The Rose Paladin

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The Valiant
Rose Paladin
Player: @TalenLee
Activity Level: Regularly played
Basic Information
Real Name: Josiah Holland
Aliases: J, The Mountie, Joss, Josie
Titles: None
Rank: Formerly, Defiant Fist
Physical Identifiers
Species: Human
Sub-Type: Canadian
Gender: Male
Apparent Age: 26
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 190lbs
Build: Toned and Lean
Complexion: Clear and lightly tanned
Eye Color: Blue-green
Hair Color: Dusty blonde
Distinguishing Features
Josiah smells subtly of rosewood
Biographical Data
Birthdate: 14th February, 1984
Birthplace: Ottawa General Hospital Parking Lot
Nationality: Canadian
Residence: King's Row, Paragon City
Occupation: Canadian Liaison with the PPD Special Offenders Unit
Marital Status: Serially Single
Legal Status: Registered Hero
Relatives & Associates
Harper Holland Bannister Jr (Father)

King Holland-Mulroney (Mother)

Known Powers
Josiah's mutation is that of synthetic symbiosis; his body has internalised and combined his DNA with that of a wild rosebush.
Skills & Abilities
Experienced swordsman, submission fighter, police detective and overland hunter and tracker.
None of note.
Atheists in foxholes, some say they are myths,
Creations of the mind who just don't exist.
Yet, they answered the call to defend, with great pride.
With reason their watchword, they bled and they died.
- Alice Shiver



Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness.
- G. K. Chesterton

There are many ways to explain Josiah's personality, but most seem to use words like 'charming' and 'naive' or 'innocent.' The fact is, Josiah is a tracker and a hunter, a policeman of a district several thousand kilometers wide, whose upbringing featured multiple boyhood adventures of foiling criminals, of helping his father on cases, and of hunting out lone, desperate men in the frozen north. All this seems to be lost in the translation to his day to day life, where he comes across as a gormless idiot, a naive and well-meaning straight-laced hero, who has no wit or wisdom beyond what you get when you cram two quarters into a high-paying Talking Machine.

Josiah is an optimist, and a furious one at that. He believes that people must make justice and truth real things through their own lives, and that every single person in the world is important. Despite this belief - in the equality and importance of all things - Josiah has been labelled a bigot and condescending. He figures it's simply due to a misunderstanding, but not one he fancies correcting - finding there better things to do than care overmuch about the opinions of others.

Josiah is an atheist[2]; he does not believe in any god as a higher being, and any deities that have been identified or revealed in his life have all proven to merely be very powerful entities that have many traits in common with mortals, complete with their vices and pettiness. At least once he has commented that he would proudly arrest god if the opportunity arose.

As of recent years, Josiah's unassailable air of positivity and seeming-naivete has taken some serious battering. Operating, to some length, under a shadow of sadness and loneliness, Josiah nonetheless shows flashes of the simple joy of doing what's right whenever he helps someone with that same air of innocence.


Josiah Holland's background was disciplined and structured. His father was a Mountie, his mother a driven attorney, leaving him to often spend time with his grandfather, a librarian.

Josiah's youth was therefore spent surrounded by books, but also consumed by physical tests. His main pasttimes were physical exercise, survival games and tracking. What would conventionally be defined as training by most government organisations was something the young man embraced wholeheartedly. This training regime - of finding an exulation in exercise and physical therapy - continues to this day, with Josiah committing to a minimum of exercises before he sleeps and after he rises every day.

Josiah did a fundamental of schooling with his grandfather, then moved to be closer to his parents to do his high school education. He was going to go on to junior cadet training as part of high school, but his mutant powers evinced and he was instead transferred quickly to a government-sanctioned open-plan metahuman development training program. Josiah took to it well, and managed to use many of the policing principles of his fathers' work in the process. This included a large amount of field work, sending him far into the northern reaches, sometimes with his father and sometimes without.

Spoiler warning: Details about a player-created storyline, or information currently unrevealed about a character, follow.

During this time, Josiah had a number of relationships, ranging from hand-holding 'steadies' to at least one sexual relationship.

Josiah was pursuing a hitman for a drug syndicate, and as part of his investigations, found himself snowed in closed quarters with an informant for three days. During this time, over those three days, out of desperation and a desire for heat - and to feel something in what was a mutually depressing part of their lives - they had sex.

Throughout this time, however, Josiah was still the detective he knew he was; he rifled through details and observed, and when the rescue crews arrived, two days later, finding him with the informant in his arms, he sadly immediately handcuffed her, and took her back to civilization.

Further to that, Josiah's relationship became much more complicated with this woman. Called upon to testify about her at her trial, he was honest and forthright; providing all the evidence he could, and making a character notation that he could not vouch for her character. The defense built on the fact that her relationship with Josiah had become sexual so quickly - noting that it suggested she was attempting to manipulate him.

In the end, Josiah spent some time conversing with her through letters, after she had been incarcerated. After several months of this - a time he deemed the 'courtship', wherein he felt he was making a connection with this woman with whom he felt a great deal of common history.

The relationship, as it was, ended direly, when he was contacted by the prison warden; he was told that she'd been using her mail correspondence to mastermind smuggling operations in the area, through contacts in the mail service. Therefore, her mail privileges had been cut off, and all her outgoing letters were appropriated for further analysis.

Spoilers end here.

Josiah graduated the program and his immediate request was to the Canadian government to transfer him to work in Paragon City, complying with Statesman's request. This comission was extended and approved, and the fledgeling hero moved on to introduce himself to the big cities of Rhode Island, after an upbringing where he could go weeks at a time without ever seeing another human being.

In his time in Paragon City, Josiah managed to avoid almost everything and everyone important. His work in Dark Astoria kept him from more high-profile cases, and his work in the War Zone was always covert and featured none of the normal focus people had on raiding the mothership. Even when he attained his Hero of the City status, rain kept there from being a ceremony, and nobody seems to know. The Reciprocators didn't hold a ceremony for his achievement, nor do they consider his departure meaningful. Despite being involved in the founding of The Codex, he has had nothing to do with any of its world-shaking events, having left for personal reasons before the group was well-established. During the year of his life where he was unable to use his powers, he did nothing more interesting than work in a youth center in Talos Island, refusing to violate the spirit or letter of the law.


The Rose Paladin is a former member of the Reciprocators. After attaining his 50th Security level, the Canadian Consulate ask that he be transferred to another outfit that better fit his skills and abilities. It's not known whether Josiah applied for this transfer himself, or whether it was an entirely external decision. After being comissioned for a special task force for a period of two weeks, he was released from this detail and given latitude to return to the Reciprocators - an option that he chose not to pursue. Shortly after this, Josiah was declared persona non grata by the Canadian government and left stranded in Paragon by the shadowy movements of the organisation Riverdene. He tenatively took to the shadowy organisation's goals, seeing it as means to serve as the moral compass to the group. He left it in turn when it became clear to him that he would be called upon to compromise his views on right and wrong to deal with them.

Josiah was unaffiliated, and unable to operate as a Superhero or even as a legal citizen (lacking a work visa). Josiah's legal position in Paragon City was, for a year, an unfortunate limbo: he could not return to Canada in person, nor could he apply for American citizenship (and therefore be covered by the Citizen Crimefighting Act that would permit him to recommence hero work), without returning to the RCMP headquarters in Canada. Without any means to use his superpowers, he contented himself by working as a counsellor at a youth centre in Talos island. This tormented existence ended when The Codex started to come under fire from some unknown force. Fearful for their own well-being, Codex members Tipscout and Phaize approached Josiah to see if he had been taken for information, or could expose them to further danger. Josiah offered what advice he could, content in the certainty that it would be ignored, and considering his debt to the group paid in full, reported the Codex to secret service operatives. Through this, Josiah's legal limbo was ended, and the blight on his record was expunged as being a fabrication.

Since that time, Josiah asked to remain in Paragon City, viewing it as essential that a city he knew all too well as a normal person, needed assistance from those who had not only the means to do so, but the strength of character to protect people in the name of the law. He was therefore transferred to the Paragon Police Department's Special Offenders Unit. In this position, Josiah is technically a lower-ranking officer, and therefore subordinate to many far-less experienced officers with whom he regularly deals.


A life of rebirths


Josiah's powers are that of a kind of biogenetic symbiosis. He has the DNA of a rose bush supplemented into his own; and at an unconscious action, he can provoke a full-body blush of massive human-scaled thorns and blossoms. This symbiosis appears to not be fixed; At some point during his life, he claimed the DNA of a rose bush, and it seems to be the most practical for his purpose. Therefore, while he can manipulate the DNA of the plant that lives within him, he can't actually alter or adjust it to specific plans and aims. Merely, he can symbiotically grow and cultivate the rose that he is himself. This plant symbiosis appears to be remarkably holistic; it allows him to give his skin a woody texture, protecting him from light impacts and eeven lets him put out corrosive toxins and acids in a cloud around him.

When Josiah fights, he is clad from head to toe in brambled armour, woven out of thorns and long vines; about him trails a mist of toxins and acids that blunt attacks and corrode an opponent's armour. He wields a long sword, rendered in bramble and thorn, but this fails to capture how he seems to fight. Along with Josiah's human form, the vines - the plants and thorns that ripple across his frame as armour - take on a life of their own. Reaching out and stabbing, throwing long, sharp thorns into a person, the vine appears to have a very direct approach to combat. As Josiah moves through an area, he's often said to 'infest' it - leaving behind low-lying vines that bind arrested foes immobile against the ground, blossoming with soporific flowers that keep them contained.


Josiah is a remarkably talented detective, an observor, and has a variety of dilletant studies that give him a lot of applicable, useful knowledge. He's studied in multiple languages, has an acquaintance with the practicalities of many common trades, and has covered a large field of study with his police procedure. He is a stickler for rules and procedure, and will therefore soak up instruction manuals or guides or behavioural codes of conduct and shows a remarkable memory to recite details.


Josiah seeks to be a well-rounded individual, but there are areas where he's uncertain. He's aware of female psychology and the classic parlance of dating, but he nonetheless has a certain gormless naivete when these things are applied to himself. This is not to say he's classically dense, but he does seem to defer any public discussions on himself as a sexual object at length[3].

Josiah is longwinded, but also cedes to authority. Therefore, he does not provide any input unless he feels it is called for, or if he understands it to be the area of his focus. This can often mean he passively lets someone pursue a detail down a completely wrong track, unwilling to contradict them with even basic information unless it is asked of him.

Josiah's sunny-side up optimism and his simple politeness has been interpreted as manipulative and dangerous. Very few people in a city like Paragon really believe that Josiah is what he says he is, and this can engender fear and distrust where a more normal person would not be noticed. There are some who've dealt with him who are convinced that he has a dark streak that he keeps hidden - meaning that roughly any reaction or feedback he offers is going to be seen as driven by an ulterior motive.

Josiah is very emotionally guarded in recent days, and has become more shy and cautious around women, courtesy of more than a few unfortunate relationships, both his own and those he has observed in action.


RP Notes

  • Part of the point of Josiah is his uncompromising lawful nature coupled with the rightness of same. This means, in essence, he will always make the hard decision and always take the high road even despite the personal sacrifice this creates.
  • Don't ask him to come to Pocket D. He sees himself as needing to set an example, which means he's never going to willingly go to what is, basically, a place with no moral or legal authority that's frequented by murderers and rapists.
  • He's not going to date your villain girl. Seriously.


After Battlebriar, I was seized with a desire to see how quickly I could get a Hero to level 50, and in turn, to see if I could roleplay the opposite side of the coin that Briar represents. While Battlebriar is himself an atheist and a freethinker now, it was his surrogacy of religion towards Nation that led to his initial descent into the true depths of villainy.

Rather than leave it at that, I felt the story needed a corollary; the sign of the atheist who did the right thing, who stood free of the shackles of authoritarian thought and who extolled a better world and a greater life without any kind of deific or surrogate influence. The result is Josiah[4].


  • Major character inspirations for the Rose Paladin include Battlebriar, the Tyranids of Warhammer 40k, Benton Frasier of Due South, and Carrot Ironfoundersson of the Discworld.
  • Josiah took three weeks to get to level 50, soloing hazard zones and Borea missions. During this time, at least one character told him he was too reckless, and his combat style would slow down his progress.
  • Josiah was my first hero-side level 50.


  1. A download link for the Mids file of The Rose Paladin's current build is available here
  2. Defined in the context of the City of Heroes universe as a person who does not believe that anything identified as a deity in the canon is inherently above any other form of life, and that said deities merit no reward or respect for their mere existence.
  3. No, he's not gay.
  4. The irony here is that Josiah is one of the most misunderstood characters I've ever played.
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