Helmut Gruler is a normal human - physically, at least - who is capable of tremendous potential thanks to the mechanized suit of battle armor he wears. Though he himself didn't build it, he seems to have the means to maintain and repair it. As such, were one to keep track of such things, they could consider Helmut - and by extension the Iron Cross - a high tech villain.
Limitations / Enhancements:
Susceptibility to Fire and Heat Attack: If the Iron Cross armor suffers damage of this type, it must pass a blue Endurance ACT roll or become inactive for 1d10 turns. This implies a sort of thermal problem inherent to the armor's systems, which may be repaired should the Iron Cross suit receive modernization and/or engineered upgrades.
Iron Cross Battle Armor: a vast improvement over previous battle suits the Nazi Regime has used to date, such as the Blue Bullet armor, the Iron Cross suit has a variety of offensive systems with which to battle American super heroes, such as the Invaders and the Liberty Legion (yes, it's made to fight whole teams). So far, it has been shown to wield these capabilities:
* Ability Enhancement: the Iron Cross Battle Armor, in addition to its impressive attack and defense capabilities, has the ability to boost the inherent physical abilities of its pilot. The armor enhances a body's statistics by adding a +2 RS to his Fortitude (with a maximum rank value of 30) and +3 RS to his Brawn (with a maximum rank value of 40). Recalculate Health accordingly.
* Body Armor: being a suit of armor (if somewhat antiquated), the Iron Cross Armor offers significant protection from injury to its pilot. This protection is of rank value 30 in effectiveness, which is resolved as follows:
RV 30 / RV 10 / RV 4 / RV 0 / RV 0
* Endurance: the Iron Cross Battle Armor, though advanced for its time, is not really a prime example of durable armor. The armor has an Endurance rank value of 10, and if the armor takes more damage than this (after its body armor, of course), it may lose the use of certain systems. Furthermore, the suit is particularly vulnerable to fire and heat; see limitations for more on this.
* Fire Extinguishers: the Iron Cross suit is armed with special foam emitters that act to douse flames, such as those utilized by the Human Torch and the Blazing Skull. This foam works at rank value 30, instantly dousing flames of equal or lesser value, and lowering the intensity of more powerful flames by this rank value.
* Power Gauntlets: the Iron Cross Battle Armor's primary assault mechanism is its power gauntlets. These energy emitting weapons can fire potent blasts of either electricity or cold - both of which inflict rank value 30 Energy damage per blast, at any target within a three sector range. Both gauntlets can generate each of these energies.
* Optional Camera Add-On: on occasion, the Iron Cross armor will be equipped with a shoulder mounted movie camera, allowing Helmut to film his battles with the champions of Freedom. He mostly does this to impress the German peoples, or to personally verify the success of certain missions. This is just another demonstration of Helmut's hatred and madness.
* Rocket Thrusters: these boot-mounted rockets allow Helmut (or anybody else in the Iron Cross armor) to fly, despite the great bulk of the suit. In essence, this power works at rank value 6 airspeed, allowing it to move at about 81.81 miles per hour; this doesn't sound all that fast, but back in the 1940s, well, this was something!
* Sleeping Gas: these vapors, emitted from various gas ports in the Iron Cross Battle Armor, will knock anyone who breathes them unconscious for 1d10 turns, unless they can pass an Fortitude ACT roll against rank value 20. The armor can project these vapors with a one sector range, making them effective against large numbers of opponents.
Martial Arts style B: though he has very little useful knowledge or combat ability, Helmut himself is nonetheless quite adept in the use of hand-to-hand combat techniques. As such, he can attempt unarmed attacks (in or out of his Iron Cross armor) as if his Melee trait was +1 RS in value. This can be a punch, kick, head butt, or any other physical attack Helmut desires.
Helmut is something of a loner in villainous circles. His only contact, per se, is the Nazi regime itself, as they're the people supporting his operations against the various Allied heroes participating in the War. Even if he's not fond of the fascists running his country, Helmut can reconcile working for them against the greater good he perceives them performing for his beloved land.
While in action against various enemies of the Nazi regime, Helmut is always inside his advanced, Iron Cross battle armor. This is a bulky, gray-colored steel armor, with little real decoration on it, save for the red and black iron cross on the chest. Of course, it does have blue gauntlets and a blue helmet, the latter of which has a gray face plate with bolts on it - and a big spike on top.
Helmut is a creep. He is totally devoted to the development of his nation, and everybody and everything else can simply cease to exist, for all he cares. Though he doesn't like the Nazi party, per se, Helmut nonetheless does what they tell him, since he believes that he should do what the German government tells him. Even if he doesn't agree with its leadership.
Real Name: Helmut Gruler
Occupation: armored operative of the Nazi regime
Legal Status: German citizen with no known criminal record, wanted for war crimes in various nations.
Marital Status: unknown
Alias(es), if any: none
Group Affiliation: none
Height: 6' 2"
Hair: black, later bald
Weight: 180 lbs
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: none
Helmut Gruler was a man who, after World War 1, was totally angered and disgusted with the destitute state of his country and its peoples. That's why he supported Hitler and his National Socialists' party in its rise to power, though he wasn't totally happy with its ideals. In fact, after a falling out with Hitler, Gruler fled to America, seeking out an old friend: Franz Schneider.
Traveling to his childhood friend's home (a friend who had also fled to America during the Nazi's rise to power), Helmut found a powerful suit of armor in Franz's private laboratory: the Iron Cross battle suit. Though Schneider had hoped an anti-Nazi German patriot would don the suit and use it against Hitler, Franz didn't quite fit that bill: despite his scuffle with Hitler, he would do whatever the Germans told him.
As such, he had to track down Schneider, as the suit had certain imperfections, like a vulnerability to heat attacks. Though Schneider was being protected by Miss America, Helmut defeated her with the armor, and tried to carry Schneider off. However, the rest of the Liberty Legion (sans the Whizzer) arrived to back up Miss America, and he had to defeat them, as well, before he got away with his old pal.
Of course, the Whizzer arrived in time to follow Helmut to a waiting U-boat, at which point he contacted the heroic Invaders. Once they arrived, the collected heroes attacked Helmut while the boat was out to sea, and during the fight, the Human Torch's heat had shorted out the Iron Cross armor. Helmut then promptly fell overboard, supposedly sinking to the bottom of the sea.
Though he presumably died in this encounter, the Iron Cross appeared again months later, involved in a plot to destroy various strategic locations in America and England with special Buzz-Bombs, bombs that would home in on a specific targets thanks to a special device: the V-3. These homing beacons, once activated, would attract the Buzz-Bombs with unearthly precision (for 1940s weaponry, at least).
Unfortunately for Helmut, several Allied heroes interfered with this plot, namely the Blazing Skull, the Mighty Destroyer, and the second Union Jack. These super-heroes managed to track the Iron Cross back to his launch base in Schreckstadt and totally dismantle the Buzz-Bomb project, though one of the bombs managed to take off for New York before the heroes could stop it.
However, the Destroyer had reprogrammed some of the V-3 homing units, and the Blazing Skull managed to attach one of them to the Iron Cross as the two heroes made their escape from the villain's compound. This, of course, caused the one Buzz-Bomb that launched towards America to instead redirect itself towards the Iron Cross himself, and it seemingly destroyed the villain... a lot.
Whether or not Helmut survived this debacle remains to be seen.
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