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Changes in a world with superpowers

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Assuming 20 pts of wealth is a superpower, politics would probably change very little.

On the other hand, as security agencies have already developed the routine of hiring the hackers that break into their systems you might want to consider what the minor supervillains would be doing (something similar to suicide squad without the threat of an exploding head?).

How many Georgia sheriffs would have a power or two as they lord it over their county-sized kingdoms?

The problem with mentalists in congress wouldn't be the effort to keep them out, but the gridlock from the number of them silently wrestling each other mentally to get their version of the bill through committee.

The bright spot? Somewhere out there, someone with genius-level intellect decides this planet isn't big enough and manages to spread the human race to other worlds before the next catastrophic asteroid impact.

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1) Superbattle insurance would quickly become a thing, and a policy will be more expensive in the major cities where such battles are most likely to occur.

 

2) Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) will be heavily reinforced to prevent--among other things--super-strong individuals form easily ripping one open and taking all the cash.

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 6:34 PM, dsatow said:

I figure current sports wouldn't allow supers, but would other sports allow it?

 

  • Would you have a WWF style show, professional boxing style show, or an NFL show?
  • Would you watch such shows? 
  • How about a reality show like Cops?

I might ,come to think of it

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12 hours ago, Marcus Impudite said:

 

 

2) Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) will be heavily reinforced to prevent--among other things--super-strong individuals form easily ripping one open and taking all the cash.

 

Nah.  Since they aren't really build to withstand ordinary guys with crow bars in the real world and those guys are more common it's probably not cost effective to build them to resist an actual superstrong guy.  

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1 hour ago, Clonus said:

 

Nah.  Since they aren't really build to withstand ordinary guys with crow bars in the real world and those guys are more common it's probably not cost effective to build them to resist an actual superstrong guy.  

Would it be cost effective to constantly have to replace ATMs that have been ripped to shreds by super-strong criminals?

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14 hours ago, Marcus Impudite said:

1) Superbattle insurance would quickly become a thing, and a policy will be more expensive in the major cities where such battles are most likely to occur.

 

That's actually part of my head-canon as to why all the super-tech in superhero universes hasn't caused more changes.  Most of the economic benefits that have occurred from a higher tech level have been offset by increased insurance and security costs.  And the money siphoned off to pay for supervillains and their organizations.

 

Which isn't quite how economics works, but it's close enough to be plausible.

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I wonder if it really depends on the prevalence of the type of powers in that universe from what I hear in the comments.  I mean if, you have a high prevalence of mental powers in your game, your universe might have something like the Samsung Tin Foil Cap (r) to protect your psyche.

 

Similarly, if all your battles happen to be in the city, you probably have supers insurance.  If your supers knock over ATMs, then you'd have heavily armored ATMs or maybe no ATMs at all.  Which begs to question, if you could easily rip ATMs from the walls or control electric machinery, why rob the bank itself?  Just knock over a bunch of ATMs late at night.

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On 4/20/2018 at 9:42 AM, massey said:

 

I disagree on this.  Banks are insured.  Supervillains who rob bank vaults would be rare enough that it isn't worth the cost to prepare against them.  How many teleporters are really jumping inside bank vaults?

Aside from which, even in today's world few banks (and even fewer of the local branches most people deal with) keep large quantities of cash on their premises. As James Burke pointed out in Connections, the only way money can be tracked rapidly enough to keep up with commerce is electronically. So while big stupid supers like Ogre might try to intimidate bank tellers into giving them money, for anyone more technological or powerful breaking into banks isn't really worth the trouble. You're certainly not going to conquer the world that way!

 

The are probably simple ways for people and businesses in general to protect themselves against robbery by supers, and as they become more common they get cheaper. The usual arms race that we see on the Internet between black hat and white hat hackers would play out in this field, but eventually the rewards of defeating these systems ceases to be worth the trouble. This removes "petty crime" by supers to the acts of the neophyte or naive.

 

On the other hand, more combat-oriented supervillains find themselves gravitating to the more lucrative and safer role of mob enforcer, hit person, and other organized crime figure. The Russian Mob and similar organization do deal with large amounts of cash (at least until it can be laundered and put back into banks) so they could be targets of burglary or break-in by force. Breaking into the wrong safe house can be very bad for your future health, of course. Turf wars fought by gangs with supervillains can devastate innocent people on a massive scale, forcing heroic intervention. This means there is still a reason for the Chief of Police in Millennium City to keep the Champions' office on speed-dial.

 

 

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 11:18 AM, death tribble said:

 

I would say that Sport would be affected in that people with enhanced abilities would be banned from playing. There may be bans on allowing people with powers to serve in the military or to serve in war zones. There may be WMDs which are people not bombs or germs 

 

In my world, professional sports eventually died out as we know them, because any player of ability immediately got accused of being metahuman, and there were no reliable tests, and it basically took the whole "juicing" aspect and ramped it up to the level where it was impossible to police or maintain standards. Instead, sports returned to amateur status, and big money went into Super MMA type productions and reality shows. All background stuff, but nice color to the campaign.

 

The big issues were economic. A couple big super battles is one thing, but a city getting hit with several... villains smart enough to target infrastructure, etc., it became a running theme that economies were unstable compared to the real world, and much more heavily militarized. Police were much more militarized, and sooner than we've seen in the real world. Zoning laws and other restrictions on where metahumans could gather (since they disproportionately became combat zones), etc. The banking industry as a whole would look very different, as big, public concentrations of money/gold/etc. quickly became passe, as it only took one good robbery to put an entire local bank chain out of business, etc. Insurance companies would go bankrupt trying to pay off damages from supers, unless they didn't without super-premiums being paid, which meant certain city zones would be classified as high-risk for super activities, making them very expensive to live in, potentially driving people away from cities, contrary to normal economic pressures that drive people to them. How do unions react when a company can hire one big strong guy to do the work of one hundred normal workers, in a tenth of the time? (or whatever).

 

The spread of technology was a big one. Originally the slow spread of super-tech was actually a major plot point, with Dr. Destroyer's primary terrorist actions being against any displays of advancing technology he viewed as a possible threat. This drove super-tech development into isolated and underground type operations, and gave rise to organizations like VIPER, etc. When Dr. D was eventually defeated, the game world changed rapidly over the next decade, with supers and super-tech driving colonies into space, advancing fuels and bio-mechanical research, etc.

 

Religion was also a big one, with certain high level heroes and villains (including PCs) having cults form after them... old world religions respawning as old gods were found out to be real, etc. This served to factionalize religion even more than the real world, spawning lots of conflict.

 

Politics was important as supers ran for office, performed public service, lobbied for and against laws, took over nations, formed nations, became ambassadors to the UN and to alien cultures...  The laws that were passed (Metahuman Registration Act) and how PCs responded, their political actions, choosing to operate within the system or outside it, etc.

 

Ultimately, I found that you could take almost any "normal" activity or institution and ask, "HOw might this change if metahumans were a reality?" and usually come up with something. I never got to explore how the fossil fuel industry and big three automakers responded to the glut of the new technologies that were flooding the market, etc. The world was only beginning to really go through the throes of major changes when it was invaded by aliens and a decades long war wiped out 5 billion people and left a solar system full of shattered fleets and struggling colonies...

 

If I ever run a game in that world now, it is one of a new generation of supers trying to rebuild, struggling to figure out what a new world order should look like, and trying to avoid things falling into a global system of metahuman feudalism, as humans live or die based on which metahuman (or team) they choose to follow.

 

 

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Super-being soap operas

 

Superhero battle alerts being as common as severe weather alerts or Amber alerts. Compulsory evacuations.

 

America's Funniest Superhero Videos - TV show

 

Superhero gossip in People magazine and TV gossip news shows right alongside gossip about which movie star is dating which TV star

 

Special insurance riders for battle damage from superheroes (with rates being much higher in cities with a lot of superbeings)

 

Municipalities (and homeowner associations) trying to outlaw superbeings from owning property there

 

Compulsory draft registration for people with powers or enhanced abilities. Perhaps compulsory training ala the National Guard.

 

Efforts to require compulsory registration of people with superpowers like the sex offender's list is done

 

Efforts to require pilot licensing, radio, and flight plans for self-powered fliers similar to what is happening to people who own and operate drones

 

Special union licensing for people who have powers and want to use them for work purposes. If you can lift and place as much as a crane can or move a load as heavy as a forklift, you'd get registered through the union as a crane operator or forklift operator but one who isn't required to use the mechanical heavy equipment and instead could use your own abilities to do only as much work per day as a regular crane operator could.

 

Rather pricey super-delivery services including both packages and people.

 

Countries requiring people to reveal their superpowers in order to get a visa. Possible restrictions on using those superpowers when visiting (and/or electronic monitoring).

 

I would expect that most buried treasures and lost treasure ships would be located very quickly in a superhero world. It's such an obvious get-rich-quick scheme for people with superpowers that the world would be scoured clean in short order. So no TV shows like The Curse of Oak Island: the first person to get there with N-Ray vision would figure out where the treasure would and his Tunneling buddy would dig it up in 15 minutes. I would expect much the same thing to happen with ore deposits, oil, natural gas, gems, archeological sites, and everything else that hasn't been discovered because it isn't glaringly obvious in our world. On the other hand, there'd probably be a lot of rich superbeings who got their start in finding buried treasure or finding the money stash of a drug cartel. Plus a thriving black market trade in archeological artifacts.

 

As a side effect of that, I'd expect property owners to be leery of selling to obvious superbeings because the property owner might suspect that the super discovered something buried on the land or hidden in the buildings which would make the property worth much more than the asking price. There'd probably be urban legends about people who got ripped off by unethical supers who knew the real worth of the property. And it's amusing to think that some property owners might start digging up the back yard or ripping off the Sheetrock inside the house because a super, very innocently, inquired about purchasing the property.

 

I would expect hazardous waste to be created at a much higher rate in a super world. But I would also expect that hazardous waste sites couldn't go unnoticed for decades (all of those N-Ray supers going around looking for treasure, mutation detectors at doctor's offices picking up funny chemicals and radiation that people have been exposed to, villains actively trying to locate toxic waste for their next experiment, etc) . And hiring a super who has the right set of skills to handle the hazardous waste would most likely be cheaper than dumping it. You have supers who can lift tons and fly into outer space in just a minute or two. That suggests that even the most toxic byproducts could be disposed of cheaper than buying land and bulldozing the waste into the ground. Or dumping it somewhere at random then hoping that none of the world's 20 crusading super-detectives ever take an interest in what happened.

 

There'd probably be super-power tests for people wanting to play professional sports or be in the Olympics much like there's steroid testing. If the density of superbeings is high enough, there might be super events at the Olympics and super professional sports leagues. As someone already pointed out, professional wrestling would be perfect for this because it usually focuses on two contestants (rather than a full team) and it plays to the crowd in a flamboyant manner. I could also see boxing making a comeback to be as popular as it was decades ago and super-MMA being a thing. If the defender has a high enough PD and there's access to someone with a Healing power, concussions aren't very worrisome like they are IRL.

 

I'd expect faith healers who claim to have the Heal power to be an even more popular scam than it is IRL. When the public knows for sure that there's people out there who can heal, who can talk to spirits, who can read minds, or whatever, I'd think it'd make it even easier to run scams.

 

 

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On April 21, 2018 at 2:50 AM, Marcus Impudite said:

1) Superbattle insurance would quickly become a thing, and a policy will be more expensive in the major cities where such battles are most likely to occur.

 

2) Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) will be heavily reinforced to prevent--among other things--super-strong individuals form easily ripping one open and taking all the cash.

 

 

In our game, they don't exist, and for precisely the reason you describe, as well as others: outside, public-access data terminals are absolute candy for technomancing hackers.  Even gas pumps don't have card swipers outside: you come in and give your card (or your cash) to a cashier inside.

 

One of the things we do a lot is the "work-a-day super."  That is, people with super powers who don't go adventuring on either side of the law.  One of my most popular NPCs is Danica Motsley (who, thanks to Doc Democracy, I have a picture I can use after thirty-odd years!  :rofl: ).   She's a teleporting duplicator who can make up to a dozen duplicates.  So what does she do?  While she's attending two different colleges to pursue two different doctorates, the rest of her work in various ways in the fields she is studying.  The PCs meet her most often at Daniels Industrial Innovations (the premier cutting edge science and research organization in our universe) where she works as numerous lab assistants, most of them to one particular scientist (Doctor Solomon Abrams has seven people in his head-- long stories-- and his artificial body doesn't sleep: t/he/y burn(s) out lab assistants rather quickly.

 

She is actually one of the more gifted "non-super" powered people in the universe: minor speedsters work as couriers or, in the tourist districts, rickshaw operators.  Low-level energy projectors work as high-rise welders, reducing the expense and danger of getting and maintaining equipment hundreds of feet in the air.  Relatively bullet-proof characters or characters with Force Wall powers are well-paid to be EMTs in high-risk areas, and are actively recruited for Police service.

 

And I think I've already mentioned the number of super-powered people working in the air travel industry in the "what's your universe like" thread.

 

 

The comic-book handling of super powers just never sat well with me: you either got amazing powers and became an adventurer for good / evil, or you got no powers.  It just seems like there would be even _more_ people who got "nifty parlor tricks" or powers of some kind, but did not get a power set really conducive to adventuring.

 

 

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And, sadly, the accidental suicide rate would go through the roof from all the people who heard that some heroes got their powers by experimental exposure to hazardous materials, chemicals, radiation, high voltage, pacts with otherworldly entities, etc, etc. There would be quite a lot of dead hopefuls who just didn't have the right mutation, strength of will, galactic alignment of stars, the right parents, etc, etc.

 

Tragic, really. ?

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The balance of power between supers and normals would impact the campaign a great deal.  If there are few supers and they aren't very powerful, then they have to tread carefully to avoid the government cracking down on all supers.  If there are many supers and several of them are extremely powerful, it may be the case that politicians are reluctant to propose strict regulations because they don't want to tick off the Glowing Godlings "unnecessarily".  A world where there is one superhero capable of intercepting an ICBM would not be as dramatically different as one where there are hundreds of them.  

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15 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

In our game, they don't exist, and for precisely the reason you describe, as well as others: outside, public-access data terminals are absolute candy for technomancing hackers.  Even gas pumps don't have card swipers outside: you come in and give your card (or your cash) to a cashier inside.

 

 

 

I've thought about getting rid of the internet, ATM machines, and credit cards next time I GM a world.

 

On the good side, realistically if there were all of those super-tech savvy criminals out there, banks would be drained of funds in a week, no one's credit information would be safe for ten seconds, and there'd be literally a hundred thousand people worldwide who had improper access to nuclear launch codes and other WMD's. So getting rid of the tech would keep me from having to explain why all that wasn't happening.

 

On the bad side, players would object to living in a retro world which would seem stuck in the pre-1980's compared to what they've come to expect.

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8 hours ago, archer said:

On the good side, realistically if there were all of those super-tech savvy criminals out there, banks would be drained of funds in a week, no one's credit information would be safe for ten seconds, and there'd be literally a hundred thousand people worldwide who had improper access to nuclear launch codes and other WMD's. So getting rid of the tech would keep me from having to explain why all that wasn't happening.

Why do you assume that cyber-super-villains are vastly more successful than cyber-super-heroes?  Why isn't there a Captain Codebase valiantly thwarting the efforts of Baron Buffer Overflow? 

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3 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Why do you assume that cyber-super-villains are vastly more successful than cyber-super-heroes?  Why isn't there a Captain Codebase valiantly thwarting the efforts of Baron Buffer Overflow? 

 

If all the information on the internet went through Immense Buffer City, perhaps Captain Codebase could be hugely successful....

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15 minutes ago, archer said:

 

If all the information on the internet went through Immense Buffer City, perhaps Captain Codebase could be hugely successful....

So there's no super-coder at M$ smart enough to verify the whole OS, no FOSS super-firewall, no roaming super-genius who swoops in and fixes every bug in Chrome in an hour, no metahumans doing penetration tests?  But there are evil super-coders, super-programs, super-geniuses, and metahumans?  All the superheroes stay off the 'net for some reason

That seems horribly contrived. 

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Some things just wouldn't be online.  Nuclear launch codes aren't.  No amount of super-hacking will let you access what's in my file cabinet -- it doesn't connect to the internet.

 

I think after the first super-hacker stole himself a couple billion dollars, electronic transfers would become a lot less common.

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One of the recent RPG purchases I have been reading is a superhero one called Eschaton, which proposes a world quite different from your usual superhero settings. While I would not use the game system it uses instead of Hero, it is an intriguing look at a world where superhumans suddenly appear all over the world all at once. And then one year later the campaign begins...

 

Here is an excerpt from it:

 

Eschaton is a superhero game, and almost but not quite a post-ruin game, different than many superhero games in a few very important ways. First, there are no tie-ins to any established comic universe. Eschaton can of course make heroes similar to any number of popular or established heroic figures, but that is either coincidence or a conscious choice by the wielder of an Eschaton-supplied power.

 

Second, it imagines what the ‘real’ world would be like with superpowered beings. How do you mesh a government’s need for regulation and control into a world where people can interrupt television broadcasts with their thoughts, shoot anti-tank beams from their fingertips, or pry into the mental secrets of presidents and prime ministers? The short answer as to how they handle it? Poorly.

 

Third, there is no established history of superheroes, no gradual incorporation of superpowered beings into culture and politics and law and military thought. It happens overnight, the world going from mundane to super with no warning. There is no subset of the law that deals with X-ray vision, no military planning guide for countering an attack by bulletproof mole men, no Secret Service doctrine for the best way to protect the President from invisible, psychic brain bolts. And hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are going to come into a myriad of powers more or less simultaneously, ranging from the very minor power of Sports to the extraordinarily powerful Ultras. Sane people will be driven mad, the insane will be shocked back to sanity. Good people will do the wrong things for the right reasons and bad people will do the right things for the wrong reasons.

 

It will be utter chaos on a global scale. And that’s how and when the campaign will start. Things will stabilize, eventually. But the new equilibrium will only be superficially like the old world. A casual observer might not see a lot of difference, but government, politics, religion and the notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ will be forever altered. And underneath it all is the Revelation.

 

Everyone of significant paranormal power will have their own version of the vignette. Some will dream it, others will be awake. Some will rationalize what they see as angels, others will believe they have made a deal with the Devil. Some will see a figure straight out of a comic book or movie, others will merely mumble to themselves. But everyone who gains power will have a conversation, insight or revelation that the powers they are given are part of a larger process, by beings far beyond our limited understanding. Beings of unknown but not immediately hostile intent, for they could clearly overcome any puny resistance of Earth had they an inclination to destroy us. How we use the power we are given and what we ultimately become by using these powers are what we will be judged on. But the Eschaton give no indication of what they consider worthy of a positive judgement or negative judgment. All they imply is that in the end, one ethos will prevail, and all humanity, if not all of reality, will be judged by that outcome.

 

Whether couched in terms of space aliens or angels or devils, everyone granted great power knows that something is happening, and that someone or something is watching to see how humanity deals with their new-found power, and the implied judgement at an indeterminate time in the future. Do we have a year? A generation? A century? No one knows. This knowledge of something is known among the powered as the Revelation.

 

And then things go blank, and when a person awakes, they have power. The adventurer merely wakes with the power, though in their own mind, the type of power and way in which it manifests is based on their personality. The hard work of actually designing the powers is the job of the player. The hero merely blanks out thinking something vague like “I could be the world’s coolest ninja...” and wakes up with superlative amounts of stealth, invisibility and mastery of dozens of unusual weapons.

The key and absolute feature of the Revelation is that no one with powers can talk about it. Not with friends, family, anyone. It is a mental block that the hero or villain can barely even think about, yet is always in the back of their thoughts. It can only be referred to as “the Revelation” or “a matter of Revelation”. Among the superpowered, everyone knows what is meant, but the general public is left guessing. For their part, heroes simply have to say things like “someday you’ll understand”.

 

The Revelation is not a matter for player rulebending. It simply cannot be revealed, written, spoken, sung, danced, mentally transferred, sculpted, painted or broken into itty-bitty pieces and later assembled into a coherent whole. Heroes and villains know it, and that’s it. More than their powers, this is what separates them from mundane humanity, the knowledge and surety that they must act to mold the world according to their beliefs, even if they can never explain why.

 

And that is a key feature of an Eschaton campaign. You were given powers because you are the sort of person who feels compelled to try and make a difference with them. The Eschaton does not compel you to use your powers to try and change society. You do that all on your own. You as a player have to want your hero make a difference. Whether you choose make this difference one person, one neighborhood or one city at a time is up to you.

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 8:01 AM, archer said:

As a side effect of that, I'd expect property owners to be leery of selling to obvious superbeings because the property owner might suspect that the super discovered something buried on the land or hidden in the buildings which would make the property worth much more than the asking price. There'd probably be urban legends about people who got ripped off by unethical supers who knew the real worth of the property. And it's amusing to think that some property owners might start digging up the back yard or ripping off the Sheetrock inside the house because a super, very innocently, inquired about purchasing the property.

 

Next stage: The scams. For instance, property owner covertly pays a super to visibly "take and interest" in the property, to con real buyers into paying more.

 

Dean Shomshak

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At some point, cities, or states, or countries, would start mandating first responder training for their heroes.  

 

There would be governing bodies; there'd be a federal bureaucracy devoted to learning about them and try to point them toward doing the most good or the least bad.  

 

There would probably be additional requirements beyond first responder training for actual crime fighting.  If super crime becomes a major issue, police departments will want to have, if not super powered cops, at least auxiliaries they can call on.  Crimefighters would need to be trained in how and when to appropriately use force; how to make arrests, gather (or at least not spoil) evidence, what to do in court.  

 

The government would want to know identities.  The ACLU would sue to stop them.  

 

There'd probably be professional associations.  I created one called the National Association of Super Heroes, which caused the supervillains to come up with one of their own: Super Humans United in Evil.  The former puts on professional conferences with panels, vendors, more vendors, lots of marketing, even more vendors...  The latter acts as a parody organization of the former, though they even do some under the table kinds of things like group medical, hiring hench, backchanneling with heroes when they really do need to be on the same side, group legal, finding resources for someone who gets out of prison to maybe try to figure out how to stay out...

 

The aforementioned vendors.  There'd be people trying to sell superheroes equipment, training, insurance, headquarters.   

 

Fan conventions.  Fans would start out trying to go to the professional conferences, but they'd be subtly discouraged, which would mean someone would start putting on the fan conventions.  Cosplay!  

 

Lobbyists.  The professional organizations would hire lobbyists on behalf of the supers.  Vendors would hire lobbyists pushing safety regulations.  

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So, I think the answer depends on how effectively normal people can deal with super problems.

 

If the most dangerous guy in the world has a 60 Str, 18 Dex, 5 Speed, 25 PD and ED, with 15 resistant, then maybe specially equipped cops can take him down.  You lure SuperBubba into an evacuated part of the city and you rain down grenades on his head.  But if Ultron is out there, you have no choice but to let the supers take care of it.

 

The problem I had with Civil War (both the comic and to a lesser extent, the movie) is that the governments of the world have no answer at all when a supervillain decides to rampage.  Sure, you know who the Avengers are, and maybe you can get the drop on them when they're sitting back eating shawarma and taking a break (at least some of them).  But you have no answer at all for Loki, or really any of the other villains.  Putting restrictions on heroes, trying to control them, just means that you keep them from doing their job.

 

Ultimately you end up drifting pretty far from the superhero genre if you really want to push it.  If the government mandates that all superheroes register with them, and undergo training, and basically get drafted, would people be superheroes anymore?  What happens if Clark Kent decides not to put on the costume?  Oh he can still save people in burning buildings and things like that, but what if he just wears blue jeans, a leather jacket, and a ski mask?  And then he doesn't stick around to give interviews, he just flies off.  I think more government regulations would just drive a lot of stuff underground.  There wouldn't be official superhero teams, and people wouldn't wear costumes.  They'd just wear regular clothes with a disguise.  I'm not sure that's preferable.

 

Or people would just not be superheroes, and the villains would run wild for a while, until the police and the politicians threw their hands up in the air and begged for someone to help.  Then you can't really put conditions on how the heroes choose to help.  "We'll let you help, if you tell us your real identity."  And the hero is like "well, have fun fighting Doctor Cannibal by yourself, a-hole."

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Massey, I agree with you, and yet... the thread is "Changes in a world with superpowers", not "How do we make superheroics make sense?"  

 

I love Champions, I love superheroes.  I love it when a new film comes out and I can turn off my brain for a few hours and enjoy colorful people in colorful costumes destroy half a city... 

 

Except, I am turning off my brain.  I'm suspending a lot of disbelief.  Not about Iron Man's technology or Superman's myriad strengths and weaknesses, but... when I see supers fighting in a city, and destroying half of it, after the film is over I find myself wondering, why didn't they drive the bad guys out over an uninhabited area and fight them there?  Metropolis is supposed to be the New York City analog, and both of them are coastal cities.  There's open ocean less than a minute's flight away, and yet they insist on throwing energy blasts and cars around in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas in the United States, surrounded by billions of dollars worth of glass-covered skyscrapers.  (Sure, you can't help it when the aliens open a portal over Times Square and begin smashing, but you can certainly challenge your superpowered fellow aliens over the ocean.)

 

They make for great visual effects, but the aftermath... I mean, there's a reason that IRL cops don't go in with guns blazing when a bank is being robbed or hostages are held.  They used to do that, back during the organized crime period during Prohibition, and what would happen is a lot of bystanders and victims, and no few cops, not to mention perps themselves, got killed.  

 

There's two stories I've read recently.  Super Powereds by Drew Hayes, and The Law of Averages by "mcswazey".  In both of these, the aftermath was considered, and I recommend both of them to see where my thought processes are coming from.  In Super Powereds, the government has decided that superheroes must receive training, and must register, if they want to act as superheroes.  Why?  Because they'd seen the aftermath of too many super battles in metropolitan areas.  Too much destruction and death; at some point insurance companies band together and say "Stop doing this or we stop paying."  That is when the governments start regulating.  

 

The way I see it is this: when supervillains rob a bank or a museum, the superheroes' job is to show up and wait.  Wait for them to get the loot and get clear of the innocent bystanders.  Drive them out over the ocean or the open countryside where stray blasts are less likely to hurt people or destroy expensive infrastructure.  Or track them to their headquarters if possible, and show up with overwhelming force.  

 

So, this whole thread is about figuring out just how the world reacts to supers.  That's what I'm doing, above.  If those don't make for very good four-color superheroics, the fault is with the four-color superheroic stories.  And I very much think we can make stories that are just as compelling about the stuff we're talking about here.  

 

What kind of super crimes would there be?  Usually in the comics there's some kind of mastermind, right?  A Doctor Doom or a Lex Luthor.  Those guys draw their inspirations from Moriarty and Fu Manchu; fictional super-geniuses who decide that their intellect is better used to harm people than to help them.  Whereas, most real life criminals turn to crime because they don't have any other options, yet they still gotta eat and pay rent and feed kids; some of them get really good at it (Al Capone, Pablo Escobar) and make a lot of money at it.  

 

Someone who can cure cancer decides to use his abilities to turn people into dinosaurs, just because he wants to turn people into dinosaurs?  Ha ha, funny, but seriously?  Like, this guy was probably the kind of super genius who gets his entire undergraduate and graduate career fully paid for, with job offers from multimillion dollar corporations immediately after college, and he throws that all away to turn people into dinosaurs?  

 

If superheroes hit it big any time after WWII, you probably don't have supervillains.  You have American industry hungry for all of the manpower, and brainpower, it can throw money at, and it has an awful lot of money.  Forget Dr. Dinosaur (he's already at Dow or Monsanto or the Mayo Clinic); guys with the FISS package get swooped up by construction firms!  Anyone who can fly through the air and lift fifty tons doesn't need to go get beat on when they can get hired on as a flying crane, when half the skyscrapers in New York are being built.  (How many lives do you save by not putting squishy normals under tons of metal, or by being able to catch them when they fall off an unfinished building before going splat?)

 

The two biggest public service fields for supers are search and rescue, and serving arrest warrants to criminals who are known to have super powers.  Like, someone who steals cars (by carrying them off with his super strength) or deals drugs or whatever the motivations are for real life criminals.  And there are probably a lot fewer of them than there are IRL, because -- options.  

 

2 hours ago, massey said:

Ultimately you end up drifting pretty far from the superhero genre if you really want to push it.  If the government mandates that all superheroes register with them, and undergo training, and basically get drafted, would people be superheroes anymore?  What happens if Clark Kent decides not to put on the costume?  Oh he can still save people in burning buildings and things like that, but what if he just wears blue jeans, a leather jacket, and a ski mask?  And then he doesn't stick around to give interviews, he just flies off.  I think more government regulations would just drive a lot of stuff underground.  There wouldn't be official superhero teams, and people wouldn't wear costumes.  They'd just wear regular clothes with a disguise.  I'm not sure that's preferable.

 

Or people would just not be superheroes, and the villains would run wild for a while, until the police and the politicians threw their hands up in the air and begged for someone to help.  Then you can't really put conditions on how the heroes choose to help.  "We'll let you help, if you tell us your real identity."  And the hero is like "well, have fun fighting Doctor Cannibal by yourself, a-hole."

 

Some would say that, yes.  A lot would chafe under whatever registration schemes the government comes up with.  Between reasonable people and lawsuits from the ACLU, we end up not with schemes to register people who have powers, but schemes to register people who use them.  Hence, first responder training, and use of force training, and training in evidence handling and not screwing up a crime scene.  

 

The average person is pretty law abiding.  Most of us don't go around doing terrible things to other people, mostly because we're pretty conditioned to do the right thing, partly because there are laws against the really heinous stuff.  So... while there might be a large population of unregistered supers, there are likely small populations of law abiding, registered supers who have gotten the training and have the official sanction.  And there aren't organized supervillains; there are also super powered car thieves and drug dealers and human traffickers and the occasional superpowered murderer... 

 

When a bunch of untrained supers in ski masks and homemade costumes show up to try to fight crime?  The government sponsored supers tell them to go home and not worry their pretty little heads, we've got this covered.  Yes, the unsanctioned guys are pissed off: that is the story I want to read!

 

While law enforcement agencies don't necessarily have experience in fighting supers, they have a lot of experience in locating criminals after the crime is committed.  IRL cops are very, very bad at being on the scene as a crime is going on, but very very good at showing up after.  On the off chance there are actual supervillains, they don't try to stop them.  Don't even bother.  Gather as much evidence as you can, show up at their headquarters with your officially sanctioned supers, and your auxiliaries and reserves and consultants and the occasional Good Samaritans who just want to help, along with your flying belts and your heavy blasters -- overwhelming force, in other words -- and read them their Miranda rights.  

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4 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

Someone who can cure cancer decides to use his abilities to turn people into dinosaurs, just because he wants to turn people into dinosaurs?  Ha ha, funny, but seriously?  Like, this guy was probably the kind of super genius who gets his entire undergraduate and graduate career fully paid for, with job offers from multimillion dollar corporations immediately after college, and he throws that all away to turn people into dinosaurs? 

 

After all his patients are killed when his clinic was bombed for the third time, he turned his attention towards attacking the government that bombed it, and those that supported it.

 

Clearly the kind of people that would bomb health facilities are figurative dinosaurs, and it would be quite appropriate to attack them with, or transform them into, literal dinosaurs.


And dinosaurs are cool.

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7 minutes ago, assault said:

 

After all his patients are killed when his clinic was bombed for the third time, he turned his attention towards attacking the government that bombed it, and those that supported it.

 

Oh, is that that dude's backstory?  

 

7 minutes ago, assault said:

And dinosaurs are cool.

 

That goes without saying.

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