Created By: Unknown20Troper on May 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on September 10, 2017

Cosmic Power

Like magic, only science fiction-y and it comes from outer space somehow.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Up for grabs, by which I mean, by all means, DO launch without me.

How did we miss this one? Cosmic Power, or "The Power Cosmic", is what cosmic entities use, but it's not limited to them exclusively.

Basically, it's functionally the same as functional magic, but feels science fiction-y rather than fantastic. It glows pretty colors and may look like atoms or Jack Kirby's famous dots. It may or may not be more powerful than magic.

See also Power Source.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The Sailor Scouts, from Sailor Moon, use cosmic power which comes from their patron planets, as do some villains.

Comic Books

Literature
  • Lensman series. The Boskonian ships get their power from "cosmic energy". The Galactic Patrol steals the secret and not only installs the technology on their own ships but develops a way to cut off the Boskonian ships' access to it.

Tabletop RPG
  • Champions
    • Adventure Red Doom. Cosmo is a member of the Supreme Soviets superteam. He has access to the Power Cosmic, which allows him to use any superpower he wants to.
    • Hero Games put out a whole splatbook for this power source called Galactic Champions.
  • A third-party splatbook for this power source/genre was published for Mutants & Masterminds called Unearthly: Cosmic Heroes.
  • GURPS
    • The game has the "Cosmic" modifier. It varies from one advantage to another, but generally serves to remove restrictions and countermeasures, because you're "manipulating the fabric of the universe," or something to that effect.
    • GURPS Powers, and the companion series Psionics, covers a more flexible way of constructing supernatural advantages than the traditional enormous list of spells. You can build wizards well enough with this system, but it's mostly billed as a way of creating superheroes, because wizards are supposed to use big grimoires of minutely detailed spells.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition, Warlocks can make pacts with higher powers to fuel their magic. One of the pact options is a Star Pact, gaining powers and spells flavored around Cosmic Power, notably Dire Radiance (a channeled blast of Cosmic Power).

Video Games
  • In Pokémon the move Cosmic Power, which increases the user's Defense and Special Defense.
  • Biotics in Mass Effect are the setting's equivalent of magic, allowing faster than light travel and Psychic Powers. The titual Mass effect that produces this originates with Element Zero, a piece of Applied Phlebotinum that comes from supernovas, making this an attempt to use the trope with some harder elements of speculative science. (TLDR: Their magic comes from dying stars) Biotics and the Mass Effect glow cobalt blue.
  • In League of Legends, The Medic Soraka the Starchild wields cosmic powers. - Zero-Context Example
  • In the game Heroes of Newerth, Andromeda wields "cosmic" powers. - Zero-Context Example

Webcomics
  • In Wayward Sons there are characters who gain superpowers after being empowered by a star core event.

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • May 17, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ...Huh?

    Do you mean, like, "energy of the universe" or something?

    Damn this Needs A Better Description...
  • May 17, 2011
    Unknown20Troper
    Yes, that's what I mean. The energy of the universe, specifically the kind that is referred to as "cosmic", such as what is used by Galactus, his heralds (like Silver Surfer), etc.

    Of course it needs a better description. I've been up all night, am exhausted, and wrote an incredibly lazy one.
  • May 17, 2011
    Ekuran
    It's often the source of Psychic Powers.
  • May 17, 2011
    thewriter
    Phoenix Force Depending On The Writer and media.
  • May 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Captain Mar Vell has the Power Cosmic.
  • May 17, 2011
    KZN02
    Pokemon: the move Cosmic Power, which increases the user's Defense and Special Defense.
  • May 17, 2011
    Earnest
    Weren't the Fantastic Four empowered by "cosmic rays"?
  • May 18, 2011
    Unknown20Troper
    Yes, the Fantastic Four were empowered by cosmic rays, and half of the enemies they fought were in some way associated with the Cosmic descriptor as well. This is three things, really:
    • A power source
    • A level or "feel" of power (for example, Thor very much felt this way in many of his stories, especially in the seventies.)
    • A setting, from which this power emanates, and where it is common (for example, outer space usually in most superhero stories, with lots of different colors, orange, green nebulae, big garish black holes, loads of planets with rings, etc.)

    All of these are connected. Perhaps my initial summary should have been much clearer. (As I said, I was tired as hell when I wrote it.) This is unquestionably a trope though. Anything Jack Kirby was involved with, for the most part, was all over this trope. Anything from Marvel in the 70s.

    Legion of Super Heroes. DC's New Gods. Marvel's Eternals, and Celestials. DC's Starman. Marvel's recent Annihilation arc. DC's Blackest Night. The CHAMPIONS tabletop game put out a whole splatbook for this power source/genre, called Galactic Champions. A third-party one was published for Mutants And Masterminds as well, called Unearthly: Cosmic Heroes.
  • May 18, 2011
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Lensman series. The Boskonian ships get their power from "cosmic energy". The Galactic Patrol steals the secret and not only installs the technology on their own ships but develops a way to cut off the Boskonian ships' access to it.
  • May 18, 2011
    aurora369
    Isn't the Force from Star Wars this?
  • May 20, 2011
    Unknown20Troper
    Yes, it could be considered as such, however, this is not the same trope as the force.
  • May 20, 2011
    Earnest
    See also Power Source.
  • May 20, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • The Sailor Scouts, from Sailor Moon, use cosmic power which comes from their patron planets, as do some villains.
  • May 20, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Champions adventure Red Doom. Cosmo is a member of the Supreme Soviets superteam. He has access to the Power Cosmic, which allows him to use any superpower he wants to.
  • May 20, 2011
    LogicallyDashing
    • GURPS has the "Cosmic" modifier. It varies from one advantage to another, but generally serves to remove restrictions and countermeasures, because you're "manipulating the fabric of the universe," or something to that effect.
      • GURPS Powers, and the companion series Psionics, covers a more flexible way of constructing supernatural advantages than the traditional enormous list of spells. You can build wizards well enough with this system, but it's mostly billed as a way of creating superheroes, because wizards are supposed to use big grimoires of minutely detailed spells.
  • May 28, 2011
    TBeholder
    Magic By Any Other Name?
  • May 31, 2011
    psycojosho
    So in other words, this is basically any old Stock Super Power that has its origins or Power Source from Space. Sound legit. Does this apply if the source is the sun or the moon?
  • May 31, 2011
    TBeholder
  • June 1, 2011
    NetMonster
    Doctor Who has "time energy" that looks like a golden mist, as well as the omnipotent "heart of the TARDIS". Also, various cases of Phlebotinum in many episodes, such as the psychic power from the satellites in "Last of the Time Lords".
  • June 1, 2011
    Zeta
    Biotics in Mass Effect are the setting's equivalent of magic, allowing faster than light travel and Psychic Powers. The titual Mass effect that produces this originates with Element Zero, an piece of Phlebotinum that comes from supernovas, making this an attempt to use the trope with some harder elements of speculative science. (TLDR: Their magic comes from dying stars) Biotics and the Mass Effect glow cobalt blue.
  • June 1, 2011
    Zeta
    In Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, Warlocks can make pacts with higher powers to fuel their magic. One of the pact options is a Star Pact, gaining powers and spells flavored around Cosmic Power, notably Dire Radiance (a channeled blast of Cosmic Power).

    In League of Legends, The Medic Soraka the Starchild wields cosmic powers.

    In sister game Heroes Of Newerth, Andromeda wields "cosmic" powers.

    The Mandragora Helix and Ancient Lights (Word Of God says the entities are cousins) are this in Doctor Who.
  • September 9, 2017
    darkemyst
    Webcomics
    • In Wayward Sons there are people who gained superpowers from being empowered by a star core event.
  • September 9, 2017
    darkemyst
    added examples
  • September 10, 2017
    Arivne
    • Replaced garbage text characters (caused by a non-standard text character) with a standard text character.
    • Examples section

    Zero Context Examples have been marked as such. They need more information to show how they fit the trope. Please don't remove the marking unless you add enough context.
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