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Effects of the modern world on comic book worlds.


pinecone
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So I got to see my girl today, for the second time since Pandemic. And I was talking on how much the world has changed, and how comic book universes have not kept up. And I mentioned that I thought the Avengers Project would have moved to a Gig economy model after MCU movies. And she really liked that idea. If you join Avengers, you can down load an App, that works like Uber, Door dash etc. Bank robbery within 5 blocks, are you available? Heroes can be paid bounties, and docked for excessive damages. And make a living as a full time hero, And live a private life, if wanted.

 

What other changes should the Comic book universe contain?

Do you wish to Tip your hero? Did He/She arrive in time? etc...thank you for helping Avengers become a better service!

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I remember a short story in Space Gamer magazine in the early 80s that started with a young super getting a message on his pager. He then went and logged in to a secure network to get the details of his mission.

 

So even in the early 80s, the idea of an on-call gig based system for superheroes was around.

 

There were stats for the characters at the end of the story. IIRC, for V&V, Superhero 2044 - and first edition Champions.

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This is actually very very close to the premise of the H.E.R.O. series by Kevin Rau.

 

Supers can join H.E.R.O. and respond to calls.  The storylines themselves vary in quality, but the overall premise is solid.  I have already stolen it for my next supers game.

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There was a short-lived TV series called "APB" that was basically what if Bruce Wayne used his fortune to upgrade the GCPD instead of becoming Batman.  One of the elements was a free app that people could use to report crimes directly to the district's central dispatcher to improve response time.  There was a problem with people submitting false reports because they wanted to see what would happen and didn't think anyone was actually going to show up. 

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  The idea behind Damage Control could be very useful in the modern world.  Using low powered paranormals or just ones who aren’t motivated to chase criminals,(Not everybody wants to be a cop or a soldier and there’s nothing wrong with that.) along with some advanced tech, construction jobs that would take decades could be done simply and at much lower costs. 
  The impact of a Poison Ivy type Super could halt famine in many areas and a few weather controllers armed with Mr. Freeze/Capt.Cold guns could roll back Global Warming to a level that might not become a planet killer.

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How would Supers work with social media? How many followers does Spider Man have? Working as a free lance reporter? Soooo last century!

How about Crowd Funding? Smaller towns might crowd fund some supers, it's good for business!

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I see a couple of problems with this.  First of all who is paying the bounty?  Anyone doing this is opening themselves up to huge liability when things go wrong.   Unless the Heroes are willing to provide a lot a information about themselves no company or government organization is going to allow them to just blindly assign tasks like this.  This would also open the publisher of the app to law suits when no one shows up.  No company would offer any kind of insurance for this type of thing, and without insurance the cost of law suits would destroy any company or business tying it. 

 

The second problem I see is that an app is not needed. Police band radios have been around for a long time.   All any hero needs to do is to monitor those frequencies for alerts to crimes in progress.  I had at least of few characters in the 80’s that did this to find out what happened in the area.  Radio Listen and Transmit is not that expensive.  
 

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15 hours ago, Tjack said:

  The idea behind Damage Control could be very useful in the modern world.  Using low powered paranormals or just ones who aren’t motivated to chase criminals,(Not everybody wants to be a cop or a soldier and there’s nothing wrong with that.) along with some advanced tech, construction jobs that would take decades could be done simply and at much lower costs. 
  The impact of a Poison Ivy type Super could halt famine in many areas and a few weather controllers armed with Mr. Freeze/Capt.Cold guns could roll back Global Warming to a level that might not become a planet killer.

 

The H.E.R.O. world tackled this issue with people with powers that were not Superhero oriented.  A lot of "strong" types entered the construction field.  Many had specific powers that fit exacting special niches.  Such as neural surgery.  The world concept is that when a person transformed their subconscious had a big influence and so super-florist is a thing.   In the world there were several people that worked for H.E.R.O. in non-crime or monster fighting.  Super-medics, super-damage control teams.  And so on. 

 

If you are interested in the concept, I would suggest reading the first book H.E.R.O. - Metamorphosis or just the H.E.R.O. - Illustrated Guide.  But while the concept is great, the author really needs some help with characters.  He tends to write them as excessively stupid or oblivious to things that no person could possibly not notice.   That said they a decent supers stories.

 

 

 

As far as the original question from the OP.  I don't worry about most of the "issues".  The most "modern" supers campaigns for me are in the 80's, but I prefer the 60 & 70's.  A cell phone that actually works in the campaign city is super-tech.

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Just now, Greywind said:

Buffy did construction. The other works didn't appreciate her help.

 

LOL

 

People always tend to react to change.  IIRC there was a bit of push back on the piers when things like forklifts and container cranes came into being.  This is just replacing the forklift and driver with a person that is a forklift.  Or as in one case in the book a flyer that was just that a flyer and not too fast at that worked as a fall safety restraint for high work.  Just hover above the workers hooked into their rigs in case of a fall. 

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17 minutes ago, Spence said:

 

LOL

 

People always tend to react to change.  IIRC there was a bit of push back on the piers when things like forklifts and container cranes came into being.  This is just replacing the forklift and driver with a person that is a forklift.  Or as in one case in the book a flyer that was just that a flyer and not too fast at that worked as a fall safety restraint for high work.  Just hover above the workers hooked into their rigs in case of a fall. 

 

Durg at' Morakh in the Wild Cards Universe has a union card which allows him to work as a forklift operator without using an actual forklift in his work.

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6 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

I see a couple of problems with this.  First of all who is paying the bounty?  Anyone doing this is opening themselves up to huge liability when things go wrong.   Unless the Heroes are willing to provide a lot a information about themselves no company or government organization is going to allow them to just blindly assign tasks like this.  This would also open the publisher of the app to law suits when no one shows up.  No company would offer any kind of insurance for this type of thing, and without insurance the cost of law suits would destroy any company or business tying it. 

 

The second problem I see is that an app is not needed. Police band radios have been around for a long time.   All any hero needs to do is to monitor those frequencies for alerts to crimes in progress.  I had at least of few characters in the 80’s that did this to find out what happened in the area.  Radio Listen and Transmit is not that expensive.  
 

The Avengers is a NGO, and is a limited liability company/Corp.. Also laws can be passed or reinterp. such as "good samaritan" laws that are on the books in almost every state (if not all) A Super Hero universe has had to deal with "Super" issues for awhile, and things can be put in place. Uber, and other companies have already provided  the ground work. In a "real" world, having amature supers is a very poor model. It would be vastly better to have "full time" supers. Not only can they train and learn better, but they would be far more available. How much crime was commited by Spider Man's rogue gallery while he was off in Europe?

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The Bounties are paid by the Governments, City, State, or Federal, as needed, and possibly overlapping. JJJ likely has a standing offer for the capture of Spidey.

And who saved lives while your hero was busy? 

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3 hours ago, Hermit said:

I've actually used Bounty Hunters and Bounty Hunting organizations that involved supers in my Champions games before

 

Like this Bail Bondsman in another thread

Yeah I could see Super Bounty Hunters become a "thing" Dr Doom has diplomatic immunity, etc so stopping a rampaging super might be worth posting a reward. Such things are currently used with serial kidnappers etc. Again crowd funding.

 

A badly beset city might have fed up citizens crowd fund up a bounty on the local Viper Nest...?

45 minutes ago, Greywind said:

Buffy did construction. The other works didn't appreciate her help.

You either go with the change, or get left behind....always been that way.

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In general, most of the tropes and tech for superheroes are planted firmly in the 1980’s. It seems some GMs themselves prefer it that way. One of the few writers that takes the current times in stride is Chuck Dixon, especially how the nature of criminal enterprise has changed with the times and the use of social media and computers among the supers. Also there is anchange in costumes due to the “cinematic influence “ of late with textured fabrics, impact padding, and carried equipment (and possibly because of The Incredibles, fewer and fewer capes).  Cameras on Police have been a major change as the footage has given a lot more clarity to legal proceedings in most cases, and flashpoints for others. Supers  Luke follow suit live-streaming fights, and events, with YouTube analysts editing together multiple camera feeds into a coherent picture of a team’s fight. Starlink phase one just completed, with the next phase of shell construction launching next month. Having ubiquitous, global, always on net connectivity would mean a  lot for gadgeteers and AI’s formerly throttled by being in open ocean or deep woods situations. Calls for help could arrive from anyone with a device anywhere in the world. 
 

Story wise, a good example IMO is Superman & Lois, as they tackle broad , contemporary issues, but the core of Superman’s values and ideals, remain as they have always been. It’s probably wise of them not to get too specific or topical, but in general they recognize that they are post 2008 recession, and how it effected the Midwest. 
 

On the flip side is the story is San Francisco which has ceased prosecuting property crimes or less than $900, causing widespread shoplifting and car break ins. Couple this with the fact that you can and will be prosecuted for defending yourself and your property in the same city, and how partisan the city authorities have become, could Supers, other than vigilantes be able

to operate in San Francisco? 
 

I understand that nostalgia is a nigh unto insurmountable force for most Champions players, but this rigid grip of the late 1960’s, to the late 1970’s seems as limiting as watching the same re-runs of the 1966 Batman show over and over again. 

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The US Congress can grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

 

Basically this allows a person or organization to act as a privateer in service of the US government. 

 

You will not be prosecuted for crimes in the US while acting in your capacity of going after the nation's enemies (usually as defined in the Letter). And you can keep any loot you gain while going after the nation's enemies. You are also shielded by the US government from extradition to other countries for prosecution for your activities.

 

So for example, you could go after the hackers who did the ransomware attack on that pipeline.

 

You could take and keep all the ransom money plus all the money you find from other ransoms. You could hack into their personal bank accounts and keep everything you find. Your operatives could find and execute the hackers and seize any physical property they find. You could keep their computer code for help in your future endeavors as a privateer.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

On the flip side is the story is San Francisco which has ceased prosecuting property crimes or less than $900, causing widespread shoplifting and car break ins. Couple this with the fact that you can and will be prosecuted for defending yourself and your property in the same city, and how partisan the city authorities have become, could Supers, other than vigilantes be able

to operate in San Francisco? 


    Could Supers operate legally in San Francisco?  Probably not.   Could that city really use a Batman or The Question patrolling the streets......ehhhhhhh, maybe.

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3 hours ago, pinecone said:

Yeah I could see Super Bounty Hunters become a "thing" Dr Doom has diplomatic immunity, etc so stopping a rampaging super might be worth posting a reward. Such things are currently used with serial kidnappers etc. Again crowd funding.

 

 

Marvel once did a limited series that ended with Juggernaut being given the opportunity to be a sanctioned bounty hunter for the US government, maybe connected to the Justice Department or the US Marshals.  I don't remember.  The next time he appeared though, the writer tossed it away with a casual line about how it had been a scam to escape from custody.  It pissed me off, since his government liaison had been the woman who was his wife and the mother of his Avenger son J2 in the MC2 universe.

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Yeah just an example of how the comic book world is frozen in amber. smh. In my own games I have a government program that is kinda like the suicide squad, but not so extreme. It would cost millions to contain a super, so finding ways to "redeem" them would be a real cost savings. Use "reformed" villians to hunt "wild" supers.

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