which ones stick best” atmosphere, and the Pit Bulls didn’t stick enough to get their own book.

But it was an useful concept.


Origin

The origin and status of the Pit Bulls is mostly unrevealed. They appear to be four youths (aged maybe 16) who have been conditioned to fight since birth. Furthermore, they have been imprinted with dog-like behaviour, instincts and reflexes. The origin of this monstrous project is unrevealed. The subjects were apparently kept in cages.

The Pit Bulls all have dog names. The blond male is Butch, and is the pack’s alpha. The girl is Queenie. The larger male is Spike. The fourth member is Duke.

The Pitbulls portraits, and Anita

On the right : Anita.

The Pit Bulls’ mistress — in the sense that dogs have masters — is one Anita. Her identity and role are unrevealed.

One vague hypothesis is that she was some sort of instructor with the Pit Bulls project. Maybe she ran away with the kids. In any case she continued to run the Pit Bulls through training drills, and usually wore paramilitary clothing. A secondary source indicates that Anita has some sort of emotional tie with Butch.

Anita arranged to house the pack in a clandestine loft in the city of Arcadia, in a warehouse on the docklands. She has a working relationship with the Arcadian Police Department. Yet, one gets the strong impression that it is limited to one officer (Lt. Timothy) and that it is off the books. Other officers of the APD did not seem to know who the Pit Bulls were.


History

In 1993, Lt. Timothy called Anita, asking for a favour. The vigilante only known as X had just murdered a politician and a corrupt cop, and needed to be stopped. Minutes later a TV crew spotted X using construction equipment to appose his mark on a building. The Pit Bulls engaged him in hand-to-hand combat to capture him.

The Pitbulls group shot (cover art)

Despite X’s impressive strength and fighting skills, the Pits were performing well. But the combatants were soon surrounded by the SWAT team. Commanded by one Gault, this unit was infamous for behaving more like an occupying military force than as police officers.

X seized the occasion to escape, and Gault threatened the Pit Bulls with death. The threats and the perspective of being put back in cages triggered the quartet’s reflexive aggression. They attacked and mauled the SWAT team. Since X had gotten away, Anita had them withdraw before they’d kill someone.

Dog day afternoons

Not too long later, an untouchable police detective called Wellman asked Lt. Timothy if he could have help from “the dogs” to arrest a superhuman gangster. Anita agreed to have her pack help with the arrest.

As it turned out the suspect was with two other superhuman criminals. These reacted violently when Wellman came in, and the Pit Bulls immediately attacked. They took down the suspect and killed a heavily-armed giant. The last criminal downed Queenie with a vibration blast before Detective Wellman shot him dead. Queenie quickly recovered, though.

The Pit Bulls then helped Detective Wellman escort his prisoner to Internal Affairs outside of town. Once there, he would testify that Wellman’s superior Captain Pike was thoroughly corrupt. However, Pike hired a number of very minor superhuman criminals who had fled the gang war in Steel Harbor, who intercepted the van.

The Pit Bulls were outmatched, but X came in and killed most of the opposition. This included Captain Pike after he ordered the death of one of Wellman’s daughters to have him back off.

Everybody was street fighting

Some weeks later, X found himself chased by powerful police cyborgs. Attempting to shake them off, he led them straight to the Pit Bulls’ covert warehouse base. X then shot Spike to trigger the Pit Bull’s aggression response.

The Pitbulls vs. X

X got more than he bargained for. Their return fire mangled his spinal column. This deprived him of the use of his legs for several hours as his regenerative powers repaired the damage.

As X had hoped, the cyborgs identified the Pit Bulls as threats and opened fire. The youths returned fire with grenade launchers. They destroyed two of the three cyborgs, but only Duke was left standing. He charged the last cyborg and decapitated it with a grenade.

The police found the Pit Bulls out cold but not seriously wounded thanks to their reinforced uniforms. What happened next is unknown, as the team wasn’t seen again.


Powers & Abilities

Though they are young, the Pit Bulls are extensively trained in melee and ranged combat. They are in terrific shape, and possess a remarkable level of strength, aggression and pain tolerance.

They remain human, and do not operate on a super-heroic level. Still, they have a fair chance to take down most street-level costumed adventurers, in good part because they work as a pack (in DC Heroes terms, they use Team Attacks a lot).

The Pit Bulls are usually armed like a SWAT team or a military commando (not that there’s much of a difference anymore). But if they are sent to capture someone they will probably engage with their bare hands. Their uniforms are high-performance soft body armour. It doesn’t lessen the force of an impact, but it will prevent even a high-calibre round from actually penetrating.

The Pit Bulls seem to be fast healers, and are able to return to action quickly after having been taken down.

Generally, Duke and Queenie prefer to close in (with Queenie using a knife) while Butch and Spike open fire.

The edge

Though they aren’t radically more competent than an elite Special Forces team, the Pit Bulls have a number of advantages :

  • They instinctively deploy pack tactics without having to communicate.
  • They never hesitate, and are difficult to startle or confuse. Their natural aggression is just too high. Attempting to intimidate them will never work, and is almost certain to backfire by triggering aggression. They don’t get nervous and they don’t get afraid. Furthermore, their immediate aggression usually allows them to act before the opposition can aim at them.
  • They instinctively obey well-drilled orders from their alpha. For instance, if Butch yells “out !” at a Pit Bull, they will immediately become passive and trot back to him.
  • Though they usually operate with firearms, the Pit Bulls can shift to melee combat without any hesitation. They perform just as well up close as they do in a firefight.
  • Pain has little psychological impact on them, and they are trained to operate without “barking”. Even when shot, a Pit Bull doesn’t cry out or otherwise display signs of pain. They can still be brought down like any strong human, though.

The Pitbulls with grenade launchers


Personality

The Pit Bulls are better approached as very smart dogs than as people. They are still young and thus may eventually become more human-like. One secondary source lists Butch’s personality as that of a German Shepherd, Duke’s as a Doberman’s, Queenie’s a Rottweiller’s and Spike’s St. Bernard’s.

Butch is the pack alpha, and the others reflexively obey him. The same level of instinctive obedience isn’t present toward Anita. But Butch treats Anita as his mistress, so she will talk to him to give orders to the pack.

The Pitbulls dogpiling on X

In terms of intellectual sophistication and emotional maturity, the Pit Bulls are the equivalent of young teenagers, maybe 14, though on the rowdy side. For instance, when first seen Duke and Spike got into a vicious brawl since Duke wanted to wear Spike’s baseball cap.

Other traits

They are simple kids with simple interests and a serviceable vocabulary. But they are not retarded. This is a normal product of a very toxic and limited life experience, aggravated by their pseudo-canine instincts getting in the way.

The Pit Bulls (or at least Queenie) don’t seem to like strangers. They may just snarl or growl when approached by one. They also become uncomfortable when they’re not together.


Quotes

Anita: “X is gone, let’s get out of here. Butch, call them off !”
Butch: “Duke, out ! Queenie, out ! Spike, out !”

Duke (threatened by police): “Not the cage. Never again. I won’t back. I won’t !” (attacks)


Description

The webbing on the Pit Bull’s uniforms is of a different colour, presumably to avoid fights as to whom own which. Butch’s are dark blue, Duke’s red, Spike’s yellow and Queenie’s white.

There was non-trivial variation in skin tones depiction, but Spike is apparently African-American, Butch and Duke Caucasian, and Queenie… has been everything but Asian, so let’s assume that she’s morena in the Brazilian Portuguese sense of the word.

Standard urban assault uniforms (think Rainbow 6) might work than the superhero-ish costumes, though.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Generic Pit Bull

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Canine
Int: 04 Wil: 02 Min: 05 Occupation: Agent
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
Init: 016 HP: 015

Stats variance:
Spike likely has one more AP of STR, and Butch one more AP of INF.

Powers:
Regeneration: 01

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Acrobatics (Dodging): 02, Martial Artist: 05, Medicine (First aid): 03, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 05

Advantages
Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
The Pit Bulls have been imprinted with dog-like instincts, and do not function like normal human beings.

Equipment:
Common tactical gear includes:

  • REINFORCED UNIFORM [BODY 06, Blunting: 07]
  • Cut-down M16 assault rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 08, Rec. STR 03, R#02, Advantage : Autofire]. From the art these seem to be M16s with the stock entirely removed, a much shortened barrel, a custom barrel shroud and a reflex sight.
  • Combat knife [BODY 05, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].
  • .45 ACP sidearm [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 07, R#03]
  • Defensive Grenade (x2) [BODY 01, Bomb: 08, R#03, Grenade drawback]
  • One-shot grenade launcher [BODY 02, Range: 07, Ammo: 01, Bonus: Range can be Indirect (limited to ballistic arcs, +1), Drawback: Long Reload] w/Anti-light-vehicle grenade [BODY 01, EV 08 (Area of Effect 1 AP), R#03, Grenade drawback].
  • On a cover Queenie is drawn with paired Ingram machine pistols and Spike with a general-purpose machinegun, but these are not used in the actual stories. A secondary source  also mentions a sword for Queenie.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Generic Pit Bulls operator — Averaged PL 6.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
02 02 02 01 05 00 00 00

Stats variance

Butch has a Presence of 01 instead of 00, and Spike a Strength of 03 instead of 02.

Powers

Let loose the dogs of war ● 16 points ● Descriptor: Psychological conditioning
– Fast healer — Regeneration 1
– Dog-like aggression — Enhanced Advantages (All-Out Attack, Close Attack 1, Fearless, Improved Initiative, Ranged attack 2, Second chance (Pain), Takedown, Teamwork), Enhanced Fortitude 2, Enhanced Will 4

Devices

Soft body armour ● 2 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Ballistic cloth
– Protection 1
– Feature (the armour will prevent reaching a Dying Condition as a result of an attack with a Damage of 6 or lower), Subtle

Combat Advantages

All-Out Attack, Close Attack 2 (3), Improved Defence, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Ranged attack 2, Takedown

Other Advantages

Equipment 4, Fearless, Second chance (pain), Teamwork

Skills

Athletics 3 (+5), Expertise (Military) 6 (+6), Insight 2 (+2), Perception 4 (+4), Ranged combat (Firearms) 5 (+8), Stealth 2 (+4), Treatment 4 (+4) (Limited 2 to Stabilise and Revive)

Equipment

Weapons Locker Array:

  • Cut-down M16 — Ranged Ballistic Multiattack Damage 5 ● 15 points
  • .45 semi-auto — Ranged Ballistic Damage 3
  • Combat knife — Close Piercing Damage 1, Improved Critical
  • Frag grenade — Burst Area Damage 7

The Pit Bulls were once seen using anti-light-vehicle grenade launchers (Ranged Explosive Damage 7, Limited 2 (single-shot breech-loader))

Offense

Initiative +6
Unarmed +8, Close, Damage 2
Assault rifle +8, Ranged, Multiattack Damage 5
Pistol +8, Ranged, Damage 3
Knife +8, Close, Damage 3, Threat 19-20
Grenade, Burst-Area Damage 7

Defense

Dodge 9 Fortitude 7
Parry 8 Toughness 5**/4/2*
Will 7

* Without Defensive Roll
** With armour and Defensive Roll

Complications

  • K9 conditioning The Pit Bulls are unable to live like human beings, and have been conditioned since birth with dog-like instincts.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 7, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 7
  • Point total 66 Abilities 12, Defences 16, Skills 12, Powers 16, Devices 2, Advantages 8. Equiv. PL 5.

Notes

As usual with writeups.org DCA stats, these stats are not benched against the extraordinarily high stats for stock NPCs such as generic SWAT officers.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Dark Horse Heroes universe (originally Comics’ Greatest World)

Helper(s): Heroes & Heroines CGW supplement

Writeup redone on the 9th of June, 2013.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.