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Mastodon DP7 (Marvel Comics New Universe)

Mastodon

(Dave Landers)


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

Context

The New Universe was a Marvel imprint — a cluster of comics — from 1986 to 1989. The goal of the project was to have a brand-new super-hero setting that would be more realistic and hard-edged. It was another “what if superhumans appeared in the real world” experiment. Time would also pass at the same pace than in the real world.

The general initiative resembles the later Ultimate Marvel imprint (2000-2015), and various concepts were also used by Marvel’s Jim Shooter in his own comic book companies, such as Valiant.

Mastodon appeared in the book DP7 (Displaced Paranormals 7) – random people with super-powers studied at a special government clinic.


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Background

  • Real Name: David Landers.
  • Other Aliases: “David Landover”, “Jumbo Jim Johnson”, “the Wompus”.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Sam (father, deceased), Rose (mother, deceased), Mark (brother, deceased), Art (uncle), Lisa (sister-in-law).
  • Group Affiliation: Displaced Paranormals-7 (DP7) Aka Group C, Test Group III, Therapy Group C, (former) United States Army.
  • Base Of Operations: Manhattan (former) Oshkosh, Wisconsin, The Clinic for Paranormal Research, Wisconsin; Fort Benning, Georgia; The Pitt, Pennsylvania (formerly known as Pittsburgh).
  • Height: 6’ 11” Weight: 525 lbs. Age: 36
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Since his paranormality manifested, Dave has experienced regular muscle growth. This provided him with superhuman strength sufficient to bench-press at least 15 tons. He continues to experience regular muscle growth.

His skin is also durable enough to resist small arms fire at close range. His system is known to quickly metabolize toxins, drugs and sedatives.

As part of his paranormality, Dave suffers from male pattern baldness. On the other hand the hair on the back of his head and his beard grows at an accelerated rate, around ¼ to ½ inch per day.

Because of a mental block placed in his mind by the ESPeople, Dave is immune to most forms of paranormal mental influence, specifically invasion of his mind.


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History

Dave Landers was born on September 21, 1952 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He graduated high school in 1970. As of 1986, he was working for the Waupaca Cheese Factory.

Dave was raised a Lutheran. However, he lost his faith completely after the death of the rest of his family. His brother Mark committed suicide in 1983, his father died of cancer in 1984, and his mother died of illness in 1985. It was suggested that his mother died in part because she waited too long to go to the hospital.

On September 20, 1986, Dave woke up after a night of drinking with co-workers. He was suffering from extreme localized muscle spasms. He was also extremely hungry. He called a female co-worker named Sue to help, but because he didn’t want to be taken to a hospital, the help was limited to buying large amounts of groceries.

After the White Event

Over the next week, without any exercise and while experiencing extreme pain, David put on over 200 pounds of muscle. He also lost most of the hair on the top of his head and grew a foot taller.

Dave eventually attempted suicide, by consuming two bottles of painkillers. But Sue found him unconscious and phoned the hospital. He was taken to Winnebago County General Hospital, where he was treated in the emergency room by Dr. Randy O’Brien.

Dave woke up while he was being treated. He began throwing people around until Randy was able to sedate him. When he next awoke, Dave explained what happened to Randy, who promised to help him.

Randy was also experiencing some strange paranormal phenomenon. When he saw an ad for the Clinic for Paranormal Research, he wondered if it might not be the solution to both problems. Randy’s shadowy double (or “antibody” as it came to be called) then sought Dave out and showed him what Randy read. Dave left the hospital and showed up at Randy’s door.

The Clinic…

The next day, the two drove to the Clinic. They met with a doctor, who gave them a tour. They decided to give their treatment a try. Both men were assigned to Therapy Group C, where they met a number of other paranormals.

Dave developed an instant crush on Stephanie Harrington, one of the members of his group. But because she was married and he was insecure, Dave refrained from telling her for many years. Still, she was one of a number of reasons Dave stuck with the Clinic and began to accept his situation. He also found that regular exercise reduced the pain of new muscles.

After a month at the Clinic, Dave was awoken by Randy’s antibody. The manifestation showed him that the Clinic had been spying on them. When he went to talk to Randy about it, he found Randy being carried by Clinic chief of security Harlan Hackbarth. Hackbarth used his paranormal ability to induce a severe muscle spasm in Dave to get past him.

… it’s a magical place

Dave rallied the rest of their therapy group to go after Randy. But when they confronted Hackbarth he used his ability to control the physiologies of others against all of them. Dave worked against extreme pain and knocked Hackbarth unconscious. From there, the group decided to flee the Clinic.

Mastodon carries a wounded man

After they acquired transportation, Dave suggested that everybody hole up in his trailer park. Before they got there, they were attacked by a trio of paranormal bounty hunters hired by the Clinic. After defeating them, Dave decided to take his trailer on the road.

At one point while on the run, Dave was mistaken for “the Wompus”. That was a Bigfoot-like creature out of local legend, that was supposedly mutilating cattle. Dave was forced to wait in jail while his friends proved his innocence.

Band on the run

At several times while they were together, Dave exerted his will over the group to do what Stephanie wanted to do. The first occasion was when he took her home to see her children, only to find that their father had sent them to live with their grandmother. The man also called the clinic bounty hunters on them, so they were forced to flee.

Later, despite his general disbelief in religion, Dave went through with an attempt to remove their paranormal powers through an exorcism.

Finally, when Stephanie began to miss her kids too much, they concocted a secret plan to go kidnap her kids from their grandmother. He traded in his trailer for a Winnebago  owned by his uncle. The group split up, with Dave traveling with Stephanie and Lenore Fenzl.

They picked up Stephanie’s oldest son from school, and then went to Chuck’s mother to pick up the rest. While Stephanie was inside, Dave noticed her husband Chuck visiting, and attempted to detain him. Chuck hit him with a baseball bat and Dave, enraged, threw Chuck onto the roof, severely injuring him.

He later let Stephanie visit Chuck in the hospital to try and heal him, but she went missing. After searching for her for quite a while, Dave and Lenore reluctantly decided to return the children to their grandmother. They were forced to subdue the police officers a neighbor called, but, when they returned to the Winnebago, they found a bounty hunter waiting for them.

He tranquilized them both, but Dave’s large size allowed him to get away. He considered going back for Lenore, but he was too afraid of being caught.

Paranormals gone wild

While on the run solo, Dave found himself in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin. There he was found by a Huntsman living apart from civilization. He stayed with the Huntsman for months, learning how to fight and survive in the wild, before deciding he needed to return and see if he could do something for his friends.

Running from more bounty hunters, Dave was rescued by a small group of paranormals with psychic powers calling themselves the ESPeople. They hid from the rest of the world, and invited Dave to join them. But when he refused the group decided that they didn’t want anybody to find out about them through Dave.

Their leader implanted a mental block in Dave’s mind to keep him from remembering their encounter. In the process, he also installed a mental security system to prevent psychic tampering.

Unfortunately, Dave was surprised by bounty hunters shortly after leaving the ESPeople. Thus, he was brought back to the Clinic. When Clinic Therapists Charne and Speck, themselves paranormals, attempted to brainwash him, the “security system” knocked them both unconscious.

Voigts kampf

Dave found Randy and attempted to go and rescue the others. But he discovered that most of them had been brainwashed, and that Stephanie was in some kind of coma. They encountered Clinic head Philip Nolan Voigt who revealed himself to be a paranormal capable of copying any other power.

Randy and Dave fought with him until Voigt generated a giant antibody and was pulled inside of it. When Dave destroyed the antibody, Voigt was nowhere to be found.

Randy convinced Dave to stay at the Clinic until they found out whether Dave was the only ’bad apple‘ at the Clinic. Dave was also interested in finding out what happened to Stephanie.

He threatened Dr. Dexter Charne, who claimed that Hackbarth was trying to kill Stephanie. When he tried to stop it, Stephanie was accidentally caught in the backlash. This prompted Dave to attempt to kill the comatose Hackbarth, until Randy’s antibodies pulled him off the man.

Shortly afterwards, Charne put the Clinic’s new interim director into a coma as a bid to gain power. When Dave learned of this, he assumed Charne was responsible for Stephanie. He was prepared to kill the man, but before he was able to one of Randy’s new antibodies strangled the man to death.

For the next several months, Dave was at the Clinic. He joined their sanitation department and later security. Landers tried his best to preserve the Clinic he’d recently spent all his effort staying away from. He spent much of his free time by Stephanie’s bedside, reading to her. Another paranormal, Merriam Sorensen (nicknamed Sponge) developed a crush on Dave, although he was still hung up on Stephanie.

The Pitt

Dave’s friend Jeff Walters left the Clinic suddenly in the aftermath of the destruction of Pittsburgh, because he had family in the area. When Randy suggested going after him, Dave reluctantly left Stephanie and came along. Sponge also tagged along.

Mastodon maintains order

They drove as far as they could in Dave’s old Winnebago. They walked the rest of the way, until they fell over the side of the Pitt when the edge crumbled away. Dave initially grabbed hold of the bedrock, saving himself from the fall, but when the rock crumbled further he fell almost all the way to the bottom. all he could do then was wait for Randy’s antibodies to come back and rescue him.

There he found Jeff, circling near the bottom of the Pitt. He tried to save Jeff by climbing out, but when a sheet of rock broke off they fell to the bottom, and would have died if they’d not been saved by Jennifer Swensen in her MAX Armor. Dave was weak and nearly unconscious for a while after that. This lasted until Sponge managed to wake him up in order to deal with a vicious paranormal named Pitt Bull.

Immediately after the fight, the group was surrounded by the United States Army and captured.

The draft

Dave, Randy, and Jeff were informed about a paranormal draft. In order to escape prosecution for being in a restricted area, they were signed up.

At boot camp, Dave learned that the Clinic had been closed, and felt extreme guilt about leaving Stephanie. He also came into conflict with members of Psi-Force as they attempted to rescue one of their own. Eventually, Dave let them go, recognizing that they needed to escape, a desire he understood.

The army’s dream analyst, Dr. Keith Remsen learned about Stephanie from Dave’s dreams. He informed the Army. Dave was instructed to accompany Major Zentner, a paranormal bloodhound who had previously tracked Dave for Voigt, to attempt to recruit her.

There, Dave saw that Stephanie had reunited with her husband. Instead of talking her into enlisting, Dave struck the Major and told Stephanie to run. Then he broke the Major’s nose so he could not use his own paranormal power to track them. Landers ran for Canada, but he was soon caught.

The brig

The Army placed him into solitary confinement, in part because he proved immune to the drill sergeant’s power of projecting despair. After almost a month of being alone in the dark, with nobody else to talk to, Dave began to hallucinate. Eventually, he attempted suicide by impaling himself on a sharp spike of metal torn from the wall.

Randy O’Brien and others performed surgery on Dave to save his life. Landers was then transferred to a less solitary holding facility. There he was offered a deal. Dave and two other troublesome paranormals would be dropped over The Pitt to search for a missing civilian science team.

In exchange for finding them, the criminal charges would be dropped. Dave agreed after being threatened with life imprisonment in solitary confinement.

One of the paranormals Dave was sent with was convinced the mission was designed to get rid of them. He thought that nobody would be coming to pick them up, and attempted to kill Dave for his food. However, he died in the attempt.

Randy came after Dave, determined not to let his friend down again, but was incapacitated over the Pitt. Dave was able to find him and rescue him from an oncoming lava flow. Then, he climbed the side of the Pitt for days to get out.

Voigt annulled

Confident they Army was no longer interested in the two of them, Randy and Dave headed for New York. Once there, they learned Philip Nolan Voigt was now a presidential candidate.

At his campaign headquarters, they confronted Voigt. Upon learning that he couldn’t mind control them, Voigt revealed a number of Dave’s former friends, including both Stephanie and Sponge. Voigt ordered the girls to kill Dave and Randy. Unable to resist the mental compulsion, they obeyed.

Just before they killed Dave and Randy, Voigt stopped them. He warned the intruders that if they tried to interfere with his plans, he’d order them all to kill themselves. The reunited group were then able to become friends, even moving in together. Later, Dave and Randy were able to convince Jacob Burnley, then-current holder of the Star Brand, to take on Voigt on their behalf.

Friends and loved ones

Dave remained in New York with the others. He was aware that Merriam had a crush on him but he was still attracted to Stephanie. When he learned Stephanie wanted to go back home to Wisconsin but felt trapped in New York, he rented her a car. He even offered to drive her and her family home.

Dave hoped that he’d get the chance to tell her how he felt and offer to stay with her and build a family. But he kept chickening out, and, when the trip was over, let her go with no more than a “write me sometime.”.

As he was about to start back, he was approached by Michael Crawley, a teen from the Clinic. Michael told Dave that Scuzz was involved in a cult. Dave attempted to rescue Scuzz, bringing him to New York, although Scuzz wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. Dave was eventually forced to decide that even if Dave didn’t believe in the religion, it had done Scuzz some good, and let him go his own way.

After giving up his chance with Stephanie, Dave decided to give a full-fledged relationship with Merriam a chance. They began to date. But less than two months later, Stephanie showed up back in New York, having found that the people back home couldn’t accept her.

Landers realized he was still in love with her, and when Merriam felt threatened and asked Stephanie to leave, Dave saw it as his last chance. He tracked Stephanie down and told her how he felt. They kissed, and Dave returned home to find Merriam had already left.


Description

6’ 11”, 525 lb. Gentle Giant. Sometimes mistaken for Bigfoot. Normals’ first reaction to him is usually a fearful one. His clothes are almost always makeshift because they simply do not manufacture clothing in his sizes.


Personality

For what may be the strongest human in the world for his particular universe, Dave is a surprisingly insecure and uncertain man. Even when he’s using his great power to help others, which most supers feel is the most fulfilling thing they can do, Dave isn’t always sure it’s the right thing to do, unless doing nothing would be worse.

He is unsure of himself and his place in the world. He has a distinct tendency to brood, partly because his entire family has died in the recent past. Though it was never shown, it may be likely that since getting together with Stephanie, that may change.

Though a depressive personality and somewhat self-absorbed (maybe even a tad neurotic), Dave can be just as strong and powerful a personality as his namesake. Try threatening his family and friends, and you bring out a great bear of a man who will break you in half (perhaps literally) rather than allowing them to be hurt.


Quotes

“I look like the missing link, Bigfoot ! I used to be a normal guy – now I’m a freak ! I gave it a lot of thought, Doc… I don’t want to live the rest of my life looking like *this*. If you can’t do anything to help me… then give me something to put me out of my misery, like the sick animal I am.”

(Entering the Clinic for the first time) “Wonder what their idea of ‘Paranormal’ is here… Bet they haven’t seen anything like *us*.”

(After Blur has played a joke on him) “Grrrrrr ! Don’t *ever* try to make fun of me again ! See this aluminum chair leg ?” (crushes it in his hands) “Be glad it’s not your head !”


DC Universe History

DP7 and their fellow clinic patients were metahumans triggered by the metagene bomb who felt cursed by their new powers. Philip Nolan Voight would have been an associate of Niles Caulder (in Caulder’s much more evil Grant Morrison-written stage) with his own, sinister agenda.

Caulder’s death took place shortly after Voight fled the Clinic and he became an independent operator.

A low-level brick compared to most of the DCU, Mastodon and his DP7 partners can be inserted whole-cloth.

Substitute the Destruction of Blüdhaven for the Pitt. The side-effects of exposure to the former Chemo’s chemicals and the radiations emitted by various parties in the Blüdhaven ruins could substitute for the Pitt Juice/ After fleeing the Army, the DP-7s settled in post-One Year Later Gotham.

Dave’s and the other Paranormals’ pre-empowered lives need to remain untouched by their greater universe to maintain their “everyman”, absolutely normal character vibe.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Mastodon

A 386 Point Character

Dex: 04 Str: 09 Bod: 07 Motivation: Responsibility to His Friends
Int: 02 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Furniture Mover, Former US Army Private, Cheese Factory Worker
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 013 HP: 030

Powers:
Growth: 01, Density Increase: 02, Systemic Antidote: 02, Reflection/Deflection: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Growth: Always On (-1), Already Figured In (+1).
  • Density Increase: Always On (-1), Already Figured In (+1).
  • Reflection/Deflection is for Mental Attacks Only (-2), and is Always On (+1).

Skills:
Charisma (Intimidation): 04, Martial Artist: 04, Vehicles (Land Vehicles): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Wisconsin).

Connections:
DP7 (High), Huntsman (Low), ESPeople (Low).

Drawbacks:
Partial Attack Vulnerability (Piercing Attacks, -1 Column Shift, RV Only), Dark Secret (Army Deserter), Guilt, SIA (Stephanie Harrington/Aka Glitter), Minor Physical Restriction (Extra Huge), Distinct Appearance, Uncertainty, MPI (Depression/Suicidal)- Landers is very susceptible to going into severe clinical depression when things are going badly for him (As when he was put in Solitary Confinement for striking an officer while in the Army); he may in times like this become suicidal and may try to take his own life.


Previous statistics

Dave began his early DP7 career with STR 07 and BODY 06, with no Reflection power. At first measurement at the Clinic he was 6’ 7” and 350 lb. As he got bigger, his BODY, STR, height and weight increased. Presumably it continues to increase today, and he might be even larger and stronger.

Early on, his Winnebago was considered a Headquarters (Confined).

He did not have Lightning Reflexes before he trained with the Huntsman.

By Pufnstuff.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, John Walchle (for his original beta version), Frank Murdock, Ethan Roe, marvunapp.com , Technohol.com .

Source of Character: Marvel Comics’ New Universe Series of Books, circa 1986-90, Primarily DP7 #1-32.

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