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Funding Your War On Crime


Steve
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In the comics, the Batman can self-fund his relentless war on crime thanks to Bruce Wayne’s inherited billions. Peter Parker sells pictures of his masked vigilante activities to pay for his crimefighting expenses. On the other end of the spectrum from Bruce Wayne, the Punisher will blow away drug dealers and other lowlifes before walking out with one or more satchel bags full of cash, repeating as necessary whenever he needs to buy more equipment.

 

How does your character fund their war on crime?

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The criminal could copy what the mafia does.  (Joker does this as well) They will own/operate a small to medium sized business, one large enough for proper income yet small enough to avoid trouble. This business will be a completely legal,  honest operation and if anyone asks to see the books,  nothing will be there to make them think that it's a cover or anything else,  just a proper business like the multiple other out there.

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Self-serve laundromats could work well for that purpose.  You'd need money for the initial setup, but after that it's a minimal investment of time and effort to keep the detergent and snack machines stocked and to collect the change at the end of the day.  You could also hire the plucky gadgeteer genius who builds your weapons and does your computer searches to maintain the machines and keep the place clean.  Self-serve car washes can also work well for this--just a daily visit to make sure the detergent and wax dispensers are full. and the change machine is stocked with quarters.

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10 hours ago, wcw43921 said:

Self-serve laundromats could work well for that purpose. 

And would be ideal given that the character is otherwise likely to run up a huge cleaning bill himself. Blood can be such a persistent stain.

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There are the more modern day versions  - youtubing, programming,  most social networks, etc. With most of these,  if done correctly the person doing it can with a few hours a week make thousands a month for other programs. 

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2 hours ago, Asperion said:

There are the more modern day versions  - youtubing, programming,  most social networks, etc. With most of these,  if done correctly the person doing it can with a few hours a week make thousands a month for other programs. 

I can picture some superheroes live-streaming their adventures. Some villains too (like Foxbat).

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Foxbat, definitely.  Also, every "dark hero's" favorite adversary--a group of pseudo-anarchists who livestream themselves destroying things for the sake of destroying things.  Then the hero shows up, and that's usually the last thing they livestream.

 

I can't really see heroes doing something like that--maybe in a four-colored campaign, but not in the "grim-and-gritty" world of Dark Champions.  Same with a Patreon page, or a GoFundMe campaign.  ("Help me avenge my family's death by freeing me up to beat crooks with my bare hands!")

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5 hours ago, Sundog said:

Maybe a "Dark Net" site. A hangout for pro-Vigilante types with an otherwise innocuous Patreon-style system.

 

Probably would only accept something like Bitcoin.

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We also can't forget the more traditional methods  - such as couterfieting. This could include money (low value bills only higher than $10 will be discovered too quickly), artwork,  literature,  NFT, and effectively anything else that humanity tends to collect. 

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I like the idea of using one or more laundromats as a funding mechanism.

 

It gets bonus points for also being a potential draw for organized crime types looking to sell the new business owner protection.

 

I think most heroes would steal from criminals rather than commit forgery. I could see them committing Leverage-style scams though.

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Yeah robbing criminals is a pretty normal pattern to follow in a lot of cases.  Blade robbed vampires to pay for his crusade.  Another option these days is selling your story, or vids on social media with monetization.  Why sell your stuff to the Daily Planet?  Nobody reads newspapers any more.  But an anonymous Instragam page...

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Another possible funding source are those video casino game arcades.  Those seem to be everywhere--convenience stores, laundromats--heck, I passed by one set up in a double-wide trailer on a road out of town.  You would need someone to make change and sell drinks and snacks, and cash in the occasional big winner--but again, that's a job for your resident genius gadgeteer.

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One of the major supervillains in Drew Hayes' Forging Hephaestus is a HIGH end gadgeteer.  He invents a lot of everyday tech...then spends time dumbing it down so it can actually be made by his company, and it'll work for normals.  STILL works better than anything any normal R&D puts together.  He's basically Microsoft and Sony rolled together.

 

And in both of Hayes' universes (this, and the Super Powereds universe)...merchandising.  In the SPU, supers first appeared in the late 50's.  Since then, they've reshaped pop culture greatly.  Heroes have to be licensed...which is a point I like...and get paid...not great, but they do get paid.  They own all the NIL rights, tho.  In Forging Hephaestus, on the heroes' side, there are all kinds of kickbacks and control things...in some ways, it's like The Boys and their corporate handlers in that regard.  And supers are fawned over.  On the villains' side, it's actually organized...it's a guild.  They offer support services behind the scenes, and take a cut.  

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On 5/20/2022 at 9:05 PM, wcw43921 said:

Self-serve laundromats could work well for that purpose.  You'd need money for the initial setup, but after that it's a minimal investment of time and effort to keep the detergent and snack machines stocked and to collect the change at the end of the day.  You could also hire the plucky gadgeteer genius who builds your weapons and does your computer searches to maintain the machines and keep the place clean.  Self-serve car washes can also work well for this--just a daily visit to make sure the detergent and wax dispensers are full. and the change machine is stocked with quarters.

There's a "money laundering" joke in there somewhere...

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This might work for the less scrupulous heroes out there--provided it would work at all.

 

Years ago I came across a classified ad.  I don't remember where I saw it--it might have been the National Enquirer, it might have been one of the home mechanics & technology magazines--but this is what it said;

 

How would you like to receive several hundred

envelopes each containing one dollar?  Send $1 to

(The Address)

 

Now I'm not always quick on the uptake, and I didn't send away for it myself--but it occurred to me in about two to three seconds that if I did send in a dollar, the answer would be a note like this;

 

If you want to receive several hundred envelopes each

containing one dollar, post an ad in the classifieds saying:

How would you like to receive several hundred

envelopes each containing one dollar?  Send $1 to

(Your Address)

 

Good Luck getting your Gamemaster to go along with this.  And if you try it in real life--let me know how it goes.

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  • 1 month later...

Heroes could make their calling pay legally: bounties, reward money, PI work, high profile security, bodyguarding.

 

They could liscence themselves out to toymakers, movie studios (featuring Incrediperson as themselves), ghost writers, video games, etc....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heroes can be funded by a patron, who might be a wealthy individual, a corporation, or some government organization (possibly covert).  While initially the interests of the hero and the patron align, at some point there is going to be conflict, either over the direction things are going or the methods used.  Or the patron might just be corrupt and it takes a while for the hero to realize that.  Lots of role-playing potential.

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  • 1 month later...

A lot of dark champions characters are highly skilled.  Many of those characters have skills that would normally make them fairly wealthy.  More often than not most of these type characters can easily earn enough money to survive by using those skills.  The reason they are not wealthy is that they are spending most of their time fighting crime so don’t earn as much as they could.   Instead of working full time they work as independent contractors.  Their level of skill allows them to get the work done in a fraction of the time, but they bill it as if they were less skilled.  For example, someone who is a world class programmer could work as an independent contractor for a tech company.  It takes him a day or two to write what would take a lesser programmer a month to do.

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You have to remember, most Dark Champions characters operate outside the law, especially if they're likely to use deadly force against their enemies.  Stealing from them to finance their operations would not be that big a deal to those "heroes"--after all, what's grand theft auto compared to murder, battery with a deadly weapon, and destruction of private property?

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