Discussion:
Problematic Worldbuilding: Caped, The Omega Superhero
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David Johnston
2018-09-04 15:04:16 UTC
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OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.

And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having graduated
"hero school"

And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police academy or
regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will wash out.

Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their
powers at least a little. Those who use their powers illegally are
supervillains.

So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.

I see a problem here.
Juho Julkunen
2018-09-04 15:26:09 UTC
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In article <pmm6tj$n4o$***@gioia.aioe.org>, ***@yahoo.com
says...
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having graduated
"hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police academy or
regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their
powers at least a little. Those who use their powers illegally are
supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?

"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
--
Juho Julkunen
At least the heroes will stay busy.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-09-04 15:50:17 UTC
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Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having
graduated "hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police
academy or regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will
wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using
their powers at least a little. Those who use their powers
illegally are supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand
superheroes and 2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?
"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
Indeed. That ratio isn't that much different between real life cops
and criminals.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
m***@sky.com
2018-09-04 17:36:59 UTC
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Post by Juho Julkunen
says...
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having graduated
"hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police academy or
regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their
powers at least a little. Those who use their powers illegally are
supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?
"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
--
Juho Julkunen
At least the heroes will stay busy.
When I see loads of trivial violations of the law I always worry about selective enforcement - in a situation where only a few of a large number of lawbreakers can realistically be prosecuted you are handing a great deal of power to whoever decides who is prosecuted and who is not prosecuted. Mind you, some of the stories you see in the media of the effects of zero tolerance policies suggest that sheer stupidity is at least as much of a problem in practice. ObSF - in If This Goes On one of the characters suggests that nobody will be promoted unless they are known to have _broken_ one of the rules - so that they can be easily demoted for this reason if necessary.
David Johnston
2018-09-04 19:52:37 UTC
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Post by Juho Julkunen
says...
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having graduated
"hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police academy or
regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their
powers at least a little. Those who use their powers illegally are
supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?
"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
Technically the legal terminology is "rogue" in the setting. But I
still see an issue with millions of people being legally constrained
from using their exceptional abilities even in the most harmless ways.
Before his Spider-Man origin the protagonist who isn't interested in
risking his life as a licensed hero has a habit of sneaking out at night
to do a little flying. That makes him a rogue. All it takes is one of
his neighbours happening to see him and dropping a dime and he's in
legal trouble.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-09-04 20:24:06 UTC
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Post by David Johnston
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having
graduated "hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police
academy or regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will
wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be
using their powers at least a little. Those who use their
powers illegally are supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand
superheroes and 2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?
"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
Technically the legal terminology is "rogue" in the setting.
But I still see an issue with millions of people being legally
constrained from using their exceptional abilities even in the
most harmless ways.
Is that intentionally a metaphor for the stereotype of today's
public schools, where everyone gets a certificate of participation
so they feel special, and the ones who actually win at anything are
punished?

Or was that an accident?
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Robert Carnegie
2018-09-04 20:48:05 UTC
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Post by David Johnston
Post by Juho Julkunen
says...
Post by David Johnston
OK, so about 1%, of the population have superpowers.
And it's illegal for anyone to use superpowers without having graduated
"hero school"
And hero school is far more rigorous than, say, a police academy or
regular boot camp. Most of those who even go will wash out.
Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their
powers at least a little. Those who use their powers illegally are
supervillains.
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
Does this problem actually extend beyond terminology?
"Yeah, busted another supervillain yesterday."
"What'd they do?"
"He'd sometimes levitate plates if they were too hot to touch."
Technically the legal terminology is "rogue" in the setting.
What /is/ the setting? Its title and identification
seem to be hidden in plain sight.
Post by David Johnston
But I
still see an issue with millions of people being legally constrained
from using their exceptional abilities even in the most harmless ways.
Before his Spider-Man origin the protagonist who isn't interested in
risking his life as a licensed hero has a habit of sneaking out at night
to do a little flying. That makes him a rogue. All it takes is one of
his neighbours happening to see him and dropping a dime and he's in
legal trouble.
Could he pass it off as "parkour"? Call himself
Peter Parkour and hope no one wants to put /that/
in paperwork?

Aren't there uses of powers outside the "hero school"
career path that can benefit society? Or does this
setting have malign labour organisations that don't
allow, say, "The Streak" to deliver letters and
parcels at super-speed?
Jack Bohn
2018-09-04 16:12:02 UTC
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Almost everyone who isn't a Licensed Hero will in fact be using their 
powers at least a little.  Those who use their powers illegally are 
supervillains. 
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and 
2.8 million supervillains. 

280 supervillains is quite a rogues gallery for a superhero, but a lot of them will likely be one-offs.
--
-Jack
Quadibloc
2018-09-05 00:43:31 UTC
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Post by David Johnston
So, in the United States they've got maybe ten thousand superheroes and
2.8 million supervillains.
I see a problem here.
I see an opportunity.

The so-called supervillains, most of whom aren't actually evil, ought to be able
to overthrow the stupid government, and set up a more sensible system to allow
the 1% to use their powers to the benefit of society.

In other words... yes, it's problematic in the sense of being too unstable to
really exist for long, but it's not necessarily problematic in the "making
things worse" sense.

John Savard
f***@gmail.com
2018-09-07 09:20:15 UTC
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Greets

How does the country nation keep these millions of super villains contained once they have been apprehended, found guilty and sentenced? Is there a network of super villain only prisons, and who are the wardens?

Perhaps a reasonable percentage of washouts from the Hero boot camp take the easier Super-Warden exam and get a life of stopping the super convicts from escaping (and/or building ultimate doomsday weapons in their cells from stolen gym equipment, used chewing gum and plastic eating utensils).

What stops parents of a potential super from sending their kid to stay with Uncle Ivan in Siberia, or to study at a prestige grade school in say... Monaco? I can think of a few small, wealthy, historically neutral countries that might like to have a couple thousands supers on call, even if the supers are not necessarily the most decent people.

Given that you are dealing with supers, and you might potentially have a Richard Reeds (Mr. Fantastic, right?), why not exile the offenders to a penal colony on a nice hostile planet somewhere, say, like Jupiter or Venus. Basic survival might keep them busy.

How are the supers initially identified? Something like the 'X-gene' in the X-men, or is it completely random? Does it manifest at birth or puberty or at any time during life, or under extreme stress?

Sorry. I'm not helping. I'm generating more questions than answers.

Regards
Frank
David Johnston
2018-09-07 15:11:30 UTC
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Post by f***@gmail.com
Greets
How does the country nation keep these millions of super villains contained once they have been apprehended, found guilty and sentenced? Is there a network of super villain only prisons, and who are the wardens?
Perhaps a reasonable percentage of washouts from the Hero boot camp take the easier Super-Warden exam and get a life of stopping the super convicts from escaping (and/or building ultimate doomsday weapons in their cells from stolen gym equipment, used chewing gum and plastic eating utensils).
What stops parents of a potential super from sending their kid to stay with Uncle Ivan in Siberia, or to study at a prestige grade school in say... Monaco? I can think of a few small, wealthy, historically neutral countries that might like to have a couple thousands supers on call, even if the supers are not necessarily the most decent people.
Given that you are dealing with supers, and you might potentially have a Richard Reeds (Mr. Fantastic, right?), why not exile the offenders to a penal colony on a nice hostile planet somewhere, say, like Jupiter or Venus. Basic survival might keep them busy.
How are the supers initially identified? Something like the 'X-gene' in the X-men, or is it completely random? Does it manifest at birth or puberty or at any time during life, or under extreme stress?
Sorry. I'm not helping. I'm generating more questions than answers.
Supers are identifiable with a blood test, but apparently they don't
have the resources to test everyone at birth so you have to go in and
register as soon you discover your powers. The punishments don't seem
to be especially severe for using powers in ways that would not
otherwise be a crime and they lack the comprehensive surveillance system
that would make this a true YA dystopia. In fact they don't even do
anything about the protagonist who first manifested his powers on
bullying football players so that's a bit of a plot hole. In the second
book it is revealed that they do have power neutralization tech and
access to alternate universes.

I'm into the second novel now and he's doing the licensing test for
superheroes now, and the tests are set up so that a significant
proportion of the applicants will be killed. Or rather murdered since I
believe that's an appropriate term for when you attack people who don't
pose an imminent threat to anyone and they die. I feel increasingly
perturbed that the protagonist is oblivious to the criminal way this
system operates.

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