Brennus Files 01: On Metahuman Beauty & Sexuality


Many people have commented on the widespread presence of super-beautiful people in the world of Brennus, as well as the rather extreme, almost comical way in which many characters seem driven by their base instincts.

This is quite intentional, and it is an in-universe issue society has to deal with. In fact, the world of Brennus is far more open to such issues (more on that in a future info dump).

Let’s get to the topic of Beauty – and thus, the Physique effect, also known as the Adonis-type.

At the moment of manifestation, one may manifest the Physique power/effect (it is not quite clear, in-universe, whether it is a distinct power or the result of a one-time power). In that case, if they are lucky, their body is reshaped, mostly based on their own ideal of beauty. It may be influenced by other people’s ideals, if they are present at the moment of manifestation or have strong emotional attachments to them, especially if those are metahumans themselves.

For example, it is no coincidence that many metahumans with metahuman parents often look like younger versions of their father and/or mother (girls often look more like their mother, boys more like their father).

However, this process obviously has its drawbacks (much like all powers in the ‘verse).

The most obvious one is the chance for deformity – random thoughts and ideas during the manifestation, the influence of drugs, traumata or deranged emotional links, all of these may lead to more or less extreme physical deformities (which usually go hand in hand with an increased risk of mental derangement, too). They can range from harmless (cartoonishly curvacious women), to strange (too perfect bodies), to animalistic (half-animals, like cat- or lizard-people, etc), to outright monstrous (Necrophobe) to… weird (Heretic). As the final two examples illustrate, this may lead to a person technically not being alive anymore, at least in the physical sense.

But there is a second, more subtle problem. Namely, sex is a major motivator of almost all humans, and that tends to get expressed both in mental derangements, as well as their physical changes. Throw in a big heap of wish fullfilment, the fact that metahumans in general are more emotional than average, and…

Tyche used to be a sexually repressed, unattractive and shy girl. When she manifested, her body reshaped itself to fit her ideal of beauty, and her libido was kicked up a few notches as well, which literally means that she has super-powered hormones playing hob with her head. Also, her high power-level (probability manipulation is major stuff) and her issues from before earned her a few derangements, among them being a deep change in personality, inverting her former shyness to a major degree.

So, as if suddenly looking (and feeling) like a sex god (or goddess) ain’t enough to make people frisky, their manifestation also adds enhanced emotions and the odd derangement to the mix.

The effect is even worse for most metahumans, since they mostly manifest during puberty – meaning, right during their main sexual formative age. Add to that the chance that they might literally be stuck in puberty for life – their physical transformations may use their then-current hormonal make-up as a template – or at least for a long time, and things only get worse.

Here, it is important to differentiate between simple changes in personality in response to the manifestation (like Tyche, who is now openly bi and proud of it, whereas before she was ashamed) and derangements that force a change of sexuality onto someone, usually due to influences from outside (the wrong kind of people present during the manifestation or linked to the person in general). These unlucky metahumans often have to fight to accept their new, imposed sexuality, and there is a high incidence of suicide among them, especially if they previously were against alternate sexualities or dependant on their sexual self-image.

Furthermore, there are far more metahumans with alternate sexualities, relative to their numbers and compared to normal humans. On one hand, people with repressed sexualities are far more likely to act them out after manifesting, and many metahumans end up somehow changing their physical sex (going from boy to girl, girl to boy, something in between or just both), responding to hidden desires and repressed wishes.

This has lead to a wider acceptance of the LGBT community, especially in the West. When a third of your society’s super-powered protectors are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or somehow transgendered (or weirder), you learn to deal with it. While prejudices still run strong, especially in the more fundamentalistic parts of society, the public perception of the matter is far more open than in our world. That is also due to many Heroes (Lady Light at the forefront) campaigning for LGBT rights for decades now.

Said movement has progressed so far that, among metahumans, those who only get minor sexual derangements are considered lucky (provided they are not driven to suicide), as those are mostly accepted by the main part of society, and easier to deal with than, say, cannibalistic urges or a strong fascination with burning buildings and people.

And this is not even limited to metahumans with physical powers and changes. Mentalists of all kinds have to deal with not only their own, but also other people’s sexual urges, again often during formative ages – it is no coincidence that the two most powerful straight telepaths introduced in the story (Mindfuck and Mindstar) are extreme sexual deviants, and the one other person with access to it has mostly used it for sex in the past (Gloom Glimmer). Though they both also have other, more extreme trauma that contributed to what they are now, this is a problem for many Mentalists, and if they are new to their powers, sexually unbalanced themselves and/or mentally vulnerable (so, for example, 99.9% percent of all teenagers with powers) they tend to have major problems dealing with it.

And those are just the most obvious changes. A shapeshifter may not even have a fixed sexuality anymore, and change it on the fly or enhance it to an insane degree (Bakeneko). A spawner who creates a minion of alternate sexuality and shares its feelings/sensations is another recipe for issues.

Let’s no even get started on Gloom Glimmer, and all the issues her sentient power causes her by interpreting even her most subtle urges through a non-human lens.

In short, metahumans tend to get fucked up, in more than one sense of the word. Though for many it is a positive thing.


14 thoughts on “Brennus Files 01: On Metahuman Beauty & Sexuality

  1. Yeesh. Thanks for the info, that’s pretty interesting stuff. Creepy, but interesting. I have to admit, we stole the name of the body types (Adonis and Chimera,) but they don’t refer to looks nessecarily, only physicality. Adonis types are fitter, stronger, hardier, and more agile than civs. Chimera types are disfigured, no longer able to pass for human. This could be as little as a mark on the bottom of the foot, but if it’s a permanent physical deformity brought on by powers, then it’s a chimera type.
    It’s interesting to see what you did. Vi think I like it better.

  2. That was pretty interesting, I’ll try to keep the “teenager mindset” thing in mind as I read.
    Still, a couple of things are now more obviously explained.

    As an additonal note, it’s a nice change of pace from the extremely prudish attitude you usually get on the other side of the Atlantic.

      • oh, no. I mean the puritan sex-is-dirty prudishness you got too much of in the USA and (to a lesser degree in Canada).
        it’s sometimes impossible to have a normal discussion about sexuality with otherwise intelligent people because they were conditioned to think it’s impossible to have a “clean” conversation about it.

      • You know, I agree with that on a lot of levels. I wouldn’t say we’re exactly prudish, but it’s difficult for many people to discuss sex, and sexual issues. It’s sometimes viewed as immature, or pornographic. Hell, I wrote a dialogue between two teenagers flirting in a hospital and I had three people tell me it was pornographic. It wasn’t. Here: judge for yourself the American attitude.

      • not pornographic whatsoever.

        hey, I didn’t know you had your own serial! Why didn’t you tell me?

        question: how did you customize your theme like that? Is it just the twenty eleven theme, or did you do something to have white letters on black background/the worm look?

      • Oh… Um… I use the Worm, twenty eleven theme. As far as I know, nothing special to customize. Flattery and imitations and all that. I didn’t tell you? Jeez, I spend so much time shamelessly advertising I thought I did… Guess not.

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