Not So Ordinary

INCOMPLETE

What are things like in a not so ordinary world?

Background

? General description here of the vaguely altered history. The world is a less gritty and much brighter Wild Cards setting or a Batman-esque world.

General Effects

? the charisma and allure of a costumed life

Historical Abilities

? Things that were changed and notable figures. No huge changes, but a few oddities.

Ability Rarity

Those with abilities make up approximately 0.16% of the global population. The following table shows the rarity, and approximate distribution without considering migration due to ability concerns, of several populations

Grade Rarity Aberdeen New York USA World
Alpha 1 in 1,000 x x x x
Beta 1 in 2,000 x x x x
Gamma 1 in 10,000 x x x x
Delta 1 in 100,000 x x x x
Epsilon 1 in 1,500,000 x x x x
Zeta 1 in 75,000,000 x x x x
Eta 1 in 7,500,000,000 x x x x
Humanity in 2010 1 in 1 213,810 19,541,453 310,511,000 6,909,000,000

The comparative rarity of each grade changes significantly as can be seen. Experts predict that there may be approximately one person with Theta grade abilities, if such is humanly possible, per 1,870,000,000,000 people. This makes the chances of there ever having been such a person in the history of humanity at an estimated one in fifty..


Ability Grades

Alpha

Someone with an Alpha level ability has something really restricted and/or something they couldn't use that often. This sort of ability can go unnoticed. Generally it can be something vague useful-ish and internal or some sort of tiny party trick.

At this grade you have someone who can flick his fingers to produce sparks like a flint and tinder. Or who could hold their breath for double the normal length of time. Or has truly impressive night vision. Or maybe she just 'filled out' nicely and her breasts never give her trouble. Or water just slicks off him when he wants to get dry.

Anyone who sees an ability of this grade as a threat gets directed towards a psychologist for treatment for their obvious paranoia.

It'd be real work to use it offensive. Energy projection, even something like the sparks, is rarer than other powers.

Beta

A Beta ability is definately more handy though and can be a bit more 'blatant'. Someone with Beta grade night vision might get something which makes modern light amplification equipment seem horrible or might be able to see heat instead. The guy who can snap his fingers and have that lighter flame from his thumb (until he 'cramps' and has to stop). The mother who -really- doesn't get sick. Someone with a 'genius' for a very specific activity, such as being able to crunch numbers in his head as though he was using a calculator.

Still not that dangerous, but neat and definitely falls out of 'neat trick' into 'mundane utility'.

Some lesser powers with proper control can slip in here. Such as being able to choose what natural color your hair grows out and whether it's wavy etc. As opposed to the occasional Alpha who has an odd color (like electric blue) or has their hair change shade with the seasons.

Gamma

Gamma is where you start to see the more drastic changes in some people or useful powers with problems. Being able to read the mood of someone your familiar with as though they literally had a glowing sign stating it. A photographic memory where, for a while after reading something, you can effectively have it as an invisible reference book in your head. Someone who is unnaturally hard to spot in shadows or darkness.

You might get an enhanced physique with a useful consequence from that. Such as having a tough skin or being significantly stronger than your size/bulk would suggest.

This can start to get into the low-superhuman. Assuming you trained like someone would to get to the high end of human then you could push low end superhuman. In that specific category.

With enhanced strength this could be 'five foot nothing girl who punches like a bodybuilder' or 'guy who looks like he pumps iron in his sleep and you don't want to get punched by'.

It can definately be dangerous, but (at the very least) a brief medical exam would show significant differences if there is an altered physique. The girl might weight stones heavier than she should, the overbulked guy would look strength enhanced, the tough skinned person would be visibly different skin wise.

But generally starting to get into the realm of comic-bookishness. Not unbeatable though and when it's pushing that border it's -very- specific.

There are still imits though. That guy with the photographic memory can't retain things forever and still has to 'read through' something in his head if he wants to look it up.

Delta

Delta is where you start to get clusters of abilities or a couple of stronger and closely linked ones. Some Delta's could be concidered 'Episilons not implemented right'.

Here is where you can get someone who has visibly altered body with a genuine 'taser touch' (albeit with limited users and perhaps a need to recharge) and a few benefits concerning how their body has changed. Or you get someone like my 'regenerative coma healer' who has a real useful ability with a very hindering drawback.

People with psychometry enough to read object histories for strong emotions. Receptive telepaths (those with significant limits could be a grade lower). An 'I'm not here' illusion projective. An adept with multiple facets, but not a universal talent, would tend to fall into this grade too.

You could try getting away with being a minor 'theme villian' here, but most heroes or villans tend to be the next grade up. However you'd probably see a certain amount of criminal empowerment at the lower levels, too. Night vision could be useful for mugging."

Epsilon

Now, Epsilon is where it gets -fun- and is the last grade before you start enumerating 'how many in the entire country/world?'. Here are some flatly 'impossible' things with a few 'useful side effects' or a bundle of useful powers put together without problems. You get the guy who is at 'human peak' plus heals extraordinarily fast on top of that.

You get the woman whose touch can daze men or make them suggestable and who has a nice figure with extraordinary constitution and agility. Or the man who can fly, is stronger than a human should be without looking it, and is very tough (but not bullet proof). The ranged telepath who can also project restricted illusions. The person who can 'conjure' a handful of various toxins, to which he is immune, then impossibly 'throw' them at people.

Zeta and Beyond

? Incredibly rare.


Abilities Classes

While there are no neat categories in which individual abilities can be placed, careful observation and the human desire to perceive order in the world has had has discovered several common or noticeable classes of ability. These classes are used as a shorthand way of describing a particular ability. Often the classes, unlike more scientific explorations of abilities, look simply at what the ability can do rather than the mechanisms which permit it.

Adept

An adept is an individual who has a talent for a certain skill, or area of expertise, which they have an extreme talent for and capacity to improve within. This gives them and advantage in rate of learning, or even in starting without outside assistance, but they are generally still limited by human capacities. Occasionally this has been described as 'being an idiot savant, but without being an idiot'.

At grades Delta and above, the adept ability tends to either overlap with an area covered by other abilities (such as a siren who is genuinely adept at singing) or becomes more pervasive and effect most of the person's life. A Delta grade adept would be good at almost anything they tried to put their hand to and in several areas would learn remarkably fast to boot.

Intuitive

x

Siren

x


Example Characters

?

"Pillow Talk"

? Touch receptive Telepath. High Gamma.

"Multitude"

Multitude is classified as having a Delta grade ability which manifests as a form of regeneration combined with form shifting. When triggered he will, when asleep or unconscious, fall into a coma which typically lasts two days. In this time his body will regenerate, heal, and recover from injuries, disease, poisoning, and other adverse effects so as to leave him with the body of a healthy adult of approximately twenty years of age. His exact appearance alters each time this ability is triggered, varying his height, build, skin tone, sundry other details, and occasionally even gender.

This ability is handicapped in several manners. He is not in control of what appearance he will leave the coma with and the process also shifts a number of preferences, likes, and dislikes. In addition, the ability is on a metaphorical hair trigger. Any amount of damage beyond a light bruise or a paper cut, any toxins beyond being slightly intoxicated, or any disease more virulent than a mild cold all trigger the ability. Due to learnt caution, Multitude manages a six to eighteen month period between triggering his ability.

Jonathan "Patriarch" McKeen

The gentleman known publicly as Patriarch is the least active of the USA's four current residents who has been assessed as having Zeta grade abilities. At one hundred and eighty four years old. From observation, and what testing he has permitted, he has been observed as being the equal or better than an Epsilon grade adept. In addition he possesses a pervasive healing factor which has him looking to be in his early fifties and has left his actual mental and physical capacities virtually untouched by time.

The key capability which has given him his title, and placed him firmly in the Zeta grade, is not seen directly in the gentleman himself. It is, instead, seen in the fact that all children who he has directly sired possess a Gamma grade ability (typically a non-obvious internal enhancement) and grandchildren possess an Alpha grade ability. This has been found to only occur through naturally conceived children, a fact which vastly disappointed certain groups.

Patriarch is, to put it politely, a 'good old boy' and a god fearing Southerner through and through. While not argumentative per se he has definite views on how things should be done and has a distinct disapproval of a variety of subjects though. In general he is a charismatic and pleasant, but opinionated, gentleman with a far broader understanding of various subject than people might expect from his attitude and habits. He is known to get a definite kick out of letting people underestimate him then undercutting their arguments with a few key facts.

Currently Patriarch is seeking a lovely lady to become his ninth wife to bring back to county his extended family lives in. Given his talents, and opportunities to learn how to seduce and manipulate, it is expected that whoever he sets his sights on will soon find herself at the altar. (And given his proven fertility, the wedding might be a hurried one…)


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