6021 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Mister Melmoth (7 Soldiers) (DC Comics)

Mister Melmoth


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

“Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game.”

Context

Mr. Melmoth is part of the Seven Soldiers epic DC Universe series by Grant Morrison, in 2005/6. Though he doesn’t appear that much, he plays an important role in the plot.

This profile has S P O I L E R S about this exceptionally good series. At the same time, you’ll have to read multiple Seven Soldiers profiles on writeups.org to piece together said plot. Explaining every single thing in every single entry would be… unwieldy.

Melmoth’s legacy in the DC Universe is sprawling. It artfully melds the organized gangs, conspiracies, weird science and the occult, among other things. So it certainly could be an interesting angle for stories.


Advertisement


Background

  • Real Name: Melmoth.
  • Marital Status: Presumably widowed and remarried.
  • Known Relatives: Rhiannon (aka Misty Kilgore, daughter), Gloriana Tenebræ (estranged wife), the entire population of Limbo Town (descendants), presumably one wife before Gloriana (decased).
  • Group Affiliation: His own conspiracy.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Eyes: Black Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Melmoth used to be a normal Sheeda, which seems to imply a lifespan of several millennia. He also had a gift for communication and power-brokering.

After the found the Undry Caultron, he replaced much of his blood with the Water of Life itself. That made him immortal and unkillable. He can eventually recover from just about anything. But if the damage is too massive, it is going to be messy and may involve getting spare parts from a variety of people.

Melmoth schemed and built his power base for 10,000 years. His criminal alliances and hidden sources of wealth and power throughout the globe are barely imaginable. He went through various reversals of fortune that took away resources, but this also means that what he could still draw upon was more complicated than if it had been organised in one go.

His resources are also difficult to concentrate in one area at one time. What he built is closer to a resistance network. His strategy was to turn the XXIst century into a booby trap for Gloriana.

Melmoth could gather some allies called Maggots. Their nature is unclear, but they seem to be Sheeda living weapons.


Advertisement


History

King Melmoth of the Sheeda likely had a first Queen, the mother of Rhiannon, who may have been imported from the past. Eventually she died or disappeared and was replaced by Gloriana Tenebræ.

The new Queen had boundless, ruthless ambition. She got rid of Rhiannon by making her forget everything and having the Celestial Huntsman, the Nebula Man, take her into the distant past and kill her. Since Gloriana intended to live forever, she did not need a princess.

During the Harrowing of the Camelot of 8,000 BC, she got rid of Melmoth himself. Gloriana presumably pretended that he had been killed during the war.

(Melmoth described this Harrowing as “the first fall of Camelot”. I’m assuming that he was counting in the order experienced by the Sheeda as they Harrowed, not in the linear chronological order).

King in exile

But Melmoth had survived. He even endured the terrible, awful decades that usually follow a Harrowing – in this case, the reign of King Mordredd the Dead. But he had no resources, or means to travel through time.

Thus, Melmoth created secret networks and accumulate soldiers and resources through the slow trickle of centuries. His goal was to set a deadly trap for his Queen, to be sprung during the next Harrowing. From there he might be able to kill her and reclaim the throne.

Only a few data points are known about multi-millennia career, most of them unclear.

Undry Cauldron

Melmoth found a key relic of the Sheeda empire, the Cauldron of Plenty. It had been thrown into the timestream by the Shining Knight and landed in Slaughter Swamp, to the North of Gotham City. This potent artefact was an incredible asset. Melmoth went so far as to replace his own blood with the Water of Life from the Cauldron.

The Cauldron would, millennia or centuries later, be stolen from him by Don Vincenzo Baldi. This presumably occurred somewhen between 1950 and 1980.

Roanoke

Melmoth also manipulated the small American town of Roanoke  into believing in an artificial god, Croatoan. From there he had them flee the surface world to find refuge deep under New York City.

Mister Melmoth and mob soldiers

He had “spider sex” (whatever that is) with all females of childbearing age in Roanoke. That ensured the entire town would be populated by his descendants, and that the male descendants would become grundies.

Limbo Town was probably originally intended to be a ’deep stealth‘ resource he could reclaim after the next Harrowing if everything failed; It may have been an ace-in-the-hole to repopulate the Earth with his descendants.

This thing of ours

Much of Melmoth’s power base was into criminal circles. Organized crime had multi-generational clans he could forge alliances over centuries and beyond.

Possibly his most extensive alliance in the US was with the East Coast Mafia family headed by Don Silencio. It controlled much of New York City and possibly beyond. Melmoth was close to them, working with father then son over many generations.

For decades, the Silencios warred with the Undying Don, Vincenzo Baldi (formerly Kid Scarface), who had stolen the Cauldron. Despite their resources the Silencios were never able to reclaim the Cauldron from the ruthless, powerful and gifted Vincenzo.

The Silencio clan was eventually dealt a potentially fatal blow in 2005. This is when Frankenstein killed the Silencio son on Mars and the elder Don died from a stroke when he heard the news.

Get your ass to Mars

Asides from his criminal contacts, Melmoth had access to some weird science resources.

In particular he set up in a Silencio building in Manhattan an Erdel Gate. It was derived from the technology of the professor who had summoned the Martian Manhunter back in the 1950s. This gate was used to access the Mars of an unrevealed time period (likely the present or a few centuries into the future).

Eventually Melmoth’s allies discovered incredibly ancient tombs of a long-lost Martian empire. At least one of the tombs contained unimaginable amounts of gold, but required a vast excavation project to unearth.

Melmoth made a change to at least one of the youth gangs he controlled, the Deviants of New York City. Now any member who reached the age of 16 was promoted to the Red Team. Most kids thought it was an elite criminal force. It actually was a chain gang working in inhumane conditions on Mars to slowly clear a path toward the depths of the tomb.

This operation was wrecked in 2005 by Frankenstein. The creature killed all the soldatos present and rescued the slave workers.

In wrath’s name

Ironically, Frankenstein was another spawn of Mister Melmoth.

In 1816, young Swiss doctor Victor Frankenstein, looking for the secrets of eternal life, contacted Melmoth. He presumably didn’t know about his nature, but had heard of his undying existence. Melmoth gave some of his blood to Dr. Frankenstein, who used it to animate his creation. A bride would later follow.

Melmoth likely hoped to get a weapon out of the experiment. But the creature, who came to adopt the name “Frankenstein”, saw himself as a protector of humanity. As such he repeatedly clashed with Melmoth and his assets. Frankenstein inflicted vast destruction, and couldn’t be stopped since the was animated by Melmoth’s blood.

XIXth and XXth centuries

In 1870, Frankenstein had a brutal clash with Melmoth after boarding his private train in the Southwestern USA. He cleft and shot his way through the Maggots protecting Melmoth, then decapitated Melmoth with a shotgun blast. Melmoth’s head landed in the combustion chamber of the train, which then jumped off a cliff, crashed after a long fall and exploded.

Presumably assuming that Melmoth would not be able to come back for centuries, Frankenstein remained in a sort of suspended animation underneath the crash site.

But Melmoth was back by, at the latest, the late XXth century. With Frankenstein out of the picture, he could repair much of the damage to his assets.

The Harrowing comes

Howbeit the Harrowing drew near, Melmoth encountered a series of setbacks. The existence of Limbo Town literally resurfaced after a renegade witchboy, Klarion, reached New York City. Then Klarion stumbled upon Melmoth and his Silencio clan allies.

Melmoth decided to inflict an Harrowing of his own on Limbo Town. That sacrificed a long-term resource, but he needed more assets now. But Klarion turned against him, and the Silencio soldatos who conquered Limbo Town were all killed. Melmoth himself, badly damaged but unkillable, had to leave and regenerate.

A short time later he went to check on the progress of the Red Team. They were about to reach the main vault in the Martian tomb. Even if the Harrowing were to fell the Earth, which was likely, he could always stage his return from Mars.

This too broke bad. The Red Zombies guarding the tomb reanimated as the doors were tampered with. A slave revolt was in the cards. Frankenstein barged in, killing all the guards, seizing Melmoth and taking the slaves back to Earth.

Melmoth was thrown to the ferocious man-eating horses of Mars. Even through Melmoth could survive being eaten and digested by several beasts, his form would become dung. Reintegrating would likely take a long, long while – unless he gets help.


Notes about the names

Melmoth

From Melmoth the Wanderer , a classic Gothic Horror novel by C. Maturin. The novel’s John Melmoth is not unlike the deposed King of the Sheeda : a scholar who sold his soul for a century and a half of extra life, and dealing in curses.

Having Melmoth and Frankenstein clash is thus thematically consistent, since they are two of the biggest Romantic, Gothic Horror figures, along with Lord Ruthven . ”Melmoth” seems to be his actual, Sheeda name.

Rhiannon

Misty Kilgore’s real name is Rhiannon. Who us the Equestrian Goddess of the Welsh myth. Fittingly, the goddess is also called “the maid of Annwn”, which in Seven Soldiers becomes a pun between Welsh and English (“Annwn” -> “Unwhen”, another name for Summer’s End).

Rhiannon’s key symbol is she rides a white horse, as Misty did with Vanguard. Rhiannon is sometimes considered to be a local variation on the Gaul goddess Epona, a psychopomp . However, that role in the story is actually played by Ali Ka-Zoom.

Gloriana Tenebrae

“Gloriana Tenebræ” can be loosely translated as “she who bears the glory of all darkness”. She is the mythic Evil Stepmother, and keeps biting into apples. Asides from the Biblical symbolism, this also crosses over with the poisoned apple in fairy tales, and with Avallon being translated as “the land of apples”.

While Melmoth is a Romantic villain, the Queen of Terror is a postmodern one. Thus she is efficient, flexible, moving through subtle disguises and manipulations, glorifying lies and twisting basic human values… and doing all of this because she must ensure the survival of humanity in its darkest hour.


Description

In 2005, Melmoth still bore the awful scars of his decaptation by Frankenstein in 1870.

In fact he looked much more Sheeda-like in 2005 than in 1870. Perhaps it was a side effect of his regeneration.


Personality

Melmoth is ruthless. He sees no value whatsoever in the fleeting lives of others and exploiting them whenever convenient.

He was essentially a smooth-talking, manipulative clinical sociopath, only caring about the advancement of his own interests and his revenge against the Queen of Terror.


Quotes

“But let me introduce myself. I am Mister Melmoth.”

“I’m a King. The last King ever. And I was usurped by an ambitious, evil bitch who dumped me at the first fall of Camelot, and left me to walk home through the long centuries. I’ve been wandering this godforsaken Earth for 10,000 years, my son. I stumbled across plague cities on the backs of the dead, a grotesque withered fossil, kept alive by magic and bloody-minded rage. And then I heard tell of Slaughter Swamp… and found the lost Cauldron of Rebirth there, giving life to a village of drowned corpses. But I had my blood drained and replaced with the waters of eternal life. Did I tell you about my wife ? She eats civilizations and she’s coming to eat yours. That’s who I am.”

“I could have saved [mankind] from her ! I could have saved them ! A curse on you, Frankenstein !”

“Everyone’s looking very professional. I like that. It’s important to dress for the occasion. After all, it’s not every day you get a chance to plunder a society unchanged since the XVIth century, mmmm ?”

“I had spider-sex with all of your ancestors, you know. All those hot Puritan girls. They thought I was the Devil and they crawled underground to have our babies.”

(After one of his soldatos guns down a resisting witch-woman) “I won’t have any of that, see ? Let’s keep resistance to a minimum, shall we ? Mmmmm ?”


Sharing



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Melmoth

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 06 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Secret networks leader
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 020
Init: 013 HP: 040

Powers:
Cold immunity: 01, Damage capacity*: 06, Flame being: 04, Invulnerability: 20, Regeneration: 04, Sealed systems: 06, Systemic antidote: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
Flame being can only be activated when Melmoth is under the effects of Invulnerability after having lost a lot of blood.

Skills:
Animal handling (horses): 04, Charisma: 06, Occultist: 05, Vehicles: 04, Weaponry: 03

Advantages:
Credentials (Sheeda not serving Gloriana, High), Gift of Gab, Immortal, Iron Nerves, Life support (Melmoth can function in unusually low or high conditions of pressure and temperature, such as Mars), Stabilization, Misc.: If Melmoth loses limbs or organs, they can be replaced using appropriate fresh body parts.

Connections:
Don Silencio (High), Underworld (High), Street (High), Deviants street gang(s) (High), Omi-Connections.

Drawbacks:
Arch-enemy (Frankenstein), Creepy Appearance (blueish skin, dark eyes), Exile (Involuntary).

Equipment:
None – though at one point the stole a witch-brand from Limbo Town and used it against Frankenstein.


Design Notes

I prefer not to use the enemy/arch-enemy Drawback too much and to keep it for unusually clear-cut case ; in this case, being hunted by Frankensten should really, really be worth points. Lots of them.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Seven Soldiers metaseries (2005).

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

You can learn more with the writeups.org FAQ.