Created By: Vree on November 16, 2009
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Heart Is An Awesome Power

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The opposite of Mundane Utility: here, the alternative application of the ability turns out to be a Game Breaker. In other words, when one man's Blessed with Suck becomes another's Cursed with Awesome.

So the character decided to play the Superpower Lottery and ended up somewhere at the bottom of the superpower scale. Forget making it to the Story-Breaker Power top tier, they do not even get average powers, Stock Superpowers or at least or one that could get them on a super team... Not even something remotely useful. It's a total Powerup Letdown.

But, to the bafflement of their teammates, they seem to be perfectly content with it. Not only that, they claim to have gotten the best power of them all! And then they go ahead and prove it. Out of the sheer badassery or just for fun, they have managed to turn the Super Weight scale completely on its head.

Usually a type of Skill Reapplication: often the power has utilities which no-one but the Weak, but Skilled hero recognizes. (Sometimes justified in that the powers only become effective over time, or that they are only effective under certain conditions - however then they pay off handsomely.)

Sometimes the character does not realize the usefullness of the skill until later, in which case it is a ~Chekhov's Skill~. Might involve a ~Chekhov's Lecture~ on the lines of: "Sure, my only power is to control X...But you forget that Y is X too."

Might be an Aesop to make the most of what you have. Especially [[Irony ironic]] if another character had, or could have had the same ability before, but decided that it was useless.

A subversion of the Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality. The video game version is usually a Lethal Joke Character.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • A number of characters in One Piece. Rubber Man Luffy is not a bad example (since among the other Devil Fruit abilities his one is actually rather low-tier until he starts inventing other uses for it) but the best example is Kaku, who boasts about gaining the power to turn into a giraffe AND becomes more powerful thanks to it.
  • Law of Ueki bases its entire setting on this.
  • Everyone in Jojos Bizarre Adventure. Powers like healing, making maps and summoning zippers have all deadly combat applications when in the hands of a stand user.
  • In Darker Than Black, while many Contractors have powers only suitable for murder anyway, even those that don't manage to put theirs to deadly use. Let's see, there's the guy with teleportation powers who used them to rip someone's heart from their body, another whose powers seemed to be teleportation related, but were instead used for Bloody Murder, the guy with freezing powers either impaled victims with ice spears or froze them and did a Popsicle Splat.
    • Another good (if one-shot) example from Darker Than Black would be the guy who could neutralize gravity - on himself or others. Not even real flight - he could just float like a balloon. Or, y'know, make a guy weightless so he'll float off into the stratosphere, freeze to death, asphyxiate in the thin air, or just plain splat when it wears off.

Comic Books
  • 'Rising Stars' has Laurel Darkhaven who can telekinetically manipulate very, very small objects. Such as your carotid artery. She becomes a government assassin.
  • There was a minor Spider Man villain with teleportation powers... Limited to a few grams of weight. Turns out that's a fair bit more powerful than it looks like, when he started teleporting heroin straight into the bloodstreams of people.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • November 11, 2009
    Vree
  • November 11, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    So its like a Killer Joke Character outside video games ?
  • November 11, 2009
    TheAdversary
    • Everyone in Jojos Bizarre Adventure. Powers like healing, making maps and summoning zippers have all deadly combat applications when in the hands of a stand user.
  • November 11, 2009
    Jordan
    In Darker Than Black, while many Contractors have powers only suitable for murder anyway, even those that don't manage to put theirs to deadly use. Let's see, there's the guy with teleportation powers who used them to rip someone's heart from their body, another whose powers seemed to be teleportation related, but were instead used for Bloody Murder, the guy with freezing powers either impaled victims with ice spears or froze them and did a Popsicle Splat.
  • November 11, 2009
    Magus
  • November 11, 2009
    UnitOmega
    Perhaps, to put it in direct contrast to What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway, we should call it Heart Is Not Lame.
  • November 11, 2009
    Arilou
    I think someone actuall MADE this trope already, but I don't recall the name.

    Anyway: Making forcefields to shield your friends? Useful. Being invisible, making forcefields inside people's brains, or choking them? Damn near Game Breaker.

    There was a minor Spider Man villain with teleportation powers... Limited to a few grams of weight. Turns out that's a fair bit more powerful than it looks like, when he started teleporting heroin straight into the bloodstreams of people.

  • November 12, 2009
    BlackDragon
    Another good (if one-shot) example from Darker Than Black would be the guy who could neutralize gravity - on himself or others. Not even real flight - he could just float like a balloon. Or, y'know, make a guy weightless so he'll float off into the stratosphere, freeze to death, asphyxiate in the thin air, or just plain splat when it wears off.
  • November 12, 2009
    OmegaMetroid
    Isn't this one something like Blessed With Suck turned into Cursed With Awesome? If so, how about Blessed With Sucky Awesome?
  • November 12, 2009
    Deboss
    This is definitely a trope. Give me a minute to go look. I take it back.

    We've got What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway, Blessed With Suck, and Cursed With Awesome. The one I was thinking of was an RPG trope and specifically mentioned spells specifically. I'm leaning toward a trope and an index to lump these in.

    I want an index so we can lump technology and the like in there in case one of them pops up. Wait, I think Misapplied Phlebotinum is this for technology.
  • November 13, 2009
    Vree
    We actually have Useless Useful Spell that describes the opposite (Awesome But Impractical). Useful Useless Skill might work as long as the two aren't confused. I saw the Skill Reapplication index in the works on this page. Misapplied Phlebotinum is, in fact, when more practical uses are ignored for a Mundane Utility. Somewhat related to Boring But Practical (it might be awesome, just useless at first sight) and might overlap with Lethal Joke Character (though a Monster Clown or a Jigglypuff MIGHT have awesome abilities just too damn goofy).
  • November 13, 2009
    wanderlustwarrior
    remove the bloodbending example. it's its own trope, it's useful, and doesn't look or sound stupid. Same with gravity.

    In fact, this is basically What Kind OF Lame Power Is Heart Anyway. The picture of Kaku would make a better page picture though. Or a better picture of the kid from captain planet. really, that one just needs to be replaced.
  • November 13, 2009
    Vree
    I disagree. What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway (as it is used now) is simply a form of Blessed With Suck that exists because it fills a niche in the Cast Speciation and is limited to This Looks Lika A Job For Aquaman on its own. As the definition says, "This refers to a special ability of someone on a team such as a Five Man Band who is so specialized as to seem useless in most situations." IMO WKOLPIHA has been overused for all sorts of Blessed With Suck while in fact it initially referred to a specific role in the Super Team.

    This one was meant for powers/skills than seem you'd call mundane, but turn out to be awesome (mostly because the user utilizes them fully, while the other characters are thinking inside a box).
  • November 13, 2009
    Deboss
    That should be This Looks Like A Job For Aquaman, you used Lika by mistake. As an example let's go with a world where super powers are common. Teleportation in particular. Most people can teleport themselves and a few more pounds of stuff they're holding and has Super Strength and some level of Nigh Invulnerable with power distributed along a normal bell curve. So we've got our heroes popping in and out and punching through walls and what not. Now, let's say we have a dude who is on the bottom of all three curves, Made Of Plastine, normal human strength, and can't even teleport himself. All he can do is teleport a few pounds from one place to another. Seems useless, since he can't compete with anybody else in a skill contest and would be helpless in a fight. Up until he remembers that removing a few pounds of human anatomy can be quite devastating. It's not the amount of the power, it's how you apply it.

    Misapplied Phlebotinum is about just using a type of technology for one thing when it could be used for other things as well, not just Mundane Utility. That's why they're separate tropes.
  • November 13, 2009
    TheAdversary
    How about Heart Is An Awesome Power? It even sounds like it anwsers the previous article.
  • November 14, 2009
    Deboss
    Heart Is An Awesome Power has a good feel to it.
  • November 14, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Does this include spells in video and tabletop games? There are a few examples of a power being exploited in game-breaking ways, like the Locate City nuke (normally locates a city, used to make everything dead in a 40-mile radius) or the Glowing Light spell (supposed to be used to make torches, used to take bosses and tough monsters out of existence).
  • November 14, 2009
    Aminatep
    I like the title. It directly contrasts the original trope. Magikarp Power, Job for Aquaman, etc. are connected?

    > Let's see, there's the guy with teleportation powers who used them to rip someone's heart from their body Sorry, while we are still at it, which episode is it? I feel I've skipped a big part of Darker Than Black, because I remember neither the killer teleporter nor the girl who has temporal regain of feelings as a price.

    > the guy with freezing powers either impaled victims with ice spears Since when an ability to freeze people to death and to create ice spears stopped being an awesome offensive power? However, Bottle Fairy with a power to summon rains was quite deadly in a team with him. Then she managed to kill a Super Speedster with her ability by her own.
  • November 14, 2009
    TheAdversary
    I say we include board games examples like the D&D ones. It's practically making them Truth In Television.
  • November 15, 2009
    Superhal
    I think pretty much all situations of power angst is covered by either Blessed With Suck or Cursed With Awesome.

  • November 15, 2009
    Aminatep
    What do you think about launching and making the Wiki Magic do the rest?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=x2at6cbe3v5sveipf9xnmvdi