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WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)


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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Very debatable, depending on how many conspiracy theories might exist and/or be credible in the game world in question concerning 1st world corporate exploitation of the 3rd world, cold war style proxy battles between other nations, and so forth. :)

 

If you live in X-files world, like many super-vigilantes or people with powers seem to, the problems in the 3rd world are very potentially mere symptoms of bigger, better hidden problems at home.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Well, you've certain got forum sarcasm and irony down pat... I guess that's good. :straight:

 

If you postulate a world which contains superhuman beings, it's not all that far-fetched to postulate that many if not most of those superhumans could successfully deal with thugs using AK-47s. Yes, there would be those who lacked either the power, logistical capabilities, or motive to go after these types. I'd like to think most players aren't interested in playing PCs who lack the motive to protect children, even ones in a remote African region undergoing meltdown.

 

Do I think the application of force will magically end slavery and oppression in Africa (IRL or even within an RPG)? That's a discussion for the NGD. Do I think superheroes could or should at least try? Hell yes! That's why they're called superheroes.

 

You are right, of course. A hero would at least try. and as I said , you convinced me that most of my characters should. Possibly they could make some kind of difference even if it's only to the letter writer and their village.

The problem is that in situations like this one it is hard to know what will make a positive difference in the long run. Sure you could go in and break a few heads and guns (as you point out, not to hard for most superheroes), possibly take out the head of one of the tribal armies. Heck, if you had the capacity you might even be able to take everyone in ther village to a safe new home. However unless the campaign world runs extemely differently to the real world (or the Darker world my PCs live in) there will always be another village and another tribal army (and one of those armies will be the official army of the country). So the question becomes what is enough? Is it enough to save the letter writer (if that is even possible)? Her village? Her country (if that is possible)? What about all the other countries in Africa that are in similar situations? What about other war torn areas of the world where similar things go on? Are you any less a hero for ignoring them simply because they haven't managed to write you a letter? Heck anyone with a T.V. knew this kind of thing went on before you got the letter, why didn't you do something then?

 

I know this is pessimistic and a little 'hard-core' for a RPG, but then the topic was to begin with.

 

Then again as someone pointed out, most GMs will not throw you into a situation you cannot handle (mine are not among them BTW). So it is possible that this is a hook for a situation where you can kill/beat up a few thoroughly evil bad guys take on their vile Leader, save the little girl, help restore the rightful, Democratically Elected government to power and be back at the base in time for a Brewski. Lets just say if any GM (not just the people I play with) threw this at me as a hook I would be getting ready for a no-win situation which would make most Iron Age books look positively Golden (not that I wouldn't participate, but I'd be shocked if our characters did any better than saving a handful of children while letting the rest of the country continue to suffer, and even then only after we had lost good people. Then again I kind of get pessimistic when child rape is mentioned in an intro).

 

(in case you wondering my usual GM sets out an adventure like so: "Here is a situation that I as a single mind believe to be unwinnible. I will give you any information that you would likely be able to obtain. You, as a group of minds, need to discover the loophole I have overlooked and exploit it.")

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

The problem with a scenario like this is that it depends on a couple of campaign assumptions.

 

In comics (and most games), the "deconstructionists" like to point out things like this kind of situation, or other humanitarian uses of powers, and decry the superhero as being nothing more than an egotistical narcissist who fights crime for the glory, ignoring the more horrific parts of the world, where things like this are happening in our world for real.

 

However, in comics (and most games) that happens because reading about Captain Comet digging irrigation canals is kind of...dull. And a siauation like the one described is complicated and would honestly take a large investment of time and effort to really solve.

 

However, it also depends on superheroes being a particularly "American" phenomenon, and that isnt the case for all campaigns. In a "real" superhero world, even a dark gritty Iron Agey one, there would likely be a more even spread of people with powers unless the origin of powers was somehow tied in to nationality. And that said, there would already be several supers on BOTH sides of these conflicts. Maybe the soldiers are led by a Warlord with powers. Maybe a group of African superheroes is already opposing them. Maybe their efforts play out like The Magnificent Seven, where they succeed, but at a cost.

 

Even if there ARE no African superheroes for some reason, I think most superheroes would have to take some kind of action, if for no other reason than they were asked for, specifically. And you cant hold their previous lack of action on the matter against them; it was stated in the set-up that the press has ignored this, and how are we supposed to know whats going on half a world away if no one tells us about it?

 

I cant know what Ive never been told.

 

If I encountered this in a game, my reactions would depend on the character to some degree as far as methodology. But they WOULD get involved.

 

If the GM was trying to make a social statement of how superheroes cant really effect change, Id ask why they decided to run a superhero game in the frelling first place. Thats my problem with "dark gritty" campaigns; they are often unrealistically dark and oppressive. And that defeats the purpose of playing superheroes.

 

Black Bat would gather as much intel as possible, and deposit the dossier on the lap of Guardian Alpha.

 

Guardian Alpha would fly to the embattled villiage, and let them try to take it over when there was effectively a Kryptonian in the room! After first contact with the soldiers, he would track them down to their encampment and take out their leaders, depositing them bound on the steps of the U.N. building in New York City, where he would give a report to the authorities about who they are and what they have done. He would then go back and make sure someone new wasnt moving in on the town.

 

Something like this would probably get him to start hunting down African heroes and getting them involved, as well as making him devote four days a week to world wide problems, rather than just two. Much of that time would be spent trying to bring an end to the conflicts in Africa, and in a well-run superhero campaign should probably involve discovering that there is some kind of master villain behind all the coups and takeovers and rebel factions, to keep Africa destabilized and easy to exploit (especially for diamonds). Once that person was taken out, Africa should (in the game) begin to stabilize.

 

Because superhero worlds are NOT OUR WORLD. The very existence of people with powers CHANGES things on a very fundamental level. Should it all be sweetness and roses? No. But the simple sociological fact is that in a world where individuals can have personal power of that magnitude, youll see those people rising to the top of both criminal organizations and law enforcement (sanctioned or not), simply because they can. Selfish supers will use their powers for personal gain, and altruistic supers will stop them.

 

In the Titans Rising game, we encountered a similar situation, where there had been a terrible disaster in Myanmarr, and the government had decided to confiscate all the aid dropped in and collect it at their military bases, and NOT distribute it. meanwhile they were also denying all foreign aid from entering the country. (This all really happened in OUR world, btw).

 

The characters wanted to help, but we didnt want to provoke an international incedent either and make it worse. So we started intercepting the air dropped aid containers and whisking them away from the local military, then we would distribute the food and supplies ourselves to the locals where the container had been dropped. (The people it was meant for were the people getting it). We also hunted down some BBC and CNN correspondents and made sure they knew -all- about what the local government was doing.

 

It forced the government to change its play.

 

Later we were talking about my DC game, and "What Would Superman Do" came up.

 

The way I see Superman, he would fly to the country in question, walk into their military base, take the aid containers (ignoring the fact that they are shooting him), and distribute it to the people. Rinse, repeat. He would then help rebuild towns, shore up bridges and dams, etc. Yes, he is violating their national sovereignty. But Superman sees himself as a representative of Earth and all its people, not of any one nation.

 

"Tell me again how letting these people starve is the right thing to do."

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

You are right, of course. A hero would at least try. and as I said , you convinced me that most of my characters should. Possibly they could make some kind of difference even if it's only to the letter writer and their village.

The problem is that in situations like this one it is hard to know what will make a positive difference in the long run. Sure you could go in and break a few heads and guns (as you point out, not to hard for most superheroes), possibly take out the head of one of the tribal armies. Heck, if you had the capacity you might even be able to take everyone in ther village to a safe new home. However unless the campaign world runs extemely differently to the real world (or the Darker world my PCs live in) there will always be another village and another tribal army (and one of those armies will be the official army of the country). So the question becomes what is enough? Is it enough to save the letter writer (if that is even possible)? Her village? Her country (if that is possible)? What about all the other countries in Africa that are in similar situations? What about other war torn areas of the world where similar things go on? Are you any less a hero for ignoring them simply because they haven't managed to write you a letter? Heck anyone with a T.V. knew this kind of thing went on before you got the letter, why didn't you do something then?

 

I know this is pessimistic and a little 'hard-core' for a RPG, but then the topic was to begin with.

No question. I admit it wouldn't come up in our 4-color Champions game except possibly as a lead-in to a scenario where we have to figure out why this particular village keeps being attacked and stop it. Maybe a supervillain or villainous agency is at the root of all this...

 

Then again as someone pointed out, most GMs will not throw you into a situation you cannot handle (mine are not among them BTW). So it is possible that this is a hook for a situation where you can kill/beat up a few thoroughly evil bad guys take on their vile Leader, save the little girl, help restore the rightful, Democratically Elected government to power and be back at the base in time for a Brewski. Lets just say if any GM (not just the people I play with) threw this at me as a hook I would be getting ready for a no-win situation which would make most Iron Age books look positively Golden (not that I wouldn't participate, but I'd be shocked if our characters did any better than saving a handful of children while letting the rest of the country continue to suffer, and even then only after we had lost good people. Then again I kind of get pessimistic when child rape is mentioned in an intro).
I completely agree. But then, I play in a 4-color campaign and have zero interest in playing in an Iron Age one. None of our 5 co-GM's would present such a scenario unless there was a 4-color scenario hidden beneath the apparent Iron Age exterior. Given that we've had two teens playing in our campaign along with their father for the past few years, the child-rape stuff probably wouldn't appear at all.

 

(in case you wondering my usual GM sets out an adventure like so: "Here is a situation that I as a single mind believe to be unwinnable. I will give you any information that you would likely be able to obtain. You, as a group of minds, need to discover the loophole I have overlooked and exploit it.")
Again, in our campaign we'd fully expect to find (not be given) that loophole based on past experience and general campaign tone. I know there are campaigns that would not. Nothing against those kinds of campaigns or GMs (the beauty of Champions/Hero is that it will allow those variants and more); personally I just wouldn't want to play in one. I play Champions to escape reality for a while; I wouldn't be interested in playing in a game-world that is as dark or darker than the real one I inhabit.

 

This WWYCD was presented as an ugly situation. Again, I don't think it would appear in our campaign; but I've tried to address it as if it did.

 

My apologies if I seemed a bit snarky. I'm afraid my "4-color glasses" tend to tint my view of Champions. I forget there are lots of players out there playing in darker campaigns than I do. I don't play *the* game of Champions. :o

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

(in case you wondering my usual GM sets out an adventure like so: "Here is a situation that I as a single mind believe to be unwinnible. I will give you any information that you would likely be able to obtain. You' date=' as a group of minds, need to discover the loophole I have overlooked and exploit it.")[/quote']

 

Sounds like your GM and mine have been collaborating.

 

Does your GM insist the PC's act like Silver Age heros in a Rusty Iron world as well?

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

I completely agree. But then' date=' I play in a 4-color campaign and have zero interest in playing in an Iron Age one. None of our 5 co-GM's would present such a scenario unless there was a 4-color scenario hidden beneath the apparent Iron Age exterior. Given that we've had two teens playing in our campaign along with their father for the past few years, the child-rape stuff probably wouldn't appear at all.[/quote']

 

I am soooooo jealous that you have enough different Champions options to be able to pick-and-choose which games you will play in. In my area, Rusty Iron seems to be the default. :straight: So it's either 'deal with Rusty Iron' or 'don't play Champions.' :(

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

I am soooooo jealous that you have enough different Champions options to be able to pick-and-choose which games you will play in. In my area' date=' Rusty Iron seems to be the default. :straight: So it's either 'deal with Rusty Iron' or 'don't play Champions.' :([/quote']It was more an issue of making my own luck. Back in 1992 I grabbed several other players who were also unhappy with the Iron Age direction the existing campaign was turning and we started our own Silver Age campaign. Over the years we've added several new players and co-GMs, but the basic philosophy has remained. I still have friends in the old campaign and in fact 3 of our players are still in it.

 

Most of us are in our 50's now, so our reminiscing about Silver Age comic books is a lot different than players who grew up in the 90's or 21st century and have often read only Iron Age titles. I doubt there are any Marvel or DC comics I'd want to read, much less play in.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

It was more an issue of making my own luck. Back in 1992 I grabbed several other players who were also unhappy with the Iron Age direction the existing campaign was turning and we started our own Silver Age campaign. Over the years we've added several new players and co-GMs, but the basic philosophy has remained. I still have friends in the old campaign and in fact 3 of our players are still in it.

 

Most of us are in our 50's now , so our reminiscing about Silver Age comic books is a lot different than players who grew up in the 90's or 21st century and have often read only Iron Age titles. I doubt there are any Marvel or DC comics I'd want to read, much less play in.

 

I've been hitting this problem lately when running convention games. I grew up reading Silver, Bronze and early Alan Moore / Bill Willingham Iron. I GM in a mostly Bronze style with Silver and Iron veins here and there. I've had to accept that there will often be a few players who aren't going to get the idea of using less than deadly force, or putting the protection of innocents above stopping the bad guy.

 

Even worse, many of my shout outs to favorite comic book moments mean nothing to players under 30. ;)

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

As our campaign's evolved we didn't play thru stuff like digging irrigation canals etc' date=' but for some characters it was something done off screen.[/quote']

 

I've made a point of asking what a character is doing in off screen time, and sometimes start adventures with "{Character Name} has just gotten back from delivering disaster relief to {location}". The idea that people with Superpowers can't do anything useful is as silly a modern trope as anything in earlier periods.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Well let's see now.

 

T.N. Lung would move into the village and live there.

 

Hellfire would go and scare the bejesus out of the rebels. Melt a whole bunch of their weapons bust them up a bit and threaten to come back and do more if she hears about them using those kind of tactics again. Then she'd leave.

 

Riptide? Riptide is busy and the situation looks too complicated for a quick fix. So he'd call a press conference and try to use his fame to get other people to solve the problem.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

As our campaign's evolved we didn't play thru stuff like digging irrigation canals etc' date=' but for some characters it was something done off screen.[/quote']

 

Back in the Kingdom City campaign our team got involved in the aftermath of a multiple nuclear attack on Bangladesh ( just one of a series of assassinations of Dr Strange-level mystics ).

 

To the GMs surprise, the PCs stayed in Bangladesh dealing with the relief effort, instead of going straight after those responsible. Some interesting roleplay, and novel use of powers - such as regenerating Bangladesh's native marijuana forests as medical supplies

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Back in the Kingdom City campaign our team got involved in the aftermath of a multiple nuclear attack on Bangladesh ( just one of a series of assassinations of Dr Strange-level mystics ).

 

To the GMs surprise, the PCs stayed in Bangladesh dealing with the relief effort, instead of going straight after those responsible. Some interesting roleplay, and novel use of powers - such as regenerating Bangladesh's native marijuana forests as medical supplies

Actually, that sounds pretty cool. Disaster relief is not something I'd want to do every game session, but it might be interesting as a change of pace.

 

I'm not certain how my primary PC Zl'f would be useful in such a scenario. Oddly enough, her potential 15- Bureaucratics (including 2 Overall Levels) ability or piloting skills might be more valuable than her heavily combat-oriented powerset.

 

My secondary character, Justicar, is a Roman Catholic priest with healing powers alongside his martial arts. He'd be useful in any number of ways both physical and spiritual.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Actually, that sounds pretty cool. Disaster relief is not something I'd want to do every game session, but it might be interesting as a change of pace.

 

I'm not certain how my primary PC Zl'f would be useful in such a scenario. Oddly enough, her potential 15- Bureaucratics (including 2 Overall Levels) ability or piloting skills might be more valuable than her heavily combat-oriented powerset.

 

My secondary character, Justicar, is a Roman Catholic priest with healing powers alongside his martial arts. He'd be useful in any number of ways both physical and spiritual.

 

*nods* Bureaucracy proved a headache in our session too.

 

The other fallout from events (pun intended) was China rolling right over North Korea. China was extremely annoyed that North Korea had been used by the DEMON cell that stole the Chinese nukes used in the attacks on the Himalayas & Bangladesh

 

Alas, we didn't get to disguise the Spectre's Super-Zeppelin as a cloud-flying Monkey-god when we eventually did get around to checking the Chinese nuclear armoury. But only because we couldn't cast an illusion big enough

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Firestorm: Has a special place on her s*** list for men who rape and abuse women. She would go in there and kick *ss.

 

Dragon Jane: Same thing, but she would need backup.

 

Mindflair: The gloves are off. By the time she had seen enough of the people who mattered, this would receive international breaking news coverage, the UN and others would send armies and the rest of the World Leaders would personally see to it that that h*llhole was cleaned out completely, for good.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

So now I know who was responsible for that scenario.

 

We arranged for adoption & sponsering of the boy , after investigating it.

Then had to go into the country illegally, and rescue the boy from a prison. With only 3 members able to go in. One would likely die if too many others did (God of Crowds) and mine hasvery little defences (or offences for that matter)

 

We did get out without newspaper articles , as opposed to each other scenario so far. My character is collecting them in a scrapbook, so she can keep track of what theroup is screwing up ... sorry , doing.

 

It's in the base library.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Mask of Justice: Is a Golden Age character. He'd go to the country in question (he was actually just in the next country over stopping diamond smugglers or something to explain how he got the letter in time to do anything), rescue the village from the latest attack, and interrogate one of the attackers as to what's going on. He discovers that the leader of the insurgency and the leader of the government are in fact brothers, and neither of them is the rightful ruler of the area. The Mask trains the peaceful villagers to protect themselves, then goes off with the letter writer to find the real ruler and free him from the clutches of a villain. Then the real ruler and Mask of Justice lead the loyal natives to overcome the false ruler and his ambitious (but no less unjust) brother. Said real ruler, once reinstated, vows to bring prosperity, democracy and modern technology to his people.

 

Calculus: Is convinced that it's some kind of trap, since he is, after all, only supposed to be an urban legend. He'd try to manipulate other, more humanitarian heroes into going there to take care of the situation. Calculus is a bit of a bastard.

 

Rock Bottom: Forwards the letter to the Global Guardians, whose African embassies are supposed to be dealing with things like this. He's contractually bound to protect Baltimore, and doesn't have the resources to fix a whole country.

 

Kira Midori: Is a NYPD officer. She'd try to find out why the local African heroes weren't helping out--using her contacts at the UN might help. She's the most likely to ally with an enemy--provided it's the sleazy but supposedly honorable mind-controller she's clashed with a few times. He's always claiming that he's working "for the greater good", so he can demonstrate this somewhere it might actually apply.

 

Talion: Doesn't give a flying intercourse about international incidents, and lives in a world where there are disproportionately few African supertypes. Bloody death ensues until conditions at least slightly improve. Unfortunately, this includes the bloody death of the letter writer, the missionaries, some UN workers and most of the villagers as well--Talion isn't so good at protection. :(

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Saviel (War Angel): Depends on when in her history this happens.

 

During the first days after coming to earth, she'd go there herself, as soon as possible, and start smiting the leaders of the warring factions, and anyone she could find who was so vile as to call himself a soldier and do such things. And smiting. And smiting. And smiting. As openly and publicly as possible, while defending the people as well as she could as one being in an entire country.

 

If it happened years after she arrived, she would probably stop to consider the international complications of tearing apart a country to get to the evil men, and having become well known by then, she would request a televised address of the UN General Assembly. Where she would read the letter out loud, and give humanity as a whole a choice -- fix it, or she will, her way. Given the likely outcome of putting such a choice before the UN, we're probably back to the actions from the first parapraph... "her way".

 

 

Random UNGA delegate: "You can't walk into the UN and make demands of sovereign nations!"

Saviel: "I can't? I believe I just did, sir."

 

 

PS: She wouldn't mention the village or the kid by name when reading the letter to the UN, in case anyone wonders.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

My players would want to jump in with powers blazing, and probably would since they hardly ever listen to the NPCs. Three of the NPCs would would definitely tell them not to go without a clear cut plan.

Lifeline: (Healer and ex-UN Global Guard member) She would be against the plan due to the fluid nature of African territorial politics.

Rescue: (FEMA type heroine with minimal offense) Rescue would love to help, but she's more geared towards disaster relief than fighting an army.

Team Liason: (No powers but super Presence) He would warn the characters that although they are "Morally obligated" they do not want to create an international incident.

 

If the players did take the violent option, they would end up facing both the UN team and a few African heroes, once they start mucking with the government. Only because they wouldn't think about the fact that although that government is bad (okay, really bad) they may be the only thing keeping the citizens from even worse neighbors (tribal politics can be really evil). The NPCs would advocate a long term plan that would replace the government in a bloodless coup, with the new government prepared to take total power once the coup is over. Or just 'release' Mindblast from prison and have him modify the government's politics.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Ghost Archer:

"After just answering the poll about CAK you come up with this kind of thing and make everything I said there an incomplete truth."

"The name is GHOST Archer, not Obvious Archer. I'd never be seen or suspected but people would begin to disappear. No bodies would ever be found."

"Now, ignoring my first line, in truth I wouldn't kill anyone but it doesn't stop me from shifting them to a somewhat less inhabited dimension where they will be left to their own devices. I would make sure the area I dropped them would be capable of sustaining them, if they bother to hunt and fish and maybe farm. I think I'd drop in now and then to see how things were going and if they decide to kill each other, it IS all a matter of survival of the fittest on a virgin world."

"After a generation, the problem would be gone since I'd seperate male and female by at least a continent if not a dimension. It might make an interesting socialogy study. Oh, I'd also let the world know after a time what happened and even be willing to take visitors to assure everyone I am not torturing them. A few pictures of what has happened to these violent people and the threat of the same thing happening to other such might make an interesting detrient since a death penalty seems to be a total failure."

 

Note: Political problems mean very little to me as I do not consider myself a citizen of any nation, I just happen to chose to protect San Francisco.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Why not just move the oppressed people to the 'virgin world'? There they could be free from their oppressors and lead happy lives as they farm/fish.

 

Ghost Archer:

"Actually, I did that with the help of some of my friends and students. We established a rather pastoral settlement that is now over a thousand strong and growing."

"As for moving an entire population en masse . . . it's easier to remove the problem than removing the victims since to uproot them from what they know is a trauma."

"With what we are doing, we have been reducing the homeless population of not only San Francisco but Seattle as well. I have helped people in hopeless situations escape pimps, abusive relationship and just plain societal neglect, given them something that is theirs. Truthfully I think it is the one thing I'd rather be remembered for though only a few know it has even happened."

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

Socially Conscious Man transforms all of the rapists into sensitive caring nurturers, the warlords into community oriented pro-active healers, and the victims into empowered and secure self aware achievers. The corrupt government officials get turned into honest and devoted ethical decision makers with a commitment to the public good. It takes about an hour. No one bothers reading the comic outside of Berkley, as Socially Conscious Man's world makes for painfully dull and preachy fiction.

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Re: WWYCD: "Dear Superhero" (Warning: Ugly situation)

 

The Golden Revenger finds the secret leader of the Nazi spy ring, and punches him.

The Silver Sentinel finds the secret leader of the Commie spy ring, and punches him.

Bronze Lantern finds the corrupt businessman that is secretly instigating the war, and punches him. He then gets angsty about all the other similar problems that can't be solved by punching people.

Dethblud kills everyone, eats their corpses, and then gets angsty about it.

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