Cardshark is one of a number of Champions characters I created for a number of GenCon Champions games I ran in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is an example of a normal, non-powered character using gadgets and gimmicks in a low-powered superhero setting.
Cardshark was a member of The Enforcers, a federally-supported superhero team directed by Federal Agent Max Williams, a tribute to the character Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) from the TV series “The Greatest American Hero”.
Secret ID: Cardshark
Name: Emile Pettit
Race: French Creole
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: 155 lbs.
Hair: Light brown, curly
Origin: At ten, he ran away from his inner-city home to live on the streets. There he met an old man, who in his time was one of the greatest con artists in the world. He recognized the boy’s intelligence and cunning, and, taking him under his wing, taught him everything he know. (But not everything he knew.) When he died three years later the boy went back to the streets to earn his living. At fourteen,he were the best three-card monte man on the streets.At seventeen, he was running cons with an expert’s skill and a teenager’s overconfidence. That overconfidence was his downfall. He was busted once too often, and wound up spending five years in prison. When he was released, he tried to return to his former livelihood, but somehow the thrill of it, the joy of pitting his wits against another’s, had disappeared. He was stuck with a criminal record, no real talents except for his con-artist skills, and no future.
Then Max Williams appeared in his life. He offered a way to make a honest living using the only skills he knew, as a member of the Enforcers. He was somewhat suspicious, yet in crime-fighting he has managed to re-discover the fun he had been missing. He now enjoys the challenge in defeating stronger opponents by using his wits. He takes special pride in matching his wits against other con artists, especially super-criminals like the alluring Virgo of the Circle of the Zodiac, and the murderous Black Widow.
Powers: He is knowledgeable in all forms of con games and associated skills, including the art of disguise. He also seems to have a greater share of luck than most other people. However, he will also manifest a streak of bad luck on occasion.
In addition to his skills, he has a gimmicked deck of cards. There are four different types of cards: the spades, which have razor sharp edges and weighted for easy throwing; the diamonds, which explode in a blinding magnesium flare upon impact; hearts, which enlarge to envelop a target with a mass of sticky polymer strands that harden on contact with air; and clubs, which deliver a potent electrical charge to whatever they strike after they leave his hand.
He has other gimmicks as well: a double-barrelled pair of derringers concealed along his forearms will slide into his hand with a flick of the wrist. The eyeshade can be pulled down over his eyes to protect them from flash attacks.
Tactics: He recognizes his abilities are more useful in an indirect manner than in the middle of a fight and he most often uses his abilities to create and execute a operation, or to support a fellow Enforcer, than taking on a foe single-handed.
Personality: He is very outgoing and personable, always with a deck of cards or a racing form in his hands. He is much given to puns, bad or otherwise; card jokes, especially. He is very confident of his skills, and react negatively if someone pulls a con on him without him realizing it.
Identifying Quote: “Always a fair deal from the Cardshark,” while pulling and using one of his card “tricks”.
Appearance: His costume is a stereotypical riverboat gambler’s: green eyeshade; white shirt hiding a flack jacket, with black garters on the sleeves; velvet brocade vest with pockets for a gold watch and chain; black jacket and trousers; and high-buttoned boots. The trick cards are kept in one of the vest pockets, and the holdouts are concealed inside the wide sleeves.