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Spider Master of Men (Pulp vigilante) (Truman version)

Spider, master of men

(Richard Wentworth)


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

Context

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) is a pulps  character. He appeared in 1933, when The Shadow proved a great success. Though there were many such imitators, the Spider remains one of the memorable ones – along with, say, the Green Hornet.

The Spider eventually found his own style, with extremely violent stories. He adopted a horrific appearance and intensity, routinely slaying all those who oppose him.

This profile uses the 1990s Eclipse Comics version by Tim Truman  as its main take, notably to assess the Spider’s game stats.


Background

  • Real Name: Richard Wentworth
  • Other Aliases: Sahib Wentworth, Spider-Vigilante
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Jonathan Howard Wentworth (father, deceased), Natasha Frazier Wentworth (mother, deceased), Dr. Hiram Brownlee (Adoptive father)
  • Group Affiliation: President of Argosy Enterprises
  • Base Of Operations: The City
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 165lbs Age: Unrevealed
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

The Spider is an athletic male, a stealthy and masterful climber and a fair hand-to-hand combatant. His forte is with weapons, and psychological warfare by the use of fear, surprise and aggressiveness.

Strangely, it seems that he has near superhuman durability and recovering abilities. These are powered either by his own fanaticism or by an external mystical source. In DC Heroes RPG terms, when down and dying, he will spend Hero Points  to call in reinforcements using his Schtick or do a Desperate Recovery Roll.

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) and Ram Singh on a rooftop in the night

The Spider’s weapons of choice are a set of blued steel .45 semi-automatics. He is a dead shot, and mows down the hardest of opposition with relative ease. He also shoots his own “web” with the Weblee gun, a coil of nylon rope which though thin as a pencil could hold several hundred pounds weight.

When close up he will switch to using his katana to swiftly cut down the enemies in cold blood. Whenever he spends HPs on an attack he screams “Death to the bringers of death!” He rarely dodges, but prefers to Press the Attack instead.


History

I suggest reading up on the character, supporting cast, the stories and the world at this excellent resource . With over 70 years of history there is lots of information available on the web.

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) guns down two gunslingers


Description

The “crazy killer” the papers call The Spider wears the garb of an assassin with a cape. Originally he wore a broad hat, an eye-piece and a cloak. A later addition is that when in The Spider costume his eyes are glowing, his hair is long and white and his teeth are filed sharp (of course, it’s all a mask, a wig and fake teeth)!

On his left hand he wears a ring with the picture of an arachnid. The Spider has a shadowed demeanor, wolf’s-eyes, is haunted by the night and burns with anger and vengeance.


Personality

The Spider is on a relentless crusade against crime. He enters any struggle with nerves of steel and guns blazing. The Spider is cruel and vengeful against evil, and primarily goes after the biggest prey. He feels elated during a mission, runs on adrenaline and crashes afterwards.

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) fires a bazooka from a speeding car

He refers to The Spider identity as if it were another person altogether. This may be to distance himself from the extremeness of what he does. He thinks that The Spider exists both because he is needed and because Richard needs to be The Spider. He is, in fact, very big on vengeance. He feels he is not a murderer because he only kills those that need to meet proper justice.

The Spider sometimes laughs like a madman while gunning down criminals. He has lots of anger inside, takes failure to save innocents very hard. He has problems, in his civilian identity, with not outright attacking uncooperative company underlings. The company that he inherited from his father is kept completely legal, and he does what good he can using its resources.

Pulp fiction

Being a wealthy socialite, Wentworth enjoys living in a penthouse between vigilante raids, and will participate in high society activities.

Police Commissioner Kirkpatrick suspects him to be The Spider, but cannot prove it. Nevertheless, he is on The Spider’s side, and they have a funny dialogue going around in circles to exchange information. Spider being somewhat distrustful of Kirkpatrick, they are still on better than neutral terms.

The Spider is very concerned with helping all unfortunate, but also cares about society at large.

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) surrounded by exotic enemies

He regrets time lost in the past as en explorer and soldier, as he feels there is a lot wrong with the country. When seeing murder or grave injustice he will explode into action regardless of the danger. If severely injured he will pay for a Desperate Recovery Check and proceed with punishment.

Allies

Wentworth tries to avoid the police, and refuses to shoot them even in self defense because they are “on the same side.” When absolutely necessary, he will incapacitate them temporarily by other means to make his escape.

At all times, he will be friendly with Dr. Brownlee and his fiancée Nita van Sloan. His butler Harold Jenkyns is a follower of his crusade and considered a friend.

His closest friends are Ram Singh and Sgt. Ronald Jackson.


Quotes

[Seeing a monster henchman commit murder] “Killer ! Die !” [strangles monster] “Death ! Death to the dealers of death ! Aarrrrhhhh !” [monster dies and he turns to the master] “And now… for you !”

“Am I likewise correct that pressing the button on this dagger’s haft produces an electrical charge powerful enough to slice through a boy’s ribcage as though it were a pad of butter ? Hmm ? You know what I want you to tell me, foul one.”

“What I thought was an orphan-napping ring turns out to be but a sordid link to a more perplexing plot. There is death in this new mystery, Ram. Great death. I feel it.”

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) shoots a bazooka into a demon from an armored autogyro

“Who are you, woman ? Why do you seek to kill the Spider ?”

“What on Earth is going on here, you pitiful piece of dung ? What are you doing to these poor people ?”

“I’m not sure those monsters need the repellent, professor. I shot them, cut them, and blew them up. Yet all three managed to walk away.”

“Even before the first bullet hit my chest, I’d felt a low wolf’s-growl start at the back of my throat… an unbidden impulse fanning hot across my brain, urging me to shoot back… to take every one of them I could with hollow-point .45 slugs. But no… I can’t do that. Whether these men know it or not… we work for the same side.”

“The people you killed sent me, murderer — the souls of a thousand men, women, and children, screaming in the night. Their deaths cry out for justice — and deliver criminals to justice.”

“If I thought you deserved to die, you would already be dead. I think you know that, eh ? No, you’re just a high stakes gambler and loan shark with low-life mob connections. If you’ve ever killed anyone, they were within your own sordid social circle. I should thank you. You’ve probably saved me a lot of work. Heh heh heh…”


DC Universe History

The world of the Spider is a dark and corrupt; a dystopia like in Blade Runner. Or perhaps Al Capone’s Chicago. Indeed, the Spider would work best in a dark future setting, or in a 1930s metropolis.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Spider

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 09 Wil: 07 Min: 06 Occupation: President of Argosy Enterprises, Criminal Vigilante
Inf: 08 Aur: 08 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 025 HP: 060

Powers:
Iron Will: 03, Regeneration: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
All Powers are Skilled Powers, and possibly Mystic Linked.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 08, Acrobatics (Dodging, Gymnastics): 05, Artist (Actor): 08, Artist (Photographer): 05, Charisma (Interrogation, Intimidation): 09, Detective: 07, Martial Artist: 05, Thief (Escape Artist, Stealth): 08, Weaponry: 10

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (The City), Confidant (Ram ’The Lion’ Singh), Connoisseur, Double-Jointed, Iron Nerves, Language (Spanish), Rank (Major, Indian Army Special Services, Retired), Schtick (Unexpected Help)

Connections:
Argosy Enterprises (High), Dr. Hiram Brownlee (High), High Society (Low), Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick (High)

Drawbacks:
SIH (Killers and robbers), Mistrust, Secret Identity

Equipment:

  • ARMORED VEST [BODY 04, Skin Armor: 03, Notes: Armor is Partial. Before being upgraded this experimental body armor, created by Dr. Brownlee, had its Skin Armor power rated at 2 APs only]
  • Belt [BODY 02, Radio Communications: 08, Limitation: Radio Communications can only broadcast a specific signal (-2), Notes: This brown belt has one holster on each side for the guns. On the backside hang hand grenades. The pouches on the front contain extra ammunition. The belt buckle itself is a signal device, that just needs to be pushed to signal that he wishes to be picked up by a co-worker by car or helicopter ; if he uses his Schtick for this he doesn’t even need to push the device]
  • .45 Automatic Pistols (x2) [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 08, R#2, Note: He often uses hollow-point ammunition; see Ammunition rules in the Weapons Locker file for effects]
  • The Weblee Gun [BODY 04, Paralysis: 04, Sleep: 04, Snare: 06, Ammo: 10, Bonus: Powers are Combined Use (+3), Notes: This weapon offers non-lethal alternatives and is often used to disable or stun opponents or capture foes for interrogation. The weapon is kept in a special holster on his chest. It includes curare-coated micro-barbs.]
  • Katana [BODY 04, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist), R#2]
  • Hand Grenade (x3) [BODY 03, Bomb: 06, Grenade Drawback, R#3]
  • Bazooka [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07 (Area of effect 0 APs), Range: 06, Ammo: 01, Limitations: Projectile weapon has No Range – use given Range instead, Very Long Reload Time, Notes: This weapon is only brought in field to provide for initial offensive capacity if he plans to storm a hideout and expects extreme opposition]
  • Line and Grappling Hook [BODY 06, STR 04, Notes: Line is 4 APs long, and is Usually thrown by the Spider for scaling walls]
  • Cigarette Lighter [BODY 01, Flame Project: 00, Notes: The Spider stamped the foreheads of the foremost criminals he killed with the seal of a crimson spider, the Mark of the Spider. The stamp is concealed in this special cigarette lighter. The Spider will often put this mark even at great risk to himself, so that no one else would be wrongly blamed for his kills. The lighter was, of course, invented by Professor Brownlee.]

Ram Singh – Friend, confidant and priest

“Courage, sahib ! Ram Singh, the Lion, is here !”

Ram Singh is probably Spider’s oldest friend. They served together in the Indian Army Special Services, until they had to leave for the States. Singh is a veteran elite combatant and a practitioning Hindu. He is deeply committed to the Spider’s cause of ridding the world of all criminal elements and bound to him through a blood oath.

While the Spider is on a mission, Singh is praying at a Hindu temple for success, and the Spider is, indeed, successful. Perhaps the prayers allow Singh to use his Leadership to transfer extra HPs to the Spider while in the field whenever those are really needed. Perhaps the prayers also allow the Spider to recover from near-death, which he has so often done.

Singh does not like improvisation, and will turn uncertain when that happens. He is somewhat prone to sabotaging and manipulating the Spider’s love connections in his civilian life, until confronted, so that their work can continue uninterrupted. The stats of a Shock Trooper will serve Ram Singh well. He is also a good chauffeur and an expert knife thrower.

The Spider (Richard Wentworth) and Ram Singh

Furthermore, Singh has an amazing knack for showing up exactly when he is needed the most, often gunning down seemingly victorious opponents ! Singh will claim that he followed a blind gamble and the wisdom of Dr. Brownlee to find the Spider. If that is so, then the Hindu Gods really are helping out.

Furthermore, if opposition is too great for the Spider and the confidant to handle, the confidant will bring in even more people to even the odds as if he knew what to expect. Such extras will have the stats of veteran soldiers.

In game terms, this happens when the Spider is hopelessly outmatched and about to die and he chooses to use his Schtick by paying a fee of 5 HPs. Paying the fee guarantees that Singh plus eventual extra help will show up to try to save the day wherever the Spider might be.

The most common extra is Sgt. Ronald Jackson, as a chauffeur, pilot or combatant.


New rules

Schtick (Unexpected Help)
By
Peter S Piispanen
Helper : Tom Eilers

The Schtick-holder has an exceptional Confidant (who has to be created separately), and the Schtick has two separate effects. First off, the Confidant has an amazing knack for showing up exactly when he is needed the most, often gunning down seemingly victorious opponents! He will claim that he followed a blind gamble and the wisdom of another Connection to find the character.

Furthermore, if opposition is too great for the character and the confidant to handle, the confidant will bring in even more people to even the odds, up to a maximum of four fillers, as if he knew what to expect. Such fillers will have the stats of veteran soldiers, and are loyal until death.

The Confidant himself is created either as a separate character or his/her stats are those of a veteran soldier. In game terms, this happens exactly in the moment, in the same Phase, that the character is hopelessly outmatched and about to die and he chooses to use his Schtick by paying a fee of 10 HPs, and only then.

If the Confident has been stated as really being supposed to be somewhere else, the fee goes up to 20 HPs.

Paying the fee guarantees that the Confidant plus eventual extra help will show up to try to save the day. For a small fee of 5 HPs, the Confidant or another Connection will instead immediately show up with a vehicle, such as a car or a helicopter to pick up the character. In that case, if in combat, the character better set up an explosive or other offensive device to cover his escape.

The second effect is that through an uncanny bond the character can borrow HPs from his Confidant while in the field. The bond can be through prayer, telepathy, radio or anything else appropriate allowing some form of communication. It is enough if the Confidant knows that the character is in the field and prays for his success.

Borrowing allows the character some extra degree of luck, and to save his own hide instead of calling in expensive help. It is never possible to borrow up to more than one fourth of the characters own usual HP amount, or one fourth of that adventure’s expected Standard Award. All such borrowed HPs are repaid immediately from that adventure’s Standard Award upon completion.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen

Source of Character: The Spider (Eclipse comics), Pulp novels

Helper(s): Pawsplay

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