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Blackguard (DC Comics villain)

Blackguard

(Richard Hertz)


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

Context

A very minor, jobber  DC Comics villain. He’s chiefly notable for having appeared in Booster Gold #1 (1986), which I’m sure Booster would insist is a valuable collectible.

He’s very simple to use in a story. Which is good.


Background

  • Real Name: Richard “Dick” Hertz.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Former employee of the 1,000 ; former Suicide Squad operative.
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly Metropolis ; formerly the Dark Side Bar in Queens, New York City ; Belle Reve prison.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 275 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

Blackguard is big and strong. However, he’s not genuinely good at hand-to-hand combat and weapons use. Some even claim that he’s below average, but this likely stems from underestimating the skill of the people Blackguard fought.

The 1,000 have bestowed Hertz with a very limited solid energy power. He can create some sort of mace, hammer or flail in one hand and a shield in the other. Those solid energy weapons are robust and can withstand or deliver superhuman blows. But as he soon discovered, they are electrically conductive.

Blackguard from the Who's Who

King Faraday later said that the power stemmed from the armour and not the man. But the earlier version, which is reflected into the stats block, makes in my opinion a bit more sense.

Blackguard also wears a suit of high-tech, bulky body armour. Its exoskeleton  greatly amplifies his strength.


History

During the 1980s Blackguard was hired, empowered and outfitted by the conspiracy called The 1,000. Presumably, he already had a criminal career as a thug before they hired him. He accompanied a squad of troops to steal some satellite tech from S.T.A.R. Labs. Howbeit, their vehicle was intercepted on the way home by the brand new (and I do mean “brand”) hero Booster Gold.


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Though Blackguard was wearing a fairly strong suit of armour. However, Booster tricked him into hitting a power terminal. This shocked Hertz unconscious.

Inhuman resources management

This was not Blackguard’s first failure when serving The 1,000. Thus, their Director decided to have him disciplined. He sent in a more competent merc, Mindancer, who busted him out of prison. When the Director advised Blackguard that they were unhappy with his performance, Hertz got violent and was knocked out.

His employer decided to execute him, along with the recently-captured Booster Gold.

Metropolis vigilante the Thorn rescued them. Blackguard prepared to fight along with Booster and the Thorn – but Mindancer took over his mind. The mesmerised Blackguard was sluggish and practically devoid of initiative. As a result he was beaten by Skeet, Booster Gold’s robot sidekick.

He seemingly recovered his fee will when he woke up, and managed to flee.

Underworld unleashed

In 1995, the demonic lord Neron offered Faustian deals to many villains throughout the DC Universe. Blackguard apparently asked not to be stupid anymore. He was given what seemed to be at least average intellect.

Blackguard with energy shield and flail

As part of his service to the Hell-lord, Blackguard was teamed up with Earthworm and Cheetah. They were to claim Warrior’s, Guy Gardner’s superhumans-themed bar, as turf.

During the clash Blackguard was seemingly incinerated by Guy Gardner, who at that point was in an altered psychological state.

Super-Buddies

(There is some confusion as to when the events with the Super-Buddies occur. On this matter I firmly and clearly stand with the people who don’t quite know. And let’s not even mention the issue of Guy’s ring. I’ve assumed for this writeup that said events occur in 2003, publication/continuity-wise, as per P. Svensson’s advice.)

When Blackguard was seen years later, he was alive and unburned. He had done his time in prison. Hertz was apparently fully reformed, and received excellent recommendations from his parole officer.

He was also on friendly terms with Guy Gardner (perhaps after exchanging letters while he was in prison). Thus, they decided to open a bar together.

The dive, situated next to the office of the “Super Buddies” in Queens was named the Dark Side. The name came from a previous supervillains bar, but with no relationship with the Dark Side Club that would open years later in Metropolis. As they opened the Dark Side, it became obvious that the improved intellect granted to Hertz by Neron was long since gone.

What happened next is unrevealed. The whole Super-Buddies thing disappeared into comic book limbo . Hertz apparently relapsed into crime, and was arrested. He was thrown into the Belle Reve prison in Louisiana – seemingly for several years.

Raise the flag

When Amanda “the Wall” Waller was dismissed from the modern version of Checkmate, she continued operating her Suicide Squad. She showed an interest in Blackguard as a member.

After some training and tests, he was made part of a slash-and-burn mission at the corporate headquarters of Haake-Bruton. H-B was the company behind the development of a weaponized virus. It had the potential for being an extinction-level event trigger.

On this op Blackguard was part of the heavy squad, along with Marauder, White Dragon and the General (Wade Eiling). They were tasked with engaging and destroying a number of guards wearing replicas of the cybernetic Carapax armour. During the operation, part of the team turned traitor. As a result, Blackguard was seemingly beheaded by the General.

Legacy ?

Richard Hertz might be dead. On the other hand; he has been reduced to a charred skeleton before.

Furthermore the armour is likely in the hands of the government and Hertz’s powers had been artificially bestowed in the first place. Thus, having a new Blackguard emerge in your campaign would be trivial.


Description

Officially he’s 5’10”, but he’s consistently drawn taller, even when out of armour.


Personality

A boisterous thug, too confident in his brawn and too proud for his own good. He’s not too bright either. In fact he’s downright dumb. This later problem seemed alleviated while the deal with Neron was in effect.

After he reforms and becomes just Richard Hertz, he’s a fairly genial blue-collar type. Hertz is noticeably (though not ridiculously) non-violent and non-confrontational… and still thick as a plank.

He prefers for people to call him “Dick” when he’s not Blackguard. He’s utterly oblivious to the fact that “Dick Hertz” is not a great combo.


Quotes

(Facing Booster Gold) “Yer gonna lose more than that, babyface ! I’m Blackguard, squirt ! And, as of now, you are a dead man !”

“For a sooper-hero, you ain’t much, fella !”

(Neron-enhanced) “I’m Blackguard — the human killing spree. Make a line. There’s no waiting.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Blackguard

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 02 Wil: 01 Min: 03 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 009 HP: 020

Powers:
Claws: 12, Energy shield: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Claws actually produces a melee weapon (usually an infantry one-handed flail). On one hand it must be wielded just like a real weapon. On the other hand the weapon can be thrown, and can be used to inflict Bashing damage if needed.
  • The EV from Claws is capped to the wielder’s STR plus two APs, or its APs – whichever is lower.
  • Force shield produces an actual shield, which must be wielded just like a real shield (it takes up one hand, people can arm-lock it away, it can’t defend against attacks from the opposite side, etc.). It can also be used to do shield bashes (but this does not carry any special in-game benefits) and could conceivably be clumsily thrown.

Skills:
Weaponry (Blunt melee weapons – wielded or thrown)*: 04

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated.

Equipment:
BLACKGUARD ARMOUR [/STR/ 10 /BODY/ 09, Energy absorption: 03, Growth: 01, Limitation: Growth is Always On and Already Factored In – the suit is quite large].


Candlepower

Blackguard was only briefly seen in his Neron-enhanced state. My guess would be that his DEX, INT and WIL had been raised to 05 (with his Weaponry following suit), his INF and AUR were now 04, and he had a Minor Rage. Those effects did not last long, though, unlike with some Neron-enhanced villains such as Blockbuster.

It is also *possible* that Blackguard asked for some form of immortality, or ability to survive a set number of mortal wounds. This is purely speculative. But this would explain the continuity glitch with his seeming death at the hand of Warrior (Guy Gardner), and make it even more trivial to bring him back after his seeming death in Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe.

Helper(s): Peter Svensson, Kal El el Vigilante.

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