|“||I must therefore rely on all of you to spread the word of Lord Recluse's vision. A vision of a glorious future, in which man is not encumbered by the desire for truth, peace, or justice. A future where you no longer must obey others, where you must no longer bow down to those who deem themselves your superiors, a world in which you can finally say "No more." No longer will you have to listen to those who tell you that you must earn what you wish, that you must work hard to achieve your goals. You will have the strength to take what you desire. Through my way, the way of villainy, you can have what you want now. You can leave the weak lying in your wake as you grasp with both hands the glorious future of havoc. The heroes are doomed! Join me now, or you will suffer the same fate that awaits all those who defy me. I, Lord Recluse, shall cover this world in darkness!||„|
|~ Lord Recluse|
His introduction in City of Heroes heralded the opening of the City of Villains and eventually lead to the two games becoming extensions of each-other. Leading to him becoming the main source of villainy both in-universe and out-of-universe.
PastLord Recluse was once Stefan Richter, a wealthy technocrat and Austrian American son of Rudy Richter. His father took in young Marcus Cole (who would become Recluse’s arch-nemesis, the Statesman), after Marcus’ mother died in childbirth and his father drank himself to death. Stefan and Marcus quickly became close friends and served together in World War I. But it was during this time that Stefan was exposed to mustard gas and while he was lucky enough to survive, it badly damaged his lungs and made him chronically ill. Hoping to find a cure, Stefan and Marcus set out to find the Fountain of Zeus and managed to steal an ancient Greek scroll from a museum in London. They headed to an ancient Greek island known as Praxidae, the home of the Well of the Furies and below that, the Fountain of Zeus. They located the island and both drank from the fountain, gaining god-like powers and curing Stefan. But before they left the island, Stefan and Marcus found an artifact, a box that glowed with a blinding light, which seemed to be the source of the Fountain’s power, that was apparently Pandora’s Box. When they opened it, the stored creativity of all humankind was released and its power began a Golden Age of superheroes.
Becoming Lord RecluseHowever Pandora’s Box’s opening was explosive, resulting in a cave-in and Stefan was washed away into the open ocean. As he swam for shore, he became intoxicated by his new-found powers, envisioning himself as a god among men that would pave the way for technological science. Billy, a friend, went searching for Stefan and when he found him, he tried to drag Stefan out of the water. But Stefan, consumed by his vision and determined to embrace his new destiny, grabbed Billy by the throat and snapped his neck with ease, before tossing his body into the sea. Stefan climbed into the boat Billy had used and returned to civilization, ready to begin his new future of evil and villainy. Stefan proceeded to join a shady organization called Arachnos, whose leader at the time was a mysterious figure called only the Weaver. Stefan became head of the American branch, which was based in Paragon City in Rhode Island. He began to rise through the ranks of Arachnos and eventually took the name Recluse. As Stefan began to focus his new dark powers, he started suffering from physical changes. His eyes started to have an almost allergic reaction to bright lights and changed to glowing red, burning with evil. Stefan started developing a back hump, which eventually gained eight large arachnoid arms and he enhanced them with powerful claws made of a highly strong metal known as proto-steel. All of this helped Stefan as he tried to emulate Tartarus, an ancient evil demigod. With his transformation complete, Stefan Richter was no more; Lord Recluse had been born. Recluse began to battle the Statesman, Marcus Cole’s new superhero alter-ego, but was sent into hiding. During this time, he had the Weaver assassinated by Red Widow, usurping him as the leader of Arachnos. Lord Recluse then established his base on the Estoile Islands, which gained the nickname, Rogue Isles, an archipelago off the American east coast. He launched a successful military coup, declaring the Isles to be the domain of Arachnos and began working on forming his empire. Recluse continued to operate from the Rogue Isles, which he ruled with an iron fist as he prepared for world domination.
Lord Recluse is completely devoted to evil and villainy and his ultimate goal is to take over Paragon City and destroy the Statesman. He dreams of leaving the world consumed by crime, violence, and chaos and becoming ruler of the ensuing empire of villainy. Recluse is always working towards his goals, using methods such as breaking super-villains out of jail so they will join Arachnos. Lord Recluse is almost religiously committed to the notion of 'survival of the fittest', applying it even to himself. As far as Lord Recluse is concerned if one has the power, skill and drive to do something they have every right to exercise their will over those weaker than they. While Lord Recluse is willing to humor other super-villains he makes a point of utterly crushing any who would dare place themselves on-par with him to teach them humility and demonstrate his superiority. Lord Recluse's hatred of Statesman is based on Statesman's egomania and Lord Recluse absolutely despises self-entitlement that can not be backed up with power or strength of character. Heroes' often hand-in-hand notions of self-importance and a need to help those too weak to help themselves only fuel Lord Recluse's adamant disdain of them.
PowersLord Recluse has superhuman strength, speed, and stamina and eight armored arachnoid arms on his back. Though Lord Recluse has super human strength from being an incarnate most of his strength is in-fact the result of his power armor. Lord Recluse's mechanical talons are grafted to his spine, each functions as a laser-cannon with a razor-sharp double as impalement tools, strong enough to tear through steel. Lord Recluse's intellect was greatly increased by the Well of the Furies so much so that he is considered the most intelligent being on the planet. In addition to a highly sophisticated mind, Lord Recluse constructed his Seer-Net, a mental network of psychics loyal to him, to allow him to issue orders telepathically to any and all troops. In addition to providing Lord Recluse with an instant means of communication with his men, the Seer-Network doubles as a mental block against mind-reading, hypnosis, brainwashing and possession, as Arachnos' highest priority member, the Seer-Net shields Lord Recluse's already hard to pierce mind, making him immune to all forms of mental/spiritual influence. Lord Recluse is practically immortal thanks to the Well of Furies, like the Statesman, and while the two of them could live for many millennia, it’s not certain how long they will stay alive. In the tie-in novel Web of Arachnos, by Robert Weinberg, which details the period between Stefan Richter's disappearance and his reemergence as Recluse, Recluse states that he had tested his immortality by giving himself a variety of wounds that would have been fatal without medical attention but was never willing to test a guaranteed death like a bullet to the brain and thus even he is unsure as to whether he is truly immortal or just hard to kill. Lord Recluse is a Mastermind archetype and thus can summon and control henchmen, but he can control far more than other villains of this type. Since his powers come from the same source as the Statesman, Lord Recluse may also be an incarnate archetype. As leader of Arachnos, he controls a huge amount of minions and super-villains and uses them to launch many attacks against Paragon City.
As a M.M.O. City of Villains was subject to intelligent design and rather than trying to play down various ways the Rogue Isles functioned as coincidence the game developers shifted the in-universe credit to Lord Recluse, crediting the mysterious removal of trouble players and zones grouped by threat level as the work of Lord Recluse, who had complete control of the Isles - essentially making Lord Recluse the in-universe version of the dev team. Lord Recluse appears to have knowledge of things only the player characters should know including secret plots against him, which he prepares for long before completion; all this is credited to his status as "smartest being on the face-of-the-planet" effectively justifying giving Lord Recluse meta-game insights. The terrifying truth of Lord Recluse's intellect is he can sum up and predict the actions of various groups, heroes and villains through simple observation, in essence granting him short range omniscience achieved through pure estimation. Just as The Well of the Furies has made Statesman as strong as he will ever need to be for any given situation he will ever encounter, Lord Recluse was made smart enough to calculate whatever he needs to for any given situation.
- Lord Recluse's name was the nickname of David "Zeb" Cook, who was the former creative director behind City of Villains at Cryptic Studios. Cook left Cryptic Studios in 2006 and the nickname was given to Serdar Copur.
- Both Non-Playable Characters and Players all refereed to Lord Recluse's full title, he was never dubbed "LR", or "Recluse" or given any such short-hand, yet most other villains and heroes were given such short-hands.