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Who wants to hear a Mad Scientist lecture at college?


Dr Archeville

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Herr Doktor Viktor Archeville has recently been asked to give a speech at one of Freedom City's colleges (probably HIT). His speech will cover a wide variety of topics: urban legends, quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and more.

I'll begin posting tonight (and will post a link here). All are welcome to attend.

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Hrm... that might be a tad difficult. See, the way I've got his 'lecture' written out now, there's not really a place where I can put in a break, not even for "reaction shots" or such; most interactions would happen either immediately before the actual lecture, or at the reception afterward.

But, I don't want to post one huge wall o' text -- fact is, it's so big I cannot post it in one go (it's a "lecture" I've used before in another RPGwith another version of Dr. Archeville) -- so I am working on putting some 'speed bumps' in it so it can be broken up, but in a way that doesn't break the narrative flow too badly.

For now, though, y'all are welcome to post. :)

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Eh, like I said, I'm working on putting in some breaks. While it is most common at lectures to let the speaker speak, and then questions come later, Freedom City is anything but common ;)

Oh, is Eric planning to arrive "fashionably late"? You posted him as leaving his house at 4:30, which is when the lecture starts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So why do you think so many villains showed up, but so few heroes? Wouldn't you think the heroes would support one of their own, while the villains would fear and despise a potential opponent? Or is this a case of keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

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Maybe scientifically-minded types are more prone to turn to supervillainy?

Though the "villains get to see him work while 'hidden in plain sight'" angle does make sense, too.

Well, out of all of the approved characters, 6 have an INT of 20 or higher: Malice, The Exile, Neurologic, Emissary, The Physicist and Dr. Archeville. 3 villians, 3 heroes. But there are 19 heroes, and 9 villains, so maybe all the smart ones are indeed evil? ;)

Also its hard for villains to kindly ask to compare notes or something with a hero, the whole mortal enemies thing. As a general rule, villains don't tend to be social creatures, because villains tend to fight one another. So anytime they are able to go out and about without putting themselves in danger, they usually jump on it. And last but not least, science may indeed be above the concept of good and evil. You might hate Lex Luthor's guts, but if he tells you your plan won't work, you might just have to listen to him.

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I think part of it may also be that -- in my experience, at least -- "brainy" characters aren't very popular. Most folks tend to play characters with immediately obvious powers: Blast, Enhanced/Super-Strength, Force Field/Protection, etc. Even players of characters who are very intelligent, like the Battlesuit or Gadgeteers, tend to focus on the flashier aspects of what they can do -- the powers of their armor, of their devices -- and less on how they do it. Even folks who play Mentalists, which could be one of the most subtle of archetypes, tend to go for outright Mind Control and Mind Reading (or Mental Blasting), if not the very blatant Telekinesis.

Even in the comics, some of the smartest folks -- Doctor Doom, Doctor Pym, the Mandarin, Reed Richards, the Wizard -- are known more for their powers and gear than for their thinking ability. (Reed may go on about how his mind is his greatest asset, but most everyone focuses on either his stretching or what he can make at any given moment.) Though it seems DC's a bit better at this: Batman, Brainiac-5 and Lex Luthor have all shown what thorough planning and thinking can do (though even Luthor's worn a battlesuit, and at one point the writers focused as much if not more on Brainy's force fields).

There are, of course, two very basic reasons why this is so. A) Comics are a very visual medium, and it's a bit easier to show the fruits of one's intellect rather than the intellect itself. B) Most comics tend not to change the world around too much, in part so readers can still on some level identify with it, which means many of the things a super-genius could/should be able to do don't/won't happen.

That's one reason Doktor Archeville doesn't carry any weapons: I want to play up his super-intelligence, focus on and play up his ability to think his way out of things and make do with what's available. It's also why I sink points into skills that will probably never have any real in-game benefit (like Knowledge [behavioral sciences] and Knowledge [earth sciences], skills almost never used), because they fit the concept.

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I think part of it may also be that -- in my experience, at least -- "brainy" characters aren't very popular. Most folks tend to play characters with immediately obvious powers: Blast, Enhanced/Super-Strength, Force Field/Protection, etc. Even players of characters who are very intelligent, like the Battlesuit or Gadgeteers, tend to focus on the flashier aspects of what they can do -- the powers of their armor, of their devices -- and less on how they do it.

*raises hand* Guilty. Malice is much more solidly in the "I can make things go boom" category than the super scientist one.

There are, of course, two very basic reasons why this is so. A) Comics are a very visual medium, and it's a bit easier to show the fruits of one's intellect rather than the intellect itself. B) Most comics tend not to change the world around too much, in part so readers can still on some level identify with it, which means many of the things a super-genius could/should be able to do don't/won't happen.

I agree, but there's a "thrid option", which is still related to above. Normal people aren't that smart. On a character sheet, if you've got Blast 10 and Intelligence 30, you know what one means, but the other is a little more abstract. Blast 10 = a shot from a tank, but many people can't wrap their head around what a 30 Int really means, I certainly can't. So they wind up under playing or over playing how smart their character is.

From all the D&D stat quizzes there are milling about the internets, my own INT is in the neighborhood of 16, if those tests are to be trusted; so I'm a smart guy, but a genius I am not. So according to the D&D scale, the difference in intelligence between the dog at my feet (which is coincidentally a "smart" dog) and myself is the same as the difference between myself and this fictional person with a 30 INT. I'm sorry, but that just made my head asplode.

I personally do not have the smarts to play a character like that, nor do I have enough ranks in technobabble to fake it. If you can't wrap your head around one of your character's major assets, that can be a major stopping block and people would much rather play something they understand. Like one of my friends in an RL game wanted to play a shapeshifter, but changed their mind when they realized how involved the process was. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people who CAN actually play those sorts of characters, and the result is something to be admired. I don't know, I just guess that people like the idea of "leaving it to the professionals".

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Oh, I agree 110%! Heck, I've been playing different versions of Dr. Archeville -- all with "he's super-super-smart" as a core concept, though other aspects may differ (two were gadgeteers, one was a cyborg, one had a battlesuit, one had a body made of nanites, one was a being of pure mental energy, two became robots [one kept his mind, the other version lost it and became Iron Giant-esque], and one or two others I'm probably forgetting) -- for a little over a decade, and I still have problems with it at times!

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The problem with looking at the DnD scale from a pure numbers perspective, is that the scale isn't linear. I'm pretty sure one point of INT isn't supposed to equal 10 on the IQ scale, but is more representative of standard deviations away from the center, where 10.5 INT is equivalent to an IQ of 100, a 3 being the bottom limits of sentient intelligence (which may actually score lower on the AIQ than a dog with an INT of 2), and an open ended top. It says in M&M that 24 is the limit of ordinary human ability, which if I'm remembering right would place it at an AIQ of 210 (You may notice my use of the acronym AIQ and wonder what the A stands for. The Adjusted Intelligence Quotient is a scale that is used for measurement of both non-human intelligence, and is geared to not require language skills for completion of puzzles. Unfortunately, it is still biased to require fine manipulation for the higher puzzles, and as such dolphins only get about a 39. But they're still cute :D ) Still, IQ is quite flawed in many respects: I measure at about 140-145 when my handicaps aren't regarded, and I can run rings around one of my friends who claims to have scored a 160. By contrast, there is the matter of the physicist with the embarassingly low score of 123 (Wikipedia. That's not even top 5%): The Late Great Feynman.

Shameless plug time: I'm trying to run Neurologic as an intelligent character, and have a psychological thriller mapped out for any who dare question her intellect and her ability to manipulate, deceive, and otherwise mentally loop-de-loop her opponents. See my thread: Who wants to play a game of Cat and Mouse?

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  • 6 months later...

Well, both Hawky and Shinken have ranks in Physical Sciences and Craft (Mechanical). That'd probably combine for some sort of physics/engineering project, maybe even some sort of weapons theory. That'd attract Knieval too, I think, and considering Shinken owns a weapons company and Arrowhawk has built most of his trick arrows himself... Then again, would the good Doktor give a lecture on something like that?

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