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Power

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ArenRax, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Can a character ever seem to be overpowered?
    the book im writing the character is born human but he has 3 souls.
    1st: Human soul
    2nd:The soul of the Dragon god of fire
    3rd: An ancient soul from before the universe as we know it was reborn.

    he becomes a god and then a Titan and then an Archon but he still has dragon blood in his veins that make him immortall.

    can he have too much power?
     
  2. Logos&Eidos

    Logos&Eidos Sage

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    This is tricky in but in my opinion whether or not a character is overpowered is in part related to the scale of the challenges that they are trying to over come.
     
  3. thecoldembrace

    thecoldembrace Sage

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    I have found that yes, characters can have far too much power. Power unrestricted makes for a very... very... very boring story. Don't get me wrong it will be a flashy story, but boring because someone with such weapons at his/her disposal basically has to fight gods to get a sense of a thrill. In this moment I generally gravitate to examples of Dragon Ball Z where one person can sneeze and blow up the universe.

    Little things that add flair to your character without giving him outright control of massive amounts of supernatural abilities can prove fun and inviting for both writer and reader. If you are giving him stuff just because you think it will sound "cool," I generally say, you shouldn't do that.

    Then again I am one person... others might have a different take.


    -Cold
     
  4. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    If it is a protagonist or antagonist, yes it might be. If they aren't matched by something equally powerful, you might run into some problems. Being immortal destroys a lot of tension about the character being in danger if they're a protagonist. If they're an antagonist, it increases the chance you'll have to pull a deus ex machina or something to beat them.
     
  5. Terry Greer

    Terry Greer Sage

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    If he's immortal and that powerful where is the threat and tension? What does he stand to lose? Stories are in some way always about drama - and you don't get that without risk (not necessarily physical).
     
  6. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    It depends on what fights him. Take Superman for example: Superman's pretty tough and a lot of people who don't know anything about him assume that he's boring because he's so powerful. But he has to be tough because most of his villains are crazy powerful. A lot of the time, a character's strength is defined by what opposes them rather than being defined by the strength itself.
    Also, it depends on what you mean by "power". I had a character that was intended to be ridiculously overpowered but then I realized he was only physically powerful and could be easily defeated by magic or he could be outsmarted or whatever. So, even though your guy might be physically powerful, that won't make him unbeatable.

    Also, how does he have the blood of a dragon? Souls are a spiritual thing so a dragon soul wouldn't effect him biologically. I'm probably missing something here so I assume there's an explanation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It's all about making room for struggle and growth. And you have to consider that the longer you work with this character, the more the conflicts and the struggles need to escalate.

    In my opinion the character sounds drastically overpowered. But it's going to depend on your ability to have the rest of the story keep up with the character consistently over time. Maybe you can get it to work, but to be honest, as a reader I would consider that a red flag and be hesitant to pick it up.
     
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Agreed. As long as there is still room for your character to struggle and grow over the course of the story, then he isn't too powerful. (Note: It needn't be his physical strength that grows and it needn't be a physical conflict that he struggles with. Inner growth and inner conflict of a psychological or spiritual nature works just as well.)

    As a reader, I think your character sounds very interesting. I get tired very quickly of reading about mundane characters in "realistic" fantasy worlds, which seems to be the going trend these days. I would love more fantasy writers to embrace powerful, larger-than-life characters and situations. One of my all time favorite stories is the anime Gurren Lagann which has a climax involving two galaxy sized mecha fighting over the fate of the universe (literally). It's ridiculous and over the top and completely epic. I love it.

    So don't shy away from larger-than-life stuff just because some readers don't like it. I assure you there are other readers who do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
    ArenRax likes this.
  9. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

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    My first thought about the original post had nothing to do with power and everything to do with the struggle between the three parts of himself for supremacy and control of that power. What a great setup full of conflict!

    But that's the thing: power has to have a price. So Mister Triplet can have all the powers, as long as it comes with - say - endless madness-inducing struggles inside his own head. (See also: Rand al'Thor.) Or if using one set of powers corrodes the other two, or even his own flesh. Or if the combination of powers means he has to do something terrible - drink human blood? - to keep himself in balance. Or the destiny of his souls pulls him in directions that destroy all the things he, the human, loves.

    There needs to be a trade-off. There needs to be a choice to sacrifice in order to achieve. Otherwise there's no reason to care about him at all.
     
    Ireth likes this.
  10. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    Anytime I create a character with powers or special abilities I also create the limitations and weaknesses for that power. You need to know how to beat your character otherwise they will always win, which makes a boring story. The other thing to consider is the stakes. What happens if they win and what happens if they lose? I tend to like stories when the stakes are greater than the initial knowledge or capabilities of the characters. DC comics ran into this problem decades ago with Superman. The writers made him so powerful that is was difficult to create interesting stories for him. The Superman of today is actually a little weaker than he was back in the 50s.
     
  11. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    I was going to say Superman too, really I was. :)

    Like WooHooMan said, it's possible to give someone raw power and then find obstacles that match it. Still, this gets harder to pull off the more power you're dealing with. We used to call Superman "faster than a speeding bullet" as if it might still take him a few seconds to get across town when he was needed. Now he floats in orbit searching for which country has the worst natural disaster today, and when Zod or Darkseid gives him a proper workout the scene only works if it does justice to how each punch knocks someone through at least five walls. Exciting, but to write that you need to keep finding ways to show that last minute he was "only" catching an airliner but now he's moving a real mountain and just might fail. (Even though we all know he won't.)

    But the best Superman stories aren't about the fights, mostly. They're the ones that really use Lois, and the Clark persona, and all the challenges of just what he should be doing and what he should stay out of if he wants to make the world better. (There's a popular recent storyline called "Grounded" where he spent weeks walking, not flying, around the countryside in full costume trying to reconnect with the people.)

    When you work out what your character wants and the choices he has to figure out, power can open up doors for those stories, or sometimes seem like a distraction from the coolest stuff.
     
  12. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    The thing is i have sort of worked out somethin.
    He starts out human but dies and then becomes a Slayer n service to the Angels his master being Archangel Iros.
    he is mortally wounded in a fight against a legion of demons and as such an unknown elf from a magic Guild takes him to a dragons cave where he blacks out and as it turns out he actually survives only because the Dragon gave his blood to Aren.
    he becomes an Immortal Fire Dragon, Aren then has to go on a quest to reach the Fire Dragon Homeworld and there are no Dragons left in the realm so it isnt easy.
    but i do put in counters to being Immortal and his powers, besides he doesnt start out with a Godlike powers, a good amount of magika yes, godlike? nope not yet, through the series he'll get more powerful but so does his enemies.
     
  13. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    The ancient soul as it turns out is the destroyer of universes. when the Creators want to end a universe and start a new one they activate the ancient one. so he isnt exactly a nice guy.
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    So his human soul eventually dies? Ouch. That's probably the point where I would stop reading. If I read your story, I would most likely become invested in the human soul's struggle to win out over the other two souls. I care more about humans than anything else in fantasy--one of the reasons I can't stand the Inheritance Cycle. I might stick it out to the end of your story to see if the human soul were somehow restored, but I usually lose interest in stories when the human element is removed.

    When I read your OP, my first thought was of one of Limyaael's rants, where she details the problems of having overpowered protags. Having him become so powerful so fast can only work if there's plenty of conflict and consequences to keep it anchored in reality (or pseudo-reality, since this is fantasy).
     
    ArenRax likes this.
  15. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    you got t on the dot.
    even with dragons blood and soul and his powerful magika and an ancient soul. He is tempted to go evil to be influenced by his power to do all the things he opposes, heck he even goes insane because of the amount of power and the tragedy in his life.
    being Immortal does not mean everything is sunshine and daisies, it can be hell. heck one of my favorite scenes that i have thought up is when he escapes from hell after being tortured for 100 years.

    one thing to know is that Dragons and Demons are Enemies, ever since they first met the two races have instinctively hated each other, heck demons can eat dragons and dragons can eat demons. just smelling the other drives em to try and kill each other.

    His Human side is what endures through all of this.
    another point i want to make is that dragons when in the cities they have built have to take a mortal form.
    sorta like World of warcraft where they can change there form all the time and still have dragon characteristics.
    Same for some demon realms, and i mean some.

    as for power it escalates and he does get powerful but theres still other more powerful things out there, there always will be.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  16. Character power is one of those things that has to be balanced.

    Your character should, most of the time, actually be more powerful than most people (commonfolk).

    However, if they can easily defeat every enemy thrown their way, then what is the point of reading the story? I feel as if the solution to making a character just the right amount of strong is to present them with a challenge in which their power doesn't help in a conventional setting. If you are writing about a rogue, make him have to fight directly instead of sneaking around. If it's a mage, make their magic useless. If it's a fighter, make it so he is simply weaker than his opponent. The essence of a good story is a seemingly insurmountable conflict.
     
    ArenRax likes this.
  17. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Looking at your avatar there, I think we can agree that sometimes OP badass characters are frigging awesome, right? ;)

    Aren, it sounds to me like the struggles and conflicts of this story don't really revolve around physical power. It sounds like the real conflicts are more metaphysical on one level and internal on another. In which case, seriously just don't worry about it, man. Give him as much power as the story calls for. I think it sounds very interesting. If you ever need a beta reader, send me a tell.
     
    ArenRax likes this.
  18. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    definitly could.
    this is my third time rewriting it.
    and i beleive that this time ive got it right.
     
  19. ArenRax

    ArenRax Sage

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    Power power power. now that i think about it a character can grow and aither learns to control the overwhelming power or through the course of the story the characters power grow to meet the challenges ahead. does that make sense?
     
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