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The Shocker (Spider-Man enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Shocker

(Herman Schultz) (Profile #1 - 1960s, 1970s, 1980s)


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

Context

The Shocker is a classic but C-list Spider-Man villain, who appeared in 1967. This chronological profile covers the first three decades of his career. It stops precisely in December, 1989.

At this point the Shocker is mostly a stock villain, and a jobber . This profile describes the era before he received the bulk of his character development.

This is handy for people who are only familiar with older comics, or want an almost literally faceless super-villain to play a bit part.


Background

  • Real Name: Herman Schultz.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Martin (brother, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Masters of Evil.
  • Base Of Operations: A hidden palace in the South Bronx.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 175 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


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Powers & Abilities

Schultz is good with tools and mechanics. He has developed an expertise in vibration-based technologies that allows him to build powerful devices.

He’s also an experienced safecracker and B&E guy, though not an exceptional one. This includes small-scale demolitions skills.

He’s somewhat smart, but nowhere as smart as he thinks he is.

Though he doesn’t appear to have any special training, he’s surprisingly good in hand-to-hand combat.

Offense

As the Shocker, his signature weapons are the vibro-shock units (aka “vibro-smashers”) worn over his hands. These can release powerful vibrations capable of shaking loose the door of an old-fashioned mechanical safe – or of an armoured truck.

These are also powerful weapons, both to reinforce the Shocker’s punches and to emit a ranged vibration blast. Such punches hit with superhuman power, that seems roughly comparable to being hit by a person with “class 30” superhuman strength. Ranged attacks are a bit less dangerous, as the blast appears to lose power as it travels.

The vibro-smashers proved powerful enough to rattle the She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) during the early 1980s. However that was a close-range, surprise attack from behind. And it didn’t actually delay her much.


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Schultz is remarkably good at hitting people with his vibro-shock units, either in melee or at a range. His speed and precision with his punches and blasts give him a fighting chance against even Spider-Man (Peter Parker), unless Spidey is actively dodging rather than attacking.

The vibro-smashers are reportedly less loud than a comparable explosion, though walls and floors near a discharge will still shake.

By 1986 the Shocker has integrated the vibro-smashers to his costume, and no longer needs his gauntlets. He does keep a pair of dummy gauntlets on, though, to fool his enemies into trying to disarm him.

Defence

The Shocker’s costume is heavily padded and reinforced, to protect him against the effects of his vibro-shock units. It is also surrounded with a tight, invisible, inaudible vibration field that deflects hits such as punches or bullets. Even Spider-Man needs to employ his full strength to hurt the Shocker through these defences.

Shocker (Herman Schultz) and Spider-Man

This vibration field also allows the Shocker to vibrate and slip out of wrestling holds and similar restrains. Even Spider-Man cannot hold the Shocker in a full nelson .

After Spider-Man used webbing to cover the Shocker’s eye-holes, the vibration field was further tuned to shake loose any substances sticking to Schult’s costume.

Early on the vibration field had to be activated by pressing the thumb controls on the vibro-shock units. Apparently, it can only be up for several seconds at a time, and can’t be just left on all the time. A later refinement did away with this limitation. The vibration field is now activated whenever the Shocker is hit, without having to push a button.

The Shocker later developed his vibration field so it would triple the strength of his movements, and trained hard enough to fully master this asset. This puts him in the “peak human strength” range.


History

Schultz was originally a small-time safecracker in New York City. His third arrest resulted in a lengthy prison sentence. Since he was good with tools, he was put to work at the prison shop. But there, he clandestinely built an invention that could quickly blast safes open.

Though he nearly killed himself when he used it against a prison wall, his first vibro-smasher blew a hole that let him escape.

In 1967, after weeks of machining, sewing, etc. the Shocker was born. Schultz went on a crime spree during which he defeated Spider-Man. But Spider-Man prevailed during a second encounter – by webbing the Shocker’s thumbs so he could no longer activate his vibro-shock units. The Shocker was thus arrested again.

Two years later the Shocker was back. He stole a rare antique from the NYPD’s Captain Stacy. Frustrated that he couldn’t fence it since it was too hot, the Shocker went on another crime wave to build up his street cred. While attacking a cash transport, he was intercepted by Spider-Man, and arrested again.

1970s

In 1975, to reaffirm his ego, the Shocker cut the power in selected sewers. His plan was only comprehensible from a high enough altitude – the Shocker was spelling his name by making entire city blocks go dark to form the letters.

Spider-Man intervened, but Schultz nearly killed him by collapsing part of a sewer tunnel. The Shocker went on to blackmail the Mayor of New York City, demanding one million dollars ($4.35M in 2014 USD). After the Mayor refused, Schultz attempted to destroy the Queens power station. But this time Spider-Man defeated him and left him for the cops to find.

Shocker (Herman Schultz) destroys a wall

In 1978, the Shocker was among the villains recruited by Libra (from the android version of the Zodiac) to sow chaos as fake Defenders. During an attack on the New York Stock Exchange, Schultz forced a trader to commit fraud and walked away with a million dollars. The real Defenders intervened, but the Shocker apparently escaped after the Valkyrie went berserk.

The Shocker apparently used this windfall to buy himself new headquarters. Located in a rats-infested, dilapidated part of the South Bronx, his quarters were hidden behind well-protected trick doors. The Shocker enjoyed luxurious furnishing and decorations albeit with tacky, distinctly nouveau riche  aesthetics.

Early 1980s

Circa 1980, Schultz’s brother Marty, a student at ESU, committed suicide. Since correctional authorities refused to let the Shocker attend his brother’s funeral, he escaped.

After fighting the police and Spider-Man, Schultz’s went to his brother’s grave. He unexpectedly found Spider-Man there, as Spidey knew Marty Schultz from ESU. The Shocker and Spider-Man ended up talking about Marty. Herman agreed to finish his prison sentence then attempt to turn his life around by renouncing crime – so unlike his brother he would have a future.

In 1983, the Shocker was hand-picked by Egghead (Elihas Starr) to join his Masters of Evil. The team was part of Starr’s cunning plot to make his nemesis Henry Pym look like a despicable criminal.

The Masters attacked while Pym was on trial, to make it look like he was escaping with underworld allies. The Shocker was taken down by the She-Hulk and Hawkeye (Clint Barton), but that was part of Egghead’s plan all along. Schultz has been unknowingly brainwashed so he would be certain that his employer was Henry Pym.

(It is possible that the Shocker intended to go straight but was brainwashed by Egghead into becoming a criminal again to make Pym’s protests of innocence look hollow. This is a No-Prize Hypothesis , though.)

1980s (part 2)

In 1986 the Shocker was free – perhaps because the brainwashing meant that he wasn’t responsible for his actions. He was hired by Nazi war criminal Wolfgang von Lundt (a.k.a. “Simon Steele”) to kill Dominic Fortune (Duvid Fortunov).

The Shocker nearly killed an intervening Spider-Man. But he focused too much on his old enemy, and Fortune uses this to stun Schultz just in time. Defeated by Spider-Man, the Shocker was arrested.

The Shocker thought that he could blackmail “Steele” into getting him out of prison. But the Nazi had anticipated Schultz recording their deal, and had the Shocker’s headquarters demolished to destroy the evidence.

In 1989 the Shocker was again active. He bought blueprints from a security firm called Sensor so he could rob their clients. This was possible since he had some dirt about the firm’s CEO, acquired while in prison. However, Electro (Maxwell Dillon) was running the exact same racket. Dillon became furious after he twice hit a place right after the Shocker robbed it.

Electro narrowly won his fight against the Shocker when he discovered the truth. But the Shocker escaped when Spider-Man intervened and knocked Electro out.

A few months later, Schultz was among the New York City villains manipulated into attacking the Fantastic Four during the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy. But his assault on Four Freedom Plaza was defeated by the automated security systems. The Shocker was arrested.


Description

See illustrations.


Personality

Originally, Schultz was fed up with being arrested (can’t a man just rob in peace ?). He wanted to be tougher than any cadre of guards or cops so he could always escape with his loot.

His Shocker equipment greatly bolstered his confidence. He was always boasting about how powerful and unstoppable he was – and reveling in his power. This need to affirm his ego led to increasingly grandiose and public crimes. Schultz wanted everyone to know that the Shocker was in control.

As can be imagined, this ego trip did not improve his social skills. Schultz is greedy (often in a petty way), conflict-prone, temperamental, and holds grudges. He wants to be the alpha and project an impression of opulence. But he can still work fairly well with employers, as long as they paycheck is large enough to flatter him.

He also tends to overestimate his power, once getting into a brawl with Tiger Shark. Still, the Shocker *is* surprisingly powerful for his niche.

After the incident with Egghead, the Shocker was determined never to get used by an employer again. He took various precautions such as hidden cameras recording his deals.


Quotes

“All right… you asked for it, fool ! See how you like a punch with a triphammer vibration shock added !”

“Next time you’ll know better than to challenge your superiors ! My vibro-blast power makes me the most invincible human on Earth… as you’ve already learned !”

(Stealing from a cash truck) “Don’t worry about this money, gentlemen ! I promise you that the Shocker will put it to very good use !”

“Hey, you ! The Shocker wants to be a millionaire — so hop to it !”

“I’m not gonna be some hotshot’s stooge — or take a rap for one ! Never again !”

“He thinks I’m a lowlife — a loser ! Well, I’m not ! I’ve learned from my past mistakes ! I’ll kill Fortune and I’ll humiliate and kill Spider-Man ! Then I’ll have the respect I DESERVE ! The Shocker is one of the WINNERS, now !” (KA-BLOOM !)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Shocker I

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Burglar, hitman
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 014 HP: 030

Skills:
Gadgetry: 05, Military science (Demolitions): 04, Scientist (Drawing plans): 04, Thief (Locks and safes, Security systems): 04, Weaponry (Vibro-shock units (both ranged and melee)): 08

Advantages
Headquarters (Extensive, only between 1978 and 1986), Scholar (Vibration-based devices).

Connections:
Underworld (Low).

Drawbacks:
Socially Inept.

Equipment:

  • VIBRO-SHOCK UNITS [BODY 07, Vibe (Diminishing): 11, Thief (Locks and Safes): 07, Bonus: Thief can be done within a single Phase and without further equipment, Limitation: Thief can only be used on locks and safes that can be opened by shaking the mechanism loose, Drawback: MPR (operating the UNITS without proper protection is usually dangerous), Descriptor: Bludgeon.]
  • COSTUME [STR 11 /STR/ 05 /BODY/ 06, Skin armour: 02, Bonuses & Limitations :
    • The non-italicised STR is originally only usable to defend against Wrestling and Grappling.
    • Later on, the non-italicised STR also becomes usable against various forms of Snare, and to rip off things stuck to his costume (such as webbing on his mask).
    • Early on, STR and Skin Armour both required pressing the controls of the VIBRO-SHOCK UNITS to erect the vibration field. This didn’t take an Action, but they couldn’t be just left on all the time. This limitation was soon removed].
  • The VIBRO-SHOCK UNITS are later integrated to the COSTUME. But he keeps a pair of fake Vibro-Smashers [BODY 02 – note that these can be Taken Away] as a decoy.

Design notes

The Shocker has a high AV, and will happily spend Hero Points on it to hit difficult opponents. This allows him to hit even a non-Dodging Spider-Man quite often.

However, he doesn’t have the HPs to keep doing that and boost his EV. And thus, his precise blows are survivable by superhuman tough opponents.

He *does* force most of them to LDD, though. Since at close range his EV is high by street-level standards.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

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Shocker (Herman Schultz 1960s-1980s) — Averaged PL8.6

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
01 02 02 03 04 02 01 01

Devices

Vibro-shock units ● 11 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: technology, vibration.
– Ranged concussive Damage 11, Accurate 1, Limited 1 (Each Rank of Range beyond -1 diminishes the Ranks of Damage by 1. So if shooting at a Range of 4, Damage is 11-5= 6.)
– Feature (+4 to Technology (Security) rolls against mechanisms that can be defeated by being shaken loose, such as older locks and safes).
– Quickness 2 (Limited 2 to tasks covered by the Feature above).
– Quirk (Operating the vibra-shock units requires special protection, such as the Shocker Costume].

Shocker costume ● 8 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: technology, vibration.
– Enhanced Strength 3, Enhanced Stamina 3.
– Protection 3 (Limited 1 to non-energy attacks), Defensive Roll 1.
– Enhanced Strength 7 (Limited 2 to the Escape combat action, and similar rolls such as breaking a Snare-type Affliction), Feature (Also useable to rip off things stuck to his costume, such as webbing over his mask’s eyes).
– Feature (Fake, removable vibro-units. These decoys can deceive opponents into trying to take them away, which achieves nothing.)

Combat Advantages

Accurate Attack, Close Attack 3, Defensive Roll 1, Ranged Attack 1.

Other Advantages

None demonstrated.

Skills

Athletics 3 (+4), Close combat (Vibro-shock units) 5 (+8), Deception 1 (+2), Expertise (Burglar) 6 (+8), Expertise (Vibration-based techs) 10 (+12), Perception 4 (+5), Ranged combat (Vibro-shock units) 7 (+10), Technology 8 (+10).

Offense

Initiative +2
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 1 (4 w/Costume)
Vibro-shock units +13, Ranged, Damage 11 (less past four metres).

Defence

Dodge 08 Fortitude 06 / 09**
Parry 08 Toughness 02* / 04 / 07** / 10***
Will 03

* Without Defensive Roll.
** With Shocker Costume.
*** With Shocker Costume and vs. non-energy attacks

Complications

  • That’s what I want The Shocker is after the moolah.
  • I’ll have the respect I deserve ! The Shocker has a big ego and makes pointless shows of being in control.
  • Not a smooth operator Schultz’s people skills are just… bad.
  • Weapons checkmate Early on, the vibro-shock units had a thumb button, allowing for disarming attempts (or jamming the weapons to keep uncontrollably firing). This was soon fixed.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 12, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 9, Fort/Will PL 6.
  • Points total 95. Abilities 32, Defences 16, Skills 22, Powers 00, Devices 19, Advantages 6. Equiv. PL 7.

Notes

The Limitation on his ranged Damage is one of the many cases where a -0.5 would be nice, since a -1 makes little sense. But as always I favour modelling what’s in the comics. See below for an alternative.

His Toughness is counted as 9 for PL computations, as a rough expected average. His Attack/Effect PL could also be lowered, since he often attacks at longer ranges and thus with fewer Damage Ranks.

Schultz likes Accurate Attack manoeuvres for his vibro-shock attacks. This is meant to force his opponents on the defensive, and uses the fact that he has lots of Damage Ranks for a street-level character.

Notes

From our contributor Pawsplay :
For Shocker’s ranged concussion, I would be inclined to just slap on two ranks of Diminished Range. Keeping in mind, after all, that with damage saves, being able to hit probabilistically affects damage anyway. But if you are married to the reduced Damage approach, I think a level 2 Quirk might work better than a Limited power. He really shouldn’t get the same break as making it Close range.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: I don’t have the Untold Tales of Spider-Man novel, so the note about the events therein are second-hand (specifically from Spider-fan.org ).

Helper(s): Paul Ewande, Kansas Jim, Sean Quaid, Nick Yankovec, Jay Myers, Peter Piispanen, David Johnston, Pawsplay.

Writeup completed on the 21st of March, 2014.

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