Last week when I should have been prepping for my weekly D&D game, I accidentally fell down the Youtube rabbit hole of Star Wars: The Last Jedi commentary. Amidst movie easter eggs and fan theories, I stumbled across a highlight reel of Mark Hamill’s Joker from Batman: The Animated Series, one of my favorite shows growing up, and my first introduction to the Caped Crusader. I thought about how much fun it would be to roleplay some of the more infamous supervillains that the Dark Knight has gone up against throughout his almost 80 year existence. As such, I’ve rolled up 5th Edition character sheets for three iconic members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. All of these character builds are Rules-as-Written using the Point-buy stat system and are ready to play for one-shots or drop-in Adventurer’s League… just don’t complain to me if your group hates you afterward.
I think it should be no surprise that Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime is best suited as a Rogue. Although usually depicted as inferior in combat to the Batman, Joker’s unpredictable and ruthless fighting style is reflected in the core Rogue ability Sneak Attack. For background, I chose Entertainer to reflect Joker’s trademark showmanship, despite his inconsistent origin story. The most exciting part of this build, is how the Arcane Trickster archetype allows us to emulate some of Joker’s most iconic gag weapons, like his joy buzzer or acid-spraying flower lapel pin. And of course, no Joker build would be complete without Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. Targets of the spell must make a Wisdom save or be subjected to an effect hilariously similar to Joker Gas. For taking this build past level three, keep leveling rogue and consider picking up the spell Magic Mouth so you can leave taunting messages for the Dark Knight, and eventually, Exploding Glyph which you can describe as chattering teeth!
Full pdf: Joker
Dr. Pamela Isley aka. Poison Ivy, could not be more of a Druid if I had a personal request line to DC comics. Gotham’s expert botanist and hometown eco-terrorist has been running into Batman since the 1960s. Since her origin story usually sets her as a corporate scientist, I’ve selected the Guild Artisan background which gives some useful Wisdom based skill proficiencies. Additionally I used the variant Human racial bonuses in order to access the Skilled feat, which offers Ivy a proficiency in a Poisoner’s kit as well as a few extra skills to reflect her education. Between poisons, mind-altering toxins, and control of plants at a cellular level, Ivy has a diverse list of utility powers that only a full casting class could reflect. Charm Person, Hold Person, and Entangle offer flexible control options, thorn whip and spike growth allow for decent damage potential and Barkskin and Cure Wounds helps Ivy stay alive and support her undoubtedly temporary allies. If you continue leveling Ivy, definitely prepare more plant-based spells like Speak with Plants, Grasping Vine, and Tree Stride.
Full pdf: Poison Ivy
If there’s one character build that I most want to play its Bane. With a mind and body sharpened by growing up in of the world’s most dangerous prisons, Bane would have been a prototypical D&D monk… until scientists used him as a test subject for the strength enhancing drug Venom. Now Bane hunts those who have wronged him as a multi-classing beast, using his Barbarian Rage, uhhh I mean Venom, to achieve meta-human strength. For background, Street Urchin may be more appropriate in name, but Soldier more aptly fits the experiences of a man who fought his way to the top of Peña Duro. The Man who Broke the Bat isn’t particularly well known for using weaponry, so we have forgone the usual heavy weapon barbarian build in favor of unarmed strikes. By splashing a point into monk, we get access to Martial Arts, which turns our unarmed strike damage from 1 + Strength to 1d4 + Strength and lets us use our Bonus Action for a second strike. Rage will help Bane put out a little more damage and also reflect his resilience while in his Venom-fueled state. To take this build further, continue leveling Monk to gain access to Flurry of Blows and Stunning Strike, and take the Way of the Open Hand archetype for more punching shenanigans!
Full pdf: Bane
Think you can make these characters come to life in your home game? Have any neat character builds of your own? Feel free to drop a comment below!