Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

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Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Captain Liberty » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:35 pm

The Batman is my favorite character in comics.

Coming up very soon I am going to be playing online in a Justice League campaign and we plan on using the character writeups in the DCA books, even with the differing power levels of the characters from JL. I will be playing as Batman.

However, I am concerned about being able to be effective in combat situations alongside Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. based on Batman's writeup in the books. When we are playing against some heavy hitting bad guys Batman will likely not even be able to damage a lot of them it seems.

How can I play Batman to be as effective as possible given this? I understand playing him very smartly, as portrayed in the literature but are there any builds out there where Batman carries particular gadgets and things to make him be more effective against the heavy hitters of the DCU?
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:05 pm

There is literally no way to do the thing you are trying to do.... Batman is going to have his arse handed to him over & over again. The Batman build in the book was designed with fighting powered street thugs & a very specific type of villain in mind... It is not a Justice League Batman build.... Heck he's not even a Batman Inc Batman build. When your greatest hit comes from the utility belt, you know you are in trouble.

I say go back to the drawing board & start from scratch.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Captain Liberty » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:55 pm

Hmm.....what you are talking about is EXACTLY why I stopped playing DCA/M&M a long time back and went over to MHRP. It balances different types of characters better, frankly. They had wanted to play DCA though so maybe I can talk them into playing MHRP instead.

saint_matthew wrote:There is literally no way to do the thing you are trying to do.... Batman is going to have his arse handed to him over & over again. The Batman build in the book was designed with fighting powered street thugs & a very specific type of villain in mind... It is not a Justice League Batman build.... Heck he's not even a Batman Inc Batman build. When your greatest hit comes from the utility belt, you know you are in trouble.

I say go back to the drawing board & start from scratch.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby The Kryptonian » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:08 pm

I haven't seen the DC Batman builds, but you can find tons of different takes on him in the Roll Call section. But really comes down to who you are fighting, Lex Luthor in his Power Suit? Sneak past him while he kicks Diana and Clark around, download his schematics to the Batcomputer, analyze it, find the weak point and expose it ... Interaction Skills (Bluff, Acrobatic Feint, Intimidation), Interaction Feats (Set Up, Startle, Daze (Intimidation), Redirect, Team Work), distract the opponents, set them up for your heavy hitters and work as a team.

You could even look to the Power Profiles, Talents, Martial Arts and such. Postcognition based on an Investigation Roll, with a limitation that Physical Evidence must be Present, Sherlock the hell out of that crime scene. Analyze Fighting Style, an Affliction resisted by Will that Impairs & Disables their Fighting stat? Lot less likely that you'll get clipped by Doomsday that way ... Smoke Capsules that provide concealment when the bad guys attack you and your team mates, good thing you are Batman and came prepared with your UV Cowl, and Superman can see through your Smoke.

It's workable, but in a team on team combat, you won't be going after the big guys, you'll be sweeping the minions, or the hard to hit martial artists that need to be fought with precision and skill over strength and power.

At least in my opinion!
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:11 pm

Captain Liberty wrote:Hmm.....what you are talking about is EXACTLY why I stopped playing DCA/M&M a long time back and went over to MHRP. It balances different types of characters better, frankly. They had wanted to play DCA though so maybe I can talk them into playing MHRP instead.


You have to accept the system as it is: It either works for what you are trying to do or it doesn't.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby PureMalice » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:54 am

The Kryptonian wrote:I haven't seen the DC Batman builds, but you can find tons of different takes on him in the Roll Call section. But really comes down to who you are fighting, Lex Luthor in his Power Suit? Sneak past him while he kicks Diana and Clark around, download his schematics to the Batcomputer, analyze it, find the weak point and expose it ... Interaction Skills (Bluff, Acrobatic Feint, Intimidation), Interaction Feats (Set Up, Startle, Daze (Intimidation), Redirect, Team Work), distract the opponents, set them up for your heavy hitters and work as a team.

You could even look to the Power Profiles, Talents, Martial Arts and such. Postcognition based on an Investigation Roll, with a limitation that Physical Evidence must be Present, Sherlock the hell out of that crime scene. Analyze Fighting Style, an Affliction resisted by Will that Impairs & Disables their Fighting stat? Lot less likely that you'll get clipped by Doomsday that way ... Smoke Capsules that provide concealment when the bad guys attack you and your team mates, good thing you are Batman and came prepared with your UV Cowl, and Superman can see through your Smoke.

It's workable, but in a team on team combat, you won't be going after the big guys, you'll be sweeping the minions, or the hard to hit martial artists that need to be fought with precision and skill over strength and power.

At least in my opinion!


I agree. Besides which, in a fight against someone like Darkseid, Batman has never been up in the front ranks knocking him about. He'll distract Darkseid is he needs to, or set him up for Supes, WW, Martian Manhunter, or GL to pound on, but he's usually coordinating the fight. In most of the JL big battles, Batman's superpower IS the League. He's the general, and the League is his weapon. Either that, or he wins through sheer chicanery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE5RXhPwlKc
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:53 am

I don't think that Bats is portrayed in the comics the way the op thinks he is. He isn't fighting Supers and Diana's foes. The foes the team fight are a mixed bag of pls just like JL. When Bats fights he's fighting the pl 11-13 foes, or the minions. So if the team is fighting on Apokalips Bats is fighting the Parademons or some of the Elite, not Darkseid. This is true even in the animated series.

When Bats if forced to fight a pl 15 in the comics, like Darkseid, he's generally all defensive. His goal is to taunt and cajole the foe, either to keep him occupied until a tougher teammate can recover and get there or to trick the foe into harming himself. When Bats goes all defensive he's a 29 to hit. Throw in the defend maneuver and he's now a 30 to 39 to hit. Using defend and hide in plain sight Bats can keep a tough foe occupied for quite a long time.

You also have his inventor advantage. So you're going to let him carry an invention or two with him; and he can use a hero point to switch inventions to something he's not carrying if the need arises. So the bat-shark repellent is only a hero point away. :) Bats can invent some fairly devastating pl 12 items; things that can even hurt Darkseid.

Then you have what's said above: Bats is the infiltrator and manipulator. He's the guy that's going to use a major foe's systems against them. He's going to sneak in and reprogram the defensive systems. He's going to find the 'ultimate nullifier' deep in the ship that can stop the foe. He's that guy.

So if you're going to include Bats and Flash and Aquaman on your JL then, as the gm, you're going to need to find things for each of them to do rather then just hitting the pl 15 foes. It's also important that the players understand their roles. Supers and Diana don't fight by beating up all the pl 11s first. They fight the pl 14-16s and trust their teammates to do likewise.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby saint_matthew » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:38 am

@Monolith: All that is well and good, an no one is disagreeing with those points, but it still is a combat game & at some point Batman is going to actually need to land a blow.... A Damage 4 effect just aint going to cut it... Heck that won't cut it at PL 10, let alone PL 12 to PL 15.

My advisement would still be to start from scratch & build one of the more powerful, more focused versions of Batman, even if its a modified Arkham City version of the character.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:13 am

Generally, I agree with Monolith and the Kryptonian...

Keep in mind, since he has Power Attack, the book Batman has a +15 to-hit, 9 Damage unarmed attack any time he wants it.

If that isn't enough, get GM permission to add the Bat Electro-knuckles to the utility belt. We saw these on the JLU cartoon a few times.

Bat Electro-knuckles: STR-based Damage 6, Inaccurate 3. (3 pts., 1 pt. in the array)

That will give him a +14 to hit, 10 Damage attack. Combine that with Power Attack and he can consistently have a +9 to hit, 15 Damage attack.


If you picture him dancing with the big boys a lot, I'd also recommend getting his defenses up to PL 12. Either more Defensive Roll, or some Bat armor (2 Protection), or the bulletproof vest he wore under his tights in Batman #1 back in 1940. Or just increase his Dodge and Parry.

None of these are huge expenditures (1 or 2 pts.) so, assuming you get Power Point awards, it shouldn't take long to get the points for these additions.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:30 am

saint_matthew wrote:@Monolith: All that is well and good, an no one is disagreeing with those points, but it still is a combat game & at some point Batman is going to actually need to land a blow.... A Damage 4 effect just aint going to cut it... Heck that won't cut it at PL 10, let alone PL 12 to PL 15.

Keep in mind that Bats does 8 to 10 ranks of damage. His 20 attack means he can always power attack his strength or his batarangs and still hit with ease. 8 to 10 ranks of damage can cut it in a pl 10 or 12 game. It's equal, or more then many other characters in the same pl range, like the Flash.

A 10 rank batarang can force a save from Supes and Darkseid. Yeah, it's only a 25-30% chance of damaging them, but that's a bigger chance of hurting either one of them then Bats would have in the comics. Plus there's always those inventions; like Earth-Two Ken states.

And I'll just state it again: Bats is not supposed to be able to fight Superman's foes. If he could, why do they need Superman? That's not realistic in the comics, and it's not realistic in the game.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Captain Liberty » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:23 pm

I totally understand what most people are saying here and am WELL AWARE of how Batman is portrayed in the JL comics/animated movies but my point is EXACTLY what you said in this quote. There is only so much a GM is going to be able to do to entertain the Batman player who is always marginalized on the periphery never getting to mix it up. At some point that players wants to be able to do some damage in combat too.

This is why I think Nolan's take on Batman is attractive to me. No super powered BS in that universe. Just Batman cleaning house.

You would think a guy with the intellect of Bruce Wayne and the resources he has at his disposal, including Wayne Enterprises, would create a power suit to go against some of these heavy hitters like Lex Luthor smartened up and did.

saint_matthew wrote:@Monolith: All that is well and good, an no one is disagreeing with those points, but it still is a combat game & at some point Batman is going to actually need to land a blow.... A Damage 4 effect just aint going to cut it... Heck that won't cut it at PL 10, let alone PL 12 to PL 15.

My advisement would still be to start from scratch & build one of the more powerful, more focused versions of Batman, even if its a modified Arkham City version of the character.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:50 pm

Captain Liberty wrote:You would think a guy with the intellect of Bruce Wayne and the resources he has at his disposal, including Wayne Enterprises, would create a power suit to go against some of these heavy hitters like Lex Luthor smartened up and did.

Bats has this thing called character concept. Character concept isn't about being the best. It's about being a good character and filling your niche in the genre. There's already an uber-rich guy in armor. He's called Ironman. Batman isn't Ironman. Batman is a JL tag-along. His concept is to clean up Gotham, and for that he doesn't need powered armor.

I'll just say for the 3rd time now: Batman's concept isn't to be Superman, or Green Lantern, or Martian Manhunter. His concept is to be Batman: one of the toughest human fighters in the DC universe, but still just human. If you don't want Batman to be Batman then just make a pl 15 version and play your little heart out, but what you're wanting isn't the game's fault. It's your fault for not accepting the character as he has been portrayed for 75 years.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Captain Liberty » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:00 pm

I am talking realistically about the player playing the character. Trust me....as a lifelong Batman fan I 'get' the character completely. As well as you all do. I am saying in a roleplaying game most players will tire quickly of not being able to trade punches in the big combats and trying to always be on the periphery of the action.

Honestly, this is why I wanted to use MHR. It handles varied powered levels better than M&M 3e imo. I will have to see if they might be more interested in that once I introduce them to it. I haven't played/ran M&M 3e in around 2 years. MHR became my go-to supers game and replaced what used to be my fave supers game of all-time, M&M 3e.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:56 pm

I've played a lot of MSH, myself, and I've yet to see a scenario where Daredevil can defeat the Hulk. You can spend every point of karma DD has and he's not going to defeat the Hulk; and that's generally what you're talking about with Batman versus Darkseid types of encounters.

And I'll say again, if you don't think a 8-10 damage Bats can cut the mustard, and you're unwilling to regularly give the players mixed pl villain groups to fight so everyone has an equal chance, then simply increase the pl of Batman. The pls given are arbitrary. You don't need to throw in a pl 12 Bats with a pl 15 Supers and WW. Simply increase Batman's pl by 2: give him +4 to damage with some electro-knuckles and +2 in all other stats: attack, dodge, and defenses. Then he's a pl 14 and can hold his own against +/-1 foes.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Captain Liberty » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:27 pm

I was speaking of the newer Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game by Margaret Weis Productions, not the TSR Marvel Superheroes game.

MHR balances supers characters better than any other supers game I've ever played and I've played/run/own a LOT of them.
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