Heroic Demolition

What is it about heroes and leaving a wake of destruction in their path? Watch any comic book movie and I swear that the cost of property damage has to tick upwards every time there’s a fight. And how many lives are lost in those same battles?

I’ve played in more than a few campaigns where we have always been at the center of some of the most horrific events in the world’s history. The Zeitgeist campaign we’re playing now just has us on a cross-continental train ride which just had a violent incident involving aberrant beasts, bandits, and the certain doom of many passengers.

Not us of course. We’re still alive. And many of the NPCs we have dealt with on the train are still around as well – but there were at least three train cars that were demolished whose occupants didn’t make it to their final destinations… And I don’t think we know the count of dead or injured.

Should our characters be affected by these deaths? Should we be held accountable for the cost of the damage to the train? In this case, we didn’t cause the event that occurred. The bandits stopped the train and we just happened to be attacked at the same moment. So perhaps the bandits (if any survived) should be tried and convicted for the lives and property destroyed?

It’s not something that we usually deal with in our gaming sessions. I think we actually did have a few earlier incidents with our “boss” in this campaign where we discussed the damage we caused. But beyond the unfortunate deaths of a few innocent lives here and there we’ve come out of this relatively unscathed…

zod-superman-battle-aftermath_04-the-hypocritical-hate-on-man-of-steelKind of like Superman after his battle with Zod in Man of Steel or the Avengers after the big battle in New York.

Nobody wants to roleplay the aftermath. Courtroom drama just isn’t the kind of thing we like to watch (unless you watch any of the courtroom dramas on television).

I’m not sure there’s an answer to this. I just wonder if our characters should feel a bit more remorse after destroying property and lives during the course of our heroic activities.

What do you think?

Gassy out.

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4 comments to Heroic Demolition

  • forged

    Emerald City Knights, an adventure for Mutants & Mastermind, early on explores some of this very topic. The heroes can opt to stick around to help out, talk to the press, investigate for clues. It really depends on the characters and what their motivation type is.

    Given the circumstances in this particular adventure, the characters aren’t held responsible for the damage. NPCs griping about the cost of damages and who is going to pay for it, can become a great recurring foil for the characters … just ask Spiderman. 🙂 Of course, if the characters aren’t around for the aftermath that gets harder to do.

    Btw, Emerald City Knights had great suggestion for if the characters examine the bodies. “The important thing is not to let the departed become statistics. As the characters examine bodies, mention a person item still on the deceased […] Such details are unrelated to the mystery, but drive home the loss of innocent life that makes it important for the heroes to solve it.”

  • Sorry I couldn’t find your email so I thought I would ask in the comments, my name is Andrew L Kolodziej and I run a blog called http://www.thedailyrpg.com and was wondering if you might be interested in exchanging links with me. Thanks.

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