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Supernatural victim support?

So what organisations are involved in providing support for the victims of supers and other kinds of threats in this universe? Mainly I'm thinking of those whose injuries go beyond the limits of conventional medicine. Such as the victims of mental/demonic attack/possession and other strangeness.

Specifically I'm curious about how someone who is the victim of such an event is cleared as safe to be in public.

Comments

  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    Hmm... interesting question. While the source books describe individuals and organizations who specialize in providing medical services, including psychiatric ones, to the unique issues of superheroes (and supervillains), there's no such specialization mentioned for normal humans who are the victims of paranormal/metahuman activity. That would seem like a reasonable development given how long and how widely supers have been active on Champions Earth, but I suspect the creators of the books assumed that most Champions players would have superhuman PCs, so didn't deal with the mental health of superhumans' normal human victims.

    The story of the Zodiac Working is one example of victims who fall within the parameters you suggest. The Working was an attempt by the late villainous master magician Archimago to impregnate twelve kidnapped young women by twelve powerful demons. As described in the history for the supervillain Frag, a product of the Working, in Champions Villains Vol. 3: Solo Villains, when the women were rescued Frag's mother didn't appear to be pregnant, so the heroes who rescued her "sent her to counseling for her trauma and didn't think more of the matter." (p. 120)
  • mordray001mordray001 Posts: 166 Arc User
    Well that's a bust, not unexpected, but I had to ask. Just means I'll need to look at the existing groups to find one that works for my goals and if none do then I'll make one... likely as specialists attached to an existing organization.

    As always, thanks for your time Bulgarex.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,827 Arc User
    Well, UNTIL has mystical people working for them. I'm sure someone in Until could check people out.
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  • mordray001mordray001 Posts: 166 Arc User
    Well, UNTIL has mystical people working for them. I'm sure someone in Until could check people out.
    That they could. However, while UNTIL is likely to see such use in most member nations in the US it's not nearly that easy. Also I'm just not sure if UNTIL's mission would allow for such a potentially long term investment of resources into the tending to of the potentially very 'damaged', for lack of a better word.

    That and I find it hard to believe that no federal or state level health organization hasn't stepped in to fill this niche role... (I suppose it could be used as a plot hook for bias against the victims of such events... but that's a story well outside the realm I'm looking to tell.) if for no other reason then because it's so niche only a federal or state level entity could reasonably be expected to have the resources needed to aid the victims.

    Based on some basic research it looks like this would be Department of Health and Human Services situation, which usually acts as just an overseer to the State level Departments which intern oversee the local clinics and the like... hmm... well if it were me I'd just create a federally run facility, or facilities if the volume would call for it. Though the pessimist in me suspects some yaho looking to get brownie points would try to make a new department and headquarter it in their state/district to keep their base happy which would result in a bloated budget and a lot of problems in the long run...

    Bulgarex's quote actually implies an intentional lack of this level of support... though I'm going to ignore that for the purposes of making the setting more functional.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    There's more than enough precedent in the setting for an individual or small group who saw a need for a niche service and set out to make it happen. That's how we got Ravenswood Academy, the CU's school for young superhumans; and Sickbay, a free medical clinic for superheroes where they can avoid legal and government hassles. (Detailed in Teen Champions and Cops, Crews, And Cabals, respectively.) There never seems to be a shortage of people, in and out of the superhero community, willing to contribute financially or materially to a good cause in relation to that community.

    So you absolutely could design a group serving the need you define. If I may say so, the aforementioned Zodiac Working (from 1979) would make for an excellent impetus for someone to deal with the victims of supernatural supervillainy. Other later supernatural mass traumas in the official timeline could spark or reinforce such efforts: besides the ones depicted in Champions Online, those could include the first Demonflame incident in 1986, in which Luther Black raised a ten-thousand-foot tower in Boston and loosed a horde of demons to terrorize the public; Takofanes' return to the modern world in Oklahoma in 1987, slaughtering and reanimating people as he marched eastward until halted in Kentucky (not to mention the Archlich's many subsequent attacks, including the Bloodmoon); the Slug's repeated attempts to turn the entire population of major cities into Elder Worms (New York in 1979, London in 2003, and Millennium City in 2006); the villain team Cirque Sinister using the reality-warping Janus Key to transform Vibora Bay into a surrealistic nightmare; or the rampage of the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca across Texas in 2007, killing thousands. And those are just the supernatural disasters -- the possibilities widen much more if you include the activities of more "mundane" villains, like the Battle of Detroit, multiple alien invasions, or Grond landing in someone's back yard. ;)
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    OTOH if you wanted to define this kind of service as a subset of an existing Champions organization, I would recommend l'Institut Thoth, an international privately-funded research and consulting group whose mission statement is "exploring the nature of superpowers, their effect on society and the world, and related issues." Medical and psychological studies and assistance are mentioned as part of what it does, and while the Institut does charge for its services, its fees are based on ability to pay rather than a flat rate.

    l'Institut Thoth is headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, with branch offices in cities around the world with sizeable superhuman populations, including London, Millennium City, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Vibora Bay. l'Institut Thoth is described in substantial detail in Champions Universe pp. 122-23.
    Post edited by bulgarex on
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,827 Arc User
    I was thinking of UNTIL in the context of emergency medical care really. IE: "These guys got exposed to magic stuff, are they ok?"
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  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    My thought is that UNTIL would deal with victims of trauma, or those potentially "infected" by it, similarly to how police in the real world deal with victims, and with those who are mentally ill. If the former, they'll be referred to professional specialists for treatment. If the latter, they'll be detained until such professionals can be called to assess them and determine what next steps would be appropriate. But providing care really isn't their job.
  • jonsillsjonsills Posts: 6,278 Arc User
    That would be consistent with the triage center set up to take care of the victims of Mechanon's nanobot attack - the ones bursting into flame in downtown Millennium City. The Champions seem to be coordinating with either UNTIL or PRIMUS on an ad-hoc basis, treating the immediate victims as best they can and presumably cordoning off the area to prevent the victims from spreading the infection any further, but it's not exactly a CDC-style isolation unit, is it?
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  • spinnytopspinnytop Posts: 16,116 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    You know considering how I write all my characters as reckless, irresponsible nut jobs who cause a lot of property damage anytime they engage in super heroics, and how this is likely not a unique tendency in our population of super heroes, I imagine there's quite a huge industry that's popped up around three particular things.

    1. Therapy for people who were traumatized when some insane magical girl/clown robot/grumpy muscle man/whatever bumburger is nearly got them killed/maimed.
    2. Programs to help those people get back on their feet when their lives were completely up-ended.
    3. Law suits against super heroes and the various organizations they work for.

    I think Abberant covered that kind of stuff, but since our IP is a bit more silver-agey does it cover those kinds of topics? Should the IP be updated to acknowledge the playerbase and its characters?
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    That last point raises an interesting topic for discussion. The PnP Champions Universe is overall more Bronze Age than Silver Age in tone. Superheroes are mostly a positive force in the world, and tend to win more often than they lose; but aberrations, mistakes, and tragedies do still occur. However, such developments usually have consequences. The law often cuts superheroes slack if their actions are judged to have been justified and reasonable under the circumstances in order to prevent death or severe bodily harm to innocent people. Nonetheless, superheroes can be and have been arrested and prosecuted for assault, reckless endangerment, or murder. They can be and have been sued for property damage, although if they're sanctioned by the government they may have some immunity to such lawsuits (and "superhuman insurance" against damage by super-battles is very commonly purchased). Supervillains, of course, almost never receive such consideration.

    However, quite a lot of what happens in CO, particularly player-generated, doesn't logically fit with the world described in the lore, or for that matter any world remotely similar to our real one, super or not. But MMO players will play what they want to play, whether or not it makes any sense in context. Trying to tailor the ground rules of the setting to those excesses is probably a losing proposition. IMHO it's better for people to whom role-playing the lore matters to just play it, and try to ignore players who don't care about that.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    spinnytop wrote: »
    You know considering how I write all my characters as reckless, irresponsible nut jobs who cause a lot of property damage anytime they engage in super heroics, and how this is likely not a unique tendency in our population of super heroes, I imagine there's quite a huge industry that's popped up around three particular things.

    1. Therapy for people who were traumatized when some insane magical girl/clown robot/grumpy muscle man/whatever bumburger is nearly got them killed/maimed.
    2. Programs to help those people get back on their feet when their lives were completely up-ended.
    3. Law suits against super heroes and the various organizations they work for.

    I think Abberant covered that kind of stuff, but since our IP is a bit more silver-agey does it cover those kinds of topics? Should the IP be updated to acknowledge the playerbase and its characters?

    Thinking about your first two particular things, there's more than enough need for such services in the real world, for traumas people experience from real events. We just don't have a service particularly focused on super activities. Some assistance is available, from various sources, but there never seems to be enough for everyone who needs it. I don't think the problems with overcoming human complacency would be any less prevalent in a super world; particularly one that's been dealing with supers for eighty years.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    mordray001 wrote: »
    That and I find it hard to believe that no federal or state level health organization hasn't stepped in to fill this niche role... (I suppose it could be used as a plot hook for bias against the victims of such events... but that's a story well outside the realm I'm looking to tell.) if for no other reason then because it's so niche only a federal or state level entity could reasonably be expected to have the resources needed to aid the victims.

    Based on some basic research it looks like this would be Department of Health and Human Services situation, which usually acts as just an overseer to the State level Departments which intern oversee the local clinics and the like... hmm... well if it were me I'd just create a federally run facility, or facilities if the volume would call for it. Though the pessimist in me suspects some yaho looking to get brownie points would try to make a new department and headquarter it in their state/district to keep their base happy which would result in a bloated budget and a lot of problems in the long run...

    I did think of a governmental route to developing a much more comprehensive system to care for the health of superbeings' victims. The Department of Superhuman and Paranormal Affairs (DOSPA) is an American cabinet-level agency responsible for dealing with all supers-related matters affecting the United States. As spelled out on Champions Universe p. 41, DOSPA's mandate is "to coordinate the United States’s reaction and response to superhuman-related issues; to manage the activities of all of America’s superhuman assets (regardless of what specific part of the government they might work for); and to research and investigate issues pertaining to superhumanity, superpowers, super-technology, and the like." That's broad enough to accommodate what you'd like to add.

    Because DOSPA has overriding authority over any issue relevant to superhumanity, they often share administration of various government projects with other departments where their responsibilities or concerns overlap. For example, DOSPA exercises oversight of PRIMUS, which is a division of the Department of Justice like the FBI; and of Department 17, the Defense Department's secret hub for research into creating and controlling superhumans. I don't think it would be an excessive stretch for DOSPA to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop treatment programs such as you describe.

    DOSPA is organized into eight primary divisions, whose responsibilities are evident from their names: Alien Affairs; Diplomatic Affairs; Military Affairs; Mystic Affairs; National Security Affairs; Research & Development; Supertechnology Affairs; and World Security Affairs. Just from their names, I would suggest this endeavor would most likely fall under the jurisdiction of the R&D Division; although for the specific scenarios you asked about in your OP, Mystic Affairs could also be involved. Partnership with the aforementioned l'Institut Thoth would also be reasonable, given that the Institut often provides consultation services to a number of governments.
  • mordray001mordray001 Posts: 166 Arc User
    Sweet! Thank you, Bulgarex. This will help.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    If you'd like to insert more sinister complications into your support group, the Circle of the Scarlet Moon are master conspirators with covert influence over all aspects of society, in America and around the world. I'm sure they'd be interested in infiltrating a group who often come in contact with people exposed to the supernatural, to find potential recruits or leads to new sources of magical power. For example, Circle member Dr. Herbert Rush is an award-winning psychiatrist and a famous pop psychologist, who might be willing to "donate" his time to such a worthy cause. He's also a skilled practitioner of the mystic art of fascination, a sort of super-hypnosis through some attention-attracting trinket.

    The Circle of the Scarlet Moon is extensively detailed in Champions Villains Volume Two: Villain Teams, with Dr. Rush getting a little more description on p. 21.
  • mordray001mordray001 Posts: 166 Arc User
    edited August 2019
    Nice, definitely something to keep in mind for the future. At the moment I'm more concerned with providing a functional and safe environment for the character to get some general trauma help and to help them accept the fact that the world they had grown up in existed only for them and that no one else knows what they are talking about... all while attempting to force her to remember things she never experienced.

    In general I'm playing around with the idea of a mantle being passed on and how the individual not only has to endure the hero lifestyle, but also has to deal with preconceptions about who they are and what they should be doing.

    The idea of her going to a villian for therapy is kind of growing on me... though at the same time the path it could go down is full of creep and levels of violation, both mental and physical, that are well outside even my comfort zone... especially for something I'd probably post if I ever got the damned thing written.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,770 Arc User
    You're dropping a lot of intriguing hints that this is for a PC, implicitly a super one. I thought you were looking for help for normal NPCs. If this is a person with true paranormal powers, all the parties I mentioned would be a lot more interested in her case; and others could also get involved.
  • mordray001mordray001 Posts: 166 Arc User
    bulgarex wrote: »
    You're dropping a lot of intriguing hints that this is for a PC, implicitly a super one. I thought you were looking for help for normal NPCs. If this is a person with true paranormal powers, all the parties I mentioned would be a lot more interested in her case; and others could also get involved.

    I am looking for help for normals... ;), it's basic world building for me.


    As for the character... her background is... different...

    Basically she's a super who initially had a rather basic set of augmented physical powers, peak human strength, with superhuman reflexes, that lets her hit a lot harder then she would normally be capable of. Eventually after coming to terms with the death of a long time crush, she never confessed her true feelings, Shandra Thurn turned to crime fighting, turning some of his inventions into a kit for super work. In time she came to be known as Night Spider, making extensive use of gadgets created by her old crush she initially used her escapades as an excuse to vent her rage and frustrations on those that had turned into predators like those that had killed her beloved. Eventually Night Spider grew out of her rage and became a grim defender of the people, she never fully grew out of the darkness she had known most of her life, but she learned to use it and in time became somewhat respectable.

    Her nemesis, currently called Nemesis, was a powerful telepath who became involved with Viper and became a powerful assassin who was able to project her mind into another's body and use it to make her kills with no concerns. However an experiment to boost her power further ended up with her stuck outside of her own body and slowly dying. Needless to say the nemesis was pissed and looking for ways to keep herself alive. She eventually stole a suit of prototype UNTIL armor that was designed to augment latent psionic potential and not only gained some stability but also telekinetic powers, though she was now forced to remain in close proximity to the armor at all times to remain stable, she also retained a need for a body as without both her energies would rapidly grow unstable.

    The two crossed paths shortly after an attempt to acquire components to create a more compact version of the armor's augmentation system drew the attention of a young hero. The pair were soon regularly battling each other for various reasons even as they slowly developed a kind of friendship born of their mutual lives of pain and suffering. Even as they failed to reach an understanding or a decisive ending that would imprison the powerful telepath permanently as she both needed her armor and a host to survive. Having never actually killed anyone and that she was herself a victim of viper... however willing that was... made imprisoning her, an act that would kill her without a host to inhabit, rather hard to justify.

    The final confrontation happened when Nemesis learned she was finally dying and there was nothing that could be done about it. Deciding on one final gambit Nemesis lured Night Spider into a trap and attempted to possess her hoping that Night Spider's superior physical abilities would make her a better host for her energies... as Nemesis grew fatally unstable the two minds warred with each other even as they were forced to live each other's lives in an endless cycle that left neither certain which memories were their own. As Nemesis's energies grew out of control they spread and blended into Night Spider's body reacting with the energies of her own superhuman powers blending together just as their own minds were blending.

    Found in a coma by an ally unaware that their friend was long dead leaving behind only their warm corpse which was host to a new mind that was slowly developing a unique history that was near equal parts fantasy fulfillment and tragic tale of life and pain.

    In time the young woman would awaken the world believing her to have been the victim of Nemesis's last bid to survive her own tragedy. After extensive testing to confirm her strange tale of having been nearly killed by a strange robot with a snake motif, Phern Baylor was released into a world so very similar to her own and yet so very different as well.

    She read news articles on the hero Night Spider, both so similar and so different from her own time as Night Spider, in particular she was confused by this version of herself that didn't kill. She also read stories of the strange being known as Nemesis, a being she herself had never encountered. Hounded by those who hunted for the woman whose body she now possessed, Phern fled the only home she'd ever known, even if it was strangely inconsistent with her own, and moved north into michigan's upper peninsula where she lived and worked for nearly a year before she found herself witnessing an attack she couldn't ignore and finally found satisfaction as she watched the victim flee while the assailant cowered in the dirt his body bloody though unbroken.

    Phern would spend several months getting her identity formally changed from her bodies' birth name of Shandra Druna Thurn to her own of Phern Lilith Baylor. The process was fairly straight forward and with the aid of her Department of Superhuman and Paranormal Affairs confirmed Department of Health psychologist the judge signed off on the name change without incident. Leaving her new home behind she moved back to Millenium City, where an old ally of Night Spider was waiting for her to return to continue the work he and the previous Night Spider had started following his maker's death.


    I'm likely to substitute Millenium City for another location eventually... probably a fictional city... ala Gotham city.
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