Sunday, June 13, 2021

Fragmentary Superpowers - Two experiments with randomly generating jank.

I need some janky superpowers. Here are a couple of little experiments to randomly generate such things.

The first combines an activation condition with a power and an element:

The second just picks a few options from a list of 'partial' superpowers. Fire summoners are immune to fire. Super strongos have the unbreakable bones needed to support their strength. What if those required secondary powers were just doled out at random instead of being properly matched?

Here are a few doodles of janky superheroes for inspiration. The tables used in the above generators are down below.

Original Premium - While chanting, saltine crackers randomly appear nearby

Thick Liz - Immune to disease, doesn't need to breathe, can talk to fish (they don't listen)

Capn' Flappy - Changes direction of local gravity, redundant wings

Tables for Conditionally Manifested Powers

d20 Conditions for a Power to Activate

  1. Whenever you walk
  2. Whenever someone is trying to hurt you
  3. While chanting a magic phrase
  4. At will
  5. Each full moon
  6. Every noon
  7. For one second, once per minute
  8. Whenever someone looks at you
  9. While moving at least 5 km per hour
  10. During the day
  11. Whenever injured
  12. Whenever someone lies to you
  13. While sleeping
  14. While meditating
  15. While your eyes are squeezed shut
  16. Whenever you will it
  17. While in midair
  18. While moving upwards
  19. While drunk
  20. Whenever someone answers a question you ask

d20 Manifestations of Elemental Might

  1. you leave behind a trail of [ELEMENT]
  2. you fire a beam of [ELEMENT] from your hands
  3. [ELEMENT] randomly appears around you
  4. you destroy all nearby [ELEMENT]
  5. you summon armor made of [ELEMENT]
  6. you can move unimpeded through [ELEMENT]
  7. you can telekinetically manipulate [ELEMENT] with your mind
  8. you cannot be hurt by [ELEMENT]
  9. you turn whatever you touch into [ELEMENT]
  10. you sense nearby [ELEMENT]
  11. you teleport towards nearby [ELEMENT]
  12. you can summon constructs made of [ELEMENT]
  13. you can alter the properties of nearby [ELEMENT]
  14. you gain insight into the history and properties of any [ELEMENT] you sense
  15. you summon nearby [ELEMENT] into your hands
  16. [ELEMENT] in your hands becomes unbreakable
  17. you can easily pick up [ELEMENT] and carry it around
  18. you can freeze [ELEMENT] in time
  19. you can make [ELEMENT] grow larger, more numerous, or more powerful
  20. your mind is bombarded with visions of how to tinker with [ELEMENT]

d20 Example Elements

  1. filth
  2. food
  3. weather
  4. slime
  5. poison
  6. crystal
  7. plant matter
  8. electricity
  9. precious metal
  10. iron
  11. fungus
  12. radioactive dust
  13. flesh
  14. stone
  15. glass
  16. friendship
  17. light
  18. heat
  19. weaponry
  20. gas

d6xd10 Table of Fragmentary Powers

1. Brute Strength and Endurance

  1. uper powerful muscles and tendons (be careful not to shatter your own bones when you flex)
  2. unbreakable skin (flexible, so blunt force trauma still a danger)
  3. unbreakable bones and ligaments
  4. internal organs immune to acute injury
  5. don’t need to eat or drink (unlimited energy and nutrients, replenished blood and sweat summoned from thin air, etc)
  6. breathing is optional
  7. immune to disease (pathogens, cancer, chronic respiratory disorders from smoke inhalation, etc)
  8. negligible senescence
  9. no fatigue and never need to sleep
  10. can choose to ignore the direct effects of other powers

2. Flight-ish

  1. ignore the pull of gravity on your body (partially or entirely)
  2. instantly bring yourself to a stop (relative to the ground) without injury
  3. steadily accelerate your body at 5 meters per second per second (about half g-force) in any direction
  4. once per minute, accelerate by exactly 30 meters per second (~ 70mph) in any direction over the course of 1 second (about 3G of acceleration)
  5. change direction of gravity in a 3 meter bubble around you
  6. ignore friction and drag (also applies to your clothing and any objects you are touching that you can lift)
  7. reaction speed scales with movement speed (relative to ground)
  8. lightweight (10% of expected weight and inertia for matter in your body)
  9. bodily inertia can scale up to 10 times normal
  10. withstand immense pressure or vacuum

3. Elemental Affinities

  1. uninjured by heat and flame
  2. uninjured by extreme cold
  3. uninjured by electrical shocks
  4. shockwaves and loud noises pass right through you without causing injury (you hear them as a faint sound)
  5. radiation immunity (no sunburns, bright light doesn’t hurt your retinas or cause afterimages, etc)
  6. autoignition (summon hot flames around your body)
  7. shoot firehose-like jets of near-freezing water from your palms (all or nothing, can’t trickle out water; momentum-conserving)
  8. call down a bolt of lightning (strikes your location)
  9. super sonic scream (directed forwards, but likely to rupture your own eardrums if you use in an an enclosed space)
  10. illuminate small objects you are touching (they glow with up to 1 gigacandela per square meter of surface)

4. Mental Might

  1. three separate trains of thought
  2. think and react at double speed
  3. memory enhancing vision (anyone you are making direct eye contact with has supernaturally improved recognition and recall)
  4. share the memories of anyone you are touching (if they remember something, you remember it too; you can’t browse through their memories like a book)
  5. anyone who hears your commands feels a momentary, easily resistible compulsion to obey
  6. people feel uncomfortable looking directly at you
  7. lies you tell always feel at least slightly believable
  8. any creature within 100 meters can hear your voice
  9. animals understand the meaning of your words (but usually don’t care)
  10. see through the eyes of any creature you are touching

5. Bizzare Body

  1. majestic angel wings (capable of generating enough force to lift 20 kg)
  2. razor sharp spikes erupt from under your skin (make sure to get stitches afterwards)
  3. razor-sharp fingernails (you can clip them shorter but can’t dull the edge)
  4. fingers can rapidly extend and retract (max length 5 meters)
  5. detachable fingers (they stay alive for several weeks, and you control them from a distance; they don’t regrow but a surgeon can probably reattach them)
  6. vomit out a rattlesnake up to once per minute (regular snake, not under your command)
  7. hyper-rapid regeneration (just faster, not better; doesn’t regrow limbs, leaves scars, needs mass from food intake)
  8. regrow limbs (takes months)
  9. glowing skin (mostly visible light, but some x-rays as well)
  10. elastic flesh and bones (should probably wear a helmet at all times)

6. Various Physics-Defying Feats

  1. your body can turn invisible while your eyes are squeezed shut and nobody is looking directly at you
  2. turn clothes and small objects invisible while touching them (size limit determined by what you can lift)
  3. intangibility toggle (be careful not to phase into the ground)
  4. skin-tight, rigid, impermeable, opaque force field (takes 1 second of concentration to toggle on or off)
  5. open a pair of portals between two surfaces you are touching (keeping the portals open requires concentration and sustained contact with both surfaces)
  6. shoot high-powered laser beams from your eyes, focused wherever you look (the beam starts from 2 cm in front of your eyes, but be careful not to look at a retroreflector)
  7. cause a small object you are touching to instantly explode (like Gambit without a time delay)
  8. objects you are lifting don’t bend or break under their own weight
  9. lift things even without proper leverage
  10. shrink or grow (mass is constant, square-cube issues apply, can’t eat or breathe except at normal size)



Edit: Some useful feedback from others:

  • The conditional-power generator has more interesting results
  • The most interesting triggers are those like "while drunk" or "while midair"
    • states of being with start and end times
    • can deliberately make the choice to trigger the power but comes at a cost
    • can potentially be inflicted upon you by an outside force
  • The most interesting manifestations are those like "create armor of _"
    • singular triggered instance
    • persistent effect can be interpreted as permanent or only lasting for the duration of the trigger
  • Friendship is the most interesting element by far.


  1. "Whenever you will it, you can make friendship grow larger, more numerous, or more powerful"

    Oh no he's too powerful

  2. Shooting flame while in sleep might be a tad inconvenient, though.