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TCArknight

Categorize superpowers?

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I'm looking into doing a superpower setting where powers fall into certain categories. I wanted to share the categories I've come up with to see if anyone might have some better terms or classifications than I. :)

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Biologic - Abilities in this category represent natural, physical capabilities of the human (or other form) taken to the Nth Degree. Heightened Senses, Enhanced Strength, Exceptional Quickness, Edetic Memory and the like belong here.

Transformative - Changing the nature of an object or individual physically from one thing to another. "Werewolves", Alchemy (changing lead to gold), and changing the current weather conditions are examples of this category. 

Ex Nihilo - Creating something out of nothing or bringing a distant object close to hand. The opposite applies as well in sending objects to distant places or destroying them by breaking down their molecular bonds. Teleportation, Summoning, Melting and Disintegration are examples of this.

Elemental - Abilities involving natural elements or energies fall under this category. Abilities such as expelling or controlling the flow of fire or electricity, projecting microwaves or increasing or decreasing the ambient radiation in an area are prime examples of this.

Psychic - Abilities involving the mind such as mind reading, seeing places without being there, telekinesis or knowing future events are examples of Psychic abilities. 

 

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!
TC

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What is it in particular that you're trying to achieve by introducing a superpowers taxonomy to your setting? There are so many ways you can skin that cat, and I'd like to know more before I start brainstorming in a direction that's completely irrelevant to your needs.

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1 hour ago, Morangias said:

What is it in particular that you're trying to achieve by introducing a superpowers taxonomy to your setting? There are so many ways you can skin that cat, and I'd like to know more before I start brainstorming in a direction that's completely irrelevant to your needs.

There have always been people with extraordinary abilities, but only recently (last decade)the phenomena of these ‘advanced’ people has come to the forefront for the world to see. Someone with these abilities is highly likely to just have some minor ability such as a highly sensitive sense of smell or balance. Those others  though, they will walk through walls, turn invisible or rapidly heal all injuries from a 10 story fall.

That help? :)

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I still don't know what you want out of having those superhumans broken down into further categories. Are you envisioning a war between elementalists and psychics or somesuch? Do you wish to limit players by having them only pick powers from the specific category? Is this just piece of world fluff where some government agency is trying to sound on top of things by creating a taxonomy of superhumans?

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Ah, I see what you’re asking.

an individual with Powers does just fall into one category. Although there will be a Tier 4 or 5 Talent to use an ability from another category. Initially there would just be 1 power, although a Tier 2 Talent would expand the ability, as well as a Tier 3 one.

I haven’t decided if want to go the “Heroic Ability” style  for Powers or with just a “Talent Chain” style though.

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Okay, can people acquire more powers from their category? Say I start the game with some form of pyrokinesis, which would make me an elementalist based on your division - can I later develop ice breath or gamma eye rays? Or am I stuck with fire for the rest of my life? In the latter case, the whole broader categorization would be largely perfunctory.

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I'd drop Transformative as a category, it feels very artificial to me. Physical transformations can be lumped with other physical powers, and things like alchemy I feel would also be better suited somewhere else.

Which brings me to the category you call "Ex Nihilo". I'd actually rename it to matter manipulation, which admittedly is way less catchy, but can house effects such as the aforementioned alchemy, creation of matter out of nothing (actually still a form of changing existing matter on a molecular or even lower level), disintegration, earth/metal "bending" and such. I'd drop teleportation out of it, because the science that would warrant lumping it in with those other effects is not how teleportation usually works in superhero worlds. This would work for teleportation the way current science is envisioning it - by breaking down the object in one place and rebuilding it in another - but in most superhero worlds, teleporters work with some sort of portals/spatial manipulation instead, which is less science-y, but also less headache-y ;)

Spatial manipulation could make an interesting category, btw. You have teleportation, but also potentially things like long distance perception (if you can fold space enough to appear in a different place, you should also be able to fold it just enough to take a peek) and the ever awesome attack redirection.

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