Batman, a Marvel Heroic RPG Character

Please forgive me as I commit one of the prime heresies: I’m using a Marvel system to make a DC superhero. My favorite DC superhero: Batman.

Batman has been one of my favorite heroes since I was a little kid. Tim Burton’s Batman came out when I was 5 and I loved it as a kid. The animated series that followed remains one of my favorite shows of all time. That said, I’m not an expert. I don’t read the comics and I’m not that familiar with the intricacies of the lore. I guess you could say that I’m a fan of the idea of Batman.

I wanted to hit a few iconic pieces of the character. He’s an incredibly skilled individual with mastery over numerous fields of study. Beyond even that, he has trained himself to the near-superhuman levels of agility and awareness. The utility belt is a ubiquitous piece of superhero gear because of Batman. To reflect these things, I first gave Batman a fair number of specialties. He is world-class skilled at a lot of things. I think the list below is pretty indicative of that. Next I made a power set with agility and senses to reflect his near superhuman abilities; this also allowed me to make some cool, evocative SFX for him. Lastly, I made a second power set out of the utility belt. It has the grapple gun specifically and the batarang was added to make sure he had an obvious attack power.

I took my first really big liberty with the system and created a new power trait: Gadget Mastery. Even then it’s a pretty basic change. Batman’s utility belt is the stuff of legend. It always has the right gadget (Shark Repellant Bat-Spray, anyone?) and it’s use is incredibly varied. I didn’t want to tie the player down with specifics but instead to encourage interesting play at the table. So I took a look at the Sorcery Mastery power trait from the book and renamed it Gadget Mastery. It does most of the same things, just with technology rather than mystical forces. I also added the Custom Loadout SFX to encourage the player to use the power in creative ways and/or narrate a wide variety of gadgets.

Batman – Bruce Wayne (secret)

Affiliations: Solo D10 – Buddy D6 – Team D8

Distinctions: Gotham’s Favored Son – World’s Greatest Detective – Cape and Cowl

Enhanced Reflexes D8 – Enhanced Senses D8
SFX Focus – if a pool includes a Dark Knight power, you may replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger.
SFX Of the Shadows – Add D6 and step up effect die by +1 when inflicting a fear-related complication on a target.
Limit: Conscious Activation – if stressed out, asleep, or unconscious, shut down DARK KNIGHT. Recover DARK KNIGHT when stress is recovered or you awake. If emotional trauma is taken, shut down DARK KNIGHT until trauma is recovered.

Batarang D6 – Grapple Gun D8 – Gadget Mastery D10
SFX Versatile – you may split Gadget Mastery into 2D8 or 3D6.
SFX Custom Loadout – add a D6 and step up your effect die by +1 when using UTILITY BELT to create assets.
Limit: Gear – shut down UTILITY BELT and gain 1 PP. Take an action against the Doom Pool to recover.

Acrobatic Expert D8, Business Expert D8, Combat Master D10, Covert Master D10, Crime Master D10, Menace Master D10, Science Expert D8, Tech Expert D8

Milestone: Gotham’s Savior
1xp when you clear some scum from the streets of your city.
3xp when you protect the innocent from the predations of evil men or when you let a small time crook go to get a much bigger villain.
10xp when you put away an arch rival or significantly improve the wellbeing of Gotham City.

Milestone: Adopted Family
1xp when you accept help from the heroes you have trained or berate them for the risks they’ve taken.
3xp when you ask for help from a hero you have trained or when you shut one of them out of an investigation.
10xp when you accept a new apprentice or when you push someone out of your circle of heroes.

About PK

PK Sullivan is a game designer and writer living in Chicago.
This entry was posted in Characters, Marvel Heroic RPG, Role Playing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Batman, a Marvel Heroic RPG Character

  1. the L0N says:

    I think that million/billionaire should be one of his distinctions perhaps.

    • PK says:

      Thanks for the comment! I actually had “Billionaire Industrialist Playboy” as a distinction in the first draft. It got changed to “Gotham’s Favored Son” because I felt it was iconic. It can still be used to as an advantage when his wealth is a factor but also comes in much more richly during social situations.

      That said, if you use this Batman in a game feel free to change things around. It’s just my first crack at it and any character needs to work for the player.

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  3. Scott H says:

    What, no Batmobile? And Vehicle Expert, too…

    Just kidding, mostly, very nice writeup.

  4. Norcross says:

    Why Buddy as d6? Batman is practically the archetype of a Buddy-type character (the various Robins)

    • PK says:

      It’s all subjective. In the end I went the way I did because Batman is clearly an outstanding solo superhero. It’s arguable that team and buddy could be swapped, depending on how you want to look at Batman on any given day. Depending on the story being told, I might even swap them myself. In the end, I decided that this Batman, sort of a stereotypical mash up of Batman tropes, gets into the more trouble when he’s with a buddy (the various Robins being captured, knocked out, held hostage, etc.) than when he’s with a team. It’s not that he’s bad as a buddy hero, it’s just that things tend to go less smooth when he’s with a buddy.

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