Triggers in Society Edit
The trigger event is usually 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).
Although experts understood many of the nuances of trigger events, they aren't known to the general public. It was commonly believed that powers were genetic, even hough this had been thoroughly disproven. Governments would downplay the details of trigger events to prevent people from self-harming in attempt to gain powers. It was widely believed that the strongest powers resulted from athletes, great minds, etc, who broke past some fundamental limit. There was a popular myth that younger triggers were more powerful.
Natural Trigger Edit
A natural trigger event is accomplished through a traumatic experience. Researchers theorize that for every person with powers, there’s one to five people with the potential for powers, who 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. Parahumans with a normal brain and neurological makeup develop a Corona Pollentia within their hind brain.
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.
Second Generation Edit
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.
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.
Multiple Trigger Edit
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 compliment one another, or at least work in similar ways. These are known by the colloquialism of "grab bag capes".
It's possible for a parahuman to experience a second trigger event, offering a radical change or improvement in their powers. To experience a second trigger, a parahuman has to experience a situation highly similar to their original trigger.
Second triggers are exceedingly rare, and generally do more harm than good due to the level of trauma involved.
The Shard draws from context and explores and/or conceptualizes new uses for its powers. The Shard begins splitting off to find a new, but similar host - piggybacking off the original Shard's context and experience - but then a major event prompts to catalyze and consolidate in the current host instead.
Cauldron capes cannot experience a second trigger, because the Shards harvested from Eden's corpse are 'dead'. Completely cut off and unable to interact with other shards, baring exceptional circumstances. Similarly it is unknown if the such shards are able to bud.
Due to second triggers requiring a situation that mirrors the first trigger event, the most common type of second trigger is the "double trigger". Due to the triggers occurring back-to-back, the need to experience a new event that mirrors the original one is removed, and they're largely indistinguishable from a single trigger.
Cauldron Trigger Edit
Cauldron capes gain their powers after drinking a Cauldron vial. 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.
Anyone experiencing a trigger event sees a vision of a vast multidimensional entity, but most quickly forget it. Any parahuman nearby experiences a similar vision and is briefly incapacitated.
- Skitter was shut in a locker with piles of used tampons and pads. This alone might not have been enough, but time passed and she realized that of everyone who had seen the event happen, nobody was helping her. She had a panic attack, and her powers emerged. 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 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 guerilla 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 was being killed by her foster mother when she triggered.
- Scrub gains his powers during a free-for-all brawl that Skidmark instigates 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.
- Bonesaw's family were tortured by the Slaughterhouse Nine.
- Clockblocker triggered while donating bone marrow
- Browbeat jumped into a freezing cold lake
- Crusader was neglected, tried to kill his sister and was caught.
- Purity was in a car crash and starved trapped by the side of the road.
Second Generation CapesEdit
- Glory Girl gained her powers after being fouled in gym class.
- Panacea triggered when Glory Girl was injured in a fight.
Second Triggers Edit
- Grue triggered again watching Bonesaw dissect his teammates.
- King of Cups second triggered after his wife was killed during Golden Morning.
- Narwhal second triggered and gained the ability to bypass the Manton Effect
- Glaistig Uaine
Cauldron Capes Edit
- 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
- Garotte was kidnapped by monsters from her seaside village
- Shamrock was kidnapped from her temple-school
- 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.
Underlying Mechanics Edit
After an Entity has finished preparing a Shard, it will let the Shard loose, plot for the Shard's arrival, as well as plotting the location it will arrive in and its future host. The Shard will lock on to the host, get a grasp on the host's personality and summarily allow that portion of itself to die and burn out to form the Corona Pollentia. It will then sit dormant for a time, unless the time of the Shard's arrival coincided with the host's trigger event.
When a trigger event happens, the Shard recognizes the event from the state of the host, from context and from 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 accessing 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 ability that they would not have had otherwise.
Though it may seem like trigger events generally involve the cape automatically manifesting their new power, this is not always the case.
- 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.
- Dismissing clients of Cauldron, new triggers are generally teenagers, although elderly capes exist.