Superheroic Answers:

Today its going to be a few player questions for the Champions game:

   (1) How do people who are obviously abnormal, and have abilities beyond normal human levels – but who aren’t exactly superheroes – tend to get along in life?

   Socially, that’s still being sorted out; the really extreme superhumans, and the associated large numbers of slightly-superhumans, are a relatively new development. Power levels have been steadily increasing for decades, with the result that abilities which would have made you a major superhero during the 1940’s and 1950’s are no longer especially remarkable.

   Secondarily, the dividing line between “normal human” and “superhuman” is is a lot less firm than in most worlds: normal humans have been able to work 10-active point magic throughout history. It’s really hard to tell the difference between someone with slightly-superhuman abilities and a normal human with a couple of relevant spells and charms. In general, most mild superhumans are treated like high-end athletes today: there’s some respect, some jealousy, mild resentment of them being “different”, and fairly casual acceptance. Quite a lot of people are personally acquainted with a decent psychic, or with someone with a supernatural ancestor and some minor powers or enhanced magical talents. Quite a lot of those with such talents try to hide whatever minor abilities they possess, its easier.

(2) How did the – rather draconian – laws about lycanthropes come about?

   This is actually fairly straightforward: while normal humans have been able to use magic at the ten to twenty active point level throughout known history, and the upper-end lycanthropic abilities were somewhat suppressed within the rho-field, lycanthropes have been able to use 20-30 active point effects and have possessed augmented strength and endurance, regenerative abilities, inhuman toughness, annoyingly good looks, heightened charisma, and various other enhancements, since they came into being. Until technology started catching up they were some of the deadliest and toughest people on the planet. There were always occasional heroes, and a solid majority of decent types, among them – but the occasional villain, and a natural resentment of their special advantages, led to widespread fear and dislike.

   Things started to change with the development of reliable, widely-used, repeating firearms. The Colt Revolver – in 1836 – is as good a spot as any to mark the dividing line. They were popular by 1850, and in widespread use a little later. The first major lycanthrope-control laws become enforceable by 1870, and most of the current laws were in place by 1890. Sadly, quite a few of those laws and rules were founded in the feeling that it was “finally safe to strike back”. In popular belief, lycanthropes went from horrific monsters of legend to dangerous threats.

   Since the number of animal spirits which have been magically modified to bond with humans is more or less fixed, the increased deathrate among lycanthropes led to a considerable upswing in the numbers of young, confused, and inexperienced lycanthropes – reinforcing the popular image and creating an upswing in incidents that seemed to justify the new laws. Still, lycanthropes are rare enough that there have been few challenges to the law – and the jealousy over their assortment of natural advantages has helped maintain the status quo.

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2 Responses

  1. Just a note, the part dealing with respect, jealousy and resentment is somewhat repeated twice. The phrasing is slightly different, but it definitely looks like you typed the same idea twice.

    Two, many laws in our society are holdovers from times with very different circumstances. It’s a catch 22 as to making the laws so specific as to irrelevant quickly or making them too vague to make them last but give the lawyers a hey-day.

  2. Hm. I was editing this rather late, and it looks like I copy-pasted instead of cut-and-pasted a couple of times. It’s fixed now.

    Now, while laws do need flexibility, most of the laws in question were proposed and written during the civil war. Notions of civil rights have changed a good deal in the 120 years since then – if only because of the appearance or superheroes, aliens, and extradimensional visitors – so it really is about time for an update.

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