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Doc Democracy

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Posts posted by Doc Democracy

  1. 7 hours ago, ScottishFox said:


    It needs to go through.  Elections have consequences and if the government so openly flouts the will of the people there will indeed be chaos.


    Once they realize the government will ignore their votes whenever its convenient things are going to get ugly.


    It'll be bumpy, but the people of the UK have dealt with far worse problems and come out in great shape.


    Best of luck, gents.


    I think "needs" is a strong word.  We have had a national vote since the referendum which elected the current Parliament. We have no tradition of direct democracy in the UK and the vote in the referendum was advisory, the criteria for change would have been higher if it was to be legally binding on the Government, probably 60% at the least, potentially 60% of eligible voters, which would equate to 75% of the 74% that turned out.


    Always tricky to talk democracy as it often is vague and undefined in the places you need it most.


    It is almost the point of Parliamentary democracy to ignore the vagaries of public opinion as the Parliament has the time to become informed and to make decisions on behalf of the electorate, not as the electorate demands.  Obviously they also have to balance this with being elected again.



  2. I am with Hugh.  I treat character points as a measure of narrative control.  The GM has narrative control of the world and players 'buy' the ability to exert a narrative influence on the world. 


    If the character has paid points for access to magic then he has access which may be temporarily removed by the GM but must be restored at some point.  Arthur carries Excalibur, he paid points for it and whenever the GM decides to take it away or break it,  then it will, reasonably quickly be found, restored or re-forged. 


    George carries a+3 longsword he stripped off the body of an opponent.  When the GM finds his possession of that inconvenient, he can have it removed, de-powered, broken with no expectation of it being returned to him.


    This is all independent of treating players equally, you want everyone to share in loot and be competent in the game but George probably spent those 20 points on STR or some kind of life support or skill levels.  He retains the narrative control of those things, just like Arthur retains Excalibur.



  3. ScottishFox, I do apologise, I was not looking to set you up to defend your political system, I expect many here would castigate my system (for different reasons).  I am fascinated with the tax question though, it was what captured my attention and is probably fundamental to the political arguments in democratic systems.  If a nation state is to exist with all the trappings of a modern nation state then everyone needs to contribute to how that system is funded.  There needs to be an agreement (which we come to politically) on what it means to live in the country, what the responsibilities of those citizens will be and what the responsibilities of the state will be to those citizens.  There a LOT of hidden costs in running a country or some government at some time (just to look good) would have slashed government spending without anyone noticing a fall in services provided.


    It is glib to say "if you don't like it, go elsewhere" (and I hate being glib, so apologies for that) but it is used for all kinds of things and I think that buying into the tax system of a nation is fundamental to deciding to live there.


    I think any Government needs some ability to spend as it wants (part of the benefit of being voted into office) but I think there could be some way of the Government giving people options on what they want to support with their taxes.  I think that would have to be limited to spending decisions though, real spending like roads, education, health etc and not in providing tax breaks and subsidies.  It would even have been a decent way for Trump to raise the cash for his wall, I am sure lots of his supporters would have dedicated any flexible elements to the tax they provide to building that wall. 


    7 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

    1-  It's more my perceived value of the horrible public school system than it is selfishness.  Additionally, if I have my child educated privately - I still have to pay for public schooling.  If I educate my child at home I still have to pay for public schooling.  If the school system was cost effective and producing high quality results I would be more willing to pay in even when my children weren't in attendance.  And where I really lose it on the involuntary tax front is taking homes out from underneath our senior citizens who have worked their whole lives to pay them off.  Property taxes on a fixed income are VERY painful.


    I educate my child privately, I accept that it costs extra and I made a decision to opt out of public/free education with that in mind.  I do not seek to recoup the tax that might go towards education because supporting the public sector is part of my deal with the State. As Ternaugh points out, to get high quality education you need to spend more cash. At $7,600 a year, under a system where you pay when your kids are in school, I do not think most parents could handle that additional cost on top of their baseline taxes.  I found an interesting CNBC article from last year looking to outline how much Americans pay in tax each year. It varies by state, highest in New Jersey ($19,977) lowest in West Virginia ($6,837).  Adding in high quality education would seriously skew even New Jersey.  If you spread the cost of 13 years of (high quality) education over a 50 year working life, then you would get just under $2,000 a year, every year.  You "might" be able to afford that for one kid but if you have three or four it could cripple you.  The statistic that support ScottishFox however is that " Nationally, the most recent data indicates $11,762 is spent on public education per student."  That is quite fascinating too broken down by State.  What ARE they doing with all that money and, with more resource per pupil than Ternough's school, why are they not all high quality??


    The State has a real problem with current health of the people.  Our financial systems were set up to support folk for a few years after they retired - that was the statistics.  people would retire about 65 and they would be dead by 70.  That is no longer the case.  People might expect to live 10 or 20 years beyond retirement now and they will not have paid in anywhere near enough to cover that kind of time.  The State provides for those people in all kinds of infrastructure ways which retired folk still use but might not pay towards.  The State needs to decide if and how it collects money from those people so that they contribute to their continued use of the system.  Here, in the UK, we tax pensions if they are above a certain threshold, its complicated but hits high earners and leaves most pensions untouched.  We also pay a community charge - a contribution towards the infrastructure of the local area - lighting, drainage, cleaning, roads, parks etc.  It leans towards the principle of, if you use it, you pay for it. 



  4. 3 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

    I believe involuntary taxation is wrong.


    Again, you are not actually arguing taxation, you are arguing spending.  Involuntary taxation does not exist in a liberal democracy.  You work to change the politics of your country or you go somewhere the taxation policies better suit you. 


    I think everyone would appreciate more ability to direct the detail of where their taxes are spent.  It would cost money to do that (an overhead on taxes) and I think would probably lead to higher taxes (if you need $100 million to run your education system but taxing at 25% only raises $80 million based on people's choices, then taxes would need to rise to about 30% to raise the necessary $100 million).


    Obviously everything else gains as well but you are heading to a very odd capitalist socialism.

  5. Roll20 is very much open to things being put up there to be sold, they dont make a lot themselves.  I wonder how difficult it would be to package up a few things to go on their marketplace...


    Hmmm.  HERO does not have the resources to create Roll20 resources, Roll20 does not have the resources to create HERO content.  I guess it would be up to HERO gamers using Roll20 to approach Jason, see if he would be open to some old adventures being converted to be Roll20 friendly??  I reckon if there were a few modules on there, then they would be bought, as would special effects and other things...


    I wish I was technical enough to do it myself - it would be a great project.



  6. Without further detail, I like Grailknight's solution.  You burn a charge each time you activate a power in the multipower.  If you give us a bit more detail, you will get a lot more, for instance, as it stands Grailknight would be able to use his forcefield forever or until he switched it out for another power.  He would also be able to use his energy blast again and again. 


    There are all kinds of ways to mix this up depending exactly what you want it to play like, in game.

  7. 21 minutes ago, TrickstaPriest said:

    The more taxes they collect, the more power they have over their people


    I subscribe to the idea that the power of a government is demonstrated by its ability to raise taxes, either by force or by consent, from citizens. 


    I don't think it follows that the more tax collected, the greater it's power.  Conversely, I think higher tax burdens need the government to use greater force or acquire extended consent.  Otherwise it is likely to go badly for the country.

  8. 15 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

    Couldn't disagree more on this.  The government takes my money without my consent and uses it for things I condemn.

    This is an interesting take.  "Takes my money without my consent". 


    Do you think taxation is wrong?  It is a valid position but not one consistent with nation states, borders and government as we know and understand them.  I would be interested (if you can be bothered 🙂 ) in hearing how you would "do civilisation".


    I fear my vision tends too strongly

    towards nanny state paternalism....



  9. Well, you could purchase a second attack which, within the rules could be used in a multiple attack.  That carries some penalties of its own.  You could buy autofire on your STR with the limitation on, only once per arm/tail.  That would also give you what you are looking for.


    I am sure there will be others ready to provide other solutions.

  10. 1 hour ago, ScottishFox said:

    If I could have kept the majority of my tax dollars throughout my life I would be able to retire now instead of 15+ years from now. 

    The very nice people that said they'd sock my money away for the future saved exactly 0 dollars and spent every penny.  Then when the birthrate fell they gave up any pretense of being able to prop the program up in the future.


    For bonus points I get to watch my wife doctor shop as the number of doctors who won't accept Medicare skyrockets since the bureaucratic burden far outweighs the low rates they pay on services.  More and more physicians are giving Medicare a hard pass.


    Hmm.  You do understand that Government social care programmes never have and never will be about accumulating a pool of money and paying out of it?  I know that is how people often portray it, as paying in before drawing out.  It is not how it was designed and not how it works.


    As for doctors?  I don't trust them.  They were the most vociferous opponents of the NHS when Nye Bevan proposed it and fought it every step of the way.  Like anyone, doctors will spend their time doing what earns them most.  When they say they cannot afford Medicare, what they mean is that it would not provide the quality of life they desire. 


    The answer by the state should be training many more doctors, free of monetary debt but tied into a decade of 'national service' making sure everyone has access to basic healthcare.



  11. 17 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

    It's not that Americans don't want these things.  We just don't trust the lying, greedy idiots in office (present and past) to get the job done.  What is more likely to happen is that they'll raise our taxes - again - and then completely fail to provide what they've promised - again.


    You know, after working in a scrutiny committee where we have spoken to government offices and private companies when something has gone wrong or not accomplished its goals, I have had a MUCH easier time tracking responsibilities and money through the government offices than through private companies.  And when things go wrong with government offices, we could suggest changes to the way they accounted for things or made decisions and those suggestions usually resulted in changes to make scrutiny better.


    There are a number of big private companies that have lost billions of pounds (many of them banks) where we end up not only failing to hold any individuals responsible for losing the money but throwing them wodges of public money to ensure they do not go out of business.  We get lots of businesses asking the government to make policy to support their industry (usually at the expense of what their products cost the public) and then fail to pay their workers a living wage or withdrawing their healthcare as a way to force an end to a strike.


    It is trendy to say Government cannot run anything, that private businesses are a better model for government services.  However, for businesses to thrive there needs to be a credible possibility for them to fail (efficiency is not driven by a desire to be the best but a fear of what will happen when a more efficient business cuts your grass).  The problem is that you do not actually want a hospital, a school or even a prison to fail.  It is rare for such businesses to fail in a clean way where the patients, pupils or prisoners do not suffer in some way.  It is also rare for the owners of such businesses to suffer in anything like the same way - the CEO is often out and into another well-paid job as are the board and others.  The failure of the organisation seems to stick to them less prominently than it does to the shop-floor workers who may find it MUCH more difficult to find new jobs.


    I am not saying government run is good by default, indeed there is much that government organisations should take from private businesses in achieving efficient business practice but I think that if a private company wants to dip into the public trough, or commit to providing a public service, then they need to be prepared for a much closer scrutiny of their finances than they would otherwise be prepared to do.  


    A rant, sorry, but the casual use of government-run equating to bad is one of my triggers...



  12. 3 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

    Mainstream news outlets (minus Fox) are moderate-to-heavily left leaning.


    Could I ask what you mean by left-leaning?  Is this 'likely to be supportive of the Democrats' left-leaning or do you mean 'promotes policies that a (impossible) completely objective observer would describe as a left of centre political policy'?  🙂


    I work in a political environment and it is amazing how quickly things go from being mainstream to whacko and vice versa.  I am also having discussions with my 15 year old son to try and provide him with the tools to understand what people say and the difference between that, what they mean and what they think they mean....  It gets confusing pretty quickly and so I like to have real examples.


    Obviously a huge difference in the UK is that universal healthcare is not seen as a socialist policy - it is completely mainstream and politicians that threaten that provision can quickly find themselves out of office.  In the US the provision of universal healthcare is resisted most vociferously, often by those that would benefit most.  It is amazing to a UK eye.  Gun control is another touchstone difference between the UK and US.  We draw our centre line very differently and compare our policies relative to a very different marker.



  13. 27 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:


    Unless you've limited your media consumption to the Sean Hannity show and Blaze TV I don't understand - at all - how you could think this is the case.


    Minus Fox News the media pulls pretty hard left as a whole.


    Just watch MSNBC, CNN and Fox News and marvel how this is happening in the same country on the same planet.


    [raises hand]


    Well - I lived in Tennessee for 2 years in the nineties (long time ago) and I can tell you that the media then did not pull hard to the left and I do not believe they have probably trended left as the country has trended right...




    Believe me, there was nothing said in any of the media shows that were left of my opinions (which would probably be considered soft left here in the UK).



  14. Duke

    If you think of Palpatine's modus operandi, he worked behind the scenes, throwing shadows at his opponents.  It is possible Dark Lord of the Sith and even the idea of the Sith were made up by Palpatine to enhance the aura of fear

    Surrounding his favourite strong man. 


    Palpatine is a bad guy.  Bad guys don't follow the rules, not even the ones the good guys think are true. 





  15. 1 hour ago, GreaterThanOne said:


    Help a guy out. What is the difference between that version and the $20: Aaron Allston'sStrike Force PDF aside from price of course.




    Obviously the more expensive version is written to be compatible with the current version of HERO.  More pertinent is the following sentence in the product description "This updated Strike Force sourcebook includes never-before-seen material detailing Aaron's multiversal superhero setting, compelling characters and villains, and updated and expanded advice from Superhero RPG veterans like Steve Kenson and Sean Patrick Fannon for how to run a campaign using "the Strike Force method."

  16. 7 minutes ago, Bazza said:

    Doc, So emphasis on the noir aspect of the Batman mythos, (private detective, femme fatale, convoluted plot etc)? 


    Absolutely.  Obviously being in a superheroic world, there is leeway to introduce fantastical elements.


    I think the Gothic backdrop provides for something that visually lifts it out of typical police procedural, the superhero world allows for elements of colour in contrast to that Gothic world.  It would need a responsible attitude to villains like Joker. If you make Joker casually homicidal then you raise stakes about killing him, if you use him as a challenge to Batman's ingenuity then you have puzzles with high stakes IF Batman cannot deliver.  In Dark Knight Batman fails to stop either of the explosions set up by the Joker.  In this series he should find a way for noone to die and possibly prevent both explosions.


    I want my superheroes to start being not only heroic, but superheroic. 



  17. I think everyone is SO over the BatGod aspect of Batman and we are probably poised for a brilliant TV series about the World's Greatest Detective.


    I think if you got a decent ensemble cast you could do something a bit less grimdark, not 1960's camp, not the nihilistic fun of Gotham but a street level superhero leaning more heavily on his detective skills and anticipation than kewl ninja fighting.


    If they could get away from the fighting and opponents that are defeated through violent encounters, there might be space for good story-telling and interesting thought pieces about vigilantism and citizenship.



  18. 4 minutes ago, GreaterThanOne said:

    Do you feel that as the campaign advances player's resent/ed the GM control over their Powers? I am leaning strongly towards this "Heavy Hand" approach as I believe it will allow them the most focus on their person. Especially if they don't actually know the Powers only the "effect". 


    I think the players do not really care about the heavy hand of the referee on the rules as long as they get some freedom in the use.  Most resentment comes when you have a stick that grants light but the referee does not allow them to use the stick as a mast “ because that is not how it was built”.  


    The players will only feel the GM controls the powers if you artificially constrain their narrative, allowing mechanics to define the powers rather than the narrative.

  19. Good stuff, as usual from Duke.  I am going to talk game set-up.  I think it is the missing bit from the rules.  Despite there being a raft of design advice on genres etc, there is absolutely nothing about actually putting a game together.


    You, as GM, need to sit down and think hard about how you want to constrain the system to get the game you want.


    I had a similar game, normal people with "one" superpower.  So, the bank teller got superspeed and the priest became invulnerable and the teacher got a death glare.  None of the players knew how I built the powers but we sat down and did a 20 questions before I built them where I asked some questions about what the power meant and what its limits might be.  In effect, we got on the same page narratively.  The mechanics that came later allowed me to manage use in game as to how it affected those around them. 


    I said "one" power because that was what I asked them for in a narrative sense.  In reality, most of the powers were an amalgam of game powers.  The priest did not mean for invulnerability to mean walking unscathed from a nuclear bomb or to be completely  unaffected by a rocket, he might be knocked out but nothing broke the skin.  The teacher did not want to instantly kill people with her death glare, she wanted to be able to make people fear death, feel death and THEN experience death.  The superspeed needed so much more than lots of running. 🙂 The mechanical details meant MUCH more to the players in game than the mechanical ones.


    If you want blessing and curse, you need to think of the downsides.  Why do the players not use the powers at every opportunity?  I say players deliberately because the narrative reasons why the characters would not use them often go out the window when players encounter problems in-game.  Are they painful to use?  I know that would make me (real person) loath to use them, a player is likely to consider a few STUN a minor consequence for the character.  So you need to make consequences real for the player. If it hurts to use, make the player roll a PRE roll to activate the power modified by how often it has been used recently and how heroic they are trying to be (truly heroic acts should not be prevented by a dice roll). 


    Again, explain to the players what you are trying to achieve and work through the narrative implications before building stuff.


    This kind of game can be deadly.  If one character has a death glare and most heroes and villains have no enhanced defences, many people will die.  After all that narrative work, players will be heavily invested in their character and will not want them to just up and die at random, you need to think of how you will provide some narrative defences for the player characters that does not break the internal reality.  In my game there were incredibly few killing attacks, like A Team style stuff where 10 guys with machine guns and an exploding truck did not result in multiple casualties.  A machine gun forced people to take cover and required rolls to advance on, even though the players knew the machine guns were not deadly, the characters did not.  In another game, I had a card that indicated to the players when we were in four colour scenes and when we were in graphic novel scenes.  In graphic novel scenes, killing attacks would kill, in four colour negative BODY simply meant a visit to the hospital and missing the rest of that scene.


    You, with your players can set the game to deliver the experience you want, you just all need to be on the same page before you start.



  20. 2 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

    How common are Entangles? I’d say + 1/4.  And why exactly is this an Advantage? I think I know but ain’t sure.


    I think it is an advantage because he would be able to fire at those caught in entangles without worrying whether he might hurt or damage the person inside, the fact he can turn it on and off cements it as an advantage as he is not deprived of the chance to hurt someone or damage something else when he wants to.



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