Amulet of Concentrated Awesome

Excuse me while I save the world with this... actually I have no idea what this is.

Bandit Keith: In order to tell your future, I'll need you to give me your necklace.
Yugi: My puzzle? No way! Without it I can't pretend to be good at card games!

Man, this guy really sucks, are you sure he's the real hero? I mean look at him, he couldn't kill a half-brained ferret if his life depended on it. Wait, what is that he has in his hand? Oh god, my arms! The pain!

Basically speaking the hero (or villain) has some sort of item (often a Power Crystal, sometimes a Magical Accessory or Ring of Power) that makes him awesome. Just having it is enough for him to take a level in badass and just tear shit up. It may be a lucky charm of some sort or be some sort of artifact or gadget that actually causes his insane upgrade. Watch out if the hero loses it however as he is undoubtedly screwed if he does (most definitely if the object has some sort of power, less so if it's a simple lucky charm) and it may make an unscrupulous bystander a Hero For A Day.

Of course, who said it had to be an object? Why don't we go nuts and make it his entire outfit? Or how about a Transformation Trinket?

It may even be an Empathic Weapon.

Say, have you ever considered a career in badass? Why not join The Chosen Many?

This trope has a common subversion in Magic Feather, in which the artifact does nothing and the concentrated awesome is all the character's own. Another related trope is Artifact of Attraction, in which the item is so appealing that multiple characters are fighting for possession of it. If the opposing side's response is to get a amulet of even more concentrated awesome, it results in Bigger Stick.

Another danger is that sometimes the Amulet of Concentrated Awesome turns out to be an Amulet of Dependency or Artifact of Doom.

Contrast Amplifier Artifact, which augments existing powers.

Examples:

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    Anime 
  • The Lambda Driver from Full Metal Panic! qualifies as this, though Sousuke is badass even without it. He tends to be screwed if a situation happens where he needs it and it won't work.
  • Hey, you know that kid Yugi in Yu-Gi-Oh!? Yeah, he's carrying a puzzlebox that kinda holds the soul of a 3,000-year-old pharaoh with a mean streak. Seriously, mess with this kid and he will give you the worst Mind Rape in the history of mankind.
    • Speaking of, if you see anyone toting a gold artifact with a vaguely Egyptian eye symbol, you'd best stay on their good side.
    • Any number of rare cards, from Exodia to Blue-Eyes White Dragon to laughably Red-Eyes Black Dragon, considering the Serious Business children's card game is played on portable holographic projectors that somehow hurt the player every time their monster is destroyed/they lose life points.
    • Be very wary of anybody toting a gold artifact with a vaguely Egyptian eye symbol with any number of rare cards. Not only can they hurt you with a hologram, they can modify this children's card game so that your actual life is in danger or your soul gets sent to the dub-only Shadow Realm.
  • Tsuna from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! would've been worthless if not for his Dying Will Bullet.
    • And now, everyone gets as many as they want in the form of rings (knockoffs of the Vongola Rings) and boxes.
    • And now that they're back in the present, everybody uses the very same bullets.
  • Bishop Hazel from Saiyuki has a Star of David pendant which allows him to pull souls from dead youkai bodies and put them into dead human bodies, effectively bringing them back to life.
  • Sheeta's necklace in Castle in the Sky.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist gives us the Philosopher's Stone. So powerful, alchemists don't even need a circle to do their stuff, and their alchemy is still supercharged to the point of appearing to violate Equivalent Exchange. Except it doesn't, since it's Powered by a Forsaken Child, and thus has already made one half of the exchange.
  • Lala Ru's pendant in Now and Then, Here and There, which is actually all the water on earth concentrated into a single blue stone is this trope personified, as Lala doesn't really have much else going for her in the series.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's storage-mode for Devices, in particular Raising Heart, which is an actual amulet of concentrated awesome.
  • Fairy Tail has Lacrima, which are concentrated spells. The most powerful are the Dragon Slayer Lacrima, which when embedded into a person makes them an artificial Dragon Slayer. So far Laxus and Cobra are the only two Artificial Slayers seen.
    • In the Grand Magic Games arc, we meet two new Dragon Slayers in the form of Sting and Rogue from Sabertooth. Although they're unique in that not only are they infused with Slayer Lacrima, they've also been raised and trained by real dragons.
  • The Jewel of Life from Ronin Warriors. It turns the normally helpless Mia and Yuli into a force to be reckoned with.
  • Marin is given what seems to be just a pretty necklace midway through Brigadoon: Marin and Melan. Turns out it's a powerful object which allows her to transform into anything she sees, including weapons, vehicles, and a fighting robot. Behold, an Action Girl is born!
  • Princess Knight: Sapphire's boy heart acts as this for Plastic, who goes from an immature spoiled brat to a man ready to do what's right, rather than what his father tells him to do, after swallowing it.
  • The Metal Vessels from Magi Labyrinth of Magic are this, Transformation Trinket, and Empathic Weapon all rolled into one. Dungeon Conquerors contain Djinn within some sort of metal item, be it a sword, bracer, or even a piece of jewelry. This gives the user Elemental Powers and the ability to enter a Super Mode where they combine with the Djinn itself.
  • Bests in Rolling Girls get their powers from heart shaped crystals that fall from the sky.
  • The Destruct Code orb in Sands of Destruction turns out to be one for Kyrie. It's a storage medium that allows him to remember who he really is and what he's capable of doing: turning everything to sand. Without it, he's a very ordinary boy who's quite useless in a fight.

    Comic Books 
  • Amy Winston's Amethyst gemstone from Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld stated out as being something along these lines. But she and her gem got pulled into the Infinite Crisis and things go weird. Like when she found out that her "real" dad was actually a magical entity inside the gem. Yeah, weird.
  • Most Green Lanterns (and all the other colors) are not extremely dangerous without their rings. There are exceptions in there, as they're various aliens with a variety of alien capabilities, but they're all greatly powered by their rings.
  • Doctor Strange (see the page image) typically doesn't need these, but he will use one if the situation calls for it. He once used the Eye of Agamotto to temporarily stalemate an omnipotent Thanos.
  • Cerebro for any number of telepaths. Professor X can already freeze a whole crowd. With it, what limits has he?
    • On the other hand, his half-brother depended entirely on the Cyttorak gem to become Juggernaut.
  • Doctor Occult's orb/talisman can rip through numerous souls in Hell itself.
  • The Blue Beetle scarab, the icon of the Beetles' legacy. Granted, its awesomeness only truly came to light when Jaime Reyes inherited it.
    • The scarab's awesome may be so intense it affects Jaime's friends and family, too.
  • Dial H For Hero is a long-running DC plot-device: A magic telephone dial that can turn whoever uses it into a completely random superhero for one hour at a time.
  • Although not an Amulet of Awesome for its original owner, the Dreamstone taken by Doctor Destiny allowed him to take on the Justice League... and torture and murder a large number of people before Morpheus finally defeats him.
  • Without his Iron Man armor, Tony Stark is merely obscenely rich and brilliant.
    • A genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, to be precise.
  • The Cosmic Cube in the Marvel Comics universe makes its holder omnipotent. It's been an Amulet of Concentrated Awesome for the Red Skull and the Super-Adaptoid, and maybe others. It also has a long history as a MacGuffin.
  • The Bottle Of Awesome from the comic of the same name. Considering the bottle's last wielder is a homeless wino, the bottle probably exacts a very steep price.

     Fan Works 
  • The Lost Element is this and an Amplifier Artifact: it allows its proper wearer to use magic regardless of a horn (or lack thereof), but it cannot be removed by anypony else but by the wearer's own hoof, and if someone aside from the proper wearer tries to take it off, or wears it and tries to use its power, it will shut off and refuse to work (at best), or burn/zap them with a spell blast at worst. like the Elements of Harmony, it remained dormant until its "spirit" is found. Take a guess on who that is.
  • George's shapeshifting ring and John's water-charm in With Strings Attached.
  • Sally-Anne Perks lost her magic when cursed by a jealous Ginny Weasley toward the end of the Harry Potter fic The Silent Trio 5: The Curse of Exum. In The Silent Trio 6: The Coming Storm, Harry gave her an amulet powered by the voluntarily-donated stored magic of her friends and family. With it, she could cast any spell she was capable of as a witch. Without it, she was more or less a Squib.

    Film 
  • This is essentially the plot of The Tuxedo, in which an ordinary limo driver finds a high-tech tuxedo that suddenly gives the wearer awesome martial arts skills.
  • Ms. Brisby's amulet from The Secret of NIMH.
  • This is what the eponymous mask is from the movie, The Mask. Take an average wimpy banker and give him a several thousand year old mask belonging to one of the Norse gods... What do you get? A nigh unstoppable force that can do anything from pull a giant mallet out of his pocket, to cause a police force to break out into an elaborate song & dance routine... Or in the case of Dorian, make them an unstoppable force of Evil.
  • The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy's ruby slippers.
  • Subverted in the movie Krull with the ancient glaive weapon used by prince Colwyn. It is said to be an extremely powerful weapon which Colwyn will need to defeat the beast of the black fortress and rescue his princess. Once Colwyn has the glaive, he is told not to use it until he absolutely must. It remains unused until he breaks into the black fortress at the end of the movie, where he uses the glaive only twice; first to cut open the prison trapping his bride, and second to attack the beast, where it stabs the beast in the chest which is not even enough to kill the monster. Colwyn ends up defeating the beast with The Power of Love, manifested as a magic flamethrower from his hand.

    Literature 
  • In The Chronicles of Amber, Merlin eventually "finds"/is given the Spikard, a ring that frees him from dependence on the Pattern and Logrus by tapping into a multitude of other magical sources. It is also, not surprisingly, a Semantic Superpower.
  • The Subtle Knife in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Before, Will is a scared kid hiding from the police. After, he faces down the King of the Armoured Bears.
  • In R.A. Salvatore's The Highwayman series, Branson keeps a magical healing stone pressed to his forehead by pushing it up into his mask. With it, he can overcome his sickness and flip, twirl, and cut anyone to ribbons. Without it, he's a gibbering, useless moron.
  • E.E. Doc Smith's "Lensman" series.
    • Later in the series, Kimball Kinnison finds that he does not need to be wearing the Lens for it to work, and the children of Kimball Kinnison and Clarissa MacDougall are born with the full innate abilities of a 2nd stage Lensman, no Lens required
      • Though those children do end up creating their own Lenses to help them focus their powers (or something like that), so the Lenses do still do something.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort believes the Elder Wand to be this. It isn't, at least not for him, because according to the rules by which ownership of the Elder Wand transfers, it belongs to Harry, not to Voldemort. It absolutely refuses to harm its' owner, once Harry reveals the truth about who really defeated whom.
  • In Terry Mancour's Spellmonger Series, most of the main character mages wear Irionite/Witchstone amulets around their neck. this incredibly rare form of amber has the power to amplify magical energy by a ridiculous degree. It is so powerful that just owning a piece basically makes you more powerful than every non-irionite owning mage on the planet.

    Live Action TV 
  • This is the defining plot device of The Greatest American Hero.
  • The family wand in Wizards of Waverly Place seems to give Justin incredibly enhanced powers when he uses it.
  • The Supernatural episode "Bad Day at Black Rock" features a really lucky (not for the rabbit, obviously) rabbit's foot which turns out to be a curse because holding it gives you great luck but you always lose it and then your luck turns homicidally bad.
  • The Goa'uld from Stargate SG-1 get most of their godly powers from a fancy hand device, and the rest from other tech. But the hand device does the flashy, intimidating stuff.
    • Strictly speaking the "device" is the Goa'uld parasite itself, and the hand device merely channels power generated by the Goa'uld, since the device requires a Goa'uld parasite possessing them (or someone who still has bits of naqueda in their bloodstream from a former Goa'uld possession) to operate it.
  • This trope is used in roughly every Ultraman, Super Sentai (Power Rangers), and Heisei Era Kamen Rider series as the lead character's Transformation Trinket, since their abilities without them are fairly limited compared to their transformed state.
    • Somewhat averted in Super Sentai and Kamen Rider since they usually have basic martial arts skills that they can use against some of the weaker enemies when their powers aren't at hand. Although it's averted almost entirely in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as one of the rules was that they couldn't use their powers until they absolutely had to.

    Pinball 
  • The Time Crystals in Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, which can generate a shockwave capable of destroying all of existence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Powers in Champions are purchased with Character Points. A power's cost can be reduced, thereby allowing the character to buy more powers (or to make each existing power stronger), by giving the power Limitations. One such limitation is "Focus", which means the power won't work without a specific physical object in the character's possession. A Focus is worth a bigger bonus (reduction to the cost of the power) if it's Obvious (i.e. everyone can tell the object's responsible for the power) and Accessible (i.e. an opponent can grab it and take it from you). So ... a lot of characters, particularly when they're just starting out, are built with the vast majority of their powers through an Obvious, Accessible Focus. You can guess what happens to that Focus all-too-often over the course of an adventure.

    Video Games 
  • The main character from Enchanted Arms is a musclehead who happens to be best friends with the school genius and skates by accordingly. However, despite this he is the only one able to stop nearly unstoppable monstrosities known as Devil Golems, due to him just so happening to have a right arm created from another Devil Golem.
  • Summon Night Swordcraft Story 2 gives the hero/heroine the pendant as a memento for their deceased father.It turns out to be the key to their Transformation Sequence, which means it's also their Transformation Trinket.
  • The main character from Beyond Oasis has this, an Armlet that can summon the 4 elemental spirits. It's useless until you clear the first dungeon though.
  • Consistently subverted in the Suikoden games. The True Runes have world-shattering powers, sure, and everyone who wants power wants at least one...but what makes our True Rune-wielding heroes into heroes is their ability to draw people together. (They ain't bad in a straight fight, either). The legends of True Rune users frequently surpasses their powers.
  • Exspheres in Tales of Symphonia provide a major boost to the wearer's combat abilities. However, they're created by trapping the soul of another person; a "raw" Exsphere is attached directly to their skin, harvesting their life energy and eventually turning them into a monster.
  • The transformation armlets in Jeanne d'Arc. Each of them can be equipped with different transformation stones that grant their bearers increased attack and defense power along with the very useful ability to act again after killing an enemy. And in the Back Story their power was used to seal away Big Bad Gilvaroth.
  • Subverted in Jade Empire. The amulet seems to be that, and you have to gather the pieces of it and set them with gems to acquire powers. Until you die and it turns out to merely be an Amplifier Artifact, and then again not even that but it really was just a Magic Feather.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Sora is shown to be utterly powerless before he attains the Keyblade and when he loses it when Riku steals it at Hollow Bastion. And he is only capable of killing enemies by sending the Beast to take them out for him.
    • Well, not entirely powerless—he still has his magic.
    • Sora can damage them with his wooden sword, he just does so little damage that the beast will always kill everything in the area before you can take even half the hp off the weakest enemy.
      • Blasting them with Gravity spells can get them down to the point where the wooden sword can be lethal.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind you can create your own, although by the time you're either rich enough or good enough with the enchanting skill to make one, you probably don't really need it any more for anything other than overkill.
  • Earthworm Jim is a prime example because without his supersuit, Jim is just a giant worm.
  • Touhou has Marisa and her Mini-Hakkero, a powerful magical artifact that Marisa is rarely seen without. Among other things, it's what she uses to power her Master Spark.
    • Likewise with Reimu's Yin-Yang Orb from the Hakurei shrine, which used to be her only means of damaging enemies in the early games and still remains as a primary motif in several of her spell cards. According to Marisa's Grimoire, Reimu can also bean you over the head with it in a pinch.
  • As if taking a cue from The Mask above, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask gives the villain (well, OK, a sad and lonely kid who gets in over his head) a haunted mask that gives him demonic powers, including trapping Link inside the body of a deku scrub and causing the FREAKING MOON to come crashing down!
  • In The Way, all the power Rhue gains is due to his Shadow Sword.

    Visual Novels 
  • Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night is really not too impressive if you look at his base stats. If he had only his normal abilities he would constitute only a moderate threat at the best as his only notable attributes that are really above average are strength and Charisma. Considering the abilities of the other Servants he probably couldn't even beat one of them. However he has Amulet of Concentrated Awesome coming out the wazoo with hundreds upon hundreds of these stockpiled in a even bigger Amulet of Concentrated Awesome. He has so many of these that it makes him practically unstoppable.
    • Doubly notable as once his Artifacts are circumvented he gets taken out by a teenager with a crash course in awesome.
    • Fridge Logic here in that Gilgamesh's ego always results in him nerfing his own self. Thus, his stats don't actually reflect how powerful he is, only how powerful he allows himself to be. Thus, Gilgamesh can't really be under this category, since it is more a case of I Am Not Left-Handed all the time due to his ego instead.

    Web Video / Webcomics 
  • Higgins von Higgins' Transformation Trinket.
    "The medallion!?"
    "HOOOOOO!"
  • Redcloak's Crimson Mantle artifact in The Order of the Stick grants him longevity, resistance to diseases, and the knowledge needed to change the very order of the cosmos. Nice?
    • Even without it, though, he's still probably the highest-level Cleric seen in the setting to date. (And remember what being a cleric means in 3rd ed)
    • Xykon's phylactery, while not the source of all his lich powers (just his immortality), was the key to him becoming a lich in the first place. Once he finished his transformation into undead abomination, he proceeded to kick ass.
  • Torg's talking sword Chaz from Sluggy Freelance seems to be all that's needed to take Torg from normal to Badass Normal, even when it's not in its suped-up, kill-anything-in-one-hit form. Though after using Chaz for a while, Torg seems to have acquired some combat prowess of his own.
  • Emergency Exit has Eddie's coolness enhancer, which does exactly what is describes along with giving the user of the coolness enhancer (weapon, object, person, etc) increased powers.
  • Each member of the Panthera team has an amulet on a necklace "that contain[s] minerals that ease the transformation and help focus [their ]elemental power" [1].
  • Completely inverted in Girl Genius with Agatha's locket before it's use to shut down Lucrezia. With it, she's an ordinary girl that can't build a clank to save her life. Without it she's one of the most powerful sparks in the entire world.
  • Ranger carries one on Arenas, which allows teleportation. It's created using the same technology the Big Bad used for their teleporters.
  • Part of the set-up for Winters In Lavelle- Aiden and Kari get taken to Lavelle via a crystal globe; and once there, they proceed to each get a magical Amber stuck in them. Aiden gets one stuck in his wrist that gives him fire powers, and the Amber stuck in Kari's neck gives her lightning and healing powers.
  • Parodied on Charlie The Unicorn. It's not entirely clear what the amulet is, but it's probably one of these.
    "Charlie, I have the amulet!"
    "What amulet???"
    "The magical amulet! Sparkle sparkle!"
  • The pendant in Vinigortonio which bestows on the wearer the mighty Pendant Attack which is a jumpkick powerful enough to breakdown iron doors.
  • The Kings' Scepters and Queens' Rings in Homestuck do nothing for the players, but equipping them instantly gives any Prospitian or Dersite the increasingly overwhelming powers of whatever the players end up prototyping.

    Western Animation 
  • Mighty Max has his magic cap that opens portals that let him travel all over the world. Without it, all he has is his wits... and destiny.
    • On the villain's side, Skullmaster has the Crystal of Souls, though he commands a Hell of a lot of awesome even after it's broken.
  • Jaime Reyes aka Blue Beetle from Batman: The Brave and the Bold has one of these in the form of a scarab. Not having it doesn't stop him from kicking ass and chewing bubble gum.
  • Aladdin and his lamp. You know that singing dancing genie? Imagine the destruction you could cause by simply asking. Seriously, think about it.
    • Jafar did think about it. Granted, it was less "Cause wanton destruction" and more "Make ME able to cause wanton destruction", but still, he got Genie to lift up the palace, raining rubble onto the citizenry.
    • In the Disney version the Genie explicitly doesn't kill. Property damage, intimidation, and severe maiming should be OK.
    Jafar: "You'd be surprised what you can live through."
  • Dora and Aragon of Danny Phantom both have amulets that turn them into dragons. This does not seem too awesome in Season 1, but by Season 2 it becomes far more awesome.
  • Ben Tennyson has the Omnitrix.
  • The manacle of Osiris in The Mummy.
  • The Sword of Omens in ThunderCats was often treated this way (along with the other cats' weapons), though there were a few episodes devoted to showing Lion-O's capabilities without the sword. This was referenced by Safari Joe who demanded he throw away the sword in exchange for freeing the captive ThunderCats, and then is promptly defeated. He gets better.
  • In ThunderCats (2011) both the sword itself, which "built the ThunderCats' empire" and more importantly, the Eye of Thundera in its hilt are treated this way. Sure enough, Lion-O temporarily loses the sword in "The Duelist and the Drifter", and in the interim, must learn less aggressive combat skills to swordfight without magic and Sword Beam powers.
  • Subverted in the Veggie Tales episode parodying Indiana Jones, where the characters are searching for Samson's hairbrush in order to gain Samson's legendary strength. The bad guy takes it and uses it, only for nothing to happen. It's then pointed out that Samson's power came from God, and the hairbrush is just a hairbrush.
  • Fry's seven-leaf clover from Futurama. With it, he was unbeatable. Without it, he's a complete clumsy loser.
  • The Rainbow Of Light - a heart shaped locket containing a powerful piece of rainbow in the My Little Pony movies.
  • The amulets all seekers have in Huntik: Secrets & Seekers. You know, the ones that let you summon superhuman entities to fight on your behalf?
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Kid Stuff," Morganna La Fay's son, Mordred, steals "The Amulet of First Magic", which contains an incredible magical power, and uses it to banish all the adults on Earth (including his mother and the League) and sets himself up as king of the world. Since a stupid immature brat is still a stupid immature brat even with vast power, he ends up wasting all of the magic in the amulet in the course of one episode—but not before unwittingly dooming himself to helpless aged senility when he breaks the spell of eternal youth his mother placed on him centuries ago.
  • The Heart of Kandrakar in W.I.T.C.H. is an amulet worn by the leader of the Guardians and has many magical uses, the primary one being changing the protagonists into Magical Girls. In season two it's revealed that each world has a Heart as the source of its magic which is either a talisman or living creature. Yes, there is a Heart of both Meridian and one of Earth.
  • On Adventure Time, the Ice King can't fly or use his ice powers without his crown. It's also an Immortality Inducer, though it does come with the Artifact of Doom caveat. Oddly, removing it for short periods isn't dangerous to its host, beyond a loss of power.
  • Sari's Allspark Key in Transformers Animated functions this way. It can do anything from reviving dead Cybertronians to granting Earth machines sentience. Without it she's just an ordinary little girl at least until the end of the second season...
    • In any Transformers series that it shows up in, the Matrix of Leadership tends to function as one of these.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Elements of Harmony grant incredible magic power to ponies with a strong friendship bond - or are sufficiently magical in the first place. Our heroines mostly use them to seal away this weeks Big Bad
  • In Barbie and the Secret Door, Malucia's scepter is her main source of power over others, as she has no magic of her own.

    Real Life 
  • Every new technological device is this until the rest of the world catches up.
  • Both sides of the Cold War possessing such 'amulets' (nukes, obviously) kept them from engaging in a conventional war that would have devastated both sides.