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Jan. 1st, 2035 12:01 am
questionslinger: (Glasses Down)

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"You've reached Edward Nygma; I'm not able to answer my phone right now, so if you can just leave a message at the tone, I'll get back to you. If this is especially urgent, text me at the same number with a short description of the problem or case you need my assistance with. I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!"
questionslinger: (Investigating Is A Thing)

Edward Nygma is a reformed genius who has turned his villainous know-how and vast intellect to solving crimes instead of committing them. Something of a Sherlock Holmes for Detective Comics, Edward has incredible deductive abilities, and is capable of making amazing leaps of logic and deduction. He can tell a lot from a look and even more from extended conversation. This post is to allow people to opt into his deductions, specify information used or if they want to opt out of dealing with the ego of Edward Nygma entirely. Just hit up the text area and put in a comment.

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Images under the cut. May include themes of mental illness, violence, and mature/adult images.
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Name: Murder of Crows
Age: Over 21
Personal Journal: [personal profile] amurderofcrows
E-mail: storytelling.crow@gmail.com
AIM/MSN/etc: AlmostAMurder @ aim, murderofcrows @ plurk

Name: Edward Nygma
Canon: DCU [Preboot]
Age: 42 / 33-ish.
Timeline: Gotham City Sirens #10 - the last time Eddie's seen as generally sane and reformed.
If playing another character from the same canon, how will you deal with this?: N/A

Personality: The first thing you need to know about Edward Nygma is that he was the guy you didn't invite to parties, because he was never going to shut up and the only thing he was going to talk about was himself. He was that insecure (and honestly still is), that fragile in his ego that he was constantly building it up, propping it up at every turn to hide the fact that he was, in his own estimation, constantly needing to prove his own worth. Edward's the guy who needed validation like some people needed oxygen. Worse, he's got a natural charisma and flair for performance married to this particular brand of self-centered dickery, so not only is he that guy that you don't want to bring to parties, he's that guy that often brought a party with him, and so now you can't get rid of him because he's worked the room and you know, there are a lot of people who were totally willing to give him the attention he craved so desperately.

This is the first Edward Nygma most people met in the past, and even the first Edward Nygma that most people meet now. He makes an impression, usually lasting and often negative. "How do you keep an idiot busy?" he asked a prospective hired thug. "'l'll tell you later." No one should be surprised that he got a bloodied nose or was was fairly unpopular with the other Gotham City rogues (though they often recognized his uses - his intellect is obvious, even to the most dim of the rogues). Yet, he's got a natural smarmy charm to him; he managed to win the loyalty of Query and Echo, his lovely henchwomen, and despite trouble communicating on the level of the common criminal, he regularly found other gangs and such willing to enter his employ.

How does a smart guy like this end up in crime? Well, it all begins at home. Stemming from a youth riddled with abandonment by his mother, abuse by his father and the ensuing complexes that sprouted from this type of background, Edward was pretty much doomed to be antisocial and not just a little bit messed up because of his upbringing. He's got a few big red buttons that are often easily pushed, and a few triggers that are regularly pulled.

Edward really dislikes cheating (though it's not cheating if he's rigged the game - it just means you weren't clever enough to figure it out) and he doesn't lie. Ever. Evade, misdirect or otherwise prevaricate? Yes. Straight out lie? Never. When his father found out he scored highly on aptitude tests and in school, Edward wouldn't get praised, he got beaten because he wouldn't 'admit' he cheated. After that, he stopped telling his father anything about his marks in school and became reclusive and secretive-- but he also lost the ability to lie. Evade and dissemble some, but outright lie? It's just not a thing he does anymore. Even his riddles led to the truth: that he'd committed crimes, and was guilty. The urge to prove himself smart, to prove that his father was wrong, that his mother left him for all the wrong reasons, well, that lead to the complicated persona that ran a lion's portion of his life: The Riddler.

The Riddler's origins were very humble. For a very long time, Eddie was ruled by his compulsions, this illness that defined his life and set up the framework of who he was. He needed to prove himself, and the avenues he had in 'citizen' society as a work-a-day schlub didn't provide him with challenge, fulfill him, or in any way enrich his life. He couldn't afford college and didn't particularly care to go, he severed ties with his father as fast as he could, and... really, nobody should be surprised that he chose an antisocial form of self-expression in criminal activity. He needed to prove himself -- not only that he was as good as the next guy, but better, above their paltry rules, their foolish laws. He was smart enough to take anything he wanted, and did with relative impunity until his need to feed his ego grew and grew. Little crimes were bread crumbs for the growling maw of his self-worth, and he needed a bigger and bigger superiority fix to feed it as time went by.

So, his ego demanded he taunt the up and coming vigilante Batman and set himself up for challenges to his intellect. It wasn't just about challenges, either. Regular crime was boring-- rigged games and a little B&E safe cracking was yawn-inducing, though it paid the bills. But with Batman in the picture, Eddie could raise crime to was an art form. Performance art, he called it, elevating crime among mere money-making ventures or revenge schemes (but who doesn't like those; he does love his bling) but something to make a commentary on whatever he felt like commenting on that day. The corruption of banks, the intelligence of the sheeple around him, you know-- whatever caught his imagination at the time and can be combined with a riddle was fair game. His crimes were were deliberate, well plotted, and complex, but he always found a way to add whimsy and a touch of artistry to them.

This is yet another reason why he was never really popular with the other rogues --between his relative youth entering the Gotham crime scene (he was maybe nineteen when he took on his Riddler persona, when Batman was a good twenty-six in year one) and his egotistical flair to his ridiculously overwrought and complex schemes kept him from ever having too many friends in the grand scheme of things.... but it certainly put him on the map in Gotham.

Sadly, it also put him in an asylum: Arkham Asylum, and this would color how he dealt with his own mental illness and treats others with mental illness, even when he finally reached a point where he was no longer ill. The riddles were not ever meant to get him help, or get him caught, though he couldn't deny that he needed it if pressed. He knew about himself: that he was sick, he needed assistance, and he eventually he could honestly admit that he wanted help - that he wanted to be in control of his life. It didn't do him any good; Arkham Asylum was a place men went to be kept, not cured.

Gotham is a terrible place for anyone with any brand of mental illness, and so Edward never got anything except abused by the system and ultimately, got worse over time until it was difficult to carry on a conversation where riddles didn't pop up in the place of normal speech sometimes. His need for validation and ego grew more and more, in turn, as his madness deepened and his compulsive riddling and criminal activities grew more complex, dangerous and flagrant.

Ultimately, this culminated in the Hush debacle -- where he helped design a supervillain, got himself well and truly screwed by his own ego, and while he solved the riddle of the Batman, only to be robbed of any real satisfaction in his victory when Batman turned it around on both his pathological riddling and his need for validation. He had his greatest victory, yes, the answer to the riddle of Batman, but he coulod not use it to feed his ego. This self-defeating moment brought Edward to his lowest point in his madness, and this would only be further acerbated by a crushing defeat at the hands of the villain he helped create, and the beating he would later take at the hands of Poison Ivy for his unmitigated ego and vulgar treatment of her and her haven.

So, the Riddler was dead. Ego unable to be supported under the crushing weight of defeat after defeat, reach exceeding his grasp, Edward Nygma was buried beneath neurosis. He could not be great, so he would not be the Riddler at all.

Edward Nashton, however, lived on as a homeless wanderer. He would spend three years or so homeless, hungry and on Gotham' streets until later manipulation by an unscrupulous ex-NSA agent would later bring all his damage back to the forefront of his mind and set him back on the path of proving himself again. This betrayal wasn't the first of it's kind, but it would certainly set a pattern for the next few years of his life, and ultimately, erode away the most of his ability to trust deeply or fully in anyone. He'd been used, his mental illness exploited for someone else's gain. He promised himself, never again. The Riddler had died, but now he lived again! He threw himself back into crime, and went at it with new and angry fervor. There may have been some ill advised tattoos and some hair dye experiments as he tried to figure out a new angle...

This reinvention was very, very brief and ended within six months he was back in custody. A blow to the head during yet another cross-dimensional crisis and his OCD was "cured" by brain damage and nearly two years in a coma. With his intelligence intact but his need to riddle gone, Edward gained a window into a world of self control, the control of his destiny now securely in his own hands for a change. He could be himself, without any need to riddle! That self was still kind of an asshole, but he was a non-riddling, self-controlled asshole, and that was the important part to Edward. He did still have a mammoth ego to feed and his desire to prove himself was only renewed and redirected, not diminished.... but it was still better than having difficulty carrying on a conversation with a person or being unable to pick up after himself because he had to find another, better puzzle.

Once he was declared sane, he was no longer a threat to society, there was no more outstanding prison time and with documentation of his new, healthy mental state in hand he entered parole and became a reasonably productive member of Gotham society. No, really! He did! Even he was surprised at how easy it was to move from one venue to the next, but he made the transition with relative grace and became something of a local 'bad boy gone good' celebrity.

Edward's focuses shifted. Now, it was 'prove that Edward Nygma can be a fantastic intellect within the rules set by society' and 'reap in buttloads of cash by fleecing the rich legally with exorbitant private investigative and security services'. And it worked for a while, too. He was validated, he was content, he was successful. He mellowed out in a big way; he was less the guy you couldn't invite to parties, and more the guy you invited to parties when you really needed some color and something to talk about the next morning. When you really wanted to get the tabloids talking, you now invited Edward Nygma over.... and he loved it.

Being freed of his compulsion for riddles allowed him to socialize with more ease; he found his first friend in fellow reformed criminal Oswald Cobblepot; Ozzie didn't match Edward's intellect but at least complimented it with his savvy. and both had aspirations to being a 'better' class of people.. He was able to care, in his own warped way, about the man. He was even able to care to the point he was put in danger, and though he would not act to save Oswald from the trouble he'd gotten himself into (Edward was one man before a very angry gang and, above all, knows his limits) he could both be grateful for the friendship and understand that they had a bond, and that there was emotional attachment in both directions, and he left with regrets and loss, and express it to his friend without reservation. They saluted themselves as rogues, as friends, and parted ways.... except, Ozzie didn't die in the end. Edward was glad for that, an their friendship remained even though Ozzie had him very roughly beaten to keep him 'out of the picture and safe'. Eddie even forgives him - Ozzie is the sole person in his history who does not, in fact, betray him, and he would probably put his own life on the line for Oswald if he honestly believed that it was necessary. Ozzie may have fallen from the straight and narrow, and endeavors to help keep Edward on the righteous path of reform, but the two are fast friends.

Being friends with Ozzie paved the way for others as well, like Selina Kyle and Harleen Quinzel. Altruism and empathy do not come naturally to Edward - he was never given compassion or caring as a youth, and had grown into a mostly selfish adult. But the seeds of the ability to care about others were planted during the time of his healing and reformation as he grew into discovering his new self. However, this is a double edged sword -- being able to care about people means more openings for betrayal-- since people have certainly taken that avenue (everyone from Batman to the Sirens) means that his fledgling ability to trust and grow new bonds is regularly pruned back and leaves him hesitant at best to explore relationships, platonic or otherwise. He was screwed over regularly by rogues in his criminal career and now he's screwed over by his 'friends' (outside of Ozzie, who he can trust near implicitly) fairly regular during his reformation. It's enough to give a guy a complex.... oh, wait. He's already got some.

As a note, he loves the ego-builder of teaming up with a Bat! It's like catnip for him; he gets rather excited about the prospect of working with the Batfamily and becomes very eager to prove himself not only as an asset but as a good person, or at least worthy of respect. His obsession with besting the Bat has become something more along the lines of "get Batman to tell me he approves of me" or somesuch. He's worked with both the Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson Bats, and can tell them apart with ease, but either way: Batman. He'll be happy to work with him, always. Even if Batman doesn't want him to.

Despite all this goodness that came from being hit in the head with a very big stick, lingering issues still remain, though they're not nearly as problematic as they used to be. He's still not a nice man -- in fact, he still enjoys violence as a tool and can be cruel and thoughtless, and he is unrepentant in his selfishness. He isn't doing detective work out of any genuine altruism, it's merely the best avenue for his skills and a way to gain further fame. He joined the P.I. game for the same reason he does most things: to prove himself worthy and be an attention whore. Goodness is a bonus, though he is learning to like the genuine satisfaction of doing good deeds. It's a slow process, and doesn't come close to outweighing his ego's needs by any stretch, but it's there. Edward Nygma could be a good person, if he's allowed himself to grow and change. He's not a bad guy, and never really was evil... just disturbed and troubled.

Because of this, Edward doesn't like his criminal past-- or any past, honestly-- brought up, ever. That includes his past propensity for being a complete dickbag or the things he's done and cannot remember, and honestly, doesn't really want to. Those times are behind him. He wants a wide open future with hope and puppies and book deals and maybe, just maybe, not being a royal fuck up somewhere down the line. He'll attempt to dissuade or evade any discussion and will get annoyed if pressed, though he covers guilt with a lot of bitchy snark. He's aware he was a shitty person and ultimately, has grown to enjoy greater measures of self control and that he's been able to be a part of a larger whole than a jagged fringe society freak show. He wants to explore this new person and have a real life, a real chance at something. He wants to improve. He wants to be happy and to be loved for what he is: a brilliantly flawed genius with a flair for showmanship and the dramatic.

There's just one small problem: Edward Nygma is still mentally ill.

The OCD has not entirely gone away and his memories are trickling back. The brain is a fabulous organ and though it has taken years, the neural pathways to his memory are slowly but surely, mending, and his OCD is returning with it. He is aware of his slow shift, and is uncertain of what will be revealed when all the pieces slide into place. What will happen when he remembers everything about who he was and who he is now? Will Edward Nygma, P.I. be who he is? Or will the mask of his relative decency be torn away and the madness of the Riddler remain at his core, reducing him to less of a man and more a collection of uncontrollable neurons misfiring? He's not just a little bit afraid of that, and knows his carefully constructed new life could unravel at any moment. He's doing his best to remain in as deep denial as he can possibly manage, and hold together his facade of being in control, in charge of his own life and not at the thrall of a disease that has, as far as he's concerned, no cure...

Background:One and Two wiki links! (ain't nobody got time to write out seventy years of comic history, or even the 25 of the modern/preboot continuity)

Abilities: Edward's strength's are simple: He's brilliant. Brilliant, clever, with both amazing skill at inductive and deductive reasoning. He's got little formal education outside of high school but has made himself a repository of skills and trivia to help him in his work. Though he has no formal education, as noted, he has a great working knowledge of chemistry, architecture, engineering (mechanical and electrical), computer science (he's a brilliant programmer and cracks code with the best of them). A formerly supervillainous jack of all trades, Edward has a lot of knowledge that can be applied in a lot of arenas.

His memory for facts and data, despite the damage, is near perfect and his memory remains eidetic, he simply has difficultly with recall past the moment of his brain damage. He has trouble remembering his own personal details (his amnesia is near total from the point of injury, but he remembers more and more the further back in his life you travel; he can recall pieces of his youth but ask him where he was when he was injured and he'll just stare at you blankly; he's been told, but he doesn't remember the experience) but ask him about random facts he picked up and he'll drop them like phat beats.

Edward is a polyglot and a wordsmith; he's got literary chops to score an MFA without breaking a sweat and would make most English majors sweat bullets with his skill at word pay, esoteric linguistic knowledge, and the puns. Oh, God, the puns! He doesn't pun as much as he used to now that he's no longer longer claiming the title Crown Prince of Conundrums, but face it: he's very good with language and code. He's also multilingual, speaking passably in in most major languages, and having enough background of Egyptology to manage hieroglyphic translation. (The Great Hymn of Aten is a favorite.)

He's not the most physical of Batman's rogues, though he's actually a great sprinter and amazingly aware of just how far he can push his physical limits. For him the body is a tool, the mind it's treasure. He's thrown himself off buildings and still been able to limp away by gauging the likelihood of injury, his own endurance, and just how far he can push it... and push past it. If he had a hit point bar, he'd be able to see it and work and strategize accordingly.

He knows how to set up the long game, is a deft planner and is great at making something out of nothing, or at least, very little. He was homeless for several years and was a criminal often on the lam for several more, so he knows a lot about surviving on nothing and dealing with street level miseries. He has medical skills below a decently skilled paramedic -- he can't do surgery, but he can certainly stabilize a person in shock and respond to trauma.

He fences, is quite adept with the use of his cane as either an escrima stick if he doesn't have his sword-cane on him. He's decent at fisticuffs but this is not his favorite thing in the world to do. Brains, not brawn, is his bailiwick.

Edward gets a great read on people; he's very good at reading moods, intentions, and figuring out what people want and who they really are beyond the masks they put up. His empathy is newly budding but he knows how people act and react... and how to hide that he can't lie. This is very important.

He also recently had a dunk in a Lazarus Pit, and though he's now about 42 years old, that rolled back the clock several years, and so seems no more than his early thirties, and he was already baby-faced to begin with. The Pit did not cure mental illness, but it did revitalize him and removed his cancer (which was the point of going into the Pit in the first place) so Edward is in fantastic health for his apparent age and amazing health for his actual age.

This brings us to Edward's weaknesses. He's not superhuman, and despite being rather well fit now he's still just a guy. He's got good combat skills but he's not a tank and never will be.

He also can't lie. Ever. He can evade, omit, misdirect, and talk circles, but if you asked him to tell you the sky is red, he wouldn't be able to do so. He can't tell a direct untruth. This can be a problem for a guy who has as much banking on his ability to bullshit as Edward does. He also reacts very poorly to being called a liar or a cheater, and this is a great way to try and spur him into a rage. His temper is volatile though it doesn't often lend itself to violence anymore, but if you really want to get him there, that is the big red button to push.

He still favors riddles and word play and has trouble turning down intellectual challenge. And the there's the fact he's got an ego to feed and can be kind of a jerk. But he's trying. He has difficulty trusting people because he constantly gets screwed over by even his friends (who lets Dr. Aesop kill their friends? Really???) but he tries. In a situation where he's now reliant on the kindness of strangers he's going to be a little bit paranoid and this may cause friction among the community because he has a lot to offer and he's going to expect to be used and tossed to the lions at the nearest convenient moment.

Edward also has a daughter and was a total failure as a father; she became a Teen Titan briefly, hooked up with the villainous Deathstroke, and then vanished off the planet for a while. He has regrets about this, and she, should she magically appear, could be leveraged against him easily.

And then there's the fact his OCD isn't entirely gone. Right now it's not so much expressed in the need to riddle as it is for the need for answers, which Edward feeds via his detective work. Edward will probably never get to the point where he's making death traps and writing riddles on the walls in his own blood or anything, but he's going to have problems tearing himself away from questions, and he needs to solve things on an almost compulsive level, which can be easily acerbated. The time frame of this "recovery" of his OCD is mostly because his "fall from grace" storyline was utter crap and very poorly handled, and I'd like to work with it differently. A gradual slip into deepening madness is better than "whoops, an explosion made me crazy again" in a roleplay venue.

First Person: [Boomtown Intro post]

[ This is not how Edward Nygma likes to make impressions. But he is, in fact, still stuck in customs on the latest transfer in and while he's waiting for his paper work to process he he checks his new shiny device, and worse, he is bored. That in itself is criminal; on a new world and he's stuck with the drudges of bureaucracy? Not fair! ]

[ At the moment, Edward is a mostly unremarkable man apparently in his thirties despite his propensity to dress in green, black and purple almost exclusively. His bowler is off, and he currently lacks any question marks on his clothing, though he does have a small gold one on his tie clip; he is aiming for subtle here, alright. He's slightly rumpled, but is doing his best to maintain his dignity after a long flight and not a lot of sleep. A lock of hair has fallen forward, having from the tip of his widows peak, half-forgotten at the moment. ]

[ He has, at least, mustered enough energy to be charming; his smile reads as sincere, his green eyes convey all the right emotional points. He knows how to play nicely, and for now, embraces it as a way to start playing the game; time to find out just what's going on, and where he'll fit into the grand scheme of things. ]

Good evening, New Dodge. My name is Edward Nygma, and I'm your town's recently transplanted security consultant, having been called upon to serve the town council with my expertise. I've been checking what records I can while I wait for my paperwork to be processed. I will be working closely with both our town council and our sheriff's office to ensure proper plans of actions are in place to keep New Dodge safe and secure for all it's citizens, both permanent and transient.

In the mean time, I'd love to hear from the current population on the state of affairs and current concerns. My communicator is on, my door will be open when I have one, and hopefully I can help New Dodge build itself into a better community. After all, that's what we're all here to do.

[ He's got a perfect politician's smile; buckets of charm, and he even does manage to pull of a bit of genuineness; he really does want to do his job and not go back to what he'd been doing before getting in the transport... ]

Third Person:

Cue the spotlights, the noise, the cacophony of the crowd below. Another million dollar charity gala, another night in Gotham. One Edward Nygma enjoys the view from a neighboring building, as he waits for the major celebrities and notables to shuffle in an bask in fame's hotlight glow; Bruce Wayne, Vicki Vale, the usual suspects on the A List.

Edward was also on the guest list, after all, so he would make his dutiful appearance in good time. Just as soon as the right B-list local came before him so he could steal their share of the spotlight.

Once the A's were arrived, a couple of B's trickled in and took up the outdoor carpet; exactly what he wanted them to do. Edward made his way through the neighboring building, popped the lock on the side entrance to the event center hosting the gala. He walked through side halls that he remembered from a smokey piece of his personal fiction, his shattered memories bringing up a robbery, perhaps, or some other event he couldn't quite put his finger on but told him he'd done this before, been here once.

Didn't matter; his past was unimportant in the context of the evening.

He shrugged out of his jacket as he walked, reversing it as he did to reveal the brilliant green he was known for and took out his derby, putting it at a jaunty angle on his head. Suddenly, everyone realized he'd somehow skipped the main entrance and was right there with the big names, smiling and shaking hands like it was natural.

Edward Nygma was born performer. Domino mask in deep purple on, he hobnobbed his way through the gala, and finally reached his mark; Bruce Wayne.

"A pleasure to see you again, Mr. Wayne," he said in his most bombastic manner, offering his hand and reaching for Bruce's arm for a most congenial handshake. He leaned in, green eyes bright beyond the film in his mask that protected his eyes -- he'd had trouble with bright lights since the bomb blast some months ago from the Conundrum Killer that had been stealing his shtick. But for a brief moment he was earnest. "If I could have moment of your time after the dinner, I'd be much obliged. A client of mine has some difficulties with an old friend of yours, and I'm told you still have sway with him."

Of course, the last "old friend" Edward had dealt with was Hush-- and he remembered Thomas Elliott better than he liked; the stiffness in his right hand, the scars on his cheekbone... all gifts from Hush's 'healing' hands. Still, he smiled. This case wouldn't be nearly so troublesome, he was sure of it.

Burn Out

Nov. 27th, 2013 10:18 am
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Or, “What happened to the tattoos Eddie got during “Riddle Me That”?”

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Edward Nygma | The Riddler

September 2014

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