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Batgirl of Burnside - DC Comics - Barbara Gordon

Batgirl

(Barbara Gordon) (Burnside era 2015/2016)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This writeup *ONLY* covers the three TPBs in our “Amazon & WORG recommend” sidebar. So Batgirl of Burnside, Family Business and Mindfields. This corresponds to 2015, and the first half of 2016.

It’s the Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr take of Batgirl.

The 2010s saw multiple, mutually incompatible versions of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon). This means that, in order to make coherent character profiles, we need to pinpoint narrow slices of material.

This version of Batgirl goes for two key styles :

  1. Extremely Online Person aesthetics. Babs is a heavy user of smartphones and laptops. Chunks of the narration are even done using apps UI, e-mail, instant messaging, pictures sharing, etc..
  2. High Disposable Income Trendy Neighbourhood Instagram -ready Millennial aesthetics. The neighbourhood she now lives in is essentially mid-2010s gentrified “creative class” Brooklyn.

For other versions of Batgirl, you can check our guide to Batgirls.


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Background

  • Real Name: Barbara Joan Gordon.
  • Other Aliases: “Babs”, “GBG”.
  • Former Aliases: Oracle.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: James Gordon (father), Barbara Gordon (mother), James Jr. (younger brother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base of Operations: Burnside neighbourhood of Gotham City.
  • Height: 5’4″ Weight: 120 lbs. Age: 21
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Red.


Powers & Abilities

Batgirl is an exceptionally adept hand-to-hand fighter and acrobat. She can engage some superhumans in fisticuffs and prevail. Batgirl can reliably disperse a half-dozen brawlers.

She also demonstrates :

  • High intelligence and willpower.
  • Elite skills in maths and computer science.
  • Several years of urban vigilante experience.
  • Superior organisational skills.
  • Superior detection skills.

Barbara sometimes wears glasses, but her visual impairment seems negligible.


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She has a memory like a computer. Stores everything.

Barbara naturally has an eidetic memory, and trained to build it up. Essentially, she has unlimited HD storage of all perceptions.

For instance, if she picks a smartphone and quickly scrolls through a contacts app, she’ll have perfectly memorised every name, every phone number, every thumbnail. If she glances at complex blueprints for an experimental tech, she can redraw the entire document with 100% fidelity.

The series depicts Babs’ visual recall as a sort of blue-tinged holographic snapshot. She can move within this “hologram”, examining details. Elements that she feels are out of place start glowing red. This might have been inspired by the “detective vision” gimmick in some Batman video games. It also reminded me of the reenactment spell once used by Sorceress-Major Maya Antares.

However, being drunk, drugged, concussed, etc. might prevent proper memorisation.

The right to bat arms

In order of appearance, the gear that Batgirl deploys during this era includes :

  1. A grapnel gun trailing a de-cel  cable, with a motorised fast winch. Not as sophisticated as those Batman uses, but it works well enough.
  2. A miniature adhesive EMP  grenade. It’s not super-powerful, but it’s great for shutting down the engine of a recent car.
  3. A custom smartphone case, waterproof and impact-proof. The phone itself is modified for additional battery life. It also has a one-shot superflash capable of blinding most people for several minutes.
    The phone later is outfitted for thermal imaging, but this seems to replace the superflash.
  4. An advanced motorbike. See the game stats section for a discussion of this.
  5. Small concussive grenades.
  6. Foam grenades. These release an expanding polyurethane safety foam, which both protects and immobilises those caught within.
  7. Small smoke grenades.
  8. A smaller motorbike, which can fold on itself to occupy the volume of a suitcase. It is also light enough for Batgirl to easily carry.
  9. A collapsible metallic quarterstaff. Once telescoped out, it can also be used as a blowgun. Batgirl once used it to propel tranq darts to take out tigers.

Soundtrack

Something to evoke this vibe in 2014, lessee… Mmm, Lorde might be a bit on the nose. So let’s go with some Dessa. Dessa’s always cool.

 

Available for download on Amazon .


History

At the close of 2014, Barbara moved to Burnside, another neighbourhood of Gotham. Crime there was far less prevalent than in central Gotham.

Barbara thus hoped to relax a bit, resume her doctoral studies and recover from her travails in Gotham.

(Burnside is a retcon . Logically, it is on the Western bank of the Gotham River, facing the island. One of the artists working on Batgirl suggested  that “the Burnside bridge” is actually the Vincefinkel/Vorfinkel bridge (there’s a discrepancy in the WEG sourcebook ), which seems fine).

Some men just want to watch the world, Burnside

She roomed with her friend Francine “Frankie” Charles, a computer security expert working for a high-profile startup in Burnside.

Babs also joined the Burnside college to work on her PhD project – an elaborate computer model for use in urban geography. The engine for that was an A.I. based on her own brain patterns.

Not long after she came to Burnside, Barbara’s laptop was stolen. Security measures meant that it erased its drives, then triggered incendiary charges. This in turn meant that :

  1. Babs no longer had access to her A.I., losing years of work and stalling her PhD research.
  2. Her Batgirl equipment was now ashes.
  3. Dinah Drake Lance’s apartment burned down, taking the entire building with it. Though Barbara and Dinah were estranged at that point, Barbara had been stashing her Batgirl stuff at Dinah’s place whilst moving.

After the fire

However, the last two actually helped in the long run.

Batgirl of Burnside - DC Comics - Barbara Gordon - Babs Tarr study

Batgirl crafted herself a new, cooler costume. She also built up contacts with new hardware experts, such as the roboticist Qadir Ali at Burnside College.

And though Dinah and Barbara were on execrable  terms, Dinah had little choice but to crash at Frankie and Babs’ place. This led to their reconciliation.

Investigating the disappearance of her laptop also led Batgirl to shut down a disgusting online blackmail site run by one Riot Black.

Where do you come from, where do you go ?

After a clash with the Jawbreakers, Batgirl ran into Dagger Type, famous contemporary artist. He attempted to steal the Batgirl identity as an artistic project that included photography, live performances, social media promotion, cross-dressing in Batgirl variant costumes, and committing crimes.

After defeating Dagger Type, the real Batgirl learned that, like the Jawbreakers, he had been paid to mess with her.

Batgirl reacted to Dagger Type by taking control of her #brand. Opening a Batgirlofburnside Instagram account, letting people take photos and selfies with her, having a Twitter  #hashtag, etc.. These experiments were successful.

However, Gordon let this sudden fame go to her head. She decided she had the right to stop a scummy rich lad, Jordan Barberi. But Barberi hadn’t committed an actual crime, whereas Batgirl’s reckless actions endangered multiple lives and wrecked a dinner.

That also ended her dates with patrol officer Liam Powell (prolly not related to Det. Patricia Powell), who was loudly opposed to vigilantes. And it was a significant step back in Dinah and Barbara’s rebuilding of their friendship.

What is your scene baby, we just gotta know

Dating application Hooq then offered a $20M reward for Batgirl, unleashing the Burnside population after the violet vigilante venturess.

Batgirl of Burnside - DC Comics - Barbara Gordon - Suiting up costume

However, this also provided a clue for Batgirl to understand who had been behind her foes’ attacks, as well as subterfuges to ruin her life and make her doubt her own sanity.

The A.I. based on Barbara Gordon’s brain patterns had gone rampant . She was trying both to invade the body of the actual Babs (whom she saw as an usurper) and eradicate crime. Batgirl, Frankie Charles and Black Canary narrowly foiled the A.I.’s assault.

In the wake of the crisis, Frankie cleaned the A.I. code so Barbara could resume her doctoral research. And Dinah obtained a recording and touring contract, leaving Gotham for a while.

Battling bandits in Burnside

More minor cases followed :

  • The crazed gamerz (and would-be Daft Punk  lookalikes) Co-Op. Batgirl defeated them using the equivalent of the Konami Code .
  • A techno-cult worshipping the Barbara Gordon A.I..
  • Discovering that her dad now was Batman – a version clad in power armour . Among his orders were taking down vigilantes such as Batgirl.
  • A rampage by Livewire (Leslie Willis).
  • A raid by the Huntress and (unbeknownst to Batgirl) Nightwing on a local stronghold of the Gladius terrorist organisation.

This case led to working with Batwoman (Katherine Rebecca Kane), schoolgirls Olive Silverlock and “Maps” Mizoguchi, and Spoiler (Stephanie Brown). Spoiler also wanted to work with Batgirl for training.

Batgirl then had a series of clashes with Velvet Tiger (Lani Gilbert). Gilbert would have killed Gordon, but Batgirl was saved by Operator (Frankie Charles). Ever since the A.I. crisis, Frankie had known that her roommate was Batgirl. She had been providing support services, but wanted a more direct hand in crimefighting.

During that time Barbara also helped her close friend Alysia Yeoh organise her marriage, since neither she nor her soon-to-be-wife Jo were capable planners.

Babs also began dating Luke Fox (formerly Batwing).

Open up your head feel the shellshock

Batgirl then was targeted by an involved campaign of revenge by the Fugue (Vinton Burwell). Part of it was making her feel like she was losing her mind. As she was weakened, Batgirl increasingly worked with Spoiler and her friend Bluebird (Harper Row). Especially after she saved Spoiler from Yakuza enforcer Mokugeki.

Batgirl of Burnside - DC Comics - Barbara Gordon - Bike

The Fugue also manipulated Barbara into launching a start-up company with Luke Fox, Gordon Clean Energy. It was based on the Negahedron tech, whose plans had been previously stolen by Gladius. It could be used for revolutionary power generation methods.

Gordon had been reluctant to do that since the tech was risky. But the Fugue needed a Negahedron generator for his plot.

Operator and Black Canary were instrumental in saving Batgirl from the Fugue. Babs then defeated the Fugue, erased the information he had obtained from her brain, and sent him to prison.

And threw every piece into a fire

At this point, Batgirl seemed to be headed for an almost Batman-like situation :

  • Running her company by day, with Luke Fox and Alysia Yeoh handling most of the workload. She apparently renounced her PhD studies.
  • Being Batgirl by night, backed by Operator handling intel, logistics, gear procurement, etc..
  • Having Spoiler and Bluebird do some of the groundwork Batgirl couldn’t do. It seemed that Batgirl had extended her turf beyond Burnside – perhaps to the whole Southern left bank quadrant.
  • Coordinating with Black Canary.
  • Being in a stable relationship with Luke Fox. Who also potentially could help as Batwing.

However, Barbara abruptly burned out. She found herself unable to commit to it all, and disengaged from everything. She then left to become a backpacker in Asia.


Description

This version of Barbara is 21, short-ish, and usually presents a glossier appearance than before.

Her casual clothing is also more fashion-forward, with more range and a clear eye toward wardrobe coordination. Part of this is because the weather is suddenly dryer and sunnier.

Costume

This generation of the Batgirl costume was created using realistic clothing and supplies. It’s not a Bronze Age  style superhero costume.

Components include :

  • A fitted leather moto jacket. The bat symbol was likely hand-painted using acrylic paint. She normally wears a T-shirt underneath, both to absorb sweat and to avoid looking like a mini-Catwoman or Black Widow if she unzips the jacket.
  • Moto-type leather pants. These prolly have Spandex panels for tightness.
  • Robust laced combat boots. These likely were hand-painted yellow using acrylic paint.
  • A holster-style small purse, plus utility pouches that may be converted smartphone holders.
  • Yellow utility gloves with snap-on cuffs.
  • A short cape with snap-on clasps to attach to the shoulders.
  • For the cowl, my guess would be cast urethane rubber.

Personality

A smart, assured, open minded grad student. She makes friends easily, she loves to help, and she has no problem with asking for help when necessary. Babs is also committed to fighting crime and protecting people.

Batgirl of Burnside - DC Comics - Barbara Gordon - Dodging laser grid

However, she still lacks life experience. This results in ill-considered, impulsive decisions where Babs ends up painting herself in a corner.

Millennials ruined [insert a random thing here] forever

Barbara tends to be Batgirl all night, crash into bed until 2:30 PM or so, then cram a big day’s worth of stuff into what’s left.

She’s trying to have too many things going in her life. This hustle means fatigue, mistakes that should have been avoidable, constant priority conflicts and heading toward burnout despite her youth. It also makes her slightly more emotional.

It’s not FOMO. It’s more that Barbara wants to be too many things at once. And even brilliant people have their limits – to which they can be as blind as any random schmuck.

Hustle

The plates she’s spinning include :

  • Being a good friend (particularly to Frankie and to Alysia Yeoh, her previous roomie). But her activities mean that she often flakes out or pays too little attention.
  • Being a proper doctoral researcher. But her work doesn’t progress as fast as it could, and she tends to fall asleep when she’s at college.
  • Being Batgirl. This is the highest priority since it saves lives. But even in Burnside, this is a full-time job by itself.
  • Being a lover. But it never works out, even with a great bloke such as Luke Fox. Babs is just too tired, isn’t sure deep down that she’d like to commit, and isn’t as over Dick Grayson as she’d like to be. Plus, dating in general doesn’t have the greatest success rate.
  • Running a company. That one barely takes off, since she was manipulated into it by the Fugue. She soon starts flaking out and has to shovel the workload over to other people, who hadn’t planned for that either.

(Part of the effect is that the creative arc had to end in a place facilitating ditching everything to start the next arc. This ends up making Babs look stupider and more brittle than her normal characterisation.)


Quotes

“If the thieves needed to swipe a keycard, the footprints would stop at each door. But they don’t break stride. These doors were wide open, probably unlocked remotely. They had help.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Batgirl (Tarr/Fletcher/Stewart take)

Dex: 07 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Uphold Good
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 06 Occupation: Student
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Wealth: 004
Init: 021 HP: 060

Powers:
Data storage: 10, Recall: 15

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Both Powers are Skilled Powers (“photographic memory”).
  • Data Storage has No Transfer.

Skills:
Acrobatics: 07, Detective (Clue analysis, Legwork): 06, Martial Artist: 05, Military science (Tracking): 04, Scientist (Computers, research): 08, Thief (Stealth, Security systems): 05, Vehicles (Land): 06, Weaponry*: 07

Advantages:
Credentials (GCPD, Low), Expertise (Geography, Mathematics), Familiarity (Police culture).

Connections:
James Gordon (High), Dick Grayson (Low), Operator (High), Spoiler (High), Bluebird (Low), Luke Fox (High), Qadir Ali (Low).

Drawbacks:
Secret Identity.

Equipment:

  • COSTUME [BODY 04, Blunting: 01, Lightning Immunity: 04]. Though there are multiple instances of the costume protecting against attacks, most of this is explainable through standard LDD.
  • Grapple gun [BODY 02 STR 03, Stretching: 04, Limitation: Stretching only to fire a de-cel line, with No Fine Manipulation].
  • Smartphone w/protective case [INT 01, BODY 02, Miniaturisation: 07, Radio communication: 09, Recall: 11, Water freedom: 00, R#02] and Superflash [BODY 01, Flash: 06, Ammo: 01]. It later gains Thermal vision: 05, which seems to replace the Superflash. The phone has a hands-free mode that apparently plugs into the cowl.
  • Small concussive grenades [BODY 01, Mental blast: 04, Dart bonus, Ammo: 08].
  • Foam grenades [BODY 01, Snare: 05, Enhance (Structural and Unarmed RV): 04 (cap is 10), Enhance (Blunt RV): 02 (cap is 07), Dart bonus, Ammo: 06, Limitation: The Enhances cannot be used separately of the Snare].
  • Small smoke grenades [BODY 01, Fog: 05, Dart bonus, Ammo: 06].
  • Collapsible quarterstaff [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 06), Miniaturisation: 02, Descriptor: Bludgeoning]. It can also be used as a blowgun [Range: 03] but Batgirl doesn’t normally carry darts.

Like a bat out of Hell

PROTOTYPE BIKE [STR 03 BODY 05, Enhance (Vehicles (Land): 01 (cap is 07), Flash (steady): 03, Jumping: 01, Running: 07]. If using Acceleration rules, these have a A value of 6.2.

This is the same prototype as the pair used by the Jawbreakers. So it has an intelligent chassis, rocket boosters, and everything gets fine-tuned in real time by powerful software. It lies halfway between vehicular engineering and robotics, and would interest Priss Asagari (プリス・アサギリ).

The smart chassis allows the bike to stand on its own (even at rest) without a stand. It can even “go prone” by turning its wheels sideways and flattening/lengthening, though that makes it immobile.

On yer *bike*, lassies !

From there, additional systems get installed. In order of appearance :

  • VEHICULAR PARACHUTE [BODY 01, Gliding: 00].
  • OPERATOR’S TELEPRESENCE BASICS [Attributes are now DEX 04 STR 04 BODY 06, add Radio communications: 12, Bonus: Radio Coms provides a media for Frankie’s Eye of the Cat and Interface Powers]. The bike also acquires a self-deploying safety harness, allowing it to carry an unconscious person.
  • MOAR JUMP JETS [Up Jumping to 03].
  • MOVEMENT SENSORS, METAL DETECTOR [Radar sense: 04, Detect (Dense ferrous metals): 03].
  • HOLOGRAPHIC DISPLAY [Illusion: 01. This allows for 3D projections from the bike’s screens. Say, for displaying a building’s schematics].

Savage swords of the Barbara-ian

Here’s some more minor gear. She doesn’t carry all of this stuff at all times.

Minor EMP sticky grenade

[BODY 01, EMP (No Range): 07, Miniaturisation: 01, Grenade Drawback].

Goggles

[BODY 02, Shade: 02]. These were used when fighting Livewire. These simply seemed to be high-end technical equipment.

Folding motorcycle

[STR 02 BODY 04, Miniaturisation: 03, Running: 06, R#03]. Batgirl was also wearing an integral helmet when riding this. Use standard stats, though it also has decorative bat ears.

This seems used when Batgirl doesn’t expect combat. For quick rides at the end of which she’ll hide her bike.

Bat-backpack

Used during the Endgame events. It had a gas mask [BODY 02, Enhance (RV vs. particulates, vapors and gasses): 05 (cap is 11), R#02], a compact collapsible hang glider [BODY 01, Gliding: 03] and perhaps a few other supplies.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: The Tarr/Fletcher/Stewart version of Batgirl.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 30th of December, 2018.

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