Lightning Powers and the Fun After-Effects:

Total posts: [13]
1 A_H_R8th Oct 2010 03:41:33 PM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
So, when I write, I usually like to make it semi-scientific like. Of course, conservation of mass goes straight up the tubes, but I find my way around that in ways that please me.

However, I do like adding little bits of realism here and there (at least, in the places they would make the story more interesting or better) and this is where my problem comes in.

Our main character just got lightning powers! Whoop-dee-freaking-doo. Unlike every other character with such powers, he's a bit of a newbie.

Sooo, by the time the story starts, everyone else already has everything under control, so he's the only one who is gonna epically mess up.

Lightning. Our character, when getting down to the nitty gritty, can probably actually separate the electrons to make the reaction. However, he doesn't know he can do that. He just thinks 'concentrate, light show comes on'.

  • When lightning strikes right in front of you, how quickly will the thunder come?

  • Lightning goes directly towards the ground. Is there a way for it to be propelled a bit before going into said ground?

  • The shockwave of lightning, how bad is it?

  • Any problems with eye sight or hearing that might result from experiencing lightning up close?

I have other abilities I'd like to learn more about, but this one gets the most show casing and most mishaps, so I decided to take this one step at a time.
2 deathjavu8th Oct 2010 04:11:25 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
For the difference in time lapse, all you need to consider is the difference between the speed of light (~300,000,000 m/s) and the speed of sound (~340 m/s). For every meter of distance, the delay would equate to 1/340th of a second minus 1/300,000,000th of a second (time from light hitting till sound hits.) So for short distances, this amount is almost nothing. According to Wikepedia, the lightning bolt itself only travels at 360,000 m/s and anything under 100m away is felt as "instantaneous".

Lightning is like water, it's more or less trying to follow the path of least resistance at that time to a location of opposite charge. It doesn't always strike the ground, in fact the majority of strikes are from cloud to cloud. There's a bunch of theories on how exactly it works.

Sight/sound problems: yeah, probably. But I think your biggest problem will be heat-specifically, 20000 C of heat. 3 times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Also, Lightning. Unsurprisingly, tons of good stuff on here. This would be my suggestion for more.

Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
3 A_H_R8th Oct 2010 04:15:29 PM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
Thank you deathjavu. Lightning is pretty fast, so that extreme heat, how long would you have to be exposed to it? I know that it's possible to live from it, so...?
4 deathjavu8th Oct 2010 05:27:05 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
Hmm, given that it can fuse sand to glass or ignite trees, yet people can still survive from it...must have to do with the level of resistance provided or something. More resistance=more heat, sort of like a toaster oven. Maybe?

Hey look, there's a such thing as the study of lightning strike physiological effects: Hooray for Wikepedia.

edited 8th Oct '10 5:27:20 PM by deathjavu

Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
Samurai Troper
Bear this in mind: you don't have to create a visible electrical arc for there to be damage. What I'd recommend you do is have your Lightning user create a relatively low voltage (Hell, 120 V could do it) and lower resistance of the target to almost nothing, so the amperage is maximised. After all, that's what kills you, not the voltage.

Of course, this is for when he becomes a little more advanced, but I personally think it'd be safer for him to start out with low-powered stuff to figure out how it works.
6 A_H_R10th Oct 2010 08:10:04 AM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
@Tomoe: Ooooh. That is interesting. I had always assumed he would start magnetizing stuff when he got more experienced, causing things to levitate and stuff.
7 Stranger10th Oct 2010 08:36:42 AM from Nowhere in particular
goat milk?
Seems like he might want to wear some ear protection if his lightning is strong enough to create any sort of genuine thunder. The whole thing could be pretty dangerous to himself. Aside from the intense heat, sound, and the 1.21 gigawatts jigawatts, there's the fact that if it's generating from his hand, his body might be the path of least resistance. I guess it might depend on if the lightning originates in his body, or if it's something he generates in the air. Though that might be the kind of thing you handwave out anyways, since zapping yourself with your own lightning is kind of a shitty superpower.
8 A_H_R10th Oct 2010 08:41:18 AM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
Well, magic works like this

Your body can be generated/turned into X ability (fire, mammals, bugs, lightning)

You can control any type of X ability that is around you

You can summon more of X from distant locations to use (this one is not so much said as more of a handwave for conservation of mass).

So, er, yeah.
See ALL the stars!
Keep in mind that lightning that doesn't obey conservation of energy is a Gamebreaker in a lot of circumstances. For instance, if you drop a spanner/wrench across the ports of a 12V car battery and keep it there for any length of time, the wrench isn't going to remain solid for long.

EDIT: Yeah, if you apply the car battery's power to the wrench for 50ms, it'll melt.

edited 10th Oct '10 9:13:13 AM by Yej

Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
10 A_H_R10th Oct 2010 09:09:43 AM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
Yeah, I know. This isn't what I would call a story where you need to be the strongest that ever lived. At least in the main story, he's still an immature newbie.

Plus, the whole point of the abilities he received is that they are a game breaker. The original group that received them reaked total hell on the world, because of how game break-y they were (for any other people that use magic, law of conservation must be obeyed)

So compared to normal people he is a bit of game breaker, but he also has to deal with people that are smart enough to work ways around his poorly handled powers, and people who have had years to master THEIR game breaking powers.

edited 10th Oct '10 9:11:19 AM by A_H_R

11 MajorTom10th Oct 2010 09:10:06 AM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
^^ I need to try that out someday.

edited 10th Oct '10 9:10:14 AM by MajorTom

"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
One comment is that, depending on how you set it up, lightning should either be impossible to aim or impossible to dodge.

If he just summons a lightning bolt, it'll take the past of least resistance. All you'd have to do to avoid being hit by it is make sure you're not the highest thing around. He wouldn't be able to aim at all.

Now, technically, lightning actually travels the opposite direction from what people think. If a tree is struck by lightning, the electrons actually travel up from the tree to the cloud. So he might be able to force a certain thing to let loose its electrons into a positively charged cloud.

In that case, since lightning moves at the speed of light, and it would be locked onto that particular person, there is no way they could dodge it.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
13 A_H_R11th Oct 2010 05:35:50 AM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
That is true, of course, it's my character's reaction time they just need to dodge.

And I did know about the lightning traveling upwards thing, actually.
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Total posts: 13