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Swordsman (Duquesne) of the Avengers (Marvel Comics)

Swordsman

(Jacques Duquesne)


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

Context

The Swordsman is an early and now slightly obscure Avengers character. He appeared in 1965.

He was part of a spurt at Marvel where character archetypes from then-still-popular historical adventure comics were injected into a super-hero settings, with their weapons receiving super-powers. Examples of such include Hawkeye as a Robin Hood figure, the Black Knight as an Ivanhoe  figure, various Thor characters… The Swordsman was the Errol Flynn  swashbuckler type.

Our Swordsman (Duquesne) notes are verrrry old. We keep them around since people find them useful, but they really should be redone.


Background

  • Real Name: Jacques Duquesne
  • Other Aliases: Le Sabreur (alias in French)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Armand Duquesne (father, deceased), unnamed mother (presumed deceased), Crimson Cavalier (alleged relative, presumed deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of Avengers, Batroc’s Brigade I, Lethal Legion I, former ally of Rama-Tut, Wong-Chu and the revolutionaries of Sin-Cong, Mandarin, Power Man I, Black Widow, Egghead, Grim Reaper, Monsieur Khrull
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile, later Avengers Mansion
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 250 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Duquesne possesses no superhuman powers, but is a world-class swords specialist.

His signature sword was his Mwakluan blade outfitted with several devices, including a disintegration beam, an electrical discharge, a flamethrower, and stun gas spray.


History

The Swordsman was a star performer at various circuses and carnivals. He did an act demonstrating his extraordinary mastery of knives, swords, and other bladed weapons. At one such carnival, he met a boy named Clint Barton in whom he saw great talent for archery. The Swordsman trained the boy to be a secondary performer in his act.

Eventually, the Swordsman came under pressure to repay a large gambling debt. When the carnival paymaster was robbed and Barton found the Swordsman in possession of the money, Barton fled in panic onto the high wire, which the Swordsman slashed by hurling his sword.

Barton fell to the ground, and the Swordsman left him for dead. Barton survived and grew up to become the costumed adventurer Hawkeye.

Super freaks

Over the years following his attempted murder of Barton, the Swordsman led a criminal career in Europe in his costumed identity. Returning to the United States, he offered his services to the Avengers, intending to use his Avengers status to commit even greater crimes. Rejected, he entrapped and unsuccessfully tried to kill Captain America.

As Captain America and the Avengers surrounded the Swordsman, he was teleported away by the Mandarin to the latter’s castle in China. The Mandarin recruited the Swordsman and faked a message from Iron Man recommending the Swordsman for Avengers membership. The Avengers suspected a trap but played along and accepted him as a member.

The Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and the Avengers

The Swordsman came to admire the Avengers and developed feelings for the Scarlet Witch. One night, the Mandarin ordered the Swordsman to set off a bomb the Swordsman had hidden in one of the Avengers’ control panels to attract Iron Man. The Swordsman, not wanting the Scarlet Witch harmed, went to disconnect the bomb.

Captain America and Hawkeye saw him and thought he was planting the bomb. A fight ensued between the Swordsman and the Avengers, ending with the Swordsman’s escape.

Life of crime

The Swordsman returned to crime. The Black Widow, who had recently been brainwashed by Communist Chinese intelligence, enlisted him in an unsuccessful assault on the Avengers. She teamed him with his frequent partner-in-crime, the original Power Man (now known as Atlas) on the venture. The Swordsman and Power Man team was later recruited by the Red Skull to battle Captain America.

During the following years, the Swordsman made several alliances including membership in both Batroc’s Brigade and the Grim Reaper’s Lethal Legion. He eventually turned back to crime in areas where he was unlikely to encounter Captain America or the Avengers.

He traveled the world, engaging in criminal activities. But part of him longed for the noble purpose he had briefly felt as an Avenger. Indeed, at one point this longing was so strong that he accompanied the Avengers in their battle to free the realm of the Olympian gods from conquest by Ares and the Enchantress.

Mantis

The Swordsman returned to crime, but his heart was no longer in it. Hunted by legal authorities in a large number of nations, he was unable to find employment with major criminal organizations. His own self-respect plummeted.

He found employment with Monsieur Khrull, the head of a criminal organization in Indochina, performing the same work for him that an ordinary hired gunman might do. In despair and self-contempt, the Swordsman sank into alcoholism.

It was then that he met Mantis, whom circumstances had forced into working for Khrull as a bar girl. She encouraged the Swordsman to begin a new life. He failed to take her advice until he was seriously wounded on a mission for Khrull. Mantis found him and nursed him back to health, saving his life.

Duquesne and Mantis traveled to New York City, where he told the Avengers what had happened to him and asked for a second chance as a member of the Avengers. The Avengers granted him probationary membership and soon realized that he was indeed both sincere and valuable to the team, and they granted him full membership.

The Celestial Madonna

Although the Swordsman served well with the Avengers in their missions, he was wracked with self-doubt and insecurity, especially after a series of failures. Moreover, although the Swordsman was deeply in love with Mantis, she rejected him. Kang the Conqueror discovered that Mantis was the Celestial Madonna for whom he was seeking.

Determined that if he could not have the Celestial Madonna, no one would, Kang aimed an energy weapon at Mantis. The Swordsman rushed forward to protect the woman he loved. Kang’s energy bolt was blocked by the Swordsman’s blade. The energy traveled up the sword into the Swordsman’s body. He died in the arms of Mantis, who finally acknowledged her own love for him.

The Swordsman corpse was later reanimated by the eldest Cotati (a race of tree-like aliens) on Earth, as a vessel for at least a part of his consciousness. The reanimated Swordsman, glowing with a green aura, went to escort Mantis and became the father of the Celestial Madonna’s son.

Although the reanimated body crumbled to dust some years later, a new Swordsman appeared years later – from a parallel Earth’version of the Avengers led by Proctor.


Description

The Swordsman is a fairly large guy with a thin black moustache and a costume of purple pants, a purple tunic w/pink trim, cavalier-style boots, and heavy gloves. His mask is purple with a head-fin and leaves the lower half of his face exposed.


Personality

Earlier in his career, Duquesne was extremely selfish and mercenary, more than willing to kill a young Hawkeye in order to prevent capture.

It appears that he was in search of a cause. His membership in the Avengers and his love of Mantis brought out his best traits, aiding him in overcoming his many character flaws and finding his inner nobility.


Quotes

“I am the Swordsman and this bar is under my protection. Surrender now and I will not be forced to kill you.”


DC Universe History

Amanda Waller, meet the Swordsman. Swordsman, meet Mrs. Waller.” That does seem to be a theme in my DC Universe Histories…maybe I should write up some heroes.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Swordsman

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure/Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Avenger/Professional Criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 017 HP: 050

Powers:
Enhanced Initiative: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Enhanced Initiative only if he has a sword in hand when rolling Initiative (-1) and is not factored in the Initiative above.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 05, Acrobatics (evasion): 07, Martial Artist: 07, Thief: 07, Weaponry: 07, Weaponry (swords and knives): 11

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Acrobatics (Evasion) only while holding a sword (-1)
  • Martial Artist has its AV, OV, EV, RV lowered by one CS when not holding a sword (-1)
  • Weaponry (swords and knives) covers throwing as well as wielding those weapons

Advantages:
Intensive Training, Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes

Connections:
Mantis (High), The Avengers (Low, then High)

Drawbacks:
Mistrust (late in 1st stint in Avengers, early in 2nd stint), SIA (Mantis), MIA (alcohol – later career)

Equipment:

  • Makluan Sword [BODY 12, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist, 06 with Force Shield activated), Disintegration: 08, Electric Being: 09, Energy Blast: 09, Flame Project: 9, Force Shield: 06, Knockout Gas: 10, Lightning: 09, Limitation: Force Shield represents the spinning blade of the sword and protects only against projectile attacks. While this is activated, the spinning blade can be used to attack with an EV 06, but none of the sword’s other powers can be activated. When the spinning blade is not activated, the Swordsman can still use his Weaponry skill to Block incoming attacks per normal Blocking rules. Force Shield is a Marginal Power.]
  • Throwing Knives [BODY 06, EV 03 (05 w/STR), Range: As Thrown]

Earlier stats

During his criminal career :
Connections:
Monsieur Khrull (Low), Batroc’s Brigade (Low), Grim Reaper’s Lethal Legion (Low).

During his early Avengers membership:
Drawbacks:
MIA (proving himself to be Hawkeye’s superior), Dark Secret (Double Agent).

By Andrew Lee

Source of Character: The Avengers

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Dale Glaser, Jay Myers, Phil Dixon, Peter Piispanen, Nick Yankovec, Unofficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe (for history and Powers and Abilities), www.avengersassemble.org (defunct), Quote is from “Untold Legend of the Swordsman, Pt.1” fan fiction).

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