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Thanos (Marvel Comics) wearing a ragged cloak

Thanos


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

Context

Thanos is the chief cosmic bad guy of the Marvel Universe. If somebody can, and will unmake the universe, destroy half of it or somesuch there are good odds that it will be Thanos.

He was created in 1973 by Jim Starlin, who went on to write a number of cosmic odysseys over the decades – often cataclysmic events involving dozens of heroes. Frequent opponents of Thanos have been Starlin’s favourite warrior-philosophers such as Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) or Adam Warlock.

These characters were often used by Starlin to explore some philosophical concepts about existence. But even during universal crises without such ontological questions, the immensely powerful, intelligent and destructive Thanos will likely show up.


Background

  • Real Name: Thanos
  • Other Aliases: Thanos of Titan, The Mad Titan, Great Deceiver, God of Death, Purplepuss, Masterlord, Overmaster
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Eros (aka Starfox, brother), possibly hundreds of brothers and sisters (deceased), Sui-San (mother, deceased), A’lars (aka Mentor (father)), Zuras (uncle, deceased), Gamora (step-daughter), Cybelle (sister-in-law), Thena (niece), Nebula (grandchild?)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile or a far-off planet in another Galaxy
  • Height: 6’7’‘ Weight: 985 lbs Age: 4000-24000 years old
  • Eyes: Red or White Hair: Bald Skin: Grey-purple


Powers and Abilities

As a Titanian Eternal, Thanos was destined to be powerful by nature. Most Eternals have some level of superhuman strength, and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy for attack or defense. Thanos, however, was a mutant, and was born with even more potential than the average Eternal.

Thanos further augmented himself after his banishment from Titan using both mystic and scientific means, increasing his already formidable might to nearly incalculable levels. Through meditation he honed and increased his latent telepathic powers, becoming a formidable psionic opponent.

He also sharpened his energy manipulation abilities to great effect, even developing the ability to disrupt/manipulate matter.

Thanos vs. Thor

His powers were again increased by Death when she returned him to life, giving him the might to fight such powerful beings as Tyrant, and Odin (King of Norse Gods) on nearly even ground. His body is tremendously resistant to injury, can go without food, water and even air for an indefinite period (getting nourishment by absorbing cosmic energy).

His body is also able to withstand a total vacuum (such as in deep space), and is incredibly strong.

His exact strength level is unknown, but it seems he might be as strong as or stronger than such heroes as the Hulk or Thor. His abilities to manipulate cosmic energy have been increased to a staggering degree, and he can utilize it to grant himself near-invulnerability, or to project the energy from his eyes or hands in the form of light, heat or concussive force.

He is also highly intelligent, with a highly cunning and logical mind. He possesses not only the advanced knowledge of the Titans, but also technology and skills gained from all over the Universe.

His research has involved the occult, various cosmic artifacts, artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, life creation, time travel and alternate realities. Thanos is also a highly skilled combatant, possessing knowledge of many different styles of combat from throughout the universe.

His power and guile has gained him a great universal reputation, complete with his own cult of followers.


History

To summarize, Thanos has been Marvel’s major cosmic villain for years, involved in various great schemes, as told in the limited series of The Thanos Quest, Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, Infinity Abyss and The End.

He has also found his match in the more powerful than himself foe of the Death God named Walker. Thanos is currently at large in his own comic book, Thanos, where he has helped save a Rigellian world, as atonement for him previously having destroyed another one.

As of this writing, he recently saved the universe from destruction by the being known only as ’Hunger‘. This destruction inadvertently brought by the actions of Galactus the Devourer.

He apparently currently acts as some kind of anti-hero for purposes known only to himself. He very recently found out that he still has a chance for a real relationship with Death, if he can just learn to love her right. A change of heart for new evil is very likely to come in the future.


Description

Thanos is a grey-purple skinned massive, hulking humanoid usually clad in a futuristic personal armor in gold and blue that covers everything except his face. His eyes are glowing with energy and he’s most often seen with an evil smirk, complete with a set of white teeth, on his face. His chin is rugged like that of a Skrull, although this is just a mutant coincidence.

Thanos gives the impression of being immensely tough, resilient and strong and, as many have found out, moves much faster than one would expect by his size.

Modern version of Thanos on a white background


Personality

Thanos’s name means death, which is a very adept description of him. He is, however, a creature of contradictions, periodically shifting between all available motivations. He sticks very strongly to one chosen motivation and modus operandi until proven wrong or until his best laid plans fail.

One thing has been a constant through all his life, though: his love for death; both the actualization of it and the entity itself. All his energy is usually focused on these matters.

He would do anything to have Death speak directly to him, and it is important to him that people see him as a devil.

Thus, Thanos is mostly known as a true nihilist and a death-lover, who has long been solely dedicated to the destruction of half of the universes population. The reason is ’cosmic balance‘ and all the killed beings presented as a gift to the Death entity, in the hopes of being accepted as her partner.

He is also a master of psychology and manipulation, capable of twisting words and opponents like no one else. However, the allies he gains are likely to be turned upon at any moment when an opportunity of power presents itself. He always acts and talks in an exceptionally confident manner and seems spiritually strong.

Thanos is a master of improvisation, and will always come out on top of things for one reason or another. It has often helped that he has been completely immortal, so that he will be resurrected no matter what.

Thanos grabs Pip the Troll

In truth, Thanos does not really understand himself fully. While mostly acting as an agent of death incarnate, he does, on occasion, help out the Earth’s heroic community for the greater good. After all, death would have no meaning and there would be no purpose with the universe not existing.

When he acts as a savior, he is an enigma even to himself, a fact that he finds fascinating.

Thanos is, in his own words, he is a ’megalomaniacal fool with delusions of grandeur‘. That is probably his way of trying to warn himself not to be overconfident. Precisely his overconfidence is probably his greatest drawback. Thanos has always, subconsciously, offered his enemies a chance of defeating him, even when he has been omnipotent.

For example, while possessing the Infinity Gauntlet, which should have allowed him to be unbeatable and able to destroy any conceivable enemy. He still gave his opponents a chance to regain the gauntlet, by greatly reducing his then-current powers greatly, for the purposes of fair play.

Another time, when he gained omnipotence, he accidentally destroyed the entire universe. Thanos found that so immensely unsatisfactory that he sacrificed his own life to recreate the universe. Clearly, not even great Thanos can wield absolute power without being corrupted by it.

Thanos does not believe in coincidences and has many times thought that his destiny was to attain omnipotence. However, when he obtained it, he found it lacking, and again seeks new purpose in his existence. Whatever his current motivations may be, he always believes that there is a lethal solution to every problem.

To some, he seems to have mellowed somewhat over the years, but in fact he is probably just having a new approach to things.

He still kills when he gets the chance to do so in order to appear evil, even when it was not necessary to stop an adversary. There is no doubt, however, that he enjoys death and destruction greatly; it is not mainly about image.

Thanos with gems of power

Being immortal and patient, he plans for months or years at a time, and always includes several useful back-up plans while at it. His scientific and occult genius has been used for various experiments, sometimes both bizarre and morbid, for testing, probing and enhancing purposes.

Much of his initial experiments were designed to enhance his own abilities, a goal that he has succeeded in admirably.

Thanos, the scientist, is greatly obsessed with knowledge of any type. His powerful intellect is capable of handling any type of information, including technological, mystical and intuitive knowledge, superbly well.


Quotes

“Am I not Thanos ? Did I not butcher the woman who gave me birth, who force-fed me into this hell called life ? Is not the wake of my passing crimson with the blood of my enemies and allies alike ?! Death is with me every second of the day ! My every moment is spent in either dealing out Death or worshipping it ! So tell me, who under the stars is better suited than I to be Death’s consort ?”

“This is how you would treat your Lord Almighty ? You would challenge the heavens so brazenly ?!”

“Thanos does not torture, little man. Thanos kills !”

“From Knowledge springs power, just as weakness stems from Ignorance.”

Thanos: “I have been busy analyzing New Rigel-3’s current geopolitical status. And have devised several means to improve their situation. Such as overcoming the genetic problems that was limiting Rigel-3’s beta soy production. A mere adding of a couple of rungs in the plant’s genetic ladder.”
Rigellian Grand Commissioner: “That’s the central data bank, impossible to access without the proper clearance !”
Thanos: “I have already built in new safe-guards to better insure the system’s security.”


DC Universe History (by Dave Oaks)

“Soon” (what is time to a god?) after their creation, the New Gods became aware of the planet we call Earth. Realizing that the planet held the potential to create life that might even rival their own natures, they decided to study the progress of that life. One of those studies consisted of an experiment to “raise mortals to the level of gods”.

This experiment resulted in an offshoot of humanity, Homo Æterna, that had vast energy manipulation powers, though not at the level of the Source (some say that this energy is not even connected to the Source, yet unique to Earth!). Not much is known of the aeternal race, since they dwelled apart from what they saw as “mortal man”, but it is thought that, for at least a time, they impersonated the Greek Gods, who had left Olympus altogether.

At some point before the Common Era, the aeternals left Earth as well, to dwell on the moon of Jupiter known as Titan. It was here that Thanos was born.

No one knows why Thanos turned out the way he did – aeternal technology provided for any material want, and aeternal society was as kind and supportive as any ever known – but those who have met him are more than willing to say that he is “just evil, plain and simple”. At an early age, Thanos became a nihilist, first worshipping Death, and then taking her as a, albeit unrequited, lover.

To prove his love to Death, Thanos has dedicated his life to killing exactly one half of the population of the entire universe, making her realm the greater. Since the concept of Death of the Endless has no realm, and no interest in expanding it, Thanos is considered mad.

But he is not delirious, he merely desires a great deal and expresses those dreams through destruction. Such cosmic goals keep him away from Earth for the most part, he has appeared a few times, most in search of the anti-life equations, which has brought the aeternals to the attention of the new gods.

Thanos was also thought at one time to be involved in someway with Doomsday and the death of Superman.

Thanos kills Adam Warlock

Later, Thanos was searching for the fabled “Infinity Gems”, artifacts of great power that would allow him to control reality at its most basic level, and was seen in the vicinity of the destroyed Oa. The aeternals no longer appear to be on Titan, though if they left of their own accord or were forced to leave by the new gods is unknown.

Recently, renegade Psions have been using aeternal technology found on Titan to study the human meta-gene, an interesting parallel to the origin of the aeternals themselves.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Thanos the Mad Titan

Dex: 10 Str: 20 Bod: 18 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 18 Wil: 20 Min: 15 Occupation: Power Monger
Inf: 17 Aur: 20 Spi: 17 Resources {or Wealth}: 026
Init: 045 HP: 150

Powers:
Air-Walking: 05, Continuum Control: 25, Density Increase: 02, Growth: 01, Invulnerability: 22, Mind Blast: 08, Obscure: 25, Regeneration: 03, Sealed Systems: 20, Systemic Antidote: 12, Telepathy: 18

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Density Increase and Growth are Always On and are already calculated into his stats (-1 each).
  • Energies available to Thanos’ Energy Blasts by use of Continuum Control are gamma, force (concussive) or solar energy-based

Skills:
Accuracy (Energy Control): 12, Charisma: 15, Gadgetry: 18, Occultist (Ritual Casting, Premonition): 08, Occultist (Identify Artifact, Occult Knowledge): 12, Scientist: 20, Weaponry: 08, Vehicles (Space): 06

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (The Universe), Genius, Gift of Gab, Immortal, Iron Nerves, Language (Galactic common), Leadership, Life Support (Does not need to eat, drink or sleep), Notorious, Omni-Connection, Sharp Eye, Scholars (Adam Warlock, Computers, Cosmic Artifacts, Death Lore, Genetics, Robotics), Miscellaneous Advantage (Thanos is Outside the loop of Destiny – see below)

Connections:
Adam Warlock (High, Powerful), Death (High, Powerful), Galactus (Low, Powerful), Infinity Watch Members (Low, Powerful), Rigel VIII Government (High, Powerful), Silver Surfer (Low, Powerful)

Drawbacks:
SIA (Power), Mistrust, Strange Appearance

Equipment:

  • PERSONAL ARMOR [BODY 12 INT 03, Skin Armor 02, Force Field 12]
  • Omni-Gadgets (x3) [BODY 6, Any Type at 20 APs]

Cosmic crises

Thanos has the following Advantage :
Outside the loop of destiny (20 pts)
By Sébastien Andrivet
The Character is not bound by Destiny, and thus can reverse the fate of the cosmos by his actions during crisis that would overshadow anybody else. Any crisis of cosmic proportions (Infinity crossovers, Crisis on Infinity Earth, Infinite Crisis, Thanos’ plan to kill half the universe, etc.) automatically counts as two Subplots for the character.

The Character *will* be involved in events foreshadowing any such cosmic crisis, giving him insight into what will happen. On top of this short adventure, the Character gains the benefits of completing a Subplot as he begins focusing his energies on the impending cosmic saga (i.e., he gets HPs).

Likewise, the Character *will* be involved in the thick of things when the cosmic conflict hits the universe. Being involved likewise counts as a Subplot for that Character, who will get the related HPs for completing the Subplot at the most dramatically appropriate moment (GM’s call).


The Classic Thanos

Before his many adventures with the Cosmic Cubes, Infinity Gauntlet etc. Thanos had the Drawback CIA (Death and Nihilism). He traditionally also had the Archenemy (Adam Warlock) Drawback, although they are currently on neutral to good terms. The stats, Skills and Power APs of the classic Thanos were generally not as high as they are currently, since he has been enhanced many times during his existence.

Due to his previous relationship with the entity Death Thanos was likely to get resurrected if killed, making him effectively immortal. Previously, Thanos also used a vast spaceship of his own design as his headquarters, named Sanctuary II. He also regularly used a ’Moebius’-like chair, and used that for defense instead of the current armor he wears.

HOVERCHAIR [BODY 12, Dimension Travel 15 (Traveling), Energy Blast 22, Flight 10, Force Field 11, Neutralize 20, Radio Communications 20, Radar Sense 8, Teleport 32, Hardened Defenses, R#2, Limitation: Neutralize is only usable on various cosmic artifacts, Note: The chair was so common ’back then’ that many people visualize Thanos as sitting in this ’Moebius’-like chair. It is possible that the current Thanos no longer requires the chair due to his increased personal might.]

While Thanos had access to the Infinity Pool at Death’s domain, he had the Omni-Scholar Advantage.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen

Source of Character: Marvel Comics

Helper(s): Dave Oaks, Danielle Mendus, Phil Dixon, Frank Murdock, Sébastien Andrivet.

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