Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Truly Horrible Super-Power

A week or so ago, I was thinking as I tried to sleep. For some reason, superhero role-playing games came into my head and I started to think of an interesting character to play if I ever get the chance again.
The fairly cliché character who is afraid of their own power came to mind, and as usual I decided to put my own twist on it by taking it to real extremes.
I wanted to play a character who was not new to their power, no longer surprised by it, but who has been so traumatized by their power's effects that they really hate to use it. Of course, for this to make sense, the power would have to be truly horrific to watch or experience.
More difficult than simply an excruciating power, it had to be one which might actually be useful to a party of characters and which could be considered balanced in-game, so this basically eliminated large-scale blanket powers like making everyone in a 5-mile radius suddenly become severely schizophrenic.

The power I came up with was as follows:
The power is used through application of will on a specific person who is relatively nearby and concentration and line-of-sight must be maintained until it is completed.
Upon activation, the target begins having their blood systematically replaced by stomach acid, starting at their venous capillaries near their extremities and moving inward through their veins to their torso and finally their heart.
I imagine that this would be quite disgusting and painful to watch. First they would scream in pain as every nerve ending in their body simultaneously began dissolving. The next thing to happen would be their skin becoming loose and sliding down their flesh (I think skin takes a little longer to dissolve than some internal tissues), as skin separates from muscles internally. Next their limbs would fall limp and their bones would begin to disarticulate as tendons are separated from bone and flesh begins to dissolve. About here we would probably begin seeing pieces of the skin dissolve and they would be unable to maintain a standing position.
Next, I think, their screaming would stop as the stomach acid reaches the inside of their heart and they die, but their body continues to dissolve over the next few minutes until they are basically left as a pile of bones and pieces of partially dissolved flesh in a pool of blood and stomach acid.

Like I said, this would probably be pretty traumatizing to watch and any moral human being who knew they were the cause of this would try to avoid it almost pathologically from then on.

Of course, I haven't done any medical research to see how long any of this would take or even if I've got the basic order of things right, but since I'm not going to be playing in a superhero game anytime soon, I don't really see the need.