A trigger event, also known as a crisis point, a point-zero, or simply a trigger, is the moment a parahuman gains their superhuman abilities.
A trigger event is typically a very traumatic experience. The way in which people gain powers might hint at why the villains outnumber the heroes two to one, why more women than men have powers, and why third world countries have the highest densities of people with powers (if not 'capes', exactly, as most act either as warlords or mercenaries). Not everyone who triggers is given an immediate solution to their problems, and some are killed outright as they trigger.
Although experts understood many of the nuances of trigger events, the details weren't to the general public. It was commonly believed that powers were genetic, even though this had been thoroughly disproved. Governments would downplay the details of trigger events to prevent people from self-harming in order to gain powers. It was widely believed that the strongest powers resulted from athletes, great minds, and other such exemplars who broke past some fundamental limit. This was in part due to a concerted effort to spread disinformation about the process, and seemed to be largely successful given the confusion among the general public.
There was a popular myth that younger triggers were more powerful. It is more of an adaption by the young person growing up and figuring out the nuances of their power with the extra time.
The Protectorate and other heroes (such as New Wave) would check up on possible recent triggers. This serves as a useful recruiting tool, as many new parahumans are impressionable and don't have many positive influences.
A natural trigger event is accomplished through a traumatic experience. A large amount of people have the potential to trigger even if they haven’t met the conditions necessary for a trigger event. An individual needs to be pushed to the edge, their fight or flight responses pushed to their limits, before the powers start to emerge. A parahumans Corona Pollentia can take widely varying forms within their brain based on their powers.
The circumstances leading up to the trigger event influence the power granted. Psychological stress often leads to mentally driven powers - tinkers, thinkers, masters, shakers. The more physical violence that is involved, the higher the bias towards physically driven powers. The nature to the shard itself also effects the power that is granted, but the circumstances of the trigger event are what shape the final power expression. There can be cases where a potential parahuman is in a situation to trigger but it does not line up with the type of power their Shard is meant to grant, with the parahuman triggering later when the correct situation presents itself. On a final note is that a trigger is a individualized experience the events that might cause one person to trigger could be dealt with more constructively by another.
If one individual in a family has powers, it is far more likely that others will as well. Powers can be "inherited" from siblings or adopted parents, but it's very rare for them to pass "upward" from child to parent. People who have parents with powers don’t need nearly as intense an event to make their powers manifest. These are known as Nth-generation powers (second-generation, third-generation etc.)
A genetic relationship isn't necessary to inherit powers. Powers inherited from someone other than a relative were initially known as "serial powers" before it became clear that they were the same phenomenon.
No third or later generation capes are shown triggering in the story, although they do exist; Theo is a third-generation parahuman, as is an unnamed child in Toronto, along with Fleece III.
Second-generation capes gain powers influenced by both the powers of those related to them and their trigger event. Similar to grab-bag capes, the children of parahumans tend to manifest multiple lesser powers related to those around them. As their shards are essentially the same triggering near a 'parent' does not count for the circumstances of a Trump trigger.
- Main article: Grab-Bag Cape
If multiple hosts undergo a Trigger Event at the same time, then a multiple trigger will occur. In such an event, several people will get powers at once. Most often, this will result in multiple parahumans who have an array of minor powers that share a concurrent theme. The powers most often complement one another, or at least work in similar ways. These are known by the colloquialism of "grab bag capes".
Multiple triggers are meant for the end-game of the Cycle, serving to stress-test powers as well as compare and contrast the smaller powers.
Multi-triggers tend to have higher rates of PTSD, more difficulty recovering from their triggers, and lower long-term survival rates. This may be because it takes a more dramatic event to cause multiple people to trigger.
- With the second trigger, the agent reaches out, makes contact with others, networks and draws on collective information to refine the restrictions and save its host... Circumstances tend to mirror the original trigger event. The resulting power ignores restrictions that were previously set.” - Doctor Mother explaining second triggers to Weaver.
It's possible for a parahuman to experience a second trigger event that removes limits to their abilities or adds a secondary aspect to their power. Second triggers are exceedingly rare and generally do more harm than good due to the toll it takes on the host. To experience a second trigger, a parahuman must experience a situation very similar to their original trigger event. Neither second-generation capes nor cluster capes are known to have second triggers. Cauldron can induce capes to experience a second trigger, but they generally need help to get circumstances to match with the original trigger.
Prior to a second trigger event, the shard is drawing from context, exploring and conceptualizing new uses for the host's powers. The shard begins splitting off to find a new but similar host, piggybacking off the original shard's context and experience. However, instead of splitting to a new host, the second trigger event prompts the budding shard to catalyze and consolidate in the current host instead, altering their powers.
Third and further trigger events are impossible, according to Doctor Mother, but an explanation as to why isn't provided. However, people who have already had a second trigger event can still achieve a Broken Trigger and fully merge with their Shard, as seen by Valkyrie.
Not to be confused with a second trigger, a double trigger (also called a 1.5 trigger by Wildbow) is two trigger events that occur in quick succession. This may be the reason why certain parahumans are unable to experience a second trigger, since they've already had one. According to Number Man, Taylor experienced a double trigger that was caused by the horror of manifesting her power. This implies that double triggering may be a type of recalibration on the shard's part, occurring when the initial trigger is too much for the host to handle.
Cauldron capes gain their powers after drinking a Cauldron vial. The process of drinking one is intensely painful, the vial forcibly forming a Corona Pollentia in the brain. They are much more likely to gain physical mutations than natural triggers. Their powers are primarily based on what vial they took, although their personality also influences it. Cauldron capes are much less likely to be villains, and are generally more mentally stable. Given how a subject triggered, their powers can become less reliable when in a stressful situation.
- Main article: Broken Trigger
Anyone experiencing a trigger event sees a vision of a vast multidimensional entity, but quickly forgets it. These visions are due to the neurological linkage between the shard and the host, the amnesia tied into preprogrammed measures. Any parahuman nearby experiences a similar vision and is briefly incapacitated.
After Gold Morning, content of visions changed to more recent recollections of The Warrior's memories. Also visions became more fragmented and remained in the memory.
Later, they changed again to the impression of powerful all-devouring mouth-pit, which people can drop into and embrace or recoil.
- Skitter was shut in a locker with piles of used tampons and pads. The realization that no one was coming to help her, compounded by the constant social isolation of the previous months, caused her to trigger. She likely had a double-trigger, based on the tests performed by Number Man.
- Grue came face to face with the man who had been abusing his sister and had previously abused him.
- Tattletale triggered days after her brother committed suicide.
- Miss Militia was in Eastern Turkey/Kurdistan, which was in the middle of an ongoing conflict, when Turkish soldiers gathered up the kids of a small village and used them as living subjects to clear the path of traps laid by the guerrilla fighters. She grew convinced she was about to die, either by walking into a trap or being shot, and her powers activated.
- Bitch's pet dog Rollo was being drowned by her foster mother, causing Rachel to trigger.
- Scrub gained his powers during a free-for-all brawl that Skidmark instigated among his own followers, after being beaten and/or in a moment of panic.
- Jack Slash was kept in a basement by his parents and told the world had ended. He triggered after emerging to discover that the world was perfectly fine.
- Bonesaw's family was tortured by the Slaughterhouse Nine.
- Clockblocker triggered while donating bone marrow to his terminally ill father.
- Browbeat jumped into a freezing cold lake on a whim.
- Crusader was neglected in favor of his disabled sister, tried to kill her in retaliation, and was caught.
- Purity was in a car crash, trapped in the wreckage by the side of the road, starving.
- Imp triggered while being threatened by a group of men.
- Chevalier triggered after being trapped in a car crash that saw his younger brother being kidnapped.
- Dauntless triggered when he had to perform a C-section on his girlfriend, to save the life of his son, after their house was trapped in a mudslide.
- Glory Girl gained her powers after being fouled in gym class.
- Panacea triggered when Glory Girl was injured in a fight.
- Golem triggered after being left alone by Purity and her group.
- Chicken Little triggered after waking up alone after sleep-walking and having night terrors.
- Battery purchased powers to defeat her nemesis Madcap.
- The Travelers drank vials they found to help them in a crisis situation.
- Alexandria was approached by Cauldron while dying of cancer.
- Eidolon was approached by Cauldron after he attempted suicide.
- Newter was rescued by Alexandria from a dimension embroiled in global war.
- Garotte was kidnapped by monsters from her seaside village during a hurricane.
- Shamrock was kidnapped from her temple-school in an unknown dimension.
- Triumph's father bought powers for him to help him cheat at sports.
- William Manton drank a vial and fled Cauldron after his daughter was mutated.
After an Entity has finished preparing a shard, it will cast the shard off, plot its trajectory, and determine the location it will arrive in with its potential host. Once the shard has arrived at its target reality, the shard will lock onto a desired host, get a grasp of the host's personality and subsequently allow that portion of itself to burn out to form the Corona Pollentia. It will then sit dormant for a time until a trigger event occurs.
When a trigger event happens, the shard recognizes the event from the state of the host, the surrounding context, and the flood of stress responses. It then reads the host to find out who they are and how they respond to situations before reading the situation for itself and assessing what form the danger takes.
The shard then discards everything it doesn't need, distilling itself down to one efficient, case-specific task suited to the host. Where the shard isn't already programmed with inherent safeties and limitations, it will use the host's stored knowledge to generate a grasp of what it needs to do.
If there are additional hosts present during the host's trigger event, and they are actively using their powers, then the shard can "ping" off the others and exchange information. This generally allows the host to gain some kind of additional aspect to their powers that they would not have had otherwise.
Most trigger events occur within the age-range of twelve to thirty; there are some outliers, though those tend to be on the younger end of the scale.
Dismissing clients of Cauldron (and later, Broken Triggers) new parahumans are generally teenagers, although elderly capes exist.
- Late teens to mid twenties is the most common age range for first generation triggers. Every generation after the first has an increased likelihood of triggering, even if they're much younger then the original recipient.
- Though painful, pregnancy does not usually lead to a trigger event, as it is a normal part of the human life cycle. Events surrounding the pregnancy, however, can lead to a trigger event.
- While some powers can detect whether someone has the potential to trigger, very few can determine the circumstances needed for a trigger or when one is about to occur.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 “If I said ‘crisis points’, would that mean anything to you?” I asked.
“It’s been a long time since I heard that. Yes, it means something. Do you work with capes?”
“You’d want to identify the key patients, check with any parents, if they’re under eighteen, and they often are. Then with me, you’d want to check with legal, you can call my references, which I do have on hand…”
Crisis points. More a PRT thing than a New Wave thing, but we’d done a small share. Looking out for the recent triggers, putting our faces and names out there, staying in touch with the public. - Excerpt from Flare 2.2
- ↑ We think that was his point-zero."
"His trigger event," Lady answered.
He nodded confirmation
He sighed. "I thought I might trigger, perhaps. Hoped. I suppose I don't have the potential." - Excerpt from Interlude 16.x
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 wombatsanders: I think you may have taken the "if you think you might trigger, you won't" explanation too literally. It's not that thinking about powers prevents them, it's like "a watched pot never boils." If you're in a position where you can still think of any solution, if you can still think, you're not desperate enough to trigger.
Wildbow: Yep. well said. - Conversation on Reddit Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Shell 4.3
- ↑ "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." - Sentinel 9.3
- ↑ Of course. Stands to reason, given the situations that can arise. Some just don’t figure out their powers fast enough to act, others don’t get powers that serve to fix their immediate situation (Taylor doesn’t get out of the locker, for example – her situation gets worse) and yet others are just unlucky (getting shot seconds after manifesting – imagine the situation in Brandish’s interlude if Brandish had been targeted by the gunfire before Little Miss Photon erected a forcefield). - Excerpt from Monarch 16.4
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Throughout the course, we're going to be looking at correlations and patterns, both in relation to trigger events and other things. For example, how does the nature of the trigger event shape the power? A study by Garth and Rogers suggests that psychological stress leads to a higher prevalence of mentally driven powers. Tinkers, thinkers, masters, shakers. The more physical violence that is involved, the higher the bias towards physically driven powers. Garth and Rogers suggest a sliding scale, but it may not be that cut and dry.
"A followup study by Garth touches on what we know about cape ‘families'. If one individual in a family has powers, it is far more likely that others will as well. Almost always, this trend is either descending or lateral, it seems to transition from parent to child, or one sibling to another, but not from child to parent. We'll talk about the theories on why. For those of you wanting to read ahead, take a look at Garth's notes on the Dallon and Pelham families in chapter nine. We can surmise that the different scenarios leading to trigger events may be directly related to the differences in powers, even among closely related members of a cape family. Similar trigger events and related individuals, similar powers. The more distant the relation and the more varied the trigger events, the more drastically different the powers they possess in the end." - Sentinel 9.3
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Interlude 18.y
- ↑ The genetics theory is popular, but has been thoroughly debunked. We’re going to talk about how it was debunked… - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.3
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Wildbow: So there are theories and sentiments and overall people will hear of trigger events as a concept, but it gets muddled intentionally by some outside parties, especially gov't forces who are eager to keep people from doing horrible things to themselves and each other to create triggers.
Wildbow: So it depends where you are geographically, but by and large, the running, underlying idea is that it ties into you reaching your 'limit', and the strongest powers have resulted from athletes, great minds, etc, who broke past a wall.
Wildbow: The Triumvirate lying about their trigger events did a lot to sell this
Wildbow Trigger events get mucked up and included as a tertiary thing. The narrative being that some people go through bad things and get troublesome or broken powers.
Wildbow: But that's like, background, it's theory, and you wouldn't want to aim for that when you could strive for better. - Wildbow on IRC, archived on Spacebattles
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 The way I spelled it out elsewhere is that they're known about, but it's more... 'One of the three big theories is that powers manifest in moments of extreme emotion or pivotal moments. Sometimes these are negative emotions, but sometimes they're positive. Positive emotions and moments of triumph and excellence lead to stronger, better powers with less drawbacks. Moments of negativity lead to flawed powers with complicating factors. Legend, Alexandria and those guys? They must have done something major.'
And so you do your best to nudge the masses to really strive for excellence and not to self-harm or throw themselves into negative situations. Capes trigger in moments of negativity and they tell themselves they got unlucky, until someone in the know informs them that no, the people at the top didn't really get the paragon, excellence, positive emotion triggers. - Wildbow on Reddit Cite error: Invalid
<ref> tag; name "R2" defined multiple times with different content
- ↑ “It happens when a bunch of people get powers all at the same time. The powers get fractured and different people get different pieces. She triggered when you did. Ring any bells? Does anyone stand out?”
“Maybe. Some people, I guess. I don’t even know what a trigger is.”
“They say if you do something really triumphant, you get good powers. If you don’t… you get the flawed or broken ones. You trigger at major moments. Best days. Worst days. That’s the line, anyway. Does it hold up?”
“I got good powers, so…” May paused. She thought about how she’d let her mom die. Was that supposed to be a triumph? “I guess I did something good.” - Excerpt from Interlude 12.z II
- ↑ Brian continued, “The third heavy hitter on the Wards is Vista. You know that myth about how the capes that get their powers young are exponentially more powerful? Vista’s one of the kids who keeps the myth alive. Clockblocker is sort of a one trick pony, his trick involves screwing with one of the key forces of our universe, but it’s just one thing. Vista also messes with physics on a fundamental level, but she’s versatile. - Excerpt from Agitation 3.3
- ↑ My first thought was trigger event. The second was, maybe that idea about people being stronger if they get their powers at a younger age is true after all. - Excerpt from Snare 13.5
- ↑ foxtail-lavender
@the third gen child, that's definitely not enough information to base this "third gens are stronger than everyone!" theory off of. Literally all we know is that a toddler triggered and a family died. was outed. Third gens definitely don't trigger easily, seeing as it took a lot for Theo and Aster never did. Even second-gens don't trigger "easily."
Bonesaw, Skitter, and Glaistig Ulaine are first gens; they're incredibly powerful.
Allfather is a first gen; he's pretty powerful. Kaiser is a second gen; he's a lot stronger than his father. Golem is a third gen; he's so much weaker than his father, it's not even funny.
Also, all of those powerful second and first gens like Panacea and Bonesaw and Glaistig Ulaine? They all triggered pretty young, so that also could have been a contributor in how powerful they were.
Third gens being strong is fanon, really. Fox is more or less on the mark. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
- ↑ “Families too,” Rain said. “Uhm, Jessica said something about this to me at one point. That people with powers tend to have worse relationships with their family.”br>
“If they had good support systems, they’d be less likely to trigger,” I said. - Excerpt from Gleaming 9.12
- ↑ “Why are we going to get powers when they won’t?” another kid in our cluster asked me.
“Because you were alone. It’s a bit of a trend, I think, one I’ve noticed. I’ve seen a lot of powers, and I’ve seen a lot of people with powers who had similar things wrong with them. Labyrinth, Bakuda, Night, Fog, Mannequin, Siberian, Lung, August Prince… again and again, it’s their ability to communicate that’s missing, either because of their powers or because they chose to hide or mask their voices. I was thinking about it, and I think we parahumans tend to be loners by nature.”
Which might explain why we struggle so much as a community. - Excerpt from Drone 23.4
- ↑ “You get more cloudiness in some kinds of scans where it expands out into the webbing around the brain, but we’re not getting that. It’s been way too long since I studied this,” I said. “The corona starts as a single marker, like a quarter-sized knot in wood, or a ball the size of a golf ball, pushed between the two lobes. Then when we trigger, it surges into life. It’s part of the reason we black out. It expands slightly, veins swell. But most of the time an unactivated corona is hard to tell apart from an activated one, and a surprising number of people have unactivated ones. Sometimes you look at them and the larger veins or structures suggest what the power is linked to.” - Excerpt from Torch 7.6
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 "It's called the trigger event," Lisa answered me, "Researchers theorize that for every person with powers out there, there's one to five people with the potential for powers, who haven't met the conditions necessary for a trigger event. You need to be pushed to the edge. Fight or flight responses pushed to their limits, further than the limits, even. Then your powers start to emerge."
"Basically," Alec said, "For your powers to manifest, you're going to have to have something really shitty happen to you."
"Which may help to explain why the villains outnumber the heroes two to one," Lisa pointed out, "Or why third world countries have the highest densities of people with powers. Not capes, but a lot of people with powers."
"But people who have parents with powers?"
"They don't need nearly as intense an event to make their powers show up. Glory Girl got her powers by getting fouled while playing basketball in gym class. She mentioned it in a few interviews she gave." - Excerpt from Shell 4.3
- ↑ Torch 7.6
- ↑ randomsoul2
So….I was reading the Weaver Dice rules, and something occurred.
Is there only one possible power/powerset linked to any one trigger event? If someone came up to you [Wildbow] and suggested a trigger event, would the power you responded with be the correct one and all other interpretations be off? Or is it more flexible?
It’s more flexible. Just as cauldron capes can get variance from any dose, a regular trigger event is affected by the nature of the individual. The passenger watches, in the time between the individual becoming able to trigger and their actual trigger event. - Comment by Wildbow on Speck 30.5
- ↑ The shards have largely been assigned to hosts. They will remain latent, they will wait for the first crucial moment of crisis and use that to shape their function, to better assist their host.
It is impossible to check the exact circumstances for each event. Some shards harbor particular concepts, and will shape their application to the host’s needs. Others are coded with particular applications, and will either scan viable realities or the host’s frame of reference for how that application will come to pass.
Physical harm will grant physical assets, be it direct or abstract. Immediate danger will nudge the shard towards defensive abilities. Ranged attacks against living threats, an ability to shape or affect the environment against environmental dangers.
Successes will help refine the abilities, provide inspiration for the development of new shards. Failures will help all the same. - Excerpt from Interlude 26
- ↑ If a shard can give any power classification, depending on the trigger,
Wildbow:For the record, some shards can, but not all. Some shards are almost always going to just trigger Master, for example, and you just won't trigger unless you're in a state of mind that lends itself into a frequency match for the scan-manton snap (as Bonesaw describes in 11.h). - Alternative powers. Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-06-??
- ↑ “If I could have triggered, I think I might have last night.” Natalie’s voice was quiet. She touched her shoulder. “I think I’m safe, but thank you, Victoria.”
I opened my mouth to say something about how triggers didn’t necessarily work that way- that the popular thinking was that the reason they were so hard to provoke was that the trigger event needed to match the power that the person was primed to get. That someone could have a trigger of abject loss and heartbreak and not get a power, only to get one a few days later because they were threatened with bodily harm, or because their agent was waiting for a trigger event involving fire. - Excerpt from Gleaming 9.7
- ↑ 2. Triggers tend to be (both metatextually and for the individual) something that the individual can't let go of. Even for, say, Fume Hood's trigger, which you mention, the event was in part chosen because it's something that gets to her specifically, which puts her in a loop of sorts, where she's encouraged by the powers and stressful event to constantly put herself in circumstances that mirror the trigger (hostile people, collateral damage, decay) which makes it harder to put the powers away or let go of the stressful event, which encourages her to put herself into those circumstances, and so on. If she could put the powers away (or refocus to a Rogue lifestyle), then we might go back to point 1 - she might not have been chosen (obviously exceptions for Eden shards apply). Fume Hood's trigger might seem tame to you but it was just the right thing to devastate her specifically and stick to her. - Freshly triggered parahumans. Wildbow, Reddit.com, 20207-01-02
- ↑ “How’s the family?” She asked. “You adopted, if I remember right?”
“We did. Arthur was worried that a surrogate parent would give birth to a parahuman, and if that happened, he’d be out of the loop.”
“The odds are still high, even with an adopted child. It’s likely more to do with exposure to parahumans at formative ages than genetics.” - Excerpt from Interlude 13
- ↑ [Definitions] • Cluster powers are defined as powers wherein multiple inciting incidents occur either simultaneously or within a minute of one another. Such parahumans will have a collection of smaller powers related to the others. • Serial powers are defined as cases where an individual or multiple individuals in longstanding proximity to a parahuman will develop powers… - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
- ↑ Keep in mind that serial and Nth-Generation (2nd gen, 3rd gen) powers are now the same thing. - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
- ↑ Interlude 18.y
- ↑ Weaverdice Character Sheet
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 Relatively 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.
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. - Weaver Dice Rulebook
- ↑ Alon Gal: I'm surprised Darlene doesn't have more of a trump aspect to her power. Is that because she's a bud?
Wildbow: first generation powers don't count as active powers when their buds trigger - Wildbow on Discord, Archived on Spacebattles
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 *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.
*Not age restriction. The shards prefer younger people because they're generally going to last a little longer if they wind up finding some degree of success (by virtue of being younger), because they have faster reflexes, there's more room for breadth and depth to develop (see Bonesaw, Jack, Number Man), and because they're more emotionally volatile or face more dramatic situations in the day to day than your typical adult does (Taylor vs. Danny). - Comment on Reddit
- ↑ Pt. 4: Greater effects & things to keep in mind – things touched on in homework reading:
Kill / Kiss – more on this in parahuman psychology class in a few weeks
Personality Bleed – personality traits bleed over from 1 individual to other? Messy
Higher incidences of paranoia, confrontation, aggression, PTSD. Less bounce back?
Higher rate of death post-trigger. Kill / kiss again. Graph
Prof Spinky stresses emotional states may play into the above. Triggers that are sufficient to draw in multiple individuals are worse than average. Can’t jump 2 conclusions. Correlation =/= causation. - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
- ↑ "Months ago, we were talking about this subject, the Manton effect. You mentioned how it might be possible for someone like us to have a second trigger event. A radical change or improvement in their powers as a result of a life or death moment. Such might explain how one broke the Manton rule." - Excerpt from Interlude 5
- ↑ As a general rule, the second trigger effectively breaks down walls or limits that were in place prior. - Wildbow on Spacebattles
- ↑ Anchuinse: Second triggers modify the power, often lowering or getting rid of the Manton limit. However, they shouldn't just be a straight "power-up". Maybe a blaster's projectile moves slower, but is now explosive and slows time slightly, or maybe they get multiple projectiles at once that are smaller but 100% accurate, even dodging around cover.
Though we don't see many in text, I like to think of it as leaving the "core" of the power the same (if it's a shaker that involves force fields it's always gonna involve force fields) but the exterior components change (speed, size, number) including secondary power effects (if the power had a light Trump effect before it may be more pronounced or gone entirely). Maybe even gaining a small secondary power. Remember though, it's not a straight power up, so while some exterior components increase in power, others should go down in about equal measure (sans the Manton limit).
Wildbow:This is pretty accurate.
Generally speaking, look for secondary aspects of the power or minor bonuses and then inflate them, or identify the 'walls' the shard set in place and remove them. - Wildbow commenting on Reddit (yet again)
- ↑ I did some reading, and there's a pretty scary number of people who have their second trigger events and then have a bad ending shortly after. I think it has to do with the toll it takes on you, the event. - Excerpt from Interlude 15.y
- ↑ This wasn’t as simple as a hard shove in the direction of a second trigger. I was pretty sure I didn’t qualify. Second generation capes triggered ‘easier’, but there had never been a second generation cape who’d second triggered. Whatever resources the power devoted to passing itself on seemed to rule it out, and I doubted the universe would be so kind as to let me be the first. It would be too easy.
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
- ↑ A confrontation had started between a young male and an older one. A fragment of a shard against a very mature shard. The most mature shard in this area, at a glance. - Excerpt from Interlude 26
- ↑ “You’re involved with a lot of powerful parahumans,” I said. “Do you have a means of causing second triggers?”
“We’ve done it for several clients in the past, with varying degrees of success. Because of the time it takes, and the arrangements involved, we put a high premium on it. We’ve had more clients die trying to collect the funds for this premium than we’ve had clients go through with the procedure,” she said.
“A catch twenty-two, if you will,” the Number Man said. “If you’re powerful enough to have the necessary funds, then you don’t need a second trigger to thrive. If you need a second trigger, you lack the funds.”
“I get the feeling you didn’t devote much attention to this,” Golem said. “Why not?”
“Because reducing the restrictions that are in place only gives us a power that has less restrictions, when we need powers with none. We needed to luck into a formula that had an applicable power as well as a whole, untainted foreign power within, and we needed it in a vehicle we could use, an individual without crippling mental, psychological, emotional or physical deviations. Eidolon was that, and Eidolon had a fatal flaw in the end.”
“I can check your allies, but we can’t do much more. We used to rely on Contessa’s power to determine the exact event needed for a second trigger.” - Excerpt from Venom 29.7
- ↑ Generally the trigger cause fits in the same general category. Brian had his second trigger for much the same reason he had his first. They can differ in nature. What's happening is that the entity is drawing from context and exploring/conceptualizing new uses for the powers (which are still in the metaphorical computer's memory, but not in the hardware that burned out in the trigger process). The entity begins splitting off, ready to find a generally young & similar host to target (piggybacking off the parent's context & experience for an easier triggering process/analysis) but then a major event prompts it to catalyze and consolidate in the current host instead.
If it's in an adult before finding its way to the child, it can begin this splitting-off process (generally requiring time or a degree of stress to allow for the maturation).
They are exceedingly rare (two noted in-story. Taylor didn't second-trigger in the last arc, to be clear), and generally speaking they do more harm than good. If it's a straight power-up, you're probably doing it wrong. - Wildbow on Spacebattles
- ↑ “Valkyrie,” Kenzie said. “They got her.”
I swallowed, hard. I found the notification marked out in gold. The icon in the distance and the corresponding label too small to really see.
Titan Valkyrie. - Excerpt from Infrared 19.6
- ↑ Second triggers aren't straight upgrades. Look at Grue's - he gained some power in one respect (fighting capes), but his cloud got a lot heavier and denser, tending to coalesce lower to the ground. Were post-S9 Grue to do the bank robbery job, he wouldn't be able to cover their retreat as effectively. Less effective vs. non-capes.
Two steps forward, yes, but one step back, or a half-step back. In other cases it could easily be unlocking a function but be one-step-forward, one-step-back.
I like terming Taylor's second trigger as a 1.5th trigger. - Wildbow on Reddit
- ↑ "But I'm afraid that power you're digging for is out of your reach, Weaver."
I looked at him.
"Or it's already in your reach. You can't have a second trigger because you already had one," he said.
"Given the signature, it's very possible you had two trigger events in quick succession. Not uncommon. The horror of manifesting your power, it prompted another trigger."
"No," I said. "There's got to be something."
"If there is, a second trigger event isn't it," the Number Man said. - Excerpt from Venom 29.7
- ↑ “You bought Cauldron powers?” I asked.
“Pretty rare for a natural cape to get powers with physical changes,” Tattletale said. “Cauldron capes? Yeah. You definitely see stuff like feathers.” - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.1
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Interlude 15.z
- ↑ With the rise of the Endbringers and threats like the Slaughterhouse Nine, the world was in need of heroes. Cauldron produced more heroes than villains, because there was none of the trauma of a trigger event to throw them off. Even for those individuals who turned to crime, Cauldron was able to leverage the favors that were part of the contract in order to guide their path. More superheroes meant better chances for everyone when it came to fighting the Endbringers and dealing with the big threats. - Excerpt from Interlude 14.y
- ↑ Powers and agents, as the literature called them, had a way of connecting better to the hosts when the host was in alignment with the moment they triggered. It was at this time that the agent performed its deepest study of the host, the context around the host, and all necessary things relating to the power. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
- ↑ The deviations, the ones who didn’t take to the formula, tended to fall into certain categories. There were those who had some minor physical or mental changes; they were little different from the most extreme deviations that appeared in typical trigger cases. Such deviations occurred a mere eighth of a percent of the time. They weren’t what he was thinking of.
The formula wasn’t exact. Though they learned more every day, there were still unknowns regarding powers. Whatever connection the agents formed with individuals before or during a trigger event, it didn’t manifest as strongly through the formula. When the subject was stressed, their body engaged by that distress, the connection grew weaker. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 Interlude 7
- ↑ But the entity can still see fallout effects. There are parallels in memory storage. Not many, but there may be glimmers where the subject is capable of perceiving the information stored in the shard as the connections are formed.
For good measure, the entity breaks up one shard cluster, tunes it, then codes the effect into each and every shard. It studies the host species further, refines, attunes.
It takes time, but the entity forms a sufficient safeguard. The host species will forget any significant details.
The broken shard is cast off, joining countless others. It will bond to a host. The entity looks forward, checking.
After the target planet has revolved thirty-three times around its star, this shard will connect to a host.
This time, the shard settles in the male, then immediately shifts to the more distressed female.
Insinuation. The shard connects to the host’s neural network.
The bond is created.
The shard opens the connection as the stress peaks, and the host doubles over in pain, bewildered, stunned. The shard then forms tendrils that contact each individual in the area. It retains traces of the entity’s tampering, of the studies in psychology, awareness and memory, and is quick to adapt. It finds a manner in which it can operate, then alters itself, solidifying into a particular state. The remainder of the functions are discarded, the ones in the shard itself are rendered inert to conserve power, while the ones in the host fall away, are consumed by the shard. The host’s neural network changes once more.
The female disappears from the awareness of the hostile ones that surround it.
The entity looks to the future, to see if this is sustainable, efficient. - excerpt from Interlude 26
- ↑ Infestation 11.6
- ↑ Teneral e.4
- ↑ Flare 2.4
- ↑ Interlude 11.b II
- ↑ Infestation 11.6
- ↑ Comment by Wildbow on Spacebattles
- ↑ Interlude 12.none
- ↑ A gang attacked a mall, hurting Glory Girl. Basically told in the worm drafts, only it wasn't the S9. - Wildbow on Spacebattles
- ↑ Venom 29.2
- ↑ Interlude 13.z II
- ↑ Interlude 15
- ↑ A reality with parahumans was that most who triggered were young – people as young as twelve could trigger, with the upper range being thirty. There was a possibility for a few years of leeway, trending more toward the rare parahuman being younger than a parahuman being older. - Excerpt from Gleaming 9.12
- ↑ The elderly are hard to fit in, here. Trigger events tend to hit in the teens, so even the oldest parahuman’s liable to be only middle aged (a la Kaiser, Number Man). There’s some Cauldron users, but even they aren’t -old-.
I have one character in mind that’s elderly, but not 100% decided. Have to see how the next bit flows. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 21.y
- ↑ Parahumans tend to trigger between 10 and 25. It's possible but less likely to get in the 5-9 or the 26-30 range.
Second generation triggers trigger more easily, which shifts the numbers to 5-20 with a theoretical 5 years of leeway that we don't see or hear evidence of (so probably rare).
Third generation triggers trigger even more easily, which can (in addition to lowering the bar for a sufficiently traumatic event) shift the age by another 5 years downward. It'd be hard for a fetus to have a distinct experience sufficient to provoke a trigger, but there's a case in canon that's mentioned where a 5 year old triggers and that's considered notable. - Wildbow on Reddit
- ↑ Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
- ↑ Pime Abtiss, mother of the blind.
Another shadow appeared as the therapist entered the room. A blindfolded woman with a small, deformed baby in her arms, umbilical cord stretching into a gap in the robe.
“I’m very sorry. That took longer than I expected,” Ms. Yamada said, as she took her seat.
“No matter,” [Ciara] ran her hand over the baby’s misshapen head. It dissipated into shadow, along with Pime Abtiss. She didn’t replace it with another shadow. “Forgive me, I overheard.” - Excerpt from Teneral e.1
- ↑ One was the little space-warper, another was a copy of the firebreathing acrobat with the rich smell, and three were copies of the unpowered people she’d absorbed.
Regent might work against this girl in white, but his influence would be too minor in the big picture. His smell was weakest of the three.
Not that it was really a smell… but she was peculiarly aware of the people with powers, active or otherwise. Each had a texture and a tone and a flavor, something she felt like she could come to understand. She might have said it was taste, might have compared it to when she’d tried wine that one time and tried to see what the wine aficionados looked for when they sampled a vintage. Except the word ‘smell’ worked better, because smell and taste were really very similar and smell worked over distances.
There was a difference in Skitter, Grue’s and Eidolon’s smells, along with a handful of the other visiting capes. A smell that set them apart from the other parahumans in the same way that the other parahumans were set apart from the people who could have powers but didn’t. An intensity. - Excerpt from Interlude 18.z
- ↑ “We’ve heard of incidents where one person became a very large-scale effect. The kind that would cover this whole colony, and then some,” I said. “I think the catch is that most precogs and danger sensers can’t see triggers coming, even broken ones.” - Excerpt from Gleaming 9.12