Conjure Beyond

I am the night! – Batman RPG Campaign

You’ve read the comics or seen the movies, now let’s talk about how to do a Batman style campaign in RPG’s.

Been Busy

  • The area the heroes are in has been a haven for crime for some time. There is always different crime syndicates, gangs and strange creatures doing a variety of things in this city. Mooks break out of patrol cars, officials bail serial offenders in return for favors, and supervillains escape from <insert infamous prison here>.
  • The only break from the city of crime is going to help a heroic friend with a big problem. This team up with have flow on effects in the larger world and back in their home city.

Gadgets Galor

  • Your heroes should use an array of gadgets to hinder bad guys and slow down the hordes of mooks you encounter. Things like caltrops, trip wires, acid vials, thunderstones and marbles are great for stopping the enemies advance.
  • If there is magic in your game, charged minor items are the way to go. They are handy things like fog cloud pellets or potion of giant strength, not a wand of earthquake.

Heroes Preparation

  • The good guys have a stash of spare equipment in several spots located throughout the city, this will come in handy during a busy mission. While this is not an arsenal, it certainly replaces any regular weapons, armour and gear.
  • The good guys also research their opponents. Long nights watching bad guys from the roof tops means once per session every hero can exploit a weakness to triumph in a situation.

Misdirection Mastery

  • Bad guys use each other’s activities and methods as diversions or stalling devices while they undertake their real goals. This causes bad guys to aid and hinder the heroes and each other based on what is advantageous to them at that time.
  • Heroes will need to work together to deal with the variety of crimes and threats to the area effectively and not let the bad guys get away.

Superhero Theme

  • Your heroes should have a theme to their methods and look. The Badger may have a badger cloak, hand claw weapons and growl when entering combat. If the hero has magic it has a theme such as fiery effects, metallic echoes or the scent of lavender.
  • Villains will make fun of the characters theme, news stations will question your failures and herald your successes. Some villains will try to duplicate it to throw blame at the heroes.

Tragic Backstory

  • Something bad happened to your characters or someone they know when they were younger. This has motivated you to stop crime, make the world a better place, or take on the evil empire of <insert super villain here>.
  • The tragic event also started you on a path of events that lead you to where you are now. Each of these events and the people involved will have follow up encounters throughout the campaign.

Usual Suspects

  • While minions come and go, recurring villains are key to making the struggle feel ongoing. Having five villains with different styles & minions visit the area, go away and come back, will keep the heroes on their toes.
  • In these games heroes should have non-lethal solutions, bringing the criminals to justice and not to the morgue. However if there is magic then there are ways to bring back the dead to once again plague the heroes and the city.

Villains Overconfidence

  • The many minions or mooks of the bad guys know they are working for the current big bad, so they don’t always use tactics, they just waltz up to the heroes and can be overcome by guile or tactics.
  • The bad guy bosses are so enamoured with their own genius they either gloat about their goals or leave clues to dare the heroes to try to stop them.

Wealthy Sponsor

  • One or more of the heroes either has a lot of wealth, or is sponsored by someone with wealth. This enables them to get equipment and information. It is one of the few factors they have on their side in an area increasing with criminal activity.
  • This also means there will be business meetings, art gallery visits & formal dinners with notables to break up all the fighting in dark allies and on rooftops.
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  • Manos Ti

    I love this. Great stuff.

    Paizo had issued a masked avenger themed supplement for Pathfinder a little while ago and I remember a series of fan-made material about a masked crusader in D&D 3.5e Eberron.

    Similar to this, I run now a short side-trek spy adventure set in Yartar with lots of common elements to these ideas.

  • This is awesome! I am inspired to use this idea in a fantasy setting for my next series of one-shots.

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