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Code VS Killing Poll

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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.[/quote']

"Attempt to find...", yes, time permitting. The luxury of time is occasionally not an option. Not even "Heroes", regardless of how one defines the term, are always going to come up with the perfact plan on the spur of the moment... unless, perhaps, they're "Very Experienced Heroes".

 

And if the GM is worthy of the title' date=' 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']

A bit of a subjective statement; as a GM, I don't feel obligated to think of every possible contingency associated with the players' possible actions. I do feel obligated to be fair and objective when assessing the short and long term effects of such actions.

 

As to an even earlier comment, I always warn a player about the application of any CvK, because they don't typically fit the more realistic tone I run. If they insist (as occasionally happens), I require some explanation as to why the PC thinks this way.

 

Another issue regarding CvKs, or any other Psych Lim, for that matter: as a GM, if someone gets points for a limitation, I'm going to put them in situations where they'll have to make difficult decisions associated with it; that's why they got points for it.

 

John T

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

(whoops that other post crept in - this was in response to Dust Raven above)

 

But...there's that kid in (some of) us who wants to be the Punisher. That view of the superhero holds out the vigilante as not only super-policeman (as it were) but also judge, jury, and executioner. For whatever reason (and I will avoid going there) this view seems to be more prevalent these days than in the past, but has always lurked in the background with our pulp (non-super, yes) heroes such as Spider or even the Shadow. Some (and others might say "all" but I disagree) of this desire is nothing more than the "I wanna beat that bully up worse than he did me" power trip, but I think some of this is just as legitimately, "I've lost all faith in the insitutions of our society - family, government, education, religion, economics - to mete out justice. SOMEONE's got to save the world!" A sort of grimmer take on Captain Metropolis, who always comes to my mind as that flip-side of heroes, the naive, hurt hero who stands alone as even his fellow supers laugh at his "Someone's got to save the world" line. And for every Captain Metropolis who ends up hapless and sadly killed by a world too brutal for him, there arises a Punisher (or as in Impact Comics Black Hood or so on) who is willing to take on that snide, snivelling, sneering world and challenge its assumptions.

 

Don't get me wrong. I think the superhero genre is best when killing is restrained, generally. But I think there's room and I think there's a reason for the less restrained view. And I thnk it retains heroism under the collection of circumstances I described above (see post 25, http://www.herogames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=400798&postcount=25). When it crosses that line it is no longer truly "heroic", although then again, and I didn't state this earlier, I don't think it exactly disqualiifes the character as a "superhero" in terms of wording used, even though I'd call them an "anti-hero superhero". And btw there's nothing (intrinsically) wrong with anti-heroes - they're just not heroes.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

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.

*shrugs* That situation didn't force him into a choice of killing the villain or letting the victims die, and his ability to rescue everyone involved isn't applicable to every hero or situation.

 

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

And yet, that's exactly what he had at the end of the film, and the one that followed it. In any reality where "realism" is more prevalent than "optimism", a no-win situation is always a possibility, even inevitable, sooner or later. Being a Hero (Super or otherwise) isn't defined by a 100% success rate, IMO; it's defined by surviving the choices and going back out there to do what you know is right.

 

John T

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

(whoops that other post crept in - this was in response to Dust Raven above).

Yeah, I'm sneaky that way! :D Dust Raven beat me to the punch, too. Are the three of us leapfrogging each other? :)

 

John T

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Ribbit! Where's Hypnofrog (toad?) when ya need 'im?

 

John T

Well, in the NGD word game, we just discovered Hyper-Man is actually Hyper-Frog, perhaps he can help!

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

(whoops that other post crept in - this was in response to Dust Raven above)

 

But...there's that kid in (some of) us who wants to be the Punisher. That view of the superhero holds out the vigilante as not only super-policeman (as it were) but also judge, jury, and executioner. For whatever reason (and I will avoid going there) this view seems to be more prevalent these days than in the past, but has always lurked in the background with our pulp (non-super, yes) heroes such as Spider or even the Shadow. Some (and others might say "all" but I disagree) of this desire is nothing more than the "I wanna beat that bully up worse than he did me" power trip, but I think some of this is just as legitimately, "I've lost all faith in the insitutions of our society - family, government, education, religion, economics - to mete out justice. SOMEONE's got to save the world!" A sort of grimmer take on Captain Metropolis, who always comes to my mind as that flip-side of heroes, the naive, hurt hero who stands alone as even his fellow supers laugh at his "Someone's got to save the world" line. And for every Captain Metropolis who ends up hapless and sadly killed by a world too brutal for him, there arises a Punisher (or as in Impact Comics Black Hood or so on) who is willing to take on that snide, snivelling, sneering world and challenge its assumptions.

 

Don't get me wrong. I think the superhero genre is best when killing is restrained, generally. But I think there's room and I think there's a reason for the less restrained view. And I thnk it retains heroism under the collection of circumstances I described above (see post 25, http://www.herogames.com/forums/showpost.php?p=400798&postcount=25). When it crosses that line it is no longer truly "heroic", although then again, and I didn't state this earlier, I don't think it exactly disqualiifes the character as a "superhero" in terms of wording used, even though I'd call them an "anti-hero superhero". And btw there's nothing (intrinsically) wrong with anti-heroes - they're just not heroes.

I think you're going right along with something that I forgot to include in my last post:

 

The idea that superheroes don't kill is an idealistic fantasy. Superheroes are, of course, themselves an idealistic fantasy regardless whether or not they kill. So ultimately it doesn't mater.

 

My ultimate point is that I don't define Superheroism as not killing. Me personally, if I had superpowers, wouldn't kill unless I was forced to. And I probably would live my entire life without that need. Would that make be "super"? And if I was force to kill, would that bar me from being "super"? Let's say Superman was never put into a sutiation he couldn't solve without killing. Is is any more super for never being tested? What about Spiderman, when he intimidated the killer of his uncle right out a window and to his death? Is Spiderman less super because he allowed him to die, when a simple web could have caught him?

 

I guess I'm just starting to ask too many questions, but with superheroes being what they are, and what they are seen as, this issue is either cut and dry, black & white (the hero who does make that shot and disables the shotgun is a superhero, and the hero who kills the madman is just a hero) or not even close (the hero that made the shot to disable the shotgun was obviously not in a possition to be tested, and never will be in a possition where there actually will be a need to kill, or likely let die, so how can he be a hero at all?).

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Well' date=' in the NGD word game, we just discovered Hyper-Man is actually Hyper-Frog, perhaps he can help![/quote']

Perhaps, but this Chaos-worshipper is too zonked to wait for him. :P

 

G'night!

 

John T

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Yeah, shame on you! :D

 

And g'night to you, too.

 

John T

g'night John (though you still haven't told me what part of Phoenix you're in, for all I know your across the street! Was that I light I just saw go out?)

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

This has been a very interesting read for me, since I am soon to be reviving a character from a campaign that has been in mothballs for a bit, and I have been trying to figure out how to do her disad on her to-concept rewrite.

 

Descant is an ex-villain. She used to work with her family as Dischord, under the direction of her megalomaniacal uncle, Nightblade. She focused on enjoyment of her newly-gained (stolen serum) powers rather than dealing with the issue that she was, in fact, a robber and a criminal, as she felt she had no choice but to follow orders (when a parent/guardian is in charge of a bunch of superpowered minors, and he has stronger powers, it's a hard habit to break!). She finally risked her own health and quit the team and ran away because Nightblade murdered two guards during a botched museum heist, and seemed not to care he had taken life. She couldn't deal with this, and finally found the courage to leave. Her disad was listed, when I began playing her, in the good ol' #1-#2 range... techincally at the former (Common/Total).

 

Never has Descant had any desire to use her sonic powers to kill another human being... not even the more than irritating insane vigilantes and the pesky, always escaping villains... not even Nightblade himself. But now, she has found the common thread to her past... a chemist who devised, reworked, and experimented with the serum her family all ingested. This man has taken the lives of many, he has mutated unwilling subjects into horrific murderous beasts, he has warped the minds of more than one group of young teenagers and turned them against society, he has ruined the lives of several people she's met, and even a few she's worked with... and there's not telling when he will stop, or if he can be made to. He has many people working for him, many contacts, and lots of connections. And if he stays alive, it is a guarantee more people will pay the price... death, or in some cases even worse.

 

...And Descant wants to kill him.

 

As of this time, he's the only person in the entire universe who is on her hit list. And she's not even sure she could do it herself if it came down to it. But she wants him dead. She has thought long and hard about this, dealing with Nightblade and her past, and she has determined she would not lift a finger to save his life if given the opportunity. She might even, in a snap-decision moment, kill him herself, and would not even blink if the life of even one innocent were in immediate danger if he lived.

 

But is he the sole exception to the rule, a sadistic figure from her haunted past who is one of those "angst-ridden plot-twists" in comic books where supers don't/VERYrarely kill, or is she actually at a different level of this disad?

 

Or is it a judgment call worthy of debate?

 

Hard to say. Ultimately it is between the GM and myself, and I will follow his rule; this thread certainly made me think a lot about it though. Kudos to the many intelligent people who participated (even despite the small moments of flaming) in a very intriguing discussion!

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

g'night John (though you still haven't told me what part of Phoenix you're in' date=' for all I know your across the street! Was that I light I just saw go out?)[/quote']

He answered you in another thread - http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?p=401806#post401806

 

(PS - this should just reinforce that I am everywhere and see everything... :sneaky: )

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

This has been a very interesting read for me, since I am soon to be reviving a character from a campaign that has been in mothballs for a bit, and I have been trying to figure out how to do her disad on her to-concept rewrite.

 

Descant is an ex-villain. She used to work with her family as Dischord, under the direction of her megalomaniacal uncle, Nightblade. She focused on enjoyment of her newly-gained (stolen serum) powers rather than dealing with the issue that she was, in fact, a robber and a criminal, as she felt she had no choice but to follow orders (when a parent/guardian is in charge of a bunch of superpowered minors, and he has stronger powers, it's a hard habit to break!). She finally risked her own health and quit the team and ran away because Nightblade murdered two guards during a botched museum heist, and seemed not to care he had taken life. She couldn't deal with this, and finally found the courage to leave. Her disad was listed, when I began playing her, in the good ol' #1-#2 range... techincally at the former (Common/Total).

 

Never has Descant had any desire to use her sonic powers to kill another human being... not even the more than irritating insane vigilantes and the pesky, always escaping villains... not even Nightblade himself. But now, she has found the common thread to her past... a chemist who devised, reworked, and experimented with the serum her family all ingested. This man has taken the lives of many, he has mutated unwilling subjects into horrific murderous beasts, he has warped the minds of more than one group of young teenagers and turned them against society, he has ruined the lives of several people she's met, and even a few she's worked with... and there's not telling when he will stop, or if he can be made to. He has many people working for him, many contacts, and lots of connections. And if he stays alive, it is a guarantee more people will pay the price... death, or in some cases even worse.

 

...And Descant wants to kill him.

 

As of this time, he's the only person in the entire universe who is on her hit list. And she's not even sure she could do it herself if it came down to it. But she wants him dead. She has thought long and hard about this, dealing with Nightblade and her past, and she has determined she would not lift a finger to save his life if given the opportunity. She might even, in a snap-decision moment, kill him herself, and would not even blink if the life of even one innocent were in immediate danger if he lived.

 

But is he the sole exception to the rule, a sadistic figure from her haunted past who is one of those "angst-ridden plot-twists" in comic books where supers don't/VERYrarely kill, or is she actually at a different level of this disad?

 

Or is it a judgment call worthy of debate?

 

Hard to say. Ultimately it is between the GM and myself, and I will follow his rule; this thread certainly made me think a lot about it though. Kudos to the many intelligent people who participated (even despite the small moments of flaming) in a very intriguing discussion!

The "heroic" thing is to rise above but...the other heroic thing is to do it and then learn from it.

 

We have a character who did that; I've mentioned it elsewhere here and don't care to bore anyone further, but basically he killed the guy who brutally killed his mother. And he allowed to die (could have probably but not certainly stopped the murder of) the Kingpin, who was the figure behind getting his mother killed. Through a convoluted series of steps (including the Necronomicon!) he's come full circle and is paying for his crimes - he just turned himself in for the murder of his mother's assassin.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

In response to a chat with Dust Raven off the boards (good to have roommates!) and to your post, I have discovered Descant actually has not changed her position.

 

Had she a chance to kill him, had she planned gotten herself into a position where she could take him out of this world with little repercussions, it is actually likely that when the moment came, she could probably not do it.

 

My only remaining concern is whether or not she could actually bring herself to intervene if another ghost from this guy's past showed up and wanted to kill him. If the Law of Consequence brought the chemist face-to-face with an enemy he made through his won transgressions, it would be the one time it would actually be VERY hard for her to stand up and stop the potential killer. She knows a few personally who have lost loved ones and had their way of life ruined by this man. She may not have the impulse to do it herself when it came down to the wire... but could she take it away from somebody with a different moral code? Normally, yes. She'll do anything to stop a killer. But in this case? It would depend entirely on how the scene played out. And if she did intervene, it would probably only be for the benefit of the one victimized by the criminal, to spare them from becoming "just like him".

 

Like I said... the issue of CvK disads is not nearly as cut-and-dry as one might think. It gets very hard in a good game to sort out feelings towards those who don't feel the same about life and death that your character does.

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

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.

 

What part of my "extreme circumstances/last resort" statement did you not comprehend?

 

In any case, even when given such a situation, a true hero will try to find solution #3, wherein both the hostage and the bad guy lives.

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

To paraphrase you' date=' Faulty Premise- it is sometimes necessary for superheoes to save lives. Are they then no longer heroes, or no longer super?[/quote']

 

The latter, depending on their other actions.

 

 

 

ps: short list of superheroes who have killed-

Captain America

 

During World War II. The circumstances excuse the action.

 

 

 

Superman

 

This was one of those extreme circumstance/last resort situations I mentioned. The circumstances excuse the action.

 

 

 

Collosus

 

This was the first step in his downward slide toward supervillainy. Hardly a shining example.

 

 

 

Ultimate Jean Grey

 

Iron Age comic book, where "heroes" are little more than anti-social thugs with little moral sense. Again, hardly a shining example.

 

 

 

 

Vance Astrovik killing his father accidentally.

 

Causing a death accidentally is a whole different animal from intentionally ending the life of another person. This example is thus off point, and not worth consideration.

 

(Though from a legal standpoint, the falderall that sent him to prison is nonsense. Any defense lawyer worthy of the title would have been able to get him off...)

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Guest Worldmaker

Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

I see where you're going with the reference to a quality GM' date=' 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.[/quote']

 

 

Sometimes it doesn't, right. I agree. But personally, I don't believe in the no-win scenario either.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

But now, she has found the common thread to her past... a chemist who devised, reworked, and experimented with the serum her family all ingested. This man has taken the lives of many, he has mutated unwilling subjects into horrific murderous beasts, he has warped the minds of more than one group of young teenagers and turned them against society, he has ruined the lives of several people she's met, and even a few she's worked with... and there's not telling when he will stop, or if he can be made to. He has many people working for him, many contacts, and lots of connections. And if he stays alive, it is a guarantee more people will pay the price... death, or in some cases even worse.

 

...And Descant wants to kill him.

 

To be honest, he sounds like a pretty standard bust. Just make sure that there's enough evidence against him to lock him up forever. Of course, someone will try to get him to work for them, so Descant will see him again. :)

 

If all else fails, arrange a situation where someone else kills him, or he has an accident.

 

In my games, prisons generally aren't built with revolving doors.

 

Oh, and if you want a villain to die and stay dead, make sure you point this out to the GM.

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Guest Worldmaker

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."

 

Well.

 

Excuse me for being limited and childish, but you just described the entire rationale behind my statement that superheroes do not kill.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Well, its been my experience that, if the villains keep escaping everytime the heroes (PCs) capture them, that eventually the Players will rationalize their PCs killing those villains (certain ones at least) instead to prevent them from killing more innocents. If the heroes are 'rewarded' by seeing capture as an effective means to crimefighting, then they will capture more often, rather than justified/unjustified killing.

 

So I try to avoid the 'instant escape mode' that some GMs fall into. The way I see it, how can I expect the heroes to face the consequences of their actions if they never see the villains having to face the consequences? Besides, there are plenty of other villains to keep the PCs busy (but not enough villains that the PCs can take them all out permanently- this isn't D&D or a video game).

 

 

Mags

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Well.

 

Excuse me for being limited and childish, but you just described the entire rationale behind my statement that superheroes do not kill.

You say that like being limited and childish is a bad thing... ;)

 

Honestly, it's exactly what it is, in the same way any fairy-tale is. The basic plot is something "evil threatens, goods stands against it, good prevails without committing anything remotely evil itself"

 

Without the threat of death, or the possibility of a hero to question his actions, or have his actions questioned by others, the story becomes a fable with capes and eye-beams.

 

Now please, before you have a cow, there's nothing wrong with this. If you like it that's fine, but I'll play in a different sandbox. I find this type of storytelling extremely limiting and not very entertaining.

 

Of course I want good to win, but I want good to work at it, make some sacrifices and question itself once in a while. That defines what a hero is to me, super or not.

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Re: Code VS Killing Poll

 

Well, its been my experience that, if the villains keep escaping everytime the heroes (PCs) capture them, that eventually the Players will rationalize their PCs killing those villains (certain ones at least) instead to prevent them from killing more innocents. If the heroes are 'rewarded' by seeing capture as an effective means to crimefighting, then they will capture more often, rather than justified/unjustified killing.

 

So I try to avoid the 'instant escape mode' that some GMs fall into. The way I see it, how can I expect the heroes to face the consequences of their actions if they never see the villains having to face the consequences? Besides, there are plenty of other villains to keep the PCs busy (but not enough villains that the PCs can take them all out permanently- this isn't D&D or a video game).

 

 

Mags

For me, there's a difference between capture and getting away. If a villain is captured and actually taken to prison, then he stays there. If he escapes before actually being incarcerated however...

 

But there's always the chance to get away. I haven't read a lot of comics, but I've noticed several villains just don't get captured. Regardless of how cleverly their plot was masterminded and how insignificant their chance of failure is, they always have an escape route. Usually one they know any pesky heroes can't follow or track. Kidnaped DNPCs work great in these situations.

 

Hero: I have you now Villain!

Villain: Do you? But then how ever will you save your dear Damsel?

Hero: Damsel? Egad! What have you done?

Villain: Bwhahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

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