Cool Powers?

Over the past few days, we've talked about our opinions on how magic should work, the costs of using powers, and magical disabilities. Well, here's the question that probably should have been asked at the very beginning: do your characters have any cool powers? What are they, and how do they work?


In my book Juryokine, the world is populated by humans and another humanoid race called the Sorakines. The Sorakines have super strength, super reflexes, and wings, but they still operate by the same rules we humans do, namely that even though they have wings they're still too heavy to fly. They get around this by being able to manipulate their own gravitational fields. They make gravity's pull on them weaker, thereby making them lighter, and wallah- they can fly! This is explained away in-story because their bodies naturally produce a chemical called juryo that gives them those abilities. The main character, Toke, is actually a human, but early on he's given the same powers as a Sorakine. He doesn't have super strength, and he doesn't have wings, but he CAN control gravity. Since he doesn't have wings to fly with, instead he uses his powers to change his gravitational anchor. That means that he can turn any solid surface he sees into the ground, letting him walk on walls and ceilings. Not Spider-Man wall crawling, actually walking on them like we walk on the ground. He can also weaken and strengthen gravity's pull on him, letting him jump really high and run really fast. And if he anchors himself to something lighter than him, he'll pull it towards him. He also has a way of sensing other fields of gravity around him, giving him a kind of "spider sense," because he can feel the gravity fields shifting around him, telling him when people are sneaking up on him.


What about you guys?


Oh, jeez, let's run down the list.


Respawn: can tag (save to memory, if you will) and replicate any single object, which in the process reduces the original to pure energy. In addition, if he takes a hit, his body will instantly restore itself to "last known good state". It has a hair freakin' trigger, though... he has asthma, so that sets it off. Losing consciousness (re: sleep) sets it off. Getting a little chilly sets it off. He can use it on other people, which tends to result in sudden nudity (clothes are a separate object from a person). But, he's also brought people back from the dead using his power, which makes him one of less than ten people in the setting who've ever been confirmed to have such an ability.


Anima: Manifests fantasy creatures that can cast magic spells. The problem? She's a devout pacifist, and pretty much everything she summons exist only to kill people (or praise her as a Goddess- usually both). Elves which read like some hybrid of Pratchett and Dwarf Fortress. Knights who respond to every perceived slight (re: anything less than treating her as royalty) by using their imaginary swords to cause real decapitation.


Also: all of her summons look like they were drawn by Disney. No matter the prevailing light or environmental conditions.


Wiki: He's quite literally got psychic access to the whole internet all the time. It... well, he's not exactly able to function in the real world on his own. One of those powers which the owner really wishes had an off switch.


Granny Greenwitch: She was old during the civil war, and owns a chunk of swampland near Roanoke which is technically not a part of the United States. She is a biomanipulator of sorts which constructs Veves to channel her power.


Ferne: The power to give weak powers to others. Nothing which exceeds normal human potential, but can make people into athletes or borderline geniuses. The amount of power she can grant is based upon how much the recipient trusts her.


Sympathy: the power to blend and redistribute powers. Giving Person A half of person B's power, and in return B gets half of A's power. Also the power to see how other powers work and a functional immunity to most forms of illusion and mind control.


Com: Can generate a single red holographic projection of himself. It can talk, but is otherwise unable to interact with the world. Also it's glowing and red, so, not great for stealth. But in his down time, he works with NASA by examining parts of the space station without the expense of EVA.


Crucible: Generates a field of warped reality which alters the chemical properties of matter which slowly reduces the temperature at which they spontaneously combust. He's not immune to heat, so... has to be very careful...


Quash: Creates a field of gravity which follows the inverse square law and can pump gravity up to roughly twenty times Earth. Is unaffected by his own gravity fields. Is affected by all other gravity fields.


Starfall: Creates a field of utter blackness. Also has a really impressive form of luck manipulation that allows her to defeat foes inside the darkness despite no greater ability to see inside the darkness. Has added padding to the butt of her costume, because the "fall" part of her name is literal.


She and Quash have what's known as a Pairbond in the setting. They can bolster each other's powers, and have an empathic link to one another. Together, they can actively warp reality to push events into occurring that are improbable, but not impossible.


Genius Loci: He is made of a living, contained sonic field. Invisible, and only audible when he wants to be heard. No senses other than hearing and something resembling really REALLY good echolocation.


Daybreak: Pretty standard bioelectric aura flying brick. Also comes with glowing. She can, for some reason, generate huge amounts of heat with her field if given time, but no electricity. Despite her power being a magnetic field. Flies feet first (think like a luge) because her power didn't come with the ability to tolerate strange positions like falling head first.


Damascus: Can touch steel (and iron, but the power is better on steel alloys) and turn it into a liquid metal he controls and reshapes at will. When under his control, it is effectively weightless and transparent (both are only for him, though). Has mass limits, and even in liquid state it has at best the same resilience as the metal would if not under his control. Can also adjust his vision so it sees steel- and nothing else. Great for finding hidden guns. Unless they're in a metal box.


Pack: Turns into an energy state and merges into animals, taking possession of them, and boosts their physical abilities while she's inhabiting them. Also has some limited form of control over animals she's not merged with- they'll never attack her and more social species will see her as a member of their group. Even trained attack dogs being given commands won't go after her. She can't possess bugs (or anything of similar size), but they leave her alone.


Guardian: Creates warped space forcefields that deflect all attacks away from the protected. Can create similar warp fields that direct attacks at a target, but only against people who've attacked his field (and only for a short time). He carries a gun.


Dream Girl: Can manipulate a person's memories and become a (female) they have strong positive emotions and nostalgia for. A mother, a dead childhood friend, anyone really. Some instinctive knowledge of the target's memories, and where that fails, their own memories are lightly adjusted. The power never shuts off, either. So... not the happiest ability in the world.


Ryujin: electrical generation that suffuses into water and lets her control it. Also: electrocute people and allow her to wear a swimsuit as a costume during the winter.


Vertigo: a peculiar form of sound manipulator. Generates destructive vibrations in organic tissue that can, at low levels, cause nausea and dizziness. At high levels... basically cause their eardrums, eyes, and eventually heart to explode.


Chantelle: biomanipulator. Creates mutagenic chemicals which "force evolve" organisms. Scientifically impossible? Yes. Does that stop her? No. Humans *can* use the mutagen, but Bad Things Happen. It's unknown if that's a limit in her power, or some sabotage of the recipe on her part.


Tundra: touch range energy absorber. Consumes vast amounts of heat out of her environment in liu of things like needing air or food. If she wants, she can reduce a human body to the temperature of liquid nitrogen in a matter of minutes. Also superhumanly durable, and when absorbing energy she operates like a powerful semi-organic supercomputer.


Mer: actually two people. One was a shapeshifter, and the other can generate a field roughly a block in range (centered on herself at all times) that behaves exactly like being underwater (except the not breathing and crushing pressure parts). Their pairbond allows both of them access to the shapeshifting ability and direct telepathy. They like to look like mermaids, but also go with sharks and other dangerous ocean life in combat.


Rose Knight: one of the most powerful Gadgeteers in the setting. Built a combat armor around forcefields, which cause light to red-shift when passing through them. Thus the name. Most of his weapons were built around forcefields, using them for flight, structural integrity fields, and hard-light blasts.


I've got dozens, if not hundreds, of others.


I'm not writing this story, but I've always been fascinated with the idea of 'intuitive cognizance": the ability to understand any mechanical system, no matter how advanced, given a certain period of time in its proximity. I think that'd be a great power that could lend itself to some creative solutions. Need to fling yourself a couple hundred feet in the air? Good thing you know how trebuchets and kevlar vests work, and are able to combine the two.


I think I'd call that story "Gearhead."


(I know this doesn't have anything to do with the question, but I just wanted to get that idea out there into the internets.)


In Curveball, CB's power is essentially to "make impossible things happen." but my favorite power so far is Agent Grant's ability to be in more than one place at the same time, which isn't the same thing as duplicating yourself and Grant gets pissed off if you claim it is.


@ubersoft In my second novel, I have a villain who can do that, but its a cyberpunk novel and so she does it through controlling several cyborg bodies at once. In my current novella series, which is also cyberpunk, the main characters basically bricks created through nanotech and combat bioenhancements.


In my science fantasy one people called taleweavers can alter reality. Mages, however, channel the gift through one or more gods (despite whatever their schooling might say they do).


In one of the other stories I'm working on, I have a magic system called Piercing. There are four moons circling the world, each made of a different kind of stone. They're Jaminska, Lishara, Wurstram, and Atroyo. Occasionally, they'll send meteorites down to the planet. If you can get a piece of that stone and chisel it into a point, you can prick your skin with it and absorb its energy for a short time. Jaminska lets you control the wind, Lishara is water, Wurstram is fire, and Atroyo lets you shoot lightning. There's also a fourth moon called Vashiila with a more sinister power. The first time a living creature touches one of its shards, its soul is ripped out of its body and trapped in the shard. After that, if someone were to Pierce with that shard, they would be able to transform parts of their bodies into pieces of the creature that was absorbed. The main character has one of these shards, and it contains the soul of a giant hornet/scorpion monster that's native to their world, so he usually uses it to grow wings or a long tail with a poisonous stinger. The longer you Pierce with a Vashiil shard, the more of the soul you absorb, so if you left it in long enough you would eventually turn into that creature completely. It's always temporary, though, unless the shard Pierces your heart, in which case you would transform completely and the captive soul would possess you entirely. You could change back if the shard was taken out of your heart, but the fact that it pierced your heart would mean you'd probably end up dying anyway. Vashiila was locked away in an alternate dimension after a long war, and now the only way to get its shards are to go into that dimension and steal them.


Also, I had an idea for another superhero called Flashbang. He wears bracers on his arms with bombs on them. He sets the bombs off, and then absorbs the explosion at the moment of detination. The explosions energize and strengthen him him to inhuman proportions, but he mainly does it because he can telepathically "move" the explosion anywhere within his field of vision, essentially letting him set off a bomb anywhere he wants.


My main project is set in a fantasy game, so there's the standard magic stuff, but a cool racial ability that merfolk have is telepathy. I go into detail on how, with the proper focus and ability, people can sing stuff that's way more complex than the human voice can handle.


My side project features a character who's called a "Source" because she emits a ton of magic that other mages can absorb, but has no ability to use it herself. I always thought it would be interesting to play with a power that was immensely powerful, but at the same time useless.


If I were to pick out the coolest powers I've come up with, they'd be with the following characters.


Ouroboros - He's an abstract entity, so his body is only how reality interprets him. He sees pure information, meaning you couldn't hide from him within range. He knows things about you that you might not know about yourself. The way he fights is metaphysical. I take into account the concepts involved and that directly relates to how powerful he appears in strength and speed/how the fight goes down. In that way, he scales to meet his challenger. This makes it so an abstract opponent is overwhelmed faster. He carries a sickle, which used to be a scythe.


Porter - he's a mortal man who fights gods head on. I'm rather proud of his power. It runs off of understanding (attunement).


And then there are at least three different characters that have had varying degrees of success basically metagaming the universe. Each with different specifics to their abilities. You can imagine that I've made this a big plot point.


Hasami - He carries a sword. His power is the creation of a fully physical ghost copy of himself that can attack. This ghost only carries out one task (like a swing of his sword) and then vanishes. He can create as many as he can think of tasks for.


Plenty other characters have powers, but those are the niftiest that come to mind


Also @TanaNari, that is an big post that I will try to read!


Hey, you've got a character named Porter too? Mine's in The Slayer and the Sphinx. He doesn't have any special powers (unless you count being physically and mentally altered to be a stronger-than-average fighter), but he is a master at wind control magic. He's one of my earlier heroes, so I didn't map out his powers like I am my newer ones :P


Ha, that's cool. My Porter is the first character the narration follows. He's been relegated to a little bit of a background character since the protagonist joined, but I really like him. His full name is Quinn Lee Porter.


Austin, the protag of my serial, can see ghosts! But he has heterochromia, and can only see ghosts through one eye (his green one). There's another character in Antlers who's quite possibly the strongest known telekinetic in the world, and another who can touch ghosts like they're real, fleshy people (but can't see them). And a side character who got popular enough for me to write her into more chapters is a budding medium, but she can only see ghosts by the psychic auras they give off, so they appear to her as basically brightly colored shadow people.


I don't know if they're the coolest, but there's been a few characters who at least have interesting powers:


Perpetua - Has the ability to "perpetuate" any kind of motion, meaning that if someone throws a punch, she can cause their fist to keep moving forward, despite them trying to pull it back. She can very easily make physical fighters throw themselves around helplessly or even severely injure/kill themselves. She can wreck machines by causing some of their moving parts to keep moving one way, when they are supposed to move another (such as pistons). She can also use it for extended travel with minimal fuel consumption. She's even ground down speedsters to dust by making them continue to move forward and downward at top speed, or make them slam into walls.


Peter Velaju - Mentioned in the disabilities thread, he's a pyromancer who can neither create nor control fire. He can, however, teleport through flames and communicate verbally/visually through them.


Soula - She has the power to massively amplify a single aspect of any person, object, or phenomenon, other than herself. She can strike a match and create a fireball big enough to destroy a building. She can give a normal guy the strength of the Thing (but not the durability). She can turn a flashlight into a stone-cutting laser, etc. She can only do one aspect for one thing at a time, but depending on what she picks, that can sometimes still lead to a variety of tricks.


Victory Transformer - An old comic book character of mine, back when I drew them as a kid, he had the ability to transform into anything by yelling "Victory" and the name of whatever he imagined. At first, this is used for generic stuff, like "Victory Tank!" to turn into a tank or "Victory Gorilla!" to turn into a gorilla. But then, he later starts turning into things like explosions and radiation beams, and then at one point, he turns into "courage" to imbue people with courage to fight off a fear monster. Being a child, it doesn't even occur to him that this is weird, but his older "mentor", a vigilante with very minor physical enhancements, starts to become wary of just how far reaching VT's powers could be. That said, VT isn't exactly the brightest kid around. For example, it never occurs to him to try and turn into a duplicate of his enemies to better combat them.


Cis Caronade - She has a sort of basic "push/pull" telekinesis, meaning she can only yank things towards her or push them away. However, this is also limited by mass. The more mass the object has, the harder it is for her to effect it, until it's neutralized when the mass if effectively equal. As such, she focuses on small objects at first; she carries around ball bearings, which she can roll along her fingers and fire them like a railgun. However, with objects larger than her own mass, she is able to yank or push herself towards or away from them. With this, she's able to hover by pushing of the ground, or climb walls and ceilings by pulling on them.


I've got way, way, way more characters than I know what to do with, but these are ones I've actually used in projects at one point or another.


Kid - a nine year old Empath who can submerge into the consciousness of someone she's imprinted and 'become' them for a while. She's still a little girl when using her power, but her voice, speech and mannerisms match those of her imprinted target exactly. She can even access their memories, and do the same thing with animals! Her attempt to keep her powers secret failed when she used her power on her cat and was caught off guard by the babysitter. Oops.


I got others, but she's my favorite.


Oh, and how could I forget to mention the other superhero in the story I'm thinking about writing? He's telepathically connected to a firetruck. He can drive it without touching the wheel, or even being anywhere near it. Plus, he can summon it wherever he wants, given that there's enough room for it (or maybe not, he's reckless enough to summon it in a small area just for the destruction it would cause). He named it Brunhilda. Still debating whether or not the truck is actually alive, Lovebug style, or if its just him controlling it with his mind.


@That's pretty funny, but interestingly effective. I kind of like the idea of characters whose powers are connected to a specific object. Can only think of a few examples I've seen elsewhere.


@TheAdamBo That sounds incredible and I would read the heck out of that story.


@Marn, lol, which one?


@TheAdamBo The human-firetruck connection one! I've actually never seen an idea like that before, and I'd be interested to see how you approach it, outside of just being used for comic relief.


You should check out Juryokine. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of personal gravity manipulation at first, but it's actually become my favorite story! It lets me write the most creative fight scenes I've ever imagined. You can do a lot more with switching your gravitational anchors than I originally thought, lol. And yes, that *was* a shameless plug ;)