The Gang’s All Here – DC’s Royal Flush Gang

Just as I was preparing my Justice League write-ups and thinking about compelling heroes and villains to include, I watched Justice League: Doom, the animated film. In that film, the opening conflict for the iconic Justice League is none other than the Royal Flush Gang.

How, oh how on Earth (New Earth, not Earth-2), did I forget about the Royal Flush Gang?! The very first comic series I purchased with any semblance of regularity, the 90’s Justice League, have them as the first villains the League ever faced! I loved them then… I even created a superhero team based on the Royal Flush several years ago. So I am glad for the chance to catch up on what happened to the Royal Flush Gang and give them datafile treatment for use with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

Royal Flush Gang from the pages of Justice League America #35, July 2009

Royal Flush Gang from the pages of Justice League America #35, July 2009

The Royal Flush Gang

– NOTE: the Royal Flush Gang, despite being a very prominent villain for the Justice League and the DC Universe at large, is lacking all sorts of depth. It is understandable that they mostly appeal for their style, but their characters remain largely unknown and are generally portrayed as being minor. Therefore, the following History of the Royal Flush Gang is merely a fan-effort to compile, organize (and re-write) their origins, stories and current affairs in a way that is coherent… but not official. You are warned!

Amos Fortune was a troubled child, leader of a band of juvenile delinquents. As he grew, he became obsessed with luck, good and bad. As he became Professor Fortune, his studies revealed to him that a sort of “energy” allowed him to affect luck, either his or that of others. He called this energy Stellaration, and devised gadgets to take advantage of it.

Gathering his former gang, they took the name Royal Flush Gang with Amos as the Ace of Clubs (the others members being the King, Queen, Jack and Ten of Clubs) and attempted to defeat the Justice League on two occasions, failing miserably. After a short, unsuccessful run as thieves-for-hire, Amos left the group and the original Royal Flush Gang disbanded.

Some time later, the Stellaration concept came to the attention of Hector Hammond, a man gifted with incredible intelligence by radiation from a falling meteorite and who had run against Green Lantern (being close to Hal Jordan and threatening Ferris Aircraft and, particularly, trying to get attention from Carol Ferris). Taking the role of “Wild Card,” Hammond hired people with nothing to lose and outfitted them with high-tech gadgets, including a super-strong Android that would take the role of Ace.

After a short run, Hammond dropped the group, which then ran away with their devices and worked as low-profile thugs-for-hire, even being hired twice by Maxwell Lord in his attempts to manipulate the Justice League International. These events caught the attention of Green Lantern’s villain The Gambler who, masquerading as the Joker, helped the loose Royal Flush Gang members update and repair most of the tech they had acquired from Hammond. As Wildcard catapulted them to a sort of fame, Fortune showed up (now hosting the House of Secrets villain activities from his own Resort and Casino), enraged about “his original idea” being stolen. The Gambler’s cover was blown and he escaped, leaving the four remaining members to themselves.

The Jack (Gregor, who had lost an eye to the Gambler and was showing signs of emotional breakdown), attacked Amos but was killed. With the Gang cornered, Amos executed Joe Carny, the King, with a headshot, only to reveal that Carny had manifested mutation superpowers related to the explosion of the Mutagen bomb by the Dominators during the aftermath of Invasion, a year ago. These powers allowed him to survive the otherwise fatal blow.

With the rest of the gang vowing to serve him, Amos took them in and began a much more lofty plan: converting the Gang in a crime organization spread all across the United States. During recent years, the Gang has expanded into a full crime syndicate that is starting to rival Intergang itself, including all the decks and lower pips as henchmen, informants, movers, and shakers all around the States. The original “hit team” remains, however, led by Joe “The King” Carny, albeit taking orders from the new Wildcard, Amos Fortune. They have also collaborated with the villain Roulette, thus easing their access to off-Earth tech and making them more formidable foes than ever.

Overview (Milestone) | General Characters | Paraphernalia | Named Characters | Copyright Disclaimer

Overview ^

Aims

The Royal Flush Gang is still establishing itself as a crime syndicate, under Amos Fortune’s direction. They’ll be happy when their influence is noted in every city of the United States.

Acts

You might find them anywhere valuables are being stolen. The Royal Flush Gang has a sweet spot for thieving; not only banks but also art galleries and valuable tech.

Ties

    • Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, is an old enemy of Amos Fortune.
    • The Justice League has faced the Royal Flush Gang time and again.
    • Intergang sees them as a threat to their operations, having grown in influence very quickly in the last year.
    • Roulette, master of The House, is supplying the Royal Flush Gang with cosmic tech in exchange for “favours”.

Milestone Option ^

The Royal Flush Gang is presented here as a Watcher Villain, and therefore they are not supplied with Milestones. If Heroes encounter them in an Event, however, players may choose the following relevant Milestone for their Heroes.

Deal Again

Once again the Royal Flush Gang shows its face.
1 XP when you declare a member of the Royal Flush Gang an old enemy.
3 XP when you uncover a new connection or plan the Royal Flush Gang is developing.
10 XP when you trace back the Royal Flush Gang to Amos Fortune or Roulette; or when you lead yourself into a trap due to following the gang’s trail.

General Characters ^

Pip

The henchmen of the Royal Flush Gang, they are hitmen, lawyers, business types… everyone that benefits from illegal activity. They are organized according to the four Decks, and the higher the number, the higher they stand in the organizational ladder.

Pip Expert d8 (Specialty Character, choose a specialty).
Affiliations:
 Solo: d4, Buddy d6, Team d8
Gear: Cutlass/Mace/Club d6, Rifle/Pistol d6

Pip Mob

Affiliations: Mob 4d6
Distinctions: Climbing the Ladder, In for the Money

Power Set: Weapons d6, Stellaration Lucky Charm d6
SFX: Swarm. Add a d6 and keep an additional effect die for each additional target.
SFX: Stellaration. Add a d6 to your pool before rolling, discard your highest rolling die and add 3 dice for your result total.
Limit: Mob Cohesion. Defeat Team dice (with d8 stress) to reduce mob.

Paraphernalia ^

Particular items of note are noted in the individual datafiles, but the top members of the Royal Flush Gang are usually outfitted with a Flying Card Scooter (Flight) d8 and different kinds of thematic d8 weaponry (Explosive Cards, Blasters, Laser Swords, etc).

Named Characters ^

King (Joseph Carny)

The so-called “King of the Hoboes,” Carny was a ruthless leader of a group of homeless vagabonds, who also suffered from lung cancer. Hammond noticed King’s ability to command, and as his agent, he wore a costume that technologically enhanced his natural charisma to the point of mind control. Following the metagene bomb in Invasion!, King became immortal. Although in poker the Ace ranks as the highest card in a royal flush, King is the highest ranking member of the gang.

Affiliations: Solo d10, Buddy d6, Team d8

Distinctions: Charismatic Leader, Thief Extraordinaire, Careful Planner

Mutagen Power Set
Charisma (Mind Control) d10

SFX: All Bow to the King. Add d6 and keep an extra effect die for every target after the first one.
SFX: Not Your Best Hand. When using Charisma on a target, you may elect to convert one Power from your Target into a complication instead of shutting it down as per the rules. If your effect die is smaller than the affected Power, spend a d6 or greater doom to do so anyway. The affected Power is shut down and can only be recovered by rolling against the Doom Pool or by activating an opportunity rolled by the King.
Limit: Out of Luck. Add a d6 to doom and shutdown Mutagen Power Set.
Limit: Conscious Activation. Power Set is shutdown if King is asleep or otherwise unconscious. If King takes Mental trauma, shutdown Mutagen Power Set until the trauma is recovered.
Limit: Reshuffle. Whenever King is Stressed Out, spend 1d10 from the Doom Pool to return him to the fight with no Stress (but Trauma is retained). If King takes Trauma beyond d12, he cannot be brought back to the current scene (but will regenerate during the next Transition Scene).

Royal Flush Gear Power Set
Flying Card Scooter (Flight) d8
Laser-Shooting Sword d8

Limit: Gear. Add d6 to doom and shutdown any Royal Flush Gear Power. Regain by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Specialities: Psych Expert, Menace Expert, Crime Expert.

 


Queen (Mona Taylor)

Taylor was originally a Broadway star whose career was destroyed by her ongoing alcoholism. As Hammond’s agent, she wielded a sceptre that cast realistic illusions. After the Gambler re-outfitted the team, she began employing a wrist shooter that fires razor-sharp cards. Although she is the Queen due to sharing a relationship with Carny, and an excellent “face” for the team when she’s sober, her lack of expertise on the field has brought her more than a discussion with Ten. When she is focused, her determination to succeed is second to none and can surprise anyone ruling her down as a minor foe.

Affiliations: Solo d10, Buddy d8, Team d6

Distinctions: Former Star, I will prove you wrong!, Alcoholic Disaster

Royal Flush Gear Power Set
Flying Card Scooter (Flight d8)
Sceptre Royale (Illusions) d10
Card Shooter d6
Blaster Pistol d8
SFX: I know what I am doing! Add d6 and step up effect die when creating Assets.
SFX: One Card for Each of You. Add a d6 and keep an additional effect die for each target after the first when creating Illusion Complications.
SFX: Shuffle Again. Spend a d6 or larger doom die to reroll your whole pool of dice. You may only do this once per action, and before declaring totals, effects, or reactions, if any.
Limit: Gear. Add a d6 to doom and shutdown any Royal Flush Gear Power. Regain by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Specialities: Psych Expert, Covert Expert, Menace Expert.

 


Jack (Jack of Spades IV,Vincent Merryl)

The fourth in the long and not-so-happy history of Jacks, Vincent Merryl was once a lawyer who rutinely cheated on his clients and milked their desperation for money, usually reaching settlements with big slices for himself. He was discovered and exposed by Black Lightning, and during his escape he ran into Joe Carny. He started as the Royal Flush “advisor” on legal issues but when the team recognized his greed, he earned the right to the former Jack’s gear and role. Losing his eye was, in Joe’s words, “paying homage.”

Affiliations: Solo d6, Buddy d10, Team d8

Distinctions: Greed moves us all forward, Cold Sweet Revenge, You’ll suffer more than I did

Cybernetic Eye Power Set
Cybersenses d8
Optic Laser Blast d10
SFX: Peek-a-boo. Double or step up Cybersenses, or spend d6 doom to do both.
SFX: Maximum Potency. In a pool including Optic Laserblast, step up effect die and then shutdown Optic Laser Blast. Recover power by activating an opportunity.
Limit: Battery Low. Shutdown Cybernetic Eye Power Set and add d6 to doom. Recover by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Royal Flush Gear Power Set
Flying Card Scooter (Flight d8)
Explosive Cards d8
Limit: Gear. Add d6 to doom and shutdown any Royal Flush Gear Power. Regain by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Specialities: Business Expert, Covert Expert, Psych Expert, Crime Expert.

 


Ten (Wanda Wayland)

Wayland was a test pilot fired for refusing her employer’s sexual advances. As Hammond’s agent, she wore a costume with energy blasters in its gloves. She boasts military training and is quite obsessive about maintaining peak physical condition. On the field, she usually struggles with the Queen’s commands, although she has come to respect the King’s cunning and plans. On a personal level, she has a mild crush on Jack and has taken him under her wing. Wanda is not really a villain at heart; merely a person who tried to stand up for her rights and faced rejection by a corrupt system. In a way, she is merely fighting back against those that despised and mistreated her.

Affiliations: Solo d8, Buddy d10, Team d6

Distinctions: Former Test Pilot, Twisted Sense of Justice, Military Training

Intensive Training Power Set
Enhanced Reflexes d8
Enhanced Stamina d8
SFX: Focus. If an Intensive Training power is included in a pool, you may replace two dice of equal size for one die 1 step larger.
Limit: Exhausted. Shutdown an Intensive Training Power and add d6 to doom. Recover by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Royal Flush Gear Power Set
Flying Card Scooter (Flight d8)
Energy Blasters d8
Explosive Cards d8
Limit: Gear. Add d6 to doom and shutdown any Royal Flush Gear Power. Regain by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Specialities: Vehicles Expert, Combat Expert, Menace Expert, Acrobatics Expert.

 


Ace (Android, no id)

The Ace Android is a robot employed by the Royal Flush Gang. Although the original Ace (the highest card in the Royal Flush) was Amos himself, when Hammond took over, he had the first robot designed by Derek Reston, an industrialist and engineer under Hammond’s mind control. This initial robot was advanced enough to pass as human, but was destroyed by Black Canary’s Canary Cry. Later models were considerably larger and less man-like, designed to serve as muscle. They are usually kept out of the fight until the last moment—like an Ace in the hole—when the gang hopes to press its luck or make a getaway. Ace has a history of being torn down and rebuilt, since even as a technological marvel it can hardly stand up to the likes of Superman or the Martian Manhunter (whom Ace unfortunately ends up fighting with great frequency). He is usually outfitted with tools and weapons hidden in his forearm compartments and specific for each mission, such as cutting torches, flamethrowers, machine guns, etc.

Affiliations: Solo d6, Buddy d8, Team d10

Distinctions: Gigantic Android, Not-so-smart AI, Designed with Purpose

Ace Android Power Set
Godlike Psych Resistance d12
Superhuman Strength d10
Self-Repair System (Stamina) d10
Enhanced Reflexes d8
Exo Armor (Durability) d8
Variable Weapon Systems d6

SFX: Crush! Discard your highest-rolling die and step-up your effect die when inflicting physical stress.
SFX: Built for this Moment. Step up your effect die when using Variable Weapon Systems to create Assets.
SFX: Power Reroute. Step up one Ace Android power then shut down that power. Recover by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.
SFX: No Brains. Spend a d6 doom die to ignore emotional or mental stress and trauma.
Limit: Malfunction! Shut down an Ace Android Power and add d6 to doom. Recover by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Specialities: Combat Expert, Menace Expert.

 

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About estebs

I am a 30-year-old aeronautical engineer who has been roleplaying for--literally--half his life. I started with Rolemaster, and since then have explored many, many games, mainstream and obscure. Raising my daughter into this incredible world of imagination and creativity with my lovely wife, I sometimes even have time to contribute something to it as well!