5712 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Rocketeer cover by Dave Stevens

Rocketeer

(Cliff Secord)


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

Context

The Rocketeer was part of the early 1980s wave of indie comic book stories – his early adventures were published by Pacific in 1982. His adventures take place in pulps -style 1930s, like Indiana Jones‘.

The Rocketeer was more enduring than most indie heroes of his generation. There was a feature film in 1991, and Rocketeer comics continue to be published as of the 2010s

This profile is chiefly based on the movie.


Background

  • Real Name: Cliff Secord.
  • Former Aliases: The Rocketeer, Rocket Boy, Rocket Man, Missile Man, the Birdman, Cliff Secord the Fearless Flyer.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Los Angeles, USA.
  • Height: 5’8″ Weight: 155 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

The Rocketeer is a young man in fairly good shape. As such, he’s an adequate hand-to-hand combatant and can take surprising amounts of damage with little visible effect.

He’s also an expert pilot and particularly adept at jet pack navigation, as well as a capable mechanic. He’s also exceptionally lucky as the Rocketeer and pulls of great stunts while he avoids getting hit by bullets. And if he’s hit, the bullets uncannily strike his helmet or rocket pack.

This one is a true, classic happy-go-lucky hero of the 1930s.


History

Straight from the pages of a pulp comic from a past era, “the Rocketeer” recreates 1930’s Hollywood. It comes complete with gangsters, Nazi spies, and the growth of the Age of Aviation.

Young pilot Cliff Secord stumbles on a top secret rocket-pack and with the help of his mechanic/mentor, Peevy, he attempts to save his girl and stops the Nazis as The Rocketeer.

In the end, Secord saves the day as the Rocketeer and destroys a Nazi spy ring, which is cooperating with one of America’s most famous actors, Neville Sinclair. In the end scene, the Nazis die in a Zeppelin crash, in which the rocket pack is also destroyed.

Peevy, however, manages to get his hands on the last drawings of the rocket pack. Supposedly, the rocket is rebuilt and the Rocketeer will ride again !


Description

Cliff Secord is a young male of slender built with black hair and blue eyes. As the Rocketeer he wears black leather boots, gray pilot trousers, a brown pilot’s jacket, black leather gloves and a shiny, metallic helmet. The helmet has a grinning metal mouth, no nose, big, black glass eyes and a steering rudder on the top.

The rocket, which is heavy (no Miniaturization), is carried as a backpack. It seems to consist of two cylinders with fuel and rocket exhaust connected by a central engine piece.

As expected from a classic adventurer of the 1930s, the Rocketeer flies around seemingly with little trouble saving the day. As intended, the Rocketeer appears to be a man of the future.


Personality

Cliff Secord’s great ambition has been to be part of an aviation industry. He’s a great pilot and enjoys great speed and danger. He will rather gladly perform as an aviation artist, even one clad into a clown suit.

Once he started using the rocket pack he was hooked on the speed it granted him. He really enjoyed his flights and seemed more alive than ever before. His adventures with the rocket pack were taken with a surprising calm and as if that was what he had been waiting for all his life.

Cliff is also a fairly superstitious person. He won’t fly a plane without putting his gum on the rudder or Jenny’s picture in the cockpit.

A sketch of the Rocketeer

Sketch by Matthew Clark.

Cliff’s interest in anything that flies is shared by his good friend, a mechanic named Ambrose “Peevy” Peabody. Despite their age difference they are really close and able to discuss everything. Peabody is responsible for getting the X-3 rocket pack to work properly and should be considered a pioneering expert in aerodynamics.

Peevy was the only one knowing of Secord’s double identity from the beginning. He always does his best to help his friend. After his first Rocketeering adventures, Secord also remained on good terms with the creator of the rocket pack, Hughes, and can count on his aid in the future.

His second greatest interest, of long, has been his girlfriend, Jenny. Most recently he realized that he really loves her and has started to priorities her in his life.

Secord is a naturally heroic man and started out using the rocket pack for chivalrous deeds, such as saving crashing pilots, kidnapped girlfriends. With the typical fictional mindset of a 1930s hero, Secord will follow the conduct of a classic action hero, and will not kill unless as a last resort.


Quotes

“I like it!” (just having flown for the first time, and crashed real hard).

“Aw, what do you know about women, Peev ? You haven’t had a date since 1932.”

“Let’s make some history.”

“I could fly a shoe box if it had wings.”

Rocketeer: “Jenny, prepare yourself for a shock: I’m the Rocketeer.”
Jenny: “The Rocka-who?”
Rocketeer: “For crying out loud, don’t you read the newspapers ?!”


DC Universe History

There is room for one more pulp-fiction adventurer in the 1930s Los Angeles. He shares several traits with other adventurers of that era, such as Indiana Jones. Although such heroes are often loners, they’ve probably heard of each other through the media, and possibly even met briefly when fighting Nazi saboteurs.

The Rocketeer will work well with other DC heroes operating on the American west coast.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Rocketeer

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation: Pilot, Rocketeer
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 017 HP: 020

Skills:
Artist (Actor): 03, Artist (Air Shows): 06, Acrobatics (Dodging): 07, Evasion (Aerial only): 07, Martial Arts: 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 03, Vehicles (Air): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Vehicles (Air) includes Mechanics.

Advantages:
Lightning Reflexes, Rich Friend (Hughes), Shtick (Armor Optimization).

Connections:
Ambrose “Peevy” Peabody (High).

Drawbacks:
Dependent (Jenny), Secret Identity.

Equipment:

  • Cirrus X-3 Rocket Pack [STR 05 BODY 04, Flame Project: 01, Flight: 07, Super Breath: 02, R#03, Limitations:
    • Flame Project and Super Breath represent rocket exhaust and thus have a Range of 0 APs only.
    • The rocket is impossible to maneuver unless the pilot uses some sort of rudder to control his flight with (+4 CS OV/RV on all maneuver rolls, which are regularly (starting, stopping, turning etc.) done with the Aerial Subskill), Even normal flight uses up one Automatic Action to maintain (-0 ; failure to do so turns off the engine until restarted with another Automatic Action).
    • Flight can only be used in conjunction with both Flame Project and Super Breath (-1).
    • Notes: The rocket has a on/off switch that is usually kept in the palm of the user; this switch also contains a throttle that can be used for speed adjustment.
    • R# represents running out of fuel (alcohol)].
  • Helmet [BODY 08, Skin Armor: 02, Note: The Helmet is equipped with a steering rudder that makes the pilot able to maneuver his rocket flight, Limitations: Armor is Partial (Helmet-size) only (-4), The helmet is very thick and reduces the voice of the wearer to any listener so that they suffer a +1 CS OV/RV against any Perception Checks designed to hear him communicating (-1)].

Previous stats

When Secord first found the rocket pack, the on/off switch was non-conveniently located on the back of the backpack. There was also no way of controlling the speed, so Flight basically had the Limitation of Flight being Non-Variable (-1). These limitations were later removed (see Equipment for later version).


New rules – Armor Optimization [Cost: 5 points]

By: Dr. Peter S Piispanen

The Character can gain the optimum benefits of any type of armor, even partial covering armor. This Shtick is of little use for those wearing a full body covering armor. For a fee of 5 HPs, any incoming random shots are guaranteed to hit the best type of non-fully covering armor the character happens to wear.

This even covers armor that normally is not large enough to provide any protection from incoming attacks.

For example, a helmet is normally alone not large enough to provide adequate protection of the wearer, in which case it would offer its’ /BODY/ score as RV, but this Shtick can enable any type of armor, however small, to take the full force of any incoming attack by paying the same HP fee.

Likewise, for such a fee, any and all Trick Shots against the character during that turn, aiming to get around the character’s armor, receive a further +3 CS on their OVs.

Additionally, this HP fee enables armor, such as a Vest or a Helmet, to take the full damage (i.e. damage from crashes) gained from crashing with a vehicle. The same rule might apply for any eventual falling damage gained by the Rocketeer using a failing Jet Pack.

Judge Dredd and Psi-Judge Anderson have this Shtick. The Rocketeer, in the movie by the same name, also has this Shtick, and frequently is protected from falling damage by his helmet and blocks bullets using his helmet or his rocket pack.

Partial Coverage Armor Table
A helmet doesn’t normally give any protection, but can effectively be used as armor by a user of Armor Optimization paying the HP fee. Vest, Jacket, Long Coat and Full Body Suit protect their wearer at all times. All armors can be by-passed by Trick Shooting around them, except for Full Body Suits.

Shields have to be used to performing the Blocking maneuver in order for them to protect the user, but protection can also be made into an Automatic Action by paying the Armor Optimization HP fee.

Trick Shot OV CS to bypass: Factor Cost Modifier: Example:
+1 if prone, otherwise +0 (+3/A) -4 Helmet
+0 (+3/A) -3 Shield
+1 (+4/A) -3 Vest
+2 (+5/A) -2 Jacket
+3 (+6/A) -1 Long Coat
No Trick Shot possible 0 Full Body Suit

* The /A denotes use of the Armor Optimization Shtick.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: The Rocketeer – movie.

Helper(s): imdb.com , John Colagioia, Eric Langendorff, Michael Spagnola.

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