In my previous world origins post, I mentioned that some of these characters have been in my head for many years through several iterations. Today, I’m starting a series of posts going over the origins of some of these characters. This will be how I came up with the character and how the character has evolved, and not backstory that I would normally develop in a book itself. Just a little behind-the-scenes stuff.
In either August or September of 1991, I finally got the nerve up to ask the girl who I had a crush on out. I got shot down hard and I was devastated. My best friend, Duane, in an attempt to cheer up, said, “Let’s make a Champions character.” At this point, I have never played Champions before. My RPG experience was Dungeons & Dragons as well as several one shot let’s try this game out sessions. But I had several friends who had been playing Champions in another long time group they had been in, often referred to as “the Saturday Group.” I had wanted to check it out, so I perked up when Duane suggested it. Duane asked me to come up with a character concept, and he handled the actual character creation and points crunching. As a side note, I created a character for him years later based on him describing his concept to me and that character became Revenant in the book.
Back in 1991, I read lots of comic books. Every week I was down at the comic book store when they were putting up the new comics and buying issues of the series I followed. And at this time, comics were starting to get darker. So, my concept was for a street level dual-wielding sword carrying vigilante with cybernetics. He had a cybernetic left arm and cybernetic eyes that gave him IR vision. And he knew martial arts. We got to the disadvantages section and started coming up with his back story. He was a martial artist who had gotten on the wrong side of the Mafia and he had been beaten and tortured while his wife had been raped and killed. I think. Been so long I don’t remember the exact story, but that was the gist.
So I had a character, who I had named Silent Death. Now, it was time to play him. A couple of our other friends created characters and Duane ran a one-shot adventure for us. One friend, Stephen, created a Spider-man rip off and another friend, Chris, created a Terminator rip off named Steele Justice. And it was a lot of fun. I got a Champions rule book a few months later for Christmas and started creating more characters, some of which eventually became characters in this book. But Silent Death had been my first Champions character, and first characters tend to always hold a special place in my heart.
In the years following, Silent Death stayed with me, even as I created other characters. I liked to draw back then, even if I wasn’t any good at it, and I would draw pictures of him. And I would try to draw my own comic books, and he would be in them. His look would change a little, as I would add a black trench coat to his ensemble. Finally, in late 1993, I decided to create an original Champions campaign setting, instead of adapting the existing setting. And I decided the setting would be a fictional hi-tech city. That city became St. Mary. Silent Death ended up being a vigilante that hunted in the rougher part of the city. I refined his origin so that the man who killed his wife was a superhuman. I never ended up using him in an actual game, but I drew two issues of a comic book I titled “Tales of St. Mary.” And he was featured in one of the story arcs I had going there.
His next evolution came when I created the world that New L.A. takes place in. I wanted a version of him there and I tweaked the origin to fit the world. I eventually featured him in the original story I had written that took place in this world (the one I never finished). And he became one of the more prominent characters in this world.
After that, I adapted the character to other mediums. He was an NPC who appeared in my Star Wars RPG campaign that I ran in the early 2000s. I’ve also created versions of him in various video games, including World of Warcraft and Champions Online. It was in Champions Online that I finally, in my head at least, ran him through the redemption story arc I had always envisioned. And that was the last time I created a new version of him.
But he still lived in the world that New L.A. is in. And when I started writing the book, I knew I wanted to bring him back, but have him be a little older and a little wiser. But he is still Jarred Jacoby a.k.a. Silent Death.