Recognising Super Hero Syndrome

Super Hero Syndrome, or SHS for short, will strike when you least expect it from people you even less expect it from. What is the SHS? How and why does it start? How can we stop it? All good questions… and they shall be answered! or my name is Mary Sue… and it’s not… I’m called Fritz.

Es, Aech, What?

So First things first, what exactly is SHS. Well it’s evil. We already knew that. It’s also very pervasive, otherwise I wouldn’t have to spend a whole lesson on it. SHS is an indicator that we give to those players or characters who think they are Q’s, immortal, omnipotent, best at everything and ever hitting with a phaser. Some players/characters might be forever in the grip of SHS, and we call them Mary-Sue. Some may have temporary blackouts, and we call them misguided. But one thing is certain, at one time or another we will all suffer from SHS or meet somebody who is suffering from it.

A player suffering from SHS will make his character the best of the best, the character will have finished Starfleet Academy as top of their class and they will always have the right answers and strategies in the right times. They have the connections, they have the McGuyver skills when it comes to making bombs from chewing gum and a piece of dental floss. Why do players fall into the deep dark side of SHS?

There’s a multitude of reasons. Most commonly, perhaps, it’s because it’s the easy way out. It’s a simple as that really. Players who prefer the SHS way are just too lazy to do it the RP (Role-playing) way. And to be frank (don’t be confused, I’m still Fritz) they actually miss the best part of RP’ing that way…

Weaknesses! Sometimes it happens when the plot doesn’t advance fast enough, when the player feels they should be done with this slowly building battle against Borg on the ship. Prompting them to rush in to engineering and cleave through every drone there with their Bat’leth (yes, they all have a Bat’leth). These people miss out on another great aspect of RPGs. The working towards a solution as a team!

How can we stop it?

The Vulcan nerve pinch is the most effective way to stop Super Hero Syndrome
Spock using the most effective way to stop Super Hero Syndrome

Well for that we need Your Help! When you write your character make sure that he has its flaws, everybody has flaws, you and I have flaws why wouldn’t a fictional character have them? Putting minor flaws into your character is fun to play and makes it a whole lot more realistic. Also be aware that Skills take time to develop and learn and be realistic in what your character can do (i.e. An Engineer is unlikely to be able to perform an autopsy on an Alien lifeform).

If you have read this entire lesson then you are already halfway to saving yourself from the Evil SHS Monster. Having your character need help fixing the replicator, translating a foreign language allows for more interaction with the crew, which is the ultimate in RP.

What does Super Hero Syndrome that look like?

Now for some examples, so you can diagnose SHS early and adequately and make amends.

The SHS Way

Fritz rushed over the plains a type IV phaser in both hands blasting at the hordes of oncoming rabid Klingons “Come and get some you Dogs!!!” All the disruptor shots missed Fritz as he was doing his famous Von Stossenbaum Alkaseltzer Manoeuvre, and just dodged all the incoming fire. The Klingons died by the dozens and when the group, or what was left of it, finally arrived at Fritz’s location the remaining Klingons got frightened by his awesomeness they threw their weapons to the ground and ran off, tail between their legs. Fritz the Magnificent has been victorious once again.

The RP Way

Fritz jumped into some nearby bushes and peered through the leafs he saw what seemed to be a horde of oncoming rabid Klingons, armed with disruptors and Bat’leths. They were storming down the hill towards the base camp of the USS Pegasus away team, “there is no way we can fight them off” Fritz whispered to himself as he rose from his hiding spot. Fritz ran back to the camp, hoping that he would arrive in time to warn everybody to run… run like hell.

Off course these examples are a bit exaggerated but after years and years of studies I have found out that simple minds are impressed by such a thing. I hope this was informative to you all, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on Super Hero Syndrome!

Until Next Time!

Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkensaltzer, PhD
L.I.S.P. Professor

“Fritzie, Fritzie, He’s Our Man… If He Can’t Do It… No One Can!!!”

– The Starfleet Academy Cheer squad

Prof. Dr. Fritz von Stossenbaum Alkaselzer, PhD.

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