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[[quoteright:300:[[Franchise/{{Batman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Batman_Green_Lantern_001_7346.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Giving [[GreenLanternRing a willpower-fueled weapon]] to the planet's premier BadassNormal? [[SuperpowersForADay That won't last long.]]]]

Your average BadassNormal can take on monsters, supervillains, and [[EldritchAbomination cosmic horrors]] with nothing but [[TrainingFromHell intense training]] and [[{{Determinator}} sheer determination]]. But that other guy can ''[[StuffBlowingUp blow things up]] [[PsychicPowers with his mind]]''. And so can the villains. How could that [[PunyEarthlings puny human]] possibly [[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper compete with that]]? In short, despite his amazing capabilities, the Badass Normal just doesn't seem to be {{badass}} enough. Time for a convenient [[PowerUp power upgrade]].

He may find some new AppliedPhlebotinum, or discover a new power [[EleventhHourSuperpower lurking within himself]]. Perhaps a sudden revelation reveals some [[ChangelingFantasy otherworldly origin]] in his background, or he has [[TouchedByVorlons an encounter with mysterious beings that leaves him forever changed]] (or [[SuperpowersForADay just for one day]]). Or perhaps his badassness just escalates [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower beyond the limits of normal humanity]]. Either way, an upgrade of this type may be required just so the BadassNormal won't [[CantCatchUp become completely irrelevant]] compared to his superpowered comrades. If the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil leaves him too far behind, and his role seems to be reduced to [[TheWorfEffect getting his ass handed to him]], he may otherwise have to be PutOnABus so he doesn't [[TheLoad get in the way]].

Keep in mind that to qualify for this trope, a character must spend a significant amount of screen time as a BadassNormal before gaining his upgrade. For example, Hal Jordan of the ''Comicbook/GreenLantern'' series starts off as a BadassNormal (he's an Air Force pilot) but gets his powers so early in the story that it defines his character. Likewise, fellow Green Lantern John Stewart used to be a member of [[SemperFi another Corps]], but that wasn't even brought up until decades after his introduction. If the power upgrade is a part of the character's origin story, then he doesn't count. If the character only uses his powers in extreme circumstances, he probably FightsLikeANormal.

Compare TookALevelInBadass, where a character who was legitimately weak gets a power boost. PowerLossMakesYouStrong and BoxingLessonsForSuperman are inversions. Contrast with SuperheroPackingHeat, where someone who already has powers decides to pick up a gun (or other prosaic weapon).

'''Important Note:''' Empowered Badass Normal is a trope that specifically deals with a BadassNormal who gains superpowers. It does ''not'' mean "{{Badass}} with superpowers." There are plenty of other {{Badass}}-related tropes to deal with those. Please help us fight this TropeDecay.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'': Hibari Kyouya is already a very badass fighter with power level waay above the rest of the characters. He is still getting every single NextTierPowerUp along with everybody else, staying ahead of the curve.
* Kino Makoto from ''Anime/SailorMoon'' was already an experienced brawler before she even entered the story, and marked her debut episode by punching out [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Zoicite]]. ''Then'' she got her Senshi powers...
** [[PintsizedPowerhouse Minako]] is an even better example. In the anime it's not really visible, even if her moments as a PluckyGirl hint to that. In the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]], she can OneHitKO Makoto (done when Makoto had been brainwashed by the Dark Kingdom). In the live action, she provoked a collective OhCrap in a group of youma by kicking one in a column so hard to break concrete, ''without transforming!!'' Not to say she was a slouch in the anime. She leapt onto Usagi's balcony untransformed. She also outran a car after getting her Pure Heart Crystal taken out, even when every other senshi simply passed out from sheer pain and exhaustion.
* Akane Tendo from ''RanmaOneHalf'' has gotten this on occasion:
** The legendary [[PowerUpFood Super Strength Soba noodles]] confer herculean strength; after Akane mistakenly ate Happosai's, she was able to lift, toss, juggle, and ''split in half'' multi-ton, two-stories-tall iron bells. Unfortunately, they had the side-effect of sprouting whiskers on her face until she took the antidote.
** The [[PoweredArmor Battle Dougi]] from the late manga, a sentient suit that [[TimeToUnlockMoreTruePotential unlocks the wearer's ultimate fighting potential]]. She was able to [[CurbStompBattle run rings around Ranma]] while wearing it.
** A magical swimsuit made from a jellyfish-like substance, which allows the user to swim like a dolphin --not only negating Akane's SuperDrowningSkills, but also giving her a speed and coordination that left Ranma wallowing in her wake.
* Mwu La Flaga of ''GundamSEED'', a rare Natural ace pilot on a battlefield dominated by DesignerBabies, is eventually revealed to have "enhanced spatial awareness". Which clearly is the [[AlternateUniverse "Cosmic Era"]] equivalent to [[PsychicPowers Newtypes]].
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' stars one. He was known as "[[RedBaron The Black]] [[{{Shinigami}} Reaper]]" even ''before'' he became a Contractor, and in one flashback he completely owned a Contractor in a straight-up fight using only a choke wire, throwing knives, and sheer BadAss ninja skills. He still has the aforementioned skills, but now he can also [[ShockAndAwe zap the crap out of people]].
** Gets taken UpToEleven when it transpires that these same powers [[spoiler: make him a full-blown RealityWarper in the right circumstances]].
* MahouSenseiNegima does this for Ku Fei, who goes from "[[BadassNormal Martial Artist]]" to "Martial Artist that can shoot beams out of her hand and has a magic staff" as she gains the ability to use ki around the time the second major arc begins. This is actually noted in-universe by the MetaGuy as being more impressive to watch than the stronger full-on magic users, as she's "closer to being human" and thus you can understand exactly how good she is. It's hard to compare to someone who can blow up mountains, after all.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': [[spoiler: Ling Yao]] is originally a BadassNormal who can take on homunculi but [[spoiler:then he fused with the homunculus Greed and gets his SuperStrength and InstantArmor power.]]
** Scar started out as an Ishbalan warrior priest, who had the strength and skill to take on multiple Amestrian soldiers at once, but after being attacked by Kimblee, he received his brother's right arm, which enabled him to deconstruct anything. [[spoiler:And later in the manga, he acquires the power of reconstruction by tattooing his left arm with the designs his brother used to have, enabling him to do alchemical transmutations]].
* Creed Diskenth, TheBigBad of ''Manga/BlackCat'' was already a CharlesAtlasSuperpower abusing [[AxeCrazy lunatic]] back when he was just an assassin. As the series progresses he upgrades himself with Tao abilities that grant him a CoolSword, and then [[spoiler: nanomachines]] that grant him a [[spoiler: HealingFactor and make him to all intents and purposes {{Immortal}}]].
* Li Ho from ''Manga/TheLawOfUeki'' was considered one of the strongest competitors, and had taken out a large number of opponents despite refusing to use his ability.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [=CP9=] members Kaku and Kalifa were already amongst the world's top assassins and extremely skilled spies. Then they get Devil Fruit powers, which escalate their badass levels to an... unusually awesome degree. [[PossessionImpliesMastery Immediately after consumption, no less]].
** Zoro and Sanji are two of the greatest warriors of the Straw Hat crew, aside from their captain, but unlike Luffy, they have no Devil Fruit powers or anything else beyond CharlesAtlasSuperpower. Then they learned [[KiAttacks Haki.]]
** Ace was already a powerful fighter as a child who could hold his own against adult combatants and regularly beat Luffy (who already had his Devil Fruit) in fights. Then he obtained his fire powers and became one of the strongest pirates in the series.
** [[spoiler: Sabo was just as competent as Ace when he was a kid. Through only martial arts and [[KiAttacks Haki]] training he achieved second position in the Revolutionary Army, surpassing expert fighters like Jesus Burgess and Diamante in a tournament. A tournament that ends with him eating the Flame Flame fruit of his late brother.]]
** [[spoiler:We can now add ''Usopp'' to the list Haki users]].
* Brandon Heat of {{Gungrave}} was a great Mafia sweeper who was a skilled hand to hand fighter and a great marksmen. Then, he was killed and become Necrolized. He became much stronger and could take a lot of damage.
* MedakaBox: Male Lead Zenkichi was already a CrazyPrepared martial artist who could handle even abnormals in combat. After the battle with Kumagawa, he gained the [[spoiler: Parasite Seeing ability which allows him to see things from other people's perspective.]] Literally.
** Then he becomes even more abnormal, [[spoiler: gaining one more ability - Devil Style. Which removes all these coincidences that occur around your run-of-the-mill Main Character.]]
* Miyamoto Haiji from ''RosarioToVampire'', president of the school's karate club. Like almost all of the school's residents, he's some variety of monster, but he doesn't even bother using any monstrous abilities when he first makes a combat appearance. He just wipes the floor with other monsters using his martial arts; he still hasn't revealed what variety of monster he is.
** As it turns out, he's a tengu- a bird demon. And what we've seen for most of the series is his humanoid, weaker form.
** Tsukune is probably a straighter example. In the beginning he wasn't that impressive, but he was courageous enough to [[TakingTheBullet shield his]] [[OurMonstersAreDifferent stronger friends]] from attacks so often you have to wonder [[MadeOfIron what he's made of]] [[{{Determinator}} to keep getting up like that]]. Then he gets his EmergencyTransformation NextTierPowerUp, and this trope breaks loose. He goes through several power-ups over the course of series and by the final chapter he's [[spoiler:a Shinso Vampire, the most powerful monster there is]].
* ''Anime/MonsterRancher'' Genki may seem to be BadassNormal at first but is often seen focusing energy in order to attack, as well as transferring it to others and putting it into his attacks. Later on it is shown he can [[spoiler:launch Spirit Bombs]] and, in the last two episodes [[spoiler:focus the energy of everyone they know, combining the bodies of several of his friends and reviving the Phoenix]].
* [[Anime/CodeGeass Suzaku Kururugi]] may count. Already a BadassNormal (he was a skilled Knightmare Frame Pilot and martial arts prodigy) for most of the first season, he slips into this near the end of the first season and into R2. His most obvious upgrade was having the "Live!" geass cast upon him by Lelouch, allowing him to survive situations that would normally have killed him and allowing him to become much stronger and faster than a normal human being in order to do so. However, it had been hinted throughout the series that Suzaku had some as-of-yet unidentified connection to geass... [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot that was never explained or elaborated upon]].
* ''HighSchoolDXD'' has Issei Hyodo, the protagonist is a human who got reincarnated into a devil, who happens to possess a more powerful version of a Sacred Gear called Boosted Gear that [[MagikarpPower doubles his power every 10 seconds.]] Then, he attains [[PoweredArmor Balance Breaker]] and is capable of fighting stronger beings and [[CurbStompBattle curb stomp]] weaker enemies. And then he attains the Illegal Triana (Cardinal Crimson Promotion being the strongest form) to the point that Ddraig, the dragon sealed inside the Boosted Gear, states that he's now at Ddraig's full power. [[spoiler: And ''then'' he becomes even more powerful after having [[OurHeroIsDead his old body dying]] at the hands of Samael, the Dragon Eater, and both Ophis and Great Red, ''two of the strongest beings of the series'', create a body for Issei ''while still having Boosted Gear''.]] If anybody took this trope UpToEleven, it's him.
* In ''AyashiNoCeres'', Yuuhi Aogiri starts as a competent martial artist ([[RealMenCook who can cook!]]) and manages to save [[{{TheHero}}ine Aya]] more than once with his own abilities alone. However, his sister-in-law Suzumi creates a bandana and two wristbands that lends him part of her power as the Celestial Maiden. That gives Yuuhi partial immunity to other Maidens' attacks (including Ceres) and extra strength while he fights (as shown during the GrandFinale when [[spoiler:he manages to severely wound [[BigBad Mikagi]] with one strike]]).
* The anime of SoulEater had Maka, the protagonist, a BadassBookworm who wields a giant red-and-black scythe who is actually her shape-shifting best friend. Her father also had this ability, but she inherited the powers of a Meister from her mother. [[spoiler: Until the final episode, when it turns out she has been a Weapon all along.]]
* Satsuki Kiryujin, of ''Anime/KillLaKill,'' starts off the series as having no powers besides an extremely dangerous sword and a [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower hell of a lot of training.]] When the main character, Ryuko, gets her hands on a [[ClothesMakeTheSuperman Kamui]] and proves nearly able to match her in a fight, Satsuki eventually acquires one of equal power, and starts wearing it for most of their fights. Ryuko herself could qualify, being able to take down superpowered One-Star Uniform wearers even before gaining her Kamui, but she obtains the outfit in the first episode and rarely takes it off thereafter.
* Leorio from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' is the only member of the main cast without nen abilities. While the weakest of the four, he's still stronger than your average human, is a skilled doctor, and displays a large amount of StreetSmarts. Then after a LongBusTrip, he returns with a nen ability that allows him to transmit his punches through the floor, which he immediately uses to lay out legendary hunter and Gon's father Ging.
* Eren Yeager, from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. He's a {{Determinator}} fueled by ThePowerOfHate, graduating 5th in his military class through sheer persistence and noted to be one of the best at hand-to-hand-combat. Then he CameBackStrong, surviving a brush with death and gaining the ability to [[spoiler: transform into a 15-meter Titan with SuperStrength]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* An awful lot of FanFiction tends to give Franchise/{{Batman}} powers, typically so he can "stand up" to Franchise/{{Superman}}. Some comics do this, too, usually as a one-issue gag or an {{Elseworld}}. One Elseworld gave him a ''GreenLanternRing'' -- leading to this [[MotivationalPoster Demotivator]] titled [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/green-lantern-batman.jpg "Overpowered"]]
** He was also offered a Sinestro Corp's ring (yellow, based on fear) in canon (well, canon Green Lantern Corps), which admittedly fits him remarkably well. However, he rejected it and it ended up in the hands of Scarecrow briefly before being taken by a deputized Orange Lantern Lex Luthor.
** In a different medium, Batman has been offered the ring, or at least comparable to it ''twice'' (see below in WesternAnimation).
** The ComicBook/AmalgamUniverse sees your Green Lantern Batman and raises you [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Claw Wolverine Batman]].
** He ''always'' [[ResetButton loses such powers at the end of the story]] or has them [[CanonDisContinuity ruled non-canonical]]. The writers know that Batman is known and loved as a BadassNormal, and neither wants nor needs superpowers. That and it gives them an excuse to experiment.
*** There's one story where Batman gained Franchise/{{Superman}}'s powers, and Superman was BroughtDownToNormal. The ramifications were explored- Batman began to go a little bit crazy from [[KnightTemplar righting every possible wrong he could]], and ends up getting weakened- turns out fighting at night all the time doesn't suit a solar-powered hero.
** [[ComicBook/BatmanVampire Vampire Batman]]. The trilogy of stories ended [[spoiler:with everybody dead, including Batman himself]].
** There are occasions where in Batman has his own PoweredArmor to beat superpowerful foes. He also appears to have a storage of mroe exotic technology and even supernatural items that he doesn't use in his normal crimefighting.
* Comicbook/IronMan, who began as a simple man (not even badass) wearing a PowerArmor, gave himself technology based super powers with the 'extremis' virus after deciding he wasn't fast enough to keep up. In addition to speeding up his ability to control his suits by mental link (even to summon its pieces and assemble into the full suit with his mind) it also allowed him to mentally link with other pieces of technology as well, often leading to 'I hacked it while standing here talking to you' asspulls.
** The new Bleeding Edge suit can do a lot of what the Extremis suit could do and a lot of what it ''can't''.
* This used to come and go for ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, with him gaining and losing superhuman levels of strength depending on the writers, before it was finally decided that his iconic status in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse was partly founded on him being a [[BadassNormal slightly-above-pinnacle of human physical ability]] (being the [[CaptainPatriotic Living Symbol of America]] didn't hurt either). I guess that that SuperSerum wasn't all ''that'' super, though given what Steve Rogers was [[HollywoodNerd before then]] it's still damn impressive. Steve Rogers' power was eventually set at a hair above normal (non-mutant) human maximum.
** This is not the case for the Franchise/UltimateMarvel version, however, who was clearly superhuman from the get go.
** While he was a BadassNormal when he was still serving as Cap's sidekick, ComicBook/BuckyBarnes now sports an [[ArtificialLimbs artificial arm]] that grants him various nifty abilities such as an {{EMP}} and an electric shock.
* ''[[Franchise/UltimateMarvel Ultimate Origins]] #1'' reveals that, apparently, [[spoiler:Nick Fury's incredible badass-ness comes from having been a successful test subject of the Super Soldier Serum. On the one hand, you'd think just being Creator/SamuelLJackson would be enough; on the other, this kinda makes it easier to swallow things like dodging automatic weapons fire in close quarters, or holding his own against ''Wolverine'' until Captain America dropped the mutant with a taunt and a grenade. And most of his awesome is [[TheChessmaster in his badass planning, anyway]].]]
** This is at least partially true for the normal ComicBook/NickFury, who is BadAss and... virtually immortal, thanks to an anti-aging formula he took so he wouldn't age out of useful service. That near-immortality applies only to natural causes of death, though; Nick's survival in combat is purely a result of his badassitude.
* How to create T'challa, the ''ComicBook/BlackPanther'': start with an African prince, raised since his earliest days to be an all-round expert athlete, brilliant mind, skilled warrior and natural leader. Then have him eat a mystical plant and have all of his physical capabilities boosted to explicitly superhuman levels. Season with all of the miraculous gadgets that a super-advanced MarySuetopia can cook up as personnel-grade gear. ''Then'' let the local Panther deity grant him its blessings.
* This happened to a huge number of [[Franchise/TheDCU DC Universe's]] [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] superheroes, either the characters themselves or their [[LegacyCharacter legacy successors]]. Originally, non-powered mystery men were a popular character type back in 40s and all of DC's characters were supposed to be in self-contained continuities. As time passed, these characters were put into a SharedUniverse with super powered characters and non-powered characters just didn't seem that impressive in comparison. Since a lot of these characters are fairly obscure, most people didn't really care much if they were reworked. ''ComicBook/AllStarSquadron'' was particularly guilty of this.
** The most famous example is ComicBook/BlackCanary. Before joining the [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]], Black Canary had no superpowers, but one issue immediately after joining the Justice League, Black Canary suddenly acquired the [[MakeMeWannaShout Canary Cry]], a sonic projection weapon emitted from her mouth. This conflicted so much with her traditional BadassNormal nature, that her solo series and the smaller scale ''ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey'' constantly use KryptoniteIsEverywhere to force her to solve problems without using superpowers.
*** Oh, it gets better. The Canary Cry is sometimes described as being ''so insanely powerful'' that any time she uses it, she's basically holding back so as not to ''completely and utterly eff up'' everything within earshot. It's put a hurt on characters who are considered to be ''much'' heavier hitters. Of course, this ironically lets the writers who are so inclined hold this back and let her use her 'fu as her primary weapon: The Canary Cry really ''is'' that powerful, and you use the conventional weapons before you NukeEm. Gangs of {{Mooks}} and non-Franchise/{{Superman}}-class superpowered thugs just don't rate using it.
** Happened to ComicBook/GreenArrow II, Connor Hawke, as of ''Green Arrow and Black Canary #14'', when the genetics manipulation of [[MadScientist Dr. Sivana]] granted him with a HealingFactor.
** ComicBook/TheAtom - Gained ability to increase strength with radiation. Later successors could change size.
** Stars and Stripes - Star Spangled Kid got Starman's cosmic rod and technology, while Stripesy built a mech for himself. Their successor, Stargirl continues to use Starman's technology.
** Wildcat - Got nine lives, legacy successors got cat related powers and could turn into a {{Werecat}}.
** Firebrand - Legacy successors got fire manipulation powers.
** Liberty Belle - Acquired ability to project sonic vibrations from her hands.
** PhantomLady - Legacy successor could become invisible.
** [[SandmanMysteryTheatre The Sandman]] - Legacy successors had all sorts of super powers.
** Congo Bill - Gained the power to turn into a gorilla.
** Crimson Avenger - Legacy successor is a spirit of vengeance with magic guns.
** ComicBook/RedTornado - Legacy successors could manipulate wind in the form of tornados.
** ComicBook/BlueBeetle - Inverted this and then played it straight. The first Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) had super powers from a magic scarab, the second (Ted Kord) couldn't make it work[[note]](Well, sorta. It did offer him its power once, but it turned out to be evil, and Ted chose instead to destroy it. It's back now and doesn't seem evil anymore.)[[/note]], but the third (Jaime Reyes) goes back to using the scarab.
*** Actually the ''original'' original [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Fox Features Blue Beetle[[http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Blue_Beetle]], before being revived by Creator/CharltonComics and thence moving to Franchise/TheDCU, started as a BadassNormal then got a bulletproof costume and SuperSerum from a scientist ally. The scarab didn't pop up until the SilverAge at Charlton.
** Rex the Wonder Dog drank from the Fountain of Youth, gaining the ability to talk and unspecified magical abilities. Overkill, considering that he was already a successful newspaper photographer ''before'' getting the ability to talk.
* Averted in ''ComicBook/{{PS 238}}'' with resident student BadassNormal Tyler Marlocke. [[spoiler: When his clone Toby gains incredible [[RealityWarper cosmic powers]] his lack of control coupled with no longer relying on ingenuity and determination to survive lowers his badass quotient to almost negligible levels, While Tyler's unpowered alter ego Moonshadow continues to aspire to even greater feats of badassery.]]
* Near the end of ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'', Ganthet triggers an emergency mechanism in the rings of the highest-profile member from each Corps, prompting them to create a temporary duplicate ring and 'deputise' the nearest suitable individual. Most of the resulting Lanterns already had powers (Star Sapphire Franchise/WonderWoman, Indigo Tribe Atom, Blue Lantern Franchise/TheFlash), but we also get Orange Lantern SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor and Sinestro Corps [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Scarecrow]]. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for the Orange Ring to drive Lex mad(der) with greed, and the first ring he steals is Scarecrow's.
* Joshua Carver of ''ComicBook/NoHero'' did patrols at night without any super powers. Then, he gets [=FX7=] and he becomes very powerful. [[spoiler: In fact, he was raised by the FBI as a monster fighter and an FBI agent commented that she's very scared of Joshua since he has superpowers.]]
* In ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' Natasha Irons, after a fallout with [[{{Steel}} her uncle]], enlists in the SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor Everyman Project and gains actual superpowers, going from a human in PowerArmor to a human capable of ''crushing'' PowerArmor. John Henry is infected with a metagene against his will and transforms into a being composed of stainless steel, capable of deflecting bullets and hurling blobs of molten metal.
* Tigra of Creator/MarvelComics fame started at The Cat, a lab assistant who used a super suit to make her comparable to Captain America, and give her finger claw grapples (the suit was later taken on by Patsy Walker, Hellcat).
* ComicBook/PatsyWalker herself started out as a teen humor character until her transition into a BadassNormal superhero. She later developed some vaguely defined psychic abilities, placing her squarely in this trope.
* The titular Metabarons in ''ComicBook/TheMetabarons''.
* There is a variety of this in ComicBook/{{Irredeemable}} - while Charybdis always had the powers, they were pretty weak. So when he got boosted to Plutonian's level, he has an advantage, because he actually knew how to fight.
* In Comicbook/NewAvengers, ComicBook/{{Mockingbird}} received a mix of [[SuperSerum Super Soldier serum]] and Nick Fury's Infinity Formula to save her life; an upgrade she has yet to fully exploit.
* Franchise/SpiderMan villain Tombstone started as an EvilAlbino Mafia leg breaker. Soon after his first appearance (in which he got thoroughly trashed by Spidey), exposure to an experimental gas gave him [[MadeOfIron rock-hard skin]] and super-strength.
* ComicBook/MsMarvel was first just Carol Danvers, an Air Force military figure, investigating about this new "Captain Marvel" and the Lawson scientist. And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Marvel Comics wanted to have more female super-heroes, and Carol Danvers was exposed to a Kree machine that turned her into a FlyingBrick with Kree powers.
* At one point, Chase Stein of the ComicBook/{{Runaways}} merged with Vision of the ComicBook/YoungAvengers. More recently, during ''AvengersArena'', [[spoiler:he has become the new Darkhawk]] (which is, of course, ironic, because his predecessor in that role was one of the Runaways' enemies back when they were still based out of the Hostel.)
* ''Comicbook/ThePunisher''
** In a ''ComicBook/WhatIf'' story, the Comicbook/{{Venom}} symbiote joins with Frank Castle instead of Eddie Brock. Using his new powers, the Punisher's war on crime becomes more brutal than ever and he succeeds in killing several Marvel supervillains before a team of superheros manages to stun the symbiote, allowing Punisher to tame it by telling it that he'd commit suicide and destroy them both unless the symbiote gives him complete control over it. Punisher then tells the superheroes that he's in control now before escaping.
** The ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherPurgatory Purgatory]]'' miniseries gave Frank, who was resurrected by an angel after a demon-assisted suicide, divine powers that allowed him to pull [[{{Hammerspace}} any kind of (divine) weapon he wanted]] from his BadassLongcoat.
* In ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures, WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck is a BadassNormal in a world of aliens,cyborgs,robots,etc. However he gain psychic power in issue 40 of the series and lose them at the end of the issue.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfic]]
* In the JackieChanAdventures fic ''Fanfic/QueenOfAllOni'', Jade gets significantly stronger and more durable (plus a healing factor), along with the normal powers of a Shadowkhan when her Queen persona returns.
* Deconstructed in ''FanFic/FalloutEquestria'' as part of the story's attempt to show [[BeingGoodSucks how much it would suck]] to be the main character in a {{VideoGame/Fallout}} game. Over the course of the story, Littlepip picks up several [[MadeOfIron beneficial]] [[HealingFactor mutations]] and [[HalfHumanHybrid alterations]], at the cost of sterility and a significantly reduced lifespan. By the story's end she's basically [[YourDaysAreNumbered on her last legs]], and being [[spoiler: [[HumanPopsicle sealed in the SPP's stasis chamber]] is probably the best thing that could have happened to her at that point.]]
* This is the main premise of the first story of the ''FanFic/FacingTheFutureSeries'' in which [[WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom Sam]] gains ghost powers of her own.
* ''Fanfic/KyonBigDamnHero'' does this to Kyon, first making him a BadassNormal via martial arts training in Yuki's [[YearInsideHourOutside error correction spaces]]. Then in chapter 21 he starts getting cool toys. [[spoiler: Initially an extra-dimensional super gun, a watch with body armor, and a very nice coat. Then an AI PDA. Then a beam saber. Then an upgrade to his watch to give him gravity powers. Then another extra-dimensional super gun. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Then Asakura Ryoko.]]]]
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6999519/1/The-Pride-of-Sunnydale The Pride of Sunnydale]]'' makes [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] [[TookALevelInBadass take a few levels in badass]]. Unlike canon, he's possessed by a primal lion spirit instead of a hyena and retains the possession.
* Subverted in ''[[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-19569/Chilord+Echoes+of+the+Fallen.htm Echoes of the Fallen]]''. After [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] goes as ComicBook/{{Magneto}} for Halloween, he gains Magento's memories rather than his power. [[spoiler:[[DoubleSubversion At least until Buffy dies]].]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/KingKongVsGodzilla'' gives the [[Film/KingKong gorilla]] a size upgrade and [[ElementalPowers electrical abilities]] so that he can stand up to the [[Franchise/{{Godzilla}} atomic dinosaur]]. This is a side-effect from the fact that King Kong was originally supposed to be Franchise/{{Frankenstein}}, which would have still fit into this category for making Franky 30 stories tall.
* A bit of a meta-example is ComicBook/JonahHex. For much of his comics career he got by on his wits and his skills, no matter where he ended up, he always kicked ass and took names. When TheMovie [[Film/JonahHex was made]], they gave him the power to temporarily resurrect the dead.
* Ellen Ripley in the ''Franchise/{{Alien}}'' series was a normal human who TookALevelInBadass by the end of ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' by destroying an entire alien hive by herself, fighting against acid-bleeding parasitic Xenomorphs. Then by ''Film/AlienResurrection'' her clone Ripley 8, who shares most of her memories, receives some Alien DNA as a result of a flaw in the cloning process. Ripley's own blood becomes slightly acidic, she gets a psychic connection with the Xenos, has reduced empathy and predatory instincts, and is able to [[MadeOfIron shrug off being hit in the face with a loaded barbell]].
* In ''Film/{{Elysium}}'': Max goes from an ex-convict stricken with extreme radiation poisoning to a superhuman with PoweredArmor grafted directly into his body. Kruger goes from being a badass Ex-Special Forces sociopath to an augmented badass Ex-Special Forces sociopath.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* This is hinted at being the possible future path of Sergeant [[BadassNormal Karrin Murphy]] in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', if she chooses [[spoiler:to accept the offer from [[{{God}} Big G]] and become a [[ChurchMilitant Knight of the Cross]].]]
** In ''Literature/SkinGame'', we find out that [[spoiler:Butters has become Batman of Chicago, combining his grasp of magical theory with Bob's power to create magical artifacts which allow him to, for example, create Mind Fog at will, and skate at almost 30 mph. Still, they're just toys compared to the odds he faces. It isn't until the end of the book, where he becomes the newest (Jedi) Knight of the Cross, that he [[IncrediblyLamePun crosses]] over into Empowered territory.]]
** Both the Knights of the Cross and Nicodemus's Denarians tend to be dangerous in their own right even without holy swords or [[ArtifactOfDoom evil coins]], respectively.
* In Talyn by Holly Lisle, the main character of the same name begins with limited use of something called the Hagedwar, a tool which grants the user power restrained only by how well they know how to use said tool. However, as the heat gets turned up, Talyn conveniently learns how to do such extraordinary things with the Hagedwar that she essentially becomes a demigoddess.
* Tavi of the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' is the [[TheCallPutMeOnHold one and only]] {{Muggle}} in a world where absolutely everything [[MagiTek runs on]] ElementalPowers. He can't even turn the lights on and off by himself. He is, however, so {{badass}} that he easily outmatches more than a few people who have SuperStrength or can throw waves of fire around, and often saves the day through sheer BadassNormal [[CrazyEnoughToWork awesomeness]]. But he also becomes less and less normal with time; his [[BondCreatures bond]] with Kitai increasingly sharpens his senses and improves his stamina, and at the end of ''Cursor's Fury'', [[spoiler:he finally starts to get over his mother stunting his magic and develops some rudimentary furycrafting ability. But since he's short about 15 years of practice, he's unable to utilize it properly until he gets some TrainingFromHell in ''First Lord's Fury''.]]
* In ''Literature/InFuryBorn'' Alicia Devries is a highly decorated [[SemperFi ex-marine]], [[SpaceMarine ex-cadre]] genius of literally superior genetic stock. After spending the first half of the book establishing her as a BadassNormal, she then becomes possessed by a demi-goddess of vengeance and shortly after bonds with the AI of an experimental warship.
* Kaladin of Literature/TheStormlightArchive starts off solidly BadassNormal, managing to kill a Shardbearer, a feat considered nearly impossible for those without Shards of their own. Then [[spoiler: he starts developing Surgebinding abilities]].
** This is actually a question left intentionally open by the author, and a major source of angst for the character is that he may have had the powers forever but simply been too dim to realize it and use them to protect his fellow soldiers. Many of his epic feats of martial skill and survival sort of read differently on a second read-through when you know in advance that [[spoiler: he can sustain himself on stormlight, heal any wound with a handful of spare change, and control his momentum and that of everything trying to hit him.]] Scenes where an opponent has trouble freeing a weapon from a shield or miss with a projectile weapon get an extra helping of "oh. huh."
** A close inspection of the chapter from the perspective of a new recruit in Kaladin's [[TrueCompanions squad]] mentions something that seems a little odd even on a first read(namely, [[spoiler: he seems to be surrounded by/trailing a mist while fighting]]), and when one knows about [[spoiler: his surgebinding]] it becomes blatantly obvious that he has been using it to help his fighting for a long while. He's clearly still a badass spearman in his own right though. This is proven in the second book, when [[spoiler: He kills a chasmfiend when temporarily BroughtDownToNormal.]]
* In ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'' it's revealed that due to the events of ''Discworld/{{Thud}}'' [[spoiler: Sam Vimes can see in the dark, understand the language of goblins, and can ask the Summoning Dark to tell him anything that happened in darkness.]]
* ''Literature/WarriorCats'' has a few examples:
** Lionblaze starts out as a very strong, yet very normal, warrior. Then in ''Outcast'', he starts developing the powers of invincibility, becoming exceptionally strong.
** Becoming a Clan Leader works this way. They start out as normal warriors like everyone else [[note]]Normal warrior = Major badass[[/note]], but when they become a leader, they receive [[BackFromTheDead nine lives]], the powers of [=StarClan=], and any other gift the authors decide to give them.
* Remo Williams, in TheDestroyer series of books, has trained in the "sun source" martial art of Sinanju, which functions as a CharlesAtlasSuperpower to allow him amazing abilities.
* From ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', both Perrin and Mat. Both were fairly badass even ''before'' Perrin found his connection with the wolves, and before Mat had his little episodes with the dagger from Shadar Logoth and the Aelfinn and Eelfinn.
** Aviendha as well, as she was an [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Aiel]] [[AmazonBrigade Maiden of the Spear]] before becoming a Wise One apprentice and learning to channel. Even her first appearance involves her and a pair of other Aiel fighting (and ''[[IShallTauntYou taunting]]'') a myrddraal, and she was one of the Aiel who took the Stone of Tear.
* Alaric in Literature/TheQuestOfTheUnaligned was already a BadassNormal policeman [[spoiler: as seen in his killing a dragon with absolutely nothing but his sword and his wits]]. Then he discovered that he's the heir to the [[BenevolentMageRuler royal house of Caederan]], and then after that he[[spoiler: becomes the first orah to be created for centuries.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Warren becomes this when he gains the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan in Season 6.
* Happened subtly in ''Series/StargateSG1'', mostly the "TouchedByVorlons" variety. Jack O'Neill was already BadAss before the reveal that he had the gene necessary to use the technology of the Ancients. Same for Sam Carter and being used as a host by a Tok'ra. Daniel Jackson was an ActionSurvivor until he AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence (twice). The difference between before and after is relatively minor in some cases, but it's definitely there.
** Used less subtly in the episode "Upgrades", when the three of them all wear [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum Atanik armbands]], granting them enhanced strength, plus SuperSpeed on a level even TheFlash would find respectable. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for the continued drama of the series, the armbands impart their superpowers by injecting a virus...that the human body eventually develops an immunity to. This turns out to be why the Atanik civilization is extinct: they relied on the armbands exclusively for their defense, and once the entire population was immune, they were helpless.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Sam Winchester shifts into this in seasons 4 and 5 when he starts gaining direct control over his psychic abilities. However, he eventually abandons them and returns to being a BadassNormal.
** In season 7, we have [[spoiler: Ghost Bobby]].
** In Season 9, there's Dean after he gets the Mark of Cain and the First Blade.
* Nick Burkhardt in ''Series/{{Grimm}}'', is essentially an average human being with above average abilities in combat. The only supernatural ability he possesses is his ability to see Wesen in their true form.
** Fan speculation has gone back and forth on whether being a Grimm provided any abilities besides seeing the Wesen's true forms due to ambiguous portrayals of strength and durability. Starting in season 2, his powers provide a type of immune response that fights certain types of attacks and adapts to compensate or incorporates aspects and [[AdaptiveAbility resistance to further attacks]]. So far, he now has enhanced hearing that allows him to fight blind and hear better than the werewolf, and a zombie state that allows him superior stamina without raising his heart rate or getting fatigued and not needing to breath for an unknown amount of time.
* Captain Jack Harkness from ''Series/DoctorWho'' and ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' is this. He starts out a badass former time-agent who can easily keep up with the Ninth Doctor in terms of action. Then he dies and is brought back. Permanently.
* Both Mohinder and Ando in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' spend the first two seasons struggling to keep up in a world of superhumans. They do okay all things considered -- even facing the BigBad, Sylar, a couple of times and living to tell of it, which many characters with powers can't say. [[spoiler: But in Volume 3 they both get powers, letting them hold their own.]]
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}:'' [[spoiler: Chuck himself.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is quite often how Exaltation works in ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', but mostly for Solars and Lunars. To explicate: Solars are typically Exalted after performing an act of bravery or a great accomplishment. Lunars are typically Exalted after surviving in the face of overwhelming odds.
* ''[[TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness World of Darkness]]: Mirrors'' has the "Dark Hero" template, which (on top of a few inherent abilities such as a power stat and [[MadeOfIron greater durability]] and [[HealingFactor healing]]) allows one to utilise "Skill Masteries", specialized powers based in mundane Skills. The weakest of these constitute {{Charles Atlas Superpower}}s, while the greatest are positively superhuman.
** Due to the relatively "fair" balance between supernatural and non-supernatural abilities (mundane skills, for instance, grant essentially the same increase in capabilities as ranks in a Mage's spheres), it is not uncommon for a WorldOfDarkness game to start with a bunch of badass normal "hunters" and then have them gain supernatural templates only after a certain number of sessions.
* Quite a few ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' cards underwent this. As the LensmanArmsRace of GameBreaker superpowers continued, a variety of iconic Normal Monsters became SoLastSeason ComMons for many players. As a result, a large number of those Monsters were rereleased as Effect Monsters. For example, [[ALoadOfBull Battle Ox]] became [[ArmorPiercingAttack Enraged Battle Ox]], [[KnightInShiningArmor Gaia the Fierce Knight]] became [[DesperationAttack Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight]], [[JeanneDArchetype St. Joan]] became [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy Guardian Angel Joan]], and [[{{Gradius}} Victory Viper]][[IAmNotShazam /Gradius]] went from a random ShoutOut to another game to an entire archetype of similarly-statted references. But perhaps the largest of them all was Chaos Soldier[[DubNameChange /Black Luster Soldier]], which went from a subpar and outdated Ritual Monster, to [[GameBreaker one of the founders of the banlist.]]
* The Sisters of Battle of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are for all intents and purposes normal humans, albeit [[TrainingFromHell trained to elite levels]], and equipped with PowerArmor, and a [[{{BFG}} Boltgun]]. Their faith in the God-Emperor though is ''so'' strong that it gives them incredible powers on par with psionics (only explicitly ''not'' warp derived, therefore without possibility of invoking Perils of the Warp). These used to be so good that many players preferred to design their army ''specifically'' around Acts of Faith to make a competitive list, although the sixth edition codex has kicked the entire faction down to low-tier.
** There's also the Stormtroopers of the Imperial Guard. For reference, the Imperial Guard are an entire army of human {{Badass Normal}}s, and the very best of them are inducted into Stormtrooper squads, or the Kasrkin squads, if it's a Cadian army. They are given special equipment not normally afforded to rank-and-file guardsmen, such as carapace armour and plasma weapons, as well as a few minor biological and cybernetic augmentations that increase their strength and speed by a small amount.
** This is actually the basic idea behind the {{Space Marine}}s, really. Start with a prepubescent BadassNormal, then fill him full of bio-mods to turn him into a Space Marine.
** While the fluff tends to focus on the ones that were formerly Chaos Marines, Daemon Princes are this trope. Ordinary mortals who become veritable {{Physical God}}s in recognition of their sheer badassery. Like Ax'Senaea the Thrice-Possessed, an ordinary human who ''consumed'' three of Slaanesh's Greater Daemons to make herself young and hearty again, and was aiming for number four when Slaanesh made her a Daemon Princess.
* From D20Modern: Take a Fast Hero 5/Gunslinger 10/Sniper 5, already a force to be reckoned with, despite having no magic/cybernetics/mutations.. Give him/her cybernetics implants (D20 Future), Mutations (D20 Future), and/or FX items/Magical inherent enhancements/both (Urban Arcana). Then hope you are not going to face him/her.
* In ''[[TabletopGame/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy Mistborn Adventure Game]]'', you can spend a bunch of Advancements to manifest Allomantic powers if you don't have them already. Since non-powered characters start with better Attributes and Standings, this can make for a ''very'' powerful Hero.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Kyle Katarn from the VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga games spent the entire first game and first 3 levels of the second as just a BadassNormal (during which he bests Boba Fett and takes out at least one Kell Dragon with just his fists). He then learns about his Force Sensitivity and gets a lightsaber.
* When you disregard his [[EvilHand Evil]] [[RedRightHand Red]] PowerFist, which he does not use for swinging his sword or firing his HandCannon anyway, Nero from ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 4'' looks like a "mere" CharlesAtlasSuperpower user... until TheReveal that [[spoiler:he is a descendant of the series' DefectorFromDecadence super-devil Sparda]].
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games, you start as a plucky BadassNormal survivor relying on a [[CoolGun hunting]] [[BoringButPractical rifle]], [[CrazyPrepared your wits]] and [[CombatPragmatist tactics]] to take on a variety of [[NuclearNasty mutated animals and insects]], [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Ghouls]], [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Super]]-[[OurGiantsAreBigger Mutants]], [[AIIsACrapshoot military robots]], and SuperSoldiers. Over the course of the games, though, you can gain perks that grant you superhuman abilities and help level the playing field. They range from [[{{Cyborg}} cybernetic implants]], [[CursedWithAwesome beneficial mutations]], and quasi-supernatural abilities like [[OurVampiresAreDifferent the ability to gain health from drinking blood]]. You can also acquire special equipment like PowerArmor, [[InvisibilityCloak stealth devices]], and ludicrously powerful weapons that [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter fire conventional solid rounds]], [[FrickinLaserBeams directed]] [[RayGun energy]] weapons, [[StuffBlowingUp explosives]] and even ''[[NukeEm nukes]]''.
* ''FinalFantasy''
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'': The party start out as Freelancers who can only attack, defend, and chuck items. By the end of the game, they will probably be Freelancers... who have gained a multitude of unique abilities, magic, knowledge of chemistry, ''et cetera'' after mastering the job classes granted to them by the crystal shards.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'': Terra and Celes are the only two members with access to magic for the very first portion of the game (in fact, this makes them highly valuable to LaResistance). After meeting with Ramuh, the rest of the party gains access to magicite and start learning magic themselves.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'': Vincent Valentine was a Turk, one of Shinra's elite [[TheMenInBlack Men In Black]] who enforced the company's will and guarded their [=VIPs=]. And then Hojo got a hold of him and turned him into an ''unaging shapeshifter''.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'': Although the main party themselves don't really count, having been trained to use Guardian Forces and Junctioning, they do turn Laguna and his friends into this whenever they share a consciousness [[spoiler:thanks to Ellone]]. They're already capable, well-trained veterans... but now they have access to para-magic, summons, and Junctions years before Garden made these things familiar to the world.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has the whole party turned into L'Cie, esper-like humans with magical powers, by Anima after defeating it. [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Anima is a sort of god like monster.]]
*** In fact, for one character, Snow Villiers, he becomes an Empowered Badass Normal ''twice''. It's implied he always knew martial arts, but getting hold of an experimental bulletproof BadassLongcoat which enhanced his strength lets him make the most of his inherent strength and skill. And then, he becomes a L'Cie, granting him magic powers and the ability to summon ice spirits that can transform into a motorcycle, to put the cherry on the cake.
* Would you believe it, but [[spoiler:Sergeant Johnson]] of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', who [[WordOfGod was revealed]] to be a [[SuperSoldier SPARTAN-I]].
* Most of Exile's party in the second KnightsOfTheOldRepublic are this - they're already war veterans, trained fighters, spies, bounty hunters, etc. But most of them turn out to be Force Sensitive as well, leading the Exile to train them as Jedi. It's also a common fan theory that Carth Onasi from the first game is an untrained Force Sentitive as well.
* James Heller in ''VideoGame/{{Prototype 2}}'' is derived from the fact that he is [[BadassNormal a normal person who can take on the infected prior to his infection]].
* Albert Wesker from the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series was already one ''hell'' of a MagnificentBastard, but after successfully pulling off his massive GambitRoulette in the first game and coming BackFromTheDead in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'', he gains superhuman strength and speed thanks to a specific form of TheVirus.
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'' reveals that Wesker [[spoiler:along with the other Wesker children, though he supposedly was the only survivor,]] was a subject of Project W, the first and greatest of Umbrella's experiments. He was indoctrinated with Oswell Spencer's beliefs and treated with the Progenitor Virus since early childhood. He was a {{Badass}} all along.
** Wesker also makes [[spoiler:Jill Valentine]] one in RE5
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' gives us two more to add: [[spoiler: Sherry Birkin, who possesses a healing factor as a result of her exposure to the G-Virus, and Wesker's HeroicBastard son, Jake Muller, who possesses enhanced strength, speed, and endurance]].
* [[PlayerCharacter Nathan Hale]] in ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}}: Fall of Man'' after getting infected with the [[TheVirus Chimeran Virus]] that gives him the ability to regenerate, among other things. And near the end of ''Resistance 2'', he [[spoiler: [[EleventhHourSuperpower gains the ability to make the Chimera explode by waving his hands]] after defeating [[BigBad Daedalus]]]].
** The Sentinels in ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}} 2'', a team of {{Badass}}es who all survived the infection through the [[TheVirus Chimeran Virus]] and thus have the same abilities as Hale.
* This trope is the origin story of every character in ''{{Rift}}'', although the means of gaining powers depend on the faction. On the Guardians faction intro, the narration specifies that you were not chosen because of your faith, but because of your strength.
* The protagonists of ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' generally either will become abnormal, or at least can become abnormal (the exceptions are ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena'', where you remain normal, if increasingly badass, for the setting throughout the game, and ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', where your abnormality is something you were born with, even if it doesn't have much of an effect unless dragons are about).
** The [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Agent]] can become a werewolf, wereboar or vampire.
** The Nerevarine from ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' eventually contracts Corprus during the Main Questline. Removing the negative symptoms of Corprus leaves the Nerevarine as TheAgeless along with being immune to all other diseases.
** The [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Champion of Cyrodiil]] starts off as a prisoner in a cell and ends up becoming the ''[[AGodAmI Madgod]]''.
* This happens to Link in various ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games. Usually he starts the game as a regular sword-wielding kid, but by the end of the game he's acquired various spells and other magical powers, his energy level has been magically doubled, etc.
* Ashley Winchester, the protagonist of ''VideoGame/WildArms2'' is this when he gets his SecondHourSuperpower a few hours into the game. Comes with a ThemeMusicPowerUp too.
* In the ''{{X-COM}}'' series, surviving soldiers with high psi strengh. They (mostly) start with poor stats, but will become BadassNormal. And when you unlock the Psi-Lab... [[GameBreaker May god]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge have mercy on their souls...]]]
** You can also do this in ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' . True, a perfectly ordinary squaddie with a rifle can hold his/her own against the aliens, but later on you can turn them into truly {{Badass}} psionic {{Super Soldier}}s, MindRape enemies to death, conjure up psychic shields or take control of enemies. ''Enemy Within'' adds bio-enhancements which allow soldiers to heal miraculously from injuries, jump over buildings or ''turn invisible'', and cybernetic enhancements which allow the soldier to take control of a MiniMecha which laughs off firepower and is armed with weapons ranging from a flamethrower to a grenade launcher to a PowerFist.
* Depending on player choices, ''Franchise/MassEffect'''s Commander Shepard can be this by the second game. A non-biotic Shepard is a BadassNormal in the first game (or not, given genetic upgrades are standard issue), but Cerberus adds upgrades in the second. Regardless of class selection, Shepard is given a reinforced skeleton, enhanced senses, tougher skin, increased strength and stamina and virtual immunity to toxins. If you choose a new class with an imported save, it's justified by saying Cerberus' tinkering gave Shepard new abilities. Even if you don't change classes from a non-biotic class, the game lets you unlock loyalty powers, which include a few biotic abilities.
* At the start of BaldursGate, CHARNAME is just an ordinary teenager with 1 level in an adventuring class. By the end of the first game, he/she is a certified {{Badass}} after going toe to toe with Saeverok. By the middle of the sequel? A godling capable of flattening armies and transforming into the Slayer. May or may not ascend to full godhood by the end of the game as the God of Murder.
* Some classes in NetHack are definitely BadassNormal to start with. For example, even at low levels the Valkyrie and Samurai are competent warriors who can dispatch most foes with ease, despite not having any magical powers. By the end of the game, the character will almost certainly have several major artifacts, vast magical powers, and the ability to go toe-to-toe with the HorsemenOfTheApocalypse, before ascending to become a demi-god. [[spoiler: Arguably, this is a bit of a subversion, since the game strongly implies that you ''are'' one of the horsemen, War, BroughtDownToNormal.]]
* Happens to Amy Rose of SonicTheHedgehog during the [[SonicAdventure Dreamcast]] [[SonicAdventure2 era]] [[SonicHeroes games]] as a result of [[StalkerwithACrush chasing Sonic.]] In SonicCD Amy is pretty much a normal girl who who's running speed is slower than Sonic's walking speed. Then comes Sonic Adventure, and thanks to her Hammer, she becomes very acrobatic, nimble and is able to defend herself effectively once she gets used to fighting. Once Sonic Adventure 2 comes up, she's gotten a bit better, able to run faster and perform basic spindash techniques. However, when Sonic Heroes comes around, she's able to execute nearly every move Sonic can (if not in a weaker form), and is even able to go toe to toe with him when the situation calls for it. This also applies to Big the Cat, who went from being [[MightyGlacier a slow runner with a poor jump who can move cars and posesses impeccable fishing skill]] to a full-on Power type character, able to run at super speed and spindash just as easily as everyone else.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'': [[PlayerCharacter Corvo]] was an in-universe MemeticBadass before [[HumanoidAbomination The Outsider]] gifted him with a PowerTattoo. His skills with a blade were legendary amongst the city guard, and in game they can occasionally be heard recounting times they saw him in action. Giving him supernatural powers just made him more lethal.
-->'''New Guard:''' What...what do I do if I run into him?\\
'''Old Guard:''' Try to make a lot of noise when you die. Then the rest of us might be able to catch him.
* ''VideoGame/{{Quake 4}}'': Matthew Kane is a hardass SpaceMarine. But then he gets captured by the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Strogg]] and, in an [[NightmareFuel utterly harrowing]] sequence, [[BodyHorror subjected to the Stroggification process]]. However, he is saved at the last minute by his fellow marines, leaving him with a new Strogg-like physiology that proves invaluable to the eventual defeat of the Strogg.
* Bullet from ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' possesses a pair of incendiary gauntlet armagus with which to start campfires or ignite her foes, but her mercenary corps' grappling technique means that she can put up a considerable fight without them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}!'', in which Batman has the ability to [[http://shortpacked.com/comic/book-1-brings-back-the-80s/01-just-a-toy-store/batman-can-breathe-in-space/ breathe in space]], based on art in his action packaging which appears to depict him fighting Darkseid in space.
* Bun-bun was already one of the most dangerous individuals in ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance''. Having him become a godlike personification of holidays took him ''way'' over the top.
** Also the big revelation near the end of "Oceans Unmoving": [[spoiler: Captain Blacksoul is actually Bun-bun riding inside the head of a levitating robot with SuperStrength.]]
** Actually, giving Bun-bun superpowerful abilities doesn't seem to change much. The biggest thing that helps him fight battles is sheer attitude regardless.
* Years into ''DanAndMabsFurryAdventures''' run, we find out that Dan's wings were the outward signs of his [[spoiler: 'Cubi heritage]] (his mother was apparently a powerful [[spoiler: succubus]], something that [[LockedOutOfTheLoop apparently everyone knew except Dan]]). Once his heritage fully kicked in, it granted him assorted new powers that he's mostly still getting the hang of. (His ongoing refusal to stay at the [[spoiler:'Cubi academy]] and train doesn't help.) Dan was a very successful adventurer already before he semi-retired to Lost Lake and his heritage kicked in.
* [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Sparky]] from ''AGirlAndHerFed'' - already a hulking M.I.B-type, ticks fully over to this trope once [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext The ghost of Ben Franklin reprograms the magitech chip in his head, granting him the ability to control and interface any electronic device, see ghosts, and more]] ]].
* Victor of ''CharbyTheVampirate'' is looking more like this, he thinks of himself as human, others [[http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/687/comic_archive don't]]
* Everyone who plays [[Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} Sburb]] is ultimately destined to become [[spoiler: demi-gods in a new universe]], but given that many of them were badass before playing, their powers come off as this.
* In ''Webcomic/AxeCop'', new powers are really easy to come by for just about all the characters. Axe Cop himself repeatedly [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands just displays]] and also gains new powers, the latter including for example being given flight by the comic's writer, and making himself into a magical mummy. But, unlike other characters, he usually forgets about any and all of them soon and acts like a BadassNormal again, until it's time to gain yet another new power.
* Higgs from ''Wecomic/GirlGenius'' is an interesting example. At first he seems normal, but it is later implied that he is actually [[spoiler:one of the [[SuperSoldier Jägergenerals]]]].
* Tedd from ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' starts out magically impaired, meaning that he can never have his own spells. His response to that can be summed up as "Screw you, I'll make my own magic", and he does just that, manufacturing various {{Magitek}} tools designed for everyday use. [[spoiler: Then an immortal gives him magic powers.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse, the hero Achilles seems to be a non-powered martial artist in the style of Franchise/{{Batman}}. He's actually a genetically engineered super-soldier cloned from the DNA of [[EvilOverlord Lord Doom]], whose strength, speed, and ability to shrug off damage come not from his intensive athletic work-outs, but rather from simple genetics.
* Rear Admiral (retired) Sam Everheart, U.S.N., in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, was already a retired BadassNormal before he took out a team of criminals looting a high-tech research facility and got dosed with nanotechnology. Now Hive is strong and fast enough to deal with the mutants at Whateley Academy.
* In ComicFuryWerewolf, analytical players tend to catch Werewolves a lot. Give them a role, and...
** This includes '''''any''''' role... including being a Werewolf.
** Ranger has had this twice. Once was in Game 9, where he was the Medium Mystic and he developed a GameBreaker strategy. The other was Game 11, where he used his analytical powers [[spoiler: as a Werewolf]].
* In ''DarwinsSoldiers'' a certain character known only as "Trinity" is already a BadassNormal. But after she [[spoiler:doses herself with a SuperSerum her scientists were working on]] she gains SuperSpeed, super agility and SuperStrength.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' has Batman borrowing Comicbook/GreenLantern's ring to fight {{Sinestro}}. It looked like Batman was going to hand Sinestro a fairly heavy beatdown, but then the ring ran out of power. He hands it back to GL, saying it isn't his style.
** People like giving Bats the Lantern ring. In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' he nearly puts it on for the sake of an even playing field, to the chagrin of Guy Gardner. Sinestro (before his inevitable FaceHeelTurn) half-heartedly agrees, citing regulation, but comes to a compromise by synthesizing a suit that functions as a Lantern's ring would: on willpower.
** A number of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' episodes give Batman superpowers. One time, he gained bat-themed superpowers from a magical artifact. Another episode caused a mishap by a villain's laser beam to give Batman ComicBook/PlasticMan's powers.
*** In yet another, he arrives on an alien planet whose atmosphere gives him Superman-like powers, to the chagrin of the local BadassNormal hero (who happens to also be a Batman). After a while he realizes that he's making the alien Batman feel useless, the way Superman sometimes makes him feel, and in the end he has the alien Batman remove his powers to also negate his [[KryptoniteFactor weakness to quartz]].
* Sari Sumdac of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''. A BadassNormal in her initial [[spoiler: mostly human]] form, [[spoiler: once she gets an upgrade to seeming more machine than human, she gets nifty hand blasters and a processing unit boosted even beyond the Cybertronian standard! Not to mention temporary weapons generation.]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'', [=NegaDuck=] steals [[AllYourPowersCombined the powers of his villainous "allies"]]. This doesn't actually make him detectably tougher, since by that time there's not much time left in the episode to defeat him in.
* After seven seasons as a regular, yet freakishly strong, human, regular ''[[TMNT2003 Ninja Turtles]]'' antagonist Hun becomes one of these after [[spoiler: he accidentally gets doused in mutagen]] in ''TurtlesForever''. Of course, considering his [[FantasticRacism hatred of turtles]], he considers it a CursedWithAwesome deal.
* On ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark,'' Mysterion/[[spoiler:Kenny]] actually had powers from his first appearance, but his ability to [[spoiler:[[TheyKilledKenny come back from the dead]]]] wasn't revealed until the third of his four episode appearances as a superhero.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', Kraven and the Enforcers started out as {{Badass Normal}}s who, while not actually ''winning'' against Spider-Man, could put up a decent fight. To level the playing field, they got themselves powers: Kraven became a PettingZooPerson and the Enforcers got PoweredArmor.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', while Slade serves as the BigBad for the first two seasons, he has no superpowers beyond being a BadassNormal and a good [[TheChessmaster chessmaster]]. After being killed at the end of the second season, he's resurrected as an undead servant of [[BiggerBad Trigon]], and gets a truckload of superpowers out of the deal: [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinetics]], {{Flight}}, [[TransportersAndTeleporters teleportation]], [[IntangibleMan phasing]], and [[NighInvulnerable nigh-invulnerability]]. He's eventually stripped of these powers, though it doesn't slow him down much.
** Robin himself becomes one when he dons the Red X suit, giving him abilities like teleportation and an array of projectiles. A later episode reveals the only reason he doesn't continually use it is because it's powered by Xenothium, an incredibly dangerous chemical.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries,'' Aladdin winds up getting possessed by Mozenrath and fighting for control of the body. In the middle of the fight, he blocks Mozenrath's magic with [[ThePowerOfLove his spirit's own mystical power]] and wins a BeamOWar with Mozenrath. Unusually for an Empowered Badass Normal, this is never seen again, and it's heavily implied that he can't use it outside his body.
* The Pack from from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' are one big mess of these; they start out as a group of TV "heroes" who star in a schmaltzy action series (complete with them fighting the "EEEEEVIL NINJAS!") However, all their physicality is completely real, and when they find out about the Gargoyles they give the Clan a run for their money ''before'' getting upgrades. Then, Wolf becomes a PettingZooPerson, Hyena and Jackal get VERY extensive cybernetic enhancements, and Dingo gets a suit of PowerArmor. Only Fox chose to remain not only fully human but also serve out the rest of her jail sentence. Then went straight into the arms of David Xanatos, her future husband, [[XanatosGambit exactly as they planned.]] It wasn't until ''much'' later that it was [[TheReveal disclosed]] that Fox wasn't [[TheFairFolk completely normal herself]] to begin with.
** Owen Burnett gains a stone fist from testing a potion for Xanatos, and he uses it in combat. [[spoiler: Turns out he doesn't count: he's secretly been Puck all along.]]
* Zaheer of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' was originally a non-bender, and yet he was considered as dangerous as his teammates, all three of who have unheard of or almost unheard of powers. So dangerous that he was locked atop a mountain in a cell only elite metalbenders could open. When he got airbending, he just became all the deadlier.
** and then [[spoiler: He learned how to fly... a ten thousand year old Airbending technique, acquired by the guy who uses the fridge horror aspects of airbending, on a whim.]]
** Commander Bumi, a RetiredBadass got the same treatment.
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