The Rogues: Design

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SeventhSoldier here, with a design article for the team you’ve been watching for the last few days: The Rogues.  When it was first decided that the Speed Force would finally get a full-team feature, we thought about things for a little while, and we realized that we just couldn’t have The Flash show up without giving due to his villains.

The Rogues were a tough team to design.  What do they have in common?  Well…they don’t like the Flash.  But, some of them do.  Some of them have powers from tech, some have natural powers.  They’re all in it for different reasons, they all do things different ways.  How do you design a team that seems to have no unifying theme?

Well, the first thing I did was do a little research.  Specifically, one of the most Rogue-rich stories in recent memory, I looked at Rogue War, by Geoff Johns.  This is the first time I realized, though I saw it in Countdown as well, just how divided the Rogues were.  When Captain Cold was in charge, there were rules – no drugs, no killing speedsters.  Blacksmith and her Rogues, on the other hand, were a little more ruthless.  On either side?  James Jesse and a few others, Rogues who reformed and helped the police track down and deal with the remaining Rogues – and Inertia, Zoom, and other evil speedsters known for wanton brutality.  

All this under my belt, I began to revise my character list.  There are some characters I wanted in there because they were Names – like Gorilla Grodd – who I realized didn’t fit well on any of these groups.  There are some characters on there I just thought would be amusing – Folded Man, or Dr. Alchemy.  Again, these Rogues didn’t have a particular affiliation.  I dropped them.

Most of the Rogues didn’t want to kill the Flash.  They wanted to beat him, they wanted to slow him down, they wanted to make money, but they didn’t want to kill the Flash.  But how would that come out?  I ended up deciding that they were stalling.  They didn’t know how to end things.  Either they’d get caught, or they’d kill the Flash, right?  Wrong.  Instead, they just kept the game going as long as they could, and eventually the situation resolved itself when the Flash ran afoul of someone else – like, say, the Black Flash.

So, I began to build them as a stall team, and I realized that, for Cold’s crew, it worked, and I felt like Cold’s crew was important enough to the legend of the Flash to receive a legendary support card, and they built themselves like that.

But I’ve mentioned before how important version was – and Cold’s Rogues operated quite differently from Blacksmith’s Rogues, a slightly more straightforward group focused on causing damage as quickly as possible.

As I said, there are essentially four small teams within the Rogues.  The Speedsters are brutal, but they hurt you almost as much as they hurt your opponents.  Blacksmith’s Rogues are thugs, heavy and simple.  Cold’s Rogues keep things going as long as possible.  The Reformed Rogues wait until the fight starts before they unleash their full powers.

The goal, and the hardest part, was to make sure that they worked great both within and without their specific group.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide how well we succeeded, but I think that they work well together.  In the face of a common enemy, the Rogues will unite, despite their differences, and I hope that this comes out when you see the finalized team.

Tomorrow brings a more morally ambiguous team to the table, and enjoy that, and I hope you all keep enjoying the unofficial DC Universe.

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