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Gorgeous of Stormwatch PHD (Wildstorm Comics) portrait

Gorgeous

(Wanda Durst)


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

Context

Gorgeous was one of the main characters in StormWatch: P.H.D., a 2007 Wildstorm Comics series. Though short-lived, it was an intriguing take on assembling a team of human experts to take on superhuman threats. This profile has S P O I L E R S about it.

Gorgeous had some of the more unusual skills on the team.


Background

  • Real Name: Wanda Durst.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed parents.
  • Group Affiliation: StormWatch PHD — NYC.
  • Base Of Operations: Eighteenth Precinct house, NYC.
  • Height: 5’5” Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Eyes: Light blue Hair: Blonde


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Powers and Abilities

Gorgeous can, within seconds, read the moods, attitudes and body language of others with uncanny precision. She’s a savant at getting what makes people tick. Applications include :

  • Mapping out relationships between people just by seeing how they look at each other.
  • Reliably determining when somebody is lying.
  • Assembling extremely detailed psychological profiles.

While she usually needs to interact with the subject, she can even parse videos or recording of conversations for clues. This works almost as well as if she were facing the person.

Other assets

Gorgeous is also unusually smart, and exceptionally attractive.

Her colleague Paris has been training her in a selection of self-defence techniques. He also put her on a robust physical fitness course. Characteristically, all the moves Paris taught Gorgeous are intended to disable or kill in stressful street fighting situations. My guess would be something close to MCMAP training.


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History

Wanda Durst grew up in an abusive family. Both parents were violent, both toward each other and toward the children.

Little Wanda developed an uncanny instinct for reading people. This was partly to avoid the worst of the otherwise unpredictable parental violence. This ability (called “hypervigilance” by psychologists) became her key asset. Her ability to read people, understand their moods and thoughts, and see relationships at play with but a glance became her path toward success.

Being very attractive, the uncannily perceptive and manipulative Durst became a professional moll. She got in the good graces of increasingly wealthy and powerful criminals. Durst used her rapidly-increasing wealth for high-end cosmetic surgery, allowing her to compete with even more scrumptious women.

Eventually, she became the girlfriend of a dreaded superhuman crimelord — Grigori Tataryn, aka the Ghost. Being increasingly associated with superhumans as she rose up the rungs of her profession, she even acquired a super-villain name of sorts. The underworld nicknamed her “Gorgeous”.

StormWatch Post Human Division

Durst was flagged as a recruit by Jackson King. That was both because of her remarkable abilities and because of her links with the Ghost. King was then forming an experimental unit to research police techniques to be used against superhuman suspects. It was called StormWatch Post Human Division.

One of the targets of the unit was the Ghost. He had been a part, some months before, of one of the worst massacres in the history of New York City.

King approached Durst in person. Although the cagey manipulator played coy with him, he knew how to address her two chief drives. He thus recruited her in return for :

  1. An enormous compensation.
  2. A chance to show all the men she played dumb sex kitten for how much smarter than them she actually was.

Risk factor

Gorgeous was hired as a profiler. However she soon discovered that her actual mission statement included very dangerous undercover and field work. Furthermore, she could not go back to the criminal element lest her new police ties be revealed.

Thanks in large part to her help, StormWatch PHD took down the redoubtable Ghost.

The StormWatch PHD experiment continued and was generally successful. In particular the team survived disastrous odds on several occasions.


Description

Gorgeous dresses for effect (usually a very tight silk shirt with generous cleavage, and a leather microskirt). She spends a lot of time adjusting her appearance and taking care of her body. While she insists that her breasts are all-natural, nobody believes her.


Personality

Gorgeous is a professional courtesan, seducer and manipulator. She is, however, fed up with the first two. She jumped at an opportunity for some real power. But a large part of her motivation was to prove that she was not just fabulously attractive but also a high-IQ, preternaturally high-EQ person.

Still, she remains driven by acquiring large quantities of what a formerly impoverished girl imagines to be riches. This means tons of cash, very expensive diamonds and jewellery, apartments, designer clothes and the like.

She’s also big on wielding any formal authority she can get, such as her StormWatch clearance. Being recognised as a VIP and treated like royalty, and even mildly feared, is apparently critical for her.

Other traits

Gorgeous insists on projecting a classy image and not dirtying her hands. Though at first she was very nervous about field work and undercover assignments, she quickly gained confidence thanks to her peerless abilities.

Her past actions have left with a slight self-esteem problem. Durst will react violently (perhaps to the point of physical violence) to any strong suggestion that she is a lady of easy virtue – such as a drunk putting his hand on her buttocks.

Still, if she can sense that offering sexual favours is the right tactic, she’ll go right for it. She’ll milk it for everything it’s worth, if the phrasing may be excused.

Despite being highly manipulative and deceptive, she has an honour code of sort. She does her best to honour her every promise, even those that seemed to be done purely for manipulative purposes.


Quotes

King: “You even have your own [criminal] alias – ‘Gorgeous’.”
Durst: “I’d call that more of a term of endearment. Or a statement of fact.”

“He called me last night. After ten. That’s a total booty call. I don’t respond to booty calls, unless there are diamonds involved.”

“My loyalty’s to one person in this world, Dino. And you’re staring at her ass.”

“Your poker face needs work. I could tell right away you were on to me. But you found out a little too late. Who’s the bitch now, sweetie ?”

“Ooh, look at those shoulders ! Did you play football ?”

“Okay, the reason I chose to destroy your team chemistry by hitting on Steve, here, is because the second I walked into the room I knew that Donna was in love with him, that Mike’s in love with her and that Jeff’s in love with Steve too.”

(On the phone, while painting her nails) “Yes, I’d like to schedule a relaxation massage with Marco for tomorrow… I’m sorry, do you have any idea who I *am* ? I work for StormWatch. Do you want your spa to be destroyed by the next alien invasion ?”

“The telepath can only find out what you plan to do. I’m a profiler ; I can predict what you’re likely to do. Even if you don’t know it yourself.”

(Watching the video of an interrogation) “She’s telling him the truth. She has no idea we were bluffing about Malcolm.”

“How comes she gets to leave [the hospital] and I don’t ? This is total discrimination. It’s because I’m blonde, isn’t it ?”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Gorgeous

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Profiler
Inf: 05 Aur: 08 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 016 HP: 020

Powers:
Empathy: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:
Empathy is a Skilled Power, and has a Range of about 1 AP.

Skills:
Artist (Actress): 08, Charisma (Interrogation, Persuasion): 08, Martial artist*: 03, Scientist (Analysis): 08

Bonuses and Limitations:
Scientist (Analysis) only applies to psychology work.

Advantages:
Attractive, Credentials (StormWatch, Low), Familiarity (Fashion and style)

Connections:
Underworld (Low), StormWatch PHD (High)

Drawbacks:
None demonstrated


Blonde fury

Before she started training in self-defense with Paris, Gorgeous had one fewer AP in DEX and BODY and no Martial Artist Skill. Her Initiative was thus three points lower. This is all from standard Character Advancement.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: StormWatch PHD (2007).

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