This page describes the original roleplay character created for Universe Unlimited Mush. For the mythological Nemean Lion, check the References below.
Frederick "Fang" Ounce is the reincarnation of the demigod/monster who terrorized the Plains of Nemea, in Ancient Greece. The giant lion was killed by Hercules as his first Labor.
Per the mythos, the first labor of Hercules was to kill the rampaging beast and bring its skin to the king he was forced to serve. The Lion, nursed either by Hera or Selene, was a wild beast sent by Hera to afflict the Tretoians, the Apesonii, and the Nemeans for their disobediance, and was invulnerable to mortal weapons. Hercules' arrows (and bronze sword) bounced off the lion's invulnerable skin, it leaped at him from afar and his olive-wood club off its stone-hard form until he hit it on the head and stunned it, then wrestled it into position and strangled it from behind with a choke-hold, in one story breaking its jaw and jamming his fist down its throat. Even then it bit off one of his fingers. Only its claws were hard an sharp enough to cut its own skin.
In the long-lost Temple of the Lion a different story can be found on the carvings, the walls, the amphorae: the Nemean Lion was the king of a warrior band of lion-people, the son of the Moon-goddess Selene and the war-king of the Lion-people, a hero called Claw. The child was a demi-god, and had even been nursed by Hera. His father died in battle when he was still a young man. After his first fight his people named him Fang; they cared nothing for his parentage, but made him their war-king. The human people of Tretos, Apesos and Nemeia were at constant war, which spilled over to Lion lands, and disrupted their hunting, so he conquered them to enforce peace. Nemeia's king fled like a coward and begged his cousin Eurystheus for help, and Hercules (doing penance for an affont to Hera) was sent to defeat him.
He came with a serpent, the ambassador of another tribe of animal-people, who invoked guest-right to guarantee their safety. Over the course of a month, Hercules befriended the lion-people and their leader, winning a hunting challenge for which the prize was the boon of the winner's choice. For his boon, Hercules challenged Fang to single combat for the freedom of the Nemeans. The fight went much as the myths tell, except that the Lion had sworn not to kill; Hercules had not. He promised to protect the lion-people if he won, and Fang bit off his finger. That was the extent of harm he was allowed, and Hercules stunned and strangled him, then used Fang's own claws to cut the skin from his body, making it into armor.
Hercules had won the challenge, so the lion-people released the Nemeans (but they kept the other cities) ... some of them joined Hercules' sons in the founding of Sparta. A handful remained at their temple where Hercules' finger was entombed near the carcase of their last war-king. In time, Hercules wife Deianira was tricked by Nessus: the centaur had tried to kidnap her, Hercules shot him with a poisoned arrow, and he convinced her to keep his blood as a charm to ensure Hercules' love for her. Fearing he would leave her for a younger lover, she washed the inside of the lion-skin with the blood, and sent it to him. When he put it on it the poison burned him to death, and she killed herself. The lion-skin was returned to the temple, still tainted with the poison, to be entombed next to the finger.
The temple was buried, the remaining lion people scattered. And in the afterlife, the shade of the Nemean Lion fought his way past Cerberus, and waited for his slayer to visit Hades before being elevated to godhood. And when he got there, a conversation took place about guest-right and friendship and who owed whom.
It took time to arrange. Some thousands of years later, a wealthy but childless couple, Uther and Gabriela Ounce, made one last attempt to beget an heir for their fortunes, and by a miracle, succeded. But their firstborn boy Frederik (despite a vastly heroic spirit) was cursed with a decidedly unheroic body. He was short, thin to the point of gauntness, nearly blind, allergic to everything, and bluntly clumsy on his best days. His parents, both athletic and beautiful even in their middle years, were terrified to learn that they carried a double-recessive gene which would mean any further children would have the same problems he had, or worse. And, most likely, he would be dead before he was twenty.
Still, they loved their son and (despite their jet-setting high-finance life-style) they took him and his nanny and his doctor and his tutor everywhere with them, so he never wondered who his parents were. His grandfather, the famed-only-in-his-field archaeologist Dr. Malcolm Ounce,also doted on "the little knee-biter" and with his encouragement little "Fang" spent several years on digs, where the toxic environment of modern life was not so great, and it helped, as did better medicines. Eventually had to attend a regular (private) school, and then college. They didn't tell him that he'd be lucky to survive into his thirties.
He wasn't bullied in school - his open friendliness, sheer determination to try even when it was clear he'd fail, and in emergencies his bodyguard, kept him safe and popular enough. His freshman year of college was tragic. On their way to meet him for the holidays, his parents were killed in a terrorist bombing; he found himself with a rather large personal fortune, but "corporate executive" isn't hereditary when one isn't an owner or founder. Frederick inherited their voting shares, but trusted his parents' actual friends to help him with the investments, and wasn't disappointed. A year of studying business and economics proved to him that he loathed both, so he studied what he wanted: history, art, math. He recognized that his dream was to help others and his daydream fantasy, to have the power of the heroes of myth and legend. He tried the fantasy first. With the help of a good trainer and dietician he was able to achieve a still-lean bodyweight of 110 pounds at 5'6" tall, just barely above "weakling" and an enormous improvement over his near-crippled state, but then learned what had been kept from him by his parents.
Despite what he'd achieved, his disease was life-limiting; his organs were failing and he'd be dead inside four years. The best doctors all told him that nothing in medical science could fix this, so he endowed a trust fund with all but a tenth of his fortune, funding research to finding cures for rare genetic disorders, and prepared to simply live out the four years he had left helping his grandfather. (He didn't give away control of the trust, that would be foolish.)
Malcolm Ounce had a wild lead on one last lost site: the original home city of the Spartans. It proved valid, but there was very little remaining, just puzzling shreds and bits, until they found the Temple of the Lion. Hidden in a cave and long-buried, the temple was undamaged, complete, and the inscriptions and vase-paintings told the true story.
Finding and uncovering the temple had taken three years. Twenty-five year old Frederick was not doing well. The workers had left weeks ago - social unrest was increasing as the economy failed - and even the doctor had gone, recalled to Athens for the emergency. As Malcolm followed the last inscription, finding the secret altar, Fred fell into a coma, and couldn't be roused. Malcolm Ounce brought his grandson before the altar (thinking of shelter) and two transparent figures appeared, challenging him. They could help, but it might cost the old man his life. Ounce was a healthy 90-year-old, in better shape really than his grandson, but he was willing to make the trade. A potion, made from the powder found in the urn on the altar, mixed with olive oil and wine and a drop of Malcolm's own blood, fed to Frederick every day at dawn and sunset until the sun crossed the heart of the lion. He agreed - it was only two months til the solar transit of Leo - and on that day, Frederick was alive, healthy, and suddenly awake again. Malcolm told him, "do what they tell you, Fang" and crumbled to ashes. So very NOT natural.
Fang, feeling strangely strong and healthy, and unsure if he had dreamed his grandfather's death, found himself reading the ancient inscription on the altar. It said he could live out a normal life, healthy as any normal man, or he could help repay the wrong that Hercules had done to his friend. Somehow he knew it was sent to him. Heroic spirit? Obvious answer. It took hard work, rituals and somehow combat and physical training, but after six months Fang was able to lift the huge stone lid from the tomb, revealing what remained of the lion-skin: a headpiece, Writing on a papyrus told him to don the helm, while standing in the light of the fullest moon. Of course, it was a trick, but a good one. Frederick Ounce, the feeble son of a wealthy couple, was revealed to be the actual reincarnation of the Nemean Lion, Fang of the Lion Tribe.
A piece of his spirit had been given by Hera to a couple who had chosen too late in life to have their child, and the moment he put on the lion-helm, the other half of his spirit returned. The war-king of the lions was whole again, and his power returned.
Frederic Ounce strode into a bank in Zurich. It had been nearly five years since he was last there, creating the trust, setting aside what he needed for his own use. He was plainly dressed, even a bit ragged, but then, he HAD walked from the Nemeian plains. He had the right pass-codes, the keys, and (except for the fact that he was nearly seven feet tall and an utterly terrifying and impressive physical specimen) every test they made: fingerprints, retina, and DNA (except for the lack of the lethal dual-recessive and a few anomalies) were all matches for their records. Satisfied, they accepted his claim of a positive response to a new medical treatment. It took a week to recover a passport, a month to get a properly updated one, and two months later, Fang was on a plane to America. Something told him that he wanted to be there.
Hero! or something!Edit
Frederick could live well enough on his remaining funds, but he would go stir crazy, and the revelation that caused him to set up the Genetic Disorders Research Trust remains valid: he feels that he needs to make a positive difference in the world, and that he needs to do that more directly as well as behind the scenes. It doesn't help that every month he's compelled to go do something for a random woman.
Frederick wasn't much for long-range planning; his parents took care of him, and arranged to have others who could handle the complications of life. Fang the King was very much a war-king, leaving the day-to-day rule to those more qualified. As a lion-man in modern times, he has a strong instinct to hunt, to defend the pride, to fight. Sometimes his reactions will take over before his brain even notices the stimulus. Sometimes, his instincts make him restless and craving action. And of course there's the Tasks that Hera's curse impose on him.
Fang has the memories of at least two lifetimes: his modern life and the previous life where he was a demigod. While he generally knows who and where he is, during battle and during some special situations he may flash back and be more the ancient king than the modern troubleshooter.
Fang can get carried away in battle. Normally this will happen when he's been injured by an attack that would have been lethal without his powers, or when someone he is guarding is hurt.
Courtesy and CharmEdit
Frederick was raised to be a courteous child and a courteous adult, with formal training in manners, business, public and private, and cross-culturally as well. He isn't likely to accidentally gaffe. Similarly for his time, Fang was a king when this required being able to keep the trust and belief of families and nations through sheer force of will and personal charm. His death at Hercules hands was a breach of courtesy that Hercules regretted, though that didn't make it into the myths, which preferred their monsters to be real monsters.
Frederick Ounce was born with severe genetic disorders which would have killed him by the age of 20. He was healed by a ritual that combined the finger of Hercules, bitten off by the Nemean Lion, the paw of said lion, and most of the lion's hide, which had all dried and fallen into dust.
Mixed with ouzo and olive oil and a few drops of the blood of his grandfather Malcolm, who voluntarily gave his remaining years for his grandson, this potion was fed to the comatose Frederick. The qualities of the donors were imbued into the young man, first correcting the disorder, then enhancing him physically to become a peak specimen. He is very strong, quick, agile, and his senses are sharp. He is able to survive extremes that would kill baseline humans. The downside is that he's seven feet tall and weighs about 350 pounds, meaning human society does not fit him physically. He also needs to eat 2-3 times what a normal adult male would eat, optimally a high protein, high fat diet. The Moons Blessing ritual makes him twice as strong, fast, and resilient as normal.
Hercules crafted the hide of his first great foe into armor, barbaric though it was. The head became a sort of helm that he would pull over his own head, and the hide he wrapped around his body. The head/helm is the part that remains after the eons the hide spent with the venom and the years working on it, reducing most of it to powder. Donning the Lion Helm transforms Fang into the Nemean Lion; his half-human half-lion form has digigrade feet, lion-tail, fur and nasty claws. Agility, strength and senses are increased, and his skin becomes "invulnerable" while he grows another half-foot taller and increases to 500 pounds of muscle. bone, and general nasty. He can return to human form at will but can only assume the lion form if he's wearing the helm.
In human form, Fang heals very rapidly, with cuts and nicks gone in hours rather than days, and similar reductions for other injuries.
In Lion form this becomes Combat Healing. While in combat and for a short while afterwards, injuries vanish at a greatly accelerated rate, removing the most lethal damage first. His invulnerability makes deep punctures and slashes, and severed limbs, very unlikely, but as an example: a coherent plasma bolt burning a hole through his heart would kill him inside a minute. In the first moments the bleeding would stop, in the next few, the muscle would grow back, in the next the hole in bones and flesh and skin, and finally all the scars would go away. Since he can only handle so much at once, the intelligent enemy will attempt to overwhelm his healing with huge damage or copious fast small damage.
A powerful curse can also block this healing but it first has to overwhelm him. This healing is primarily concerned with physical integrity.
It doesn't stop death from suffocation, exsanguination, or other methods that remove some environmental element required to sustain life.
This power does not increase endurance. It has no effect on fatigue toxins or lack of metabolic fuel from prolonged effort.
This is an attribute of the Lion only. Normally, weapons hard as carbon steel with a razor edge striking with 1-2 tons of force can cut his skin, or pierce it. An impaling weapon would need to push past the 5-ton resistance his muscle provides, but pressure points can certainly be affected if the attack can get through the skin. Acid, fire, etc. are resisted, doing about 85-90% of their expected damage. Coherent energy weapons have normal effect,
With Moon Blessing, only a magical (or molecular-thin) point or blade with 30+ tons force behind it, can break his skin. Blunt-force attacks do 1/3 damage (and bullets are blunt-force usually). Acid, fire, etc. do half damage. Coherent-energy weapons bounce off 2/3 of the time but if they hit, they have their normal effect.
Not really. As a human he's strong, able to lift 2-3x his bodyweight with ease, and like all lifts, the conformation of the mass to be moved has a major effect on how easily it can be moved. As the Lion he can lift/carry/throw a 5-7 ton vehicle with accuracy up to 150 yards, less accurately past that. His focused strike hits with ~ 2 1/2 tons force.
The Moon Blessing boosts his strength by ~10x, so that his max lift-and-stagger increases to 65 tons, and focused strike hits with 45 tons of force.
He can instinctively fight as a human, though when he first goes into the world he doesn't realize this. He uses a fighting style similar to the Tiger style of kung-fu, naturally enough. As the Lion, he has four-inch claws on hands and feet, and can choose whether or not to use them. He can pounce-leap 50 yards in 1/8th second to knock down and stun a water buffalo. In close combat he strikes up to 10x per second for half-force, 2x per second for full. His claws can slice soft metals. Combat endurance is not magical; Fang tires after 3-5 minutes all-out fighting and must slow down to catch his breath. This is decidedly normal for big cats.
The Moon Blessing enhances his claws magically allowing him to slice through the hardest metals, unnaturally deep. This can extend (on very special occasions) to the so-called "super" metals.
Available to human and Lion forms. Fang's blood is a magical toxin. It spontaneously ignites and burns in air, and the flames rot metal and wood, but only numbs/itches living flesh. Contact for 1-2 seconds can cause hallucination and weakness, for 10 seconds will usually cause unconsciousness. Fang can nick his palm with a nail or claw, and the few drops of blood that flow out will burst into flame for 4-6 seconds.
He can throw that ball of toxic flame up to 50' accurately, or coat a blade or projectile with it to throw 200-300 yards.
He can use this power to shed toxins, speeding his recovery from prolonged exercise and expelling poisons from food or environment.
A racial gift, the Lion-people Hunter's Stare. A focussed and intense gaze from a motionless hunter, after five to ten seconds a "force of will" burst travels along the path of the gaze up to 200 yards to strike and ensnare the target and sentients within 2 yards in a dazed dream that lasts from 30 seconds to no more than 10 minutes. This doesn't do any direct harm.
In Lion form, if Moon Blessing is in effect, Fang can change his fur color to fit his environment, granting a mild camouflage. His normal coloration is a tawny umber-yellow with brown-black paws. In a snowy area his color might shift to blue-white and grey paws, in a desert with mostly red sands, to an orange-and-red.
More importantly in the modern world, this grants him use of the major languages used in the area, til the Moon Blessing ends, and this use of language continues for its duration even if he reverts to human form.
Hunting and FishingEdit
A bronze age savage hunter, Fang was amazingly competent at stalking and taking down prey ranging from tiny wee mice (the snack that squeaks) to deer and wild cattle. Reincarnated, he remembers those skills. As a modern hunter he's not so good with guns, and the Lion people didn't use arrows when hunting, so he's good with whatever he can pounce on. Note, he can grab fish out of a stream even in human form.
Fang was war-king, trained by Hera's guard, though much of what he was taught was "how to terrorize a village full of people who offend the goddess." He is a skilled melee fighter, and in combat knows where his allies and enemies are, and in the course of his own fighting can maneuver to aid or hinder fighters nearby. A natural martial artist, he has Lion spirit innately.
This skill mostly applies to the Skyhook listed in Boons. He can use his strength to jump with perfect timing and for distances, which allows him to use the Skyhook to approximate flight, but with lots of swinging around and flipping out. It's actually kind of relaxing.
History and SociologyEdit
In college this was his way to distract himself from the dead-end life. And, Fang the War-King lived through parts of the history that seem to be all mixed up in modern times. Still SOME of college stuck! Fang has lots of trivia about wars and tactics used by various historic figures, too much of it by armchair generals and sand table soldiers.
Fang/Fred speaks (in no particular order) greek, spanish, italian, french, portugese, catalonian, german, dutch, swedish and english. He has no first language, because his parents deliberately raised him to be multi-lingual. (And this doesn't include the ones he could hold temporarily by Blending In.)
Both parents were highly placed executive officers in multi-billion dollar companies for many years before he was born, and were still on boards of directors when they were killed. They left him only a part of their wealth, much of it going to legitimate charities and some of it going to ridiculous taxes because they hadn't yet tax-protected those parts. With his own portion, when Frederick learned he would die within a decade, he endowed a trust to fund research into causes and cures of rare genetic diseases, hoping this would help others in his situation. Keeping only 10 percent for himself, he still has an effective income of about $1million US per year.
This is a ritual. At moon-rise, outside, Fang chants a brief hymn in Greek asking the moon for her blessing. This boosts some of his powers, lasting until moon-set in three days but also lost if he's defeated in combat. A tactical surrender isn't defeat as far as the Moon is concerned. (This can be considered to be in effect about 2/3 of the time; Less likely during times when moon-rise is late at night.)
The Claw of the Lion, forged by Vulcan. (Origin not yet described.) It fires an unbreakable line-and-grapnel, attaching "off panel" (the line phases to a fourth-dimensional space almost instantly so cannot snag or snare and cannot be used to trip, impede, or trap others.) This device enables a "swinging" travel power. Fang prefers to use in Lion form because it's easier - in human form he can't jump as high and gets tired more quickly when using it.
Word of HonorEdit
Fang will not (perhaps can not) break his word. Hercules used this in the time of myth to force the Nemean Lion to fight him at a disadvantage (Herc's not stupid) and defeated him because he wouldn't break his oath. This was also true of Frederick Ounce, though it didn't take the dramatic form it took in his previous life. It still limits the modern Lion: he will keep his word even if it forces him to do something that he doesn't want to do. He can work around it, and may try to negotiate a release from a promise, unless a Task for Hera is involved; then he is absolutely bound to his word no matter what.
Being reincarnated only slightly softened his godmother Hera's wrath. Of course she knew he'd be defeated, she planned on it, but she expected a better fight out of him. In penance, once a month, he must take on a task for the first woman he meets who asks his help. It doesn't matter what the task is but it must be a task he can finish within a year. Once he finishes the task, he's free for a month. If for some reason he is unable to seek out a task, Hera will simply arrange for a harder one when he finally can. If he tries to avoid it, she will compel him, and may choose other punishments as well.
The Lion Helm appears to be just a leather hood made from the skin of a lion, with glass eyes and the upper fangs attached under the nose. When someone with Lion-people blood puts it on, it becomes a full helm, and the spirit of the Nemean Lion can choose to imbue them with his power. (Note, this might be uncomfortable for Fang if it happens while he's alive, since he'll effectively be in two places at once. The helm CAN be stolen but he can track it instinctively. It has no beneficial effect for anyone who lacks the Lion-people bloodline.) Reincarnated through parents who had mere traces of Lion-people blood, it needed strong divine magic to give Frederick Ounce a body that matched Fang's original. Even now he can only transform to lion-form when he puts on the helm. He can assume the half-lion warrior form as well as turn full-lion but his modern self is disturbed by the latter.
Scare the HorsesEdit
Even human, Fang stinks of lion, and his poison blood gives him a faint "monster" aura. Normal prey animals fear him, other predators may challenge him, and humans may distrust him without knowing why. As a lion, in the right parts of the world, he may attract unruly mobs with fire and pitchforks.
Being a lion (even in human form) he's a semi-obligate carnivore, so can only eat a small amount of raw vegetable before becoming ill, and must eat at least a pound of raw meat every 48 hours (in addition to any cooked food). Fang also needs to eat 2-3x normal adult male human rations high in protein and fat. Like all big cats he needs 12-14 hours sleep a day (and can do catnaps.)
Too Big DammitEdit
Built on the Greek Heroic template. Day-to-day, Fang doesn't fit the normal human world. As a 7' tall, 350# human, or a 7'5" 500# Lion, regular human-scale furniture, rooms, and facilities don't fit well. He cannot buy clothing off the rack, regular utensils and items are too short/small. He may seem clumsy using small tools etc.
This is an RP-cued flaw. As fallout from the flaw Questing Beast: Any illegal acts or violation of Olympian law, even if compelled by Hera's monthly curse, will still fall on his head. Cops don't usually respond well to "the goddess made me do it" and judges are frequently skeptical. Still, that's mortal world frustrations and can be managed. Godly punishments are nastier. The Greek gods were not known for their forgiving natures, but in this case punishments will USUALLY be short, perhaps 1-2 months of some added flaw like not-changing-to-human, etc. Really bad breaches might draw Furies or worse.
Labors For HeraEdit
These are the labors undertaken by the Nemean Lion to assuage the wrath of Hera since arriving in America
2010-08-25 - At the behest of Zandra - volunteer as an artists model for her life-drawing class.