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Real world, superpowered humans. What now?:

A young man discovers he has telekinesis-based powers (or something to that effect). After messing around a bit, he concludes/learns that there are others like him scattered around the planet.

What brings them together? What pitches them against one another?

I ask because I want to avoid the common plots found in this type of story: a) shadowy government agency/Illuminatti group wants to control these superhumans to achieve world domination; b) Magneto-type figure wants to overthrow/enslave humanity based on notions of racial/special superiority.

also, I would rather shy away from religious overtones, if it can be helped.

Any ideas?

 2 Belisaurius, Tue, 26th Jun '12 3:50:35 PM from Big Blue Nowhere Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Artisan of Auspicious Artifacts
Well, if I was a telekinetic and I knew this trait was genetic, I'd try to use telekinesis to get rich and have lots of kids. Hopefully, some of my offspring will be telekinetic and try to do the same thing. Figure ten generations down the line telekinetics would end up common enough to make a difference.

As for the other T Ks, I'd try to contact them only to exchange notes, trying to get the ins and outs of telekinesis.

but that's just me.

 3 Taira Mai, Tue, 26th Jun '12 3:51:08 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up] I ask because I want to avoid the common plots found in this type of story: a) shadowy government agency/Illuminatti group wants to control these superhumans to achieve world domination; b) Magneto-type figure wants to overthrow/enslave humanity based on notions of racial/special superiority.

Well, look to the arguments for and against gun control and arguments about the war on drugs (I'm not taking a position for or against, I'm getting meta here. Arguments for or against guns or drugs, or guns that shoot drugs belong on another site)

  • On the one hand, some say it's a matter of personal freedom, if someone is born with a "power" no matter how lame, they didn't ask for it and they shoudl be free to live without some MIB trying toss them in jail.

  • On the other hand, my rights to shoot eye lasers end where your tender, laser vunerable body begin. Strawman has a point : just because you can work a lock with your mind doesn't mean you should.

  • Look and the NRA vs the Brady campaign, no shadowy cabal. Arguments, lobbying and such out in the open.

  • Project Gunwalker(goolge it): a bad idea, a very bad idea. No black helicopters, no ancient conspiracy, just a really dumb idea.

  • Some use "mutant" powers as a parable for being gay/lesbian/transgendered (closet tropes apply here). It's been done, if that's your bag fine, if not skip this one.

Flying Dutchman
Depending on how old this kid is, the recent movie Chronicle gives a good picture of how high school seniors would act given sudden superpowers. It even uses telekinetic powers, to boot, and it happens to be a very well-made and engaging film.
"Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?"

What if he uses his powers to find other people like him? Can he read minds or something like that? Nevermind, just have him actively search for others like him, and maybe there are others who are looking for each other. What pits them against each other could be ideological differences; about life, politics, society, etc (I mean to avoid the typical Magneto-vs-Xavier thing)
 
Yep, watched Chronicle a few weeks ago, started daydreaming about what I would do if given those powers. Honestly, I think the characters underused them. Just flying around and lifting cars? No imagination.

I envisioned a shonen-style story, lots of training and fighting between characters with specific abilities. Ended up with a lot of characters, each using the powers differently, but with no connection to each other, and no reason to fight amongst themselves.

I guess it comes down to deciding whether they display these powers out in the open or keep it a secret. If choosing for secrecy, it is probably inevitable to end up with some kind of conspiracy binding them together.

thanks for the replies folks, a lot of food for thought. Any other ideas are welcome.

 7 Blurring, Thu, 28th Jun '12 7:11:15 AM from Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Get bored because one can.
Even if there are no shadow organisations, vanilla military will be most interested in them. If you don't want to involve the military, then why not go into sports. E.g. a telekinetic striker goes against a telekinetic keeper. That way they could find more people with powers.
Ain't no parrot on my shoulder and no rings in my ear, but I ain't no irate pirate, real swashbuckling buccaneer!
 8 sonofkong, Mon, 2nd Jul '12 3:51:47 PM from Out of Sight
_____ ∆ _____ ∆∆
You might make a world where at one point some people just got superpowers and treat it as a news story, but still keep 90% of the supers under wraps. A few newspaper articles could make the difference between generic superheroes and superhero deconstruction.
Out of Mind
 9 Ralanr, Wed, 18th Jul '12 12:19:45 PM from My deep imagination
I hate my ADD Meds
In how they could get together I have an idea that I think might be interesting. Make a recruitment site or blog. I know it sounds stupid but if a character realizes that they have powers and that there are other people in the world with powers then maybe certain things that seem silly could actually be truthful.

Just an idea really.
http://ralanr.deviantart.com/

My Deviant art profile, A plea for attention, cause I am bored
Raven Wilder
If you're looking to avoid cliches, and if there are more than a handful of superhumans, you're gonna have to make their existence public knowledge. While some superhumans might decide they want to keep what they can do secret, if there are dozens or hundreds of them out there, inevitably one of 'em is gonna go public, and a conspiracy keeping those superhumans silent would be exactly the kind of cliche you say you're looking to avoid.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 11 Matues, Sat, 21st Jul '12 1:55:04 AM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
I can see public knowledge of superhumans played for laughs.

A older man exits his house to grab the morning paper and glances over at his car.. to she it sitting, half-melted ontop of his wife's flower bed.

"Damn kids. Back in my day, the worst you could do was egg someone's house. But now keep waking up on the moon or dealing with three-month blizzards."

He stops and slowly turns to look at his house to see the whole top story gone.

"That is the last straw. HONEY, BREAK OUT THE DEATH-RAY!"

A nasal voice yells from one of the windows, "THE ONE THAT TURNS THE MOON TO CHEESE, OR THE LASER ONE?"
 12 Taira Mai, Sun, 22nd Jul '12 7:51:13 PM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up]Don't forget the media!

  • Nancy Grace style reporters doing a "shocking" expose on superpowers

  • Would the sales of superhero themed comics and movies go down or up?

  • Would gossip sites covers superheroes too?

  • Blogs written about and by superheroes, heck, they might even have their own forums too!
Humans, superpowered or not, are still people.

They will probably have normal drives, impulses and dreams.

Lacking anything better to do, most would probably try to cash in on their super powers rather than fight crime for free.

Super speed delivery service, flying brick demolitions, mind reading "hints" for investigators, that sort of thing.

People/Governments would want to use them of course, but its not that big a change from now where exceptional people are encouraged to defect from their native country for another with money.
 
 14 Taira Mai, Sat, 28th Jul '12 3:28:57 AM from El Paso Tx Relationship Status: One Is The Loneliest Number
rollin' on dubs
[up]Jumping off of what Natasel posted, what about arts and culture with 'real world' supers? examples:

  • Music played by people who are Multi-Armed and Dangerous (okay music and other pursuits )
  • The Demolished Man had an Esper actress: she taylored her performance to the mood of the crowd.
  • How would history (depending on when your work has the superpowers appear) change?
  • Gadgets and such: is the internal combustion engine being replaced by some new tech or will characters have to fill a gastank?

edited 28th Jul '12 3:29:12 AM by TairaMai

 15 Matues, Sat, 28th Jul '12 4:06:15 AM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
What's illegal?

  • Mind Reading an invasion of privacy?
  • Should potentially lethal powers require a license to use?
  • Are Precognitive Visions acceptable evidence in a court?

edited 28th Jul '12 4:06:28 AM by Matues

There might be a problem with discrimination.

And by that, I don't mean the tired old cliche about "supers" being picked on because they are different and having to have a secret identity or other rot.

It more along the lines of if Super is the New Normal, then Normals will probably be treated like crippiles, the disadvantaged, unlucky sods, and what have you.

Being someone who can't do anything Super may make employment difficult along with the second class citizen thing.

  • I am feeling very British today. OLYMIPCS!!! grin

 
 17 Neko LLX, Mon, 24th Sep '12 5:49:49 PM from Soviet America
Writer: Tokusatsu 5YrWar
I actually dealt with this issue in a story i wrote "Company Man/Just a Game" the basic premise was the protagonist was a biokeneitc he could shape flesh at first he just uses it to gender bend and make really kick arse Cosplay bodies for him and his friends. But eventually forced into working for Hollywood as a super makeup artist. In the sequal Just a Game he has settled into his new life more or less and is playing the newest MMO, essentially my worlds World of Warcraft, it's CEO is another meta witht he power to open portals to another world, and the game is that portal, changing the payers into clasica heros in a fantasy setting when they log in. In both cases the powered character uses their powers AS their job.
7 friends, a robot, and a spirit, will find a way to protect us...if it kills them.
 18 kassyopeia, Thu, 27th Sep '12 6:03:01 AM from terrae nullius

"No Heroics" had some (silly but nevertheless) thought-provoking ideas on This topic.

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
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Total posts: 18
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