History Main / UselessSuperpowers

22nd Apr '17 9:00:14 PM nombretomado
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* Most of the powers in ''[[SurvivalOfTheFittest SOTF: Evolution]]''.

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* Most of the powers in ''[[SurvivalOfTheFittest ''[[Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest SOTF: Evolution]]''.
27th Jan '17 5:03:10 PM bwburke94
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* [[WebAnimation/ASDFMovie TREE POWERS, ACTIVATE!]]

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* [[WebAnimation/ASDFMovie ''WebAnimation/{{asdfmovie}}'': TREE POWERS, ACTIVATE!]]ACTIVATE!



* On ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus'', said "magic" was frequently unreliable and the bus was prone to {{Phlebotinum Breakdown}}s, typically in the name of having plots which couldn't be resolved in three seconds. Most notably was in one episode that showed the bus was ''surprisingly'' vulnerable to ''peanut butter'': a messy eater named Junkett, just by eating one while inspecting the vehicle, practically disabled the ''entire engine''. Ms. Frizzle has a near perfect track record of twisting such problems into a lesson so the kids could solve the problems by themselves and learn; it's the Frizzle's CatchPhrase.

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* On ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus'', said "magic" was frequently unreliable and the bus was prone to {{Phlebotinum Breakdown}}s, typically in the name of having plots which couldn't be resolved in three seconds. Most notably was in one episode that showed the bus was ''surprisingly'' surprisingly vulnerable to ''peanut butter'': a messy eater named Junkett, just by eating one while inspecting the vehicle, practically disabled the ''entire engine''. Ms. Frizzle has a near perfect track record of twisting such problems into a lesson so the kids could solve the problems by themselves and learn; it's the Frizzle's CatchPhrase.
27th Jan '17 12:11:44 AM PaulA
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-->-- [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee's]] review on ''{{Scribblenauts}}''

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-->-- [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee's]] review on ''{{Scribblenauts}}''
''VideoGame/{{Scribblenauts}}''
3rd Jan '17 1:37:43 AM TheSinful
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* Both [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] and ComicBook/TheFlash have a secondary power in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5237318/1/Crush Crush]]'' as a side effect of having "become one with an aspect of reality" ([[GravityMaster Gravity]] and [[SuperSpeed Acceleration]] respectively) in that both can detect breasts with larger ones being easier to detect. Both note that there's never really a use for having breast radar, even on search and rescue operations since it doesn't work on men or young girls.
26th Dec '16 2:10:14 PM MiddleEighth
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[[folder: Fan Works]]
*In ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', Ringo discovers early on that nearly everyone and everything of importance is invisible to his mindsight, thus crippling him for most of the story (though he does figure out a workaround to at least see the silhouettes of people and moving objects, and George gets him a pair of binoculars that also help).
[[/folder]]
6th Dec '16 7:49:37 AM EllaMegablast
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A form of HoldingBackThePhlebotinum. Compare CoconutSuperpowers and CoolButInefficient. For [[StockSuperpowers superpowers]] that are actually useless in and of themeselves see WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway or BlessedWithSuck. When the depowerment happens just when it would've been necessary, then it's PlotDrivenBreakdown, and when the useless superpower turns useful, ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman

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A form of HoldingBackThePhlebotinum. Compare CoconutSuperpowers and CoolButInefficient. For [[StockSuperpowers superpowers]] that are actually useless in and of themeselves useless, see WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway or BlessedWithSuck. When the depowerment uselessness happens just when it the power would've been necessary, then it's PlotDrivenBreakdown, and when PlotDrivenBreakdown. When the useless superpower turns becomes useful, ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman
it's ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman.



* At the start of ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', [[FairyCompanion Keroberos]] is unable to use most of his powers because they are sealed away due to being stuck in his SleepModeSize until [[GottaCatchEmAll all the Clow Cards are captured]]. Unsurprisingly, he is quick to reassure Sakura that [[TransformationSequence once he can return to his normal form]], he will be very powerful and 'cool' ([[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and so he is!]]). But...even after he is freed to be his MegaNeko self whenever he wishes in the second season, invariably [[WeaksauceWeakness one barrier, spell, or complication after another crops up that renders his powers fairly useless]]--or they just plain don't have much of an effect. Of course, this is usually because in most cases he's unknowingly trying [[OmniscientMoralityLicense to combat his own creator's powers]], but still... Awesome look, sadly lame powers. ([[RuleOfCool Except for when he blocks attacks with a shield of fire!]])
* Miroku from ''Manga/InuYasha'' is cursed with a black hole in the palm of his hand. While it will one day consume him, and even if he has children the curse will only be passed on to them, it can also suck in anything into an inescapable abyss. So what keeps this from being a StoryBreakerPower? The BigBad's minions all have the ability to produce poisonous miasma, which ''does'' affect Miroku if he sucks it inside his hand. It doesn't take long for him to go from a super-powerful PersonOfMassDestruction to mere CombatCommentator, although on several occasions when there truly is no other choice, Miroku will go ahead and use it and deal with being poisoned. The Wind Tunnel also grows as he uses it, and can be caused to grow more quickly by damage to his hand. Mostly the presence of poison is to prevent him from always using it rather than having Inu-Yasha be useful.

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* At the start of ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', [[FairyCompanion Keroberos]] is unable to use most of his powers because they are sealed away due to being stuck in his SleepModeSize until [[GottaCatchEmAll all the Clow Cards are captured]]. Unsurprisingly, he is quick to reassure Sakura that [[TransformationSequence once he can return to his normal form]], he will be very powerful and 'cool' 'cool', ([[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and so he is!]]). But...But even after he is freed to be his MegaNeko self whenever he wishes in the second season, invariably [[WeaksauceWeakness one barrier, spell, or complication after another crops up that renders his powers fairly useless]]--or they just plain don't have much of an effect. Of course, this is usually because in most cases cases, he's unknowingly trying [[OmniscientMoralityLicense to combat his own creator's powers]], but still... Awesome look, sadly lame powers. ([[RuleOfCool Except for when he blocks attacks with a shield of fire!]])
still.
* Miroku from ''Manga/InuYasha'' is cursed with a black hole in the palm of his hand. While it will one day consume him, and even if he has children the curse will only be passed on to them, it can also suck in anything into an inescapable abyss. So what keeps this from being a StoryBreakerPower? The BigBad's minions all have the ability to produce poisonous miasma, miasmas, which ''does'' affect Miroku if he sucks it inside his hand. It doesn't take long for him to go from a super-powerful PersonOfMassDestruction to mere CombatCommentator, although on several occasions when there truly is no other choice, Miroku will go ahead and use it and deal with being poisoned. The Wind Tunnel also grows as he uses it, and can be caused to grow more quickly by damage to if his hand. Mostly the presence of poison hand is to prevent him from always using it rather than having Inu-Yasha be useful.damaged.



* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} version of ComicBook/{{Superman}} is so all-powerful that making any problem last longer than three panels takes some doing. As such, KryptoniteIsEverywhere, with just about everyone having some Superman-nerfing... something. Worth noting that during the Silver Age, it's more-or-less accepted that Superman has solved traditional crime, and many stories deal with him doing strange publicity stunts instead of fighting crime.
* ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' stories from the same era. The fully-unleashed power of a Green Lantern is such that for a time even the yellow weakness wasn't enough: there had to be "invisible yellow" or "infra-yellow" or a "yellow compound" around when GL needed to attack enemies or manipulate objects that were so completely non-yellow. A little TechnoBabble to make a green-clad bad guy count as yellow meant you didn't even need [[Series/TheBigBangTheory a #2 pencil]] to seriously ruin Hal's day.

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* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} version of ComicBook/{{Superman}} is so all-powerful powerful that making any problem last longer than three panels takes some doing. As such, KryptoniteIsEverywhere, with just about everyone having some Superman-nerfing... Superman-nerfing something. Worth noting that during the Silver Age, it's more-or-less more or less accepted that Superman has solved the problem of traditional crime, and crime: thus, many stories deal with him doing strange publicity stunts instead of fighting crime.
evil.
* ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' stories from the same era. The fully-unleashed power of a Green Lantern is such that that, for a time time, even the yellow weakness wasn't enough: there had to be "invisible yellow" or "infra-yellow" or a "yellow compound" around when GL needed to attack enemies or manipulate objects that were so completely non-yellow. A little TechnoBabble to make a green-clad bad guy count as yellow meant you didn't even need [[Series/TheBigBangTheory a #2 pencil]] to seriously ruin Hal's day.



* The movie ''Film/MysteryMen'' relies heavily on useless powers for its plot. All of the main characters are designed to be wannabe superheroes with powers that are only really useful on rare and specific locations. The main super-team consists of a boy can only turn invisible when nobody's looking[[note]]it does let him sneak past automated security[[/note]], a man who gets super strength and dexterity only when he is well and truly furious (slight anger doesn't count like it does for the Hulk), a woman who is a fantastic bowler, a man who is an expert with a shovel, a man who can throw forks particularly well, a man who farts with unique strength, and a man who is "terribly mysterious."

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* The movie ''Film/MysteryMen'' relies heavily on useless powers for its plot. All of the main characters are designed to be wannabe superheroes with powers that are only really useful on in rare and specific locations. situations. The main super-team consists of a boy can who only turn invisible when nobody's looking[[note]]it looking[[labelnote:*]]it does let him sneak past automated security[[/note]], security[[/labelnote]], a man who gets gains super strength and dexterity only when he is well and truly furious (slight anger doesn't count like it does for the Hulk), count), a woman who is a fantastic bowler, a man who is an expert with a shovel, a man who can throw forks particularly well, a man who farts with unique strength, and a man who is "terribly mysterious."



** Of course, in ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', Pratchett shows just what happens when wizards use magic freely and have an abundance of power available to them. The results are... not pretty. It's strongly implied that the historical wars between wizards were ''even worse''. Not surprising that ''not'' using magic has become more important than the magic itself.
** At least one Discworld book points out that in nine out of ten situations there's just ''no point'' to using magic. Doing anything by magic takes the same amount of effort as doing it by not-magic. So you could create a loaf of bread out of sheer nothingness, but it'll just disappear again in a few seconds on the energy reserves of the average wizard. Better to just bake your own damn bread.* Additionally, Mustrum Ridcully once observed that there's not usually much point in conjuring up fireballs if monsters show up, since anything that isn't fazed by being whacked with six feet of solid oak staff is probably immune to magic as well.

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** Of course, in ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', Pratchett shows just what happens when wizards use magic freely and have an abundance of power available to them. The results are... are not pretty. It's strongly implied that the historical wars between wizards were ''even worse''. Not surprising that ''not'' using magic has become more important than the magic itself.
** At least one Discworld book points out that in nine out of ten situations situations, there's just ''no point'' to using magic. Doing anything by magic takes the same amount of effort as doing it by not-magic. So you could create a loaf of bread out of sheer nothingness, but it'll just disappear again in a few seconds on the energy reserves of the average wizard. Better to just bake your own damn bread.* Additionally, Mustrum Ridcully once observed that there's not usually much point in conjuring up fireballs if monsters show up, since anything that isn't fazed by being whacked with six feet of solid oak staff is probably immune to magic as well.



* Creator/LarryNiven averted this by ending his ''Literature/KnownSpace'' series after ''Literature/{{Ringworld}}'', because he had introduced too much {{Phlebotinum}}, like [[spoiler: the Teela Brown gene]], to continue writing without invoking increasingly circuitous barriers to the use of said Phlebotinum. Of course, then he went and [[{{Sequelitis}} made Ringworld Engineers, and Ringworld Throne, and]]...

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* Creator/LarryNiven averted attempted to avert this by ending his ''Literature/KnownSpace'' series after ''Literature/{{Ringworld}}'', because he had introduced too much {{Phlebotinum}}, like [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the Teela Brown gene]], to continue writing without invoking increasingly circuitous barriers to the use of said Phlebotinum. Of course, then he went and [[{{Sequelitis}} made Ringworld Engineers, and Ringworld Throne, and]]...



** By [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban book 3]] Harry starts to evade these problems. He inflates his aunt like a balloon (she gets better and has her memory wiped by a third party) and is excused because everyone is just glad he's safe after he ran away, and then goes to a wizarding friend's house where he can cast supervised magic. In [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire book 4]], his abusive guardians are afraid of his godfather coming to get revenge on them, so they leave him alone from then on, and later in the series he often goes to wizarding friends' houses.

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** By [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban book 3]] 3]], Harry starts to evade these problems. He inflates his aunt like a balloon (she gets better and has her memory wiped by a third party) and is excused because everyone is just glad he's safe after he ran away, and then goes to a wizarding friend's house where he can cast supervised magic. In [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire book 4]], his abusive guardians are afraid of his godfather coming to get revenge on them, so they leave him alone from then on, and later in the series he often goes to wizarding friends' houses.



* Richard from ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'' is said to have more magical ability than anyone else living, but he has to be emotionally charged to do jack. Occasionally he'll destroy an entire regiment with nothing more than a thought, but otherwise can't light a candle without flint. Richard's powers are often noted to be inversely proportional to the number of pages are left. Even with these limitations, there is enough of a StoryBreakerPower potential that Richard's gift has been blocked or restricted by taking a hostage on a regular basis.
* In L.E Modesitt's ''Literature/TheSagaOfRecluce'', mages have the power to reshape land, permanently alter weather, and wreak unholy destruction on those around them. However, the more powerful the magic, the greater the price. Using Order magic to cause death always results in a backlash against the mage, typically blindness. Improving the weather in one place can cause major and catastrophic climate shifts (in one book, changing one land from desert into productive land by moving weather systems creates a much larger desert elsewhere). Using Chaos magic prematurely ages the user, and turns one into walking entropy -- food spoils more quickly, clothing and furniture wear out much faster than normal, and machines break down constantly. Using either one to heal injury or kill disease can weaken the person it's used on. The Balance pretty much limits uses of magic to small, subtle things; or results in greatly shortened lifespans.
** It also appears to cause some substantial changes to the characters of the users. Habitual users of Chaos magic become chaotic themselves, power-hungry, backstabbing, untrustworthy, unstable, and conflict-prone. Order users can become passive, hidebound, rules-obsessed, excessively conservative, even reactionary.
** Even invisibility is nearly useless as a power. It's done in a very realistic manner, by bending the light around the mage; but this means that the mage has no light to see by, and is stuck in pitch darkness the entire time he's invisible. And, of course, he can still be ''heard'' just fine.
* Lucretia from ''Literature/{{Bystander}}'' has won the SuperpowerLottery. However, books and street signs don't take into account thermal vision, and its only because her temperature sight only activates in areas of significant fluctuation (like outside) that she can read at all. Likewise, her ability to see electricity makes computers, cell phones and [=TVs=] more or less useless for her. Finally, she has [[WeaksauceWeakness such a pathetic level of fighting skill]] that normal people had only a little difficulty handling her despite her strength and actual trained soldiers easily take her down. It's no wonder that she puts most of her faith in her skills as a [[GuileHero street rat]] and [[ManipulativeBastard manipulator]]. Even then, her sloppily executed BatmanGambit is what causes things to spin out of control plot-wise.

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* Richard from ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'' is said to have more magical ability than anyone else living, but he has to be emotionally charged to do jack. Occasionally he'll destroy an entire regiment with nothing more than a thought, but otherwise can't light a candle without flint. Richard's powers are often noted to be inversely proportional to the number of pages are left. Even with these limitations, there is enough of a StoryBreakerPower potential that Richard's gift has been blocked or restricted by taking a hostage on a regular basis.
* In L.E Modesitt's ''Literature/TheSagaOfRecluce'', mages have the power to reshape land, permanently alter weather, and wreak unholy destruction on those around them. However, the more powerful the magic, the greater the price. Using Order magic to cause death always results in a backlash against the mage, typically blindness. Improving the weather in one place can cause major and catastrophic climate shifts (in one book, changing one land from desert into productive land by moving weather systems creates a much larger desert elsewhere). Using Chaos magic prematurely ages the user, and turns one into walking entropy -- food spoils more quickly, clothing and furniture wear out much faster than normal, and machines break down constantly. Using either one to heal injury or kill disease can weaken the person it's used on. The Balance pretty much limits uses of magic to small, subtle things; things, or results in greatly shortened lifespans.
** It also appears to cause some substantial changes to the characters of the users. Habitual users of Chaos magic become chaotic themselves, themselves: power-hungry, backstabbing, untrustworthy, unstable, and conflict-prone. Order users can become passive, hidebound, rules-obsessed, and excessively conservative, even reactionary.
** Even invisibility is nearly useless as a power. It's done in a very realistic manner, by bending the light around the mage; mage, but this means that the mage has no light to see by, and is stuck in pitch darkness the entire time he's invisible. And, of course, he can still be ''heard'' just fine.
* Lucretia from ''Literature/{{Bystander}}'' has won the SuperpowerLottery. However, books and street signs don't take into account thermal vision, and its it's only because her temperature sight only activates in areas of significant fluctuation (like outside) that she can read at all. Likewise, her ability to see electricity makes computers, cell phones and [=TVs=] more or less useless for her. Finally, she has [[WeaksauceWeakness such a pathetic level of fighting skill]] that normal people had only a little difficulty handling her despite her strength and actual trained soldiers easily take her down. It's no wonder that she puts most of her faith in her skills as a [[GuileHero street rat]] and [[ManipulativeBastard manipulator]]. Even then, her sloppily executed BatmanGambit is what causes things to spin out of control plot-wise.



* As mentioned in the intro at the top of the page, ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' may be the UrExample of this trope. One season one episode revealed that Samantha could rewind time and completely rewrite reality with her powers--and she's not even the most powerful witch in the series. As such, the writers had to keep coming up with caveats to not only her gifts, but magic in general:
** One of the biggest examples throughout the series is that Darrin isn't crazy about Samantha using her magic to solve all of his problems for him; this has been interpreted in [[ValuesDissonance later years]] as a kind of supernatural StayInTheKitchen, with Darrin trying to force Sam to be "normal." Notably, she usually ended up ignoring him.

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* As mentioned in the intro at the top of the page, ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' may be the UrExample of this trope. One season one first-season episode revealed that Samantha could rewind time and completely rewrite reality with her powers--and she's not even the most powerful witch in the series. As such, the writers had to keep coming up with caveats to not only her gifts, but magic in general:
** One of the biggest examples throughout the series is that Darrin isn't crazy about Samantha using her magic to solve all of his problems for him; this him. This has been interpreted in [[ValuesDissonance later years]] as a kind of supernatural StayInTheKitchen, with Darrin trying to force Sam to be "normal." Notably, she usually ended up ignoring him.



* A prime example of this is in the various ''Franchise/StarTrek'' series, where their transporters -- which could easily enable a quick and painless escape from captivity or a heated firefight -- are often rendered crippled or useless for one reason or another (interference, mechanical failure, etc.).

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* A prime example of this is in the various ''Franchise/StarTrek'' series, where their transporters -- which could easily enable a quick and painless escape from captivity or a heated firefight -- are often rendered crippled or useless for one reason or another (interference, mechanical failure, etc.).



*** In the episode "The Hunted" SuperSoldier Roga Danar is more GenreSavvy than the crew. To escape from the ''Enterprise'' while the transporters are shutdown and mostly under guard, he sneaks into a cargo hold and uses a cargo transporter, powered by a phaser, to beam off the ship. That said, using a cargo transporter is a bit risky as they are not as precise and you run a very high risk of arriving at your destination with your liver put-in backwards.

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*** In the episode "The Hunted" Hunted", SuperSoldier Roga Danar is more GenreSavvy than the crew. To escape from the ''Enterprise'' while the transporters are shutdown shut down and mostly under guard, he sneaks into a cargo hold and uses a cargo transporter, powered by a phaser, to beam off the ship. That said, using Using a cargo transporter is a bit risky risky, as they are not as precise precise, and you run a very high risk of arriving at your destination with your liver put-in put in backwards.



** Evie is basically Samantha from Bewitched: you've got a power that basically amounts to "Do Anything," but to keep her from solving the problem of the week easily, it will do something other than what she wants it to as if it were a JerkassGenie and not her own power, and then not let her reverse it until certain requirements (or a certain point in the episode) has been met. This gets worse as the show goes on; at first her only power was freezing time for everyone but her, which was very useful yet not a cure-all for reasons that made sense. Her powers became very fond of backfiring once she got to RealityWarper class.

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** Evie is basically Samantha from Bewitched: you've got a power that basically amounts to "Do Anything," but to keep her from solving the problem of the week easily, it will do something other than what she wants it to as if it were a JerkassGenie and not her own power, and then not let her reverse it until certain requirements (or a certain point in the episode) has have been met. This gets worse as the show goes on; at on. At first her only power was freezing time for everyone but her, which was very useful yet useful, but not a cure-all panacea for reasons that made sense. Her powers became very fond of backfiring once she got to RealityWarper class.



** It's worth noting, though, that the writers were able to [[JustifiedTrope justify]] Sabrina's limitations better than ''Bewitched'' did. Sabrina was, after all, a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin teenage witch]]--so she combined the lack of foresight and desire for quick fixes common to teens with powers she didn't fully understand. She was also trying to balance learning about the supernatural with a fully mortal life as well, which tended to make her lazy about looking up specifics in her [[GreatBigBookOfEverything Magic Book]]. She also couldn't access the full range of her powers until she got her "Witch's License"--and even ''then,'' she couldn't use it until she solved the Spellman family secret! Finally, her aunts tended to take a "hands-off" approach to Sabrina's magical education, insisting that she learn to clean up her own messes rather than simply fixing them for her. Combine all of this with [[TheMasquerade the inevitable attempts to hide magic from the mortal world]], and you begin to understand Sabrina's issues.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor's sonic screwdriver - normally an all-purpose lockpick - is unable to affect anything that's been secured with a "deadlock seal", which seems to pop up arbitrarily in all places and historical eras (though when it shows up on modern Earth it's always of alien origin). Ten also reveals that the sonic doesn't "do wood" and that it can be blocked by certain types of hair-dryers--though he is trying to fix the latter.

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** It's worth noting, though, that the writers were able to [[JustifiedTrope justify]] Sabrina's limitations better than ''Bewitched'' did. Sabrina was, after all, a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin teenage witch]]--so she combined the lack of foresight and desire for quick fixes common to teens with powers she they didn't fully understand. She was also trying to balance learning about the supernatural with a fully mortal life as well, which tended to make her lazy about looking up specifics in her [[GreatBigBookOfEverything Magic Book]]. She also couldn't access the full range of her powers until she got her "Witch's License"--and even ''then,'' she couldn't use it until she solved the Spellman family secret! Finally, her aunts tended to take a "hands-off" approach to Sabrina's magical education, insisting that she learn to clean up her own messes rather than simply fixing them for her. Combine all of this with [[TheMasquerade the inevitable attempts to hide magic from the mortal world]], and you begin to understand Sabrina's issues.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor's sonic screwdriver - -- normally an all-purpose lockpick - -- is unable to affect anything that's been secured with a "deadlock seal", which seems to pop up arbitrarily in all places and historical eras (though when it shows up on modern Earth it's always of alien origin). Ten also reveals that the sonic doesn't "do wood" and that it can be blocked by certain types of hair-dryers--though he is trying to fix the latter.



** In a number of episodes the main conflict could be ''easily'' solved if he had access to the TARDIS but it was accidentally sealed in a vault / stolen / lost / fallen down a shaft almost as soon as the characters stepped out of it.

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** In a number of episodes episodes, the main conflict could be ''easily'' easily solved if he had access to the TARDIS TARDIS, but it was accidentally sealed in a vault / stolen / lost / fallen down a shaft almost as soon as the characters stepped out of it.



** Hell, they're lucky if that's ''all'' that happens. Remember the time they tried to use magic to cure Piper of a fatal disease? The disease ''gained its own body'', became ''sentient'', and started ''killing people''. I guess the Elders take that personal gain rule REALLY freakin' seriously.
** This was made apparent to new character Paige; when she cast a 'Karma/reap what you sow' spell on a fellow employee, it backfired and gave her ''enormous breasts''... so big she had to break [[GagBoobs spherical holes into the windshield]] just to get in her car.
** Plus there was time after time a demon would be immune to their powers and require specific conditions to be vanquished. Considering that Piper got the power to blow things up, it was kind of necessary to maintain dramatic tension: An episode's major antagonist would seldom survive ''simply being gestured at by Piper,'' and the few who could handle that were still ''totally'' fragged if the sisters brought out the big guns and... said "The power of three will set us free" three times.

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** Hell, they're lucky if that's ''all'' that happens. Remember the time they tried to use magic to cure Piper of a fatal disease? The disease ''gained gained its own body'', body, became ''sentient'', sentient, and started ''killing people''. I guess the Elders take that personal gain rule REALLY freakin' seriously.
killing people.
** This was made apparent to new character Paige; when she cast a 'Karma/reap what you sow' spell on a fellow employee, it backfired and gave her ''enormous breasts''... breasts so big she had to break [[GagBoobs spherical holes into the windshield]] just to get in her car.
** Plus there was time Time after time time, a demon would be immune to their powers and require specific conditions to be vanquished. Considering that Piper got the power to blow things up, it was kind of necessary to maintain dramatic tension: An an episode's major antagonist would seldom survive ''simply simply being gestured at by Piper,'' Piper, and the few who could handle that were still ''totally'' totally fragged if the sisters brought out the big guns and... and said "The power of three will set us free" three times.



** Averted in the Season 8 comics. By now, Willow has become confident enough to make full use of her powers even though she still gets the BlackEyesOfEvil when she goes all out.

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** Averted in the Season 8 comics. By now, Willow has become confident enough to make full use of her powers powers, even though she still gets the BlackEyesOfEvil when she goes all out.



** Remilia is a prime candidate. Her power of "Fate manipulation" is basically never even spoken of. Since manipulating fate would have no apparent effect, except that Remilia somehow benefits from everything, setting up a "just as planned" ending. Since people tend to prefer "Charisma Break" Remilia, she usually doesn't even get this much in most fanon, and even canon works like ''Silent Sinner In Blue'' give only hints that she is purposefully allowing herself to be "manipulated" for her own benefit while using ObfuscatingStupidity (which itself is trying to hide behind being an {{Ojou}}). Then again, in ''Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red'', Remilia's sister Flandre claims that she's a braggart and her only real power (apart from her [[SuperpowerLottery vampire abilities]]) is to [[IMeantToDoThat lie convincingly about how she planned everything]].
** Keine's superpower is theoretically unstoppable - she can consume history, and rewrite it at her whim, theoretically making her capable of consuming a person's ever being born. In-game, it seems she can't even make characters forget that the human village existed, much to her chagrin, and, due to its lack of flashiness, is generally ignored in fanon, for her much more visceral, but far less dignified head-butting of opponents.
** Rumia is given a far more humiliating reason for her power's uselessness - her "darkness" superpower was meant to sound scary, but is actually completely useless, because it's also her own WeaksauceWeakness - using her power blinds her, and she is canonically recorded to fly into trees whenever she uses it.

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** Remilia is a prime candidate. Her power of "Fate manipulation" is basically never even spoken of. Since of, since manipulating fate would have no apparent effect, effect except that Remilia somehow benefits from everything, setting up a "just as planned" ending. Since people tend to prefer "Charisma Break" Remilia, she usually doesn't even get this much in most fanon, and even fanon. Even canon works like ''Silent Sinner In Blue'' give only hints hint that she is purposefully allowing herself to be "manipulated" for her own benefit while using ObfuscatingStupidity (which itself is trying to hide behind being an {{Ojou}}). Then again, in ''Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red'', Remilia's sister Flandre claims that she's a braggart and her only real power (apart from her [[SuperpowerLottery vampire abilities]]) is to [[IMeantToDoThat lie convincingly about how she planned everything]].
** Keine's superpower is theoretically unstoppable - -- she can consume history, history and rewrite it at her whim, theoretically making her capable of consuming a person's ever being born. In-game, it seems she can't even make characters forget that the human village existed, much to her chagrin, and, due chagrin. Due to its her lack of flashiness, this power is generally ignored in fanon, for fanon in favor of her much more visceral, but far less dignified dignified, head-butting of opponents.
** Rumia is given a far more humiliating reason for her power's uselessness - -- her "darkness" superpower was meant to sound scary, but is actually completely useless, because it's also her own WeaksauceWeakness - -- using her power blinds her, and she is canonically recorded to fly into trees whenever she uses it.



*** There's more to it than just that. Anything that enters the Netherworld is counted as dead for the duration of their stay, hence Yuyuko's own home is a RestrainingBolt on her power.

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*** There's more to it than just that. Anything In addition, anything that enters the Netherworld is counted as dead for the duration of their stay, hence so Yuyuko's own home is a RestrainingBolt on her power.



*** Yuyuko's secondary power, to control ghosts, is the opposite despite sounding less impressive. Since every single thing in the Netherworld is a ghost or phantom or some sort, she has absolute control over the entirety of the Netherworld ([[AsskickingEqualsAuthority which is what earned her an administrative position there in the first place]]). Gensokyo itself has no shortage of spirits either, making it effective there too.



* In Webcomic/CaseyAndAndy Satan herself is Andy's girlfriend. Author had to come up with reasons she doesn't want to use superpowers to resolve story arcs immediately.
** Quite often it ends up being "I'm evil and your suffering amuses me". Well she ''is'' Satan...

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* In Webcomic/CaseyAndAndy Webcomic/CaseyAndAndy, Satan herself is Andy's girlfriend. Author The author had to come up with reasons she doesn't want to use superpowers to resolve story arcs immediately.
**
immediately. Quite often often, it ends up being "I'm evil and your suffering amuses me". Well Well, she ''is'' Satan...



*** Folder's a pacifist ''because'' it's a one-hit-kill power.[[spoiler:..and s/he has anger management issues that are ''very'' well hidden under that pacifism. S/he doesn't dare use his/her powers in anger, for fear that s/he ''would'' kill someone if provoked.]]
** Then there's Gotterdammerung. His sole power? Total destruction of anything he touches down to the quantum level. It can't be used for anything but death or destruction. Since he's the sensitive type and doesn't want to hurt anyone it makes him a helpless bully magnet.

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*** Folder's a pacifist ''because'' it's a one-hit-kill power.power [[spoiler:..and s/he has anger management issues that are ''very'' well hidden under that pacifism. S/he doesn't dare use his/her powers in anger, for fear that s/he ''would'' kill someone if provoked.]]
** Then there's Gotterdammerung. His sole power? Total destruction of anything he touches down to the quantum level. It can't be used for anything but death or destruction. Since he's the sensitive type and doesn't want to hurt anyone anyone, it makes him a helpless bully magnet.



* Lampshding the original movie (as listed above), WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged has Bardock constantly complaining about the fact that his future sense never actually helps, and often interrupts him in the middle of combat.
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh_zios6nIU USELESS SUPERPOWERS]]'' is a youtube video highlighting some super heroes with really bad powers, such as Semi-Transparent Man, who can still be seen, and AOL, who can connect to the internet (eventually)

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* Lampshding Lampshading the original movie (as listed above), WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged has Bardock constantly complaining about the fact that his future sense never actually helps, and often interrupts him in the middle of combat.
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh_zios6nIU USELESS SUPERPOWERS]]'' is a youtube [=YouTube=] video highlighting some super heroes with really bad powers, such as Semi-Transparent Man, who can still be seen, and AOL, who can connect to the internet (eventually)(eventually).



* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' has Bubs, who apparently has the ability to fly, but only about two or three inches off the ground due to all the weight he's gained. Plus, he [[WeaksauceWeakness loses the power when someone gets him to say his name backwards, minus the first B (sbu).]]

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* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' has Bubs, who apparently has the ability to fly, but only gets about two or three inches off the ground due to all the weight he's gained. Plus, he [[WeaksauceWeakness loses the power when someone gets him to say his name backwards, minus the first B (sbu).]]



* Used constantly on ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''. This series mostly avoids the problems ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' had, however, by [[MagicAIsMagicA explaining the rules the fairies work by at the beginning and then sticking to them]]. And yet, despite the exaggeratedly large size of the rule book, it only contains about 20 or so rules, with a new one popping up whenever the plot calls for it. Then again, half the time they simply give Timmy the IdiotBall, and in many episodes he probably could've found a way around a restriction if he really thought it out. In this specific example, the IdiotBall is named Cosmo. The rest of the time, the conflict is created by the wish - or outside forces - separating Timmy from the Fairies, or their wands, so that he needs to regain his ability to make wishes before he can clean up his mess.

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* Used constantly on ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''. This series mostly avoids the problems ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'' had, however, by [[MagicAIsMagicA explaining the rules the fairies work by at the beginning and then sticking to them]]. And yet, despite the exaggeratedly large size of the rule book, it only contains about 20 or so rules, with a new one popping up whenever the plot calls for it. Then again, half the time they simply give Timmy the IdiotBall, and in many episodes he probably could've found a way around a restriction if he really thought it out. In this specific example, the IdiotBall is named Cosmo. The rest of the time, the conflict is created by the wish - -- or outside forces - -- separating Timmy from the Fairies, or their wands, so that he needs to regain his ability to make wishes before he can clean up his mess.



** Also, the thing doesn't like to let him use his most powerful transformations, in ''any'' series. If he tries to turn into a bug that sprays sticky gunk, it'll work every time. If he tries to turn into the Ultraman pastiche, he'll probably get... the bug that sprays sticky gunk. [[spoiler: It's eventually explained in the franchise's GrandFinale that it has a failsafe that transforms the wearer into whatever form is needed to avoid the wearers immediate death. [[FridgeLogic How a bug that sprays sticky gunk is better at preventing Ben's death than the Ultraman pastiche is never really explained though.]]]]
*** Differing explanations such it being the prototype to later on Ben pressing down to hard to the A.I. giving Ben what he needs that may require out-of-the-box thinking.
* ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' has 12 Talismans which grant the holder extraordinary abilities. However, of the twelve, there are three that can be pretty useless when they're on their own. The Rat Talisman, which grants motion to inanimate objects, the Tiger Talisman, which [[LiteralSplitPersonality literally splits the holders Ying personality from his Yang personality]], and the Sheep Talisman, which is AstralProjection. This is parodied when henchman Finn just happens to get all three of these talismans, after all twelve were randomly divided amongst the group.

to:

** Also, the thing doesn't like to let him use his most powerful transformations, transformations in ''any'' series. If he tries to turn into a bug that sprays sticky gunk, it'll work every time. If he tries to turn into the Ultraman pastiche, he'll probably get... the bug that sprays sticky gunk. [[spoiler: It's [[spoiler:It's eventually explained in the franchise's GrandFinale that it has a failsafe that transforms the wearer into whatever form is needed to avoid the wearers wearer's immediate death. [[FridgeLogic How a bug that sprays sticky gunk is better at preventing Ben's death than the Ultraman pastiche is never really explained explained, though.]]]]
*** Differing explanations such it being the prototype to later on Ben pressing down to hard to the A.I. giving Ben what he needs that may require out-of-the-box thinking.
* ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' has 12 Talismans the Twelve Talismans, which grant the holder extraordinary abilities. However, of the twelve, there are three that can be pretty useless when they're on their own. The own: these are the Rat Talisman, which grants motion to inanimate objects, the Tiger Talisman, which [[LiteralSplitPersonality literally splits the holders Ying personality from his Yang personality]], and the Sheep Talisman, which is grants AstralProjection. This is parodied when henchman Finn just happens to get all three of these talismans, after all twelve were randomly divided amongst the group.



** The Existence of each Talisman is justified mainly for Shendu. Shendu depends on the Rat Talisman to keep him from his statue form, and the Tiger Talisman keeps the power of the other talismans in balance. And Shendu was the only one who knew how to use the Sheep Talisman properly with no problems.

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** The Existence existence of each Talisman is justified mainly for Shendu. Shendu depends on the Rat Talisman to keep him from out of his statue form, and the Tiger Talisman keeps the power of the other talismans in balance. And Furthermore, Shendu was the only one who knew how to use the Sheep Talisman properly with no problems. problems.



** Heck, the Martian Manhunter is the biggest example of this, even moreso than Superman. He uses his shapeshifting three or four times in the entire show's run. He uses his mind reading powers to cry out in pain at how powerful the MonsterOfTheWeek is. His density shifting powers are rarely used to their full extent (He'll stare at oncoming projectiles rather than, well, become intangible and let them pass through him harmlessly) and only once did he bother to actually shift his density to become super hard and heavy in the entire show.

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** Heck, the Martian Manhunter is the biggest example of this, even moreso than Superman. He uses his shapeshifting three or four times in the entire show's run. He uses his mind reading powers to cry out in pain at how powerful the MonsterOfTheWeek is. His density shifting powers are rarely used to their full extent (He'll (he'll stare at oncoming projectiles rather than, well, become intangible and let them pass through him harmlessly) and only once did he bother to actually shift his density to become super hard and heavy in the entire show.
25th Nov '16 1:43:30 PM StFan
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



* Miroku from ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'' is cursed with a black hole in the palm of his hand. While it will one day consume him, and even if he has children the curse will only be passed on to them, it can also suck in anything into an inescapable abyss. So what keeps this from being a StoryBreakerPower? The BigBad's minions all have the ability to produce poisonous miasma, which ''does'' affect Miroku if he sucks it inside his hand. It doesn't take long for him to go from a super-powerful PersonOfMassDestruction to mere CombatCommentator, although on several occasions when there truly is no other choice, Miroku will go ahead and use it and deal with being poisoned. The Wind Tunnel also grows as he uses it, and can be caused to grow more quickly by damage to his hand. Mostly the presence of poison is to prevent him from always using it rather than having Inuyasha be useful.

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* Miroku from ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'' ''Manga/InuYasha'' is cursed with a black hole in the palm of his hand. While it will one day consume him, and even if he has children the curse will only be passed on to them, it can also suck in anything into an inescapable abyss. So what keeps this from being a StoryBreakerPower? The BigBad's minions all have the ability to produce poisonous miasma, which ''does'' affect Miroku if he sucks it inside his hand. It doesn't take long for him to go from a super-powerful PersonOfMassDestruction to mere CombatCommentator, although on several occasions when there truly is no other choice, Miroku will go ahead and use it and deal with being poisoned. The Wind Tunnel also grows as he uses it, and can be caused to grow more quickly by damage to his hand. Mostly the presence of poison is to prevent him from always using it rather than having Inuyasha Inu-Yasha be useful.



* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} version of ComicBook/{{Superman}} was so all-powerful that making any problem last longer than three panels took some doing. As such, KryptoniteIsEverywhere, with just about everyone having some Superman-nerfing... something.
** Worth noting that during the Silver Age, it's more-or-less accepted that Superman has solved traditional crime, and many stories deal with him doing strange publicity stunts instead of fighting crime.

to:

* UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} version of ComicBook/{{Superman}} was is so all-powerful that making any problem last longer than three panels took takes some doing. As such, KryptoniteIsEverywhere, with just about everyone having some Superman-nerfing... something.
**
something. Worth noting that during the Silver Age, it's more-or-less accepted that Superman has solved traditional crime, and many stories deal with him doing strange publicity stunts instead of fighting crime.



[[folder:Film]]

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[[folder:Film]][[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]



** In ''Discworld/{{Thud}}!'', a Discworld novel, after government inspector A.E. Pessimal is dragged along to observe the Watch quelling a riot, he asks Commander Vimes why they couldn't recruit the wizards to help stop a potential riot by magicking away the weapons. Vimes indicates that they ''could'', but crap would happen, like missing fingers... to say the least.
** It's been outright stated that most of the education in Wizard Universities is learning how ''not'' to use magic.
*** Of course it may not be much of a problem, since it's also been stated that, dangerous magics aside, wizard universities work just like regular universities: They understand the futility of trying to actually teach young people anything, so they just put them near a lot of books in the hopes that things will pass from one to the other, while the young people themselves put themselves near bars, pubs, and taverns for exactly the same reason.
*** The Last Continent further clarifies that the University is less about education and more about giving the wizards a framework where their natural viciousness and ambition can be focused into academic feuds and gaining titles instead of magical warfare.
*** Though it could also be a case of PowerIncontinence, as it is often very difficult for a wizard to ''refrain'' from using magic.
** Of course, in ''Sourcery'', Pratchett shows just what happens when wizards use magic freely and have an abundance of power available to them. The results are... not pretty. It's strongly implied that the historical wars between wizards were ''even worse''. Not surprising that ''not'' using magic has become more important than the magic itself.
** At least one Discworld book points out that in nine out of ten situations there's just ''no point'' to using magic. Doing anything by magic takes the same amount of effort as doing it by not-magic. So you could create a loaf of bread out of sheer nothingness, but it'll just disappear again in a few seconds on the energy reserves of the average wizard. Better to just bake your own damn bread.
*** Additionally, Mustrum Ridcully once observed that there's not usually much point in conjuring up fireballs if monsters show up, since anything that isn't fazed by being whacked with six feet of solid oak staff is probably immune to magic as well.
** In a minor, non-spellcasting example, in ''Hogfather'' the [=UU=] wizards realize that every imaginary creature they mention that ''might'' be responsible for a mundane process (e.g. the Hair Loss Fairy) is popping into existence. The Dean immediately tries to exploit this new phenomenon by invoking the Give The Dean A Huge Bag Of Money Goblin; this fails, because he doesn't normally receive large bags of money for no visible reason, but it was presumably worth a try.

to:

** In ''Discworld/{{Thud}}!'', a Discworld novel, after government inspector A.E. Pessimal is dragged along to observe the Watch quelling a riot, he asks Commander Vimes why they couldn't recruit the wizards to help stop a potential riot by magicking away the weapons. Vimes indicates that they ''could'', but crap would happen, like missing fingers... to say the least.
** It's been outright stated that most of the education in Wizard Universities is learning how ''not'' to use magic.
***
magic. Of course it may not be much of a problem, since it's also been stated that, dangerous magics aside, wizard universities work just like regular universities: They understand the futility of trying to actually teach young people anything, so they just put them near a lot of books in the hopes that things will pass from one to the other, while the young people themselves put themselves near bars, pubs, and taverns for exactly the same reason.
*** The Last Continent
reason. ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'' further clarifies that the University is less about education and more about giving the wizards a framework where their natural viciousness and ambition can be focused into academic feuds and gaining titles instead of magical warfare.
***
warfare. Though it could also be a case of PowerIncontinence, as it is often very difficult for a wizard to ''refrain'' from using magic.
** Of course, in ''Sourcery'', ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', Pratchett shows just what happens when wizards use magic freely and have an abundance of power available to them. The results are... not pretty. It's strongly implied that the historical wars between wizards were ''even worse''. Not surprising that ''not'' using magic has become more important than the magic itself.
** At least one Discworld book points out that in nine out of ten situations there's just ''no point'' to using magic. Doing anything by magic takes the same amount of effort as doing it by not-magic. So you could create a loaf of bread out of sheer nothingness, but it'll just disappear again in a few seconds on the energy reserves of the average wizard. Better to just bake your own damn bread.
***
bread.* Additionally, Mustrum Ridcully once observed that there's not usually much point in conjuring up fireballs if monsters show up, since anything that isn't fazed by being whacked with six feet of solid oak staff is probably immune to magic as well.
** In a minor, non-spellcasting example, in ''Hogfather'' ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'' the [=UU=] wizards realize that every imaginary creature they mention that ''might'' be responsible for a mundane process (e.g. the Hair Loss Fairy) is popping into existence. The Dean immediately tries to exploit this new phenomenon by invoking the Give The Dean A Huge Bag Of Money Goblin; this fails, because he doesn't normally receive large bags of money for no visible reason, but it was presumably worth a try.



* ''Literature/HarryPotter'''s Restriction on Underage Wizardry prevents the main cast from using magic outside of the school. Even without that, one has to contend with Potterverse magic being pretty much worthless because all of the major antagonists can also use magic with equal or greater skill. {{Lampshaded}} in Book 6 in a conversation between Cornelius Fudge and the British Prime Minister:
-->'''PM''': But... but you're wizards! You can do ''magic!'' Surely you could take care of... well, anything!
-->'''Fudge''': The problem is, Prime Minister, the other side can do magic too.

to:

* ''Literature/HarryPotter'''s ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** The
Restriction on Underage Wizardry prevents the main cast from using magic outside of the school. Even without that, one has to contend with Potterverse magic being pretty much worthless because all of the major antagonists can also use magic with equal or greater skill. {{Lampshaded}} in Book 6 in a conversation between Cornelius Fudge and the British Prime Minister:
-->'''PM''': --->'''PM:''' But... but you're wizards! You can do ''magic!'' Surely you could take care of... well, anything!
-->'''Fudge''':
anything!\\
'''Fudge:'''
The problem is, Prime Minister, the other side can do magic too.



[[folder:Webcomics]]

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[[folder:Webcomics]][[folder:Web Comics]]



18th Oct '16 3:21:16 AM eroock
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->"''Clearly this is a superpower that buggers you about a bit. Like an invisibility power that only works when you are playing a trombone.''"

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->"''Clearly ->''"Clearly this is a superpower that buggers you about a bit. Like an invisibility power that only works when you are playing a trombone.''""''
18th Oct '16 3:21:04 AM eroock
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-->--[[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee's]] review on ''{{Scribblenauts}}''

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-->--[[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation -->-- [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee's]] review on ''{{Scribblenauts}}''
18th Sep '16 12:11:05 PM nombretomado
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* In the WhateleyUniverse, Tennyo tends to suffer from this. While her powers are ridiculously helpful at killing things dead, she has a BIT of a problem with the whole 'holding back' deal. Also, Nikki, a powerful sorceress, tends to have trouble with sneezing in the middle of incantations, prompting surprisingly useful mayhem!

to:

* In the WhateleyUniverse, Literature/WhateleyUniverse, Tennyo tends to suffer from this. While her powers are ridiculously helpful at killing things dead, she has a BIT of a problem with the whole 'holding back' deal. Also, Nikki, a powerful sorceress, tends to have trouble with sneezing in the middle of incantations, prompting surprisingly useful mayhem!



* [[ASDFMovie TREE POWERS, ACTIVATE!]]

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* [[ASDFMovie [[WebAnimation/ASDFMovie TREE POWERS, ACTIVATE!]]
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