original D&D, DC Universe and Marvel Super Heroes RPGs

Urban fantasy author writes RPG-based fan fiction

UPDATED 7-10-17

I had a busy November 2016 with work. Got to see some sights in Vegas and Los Angeles. Great times, but drained the ol’ creativity bank.

To get back into the creative habit, I’m turning to fan fiction and role-playing games.

Back up. What’s a Role-Playing Game?

various dice for RPGs

various dice for RPGs

A role-playing game, also called an RPG, is a game where players create characters and then literally play the role of that character in an adventure.

You could also say it’s also a “roll” playing game because most RPGs involve rolling dice.

This can be as simple as the WEG six-sided die system or the use of a single twenty-sided die for “DC Adventures/ Mutants & Masterminds.”

It could get as complicated as a variety of dice for the d20 systems like the old “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Some RPGs don’t use dice at all, relying on acting in character and mutually deciding the outcomes of actions.

Not a fan of tabletop dice rolling? You probably are still familiar with the RPG concept through video games. “Final Fantasy.” “Mass Effect.” “Knights of the Old Republic.” “Dragon Age.” All RPG games.

The computer does the die rolling in the background; these games retain the RPG concept of gaining experience on your adventure and using those points to build character.

And what’s this fan fiction?

Batman's first appearance in "Batman: Dead End" for fan fiction

Batman’s first appearance in “Batman: Dead End”

Fan fiction is the art of fans writing unlicensed works based on pop culture phenoms like various anime/ manga or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or comic books. Anything with a world to play in.

Fans post these stories in places like Fan-Fiction.net for others to enjoy. You can’t make money off the stuff (that pesky copyright thing) and it’s totally not canon to the world, but it’s a fun exercise in sharing your love of a property.

Fan fiction has branched out to include fan films like the many you see for “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and other properties.

Those cool “Super Power Beat Downs?” a variation on the ol’ fan film concept. Again, you can’t make money, but it’s hella fun if you’ve got the resources to pull it off.

And sometimes, as was the case with Sandy Collora’s “Batman: Dead End,” you can create a fan dream scenario that’s better than what Hollywood produces.

My history with RPGs

In my youth, I was a Dungeons and Dragons nerd. The playing group eventually moved on to other entertainments (damned video games!), but I kept on creating adventures and rolling against myself.

I moved from typical fantasy fare to spy stuff with “Top Secret/ S.I.,” then to comic book mayhem with two different systems based on Marvel Comic properties.

I eventually settled on the West End Games d6 system thanks to their “DC Universe” game. I crafted characters, not just for DC Comics super-heroes, but Marvel’s teams as well.

I then began exciting adventures, mostly focusing on Batman, the X-Men, and Daredevil, with a few Justice League/ Avenger characters in crossovers. One big happy comic book world.

Moving into fan fiction

I wrote all my adventures down as narratives — fan fiction before fan fiction was a thing. The writing was choppy due to the emphasis on dice-based combat and a lack of in-between character development, but there were some good times there.

In one story, I fiddled with the origins of the Joker. I had him pre-Joker as a clown in the same circus with Dick Grayson’s parents. He witnesses Boss Zucco’s men sabotage the Grayson’s act but gets Joker-ized before he can do anything about it. He then kidnaps Dick in the hopes of taking care of him and getting revenge on Zucco for both of them. But his psychotic Joker ways pushes Dick to Batman, beginning the Dynamic Duo and the Joker’s hatred of them.

But his psychotic Joker ways pushes Dick to Batman, beginning the Dynamic Duo and the Joker’s hatred of them.

My modern RPG-based fan fiction

DC Adventures game by Green Ronin

DC Adventures game by Green Ronin

Flash forward to today.

I thought about continuing with the West End system but felt the urge to try something new. I had downloaded a quick start for “DC Aventures” game from Green Ronin and tried it out. It was simple enough to master and required just the one twenty-sided die, which I still had from my “D&D” days.

Thanks to the internet, I found a forum on which other players had posted just about every major DC and Marvel character’s stats for the game. Some had even adapted characters from independent comics like Witchblade and Spawn. Still others had adapted other pop culture properties to the “DC Adventures/ Mutants & Masterminds” rules.

Armed with this info, I set out to create my hodge-podge world of pop culture characters. Not only would it help me rekindle my creativity, but I could also combat some personal objections to how other people used the characters (looking at you, Zack Snyder).

Best of all, I could create a world in which DC characters like Batman could work alongside Marvel characters like Iron Man.

C’mon! Wouldn’t it be cool if Batgirl hacked Iron Man’s onboard computer so Batman could scout an area through Iron Man’s sensors? Fan wish fulfillment!

Where to read my fan fiction

Marvel's Black Widow by artist Phil Noto

Marvel’s Black Widow by artist Phil Noto

Here’s the link to “Doppelganger,” the first fan fiction. As it’s all for fun, I didn’t go the editor route. Please be kind in that regard.

“Doppelganger” is my take on Marvel’s SHIELD using Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Black Widow and Wildstorm’s Grifter against the forces of HYDRA. That one landed earlier in 2017.

I’m on the last sequence of another fanfic called “Armored Underworld.” It’s the one I mentioned above with Batman, Batgirl and Iron Man. It dovetails with “Doppelganger” and also features Nick Fury.

And don’t worry. I’m still working on more “Shadowdance” Saga material. Two of “The Missing Six” short stories that tie into “For Her Sins” are available on Smashwords. A third, “Fall to Grace,” is getting edited this week.

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