1. thrawnking
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    thrawnking New Member

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    Character power too powerful?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by thrawnking, Feb 11, 2012.

    the power is that my Character can use destruction Magic. it is limited to only things he can touch and each use of it weakens him. it takes more energy and time to use it on humans and is tied to his emotions. he doesn't use it to kill people, but mostly on the enviroment around him and to weaken the bones of people he is fighting. it doesn't cause things to explode, but it deconstructs thing at the molecular level. if you have seen full metal alchemist tv series, it is very simular to Scar's power. do you guys think this is still too powerful? if so, what are some more limitations that i could use to depower it?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Is Superman too powerful? Yes. But month after month, the writers at DC comics write stories that challenge him anyway.

    Write the story, and stop worrying about the little things.
     
  3. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Hi thrawnking,

    Well, I'd say it depends on the world he lives in, and the other characters in his world.

    I could make a character that could blow up planets with his mind, but as long as the environment still threatened him in some way, and there were other characters who blew up planets, he wouldn't necessarily be overpowered in that story (as ridiculous as that kind of story may be).

    In the case that his world is a little under-powered, you could always give him additional setbacks. Perhaps he has trouble controlling his magic? Or perhaps his powers have a "weight" limit (he can only effect small things at a time)? It's really all up to you. The way you shape your world and your character determines this kind of stuff.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Backbiter
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    Backbiter Contributing Member

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    Well, use your own example. Consider Scar himself: despite his ability to deconstruct materials, he is still provided a challenge throughout the series. He is constantly placed before obstacles that hinder him, regardless of his ability. I feel like your character not using this ability to kill people is a good limitation to start with, since it could be quite deadly if used to its full extent.

    Another example that I thought of when Cheddar mentioned blowing up planets: if you have any knowledge of the Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z series, consider Frieza, who has the power to destroy an entire planet by himself and more or less eradicate an entire race (when he's not even in his prime - this is still in his first form). This doesn't stop him from being defeated later on, however, by Goku and friends, even when he is in his most powerful evolution. I guess my point is that there is always someone stronger. Maybe provide a character to counter this person, one that is always getting in his way and matching his power equally - or even coming out a little stronger than him.

    I feel like I kind of went off on a tangent there, but I really hope this helped you. Good luck.
     
  5. Holden
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    Holden Senior Member

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    As long as you can put people, events, things, or any other obstacle in his way that he has trouble overcoming, he's not too powerful. A good story needs to rest on the belief that the protagonist is in danger of some sort. It doesn't matter how powerful he is; there has to be something that he could lose to. Using Cognito's example of Superman, yes, he's extremely powerful, but there are ways to weaken him, even with his strengths.

    As long as your protagonist is not defeating everything that comes into his way with a simple flick of the wrist, and the reader isn't sure of his complete victory, you'll be fine.
     
  6. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    The only criticism I have with the Harry Potter series is that the magic can be too convenient. Whenever Harry has to fight 100 dementors, or fight a dragon, or fight the death eaters he just waves his wand, says a word and he escapes without a scratch.

    Give your character some powers, but keep it realistic where he can be killed if he makes a mistake.
     
  7. Jamez
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    Jamez Member

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    You could have him struggle to contain his power. Maybe the skill is not in weakening the bones of his enemies, but rather in only weakening their bones. And he has to always keep his emotions in check, because otherwise he ends up destroying everything around him.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I like this idea. But in addition does this character want to get rid of his power?
     
  9. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Consider the Faceless Ones from Skulduggery Pleasant. They can twist you inside out with a glance, but they're still beat anyway, because someone repaired the scepter that could turn them to dust.

    Consider Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He was unbeatable, but he's still beat anyway, because someone tossed his power source into a volcano.

    Consider Darth Sidious from Star Wars. He can shoot lightning and choke you with a thought, but he's still beat anyway, because he got attacked from a completely unexpected direction and got tossed into a huge pit.

    Consider Ben 10 from the TV series. He can turn into 10 different aliens, each with their own incredible powers. But he's still beat anyway, because his watch(the source of his alien-morphing) has limitations, such as only being able to retain alien form for so long.
     
  10. AndrewH
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    AndrewH New Member

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    At the risk of derailing the thread, Harry Potter does what any good fantasy does with magic - it doesn't make it a deus ex machina. All the spells Harry uses have been covered previously in the novels, so the reader knows their use and limitations, and Harry has generally had to spend a fair bit of effort mastering them prior to using them. The key with any sort of magic or super power is to make sure the reader knows how the power is limited - otherwise, you just cut away all the tension as the hero continually whips out random stuff that the reader doesn't expect and cannot predict.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    The only way youcan judge whether a character is too strong or too weak is by comparing him with the world he lives in and the challenges he faces. If he can trounce everybody easily and no one can stop him, then he's probably too strong. If on the other hand every battle is a challenge and instead of simply wiggling his fingers and turning everyone to dust he has to try and fight strategically, then he's probably not. Your guy sounds like he's got some weaknesses, that seems like a good start. Now let his enemies have the ability to make use of them so that from time to time he has to run or hide, and then you've got the start of a story.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    True story. When the writyers for Star Trek: The Next Generation wrote part I of The Best of Both Worlds, they had no idea how they were going to resolve it at the start of the next season. They had created an enemy so outrageously unstoppable (the Borg), and a situation so hopeless, they were afraid they had gone too far.

    Well, that pressure forced them to rise to new heights as writers. The result, The Best of Both Worlds Part II, is considered one of the most exciting and well written episodes of TV science fiction ever.

    Pressure makes diamonds.
     
  13. beanbengo
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    beanbengo Member

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    make it so that he starts of weak but his power grows
    so that at the start he gets tired very quickly from using his power, but he gets better at it (practice/training) and it uses up less of his energy.
    this way at the climax of the story he is strong enough but on the road there he is still challenged.

    just a thought?
     
  14. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure I can agree with you completely Cogito. The Borg are ridiculously overpowered. They are actually unstoppable. One Borg landing on a planet - goodbye planet. Everything that the writers did after that to deal with the borg threat was desperate tinkering around the edges to try and find some ultimately unrealistic way of stopping them. But it was always completely implausible given how powerful they'd made them, and for me, it ruined those episodes.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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