Hidden 13 days ago Post by ArenaSnow
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Creativity is a creative exercise in creating creativity. Don't recreate my creativity.

Then again, recreating it does make it creative.
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Hidden 12 days ago Post by whizzball1
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@whizzball1 A magical school RP? I see no reason why that wouldn't work. The magic system interests me as well. Now you just have to create a character that you find interesting, creative limitations be damned. Filling out the character sheet would probably be the easiest way to do this.


This should do. Unfortunately, the main limitation is that the description of magic and aeons in the roleplay implies magic can only be descended from one Aeon. If that particular limitation is discarded then the only real limitations are setting and the logical limitation (as I describe in my examinations), which encourage me to make powers that fit with the theme and not just something totally random. Additionally, if the characters didn't need to be human Spectre would be made entirely out of crystal. (Right now he's human but looks crystalline when using his magic.)

Hidden 12 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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<Snipped quote by BrokenPromise>

This should do. Unfortunately, the main limitation is that the description of magic and aeons in the roleplay implies magic can only be descended from one Aeon. If that particular limitation is discarded then the only real limitations are setting and the logical limitation (as I describe in my examinations), which encourage me to make powers that fit with the theme and not just something totally random. Additionally, if the characters didn't need to be human Spectre would be made entirely out of crystal. (Right now he's human but looks crystalline when using his magic.)


Perhaps in hindsight that was not the best RP to choose for this experiment. I was hoping you would explore your freedom more, but it looks like you put a lot of effort into this. I shall not ask you to redo it. So long as you are happy with the character and also realize they would never work in the RP I should be able to do my work. It might take some time, as I'm GMing an RP at a critical time right now. But I'll have something up within a few days.

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<Snipped quote by whizzball1>

Perhaps in hindsight that was not the best RP to choose for this experiment. I was hoping you would explore your freedom more, but it looks like you put a lot of effort into this. I shall not ask you to redo it. So long as you are happy with the character and also realize they would never work in the RP I should be able to do my work. It might take some time, as I'm GMing an RP at a critical time right now. But I'll have something up within a few days.


I put a fair amount of effort into it, I suppose. I'm happy to redo it if you believe I missed something, but I gave myself as much freedom as I could without defying the logical limitation.
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Sincerely, dictionaries are terrible when you are referencing an abstract concept. Just look at how much the scientific community argues about definitions of stuff like energy, heat, etc. Even if you know what it's, you'll never get a straight answer that fills all of the criteria for that subject.

I mean, creativity and ingenuity are the same thing in various levels.

That saying is much more about say, dealing with hardship than doing "original" work. For example, what would you do, if you were hungry and had only a tuna can but no can opener (consider one that doesn't have those easy opening flaps)?

This is the kind of scenario that that saying is more about, or so I think. To overcome obstacles, human beings need to get smart, or they get dead. It can certainly apply to the artistic production as well, but if creativity were so crucial, more than half of today's entertainment industry wouldn't even exist.
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Sincerely, dictionaries are terrible when you are referencing an abstract concept. Just look at how much the scientific community argues about definitions of stuff like energy, heat, etc. Even if you know what it's, you'll never get a straight answer that fills all of the criteria for that subject.

I mean, creativity and ingenuity are the same thing in various levels.

That saying is much more about say, dealing with hardship than doing "original" work. For example, what would you do, if you were hungry and had only a tuna can but no can opener (consider one that doesn't have those easy opening flaps)?

This is the kind of scenario that that saying is more about, or so I think. To overcome obstacles, human beings need to get smart, or they get dead. It can certainly apply to the artistic production as well, but if creativity were so crucial, more than half of today's entertainment industry wouldn't even exist.


Have you looked over my examinations yet? Remember, I'm not condemning all limitations or obstacles; I'm seeking to discuss common limitations writers and GMs set in stories and roleplays and whether they're poorly affecting creativity (and, to an extent, ingenuity). I'm not talking about limitations and obstacles in general, or this conversation could continue eternally and never actually get anywhere.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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@whizzball1 Here are the three characters. Spectre Merivale is of course, your original guy. Drake Merivale is an alternate version that can turn into a dragon of light when he uses his magic too much, and Jade Merivale, who is a crystal mage with some refinements to Drake's sheet.

To break down what I did to make Jade in more detail, I decided that it would be easiest to replicate all of Spectre's abilities and Drake's transformation with creation magic. The core part of Spectre was his ability to make constructs, his struggle with his darker, mana hungry tentacles, and his high-utility disks that had high utility potential. The crystal constructs are pretty much the same, but Jade's tentacles are now made from "hungry crystals" that grow off of her when she thirsts for mana, and her disks also work by growing crystals on things to perform a lot of the same things Spectre's existence magic did. You could argue that her hungry crystals are destruction/void based, but since she's just creating things using someone else's mana, I don't think it's really a debatable point.

Only pointless change I made was that after making Drake, I felt like making a chick. So Jade is a girl. But that really has very little effect on her character, as Spectre's character wasn't really focused around his gender.

ORIGINAL:

BUFFED:

REFINED:


Onto my observations.

Comparing drake and Spectre, you can kind of see how even with a simple yet potent addition like ANGRY DRAGON MODE it doesn't really add anything of importance to Spectre's character. It's just a cool add-on that further beats into your head that Drake is struggling with himself, which doesn't feel especially necessary. Drake kind of feels like a kid's lunchbox, where he has all of these cool stickers plastered all over it that don't really go well together. Biohazard sticker, dragon sticker, sword sticker, crystal sticker, ufo sticker, he's all over the place. Nothing really works together, and the fragments aren't even especially original. He's just creating the illusion of something original by taking a bunch of effects we've seen before and putting them in one package.

Jade on the other hand feels like a complete package. Even though she had to stick with one boring aeon, her powers are more unique as a result. Crystal based healing spells? Crystal tentacles? Jade can do everything that Spectre can do and more, and she might actually get to join the RP if presented as a character. Maybe not because of how broad and all encompassing her magic is, but that was because I was trying to make her do everything Drake could do. Certainly if Spectre was OP, Jade would be as well. Not only that, but I would argue that watching Jade solve problems is more interesting than watching Spectre do it, if only because she has a smaller scope of power sources to draw upon. and most importantly, she does still have that internal struggle with herself. It's just with her hungry crystals instead of an entire Aeon.

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@BrokenPromise

I agree concerning Drake. The draconian beast mode feels tacked on. But Drake and Spectre differ on an important point. While Drake certainly fits the description and thrust of your penultimate paragraph, Spectre does not, for a reason I didn't directly express about my character: he has a unified theme. None of his powers are tacked on; his history, personality, and abilities all converge. That theme is the balance between creation and destruction, and each of his three powers has to do with one part of that balance. Jade, however, in trying to keep the powers but conform to the roleplay, loses that theme and gains a new one. The powers, however, seem more starkly general than Spectre's because they're doing a lot of different things while "just" being crystal.

Spectre's powers alone were never the full expression of my creativity; everything about him worked together in synergy, or he'd just be a character who happens to control light, shadow, and crystal all at once. I could theoretically keep the theme, but I'd have to rehash the powers in order to fit him into the roleplay. Yet, if I shrink and remould him into a slightly smaller box, I will not be able to bring the idea to ultimate fruition. Is this a problem? I don't know yet—but I think there's a better way to find out.

I find your passing remark about the broadness of Spectre's powers interesting. You seem to consider it a problem. In fact, the idea of "too much power" is a common limitation, one that raises many questions and problems of its own. But you've been talking about limitations in such a general sense that we haven't been able to talk about specific limitations like that one. There are real problems—and real uses—of solid limitations. Some of the effects of these limitations can be seen in our characters. But, unless we focus on specific limitations rather than limitations in general, I don't think we can make any real points about them. I suspect that I'll return to the examples of Spectre, Drake, and Jade often, but in a more directed context.

What do you say? Even besides the four limitations I examined in my starting post, there are other common ones worth considering, and our characters are a good jumping off point.
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i like to consider the phrase in a physical sense.

if you have a huge bathtub (a roleplay with no limits) and only so much water (creativity/inspiration), you'll struggle to fill it. there'll be less substance to your writing and a lot of the times it'll just be fluff with no actual point to it, because, let's face it, if you can write only a couple paragraphs of actual content, you'll try to pad it out even just a bit.

however, if you have a smaller container (a roleplay with limits) and the same amount of water (creativity/inspiration), you'll fill it perfectly and never have to wrack your brain for extra stuff you might be able to put in. you'll avoid more cliches, you'll think of cool workarounds the limits, and you'll maybe even add a few stuff you never would've had in a setting with no limits.

it's hard to explain, but i definitely believe that limits breed creativity.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by whizzball1
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i like to consider the phrase in a physical sense.

if you have a huge bathtub (a roleplay with no limits) and only so much water (creativity/inspiration), you'll struggle to fill it. there'll be less substance to your writing and a lot of the times it'll just be fluff with no actual point to it, because, let's face it, if you can write only a couple paragraphs of actual content, you'll try to pad it out even just a bit.

however, if you have a smaller container (a roleplay with limits) and the same amount of water (creativity/inspiration), you'll fill it perfectly and never have to wrack your brain for extra stuff you might be able to put in. you'll avoid more cliches, you'll think of cool workarounds the limits, and you'll maybe even add a few stuff you never would've had in a setting with no limits.

it's hard to explain, but i definitely believe that limits breed creativity.


Yet I can provide dozens of counterexamples from my own experience. I'd like to reiterate from my first post that we can't really talk about limitations in general because different limitations tend to have different effects; I demonstrated that some limitations are very positive while others are very negative. We can definitely say concrete things about certain limitations, especially common ones that I see everywhere. Examples and counterexamples discussed in general won't get us anywhere unless we discuss specific limitations.
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<Snipped quote by Grimhildr>

Yet I can provide dozens of counterexamples from my own experience. I'd like to reiterate from my first post that we can't really talk about limitations in general because different limitations tend to have different effects; I demonstrated that some limitations are very positive while others are very negative. We can definitely say concrete things about certain limitations, especially common ones that I see everywhere. Examples and counterexamples discussed in general won't get us anywhere unless we discuss specific limitations.


i was generally talking about character limitations in that post, sorry for not specifying. i find that if i'm given free reign in an rp (told what the setting is, what powers characters can have if powers are involved, and then told to go crazy) i produce work that is less in quality than what i would in a roleplay with more limits. then again, it's all about personal preference, as debating this can never give us a solid objective answer. i tend to work better when i've got someone guiding me through stuff, as opposed to being told the shit i can do and then told go to make something with it.
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<Snipped quote by whizzball1>

i was generally talking about character limitations in that post, sorry for not specifying. i find that if i'm given free reign in an rp (told what the setting is, what powers characters can have if powers are involved, and then told to go crazy) i produce work that is less in quality than what i would in a roleplay with more limits. then again, it's all about personal preference, as debating this can never give us a solid objective answer. i tend to work better when i've got someone guiding me through stuff, as opposed to being told the shit i can do and then told go to make something with it.


I think you raise an interesting point. In my experience, I work better without limitations on characters because once I have an idea for a theme (which tends to come easily to me) I can develop an entire, coherent, and logical character around that. But just because I work better that way doesn't mean others do as well. I'd like to conclude that limitations on characters, just like the limitations of logic, consistency, and setting, provide direction and reduce confusion. This is beneficial to some people and detrimental to others, the former on account of what you said and the latter because a limitation that pushes a certain theme discourages another, among other reasons. Do you disagree on any points?
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<Snipped quote by Grimhildr>

I think you raise an interesting point. In my experience, I work better without limitations on characters because once I have an idea for a theme (which tends to come easily to me) I can develop an entire, coherent, and logical character around that. But just because I work better that way doesn't mean others do as well. I'd like to conclude that limitations on characters, just like the limitations of logic, consistency, and setting, provide direction and reduce confusion. This is beneficial to some people and detrimental to others, the former on account of what you said and the latter because a limitation that pushes a certain theme discourages another, among other reasons. Do you disagree on any points?


i agree entirely, it all depends on how your thought process works and your preferences. you also worded it a lot better than i did , it's definitely a case of providing direction.
Hidden 9 days ago 9 days ago Post by BrokenPromise
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I agree concerning Drake. The draconian beast mode feels tacked on. But Drake and Spectre differ on an important point. While Drake certainly fits the description and thrust of your penultimate paragraph, Spectre does not, for a reason I didn't directly express about my character: he has a unified theme. None of his powers are tacked on; his history, personality, and abilities all converge. That theme is the balance between creation and destruction, and each of his three powers has to do with one part of that balance. Jade, however, in trying to keep the powers but conform to the roleplay, loses that theme and gains a new one. The powers, however, seem more starkly general than Spectre's because they're doing a lot of different things while "just" being crystal.


Creation and destruction is in Jade's character, it's just not as obvious. I found Spectre's internal struggle more interesting than the duality of his powers. So I focused more on the hungry, evil, power granting side of his dark magic and the kind, beneficial, selfless side of his light magic. I suppose it could be made more apparent if I mentioned that her hungry crystals could penetrate Jade's victims or looked like rocky garnet, but I felt this was close enough. Alternatively, I could have gone with the light/dark theme if I used prism magic. A lot of Spectre's magic could be duplicated with a type of existence magic that dealt with splitting light into magical colors, but I felt that light representing good and darkness representing evil was too cliche.

I've already said my piece on Spectre/Jade, but you are free to think otherwise, of course.

Spectre's powers alone were never the full expression of my creativity; everything about him worked together in synergy, or he'd just be a character who happens to control light, shadow, and crystal all at once. I could theoretically keep the theme, but I'd have to rehash the powers in order to fit him into the roleplay. Yet, if I shrink and remould him into a slightly smaller box, I will not be able to bring the idea to ultimate fruition. Is this a problem? I don't know yet—but I think there's a better way to find out.


I suppose I could reiterate that Jade is basically an example of Spectre that could work in the RP. However, you're not going to agree with me and that's okay.

I find your passing remark about the broadness of Spectre's powers interesting. You seem to consider it a problem. In fact, the idea of "too much power" is a common limitation, one that raises many questions and problems of its own. But you've been talking about limitations in such a general sense that we haven't been able to talk about specific limitations like that one. There are real problems—and real uses—of solid limitations. Some of the effects of these limitations can be seen in our characters. But, unless we focus on specific limitations rather than limitations in general, I don't think we can make any real points about them. I suspect that I'll return to the examples of Spectre, Drake, and Jade often, but in a more directed context.


As a GM, something that we look for is a balance among all the characters. Strengths that enable them to overcome certain obstacles, and weaknesses that we can exploit for interesting encounters. When you have a character that is good at doing everything, it is difficult to give other characters time to shine or make a challenge that they can solve in an interesting way. It throws the power scale of the RP off, where things are always easy for the strongest characters, while their challenges are so above and beyond the rest of the players that they can't even participate. This is not to say every character needs to be perfectly balanced. But such large gaps in power and utility can discourage people with more focused kits that aren't as strong. This is why I said it would be more interesting to watch Jade solve problems than Spectre. Jade has to use her Crystal growing powers in many different ways, while Spectre has three Aeons to choose from. But looking at the characters already in the RP, I would have to say Jade and Spectre have too much raw power and utility to be accepted.

As for talking about limitations in a broad sense, I feel all limitations should be judged based on how well they are implimented. Rules are nothing more than limitations. You cannot have a game without limitations. But it's how the limitations are set up that determines how benificial or hindering they are.

What do you say? Even besides the four limitations I examined in my starting post, there are other common ones worth considering, and our characters are a good jumping off point.


Sure, this is a topic I find interesting. So long as it doesn't devolve into petty squabbling I'm fine. While Spectre is not a character I would personally play, it was important to have an approach like that to make a character like Jade. I also accept the fact that not everyone feels that Jade is a better character.

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As for talking about limitations in a broad sense, I feel all limitations should be judged based on how well they are implimented. Rules are nothing more than limitations. You cannot have a game without limitations. But it's how the limitations are set up that determines how benificial or hindering they are.


That's exactly what I did with my first four examinations—judge specific types of limitations.

As a GM, something that we look for is a balance among all the characters. Strengths that enable them to overcome certain obstacles, and weaknesses that we can exploit for interesting encounters. When you have a character that is good at doing everything, it is difficult to give other characters time to shine or make a challenge that they can solve in an interesting way. It throws the power scale of the RP off, where things are always easy for the strongest characters, while their challenges are so above and beyond the rest of the players that they can't even participate. This is not to say every character needs to be perfectly balanced. But such large gaps in power and utility can discourage people with more focused kits that aren't as strong. This is why I said it would be more interesting to watch Jade solve problems than Spectre. Jade has to use her Crystal growing powers in many different ways, while Spectre has three Aeons to choose from. But looking at the characters already in the RP, I would have to say Jade and Spectre have too much raw power and utility to be accepted.


Let's talk about limitations on power levels, then; that's not something I touched upon in my examinations.

I'd first like to touch upon the idea that strong characters have easier challenges than weaker characters, and therefore weaker characters are pushed out of and away from a situation that challenges a strong character. I can provide multiple counterexamples from my own experience—examples where a challenge was meaningful both to a strong character and a weak character, challenges where a weak character did better than a strong character, and situations where characters with different levels of power both experienced interesting challenges. Even still, I'm wary of using the terms "strong" and "weak" as if power were on a sliding scale. If it really mattered that way, then skill would be moot and level power would be everything. "Power is more than just strong vs. weak; it's about the things you can handle and the things you struggle against."

For example, in my ultimate conception of Spectre, he's a being of pure crystal. His facets are shaped to geometrical perfection and he takes great care to keep himself that way—because, if his facets are deformed his magical reserves are drastically reduced and he is forced to draw power from others to repair himself. That one weakness changes the way he fights completely and opens up a whole host of challenges. Yeah, he can do a lot, and he's pretty powerful, but that doesn't mean he doesn't struggle or have things easy.

That said, you raise an important point about why the power limitation can be meaningful. As a GM, you say, it's a challenge of its own to generate interesting challenges for characters both "strong" and weak" without making one character's challenge meaningless in the face of the other's. And I completely agree. A sole writer who wants some of his characters to be very powerful while other characters are not as powerful must have a lot of skill in order to pull that off. For a GM, who isn't in control of every character? It's even harder. Not only that, but in a roleplay, all the players need to be skilled, too, in order to generate characters that are powerful but able to be challenged. But I've seen that happen very successfully, and when it does, it's entirely worth it and extremely satisfying.

In conclusion, if everybody involved in a creative work is in possession of the skill and experience to manage huge levels of power, I believe that a limitation on power is detrimental and stifling. This applies if there is one writer or many. If, however, some of the writers are unskilled at handling theoretically unlimited levels of power, power limits may help manage the RP or story. If you'd like an example (and not my own) of a creative work in which characters had huge differences between their abilities and powers and yet all had itneresting challenges and important uses, such that none of them were useless and everybody was important, I'll give you the best one of all—Avatar: The Last Airbender.
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@whizzball1 I should probably clarify that when I say powerful character, I am taking their combat abilities, problem solving skills, level of intelligence, number of friends, synergy with others, etc in relation to the other characters. I am not talking about just their combat abilities. A king who commands an entire nation is a powerful character, even if he himself lacks combat capabilities. Otherwise I agree with most of what you said. But Spectre has a lot of utility powers, can summon henchmen, is deadly at range and close quarters, is very precise, Highly intelligent, has friends despite being "slightly introverted," with his only real weaknesses being maybe his ability to talk to some people and that he needs to work hard to make his magic work. Barring the fact that it's extremely easy to power play with a character like that, the only people he really needs to surround himself with are people who are good communicators.

This doesn't necessarily make him super strong in every setting. With the right team, I see Spectre filling in the roll of a support character during a big team fight, augmenting the powers of those around him. But in skimming the other characters, they were all far more specialized and couldn't do things as well as Spectre can. Power is relative.

This is another thing that can make judging power really hard. Some players make really tight kitted characters, but push those characters to the very limits of their sheet. Others have characters that look OP on paper, but they have lots of nuances that they didn't write down yet respect, making the actual character weaker. This is probably the largest contributing factor to me seeing Spectre as being so strong. Because while you may play him fairly, not everyone will.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Good show, but Sokka spent most of his time just being comic relief. Once Aang became the actual Avatar, the only thing he really needed everyone else for was to deal with things he didn't have time for. Aang fought Ozai because he was the only one who could, and was the best choice for that event. It's wonderful if you can find RP groups that can function like that, but I don't see them too often.
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@whizzball1 I should probably clarify that when I say powerful character, I am taking their combat abilities, problem solving skills, level of intelligence, number of friends, synergy with others, etc in relation to the other characters. I am not talking about just their combat abilities. A king who commands an entire nation is a powerful character, even if he himself lacks combat capabilities. Otherwise I agree with most of what you said. But Spectre has a lot of utility powers, can summon henchmen, is deadly at range and close quarters, is very precise, Highly intelligent, has friends despite being "slightly introverted," with his only real weaknesses being maybe his ability to talk to some people and that he needs to work hard to make his magic work. Barring the fact that it's extremely easy to power play with a character like that, the only people he really needs to surround himself with are people who are good communicators.

This doesn't necessarily make him super strong in every setting. With the right team, I see Spectre filling in the roll of a support character during a big team fight, augmenting the powers of those around him. But in skimming the other characters, they were all far more specialized and couldn't do things as well as Spectre can. Power is relative.

This is another thing that can make judging power really hard. Some players make really tight kitted characters, but push those characters to the very limits of their sheet. Others have characters that look OP on paper, but they have lots of nuances that they didn't write down yet respect, making the actual character weaker. This is probably the largest contributing factor to me seeing Spectre as being so strong. Because while you may play him fairly, not everyone will.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Good show, but Sokka spent most of his time just being comic relief. Once Aang became the actual Avatar, the only thing he really needed everyone else for was to deal with things he didn't have time for. Aang fought Ozai because he was the only one who could, and was the best choice for that event. It's wonderful if you can find RP groups that can function like that, but I don't see them too often.


"This is probably the largest contributing factor to me seeing Spectre as being so strong. Because while you may play him fairly, not everyone will." That's pretty much the essence of my point on this limitation. I've made many characters with strength comparable to Spectre's, and I've never once been accused of playing them unfairly. But I believe that's because of the context. I argued that it takes skill to maintain the relevance and meaning of a powerful character in relation to others, whether as a lone writer or as many. If not everybody has that skill, it's easy for the whole thing to fall apart with power players and irrelevant characters.

I'm certain that a group of skilled RPers could pull off a roleplay without any semblance of a power limitation, especially because the RP I've been involved in longest has done exactly that. I think that, with the power limitation, I and my fellow roleplayers are given much more creative freedom. But I can also clearly see how that limitation is necessary for roleplays that are open to anybody. But I demonstrated, between Spectre and Jade, how that restricts options. Spectre's theme is less fully realised in Jade; in order to consolidate the powers it ends up getting expressed as more of a moral thing. Because all of the powers inhere in crystal alone, their relevance to the theme is less clear and their relevance to crystal even less so.

In short, I think the power limitation in whatever forms it may exist is generally necessary but restrictive to creativity. It doesn't limit all ideas, but it limits several, especially when expressed like it is in the Breakfast University of Magic (specific, power-restricting themes: the five Aeons).
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