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Sentinel (Silver Age Sentinels RPG)

Sentinel

(Maxwell Liberty)


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

Context

Silver Age Sentinels was a super-hero Role-Playing Game published in 2002. It did not survive the demise of its publisher, Guardians of Order, in 2006.

Like most super-hero RPGs, it came with a cast of characters. Several of those have profiles on writeups.org, starting with Superman analogue Sentinel.


Background

  • Other aliases: Maxwell Liberty, the American Sentinel
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Charles and Dana Liberty (parents, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: The Guard
  • Base Of Operations: Empire City
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 350 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black, graying at the temples


Powers and Abilities

The radioactive treatment given to Max Liberty, a.k.a. Sentinel, restored his youth and health as well as granting him superhuman physical attributes. These include superstrength (in DC Heroes RPG terms, STR), incredible endurance, and resistance to harm (BOD, Density Increase, Sealed Systems, Systemic Antidote).

Sentinel can emit radiation for various effects, including:

  • defying gravity (Flight)
  • firing devastating beams of energy (Mental Blast, Disintegration, Energy Blast, Sharpness, and the attendant Flash Powers)
  • healing himself and others (Damage Transference)

Liberty also gained enhanced senses (Extended Hearing, Telescopic Vision, and Ultra Vision) and the ability to see through solid objects (X-Ray Vision).

Despite his high resistance to most environmental stressors, Sentinel is vulnerable to extreme cold. Very low temperatures can not only harm him but even weaken his superpowers extremely. He loses most of his abilities in conditions of extreme cold and the rest are significantly diminished (Various Drawbacks).


History

Maxwell Liberty was the son of Senator Charles Liberty, a noted industrialist. Like his father, Maxwell served his country, but as a military officer instead. He served in the Spanish-American War  and became a pilot during World War I.

Sentinel (Maxwell Liberty) frozen by a foe

His career came to an abrupt end when he engaged the legendary German fighter ace Baron von Richthofen, a.k.a. the Red Baron. Though Liberty managed to escape the battle, he crash-landed his damaged plane, suffering spinal injuries that left him unable to walk. Maxwell returned to America and took over management of his father’s company.

When the Second World War broke out in Europe, Liberty returned to the military as a civilian instructor, imparting his strategic talents to new officers.

Atomic

Near the end of 1941 the US government began two programs to explore the potential of atomic energy. The first was the Manhattan Project , which culminated in the creation of the first atomic bomb three and a half years later.

The second was Project Anodyne, led by Dr. Vannevar Bush , which sought to infuse human being with the power of the atom. Twelve volunteers were selected for the Anodyne experiments, one of whom was Maxwell Liberty.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th of that year accelerated Project Anodyne. On December 22nd the volunteers ingested a cadmium solution, received a variety of chemical injections, were placed in a test chamber, and then exposed to radiation from a nuclear reactor.

Eleven of the twelve volunteers died during the test or shortly thereafter. Only one, Maxwell Liberty, survived.

Taking Flight

Liberty’s body was rejuvenated by the experiment. His crippling injury was cured and he regained the vitality of youth. Tests in the following days revealed that Maxwell had not just been restored to the peak of health but also granted superhuman abilities including incredible strength, resistance to energy, and the ability to fly and emit energy.

Maxwell was transferred to the newly-minted Project Sentinel and began practicing the best use of his powers under Rear Admiral Abraham Shaw. Shaw created the superheroic identity of the American Sentinel for Liberty to use in public.

A month later on January 27th, 1942, the American Sentinel revealed his new gifts to the world, assisting the Hell’s Angels fighter squadron of the Flying Tigers  fighter unit as they battled a group of Japanese bombers and Zeroes. After that, his early missions had the Sentinel continuing to fight alongside the Flying Tigers in China.

He was then reassigned to the European theatre of operations. For the rest of the war, the American Sentinel found himself in pitched battle with other superhumans from the Axis nations. His most bitter opponent was Kreuzritter. Kreuzritter was finally defeated in a pitched battle between Allied and Axis superhumans at the Elbe River shortly before the fall of Berlin.

Sentinel (Maxwell Liberty) vs. Kreuzritter

After the fall of the Third Reich, the Sentinel returned to the Asian theater of operations. He escorted the bombers that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and observing to observe the effects of those weapons changed his life. Sentinel realized he had seen enough devastation and did want to be responsible for any more deaths.

Accordingly, he decided to leave military service rather than remain in a position where his duties might put him in conflict with his new resolution to avoid killing others. Maxwell Liberty was secretly granted an honorable discharge by President Truman and awarded the Medal of Honor for his battlefield service, which had saved thousands of lives.

A Life of Public Service, part 1

Returning to civilian life, Liberty relocated his business to Empire City (the name given to New York City in the SASverse). Leaving the company in the hands of trusted managers, Maxwell covertly explored the world. He learned about life on the streets and made many connections, including friendships with fellow costumed adventurers such as Lady Starbright and Slipstream.

Liberty still made public appearances as the American Sentinel. The most famous of these was his assistance to the US military during the Berlin airlift in 1949, during which he had a brief confrontation with his Soviet counterpart Muzhik.

Sentinel (Maxwell Liberty) during World War Two

These exploits sustained the popularity that the American Sentinel had first garnered during World War II. This became particularly important when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) summoned the Sentinel before them in 1954.

The American Sentinel refused to appear. The subsequent battle of wills between the Sentinel and Senator McCarthy  ruined McCarthy’s reputation. It ended the senator’s overzealous hunt for imagined traitors within the government.

Another significant contribution to his country was the American Sentinel’s assistance in averting a meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant during the ’70s.

A Life of Public Service, part 2

In 1980, Kreuzritter returned and raised the island of Thule to serve as his base. Lady Starbright died foiling Kreuzritter’s plans that same year. The American Sentinel formed the superhero group called the Guard to honor her memory and to provide collective resistance to supercriminals.

The Guard was an informal organization until a clash with the CIA’s corrupt ELITE superhuman unit in 1983 exposed the Guard’s internal weaknesses. After that, the Guard was reorganized into a stronger, more coherent group.

Sentinel (Maxwell Liberty) flying near the Statue of Liberty

In 1984, the Empire State Building was damaged during the Dark Empire invasion. After defeating the evil Empire, the Guard rebuilt the Empire State Building as Olympian Tower and made it into their headquarters.

The Guard continued to periodically clash with the CIA’s ELITE due to differing ideologies. This conflict ended in 1988 when ELITE was almost entirely destroyed by Kreuzritter, with a few remnants surviving only due to the Guard’s help. ELITE was disbanded soon afterward.

However, the Guard’s difficulties with US government supergroups would resume when the FBI formed the Order in 1994.

A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind

It was during the 1980s that Liberty decided to drop the “American” part of his American Sentinel identity, thereafter simply being referred to as Sentinel. This was not in any way a repudiation of his country (despite conflicts such as the one with HUAC), but instead simply reflected Maxwell’s more global activities.

In 1996 the supervillain Janus tried to ruin Sentinel’s life by exploiting his knowledge of Sentinel’s secret identity. Sentinel turned tables on Janus during a live television broadcast, revealing his identity to the world.

Due to their international service for the greater good, the Guard was given special status by the United Nations in 1998. In 2000, the Guard rung in the new year by stopping a White Rook bioweapon attack on many major cities. Sentinel himself was responsible for stopping the attacks on Toronto, Empire City, and Washington, D.C..

He was delayed in Washington D.C. when he fought the FBI’s Order to keep them from retrieving White Rook missile technology, which Sentinel considered too dangerous to be entrusted to any world government. This resulted in Sentinel arriving in Miami almost too late to stop the White Rook attack there, but Sentinel nevertheless prevailed thanks to the help of superheroes Pan and Belle.

Sentinel continues to serve the greater good both independently and as leader of the Guard.


Description

Sentinel is a tall white male with the muscular build of an old-time strongman and a square, cleft chin. He wears his short hair slicked back. When in civilian garb, Maxwell tends toward solemn but stylish tailored suits.

Sentinel (Maxwell Liberty) meets the Soviet hero Muzhik

His costume is a white bodysuit with a red cape, thick red and white vertical stripes along the midriff, and the upper chest and shoulders in dark blue with a golden American Eagle symbol centered on the chest and white stars on the shoulders.


Personality

A classic stalwart hero in the Golden Age mold, Sentinel is confident in his abilities but not arrogant. He speaks to others with polite respect and a humility that belies his great power. A classic altruist, Maxwell Liberty first saw his gifts as a chance to serve his country, a focus that has now expanded to encompass the world.

While Liberty began his social service as an agent of the state, he has always made a distinction between countries and their governments. He will oppose the latter if necessary to protect the former. When he confronted Muzhik in Berlin, this shared belief in serving the people rather than the state allowed them to resolve their confrontation with minimal violence.

Sentinel has even opposed law enforcement agencies of the United States government when those agencies were conducting immoral or illegal activities.


DC Universe History

The Crisis on Infinite Earths removed Superman from the Golden Age in modern DCU continuity. Sentinel could very easily be placed in his stead, becoming a unifying force for Allied superheroes in idealistic terms as a symbol of the fight for freedom and in more practical terms as leader of the All-Star Squadron.


Quotes

“Naturally, in my capacity as a private citizen, and given my longstanding objections to capital punishment, I hope that Governor Flores will exercise his clemency powers to commute the prisoner’s sentence to life without possibility of parole — as I hope will happen for all 23 inmates on death row throughout America. But, I am not here as part of a lobbying effort. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

“I want to show you the respect of continuing the discussion, but I have to go, ma’am.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Sentinel

Dex: 07 Str: 19 Bod: 12 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 09 Wil: 12 Min: 10 Occupation: Superhero
Inf: 10 Aur: 10 Spi: 10 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 028 HP: 175

Powers:
Damage Transference: 06, Density Increase: 06, Disintegration (“Atomic Gaze”): 10, Energy absorption: 15, Extended Hearing: 06, Flash (1): 01, Flash (2): 12, Flight: 13, Laser beam (“Atomic Fire/Gaze”): 15, Mental Blast (“Atomic Thunder”): 16, Sealed Systems: 05, Sharpness (Mental Blast, Disintegration, Energy Blast): 04, Skin Armor: 04, Systemic Antidote*: 12, Telescopic Vision: 02, Ultra Vision: 06, X-Ray Vision (“Gamma Vision”): 13

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Damage Transference has a Range of 0 APs (-1FC)
  • Sentinel has no risk of injury and no time limitation while using Damage Transference (+5FC total)
  • Sentinel can only perform Automatic Actions during any Phase in which Damage Transference is used (-2FC)
  • Sentinel can use Damage Transference on himself (+3FC)
  • Each AP healed by Damage Transference does one RAP of damage to the Damage Transference Power which must be recovered normally (-2FC)
  • Density Increase is Always On and only has the effect of adding to Sentinel’s weight for the purposes of resisting Knockback (-5FC)
  • Disintegration has a Range of 04 APs (+1FC)
  • Sentinel’s Disintegration is radiation-based, so Sealed Systems adds to targets’ RV against it (-1FC)
  • Energy Absorption only against his own Powers (for instance if they get Reflected back at him) or attacks that duplicate his own Powers
  • Flash (1) is automatically activated when Damage Transference, Disintegration, Flight, or Heat Vision are used; it can only be activated in this manner (-2FC total)
  • Flash (1) is accompanied by a humming noise and a distinct radiation signature (-1FC)
  • Flash (2) is Combined With Mental Blast and rides its Range and Explosive Radius
  • Flash (2) can only be used along with Mental Blast
  • Mental Blast has an Explosive Radius of 02 APs (+1FC total)
  • Mental Blast has Catastrophic Power Burnout and the Burnout number increases by one for every use in a half-hour (9 AP) time period; for example, if Mental Blast is used twice in a half-hour, the second use would have a Burnout # of 06 (-4FC)
  • Mental Blast is the only Action Sentinel can take for that Phase (-1FC)
  • Mental Blast has Lack of Control — all uses of Mental Blast suffer a +2CS penalty to OV (-2FC)
  • Sealed Systems can add to an opponent’s RV versus Sentinel’s Energy Blast (-1FC)
  • Sealed Systems is ineffective versus gas attacks (-1FC)
  • Sealed Systems is added (linear addition) to the time during which he can operate in thin or oxygen-poor atmospheres
  • Sharpness is effective versus Force Fields (+25 BC)
  • Systemic Antidote is effective versus disease as well as toxins and has the Old Age Defense Bonus (+3FC total)
  • X-Ray Vision is ineffective versus lead (-0FC)

Skills:
Accuracy (Perception): 12, Accuracy (Laser beam): 08 Military Science (Demolitions): 06, Military Science (Field Command): 08, Vehicles (Air): 06

Note:
Sentinel’s piloting skills may be out of date since he originally trained on aircraft in the first half of the 20th Century and has not needed an aircraft to fly in more than five decades.

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Empire City, particularly Manhattan Island), Attractive, Connoisseur, Expertise (History, Organizational Management), Expansive Headquarters (Olympian Tower, formerly known as the Empire State Building — this is The Guard’s HQ and is owned by Maxwell Liberty), Languages (Cantonese, French, German, Russian), Familiarities (International Law, Physiology, US Criminal Law), Leadership, Life Support (Sentinel can go for a week without eating, drinking, or sleeping before starvation, dehydration, or sleep deprivation effects begin, 100 points), Lightning Reflexes, Luck, Omni-Connection, Popularity, Sharp Eye, Slow Ageing

Connections:
The Guard (High), Superhero Community (Low)

Drawbacks:
Attack Vulnerability (Partial, -2CS to RV versus cold-based attacks), Enemy (Kreuzritter), Fatal Vulnerability (Extreme cold), Limelight, Power Loss (-6 APs to STR, BODY, and all Powers in conditions of extreme cold), Miscellaneous (Sentinel can only make Recovery Checks to regain lost APs of his Physical Attributes and/or his Powers (such as losses due to Burnout or Power Drain) while he is directly exposed to radiation or sunlight; this Drawback does not hinder Recovery Checks to regain Current BODY Condition, 15 points), Public Identity


The Chill of His Doom

For purposes of Sentinel’s Drawbacks, extreme cold is defined as -150 degrees Fahrenheit (-100 C) or below or any cold-based attack that inflicts at least 1 RAP of damage.


Eternal Vigilance

Sentinel has had a long, active career which has seen a few shifts in his circumstances. During World War II, when he worked for the US government, the American Sentinel would have had Medium Credentials with the US Army.

Sentinel had Secret Identity until the incident with Janus in 1996. At that point, the Drawback changed to Public Identity.

In 1998 Sentinel and the rest of the Guard received Medium Credentials with the United Nations.


Design notes

“Gamma Vision” was an undefined supersense. Following the concept of Sentinel as a Superman analogue, I have assumed it was a form of X-Ray Vision. Disintegration and Laser Beam did not have the Detectable quality in the SAS RPG stats, but have been treated as if they did in this writeup for aesthetic reasons.

It wasn’t entirely clear what the Special Defense (Own Attributes) was in the SAS RPG, but we’re assuming that it refers to immunity to one’s own powers. I’m also assuming that it is only an immunity to negative effects such as a character having their energy beams reflected back at them and doesn’t keep them from using Healing on themselves (for example).

Finally, the Special Requirement (Radiation/sunlight needed to recharge) was unclear given that there was no specific ability that needed to be recharged, so I created a Miscellaneous Drawback that hopefully reflects the original intent of the designers.


By Roy Cowan

Source of Character: Silver Age Sentinels RPG

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Kal El el Vigilante, Pawsplay

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