Batman Roleplaying Game – System Mastery 78

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Da na na na na na na na na na na na na na na TABLES.  TABLES.  It’s Batman, all right.  Man is it ever Batman.  As a spinoff of a larger game, this game really knew how to focus.  But can the tone overcome the mechanics?  Nope!

15 responses to “Batman Roleplaying Game – System Mastery 78

  1. This was a trimmed down version of DC Super Heroes, which was a pretty good superhero RPG. I was a fan of another game based on the system called Underground, a highly violent supers game set in a dystopic near future. If you get a chance at least read that one as it is pretty awesome, twisted, and not one for the kids.

  2. Mr Freeze isn’t in this because prior to the animated series he was a very niche character who was mostly featured on the Adam West Batman show. He didn’t have the wife thing and just wanted to steal ice and diamond themed crap

    • That’s a good point. Another thing that makes sense, in context of the time it was written, is how computers are an advantage rather than a skill – not just anyone can learn to use computers, because the limiting factor is that you actually need access to one. It’s like any of the gadget powers.

  3. When you were discussing how people should stop bringing various things to Gotham that would be obvious targets for the city’s themed villains, I was reminded of the episode of the animated series entitled “Joker’s Wild,” which seemed to be a commentary on this idea. In the episode, a real estate mogul opens a Joker-themed casino to the shock of everyone in town who rightly predict that the Joker will break out of Arkham just to rob the place. It turned out that this was the idea all along, and the mogul hoped to make a fortune on the insurance.

    I also don’t remember a single 98° song. What I do remember is that Nick Lachey was a member, but he was arguably more famous for being married to Jessica Simpson. A quick trip to Wikipedia, however, reminds me that most of the group’s members originated from my home state of Ohio. I suppose I should feel some sort of shame about that, but we can lay claim to some actual good musicians, as well (e.g., Devo, Kim Deal, Joe Walsh, Chrissie Hynde).

    I’m pretty sure the Jim you were trying to think of was Jim Aparo. His Batman art was especially popular in the ’70s, however he stuck with the character through much of the ’80s, as well. (He illustrated A Death in the Family.)

  4. Thanks for reviewing this. I was struggling to get through “Blood of Heroes”, which was their replacement for the DC Heroes RPG after they lost the license. I think my copy left the labels off one axis of the column shift tables, though, because I couldn’t even follow their examples.

  5. I caught your Chrono Trigger reference. I feel like Chrono Trigger is rapidly becoming a litmus test for nerds of a certain vintage. It’s a shame that ‘I am Setsuna’ was intensely mediocre and in no way an adequate successor.

  6. Ah, the thing you get when you take a system designed to scale in ways that it could cover Batman and Silver-Age Superman and then decide to use it to just do Batman.

    Also, zero isn’t zero because of the way the scale works. It goes in both directions. To do something that’s actually zero takes negative infinity AP.

    When/if you do F.A.T.A.L., what becomes most requested? Dangerous Journeys:Mythus? (Fatal will break your soul; Gary Gygax’s last heartbreaker will break your mind and spirit.)

    • If I get your drift, I agree. MEGS was made to handle mixed characters with wildly differing level of powers in abilities. I did not play Batman, but I know that MEGS breaks down a little with all characters abilties of similar power levels: there is a lack of granularity, and the added complexity that I did not mind with very disparate powers, it was a bit too much taking out that aspect.

  7. You guys should look into this obscure RPG called Millenium’s End by Charles Ryan. It’s a 133 page long techno-thriller from the 90’s. The art is terribad and the mechanics itself are “amazing,” too. There’s 58 skills with countless subskills. There’s too many hit locations. There’s an agriculture skill in a game about PMC mercenaries. Why? God knows why. You gotta check it out.

  8. Green Lantern in the 80’s was pretty much just “Hal is kind of a loser, then John accidentally blows up a planet by being a giant dickhead to Martian Manhunter, then Guy takes over and is in the Justice League and pisses everyone off by being a huge douche, then Sinestro is executed by the Green Lantern Corps, but his soul was connected to Oa or something, so the entire Corps loses their powers”.

    Also, DC Heroes had some damn good modules, so you could just run those in another system. Oh, and The Batman had Hugo Strange voiced by Frank Gorshin as his last ever role. Granted, he was portrayed as a gross fat guy with no creepy beard, but at least they put SOME effort in.

    • Honestly the killer voice cast made it even sadder when the show devolved into neutered kiddiness. I mean they had like Clancy Brown doing Freeze, and I think Diedrich Bader got on there eventually, plus Kevin Michael Richardson’s voice is fantastic for the Joker, though turning him into a hunchbacked rasta hobo ninja was a really weird choice.

      • Oh, the show had a lot of missed potential – I think they were trying to do the X-Men Evolution thing, where they were distancing themselves from the 90’s cartoon that had stuck close to the comics, and just did their own thing. It kind of worked in the first season (showing GCPD as kinda sketchy and mostly antagonistic to Batman was cool) but as you say, there were some serious mis-steps with the villains and later seasons were just… eh. That said, any episode starring Gorshin as Hugo Strange is still worth watching.

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