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The Scavenger (DC Comics) (Peter Mortimer) over a white background

Scavenger

(Peter Mortimer)


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

Context

The scavenger is a minor but recurrent Aquaman foe, first seen in 1968. He did get a Who’s Who page (immortality!) and later went through some odd… mutations.

This profile focuses on the classic Scavenger, but his mutated states are discussed in the game stats section. So you can read that too even if you don’t usually read the game stats.

This profile doesn’t include Flashpoint (and later) material.


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Background

  • Real Name: Peter “Mort” Mortimer.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’9” [6’3” as The Scavenger of Souls]. Weight: 176 lbs [260 lbs as The Scavenger of Souls].
  • Eyes: Blue [Glowing Red as The Scavenger of Souls]. Hair: Brown [Bald as The Scavenger of Souls].


Powers and Abilities

All of the Scavenger’s formidable menace lies in his scientific genius and the fruits thereof.

His Scorpion Ship is one of the most dangerous submersible vessels to sail beneath the waves. It features claws mighty enough to rend the hull of any other ship in the sea and weapons systems both ingenious and deadly. One of his most fearsome devices actually rots the oceans, creating cavernous pockets of foul-smelling air.

The Scavenger is skilled in the use of his various gadgets and is a competent hand-to-hand fighter.


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History

In his first recorded appearance many years ago, the aquatic criminal called the Scavenger was in pursuit of a mysterious artifact called the Time Decelerator. According to legend, this immortality-bestowing device was hidden in the depths of one of Earth’s oceans by an alien race. These had feared that it might fall under the control of an enemy planet.

Believing that the King of the Sea would know the whereabouts of the Time Decelerator, the Scavenger interrupted a skirmish between Aquaman and Ocean Master. He demanded that the hero reveal the artifact’s location.

A version of the Scavenger's Scorpion ship

The Scorpion Ship in 1992.

Though Aquaman protested that he had never before heard of the Time Decelerator. The Scavenger did not believe him and used a device aboard his ship to rot the seas, hoping to force the truth from the Sea King.

Ocean Master, not to be outdone, decided that if the Scavenger thought this Time Decelerator was so valuable, he, not the Scavenger, should possess it. What followed was a three-sided running battle through vast caverns of foul-smelling sea rot.

Decelerating time

In the end, Ocean Master found the Time Decelerator. He used it to lure the Scavenger into a booby-trapped cave. But the Scavenger had earlier kidnapped Mera and Arthur, Jr. and was holding them aboard his Scorpion Ship. Aquaman prevented his villainous brother from springing the trap that would have killed his wife and child along with their mutual foe.

This gave the Scavenger the opportunity to activate the Time Decelerator before being attacked by Aquaman. The two combatants fought briefly until the artifact’s effects took hold. Before the Aqua-Family’s startled eyes, the Scavenger began devolving in age until he was a squalling infant. And then he dwindled into nothing.

With his foe defeated and his family safe, Aquaman used Ocean Master’s booby trap to destroy the Scorpion Ship.

(Though Aquaman had never before encountered the Scavenger at the time this story takes place, Ocean Master refers to him as “my old partner in infamy”. This suggests that the Scavenger’s criminal career extends back further than this first, 1968 appearance.)

1978

Years later the Scavenger reappeared, this time during a battle between Aquaman and the Fisherman. The Sea King sought to prevent the sunken vessel Bellerophon from falling into the hands of the Fisherman’s employer, Kobra. But in the midst of this combat a sinister new Scorpion Ship, with the Scavenger at the helm, stole the Bellerophon out from under their noses.

The Scavenger, believing that the sunken vessel was a US spyship, wished to sell it to the highest bidder. In actuality, the vessel contained deadly chlorinated hydrocarbons that Kobra sought to use in a mad scheme to force the nations of the world to make him their supreme ruler. After Aquaman defeated the Fisherman, he tracked down the Scavenger who had fled with his prize.

As the two fought, the Scavenger explained that the Time Decelerator had sent him to limbo , where he had languished for years plotting his revenge. How he escaped this limbo is unrevealed.

Just as the villain had the Sea King in the Scorpion Ship’s death grip, Kobra appeared to reclaim the Bellerophon and vaporize (or teleport away. It is unclear from the art and text) the Scavenger.

World that time forgot

Ocean Master later used a Scavenger robot in one of his campaigns against his hated brother Aquaman. But it would be years before the real Scavenger resurfaced, this time in the lost world of Skartaris  of all places. How he escaped his fate at the hands of Kobra and found his way to the Realm of the Warlord is unrevealed.

Once there he became a pirate on the seas of Skartaris. He briefly skirmished there with Power Girl, who was visiting from the surface world in a quest to uncover information on her newly discovered Atlantean background.

The Scavenger eluded capture and resurfaced in the capital city of Shamballah several days (weeks ?) later. He attempted to raid the royal treasury. Queen Tara and her husband Travis Morgan, Warlord foiled the attempt. They stopped just short of killing the villain.

Scavenger of souls

Far away, the evil priestess of Mu, Khnathaiti used her magic to scry the scene. Just as the vanquished Scavenger moved to strike back at the two heroes, she teleported him away to her location. The priestess placed the villain under her spell and transformed him into the Scavenger of Souls.

She then sent him back to Shamballah to harvest the souls she required as nourishment. In return, she promised he could take Tara as his bride. But when the Scavenger came to collect his prize, his soul-stealing power caused a battle between Travis and Tara. This fight seemingly cost the queen her life.

Using his newfound abilities, the Scavenger reanimated Tara’s corpse, placing the queen under his power just as Khnathaiti had done to him. The trio of soul thieves fought Travis, his daughter, the sorceress Jennifer Morgan, and his friend Machiste.

At the climactic moment of the battle, Tara broke free of the Scavenger’s control. She gave a badly beaten Travis the reprieve he needed to end the Scavenger’s life. The Scavenger of Souls fell to the blade of the Warlord, his head separated from his body.

Keep on keeping on

Oh, and then he got better. When next he appeared, the Scavenger, now simply Peter Mortimer (“Mort” to his friends), had gone straight. No explanation was given for how he had returned from either Shamballah or the dead. In fact, no mention was made of the Skartaris adventure, at all.

However, he did relate one last battle with Aquaman to a young fan of the Sea King. In this encounter, he had located the whereabouts of a sunken medical supply ship bound for Toronto. The scavenger claimed its cargo for sale on the black market.

Aquaman intervened, and the Scavenger discovered that those expecting the supplies could actually die without them. Mort then assisted the Sea King in delivering them to their intended destination. Aquaman turned Mort over to the authorities but argued for leniency on his behalf and helped him open his own, legitimate, salvage firm.

The reformed Peter Mortimer became a respectable businessman and a close friend of Aquaman. He would not be an ex-criminal for long. See “The Barracuda Avatar” below.


Description

During his initial encounter with Aquaman, the Scavenger wore a bulky, grayish blue diving suit. His distinctive helmet boasted a round, front faceplate ringed in teeth and small side lens topped with brow-like ridges. This gave the impression that the Scavenger was peering out from the mouth of a fearsome sea beast.

About his waist was a gray belt with remote controls for his Scorpion ship. His Sonic Pistol was a small, red, raygun-looking device. It was kept clipped on the right side of his belt.

His tractor trailer-sized Scorpion Ship was red with six four-toed legs, an arching tail, and a clear-canopied cockpit.

Later on

For his second battle with Aquaman, the Scavenger appeared in a more streamlined purple costume trimmed in yellow. The toothy faceplate remained and he added a ridged fin to the helmet. The rebuilt Scorpion Ship retained the original design but switched to a silvery color.

While in Skartaris but before falling under the thrall of Khnathaiti, priestess of Mu, Scavenger appeared first in a purple version of his original bulky suit (against Power Girl).

Then he had a green on green version of his more streamlined, finned costume (in his initial encounter with Travis Morgan). In the space of just these two appearances the Scorpion Ship went from green to pinkish red.

Later still

As the Scavenger of Souls, Mortimer wore a grayish green sleeveless chain mail tunic, light purple leggings, a maroon hooded cape, and strips of cloth wrapped about his feet in place of boots. His wide, skull-studded belt was gray and his wristlets were brown. Everything he wore was tattered and torn.

For his final pre-Avatar appearance, the Scavenger wore a variation of his original suit. This new updated version featured exposed hoses and a heretofore unnecessary external air tank. In this battle he used the modified speargun, a hefty, dark gray rifle. Also, the Scorpion Ship was back to its red color but two huge pincers, two extra legs, and a nastier looking tail had been added.

In his civilian guise, Peter Mortimer was a plain, almost ugly man with receding, curly brown hair, a large nose and an unshaven face. He favored overalls and simple work shirts. This is how he appeared as the Barracuda Avatar.


Personality

Although he appeared power mad during his first encounter with Aquaman, the Scavenger is really an opportunist at heart. He’s willing to steal anything that might bring him a profit. Though he will not run from a fight with Aquaman, he is not blinded by hate for the Sea King. Thus, he will avoid crossing his path if possible.

Like many gadget-based criminals he seems oblivious to the fact that he could make far more money selling the plans to his various devices than from any loot picked up from the ocean floor.

During his brief stint as an honest man, Peter Mortimer seemed genuinely content.


Quotes

“That’s it. That’s the way it always is. I caught you fair and square and you go and call the damn fish.”


DC Universe History

Though killed by Hawkman in his final appearance, the Scavenger may still return to the DC Universe. Perhaps the Barracuda Avatar is not through with Mortimer yet and raises him from the dead. Or maybe Hawkman killed the Avatar spirit but Mort the man still lives.

His encounters with the Time Decelerator or Khnathaiti could have left him enough residual invulnerability to survive his seeming death. If all else fails have him return with no explanation whatsoever. He’s done it before, after all.

Once he is back, the Scavenger’s powerful arsenal of gadgets makes him a great villain to stymie a PC group. In addition, his penchant for appearing unexpectedly while other super-powered individuals are engaged in combat and stealing away their loot is a fun modus operandi.


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The Scavenger I

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Power Lust / Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Professional Criminal / Salvage Firm Operator
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 017 HP: 040

Skills:
Gadgetry: 08, Martial Artist: 05, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 08, Weaponry (Exotic Weapons, Firearms, Heavy Weapons): 07

Advantages:
Genius.

Connections:
Aquaman (High, briefly after the Scavenger reformed only.)

Drawbacks:
Secret Identity (before his capture by Aquaman only.)

Equipment:

  • Sonic Pistol [BODY 04, Sonic Beam: 11, R#: 02, HP Cost: 45. Limitation: The Sonic Pistol’s Sonic Beam Power uses its wielder’s Weaponry (Firearms) Skill as its AV (-1)].
  • Modified Speargun [BODY 05, EV: 06, Ammo: 04, Range: 05, R#: 02, HP Cost: 13].
  • PRESSURIZED SCAVENGER SUIT [/BODY/ 06, Extended Hearing: 05, Radio Communications: 06, Sealed Systems: 12, Super-Ventriloquism: 05, Water Freedom: 05, R#: 02, HP Cost: 162. Limitation: The Suit’s Extended Hearing and Super-Ventriloquism Powers are only functional underwater (-1) ; Limitation: The Suit’s Water Freedom Power does not grant its wearer the ability to breathe underwater (-1)].
  • SCORPION SHIP [STR 12, BODY 14, INT 02, WIL 01, Claws: 15, Energy Being: 08, Extra Limb (x9): 12, Flight: 06, Force Field: 05, Ice Production: 08, Icing: 08, Lightning: 12, Power Reserve: 06, Radio Communications: 12, Running: 04, Sealed Systems: 18, Sonar: 12, Swimming: 04, Transmutation: 20, Water Freedom: 04, X-Ray Vision: 10, Hardened Defenses, R#: 02, HP Cost: 2095. Bonuses & Limitations:
    • The Scavenger used the Scorpion Ship’s Icing Power to evade a heat-seeking torpedo fired by the Ocean Master.
    • Icing causes any attempt to locate the Scorpion Ship using Thermal Vision to become a Dice Action with APs of Thermal Vision as AV / EV and APs of Icing as OV / RV. Positive RAPs indicate that the ship has been located (+1).
    • Power Reserve can only augment Swimming and represents jets that the Scavenger installed in his ship after his first encounter with Aquaman. In order to augment the Ship’s Swimming with Power Reserve, the Scavenger must retract 8 of the Ship’s Extra-Limbs (all but the tail.) and both Pincer Claws (-1).
    • The Scorpion Ship possess the ability to “rot the seas” which is best represented by a strange variant of the Transmutation Power. Transmutation can only be used to transmute seawater into vast pockets of foul-smelling air. The OV / RV of this attempt is 7 / 7 (the Body of sea water 1, + 3 CS Penalty for a Strenuous Action.)
      RAPs from a successful Transmutation Attack equals the volume in APs of seawater that is rotted away. Characters and creatures that are caught within one of these pockets of rot and who cannot breathe air will suffer as per the MEGS drowning rules. In addition, so swiftly does the rot occur that they may suffer Falling Damage as the sea abruptly disappears around them or if they blunder into one of the pockets of rot.
      Once this Transmutation device within the Scorpion Ship is turned off or disabled the seas will flow back into these rotten pockets, refilling even the largest of voids in only a few Phases (+0).
    • The Scorpion Ship’s Water Freedom Power does not grant its pilot the ability to breathe underwater (-1).
    • The Scavenger may operate the Scorpion Ship by remote-control, using its weapon systems to attack targets and summoning it to his location (+50 Advantage).
    • Energy Being is Electrical Energy.
    • In the Scavenger’s earlier appearances the Scorpion Ship only possessed 7 Extra-Limbs (6 legs and a tail.) It also lacked its large pincer-like Claws. It is unclear at what point the Scavenger installed the craft’s Flight capabilities that it displays in his Warlord appearances.
    • Although it has not been revealed in any of the Scavenger’s appearances, it is likely that Scorpion Ship’s X-Ray Vision cannot see through lead].
  • 08 AP C Omni-Gadget (x1).

The Scavenger of Souls

During his sojourn in the lost world of Skartaris, the Scavenger fell under the thrall of Khnathaiti, priestess of Mu. Using her mystical powers, Khnathaiti transformed the villain into the Scavenger of Souls, a remorseless soul-stealing juggernaut.

In his Scavenger of Souls guise the following information replaced that which is given above:

Motivation: Nihilist.

Occupation: Harvester of Souls for Khnathaiti.

Resources {or Wealth}: 00

In addition, Khnathaiti used her Enchantment and Sorcery Powers to increase the Scavenger’s Str to 06, Bod to 07, and Spi to 12 and granted him the following Powers and Connections:

Powers:
Control: 07, Invulnerability: 07, Spiritual Drain: 08

Connections:
Khnathaiti (Low).

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Control is only usable on those who the Scavenger has used Spiritual Drain to render unconscious.
  • Spiritual Drain can be used even when the Scavenger is fully healed (Mystically undamaged) to damage an opponent.
  • Spiritual Drain has Normal Range as well as being Range of Touch.

Note:
Though the Scavenger of Souls displays the above-mentioned Powers, they are most likely possessed by Khnathaiti with the “Usable on Others” Bonus and are merely ’on loan’ from the evil witch. She also used some variant of the Chameleon Power to change the Scavenger’s appearance, although Travis still recognizes him from their earlier encounter (low APs of Power used ?).

All of these effects could be replaced with an Uncontrollable Alter Ego but for his one story arc in this guise the above notes suffice.


The Barracuda Avatar

In his final appearance, the Scavenger battled both Aquaman and Hawkman and was revealed to be the Avatar of the Barracuda. His possession by alliance with the Barracuda spirit changed Mortimer from a mercenary-type criminal motivated by little more than personal gain to a vile child pornographer and murderer who used the Internet to cruise for victims.

Hawkman killed the Scavenger by smashing his face through a computer screen and holding him thus until he was electrocuted.

During this encounter, Hawkman refers to the Scavenger’s ship as the Sea Lobster which, while more aquatically-themed, does not sound nearly as menacing as the Scorpion Ship.

In his Avatar guise the following information replaced that which is given above:

Motivation: Psychopath.

Occupation: Child Pornographer.

Resources {or Wealth}: 09

He also gained the following Powers, Skills, and Advantages from his association with the Barracuda Spirit:

Powers:
Energy Blast: 05, Mind Blast: 09

Skills:
Thief (Security Systems, Stealth): 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Energy Blast has Range of Touch.
  • Mind Blast Power is ineffective against other Avatars.
  • Thief (Security Systems, Stealth) is a Power not a Skill and is only usable when the Scavenger is on-line looking for his young victims.

Advantages:
Expansive Headquarters [The Waid Salvage Firm in California and a small island offshore; both have Security Systems rated at 10 APs while the island also houses an 08 AP Laboratory.]

Equipment:

  • FLYING PIRANHA (x7) [DEX 04, STR 01, BODY: 02, INT 02, WIL 01, Claws: 07, Flight: 07, Lightning: 08, Shrinking: 05, Swimming: 05, R#: 03, HP Cost: 113 (x7). Bonus: Shrinking does not reduce Flight or Swimming speed (+2) ; Limitation: Lightning is Range of Touch and only activates when 2 or more RAPs of Damage are scored against a Piranha (-2) ; Limitation: Shrinking is Always On (-1) ; Note: The Flying Piranha are part of the Scavenger’s defensive systems and are programmed to attack targets approaching his island base].
  • 09 AP C Omni-Gadgets (x8. Note: These Omni-Gadgets represent various Security System-triggered defenses on and around the island.)

By Vincent Paul Bartilucci.

Source of Character: Various Aquaman comics published by DC Comics.

Helper(s): Dr. Sean MacDonald, Robert Becker, and JKCarrier.

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