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Vigilante (Adrian Chase) over a white background

Vigilante

(Adrian Chase)


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

Context

DC Comics’ second Vigilante, Adrian Chase, was one of the Reagan-era hard-man-with-a-gun crimefighters. He appeared in 1983, and had his own book until 1988.

Chase had various interesting, distinctive characteristics. However we can’t fully explore them right away. This profile are notes taken during random community discussion, not a “real” writeups.org profile.


Background

  • Real Name: Adrian Chase
  • Marital Status: Widower
  • Known Relatives: Charles Chase (father, deceased), Doris (wife, deceased), Adam (son, deceased), Drew (daughter, deceased), Danny Chase (aka Phantasm, nephew)
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 197 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

A master of all forms of unarmed combat, the Vigilante was also an expert in the use of firearms, knives and some martial arts weapons. He was in superb physical shape. Combined with his superior skills in the martial arts, was a formidable opponent in almost any situation.

The Vigilante also possessed an advanced knowledge of certain “Oriental arts” (as people said back then) and meditative processes. These allowed him to overcome pain and facilitate the healing of most non-fatal wounds and injuries.


History

Adrian Chase was born into a life of wealth and privilege, the only son of prominent New York attorney Charles Chase. Early on, Adrian excelled in both academics and athletics at some of the country’s finest schools. He was on the 1960 United States Olympic Track Team, and graduated summa cum laude  from Harvard Law School three years later.

After graduation, Adrian began practising corporate law for his father’s exclusive and well-connected firm. Adrian soon grew impatient in the rarefied atmosphere of the rich and influential, desiring work that would get him into the courtroom and out of the country clubs.

With that in mind, Adrian sought and landed a job with a legal aid office on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Adrian’s resignation from his father’s firm lead to a split between the two that was to last for years. In the East Side that Adrian met Doris Brinkley, a young para-legal, whom he would eventually marry.

Adrian attracted considerable media attention as a young Leftist lawyer. He took up the defense for young men resisting the draft in the late 1960s, and spoke out against the war in Việt Nam. However, funding for his storefront legal aid office was eventually cut.

Adrian was forced to seek employment elsewhere. Gradually, as with many of this turbulent generation, the revolutionary zeal of his youth began to cool. His family now included Doris and their first child, Adam. They later had a daughter, Drew.

From the Manhattan D.A.’s office

Seeing in Adrian the kind of man he needed to bust the mobs’ hold on the city, the Manhattan District Attorney offered him a position on his staff. Adrian accepted with enthusiasm.

Adrian’s relentless pursuit of the city’s criminal hierarchy won the tireless D.A. praise from the press and public. But it also earned him many powerful enemies in the underworld. Foremost among these was Anthony Scarapelli, head of one of New York’s mob families against whom Adrian was gathering incriminating evidence.

With the help of Robin of the Teen Titans, Chase went so far as to flaunt the very laws they both upheld in order to harass Scarapelli into a confession. Frightened that the D.A. would indict him, Scarapelli ordered Adrian Chase killed.

A bomb placed in Adrian’s apartment exploded as planned. But instead of killing him, it was his wife and children who died. Their deaths robbed Adrian of the will to continue his fight against the mobsters who destroyed his life.

Secrets of the desert cult

While visiting the graves of his family, Adrian was approached by a mysterious woman who convinced him to follow her. They travelled west, to the middle of the desert. There the woman revealed her name to be Lynn. She was a member of a small cult of men and women dedicated to battling the same evils which overwhelmed him in New York.

He was accepted into their number. Under the relentless tutelage of Lynn, Chaka, Bloody Knife and Chastity, Chase became an expert in all manner of armed and unarmed combat. He also learned how to allow his mind to overcome and heal virtually any wound inflicted on him. They helped heal his shattered soul as well as giving him the means to avenge the murder of his family.

When he was ready, Adrian left his four mentors and returned to New York City. Now, when he hit the dark underside of the city, he was no longer a man seeking vengeance for crimes committed against himself. He was the Vigilante, representing everybody who has ever found the scales of justice tipped in favor of the rich and powerful.

The Vigilante took his fight to the streets of the city. He widened his focus to include many criminals who habitually preyed on the weak and defenceless, including such costumed villains as the Electrocutioner or Cannon and Saber.

Doppelgänger

Eventually, Adrian Chase began to question his motives and work as the Vigilante and, when he received an appointment to fill an empty spot on the State Supreme Court bench, he realised that he could no longer continue his crimefighting. Thus, on the eve of his becoming a judge, Adrian Chase gave up his black-suited alter-ego, retiring him forever.

Someone else had a different idea, however. Within days, the Vigilante was once again on the streets of New York, this time gunning down criminals and police alike in an insane orgy of violence. Adrian’s good intentions had been taken and twisted beyond recognition. He felt it was his responsibility to find and stop this madman.

After a long search, Adrian at last confronted his doppelgänger  in a showdown in which Adrian shot him. To his shock, Chase learned that his friend, Alan Welles, had suffered a nervous breakdown and been behind the killing spree.

With Welles dead, Adrian believed the ordeal was over. Now all he had to do was live with the guilt of having killed his closest friend, even if Welles had not offered him any choice.

And again

Yet a third Vigilante took up where Alan Welles had left off. This time the man behind the mask was Dave Winston, Judge Adrian Chase’s court bailiff. Winston felt that Adrian had created something fine and noble that subsequent troubles had caused Adrian to lose sight of, but whose true purpose he could resurrect in this latest incarnation.

Ultimately, Adrian Chase realised that the only salvation of his sanity lay in washing his hands entirely of Dave Winston and the Vigilante. With his girlfriend, Marcia King, Adrian left for a European vacation, which was interrupted before it could begin by a terrorist hijacking.

The Vigilante responded to the emergency, as did the costumed terrorist fighter, the Peacemaker. In a confrontation before Adrian, Peacemaker shot the current Vigilante dead. That was the last straw for Adrian’s unstable psyche, bruised by a year-long series of tragedies and guilt.

Stripping the bloodied mask from the fallen Vigilante, Adrian once again took up the mantle of the Vigilante, swearing this time that the gloves were off.

Unmasked

In a subsequent fight with Peacemaker that was broadcast on live television, Vigilante was unmasked, revealing his true identity to the world. Suddenly, Adrian Chase was a wanted criminal.

He had to entirely give up his old life to live on the run. Yet he continued his work as the Vigilante, waging his relentless war on crime. After stopping Peacemaker before he killed Adrian’s ex-cop friend Harry Stein and secret agent Valentine Vostok (formerly Negative Woman), Chase and Stein was recruited by the Agency. He worked there as a part-time operative.

Chase’s last year of life was plagued by guilt after he left a policeman to fall to his death while hunting a criminal. He felt his mind was always at the edge of sanity and became even more violent.

Fighting against fate, Chase made some attempts to rebuild something like a life. After a team-up with Batman, Chase and the Agency feigned his own death to avoid conventional police forces. He also started a sexual relationship with the wild vigilante woman Black Thorn.

Last days

When Chase was unable to prevent the death of the Homeless Avenger at the hands of an angry mob, his mind went over the edge. Unable to find help in Thorn (who was furious with him for stopping her own earlier attempt to kill the Avenger), Vigilante started a murderous rampage against drug dealers, trying to be killed in action.

He wasn’t lucky, and even killed two policemen and some inoffensive junkies in the confusion, adding more guilt to his confusion.

At least, Chase realized that he had become what he hated the most: a mad assassin. He loaded his magnum with a last bullet and killed himself in front of a mirror. His body was found by Thorn.

An informant called Scoops gathered the Vigilante’s belongings. The identity was later assumed by yet another person – Pat Trayce.


Description

See illustration.


Personality

Even before the death of his family Chase was a very intense man. He was extremely driven toward his goal of punishing criminals, even to the point of forcing the rules both legal and moral, as seen in his manipulation of the Titans.

As Vigilante, Chase was at first committed to killing only the criminals who avoided jail due to legal tricks. But at last, the tension and contradiction of being at the same time a judge and an executioner overwhelmed him. He was almost grateful to leave the mantle to Dave Winston.

However, Chase’s fate claimed him. He felt compelled to became Vigilante again after seeing Winston’s absurd and brutal death, despite knowing he would ultimately lose his girlfriend and his life in the process.

The last year in Adrian’s life was the predictable end of his self-destruction spiral. He was on some level willing to die, now taking excessive risks in combat, then doing things such as starting an affair with the unpredictable Thorn. Even people who really wanted to help him (Vostok, Stein) were unable to control him… And they needed the Vigilante.

Chase was also plagued by guilt and sadness. He remembered and missed his family more and more as time went by, seeing his son in every child. He also felt the death of his successors (Welles and Winston) was partly his fault for inspiring them.

The breaking point was learning the Homeless Avenger had died after Chase had left him in the clutches of an outraged mob, by the Avenger’s own request.


Marvel Universe History

Vigilante and the Punisher are similar, but not incompatible. Chase was probably a friend of Matt Murdock, perhaps being pals at university or meeting when Matt was in the Attorney’s office.

After the death of his family Chase kept his double life secret from Matt. When it was revealed at last he became a target of Daredevil, forcing him into a clandestine life. Chase committed suicide after being unable to save an innocent from justice, perhaps the White Tiger.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Vigilante II

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Justice
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 04 Occupation: Professional criminal hunter
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 024 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 03, Regeneration: 03

Skills:
Acrobatics: 04, Charisma (persuasion, intimidation)*: 06, Charisma (interrogation): 08, Detective*: 07, Martial artist*: 07, Medicine (first aid): 04, Military science (danger rec, demolition): 06, Thief*: 07, Vehicles (land)*: 07, Weaponry: 09

Advantages:
Area knowledge (New York City), Connoisseur, Expertise (Criminal Law), Intensive training, Iron nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Schtick (paired firearms)

Connections:
Street (Low), the Agency (Low), Val Vostok (High), Harry Stein (High), Black Thorn (High)

Drawbacks:
Mistrust, Secret ID (later Public ID)

Equipment:

  • Colt Python [BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo 06, R#2]
  • Nunchaku [BODY 04, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist)]
  • MASK [BODY 02, Ultravision: 04]
  • Uzi [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, R#02, Advantage : Autofire]

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: DCU (old Vigilante comics)

Helper(s): REZcat, Ahlhelm X, Dan, Roy Cowan, Capita_Senyera

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