A Power Crutch
is some object which enables a character to use his or her superpowers, or at least assists in their use. It differs from a Magic Feather
in that a Magic Feather is a placebo, while the Power Crutch is not. A Power Crutch has some in-story justification for why it works.
Without the Power Crutch, the character will find it difficult, if not impossible to use his or her powers. Characters who use Power Crutches can eventually learn to use their abilities without them. The power user, or sometimes others, may even mistake the Power Crutch for the source
of his powers-- though it isn't.
Compare Transformation Trinket
, a different sort of superpower enabler.
- In the comic Mage, Kevin Matchstick's baseball bat Excalibur is one of these. If Excalibur gets more than a few yards away from Kevin, his powers conk out.
- One of the other avatars tells Kevin that he used to have a Power Crutch, but eventually learned to do without it.
- Hawkman's wings aren't necessary for him to fly (that power comes from his belt) but they are necessary for him to steer.
- Lady Liberty from the Force of July in The Outsiders. The Outsiders thought her energy blasts came from her torch and disarmed her. It turned out her power was internal and the torch just helped her focus it.
- In The Eye of The World, Egwene mistakes Moiraine's staff for an enchanted object. Moiraine corrects her, saying that using it just helps her concentrate.
- Notably subverted in The Lord of the Rings, where Theoden's advisor Grima thinks Gandalf's staff is a Power Crutch, and orders the doorwarden Hama to have Gandalf surrender it. (The consensus among Tolkien fandom is that the staves of the Five Wizards are just lengths of ordinary wood.)
- Issac Mendez, the psychic painter from Heroes originally needed to get high on heroin in order to use his precognitive abilities. Even after he learned to do without, it was still easier for him to see the future while high.
- In Champions, this is a type of focus.