Addictive Magic

"Magic has become a crutch that I can't walk without."
Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold, Once Upon a Time

Sometimes magic is not just something someone can do, it is also something that is physiologically and mentally addictive. People who use Addictive Magic always want to use it as much as possible because it feels pleasurable to them in some way. Sometimes there is a risk to the user if he uses his magic powers too much, and so he must be careful about using their powers too often, lest they consume him. In extreme cases, it might even be a Fantastic Drug.

Compare The Dark Side, where evil is addictive. See Power High for a one-time boost.


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  • Mary Marvel, once she takes on the powers of Black Adam in the Captain Marvel storylines.
    • Black Adam himself isn't so much addicted to magic as disinterested in having a normal life anymore. His evil comes from a lack of modern sensibilities and a brutal default response to personal tragedy. His powers do seem to corrupt anyone else he loans them to, Depending on the Writer.

    Fan Fic 
  • In Seventh Horcrux, Harry, in order to avoid being controlled by the Imperio, regularly imperios himself to do whatever he wants. When Hermione finds out and forces him to stop, he goes through withdrawal.
  • In Their Midnight RevelsWhile Edith Crawley and Thomas Barrow do not show all the signs of a parallel drug addiction, some of the syptoms of this trope still apply: such as expanded thoughts, uncontrollable inhibitions, heightened senses, and rapidly changing emotions, particularly rage, anxiety, and depression. Plus their behavior after they return from Faerie the first night mirrors the behavior of a drug user coming down from a high.


  • Skill-users Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings books suffer from an addiction to Skilling that can cause truly terrible physical pain and mental distraction. Fitz suffers especially from this addiction.
  • Channelers in The Wheel of Time must be careful not to hold on to the One Power too regularly. Doing so can encourage a person to draw in more and more. Left unchecked, a channeler can overtax their abilities and burn out the ability to channel or even kill themselves. Fortunately, a slight exercise of will can control the desire to channel excessively.
    • Using the True Power is even more addictive; using any noteworthy amount of it nearly guarantees that a person will eventually overdraw and die even more messily than if he had done so with the One Power.
  • In the Dragonlance series of novels, it is said that High Sorcery can be like this for some people. Raistlin Majere was one such person for whom using magic felt good. It is described as something the high sorcerer can feel all throughout his body when he casts a spell.
  • In The Dresden Files, this applies to black magic, which is why the White Council kills anyone who uses it even once.
  • In Neal Shusterman's novel The Eyes of Kid Midas, the protagonist becomes increasingly reliant on the power of his magical sunglasses. The sunglasses aren't in any hurry to go away either.
  • Warlocks in The Legends of Ethshar series qualify—the more they use their magic, the easier and more pleasurable it gets. But the power's drawn from an external source, and a warlock who uses too much ends up being irresistibly summoned to that source.
  • A recurring theme in the Shannara series, though more for some magics than others. The Sword of Leah is perhaps the most consistently addictive.
  • Subverted in the second novel of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. Straff Venture assumes that using the mystical metal atium to fuel their powers is addictive to Mistborn, and uses carefully controlled rations of it to control his Dragon and bastard son Zane. Atium, however, is not addictive (at least, no more addictive than anything that grants power), and Zane mentally derides Straff for thinking so- he hangs around him mostly because he doesn't have anywhere else to go.
  • The One Ring of The Lord of the Rings gives its user power, but at the same time creates an addiction to it, to the point where the user couldn't give it to anyone else, thus making him the only one powered by it.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Xhea is an Un-Sorcerer whose body can't process magic. Instead of being able to use it to cast spells, it affects her like a drug. Xhea often accepts payment in magic, despite her inability to use or re-sell it, because she's addicted to the sensations it causes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles's past as a demon-summoner was treated a bit like his hooligan/stoner phase—he himself describes it as an extraordinary high. Willow's subplot in season six was less subtle. It started with her abusing Mundane Utility and getting carried away with her rapidly-increasing power. It ended with her visiting an actual "pusher" who provided his customers with weird hallucinations. It was later subject to an Author's Saving Throw that denied that magic itself is addictive.
  • Once Upon a Time has the two main villains, Regina and Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold both addicted to their dark magical powers, Rumplestiltskins dark magic has made his skin turn a weird greenish gold with gold eyes after becoming the dark one, though Regina has still maintained her looks, she has a more cruel look to her than before she turned to dark magic. Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket) told Regina starting the magic was always easier than stopping.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Third Edition Shadowrun supplement "Magic in the Shadows" introduced "focus addiction". If mages used foci too often there was a risk of their becoming addicted to and dependent upon them. This could cause them to become unable to use magic without a focus or even lose their magical abilities altogether.
  • In the Dark Sun setting 2e, set on a post-apocalyptic world damaged by arcane magic, there's an interesting variation. Arcane magic includes defiling (which requires less skill and training) which destroys plant life, and preserving (which requires more skill and a Wisdom requirement) which only lightly damages plant life. Arcane casters don't get addicted to spellcasting but can easily become addicted to the defiling method and never learn or use preserving. This is not good.
    • In the 4th Edition, there's no addiction rule. Instead, every arcane caster is given an ability (whether you want it or not) called Arcane Defiling. It's powerful, but there are both in- and out-of-game reasons not to use it. In a hard fight, a wizard player might find it hard to justify not using the power.

  • The Blood Elves in World of Warcraft became addicted to Mana. As High Elves they were able to draw on the energies of the Sunwell to sate their addiction, but it was defiled and tainted by the Scourge. The main schism between High and Blood Elves arose because they disagreed over the best way to cope with their condition. High Elves prefer to meditate and master their cravings and Blood Elves started finding other sources on which to feed - including demonic energy. Some of them were able to control that addiction; some of them were transformed into wasted, addicted beings called the Wretched.
    • Notably, becoming addicted to magic is the only way a male Blood Elf (or female for that matter) can go bald - making it a literal Bald of Evil.
    • Strictly speaking, all mortals can become addicted to arcane magic in the Warcraft setting. The effects of casting an arcane spell are described in terms that make it sound a lot like real-world drugs and mages may feel the urge to cast the spell again for the thrill it causes. The MMO even makes a joking reference to real life anti-drugs campaigns with this in-game book: [1] (contents are posted in the comments).
    • Even more dangerous is fel magic - that is, demonic energy - which is even more addictive and MUCH more corrupting.
    • Recently, an information dump on warlocks has revealed that even demons are addicted to magic. Their addiction is characterized by the distinct fel green tint. Illidan had something that could cure that addiction, which is why none of the demons in his service had the green theme.
  • In Infernal, Barbara seems to think that Lennox (the player character) is becoming addicted to the demonic powers he receives from the Abyss, either because it's inherently corrupting or because he just likes the power. Lennox does seem pretty keen to get the powers back once he's lost them, but whether there really is an addiction or whether it's just practicality isn't stated outright.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, the Dark Chips (very powerful versions of normal Battle Chips, Made of Evil) are stated to be addicting to use; just one use will lead to the Net Navi slowly getting more and more dependent on it. Dark Chip users also tend to become easily irritated and being pricks. In gameplay terms, the Dark Chip, if you have any, will come out to your chip selection window when Mega Man is in the "anxious" state (if he gets hit a lot without retaliating), pretty much tempting the player to use it to turn the tides; the more you use it, the easier Mega Man will get "anxious". Using them will also give the effect of Maximum Hp Reduction per each use, much like how drugs slowly eat your body.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Allura's magic orb in The Smurfs episode "The Lure Of The Orb" imbues whoever touches it with what they think is heightened inspiration, but it is only a temporary boost of euphoric energy that leaves the person feeling drained and addicted to its power.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Inspiration Manifestation, the spellbook effectively serves as this for Rarity. Under its influence, she stops eating, grows increasingly manic in her behavior, and is only free of it when Spike finally stops enabling her and makes her realize how harmful it is.
  • In Steven Universe, Amethyst and Pearl see fusion as a means of feeling stronger—especially when fusing with Garnet. Amethyst becomes excessively reckless while fused with Garnet, and Pearl fakes a villain's distress signal at least twice to be able to fuse with Garnet more.

    Real Life 
  • Spirit fillings in religious circles, like in modern-day Christian revival gatherings, serve as a real-life form of addictive magic, even to the point where the recipients express the feelings like they're having an orgasm. Although it is likely that there really isn't any magic involved at all and the people are just caught up in the emotionalism of a placebo effect.