In this post, we are going to talk about balance when it comes to the magic and abilities of your fantasy characters.
There are a surprising number of fantasy characters that can accomplish literally anything that their creator has thought up of for their journey. The character is up against an evil entity and this entity had managed to lay waste to all other characters in the book, while the main character doesn’t get a scratch? A character that single-handedly lays waste to a whole army made up of hundreds of thousands of soldiers without lifting a finger? These examples might be overly exaggerated, but I think you get the point.
These stories often leaves the reader dissatisfied because everything is handed to the hero. What is the point in reading a story like that, where the hero doesn’t grow as a person? This is where balance comes in. For every amazing ability that a hero is given by their creator, the ability should have some sort of disadvantage that makes the hero think twice about using the awesome ability.
Here is an example: Imagine that you have written a book where the hero is able to manipulate water to attacks their opponents. Pretty cool ability, right? The obvious way to use the ability would be to have the hero able to create the water attacks from the moisture in the air, or from a water source such as a lake. There isn’t much that would need to be balanced, and people might be expecting it. Readers would not expect a hero whom uses their own body’s water for their attacks. What if every time the hero uses one of their water-based attacks, the hero becomes more dehydrated? They could begin to show signs of dehydration, which could be lead to death if not kept in check.
Another example: Your hero could have the ability to manipulate electricity and lightning. Many heroes could use this element without bringing harm to themselves. What if the hero ended up with their heart stopped every time they use their electricity ability? What if the more they use this ability, the longer their heart stopped, which could cause bodily injury such as internal and external burns, even death? The hero would be less likely to use this ability, except in dire situations.
As you can see, having a balance with the character’s abilities could bring another element to your stories to increase your options through each chapter. That is all for the moment. We hope that this lesson has been good for you! Have fun crafting your stories!