Created By: Earnest on July 15, 2011 Last Edited By: Earnest on July 19, 2011

Power Of Normality

A power only non-superpowered / supernatural Characters can posses.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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.

Examples:

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.

Literature
  • 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.


Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • July 16, 2011
    Aminatep
    In To Aru Majutsu No Index verse only those who do not possess Esper powers can use magic.
  • July 16, 2011
    TheFifthWall
    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.
  • July 16, 2011
    ryanasaurus0077
    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.
  • July 16, 2011
    Bisected8
    In the fanmade World Of Darkness storyline Genius The Transgression, normal humans can destroy the genius' creations just by touching them.
  • July 16, 2011
    dalek955
  • July 16, 2011
    NateTheGreat
    I don't like this approach. If a Muggle gets a power, they're not a Muggle anymore, no matter how rare or unlikely the power is. A "powered Muggle" is a contradiction in terms.

    This seems more like "activation of this power depends on the potential user having a quality that is rare among the crowd of people who want to use it."
  • July 16, 2011
    Nomic
    They way it's described, it's more like that muggles have some ability that non-muggles lack. The ability is not supernatural per se as every normal person has it, but supernatural beings, for oen reaosn or other, don't have it so it's extraordinary to them.
  • July 16, 2011
    c0ry
    Perhaps Power Of Normality might be a better title. The examples would certainly seem to work with that, except for Card Captor Sakura - I have no idea where that troper was coming from with that example.
  • July 16, 2011
    ryanasaurus0077
    I actually read the Card Captor Sakura page here, and I think Toya and his ability to see ghosts would fit here.
  • July 16, 2011
    NateTheGreat
    How is Toya a Muggle?
  • July 18, 2011
    StyxD
    Power Of Normality doesn't make much sense either. Most examples are about powers that are supernatural and not usable by just any normal person, they're simply unavailable for the users of the more common superpowers.
  • July 18, 2011
    ryanasaurus0077
    ^^ Well, the ability to see ghosts is the only ability I can think of--and I'm not saying he has others.
  • July 18, 2011
    ConManAU
    An extension of the Index example is the main character, Touma - while allegedly he is a Level 0 esper, he possesses Imagine Breaker, which gives him the power to nullify both magic and esper powers.
  • July 19, 2011
    Tiiba
    Discworld's Death (and also the shinigami in Death Note, and maybe other death gods elsewhere) can't save lives. Discworld's death says it will destroy the world if he does it, while in DN, a death god who gives life - even at the expense of another life - turns to dust.
  • July 19, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Sillage, humans are distinctive by not being psykers. As the only non-telepaths around they are immune to mind reading and mind control, something other species can only achieve through very expensive and hard to get implants or debilitating and ultimately fatal brain parasites (the first version is used by officials and important oparetives, the second by terrorists)

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