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Old 03-17-2010, 09:38 PM   #1
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Default John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

I've been spurred on to start a thread focused on fleshing out the magical and occult powers used by John Constantine in the DC/Vertigo comic book series in GURPS terms. I'd like to set a few parameters:

1. Let's focus just on the comic and ignore the movie.

2. I'd prefer to see this done using options from Thaumatology as opposed to orthodox GURPS magic. This approach seems more true to the material to me.

Feel free to chime in about powers deployed by other characters as well.

To help out, here is some information from wikipedia on what Constantine can do:

Unlike most comic book magicians, Constantine rarely uses magical spells, unless he has to, especially in combat. Constantine faces most of his challenges relying primarily on his cunning, his vast knowledge of the occult, manipulation of opponents and allies, and an extensive list of contacts.

Constantine's blood is demonically tainted, initially by a blood transfusion from the demon Nergal, and later by sex with a succubus. His blood has been shown to have healing properties. It has also acted as a defense mechanism when attacked by the King of the Vampires (Hellblazer #69).

Although John has generally been shown to lose most fights against a superior combatant and generally avoids physical battles — he has been known to win fights, either by using a magical weapon (Hellblazer #217) or by fighting dirty (Hellblazer #42, #57 and the graphic novel All His Engines).

Some examples of Constantine's magic:

Divination — Used a pendulum and map to find the location of a magical disturbance. (Hellblazer #4 and #182)

Demon summoning — Summoned the demon Nergal to destroy a monster for him, which it did (although John lost control, due to his inexperience). (Hellblazer #11)

Black magic Cursing — Placed a curse on his father that caused him to waste away. (Hellblazer #31)

Psychic Mediation — Acted as a psychic medium, allowing the spirit of a boy's dead mother to speak through him during a sιance. (Hellblazer #213)

Spirit Ward creation — Placed a magical sigil on a succubus named Chantinelle that prevented the forces of Heaven and Hell from tracking her. (Hellblazer #60). As well as using sigils to hide himself from Satan (graphic novel collection Rake At The Gates Of Hell) Also placed various sigils on an abandoned caravan that he housed himself in to hide himself from the demon Nergal. (Hellblazer #12)

Golemancy — Raised a golem. (Hellblazer #167)

Oclumancy — Erased a man's traumatic memories. (Hellblazer #217)

Necromancy — Raised a group of murder victims as zombies to attack their murderer (Hellblazer #230) and raises a soulstorm that blows a hole in a wall and kills a weapons tester.

Illusion — Making people think he's someone or something else. Or using Illusion to scare susceptible opponents into catatonic insanity (graphic novel collection Hard Time)

Synchronicity Highway or Synchronicity Wave traveling — An instinctual supernatural ability to be in the right place at exactly the right time. This has led John to uncanny luck, like winning incredible amounts of money from Arcade machines and Casinos. Avoiding harm. And more times than not — to meet the right kind of ally to help prevent or stop an apocalyptic event from happening. (Jamie Delano's Hellblazer run). It is questionable how far John's "good" luck can stretch given that his allies and any bystanders that become involved in his schemes and plans often pay a steep price for it. In fact, it could be argued that Constantine "siphons other people's luck" - benefiting at their cost.

Constantine has also exhibited considerable mastery in "stage magic skills" - Hypnosis, Sleight-Of-Hand and Escapology.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

I'm thinking you may want to consider Path/Book or Realm magic for John.

A few of these might just be done as straight Advantages: the psychic meditation is Medium and/or Channeling, the demonically-tainted blood is Healing with an Accessibility or Costs HP... as well as a decent amount of Serendipity.

Oh, what powers did he exhibit during his time in Swamp Thing?
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

I'm very interested to see what people think about this one. I think that you have to differentiate between what John casts and what effects he just sort of... is. It seems like whatever levels of Serendipity and Luck he might have are somehow a genetic trait shared by (at least some of) his ancestors (Cf. Johanna Constantine during the French Revolution [if memory serves] in the Sandman story line to do with Dream's son, I think).

Speaking of Sandman, should we examine John's appearances in the Books of Magic (and how Tim's magic works in there, possibly, or Zatanna's) and various stories of the Endless (and Swamp Thing)? Or are those different enough that it might just complicate the task beyond reasonableness?


Ben

Post Script: Now I want to run home and reread The Books of Magic. Heh. Thanks. ;)
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSeventeen View Post
I'm very interested to see what people think about this one. I think that you have to differentiate between what John casts and what effects he just sort of... is. It seems like whatever levels of Serendipity and Luck he might have are somehow a genetic trait shared by (at least some of) his ancestors (Cf. Johanna Constantine during the French Revolution [if memory serves] in the Sandman story line to do with Dream's son, I think).

Speaking of Sandman, should we examine John's appearances in the Books of Magic (and how Tim's magic works in there, possibly, or Zatanna's) and various stories of the Endless (and Swamp Thing)? Or are those different enough that it might just complicate the task beyond reasonableness?


Ben

Post Script: Now I want to run home and reread The Books of Magic. Heh. Thanks. ;)
I figure it would be cool to look at stuff in other titles as well. Let's just make sure to reference the title if we get away from Hellblazer/Swamp Thing/spinoffs (Papa Midnight, etc...).
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

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Originally Posted by tbrock1031 View Post
I'm thinking you may want to consider Path/Book or Realm magic for John.
Path rather than Book, I'd think.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

Path or Book magic defiantely. I genreally prefer path, especially for knowledgeable or focused mages. However Book is good for the ones who have a wierd set or variety of rituals or spells that dont feel complete.

Another one that is similar in some ways that I liked and would apprecaite feedback on is the Phantom Stranger.
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

I'm also seeing Path/Book magic as the primary tool Constantine employs. The rules under Mortals With Supernatural Servants are certainly applicable to the setting. I would note that demons are subject to certain somewhat legalistic rules in some cases.

I can think of a few examples of spirits possessing individuals and giving them the sort of power boost you see in the Spirit Vessels section. I can't remember anything along the lines of a Spirit Warrior, but it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

High Thaumatology skill, high Occultism skill, lots of Allies/Ally Groups/Contacts/Contact Groups, and Ritual Path/Book Magic (possibly multiple styles, to represent a fairly eclectic study).

The only actual power he demonstrates, in GURPS terms, is Healing. You could add one or two minor physical or exotic advantages to reflect his demonic blood.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSeventeen View Post
I'm very interested to see what people think about this one. I think that you have to differentiate between what John casts and what effects he just sort of... is. It seems like whatever levels of Serendipity and Luck he might have are somehow a genetic trait shared by (at least some of) his ancestors (Cf. Johanna Constantine during the French Revolution [if memory serves] in the Sandman story line to do with Dream's son, I think).
I think it's safe to say that Plot Protection advantages like Serendipity and Luck are where most of Constantine's points went.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSeventeen View Post
Speaking of Sandman, should we examine John's appearances in the Books of Magic (and how Tim's magic works in there, possibly, or Zatanna's) and various stories of the Endless (and Swamp Thing)? Or are those different enough that it might just complicate the task beyond reasonableness?
BoM makes it clear that Constantine, Zatanna, and Tim are doing more-or-less completely different stuff IMHO. The various stories of the Endless introduce a lot of material, but AFAICT nothing involving Constantine that contradicts or adds to his demonstrated abilities in his own book. I'm not familiar enough with his appearances in Swamp Thing to comment.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: John Constantine Hellblazer's Occult Powers in GURPS

I agree, Constantine uses Path magic. He has a high enough Ritual Magic skill that he can attempt just about any ritual from default, too.
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