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Disaster Relief in a Superhuman World


Steve
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Given that not every major disaster that happens in the world (earthquake, typhoon, hurricane, flooding, etc) will be stopped by superheroes, what resources might exist at the government or NGO level to deal with the aftermath that don’t exist in the real world?

 

For example, what exists in the CU?

 

 

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Speaking CU-specifically, air travel on Champions Earth is far faster than on real Earth, so disaster assistance teams could be dispatched around the world much more rapidly. UNTIL even has a teleportation system aboard its orbiting space station, GATEWAY, theoretically capable of transporting someone to or from any spot on the globe.

 

The field of robotics is also more advanced than in the real world. Major world governments field robots which, while nowhere near as sophisticated as Mechanon, are physically powerful, quite mobile, and can be given broader and more flexible programming than what we're capable of. Those same governments also equip their operatives with a limited number of advanced powered armor suits. I can't imagine that some of those resources haven't been devoted to disaster relief.

 

CU medical technology is also superior, and more effective at treating injuries on site that would be lethal for us. Many of the benefits of technology have been spread around that world more extensively than on ours, due to more efficient and therefore cheaper manufacturing processes. Champions Earth also seems to have a greater degree of international, if not cooperation, at least coordination, mainly through the United Nations and its various organs.

 

(I know that many Champions players find the notion of an effective UN even more improbable than superhumans. :rolleyes:  I'll just remind everyone that Champs Earth has faced multiple extra-terrestrial, -dimensional, and -temporal invasions; the return of malevolent gods and demons out of legend; and a range of individuals and organizations who on several occasions have come perilously close to conquering or destroying the world. I'm sure humanity frequently has the need to work together for mutual survival shoved in its collective face.)

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There's probably not a hero team on the planet which would refuse to send at least some of their members to help in a disaster relief operation (assuming they aren't in the middle of something).

 

That's always a good excuse for why all the other superheroes in town don't show up when something's happening.

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No few superheroes are also directly employed by the governments of their home countries, as well as UNTIL, and could be ordered to any disaster site to provide paranormal assistance. Even some supervillains make a point of volunteering their help in the face of a crisis. It's also worth noting that it's estimated the majority of people with super powers on Champs Earth don't engage in the costumed war of good against evil, either because their powers don't suit them for fighting or they just want to live normal lives; but some of them engage either openly or incognito in humanitarian acts.

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I mentioned on the forums a few months back that I adapted the organization, "Prometheus," from the 3E adventure module, Atlas Unleashed. Prometheus is a fully private international humanitarian aid agency described as a kind of "armed Peace Corps." Agents of Prometheus would travel anywhere in the world suffering war or natural disaster to deliver food and water, medical supplies, emergency shelters, clothing, whatever was needed, whether or not they were invited or welcome. If the local dictators, warlords, or rebels tried to stop them, they were armed with advanced non-lethal weapons and would fight their way to the people in need. I adapted other characters from the module as superhuman support for their normal agents, which any GM interested in adding such an organization to their world could do. (I described the concepts involved on this post.)

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Another idea about advance technology is advances in force field technology and force field projection. And portable tractor beams. Force fields make protection easier without compromising movement, and can create temporary walls and columns and stuff. Tractor beams can lift heavy objects from a safe distance. 

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Focus in: Collapsed buildings, whether caused by earthquakes or terrorism.

 

Mind Scan to search for survivors under rubble.

 

Desolid or lots of Shrinking to move through the rubble for same purpose. (And a shrinker might be able to bring down an air hose or other items, if they're small or narrow enough.) And Tunneling, of course!

 

Super-strength or TK to move the rubble, and so get at survivors.

 

Force constructs to move rubble fall under TK.

 

Supermages, gedgeteers and other people with VPPs can do, well, whatever they want within point limits. Life Support Use vs. Other? Indirect Teleport vs. Other at Range to pluck survivors out directly? Healing powers for the wounded?

 

Summoned entities (elementals, robots, whatever) to help with the work.

 

Repeat exercise for other specific forms of disaster.

 

Dean Shomshak

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The question I keep coming back too is how much of all this stuff would be available?

PRIMUS gets energy blasters, but the US Military still uses Assault Rifles that fire bullets.  There may be force field generators and teleport beams in various labs, but do they actually show up at earthquake sites?  If so, what is the mix of super-science and victim sniffing dogs like we have in the real world?

On the one hand, the Champions universe is, as Lord Liaden points out, a lot higher tech than ours, but there also seems to be an effort by Hero Games to keep it from being too different than the world we live in.  On the other hand, with all the Super-Fights the CU probably get a lot more buildings flattened than our world does so their response might be a lot better developed.

I might also expect that Millennium City would have better resources than most other urban areas given how high tech the rest of their infrastructure is.  I don't think that (say) Omaha Nebraska has legions of Robots to clean up flood damage.

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  If it’s slow getting rescue robots to Omaha, how tough is it going to be to get some help to places like Puerto Rico?  Think of the earthquake and tsunami damage around the world that would have no help other than supers and maybe even some villains who might have a soft spot for that corner of the world.

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19 minutes ago, Jhamin said:

The question I keep coming back too is how much of all this stuff would be available?

PRIMUS gets energy blasters, but the US Military still uses Assault Rifles that fire bullets.  There may be force field generators and teleport beams in various labs, but do they actually show up at earthquake sites?  If so, what is the mix of super-science and victim sniffing dogs like we have in the real world?

On the one hand, the Champions universe is, as Lord Liaden points out, a lot higher tech than ours, but there also seems to be an effort by Hero Games to keep it from being too different than the world we live in.  On the other hand, with all the Super-Fights the CU probably get a lot more buildings flattened than our world does so their response might be a lot better developed.

I might also expect that Millennium City would have better resources than most other urban areas given how high tech the rest of their infrastructure is.  I don't think that (say) Omaha Nebraska has legions of Robots to clean up flood damage.

 

Mostly how much of that is available depends on the GM. If he wants a more high tech world, more is going to be available. If he's wanting closer to real world, not so much.

 

Yeah, there's an official CU but even for campaigns in an official CU setting, the main determining factor will be the GM's desires.

 

The second most important thing is how important the devastated area is. It's a hard fact of life but if New York City gets hit, it's going to get a more comprehensive and high tech response than a similar event which happens in Outer Wideplaceintheroadistan.

 

I can't make firm proclamations for the official CU. But if I were running a campaign there, responding to disasters would be a large part of the mandate for UNTIL. It's good public relations and it's good precedent for UNTIL troops going into member nations during emergency situations. Also not a bad idea to have UNTIL units nearby in case someone dangerous wants to take advantage of the chaos.

 

They'd be showing up with manpower, generators, and minimal supplies to set the stage for a more sustained relief effort. (The initial coordination of the response and having a place for relief workers to land and set up are often significant roadblocks so I'd imagine that UNTIL focuses it's efforts there.)

 

That initial UNTIL response would include whatever tech they have close at hand (potentially like "deep radar" to look for survivors). And again, more would be available to them closer to important sites than to out of the way places.

 

The longer the emergency situation lasts, the more tech would be brought in. So I'd imagine the first hours of an emergency wouldn't look much different than the first hours of a real world disaster. But if you're talking about week four of an ongoing disaster, every gimcrack and prototype device from every company on the planet will be onsite (both trying to make a difference and trying to get publicity for the company which made it).

 

I don't think low tech stuff like dogs, flashlights, crowbars, and shovels will go out of fashion until you reach a Galactic Champions campaign and would continue to be the predominantly-used tools until such time.

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13 hours ago, phydaux said:

Check out the Wearing the Cape series.  C- & D-level supers work in these "support" roles.  

 

Pretty much all heroes in this series do. First Response is the primary action that all supers see on a small and large scale. There are always fires and accidents and there is a company of lower tier bricks that do construction and demolition.

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For the longest time, I've been toying with a Champions campaign that was NOT super-villain / crime-fighting centric. Instead, it would've been a Thunderbirds (as in, "Thunderbirds are Go!") type of campaign.

 

Saving people from natural disasters, building failures, accidents (pre-, during, post-) and real 'support the police & firefighters' work in a grey area of the law. Sure, there'd be some occasions for brawling, but it'd be an even share with investigation, rescue, and exploration.

 

I remember that the character builds would be very different for a team, because the non-combat focus would require greater emphasis on different powers to rescue people trapped in buildings, lost underwater, etc...

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