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Building the Animated Justice League


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OK, I've gotten caught up on the JLA now that Cartoon Network has them on week nights. Aside from some really good stuff in the scripting, I've noticed...these are Champions JLA characters!

 

Seriously:

 

  • Nobody has an absolute defense, even Supes.
  • Damage from energy attacks behaves differently, i.e., some characters obviously have lower ED than PD.
  • Characters routinely take knockback.
  • The Flash blows his DEX rolls --- often.
  • Area Effect attacks can take out the speedster.
  • Surprise attacks can take out Bats.
  • Etc... Basically, all of the combats I've seen so far can be gameable, and on not a ton of points.

 

So, I'm thinking, let's build them. There's probably a thread somewhere on this board or the old one on building the animated JLA, but I'm starting this one for two reasons:

 

1. The search function requires four characters, making searching for "JLA" a pain. And I didn't feel like looking for "animated," or other likely suspects b/c the last two times I tried to find a thread by guessing related terms were a waste. I'm probably just not good at it.

 

2. I am less interested in particular builds -- though that's welcome -- than I am in listing what we've seen the characters doing on the show. For example, I don't care if your Flash has a DEX of 23 or 42, I just want to know if you think Hawkgirl has more or less DEX than he does, etc. IOW, talking about numbers is cool, but talking about relative power levels is preferred. (At least to me. I wouldn't dare suggest a thread stay on topic. That way lies madness...)

 

OK, here are a few of my observations:

 

General:

 

  • Characters generally have lower EDs, especially the Bricks.
  • Resistant defenses are uncommon; we only see Supes actually bouncing bullets off his body, and GL using his Force Field or Force Walls -- often shielding the whole team with the latter. WW deflects, Bats avoids, Flash avoids, and I haven't caught MM or Hawkgirl getting smacked by gunfire. I'm using gunfire as the baseline b/c we can all agree bullets are killing attacks, while energy beams can be arguable.
  • Most of the characters interact with everything/everyone else at relatively normal speed. The only characters who get a huge margin of extra actions seem to be the Flash (can be explained with multiple move bys/passing strikes though) and Manhunter's trick of popping up behind someone and rapidly switching back and forth between desolid and solid (can be simulated with powers though.) Mostly, it takes some time and effort to go through hordes of lower level threats than you'd expect compared to comic appearances of the same characters.
  • Nobody's damage is off the scale, except maybe Hawkgirl's mace. I don't think even Supe's punches can drop someone as fast, though the mace may have extra KB from the energy.
  • None of the characters are particularly imaginative with their powers. GL is the classic example, here. That should make some write ups much simpler.
  • Although the JLA doesn't seem to actually kill anyone, most of them don't hesitate to take actions that can be fatal to even normals. Example is shooting down airplanes. Most of the time, Supes or someone will catch a falling aircraft, but I get the feeling it's more to protect civilians. Currently, Savage Time story arc is playing, and Supes and Hawkgirl have been shooting down German planes with abandon. I doubt if many of the JLA in this version have a strong CVK. Hawkgirl seems to pretty much lack one altogether, and dishes out massive damage without hesistation.

 

Superman

 

We'll start with a classic here. He's MUCH less powerful than the comics version. You don't even need to cheese out with characteristics in an EC to get him in under a reasonable point cost. He also seems to lack a few of his more off the wall powers, but on the other hand, he tends to remember he has the powers he exhibits on the show. He's more consistant that way. I LIKE the JLA animated version of Supes.

 

  • He's the strongest JLA member, but WW isn't too far behind. He can probably lift a LOT more than Wondy, putting him about ten to fifteen STR ahead of her, though he doesn't seem to dish out significantly more damage than she does.
  • He's got heat vision. He usually reserves it for machines, vehicles, and really tough opponents. I'd build it as a laser, big KA, maybe Pen. or AP, with no KB (haven't seen it knock anything back yet, looks more like it cuts) and Beam limits.
  • Cold breath? I'm pretty sure I saw him freeze something with his breath on at least one episode, but I can't remember which one. It may have been the trial one. Doesn't seem to do it much.
  • Superspeed...doesn't seem to have it.
  • Senses. He's not shown using his gazillion senses much, and doesn't seem especially hard to surprise. Maybe the writers are just not putting him in situations where he needs them often, but maybe he doesn't have them? Failing any examples, I'd just give him some overall PER levels and move on.
  • Flight. He seems to have decent flight speed, enough to overtake vehicles.
  • Defense. He seems to be able to shrug off gunfire, and to take a "campaign" average hit with no damage, but sometimes knockback, but he gets con-stunned (or just Stunned for folks who like the official term better) fairly regularly. Anything big and scary-looking (above average damage) seems capable of stunning him. Energy attacks tend to do more damage or look like they are on average. I'd set his PD higher than ED.
  • Personality. He seems to be pretty serious about his duties, but to have a sense of humor. He's definately got the boy scout reputation and attitude, as seen when he tries to get rough interrogating Copperhead, which leaves him asking "How does Batman do it?" He just won't cross the line and the villains know it. On the other hand, he had little problem telling Hawkgirl to cut loose on the Nazi fighter planes and destroying quite a few himself (though they did aime for mostly wings and other non-cockpit areas, people could have died), so he's probably not got an absolute code. I can't see this version wandering off into space if a few Nazis happen to fall to their deaths, even though the cartoon tends to gloss over those type of consequences most of the time.
  • Skills. He seems to have decent leadership skills, and probably journalistic skills. He doesn't seem to have much Kryptonian super science background though. For combat, he probably has levels with hand to hand, but no MA training.
  • DEX/SPD: He seems to be a little slower to react than Hawkgirl (who's impulsive, though) and Wonder Woman. He seems very agile, but not more so than Bats, WW, or Hawkgirl. He's probably a little more agile than Flash or GL. His SPD doesn't seem to be anything outstanding. For example, when he gets knocked back then shakes it off, I get the definate impression that he's lost a phase of action, and he doesn't sem to "make up for it" very quickly, unlike the Flash, who tends to get up pretty quick after a non-stunning fall and zip off.

 

Batman

 

Ok, next up, the Batman! He's pretty straightforward, really. Honestly. Just leave the numbers out of it. =)

 

  • Skills: He's got all of his Detective skills, as well as his Science and Engineering skills. The JLA Bats is the guy who invented all the cool toys, not the guy who bought all the cool toys. He's the team go-to guy for pretty much any skill. For example, he stayed at the lab in the Metamorpho episode to figure out how to take out the big goop monster by analyzing some of the mutagen. He's also got decent PRE-based skills outside of intimidation. In the one where Luthor assembles the "Injustice Society" crew, he gets Solomon Grundy to pound on the Ultra Humanite, seduces Cheetah (at least a little, he definately plays her), and bribes the Ultra Humanite. (Very cool! May as well put that Wayne fortune to use...this post brought to you by a grant from the Ultra Humanite...)
  • Gadgets: Most of the time the team uses the JLA planes, but I've seen the Bat plane. He likes to use his Batarangs a lot, including exploding ones. I haven't seen him use a whole lot of other things from his belt, other than for evidence gathering. The utility belt being booby-trapped is a good gimmick.
  • Combat ability: Definately a great MA, with tons of Stealth, including the "Batman teleport" ability, but his defenses aren't that high. He seems to lack resistant defenses but to have a great dodge and dive for cover. He also gets sucker punched more often than you'd expect. His damage level seems to be pretty far below most of the team, except Flash. He's not really the best guy in a straight brawl with supers, but let him sneak around, and he gets dangerous. Definately seems to fall into the let him plan and he gets real dangerous mode. Basically, he's got brawn, but everyone fears his brain more. As it should be.
  • Personality: Definately grim, though he does seem to have a sense of humor. He also cares a lot more for his teammates than he wants to let on. He was pretty freaked out in the Gorilla City episode when he thought WW had bought it, then played it off. His ethics seem to lead him to non-lethal solutions, but non-lethal, doesn't mean non-painful, either.
  • Overall, I'd load him up with skills, but not go too far into building exotic MA special abilities. Just use maneuvers with the calculated damage.

 

Wonder Woman

 

Mmm...Wonder Woman! Amazonian Babe!

 

  • Strength. Seems a bit lower than Supes. She grunts when she throws a truck, probably in the 2-3 ton range, but she tosses it pretty far. (Savage Time) She's also been able to stop things like huge missles with tons of thrust behind them (Gorilla City episode). Overall, pretty decent.
  • Defenses. Seems to have a high durability, but doesn't show much in the way of resistant defenses. She has the ultimate Missle Deflect roll, though.
  • Speed/DEX. She seems fast and agile. Probably has an edge on Supes in this department.
  • The Lasso: What's up with the Lasso? Seems to have lost its umph. Has anyone seen the truth power yet? Or the "you can't remove it" power?
  • Other Powers: Aside from Flight , she doesn't seem to have any other powers, just the bracers and lasso.
  • Skills. I'd definately give her some MA maneuvers. Not sure what else to give her, as she seems pretty naive in general Probably some cultural skills for being an Amazon.

 

Hawkgirl

 

Wings and a BIG mace...

 

  • Brick-ness: Hawkgirl definately falls into the brick range for STR and durability. I'd say she's not nearly as strong as WW, but definately in brick-land on STR, and pretty durable. She was run over by a WWII fighter on last night's episode and it didn't slow her down much at all.
  • That Mace...OK, the mace is pretty potent. I'd say it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, attacks in the show. She's smacked down the energy blast from a planet-busting gun in the War World show, and broken more stuff than any two of her teammates combined. I've yet to see her hit a character with the mace w/out doing a good amount of knockback. In fact, although the energy/electric sparks are just visual shorthand for "big bad weapon," I'd say it probably has extra knockback.
  • Fighting Prowess. I'd say she has a movement-based martial art. He fighting style just screams "charge" and "passing strike" to me. I'd give her a mix of movement based MA maneuvers and some standards like martial block and martial dodge.
  • Skills: I get the impression she's the Thangarian cop version of Hawkgirl. I'd say she has some police skills, but not at a high level. She strikes me as more of the beat a confession out type than a detective work type. She did make a comment on her world being very warlike on one episode, so being a law enforcement officer is probably somewhat different there.
  • Flight. Pretty cut and dry. Doesn't seem to outpace anyone else who flies. Might be somewhere between Supes and WW in flight speed. Might write her up as faster since that's her schtick, though.
  • Personality: She's definately got a "likes to hit things with mace" psych lim. Very direct. Love her reparte with Flash. She's sort of rough and tumble, can be "one of the guys" with the best of bad barracks humor.

 

Green Lantern

 

  • Power ring! VPP or Multi? Really, I think you could do it as an OIF multipower, b/c he doesn't do much with the ring. He's got FF/Fly mode. EB mode. FW mode. He seems to drop the personal FF when he's doing FW/Entangles or EBs. So, maybe a multi with a big enough pool to run a couple small powers and a big one at lower power, or just one big power.
  • Defenses: Aside from force field constructs, GL doesn't seem to really have the associated boost to defenses the ring's supposed to grant. I'd say he's got a decent defense for a "normal" and a decent CON, though.
  • Skills. He's a marine. Seems like a capable hand to hand fighter w/out the ring, though I'd not give extra DCs to him. He's probably got a slew of military skills he never shows much on the show, like weapon and transport familiarties, navigation (land, maybe sea), tactics, breakfall, climbing, survival, paramedics, a little extra running, etc.
  • Personality: Seems to have a stick jammed up his uniform sometimes. Extremely committed to duty, seems to be a bit of a perfectionist. Definatley a tough customer with ring or without. Lots of will power of course. Pretty rock stupid in the trial episode, IMO. Might have some sort of awe of authority type lim.

 

The Flash

 

  • Powers: He runs. Fast. Classic running multi with over walls and over water variants. I've seen him do the wind funnel trick at least once (at Etrigan's direction) and he's done an arm windmill to blow away gases on at least two shows I've seen. So, I'd toss those into a multi with the running. Offensively, I've seen him do what looks like an autofire hand attack, running circles around someone and punching them repeatedly (Ares on Paradise Island episode) and lots and lots of multiple move bys and passing disarms on mooks. He was able to carry the good gorilla on the Grodd episode, and I think the weight the ape quoted would have clocked him in around a 20 STR to carry at full speed. Fair non-resistant defenses, but he stuns himself a lot from tripping, usually over some debris thrown up in front of him. SPD would be pretty fast, but not obscene b/c everyone else is pretty modest in that area. Dex would probably be less than say Hawkgirl or Bats, but still moderately high. He blows too many DEX rolls to put him into Spidey range though.
  • Skills: Well, seduction isn't one. =) Actually, I've never seen him use a skill other than the ability to tick off his teammates or get into trouble. Of course, there's the "I outsmarted a super genius!" Priceless.
  • Personality: Class clown all the way. Impulsive to the max. The other team members should probably put him in a dual harness with Hawkgirl to get them both on leashes. But that'd annoy Hawkgirl to no end...

 

Martian Manhunter

 

What can you say? He's big, he's green, and the team already has two heavy bricks and a briquette. Poor guy gets to be the whipping boy in a lot of episodes.

 

  • Brick-ness: Honestly, I can't tell. He's a LOT less bricky than in the comics. He's pretty bricky when he gets denser. When he's not dense, he's been clocked on several occasions by characters that really aren't at the same strength level as he is in the comics. I'd make him maybe a little sronger than Hawkgirl or a little less, depending. Probably go for something in the 40ish to 50ish range, plus his DI.
  • Powers: Which ones doesn't he have? He's got a HUGE Mindscan, some Telepathy, but perhaps not a great Ego, considering how soundly he was trashed by Morgana. The Telepathy seems to be a secondary thing to his Martian body control powers. Speaking of which: I've seen him fly, be desolid, and get denser. Offhand, I can't think of any other powers shown, though he can do quite a bit with that combo.
  • Personality: He's pretty depressing. The whole last member of his race thing and all. Other than that, he's pretty typically heroic with good teamwork.
  • Skills: I'm not sure he's been shown to have any, really? Any ideas there are welcome.

 

Well, there's a rough start. I'm sure there are more things to add to each character, so let's see what we've seen them do on the show, at least once, twice is better.

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wow thats a pretty good summary of the animated JLA..

 

a few pointers tho ( i may be wrong ..havent seen the show in a while....correct if im wrong)

flash should have high dex...and a truck load of unluck....i think that the guy has a great dex/agility but is extremely unlucky.....defnetly higher then bats or gl...and proly Hawk girl and MM...but lower then supes and WW

Str wise... the gorilla was 400lbs...but considering the speed Flash goes, and the probanle weight training he gets for being a superhero...id say he is around the 16/18 range max.... proly lower ..he proly pushed to lift the gorrila and ran real fast before dropping him...

 

Bats ...max human char. lotsa of martial moves and CSL ( the 8pters)...and remeber when hes with the JLA, he takes on lot more powerful ppl the he does in gotham...

hes of course the brain of the JLA, cause none of them (except maybe MM) could open a pepsi bottle without him...

(u know what i mean)

 

for the rest i completly agree with u...altho i think i saw WW once use her lasso and it did have some power to it..but im not to sure about that one...

 

all in all great sum up PG :)

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Dex + lots of Unluck works too for Flash. Good idea.

 

On his STR, if the Gorilla is 400 lbs, that'd be near the max lift for a 15. That's lift and stagger a bit. Although he kind of huffed and puffed, he wasn't really that put out by carrying him at full speed. I wouldn't allow a push in that situation, myself, too extended. 18's good, but I don't like rolling a half die, so I went up a little. Still, putting him at 20 is pretty much where I'd put Bats, and I don't think he's as strong...and this is why I'm trying to avoid the numbers up front. :D

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MM has also done the shape change into the bad guy routine a few times, I would (assuming Supes at Str 75) put MM at 30, with a Desolid/Density Increase/Shape Change MP sitting at 50 points (40 point powers w/ Red end 1/2)

 

GL I would break out the classic Flight/FF EC then put the rest of the powers into a MP (You will need to buy LS twice, once outside of the MP one inside, linked with a FW/TK)

 

I would actually SERIOUSLY consider just making him with a TK EC

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RE: Supes/Wondie STR & Damage. Superman is considerably stronger -- however, their damage is pretty close. Why? Martial arts, of course. Supes is throwing raw 75 STR 15d6 punches around. Wondie is probably hovering around 55-60 STR but is probably using Martial/Fast Strikes with +2d6 damage.

 

RE: J'onn. I haven't seen all the episodes, but based on the ones I've seen they've de-brickified him pretty severely -- I haven't seen anything to suggest a higher STR score than 35.

 

RE: Hawkgirl. #1, unless you've seen her picking up large weights (and I haven't) her damage in combat is probably a function of martial arts and that mace than actual strength.

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I would definitely give Superman, WW, and MM a much larger PD than ED. It seems almost a nightly occurrence that one of them goes down to an electricity based attack. Either that or they just all have 2X stun vs. Electricity.

 

The whole team seems to have resistant defences as none of them are ever seriously injured by getting smashed into and through walls.

 

One thing for sure is the Morgan LeFey of the show has a lot of points, since she could handle the whole team at once.

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ok, i think the MM has eye beams, i though i saw him use those, may be mistaken though,

 

and the savage time bit, it think that figures in the time of war, you do what you have to do, and we already know they would die anyway if Vandal Savage didn't change history.

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Re: Building the Animated Justice League

 

Originally posted by Pattern Ghost

[*]Superspeed...doesn't seem to have it.

 

Hm... I could swear Superman seemed to use Superspeed (hm, that's a bit of a tongue-twister) briefly in an episode they reran recently... but I don't remember which episode, or what he used it for...

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Just chiming in with a few observations.

 

Flash: Seems to have some kind of superspeed disassembly power. Used it on the mind control band in the Gorilla episode and at the very beginning of the Earth 2 episode (he disassembles part of the giant robot's foot).

 

Hawkgirl: Has at least some superhuman lifting STR (as opposed to just straight DC's). In one Savage Time episode she carries at least three wounded soldiers while flying without really breaking a sweat, and she tosses around a number of aliens in Blackest Night. She also seems fairly graceful in the air- she generally dodges attacks in flight, while Supes soaks them up.

 

Wonder Woman: It's implied that she uses the power of her magic lasso to interrogate a German soldier in Savage Time. However, both Faust and Hades seem able to escape from the lasso without too great an effort. The resistant defense issue is a little hazy. She deflects (and reflects on some occassions) bullets and energy beams, but exposes herself to fire from the War Wheels. Maybe it was an physical EB.

 

Batman: Overall skills might be in order, since he seems capable of holding his own in a fight and able to pull off amazing feats of skill. Bats also seems very capable of using his environment and maneuvering for the advantage. A small "Improv Pool" might be good for simulating a hall mirror that reflects energy attacks (Fury) or a mouthful of water that shorts out an electrical system (Injustice For All). Maybe an extra point of SPD to capitalize on combat maneuver combos and set ups.

 

Superman: Like most everyone has said, he seems to have a great big resistant PD, but with an unspectacular ED. He does wince and grunt alot though- maybe a great CON and STUN with just a "good" PD. Supes' heat vision bounced off a War Wheel (with presumably Hardened Def), while Hawkgirl's mace torn into it. Both ripped apart planes though. Sounds like a medium RKA with AP vs. a plain ol' big Damage Class attack.

 

G.L.: Looks and acts like a pretty straightforward energy projector. Buying powers through a focus just means he has points left over for his US Marine Corps training.

 

Martian Manhunter: Tricky. J'onn uses his powers in often subtle ways. He definitely has some desolid tricks, like knocking an opponent out or disarming them by phasing through them. He avoids damage most of the time, but seems to be able to take at least a decent hit. On the one hand, we never see him lift anything that weighs much- on the other, he does a move through on a giant nazi plane, attacks a plane propeller first, and is able to withstand afterburner thrust from a jet engine while ripping it off a plane. Maybe we'll see more come July.

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In The Savage Time Superman and Wonder Woman killed German soldiers and pilots without a doubt. (Superman flew lengthwise through an Me-109 and came out covered in flames; he probably passed through the pilot too. In any case the plane exploded without a parachute being seen.) So apparently did GL when his ring ran out of juice and he was issued an M1 Garand rifle.

 

I wouldn't put this down to no CvK; I'd say it is more a matter of war meaning different rules apply. Millions of soldiers during WWII had never killed anyone before entering the service, but did so regularly in combat. Then after the war they never killed again.

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Well, give Superman a "glass jaw" disadvantage. Even though he should be the most powerful member of the team, he's always getting his butt whooped. He's forgetful, too. In the pilot, he allowed himself to be encased in alien concrete along with the other captured heroes. Once Batman showed up with a blowtorch and freed one of his teammates Supes suddenly recalled his heat ray vision and burned himself loose. D'oh!

 

After you've built all the characters, give Batman an extra 50 points to play with. He's always super competent even though he's the member who SHOULD be getting his butt whooped.

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Originally posted by Kevin Scrivner

Well, give Superman a "glass jaw" disadvantage. Even though he should be the most powerful member of the team, he's always getting his butt whooped. He's forgetful, too. In the pilot, he allowed himself to be encased in alien concrete along with the other captured heroes. Once Batman showed up with a blowtorch and freed one of his teammates Supes suddenly recalled his heat ray vision and burned himself loose. D'oh!

Actually. Superman had to wait while the yellow sunlight recharged his powers. It is not the first time he has lost his powers due to lack of sunlight. His vision powers are the first powers to go.

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Ive read some sites collecting comments from the creators of the show here and there. A few points:

 

Supes is supposed to be in a demoralized state for some reason I dont recall. Thats why he formed the JLA, bcs he just wasnt up to his usual levels of All Is Brickness. He's kind of burnt out basically, which is also why he doesnt talk much and is less likely to drive the boat so to speak. He basically relys on Bats decision making for the most part.

 

Hawkgirl was deliberately aggro'd up to make her distinct from WW and to avoid having 2 naive outsiders as the only female reps on the team. The alternate justice league episode (the Justice Guild IIRC) was supposed to further illustrate that, with the Black Canary or whatever playing June Cleaver all the time and getting on HG's nerves.

 

WW is supposed to be distant, aloof, and 'sheltered'. She serves as a foil in some episodes, making dumb "I grew up in an ancient Greek colony" mistakes. They also wanted to keep WW and HG from being too chummy bcs they wanted to avoid a mel/fem dichotomy on the team -- no social circles basically.

 

Flash is the comic foil, plain and simple. He is supposed to appeal to the younger set.

 

MM -- notice how he is always referred to as Jon Jonz? The show creators wanted to play down his similarlities with Supes, and de-Brickify him. They wanted to concentrate on his Mental powers and other "unusual" powers. His purpose is to be the concience/heart of the team. As a side note, he also has a big Vulnerability to Heat/Flame.

 

GL -- They wanted to make a hard charger on the team, but one that in some ways alienates his team mates. He thinks the other members of the group are rookies, except BM, who he sees as being 'only normal'. They made him militant and "direct" (ie, not very flexible). He's supposed to get a lot of milage out of actual experience, though I have never seen it depicted. The other team mates range from indifferent to lukewarm regarding him; he's a bit of an outsider from the group. Thats what the whole Trial arc was supposed to be about, him learning that his new teammates would stand behind him, depening his bond with the team.

 

BM -- the creators of ths show have always had a stiffy for Batman, and it shows thru in this series too (and thats good from my perspective, bcs I like Batman way more than all the rest of the DC universe combined ;) ). Aside from being the obvious brain on the team, he's also more or less the defacto leader. Though Bats is rarely calling the shots openly, his Intel and Analysis drives the direction the team takes constantly. Notice how they all look to Bats as soon as anything complicated happens. The creators wanted to spin it that BM joined the JLA as a side thing; he's still assumed to have other Bat-stuff going on. Of all the JLA he's the most capable of taking care of things on his own. The creative team also wanted to play up the idea that while Bats can keep up with the powered individuals when they cut loose, its with effort, and he's usually lagging behind. Where he makes it up is while all the heavyhitters are just reacting, Bats is proacting. He figures out where it is all going, and skips to the end.

 

As a side note, Bats clearly has Find Weakness in several episodes. He always seems to know what to use and where to strike to do the most effect.

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Poor ol' Clark

 

Looking at some more Justice League episodes, I think the problem with Superman is a case of Worf syndrome.

 

In alot of old Star Trek: TNG episodes Worf was made out to be a real monster, physically superior to the rest of the crew, with impressive combat skills. The problem was that the writers- whether because they were lazy or they felt it was the most effective method available- repeatedly had other people beat up on Worf to demonstrate how formidable they were. The problem was that this just made Worf look like a punching bag.

 

The same seems true of Justice League's Superman. Most episodes he's getting blasted/electrocuted/exploded/knocked around. Yet in a few key episodes, he take a beating from some tough competition (Solomon Grundy, Draaga, Mongul, and Wonder Woman come to mind) and holds his own.

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