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The following is an article for Hero Games that was written a few years back. Right around the time Hero 5th edition first came out. In fact, I think parts of
this article made it into the Champions sourcebook. I wouldn't use the numbers straight. Some of the factors will NOT apply. And because we're dealing
with a bunch of people who were transformed by playing a computer game, (and a single server at that) there will be places that just don't have any supers
at all. (Or would be surprising if they were in those places, like the Congo.) But the thinking behind this might be instructive. And it might be useful as a

It also might be useful as a more direct source of inspiration for writing being done directly with our characters within the game world - in non-VIIOR

Quote: Superbeings Around The World

by Dean Shomshak

How many superbeings should there be in a campaign world? Or to put it another way, what proportion of the population gets super-powers? An article in DRAGON
Magazine many years ago ("One in a Million," by Roger E. Moore, issue #107) suggested a ratio of one superbeing per million normal people in a
country. For the contemporary United States, this gives 266 heroes and villains. Canada gets 29 supers. This jibes nicely with the apparent super-populations
shown in the Marvel, DC and other major comic-book worlds. But what about other countries?

Now, most of the heroes and villains in comic books are American. This is no surprise when a comic is set in an American city! A hero who lives in New York
probably won't interact much with characters from Egypt or India. Still, for hero teams with "international" charters and "worldwide"
responsibilities, such as the Avengers or Justice League, it seems a tiny bit strange for the membership to be 90% American!

On the other hand, the 1-per-million rule would imply that most of the world's supers come from China and India (1,210 and 952, respectively). Africa
would have 732 supers total. The comics do not portray India or Africa as hotbeds of super-activity. (Though it might be the basis of an interesting

The 1:million rule assumes, however, that origins occur randomly and homogeneously. It's true that some classic origins are completely random and
it's hard to see why they should happen more in one place than another. Why should mutants be more common in Scotland than in Swaziland? Why would
glowing meteors fall in Nebraska, and not in Nepal? On the other hand, many origins depend on factors that can vary greatly from country to country.
Radiation accidents, for instance, become even more unlikely in countries that have no nuclear industry or physics research labs.

Different regions, then, will have different proportions of superbeings, depending on what types of origins are probable. If most supers are spontaneous
mutants, there will be little variation: raw population will be the only important factor. If most powers come from expensive super-technology, wealth and
industrialization are the most important factors, and the Third World is pretty much out of luck.

Modifying Factors

In this article, it's assumed that all the classic types of origins are available in a setting, from martial artists to aliens. Each country receives a
divisor to reduce the basic population of supers from the 1:million ratio. The basic divisor is 6, but this can be modified up or down by different factors.


Impoverished societies give fewer opportunities for origins. The poor, especially the rural poor, have fewer opportunities to learn science or sorcery; they
seldom encounter high technology; they don't have the luxury of spending years training in the martial arts. A society where most people are subsistence
farmers, nomads, or unskilled laborers will not generate many superbeings. What's more, poor countries generally have lousy health care. Heroes and
villains will be more likely to die from their clashes, further reducing the chance that the society has active superbeings.

The wealth or poverty of a whole society is a little hard to nail down. As a rule of thumb, though, a country whose per-capita GDP is $5000 or less can be
considered poor; a country with a per-capita GDP of $1000 or less is desperately poor. A country's GDP can be found in most general-information almanacs.


High-tech industry and cutting-edge scientific research is a very common factor in super-origins. Examples are weird accidents in labs, chemical factories
and nuclear power plants, experimental robots, government super-serums and super-gadgeteers. Countries with lots of high-tech are more likely to generate

Martial Arts

Highly skilled martial artists are themselves superbeings. A culture with a strong tradition of the martial arts will tend to produce super-skilled fighters.


On the mystical front, a culture with a famous magical tradition can plausibly produce super-wizards, who may in turn give heroes or villains powers by
magic, or summon demons and spirits as high-powered minions. A great mythology gives opportunities for gods and other supernatural entities to become heroes
and villains, too.


Mystic artifacts hidden long ago might be rediscovered in a nation that was once the center of a great empire; or heroes and villains may be inspired by past
glories. On the other hand, recent genocides or the proxy wars of world powers might give individuals a special incentive to seek super-powers, so they can
get revenge.

Bought Origins

Billionaires and megacorporations might import super-technology which a country could never develop on its own. Governments which sponsor terrorism, or which
are ruled by particularly megalomaniacal dictators, might do the same -- or just keep bludgeoning away in the labs until they get a super-powered agent. What
do they care how many test subjects die in the process?

Modifier Numbers

Factors that make origins more likely will subtract from the basic divisor of 6. Factors that reduce the chance of origins will add to it. If one wants a
particular origin type to be more common, one can give it a greater modifier. This list assumes a setting much like the DC Universe or the earlier Marvel
Universe (before everybody and their brother became a mutant), where all sorts of origin types are found and no single type predominates:

Factor Divisor

Base Divisor (Wealthy Society) 6

Poor Society +2

Desperately Poor Society +4

High-Tech Industry, Advanced Research -2

Strong Martial Arts Tradition -1

Famous Magical Tradition/Mythology -1

Former Imperial Power -1

Native Billionaires/Megacorporations -1

Government Sponsors Terrorism -1

Extremely Traumatic Recent History -1

The maximum divisor is 10; the minimum is 1 (no matter how many positive factors a country has, dividing by zero is not allowed!)


Applying these factors is still a bit subjective, though. How famous does a culture's mythology or folklore have to be? What technology is high enough to
justify industrial accidents as an origin? But here are some examples:


With a per-capita GDP of $2,490, Egypt is a poor country. It also has a famous mythology, though, a reputation for ancient magic, and an incredibly glamorous
imperial past. Modern Egypt also has some very rich people. Result: Divisor of 4. From the base population of 63.6 million people, this produces 15.9, or 16

United States

The United States is, of course, wealthy. It has as much high-tech industry and advanced scientific research as anyplace in the world. There's no
shortage of native billionaires and megacorporations. The US might seem a little scant on the supernatural front...except that as a nation of immigrants it
has inherited every mythic and magical tradition in the world Asian immigration has also brought a flourishing martial arts culture. America's divisor is
1 just because it can't go any lower!


Poor Albania. The per-capita GDP is said to be $1,100/person, but that was before most of the money in the country was sucked out in 1997 by con men: after
living for 40 years under Stalinist dictatorship, utterly cut off from the rest of the world, the Albanians were suckers for massive pyramid schemes. Albania
is now desperately poor. The late Enver Hoxha, however, was a dictator whose ruthlessness was curtailed only by the limited opportunities available in such a
small and backward nation. Albania's divisor is 9, giving a base super-population of...0.


China has an enormous population -- a fifth of all the people in the world. What's more, it has cutting-edge scientific research (advanced enough to make
its own nuclear weapons, at any rate), fantastic traditions of martial arts, magic and myth, and a long imperial past. Even if one assumes that the
per-capita GDP of $2,500 does not accurately reflect a country where half the population engages in subsistence agriculture, and rules that most of China is
actually desperately poor, China still gets an awful lot of superbeings! (India is a similar case.)

GMs should probably give some thought to why Chinese supers don't dominate the news (if not the world!) Do the Western media just not pay attention?
Perhaps many Chinese superbeings aren't interested in being heroes and villains: there could be dozens of martial arts masters and Taoist sorcerers who
live quiet, contented lives without displaying their awesome abilities. Perhaps the Chinese government suppresses news of super-battles, because it wants to
make people think that nothing could challenge its power. Or maybe the Chinese government super-team is so effective at destroying anyone who flat-out
refuses to join that most potential villains and freelance heroes stay in hiding...


Heroes and villains don't have to stay in their native country, though. They can emigrate. Supervillains who are only in it for the money will leave
impoverished homelands to seek their fortune in wealthier regions. Conversely, villains from nations with many superbeings (both heroes and villains) might
look for a country where there will be less competition! A sensible villain might conclude that he'd have better chances conquering Albania than America.
(Hey, it's a start...)

As for the heroes? An altruistic superbeing may find that she's the only superbeing in her entire country: if she wants to fight villainy, she'll
have to go somewhere else. On the other hand, a nation which doesn't have enough heroes to deal with the villains might try recruiting superheroes from
other countries. (Ever since the Gulf War, Kuwait has offered the most remarkable benefit packages to supers willing to join its army...)

So What?

All this leaves one very important question. Why bother? What does it matter if other countries have superbeings or not? Or why not just make up characters
as the mood strikes or the need arises?

This isn't just a matter of art for art's sake. Nor does a GM have to actually create heroes and villains for every country in the world! Giving a
little thought to what lies beyond the usual campaign settings, however, can help a GM create better stories.

First, the more a GM knows about the real world, the better he'll be at creating imaginary worlds. The exercise of looking at the world and learning
about other countries has value in its own right.

In particular, working out the super-populations of different countries can suggest stories. Even with the modifying factors, there should be a lot of
superbeings out there, just waiting to be used in a GM's plots! Indeed, a region's oversupply or dearth of superbeings can suggest whole campaigns.

What's more, not everyone shares the attitudes of the modern Western world. Heroes and villains from other cultures may have quite different attitudes.
On an international hero team, this could give opportunities for some juicy roleplaying. Even if the campaign is restricted to one city, visiting superbeings
from other countries might get involved in culture clashes and misunderstandings.

Finally, different cultures can create new challenges for heroes. How well will First World heroes function in third world countries which lack the usual
social supports of hospital emergency rooms, lab facilities, reliable communications -- or civil rights? Heroes can face moral challenges too, in countries
with different standards of crime and government. One man's villain may be another man's hero. Throw the PCs into the middle of a civil war: do they
get involved? Will heroes from a democracy protect a "friendly dictator" from the rebel superbeing who wants to overthrow him? Such situations give
opportunities for some intense soul-searching, and for the heroes' choices to have far-reaching consequences.

In short, looking beyond the usual comic-book settings can suggest new possibilities for play. Why should big American cities have all the fun? There's a
whole world of adventures waiting for the heroes!

Appendix: Populations

These are some guesses about how many supers might have their origins in each nation of the world. They aren't graven in stone; they are to start one
thinking about where the super-action might be. Quite possibly, some countries have been shortchanged because the Humble Author simply doesn't know about
their combat tradition, cool mythology or surprisingly advanced university. Sorry!

Since all the nations which are individually too small to make any super-origins likely can still add up to a pretty fair chunk of population, each continent
also gets an average divisor, which is applied to the continent's total population. Any "leftover origins" are listed as "Not Yet
Assigned." GMs can allocate these origins to whatever countries they want. If you want a hero or villain to come from Gabon or Guyana, Cyprus or St.
Lucia, you can do it.

Finally, PCs are always an exception to whatever population statistics one creates. If a GM in Uruguay wants to make Montevideo a great center for heroes and
villains, he has every right to do so! No matter where you are, these guidelines only apply to the rest of the world.

Nation # Div Population

Africa 105 7 732 million

-Algeria 3 10 29.2 million

-Angola 1 8 10.3 million

-Benin 1 7 5.7 million

-Botswana 0 8 1.5 million

-Burkina Faso 1 10 10.6 million

-Burundi 1 10 5.9 million

-Cameroon 2 8 14.3 million

-Cape Verde 0 8 449,000

-Central African

Republic 0 10 3.3 million

-Chad 1 10 7 million

-Comoros 0 10 569,000

-Congo 0 9 2.5 million

-Congo (Zaire) 5 9 46.5 million

-Cote d'Ivoire 2 7 14.8 million

-Djibouti 0 8 428,000

-Egypt 16 4 63.6 million

-Equatorial Guinea 0 9 431,000

-Eritrea 0 8 3.9 million

-Ethiopia 7 8 57.2 million

-Gabon 0 5 1.2 million

-Gambia 0 8 1.2 million

-Ghana 3 7 17.7 million

-Guinea 1 8 7.4 million

-Guinea-Bissau 0 9 1.2 million

-Kenya 4 7 28.2 million

-Lesotho 0 8 2 million

-Liberia 0 8 2.1 million

-Libya 1 6 5.4 million

-Madagascar 1 10 13.7 million

-Malawi 1 10 9.5 million

-Maldives 0 8 271,000

-Mali 1 9 9.7 million

-Mauritania 0 8 2.3 million

-Mauritius 0 8 1.1 million

-Morocco 4 7 29.8 million

-Mozambique 2 10 17.9 million

-Namibia 0 6 1.7 million

-Niger 1 9 4.9 million

-Nigeria 17 6 103.9 million

-Rwanda 1 10 6.9 million

-Sao Tome &

Principe 0 8 144,000

-Senegal 1 9 9.1 million

-Seychelles 0 8 78,000

-Sierra Leone 0 10 4.8 million

-Somalia 1 9 9.6 million

-South Africa 8 5 41.7 million

-Sudan 4 9 31.1 million

-Swaziland 0 8 999,000

-Tanzania 3 9 29.1 million

-Togo 1 9 4.6 million

-Tunisia 1 7 9 million

-Uganda 2 10 20.2 million

-Zambia 1 10 9.2 million

-Zimbabwe 2 6 11.3 million

Not Yet Assigned 4

Nation # Div Population

Asia 762 4.5 3.43 billion

-Afghanistan 4 5 22.7 million

-Armenia 1 6 3.5 million

-Azerbaijan 1 6 7.7 million

-Bahrain 0 6 590,000

-Bangladesh 15 8 123 million

-Bhutan 0 8 1.8 million

-Brunei 0 7 300,000

-Cambodia 2 7 10.9 million

-China 242 5 1,210 million

-Georgia 1 6 5.2 million

-Hong Kong 3 2 6.3 million

-India 190 5 952.1 million

-Indonesia 41 5 206.6 million

-Iran 17 4 66.1 million

-Iraq 5 4 21.4 million

-Israel 3 2 5.4 million

-Japan 63 2 125.5 million

-Jordan 1 7 4.2 million

-Kazakhstan 3 3 16.9 million

-Korea, North 5 5 23.9 million

-Korea, South 23 2 45.5 million

-Kuwait 0 5 1.9 million

-Kyrgyzstan 1 6 4.5 million

-Laos 1 7 5 million

-Lebanon 1 5 3.8 million

-Malaysia 4 5 20 million

-Mongolia 0 7 2.5 million

-Myanmar 9 5 46 million

-Nepal 4 6 22.1 million

-Oman 1 4 2.2 million

-Pakistan 26 5 129.3 million

-Philippines 15 5 74.5 million

-Qatar 0 5 548,000

-Saudi Arabia 5 4 19.4 million

-Singapore 2 2 3.4 million

-Sri Lanka 3 5 18.6 million

-Syria 4 4 15.6 million

-Taiwan 11 2 21.5 million

-Tajikistan 1 6 5.9 million

-Thailand 15 4 58.9 million

-Turkey 12 5 62.5 million

-Turkmenistan 1 6 4.1 million

-United Arab

Emirates 1 5 3.1 million

-Uzbekistan 5 5 23.4 million

-Vietnam 15 5 74 million

-Yemen 3 5 13.5 million

-Not Yet Assigned 2

Nation # Div Population

Europe 292 2.5 729 million

-Albania 0 9 3.2 million

-Andorra 0 3 73,000

-Austria 4 2 8 million

-Belarus 3 4 10.4 million

-Belgium 5 2 10.2 million

-Bosnia &

Herzegovina 1 5 2.7 million

-Bulgaria 2 4 8.6 million

-Croatia 1 5 5 million

-Cyprus 0 6 745,000

-Czech Republic 3 3 10.3 million

-Denmark 3 2 5.3 million

-Estonia 0 3 1.5 million

-Finland 2 3 5.1 million

-France 29 2 58 million

-Germany 42 2 83.5 million

-Greece 5 2 10.5 million

-Hungary 3 3 10 million

-Iceland 0 3 270,000

Ireland 2 2 3.6 million

-Italy 29 2 57.5 million

-Latvia 1 3 2.5 million

-Liechtenstein 0 3 31,000

-Lithuania 1 3 3.6 million

-Luxembourg 0 2 416,000

-Macedonia 0 5 2.1 million

-Malta 0 4 376,000

-Moldova 1 4 4.5 million

-Monaco 0 2 32,000

-Netherlands 8 2 15.6 million

-Norway 2 2 4.4 million

-Poland 13 3 38.6 million

-Portugal 2 4 9.9 million

-Romania 5 4 21.7 million

-Russia 49 3 148.2 million

-San Marino 0 2 25,000

-Slovakia 1 5 5.4 million

-Slovenia 0 5 2 million

-Spain 13 3 39.2 million

-Sweden 4 2 8.9 million

-Switzerland 5 2 7.2 million

-Ukraine 17 3 50.9 million

-United Kingdom 29 2 58.5 million

-Vatican City 0 2 750

-Yugoslavia 2 4 10.6 million

-Not yet assigned 5

Nation # Div Population

North America 243 1.9 454 million

-Antigua & Barbuda 0 5 66,000

-Bahamas 0 4 259,000

-Barbados 0 5 257,000

-Belize 0 5 219,000

-Canada 19 1.5 28.8 million

-Costa Rica 1 4 3.5 million

-Cuba 3 4 11 million

-Dominica 0 5 83,000


Republic 1 7 8.1 million

-El Salvador 1 7 5.8 million

-Grenada 0 5 95,000

-Guatemala 2 5 11.3 million

-Haiti 1 7 6.7 million

-Honduras 2 5 5.6 million

-Jamaica 1 5 2.6 million

-Mexico 32 3 95.8 million

-Nicaragua 1 5 4.3 million

-Panama 1 5 2.7 million

-St. Kitts-Nevis 0 5 41,000

-St Lucia 0 5 158,000

-St Vincent & the

Grenadines 0 5 118,000

-Trinidad & Tobago 0 5 1.3 million

-United States 177 1.5 265.6 million

-Not Yet Assigned 1

Nation # Div Population

Oceania 12 2.5 29 million

-Australia 9 2 18.3 million

-Fiji 0 8 782,000

-Kiribati 0 8 81,000

-Marshall Islands 0 8 58,000

-Micronesia 0 8 125,000

-Nauru 0 4 10,000

-New Zealand 2 2 3.5 million

-Palau 0 4 17,000

-Papua New Guinea 1 8 4.4 million

-Solomon Islands 0 8 413,000

-Tonga 0 8 106,000

-Tuvalu 0 8 10,000

-Vanuatu 0 8 178,000

-Western Samoa 0 8 214,000

-Not Yet Assigned 1

Nation # Div Population

South America 66 5 323 million

-Argentina 9 4 34.7 million

-Bolivia 2 4 7.2 million

-Brazil 27 6 162.7 million

-Chile 4 4 14.3 million

-Colombia 9 4 36.8 million

-Ecuador 2 5 11.5 million

-Guyana 0 6 712,000

-Paraguay 1 6 5.5 million

-Peru 6 4 24.5 million

-Suriname 0 5 436,000

-Uruguay 1 4 3.2 million

-Venezuela 5 4 22 million

-Not Yet Assigned 0