Jump to content

What can tempt the person who has everything?


AlgaeNymph
 Share

Recommended Posts

Suppose you have a hypothetical superhero, call them Cintamani for the Cosmic Gem they have.  With it they can make just about whatever they want.  Wealth?  With creativity and skill (and Skills) they can cut out the middleman make what they want wealth for directly with a Transform.  Companionship?  They can use Summon to make simulacra for that as well.  Luxury?  See previous, put Images for that full immersion VR experience.  And so on.

 

Then some villain wants to tempt them away from righteousness.  What could they possibly offer that our hero couldn't make themself?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

   You said “Companionship”.  What about love?  Freely given from someone not controlled by the Gem.  What about knowledge?  The secrets of the universe laid at your feet  Or possibly the cure for a disease that’s slowly killing a loved one.  
  How about the chance to go back in time and NOT make that one mistake that haunts your nights and keeps you from sleep.  Maybe youth and health restored and a chance to do it all over again, but knowing now what you didn’t know then?
    Money and luxury?   Stop thinking so small.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tjack covered a lot, but I will add: a challenge.

 

Omnipotence is profoundly boring. That gets explored in, among other things, classical Greek mythology, in Michael Moorcock's "End of Time" stories, and with Marvel Comics' Beyonder. So, give the character a chance to strive for something beyond what he normally could achieve, something with a noble goal but through reprehensible means.

 

For example, let's say the villain offers your hero the chance to end all crime, all war, all violence and hatred, over the whole Earth. The villain can't attain the means to do that himself, he needs the hero's cosmic power. But that global peace comes at the cost of all free will. Humanity will be compelled to be good, and compelled to be happy about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Or going back in time to avert that one horrible event like September 11th 2001.

Or evacuating Pompeii before the ash cloud reaches it ?

How about stopping Hitler or Heydrich ?

There are plenty of examples where many people die or a single person dies and saving them would have a profound effect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Immortality/Eternal Youth doesn't seem to be on the list.

 

If you have everything, losing it hits hard.

 

Otherwise, I'd go for a cure for a loved one. For that matter, eternal youth for them as well.

 

Without that, immortality becomes a matter of watching everyone and everything you know and love die.

Of course that also includes the Earth. Cosmic powers may or may not be able to reverse climate change. Even if they can, there are other ways to destroy the place where Cosmic Guy lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You noted that they would need the appropriate skills to accomplish some of these feats.  Does that mean they would need SS:Aerospace Engineer to create an airplane?  If that is the case, it will be easier to use wealth to buy what they want rather than just create it.  That also means there is a lot that they can't actually get because they don't have the skill to do it and neither does anyone else (e.g. the cure for cancer)

 

This follows Tjack's post, but if they can have anything they want easily with their powers, then everything is cheap.  Using their powers to get anything is 'cheating' and what they will value is something genuine.  Sincere love would be at the top of the list, rather than pandering sycophants who just was a share of the power and wealth.  True respect from those around them rather than fawning or fear.  But it could be as prosaic as a well-cooked meal that was done by hand instead of conjured.

 

Another way to 'corrupt' an all-powerful character is not to tempt them, but to lead them down the garden path from seemingly reasonable actions to more and more extreme ones (e.g. eugenics leading to the Holocaust.  Not that eugenics is good, but at first blush it sounds like science)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/12/2021 at 2:38 PM, Tjack said:

Money and luxury?   Stop thinking so small.

That's what I'd say to someone who offered me such.  : p

 

On 8/12/2021 at 2:38 PM, Tjack said:

You said “Companionship”.  What about love?  Freely given from someone not controlled by the Gem.  What about knowledge?  The secrets of the universe laid at your feet.  Or possibly the cure for a disease that’s slowly killing a loved one.  
How about the chance to go back in time and NOT make that one mistake that haunts your nights and keeps you from sleep.  Maybe youth and health restored and a chance to do it all over again, but knowing now what you didn’t know then?

  • Love's simple: make friends with someone who shares your interests and is comforting to talk with.  I even got that in the real world, much to my surprise.  : )
  • Knowledge is another good one, but one I needn't hurry for unless I need it now.  Do VPP's grant skills?
  • Disease cures are covered by Transform.  Of course, this has the kind of societal implications that'd make for great drama, especially if the super wants to do something else with their time.
  • Time-travel is Extra-Dimensional movement.  In addition to aforementioned implications -- i.e., what if you could stop a famous atrocity -- this raises the question of why someone else hasn't.
  • Biological immortality is an inexpensive Life Support, but one I'd have to pay points for if I don't wanna tie up VPP points.  Would definitely require a scientific quest, which is another great story.
On 8/12/2021 at 2:51 PM, Lord Liaden said:

[G]ive the character a chance to strive for something beyond what he normally could achieve, something with a noble goal but through reprehensible means.

Well of course, though the idea I have in that regard is less about giving in to temptation and more getting fed up with the lack of positive change and eventually becoming an agent of the V'hanian Empire.  Can't make things worse unless you're the sort of person who thinks Dubai is awesome or the Spartans were the good guys...

 

19 hours ago, Ockham's Spoon said:

[I]f they can have anything they want easily with their powers, then everything is cheap.  Using their powers to get anything is 'cheating' and what they will value is something genuine.  Sincere love would be at the top of the list, rather than pandering sycophants who just was a share of the power and wealth.  True respect from those around them rather than fawning or fear.

Oh, very much.  It's a conclusion I reached in an ongoing informal role-play with my sweetheart, where by becoming a tech-scavenging world-jumper I built me a lair that'd be the envy of most supervillains.  And no idea what to do with it.  Very much puts life into big-picture perspective.  😌

 

...Honestly, I was asking this to figure out what a lusty demon could possibly tempt me with.  But then, it is very much in-genre to wax philosophical.  ; )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Novelty. The hero has his way of thinking. He is going to be trammelled by his background and upbringing. A meeting of another, different mind,

one that is equal or greater  in intellect, but different in point of view, might attract the hero at first with simple conversation, giving him some novelty in topics and tastes. Then, like the devil in literature, very subtly dismantle his philosophies, and ideals, bending his motivations away from his original purpose. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/12/2021 at 3:44 PM, AlgaeNymph said:

Companionship?  They can use Summon to make simulacra for that as well. 

 

That part rings extremely hollow to me; what the gem-wielder has isn't companionship, it's just a very shallow and masturbatory projection of his own psyche -- will a simulacrum ever disagree with him, or call him on his bullshit?  Will it ever add anything new to his life, or tell him something he doesn't already know?  Maybe the character's own subconscious could start working against him, using the gem to manifest his own self-doubt or self-loathing for always taking the easy way out, using the gemstone rather than actually working for the things he wants -- human beings don't generally fare well psychologically when they get everything handed to them on a silver platter.

 

Or, depending on what end he is ultimately working toward, perhaps the adversary might look for ways to goad the hero and show him how empty his "relationships" through the gem really are.  Maybe the adversary creates a second, heroic persona (or aids some flunky in a colorful suit, to make him look the part of the hero), so the PC can see what real adulation and affection look like as the city takes to the new hero on the block.  Perhaps the adversary worms his way into the hero's private life, drawing away the attentions of the hero's friends and loved ones.  Maybe the adversary works to turn public opinion against the hero, tricking the hero or setting him up to cause massive collateral damage or loss of life; as the public turns against him, maybe the hero draws more and more into himself, eventually writing off the real world entirely in favor of hiding in his perfect fantasy world!

 

Or maybe you'd consider some scenario where the PC is unexpectedly cut off from his wish fulfillment gemstone -- he is temporarily deemed unworthy to wield its power, or some exceedingly rare conjunction of the spheres nullifies the gem's abilities for some unknown length of time.  Then the PC will be limited to what is really REAL in his life, and be forced to confront how he's neglected creating anything of any substantial or lasting importance in the real world.  Let him face some threat or adversary without the use of the gem -- even something as simple as saving the residents in a tenement fire, or stopping a mugging in an alleyway -- and remind him that it's not the gem, but the person they are underneath that truly makes someone a hero...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, AlgaeNymph said:

 

  • Love's simple: make friends with someone who shares your interests and is comforting to talk with.  I even got that in the real world, much to my surprise.  : )

 

If love is simple then what do they really need...?  Seriously though, in my mind "love" is shared.  It might be very difficult for someone who is almost omnipotent to find genuine mutual attraction with someone who is emotionally compatible but unable to understand the feelings and problems that the omnipotent character feels. 

 

My only point is that some people might find love easily but others really struggle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, foolishvictor said:

 

If love is simple then what do they really need...?  Seriously though, in my mind "love" is shared.  It might be very difficult for someone who is almost omnipotent to find genuine mutual attraction with someone who is emotionally compatible but unable to understand the feelings and problems that the omnipotent character feels. 

 

My only point is that some people might find love easily but others really struggle.


   I strongly agree with your second point but your first starts to wander into the field of Theology.  A wonderful discussion and one I’d enjoy having either in another thread or in e-mail. But diving into it here could pull things horribly off topic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/12/2021 at 3:44 PM, AlgaeNymph said:

Suppose you have a hypothetical superhero, call them Cintamani for the Cosmic Gem they have.  With it they can make just about whatever they want.  Wealth?  With creativity and skill (and Skills) they can cut out the middleman make what they want wealth for directly with a Transform.  Companionship?  They can use Summon to make simulacra for that as well.  Luxury?  See previous, put Images for that full immersion VR experience.  And so on.

 

Then some villain wants to tempt them away from righteousness.  What could they possibly offer that our hero couldn't make themself?

 

My Evil Mastermind wouldn't try to seduce or tempt this character. Instead , they'd reinforce the character's reliance on the gem for everything in their life. Wealth? Subtly encourage them to create more and more lavish things. Companionship? Have his simulacra  more and more imitate famous entertainers, models and heroines(available or unavailable and especially if you can have them have blackouts matching any public appearance together) Luxury? Have them living a sybaritic dream. 

 

And then do one of two options.

 

Suck them fully into a dream world where everything goes their way with only a few minor and easily overcome setbacks. A Hero lying in the bed dreaming doesn't thwart my plots.

 

Or,

 

Threaten to expose them for the fake they are. Show how they've been using counterfeit wealth and Illusions to cover their lack of any real possessions. Reveal his "companions" as the fantasy blow-up dolls they are especially associating them with their real life counterparts. You'll either be getting a powerful if unwilling operative or get to joyfully watch him being crucified by the court of public opinion for years.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Soleil Noir said:

That part rings extremely hollow to me; what the gem-wielder has isn't companionship, it's just a very shallow and masturbatory projection of his own psyche

Oh, you mean real companionship rather than the term in the euphemistic sense.  Oh yeah, that's something a Cosmic Gem can't magic up.  ^_^;

 

7 hours ago, Soleil Noir said:

Maybe the character's own subconscious could start working against him, using the gem to manifest his own self-doubt or self-loathing

Maybe?  That's certainly a good story idea.

 

7 hours ago, Soleil Noir said:

Maybe the adversary creates a second, heroic persona (or aids some flunky in a colorful suit, to make him look the part of the hero), so the PC can see what real adulation and affection look like as the city takes to the new hero on the block.

Easy solution for that: don't seek fame.  ; )

 

49 minutes ago, Grailknight said:

Threaten to expose them for the fake they are. Show how they've been using counterfeit wealth and Illusions to cover their lack of any real possessions.

Now I'm confused.  Why would luxuries need to be "real?"  For that matter, why would the hero show them off outside of a disposable false ID?  Or often enough to be an issue?

 

7 hours ago, Soleil Noir said:

Maybe the adversary works to turn public opinion against the hero

This one, however, doesn't have an easy solution, and will be inevitable when a hero gets proactive.

 

7 hours ago, Soleil Noir said:

Or maybe you'd consider some scenario where the PC is unexpectedly cut off from his wish fulfillment gemstone

I wouldn't say unexpectedly; even when an artifact of power -- or any power -- doesn't have the Focus discount the hero's gonna get cut off from it sooner or later.  That too would also make an interesting story!  And something to prepare for: heroes should always make sure they have something besides their powers.  That's just good practice.

 

4 hours ago, foolishvictor said:

It might be very difficult for someone who is almost omnipotent to find genuine mutual attraction with someone who is emotionally compatible but unable to understand the feelings and problems that the omnipotent character feels. 

Good stuff!  I'm reminded of With This Ring (please forgive me) where OL is told, essentially "I don't know how to feel about a boyfriend who says he'd do anything for me and actually can."

 

But seriously, I do remember hearing more than once that relationship troubles start when the partners aren't equal.

 

4 hours ago, foolishvictor said:

My only point is that some people might find love easily but others really struggle.

Ooo...  Yeah, I think I hit a nerve there.  And admittedly, I only found love by accident.  Trust me, I'd never dismiss someone with "work hard and think positive!"  Gah!  >_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would look into recreating the limitation Independent (-2) for the wish granting gem. It will disappear on the user one day, and can not be found till the player spends the required experience points again.  Pitty it itself dissapeared for 5th and 6th edition. 

 

The GM decides when it goes away, and how it comes back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/14/2021 at 3:06 PM, Tjack said:


   I strongly agree with your second point but your first starts to wander into the field of Theology.  A wonderful discussion and one I’d enjoy having either in another thread or in e-mail. But diving into it here could pull things horribly off topic.

 

I wasn't really intending to start a discussion and I assure you I am not knowledgeable in the realm of theology.  That said, I'm game if you are.  :) It is a fun discussion.

 

The point that I was trying to make (and perhaps I did not do a good job) is that omnipotence would not necessarily lead to love or an emotional satisfying relationship with someone else. 

 

Consider a poor person who believes that having money will fix all of their problems.  That person wins the lottery, inherits a massive business empire or... whatever.  It is possible that having money will fix their problems but I am sure there are examples where it doesn't.  In some cases it may make their situation worse.  Even if the lottery winner had an infinite amount of money the problem is not that they would run out of money.  The problem is that everyone close to them might feel entitled to some of it.  This could leave the infinitely wealthy person feeling like everyone around them is more interested in their money than they are in the person as a person.  That could progress to isolation or a distrusting the motivations of other people.

 

An omnipotent person might face an endless mass of people asking them to cure their cancer or make them happy...  Perhaps one needs to ask if an omnipotent person could retain their humility.

 

If you have the time check out the movie Phenomenon.  It is a good movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

   I’m not exactly knowledgeable about religion, I just survived an Boston Irish Catholic school education.  One of the few points that really spoke to me during the whole thing was when one nun said that “God created Mankind because he wanted and needed someone to love and to love him.” Later in life I was able to audit a course (re: snuck in for the lectures and nobody stopped me) on comparative religions at Harvard and no highly educated philosophy ever made as much sense.

   Now considering the troubles that many winners of big jackpot lotteries you’re right on the money. I have seen Phenomenon and I’ll raise you one.

   I don’t know if you’re a fan of Musicals but you may want to check out one of the songs from Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s called “The Lepers”.  (You can find the videos on YouTube) There’s a sequence where Jesus is beset on all sides by a flood of cripples and lepers all crowding him under in their need to touch him and be healed.

  In closing, I think you did a wonderful job of making your points and this was indeed fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's borrow the classic Spidey line.  With great power comes great responsibility.

 

This is near-infinite power...which means near-infinite responsibility.  And therefore...burden.  Consider someone with perfect healing...can't reverse aging per se, but can eliminate any disease or condition no matter how far advanced, and can fix any non-fatal damage, even brain damage from a stroke, or long term damage from blows (CTE and the like).  This person will have *overwhelming* requests for services.  The more he heals, the more healing gets requested.  Note that I'm assuming the power's limited to a single person, or at most a few people, at a time;  suddenly snapping your fingers and everyone within 100 miles is healed is far, far too much.  I gotta put SOME sanity checks on things.

 

So how long before the hero burns out under this much pressure?

 

Is the gem powerful enough to clean up the oceans?  Or reverse global warming, or the related concern of reversing the increasing acidification of the ocean?  (That's what's damaging the coral reefs.  The ocean is a carbon dioxide sink, but dissolved CO2 becomes carbonic acid, and that has numerous, nasty related impacts.)

 

On the flip side...if the gem IS powerful enough to clean up the oceans, and the hero is constantly called upon to fix the messes everyone thinks they can make now, the whole resentment/burnout cycle comes back into play.  How long can you spend cleaning up other peoples' messes when they refuse to stop making them?

 

Mild spoiler if you haven't read Eddings' Sparhawk books, but at the end, Sparhawk realizes *he* has this much power.  And asks that it be taken...because it can only lead to problems.  Make a perfect world?  By whose definition of perfect?  A loved one asks you to do something...can you refuse, when that will make them unhappy...and by definition, make YOU unhappy?  Can you hear the cry of the lone child amid the anguish of millions?

 

So one tactic to attack Our Hero is to push any of these angles.  You can't tempt him in the normal sense;  you can try to co-opt or sideline him.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/18/2021 at 4:15 PM, unclevlad said:

This is near-infinite power...which means near-infinite responsibility.  And therefore...burden.

 

On 8/17/2021 at 8:58 AM, Greywind said:

"They wanted a piece of me, Pa. They all wanted a piece of me..."

Looks like a very good reason to keep oneself, and the full extent of their powers, hidden...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/12/2021 at 1:44 PM, AlgaeNymph said:

...

 

Then some villain wants to tempt them away from righteousness.  What could they possibly offer that our hero couldn't make themself?

 

Knowledge, the old Faustian temptation.  Does P = NP?  Is there a Grand Unified Theory for particle physics, and how is that coupled to the origin of the physical Universe?  Are cetaceans/cephalopods intelligent, and can one communicate with them, and what insights could one gain from those?  How many life-bearing planets are there in the Galaxy?  What were the circumstances of the abiotic origins of life?  What was the Minoan Civilization about, and how can one read Linear A?  And so on.

 

Now, how the tempter would convince the Man with Everything (MwE) that the tempter could provide those ... or perhaps, meaningful and useful hints on the way to figure those out, which I think is more tempting for someone vulnerable to the Faustian bargain ... is a separate question.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...