Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Notes on Terramagne

During a discussion with someone today, I turned up a number of interesting observations about Terramagne ...

Acute hunger could be one or both of:

* Handling the energy burns calories, in which case it probably runs up the soup's metabolism half again their prior norm, or some other amount.

* Healing damage requires physical resources and the soup didn't have all they needed.

So you see why Regeneration and Healing are two powers that can melt fat right off a person, sometime enough to cause problems. Stan carries fortified buttermints because he burns fat so fast, he can't really store vitamins in it.

> "With great power comes great responsibility."

The two leading interpretations in local-Earth are:

1) You have a responsibility to use superpowers for the public good.

2) IF you choose to use superpowers, THEN you must use them responsibly. You are not obligated to use them at all. You're just not allowed to abuse them.

T-America includes both of those, and it starts arguments, especially with people like Junket who feel that pressuring people to give away their service is mooching. There's also another version:

3) You have a responsibility to learn enough about your superpowers for control and other safety issues.

This expectation is reasonable from a public perspective, but it's hell on people whose superpowers are "always on," reflexive, too erratic or dangerous for practice, or otherwise unfeasible to control. While the public has a right to expect that uncontrolled superpowers will not be slopped around town, the connotation is that if you can't control your abilities then you're a bad person and/or a slacker. Not helping, guys.

These are issues that most people with superpowers encounter early on, and there's a strong tendency to apply their preferred interpretation to everyone else. This starts a lot of the aforementioned arguments, and is a leading reason for cape-based conflicts. People who become superheroes tend to feel that they're obligated to help people, usually for free; people who become blue plates or crickets tend to favor option two or three. People who become supervillains may not feel any obligation regarding their powers, and if they do, it's almost always option three. Some principled supervillains follow option two. 0_o

Which is why the resources offered by SPOON and Kraken are so different.

The main reasons people consider something a supervillain power include:

* The first and/or most famous person to have it, used it that way. It's kind of like how "Adolf" was an ordinary name and now belongs only to one person.

* The power threatens other people's integrity, and the people who have it aren't forming a community to create their own etiquette like telepaths and teleporters do. Hostile Transformation seems to be like this.

* The power makes the soup look awful, or otherwise activates the uncanny valley. Monstrous forms and "robots are always evil" go here.

* The power is not harmful in its own right, but it duplicates or resembles something with miserable associations. For example, Fertility Powers are so close to eugenics that they make many people uncomfortable.

* The power itself was designed for supervillainy. Manufactured armies and souped-up cohorts are classified here -- even though it usually wasn't their idea but that of some mad scientist.

* The power itself is intrinsically destructive, with few or no positive applications, such as Self-Detonation.

* The power itself is difficult to control, hard to use responsibly, and easy to misuse. Energy Drain typically falls in this category.

* The power itself is just pants-wetting scary. Often this is because it's violent, unblockable, and/or touches an atavistic human fear. Fire Form, Death Field, and giant sapient spiders all fit here.

It's a very popular ethic among supervillains that criminals don't have a right to expect the same standards of behavior that civilians do. Roughhousing among yourselves is fine. Creaming some guy who mistook you for easy meat is fine. Using superpowers to abuse random bystanders makes most people think you're a nutjob. That means the only people willing to deal with you are other nutjobs, which can really cramp your style.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, meta, poetry, reading, writing

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