The Price of Freedom - Vigilante superheroes vs government enforcers

Hey there! I’m working on a super hero-themed game for choice script. It takes place in a universe where superheroes and supervillains have been a fact of life since the mid-1900’s. In the near future, the heads of several prominent mega-corporations have shut down America’s democracy and formed a new ruling body known as the Council of Oligarchs; a corrupt, totalitarian and utterly self-serving regime. Heroes divided into two sides: those who became Council-sanctioned Enforcers, gaining wealth and power in exchange for exacting the Council’s twisted sense of justice, and those who refused to abandon the people they’d served, becoming Vigilantes- a label which now carries a death sentence. The Enforcers have the backing of the Council’s vast resources, but the Vigilantes have the hearts and minds of the nation’s people- a powerful enough thing in its own right.

It’s been nearly five years since the Council took power and tensions between these two opposing sides have steadily increased. There’s no telling who’ll come out on top tension devolves into all-out war, but one thing is clear- that time is coming soon.

The PC will be a young powered individual who is thrust into the middle of this conflict and must choose- become a Vigilante and fight to free the people from the Council? Or join the Enforcers in making good the Council’s control of America by wiping out the Vigilantes once and for all? The price of freedom is nothing if not heavy, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s one worth paying.

I’m excited about taking this project as far as I can, but my commitments as a senior in high school (classes, college apps, extracurriculars, etc.) and limited access to a computer I can actually work with choice script on (since from what I’ve gathered, it doesn’t play well with Chrome, and I use a Chromebook,) will severely hamper my progress. I wanted to try and gauge interest to see how much effort I should put into this right now.

So- Comments? Ideas? Am I wasting my time? Any feedback y’all have based off the summary would be much appreciated, and I’ll try to get a demo (or at least a text sample) ready before Thanksgiving.



Can never have too many superhero games! :grin:

I really like the concept with vigilantes vs government. Being me, I’d be a vigilante for certain. :blush:

I assume it would be rather low-level, as that allows for more options than high-end powers (i.e., fighting purse snatchers and their bosses as opposed to galaxy-devouring evils). :wink:

So I’d say go for it, if you feel you have the time. But I’m just one, so we’ll see what others say.

This idea sounds really interesting! I like how you can explore the idea of superheroes who are doing good things but actually portrayed negatively by the media (which I assume would be controlled by the totalitarian government) However I’d be careful of making the government and those who serve it 100% Evil Villains because that’s a little two-dimensional and boring - it’s always nice to have both sides of the conflict with good and bad points rather than totally black and white, which would also make your MC’s choices more meaningful ^^

There’s already existing COG games which deal with superheroes and supervillains, but I’ve only played the demos of those ones so I don’t really know how similar your idea is to them.

(Also, I know what you mean - senior year of high school is ridiculously busy!)

@JTAL Definitely no Galaxy-devouring evils here; while many supers are extremely powerful, none of them quite reach that level.

@enterprisi The media will definitely play into things- I have few ideas regarding Vigilante-sympathetic news casters using their positions to secretly aid the Vigilantes that I’m eager to work with.

So far as making the villains wholly evil is concerned, that’s definitely something I’m going to try to avoid. The Council itself isn’t so much evil as it is divorced from reality- they see only their own profit; the well-being of everyone else never really enter their thought process. Many Enforcers used to be superheroes, and as such still have some remnant of a moral compass left, and many more still only became Enforcers in the first place as a survival tactic.

The only honest-to-goodness superhero CoG’s I’m aware of are Zachary Sergi’s Heroes Rise Trilogy, and while there are some similarities regarding the stories’ broader themes, they pretty much end there.

I realize I neglected to mention that super villains are still a thing- many pay a tribute to the Council in exchange for having the Enforcers turn a blind eye to their crimes. The Vigilantes, of course, work to take them down regardless of whether or not they pay.

But in that case, the supervillains seem to be the ones who are 100% Evil… if the ones working for the government and the vigilantes are both superheroes, then what do supervillains do?

Personally, I would think the title of -hero and -villain would depend, again, on how they’re portrayed by the media. Like if conventional supervillains are the ones who do bad things and the superheroes are the ones who try and stop them, and if the government controls (most of) the media they would paint the Vigilantes as ‘villains’ since they’d be working against the government, and the ‘heroes’ would be the guys working for the government. It would also open some interesting possibilities if former supervillains ended up working for the Vigilantes :smiley:

Government agent for sure.

There are too much films, books and games alike about vigilantes of different types, it is rather difficult to create something new under that framework.

The theme ‘government super agents versus freelance vigilantes’ is a novel idea itself. But in my opinion, the between of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is very blurry here. The vigilantes are upholding justice in their own way, which means they take thing into their own hand and cause anarchy; the oligarchy enforcers may be corrupt, but in fact they are the ones that are authorised to enforce the law, and vigilantism is strictly forbidden in the real world as well.

Yes, the corporate laws may be unpleasant, or even repressive. However, it is even more dangerous to let lawlessness loose on the streets. If one can choose which law to obey, one can choose not to obey any law at all. In that way the vigilantes are just another gang of superhuman that answer only to themselves.

I suggest replacing ‘good and evil’ with ‘order and freedom’, just to add some depth to good ol’ superhero and supervillain stories.

Now this is a superhero game it’s a really interesting game but there’s one question I have

If you choose enforcer does that make you a villain right off the bat? Same thing with vigilantes does choosing them make you a good guy?

The reason why I’m asking is because a game like this would be awesome if it had grey tones instead of black and white

like if you became a enforcer can you use your power to help out the people instead of hurting them? And vigilante maybe your sense of justice is just as twisted as the government’s

But if you like the traditional good side and bad side theme than do it after all it’s your game

Sounds really cool
(+ 20 Characters)

I am branching off of what @fox_vixen hinted on by saying that the player should be able to be a double agent, working for the Council/Vigilantes and helping the other.

@fox_vixen & @Alvern - I definitely want to make being a double agent/questioning your loyalty a thing. I was thinking of making loyalty an opposed pair, the starting value of which is decided by backstory choices the player makes. (e.g., Enforcer is 0 & Vigilante’s 100, start at 50, choose “child of an Enforcer -> looks up to them” would give a -5 or so, making you more loyal to the Enforcers). I’ll also try to provide opportunities for the player to doublecross the team they’re on, and some sort of “Enemy Mine” thing will almost definitely go down.

To @fox_vixen, @UKHEIC, & @enterprisi, I really like the idea of order vs freedom, but I don’t think I’d replace one with the other. Becoming an enforcer does not shoehorn the player into a villain role, but they can still choose to be villainous- same goes for Vigilantes. Even villains aren’t necessarily evil; most people who do morally gross things in this universe do them for survival- or at least they did at one point. The narrative won’t guilt the player for placing their well-being over that of total strangers.

This sounds epic. :slight_smile:

Sounds great to me. My favorite games on this site are the Heroes Rise trilogy, so another game as a her sounds fun.

Best of luck. I don’t know how long this game will be, but I know that sometimes even trying to write a few words can seem impossible.

Sounds like a great game to me i love the superhero genre

Seems interesting like a variation of Marvel’s Civil War Arc (After a terrible incident super heroes are told they HAVE to reveal their secret identities and it splits the heroes in two Iron Man stands with the Government while Captain America stands against them. The Governent then starts to use “super villains” to hunt down Captain America and anyone else who opposes the new law.)

Sounds pretty cool can’t wait to see how it comes out

I really like this idea. I’d definitely make it as morally grey as possible though. Your background seems to me to suit that kind of ambivalence.

So yes, some Vigilantes are doing it because they care about the people. But others are doing it for the glory or even because they like hitting people. Equally, maybe the Enforcers have a point? Yes, the worst are just government backed sadists. But others may think that having unlicensed superhumans running around is just a really bad idea for everybody.

If you go down this route, the player is actually making moral decisions, as opposed to deciding between the good and bad routes.

Sounds like a great idea am excited to hear more about it

Though a question this raises for me, as someone following this:

While moral decisions are good, having it be “That’s a matter of opinion.” on which is right, the government or the vigilantes (which seem more like “rebels” in this context) means that it’s very hard to see either as worth fighting for.

I’m not saying the government has to be all good or all bad, and the opponents vice-versa - but I think that the response by those who think the government has gone too far is war makes it difficult for both sides to be equally valid. Civil war is not waged lightly by people who have consciences, if the government isn’t unsaveable, few people are going to be eager to fight it of those more heroic minded, simply because of how destructive something like that would be.

By contrast if it is unsaveable, not many heroic minded people are going to want to support it.

Certainly. Which is part of the point for me. For people in this situation, they’re often choosing the option that is less bad as opposed to good.

Agreed. But the questions I think are interesting are ones like “is it unsaveable” and “is it worse then the alternative?”

A good example of what I’m talking about is V for Vendetta. (The original comic more than the book). The government is undoubtedly bad, not withstanding a handful of ok people within.

So we side with V?

Well, maybe. Because V is clinically insane. A psychopath in fact. He brutalises and tortures Evie to ‘prepare’ her for his role.

Or we could look at Judge Dredd. Dredd is an entirely honest, incorruptible, brutal fist of a totalitarian state. He’s brought down many dangerous criminals and saved the world on several occasions. He also imprisoned a journalist who’d uncovered that they were dosing the population with hazardous drugs and beat up a juvie for acting supiciously.

Again, whether Dredd is good or bad depends on your perspective.

There are genres where the obvious good/evil divide works well. It was perfect for Neighbourhood Necromancer because that’s a very cartoony game. Equally, it fits for most of the Golden age superhero stuff. With that, you want your villains as evuuuuuuuuuul world destroying megalomaniacs.

For something like this though, I think you may want morality to be less clearcut. (Much like real life).

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