From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
|Player: @Fox Lee|
|Real Name:||Beatrice (no surname)|
|Known Aliases:||The Backstreet Beater, Boss, B|
|Occupation:||Bartender at Skid Row|
|Place of Birth:||Kings Row|
|Base of Operations:||Kings Row|
|Immensely tough and strong, expert in freestyle close combat|
|None of note|
|Notes: Currently wanted for vigilantism.|
Backbeat was first conceived as a "companion piece", as it were, to Talen's Row-born shaman, Wayworn (then Fatal Harmonic). She was made to be a potential love interest - sharing his very personal interest in the Row, and his love of music - but not with the necessity that it would be so. As such, Harm himself is her major inspiration, though she is angrier and much more violent. She was also the completion of a concept Fox had when she first watched Talen play his Energy tanker Redgauntlet (now moved to Guardian), for a natural character who used the Energy powers simply to represent fist-fighting, not superpowers.
Designed with an eye toward Talen's taste for dark skin with light hair, Backbeat was intended to be another deliberately sexy character, but - like The Schwarzstrom - an eminently practical one (Fox can't see what's sexy about a fighting woman wearing a costume that's impractical to fight in). Backbeat actually turned out looking rather more classy than she was supposed to, because of the hair - it's entirely too stylish, but one Fox saw her with the one-eye-covered look, she didn't look right without it.
Backbeat was rebooted in i11 from Invulnerability to Willpower, with the feeling that it was more appropriate to her thematics (particularly due to its psionic protection). She was again rebooted in i21 to replace Energy Melee with Street Justice, because really, there was no other choice (and also, Praetorians get cooler badge titles).
A junkyard dog. Protector of the common people, to whom no job is too small. Backbeat is a selfish, proud, jealously protective woman who can't help but have a vested personal interest in her every act of heroism. Kings Row is her city, its people her people, and she takes every threat against them as if it were a personal insult. At first this was a protectiveness that did not extend to other areas of Paragon City, but now she has come to pro-actively "adopt" those outside of her hometown as well.
At first glance, Backbeat may seem almost identical in nature to Wayworn, but there are some key differences. The first is in how they view the city; Harlem has a deep connection to the actual place, the concrete and metal and industries and the populace all as one. Backbeat, on the other hand, holds the view that the people are the city, and focuses much more on threats to the citizens themselves. The second is in their anger, and how it filters through their actions. For all that Harlem is tough and scrappy and holds his own in a confrontation, Backbeat is the typhoon to his mere storm; a loud, ferocious, bloody-minded force who pursues her goals relentlessly, wields truth and honesty like a wrecking ball, and simply will not back down.
A component of this personality shows in her crimefighting. Backbeat has no faith in the law to punish people who actually deserve it, and thus came to be a vigilante rather than a sanctioned superhero. Though her methods have lately been softened by the Project - who not only have the superhero teams to apprehend criminals, but also a viciously effective pack of lawyers to make sure they get what they deserve - Backbeat is still the sort of "hero" who thinks nothing of killing bad people to save the lives of good ones.
Backbeat is proudly uneducated. Though she's literate and numerate enough for everyday life - thanks to a community-run school for the underprivileged - she has stoutly avoided getting a real education, particularly in history or the arts. She's something of a natural philosopher, however, and is remarkably insightful when it comes to people and their motivations. She likes to refer to herself as "scrupulously unscrupulous". She's also a devout atheist, claiming that she "won't kneel to anyone, gods included". This was at first an angry reaction to the school trying to push prayer and christianity on students along with actual education, a practice with which Backbeat made it evidently clear she would never comply. Later, it became a more thoughtful development, established through reasoning that none of the worthwhile morals of religion - altruism, honesty, and such - were things that she didn't already hold dear, so there was no need to attach them to a supernatural figure who, to her, seemed like a raving lunatic.
Backbeat - in her childhood named "Beatrice" by the orphanage that briefly homed her - is a Kings Row local who took to the "mean streets" as soon as she had any say in the matter. With a natural aptitude for violence, great physical prowess and a stubbornness that put even her fellow urchins to shame, she perhaps could have a had a great future as a soldier or an athlete (or at least as a crazy old junkyard owner), but it wasn't to be. Like most people in her situation, she never had much faith in the law, and after a particular spat of gang violence where several of her close friends were killed, she watched the trial against the instigators founder and fail hopelessly to bring them to justice. Seeing these murderers walk free, Backbeat abandoned any notion of letting the law do its job, and took it upon herself to become a vigilante. If the law could not protect her city and her people, she reasoned, she would do it herself.
Thus, Backbeat became colloquially known as "The Backstreet Beater", simultaneously praised by the ordinary people, hunted by the police, and publicly denounced by Freedom Corp and its sanctioned "heroes". She would likely have remained in this role, had she not finally been caught - after some ten years - during a minor scuffle in Steel Canyon. Although they were unable to prove that she was the the same vigilante who was wanted for a long record of beatings and killings, they were able to make enough charges stick that she was looking at a reasonable prison sentence.
However, her extraordinary abilities - particularly because she was a normal human - were of interest to others as well. Thus, she was offered the alternative of "community service" with a Supergroup, and came to be a trainer at Project Corona. While she at first viewed this with extreme resentment, she since had to admit that the group isn't half bad.
Most of Backbeat's recent history has revolved around her closest friend, Harlem Foreman. In a case of colossal bad timing, Backbeat realised she was in love with the boy exactly when he was too hung up on his "CD girl" to seriously consider it; in the aftermath of that issue, it became evident that Harlem simply didn't think of her that way. This made Backbeat somewhat concerned about Harlem - in her opinion, his taste in women has revealed a distinct self-esteem problem that even she, as his closest friend, hadn't previously noticed. Over an extrememly awkward period and some fighting over the issue, Backbeat saw Harlem become more and more depressed over his loneliness, and realised that she, too, was currently hurting more than she was helping.
So, after coming to the conclusion that somebody had to do something, Backbeat left. Hoping to give Harlem time to "find himself" in her absence, she avoided his shaman senses (with the help of the Spirit of the Row, unbeknownst to Backbeat) and took to travelling, making a very modest living performing in various clubs and bars. After a few months, she did encounter Harlem by chance, and the two spoke about their issues - Backbeat promising to come home eventually, but saying it wasn't yet time.
When she eventually did return home, it was to a life much like her days before Project Corona. Having violated the terms of her release by leaving Paragon City, she found herself on the wrong side of the law again, and turned back to vigilantism to protect her city. She also - through people with a less significant criminal record - founded Skid Row.
First and foremost, Backbeat has an enduring friendship with Wayworn, a fellow Kings Row local and former Project member. Being significantly his senior, Backbeat looks upon him in a big-sisterly kind of fashion, and the pair have mutual respect for each others' work. She has also probably slept with his sister. She is clearly in love with him, though Harlem just couldn't think of her that way - she is in the process of quietly getting over him.
When she was arrested, Backbeat was forgiven her prison sentence only on the grounds that she cooperate with a sanctioned Supergroup, which turned out to be Project Corona. Technically a field trainer amongst their ranks, Backbeat liked to think of herself as more of a general bad influence than a role model, and most often tried to convince her students to loan her their IDs so she could get back into high-clearance areas. Her ties to the organisation were severed when she broke her parole, however, and since Harlem left their ranks she barely interacts with them anymore.
After her parole violation, Backbeat was forced to lie low for a while, before picking fights in the Rikti War Zone led to her falling in with Vanguard. Working with them, Backbeat earned a pardon for her past vigilantism, and was once more able to show her face in the Row.
Backbeat is also the owner and tender of Skid Row, a laid-back bar in the Kings Row slums. It serves as an unofficial meeting place for the Knights of the 93rd - Harlem's former gang - and other similarly illegal but righteous groups, though the patrons are careful to maintain that nothing can be proven. She founded it while she was still on the run from the law, via friends with cleaner records, but since she earned her pardon she is now the legitimate owner. She's somewhat grumpy about this, saying it makes her seem far too responsible. Skid Row has also become the unofficial "watering hole" for her Vanguard buddies, mostly due to Carceri's very Australian nature.
Powers and Abilities
Backbeat is a street-bred fist-fighter of no small skill. Unlike many other naturals, she has no dependence on equipment, mysticism or unusual species. She's super-strong only by the standards of non-meta humans, and her combat "style" is simply self-taught violence. She's just an extraordinary human whose natural ability has combined with her lifestyle to make her a combatant on-par with proper "super" heroes. However, unlike many natural heroes, Backbeat laughs off the idea that she has "earned" her powers more than your average mutant/alien/mage/what-have-you. In her eyes, being born with the potential to reach meta-human levels is as much an inherent advantage as magic or cybernetics, so getting pretentious about it is just sad.
If there is anything truly superhuman about her, it's her mind - she's not particularly intelligent and not well-educated, but her strength of will is truly phenomenal, and she's absurdly difficult to put down. The reasoning for her attacks being able to damage creatures like ghosts is along similar lines - Backbeat is confident that you can hurt anything if you hit it hard enough.
Backbeat's non-combat abilities are fairly sparse; she has a talent for breaking and entering, she's financially adept (albeit nothing special), and she's a fairly good singer and guitarist. She previously has a sort of permanent "writer's block" which had prevented her from writing her own material, but after a certain incident involving Harlem, she has overcome this problem.
Backbeat's equipment consists of a Police Band radio, occasional travel devices usually acquired from Project Corona, and a pair of piston-boots that enhance her jumping ability, making it somewhat less tedious for her to get around.
Weaknesses and Limitations
Due to her lack of proper superpowers, Backbeat is fairly limited in her modus operandi; her blows are often hard enough to stun her enemies momentarily, but that's essentially the extent of her combat tricks, and she has no ability at range. She's otherwise limited to simply taking damage and, in melee, dishing it out.
Also, due to her criminal record, Backbeat has an enduringly low security clearance. It was slowly being raised as she cooperated with the project, but was lowered again when she broke her parole. She's now resorted to illegal IDs and such to gain access to higher-level areas, but it's still an immense source of frustration and a serious cramp to her style.
Arranged roughly in chronological order.
- A Great Day - Harlem deals with crushes and maturing. Backbeat is a slob.
- First Time - Harlem does something he's been meaning to do for a long time. Backbeat runs support.
- To the City - Backbeat reflects on her relationship with Harlem, and does what she has to do.
- Backbeat will not willingly divulge her name to anybody, and has made threats of serious bodily harm against people who insist on using it after they've somehow found it out. Harlem has been known to get away with it now and then, though.
- "Backstreet Beater" was a name given to her by the PPD, not chosen for herself. She finds it rather embarrassing.
- ↑ Just check his page - it will be quicker.
- ↑ The idea that working for Vanguard earns you a clean slate doesn't seem to be established Vanguard lore, but our playing group got the idea that it was when the Vanguard first became accessible. We couldn't find where the idea came from, but we liked it, so it's effectively became "fanon" for us.