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Old 04-20-2016, 07:54 AM   #1
Wavefunction
 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Social Superpowers

Hey guys,

I've been wondering a bit recently about the concept of 'social superpowers', powers that affect how the hero interacts with others on a social level. Generally I'm looking for powers based off Social Advantages, not things like Mind Control, since that's a manipulation of the mind, not of the player's social position, though if a non-Social Advantage fits then that's cool.

My contribution is:

You Know Me
28 points + 12.5 points per additional level

Wherever you go, whoever you meet, they know about you exactly as much or as little as you want them to know. The first level lets you get a +1 bonus for this custom-made reputation, each additional level gives another +1 up to a maximum of four.

Statistics: Slotted Cosmic Modular Abilities 1 (5; Only for Reputation, Everyone, All the Time, -50%) [16] + Zeroed (Selective Effect, +20%) [12]. Each additional level adds 5 levels of Slotted Cosmic Modular Abilities for 12.5 points/level.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:07 AM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

There actually seem to be three different classes of thing that could fit here:

(1) You have a social advantage as an ability of a superpower.

(2) You have an ability to affect people's minds or behavior through social interaction rather than psionics, magic, or the like.

(3) Your control of an organization (such as the state) is itself a source of extraordinary abilities.
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Old 04-20-2016, 09:14 AM   #3
Rysith
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavefunction View Post

You Know Me
28 points + 12.5 points per additional level

Wherever you go, whoever you meet, they know about you exactly as much or as little as you want them to know. The first level lets you get a +1 bonus for this custom-made reputation, each additional level gives another +1 up to a maximum of four.

Statistics: Slotted Cosmic Modular Abilities 1 (5; Only for Reputation, Everyone, All the Time, -50%) [16] + Zeroed (Selective Effect, +20%) [12]. Each additional level adds 5 levels of Slotted Cosmic Modular Abilities for 12.5 points/level.
It seems like a waste of points to buy modular abilities and then use it to buy reputation with everyone, all the time. It seems like either you'd want to buy reputation (everyone, all the time) or modular abilities (only for reputation (this small group, only right now)). I'd argue the difference is whether the reputation is persistent or not
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:42 AM   #4
LemmingLord
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

I had a concept for a power that allowed someone to always "get the job" and keep it...

Tenure with cosmic would be a part of that for sure..

Since all jobs come with their own advantages and disadvantages, i suppose some kind of modular ability would work with limitations to advantages appropriate to the job.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
Culture20
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

In a semi-recent X-Men Legacy series, there is a mutant whose power is to unconsciously take credit for other people's successes. Everyone nearby congratulates him instead of the person who actually did something well. This *would* be psychic, but its effects are primarily social, and very similar to modular abilities (reputation only; maybe "environmental" since it requires an actual nearby accomplishment to steal)
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:54 PM   #6
PTTG
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

The problem with writing social superpowers is that they tend to raise uncomfortable questions about mind control (and, therefore, they tend to be evil, or at least dark). Even those supers who do have unusual social status generally gain those advantages by being granted them freely and for good reason -- Superman has Law Enforcement Powers to a degree simply because people recognize his abilities.

Still, a few come to mind.

Reputation with Everyone, All the Time, and Cosmic (Really Everyone) can do a lot of stuff. I might allow, with Cosmic (polymorphic reputation) +50%, reputations that change to match the viewer such as "is actually a double-agent or mole working for (the viewer's faction)."

Wealth can be a supers-level advantage, and in many ways is social.

I know there's a couple omniglot advantages out there... I'm not sure if there's a compact one, or if they all use modular abilities.

On reflection, the illusitory rank that's implied by polymorphic reputation might be underpriced, or at least underpowered. A supers-scaled version of Innocent Face that makes people trust you as though you were a close ally, even when you've been helping their enemies, could be worth a lot more than that... need to break out the books...
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:54 PM   #7
Leeland
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

I like this idea. How would you build "He was kinda ... Average"?

Everyone who tries to remember how you look just comes up blank.

Zeroed with cosmic? Or some kind of camouflage?
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Old 04-20-2016, 02:42 PM   #8
wellspring
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Default Re: Social Superpowers

OK, this feels like hard mode since I can't include anything that feels like mind control. So, starting from where every good social trope should come, 80's television and TV tropes...


From the A-team we have Face Man's power to scrounge up anything, anywhere. This would require a social check and a brief encounter with an NPC; the player would have to come up with some plausible excuse for this. I'd start with the revised Serendipity rules in Power Ups 5: Impulse Buys.

"Knows a guy who knows a guy" is a classic trope for fixers and social characters. My earliest encounter with this is a looney toons where two mice are having trouble with a cat, and one suggests calling in Speedy Gonzales. "He's friends with my sister." "Speedy Gonzales is friends with everyone's sister." In early seasons of Castle, scripts played up his laundry list of connections to a huge variety of unlikely characters.

PK's "all according to plan" power from... um... a supplement. Essentially you get a free element of preparation added retroactively so long as it doesn't contradict what's already happened. The player decides the retcon, which reflects his mastermind character's brilliant Xanatos Gambit.

A variation on Wavefunction's idea is someone who's so cinematically popular that despite not being a celebrity, he's at least casually acquainted with everyone.

A different variation that crosses over with serendipity might be for the cinematic super-spymaster who has an agent everywhere. So with a roll, it turns out that one of the guards escorting you to the detention level is in your agent network. Lord Varys's spies and The Shadow's network of people he's saved both come to mind.

How about the Quagmire Effect? On Family Guy, you have the character of Quagmire, the lovable sex offender who commits all kinds of terrible crimes but somehow everyone just kind of laughs it off. This can be generalized to all kinds of fridge logic villainy where you have a sympathetic character who is lovable, well-liked by his friends, and engaged in some kind of criminal, shameful, and/or immoral behavior. It's not a secret, it's somethat people can and should react to, but which they dismiss. "That's Quagmire!" I was tempted not to list this one, since it requires careful policing by the GM and can be easily abused, but I think it appears in fiction, RPGs, and even real life enough that it's worth including. Ditto for police characters who routinely cross way over the line, but somehow keep their jobs after a token chewing-out by their boss about having to explain their crazy antics to the commish.

Actually, a lot of these advantages can be modeled with different rules from Impulse Buys, now that I think of it. Not having it in front of me, I think some of these may already be in there.

It's actually interesting how you can build out tropes from fiction as an Advantage. Either a Power from some other source, or as "fate", ie a formal part of the GM-player social contract.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:06 PM   #9
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

Quote:
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
The problem with writing social superpowers is that they tend to raise uncomfortable questions about mind control (and, therefore, they tend to be evil, or at least dark).
Depends on how it's achieved. If it's more like hopping into parallel worlds where things are different, or subtly altering the past to achieve the desired state of things through butterfly FX, it might not need to be a form of dark mind control.
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:51 PM   #10
PTTG
 
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Default Re: Social Superpowers

I tried giving my PCs an "All according to plan" option when I set them up with a heist. They ended up not using it at all since they only had one shot each, and they didn't want to waste it.

The "Friend of a Friend" looks like a fun way to use modular Contacts. I wonder if we can cook it so that the player starts every in-game day with X CP and can spend that ad hoc on new contacts until it's used up. He could know the president today, but that's the only contact he can call at one time. Tomorrow, he might be able to call up a beat cop, a local schoolteacher, a CPA from two states away, and three locksmiths for the same total cost.
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