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Just For Fun / How to Give a Character Superpowers

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"The kids who get bit by radioactive insects or fall into a vat of toxic waste, their powers usually show up the next day... or they die."
Nurse Spex, Sky High (2005)

Feel like giving someone superhuman abilities? It's easy! Just:

  1. Make them wander into a lab and spill some chemicals on themselves.
  2. Subject them to otherwise deadly radiation.
  3. Have them struck by lightning.
  4. Have them bitten by a spider.
    • Other animals can work too. Although wolves would probably just make them a werewolf instead.
  5. Give them cybernetic augmentations.
  6. Test that new brand of Super Serum on them.
  7. Give them something to compensate for a disability.
  8. Reveal that they have been an alien all along.
  9. Or that one of their parents is.
  10. Hand them a cool super-suit.
  11. Or just give them enough attitude.
  12. Establish that they have a genetic affinity for superpowers.
  13. Have them take the mantle of another superhero.
  14. Combining the previous two (three, four), why not inherit them?
  15. Subject them to enough hard training to make them superhuman, or at least seem superhuman.
  16. Establish them as The Chosen One.
  17. Let Vorlons touch them.
  18. Flash forward to their puberty.
  19. If they already have weaker powers, put them in a crossover.
  20. ...or just end the season and start a new one.
  21. Retcon them into The Real Remington Steele.
  22. Cast them in a kid-friendly Animated Adaptation. Extra points if it has the words "IN SPACE!" somewhere in the title.
  23. Put them in a life-threatening situation.
  24. Have something really, really bad happen to them.
  25. Give them a sixteenth birthday.
  26. Give them a giant fighting robot...
  27. ...preferably one that can transform.
  28. Forget about giving them a robot, make them the robot.
  29. ...or otherwise made in a lab.
  30. Give them a ship. Or, better, Cool Starship!
  31. Let the government take care of it.
  32. Two words: Green Rocks.
  33. Teach them an empowering ritual.
  34. Teach them magic.
  35. ...preferably by having them find a guide to magic.
  36. Give them a Magic Ring, or some other Magical Accessory.
  37. ...or give them an enchanted wand or staff.
  38. Reveal them to be a reincarnation of a legendary hero.
  39. Push them to their breaking point and see what happens.
  40. And don't worry if they do break; you can always fix them.
  41. Expose them to some process that alters their very genetic makeup from the ground up.
  42. Inject them with Nanomachines.
  43. Expose them to weird sciencey/magical goo.
  44. Have them hang around someone else with powers. Eventually Power Osmosis will get them to soak up some of that power. Don't expect it to stick though.
  45. Have them fight a boss and take their power.
  46. Have someone else literally give them superpowers.
  47. It's a gift from (insert benevolent spirit here).
  48. It's a curse from (insert malevolent spirit here).
  49. Kill them.
  50. Bring them Back from the Dead.
  51. Leave them in a cave with a box of scraps.
  52. Make a deal with a benevolent or malevolent being for your powers.
  53. Involve animals in some way.
  54. Have an alien with superpowers merge with them.
  55. Cast them as the hero in a Stylish Action game.
  56. Give them a powerful weapon that was Forged by the Gods.
  57. If they are a Badass Normal without powers, that doesn't stop them from getting some.
  58. Have God bless them.
  59. Cast them as the partner of a Jewelpet.

But really, if you just feel like it, why not just pull it out of your ass?

Be warned, not everyone reacts well to getting super powers.

If you want to boost these powers through the roof, consider using an Amplifier Artifact.

If you want to put a limit on them, give them a finite Power Source.

When it would take too long to think of a different one for every character, why not try a Mass Super-Empowering Event or Randomly Gifted?

Compare Our Mages Are Different.