The Existence of Superpowers

This entry discusses why people have metahuman abilities

A sequence from a popular comic book depicting an accident granting superpowers instead of taking lives

The question of how superpowers can exist at all has often been raised. Ordinarily, one would think that efforts to build powered armor would fail, and people struck by lightning while standing in a laboratory full of strange chemicals would. Yet, there are some individuals among us who can build astounding suits of hi-tech armor, and there are others who manifest superpowers from the most unlikely scenarios like fatal accidents involving radioactive contaminants.

In a nutshell, superpowers can exist because magic exists. Our universe is suffused with magic. Occasionally, as in the distant past, the level of ambient magical energies rises to the point where virtually anyone can cast spells or control mystic forces, and the gods themselves can walk among us. At other times, like the far future, the level of ambient magic ebbs to such a low point that only a small fraction of the population can practice it or use it. In such cases, superpowers simply cannot exist.

The level of ambient magic in our universe had remained quite low for several centuries prior to 1900. By 1938, it had risen to such a point that the Reichsamt fur die Sicherung volkischer Kulturguter (English: Reich’s Office for the Safety and Security of National Cultural Items) or RSvKg, a group of mystics working for the Nazis, were able to perform rituals that “forced” the level of ambient magic higher still. Their intent was to magically propel Germany to world dominance. What actually resulted was a situation in which superpowers became possible.

Due to the extremely high level of ambient magic around us, accidents that would normally kill or maim people sometimes lead to the manifestation of superpowers although this is extremely rarely. It also makes genetic mutations that create superpowers possible, and allows some truly gifted inventors to create technology the general public cannot understand, use, or reproduce.

What is important to remember is that, although magic is the reason why superpowers exist, this does not mean that the superpowers an individual has are magical in nature. For instance, the powers built into Defender’s armor are the result of sophisticated technology even though Defender’s ability to create such technology stems from magic. The superpowers wielded by the teenage heroine known as Blizzard are the result of a genetic mutation even though it is magic that made so beneficial a mutation of her genes possible. Unlike true wielders of magical forces like Witchcraft or Arcana, neither individual registers in any way as being magical or manipulating magical forces because their superpowers function in accordance with established physical laws.

Adapted from a text published in Champions Universe by Steven S. Long and Darren Watts. ™ and © Hero Games, Inc., 2002.

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