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Master Azronger
Master Azronger
Moderator | Champion of the Light
Moderator | Champion of the Light

Comparing different powers Empty Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 2:25 am
More and more I've been asking myself how one would go about creating a sound comparison between two characters with two completely different types of feats. On a small scale, let's say lifting a 10kg rock with telekinesis vs. mind-tricking a Stormtrooper with telepathy. The two abilities have wildly disparate effects on the external world, so how do we know which feat took more effort to accomplish on the part of the Force wielder (assume they aren't disproportionately good or bad at either technique)?

In the case of high-tier fears, I think it's intuitively reasonable to say, for example, that Ziost is more impressive than lifting a rock or even a decently sized boulder, but is it better than manipulating an ISD, the Lusankya, Bast Castle, or a dovin basal? Using mind control and battle meditation on the scale of the entire Galactic Empire, conjuring a massive illusory fleet, or commanding millions of Sith troopers as extensions of your will? Unbalancing the Force, ravaging the surface of a planet with a dark cloud, or tearing apart space-time and summoning surface-busting Force storms?

Is there any objective metric we can use to discern and compare the Force energy required to pull off these feats? "Gut feeling" or whatever won't suffice here.
DarthAnt66
DarthAnt66
Moderator
Moderator

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 2:44 am
Good thread. To throw an idea out there: 

D6 roleplaying sourcebooks generally have charts to cross-reference the difficulty of certain feats. That might be the closest we can get besides eyeballing it.
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
Moderator | Champion of the Light
Moderator | Champion of the Light

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 3:06 am
@DarthAnt66 wrote:Good thread. To throw an idea out there: 

D6 roleplaying sourcebooks generally have charts to cross-reference the difficulty of certain feats. That might be the closest we can get besides eyeballing it.

I guess. Didn't Chee endorse those stats at one point?
The Lost
The Lost
Level Five
Level Five

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 6:29 am
Best to look for examples in the lore if you want to set a precedent. It seems flimsy but typically if you just read the story itself it will tell you which feats are impressive based on what the characters are freaking out about. Also if a sourcebook makes explicit mention of a feat or explains why a character is powerful because of x feat that's also a good indicator.

It's important not to base your conclusions about apples on the nature of oranges unless the oranges reveal something true about their relationship to apples. I don't think the Force is quite a science so it's a hard thing to do.

Just thought of another thing. Setting aside raw power for a moment, it's also important to look at which abilities are actually used in 1v1 and against what kind of enemies, versus abilities used for some other end. If an ability isn't well suited to fighting one strong opponent using feats for it tend not to inform us of much useful other than that the character is in some sense powerful.
MasterCilghal
MasterCilghal
Level Three
Level Three

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 7:05 am
Well, I think it is impossible to directly compare feats that are completely different in nature. However, it is important to deeply examine the circumstances and implications of the feat. For example, in the case of lifting object it is important to look at the size weight and material, using supplementary sources such as sourcebooks and the description provided to draft a conclusion. It is also important to examine the amount of effort ( which is something I feel is commonly disregarded). For example, if character x can move a 100 ton ship easily while character y can move a 150 ton ship with great effort I don’t think it’s fair to say Y>X.
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 8:56 am
ILS wrote:Best to look for examples in the lore if you want to set a precedent. It seems flimsy but typically if you just read the story itself it will tell you which feats are impressive based on what the characters are freaking out about. Also if a sourcebook makes explicit mention of a feat or explains why a character is powerful because of x feat that's also a good indicator.

This doesn't really address the OP. I can think of a number of ways to conclude which feats are impressive in a vacuum. The issue arises when the task is to compare disparate feats (e.g. telepathy vs. telekinesis), sometimes from different media and time period (e.g. TOR vs. PT), and construct a hierarchical order of magnitude. I don't see how one can do that without a common reference point, which we often lack.

It's important not to base your conclusions about apples on the nature of oranges unless the oranges reveal something true about their relationship to apples. I don't think the Force is quite a science so it's a hard thing to do.

I agree, which is why I made this thread. How do we objectively weigh two feats of a completely different nature up against each other to deem which one is the greater of the two?

Just thought of another thing. Setting aside raw power for a moment, it's also important to look at which abilities are actually used in 1v1 and against what kind of enemies, versus abilities used for some other end. If an ability isn't well suited to fighting one strong opponent using feats for it tend not to inform us of much useful other than that the character is in some sense powerful.

Again, not really relevant to the OP, but just to address this: no, some feats aren't combat-applicable in the form they are used in the story, but if they require fantastical levels of power to execute regardless, they still inform the character's overall power level, which is relevant in combat when manifested through other abilities like lightning and telekinesis.
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LOTL

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 10:15 am
Mainly on telepathy, speaking from a scientific/logical perspective:

Thoughts in the brain are basically just electric signals transmitted through neurons via a neural network. Changing the signals changes everything, sight, sound, even smell, and obviously the thoughts associated with them. The basic premise of telepathy hence is by inference:

The ability to influence electric signals in the brain to a certain value or direction that the force user has to take to. Obviously only electric signals are being influenced, the force user isn't changing the structure of the brain itself( this is obvious) by his connection to the force. Hence to change the thoughts of a person to what they want, they simply influence n number of signals in another variable number of neurons to change the perception of the person.

The question then becomes the resistance to telepathy, how normal people do it. Basically, everyone has control over their own thoughts and can influence them. Every single being has a limited control over the electric signals in their brain and can control them. Thus if the control over the electric signals in the brain is higher than even the force user's strength, i.e. the person has immense willpower, then the person can resist the force user's influence.

This is why influencing a being with knowledge that he is being influenced, then is far, far more impressive than influencing beings that have no knowledge that they are being influenced. This is because, in the latter case, the force user simply has to control the electric signals in the brain, but faces no resistance or opposing force whatsoever. The problem is reduced to, the force user's ability to concentrate on and manipulate minute electric forces in the brain.

The former case, is much more difficult because the force user faces the direct opposing force from the being. In addition to the power involved in manipulating electric signals in the brain.

The above analysis is necessary to understand the main intricacies of telepathy. Comparing telepathy to telekinesis is like comparing apples to oranges truly. Telekinesis involves basic raw power, the ability to influence bigger and better objects being the main criteria in the superiority of the feat. But telepathy simply involves incredible precision on the part of the force user, the ability to influence or project forces on a cellular level. The power involved is very less

To give an example, the power consumed by the brain in one day is 20 W. You can get exactly the same value by lifting 2 kg by one meter in one second by simple physics calculation. This makes it obvious that the sheer power involved in telepathy is very less compared to telekinesis, especially considering that the above value is for the entire brain, but you have only a point fraction of that involved to change specific thoughts( this also has to take into account the extent of telepathic influence) in the brain. You do have the force user using power to perceive at that scale, only one cannot quantify the extent of the connection to the force this requires but you can look into sourcebooks and such to get that estimate. My guess is just as force sense requires infinitely lesser power than actually performing feats at that scale( you have Kenobi or Jacen being loosely galaxy level if that is not the case), this too is similar since this too is a variant of sense

My guess is that telepathy really doesn't involve raw power, rather it demonstrates mastery by being able to influence minute forces by the force user, unless he/she is influencing thousands using telepathy


Last edited by LOTL on June 8th 2019, 10:40 am; edited 3 times in total
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LOTL

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 10:19 am
Using telepathy on a force user is another question entirely though
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
Moderator | Champion of the Light
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Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 10:49 am
@LOTL wrote:Mainly on telepathy, speaking from a scientific/logical perspective:

Thoughts in the brain are basically just electric signals transmitted through neurons via a neural network. Changing the signals changes everything, sight, sound, even smell, and obviously the thoughts associated with them. The basic premise of telepathy hence is by inference:

The ability to influence electric signals in the brain to a certain value or direction that the force user has to take to. Obviously only electric signals are being influenced, the force user isn't changing the structure of the brain itself( this is obvious) by his connection to the force. Hence to change the thoughts of a person to what they want, they simply influence n number of signals in another variable number of neurons to change the perception of the person.

The question then becomes the resistance to telepathy, how normal people do it. Basically, everyone has control over their own thoughts and can influence them. Every single being has a limited control over the electric signals in their brain and can control them. Thus if the control over the electric signals in the brain is higher than even the force user's strength, i.e. the person has immense willpower, then the person can resist the force user's influence.

This is why influencing a being with knowledge that he is being influenced, then is far, far more impressive than influencing beings that have no knowledge that they are being influenced. This is because, in the latter case, the force user simply has to control the electric signals in the brain, but faces no resistance or opposing force whatsoever. The problem is reduced to, the force user's ability to concentrate on and manipulate minute electric forces in the brain.

The former case, is much more difficult because the force user faces the direct opposing force from the being. In addition to the power involved in manipulating electric signals in the brain.

The above analysis is necessary to understand the main intricacies of telepathy. Comparing telepathy to telekinesis is like comparing apples to oranges truly. Telekinesis involves basic raw power, the ability to influence bigger and better objects being the main criteria in the superiority of the feat. But telepathy simply involves incredible precision on the part of the force user, the ability to influence or project forces on a cellular level. The power involved is very less

To give an example, the power consumed by the brain in one day is 20 W. You can get exactly the same value by lifting 2 kg by one meter in one second by simple physics calculation. This makes it obvious that the sheer power involved in telepathy is very less compared to telekinesis, especially considering that the above value is for the entire brain, but you have only a point fraction of that involved to change specific thoughts( this also has to take into account the extent of telepathic influence) in the brain. You do have the force user using power to perceive at that scale, only one cannot quantify the extent of the connection to the force this requires but you can look into sourcebooks and such to get that estimate. My guess is just as force sense requires infinitely lesser power than actually performing feats at that scale( you have Kenobi or Jacen being loosely galaxy level if that is not the case), this too is similar since this too is a variant of sense

My guess is that telepathy really doesn't involve raw power, rather it demonstrates mastery by being able to influence minute forces by the force user, unless he/she is influencing thousands using telepathy

In Star Wars beings have souls though, and their thoughts aren't necessarily tied to their brain, even in the case of non-Force users. Bevel Lemelisk would be a good example. I doubt telepathically influencing beings is as simple as affecting the electric signals in the brain; there is psychic energy involved, which, especially when the target is actively resisting as you've noted, most likely involves a considerable amount of power to affect, not just mastery and precision. If it were just predicated on mastery, how do you explain the fact that Force users can be born with a genetic predisposition towards telepathic powers? Would you argue this just translates to a predisposition towards mastery, which would make no sense as then that mastery should also be applicable to other abilities, which it isn't.
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LOTL

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 11:14 am
It obviously isn't just predicated on mastery, just that the biggest factor involved is mastery.

Force users being born having a genetic bias on telepathy could mean that they simply have the mental aptitude for it. It is common fact that people are more intelligent in some things than others so I don't necessarily see the issue in this logic. Like I said, part of the telepathy package is being able to perceive on a cellular level, you could just have force users that are far more talented on that than others or they could have learnt it through years of practice. In either case, this is mastery, since as I estimated, this particular aspect doesn't really involve raw power, unless the terminologies are differently viewed by you. By talented, I don't mean only having a high force connection, they could just be intelligent enough to master techniques others that are powerful take years to learn.

Then, assuming the force user is more intelligent, obviously that force user has a higher chance of subtly manipulating electric signals in the brain to achieve the outcome than a force user that is incredibly powerful, but has an IQ in the 80 scale.

Not sure about the psychic energy thing. Not sure if it is an issue for non force users but make your case as to the logic of that perspective.
NotAA3
NotAA3
Level Four
Level Four

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 11:15 am
Best to look for examples in the lore if you want to set a precedent. It seems flimsy but typically if you just read the story itself it will tell you which feats are impressive based on what the characters are freaking out about. Also if a sourcebook makes explicit mention of a feat or explains why a character is powerful because of x feat that's also a good indicator.

It's important not to base your conclusions about apples on the nature of oranges unless the oranges reveal something true about their relationship to apples. I don't think the Force is quite a science so it's a hard thing to do.

Just thought of another thing. Setting aside raw power for a moment, it's also important to look at which abilities are actually used in 1v1 and against what kind of enemies, versus abilities used for some other end. If an ability isn't well suited to fighting one strong opponent using feats for it tend not to inform us of much useful other than that the character is in some sense powerful.
xolthol
xolthol
Champion of the Light
Champion of the Light

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 3:33 pm
@Azronger: Really interresting question. I will give my two cents thought on this.

I think that every single force act must to take into account this parameters:

  1. the context
  2. the Force potential of the user
  3. the practice that the user has of this power (first time that he used it or a extremely train practionner)
  4. his inherent natural facility with this power (a prodigy or a not)

For exemple, it seems that TK is in most of the case a power that everyone had mastered and which didn't need a natural facility (taking into account that this is one of the basic of every force user). So the only intern criteria that remain is the force potential. In comparison, the drain technic or the use of  seems way harder to use knowing that not every one master them or know how to protect himself from them. So feats including  them are more impressive than basic TK things.
Now if we talk about TP it include an other criteria: the mental resilience of the subject (which can come from his species, his way of life, luck or anything else which could increase his willpower which isn't directly link to the Force). And this criteria can be a drawback or an advantage.
And at the top of all of this the context which include being amped or hindered, the range of the feat, the reasons which lead to this act,... All of them must be take into account.

After viewing the cause of a force act, lets focus on the consequences. Here again, we can take into account many criteria:

  1. the number of people who die
  2. the state of the body after the death
  3. the weight lift
  4. the environnemental impact
  5. ....

As you can see there is lots of criteria that we must take into account and they are all link to the force power which is use. For exemple a force drain can kill countless people  but will have zero impact on a 2kg stone while a TK crush can easily reduce this stone to ash.

Clearly it seems for me that we have too many parameters which need to be taking into account to create a general law (from a scientific point of view). A possible method can be to made a list of real feat that happened (not theorical one) and after a really accurate analysis and a debate around each feat to classify them. (a sort of versus but not between characters but between feats). To make a scientific comparison it is like in physics when you failled to solve a differential equation and that you resolve it on many points by approximating it with a computer. You won't find a absolut law but you can use your computation to solve some problems.

But I think that in all of this lay a biggest problem which is the coherence one. The really hard part which the whole SW universe is because it didn't come from a single creator, we are constantly facing lots of incherence and we must use mental gymnastic in order to solve them. Nonetheless, this is a really interresting reflexion to drive.
PeraltaEagle45
PeraltaEagle45

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 5:23 pm
To me, this tends to come up in "sorcerer vs. warrior" types of debates. For example, how do we compare Nadd's army-busting waves of power to the Empire's Wrath fighting through hundreds of Republic troops on Balmorra? Or how do we compare Plagueis' presence altering the weather on Naboo vs Dooku's saber accolades and fights with Yoda?
Sjuttiosju
Sjuttiosju
Level Seven
Level Seven

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 8th 2019, 8:23 pm
ILS wrote:Best to look for examples in the lore if you want to set a precedent. It seems flimsy but typically if you just read the story itself it will tell you which feats are impressive based on what the characters are freaking out about. Also if a sourcebook makes explicit mention of a feat or explains why a character is powerful because of x feat that's also a good indicator.

It's important not to base your conclusions about apples on the nature of oranges unless the oranges reveal something true about their relationship to apples. I don't think the Force is quite a science so it's a hard thing to do.

Just thought of another thing. Setting aside raw power for a moment, it's also important to look at which abilities are actually used in 1v1 and against what kind of enemies, versus abilities used for some other end. If an ability isn't well suited to fighting one strong opponent using feats for it tend not to inform us of much useful other than that the character is in some sense powerful.
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
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Moderator | Champion of the Light

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 9th 2019, 1:47 am
@DC77 @The Cosmic Force

Azronger wrote:
ILS wrote:Best to look for examples in the lore if you want to set a precedent. It seems flimsy but typically if you just read the story itself it will tell you which feats are impressive based on what the characters are freaking out about. Also if a sourcebook makes explicit mention of a feat or explains why a character is powerful because of x feat that's also a good indicator.

This doesn't really address the OP. I can think of a number of ways to conclude which feats are impressive in a vacuum. The issue arises when the task is to compare disparate feats (e.g. telepathy vs. telekinesis), sometimes from different media and time period (e.g. TOR vs. PT), and construct a hierarchical order of magnitude. I don't see how one can do that without a common reference point, which we often lack.

It's important not to base your conclusions about apples on the nature of oranges unless the oranges reveal something true about their relationship to apples. I don't think the Force is quite a science so it's a hard thing to do.

I agree, which is why I made this thread. How do we objectively weigh two feats of a completely different nature up against each other to deem which one is the greater of the two?

Just thought of another thing. Setting aside raw power for a moment, it's also important to look at which abilities are actually used in 1v1 and against what kind of enemies, versus abilities used for some other end. If an ability isn't well suited to fighting one strong opponent using feats for it tend not to inform us of much useful other than that the character is in some sense powerful.

Again, not really relevant to the OP, but just to address this: no, some feats aren't combat-applicable in the form they are used in the story, but if they require fantastical levels of power to execute regardless, they still inform the character's overall power level, which is relevant in combat when manifested through other abilities like lightning and telekinesis.
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
Moderator | Champion of the Light
Moderator | Champion of the Light

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 9th 2019, 1:50 am
SithArchaeologist wrote:To me, this tends to come up in "sorcerer vs. warrior" types of debates. For example, how do we compare Nadd's army-busting waves of power to the Empire's Wrath fighting through hundreds of Republic troops on Balmorra? Or how do we compare Plagueis' presence altering the weather on Naboo vs Dooku's saber accolades and fights with Yoda?

Do you have any ideas?
Sjuttiosju
Sjuttiosju
Level Seven
Level Seven

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 9th 2019, 11:31 am
@Azronger Solid rebuttal.
PeraltaEagle45
PeraltaEagle45

Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

on June 9th 2019, 11:52 am
Azronger wrote:
SithArchaeologist wrote:To me, this tends to come up in "sorcerer vs. warrior" types of debates. For example, how do we compare Nadd's army-busting waves of power to the Empire's Wrath fighting through hundreds of Republic troops on Balmorra? Or how do we compare Plagueis' presence altering the weather on Naboo vs Dooku's saber accolades and fights with Yoda?

Do you have any ideas?

The lore tends to favor duelists when fighters are of comparable power. This leads me to believe that, unless you can prove a solid power disparity, the "warrior" should take the fight.
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Comparing different powers Empty Re: Comparing different powers

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