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Sarnak (Werewolf by Night enemy) (Marvel Comics) using his whistle

Sarnak, Master of the Army of Fear

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


  • Real Name: Sidney Sarnak
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Former employee of the Commitee
  • Base Of Operations: The sewers of Los Angeles
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 150 lbs
  • Eyes: Unrevealed Hair: Blond

Powers and Abilities

Sarnak used to be a great sound engineer, with an excellent reputation for his achievements, and a master of electronics.

He used those skills to create his special whistle (sometimes referred to as a flute), which had a very painful effect on some individuals and monsters — or could make them frenzy in a state of heightened strength.

Army of Fear

The members of the Army of Fear are urban horror bums – diseased, demented, disgusting and brainwashed by Sarnak into becoming pathetic cultist-like fanatics. They are barely human, and may easily be confused for relatively fresh zombies or Monster Manual-style hags and annises.

Sarnak's army of fear

They have been described as being a “stinking mould of a man, encrusted with slime and moss, reeking of dried wine and other fouler smells.” Most of them have further physical deformities. There were a dozen of them ;


Little is known about Sidney Sarnak’s past. He used to be a highly reputed sound engineer, but was eventually caught producing illegal copies of popular albums. Whilst trying to escape arrest (likely in a panic), he was very badly injured and scarred all over his body.

Once he recovered, he had to wear a mask and robes to hide his hideous condition. Apparently going insane, he spent his recovery developing sonic mind control technology, intending to have his revenge on society.

This is likely at this point that he was contacted by the Committee, a strange criminal organisation planning to revive the ailing American economy at any cost and that had somehow come to the conclusion that a reign of terror might help. They hired Sarnak to use his sonic technology to create a repugnant Army of Fear which would perform seemingly random terror acts.

Sarnak and his army of fear have caught the Werewolf by Night

One of the first operations was to help create terror by capturing… a werewolf, more specifically Jack Russell. The Committee had learned of his lycantrophy (and of that of his sister Lissa, though she was still to young to change), and tasked Sarnak and his nascent Army of Fear with bringing in the Russell siblings.

One of the Army’s chief operatives, drunken derelict Arnold Paffenroth (who would later become the Tatterdemalion), narrowly failed to capture the Werewolf, but a subsequent attack on Russell’s home managed to get him.

The Army of Fear then openly invaded Century City with the cowed Werewolf leading them, causing mass panic and numerous injuries, and capturing Lissa Russell, who was shopping there at that time. However, Jack Russell soon escaped, though he did not manage to free Lissa.

The Army of Fear then struck LA again, a short riot during which the frightful derelicts displayed extraordinary strength and durability, ignoring most truncheon blows from the police and turning over one of the patrol cars attempting to box them in. Their demonstration of strength done, they retreated to the sewers.

Sarnak and his army of fear on the attack

Russell came back for his sister as the Werewolf – but he was now equipped with a sonic screen gadget making him immune to the whistle used by Sarnak. He slammed aside several Army of Fear members before Sarnak could react, then shoved Sarnak around and separated him from his whistle after ignoring its effects thanks to the sonic screen.

Seeing their master down and separated from his torture device, the derelicts of the Army of Fear then ganged up on him and tore him apart, quite possibly killing him. Sarnak has not been seen since.


Sarnak is entirely covered by his costume, save for his hands – which are very thin and bony, and covered in grey-greenish sores, scars and plaques, as is apparently the rest of his body.


Hard to say, really. He seems to be on a power trip, yet living as a shameful and masked exile due to his accidental deformities.


“Don’t snarl, my pet… I’ll not have you snarling ! Not here. Not at me. From this moment, I am your master — from this moment, you obey Sarnak, and Sarnak alone !”

“An amusing display, my pet. Now you will learn the consequences of disobedience — by feeling the cry… of command !”

DC Universe History

Sarnak is, for all intends and purposes, a typical Batman villain – but of course the general idea has already been done in the DCU, and better, with Deacon Blackfire.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Sidney Sarnak

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 01 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 010 HP: 015

Gadgetry: 04, and most probably Vehicles (Land): 02

Expertise (sound engineer)

Army of Fear (High), Street (Low)

Strange Appearance, MPI

The Command [BODY 01, Accuracy (Sonic beam): 08, Enchantment (see below): 02, Sonic beam: 06, Super-Ventriloquism: 10, Medicine (Brainwashing): 02, Limitations: All Powers are only effective toward “monsters”, madmen and/or characters with Extended Hearing – “normal” people will not hear anything. All Powers require the whistle to be blown. Super-Ventriloquism is likely limited to coded commands taught to the Army of Fear members. Enchantment is unlikely to affect people and creatures without emotions or in an abnormal emotional state, such as bestial frenzy.]

The loudest sound

Sarnak can apparently toot a sound from his Gadget that will give to the Army of Fears member what will seem to be superhuman strength and durability, especially given their obvious state of decrepitude. This is the Enchantment Power of the Command, though it can only be used to enhance STR and BOD, usually to the tune of 1 AP for each, bringing them to a respectable STR 04 BODY 04. This Enchantment has an Area of Effect (3 APs), and can be re-applied as necessary.

It is unclear whether the Werewolf was also enhanced by the Enchantment, but I would be inclined to think it was not the case – it’s difficult to improve on his existing frenzy through emotional stimulation.

Arnold Paffenroth, the future Tatterdemalion, seemed to receive further abilities under the effect of the Command – he could run without tiring for up to an hour or so, somehow managed to psionically track the Werewolf (Life Sense, Only For A Specific Known Target ?), had the STR and BODY boost, and the Enchantment lasted for hours if not days after being applied.

Tentatively, I’d advise adding a Mutation power to the Command, though it seems obvious that the Command would have its own specific Mutation table (likely with ’cinematic psycho-killer‘ abilities) and that it only works on some exceptional lunatics such as Paffenroth.

Army of Fear average member

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Psycho
Int: 03 Wil: 01 Min: 01 Occupation: Bum
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 008 HP: 002


Area Knowledge (sewers of LA)

Street (Low)

Strange Appearance, Exile (usually Involuntary), MPI, SIA toward serving Sarnak

Most carried Clubs [BODY 02, EV 02 (04 w/STR)], and some seemed to have cobbled together some armour, such as wearing crash helmets under their hood [BODY 03, Skin armour: 01]

Unlike many thugs, the Army of Fear will Team Attack when ordered to do so by Sarnak.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Werewolf by Night v1 #9-10 (1973, Marvel Universe)

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Frank Murdock

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