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I have this protagonist who has has the ability to magically nullify newtons of force when they would harm him. Functionally speaking, this makes the character immune from most forms of damage, both external and internal. While extremes of temperature, suffocation, and starvation can definitely kill him, the character is bullet resistant, knife proof, and can walk off a sledgehammer like it was a Wiffle bat. Furthermore, while the amount of force cancelled can be increased by concentrating, the process is largely automatic. Most people reflexively finch when they're about to get hit, this dude reflexively turns bulletproof.

I've thought of side effects of this trait, such as the character having a surprisingly devastating punch via breaking Newton's third law and possessing a lot of confidence, but there is something I am still worried about. How would this affect his physical development?

This character has been quasi-invincible since he was four and the effect is more than skin-deep, so to speak. With that in mind, what would his physique look like? He's most likely never pulled a muscle or overextended a tendon, but does this also mean he's never been able to build up muscle?

I'm interested in any physical ramifications of this character's kinetic-cancelling in terms of his appearance and physique, but any psychological ramifications would be appreciated as well.

Possibly relevant detail: This character's kinetic-cancelling defense can be overwhelmed with sufficient force and takes time to "recharge". Hit him hard enough (or very frequently very fast), the shield will break, and he becomes a normal human for an hour or so.

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    $\begingroup$ You are correct - if this damage cancelling goes down to tissue level, he wouldn't be able to build any muscle and would die in his infancy. So, some handwaving is needed. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Sep 20 '18 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure how the shield has anything to do with not putting in effort. Can he also output an almost infinite amount of free force? Also how does this interact with gravity, would 0g related issues arise? $\endgroup$ – Andrey Sep 20 '18 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ [The hero], as he grew up, being strong in frame, graceful in person, but, above all, vigorous in understanding, did not allow himself to be enervated by pleasure and indolence, but, as is the usage of his country, exercised himself in riding, throwing the javelin, and contending in the race with his equals in age; and, though he excelled them all in reputation, he was yet beloved by all. He also passed much of his time in hunting; [...] he performed very much, but spoke very little of himself. (Sallust, The Jugurthine War, 6; translation by Rev. John Selby Watson, 1899.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 20 '18 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP You should have quoted something about Achilles. Oh, sorry, you're Latin facing, not Greek :) $\endgroup$ – kingledion Sep 20 '18 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ Being a teen who won't hurt himself, he'll probably have one arm much more bulkier than the other. $\endgroup$ – Renan Sep 20 '18 at 23:49
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I recommend you look up the Marvel Comic's character of Butterball, who has this power with this immunity. He was overweight most of his life and when his powers manifested, it prevented him from ever losing weight. He could run any distance without a break, but never lose an ounce. And he was still physically unfit for superhero life. As he appeared in a series that was basically about a superhero boot camp, his drill instructor and camp staff were at a loss of what to do with him, and when he got his team in trouble, they homages the unit punishment inflicted on Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket... and Butterball slept through it.

All in all, I don't think natural growth of a human violates invulnerability of this type, so I would imagine he would look like a normal teenager, albeit one locked into his body fat percentage of of his four year old self and muscle tone... as muscle growth is the result of small tears. As for the punch power, I think you could do a faux-conservation of energy by saying that his punches would impact with the same total kinetic force of the action. So if there is parked 18 wheeler and he punches the grill, he would hit with the force of an ordinary human punch... but if the same truck was on an interstate traveling at 65 mph and this guy times his punch so that it impacts with the grill, than the truck would be hit with it's full force plus the force of the punch... essentially it would have a head on collision with itself driving at the same speed... which as far as accidents go, is the one that is the most devastating for a vehicle to have.

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    $\begingroup$ Man, love Butterball as a concept and its a shame that there's so little that can be done with him, creatively speaking. That aside, this does make the character medically anorexic, and that's being generous. I can do some handwaving to tone that down a bit, but I actually do want to keep that unnaturally slim aesthetic. Other than just being a good way to differentiate him from other action protagonists, his perceived frailty could be a fun contrast with his actual durability. $\endgroup$ – Pinion Minion Sep 21 '18 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ @PinionMinion: I think you misread my meaning... I think his body fat percentage will stay the same, and would be proportional as he grew with age. If he was a healthy, but skinny 4 year old, he will be healthy but skinny as a 14 year old. I actually do not think the Butterball physique is possible as fat is intended to break down. If these powers provide him immunity to damage, that does not mean he does not need fuel, oxygen, ect. So it would reason that his subconscious would not let it affect digestion and energy consumption, but would still prevent muscular growth. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Sep 21 '18 at 14:28
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Why would this guys physique be any different than anyone else's?

He's immune to damage, not super strong. If he wants to lift his girlfriend he needs to press iron like everybody else. This means his physique is no different than anybody.

What he would be is careless... the most accident prone person on the planet because it's irrelevant to him if he's accident prone or not. He wouldn't take particular care to watch when cars or coming, or whether he's grabbing the wrong end of a knife, or walking around with the safety off his cocked pistol...

He'd be the most dangerous person to stand next to on the planet

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  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't make sense. This guy has every reason to watch if cars are coming, because if he doesn't the people in the car will die and he will go to jail. $\endgroup$ – Erik Sep 21 '18 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Erik Good luck sending him to jail $\endgroup$ – Bwrites Sep 21 '18 at 5:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Bwrites Probably wouldn't that hard, to be honest. Just gotta have two guys wrestle him down and put him in handcuffs. He could punch his way out of a cell, but not much more effectively than a regular person with a makeshift chisel. Just keep an eye on him and he ain't escaping. That being said, this dude does grab knives edges like the rest of us grab stress-balls, so there's that. $\endgroup$ – Pinion Minion Sep 21 '18 at 15:10
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He should be four.

For purposes of narrative this makes him much more interesting than just super-dude. Because "damage" is how the brain grows, and how the body grows - and maybe also how memories are laid down. If he has the body and mindset of a four-year old and also has little to no long term memory, you can get rid of the "overwhelmed" piece - he is absolutely invulnerable. But he might not remember that he is invulnerable because his invulnerability suppresses pruning of neurons. He might not remember who you are, or what you want him to do and he might have a fussout when things get stressful. And he is not very strong at all.

But he thinks guns are cool and he can walk through a hive shooting monsters. Be careful though - he might still be able to drown and he cannot swim.

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    $\begingroup$ That all seems plausible and interesting, and I wouldn't mind seeing an unkillable child take on a hive of monsters, but I was hoping that linking this ability to reflexes would allow for some puberty-progression. I don't suppose you have any links for reading about neuron pruning? That seems useful for me to know. $\endgroup$ – Pinion Minion Sep 21 '18 at 2:45
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    $\begingroup$ "Using electron microscopy to analyze carefully selected autopsied human brains, he showed that synapses—the tiny connections between neurons—proliferate after birth, reaching twice their neonatal levels by mid- to late childhood, and then decrease precipitously during adolescence." - scientificamerican.com/article/… $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 22 '18 at 19:52
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((i know i'm not supposed to ask a question to answer, but does him power only make him invulnerable or does it also prevent him from feeling pain as well?)) If it's the former, I don't think his ability would affect his growth much if you ignore the whole muscle-growth-requires-muscle-damage part of it (assuming his power would gloss over this as non-life-threatening injury).

He might be a little overconfident in the ability, or even more violent or trigger-happy seeing as he would suffer little consequences for his actions. He might have a god complex as he might think he's above physical harm, or be needlessly reckless to test the limits of the ability.

On the other hand, if he can't feel pain either, there's some pretty big consequences that would happen because of it.

According to this website (and several others), https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/the-people-who-cant-feel-pain-scientists-discover-cause-of-rare-inherited-condition-that-turns-off-10274604.html, the sense of pain is essential to our sense of self-preservation.

If he can't feel pain, there's the consequences I mentioned before, but in addition to all that, he might accidentally hurt others as he won't be able to judge how much force to use when touching, poking, or play-fighting with people; he would ignore any signs of fatigue or warning signs his body gives him that something is wrong; and in the event that he's actually in danger he won't be able to take it seriously as he believes he can't be harmed. While these effects are more prevalent in cases where people aren't immune to harm (they'd constantly accidentally hurt themselves without knowing), the hurting others part applies even more here because you've mentioned he can use his ability to become stronger.

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure about the inner-site etiquette regarding the question, but I appreciate it regardless. The reason I made the ability specific to kinetic energy and autonomic reflexes was precisely for that lack-of-feedback. This way he can retain a sense of touch (and a sense of consequence and fear via interactions with hot stoves) while still being mostly invincible. As for the mental effects, I agree with you completely and it has made for an very enjoyable character flaw thus far. $\endgroup$ – Pinion Minion Sep 21 '18 at 2:33
  • $\begingroup$ Greetings New Person! Don't forget to take the tour and check the help center. As for asking a question in your answer, there are two ways to handle this. One is to ask for clarification as a comment under the OP's question. That's the best option, as this allows the OP to improve the query. Second is to simply take a stance and say something like "Assuming XYZ, I don't think PRS would affect..." The OP can then comment on your answer, which you could then edit. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Sep 21 '18 at 3:14
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The answer is 100% up to you, because you get to define things like "what does damage actually mean?" Is the natural growth process damage? Is the fundamental process of building and repairing bones damage? When ostioclasts consume bone as part of the natural balance of the body's operation, what happens? These are all up to you. Some of the answers may lead to absurd body shapes. Some may leave your character looking like a four year old (see Interview with a Vampire). Others may have less extreme effects.

If you intuitively define it with terms like "bullet proof" and "knife proof" you invoke an intuitive concept of harm, which I think most people would find very meaningful. If you are using that concept for what "harm" is, then there's a very clear answer: he'll look just like anyone else, with a build equivalent to anyone else.

I've never been shot. I've never been in a knife fight. These are simply not part of my growing up. However, lifting boxes and tightening lug nuts and trying to jump to reach the bottom branch in a tree all were part of my life. My body got enough exercise from these operations to develop into its physique. In fact, I would argue that vast majority of people developed their physique without grievous bodily injury. There's plenty else to do which affects the body.

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Psichological issues

I don’t want to repeat the very interesting physical arguments already stated. So I will better go to his mind: He knows he is “physically invulnerable”, but he can be poisoned, and a virus or bacteria still can kill him.
So I imagine he will develop some sort of obsession for cleanning and desinfecting everything. If he gets sick, no injection can go through his skin, and no surgeon can operate him.

Additionally, he never eats something unless he is totally sure it is not poisoned (his enemies know he can be killed that way).

Besides, he is alone. No girl wants to sleep with him because everybody knows that story of the last girl that spent a night with him. He had a nightmare, and unwittingly sent the girl to the hospital with more than a few broken bones.

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