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Okay, so for those who haven't seen my other Avatar-related questions, here's the pertinent information:

  1. Avatars are created from Ether, or solidified Mana, but have a real form (if it's an animal, it has organs. If it's a machine it has real mechanical parts). Avatars are created when someone puts a piece (a "spark") of their very soul inside an orb of Ether, which creates an Avatar linked to them. You can only have four Avatars.

  2. Avatars have magical abilities (Ex: a Bullet Shrimp fires bullets of magically compacted air, a Fire Salamander can spit flames) and some can cast spells. An Avatar's age at creation is determined by how much their creator has developed at the time they were created; in other words, immature people create juvenile Avatars, while mature people create older Avatars.

  3. Additionally, an Avatar's growth rate is irrespective of their species and is instead determined by the rate at which their creator grows and progresses. Over time, Avatars become better versions of themselves, so self-improvement is key!

  4. Avatars and their creator share information telepathically whenever they're within six miles of each other. In other words, the creator knows what the Avatar knows, and vice versa.

  5. Last of all, Avatars don't usually tire, except from demanding work (combat, construction, and the like), don't require food and water (but need air), and can only die from suffocation, injury, poison, or old age.

This is where Inheritance comes in. Let's say someone's Avatar has become famous along with them. In that case, the Avatar represents their legacy and lives on for as long as he (or the Avatar) is remembered. That's all that's currently known about Avatar lifetimes; no one knows what determines an Avatar's lifespan after their creator passes, but plenty of guesses have been made.

An Avatar whose Creator has died can link to someone else, becoming their Avatar. This is called the Inheritance Principle, and here's the problems with this:

  1. If the Avatar's creator was someone's parent, their child can take the "lost" Avatar as their own even if they have four Avatars already. Ditto if they were survived by a loved one.

  2. Once an Avatar is Inherited, they pass on the power inside them (the power of their creator) to their new owner. They then live and develop with the new owner. This allows an Avatar to become insanely advanced as they are passed down from generation to generation, and as they're passed down, they're also making the recipient more powerful and sharing their accumulated wisdom and experience.

So, my question is: Is this Inheritance Principle too powerful, and if so, what should I do to balance it?

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    $\begingroup$ Too powerful? Are you balancing game mechanics here? Because I can guarantee you I'm not as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger, nor as smart as Albert Einstein. This imbalance is not addressed by anybody. Nor it really should it. In a fictional world, it seems normal to have some people more powerful than others. It seems normal - some people are just...better. Games tend to have balance to them so the person summoning tornadoes and fire with a gesture are somehow on par with the one who just swings a sword. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Dec 19, 2020 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ I'm trying to figure out if the Inheritance system grants too much of an advantage, and looking at your post, I can see that game mechanics has had a surprisingly strong influence on me.....why is it I'm only seeing that now? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Dec 19, 2020 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ IRL the inheritance of money, lands, titles, and lands is totally imba. It also makes it real. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Dec 19, 2020 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, but there's still one problem: if there's no plausible cap on Avatar development, eventually someone's Avatar, passed down through the generations, is going to become godlike in power. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Dec 19, 2020 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like an awesome plot hook. Heck, a whole source of plot hooks. A family might try to keep the avatar within their lineage. This can involve a lot of long term planning on their part and potentially dirty secrets and deals they do. A godlike avatar might be able to break free of the person. It might just be too powerful and burn their host out prematurely. Perhaps that's actually how gods are really made, so anybody can create a god but takes a long time and planning. And everybody would want to do it. And so on, and so forth - there is so much that you can build entire plot around $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Dec 19, 2020 at 20:51

2 Answers 2

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I have no frame of reference to compare the power of this to, and the comments on the first post seem to suggest you have realized this isn't a problem either way. However, it seems the avatars are currently mostly self terminating and I will try to 'normalize' the exceptions

Avatar's growth rate is irrespective of their species and is instead determined by the rate at which their creator grows and progresses

combined with

can only die from [...] old age.

Potentially puts a cap on the 'developmental' age of any* organic creature avatar. This leaves automatons and other more mechanical avatars, which while immune to suffocation, poison, and old age, have no automatic repair systems. Replacement parts may simply not be possible because those parts would not be linked/connected to that soul "spark" and thus are eventually defeated by time and entropy, however delayed it might be by care and maintenance. No Ship of Theseus here.

 * Now to address that asterisk, not knowing the limits of the setting, things without natural lifespan limits and potential bio-mechanical hybrids may be able to provide vessels for the unchecked growth mentioned in the comments. To counter this I propose that the increase in power is tied not to an increase in age, but rather 'distance' from youth or age 0. So such avatars may be able to build up unbelievable wisdom, but not unbelievable power, they can progress from 'juvenile' to 'adult' perhaps even 'elder' but can not progress further as they have no biological 'further' to progress to. Automatons would likely work similarly, they would start at a power and only really be able to gain wisdom and knowledge

Of course if I misinterpreted and "Avatars become better versions of themselves" was not meant metaphorically and instead that Fire Salamander is to become a fire dragon with enough improvement, My theory goes out the window.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very nice first post to a not entirely clear question. Welcome to worldbuilding, enjoy our luxury tour and when you have a spare millennium or so, browse our help center to get the hang of our ways. Enjoy the site. $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2021 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ Very good answer, thank you! A progression cap like in Pokemon's evolution system would be very helpful, as it would prevent Avatars from getting overpowered. FYI, Avatars can be repaired or healed by their owners; mana is expended, and they must be within nine feet of each other, but it is possible. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Feb 15, 2021 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ So long as there is some sort of diminishing returns on mana in to heal/repair out, say a 10% loss of efficiency per new owner, it would become increasingly untenable to combat the wear and tear of time. When you say evolution would that be more in the vein of salamander to dragon, or baby to adult? (also instead of this 'distance' thing it probably would have been simpler to just say biological age as immortals tend to stop biologically/physically ageing) $\endgroup$
    – Thk
    Feb 15, 2021 at 19:10
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Inheriting an Avatar is a cooperative affair.

Avatars also grow in personality. An old Avatar with a laid back elderly gentleman as their previous master might not enjoy a family wanting to associate him with the young whippersnapper with the bad temper who wants to travel abroad. He might prefer the youngest child who enjoys books more than people and just wants to research.

Avatars that have matured might choose their partner as much as their partner wants to choose them. Some might choose to bury the knowledge that a talented practitioner gave them. Choosing to expire rather than let "Magic Nuke v2" be released to the royal family for waging war is certainly an option!

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so the Avatars could check themselves. Interesting idea, I will have to consider this potential..... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Feb 15, 2021 at 18:33

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