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.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Minor Susceptibility - Fire and Heat: while it does have normal defenses against fire and heat attack, it is vital to note that, if the Iron Cross armor takes damage from such attacks, it is especially vulnerable to circuit failures; that's why it has multiple forms of fire control on board. If it takes such damage, the Iron Cross armor must make a desperate difficulty Strength action or shut down for an aura duration.
Iron Cross Battle Armor (i): 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 Boost (w): the pilot of the Iron Cross armor receives a tremendous enhancement in Strength and durability while wearing it. This power functions at intensity 13, boosting Helmut's Strength (and thus, his defense) to a similar level. Unlike the standard Ability Boost power, this power isn't limited to lasting for one aura duration; it lasts until Helmut takes the armor off.
* Cold Generation (a): each of the Iron Cross armor's gauntlets have special housings within them that can emit crippling blasts of cold. These blasts function at intensity 13, acting to either douse fire and heat by this intensity, or working to stun individuals hit by them; treat this attack as if it were a stun blast for the purposes of resisting it.
* Electrical Generation (a): the gauntlets of the Iron Cross armor are also equipped with the ability to emit powerful blasts of electrical power, in the form of devastating lightning bolts. These blasts also function at intensity 13, and instead of stunning a target, they inflict real, deadly damage; when his cold beams don't do the job, Helmut usually resorts to his lightning.
* Fire Extinguishers (Fire Control) (i): 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. These work at intensity 10, and act to simulate the fire control power, if only the fire-dampening aspect of it; that's all these things do (really!).
* Optional Camera Add-On (i): 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 (Flight) (a): 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 intensity 3, allowing it to move at about ninety miles per hour; this doesn't sound all that fast, but back in the 1940s, well, this was something!
* Sleeping Gas (Poison) (s): emitted from various gas ports in the Iron Cross armor, these vapors function at intensity 8, and work to knock unconscious any persons within firing distance that breathes them in. If Helmut can pass an easy Sleeping Gas action, opposed by his targets' Strength scores, they'll take non-lethal poison damage every round they breathe it in, until they drop (or Helmut does).
Boxing (s): Helmut considers himself the champion of Germany, and as such, he has learned how to use his body as a weapon, either in or out of his Iron Cross armor. As such, he divide his total action score between two unarmed melee attacks, the last of which will occur as a contingent action. Of course, if he can, Helmut simply relies upon his armor's weaponry to end his battles.
Manipulation (s): something of a scary guy, Helmut has a frightening affect on people, particularly when he's menacing them with his armor, which is enough to scare most super-humans. By passing an average difficulty Willpower action, opposed by his victim's Willpower score, Helmut can scare them into revealing some information, or doing what he wishes.
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.
Idealist: a true madman, Helmut is a champion of the German people and all its ideals, no matter how twisted they may be. He adores his country and his people, and despises virtually everybody else - including the Americans and their accursed super heroes. Putting his country and its values over all else, he will gladly die to help further its power and influence.
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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