What would a world be like where talented, unique, or high ranking individuals have an effect that renders them hugely resistant to harm. Called in setting as "heroes"
This doesn't mean they are invulnerable, though they are strong, fast, or smart they are otherwise still mortal people and in theory can be harmed much like any other person.
In battles you'll pockets of space open up in armies where heroes" start mauling troops that charge at them in small files, scores and scores of arrows missing them, or being sole survivor of sinking ships and plane crashes by almost impossible means. Commanders and soldiers when asked why they didn't get back in line or try to target this one person simultaneously, can only give an indescribable sensation of not being able to. Imprisoning them or trying to restrain them for long is almost always doomed to fail.
Much like gravity or electromagnetism is a direct force in the universe, so to do certain individuals have sway on reality. It's something directly observable and noted. Even in the modern age this persists, with sayings like "The hero always finds a gas mask" and "Only two things will survive nuclear war, roaches and heroes."
This does not mean they can take down armies single handed, there is in fact a threshold of how many soldiers they can face down single handed or arrows they can dodge but this will always result in terrible, horrible casualties. Such is it that it's incredibly practical to try and kill a hero with another hero.
It takes a king to kill a king.
So you're saying I should murderhobo all the murderhobos who want to murderhobo me to stop me from murderhoboing all the non murderhobos and thus by murderhoboing all the murderhobos I can become the murderhoboiest murderhobo to ever murderhobo so I can murderhobo all the non murderhobos?
What you described is basically D&D. The powerwanking, the "lol everyone is a god" the "lol magic is everywhere" and all the other reasons why fantasy is a childish bullshit genre. It is the equivalent of an imaginary fight between two autistic 4 year olds going "NO YOU CAN'T USE THAT POWER BECAUSE I BLOCKED IT ALSO MAGIC."
I'm glad D&D and it's ilk are slowly dying off.
IT sounds really cool in theory, however, if there's anything that Earthdawn has taught me, it's that codifying plot-significance into the IC measurable realities of a setting only really serves to undermine plot-significance and genre-conventions.
Granted, that COULD be what you're going for, but it doesn't sound like it.
It's a general rule that only a hero can take on another hero in single combat. So the assumption is that if someone does take on a hero singlehandedly and, not necessarily win, but survive and hold his own, then that person must be a hero too.
But, what if the assumption were more true than the accepted rule? As in, if you successfully take down a hero, you become a hero yourself?
This is why older heroes test seemingly random people with riddles and trial by combat. This is how they reproduce.
>there is in fact a threshold of how many soldiers they can face down single handed or arrows they can dodge
This is the problem, i find. The moment you put a definable statistic is the moment this "hero" thing loses its charm.
Thats why old myths had stuff like achiless heel or convoluted weaknesses
Whenever non-heroes take down a Hero it's almost always in a "non-heroic" way.
Whenever non-heroes participate in the killing of a hero they almost always die in a manner including but not limited to a dozen men stabbing the hero simultaneously before being all summarily killed with a final deathblow, the hero then dying of blood loss.This is sometimes accompanied by a morale breaking death speech or some sort of well placed bomb that spells doom. Non-heroes killing sufficiently powerful heroes have sometimes resulted in disastrous effects for the army even beyond the grave.
It is true heroes could and have been found by killing another hero (as many of them don't immediately reveal themselves), this is typically very obvious as it is often in single combat with a clear "underdog" dynamic.
The threshold may not be universal or even accurately guageable.
But that does sound like an interesting alternative. I like it.
Thought of this as well. Achilles, Odysseus, Aneus, Leonidas and the 300 in general, Hercules, various stories of both gods and demi-gods and such. Serious though l had to read the odyssey for english and he survives so much unbelievable shit. Guess the point there is the narrative and moral lessons, not the legitimacy of the situation
Exalted is really the best example of this, and it's actually an extremely mechanistic setting deep down. It really, really sucks to be a peasant, and if you're not born Dragon-blooded? You're fucked.
Your one way out is to be awarded an Exaltation, and there are only 500 (technically less, 150 are directly controlled by the bad guys) available. But for those who made the impossible effort and received the luck of the draw?
You have world-busting firepower at hand. You could fight a hundred men, sway nations, survive a nuclear blast...
The bible also does shit like this, albeit smaller scale. Look at Samson.
See also, Diomedes, who rekt aphrodite and then apollo before apollo got buttmad.
The Elder Scrolls. Alessia, Pellinal, Reman, Talos, Vivec, the Blades Agent, Nerevarine, Hero of Kvatch, Dragonborn, etc.
They are all Heroes. It's even a concept in their universe.
Heroes tend to come from uncertain backgrounds, have no set fate and make their own way in the world.
>Behold our mighty warrior!
>Oh yeah! Well we have 300 siege engine pieces all aimed directly into your ugly faces
There were "heroes" and mighty warriors back in the day. Disciplined army made short work of them. Thats why Samurais were butthurt when in came to military reforms. And also why knights complained about armed peasants for centuries they got rekt by:
>several types of crazy looking polearms
To actually answer your question : major powers would seek to either control all heroes, or exterminate them. Either way means people would be looking for signs of heroism from a very young age. Children would pass into adulthood uneasily, wondering if today is the day they wrestle a bear and fashion a magical cloak from its hide.
And then... Disappointment. For the rest of your life, you weren't a hero, you weren't good enough. People would resent and mistrust heroes for what they were, inherently superior. Cultural explanations, religious or otherwise, would need to be concoted to prevent them from dying out.
>samurai hating military reforms
>guns and longbows were totally Knight killers
Lmfao desu senpai
Samurai in particular fucking loved guns. What they didn't was the abolition of their social class, which only came long long after their practical irrelivance
No, the heros would still be around, just the way they'd act would change.
You'd still get your Chesty Puller, Audie Murphy, Red Baron, HU Rudel and of course your countless Hero of the Soviet Union recipients.
Or perhaps these heros start to get the reflexes and blind luck found in our action movies. Prime example being 'Commando' featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger
>guns and longbows were totally Knight killers
They were. Longbows cant really pierce good plate armor but it can kill the horses good. Imagine your horse falling over while your in the middle of a charge, there are several other well kitted knights behind you, riding their own horses.
If you survive the trampling, goodluck surviving the crazy men-at-arms trying to plunder your ass for loot and ransom.
As for guns when it came for the first time in the European battlefields they were fucking sacred of the damned things. People back then were superstitious and they were seen as hellish creations. Doesn't help that they were used en-mass and were loud as fuck and produced thick foggy smoke. And yes they can penetrate armor at a descent range.
Considering that we have a couple decent examples in the thread already on how the Hero concept can stretch into modern conventional times, how would it translate to Westerns? Pic related comes to mind. Any other good examples?
It's my favorite genre, and it's so underrepresented in /tg/
>Cultural explanations, religious or otherwise, would need to be concoted to prevent them from dying out.
They don't stop appearing.
Some people will still be badass motherfuckers at random.
that's really easy?
Revolvers hit hard, but they also pull hard and don't fire very quickly.
So just make the guns kick harder than usual or in an unexpected direction whenever they're pointed at a Wild West "Hero"
>What would a world be like where talented, unique, or high ranking individuals have an effect that renders them hugely resistant to harm.
It's medieval Europe before firearms and plate armor. Expensive mail was hihgly resistant to contemporary weapons.