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SIZ (again!)


Agentorange

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Actually, my test of the flexibility of a superhero RPG isn't Superman, isn't Godzilla. It's the Energizer Bunny. No offensive abilities, but nigh invulnerable (like The Tick), he just keeps going, and going, and going .... I could build EB in Champions. Haven't yet tried with BRP. ;D

LOL!

The most amazing thing about the EB to me is that it originally came from a DURACELL commercial.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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LOL!

The most amazing thing about the EB to me is that it originally came from a DURACELL commercial.

Yep. For those not already in the know, Duracell had a commercial in which a toy bunny raced a toy tortoise. The rabbit won, not by being steady, but by packing the right brand of D-size battery. Energizer spoofed their rival's mascot in a later advertising campaign, inverting the toy drum and adding hipster sunglasses to avoid copyright infringement.

Since the Energizer Bunny has single-handedly defeated Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Boris and Natasha, Count Dracula, Darth Vader and King Kong, I figure he should have received recruitment letters from both the Justice League and the Avengers by now. ;)

Duracell (1983)

Energizer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FFFIHc94Ks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhlApioLO1A

Edited by seneschal
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And it stopped Duracell from doing those head to head battery comparisons that they were noted for. The EB made that whole campaign backfire. Not only did Energizer get a mascot out of the deal, but the whole campaign ended up putting what was an unknown brand solidly into competition with what was supposed to be the premium brand. Eveready has got to be pretty happy with the way that worked out.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Going back to the superhero thing, the problem with trying to use any rules system for established superheroes is that their power levels are wildly inconsistent, depending on the needs (and, to be honest, abilities) of any given writer. The glaring one that springs to mind is when Grant Morrison decided that to make Aquaman less of a joke his ability to control fish extended to anything descended from sea-life which obviously includes pretty much all life on earth. He used this new ability he'd apparently always had to give someone an aneurysm. Even if you accept that this was a reasonable extension of his powers you have to question 1) why he hadn't done it before and 2) why the hell someone who could control the minds of pretty much anything on the planet would choose to specialise in fish-based crime. In my opinion that makes him more of a joke, not less. And is also shit writing.

With regards to Marvel's power levels the Hulk has held up an entire mountain range to hide a bunch of heroes under it (during the Secret Wars) which makes a mockery of later attempts to rationalise his strength level to something more reasonable. Although DC's characters are far more guilty of this. I think that's largely down to the fact that their stories and characters have spiralled out of control and every time they decide to reset everything with some universe-shattering event all they do is muddy the waters even more by producing new versions of all their characters, trying to make that tie in with the 4 or 5 other versions of each character and then find they're in an even worse state than they were before. Especially when they realise a lot of fans really don't like some of the new versions and so revert them to how they were before. I think it's unfortunate because I really like some DC characters, and I think they've got an interesting universe which contrasts nicely with Marvel's. It's just been screwed around with too many times but they do have some cool characters. Except Superman. He can die in a cancer-fire as far as I'm concerned, the single most piss-boring pointlessly overpowered character in comics. All he does is hit stuff, or occasionally neem it with his laser-eyes. That's his thing. And it's boring. Having all the character depth of a slice of unbuttered toast doesn't help. And he's an arsehole. Like when Doomsday 'killed him' except he just went into a healing-come thing and left everyone to grieve over him like a second-rate soap opera villain. Classy move, dickface. Sorry, rant over.

With regards to Batman and his whole "I don't have any powers" Schtick, I've long been convinced that Batman's greatest superpower is convincing everyone that he doesn't have any superpowers. No matter how you cut it, his abilities go so far beyond what is possible for any normal human that he should just come clean and admit he's a metahuman with the ability to learn anything and everything to a frighteningly competent level. There's no way someone could even master all the forms of combat and gymnastics he's done, let alone leaving time to become the world's greatest detective when he's not working out. I do like him as a character though, more-so when he's played as an exceptional detective than a more generic crime-puncher.

Although at some point someone's going to have to get him to explain what he did with all the bodies of the contractors that built the Batcave and that he subsequently murdered to ensure its secrecy...

"Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing."

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I do like Superman, but he has been around for 75+ years and subject to a lot of interpretation and qualities of writing. One of the best versions of him (and one more amenable to BRP) is the 1940, first, season of his radio show, The Adventures of Superman. Yes, he's outrageously strong and tough, flies at rocket speeds, and has enhanced senses. But he isn't all-knowing and despite his speed can't be everywhere at once. Superman acts in costume only when he absolutely has to, determined to keep not just his identity but his existence a secret. Most of the time he's Clark Kent, not a wimp but a hard-nosed, competent investigative reporter who has earned the respect of his editors and the public officials he interviews with his honesty, cleverness, and ability to get results. Despite Superman's science fiction origins, the show feels more like a pulp detective story. His foes are normal people -- gangsters, con men, terrorists, Klansmen, corrupt politicians -- folks Superman could easily mash into peanut butter. But it is Clark Kent who must figure out what is going one, determine who the culprit is, and attempt to aid the villains' prospective victims. The first season of the 1950s TV show took a similar approach. Both the radio show and the TV show eventually became kiddy fodder, but the writing remained strong and the radio show featured lengthy mysteries that created genuine suspense.

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That's true enough, but the downplaying his powers/investigative side of things was largely because he was ripped off from the novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie but as time rolled on he became more and more ridiculous and, simultaneously, more bland (in terms of character) and less interesting to read about.

This is the major problem with any ongoing series. The need for added spectacle and more impressive stories means successive writers have to contend with decades of narrative baggage as well as trying to make their stories more incredible and earth-shattering than what has gone before. It inevitably leads to things becoming ridiculous. Another example of this is Wolverine who apparently in his past has done everything the latest writer thinks is cool. I swear if modelling balloon animals becomes a popular hobby this year it will turn out he used to do it for the CIA in the 40's. The point where I gave up with him (although his Mary-Sue traits have left me utterly uninterested in him for a long time) is when it was revealed that if he ever actually dies (as in, his healing factor can't save him yet again) then he gets to fight the angel of death for another chance at life...

:7

"Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing."

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I think that in the case of Superman the escalation is due less to the fact that it is an ongoing series and more a case of one-ups-manship. When Superman first appeared his was much less powerful and couldn't fly. But as other heroes appeared with more and more incredible powers, Superman keep getting more powerful so that he could top the other heroes with similar powers.

But what writers (and higher ups) decide to do to a character is definitely a point to consider. It holds true with all works of fiction to some extent, but that nature of the comics makes it more pronounced. In a story, the writer can always have a character display some new talent or ability. It may or may not past muster with the readers, but it can be done. In a RPG, it's not really possible for a character to suddenly develop some new skill or other ability out of the blue.

I think RPGs can handle Superheors, but the GM and players need to have some sort of common ground regarding expectations of existing characters.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I agree with that almost entirely, and specifically the problem with ongoing series is they tend to bloat over time. Like a soap opera that picks up successive generations of families and stupidly complex relationships that are forgotten or ignored as required by what the writer wants.

And yeah, the one-upmanship of Superman being the "most super" probably plays a large part of it. It's why I think avoiding using established characters in RPGs is always a good idea. They're too open to interpretation when you try and stat them which leads to arguments between players. Also, I detest playing somebody else's character.

With regards to pulling the old "I've just never mentioned I have a prehensile penis before now" trick in RPGs, they actually suggest doing that in Feng Shui but that's a very knockabout game and would just be ridiculous in most games.

"Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing."

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I agree with that almost entirely, and specifically the problem with ongoing series is they tend to bloat over time. Like a soap opera that picks up successive generations of families and stupidly complex relationships that are forgotten or ignored as required by what the writer wants.

Yeah, it also feeds into the whole familiarity breeds contempt thing. The really powerful villains in a series start off very tough and menacing, but become less impressive each time they get defeated by the heroes.

And yeah, the one-upmanship of Superman being the "most super" probably plays a large part of it. It's why I think avoiding using established characters in RPGs is always a good idea. They're too open to interpretation when you try and stat them which leads to arguments between players. Also, I detest playing somebody else's character.

What I did in my campaigns is use them as a backdrop for the PC heroes. Kinda like how a Gm uses the Arthurian character in a Pendragon campaign. I ran a campaign set in the Marvel Universe, but with the PCs playing their own heroes. One in awhile an actual Marvel character would show up, but not that often. The limited contact helped to reduce problems with interpretation. Plus the PCs got to see the heroes from the viewpoint of their own PCs- not as a reader.

With regards to pulling the old "I've just never mentioned I have a prehensile penis before now" trick in RPGs, they actually suggest doing that in Feng Shui but that's a very knockabout game and would just be ridiculous in most games.

Quite a few RPGs have rules for stuff like that now. It's just not quite established yet. And even so, such revelations don't usually result in an improvement to the character or the story. Unless it's pulled off really well, or the revelation is something that seems very logical and believable once it comes out, it usually ends up eliciting a groan from disappointed readers and get's forgotten a few issues latter.So it's probably not going to enhance the gaming session.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I think that in the case of Superman the escalation is due less to the fact that it is an ongoing series and more a case of one-ups-manship. When Superman first appeared his was much less powerful and couldn't fly

Superman lasted like that for less than a 2 years. golden age Superman, contrary to form propaganda, was impervious to death rays and nuclear weapons, was about as strong as most Marvel bricks today, could fly (through space on occasion). This is between his first appearance and the late-mid 40s. People always talk about first appearance Superman but he was much more powerful than people give him credit for and was basically a cosmic god before the Silver Age rules around and made him nigh omnipotent. So unless you're implying he was trying to one up human opponents and irrelevant supers like Air Male (real) this doesn't make much sense. Superman was always conceived of as basically godlike, from the Wiley novels they copied onward. The notion off a ' more human' Superman should get writers fired on the spot. He is a genetically perfect post human and savior of reality, known from all time began and foreseen by the Oans. Is new a farmboy? Sure. But he's not some aww shucks I wish I was normal cliche. He's a born savior, and depowering him is like depowering Krishna, something done by hacks who misunderstand the genre.

And he was also a super intellect from day one. John Byrne basically didn't like Superman and only for the job because of crappy management and Byrne's mediocre but popular She-Hulk run. He rapidly abandoned the titles and they spent the next few years ignoring his heresies.

Edited by QueenJadisOfCharn
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Sorry, but that's just not true. Superman was originally conceived as an exceptional man who stood up for the downtrodden and worked to expose sinister industrialist and other standard capitalist villains as well as taking on low-level villains. Odd that a couple of Jewish guys would build a Jewish hero as a protector of the oppressed huh? They were basically creating an idealised version of themselves who could tackle the problems they couldn't. It's fairly basic wish-fulfillment and had nothing to do with juggling stars or anything near that level of power.

He wasn't originally godlike or anything close to it, just far beyond the average human. Sure he could pick up a train, but not a planet. It was later tinkering (as you said, he was at that level for 2 years before he got stupid) that pushed his power level to ridiculous extremes and made him a one-dimensional cardboard cutout. As for writers (like Byrne) trying to make him more human and less perfect, that's completely understandable. An omnipotent protagonist is boring because there's no conflict or dramatic tension which is precisely why writers have to reduce his power levels or it just becomes a monthly succession of Superman punching godlike beings in the face while displaying absolutely no actual character other than "be nice, punch harder".

In contrast to your comment that "depowering [superman]... is something done by hacks who don't understand the genre" I'd say that a god-like Superman is written by hacks who don't understand story-telling. A protagonist who has no chance of facing true adversity and can't be beaten is boring and leaves you with no dramatic tension. To have a character without any character other than being the best, without flaws or even anything resembling character traits, leaves you nowhere to go as a writer.

Also, the idea of him as a saviour figure is laughable. Jews really don't do saviours in the same way Christians do, a Jewish saviour is altogether more human and achieves things on a human level (as Superman was originally intended to), not an extension of the godhead who displays unbeatable powers and defeats every problem by hitting it in the face.

"Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing."

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As originally conceived, Superman was incredibly strong (exactly how strong wasn't clear), could leap an eighth of a mile (but couldn't fly) -- hence "leap tall buildings with a single bound" -- and "nothing less than a bursting shell" could pierce his skin. He was smart, agile, and had keen senses -- but didn't yet have super vision, heat vision, super telescopic hearing, nigh-instantaneous speed, etc. One of those bursting shells could at least knock him down even if it didn't really injure him. In early adventures, Lex Luthor made him unconscious (but didn't kill him) with poison gas, and a tussle with a trio of vicious wolves was sufficient distraction to allow the villain to escape.

Power creep began almost immediately -- in other media. In the excellent Fleischer Studios theatrical cartoons (1941-42), Superman initially traveled via giant leaps, then became able to change direction in mid-leap, then finally just flew, period. It was the cartoons that introduced his X-ray vision as well (in The Mechanical Monsters). The 1940 radio show had him flying from the git-go. He could eavesdrop on both ends of a telephone conversation from across the room and could see clearly in the darkness of an amusement park ride's tunnel. Despite his smarts and senses, he didn't have an ESP-level awareness of his surroundings; it was still possible for a normal person to sneak up on him or escape his notice.

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Much of the orginal Superman is different from what has become the norm for the man of steel. For instance his powers weren't originally due to effects of Earth's yellow sun, but instead entirely genetic. Kryptonians were highly developed mentally and physically.

The radio show is also responsible for the stupidest power attributed to Superman : "Superman's friends don't drown!"

I agree that it makes sense to depower Superman for several reasons. For one thing it's almost impossible to really challenge Silver Age Superman. He has all sorts of incredible powers and is so intelligent that he should be able to figure out a way to use those powers to solve the problem. Take a loot at how many of the dilimeas posed to him should be easily solvable if he were to actually use all his powers intelligently and not just bull his way through it.

In recent years the trend has been to humanize him. Clark Kent has become more than just his secret identity. In fact, it's far to say that now that Superman is Clark Kent. That's one of the things from crisis that hasn't been retconned. It adds depth to the character and opens up a lot more story possibilities.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Except Birthright and New 52 did retcon it. And if you think physical challenges are important for Superman, you've got the wrong genre again. Do you expect Jesus to lose in the Bible, Ramayana to lose a fight? The non literal mythic aspect is the core of it. Many superheroes are demigods x but Superman is clearly a mYthic savior figure. It's neurotic to engage in denialism that nay says what basically every student of comics and mYthology x and a basic fucking perusing of Jung, make perfectly clear.

And then intentions of Siegel and Sister are irrelevant. Their 1938 character isn't even relevant, ass they wrote him or of existence themselves and only his clothes and home planet name have any relation to that New Deal wanker.

And him bein mg Clark first and primarily was reckoned the second the door hit Byrne on the ass, and outright spit upon by Birthright, Final Crisis and New 52. Superman will never be really human or party of Earth, which is why he will leave it to explore the Universe eventually.

Really, these arguments are baSed on rhetoric more than actual majority of events in Superman comics. The folks ego want to make him a man always get outscored x because people like them don't actually like our but Superman comics. And you know what's worse than Superman not pwning everyone? Batman not dying every issue.

Superman comics are Gnosticism plus Hercules, and trying to turn him into a man Mises the while point - just add Must people utterly fail to understand Gnosticism.

Anyway, I am tired of having an argument that only ignorance makes possible. You people never learn, just recycle some air you read on a BBS in 1995.

Edited by QueenJadisOfCharn
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It's a discussion of ... a fictional comic book character that many of us like, despite his ups and downs. Why get nasty? :?

Getting back to SIZ (and a perhaps less controversial hero) ...

I had always assumed that Disney ducks, like their RuneQuest relatives, were smaller than human beings. However, I stumbled upon an illustration depicting Darkwing Duck foe Steelbeak (a Bond villain rooster with a fondness for white tuxedos and high tech weaponry) as 6'3" from feathered scalp to the soles of his claws (his upswept comb makes him a total of 7 feet tall). For comparison, TV's first animated superhero, Space Ghost, is a mere 6'2" tall. I figure that would make Darkwing Duck himself somewhere around 5'4" and several other of his Duckworld opponents in the 8- to 10-foot-tall range.

I'll have to recalculate their SIZ ratings in my future write-ups. Villains such as Tuskernini and Taurus Bulba would be as massive as their real-world animal counterparts, with Damage Modifiers to match. =O

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QueenJadisOfCharn,

I think you may be over-reacting to the content in this thread, really, its just a discussion, no need to start flaming here.

It is a tad offensive and not in the spirit of this forum...

Edited by Mankcam

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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One thing I have found is that fictional characters are exactly that - fictional. They do not follow rules based on logic and do not have internal logic, as their activities depend on the stories involved. Also, as each character has its own frame of reference, you cannot compare two characters from different literary works.

The best you can do is to establish a base line of what to expect and then model characters on that.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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