Halcyon Days (The Perks Of Being A Paragon)
Halcyon Days (The Perks Of Being A Hero)
Hello, Dear Friends! This is a rough draft Production Guide to my Superhero Campaign Setting, using Masks as a base.
I eventually hope to modify my setting to be fully original material.
It is my very first attempt at writing my own Tabletop Campaign, so I am extremely nervous. However, I am also eager
to learn and improve. Any section enclosed in brackets [ ] are part of the excellent core Masks campaign setting, and
thus not created or written by me. Anything outside the brackets are edited or expanded original material. Thank you!
- Simon Cruel
Power Classification – Perks, Paragons, and Hazards
One of my favorite worldbuilding aspects of the Superhero Genre is “Hero/Power Ranking.” I don’t find the concept of
“Power Levels” themselves particularly interesting, and they’re often wildly inconsistent (Dragon Ball Z). Rather, I
enjoy learning how such rankings establish social heirarchy in the setting. Heroes with higher ranked powers may be
more likely to develop feelings of superiority; likewise, heroes with lower ranked powers may develop feelings of
inadequacy. Exploring how this affects both the characters and the world is quite compelling!
To this end, I introduced three Power Classifications to my campaign: Perk, Paragon, and Hazard.
Perks are heroes or villains with situational, limited, or “useless” powers. They make up the majority of Superpowered
Examples of Perk powers are:
1. Permanently enhanced perception in one of the five senses.
2. Temporary enhanced perception in all five senses for a short duration, but only after consuming caffeine.
3. Temporary ability to breathe fire for a short duration, but only after consuming capsaicin.
4. Teleportation limited to extremely short distances (10 feet)
5. Precognition limited to extremely short durations (10 seconds)
Although these abilities may pale in comparison to those of Paragons, Perk Powers can still be incredibly effective if
used strategically, tactically, and creatively. In addition, Perks tend to focus more on building up their “mundane”
physical attributes and learning traditional combat skills than most Paragons. Perks occupy a social class above
Unpowered Individuals, but below Paragons.
Paragons are Superheroes with more traditional and impressive powers. There is rarely ever a limitation or drawback to
their abilities, and they tend to be more powerful in general.
Examples of Paragon powers are:
1. Super Strength
2. Super Speed
3. Elemental Powers (Classical Greek Elements)
Paragons are relatively rare compared to Perks, and they are at the top of the social heirarchy. Without consistent and
conscious effort, most Paragons tend to rely on their power’s overwhelming force to dominate in combat.
This is not to say they are incapable of strategy, only that they tend to find it unnecessary against most foes, which can
lead to bad habits and an eventual harsh lesson. Indeed, Paragons who combine their great power with quick thinking
and creativity can be nearly unstoppable.
Hazards are unfortunate souls who awaken to destructive, uncontrollable power. The majority of the populace consider
them to be extremely dangerous and in need of containment. Or worse. Once a Hazard is identified, they are captured
and given a horrifying choice: “Pacification” or “Termination.”
Choosing Pacification entails a life of constant isolation, observation, and treatment. Despite basically stripping Hazards
of their rights, this is currently considered the most humane option by a large portion of the population.
Termination is self-explanatory. In certain cases, it is also involuntary.
Of course, not everyone agrees with such practices. There is a significant lobby for research on more humane methods
of treatment for Hazards, as well as research on a permanent form of Power Nullification. The latter of which has so far
eluded even the nation’s best scientists.
It is little comfort, but the universal adoption of Pacification itself is a small historical “victory” on the path to Hazard
Examples of Hazards include:
1. Meltdown – A Hazard who unwittingly emitted lethal doses of radiation from his body. He himself was immune to its
effects, but he caused death and devastation to much of the city in his desperate search for “help.” Terminated with
2. Raging Bull – A Hazard who transforms into an immensely large and powerful Minotaur-like creature based on
certain emotional triggers. In this form he enters a berserk rage and destroys everything around him. Interestingly, he
has thus far avoided civilian casualties. Witnesses report that he may exercise some form of restraint in his actions,
though with great pain and effort. Currently Pacified and Contained.
3. Toxin – A Hazard who emits an airborne pathogen. Thankfully, its curious combination of limited range, limited life
span, low proliferation, and low lethality has resulted in minimal casualties. Nonetheless, she is considered extremely
dangerous and must submit to Pacification or Termination when found. Whereabouts Unknown.
4. Miss Fortune – A Hazard who causes observable calamity wherever she appears. Evaluation for this Hazard has been
extensive, and the odds of the disastrous occurences around her being “random” are mathematically improbable. She is
considered extremely dangerous and must submit to Pacification or Termination when found. Whereabouts Unknown.
5. Corpse Eater – Currently considered the most dangerous known Hazard of all. Corpse Eater is a Hazard with an
insatiable craving for human flesh. Whenever he devours a Super, whether Perk or Paragon, he gains their entire power
Unlike other forms of Temporary Power Replication, these changes have been observed to be virtually permanent.
There is no record of him ever consuming a Hazard, but the implications are staggering. Thankfully, he only appears to
digest fresh meat. Footage of him attempting to eat excessively decayed flesh resulted in him vomiting profusely.
Must be subject to Termination when found. Pacification is not an option. Whereabouts Unknown.
Those Without Power
Unpowered Individuals still make up the majority of the world’s population. Halcyon City is unequivocally the center of
all Supernatural activity, and yet Unpowered remain the highest demographic. Despite this, they sometimes face
prejudice from Superpowered Individuals. Conversely, many Supers face prejudice from Unpowered Individuals. It is a
constant and unpleasant reality that society faces every day.
Unpowered Individual is the commonly accepted neutral term, but others exist. Many Supers refer to them as “Meeks”
denoting their perceived status as weak or inferior.
Certain Unpowered Individuals, inspired by positive social changes brought on by famous Superheroes’ battles against
crime and villainy, attempt it themselves. This usually ends in disaster, whether because of poor training or planning, or
simply being outmatched by Superpowered villains.
Sometimes, however rarely, an Unpowered Individual is able to fight Supervillains and other powerful threats on their
own terms. Technology, skill, and experience can be equalizing factors.
These particularly capable Unpowered Individuals are not officially recognized, but among their own circles, they have
taken to calling themselves “The Skilled.”
Heroes are not the only Unpowered Individuals who can count themselves among The Skilled. Many Unpowered
criminals have likewise defeated Superheroes, sometimes even Paragons.
However, the most terrifying and effective Unpowered Threat is a terrorist organization calling themselves “The Meek.”
In what appears to be a reappropriation of the meeks slur, The Meek are singularly focused on winning their personal
war: War against Superhumanity.
The Meek consider Supers to be another species entirely divergent from Homo Sapiens, and one that threatens to cause
their extinction. They may be regular humans, but their technology, training, and sheer brutality make them a serious
In Superhero Story Arcs like Marvel: Civil War, privacy rights and the ethics of vigilanteism are explored through
conflict. Iron Man wants Registration, Cap wants Freedom, etc. In this setting, the question of Registration and Privacy
has long since been decided.
All aspiring Heroes are subject to PREP.
PREP stands for Power Registration and Evaluation Protocol. Powers are examined and assessed. The results are then
Registered and available to view by certain Government or Security Organizations.
Obviously, people can slip through the cracks. PREP is not even always necessary for mundane jobs or tasks. It is
usually reserved for those who are currently unlicensed but observed to have a significant power, those who apply for
certain technical, secure, or high level jobs or schools, or those who volunteer for assessment.
This ends my rough draft setting overview.
I will constantly edit and hopefully improve this document, especially with learning experience from running actual
Everything written below is straight from the Masks Core Rulebook, and is only intended as a reference for my players
who may not own the book. I will remove it from further copies that are not also intended as an introduction to Masks
for my players.
I did not write or contribute to any of the content in brackets below. Thank you!
[Halcyon City! Shining beacon of heroism and progress! The city of tomorrow!
That’s the tagline, anyway. The truth is always a little more complex.
Halcyon City has been around for several centuries, but its real history begins in the 1930s, with the appearance of
Maggie MacIntyre, better known as Flying Freedom. Historians know now that there were superhumans before,
scattered all throughout history. But Flying Freedom was the first public figure to whom the term gsuperhero h could
reasonably be ascribed. She was cloaked in a pilot fs jacket, cap, and goggles, with the American flag emblazoned on
her back, and she could fly. Newsreel footage of the era marveled at how she soared over Halcyon’s tallest towers.
Maggie MacIntyre fought criminals and madmen with flair and heroism. But she wasn ft immortal, and she wasn ft
invulnerable. She died saving Halcyon City from her mortal enemy, Captain Coldheart, and his aerial doomcraft, but
she’d already inspired new heroes. Champion and the Haunt had taken up her struggle for heroism, and Halcyon City
would never be the same.
Superhumans gravitated toward the city, joining its ever-growing community of metahumans. Some immediately sought
out criminal activity; others dove headfirst into heroics; still others just lived their lives. But with all of them together in
one place, Halcyon became a hotbed of technological progress. Industries moved headquarters into Halcyon to be closer
to the biggest developments in their fields. And with ever greater wealth and success came ever more superpowered
Halcyon has seen countless superheroes rise and fall. It’s seen super criminals and aliens, warlords and mythical
monsters. It’s seen parallel dimensions overlaid on its own streets, and it’s seen time travelers from an endless panoply
of possible futures. It’s been invaded, conquered, defended, and freed. And through it all the city perseveres, changing
and adjusting and adapting to face whatever threats or challenges come before it.]
[The city is huge; over 10 million people live in its many neighborhoods and districts. It’s a city of tremendous variety,
from the large island of silver and glass skyscrapers to the waterfront neighborhoods of dark alleys to the strange
architecture transposed onto our Halcyon from other worlds. People from an endless panoply of cultures fill its streets,
bringing their own beliefs, traditions, and practices into the city’s crucible. The city is far from perfect, with plenty of
prejudice and bigotry even today, but there’s no other place on Earth quite as diverse as Halcyon.
And that’s not even getting into the superhuman stuff.
Halcyon is the single greatest confluence of superheroic, metahuman, supernatural, and impossible activity in the entire
world. For years scientists and historians have tried to determine the causal relationship between the city and the
superpowered madness that goes on there. There’s the obvious?new superheroes and supervillains come to Halcyon
because it’s where the action is. But why is Halcyon always the target of alien invasions? Of paranormal
transdimensional transpositions? Of apocalyptic events and eldritch monstrosities and whatever else you can think of?
No one’s ever found a definitive answer, and most people in the city don’t worry too much about the why. The city just
is what it is. Some cities deal with constant cloud cover or terrible weather. Halcyon has superpeople, monsters, time
travel, sorcerers, and whatever else. Shrug The city’s never ended so far, and the superheroes generally have a pretty
good handle on things. Life goes on.]
[The Gold Generation – Heroes Born From 20’s – 40’s]
[The first real, codified superheroic generation. There were definitely superhumans and supernatural events going on for
eons before Halcyon City ever arose, but the Gold Generation was the first with publicly recorded superhumans acting
in their own personas. Flying Freedom started it all, but she was far from the last of her generation. Champion, the
Haunt, Golden Girl, Bryce Brilliant, the Cast-Iron Man…they all came out of the woodwork in this era. None of them
were spectacularly powerful, but each of them was great, strong-willed, and more than capable of fighting the good
This generation pulled America out of the Depression, and in particular reinvigorated Halcyon City with new inventions
and a new drive for progress. This generation sent supers into World War II, where they battled their counterparts on the
other side of the lines. This generation created for itself the notion of the modern superhero, complete with colorful
costume and colorful code name.
Sometimes they fought aliens or robots, but the villainous opponents of the Golden Generation were often just powerful
criminals, unscrupulous corporate fatcats, or corrupt politicians. These heroes had a direct and real effect on the city’s
mundane existence. The remaining heroes of the Golden Generation often lament that theirs was the last generation of
heroes to really fight both the superhuman and the all-too-human threats.
The stakes were different for heroes in those days. Periodically there’d be a monster like the Gorgomoth, a gigantic
minotaur creature that stomped down Halcyon’s streets, or an evil genius gone mad like Captain Coldheart. These
threats posed real danger to the city, but they were rare. There were countless costumed criminals, stealing priceless
artifacts and jewels or playing pranks on public officials, but they weren’t interested in hurting anyone. The city as a
whole wasn ft under as much threat, let alone the rest of the world.
The culture of Halcyon City often presents the Golden Generation as a simpler era of superheroics?a time of obvious
and easy conflicts?but there’s a stronger and stronger impulse to deconstruct that narrative. The Golden Generation had
real battles to fight, real struggles. Women and minority heroes were often laughed at, degraded, insulted, and ignored?
they had to fight for every single ounce of respect they could get. The entire city was filled with the prejudice and
bigoted ideas of that era. While the conflict between Champion and the pugilistic Deadly Devil might have been simpler
than those faced by later generations, Champion’s struggle as a homosexual man and public figure in the 1940s was far
For all the flaws of the generation and the people within it, the heroes of the Golden Generation are credited with
starting everything, and you can find monuments to their victories and their sacrifices all over Halcyon City. Today,
most of them are either gone, having passed away or given everything in their struggles, or they’re retired.
Most from this generation who are still active are either trying to reclaim their lost glory or success?the Scarlet Songbird
wants nothing more than to be a relevant supercriminal again?or they’re the most powerful, most impressive, and most
enduring members of this whole generation. Aquaria, Brass Brilliant, and the Lady Faust might be from an older era, but
they survived into today for a reason, and they’re not to be trifled with.]
[The Silver Generation – Heroes Born From 50’s to 60’s]
[There was a sea change in the superheroic scene of Halcyon City during the ’50’s. For reasons unknown, superpowers
became more powerful, and with their increased powers came ever greater threats.
Many suprologists consider the first hero of the Silver Generation to be the Silver Savior?a hero covered in silvery
metal, capable of flight faster than ever seen before, nigh-invulnerable, as strong as Champion if not stronger, wielder of
the Silver Spark and all its powers. Sam Tolman was a mathematician and physicist, working for United States’
aeronautical research division, before he inadvertently summoned the Silver Spark to him with an experimental new
engine. With its powers, he became the first widely acknowledged representative of a new kind of superhuman. Silver
Savior was bright, shining, and powerful.
Silver Savior didn’t contend with costumed thieves. Instead, he fought Doctor Infinity, the all-powerful time-altering
android. He clashed against the Jabberwock, a monster risen from fiction itself to convert all of our reality into words on
a page. The battles he fought, while still mostly centered around Halcyon City, were often struggles over the fate of the
These powerful, impressive, explosive abilities and these incredible fights against enormous foes characterized this
generation. Nucleon fought against the Demonicator. Starbolt clashed against Sablestar. The battles at their worst
leveled whole city blocks, or changed the color of the sky for days, or left a scent of ozone and smoke pervading the
entire city?but Halcyon became more adept than ever at repairing the damage and restoring itself to “normalcy” with
Teams were more important to the Silver Generation than they’d ever been to the Gold Generation. Such incredible
threats meant these new heroes sought aid from each other. The Exemplars, the Silver Saviors, the Amazing Eight?all
saw their origins in this generation. And as the heroes banded together into new super teams, so too did the villains form
their own alliances against the heroes. The Silver Generation was a constant cycle of escalation, with all sides growing
in power and support for ever more epic clashes.
Toward the beginning of their rise to prominence, the Silver Generation made great strides on mundane struggles. There
was a major public push by the Silver Generation for equal rights among all the people of Halcyon and indeed America.
Some even took on overtly political roles.
But over the course of their time in power, the Silver Generation largely abandoned struggles against social issues, and
even against criminals or corrupt politicians. There were always exceptions, but by and large as their power grew, their
focus shifted ever upward, to greater and greater threats, planet enders and dimension destroyers and the like. While the
fight against such enormous threats was clearly important, those who criticize the Silver Generation often focus on the
fights that they let lie fallow…the changes they didn’t push for.
The Silver Generation is still largely around and in power today. They’re reaching the end of their time, however, and
many are looking into retirement of some kind. They’ve fought for many, many years to keep the city and the world
safe, and they’re well due their rest, but…it’s hard to see figures who fve been so prominent and dominant for so many
years easily abandoning their control. Many of the Silver Generation would love nothing more than to find successors
they can shape directly into new versions of themselves, to ensure that things continue exactly as they have so far.]
[The Bronze Generation – Heroes Born From 70’s To 80’s]
[Most suprologists, historians, and sociologists agree on a single defining moment as the transition point from the Silver
Generation and their ethos to something new, something more complicated and ambiguous: the Bronze Generation.
Quintessence, a younger hero acting within the style of the Silver Generation, was under threat by his greatest foe, a
telepath known as Psilence. Psilence targeted Quintessence in his real life as Niall Collins, publicly abducting and
threatening Niall’s best friend, a young man named Sam Reed. Quintessence attacked Psilence directly and angrily, and
Psilence responded with cold glee at having truly hurt her old foe. And when Psilence knocked Sam from the top of the
Colossus Building in downtown Halcyon, Quintessence responded with fear and desperation, rocketing down the side of
the building after his friend in a last ditch effort to save Sam.
The medical examiners couldn’t say with confidence what caused Sam fs death. It’s possible he was dead before
Psilence cast him off the building or perhaps he struck the building on his way down, but it’s equally possible (and a
much darker interpretation of events) that he died from the force of Quintessence striking him in mid-air in an attempt to
arrest his descent. Regardless, the fact remained: Sam Reed died for being friends with Niall Collins. Quintessence
failed to save him. Psilence had changed the game.
The ripples touched the new generation of heroes growing up in Halcyon City. Most of them had started out clearly
under the Silver Generation, acting in their style and idiom. But the death of Sam Reed started a wave of introspection
among the younger generation, forcing them to take a harder look at the failures of their parents and mentors. They saw
that the Silver Generation’s methods never seemed to solve the problems in their entirety. The Silver Generation often
seemed more focused on grand gestures than real change. What’s more, the Silver Generation still clung to power, held
their positions of dominance over the city and the world, and this new generation had little to no room to call their own.
Young heroes changed their identities and their ideas. They shifted away from their ties to the Silver Generation, doing
everything in their power to differentiate themselves and find whatever places were left to them. New heroes rose up,
touting new ideas and methods. Some, such as the sword-wielding and murderous vigilante Guillotine, pursued
unremitting violence against criminals. Some, such as the patriotic Blue Eagle, became political figures, trying to
change the system from within. Some, like super-scientist Dr. Sheila Supreme, left Halcyon City and even this world
entirely to explore brand new realms of possibility.
Some, like Agent Caldwell Wing, aka Soar, became government operatives, working from the shadows to do what was
necessary for good or ill.
The Bronze Generation defined itself in the cracks left for them by the Silver Generation. And they were the first
generation to truly doubt the entire idea of superheroism as it had existed so far. They opened doors to exploring
different ways of being heroes, even if many of those doors led to dark places. They took on social issues their parents
and mentors had left alone. And they carved out their own place as a darker, more exploratory, more cynical generation
than the ones that had come before.
The Bronze Generation is very much present and active today. Though members of the Silver Generation still sit in
positions of power over most of the city and throughout the superheroic society, the Bronze Generation have found their
own places and their own sources of power. They may not be as openly in charge as the Silver Generation, but the
members of the Bronze Generation are still positioned as people of import, and they’re ready to seize the reins as more
of the Silver Generation moves into obsolescence and retirement.]
[The Modern Generation – Heroes Born From ‘90s To Today]
[The newest generation of superheroes, most of them still quite young, comes from a unique place. They live in a world
well-used to the idea of superhuman individuals. Dinosaurs stomping down Main Street is just a thing that happens
sometimes; invading aliens and escaped products of mad science are treated as somewhere between average problems of
the city and tourist attractions. As the latest superheroes to arrive on the scene, they have a stronger, more innate grasp
of superhuman issues than any other generation?though that’s not always a good thing.
They don’t have a name yet, really?the name “Modern Generation” is a tentative placeholder, used right alongside “The
New Generation,” “The Young Generation,” and other names. They haven’t yet made their mark on the world, nor have
they developed as strong an identity as those who have come before. Halcyon City doesn’t know what it will become as
they grow up and rise to greater and greater power.
Some members of the Modern Generation have made splashes, especially in the realm of celebrity and the internet, like
teen pop-star turned villain Cygnus. Some have apprenticed themselves to older heroes, earning their names in the city
at large as scions of the powers that be, like the Silver Ace, wielder of a portion of the Silver Spark. Most are aware of
fame and popularity, of the voices of everyone around them, more than those of other generations. And they all feel the
eyes of the older generations on them.
So far, they fve proved themselves a generation of greater hope and greater skepticism, somehow, than any other
generation. They fre aware of both the triumphs and the failings of those who came before them, in a way no other
generation has been. They see the Gold Generation’s nobility, and all-too-easy oversight; the Silver Generation’s power
and success, and domineering attitudes; the Bronze Generation’s frustration and search for new alternatives, and ultimate
failure to change anything significantly.
All of that history weighs on them, as they try to determine who they want to be, and what they can do. Maybe they
want to change the world; maybe they give up the fight and go for fame instead. Maybe they think the whole system
needs fixing; maybe they try to work within the rules. In all cases, they’re still finding their way, deciding exactly what
they’re going to be, and what world they’re going to make.
The world awaits with trepidation and excitement to see what they will finally become.]
[Superhero teams have been an important part of the city’s metahuman social scene since the Silver Generation, and
even before. They’re viewed with the same combination of celebrity awe and interest as a combination of Hollywood
celebrities and up-and-coming tech companies. Some long-standing teams like the Exemplars have become part of the
fabric of the city, while new ones are viewed as spunky newcomers trying to find their own niche.
A team is far better equipped to actually deal with threats than individuals are, and forming a team is a great way for up
and coming superheroes to get attention and a level of authority that individual members might not have on their own.
But there’s no tried and true method here. Some teams are corporate sponsored, some are brought together by random
happenstance, some are successors to existing teams. Halcyon City now has a large enough superhuman population that
the turnover of teams is pretty high, and for every team you’ve heard of, there are probably five or more that you
[The Advanced Expert Group for Intervention and Security is the primary governmental agency for the metahuman
world. Its roots go way back to the Gold Generation, but it’s changed a great deal over the years. At this point, it has
agents and strike teams, metahuman holding facilities, a tremendous intelligence network, and more. When metahuman
law enforcement is necessary, it comes from A.E.G.I.S. That makes A.E.G.I.S. somewhere between a constant thorn in
the side of the superheroes of Halcyon City, and one of their strongest allies.
Only the highest level agents of A.E.G.I.S. know who’s on the current Board of Directors. They fre all either agents or
important people in the superhuman community or the world at large. And the decisions they make are ostensibly for
the good of the whole world…but superheroes have come into conflict with A.E.G.I.S. and its Board plenty of times,
either publicly or secretly.
A.E.G.I.S. is always on the lookout for new talent, for those who can do what needs doing to keep the world safe from
genuine superhuman threats. It’s found agents even among the young. A.E.G.I.S. keeps files on everyone, and fosters
and recruits new talent wherever possible. But A.E.G.I.S. isn’t a place to be a superhero?it’s a place to be an agent, a
servant of a greater purpose that pushes you to make hard decisions. Joining A.E.G.I.S. can change you, and not always
for the better.]
[Villains And Crime]
[The metahuman population is still ultimately a fraction of the regular population of Halcyon City. But just as there are
more heroes than ever before, there have never been more villains and super criminals than there are today. They go
hand in hand with the heroes, falling into the same generations and styles as their counterparts. Gold Generation villains
were a bit cheesy and generally kinda tame; Silver Generation villains were over the top and cosmically powered;
Bronze Generation villains were intense and frightening; Modern Generation villains are still finding their own places in
Although many metahumans can make more money legitimately than they can through crime, that’s not true for all of
them. And many aren’t just interested in the money in and of itself?they want the thrill of crime, or they can’t stand the
mundanity of regular work. A young super-powered woman from a poor neighborhood might be able to make herself a
celebrity…but it’s just as likely that monolithic and dangerous corporations will kidnap her for further study, or lock her
into controlling contracts. She might be better able to earn money if she simply steals it.
Many supercriminals are mercenaries, taking up dangerous work in exchange for tremendous pay, with no concern for
the morality of their jobs. These criminals abound throughout the city, although they’re not considered the greatest
threats from the metahuman side of life.
“Supervillain” or “villain” are terms used with a bit of chagrin as they feel outdated and useless and used all the time, as
no one’s come up with a more catchy term for the superpowered entities that threaten Halcyon City. These aren’t the
people out to make money or rob banks; these are the people out to end the city or take control over time itself. The term
is applied unilaterally to extend from dangerous super scientists to time-traveling demigods, all of which Halcyon City
has seen over the course the past century.
The heroes of Halcyon City have defended it well, and it has weathered many a crisis from these threats. So the city
begrudgingly accepts the endless cycle of new heroes arising to combat new villains, and new villains arising as a result
of the actions of the heroes. Though the city’s media or politicians may criticize any individual hero, the populace
largely accepts this cycle as “just the way things are,” for better or worse. It’s the new normal.]