Friday, April 8, 2016

Dogwood City A to Z: The Gladiator

If you've checked out some of the earlier entries in this month's A to Z trip around the Dogwood City universe, you may have noticed that for the most part, the "supers" I've presented haven't been so super.  I've mostly focused on unpowered costumed crimefighters.  Here's why...

While I'll admit that my favorite superhero is probably Green Lantern (specifically Hal Jordan, but I love 'em all), and Silver Age Superman stories are some of the best that comics have to offer, overall, I really dig the relatability of street-level, unpowered heroes (and, take away that ring, and GL is just as unpowered as most...).  I find that in many fully developed superhero worlds, it becomes very difficult to relate to the experiences of normal people, since it seems sometimes that just about everyone must have a neighbor who's been granted powers by a fortunate accident somewhere along the way.  I love the mythology of DC's modern "gods," but there are times that the tales just become stories about gods, and not really about humanity.

I'm rambling.  How about this...if the Fantastic Four were to show up in Dogwood City, I want there to be something truly Fantastic about them.  Later iterations of Dogwood City can get more...fantastic...and comic book science is definitely at work around town...but for now, I'd rather use Batman as a baseline than Superman.  The inspirations here are largely stuff like the Bat-family, Kick-AssWatchmen (minus that one obvious exception), and the Real Life Superhero movement.

I also like the idea that a grittier focus could make low-level adventures truly dangerous (and deadly) in Dogwood City...which is both a common OSR theme and the way it seems like stuff would work in real life.

So...with that said...I figure that a world like this will have some heroes who just happen into their roles.  They may not become "career crimefighters," but a world that has a number of constumed vigilantes in it would encourage the occasional, "I need to do something about this problem...why don't I throw on a costume and have a go at being a superhero?"  That's exactly what happened with today's A to Z entry, the Gladiator...

Dan Kenneth, an art dealer, finds himself in the middle of a criminal situation involving a pricey painting.  So what does he decide to do?  Why, he grabs the nearest available costume and jumps into action.  The costume certainly seems to draw the sort of attention he's looking for...

It appears that the Gladiator only had a couple of Golden Age adventures.  In Dogwood City, Dan Kenneth isn't a regular patrolling the streets at night.  But when the need arises, he's certainly willing to throw on the old Roman costume and do his part to keep the city safe.  Here he is at the PDSH wiki.

The Gladiator
Real name:  Dan Kenneth
Level 2
2 Hero Dice
Defense 12

Club (melee) +2 (1D damage)

Oh dates seemed to take a very different form in the day when the Gladiator was first published:


  1. Hitting on the hot secretary. Nice.

    1. Who knew the hot secretary would be into chess viewing?

  2. Another great post and I like that you discussed your methodology with these posts. Keep 'em coming and I'll keep reading them.