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Where I Read: Worm

sun_tzu

Registered User
Validated User
Panacea in the Birdcage was/is one of the more divisive plot twists of the series. There were a lot of arguments among readers about it for a long, long time; with some feeling that sending/allowing her to go there makes the PRT both evil and stupid beyond the bounds of credibility.
I do agree, but on the other hand

a. Amy can pretty much do whatever the hell she wants with living matter, obeying Conservation of Mass
b. Marquis can create living tissue at will, essentially.

So, you know, possibly not the most well-thought-out decision.
I was one of those who really didn't buy it. My objection to the decision was that there was no way the authorities should be putting someone - maybe the only someone - who can make counter-plagues out of reach when Bonesaw is at large. It's bad jurisprudence and psychiatry as well of course but that's hardly a consideration.
Yeah, this is not my favorite part of the serial. Hell, I can get having Amy end up in the Birdcage, she is one of a handful of people on the world who might honestly be able to flat out kill everyone and everything alive on the entire planet. And in her despair and stress, she spends too much time thinking about that fact, and well if she stars rambling about it all the time, well...
Everyone is focusing on Amy ending up in the Birdcage, but it's more than just that. It's the entire chain of events that lead to it. The accidental mindrape, Glory getting a disabling injury that just happens to be the one thing in the world Panacea somehow can't cure in a minute, her somehow fumbling the whole thing to such a ridiculous degree...All of it reeks to me of Diabolus Ex Machina.

Also, that means that, while Taylor kept Panacea out of S9 and saved Brockton Bay, she ultimately failed to save Panacea and Glory Girl. Annoying.




Oh a related note, Amy has one of the most horrifically abusive childhoods I have ever seen, and I'm a fan of Nanoha.
No seriously, Brandish is just a terrible mother who beat horrid idea into the head of the, in her mind, monster she was expected to play mother too, made worse by the blatant favoritism she showed to her other daughter. How Amy is capable of functioning in society at all is a mystery to me.
Eh. Brandish was a pretty crappy mother, no doubt, but I think I'd still rate her above genuinely abusive parents.

XCOM: Justice League style? I like this idea.
Well, I was thinking of a lot of X-COM elements, sure, but with various characters with their own history and personality that you would need to manage, and political decisions to make. Do you strike alliances with villains to stop worse villains? Hide the dark secrets of political allies? And so forth.

OK, you know what? What the heck. I'll let the creative juices flow for a bit:


HERO COMMAND
Spoiler: Show
Basic premise: Let's say, a rich superhero world - super-tech heroes, magical heroes, alien heroes, the works. No time-travelers, though, as that would make it harder to write the plot.
Anyway, the battle between good and evil (and various shades of grey) has been going on for a long while...but, lately, things have gotten worse. Some new threat has arisen that overshadows all others. To deal with it, several countries have joined together to create an international agency dedicated to coordinating superheroes. Your mission is to lead this agency and save the world.
Let's call this agency "HCOM" for now.

Gameplay: As the leader of HCOM, you make both strategic and tactical decisions.

-Budget: Much like in X-COM, you receive a monthly budget from funding countries. If a country is displeased with your protection - or, for that matter, conquered/destroyed by your enemies - then you lose their funding. There are, however, alternate ways of earning money, with varying degrees of morality: Taking bribe money from Eclipse Industries, using supertech to develop a cure for cancer, hiring out supersoldiers as mercenaries, helping politicians and corporations with PR stunts.
Money goes toward hiring non-powered personnel, improving facilities and equipment, financing research, and to a degree improve HCOM's PR.

-Heroes: Each superhero in the game is a character with his own powers, personality traits and history. You have to account for those - for instance, putting Kid Prometheus on the same team as Paragon will result in discontent among them, since "disapproves of putting minors in harm's way" is one of Paragon's traits.
Speaking of which, each hero has a contentment trait, representing how pleased they are with working for HCOM. Low contentment will mean that most heroes, with some exceptions, will leave HCOM and work solo. Additionally, low contentment on a hero with a low discipline trait will mean they won't obey your orders in the field, acting independently.
Heroes come from multiple sources. Some heroes are employed by their national governments; they will work for you as long as their countries remain aligned with HCOM, and leave once that is no longer the case, regardless of personal contentment. Most heroes are independent; they will work for you based on HCOM's performance, certain events, or fulfilling certain conditions. Some heroes have special manners of obtaining them (Cybervanguard can be created through arduous technology research; the Guardian Angel can be summoned with the right magical artifacts and personnel; the Galactic Patrol can be convinced to loan you a member). Finally, some superpowered mercenaries can be hired for money, and some supervillains can be offered parole in exchange for their assistance...however, doing so presents its own slew of complications.
With each hero in HCOM, certain personnel issues will rise over the course of the game, requiring you to step in and make decisions. The wrong decisions may result in rising discontentment, friction in the team, and/or poor performance on the concerned hero's part.

-Zones: The world is divided into several geographic zones, with HCOM having a base in each one. On the strategic level, you assign each hero to the team of one zone.
When an emergency takes place in a zone, you can send in the heroes of the team belonging to it. Depending on the resources at your disposal, you may be able to teleport in some extra heroes from other teams, though doing so is costly. Finally, any hero native to the zone who is not affiliated with HCOM has a chance of participating in the battle, though they won't be under your control for the duration.
During downtime, you also assign the heroes of a zone's team to tasks such as the patrol of certain nations, focus on specific types of crimes and organizations, and the such. This will affect criminality level, and may reveal information or advance plotlines.

-Missions: During any mission, you have a number of heroes on your side. Usually, most of them will be under your control; those that don't recognize your authority will be run by the AI.
Most missions are emergencies - situations that require rapid action, allowing you to send only the local zone's team (plus anyone you can afford to teleport). A few plot-centric missions allow for more time to plan, allowing you to send all of your teams (in which case, since that would be nightmare to play, the mission is broken into several simultaneous components, each one handled by a team you select).

Setting Elements: This is just a few quick ideas, obviously.

-The Celestials: I like how "Worm" uses the Endbringers, with the sense of humanity locked in a struggle for survival against these alien powerhouses. So, I think the "main plot" of HCOM would revolve around something along these lines.
My first thought was just to make them hostile aliens. But...Eh. There needs to be a reason they don't just nuke us until we all die or surrender. So instead, I give you the Celestials:
The first Celestial showed up on Earth some decades ago. A mysterious alien entity with a beautiful white aura, it moved around from place to place for weeks, never communicating, just observing. Then, with no explanation, it performed some type of ritual in a town of 50,000 inhabitants, who all...died inside. Biological functions remained the same, but their minds were completely gone. Unresponsive. Mystics confirmed that the Celestial had siphoned out their souls, seemingly converting it into a crystal of unknown properties. Heroes attacked the Celestial, but he proved surprisingly powerful; it took the combined efforts of several heavy-hitters to finally put him down.
It was just a strange, sad historical anecdote until, recently, the Celestials returned in numbers. Each time, it's the same method: A number of them suddenly appears in a major metropolis. They begin working on their ritual. As soon as they finish, every human in the area - millions of people - lose their souls, which are converted in one of the power crystals the Celestials seem to want. They then take the crystal and return to their dimension.
The loss of several major cities - and the accompanying mass hysteria - have thrown the world into disarray. Sadly, this has made many supervillains bolder than ever. HCOM was created to deal with this situation. You must stop Celestial raids, and eventually gather enough information and tools to stop them for good.

-Eclipse Industries: "Where the Light Meets the Dark!" That is the slogan of this international corporation, which made its debut by reverse-engineering and re-purposing supertech confiscated from various tech-villains, be they mad scientists or aliens. Nowadays, Eclipse Industries is a powerhouse of the high-tech field, providing advanced devices to governments and more. They are also the first place most people go if they want some new villain's tech analyzed.
In the game, Eclipse Industries can help out with tech research, in exchange for the chance to reverse-engineer devices you obtain. However, if you follow up on certain investigation lines, you can discover the dark secret: Eclipse Industries was created by a cabal of tech-villains, who originally donated their own "confiscated" tech, and have been using the company to gather all supertech resources within their grasp. Helping Eclipse Industries out means giving them more toys, which will lead to them arming new supervillains and advancing their masterplan. At that point, you can assault their HQ, or agree to keep quiet in exchange for a generous bribe, and their promise to focus their open criminal activities in countries that don't support HCOM. Doing so will result in Eclipse eventually gathering enough supertech to try to take over the world in a massive emergency mission.

-The Galactic Patrol: The various alien races of the galaxy may not have a unified government, per se, but they did manage to create the Galactic Patrol - an organization of well-trained law enforcers, armed with some of the most advanced technology in the universe, who protect law and order among the stars.
Earth is too primitive to be part of this arrangement yet, but it has been visited by the Galactic Patrol on a couple occasions, when its members ended alien invasions that broke interstellar law.
The matter of the Celestials, per se, does not concern interstellar law. However, with the right information and tools, it is possible to contact the Galactic Patrol, and convince them that Earth's worsening situation could damage stability in the entire region. At this point, the Patrol will assign one of its members as an HCOM hero.

-The Deep Queen: By her real name Renee Carter, the Deep Queen is perhaps the most influential supervillain of this age. A technical genius, she has devised advanced technology for underwater operations, and a powerful fleet of deep-sea submarines. It is believed she controls a veritable mobile city in the oceans' depths, from which she directs a massive criminal empire.
Between her personal charisma, endless resources, and strategic skill, the Deep Queen has become the closest thing the world's supervillains have to a leader. Many of them, when trying to lay low, hide in her massive submarines. Many take her advice when planning their crimes, rent her resources, and give her a cut of the profit. Many work directly for her.
The Deep Queen has no desire to see the Celestials wipe out humanity, but she has no desire either for a powerful HCOM that can coordinate the world's heroes effectively against her. Depending on events and decisions made during the game, it may be possible to strike an alliance with her...though such an alliance will inevitably making unpleasant compromises.

-The Chinese Situation: The very first city the Celestials wiped out was Beijing. In one fell swoop, China's central government was destroyed. In the ensuing chaos, several surviving political, financial and military leaders tried to step in and take control. The most successful one was General Dragon, a veteran super-soldier who, in addition to formidable combat powers, possessed supernatural charisma. In order to stamp out his rivals, he gathered as many Chinese superhumans as he could - an impressive number - and giving them all positions of power in his new order to solidify their loyalty.
Since then, General Dragon has been keeping the country in perpetual martial law, militarizing it as fast as possible to repel any further Celestial attacks. His reign is particularly brutal toward opponents of the regime, and there are whispers among the international community about large-scale mind-control, creating great concern. Additionally, the general has so far refused to bring China into HCOM, saying he needed to keep control of national superhumans.
Getting China into HCOM will add very important resources to the organization, and make it a lot easier to protect East-Asia. However, allying with General Dragon will require certain moral compromises that may be less than optimal for the Chinese people, and upset other countries and heroes. There is also the option of assisting the rebels fighting the general's regime, though that will also upset some countries, and can horribly backfire if it fails.


Whew. OK, I kinda want to play with this some more, but I've got other things requiring my attention ATM, and I may well be the only person who cares anyway. ^^'




Tattletale didn't help, mind. Thing is, this doesn't absolve Tattletale...but the weaknesses she used to fuck Amy up were largely the result of her flawed upbringing.
Re: Tattletale's guilt:
Lisa is obviously not guilty-guilty of this. She never intended for things to turn out like that. She couldn't know her mindfuck of Amy would lead to this.
But.
But, Lisa is constantly pulling this kind of shit. We saw that she was using it as a basic tool to survive in the street in her flashbacks. You keep doing this sort of thing to people's heads, it's pretty much inevitable that sooner or later, one of them will really break.
Kinda like cutting off the seatbelts in other people's cars as a hobby. Sooner or later, you'll get someone killed.



It's been a while since I read the conclusion to the S9 storyline, but I remember feeling Jack's philosophic jabbering with Panacea was kind of garbage. I'm not talking he's a horrible person, I'm talking high-school philosophy class trying to be edgey. To be fair, that might have been because he was tailoring arguments to Panacea. But I lost a bit of respect for the S9 at that point. They were still evil monsters, but they seemed more like petty evil monsters.
Uh...
They're serial killers. What exactly are they supposed to be, if not petty evil monsters? Shining paragons of magnificent coolness to be emulated? :p



Well, yes.

Let me point something out which (surprise) undercuts the sheer awfulness of the world in Worm.


Jack Slash is wrong.
He's not some enlightened saint of murder. He's a petty asshole whose real talents are a) murdering people and b) efficiently managing other murderers. Of course he's petty. Of course his arguments are edgy and juvenile. He's wrong. His choices for S9 recruits in Brockton Bay were pretty much a total failure. His Slaughterhouse couldn't recruit Bitch. He failed to get Alec. His choice of Oni Lee was flawed immediately. He could fuck Panacea up, but he couldn't truly talk her into joining him. He had to kidnap Hookwolf while the Nazi was under the effects of the identity washing miasma.

The big secret about Jack is that he's not some grand inhuman monster whose very essence is evil. He's just a murdering dirtbag who lucked into power and powerful companions. It doesn't make him less frightening. Just....less impressive.
Quoted for truth.



re: Skitter and Jack Slash: Mostly, it's his manipulations (and attempted manipulations) of her that have me curious.








Three more chapters today.

Arc 15: Colony (continued)

Discussion between non-Grue Undersiders, since Grue is not currently at his best.
“We’ve seen how mistakes happen when some of us get too fatigued." Yeah. Just ask Amy. Or better yet, don't.
With Hookwolf gone, his Nazi followers are struggling for the leadership position.
Imp has actually had to personally put up with the Nazis' crap, so she's dead-set against any plan that's good for them. Taylor's not feeling very Chamberlainish either.
A mention of Tattletale telling Lady Photon where to find Amy and Victoria, and I quickly wonder how much Tattletale knows.
Taylor had considered looking for Amy, and decided against it for practical reasons. Oh, Taylor. :(
Regent is being comically dickish to Shatterbird...in no small part to keep her too emotionally drained to resist his powers. Taylor's not happy with that.
Time for Naziburgers.
Skitter keeps progressing into Batmanhood. But also... "I hated that he’d turned something I could almost make peace with -being a villain- and he’d turned it into something that I was deeply ashamed of, something that gnawed at me."
Night, Fog, Victor, Othala. Four Nazi supervillains, completely beaten, and that was without Grue, without a scratch. The Undersiders are not to be fucked with.
...And then it turns out that the plan was for Regent to enslave one of them, and no-one told Taylor. Taylor, you need some friends who are legitimately good people.

The plan is to hijack Victor, the skill vampire (...wow. Now there's a power that's challenging to use ethically). Since he knows a few tricks for resisting, the plan is also to screw with his head until he accepts it.
"You can become the mask you wear on a day-to-day basis.” That line strikes Taylor as hollow? Taylor, you're the girl who became a villain by going undercover.
Tattletale uses her typical emotional torture. Granted, it's on Nazis, but...
Othala either thinks Skitter is Jewish, or just uses that as her go-to insult (hm. Because of Hookwolf propaganda?).
...Skitter contributes. Jesus Damn.
Once that's done, Taylor tears into the others for not telling her. Lisa claims that's because she hadn't realized Taylor would have a problem with it. Taylor? Seriously, get more friends.
Some countermeasures for Shatterbird, huh?
This is all apparently part of some sophisticated anti-Cobra Commander plan that, for some reason, Lisa has failed to mention to Taylor until now.
And then Aisha asks her for a favor...

Brian interlude. He's got some nasty PTSD, which is entirely to be expected.
This is, of course, presenting new complications on the Aisha front.
Brian acknowledges that, yes the Dinah situation is awful. You'd better, Big B.
And it turns out that Aisha's favor was having Taylor help Brian out. Well, guess Taylor is entering her good graces.
More mentions of these "passenger" symbiotes.
Some hurt-comfort, some minor philosophizing, and Taylor seems to be doing the dude a world of good.



Thoughts: Honestly don't know what to expect. Given the work he's put into Brockton Bay, Coil probably has some plan to save the city. And if the Undies go against him, what of the Travelers, whom they're on good terms with and apparently need the services the guy provides?
Also: The Undies were already Team Nightmare Fuel. Having Shatterbird as their slave must make them utterly terrifying to the rest of the town.
 

HeWhoSpeaksOfDarkness

New member
Banned
No Spoilers please?
I find S9 a lot more compelling then some of the next antagonists, and I got bored of the fight scenes. I'm not sure anything changed in Worm so much as in me. I only found Taylor being pushed to the edge and either being clever or getting lucky interesting so many times.

Everyone is focusing on Amy ending up in the Birdcage, but it's more than just that. It's the entire chain of events that lead to it. The accidental mindrape, Glory getting a disabling injury that just happens to be the one thing in the world Panacea somehow can't cure in a minute, her somehow fumbling the whole thing to such a ridiculous degree...All of it reeks to me of Diabolus Ex Machina.

Also, that means that, while Taylor kept Panacea out of S9 and saved Brockton Bay, she ultimately failed to save Panacea and Glory Girl. Annoying.
Yeah that part never made much sense to me? I mean I sort of guessed that Panacea's power got broken somehow with her guilt..but yeah.

Eh. Brandish was a pretty crappy mother, no doubt, but I think I'd still rate her above genuinely abusive parents.
Um. I don't think child psychology backs you up here actually, I mean the median or mean abusive parent is probably worse then Brandish, but what was normal child rearing practices a hundread years ago would be considered abuse today, and while I do think those practices were harmful..they weren't as bad for people as the sort of continuous neglect Amy received.
 
Last edited:

triorph

Winging it
Validated User
HERO COMMAND
Spoiler: Show
Basic premise: Let's say, a rich superhero world - super-tech heroes, magical heroes, alien heroes, the works. No time-travelers, though, as that would make it harder to write the plot.
Anyway, the battle between good and evil (and various shades of grey) has been going on for a long while...but, lately, things have gotten worse. Some new threat has arisen that overshadows all others. To deal with it, several countries have joined together to create an international agency dedicated to coordinating superheroes. Your mission is to lead this agency and save the world.
Let's call this agency "HCOM" for now.

Gameplay: As the leader of HCOM, you make both strategic and tactical decisions.

-Budget: Much like in X-COM, you receive a monthly budget from funding countries. If a country is displeased with your protection - or, for that matter, conquered/destroyed by your enemies - then you lose their funding. There are, however, alternate ways of earning money, with varying degrees of morality: Taking bribe money from Eclipse Industries, using supertech to develop a cure for cancer, hiring out supersoldiers as mercenaries, helping politicians and corporations with PR stunts.
Money goes toward hiring non-powered personnel, improving facilities and equipment, financing research, and to a degree improve HCOM's PR.

-Heroes: Each superhero in the game is a character with his own powers, personality traits and history. You have to account for those - for instance, putting Kid Prometheus on the same team as Paragon will result in discontent among them, since "disapproves of putting minors in harm's way" is one of Paragon's traits.
Speaking of which, each hero has a contentment trait, representing how pleased they are with working for HCOM. Low contentment will mean that most heroes, with some exceptions, will leave HCOM and work solo. Additionally, low contentment on a hero with a low discipline trait will mean they won't obey your orders in the field, acting independently.
Heroes come from multiple sources. Some heroes are employed by their national governments; they will work for you as long as their countries remain aligned with HCOM, and leave once that is no longer the case, regardless of personal contentment. Most heroes are independent; they will work for you based on HCOM's performance, certain events, or fulfilling certain conditions. Some heroes have special manners of obtaining them (Cybervanguard can be created through arduous technology research; the Guardian Angel can be summoned with the right magical artifacts and personnel; the Galactic Patrol can be convinced to loan you a member). Finally, some superpowered mercenaries can be hired for money, and some supervillains can be offered parole in exchange for their assistance...however, doing so presents its own slew of complications.
With each hero in HCOM, certain personnel issues will rise over the course of the game, requiring you to step in and make decisions. The wrong decisions may result in rising discontentment, friction in the team, and/or poor performance on the concerned hero's part.

-Zones: The world is divided into several geographic zones, with HCOM having a base in each one. On the strategic level, you assign each hero to the team of one zone.
When an emergency takes place in a zone, you can send in the heroes of the team belonging to it. Depending on the resources at your disposal, you may be able to teleport in some extra heroes from other teams, though doing so is costly. Finally, any hero native to the zone who is not affiliated with HCOM has a chance of participating in the battle, though they won't be under your control for the duration.
During downtime, you also assign the heroes of a zone's team to tasks such as the patrol of certain nations, focus on specific types of crimes and organizations, and the such. This will affect criminality level, and may reveal information or advance plotlines.

-Missions: During any mission, you have a number of heroes on your side. Usually, most of them will be under your control; those that don't recognize your authority will be run by the AI.
Most missions are emergencies - situations that require rapid action, allowing you to send only the local zone's team (plus anyone you can afford to teleport). A few plot-centric missions allow for more time to plan, allowing you to send all of your teams (in which case, since that would be nightmare to play, the mission is broken into several simultaneous components, each one handled by a team you select).

Setting Elements: This is just a few quick ideas, obviously.

-The Celestials: I like how "Worm" uses the Endbringers, with the sense of humanity locked in a struggle for survival against these alien powerhouses. So, I think the "main plot" of HCOM would revolve around something along these lines.
My first thought was just to make them hostile aliens. But...Eh. There needs to be a reason they don't just nuke us until we all die or surrender. So instead, I give you the Celestials:
The first Celestial showed up on Earth some decades ago. A mysterious alien entity with a beautiful white aura, it moved around from place to place for weeks, never communicating, just observing. Then, with no explanation, it performed some type of ritual in a town of 50,000 inhabitants, who all...died inside. Biological functions remained the same, but their minds were completely gone. Unresponsive. Mystics confirmed that the Celestial had siphoned out their souls, seemingly converting it into a crystal of unknown properties. Heroes attacked the Celestial, but he proved surprisingly powerful; it took the combined efforts of several heavy-hitters to finally put him down.
It was just a strange, sad historical anecdote until, recently, the Celestials returned in numbers. Each time, it's the same method: A number of them suddenly appears in a major metropolis. They begin working on their ritual. As soon as they finish, every human in the area - millions of people - lose their souls, which are converted in one of the power crystals the Celestials seem to want. They then take the crystal and return to their dimension.
The loss of several major cities - and the accompanying mass hysteria - have thrown the world into disarray. Sadly, this has made many supervillains bolder than ever. HCOM was created to deal with this situation. You must stop Celestial raids, and eventually gather enough information and tools to stop them for good.

-Eclipse Industries: "Where the Light Meets the Dark!" That is the slogan of this international corporation, which made its debut by reverse-engineering and re-purposing supertech confiscated from various tech-villains, be they mad scientists or aliens. Nowadays, Eclipse Industries is a powerhouse of the high-tech field, providing advanced devices to governments and more. They are also the first place most people go if they want some new villain's tech analyzed.
In the game, Eclipse Industries can help out with tech research, in exchange for the chance to reverse-engineer devices you obtain. However, if you follow up on certain investigation lines, you can discover the dark secret: Eclipse Industries was created by a cabal of tech-villains, who originally donated their own "confiscated" tech, and have been using the company to gather all supertech resources within their grasp. Helping Eclipse Industries out means giving them more toys, which will lead to them arming new supervillains and advancing their masterplan. At that point, you can assault their HQ, or agree to keep quiet in exchange for a generous bribe, and their promise to focus their open criminal activities in countries that don't support HCOM. Doing so will result in Eclipse eventually gathering enough supertech to try to take over the world in a massive emergency mission.

-The Galactic Patrol: The various alien races of the galaxy may not have a unified government, per se, but they did manage to create the Galactic Patrol - an organization of well-trained law enforcers, armed with some of the most advanced technology in the universe, who protect law and order among the stars.
Earth is too primitive to be part of this arrangement yet, but it has been visited by the Galactic Patrol on a couple occasions, when its members ended alien invasions that broke interstellar law.
The matter of the Celestials, per se, does not concern interstellar law. However, with the right information and tools, it is possible to contact the Galactic Patrol, and convince them that Earth's worsening situation could damage stability in the entire region. At this point, the Patrol will assign one of its members as an HCOM hero.

-The Deep Queen: By her real name Renee Carter, the Deep Queen is perhaps the most influential supervillain of this age. A technical genius, she has devised advanced technology for underwater operations, and a powerful fleet of deep-sea submarines. It is believed she controls a veritable mobile city in the oceans' depths, from which she directs a massive criminal empire.
Between her personal charisma, endless resources, and strategic skill, the Deep Queen has become the closest thing the world's supervillains have to a leader. Many of them, when trying to lay low, hide in her massive submarines. Many take her advice when planning their crimes, rent her resources, and give her a cut of the profit. Many work directly for her.
The Deep Queen has no desire to see the Celestials wipe out humanity, but she has no desire either for a powerful HCOM that can coordinate the world's heroes effectively against her. Depending on events and decisions made during the game, it may be possible to strike an alliance with her...though such an alliance will inevitably making unpleasant compromises.

-The Chinese Situation: The very first city the Celestials wiped out was Beijing. In one fell swoop, China's central government was destroyed. In the ensuing chaos, several surviving political, financial and military leaders tried to step in and take control. The most successful one was General Dragon, a veteran super-soldier who, in addition to formidable combat powers, possessed supernatural charisma. In order to stamp out his rivals, he gathered as many Chinese superhumans as he could - an impressive number - and giving them all positions of power in his new order to solidify their loyalty.
Since then, General Dragon has been keeping the country in perpetual martial law, militarizing it as fast as possible to repel any further Celestial attacks. His reign is particularly brutal toward opponents of the regime, and there are whispers among the international community about large-scale mind-control, creating great concern. Additionally, the general has so far refused to bring China into HCOM, saying he needed to keep control of national superhumans.
Getting China into HCOM will add very important resources to the organization, and make it a lot easier to protect East-Asia. However, allying with General Dragon will require certain moral compromises that may be less than optimal for the Chinese people, and upset other countries and heroes. There is also the option of assisting the rebels fighting the general's regime, though that will also upset some countries, and can horribly backfire if it fails.
Would totally play this game. Looks amazing.
 

RoadsOfShadow

Registered User
Validated User
Everyone is focusing on Amy ending up in the Birdcage, but it's more than just that. It's the entire chain of events that lead to it. The accidental mindrape, Glory getting a disabling injury that just happens to be the one thing in the world Panacea somehow can't cure in a minute, her somehow fumbling the whole thing to such a ridiculous degree...All of it reeks to me of Diabolus Ex Machina.

Also, that means that, while Taylor kept Panacea out of S9 and saved Brockton Bay, she ultimately failed to save Panacea and Glory Girl. Annoying.
That's the crux of my problem with it. The 'powers not doing what it should' made some sense as near as I can tell mental state has an effect on how powers work as a general thing. Amy's power makes the most sense if its based around her intent and goal for her super biological manipulation, when she wants to heal, she heals, kind of thing. So if she has an imperfect image of what her beloved Glory Girl should look like...

But the rest of it yes, it reeks of contrivance, a feeling made much worse by it all occurring off screen.

Eh. Brandish was a pretty crappy mother, no doubt, but I think I'd still rate her above genuinely abusive parents.
Yes, she could have been worse, but I'm afraid we just have to disagree here.

Well, I was thinking of a lot of X-COM elements, sure, but with various characters with their own history and personality that you would need to manage, and political decisions to make. Do you strike alliances with villains to stop worse villains? Hide the dark secrets of political allies? And so forth.

OK, you know what? What the heck. I'll let the creative juices flow for a bit:


HERO COMMAND
Spoiler: Show
Basic premise: Let's say, a rich superhero world - super-tech heroes, magical heroes, alien heroes, the works. No time-travelers, though, as that would make it harder to write the plot.
Anyway, the battle between good and evil (and various shades of grey) has been going on for a long while...but, lately, things have gotten worse. Some new threat has arisen that overshadows all others. To deal with it, several countries have joined together to create an international agency dedicated to coordinating superheroes. Your mission is to lead this agency and save the world.
Let's call this agency "HCOM" for now.

Gameplay: As the leader of HCOM, you make both strategic and tactical decisions.

-Budget: Much like in X-COM, you receive a monthly budget from funding countries. If a country is displeased with your protection - or, for that matter, conquered/destroyed by your enemies - then you lose their funding. There are, however, alternate ways of earning money, with varying degrees of morality: Taking bribe money from Eclipse Industries, using supertech to develop a cure for cancer, hiring out supersoldiers as mercenaries, helping politicians and corporations with PR stunts.
Money goes toward hiring non-powered personnel, improving facilities and equipment, financing research, and to a degree improve HCOM's PR.

-Heroes: Each superhero in the game is a character with his own powers, personality traits and history. You have to account for those - for instance, putting Kid Prometheus on the same team as Paragon will result in discontent among them, since "disapproves of putting minors in harm's way" is one of Paragon's traits.
Speaking of which, each hero has a contentment trait, representing how pleased they are with working for HCOM. Low contentment will mean that most heroes, with some exceptions, will leave HCOM and work solo. Additionally, low contentment on a hero with a low discipline trait will mean they won't obey your orders in the field, acting independently.
Heroes come from multiple sources. Some heroes are employed by their national governments; they will work for you as long as their countries remain aligned with HCOM, and leave once that is no longer the case, regardless of personal contentment. Most heroes are independent; they will work for you based on HCOM's performance, certain events, or fulfilling certain conditions. Some heroes have special manners of obtaining them (Cybervanguard can be created through arduous technology research; the Guardian Angel can be summoned with the right magical artifacts and personnel; the Galactic Patrol can be convinced to loan you a member). Finally, some superpowered mercenaries can be hired for money, and some supervillains can be offered parole in exchange for their assistance...however, doing so presents its own slew of complications.
With each hero in HCOM, certain personnel issues will rise over the course of the game, requiring you to step in and make decisions. The wrong decisions may result in rising discontentment, friction in the team, and/or poor performance on the concerned hero's part.

-Zones: The world is divided into several geographic zones, with HCOM having a base in each one. On the strategic level, you assign each hero to the team of one zone.
When an emergency takes place in a zone, you can send in the heroes of the team belonging to it. Depending on the resources at your disposal, you may be able to teleport in some extra heroes from other teams, though doing so is costly. Finally, any hero native to the zone who is not affiliated with HCOM has a chance of participating in the battle, though they won't be under your control for the duration.
During downtime, you also assign the heroes of a zone's team to tasks such as the patrol of certain nations, focus on specific types of crimes and organizations, and the such. This will affect criminality level, and may reveal information or advance plotlines.

-Missions: During any mission, you have a number of heroes on your side. Usually, most of them will be under your control; those that don't recognize your authority will be run by the AI.
Most missions are emergencies - situations that require rapid action, allowing you to send only the local zone's team (plus anyone you can afford to teleport). A few plot-centric missions allow for more time to plan, allowing you to send all of your teams (in which case, since that would be nightmare to play, the mission is broken into several simultaneous components, each one handled by a team you select).

Setting Elements: This is just a few quick ideas, obviously.

-The Celestials: I like how "Worm" uses the Endbringers, with the sense of humanity locked in a struggle for survival against these alien powerhouses. So, I think the "main plot" of HCOM would revolve around something along these lines.
My first thought was just to make them hostile aliens. But...Eh. There needs to be a reason they don't just nuke us until we all die or surrender. So instead, I give you the Celestials:
The first Celestial showed up on Earth some decades ago. A mysterious alien entity with a beautiful white aura, it moved around from place to place for weeks, never communicating, just observing. Then, with no explanation, it performed some type of ritual in a town of 50,000 inhabitants, who all...died inside. Biological functions remained the same, but their minds were completely gone. Unresponsive. Mystics confirmed that the Celestial had siphoned out their souls, seemingly converting it into a crystal of unknown properties. Heroes attacked the Celestial, but he proved surprisingly powerful; it took the combined efforts of several heavy-hitters to finally put him down.
It was just a strange, sad historical anecdote until, recently, the Celestials returned in numbers. Each time, it's the same method: A number of them suddenly appears in a major metropolis. They begin working on their ritual. As soon as they finish, every human in the area - millions of people - lose their souls, which are converted in one of the power crystals the Celestials seem to want. They then take the crystal and return to their dimension.
The loss of several major cities - and the accompanying mass hysteria - have thrown the world into disarray. Sadly, this has made many supervillains bolder than ever. HCOM was created to deal with this situation. You must stop Celestial raids, and eventually gather enough information and tools to stop them for good.

-Eclipse Industries: "Where the Light Meets the Dark!" That is the slogan of this international corporation, which made its debut by reverse-engineering and re-purposing supertech confiscated from various tech-villains, be they mad scientists or aliens. Nowadays, Eclipse Industries is a powerhouse of the high-tech field, providing advanced devices to governments and more. They are also the first place most people go if they want some new villain's tech analyzed.
In the game, Eclipse Industries can help out with tech research, in exchange for the chance to reverse-engineer devices you obtain. However, if you follow up on certain investigation lines, you can discover the dark secret: Eclipse Industries was created by a cabal of tech-villains, who originally donated their own "confiscated" tech, and have been using the company to gather all supertech resources within their grasp. Helping Eclipse Industries out means giving them more toys, which will lead to them arming new supervillains and advancing their masterplan. At that point, you can assault their HQ, or agree to keep quiet in exchange for a generous bribe, and their promise to focus their open criminal activities in countries that don't support HCOM. Doing so will result in Eclipse eventually gathering enough supertech to try to take over the world in a massive emergency mission.

-The Galactic Patrol: The various alien races of the galaxy may not have a unified government, per se, but they did manage to create the Galactic Patrol - an organization of well-trained law enforcers, armed with some of the most advanced technology in the universe, who protect law and order among the stars.
Earth is too primitive to be part of this arrangement yet, but it has been visited by the Galactic Patrol on a couple occasions, when its members ended alien invasions that broke interstellar law.
The matter of the Celestials, per se, does not concern interstellar law. However, with the right information and tools, it is possible to contact the Galactic Patrol, and convince them that Earth's worsening situation could damage stability in the entire region. At this point, the Patrol will assign one of its members as an HCOM hero.

-The Deep Queen: By her real name Renee Carter, the Deep Queen is perhaps the most influential supervillain of this age. A technical genius, she has devised advanced technology for underwater operations, and a powerful fleet of deep-sea submarines. It is believed she controls a veritable mobile city in the oceans' depths, from which she directs a massive criminal empire.
Between her personal charisma, endless resources, and strategic skill, the Deep Queen has become the closest thing the world's supervillains have to a leader. Many of them, when trying to lay low, hide in her massive submarines. Many take her advice when planning their crimes, rent her resources, and give her a cut of the profit. Many work directly for her.
The Deep Queen has no desire to see the Celestials wipe out humanity, but she has no desire either for a powerful HCOM that can coordinate the world's heroes effectively against her. Depending on events and decisions made during the game, it may be possible to strike an alliance with her...though such an alliance will inevitably making unpleasant compromises.

-The Chinese Situation: The very first city the Celestials wiped out was Beijing. In one fell swoop, China's central government was destroyed. In the ensuing chaos, several surviving political, financial and military leaders tried to step in and take control. The most successful one was General Dragon, a veteran super-soldier who, in addition to formidable combat powers, possessed supernatural charisma. In order to stamp out his rivals, he gathered as many Chinese superhumans as he could - an impressive number - and giving them all positions of power in his new order to solidify their loyalty.
Since then, General Dragon has been keeping the country in perpetual martial law, militarizing it as fast as possible to repel any further Celestial attacks. His reign is particularly brutal toward opponents of the regime, and there are whispers among the international community about large-scale mind-control, creating great concern. Additionally, the general has so far refused to bring China into HCOM, saying he needed to keep control of national superhumans.
Getting China into HCOM will add very important resources to the organization, and make it a lot easier to protect East-Asia. However, allying with General Dragon will require certain moral compromises that may be less than optimal for the Chinese people, and upset other countries and heroes. There is also the option of assisting the rebels fighting the general's regime, though that will also upset some countries, and can horribly backfire if it fails.


Whew. OK, I kinda want to play with this some more, but I've got other things requiring my attention ATM, and I may well be the only person who cares anyway. ^^'
I most certainly would, I am now thinking about some a cross of XCOM and the political intrigue based parts of God Save The Queen, which is approximate the best idea ever conceived.

re: Skitter and Jack Slash: Mostly, it's his manipulations (and attempted manipulations) of her that have me curious.
Oh, in that case, its straightforward.
For all his faults, Jack is very get a playing off insecurities, he knew that Skitter had self validation and self worth problem, he was working to try and establish himself as a valid source of praise in her eyes, while playing off her pain to make her hate this world, his goal was in essence to make Skitter into a omnicidal monster who saw him and his Slaughterhouse as kindred spirits who would be able to hone her skills at death dealing so that she might in time end this world.
Basically, he wanted to make her into the classic Loyalist Abyssal. Or at least that's my take on it. He failed, obviously, but I think that was his goal.

Brian interlude. He's got some nasty PTSD, which is entirely to be expected.
This is, of course, presenting new complications on the Aisha front.
Brian acknowledges that, yes the Dinah situation is awful. You'd better, Big B.
And it turns out that Aisha's favor was having Taylor help Brian out. Well, guess Taylor is entering her good graces.
More mentions of these "passenger" symbiotes.
Some hurt-comfort, some minor philosophizing, and Taylor seems to be doing the dude a world of good.
This is one of my favorite chapters, in part for the bits where Brian is commenting on how freaky Taylor is because of her powers, the ignoring the wind, never looking around, little notes on how she just pays attention to everything all the time. It says a lot about Taylor.

And I always like some nice hurt-comfort. :)

Thoughts: Honestly don't know what to expect. Given the work he's put into Brockton Bay, Coil probably has some plan to save the city. And if the Undies go against him, what of the Travelers, whom they're on good terms with and apparently need the services the guy provides?
Also: The Undies were already Team Nightmare Fuel. Having Shatterbird as their slave must make them utterly terrifying to the rest of the town.
Oh the Undersiders are just terrifying. It's kind of their thing, and they just keep getting scarier.
 

Sanctaphrax

Registred User
Validated User
HCOM sounds pretty cool.

I suspect that the Panacea storyline will be one of the things Wildbow works to improve when he writes the final draft of Worm.
 

St.Just

Lacking all conviction
Validated User
HCOM does sound great, although I suggest making the Celestials more individual and unique. One thing I liked about the Endbringers is that they each have character of their own, plus unique powers and strategies.
 

sun_tzu

Registered User
Validated User
Um. I don't think child psychology backs you up here actually, I mean the median or mean abusive parent is probably worse then Brandish, but what was normal child rearing practices a hundread years ago would be considered abuse today, and while I do think those practices were harmful..they weren't as bad for people as the sort of continuous neglect Amy received.
Maybe? I don't know. It's not like we've actually had any scenes of Amy's home life.



Would totally play this game. Looks amazing.
I most certainly would, I am now thinking about some a cross of XCOM and the political intrigue based parts of God Save The Queen, which is approximate the best idea ever conceived.
HCOM sounds pretty cool.
HCOM does sound great, although I suggest making the Celestials more individual and unique. One thing I liked about the Endbringers is that they each have character of their own, plus unique powers and strategies.
Hm. Would you guys be interested in me starting another thread for this (presumably in Video Game Open)?




Oh, in that case, its straightforward.
For all his faults, Jack is very get a playing off insecurities, he knew that Skitter had self validation and self worth problem, he was working to try and establish himself as a valid source of praise in her eyes, while playing off her pain to make her hate this world, his goal was in essence to make Skitter into a omnicidal monster who saw him and his Slaughterhouse as kindred spirits who would be able to hone her skills at death dealing so that she might in time end this world.
Basically, he wanted to make her into the classic Loyalist Abyssal. Or at least that's my take on it. He failed, obviously, but I think that was his goal.
I do wonder about the fact in his opinion, he failed because Cherish gave him faulty data...






A few more for the road.

Arc 15: Colony (continued)

This is Schroedinger's relationship; Taylor and Brian are simultaneously a couple and not a couple. XD
Imp, apparently, uses her powers to go all Amélie Poulain on people's ass when she wants to run them out of town. Yup, she's a member of Team Nightmare Fuel all right. (...Did I just seriously associate Amélie Poulain with Nightmare Fuel?)
The Undies point out that, yes, expecting Cobra Commander to give up his underage oracle is moronic.
Taylor reveals Cobra Commander's power to the rest of the team.
Meeting between Cobra Commander and his minions. Workaholic Skitter is workaholic.
Cobra Commander wants to force the mayor to convince Washington not to no-man's-land Brockton Bay. ...The heck? Under what kind of situation would the mayor not already be devoting all of his political capital to that end?
And then, Tattletale tells Taylor (try saying that five times really fast) that 1)Cobra Commander knows, 2)there are even odds an Undie told him, 3)he's gonna have Taylor offed during the mayor job, and 4)if she doesn't go, he'll know Tattletale's first loyalty is to her team rather than himself.

Lisa reveals the Undies have realized that, as things stand, they might Lady Skitter of Her Tactical Badassness to become their new leader. Of course, Taylor did not see this coming.
Ballistic is sent to kick Parian's ass, and Taylor volunteers to accompany him, presumably to save Parian. One the way, she engages in social combat with Ballistic, but while she manages to ferret a few clues, it doesn't look like there's an alliance in the making there.
So, she tries to make a deal with Parian. Offer to finance medical care for the local S9 victims.
Suddenly Flechette! Yup, she's Parian's friend.
Oh fuck, the hero community is blaming Skitter for Panacea's self-destruction? Blah.
Apparently, Armsmaster's crimes - and the fact that he was in trouble for them - is kept secret from everyone. Irritating, but sensible, since revealing it would hurt the Endbringer Truce.
Lots and lots of social combat ensues. The gist of it is, Taylor believes Parian will be safer with the Undies, but her career with them hasn't exactly made her trustworthy in these people's eyes. Flechette has been a true friend to Parian, who doesn't want to make the mistake Taylor did by becoming a villain. Finally, Taylor takes a third option, giving Parian money to help her people and get the hell out of Dodge to escape all this ugliness.
A bit injured from the fight, Skitter gets herself treated in her territory. Bryce remains a dumbass, and Taylor learns just how terrifying she looks from Sierra's perspective.
Also, she blames herself from some of the S9's devastation. Oh, Taylor.
Skitter displays appropriate paranoia when getting medical treatment from a guy employed by Cobra Commander. Heck, I feel extra paranoia would have been justified. She also explores her multi-tasking superpowers.
Then Parian shows up for more talks. Skitter philosophizes a bit on how the existence of parahumans has thrown the balance of power among people out of whack, and that makes it OK to break the rules that weren't designed with that in mind (...that's seriously reaching, Taylor). Another compromise is floated around: Parian will take some territory, but won't be officially affiliated with the Undies. On the condition that Flechette agrees.

Alexandria interlude!
So, she almost died of cancer in her youth. Her hatred of lies is giving me a "Dark Wonder Woman" vibe.
And then, she was contacted by the Doctor (the cauldronist, not the Time Lord), who offered her an empowering but dangerous treatment that has decent odds of saving her life. ...So, the Cauldron was operating practically from the start of the parahuman era. I find that very suspicious.
Two years later, a meeting of Alexandira, Legend, Eidolon, Hero, the Doctor, Manton, the Doctor's bodyguard (apparently named Contessa), a boy who I'm guessing is the future Number Man, and some other kid. The meeting concludes that, since trigger-capes are more likely to be villains than heroes, and there's eventually gonna be way more of these than Cauldron capes, the world's doomed unless something's done. So, they decide to create the Protectorate, and arrange for various Cauldron heroes to be sent there, and work toward integrating parahumans in society. It's...a good plan on paper, but I have massive suspicions about Cauldron's true motives by now.
Also, Doc and Alexandria have a hidden long-term goal.
And then, we see the first Endbringer attack. Behemoth, who's even bigger than Leviathan, and has energy control on a level Mother Aurora would take notice of.
Another timeskip. President James Griffin creates the Protectorate.
Seven years later, Siberian kills hero. Doc and Alexandria know it's Manton - apparently, he snapped after his attempt to empower his daughter (the model for Siberian) went badly. Also, "Terminus project". Also, Doc and Alexandria need some kind of individual for their long-term project.
Eight years later, Alexandria is bringing people from other dimensions - people who were doomed there for one reason or another - and having Cauldron experiment on them for Case 53.
Back to the present, or at least to the earlier meeting in Legend's interlude. Eidolon's powers are fading, the inner conspiracy doesn't want Legend to be on to the coming apocalypse, they know Legend's suspicious, project Terminus aims at handling the apocalypse, and apparently, Coil is the individual they need.
Oh dear.



Thoughts:
Didn't mind seeing Taylor engage in social-fu. It's an area where she needs to level up.
Like I've said before, I like Parian. Hope things go her way don't end too badly for her.
As for the whole conspiracy...Well, obviously, I don't trust Doc and Cauldron. Alexandria is apparently someone who started out with good principles, but has been making an endless series of moral compromises to save the world. I remain very curious as to the true nature of the Endbringers, and suspect Cauldron know more than they let on. And...the Protectorate is apparently very much the Cauldron's creature.
...I'm curious if Wildbow has played Aberrant.

Saga of Soul wordcount: 7999 words!
 

Noliar

Registered User
Validated User
Ah Skitter, holding an unrelated conversation while some uses an angle grinder on your shoulder. Perfectly normal.
 
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