1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Writer's Block (Me too!)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Marcelo, Sep 30, 2008.

    So, to keep my super-hero story interesting, I want to have a lot of secondary and enemy characters that, although not important to the story, need to have super powers nevertheless. So, here I am. Start typing down super powers!

    These are the ones I have already in mind:

    Mind Reading
    Energy Conversion
    Far Sight
    Fire Manipulation

    And... That's all (Damn, I suck at this!) So, some help all-knowing comrades?
     
  2. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    Instead of listing powers first, I'd suggest building up an underlying system to your world --and let the powers come from those rules. If you've got a reason, within your system, for ESP like mind-reading to be a separate skill from ESP like farsight... then you can just investigate different conditions to give reason for other powers.

    Maybe one character reads minds in the sense of hearing the voices in people's heads (the ones in your head while reading, or if rehearsing something you're about to say-- conscious, verbalized thoughts) and can't do mind-control because people know if the voices in their heads aren't theirs. So, another reads a deeper level of thought, intentions and concepts, mental images even-- but is completely lost if the subjects think in words (animal communicator, maybe.)

    That frees up all sorts of other powers-- maybe another specializes in the subconscious (dreams), or memory, or emotions.

    Likewise, what would prevent someone from generating fire, if they can manipulate fire as if it were a substance? If the power is to control substances, then the character can make air particles move fast enough to combust... or, if fire manipulation is the domain of energy, it can kind of "cross-train" manipulation of heat, light, and electricity. Meanwhile, the power to control breezes lends itself to both the skill of making bursts of flame and controlling the weather.

    A last example, take teleportation:
    Does the nature of consciousness in your world, allow for someone to break their physical body apart and fly in pieces somewhere else to put themselves perfectly back together?
    Or do they merely warp the fabric of spacetime so what's miles away would take just one step-- and they smooth it out again once they're there?
    Does your world subscribe to information being a physical dimension or substance, that your characters are familiar enough with as to sense and utilize wormholes, to teleport?
    Or is it possible to teleport around an object, get melded to it upon re-materialization, and die?

    From that, you can also get flight (maybe the nature of consciousness only allows them to control their own bodies and nothing more), bending space and time, re-coding reality information, and phasing through solid physical objects.

    Hope this helped, even though it wasn't in list form... :cool:
     
  3. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Watching "Heroes" may work. Lots of super powers there... Although you can convert pretty much any material/item/emotion into a super power.

    Super power basics;
    -Super powers have anti-powers
    -Any element can be manipulated
    -And modern day item can be replaced by a super power
    -Every emotion has a super power

    Fire manipulation has Ice manipulation. Telepathy has... a different sort of telepathy?
    Earth, Wind and Fire, hear my call!
    Who needs cars/trains if you can teleport or run very fast. Who needs a phone if you telepathy.
    Hate = wanting to hurt someone, joy = wishing someone luck with his tasks, etc etc.
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're having this much trouble coming up with superpowers, maybe you shouldn't be writing a superhero story. I think you need to flex your imagination a bit. I could run off a list of superpowers, but I'm not, because I think you need to go it alone on this one.

    However, I will give one piece of advice. Just about any good superpower has been done before, so I suggest you focus more on how these powers are used. For example, if your hero is fighting a guy who manipulates electricity, don't just have him hurling lightning bolts for the entire fight. Maybe he can turn himself into electricity and teleport through the power lines. Maybe he activates random electrical devices throughout the fight (i.e. starting up cars, power tools, lights, etc). Does he wear anything to enhance his powers (metal gloves, steel boots, chain mail, etc)? What other abilities come with his powers (magnetism? can he walk on steel walls with his metal boots)? What are his weakneses (maybe water causes his power to backfire and he shocks himself)?

    If this isn't enough to get you thinking, I don't know what will.
    Don't let your imagination atrophy; work out all day, everyday.
     
  5. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I kind of agree that if you can't think of material for your story, then you shouldn't write it. I believe that you should have a general theme and direction for the story before you write the first woord. What is the story about, beyond the obvious?

    Of course that doesn't help your question.

    Superpowers can have a wide variety of options. You can have magic, science project leads to powers, natural elements (Earth, wind, fire, water), mutant (some exageration of human abilities), mechanical devices used for enhancement, an alien (Superman), and all combintions.

    I think it's good to match personality of the character with powers, not always though. But, an example would be having the good guy happily use his powers which shrivel eyeballs and make people tear their own throats out. That's not a very noble power and it would be hard to like him after he used that power on criminals who don't deserve such a punishment.

    So, I'd ask "who are these people," and "why are they doing whatever," in relation to the plot.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Dream walking. The ability to enter other peoples dreams. To even manipulate their dreams, or cause them to dream what you want them to dream. You could for example visit them as an angel and tell them God wants them to do, such and such. They might just do it if they have enough of these dreams.

    Astral Traveling can be a cool power. Or the ability to not only leave your body, but to be able to physical manipulate objects with your astral self, such as the girl in Door To December.

    It will be hard to think up new powers, so instead check the comics.

    Superman- Flight, Lazer eyes, freeze breath, super breath, x-ray vision, strength, iron skin.

    Wolverine - regeneration. The girl on Heroes also has this ability.

    Night Crawler - Teleportation

    Wonder Woman - Invisibility

    The Professor - Mind Control

    Magneto - You should know

    Check out Dr Strange.
     
  7. Tyranos
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    Tyranos New Member

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    Immortality? Flight? Shapeshifting? Mimicry? Biological Manipulation? lol, I dunno.
     
  8. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Okay, thanks! And for those saying I shouldn't write a superhero story... I asked for superpowers, not for your opinion on that matter. Before writing a story, the writer needs to do some research, and that's what I'm doing. I can think of a LOT of superpowers, but I rejected most because of originality. I'll get some superpowers a la Watchmen and Wanted. Thanks again.
     
  9. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Try picking up a couple of superhero-themed roleplaying games. Silver Age Sentinels, Aberrant, HERO, Mutants and Masterminds, etc. Those all have laundry lists of powers designed to be somewhat flexible (to accommodate creative players) but also unified into a system of sorts.

    At the very least, you can spark some ideas off of them.
     

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