Character du Jour: Alexander Deerborn

Back in March I set down a challenge to Name This Hero.


Almost three months later, and despite excellent replies and entries (thanks, all!), I…. um….. errrrr…… forgot to post the one I’d selected as the best. Sorry, folks. Real Life and a terrible memory conspired against me. What can I say? Further thanks go to Vulcan Stev for reminding me.

Wthout further ado, I’ll hand over to Sean who submitted this utterly brilliant backstory.

Alexander Deerborn was 14, serving as an ensign in the Royal Marines aboard the HMS Swiftsure in 1798, during the Battle of the Nile. A freak accident involving Egyptian artifacts commandeered from the French gave him the strength of 10 men. He served with distinction and was grievously wounded during the Battle of Trafalgar. Nonetheless, he recovered and retired a full colonel after the Battle of Waterloo.

Col. Deerborn was recalled to duty to serve in Kamchatka in 1854, despite his advanced years. He is recorded as having endured hardships side-by-side with men a third his age. He was also shot on at least three occasions, but without suffering permanent harm.

Still alive in 1914 and appearing to be “about in his mid-forties”, Col. Deerborn served with the Canadian Armed forces throughout the Great War. It was during this time that incidents of bullets “bouncing off his chest”, and leaps of 40 – 60? were first reported.

Between the First and Second World Wars, Alexander Deerborn served as an Inspector and later a Superintendent in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Although he was retired with distinction in 1937, there was some evidence that he was criticized within the force for the number of fatalities among suspects in his investigations.

Deerborn returned to Britain, and the rank of Colonel, during World War 2. The early months of his service appear to be in some clandestine operation, but in 1941 he joined the Parachute Regiment of the British Army. At this time, he appeared to be a young man in the prime of life, and would regularly jump from airplanes without a parachute. Later, he served in Force Britannia under (acting Brigadier General) Dr. Atum. Some reports indicate he was drinking heavily at this time, and the American Superhero Captain Connecticut claimed in his autobiography that Deerborn once threw a tank at him in a drunken rage.

By the end of World War Two, Col Deerborn was capable of flying under his own power, and was clearly stronger then he had ever been before. Just as clearly, he was out of control. Although he was used by the British Military until 1954, he was no longer employed in publicity exercises, nor was he involved in military operations that required subtlety. He was mostly used as a demoralizing weapon against vastly inferior opponents. He retired again after the Korean War.

In 1958 he was arrested after a fight with his girlfriend of 4 months. Although she was not injured, her car and two nearby buildings were destroyed. Alexander Deerborn surrendered to police without incident, but two days later, suffering from heroin withdrawal, he broke out of jail. He went on a sporadic crime spree for the next 8 months until captured by The Hypernucleic Man. In Gairsay Prison he was visited regularly by Dr. Atum, his old commander, who apparently taught him some ancient meditation techniques to control his temper and heroin and alcohol addiction. (Dr. Leon Visserman has hypothesized in his “Overman, Overmind: Psychology and the Superman.” that Alexander Deerborn had been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress since the mid-1800’s.)

Released from Gairsay in 1972, Deerborn traveled to Egypt, Turkey, India, Tibet, and Nepal, among other places. He assisted the third Force Britannia on two occasions: Against the Supervillain Fury, in 1976, and during the Erdanian Invasion of 1980-81. By this time Deerborn was capable of unassisted spaceflight.

In 2001, when Dr Atum disappeared, Alexander Deerborn took the codename Heru as a mark of respect for his mentor. However, he rarely uses it, preferring to operate simply as Deerborn. Deerborn is considered to be one of the 20 most powerful Supers operating on Earth today, but rarely takes the field against super foes. His most audacious recent actions have been mitigating the Tsunami of 2004, fighting the plague of Asteroid Dakuro, and (most controversially) irrigating the Plains of Sahara.

Alexander Deerborn shows no sign of the unstability that plagued him during the later 20th Century, but only time can tell if he has truly conquered his demons.

This is a straight Paragon build, bumped up to Power Level 14 to reflect his experience and rating as one of the most powerful superheroes around. He can fly at about Mach 4, lift over 200 tons and all but the mightiest warheads bounce off his chest. His skills aren’t as high as they should be to reflect his out-dated knowledge and fractured past, and his military rank is little more than a token gesture. A five-star general, he ain’t.

I love characters like this: simple to build, fun to play and packed with a load of options under the hood. Add in one awesome backstory, and I’d say it’s a winner.

Alexander Deerborn, PL 14 210pp
Str 40, Dex 12, Con 40, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 16

Tough +15, Fort +18, Ref +12, Will +10
Attack +12, Defense +12, Init +1

Flight 8 (2500mph), Immunity 10 (Life Support & Aging), Impervious Toughness 15, Quickness 3, Super-Strength 6 (Heavy Load 205 tons)

KS:History +5, KS:Tactics +7, Medicine +3, Notice +7, Profession:Military +6, Search +8, Survival +3
Benefit 2:Military Rank

5 Comments on “Character du Jour: Alexander Deerborn”

  1. Hey, that’s my name – up on the big screen!

    Thanks Greywulf. He looks great. I was thinking that M&M didn’t have a system for the somewhat nebulous quirks I gave Deerborn, but I remember you telling us how if they come up in play, then that’s when you get credit for them. I can see where that gives a more room for subtle portrayal then something like: Heroin Addiction 8-, Distanced from Humanity 12-

  2. @Sean exactly. M&M has two mechanisms for handling any kind of disadvantage the hero might possess – Drawbacks and Complications.

    Drawbacks are things which limit or control the character in some way; Heroin Addiction, Krypronite Vulnerability, a Weak Point or a Normal (ie, non-powered) Secret ID are all great Drawbacks. You get more points to spend as character generation for taking a Drawback as they’re effectively a part of your character, all the time (at least, until you buy them off).

    Complications are, imho, more interesting. These are situations and role-playing hooks which, if they come into play, give the character a Hero Point. Good complications are such things as “Enemy”, “Code of Honour”, “Rivalry”, “Fame”, “Temper”, etc. They can be as broad or finely tuned as you wish.

    There’s a degree of overlap between the two, and which you use depends on the genre, style of the character and which fits the concept.

    For example, Hulk would have “Drawback: Involuntary Transformation when angry (Very Common, Major)” where another character might have “Complication:Temper”. The two things are related, but conceptually very different things.

    For Deerborn, I did the easy thing and left them out altogether. From your write-up is sounds like he’s got the worst of his inner demons under control now. If they resurfaced I’d give Complication:Temper and Drawback:Multiple Additions (Common, Major) and grant 4pp to use immediately.

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