The Drummer from Planetary

The Drummer


Planetary is a fascinating comic book series by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, which started in 1999. It depicts a world that should have become a super-hero setting (with many Marvel and DC archetypes), but where the emerging wonders were ruthlessly suppressed by a mysterious party.

The Drummer is one of the series’ core character, and part of a team of “mystery archaeologists”. These investigators reconstitute what should have been and fight against the suppression.

Our notes for The Drummer are embarrassingly old, though.


  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Presumably single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Planetary.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 170 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue-gray Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

The Drummer has a peculiar relationship with data and information.

  1. He can talk to machines and tell them what to do.
  2. He can sense flows of information (of any nature) in an instinctive way and get impressions about it.
  3. He’s a natural anti-surveillance device.

He also seems highly intelligent (although he’s nuts). His skills at computer and telecoms engineering, hacking, phreaking  and so on seem superhuman.


The Drummer is the most enigmatic Planetary member. It is only known that he joined Planetary after Wagner did.

The Drummer and Jakita Wagner

Planetary is an organisation seeking to unravel the secret history of the 20th Century. As far as we know, it is entirely a support and intelligence operation, with only one field team – always made up of three metahumans. At present they are Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer.

Led by a shadowy figure known as “the Fourth Man”, they seem primarily opposed by an organisation called Artemis. Artemis is led by “the Four”; crushingly powerful post-humans who travelled into space in 1961 as part of a shadow-government cold war operation.


The Drummer dresses in ordinary clothes, with a 1970s theme in style and colors, and a slightly nerdish aspect. He has short sideburns, and a short goatee.

He often drinks Coke from those small glass bottles (but named Whak for copyright reasons), and always has a pair of drumming sticks, which he constantly spins with his fingers or uses on random object. If he doesn’t have his sticks, then he’ll be finger-drumming instead.


The Drummer is nuts, but not in a massively obvious or disadvantageous manner. “Weird” would be a better description. He detests physical danger due to a bad experience during a Planetary mission. Therefore, he’ll stay behind in the helicopters on most missions.

The Drummer draws a pentagram and talks about magic

He really shines when information involved, or during missions briefings. The Drummer does all the research and preparation.

The Drummer tends to consider people he doesn’t know as slow-witted. He also has an habit to reduce everything to a key word, so Jakita generally ask him “What’s the word, Drums ?” to get information.


“The Drummer. First name The, second name Drummer.”

“You’ll regret being so damn abusive when the electric UFO gods transphase in from dimension ten to appoint me manager of the Universe.” [pause] “I said that aloud, didn’t I ?”

“Learning curve’s steep on this one, so keep focused. The word is rockets.”

DC Universe History

The concept behind Planetary has three important points :

  • There is a secret history of the superhuman and fantastic, purposefully hidden.
  • A vast conspiracy is responsible for this – and purposefully isolates humanity from the wonders and terrors that are actually present on Earth.
  • This secret history is a strangely twisted history of the comic books themselves, and their iconic characters and events, but strangely warped and somewhat sinister.

Thus, introducing Planetary and its field team in your campaign (DCU or otherwise) means you have decided there is a “secret history” and hidden wonders and dangers in the world. These can be relatively minor, or you could go for the “everything you know is a lie” approach.

An adventure involving Planetary could thus cast a strong doubt on an aspect of the universe your players took for granted.

For instance, a strange, alien sanctum where the character find the embalmed corpses of the JLA, as of 1968. Or a slightly odd villa in the Rockies where Bruce Wayne’s parents are enjoying their retirement. Or photographs of Kennedy in Dallas, shaking hands with an impressive-looking hero group in front of a cheering crowd and numerous press photographs – all of the group’s members being complete unknowns to the characters.

Basically,twist the campaign world away from what it was supposed to be, and suddenly make it unknown.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

The Drummer

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Thrill of Knowledge
Int: 09 Wil: 06 Min: 04 Occupation: Crypto-Archaeologist
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources: 10
Init: 016 HP: 035

Analytical smell/tracking scent: 08, Obscure (all): 10, Telepathy: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Analytical smell/tracking scent works on data, not odors (+1).
  • Telepathy only works with computers (-1) and allows for use of his ludicrous Scientist (computers) skill.
  • Obscure is Always On (+2) and has an Area of Effect around the Drummer (+1).

Scientist (computers): 11

None known yet.

Planetary (High).

MPI, MIF of danger.

By Mark A. Ayen and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Planetary, published by Wildstorm.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Hartley Holmberg.