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Create powers and the social implications (3e)

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Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby Plantman » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:24 pm

So I want to talk about a subject that might show up in any given setting: the Create power. Especially when combined with the Permanent flaw and the Innate extra (and sometimes Precise).

With these two additions it takes something already powerful and takes it into a godly sphere; the very power to create real objects from nothing. A character that is good could feed the hungry with a mere thought, the character that is greedy can conjure wealth and art from his imagination, the megalomaniac’s delusions could manifest statues in his honor and palaces whenever she pleases. With the right combination of powers a character could even fly to another star and custom build their own planet given enough time!

Not to mention if this Create combo is combined further with Impervious or Stationary extras. With impervious you could make walls that never fall or monuments that could withstand all time and weather. With stationary you could make floating castles or literal stairs to heaven (well space but you know what I mean).
There are limitations of course (mostly volume) but you can make a lot of stuff in just 6 seconds, given an hour or a whole day a single character could make a lot of stuff.

Given all this, how would this effect society? A single character with this power could very well change the world without really trying to hard! None the less multiple of these people running around. From a “what if” prospective it’s really interesting to think about.

So what are your guy’s opinions on how a character with this power set up and how that character’s existence would change the world, how the world would view them, and how you would deal with a character like this in game (be it a fellow player or NPC)?
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby mirilion » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:49 am

This is an issue in open role playing games, where you basically give the heroes the power to destroy the campaign right from the beginning. The solution is to talk to the players about it and see what they think, and add limitations and complications as needed. In my mind one of the challenges of relatively realistic M&M series is deciding how to handle this, and each group will have their own style. My own preferred style is to construct the series in such a way that players could do whatever they want, with realistic consequences, while the real stuff goes on in the background. The more ripples caused by the player, the more likely it is for the background conspirators to notice him and start to oppose his actions, or somehow use them to further their own plans. Big players get noticed by other big players.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby danelsan » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:28 am

While not really explored in depth, the comic book Invincible gives some attention to a similar situation: the power to rearrange matter, transforming things in other things, and how a certain heroine with this power basically gives up fighting super-villains because she can do greater good doing social/infrastructural work in Africa (I think it was Africa - has been some time since I read those issues)
If memory doesn't fail me, she is usually incapable of manipulating living matter, so no food-from-rock tricks
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby Doctor Devious » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:23 am

There have been quite a few "what if supers were real" stories told over the years: almost all suggest it would end badly (though typically have an unconvincing super-save at the end of their tale).

At the simplest level: what is a hero with healing powers doing fighting the mob? Get to a hospital! But, a la Torchwood - don't get too good: what happens if you can save eveyone may not be to their liking.

Even just "free energy generation" - as a large number of supers could achieve - fundamentally changes the economic structure of the world, and that's just playing at the edges. Super-contagious pathogens; endless climate-changing conflicts; the rise and conflict of "super-nations"; alien and "new gods" involvement; multiple breaches of dimensional planes and so on, most of these having a doomsday weapon to hand, will end in tears soon enough.

Best just to ignore the consequences and go with "It's clobberin' time!"
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby HustlerOne » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:06 pm

Technically there's no limitation with powers like variable, create objects, and transformation. It's up to the gamemaster and the players to set limitations so it won't go out of hand. I much prefer low key powers from
the Syfy show Alphas which always have drawbacks. Like that one alpha that could look like anyone but it's
painful to maintain that new look.

If anyone can do anything then it starts to look like Aberrant or Bioshock. Let me tell you it doesn't end very
well for either settings.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby SilvercatMoonpaw » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:26 pm

I'm of two minds:

One says that Create can't make something as chemically complex as food. Precise just allows you to control the shape.

The other says that this is a symptom of using our world as a base. I'd love to see someone design a world from scratch taking full use of super-powers into account.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby saint_matthew » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:42 pm

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:The other says that this is a symptom of using our world as a base. I'd love to see someone design a world from scratch taking full use of super-powers into account.


Ah yes the realism argument, which usually goes like this

Person 1: But realism?
Person 2: Realism went out the window the second we put a flying man in a lycra unitard & cape.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby SilvercatMoonpaw » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:51 pm

Oh I'm not a realism person. I'm just saying when realism is brought up in regards to super-powers it's in relationship to our world as we know it. Take away using our world as we know it and.......well, the issue obviously disappears.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby Scholz2 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:02 pm

If the idea begins to bother you.
I suggest just adding a hint of doubt. "Where does that stuff come from? It has to come from somewhere." Or something like that. Then if the players don't get the clue, you can start to make the hints more real. You could have signs that there is some cost to it. Could be 'taint' or 'cosmic debt', or even just someone else's, maybe the owners come calling for it?
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby saint_matthew » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:41 pm

Scholz2 wrote:If the idea begins to bother you.
I suggest just adding a hint of doubt. "Where does that stuff come from? It has to come from somewhere." Or something like that. Then if the players don't get the clue, you can start to make the hints more real. You could have signs that there is some cost to it. Could be 'taint' or 'cosmic debt', or even just someone else's, maybe the owners come calling for it?


Kind of like what they did in the 90's with Pym Particles. Pym Particles accessed a sub dimension, which was where he shunted all of the extra mass from shrinking down into. Of course this was during the "everyone wear a bomber jacket" era of Avengers, so do with that as you will.

But i do like the general idea: Every time you create something you may be pulling mass from a different sub universe, resulting in the weakening of the barrier between the two worlds. The weakening has caused the barrier to allow through inhabitants from the otherside & they are not happy. :twisted:
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby saint_matthew » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:33 pm

JetstreamGW wrote:One of these days people are going to realize that in the context of that argument the word "realism" becomes synonymous with "internal consistency"


No it isn't. Realism is about people trying to make things more like our world: Thats why we have discussion about how "this doesn't work like that in our world." The appearance of realism in an internally consistent meta-fiction is versamilitude, not realism.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby Greyman » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:23 am

saint_matthew wrote:
Scholz2 wrote:If the idea begins to bother you.
I suggest just adding a hint of doubt. "Where does that stuff come from? It has to come from somewhere." Or something like that. Then if the players don't get the clue, you can start to make the hints more real. You could have signs that there is some cost to it. Could be 'taint' or 'cosmic debt', or even just someone else's, maybe the owners come calling for it?
Kind of like what they did in the 90's with Pym Particles. Pym Particles accessed a sub dimension, which was where he shunted all of the extra mass from shrinking down into. Of course this was during the "everyone wear a bomber jacket" era of Avengers, so do with that as you will.

But i do like the general idea: Every time you create something you may be pulling mass from a different sub universe, resulting in the weakening of the barrier between the two worlds. The weakening has caused the barrier to allow through inhabitants from the otherside & they are not happy. :twisted:
For a more mundane method, you could simply have people growing to distrust of things "wished up by costumed freaks". There'll always be someone with vested interest--for political, economical, or plain prejudicial reasons--sowing mistrust and making noises about buildings collapsing from being made of "unstable conjured materials" and such.

Also, for every creator, there will be a disintegrator out there, somewhere.
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:58 am

Greyman wrote:
saint_matthew wrote:
Scholz2 wrote:If the idea begins to bother you.
I suggest just adding a hint of doubt. "Where does that stuff come from? It has to come from somewhere." Or something like that. Then if the players don't get the clue, you can start to make the hints more real. You could have signs that there is some cost to it. Could be 'taint' or 'cosmic debt', or even just someone else's, maybe the owners come calling for it?
Kind of like what they did in the 90's with Pym Particles. Pym Particles accessed a sub dimension, which was where he shunted all of the extra mass from shrinking down into. Of course this was during the "everyone wear a bomber jacket" era of Avengers, so do with that as you will.

But i do like the general idea: Every time you create something you may be pulling mass from a different sub universe, resulting in the weakening of the barrier between the two worlds. The weakening has caused the barrier to allow through inhabitants from the otherside & they are not happy. :twisted:
For a more mundane method, you could simply have people growing to distrust of things "wished up by costumed freaks". There'll always be someone with vested interest--for political, economical, or plain prejudicial reasons--sowing mistrust and making noises about buildings collapsing from being made of "unstable conjured materials" and such.

Also, for every creator, there will be a disintegrator out there, somewhere.


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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby mirilion » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:24 am

Why not allow the players to change the world? Sure, some challenges and moral dilemmas along the way make it more interesting, but why not?
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Re: Create powers and the social implications (3e)

Postby HustlerOne » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:14 am

saint_matthew wrote:
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:The other says that this is a symptom of using our world as a base. I'd love to see someone design a world from scratch taking full use of super-powers into account.


Ah yes the realism argument, which usually goes like this

Person 1: But realism?
Person 2: Realism went out the window the second we put a flying man in a lycra unitard & cape.


The Aberrant rpg tried to do so. The problem was that the powers weren't very realistic. Heck, even comic book super heroes wouldn't be able to take on the overpowered Novas of the Aberrant setting. Still it did do a good job of showing that most people wouldn't automatically be superheroes and fight crime the moment they got superpowers.

I believe the Syfy show Alphas and Nickelodeon's Avatar: The last airbender did a better job at everyday people with believable powers. Avatar especially so, since they actually use their powers in noncombat situations. When you can throw electricity around why need a dirty coal powerplant to generate electricity?
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