The dashing do-gooder known as Horsepower returns! It’s strange, but the longer I look at him, the more I think I’ve seem him somewhere before. Hmmm… He must just have one of those faces.

Weirdly, I don’t think that the concept of unicorn-cohort-turned-vigilante-to-make-up-for-his-party’s-murderhoboing is even the weirdest secret identity I’ve seen in a game. That honor goes to the time my goblin dressed up like Batman and clubbed Henry VIII over the back of the head (story below the comic over here.) I bring it up because, as far as genre tropes go, I think that this one deserves special attention. Secret identities are unusually genre neutral, but they’re always a good time at the table.

If you’ve ever played an actual superhero RPG, you already know what’s up. Plot setups like Bruce Wayne held hostage or villain over for dinner have their own TV Tropes pages for a reason. That level of dramatic irony is delicious, and that’s true whether you’re playing Mutants and Masterminds (which you should) or simply tacking a Prince and the Pauper storyline onto your D&D character. The Scarlet Pimpernel gave us the setup in 1903, and we’ve been throwing it into everything from gangster pulp to Spanish/Mexican folk heroics ever since. Of course we all think of Superman’s glasses and phone booths when we hear the phrase, but the secret identity is a surprisingly genre neutral conceit. If you haven’t given it a whirl before, I highly recommend trying it out on your next PC.

Question of the day then. Where have you seen the secret identity trope come into play? Let’s hear your tales of botched Disguise checks and romances that can never be in the comments!