Ideas for "Useless" Superpowers that Actually Prove Useful.:

Total posts: [38]
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Erik Howlett
Hey gang, what's up?

Okay, so this is for one of my many, many ideas for a webcomic that I've come up with over the years, but one that continues to stick with me because of some eccentric charm it possesses. The idea centers around a time of five/six superheroes who have powers that aren't exactly considered "ideal" for actually being superheroes, kind of like the Legion of Substitute Heroes from DC Comics, or Marvel's Great Lakes Avengers. However, they manage to find a way to make them work, regardless of how useless they seem, and are pretty successful in the way of superheroics, due to their teamwork, ingenuity in applying their powers to the task at hand, and being underestimated by their opponents.

In short, Heart Is an Awesome Power.

So, as I'm brainstorming, I ask you, "What weird, seemingly useless superpowers might be interesting to see in such a story, and how are they not useless?"

So far, I only have a few, and I've already created heroes to wield them. Gender Bender weaponized, secreting maple syrup from the pores of one's skin, communication with Blue-Footed Boobies, manipulating dust particles, turning into living salt as long as you maintain contact with the earth, etc.
2 VolatileChills5th May 2013 11:22:05 AM from Outer Heaven , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Venom Awakens
Dust particles: flooding people's lungs! evil grin

Also, creating smokescreens and the like.
Standing on the edge of the crater...
3 MaxwellDaring5th May 2013 11:41:18 AM from YOUR MIND , Relationship Status: Desperate
you need to vibrate higher
I had an idea similar to this where it's a "Sucky Superpowers Anonymous" where people go for support when they find that their powers just plain suck. This includes a man who can make anyone suck at Tetris. This becomes useful once when a supervillain comes along that can summon Tetris bricks. Others are useful exactly zero times, including a woman who summons cheese whiz out of every facial orifice when she's angry, or a man with a biomechanical coffee grinder built into his leg. (he can't use the leg for anything other than grinding coffee, however)
I had the pineapple, I went to the Crab. I went to Crusty Crab's. I had it all, and I said this was a bigger Chum Bucket then I just got-
4 DhanaRagnarok5th May 2013 01:12:29 PM from France. COCO-FLIPPIN'-RICO. , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Disturbingly suspect.
I had a guy with teleportation powers...Limited to a few grams and a few meters. How does he fight? Teleporting tiny amounts of deadly poisons (that he keeps on himself) right into the enemy's bloodstream. He also uses it to torture his victims...By teleporting them a bit to the left. Piece by piece. (Although, it could be considered that this power only sucks if everybody is a super.)

Actually, there's plenty of potential for powers that appears useless, but would be terrifying if employed on a human body. Turning water into wine (the water in your cells). Creating soap bubbles (into you bloodstream). Limited electric manipulation (by manipulating the electric fields in your brain). Changing objects' heat to room temperature...
Deep childhood trauma. Saw his dad do it with his mom-
A trauma, really? What a wimp!
-after he stabbed her 23 times.
5 Tuckerscreator5th May 2013 01:42:19 PM from High Charity, the Prophet's Holy City , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Every film should end with a Deus T. rex Machina
Something I once discussed with a screenwriter in my neighborhood: This kid's power is that he can change the color of objects. Not very helpful, unless you want to repaint your house or something. Gradually he learns to change just parts of objects, so he can make more complex images and start making instant art. Then it turns powerful when he learns how to change the color of the air. (And yes, air does have color.) He uses this to create holograms, illusions, and to confuse his foes. With a single gesture, he can make them blind, make himself invisible, or make them believe there are hundreds of him, or that they've been teleported to a volcano. It's all a trick of color.
6 Rainbow5th May 2013 02:21:31 PM , Relationship Status: Puppy love
One potential combat use for the "shooting Cheez-Whiz out of your face" power is that depending on how much she can produce, it could be used to drown a foe in Cheez-Whiz or concentrating the attack to be like a firehose where it could be used to blast someone (like how a firehose can be used to hurt people because of the water pressure) or it could be used to drown someone by squirting it directing into their mouth and into their lungs or even simply force-feeding it to a victim.

I have no idea how much control this character has over her powers, though. Those were just things I thought of for how squirting Cheez-Whiz out of your face could be used for fighting.
7 Blueeyedrat5th May 2013 02:52:00 PM from nowhere in particular. , Relationship Status: Mu
I thought up an idea for a character who can teleport, but only in one direction: up. He has to pack a parachute (or some equivalent item, like a feather-fall charm) with him wherever he goes. Anything that he takes with him during a jump (unless they can fly) isn't so lucky.

I also had an idea for a villain that can exist as two people at the same time (and communicate with his/her two halves via Hive Mind). He/she can regenerate a new body as long as the other still lives, but any of his/her forms are otherwise unspectacular. He/she goes into politics and keeps control over a small region by posing as two Strawmen Political, campaigning against each other every election cycle.*
"I've come to the conclusion that this is a very stupid idea."
8 Rainbow5th May 2013 04:59:32 PM , Relationship Status: Puppy love
As a note, I would imagine that most powers that involve creating a certain kind of food could be used to force-feed enemies (a person wouldn't necessarily explode like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life but it could potentially make an enemy's stomach rupture inside their body) and depending on how hard the food is, it could also be used as an Edible Bludgeon or something to throw at an enemy (like a coconut or other similar hard fruit). Sticky foods could be used to trap an opponent by sticking them to the wall or ground if there's enough of it.

edited 5th May '13 5:00:51 PM by Rainbow

I once wrote a hero whose superpower was to hide things so well only he could find them. It basically meant that if he hid the villain, not even the villain would know where he was and neither would anyone else, hence instant and unbeatable trap. He also had a full time job at the prison, taking people out to go to the bathroom and sending their meals to them.
10 Bisected85th May 2013 07:07:25 PM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
A couple I've thought of;

  • Doppelganger Shapeshifting: The ability to turn into a perfect copy of anyone (right down to memories and mannerisms, with the Required Secondary Power of being good enough at compartmentalising to keep your own mind intact)...but only into people who currently exist and anyone seeing you has never met (or even as much as seen without remembering).
    • Apart from still being useful as a disguise (as long as you're careful about the individuals you disguise yourself as), it can be used to verify whether or not a given person's met someone and tell if a given person's still alive/existing.

  • Digital Superstrength: Super Strength which only applies to fingers.
    • This makes you amazing at anything which needs manual dexterity (since it comes with the RSP of being able to control said strength).
11 fillerdude5th May 2013 08:30:41 PM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
There are some mighty fine ideas in this thread, though some aren't what I'd call useless.

I guess just think of powers with a limited scope. Like, I dunno, "making rocks harder", "summoning chickens", "one foot that can walk, err, hop on water", etc.

@ Blueeyedrat Huh, I also thought of that teleport ability, with the same limitation.

@ Bisected Digital super strength reminds me of the main villain in Mystery Men, who had a superstrong pinky.

edited 5th May '13 8:35:21 PM by fillerdude

12 DrStarky5th May 2013 10:34:37 PM from Corn And Pig Land , Relationship Status: Staying up all night to get lucky
Okay Guy
Can summon the dead to his side.

Not the undead, just the plain ol' regular dead.
Put me in motion, drink the potion, use the lotion, drain the ocean, cause commotion, fake devotion, entertain a notion, be Nova Scotian
13 DhanaRagnarok6th May 2013 11:37:56 AM from France. COCO-FLIPPIN'-RICO. , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Disturbingly suspect.
I remember reading about a mage who fought using ice-cream. He could control the amount and taste. How did he fought? Send some pepper/harissa/wasabi cream in their eyes, then shoot strawberry-herring cream in their mouth. Or cover them with hundreds of liters of some disgusting cream.

He was quite imaginative with terrible tastes for his cream...God did that sound wrong.
Deep childhood trauma. Saw his dad do it with his mom-
A trauma, really? What a wimp!
-after he stabbed her 23 times.
14 ironcommando6th May 2013 01:29:48 PM from Terra 102 , Relationship Status: Abstaining
Being able to write extremely quickly.

He could use a scalpel to "write" stuff on an opponent and shred them to bits from writing quickly.

[up]That character would be the one character that one of my villains would be scared of. Said villain has the ability to be immune to all harm (including Reality Warping)... except for Ice Cream. If he touches Ice Cream, he dies immediately.

edited 6th May '13 4:47:57 PM by ironcommando

Just a waiter.
15 MaxwellDaring6th May 2013 04:14:25 PM from YOUR MIND , Relationship Status: Desperate
you need to vibrate higher
How about someone who can write very quickly, but the person can't think quick enough to actually write anything useful. Or make the person illiterate.

@Rainbow: She can produce just enough to disgust her enemies and make her eyes very irritated. Her eyes and teeth are permanently stained yellow due to cheez-whiz overexposure. She is the bane of lactose-intolerant people everywhere.

Also, totally relevant. Sort of.

edited 6th May '13 4:23:34 PM by MaxwellDaring

I had the pineapple, I went to the Crab. I went to Crusty Crab's. I had it all, and I said this was a bigger Chum Bucket then I just got-
16 ironcommando6th May 2013 04:49:14 PM from Terra 102 , Relationship Status: Abstaining
[up]That could actually make his ability more useless in daily life, which is what we want for this topic grin.

A guy that can produce that annoyingly hard-to-remove glitter dust anywhere. Including the inside of the opponent's bloodstream, clogging it.

edited 6th May '13 4:50:21 PM by ironcommando

Just a waiter.
Erik Howlett
Limited audiokinesis: You can only create- at random- sounds that universally annoy the HELL out of everyone. The screams of ill-behaved children at Walmart, the grating shriek of silverware against ceramic dinner-plates, that high-pitched whine you hear when someone left a TV on in the house but you don't know where, etc.

Mental control over cardboard.

The ability to shoot lemonade out of your eyes with torrential force, without the Required Secondary Powers to prevent it from burning like Hell whenever you use it.

edited 7th May '13 9:24:40 AM by ErikHowlett

18 VincentQuill7th May 2013 01:10:50 PM from Dublin , Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
the ability to make the internet work faster. while useful, in a fight it would be useless, until an evil villain turns up and the heroes are stranded and need to contact someone... but the internet's down and they only have a computer. Wifiman away! (yeah, i'm suffering from slow internet at the moment)
19 ironcommando7th May 2013 01:36:31 PM from Terra 102 , Relationship Status: Abstaining
[up]We could use the inverse- a guy with the ability to cut all electronic communications in a large radius around him, and he can't turn it off (kinda like a Walking Techbane). Would really suck in a modern environment as he'll have to resort to direct speech/snail mail to communicate and ride a bicycle to get around.

Until the villain comes up with a horde or evil robots/cyborgs/vehicles. They'll be unable to do jack to this guy. In fact, he beats the bots by just being around!

edited 7th May '13 1:36:47 PM by ironcommando

Just a waiter.
20 Voltech447th May 2013 07:57:48 PM from Alongside a Virtual Weasel , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
All Guns Sparking
The power to make anything in motion (and only in motion) do a U-turn. That way, if a villain or [[Flying Brick]] is charging at the hero, one U-turn is all it takes to make him reverse direction and crash into a building — either that, or stop speeding cars from crashing into old ladies. There's still the matter of the exact physics — the momentum the object has prior to the U-turn carries over — but I'd say there's a little bit of potential to be had.
My blog — Read it, and (maybe) become a writing hero!
Erik Howlett
Fertile Feet. Think there might be a way to weaponize these?
22 VolatileChills8th May 2013 07:16:56 AM from Outer Heaven , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Venom Awakens
Not so much weaponizing, but it would be useful for growing lotsa weed. XD
Standing on the edge of the crater...
Erik Howlett
@ Bisected- The "Digital Super Strength" idea got me thinking. There are a number of ways that could make someone a devastating hand-to-hand combatant, especially when applied to pressure-points. A literal Finger Poke of Doom that could send someone flying. Not to mention I'm imagining something similar to Hulk's sonic-clap attack, only with the person snapping their fingers to create a miniature sonic boom. You could use that to take out an opponent's hearing and equilibrium to knock them off their game long enough to restrain them.
24 fillerdude8th May 2013 09:05:10 AM , Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
If you kicked someone with Fertile Feet, you could make plants sprout of that unfortunate dude's body.
25 Matues8th May 2013 02:37:38 PM from eye on the horizon , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Become Immune To Poison Ivy —> Ivy, Ivy EVERYWHERE.

Total posts: 38
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