Power Of Normality YKTTW Discussion

Power Of Normality
A power only non-superpowered / supernatural Characters can posses.
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-15 16:59:02 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2011-07-19 11:30:06)

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Formerly Muggle Only Power.

Muggles lack powers and abilities, if a muggle should ever acquire one they stop being a muggle. This is one of the reasons being a plain vanilla muggle tends to suck, and Badass Normal notwithstanding, most are relegated to Innocent Bystander. There is one interesting exception though, in the setting there are one or more abilities that only muggles can use or activate. If a muggle ever gains powers or stops being a muggle (say through Super Empowering, cyber/genetic augmentations, or a Viral Transformation) they lose the ability.

For one reaosn or other Supernatural beings don't have it so it's extraordinary to them. If they try to gain this ability they'll always fail or end up with at best a weak (or dangerous) copy.

The ability might be something perfectly mundane, like creativity/fertility, or quasi-supernatural (the ability to nullify or cancel magic, or a sixth sense). It's usually a "passive" ability, like seeing in color, though if it's a talent muggles have to actively use it (creativity for example would require they paint or compose music). The abilities may be universally held by all muggles or a talent only some possess.

The reason a setting might have a Muggle Only Power is to create some form of competitive balance, to have a reason for The Arthur Dent to hang around, or to draw symbolism on the nature and limits of power and mundanity.

Contast Virgin Power.


Anime and Manga
  • In Break Blade, there's an ancient and super-powerful golem that will only respond to Un Sorcerers like Rygart.
  • (confirmation pending?) Toya Kinomoto from Card Captor Sakura has the ability to see the dead, which comes quite in handy whenever his and Sakura's mother wants to pay a visit. He eventually gives up that power. In one version of the story, that power eventually passes on to his father, Fujitaka, so he and Nadeshiko can be reunited, in a way.
  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index verse only those who do not possess Esper powers can use magic.

  • Witches in Discworld believe that once you start learning magic you can't then learn music because they require such different modes of thought, and vice versa. Agnes Nitt is the obvious exception, but her singing voice and her magical ability are so enmeshed that they're practically the same thing now, and even she may only be able to do both because of her Split Personality. Nanny Ogg is also an enthusiastic singer, but if other characters' reactions are anything to go by then this trope is probably played straight with her.

Tabletop RPG
  • The New World of Darkness had the mortal only merit "Unseen Sense", which was the most reliable way to discover the presence (but not exact location or ID) of a supernatural. Gaining a greater or leser template removed the ability fro a character.
  • In the fanmade New World of Darkness storyline Genius: The Transgression, normal humans can destroy the genius' creations just by touching them.

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