Name: Erik Thurson, aka The Norseman
System: Villains and Vigilantes (Bryan Cassidy version)
Age: Ranged from 36 to 38 during course of campaign
Superpowers: Endurance of Baldur, Strength of Odin, Lightning of Thor, Magical Axe of Tyr, Summon Rainbow Bridge (effectively teleportation), Embrace of Hela (raising the dead).
Weaknesses: Must call on the gods for his powers (can’t call them if silenced or gagged), and vulnerable to Mistletoe.
Weight: 250 lbs.
Alignment: Not really part of the game system, but he probably started off Neutral Good and moved toward Lawful Good as time went on.
History: Erik Thurson was born to loving but dull and unimaginative parents who mostly sat him in front of the television during his formative years. Despite this, Erik grew into a large, athletic young man, who excelled in sports, and after high school eventually became a construction foreman. Erik lived a normal, but somewhat lonely life, until the day he fell to his death from a skyscraper. After that, he was taken to Valhalla, the Norse afterlife, and told that he was destined to become the champion and avatar of the Norse gods on Earth. His two goals in this were to bring about the return of the Norse gods, as well as defeat the evil forces of Ragnarok, his opposite number and chief servant of the Fire Giants. Erik shortly thereafter was returned to life with superpowers worthy of his dangerous task, and shortly thereafter fell in with The Misfits, a band of Paras working for the government. Erik became the de facto leader of the group, as it was his driving quest that came to take over most of their duties. Ragnarok came to lead a band of super-powered terrorists, and after several battles, two of which engulfed the entire world, Erik and his allies faced the giant at his base in Atlantis. The battle was brutal and costly, with several deaths among Erik’s allies, including his love Gilly, but ultimately he won the day (at least in THIS timeline, but that’s another story…). Then, Erik was called upon by his gods to release them into the world, but because Erik had learned that the gods were not what they appeared, he began to doubt his mission. Ultimately, he chose humanity over the gods, which was probably the right thing to do, but also cost him dearly. Having lost his power to raise the dead, his love was not able to be saved. It was only by the grace of Hela, who was amused at his humbling of the gods, that she returned. Erik eventually retired from heroics and became a teacher, spending his days caring for his family and instructing the next generation of heroes.
Personality: Erik was always somewhat surprised by his power and prominence. He was by nature a very easy-going fellow, quick with a joke and willing to keep a cool head as long as possible. This does not mean he was a pushover. In combat, Erik’s viking heritage became apparent, and he was known for his relentless fighting spirit. Unlike most of his comrades, he was willing to kill his opponents if they were particularly evil or inhuman, though he took this responsibility seriously. He saw himself as the protector of his comrades, and he would kill so they would not have to. Occasionally, others referred to him having a Superman complex, attempting to save everyone and take on every burden, but he accepted this as part of his role as a hero. Erik was also known for his prowess with women, though this was almost entirely accidental.
Six Favorite Moments:
1. Erik’s final battle against the obnoxious and nasty mercenary Marauder, who had stalked Gilly inside a prison (she was working undercover). In the end, it came down to a hand-to-hand duel between them, and Erik finally slammed Marauder into several walls before he finally expired.
2. At one point, Erik was traveling through Asgard on a quest to speak with the Norns. To pass one of the tests, he was asked to open a door several yards away while not stepping off the path he stood upon. Without skipping a beat, Erik opened a teleportal to the door, stuck his hand through, and opened the door.
3. Erik was once forced into a grappling match with a super-powered Russian gangster named Red Wolf. As Red Wolf burned away at his skin, Erik held him at bay, and simultaneously blasted him with lightning over and over until the villain finally collapsed.
4. Erik used every bit of his detective skills to piece together the fact that Ragnarok was hiding in Atlantis before anyone even knew he was hiding underwater, impressing even the evil genius Julius Manheim.
5. On a night when the Misfits began baring all their secrets to one another, Erik had his own to share. After spending months trying to hide his feelings for Gilly because of his pact with the goddess Hela, he finally confessed his feelings and his reasons for keeping them secret. The session ended with a kiss and a lot of cheering.
6. During the final battle with Ragnarok, Erik faced down the giant, and told him that the reason he was going to win was because he valued his comrades and protected them, while Ragnarok saw his as only pawns.
Final Notes: The Norseman was probably the first character I ever had where his thoughts, emotions, and plans followed me beyond the playing of the game itself. The Misfits campaign was so immersive that I found myself trying to solve the myriad mysteries put in place by the GM, and trying to figure out ways that Erik, given his intellect and personality, would solve them. I played Erik as perplexed a lot at first, because I was, but as time went on, we shared a bond of growing wiser and more understanding of the world before us, and he grew to be a capable leader, as I had to be to my friends under the circumstances (I somehow end up in leader spots a lot; wonder what that says about me). The fact that Erik’s ending was bittersweet had a long-lasting effect on me, and ultimately helped lead to my wish to continue the campaign in its ongoing second incarnation. Though I didn’t play as the Norseman again, I am always pleased when he shows up in game.