Dark Champions and Street Knights
After the last local Convention, my son Tristan expressed a desire to run a RPG event at ConQuest Avalon in November. To say I’m proud of him is a bit of an understatement. Thus, for the past week I’ve been designing a street level Superhero campaign in Champions, specifically Dark Champions. The game helps to showcase the flexibility of the HERO System, and helps me to make use of my recent consumption of seasons of Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, and Person of Interest.
First, I would like to introduce the Archetypes I gravitate toward in a Hudson City (the featured DC campaign) Setting. As a little game, I will avoid making reference to a particular popular vigilante with a flying mammal motif. But I’m sure you can recognize him in most of the following Archetypes.
The Crimefighter – the Crimefighter is the “default” vigilante, a sort of Jack-of-all-Trades sort of Hero,
the Crimefighter uses a blend of investigative deduction, martial skill, devices, and contacts to wage their War on Crime.
Examples; Nightwing, Moon Knight
The Detective – The Detective is more of an Investigative sort. Using intuition and science to gather evidence that can be used to convict those who can be considered “above the Law” or, if the local Justice System is too corrupt, ensure that the correct offender faces their personal brand of Justice.
Examples; The Question, Daredevil
The Martial Artist – The Martial Artist uses their years of training ans skill to defend the underclasses of their community. Sometimes this skill gives them abilities which border on the Superhuman, and powers that cross into the Mystic or Supernatural.
Examples; Cassandra Cain (Batgirl), Iron Fist
The Marksman – The Marksman specializes in a particular ranged weapon, often a Bow or a Gun, to administer justice in their city. Often these weapons are ultra-advanced, utilizing cutting edge technology such as miniaturized explosives, super durable bindings or grappled. Other times the weapon is a mundane example but wielded with seemingly Superhuman Skill.
Examples; Green Arrow, Hawkeye
The Paranormal Investigator – Like the Detective, the Paranormal Investigator searches for evidence as their primary weapon against evil. However, instead of Science, the Paranormal Investigator uses Magic to follow leads, gather clues and solve mysteries.
Examples; John Constantine, Harry Dresden
The Crusader – Like the Crimefighter, the Crusader doesn’t specialize in any particular technique to wage war on Crime. Instead, the Crusader focuses their effort and energy on one or two specific aspects of Crime such as Syndicates, the illegal Drug Trade, or Human Trafficking. The Crusader’s war can often be very personal, focusing on one organization, or even on one specific individual at the top of a criminal organization.
Examples; The Huntress, The Punisher
The Mystic Knight – The Mystic Knight gains their abilities almost entirely from the Supernatural. Whether it is a weapon or relic of legend, or a supernatural heritage the Mystic Knight stalks predators and occult threats that often overlap the criminal underworld more mundane vigilantes engage with from night to night. The abilities boasted by the Mystic Knight are among the most “Super” of powers and abilities found in a street level setting.
Examples; The Spectre (Golden Age), Blade
The Technophile – The Technophile relies on advanced or cutting edge technology to fight crime. They have an arsenal of devices and gadgets that enhance or even replace the specialized skills of other vigilantes. Often, the Technophile is a genius in their own right, using their gift of intellect to design and invent technological wonders they use in their War on Crime.
Examples; Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Night Thrasher
Of course, the examples listed aren’t the only representatives of vigilantes in popular culture. And the Archetypes themselves are seldom expressed as one dimensional as I have here. But, this is merely a stepping stone to help some of my players who may not have a lifetime of Superheroes running around in their head get inspired to create their own Defenders of Justice and step onto the midnight streets of Hudson City to… dare I say it?
Be a HERO!