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Reverend Dawson


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

Context

This character is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these characters were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

This specific character was part of our Spring of 2015 Random Magical Character Creation event.


Background

  • Real Name: Dawson Andre Nelson appears on his birth certificate, but he spent most of his life as Andre Nelson but has since left that name behind. He assumed his mother’s maiden name as his own surname, and thus is Reverend Dawson Andre Melancon.
  • Other Aliases: Reverend Dawson, Brother Dawson, Reverend Melancon
  • Former Aliases: Andre Nelson, Reverend Nelson
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: James Nelson (father), Tealah (mother, institutionalized)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile ; formerly New Orleans, LA
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 220 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

What’s in a name?

Names are always a vital part of magic, of course, and this preacher’s names have defined his destiny on many levels. It’s a tradition of Gothic literature to anchor a character in the modern and the ancient. Being named after Andre Dawson provides that modern anchor, and anyone who knows the history of the Cubs curse can see the extra meaning afforded here.

His birth initials are DAN, which was the fifth son of Jacob, thus one of the original tribes of Israel. Dan was born to Rachel’s maidservant, Bilhah and may not have been entirely of Israeli descent. The tribe of Dan was the last tribe to receive its inheritance and the land it received neighbored with the Philistines.

They constantly lost land to that conflict and eventually would lose the land entirely to the Assyrians. They were the only tribe of Israel known for their seafaring and their symbol is a coiled snake with raised head sniffing the air with its tongue, the tattoo on the Reverend’s shoulder.

Dawson’s ritual name would be his given name followed by his mother’s family name and his father’s family name, as a symbol of the bringing together of those families that the child represents. His ritual name, therefore, would be Dawson Andre Melancon Nelson, or DAMN.

He has forsaken his father’s name and taken on that of his mother.  His initials are now, therefore, DAM. Dams keep the raging waters from flooding the world beyond them.

His mother’s name is Melancon, which shares the root with the word Melancholy. We use that word today to describe depression, but its original meaning was that of a sick person. Melancon was the name of a plantation/slave owner in Ascension parish, from which a few African-American families get their names. Of course, being in Ascension is just good and right.


Powers & Abilities

Dawson has always been exceptionally gifted. His exceptional strength, endurance, and charisma revealed themselves early in his life. It is unclear whether his mother’s faith contributed to this or not, but he has always been a talented individual, capable of conquering any tasks, but always lacked the interest to stay focused.

Dawson enlisted in the military early and excelled at martial training. He set records in marksmanship and weapons use and was an exceptional martial artist. His lifelong curiosity of his mother’s heritage gave him a gateway to occult studies, something that he is exploring now more than ever.

Through a voodoo blessing, Dawson has a unique insight into the composition of locks and can manipulate them through subtle magic, bypassing them with ease. When using this power, he closes his eyes, reaches out with his mind and strokes the locks with his hands, occasionally lifting or jarring the lock to get the desired result.

The alien spirit that inhabits his body provides him superhuman resistance to harm and the ability to strike out mystically against another’s body, mind, and soul.

Reverend Dawson suffers memory lapses when the possessing spirit manages to gain strength and rise to the surface. The spirit constantly works against him, causing his concentration to break at key moments, seeming like bad luck.

Due to his history, he is no longer welcome in New Orleans by any community.


History

Early

James Nelson of Chicago met Tealah Melancon on Spring Break in New Orleans and each thought they fell in love. Months later, Tealah moved to Chicago, pregnant with a son. James, a huge Cubs fan, insisted on naming the boy after Andre Dawson and a compromise between mother and father resulted in the name Dawson Andre. His father and his family would always call him Andre, and that stuck for most of his life.

Not long after the boy’s birth, Tealah and James were married. James and his family were extremely active in the local AME church and thus the new family found itself at home there, despite Tealah’s Voodoo-Christian background.

The marriage was never built to last and Dawson’s parents were divorced when he was very young. He lived with his mom, a loving and caring woman with a serious edge when it came to protecting herself and her child.

The time Dawson spent with his father was always tumultuous. James was a talented but violent man and abuse was the rule in all of his relationships. The many occasions that James and Tealah found themselves reigniting their relationship always ended in one form of violence or another.

During Andre’s teenage years, Tealah took her son and fled to her home town of Darrow, in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. His father was incensed. The conflict between his parents escalated and involved the law, but ultimately, the protective and sheltering nature of Tealah’s community won out.

During this conflict, Andre lost his way. He was an amazing athlete, an astute learner, and an attractive personality, but always chose to give up at any and all pursuits. Instead, he became dedicated to becoming a miscreant and found himself doing anything he could do to define himself as such. He just never fit in and never felt at home.

Upon coming of age, he enlisted in the Marines to escape. In the Marines, he found himself praised at his talent. He picked up unarmed combat training quickly, but truly excelled at the use of firearms, setting records during his training. It appeared he found his true calling.

When he washed out of special forces training, however, he became depressed, failed to perform his duties, and was dishonorably discharged.

Adulthood

Returning to Louisiana, he moved to New Orleans and remained deeply depressed. Gangs and drugs became his home and he gave himself fully to his despair. It was through the outreach of a local pastor, Reverend Kellen Mungin, that Andre would find a way out.

Kellen was ministering to the gangs scene and his message and service struck a note with Andre. Andre gave his life to Jesus and eventually broke free of his lifestyle under the tutelage of Pastor Mungin.

He studied to become a minister and reconciled with his mother who helped keep him on track. When he completed his studies, he became a minister at Mungin’s church and eventually left to lead a sister church that ministered to the poorest of the poor in New Orleans.

His wit and charm made him extremely popular with the people he ministered to and, eventually, the wealthy of the city came to love him. This upper class community saw him as an excellent representative of a worthy cause and, for a time, he was the darling of the scene.

He learned more and more about high society and its tastes. He used this to great advantage to take in money and funnel it to his church’s programs.

Unfortunately, Andre was so focused and so obsessed with the new found popularity and lifestyle that he didn’t track the money. The person trusted with the funds used them for illicit purposes, including drug trafficking and gambling and eventually lost it all and stuck the church with the debt. The misuse of the funds became public and ruined Andre’s reputation and infuriated the wealthy. The money dried up.

Andre still believed in the church’s outreach and was desperate to save it. No other churches would have anything to do with him and he couldn’t find the money to resolve the issues caused by his misplaced trust.

In desperation, he went to his mother for ideas. He knew all the wealthy homes and knew they all had more money than they could ever use, but they wouldn’t give him any to continue the important work it had done.

It angered him because the cause hadn’t changed, but the patrons had turned their backs on the people of the city. His mother introduced Andre to her Voodoo priestess and they concocted a plan. She bestowed upon Andre a Voodoo blessing, giving him magical influence over the workings of locks.

From within his ministry, Andre raised a team of reformed gang members, convinced them that they were modern-day Robin Hoods, and began a crime spree. The funds they took from the rich saved the church and provided more programs for the needy. But Andre was deeply convicted about his crimes and could not continue them further. Eventually, he repented of his sins and disbanded the team, returning his full attention to his pastoral duties.

Now, he was convinced of the evils of the voodoo faith that was so prevalent in the city and started his very vocal crusade against it. He spent more time with his mother, learning about the religion in order to confront it wherever he could find it.

The voodoo community was not pleased, but out of respect for his mother, chose to do nothing. His mother fell very ill to early dementia and had to be moved to a psychological institution.

The Event

Throughout his ministry to the downtrodden of the city, Andre had many occasions to encounter the demon-possessed. He became familiar with an exorcist and studied the art carefully. One Good Friday, Andre was called to a home where a young lady had been possessed by an evil spirit.

When he arrived, he recognized the urgency of the situation and chose not to wait for the exorcist.

Taking it upon himself, he performed the exorcism and it seemed successful at first. The girl returned to health. It soon became clear that the evil spirit had indeed left the girl, but it had found a foothold in Andre’s soul in turn. Andre’s mental resolve and faith fought to keep the spirit at bay but Andre collapsed and fell into a coma.

By all signs completely brain-dead, many visited the reverend’s bedside only to learn of their pastor’s study of voodoo. They couldn’t reconcile his hypocrisy, and ultimately left him. The healtcare providers decided to let him go three days later. Taking him off the machines, however, didn’t kill him. Instead he woke up.

During his coma, he learned he was in a terrible battle with an evil spirit and that God was protecting him. Upon awakening on Easter, his faith was renewed.

It was later that he realized that God had kept the evil spirit at bay but had chosen to leave the Reverend burdened with the evil spirit. He understood that rest could allow the spirit to eventually take over and bring terrifying evil and chaos.

He confessed all his transgressions to any who would listen, but could not accept arrest. The presence of the spirit was too much danger to everyone else, so he fled, stopping only to say goodbye to his mother. He was now despised by every community of his beloved city, everyone he served.

In his refugee status, he started using his true first name and adopted his mother’s surname. He now goes by Reverend Dawson Andre Melancon, though rarely does he use the name Andre, thinking of his past-self as truly dead.

Present

Reverend Dawson now travels the country seeking preaching engagements and information about the spirit that dwells within him. He investigates many supernatural events, using the gifted powers only as necessary to accomplish the good and needful.


Description

Reverend Dawson is a tall and powerful figure. He keeps his hair short, and his facial hair in a moustache and goatee. He typically wears one of the two suits he possesses and a fedora that matches, and finishes it off with a crisp dress shirt, cufflinks, tie, and pocket square.

His smile is bright against his dark skin. His eyes show a different story, for they tell the tale of his voyage, one of heartache and loneliness. On his right shoulder, he has a tattoo of a coiled snake licking the air.


Personality

He is a broken man who is very thankful for and draws strength from his redemption. He is quick to share a softened version of his story to anyone who needs it. He serves selflessly and helps the downtrodden as much as he can.

His charm is disarming and his intellect is impressive. He is able to talk to anyone about anything and uses that all for proselytizing or finding information about his situation. He is immediately engaging but not overly persuasive, like a wonderful bite of food that fades too fast to create lasting memory of its taste.

He knows fear and often assumes the worst about people or places, especially the unknown or mysterious because he’s generally right. This fear does not rule him, however, because he’s intimate with a kind of protecting grace.


Quotes

“’The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart…‘”

“I am a broken man. I have known the heights of personal glory only to find it built not on sand, but on air, on complete fancy. I have crumbled like old bread. I have broken every oath I’ve taken, hurt every person who’s helped me, and led men to corruption. Yet I know joy and purpose. And I know fear.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Reverend Dawson

Dex: 03 Str: 06 Bod: 06 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 09 Occupation: Travelling Preacher
Inf: 07 Aur: 03 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 018 HP: 012

Powers:
Powered Thief (Locks and Safes)(ML): 07, Invulnerability (ML): 06, Mental Blast (ML): 07, Magic Blast (ML): 07, Mind Blast (ML): 07

Skills:
Occultist: 05, Weaponry: 05, Martial Artist: 03, Detective (legwork): 06

Advantages
Attractive, Connoisseur, Scholar (Voodoo), Scholar (Possession), Expert (Christianity)

Connections:
None known

Drawbacks:
MPI of Memory Lapses, MIA toward finding identity of possessing spirit, Unluck, Involuntary Exile


Design Notes

I stayed straight with the rolled attributes, powers, skills, advantages, and drawbacks. I took the prerogative of applying the rolled bonuses (2 +1s) to Dexterity and Aura and applied the +2 bonus from rolling “3 Powers” to increase Mind. I swapped no powers or skills or advantages or drawbacks, but stuck with the rolls.

I rolled two “schools” and subsequently rolled Voodoo and Alien. This would shape his origin more than anything else.

I think I would prefer that his MPI be a more serious one and that, in those moments where the alien spirit dominates, it summons greater powers. The side-effects of these moments would contribute to the Reverend’s need to wander.

Of course, a Loss Vulnerability regarding the retreat or removal of the alien spirit would be appropriate.


By Tyler Roark

Source of Character: Magic character generator, 2015 summer contest

Writeup completed on the 23rd of April, 2015.

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