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Psylocke of the X-Men (1990s Marvel Comics)

Psylocke

(Profile #2 - Psychic ninja)


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

“My psychic knife, the ultimate focus of my psionic powers.”


Context

Though Marvel Comics’ Psylocke was originally a Captain Britain character, she became better known as a X-Men member.

This profile is #2 in a series; as always we recommend reading them in order. Profile #1 is and profile #3 is . This profile covers the period from when her consciousness is switched into Kwannon’s body (Uncanny X-Men #256, 1989) until she swaps powers with Jean Grey (X-Men #100, 2000).


Background

  • Real Name: Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock
  • Other Aliases: Bee, Captain Britain, Kwannon, Lady Mandarin
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Sir James Braddock Sr. (father, deceased), Elizabeth Braddock (mother, deceased), James “Jamie” Braddock Jr. (brother), Brian Braddock (Captain Britain, brother), Meggan (sister-in-law)
  • Group Affiliation: X-Men; former agent of S.T.R.I.K.E.
  • Base Of Operations: Xavier’s Mansion, Westchester
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 155 lbs
  • Eyes: Purple Hair: Black (dyed purple)


Powers and Abilities

(See also the write-up).

Her new body was trained as an assassin. Betsy further remembers the skills Kwannon knew, making her a formidable combatant, both unarmed, and wielding swords. She occasionally carries a katana.

While she seems to have retained most of her telepathic abilities through the change of body, she seldom exercises them now. She prefers to be a more physical combatant. When she does use them, it’s more to support herself in physical confrontations. One example is counteracting being blinded by looking through her opponents eyes.

While her overall telepathic powers seem weakened, the change in body (or possibly the effect of the Hand’s, or Spiral’s, magic) has given her psychic shields. Those prevent even Xavier from reading her mind.

The only power that’s really been changed, mainly in the way she uses it, is her mental blast. While she can project it, she generally prefers to use it in melee combat. She coalesces its psychic energies into a visible blade-like construct around a foot long


History

(Psylocke’s prior history can be found in the write-up)

Kwannon was an assassin in the employ of Chinese crime lord Nyorin. But she was in love with his enemy Matsu‘o Tsurayaba, leader of the Hand. Kwannon and Matsu‘o were eventually forced to fight each other when he arrived to kill Nyorin. The battle ended with Kwannon falling from a cliff, surviving but leaving her brain damaged.

Matsu‘o, letting Nyorin live, recovered her body, searching for a way to bring her back to him.

Psylocke emerged from the Siege Perilous, amnesiac, in the South China Sea. There she was recovered by the Hand. Matsu‘o saw in her blank slate an opportunity to save Kwannon. Herself a sensitive, Kwannon would prove a suitable receiver for Betsy’s psychic powers.

Mergers and acquisitions

Matsu‘o gained the assistance of Spiral. The witch merged facets of the memories, abilities, and even genetics, of the pair. However Spiral broke her word to him, for her own reasons. While the body that emerged from the process was that of Kwannon, its slumbering personality and mind were not.

Initially Betsy believed that she was still in her original body, altered by the Hand.

Kwannon’s body, its mind still apparently a blank slate, was programmed to serve the Hand – and their new Lord, the Mandarin. Named Lady Mandarin, she served him in reclaiming his position in the Chinese underworld.

Wolverine soon arrived, accompanied by Jubilee. He seeking his missing team mates. Wolverine eventually jogged Betsy’s memories and personality into taking control of her new body, turning her against the Hand and the Mandarin.

Back with the team

Accompanying Wolverine and Jubilee, Psylocke ended up in Genosha. There they met up with the reforming X-Men. They return to Xavier’s Mansion, where the X-Men split into two teams. Psylocke joined Cyclops’ Blue Team. After making advances on Scott, apparently prompted by Kwannon’s influence, Betsy began a relationship with Archangel.

Psylocke, Revanche and Spiral/>

Her life was thrown into turmoil by the arrival of Revanche, Betsy’s original body.

Revanche’s mindless body had been abducted from the Hand by Spiral, and delivered to Lord Nyorin. Spiral had convinced Nyorin, who had himself been in love with Kwannon, that the remnants of her mind and soul were now residing in this body. She then helped to bring back to consciousness.

Confronting Psylocke, Revanche claimed that she was an impostor. She claimed that Psylocke’s powers were unconsciously clouding everyone’s mind on the issue. Even Psylocke began to doubt her own identity.

Investigating, the pair discovered a false account, planted by Nyorin. It claimed that Kwannon had found the unconscious Psylocke prior to the Hand, and that when she touched her, a psychic surge swapped elements of their minds. This had allegedly persuaded Kwannon that she was actually Betsy.

Identity crisis

Both stayed with the X-Men for a while, the tension between them occasionally bursting into violence. This came to an end after Revanche was infected with the Legacy Virus.

Her telepathic abilities were heightened by the Virus, allowing her to pierce her own mind and learn the truth. Both of them were a combination of parts of both Betsy and Kwannon. Deciding not to die of the virus, Revanche went to Matsu‘o, convincing him to help her end her life.

With Revanche’s death, Psylocke learned the truth of her origin. She confronted Spiral about her role in events. Revanche had left a portion of her psionic power in Matsu‘o, allowing him to remove Kwannon’s memories and influences from Psylocke’s mind.

This fixed the fractures they had caused. It also restored her full telepathic abilities, although these would take time to fully relearn.

The Sabretooth incident

Sabretooth had been a ’guest‘ in the Mansion for a while, as Xavier tried to cure him of his murderous rages. Psylocke occasionally sparred with him. When Xavier was finally forced to admit defeat, and prepared to hand him over to the authorities. But Sabretooth goaded Boomer into accidentally freeing him.

The nearest to hand, Psylocke rushed to Tabitha’s defence. However, she found that brain damage Sabretooth had received left him unaffected by her psychic blade. Overmatched, Psylocke was badly mauled, and left critically wounded.

Psylocke in her blue costume, crouching with a dagger up

Desperate to save her life, Archangel set out with Wolverine to locate a magical liquid to heal her. With the aid of Dr. Strange and Gomurr the Ancient, they battled the Proctor of the Crimson Dawn, Tar. They acquired the liquid just in time to save her life. The infusion of the Crimson Dawn altered her, a tattoo appearing over her left eye as it bestowed new powers on her.

Crimson Dawn

Betsy and Warren took time off from the X-Men to recover, and for her to come to terms with the changes she’d undergone. But she found herself feeling increasingly cold and detached, their relationship becoming strained. She couldn’t understand why.

Unbeknownst to the pair, Tar had been defeated and left dying by the demon Kuragari. The demon then seized the throne of the Crimson Dawn. He used the debt Psylocke owed for the elixir to prepare her to become his Undercloak Queen. Psylocke was abducted by Kuragari’s servants, and transformed. However she retained a faint sliver of control.

Unknown to Kuragari, the dead Tar’s spirit conferred upon Gomurr the Ancient the true role of Proctor of the Crimson Dawn. He also helped Archangel reach the Crimson Dawn dimension, where they confronted Kuragari. Betsy broke free of his control at the last moment, aided by Warren’s taking her soul debt onto himself. She turned on Kuragari, toppling him from power.

Shadow King

Psylocke was part of a team that went to the aid of Storm’s mother figure, Ainet. Her tribe had apparently come under the power of the god Ananasi.

As she confronted the entity on the astral plane, Ananasi taunted Psylocke with her history of being manipulated and abused. Enraged, she lunged at him with her psychic knife. However the whole thing had been a set up. Her blade triggered a trap which sent out a shockwave through the psionic plane, crippling all telepathic abilities on the planet.

Psylocke’s psychic form seemed to perish in the centre of this. Ananasi then revealed himself to actually be the Shadow King, now positioned to take control of the planet.

The power of the Crimson Dawn, which amplified her telepathic abilities, allowed Psylocke to survive her apparent destruction. She shielded her presence from the Shadow King. The King was distracted with causing chaos over the world, and trying to manipulate the newer X-Men.

Psylocke freed the X-Men from the nightmares in which the Shadow King had stuck them. They eventually confronted him, taking advantage of him having over-extended his powers.

Amplified by the power of the Crimson Dawn, Psylocke managed to capture the Shadow King’s soul. She imprisoned him within herself, but it required the constant focus of most of her telepathic powers, thus effectively neutralizing her telepathy.


Description

The new body Betsy now inhabits is that of an attractive Chinese woman, although Spiral did mix genetic elements of the pair of them upon merging. When Wolverine first encountered her he recognised her face, even if not her scent.


Personality

Initially influenced by Kwannon’s personality, Betsy became an action junkie, an attribute which has stayed with her. She became somewhat disruptive to the team, such as when she tried to seduce Cyclops. This side of her didn’t survive Kwannon’s death.

While she retained the poise and elegance she’d exhibited in her original body, she became less reserved, more obviously enjoying her life.

While she appears to retain the ability to attack at a distance with her powers, Betsy far prefers to engage in close combat. She manifests her psychic powers in a blade, even when she’d be safer attacking from behind her stronger team mates.

Psylocke in armor with her psychic knife

Preferring to be self-reliant, and tired of being controlled so much, Betsy took to the more physical abilities offered by her new body. She became more of a front line fighter than she had been previously, and more inclined to jump straight in rather than analyze situations.

Under the influence of the Crimson Dawn she became more distant and dispassionate. This caused her some concern.


DC Universe History

When Brian turned down an offer to join the Global Guardians as the UK representative, Betsy accepted the role, adopting the identity Psylocke.

She drifted away from the team shortly before its disbandment, and ended up kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society, along with Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro). They were used as test subjects for an experiment to pave the way for the Azarathan souls which currently inhabited Jericho to transfer to individual hosts.

The process proved successful, transferring Betsy’s soul into Katana’s body, and displacing Tatsu’s soul.

Betsy remained aware during the process. While her mind was unable to stop it, she was able to keep Tatsu’s soul from passing on. She stored it temporarily in her blade, Soultaker, which absorbed the souls of its victims.

Maintaining Tatsu’s soul took up a lot of Betsy’s telepathic might, but she managed to retain some of her powers after the transfer, as well as having access to Tatsu’s skills.

Psylocke, in her new body, was rescued by the Titans, and helped them against the Wildebeests. She continued to work with the group occasionally, and joined the Outsiders when they were active.

The Outsider travelled to the realm of the Crimson Dawn, in the Shadowlands, to confront Kuragari. There Betsy’s mind was ripped from Katana’s body, allowing Tatsu to return. Saved by Gomurr the Ancient, Betsy’s mind was transferred into a body composed of living shadow.

It looked like Tatsu’s body, although with hints of Betsy’s original features, and retaining the combat skills learned from Tatsu. This new body had links to the Crimson Dawn, though, allowing her additional shadow-based powers.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Psylocke

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility of Power/ Thrill of Adventure
Int: 07 Wil: 08 Min: 08 Occupation: Super-Hero; formerly Charter Pilot, Model
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 008
Init: 022 HP: 065

Powers:
Comprehend Languages: 08, Control: 07, Eye of the Cat: 10, Hypnotism: 09, Life Sense: 09, Mental Illusion: 10, Mind Blank: 20, Mind Blast: 10, Mind Probe: 10, Spirit Travel: 08, Telepathy: 11

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Contingent on Telepathy (-1 each)
  • Eye of the Cat works on those she’s in Telepathic contact with (+0)
  • Mental Blast can be wielded in melee using the Weaponry Skill (+0)
  • Mind Blank doesn’t block Life Sense (-1)

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Artist (Modelling, Singing): 04, Martial Artist: 07, Thief (Stealth): 07, Vehicles (Air, Land): 05, Weaponry (Firearms, Melee): 07

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Expertise (Skiing, Hairstyling), Rich Family

Connections:
X-Men (High), Captain Britain (High), Archangel (High), Meggan (High), Hellfire Club (Low), New Mutants (Low), RCX (Low)

Drawbacks:
SIA (Melee Combat), MIH (Being Controlled), Power Loss (Mind Blast is -2 APs when used at Range), Misc. Drawback (She has a fear of Slaymaster, resulting in -1CS to her AV/OV/EV/RV when fighting him)

Equipment:
She occasionally carries a Katana or two. Katana [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist)]


Design notes

  • There’s evidence that she can still use her Mind Blast at distance, although she rarely uses it like this. This has been modelled by a SIA to melee combat, and a reduced AP when used at Range. On the other hand, I’ve dropped Precognition since it’s not used during this period.
  • It’s unclear which of her Powers she has at which times. When initially seen in her new body, she makes use of the Mental Illusion much the same way as she had previously, and the only real difference seems to be in her Mind Blast.
  • She rarely uses much apart from Telepathy, Mind Blast, and Mind Probe after this, though. There’s a mention later that she’s only had limited access to the abilities until Revanche’s death, and Jean Grey then helps her reacclimatise to her full psychic power. Even after this she doesn’t use them that much though, so I’ve settled for a note in the Powers & Abilities section that she rarely uses them any more.
  • Her fear of Slaymaster isn’t shown until she encounters an alternate reality duplicate of him during the period covered by the next write-up, but is included here in case this version should encounter a version of him.

The Crimson Dawn

When saved by the Crimson Dawn, Psylocke:

  • gained the ability to teleport through shadowed areas [Teleportation (Via Shadows): 16]
  • obtained the ability to recover from otherwise fatal psychic damage [Invulnerability (Mental Only): 12]
  • became more stealthy [Thief (Stealth) rose to 09 APs]

It also made her susceptible to control by the Proctor of the Crimson Dawn (-1CS Attack Vulnerability against mental control by the Proctor).


Prison of the Shadow King

Following the Psi-War, most of Psylocke’s telepathic abilities were devoted to keeping the Shadow King imprisoned, so the only Power she could use during this period was Mind Blast.

By Gareth Lewis

Source of Character: Marvel Comics

Helper(s): Marvel.com, Chris Cottingham, Pufnstuff, Sébastien Andrivet, Dr. Peter S Piispanen, Frank Murdock, Darci, capita_senyera, Eric Langendorff, Jobe

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