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  1. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Unique Abilities

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Carthonn, Sep 13, 2009.

    I've been trying to think of a list of specific unique abilities. These are things that appear to be real but can actually appear to be only coincidence:

    Immortality
    Mind reading
    Ability to see future

    Or perhaps you might be able to give me unique abilities and I could attempt to create a situation.
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    There is no limit to the number of unique abilities that there could be out there. In the comic book world, there are comics with literally hundreds of characters, all of whom have special powers: look at the X-Men, or if you really want to go crazy, DC's Legion of Super Heroes. The latter group has characters such abilities as, the ability to blow yourself up like a balloon and become a bouncing ball (Bounching Boy) the ability to eat anything (Matter Eater Lad) the ability to clone yourself into two people and then, pull yourself back together into one (Due Damsel.) Another team, at Marvel, the Great Lakes Avengers, has such characters as Immortal Man (he can die, but he comes back to life a little while later) and Doorman (he can pass through a wall and create a temporary vacuum others can pass through, like a door, and then, when he moves out the wall becomes a wall again.)

    These are a few examples. It would take an eternity to write them all...then again, for all I know, your goal might be to write a book entitled "The Definitive List of Super Powers." If so, I've given you a little tiny head start.

    Charlie
     
  3. mattattack007
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    mattattack007 Member

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    If you want a specific list of unique abilities, you better start thinking!! Best abilities are the ones you make up.
     
  4. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Be sure to have characters underneath those abilities, and be sure that the characters are shaped by their abilities.
     
  5. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Hey, I just googled and found that Wikipedia had a list.

    There are as many, of course, as your imagination can conceive, and I'm quite sure there are many, many they missed.

    I don't know if they included it but a 1966 character (one of about a dozen different characters named "Captain Marvel," this one, an oddball character by a small, short-lived company) had the power to split his body apart... he would say a magic word and his arms and legs would fly off, so that his right arm could punch one bad guy across the room while his left leg is kicking another bad guy in another part of the room, and his head is bowling over someone else and his torso is flying into someone else. Then he'd say another magic word, and his body would re-assemble. Truly one of the weirdest super powers, ever!
     
  6. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    ...Jesus

    A lot of the Marvel and DC superpowers have struck me as rather flat and obligatory - the kind of thing that the writer's 5 year old son came up with and they were like "Yeah that might work."

    After zero copies of Kite Man Extraordinaire sell, they go back to genuinely entertaining ones =P

    Don't stress too much about the powers. You find that a lot of unimaginative writers write the story around the powers and not the character. Peter Parker wouldn't be a good character if he wasn't trying to juggle school and relations on the side, Tony Stark wouldn't be hilarious is he wasn't... well, hilarious.

    On the other hand some characters are just plot devices with a person taped to them
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Aw, come on, you gotta love Matter Eater Lad. ;)
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    My character develops the ability to see the frequences off all things, even atoms. Like a bat forms a mental image of his surroundings using sound waves, my character forms a mental image using the frequences. He can see ants crawling underground, termites in trees, bacteria in a person's body, a woman on the other side of a wall, life forms on another planet.

    However, at first he can't see very far, but by the end of the novel, he can see other galaxies and the things on planets in those galaxies.

    I think it's a cool power.

    I always tend to lean toward the metaphyical explaination of powers. If someone can walk on water, it's because they condense the atoms beneath their feet and lighten their whole mass by causing their atoms to move apart, which can make them look like a ghost. Hey, is that why they thought Jesus was a ghost when he walked on water?

    Other abilities.

    The ability to reshape matter at the microscopic level. You could make a hamburger from atoms around you, or a car, or pretty much anything. I don't know about making living things. I suppose you could form a dog from atoms, but I'm not sure if it would be alive.

    The ability to view any person's past as long as you touch them. Or the ability to view the past in general.

    The ability to control plants. Make them grow or even move. He could make tree branches grab someone and beat them. Make vines wrap around someone.

    The ability to communicate with animals telepathically, but not humans.
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Maybe I wasn't clear in what I was looking for. I just want abilities that might be considered super powers but also could be explained.

    For example:

    Ability to hear/talk to the dead. A very manipulative, charming and crafty individual might seem to talk to the dead but only tells what people want to hear. Kinda like John Edwards.

    Thanks for the lists but they really didn't have what I was looking for.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Psychic abilities like Sherlock Holmes. To an outsider, his acute senses make him appear to have a 6th sense. That's the only thing I can think of at the moment.
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Talking to animals.

    Communicating with plants.

    Ability to see devils or angels.

    Ability to see the vibrations of things. I already mentioned that power before and it could be explained away like talking to the dead could be. However, if someone could really talk to the dead they could easily prove it.

    The ability to communicate with ET.

    Power of seduction could be easily written off. People might explain it away as the person is just very good at manipulation and a form a hypnosis.
     
  12. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Excellent thanks. This is what I was looking for.

    I was also of thinking of doing a rise from the dead thing with doppelgangers or twins. I'm only going to use a few of these things as I fear it might come off as corny or predictable.
     
  13. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    You have characters underneath those powers, right?
     
  14. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    What a stupid question.

    Do I have to divulge the entire depth of my characters in order to ask a question?
     
  15. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. Or face our wrath!

    Don't be so mean, dude.
     
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  16. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Yeah you're right.
     
  17. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I like the opposite.

    For the OP's purpose, it makes sense for the pseudo-ability to manifest from the character's personality and natural skillset/desire. For example, some pychics actually believe in what they do. People believe what they want to be true (or what they're afraid might be true), and the human brain is capable of delivering full-blown hallucinations to a believer, even if they are otherwise healthy and sane.

    A perceptive individual with a solid understanding of psychology could make a good mentalist. That is, someone who can seem to read your mind and know your history through careful observation and manipulation.

    For ideas on illusion, you could always just watch magicians like Chris Angel, or read up on Harry Houdini.

    If you're interested in writing a story set in olde times, a would-be revolutionary chemist could very well set himself up to be a spiritual/religious master, a divine incarnation, etc.

    Millions of so-called healers in the present day use placebo. . Convince the patient through flawed reasoning/logical fallacy that the treatment will work, and the patient says it does. .

    Take homeopathy, for example. The idea is that if you take something like belladonna, (a poison that can cause symptoms like that of a cold) and dillute it to the point where none of the original substance remains, that the "spirit" (or whatever:confused:) of belladona remains, and will have an effect like a flu vaccine. If it were true, any/all water anywhere would have the cure for everything. . But the "Immunising water" is so popular, it's sold in most health food stores.

    Part of the reason is because a physician came up with the scam. That's another key point. If your character has some credibility-lending authority, he could potentially get away with a lot of BS.
     
  18. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    I apologise for causing offence, but I do not believe that it was a stupid question.

    I was simply referencing the staggeringly vast number of pseudo-characters that have been created- many that I have created- that are little more than a cool power or power set and a vague personality. The personality of a person with powers will be changed dramatically. The fact that your first post was three lines long and was simply trying to come up with powers had me worried, but since you have proven yourself to be quick to react, I rescind my question. However, knowing more about the characters in question would allow us to think of more effective powers that they might have; there is a huge gap between a salaryman who can speak to butterflies and an entymologist who can speak to butterflies.

    Strange, coincidence-based powers are often created by combining them with a similar weakness or derangement; a man who passively and uncontrollably scans people's surface thoughts, but also has schizophrenia, is a fine example. Making a character who believes they are undead and thus immune to bullets, and who is actually just ludicrously tough, is another.
     
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  19. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Apparently the article I copied was a copyright violation (sorry about that!) and I know links are also not permitted, so let me simply point out that by using google, with search keys like "super powers" or "super human abilities" you can search and find lists of many hundreds of super powers, including those mentioned here in this thread and many, many others.

    There have also been some ridiculous powers created for humor.

    A parody of the X-Men once had a character called "Zit-Pops" (parody of Cyclops) whose power was the force beams that came out when his acne blemishes erupted.

    Then there were the Mystery Men, which included a man called the Spleen whose power was to emit noxious flatulence, a man who had a great talent for throwing forks and spoons (never knives!), a man whose power was that he was great at shoveling, and a woman who was a great bowler, and who spoke to her dead father whose skull was inside her bowling ball.

    I think the greatest super-power of all in fiction may be the power demonstrated by Indiana Jones, James Bond and many others: To get into a seemingly impossible situation and, through a combination of luck and wit, emerge unscathed!

    More seriously--some of the best fiction is centered around ordinary people with extraordinary talent or ability that one could reasonably imagine attaining themselves. Robert Langdon in Dan Brown's novels, for example, has a great talent for deciphering ancient symbols. Not a super power, and something that any of us, with hard work and study, could conceivably attain--and it gets him out of (and into) many a dangerous predicament! (Best we ignore the additional super power of flight he seemingly attained in the atrocious ending to the 'Angels and Demons' novel, and consider the movie ending canonical, and that we all pretend the ending of that novel never happened.)

    There is only one stupid question.

    That is the one that didn't get asked.

    Charlie
     
  20. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I understand that this will be only a layer involved with my characters. But I guess if some retard stumbles in here perhaps they will be helped by your words of wisdom.
     
  21. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    ^ Defensive much? You asked for help, you got it. Don't be a dick to the people trying to help you out.
     
  22. Forkfoot
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    I thought it was a good contribution to the thread. Necessary, even. Guess I'll get back on the short bus now.
     
  23. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Respectfully, I don't like the "R" word, which is often used as a word to describe the differently abled or mentally challenged.

    Charlie
     
  24. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    As much as I hate political correctness- "Differently abled" just sets my teeth on edge, CharlieVer- I must agree. "Retard" is offensive and could easily be replaced by, say, "idiot" or "dumbass" or something, keeping the insulting nature of the post without offending anyone.

    I mean, bite the hand that feeds you all you want, Carthonn, but let's not be offensive about it.
     
  25. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I don't like "sets teeth on edge." You should say, "dentally discomforted."

    You might offend people whose teeth are actually on the edge.

    ;)

    (But I still don't like the "R" word...)

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in recommending calling someone "idiot" or "dumbass" so as not to offend?

    Is it not possible... to say nice things about people, with the goal being a kinder, gentler world?

    Naw, I didn't think so either.

    Charlie

    PS. Tracing the conversation back rather than focusing on words...

    B-Gas's advice was good and valid, and some very intelligent authors might make the error B-Gas suggested.

    Might the author of the OP consider saying something like, "Thank you for the very good advice, sir, but I assure you, my characters are quite deep in many ways other than their superior abilities. I can understand how another author might make that error, though, so it's a very valid point we can all take under consideration!"
     
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