Created By: Unknown Troper on September 21, 2010 Last Edited By: Mozgwsloiku on March 6, 2011
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Reality Warping Is Not A Toy

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Reality warping is a cool power, isn't it? Definitely. But here is the catch. It can make your dreams come true but not all dreams are good. So what happens when a weak-willed person becomes a reality warper? Things go horribly wrong pretty quickly - suddenly the monsters under your bed are real, your Imaginary Friend becomes an Imaginary Enemy, worst case scenario you could end in a Self-Inflicted Hell.


  • In Spiderman cartoon, Dr Doom is all but weak willed. Yet when he tries to steal Beyonder's power, his new utopia is soon assaulted by demons born out of his nightmares and subconcious fears.
  • In Thorgal - Jolan's Imaginary Friend Alinoe gets warped by his anger and not only turns against him but becomes The Virus
  • The Krel from Forbidden Planet built a machine that could create whatever they wanted from the power of their own minds, but even so advanced and philanthropic (sic) a race weren't immune to the monsters from their ids.
  • A lighthearted example happens to Bat Mite in Batman The Brave And The Bold. Since he was living vicariously through Batman (tossing foes at him just to see him battle) Batman convinces him to cut the middle man out and do it himself. Problem is, his imagination started running away with him and he started fighting all of Batman's Rogues Gallery at once in a Dali-esque world. Batman basically had to talk him down / bail him out.
  • pretty much the plot of Sphere.
  • In Franken Fran, a bullied boy is given a treatment that allows his body to adapt to his thoughts, reforming according to his whims but also instincts and self image. He is mostly happy with it, barring a short episode of Naughty Tentacles but when he gets depressed... well, considering the rest of the chapters, he got let off easy but still...
  • The Web Comics minus ends with innocent little Minus acccidentally killing everyone on the planet. It's played for laughs, though, because Death Is a Slap on the Wrist.
  • A minor example in Misfile. A fortune teller in in a relationship that turns sour through a series of bizarre coincidences. It turns out that her playing with magic has coalesced her anxiety into a sentient being that seeks to make her fears come true.
  • There was a short story describing a man in a psychiatric hospital, who developed reality-warping powers. He spends the story exploring his abilities, watching humanity and moving them like pawns. Until he squishes one pawn that wouldn't move... only to realize it was himself
  • in Red Dwarf when Rimmer is plugged into the Better Than Life total immersion videogame (a sort of lucid dream generator where anything is possible) it didn't occur to anyone that his subconscious would lead to all the players being tormented...
  • Both implied (I forget where exactly) and applied (The last couple of pages of Blood of Amber, and the beginning of Sign of Chaos) in the Merlin cycle of Roger Zelazny's 'Chronicles of Amber', this is the reason that they don't take hallucinogenic drugs.
  • Subverted in World of Darkness of all places. The Marauders (the only faction prone to warp reality without explicitly meaning to) usually like what they get. Then again, they are all clinically insane.
  • In Bleach the Artifact of Doom stretches the rules of probability to let its owner achieve his heart's desire. For Aizen the desire is power and for most of the series it works fine for him - he becomes The Juggernaut capable of curbstomping most of the remaining staff combined. The problem is, he associates humans (including shinigami) with weakness... while he is in control of the situation he stays close to Bishonen Line. But once he meets his equal and suffers a Villainous Breakdown, the artifact dutifully fulfills his wish for more power, by "evolving" him into a full-blown Eldritch Abomination.
  • In one Marvel comic Beyonder rants about being Blessed with Suck. He is literally omnipotent reality warper - his every thought defines reality around him. While it never directly works against him, it means he cannot really experience anything, since everything becomes what he expects - he literally lives his life surrounded by nothing but figments of his imagination.
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • February 22, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    The Krel from Forbidden Planet built a machine that could create whatever they wanted from the power of their own minds, but even so advanced and philanthropic (sic) a race weren't immune to the monsters from their ids.
  • February 22, 2010
    Earnest
    A lighthearted example happens to Bat Mite in Batman The Brave And The Bold. Since he was living vicariously through Batman (tossing foes at him just to see him battle) Batman convinces him to cut the middle man out and do it himself. Problem is, his imagination started running away with him and he started fighting all of Batman's Rogues Gallery at once in a Dali-esque world. Batman basically had to talk him down / bail him out.
  • February 22, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    pretty much the plot of Sphere.
  • February 22, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    One episode of Star Trek sees Enterprise blown all the eway to the edge of the universe ( a freak accident with an experimental engine upgrade) The laws of reality are pretty loose there and so the crew spends most of the episode trying to avoid bringing their imaginations to life (which is a lot like trying not to think of pink elephants) while the technical crew tries to replicate the accident to send the ship back.
  • February 22, 2010
    Ettina
    That happened with Cornelia's little sister in WITCH. She was being read to and unwittingly making the story come true, because as the heart of Earth, she has Reality Warper powers. They end up convincing her to seal up her powers in a couple of regents until she grows up.
  • February 22, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Hmm, not sure if this counts, but in the Red Dwarf episode in which they enter the Better Than Life video game, Rimmer's power to make things 'better than life' simply ends up sabotaging the game for all involved, as his subconscious won't let him be happy.
  • February 23, 2010
    randomsurfer
    re the Spider Man example in the OP: that's pretty much what happend in the original Secret Wars comic book too, which that ep was based on.
  • February 23, 2010
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Ursula K Le Guin's novel (and The Film Of The Book) The Lathe of Heaven. George Orr's "effective dreams" cause him (and the rest of the world) a lot of problems, especially when his psychiatrist starts trying to use him to improve the world.
  • February 23, 2010
    JackButler
    An alien species called the Assiti, whose "art" involves restructuring Quantum String fragments, are behind the relocation of Grantville, West Virginia in the year 2000 to Germany of the year 1632 in the Sixteen Thirty Two novels. They didn't plan on moving a town backward through time... they were just being artistic and an inferior species got caught up. The Assiti are later exterminated to a man (to a being?) for being careless with their toys.
  • February 23, 2010
    Socius
    This tended to be the focus of the stories with the original comic book series of The Mask.
  • February 23, 2010
    johnnye
    A Halloween episode of The Simpsons had the world living in fear of an omniscient Reality Warping Bart. IIRC< he enjoyed himself at first but came to realise there were drawbacks...
  • March 12, 2010
    asterselene
    One word: Haruhi
  • March 13, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    In one book of Chronicles Of Narnia, the heroes' ship gets lost at sea. As they approach a mysterious island, they meet a lone survivor from a previous expedition, who warns them that this is the place where "dreams come true". Once they realizewhat exactly he means, they leave with all haste.
  • March 13, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    The Web Comics minus ends with innocent little Minus acccidentally killing everyone on the planet. It's played for laughs, though, because Death Is A Slap On The Wrist.
  • April 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Bump
  • June 10, 2010
    Philistein
    Maybe not the most direct of examples, but in Red Dwarf when Rimmer is plugged into the Better Than Life total immersion videogame (a sort of lucid dream generator where anything is possible) it didn't occur to anyone that his subconscious would lead to all the players being tormented...
  • June 10, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    It is - the reality is virtual but real enough for those around and it turns bad because of subconscious.
  • June 11, 2010
    MisterBibs
    In-universe, this trope is why the SCP Foundation kills off most of the Reality Warpers it finds. Out-of-universe, its to keep Mary Sues off the SCP lists.
  • June 11, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • Literature
    Both implied (I forget where exactly) and applied (The last couple of pages of Blood of Amber, and the beginning of Sign of Chaos) in the Merlin cycle of Roger Zelazny's 'Chronicles of Amber', this is the reason that they don't take hallucinogenic drugs.

    (Your pardon if I'm 'doing it wrong', I don't participate often.)
  • July 2, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    High time someone launched this
  • July 3, 2010
    YamiNoIzanagi
    To elaborate on the Suzumiya Haruhi example, in Disappearance, Yuki Nagato rewrites the last 365 days of the year, causing everyone in the SOS brigade to be normal. Kyon's character development shows when he's forced to choose on whether he wants to keep the normal life or the eccentric, adventure-filled one.
  • August 19, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    necrobump
  • August 19, 2010
    TrustBen
    Another Star Trek example: in the Star Trek The Original Series episode "The Squire of Gothos", Trelawney is a godlike alien reality warper who creates new worlds to suit his whims. He torments the Enterprise crew with his powers, but just as he's about to kill Kirk, his parents show up and remonstrate him.
  • August 19, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    does he lose control over his power / does something without meaning to? if not, it won't count for this trope.
  • August 23, 2010
    Pickly
    Hemah in Fall From Heaven. His civilipedia description involves creating extremely dangerous monsters while dreaming.
  • September 24, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    I think we have enough examples to make it launchable. now does anyone have an idea for a longer/better description, or perhaps which indexes this trope should be associated with?
  • October 22, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    I am going to launch this next time I remember about this entry. Does anyone have anything to add? I'd be especially grateful for indexes ideas.
  • March 6, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Gods, this YKTTW is ancient. I should have launched it months ago. Anyway, necrobumping. Perhaps I will remember this time round
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