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Sapper (Ms. Marvel / Iron Man character) (Marvel Comics)

Sapper


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • The Busiek-revised approach is the one most informing this profile, since the original appearance was rather… enigmatic.

Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Member of an unnamed clan of Rajaks
  • Base Of Operations: A secret base/spaceship buried near Spokane, WA ; now mobile in outer spaaaaaace
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 375 lbs
  • Eyes: Optical sensors can glow various colours Hair: None


Powers and Abilities

Sapper appears to be a full-conversion cyborg, and no bit of his original body is left visible. He’s superhumanly strong, extremely durable, and can extract tentacles (presumably artificial ones) from a chest housing.

The tentacles can efficiently absorb energy from whatever they are grabbing, and the armour is also capable of absorbing ambient energy – for instance if he’s plunged into fire and explosions. All drained energy is stored in batteries inside the armour, which Sapper can use to power his own systems if needed.

It’s not entirely clear what Sapper can absorb and how it works. With a good roll he managed to Stun and badly damage a young Ms. Marvel, but didn’t manage to really get traction against a mid-to-late-2000s Iron Man armour. When draining a nuclear reactor, Sapper was turning the reaction mass into inert matter.

Sapper's big starship taking off

Repaired starship.

When he’s charged up, Sapper can emit quite potent energy blasts from his hands ; of course, the greater his charge, the greater his power reserve is.

GMs who want some rough ideas of his reserve can use the APs of ‘overflow’ beyond his Power Reserves as an indicator of his reserve (e.g. one extra AP beyond the cap of his Power Reserve means that he can fire two 12 APs blasts, two extra APs mean four blasts, and so on – most GMs probably will not want to bother with the extra bookkeeping, though).

Sapper’s goal is not to burn through acquired energy reserves but to take them back to the ship ; on the other hand he has a bit of a temper and will likely end up blasting opponents when he’s charged up.

Both Sapper and Golden-Blade generally keep their HPs for LDD, and seldom if ever use them to enhance AV. If Sapper ends up in position to deliver a solid Vampirism attack (say, a Blindside attack, or exploiting a breach in the target’s defenses opened by Golden-Blade) he will expend HPs on his OV, though.


History (part 1)

Sapper is a space alien, from the Rajak species. According to the account he gave to his ally Golden-Blade, the space menace Ultimo razed the Rajak homeworld, slaying pretty much the whole species. Sapper himself and his clan of traders were off-planet at that point in their merchant spaceship.

Seeing what happened, Sapper’s clan decided to avenge their civilisation by tracking Ultimo down and destroying it – presumably, they had access to some sort of super-weapon which they thought could be more effective against the giant robot than the planetary defenses of Rajak had been.

The Rajaks found Ultimo near Earth – circa 1840 by the local Gregorian calendar. The space battle didn’t go as well as they had hoped, and both sides were damaged enough to be forced into uncontrolled planetfall. Ultimo landed in China, where he would lay buried and inactive for decades until the Mandarin found, repaired and modified him.

Golden Blade and Sapper fly their spaceship

The Rajak ship crashed into what would become the state of Washington in North America ; all hands aboard were killed save for Sapper, who as a cyborg managed to survive the crash. A British fur trapper in the area was also nearly killed, but Sapper took him to the ship and fixed him as a full conversion cyborg.

The trapper, grateful for this medical intervention, became Sapper’s close ally as Golden-Blade.


About the Rajaks

Rajaks are vaguely goblinoid humanoids with blue-green skin ; though they prefer to dress in heroic-fantasy raider garb (complete with horned helmets, of course – because they’re raiders, you see) they pack energy weapons, fly spaceships and have access to weapons of planetary destruction.

From the story featuring them, one gets the faint impression that they may not have developed the advanced technology themselves, since they did not seem to fully understand it.

Rajaks were originally presented as space pirates, and a small crew of them (four Rajaks flying three spaceships) was apparently in the business of pillaging entire planets for mineral resources such as uranium. Their modus operandi was to set up their delta-ray cannon on a nearby planetoid, fire it at their target to eliminate all life there, and plunder at their leisure.

Some secondary sources have reached the conclusion that Rajaks were a confederacy of space pirates, though primary sources prior to Sapper’s appearance have been limited to four individuals – and while it is traditional for comic book space aliens to all have the same mindset and occupation, this is not a very high standard of proof.

Sapper’s claims contradict the secondary sources, though of course he could be lying through his teeth. Sapper explained that his ship was a merchant ship – and, more tellingly, that all the clans of Rajaks were killed by Ultimo since they were on their own world, something not very compatible with being a race of marauding space pirates.

If all Rajaks were indeed killed by Ultimo, the truth may never be known.


History (part 2)

The ship’s crash had created a lake, which hid the ship itself. Sapper and Golden-Blade needed considerable resources to attempt to repair the enormous ship – and even more for the next project, which was to run the computers in which the consciousness of the crew members had been back-upped, and transfer these consciousnesses into cybernetic bodies to “resurrect” the Rajaks.

Earth’s low tech level made this endeavour very slow, though the broader availability of nuclear power plants in the 1970s and onward accelerated things, making it possible for Sapper and Golden-Blade to raid Earth installations to “appropriate” power, store it into Sapper’s batteries and run away to transfer the energy into the ship’s power banks.

Apparently, Sapper and Golden-Blade fought and defeated Kree agents at one point – perhaps they attacked a scouting party or somesuch to take their small spaceship and use it to repair part of the enormous wrecked Rajak ship.

Bedlam in Boston

In 1977, Sapper and Golden-Blade attacked the USS Halsey, a nuclear submarine visiting the Boston Harbour, and drained the reactor. This triggered the response of the nearby Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), who repelled the pair – forcing them to retreat after she unwittingly destroyed Golden-Blade’s robotic hand.

Sapper and Golden-Blade were not seen again for three decades, though one may assume that they continued to acquire and pilfer resources for their project, albeit with a lower profile.

Sapper with his tentacles out

Three decades later, history repeated itself as the pair attacked another US nuclear submarine, the USS Simon Savage (named after the leader of the Leatherneck Raiders during World War II) and ran into Carol Danvers – now called Warbird. Danvers was at a low point of her fight against her alcoholism, and was fighting drunk.

Iron Man also responded and helped contain the situation despite Carol getting increasingly violent ; when she wrecked part of Sapper’s energy containment devices, an enormous explosion separated the combatants, and Sapper and Golden-Blade fled from the scene.

Destroyer of worlds

Some months later, the duo ran into Iron Man again as they attempted to steal energy from the SS Joseph Gillis, a Stark-Fujikawa floating energy research station. They were handily defeated and imprisoned on the premises.

As it turned out, the Gillis had been built on the seemingly inert Ultimo ; perhaps due to the proximity of a surviving Rajak, Ultimo reactivated itself and destroyed the Gillis. Though there was some initial confusion as to the role of the two cyborgs, their rescue of the Gillis’ crew cleared them of wrongdoing.

Sapper determined that Ultimo had scanned him to discover the location of the wrecked Rajak spaceship, and was now heading toward it to finish his job. This immediately raised considerable concern for Iron Man and US authorities, since a straight line between the Gillis and the Rajak spaceship meant that a large swathe of Spokane would get levelled by Ultimo.

Sapper extending his chest tentacles

Though attempts by the Air National Guard (and later S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter-bombers) to slow down Ultimo were only partially successful, Iron Man managed with some support from Warbird to hack Ultimo’s OS and force a shutdown as the titanic war machine was reaching the Spokane exurbs.

During the Ultimo crisis, Sapper had agreed to allow access to the Rajak spaceship as a base of operation, which triggered a decision by the authorities to seize and study the ship.

Given the exceptional service by Sapper and Golden-Blade whilst defending Spokane, Iron Man disagreed with this decision and arranged for a power conduit to be installed between Ultimo and the Rajak ship.

Sapper used the power to make his ship lift off and he, Golden-Blade and the ship left, thanking Iron Man and planning to find resources in space to resurrect the crew of the ship.


Description

Both Golden-Blade and Sapper’s appearance keeps evolving as Sapper improves and adapts the designs based on what resources they can acquire. With his metallic tentacles deployed, Sapper ambles much like Dr. Octopus, using some tentacles as very long ‘legs’ to dominate the field, and others as manipulative appendages.

Sapper has nothing too Rajak-looking about him, given how heavily cyborged-up he is – though he may have been more identifiable as a Rajak before the crash.


Personality

Sapper doesn’t, for some reason, speak English – perhaps the materials needed to build an appropriate voicebox are more urgently needed elsewhere.

This makes his personality a bit of a cypher, though he seemed to be generally benign, aggressive in combat, and unwilling to let his vendetta against Ultimo result in massive carnage even if that imperilled his plans.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Sapper

Dex: 04 Str: 07 Bod: 12 Motivation: Unknown
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Unclear
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
Init: 013 HP: 030

Powers:
Density increase: 01, Energy absorption: 06, Energy blast: 06, Extra Limbs (x6): 08, Power reserve (Energy blast): 12, Self-Link (Gadgetry): 12, Invulnerability: 09, Stretching: 02, Vampirism: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In
  • Energy blast suffers from a Power Loss. If no AP is present in the Power Reserve, the Loss reduces it to 0. One AP in the Power Reserve caps it at 02, 2 at 04, and 3 at 06 ; these caps are *without* APs from the Power Reserve.
  • Power Reserve can only be fed by extra RAPs from Vampirism (beyond what is required to top Sapper’s current BODY) or Energy Absorption – without those it is 00.
  • Stretching only applies to the Extra Limbs (say, the defensive bonus)
  • Vampirism has No Range, as it usually does – though it is routinely used through Stretching
  • Vampirism can only be used against targets powered by exotic high energy, such as the Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, a nuclear reactor, etc. – how flexible this definition is is unclear, but he likely can affect most super-powered or technological targets. It takes the form of a contact energy drain.

Skills:
Gadgetry: 08, Thief (Stealth): 03, Vehicles (Space): 04

Advantages:
Headquarters (Expansive), Immortal, Language (Rajaki), Life Support (Radiation)

Connections:
Golden-Blade (High)

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Exile (Involuntary), Misc.: Sapper understands English, but does not speak it

Design notes

Since they have so few appearances, the stats for Sapper and Golden-Blade are clearly on the speculative side.


By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Ms. Marvel v1 and, much later, Iron Man v3

Helper(s): Darci

Writeup completed on the 11th of December, 2010.

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