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Online Media in a Superhuman World


Steve
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For more publicity-minded types, I could picture many superhumans becoming a big part of the online media culture, especially since that subculture seems to contain elements of Hollywood, professional wrestling and sports megastars. Even those that are not directly involved in such things, I'm sure they would have followers who would be. Some supervillains might enjoy having huge online fan clubs rivaling those of superheroes.

 

In the CU, I could see Foxbat livestreaming his crimes for the notoriety even if he doesn't get to monetize his crimes. He would probably even be a very active participant in the forums discussing his activities. I imagine him also being quite active in the comic book forums. And can you imagine how he might react if he was ever banned from one?

 

Who might have a Twitter account in the CU? While I couldn't see Dr. Destroyer having one, perhaps Fiacho could broadcast his manifestos that way? He has the sort of self-centered ego that might enjoy having an online presence, especially if he develops fans of his team's work.

 

Facebook could have webpages devoted to superteams, both heroes and villains.

 

What else might show up when you mix superheroics and online media?

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Way back in 4th edition (which also takes us back to the 80s and 90s) the 4th edition universe had magazines named HeroTalk, MetaMag, Villainy Unbound (Which was apparently bought by the same sorts of people who collect serial killer trading cards), SuperHype and Super Star that were all monthly print magazines devoted to Superhumans and a "Compu-Board" named HeroNet.  (I say again, the book that mentioned that came out in '92).  There was a "DNPC Wannabe" in one of the books that had a side business selling VHS compilation tapes of various Supers in action.

My Teen Champions campaign has a whole subculture of "Super-Influencers" that try to get famous for broadcasting their antics on the Internet.  The PCs keep running into them while they are trying to stop actual villains only to hear that their Super-Identities are way more famous among their schoolmates because Alpha-Geek Prime badmouthed them on his channel than for saving people.

I should also mention one of the NPCs from Teen Champions who is a superhuman teen pop sensation (Think Brittney Spears/Taylor Swift/Selena Gomez) who is actually a vat-grown genetically perfect pawn of Telios.  His evil plan is to let her get more and more famous, more and more influential, and basically take over the pop-music business.  The great thing is that she doesn't actually know she is a clone or that her entire entourage are also clones loyal to Telios.

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I'd imagine most villains would have an online presence. Probably only a few of the most self-destructive of them would broadcast their crimes. But they'd hype how great they were and such plus receive praise from their fans. Superheroes never seem to press charges for assault and battery against themselves from supervillains hitting them or attacking their bases. So if a villain was careful to set up their fight where they didn't create property damage to someone who'd press charges, they could post all kinds of pictures about them clobbering the heroes.

 

Some of them might try to use their social media accounts to create alibis (No, really, look I posted this picture of myself all the way across town as the crime was happening so it couldn't have been me).

 

I'd expect few heroes to have active social media accounts in their hero identities. They might have fan sites tracking them and posting things or hire publicity agents to manage the information flow of what is made public.

 

But most heroes would be properly paranoid about broadcasting information which might help identify them. If superheroes have been around in the world very long, there'll be horror stories in the community about heroes killed when their ID's were discovered and the gruesome trail of friends and loved ones who'd been captured and tortured. And "keep your identity private" would probably be one of the first pieces of advice passed along from experienced heroes to new heroes.

 

You don't necessarily have to have a classic secret ID. But you sure as hell wouldn't want to go around broadcasting it unless you have some pretty particular circumstances (like having no friends and loved ones outside the team and you live in a state of the art superhero HQ with all the latest defensive systems).

 

I think some of the superhero/supervillain print magazines would have survived to the modern era. Maybe as digital magazines only but the interest in superheroes as celebrities would still exist. And I think you could still go to checkout aisles in stores and find out that Pigeon Girl is having the secret love child of Muscle Dude and the 10 most important things to do before the Co-Dominator invasion fleet arrives next month.

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8 hours ago, Steve said:

For more publicity-minded types, I could picture many superhumans becoming a big part of the online media culture, especially since that subculture seems to contain elements of Hollywood, professional wrestling and sports megastars. Even those that are not directly involved in such things, I'm sure they would have followers who would be. Some supervillains might enjoy having huge online fan clubs rivaling those of superheroes.

 

In the CU, I could see Foxbat livestreaming his crimes for the notoriety even if he doesn't get to monetize his crimes. He would probably even be a very active participant in the forums discussing his activities. I imagine him also being quite active in the comic book forums. And can you imagine how he might react if he was ever banned from one?

 

Who might have a Twitter account in the CU? While I couldn't see Dr. Destroyer having one, perhaps Fiacho could broadcast his manifestos that way? He has the sort of self-centered ego that might enjoy having an online presence, especially if he develops fans of his team's work.

 

Facebook could have webpages devoted to superteams, both heroes and villains.

 

What else might show up when you mix superheroics and online media?

 

Keep in mind that the big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, monitor their users for posting criminal content. Without the protection of elected office ;) , any known criminal posting what you describe, or in many cases posting at all, would be shut down immediately and have their account banned. Criminals are much more likely to be using the dark web/deep web for communicating with parties interested in such content. OTOH tech masters like Dr. Destroyer and Mechanon can probably break into any and every media outlet they wish when they want to make a big announcement.

 

Some time back I wrote up and posted a concept for a new villain team assembled from existing official Champions villains with commonalities, a group of extreme eco-terrorists calling themselves Gaia's Wrath. That included a support group of their normal followers, "Gaia's Web," mobilized via the deep web, who gathered intelligence for the Wrath, acted as fronts for their operations, and sometimes as distractions for the heroes from the Wrath's true objectives.

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6 hours ago, Jhamin said:

Way back in 4th edition (which also takes us back to the 80s and 90s) the 4th edition universe had magazines named HeroTalk, MetaMag, Villainy Unbound (Which was apparently bought by the same sorts of people who collect serial killer trading cards), SuperHype and Super Star that were all monthly print magazines devoted to Superhumans and a "Compu-Board" named HeroNet.  (I say again, the book that mentioned that came out in '92).  There was a "DNPC Wannabe" in one of the books that had a side business selling VHS compilation tapes of various Supers in action.
 

 

Several of these have also persisted into the 5E/6E CU, although they've transitioned partly or wholly to online publishing.

 

6 hours ago, Jhamin said:


I should also mention one of the NPCs from Teen Champions who is a superhuman teen pop sensation (Think Brittney Spears/Taylor Swift/Selena Gomez) who is actually a vat-grown genetically perfect pawn of Telios.  His evil plan is to let her get more and more famous, more and more influential, and basically take over the pop-music business.  The great thing is that she doesn't actually know she is a clone or that her entire entourage are also clones loyal to Telios.

 

Besides the above-mentioned Teen Dream, other Champions characters have become well known in the pop music world. Sapphire of the Champions hero team is basically Jennifer Lopez with super-powers. Lynx, a mutated cat-girl from the colony of Dr. Phillippe Moreau's original experiments at Beast Mountain, has become a singing sensation in Japan. ;)  Rock superstar Dion Bach is secretly an avatar of the god Dionysus, whose near-orgiastic live concerts provide the worship he craves.

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2 hours ago, archer said:

I think some of the superhero/supervillain print magazines would have survived to the modern era. Maybe as digital magazines only but the interest in superheroes as celebrities would still exist. And I think you could still go to checkout aisles in stores and find out that Pigeon Girl is having the secret love child of Muscle Dude and the 10 most important things to do before the Co-Dominator invasion fleet arrives next month.

 

See my reply to Jhamin's post above. And yes, gossip about superheroes is a very common subject on Champions Earth, particularly on the Internet. The most popular website of that sort is called SuperRomance.com.

 

In a related vein, there's also a glossy periodical men's magazine titled Uncaped, the subject matter of which is exactly what it sounds like. :rolleyes:

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31 minutes ago, Tjack said:

Their YouTube must be filled with videos of single heroes or hero teams in action edited to music. And “ship” videos of all possible combinations of heroes & villains.

 

YouTube in the real world has a ton of these just from fictional superhero movies and television shows.

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31 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

YouTube in the real world has a ton of these just from fictional superhero movies and television shows.


     And I enjoy them very much, that’s where I got the idea.

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An Amazonian looking woman in a red and black costume with exaggerated spikes on her shoulders steps out as the commercial starts, "Hi. I'm the villainess Bonecrush!  Some folks know me for my amazing Prius chucking abilities, others scream in terror as I dangle their chosen heroes such as Australian Ninjas over the wreckage of a building I helped decimate. I was having a successful career as a bad guy! I was really getting up there, but like many twenty first century super-criminal women, I wanted MORE than just career. I wanted someone special in my life. Someone I didn't have to kidnap to get a 10 minute conversation with."

 

A Mars Unit pulls up, their law enforcement vehicle being used as cover as they draw out their high powered weapons "Freeze!"

 

She sighs, grabs an empty garbage dumpster and flinging it up where will land on the Mars Police unit, forcing them to flee. After it comes down with a huge smashing WHAM she continues, "I admit it, I was lonely, and I was missing romance. Sure, I knew other supervilains, but a lot of them just weren't connecting with me. I'm okay with world conquerors, high tech assassins, and vengeful maniacs, but... some of them get handsy before they know you- Ugh, what a turn off."

 

Bonecrush holds up her smart phone, "That's when I found Rend-er! The Dating app for Supervillains! I took a compatibility test, gauging my limits of what's acceptable to me ethically. A personal example? Removing spines non surgically? YES. "  She smiles , then goes on "Ketchup on Spaghetti? NO"  A look of disgust, before her expression  turns cheerful again, "And Rend-er takes that all into account! And now I'm meeting with bad guys who don't just desire and admire this big bullet proof body, they respect and want to talk about what I value in my life of mayhem! Who knows? The chances of meeting Mister Right just went up, " She pauses and covers her mouth coquettishly  with a glove that has an old blood stain on the index finger that just hasn't quite washed out, then winks and smiles as she removes it "Or should I say ? Mister WRONG for everyone else... but me!"

 

SUBTITLES FLASH ACROSS COMMERICAL SCREEN IN SMALL PRINT:
Render is for Entertainment only. Render is not responsible for undercover superheroes who may use you to get information on your next crime and or make you want to reform. Some applicants may lie and seek to use your genetic material, blood, or very soul for even grander dark schemes. Render is also not responsible for your secret identity or plans being discovered by spunky reporters you will want to kill later. Please use the Rend-er app with caution for these reasons and more. But isn't love worth it?

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Back in my old "Seattle Sentinels" campaign world, one PC greatly disliked the fan site devoted to the nude video posted by a really annoying prankster villain: alt.bluejay.nudevideo.pant.pant.pant. Yes, this was waaay back in the days of Usenet.

 

But of course there was plenty of other super-porn, mostly clumsy cut-and-paste jobs splicing the heads of heroes and villains onto existing porn. And if anyone with actual super-powers was in the biz... Nah, let's not go there, it's a family-friendly forum.

 

The supervillain Blitz had an annoying online presence, too, but for different reasons. Though he was the mutant progeny of twisted Nazi eugenics, and raised to serve the setting's HYDRA/VIPER homage, his martial arts sifus inadvertantly gave him many admirable qualities. Plus, male-model gorgeous (see: twisted Nazi eugenics). There were fan sites devoted to him -- to which he sometimes posted fitness and self-defense videos and urged young people to stay off drugs. All very annoying to heroes, especially to those who care that Blitz had a bigger fan club than they did. Kind of annoying to the evil world-spanning criminal conspiracy as well, caught in the paradox that they are bad guys but everyone likes good publicity.

 

Dean Shomshak

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     Here in the real world there’s a disturbing genre of “nerd porn” that has the (I won’t call them actors) participants dressed as comic book/movie characters.

     What’s going to happen when Heroes & Villains find out they’re being portrayed like this?   “GROND NO LIKE THIS!!!” “GROND NO TAKE IT UP THE BU++!!!”    “GROND SMASH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!!”

     How about when some fatally stupid producer uses the likeness of someone like Dr. Destroyer?  Or somebody else with no sense of humor.

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Real world super thieves do not post their work...  A few years ago there a was a HUGE diamond heist - all the top LE agencies had a had in the investigation - the thieves were never found, nor was the diamond...

 

Criminals of that level, don't post their crimes.

 

Otherwise, I'm totally digging all the rest of the info here...

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3 hours ago, Tjack said:

        How about when some fatally stupid producer uses the likeness of someone like Dr. Destroyer?  Or somebody else with no sense of humor.

 

We have quite a few examples in DD's history. If you only annoyed him, he'll just kill you. If you actually made him angry, you'll get much, much worse.

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4 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

We have quite a few examples in DD's history. If you only annoyed him, he'll just kill you. If you actually made him angry, you'll get much, much worse.


   I think the good Doctor would put someone using his likeness in a porn movie in the “much, much worse” category.  As a matter of fact, that may be a brand new category all by itself.

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The example that usually comes to my mind is former UNTIL Major Steven Thesken, once in command of the agency's Project Shiva, their special project devoted to countering Destroyer. Shiva was disbanded after DD's apparent death in 1992, but Thesken was convinced the Doctor was still alive and continued to search for him. By the year 2000 Thesken was getting closer to the truth than Zerstoiten liked, so he had his minions kidnap Thesken and bring him to one of Destroyer's labs.

 

After over a year of excruciating tests, procedures, and brainwashing, Thesken was transformed into Titanos. He'd been made superhumanly strong and tough, and able to grow to 25' tall with proportionately greater strength. His original personality and memories were erased, and replaced with absolute loyalty and devotion to Doctor Destroyer.

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In my new Meyerson Academy Teen Champions game, one of the students is a gadgeteer Ginger Gadoe. Think Lois Lane but a teenager [Lois Lane copyright DC Comics]. She has a video blog and you tube channel and of course has interviewed all the new students. She has recorded one battle so far, and even nicked named the battle. She may even be an unrequited love interest for one of my players [she is an intrepid reporter above all else!]. 

This NPC will be constantly wanting to interview the characters and film battles.

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