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Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Category :

Comic Books

Subcategory :

DC universe

Type :

Hero

Game System :

Dual-stats (MnM / DCH)

Notes :

Batman Incorporated

Stephanie Brown (writeup 3 - Batgirl) v1

By Sébastien Alexandre Andrivet

Source of Character: Batgirl volume 3 (2009-2011) and contemporary appearances (DC Universe)

Helper(s): Batgirl fans on rpg.net’s Tangency Other Media, Darci, Salinea, Frank Murdock, Pawsplay, Murkglow.

Reasons (1): It has been recently announced that DC was stopping Batgirl despite the decent sales, and had nothing scheduled with Batgirl writer Bryan Miller. So… writing about the book is all we have left.

Reasons (2): Biographical events prior to Batgirl vol. 3 #1 are not covered in any detail, since they fall under the remit of other writeups.

Reasons (3): This entry covers all of Stephanie’s appearances starting in October, 2009 (when Batgirl v3 #1 is released) up to the summer of 2011 — with a strong emphasis on Batgirl v3. As usual for characters with a distinctive dialogue, the entry has an extra helping of quotes.

Reasons (4): Most of her equipment’s specs is a mystery - the stats for the gear thus include a fair percentage of guesswork.

Reasons (5): Here… we… go !

Writeups.org & Amazon.com recommend Batgirl Rising followed by Batgirl: The Flood and Batgirl: The Lesson.

Quotes

Batgirl

Big thug: “I ain’t afraid of you. What you weigh ? Like, a hundred pounds ?”
Batgirl: “Thank you.”

“My name is Stephanie Brown. I’ve been a Robin. I’ve been Spoiler. And now I’m… I’m seeing something through. Which is kinda a big deal for me.”

“I am a dutiful college student, a devoted daughter, and a magnet for trouble. Among other things.”

Oracle: “Can you handle yourself for a few hours ?”
Batgirl: “I’m almost fifty percent sure that nothing could go wrong.”

(Assessing her interlocutor’s attitude) “This isn’t rejection-hedging. I *know* rejection-hedging. He’s hiding something.”

Oracle: “You’re going to have to improvise. That’s kinda your thing, isn’t it ?”
Batgirl (racing through Gotham at 200+ km/h): “Damn straight.”

(Berating herself under her breath) “Way to go, Steph — don’t even ask how [Tim]’s been holding up since Bruce died. Classy.”

“I know, right ?” (recurrent catchphrase)

Batgirl (cinema trailer narrator voice): “’Can two former…‘ whatever we were… ‘put their differences aside to save the day ?‘”
Red Robin: “You know that’s not your head voice, right ?”
Batgirl: “I can do things on purpose every now and then, you know.” (singsong voice) “You’re going to need my help.”

“For the first time in my life, I’m fighting this fight… I don’t know… not even for me.” (gestures at the Gotham skyline) “I’m doing this for all of them.”

“OhgodIsaidthatoutloud.”

(To herself, after failing to come across as foxy as she hoped) “Way to sell it, Dork Knight. Way to sell it.”

“Just make sure my mom doesn’t find out if I get shot, okay ?”

Detective Gage (ejecting an empty clip from his pistol): “I’m all out. What do ya got ?”
Batgirl: “A utility belt full of crap, and a positive outlook ?”

(Probably out loud, after jumping down a condemned elevator shaft and painfully crashing into a series of wooden beams) “…and it was only then that young Stephanie truly realised gravity would forever be her enemy.”

Det. Gage: “Here, your boomerang…”
Batgirl: “Batarang.”
Det. Gage: “You realise that sounds more ridiculous, right ?”
Batgirl: “Ridiculously awesome.”

Oracle: “If you go in, you’re going in blind.”
Batgirl: “Never stopped me before.”
Oracle: “You know how often you say that, right ?”

Stephanie: “Proxy has lots of abandonment issues and none of my…” (starts counting on her fingers) “..can-do, devil-may-care, Pollyana…” (realises she has no idea of what she was about to say) “…un…sinkable…”
Barbara: “You get a little lost in there ?”
Stephanie: “You shoot from the hip, you don’t always hit the mark.”

Harmony: “I can hear your heartbeat, little girl. I know you aren’t dead yet.”
Batgirl: “I’m a real pain in the ass like that.”

(Landing agilely behind her opponent) “This is usually the part where I quip.”

(With awkward cheerfulness, after thrashing a pack of hoodlums trying to kill her) “Don’t do drugs !” (waves goodbye, leaves in a hurry)

“Here we go !” (recurrent battle cry)

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Click here to hide or display the game stats

Batgirl
Dex: 07 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Exactly !
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: College student, vigilante
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 002
Init: 022 HP: 040

Powers: Systemic antidote: 01

Bonuses and Limitations: Systemic antidote is Form Function

Skills: Acrobatics: 08, Martial Artist: 06, Scientist (Research): 04, Thief (Stealth): 06, Vehicles (Land): 06, Weaponry (Batarangs): 08

Advantages: Credentials (Oracle’s Network, Medium - now defunct but replaced by Low Credentials with Batman, Inc.), Familiarity (Oracle’s files on criminals), Headquarters (Expansive - Firewall), Lightning Reflexes, Very Rich Friend (Batman, Inc.)

Connections: Oracle (Barbara Gordon) (High, Powerful), Batman (Richard Grayson) (Low), Dr. Leslie Thompkins (High), Proxy (Wendy Harris) (Low), Det. Nick “St. Nick” Gage of the GCP (Low), Commissioner Gordon (Low), Batman (Bruce Wayne) (Low, Powerful), Red Robin (Tim Drake) (Low), Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) (Low), Knight & Squire (Cyril Sheldrake and Beryl Hutchinson) (Low)

Drawbacks: Secret ID (chiefly from her mother)

Equipment:

  • BATGIRL COSTUME [/BODY/ 06, Blunting: 05, Cold immunity: 01, Extended hearing: 04, Flame immunity: 03, Lightning immunity: 13, Radio communication (Encrypted): 08, Sealed systems: 07, Thermal vision: 09, X-Ray vision: 05, Ultravision: 09, Bonus: Radio communication also includes full life sign monitors and a smartphone, Limitation: X-Ray Vision can be Combined with Thermal Vision or Thermal Vision, but is blocked by any good thermal insulator (+0)]. Still no iPod port, though.
  • Bat-line [BODY 07, Snare: 05, Bonus: Snare has the Swingline Bonus].
  • Binoculars [BODY 04, Telescopic vision: 05, Ultra-vision: 10, Note : the Binoculars can relay video through the COSTUME’s Radio communications]
  • Collapsible stick [BODY 09, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 07 w/Martial Artist), Miniaturisation: 02, Schtick (Unfettered Fist)].
  • RICOCHET [STR 04 BODY 06, Running: 07, Vehicle (Self): 04].
  • THE COMPACT. Stats unrevealed.
  • Batarangs. Batgirl carries and liberally uses an arsenal of trick batarangs, which are colour-coded based on their payload. She has so many that she rarely hesitates to take advantage of their Dart Bonus. Models are :
    • Black batarangs (x15) [BODY 06, EV 03, Gliding: 01, Dart Bonus, Limitation: Gliding to arc back to the thrower boomerang-like, which may allow for Blindside Attacks]. A solid bat-shaped throwing weapon, which can somehow act as a blunt weapon or an edged weapon as necessary. 
    • White-and-red batarangs (x10) [BODY 04, Ice production: 07, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback, Limitation: Ice production is limited to encasing targets in ice. Note if there’s a lot of water in the air this may enhance the APs of Ice Production as it gets frozen as well.]
    • Grey batarang (x10) [BODY 04, Fog: 06, Grenade Drawback]
    • Orange batarangs (x12) [BODY 03, Bomb: 07, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback]. Concussive charges.
    • Burgundy and white batarangs (x6) [BOY 03, Cling: 01, EV 08, Grenade Drawback]. Slap-on remotely-detonated demolition charges.
    • Grey and yellow batarangs (x9) [BODY 03, Lightning (No Range): 10, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback]
    • White and green batarangs (x9) [BODY 03, Snare (No Range): 06, Dart Bonus, Grenade Drawback]. The ’gooperangs’ release a green goop that ensnares and immobilises the target. 

Batgirl later received an industrial press to make her own batarangs - see the Powers & Abilities section.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Click here to hide or display the game stats

Batgirl (Steph Brown) — Averaged PL 9.8

STRSTAAGLDEXFGTINTAWEPRE
01 02 05 05 06 01 02 01
Devices

Batgirl costume ● 25 points (Removable)
- Bullet- and stabbing-resistant — Second Chance 2 (Sharp Impact)
- Insulated — Protection 4 and Enhanced Fortitude 4 (both Limited 2 to Heat/Cold), Immunity 5 (Electricity)
- Built-in shotgun mike, and cowl lenses — Senses 6 (Extended hearing 1, Ultravision, plus Infravision w/Penetrates Concealment), Quirk (Penetrates Concealment doesn’t work through good thermal isolators))
- Radio — Communication 3 Subtle 1
- Integrated life signs monitor, integrated smartphone — Feature 2
- Bat-rebreather — Immunity 2 (suffocation/gasses), Activation (Standard)

Bat-line ● 3 points (Easily Removable)
- Swingline — Movement 2 (Swinging)
- Grab-line — Move Object 1 (Limited Direction - only toward Batgirl)

Binoculars ● 2 points (Easily Removable)
Senses 3 (Extended vision, Darkvision), Feature 1 (can relay video through the costume’s Communication

Collapsible stick ● 4 points (Easily Removable)
- Strength-based Blunt Damage 2, Power Attack, Improved Critical 1, Improved Smash
- Feature 1 (Fully collapsible)

Ricochet ● 14 points
Size M Strength 1 Speed 7 Defense 10 Toughness 9, Feature 2 (autopilot, GPS)

Ridiculously awesome batarangs Array ● 20 points (Removable)

  • Black batarangs — Ranged Autofire Blunt Damage 1
  • Black batarangs (edged) — Ranged Autofire Slashing Damage 1
  • White-and-red batarangs — Ranged Affliction 6 (Hindered/Immobile/Incapacitated), Resisted by Dodge and breakable by Strength/Damage ● Descriptor : Encasing block of ice
  • Grey batarangs — Ranged Cloud-Area Visual Concealment Attack 4 ● Descriptor : Smoke
  • Orange batarangs — Ranged Burst-Area Blunt Damage 6 ● Descriptor : Explosives
  • Burgundy-and-white batarangs — Blunt Damage 7, Feature 1 (Slap-on adhesive, remotely detonated) ● Descriptor : Explosives
  • Grey-and-yellow batarangs — Ranged Electrical Damage 9
  • White-and-green batarangs — Ranged Affliction 5 w/Extra Condition (Fighting Impaired and Hindered, Fighting Disabled and Immobile, Paralysed), Resisted by Dodged and breakable by Strength/Damage ● Descriptor : “Gooperang”
Combat Advantages

Agile Feint, Close attack 3, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 1, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Defence, Improved Initiative, Improved trip, Instant up, Move-by Action, Quick Draw, Ranged attack 3

Other Advantages

Benefit (Insider in Oracle’s Network ; later Batman, Inc. agent), Contacts, Well-Informed

Skills

Acrobatics 7 (+12), Athletics 8 (+9), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+11), Close combat (Baton/staff) 2 (+11), Deception 2 (+3), Insight 4 (+6), Investigation 1 (+2), Perception 6 (+8), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Batarangs) 4 (+12), Stealth 6 (+11), Vehicles 6 (+11)

Offense
Initiative +9
Unarmed +11, Close, Damage 1
Baton/staff +11, Close, Damage 3, Crit. 19-20
Batarags +12, Ranged, payload varies
Defense
Dodge11 Fortitude8
Parry11 Toughness4/2*
Will9
* Without Defensive Roll
Complications

Identity During this era Steph continues to have a secret identity, mostly from her mother

Relationship Reestablishing familial relationships with her mother, occasional fights against her father, fear of the Batman’s judgement, complicated relationship with Tim Drake, mentoring by Oracle, etc.

Responsibility Steph is very big on being Batgirl and having Batgirl be an exemplary, positive heroine

Quirk Various social quirks such as outer voice issues and general dorkiness

Power levels

Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 11, Dodge/Toughness PL 8, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort & Will PL 9

Point total 184 Abilities 46, Defences 24, Skills 25, Powers 0, Devices 68, Advantages 21. Equiv. PL 13.

Background

Real name: Stephanie Brown
Other Aliases: Fay Wray, Constance Aberthine
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Arthur Brown (aka the Cluemaster, father, deceased), Agnes Crystal Bellinger-Brown (mother), unnamed child (adopted away)
Group affiliation: Oracle’s Network
Base Of Operations: Gotham City
Height: 5‘7” Weight: 115 lbs. Age: 19
Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde

Powers and Abilities

Brown is unusually talented when it comes to athletics, gymnastics, fitness, the martial arts and acrobatics. Even with little training she performed at an Olympic level - but her talent was minor compared to the likes of Tim Drake, Richard Grayson, Cassandra Cain, etc.

Stephanie was intensively trained by Batman (Bruce Wayne) for several weeks, and received martial arts instruction from Cassandra Cain. Though other bat-family members still saw her skills with scepticism, this formed the base she used to continue to train.

During the late 2000s, she resumed training and sparring with Cassandra and reached a markedly superior level of speed, athleticism and martial mastery. Stephanie is now a redoubtable fighter, performing at a high cinematic level and able to vanquish most street-level threats. Tim Drake was startled to see how faster she had become since her Spoiler days, and Stephanie was able to fight a delaying action against no less than the League of Assassins’s Seven Men of Death. Several of her unarmed techniques resemble Cassandra Cain’s.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Stephanie is now a proficient rooftop vigilante - clever, experienced and quick on her feet. She doesn’t have the fancier skills such as detection, computers, engineering, etc. but she has the backup to handle those. She knows what she’s doing - and given her line of work, that’s saying a lot. For instance she’s comfortable with weird and dangerous situations she knows nothing about, pragmatically making up solutions until she can understand what’s going on. Despite her ditzy image, she now has a high INT and WIL and can devise excellent strategies based on briefly observing disparate clues (such as how her opponent’s powers seem to work, or weak points in their tactics).

For a 115 lbs. person, Brown is remarkably tough. She has superior pain tolerance, is very bad at dying, and has soundly beaten doses of drugs and hallucinogens that would have been fatal to persons twice her weight. She’s also genuinely determined, and has a very strong will to live and fighting spirit.

A utility belt full of crap, and a positive attitude

The Batgirl black-and-eggplant costume includes light body armour (optimised not to hinder movements), some sort of shotgun mike built in the cowl to listen to distant conversations, an extensive radio uplink with video feed and life signs monitors, a transparent rebreather (normally carried in her belt), special built-in lenses for various sorts of night vision, and a fully-stocked utility belt - plus a garter belt to pack ever more gear. The exact protective properties of the costume are unclear - it could turn security lasers into just a jolt of sharp pain, but isn’t bulletproof (though this writeup assumes that she was shot by armour-defeating bullets, since the only time she was hit was by the Seven Men of Death).

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Much of Batgirl’s ample pouch space is devoted to carrying a variety of batarangs with specialised payloads. Stephanie loves her batarangs, and gleefully uses them by the handful because batarangs are awesome.

Steph also uses a bat-line — the usual pistol-like device shooting a grapnel and line. There is a setting for the grapnel to just grab something it hits - perhaps helped with the release of some soluble adhesive - allowing Batgirl to grab objects at a distance and yank them toward her. This line is occasionally used to entangle opponents, but given the low Snare number Stephanie only uses this tactic against mooks.

Her main melee weapon is a collapsibble baton/staff. This weapon looks like a typical tactical/collapsible metallic baton, but can extend to quarterstaff length when needed. It can collapse all the way to a length of about 15cm, and Stephanie has a garter holster so she can hide it under a civilian skirt or dress when out of uniform. This weapon hits harder than it should, and has been seen smashing solid metal on several occasions. What is happening there is unclear, but the Unfettered Fist Schtick (DCH) or Power Attack (DCA) in its stats allows Stephanie to hit as if she were superhumanly strong - which models what was witnessed.

Batgirl occasionally uses a high-speed vehicle caled the Ricochet. The Ricochet is essentially a cylinder with a huge engine and three motorcycle wheels. It lies very close to the ground and is piloted prone - Barbara Gordon built it as an escape vehicle, and the idea was that she could drop into the Ricochet from her wheelchair and get away real fast. The Ricochet can presumably reach speeds in excess of 300 km/h, and feels even faster since the driver is but inches above ground level. It has an emergency brake mode, with the two front wheels pivoting sideway and slamming against the ground. The Ricochet has an autopilot mode, presumably using GPS coordinates and preset points, and a light foldable wheelchair stored in the back.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

In the final issues, Steph also drives the Compact - an armoured, armed high-performance car. Characteristics unknown. The Compact normally looks like a standard compact car (albeit with an eggplant-coloured body), but with numerous options (including a powerful, high-speed GPS) and superior racing performance. The Compact can be switched to combat mode, at which point it’s visibly an armoured vehicle and sports a turret with what might be twin machineguns. In combat mode the Compact completely ignored small arms gunfire.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc
Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc
Concussive smokarangs ! Flaming icerangs ! Electro-magna-gooperangs ! Tah-daaah !

When Batgirl and Proxy’s Headquarters was upgraded by Batman, Incorporated, one of the pieces of equipment that was installed was a computerised industrial press to fabricate batarangs. These are more or less the same models as before, but only the warheads are colour-coded (the “wings” of the bat are always grey ; a pair of warheads forms the “body” of the bat). Goop is green, lightning yellow, ice blue, and there are incendiary warheads coloured in red.

Another new feature was magnetised batarangs - those have “wings” that adhere to metallic surfaces when slapped against them.

It would seem that the press allows for timed warheads - detonating x seconds after impact - but these timers presumably have to be set when the batarang is being machined.

Batgirl can thus replace her expanded batarangs on her own. It is possible to create batarangs with two mismatched warheads, but this is not usually a good idea unless Stephanie has a specific strategy in mind. The aforementioned electro-magna-gooperangs were actually used once, and it worked since they were hand-applied in large quantities.

History

Late 2009 marked a number of changes for Stephanie Brown. She resumed her studies, enrolling as a first year freshman at Gotham U.; she was reunited with her mother, who had been transferred to a new hospital and now worked hours that allowed her to regularly see her daughter ; and she found herself with a black super-hero costume on her hands.

Though she had promised Tim Drake that she wouldn’t be Spoiler again, Stephanie had actually spent months teaming up with her friend Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) during her nightly patrols. While she felt terrible about breaking her promise, it can’t be denied that associating with Cass, a practically invincible fighter, actually made Stephanie safer in the long run by developing her ability to deal with problems.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Shortly after Bruce Wayne’s apparent death at Darkseid’s hand, Batgirl abruptly gave up her role and vanished. She literally left her costume in Spoiler’s hands, implicitly making her her successor.

Though Brown had no idea what was going on, Cain was executing on a complex contingency plan to be launched after Batman’s death. Cassandra had a number of covert missions to accomplish, during which she wouldn’t need to be Batgirl.

Despite her promise to Tim, Steph felt that she absolutely had to step in as the new Batgirl. Observing her in action, the new Batman (Richard Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne) immediately realised that she couldn’t be Cassandra Cain, and handed the matter over to Oracle (Barbara Gordon). Gordon quickly determined what was going on and came to confront Brown in her home.

Batgirl & Batgirl

Though Gordon intended to have Brown renounce vigilantism, that didn’t work at all.

Stephanie refused to stop investigating a drugs ring set up by the Scarecrow, since lives were in immediate danger. Barbara could monitor Stephanie through the tech installed in Cassandra’s costume, and Brown’s stubbornness forced Gordon’s hand. Oracle started providing support and advice so “Batgirl” wouldn’t get killed in the field, planning to yell at her harder once the Scarecrow case would be closed.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

However, as she monitored the fight against the Scarecrow, Barbara came to realise how serious, committed and determined Stephanie was. Brown had grown up a lot as a person, as a fighter and as an adventuress, and Gordon - who had been the original Batgirl -realised that she was proud to call her “Batgirl” after a slip of the tongue.

Oracle decided to throw her support behind Stephanie, patterning her offer after how Batman (Bruce Wayne) had once helped Robin (Richard Grayson). As a symbol of this support, she assembled a brand-new Batgirl costume for Stephanie, mixing the visuals of the Spoiler costume and of the original Batgirl costume Barbara once wore. Beyond the armoured costume, she also prepared various weapons to improve the new Batgirl’s firepower and odds of survival, and took a TA position at Gotham U. to make it easier for them to coordinate.

Though the early relationships with the rest of the bat-family were rocky, Barbara and Stephanie soon mended fences with Dick Grayson, and even Damian Wayne came to grudgingly accept Batgirl’s role - though difficulties remained due to his immense smugness combined with being at the “girls are icky” age.

Stephanie also managed to restore her friendship with Red Robin (Tim Drake). Perhaps too well, since they rapidly found themselves back to a point where mutual attraction was a problem — and Stephanie couldn’t help but feel jealous of the young woman supposedly engaged to Drake as part of her cover.

What’s black and eggplant and blonde ?

As she tried to cope with life as a freshman, Stephanie also found herself entangled in Oracle’s difficulties.

Gordon had taken another young woman - Wendy Harris - under her wing, earning the wrath of the Calculator, Harris’s father. Considering that Gordon had stolen his daughter from him, the Calculator went to insane lengths to locate and kidnap Wendy, including turning thousands of Gothamites into techno-zombies by using Apokolipsian nanites derived from a Justifier helmet. Harris and Brown managed an impromptu team-up, and Batgirl saved Gotham, rescued Oracle and earned the friendship of Wendy.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Under the code-name “Proxy”, Harris became Oracle’s apprentice and came to provide support for Batgirl on certain missions. Batgirl also started developing a working relationship with certain GCPD officers and in particular the handsome Detective Gage, on whom she developed a crush.

Stephanie’s career as a student was less spectacular, though. She was a straight-B freshman, and couldn’t decide on a major since she felt the only job she was doing well was being Batgirl.

After Oracle had to fake her death, Stephanie was in the small inner circle of heroes who knew that she was still alive - but Gordon was no longer in a position to help as much as she had in the past. Though she was struggling with psychological issues, Proxy agreed to step in, and became Batgirl’s support person.

Return of Bruce Wayne

By that point Bruce Wayne had returned - while widely believed dead, he had actually been cast through time and weaponised, but managed to come back without destroying the world. For a while he discreetly observed what had gone on in his absence, and saw that having Cassandra hand over the Batgirl role to Stephanie had worked well beyond his expectations. While Oracle’s network of operatives had to go dark since she was supposed to be dead, a new organisation emerged in the wake of Wayne’s return.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Batman, Incorporated, a company founded by the Wayne Corporation, brought heavy backing to a number of allies of Bruce Wayne. At this point Proxy and Batgirl were operating from Firewall, a secret base built under Barbara Gordon’s old home. Batman, Inc. had the place upgraded into an equivalent of the Batcave, including more gear for Batgirl.

Stephanie also learned that Cassandra had been operating covertly in Hong Kong for months, when Bruce Wayne had Cass resume operating in costume - as Blackbat - after Batman, Inc. was launched.

However, changes were in store for many Batman, Inc. assets. Wendy Harris decided to leave for Nanda Parbat in an attempt to heal her psyche. At the same time, Bruce Wayne requested that Stephanie Brown enrol in an English finishing school. Brown grudgingly agreed to leave for London for a first trip, and responded to a crisis there along with Squire (Beryl Hutchinson), another young Batman, Inc. operative.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Returning to the US for a while, Batgirl put an end to a murderous conspiracy based in Gotham University, the Reapers. To close that case she assembled a league of young superheroines - Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl and Bombshell. This victory led her to the discovery that she was being stalked by her father. the Cluemaster was the patron of the Reapers, and had become addicted to the Black Mercy alien plants’s hallucinogenic properties.

Despite being exposed to Black Mercy spores, Stephanie once again spoiled her father’s plan with a well-placed batarang. Her friends got her to the hospital to detox her, though Batgirl had beaten the hideously addictive spores through sheer stubbornness without needing a transfusion. During her hospital stay Agnes Brown discovered that her daughter was Batgirl, but came to terms with this while Steph was still in intensive care.

At this point the DC Universe was rebooted. Again.

Description

Stephanie is exceptionally fit, and her lean built leaves room for very little body fat - including her breasts, though her occasional grumbles about not having enough of a chest can only make sense in a world of super-heroines with amazing busts.

The Batgirl suit includes a lavender body stocking worn under the costume. This is presumably because the costume is not just optimised to be protective and allow for acrobatics, but also to hug the body in a flattering way - and body armour this tight would chafe bare skin.

Personality

Stephanie is an intense and driven person - but not in the sense of being a brooding, coldly analytical angry loner dedicating her life to vengeance.

Her motivation is strong but also complex, and she doesn’t understand all of it herself. It’s a mix of practically every Motivation in DC Heroes - she loves the Thrill, she just cannot sit there and go on with her life as she feels she has a Responsibility, her instincts are to help and Uphold the Good even if it comes at a personal cost beyond the call of duty, she has a deep-seated need to see Justice done as a way to compensate for the actions of her father and prove that she isn’t like him, etc. On several occasions her Motivation was romantic - for a while she mostly was Spoiler to be close to Robin (Tim Drake).

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Her main Motivation has become to serve and protect - a result of growing up and being more experienced and focused than before. It emerged organically as Stephanie determined what sort of woman she was and what her priorities were.

Beyond her various and sometimes conflicting reasons to be out there fighting the good fight, Stephanie has far too much invested in being a vigilante. It’s just too large a part of her young life and she has been through too much pain, too much training, too many experiences and too many fights to stop being a vigilante. It’s now in her blood.

The main characterisation hooks to role-play Batgirl are :

Persistence

Stephanie Brown may feel that she doesn’t do too many things right, but there’s one thing that she can’t do at all - and that’s giving up. She’s far more stubborn than any mule ever born, and her heart is set on being a heroine and doing good. No matter the horrors and setbacks, no matter what everybody tells her, no matter the judgements passed on her abilities, and no matter what she promised in moments of weakness, she’ll be out there in the trenches. Stephanie doesn’t run - she’s a fighter.

This stubbornness, this courage and this refusal to let herself be defined by others are quite reminiscent of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. While Stephanie wasn’t around when Barbara was Batgirl, the Batgirl identity is very important to her and she considers it the most important thing she has been entrusted with. Barbara Gordon is the only person who ever truly believed in Steph’s ultimate potential, and Brown is even more determined now that she bears the name once used by her mentor. When Bruce Wayne came back from the dead, she even reflexively slapped him out of fear that he’d order her to stop being Batgirl - since he had never given her a fair chance before.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

An important part of the Barbara/Stephanie connection is that Oracle is harder, older, more intelligent, more charismatic, more everything, and she’s used to being obeyed and being in charge. Yet Stephanie won’t knuckle down like the other operatives do, and insists on doing her own thing - which makes her the truest inheritor to the “Batgirl” name as Barbara had originally defined it, decades ago.

A remarkable aspect of this resilience is that, despite having been used as a chew toy by fate, Stephanie makes a big deal of generally being an upbeat, optimistic, positive super-heroine. That’s whom she wants to be, and though she occasionally falters Batgirl is totally a smiling, enthusiastic, perhaps even cheerful adventuress. Here we *go* !!

Inside voice

Brown has a constant (really constant !) internal monologue running in her head, commenting on everything and jabbering about everything and overanalysing everything. This leads to “outer voice” issues. That is, she says what’s running in her head without thinking or even without realising that she’s talking. The realisation that she actually spoke out loud (or that she said something inappropriate, or blustered something stupid, or isn’t projecting the image she’d like to have, etc.) will always hit her a second too late. Her inner monologue is like a high-pressure hose, making it difficult to think before she talks.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Being a young adult, Stephanie is very concerned with controlling her image, looking socially acceptable, coming across as smart and funny and cool, etc. Her issues with talking without thinking (or without realising that she’s talking aloud) thus often leave her mortified and feeling hopelessly dorky.

The absence of a brain/mouth filter has a positive side, though - Steph can readily come up with snappy banter, funny remarks and bad puns. She tries not to sound too dorkish and ditzy when in costume though, because Batgirl should be awesome.

These traits are also shared to some extent with Barbara Gordon, who has a never-ending inner monologue running and liked cracking wise back when she was Batgirl.

Impulsiveness

Stephanie is certainly not dumb, but she’s not one for sophisticated pondering. She’s a woman of action, incapable of standing still, hating to waste time sleeping since she could be out there doing stuff, and wanting to jump in the thick of it, right now. This often leads to doing stupid things, such as wondering what is the weight limit and elasticity of her de-cel line *after* she jumped off a skyscraper while grabbing two of her opponents, or only discovering that her suit is strongly insulated after she gets hit by lightning. She may have a bat on her chest, but when it comes to meticulous planning she’s the opposite of Batman (Bruce Wayne).

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Stephanie sees her impulsiveness as more a strength than a hindrance, since in her experience she is at her best when improvising and making up solutions under pressure. Of course, that’s a bit of circular reasoning…

Batgirl’s impulsiveness and… spontaneity once lead her to performing a touchdown dance around a captured opponent. Admittedly, she had just vanquished a clearly superior foe through analysis, fore-planning and quick execution - an occasion worth some celebration.

This character trait, on the other hand, doesn’t resemble Barbara Gordon in the least and she really wishes Stephanie would apply herself more in that area, if only to develop her skills as a detective.

Low self-opinion

Stephanie doesn’t have much of an ego. Aside from her sheer determination and her physical skills, she has very little going for her. She’s not wealthy, she’s not high-status, she doesn’t feel particularly intelligent or charismatic, she has but a mediocre high school education and is not doing well in college, she’s not a member of any in-crowd, and her life is littered with failures, setbacks and strokes of horrible luck, fear and suffering.

Despite being voluble and amusing, Brown also doesn’t have much of a social network - her life has sucked too much for that, and she never had a lot of opportunities to make lasting friendships. She also regularly comes across as being weird, dorky and awkward (in part because of her outside voice issues, but also in good part because she’s trying too hard), and feels lonely.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Her few friendships are thus important to her, but they tend to be all super-heroes. After her buddy Cassandra vanished without an explanation, Stephanie came to develop a friendship with another super-heroine of her age, Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), who also felt lonely and did not fit in well. Stephanie does perceive the irony that the persons closest to her are traumatised super-ninjas, space aliens, or even British.

With her lack of academic success and poor fit with most social environments, Stephanie sees being a rooftop vigilante as the only thing she can do well in her life. Being accepted as Batgirl, having her newly-honed skills recognised, working with the rest of Batman, Incorporated and other signs of acceptance are thus super-duper important to her. For the first time in her life, Stephanie feels that she’s achieving something and being recognised as Batgirl. As Batgirl, she finally feels useful, confident, productive and accepted.

Brown would also like to obtain some level of acceptance and popularity by the public, but realises that this is unlikely to happen as a night-time urban vigilante.

Stephanie is classified as a geek in college - she doesn’t actually have particularly nerdish interests, but she’s not playing the usual social games and is something of an outsider.

Girlhood traits

Though Stephanie is now 19 and mostly a grown-up, she retains certain traits she developed as a teenager.

Her lack of advanced people skills, her self-consciousness and her stubbornness occasionally result in social situations she can’t quite handle. In those cases, she’ll revert to childish tactics - all the way to crossing her fingers behind her back while making a promise - since she lacks the social fu to convince others and argue her position.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

She also retains a fear of being alone - she needs to hear a voice, and will routinely talk to herself if nobody’s nearby. Having Oracle or Proxy over her radio is important for support, but it’s almost as important to have her know that she’s not alone. Stephanie almost never admits to, alludes to or discuss her fear of isolation.

Having a good relationship with her mother - and not exposing her to the fact that her daughter is Batgirl - is very important for Stephanie, since her mother is her only family. After many years of difficulties and lack of contact, she reached a point where she and her mother have a fairly normal relationship, and that is crucial for them both. Stephanie may now be a young adult, but this is the first time in years that she’s had a mother/daughter relationship running.

Stephanie continues to operate with a childish, counter-productive mental model wherein nobody likes her because she’s a dork, but given enough time she might win them over because she’s a good person inside and they’ll come to see that. She’s thus visibly happy when people she likes are forced by circumstances (or even Brown’s own actions !) to spend time with her and work with her.

Still, despite the occasional juvenile moments, Stephanie is now a young adult (not to mention a mother, at least physically) and is making adult choices about her life. Or at least will when she finally decides about her major.

At the other end of the spectrum, Steph has started unconsciously replicating a number of attitudes, expressions and gestures of her mentor Barbara. Neither women seems to realise it, since this is as much a result of similarities in their personalities than of spending time with each other. Thus Stephanie occasionally has surprisingly aloof, serious, sarcastic and penetrating moments and remarks - for a handful of seconds. Likewise Barbara can have very brief moments and quipping, impatience and enthusiasm when working with Steph.

Empathy

Stephanie is quite kind. She’s had a hard life, and she’s under no illusion that some people - such as her father - aren’t hopelessly worthless and/or toxic. But she doesn’t like writing people off unless they’re known murderers or the like. She will give them multiple chances, reach out and try to be nice (if a tad clumsy and unsubtle) - even with Damian Wayne. This is in part because this is how she’d like to be treated.

Batgirl - DC Comics - Stephanie Brown - Batman Inc

Like her friend Cassandra, Stephanie is here to save lives, not punish evildoers. While she’s not as… uniquely fixated as Cass, she tries very hard and takes huge risks to save people and limit loss of lives as her clear priorities. She’d also like to set a positive example and have a message of hope and self-actualisation, but doesn’t really have an idea about how to do that part. She thus usually end up spouting well-meaning platitudes while pretending that she’s being totally cool and ironic and stuff when she says that.

Not being a planner or strategist, what counts for Stephanie is not to deploy a grand crime-fighting scheme but to help people here and now, especially if she knows them. Minor victories are just fine as far as she’s concerned.

As a side-note, some readers have compared Batgirl to Buffy. Much of it is superficial similarities (young blonde woman with superior martial and athletic prowess and a nerdy sense of humour), but there is a common ground of determination, pluckiness and strong emotions fuelling her resolve and subsequent exploits. Stephanie is more approachable and close to the reader than Buffy, though - clearly not an everywoman, but more relatable and with her heart on her sleeve.

Writeup completed in August of 2011.

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