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Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest)

Wolfsbane

(Profile #1 - 1982-1985)


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

Context

The New Mutants was a 1982+ spin-off of the very successful The Uncanny X-Men. It featured younger characters, who unlike the now-mature X-Men still had to learn about their powers and grow up in general.

For a whole lot of context, you should read our team profiles for the New Mutants first, och.

This covers Rahne from her introduction to the 1985 New Mutants Special Edition. It incorporates some flashbacks, notably the 2004 one (New Mutants Vol. 2 #11), making it a “chronconned” profile.


Background

  • Real Name: Rahne Sinclair
  • Other Aliases: “Carrot Top”, “Firetop”.
  • Marital Status: Single (minor)
  • Known Relatives: Reverend Craig (father, though Rahne doesn’t know it ; former ward), Ms. Sinclair (mother, deceased), Dr. Moira Kinross MacTaggert (ward, though Rahne and Moira have come to see each other as daughter and mother).
  • Group Affiliation: New Mutants.
  • Base of Operations: X-Mansion.
  • Height: 4’10½” (5’2″ in transitional form, 32″ in wolf form) Weight: 92½ lbs. (100 lbs. in transitional or wolf form).
  • Eyes: Blue-green Hair: Red
  • Note: Vitals averaged between the 1982 OHOTMU and New Mutants Vol. 1 #2.


Powers & Abilities

Rahne can turn into a large, brown-furred wolf – about the size of an adult Rottweiler. She can turn back at will, or even only transform part-way to operate in a strange-looking half-human, half-lupine form.

Her costume is made of unstable molecules, and collapses into a small collar when she transforms.

Like the rest of the New Mutants, Wolfsbane is trained to resist telepathic control and detection. Her resistance to spiritual attack is also good due to her nature.

Wolfsbane has a rich, powerful telepathic link with Danielle Moonstar – but this is Dany’s power, not Rahne’s. Still, it plays an important role as it allows for instance communication over large distances. It also allows Wolfsbane to communicate in full wolf form, when she doesn’t have a voicebox.

The sound of claws on cobblestone

Wolfsbane’s lupine and mixed forms both are stronger, faster and have sharper senses than they should. Furthermore, in these forms she can use her lupine senses with an human’s intelligence. Applications include :

  • Highly developed sense of smell. In wolf form she can follow impossibly faint trails, such as tracking by smell a man currently being carried in a low-flying helicopter (!).
  • Leaps – the transitional form in particular can jump about four metres in the air.
  • Low-light vision and, somehow, Predator-style thermal vision (that is, she can see detailed real-time heat maps). The latter is also ace at spotting infrared beams from security devices.
  • Superhuman sense of hearing, ability to pin down the exact source of a noise by orienting her ears, and capability to hear very low and very high sound frequencies.
  • Rahne has learned to read emotions through sense of smell and watching heat patterns. At this early stage, though, it’s closer to vague intuitions about other people’s thoughts.
  • The transitional form is superhumanly strong – Wolfsbane can throw grown men around. In this form she might be able to lift 500 or 600 lbs.
  • The wolf form is more agile and springy than wolves normally are. For instance, she’s fully able to climb trees and prowl along branches, in a way that’s far more feline than canine.

Even without training, Rahne could do rapid shifts such as leaping in transitional form then landing in wolf form. However she lacks some animal instincts, most notably a killer instinct.

Notes about Rahne’s senses

Wolfsbane’s most valuable contributions rely on her super-senses and tracking capabilities, rather than as a combat asset (though she certainly can fight off guards and other minor opponents). She’s a great scout and point person.

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) wolf form jump

Click here for a larger version of this picture.

One gets the impression that even in human form, she has a near-subconscious level of animal senses and intuition. In other words, Rahne is surprisingly perceptive and could easily be the first to sense that something is off.

The captions regularly mention that her animal senses allow her to perceive the world around her in incredibly rich and vivid ways, in a manner that a person with human senses couldn’t imagine. It is reportedly a very pleasant experience, and if she’s by herself and close to wilderness Wolfsbane will prefer to be in wolf form.

Healing factor

Wolfsbane has superhuman regenerative powers. These seem stronger when she is in wolf or transitional form, but it seems that they are also present in human form.

This healing factor  seems specialised in knitting tissues back together. It won’t help her wake up earlier after she’s been conked on the head, but it’s invaluable against laceration, perforation, etc.. She will quickly stop losing blood, and cuts will close by themselves.

She’s certainly no Wolverine and can’t take massive punishment. But nasty wounds (including having her torso slashed open by the Silver Samurai) aren’t going to kill her or leave sequelæ. She’ll go down, but she’ll likely survive.

This regeneration seems a bit slower against internal bleeding, but even early on she easily survived a gunshot getting blood into her lungs. Though she passed out twice from the pain before collapsing for good.


History

Rahne Sinclair is from the Scottish Highlands and from across the Minch . Specifically Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides .

Embiggening the Hebrides

In the Marvel Universe, Stornoway borders a small mountain named An Morag. This fictional elevation is presumably a short distance West of Stornoway. It is part of the ancestral lands of clan Kinross.

Likewise, the Marvel Universe version of Stornoway Bay includes an island, Muir Island – though it might be in the Minch instead. The travel from Muir Island to Stornoway has been described both as taking several hours, and as something you can do to answer a medical emergency in an outboard. Muir Island too is Kinross land.

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) Stornoway

The Marvel Universe’s Stornoway also seems larger than the real one. Especially since it’s seen during the late 1970s and early 1980s when there was, what, 5,000 residents if we count the cats ? Perhaps the additional land and economic activity tied to the fictional clan Kinross made it easier to urbanise the area.

For what it’s worth the original OHOTMU lists Sinclair’s birthplace as “between Ross and Cromarty”… which is right on the other side of Scotland. Having Rahne be from North of Inverness (across the firth ) might be a misreading of Uncanny X-Men #126, where the action quickly jumps from Stornoway to the Culloden Moor area near Inverness.

Fire and brimstone

In 1968, Rahne was an orphan. Father unknown, mother dead in childbirth. The baby survived thanks to the intervention of a gifted local physician, Dr. Moira Kinross.

Sinclair became the ward of a fire-and-brimstone priest and local leader, Reverend Craig. Unbeknownst to Rahne, Rev. Craig was actually her father, and Ms. Sinclair was one of the prostitutes he frequented in secret.

The authoritarian, corrupt Rev. Craig had Rahne clean and maintain his church. She essentially was the scullery maid. He raised Rahne to be fearful and ashamed of herself. He constantly told her that she was a child of sin and her mother was a terrible sinner. This toxic upbringing left the youth terribly repressed, though she also was a bright schoolgirl.

Dr. Kinross occasionally visited Rahne, as she thought that Rev. Craig was a bad influence on her. Though Craig interfered, Lady Moira occasionally took Rahne on horse rides across her lands. She also once took her on a short vacation to Muir Island. Rahne thought that these were the best things ever.

…and then things got weird

When Rahne was but a wee tyke (perhaps 11, but “wee tyke” sounds more Claremontian Scottish, och) a strange visitor came to Stornoway. It was a time traveller called Nathan Dayspring Askani (aka Nathan Summers, aka Cable).

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) metamorphosis

Though Rev. Craig thought he was a servant of Satan, Dr. Kinross (now Dr. MacTaggert) intervened. She then took the strange man to Muir Island. Cable asked her to put him in contact with Charles Xavier and soon left.

Rahne had a late puberty – between that and how skinny she is, one suspects she was underfed. Her mutant abilities thus only surfaced when she was 13 or 14. She discovered that she could turn into a large wolf, and greatly enjoyed running free in the wilderness.

Run Rahne run

However, Rev. Craig soon witnessed her transformation. Convinced that she was a spawn of Satan, he led a torches-and-pitchforks mob after her.

Sinclair fled to Kinross lands, though one of her pursuers’ bullets grazed her shoulder. The kid apparently located Dr. MacTaggert by sense of smell, and passed out from pain and terror after reaching her.

Dr. MacTaggert took Ms. Sinclair to the USA. There her ex-fiancé, Professor Charles Xavier, was running a large facility to protect and educate young mutants.

Within an astoundingly short time, Dr. MacTaggert arranged to become Rahne’s guardian and obtained a student visa for Sinclair to live in the US.

New Mutants

By this point, the X-Men were presumed dead in outer space. The grieving Xavier was reluctant to take in more mutants, but MacTaggert convinced him. She also stuck around to help.

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) transforming jump

By then Xavier’s school was only hosting Rahne Sinclair and Xi’an Coy Manh. But it soon became necessary to rescue other young mutants whom the Hellfire Club was attempting to kidnap. Rahne played an important role in locating and rescuing the professor after he was captured by Donald Pierce, and thus in forming the New Mutants.

For a general history of the New Mutants, see our series of New Mutants team profiles. This profile doesn’t repeat information already presented in those.

During this era, very little of specific importance happens to Wolfsbane. She simply works along with the team as best as she can, and continues her training and education. The main evolutions are psychological, and are covered in the Personality section.


Description

Rahne’s buzzcut isn’t a buzzcut. If closely examined it’s more like fur upon which she has forced a midway parting. It never grows, either.

(Of course, in practice, many artists and nearly all flashbacks depict her with hair instead of “head fur”. ’Sdamn shame, nobody ever pays no attention, strewth.)

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) manhandles Hellfire guards

In her civvies she prefers very conservative clothing that seems straight from the 1950s. The *early* 1950s.

Sinclair famously speaks in Chris Claremont’s attempt at rendering his notion of a Scottish accent and diction. It’s… colourful, though it usually leaves actual Scots perplexed. See the quotes for examples.


Personality

Rahne was maintained in poverty, ignorance, shame and repression by Rev. Craig. She has a catastrophic self-image, lives in terror of sin, and is shy and timid. She often sounds like she stepped in from the XVIIth century.

For instance, she had to be convinced that her powers were no infernally-inspired black magic or even direct gifts from Satan. She also had trouble not addressing Dr. MacTaggert as “milady” since Moira is the chieftain of Clan Kinross while Rahne is orphaned rabble. In Rahne’s world, an unstable molecules uniform is “magic finery”. And she is scared of Nightcrawler‘s sort-of-demonic appearance.

During her early years out of Reverend Craig’s claws, she also delighted in doing things she was always forbidden to do back in the Isles, such as going to the cinema. Anything with sexual undertones — such as a dancing club — is likely to shock her, though.

Rahne is self-conscious about appearing in any state of undress if there are men present, even if the clothes she’s wearing are particularly uncomfortable. She did eventually get used to wearing a one-piece leotard for dancing practice.

She cries fairly easily, and sees no particular reason to hide this. Rahne also feels uneasy and overwhelmed in large cities, and isn’t use to hot climates.

Freeeeddoommm !

However, despite the timidity, Rahne is smart and very courageous. She’s clearly not a cinematic  badass fighter or operative, and her powers aren’t impressive. But underestimating her is a poor idea. In particular she can soldier on through considerable pain and distress, though she’ll obviously feel miserable when so doing.

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) climbs a tree and shapeshifts

Rahne is generally a sweet kid, who wants to do good and help people. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and has strong emotions despite her attempts at repressing them.

She hates it when people who aren’t mortal enemies are scared of her wolf form. It hurts her feelings and makes her feel like a freak.

Rahne is rarely treated as the baby of the group. Though she’s very sweet she obviously had a hard life. And, well, she’s a werewolf.

Of wolf and man

Unlike many mutants, Sinclair loves her powers. As a wolf she feels free and uninhibited. She can experience nature through rich animal senses. She can leave all of her problems behind to run wild. Until her feelings of guilt and sinfulness catch up with her, at last.

Despite being shy she’s also one of the most sociable New Mutants. She didn’t have any friend back in Stornoway, so she really enjoyed being part of a class. She’s so happy to have friends that it’s contagious, and the others react well to her.

Since she cannot speak as a wolf, Rahne tends to express herself like a canine would when in animal form. For instance she’ll licks hands or faces to express affection or loyalty. She also likes playing dog games with Danielle Moonstar, such as playing fetch with a frisbee.

Relationships

Rahne is very impressed by the Imperatrix Lilandra, who early on was living in exile with Professor X. She sees her as some sort of magical fae queen.

Danielle is her closest friend as they have a lot in common. On the other hand Rahne remains wary about Amara, due to an incident very early where she felt betrayed by her. She is also visibly afraid of Magik.

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) Sienkewicz poster

Wolfsbane also has occasional spurts of harshness toward Cannonball, due to his social clumsiness. This improved after they discussed about their faith. The sort of open-minded rural Christianity Sam was raised into is comforting for Rahne. It also represents a much more positive take on the Lord than Reverend Craig’s sermons ever did.

Rahne is also happy to have friends among students her age who hang around at the mall, though these are superficial friendships.

Wolfsbane will almost automatically defend any person she sees as an isolated, abandoned, misunderstood child.

Chieftain Dr. Mrs. MacTaggert, the Lady Kinross

Originally, Rahne and Chief MacTaggert are simply acquaintances in a small town. However, after Moira has to offer the kid sanctuary, they start developing a bond. Eventually, Moira convinces Rahne to trust her as an adoptive parent.

This takes place almost entirely off-panel . In early appearances Rahne is still awkwardly deferential (and probably using wrong forms of address for a laird to boot). But later on, Rahne addresses Moira as “mummy” and happily hugs her. Sinclair and McTaggart clearly consider themselves adoptive mother and daughter.

When Dr. MacTaggert and Banshee (Sean Cassidy) become an item, the insecure Rahne half-convinces herself that Moira has forgotten about her. This is, of course, rubbish.


Quotes

“Saint Andrew preserve me !”

“Ye bloody spaleen ! Ye blackguards !”

(Crying after seeing E.T.) “Och, Miss Hunter, it was so beautiful. I was so happy when the wee bairn was rescued…”

“Och, y’should see yuir face, y’look fit t’bust !”

(Awkwardly) “Y’should na’ think such thoughts, Dani. They’re na’ proper.”

“Och, I’d ne’er leave my friends, Dani, no matter what ! I nae had any t’speak of — in Scotland.”

Wolfsbane (New Mutants) (Marvel Comics) (Earliest) modern art

“The Lord may ha’ given me a wee small brain… but a’ least I’ve a thick skull t’protect it !”

(Completely losing it) “I want to go home ! I want Lady Moira ! Make us better, Professor, please !”

“Mr. Wayne… I dinna trust him. ’Tis more than that ! He’s wicked, Dani, he means us harm !”


DC Universe History

The horror/magical stuff has traditionally been a bit more present in the DC Universe than in the Marvel one. So it would be a bit smoother to have Ms. Sinclair as a werewolf rather than as a werewolf-like mutant.

She thus might have become a Night Force character, working for Baron Winters on multiple occasions.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Wolfsbane – human form

Dex: 02 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 05 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Student
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Wealth: 002
Init: 009 HP: 020

Powers:
Invulnerability: 05, Iron will: 01, Mind blank: 02, Mind field: 01, Regeneration: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Invulnerability rolls can only take place every 8 APs of time.
  • Iron Will, Mind Blank and Mind Field are all Skilled Powers.
  • Mind field is Self Only.
  • Regeneration doesn’t affect the time spent unconscious.

Skills:
Artist (Dancer): 02

Advantages:
Edge (BODY), Familiarity (Church of Scotland practical liturgy), Misc.: turning into her wolf or hybrid form as she attacks frequently gives her the Blindside bonus, usually for an attack or Intimidation.

Connections:
New Mutants (High), Prof. Xavier (High), Dr. MacTaggert (High).

Drawbacks:
Age (Young), Attack Vulnerability (-1CS AV/RV vs. Character Interaction and attacks leveraging her fear that she is a creature of Satan), Innocent, Minor Irrational Dislike of “black magic” (including Magik), Mistrust (Mutant), Misc.: Rahne’s body mass is 1 AP.

Equipment:
NEW MUTANTS UNIFORM [BODY 05, Cold Immunity: 01, Misc. Adv: Insta-Change].


Three for the price of one

Wolfsbane is described here as three distinct stats blocks, since this is much easier to use as a reference.

Technically, this would be handled as an Alter-Ego – but a version of Alter-Ego more comprehensive than the one in the rulesbook.


Wolfsbane – wolf form

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 05 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Student
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Wealth: 002
Init: 011 HP: Same

Powers:
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 11, Claws: 05, Cold Immunity: 01, Directional Hearing: 04, Empathy: 05, Extended Hearing: 03, Invulnerability: 06, Iron will: 01, Jumping: 01, Mind blank: 02, Mind field: 01, Regeneration: 04, Running: 05, Super Hearing: 03, Thermal vision: 03, Ultra Vision: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Empathy only works on species whose biochemistry she’s familiar with, and she must be able to either smell or see them. Under most circumstances it has a Range of 03.
  • Invulnerability rolls can only take place every 8 APs of time.
  • Iron Will, Mind Blank and Mind Field are all Skilled Powers.
  • Mind field is Self Only is a Skilled Power.
  • Regeneration doesn’t affect the time spent unconscious.
  • Thermal Vision is Discerning.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 02, Charisma (Intimidation): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Charisma (Intimidation) can also be done as a Move Action – but only once against a given target and only against Earth animals primarily relying on sense of smell (such as guard dogs).

Advantages:
Alter-Ego (Human form, transitional form), Familiarity (Church of Scotland liturgy).

Connections:
New Mutants (High), Prof. Xavier (High), Dr. MacTaggert (High).

Drawbacks:
Attack Vulnerability (-1CS AV/RV vs. Character Interaction and attacks leveraging her fear that she is a creature of Satan), Innocent, Minor Irrational Dislike of “black magic” (including Magik), Mistrust (Mutant), Partial Attack Vulnerability (-1CS vs. odour-based attacks), Misc.: quadrupedal, no manipulative appendages, no voicebox, animal appearance, etc..


Wolfsbane – transitional form

Dex: 04 Str: 05 Bod: 04 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 05 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Student
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Wealth: 002
Init: 013 HP: Same

Powers:
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 05, Claws: 04, Cold Immunity: 01, Empathy: 03, Extended Hearing: 01, Invulnerability: 06, Iron will: 01, Jumping: 02, Mind blank: 02, Mind field: 01, Regeneration: 04, Super Hearing: 02, Ultra Vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Empathy only works on species whose biochemistry she’s familiar with, and she must be able to smell them.
  • Invulnerability rolls can only take place every 8 APs of time.
  • Iron Will, Mind Blank and Mind Field are all Skilled Powers.
  • Mind field is Self Only is a Skilled Power.
  • Regeneration doesn’t affect the time spent unconscious.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 05, Charisma (Intimidation): 02, Martial Artist (incl. Techniques): 03, Thief (Stealth): 04

Advantages:
Alter Ego (human form), Edge (BODY), Familiarity (Church of Scotland liturgy).

Connections:
New Mutants (High), Prof. Xavier (High), Dr. MacTaggert (High).

Drawbacks:
Attack Vulnerability (-1CS AV/RV vs. Character Interaction and attacks leveraging her fear that she is a creature of Satan), Creepy Appearance, Innocent, Minor Irrational Dislike of “black magic” (including Magik), Mistrust (Mutant), Partial Attack Vulnerability (-1CS vs. odour-based attacks).


Go for the throat, boo !

Early on, Rahne doesn’t quite know how to attack with her claws and, particularly, her fangs. Her animal instincts aren’t that strong, and she didn’t have the training normal animals get via play-fighting and parental guidance.

This means a +1CS OV/RV penalty when using her Claws Power in wolf or hybrid form.

However, this is soon worked around. Via telepathic link, Danielle guides Rahne’s attacks during a fight, giving the wee Scot a much better idea of how to bite her opponents.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Marvel Universe (New Mutants)

Helper(s): Darci, Maficklin.

Writeup completed on the 10th of January, 2017.

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