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Sapphire Styx (Wolverine enemy) (Marvel Comics) in white

Sapphire Styx


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

Context

Sapphire Styx is a minor Marvel character. However, her debut was in a 1988 Wolverine story that sold particularly well.

She is also an archetype – the life-draining femme fatale. Both the character and a technical modelisation of her powers are thus useful for Gamemasters.


Background

  • Real Name: “Sapphire Styx” likely is a pseudonym.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former employee of Roche.
  • Base Of Operations: Madripoor.
  • Height: 5’1” Weight: 110 lbs.
  • Eyes: Grey Hair: Red (possibly dyed).


Powers and Abilities

Styx is a mutant lifeforce vampire. Her kiss drains life (in DC Heroes RPG terms, BODY). She sometimes calls it the “Kiss of Death”.

Even if her victim is tough enough to survive this he will likely be weakened, disoriented and dizzy (Numb). One kiss nearly finished off Wolverine (James Howlett), and left him too weak to fight off Razor-Fist (Douglas Scott).

She once appeared to draw life force by pressing her palms on Tyger Tiger’s face. I have assumed that it was to avoid depicting Sapphire kissing a woman.

She’s sometimes equipped with a subcompact pistol.

My beauty secret

Furthermore, Styx can repurpose the extra lifeforce she drains. The three main witnessed uses are :

  1. Enhancing her beauty, sensuality, appearance of health, vital presence and other components of attractiveness.
  2. Gain superhuman strength (apparently up to “Class 2”). Wolverine discovered that he could not break the grip of the petite Sapphire after she fed.
  3. Heal her wounds.

Sapphire arranged to always have enough lifeforce for heightened beauty, and some superhuman STR. The latter is likely to feel safer on the mean Madripoor streets.


History

Sapphire Styx (likely a stage name of sorts) is a femme fatale, moll and mercenary. She works within the Madripoor underworld. Back in 1988 she had thrown her lot with the then-dominant crimelord on the Asian island, Roche. She became a regular at the infamous Princess Bar, spying on owner O’Donnell.

Heart of the Wolverine

When Wolverine became a thorn in Roche’s side, he sicced Sapphire and Razor-Fist at him. Ambulating in the sordid Madripoor streets in a slit dress and high heels, Styx accosted Wolverine. When he attempted to brush her off and get away, she forced a kiss on him.

Wolverine became one of the very few people to ever survive Sapphire’s kiss – possibly the first. But he was left so dazed and weakened that he was an easy prey for Razor-Fist, who beat him up and captured him. Wolverine was held on a rack and tortured for a while by one of Roche’s men.

Wolverine’s superhuman regenerative durability was a limitless font of lifeforce for Styx. Furthermore, she enjoyed the feral quality it had. Styx often came to kiss Wolverine. This likely freed her from having to charge up, and weakened him for the torture sessions.

Razor-Fist, respecting Wolverine’s warrior spirit, eventually facilitated his escape to give him a clean death. The seeming corpse was thrown over a cliff. Wolverine, of course, survived.

Eye of the Tyger

Logan then allied himself with up-and-coming crime boss Tiger Tyger. Together they stormed Roche’s estate to free an ally. Bursting into the torture cell, Tiger Tyger shot Sapphire in the back with her M3.

Using drained life force, Sapphire recovered from the attack. She started manhandling Tiger with her enhanced strength. But her opponent resisted, and bit Styx’s throat as she started draining her life force. Tiger then clubbed her with a burning poker to the face.

Roche’s torturer helped Sapphire leave the room, and she thus escaped the downfall of Roche. Sapphire then likely used her lifeforce-stealing abilities to fully heal her wounds.

Not fade away

Sapphire Styx continued operating in Madripoor.

In 1993, she stole Yashida Clan property from Tiger Tyger, who sent Wolverine to recover it. Wolverine easily succeeded and brought back Styx and the box. Tyger said “arrangements” had been made for Styx, but declined to specify.


Description

On some panels, Sapphire looks like an Asian female with dyed hair. On some others she looks White.

Her height is hard to tell. She always look slightly shorter than most men she’s seen next to, from Wolverine to guys with a more average height. My original guess was 5’5″, but an official 5’1″ has since been given and, well, it works too.

She’s a frequent smoker.


Personality

A cruel and selfish criminal and parasite, with a debased sense of fun. It is possible she was driven to crime due to her apparent need of victims to feed off of.

She tends to assume that no man ever resists her charm. Even Wolverine, though she was probably just jonesing for another sip of his unique lifeforce.


Quotes

“Stranger, this doesn’t seem to be your night. But who can tell, perhaps your luck’s about to change ? You know what they say about nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

“Such a pity Sapphire Styx doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“Oh lordy, it’s such a waste to leave you at Roche’s tender mercies. I’ve never tasted such a powerful, primal essence. If I dared defy him, I’d steal you for my very own.”

Roche: “Sapphire, I leave our ‘guest’ to your tender mercies.”
Styx: “Roche, you *do* know the way to win a girl’s heart.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Sapphire

Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Mercenary, vamp
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 012 HP: 015

Powers:
Invulnerability: 04, Numb: 14, Power Reserve (see below): 10, Regeneration: 01, Vampirism: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Neither Vampirism nor Numb has Range.
  • See below for full explanations.

Skills:
Charisma (Persuasion): 04, Detective (Legwork): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Madripoor).

Connections:
Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
Styx may have a physical need (or addiction) to drain lifeforce to sustain herself.

Equipment:
Holdout pistol [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 06, Miniaturisation: 01, R#04]. How often she has it is unclear.


Transylvanian concubine

Sapphire’s energy draining kiss is quite potent, and she gets to use the “overflow” RAPs in interesting ways through her Power Reserve. The offensive part of her power works as follows.

Step one – kiss

Vampirism and Numb are Combined, with Vampirism as the primary Power within the array. However, this is her kiss, which can only be a non-combat action.

She will often kiss people by surprise. Use the Difficulty Table to assess the penalty to OV for the target, depending of the amount of surprise and resistance of the target. Most straight men are likely to have an hefty penalty, especially if she has Attractive on).

A willing, or completely surprised (GM’s call) subject will be attacked against RV/RV rather than OV/RV. In this instance Sapphire gets to use her three Powers as their own AV – otherwise she uses her straight DEX.

Step two – power up

The primary Power in the array — Vampirism — is able to pump the overflow RAPs into Power Reserve. For instance, if she has taken 1 RAP to her BODY but then drains 5 APs of BODY using Vampirism, she heals her BODY RAP then gets 4 overflow RAPs in her Power Reserve. Her Power Reserve does the following things:

  • Its normal level is zero. It has to be fed via overflow RAPs from Vampirism. The APs in her Power Reserve last for about 12 hours until they fade.
  • The APs can be pumped into any Physical Attribute. But there are caps. She can gain no more than :
    • 1 extra AP in DEX.
    • 5 extra APs in STR.
    • 3 extra APs in BODY.
  • APs in the Reserve can be used to restore her Current BODY Condition, just as if they had just been absorbed through Vampirism.
  • The APs can be pumped into any Mystical Attribute, with a cap of 2 APs for any one of those.
  • The APs can be pumped into Invulnerability and Regeneration. However, this burns through those APs within a single Phase. They thus do not stick around for 12-ish hours.
  • Power Reserve can even be used to gain the Attractive Advantage. This takes two APs from her Power Reserve, and lasts for the normal 12 hours. This is usually the first thing she does when she fills her Power Reserve.

Sapphire usually operates with 6 APs in her Power Reserve. She presumably vamps a few schmucks before she starts working – perhaps prisoners kept by her employer. She uses these for Attractive and a STR of 06.


Design Notes

The Charisma and Detective stuff is here for people with house rules about Unskilled Character Interaction.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Sapphire Styx — Averaged PL6.8

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

Powers

Kiss of Death ● 21 points (Subtle) ● Descriptor: Mutant
– Weaken Stamina 9 (Resisted by Fortitude), Grab-based, Linked with…
– … Linked with Affliction 15 (Fatigued & entranced, Stunned & exhausted, Asleep & Paralysed), Grab based

The total Ranks of Stamina she has drained constitute a pool that lasts 12 hours. So, if she drained a total of four Ranks of Stamina for from victims, she has four points in her pool.

Reparative drain ● 6 points ● Descriptor: Mutant
Healing 10 (Self Only, Energising, Restorative, Stabilize, Limited 2 (each degree of success consume one point in her pool, Healing cannot be used if she runs out).

Lifeforce enhancements ● 19 points ● Descriptor: Mutant
All the following are Limited 1, in that she has to spend points from her pool for each Rank in one of those. These last for about 12 hours.
– Enhanced Agility 2
– Enhanced Dexterity 1
– Enhanced Awareness 2
– Enhanced Presence 2
– Enhanced Strength 6
– Enhanced Stamina 4
– Enhanced Advantages (Attractive 2, Fascinate (Persuasion))

Combat Advantages

Defensive Roll 2, Fast grab, Ranged attack 1.

Other Advantages

Connected, Equipment 1.

Skills

Athletics 1 (+1), Close combat (Unarmed) 3 (+5), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (Madripoor underworld) 5 (+7), Insight 4 (+5), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Pistols) 2 (+4)

Equipment

Holdout pistol Ranged ballistic Damage 2 ● 4 points

Offense

Initiative +1
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 0+
Holdout pistol +4, Ranged, Damage 2

Defence

Dodge 05 Fortitude 06
Parry 05 Toughness 02*/04
Will 05

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Sin City Sapphire works in the criminal underbelly of an exceptionally dangerous city.
  • Vamp! It is *possible* that Sapphire Styx needs lifeforce to sustain herself.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 10, Dodge/Toughness PL 5, Parry/Toughness PL 5, Fort/Will PL 6.
  • Points total 98. Abilities 20, Defences 15, Skills 11, Powers 46, Devices 0, Advantages 6. Equiv. PL 7.

Notes

Sapphire usually has 6 points in her Weaken-based pool. She presumably vamps a few schmucks before she starts working – perhaps prisoners kept by her employer. With these she’ll get herself Attractive 1 and Enhanced Strength 5.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Darci, Chris Cottingham (for knowing how to use the Powers I designed better than I do…), Gareth Lewis.

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