Muggle Power

"They're muggles, Hermione. Not morons!"
Ron Weasley, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In a world with Differently Powered Individuals, what use are Muggles? They're weak, need protecting, are evolutionary dead ends and are of no real use. Even the Badass Normal on a team of supers can start getting depressed from this, and they are useful!

This usually serves as a motivation for individuals and groups who decide to "do something about it" rather than take it lying down.

Option 1: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Much like a super-power groupie, these people will try to get super powers by mimicking their betters, often at great risk by trying to replicate how heroes get their powers. If enough people get this idea, or the government gets behind it, then it becomes a case of Utopia Justifies the Means. This can include organ theft, free Super Serum, cyber augmentations half off, and in general making Emergency Transformations routine medical procedures. Interestingly, though this group means well, anyone aspiring to power (even if they want to share it) is inevitably misguided if not outright evil, because a muggle should Never Be a Hero. The route of Badass Normal seems to have much better odds, on the other hand.

Option 2: If you can't join 'em, kill 'em!

These people usually come to this conclusion by adding some paranoia (justified or not) to Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke and naturally born supers are out-pacing mundanes. They interpret the "obsolescence" of baseline humans as an edict to kill all Mutants / psychics / witches in an "Us or Them" fashion, fearing that supers will either forcibly take over or replace all humans. These types are usually spurred on by the villains attempts to do just that, and end up branding all supers as threats. Previously nice supers, in turn, will interpret this xenophobia as cause to exterminate or enslave all humans... This is usually the fear behind any Super Registration Act. Typically accomplished by calling the Cape Busters. See also Tall Poppy Syndrome

Whether the story chooses to address the underlying insecurity or not varies. When it does, it usually justifies baseline human's existence with a nice aesop like: our limitations drive us to excel, only humans can truly create, a world of all supers would devolve into planetary civil war (like we normals have done such a good job keeping peace without supers)... or, that we're so fundamentally bad that only a handful should have these powers, if at all. Since super-powered heroes are usually the focus of these stories, it's not rare to see a perfectly sensible initiative by the government to have its own supers, either to stop supervillains or to stop a hero if he should go rogue, turned into paranoid and militant strawmen bent on killing all heroes on the off chance of a super powered Social Darwinist takeover.

Post-Cyberpunk stories that include The Singularity often have conflicts between humans and post-humans. Earlier stories had Mutants on higher Evolutionary Levels that likewise were generally incapable of coexisting with their predecessors.

An interesting variation has the supers be vampires, werewolves, aliens, or some other "bad" race... or outright evil race. In which case those wanting power (or unwillingly transformed) are prone to Transhuman Treachery.

Sometimes this trope is unsure what to do with a Badass Normal.

Opposite of Comes Great Responsibility and Muggles Do It Better.

Compare What Measure Is a Mook?, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape and Pro-Human Transhuman. A Sub-Trope of Fantastic Racism.

The Anti-Magical Faction is a variant of this trope that focuses exclusively on magic and those who can use it. This trope is very often a feature of Cape Punk stories.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The manga eV from James Farr seems to be experimenting with this somewhat. The main character was exposed to a serum that turns her into something approaching theity in terms of power...but only after the previous 77 candidates for receiving the serum had been murdered by fearful religious zealots.
  • Darker Than Black shows the few humans aware of Contractors having a "if you can't beat 'em, employ them" attitude, with the majority of the Contractors being aggressively headhunted and employed as human weapons 'special operatives' by various national security agencies like MI6, the CIA, or by the mysterious criminal 'syndicate' that employs Hei. It eventually turns out that all these agencies are part of a single conspiracy to wipe contractors clean off the face of the Earth. This led to the formation of a La Résistance-style group determined to wall off the Gates so that the Contractor-genocide wouldn't be possible, even though they would have wiped out all of Japan in the process. Hei does not approve of either option.
  • A Certain Magical Index is a more limited example. Academy City is essentially filled with superpowered kids (espers) for purposes on educating and training them on the use of their powers in one centralized location. However, their powers are ranked on a scale of 0 to 5, with level 0s basically being normal humans since their powers are so weak. Level 0s are sometimes considered social outcasts and tend to be bullied by more powerful espers. This leads many level 0s to try and find a way to boost their powers, even if such methods are morally questionable.
    • Explored further in A Certain Scientific Railgun in the Level Upper arc, in which the eponymous Level Upper is making its way into the hands of Level 0s, allowing them to temporarily gain abilities (or increase the level of ability users) at the cost of eventual comatose.
    • It has to be noted, however, that Level 0s are potentially even weaker than normal humans, as they do not possess any esper powers, and are additionally incapable of using magic.
      • Not quite accurate, an esper can increase his level by training (while there are some inherently broken powers, most of the time the level is related to how good/creative a person is at controlling his powers), there are however some people labeled as 0's because their skills simply can't be measured (for example Touma, the main character, who's power is to cancel other's powers and it is implied that there's a limit to what he can nullify, but finding out would kill him since he already counters abilities strong enough to kill a person).
    • Skill-Out is a gang of level 0s who lead attacks on espers. They claim it is for revenge and to defend themselves against the bullying espers, but Touma and others call them out on attacking espers who don't do anything wrong and the occasional muggle bystander.
    • However, Level 0's are shown to be immune to the "Capacity Down" anti-esper sonic weapon, which completely disables any espers who hear it.
  • S Cryed, basically the Japanese take on X-Men.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED does the second option: there are a group of Naturals (unmodified humans) known as Blue Cosmos who seek to eradicate Coordinators (genetically-enhanced humans) because they believe they're "impure". In fact, Blue Cosmos' motto is "For the preservation of our Blue And Pure World". Their actions have started two massive wars because of this. Not bad for a group that started out as an environmental protection group!
  • Souichi from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs actually was a tekigousha in the past, but lost his ability—which, at the time, didn't seem like such a bad thing, as said ability was killing him. Now, though, he fears that his lack of super powers will make him the weakest link among the heroes (not helped by him also being a Handicapped Badass), and so he desperately wants his old ability back.
  • The group PANDRA takes this approach, and feel that they should be destroyed for the protection of Espers.

    Comic Books 
  • The X-Men are forced to deal with this all the time. If it's not the Brotherhood of Mutants trying to "save mutants" by using terrorism, then it's a radical human group trying to exterminate all mutants, or a radical human group trying to harvest mutant organs or just opportunists wanting to enslave mutants as mindless workers or Super Soldiers.
    • Before House of M, there was a movement among humans calling themselves the U-Men who believed they could become greater than mutants by harvesting and grafting mutant body parts onto themselves. Among the list of parts taken are the eyes of a kid with x-ray vision, the wings off a flying mutant girl, and even keeping a kid with electric powers imprisoned to use blood transfusions from him to gain powers.
    • The X-Men themselves have flirted with this during the Decimation event. After "M-Day," no more mutants can be born, and the X-Men have dedicated all their resources to finding a way to change that. The thing is, they can still have children, they just won't be mutants. The X-Men see it as heroically striving to prevent the extinction of mutants; in practice, it means they're literally moving heaven and earth to ensure their children won't be born as *gasp* normal humans.
    • This has become a major case of Broken Aesop over the course of the various comics in the X-Men family. A great many storylines have revolved around some awesomely powerful evil mutant(s) openly threatening the world and scaring the heck out of the general population. Sure, the X-teams usually manage to stop whoever it is, but not before the landscape as been chewed up a bit. While the mutants are meant to be seen sympathetically by the readers, given the circumstances humanity's fear of mutants actually seems very rational, in particular since the power level of mutant villains seems to always be increasing. Then again, how many of those mutants became villains in the first place because "baseline" humans treated them with fear and hatred?
  • Batman's role in any DC comic where he works alongside DC's other, superpowered heroes and fights superpowered villains tends to invoke this trope. Not only is he acutely aware of the extent, and limit, of all of the powers of every DC character, he takes it upon himself to put in place 'contingency plans' to disable or otherwise render harmless all of said characters in the case that they ever went rogue.
  • Supreme Power spends several issues with Mark, aka Hyperion, mulling over how he and other supers like the Blur fit inside of normal society's rules. His conclusion? They don't. They are outside the system. The fact that this is dangerously close to the ethos followed by his Evil Counterpart Michael Redstone doesn't seem to occur to him. This line of thought is not helped by the U.S. government setting a trap with six Daisy Cutter bombs in an underground base for fear of him.
  • One of the earlier examples of this trope, Badass Normal Hawkeye decided that a quiver full of trick arrows wasn't enough, and started using Hank Pym's old Giant-Man gear to become the first Goliath. He eventually went back to his Hawkeye persona, but has occasionally donned the Goliath suit on a situational basis.
  • Top 10 takes a rather unique approach to this problem. The Prequel The Forty-Niners explain that after the allies won World War II, they build a city and relocated all the Superhumans, Badass Normals and Mad Scientists who survived the war there.
    Steve "Jetlad" Traynor: Th-This is nuts. Everybody's a science-hero! I mean, this will never work, the government, this whole relocation thing, it's just...
    Leni "Sky Witch" Muller: The war's over, mein junge, and now nobody wants us living next door to them.
  • Alan Moore's Miracleman/Marvelman was one of the first to use this trope. The government-created supers turn out to be too powerful for the government's liking, so it tries to kill them all. It doesn't work, and the supers and aliens take over the world for its own good. Eventually, everyone is offered the chance to become superhuman. There is some musing on some fundamental humanity that they have lost in becoming superhuman.
  • PS238 had a government-funded "Project Rainmaker" in its backstory; it was trying to study metahumans to find out what made them different from normal people and possibly use this knowledge for the benefit of the US government. It got wrecked by the metahuman it was experimenting on.
  • The first version was averted with American Dream. She idolized Captain America and decided to ask superheroes for training to become one (of the Badass Normal type). It worked.
  • Zenith uses this extensively in its backstory. In the end, it turns out that the fear was dead-on, and they really did need to Beware the Superman, with a handful of exceptions.
  • Although not really part of this trope, Gwen Stacy, in her introduction into Ultimate Spider-Man, asks this very question, making a Rousing Speech about where the line is drawn on superpowers; how is being able to shoot blasts from your eyes different from having a photographic memory, or being really good at math? The Ultimate Universe is prone to playing this trope straight, as well.
    • Ultimate X-Men has a similar exchange during Brian K. Vaughun's run; as two police officers investigate the murder of a young mutant (probably the Ultimate equivalent of Marrow), one of them makes a comment on the nature of mutants. The other officer says that she was born with a thirteenth rib, and asks if that makes her a mutant.
      • One bit that happened during one X-men storyline where a Mutant Registration Act was being proposed...again...but having Congress stop dead in its tracks in enacting it when they were quietly informed that a significant number of Representatives and Senators themselves were mutants, possessing assorted weak abilities capable of unconsciously influencing people which had, unknowingly, given them the advantage when they'd become politicians.
  • IDW's Transformers series uses this trope as well. When the Decepticons were recouping from Megatron's apparent death, the Autobots were being hunted by Skywatch, a government group that acquired Cybertronian technology. While Skywatch eventually comes on somewhat friendly terms with the Autobots, a new group known as Earth's Children rises up, wishing for the removal of all Transformers, and apparently headed by a really Smug Snake. Who turns out to be a facsimile for Swindle to stir conflict and make a market for him.
  • Some comics in the Marvel Universe speculate Society Is to Blame for Muggle Power. Super-heroes are extraordinary people with amazing abilities and dedicate their lives to improving the world around them, so normal humans feel weak and selfish by comparison. The Kingpin ties this into I Just Want to Be Normal and Tall Poppy Syndrome in "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Ultimate Spider-Man #80.
    The Kingpin: They, "society," hate you because they don't want your help. You remind them of how weak-willed and sheep-like and unspecial they are. How gleeful they are, deep down, to be ordinary. They don't want heroes. They don't want special people around them. Because if there are special people and they aren't one of them— well, who wants that? Who wants a constant reminder that they aren't even trying to be special? See, the difference between you and I is that you really are just a child. You benefit from the wide-eyed optimism of youth. I do envy that, somewhat. But... like many of your decisions in life... it's just naive. And I don't envy that harsh cold slap of reality that will come your way soon enough. But I guess it's inevitable. People don't want to be special. I do think that. It is my philosophy. They— people want to be told what to do and how to live and they want men like me to tell them. They want to go to work and do as little as they can possibly get away with, and they want a big cookie at the end of the day for doing it. And they want men like me to give it to them.
  • Empowered has an actual capeless uprising in its recent backstory, where a group of cape-killers began hunting down superhero and supervillain alike. The San Antonio Supervolcano may or may not be related to this. Unbeknownst to his girlfriend, ThugBoy was directly involved in it, and has a few cape kills to his name. And according to Maidman, another uprising may be in the near future..
  • It's become fairly common for Superman's archenemy, Lex Luthor, to be portrayed as a pro-human/anti-alien extremist who sees himself as a Prometheus figure, stealing fire from the gods to give to the rest of humanity. While his position is ultimately self-serving, Luthor's argument that superhumans hold humanity back from truly excelling is one that resonates with some people in-universe and out.
    • The Guardians of the Universe expressed this concern to Superman as well. Afterwards Superman is sometimes shown to be concerned about how he might be coddling humanity.
    • Arion wanted to destroy Superman for similar reasons. He felt like Superman was propping the world up to the point that when he broke, it would crush humanity.
    • New Krypton saw Luthor join forces with General Sam Lane, a paranoid General Ripper (and father of Lois Lane) who believed that all heroes—and aliens in particular—were bound to turn on humanity. Lane proceeds to recruit Metallo and Supergirl adversary Reactron, as well as "Superwoman" (really his daughter Lucy) and Codename:Assassin to form the core of his Human Defense Corps and wage war against Superman and New Krypton.
  • In The Royals Masters of War, The French Revolution sent shockwaves among the superpowered royals as it was the first time the non-superpowered "commoners" succeeded in threatening their kind on such a large scale. Centuries later, both the Nazis and Soviets had become adept in killing the old nobles and royalty, capturing those who couldn't die and persecuting the few in their territories who remain.

  • Syndrome takes both options in The Incredibles, reacting to what he sees as a snub by his hero for all the wrong reasons. Buddy was endangering himself and Mr. Incredible by being an untrained and self-appointed "sidekick," but Buddy misinterpreted it as being rejected because he had no superpowers. So, when Buddy grows up, he puts all his Gadgeteer Genius ability into making weapons and gear that allows him to be a genuine threat, enacting a vendetta on all super-abled people out of petty revenge, and then saying that he would sell his weaponry openly, making it so "if everyone is super, then no one will be."
  • The Paladins in Jumper seem to be hunting down the eponymous teleporting mutants mostly because they're too powerful to be permitted to exist.
    • It's arguable on whether the Paladins are bad guy muggles, or if the whole thing is a Broken Aesop. Their actions are deplorable, but they claim to be doing the only thing possible to curb a group of people who are criminals and leeches on society. They may even be right: we only get to know two Jumpers in the movie, the protagonist (who fits the Paladins' expectations pretty well, having immediately turned to bank-robbery when he discovered his power) and one guy who has dedicated himself to fighting back against the Paladins who have been chasing him across the globe trying to kill him. A third is shown briefly, just long enough to demonstrate that the Paladins know how to trap and kill them.
    • Unfortunately, the rhetoric the Paladins use smells too much like the Inquisition: "Only God should have the power to be everywhere at once". That's enough to make them seem like religious nutjobs to many people.

  • In Unique, the various supernatural entities the story focuses on were tracked down and told very plainly that they could behave themselves or die.
  • The Dreamers from Eric Nylund's Pawn's Dream treat non-Dreamer human life as pretty much worthless. The hero is lured into their schemes by one of them shooting his co-worker just to get his attention.
  • Much of the conflict in the Wild Cards books revolves around the complex relationship between Aces (the fortunate few with powers but no major deformities), Jokers (those mutated but with little or no powers) and Nats ("Naturals", i.e. Muggles).
  • The Puritan post-apocalyptic society in John Wyndham's The Chrysalids exterminates all mutations on sight... and 99% of them are totally harmless with stuff like 6 toes or blue skin. At the end of the book, their fanatical attitude is used to justify their extermination by a group of genuinely superpowered mutants, and this is treated as a good thing by the book.
  • The third story in the Infinity's Prism collection of Star Trek novels has an Alternate Universe wherein Khan Noonien Singh won the Eugenics Wars. He then proceeded to create The Empire, which subjugated the rest of the Trek 'verse. The story concerns "Princeps" Julian Bashir of the Defiance (who is also genetically enhanced in the "normal" universe) finding the Botany Bay. In the TOS episode Space Seed, the Bay carried Khan and his followers, but in this universe, it carried regular humans on the run from the Wars. Does What Measure Is A Non-Super ensue? Oh, yeah.
  • In the CoDominium universe, the genetically engineered Saurons consider unenhanced humans "cattle".
  • In Nick Kyme's Warhammer 40,000 novel Salamander, the Marines Malevolent express shock that the Salamanders are threatening to fire on fellow Space Marines to protect a few Mechanicus survivors. The Salamanders don't flinch.
  • The House of Night books have Option 2. Churches decide that vampyres are sinners and start killing teachers at Zoey's school. Neferet, the head of the school, decides to wage war against them.
  • Odd John justifies this trope, arguing that superhumans would see ordinary humans the same way we would see most animals. The title character even says that he sees the narrator as a 'pet'. Apparently, none of the superintelligent mutants in the book are animal-rights activists.
  • Most of the conflict in Nancy Kress's Beggars in Spain trilogy revolves around this trope.
  • Skinned by Robin Wasserman contains A LOT of this, especially the second book Crashed. Lia Kahn gets in a car accident and is uploaded into a new body. Rejected by society, she moves in with rebel Jude and his gang. Jude believes that people, or "orgs", are weak and need their bodies to survive, whereas he, a mech, can do anything. Mechs have ceramic bones and titanium skulls, their bodies heal instantly, and they never tire or need food. All they are required to do is shut down occasionally and back up their memories in case their bodies are destroyed.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans' Worlds of Shadow used the Warhammer 40K approach to psychics. Not because they were actually dangerous, mind you, but because the society that had them considered them "mutant freaks."
  • In Gone, the Human Crew is a group of "normals" who go with option 2.
  • In The Dresden Files, every major supernatural power is scared of humanity as a whole realizing that they exist. Individual humans may just be cattle to the supernaturals, but there are a whole lot of us, and we have guns and nukes and tanks.
    • As author Jim Butcher describes it, a wizard can kill a mortal with about the same effort you'd expend throwing a pebble across a room. Now throw a million pebbles.
  • In The Pillars Of Reality, there are a lot of ordinary people who resent the power of the Mages and the Mechanics, and some of them want to do something about it. The first major attempt is attempting to secretly reproduce the technology of Mechanics' rifles; it's stopped, but the issue won't just disappear (despite the Guild tending to act like it will).

    Live Action TV 
  • True Blood has examples of both Option 1, in the form of so-called "Fang Bangers" and Option 2 in groups such as the Fellowship of the Sun. Given that even the friendliest vampires are closet murderers trying to pass as just ordinary, if immortal, blood-drinking, people, this tends to lead to a grey-scale world. The other supernaturals are not much better.
  • Heroes has The Company, a group with the ostensibly good goal of keeping tabs on all super powered individuals and helping them cope with their powers to protect the general public and maintain a Masquerade... which, thanks to evil/incompetent bosses, has devolved to the point of doing Bag and Tag's of all heroes they can find with a complimentary mind wipe, and killing those deemed "too dangerous to exist"... unless they're Sylar.
    • And all the villains they have in storage that got released in season 3 as yet another Idiot Plot, despite Company's willingness to kill much more decent people in the pursuit of stability.
    • The Company is only a partial example- while they do have a lot of muggle members, they have plenty of superpowered members too, and are in fact run by a group of superhumans, several of whom are actually pretty sinister.
    • In volume 4 the Company is replaced with a government organization meant to capture all people with abilities - except Nathan, who started it. His claim is that he's doing it because people with abilities are too dangerous to be left running around, which would be more convincing if he didn't target his own well meaning allies and a guy who can breathe underwater. Rather than concentrating his attentions on say, Sylar. Again.
    • Volume 5 flips it around from the other side, with Magneto-esque Big Bad Samuel who doesn't seem to give a damn about the lives of Muggles and periodically secretly arranges their deaths to further his agenda. On the other hand, his agenda seems to be to try to create a sanctuary for superpowered humans to live free of persecution. On the other other hand, doing so seems to involve getting in bed with, you guessed it, Sylar again.
  • The 4400 has Jordan Collier's faction. By the end of the series, he has no problem with mass promicin injections (the chemical that was used to give the 4400 super powers). This might be fine, if it weren't for that 50% casualty rate. Disturbingly enough, he may be right.
  • Painkiller Jane was part of an organization who worked to find and "chip" all Neuros — even the ones who never did anything. Jane is the only superhuman member of the group, and even that's only allowed because she's not technically a Neuro.
    • Jane lampshades the injustice, but can't really do anything about it because she would most likely be executed for disobedience. She was shanghaied into joining the organization because she was seen as useful.
      • While it's extremely-difficult to kill her, it can be done, as demonstrated in one "Groundhog Day" Loop episode, where one of the loops has Jane step on a claymore mine and get blown to bits. Naturally, she's fine in the next loop. Decapitating would probably also do the trick.
    • Before the series was canceled, it is revealed that chipping a second-generation Neuro like Jane does nothing; at least, it did not work on the Chameleon.
  • In The X-Files, no one even believes mutants and monsters exist (other than those 2 nobodies working out of the basement whom no one takes seriously), and 90% of them are psychotic spree killers who get killed by the end of the episode anyway. This is a damn shame, as they'd be one HELL of an advantage for the Earth Home Team when that Alien Invasion finally hits.
    • Of course, there could be far more of them out there. Mulder and Scully just encounter the ones who go bad because those are the ones whose actions catch the FBI's attention.
  • On Babylon 5, a lot of mundanes dislike telepaths. Including a group who builds a virus to kill all telepaths. And the Telepath war is a major part of continuity. The Psi Corps Trilogy novels reveal that, when the existence of telepaths became public knowledge, many telepaths were lynched simply for fear of having this ability. This is even after the Pope proclaimed that telepaths are still children of God and should not be harmed, although one Italian mobster does let a card-cheating telepath live because of this in exchange for help in catching other cheaters.
  • An episode of Thats So Raven had psychic teens who called it "the Normie Problem". In the end, of course, they learn that the greatest power of all is The Power of Friendship.
  • In Andromeda the more dickish Nietzscheans consider humans worthless - and the Knights of Genetic Purity consider the Nietzscheans (and all others with genetic mods) an abomination.
    • Not that this is not completely unjustified, given that it was the Nietzscheans who were responsible for the fall of the Commonwealth. The rest, not so much. 92% of humanity is modified by this point.
  • In Star Trek, we had Eugenic Wars between genetically engineered and other humans, leading to genetic augmentation becoming a forbidden technique. They apparently got over this in later years; genetic modification for mundane purposes (correcting congenital defects, for example) is perfectly okay, but physical and mental augmentation is still illegal.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, we find out that part of the problem is that the Augment process seems to create musclebound sociopaths. We also discover that the Denobulans used the technology without problems.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Founder Changelings derogatorily call all non-shape-shifters "solids" and struggle to either control or destroy them. This in turn was caused by Changelings being hunted by other species in the past because of their abilities (in "Shadowplay" we see such attitude). Even those Changelings who do not belong to Dominion (like Laas) actually think very little of "solids".
  • The Watcher's Council is basically a group of Muggles who got together and decided that they and they alone were going to be in charge of the fight against evil, and they employ and monitor various agents (the most important of which being the Slayer) in their fight. The fact that most of them are incompetent dullards and piss-poor mages (which still qualifies as Muggledom, as most everyone in the Buffyverse is capable of magic) doesn't seem to occur to anyone until Buffy comes along.
    • Meanwhile, the Initiative is basically a government-run version without the shitty mages. It manages to do slightly better than the Watcher's Council, which was destroyed by a single psychotic preacher using a bomb.
  • The Hunters in Highlander: The Series are renegade members of The Watchers who want every Immortal dead.
    • The reason they're successful is because they hunt in groups, while Immortals are required to duel each other one-on-one. Additionally, being Muggles, the Hunters aren't required to follow the "holy ground" rule. Also, Immortals can sense each others' presence, but they can't sense regular humans execpt by the normal mundane means. The common tactic is to shoot the Immortal first. Then, when he's incapacitated, either behead him or put him into a guillotine. If there are no other Immortals in the vicinity, then there won't be a Quickening.
  • One of the conflicts in season 10 of Smallville is the political implications of superpowered individuals, which culminates in Congress passing the Vigilante Registration Act in an emergency session. Of course, the real movers and shakers behind it are Darkseid's followers, who are trying to take the Justice League out of the equation. The act is eventually repealed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Aberrant, Novas refer to non-Nova humans as "baselines", which technically is just a scientific term for their inability to become a Nova, but is treated as derogatory. Baselines usually fall within two camps: adoring fans or xenophobic champions of genetic purity. Since there's actually no way of telling whether a particular human is able to erupt (become a Nova) or not, a small minority try to provoke their eruption in various ways. Since lethal hazards can give you powers to survive those hazards, you can imagine how they go about this.
    • It turns out the Muggles DO have something to fear from the Novas - the use of Quantum powers eventually mutates them into dramatically inhuman Aberrants, who form the primary enemy for its predecessor, Trinity. Oddly enough, the heroes in Trinity are, themselves, no longer Muggles - they're powerful psychics, instead. On the other hand, the big reason Novas were willing to embrace Taint is for survival and revenge, because the ostensibly good Mutant Draft Board Project Utopia was sterilising all of its recruits to ensure they wouldn't breed further; the Aeon War that caused the Trinity setting to exist in the first place? Yeah, that got started when the truth about Project Utopia finally got out to the public and Novas... didn't take it well.
    • Within the Abberant setting, one of the strongest of these factions is the fundamentalistic religion-based Church of Archangel Michael, which publicly denounces Novas as agents of Satan and has dedicated training projects to turn the faithful into assassins and terrorists directed at the Novas.
  • In the eponymous continent-sized Monster Town of Mortasheen, humans are treated like lab rats by the mutants and monsters that inhabit the city, sometimes as test subjects, sometimes as pets and sometimes as food. of course, this is slightly subverted by the fact that nobody inside the city is really bothered by this, including the humans themselves, as they see it as "just the way things go". Some humans will even volunteer themselves for experiments in the hopes of getting a more powerful form.
  • Played annoyingly straight in Wraeththu, where the eponymous magical hermaphrodites have nothing but contempt and genocidal urges towards the surviving humans, even though the Wraeththu are supposed to be the heroes of the setting AND each one was originally human themselves.
    • Oddly, according to those who have read it, the ones who match that description are the villains among the Wraeththu in the original books, and the heroes were a group the RPG doesn't bother giving even a passing mention.
  • Paranoia secret societies include the mutant supremacist group Psion and the mutant-hating group Anti-Mutant.
    • Played for laughs, of course. (The joke being that every person in the setting - other than the theoretically subservient AIs - is a mutant... and everybody seems to know it... except for the all-seeing, all-knowing Computer which designates mutants as inferior, genetically treasonous creatures.)
      • Well, the players know it, the characters don't necessarily. In particular, Anti-Mutant characters may be ignorant or in denial about their own mutant powers.
  • Many Exalts in Exalted are less than careful with normal people in the area surrounding them (in the case of countering third-circle spells, an area totalling roughly nine square miles). The Realm in particular has based its 800-year empire on the idea that Terrestrial Exalted are manifestly superior to mortals. (One of the few exceptions to this kind of thing: Paragon is adamantly pro-mortal because its ruler is a mere enlightened mortal himself, although he's currently a little bitter that with Solar Exaltations flying around he hasn't had a shot at becoming a Twilight Caste yet.)
  • Warhammer 40K doesn't so much use type 2 as it inverts the trope — "psykers" are the ones who're considered tools rather than people. Understandable, since it's best not to get attached to someone who has the potential to accidentally open a gateway to Hell. (This is not exaggeration)
  • Unknown Armies discusses what happens when the supernatural element is scared senseless of breaking the masquerade. They liken the supernatural elements to being worst enemies trapped in a room with a sleeping tiger - if they fight and wake the tiger up, they're both dead. Averting this trope is necessary just to stay alive, and the rules feature a complete discussion of just how screwed you are if you're the one to wake the muggles up. (Imagine a soccer riot or worse with you as the object of its fury.)
  • There was a similar vein in the World of Darkness, but as the setting developed it fell to the background as the masquerade became an Extra-Strength Masquerade as each splat book kept upping the supernatural ante yet the muggles never caught on. Still, regardless of which game you played, your superiors would avert this trope out of a healthy fear of muggle rage, and if that meant putting you in a body bag, so be it.
    • Strictly speaking, whether in the Classic or New World of Darkness, the masquerade was never entirely founded purely on fear of muggles; on the local level, yes, the break could be dangerous, but it wouldn't upset the world as a whole. In the Classic version, it was more that, as a whole, mortals were just insignificant; various monster-based ancient conspiracies were already running the world, and it would just be more trouble than it would be worth to go public. In the New version, the masquerade is upheld mainly because the result would probably not be particularly good for either side. A full-fledged "War on the Supernatural" would be like "The War on Terror" turned Up to Eleven, since monsters have all the advantages of terroristsnote  combined with supernatural advantages like More Than Mind Control or "escape into another dimension virtually at will". Of course, the monsters themselves wouldn't really benefit from the amount of overkill they'd need to do in order to terrorize humans into submission. To say nothing of the fact that there are God-tier Eldritch Abominations like the God-Machine and the Exarchs who actively like the world the way it is and are willing to use all their powers, up to an including resetting time and reshuffling space to keep things as they prefer.
      • To put in perspective how a monster/human war would probably be a Pyrrhic Victory for either side in the New World: consider that Washington D.C has the world's largest active population of the Arisen, undead slaves from beyond the recognized dawn of civilization who serve the unspeakable wills of prehuman gods. And they look just like any other person, when they're not slumbering as desiccated corpses. What's the army going to do to get rid of them? Nuke Washington? Which is a bad idea even before you take into account the fact that the Arisen are Nigh Invulnerable and have Resurrective Immortality, so even if they don't survive the bomb, they will come back just as strong and twice as mad. At the same time, if the Arisen use their powers and flatten Washington under a meteorite shower, or level it with an earthquake... then what are they going to do?

    Video Games 
  • Taken to every logical conclusion within City of Heroes and City of Villains. While the setting holds enough Heroic Willpower for even the most ridiculous Charles Atlas Superpowers to work, there are still a lot of Muggles. Reactions vary from essentially worshipping Heroes like the Paragon City Civilians do, putting on the kevlar and facing down the super-powered villains like the Paragon City Police, living in terror like Rogue Island civilians, putting on the kevlar and facing down the super-powered heroes for later brainwashing like Malta, or joining the various villain groups for Psycho Serum or protection.
  • Joker invokes this during his degrading of Luna, who walked in at the worst possible time (while Mega Man and Jack Corvus were tangled in combat). Shortly afterwards is the Player Punch - he skips both the steps in the trope description and outright kills her - and then laughs about it. That sound you heard was the harshest plot whiplash in the history of the continuity.

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, there's practically a war going on over this trope. "Humanity First!" is a world-wide grass roots anti-mutant organization (with backing from the richest family on earth), and the more radical members have tracked down and murdered new mutants. "Evolution Rocks" is an underground group of mutants who are basically anti-baseline. America's Department of Paranormal Affairs is having it out with the non-governmental agency the Mutant Commission Office, which may be kidnapping young mutants for experimentation.
  • For the most part, this is avoided in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, even by the villains. Of course, there is a reason why there are so many derogatory slang words for normal humans. "Mere" (as in "merely man"), "flatline", "baseline", and "Norman" (as in "Norman Normal") are just four examples.
    • TAROT funds a lot of anti-superhuman "grassroots" organizations, and bribes politicians worldwide to legally restrict superheroes. The ultimate goal, of course, is to make it harder for the heroes to interfere with their operations, but a side effect is a growing hostility in some quarters between normal human beings and supers.
  • PURE by Tiffany Ross (author of Alien Dice and The Cyantian Chronicles) portrayed a socially Darwinistic country where people who don't develop superpowers or genius-level IQs before the age of 18 are euthanized. "Subbers" who get bionics to mimic powers are incinerated on sight.
  • In Worm, within a couple years of the first superheroes appearing, the superheroine Alexandria anticipates this and acts to prevent it by creating the Protectorate-a government-controlled Super Team beholden to the Parahuman Response Team. By recruiting the most powerful superheroes in the country, Alexandria is able to maintain a balance of power, giving normal people control over parahumans but also making it clear that if the Protectorate was pushed they could easily topple the government. Within twenty years the Protectorate is the only game in town. Of course, the fact that Alexandria's civilian identity is Rebecca Costa-Brown, Chief Director of the PRT, doesn't hurt.

    Western Animation 
  • The second season of Justice League Unlimited dealt with the US government's efforts to build a force capable of stopping the JLU in the event they went rogue. Naturally, they ended up going the route of the Well-Intentioned Extremist and a bit of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope when their efforts included such things as creating Tyke Bomb Super Soldier clones with a shelf life shorter than a decade, trusting Lex Luthor and other super criminals, as well as turning JLU member Captain Atom against Superman. The pilot of JLU specifically said that the non-super Green Arrow was a member specifically to call them on abuses of power. There's also that evil psychopathic Supergirl clone, and that 'super soldier' serum that turned the general into a mutant monster, and…
    • The Justice Lords were an example where humans did have something to fear from metahumans. This knowledge is what drove The Question into such a tizzy.
  • Princess from The Powerpuff Girls wanted to be a Powerpuff Girl, but she didn't have any powers, so she got technology that imitated their powers. Blossom outright tells her that her problem isn't lacking the powers, it's that she's a spoiled, selfish brat who doesn't want to be a Powerpuff Girl because she wants to help people, but because she just wants to be one for the sake of wanting it.
  • Almost completely averted on Avatar The Last Airbender. Both benders and non-benders are pretty much treated the same, except for situations where the ability to bend would be necessary or useful. Toph does once, however, make the comment that their team consisted of three people (Aang, Katara and herself), because Sokka couldn't bend. When Sokka protests, she amends it to: "Okay, three people plus Sokka".
    • It does go a bit farther than that, though more psychologically — Sokka, for example, seems to feel inferior to his teammates, which is why he Takes a Level In Badass by becoming a sword master. Growing up with Katara (a Bender) probably also explains his general distrust of "magic," as a way of coping with his own inferiority complex.
    • Later played straight in the sequel series, The Legend of Korra, where an anti-bending revolt threatens to tear the metropolis of Republic City apart.
    • The series takes a fairly realistic approach in that there's no single, over-arching reaction to someone with the power. There's rarely outright oppression simply *because* you're a bender - not counting POW camps the Fire Nation sets up - but individuals range the entire spectrum from awe and wonder, to jealousy and bitterness, to "Meh, so he can punch a fireball."
      • May be largely due to the fact that even being born with the ability to bend, there's a vast difference between being able to do it and being able to do it with enough skill/power to clearly make it better than a muggle way of doing something. We see the show mostly through the experiences of benders from the elite range and are thus, important. Toph gets special mention: every application of earthbending other than "make that rock move" was invented by her after previously having been thought impossible. And everyone who is spectacularly good at bending has been established as having worked at it their entire life. Civilian benders are more than once shown to be incapable, or at least requiring the cooperation of many, to do anything like the feats of the main cast. There is also the fact that benders are not immune to conventional weaponry and the physical moves are very much necessary. This means dodging a fire strike works on the same principle as dodging a fist (the consequences of zigging when you should have zagged are just a lot higher.) So, while a rogue bender could level a few city blocks if he raged unchecked, he probably wouldn't get to: a warrior who's good with a sword or a bow versus a civilian bender is not a total mismatch. Then Korra adds mecha-tanks to the equation.
  • On Sabrina: The Animated Series, Tim the Witch Smeller came to hate witches because of this trope — he grew up mocked for being a Muggle Born of Mages, apparently a unique case in this series.

Alternative Title(s): What Measure Is A Non Super, What Measure Is A Human