I’m not having an identity crisis. Why do you ask?
Oh sure I know it has a lot to do with character uniqueness and all, but admit it. Wouldn’t you love to have the Dark Lantern Knight in your Justice League?
It never hurts to ask.
The GM is Always right. No matter how hard you argue, you are wrong. Now shut up and roll initiative.
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)
Christian Bale … Bruce Wayne / Batman
Michael Caine … Alfred
Liam Neeson … Henri Ducard
Katie Holmes … Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman … Jim Gordon
Cillian Murphy … Dr. Jonathan Crane
Tom Wilkinson … Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hauer … Earle
Ken Watanabe … Ra’s Al Ghul
Mark Boone Junior … Flass
Linus Roache … Thomas Wayne
Morgan Freeman … Lucius Fox
Larry Holden … Finch
Gerard Murphy … Judge Faden
Colin McFarlane … Loeb
Synopsis from IMDb: In tone with the early “Batman: Year One” style comics. As a boy a young Bruce Wayne watched in horror as his millionaire parents were slain in front of his eyes, a trauma which led him to become obsessed with revenge but his chance is cruelly taken away from him by fate. After disappearing to the East where he seeks counsel with the dangerous but honorable ninja cult leader known as Ra’s Al-Ghul, he returns to his now decaying Gotham City overrun by organized crime and dangerous individuals manipulating the system whilst the company he inherited is slowly being pulled out from under him. The discovery of a cave under his mansion, and a prototype armored suit leads him to take on a new persona, one which will strike fear into the hearts of men who do wrong – he becomes, Batman. In the new guise, and with the help of rising cop Jim Gordon, Batman sets out to take down the various nefarious schemes in motion by individuals such as mafia don Falcone, the twisted doctor/drug dealer Jonathan ‘The Scarecrow’ Crane, and a mysterious third party that is quite familiar with Wayne and waiting to strike when the time is right.
Reviewers: VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3
VS: 1.95 pointed ears
This is THE definitive Batman movie. The Dark Knight would not have been made had this movie not striven for the greatness it achieved. Gone is the camp of Adam West’s portrayal. Gone is the overly dark tone of Tim Burton’s take on the franchise. Chris Nolan has taken the franchise and portrayed Gothan City as realplace on the Eastern seaboard. Batman is equal parts concerned do-gooder and avenging crusader. Christian Bale got it right playing Batman as the person and Bruce Wayne as the mask.
This movie takes the entire scope of the Batman mythos and uses it to color the world. Batman fans caught the subtle nuances scattered throughout. Alfred and Lucious Fox are active participants in Batman’s war on crime. I only have two complaints. The first was in all of the attention to detail the writer made Henri Ducard and Ra’s al Ghul the same person. The Batman geek in me screams internally every time I watch that particular bit. The other is Ra’s is using a microwave emitter to vaporize the water supply? Why aren’t the people standing next to the emitter suddenly dehydrating? I can forgive Mr Zsasz’s lack of scars as he is clothed in this movie and his scars could very well be covered under the clothing.
PIT #1: 2 pointed ears
Batman for the 21st century. A plausible explanation for why Bruce Wayne behaves as he does. You don’t need to be a fan of the comic to get this movie. There’s enough there to please the Batman geeks, but not so much as to confuse the average viewer. I like this version of Batman better than the Batman movies of the 90’s
PIT #2: 2 pointed ears
An absolutely great re-boot to Batman. The Batman movie before this nearly killed the film franchise off completely. This movie should set up a nice long series of films.
PIT #3: 1.95 pointed ears
This movie rocks. The action is nearly non-stop. There’s no kissing until the very end. Cop cars go flying everywhere and they crash a train. What more can you ask for? I do want to know why Batman’s trainer and Darth Vader’s trainer are the same person.
7.9 pointed ears out of 8. Chris Nolan succeeds in rebooting the Bat-franchise. Christian Bale succeeds in portraying a watchable Batman.
Rather than rewrite the intro for Superhero gaming every time the family reviews a superhero movie, I’m posting this article and will update the links accordingly.
Why re-invent the wheel? There are many good RPGs centering around Superheroes. TSR’s Marvel Super Hero game is available online as PDF, of course that’s not the Superman Universe, but heck they’re available for free. Hero Games’ Champions, the grandaddy of all super hero RPGs is still available. DC Heroes as published by Pulsar Games is a defunct game though the mechanics are used in their Blood of Heroes RPG. Pinnacle Entertainment’s Necessary Evil, although not a super HERO setting does provide the rules for adding Super Heroes to your Savage Worlds campaign. The current Super Hero RPG of choice appears to be Mutants and Masterminds, an in depth review of the game can be found at Greywulf’s Lair
The first thing we need to ask are you gaming in a generic super hero universe or one of the copyrighted ones? I have many fond memories of playing in a Champions campaign from my high school days (no I won’t say when just know that Reagan was President when I graduated). My GM for those days usually had Marvel and DC heroes pre-genned for folks just wanting to sit in on a game. Though they were super heroes by the names of Supreme, Arachno-Lad, Night Stalker (a Batman clone) and Amazon (this was long before the Amalgam Universe). How you play or allow your players to play will vary from hero to hero.