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Pathfinder

Unbreakables


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

Context

This character is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these characters were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

This specific character was played ina campaign set in the Marvel Universe. Pathfinder provided the team a way to track those teams down when they pulled the usual “teleport retreat.” This was better than Neutralize (Teleportation) because it allowed the group to hit them at their home bases and dismantle the operation.

It should be noted in the campaign where this character was used, the Rules of Engagement were a bit harsher than usual. The PCs gave the opponents one chance to surrender, then did whatever was necessary to subdue and capture them. The heroes did not lose points for killing the villains unless there was a reasonable way to do avoid doing so.

For example, if you’ve warned Sabertooth to surrender and he’s not only ignored you, but he’s about to gut you and your only power is Flame Projection, then too bad if Fang Boy gets the “original recipe or extra crispy ?” treatment. He should have known better.


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: N/A
  • Group Affiliation: U.S. Govt.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 185 lbs. Age: 3
  • Eyes: Silver (smooth orbs) Hair: None


Powers and Abilities

Pathfinder was designed to be an infiltration and reconnaissance cyborg for the US military, and has superhuman physical abilities and the appropriate training for his function. After he was transferred to the Department of Justice he received additional training for police work.

The genetically altered mutant tissues used in Pathfinder’s organics allow him to change his coloration like a chameleon and to “piggy-back” on teleportational paths.


History

Project PATHFINDER was initiated by the DOD to design a infiltration/reconnaissance counterpart to the Deathlok Heavy Assault Cyborg. Physically, the Pathfinder cyborg would be designed with speed and agility in mind, and had a much lighter chassis using advanced plastics to lighten the cyborg as well as minimize the detection signature that metallic materials would suffer.

As with the Deathlok cyborg, Pathfinder would be a cyborg Frankenstein’s Monster, combining cybernetic devices with organic components. Unlike Deathlok, Pathfinder’s organic parts were not harvested from human beings but were instead grown in a genetic engineering lab. Problems with the Deathlok cyborg’s human components likewise encouraged the Pathfinder scientists to grow an organic brain with a programmed personality.

The two principal (and unknowing) genetic “donors” for Pathfinder’s organics were the mutants known as Mystique and Nightcrawler. Hair and blood samples from both had been left behind at the scene of the attempted assassination of Senator Kelly. These two genetic samples were unusually compatible due to their shared lineage and it was hoped that the combination of these mutant abilities would give Pathfinder unprecedented infiltration abilities, including shape-shifting, limited invisibility in darkness, and teleportation.

The genetic hybridization was a failure, leaving Pathfinder with no apparent mutant abilities except the chameleon-like ability to adapt its surface coloration to its environment.

Pathfinder was not intended to be a mere tactical operative, however. In addition to combat training, Pathfinder was instructed in using various political and covert operations techniques to subvert the support networks and assistance provided to the terrorist groups, rebel organizations, and unfriendly governments that were the target of Project PATHFINDER’s operations. A few of these methods included faking or altering radio transmissions and communiqués between parties, planting evidence (real or manufactured) in critical locations, releasing calculated intelligence and misinformation, and inflicting various humiliations upon selected targets to lower their morale and reduce the regard in which they were held by others.

Pathfinder would constantly adjust his immediate objectives in the field, using these techniques as the opportunity arose in order to better serve the overall mission goals. By operating autonomously in this manner, Pathfinder could also minimize his contacts with his handlers, reducing the possibility of exposing the operations in question.

As an unexpected result of the above training, Pathfinder invariably altered most of his field missions in ways considered “unacceptable” by his superiors, even abandoning a couple of operations. The most common problems he cited were the historically demonstrated enmity that covert operations could create with other nations and problematic future results from associations with specific parties.

In his opinion, it seemed contrary to his intended purpose to carry out actions that might create a short-term advantage but ultimately lead to increased international disapproval of the United States government and connect the US with morally reprehensible people and organizations, both leading to a loss in the US’s perceived political legitimacy domestically and abroad.

Despite their increasing anxiety over Pathfinder’s unpredictability, his handlers continued to deploy him; he was very successful at rooting out and destroying paramilitary terrorist groups and they had invested too much money in the project to simply throw it away.

The problems with Pathfinder reached a head when he aborted a mission to destroy the rebel group in Latin America that had been assisted by Deathlok III when he went rogue. Pathfinder actually joined the rebels instead and assassinated the leader against which they were fighting — the leader the US had been trying to protect by sending in Pathfinder.

When he was called on the carpet for his “treasonous activities,” Pathfinder explained that El Presidente was moral filth who was certain to fall anyway and that by changing his mission parameters he had instead brought about a government that would offer greater stability and now had reason to consider the US its friend.

True to Pathfinder’s assessment, the new government was more prosperous and stable, and was on good terms with the US. Still, as far as Pathfinder’s covert operations chiefs were concerned, the only relevant facts were that he had disobeyed them and in the process had screwed over a major US corporation with major military contracts, powerful lobbyists, and important business interests in Latin America. Their first thought was to dismantle Pathfinder, but he had been named a hero of the revolution on international news broadcasts.

He had also informed his superiors that he was aware of certain connections between various elected officials in the US government and the previous regime that may have motivated their tasking him with killing the rebels. He let them know that if anything happened to him every major news agency in the world would know about those same connections.

Ultimately, Pathfinder was a major embarrassment but he had effectively insulated himself from liquidation. The US Department of Justice had also contracted a Roxxon cybernetic warrior program that had produced unfortunate results, in this case overgunned cyborgs that showed such poor judgment that they were sure to cause the DOJ profound problems if they deployed. The DOD and DOJ secretly traded projects: The DOD got Roxxon’s SIEGE Program, and the DOJ got Project PATHFINDER.

Pathfinder engaged in three months of intense training in various law enforcement techniques during which he discovered that he had another mutant ability. He could gather residual energies from spatial warps such as uses of teleportation and duplicate them. Upon his “graduation,” Pathfinder became part of a new DOJ team assembled to battle major supervillain groups (this is the point where our campaign started). This group, based on the Untouchables that hounded Al Capone, was dubbed the Unbreakables (yeah, it was a cheesy name, but what the hell).

The group had a number of significant successes, most notably in bringing down the Marauders who had committed the Morlock Massacre(In our alternate Marvel Universe the Morlock Massacre had created the same outrage among certain civil liberties group that a mass slaughter of the homeless would in the real world, not to mention John Q. Public being less than thrilled with a bunch of depraved killers roaming the streets in general, even if all they’d killed so far was mutant bums).

The Unbreakables got to the scene of the Marauders’ latest rampage and Pathfinder followed their teleportational energies, carrying the team to the Marauders’ secret base. The operation went well for the most part and casualties for the Marauders would have been light except the villain Scrambler tried tampering with the powers of the Unbreakable known as Nemesis and inadvertently triggered a plasma explosion that wiped Scrambler and half the captured Marauders off the face of the Earth in one fell swoop.

Though unintentional, the “Marauder Massacre” established the Unbreakables among the supervillain community as a bunch of half-mad homicidal jackboots and sociopathic thugs, which created as many problems as it solved. Half the villains would thereafter immediately surrender and start begging to be spared, the other half would fight to the death assuming they were going be executed once in custody anyway.

After a routine debriefing following one of these battles, the Unbreakables were on the streets of Washington DC enjoying a quiet night out of their compound when Pathfinder detected someone teleporting into a nearby government office building. The team engaged the intruders briefly and followed them, stumbling upon a new US secret operations team engaged in highly illegal activities.

In the course of the investigation the Unbreakables were framed with carefully created allegations of excessive force and brutality, allegations worsened by the publicity following the Marauder incident, and went rogue while being hunted by numerous superhero groups.

The Unbreakables tracked the conspiracy back to the Vault (the Marvel Universe Earth’s prison for the worst supervillains). They discovered that a scientist on the Vault’s staff was behind the illegal secret operations team. Dr. Foner had used the Controller’s technology to reprogram the supervillains in the Vault to serve him as a superhuman army. With this force under his command, he had begun doing the same to various government officials in the military and intelligence communities to garner yet more power.

When the Unbreakables intruded upon him, he died of apoplexy in true mad-scientist fashion. His last words were meant to be, “Kill them! Kill every one of them!” but his heart gave out and all he managed to gasp out was, “Kill them! Kill every one…”

The Unbreakables faced the greatest battle of their careers, battling many of the worst villains in the world in a desperate attempt to keep them from escaping and killing the world’s population in response to their last order. They also had to deal with the security systems of the Vault, which included the Guardsmen armored security troops. They convinced the Guardsmen of their good intentions, only to be betrayed at the worst possible moment — the Guardsmen were also under the thrall of the control discs, which had been placed in their armor.

Pathfinder had some good fortune in coming across a friend of his, a former military experiment like himself that had been transferred to the Vault for examination. Squeegee was a plant-based humanoid and was “inspired” by the events surrounding the creation of the Man-Thing. Due to his plant biology the controller disk was ineffective, and he joined his fellow artificial life form in subduing the Vault. (Note: one of the things we did in this campaign was save a particular power in reserve for the final scenario, to make the end of the campaign that much bigger an event. Pathfinder’s reserve “power” was his sidekick, Squeegee.)

In the end, the Unbreakables managed to secure the Vault, undo the effects of the controller disks, and decided in true superhero fashion to become a more independent group, becoming a franchise branch of the Avengers. Pathfinder retired from government service to do so despite his superiors’ objections. His former bosses briefly considered filing legal injunctions preventing him from doing so on the grounds that he was government property, but these arguments were dropped at an early stage. The DOJ did not wish to suffer the public relations backlash that would come from trying to impress indentured servitude upon a decorated hero.

Furthermore, it became clear that various events such as the DOJ’s issuance of credentials to Pathfinder could be taken as evidence that they considered him a legal person and thus entitled to the same basic civil rights as anyone else and no one wanted to open that can of worms, considering how many government agencies used similar operatives.. There was also Pathfinder’s history of having dirt on his bosses…


Description

Pathfinder is a tall humanoid male, lithe almost to the point of being skeletal, with dark green skin mottled by black. He only has small ear holes and slits where his ears and nose would normally be and his eyes are silver orbs, mirroring whatever Pathfinder is looking at.

His normal costume is a black bodysuit with hip holsters for his guns and a helmet that looks like a chromed human skull with a leering death’s-head grin and red cabochon crystals for eyes. He initially carried machine pistols, but later switched to electrolaser pistols designed by a fellow team member. The electrolasers were gleaming streamlined art deco pistols that fired electric-blue blasts.

When off-duty, he tends to wear slacks and sweaters that he’s sewn himself. When Pathfinder is on official business but not in the field, he’ll dress in informal business attire — a polo shirt and slacks in dark earth tones — and a black windbreaker. If Pathfinder is assisting a particular law enforcement organization, said windbreaker may bear the initials of that group on the back in large yellow lettering.


Personality

Pathfinder is a very calm individual, almost never getting excited. He is friendly, but is used to working alone and prefers to take on tasks by himself (as would be expected for someone trained to be a solitary scout). He is very adaptable and thinks proactively, constantly planning responses for anticipated situations. During interactions with others Pathfinder evinces a dry wit, frequently slipping subtle barbs into his conversations.

For relaxation he likes to sew, and often presents little gifts of his handiwork; Pathfinder uses the analogies between weaving cloth and the manner in which his DNA and cybernetic parts were woven together as a sort of meditative tool while he contemplates the more philosophical aspects of his existence as an artificial being. He’ll sometimes indulge in forced analogies using sewing as a metaphor for life as a running joke with his friends (“If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s to tie up loose ends before the tapestry of your life begins to unravel.”).


DC Universe History

Pathfinder was a Dayton Industries project and after battling a branch of Brother Blood’s cult in the United States, he was accepted as a member of the Titans. When Jericho betrayed the Titans and used the Wildebeests to try and wipe them out, Pathfinder was temporarily mistaken as one of Jericho’s allies, bringing him into conflict with Deathstroke.

He cleared up the misunderstanding in time to join Nightwing and Deathstroke in stopping Jericho and saving the Titans. Afterward Pathfinder left the Titans and was at loose ends until he was recruited by the DEO as a field agent.


Quotes

“Federal Agent ! I’m armed !”

“The proper response is, ’I’m ready to atone for a lifetime of criminal activity now. Please do not kill me.‘”

“Unless your powers have recently expanded to include a bulletproof face, I suggest you surrender IMMEDIATELY.”

“Let’s see. You people trained me to ’subvert unreliable sociopolitical organizations at any opportunity by any means necessary‘ and then sent me one morally-retarded government mission after another. Yes, my turning on you was obviously a completely unforeseeable event under *those* circumstances.”

“God, I hope that this costume’s actually intimidating ; I’d hate to think I dressed like a Nazi bondage-freak for nothing.”


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Pathfinder

Dex: 08 Str: 07 Bod: 06 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 09 Wil: 10 Min: 10 Occupation: U.S. Counter-Metahuman Agent
Inf: 03 Aur: 04 Spi: 10 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 024 HP: 050

Powers:
Directional Hearing*: 09, Extended Hearing: 06, Jumping: 03, Radio Communication: 14, Running: 07, Shade: 06, Sound Nullify: 06, Super Hearing: 06, Telescopic Vision: 10, Thermal Vision: 08, Ultra Vision: 10

Teleportational Slipstream Powers
Detect (Teleportational Energies): 15, Remote Sensing: 25, Teleportation: 25

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Detect is Always On, has a Range of 8 APs, can pinpoint the exact location from which the target teleported, and can detect energies from teleportations up to 15 APs of time after they occurred (+2FC total)
  • Remote Sensing can only be used for visual sensing and only from the terminus of a teleportational line (see below) (-1FC)
  • Sound Nullify has a Range of Self and adds to Pathfinder’s RV versus sonic attacks rather than reducing the sonic attacks’ APs (-1FC total)
  • Only 8 APs of Telescopic Vision can be used in conjunction with Thermal Vision (-1FC)
  • Teleportation can only be used to follow other teleporters in the manner described below (-2FC)
  • Teleportation can branch off of line at destination and deliver passengers separately (see below) (+2FC)

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing, Dodging): 08*, Artist (Sewing): 04, Detective: 07, Martial Artist: 08*, Military Science (All except FC): 07, Thief: 08*, Thief (Stealth): 10, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 06, Weaponry: 08*

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Schticks (Paired Firearms (Machine Pistols), Paired Firearms/Melee Weapons (Electrolasers); allows AP addition of AV or EV with these weapons and negates 1 CS of penalty when Multi-Attacking with two appropriate firearms, 60 points total), Sharp Eye, Sidekick (Squeegee)

Connections:
Unbreakables (High), Avengers (Low), US Law Enforcement Organizations (Low)

Drawbacks:
Public Identity, Strange Appearance

Equipment:

  • SKULL HELMET & BODYSUIT [/BODY/ 08, Super Ventriloquism (Loudspeaker): 03, Bonus: the suit does not inhibit Pathfinder’s chameleon ability, 5 points]
    This tight-fitting helmet and Kevlar-weave uniform are made of unstable molecules, allowing Pathfinder to use his chameleon ability while wearing them. Though some of the components appear to be metallic, the whole suit is plastic to minimize Pathfinder’s detection profile.
  • Machine Pistols (x2) [BODY 04, Projectile Weapons: 05, Ammo: 10, R#03, Advantage: Autofire]
    Pathfinder’s first weapons were these specially designed machine pistols made out of space-age plastics like his suit and cyborg body parts to avoid detection by magnetic sensors.
  • Flash-Bang Grenades (x2) [BODY 03, EV: 02 (Area of effect 1 AP), Flash: 07 (Area of effect 2 APs), Sensory block (Hearing): 09, Note: all Powers are Combined, Grenade drawback, R#03]
  • Electrolaser (x2) [BODY 10, EV: 03 (07 w/ STR, 09 w/ Martial Artist), Energy Blast: 6/9, first number is stun setting (Bashing Damage), second number is full power (Killing Damage)]
    The Electrolasers were particle-beam weapons designed by the Unbreakables’ armorer. They had reinforced frames and knuckle guards so that Pathfinder could use them as brass knuckles in melee combat (hence the EV score).

Riding the Slipstream

Pathfinder’s Slipstream powers only work in conjunction with one another. First, Pathfinder uses his Detect Power to find and “trace the line” used by a teleporting subject. He then uses Remote Sensing to survey their destination (subtract the distance between Pathfinder and the location to which the villains teleported from Pathfinder’s Remote Sensing, then use the remaining APs of RS as if he were standing in the spot they teleported to). Finally, Pathfinder and any passengers he takes with him use his Teleportation Power to teleport along the same path. Pathfinder may split his passengers up upon arrival: individuals may arrive anywhere within 6 APs of Pathfinder’s destination, though Pathfinder himself must arrive at the target point.

At the GM’s option, Pathfinder can Detect related energies, albeit with less efficiency. In these instances, the powers work as described above, but at +1CS to OV/RV for Warp, +3CS for Time Travel, and +4CS for Dimension Travel.


Karma Chameleon

Pathfinder has a 10-point Miscellaneous Advantage that allows him to change his skin coloring to match his surroundings in a manner similar to a chameleon’s. This gives him a Bonus +1CS to his OV/RV versus attempts to spot him visually. This will usually apply to Perception Checks against his Stealth Subskill, but may factor into other situations at the GM’s option.

Since this is limited to his skin, it does little good while he’s wearing normal clothing. However, Pathfinder’s costume was made of unstable molecules, allowing it to adjust along with his skin tone.


Previous Statistics

During his first few missions Pathfinder’s had Low level Department of Defense Credentials. When Pathfinder was transferred to the Department of Justice, he lost the DOD Credentials but gained Medium Credentials for the DOJ.

The DOJ Credentials were likewise lost when Pathfinder retired from government service, though he can still gather info from various associates through his Connection to US law enforcement agencies.


Squeegee

“GRONK !” (Punches Mr. Hyde through a wall)
Pathfinder: “I think that’s plant-thing for ’I’m gonna hit you so hard you fall through your own ass.‘”

Dex: 03 Str: 14 Bod: 10 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 03 Wil: 06 Min: 05 Occupation: Being a plant
Inf: 01 Aur: 01 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: N/A
Init: 008 HP: 020

Powers:
Damage Capacity: 06, Joined: 04, Plant Growth (Self-Link)*: 10, Regeneration: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:
Growth is Always On (Base STR is 11, Physical OV/RV is 02/13) (-1FC)

Skills:
Martial Artist (AV): 05

Concurrently with the project that created Pathfinder, the DOD began experimenting with Ted Sallis’s super-soldier serum work, including the tragic results of it that left Sallis as the Man-Thing. The outcome was an artificially-grown humanoid vegetable much like the Man-Thing, albeit orange and lacking the carrot-like protuberances (the latter was a considerable irony, given the thing’s hue).

Dubbed Squeegee because of its squeaking voice, it was stronger than the Man-Thing but lost the original’s empathy and the linked acidic attack.

Squeegee turned out to be ill-suited to military life, partly because it wasn’t very aggressive and partly because it simply lacked a knack for things tactical. It did bond well with Pathfinder during some tests together but otherwise wasn’t much inclined toward socializing. Squeegee ended up serving as a curiosity and occasional lab assistant to do grunt work.

Squeegee and Pathfinder were reunited during the Vault incident discussed below and accompanied Pathfinder in establishing the Unbreakables’ off-shoot branch of the Avengers.

By Roy Cowan

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet

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