Created By: KingZeal on July 27, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 8, 2013

Even More Omnipotent

An omnipotent character No Sells another omnipotent character.

Name Space:
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Trope
Ah, The Omnipotent. The ultimate Story-Breaker Power. A Reality Warper able to do whatever they please or imagine despite physical or natural laws. A character in this class of power is nearly impossible to challenge.

Until they meet THIS guy.

This is a special type of No Sell made especially for when two god-like beings collide. If two unique characters are "omnipotent", then there has to exist limits to their power. Logically speaking, two characters that can literally do anything is impossible, because just having individuality is technically a power. So in a contest of warpers, the one who will win is whoever can No Sell the most. In such a scenario, if Omnipotent Being #1 is usually able to turn anyone to salt with just a thought, Omnipotent Being #2 is either immune, or can prevent or reverse #1 power with their own effort.

Sometimes, the entity in question simply encompasses a larger sphere of power: a Genius Loci, Odd Job God or Anthropomorphic Personification of a defined place will typically lose to a Cosmic Being, a Dimension Lord, a Multiversal Conqueror, or capital-G God. Being the God of Horses is fine, but it doesn't help you much against the Spirit of All Living Things.

At other times, each deity is a Principles Zealot and can be undone by a Logic Bomb or a bit of Rules Lawyering. In these cases, it doesn't matter how much power the opposition actually has, because the victim's own limits defeats them. These rules, or whoever imposes them, are what's Even More Omnipotent than either god.

So in order for this trope to be in play:
  1. Both characters must be a Reality Warper (or, alternately possess some sort of Imagination Based Power or Semantic Super Power which bends the physical universe to their whims).
  2. One character nullifies, prevents, or No Sells the other.

A subtrope is More Than Infinite, which is when a plot suddenly breaks an omnipotent mechanic to resolve a conflict. See My Kung Fu Is Stronger when it involves martial arts.

Examples:

Anime & Manga

Comicbooks

  • In Marvel Comics's Infinity Trilogy, the eponymous artifact grants the wielder omnipotence when worn. More omnipotence than even, say, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the universe itself or all of the other Cosmic Beings of the setting combined. This becomes a plot point, because Thanos, the wielder of the gauntlet, is tricked into thinking that the only way to effectively dominate the universe is turn himself into the universe. But the second he does, someone else takes the gauntlet from his now-abandoned body and becomes the new big kahuna.
    • An even better example comes at the end of the saga. The sole being not affected by Reality Warping, The Living Tribunal, simply snaps its fingers and resets the entire universe back to normal.
  • Tends to happen whenever the Silver Surfer rebels against his creator, Galactus. Or when any being he bequeathed with the Power Cosmic tries the same, for that matter. Galactus is able to take back their powers at will or override any actions they attempt to take.
  • Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, was crafted by his father Odin with the specific caveat that no one can lift it unless they be worthy. (Specifically, worthy by Odin's standards. This means possessing traits such as honor, courage, humility, and the heart of a warrior-born. Odin can also rescind this rule temporarily at his leisure.) Mjolnir will always go through any impediments (even a planet) to return to Thor's hand, and it (usually) can't be destroyed by a force which exerts less than Odin's own power. However, the first way to know that a new villain is serious business is if they destroy, restrain or lift the hammer by sheer force.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Sandman has this in various places.
    • Perhaps the most satisfying is during the Key to Hell arc. The demon Azazel taunts Morpheus with having his former lover inside of his body (basically Alien Geometries), and threatens that he can kill her before Morpheus can attack him unless he hands over the key. Morpheus then calmly puts him in a jar and stuffs him in a box for a few centuries to stew in his juices. He reveals that since Azazel was inside of Morpheus' domain, and his former lover also benefited from the Sacred Hospitality he offered to all guests his own Reality Warping spectacularly trumped Azazel's.
    • Dr. Destiny, Justice League villain has nigh-omnipotent power over peoples' dreams. In the first book of The Sandman, he also had the Dreamstone, which gave him enough Mind Control to make an entire diner full of people mutilate, rape, and eat each other over the course of a single night. When Morpheus, the creator of the stone and Anthropomorphic Personification of dreams showed up to reclaim it, it's powers, of course, did nothing to him.

Live-Action TV
  • In Star Trek, the different members of the Q-continuum can sometimes nullify each others' powers. It appears to work based on hierarchy and strength in numbers. (At some point Q insists that his species is not omnipotent, but they sure seem that way to humans.)
  • In the 80's Twilight Zone episode "Crazy As A Soup Sandwich", * the demon Volkerps is defeated by the "master of demons"', who turns out the be Nino, the mob boss.
  • In the Doctor Who season finale, "The End of Time", the Master has turned the entire human race into copies of himself, and leaves a cliffhanger open where a new player is introduced in the form of the Time Lords. The next episode, their leader shows up, snaps his fingers, and changes humanity back to normal, it all being part of his agenda to destroy all of Time to move on to something greater. This entry probably needs some logic polish.

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • July 27, 2012
    MrRuano
  • July 27, 2012
    NimmerStill
    It makes my head hurt. But:
    • In StarTrek, the different members of the Q-continuum can sometimes nullify each others' powers. It appears to work based on hierarchy and strength in numbers. (At some point Q insists that his species is not omnipotent, but they sure seem that way to humans.)
  • July 30, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Heinlein's J.O.B.: A Comedy of Errors follows a modern-day Job, as he faces a series of torments. Jehovah's playing with his creation, only this time he's betting with Loki instead of Satan (who's rather fed up with the raw deal old Joe gave him). At the end of the story, Satan, who's grown rather fond of the new Job, protests on his behalf to a nameless being who is to him, Jehovah, Loki, and Odin (who has a cameo at the end) what they are to humans. Satan adjures him to be polite and speak only when spoken to.
  • July 31, 2012
    KingZeal
    I don't think that example counts.
  • July 31, 2012
    Earnest
    • The Sandman has this in various places. Perhaps the most satisfying is during the Key to Hell arc. The demon Azazel taunts Morpheus with having his former lover inside of his body (basically Alien Geometries), and threatens that he can kill her before Morpheus can attack him unless he hands over the key. Morpheus then calmly puts him in a jar and stuffs him in a box for a few centuries to stew in his juices. He reveals that since Azazel was inside of Morpheus' domain, and his former lover also benefited from the Sacred Hospitality he offered to all guests his own Reality Warping spectacularly trumped Azazel's.
  • July 31, 2012
    BrokenEye
    I believe this would be a sub- or sister-trope to My Kung Fu Is Stronger
  • August 1, 2012
    KingZeal
    That's a page pic just waiting to happen. :)
  • August 1, 2012
    SonicLover
    I'm sure there's an example in Homestuck, but I can't think of it...
  • August 1, 2012
    Cider
    Technically, I don't like the title, as the description goes on to point out, you're not really omnipotent if someone else is. But it is also way too narrow in its application, since Tropes Are Flexible. Why does it have to strictly be about one All Powerful Character getting eclipsed by another? That's simply Always Someone Better, but more specific. We haven't tolerated The Same But More Specific in the past so why start now?

    More broad, would just be a type of limit on a character who would otherwise be omnipotent. For example in Gnosticism, why is there bad when there is an all powerful, all knowing, all present God of goodness? Because he/she is busy holding the leash of an equally powerful, vast but stupid force called the Demiurge.

    An example from fiction, rather than philosophy/religion, the Chousin from Tenchi Muyo can obliterate, shape and remake the multiverse to her liking. What's stopping her from doing whatever she wants to do? Two sisters with the exact same abilities. Things are the way they are because that's what they settled on. Another would be the Living Tribunal from Marvel comics. Why can't he do whatever he wants? Because he has three heads and they rarely agree on anything.

    Now true, in Tenchi the main character ends up surpassing all three Chousin, because he's a Mary Sue, and in Marvel it is implied there is One Above All who gives tribunal his marching orders but again, that in itself is just Always A Bigger Fish or Always Someone Better. If you include say, the Great Evil Beast from DC comics, the Anti-God from Prince Of Darkness or the Demiurge who predates them both, you've got a kind of more distinct trope. Neither proves more powerful than the God, the presence, or whatever the stand in is but does kind of explain why things aren't always to God's liking.

    The trope title would be simple enough too. Two Cant Be Omnipotent.

    • Type 1:The supposed omnipotent has an equal to balance it.
    • Type 2:The supposed omnipotent is weaker than a stronger force or creature.
  • August 1, 2012
    KingZeal
    None of that is the point of this trope, and it's extremely subjective. We aren't (and shouldn't be) in the business of dissecting what should be true or is true in fiction. The blurb I added about two characters not capable of being omnipotent was to explain the reason for this trope, not to make an iron-clad rule that has to be true. It's basically a religious debate waiting to happen.

    This trope is indeed a version of Always Someone Better, but with a specific application that can only be done in a VERY narrow scope of fiction. There's no reason the two tropes can't list separate examples.
  • August 1, 2012
    Earnest
    ^^^^ Well, since you asked so nicely. ;D
  • August 1, 2012
    Cider
    Religious texts are rarely so specific in their definitions. Does the Bible ever use the term omnipotent? It could be implied, given he has no equals and all but believe it or not the book isn't really out to give a concrete picture of God as much as it is trying to encourage its readers to live moral lives.

    Was that really a dissection? Can you really be all powerful if someone else is has the exact same power and is capable of acting independently of you? Always A Bigger Fish, Always Someone Better, I don't think their any examples here that would feel out of place there nor do I think it really needs a spotlight if the only unique implication is "taken to its logical conclusion".

    Let's say I offered no counter examples, the description still suggests something broader than the title. Two reality warper types, one is able to ignore or undo the other's efforts...so what if they can both undo each other's efforts? Can't contests end in draws? Tropes Are Flexible, if Omnipotent candidate #1 proves to meet his match when introduced to Omnipotent candidate #2, even if #1 does end up winning in the end, it still breaks the pretense that #1 is omnipotent so long as #2 continues to keep operating on the same level. What's more, this allows for examples that wouldn't fit on Always Bigger Fish or Always Someone Better, thus it would no longer simply be another page we already have Up To Eleven.
  • August 8, 2012
    MorganWick
    If A is "more omnipotent" than B, is B really omnipotent?
  • August 9, 2012
    KingZeal
    According to The Omnipotent trope, being truly all-powerful is not the only definition of the trope. The Other Wiki even has a list.

    Once again, this trope is related to Always A Bigger Fish and Always Someone Better, but it's not the same.
  • August 9, 2012
    polarbear2217
    In the 80's Twilight Zone episode "Crazy As A Soup Sandwich", the demon Volkerps is defeated by the "master of demons"', who turns out the be Nino, the mob boss.
  • August 9, 2012
    moocow1452
    How about Omnipotence Trump? Seems easy enough to explain, and Deity Trump or some variant seems like it leaves wiggle room for The Mighty Thor level gods to be pummeled by a Hulk of some sort, so not quite a No Sell on Reality Warping.

    In the Doctor Who season finale, The End of Time, the Master has turned the entire human race into copies of himself, and leaves a cliffhanger open where a new player is introduced in the form of the Time Lords. The next episode, their leader shows up, snaps his fingers, and changes humanity back to normal, it all being part of his agenda to destroy all of Time to move on to something greater. This entry probably needs some logic polish.
  • August 9, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Or for titles, maybe More Omnipotent Than Thou?
  • September 10, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^^ Those two sound like excellent tropes, but not what I was intending for this trope.
  • September 10, 2012
    KingZeal
    Lending the Sandman pic to a more appropriate trope.
  • September 10, 2012
    NimmerStill
    @Morgan Wick: no. That's why it makes my head hurt. True omnipotence may be logically impossible anyway, re: the "stone he can't lift" paradox.
  • September 10, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    The fact that the title is a contradiction in terms is kinda the point, guys...

    I feel like this ultra-literal trope naming is getting out of hand. Nobody can suggest anything with the slightest hint of flavor without getting objections anymore.
  • September 10, 2012
    theTwoFacedAngel
  • September 10, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Actually, More Than Infinite seems to be pretty much the same thing, though this one here has a better name and description. For some reason More Than Infinite is phrased in the second person, as though it applied mainly to Video Games, despite the fact that there are no Video Game examples and only a few Card Game examples.
  • September 11, 2012
    KingZeal
    They're not the same, though very similar. More Than Infinite is about an expression of raw power (Power Level, attack damage, ki, whatever) that one character explicitly says is "infinite" and another character surpasses simply because what they have is somehow more quantifiable than "infinite".

    This trope is a consequence of having two opposing characters within the same story that can change the world as they see fit. One of these characters will always, always be able to employ this trope.
  • September 11, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^Anyone else not see any difference there? Raw power is just a numerical approximation of reality anyway. Any infinity of that would merely represent infinite ability to do something. At best it's The Same But More Specific; this trope applied only to attacks, perhaps.
  • September 11, 2012
    KingZeal
    No, I concede that the two overlap, but that doesn't make them the same trope. If anything, More Than Infinite, based on its description is a subtrope of this. It's specifically about a single surge of power or asset that allows them to overcome the "infinite". However, that trope is a story convention; the entire point of the trope is that there's no reason to defeat the infinite force this way. For example, in the Yu Gi Oh and MTG examples, having infinite attack power doesn't help you if your attack misses, or if the opponent has an immunity that sort of attack, or if the character never even gets a chance to attack. There is no reason the other character has to go Beyond The Impossible to win, but it happens anyway because it's cool.

    In this trope, this is the only conclusion that can arise when two "Omnipotent" beings square off. Assuming that omnipotent means "infinite" options, the only way one of them will win is if they can reject the other's options. That's not just The Same But More Specific, that's an entirely different writing convention.
  • September 11, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^That's what I meant, that More Than Infinite is a subtrope of this.
  • June 7, 2013
    KingZeal
    Needs more hats

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