"I won't spoil the conclusion if you're eager to see this through."
This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS relating to
some of the most pivotal parts of Worm. Although all articles contain spoilers, this article will reveal major plot twists and should almost certainly be avoided unless you have finished the story.
A Grab-Bag Cape is a colloquialism for capes who have multiple minor abilities in addition to their main power. A more scholastic term is mosaic power expression. They are created when multiple trigger events happen at the same location under a short period, in what are known as multiple-triggers,, group triggers, cluster-triggers, and matched powers.
The term itself it rather straight forward, capes termed 'grab-bags' display three or more powers that work together, rather than one or two individual powers.
Each member of a multi-trigger gets one "primary" power, and a number of weaker "secondary" powers based on the primary powers of the other members of the multi-trigger, manifesting in a way that assists the expression of the main power. Sometimes every member of a cluster trigger will receive a minor power not tied to any specific individual.
This does not earn the grab-bag a trump rating as they will always have the same powers (unless one of those powers is a trump ability).
Capes within multiple trigger groups tend to be hostile towards each other or extremely close partners. This is known as the "Kill/Kiss dynamic". According to one study, there is a 50% chance of at least one attempted murder in a cluster, and a 25% chance of at least one romantic partnership - and 10% of these romances form in spite of the partners' previous sexual identity.
It is possible that there is some personality "bleed" between members of a cluster trigger.
The effects of Kiss/Kill and bleedthrough become more intense in larger clusters.
The shards in a multi-trigger, instead of going "all-in" as in a normal trigger event, give up a small to moderate portion of themselves similar to a bud. This weakens the main power but give the host other powers in compensation. Upon the death of a host the shard will return to normal behaviour and seek out another host, a relation of it's previous host perhaps.
It is worth noting that clustered shards do not produce second triggers in normal circumstances.
Kiss/Kill dynamic might be simplified representation of the Four Fs, that is more specific to shards, with their species history of cannibalistic relationships, where Fleeing is underrepresented, while other three Fs are getting into one sloppy, amalgamated mess.
Similarly, the personality bleed looks like an extension of inter-shard interaction, where some shards get "rounded" or "specialized" at the expense of other shards.
Multi triggers with more then one Tinker in the group would have their approaches differentiated, making it nigh impossible for direct collaboration.
1.) Powers from multitriggers are from a mix of shards. The shards, instead of going all-in, give up a small to moderate portion of themselves, and then leave the rest of themselves to develop normally while taking in info from multiple sources, just like a shard would naturally gather info and eventually reach the point where it could bud. Except in this case, the shard will usually just go find another host, maybe with relation to one of the multi's, maybe not, and empower them.
2.) There would need to be some common ground. It's very possible that, in a car accident where two individuals triggered, that one would get seriously hurt and be anxious about 'oh fuck, my life is ruined, what do I do!?", While the other is like "Oh fuck! I'm going to jail!" while being a little bruised. The former gets a major brute power with minor thinker, while the latter gets a minor brute power with a major thinker. And the shards want to keep them involved and interacting, so in pretty short order they start to really hate or really like each other. - Comment on Reddit
↑ 4.04.1Relatively rare - one in twenty or less are multiple-triggers. To be used when the case calls for a multiple trigger, or it’s suitably large-scale and otherwise boring, you could justify a trigger event as a multi-trigger.
In such cases, multiple people trigger at the same time. This tends to produce a spread of lesser powers - often three or four powers, possibly with one major one, and often deviations. The powers are related between individuals, but the idea/power that gets emphasized or takes the lead in one individual will often be a minor power for others. Minor powers might not be emphasized at all. Powers tend to form a complementary theme. [...] Multiple-triggers are prone to animosity regarding the other triggerees in their ‘unit’, for lack of a better word.
Though distinct and not simultaneous, siblings born to the same cape parents show the same trends, with biases in what powers manifest and more small powers.
Worm Spoilers: Multiple triggers are actually the endgame of the cycle, prior to the reabsorption and collapse. When virtually all individuals in the setting are parahumans, connected to shards, the introduction of multiple-triggers serves to stress-test powers and compare and contrast the smaller powers. - Weaverdice Rulebook
Two case studies. Interview, self-reporting, examination
Case Study #1: Sunder Bros
Take note for future week: matched powers. We come back to this.
Brother #1 – Destruction caused to objects ripples out indefinitely, stopping at clear demarcations (images included in lecture notes). Weapon extension without limit (except convenience)
Brother #2 – Weapon sweep extension – some range extension – wider arcs, shockwaves left/right of swing. Stomp to destroy ground in immediate area. - Glow-worm P.4
↑“Trigger events are a crucial element for study, because the timing, nature and spread of these emerging powers may provide a clue as to where these parahuman abilities come from. More women than men have powers, for example, and there are more powers in undeveloped countries than there are in industrialized ones – Some of you may remember me mentioning this fact in the 101 class, when I was talking about the witch burnings in The People’s Republic of Uganda.
“Another pattern we will be exploring is the apparent effect of multiple trigger events occurring in the same time and place. There is a very strong correlation between coinciding trigger events and individuals displaying three or more powers rather than one or two predominant ones.”
“Hey, Flechette,” Kid Win called across the room, “You’ve got a bunch of powers, right?”
She turned in her seat, “Sure.”
“Anyone else get powers at the same time you did?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Could someone nearby have gotten their powers, without you knowing? Way things played out? Did any capes show up around the same time as you?”
Flechette frowned, “Yeah. A rather persistent villain.”
↑They also get a power that ties into the connection between them. Something secondary that both of them share. A shaker trigger, based on the fact that they're in this dark, scary place. - Example by Wildbow on Reddit
↑Foil is 17 and a senior. She triggered 3 years prior to her appearance, as part of a group trigger in New York. One of her old nemeses, March, was another part of that group trigger. - Discussion archived on Spacebattles
↑Colloquially known as the kill/kiss dynamic, in cluster-triggers, there is a very high tendency toward passionate relationships, either hostility or partnership. Clusters have a 40% chance of one member murdering another, rising to a 50% chance when including attempted murder, 25% chance of a partnership forming, and a 10% incidence of partnership and murder coinciding. The term partnership is used for romantic pairings in instances where sexuality and gender allow, and close friendship or formed teams with members in other cases. In some (10% of) cases of close partnerships forming, the romantic pairing occurred despite one’s typical sexuality. - Glow-worm P.4
↑Clusters have a 40% chance of one member murdering another, rising to a 50% chance when including attempted murder, 25% chance of a partnership forming, and a 10% incidence of partnership and murder coinciding. The term partnership is used for romantic pairings in instances where sexuality and gender allow, and close friendship or formed teams with members in other cases. In some (10% of) cases of close partnerships forming, the romantic pairing occurred despite one’s typical sexuality. - excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
↑Personality Bleed – personality traits bleed over from 1 individual to other? Messy - excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
↑“It wouldn’t come to that,” Rain said. “Bleedthrough and kiss-kill are overstated. It wouldn’t happen in five minutes.”
“It’s more intense in large clusters,” Chris said.
“I studied up on some things when I was on the team,” Chris said, his voice low and quiet. He looked away, scanning the walls, where only a few images flickered. “But you’re welcome to try. Just don’t include me while you’re at it. It wouldn’t be five minutes, but it wouldn’t be five years, either.” - Excerpt from Infrared 19.8
↑* Multiple people trigger at once, and instead of a more unified power package, they get a set of lesser powers. One is 'theirs' and is only a little bit weaker, and they get secondary powers from the others. * (Essentially, not explicit in the chapter, but Mr. Red gets Red Power at 75%, then gets blue, yellow, and purple at 25% each. Mr. Blue gets Blue power at 75%, then gets red, yellow, and purple at 25% each, etc.) * Hinge points are outlined in more depth. 'hinge' was the old term and 'dominant' factors are the new terminology. * There's brief discussion on why this is important - predicting power expressions, figuring powers out. * Case studies are outlined, explaining the above with examples. * Complicating factors are listed but not explained in depth: Kill/Kiss, personality traits bleed across members of the 'cluster', higher instances of paranoia, PTSD, aggression. - Excerpt from extended chapter-by-chapter synopsis by Wildbow
↑This wasn’t as simple as a hard shove in the direction of a second trigger. I was pretty sure I didn’t qualify. [...] Multi-triggers were in the same boat. Which might have been the universe being kind, given how many were lined up against us right now. - Excerpt from Blinding 11.8
↑Circus was one of those capes that had a whole pile of very minor powers. The ones I knew about were some minor pyrokinesis, the ability to deposit items into thin air, to retrieve those items just as easily, and greatly enhanced coordination and balance to round off the package. She was one of the more successful solo villains around Brockton Bay, a burglar and thief both quick and versatile enough to win or slip away if she crossed paths with a hero. - Excerpt from Tangle 6.7
↑ 16.016.116.2Watch was a package deal like Grace or Circus. A lot of powers, flexible. His specific powers weren’t on record, but it was fairly well known that he was capable of short bursts of intense, short-ranged clairvoyance. He could see people’s biology, ignore the issues of light, darkness or intervening objects, and he had a limited super speed coupled with what had been dubbed ‘phantom hands’. The ability to reach through people like Shadow Stalker might, targeting particular aspects of people’s body to shred arteries or tear through nerves with his fingers and fingernails. -
Excerpt from Scarab 25.3
↑ 18.018.1She was a composite of two ‘kitchen sink’ capes. Mouse Protector and Ravager. Two primary powers that had blended into the one, a dozen other minor powers. Flexibility, a bizarre kind of enhanced strength, reflexes and agility that had peaks and valleys, and skin as tough as leather. - Excerpt from Sting 26.3
↑“Yep. She proceeded to take over earth Shin, with all other parahumans acting as her lieutenants. All other parahumans on that world, mind. No exceptions. Which the organization deemed fine, because they got to keep her in their back pocket, even while they couldn’t control her. She is, or was, a grab-bag, she found a way to pull free of her cluster, and she came out of it with a set of powers that would each be world-class on their own.”
“What happened to the others?” Rain asked.
“Dead?” I guessed.
“Alive. Four of them, anyhow. A fifth killed themselves because they couldn’t fill the void where the power and feeling powerful once were. None of them were left with more than whispers of power after. But they had their lives and their particular dynamic was stopped in its tracks. Not all clusters have a schtick, but they did, like the mall group does, and Goddess taking all the power brought an end to it.” - Excerpt from Pitch 6.8
↑New methodology/specialization pairing, I'd argue. Might even be made discrete & different in a way that doesn't let them work on two different parts of their tinker stuff in the same workshop. - Example by Wildbow on Reddit