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Solomon Kane B&W art

Solomon Kane


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

Context

Solomon Kane is one of the main characters from great pulps  writer R.E. Howard  – though of course he’s not as famous as Conan. Kane first appeared in a 1928 short story, and there are about nine Kane stories (“about” since there are also drafts and fragments).

Like Conan, Kane has an undeniable charisma and vitality to him. however he’s not a prehistoric barbarian, but a grim avenging swordsman from the late 1500s and early 1600s.


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Background

  • Real Name: Solomon L. Kane.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Possibly “Bess” (estranged wife), but this is tenuous.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 1,79m Weight: 77kg


Powers and Abilities

Like most Howardian heroes, Kane is a paragon of vitality and physical might. He can wrestle prehuman monsters, and has survived wounds and diseases that would have killed lesser men several times over.

He has a justified reputation as being meaner and more dangerous than a dire wolf. His combat skills are impressive, and he’s one of the master swordsmen of his day, on par with George Silver .

Kane never quits. He has killed men with his bare fingers, he has destroyed ghosts by pummelling them with his naked fists. His fanatical resolve and faith make him practically unstoppable.


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More dangerous than the dire wolf

Years of wandering in strange lands and warring with strange creatures has melted away from brain, soul, and body all that was not steel and whalebone. Broad-shouldered, long-armed, with nerves of ice and thews of spring steel, he is no less the natural killer than the born swordsman.

Powerful in spite of his lank build, every fiber in his lean, hard body has the perfect coordination that only a natural fighter possesses. His fingers are like steel talons. Strong men have died in the clutches of his leanly mighty hands. He moves with the stealth and easy movement of a leopard.

Kane’s skill with the steel is cold, calculating, scintillating. He fights with an economy of motion and a lack of heat that robs his fencing of some brilliance. He wastes no movement, makes no motion not absolutely necessary, no wide spectacular parries, no long breathtaking lunges. Yet every motion he makes is the right one; he is never at a loss, never excited.

His blade shoots out with the speed of a striking snake in a blinding flurry of bright steel. Sir Frances Drake  called him Devon’s king of swords and his remarkable swordplay is legend among the outcasts and rovers that wander over the world.


History

Solomon Kane was raised a Puritan, an heresy that was actively hunted by the royalty. Faced with this, he chose the way of the traveller. Thus, as was natural for an Englishman in those times, he took the sea. Kane travelled extensively in China and India, although his first chronicled adventures took place during one of his episodic returns in England.

Kane was a soldier during the Religion Wars , and chased a brigand called Leloup through Europe. He fought pirates in Barbary, and explored western Africa. He even travelled along with Sir Francis Drake when the great man travelled around the world. Then Kane became a pirate himself, and then a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition.

Darkest Africa

He escaped and lived for years in darkest Africa, encountering many strange and sinister mysteries and living among the natives. He even became blood brother to a very powerful shaman called N’longa.

Although very uneasy in presence of the old man’s magical might, he always respected his wisdom. N’longa even gave him the staff once owned by Moses and later used by King Solomon to fight the demons.

Albeit Howard’s tales stop here, some apocryphal stories tell of an encounter in a mystical place with the great warrior Conan, and of fights against Vlad Dracula.


Personality

From a XXth century point of view, Kane is unhinged. He has a primal desire to travel and discover new countries, and the call of uncharted oceans and untamed lands is too much for him to resist. He’s also convinced that he’s God’s Avenger, and has a fanatical drive to cleanse the Earth of evil that has led him to attack small armies.

Solomon Kane running in the jungle by Howard Chaykin

Kane is also remarkably enlightened for his time. Although he believes in the white man’s burden , he rarely displays racist or narrow-minded behavior.

Kane’s craving for imposing justice has been known to result in truly irrational behaviour. Such as his suicidal charges in Wings of the night (when he wanted to avenge the tribe’s death) and The footfalls within. Sometimes his urges simply overwhelm him.

All his life Solomon Kane has roamed about the world aiding the weak and fighting oppression. He neither knows nor questions why. That is his obsession, his driving force of life. Cruelty and tyranny to the weak sends a red blaze of fury, fierce and lasting, through his soul.

When the full flame of his hatred is wakened and loosed, there is no rest for him until his vengeance has been fulfilled to the uttermost.

Vessel of God’s wrath

Yet once has followed the long red trail of revenge to its end and slain the man of blood he feels only a sense of futility. It is as if no real good had been wrought and his foe had, after all, escaped his just vengeance.

This is because in truth Kane really seeks adventure. His blood quickens at the lure of life-risk and the thrill of breathtaking, touch-and-go drama although he does not recognize the sensations as such.

If he thought of it at all, he would sincerely consider himself a fulfiller of God’s judgment, a vessel of wrath to be emptied upon the souls of the unrighteous and combat Satan and his might, but never will he seek an explanation within himself. A true fanatic, his promptings are reasons enough for his actions. Yet in the full sense of the word he is not wholly a Puritan, though he thinks of himself as such.

Edge of survival

Kane claims to have faith in his fellow man. “I assume every man is an honest fellow until he shows me he is a rogue,” he says, and “I had little thought that I should fear a man with whom I had broken bread.”

Yet Kane reveals the paranoia that truly lies at his core when he tells a fellow traveler, “I am a light sleeper and slumber with a pistol at hand.” and by his occasional habit of sleeping fully clothed.

Despite this paranoia, Kane’s courage is boundless. He flinches not from the gates of Hell itself. Never has he fled from a single foe whatever its nature. If the thought had ever occurred to him, he would have flushed with shame. Death itself holds no terror for him.

Like most Puritans Kane’s faith is an instinctual one. It extends to his wandering the earth without conscious direction or destination. He trusts in Providence to take him where he is needed to battle evil and help those in need.


Description

Kane is tall and spare, almost gaunt. He’s built with the savage economy of the wolf. There is no ounce of fat or surplus flesh on that spare frame, yet Kane does not appear frail or even too thin. On the contrary, his broad shoulders, deep chest, iron muscles, and long, rangy limbs betoken strength, speed, and endurance.

He walks with long, springy strides and a smooth cat-like grace.

His features are saturnine and gloomy. His long, smooth-shaven, ascetically lean face has a strange dark pallor which together with his somewhat sunken cheeks and the satanic darkness of his lowering brows lend an almost corpse-like appearance at times-until one looks into the deep, brooding eyes under his heavy black brows and feels the cold shock of their strange power.

Eyes which gleam with vibrant life and dynamic vitality, pent deep and ironly controlled.

Those eyes, large, deep-set and unblinking stare from under prominent brows and with his thin, straight nose those eyes betray the fanatic. Of indeterminate color, those eyes are cold but light betokening untold deeps of power; gazing into them, one has the impression of looking into countless fathoms of ice.

The Mephistophelean trend of the lower features are offset by a high, broad forehead that mark the dreamer, the idealist, the introvert, though this is usually partly hidden by a low-drawn featherless black slouch hat.

He typically speaks with a low measured voice which chills and thrills his hearers but when roused by provocation the thundering crash of his powerful voice giving vent to a withering blast of murderous fury can cause even hardened and fearless fighting men to blench.

Garb

Clad in somber black from head to foot, in severely plain, close-fitting garments unrelieved by ornament or jewel that somehow suit his forbidding face, no ring adorns his fingers; no gem twinkles on his rapier hilt and its long blade is cased in a plain leather sheath. There are no silver buttons on his garments, no bright buckles on his shoes.

At his waist the drab monotone of his dress is broken in a novel and bizarre manner by a wide sash knotted in Romani-fashion. Of Oriental workmanship, the sash is shimmering green silk and from it projects a dirk hilt and the black butts of two heavy pistols. From his belt are slung his powder-and-shot bags and a long, unadorned rapier.

He wears boots of Cordovan leather and wraps himself in a wide black cloak.

Staff

In his right hand he holds a fetish stave of black wood that exists nowhere on Earth today. It is as long as a sword, as hard as iron, and sharpened at the smaller end. All up and down the juju stave are strange wavering lines and curious carvings.

The other end is carved with exquisite workmanship in the shape of the cat’s head of Bast although there is a faint sense that the dust-ancient Egyptian who carved it had merely altered the original figure.

A close scrutiny of the staff arouses a disquieting and almost dizzying suggestion of abysses of eons, of strange pre-Adamite kings and even stranger priests in the silent cities that lie beneath the seas, of mystery and magic unguessed by humankind drawn from an Elder World and unprovocative to further investigation.


Quotes

“It has fallen upon me, now and again in my sojourns through the world, to ease various evil men of their lives.”

“Men shall die for this.”

“I assume every man is an honest fellow until he shows me he is a rogue ; moreover I am a light sleeper and slumber with a pistol at hand.”

“I am a landless man. I come out of the sunset and into the sunrise I go, wherever the Lord doth guide my feet. I work the will of God. While evil flourishes and wrongs grow rank, while men are persecuted and women wronged, while weak things, human or animal, are maltreated, there is no rest for me beneath the skies, nor peace at any board or bed.”

“Would you were handier with the steel, Sir George; I take shame in slaying you – but – well, when a man sets foot on an adder he asks not its size.”

“I have but one mission, wherever Providence may choose to take me, to seek evil and relieve the world of it.”

“(I am) a friend to all in need.”

Solomon Kane: “I am a wanderer on the face of the earth and have no destination.”
John Silent: “Name of the Devil, man, know you not whither you are bound at the present ?”
Solomon Kane: “Wherever the Spirit moves me to go. Just now I find myself in this wild and desolate country through which I journey, doubtless drawn hither for some purpose yet unknown to me.”
John Silent: “Do you mean to tell me that you journey through the countries of the world with no goal in view, caring not where you may be ?”
Solomon Kane: “Sir, what matters where a man be if he is carrying out God’s plan for him ?”


DC Universe History

Solomon Kane would be perfectly at home in a Night Force adventure, and might even have some ties with Baron Winters. In fact, it would be very like Winters to unleash Solomon Kane on some supernatural horror.

In the DCU, he could also have made a terrific Green Lantern, especially he if accepts the Guardians as some kind of angels.

As an even darker alternative, Kane could even discover a mean to become immortal – something called the Lazarus Pit, and as time goes on have his crusade become something more and more peculiar. A few century down the road, he would take an Arab name (Ra’s al Ghul), and his vision of a Prester John-like secret empire would become an odd sinister congregation of mystics and assassins.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Solomon L. Kane

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 05 Wil: 11 Min: 07 Occupation: Adventurer
Inf: 07 Aur: 08 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 022 HP: 045

Powers:
Invulnerability: 03

Skills:
Acrobatics (climbing)*: 06, Animal handling (riding): 05, Charisma*: 07, Detective (legwork)*: 05, Martial artist*: 06, Military science: 06, Thief (stealth)*: 06, Weaponry (firearms, melee): 10

Advantages:
Expertise (Scripture), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Languages (French, Turkish, Greek, Latin, Pidgin; Malese, Lingua Franca, Hindi, Arabic, unspecified African languages, others), Sharp Eye, True Faith.

Connections:
N’longa (High).

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, CIA toward Seeking Justice, MIA toward Paranoia.

Equipment:

  • Sword [BODY 08 EV 04 (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Pistol [(x2) BODY 07, EV 04, Range 03, Ammo: 01, R#5. Note that the pistols can be used as bludgeoning weapons with EV 02, (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Dirk [BODY 08 EV 04 (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist)].
  • In Africa Kane was given the Voodoo staff, an ancient artefact with strong juju [BODY 12, Aura of Fear: 12, Claws: 09, Force shield: 05, Magic shield: 06, Exorcism: 06, Dimensional travel (banishing): 09, Telepathy: 18, Bonus : Telepathy can substitute for Range for spells when in mental contact – the receiver can cast spells on the emitter as if touching him (+2) ; Limitation : all power, including Claws but excepting Telepathy, only work against mystic attacks and creatures (-2) – EV is 03 against normal targets (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist) ; Limitation: Wielder must have True Faith to access the staff’s Powers, including the Claws ; Limitation: Telepathy only works with N’longa (-3) ; Limitations : Aura of fear only works against the undead (-3)].
  • Kane has been known to wear ARAB CHAINMAIL [BODY 05, Skin armor: 01, Limitation: Partial (vest) ; Limitation : Skin Armor only vs. edged and piercing weapons. Note : This is advanced chainmail from the Mohammedans, tighter than European chainmail and able to stop the thin blade of a dagger].
  • He sometimes uses a Musket [BODY 05, EV 05, Range: 05, Ammo: 01, R#04, Can be used as a bludgeoning weapon with EV 03 (05 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist)].

Vessel of the Lord’s Wrath

Kane has a “True Faith” advantage that is typical of his Genre, and some Gothic Horror Genres. This Advantage marks him as being touched by God, and possessing enough faith in the Lord to actually affect some of the works of the Adversary.

True Faith has no actual application in itself ; however some creatures have Vulnerabilities to opponents with True Faith, some objects can only be used by wielders with True Faith, and so on.

Value for that Advantage varies according to Genre – whether it’s useful very often or very rarely.

By Jay Myers (the good parts) and Sébastien Andrivet (the rest).

Source of Character: R.E. Howard’s novels.

Helper(s): Jackson.

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