Created By: DhanaRagnarok on January 19, 2012 Last Edited By: DhanaRagnarok on February 12, 2012
Troped

Addiction Powered

When a character s addiction to a substance gives him powers.

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Trope

A character is addicted to a substance.

Drugs, Alcohol, Caffeine... For most people, it would only cause lots of trouble. Not for this guy. He earns superpowers from an over-consumption, and/or each time he consumes the substance.

Usually, nobody else will get this kind of powers from this substance. Not some kind of Super Serum. Related to Drunken Master (when the character is indeed an alcoholic and much stronger after a drink) and Must Have Caffeine.

Compare Power High. See also: Caffeine Bullet Time. Sub-Trope: Addictive Magic.

Examples

Anime & Manga

  • Franky's case is a bit different: He's a cyborg who uses cola as an energy source, mostly because he loves cola. (He can uses other drinks, with...mixed results)
  • Inverted with April in Darker Than Black: the remuneration for her powers is to drink. She does like alcohol a lot.
  • In Wolf's Rain, Quent Yaden gains the ability to see through the wolves' humanoid disguises after consuming alcohol. On the downside, it impairs his aiming skills.
  • Chu from YuYu Hakusho in the Dark Tournament arc.
  • Inverted with Fujusawa-sensei from El Hazard. He gains Super Strength as a result of coming to El Hazard, but only when he stops drinking. He's not happy about this.

Film

Comics

  • The Elongated Man drinks a lot of Gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. Evidentally it only works on him.
    • Semi-Averted: Gingold can increase flexibility in most people who drink it, but you have to go to serious overdose levels to get actual stretching abilities, which can then be maintained by regular drinking of the normal product. A significant section of the human population is allergic to gingold extract, and thus unable to take advantage of the herb's special properties.
  • The New Guardians villain Snowflame is the poster boy for this trope (he's the page image!), having actual observable supernatural abilities powered by cocaine, which he worships as a god.
  • Give a few drops of alcohol to a tired Captain Haddock, and he'll be good as new.
  • Inverted in Empire, where supervillain tyrant Golgoth keeps his minions under control by feeding them a highly addictive power-boosting drug called "Eucharist." It's so addictive that anyone who stops using has a good chance of being driven permanently insane during withdrawal. The inversion becomes apparent with the discovery that derived from the blood of the defeated superhero Endymion. In other words, Endymion's superhuman biology powers everyone else's addictions.
  • In Grant Morrison's X-Men, the drug Kick is a highly addictive power-booster that only works on mutants. It's actually the sentient bacteria Sublime, making it an inversion as well -- Sublime's power is to be an addictive power source.
  • In one incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, Johnny Quick derives his powers from an addictive substance made from the blood of his predecessor in the role. It's never shown to work for anyone else.

Litterature

  • Subverted with Sherlock Holmes - Holmes used cocaine because he believed cocaine stimulated his mind between cases
"Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere, I can dispense then with artificial stimulants"
  • In Lawrence Watt-Evans' Ethshar books, the magical power that warlocks have was given by something, possibly a meteorite. It suddenly awoke power in thousands of people. The more that warlocks use their power, the more powerful they get, the more they want to use it, but when they use too much of it, they are compelled to fly to the source and are never heard from again. It's portrayed as an addiction.
  • The One Ring of Lord of the Rings is a strange example. It gives its user power, but at the same time creates an addiction to it, to the point where the user couldn't give it to anyone else, thus making him the only one powered by it.
  • In the Dune novels, Guild Navigators fit. Breathing great quantities of melange/spice gives them limited powers of prescience, enough to find safe passage when their ship is traveling faster than light. The general population doesn't gain this benefit.

Live Action TV

  • Caleb from Flander's Company earned short-range teleportation after spending some time drinking an average of 8 liters of coffee a day. Consuming more coffee also makes him more powerful, allowing him to teleport a whole building at one point.
  • On WKRP in Cincinnati Johnny and Venus get drunk and then have their reflexes measured live on-air as a PSA against drunk driving. For some reason the more Johnny drinks the better his reflexes are.
  • Isaac Mendez on Heroes discovers an ability to paint the future. Unfortunately, Isaac is also a heroin addict who finds he can only paint when high. This effectively means that Isaac's ability is dependent on drug use, creating some awkward issues for him. Eventually, he gets himself clean discovers that he can paint the future even when sober.
  • Happy Endings: One episode has Penny getting drunk, which gives her the power to speak and understand Italian. This isn't just a couple of drinks, either; she has to get WASTED to get to the point where she can do this. (Side option: Alex starts lavishly eating ribs when smashed. Not as impressive.)
  • My Name Is Earl: Randy is an adept lier, conman, and all-around competent at doing stuff, but only after he's had four beers. No more, no less.
  • There was a Forever Knight episode where Natalie found that a drug called Lidobuterine(sp?)seemed to cure Nick's vampirism. However, it turned into the drug being addictive, and in order to remain 'human', Nick had to keep taking it and get more and more of the drug at once.

Video Games

  • Punch-Out!!'s Soda Popinsky. He drinks huge amounts of soda, even on the ring. The drink restore his stamina and increase his punching power, albeit for a short time.
  • Dragon Age: Unlike the mages, who simply get a power boost from Lyrium, the Templars' abilities are powered solely by it. However, it is also addictive as hell, and the Chantry monopolizes Lyrium trade to keep its Templar junkies on a short leash.
  • In Alpha Protocol, the 80's-themed villain, Konstantin Brayko, ingests enormous amounts of cocaine to power up and fight Mike Thorton, allowing him to do things like run incredibly fast, and makes him temporarily bulletproof.

Western Animation

  • South Park: Marijuana gives Towlie (an anthropomorphic towel) Popeye-like powers.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • January 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • South Park: Marijuana gives Towlie (an anthropomorphic towel) Popeye-like powers.
    • Not sure if it's "powers" as such, but - on WKRP In Cincinnati Johnny and Venus get drunk and then have their reflexes measured live on-air as a PSA against drunk driving. For some reason the more Johnny drinks the better his reflexes are.
    • The Elongated Man drinks a lot of Gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. Evidentally it only works on him.
  • January 19, 2012
    Koveras
    We've had several YKTT Ws like this, I swear.

    • In Wolfs Rain, Quent Yaden gains the ability to see through the wolves' humanoid disguises after consuming alcohol. On the downside, it impairs his aiming skills.
    • In Hoodwinked, Twitchy the Squirrel gains Super Speed after taking a few sips of coffee. On the downside, he starts speaking so fast, nobody can understand his message.
  • January 19, 2012
    Irrisia
    Not entirely sure if it's a good example, but Cloak and Dagger from the Marvel Comics universe got their powers from what was meant to be a kind of super-heroin.
  • January 19, 2012
    deuxhero
    The New Guardians villain Snowflame is a literal example, having actual observable supernatural abilities powered by cocaine, which he worships as a god.
  • January 19, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    To fit, the character must have had enough of a substance to qualify as an "addiction" (or an overdose), and it must work only on them.

    So I guess all of randomsurfer's examples are good, Koveras' may be depending of the amount of alcohol/coffee these characters drink, and Irrisia's example don't fit I think, as it's more some kind of Super Serum which worked on 2 different men.

    Yeah, it seems like Snowflame would make a good Poster Boy for this trope ! ^^
  • January 20, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    I'm all about the Heroes examples right now...

    • Isaac Mendez on Heroes discovers an ability to paint the future. Unfortunately, Isaac is also a heroin addict who finds he can only paint when high. This effectively means that Isaac's ability is dependent on drug use, creating some awkward issues for him. Eventually, he gets himself clean discovers that he can paint the future even when sober.
  • January 20, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    Nice. I added all your examples to the body of the YKTTW.
  • January 20, 2012
    FallenLegend
    Related to Power High
  • January 20, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    Didn't see that one. It's indeed related. Well, a bit (Power High doesn't have any link with drugs and other substances, and an Addiction Powered character isn't always in a Power High)
  • January 20, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    Fiction
    • Subverted with Sherlock Holmes - Holmes used cocaine because he believed cocaine stimulated his mind between cases
    [[quoteblock]]"Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere, I can dispense then with artificial stimulants"[[/quoteblock]]
  • January 20, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • January 20, 2012
    ChunkyDaddy
    ^ I messed up there. How do I add quotes?
  • January 20, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    For quotes you just need to begin your sentence with "->"
  • January 20, 2012
    stogu
    Example: Chu of Yu Yu Hakusho in the Dark Tournament arc.
  • January 20, 2012
    Jhimmibhob
    The first two Hourmen struggled with this. "This is your crimefighting crusade on Miraclo..."
  • January 20, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    I think Miraclo is more of a Super Serum than this trope. It's debatable...

    EDIT: After further reading, it seems it's indeed addictive...But it seems it still works on everyone (both Rex and Rick used it)
  • January 20, 2012
    SKJAM
    Gingold (the substance that gave Elongated Man his powers) can increase flexibility in most people who drink it, but you have to go to serious overdose levels to get actual stretching abilities, which can then be maintained by regular drinking of the normal product. A significant section of the human population is allergic to gingold extract, and thus unable to take advantage of the herb's special properties.
  • January 20, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    I see...Well, the "addiction/overdose" part is good and it doesn't work on most people, so I think it's semi-averted...
  • January 20, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • January 22, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    So...Does anyone has another example that would fit ? Also added a trope picture (I wonder if keeping only the second panel wouldn't work just as well) a while ago.
  • January 23, 2012
    Duncan
    In Lawrence Watt Evans' Ethshar books, the magical power that warlocks have was given by- something, possibly a meteorite. It suddenly awoke power in thousands of people. The more that warlocks use their power, the more powerful the get, the more they want to use it, but when they use too much of it, they are compelled to fly to the source and are never heard from again. It's portrayed as an addiction. addendum: I see this is already listed under Addictive Magic, which I guess would be sub-trope.
  • January 23, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    I'm not sure if it actually fits...Well, you have the addiction and the power grow with the addiction, so I guess it fits. I'll add it immediatly
  • January 23, 2012
    somerandomdude
    The drug from Limitless gave the main character practical mental superpowers, but was horrendously addictive.
  • January 23, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    Does it work only on him or on anyone ? If it's working on someone else, it doesn't fit the trope.
  • January 24, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    Despair bump, go !
  • January 24, 2012
    ginsengaddict2
  • January 24, 2012
    ginsengaddict2
    Ans arguably, John Crichton during the fourth season of Farscape, using bug juice to dull the pain of not being with Aeryn, in order to protect her from Scorpius.
  • January 24, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    I don't think that counts...I think the bug juice is just some kind of anesthesic, or merely a drug ("suffering less" is not really a power)
  • January 27, 2012
    Koveras
    • Dragon Age: Unlike the mages, who simply get a power boost from Lyrium, the Templars' abilities are powered solely by it. However, it is also addictive as hell, and the Chantry monopolizes Lyrium trade to keep its Templar junkies on a short leash.
  • January 27, 2012
    Rognik
    Happy Endings: One episode has Penny getting drunk, which gives her the power to speak and understand Italian. This isn't just a couple of drinks, either; she has to get WASTED to get to the point where she can do this. (Side option: Alex starts lavishly eating ribs when smashed. Not as impressive.)
  • January 27, 2012
    randomsurfer
    My Name Is Earl: Randy is an adept lier, conman, and all-around competent at doing stuff, but only after he's had six beers. No more, no less.
  • January 28, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Oops sorry. Make that four beers. My mistake. (I'd've just edited my original reply but you already rolled it in.)
  • January 28, 2012
    nman
    • In Alpha Protocol, the 80's-themed villain, Konstantin Brayko, ingests enormous amounts of cocaine to power up and fight Mike Thorton, allowing him to do things like run incredibly fast, and makes him temporarily bulletproof.
  • January 28, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    ^^Corrected and ^added.

    Do you think I should change the description? I'm not really sure it's clear enough.
  • February 1, 2012
    Harpsichord
    Perhaps the One Ring of Lord Of The Rings is this? It gives its user power, but at the same time creates an addiction to it, to the point where the user couldn't give it to anyone else?
  • February 1, 2012
    snowy86
    Does the spice from Dune count as an addictive substance?
  • February 11, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    Wow...Almost forgot this one.

    For the spice...Is there an example of a guy getting stronger from it, but no one else does ? Else it doesn't qualify. And the One Ring may count in a different way, as only one person can use its power at once...
  • February 11, 2012
    Telcontar
    Grammar in the laconic: the "s" in "characters" should be preceded by an apostrophe to mark possession.
  • February 11, 2012
    deuxhero
    Snowflame's entry should be rewritten due to the change in description of the trope (also note he is the page image)
  • February 11, 2012
    DhanaRagnarok
    ^^ The typo was because using an apostrophe adds lots of unwanted /// in the middle of the laconic.

    ^ Doing this immediately
  • February 11, 2012
    chicagomel
    Not sure if this counts or not. There was a Forever Knight episode where Natalie found that a drug called Lidobuterine(sp?)seemed to cure Nick's vampirism. However, it turned into the drug being addictive, and in order to remain 'human', Nick had to keep taking it and get more and more of the drug at once.
  • February 12, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ @Dhana Ragnarok: In the Dune novels, Guild Navigators fit. Breathing great quantities of melange/spice gives them limited powers of prescience, enough to find safe passage when their ship is traveling faster than light. The general population doesn't gain this benefit.
  • February 12, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    I'm not sure if these examples would work; I'd argue that the spoilered potion of each may or may not make the difference, or might even make them both into inversions.

    Comic Books
    • Inverted in Empire, where supervillain tyrant Golgoth keeps his minions under control by feeding them a highly addictive power-boosting drug called "Eucharist." It's so addictive that anyone who stops using has a good chance of being driven permanently insane during withdrawal. The inversion becomes apparent with the discovery that derived from the blood of the defeated superhero Endymion. In other words, Endymion's superhuman biology powers everyone else's addictions.
    • In Grant Morrison's X-Men, the drug Kick is a highly addictive power-booster that only works on mutants. It's actually the sentient bacteria Sublime, making it an inversion as well -- Sublime's power is to be an addictive power source.
  • February 12, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    A clearer example:

    Comic Books
    • In one incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, Johnny Quick derives his powers from an addictive substance made from the blood of his predecessor in the role. It's never shown to work for anyone else.
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