Character Powers

| October 2, 2014

Daily Dose-peach


I love superheroes. Always have. I think we, as a species, love superheroes. Superheroes, their tales, their trials and tribulations, are all around us. As far back as we’ve been telling stories, we’ve told tales of superheroes of some sort. Sometimes it’s a person touched by the gods, sometimes it’s a demigod, but it basically boils down to people with powers and abilities greater than that of mortal men.

They’re also in our movies, even if we don’t want to admit it, most notably the action genre. Die Hard is a superhero series.

Take some time to understand that, if you need to.

Here’s the thing about character powers: they have to make sense. They have to be within the bounds of sense for that character. Rogue? Her basic power is to steal powers of other superpowered people via touch. On top of that, she has Ms. Marvel’s original powers. This makes sense within the bounds of the character.

If your character’s powers do not make sense, then you have to redo the character.

How do you know if the character’s powers make sense or not? Simple.

There is only one Superman. (His power’s don’t make sense, but he’s had decades to add powers.) If your character has an array of powers and abilities and can take on Superman, they are overpowered and their powers make no sense.

I’ve created overpowered characters. I wanted my characters to be able to take on and defeat anything thrown at them. Then I turned into an adult and redid the characters that mattered to me, powering them down to more reasonable levels.

A good tip: use a role-playing game’s rules to create your characters. Make new characters. Do up old characters in your favorite system. If they’ve been around for a while, add some points in order to get them somewhat more powerful, but don’t overdo it. This is about making your characters make sense within their own bounds, not to create an army o’ Superman.

There is only one Superman.


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Category: Columns, The Daily Dose

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at for rate inquiries.

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