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If Superman cann't see through lead....

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  • If Superman cann't see through lead....

    ... can he see through Gold, Osmiuim, Iridium or any of the other elements that are denser than lead?

    Superman can't see through lead because X-rays don't penetrate lead. But there are other elements that are denser than lead that X-Rays don't penetrate either. Lead is just the common one because it's cheap and malleable. X-Rays don't penetrate gold; in fact gold blocks x-rays better per ounce. But gold is expensive, the cost-benefit is such that lead blocks more radiation per dollar.

    So, if one is GMing Superman, can other denser elements stop Superman's Penetrates Concealment?

  • #2
    Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

    Throughout the comics, only lead stops his x-ray vision, and the DC Adventures writeup only mentions lead blocking his x-ray vision so it seems the solution is that only lead blocks his x-ray vision.

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    • #3
      Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

      How "realistic" do you want your supers game to be?

      If you value comic canon over real science, then only lead.
      If you value reality, as tenuous as that word gets in a supers game anyway, then other elements block it too.
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      • #4
        Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

        Originally posted by Earth-Two_Kenn View Post
        ... can he see through Gold, Osmiuim, Iridium or any of the other elements that are denser than lead?

        Superman can't see through lead because X-rays don't penetrate lead. But there are other elements that are denser than lead that X-Rays don't penetrate either. Lead is just the common one because it's cheap and malleable. X-Rays don't penetrate gold; in fact gold blocks x-rays better per ounce. But gold is expensive, the cost-benefit is such that lead blocks more radiation per dollar.

        So, if one is GMing Superman, can other denser elements stop Superman's Penetrates Concealment?
        Not sure about Superman, but paragons at my table have already found that objects denser than lead may block x-ray vision & other such thematic versions of penetration vision.
        “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

        -Doctor Who

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        • #5
          Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

          I would say anything that is as dense or denser than lead also blocks x-ray vision, be it Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl, etc.

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          • #6
            Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

            Originally posted by saint_matthew View Post
            Not sure about Superman, but paragons at my table have already found that objects denser than lead may block x-ray vision & other such thematic versions of penetration vision.
            Isn't "can't penetrate lead" or "can't penetrate dense materials" a modifier applied to penetrates concealment rather than the default?

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            • #7
              Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

              Originally posted by ResplendentFire View Post
              Isn't "can't penetrate lead" or "can't penetrate dense materials" a modifier applied to penetrates concealment rather than the default?
              Yep, which is why I said "x-ray vision & other such thematic versions of penetration vision" rather than the default penetration vision.

              Sorry if that was confusing.
              “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

              -Doctor Who

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              • #8
                Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                Thanks for the clarification.

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                • #9
                  Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                  Huh. I missed that 3E eliminated the "must include one common material that can't been seen through" bit.

                  Incidentally, the debate over why Superman can't see through lead has come up to all sorts of conclusions from it being psychological to it being some unique aspect of lead. At one point, all of Superman's abilities were psychic, which also explained why he could apparently see faster than the speed of light and hear faster than the speed of sound (as well as how he can pick up buildings by one corner without them crumbling under their own weight) but last I heard, that explanation had been dropped.
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                  • #10
                    Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                    It's still used for Superboy, but to my knowledge they use that to differentiate the two instead of applying it to Superman.

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                    • #11
                      Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                      Is it likely to be an issue ?

                      Your average dentist has lead blankets. People don`t normally walk around with enough gold to cover themselves or obscure items.

                      There is a poorly drawn example in Byrne`s Superman run where the Joker hides bombs in lead lined boxes that he thinks Superman won`t be able to find. The error being that he thinks Superman can`t see through lead when in actuality is stands out to him because he can`t see through it. I say poorly drawn in that the city would have tons of lead criss crossing it everywhere an four boxes would not stand out.

                      I say this to go back to my idea that there is not enough of the denser elements to be concerned with - unless maybe he was trying to look into an Egyptian sarcophagus without opening it...

                      On the other hand, looking into Fort Knox Superman would see the mountain of gold even if he can`t see through it based on the outline against the areas he can see through. Same thing with looking through a person wearing gold if he can`t see through it - there would be marks in whatever he was looking at as a dark outline of whatever gold was being worn...
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                      • #12
                        Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                        Originally posted by Bladewind View Post
                        Is it likely to be an issue ?

                        Your average dentist has lead blankets. People don`t normally walk around with enough gold to cover themselves or obscure items....
                        True. But have you forgotten about Mr T?

                        He might be the exception. He " pitties the fool" who doesn't adorn himself/herself with gold.

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                        • #13
                          Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                          roflmao !!!
                          [QUOTE=Enigmatic One;178799][FONT=Verdana]Note to self, get Bruce and his Bat-force to take this one.[/FONT][/QUOTE]

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                          • #14
                            Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                            When Superman originally received the X-ray power, it was the wonder technology of the times and easy to imagine no matter how flawed. The other thing the general public knew about x-rays was lead was commonly used to block it in labs and at the dentist office. Lead was common and cheap and therefore well know. It's commonness also made it easy to be used in stories to defeat Superman's vision by common crooks. No one questioned it because it worked as well as many other Superman powers and things to thwart them.

                            I can say, once I took the science courses, I knew other elements could be an issued. Not sure if any writer actually tried a very expensive thick layer of noticeable gold to subtly block Superman from seeing something important. How about Lois and Jimmy trapped in an abandoned gold mine with a hidden vein of gold large enough to stop Superman from finding them? Yeah, how often does that plot come up?

                            Personally, I would say if you can find a plausible belief suspendable reason to have rare heavy metals used in the plot, run with it. By that matter, assume the lead constrain actually means lead or denser. I do not think it's going to make any kryptonian's life more difficult.
                            Last edited by Nightbeast; 03-17-2016, 09:00 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: If Superman cann't see through lead....

                              Anyway it is worth noticing the so-called "X-ray vision" of Supes is basically no X-ray at all. It generates no harmful radiations, as an example, even if some smart and well-informed did previously use his ability against him to activate some devices.
                              Also worth noticing DCA states his effect as only countered by lead, and nothing else.

                              We have to agree Superman's X-ray vision is actually an "extraterrestrial-ray vision", releasing a ray of weird and harmless energy unknown on Earth, not unlike Kryptonite radiations.

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