Here's some superheroes that are a tad different... and by different I mean terrible.
Sure we all know of super heroes who can fly, use telekinesis, super speed, uber strength, and shoot blasts of energy to stop crime or save the world.
But what about powers that are a little bit different?
What about a hero who doesn't really have any 'super' powers per say. He's just a regular guy, but when he dies, he (unwillingly) wakes up in control of another persons body. (It may be dark and hard to balance, but hey)
Any ideas? Don't hold back!
Wow, that's quite a list. I'm not sure about their decision to include Madam Fatal: there's no superpower there, only eccentricity. The one that really had me shaking my head was the Red Bee, though that Black Condor...again, wow.
Not being the creative type, the powers I see in most Supers sourcebooks regularly exceed anything I can come up with, in terms of being bizarre. Not being the particularly humorous type, I'm a little reticent at tossing out powers that are so bizarre they are ludicrous.
I suppose what interests me is the more workmanship-like approach of taking fairly well known powers but assigning them unusual characters, constraining them with unusual limitations or side effects, and simply placing them in an interesting setting. I particularly like it when the side effects seem almost tangential or unrelated to the power, as that can really change or create a unique atmosphere to a setting. There was a pbp sub-forum doing just that, I believe. League of Wonders, if I understand it correctly, was setting known superpowers in the Victorian era.
The idea you came up with, Chavic, is nearly identical to one of the Geasses (basically superpowers) from the TV series Code Geass. Not having TV, I don't know if this is a series that is really familiar to everyone, or relatively unknown. The series is easy enough to look up, but if it's just a list of superpowers, maybe a short list of the more interesting Geasses I know about would be in order.
They follow the theme I mentioned earlier about being fairly well-known powers, but the limitations, or in many cases, the personalities of the users, is what makes them interesting to me. Since discussing the character personalities of Geass Users is not useful for a list of super-powers, I'll just talk about the limitations and side effects of the powers themselves. Hopefully this isn't old hat to everyone.
The usual warning is in order: Spoilers for Code Geass ahead.
For Geasses themselves, there are universal limitations/side-effects:
1) A Geass user's eyes glow with the universal "Geass symbol" when they use their power, making it both obvious that a super power is being used, and also obvious to anyone who's familiar with Geass that the hero or villain is a Geass user. Furthermore, people familiar with Geass know that the symbol manifesting in one eye is normal, but if it manifests in both eyes, the Geass is unusually powerful.
2) A Geass itself grows in power with continued usage, but with the increase in power comes a corresponding increase in side effects, some of which can be quite malevolent. Since Geasses change over time, I chose to list Geasses from what I consider the most "interesting" points in their development.
And here are some Geasses I remember:
- The power to possess someone at the moment of your death
This is very similar to the idea you put forward, Chavic.
1) You must make eye-contact with the recipient.
2) It is possible to reverse the power inadvertently, possessing your own corpse, and effectively dying.
3) The recipient need not be willing.
4) The recipient's own personality isn't destroyed; you can decide when your personality or their personality is in control of their body.
5) When your personality is "submerged" you can communicate telepathically with the person who originally gave you this power.
- The power to "stop biological time"
This might qualify as an unusual or even a bizarre power. It's basically a super-hypnosis that causes people within a several meter radius to think their personal time has stopped. They freeze in place and become unconscious to events and stimulus that happen around them.
1) The power only works for about half a minute at a time. It can be used repeatedly, but there is a "downtime" of a few seconds between uses.
2) Although the rest of your body is immune to the Geass, your heart muscle isn't, effectively putting you in cardiac arrest and incrementally damaging your heart each time you cast the Geass. Using the power repeatedly in succession is fatal after a certain point.
- The power to rewrite memories
1) This is one of the more powerful Geasses that doesn't suffer the limitations of some similar Geasses: it can be used repeatedly on the same subject and can be turned on or off at the whim of the user.
2) The Geass can rewrite entire life histories ("I am an only child."), or give people delusions about themselves. ("I am blind.")
3) Memories are rewritten subjectively by the victim to make sense, or at least be unquestioned.
- The power to see your immediate surroundings seconds into the future
I'm sure I've read about this super power in other places, though it's a little rare, I think. It's a great benefit in combat because it's not just a snapshot of the future, but it's the entire set of motions between the present and then. In other words, you know exactly how your opponent is going to shoot that gun, or feint with that sword. It doesn't prevent you from seeing the present either, so it's not like you can't react to immediate threats.
Now, what's a superpower scenario without a few meta-powers?
- The Geass Canceler
Permanently removes all the effects of Geass within several meters (except for the Geass Code, below). For example, people under the absolute command Geass will have their orders negated and will also remember who gave them the order and what the order consisted of.
1) It also automatically responds to counter Geass effects used in its proximity, such the biological time suspension Geass.
2) You are not necessarily aware of what Geasses or Geass effects you may have just negated.
3) It removes the effects of Geass, including otherwise-permanent effects, but it does not permanently remove the ability to use a Geass from a Geass User.
- The Geass Code
1) Anyone who possesses a Geass Code is immortal, unaging, and cannot be affected by any Geass.
2) They can bestow the ability to use a Geass on any recipient, but they cannot predict the nature of the Geass power that will appear, and they cannot rescind the power once it's granted.
3) They can voluntarily relinquish their Geass Code, but only to the users of unusually powerful Geasses.
4) The recipient of a Geass Code does not have a choice in the matter, and "trades in" the use of their Geass power for the Code.
Last edited by Umiushi; 06-29-2009 at 02:43 PM.
Thanks guys. The terrible superheroes were very lol inducing.
Liked the Geass stuff and I'll look into it some more.
If you're looking for something serious, it is a little bit difficult to get something original without getting too complicated. This is the problem that I ran into in my last Supers game. Everyone wanted to be "original" and so the ideas were... out there.
Such as; the ability to create any gas, the power to make people in a certain radius of the character fall asleep when ever he fell asleep, the ability to breathe fire, etc.
I've always been a fan of superheroes who were normal, but got their powers from an object, like Juggernaut and the Cyttorak Gem. I once played a character who drank from the holy grail, which gave him the ability to heal wounds with his hands (like a D&D paladin). He was also into archery, but that was a skill, not a gift.
The ability to cancel out sounds could be cool for a certain type of character. Poisonous blood? Someone who can explode and regather their atoms? I donno, lol. Maybe someone with a medium ability? Who can command ghosts? Or talk to them?
Or maybe... someone with a gift... someone who... shovels well?
I like your idea about someone who is reborn into a new body when they die.
"Wit is educated insolence." - Aristotle
Nice brainstorming there. Also, that fire breathing ability sounds kind of nice, in a straightforward sort of way.
Death Note spoilers, this time.
I guess I'm on a TV show kick, because getting abilities from items reminded me of this one show called Death Note. I've heard it's kind of popular among the teenage crowd. The premise is that there's this notebook, and you can write a name in the book, and the person dies. I'm not sure what kind of story that would be on its own, except that there are a ton of limitations and side effects. The biggest side effect is that you can specify the nature of the death, which implies that you can control the victim's actions to a certain extent prior to the death. The main limitation is that you have to know the victim's given name (including correct spelling) and face in order for it to work. That means it's not too good against a masked avenger, or someone who's got an alias.
One of the major elements in the show provides a great example of twisting the rules just when your players think they've got everything down. If you give up half your remaining lifespan, you gain the ability to see people's given names. This means you only need to know a victim's face in order to doom them with the notebook. Doing something like that is just the thing when a party thinks they know everything there is to know about their opponents, although I'd caution against making it arbitrary and out of the blue. The reason it works in Death Note is because the "protagonist" is the Death Note user.
A Death Note user is an incredible super villain. Unless you make sure the players have an appropriate amount of clues in advance, this could totally wipe out a party at any level of power before they knew what hit them. On the other hand, masked avengers might be just the thing to deploy against someone with a Death Note. However, if your secret identity gets revealed, that's pretty much it. Even if the party has adequate defenses, the other half of the equation, as it was in the show, is actually figuring out who's using the infernal device.
Last edited by Umiushi; 06-30-2009 at 12:22 PM.
That's an awesome concept. It sounds like it would be an amazing villain.
It made me think of something like... the ability to curse people with effective curses. Though I think that might be a little bit... abusive.
Also, a VERY cool superpower from the Marvel title Runaways: one of the characters has a staff, that only emerges when she bleeds (so she typically has to hurt herself to use her powers). The staff allows her to cast a spell with ANY effect exactly ONE time. For example if she uses the staff to shoot a fireball, she can never again use the staff to shoot a fireball.
"Wit is educated insolence." - Aristotle
Death Note is my absolute favorite anime, on the serious side of the fence. I love it. It's so well done, and if you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?
Well for a hero with a non power theres "Akumetsu" whos only real power is a clone army of himself, when one dies wering his mask, they get there memorys sent to all the unborn clones, making him more skilled the more clones that die.
just a thought.
My favorite is Paper Control. Think about how much stuff in the world is made of paper? And being able to make the paper as hard as steel and even cut through metal? AWESOME
The main theme is to take some random historical character, say, economist Adam Smith or architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and given them some ridiculous, but also effective and thematically-appropriate superpowers, a completely different personality, and then play for keeps.
R.O.D and Vision of Escaflowne Spoilers Ahead
There was also Miss Deep, who could selectively phase through solid matter. Just the sort of person you don't want to be reaching through the wall and grabbing your heart muscle.
However, the villains were something else: dopplegangers of historical figures given superpowers to augment what they were famous for, including:
Jean Henri Fabre, 19th century French entomologist -- Gains the powers of insect control and metamorphosis that progressively makes him more and more like a cricket-centaur.
Xuanzang, 7th century Chinese monk -- Has the Monkey King's golden-banded staff that can extend to great lengths and still be wielded (just the thing for taking out any pesky spy satellites); can breathe fire; flies on clouds (generated by a handy portable steam engine); and can perform various religious miracles.
Otto Lillienthal, 19th century German aviation pioneer -- Gets a jet-powered, possibly supersonic, glider and a big supply of potato mashers.
and my favorite:
Ludwig van Beethoven, 18th-19th century German composer -- The Suicide Song: if you listen to it, you must kill yourself.
This brings to mind my other favorite historical figure adapted as a supervillain: Isaac Newton from The Vision of Escaflowne. That was a fantasy setting, but I imagine it must be pretty demoralizing to find out that the Evil Overlord is a former scientist who's turned himself into a cyborg wizard, and his superpower is "Control of Destiny."
Its not that she can only get the effect one time, but can only use a spell a single time. For instance if she wants to use a ice spell and yells 'Chill Out' as her spell she can only do that once, but could get the same effect yelling "Freeze!" or saying the same thing in other languages. Of course that was to start with, she now has another magic weapon along with the Staff of One.
As for bizzar powers...
A early human 10-15 thousend years ago sees a metorite crash into the earth, spends the night sleeping next to it cause it is warm and because of the odd radiation from it stops aging. From them on any time he dies he wakes up agian the morning after he slept next to the metiorite with all of his memories so he can do things different the next time around.
This is a good idea, it blends two of DCs characters and gives them a twist.A early human 10-15 thousend years ago sees a metorite crash into the earth, spends the night sleeping next to it cause it is warm and because of the odd radiation from it stops aging. From them on any time he dies he wakes up agian the morning after he slept next to the metiorite with all of his memories so he can do things different the next time around.
In the DCU a caveman named Vandar Adg of the Blood Tribe found a meteorite that gave him a superhuman (neandrathal) intellect and granted him immortality. A little while later another caveman from the Bear Tribe found the meteorite and it granded him powers as well.
Vandar Adg became Vandal Savage a.k.a. Khafre, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Blackbeard, Genghis Khan, Jack the Rippper etc. etc. He was also friend and advisor to Erik the Red, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and others. Savage has millenia of knowledge, combat skills, and experience to draw on, though he must drink the blood and harvest the organs of his descendents to maintain his health. He may be killed from injury.
The man from the Bear Tribe became the Immortal Man, with the power to come back from the dead as someone else whenever he died.
However, after one of the Crises, the Immortal Man wrote himself out of existence and was replaced by the significantly cooler Resurrection Man.
Resurrection Man is immortal, with a twist. He can be killed, but each death lasts from seconds to a couple of minutes, and when he is revived he has a new super power.
Vandal Savage would be a terrible PC for most campaigns, and the Immortal Man is doable, but kind of boring. Resurrection Man, however, could be a lot of fun, and easy to do with some simple steps.
1.) Make a character who can come back from the dead (this is pretty much inherent in most comics [coughjeangreycough] and is possible in most systems, I think)
2.) Use however many points you want/can/whatever to give your character a super power. For example, the old standby, eye lasers.
3.) Now you have an immortal character who shoots eye lasers. The next step is to make a chart of other super powers with the same point total as your eye lasers. Numbering this chart would be helpful.
4.) Every time your character dies, the GM rolls according to your chart, and you come back with X super power.
I highly recommend putting some powers on there that suck, and some that don't use the whole point total, and maybe, if you GM is okay with it, some that are REALLY good. That way your power level fluctuates and it's not only random, but a true luck of the draw.
Then you would get stuff like... A big battle with the big bad villain, your hero is wailing away with his super-strenght, but a lucky shot sends him plummeting from the rooftop to his death. Ten seconds later, your hero revives, with the power of MINTY FRESH BREATH.
"Wit is educated insolence." - Aristotle
Hey, Dazzler is one of my favorite superheroines. At least through the first 20 issues or so of her own comic, she was doing well, even going up against the Hulk, Dr. Doom, and Galactus himself.
Unfortunately, after about issue #20, the stories went downhill fast. The gal who made Galactus himself notice her suddenly couldn't handle the cliched two-bit thugs that form half the comic book population. They should have just ended the series when Galactus returned her to Earth.
(Or maybe sent her out among the stars -- that could have been cool.)
After reading Dazzler #9 (my first Dazzler comic), I decided to put a Red Dazzler character in my own superhero RPG game, making her an NPC born and operating in the Soviet Union. If I had actually had a chance to bring her into the storyline, I think it would have worked out well.
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A few ideas, although I don't know if any of them are really radical:
1. Miss Lead. Able to turn herself into lead. Might not be much to base a career on.
2. A guy able to give other people special powers or abilities. He can make somebody else stronger or smarter, or give them laser vision, or something like that.
3. superheroes based on monsters from other role playing games, such as Harpies, Mariliths, or Scorpion Men.
A few ideas that I've read comics of:
A. the Acidic Jew was a jewish character who was constantly generating acid from his fingers.
B. The Electric Company had a superhero who could transform one thing into another, by changing the first letter. (He could change rugs into jugs, or rats into cats, etc.)
I was reading a magazine article once, and one sentence was phrased in a way that I had to read it three times before I figured out what it was really saying.
What the sentence seemed to be saying is that they were selling cereal that boosted your immunities to yogurt.
Immunity to yogurt would be a bizarre super power. Although having to eat a bowl of a certain brand of cereal would be a very severe limitation on this power.