Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Idea I Had

This thing came to mind the other day.  Even though I'm not looking to run a superhero game, and even though my ideal group of players is kind of scattered over the continent and time zones, so even a Skype/Hangout game would be a logistical nightmare, once I started thinking about it, I really couldn't stop.  So, I'm putting it here.  If nothing else, it's a reminder that I still have good ideas once in a while.


Rooftop Justice is a campaign setting for DC Adventures.  It is intentionally less inspired by the mainstream comics, instead taking a page from "Arrow," a dash or two of the "Smallville Season 11" digital comics, lots of inspiration from "Project Rooftop" (, and the explosion of superhero cosplay.  Like the TV shows, the comics continuity is malleable, with in-jokes and “Easter Eggs” for those in the know, and the overall power level reflects the budgetary realities of network TV.  So, if you think of it as a new show from “The DCW,” you’ll be on the right track.
Our setting is Opal, a thriving city on the mid-Atlantic seaboard.  Not as booming as Metropolis or corrupt as Gotham, Opal is best known for its stunning Art Deco architecture and its notable lack of suburbs.  Opal’s greatest hero of note was Starman, who protected the city throughout the 1940s and 50s.  Since then?  Well, a lot of that will be up to you.

Thanks to a combination of laziness and faith in my players, I expect a goodly amount of our backstory will be generated collaboratively.  Your first step is coming up with a character.  Good news!  The DC Universe is full of them, and you’re expected to use a version of an existing character, so go nuts with the following caveats:

1.  The Trinity are off-limits.  I have ideas for them.  If you don’t know who the Trinity are, you might want to re-think your involvement in this game.  Their sidekicks, however, are fair game, just as long as you take number 5 below into account.

2.  You must create a new backstory.  It doesn't have to be made from whole cloth, but it needs to fold, spindle, or mutilate the DCU in some interesting way.  Change up race, gender, sexuality, hair color, hell, create a character with the same name, but a whole new origin.  Go nuts.   You have my blessings.

3. Your backstory also needs to incorporate a villain.  The villain can be associated with the mainstream version of your character or someone out of the blue, as long as it’s interesting. The cumulative effort of these backstories will inform, if not outright create the campaign background.  Legacy heroes are OK, but keep in mind that your PC is part of the first generation of supers to operate overtly. 

4.  Want to make a heroic version of an existing villain?  That might work, but you’re going to have to run it past me, and I expect to be wowed.

5.  Figure out a reason your character is in Opal.  Do they know any of the other PCs?  Do they have a connection?  Remember, in a TV show, EVERYONE is connected, so play with that.

6.  Figure out who plays your character on the small screen.  Put a little thought into how the characters visuals work in the context of live-action TV.  NOTE: It doesn’t have to be a known actor, but I want a visual we can use for the character.

7.  The game starts at PL10, so if you’re grabbing a character out of the Heroes & Villain books (an entirely acceptable tactic), you may need to adjust things up or down a bit to fit in.

8.  New costumes and looks are highly encouraged.  Project Rooftop is awesome.  You ought to check it out if you haven’t.  I love superhero redesigns.  I am the GM: you want me to be happy, yes?  Can’t draw?  No problem.  I’ve got resources you can use, and the internet has even more.


  1. Something like this?

    The Penguin-In order to make ends meet, Ophelia Chesterfield began working as the stripper Zatanna. Outfitted in tuxedo, fishnet stockings, top hat and cane she was returning home, from a bachelor party, one early morning when she witnessed something crash into a small park. Hoping to help, or at least get some pictures she could post on the internet (First!), she came across a glowing lifeform. This alien K'bel Pote entered and attempted to possess her body. A two-day long struggle for control ensued.

    Of course, in the city of Opal, an attractive woman, made vulnerable by such a struggle attracts predators. On several occasions, K'bel used his, seemingly magic, powers to defend the body he had chosen as his host. There were witnesses, survivors one might say, who described the woman who had done this as looking like a penguin. The name stuck. Even after the struggle for control resulted in a dètente. Both agreed to suffer the presence of the other, rather than continue the struggle and risk their own existence.

    Together they fight crime. K'bel Pote does so to impose ORDER on a chaotic world so that in 6 years when his people arrive, they will judge Earth to be fit to join The Alignment. Ophelia fights crime because kicking ass is fun, it's slightly less soul-sucking than being a stripper, and criminals sometimes have a fair amount of cash in their wallets (she and K'bel disagree on whether to bust some punks before or after they get the loot).

    Played by Yulia Snigir

    The villain is K'bel by the way. He's figured out how to take control (for an hour or so) when Ophelia falls asleep. She's unaware of this. He uses the opportunity to lay more groundwork for the alien invasion plan of his people.

  2. That's crazy. Crazy cool! A little dark, but Arrow dark, not Punisher dark. I like it.