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Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien

Warlock

(New Mutants)


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

Context

  • Warlock first appeared in New Mutants v1 #18 in October 1984. He soon became a fan-favourite character.
  • This writeup covers the period he was along The New Mutants. Thus, it goes from his first appearance until his death during X-Tinction Agenda (November 1990).

Background

  • Real Name: Warlock.
  • Other Aliases: Lock.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Magus (father, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: The New Mutants, The Fallen Angels.
  • Base of Operations: Xavier’s Institute.
  • Height: variable Weight: Variable.
  • Eyes: variable Hair: Variable.
  • Other distinguishing features: His natural form is unstable. It’s made of ever changing apparent organic circuitry.


Powers & Abilities

Warlock is an alien from the species known as The Technarchs. They originate from a corner of space far away from Earth. They are natural space-worthy travelers. They can fly in deep space at faster than light speeds and don’t suffer the ill effects of interstellar void. They can reshape their body at will, giving it any form or function they require.

In this species, the adults spawn numerous children. At the coming of age, the children have to kill their sire to survive, and the sire has to kill his spawns to gain more power.

Warlock lacks this natural aggressiveness. This is considered a mutation. It’s a less spectacular “mutant power” than an optic blast or a healing factor. Any mutant neutralizer will nullify Warlock’s meek nature whilst its effect lasts.


History

(See The New Mutants team’s writeups for further details of his adventures with them).

Warlock awakes to consciousness on his home planet, in an unidentified region of outer space (their home planet is named Kvrch ). His species is a sentient form where a unique parent spawns a great number of offspring. The species is genderless. All the children are raised in a crèche. They have to prove their right to exist by battling their parent to the death.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - alarmed

Warlock is the son of Magus, ruler of his native world and the most powerful of these Technarchs. But he is what could be assumed as a mutant in his own species. He lacks the aggressiveness necessary to hope to survive the battle with Magus. Scared of being slain in combat, he flees. Magus himself chases him through deep space.

The chase ends on Earth, near Xavier’s Mansion, after going through Asteroid M and sending Magneto to take a dive in the Atlantic.

Warlock takes refuge with The New Mutants. With the help of Doug Ramsey, they establish communication and help the alien’s recovery. Prof. X adopts him in the teenagers’ team. Meanwhile, the X-Men clash with Magus and force him to retreat, taking human form and starting the hunt for his spawn.

Warlock has several adventures with The New Mutants. All the while he uses television as a source of knowledge about human civilization.

Defeat of Magus

After the “Mutants Massacre”, Magus finds Warlock. Illyana projects The New Mutants to Limbo. But Magus follows them there. Much more powerful than Warlock, he masters dimensional travel.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - merging with Cypher

S’Ym is building up his coup against Magik. To weakened his son’s ally, Magus gives S’Ym the transmode virus. In turn, he gives it to lesser demons. Thanks to a failed stepping disc from Illyana, The New Mutants end joining The Starjammers and Pr X. Together, they battle Magus. The joined forces of The New Mutants, Professor X and The Starjammers finally defeat Magus.

Death of Doug Ramsey

Warlock joins Sunspot with The Fallen Angels. During this absence, The New Mutants go to Bird-Boy’s island. In a fierce battle against The Right, Doug Ramsey is killed.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - spy bird

Warlock takes his death pretty badly. He even gets the corpse out of his casket, recreating the conditions of Romero’s Night of the Living Dead he recently watched on TV with Dani.

Inferno

During the Inferno , S’Ym infects N’Astirh with the Transmode virus. This deep change in the demon’s structure gives him a direct access to the magic-computer created by Wiz Kid. It greatly enhances N’Astirh magical powers, and aggravates the crisis. He can now open his portal and maintain himself, without any human intermediary.

To close the portal, the X-Terminators destroy the computer. Meanwhile, The New Mutants retrieve the kidnapped mutant babies from the floating pentagram.

X-Tinction Agenda, Warlock’s death

The mutant-repressing nation of Genosha captures Members of The New Mutants. The captor is Cameron Hodge, former head of PR for X-Factor. He plans to steal the Transmode Virus from Warlock.  Genoshan operative Pipeline’s transfer left Warlock weak. The New Mutants, though powerless, are willing to give him some life-energy. But Hodge interferes.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - getting up

Warlock gets weaker and weaker. Hodge transfers him to his lab and starts to drain his Transmode Virus. Rahne, still depowered, tries to save him but fails. However, she interrupted the transfer process and Hodge didn’t steal the Transmode Virus. In the end, nothing is left of Warlock but a handful of ashes.

Upon returning to Salem Center, Rahne spreads Warlock’s ashes on Doug Ramsey’s tomb.


Description

Warlock’s, and all Technarchs’, natural form is obviously alien. They’re covered with yellow/white glowing circuitry on a deep black body. They’re mainly humanoid. They have long arms and long legs. Their face barely have any features, except eyes that may be over-sized and protruding. They are made of living circuitry.

They kind of look like one of Tolkien’s Ent , only human sized and made of organic circuitry instead of wood.

However, they can take any appearance, even a normal, human one.

Warlock’s body and limbs are rather thin.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - absorbing a drink

Warlock has difficulties keeping focused. When he takes a human form, if anything out of the ordinary shows up, he can’t help but display some part of his circuitry form. He usually does this to do a functional transformation, and it shows (like growing a pair of binocular in front of his eyes to see further if he thought something is incoming).

It can also be an emotional spike, in which case he lets a part of his circuitry-like skin to show.

When he shape-changes to get a functional transformation, his form is often inspired by elements from TV shows or movies (like starships from Star Trek or Star Wars, or a mecha  from japananimes or characters from cartoons…). When he is weak or in strong emotional turmoil, he merely splashes as a shapely pool of organic circuitry goo.


Personality

Warlock’s mindset is clearly alien. He has troubles with the concept of individuals. He has to qualify any interacting entity with its purpose or situation. His speech uses only (well nearly only) neutral third persons, singular or plural.

He refers to his friends as “Selfriend-Name does” (like Selfriend-Rahne or Selfriend-Sam). He refers to himself as “Self does”. Several friends are “Selfriends do”… He’s analytic of everything around him. He constantly makes aloud statements of his observations and emotions, like “Alarm ! Distress ! Magus detected….”

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - Flying pterodactyl steed for Cypher

Warlock is a bit of a coward. If left alone, without any other Selfriend, he might just flee from battle. When close to any Selfriend, he has a sense of purpose and stands his ground (except in front of Magus). His bond with Doug Ramsey (Cypher) further reduces his cowardice when they are together.

He still discovers Earth’s wonders. He’s easily distracted by any new earthly experience.

Asexuality

Magus and Warlock are referred as “he”. Their name are rather male. When warlock takes a human appearance, he’s male. However, there is no real mention of gender for the technarch. They likely are asexual, reproducing by parthenogenesis or cloning.

Combined with his alien physiology, it makes him rather immune to any seduction attempt by humans (any gender).

Species aggressiveness

Warlock’s mutant attribute is the lack of his species aggressiveness. If his “mutant power” is neutralized, he will start being overtly arrogant and rude. He might attack his former Selfriends, now considering them as inferior lifeforms.


Quotes

“Awareness… Thankfulness… Restore order Self… Thoughts and forms ! Weak ! Lifelight fading ! Tired… Desire rest.
Yearning. Oblivion. Magus… NO !”

Recharging at a power plug: “Joy ! Strength ! Health !”

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - Flying pterodactyl steed for Cypher

Talking to the Blackbird (Yes! The X-Men plane): “Self wishes to express thanks to you, noble entity, for transporting Self and companions to this habitat.”

Warlock: “Selfriend-Doug, which of Self’s human-forms do you find most pleasing ?”
Doug, not looking: “They’re all fine, Warlock.”
Warlock: “But which should Self use ?”
Doug: “Whichever you like.”
Warlock: “Selfriend Doug radiating disharmony… Query ?”
Doug: “I’m just worried about the team.”

“Self has heard and seen enough Once-Friend ! You lied to Self !…”

Sam: “Thanks for the lift Daffy!”
Warlock: “Quack… Selfriend-Sam is welcome… Quack.”

“Observation: severe disruption of teleportation matrix has resulted in considerable spatio-temporal dislocation. Current whereabouts unknown. Self status integral. System whole. Function unimpaired. Lifeglow reduced to subsistence level. If sustenance is not obtained in immediate time frame, Self will become inert.”

Doug (inside a Warlock mecha armor): “Hey, ‘Lock ! Do we make a team supreme or what ?”
Warlock: “Self has no complaints, Friend-Doug. If Selfriend is happy, Self is happy.”

“SCREAM! Maker Smasher Unfriend Termination Lie Foe Lifend Fear Flee. DANGER !” (Zap)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Warlock (The New Mutants)

Dex: 05 Str: 08 Bod: 08 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 04 Wil: 08 Min: 04 Occupation: Runaway
Inf: 02 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Wealth: 000
Init: 011 HP: 020

Powers:
Cell Rot: 05, Chameleon: 09, Energy Absorption: 02, Flight (FTL): 30, Sealed System: 12, Self Manipulation: 12, Stretching: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Cell Rot transforms targets into techno-organic constructs and restores lost Body points (see Special below).
  • Energy Absorption is Contingent on Cell Rot (-1).
  • Flight is Only Usable in space (-1) and Cannot Substitute for OV (-1).
  • Self Manipulation and Chameleon are canceled each time he’s Stunned (-2 both).
  • Self Manipulation and Chameleon are mutually exclusive – any Self Manipulation form taken has the yellow/white glowing on black techno-organic visual (0).
  • Stretching cannot add to RV (-2).

Skills:
Acrobatics (dodging): 04

Advantages:
No Vital Area, Expertise (TV Shows).

Connections:
The New Mutants (High), The Fallen Angels (Low), Cypher (High).

Drawbacks:
Cannot Heal (Body, only life drain see below), Enemy (Magus), Exile (forced), Innocent, SIF (Magus, drops to MIF if Doug is around), Strange Appearance, Power Loss (Dex: 0, Chameleon: 0, Self Manipulation: 0, Stretching: 1 if current Body is 1 or lower or under a strong emotion), Power Loss (Spi: 2 when alone to face enemies).


Role-playing note

Warlock’s fear of Magus should be role-played with over-exaggeration.
If the roll succeeds (11 for SIF or 5 for MIF), Warlock is still shaken, and borderline fleeing the scene.
If the roll fails during a confrontation he will flee with loud “ALARM! SCREAM! DANGER!” (fleeing is the usual reaction to a failed roll).
If the roll fails while not facing Magus (mention of his name or detection of his presence), he dilutes, meeting the Power Loss condition.

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - Forklift


Atavistic aggression

It’s a very aggressive species. They all have Catastrophic Rage.

What is considered a mutation for Warlock is his lack of this aggressiveness. That’s why he hasn’t any Rage drawback.

A mutant’s neutralizer (like the Morlock Leech or Forge’s Neutralizer) would not target any of his ability or power. It would restore his species’ Catastrophic Rage. As there’s no power’s AP to use as OV/RV, use Warlock’s Int/Min.


Shape-shifting ability

Technarchs’ natural form is obviously alien. It’s made of techno-organic material looking like yellow/white glowing circuitry on black. They have the ability to shape their body at will. It allows them to take any appearance, human or otherwise, or to take any functional form. They can’t do both at the same time.

Every time they take a functional form, it has their original techno-organic look.

Warlock prolonged exposure to Earth’s TV programs gives him inspiration. Some examples are:

  • A mini Star Trek Enterprise to get everybody on board and fly them:
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Flight: 07, Energy Blast: 05].
  • A gunship helicopter reproducing the rotor noise:
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Flight: 05, Flash (sound): 03, Claws: 04].
  • A mecha-like armor to engulf Doug, during a battle, so he’s protected and can use weaponry (thus not feeling useless):
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Skin Armor: 03, Full Vision: 03, Energy Blast: 07 (No AV granting +1 AP)].
  • A large barge to sail everybody:
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Swimming: 05, Shade: 01, Water Freedom: 06].
  • A huge bulldozer to carry heavy machinery:
    [(Dex 05 Bod 08), Str 10, Flight: 02].
  • A giant monster to try to impress opponents:
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Charisma (Intimidation): 09, Claws: 03].
  • Closely covering Doug’s skin and mimicking his appearance to make people think Doug is alone:
    [(Dex 05 Str 08 Bod 08), Chameleon: 09, Skin Armor: 03].

However, each time they are Stunned (RAP of damage equal or higher than their Resisting Attribute), they must revert to their natural state and drop the Self Manipulation (or/and Chameleon). They can bring it back the next round, but if they were carrying something, it’s now falling. If they were taking another appearance, it’s now exposed.

Furthermore, when they experience a heavy stress, they even lose their integral original form, turning into something like a pool of techno-organic goo. If their current body condition is reduced to 1, both Self manipulation and Chameleon are lost. Their Dex drops to 0, making them sitting ducks. Their stretching drops to 1, barely allowing them to move like flowing goo.

They recover as soon as their Body is restored above half their initial Body stat (see below). In the case of Warlock, this also happens under strong emotions. His CIF provokes it, and it lasts until he overcomes it. For other emotional states, it’s up to the GM (like when he learns of Doug’s death).

Warlock - Marvel Comics - New Mutants - Techno organic alien - shooting at Moonstar


Techno-organic transformation and energy draining

The Technarchs cannot feed or heal as other creatures do. They must first transform organic matter in a techno-organic construct of electronic-like circuitry. The living force is replaced by a more direct form of electronic-like energy. Then, they drain the inner energy to feed.

It leaves an empty shell, made of electronic-like circuitry, but devoid of any energy. A completely transformed and drained target is killed.

The transformation does not have to be complete to allow feeding. The target can survive and recover. If ever they are unconscious, their energy drain power can still work but at a slow rate, and energy or organic life must be present nearby.

They can also feed and heal by plugging on a direct electric energy source. The output cannot be too powerful (a regular house wall power outlet or the power source of a computer).

If the target’s current Body is reduced to 0 or less, it’s completely transformed. It freezes as an organic-circuitry statue. If the current Body is reduced to opposite of Body stats, the transformation is complete, but the target is not dead yet. Below that, the target is dead, leaving a empty shell of circuitry.

  • Cannot Heal prevents them from getting any recovery Check, nor can they have physical medical treatment. It also means they don’t eat like other creatures.
  • The Cell Rot power is the ability to transform living matter into organic-circuitry. It can only affect living matter (including live plants, -1 FC).
  • RAPs of Cell Rot repair physical damages the character received like Vampirism does (+10 BC +6 FC). 1 RAP transfered is enough to feed for 1 day.
  • When their current Body goes to 0 or below, any willing creature can give its energy, their Cell Rot powers still function when unconscious. Without a willing creature, the Technarch makes a special recovery roll, after the regular period (10 AP or 15 AP). RAPs are not recovered Body as usual. Instead any RAP grants 1 Cell Rot attempt on organic matter nearby.
    If there’s no organic matter nearby, the Technarch is doomed. The current Body deteriorates as usual if it received killing damage below 0.
  • Energy Absorption can fuel the draining ability of Cell Rot, as long as it’s not overloaded and the Technarch stays some time plugged to the energy source. RAP absorbed from an attack are too quick to feed or heal. If the Technarch plugs to a power source with lower AP than his Energy Absorption, don’t roll attack dice, and use the recovery formula below. If the energy source as higher APs, consider it a proper attack and don’t consider it a viable recovery source.
    Body points are restored slowly. It takes AP restored – AP of power source + 6 AP of time. If it’s interrupted, resume where it stopped.
    Example: with a 2 AP power source, interruption after 4 min (6 AP) means 2 Bod restored, if it plugs back it has to wait another 4 min, for a total of 8 min (7 AP) or to get a 3rd Bod restored….
    Using this formula, plugging long enough for 0 AP restored is enough to feed for a day.

Transmode Virus: Techno-organic infestation

Any creature losing Body points because of the Cell Rot power (as long as current Body is not reduced below opposite of Body, for that means drained dead), can be partially transformed in a Technarch alien, acquiring part of their abilities. It is not clear if this infection is controlled by the technarch. Magus did it on S’Ym, who later did it on N’Astirh.

But these targets were tough, so we could assume they were infected because they survived. It is also not clear if the infection can be resisted (Warlock speaks of “…might infect you with Transmode Virus…”). It could, however, be willingly accepted (like S’Ym and N’Astirh did).

Thus Technarchs possess the Bestow power, with the following bonus and limitations:

  • Bestow is Always On (-1), has No Range (-1).
  • Unwilling targets may resist if they gain at least 1 RAP on a dice action Bod/Bod or Min/Min against AP of Bestow.
  • Bestow Can only Bequeath Powers except FTL Flight (BC 750 -3 FC), No BC Restriction (+5 FC), Permanent (+5 FC).
  • It must Bequeath the “Cannot Heal”, “Power Loss on Self Manipulation and Chameleon” and “Strange Appearance” drawbacks (BC -100).
  • It can Bequeath the “No Vital Area” advantage.
  • The minimum (likely for unwilling targets) is Cell Rot and Energy Absorption plus the drawbacks. The overall HP value of those is 0 (BC+Drawbacks).
  • Willing targets may then opt to get the other powers and the advantage. The HP cost for BC can be assumed by the target if the Technarch is unwilling to spend it.
  • AP of powers Bequeathed (CR and EA for the minimum, other powers picked by the willing target) are always equal to the maximum allowed (-1 as in No Control).

It makes a total BC 650 FC 14.

Warlock never used this ability, even with his several feeding from a willing Doug Ramsey (indeed, Warlock and Doug hardly have the HP to Bestow). His father Magus did it on S’Ym who, in turn, used it on other Limbo Demons (and N’Astirh). We can assume it’s only available to fully grown Technarch adults or mature, sentient, infected creatures (like S’Ym).


Design notes

  • The Special sections above exhaustively describes the Technarch alien species abilities game-wise. Bestow is mentioned because it is. However, Only Magus demonstrated this ability in a really efficient way. In his story arc, only Magus ever had enough HP to transform something in a Technarch alien.
  • Bestow is completely absent from Warlock’s powers in these Game Stats. Otherwise, IMHO, he should be restricted as NPC only. The mock-resurrection of Doug’s corpse is merely a subplot, as his Cameron Hodge’s plan to steal the Transmode Virus from Warlock.
  • The Douglock resurrection results in an entirely different character.

By Nicolas Lemaçon.

Source of Character: Marvel Comics (The New Mutants v1 up to The X-Tinction Agenda).

Helper(s): Adam Fuqua, Darci, Sébastien Andrivet.

Writeup completed on the 16th of September, 2017.

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