by Delos

The Fronts and Grim Portents of Arkham City

This past weekend I played through Batman: Arkham City again. I finally decided to do the story on hard mode. As I was playing through I paid more attention to every little detail, since I couldn’t just charge through like I had on the first play through. The story got my attention a bit more and I realized that there is a lot of awesome and crazy things going on and this would make a great adventure to play in. I’m going to try to write this in a genre generic matter so you could place it in any setting. Before I go further I’m going to put out a big SPOILER WARNING. Granted the game is a few years old by now, but if you want to play it and be surprised by the ending, stop reading and go check out some of my other articles.

First we need to identify who the big players are in this messed up world.

  • Dr/Professor/King Hugo Strange
    • Ruler of Arkham (for the sake of this write up we’re going to assume Arkham is the entirety of your campaign, if your game takes place in a kingdom, Arkham is your kingdom)
    • Alignment: Lawful Evil
    • It’s best to think of Hugo as a cult leader of sorts. It makes him fit in almost any setting.
    • The cult followers are in positions of power and make up a bulk of the standing army.
    • Goal: To destroy the inhabitants of Arkham for Strange’s dark masters.
      • Grim Portents
        • Guards begin using violence on citizens for any perceived slight
        • High quality weapons are being “found” by the Fool, Bird, and Judge, thereby escalating the ongoing war between them
        • The Tyger Army is being pulled back, allowing more violence to occur
        • Tyger Army marches on the people, killing everyone they find
          • Impending Doom: All/Most of the citizens of Arkham are slain and King Strange dedicates this wasteland to the King of Shadows
  • The Joker/The Fool
    • Alignment: Chaotic Evil
    • Think of the Joker as the leader of either a horde of barbarians or bandits/raiders. Their leader is crazy, but he still succeeds at his plans.
    • Is very ill. Has a disease that will kill him soon. Normally this would be a great thing, except that he’s spread it to many people all over. How exactly is up to you.
    • Goal: To corrupt anyone and everyone and cause as much pain and suffering as possible
      • Grim Portents
        • Random people begin to get very ill (same disease as the Fool)
        • Many people are found dead in a known location belonging to the Fool
        • Freiz’s spouse is taken as a ransom to force Freiz to make a cure
        • Hundreds start dying as the “Fool’s Disease” takes them out
        • The Fool leads his/her gang in one last raid of wanton destruction
          • Impending Doom: Disease and death run rampant as the Fool succumbs to his/her illness
  • Dr/Maester Freiz
    • Alignment: Neutral/Chaotic Neutral
    • Brilliant Healer
    • Has a spouse that he/she can’t cure
    • Goal: Do what they must to find a cure
  • Oswald Cobblepot/The Bird
    • Alignment: Neutral Evil
    • Well connected and very rich
    • Goal: Take over Arkham
      • Grim Portents
        • Takes over a part of Arkham and setting up a fortress
        • The Bird’s army begin to appear with the best weapons money can buy
        • All out war is declared on King Strange and the Bird’s army marches on Strange’s fortress
          • Impending Doom: The Bird becomes the king of Arkham
  • Harvey Dent/The Judge
    • Alignment: Neutral Evil
    • Likes to dole out justice, be it true or perceived
    • Worships a god of chance, sees it as the only fair thing in the world
    • Has a cult of followers who feel that Dent will bring them power
    • Goal: Bring his own version of balance and justice to Arkham
      • Grim Portents
        • The Cult of the Judge take over a castle
        • People are being pulled off the streets to stand trial in the courts of the Judge
        • The cult begins to swell in numbers, the people begin to use the courts of the Judge to receive “justice” against those they hate
        • The cult demands to be the official religion of Arkham
          • Impending Doom: The Judge takes over Arkham as his cult becomes more powerful than the nobles/politicians

There are a lot of other characters that could be brought up (Bane, Riddler, Cat Woman, etc) but they don’t drive the majority of the story. If you feel like putting them in, great, otherwise just skip them. Here are some questions that you have to play to find out the answers.

How did the Fool spread his disease?

Will the players stop these powerful people from opening up an all out war on the people of Arkham?

Who is this King of Shadows that King Strange serves?

This story may need some tweaking for certain settings, but the overall goal of your players should be to stop a war/genocide. In the video game Arkham is a city full of criminals. You could try doing that, but I would instead just make Arkham a small kingdom without much going for it. Maybe instead of Strange trying to rid the world of crime and criminals he’s simply trying to eliminate the lower class. Maybe he’s trying to do some ritual for the King of Shadows that requires a massive sacrifice. Whatever you decide try to make the heroes feared by both the people and the kings of Arkham. Yes the players are helping the people but being connected to the heroes is a sure fire way of becoming a target. This is definitely a grim and violent game.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you get the chance to run this.

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