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Freedom 'verse's Hades

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  • Freedom 'verse's Hades

    tl;dr - Disappointed with Hades looking stuck with the villain treatment in Freedom 'verse.
    As much as I love the Freedom 'verse if there is one major gripe I have it's Hades' characterization in the setting.

    Anyone who's seriously looked at Greek Mythology will realize that Hades was actually far less of an asshole than the vast majority of the Greek pantheon. Whereas Zeus, Poseidon, and others couldn't keep it in their togas (to put it lightly), and almost all of the Gods have absolutely ruined or ended mortal lives for slights that could at times be very petty Hades was mostly content to just do his job. Oh sure if you got in the way of doing his job you would suffer, horrendously, and even then he wasn't unreasonable, he loaned Herc his dog after all and would've let Orpheus have his wife back were it not for Orpheus breaking the one condition the Lord of the Underworld broke. Unlike the rest of the Greek Pantheon Hades was content to let the mortals be until their time came to go the Underworld as all were supposed to do when they died.

    Now certainly Hades was no saint, I mean he abducted his queen after all, and as mentioned previously he takes his job of running the underworld very seriously. If any residents tried to leave they suffered, if anyone tried to cheat death they suffered. Hades was very unsympathetic to the plights of others and dedicated to minding his own. Any who did try to take something from Hades was going down HARD, as poor Pirithous could attest to (though Pirithous arguably deserved it). So Hades' cold and isolationist attitude wasn't doing his reputation any favors, but when you boil it down to the horrible things he's done vs. the horrible things any other single God has done, the fact is that Hades has done far less to deserve the villain treatment than most of the Greek Pantheon.

    This is not to say that giving Hades the villain treatment is automatically a bad thing. Some stories have the nuance to show how Hades' own lot in life has slowly pushed him to villainy, while others still can depict him as stone-cold evil and yet make him one of the funniest characters in the work in question (Disney's Hercules was overall a fun movie that made up for horrendous Greek Myth inaccuracy with larger than life characterization). But unless I've glossed over something here the Hades of the Freedom Universe setting has always been a scheming villain reigned in only by pantheon politics and the wife he abducted. Even more frustrating is that his role as a villain has been vital to the overarching myth arc of the Freedom setting. A noticeable number of villains and groups would not exist without Hades, and heck the Freedom League itself partly owes its existence to him as well.

    I am not advocating for strict adherence to mythology, our values and culture differ significantly from the cultures responsible for the various mythologies after all and more importantly the letter of the myths would not necessarily be the best fit for the setting, it just feels to me that Hades got saddled with the role of villain by default and then his importance to the myth arc is trying to reinforce that.
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  • #2
    Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

    Yep: Freedom City ostensibly homages comic book Sadly Mythtaken, but when it does it forgets the fact that comics have been doing it for a long time and have consequently developed into interesting interpretations. In contrast FC just gives them a single entry and leaves them there to forever be that single entry. (For Hades its a bit worse because he's responsible for several other bad things while they still simultaneously don't develop an interesting character.)

    I tend to be a bit more worried about Baron Samedi because he's a god with an easily-visible population of worshipers (though I think there may be some Neo-Pagan veneration of Hades). The worst part of Baron Samedi is that he has an official bad side that could have been used: Baron Kriminel.

    Personally I just get rid of the religious/mythological elements or twist them into a form that's obvious in the fact that they aren't the "real" thing.

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    • #3
      Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

      I'm not nearly so studied up on Voodoo as I am Greek Mythology, I know that Hollywood is horrendously off the mark on how Voodoo actually works, but I really only know the bare bones basics of real Voodoo so I'm not in much of a position to comment on Freedom 'verse's Baron Samedi.

      Still I think I can say that Freedom 'verse's Baron Samedi ostensibly could have the excuse that his go-to example for his, Freedom Universe exclusive, stance on humanity and eventual "horse" was a horrible human being and that colored Baron Samedi's worldview. Thankfully for people who object to Baron Samedi's portrayal in the Freedom 'verse he's not nearly so entrenched in the 'verse's myth arc so. Who knows? Maybe creative GMs could sub him out safely or reinterpret his character.

      I suppose the same could be said for Hades but it's a bit trickier to do since his notable actions date back a long-ass time in the 'verse's backstory.
      Builds by a Geek

      GM of Geek's Freedom Comics:
      New Freedom Comics: Time of Crisis

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      • #4
        Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

        Originally posted by Nintendogeek01 View Post
        Still I think I can say that Freedom 'verse's Baron Samedi ostensibly could have the excuse that his go-to example for his, Freedom Universe exclusive, stance on humanity and eventual "horse" was a horrible human being and that colored Baron Samedi's worldview.
        Doesn't work because the mythos presents that he wanted humans to be slaves even before taking a cheval.
        Originally posted by Nintendogeek01 View Post
        I suppose the same could be said for Hades but it's a bit trickier to do since his notable actions date back a long-ass time in the 'verse's backstory.
        It's a matter of finding equivalents:
        * The thing that got the League back together in the 60s could be Ku Tu (Threat Reports), Una Queen of the Netherworld, or even Omega.
        * Daedalus can go away: he's just not that interesting.
        * Taurus isn't strictly necessary for the Labyrinth: there really isn't anything woven into the organization that requires some kind of mythological connection. Or you could replace the Lab with a branch of SHADOW. Still Taurus doesn't really require Hades: anyone who can resurrect him and give him immortality will do.
        * Talos is probably the only one who benefits from his mythological connection: he becomes more than just another rogue AI. Of course Talos doesn't have any connection to Hades and could stay in just fine.

        I've come up with several alternate explanations for Hades over the years:
        1) There are rules to how things like gods have to act, and in the current times there have to be evil gods. All the other Olympians are jerks who don't want the job, meaning ever-dutiful Hades has to play the bad guy.
        2) Hades isn't really a god: Taurus is. Taurus is a forgotten Minoan deity (though lots of civilizations at and before Greece worshiped bull gods) who's partially gotten around The Ban and created an elaborate fantasy using empowered patsies to deflect attention away from him. The real Olympians aren't pleased, but they can't do anything about it. (In this version Talos was an Ancient Alien Astronaut AI before being duped.)
        3) As above, but there aren't any "real" Greek gods: they always been patsies for Taurus.
        4) No gods are real: taking a page from recent Marvel stuff the ancient gods are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Except in my version the aliens are the ones inspired by ancient myths and not the other way around. Thus "Hades" is like a position or role in a bored super-alien LARP, so he can be as much of a jerk as he wants and it has nothing to do with the original myth.

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        • #5
          Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

          I have no problem with Hades not being exactly like how he is in the myths, but then, I enjoyed the heck out of James Woods as Hades in Disney's Hercules, and was tickled to see a super villain version.

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          • #6
            Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

            Originally posted by King Snarf View Post
            ....I enjoyed the heck out of James Woods as Hades in Disney's Hercules, and was tickled to see a super villain version.
            It might certainly be fun to go whole-hog and have the Disney versions of the myths be the right ones.

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            • #7
              Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

              Originally posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
              Doesn't work because the mythos presents that he wanted humans to be slaves even before taking a cheval.

              It's a matter of finding equivalents:
              * The thing that got the League back together in the 60s could be Ku Tu (Threat Reports), Una Queen of the Netherworld, or even Omega.
              * Daedalus can go away: he's just not that interesting.
              * Taurus isn't strictly necessary for the Labyrinth: there really isn't anything woven into the organization that requires some kind of mythological connection. Or you could replace the Lab with a branch of SHADOW. Still Taurus doesn't really require Hades: anyone who can resurrect him and give him immortality will do.
              * Talos is probably the only one who benefits from his mythological connection: he becomes more than just another rogue AI. Of course Talos doesn't have any connection to Hades and could stay in just fine.
              One idea I had a while back was that Daedalus was naturally immortal, nothing to do with the Greek Gods. He was similar to the Doctor and could regenerate from serious injury. But, being alive so long, he's forgotten large swaths of his life and many, many specific events. That includes creating Taurus and the Labyrinth, who are really following a long-forgotten contingency plan to unite the world. I don't know how Hades might tie in, but if Daedalus was naturally immortal yet the Gods still exist, it could be that Hades has tried to intervene to correct for the damage Daedalus caused - but doesn't remember. And of course, in comic book tradition, Hades doesn't explain this outright and instead comes off as a villain.

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              • #8
                Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                Originally posted by kingk View Post
                And of course, in comic book tradition, Hades doesn't explain this outright and instead comes off as a villain.
                He's also a Greek god: he could very well think that he doesn't have to explain his behavior to mere mortals.

                For more spit-balling here's another idea:
                Hades is described in the original myths as gloomy. Living with the dead probably gives you major depression. And as someone who suffers from depression you sometimes want to go off the supervillain deep end for one reason or another. So Hades "snapped" and started doing all these nasty things as a kind of "Screw you, universe!" reaction. He used to be a relatively nice guy, but he changed after the myths and is now kind of a tragic story, with perhaps occasional moments of lucidity long enough to choke out a regret or spare the heroes "this one day".

                Talos, Taurus, Hades: you could make it a whole "universe screwed with them, so they went off the deep end" theme. And maybe, somehow, it's all tied to Daedalus so that he feels responsible and is constantly trying to "redeem" them. And that makes his characterization strength/flaw "Thinks everyone can be made Good" kind of like Hank Pym from Earth's Mightiest Heroes. So how long until he becomes a "Yellowjacket"? (Which works out nicely, because there's a power-armor-wearing villain in one version of FC's future (the "Batman Beyond" version) who's background is left up to the GM and you could easily make him Daedalus gone bad.)

                Again: it comes down to the fact that FC doesn't try to make Hades or the other Greek mythos elements have much of a unique identity.

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                • #9
                  Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                  Originally posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
                  Again: it comes down to the fact that FC doesn't try to make Hades or the other Greek mythos elements have much of a unique identity.
                  I don't know- their take on Cerberus is pretty cool, in my opinion.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                    Taurus is an easy one heck you just follow the champions version which was immortal and then ran into some preserver tech namely the starship kylokos which rebuilt him using cybernetics. Taurus then built the Zodiac a team of supervillains which he used to build the labyrinth a world spanning organization ruled by an immortal.

                    Daedelus really would run afoul more of Area then Hades, though I can see some interesting arguments and debates between hades and Daedelus regarding mortality and immortality.

                    Meda could be responsible for Talos and other mystic threats including Cerberus,a s could the Zodiac.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                      My interpretation for Freedom's Hades was that the whole "World Conquering Supervillain" thing was a recent development in his existence...

                      ...and was really more of a big hobby for the God of the Underworld.

                      He doesn't really want to overthrow Zeus and conquer Olympus and Earth. He's built up the Underworld into a place befitting his tastes, and he has the company of his wife for half the year (and she's okay with him having other lovers while she's away).

                      But Immortal Gods need hobbies to pass away the Eons. And Plagues no longer interest Hades as they once did. But then he saw his old stalking horse Daedalus start joining the ranks of other heroes and fighting villains, and realized this Supervillainy thing looked fun!

                      And so Hades became a supervillain, not because he's particularly Sadistic or Ambitious, but simply because he's a bored immortal deity to whom mortals are just playthings.


                      I do like that bit about Baron Kriminel, though. Shouldn't be hard to just rename the villain, though. Maybe there's a Anti-Heroic Baron Samedi operating as a vigilante?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                        I always took the idea Hades is only a villain by default. The Gods of Greek Myth are beyond good and evil.

                        It's just Daedalus and Hades have a very longstanding dislike of one another.

                        Which involved the other heroes.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                          Originally posted by Charles Phipps View Post
                          I always took the idea Hades is only a villain by default. The Gods of Greek Myth are beyond good and evil.

                          It's just Daedalus and Hades have a very longstanding dislike of one another.

                          Which involved the other heroes.
                          Kinda sorta. The are usually pretty big jerks and really petty considering their station with some exceptions like the Hephaestus and the aforementioned Hades, and the stories where Hades is the antagonist have the protagonist be a even bigger jerk. Compared to his brothers, Hades is a saint.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                            regarding samedi, it's worth noting that technically, the FC version isn't the Loa himself, but a mortal imbued with his power, who only got that power so that Samedi could win his bet with Siren

                            as for Hades & the labyrinth, remember that to the romans, hades was pluto, whom in addition to his dour duties, was also the god of wealth

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                            • #15
                              Re: Freedom 'verse's Hades

                              Originally posted by Kreuzritter View Post
                              ....but a mortal imbued with his power, who only got that power so that Samedi could win his bet with Siren
                              I still kind of feel like what (limited) stuff I've read about Samedi doesn't make him sound like a loa who'd make that bet.

                              The thing is that same information also makes the Baron out to be a very uninhibited person (as are all the dead because they don't have to be). I think Samedi would at best work as a form of hedonist and corrupter who's not really vicious or wanting to kill people but if they get in his way he'll take them out or if they die because he got them hooked on drugs he won't cry. In any case he probably wouldn't be a very active villain.

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