ORACLE File A00404

 

Batman has returned to Gotham City.

 

Well, sort of. As far as anyone knows, Batman has returned to Gotham City. Bruce is still missing, however, and remains my priority in the search for our missing heroes. And while Nightwing is “on assignment” outside of Blüdhaven, which is technically true, Batman is back.

 

Batman 1It took some convincing to get Dick to agree to this. He and Bruce have always had their differences, but no one still remaining among the heroes has what it takes to fill out the cape and cowl like he can. Superman did, once, with Robin’s help, but Tim is leading the Teen Titans and Superman is still missing. Fortunately, I’ve spent more than enough time with Batman to guide Dick from here. I know who’s locked away, who’s still at large, and what the current status of his allies and contacts are. I can track all of it from here, and pipe it right into his ear through the radio in the cowl. I really am like a modern-day Oracle.

 

Part of me feels guilty about that, though. I should be out there in the field, helping Dick and Tim and the other heroes scrambling to pick up the pieces dropped when the Justice League vanished. I should at the very least finish coding the ORACLE Protocol so it can operate without assistance. The world needs every hero it can get right now, and this one is hiding in a cave while others do the heavy lifting. It feels wrong, and yet…

 

The world seems to be pulling together a new generation of heroes in the absence of the old guard. Reports filter in on my screen of a crimson-clad archer in Star City who has picked up where the Alternates left off with the city’s gang war. A pair of young heroes displaying powers similar to Captain Marvel have appeared recently as well, and it seems that San Francisco has gained the protection of a literal guardian angel. That’s not even counting the number of villains who have apparently turned over a new leaf to try their hand at superheroing, such as Galatea, or Power Girl as she’s known now.

 

Batman 2I’ve taken steps to get in contact with these new heroes, to guide them in their new role as Earth’s defenders and to recruit them into my ever-expanding global network of heroes. Some are more agreeable than others, but I track each and help them when I can so they can do the most good in the world.

 

I guess, in my own way, I’m still out there assisting heroes in the field.

 

Speaking of which, I should probably get some of them in touch with each other. It might be beneficial for the Alternates to meet Batman, if only to remind them that there are still heroes missing that need to be found. I really hope they’re not counting on me to do that legwork for them. I’ve got my hands full lately as it is, especially with the disturbing reports coming in of a new villain setting up shop in Blüdhaven…

This entry is going to either make my DC Adventures gaming group laugh or cry. Maybe both. I know I’m laughing!

Let me explain. When I had ORACLE announce shortly after the game session began that Batman had returned, my group immediately went looking for him. They wanted to meet him, they wanted to grill him with questions of where he’s been, what happened to the other heroes, and what they can do to help. So they went to Gotham City, they lured him out (nothing attracts Batman’s attention like tearing up a rooftop) and talked to the Dark Knight. Of course, they’re expecting him to be Bruce Wayne Batman, not Dick Grayson Batman, so when he doesn’t act exactly the way they want him to (such as Dick asking them to check in on Blüdhaven for him), some of them get suspicious. He doesn’t remember where he’s been for the duration of the disappearance. He dodges their questions when they ask about the NightwingJustice League, and seems keen to get away from them as soon as possible. One player flat out says, “I don’t think he’s really Batman.” Meanwhile, I’m struggling to keep a straight face and not spill the beans that they’ve been talking to Nightwing as Batman.

But now they know, and I’m very interested to see if this out of character (OOC) knowledge influences them in future interactions with the Caped Crusader.

Also, this is the first time I’ve hinted at other heroes popping up in the world outside of Power Girl, as there’s never been a good time to pass this information along to them in-game. World-building is important to me, and making sure that other things happen outside of the Alternates’ adventures helps me in fully realizing a dynamic setting. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a fiction writer, but I don’t like having my characters exist in a vacuum. No one’s waiting to see what the Alternates are going to do before acting. No, they’ve got their own goals to achieve, and they’re going to put those plans in motion regardless of what my players do.  A static setting is a boring setting to me, and who wants to play in a boring game world? I mean, it’s the DCU! Things should be happening all the time, right?

In any case, next week is the Blüdhaven mission! It’s a short one, but the revelation at the end of it will spur the Alternates on in finding the missing heroes. Be here in 7 days to read all about it!