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Idea du jour: why superheroes don't kill

You couldn't use this idea in most settings, but what if killing them made them worse?

They've already been granted strange powers by something so let's posit that whatever it is has two flavours, guided by the individual. In both cases, killing them after a certain time makes them more of whatever. The time thing is why people don't go "Cool! I have super powers! I can make them better by just getting offed!" (And most people are nervous in case it doesn't work.)

So why don't heroes do the same? After all, there's not much downside to it ... Or is there?

Presumably you give stuff up; butterflies don't care about the same things as caterpillars do. Maybe they don't want to give stuff up. Maybe you can only be hurt by another super, and the villains are trying hard not to make another Great Competitor.

Or maybe, in a supers-rich environment, this only applies to some fraction of supers; the others are fighting crime as a kind of Batesian mimicry.

So some people are born as kind of proto-Organians, who would transcend if they died (hmmm. This sounds like souls) and the other proto-Organians don't want them competing, which doesn't sound very Organian, but you get my point.

The working title for the series would, of course, be "Butterflies and Moths."

Posted on DreamWidth at http://doc-lemming.dreamwidth.org/209514.html. Try this link to reply over there.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
rwpikul
Feb. 28th, 2015 05:24 pm (UTC)
It wouldn't even have to happen that often, just one high profile case that made a minimally powered psychopath into a shadow demon who can kill almost at will would probably be enough to cause everyone to think twice about killing.

Although...

Consider the possibility that The Powers That Be(tm) aren't choosing based on seniority but rather on how 'interesting' or 'deserving' they feel the person is:

This does tend to favour the established supers, as they have more time to attract attention to themselves.

It's come out that they don't seem to like supers simply getting offed, taking out an established super with a sniper rifle seems to almost guarantee a return. OTOH, drawing out the death and/or making it humiliating seems to dissuade TPTB. So don't put a bullet in their heads, tie them up in a giant teacup and fill the teapot with concentrated acid, ("Oh I can hardly wait for tea time!").
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