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Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) (DC Comics) munching sitting on a flagpole

Batgirl

(Stephanie Brown) (Part 2)


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

Context

This is the second half of our Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) entry. Since the whole enchilada was a bit long, especially on a smartphone.

The is here. Howbeit, we suggest starting with our first Spoiler character profile. It’s a bit of a saga, yes.


Description

Stephanie is exceptionally fit, and her lean build leaves room for very little body fat. But 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.


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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 codified Motivation in the DC Heroes RPG.

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 Seek Justice 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).

Her main Motivation has become to serve and protect. 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 :


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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 – 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. She considers its mystique the most important thing she has been entrusted with.

Barbara Gordon is the only person who ever truly believed in Steph’s ultimate potential. This made Brown even more determined now that she bore the name once used by her mentor.

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) lands after a parachute jump

An important part of the Barbara/Stephanie connection is that Oracle is harder, older, more intelligent, more charismatic, more everything. Therefore, she’s used to being obeyed and being in charge. Yet Stephanie won’t knuckle down like the other operatives do. She insists on doing her own thing.

This makes Steph the truest inheritor to the “Batgirl” name as Barbara had originally defined it, decades ago.

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, even cheerful adventuress.

Inside voice

Brown has a constant (really constant !) internal monologue running in her head. It’s 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 (Stephanie Brown) fights with Man-Bat

Being a young adult, Stephanie is very concerned with controlling her image, looking socially acceptable, coming across as smart and funny and cool and attractive, 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. 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. Babs also 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.

Batgirl-Stephanie-Brown-h1

She may have a bat on her chest, but when it comes to meticulous planning she’s the opposite of Batman (Bruce Wayne).

Stephanie sees her impulsiveness as more a strength than a hindrance. 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 celebrating.

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

Low self-opinion (part 1)

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 personal network. Her life has sucked too much for that, and she never had a lot of opportunities to make lasting friendships.

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) throwing electro-batarangs

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.

She thus feels lonely, and her few friendships are 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 Britons.

Low self-opinion (part 2)

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, she finally feels useful, confident, productive and accepted.

Brown would also like to obtain some level of acceptance and popularity by the public. But she 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 (part 1)

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. She lacks the social skills to convince others and argue her position.

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) and Barbara Gordon

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.

Girlhood traits (part 2)

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 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 (Stephanie Brown) using her batarang press

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 Steph doesn’t know about how to do that part. So she 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. It’s 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). Yet 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. Not an everywoman, but more relatable and with her heart on her sleeve.


Quotes

Big thug: “I ain’t afraid of you. What you weigh ? Like, 100 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 50% sure that nothing could go wrong.”

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) runs across rooftops

(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 ?”

Batgirl (Stephanie Brown)'s last panel

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)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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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, Financial Backer (Bruce Wayne).

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, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 09), Miniaturisation: 02, Schtick (Unfettered Fist), Descriptor: Bludgeoning].
  • 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.
    • 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 in part #1.


Design Notes

Most of her equipment’s specs is a mystery. The stats for the gear thus include a fair percentage of guesswork.



Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

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Batgirl (Steph Brown) — Averaged PL 9.8

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
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

Dodge 11 Fortitude 8
Parry 11 Toughness 4/2*
Will 9

* 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 huge 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.


By Sébastien 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.

Writeup completed in August of 2011.

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