I'm mostly with Dreamstreamer on this one, I think. More crunch isn't really the answer.
My main concern walking into this question is avoiding having "this looks like a job for Aquaman!
" dragging down the whole party/game. Just as Kadrok said: as is, several powers (fBendalloy being the most obvious) are pretty close to pointless in the game as it's normally played. There's a temptation on everyone's part to make the power more relevant (at the expense of everyone else in the crew, quite likely) by introducing bizarre circumstances or odd penalties that otherwise wouldn't exist.
I'm going to take this opportunity to vent about fBendalloy as a power choice in the AoL era (in anything with Full Feruchemists then more power to you if you want to use it, I say). Feel free to skip down to "Okay, vent over..."
fBendalloy as a power bothers me. Its usefulness arises all and only (if we're discounting the "weight gain helps with disguises" niche) in situations where someone without
fBendalloy would be disadvantaged, but someone with it gets to stay at the baseline. Fundamentally, its usefulness is restricted to situations that lower the capabilities of everyone around the ferring while leaving the ferring normal. And it's quite nearly impossible for any of the players
to actually deliberately engineer these situations, particularly not in any timely fashion. Not very exciting, dynamic, or empowering stuff.
If food is never ever a concern in the game, then the fBendalloy ferring never gets to use their powers. The only time it helps is when circumstances come up where food is a concern, and there is some actual mechanical disadvantaged imposed on all the crewmembers who can't eat/tap fBendalloy. The fBendalloy ferring only shines in situations where the rest of the party are being penalized—arbitrarily, it would seem, since these kinds of situations probably wouldn't arise if we didn't feel the need to make Aquaman feel relevant.
Even if Bob the Bendalloy ferring walks into the game with his eyes wide open to the... underpowered nature of his character, it'll still be prone to distort the narrative, if only subconsciously. As Bob and the Narrator both try their best to make Bob's power relevant, all the sudden the party is stuck out in the Roughs without food, and Bob's the only one with the strength to barter with that Koloss tribe: a situation that would almost certainly never have happened if Bob picked an Archivist character. I suppose this is to an extent a consequence of under-powered/niche abilities in general, even those that are fully mechanically supported, but the problem seems worse when there's virtually nothing within the RAW that lets a power be useful: it always has to be the player wheedling for an advantage and/or a Narrator graciously granting one.
Okay, vent over. Sorry about that.
This does spur a thought/comment: it's been bubbling around in my head for awhile now that we really ought to give some kind of mechanical "handicap" to characters who choose terrible powers: If I pick the fBendalloy ferring instead of the fSteel ferring on our combat-focused story, it might seem reasonable to count my character as a vanilla mortal with, say, 1 less point in some Attribute or Standing or the like. Or maybe start him out with some free AP. Something
. Has anyone come up with some reasonable system for deciding this kind of stuff and/or does anyone agree with me on the general idea?