Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce in Memento)

Leonard Shelby


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


Memento is a cerebral thriller by Christopher Nolan, released in 2000. It tends to be popular with geek, though I wouldn’t call it a genre movie either. It was very successful, and very highly reviewed.

This profile avoids the vast majority of S P O I L E R S, but that leaves it rather brief. It’s a trade-off.


  • Real Name: Leonard “Lenny” Shelby.
  • Marital Status: Widower.
  • Known Relatives: Catherine Shelby (wife, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: L.A..
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 155 lbs. (estimated).
  • Hair: Blond Eyes: Blue


Powers and Abilities

Leonard is a good insurance investigator. However even such keen deductive skill are strained, as his memory periodically resets without warning.

He has a knack for knowing how people feel by looking them into the eyes, although the skill is far from infallible and a good actress could consciously fake her feelings quite well.

Since he started his investigations about the murder of his wife, he has had to learn basic combat abilities, and how to drive a car under difficult, stressful conditions.


The movie trailer in 720p.


Memento is a convoluted story. It is unclear whether Leonard is the real name of an insurance detective looking to avenge his wife’s death at the hands of a robber called John G.. Perhaps he is instead one Sammy Jankis, a customer of Shelby who has taken over his persona but whose wife died when she tried a risky experiment to cure him of his memory blackouts.

Whatever the truth is, the character either is or or believes himself to be chasing the killer of his wife. Since his brain resets every time he sleeps or experiences strong emotions, he has taken steps to ensure he can resumes his investigation even without his memories.

Leonard has a notepad full with the information he gathers. He also has Polaroids of situations or things he wants to remember clearly. Likewise there are key, major facts tattooed over all over his body, and special notes around his house so he can remember to use that wealth of data every new day.

”Teddy” and Natalie are two of the people he has found during his investigations and who want to help him (or so it seems). But their reliability is far from assured…


Clothes-wise his look is a cross between an insurance agent and an archetypal detective.


Despite the darkness that surrounds his beloved wife’s death, Leonard Shelby is as much interested in bringing justice as he is in avenging her death. He is a competent insurance detective and an empathic, decent guy that feels bad when others around him have a bad time.

He will go to great extremes to fulfil his obsession for justice, even breaking the law when it seems that’s the right thing to do.

In many ways his constant capacity for surprise makes him a nicer guy in the eyes of others, who sometimes try to profit from his mental disorder.

DC Universe History

Leonard Shelby can fit as is in any street level campaign (in DC Heroes RPG terms the Genre he plays in the movie is either Gritty or Real). Or the investigation of his wife’s murder can be intertwined with another murder. His mental reset condition could be the effect of some gone bad experiment/therapy of Hugo Strange.

A very interesting scenario would be making “Leonard Shelby” be another person. Possibilities include Batman (during the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer” storyline), Robin or even Superman (just before Invasion !) with a severe mental block. The memories resetting would be a clue of that which temporarily gave them the Leonard stats (or in appearance did so).

He would be investigating the real Leonard’s wife murdering or he could have left the clues about another thing completely different disguised as “finding the murderer”. Perhaps because some mind prober like Brainiac was involved.


“I can remember so much. The feel of the world… Her… She’s gone. And the present is trivia, which I scribble down as fucking notes.”

“Memory can change the shape of a room ; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they are not a record, and they are irrelevant if you have the facts.”

“My wife deserves revenge. It doesn’t make a difference whether I know about it.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Leonard Shelby

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Seeking justice
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 04 Occupation: Insurance detective
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 016 HP: 030

Empathy: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Empathy is a skilled power and requires eye contact (+5 BC, -1FC).

Artist (tattoos): 01, Detective: 05, Martial Artist: 05, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Scholar (Insurance).

Himself (High), Natalie (Low), Teddy (Low).

SIA (avenging his wife), SPI (memory resetting: anterograde memory. Leonard is incapable of creating new memories and thus his memories fade after a while: automatically with each sleep, and sometimes also when he suffers a particularly emotional experience. Sleep “resetting” seems to be absolute and leave him with his skills but no clue regarding who, where or what is he about until he reads the “tattooed facts” and notes, while “emotional” resets seem to only erase the last 15-30 minutes (8-9 APs of time) from his memory).


  • CAR [STR 05 BODY 06, Running: 05, Flash (steady): 04, R#3].
  • Smith & Wesson 3913 9mm [Body: 04, Projectile Weapons: 04, Ammo: 08, R#2].
  • Post-its, polaroids and notepads with THE FACTS [Body: 01, see “Tattooed facts” section below].
  • Also a Polaroid Camera [BODY 01].

Tattooed facts

Lenny must make a Perception Check whenever his memory resets to relearn, from notes or tattoos, the basics about himself. Leonard’s connection to himself entitles him to buy new notes, as if they had been retroactively left in advance: He can spend 5 HPs to ask the GM for another note.

Design Notes

Use of Self Connection is sui generis, but it can do the work.

By KalEl el Vigilante.

Source of Character: Memento movie, character portrayed by Guy Pearce.

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Peter S. Piispanen, Roy Cowan, IMFDB.org (firearm identification).