Required Secondary Powers
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Basic Information

Required Secondary Powers refers to minor powers that we must assume come with the main powers of superheroes or other characters with magic and powers. It refers to the implications of the powers. Like, if some costumed hero has the strength to lift a skyscraper - should we assume he also has the resilience to not be crushed by the weight of it or the stress of the forces he's applying to his bones? How can he walk around carrying it, without the mass of the skyscraper making his feet tunnel into the earth with every step? If he's invulnerable to the forces being applied in this scenario, how does he ever get a haircut? Does the skyscraper retain it's shape, and if so, why doesn't it break apart now that it's been hefted off the foundations?

That's a heck of a page they've got over there at the TV Tropes Wiki, it covers the implications and required secondary powers of:

In general, most super-powers display No Conservation Of Energy, or use some Hand Wave to get around it. Often My Suit Is Also Super.

On a less graphic scale, these may be discovered by accident during all sorts of research and development - whether biological or otherwise. Sooner or later you're going to find that installing the feature you want means you also have to install a whole pile of other stuff, which in extreme cases can leave the whole project in a death spiral.



Game and Story Use

  • You can generally assume that all powers come with the secondary powers necessary to survive using the main power.
    • Exceptions may exist, such as powers gained from a Wish.
    • For a humorous game, you might have some fun subverting / inverting / averting this trope.
    • Really good powers that might otherwise be beyond the scope of your setting might be allowable if handicapped by the lack of secondary powers.
  • Verisimilitude and Willing Suspension of Disbelief may require a serious examination of the required secondary powers in a game, at least in a grittier game or one that involves much puzzle-solving.
    • They may have obvious implications, like the notion that super-strength must come with some measure of super-toughness or else the hero would literally rip himself apart. Depending on your game, these connections might result in required power pairings, or discount costs.
    • They also may have implications that are more versatile to the clever PC, so be prepared if someone tries to munchkin out.
  • The page at the TV Tropes Wiki should be required reading for those who run a superhero game.
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