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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    Anyone with a head for numbers and even a basic grasp of economics would realize that killing 20% of the world population would destroy the economy. He might condemn the world by trying to save it.
    Society is destroyed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerthanis View Post
    But also, 50% of the world becoming Super might be too much as well... with that many superpowered people, you kind of establish supercrime as the new normal. If you have each individual being strong enough to punch the planet apart, and dependant upon other superpowered individuals to stop them from doing so, it seems inevitable that they'd fail eventually...
    And can never be brought back.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    To preserve societies infrastructure it may be best to concentrate as much of the damage as possible into as small of an area as possible. 1/3rd of the world annihilated is better than the whole world decimated by 1/3rd. Then blame the aliens and say it was a first strike against the earth and the "great uplifting" was the only way to prevent a second. Now that their attempts at orbital genocide has failed humanity must pull together to prevent their inevitable ground invasion from finishing the job.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    ..blame the aliens...
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.
    "We were once so close to heaven, Peter came out and gave us medals declaring us 'The nicest of the damned'.."
    - They Might Be Giants, "Road Movie To Berlin"

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.
    Which would be about 1/2 the worlds population at this point so you are in good company.

    And that is so getting sigged if thats OK.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2013-06-07 at 04:38 PM.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Go for it. And the beneficiaries would only be grade B at best, if they didn't make the decision.
    "We were once so close to heaven, Peter came out and gave us medals declaring us 'The nicest of the damned'.."
    - They Might Be Giants, "Road Movie To Berlin"

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Given that their is a war on they are going to have to take a level or three in bad ass if they expect to survive. In about three to six months there are going to be an awful lot of grad A material super villains running around. Hopefully you can pack them into captured alien battlecruses and send them out to conquer the galaxy in the name of glory, conquest, vengeance, fluffiness, the children, bunnies and all that other stuff. If not you may have a bigger problem on your hands than alien gribblies from beyond the stars.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Haven's Avatar

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan1108 View Post
    In theory, this is too high a price and the heroes disrupt the ritual causing superhumans of various power levels to show up all over the world with a few hundred casualties.

    My fear is that the players say something like, "That's horrible but if twenty percent have to die to save everyone then I guess that is what has to happen."

    So what do you guys think?

    Is twenty percent high enough to horrify the average players into action?
    .
    This scenario works as long as you don't phrase it as "20% of the population". People aren't good with percentages and statistics, and as this thread shows, 20% is easy to trivialize or dismiss. Say "a billion", or maybe even "hundreds of millions of people will die". That gives it an appropriate weight.
    My pronouns are they/them.

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  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Right. At the moment, the way to describe it is, as I recall, "A number similar to the entire population of the United States, three times over, plus change, will die. On average, every single person will lose two hundred friends or family." If they still want to then fine, just as long as they recognize that they will make Stalin look like a hippie. Every superhero and every nation on earth will be out for their heads on a pike. They will be fighting every military force in existance, and they will be making substantial strides toward world peace simply by the fact that everyone in the world will be unified together trying to kill them.
    Last edited by JusticeZero; 2013-06-07 at 05:30 PM.
    "We were once so close to heaven, Peter came out and gave us medals declaring us 'The nicest of the damned'.."
    - They Might Be Giants, "Road Movie To Berlin"

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    30% death rates is comparable to the black plague in Europe. It's worth noting that although it led to years of social upheaval and ecconomic colapse, it also built the foundations of the renaissance. I can see the 'villain' using this as part of his justification. It would probably lead to the betterment of mankind in the long term, but in the short term it would be chaos.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainbownaga View Post
    I can see the 'villain' using this as part of his justification.
    I don't see how the "villain" needs any justification beyond "30% dead is better than 90-100% dead". I don't see how this is even any kind of moral dilemma. The choice is between doing the ritual and killing a lot of people or not doing the ritual and letting everybody die. It's damned if you do, super-ultra-damned if you don't.

    "Would you rather kill 2 billion people or 7 billion?"
    "I guess it's better to kill 2 billion and let the other 5 billion live."
    "You monster! How can you kill 2 billion people?"
    "Because... I don't want to kill 7 billion, which was the other option?"

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Just to put numbers in perspective here:
    50% of the population would be equivalent to the combined populations of China, India, the USA, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan (the 6 most populous countries on Earth). That's who gets superpowers.
    30% is a little less than the combined populations of China and India. That's how many people die.
    20% is a little more than the entire population of China. That's people alive, but without Superpowers after the ritual.

    In the immediate aftermath, there is a likelihood of a huge number of car crashes and other accidents (we just killed 30% of the world's population. I guarantee some of them were operating vehicles or in some other way were holding the lives of other people in their hands.) For everyone who didn't get Invincibility or Nigh Invincibility as a power, that's going to be a large number of additional casualties.

    Seeing as we can't target who is getting powers and who is dying we've also created a massive number of super-villains, because we did just give superpowers to who knows how many murders, muggers etc. Not even counting people who previously obeyed the law out of fear of consequences which are no longer a concern with the right power pack. And as others have noted, if we kill 30% of the world, we turn the remaining 70% into mourners, most of whom now have an undefined (and possibly uncontrolled) assortment of superpowers. Unless the ritual was nice enough to vaporize the bodies, we now literally have more dead bodies than we know what to do with. Societal upheaval is not only possible, but extremely likely, even without the aliens showing up in a month to try and kill everyone. Casualties won't stop at 30%, they will start at 30% and rise rapidly until (if?) society finds a new balance point. We could potentially be talking about killing half the world to save the other half.

    This is quite possibly the craziest of crazy last ditch plans I have ever read. The only way I could get behind it is:
    A) if there is literally no other chance to win
    AND
    B) if we are actually guaranteed a win WITH this plan.

    If I were a player in such a game, I think I would spend my time trying to stop the villain while also looking for any plan that is less crazy than his plan.
    Last edited by Belril Duskwalk; 2013-06-08 at 05:52 AM.
    78% of all DM's start their first campaign in a tavern. If you're among the 22% who didn't, copy and paste this into your signature and tell us where you DID begin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    What the DM says goes. If he says enough stupid stuff, the players go too.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Which is why I say limit the area of effect. If you kill 99% of the population of Europe then you limit the amour of collateral damage that the device inflicts.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Which is why I say limit the area of effect. If you kill 99% of the population of Europe then you limit the amour of collateral damage that the device inflicts.
    Undoubtedly it would. Less mourners because we've increased the probability that everyone who knows someone that died is also dead. Less collateral damage, because everyone in the car you're driving when you died is dead, as are all the people in the car you're about to crash into. The dead body problem is semi-solved because now you can just declare whatever area got wiped out a Wasteland and wait a few years for nature to take care of what is left.

    However, on re-reading the original post, I note that Bryan's concern was that the players would find the cost acceptable and allow the Anti-villain to carry out his plan. For the purpose it fills as a motivating event, it is actually better to leave the destruction unfocused so as to spur the players to action.
    78% of all DM's start their first campaign in a tavern. If you're among the 22% who didn't, copy and paste this into your signature and tell us where you DID begin.
    The docks of a small fishing village. One of the character's nearly drown trying to catch a fish barehanded.
    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    What the DM says goes. If he says enough stupid stuff, the players go too.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    I won't go into the philosophical debate here because it's already bad as it is. People advocating mass murder and all that.

    Anyway, thinking RPG and plot-wise, I don't think any super-hero would allow that. They have a month until the invasion. If they allow the ritual, they'll never know if they would have come up with something. As long as there is time, there is hope. And there's also another question: the world post-ritual, is that a world worth saving? Or should we try to defend against the invasion, even at a high cost, and preserve our humanity?

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    I won't go into the philosophical debate here because it's already bad as it is. People advocating mass murder and all that.
    I am not saying that they should do it.
    What I am saying that if they are going to do it that they should do it well.
    The ends may justify the means but they do not justify incompetence.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    I am not saying that they should do it.
    What I am saying that if they are going to do it that they should do it well.
    The ends may justify the means but they do not justify incompetence.
    Don't kill randomly in the population, blow up New York City or London or Paris or Moscow or Mumbai or Bejing, or hell, even Buenos Aires.

    Though, as said, talking in percentages and random, faceless statistics... not effective pathos.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
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  17. - Top - End - #47
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Yeah, but to get that result, you're talking about something closer to the entire north American continent, maybe more.
    "We were once so close to heaven, Peter came out and gave us medals declaring us 'The nicest of the damned'.."
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    Yeah, but to get that result, you're talking about something closer to the entire north American continent, maybe more.
    Yeah, the scale really just needs to be adjusted, as it's not effective pathos for the PCs... and also, since the continent of Africa as a whole, India, or China are the only discrete areas I've found.

    Estimates I've seen is that ALL of North America gets us only half of that, so you'd have to combine all of the Americas and throw in the Caribbean to cover any loose change.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
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  19. - Top - End - #49
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    In my opinion, the best way to get the Heroes to try to stop the Villain is by giving them hope. Even if it is just the faintest glimmer, hint to the players that there is another way to defeat the aliens. If you leave it up as a single axis moral dilemma you will have PCs opposing each other just like in this thread; some may think 20% too high of a cost, others may think that 20% is better than losing 100%.

    If you imply that there is no choice, that either 20% is guaranteed dead by the heroes' inaction, or 90% is guaranteed dead by the alien invasion, your players will have a tough choice. If you imply that there is a possible 3rd choice, even just slightly, the heroes should jump on that chance, on that hope, and feel heroic for doing so. Yes, they are gambling the lives of nearly everyone on the planet, but it's better than having the blood of 20% of the population on their hands.

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    ...giving them hope..
    BINGO. There is your answer. With bells on top.
    My Home brew setting:

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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    How very Machiavellian, professor Doom.
    Clever, effective, and anyone who agrees with it is a grade A global supervillain.

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Not much to add really - the game will still be runnable if the party decide to go along with the ritual, and the best way to make an actually heroic party defy the anti-villain is to provide hope of a "save everybody" option.

    Also, having the villain be unreasonable about it could help - if he's meant to remain sympathetic throughout, then absent other factors he might agree to postpone the ritual for as long as possible so that a less terrifying solution can be found.

    Of course, don't then force their hand if a number of the party decide that actually, a glimmer of hope isn't enough, and a #NAME!% chance of saving 99% is not worth taking when you have a ~90% chance of saving 70%.

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    There are bigger concerns they should be aware of, beyond the actual ethics of this plan. It's not about surviving the war, that's just one part of it. There's much more that needs to be accounted for.

    Consider this - those superpowered humans? They aren't going to go away after the invasion. Society as we know it is likely going to collapse the moment the aliens are defeated, if not before that point.

    Can the average person be trusted with superpowers? Do the heroes even fully trust themselves with the responsibility? Will society break apart and fall into infighting? We're going to see legions of minor superheroes, but also legions of villians. Does the ritual even discriminate? How catastrophic will the collateral damage be? How many people are going to die in the aftermath? Can a society with so many supers actually exist? And if so, is humanity actually mature enough to make it work? How will the new supers treat the people who don't get powers?

    These are the kind of questions they should be asking themselves. Not the here and now, but what happens after the war. Hopefully at least one of your heroes sees that. That is a point that they'll need to take into account, rather than ignore. THAT is a strong element of WHY they shouldn't go ahead with it.

    I envision a rather bloody, apocalyptic scenario that occurs the moment the immediate alien threat is dealt with.
    Last edited by Ceiling_Squid; 2013-06-10 at 04:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    It's a superhero game. A month is enough to come up with a defense plan that won't kill 30% of all population. Anyone who agrees to the ritual should have their good guy card taken away from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    The planet is overpopulated, and this is as good a way as any to provide a reprieve, albeit probably temporary.
    Actually, that's untrue. We could fit all of humanity on an island the size of Japan, for example - the population density would be high, but we'd be able to live there more or less comfortably. The problem is not overpopulation, it's uneven distribution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    I guess I'm evil then.
    If you are, then it's nothing to be proud of. Evil in real life is not glamorous or cool.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    How exactly do all these people die? If there's bodies, you could very well face a huge disease pandemic in several parts of the world (at least) that might start killing a lot, lot more people. Especially if the infrastructure to respond is now missing important parts.

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    It's a superhero game. A month is enough to come up with a defense plan that won't kill 30% of all population. Anyone who agrees to the ritual should have their good guy card taken away from them.
    Actually from the ops initial post + clarifications the only thing that can be done is prevent total obliteration of the human race at the cost of the majority (ie 90%+ I would assume).

    So you have two choices and only two
    1) will you stop the ritual and fight with a 90 to 100% casualty rate
    2) donīt stop the ritual with a 30% initial plus 30%? subsequent deaths ie 60%+?

    Saying something else can surely be done is sidestepping the issue.


    As for the overpopulation part, the thing to consider is that we can only sustain the current population is because we use up energy stored for millions of year (oil coal etc) for fertilizers (energy use + transportation) , transportation, mass production of food etc. Without this source Europe for example could not sustain the number of people currently living here.
    I think I read a study somewhere that it would be closer to 20% of the current population... though my memory could be wrong there.
    Last edited by Emmerask; 2013-06-10 at 06:54 PM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmerask View Post
    Actually from the ops initial post + clarifications the only thing that can be done is prevent total obliteration of the human race at the cost of the majority (ie 90%+ I would assume).

    So you have two choices and only two
    1) will you stop the ritual and fight with a 90 to 100% casualty rate
    2) donīt stop the ritual with a 30% initial plus 30%? subsequent deaths ie 60%+?

    Saying something else can surely be done is sidestepping the issue.
    Well, yes, that's what heroes are supposed to do.(TVTROPES)
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
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  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmerask View Post
    Actually from the ops initial post + clarifications the only thing that can be done is prevent total obliteration of the human race at the cost of the majority (ie 90%+ I would assume).

    So you have two choices and only two
    1) will you stop the ritual and fight with a 90 to 100% casualty rate
    2) donīt stop the ritual with a 30% initial plus 30%? subsequent deaths ie 60%+?

    Saying something else can surely be done is sidestepping the issue.
    I've been ninja'd, but it needs to be repeated: If you cannot find a way to save almost everyone (Except maybe a best friend, poor grandmother, orphan, or lost kitten to give you angst about not saving everyone) from even the most contrived and seemingly unstoppable doom, you aren't even qualified to be a Normal Hero - and you're supposed to be a SUPERhero. The world is always doomed. People insist that if they don't do something drastic, something bad will happen and doom the world. Those people do not believe in true Superheroes.


    As for the overpopulation part, the thing to consider is that we can only sustain the current population is because we use up energy stored for millions of year (oil coal etc) for fertilizers (energy use + transportation) , transportation, mass production of food etc. Without this source Europe for example could not sustain the number of people currently living here.
    I think I read a study somewhere that it would be closer to 20% of the current population... though my memory could be wrong there.
    A study that is probably agenda-driven.

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    It's a superhero game. A month is enough to come up with a defense plan that won't kill 30% of all population. Anyone who agrees to the ritual should have their good guy card taken away from them.



    Actually, that's untrue. We could fit all of humanity on an island the size of Japan, for example - the population density would be high, but we'd be able to live there more or less comfortably. The problem is not overpopulation, it's uneven distribution.
    I'm not very good at explaining things clearly. Let me instead point you to an essay by Asimov.

    https://www.triumf.info/wiki/pwalden...rogression.pdf
    https://www.triumf.info/wiki/pwalden...ndings_in_1971

    Yes, we can crowd the entire world's population today on an Island the size of Manhattan. And then what? You think the population won't grow any further?

    He wrote another article for Penthouse (yes, that one), in which he predicted the final oil crisis (as in, none left, even at uneconomical prices) at around 2070, curiously similar to current thinking on the subject; not too surprising considering his major was chemistry. He made some dumb statements about nuclear power at the time too. This isn't too surprising either, considering nuclear power in the USA was 14 years old at the time, and still heavily shrouded in secrecy.

    If you are, then it's nothing to be proud of. Evil in real life is not glamorous or cool.
    Like it or not, human population, whether in raw numbers of people or in terms of consumption of energy and non-renewable materials, is already past carrying capacity.

    I'm not proud of the realisation so much as resigned to it. I don't agree with the "evil" label though.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2013-06-11 at 12:31 AM.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    I've been ninja'd, but it needs to be repeated: If you cannot find a way to save almost everyone (Except maybe a best friend, poor grandmother, orphan, or lost kitten to give you angst about not saving everyone) from even the most contrived and seemingly unstoppable doom, you aren't even qualified to be a Normal Hero
    Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen would each like a word.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    - and you're supposed to be a SUPERhero. The world is always doomed. People insist that if they don't do something drastic, something bad will happen and doom the world. Those people do not believe in true Superheroes.
    The Authority do, and are, and would not hesitate to perform the ritual if all other options are exhausted.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Story Issue: Is 20% of the population high enough to kill?

    The OP isn't asking us what the better option is, rather if the "cost" is high enough to deter the heroes from going along with the ritual. The point is to get the heroes to NOT opt for the easy way (however damaging or beneficial it may be in the long run), but to either face the aliens with Plan B or resign themselves to annihilation, saying "well, it was a good run."

    If it is true, however, that the situation is indeed as Emmerask says, then some changes need to be made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmerask View Post
    Actually from the ops initial post + clarifications the only thing that can be done is prevent total obliteration of the human race at the cost of the majority (ie 90%+ I would assume).

    So you have two choices and only two
    1) will you stop the ritual and fight with a 90 to 100% casualty rate
    2) donīt stop the ritual with a 30% initial plus 30%? subsequent deaths ie 60%+?
    What this thread has shown is that people believe stopping the ritual results in 90-100% casualty rate, while not stopping the ritual results in 30% casualty rate immediately, then another 30-50% casualty rate in the ensuing chaos, then x% of casualties in the invasion, then a final x% of casualties in the resulting anarchy of a post-invasion world. So, everyone dies no matter which option is chosen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmerask View Post
    Saying something else can surely be done is sidestepping the issue.
    This is precisely what needs to happen, though. Or rather, the OP/GM needs to be open to the possibility of the heroes coming up with a third choice. Otherwise, why even play? In a (super)hero campaign, I certainly would not want to face a "everyone dies or you hand in your hero card" scenario.
    Last edited by SethoMarkus; 2013-06-11 at 07:56 AM.

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