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The Importance of Powerscaling in Storytelling

Why it's not such a waste of time

By BlankmarksPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Have you ever looked at the people screaming about Superman vs Goku with pity or annoyance?

Sad to say that it’s not all stupidity at work. Some powerscaling knowledge can actually help improve your story.

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove why powerscaling is important to your story’s world and believability.

Why Powerscale?

There are two main reasons, consistency and preventing power creep. Knowing how strong your characters are and what they can do will help ground battles.

Writing character A to win against a stronger character for little reason destroys believability. You can fall into this trap if you don’t keep this in mind when writing.

You can write character A to win but it requires a good reason. You can tap into the essence of an underdog fight. Seeing a character use their wits to win against a stronger enemy is inspiring.

But that’s only possible if your powerscaling is consistent. Only if the audience knows how strong each character is and their limits well enough.

This prevents power creep because if you powerscale from the beginning you’ll know when to reign it in. It’s like outlining but for character abilities.

To learn more about dealing with power escalation and more, check out this amazing video from Hello Future Me.

Now that you know why you should powerscale it’s time to delve a bit deeper into what it is.

What is Powerscaling and How To Do it?

Powerscaling is the process of discovering who wins in a fight using IRL world statistics. Taking these stats into consideration:

• Attack Potency

• Durability

• Speed

• Intelligence

• Hax (Special abilities like regeneration)

• Equipment, etc

They’re determined through feats and statements.

Feats are on-screen displays of skill and equipment. Examples are dodging a bullet, destroying a wall, or breathing fire.

Statements can come from databooks or in-verse characters. An example is character A saying character B is faster than light.

Feats take higher priority than statements because they can contradictory. Databooks can also be false due to author mistakes. It’s up to you to make everything stays consistent.

The more inconsistent your power scaling the less tension your fights have. The story and world become confusing and/or weightless to those that pay attention.

An example of this happening is in Disney's Star Wars. Rey winning against a trained Kylo the first time and light sabers not cutting in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

There’s much more to take into consideration like dimensional scaling. The rest would take too long to explain so here are some videos to get you started.

What is Power Scaling? | Powerscaling 101 ( The best in-depth explanation. Might make this whole post obsolete after you watch it. It’s that good. The writer-specific part is at 16:50.)

Mike Tyson VS Bruce Lee - Who Would ACTUALLY Win? (Shows how it’s done in an easy way)

Powerscaling is not an exact science but it comes close considering all the research needed.

The easy way to do it in your own story is to add it to your character profile. Like with everything else on there keep it in mind when writing.

An example of what it could look like is this.


That’s all I have to say on powerscaling and its effects on writing. Sorry that it’s not that long but if I don’t want info-dump everything on you.

Besides, Surfbone goes into greater depth than I could ever do on a blog. Check out his videos to get the big picture.

It can get crazy but these are the basics you need to know. As long as your story doesn’t include higher dimensions or crossovers with very different series you’ll be fine.

Here’s a quick recap:

Why- To increase your story and fight’s credibility. Sets expectations and the possibility of underdog fights subverting those expectations.

What- Using feats and statements to determine who wins in a fight.

How- Writing with your character’s feats, skills, and power level in mind.

With that, I’m done.

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About the Creator


I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.

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