Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Collateral Damage, great for bad guys.

Every time I learn more about Infra, its a bit of learning that goes into world Building and gaming. What scary new realization is that if infra is financed with debt then Super Heroes or Adventurers going on the rampage is actually destroying the GDP and growth.

What is more scary is that, with the value diminished private firms step in to fill that void and get more of that territory for their own purposes. That means if you destroy a train station the city has to issue more bonds or go into a Private Public Partnership to finance repairs of that firm.

Iron Man is the only hero that actually fixes the collateral damage he causes. Of course when you look at the cost of a 2,000 sqm 80-100 story sky scraper its not going to be that easy because in order to build that building even the riches SOBs had to borrow money and incur debt. Most of the financing for such is designed to be paid off in 30 years... that debt is unrealized revenue that just disappeared when Adventurers decided to use C4 explosives to end the bad guy.

i guess if heroes save someone from tragedy, the question is is the collateral damage more than what the prevented loss.

Oh its just private property? Lolz, one would think. 

In some economies the Industry leaders coordinate with the State Central Bank so as to avoid a Asset Bubble. Typically a Good State Central Bank will just give a quota and let the Free Market determine who will fill it with the best value for money. They also don't let a lot of debt (that cannot be repaid) go into the Industry that they are worried my be over-saturated. Of course as to details of this policy - if the Business Entity Gambles big and looses its up to various policies of various states how to go about deterring and punishing risky behavior.

So I'm writing this way before my game is going to happen and the plot is a Turf War between mages. The PCs have a low profile and are eating up the territory, but everyone likes the high population dense territory and don't see the PCs muscling in unless they announce their presence and draw territorial lines.

When I'm just doing the basic outline I realized that the collateral damage is going to be painful for the local economy and businesses. There is no welfare, no support, no altruistic force that is there to catch these people as they are displaced and possibly killed by the violence. War will have their casualties and the collateral damage will allow corporate vultures to seize the property for development.

Collateral Damage: the Bad Guys win or the Little guy gets the shaft

All the times badguys go crazy and destroy stuff, when they destabilize mundane life with fear and violence the winners are those with "reserves" to buy up the devaluated assets. Of course they have to hold on to the territory but otherwise there is no way to prevent such unbridled ambition.

If the Bad Guys take a hit, regular folk who work for them also take that hit. Massive Lay-offs are in order and thats damage.

This presents a moral dilemma for the PCs, the violence and the collateral damage does not affect them so bad if they play their cards right but someone is going to get that territory and they will gobble it up. The setting is really dystopic but the thing is its nothing compared to what I'm basing it from lolz. There are peoples, despite forces of the present preventing otherwise, that are going to be a permanent underclass. The PCs are part of a big company, 1/100 the size of the major players but big enough to pose a danger when mobilized... they are kinda like the big players and they are out to make money because they are not running a charity. Social Responsibility is a side Externality and they still have to be a bit Machiavellian when they distribute power to those who need it, because it can be turned on them - there is no Blind Faith that allies today are not enemies tomorrow.

Thankfully its a game and we are not sociopaths when making decisions we may not have the stomach to make in real life.  As the GM's, I have to detail and describe the irony and the depressing nature of victory and defeat beneath Heaven.

Lets say an Oil Spill, the PCs destory all the gasoline and the oil-spill is stopped. To the community the value of the saving is great, to the Oil company the value they lost can be quantified, and to the courts the Oil company has many laws in their favor and a lot of lawyers. F*ck the heroes.

Good Samaritan Laws exist for this reason, I guess. If you don't have it, one of the most exploitable Game Theory elements is the Lobby - a diffused disinterested and problem saddled public vs a specialized well funded lobby, the lobby will always win. The heores who save the town, gets shafted by the people he saved by their indifference.

I like it if players think about this dilemma and problem solve their way out if it.

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