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Pyro - Marvel Comics - X-Men mutant enemy - Fire claw vs Colossus

Pyro

(The 1980s)


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

Context

Pyro was one of the recurrent opponents of the X-Men during Chris Claremont’s lengthy run (1873-2049) on the X-books. He has continued to appear and develop since.

Like many of his allies, he’s a convenient stock baddie in many kinds of stories.

Pyro’s creation probably wasn’t inspired by the catastrophic 1974/75 brushfires in Australia. Since he was originally meant to be English.

Sequencing

This profile is meant to be read after :

  1. Our Brotherhood of Evil Mutants v4 team profile.
  2. Our Freedom Force team profile.

For now, it covers the same span of time (1979 -> 1991) as the two team profiles. Since they were written simultaneously.


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Background

  • Real Name: St. John Allerdyce.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (v4), then Freedom Force.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond.


Powers & Abilities

Pyro seems to have a good level of fitness.

He also appears to have received general field operations training. Including vehicular skills, such as piloting helicopters.

He has experience as a press reporter, and has written novels that sold well. He’s also familiar with Anglophone literature.

A sourcebook mentions he was taught some hand-to-hand combat skills in his youth. Perhaps a style of Silat and some Việt Võ Đạo. But he’s not an expert.


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And I bring you… fire

If Pyro sees an open flame, he can take control of it. He can modify its size, intensity, movement, etc. in a telekinesis-like manner.

The typical, simple manifestation of this is flamethrower-like jets of fire.

Oddly enough, he can also modify a flame’s mass. This allows for fire to exert physical force (say, to hold or grapple something) while remaining too diffuse to be punched. This suggests that Pyro converts flame into some exotic sort of plasma.

It is common for Pyro to form a creature out of flame (often a humanoid or an animal). In effect, he’s summoning a big fire monster to fight for him. He needs to focus on animating this construct, but doesn’t need to gesture.

Usually, Pyro’s flame constructs take the form of a bird (sometimes a pterodactyl. Or a pyrodactyl, I guess) or of a somewhat demonic humanoid.

Fire, to destroy all you’ve done

Jets of fire and fire creatures are the bulk of what Pyro does. But there have been more niche applications :

  • Taking control of flame or heat emitted by other superhumans. He could do this even with Rusty Collin’s pyrokinesis, and with Firestar’s microwave beams.
  • Forming solid objects. Such as a ventilator to disperse smoke from one of Hawkeye’s arrows.
  • Increasing the density of the smoke from his flamethrowers (below). He doesn’t seem able to do that with other sources of smoke, so the smoke he manipulates might be mixed with burning fuel. It was used to make smoke cling to a person, or to block a thrown projectile.
  • Hurling a fireball whose blast is concussive force, rather than heat.

Pyro - Marvel Comics - X-Men mutant enemy - Flame monster

Even though it can reach extreme temperatures, Pyro-controlled fire will be put out by sufficiently high volumes of water, loose soil, etc.. For instance, Storm never had much trouble drowning or blowing out his creations.

Pyro once was dazed by one of his creations being destroyed. But that was very early during his career, and the shock lasted but seconds.

I’ve kept my notes under the game stats section, if you want the blow-by-blow rather than the summary.

Fire, to end all you’ve become

However, Pyro cannot *generate* fire. Which is why I’m not calling him a pyrokinetic.

To get around this limitation, Pyro is equipped with a compact flamethrower. It consists of a backpack and two pressurised nozzles. Since Pyro can increase the size and intensity of the flame and control its trajectory, he doesn’t need that much fuel.

It doesn’t seem to use a sticky substance, such as napalm. It presumably runs on modified aviation fuel.

His costume is also fire-resistant, and includes protective goggles. However, he has no special protection against smoke.


History

Australian mutant St. John Allerdyce seldom used his powers until he was well in his 20s.

At first, he couldn’t think of a way to make a living out of them. And over time, outing himself as homo superior seemed increasingly unwise.

He drifted from job to job in the South Seas. Allerdyce ended up writing for an Australian news wire service about Indonesia and Việt Nam.

(This background is first mentioned in a 1983 sourcebook, and covers his life before 1978 or so. We can thus imagine that Mr. Allerdyce reported on the fall of South Việt Nam and the war in East Timor  during the mid-1970s).

Allerdyce wrote novels based on his travels, and later branched out into Gothic romance novels.

These books sold well, but were critically panned.

Brotherhood

Pyro appears to have been the first recruit for Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutant. He was part of the first documented Brotherhood mission, to free a mutant lad from a lab.

Pyro - Marvel Comics - X-Men mutant enemy - Bird of fire attacking Wonder Man and Spider-Woman

The mission wobbled out of control for a bit. Mystique had brought Rogue along to begin teaching her, but she did so badly and Rogue was too young. Still, the nascent Brotherhood was successful.

Pyro was also part of the attempts at killing Carol Danvers. But at this point, the Brotherhood was at strength.

Team player

For there on, Pyro always appears as part of the team. The team profiles for the Brotherhood and Freedom Force therefore have all the info.

Mr. Allerdyce continued to write during those years. In 1989, he mentioned that his new book had just been released.


Description

Pyro occasionally used an unspecified English accent, plus Britishisms. Perhaps he was fed up with all the 1970s “Bruce” jokes , Bruce.

He’s slimmer than most super-heroes. Though by realistic standards that would still make him a powerful athlete.

Early appearances had him sport dandy-like, more sophisticated late 1970s clothing and hairdressing styles.

This gradually receded, though he kept flowing hairstyles evoking rising flames. It might be that his hair is a bit mutated. Rather than, say, styled using hair gel.


Personality

Pyro apparently wanted to be a mutant freedom fighter. But as time went by he drifted toward becoming a bully and a criminal.

This may be in part because his power brings physical pleasure. Doing big, impressive demonstrations of his might is thus encouraged. He loves showing off while rambling about his power and playing with his opponents.

Pyro is particularly fond of the word “cobber”, an older equivalent of “mate”. Once he was retconned  from being English to being Australian, he started using more such Australianisms.

Other traits

There’s a faint pattern of Pyro being :

  • More of a boor and thug when he’s with the Blob.
  • More disciplined and professional when he’s with Avalanche.
  • More concerned with mutant issues and responsibility when he’s with Mystique.

He considered Joyce to be gibberish. Pyro seems more interested in writing books that readers enjoy, than in big-A Art.

Pyro drinks and smokes regularly, as was the norm back in the distant era of the 1980s.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Pyro (1980s)

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: 04 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Wealth: 004
Init: 010 HP: 035

Powers:
Bomb: 06, Darkness: 06, Dispersal: 04, Enchantment: 04, Flame animation: 07, Flame being: 05, Flame Control: 10, Force manipulation: 05, Snare: 12, Split: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers require the presence of an open flame.
  • Bomb can use a Blunt Descriptor, or a Heat/Flame one.
  • Darkness is usually done with clingy smoke. Or bright but low-temp volumes of flame.
  • Enchantment can only be used on Powers that are produced by an open flame. Such as Flame Project, Flame Being, Pyrotechnics, one score of a Flame Animation (which is considered “another character” if it’s Pyro’s)… Plus edge cases where flame is used to perform Flash, Stagger, Bomb, Heat Vision, etc..
  • Flame Control cannot be used on fire that was affected by Enchantment.

Bonuses and Limitations (flame creatures) :

  • Dispersal cannot be used on Pyro himself. But with one Automatic Action, it can endow a Snare or Force manipulation construct with APs of Dispersal.
  • Dispersal can be Partial.
  • Dispersal doesn’t protect against flame-extinguishing measures. Such as water, large explosions, vacuum, smothering, etc..
  • Flame animation constructs require one Automatic Action to maintain each Phase. And they can only take a Dice Action if Pyro himself isn’t taking a Dice Action during that Phase.
  • Flame Being cannot be used on Pyro himself. But with one Automatic Action, it can endow a Snare or Force manipulation construct with APs of Flame Being.
  • Force manipulation is limited to simple constructs without moving parts, unless they emulate hands.
  • Snare can snag people in mid-air (and keep them there).
  • Snare can be attacked using fire-extinguishing methods (water, sand…). The OV/RV is 05/05, and RAPs are permanently deduced from this Snare’s RAPs.
  • Split cannot be used on Pyro himself. But with one Automatic Action, he can endow a Flame Animation construct with Split APs.
  • If Split is used, all scores of each Flame Animation construct are lowered by 2 APs. Pyro must also spend an Automatic Action each Phase to maintain each construct. And only one can take a Dice Action on a given Phase (since Pyro has only one Dice Action).

Skills:
Accuracy (Fire powers): 06, Artist (Writer): 04, Charisma (Intimidation): 06, Vehicles (Land, Air): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Charisma (Intimidation) is a Powered Skill, and can only be performed through a Flame Animation construct.

Advantages:
Credentials (Freedom Force, Low (from 1985 to 1991)), Familiarity (Literature).

Connections:
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants v4 (Low).

Drawbacks:
Misc.: Pyro is a mutant.

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [BODY 04, Flame immunity: 05, Radio communications: 06, Shade: 01].
  • FLAMETHROWERS [BODY 04, Flame project: 06, Range: 03, Ammo: 08, Advantage: Autofire, Limitation: Flame Project has no Range, use the listed Range instead].
    Pyro routinely uses his Enchantment to bolster Flame Project, but may instead go with Flame Control in certain circumstances. Note that he can also split his APs of Enchantment between EV and Range (which are dissociated in his flamethrower’s Flame Project Power).
    The straps for the backpack have once been shown to have a BODY of 02. But they may have been redesigned since.

Fire, to end all you’ve become

Modelling Pyro is yet another case where the methodology is to keep asking “okay, but what does he *do*, IN PRACTICE ?” as we rotate through possible approaches.

And thus ends up with a modelisation that might seem unintuitive. Since it ignores visuals and fluff to focus on the Dice Actions that actually take place in the comics.

This is especially true here, as the effect (usually Snare) is often manifested through a creature.

Most of the time, what he does is :

  • Snare + Flame Being.
  • Flame animation + Enchantment (usually on STR).
  • Flame Project (from his Equipment) + Enchantment.

The rest is situation-specific.

As always, if all the verbiage used to model what he does feels too complex, you can pare it down. What you can’t do is the opposite.


All the animals

Since I’ve been doing longer design notes in recent months, I’m pasting in my notes about his capabilities. As an example of the research process.

  • Pterodactyl (1979). Holds and burns Ms. Marvel (DEX 08 STR 13 BODY 11 at that point). Basically a Grapple. Once the surprise is past she has little trouble breaking it (some Hero Points may have been spent), which briefly stuns Pyro. Pyro was less experienced back then.
  • Giant claws (1981). Starts grabbing Colossus, but is dispersed by Storm without harm to Pyro.
  • Surtur-like flame demon (1981). Chases Angel while Pyro tries to hit Nightcrawler with flame tongues. Later does two such demons, one grabs and burns Wolverine by surprise. Storm disperses them without harm to Pyro.
  • Phoenix (1981). Keeps Wonder Man on the defensive even though it’s demonstrated it cannot hurt him. Intimidation ? It also forces Wonder Man to fly blind (Darkness) ?
  • Ventilator (1981). Disperses thick smoke with a solid construct.
  • Burning hand (1982). Destroys small arms/disarms at a range.
  • Burning giant hand (1982). Grapples Rom, and is hot enough to start doing RAPs (!).
  • Fire bird (1984). Grabs Colossus in mid-air, but is too immaterial for him to punch. High heat, but doesn’t seem to get RAPs. Colossus theorises that his resistance breaks the bird, but I’m pretty sure Pyro dropped Colossus on purpose.
  • 1984. Storm’s weather control is once again demonstrated to counter Pyro.
  • 1985. Colossus once again ignores Pyro’s flame.
  • 1986. A firebird remains active even though Pyro is trapped in ice.
  • 1986. The Iron Man Silver Centurion armour can easily wreck the flamethrower.
  • 1988. A firebird one-shots a T-Rex.
  • 1989. Wall/ring of fire to box the New Mutants in. Doesn’t work too well.
  • 1989. Cannonball can rip off Pyro’s flamethrower (whilst blasting).
  • 1989. Makes smoke extra-dense to Force-Shield-block Daredevil’s thrown club.
  • 1989. Makes smoke denser to blind and choke the Blob.
  • 1989. The Wasp blasts through one fuel line.
  • 1990. A fire demon isn’t much weaker than the grey “Joe Fixit” Hulk. But it was less durable and could be smothered with earth.
  • 1991. Takes control of the heat from Firestar’s MW blasts, reliably deflecting them.
  • 1991. Forms a flame porcupine as a large static obstacle.
  • 1991. Giant flame critter can cook a tank.
  • 1991. Not immune to smoke, including his own.
  • 1991. Does a Bomb.

Design notes

Flame Control is a Power that linearly adds APs based on a dice roll. This means a high potential volatility – a double could result in huge APs.

It’s not something I’m enthusiastic about. But here it can explain the abnormally successful flame attacks.

Artist (Writer) set at 04 since I’m assuming the bad critics were because of contempt toward the genre, rather than the writing.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: 1980s Marvel Comics.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, David Johnston, Kal el El Vigilante, Pufnstuff, Nick Yankovec.

Writeup completed on the 27th of March, 2020.

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