the_green_knight: (Ivy)
Name: Ian McDougal

Background: Ian is fresh out of school with a doctorate's in anthropology. He wrote his thesis on the medieval legends and what it revealed about their culture, focusing primarily on Arthurian myth. As he studied, he came to believe that the Arthurian myth had more fact to it than is generally believed. His thesis was impressive enough for him to be hired straight out of college by his alma matter, Brown University, where he became a professor of anthropology.

He has recently discovered evidence that the magical artifacts of the Green Knight may actually exist, and he's discovered clues as to their location. After a rival stole his first discovery, he has decided to play this close to the chest. His constant absences as he researches further are threatening to cost him his job, but he knows when he returns with the artifacts, his job will be secure for life.

What he does not know is that there are others seeking the artifacts of the Green Knight... and others who are dedicated to keeping them hidden -- no matter what the cost.

Personality: Highly intelligent, Ian can be socially awkward when nervous -- and he can get nervous easily. He tends to overanalyze everything in a social context, marking him as something of a geek. He often forgets basic things like shaving, giving him a perpetually-scruffy look.

Skills: Ian is a gifted anthropologist, with a brilliant mind. He is not especially athletic, but did race track in college, which has helped keep him in shape even now. His focus on education has meant he has avoided social growth, and he tends to rely on his anthropology skills in social situations.

The Green Knight story: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English poem that was written in the 14th century, but the story is likely even older. One Christmas Eve, the Green Knight appears at Camelot and challenges any knight to trade blows with his. Using the Green Knight's own axe, the knight may strike a blow now, and the Green Knight will return a blow in one year's time on New Year's Day. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and lops the Green Knight's head from his shoulders, but the warrior picks up his head again, tells Gawain to meet him at the Green Chapel next year, and rides off.

Gawain travels to the Green Chapel and has numerous adventures on the way. On Christmas Eve, he comes to the castle of Sir Bernlak DeHautdesert and is invited inside. Gawain is well-treated, and Bernlak tells him that the Green Chapel is less than a day's ride. He has Gawain stay until it's time to head out. Bernlak then says that he will hunt every day, and offers to present Gawain with his spoils each evening if Gawain gives him any gifts he received during the day. Gawain agrees.

For the next three days, Sir Bernlak leaves to hunt. While he's away, his wife attempts to seduce Gawain. The first two days, Gawain resists, and he has nothing to present to Bernlak. On the third day, she gives him an embroidered silk girdle -- a belt -- which she says will protect him from all harm. She kisses him three times. That night, Gawain kisses Bernlak three times, but does not mention the girdle.

The next morning, he finds the Green Knight at the Green Chapel, sharpening his axe. Gawain kneels, and as the Knight swings, Gawain leaps out of the way, unharmed. The second swing is also avoided, and the third swing leaves only a small cut on the back of his neck. The Green Knight then reveals himself to be Sir Bernlak. The initial two blows were harmless because he had remained chaste, while the third blow represented Gawain's breaking of his vow to present the gift -- though it was for a good reason, so the blow was not severe. Bernlak explains that he and Morgan Le Fey created the situation to test the valor and honor of Arthur's knights. Gawain is allowed to leave and return to Camelot; he keeps the girdle ever after to remind himself of his failure to keep a bargain.

The artifacts: The axe is a massive heavy weapon with a heavy, double-bladed axe head. The wood and leather of the handle and the metal of the blade itself are all green. The handle appears to have ivy growing around it and wrapping around the head. The axe provides the wielder with incredible accuracy and speed, so long as the weapon is wielded. Only those pure in heart may wield it with any accuracy, though anyone can lift it.

The armor is a masterpiece of military equipment. It is massive, constructed of heavy metal plates fitted together. Yet there is a grace about the armor, and each piece slides smoothly along its joints and hinges. It is emerald green in color; not dyed, but somehow imbued with the color. An ivy pattern covers the armor, with each joint a perfect leaf. The helmet resembles a bearded man, but it also maintains the ivy pattern. The features seem formed from tree limbs and other plants. It grants the wearer great strength (making him a mid-level-brick) and invulnerability to most types of attacks (though the right magics or a powerful-enough strike will hurt). The Green Knight's axe cannot damage this armor. Only those who are pure in heart can wear the armor -- others who try will be struck by lightning from within the armor.

The girdle is a mystic belt that grants immunity from mystical attacks, and protects the wearer from the ravages of age and disease, as well as providing a small personal forcefield that helps protect against some attacks -- meaning the wearer has some protection even without the armor. The girdle cannot be touched by someone who is not pure of heart or shielded by powerful magicks.

The artifacts are from the JSA Sourcebook for the DCU RPG by West End. Ian is my own.

Introductory Story: I plan to introduce Ian with the following story -- and it is available to any hero, provided they are not too powerful (Superman would be too much for this plot, but not the Elongated Man).

Part 1: Establish who Ian is, and where he's working, and that he's trying to find evidence of the Green Knight's artifacts, while keeping it hidden from a rival. His job is in danger, and he may even get fired, though he knows that if he returns with the Green Knight artifacts, he'll be welcomed back.

Part 2: While in a public place (and near where other heroes can encounter him), someone shoots Ian. He's not killed, but the heroes will need to save his life. The assassin gets away. While questioning Ian about why he might have been attacked, Morgan LeFey sends some sort of supernatural foe after Ian -- possibly a demon or the like. It wishes to kill Ian and/or steal his notebook. It doesn't kill Ian -- the heroes save him -- but the notebook is indeed stolen. Elsewhere, the head of his department is also shot.

Part 3: Ian has discovered that the castle of DeHautdesert will likely hold the first clue to the artifacts, and he has found where this castle is located. Today, it has a different name -- Blandingwood Castle. With his notebook stolen, Morgan LeFey also knows its modern name (she doesn't recall its location anymore, certainly not in the modern world). Ian insists on coming with the heroes to find the artifacts and stop Morgan (whatever she's up to, it can't be good). They arrive to find that it's a modern hotel and restaurant, with a medieval theme. As a result, there are many civilians in the area. In addition, there's a number of regular people who will try to stop the heroes AND Morgan -- they are the people who shot Ian and his boss earlier to try to keep the artifacts hidden. The descendants of Sir Bernlak, they are charged with keeping the artifacts hidden until he returns, and they see Ian and LeFey both as threats to this. While the heroes fight the various threats, Ian locates the axe built into the wall of the castle as part of the decor. The descendants of Bernlak will also try to keep the civilians safe, and they will be hesitant to hurt any known superheroes. When they see the heroes helping civilians, they will side with the heroes and explain their situation. They can be convinced that they are no longer capable of protecting these artifacts. If this happens, they tell the heroes where to find the Chapel... and the armor. Otherwise, Ian can figure it out.

Part 4: The Chapel is built into the side of a hill. The only ceiling is made up of interweaving tree branches, and a small creek runs through it. It's old and worn down, yet still serene. LeFey has beaten the heroes here, and is trying to find the armor, which is within the tree-trunk altar. In the fight, the altar is destroyed, and the armor flies out. The heroes can't stop Morgan from getting to the armor... but Ian does, risking his life because he knows that she cannot be trusted with it. Because of his purity of heart, the armor magically binds to him. (He won't know how to mystically "call it" to himself in the future, though he may learn how later. For the time being, he'll have to put it on and take it off manually.) Morgan hisses and vanishes.

Part 5: The descendants of Bernlak can be helpful in finding the girdle, too. Ian knows the girdle was brought to Camelot, and some of Bernlak's descendants have kept an eye on it over the years. It is currently in the Smithsonian on temporary display (though it is technically owned by one of Bernlak's descendants). They get in, and Morgan follows, attacking the heroes. When the girdle is retrieved, Morgan takes someone hostage, demanding that Ian surrender himself in exchange for the hostage. He does so, and Morgan vanishes with Ian and all three Green Knight artifacts. All seems lost.

Part 6: Morgan reveals to Ian that she is seeking to destroy the artifacts to regain their magic (she created these artifacts when she was younger and far more powerful) -- this will enable her to restore her youth, and also increase her powers significantly. However, because the armor has now "bonded" with him, she must bind the other two to him, then kill him before the artifacts will be capable of being destroyed again. As this ritual progresses, the heroes find Morgan's lair (the method varying depending on which heroes are involved in the plot). They get there in time to free Ian before he dies, and they defeat Morgan, who is driven off. She vows revenge, promising to kill Ian and steal the artifacts someday. Ian, for his part, is found to be mystically linked to the artifacts and is now the Green Knight. He cannot reveal he has the artifacts, so he cannot return to his previous job; instead, he gets a job at a community college as a professor there.

Plans: I'd like to see Ian be a reluctant hero, but one who will do what needs to be done to protect people. He can either join a team that fits him (JLA, JSA, probably not the Outsiders), or he can be a solo hero that can team up with anyone else from time to time. He won't be a major character of mine, but a fun one to get out from time to time to help out in various adventures.

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the_green_knight

December 2008

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