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In my story, there is a sword similar to J. K. Rowling's Sword of Godric Griffindor. When you are in danger, it will appear next to you, and then you can summon it later on. It will also replicate and save the powers of those who summon it (e.g, fire user summons it, now can light itself on fire.) It has 3 abilities when it enters the hands of the MC: summoning lightning, shrinking to a knife, and unlocking doors, all 3 of which I plan to use. My main character finds it in the start of the book while fighting monsters. How can I stop him from becoming overpowered?

EDIT

Because I cant accept multiple answers I'll just put bits and pieces here,

Like the Ring of Power in LOTR, this sword is sentient, and handicapped only by the fact that it requires another to wield it. Like the Ring of Power, as the sword is used, its hold on the wielder grows and the interests of the wielder gradually become the interests of the sword. An unwary wielder will tumble headlong into this trap and immediately fall victim to the lure of overpoweredness, and just as quickly lose his own agency. Instead of wielding the sword, the sword wields him.

By: @Willk

Say your sword is one of a whole class of magical weapons, and that certain amulets/charms can either protect against their effects or nullify their abilities completely.

By: @JoeBloggs

Anyone linked to the sword is eventually sucked dry and then their powers stop working. That's why there are only three powers left when our hero finds it in that bandoned tomb. Over the centuries there have been many users but all but three are dead. The last three agreed to seal the sword in the first place, realising the curse.

Here are the problems with the sword:

  1. The curse makes people reluctant to link to the sword.
  2. Even then each power only has so many uses before the power-owner dies.

By: @Daron

Thank you all!

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closed as too broad by Ash, Cadence, Raditz_35, elemtilas, Aify Jul 1 '18 at 18:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ While an interesting question, this seems like an unstoppable question and is both broad and opinion-based. Could you please tell us more about what the sword can do and what powers it will have when your main character finds it/uses it? $\endgroup$ – FoxElemental Jul 1 '18 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ It entirely depend what you mean by op. Overpowered refers to a system where the weapon is a lot more powerful than the other similar weapons or when compared to the powers of the enemies. If similar magical weapons are common or if enemies have similar magical powers to the sword you are using, then the sword is not op. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 1 '18 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ Haarun - if you wait just a little bit before awarding that green check, LDutch might show up with an answer so luscious that you want to rip off your clothes and roll in it naked. Advice from experience - if that happens, wait until you are home from work. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 1 '18 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ "If your fighting you can turn it into a knife, throw it at an enemy, then while its in there guts summon lightning." Very easily solved. For example, this situation could be easily solved by having the hero need to touch the sword in order to do anything. Now it can't do that anymore. Or by the hero concluding that the risk of losing the sword that way is simply too big. Or him being bad at throwing knifes. It's often very easy to solve one specific situation, not so much if you try to solve every possible scenario at once $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jul 1 '18 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ The solution to this is always story based. You put the hero in situations where the sword's abilities aren't that useful. As a knife it gets used to cut cheese more than stab people. It unlocks the front door, or the bar after hours. It also talks too much. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 1 '18 at 18:29
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The most general (non-story-based) solution is that everyone else in your world knows this kind of weapon exists and plans accordingly, either with clever traps or their own magical protections.

For example, a wizard knowing that lock picking charms exist might add multiple locks to a door: unlock them in the wrong order and the door electrocutes you.

Say your sword is one of a whole class of magical weapons, and that certain amulets/charms can either protect against their effects or nullify their abilities completely. That way when you want to ramp up the tension you are justified in just saying ‘oh no, a glyph of anti-awesome-sword-summoning!’ and taking it as read that the sword isn’t available here, or noting that The Bad Guy has an amulet of Resistance To Cool Looking Spells so your lightning won’t work.

However you swing it, though, exactly what makes your sword overpowered or not is heavily going to rely on the situation. A sword of lightning, lockpicking and shrinking isn’t going to be much use if you’re waist deep in a doorless lake full of piranha.

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    $\begingroup$ Or The villain summoned it in his childhood then uses it in the epic fight scene $\endgroup$ – Haaruun I Jul 1 '18 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ Why Didn't i think of that before $\endgroup$ – Haaruun I Jul 1 '18 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ @HaaruunI that’s a matter of story, not world, but if the sword can be summoned by anyone (and everyone knows that) then surely the sword is practically useless against in a fight against anyone who can summon it. It would just devolve into a mystical tug-o-war. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 1 '18 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Or worse, be summoned away at a crucial moment by someone elsewhere who just left their keys inside and needs to get back in the house. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 1 '18 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ it can only be summoned by those worthy, this was before he turned bad $\endgroup$ – Haaruun I Jul 1 '18 at 16:31
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The sword has its own agenda.

Like the Ring of Power in LOTR, this sword is sentient, and handicapped only by the fact that it requires another to wield it. Like the Ring of Power, as the sword is used, its hold on the wielder grows and the interests of the wielder gradually become the interests of the sword. An unwary wielder will tumble headlong into this trap and immediately fall victim to the lure of overpoweredness, and just as quickly lose his own agency. Instead of wielding the sword, the sword wields him.

Your hero is no fool. He is aware of this sirens song and so resists using the sword except in times of great need. When he is forced to do it, he tries to minimize its effect on him with greater or lesser success.

What exactly the agenda of the sword might be is a matter for the writer.

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    $\begingroup$ The sword could also deliver clever one-liners and sarcastic remarks. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jul 1 '18 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ Have you read much Pratchett? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 1 '18 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ It also uses your own energy while you use it, you use it to unlock a door, then you feal like you battered it down with your own fists, Thanks for the idea! $\endgroup$ – Haaruun I Jul 1 '18 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs - loads of Pratchett! If you want to grok how much, check it out $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 1 '18 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ For some reason this reminded me of the magic swords in Colour of Magic. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 1 '18 at 19:15
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The sword is cursed

I'm not sure if you think lightning + shrinking + unlocking alone makes the weapon too powerful $-$ or you are worried about the hero using the sword to duplicate hundreds of powers at once and become the entire Justice League. I'll talk about the second option.

Four years ago FlameShot Johnny held the sword. Now whoever holds it can shoot fireballs. FlameShot Johnny is unhappy with this since the sword draws energy from him whenever the power is used. And if used too much it will drain all his life force. But he keeps this fact a secret to stop it being used against him.

Anyone linked to the sword is eventually sucked dry and then their powers stop working. That's why there are only three powers left when our hero finds it in that bandoned tomb. Over the centuries there have been many users but all but three are dead. The last three agreed to seal the sword in the first place, realising the curse.

Here are the problems with the sword:

  1. The curse makes people reluctant to link to the sword.
  2. Even then each power only has so many uses before the power-owner dies.
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