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 Insanity / Evil / and the telepath, brainstorming and plotting
13
posts

age
played by:
Jean
X-Men
This doesn't have to be set soon, it can be a while down the road.

I was toying with the idea of a telepath-therapist in a comicbook world, and the villains who are more than just someone who is sadistic and likes causing pain and misery; someone who does it because they are fundamentally mentally broken. I don't want to use a Marvel example, so I'll use a DC one that everyone would be familiar with - like The Joker or Harley Quin.

Unlike when a person has a broken leg, broken arm, or poor eyesight (or some other problem), they are capable of deciding if they want to be fixed. The thing wrong with them doesn't affect their mind and ability to make decisions. The same isn't true when the problem is the mind - it's illogical to expect a person with an impaired mind to be able to make the best choices for themselves.

But doing it, "fixing them" with their best interests at heart, doesn't change the fact that they were changed without their consent.

It's an interesting moral quagmire.

I'm interested in exploring this as a character development plot. I think the ideal character would be a villain who is mentally messed up, not merely someone who is rational and chooses to hurt other people. This "personality fix" would not be the choice of the character; part of the moral question is that it was done without their consent, but "with their best interests at heart".


You could use this as a way to take your character in a new direction: either permanently or temporarily, for an interesting change.

If you have a character who you think would work for this plot, let me know and we can talk about it.
0
posts

age
played by:
Brotherhood
In general I don't tend to emphasize mental illness in characters because it's hard to do respectfully within the context of a comic book narrative, but this is an interesting idea.

So, Vinnie is a self-described rational anarchist whose primary stated motivation is political, so he's not an obvious choice, but OTOH he's pretty fucked up, and it's entirely possible that his villainous lifestyle is a function of mental illness/trauma that he just doesn't acknowledge.

He's also currently sitting in a Genoshan jail, so being in involuntary therapy might flow naturally.

Let me know if that's interesting.
0
posts
Old
age
Procrastinator Extraordinaire
Divorced my motorbike in 2013
played by:
Si
Siani
Players
Thinking about this, Vertigo seems like the perfect specimen of "fundamentally mentally broken" but the damage is as much physical as psychological at this stage - hence the persistent language problems. Add in that her brain is basically the psychic equivalent to a wet soap bar that headbutts you every time you drop it and I'm not sure a telepathic fix would be anything more than very temporary. BUT that would be interesting to see nonetheless.

If any of this is going to go down in/around New York though, I honestly think Stacy would wade in. Telepathic therapy vaguely crosses over with the kind of things she's paid to do, altering feeling vs altering thought. So she'd perceive this as someone potentially tainting the industry for every other worker (or worse yet giving SHIELD ideas that they should be recruiting mutants to do this en masse). She's always had very strong feelings about delving into thoughts without consent, that the psyche should be held far more sacred than the body. And she's had words of warning with Vinnie before about forcing friends of hers to further a Brotherhood agenda; but she'd be just as dismayed with someone flipping the tables on him...
7
posts

age
played by:
SHIELD
I think this would be a good thing for Henry to investigate. He hates mind control with a passion and would pursue this doggedly. Maybe even off the books.
13
posts

age
played by:
Jean
X-Men
Hi everyone,

Firstly, to address some concerns about the sensitive nature of mental illness/issues; mental issues in the real world are serious and everyone affected by it has my sincerest condolences, I wish you the best and have no intention of belittling or undermining what you or loved ones are going through. There are a myriad causes for mental illnesses and for the sake of simplifying them for a RP game, I’m going to boil them down to two fundamental causes: biology and trauma.

People (and characters) who behave abnormally because of biology, can be helped by stabilizing whatever chemical or functional imbalance is going on in their bodies. While reality is more complicated, a character with this as the source of their insanity can be helped medically, and success doesn’t depend on their conscious effort to change.

The plot I suggested is focused on characters who are “insane” because of mental trauma. Something bad, extremely bad, happened in their past and they couldn’t cope or developed really bad coping strategies, and the result is that it has warped their decision-making to the extent that the result of the trauma makes it difficult or impossible for them to freely choose their actions.

Everyone makes decisions based on their past experiences but for these people, their past trauma controls their actions and limit their choices. In short, they couldn’t make “sane” choices, even if they wanted to.

It’s this lack of freedom that Jean wants to fix. If someone does something bad because they’ve thought about it, considered the pros and cons, and acted – then the consequences are theirs to accept and deal with. But she has sympathies for those who are so “broken” that their actions aren’t really a choice; their trauma has funneled them into the situations they find themselves in and she finds it difficult to put the blame on them.

Jean undoubtedly has a lot of psychological terminology for her theories but boiling it down into comicbook-understanding: if you break your arm, over time the bones can heal badly and into unnatural ways, bending in strange ways. Transfer this analogy to the mind. Mental trauma from something caused damage and over time the person learned to cope but their mind never healed properly. Instead, it healed into strange, painful angles.

Conventional therapy doesn’t work on these people because the essential key to therapy is a desire by the patient/client to get better. These people don’t see themselves as broken, merely shaped by their lives/history.

Jean’s therapy is to basically (using the metaphor) re-break their minds and help them heal properly.
If that sounds like brainwashing, it is, and anyone who thinks Jean is strolling into supervillain territory can take that side. I think Stacy and Orchard express interest in taking that point of view, which would be great.

Since Jean mostly works with the X-Men, and she’s been there to mentally correct any wounds before they become long-term problems, her theories are untested.

She has probably submitted her theories to scientific/psychology periodicals but since she’s a telepath, she has other, more direct means of using therapy than other psychiatrists. A telepath breaking someone’s mind is nothing new: Shadow King, Sinister, or Emma in her bad old days, have done it, but Jean hasn’t, and the villains didn’t do it as a way of helping the person. So, this would be something new.

What does this mean in regards to the players and characters?
The above portion is basically setting the foundation of psychology (comicbook-style) and why/how Jean would be involved.

Since most of the people who said they were interested are BH members and part of the Genosha invasion, for a few weeks they were in prison in Genosha and psychologically evaluated, those records could make their way (by means yet to be determined) to Jean for review and determine promising “patients”.

Most of the people I talked to wanted more time before springing this on their character, which is fine and gives us time to plan.

A barebones skeleton of a plot for this could be:

The “patients” get captured. (Either all at one time or one-by-one)
“Patients” subjected to therapy/treatment (we can lengthen or shorten this part) – what do people think? It could be that they disappear from the street and then show up later, changed. Or have sessions in an institution setting. What does everyone prefer?

“Patients” deal with the results of the therapy; this would be subjective, depending on what the player wants to do.
The therapy doesn’t make the character good. If the character decides to hurt someone, it’s because they made that choice, not because their uncontrolled paranoia or anger problems forced them to take certain actions.

Aftermath: This is up in the air and is for you to decide for your character. Maybe the therapy works and you can alter your character’s personality and behavior. Maybe the therapy worked but some other trauma happened and that pushed them back into their old behaviors. Or maybe the therapy just didn’t work and the character in question was too badly damaged or had more things going on that Jean couldn’t fix.

Also, depending on what comes up as we brainstorm, there could be other consequences and outcomes.

Let me know what you’re thinking and if you have any ideas how we could change or embellish this idea.

Thanks.


23
posts
17 ??
age
Stepping discs, ethereal armor, magic
sure
played by:
Timid
Magik
X-Factor
So, though I'm hesitant as hell, this seems almost custom built for Illyana's life and current situation. The girl is a bundle of fears and passions and has very limited capacity to make "free" decisions. Given her recent activity and fears of her pushing everyone ever further away, she'd be a textbook case.

That said, her own resistance to telepathy and incredibly broken mind would make it difficult, but I'd had her over if you're willing to run this. I see some amazing plot that could come out of this, but also lots of risk. Lemme know what you think.
--------------------
user posted image
All of the things we're taking
'Cause we are young and we're ashamed
Send us to perfect places
All of our heroes fading
Now I can't stand to be alone
Let's go to perfect places
13
posts

age
played by:
Jean
X-Men
Has she been delving into criminal activity? Or has someone who would contact Jean on Illyana's behalf?
73
posts
100+
age
healing, drinking, killing
dating Jet
played by:
Timid
Logan
X-Men
Well she nearly killed Billy in a magic duel, has a long history of simply taking whatever she wants and is prone to both drugs and drinking. She's more wild card then hardened criminal, but she is most definitely insane.

Side note, Logan is going to be rather unhappy and violent if/when he catches wind of this. He's not at all OK with even the thought of people programing others.
--------------------
user posted image
Trey is hero.
13
posts

age
played by:
Jean
X-Men
He can talk to her about it. Depending on how the plotting goes.

Would Piotr or someone else talk to Jean on Illyana's behalf? To get her help.
3
posts
32
age
Metal Form/ Super Strength/ Durability
It's Complicated
played by:
Trey
X-Men
After he finds out about Yana almost killing Billy, he’d absolutely come to Jean and ask if she could help. Probably without consulting his sister at all about it.
Though he won’t admit that his sister is insane, merely troubled.
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user posted image
0
posts

age
played by:
Brotherhood
So, as I note above, Vinnie doesn't quite fit into the framework for this as written, but I like the idea, and he can be made to fit fairly easily.

If he's going down this road, I'd want to establish that his anarchist sensibilities are basically an irrational response to complex childhood trauma.

That is, there was no single experience you could point to that uniquely traumatized him, but until the age of twelve he was abused rather continuously by his parents, and the prevailing social order backed up his dad... and even when he gained the power to defend himself, the result was that everyone who was part of the social structure declared him an enemy.

The lesson he learned from this is that all social orders -- all governments, for example -- are the enemy. As far as Vinnie is concerned, this is just a rational conclusion, justified by the available evidence. The idea that this is an irrational response to complex childhood trauma is one he would reject out of hand.

But, let us assert for purposes of this thread that he's simply mistaken about that.

So, OK... I'm fine with saying that while Vinnie was nulled in a Genoshan prison, he was evaluated by psychiatrists and whatnot, and they got enough information out of him that Jean can decide he's a plausible candidate.

I haven't done anything with Vinnie since, and I have no particular plans with him, so if you like we can say that Vinnie was either shipped out by the Genoshans, or snatched covertly from the Genoshan prison by Jean or someone she hires/associates with, before the BH made their move in Genosha.

I am not sure what the "subjected to therapy/treatment" stage looks like, from an IC/RP point of view. Do you want to do Jean/Vinnie threads where she is messing with his head... maybe creating illusory scenarios, or something? This sounds like it could be cool, if you were into it, though it would take some careful plotting, I think.

Conversely, we could take all of that as read, and let it happen in the background. Not sure what you had in mind.

Either way, the "deal with the results of the therapy"/"aftermath" stage... I can see going one of three places here.

Version 1: Vinnie gets over his trauma, gives up on anarchy, decides that civilization is not such a bad idea, and returns to the Brotherhood as an ordinary soldier for the mutant cause.

Version 2: Vinnie gets over his trauma, gives up on anarchy, decides that civilization is not such a bad idea, decides that the Brotherhood is a destabilizing influence on global society, and goes off on his own.

Version 3: Vinnie ultimately just backslides into his initial state, and either stays with the Brotherhood out of inertia, or leaves out of disgust with the Brotherhood getting into the government business again.

...and that's really just ultimately up to me.
13
posts

age
played by:
Jean
X-Men
Yeah, unlike physical trauma, which is very obvious (when you have a knife buried in your chest up to the hilt, it's impossible to mistake it as a broken ankle or a black eye), but with mental trauma there are a lot of possible complications like: ego, arrogance, fear, denial, etc, and it's easy for someone to misdiagnose him or her self into believing they have problem X and really it's problem Y, and misidentify the severity. So, it's quite likely that all of the potential patients would claim to be just fine, no problems with them whatsoever.


As for therapy, I haven't made any concrete plans since of it would depend on how you'd want to play it out with your characters. But since this isn't talking therapy, she doesn't have to convince Vinnie or the others to agree with her.... but it does make me think that, similar to how people react differently to medication and doctors have to do some trial and error to find the right levels that work for that person, Jean might need to do the same. Perhaps does some "adjusting" to his mind and then have him go through a simulated situation and see how he reacts. If it triggers his maladjusted behavior, do some more mental tweaking and try again. HEHEHE Maybe go through something like the Ground Hog Day movie, replaying events of a certain day over and over and see the variations.

It would be interesting to play through the reversed roles and who is good and who is evil, depends on your point of view. Because evil telepaths have done that same scenario, just with malicious intentions. It would be a cool flip of the script.

But that's just an option to consider.


Re: Illyana and Piotr
Trey and Timid, you two should get together and work out what Piotr is going to do about Illyana. Decide if Illyana needs to do more to show she needs help or if Piotr has seen enough to decide he needs to step in and save her from herself and decide the best course of action. Then let me know what you decide.
23
posts
17 ??
age
Stepping discs, ethereal armor, magic
sure
played by:
Timid
Magik
X-Factor
Rhinohide - Today at 3:33 PM
I think the Billy issue was/is the thing that tips him over the edge for her. After he comes to see she’s put her friends in danger, he’ll want to get her some help
Timid - Today at 3:38 PM
Espically as her actions afterwards show not the slightest degree of remorse or worry. She simply takes her things and leaves the brownstone.
Rhinohide - Today at 3:39 PM
Yeah, he loves her and turns a blind eye to a lot of her whimsy, but that she almost killed Billy and simply shrugs that off, that’s the kind of stuff that tells him he’s going to talk to Jean
Timid - Today at 3:40 PM
All right. Let Kim know where we stand then. As for securing Illyana, if Pete tells her Nuya needs her she'd come.
Rhinohide - Today at 3:41 PM
Perfect

In summary, Pete is acknowledging that Illyana is troubled and won't be fixing herself. He'll make the call to bring her in. I'm more than ready to start this if you're game.

I'm not sure how to handle her mostly psychic immunity, but Jean is a big girl as she has time to work on Illyana. Plus she's been in and out of the X-Teams lives for years, I'm sure they have some kind of contingency by now.

*editor's note* this might be a little much, but I think this could be a really cool idea to have Jean treating both Vinnie and Illyana. Perhaps even using them to balance each other out. Illyana's crazy is all based on fear and avoidance and child like regression. It's mostly caused by the fact no one came to save her, the people she worshipped as heroes saved everyone but her. Vinnie's stems (i'm guessing) from massive betrayal of his own family. I think we could do some awesome deep diving here.

my two cents.

~Timid
--------------------
user posted image
All of the things we're taking
'Cause we are young and we're ashamed
Send us to perfect places
All of our heroes fading
Now I can't stand to be alone
Let's go to perfect places
0
posts
Old
age
Procrastinator Extraordinaire
Divorced my motorbike in 2013
played by:
Si
Siani
Players
Ah, I let myself get all excited about what kind of things could happen with Verty, but if there's not really room for her between Yana and Vinnie getting treated now then I'm still quite keen to have Stacy wade in with an outside perspective (and maybe Blindspot if B'hood retaliation helps?)

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