In my world, one in every 1000 is born with a power/gift/talent/whatever you want to call it. If you are born with a gift it is in one of three categories: teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy.

Also in this world, every ten years a 'common' is born (yes I know the name is hypocritical). A common has one or more powers in each category.

An example of a common's powers might be: that they can create illusions, they can play with glass molding it like clay, and they can teleport anywhere within five feet of them.

If a common is killed before another is born, then common powers skip a generation causing there to be a 20-year gap between commons rather then a 10 year gap. Because commons are so useful, the government treasures them and uses them.

I cannot (for the life of me) come up with a good use for commons, other than transporting food between cities, super soldiers, interrogations, and that kind of thing. Does anyone else has any ideas for uses?


closed as too broad by Confounded by beige fish., Nosajimiki, John, Cyn, Renan Apr 26 at 22:34

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  • $\begingroup$ I would try to clean up some of your grammar just to help the readability :) $\endgroup$ – Alex Apr 26 at 18:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Any uses a society could find would depend very much on the particular powers and the nature of the society and it's needs and relative level of paranoia. Not sure how teleporting 5 feet could help with transport between cities. You need to edit your question to narrow it down, as we have a one question one identifiable best answer culture here, and at the moment your question is fishing for ideas - VTC. Too broad. You can try asking in our chat room for ideas: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/17213/the-factory-floor Best of luck. $\endgroup$ – Confounded by beige fish. Apr 26 at 18:25

This might sound a little cliche, but if they're literally called "Commons" then it couldn't hurt to fill the roster with some stock superpowers: super strength, super speed, flight, invisibility, maybe throw in some other psionics like mind reading [though I don't know if your version of telepathy can be switched to from two-way communication to private thoughts and vice versa or have the ability to hear other people's thoughts], precog/postcognition [seeing the future or past respectively], or maybe even mind control/hypnosis. I think I might need a bit more context to work from to understand how to build up from the foundation you set in place. I'd imagine powers like invisibility, mind reading, and telepathy would make for good detectives or spies, being able to read into the past could be a great power for a lawyer to use when gathering evidence, and I would think super speed and flight would be great for transportation (both private and public). There's a lot of places you could take this actually but it might help to give a bit more context to what/how the limits on what powers are achievable, or can someone just roll a natural 20 out of the womb and somehow have the power to psychically punch holes in solid concrete or crush a star with their bare hands? Have these powers always existed in this world, or has this only been around for X generations [you don't need to go into details about how it started if you don't feel it necessary; just knowing how long it's been in place would mean that people would be much more aware of limitations, potential, and abnormalities]? Most importantly, are there non-powered "normal" people, and if so, how are they treated/how do they feel in a world of teleporters and people who can manipulate solid mass with their mind?


Back into it.

Fortunately you are making the whole thing up for a story! So:

1: What sort of government does your world have?

2: What sort of employees would that type of government treasure in real life? What kind of work does the government use people for? Spying, making things, diplomacy, figuring things out etc.

3: Make up commons whose skills lend themselves to those types of employment.

4: There will be other commons (like maybe glass molding person) who is not of particular value to the government but who might be valued by industry. Have them too, because of course they would be around.

5: Some commons will have a power which is of no practical use. In his Xanth series where everyone has a power, Piers Anthony called this "spot on the wall" type of magic - the power to make a spot appear on the wall.


I'm not sure what the categories of talents would be, so I'll take that liberty and I'll assume they are elemental: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind. I also assume a lot, but I'm pretty sure this fits into all your constraints. (I would suggest giving more info on your world though, it has started to feel like I am writing your story)

Fire in my mind is a fully destructive talent. Water is a fully restorative. Earth has to do with the creation of stable objects and the halting of moving things. Wind is focused on the destruction of stable objects and the production on moving things.

So someone with the power of fire would be used for soldiers yes, but also would be likely responsible for being the literal engine room of society. A resource of intense heat could be contained and used to spin massive turbines creating a wealth of electricity, or even just improve the production of mills or steam powered vessels. I see the fire talents being a sub-class almost, used exclusively for labor tasks and fighting the wars of the nations.

Water talented folks would be the world leaders, because their restorative power put them at the top of society; the offspring of medicine-man type leaders. Everyone would flock to the restorative members of society, so that they would have the highest chances of living and they would be held in high esteem. The water talents would be the best medical staff in the world, but would also be experts in things like climate control creating rooms like freezers and potentially creating objects that can cool a room passively by infusing it with their power. Water talents would be able to walk on water and read the oceans and sky, so travel by sea would also focus around the water folk.

Earth Talents would be responsible for being the cities great architects, and also be the crafts men of the society. Earth power is not only pulling large amounts of stone from the earth and bending metal or sand, but also the working of those things pulled from the ground. They would be blacksmiths, leather workers, jewelers, brewers, wagon-makers etc.

Wind talents would travel, because of their ability to glide on the wind. To some it may seem like they can teleport short distances, but in reality they can create small vacuums in the air that their body can fill quicker then the human eye. They are also often found at sea, because they have some control over the winds and can read the sky as well as a water talent. They also would be the more delicate craftsmen, who would build intense mechanical devices like steam powered mills, windmills, and blimps (if that exists).

Commons would be able to preform any job, just worse then any other specific Talent. Their power comes from the combination of the elements, so for example instead of just using fire to power a turbine, they could use wind and fire to generate higher heats then fire alone. They could use earth and water to create irrigation systems for farming.Any job a machine does today, they could do to some capacity. That's why they are valuable, they are the most dynamic tool in a country.

  • $\begingroup$ I realized I missed the categories, but I'll leave this here because I think it may help you think of potential jobs. $\endgroup$ – Alex Apr 26 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Of course natural disasters associated with, water (Tsunamis, Floods), Earth (Earthquakes, Volcanos), and Wind (Hurricanes, Tornadoes) have all independently claimed more human life and caused more destruction than those associate with Fire (Wild Fires). In fact, of the top ten deadliest natural disasters in all l of human history, Fire has no componant and water occupies the top two spots (1931 China Floods (1- million dead) and the 1887 Yellow River Flood 900,000-2 million dead) . The deadliest wild fire by comparison is ~1200-2500 in the 1887 Peshito fire. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Apr 26 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ I was imagining that each user would be able to generate a maximum force similar to what a flamethrower out puts. In reference, a small amount of force, but more skill allows a user to produce the element for a longer amount of time. For example Water would require finesse and skill to narrow the power to preform healing and longer procedures, for example. $\endgroup$ – Alex Apr 26 at 22:27

As your commons have many different powers, there are many ways in which they are useful. Just a few:

  • Bodyguards - A common would be a great bodyguard for anyone important or likely to be assassinated because of the teleportation and illusion powers.

  • Ambassadors - A common would be a good choice for an ambassador, first because sending such a special person to the other country is a sign of respect and trust, and second because they can use their powers to handle any dangerous situations or even just the threat of their powers to sway the other ruler's decisions.

  • Magicians - You did mention 'super soldiers', but a common could not only fight, but could create an illusion of a huge army, fancy weapons, and possibly monsters or creatures such as dragons.

  • Architects - With powers such as molding glass like clay, commons could build the most spectacular buildings, walls, statues, or practically anything!

    These are only a few ideas, and depending on what other powers you give your commons, there are many other ways to use them.


What if commons did "common" jobs. Yes, they can be these super powerful people, but maybe one person's dream is to become a potter (a play off of the clay manipulation thought).

So you can get master craftsmen and master craftswomen out of people with telekinesis. Buildings could be built in less than a day, industrialization could suddenly become effortless. They could create art or food, maybe a really good janitor (an entire building getting cleaned at once!). Maybe one person aspires to be a world-wide famous prankster!

Those with telepathy could be translators between people who speak different languages or help those who are unable to speak. Telepathy could also be useful for spies. Yet, a psychologist could utilize this too! What if their patient was too scared to speak? It could help them understand the mind! Or maybe this is a power blatantly used in the middle of school between people to chat.

Those who can teleport could be very useful. Yes, they can transport goods and such. But how much can they teleport? An entire army? Because suddenly you have an indestructible, surprise attack army that could single-handedly conquer an empire! Or maybe they are a murderer on the run, almost impossible to catch. Maybe a best friend of the aforementioned prankster?

So it may be, that the "commons" can hold "common" places in society and still be incredibly valuable. Especially if they start to be relied on.


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