Darius Tiko chiefly appeared during an early — 1958 — Challengers of the Unknown adventure by Jack Kirby.
If you’re not familiar with the early Challs, by all means do read their team profile first.
He’s an obscure, generic character with but two appearances. He thus may not be worth a profile, but :
- I’m a big Kirby fan.
- He has a patina. In that he appeared in the earliest days of the Silver AgeSuper-hero comics from the late 1950s to the early 1970s of comics.
- He’s a generic time traveller baddie. That means nigh-unlimited potential to play a role in… anything, really. Such as creating the DC Universe timeline where your campaign takes place.
- Real Name: Darius Tiko.
- Other Aliases: The Wizard of Time.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: None.
- Base of Operations: An isolated island, of course.
- Height: 5’5″ (1.65m). Weight: 160 lbs. (72 kg.).
- Eyes: Dark. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Darius Tiko doesn’t look physically impressive.
However, he can use many sorts of guns and vehicles. He’s also faster than he looks.
He has superior technological skills, and robust knowledge of chronophysicsThe science of time (usually used for time travel). These gave him a slight edge over the Challengers of the Unknown.
He’s also a smart planner and a good negotiator.
We can *assume* that he had stealth and B&E skills, in order to steal stuff whilst in 3,000 A.D.. But these need not be pro-level, since this era was crime-free.
The main Time Cube used by Tiko is the size of a large bedroom. Beyond travelling through time and space, it can :
- Emit a blinding light when entering the timestream.
- Be modified to become a big electromagnet.
- “Land” within a few dozen metres of another Time Cube. This seems to be the default if a Time Cube exists in the target era.
- Somehow imbue the travellers to speak the main language of the place and time they reach.
We’ll assume that it travels to alternate timelines, rather than its origin timeline’s actual past. This is the default interpretation in superhero comics. And it works fine with the story as presented.
This time travel tech needs some sort of information about events to navigate. This is hazy, but it means you normally can only travel to historically documented past areas. Making up hypotheses as to how it works is interesting.
(Since the time machine inexplicably grants linguistic abilities, perhaps what is being used as a “map” is a level of reality defined by language ? And perhaps the prophecies of the ancients were based on accessing this level and doing semantic analysis.)
Darius Tiko was the assistant of renowned nuclear physicist, Dr. Hobart Reinmetz.
Reinmetz died during the 1950s, but Tiko managed to complete his research into… time travel !
(Ace Morgan assumed that Tiko had stolen Reinmetz’ formulas, though he didn’t quite accuse Tiko of having murdered the doctor. Why Ace leapt to these conclusions isn’t clear.)
Tiko irresponsibly toured through time. He hunted dinosaurs with an elephant gun (and prolly stepped on a butterfly at some point), filmed Ancient Maya rituals, observed Viking raids in Britain, etc..
He also met with sages in Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. These knew prophecies about the far future, which Tiko could use to visit his future as well as his past. He struck deals to exchange XXth Century tech against these secrets.
(Tiko mentioned that he “taught” modern English to his helpers. This doesn’t make much sense, especially since the time travel machine clearly imbues travellers with linguistic knowledge… So let’s forget that “teaching” bit.)
Furthermore, one Greek was captured. Once the authorities realised this man was far too knowledgeable about the language and history, they called in an archeologist. Who in turn called in the Challengers of the Unknown.
With the captive’s help, the Challs located the “Island of the Wizard”. When confronted, Tiko boasted about his voyages. But as he realised that the Challs would arrest him, he fled in his Time Cube.
Chronal hot pursuit
The Challengers learned to use the smaller, backup Time Cube. Using Tiko’s notes, they travelled to the right bit of Ancient Greece and destroyed the biplane.
They also found the Ancient Egyptian astronomer, though irate priests destroyed his telescope anyway.
Tiko was nowhere to be found. But since he had been dealing with parties predicting the future, the Challs deduced his rough plan. They paid a visit to Nostradamus.
Their guess paid off – Tiko had made a deal with him too. And between all three sources, he had enough data to program a trip into 3,000 CE.
The Challs modified their backup Time Cube and gave chase. But by the time they caught up, Tiko had already stolen a lot of super-tech. Weapons, metal transmuters, powdered light, super-medicine, etc..
The mechanical judge
The time thief got the drop on the Challs. He caught them in an anti-gravity beam.
Tiko was about to return to the XXth Century when he was arrested by the United Earth Police. They had detected the arrival of both Time Cubes.
Both Tiko and the Challs were judged by a computer for being in a “restricted zone”. But the computer judge ruled that they were too primitive to know better.
The stolen tech was repossessed, the backup Time Cube destroyed, and the primitives sent back to the XXth Century. They were warned that the Cube was rigged to explode and destroy Reinmetz’s lab and island shortly after arrival.
The Kesel run…
However, Tiko :
- Had palmed a few small devices, and hadn’t been searched.
- Managed to get close enough to the Time Cube’s console during the trip back. He pressed a button the Challengers hadn’t identified yet.
The Cube thus came crashing in post-Crisis Metropolis’ Suicide Slum, in 1994.
Tiko escaped. However, before he could don the most powerful weapon he had stolen, he was mugged. The thugs thought the weapons were jewellery, and inadvertently activated their powers.
… in less than 12 parsecs
Superman (Clark Kent) joined the Challs in subduing the thugs. These now had earth-, air-, water- and fire-themed powers. Yes, the mandatory Fantastic Four allusions did take place.
But just as the Challs were winning, Tiko entered the fray with the fifth ring – the void one.
He created a sort of micro-black-hole. This kept Superman busy preventing nearby people from being sucked in. But Ace Morgan went around the “Wizard of Time”, and forced him to surrender at gunpoint.
The Challs and Tiko then returned to 1958.
However, the only crimes he had committed there had been stealing an antiquated biplane and a telescope. So despite Rocky’s assertion, Tiko likely didn’t spend that much time in prison.
The Immortus-style costume is typical clothing from the year 3,000, worn to blend in.
Otherwise Tiko will wear 1950s wilderness expedition clothing. Possibly including a pith helmet.
A cunning, power-craving hustler.
Other Universes Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in stories set in other universes).
Time Cubes resemble TARDIS units. We could thus suggest a scenario where Prof. Reinmetz was a time-lost Gallifreyan assembling his way back home.
If Tiko indeed murdered him, then this person may have regenerated since.
If one is amused by Tiko’s Immortus-like costume, it could also be suggested that Reinmetz was the DCU’s equivalent of Nathaniel Richards. But never became a Kang/Immortus/Centurion/whatever since Tiko killed him.
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 04||Wil: 05||Min: 04|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 04|
|Init: 010||HP: 020|
Charisma (Persuasion): 04, Gadgetry (Build): 04, Gadgetry (Identify): 08, Scientist: 04, Thief (Concealment, Locks, Stealth)*: 03, Vehicles (Land, Air): 03, Weaponry (Firearms, Exotic): 04
Expertise (Physics, Reinmetz time travel tech).
TIME CUBE [STR 05 BODY 06, Comprehend Language: 12, Flash: 08, Magnetic control: 05, Teleport: 20, Time travel: 50, B&L:
- Comprehend Language is Usable on Others (the passengers), allowing them to speak the local language(s) for the era. You can just assume it works and not bother rolling.
- Flash has an Explosive Area of Effect, but can only be done (as an Automatic Action) when firing up Time Travel.
- Magnetic Control requires a 04/04 Gadgetry (Build Gadget) Roll to activate. This takes two Phases.
- Teleportation might only be able to engage as many APs as APs of Time Travel. This is just a hypothesis to explain why Tiko never used it as a teleportation tech.
- Time travel has unclear limitations having to do with knowledge about the era.]
Stolen super-tech from the year 3,000 :
- An ore transmutator that could prolly turn common metals into more valuable ones.
- “Powdered light”. A handful could illuminate a large room, and presumably last a long time.
- Tablets and medicines that can cure almost anything, and significantly extend healthy lifespan.
- A heat ray pistol [BODY 03, Flame project: 07].
- An anti-gravity ray [BODY 03, Telekinesis: 09] . This can be used as a trap, to leave people helplessly suspended.
- Sub-thermal micro-bombs [BODY 02, Ice production (Area of effect 1 AP): 07, Miniaturisation: 03, B&L: Ice production limited to Encasing; Grenade Drawback]. These are thrown as a pair to create the Area of Effect. Just one would mean one less AP, and no Area of Effect.
- Void ring [BODY 06, Attraction/Repulsion: 05, B&L: Attraction/Repulsion is Attraction only, but works in a 120° cone]. What happens to Attracted objects that enter the black hole created by the ring is unrevealed. Dimension Travel (Banish) and Disintegration are both possibilities, perhaps at 12 APs or so.
The Gadgetry (Build) score assumes that he simply finished his employer’s work, and isn’t a great engineer by himself.
As to Scientist it’s not *quite* demonstrated, but I’d err toward it.
Tiko mentioned that his last name was Greek. That, plus the fact that he could navigate Ancient Greece and (possibly Hellenistic) Egypt also *weakly* suggests knowledge of Greek history.
Source of Character: DC Comics.
Helper(s): Rex Smith, Darci.
Writeup completed on the 2nd of November, 2019.