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Durham Red (2000AD Comics) over a star field

Durham Red


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

Vamp ! Durham Red goes solo… no bitchin’.


Context

Durham Red originally appeared in the Strontium Dog comics series published by the great British magazine 2000 AD. The character drew considerable interest, and was soon spun off into her own stories. Then she soon was transported into the far future of her timeline , giving her her own setting.

This profile depicts her in this future, around the year 915 of the Pan-Species Accord.


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Background

  • Real Name: Lucy, Durham Red originates from a clerical error of Durham, Red. Red was a nickname and Durham was her first husband.
  • Other Aliases: Red, The Blood Queen, Empress Redwina, Saint Scarlet of Durham, The Abomination, The Blasphemy, The Strontium Bitch, Brite Red, Bloodrayne. Just kidding on that last one, folks.
  • Marital Status: Widowed.
  • Known Relatives: Shirene (sister, deceased), Durham (husband, deceased), Fara (possible future daughter), unnamed possible grandchild, three unnamed husbands, unnamed child, Johnny Durham Red (son w/Godolkin).
  • Group Affiliation: Strontium Dogs (earlier only).
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly The Doghouse in late 22nd Century Earth orbit, later mobile across the universe.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 120lbs.
  • Eyes: Black Hair: Red and black.


Powers and Abilities

Durham Red is a mutant whose mutation resembles vampirism. She needs to drink blood to live, but does not suffer from the traditional weaknesses of supernatural vampires. As such, she is super strong (STR in DC Heroes RPG terms), super agile (DEX, Acrobatics, Lightning Reflexes) and possesses regenerative powers (Vampirism), superhuman senses (Analytical Smell) and bloodlust.

As a licensed Search and Destroy agent she is a veteran bounty hunter and expert combatant (Martial Artist, Weaponry).

Lastly, her powers appear to give her an extremely long lifespan, in that she shows no visible signs of aging (Near-Immortal), as long as she regularly drinks blood.


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History

Durham Red is a mutant vampire. For a time replaced Johnny Alpha as the featured character of Strontium Dogs.

Durham Red was born after the Atomic War of 2150. Her vampire-like need for blood made her an outcast even among other mutants. When a chance to escape Milton Keynes ghetto came, she gladly joined the Search/Destroy agency as a bounty hunter. On this job, her enhanced abilities came in handy.

Durham Red spent decades on the frontier planets of the Galaxy, tracking down the lawless, the insane, or the merely unpopular. Her targets included the original Gothlord and his nephew Jayem D’ma – the appointed Gothlord of ma.

The Gothlord situation also forced her into facing ten of the deadliest, most vicious killers and assassins in the known universe in perhaps her greatest peril thus far. She only survived through the sacrifice of her then-partner Frinton Fuzz, and and the assassin priest villain turned good, Toroni.

She was sometimes also working with or against fellow Stronts like Johnny Alpha or Middenface McNulty. Eventually she tired of the game and put herself in a voluntary suspended animation las
ting centuries.

A quick continuity note here

Oddly, the Strontium Dog stories that Durham Red originally appeared in have since been deemed non-canonical. This happened as part of Johnny Alpha’s revival. This leaves Red in an unusual position in terms of continuity.

The original Strontium Dog stories have been classified as tellings of the legend of Johnny Alpha, while the later stories are the “truth”. As such, it is possible that the whole Durham Red saga spins off from events… that never actually happened in the Strontium Dog universe.

Okay, moving on

When she woke, it was to a new order. “Normal” humans and the warped bloodlines of mutants remained separat. A war between them, along with meeting various alien races, had led to the Pan-Species Accord, which in theory gave mutants equality. But in practice those with undamaged genes held the real power.

Red found that an entire religion had grown up around her, which saw her as a Saint of Mutants. Naturally, very few Normals saw her in that light.

Durham Red brandishes two blaster pistols

Judas Harrow, the fanatical worshipper who awoke her, quickly found the real item far different from the “saint” of his Sunday School days. But he chose to accompany her anyway as she explored her new reality.

Another unlikely companion would soon join them. Matteus Godolkin was pledged to destroy followers of Saint Scarlet, and when the actual “Saint” herself turned up alive, he tried to do his religious duty. But in the process Red bit him and took his blood.

Believing that being bitten by a vampire meant he was now under her thrall, he seemingly had no choice but to obey and worship her even more fanatically than Harrow.

(In fact her vampirism doesn’t work that way. All her bites do is hurt and drain blood. But don’t tell him that.)

Peace in our times

Durham Red would involve herself in trying to broker peace between humans and mutants in future times.

At one point in time, she was attacked by a very old future version of herself, calling herself Brite Red. Brite Red wanted to eradicate her long, lonely and agonizing life from ever having taken place. Red killed her in self-defense and wowed never to take the same roads in life that she had taken.

Durham put together a great plan with the Offspring, the greatest telepath ever born, to end all hostilities. However, it was all a trick by the Offspring who just wanted to be free of the Earth and wreak his revenge upon mankind.

Godolkin and Harrow died, or so it was thought. A plague spread, infecting all humans rendering them sterile. The location of the Earth was forever lost. Finally mutants would eventually inherit the universe.

Feral !

Durham Red was overcome by guilt for the involuntary doom of mankind, as well as the touch of the Offspring and the pain of her healing wounds. Thus, she reverted to an animalistic, feral state where her only actions were for survival.

That was until Godolkin found her again a century later, in year 915 of the Pan-Species Accord. He was looking for a way to destroy the Offspring who was roaming the universe.

Red’s mind was repaired by Godolkin, who found her SD-issue memory recorder to which her whole life had been compressed in digital images. She agreed to hunt down the Offspring.

Durham Red is really snecked off

Red and her helpers flew legendary warships and managed to get the Offspring to a section of space known as the Fracture. There, time itself had broken up. This severely limited the abilities of the Offspring, who normally could break planets apart with but its thoughts.

However, instead of forcing him to reverse the curse he had set on mankind, she intended to kill him to end his threat permanently. But the Offspring couldn’t be killed by any ordinary means. Thus, she pulled it down with her into a singularity. Around them time rushed up, black and broken, filled with probable pasts and alternative futures.

Out of the vortex

In one of those futures, her hand found the activator of her grav-shute and she could return to safety. Godolkin had finally been mortally wounded, and apssed on. Durham Red declared that the Offspring had hurt her bad and that it was now time for her to die as well. And that is the way the legend is told in the future.

However, Durham Red would continue to live for at least another thousand years or more. She adopted the new identity of Empress Redwina. She would live to see the time when mutants would finally outnumber human norms, as the children of Earth continued to diverge and adapt to new worlds across the universe.


The future is now !

In future times, Durham Red is worshipped as Saint Scarlet, the mutant progenitor and Mutantkind’s Messiah. She is accompanied by Judas Harrow, a Tenebræ mutant, worshipper and member of the cult of Saint Scarlet. He revived Durham from her suspended animation but soon discovered that the real Red bore little resemblance to the legend.

Her other accomplice is Matteus Godolkin. He is a mutant-killer and human iconoclast and warrior trained to destroy the followers of Saint Scarlet. To him Durham is the ultimate blasphemy. He would kill her in an instant but he wrongly believed he was in her thrall after she sucked his blood (!). When he figured that out his motivation had changed anyway and he joined her cause.

Having nowhere else to go, Red, from the 810th year of the Pan-Species Accord and onward, travels the universe looking for action and adventure. She also tried to broker peace between human and mutant factions, to stop the war that has retarded the growth of interstellar civilization for a thousand years. As usual, she is also aided by powerful weaponry.

After having indirectly led to the sterilization of all humans, and thus dooming mankind, she was overcome with guilt (the Guilt Drawback) and other effects. She reverted to an animalistic stage where she had the Survival Motivation and an animalistic intellect and instincts. She later returned to her normal state.

Later still, after the time that this writeup depicts, as mutants finally became the dominant species in the universe, she finally lost her Mistrust Drawback. In the end, as Empress Redwina, she likely had the Authority Figure drawback.


Description

Durham Red is a leather-clad, skinny vampire. During her S/D agent days she wore quite revealing clothing and had the S/D badge on her chest. Her skin is grayish, pinkish or blueish, her hair is black and red and her lips are purple to red depending on when she last ate.

She is sometimes seen with a grin in her face revealing her fangs, and carrying a pair of firearms ready for use. That’s right; you’re under arrest, creep!


Personality

Her vampirism has always been a curse. At age ten, her parents died so that she could live and as a teenager she saw herself as a bloodbeast. She was lost and on the run until the age of 13 when the mutant hero Johnny Alpha showed her a new life as a bounty hunter.

She had then spent her whole life as a target for the monsters who call themselves norms. It had always been the same – fight or flight. She was no stranger to blood and hard times where death was never far away, so life as a search and destroy agent suited her perfectly.

Strontium Dog

Life as a S/D agent gave her purpose, focus and a role in society. Her credentials gave her some protection from bigotry. However, even among mutants she was considered an outcast. As to human-mutant conflicts she refuses to take a side. She considers herself neither good nor evil. All in all, she is an outsider and an anti-hero.

She also married the first Strontium Dog she ever met, Durham. She later fell in love with fellow mutant and hero, Johnny Alpha. Johnny didn’t exactly trust her, but at least they were a good team. Since all men are mortal, and she is not, she would have loved ones in various time eras.

Throughout her life she has been hated, feared, shunned, spat upon, hunted, abused, degraded and very nearly murdered. Thus, she has no troubles letting it loose onto guilty norms (or criminal muties), a little payback for what they have done to her. Still, she is not that dark, and has scruples about her actions and tries to balance her act.

She guns down the wanted without hesitation and sometimes eats the last one in the gang, but will not hurt innocents. In general, as to her feeding, which has to be done for the sake of survival, she usually hunts down criminals. However she slightly prolongs the hunt, as a little guilty pleasure, because she likes the taste of adrenaline in the blood.

Vampire’s state

Among the criminal underworld she’s known and feared as a ruthlessly efficient law-enforcement officer. Others fear her because she is a blood-sucking bounty hunter. But becoming a famous Strontium Dog has also its drawbacks. She regularly has a price on her head and finds herself hunted down by criminals wherever she goes.

Still, she is used to it, and constantly stays on the move. However, if that becomes too tedious she goes straight to the source and ends the threat personally. Or she gathers all of her would-be assassins in one place and deals with them all in one blow according to her own rules.

She finds it rather amusing that most people believe her possessing all the traditional vulnerabilities of supernatural vampires. In reality, neither crosses nor sunlight can damage her, and she just loves garlic. In her spare time she likes to read.

She gets extra hungry, having a slow pulse like thunder throbbing and craving in her throat, during full moon. The sweet smell of fear, the sharp surge of hope and the sour stench of terror gets her even hungrier. However, she is very strong-willed and never loses it to the hunger, although there is a problem with a slowly growing thirst over time.

When she drinks, she prefers the blood either of those she likes or of her worst enemies.

Peacemaker ?

Despite her rather bizarre life she has a strong spirit and a healthy outlook on life. In future times, when she was worshipped, she still didn’t take herself very seriously and refused to be worshipped. She would not be a figurehead or a cause, or an excuse to kill. Because of all of this she feels compelled to stop the mutant-human war brewing.

A free spirit, she would at all times run her own race and do what she deemed right.


Quotes

“Shut the face and raise the hands, sucker !”

[Chained to a cliff] “I’m trapped on a subterranean island with a hundred kooks, a hallucinogenic drug still coursing through my system. The guards have beam guns, and the water’s alive with razorfish. So where’s my way out ?”

“What the sneck is this ?”

“I’m a thousand years young, I’ve got a body built for high-speed sin, and there’s a whole universe out there which hasn’t met me.”

“We’ll see, Jude. Force of will is the most powerful thing in the universe. Godolkin believes that now that I’ve told him to do this he can’t stop until it’s done.”

“Mutant criminal 3F419878, I am a licensed Search/Destroy agent. By the power invested in me by the galactic crime commission, I hereby serve the warrant issued in your name. The charge is murder – the murder of the human race.”

Durham Red makes a dramatic entrance

“Out of my way ! The bitch is mine ! You stole my identity and murdered millions in my name. Now it’s payback time ! I’m going to make you pay, you satanic whore ! For every life and every drop of blood !”

“I let the Offspring out because I wanted an end to the war between mutant and human. And the bastard tricked me. Tricked me so that it could get out and perform genocide. No one uses Durham Red like that. No one uses Durham Red period. I’m not doing this for you, I’m not doing this for Godolkin, I’m certainly not doing this for mankind. This one’s for me. One last job. An honour thing.”

[On live holovid] “She was no saint ! Scan her corpse ! You’ll get human bio-signs ! She was a human agent, surgically disguised, sent to bring your cause to its knees ! You’re looking for Durham Red, your Scarlet Saint ? That’s me ! Believe what you like, I’m the mutant vampire you decided to worship as a Messiah ! I’m not much to look at, am I ? Not much to found a religion on ! Not much to stage a holocaust for ! Mutantkind, you make me sick ! You’ve gone so far off the rails into hatred, you murder millions without compunction ! Take a long look at yourselves ! All set for war with the human race simply because they are human ! I’ve lived through more than one war ! Have you all forgotten the lessons we learned ? Have you forgotten compassion ? Tolerance ? Acceptance ? You disgust me. Go back to this butchery, if you like. Ignore me. But one last thing. The humans sent the fake saint here to draw you out, to lure the bulk of mutant activity into one place. To make you an easy target for the killfleets. It’s just a thought, but you may want to get out of here…”


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Durham Red

Dex: 06 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 07 Occupation: ex-Search and Destroy Officer, Adventurer
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 021 HP: 075

Powers:
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent 02, Vampirism 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
Vampirism has no Range (-1) and has to be aimed through DEX or Accuracy.

Skills:
Accuracy (Vampirism): 07, Acrobatics: 05, Charisma: 07, Detective (Clue Analysis, Law): 04, Martial Artist: 07, Military Science: 04, Thief (Stealth): 06, Vehicles: 06, Weaponry: 09

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Milton Keynes Mutant Ghetto on Earth, likely in the 22nd century only), Expertise (Computers), Familiarity (Booby-traps), Lightning Reflexes, Local Hero (originally only among the Tenebræ cult in the 810th year of the Pan-Species accord, and then generally in the coming centuries), Near-Immortal.

Connections:
Judas Harrow of the Mutant Underground Tenebræ Cult (High), Matteus Godolkin of the Iconoclast Elite Vampire Killers (High).

Drawbacks:
Fatal Vulnerability (Lack of regular feeding of blood), Mistrust (Mutant vampire), MPR (Presumably Durham Red cannot eat or drink regular food, and has to intake blood instead, 1 pt.), Strange Appearance (Red-black haired vampire mutant), Misc.: When she hasn’t drunk any blood in a long time she develops a growing Irrational Attraction to blood until she quenches her thirst again.

Equipment:

  • IR Goggles [BODY 01, Thermal Vision: 04, R#2].
  • Futuristic Blaster (x2) [BODY 07, Energy Blast: 06, EV 06, Sharpness (EV): 04, Ammo: 20, Bonus: Area Effect, R#5, Notes: This powerful weapon is an antiquity in the 34th century which is why it malfunctions at times.
    It has three settings: first, with each shot it fires one million microfilaments against the enemy thus damaging practically any single target (EV, Sharpness). The second weapon setting functions as a heavy blaster with high explosive loads capable of destroying large groups of opponents (EV, Area Effect). The third setting is a scattering plasma blast (Energy Blast, Area Effect).].
  • Close Focus Energy Shield [BODY 04, Force Shield: 06, Miniaturisation: 08, R#2, Note: This is a shoulder held device activated by the click of a button].
  • Close Focus Porta-Nuke [BODY 02, Cling: 01, Bomb: 18, Ammo: 01, Miniaturisation: 08, R#2, Note: This portable nuclear bomb can be stuck onto a surface and set on a timer. It’s great for blowing up the criminals’ hideout and similar.].
  • Electronux [BODY 06, EV 03 (06 w/STR, 07 w/Martial artist), Lightning: 06, Bonus: EV and Lightning can be Combined ; Limitation: Lightning has No Range. Note: The electronux is an insulated knuckle duster, packing an electrical charge].
  • Malonetic Razor-Knife [BODY 06, EV 03 (06 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist), Lightning: 05, Sharpness (Lightning): 05, R#2, Bonus: EV and Lightning can be Combined, Note: This brutal weapon slices and electrocutes opponents on a seemingly molecular level].
  • Time Bomb (x2) [BODY 04, Teleportation: 13, Bonuses & Limitations: Teleportation can be programmed with one safe location only. Other destinations will invariably prove fatal (vacuum, solid rock, ocean depths, etc.)
    The time bomb is a grenade, which generates a temporal displacement field. When used offensively, the field will displace the target a few seconds into the future, by which time the planet will typically have moved on sufficiently to leave the victim sucking on vacuum.
    Alternatively, the device may be used to travel great distances, by moving the user to a nearby time period, chosen such that the desired destination has moved to the point in space currently occupied by the departure point.].
  • SD-issue Memory Recorder [BODY 06, Recall: 30, Miniaturisation: 08, R#2, Limitation: her S/D amulet can only record digital images of the life of the wearer.].

Love bites

Reputedly, Durham Red’s inflicted fang wounds are submolecular lacerations, deep as laser surgery and awash with her saliva’s anticoagulants. Thus, the victim, if surviving the initial attack, will eventually bleed to death (Continuing Damage).

This reputation doesn’t seem to be true, however, and is likely just something the cult made up. When she bit Johnny Alpha as he was drugged and unconscious, Johnny did not bleed to death – but then again there might be a kernel of truth about Durham’s bites not healing. The final call depends of course upon the GM.


To hunt and to destroy

During the 22nd century she used to be a Hunt and Destroy Officer, essentially working as a bounty hunter. As such she also had the following :

Connections:
Search/Destroy Agency (High), Frinton Fuzz (High; previously only), Johnny Alpha (Low; previously only) and Strontium Dogs (High). She also had the Credentials (Search and Destroy Agency; Medium) advantage as well as the advantage Headquarters (Expansive – The Doghouse). After she chose to go into suspended animation her status as an S/D agent was revoked and all her contacts died of old age, thus losing all of the above benefits.

Equipment:

  • Blaster [BODY 07, Energy Blast 06, Notes: No ammo limitation noted. This is a typical 22nd century blaster].
  • Combat Knife [BODY 08, EV 04, 07 w/STR, 08 w/Martial Artist].

Since she has spent most time reaching the future in suspended animation her Attributes haven’t changed noticeably from the original values; however, she originally had Mystical Stats of 5/4/5 only and each of her Skills were likely set at a level around 1 AP lower. Her original HPs were set at 50 only.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Durham Red comics in the AD2000 progs. In particular the stories “Stone Killers”, “Island of the Damned”, “The Golden Mile”, “Mirrors”, “Ghosts”, “Deals”, “Diners”, “Night of the Hunters”, “Epicedium”, “The Scarlet Cantos”, “Mask of the Red Death”, “The Vermin Stars” and “The Empty Suns, books I & II” have been consulted. Data from the novels has not been included.

Helper(s): wikipedia.org, comicvine.com , Darci (editing), Ethan Roe, Sébastien Andrivet.

Writeup completed on the 15th of June, 2010.

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