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The Labyrinth

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Hi, everyone!  I've wanted to do this for a while now, and now that I'm a Guide, I think it's about time I actually got to work on it.  I want to flesh out the Labyrinth a bit better than it is in the setting books and adapt it to the forums.  So, before I start my first draft for the Guidebook, I want to ask some questions and get input from the community on some various matters.  Please feel free to voice general thoughts on the Labyrinth too, if you have ideas that I don't touch on here.  I'd like to drum up more interest in the organization (so far, with few minor exceptions, I think I'm the only one who's using it), so if people can think of adjustments or enhancements that might make it more appealing to you, then by all means, speak up!


(Of course, it's possible that some of these questions are already answered by other books that I don't have or in sections I just glossed over by accident; I've only seen the Labyrinth in the basic FC book and briefly in Agents of Freedom, and I don't much care for its depiction in the latter.  SHADOW isn't really my cup of tea, and in any case, I don't think it makes much sense for Taurus, much less somebody like Dr. Sin, to work under somebody else's umbrella even with ulterior motives.  Temporary alliances of convenience between villains is one thing, but even the appearance of subservience is very different.)


1) The first thing I think we need to settle on seems kind of obvious, but I'm not sure it is: what does the Labyrinth, and Taurus in particular, want?  Money, power, and secret influence are clear answers, but why and to what ends?  Just for their own sake?  Taurus was brought back to life by Hades for the sole purpose of antagonizing Daedalus, and the Freedom City source book also says that Hades forced Taurus to act more intelligently and gather allies and assets for the same goal, once the Minotaur spent a literal millennia trying and failing to beat his enemy with brute force.  I think it's fair to say that the Labyrinth is more than an anti-Daedalus operation at this point, though; after the initial mentions of its origins, the FC book doesn't even talk about Daedalus again in this context.  Has it kind of eaten its own tail and now exists just because power and wealth tend to gather more of themselves?  Taurus fosters technology (particularly bio-tech), of course, and the book makes it clear that he doesn't want a world overrun with (uncontrolled) superheroes, so why does he continue to do this?  If he just wants world domination from behind the scenes, then I guess that's fine and good, but presumably his ideal view of the world is different from its current state, just with Taurus on top, so I'd like to figure out what, specifically, he's interested in.


I'm not sure where exactly the post is at the moment, but I recall Kaige (really hope she comes back at some point, by the way) making a reference to the Labyrinth as part of the Bedlam write-ups and suggesting that Taurus wants to reforge it in a more lawful, albeit dark, fashion out of its current chaos.  So if Taurus is interested in order and sees heroes, particularly PCs, as a source of discord and wants them either under his thumb or eliminated, then maybe that'd be a good way to go about this.


2) Related to the above, what does Hades want?  Or more accurately, to what extent do his desires play into the Labyrinth?  His FC entry talks about him wanting to overtake his fellow Greek gods, mostly by claiming as many souls for himself as possible and spreading death and destruction throughout the mortal world.  Daedalus factors far more heavily into his pages than the Labyrinth's.  Hades has other agents than just Taurus, like his creepy Murder Spirit, but I would say that if the Labyrinth is a full-on cult of Hades, even if only thanks to Taurus's personal loyalty, then it's by far the most powerful religious cult mentioned in the standard source book.  For this reason alone, it's probably best to separate the two a bit, but why?  Have the other gods forbidden Hades from using the Labyrinth as his personal army?  Is it related to the Pact, from the Book of Magic?  Does Hades himself choose to use a light touch and conceal his involvement in the Labyrinth? 


I'm leaning toward the last one, especially since the Center of the Labyrinth is peculiarly light on arcane-types.  I actually have a sorcerer NPC in the works, but Taurus and Hades keep him at arm's length for (probably) this reason. 


3) Who knows about the Labyrinth, and how much do they know?  This is especially relevant for Daedalus, since he presumably remembers that dude with horns who chased him around for a big chunk of human history.  If he's aware of the Labyrinth, then there's no reason he wouldn't inform the rest of the Freedom League, and that deals a big blow to its secrecy.  You can only explain so much by saying that Taurus muddles his presence from a legal standpoint; even if the big heroes can't take him and his agents to court, they have no reason not to distribute information among anyone who asks for it, thus ensuring a fairly-steady stream of Cowls looking to break Taurus's toys at every opportunity.  What we decide here will probably be relevant to how PCs address the Labyrinth; if we take it out of the shadows, then it becomes a different type of antagonist, so secrecy is kind of the status quo.


My instinct so far is to say that various heroes may be aware of parts of the Labyrinth, but no one outside of the Center is sure just how far it extends, and most heroes assume it's a lot smaller than it really is.  This is the kind of deal I've been planning for my own use of it, but at some point a PC is bound to work their way up and encounter the bigger fish, up to and including Taurus himself, or else there's not much reason to have those NPCs around at all.  When/if that happens, how do we keep the stories meaningful without wrecking the Labyrinth for anyone else who wants to use it in the future? 


One thing that might help is to assume that the Labyrinth is very quick to sacrifice compromised assets, like a lizard losing its tail to escape a predator.  Still, anybody who learns about Taurus is presumably going to be aware of most of the larger organization, even if they can't tell where its edges are.  It'd be nice to have a legitimate reason for heroes, especially PCs, to not go public with what they discover. 


4) Less of a question than a possibility: Ari suggested in the Chat that our expanding Space stuff might seem like a grand opportunity to Taurus, who doesn't have a lot of new frontiers available on Earth.  His agents might be able to operate a bit more boldly that far from home, too.  So that's a potential source of plot hooks, if anyone is interested.  I have a pretty vague grip on the various space organizations and species (I should work on that), but I'm willing to take advice and incorporate ideas that people like into the final Guidebook entry. 


I feel like I'm forgetting some of my earlier ideas, since it's getting pretty late, but I think this is enough to get us started.  Let me know what you think!  Again, general discussion is appreciated, if anyone has suggestions beyond what I've already covered. 

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Thanks!  So, now that I've had some sleep, I had another idea too.  If Taurus is into order instead of chaos, it might be because he's seen enough of human history to really understand both.  This is a guy who was born at a time of scattered pockets of civilization, watched the rise of empires, particularly Rome, and would've seen the (admittedly bloody and flawed) stability it brought, then all that we lost when it collapsed.  It might be going a little too far to say that Taurus specifically helped build the modern world, but his vast business holdings definitely depend on the relative safety and global nature of our current age.  Maybe he actually sees himself as the hero of this story, helping hold back the turmoil that he fears will come again if humanity stupid's itself into another Dark Age (probably because of those damn Capes who answer to nothing but their own egos and childish senses of right and wrong). 


Or, related, he might believe that he's the best alternative to an unchecked Hades.  His master wants to rule via mass devastation and has enacted more than one plan toward that goal; Taurus might prefer to hand over the world on a plate rather than watch it burn to ashes.


Or, you know, maybe he's just evil and greedy.  :P

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I think that alot is kinda shoehorned into the labyrinth, probably more than should be.


The easiest solution for this I think is to detach Taurus/Labyrinth from Hades.  There is little beside Daedalus (who is an off screen presence at best) and ancient history to tie them together in the cannon.  Simple enough to say that Hades gave Taurus Eternal life and such so he could torment Daedalus and over time taurus has become his own creature with his own goals.  Those goals being the usual mastermind style global shadowy domination kinda effect.  This also keeps Hades as the mystic threat Taurus as the tech criminal empire type threat.  Daedalus mostly knows Taurus from his raging bull man days so is unlikely to put together he's the same entity that sits at the center of the shadowy labyrinth syndicate even if he knows it exists.


I think most heroes are aware of the various branches of the labyrinth, the DNAscent process at the least is a known thing that keeps cropping up.  THey most likely do not know they are all one thing, and those that suspect know of labyrinth and it's leadership to be boogeymen even in criminal circles.  More Kaiser Sose than Al Capone.  Probably a myth, who could amass that much power and hold it that long after all.


The best link for Labyrinth and space I think is in Taurus trying to smuggle lore/star Khan/collective tech onto earth to resell rather than operating in space himself.  But that does create opportunity for labyrinth to be a bridge from space to earth based hijinks.  As Earth is still somewhat under blockade, or at least not open for intergalactic business.

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Bookwise my takeaway is the Labyrinth isn't outright beholden to Hades, while Taurus is.  After all, he wouldn't have even considered forming the Labyrinth if not for Hades forcing him to add some brains to that brawn.  So, it's not really a religious cult and to answer what Hades wants (though I suppose Constantine Urallos does sacrifice his wives to Hades for continued immortality much like Taurus has to sacrifice souls to Hades to remain immortal).  He simply wants Daedalus in Hades.  To the point he spent all his time brooding when Daedalus was in space.  Which to me means he has no specific aims with the Labyrinth as that's pretty much just his servant's project.  All the moving pieces of the Labyrinth aren't even aware of each other.  So I'd go as far as saying even knowing about Taurus wouldn't let one know about most of the organization since there's just so many front companies and shell organizations it's essentially like going through a Russian Nesting Doll.  There are even members who don't know they serve the Labyrinth.  Like Tamper.


So what would Labyrinth's goal be as the first questioned ask?  I'd say yeah they're after money, influence, and power for their own sake.  And most of the side material seems to imply Taurus doesn't want to reshape the world in his own image or have some sort of blatant world domination.  Rather it's supposed to be some sort of tinfoil hat conspiracy shadowy control of the world Illuminati style.  He wants to maintain the status quo, so that he may continue to profit and control it.  I'm sure a scheme here or there occurs to "vex" Daedalus.  Does that mean he would help the heroes stop attempted world domination from even his master?  Possibly!  But, never overtly.  In fact, I'd go as far as saying Taurus may not even want to send Daedalus back to Hades, out of fear that there would be no longer be free to do his thang on Earth.  And as Daedalus is never around, players don't really have to get caught up in the Labyrinth's plays at making life difficult for the inventor while not attempting to kill the immortal!  This is actually why I like the Agents of Freedom entry of Taurus with SHADOW.  He's not subservient to Overshadow.  In fact their alliance is one of pure nonaggression and convenience up until it isn't convenient any more.


I agree with Durf's assessment on what heroes likely know!  Taking down a Labyrinth front is like taking down a Doombot! 

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Hmm, interesting.  I like the idea of disconnecting Hades from the Labyrinth (seems pretty dumb on his part to not want to use it as fully as he can, but this does simplify things), but given that he's depicted as a jealous god, I think it makes sense for him to still take some level of interest in Taurus himself.  HG's suggestion of the two having different, possibly conflicting, goals is good too.  Seems like there's story potential here, so I'd rather not separate them entirely; if Hades still thinks of Taurus as his servant, but doesn't care what the Minotaur gets up to when he isn't carrying out the occasional order to bother Daedalus, then that could work.


The space smuggler idea is great!  It would fit the Labyrinth theme for Taurus to work through alien mercenaries and try to subvert preexisting groups rather than put some of his own people on a rocket, all with the goal of being Earth's primary source of alien information and technology, at his price and on his terms. 


Widespread secrecy even among his own agents to help stop heroes from putting the pieces together nicely fits the Labyrinth portrayal, so I'm down with that.  I also like the idea that Taurus is opposed to anyone else attempting to openly dominate Earth, since rocking the boat hurts his own interests, but I'd say that messes with the SHADOW connection a fair bit.  I get the idea of a temporary nonaggression pact, where everyone knows it can't last, but I think this would be better represented by working together through intermediaries like Ms. Scarlet rather than with the Penumbra bit (and I still say that it makes no sense for Overshadow and Dr. Sin to see one another as anything but dangerous rivals, at best, given their insanely high mental stats and grand egos).

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13 hours ago, Avenger Assembled said:

I like these ideas! Hmm - who might be a good PC or five to put in threads about this?


I think it depends on which thread! I'll refrain from speculation about space threads, but...


-For Bedlam, definitely the more investigative-type characters. Strange happenings, and people disappearing? Gotta look into what's going on.


-For EC, I'd say either investigative types, magic types, or metas. Maybe there's strange new examples of both super-sorts (magic and meta) showing up and causing trouble, and/or kidnap attempts occurring?


-For FC, maybe we get more tech-based things popping up, or some sort of mercenary super-soldier operation (so guys with low-level meta-enhancements plus some low-level power armor or whatnot). 


Just tossing the ideas out. 

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I've run some things that were in some small (or possibly less small?!) ways related to the Labyrinth, and I'm also the person running the Shadow Academy side of things (which is also part of the Labyrinth, and maybe something to also talk about? I have some small plans for them), so feel free to add me onto the list of people who'd be up for running things. (So long as I can coordinate with others on it!)

(I've not read the AoF entry, as I currently don't have the book, but I've been meaning to get it anyways)


As for Elysian Academy:

So far I've not really drawn any ties between it and the Labyrinth (or there being an Academy at all, really), but it's part of the canon and something I like.

I'm not quite sure to what extent it's related to the Labyrinth, beyond being one of Taurus' pet projects, so I'd certainly appreciate some input on that. (Probably not worth a seperate thread though?)

I'm mainly thinking of it as essentially a recruitment center, with nobody but the headmistress/headmaster really being in the know about how far the entire thing spreads, but I'd certainly appreciate some outside input from all directions!

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Now, this is your fan-made academy based on the plot hooks from Book of Magic, right?  The one that's going to be a dark mirror of Claremont?  Or am I thinking of something else?  I didn't know you'd decided to link it in with the Labyrinth; that's really cool!  I'd be willing to explore the idea, for sure.


I'm not really familiar enough with Bedlam and Emerald City to GM there right at the moment, but I've got some other possible games in mind, and the whole space smugglers thing could fit nicely into a plot I've been planning for a long time now.  I'll think on this and see what I can come up with.


Edit: Sorry, I meant Hero High, not BoM.  It's late.  :P 

Edited by Blarghy
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That's the one, yes. In the 3rd E Hero High (which doesn't really add much to 2E), there was some more material on it.

Some of which I've already ported over, some of which I plan to port over in the future, and a lot which will never come up.


I've got some small plans not directly including the Labyrinth, but I can always expand/add new ones!

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Have you collected your ideas for the academy in one place?  I looked around for a bit and didn't see it.  Of course, if you just want to tell me, generally, what about it I should include in my Guide entry, then I'll be happy to do so.


As for games, those sound great!  If anyone wants to GM in Bedlam or Emerald City, or do a space smuggling adventure before I get around to it, then I'm willing to discuss ideas, perhaps via PM.  I'm working on a regular Freedom City game centered around the Labyrinth, so I'll try to get that going within the next week or two.  And I'm slowly moving toward my first draft for the Guidebook. 

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Awesome!  Any of the ideas that've already been pitched sound promising and very flexible.  Do you need anything from me?  I've had a bit of a rough week (my car broke down, which set off a whole chain of events), but I hope to start writing on the Guidebook entry next week and get a first draft going. 


Olopi, be sure to let me know if you want any references to the Academy in it.  It's a cool idea, so I look forward to seeing it in action once you really get it going.

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