Apr 13 2011

Superpowers Checklist

Published by at 1:58 pm under Superhero Stories,Superpowers

1.  Can you explain the character’s powers in 1-2 sentences?

2.  Will you be able to easily challenge this character in a variety of scenes?  (If the character is invulnerable, the answer is probably no, unless you’ve set up challenges besides trying to kill the character.  Source Code was an effective example of that).

3.  Will readers understand what this character can do, or is it just like the author’s making it up as he goes along?  (If the character’s powers have “reality” in the name, it’s probably the latter).

4.  Are the character’s powers versatile?  (If your main character is a superstrong tank or a flying brick, it may help to give him a more exotic side-power to help keep his fights from getting repetitive).

5.  If you’re writing a comic, will this character’s powers give you interesting visuals? (If you’re writing a novel, this isn’t nearly as important).

37 responses so far

37 Responses to “Superpowers Checklist”

  1. Wingson 14 Apr 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Let’s see how this works out:

    1. Turns invisible in shadow.
    2. Apart from getting the jump on an opponent, it’s not exactly fight related. That’s what the combat training was for.
    3. Well, there’s not many other things it can be confused with. Maybe umbrakinesis, though. He’s not really “controlling” shadows, nor is he really turning into shadow (though that would be pretty awesome). It’s more as if he, and whatever he touches, turns invisible so long as there’s no direct light on him.
    4. His usual approach to opponents is just beating them up, all the while using every dirty trick in the book, as well as some that didn’t make the book as they were cut in the final draft. Not particularly original, but if other heroes have made non-powered fights unique, I can try. I’ll go do some research.
    5. That’s a bit of a pitfall. While a shot of just Darken’s arm shooting out of the shadows and dragging some poor mook in would probably work rather well visually, there’s not much else you can do with it – it is invisibility, after all.

    1. Telekinetic abilities only over blood.
    2. If anything, he’s the one of the three protagonists in TSBLAD who would be easiest to win against- not so much due to his powers but because he refuses to use them against other people. Ironically, if he did use his hemokinesis, he’s the most powerful character period. How do you challenge a guy who can rip blood straight out of your body, control your movements, and cause numerous other help problems? Without that, the one thing he’s got going for him is that he’s excellent at non-lethally taking out his opponents.
    3. …He moves blood with his mind. Not that difficult.
    4. Outside of combat, there are actually a lot of mundane-but-still-good-for-a-superhero uses for blood manipulation. For instance, he can pick locks easily, stop up the barrel of a gun (If Spiderman’s webbing could do it…), close wounds or just keep blood flowing correctly if a teammate was hurt…Not very flashy, but he’s still useful.
    5. While I would like to write a scene taking place in a hospital with Masochist being thrown into a blood bank by a villain and being exceedingly awesome with a tidal wave of blood engulfing his opponent…I shall resist.

    1. At this point I’m confused myself. I’m not sure if she’s using eye beams or firing light out of her fingers or something else entirely. I’m having issues here.
    2. Granted, Hikari is the closest I’ve got to a ninja in residence. While the photokinesis is helpful to disable a lot of opponents by blinding them, I personally would be more afraid of the throwing knives and sheer ninja asskickery.
    3. Probably not. Again, even I don’t know what’s going on…Help would be greatly appreciated.
    4. She’s still a ninja. I think that alone makes her versatile.
    5. Ninja. Just what part of that is not awesome?

    So I’ve got a street fighter, a pacifist, and a ninja. Yay.

    – Wings

  2. B. Macon 14 Apr 2011 at 5:12 pm

    For Darken, one way to expand his powers would be to give him a bit more dark-themed abilities. For example, the ability to see or otherwise sense what’s going on in the dark would maybe give him some versatility outside of a stealth situation.

    Of these, I think the hemokinesis definitely has the most interesting potentials for noncombat use. Nice call on picking a lock or closing wounds, but with enough blood, you could also make items like ropes, ladders, handcuffs, etc. One possibility for explaining why he won’t totally hose people by shutting down their blood is that his powers only work on blood exposed to air. (I think morals are an okay secondary limitation, but they may not be satisfying when the world is on the line). The blood control could also lead to some interesting visuals.

    Why is Hikari the ninja? (I sort of associate ninjas with stealthiness, and being a light-themed hero might make it harder to be stealthy).

  3. Wingson 14 Apr 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Looking this over, I’ve realized that apart from Synth, everyone who’s part of the Six has pretty lousy powers. Which I greatly enjoy.

    Hmm…I’m pretty sure that Darken has really good night vision. His powers used to be a lot more formidable (Teleportation through shadows used to be his main power, but powerwise he started to feel like a Cloak expy), but I wound up nerfing him.

    Moral alignment for the protagonists is becoming a surprising theme…Masochist is probably the most morally good, but due to a intense amount of well-hidden self loathing he’s pretty much terrified of his own powers. Hemokinetics are pretty much universally despised, as one of the worst supervillain attacks involved an ax crazy one who effectively popped a skyscraper full of people like grapes. (He wasn’t exactly invincible, though – he never bothered to fight physically or use his powers otherwise, meaning that a surprise attack, a good psychic, or even a well-aimed gunshot would have taken him out. He’s similar to Scapegoat: seemingly unstoppable, but easy to beat with the right tactics.) Anyway, I initially thought that such a huge amount of hatred for hemokinetics was unrealistic, but then I started reading newspapers, and realized it wasn’t farfetched at all.

    For Hikari, it’s mainly the costume and her choice in weapons. I mean, she’s not that physically strong, but she’s very fast. Alternately, she’s a Highly Visible Ninja. 🙂

    – Wings

  4. B. Macon 14 Apr 2011 at 7:13 pm

    “Anyway, I initially thought that such a huge amount of hatred for hemokinetics was unrealistic, but then I started reading newspapers, and realized it wasn’t farfetched at all.” If I had to do an equation for the plausibility of mass hatred for a particular superpowered group, I’d probably go with something like the potential for massive violence * grossness – obvious nonviolent applications – relatability or affability. In his case, I think the hemokinetic massacre and grossness of blood would lead to quite the stigma. Maybe not mass hatred, but I can see why a lot of people would be uneasy about being within 20 feet of him. (“You never can tell with those hemos”).

    I think it’s amusing and potentially dramatic that people might be most scared of the team member that’s probably the least threatening. He might even use his “hemo” reputation to scare the bejeezus out of a criminal at some point. (“You think I’m going to just drink your blood? Nobody gets off that easy”).

  5. Comicbookguy117on 14 Apr 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Hey B. Mac I’ve got a question. I’m putting the finishing touches on a character right now and am STILL having trouble coming up with a proper codename. This character is a well trained, human vigilante with a religious motif. She is a devout Christian and has devoted herself to righting evil in any form. I’ve though of everything from Apostle to Seraph to Archangel. Right now I’m, tentatively, using Sentinel as her codename. But I’m not sure it fits her character. Do you, or anyone else, have any suggestions?

  6. Contra Gloveon 14 Apr 2011 at 9:58 pm

    @ Comicbookguy117

    May I suggest “Cross Sentinel?”

  7. Wingson 14 Apr 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Though I couldn’t see Masochist himself making such a boast, I could probably see Synth making one for him.

    Synth: You see my friend over there? Well, he could drown you in a pool of your own blood.

    Funny the way it is, how you also chose to give hemokinetics a derogatory name. Mine is “hemok”, mostly to avoid the similarity to “homo”. Ironic, as both insults would be technically correct, but true. *hums Alanis Morisette*

    Comicbookguy, why not just use a “prayerful” term for your character? Maybe Devout or Halo…though I personally liked Seraph.

    – Wings

  8. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Apr 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Isaac can create energy blasts that can knock people/objects over, he can fly, and later on he will gain the ability to create force fields.

    (I have altered the story, he and Isaac are cousins instead of brothers now)

    Tristram can teleport as long as he can see the location in the distance and isn’t panicking. In addition, his skills with a computer are advanced for his age, so he is able to create viruses and the like to attack criminals monetarily.

    She has prehensile hair that she can use to trip, trap or otherwise restrain people. She also serves as the driver sometimes – she drives like crazy to get around faster, but somehow never kills anybody.

    He is a shapeshifter who can imitate form and voice of people and animals. He can’t get any stronger than his real form, however – so he’s likely to be caught out if he relies on physical strength as part of a disguise.

    As you can see, some have less powers than the others, but they’re supplemented with a skill in that case. I’m trying to have them all around the same level of usefulness.

    I’ve been thinking of some extra usages for forcefields. Like…
    *Once Isaac has better control, he could make platforms out of them so that if someone were to say, step off a building, they’d just step onto the invisible platform rather than falling to their death. Or, if there was a gap that Kamari had to cross, he could make a bridge for her.
    *Containing an explosion rather than protecting himself, so that a building or whatever won’t get damaged.
    *Trapping somebody inside until they can be arrested or otherwise restrained.

    Of course, this will have limitations – he’s trained for ages and still can’t make them, so when he does learn, it will take massive amounts of energy and concentration to do the more complex things.

  9. B. Macon 15 Apr 2011 at 1:08 am

    I like Apostle and Seraph, CBG. I feel they’re more distinct and interesting than Archangel, which has already taken by a fairly prominent character in X-Men. Sorry, but I’m not all that good with names.

  10. Comicbookguy117on 15 Apr 2011 at 7:56 am

    Thanks guys. I like Seraph as well. I’m just not sure I like it as a codename. Guess I’ll have to ponder it some more, look for more options. If anyone has any more suggestions, please let me know. Thanks again guys.

  11. Silvercaton 20 Apr 2011 at 8:46 am

    So far all my superpowered characters are on the evil side.

    My favorite, who I’ve written too much about, Wild Rush:
    1. Wild Rush is incredibly lucky.

    2. How lucky he is depends on his mental state. He’s no stronger than a normal guy and has a couple of giant blaring weaknesses (threaten his wife! He’ll either back down or kill you!) He’s very impulsive, and I’ve already written various ways he gets taken advantage of and beaten up a fair amount (especially for being nominally a villain) – mind controlled, beaten up, shot, exploited. He tends to over rely on his powers, so when things are off he doesn’t do so well – he picks locks and cheats at cards and usually these are effortless.

    3. I hope so… I’m trying to make it clear, but in-story people don’t know how his power works and mostly don’t know he has powers, so…

    4. So far, it’s kept from getting injured badly and earned him a boatload of money. Oh, and won him an impossible bet (predicting a coin flip repetitively, including landing on the edge).

    5. Maybe? When he’s in certain moods he’s got a ‘madness’ visual effect, but I’m not sure how often I’m going to use it. He’s very dramatic looking by himself so that helps. (white skin, dresses exclusively in red, with a bit of yellow and black).

    1. He’s got a magic sword that transformed him into a cat person and takes over his brain. And it lets him command cats.

    2. I kind of have to split this between Leon and the sword. Leon: He’s not very smart and he’s pretty much totally under the authority of the prison, so, yeah. The Sword: it’s got that classic evil overlord mentality going, which gives it the classic weaknesses. And it can be shut up by locking it in a freezer. Plus the conflict between the two.

    3. He looks like a cat-person who carries a sword. It should be fairly clear.

    4. Let’s see, he’s extra strong, agile, he’s got a sword, he can command cats, heightened senses, claws. Typing that out looks like a lot, but I think it’s no more than people would expect from a cat.)

    5. It should be good. The sword changes shape between two forms and Leon fighting should look cool.

    This is getting long, so I’ll stop. There’s only two other actually superpowered characters I can think of right now anyway (… Wild Rush, Deuce of Hearts, Swordcat, and Shaitan… yeah, I think that’s it.) I’m in the middle of trying to integrate all the random stuff I’ve written into an actual timeline and filling in the blanks, so there’s lots of room for change.

  12. B. Macon 20 Apr 2011 at 10:02 am

    Luck manipulation could be very interesting visually, I feel. One page I wrote once has a super-lucky character hiding behind a thin barrier, the wall of a trailer. Several machine gunners spray the trailer for about 30 seconds (several thousand rounds) and all that’s left of the front wall is a cartoon-like outline of the character’s silhouette. (The bullets that would have hit him veered away). When the would-be assassins try sneaking up on the silhouette, assuming that he was still hiding there, they discovered that he escaped through the roof.

    It depends on the mood you’re going for, but unless you’re going for a relatively wacky story, I’d recommend considering whether the ability to command cats fits the mood.

    Aside from the ability to command cats, I think his other powers are covered by something like “He’s a feline warrior.”

    In terms of visual design, what was your plan for Swordcat? (The only thing that comes to mind is the main character of Thundercats, whose character design strikes me as incredibly unappealing).

    PS: Nothing can command cats. Except for can openers.

  13. Wingson 20 Apr 2011 at 10:04 am

    And now I’d like to see a comedy where the main villain controls all cats (Including mountain lions, tigers, bobcats, you get the picture) with the power of a magical can opener. Thanks, B. Mac. Thanks a whole lot. xD

    – Wings

  14. Silvercaton 20 Apr 2011 at 10:24 am

    Actually he started as based on Lion-o (who has the ability to command cats, but I think it was only used once in the show), with a healthy dose of Two-Face and Killer Croc mixed in.

    He’s big and stocky with poofy hair (although not as crazy as Lion-o’s). Most of the time he’s going to be in the prison uniform, because Leon doesn’t really feel a need to escape. And in at least one story he gets a buzzcut. Actually it’s just easier to link to a picture.



    I’ve modified the outfit since then – the boots don’t cover his toes. I may remove them altogether, although that may be my own anti-shoe bias. And there’s no clawshield (it was the one remaining very very obvious Thundercats rip-off. I mean, obviously you could guess I borrowed him – although Lion-o has more of a bodybuilder look – but he’s different enough, especially personality-wise, for me to be safe-ish.) (I should say I’m not planning on trying to get these stories published; they’re going to be a webcomic. I hope.)

  15. B. Macon 20 Apr 2011 at 10:50 am

    Is this character a parody of Lion-o and/or the Thundercats in general? Or perhaps some other sort of commentary? If not, I think he looks uncomfortably similar to a very distinct-looking character. I wouldn’t be terribly worried about a lawsuit* but more about what readers would think. I think it might help to mix in some other references so that the one reference (Lion-O) isn’t quite as obvious.

    *Theoretically they might sue you, particularly if your webcomic became popular and/or profitable, but it seems sort of unlikely to me. If they did sue, I feel pretty confident they would win unless there’s something here I’m missing (like a parody defense).

  16. Silvercaton 20 Apr 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Like I said, personality-wise he’s nothing like Lion-o (except being not too bright, but that’s more fanon). I think naked he doesn’t look like a Thundercat or at least no more than any other humanoid cat.

    I’m not sure how often I’m going to be using him anyway. A lot of the characters started as other characters. Since I’ve been working on the series on and off for four years, it may not matter since it might never get to a point where I’m ready to show it.

  17. Silvercaton 22 Apr 2011 at 8:06 am

    I think my last reply sounded really defensive, so I thought I’d let you know I have been thinking about what you said. I’m going to be changing his appearance a bit more, especially the hairstyle and outfit. I think I’m going to make the hair more tiger-y – round and low around the face, but still big.

    I’ll be changing the belt as well, since that’s the only thing left that screams Thundercats (since Lion-o doesn’t wear pants :p )

    I’m trying to keep the character copies as allusions and not parodies. To use the TVTropes terms – somewhere between ShoutOut and homage.

  18. Neilon 10 May 2011 at 11:08 am

    Hello there, first off, I want to thank the author for writing this piece. It was very informative and has helped me gain a greater understanding, regarding superheroes.

    With this in mind, I was wondering if I could get some help, in the case of my character’s superpower. To simplify this, he has solar manipulation, the power to absorb and control the sun’s energy into bright, superheated blasts that look like fire.

    Is this power too complex? The reason why I ask this is because my friends claim that it is for it allows for little weaknesses. Some of the drawbacks I have included are that his powers quickly exhaust him when using a large portion of energy as well as being severely hindered while in the dark.

    Hopefully, these are good, but if anyone can help me, I’ll be more than willing.

  19. B. Macon 10 May 2011 at 1:09 pm

    It doesn’t sound like it’d be too complex. I doubt it’d be hard to explain in a story. I think you’d be able to write in scenes where he doesn’t have access to his powers, which could be interesting as a change of pace.

    One concern I have is that his power doesn’t sound versatile (see #1 here). How many things could he do besides firing his deathrays at bad guys? What would he be able to do outside of combat? (One possibility: If he can fire a low-intensity laser without making much sound, he might be useful in a stealth situation if he could cut through a wall without alerting guards).

  20. Yuuki12on 08 Sep 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Being that I will be partaking in National Novel Writing Month, I need some help in regards to selecting an effective superpower for my character.

    “After a horrific accident, regarding a top secret item, Erik Randell gains superpowers, and is recruited by an espionage agency to protect the world.”

    I apologize if the summary was terrible, but I had wanted to establish the plot and genre, before continuing. I have nailed it down to two choices.


    the first power is Plasma control. By absorbing heat and light around him, Erik is able to manipulate, generate and control bright superheated energy. He of course could fire off large scale attacks, but he can also fire off small scale ones which barely register on the light spectrum. Other abilities include having the power to become briefly intangible.

    This is caused by him superheating his body, converting the cells in his body into energy. In this state, projectile attacks are rendered useless. That said, this ability proves to be very exhausting, and such if overused his powers will be forcefully be shut.

    The major weakness with his powers is the idea of control. Erik cannot control the absorption rate of his abilities. This is crucial, for there’s only a certain amount of energy he can hold in.

    Thus, the power will involuntarily trigger, causing mass carnage. It is this reason that the agency he’d worked for, developed special gloves. These accessories help control the rate of absorption and discharge of energy.

    I apologize for how long this post is getting.


    Vapor manipulation and mimicry. In this case, Erik can generate, manipulate and become vapor. This is accomplished by hm dissociating his own atoms to which causes his body to emit dark blue gas. One of the most notable qualities to this ability is Erik’s power over density.

    This is showcased in his power of evaporation. By associating the atoms, Erik can become partially smoke. This grants a degree of intangibility as projectile and melee attacks just phase through him.

    Alas, this effect his limited, as it takes active concentration to utilize. Other abilities, associated with evaporation, include transforming into a columns of smoke for purposes of movement.

    To take it back to density control, despite being non-tangible element, Erik can also solidify the effect. Thus, he can conjure attacks that can knock back opponents, or create smoke clouds from his arms that snare and capture enemies.

    Of course Erik can also use this power to create smokescreens which can conceal his presence, or of others. The final deadly aspect to this power is the characteristics of vapor. One of these abilities is deoxygenation. Erik, with his powers, could suffocate enemies, knocking them out or killing them.

    Another deadly aspect is the idea of this power is that he can utilize vapor to disintegrate living and non-living matter. Alas, despite the benefits there are several weaknesses.

    The first, similar to Plasma manipulation, is the idea of control. Erik finds it difficult to actively regulate the emission of his powers. Thus, he would literally emit gas all around his surroundings. The process create large smokescreens which would pose a hazard to many around him.

    But that is the least of his troubles. Despite being immune, the process also causes him to slowly loose his physical form. Being that Erik finds it very hard to change back, the effect might be permanent.

    It’s these two issues that Erik, like described in section A with plasma manipulation, wears special gloves which help regulate the amount of gas he unleashes.

    The next drawback deals with concentration. While generating fumes and puffs of gas requires little concentration, aspects, such as becoming intangible and controlling density, require more active concentration. Being that the case, just the slightest lapse could prove to be deadly for him.

    Finally, a major weakness that Erik has to deal with the idea of air. Large gusts and breezes interfere with his powers, making them difficult to maintain. That said, direct bursts can also damage him and render him powerless.

    All in all, how’s that? Despite Plasma manipulation being more conventional, Vapor manipulation might be helpful in the creativity department. Again, comments on which to choose or why will be helpful. Plus, if there is anything else anyone wishes to add, DON”T be hesitant.

  21. scottyon 07 Nov 2012 at 12:01 pm

    this is for comicbookguy117

    her name should be celeste short for celestrial??

  22. scottyon 07 Nov 2012 at 12:02 pm

    this is for comicbookguy117

    or celestial

  23. Anonymouson 07 Nov 2012 at 3:35 pm

    How can I alter somebody with fire manipulation abilities to make him more unique?

  24. Inner Propon 06 Feb 2013 at 7:57 am

    Is the fire guy funny or serious/dark?

    You could make HIM vunerable to fire and afraid of it. He controls it because it frightens him. He can only control it when he is safe, in a fire suit, underwater etc.


    He can only manipulate certain kinds of fire, like fire extinguishers are rated for A, B, C fires.

  25. The Black Reaperon 11 Apr 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve recently started work on a superhero book, I haven’t gotten as far as having a name for my city (I’ve chosen New Eden City), a name for my hero (I’ve chosen Crimson Vengeance), a name for his secret identity (Eric Hill), his superpowers (I’ve chosen Super Reflexes and Im talking the kind of reflexes where if he concentrates hard enough he could dodge anything but he would have to be in a Zen like state to do so, and if he doesn’t concentrate he can easily dodge a bullet) now all I need is a weakness for him. Any suggestions or comments on my character?

  26. Mon 26 May 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I haven’t exactly decided a name yet, but here are the answers.. Sorry for my uncertainty, I’m new at this
    1. Can mimic elements being touched by having turbulent emotions.
    2. That’s hard to say. Everything is relying on how they are feeling, this is probably affected by a previous, dramatic event
    3. Yes, you know… Time of revelation, abilities being interpreted at some local hospital… *sighs* The usual. Would it count if the character discovers a different, more resourceful way of controlling their powers near the end?
    4. Er- Yes? Couldn’t they mimic carbon dioxide or something, as a way of camoflauging? Or possibly suffocating others?
    5. Not exactly writing a comic. I guess you could say it is, since they have volatile powers.

    Good page, very helpful btw

  27. Kuliraon 23 Nov 2014 at 4:23 pm

    LETS DO THIS! For Kardiak <3

    1. Hemokinesis, aka blood bending
    2. Yes, he's very careful with his powers and seldom uses them, preferring to use a mix of martial arts mainly capoeira
    4. He rarely uses his powers, as he thinks they're dangerous and only uses them if he needs to
    5. I'm not writing a comic, but if I was his powers would be interesting to draw.

  28. Imogen Hon 24 Nov 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Kulira, if you’d let me, I’d like to include your hero in my comic as a minor hero. I’ll credit you and everything. *puppy eyes*

  29. Redon 26 Nov 2014 at 2:33 pm

    1. Wyatt can switch between alternate personalities each pertaining certain abilities, like telepathy and enhanced speed.
    2. Yep, he can lose control of his abilities as it’s technically not him using them. He can’t choose the personality he uses and the change can be triggered by different things which can leave him unconscious, leaving him vulnerable if attacked without time to prepare.
    3. Yes. His capabilities are quickly explained (through action not info dump) near the beginning of the story.
    4. I think his variety of powers make him versatile enough in battle.
    5. Writing a short story, but thinking about it his abilities wouldn’t look that interesting (especially compared to the villains he fights).

  30. kyanthiaon 11 Feb 2015 at 7:57 pm

    1. He has Intangibility and an ability to ‘read shadows’ that he uses to find people.

    2. Well the intangibility makes it easy for him to avoid damage but hard to effectively protect others. If he is not familiar with and individual or have something of theirs they would be indistinguishable from any one else when he’s reading. Since both powers are always on he has marginal control and has to concentrate to not go though people and objects. His ability to find others also makes him very desirable to groups that would like to round up anyone who is different.

    3. I think so, at least with the intangibility. Shadow reading might be a bit harder to explain since it can be used many ways.

    4. Yes. As I said shadow reading can be used in a variety of ways depending on the personality and thought patterns of the user. One uses it to find others, another to know their intentions and a third as a form of teleportation. In tangibility is what it is, though even with marginal control what is tangible and what’s not can have interesting effects.

  31. Freyaon 07 Dec 2015 at 6:21 am

    Just a question; the main character in a story that I’m writing can generate acid from her body and control that acid. As a power for a main character, does that work? A few people have told me that ‘it’s too blatant’ or ‘it’s boring’ and things like that.

    1. Every liquid in her body is acidic, and she has a specific powerful acid stored in her body. She can secrete the acid though her pores and control it.
    2. Because she’s only useful for destroying things, she has to through quite a lot of challenges, especially in the context of a story; if she wants to do something other than hurt (which is often), she has to be creative.
    3. Yeah. Acid. ‘Nuff said.
    4. She can change the consistency of the acid so it can turn into a sticky web, because she can control it she can use it almost like a hover-board;as I said, creativity. Well, to put it bluntly, loophole abuse. Every character in the story does it to a painful degree.
    5. I’m writing it, so not a problem, but they’d probably look quite interesting.

  32. B. McKenzieon 07 Dec 2015 at 7:32 pm

    “Just a question; the main character in a story that I’m writing can generate acid from her body and control that acid. As a power for a main character, does that work? A few people have told me that ‘it’s too blatant’ or ‘it’s boring’ and things like that.” I’m not sure what the plot looks like, or what sort of obstacles she’s going to be facing. My impression is that, for a standard superhero story, this power would be fairly hard to use, especially in non-combat scenes. E.g. if her noncombat powers are as reliant on the webbing as I suspect they will be, over the course of a novel, it could get monotonous.

    “It’s too blatant…” I’m not sure what this means exactly, but I could see some potential issues with it being actually pretty hard to use creatively. E.g. if this is standard superhero action, I think you’re going to run out of surprising things to do with acid-webbing maybe 30,000 words into your novel (i.e. less than halfway in). I fear that the character’s powers will make her methods predictable and one-dimensional. For example, if an acid-controller is captured by enemies, can you come up with an escape plan that doesn’t hinge on using acid to destroy something or attack someone? In contrast, I think characters that rely more on skills are harder to predict (e.g. Batman could co-opt a guard, pick locks like a champ, steal keys, use crazy agility to ambush a guard and/or escape out a window, use scientific/mechanical skills to cause a technical failure, cleverly use a hidden tool, cleverly use a makeshift tool he finds on-site, etc).

    –If superpowered action isn’t a particularly major part of the story (e.g. if it’s more about solving a crime or a romantic drama than action scenes), the utility/variety of the superpowers would be a very minor issue.
    –It sounds like there may be other major protagonists in the story. If so, that would also make the main character’s powers less of an issue. (A lone hero’s powers generally need to be more versatile because he/she needs to do more than, say, a character that mainly works on a team, and also because mixing in other characters will reduce the risk of monotonous action).
    –The character could use other skills or attributes to resolve situations besides superpowers.

    Also, from a marketing perspective, the power’s unglamorousness may raise some obstacles. Probably less of an issue with novels than movies, though. (In movies, non-aspirational superheroes like Mystery Men and Kick-Ass tend to be very hard to sell compared to, say, Avengers and Spider-Man. In novels, EVERY kind of superhero is very hard to sell).

  33. Freyaon 08 Dec 2015 at 2:55 am

    Thank you very much! Yes, there are other major characters, and it’s good to know that mitigates the problem slightly. The story focuses more on social commentary and deconstruction of superpowers in reality with the relative uselessness of the main character’s powers being a common plot point. I myself don’t really care about the unglamorousness, but that will probably change when I end up struggling to publish this thing. Thanks again for your help!

  34. Byakuya91on 09 Dec 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Greetings, it has been a while. Given I am about to starting revising my draft for my story, I could use some assistance with my main character, Derek Masters(also known as Marshal Malachite). To that, I shall answer the questions in order.

    1) Derek can project force fields and visualize people’s auras.

    2) To answer this question, one of Derek’s major weaknesses is that (aside from mental strain) he requires the use of his hands to use his abilities. This enables him to better focus and concentrate on using his powers.

    If he was to be bound or injured, this has a significant impact. In the case of the former, it limits what he can project barrier wise. In the latter, this can severely hinder his strength and control over his fields. And given Derek is human, he’s bound to break a few bones while protecting everyone.

    Additionally, Derek’s mental state is tied to his barriers. Thus, the harder the impact the more he feels it. Thus, while able to withstand a few bullets heading his way, a hail of gunfire from multiple sources or something larger(Grenade launcher) may prove to be quite the challenge to overcome.

    At worst, the impact could cause Derek to drop his field, or give him quite the headache and or noise bleed.

    His aura abilities are hindered due to the limited range he has(around a few feet). Additionally, Derek found himself overwhelmed using this power, seeing multiple signatures. But upon learning to block specific energy fields this problem is mitigated.

    But given he needs to close his eyes to use the power, selectively focusing on an individual’s life force dulls his perception. Thus, ambushes on Derek are more than possible. Finally, given he can only sense the aura of living beings; non-living entities, like machines can sneak up on him.

    Also continuous usage can cause his eyes to become blurry and may become blind for a prolonged period.

    3) Yes. As I outlined above, Derek’s weaknesses are clearly defined. He needs the use of his hands in order to take full advantage of his Force Fields. Additionally, his aura sight, while giving him an edge(he can see physical conditions of enemies) in battle, leaves him exposed. Audience members should be able to understand his limitations.

    As for what he can do. He can project barriers to protect himself and others, along with using them offensively in the form of Force Slugs, Force gloves(fields around his hands), and throwing wide barriers with tremendous force.

    4) Good question.

    As explained prior, Derek can utilize Force Slugs. By forming circular force field constructs from his fingertips, Derek fires them at his enemies. This is very much like a gunslinger( My character is western themed). These can knock back enemies.

    Derek eventually learns to create different types of Slugs, like Sabot Slugs(for penetrating armor). But in those cases, he’s only capable of firing six of those slugs. Anymore will cause immense faituge.

    Derek can also alter the density of his fields,making them as hard as steel or as soft as foam. In the case of the latter, Derek can use this aspect to cushion his or other people’s falls.

    Derek can also generate platforms. Called Praire pads, these give Derek extra elevation. By making these pads elastic, Derek can effectively perform a super leap. He can generate a column-shaped force field and use the pads to bound into the air. At the apex of his jump, Derek can project another Praire Pad so as to land.

    I thought of it was a more creative way of flying. Derek can also project a spherical barrier in an omnidirectional fashion. This enables him to knock back multiple enemies. But the ability does take a lot out of Derek and leaves him vulnerable.

    While more offensive with his Force Field powers, Derek also can use his abilities to interact with the environment. For instance, he learns how to project fields to block entries and exits.

    But as the story goes on he gains more tactile use. For example, he’s able to create a barrier around a machine gun. Or more devastatingly, create a small barrier within an object and quickly expand it, destroying said object.

    Derek also learns how to shape his barriers to where they can slice objects. But by far Derek’s greatest achievement is his Emerald Duster.

    Derek projects a force field around his entire body. This gives him superhuman strength and durability. The field also shelters him from airborne contaminants, as it filters them out.

    Derek’s barriers are a lot stronger as well. However, there are numerous drawbacks. For one thing, Derek can only maintain this ability for no more than five mins. The reason is due to the strain it places on Derek’s body(namely his mind and body).

    Any prolonged period can cause severe injury. This can range from broken limbs to torn muscles. These can add up and render Derek immobile. In terms of mental injuries, Derek experiences immense headaches and if going past his limit, the strain could cause him to pass out, or potentially die.

    Overall, those are Derek’s abilities. I have tried my best as to make this ability(which is criminally underutilized or is often stereotypically assigned to female characters) in creative, fresh ways.

    I look forward to any feedback.

  35. B. McKenzieon 10 Dec 2015 at 7:33 pm

    “The story focuses more on social commentary and deconstruction of superpowers in reality with the relative uselessness of the main character’s powers being a common plot point.” That sounds a lot more promising than the most common reason people choose intentionally bad superpowers (“comedic” value). IMO, useless superpowers are almost never actually funny.

  36. Freyaon 12 Dec 2015 at 4:02 am

    ‘That sounds a lot more promising than the most common [reason] people choose intentionally bad superpowers (“comedic” value). IMO, useless superpowers are almost never actually funny.’

    I sincerely hope I do justice to it, then!

  37. Majeironon 30 Jan 2016 at 11:01 am

    Bastard, real name is Soren Hensley
    His brain is superpowered, within general physical limitations. For example time moves at 1% for him, he has eiditic memory and can repurpose any part of his brain which he used to make an automated calculator.
    He uses a sword and knife. Unless he gets lucky and blocks a bullet he will have to think smart to even make it out alive of a ‘regular’ gang fight.
    He also has plenty villains I’ve made that don’t have powers at all, 2 of them that are among his most powerful.
    This is where I get a bit worried, because he has a lot of powers, but the first 3 storylines will be slowly but surely introducing these, so the readers will have a general idea of what he can do.
    Well as I said he uses a sword and that has a lot of versatility. Some of his powers are, granted, very specific. But others as his calculator can be used in a lot of scenes; anywhere from fighting (calculating physics when throwing a knife is extremely useful) and investigating a crime scene
    Unfortunately there’s no good way to show the 1% speed of time in comics, but in deduction scenes it’ll be easy to show off his powers, ie something like Sherlock where we sorta see inside his mind.

    Would love some help if this is ok, also any thoughts on his name?

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