>Back in the Saddle


So, it’s been awhile since I was able to practice what I preach in the slightest; games spend more time falling apart for me than coming together. However! Finally, finally, finally, in spite of all the rough stuff that’s happened lately, I managed to run a quick solo game of DC Adventures for my buddy (and sometimes Dm) Vincent. We’d had it on the books for awhile; I told him I needed to get more comfortable running games in front of people, and to make it as fast as possible I just gave him something we could both connect with instantly. 
I handed him the character sheet for Batman. 
The setup: Joker has captured Catwoman and he’s holding her in an abandoned candy factory on the south side of Gotham. Go. 

Yes, I know; it’s a tad cliche. Truth be told, I wanted it to be – a well used cliche creates an instant sense of familiarity, and for a one-shot session like this one it worked pretty well. I set the scene (It’s night. In Gotham, is there any other time?) briefly, and just for fun I throw in some Batman-centric music the minute my player utters the immortal words, “I’m Batman.” It is probably more a testament to how lighthearted I want this to be than anything else, but we’re both laughing by now, despite the seriousness of the situation. Batman, of  course, is not laughing.
I would also like to point out for the formal record that this is the only part of the session that I had preplanned. It showed a little bit later, I think (more than I would have liked) but everything still ran very smoothly. I was impressed!
Batman opted to park the Batmobile at a small distance from the factory, where it would be well out of sight of any of Joker’s thugs. Using his grapple gun and some agility, he easily navigated the rooftops to reach his destination. 

My player asked me what he could see, and I told him that there were about four thugs outside the candy factory (“Typical of the Joker to so utterly corrupt something once associated with mirth and the joy of children,”) and that it was a large, warehouse-like structure. I was still sketching broad strokes, and while I’d have liked to provide more detail (I did once have to prompt, “You should be asking me questions about the area, not waiting for me to provide answers,”) it seemed to work. 
“I’m going to try getting one of them alone.” 
Hard to empathize with this face, isn’t it?

Applauding his thinking (very Batman like), I informed him that one of the thugs was around the corner from the others, and could probably be caught unawares. 
Player: “Okay, can I swing down with my grapple gun and hit him?” 
GM: “Heck yes, you can! Would you like to make a routine attack?” 
Player: -Gleefully- “Of course.”

Ah, minions. Meant solely to make the hero look good, they go down fast with hardly a dice roll necessary for the hero. After all, this isn’t the part of the story that’s supposed to be hard. We’re saving that for the big showdown with the boss, right?

A little more negotiation, and two of the remaining three thugs go down from well thrown Batarangs. The third winds up being a bit more troublesome (a particularly lucky roll on the part of the minion meant that he didn’t go down in a single hit), but Batman was unscathed. I was treated to a few lovely descriptions of Batman’s brutal finishing moves, which was a blast for both of us. 
Grappling up to the rooftop stealthily, Batman looked about. Amid the smokestacks and a pair of skylights, he noticed two more thugs facing the other end of the building. A well thrown Batarang took them each down before either could react to his presence; as they slumped to the roof, Batman slipped over to the skylights and checked out the situation inside. 

The main factory floor was crawling with minions, while the second skylight opened into an office suite. Inside was The Joker, taunting Catwoman, who was tied to a chair. 

Yes, corny, I know. In my defense, I was winging it, and it’s been a pretty long time since I had to make up the details as I went (an important skill for me to master, in my own estimation). 
After a bit of thought, Batman opted to quietly open the first skylight and bomb the factory floor with tear gas pellets. Once he felt he’d distracted the Joker, he leaped through the skylight to flatten his old enemy. 

Which he did. Easily. Odd. 

“Nice move, Bats. Too bad it wasn’t the real Joker.” 

Batman moved to free Catwoman as the Joker’s maniacal laughter rang out over the loudspeaker. “Come on, Batman, you didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? AhaahahaAHAAAAAHahahaaa. . . Come find me, Bats– I dare you.” 

I have to admit, this was one bit I felt pretty good about – I was complemented afterward for, as he put it, “doing the voices.” Sometimes, it’s the little touches that make or break a performance . . . 


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