Powers and Abilities
Ghost Owl's sole superpower (although he'd seldom use that particular expression to describe it) is an instinctive form of ESP that enables him to see, hear and converse with lingering spirits of the departed. By the same token (to his considerable dismay and annoyance) said spirits are, for whatever reason, generally aware of this connection and are thusly drawn to him.
It is possible for Owl to 'carry' spirits with him, although depending on the circumstances this may require he keep about his person an object that they were particularly attached to in life. This will usually be a piece of jewellry or similar memento, but in a pinch a tooth or fingerbone taken directly from their remains generally suffices. Carrying confers a number of advantages - he spirit is in a better position to offer direct guidance and advice, and very occasionally their minds may overlap, granting Owl brief access to their thoughts, perception and memory. Additionally, carrying for an extended period of time may lead to a 'memory bleeding' effect, wherein particularly strong memories trickle into Ghost Owl's head and adamantly refuse to leave. While these are more often than not abstractions devoid of any real context and thus typically prove to be more of a confounding nuisance than an advantage, the memory bleeds have proved extremely useful once or twice. Giving a ghost a metaphysical piggyback ride is not without risk, however - while Owl has developed rather sturdy mental barriers, a particularly vehement spirit may nonetheless influence his thoughts or, as in one notable incident, directly seize control for a brief period.
In addition, Ghost Owl possesses limited psychometric power. He can 'read' psychic imprints embedded in objects and places by powerful and/or traumatic emotional events and learn relevant (if often hazy) details, either instinctively or through experiencing pseudo-flashbacks - scraps and fragments of history re-enacted (often bloodily) before his eyes. Through this ability, he might be able to discern how a patch a blood came to stain the wall of a dingy alleyway, or whether a particular knife was utilised as a murder implement.
Ghost Owl is a highly proficient and disciplined martial artist. His style, developed over several decades by his predecessor, incorporates aspects of various combat techniques and philosophies into a cohesive whole that, while decidedly brutal, puts an emphasis on incapacitating lightning strikes and swift, efficient takedowns - dispatching any and all threats as quickly and cleanly as possible. Under normal circumstances, Owl would require decades to reach a level of understanding that rivals his predecessor, but memory bleeding has enabled him to compress his training into a few short years.
"The tools even the odds. When the Lord gave me my 'gifts', He didn't bother to throw in bulletproof skin."
An extensive list of Ghost Owl's assorted paraphernalia. Fortunately, he doesn't bother prefixing everything with 'owl-', because that would be stupid.
A stylised, form-fitting kevlar helmet that resembles an owl's head. Quite possibly the most high-tech item in Ghost Owl's arsenal, it has numerous features and settings - accessed via verbal commands (keyed to his vocal pattern), hidden switches and blink-operated shortcuts.
- Lenses: Can be toggled between the classic nightvision, thermal and ultraviolet modes on the fly. Can also zoom a fair distance, record visual logs and be programmed (albeit with a fair bit of faffing about back at the lair) to detect various energy traces and anomalies. The lenses also possess a couple of protective features - an automatic brightness filter to shield the user's eyes from flashbangs, and lens shutters that serve a similar purpose.
- Mask: Protects against gases, toxins and miscallaneous airborne hazards. It also sports a rebreather that can be connected to external oxygen tanks or sealed food cartridges.
- Microphone: Can amplify and distort Ghost Owl's voice with a vaguely ominous crackle.
- Earpiece: Multi-band radio with advanced encryption/decryption. Additionally, an aural amplifier selectively enhances sounds in the vicinity that fall below a certain volume.
- Integrated computer: The on-board computer has a degree of functionality on its own - roughly approximating a smartphone - but it can provide a secure link to a centralised database and a remote interface for a few of his gadgets. The display is projected over his field of vision.
- Alarm: The mask can be set to deliver periodic electrical shocks to the wearer should they lapse into unconsciousness. This allows Ghost Owl to recover from unconsciousness far more swiftly than would otherwise be possible without external intervention - albeit possibly with a numb face. This is a recent extrapolation of the helmet's anti-theft measures, wherein an incapacitating shock is delivered to the wearer upon recieving an obscure codephrase. Said phrase is reset by Owl every time he dons the helm.
- Supernatural: The helmet is haunted by the spirit of the Old Owl, whom occasionally sees fit to chip in with advice and (more frequently) criticism as if he were acting as mission control. This haunting has occured for so long that the boundaries between headwear and spirit have faded to the extent that the helm will sometimes eerily react to paranormal phenomena - possibly to Owl's detriment.
- Armour: A lightweight mixture of kevlar and strategically-located ceramic plates fitted over a waterproof, fire-resistant and electrically-insulated bodysuit. It accords a degree of protection against small arms fire, blunt trauma and bladed weaponry without sacrificing manueverability.
- Gauntlets: Protective plated gloves and bracers designed to ward off melee attacks - especially blades. The fingertips end in talons capable of tearing flesh. Beneath the wrists are tiny nozzles which can project chemicals or gases a short distance, should the hand be correctly positioned.
- Multitool Grapple Gun: A grapple gun invented by the original Ghost Owl. It resembles a pistol tipped with a four-finger claw designed, quite predictably, to resemble an owl's talon. Said claw can seize an object or convenient piece of scenery in a tight grip or otherwise embed itself in suitable surfaces. It may also swing backwards to form a more traditional grapnel. Each talon is capable of discharging an incapacitating electrical shock, allowing it to be utilised as an impromptu taser or to disrupt electronics equipment at range. Additionally, it comes equipped with an embedded spy camera and directional microphone with a direct link to the cowl.
- Minicrossbow and darts: A tiny crossbow that can be folded up for ease of carrying. It is fastened over the wrist and, after readying, fired one-handed by flexing the fingers. Lacking a conventional scope, it instead sports a miniscule telescopic camera linked to the helmet's HUD. Because simply throwing darts generally suffices, the crossbow is only employed in situations where precision shots over long distances are required. The darts themselves generally contain a fast-acting sedative or paralytic poison, but may be modified to hold a tracking device, electrical charge or even an explosive.
- Wingblades: Essentially shuriken that resemble a pair of wings connected to a central ring. Remarkably sturdy in spite of their lightweight construction, they can be folded and utilised as impromptu melee weapons or climbing pitons. Coated in a UV pigment so Owl can easily locate the damned things after a protracted battle.
- Scarf: Owl's scarf is made of a lightweight, sturdy and fire-resistant fabric. It can be used for a variety of things - a fire blanket, a bandage, an improvised mask, bindings and so forth. It's also rather stylish and offsets his colour scheme nicely.
- Explosive pellets: Not to be confused with owl pellets. Small spheres that, when primed, explode when hurled at a hard surface with sufficient force. Available in smoke, gas, flash and concussion flavours.
- First aid kit and painkillers Sees a lot of use. Painkillers even moreso. Not to be confused with 'First Aid Kid', a little-known medicine themed hero that wouldn't fit inside Owl's utility belt in any case.
- Multitool lockpicks: For the picking of locks. Essentially a 'swiss army lockpick' - a compact handle with a selection of fold-out heads. Rarely used; Owl apparently has an aversion to doors.
- Circular saw: Much like a regular circular saw, but smaller. eh cuts ropes and doesnt afraid of anything. Vines too, if Owl is ever lucky enough to encounter a seductive plant woman.
- Glass cutter: A sharp compass that pivots around a central suction cup to neatly and quietly cut a hole in a pane of glass.
- Bolas: Steel ball and cable bolas, a crimefighter staple. Nothing terribly fancy.
- UV Marker: A pen with ink that only shows up under ultraviolet light.
- Caltrops: Metal spikes that can be thrown to impair pursuers.
- Handcuffs: For the cuffing of hands.
- Cough drop: A charitable donation from Chinook. It'll probably wind up being used to foil some villain or other in a crazy, convoluted last-ditch plan that no-one could have possibly anticipated.
- Homemade chicken soup: This too.
- Ghostfire: Ghostfire is a rare alchemical substance - it stubbornly clings to most surfaces for a short period and seemingly produces heat, but unlike real fire it does not actually burn. This renders it useful for magic shows and scaring criminals without the annoying complications that would usually result from them burning to death. Owl doubtlessly lacks the sorcerous means to produce the stuff himself and he's generally reticent on the subject of where he actually acquires it. But then he's reticent on the subject of virtually everything ever, so this comes as no great surprise. It is true that it's not especially thematically appropriate for an owl-based hero considering owls are seldom observed breathing fire, but owls are seldom observed punching criminals in the face either. Owl usually keeps ghostfire primed inside his gauntlets' chemical projectors.
- Hallucinogenic gas: As a situational alternative to smoke, Ghost Owl sometimes employs this thick, greenish gas. Essentially a 'fear gas', it has highly negative effect on the psyche of those who inhale it, rendering them paranoid, terrified and prone to unsettling hallucinations - shadows skittering out of the corner of their eyes, shapes twisting into monstrous forms, whispers in the darkness, that sort of thing.
- Fire grenade: Fire extinguisher grenades. Owl has discovered that these can be easily drained without risk to life and limb and modified to contain other chemicals.
- Plastic explosive and blasting caps: Plastic explosive needs no explanation. The blasting caps Owl employs are tiny, and detonated via remote.
- Grenades: Much like the pellets, but more heavy duty. Too large to lug around on a utility belt in bulk.
- Portable fire extinguisher: A funsize fire extinguisher.