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I was thinking of having superspeed, in my superhero world, be the result of the combination of several powers. In that case, should it (logically speaking) consist of any powers other than super strength, super durability (although that's part of superstrength), and accelerated thinking (in other words, you perceive the world as moving more slowly)?

I feel like that's probably all you need, as you use superstrength to contract your muscles abnormally quickly (and strongly), super durability to withstand impacts (and your own muscle contractions), and accelerated thinking to gain the precision required to run at high speeds

Additional info:

Powers in my world are passed down from parent to child. If both parents have powers, the child could end up having both powers, either one, a variation of either one, or a mix of both.

A superpower is some kind of supernatural ability that functions as it is described. That could range from "my fingernails grow slightly faster" or "i can turn people into beef" to "i can teleport" or "i can shoot nukes from my hands".

My intention is to have superspeed be the combination of several other powers. Particularly, super strength (your muscles can produce an unusual amount of force), super durability (your body tissues can withstand an unusual amount of force), and accelerated thinking (aka slowed perception, you observe time passing more slowly and therefore have more time to react).

My question was regarding whether that combination disregards any important aspects of what would be expected of someone with superspeed.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding! So, it's kind of unclear what worldbuilding problem or question you're actually trying to solve here. What I see is a statement (I want to do this) and another statement (this explains what I want to do). I don't see a question here. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ "Superspeed in my superhero world be the result of the combination of [...] superstrength, super durability [...], and accelerated thinking" . . . and supershoes. In the end, the propulsive force comes from the adhesion of the sole of the shoe to the ground. Ordinary humans are already strong enough to cause their shoes to slip when trying to accelerate quickly, depending on how slippery the ground is. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ The base super powers need to be defined strength, durability etc. Without knowing what the base powers are its not possible to answer what basket of base powers are needed to create a speed power. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas This is tagged internal-consistency. Those posts don't have questions. The OP is expected to explain the rules of the world and the application of the rules with the goal of learning if the rules were applied consistently. For a sub-1000 rep users, this was a pretty good shot at that post type. +1 $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas I'm curious what changes you would need to VTR. They are superheroes. Does it really matter if they are X-Men variety (magic-genetic), Hulk variety (magic-scientific), Thor variety (deity), etc? It's not clear what more information is required. His question is both in the title and in the second sentence of his post. 5 people voted to close and none really said what needs to be improved. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 13:57

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Super speed requires super heat dissipation as well as super amounts of super fast access energy stores in the body. Otherwise you would either overheat to death or starve to death.

And without super digestion it would take a long time to recover. That also means you need a super bank account for all that food.

Example: Hummingbird constantly needs to drink sugar water or else it starves. To constantly process sugar water they need a metabolism basically immune to diabetes.

You also probably need a super cardiovascular system and super lungs so don't black out. Just because your body is super durable doesn't mean your lungs or heart can continue to pump blood at Gs or breathe at high speeds. These could be an extension of super strength though.

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  • $\begingroup$ All good points that I havent really addressed yet in my world, although I imagine they're all subpowers of super strength $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ +1 if only for "super bank account for all that food." And let's add to it super insurance for all the damage caused by your passing through and super attorneys for when people complain about the electromagnetic disruption caused by any metal on your body (especially a wrist watch). But that's all a bit beside the physiological point. :-) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 23:14
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Super Inertial Impulse

As AlexP brought up in a comment, I think for "real superspeed", traction would be a problem. Even if you invented the Supershoe, you'd still have a problem of the ground itself. Your superhero has just run to the desert at Mach 10. Now he needs to stop. Hm. Small problem. It's been 3 kilometers and he's still trying to bring himself to a halt as the sand against the bottom of his feet gives him very little friction (I dunno the math for it, but I'd bet he's losing speed far faster from the air resistance. Mach 10 is over 3km per second and I'm assuming it will take him quite a few seconds to bring himself to a halt.) The Supershoe could give him infinite traction but all that means is the tiptop layer of sand sticks to his shoe while he continues to skid along.

To solve this, I propose Super Inertial Impulse which basically grants him the ability to change his speed very rapidly in any horizontal direction without needing traction of any sort. On ice? No problem. Mid jump, feet in the air? Still works. Because Reasons(tm) this power only works when going across a gravitational field, not towards or away from it. Thus, it is not Flight. And possibly does not work in deep space, but that's up to you.

Other considerations:

I've always thought that a Superman would be an incredible menace unless he is very very careful all the time. Suppose he's standing in a courtroom and Lois is in danger! Superman runs out of the building as fast as he can, probably, I dunno, causing some kind of horrifying calamity as he burns his way through the atmosphere of the interior of the building. I mean, what happens if a 200 pound object flies past you at 7400 miles per hour? Probably nothing good.

So either he's careful, or his Super Inertial Impulse actually is far more like a Star Trek warp drive: he's warping space, so as far as the atmosphere is concerned, he's going about 20 mph, with the warp effect magnifying the actual distance moved to any speed he wants. This would also explain how he stops so fast next to the bank robber without a torrent of wind blowing the bank robber head over heels (or, presumably, engulfing him in a fireball of atmospheric plasma): he just stopped warping. No problem, then!

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    $\begingroup$ what-if.xkcd.com/1 you could get nuclear fusion if you move too fast, blinding to kilometers away, burning and killing with all kinds of radiation at shorter (but still far) distances. Super speed like superman could destroy cities if not much more. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane And before that you would get lots of sonic booms. Everytime you did something fast it would be at least like a gunshot or whip. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ That is a good point, although my world is quite low power in comparison to stuff like superman. I was intending people with thought acceleration to get up to at most 10x acceleration, and resultingly people with superspeed to reach at best a couple hundred km/h. I mean that's more than enough to create insanely OP characters, just imagine batman or the punisher except they move and think 10x faster than a normal person. **Also, I like the idea of speedsters sliding around if they aren't careful, or cracking the floor (or perhaps nearby walls if it's too slippery) if they need to move quickly $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 22:49
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    $\begingroup$ @MS Although even at 10x speed (about 440 km/hr for Usain Bolt) you might still consider traction, or have it on the mind of the hero. He won't be doing any movie style sudden stops next to the person he wants to speak with, more or less depending on the composition of the ground and the traction of his shoes (or feet), unless he has some kind of inertial dampening or non-traction related counter-thrust. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 22:54
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly I think ill add your inertial impulse idea as another power in the world, meaning a speedster that has it would just be that much more powerful $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 22:54
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Building on a comment by @AlexP

@AlexP makes a very good point. The faster something is when in contact with the ground, the more friction must exist to keep it in place. Consider researching tire technology for race cars. Now, if we assume that the shoes simply tear away or burn off the speedster's feet (heaven help the speedster until that happens), then we could assume that your super-durability power preserves the soles of the feet and the runners ankles and knees during turns....

but unless something about the skin itself changes substantially, the friction won't necessarily improve. Steel is more durable than leather, but it has much lower friction. Rigidity has a factor, too. Take a 5kg block of steel and apply enough force to slide it 30 meters down a paved road. Now fill a leather bag with the same weight and apply the same force. It won't travel nearly as far.

Super durability will protect the skin, but I don't believe it will trivially rationalize the increased friction the soles of the feet will need.

I'm not sure of a single word that would describe this. Let's call it super sole roughness. Without it, your speedster will need to slow down considerably at many or most turns.

A part of me is tempted to suggest that the runner could overcome this with technique. For example, skis used by downhill skiers have very low friction. How do skiers turn? By tilting the edge of the skies into the snow to, basically, tack into the intended turn. But I'm not convinced this would be a suitable way to avoid the problem. Skis have corners that feet don't have. Snow shifts and piles where asphalt doesn't. So, technically I don't think technique would be enough — but it probably would be enough for suspension of disbelief if you want to avoid this issue.

BTW, my comment about the shoes is a problem for you. Super-all-those-things aside, the clothing on your speedster will be a problem. It's why The Flash has a fancy suit. Cloth creates drag, heats up, burns away, catches on things, destabilizes the run.... I've answered assuming that your speedster is either running buck nekid through the streets (not that anyone could see him/her to make a lewdness accusation) or has suitable clothing to avoid these problems. Such clothing could have the necessary friction needed to keep the speedster on the ground. But in some cases, the right clothing also overcomes your need for super durability (reflexive fabric, to coin a phrase, could minimize stress on ligaments). So, nekid it is. And to run in one's birthday suit one would need whomping good technique, or super sole roughness.

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