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In my world, similar to our earth, a person has the ability to create gravitational "spheres".

He can:

  • modify its location
  • vary the force
  • move the sphere (once created)
  • select what or who is affected by this sphere

For example if he creates a sphere next to an item, he can move it (like telekinesis) or if he is on a skateboard, go up a hill like if he was downhill with a sphere strong enough always in front of him. Even fly?

My question is, how could I limit his power? Apart the progression level his ability gain, like first small sphere, then more powerful ones, what weaknesses would he have?

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    $\begingroup$ What would limit the power and the use of such an ability would be to not let him choose what is affected by the spheres. Having the spheres 'just' be additional gravitional forces would have the person to think about it before using their ability. $\endgroup$ – Riff Aug 9 '16 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ But without that control, he can't do things.. "tidy" $\endgroup$ – lois6b Aug 9 '16 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ @lois6b Yeah but that would effectively limit the ability as he could not just use it without thinking about the consequences $\endgroup$ – Riff Aug 9 '16 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ @lois6b : See my answer. He is actually one of the 6 'paths' controlled by a dude (called Nagato) (which is why the link I put sends you to "Deva Path"). The 6 paths of pain are like puppets being controlled by Nagato, and the path which can use attractive and repulsive forces is called the "Deva Path". Nagato himself cannot go out (because he is crippled), hence he uses the Deva Path as a substitute, and calls himself Pain. $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Aug 9 '16 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ It is a gravity based power, make the strength of the sphere he can create the inverse square of the distance from him. $\endgroup$ – John Feb 5 '18 at 23:42
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This is really hard to counter. Consider Pain in the anime Naruto who has the ability to use attractive and repulsive forces. He can also use the 'gravity spheres' which is extremely difficult to counter, as a ninja will be struggling not to be carried off by the sphere, while Pain is perfectly fine and can attack you. It was countered by attacking it with a very powerful jutsu, which destroyed the gravity sphere. (However many ninjas do not have such a powerful attack, and hence it is almost impossible to counter for pretty much all normal ninjas , it actually took 3 very powerful ninja's who used their most powerful attacks to destroy the gravity sphere)

  • A obvious counter would be to make it very difficult to maintain. The dude will have to use almost all his concentration to maintain the sphere. This nerfs him, and prevents him from creating a multitude of spheres to kill everyone. This also prevents him from creating super-small gravity spheres to easily kill others, as it is very difficult to do so. (i.e: A normal sized sphere is relatively easy, but now he has to concentrate on compressing it... which requires even more concentration).
  • Requires lot of power. Creating a gravitational force strong enough to cause someone to feel the pull is itself a big feat. So, in the beginning the dude can only create baby gravity-spheres. And even with tons of practice, there's only so much he can do.
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    $\begingroup$ i like the "difficult to maintain" idea.. maybe at the end he would have "trained" enough to be really powerfull but a slow progress should bound his power.... also, what is jutsu? $\endgroup$ – lois6b Aug 9 '16 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @lois6b : Thanks, if you liked my answer, please upvote ☺. Think of jutsus as magical spells. Some ninjas use fire jutsus, some use wind etc. $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Aug 9 '16 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ @lois6b : Even with training he won't become a God, as it requires lots of power. $\endgroup$ – King of Snakes Aug 9 '16 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ You beat me to it. Requiring a lot of power (in some form) to create and maintain (which also implies your first point) makes sense given such an ability. That naturally puts an upper limit on how powerful the described ability can be, for a given individual. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 9 '16 at 12:03
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    $\begingroup$ @lois6b Mass, gravity and distance are interconnected. You can have something very small with large gravity, but that implies it is very dense and/or extremely close to the object it is influencing. An obvious implication is that you could make what he creates and controls simply matter in some location -- the more matter the individual wants to create (whether as a larger object or as a denser object), the harder (more energy required, for example) it is to do. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 9 '16 at 12:04
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Replace

He can select what or who is affected by this sphere

with

He must select what or who is affected by this sphere.

That makes him unable to stop a trivial bullet.

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A few ideas:

He can only do it to one thing at a time.

He can only do it for so long.

He can only do it to things within his direct line of sight.

He can only do it to things within his own actual bodies ability to lift.

It seriously drains him every time he does it and he needs to recharge.

in order to do it he has to use something else as a power source (you decide) and when that power source goes low so does his power.

For some reason (again you decide) his power doesn't work on certain things:

It doesn't work on living creatures.

It doesn't work on metal.

It doesn't work at night/day.

In Mistborn the characters there "burn" metal in order to use their powers. The author never said how it actually worked in terms of physics, but it sounded logical and I bought it.

I don't know if you're talking about a fantasy setting or a hard or soft sci-fi setting, but either way if you tell us what his weakness is in the story, and it sounds plausible, we will buy it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer :D I guess if I can choose something to burn it would be the Sun (or other star if there is no limit lol ). I guess the living creatures limit makes sense, I can always drag their clothes or shoes :P $\endgroup$ – lois6b Feb 6 '18 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ Right, the weakness is not just a limit; it also forces you as the author, and him as the character, to think creatively of how to use the power. That's makes it interesting to the reader. As for him using the sun that's a bit unlimited sounding; unless you mean that limits him to using it during the day and not when the sun sets. Good luck. $\endgroup$ – Len Feb 6 '18 at 17:36
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An idea I had is a slight modification of his powers.

He is able to select what is affected by the spheres, except he himself is affected by all of his spheres. This would require some forethought and practice on his part or else whenever he created a sphere he himself would be injured or hurled across the room with all his intended targets.

For small gravity effects he might only need to lean to resist the pull, but for larger gravities, he would need some anchor point or to make the gravity from multiple spheres balance out at his location. This would not affect his ability to fly or otherwise move himself, but it would make him think twice about making a giant sphere to crush his enemies or otherwise affecting other objects.

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