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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Jul 28th 2010 12:59PM Nolinquisitor said

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Having tried Going Rogue beta (no I am not giving anything)... I still have a hard time choosing between the two factions. It's really a close call à la Marvel Civil War.

Posted: Jul 28th 2010 1:13PM Meagen said

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Some situations may be complicated and hard to resolve, but there are some things that are always wrong. Like sneaking links to TVTropes into your article.

Posted: Jul 28th 2010 3:44PM (Unverified) said

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That's where my last half hour went. That was a very crummy move.
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Posted: Jul 28th 2010 5:55PM Meagen said

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...would it be unkind of me to point out that I was only using the line as set-up for "how dare you link me to TVTropes"?

Anyway, villains who will always go on killing until they are put down permanently is one of those things that only really exist in comic books. They will always escape from prison and leave a trail of corpses in their wake because otherwise there'd be no plot - and the hero can't kill them off for real even if he wanted to, because then what would you do for plot next issue? This situation has been examined and re-examined in many different storylines, with a new string of innocent victims each time, and sometimes the writers try to blame the villain for being crazy and killing people, sometimes they try to blame the hero for not killing the villain, but in the end it's really the fault of the writers who are upholding the status quo.
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Posted: Jul 28th 2010 6:11PM Meagen said

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Yes, people like that (as rare as they are) would undoubtedly kill if they got the *chance*. But since this is real life, they just end up spending the rest of their lives in prison. If they somehow manage to escape and kill again, they'd just end up getting gunned down by the police eventually. There's no "if Charles Mason isn't killed right now he will kill another twelve people when he inevitably escapes next week, oh and there's only one guy in the United States who stands a chance of killing him, so it's all in the hands of that one guy".
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Posted: Jul 28th 2010 8:57PM Eliot Lefebvre said

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Boy, you must really hate me by this point. I sneak in trope links a lot.
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Posted: Jul 28th 2010 2:47PM J Brad Hicks said

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Cole allowing anybody to secede from his empire just isn't viable for another reason. Remember that the disaster that brought Cole to power was one one -- ONE -- supervillain came within a hair's breadth of destroying all sentient life on earth. With the stakes that high, Cole can't allow there to be one place on earth, not one volcano or undersea dome or mountain peak or cave or mining tunnel or sewer, that isn't under the observation of his Praetors.

It's hard to do serious fiction about superheroes, because people can't get it through their heads what a nightmare it would be if, say, J. Random Nobody might, on some random day, wake up and be able to nuke whole cities at will, and there would be no way to detect him until he did. The idea that those of us who can't do so would survive so long as there were enough "good" guys able to catch those people while they were in the act of doing so is inherently terrifying, the more you think about it.

If you look around the City of Heroes canon, in all three timelines we have documentation for (Primal Earth, Praetorian Earth, and Axis America/Council Empire), it's a little sickening to me, if vaguely fascinating, that they've only written a tiny handful of heroes OR villains who believe in law or government other than rule by the strongest strongman and his minions. Basically, you've got Blue Steel, and you've got Arbiter Daos, and that's IT. Everybody else is pursuing this agenda of "the world can't be safe until I'm the strongest person in the world and I rule it." It's as if just because super-powers exist, we have to suddenly throw rule of law, trial by jury, and balance of powers completely out the window.

Posted: Jul 28th 2010 7:58PM J Brad Hicks said

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I'm not seeing any evidence in the story snippets released so far that Marcus "Tyrant" Cole believes in civilian government, checks and balances, or the rule of law. And that's consistent with Marcus "Statesman" Cole, who professes to be a great American and all about defending America, but who has no use for those things, either. The timeline is essentially identical up until the destruction of the Well of the Furies, and the Marcus Cole who found the Well of the Furies, in both timelines, was no political scientist, he was a tomb robber with ties to organized crime. Read /The Web of Arachnos,/ and see that Marcus Cole doesn't really understand what America /is,/ really. That's true in both timelines. And in both timelines, he started out determined to stay out of politics, for the honest reason that he doesn't know anything about it.

The difference between Statesman and Tyrant is that Statesman found a way to deal with supervillains that didn't involve having to conquer the country, let alone conquer the earth. The essence of the Statesman compromise is that civilian government and the rule of law and checks and balances are all well and good for normal human beings, but normal human beings should stay out of super-powered business. Superheroes should be immune to most laws, most treaties, most oversight, and normal people should just trust them to police themselves, police each other, and only beat up the bad guys. Mostly. As you would expect of someone who's never really thought this through, as someone who's dealt with this on an /ad hoc/ basis for 80 years now going from one crisis to the next, he's not very coherent, let alone internally consistent.

But Tyrant faced a supervillain that even all of Earth's superheroes combined with all of Earth's militaries could only barely temporarily contain. He's had to deal with stakes much higher than Statesman has faced. It wouldn't take a whole lot to tip Statesman over into becoming Tyrant. That's what makes Arachnos propaganda so plausible looking to the people of the nearby Rogue Isles; Statesman's insistence that supers should be above the law looks creepily like he's a Tyrant.

That's how the game's backstory is written. It's sad, and disturbing, really, that across now four lead writers there is total unanimity: under no circumstances would any significant number of superheroes even vaguely consider placing themselves under civilian authority as a condition of getting to use force on others. That's not how I think the world would turn out, frankly. (Of course, the way I think the world would turn out, where if you want to use killer robots or death ray laser guns or radiation beams shooting out of your eyes or Lemurian death-magic spells or ancient mystical decapitating axes to make arrests, you put on a blue uniform and you go where the precinct sergeant sends you and you do your job, wouldn't necessarily make a fun game.)
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Posted: Jul 28th 2010 9:00PM Eliot Lefebvre said

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Brad, if you've not yet read the Savage Dragon, I'd recommend it. It's certainly in keeping with the idea that superhuman individuals are still beholden to "mortal" laws. (Or Top 10, but that's kind of in another direction altogether.)
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Posted: Jul 29th 2010 12:11PM Raithnor said

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My question when I run the resistance arc is going to be: "What are you replacing Cole's rule with?"

It's very easy to tear something down and it's harder to build or maintain something than you'd think.

If you assume for the moment that Praetoria is essentially the last human city on Praetorian Earth. (Even that might be suspect, but that also begs the question are there any City-Nation-States that are less oppressive than Praetoia.) So you have an environment where if people do not like how things are run, they can't leave because to do so would mean being destroyed by the Devouring Earth. That limits a person's options to either coexist or revolt.

I'm not saying Cole and the Praetorians aren't heavy-handed rulers, they are. My question is though can anyone replace them and still maintain Praetorian society through a less brutal regime or would you end up replacing one Tyrant with another?

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