"If there are any to see, then I at least am revealed to them. I have written Gandalf is here in signs that all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin."A Sub-Trope of Power at a Price and Weirdness Magnet where magic (or some other power or gift) attracts attention from things you would prefer to leave you alone, such as Eldritch Abominations, The Heartless or Demons. Or perhaps the local Super-Persistent Predator thinks wizards are especially tasty (and have a soft, chewy center.) Usually this is due to magic making you Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious, but not always — the monsters may want to enslave you because The Force Is Strong with This One, or simply be irritated that the Puny Earthling is meddling with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. The ability to sense magic in the first place is Supernatural Sensitivity. Related to Magnetic Medium. See also Encounter Bait, Magnetic Plot Device. Not to be confused with the neo-acidrocker band or the troper with a similar name.
— Gandalf, The Lord of the Ringsnote
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Bleach anyone with even a hint of spirit energy is even tastier (and easily sensed) by hollows, since they'll absorb their power when they eat them. The protagonist starts off having a small amount, but no way of using it. Eventually leading to an accidental Emergency Transformation when he absorbs Rukia's powers after she's injured protecting him and his sisters.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure establishes this as a rule in the fourth arc. Stand Users will attract other Stand Users. It is simple fate.
- Is This a Zombie?: Megalo are drawn to a Masou-Shoujo's magic.
- The protagonist of Mushishi is able to sense mushi, weird magical life forms, but they're able to sense him, and so he must always travel lest he attract too many mushi to one place.
- Ushio and Tora has this lampshaded by another character, who notes sticking around in Japan with the Beast Spear is probably the best way for him to get his revenge. He's right.
- YuYu Hakusho: After the Chapter Black arc, Genkai tells a group of humans who developed spirit powers to only use their powers if their life is in danger as doing so will attract demons to them. The advice is out of prudence; although by now their powers are strong enough to deal with lesser demons, they lack the experience of Yusuke and company, so it's still best to limit their exposure.
- Monster Allergy. Zick sees monsters other than tamers, and he attracts spirits.
- In Lanfeust, both the hero and the Big Bad share the same ultimate power and can feel when the other uses it. So of course Lanfeust must avoid using it at all during his journey (except one time as a lure in the frozen north, that ends up with the Big Bad teleporting there, then teleporting right back, butt-naked and demanding warm clothes).
- Doctor Strange's strongest spells invoke the aid of various cosmic beings. Some of them have taken issue with him over the years.
Films — Live-Action
- In Inception, if the dreamer changes the dream too much (which will appear to be like magical power to an unsuspecting person in the environment), "projections" (subconscious creations) of other people in the dream get more aggressive and attack if enough changes are made.
- Discworld magic draws the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions, although you have to go fairly overboard to make a path large enough for them to come through. This seems to be a bigger problem for wizards than witches, and hasn't been a serious threat since Moving Pictures.
- The Lord of the Rings
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf is reluctant to use his magic during the Fellowship's trip south because it could draw attention to them, not through any supernatural means, but simply because any mundane observer can connect the dots between "hey, look at that obviously magical fire which is visible from a long way off!" and "I bet that guy who is famous for doing magical things with fire is around."
- Somewhere between mundane and magical are the palantir. Basically, one palantir can commune with any other palantir. That's the magical part. The mundane reason they're monster magnets is because Sauron has one. Using a palantir means he'll notice you and try to exert influence on you.
- In the more typical supernatural sense, wearing the One Ring attracts the Ringwraiths.
- In Shaman of the Undead Ida has the Inner Eye that enables her to see ghosts and also registers to supernatural as a strong beam of light, making them approach Ida and contributing to her Blessed with Suck.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, monsters can smell demigods from far away, and they try to attack them. For some reason modern technology makes it worse; cell phones are banned at Camp Half-Blood because using them will attract monsters.
- The Wheel of Time
- Myrddraal and gholam have an ability to sense channeling. In the case of gholam this is particularly dangerous, since they are immune to channeling and were created for the express purpose of killing enemy channelers.
- Monster in the Blight presumably have the same kind of fear reaction to a channeler that a normal person has to shadowspawn, though this always translates into violence, and they will come for miles to kill a channeler.
- In The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks, Allanon gives Shea the Elfstones with which to protect himself, but only warns him much later that using the Elfstones will alert the Warlock Lord and his Skull Bearers of Shea's location. He does this precisely so that Shea will not be afraid to use the stones if he really needs them, and because the stones themselves are an effective defense against the Skull Bearers.
- In Tanya Huff's Smoke and Shadows novels, Tony Foster, who already seems to be a Weirdness Magnet, finds that he attracts even more supernatural phenomena once he becomes an actual wizard. His vampire ex-boyfriend (need more be said?) warns him that now that he is "a player" he stands out from the ranks of ordinary humanity and will inevitably attract attention. Not that Tony didn't have a history of stumbling into the supernatural anyway.
- In Simon R. Green's Nightside series, if John Taylor uses his ability to find (and take) literally anything, his future enemies will find him and send the Harrowing after him.
- In The Belgariad and The Malloreon, magic creates a noise that those with the skill can hear. For this reason, the party often had to avoid using much magic because other spell users would hear that noise, and although their enemy's individual casters were vastly inferior to any of them, there were a lot of them. Other times, they would have to use "quiet" spells like shapeshifting or intentionally use "loud" spells as distractions. Strong ambient magic also makes similar noises, and these can allow certain levels of magic to be "drowned out", allowing them to be used safely.
- Another pair of Eddings' series, The Elenium and The Tamuli, also touches on the idea that magic (being of divine origin here) has a signature that someone can sense if looking for it. Even the legendary Bhelliom emits this kind of "noise" when it's invoked. But there is one exception: Delphaeic magic, because the Delphae were cursed for their own protection; curses are naturally "silent".
- In Pact, most malevolent supernatural creatures have been bound by the Seal of Suleiman bin Daoud, which prevents them from going after innocents without cause. However, nobody who is aware of the existence of the supernatural or who practices magic qualifies as "innocent," meaning that most targets for malevolent Others are practitioners.
- Skip, the protagonist of I Hate Dragons, has the explicit supernatural power of smelling so delicious to dragons that they go crazy with the desire to eat him. He finds employment with a company of dragon-hunters.
- Lone Wolf eventually becomes such a powerful beacon of goodly power that evil is naturally drawn to him, seeking to destroy him.
- In The Shining, the evil supernatural presence in the Overlook Hotel can't do much to people with little to no Psychic Powers (the titular "Shining"). When someone as gifted as Danny shows up, very bad things happen. The sequel Doctor Sleep reveals that some of the Overlook's spirits continued to haunt Danny well into adulthood though by then he has become strong enough to seal them in his own mind.
- In The Girl From The Well, the five magic seals which bind the woman in black to Tark have the side-effect of drawing the attention of many lesser evil spirits.
- Discussed in the Gentleman Bastard series. The Bondsmagi of Karthain believe that the Eldren Precursors vanished because their widespread use of magic — the continent is littered with invulnerable Elderglass buildings and artifacts — drew the attention of something incomprehensibly awful from beyond the stars. The Bondsmagi avoid large-scale works of magic and ration out their services specifically to avoid putting that theory to the test.
- The danger from demons seeking to possess a witch is apparently one of the major hazards for witches in The Secret Circle.
- In Charmed, warlocks hunt and kill witches to steal their powers.
- As the series progresses, a huge number of demons attack the main characters, but their high level of monstrous magnetism is attributed to their status as the Charmed Ones, rather than just as witches. 'Ordinary' witches don't seem to draw quite so much demonic attention, but their powers and resulting awareness of the supernatural bring them into contact with magical evil sooner or later anyway. However, since the witches of the Charmed universe are often portrayed as MagicKnights, they can usually handle it.
- The episode 'Witch Wars' featured a demonic reality TV series in which contestants hunted down and murdered witches on live (underworld) TV, but given the alarm with which the forces of good reacted, it seems that such a deliberate, concerted targeting of witches by demons is unusual.
Myths & Religion
- Some Christians and others believe that involving yourself in occult activities (such as playing with an Ouija board, or wearing Satanic symbols) works, hence being magic, but gives demons free access to your soul.
- Warhammer 40,000: Any Psyker risks summoning a giant monster from the Warp every time s/he uses a psychic ability.
- In fact, that's a common way of Total Party Kill in Dark Heresy. In the tabletop game, anytime a psyker uses their powers they have to make a "Perils of the Warp" roll, and if they fail they get attacked by a demon that will, at best, simply make their brain explode and at worst, will inflict a massive psychic explosion.
- As a matter of fact, this is why being a Psyker is Blessed with Suck in the Warhammer 40000 universe; because getting eaten by said giant monster from the Warp is the least of everyone's problem, as eventually that will cause the Psyker to become a portal to what passes for Hell in the setting, summoning The Legions of Hell, and ending up having the entire Planet becoming an Eldritch Location. In short, Magic Is a Monster Magnet Up to Eleven. Small wonder there is an entire organization granted unlimited power just to find Psykers.
- Warhammer magic (especially in regards to Chaos corruption) functions the same as in Warhammer 40000, though to a lesser degree. These examples suck even worse because psykers/mages are also vital to ensuring the survival of humanity, so they can't just be rounded up and exterminated.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Using (or in some cases even possessing) psionic powers can draw psionic monsters to attack you, such as cerebral parasites, intellect devourers or thought eaters.
- Phaerimm in Forgotten Realms need ambient magic and are very magic-sensitive. Consequently, casting spells on infested territories is a good way to get the nearest spell-grub to either kill the caster or capture and turn into an incubator. The same goes for enchanted items, though at shorter range. Exclusions are elemental magic (it mostly blends into fluctuations of natural forces) and Shadow Weave magic (it doesn't use the same power source).
- Ravenloft setting. When in the Nightmare Lands, casting a spell can draw the attention of powerful dream monsters such as members of the Nightmare Court.
- Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Companion, adventure "The Mystery of Loch Feinn". While in the underground area of Castle MacLaireag, any spell casting doubles the chance of a lloigor detecting and attacking the investigators.
- GURPS Bestiary. The Octofly can detect and is attracted by psionic activity.
- Earthdawn. Casting spells using raw magic can draw the attention of a Horror and cause it to Horror Mark the caster.
- Shadowrun supplement Bug City. After Chicago is overrun by insect spirits, a nuclear weapon detonation puts the spirits into hibernation. Using any form of magic near them can cause them to wake up and attack you.
- In New World of Darkness
- Mage: The Awakening has Abyssal intruders, things from the anti-reality outside of our dimension. It's something of a multi-step process — vulgar (or blatantly obvious magic) risks Paradox, and really, really bad Paradox risks Abyssal intruders.
- Promethean: The Created has Pandorans, the botched miscarriages that happen when the Promethean creation process goes horribly wrong. They're attracted to the Azoth that powers Prometheans, which means using powers when there's a slumbering Pandoran nearby is risking throwing up an "All You Can Eat" sign.
- Demon: The Descent: Using Exploits (more outrageous, obvious powers than the subtler Embeds) and making Gadgets can cause Compromises, alerting the God-Machine to your presence.
- Rifts makes magic a magnet for genetically engineered psychic police dogs.
- In the Warcraft universe it can attract demons, among other things.
- In the first StarCraft terran campaign, psionic powers act this way towards the zerg. It turns out that the zerg were really looking for a psionically powerful human, rather than simply being attracted to the power itself. Once such a person is captured, the zerg stop chasing psionics.
- Dragon Age
- Mages are constantly at risk of being possessed by the demons of the Fade, turning them into abominations. This is the main justification for the Templars to take them from their families as soon as their talents manifest and send them to the Circle of Magi, who train them TO hone their abilities and resist succumbing to possession. The final test for Apprentices is to undergo The Harrowing, where they are sent into the Fade and pitted against a Demon. If they succeed, they have proven themselves capable of withstanding demonic influence, but if they fail, they are immediately slain by the Templars.
- The Tranquil are Mages who have undergone the Rite of Tranquility, essentially a magical lobotomy, severing their connection to the Fade which removes their powers, along with their emotions. Mages who are considered too weak-willed or dangerous are forced to become Tranquil, although it's not unheard for those who fear their abilities and do not wish to undergo the Harrowing, to choose to willingly submit to the Rite.
- In Dragon Age II, this is a particular problem for Feynriel, who has a rare Dream Weaver power that hasn't been seen in centuries.
- In the Diablo universe, using magic is said to attract demons, but then so does going for a walk or having a quiet dinner at home...
- In Clive Barker's Undying, it's mentioned in the backstory that excessive usage of the Gel'ziabar stone will cause the user to be hunted by the Hound of Gel'ziabar. This doesn't actually happen in gameplay, although the Hound does pop up during a couple pre-scripted events.
- According to Word of God, creatures like Skarrows, Flickering Stalkers and Monto Shonoi are interdimensional squatters, magic scavengers, that were attracted to Oneiros and the manor, and later enslaved.
- Final Fantasy
- In Final Fantasy XI, the arcana family of monsters (which are implied to be magical constructs) are aggressive to magic casting.
- In Final Fantasy XII, Wild Elementals (which run the whole gamut from Fire Elemental to Holy Elemental to Leamonde Elemental) are usually placid spheres of coalesced Mist, and will leave you alone if you do the same. But they will make a beeline for the party if anyone in the area casts a spell, whether it was you or the enemy. They're extremely vicious, will NOT let up until it or its targets are dead, and typically cast high-level magic. Unless the party is very, very strong, it's generally a good idea NOT to cast any magic whatsoever while these bright bursting balloons shimmer in the vicinity.
- In multiple Final Fantasy games, but especially the Ivalice-set ones, Mist is both a conduit and a byproduct of magic, and it can summon, mutate or just plain drive wild nearby monsters.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Leon mentions that The Heartless are so afraid of the Keyblade that they'll attack Sora as long as he continues to wield it. (not that he has much of a choice.) It raises the question: Why would they want to go anywhere near something they're so afraid of? The fact that keybearers have extraordinarily delicious hearts is a plot point. Also, keybearers have the power to make a World's Heart inaccessible to them.
- In Persona 4, Shadows only attack Persona-users in the TV World, except for the rare days where the fog of the TV World lifts (creating natural deadlines to rescue anyone trapped there). They're normally blinded by the fog, but Persona-users stand out like beacons.
- In Our Little Adventure, when Julie used the Magicant Pendant for the first time, it sent out a huge beacon of light. Not only did the Emperor see this beacon of light and knew what it was, but some imperial mooks who saw her use it engaged Julie and her group the next day... so it doubles as Encounter Bait.
- In El Goonish Shive, the entire town of Moperville has become a magical monster magnet because the local area is now saturated with magic energy, it is gradually spreading and it is attracting magically inclined beings.
- In The Monster Girl Encyclopedia, "spirit energy" is the fundamental source of magic. It's also the basic energy that all of the setting's Cute Monster Girls absorb and so are able to track. Which means spellcasters are prime targets for any monster-girl that detects their presence. Though, fortunately, monster-girls in this setting no longer eat humans, preferring instead to love and rape them.