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Beemer

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Superpowers [Feb. 28th, 2013|11:56 pm]
Beemer
The classic superpowers question is: flight or invisibility?

My answer is of course flight, because it would be SO MUCH FUN! I would have to figure out a way to monetize swooping, because that's all I would ever do.

More broadly, one can ask: "So if you could have any superpower, what would it be?"

My brain always wants to go super-meta on questions like that and pick something like "the power to give other people any powers!", but if I can resist that temptation, I usually pick teleportation or shapeshifting. If I'm making an RPG character, those are the abilities I always gravitate towards.

Lately, however, I've found that when I'm daydreaming, I fantasize more about having some kind of ultra-charisma. All you'd do with it is turn it on and have conversations with people, but because they would really care a whole lot about what you think of them, they'd listen really hard to what you had to say. And it would be the most effective power ever.

Like, Doctor Doom shows up with an invasion force, and you run up to him and say "hey, Doom, yo, why are you blowing everything up? Don't do that, man, that makes me sad. Sit down, let's talk about this." And Doom's all, Wait, no, is he mad at me? Have I made him upset? Oh jeez, man, that's no good, maybe I better rethink this whole plan. No big fight, no collateral damage, no busting out of prison three weeks later with a new dastardly scheme, you just talk for a bit and then he apologizes and goes back home and never does it again because he feels so bad about it.

And to deal with Evil Time-Traveling Super-Hitler or whoever, you simply turn the power all the way up to 11 and tell him "Well, I must say I am a little bit... disappointed in your choices," and you give a tiny little sigh and the very smallest of sad looks and it's so utterly emotionally devastating that his head just explodes.

What superpower do you daydream about?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: goobermunch
2013-03-01 10:27 am (UTC)
I see you've finally found the secret of diplomancy.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-01 03:09 pm (UTC)
Well yeah, if you've got a high enough stat modifier, it's impossible to fail the roll. It's just tricky to get that in real life...
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[User Picture]From: kybearfuzz
2013-03-01 12:20 pm (UTC)
I've always thought being telekinetic would be a great power. You could move things mentally, maybe levitate so any fear of heights wouldn't be an issue.

I can totally see why flight would be a great power though. And teleporting would be neat if you had no distance limitations (think of all the people you could visit, the countries you could see, etc.)
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-01 03:16 pm (UTC)
TK is awesome, but the downside is that it would probably turn you into the laziest metahuman EVAR.

You'd end up doing things like accidentally throwing your fridge through the wall of the kitchen because you didn't want to get up off the couch to get another beer...
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[User Picture]From: musikub
2013-03-01 03:02 pm (UTC)
I think the ability of invisibility would only be preferable to those who either feel the need to hide away from the world, or have voyeuristic tendencies. In considering the two, my first thought was "How does an invisible man cross a busy intersection without fear of getting run over?"
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-01 03:33 pm (UTC)
Even very limited powers can be useful if sufficient cleverness is applied. Q.v. StuperPowers, the game of stupid superpowers...

Did you read the Wild Cards series, edited by GRRM? It had aces (superheroes), deuces (people with useless powers), and jokers (mutants with actively detrimental powers).
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[User Picture]From: dendren
2013-03-01 04:02 pm (UTC)
I want Martian Manhunters power set... he can do it all. Fly, go invisible, go intangible, read minds, change shape. The whole fear of fire thing, I could live with that for the rest of the nifty things he gets.

Tho... the Mary Tyler Moore power set would be nice too... who wouldn't want to be able to turn the world on with a smile or take a nothing day and make it suddenly seem worth while?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-01 05:55 pm (UTC)
J'onn does have a pretty good set of powers!

He's also one of the few people who can tell Superman to shut up about the whole "boo-hoo my planet's dead" thing. (See also Texts from Superheroes...)
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From: jkusters
2013-03-01 06:05 pm (UTC)
For most of my adult life, my dream superpower would be self-duplication, the ability to split myself into multiple copies, each of which can act independently, then combine again at a later time sharing the experiences. Perhaps that's just a reflection of my tendency to spread myself overly thin, but I always thought it would be great to get stuff done while at the same time having a great, relaxing time without any pressure, and then to feel both accomplished and relaxed when it was all over.
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[User Picture]From: thedragonweaver
2013-03-02 01:11 am (UTC)
Have you read David Brin's Kiln People? Its root concept is a scientific version of that.
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[User Picture]From: annlarimer
2013-03-01 09:21 pm (UTC)
I like teleportation, assuming it comes with some kind of failsafe so I don't end up in a wall or in front of a terrified cyclist.

Flying would be second, though I worry about the heat loss. What do you wear?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-01 10:35 pm (UTC)
I agree, you definitely have to go for the versions of powers that have failsafes and other options that keep them from sucking.

For flight, I think that means it has to come with enough of a low-level force-field to keep wind out and heat in, or it's no fun...
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[User Picture]From: thedragonweaver
2013-03-02 01:16 am (UTC)
For the common, well-known superpower, I'd like the (failsafed) teleportation. My family and friends are so far-flung that I'd love to be able to just visit them and maybe sleep in my own bed, y'know? And the ability to drag at least one other person with me. I could take the kids!

For the not-so-common and world-breaky type, I'd like the ability to *deep breath* make somebody incapable of deception to or about a person or group of people for whom they have no empathy. Not just unable to lie; unable to deceive through omission, or through diversion, or in fact anything other than spilling their guts. Imagine what such a power would do to Congress. Or any media source. No empathy, flat truth about your feelings and plans.

The reason I like that one is that, while it's mind-manipulative, it both preserves free will and has a perfect out. Develop empathy, and deception is once again possible. I can't imagine it would do anything to someone like the Dalai Lama, for example.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-02 02:58 am (UTC)
Ooo, that's clever.
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[User Picture]From: allanh
2013-03-02 03:22 pm (UTC)
The power to zap a law enforcement vehicle, with lights and sirens going, onto the tail of any asshole driver I encounter on the freeway.

Petty, yes...but highly practical. After a couple of weeks, I figure I'd probably have a much smoother commute.
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[User Picture]From: goobermunch
2013-03-02 04:14 pm (UTC)
Teleportation would be great, though flight (at a sufficient power level) would rock. On a professional level telepathy would be nice.

End of the day, though, the power of healing would be the one I'd take. The rest are pretty selfish, things that would let me do the things I want to do. Healing is a power that is really focused on others. If it was bilateral, though, that would be even better.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-04 06:36 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I think it wouldn't make that big a difference for most day-to-day things. If it's just a few individuals, rather than a significant fraction of the population, it's a lot cheaper to let them ride the subway for free than it is to increase your security measures to prevent it. It's only stuff like bank vaults, where the potential losses are huge, that are worth fortifying to resist superpowers.
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2013-03-02 09:04 pm (UTC)
Beemer, I assumed you already had powers of charisma. Don't people listen when you talk?

Lately, I just want the powers of resilience. Or self-certainty. These may not be superpowers, but I've been struggling with trust issues lately and the harsh always/never voice in my head that speaks from experience rather than hope.
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2013-03-05 01:46 pm (UTC)
I would actually say that you're one of the more resilient people I know (cf. your most recent post). It may not feel that way, but you've soldiered on through all kinds of adversity, and it seems to be making you stronger, not weaker. So clearly it's the self-certainty that needs buffing up...
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[User Picture]From: bats22
2013-03-05 12:23 pm (UTC)
Beemer, weren't you the one during undergrad who made up the superpower of, "I can arbitrarily change the constants of physical law equations in a localized area!" "Let's see... bank robber trying to get away... I think I need to turn up g=98.0 m/s^2 around there. Ohhh... so you're body is plastered to the pavement now, eh?"

Although I'd worry that as you're learning/exploring your superpower, you would end up going all LHC and imploding the universe by accident or something.

And if it isn't obvious: invisibility for me. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/178/superpowers
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