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Need a lame power.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Queshire, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    So, I'm trying to think up a special power for my main character, I want it to be something that on the surface looks stupid or useless, but by practicing with it and thinking about it he can pull of some crazy awesome stuff.

    So far, some other characters & powers I have include;

    A girl who can heal and buff, using these to give her superstrength.

    A guy that can see... stuff through a camera lense, it works a bit wonky but generally shows him whatever he needs to see.

    A guy that can do pretty much anything... provided he has the money for it. (Think general magic using money as mana, very versitle but not as individually powerful as a more specific gift)

    A guy with... a very powerful gift, I still need to think more about it, maybe turning into light? This guy starts out as a decent guy but ends up being the big bad.

    For my main character, I want him to be the type of guy that uses his head to deafeat his opponents, leaving the brute smashy stuff to his partner, the white magic girl.

    Some options I've considered include;

    -Creating... stuff. At it's most basic he can create swords or other simple objects without many moving parts, complicated objects are harder, and he cand adjust the parameters of the object, making the objects he creates soft or transparent, this is my original idea, but I'm worried it maybe to heroic.

    -Manipulating the weight / density of himself and things he touches. This gives him a pesudo- superstrength effect by making say, a car weigh as much as a feather. But I'm afraid that falls under his partner's bailiwick.

    -Manipulating heat. There was a part of one of the Dresden Files story where Harry pulls the heat from one mook, freezing them, then tossing it at another mook as a fireball. That really resonated with me. He could heat stuff, freeze stuff, create mirages, manipulate the weather (to a limited extent) etc, and so on.

    -Creating barriers. Let's him well, create barriers, invisible mazes, swords, pressess... lots of stuff.

    -Teleportation. Well, besides moving himself and others, he can shoot high pressure blasts of water or lava, utterly destroy something by teleporting it everywhere at once, bit too game-breakery though.

    I'm currently liking the barrier warrior idea, but what do you guys think? Do you have any other suggestions for otherwise lame powers?
     
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  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Steal a page from Niven. The guy is a telekinetic. Said ability manifests itself as an extra 'hand' - with *all* of the limitations a normal hand would have, except its invisible. Pick up a wrench or a mug of coffee across the table? No problem. Pick up a heavy desk or car? No. Pick up a pen across the room...probably not.
     
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  3. The Din

    The Din Troubadour

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    How about fingernails that grow quickly? I've always liked that power.
     
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  4. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    My roommate and I were discussing lame superpowers at length one night and came across the Holy Grail of pathetic powers: turning anything you touch into plywood (or the equivalent). On a normal person this power would be less than useless. On a carpenter with a good amount of education in architecture, set in a world where things are mostly made of wood, the character could potentially weaken and destroy entire structures by replacing firmer wood with the stuff that can't bear much weight.

    Not really sure if it's quite what you're looking for though
     
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  5. Tau

    Tau Dreamer

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    in one of the X-men movies there was someone who was taking notes by waving their hand over the page. I don't know if that was supposed to be part of something bigger or the entire power, but someone whose superpower is the ability to write without moving their fingers would seem pretty lame.
     
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  6. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I'm thinking I'll go with the barrier warrior idea actually, but one of the main themes of my story is people being thrown into a life-or-death fight for all of humanity that are frankly unsuited for fighting, either due to their personalities or their powers, so keep the ideas coming!

    "It's easy to be a hero when you got Flight, invunerability, superstrength, and superspeed, less so when all you can do is make a spot appear on the wall"

    I -do- like the plywood idea, but I think I'd change it to transforming whatever you touch into cheese. Mmm.... cheese...
     
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  7. Drakhov

    Drakhov Minstrel

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    Probably something your MC can do with their 'powers', but which takes more effort to accomplish that way than simply doing it normally - like in ThinkerXs example, the characters third hand can only really accomplish what he could just as easily do with his regular 2.

    I have 2 anthologies of short stories i got several years ago - wow just checked the copyright date, 1991! - i'm getting old!

    Temps and Euro Temps Edited by Neil Gaiman & Alex Stewart - the basics of these stories are that there are some people who have what are euphemistically called Talents - in other words superpowers. In typical Euro / British Civil Service mentality, they have to register with a government agency in order to claim a small allowance, on the understanding they can be called on anytime the government requires them / their power. While such an individual in the USA would be a a superhero and a celebrity, with their own action figures, TV shows and spandex costumes, their British counterparts are at best government drones or at worst layabouts on the dole who get an extra few quid a fortnight - Temps.

    One of the stories - Leaks by David Langford, concerns one such, who is seconded to the Ministry of Defence. Apparently there's a spy stealing defence secrets (his power is that he can transfer liquids from one place to another, so long as the liquid contains alcohol - he generally uses his power to get free drinks in bars - quite why the agency thinks this would be useful in a spy hunt isn't made clear, but such is the way of British bureaucracy). Another thing is the liquid doesn't shoot across the intervening space, it simply transfers from it's source to his glass.

    Anyway, he demonstrates his ability to his MOD handler during lunch. Eventually it transpires that the handler is the spy, and the Temp is imprisoned in the MOD canteen storeroom. The handler believes that the Temp has greater potential and that he's self imposing the restriction of his power to alcoholic liquids - given sufficient motivation (in this case a little light torture provided by the application of electric shocks) he can accomplish greater things.

    Suddenly the Temp remembers their lunchtime drinking session - the handler had consumed several pints, and consequently he has a high blood alcohol content...
     
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  8. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    Cheese would probably work better, actually
     
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  9. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    I thought you said "lame" power. Manipulating density, materializing barriers, teleportation?

    A lame power–by which I mean "not something people would automatically be impressed by": I can think of great ways to apply any of these–would be something like controlling perceptions of odor. Giving people the sensation of insects crawling on them. Inducing temporary dyslexia. Being able to make himself heard at a great distance, though only by one person at a time and only in a conversational (or whispered) tone. Mastery of garden-trowel fu. (Wait: that one's been used.) Being able to throw a rubber-banded newspaper so that it lands exactly where you want it to every time. Perspiring dry-cleaning chemicals. The ability to stick to walls, ceilings or other surfaces, but only with hands, not feet… bonus points if it can't be turned off. Identifying any form of coffee or tea in the world from a mere whiff. Causing sexual arousal telepathically. Never having Windows crash.

    Okay, maybe the last one's a bit on the overpowered side, too. The rest should be okay.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
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  10. MattBone

    MattBone New Member

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    Hah, I'm dying to write something with all of these in it. Plus a guy who immediately knows the ending of any book / movie / play just by hearing the name. Then he tells you.
     
  11. zizban

    zizban Troubadour

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    Making someone sneeze at will. Guy concentrating to cast a spell? Sneeze to disrupt him!
     
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  12. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    What about the power to create and breed little crazy creatures?? They would have low intelligence and usually would just run around the house crashing into stuff (difficult to train them) but if you can breed enough of them, you can eventually start an army of little creatures and be their commander =)
     
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  13. Always being able to find a parking spot exactly when needed.
     
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  14. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Is the ability to sleep anywhere in your home/ workplace anytime, without being disturbed by even the noisiest neighbor/co-worker considered a super-power?
     
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  15. SlimShady

    SlimShady Troubadour

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    Maybe he has an extremely good memory. (He can remember stuff from years ago to the point where he actually relives it in his head) This seems like a pretty lame super-power compared to the others.

    Or maybe he can make people forget things for a short period of time. The memory eventually comes back, but not until the character has left.
     
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  16. I'm running a RPG where each player got to make a character with a single, very specific power. The only rule was that each power has to follow a single unifying principle or mechanic.

    One of them picked "the ability to separate things." It's a type of telekinesis, but his character can only use it to separate things that are attached to each other. Even by the standards of the game this is an absurdly limited power, but the player has assured me that he's already thought of some very devastating ways of using it.

    One of the craziest powers I saw in that game was a guy who could speak to inanimate objects. This power was a telepathic-psychometric-telekinetic combo, meaning not only could he have the inanimate objects relay information to him (mostly about events that took place in their vicinity) but he could also talk them into doing things, like moving around and performing simple tasks.
     
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  17. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Like mortared bricks? Body parts? Chemicals in solution? Molecular bonds? If he has any imagination at all, he's gonna gut your game… not to mention everyone in it. :p

    Hope he has a code against killing. And maiming. And that you limit his power to acting only on things he can actually see… which will, at least, take out the most devastating possibilities.

    Such as the binding energy within atoms, or the strong force.… :eek:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
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  18. pmkava

    pmkava Dreamer

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    yeah just imagine if the all the protons and neutron of all the atomic nuclei of the atoms in any thing he saw just flew apart from each other... that would be awesome!
     
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  19. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Imagine what would happen if he separated them at the quark level... Scary.
     
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  20. topazfire

    topazfire Minstrel

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    Have you seen Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog? The first lame power I though of was 'Moist' (as played by Simon Helberg aka Mr Wolowitz) - completely useless, and gross, but hillarious!
     
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