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 Powers and Skills

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PostSubject: Powers and Skills   Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:29 pm

Are some abilities innately good or evil?  Do they push their bearers towards their fates?
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Einah

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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:42 am

I guess that you could argue that abilities could be innately good or evil; using magical powers as an example, the power of healing would be good whereas causing pain would be evil.

However, there's a lot to say for how someone uses their powers; and whilst the abilities might be good or evil, the person using them might be the exact opposite.
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Midare

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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:00 am

I'm not convinced that any particular power is innately good or evil, even taking things to the extreme like... causing death by a mere touch, or its antithesis of placing immortality upon people could be used to unexpected ends. Such as, providing immediate pain-free executions or suicides (to minimize suffering) for the first... and horribly torturing an immortal kidnap victim in the second case.

The nature of ones abilities could definitely make it easier to take one path over the other, but to assume a GvE assessment to a power is a bit much.
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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:09 pm

Quote :
you could argue that abilities could be innately good or evil; using magical powers as an example, the power of healing would be good whereas causing pain would be evil.
The Wheel of Time series has an interesting way of looking at this. That magical system's method of healing involves a little pain (the person being healed is wracked with cold shudders, and because of this someone who is too close to death can't be healed safely). One of the book's main bad guys, Semirhage, was the world's best healer, except for the fact that she liked to cause more pain than was necessary during the healing process.

So that series takes the archetypal roots of the magic and combines them. I agree with Midare; I don't think magical powers are innately good or evil. There's a moral grey area that fits most things that are subject to human psychology.
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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:08 pm

I think that powers do push bearers towards evil or good, but not because of the ability itself but rather how the ability is viewed by outsiders.

A good example of this that is played around a lot is necromancy. A lot of fantasy has necromancers as those who didn't choose to be such and are forced into fringe cults. Also because they are driven out for fear of evil ironically causes them to become evil as they usually become disgruntled with normal society or bitter towards the resentment of their powers.

On contrast, say you have super strength, because being immensely strong is universally admired, even if you are a bad person you are going to be glorified and accepted, which makes it much more likely that you like society how it is and tend to favor choices that preserve the society as it is.

A big example of this is that all iconic superheroes are very anti change and pro status-quo. Of course as superheroes have resonated with culture for longer now, they have become more complex, so it may be best to look at early renditions of the "superhero" such as Marvel or D.C. comics.
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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:59 am

Dodes wrote:
I think that powers do push bearers towards evil or good, but not because of the ability itself but rather how the ability is viewed by outsiders.
Oooh, this is a really interesting point!

Noelle inadvertently convinced me to watch Sky High after her recent posts about the movie, and for those who haven't seen it, the basis of the movie is this girl who becomes a villain after being shunted to the side because no one understood what her superpower was. Despite having what could well be an awesomely powerful ability, she was downgraded to "sidekick" status because her power was with technology during a time period when people did not understand the full extent of what the power could do.

The same thing happened in the Percy Jackson series with the character Nico; so many people assumed he was bad because he was the son of Hades, and to some extent that ended up becoming his whole identity, when he was a genuinely good kid to begin with.

It's also super evident in Harry Potter witches and wizards who are Parselmouths.
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PostSubject: Re: Powers and Skills   Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:01 pm

Dodes wrote:

A big example of this is that all iconic superheroes are very anti change and pro status-quo. Of course as superheroes have resonated with culture for longer now, they have become more complex, so it may be best to look at early renditions of the "superhero" such as Marvel or D.C. comics.
Come to think of it, the Institution fits that definition of superheroes. And Blackheart wants change.
Imagine that.
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