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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: May 25th 2010 3:41PM J Brad Hicks said

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I don't know how it will play as a game, but from what they've written as character backgrounds for the characters who are much more important than any player character (a chronic pet peeve of mine regarding MMOs), they're doing something extremely interesting with the retconned backstory for Praetorian Earth. When they first created the Praetorian Earth storylines, it was just the "goatee version" of Primal Earth: all the same characters, only the evil people are now good and the good people are now evil. *yawn*

Now they've rewritten it as something much more subtle. The Primal Earth storyline sticks as tightly as possible to the TV Trope "The Status Quo is God" -- there have been supers since 1930, but since they stayed completely out of politics, just fought each other for the most part, history was almost completely unchanged. For Praetorian Earth, they're taking the "Justice Lords" premise seriously. If there are supers, and they battle with potentially world-wrecking weapons, sooner or later supers are going to rule the world. By force, because that's all that supers are, pure force. So even if the strongest and most powerful and most unstoppable and even most popular of the supers is generous, patriotic, decent, and determined to create a utopia ... what is the resulting world like? If he achieves something that qualifies as utopia in the uncoerced opinions of 90% or more of the world's population, what lengths are justified to protect that utopia from people who'd change it, no matter what their motives?

The Mother Mayhem and Psychic Clockwork King bios suggest that this is a world that has had supers since the 1930s, but ever since Emperor Cole took over and convinced them to work for him, there have been no supervillains. Why? Because as soon as you even begin to think about using your superpowers for anything other than police work on behalf of the public good under Emperor Cole's supervision and orders, you get caught by a network of psychics, captured, and the two most powerful psychics who ever lived MAKE you a hero. If they can reprogram you and keep your personality intact, they do. If they can't, they mindwipe you, hide your undead corpse inside the shell of a cop-bot (the Praetorian Clockwork) and you become one of the Clockwork King's puppets.

See? No supervillains! Just one holy heck of a lot of psychic spying and mind control. Paradise? Something less than paradise, but at least the only practical solution to the supervillain problem? Or a monstrous dystopian dictatorship?

It's fascinating science fiction. I hope it plays well as a game.

Posted: May 25th 2010 4:20PM (Unverified) said

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It's called fascism and it is up there with militarism, nationalism, religion and so on.

"blurred-line-between-good-and-evil" my ass ;)

Posted: May 26th 2010 2:13AM Sam not Spam said

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Is there any practical difference in the real world between fascism and communism? Live in either and things basically suck, with the leaders getting rich and fat.
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Posted: May 26th 2010 2:28AM mattwo said

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Tyrant and Maruader were sort of heroes.
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Posted: May 26th 2010 10:54AM (Unverified) said

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@Sam;

Technically speaking, communism haven't been reached in our world yet, it only exist in name and the system is being abused. Leaders who claim to be communist revoluniaries are more socialist oriented and they strayed very far away from Marxism thus creating their own fascist regimes (China, N. Korea etc.). In my opinion only some Latin America countries should be viewed differently, most important of them being Cuba. We need to remember that socialism must be international to survive and thrive. We need to know the embargos and oppression from the imperialist world against those countries and judge their present state according to that.

So, partially i agree to what you say but we shouldn't forget that communism is an ideology, an economic system, a different way to shape society where as fascism is a tendency, a perversion and never has a intellectual thought or theorem to base itself upon.

So they are not in the same category and from time to time they can coexist (however abomination it is). The reason these notions are being perceived like opposite ends of the same spectrum is because communism in theory rejects and rules out fascism.
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Posted: May 26th 2010 4:49PM J Brad Hicks said

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I see the term "fascism" thrown around a lot by people who couldn't define it to win a million dollars.

But aside from the fact that you're using the term "fascism" (inappropriately) as a synonym for "totalitarianism," let me ask you this: is it still totalitarianism if the only people being oppressed are supervillains? Is it still totalitarianism if the dictator only accepted the job, and only keeps the job, reluctantly and by popular demand?

Contact with Primal Earth does pose a serious challenge to Praetorian Earth. Emperor Marcus "Tyrant" Cole knows, flat-out, first-hand, that superhero Marcus "Statesman" Cole considers him to be a villain. He knows that superheroes from Primal Earth, working for his alternate-universe self, have invaded Nova Praetoria, the capital of his reluctant empire, at least twice in force and multiple times covertly. Which means that no matter how pure his motives or how reluctantly he holds his title, Praetorian Earth now faces a war ... the one thing most likely to tip him into honest-to-gods fascism, if he feels he has to militarize Praetorian Earth and take it to war against Primal Earth ... which the second video they released, long ago, suggests that he has.

I'm not saying that he isn't a villain. I'm just asking what the heck you would have done differently, if you'd been in his shoes. I'm asking you what he's done since the Hamidon War that's been so awful.

Remember: real superheroes (in Primal Earth, in City of Heroes) set "supervillains," some of whom are nothing more than teenage street gang members with a minor bullet-proofing and fire-proofing talisman or rival teenage street gang members strung out on tainted super-soldier serum, on fire. They encase them in ice. They electrocute them. They gun them down with machine guns. They slice them to shreds with claws or swords. They flat-out kill them, tape hospital emergency "arrest teleporters" to their bodies, so the prison doctors can revive them and lock them up. In contrast, all Mother Mayhem and the Seers do is cure them of wanting to be villains, reserving the death penalty (brain death, anyway) at the hands of the Clockwork King for the ones who can't be cured.

Let's face it: there's something inherently fascistic about the super-hero fantasy, no matter how you write it. Does making a government subject to some kind of laws actually make it worse than leaving it in the hands of mostly unaccountable vigilantes?
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