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Tom Strong by Chris Sprouse

Tom Strong


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

Context

Tom Strong is a pulpish , Doc Savage-like figure. He was created by Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse. Strong first appeared in 1999 as part of Moore’s new comics imprint, America’s Best Comics (a revival of a 1940 title).

The series lasted until 2006, when Moore folded this comic book setting. In-universe, that was the result of events in his Promethea book.

These old notes were taken fairly early in Strong’s publication history. They’re thus incomplete.


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Background

  • Real Name: Tom Strong.
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: Dr. Sinclair Strong (father, deceased), Susan Whittaker Strong (mother, deceased), Dhalua Strong (wife), Chief Omotu (father-in-law), Tesla Strong (daughter), Albrecht Strong (son).
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of America’s Best. Tom is the president of his fan club, the Strongmen of America.
  • Base Of Operations: The Stronghold (Millennium City).
  • Height: 6’5” Weight: 250 lbs. Age: 100.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Dark brown, white at temples.


Powers and Abilities

His unique upbringing has granted Tom physical strength beyond any normal human. His keen intellect has made Tom a master of many scientific disciplines and engineering fields. He’s also highly trained in combat, exploration, piloting, etc.

The presence of goloka root in his diet all his life has extended Strong’s life span. It also left him with the stamina of a man less than ⅓ his actual age.


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History

Brilliant scientist Sinclair Strong and his wife Susan left in 1899. They wanted to begin a new life on the fabled West Indies island of Attabar Teru. Dr. Strong’s primary motive was to conduct a bold experiment. He would raise a child using pure reason, away from the alleged corrupting influence of modern society.

Attabar Teru lay shrouded in rainbow mists. But through the efforts of their guide Tomas the Strongs nonetheless landed there. But in so doing, their ship was wrecked. Tomas perished, deeply affecting Mrs. Strong. She had grown quite fond of him, in her way.

Mysterious island

Despite the destruction of the ship, Dr. Strong was able to recover the majority of his equipment. The first item pressed into service was the Pneumatic Man, a robot with limited artificial intelligence. “Pneuman”, as the device came to be called, created an extensive dwelling for the Strongs. It was located within an (apparently) extinct volcano.

A year after the wreck Susan Strong gave birth to a baby boy. The delivery was difficult, and ultimately made possible through the intervention of a native tribe. Previously unseen by the Strongs, these folks became known them as the Ozu. Susan named her son “Tomas”.

Sinclair Strong then constructed a unique environment in which to raise young Tom. It was a chamber set at five times normal Earth gravity. Pneuman took over the daily chores of caring for the child. Dr. and Mrs. Strong had to wear special pressure suits during their visits to the gravity chamber.

Young Tom was also fed a steady diet of goloka root at the advice of Omotu, chief of the Ozu. Dr. Strong’s plan for his son called for Tom to emerge from the chamber at 11 years of age.

Among the Ozu

Three years shy of this event, the island’s volcano experienced a mild eruption. The tremors killed Sinclair Strong outright, and broke Pneuman. Susan Strong remained alive just long enough to hold her boy once more.

Young Tom was taken in by Chief Omotu and the Ozu, and was raised in their ancient, wise traditions. Omotu’s daughter, Dhalua, came to love Tom Strong during this time.

Young Tom Strong developed rapidly. This led to a close call at age 11. He undertook a vision quest, but was given goloka root in quantities meant for a 15 year old. Still, Tom emerged victorious from the challenges of his quest. This granted him full adult status within the Ozu tribe.

After unchronicled adventures on the island, Tom left Attabar Teru at age 20. He domesticated, and then lost to an accident, a huge purple flightless bird. He rode this beast, which he had also named named Pneuman. Before departing he brought electric power to the island, using the volcano to construct a geothermal power station.

He also reconstructed Pneuman (the robot), improving on the original design. Tom did retain the original wax cylinders used for Pneuman’s voice, which were recorded by Sinclair Strong. Tom promised the Ozu he would one day return. Dhalua professed her love for Tom at his farewell party.

Onward to Millennium City

Millennium City was the destination Tom chose to travel to in the United States. Its construction had begun in earnest in 1886, largely guided by the vision of architect Winsor McCay (a referenbce to the real-world comics pioneer ). McCay designed many of the city’s towering, dream-like structures.

McCay also proposed the construction of the city’s high-altitude cable car complex. It is the city’s most recognisable feature, and remains a vital part of Millennium City’s infrastructure. The city is located on the Eastern seaboard of the U.S., not far from New York City.

Tom refurbished his father’s old place. Then he set about familiarising himself with the world. During an interview with Millennium Times reporter Greta Gabriel in 1921, Tom became acquainted with the city’s crime problem. Strong was able to stop a bombing and robbery scheme executed by science villain Charley Bones.

Crimebuster

The experience proved to be an epiphany of sorts for Strong. He dedicated himself to defending Millennium City against its criminals. Though he would have allies (such as temporal physics genius Fingel Parallax), it was Tom who would face down those who would prey on the common citizenry. Tom also started a relationship with Gabriel.

Millennium City fostered many great artists, scientists, and others with much to contribute to the world. Unfortunately it also attracted the worst, most dangerous men and women of the times. The most diabolical of these was Paul Saveen. Made rich at a young age through the sale of several basic patents, Saveen was not satisfied with merely accumulating wealth.

He rose to control the criminal underworld, with the ultimate prize control of the United States, and the very planet itself.

Saveen’s grandiose schemes would be foiled time and again through the intervention of Tom Strong. Saveen would invent or steal many fantastic devices in his decades-long struggles with the titan from Attabar Teru, but none could win him victory. Strong and Saveen’s conflicts would often end in sudden violence, with Saveen apparently killed.

Yet somehow, he would manage to return to plague the citizens of Millennium City. Although, in 1992, a skeleton in Africa was positively identified as Saveen’s, he returned again in a plot involving the control of time.

Family man

In the 1930s Tom Strong returned to Attabar Teru. He had just foiled Saveen’s plot to blow up the Statue of Harmony in Millennium City’s harbour. Strong married Dhalua, and she and Tom would divide their time between Attabar Teru and Millennium City.

The Strong household gained two new members over the years. Innovative brain surgery performed on an ape resulted in an intelligent primate named King Solomon. He speaks in an eccentric British accent, and has developed a rivalry with Pneuman. Tom and Dhalua have one child, a daughter named Tesla. She has had a steady diet of goloka root her entire life, and thus has aged slowly.

Recently Tom learned he has a son – Albrecht Strong. He was conceived using genetic material stolen from Tom during the waning hours of World War II by Ingrid Weiss. Weiss was the product of Nazi breeding programs, and physically was more than a match for Tom Strong. She escaped capture at war’s end, and gave birth to Albrecht decades later.

Weiss teamed up with “Paul Saveen” in an effort to break Tom’s spirit with evidence of his Nazi-indoctrinated son. But Tom proved “Saveen” was actually master of disguise Denby Jilks, aka Charade. Using a time-viewer, Tom showed a possible future where he defeated Albrecht.

Weiss left (after being warned to stay away by an enraged Mrs. Strong), unwilling to work with a second-stringer like Charade. She and Albrecht remain at large.

Man in the stronghold

The Strong family lives in a building dubbed the Stronghold. Though he will journey wherever and whenever he is needed, Tom Strong’s first priority (outside of his family) is the protection of Millennium City.

With a century of adventure behind him (of which this history sketches barely the surface), Tom Strong and family look forward to another century of exploration and excitement.


Description

Tom Strong is a tall, muscular man who appears to be in his 40s. He has short-cropped dark brown hair with a gray stripe above each ear.

He favors red T-shirts with a white triangle design on the chest. He wears a utility belt which includes a large knife and a plasma pistol.

Tom typically wears black pants with a yellow stripe on the side, and tall leather boots. He often wears goggles, since his favorite mode of transportation is his personal auto-gyro.Tom’s voice is forceful and distinctive.


Personality

Tom Strong is direct and no-nonsense in just about everything he does. He is old-fashioned, but not nearly as much as one might expect given his age. He is slow to anger, and seemingly immune to fear. But if he does get mad, watch out ! Tom keeps his cool no matter how bleak the odds appear, in order to find a way to victory.

Tom Strong is a “perfect” hero of the old school – a mix of Doc Savage, Hal Jordan and Reed Richards. He is incredibly resourceful and knowledgeable, and extremely experienced. He’s also quite confident, and used to being in charge.

He is a science hero, which means he’s always rational and approaches things in a scientific and open-minded manner. He’s fascinated by the unknown, the wonders of the universe and culture ranging from James Joyce  to the Marx brothers .

Strong tries to never take a life, no matter how exotic or seemingly harmful. He consider it his responsibility to protect the entire human race, and will never turn down a request for help.

Tom is very much in love with his wife Dalhua, and their relationship is a modern one between equal adults. He has to be loving but stern with his daughter Tesla, who tends to cheerfully gets into troubles.


Quotes

“Don’t worry, ma’am. I’ll sort this out as soon as possible, and make the return of your husband and dog a priority.”

“Like your mother says, in ’68 I took the hypersaucer for a solo tour of the Milky Way. I had some memorable encounters : the Magnetar Pirates, Zax the Baryonic Man and others.”

“I remember grabbing on of my Molecular Agitators and briefly wondering if it was right to use it on something that might be alive… I didn’t.”


DC Universe History

Attabar Teru is located near the magical energies that protect Themyscira. These energies occasionally wash over Attabar Teru. This creates the rainbow mists that make navigation hazardous around the island. It is also responsible for the fantastic properties of the goloka root.

The DCU is already chock full o’ fictional cities, so adding Millennium City to the mix wouldn’t strain things too much.

During World War II Tom Strong cooperated with the JSA and Seven Soldiers of Victory. He spent the majority of his time in the European theater. Strong has never joined any team, but is always ready to lend a hand if he is needed. With over 80 years of experience, Strong is often consulted whenever a big problem arises.

Further possibilities

Those using the Wildstorm Universe should note that Tom shares his birth year (and possibly birth date…) with Elijah Snow and Jenny Sparks.

As has been pointed out a few times, recasting Strong as a cryptofascist overman requires next to no changes. Thus, he could make for a redoubtable parallel universe mastermind villain.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Tom Strong (circa 2000 AD)

Dex: 08 Str: 06 Bod: 06 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 12 Wil: 11 Min: 10 Occupation: Science hero
Inf: 10 Aur: 08 Spi: 10 Resources {or Wealth}: 019
Init: 032 HP: 150

Powers:
Jumping: 01

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 08, Animal Handling: 06, Charisma*: 10, Detective: 07, Gadgetry*: 12, Martial Artist*: 08, Medicine: 10, Military Science: 08, Scientist*: 12, Thief*: 08, Vehicles*: 08, Weaponry*: 08

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Millennium City and Attabar Teru), Attractive, Expansive Headquarters (The Stronghold), Genius, Iron Nerves, Language (Ozu, Spanish), Leadership, Omni-scholar, Popularity, Scholar (Electronics, Mechanical Physics, Robotics, Vehicle design), Slowed Aging.

Connections:
Strongmen of America (High), Dahlua Strong (High), Tesla Strong (High), Solomon (High), Cobweb (High), League of Infinity (Low), Modular Man (High), Tom Strange (High), Weird Rider (High).

Drawbacks:
MIA (the unknown), Public Identity.

Equipment:

  • Utility knife [BODY 10, EV 03 (07 w/STR, 09 w/Martial Artist), Note : almost never used as a weapon].
  • Plasma pistol [BODY 04, Energy blast: 07, R#03].
  • An often used gadget is a Grapple gun [STR 06 BODY 05, Shoots a line that is 5 APs long]. and he can be assumed to have two 6 APS ABC omni-gadgets on his belt.

Tom’s vehicles

The Strongs have numerous vehicles built by Tom, examples include :

  • TOM’s BACKPACK AUTOGYRO [STR 03 BODY 04: 06, R#02].
  • GEM SUIT [BODY 05, Flame immunity: 12, Limitation : /DEX/ 02].
  • COMPACT VTOL JUMP JET [STR 06 BODY 09 Flight: 10, Radar sense: 20, R#03].
  • 1920s COUPE [STR 05 BODY 06, Running: 06, R#02].
  • SEARCHBOARD [STR 02 BODY 02, Air walking: 01, Dimensional travel (travel): 08, R#02. Basically a flying small surboard].
  • HYPERSAUCER [STR 12 BODY 14, Flight: 50, Radar: 25, R#02].
  • TWO-SEATER SPACE SCOOTER [STR 04 BODY 08, Flight: 15, Flame immunity: 05, Radar sense: 20, R#02].
  • SPACESUIT w/ JETPACK [BODY 05, Sealed systems: 15, Shade: 03, Flight: 07].

By Sean T. DeLap and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Tom Strong and Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales from America’s Best Comics.

Helper(s): Batman stats from Mayfair, Doc Savage stats by Jackson and S. Andrivet, Phil Dixon, Gareth Lewis.

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