Gaming in the Universe of… Batman
Introduction to gaming with superheroes article with links to various RPGs centering around superheroes
Batman, driven to seek justice because of the atrocities he faced as a child. Bruce Wayne, billionaire, wishes to prevent the tragedy that befell him from happening to others. Batman protects Gotham City from any and all attacks; crime, natural disaster, unnatural disaster. During his 70 years of published history, Batman’s character can be consistently summarized by great wealth, physical prowess, deductive reasoning and obsession.
Those four traits transcend time and genre. Denny O’Neil once told one of the Bat-writers (I forget which writer specifically, but he mentioned it in the forward of a collected edition) that Batman was a diamond whose different facets could be reflective of any genre or time. Following up on this bit of wisdom, one can surmise that Batman can be dropped into any gaming setting; in a fantasy game, Bruce Wayne is the benevolent lord who secretly protects his people in the guise of the Black Knight. Vampire Batman (one of the “official” worlds of the “new” DC multi-verse) is perfect for any horror setting. Science Fiction, though usually a staple of Superman, has done many stories of the lone protector. Is B.A.T.M.A.N. a benevolent overlord piece of computer software? or is it a mechanized servitor designed to protect the public from those who seek to enslave it? Regardless of the setting you drop him into, one needs only to remember that many of Batman’s enemies are pulled from the trappings of the ‘were’ and horror. Those genres would be my first choice for continued inspiration for continued exploits in your Batman mythos.
Batman as used in a game that I’d run would be a perfect PC. He is human, the only thing “super” about him is his technology. Given billions of dollars and the time to train, anyone could be Batman. His motivations are entirely human, driven but still human. As such the Batman archetype is easily dropped into any campaign. Simply create a filthy rich protector of the village/town/city/sector, give him access to the most advanced technology of your game setting and voila, Batman.
Another benefit of adding Batman to your superhero campaign would be the inspiration he has been for many wannabes; Robin, Nightwing, Bat-girl, the Oracle. This could definitely be used with a whole group of low-level chracters as they study and train to help protect HIS city.
A completely different take on the character would be play completely against type and run Gotham as pulp-noir or modern crime drama. CSI Gothamhas been explored in depth at the Dire Cafe. The idea is that the cops do not acknowledge that Batman exists while at the same time dealing with his villains or the aftermath of his battles.
Of course playing a Batman type character in your own version of the Justice League or Avengers could be just what one of your players is itching to do.
Savage World stats for
Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d10, Spirit d12, Strength d10, Vigor d12
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d12+2, Guts d10, Intimidation d10, Investigation d12+2, Knowledge (Criminal Behavior) d10, Knowledge (Electronics) d8, Knowledge (Scientific Method) d10, Lockpicking d10, Notice d12, Persuasion d10, Repair d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d12, Streetwise d12, Survival d10, Taunt d10, Throwing d10, Tracking d12
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 7;
Hindrances: Overconfident, Vow to protect Gotham City heedless of the cost to himself, Vow to NEVER take a life, Loyal, Enemy – The Joker
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Jack-of-All-Trades, Investigator, Master Fighter, Master Investigator, Connections, Improved Block, Combat Reflexes, Improved Dodge, Harder to Kill, First Strike, Improved Nerves of Steel, Commando, Natural Leader, Charismatic, Filthy Rich, Sidekick
Gear: $100,000,000,000,000+. Wide area of possible devices on utility belt
Super Powers: • Awareness (3) • Fear (3) • Fearless (2) (All other powers are Devices) • Armor (1): +3, Partial • Broadcast (3): • Interface (2): Code Breaker • Lair (5) Escape Pod, Research Lab, Secure Access • Vehicle (3) AI, Secure Access
Robin III/Tim Drake Novice
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Computers) d18, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Throwing d6, Tracking d6
Charisma: 5; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances: Vow to NEVER take a life, Loyal, Enemy – The Joker
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Investigator, Dodge
Gear: Wide area of possible devices on utility belt
Super Powers: • (All powers are Devices) • Armor (1): +3, Partial • Broadcast (3): • Interface (2)