Dex:   4   Str:   3   Body:    5
Int:   6   Will:  6   Mind:    4
Infl:  5   Aura:  5   Spirit:  5
Initiative: 17  Hero Points:  30

Chameleon: 8
Growth: 1
Shrinking: 2

Acrobatics: 6
Artist (Actor): 5
Charisma: 5
Detective: 5
Thief (Stealth): 4

Advantages: Connections: Bollywood (Low); Lightning Reflexes

Drawbacks: Miscellaneous: Is non-binary, and possess no fixed gender identity (uses pronouns: they/their); 
Miscellaneous: is a member of India's Untouchables, the lowest societal caste.

Alter EgoAruna Shende
Motivation: Seeking Justice
Occupation: Movie Stunt Performer
Wealth: 3

Source: adapted from

Ed's Notes: Normally I tend to chuckle a bit at DC's often misguided attempts at diversity through tokenism, but in all honestly I think they really hit it on the head with one! Aruna was introduced in the Planet DC event, which introduced many foreign (meaning non-American) super-heroes from around the globe. Some (like Janissary) had problematic elements, but the potential for this Character (untapped though it may be) is fascinating: She's not only Indian, but a member of their lowest societal caste. While that has the potential for some insensitive (though I'll still go ahead and say it: well-deserved) cultural criticism, the challenges for such a Character, as a "hero," to have to navigate that can lend itself to some really compelling story elements. And on top of all that: THEY'RE NON-BINARY! So: BOO-YAH FOR NON-BINARY REPRESENTATION! That's pretty cool! (Even if it is just because they're a shape-shifter who can assume any body type they wish.)

Now... Write-ups listed their non-binary gender identity as a "Minor Psychological Instability" (Drawback.) I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that there was either some sort of multiple-personality thing going on in the comic, or they were just looking for a way to express this "Drawback" in game terms. Since I know several non-Binary people personally, and it is well known that having a non-binary gender identity is NOT a form of "mental illness," I'm am not going to play it that way. Is it still a drawback? Yes. Yes it is, of the "Miscellaneous" kind. And that is because there is still a stigma, still marginalization, and still discrimination against non-binary people in most, if not all, parts of the world. It is very similar, if not almost identical, to all of the hate and marginalization that transgender people experience, yet if anything is even less well understood, sometimes even within the LGBT community. So as this may complicate matters in game-play, most likely with bigoted (or merely ignorant) NPC's, I do feel it is appropriate to acknowledge it as a Miscellaneous Drawback.

And to be clear, the picture above is just one of their forms. A more common one, granted, but they could just as easily appear male or androgynous.

First Appearance: Batgirl Annual # 1 (August, 2000)

1 comment:

  1. I'd never heard of her until I stumbled onto this post. Good stuff.