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  1. #11

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    Wealth is neither a superpower nor an origin story, so it's a bit reductive to bemoan the existence of superheroes that happen to be wealthy, even if their power set is connected to their wealth in some fashion. I have yet to hear anyone challenge the legitimacy of Thor as a superhero due to his being a prince/god, or Black Panther...

    I do agree that the stakes do need to be raised for the good of the franchise (and while I fear for Rhodey, don't spoil it for me please), but we need more than just a martyr to aspire to, we need the team to grow emotionally.

    As it relates to 40k, we could use a few more lost touchstones in the narrative, but the trouble is, at the galactic scale, everything seems small in comparison. Because the narrative is presented more as a history than anything else, it's not easy to just cut out important pieces of the setting without disrupting every other piece of writing that exists. The rebranding of game factions alone has made enough trouble, but wiping out entire chunks of the setting would risk needing an entire reboot.
    Last edited by Andrew Thomas; 05-02-2016 at 11:02 AM.

  2. #12

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    *Sigh.* Poor Makari. Taken out in one of the dumbest examples of fluff-writing ever, which I refuse to acknowledge, except as a reason that some day I'll find who wrote it and beat his head until he gets enough concussions to never again write something so mindlessly stupid.

    Hey, the little guy has a place in my heart, I'm allowed to be violently upset about it. (For those who don't know, the TL;DR is: Makari was Ghazghkull's standard bearer and the luckiest bugger alive. Had a 2+ save that couldn't be modified by anything. He could survive when everyone else died. And then because they opted not to make a new model for him, they claimed Ghazghkull sat on him and squashed him. The luckiest git alive gets SAT ON?!? And Ghaz, the most brilliant Ork around, doesn't notice his personal standard bearer when he's sitting down? It's like the lamest attempt at humor ever.)

    *Ahem.*

    Anyway.

    Age of Sigmar shows us the problem with trying to move the plot forward meaningfully even more than Storm of Chaos did (where they retconned it in the main storyline, though WFRP did well with it; ditto for Eye of Terror in 40K). Age of Sigmar comes after they literally destroyed the entire world. Chaos won, game over, everyone died. Even the backup was destroyed.

    And yet, here we are, and it's not just Sigmar who survived. Characters who weren't "incarnates" are popping back up in the story. Races that are meant to be gone, at least temporarily, are showing up, with no explanation why. They're trying to appease people who don't want favorite characters gone or whole races gone, and the net result is a somewhat convoluted mess that contradicts itself in places and makes no attempt to explain how we got from Point A to Point B.

    If 40K attempted to move forward, even just a hundred years, how much would they then be retconning again? What if the Tyranids munched their way through the Tau Empire and the Ultramarines' systems? What if the Necrons opted to go back to sleep, figuring things were too much of a Charlie Foxtrot to deal with? What if Ghazghkull kept going and embroiled most of the galaxy in wars that produced more and nastier Orks? What if Abaddon's second attempt at a 13th Black Crusade succeeded and he burned Terra?

    It's exciting to think "What if...?" but Age of Sigmar answered that for us. You piss off or alienate a LOT of people, and have to do some silly things with your story to bring things back around to the status quo as far as the game goes. It's just not worth it for a company to do.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Thomas View Post
    Wealth is neither a superpower nor an origin story, so it's a bit reductive to bemoan the existence of superheroes that happen to be wealthy, even if their power set is connected to their wealth in some fashion. I have yet to hear anyone challenge the legitimacy of Thor as a superhero due to his being a prince/god, or Black Panther...
    'With great power comes great responsibility.'

    Wealth = power, because money is the primary means by which people access the goods and service provided by society. No money, no power. You want representation? Wealth and power buys that.

    When I bemoan wealth, my key problem with it isn't wealth in and of itself. It's that wealth is used by superheroes almost exclusively as a means to prosecute personally-motivated campaigns without oversight of authorities that would otherwise reign them in, rather than using that wealth for the betterment of society by developing broken social structures to the point that they fulfil their intended roles.

    Batman is a multi-billionaire who spends his night beating up poor people because it helps him overcome his grief at his parents' death. That was fine when I was a child, but now all I ask is well: why not become a cop? You wanna fight crime, pick up a badge and do it properly. You can't stop the Joker? Fine. Why not fund the police force until they can do it? There's like, hundreds of them. Hundreds. You seriously telling me that one lunatic without powers is completely unapprehendable by regular folks, are you Batman?

    'Ah, but the police can't -'

    Stop. Right. There.

    You are Bruce Wayne, multi-f**king billionaire. You could funnel this money into the public's coffers. You could rebuild and reinvest. If you've got enough money for multiple batmobiles, power armour that works, batwings, experimental ammunition, a g***amned space station, then you have enough money to clean up Gotham. You just do. Seriously, for the price of a single Batmobile, how many extra police could you hire? For the price of a single missile on the Batwing, how much high-level training could you provide? You could get Gotham's police force trained to military levels; you could see them better equipped than most armies.

    But you don't. You put on a scary costume to fight crime. That's just ridiculous.

    Now, yeah, the meta-reason you don't is because a comic about a superhero who saves the day through effective town planning and redistribution of wealth isn't as exciting as a man who dressed up in a black cape to punch poor people. But the comics never acknowledge that meta reason, because they can't, so what it makes Bruce Wayne look like from the outside is a f**king sociopath who uses the impoverished and desperate as a means to scratch his own egos.

    Tony Stark's kind of the same, but he gets away with it, because he's not supposed to be all that likable, and he acknowledges that he's a horrible person, which Bruce Wayne never does. Also, Stark's main superpower is his mind. Wayne's just a rich, violent prick.

    (Yeah, I'm ragging on Batman a lot, but I've kind of realised I fairly detest the concept of Batman over the years, and the 'BvS-DoJ' film hasn't endeared him to me. The Nolan films are great, Batman '66 is incredible, and the original 'Batman: The Animated Series' may be just about the best superhero ever realised in any medium. But Batman as an idea is just f**king loathsome to me. I believe in the importance of meritocracy, and while he superficially embodies that, everything about him actually spits in the face of that ideal.)

    As for no-one ranting about kings or queens, well, yeah, personally I find the notion of hereditary monarchies detestable in every conceivable way. But at least Thor and T'Challa are bound by duties that simply don't apply to people like Wayne or Stark; they pay lip service to the idea of there being a society which they are supposed to service by operating within existing social structures. It's not ideal, but it's better than Wayne's decision to turn Gotham into his personal playground.

    Ultimately, Bruce Wayne without his wealth is Rorshach: a crazed homeless guy snapping the fingers of low-lifes because he's simply unable to function as a meaningful member of society. Wealth is absolutely a superpower, because his wealth enables him to compete on the levels of the demigods that populate the DC universe, and he wouldn't be able to do that otherwise.
    AUT TACE AUT LOQUERE MELIORA SILENTIO

  4. #14

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    You know what I'd like to see as an Alternative Batman storyline?

    Batman is trying to clean up Gotham of organised crime. Usual reasons apply - Police are corrupt, criminals pay bribes, own Judges etc.

    But given his massive psychosis, it's actually Bruce Wayne funding the organised crime - and he does so due to the twisted logic that his actions there act as a poultice to draw out the scum of humanity in Gotham, highlighting them as undesirables to be removed from the equation - be it through a Palpatineesque gang war where he controls both sides, or having them committed to Arkham or locked up in Blackgate.
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  5. #15

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    I'd like one of those alternative universe stories where Batman confronts an evil alternative Bruce Wayne who went through everything Batman did, only he channelled all his money into urban redevelopment, fighting the causes of crime rather than the crime itself.

    And this alterna-Gotham is basically as perfect as things get. The Joker's permanently incarcerated in a top-of-the-line mental health facility which has the funding to deal with him. Organised crime doesn't exist because the police and DA's were given more funding for better lawyers than the crime bosses could afford, meaning they were all actually sent down, along with all their henchmen. It's all, essentially great.

    Then Ra's Al Ghul shows up looking to tear Gotham down, only he's stopped almost immediately by the well-funded police who quickly identify what's going on, arresting and incarcerating all his minions and leaving Gotham safe.

    Every time Batman shows up to solve a problem with his fists, the cops are already there handcuffing the bad guys, and he just can't believe it.

    And in the climax, he meets alterna-Bruce Wayne and they compare their lives, and alterna-Wayne's just like

    'Well the reason your Gotham's so terrible is you. You're the problem. You could have fought these problems much more effectively, like a grown-up, but you couldn't see beyond the end of your fists. You should have spent your money on society instead of toys for yourself.'

    And Batman's like

    'My hands are the only ones I can trust.'

    And alterna-Wayne's like

    'See? That's exactly what I'm talking about you arrogant prick. You're the problem. You're so sure you're the only man for the job, but you didn't realise your job was to co-ordinate and support, not solve on your own. Because no-one can solve the problems of a city on their own. With their fists. Because that's just insane.'

    And Batman's like

    'My God, he's right. I'm the villain of this story.'

    And then he goes back to his Gotham but nothing changes because he's just not that guy. He'd rather be king of the craphole than actually do what needs to be done, because paperwork is much harder than punching.

    I'd love to see Batman just get called the f**k out on his arrogance and insanity.
    AUT TACE AUT LOQUERE MELIORA SILENTIO

  6. #16
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    Batman Beyond! then Brave and the Bold.
    Twelve monkeys, eleven hats. One monkey is sad.

  7. #17

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    If Batman really wanted to deal with the joker extrajudicially I'm sure he could afford either a team of mercs, a more than competent hitman, or a really big gun. But like you said he likes to keep punching baddies.

    I think you're right with the marvel thing, you know you're not going to really lose any of the main characters, though obviously based on other threads if they did kill a main character you know who who it'd be right?

    However the process of robo-insemination is far too complex for the human mind!
    A knee high fence, my one weakness

  8. #18

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    Wealth isn't just money. And the societal problems that create a Joker, or a Killer Croc, or any of Iron Man's enemies, couldn't be thwarted by angel investments alone.

    To answer your 2 rhetorical questions at once: because the system, and its agents, are not interested in preventing crime and tragedy, but in ensuring that the right, or failing that, acceptable, persons answer for those crimes and tragedies. For all its flaws, one thing the movie Superman Returns gets right is that Vigilantism is not compatible with conventional jurisprudence (the only reason Lex Luthor was still on the streets was because Superman does not make "Parole Hearings, Appeals Hearings, or Congressional Oversight Committees"). This is because the bureaucracy inherent to conventional jurisprudence allows too much opportunity for your typical terrorist mastermind, which would be a fitting description for about 75% of Batman's adversaries, to carry out actions, even while in custody.

    Lastly, neither Bruce Wayne nor Tony Stark "buy" their power sets "off of the rack." They build and develop them using their own ingenuity and talent, sometimes at great personal cost.

  9. #19
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    Death captian gul...er... I mean primarch of the smurfs!
    Potential war gameing Jawa.

  10. #20
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    I once read a wonderful fanfiction where somebody killed the Emperor, and explored the havoc that would result. (Unfortunately it was never finished.) And the best thing about it was that things shook out in a way where you could have a Warhammer 50k in that universe; some characters were killed permanently, but that's okay, and they had a wonderful send off - Eisenhorn was a wonderful and terrible and fitting end, that was a mixture of 'you magnificent *******' and 'you utter idiot fighting Chaos like that' - yet the broad factions were intact. Some new, some melded together, but none completely squatted. Just on different sides, for plausible reasons.

    I think that is what you would have to do if you wanted to advance the story of 40k. The first step would be to figure out a new stable equilibrium and where every faction will be afterwards and for heavens sake make them at least vaguely balanced. Then decide which named characters will survive and which will permanently die. Only once you've done all of that and laid the groundwork do you do your dynamic End of Times event and get everyone enthusiastic. Probably want to write the skeleton of the new rule book beforehand and possibly even list the specific models and units that you are not certain whether they will be continued, so there will be no "well I want to play Lizardmen/Bretonia, but I got told they may be getting deleted" happening again.

    People are more likely to join in if they're reassured that even though everything is changing, their faction will pull through in some form. Abet possibly switching to a new and unexpected side during the process. (I'm sure some players would promptly whinge about messing up their superfriends army, but you can't please everyone.)
    Kabal of Venomed Dreams

 

 
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