Created By: immortalfrieza on August 4, 2013 Last Edited By: immortalfrieza on August 18, 2013
Troped

Alleged Power Limits

Powers which have specifically stated limits suddenly don't have those limits.

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Trope
A Super is in the middle of a fight, their powers are unable to do what's needed to get them out of his/her current jam and the character states as much... but then the Super does what he/she just said he/she can't do anyway.

This trope is Ass Pull and The Plot Demanded This Index at it's most blatant. A Super states and sometimes even shows that their powers can't do something, but then they go do that very thing/s regardless. The Super doesn't go through Training from Hell, they don't get their Power Limiter removed, and they didn't lie about their powers, or anything else that might justify it, just out of the blue they are able to do that which it's been said and even proven that they can't do, without explanation. Particularly egregious examples will have this occur within minutes of saying and/or showing that they can't. This could result in the alleged "limitation" becoming an Informed Flaw.

If the Super goes through Training from Hell, they put a stop to a Power Limiter, or otherwise do something to allow their powers to do more, then it is Not This Trope. If the power is held back for whatever reason, such as Power at a Price or the Godzilla Threshold, it is also Not This Trope. This trope only applies if a Super is explicitly stated or shown not to be able to do something is shown to do that anyway without any explanation given as to why.

Compare New Powers as the Plot Demands, Strong as They Need to Be and Power Creep, Power Seep. For the opposite, when a Super is able to do something with their powers but for no apparent reason doesn't, see Forgot About His Powers.

Examples:

Comic Books
  • Wolverine from X-Men has his bones and trademark claws laced with adamantium, which, while hardening him, also causes poisoning within his body that affects his Healing Factor. One story had the adamantium removed entirely from his body, leaving him weaker offensively than before but the Healing Factor no longer being restrained, allowing him to survive mortal injuries more than before. Then much later, he got his adamantium back... and the writers forgot to remove the Healing Factor.
Live-Action TV
  • On Seven Days it is stated explicitly (even in the title!) that they can only go back in time seven days. This doesn't stop them from going back in time more than seven days on several occasions.
  • In Doctor Who the Doctor says that some things are a "fixed moment in time" and can't be changed. Then he runs into one of those in "The Waters of Mars" and decides to change it anyway. This doesn't end well.
Western Animation
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold B'wana Beast is able to merge 2 creatures together to create another creature with the capabilities of both. It's stated by Vixen and B'wana that the power does not work on humans nor on more than 2 animal at a time. However, in Gorrilas In Our Midst B'wana merges 4, Batman, a snake, a lion, and a hawk all at once not 10 minutes after Vixen stated that his powers don't work on people.
  • In Teen Titans Cyborg has a strength meter, and we are told that his strength can never exceed a given value. Of course, he proceeds to break both this value and the meter itself to prove that he's still more man than machine.
Video games
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Does this count?
    • Wolverine from X Men has his bones and trademark claws laced with adamantium, which, while hardening him, also causes poisoning within his body that affects his Healing Factor. One story had the adamantium removed entirely from his body, leaving him weaker offensively than before but the Healing Factor no longer being restrained, allowing him to survive mortal injuries more than before. Then much later, he got his adamantium back... and the writers forgot to remove the Healing Factor.
  • August 4, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    That works.
  • August 5, 2013
    DAN004
    BTW suggesting Alleged Power Limit (or Forgot About His Limitations) for the title.
  • August 5, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    I like both. I'm going with the latter though.
  • August 6, 2013
    DAN004
  • August 6, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    In Teen Titans Cyborg has a strength meter, and we are told that his strength can never exceed a given value. Of course, he proceeds to break both this value and the meter itself to prove that he's still more man than machine.
  • August 6, 2013
    DAN004
  • August 6, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    The Teen Titans one works, since Readings Are Off The Scale applies, but it's not the only example that fits more than 1 trope.
  • August 8, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    Come on everybody! This needs more examples!
  • August 8, 2013
    MiinU
    This could result in the alleged "limitation" becoming an Informed Flaw.

    Video games

  • August 8, 2013
    MorganWick
    What assurance do I have that this isn't going to be too complainy?
  • August 8, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ This is indeed a Bad Writing trope and thus you'll find some examples "complainy".
  • August 9, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    ^ Exactly. Some tropes are going to be filled with a large number of mostly complainy examples, and that's ok as long as it actually fits the description.
  • August 10, 2013
    Melkior
    The name Forgot About His Limitations says to me that it's about someone trying to exceed their abilities because they either forgot or are deliberately ignoring their limits. It says nothing about the person actually managing to exceed their previously understood limits.

    I can't think of a good alternative name at the moment (I'll post if I think of one) but it needs something which clearly says "gone beyond previously established limits". I'd suggest Beyond The Outer Limits if that wasn't already known as the name of something completely different.
  • August 10, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    What do you think of Alleged Power Limits DAN suggested?
  • August 10, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ It's better than the current name in my opinion. I'm not sure we can't do better, though.
  • August 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Seconding Alleged Power Limits for the title. Forgotten Limitations could also work.
  • August 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • On Seven Days it is stated explicitly (even in the title!) that they can only go back in time seven days. This doesn't stop them from going back in time more than seven days on several occasions.
    • In Doctor Who the Doctor says that some things are a "fixed moment in time" and can't be changed. Then he runs into one of those in "The Waters of Mars" and decides to change it anyway. This doesn't end well.
  • August 10, 2013
    immortalfrieza
    ^^ Ok. Alleged Power Limits works, I'll just go with that unless someone suggests something better.

    ^These 2 examples work. Anyone have any more or is this good?
  • August 18, 2013
    casualobserver
    it has been a LONG time since I saw the show, so they might have explained it away later, but...

    in Live Action TV:

    Quantum Leap had an express directive that they explained in almost every show about how the main character could not travel beyond his own time. Then for no reason than they wanted to go to other places he ended up going beyond it to farther in the past than he was born. They commented on it being "impossible", but I do not recall them ever explaining why it was possible. And then they did it in other episodes without care since they already broke down the barrier (from a writing perspective).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=l8d03cawuu41hwzsbz4iyi33&trope=AllegedPowerLimits