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A thread for poking holes in various fantasy powers

Just as the title says. Sometimes a power has side effects that you don't expect.
Let's avoid poking the popular holes and go for more obscure ones. It is very common in discussions such as these that super-strength doesn't meant the thing you are grabbing is super strong or that the ground beneath you can withstand the leverage, that superspeed doesn't necessarily mean super fast reaction times or that running into things means that you will die instantly, that flight doesn't mean you're immune to exposure or won't get light headed up there, or that time travel... yeah see every time travel story ever.
Anyway, try to find high-hanging fruit; a lot of stuff like telepathy of course will be detrimental if you add "and it can't be turned off." A paraplegic miraculously able to walk would be unfortunate if their new legs decided never to rest. Feel free to go "and also;" please repeat powers others in the thread have done if you have fresh insight. What's most important in this thread is to be unexpected, in hopes that you can give ideas to yourself or others.

I'll begin:
Perception-based powers. In certain fictions, some characters will have the ability to see things that others cannot perceive. Granted this is a problem for real-life visually hallucinating psychotics of any sort, but having a second sight that lets you see something, maybe mana or some other energy, maybe otherwise invisible people, maybe (worst of all for visual latency) textual information. Just imagine how annoying it would be if your PoV looked like an early first-person shooter, or if someone surrounded by white glow that shows that their intentions really are pure gets backstabbed without you warning them because your view was blocked by the light.


Different species being able to see different things is a big thing in my book. In reality, we have color blind people, along with people who've had their corneas removed and they can now see in UV. If these extra colors/types of light are normal for your kind, your society would be set up to use them, so other species would have trouble navigating that world (like we have traffic lights in 3 colors, but red/green colorblind folx can't see them, so we have them stacked always in the same order so they can still use them...but it's not as obvious as the colors, so the information isn't communicated as quickly/clearly). My high elves can see all sorts of colors (which is various types of energy based on IRL chemistry/physics), but the one thing that no one can see is the gravitational force. The elves are the best scientists, so they are 100% certain "gravity" doesn't exist, it's just the strong (nuclear) force acting differently in certain situations. So all of their mathematical models of the natural world are inherently flawed and they cannot imagine the existence of an "invisible" force.

I think the existence of "persistent" souls/afterlives run into a lot of issues. If it's a Buddhist/Hindu situation where you can reincarnate into various bodies/planes of existence, you run the risk of species dysphoria along with the traumatization of said past lives. You were bad 2 lives ago, so your last life you were a fish, but now you have trouble swimming because your brain keeps thinking you can just use your gills and don't have to surface for air. Also you have a fear of pelicans because that's how you died. But if you do good and end up in valhalla/heaven/paradise/whatever and you're there for forever....well forever is a long time. Are you going to get bored? Can you look at what's going on on Earth, how will you feel if you see your loved ones suffering and you're helpless to do anything? Or you did do the guardian angel thing and tried to help someone but your interference made things worse?

I've never been a big fan of "and they lived happily ever after" because it implies no one ever faced any hardship ever again, and that's really not how the world works, so I really appreciated The Good Place for exploring some of these concepts. But they didn't explore Samsara-style reincarnation with the various realms and I think the idea of a human that has memories of their immediately preceding life as an asura/demigod/rakshasa/demon life has a lot of potential.
Eh, a lot of paradises have it implicit that you're encountering goodness beyond the realms of mere mortal comprehension, something that can't necessarily be exhausted by a limited mind. Species dysphoria would probably be common; would definitely be the case for "at a snap" shapeshifters.
Speaking of shapeshifters, I wonder whether "continuous" shapeshifters that have a base form that they simply mold into different shapes would get body dysmorphia.


Myth Weaver
recently read a novel titled 'A Princes Errand' (authors names escape me at the moment, but a father/son duo). Novel got high marks and was entertaining enough....but had a couple issues that'll make me pass on the next in the series.

First, as implied by the title, one of the characters is a minor prince of a once great nation, with several assorted brothers and sisters. The other characters who interact with this fellow generally figure he's 30 something. Okay. Turns out, though, that his real age is probably closer to 130 something, and his relatives are that age or older. This discovery was a major surprise to the other characters. My qualm is - we have am imperial family with really long lived members...and *NOBODY* noticed? Family like that, there'd be folks in other countries whose sole job would be keeping track of them - plus a continual string of foreign nobles looking to marry into said family. Might have worked, if prolonged lifespans were say...'known but rare,' but this wasn't the case.

Second issue was language. Tale spans much of the planet, features a number of different races and several nations ranging from civilized to barbaric. Yet, despite this, there are a grand total of three languages - one of them semi-secret. And none of these languages appear to have mutated over a span of several thousand years. Nope.
The ability to fly, on broomsticks or magic carpets or with superhero capes or whatever, doesn't automatically come with the ability to tolerate the cold temperatures and lack of oxygen found at those altitudes. Let alone the windchill factor.

And, you know, altitude sickness is a serious risk. Especially if you're shooting from the ground to cruising altitude in nothing flat.

Almyrigan Hero

I don't know if this necessarily counts as a 'power,' but being a naga/lamia would kind of suck. We take for granted that the snake half is constantly bent upwards to keep the human half upright, but imagine how sore your snake-half-back would actually get. There's also no getting around the fact that, if you need to slither as fast as absolutely possible, at least part of your human half is probably going to end up wiping itself back and forth across the ground.


The ability to fly, on broomsticks or magic carpets or with superhero capes or whatever, doesn't automatically come with the ability to tolerate the cold temperatures and lack of oxygen found at those altitudes. Let alone the windchill factor.

And, you know, altitude sickness is a serious risk. Especially if you're shooting from the ground to cruising altitude in nothing flat.

I had thought of that a long time ago while contemplating airships. While it is true they can't travel at the same altitude as a plane (limited to about 6,000 feet) there would still be the need for protection from the cold, slightly-limited oxygen and wind-chill at that altitude, not to mention if someone happens to fall overboard. Since it is necessary for the crew of the ships to land often, their clothing is layered, with protection for ears, nose, mouth and goggles for the eyes, that double as sunglasses. They wear gloves to protect the hands and fur boots with wool socks. When grounded, they can strip off their outer layer, gloves and headgear and be ready for a balmy day in the tropics. The mask of this headgear is charmed to take in extra oxygen, and if used at low-altitude, can get you high from the excess oxygen.

A "Mariner's Ring" solves the rest of the problems. They are charmed to slow a person's descent if they fall from a great height (like a featherfall charm) and permit one to breathe underwater, in the event they are forced to ditch into the ocean. A similar concept; often used by the military is a "Ranger's Ring" which doesn't slow the descent until the last minute, so they can get to the battlefield below quickly in cases where such things are needed (given that airships are often centers of command/control over an area, especially during wars.)