The Batman (5e Background)

Epic Fantasy Batman, C. Stevens
Over the winter holidays some friends got together to play 5e. Half of the group were completely new to the edition, and my one friend wanted some input on characters he could play. After hashing out a bunch of concepts I thought he might like, he said point-blank: "I want to play Batman." We basically rolled up a human monk (for mashing faces with fists) and threw this background over it.

The background isn't a complete Batman (that would be unbalanced at first level, no doubt), so the background allows you to take some of the features of other backgrounds that neatly cover some of the elements of the Dark Knight. 

While writing this up, I realized there are really dozens of superheroes working from pretty much the same premise: rich, orphaned, playboy with incredible powers or skill-set. So, while the packaging calls it "The Batman", there is really no reason not to consider it a tragic origin superhero/vigilante background.

The Batman (Vigilante/Heroic Orphan)
You are a masked crusader of the night. The shadow that murderers, thieves and gangsters fear. You have tragedy in your past that motivate you in your aggressions. You have allies or assets that help you in your efforts to extinguish the blight that threatens your world. Your training in combat and arcane arts make you a dangerous adversary.

Skill Proficiencies (choose 2): Intimidation, Investigation, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Thieves' tools
Languages: 1 of your choice
Equipment: Cape and cowl, grappling hook, utility belt, pouch of ball bearings, pouch of caltrops

How it all began (Roll 2d6):
1) My parent(s) (or guardians)
2) My brother(s)/sister(s)
3) My wife and children
4) My mentor
5) My entire family
6) My partner

...were/was brutally murdered by...
1) a psychotic jester and his harlequin associate.
2) the local kingpin.
3) assassins hired by prominent business rivals.
4) the local constabulary.
5) corrupt city officials.
6) a hateful phantasmal force.

Feature (Roll 1d8):
1) Trust fund vigilante. At each level you are granted a large stipend of gold from a family holding equal to your level x 200 gold pieces.
2) The city is my domain. (As urchin feature).
3) Corporate empire. (As guild merchant feature).
4) Trusted valet/Family butler. 3 retainers/caretakers/wards that know your secret (as noble alternate feature).
5) Sanctuary. You have a safe place (or a few safe places) to hide from enemies and bandage up those scrapes and cuts.
6) Ancestral weapon. You have inherited a weapon of value. It has a storied history, but no mystical properties.
7) Secret Identity. You have several well-established alter egos and a knack for keeping people off the scent of your true persona. (Add forged documents and a pair of spectacles to your inventory).
8) Network of Street-ears. You've got your finger on the pulse of things that happen in your city through the people you can shake down or pay off for information. You can always find someone willing to part with valued information.

Personality Trait
1) I do everything with flair. It's poetic and beautiful when I do anything.
2) My will is unshakeable. My spirit is unbreakable. My bones... less so.
3) I cover my emotional scars in a bon vivant lifestyle. My dedication to debauchery is legendary.
4) I am ferociously protective of the few loved ones that remain in my life.
5) Mystique is my middle name.
6) The common folk love me for my deeds of derring-do.
7) A brawl with 5 thugs isn't frightening: that's just an evening on the town.
8) I let my actions speak for me. A thug understands what broken bones and bruises mean.

1) I vanquish foes by any means necessary - consequences be damned. (Chaotic)
2) I must be more than a man. I must be an ideal. While I may not operate within the law, I must uphold it. (Lawful)
3) None should suffer at the hands of these villains, but I won't take a life unnecessarily. (Good)
4) No methods are out of bounds in achieving my vengeance. The families and friends of my enemies will suffer before their miserable lives are snuffed out. (Evil)
5) There are lines that I won't cross, but I'm no angel. (Neutral)
6) No women. No children. (Any)
Paladin Superman, Cap Kaboom

1) My ward is my only concern. Their safety is my top priority… after my vengeance, of course.
2) I carry the secrets that can redeem my family name. OR I hide the secrets that would condemn my family name.
3) The city-guardsman that took me in is everything to me: surrogate father, mentor, moral compass.
4) My family legacy is the only thing I have left. I am the last of my line.
5) My caregiver(s) are all the family I have left. I must keep my vigilantism secret to protect them.
6) I have committed to protecting the orphanage that took me in.

1) I am stoic and emotionally stunted. I find it difficult to maintain relationships.
2) I am prone to emotional rages triggered by simple reminders: a rose, a toy soldier, a broken mirror.
3) I secretly love the fame/infamy of vigilantism. I am jealous of anyone that steals my spotlight.
4) I hold myself to an extraordinarily high standards, even perfectionists balk at my fierce commitment to my arts.
5) I am obsessed with my ultimate goals and nothing gets in my way.
6) My pride will lead to my destruction.

Inspiration behind medieval superheroes seems to have exploded in the cosplay and deviant art scene. There is literally so much great character fodder out there!

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