Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Supervillainy A-To-Z: C is for Captain Infernal

Did you ever have one of those players who makes you want to dump this boring hobby of Role Playing Games to get into the existing and fast paced world of watching grass grow. No? I've got a guy like that and he's driving me there in the Mach 5 of inane min-maxing discussions.

Today has been rather sucktastic truth by told. A lot of bad news followed by a slowly building headache. Hopefully this entry will help things a bit...



True Identity: Carl Crutchfield

Description/Appearance: Carl Crutchfield is a shaven headed, skinny, Caucasian male in his early 20s,  standing 5' 9" tall and weighing 140 lbs.. He is often garbed in jeans, a cut-off sleeved, white shirt or black t-shirt (with obligatory heavy metal band logo) and a leather jacket (regardless of the warm weather in his native Alabama).

As Captain Infernal, he appears as a handsome, square jawed, slick haired male with bright red skin. He stands 6' 6" and is believed to weigh about 350 lbs.. He wears a black, green and gold costume with a pentagram symbol and a cape.

Origin and Background: When it comes to a boy like Carl Crutchfield, some will blame the rock music, some the horror movies and comic books or the violent video games but in truth it all comes down to a bad upbringing.

Raised by a cult/gang of devil worshiping outlaw bikers, it's more surprising that Carl made it into his 20s than the fact the he is a bigoted, dishonest, low-life. While drinking heavily and performing some ritual that involved sacrificing some local pets, Carl's parents and a few others were suddenly consumed in a huge fireball originating in a bonfire that had made for the ceremony. Startled to sober in an instant, Carl stared up at the form of a demonic figure and slowly uttered the word, "Badass".

As the demon began thunderously laughing, the conflagration grew and surrounded Carl who proceeded to past out, certain he was going to die. He awoke in a hospital six days later. He had been in a coma but was otherwise physically unharmed. When the police asked him to described what happened he got to the part about saying "Badass" and transformed into Captain Infernal.

Enjoying his new found powers, Carl spends most of his time as the Captain, transforming back only when necessary. Considering he is currently being hunted by the police, Superheroes and various demonic entities, having a smaller form that's easier to hide can come in handy.

Powers and Abilities: By speaking the magic word "BADASS", Carl Crutchfield transforms into Captain Infernal, temporarily inhabiting the body of a demon whose name he does not know (as that would give him full control over it) and being bestowed with a small amount of power from each of the following demonic personages: Bael, Asmodeus, Demogorgon, Astaroth, Shax and Sonneillon.

These powers include phenomenal strength, speed, the power to fly, near invulnerability to harm and the ability to breathe forth a blast of hellish flames. In addition, Captain Infernal's skin is incredibly hot to the touch and can cause damage if grabbed and held.

While Carl has such skills as driving, knowledge of modern weaponry and computers, Captain Infernal does not, even though his is essentially Carl. This is one of several clues to the fact that Carl may be steering the ship but it isn't exactly his ship.

Carl must say the magic word in order to change into or out of the Captain Infernal form. The switch is nearly instantaneous and is accompanied by a loud boom and a large fireball effect. Also of note is that their are numerous demons chasing him...that is...chasing the demon posing as Captain Infernal. There is some belief among the occult investigative community that Captain Infernal's time on Earth is up and he is supposed to return to the Abyss.

Only time will tell if he can elude his peers or prove to his superiors that his extended stay is justified.

Personality and Motivations: For all his power, Captain Infernal is little more than a bully and a thug, revealing in his greater size and strength. He is often showy in the use of his powers, especially if taunted or otherwise made to loose his cool, which can happen pretty easily. He is very short tempered. He is a surprisingly smooth talking fellow and will try to hit on female heroes and villains alike but for him its all about conquest.

He will usually be seen in the employ of a smarter, better organized villain who has promised him physical pleasures or treasures if he lends his assistance. Carl is more interested in these things when he is Carl as, while they do interest Captain Infernal, the Big Red Guy is more than willing to smash for the sake of smashing. Proving himself more powerful than the so-called 'Superheroes' and getting it shown on TV (to increase hate, doubt and fear among the populace) is often payment enough.


Captain Infernal was originally an unnamed character drawn by my good friend Aris. When I saw the illustration I immediately came up with the name and backstory for Captain Infernal. The Captain and his nick name, 'The Big Red Guy' are a homage to Captain Marvel and the story of Billy Batson and Shazam.

Captain Infernal was first designed and used in Champions but became a major opponent of my friend Dave's character Impact in the Mutants & Masterminds game I ran at the Compleat Strategist a few years back.

Captain Infernal for ICONS:


I want to take this opportunity to mention the passing of Jane Henson, American Puppetry Pioneer, New York native and wife of my hero of heroes, Jim Henson. Jane is survived by her children and all of us and our children. We carry on her legacy through the contributions she made to our collective imaginations, the way in which we learn and how we are entertained.

Rest in peace.

Barking Alien


  1. Just to be clear, illustration by Aristides Iliopoulos, inked and colored by me.

    Thanks Aris!

  2. I hear you on the headache of min/max enthusiasts. Part of me just doesn't get what goes on in their head: "Ooh! Bending the rules to the breaking point makes me a badass and proves how cool I am! Who cares how it impacts everyone else!"

  3. Yes.

    Also, I am the GM. I don't care how good you are at tweaking the rules. You are still starting with a 250 point character in 4th Edition Champions. Want to min/max? OK, your first opponent is a 700 point character and he's going for you since you seem the most powerful.

    What do you mean not fair?

  4. You, sir, are no longer allowed to question my names and punny little homage characters after this episode, as this guy would fit right in to my cast of characters. I think he's great, of course. He might make a good confrontation for Bituminous Man.

    "Did you ever have one of those players who makes you want to dump this boring hobby of Role Playing Games to get into the existing and fast paced world of watching grass grow."

    Nope, but I've booted people from my group a few times, bodily in one case. Don't let the idiots drag you down.

    "No? I've got a guy like that and he's driving me there in the Mach 5 of inane min-maxing discussions."

    Is this a conversation you have to have? Point him at the other players and they will likely sort him out. Or tell him to just email you the stuff and you can review at your leisure.

  5. Please bro, Golden/Silver Age homage though he may be (seen 'Through a Mirror Darkly' of course), I'll take the name 'Captain Infernal' over 'Bituminous Man' any day. I'm honestly not sure how to even pronounce that. ;)

    I am very close to booting this guy but really don't want to. I like the guy and as I've noted in the past, my group is small-ish (or small for me).

    One major problem is we used to game with this guys cousin and that fellow was AWE-to-the-some. This guy is trying to out cool his cuz and he ain't got the chops. Well, he might be able to match him or come close if only he wasn't trying so hard.

    I await your D for Doctor Antidisestablishmentarianism! Just rolls off the tongue. :D

    1. So what's he really trying to do? Come up with a cool character concept? Be nigh-undefeatable? Just have his moment in the game?

    2. Be nigh-undefeatable. Minus the 'nigh' part.

    3. Didn't you study coal production in school? There are 3 major types: Bituminous, Anthracite, and Lignite. I mean, i couldn't just call him "Coal Man" or "Captain Coal" so I went a little more technical.

      It's pronounced "Bye-tomb-in-us". emphasis on the "tomb". It actually rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

    4. Coal production? I live in New York City and went to art school.

      Coal is that rounded off, black square-ish stuff you douse with lighter fluid for barbeques.

    5. Hey, the coal mining stuff happens a lot closer to you than it does to me ... and no no no, that's CHAR-coal, not coal-coal. Different character completely - that's The Awesome Charcoal-Man. I couldn't work him into the alphabet thing but maybe I will post him in May.

  6. Who drew the Captain Marvel image you used for this?

  7. I didn't doctor the image. I inked and colored a friend's original drawing of THIS character. He came up with the look and I the story and name. As mentioned above my friend's name is Aris.