The Unwritten Rules are an informal code of conduct that governs the interaction between superheroes, supervillains, and non-powered thugs. Most significantly, they include not killing or sexually assaulting captured superheroes.

History Edit

The unwritten rules are first mentioned in Heroine Hold 'Em. As they were not conceived by Adam Warren until Volume 3, earlier stories feature characters committing actions which would be considered serious breaches (perhaps most notably Ocelotina in The Aryan Ideal of Shoulder Candy) - to the point that some images from the chapter were re-drawn for its inclusion in the Deluxe Edition.

Speculative Philosophy Edit

Anything in this section can be considered a secondary derivation; that is, it is based on canon and logic - but is not a definite aspect of the Empowered universe.[1][2]

Nature of the Rules Edit

The Unwritten Rules are an idea not to be confused with 'morality' or 'good vs evil'. Rather, they are a set of actions which (almost) all superpowered parties have determined are the points at which severe retribution is not merely warranted, but expected. If crime/crimefighting is considered chess, then the Unwritten Rules encompass the actions which knock off the pieces or, potentially, knock over the board.

The Rules are almost an inevitable offshoot of the power levels involved; consider the unaddressed parallels in other comic universes - or, in reality, the Cold War. When two disagreeing parties both possess a certain degree of potential damage, even minor overreactions could have results disastrous to both parties. At the same time, the two parties are, by nature, going to conflict.

Thus, the Rules arise - creating guidelines by which both sides can argue, without the codification which could be exploited by players with sub-agendas.[3] Because they are unwritten, they are open to interpretation - but all powers, even sociopaths, even those who break the Rules, understand the concepts behind them; any objection is to interpretation, not the spirit.

The Rules, being unwritten, don't just allow for flexibility - they require that violations be considered on a case-by-case basis. For instance, killing another cape is a violation of the Rules - but circumstances can define whether that violation calls for retribution, or if "they had it coming".

In-Universe History of the Rules Edit

It seems the Empowered Unwritten Rules have developed over time; either that, or they degraded, then went through a type of Renaissance. Either case was likely triggered by the as-yet-vaguely-described catastrophe of San Antonio; an entire city wiped out by escalating responses is likely to cause a reevaluation of procedure by all involved parties.

Footnotes Edit

  1. Basically, don't base any doctoral theses on anything in this section.
  2. But then, this is a wiki; you should already know not to use it as a source.
  3. Once a guideline is a law, you don't have to think to use it - leading to the kind of thoughtless stupidity which is echoed to some degree in most societies and sub-societies.
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