1. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Overpowered or god-like characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mr Mr, Jan 3, 2012.

    Currently the story I am writing contains a massively overpowered character. He doesn't start the story this way, I'm using a sort of tireness effect to limit what he can do, but towards the end this limit is removed and he becomes god-like. This isn't to much of an issue I know whats going to happen so his god-like-ness don't matter to much.

    I just wondered if anyone else knew any other good examples of super powerful or invincible characters that were done realy well? I am aware of Doctor Manhattan (my characters slightly modeled off him as I love watchmen).
     
  2. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    I think you should still give your character some sort of weakness, even doctor manhattan (if i remember correctly) had some sort of weakness since he loved a women or something. there should be something that always holds your hero back, they can never be perfect....hence why the main villain generally exploits this weakness in the end.
     
  3. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    He's not a hero.

    The premise of the story is that a bunch of kids get super powers and what they do with them. The one in question eventualy grows away from the rest and at one point turns against them. So giving him a kryptonite style weakness doesn't realy work.
     
  4. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    so does he become the antagonist in the story? ...or are you still working that out?
     
  5. seelifein69
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    seelifein69 Active Member

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    That sounds pretty cool. I hope that it's not going to be a generic happy type story, I hope it's violent and messy! I bet you can have some real fun with that story line.

    I agree with hoggy by saying that if this character is basically god-like and invincible, why doesn't he kill who he wants and rule the world?

    Whether it be a soft spot for his friends or even his own inner thoughts that keep him from enslaving mankind or going berserk, everyone has a fault. The Christian God is 'perfect', but even in the bible he is sensitive to fits of rage and love.

    But on the other hand, I suppose if one was perfect in every way you would be self-actualized and I'm sure that it would be similar to the character in watchmen: fully fulfilled and unhappy.
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    If he is god-like than he should not have a weakness; therefore it makes no sense to do whatever it is you are going to do to him.

    Another reason to not have a god-like character is that your readers will feel nothing for him if they know he cant be hurt.

    Any kind of magic system or powers need to have limits and clear rules that cant be broken. Your readers will be pissed off if you randomly break the rules you setup.
     
  7. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If he is the villian of the story then let him be as powerful as you want. I mean he should have some way that could defeat him but everyone loves a powerful villian.
     
  8. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Yeah, but there is a fine line. When you have an all powerful villain that is unstoppable; but then somehow gets defeated, it becomes really really cliche.
     
  9. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    ...we dont actually know whether he's a villain or not though lol...all mr m said is that he's not a hero

    which could also mean hes taken a neutral stance/doesnt want to get involved in the conflict at hand between the protagonists and antagonists???
     
  10. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    When you said 'overpowered' I thought you meant that he is weak and other characters overpower him, i.e. subdue him. That's obviously not what you meant so be careful that you actually say what you think you're saying...
     
  11. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    All powerful characters get boring quite quickly. Reader's want a struggle, even if the protagonist is badass, anything else gets boring so quickly.

    It's basically what turned me off David Eddings when I was younger - oh here's Sparhawk, yup, that's what I chose to call him, he's the best at everything, literally, and if he's not the best at it, one of his friends will be.... yawn

    A character that is scarily powerful and near perfect, but done in an interesting way, is Kellhus from the Prince of Nothing series, you should look up him and the Dunyain, they were a *fairly* believable amount of perfect, and they're absolutely terrifying!
     
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  12. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I agree with the others, an omnipotent character might be really boring, is that why I don't care much for the Bible?:D You need some sort of weakness, if not a physical one, then a psychological one. I remember in DC Comics a storyline where The Joker got godlike powers. He lost his power after Superman pointed out the one thing he couln't do. He could never kill Batman permanently, because he defined himself through his conflict with him and therefore wasn't omnipotent. Maybe have an omnipotent character who is limited by his own neuroses and other characters are somehow able to exploit this? In general stories require some form of conflict, not necessarily violent or physical, but some sense that the character maybe doesn't always get whatever he wants.
     
  13. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Hoggyboy - he starts off mostly neutral and starts leaning towards evil. One of his flaws is that he's childish and doesn't bother using all his power. The story is still on going so it may change.

    Kallithrix - Overpowered means too powerful and is the correct term.
     
  14. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Perhaps it is techincally correct, but my point was that it can be easily misinterpreted to actually mean the direct OPPOSITE of what you want it to. My comment still stands, although perhaps I will amend it to 'be careful that your reader thinks you're saying what you think you're saying'
     
  15. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    I believe it would depend on the terms of "defeat". If the villain simply forgoes any sort of execution after his conquest out of some sort of forgotten sympathy then technically the heroes have prevailed even though it may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory in the end.

    God-like characters don't necessarily need a weakness or else (like everyone else has mentioned) they wouldn't be considered God-like. That being said, "God-like" does not constitute "Godly" so some sort of inherent flaw must exist. This character turned against his companions for a reason but still may have some sort of emotional connection. There lies your opportunity.
     
  16. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Well obviously I wasn't talking about an emotional weakness. I was talking about a physical one.
     
  17. Forgotten_Memories
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    Forgotten_Memories Active Member

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    His weakness could even be in his personality. Like, if he's extremely cocky and arrogant he might get ahead of himself and even though he is all-powerful, he makes a mistake that leads his demise. He is his own weakness.

    Alternatively, you could take the 'there's always a bigger fish' approach. Someone more powerful comes along. :p
     
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  18. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I'm going to answer by describing what I THINK you mean by certain words, then how others have dealt with them in the past:

    God-like - no weaknesses, no limits. Doctor Manhatten was (as far as the audience was concerned) undefeatable, indestructable and infallible. He wasn't "defeated" because his failing (from a human perspective) was his lack of a focused agenda. Ultimately even his faint desire for an end to the global conflicts was sated by the circumstances engineered by Ozzy. Manhatten actually accurately demonstrates what I believe a person would become if they were given such powers: The sheer magnitude of impartial knowleadge about the scope and operation of the universe would make any previously conceived agendas seem pathetically insignificant.

    on that note...

    Evil - is an entirely human concept, so it wouldn't be unimaginable for a god-like character to commit acts of "evil" to further whatever agenda they come up with. I will refer you to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann for the model that's easiest (morally at any rate) to understand:
    (SPOILERS)
    The primary antagonist of the first season oppresses humanity and forces them to live underground in settlements that could only sustain so many people, killing anyone who ventured to the surface. After his defeat it is revealed that he was doing so to prevent The End of The World: A scenario that would come about if the global population reached 1,000,000.
    The primary antagonist of the second season is in charge of the above doomsday scenario: A mechanic put in place to prevent sentient races from becoming too powerful. The reasoning was that a sufficiently powerful race could fabricate energy and matter through sheer willpower, but a sufficient volume of either would destabilise the universe, destroying all of existence by sucking it into a black hole (energy++=mass++=gravity++=black hole++=end of universe)
    Basically the acts of "evil" are committed to prevent greater disasters, comparable to murdering Hitler as a child to prevent WWII. The two ways to "break" this kind of being (both demonstrated in Watchmen) are
    a) Exceeding expectations. Manhatten gained a respect for life not because of its sanctity but because of what could survive the chaotic storm of misfortune.
    b) Reasoning. Ozzy circumvented Manhatten's perceptive powers and used his disassociation from the human condition to engineer a scenario behind the scenes that Manhatten could not argue with.

    The alternative approach to the evil character is one with the power but without the knowleadge. This leads to a trivialisation of things like the value of a human life which I've read in pretty much any scenario where someone is given the power to rewrite the world (Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for example) and typically ends with them doing horrible things for fun because nothing else matters. In this instance, their lack of undestanding of their own powers can lead to their undoing - this is most easily accomplished by someone else with the same powers who spent more time studying themselves and less time being a jerk.

    Edit: I should add that the loss of things previously important to them might also cause them to repent. So Imagine if Manhatten said to his girlfriend "Oh yeah, well I can just make a copy of you so I don't care if you die" and then was like "Oh... did I really just say that?"

    FINALLY

    Overpowered - I'm going to go even nerdier than I did above and say that "Power Creep" (the idea of a given character exceeding the trials of their circumstances to the point of removing all tension from the story) is a long established problem, mostly associated with games that involve a levelling mechanic of some sort. As the narrator, it's your duty to engineer circumstances so that their power is dependant on something they can't control, there are equal or at least comparable powers to keep them in check and basically make sure that things don't get out of hand. I can't give much more detail than that because it depends on the nature of your character's powers:

    If they're scientific, knowleadge may be his weakness.
    If they're religious, go polytheistic.
    If they're psychic, biochemical or genetic, invent a rebound effect that comes from extended use.

    Characters who are to Gods what Gods are to mortals are not unheard of. The trick to making them work is making sure they have to WORK for what they want. If a character is hyper-charged, hyper-charge everything else.

    Optimus Prime versus a junior-high basketball team isn't much of a competition. Optimus prime versus Iron Man would be interesting.
     
  19. motormouth
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    whatever you do, dont making him like yujiro from Baki the grappler- he was the villain in the story and also the protagonists father. Basically it was a martial arts series with a boy trying to be the best to beat his father. But as a vilain he sucked because they made him so unrealistically powerful it borderlined on stupidity. ( he beat up a room full of the best figters in the world with no difficulty or none of them being able to hit or hurt him and the ponly way to stop him was to hit him with enough tranquilizer to knock out a blue whale.STUPID)Whichever villain Baki fought after winning a hard battle, yujiro would waltz in and beat them with little difficulty and disappear foe a few more episodes. The character had no motive or purpose, just walk in beat up people for no reason, afterwards it got annoyinging when noone could even put up a fight for him.
     
  20. AwesomeJosh
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    AwesomeJosh New Member

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    The real question is, why are his 3 former friends weaker than him?

    Weaknesses:

    A woman (every man can relate to this)
    Family
    A valuable posession (family heirloom perhaps, that the protagonist sees as the last remnant of his family)
    A secret

    Basically anything that somebody can exploit. I also find it cool that a God-like character could get exploited or blackmailed by an average-joe, threatening to reveal a secret to his family (reminds me of the movie Mr Brooks :p).
     
  21. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Craig - I did debate that but becoming dis-interested seemed to work better.

    AwsomeJosh - There's isn't realy a question about why his friends are weaker than him, its because he can do almost anything and is more powerful than them.
     

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