Although it sounds logical and intuitive to balance out the good and bad characters in your story, it’s really quite a difficult concept to achieve in practice. Massively Multiplayer Online Games or MMOG’s are constantly struggling with this concept. There are test players and forums that are constantly monitored to gauge the level of fairness and balance between classes within their games. Is a warrior with a sword strong enough to attack a frost mage, and visa versa ... can a frost mage take on a warrior. Are the fights challenging, but the possible outcomes almost equal? Is one class overpowered in comparison to another class? The time and money spent on these questions within the worlds of MMOG’s are humongous. It behooves you to take this into consideration within your own stories.
If you have a very powerful main character like I do with Startüm Ironwolf in The Last Paladin Series, or like John Conroe does in The Demon Accord Series. You will always have people questioning if you’ve created an overpowered Mary Sue as one critic said in one of my reviews for Flight. I think John Conroe has done this very well within his series. His main character is truly one of the most powerful beings I’ve ever read about, well except for Superman who’s never been one of my favorite characters. I was always more of a Batman (Dark Knight) or Punisher fan, not that Startüm isn’t any pushover either. I bring John’s writing up in this blog along with my own, because he did such an incredible job creating such a fun awesome main character while still showing just how weak he is in different ways that are fun and interesting to the overall story and series, a great author to check out this type of balancing act.
Startüm Ironwolf in book one is very powerful, but still requires the help of the regular humans and his class of women Ukkodians (His female harem as some critics have called them.) to overcome his enemies. At the end of the story Startüm would have been overcome if these supporting characters hadn’t fought for their lives next to him. Also, a part of my show of Startüm’s amazing powers was to prepare the readers for what is to come within the future of the series. As Paladins go in Irlendria, Startüm is actually on the weak side in many ways and the enemies he must yet face are unbelievably powerful. At the same time, within Book One of the Last Paladin Series I did my best to keep Startüm’s growing use of power within line of the enemies he needed to face. A good example of this was the Loviatar Clerics he had to face. Each Cleric roughly followed the D&D / MMOG flavor of a traditional evil Cleric. Their spells and abilities were similar, but still slightly different at how they cast their spells. Startüm’s abilities followed along the lines of what you would see if you were playing a typical Paladin in any of these mediums, but at the same time I gifted him with extra special abilities if he prayed to his deity for help. Again, I tried to keep the flow and use of power based within the rules I’d formed for my world. A good example of this is when Startüm is fighting to break out through the circle of power one of the evil clerics had trapped him in. Alone he couldn’t break through the circle of power, since it completely cut him off from his deity and drawing in power from the world around him. Yet, the way Startüm survived this was by realizing he was standing atop a gateway to another world. By reaching through the natural gateway that he came through into the trap, he was able to pull in enough power via Ukko to break the trap that had been sprung on him.
There are many ways to work on this balance of powers between your good and evil characters. The main thing I wanted to point out fellow writers was thinking out this balance ahead of time. Having a powerful main character is not a crime. There are millions of readers who love these types of heroic characters, but at the same time showing their weaknesses and having them still overcome the evil that they must face is what makes the story so enjoyable to read.
My IRL work has become overwhelming as my entire organization moves to their new location. Henceforth my time to reply to friends and fans or even to keep my blog up to date has suffered somewhat. I just wanted to thank everyone for their patience. Things will get back to normal soon enough.