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Deathtrap (Image Comics)

Deathtrap

(Seamus O'Brienn)


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

Context

Deathtrap is… firmly rooted into the early days of Image Comics, having appeared in 1993 in what would become the Wildstorm Universe. This mercenary killer is the leader of a superhuman team for hire, the MERCs.

Both Deathtrap and the MERCs are highly generic. It’s easy to confuse Deathtrap with Pike, or Deadpool, or for that matter Deathstroke. On the other hand, the genericness of the MERCs can be appealing for gamemasters looking for stock amoral super-mercenaries.

Deathtrap’s profile is the one with most of the background data about the MERC, though you can find some additional material in our profile for team member Razer.


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Background

  • Real Name: Seamus O’Brienn.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: MERCs.
  • Base Of Operations: Gamorra.
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown (violet when using his powers). Hair: Red (pre-mutation, brown).


Powers and Abilities

Deathtrap is a highly experienced mercenary, terrorist and paramilitary type. He’s a large, strong man, a superb gunfighter, a demolition expert, an excellent athlete, a forceful and crafty leader, a smart tactician, etc.. He’s even able to pilot advanced fighter aircrafts such as Gamorran Vipers.

He’s worked for many unsavoury parties, giving him many contacts, a broad experience in paramilitary, terrorist and Super-Powered Being (SPB) combat… and tremendous wealth. Deathtrap is very robust and wears a bulletproof costume.


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Though he knows how to use all sort of close-combat weaponry (even including medieval swords), Deathtrap prefers ranged combat – he’s better with a gun.

Deathtrap owns a large medieval castle complex on the West coast of Ireland. It might be an inheritance, though. The castle is decorated with medieval stuff, such as coats-of-arms and melee weapons.

Superhuman powers, part 1

Deathtrap is a Seedling  (a mutant). His power is to make weapons appear into his hands – they’ve been called psi-guns, psi-swords, etc.

Though it’s a bit hard to say, our best guess is that these weapons are teleported in from caches. Such a cache was seen in Ireland, and Deathtrap indicated that it was so well-hidden and secret that even Razer did not know where it was. This implies that this cache was a very important resource for O’Brienn.

There’s an implication that the weapons are telekinetically built on the spot. In many cases they seem to be weapons that are commercially available in, say, Gamorra.

Superhuman powers, part 2

Beyond making weapons appear and disappear in his hands, Deathtrap has two related abilities. Originally these seemed to be throwaway comments in a sourcebook, byt they later were demonstrated in a primary source .

  • He can telekinetically manipulate these weapons. For instance he once teleported in two pistols which materialised in the air in front of him, floated in the air and fired on their own, using Deathtrap’s normal Weaponry score. This telekinetic ability is a bit of a trade secret for Deathtrap, who seldom uses it so he can surprises even opponents with files about him.
  • He can augment the power of his weapons, either through telekinesis or because they are charged with energy after they teleport. In DC Heroes RPG terms he usually spends an Automatic Action to allot his APs of Power Reserve when the weapon comes in (and usually to Projectile weapon if it’s a gun).
    Observation does confirm that his weapons are more powerful than ordinary models.

History

Like most Irish characters in American super-heroes comics, Seamus O’Brienn’s background revolves around the I.R.A.. Specifically, he joined the Irish Republican Army  at a young age, was trained in combat and demolition, and soon proved highly adept at those

O’Brienn had a romantic relationship with Lorna, a female officer in his cell. Lorna was killed in the premature detonation of a bomb intended for London, leaving him emotionally devastated.

His involvement with the organisation drastically receded. O’Brienn eventually cut off ties as he saw that his youthful ideological fervour increasingly made him an odd man out.

Empowered

In his early career as a mercenary, O’Brienn clashed several times with one of Scotland Yard’s top agents, Nigel Keane. The feud became very personal and in 1986 O’Brienn managed to ambush Keane as he was visiting a museum with his girlfriend Anne. The mercenary used a pair of swords on exhibit to kill Anne and fatally wound Nigel.

At this point the Earth was hit by radiation from the passing Halley comet, triggering the emergence of Seedlings. Keane was mutated, which saved his life. He would eventually become Stormwatch’s Hellstrike. Keane swore that he would kill O’Brienn, no matter what.

As to O’Brienn, he was also mutated, and would eventually develop psionic powers and the identity of Deathtrap.

As his rep developed and he started wearing a super-villain costume, Deathtrap kept escalating his fees. He eventually recruited other costumed and powered operatives, which he assembled as the MERCs. Reputed as being willing to do anything for the right price and being vile, cold-blooded killers, the MERCs worked for various governments, criminal organisations, and conspiracies.

MERCs

During the early 1990s, the MERCs came to be considered as one of the top mercenary groups. They worked for such concerns as the Cabal or Kaizen Gamorra, killing many people and making a lot of money.

The earliest known case of the MERCs likely greatly contributed to establishing their rep. In early 1991, Stormwatch Prime (then the only active Stormwatch post-human unit) was deployed in Kuwait to prevent the destruction of oil refineries by an Iraqi task force in the waning days of the war.

Made cocky by their success against conventional forces, half the unit walked right into a ambush set by the MERCs. The super-mercenaries captured Flashpoint, Nautika and Sunburst. The MERCs swiftly flew out and delivered their captives to the Cabal’s Lord Defile, who started a long-term brainwashing process on them so they’d eventually become his moles within Stormwatch.

The pipes, the pipes…

Like many other wanted individuals, the MERCs headquartered themselves in the rogue nation of Gamorra. They had a number of undocumented clashes with Battalion and Stormwatch. A ferocious grudge developed between Deathtrap and Battalion.

In 1993, the MERCs were seen clashing in Sarajevo with Battalion’s unit, made up of new Stormwatch agents – including Hellstrike. The Cabal had hired the MERCs to capture Seedlings for their plans and Windsor, an U.N. agent and friend of Battalion, was evacuating a Seedling child and a number of other children from Sarajevo on a bus.

The Stormwatch rookies managed to foil the MERCs, and Deathtrap spitefully killed Windsor before they left.

Days later, the MERCs attacked Battalion and other Stormwatch personnel during Windsor’s funeral service. They somehow knew that Battalion’s younger brother, Malcolm, was a potential Seedling, and shot him with a plasma rifle.

…the pipes are calling

When the blast did not incinerate Malcolm, Stormwatch activator Synergy realised that he was a latent Seedling. She was forced to activate him against his brother’s wishes so he wouldn’t be kidnapped by the MERCs. Stormwatch reinforcements forced the MERCs to retreat without their prize.

Deathtrap kills Blademaster

In late 1993, once the three kidnapped Stormwatch members were thoroughly brainwashed, Gamorra authorised Deathtrap to arrange for Stormwatch to recover them. That Nautika, Flashpoint and Sunburst were still alive and held in Gamorra was leaked to Stormwatch. The MERCs engaged the Stormwatch strike force when it arrived to recover the prisoners.

They were again defeated, and ordered to cease pursuit after Stormwatch recovered the POWs and left Gamorra. Though that subterfuge was frustrating for Deathtrap, the plan had been executed on without a hitch. The three sleeper agents were now among Stormwatch, and Gamorra had a clear case of hostile action taken by the U.N. within its borders.

Furthermore, during the assault, Deathtrap managed to practically kill Hellstrike with a synaptic scrambler hidden in his gloves. Hellstrike remained comatose for weeks, and eventually decohered into energy. However his friend Fuji and the engineers of Stormwatch managed to help him stabilise into an energy being.

The summer’s gone…

Meanwhile, Flashpoint started realising that something had been done to his mind. He began to hunt down the MERCs while they were isolated, hoping to make them talk. After Flashpoint killed Kilgore in Bangkok, Lord Defile hired the rest of the MERCs to pull the plug on Flashpoint.

The MERCs ambushed Flashpoint as he ambushed Hellslayer. They would have killed him but for the intervention of Nautika and Sunburst. Flashpoint was about to force Deathtrap to talk when he was zapped by Nautika, who thought her colleague was about to kill the mercenary. Nautika let Deathtrap go, since her priority was to get her husband Sunburst to a hospital.

At this point, Deathtrap had begun experiencing a mid-life crisis. He found his existence and wealth sterile and felt depressed. Various comments made by Razer, Flashpoint and Nautika aggravated his doubts. He seemed to be considering stopping his activities and turning his life around.

Around this point Razer dumped him and started a relationship with Flashpoint. Flashpoint’s brainwashing had been activated and who was now a secret ally of the MERCs and Kaizen Gamorra.

However, the irresponsible and inappropriate actions taken by Savant’s WildCATs under Tao’s influence forced Deathtrap to react. In particular, the “heroes” killed the villain H.A.R.M., then ambushed the mourners (including Deathtrap) at the funeral service in a cyber-church.

…and all the flowers are dying

Furious, Deathtrap organised the super-criminals throughout New York City to strike back at the WildCATs, resulting in a gang war throughout the city.

Things kept going out of hand until Deathtrap and his MERCs (including two unnamed women in armour) took Grand Central Station, holding numerous hostages and preparing a trap for the WildCATs. The trap was Overtkill – an enormous, extremely powerful cyborg.

Even with Overtkill, things might have gone south as reinforcements (including Mister Majestic) kept coming and turned the tables. However, as they were having a gunfight, Deathtrap and Grifter realised that the whole gang war had been the result of manipulations, and they called for a truce.

When the heroes realised that they all had been used as puppets by Tao, Deathtrap and his allies just left and told them to handle their own problems.

From glen to glen…

Deathtrap was soon contacted by Kaizen Gamorra to accompany him on a quick mission – an offer he couldn’t refuse. O’Brienn took Hellslayer with him, and they escorted the tyrant in retrieving Cyberjack. This operation was successful.

Weeks later, during the “Fire from Heavens” events, a large coalition of heroes stormed Gamorra Island where the MERCs, like many other reprobates, were headquartered. Gaizen demanded U.N. protection against the thoroughly illegal invasion and got it, with Stormwatch and Stormforce being sent in to break up the fight. The MERCs then arranged to be detailed to fight alongside Stormwatch.

It was all a ploy, as they expected to turn on their allies at a critical moment and have Flashpoint unexpectedly switch sides.

It didn’t go well. The joint Stormwatch/MERCs task force ran into tougher invaders than planned. They held, but Hellslayer and Brutus were wounded and had to drop out of the fight. Then, Flashpoint cracked. His longstanding jealousy toward Battalion caused him to snap and attack the rest of Stormwatch well before the plan called for it.

Battalion was forced to kill him. Nevertheless, Flashpoint’s ranting before his death exposed Deathtrap’s plan. The only two MERCs standing, Deathtrap and Razer, were then surrounded by Stormforce. Fed up with it all and made volatile by his ongoing mid-life crisis, Deathtrap opened fire nevertheless.

He and the startled Razer were brought down by massed less-than-lethal fire.

…and down the mountain side

Despite this, the MERCs managed to escape in the chaos after a tsunami hit Gamorra Island. At this point, though, Deathtrap was in the throes of an actual depression. He retired in his Irish castle, drinking too much and contemplating what sort of man he was and what his life had been.

Seeing him as a major security risk, Kaizen Gamorra ordered his death – and of course he chose to send the MERCs to do the deed. Razer, Hellslayer and three new recruits (plus a number of zombots) came to kill their former leader.

At the exact same time, Hellstrike also attacked the castle. Though Keane had passed on an occasion to execute the unconscious Deathtrap in the middle of the Gamorran battle, he now regretted it. Thus, Hellstrike was back for O’Brienn’s blood, using a tracer Tao had given him several months before to locate his nemesis.

The new MERCs interrupted Keane’s assault on O’Brienn. It soon forced the two enemies to ally. Not only did O’Brienn explain that he wished to put an end to the vendetta between him and Keane, but to everybody’s surprise he found himself unable to gun down Razer after Hellstrike prevented her from killing her ex-lover.

But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow

Hellstrike was briefly left alone with Deathtrap. He aimed O’Brienn’s own gun at the merc’s temple, with O’Brienn not resisting. Stormwatch forces came in to stop Hellstrike, and his friend Fuji managed to talk Hellstrike out of murdering Deathtrap. Deathtrap was arrested, and apparently remained in prison for close to a decade.

In 2006, Deathtrap was seen again, in costume and serving as a murderous mercenary. What happened is unrevealed, as are his reasons for reverting to type. He was present when Lord Defile, the Walking Ghost and Slaughterhouse Smith proposed an alliance to a number of freelance criminals and mercenaries, to capitalise on the receding hero presence.

The meeting was accidentally interrupted by two policemen. All hell broke lose, with the situation quickly becoming the worst super-powered massacre in the history of New York City. During the catastrophe, Deathtrap killed Stormwatch agent Blademaster and at least five Stormforce troopers.

Another Stormforce man, Agent Mendoza, realised Deathtrap’s weakness. He shot Deathtrap’s pistols, hurting the mercenary badly and forcing him to flee.

Deathtrap hasn’t been seen since. It is unrevealed whether he survived the Armageddon.


Description

Officially, O’Brienn is 6’6” and 230 lbs.. But he’s seldom actually drawn that tall.

Deathtrap has the Claremontian Comic Book Irish accent, me lasses an’ boyos, though it was not portrayed in a coherent way during his appearances.


Personality

Deathtrap is a ruthless, cruel killer who forms vendettas against his enemies. He will insist on stalking his hated foes and spitefully killing their loved ones to make them suffer. He’s once described as having an “insatiable psychic thirst for pain and suffering”, but this aspect of the character is never mentioned again.

He doesn’t cope very well with his bloodlust being frustrated. Thus he is likely to punch random pieces of equipment and furniture in frustration when he doesn’t get to kill someone.

Deathtrap seemed to enjoy his rep as a man who’d stop at nothing. He never hesitated to strike using low blows. But after he got depressed, O’Brienn came to resent anybody behaving like that. Presumably that angered him by reminding him of his most despicable excesses.

Deathtrap acts in a completely cold manner toward his allies. To him they’re purely and openly well-paid pawns. He didn’t have any apparent feelings even for Razer, who was sharing his bed. If they got killed, that was their problem, not his. And beside it just meant extra money for the survivors.

Dangerous

Still, he leads his forces well, never pointlessly endangering them. He also seems to have some sort of low-key respect for successful mercenaries and criminals like himself. For instance he felt a minor connection with Grifter due to his past, whereas to O’Brienn other heroes were just interchangeable idiots.

When he entered his mid-life crisis subplot O’Brienn was downright depressed, even passively suicidal on occasion. The lamentable behaviour of Savant’s WildCATs still roused him to outrage and action with his old ruthlessness and professionalism, though he sounded oddly… cheerful and caustic when so doing.

Eventually he just brooded. It’s possible that he never tried to escape after he was arrested as he felt that he deserved it.


Quotes

“Give us any trouble, Battalion, and his condition could deteriorate… body part by body part.”

“Questions, questions, questions. That’ll be the death of ye, Flashpoint.”

“All right, boyos — an’ Hellslayer — Kaizen wants the old cripple in one piece. Other‘n that… use your imagination.”

“Aaah, talk sense, will ye ? Why would I want to go and do a thing like that, now ? It’s the only decent bar in New York !”

“I turned my back on the war, the cause, an’ my country. Now my auld mates are murderin’ innocents, an’ as fer me… the only cause I serve nowadays is money.”

“Now dinnae be thinkin’ that this is some kind o’ warm an’ fuzzy moment, ’cos it isnae.”


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Deathtrap

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 011
Init: 020 HP: 050

Powers:
Mind field: 03, Power reserve (Any): 02, Telekinesis: 02, Teleportation: 14

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Teleportation can only transport properly attuned weapons between a specially prepared arsenal and Deathtrap.
  • Teleportation is limited to items that weight five pounds or less, though Deathtrap can teleport in or out one in each hand.
  • Those teleportations are Automatic Actions (teleporting in or out a pair of items is a single Automatic Action).
  • Teleportation and Power Reserve are both Contingent on Telekinesis.
  • Telekinesis can only be used on weapons that were just teleported in.
  • Power Reserve can only be used on weapons that were teleported in.
  • Mind Field is Self Only.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics)*: 05, Charisma: 06, Evasion (Ranged only): 07, Medicine (First Aid): 03, Military science: 06, Vehicles (Land, Air): 06, Weaponry: 08

Advantages:
Expansive HQ (Castle in Ireland), Expansive HQ (Penthouse in Gamorra), Confined HQ (Weapon caches), Familiarity (Small-unit and SPB tactics), Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Clearance (Gamorra, Low).

Connections:
Mercenary scene (Low), Gamorran regime (Low), MERCs (Low), Cabal and Lord Defile (Low), Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Pale white skin), MPR (takes the damage inflicted to TK-held items, see below), Minor Rage.

Equipment:

  • BALLISTIC COSTUME [BODY 05, Skin armour: 02, Drawback: Real Armour, Limitation: Skin armour only vs. blades and bullets].
  • Backup .45 pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 07, R#02]. Presumably something like a Colt Commander. This weapon is usually worn in a pectoral holster and seems to basically be decorative – it is likely carried in case his teleportational abilities fail or are out of range.
  • Teleportation remote [BODY 01]. This cellphone-like Gadget allows Deathtrap to zero in some outside teleportation projector on him and the MERCs, and trigger teleportation. The entire group can be teleported, provided that they assemble around Deathtrap.
    This technology was likely provided by, and controlled by, Gamorra and/or the Cabal since it’s available to major players in the Wildstorm Universe and was only seen when the MERCs worked for the Cabal.
  • ARSENAL. Deathtrap has several secret, hidden weapon caches with attuned weaponry. Since this writeup arbitrarily assumes a 2,000-miles range for his teleportational power, he logically has a cache in his Irish castle (actually seen on-page), one in Gamorra, one in New York City, one in Western Europe (perhaps Brussels), one in the Middle East (Dubai ?), one in the Balkans and presumably a few others. Certain rare weapons may only be available in one cache. Known weapons include:
    • .44 Desert Eagles (x8) [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 08, R#02]. Presumably Deathtrap buys those by the crate, since those seem to be his mainstay gun. He occasionally use comic book pistols with the same stats.
    • Hand rocket launcher (x1) [BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 07, Range: 03, Ammo: 01]. This seems to be a radically shortened LAW with a pistol grip and an exhaust pipe, intended to deliver a rocket at a short range then be thrown away. Deathtrap may have a limited supply of those, since they are seldom used.
    • Force sword [BODY 02, Claws: 08, R#02]. Though this weapon seems to be entirely immaterial (a frozen, hand-held energy blast, essentially), it actually has a conventional handle, much like a lightsabre. It’s just difficult to spot due to the glow. That weapon was used in New York City, and may not be present in other caches.
      Deathtrap tends to prefer using guns, though, since he’s better at ranged combat.
    • Synaptic scrambler. A circuit that is fitted inside Deathtrap’s glove, and is used by touching the face of the opponent (a normal hand-to-hand attack). The stats are about [BODY 01, Mind blast: 11, R#04, Ammo: 01]. One was used to nearly kill Hellstrike, and they can be used on lower settings to torture post-humans.
    • Plasma pistol [BODY 03, Energy blast: 07, Ammo: 10, R#04]. Deathtrap used this weapon but rarely – the one documented appearance was in Sarajevo. Perhaps he had a bad experience with the R#, or the weapon’s energy charge dealt badly with teleportation.
    • Stripped-down MP5A4 [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 06, Advantage: Autofire]. Though it was barely seen, I assume this is a stripped-down MP5 with its stock removed to meet Deathtrap’s weight limit for teleportation. It’s not used very often, since it’s presumably not very comfortable to fire.
    • Taser glove [BODY 03, Lightning (No Range): 06, Ammo: 04]. Another lightweight weaponry hidden in a glove. He usually teleports it right before he touches his target, resulting in a pink flash of teleportation energy on impact.
    • Energy net. Something to capture people with, stats unknown since it was disintegrated in mid-air.
    • Force shield [BODY 02, Force shield: 06, Ammo: 04]. A wrist-mounted affair that can create an actual shield or a half-bubble. Chiefly used when the MERCs are escorting somebody Deathtrap might need to protect.
    • Combat knife (x4) [BODY 06, EV 03 (05 w/STR)]. Used in Paris, the local cache presumably having nothing more potent for melee combat. A last-ditch mean of defence.
  • Plasma Rifle [BODY 03, Bomb: 07, Energy blast: 08, R#03, Note: Bomb is achieved by shooting the ground in front of the targets]. Deathtrap once carried one of those strapped to his back. These seem to be the exact same weapons as those Hellslayer use, and are too heavy to be teleported.
  • Swords (x2) [BODY 06, EV 04 (05 w/STR)]. Deathtrap once carried a pair of swords strapped on his back, Deathpool-style.

Bring a gun

Deathtrap can be hurt by damaging items under his telekinetic control. This was demonstrated on guns held aloft by his psionic powers – whether this would work on items held in his hands is unknown.

RAPs inflicted to the items are directly inflicted to Deathtrap ; this continues even if the items have been rendered non-functional (BODY = 0) ; and the LDD costs are at least 3 HPs per RAP, no matter what the current Genre is.


By Nicolas Lemaçon and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Wildstorm Universe.

Helper(s): Hartley C. Holmberg, William A. Peterson, Philip J. Mason, Capita_Senyera, Darci.

Writeup completed on the 7th of June, 2010.

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