Pardon the dust. This site is still under construction.
For the most part, the world at large doesn't much differentiate between mutants, metas, or any other superiorly gifted human being. All the public really knows is that these folks can do things they can't. Weird things. Bizarre things. Down-right frightening things.
But, those in the know are well aware of the subtle differences. Mutants and metas, while both are the result of altered genetic structures, are triggered by different combinations of genes. True, they are more-or-less separate sub-branches of the same trunk, but there is still overlap there. After all, there are only so many ways the human genome can be manipulated and still be both viable and, frankly, human. Stray too far from the base trunk, and DNA ceases to be compatible, after all1.
And, there are other off-shoots as well, such as the Atlanteans. Most surface-worlders know less about the water-dwellers than they do about the mutants and metas in their midst, however. And even scientists are stymied in their research of those proud people, given how (understandably) xenophobic and protectionist they've been.
Beyond that, however, there are scientific marvels like clones and aliens. Aliens? Yes. The general public scoffs at such things. Even those super-humans who openly call themselves such are met with a certain skepticism. After all, why look to the stars for alien life when life here provides enough oddities of its own? And clones? Most people consider that still in the realm of science fiction — unless you're talking about sheep. Again, though, high-level scientists know differently. And they know that, sometimes, there are meta and mutant genes or alien physiology all tied up in that, too.
This doesn't begin to cover other gifted human beings, either — men like Tony Stark, publicly acknowledged as Iron Man, who brings a high-level of unconventional inventiveness to the table, or like Batman, whose real identity is unknown, but who is widely acknowledged to possess little in the way of "super-human" abilities but much in the way of exceedingly-well-trained abilities… so well-trained, in fact, that it takes a super-human to out do him. And, even then, it's a gamble. What is the average citizen to do against all of these remarkable forces? What can the government, or anyone else, do against them?
The United States political climate suffers from uncertainty as it grapples with difficult fundamental issues regarding Superheroes, the Mutant Race, and the protection of its citizens from domestic and international threats. American politics are dominated by two parties: The Progressive Party and the Tomorrow Party, who both have a stronghold in the major institutions of the government. Though more moderate than major political parties of the world, the two never hesitate to bicker, leading to deadlock and frustration both in the bureaucracy and in the public.
Economically, while the United States is still an economic juggernaut, the dollar pales in comparison with other major financial currencies such as the Euro and the Pound. Moreover, the large American governmental debt is owed to bankers from all over the world. This leaves the United States in a precarious position as an economic powerhouse rife with concerns for the future.
The United States has a schizophrenic relationship with its superheroes. Large swaths of the country support heroes as an answer to an increasingly violent and nasty world. Others are mistrustful, calling on the government to either rein the heroes in, try them in a court of law, or at the very least document them and force them to register.
The mutant gene, which has become more prevalent over the years, is another source of ambivalence in the United States. Like many civil rights cases before it, mutants have supporters who believe they should be accepted as members of society, and detractors who would prefer that they be watched. In many parts of America, mutants are still seen as second class citizens and treated poorly depending on the region.
The political climate varies depending on which region and city you are in. Generally speaking, the northeast tends to consider themselves progressive on social issues and have heavier tax burdens, while the American south is more conservative. City to city things can be very different, depending on the inner workings of the politics therein, and the makeup of the mood of the electorate.
Gotham is known, generally, to be a cesspool of politics and the land the American Dream became after a night of heavy drinking and nicotine patches. The economy is in shambles, with widespread unemployment and fiscal insolvency. Financial projections look week, and Gotham suffers from the worst crime rates in the nation.
The Big Apricot is often pointed towards as the gem of American democracy, capitalism, and industry. Politicians from both sides of the aisle seem to have a better working relationship here. Metropolis is a major center for technology firms, the aerospace industry, as well as imports and exports throughout the world. It's crime rate is relatively low, aside from some of the major villains who tend to show up now and again.
New York City
New York seems to be the best and worst of both worlds. For every gleaming skyscraper there's a dark alleyway just waiting to swallow an unsuspecting bystander. For every White Knight there's another corrupt politician looking to get rich by selling influence. This duality seems to permeate every facet of society from the balance of law and order versus the criminal underworld to the neon of Times Square and the underbelly of Hell's Kitchen.
The climate of the international community depends very much on where you are at the time. Certain places such as western Europe and North America enjoy a relatively stable existence, while other nations seem wrought with war, pestilence, and famine. Dictatorships and democracies vie for power and squabble over borders, money, and influence. Some nations are very hospitable to the mutant kind, while nations keep theirs as second class citizens. The worst nations have plans, public and private, to rid them of mutants altogether.
This article is currently in draft form and unfinished. Sorry. I'm just running out steam, tonight, folks.
Next section of the article will deal with the types of orgs that are out there. Some want to capture and study mutants and metas, perhaps, even, to "cure" them. Others, actually try to support them… after a fashion.
Pi provided the following write-up, specifically tailored to mutants and metas. (Thanks, Pi!) I'm leaving it here for reference, while I adapt it and use it as a spring board to introduce NPC orgs out to make lives miserable for heroes — or to actually try to help the heroes, instead. Generally, because the public don't differentiate between mutants and metas, and since most non-mutant heroes are actually metas, that kinda covers pretty much anyone who's not a clearly technological or purely skills-based hero. This means mutants aren't the lowest of the low. They're just part of the overall whole — which doesn't mean they aren't subject to prejudice. It just means people use the terms mutant and meta interchangeably. And that the pejorative "mutie" might just as well be applied to a disliked meta as to a bonafide mutant.
At the end of the day, the world is more tolerant of self-made heroes, "lab-created" heroes like super-soldiers, or cybernetically enhanced heroes than they are of people they believe to be "genetic freaks". That said, the attitudes even mutants encounter depends more on which city or community they're in and the experiences of those people with super-humans than anything else. As the saying goes, "Haters gonna hate." But, not everyone's a hater.
So use the generally attitude of the cities described on A Blended Universe as a basic guide, for now, and remember: If you want the public to hate your mutant, they will. Just 'cause that's how you play it.
Pi's Guide to Mutants:
Mutants and Metas have been around for quite some time. Thousands of years. As long as homo sapiens have been around, there has been some off-shoot. In the early writings, the first scribbles of humanity on the origin of the world, one can almost glean the existence of those extraordinary people. Angels. Devils. Those with inordinately long lives that do amazing things — miracles, if you will.
Today, mutants and metas are largely recognized for what they are. There aren't many, given the billions of people on the planet, but there are enough that they are //known. Everyone has an opinion even if not everyone has even ever knowingly met one.//
By some groups, they are hated. Vilified. Objectified until they are nothing but things. And once they are 'things', they can be easily destroyed because they're not really 'like us' now, are they? Or experimented on. Or 'cured'. Or locked away for 'their own good'. It's a tactic used throughout the course of history that allows one to apply salve upon the raw emotions. Whole groups of minorities have suffered through it all through history.
By other groups, they're the next step in human evolution and deserve support. They need to be studied, certainly, but in an 'advancement for all' rather than as a 'way to keep them down'. Why, they could have the cure for cancer buried in their genes, or any dread disease! Perhaps they hold the key to longevity. How did the quirk of their genetics trigger such a remarkable change? Can it be repeated?
As a result of such a climate under which they live, there are numerous organizations that have risen in order to support the mutant. Some seek to elevate the status of mutant to superior of that of humans, others simply seek equality, and some act as the buffer between human and mutant-kind, seeking to make sure neither side oversteps their bounds in regards to the other.