Super Hero Power Sources

I love the growth of TV based superhero shows. The Invisible Speedster would make no sense if television hadn’t shown us how it is done. That’s my next superhero character by the way.

What kills me about TV Supers however is the prevalence of the single power source. Going as far back as MutantX these shows have featured a single event that was responsible for the creation of all supers in that setting. The only show I can think of to buck that trend was Smallville and even they tred dangerously close.

The god setting I was posting about here unfortunately had that same flaw. Everything was divine based. That’s ok though since the setting was concieved as an experiment in having level based advancement make sense in universe. I’m over it.

ICONS takes a very agnostic approach to the whole thing. It gives you origins but leaves the option of power source up to the players. So your ‘Transformed’ origin can be anything from eating radioactive bread mold (best origin ever) to having a witch cast a spell on you.

The last ICONS game I ran, I gave the players a few guidelines. I had two essentially noninteracting power sources. The first was mystical, and split into two factions: Gods and Mages. Gods were mostly bad and trapped in objects. Mages were mostly good and hereditary.

The other source was alien and likewise in two factions. The Roswell tech was pretty much usable by humans and the source of most advanced tech. The Tunguska disaster on the other hand unleased aliens who mutate their hosts… into vampires and werewolves. Lots of Russian vampires out there which is awesome.

I let the players pretty much pick whatever worked best for them Alien tech proved the most popular though I did have one transformed by the gods.

PC Random Source Chart:
1 – Diety Influence
2,3 – Hereditary Mage
4,5 – Alien Technology
6 – Alien Virus