RPPR Actual Play: Mutants and Masterminds – The Age of Masks 2

The White House
March 15, 1984

Costumed Vigilantes, Adventurers and Criminals & The Reagan Act
Executive Summary

Today, President Cheney is proud to sign the Reagan Act into law. The tragedy of last year’s Air Force One attack galvanized Congress to finally outlaw so-called ‘masks’, as they are a clear and present danger to the American people. After decades of tolerating these fringe radicals out of a misguided notion that they could protect society better than our lawfully elected public officials and trained police officers, the 113 deaths on that fateful day has shown us the truth: that men and women who hide behind masks are not to be trusted.

The Reagan Act: Named in memory of the late president, the Reagan Act makes costumed adventuring without prior approval of the US government a federal crime, in of itself. A 6 month amnesty will be granted to all costumed vigilantes The Act also raises the penalties for enhancile related crimes.

Costumed adventuring is defined as committing a crime (including any vigilante related crimes) or otherwise endangering public safety and national security while in a costumed alter-personna. Furthermore, anyone wearing a costume of any kind must identify their true identity if asked by a law enforcement official.

Masks Today: The Saraswati Institute, the world’s only think tank specializing in studying costumed vigilantes and criminals has released the most in-depth study of the topic, Capes and Masks: The Secret world of Costumed Adventurers and its conclusions support the tenets of the Reagan Act.

Main Points of Capes and Masks

Costumed Vigilantes cause more crime than they stop: Study after study has found a ‘broken window’ effect when costumed vigilantes operate in a given area. While this seems counter-intuitive, extensive interviews with criminals, police and even a few vigilantes found a common cycle.
•   A vigilante’s initial operations in an area creates a temporary reduction in crime.
•   The police respond by lowering their presence in the area and focuse elsewhere.
•   Criminals, forced out by the police, move in the vigilante’s turf, raising crime.
•   The vigilante responds by using psychological warfare and more violence.
•   Criminals become desperate, using greater amounts of violence and depravity.
•   Crime rates are generally higher in a vigilante’s turf as a result.

Prosecuting criminals caught by costumed vigilantes is harder: While the conviction rates vary from state to state, many of the prosecutors interviewed for the book agree that a suspect who is caught by a mask has a much better chance of being acquitted than if the police conducted the investigation. Evidence gathered by a vigilante is thrown out in 64% of cases at least part of the time as there is no chain of custody. Other defendants have been freed on a variety of technicalities ranging from haebas corpus issues to the right to face one’s accuser. Of course, many vigilantes hope that suspects will be freed so they can seek revenge in private, such as the infamous ‘Meathook Killer’ Ted Logan who was beaten to death by a costumed vigilante after he was found not guilty. It was later shown that the same vigilante had hidden evidence from the police.

Costumed Adventurers are entirely unaccountable to society: Power brings corruption. Many vigilante supporters point to isolated instances of governmental corruption as proof that the masks are needed. However, many costumed adventurers have shown themselves to be more corrupt than any public official.
•   In Texas, a costumed vigilante raided drug dens and gave the contraband to minors during orgies as part of his ‘psychadelic counter-revolution’.
•   A group of three vigilantes burned the headquarters of a legitimate political organization in act of terrorism. Five of the organization’s leaders died in the blaze.
•   A female vigilante disrupted a peaceful pro-life group, crippled a Catholic bishop, and committed a lewd act with another woman during a public parade.
•   In the most egregious example, a costumed adventurer named Doctor Electro destroyed his notes on a new system of fusion energy that could end the current energy crisis, after the Department of Defense spent over $2 billion dollars funding his research. Doctor Electro  is still at large.

Costumed Adventurers abuse banned enhancile drugs and technology:
The Geneva Convention banned the use of any technology that could create super soldiers but costumed adventurers frequently abuse thesm. The dangers of enhancile technology is so great that not even Communist China or North Korea incorporates their use. Researchers believe that over 80% of masks make use of enhancile drugs or other forms of technology. Virtually all costumed adventurers deny using these technologies but the evidence indicates otherwise. As Dr. Sullivan explains “the idea of a single combatant defeating ten or more hardened criminals with only martial arts and a few gadgets is insane. There are literally hundreds of reports of vigilantes performing impossible feats and surviving injuries that can only be explained through enhancile technology.”

Masks on the Decline: Many of us remember the Freedom Squadron and other costumed adventurers who fought bravely in World War 2. While they served nobly, their modern counterparts are anything but noble. Fortunately, their numbers are dwindling. Most reports put active masks at anywhere between 200-400 in America alone.

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  1. Wow, Ross, you’re really shelling out these AP’s. Awesome.

  2. I really enjoyed this! And at over 5 hours, I don’t think it was long enough!
    Keep them coming!

  3. Mooooore!!!!! This was awesome!

  4. Great stuff.. that 5 hours as almost long enough to cover my hole day at work, unfortunately, I started paying more attention to the next die roll than my actual job. Perhaps the Blue Scarab could star in one of your mini movies!

  5. Another great session guys. Excellently role-played. It took me awhile to get through this LP, but it was well worth it. I’m finding myself admiring Aaron for sticking to his character’s non-lethal (and towards the end, less than lethal, although severing a black-op agent’s hand might be considered a letal blow) slant…

    I also appreciate Ross’s GM style vis-a-vis creating situations where his characters have to think their way out of situations, rather than shoot their way out. Tom’s character spent a full quarter of this session unable to employ the lethal methods that his character is known and feared for. The subtle tension that these plot twists add create a very nuanced flavor to the game.

    The other thing that I really appreciate during these LPs is the different humor that the different players bring to the game itself. Part of the fun of these live plays is listening to the “cast” banter. I can really identify with the humor (the numerous “Jjjoin Uuuusssss” Evil Dead II references) and I find myself laughing while I’m listening. Needless to say, each podcast brings a hearty chuckle…

    Keep up the great work guys and thanks for another great podcast

  6. Gosh darnit! It has taken until today for me to know that the reason my group doesn’t like MnM is because we’ve be doing it WRONG the whole time.

    Eye opening AP guys.

  7. Author

    Oh god please dont say that. I have no idea what I’m doing in M&M and I think rolling for defense isn’t how it works.

    I think Green Ronin is going to send some goons to break my legs after they hear this for how I butchered the rules of M&M.

  8. Either that or some former republican guard members…

  9. ^_^ I was going to comment on the somewhat iffy use of rules, but it looks like you beat me to it. Eh, the entire purpose of the rules is to have fun — it’s even in the book as such — so it’s all cool. It is fun to listen to the different personalities at work here.

  10. It was so frustrating to listen to the Silver Shadow try to save the Remnant. When he could have invisibly tagged along and been there to save everyone.

    I also couldn’t believe “The Elite” didn’t try use the self destructible “Hulk buster” against the military. Ross gave them an explosive mech-suit… that is adventurer candy.

  11. This one didn’t download properly, I only got 6 minutes when I tried. Otherwise a fun game, I sorta feel Ross gave a gimme to the peeps after they got caught, but I think I actually know what is up!

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