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Whisperman


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


“There comes a voice in the dead of night
That whispers of Man’s greed,
Of hatred, pride, and jealousy;
Of the violence that they breed.
And tyrants strong do weep like babes
Their crimes now brought to light
When the wicked find themselves alone-
-with the Voice in the Dead of Night.”


Context

This character is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these characters were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

As to Whisperman – he’s an original NPC hero I created for my own DCH campaign setting. As part of the background history of my “Earth” I created a JSA/Invaders type hero group that had been active in the 40’s. This group, called The Liberty Brigade, amounted to little more than some codenames and very brief descriptions when I originally started running the game.

Because you can never be sure when a time travel adventure might happen (;-))I decided to flesh these guys and gals of the LB out a bit. Most of them are fairly derivative (the speedster, the magician, the REALLY powerful magician, the night avenger, etc.) but I’m really happy with how Whisperman, The Voice in the Dead of Night, worked out.


Background

  • Real Name: Theodore Simms
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Oscar Simms (Father; Deceased), Genevieve Simms (Mother; Deceased); Ruth Simms (Sister)
  • Group Affiliation: The Liberty Brigade
  • Base Of Operations: 1940’s Chicago, Illinois
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 195lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Though possessed of no superhuman powers, Whisperman is one of the most formidable costumed crime-fighters of his age. Whisperman is naturally athletic and a superb hand to hand combatant. He has trained himself to be an expert driver, marksman, and thief. It is Whisperman’s keen mind and inventive genius, however, that are his greatest weapons against crime.

A brilliant detective and ingenious scientist, Whisperman’s triumphs are usually a result of his impressive mental faculties. He has created a number of incredible gadgets to aid him in his battle against crime. He wields his Whisper Gun, a pistol that can emit a sonic beam powerful enough to punch a hole through ¼ inch steel plating or induce debilitating vertigo in an opponent. He drives his bulletproof Whisper Wagon, a converted 1937 Studebaker President Coupe that has been augmented with a two-way radio and a revolutionary sound dampening system that renders it audibly undetectable.

Whisperman’s primary weapons are his Whisper Box and his own voice. Originally invented to allow him to overcome his handicap, the Whisper Box’s Super-Ventriloquism has been instrumental in the formation of Whisperman’s modus operandi. Whenever possible, Whisperman remains in hiding and uses his incredible invention to frighten his opponents into surrender. When facing armed criminals, he usually throws his voice causing them to waste ammunition firing where he is not. More than one late night encounter with criminals has ended before it began thanks to the disembodied ’Voice in the Dead of Night‘.


History

Theodore Simms was born August 8, 1910 to Oscar and Genevieve Simms. Oscar was a brilliant amateur scientist who made important contributions to the radio industry while Genevieve was a sought after voice coach and singer teacher. With this sort of background, Theodore couldn’t help but be fascinated from an early age by the science of sound. Little did Theodore realize that his fascination with Acoustics would come to define his life.

In 1916, Oscar Simms left his position in the New York City School District and moved his family to Chicago where he opened his own electronic supply company, GennyCo.. Theodore and his younger sister, Ruth spent many hours after school and during their summer vacations roaming around the GennyCo. workshops learning all they could about their father’s work.

The two youngsters spent almost as much time listening in on their mother’s voice lessons that Genevieve conducted for her students in the Simms family’s front parlor. By his 15th birthday, Theodore was working part time in GennyCo.’s Research and Development Division. When he graduated college he took a position with the company where his genius in Acoustics resulted in the development of many innovations in speaker and public address systems technology.

While he enjoyed working at his father’s company, Theodore was entranced by the new medium of radio and soon resigned from GennyCo. to take a position as a sound engineer at Chicago’s WKZM Radio.

Theodore worked at WKZM for several months, dazzling station owner Gilbert Tansley with his technical artistry, before fate took a hand in things. Late one night, the regular newsreader, Reginald Bell, took ill minutes before his on-air time. Frantic for a replacement, Tansley recruited Theodore to fill the role.

Though initially nervous, Theodore called to mind the lessons he had overheard his mother giving to her voice students and soon began delivering the news like a seasoned pro. After the broadcast, the switchboard lit up like the proverbial Christmas Tree; Theodore Simms was a big hit.

Realizing that this young man had some star quality to his voice that the listening audience had responded to, Tansley created a 10-minute “editorial” slot on Bell’s news program; an editorial to be delivered by Theodore. The editorial feature, named “The Voice of Reason”, was an instant hit and Theodore became a well-respected journalist without ever intending to.

GennyCo. was not a hit, however, largely due to the huge sums of protection money Oscar Simms was forced to pay to Chicago’s diminutive mobster, Boss Kidd. Kidd had several highly placed ’friends’ in Chicago’s political and law-enforcement communities and though he was reputed to have a hand in every dirty deal in the Windy City his connections insured the honest police couldn’t touch him.

When Theodore discovered his father’s predicament, he insisted on making Kidd and his corrupt cronies the target of a series of scathing editorials. This did not sit well with Kidd who set his enforcer, Mike “Movie Star” Marone, the task of teaching the Simms family a lesson. Movie Star, an attractive, charming, and utterly psychotic killer, took two of his hired goons and went to the Simms’ home.

There he gunned down Oscar and Genevieve while they ate their evening meal. As the pair writhed in agony, Marone calmly plucked a lilac from the centerpiece on the dinning room table and fastened it to his lapel. After finishing the Simms’ dinner, Movie Star and his men prepared to set the house ablaze.

Just then, Theodore arrived home. Horrified by the scene that greeted him, Theodore attacked his parents’ killer. But Marone and his two goons over-powered the young man. While his men held Theodore’s arms, Marone drew a stiletto from his boot and slowly slit the newsreader’s throat. Theodore fell. And while he lay dying on the kitchen floor, Marone and his men laughed. “Don’t you got no conscience, Movie Star?” one joked. “What’s that?” Marone asked. “It’s a little voice that tells you dat you dun wrong, “ answered the second. “Oh, that voice,” replied Movie Star, “I killed that voice – annoying little twerp.” And with a final chuckle, the trio left the scene of their crime.

Theodore lay there for what seemed like an eternity before loosing consciousness. The last thing that registered on his oxygen-deprived brain was the smell of the lilacs on the table – lilacs were always his mother’s favorite.

Theodore awoke in a hospital with his sister hovering over him. Ruth explained to Theodore that she had arrived on the scene to find their parents dead and Theodore soon to follow them. Though the house was soaked in kerosene, some miracle had prevented the fire set by the killers from catching. Ruth bundled her brother into her car and drove him to the nearest hospital. The doctors there were able to save his life but not his voice – Movie Star’s stiletto had irrevocably damaged his larynx.

Fearing for Ruth’s life, Theodore chose not to involve the police and decided on his own course of action. When he was discharged from the hospital, Theodore took over one of the GennyCo. warehouses. While his sister ran the floundering business, Theodore spent years building; building his mind, building his body, and building the tools he would need to ensure his parents’ killers faced justice.

As his inspiration, Theodore took the ghoulish exchange he had heard while he lay dying. Kidd, Marone, and their ilk had no consciences, no voices inside to tell them that they’ve done wrong. He would become that conscience, that voice that whispers in the night, “This is wrong and you will pay.” He would become Whisperman !

Using his knowledge of acoustics, Theodore fashioned for himself a device that when fastened around his neck allowed him to talk. In fact, the Whisper Box, as he dubbed it, was so advanced that with his mouth and neck covered it was impossible to tell that Theodore was mute. He added features to the Whisper Box that allowed him to throw his voice or create multiple voices emanating from up to three locations. He added to this astounding invention with his sonic Whisper Gun and a silent running Whisper Wagon. It took five long years but finally Theodore was ready to strike back at Boss Kidd, Movie Star Marone, and the rest.

In his first case as Whisperman, Theodore succeeded in gaining evidence against Marone in the death of the Simms, evidence that even the corrupt judicial system couldn’t ignore. Movie Star was convicted of the slayings and sent to the electric chair, but a freak accident would allow him to return to battle Whisperman again. Theodore could not find hard evidence implicating Boss Kidd in the killings, however. Thus began one of the most intense hero / villain rivalries of the Golden Age. Over the ensuing years, Whisperman would continually set Kidd’s operations back and always Kidd’s political power would leave him free to rebuild.

Meanwhile, Tansley had given Theodore back his old job as sound engineer at WKZM. To protect his secret identity, Theodore refrained from wearing his Whisper Box while in his civilian guise and lived life as a mute, writing down messages when necessary on a pad of paper he kept hanging from a cord around his neck. He cultivated a weak, broken image to further his ruse. Everyone was convinced that the death of his parents and his own near death had destroyed Theodore’s will and Tansley was doing the poor wretch a favor by hiring him back. Little did they realize how Theodore spent his evenings.

When, in October 1939, Boss Kidd attempted to renege on a deal with New York criminal kingpin, Frank “Smoke” Stack, Stack sent his best hitman, Split, to Chicago with orders to return to the Big Apple with Kidd’s heart on a platter. The Crimson Owl, New York’s own costumed adventurer, followed Split to the Windy City and The Owl and Whisperman teamed up for the first time. The two non-powered heroes’ MOs complemented each other perfectly and the pair would often call in each other’s aid on particularly dangerous cases.

In late 1940, the jetpack sporting, Skyrocket contacted The Crimson Owl regarding a team of these new “super-heroes” that he was forming. The Crimson Owl in turn contacted Whisperman and the pair, over Theodore’s misgivings, agreed to join The Liberty Brigade after a case involving Skyrocket’s recruits. The events of this case have never been made public.

Whisperman stayed with the Liberty Brigade until it was disbanded in 1949. He retired from crime-fighting in 1951 and came out of retirement only once, in 1953, to battle Boss Kidd and Movie Star Marone one last time. The rest of Whisperman’s story is a tragic one but during the years from 1937 to 1951 criminals in Chicago learned one thing. They learned to fear Whisperman, The Voice in the Dead of Night.


Description

In his crime-fighting guise, Whisperman wears a forest green trenchcoat over a gray, double-breasted business suit. His driving gloves, sidearm holster, and shoes are black leather. He wears a white dress shirt and a solid black tie with a gold “W” tie tack. The Whisper Box is worn around his neck but concealed from view by a black mask that covers the bottom half of his face in a “Shadow scarf”-type manner. A dark gray fedora completes the outfit.

The Whisper Wagon is a shiny black 1937 Studebaker President Coupe with customized chrome hub caps that sport the same gold “W” symbol as his tie tack. Whisperman’s Whisper Gun is roughly the size of a .45 Automatic although it possesses a rounder barrel. He keeps it in a holster in the small of his back. The Whisper Box is a disc the size of a half dollar with a thickness of ¼ inch. It has a mesh face much like a microphone. It is fastened to Whisperman’s neck with a ½ inch thick, black choker.

In his civilian guise, Theodore Simms is a tall, pleasant looking man in his early 30’s. He has an athletic build that he keeps hidden under poor-fitting suits. He normally does not sport a tie, preferring instead to wear the neck of his dress shirts open to reveal the vivid 3-inch scar that stretches across his throat. A 3” by 5” pad of paper and a small pencil hang by a leather cord from his neck.


Personality

As Whisperman, Theodore plays his role of “Scourge of the Underworld” to the hilt. No costumed adventurer of the 40’s elicits such raw terror in the Underworld as The Voice in the Dead of Night.

While Theodore would claim that this persona he’s adopted allows him to better combat the criminal element, secretly he relishes the fear his whispered Intimidation Attacks cause in his enemies. Though he is more than capable of physically subduing his criminal prey, he feels much more satisfaction when he can reduce them to gibbering horror with his Whisper Box.

Among his costumed compatriots, Whisperman is confident but subdued. When involved in cases with The Liberty Brigade, Whisperman supplies invaluable scientific advice and will often be found in The Brigade’s science lab assisting Skyrocket in one of his experiments.

He can also be counted on to lend a hand with the detective work when necessary. Though he fights beside and against super-powered combatants, he never feels out of his league. His intelligence, resourcefulness, and courage place him in the forefront of the first heroic age.

When in his civilian guise, Theodore plays the part of wounded introvert. He has everyone at WKZM convinced that he has never emotionally recovered from that one horrible night. In a sense he never has. Whenever he catches the faintest scent of lilacs, he is overcome by the horrific image of his dead parents and relives his own near death experience.


DC Universe History

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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Whisperman, the voice in the dead of the night

A 1395 Point Character

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 08 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Sound Engineer / Former Radio News Reader
Inf: 07 Aur: 07 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 07
Init: 24 HP: 130

Skills:
Charisma*: 07, Detective*: 08, Gadgetry*: 08, Martial Artist*: 07, Scientist*: 08, Thief*: 07, Vehicles (Land)*: 07, Weaponry (Firearms, Exotic)*: 07

Advantages:
Genius, Expansive Headquarters [Note: Whisperman’s headquarters contains an 8 AP Laboratory. HP Cost: 30], Iron Nerves, Scholar (Acoustics), Sharp Eye, Miscellaneous: “The Voice in the Dead of Night”: Whisperman uses his Whisper Box Gadget to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. If he can use the Box’s Super-Ventriloquism Power to make a Charisma (Intimidation) Attack on a target while the target remains unaware of Whisperman’s exact location, he gains a -1 Column Shift bonus to the OV of the attack.

Connections:
The Crimson Owl (High), The Liberty Brigade (High), WKZM Radio (High)

Drawbacks:
SPR (Mute), Secret Identity, Traumatic Flashbacks (The scent of lilacs)

Equipment:

  • THE WHISPER BOX [BODY 02, Split: 02, Super-Ventriloquism: 07, HP Cost: 77. Limitation: The Whisper Box’s Split Power only pertains to its Super-Ventriloquism and allows Whisperman’s voice to seem to be coming from more than one location. (-1 FC) ; Advantage: The Whisper Box allows Whisperman to speak normally as well as granting him the Super-Ventriloquism Power. (+25 HPs)]
  • The Whisper Gun [BODY 05, Flash: 08, Sonic Beam: 08, R#: 02, HP Cost: 39, Miscellaneous: The Whisper Gun’s Sonic Beam Power uses the wielder’s Weaponry (Exotic) Skill as its AV. (-1 FC) Miscellaneous: The Whisper Gun’s Flash Power uses the wielder’s Weaponry (Exotic) Skill as its AV. (-1 FC) Miscellaneous: The Whisper Gun’s Flash Power represents a vertigo-inducing ultra sonic pulse. As such, it cannot be steadily produced to provide illumination. (-1 FC)]
  • THE WHISPER WAGON [Str: 05, Body: 07, Flash: 02, Invisibility: 05, Radio Communications: 10, Running: 07, Hardened Defenses, HP Cost: 167, Note: The Whisper Wagon’s Flash Power represents its headlights. Note: The Whisper Wagon’s Invisibility Power actual makes it inaudible not invisible]

By Vincent Paul Bartilucci

Source of Character: Homegrown NPC Hero

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