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A 'realistic' supers world?


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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

I've got a thread lying around here somewhere that was a solicitation for ideas for my game that has superpowers appearing on Oct 12, 2007, to the accompaniment of global seismic activity. The breakout event is called the 'Vibe' and powers are related to the desires and or personality of the altered person. PCs have started a paranormal talent agency and a school for young paranormals (most schools did not allow their paranormal students back after winter break). Under alternate identities they rescued a couple of hundred prisoners (mostly children) from Camp 22 in N. Korea. They've only just recently fought paranormals in their own weight class (super-thugs hired by the Aryan Brotherhood after we captured about thirty of them). Some 'Alts' have paratechnology that can't be reproduced by normals and some are geniuses who will have a big impact given enough time. One of the latter is the guy with the flying car prototype (nearly 10% of the population got a LITTLE power and 20 points can make you a genius or savant, he got it by random roll, fair and square). All kinds of factions and organizations are springing up, and a Paranormal Registration Act is being wrangled in Congress, slowed by Alt congressmen worried about their own rights.

 

A sourcebook for M&M called Paragons came out recently. It is a really good source of inspiration for this kind of game.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

More Known Individuals of the Wormwood Fallen universe:

 

The Middleman

 

While super-tech is available, it's not always easy to *find* on WF Earth. Further, meta-powered mercenaries (and the mundane sort) need a network to find employers they can trust, and crooks need ways to dispose of their ill-gotten gains.

 

Enter the Middleman.

 

The Middleman is a mystery man with a network of contacts and resources that boggles the mind. He sells anything, fences anything, and has only one rule; if you use his resources to kill, you will go to prison for it. More than one meta has been sent to jail on evidence anonymously delivered by one of the Middleman's agents.

 

However, among those who also don't want to kill, he remains practically the gold-standard of fixers... and has actually supplied more than one gadget-based superhero over the last couple of years.

 

How did the appearance of super powers affect the non-First World nations? I imagine many of them would fear or try to exploit their supers...or be taken over by them.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Mentioned that for a few of them - I haven't gone into detail on any country but Wallachia.

 

However, if anybody's interested in coming up with some others, I'm good for considering them. :)

 

I'm rather fond of having China distintigrate back into the pre-war situation, with superpowered warlords and gang bosses dominating the scene.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Mmm... I'm not sure if I'd want to go with that, or go with my Remnants of Hope option, having China dominated by somebody convinced he's the reincarnation of the First Emperor of China (let's face it - if you're looking for distinctive automaton soldiers, y'can't beat the giant army of terra cotta soldiers....)

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Actually, thinking it over a bit, I do prefer the First Emperor's "return," but it's a more recent event, to the tune of it being an event that takes place shortly after the beginning of the campaign.

 

On the other hand, there's another fairly major country with a population large enough to support at least one Omega and several Class A's - India. Also having a history of being several divided provinces, and one that wasn't at all united until after it was colonized, the introduction of metahumans would be far more likely to fracture it into warring factions and states.

 

Africa probably has several nations ruled by metahuman 'strong men,' and several others effectively ruled by mentalists (native or otherwise).

 

However, at the risk of stereotyping and for the sake of introducing the sort of thing that the comics tend to enjoy so much, I think it would be downright mandatory to have some isolated valleys in the Congo ruled over by tribal witch doctors and/or meta-apes. :D

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Answering what I consider a good question, sent to me via PM. Given that I hope to *answer* this question through this particular world, I answer it publically, after filing off the serial numbers of the offen - err, questioner. ;)

 

Why would superhumans, if they have significant power, have any interest in living according to human laws any more ?

 

In four color comics supers uphold the law, never change the world, etc, but in a "realistic setting" ?

 

In realistic setting government does not automatically have superprisons, power dampeners,etc.

 

Here is a thread how people commit all kinds of crimes and get away with it and they are non-powered people,why would it be different with superhumans?

 

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=388644

 

Problem with these "realistic supers" discussions is that someone tells about his fantasy world, declares it "realistic" and believes that there is heroic types to stop supercrimes and uphold Status Quo like in comics anyway.

 

Consider the movie Jumper. Main character does not wear costume, yet movie critics assume that superhuman = superhero and are disappointed when protagonist is totally self-centered.:mad:

 

Beings of suffient power would not seek acceptance in society, they would change the society to meet their desires or break it when they try.:P

 

 

---Quote---

Originally by Ken Spiro

 

Virtually every nation in the world bases its claim to its land on conquest. A people came (for example, the English or the Spanish) conquered the indigenous people (for example, the Native Americans) took the land, settled it, and called it by a new name (for example, United States of America). "Might makes right" is the historical claim of almost all nations in history. "To the victor belongs the spoils" or in this case the land.

---End Quote---

Why would "realistic" superhumans respect the sovereignty of USA ? Why not be a conqueror ?

 

Congratulations! You've just stated Ray Tanner's basic philosophy. Or, as he would put it:

 

"We've got ordinary people given the power to set themselves up as gods. Tell me this - do you want the asshole who cuts you off in traffic to be able to pick up your car and throw it into orbit?"

 

However, here's my basic counterpoint:

 

Not all people are the same.

 

Now, we can argue this point into infinity, but let's not, since we're emailing and not talking. :) I would further posit the following:

 

Not all people have, as their gut reaction, the desire to claim power.

 

Put more simply, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a myth - when viewed as an absolute.

 

Now, let's go into the logistics of this:

 

Humans are social creatures. Generally speaking, we want the acceptance, admiration, and approval of those around us. If we can't get them by fair means, we tend to get them by foul... indeed, some people - *some* people - default to foul.

 

There are indeed folks who respond to gaining superpowers the way you suggest. They have power, they're going to use it however they want, and the rest of humanity be damned. They're called supervillains!

 

There are other people who don't want to stick out... too much. They like a bit of attention and folks going "that's *cool*!", but they want to be accepted by their fellow man, and recognize that humans tend not to accept people who put themselves up on a pedastal. They're called 90% of metahumanity!

 

And then there are people who feel that their superpowers give them a responsibility to help others... or who just think that it's a blast to use them, and this is the easiest way to do so *while* getting hot rescue sex from members of the appropriate gender who are 'thankful' you rescued them from that mugger/burning building/roving gang of wildebeests. They're called superheroes!

 

Now, if you don't believe that folks would go in for superheroism, consider the following:

 

1: We've got people doing it already. No powers. No fancy super-science gadgets. No legal support, and indeed, the law would probably lock them up if they ever got into a "super fight." The 'reals' have been linked to before, and I'd rather not hunt it up before.

 

2: Let's say you ignore them as being mentally disturbed (fair enough). What normal, sane human being would go out, risk death, all to help a bunch of other wastes-of-skin for little or no reward?

 

Uhm... practically every cop, firefighter, and other person in a dangerous service industry out there. And there aren't even entry exams for this one!

 

3: We're dealing with a world where the *concept* of superheroes already exists. It's not exactly an alien concept here - it's just one that wouldn't necessarily work out the same way as in your average comic.

 

Now... does the government have superprisons, power dampeners, and other ways to bypass supervillains from the word go in a world like this? No... but they've got some time to get them.

 

1: They've got superheroes.

 

2: They've got 90% of metahumanity.

 

3: The vast majority of metahumanity responds to regular ol' bullets *quite* nicely, thanks much.

 

Let's run a little scenario here. Joe Flamer robs a bank, using his fire powers to storm into the place, cow the guards, and intimidate the teller into giving him money. His superpowers allow him to do so without fear of reprisal, right?

 

Well... only if he can melt bullets.

 

And the guy behind him in line with metapowers of his own trying to punch him in the back of the face for robbing the bank of *his* money.

 

And the SWAT team that'll respond to the reports of a guy with a f@#$ing *flame thrower* robbing the bank, complete with snipers.

 

After watching a few Joes getting their grey matter mopped up, mebbe folks'll think twice about this "I have superpowers! I'm invincible!" line of thought.

 

Or, let's say they are. Let's say that we have somebody trying to conquer a nation - which, I might add, happened in my little thought experiment up there, in the form of the Iron Tyrant. Let's say that somebody of Tyrant level power tries to conquer the USA. He bounces a few bullets from the snipers. He kills the president. He demonstrates that he can juggle the White House and keep it from falling apart thanks to his metapower of negating basic physics. What's to stop him?

 

The superheroes, and 90% of metahumanity, who don't want to see him becoming dictator of the Earth. Sure, not all of them are willing to risk their lives - but people who never dreamed of going into the military became resistance fighters against Hitler. Can *one person* maintain control of the US through his *personal* force of will and arms?

 

Even with a handful of lieutenants, it's just as much a comic book fantasy that Destoryer could control the US as it is that Superman has enough morals not to go peeking through ladies underwear on a regular basis and occasionally use his super-strength to get a hot-dog vendor to give him a freebie. The metahumans who *don't* want him in charge - the others who want to be in charge themselves if nobody else - would fight back, and one guy with twelve lieutenants against several hundred determined foes, several of whom are equally powerful... it's messy, but it tends to end in the favor of the 'several hundred.'

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Here's an interesting thread relating to thee "Superhumans would automatically be tyrants/crminals/etc"

 

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=386149

 

Here's my bit People are social animals by nature. Just because something about a person changes to give them power why are they going to just toss out a life time of socialization? Or do things because they can get away from it?

 

Let's be honest, most of us could get away with allot of things if we wanted but we prefer not to be d***ks.

 

Sure are some people going to use their powers to impose their will on others, for crminal gain, etc. Absolutely but I don't buy the premise that every superhuman is going to all "Divis Mal", decide they're something else than human and turn into a colossal ***.

 

Some will but, odds are IMO, they were one to begin with and now they've been empowered to be an even bigger one.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

If you have some costumed superheroes (and you would), you'd have superhero culture filtering down into the general populace. People like to dress like and emulate their icons -- look at Britney Spears' fans. So, you'd have superheroic costume elements filtering down into popular fashion, and everyone would have a "code name". Wild Cards did a bit of this; everyone, from the most powerful of heroes to the skankiest of jokers to the lowest of the low street thug, had a code name or street name.

 

Also, given most people, even if they are criminals, don't think of themselves as evil, you'd have criminals with their favorite superheroes. And no "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" or "Masters of Evil" or "Dr. Doom".

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

If you have some costumed superheroes (and you would)' date=' you'd have superhero culture filtering down into the general populace. People like to dress like and emulate their icons -- look at Britney Spears' fans. So, you'd have superheroic costume elements filtering down into popular fashion, and everyone would have a "code name". [i']Wild Cards[/i] did a bit of this; everyone, from the most powerful of heroes to the skankiest of jokers to the lowest of the low street thug, had a code name or street name.

 

Also, given most people, even if they are criminals, don't think of themselves as evil, you'd have criminals with their favorite superheroes. And no "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" or "Masters of Evil" or "Dr. Doom".

 

Evil no, but I'm pretty sure there are teenagers out there who would regard "Doctor Doom" as an awesome nickname.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

In Germany, where everyone and everything is registered and everyone has an ID card it probably wouldn't be a problem to force through. However in Britain, where a National ID card is often seen as a bad thing and a civil liberty under threat, it would be hell to push through Parliament.

 

 

I dread to think what someone like Mugabe would do to his population and neighbours if he had access to Supers and no-one wanted to stop him.

 

Again this would depend on power level, a Superman clone could wreak havoc on a small country whereas Heroes level powers would make only small ripples. Human tragedies rather than national disasters.

 

If there were Superman level (or even close) people how long would a Mugabe last? Between taking down superpowered bank robbers to save a few tens of millions of dollars or taking down a third world dictator to save thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands of person-years in poverty I know where I would risk my life.

 

It wouldn't be too long before the super community realised that they could directly change the fate of millions in the third world. Heck they can even change the fate of people in their own country. Who needs national ID and constant surveillance if you just take down terrorists with a few capes? Given this how long will the capes tolerate the destruction of civil liberties?

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

.

Also, given most people, even if they are criminals, don't think of themselves as evil, you'd have criminals with their favorite superheroes. And no "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" or "Masters of Evil" or "Dr. Doom".

 

While they might not consider themselves "evil" (or might not care) I can imagine groups or individuals taking in names like this because they think its cool (or "kewl"), intimidating or ironic.

 

"If humanity thinks mutants are evil, then evil mutants they shall have" or some thing like that.

 

Think about many gang names, "rap" names and some "edgy" bands, for example.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

I'd agree that sufficiently powerful Supers could prevent many of the most egregious human rights violations (genocides in particular) by cult-of-personality dictators, there would still be dictatorships. Some of them would probably be headed by Supers.

 

As to Supers not "tolerating" unjust laws, that gets very tricky, and very subjective. Captain Megaton ("The Man with the Power of a 10 Megaton Bomb!") could threaten or beat up politicians and law enforcers; at that point, he becomes a criminal. Supers that work within the system would be called on to bring him in or down, and his "authority", like that of any other thug, would extend only as far as his reach.

 

More "realistic" (as much as that means anything in this conversation) would be the Supers as Celebrities model, with Supers raising money for and promoting political candidates, or becoming candidates themselves. Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes the model for a brick who makes his fortune and builds fame, then runs for political office.

 

Senator Megaton may be able to kill the other senators with his Mega-Blast (except maybe for Senator Titanium Man), but that won't help him much when bills come up for a vote; the real world isn't grade school, and being able to beat up everyone else at the meeting doesn't make you the head of the Appropriations Committee. If it did, I'd be running my company instead of working there.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

If there were Superman level (or even close) people how long would a Mugabe last? Between taking down superpowered bank robbers to save a few tens of millions of dollars or taking down a third world dictator to save thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands of person-years in poverty I know where I would risk my life.

 

It wouldn't be too long before the super community realised that they could directly change the fate of millions in the third world. ?

 

Of course then over the next few years, they'd realise that "change" is not a synonym for "improve".

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Originally by OddHat

 

I'd agree that sufficiently powerful Supers could prevent many of the most egregious human rights violations (genocides in particular) by cult-of-personality dictators, there would still be dictatorships. Some of them would probably be headed by Supers.

Probably, though not inevitably.

 

As to Supers not "tolerating" unjust laws, that gets very tricky, and very subjective. Captain Megaton ("The Man with the Power of a 10 Megaton Bomb!") could threaten or beat up politicians and law enforcers; at that point, he becomes a criminal. Supers that work within the system would be called on to bring him in or down, and his "authority", like that of any other thug, would extend only as far as his reach.
Remember that Founding Fathers were technically criminals. They are now considered patriots because they won. Captain Megaton might end up as a winner.In a "realistic" setting, nations do not get Four Color Status Quo-benefits and if superhumans appeared first in medieval era, modern nations do not necessarily exist.

 

More "realistic" (as much as that means anything in this conversation) would be the Supers as Celebrities model, with Supers raising money for and promoting political candidates, or becoming candidates themselves. Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes the model for a brick who makes his fortune and builds fame, then runs for political office.

Yes, if they find out that there is more Supers protecting the nation than there is Supers willing to join them. In a realistic setting USA does not win just because it is USA. No script immunities here.Of course, Supers do not get them either.

 

 

 

Senator Megaton may be able to kill the other senators with his Mega-Blast (except maybe for Senator Titanium Man), but that won't help him much when bills come up for a vote; the real world isn't grade school, and being able to beat up everyone else at the meeting doesn't make you the head of the Appropriations Committee. If it did, I'd be running my company instead of working there.
No, it isn´t. But the entire idea of having superhuman powers (in many cases) is being a one-man army. You could be running your company if you could beat up everyone there and all cops and all soldiers and… you get the idea.

 

 

Of course then over the next few years, they'd realise that "change" is not a synonym for "improve".
"Improve" and "ruin" are a matter of personal values; some people would like to return to anarcho-primitivism.Then there is pro-choice vs pro-abortion,pro-gun rights vs pro-gun control,etc. "Realistic" world has criminals and possibly successful revolutionaries but superhero and supervillain are Four Color concepts.
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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Senator Megaton may be able to kill the other senators with his Mega-Blast (except maybe for Senator Titanium Man)' date=' but that won't help him much when bills come up for a vote; the real world isn't grade school, and being able to beat up everyone else at the meeting doesn't make you the head of the Appropriations Committee. If it did, I'd be running my company instead of working there.[/quote']

 

:hail: Excellent point and QFT. I'd rep you if I could, but once again I have been too generous in the last 24 hours.

 

I'd say more, but breakfast is cooking and the aroma is co-opting my ability to string words together. :yes:

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Remember that Founding Fathers were technically criminals. They are now considered patriots because they won.

 

That's nice. The point, however, was that Captain Megaton can only "realistically" use his vast superpowers to conquer the world if he doesn't face similarly powerful defenders of the current system.

 

Captain Megaton might end up as a winner.In a "realistic" setting,

 

If "winner" is defined as "He might kill all those he can catch", then maybe. If "winner" is defined as "He might end up, solely based on personal power, as the acknowledged ruler of the world", then he'll need some sort of global mind control. Just smashing things won't do it. Of course, that's my take on "realistic"; yours may vary.

 

In a realistic setting USA does not win just because it is USA.

 

Nor at any point did I suggest that it did.

 

 

You could be running your company if you could beat up everyone there and all cops and all soldiers and… you get the idea.

 

Based on the ability to beat people up? No, I couldn't. I might terrify a few people into doing as I said so long as I was in the room, or so long as they believed that I could track them down. As soon as I left, if they thought they had a chance, they'd run. In order to actually use violence to take over my company, I'd need to have a large, reliable group of followers to keep track of what was going on and enforce my will. For that, I don't need the ability to beat people up; I need the abilities to organize, inspire and lead. Those don't require Super Powers (though they can be written as such).

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Not to continue the Capitan Megaton tangent but I would like to interject for just a moment. What I took from the comment:

 

Remember that Founding Fathers were technically criminals. They are now considered patriots because they won. Captain Megaton might end up as a winner.

 

Was that the superhuman may have to use force because of lack of political support. However, I pictured this as they were leading others not acting alone. Should Captain Megaton's desired change be popular enough with the masses he may be able to use force to enact this change.

 

Could change this be long lasting that is another matter. However, this is all speculation. My opinion of a "realistic" supers setting would focus a lot on cause and effect and ramifications of actions. In the real world things do not happen in a void and actions have consequences.

 

In the Captain Megaton example maybe he finds a lack of support in the senate but has a groundswell of support from constituents. Should he take violent action to accomplish this change he may or may not be successful but this idea would be broadcast around the world to be deionized or embraced.

 

That said, this is a extreme reaction caused by extreme action. The questions I would have are what are Captain Megaton's motivations and what makes this idea so strong that he is not only willing to place his life on the line but the lives of those who believe he is correct? What would make violence a better solution to continued politicking and working to pass the legislation through normal channels.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

I prefer the realistic "there is always someone tougher" awnser to that question, in the long time that the USA has been around, only durning the civil war did we decide that millitary action was perferable to political action, in short if Captin Megaton decided to go off the reservation, someone, possibly previously unknown would take him down, and make him awnser for his crimes, if not then a group of someones.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

I prefer the realistic "there is always someone tougher" awnser to that question' date=' in the long time that the USA has been around, only durning the civil war did we decide that millitary action was perferable to political action, in short if Captin Megaton decided to go off the reservation, someone, possibly previously unknown would take him down, and make him awnser for his crimes, if not then a group of someones.[/quote']

 

So true. Just because you're the mightiest mortal on Earth doesn't mean you're mightier than five or so of the next mightiest mortals combined. That goes double if they've worked together before, and they're even more effective if they've worked with you before and know your strategy, tactics, strengths and weaknesses.*

 

* Which may to some extent explain why villains aren't as likely to form cohesive teams as heroes.

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Re: A 'realistic' supers world?

 

Not to continue the Capitan Megaton tangent but I would like to interject for just a moment. What I took from the comment:

 

 

 

Was that the superhuman may have to use force because of lack of political support. However, I pictured this as they were leading others not acting alone. Should Captain Megaton's desired change be popular enough with the masses he may be able to use force to enact this change.

 

If he has enough political support to use violence against his fellow politicians and get away with it, he doesn't need super powers. Stalin did fine without.

 

Moving away from this tangent, to paraphrase Ken Hite's excellent article on this subject in Wild Talents, "realism" is almost never really the issue when discussing worlds with magic, aliens, super science, and men who can run faster than light. We're usually really discussing "adult targeted story telling" versus "child targeted story telling", "pessimistic" versus "optimistic", or more generally arguing tastes.

 

Trying to convince someone that the bands he likes suck, while the bands you like rock, is as close to a pure waste of time as it gets. That we continue to do it says something interesting about the real nature of Internet posts.

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