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Wulf Sternhammer (Strontium Dog)

Wulf Sternhammer


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

“Hated and despised by ‘normal’ humans, Johnny, with his companion Wulf, roam the universe ready to bring in any criminal – if the price is right!”


Context

The early stories of Johnny Alpha are nothing without his trusted companion Wulf Sternhammer, who herewith has a writeup of his own! But if you are not familiar with Johnny Alpha the Strontium Dog, you should read his profile first.

Many of the early Strontium Dog stories by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra come highly recommended! One of my personal favorites was “The Kid-Knee Caper” in 2000 AD #228-233 (reprinted in the Search/Destroy Agency Files #2 TPB).

The origin story of Alpha’s and Sternhammer’s first meeting, as well as the death of Sternhammer from 2000 AD #445-489 (reprinted in the Search/Destroy Agency Files #3 TPB) is of also course obligatory reading!


Background

  • Real Name: Wulf Sternhammer (Wulf is obviously a modern pronounciation of Old Norse ulfr “wolf”; Sternhammer, then, must be an assumed modern English translation of an original surname, which could have been something like Strenghammar lit. ”stern hammer” or the like in Old Norse. I therefore assume that Wulf’s real name is Ulfr Strenghammar, which future English speakers pronounce as Wulf Sternhammer).
  • Marital Status: Presumed Single
  • Known Relatives: Olga Sternhammer (mother)
  • Group Affiliation: Search/Destroy Agency
  • Base Of Operations: The Doghouse, in Earth orbit, late 22nd Century, or mobile across the universe; earlier 8th Century Norway
  • Height: 6’4”? Weight: 255 lbs?
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Reddish Blond


Powers & Abilities

Wulf is, simply put, a human combat monster and no doubt one of the greatest Search/Destroy agents that ever lived. Despite being slightly outclassed by his companion Johnny Alpha, underestimating Wulf would soon prove to be a most fatal mistake. Opponents have often pointed out that he has the strength of ten men.

A large and durable man, he is tough enough to survive direct hits from blasters or melee attacks and stay awake (just like his smaller mutant companion Johnny Alpha).

Wulf is an excellent crack shot and wields his large combat hammer like nobody’s business! He is indeed very apt at switching between ranged and melee weapons as needed and often wields both at the same time in combat as he storms the enemy fearlessly. He is also exceptionally adept at using thrown weapons, heavy weaponry and various exotic gadgets for great effect.

Wulf Sternhammer (Strontium Dog) bushwhacks two aliens

For some undisclosed reason, Wulf is very adept at repairing, designing and using technology and technological weapons (and it has been hinted that he went to a future university at some point). He particularly excels at repairing robots, and from his Viking origin he is an expert boat builder.

He used to have a longboat, Dragonbreath, but moved on to spaceships and amphibious vehicles in the 22nd century, and is an excellent combat pilot or driver of most types of vehicles.


History

Wulf, a powerful Viking Raider (partaking for example in the raiding of Lindisfarne) hailing from the Viking era of old Norway, was hunting along and then saved by a time-travelling bounty hunter Johnny Alpha in the year 793 AD from being killed by a mutant criminal named Max Bubba and his gang (in quite the adventure also featuring goblins, lizards, giants and trolls!).

Wulf was accidentally brought to the far future of 2170 or 2175 AD by one of Alpha’s Time Bombs. Alpha then captured Bubba and gang and himself returned back to 2175 AD, where he again met Wulf, who had been captured by the future authorities, and immediately had him released.

Instead of opting to return to his own time, Wulf swore a lifelong loyalty to Alpha for having saved his life, and became his best friend and partner.

Search/Destroy Agency

Thus Wulf became the only fully human being working as a Search/Destroy Agent himself. Wulf adapted very well to life in the 22nd century and the two worked together for a full fifteen years. They captured and killed numerous enemies as bounty hunters, and became the greatest Search/Destroy Agents in known history.

After capturing Xen the Brainwraith of the planet Burrito, the two retired to Smiley’s World and built a cabin on Moondog Mountain. Even there they performed some heroic actions for free.

Wulf Sternhammer (Strontium Dog) smashes with his mace

Ironically, however, after all these adventures (he actually appeared in 331 comic books!), Wulf was killed by his old nemesis Max Bubba (around 2190 AD), thus bringing revenge for having been imprisoned by the duo 15 years earlier. Wulf’s death was soon avenged by Johhny Alpha, who personally tracked down and killed Bubba and his gang.

One may assume that Wulf was seen a most honorable human and warrior by his fellow mutant Search/Destroy Agents, and there is now a street in the Milton Keynes mutant ghetto district named Sternhammer Street as his legacy.


Description

Wulf can be described as a huge flaxen-haired, bearded bear of a man. He carries his huge combat hammer on his back, several gadgets around his belt and a blaster by his hip. His right shoulder is covered by the skin of Gloppus the Gronk, in honor of an alien he befriended on an early mission.

Wulf Speaks

While Wulf is from old Norway – and therefore a fluent speaker of Old Norse – he appears oddly enough to instead infuse old German words into his broken English speech. Apparently the writers have, either due to laziness or, perhaps more likely, since they wanted Wulf’s words to be understood, chosen to use commonly known German words instead of the far less commonly known Norwegian forms.

Being a Viking he had to be Norwegian, of course, since the old Germans weren’t Vikings. Thus, lexical understanding for the reader is the reason for this discrepancy. Here are some examples:

  • he sometimes uses the modern German definite particle der similar to English the with nouns (but never die or das ), which is not used in the Scandinavian languages like that at all, where the definite particle is instead suffixed to nouns.
  • he says gott “God”, instead of gud (and example of him devoicing g into t ) and und “and” instead of og and so on.
  • he, for some undisclosed reason, sometimes drops the subject of sentence; for example he says “is true” instead of “it is true”. This is very odd since the subject is not dropped like that in the Scandinavian languages either.
  • he sometimes uses Yoda speak and puts the verb last in the sentence.
  • He has also picked up or uses a few odd words like savvy?  “understand?”.- Wulf seems to have some sort of fascination with cucumbers as seen in descriptive expressions such as close as der cucumber , quick as der cucumber!  or why not now you haf put der cat among der cucumbers! . He also sometimes refers to people as old cucumber .

Any Player of Wulf as a character should of course receive a Role-Playing Award by constantly talking like this in the adventure.

He commonly refers to enemies as voorms (that is with a soft v, instead of w; in fact, Wulf will pronounce ever w as a softer v , including the sound in his own first name.).


Personality

Viking warrior

Wulf Sternhammer is a proud Viking warrior and will not bow for any man, mutant or machine. His sense of moral justice is as strong as that of his companion Johnny Alpha. Indeed, the similarities between the two men makes them the best of friends, always looking out for each other in a universe of danger.

They also share a very obvious drive to move and see worlds and perhaps they are both adrenaline junkies.

Wulf Sternhammer (Strontium Dog) fighting along with Johnny Alpha

While he is actually fearless this is not always obvious since he often gets very agitated in combat and often sounds rather pessimistic about the situation at hand, which could be mistaken for fear. Still, he never hesitates but always moves against impossible odds and always and immediately conquers his fears and doubts at the spur of a moment.

His sense of humor is pretty sordid, and he really is a pretty serious fellow, just like Alpha, but at least he smiles at times and contrasts starkly with Alpha by sometimes being very good humoured. These qualities have proven invaluable to the very lonely and harsh existence of Alpha. Like all men, Wulf is at his weakest when drunk on the ale that he likes so much.

The noble savage

Wulf is a master of stating the obvious (probably for the benefit of the reader, because he is far from being as stupid as his speech sometimes makes him appear). Originally, Wulf used to be a vulgar, drunken rogue, but he developed into a good, strong man along Johnny in the far future.

Nobly, for being a human in a very xenophobic universe, he treats aliens, mutants and humans all alike and himself knows no xenophobia at all. When somebody is treated with hatred, malice or disrespect Wulf usually reacts very harsly, violently and protectively. He seems particularly fond of Gronks, an alien race of furry cowards, and will protect them as needed.

He soon befriended the brother of the Gronk whose skin he carries, and that Gronk became a mainstay with Johnny and Wulf for a very long time. Neither will he abide by any mutant hatred, but will put any bigot in his place immediately.


Quotes

“Gut boys! You die quiet for old Wulf !”

“You kill der thousands of defenceless Gronks – now is your turn to die!”

“Vot der !” (exclamation of surprise)

“He has got der killing frenzy. Like my Viking ancestors they got. Like this he is very dangerous. But dangerous to himself as well… then it is up to Wulf ! ’scuse please !” [hammers away]

“A rebel camp. Vot a place ! Here ve find our information, ja ?”

“You know, old cucumber – there is vun thing Vulf does not understand. Ven Johnny ask to check der cellar… vy you not just say ‘Ja ! Take der look’ ? Instead you have der wrecked bar… der vounded customers… und ve are still going to take der look !”


DC Universe History

On two time-travel occasions Wulf encountered Judge Dredd, who also has some history in the DC Universe. Before his ’abduction’ into the 22nd century Wulf may have had an encounter with the Viking Prince, and likely fought alongside him against some (magic) threat before parting company. He may also have met the rarely seen Phantom Viking.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Wulf Sternhammer

Dex: 06 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Bounty Hunter, formerly Viking Raider
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 018 HP: 055

Skills:
Charisma (Interrogation, Intimidation): 05, Gadgetry: 05, Martial Artist: 07, Medicine (First Aid): 02, Military Science (Cartography): 03, Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Thrown, Firearms, Heavy, Exotic): 08, Weaponry (Melee): 09, Vehicles: 05

Advantages
Buddy (Johnny Alpha), Credentials (Search/Destroy agency; Medium (note that this authority is not valid on Earth)), Expertise (Boat-building, Robot Repair), Language (Old Norse, sounding a lot like Old German), Headquarters (Expansive – The Doghouse), Iron Nerves

Connections:
Search/Destroy Agency (High)

Drawbacks:
Exile (Voluntary, 8th Century Norway)

Equipment:

  • COMBAT RIG [/BODY/ 07, Limitation : Partial (vest)]
  • Vebley Custom Hand Blaster [BODY 07, Energy blast: 06, Ultra Vision: 03, Notes: This custom made blaster is probably powered by an energy pack providing a very, very high number of shots. It was equipped with an infra red night sight. It rarely, if ever malfunctions, and so appears to have R#0.]
  • “The Happy Stick”, a large combat hammer [BODY 08, EV 04 (05 w/STR or as Thrown; 08 w/Martial Artist), Req: STR 04 to use as double-handed or STR 05 as single-handed, Note: Wulf’s hammer is said to have been forged from a shard of Thor’s own hammer.]
  • Thermo Bomb (x2) [BODY 02, Bomb (fire): 08, Grenade Limitation]
  • Also, a number of special Gadgets (see Design Notes; each is activated by paying 5 HPs):
    • Anti-Gravity Chute [BODY 02, STR 04, Gliding: 02, Note: A small hand-held device that, once activated, projects a flat energy field functioning just like an ordinary parachute]
    • Life-force meter [BODY 02, Life Sense (distinctive) 06]
    • Telekin Shield (x1) [BODY 02, Force Field: 06, Note: This device likely has a short duration only and burns out after use; usefully the produced field is large enough to protect at least five persons.]

Design notes

Wulf and Johnny regularly carry and use astounding technologies during their manhunts. While most of these could be simulated by Omni-Gadgets in MEGS (a take used in the Johnny Alpha writeup), I’ve taken the opportunity to specify as many of these as possible as semi-regular Gadgets in this writeup as collected during a readthrough of all the materials.

In game terms, it is suggested that Wulf still should pay a HP fee of at least 5 HPs every time he uses one of these “special” Gadgets during any particular adventure, and such Gadgets are then used up until the next adventure and no longer available in that sitting.

In addition to these, Wulf could also be given the same Omni-Gadget as presented in the Johnny Alpha writeup. Wulf appears to carry most of the duo’s exotic technologies.


By Dr. Peter S. Piispanen

Source of Character: Strontium Dog comics (a total of 311 appearances forming the basis for this writeup)

Writeup completed on the 24th of January, 2016.

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