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Code VS Killing Poll

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

"Heroes don't kill" is a matter of opinion.

Cops are forced to kill criminals, does that make them any less heroes?

 

Faulty premise. Cops are not automatically heroic, and an individual cop is not automatically a hero, nor should a cop, without cause, be treated as a hero.

 

Heroic cops are heroes. Holding a job which is dangerous is not enough to be a hero, or else we'd see a whole lot more statues to dead Alaskan crab fisherman.

 

Please see my earlier posted opinions in re: the definition of "hero" and "heroism" for more information.

 

 

 

Sometimes, IMHO, killing someone is the most heroic thing- sacrificing something dear to you to protect others.

 

Killing is not heroic. Audie Murphy was not awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for killing Germans. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for having the courage to stand and fight despite grievous odds. The killing was secondary.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Killing is not heroic. Audie Murphy was not awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for killing Germans. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for having the courage to stand and fight despite grievous odds. The killing was secondary.

Ah, then you agree. Any Heroic character can kill, since killing doesn't define heroism or non-heroism.

 

Obviously then, the motives behind the actions might have some influence over whether the character is heroic or not.

 

Just Some Musings (8^D)

 

- Christopher Mullins

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Ah' date=' then you agree. Any Heroic character can kill, since killing doesn't define heroism or non-heroism.[/quote']

 

 

Sure, heroes can if circumstance calls for it and the need is great. But superheroes do not kill.

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

"Heroes don't kill" is a matter of opinion.

 

It's an observation, actually: a descriptive statement (a false one, since it is clearly contradicted by observable facts).

 

"Heroes shouldn't kill" is an opinion, or normative statement (one which I agree with, at least when taken as a general case).

 

There was a really good line from the movie Dr. Caligari (1990), which I have used as the motto of at least one Champions villain (and probably shall do so again):

 

"Superior beings shouldn't kill, but superior beings shouldn't have to live with vermin, either."

 

A good line for a villain. :eg:

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Sure' date=' heroes can if circumstance calls for it and the need is great. But superheroes do not kill.[/quote']

Superheros are a subset of Heroes. Hence, they inherit the same qualities. (8^D)

 

Just Pulling Your Chain.

 

If you mean that Superheroes should by their nature and genre never be presented with a situation where they only have one choice, to kill or face even more dire consequences, then that's strictly your opinion.

 

However, other's opinions are just as valid that include those circumstances where the Superhero is faced with that one situation. If they choose to kill, they suffer the consequences. If they choose not kill, they suffer the consequences. Either way, that choice in and of itself does not automatically make them UnSuperheroic, or Superheroic.

 

- Christopher Mullins

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

However, other's opinions are just as valid that include those circumstances where the Superhero is faced with that one situation. If they choose to kill, they suffer the consequences. If they choose not kill, they suffer the consequences. Either way, that choice in and of itself does not automatically make them UnSuperheroic, or Superheroic.

 

Actually, killing, especially in a gratuitous manner, does exactly that.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Actually' date=' killing, especially in a gratuitous manner, does exactly that.[/quote']

Ah, then you agree again. It's not the act of killing itself that determines UnSuperheroism or Superheroism. It's the motive (gratuitous manner implies this) behind it. Thanks. (8^D)

 

- Christopher Mullins

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

If they choose not kill' date=' they suffer the consequences. Either way, that choice in and of itself does not automatically make them UnSuperheroic, or Superheroic.[/quote']

 

It might, actually.

 

There is a school of thought -- let's call it the "lifeboat test". From this point of view, what you truly are is reflected by the actions you take in extremis, such as when you and a few other people are adrift in a lifeboat, with a limited supply of food and water and so on, with no sign of rescue in the foreseeable future. If you subscribe to this point of view, how you react to an extreme situation -- whether you kill or don't kill, whether you push the weak people out of the lifeboat or you fight to prevent others from doing so -- is precisely what displays your true character. As someone else in this thread said, Superman doesn't kill, but then again, he doesn't have to in order to deal with the challenges he encounters. So is that really a good test of his character?

 

The other main point of view is that, obviously, people do not live in lifeboats: how you behave and live your life on a day-to-day basis is what really defines you and what kind of person you are. So from this point of view Superman would be a hero, because acts like one on a daily basis, and he obviously wouldn't have to do so if he didn't want to.

 

For myself, I think philosophy is bunk, and I do not buy a word of it.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

To the "heroes never kill" crowd: is it ABSOLUTELY impossible for a hero to face a situation where killing is necessary? Not all superhumans are granted powers that let them neutralize opponents without injuring them. Is it heroic to let a hundred innocent people die horrible deaths because you refused to kill one villain? One person?

 

Scenario: you are a police officer, responding to reports of a crazed individual on a killing spree. You have found him, and have him at gunpoint, but he is determined to take as many people with him as possible and curently swinging his shotgun toward a cornered citizen. You know that he's perfectly capable of killing; he's done it several times in the last twenty minutes. You know, based on your own shooting skills, that you probably can't hit the shotgun or his arms from where you're standing, but you have a very good chance of making a torso shot. You have perhaps half a second to make your choice.

 

Are you telling me that a "hero" should let that citizen die?

 

Sometimes--not so often for supers, but it can still happen--you find a situtation, where, given your avaiable tools, you must choose between killing the villain and letting innocents die. In my mind, a hero should be able to accept the social, legal, and psychological consequences, and do what is necessary.

 

Zeropoint

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

The hero' date=' if he's really a hero and not a serial killer whose favorite victim is criminals, will find a way to both free the hostage and capture the villain. And if the GM is worthy of the title, he'll have already thought of a way that the hero can do so without 1) blowing whatever internal realism exists in his gameworld and B) making it so easy that its not worth the time or effort.[/quote']

 

WM is exactly right.

 

An instance that comes to mind is in the Spiderman movie when Green Goblin has MJ and the whatsit full of school kids, and he tries to make Spiderman choose which he will save. Instead of choosing one over the other, Spidey saves both.

 

It's also like Admiral Kirk says in The Wrath of Khan. (Whoops, wrong genre..) "I don't believe in the no-win situation."

 

Cat

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

It might, actually.

 

There is a school of thought -- let's call it the "lifeboat test". From this point of view, what you truly are is reflected by the actions you take in extremis, such as when you and a few other people are adrift in a lifeboat, with a limited supply of food and water and so on, with no sign of rescue in the foreseeable future. If you subscribe to this point of view, how you react to an extreme situation -- whether you kill or don't kill, whether you push the weak people out of the lifeboat or you fight to prevent others from doing so -- is precisely what displays your true character. As someone else in this thread said, Superman doesn't kill, but then again, he doesn't have to in order to deal with the challenges he encounters. So is that really a good test of his character?

 

The other main point of view is that, obviously, people do not live in lifeboats: how you behave and live your life on a day-to-day basis is what really defines you and what kind of person you are. So from this point of view Superman would be a hero, because acts like one on a daily basis, and he obviously wouldn't have to do so if he didn't want to.

 

For myself, I think philosophy is bunk, and I do not buy a word of it.

Hmmm... interesting, but they do not apply to my quote.

 

Philosophy is an interesting exercise, but I've rarely found it practical in everyday living. So I'll try to bring the focus back to the threads original question.

 

What is the purpose of a CVK Disadvantage for the Player?

To help gain points and further define your character's concept.

 

What is the purpose of a CVK Disadvantage for the GM?

To give the GM an opportunity to create a challenge for the character that tests that very CVK and let the character grow from the consequences of the character's decision.

 

Just My Humble Opinion

 

- Christopher Mullins

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

I normally play the #1 and #2 guys.

 

I associate superheroes with persons with some kind of moral authority to champion issues of right vs. wrong. I don't necessarily believe that that's right vs. wrong is always a black and white issue, but superheroes are supposed to represent the struggle to choose in favor of the more difficult, better parts of our natures...

 

IMHO, for superheroes a choice to kill isn't ever the right decision. Sometimes, however, it's the necessary decision.

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

An instance that comes to mind is in the Spiderman movie when Green Goblin has MJ and the whatsit full of school kids' date=' and he tries to make Spiderman choose which he will save. Instead of choosing one over the other, Spidey saves both.[/quote']

 

So you think the GM should always ensure that a superhero is never really faced with a decision between the lives of two (or more) different people.

 

I do not agree, but I will go so far as to say that I think it would be better not to do that than it would be to do it poorly.

 

A long time ago, I had a character who had a special form of Danger Sense that prevented him from teleporting into solid objects (doing so had pretty horrific consequences in those days). He was in a situation where he was physically unable to injure the villain (his nemesis), and the villain was putting him in the same "choose which person dies" scenario. Except, in this case, it was a real choice: at any moment, the villain was going to press a button, and one person or the other was going to die.

 

"You think you are offering me a choice between [NPC 1] and [NPC 2]," Darknight said. "I have another choice: one which you would never even consider. This is why you will always lose."

 

Darknight made his choice: he deliberately teleported into the villain, obliterating them both.

 

(The GM pulled a Deus Ex Machina and allowed Darknight to survive, which I thought cheapened the sacrifice somewhat. But I didn't complain.)

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Hmmm... interesting' date=' but they do not apply to my quote.[/quote']

 

It applies directly to your quotation. I'm disappointed that you don't realize it.

 

Ah, well. Life goes on.

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

How can the necessary choice not be the right choice?

 

It's the "paladins feel badly about killing evil creatures" argument. It's nonsense, but we're a nonsensical species. It's better not to think too hard about it. After all, as Hippocrates once said, philosophy is of little practical value in everyday life. :celebrate

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

I'd phrase that as "the necessary choice isn't the comfortable choice", myself. Maybe I'm using "right" differently than everyone else.

 

Zeropoint

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Sure' date=' heroes can if circumstance calls for it and the need is great. But superheroes do not kill.[/quote']

 

To paraphrase you, Faulty Premise- it is sometimes necessary for superheoes to save lives. Are they then no longer heroes, or no longer super?

ps: short list of superheroes who have killed-

Captain America

Superman

Collosus

Ultimate Jean Grey

(I might be able to wrack my mind for a longer list but I don't want to start hitting borderline cases like anti-heroes or those with savage instincts like Wolverine.)

 

PPS: A perfect example of my belief that power differential makes a huge change in the equation: Vance Astrovik killinghis father accidentally. Now, had his father been beating him and he were not a mutant, he would have gotten off(most likely, not 100%), but because he could have easily stopped his father without harming him, let alone killing him, he was found guilty and went to prison. Killing did not make him a hero, but living up to the consequences of his actions did- he went to prison and not only had a clear chance to free himself, he actually stopped the attempted breakout by other prisoners. He wa no less a hero for his one moment of rage and loss of control, he just heroic at that time.

 

Just because you believe something doesn;t mean its true Jack, not here outside of your game world... :whistle:

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

ps: short list of superheroes who have killed-

Captain America

Superman

Collosus

Ultimate Jean Grey

 

Question (from someone who hasn't read comics in a while):

What were the circumstances of these killings and who died?

 

I ask because I want to know if the heroes made the decision to kill, or if the death happened as an incidental effect from the use of a superpower? Also, were there other options each time, or did the writer make it a no-win situation to cause the hero some angst?

 

Curious, me. ;)

 

Mags

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

No' date=' I'm not ignoring them. I classify them for the most part as "acts of desparation taken as last resorts when there truly is no other course of action".[/quote']

 

That's all I was shooting for, man--some acknowledgement that it does sometimes happen.

 

I see where you're going with the reference to a quality GM, though. As far as playing goes, I agree that the characters shouldn't be railroaded into killing, and that the superhero always looks for an alternative. One of the things I love about J. Tiberius Kirk is his determination to find the solution where none exists. However, sometimes it simply doesn't.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

The follow up was to Wanderer' date=' who occupies the seat next to Seenar on the Why Am I Bothering To Treat This Mook With Respect bus.[/quote']

I can't tell how much is Wanderer adjusting to the boards AND us to him versus his intrinsic style. To be fair, Jack, we've adjusted to you and certainly vice-versa, and I hope you get the sense that I mean that in a good way, i.e., now I know you're a good guy as well as you have worked towards dealing with us HERO boarders. :)

 

I guess that's a way of saying: yeah, point taken and I see why you did that; but at the same time let's see what happens if we cut the guy a little (not too much) slack.

 

I speak from a different angle on this...my first impressions of a few people on these boards have been (to be blunt) piss-poor but between them and me getting to a point of understanding I've grown to like them quite a bit.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

"Heroes don't kill" is a matter of opinion.

Cops are forced to kill criminals, does that make them any less heroes?

I think what it really comes down to is the power differential. Superman should rarely need ot kill- he clarly outpowwers most others to the point that he cannot be put into a situation where killing is his only option. That was the point of the execution of three other-dimensional Kryptonians by him- they were each more powerful and together they killed everyone on that dimension's earth. Superman reaized they might get free and do it again on his earth, so he killed them. Batman not killing the Joker, while heroic, is also arrogant and nearly a form of madness IMHO- "Sorry the Joker killed your family Jenny, but when I had the chance to kill him I decided I was too noble for that." Sometimes, IMHO, killing someone is the most heroic thing- sacrificing something dear to you to protect others.

But, in your specific example (not really disagreeing with your larger point), it's actually easy for Batman to kill. He does not kill lest he really becomes mad - it's a sinkhole that once he enters he won't get out of. And in that, he symbolizes that dark, veangeful place in us which he must rise above "or else".

 

PS - BTW, have you been avoiding the politics in NGD? Haven't seen you much, I think, there. Hope you're well!

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

I think CVK arguments get heated because they go to the heart of the matter for us, as a community, ideologically. I think, very broadly speaking, we are engaged in superhero fantasy because of a notion of a higher nobility and a sense of responsiblity (regardless of our ability or willingness to exercise that in our real lives). So this opens up that fundamental ideological can of worms of to what degree those of "us" (in our fantasy) can exercise our power over others. It is the heart of politics - the notion of how government should exercise its power. It is the question of "Okay, let's, for a moment, presume I'm smarter than you - do I hold the power of life and death over you, even if you're a cheating vermin scum?"

 

So we are very invested in this argument with good reason.

 

Just a tangent...

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Question (from someone who hasn't read comics in a while):

What were the circumstances of these killings and who died?

 

I ask because I want to know if the heroes made the decision to kill, or if the death happened as an incidental effect from the use of a superpower? Also, were there other options each time, or did the writer make it a no-win situation to cause the hero some angst?

 

Curious, me. ;)

 

Mags

 

Some heroes that have been forced to kill (that I know of):

 

Colossus: During the Mutant Massacre, a battle was ensuing in the sewers with the Marauders involving one particularly lethal fellow called Riptide(?) who hurled shurikens with enough force to penetrate even Colossus's steel hide. The X-Men were losing (bad!). IIRC, one of them went down, and Peter, fearing they would all be killed, advanced into the storm of Riptide's blades as only he could survive to, and snapped Riptide's neck. Talk about your PRE attacks! I believe his line was "Pray to your gods, little man. You're next." The Marauders wisely retreated.

It was an incredible moment, and I remember being stunned when I first read it. Aftermath: Colossus nearly died from the attack himself, and Magneto tried to repair him, which trapped him in the steel form for a long time. Also, the villains brought Riptide back to life later, but still Peter had made the conscious decision to take a life. He was never quite the same.

 

Superman: Shortly after the Byrne reboot, Superman faced General Zod and his Kryptonian cohorts. Realizing that he could never permanently hold them, as powerful as they were, and that they were irredeemable sociopaths, he exposed them to green kryptonite on the moon(?). Immediately afterward he swore an oath never to kill again. Byrne's way of rationalizing the CVK, I believe.

Coincidentally, the final story before the reboot had Superman kill a psychopathic Mr. Mxyztptlk out of desperation to save the people he loved in his fortress of solitude. Out of guilt, he exposed himself to gold kryptonite, robbing himself of his powers permanently. It was supposedly an imaginary story, and the entire continuity was wiped soon afterward anyway.

And then there's Doomsday. And it's hard to believe that no one died from his incredibly reckless actions in the War of the Worlds storyline (though he invoked his CVK during certain actions there).

 

The (Barry Allen) Flash: His arch nemesis, Professor Zoom, aka the Reverse Flash, had killed Barry's first fiance on his wedding day. Eventually Barry fell in love again and even got engaged. Zoom showed up again and vowed to do the same thing. Barry was forced to kill Zoom by breaking his neck to save his fiance.

He went on trial for murder and disappeared. Shortly thereafter he died during the CRISIS, sacrificing himself to save the universe. This, btw, is one of the very few permanent deaths in either universe.

 

Captain America: Now, this is a tricky one. It has been debated by more knowledgeable Cap scholars than I whether or not he killed anyone during WWII. I believe that there have been other moments, but the one I'm thinking of is actually an alternate storyline, Universe X. Still, I bring it up because much of the story centered around Cap and the godawful predicament he was placed in, and it was done so well. There's a lot to it, but essentially he was forced to kill a boy with the power to control everyone's minds and bodies calling himself the Red Skull. The Skull intentionally left Cap free-willed in order to taunt him with his helplessness. Cap finally realized that the only way to free the world was to kill the Skull. He kept saying how sorry he was even during the kill--broke his neck I believe (seeing a pattern here...). He delivered the eulogy for the boy saying how sorry he was that he couldn't save the Skull. It was a very good soliloquy.

 

Batman: As has been noted, Batman was originally a killer, or at the very least, someone who didn't go out of his way to save a villain from dying. The interesting thing about him now, though, is his remarkable refusal to kill the Joker. In the Killing Joke, Gordon, who had been brutalized by the Joker and whose daughter had just been paralyzed by Mr. J. begged Batman not to kill the Joker when he caught him. "We have to show him that our way works," he implored. In the DKR, Batman finally gave in and broke the Joker's neck, but he made sure to leave him alive and paralyzed. The Joker's final revenge was to wrench his own neck the rest of the way so that he died.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

I've been thinking of this, and I might have come to a conclusion:

 

Superheroes don't kill, and are, for the most part, incapable of it. This is due to several facts. 1) Superheroes aren't real. They exist only in our imagination. 2) The world of Superheroes is traditionally a black & white rendition of reality that's been candied up for the children. 3) In our collective imagination, Superheroes embody the essence of "better than that" to the Nth degree. 4) The world in which Superheroes reside always provides a way around killing.

 

Of course, I'm defining "Superhero" the way anyone who'd say "superheroes don't kill" would. Personally, I don't define Superhero like that. I find it limited and childish. I don't like to think about "how would so-and-so save himself, all the hostages and still manage to bring the villian to justice." I like to think about "what so-and-so is willing to do or sacrifice to either save himself and/or the hostages and/or bring the villian to justice."

 

To take a scenario presented above: our here has a weapon, capable of killing with a single shot (at least in this circumstance). He is faced with a madman who is also armed with a leathal weapon. The madman as already killed several people and is about to kill again. Our hero commands him to stop, but the villain ignores him and prepares to fire again, killing another innocent. What would a Superhero do?

 

To use the "don't kill" definition, the hero will, without hesitation, use his lethal weapon to destroy the weapon of the madman. There is no other solution. It is the weapon causing the destruction, and without it the madman is powerless. Without his weapon, and seeing the hero still with his, her surrenders.

 

This is about the furtherest from realistic we can possibly get, but it's the traditional, Golden Age genre. In a more realistic game, the odds of successfully striking the weapon in a way to render it useless (due to damage or disarming) is pitiful compared to a general body shot that's likely to kill the madman. Hell, a hastily aimed head shot is easier. What would you rather have on our superhero's conscience: killing a madman, or allowing a madman to kill an innocent because you botched a shot as his gun? Which of these sounds more heroic?

 

The modern age of comics, and since the Silver Age, as place our superheroes in situations that are more realistic than "save everybody, nobody dies, nothing sacrificed but time" adventures. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking the more realistic rendering of Superheroes are far more entertaining and enjoyable as well.

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