One Person, One Power

A fairly common subtype of settings with a Mass Super-Empowering Event in the backstory. Each superpowered person gets one power. Some powers are more versatile than others, of course. The only exceptions are people whose one superpower is the power to copy or steal powers. Nobody gets Combo Platter Powers as a default.

Subtrope of One Super, One Power Set, but more restrictive.

See also Everyone Has a Special Move, Signature Move.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • In One Piece, there appears to be only one of each Devil Fruit, and nobody can have two Devil Fruit powers (except Blackbeard). Trying to will result in the death of the person trying to obtain the second power. Averted with Haki, which can be learned by anyone and used in tandem with Devil Fruit powers or other abilities.
  • A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun
    • Espers always only have one power but the versatility of this power can vary. Electromasters control electromagnetism, which allows for Lightning Can Do Anything, but Meltdowner essentially creates plasma and is mainly only useful for destructive purposes. The absolute king of this is Accelerator, whose Vector Control can do literally anything that involves movement, from stopping bullets to slowing the planet's rotation by borrowing some of its kinetic energy for a Megaton Punch.
    • In-universe urban myths exist about Dual-Skill and Multi-Skill people, with a single (temporary) example of the latter appearing in Railgun.
    • Touma is a special case here, as his Imagine Breaker is actually sealing away another power that might or might not be of divine origin.
  • Tiger & Bunny's heroes all have different powers, and it's considered surprising when Barnaby is introduced with exactly the same power as Wild Tiger. However, another NEXT having the same or similar powers is a known phenomenon. Wild Tiger was inspired as a boy by a hero who had the same power he did and nobody makes anything if out when his daughter initially seems to develop the same power.
  • In Alice & Zoroku, those who possess the "Dreams of Alice" are Reality Warpers whose power is themed around a certain "Card", allowing for varying versatility. One of a pair of twins creates a simple bow and arrow while her sister can create anything with a chain, ranging from actual chains to bicycles to wrecking balls.
  • It's stated in Boku no Hero Academia that humans can only be born with one power (called quirks), however characters like Todoroki can have multiple facets of their quirk (in his case, he has fire and ice powers). The concept of someone gaining multiple quirks is a running plot device.
    • It's possible for people to gain more than one quirk through unnatural means, however since the human body is not designed to handle this, this comes with severe medical side effects, usually insanity, physical mutations, or mental retardation. The only two people who are the exceptions to this are All for One and his unnamed younger brother, the former because his quirk specifically allows him to do this, and the latter was implied to just be lucky. It's implied that if someone with a quirk inherits One for All, they will either be able to wield their quirk along with One for All, or One for All will assimilate their other quirk.

    Comic Books 

  • The eponymous Children of the Red King usually have only one 'endowment' each. A few characters have been shown to have two; only one person seems to have had more than that.
  • The Nightfall books by Mickey Zucker Reichert feature individuals with single "natal talents".
  • The supers in Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn by John Ridley all have strictly one power each (flight is an exception that works strangely). This became a major plot point in the latter book.
  • The Xanth books fit this trope.
  • In Graceling, the Gracelings each have one Grace (which is either a skill at which they are superhumanly proficient or an outright superpower.)
  • The psychic children of the Gotterelektrongruppe in Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds and sequels thereof.
  • The Magicals/Actives of Hard Magic all have one power each, albeit with Required Secondary Powers included.
  • Gone by Michael Grant features several superpowered kids with a single power each, with the eventual exceptions of Brittney, Drake, and Gaia.
  • In Shadow Ops, "Latents" (humans who develop magical powers) only develop within one specific "school" of magic. Some of these are limited, i.e. pyromancers can only create fire. Others are impressively diverse, such as terramancers, who can control earth, shape and grow plants, and mind-control animals.
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy has an entire city with this.
  • Strength & Justice: One dyna per person.
  • By the time of Wax and Wayne, the magical bloodlines have diluted such that there are no more Mistborn or Feruchemists: nobody has more than one Allomantic and one Feruchemical power. Twinborn are those with one of each, and Compounders are Twinborn with matching powers—which, due to a quirk of the magic system, means that they can get more out of their Feruchemy than they put in, breaking the Equivalent Exchange and creating an infinite loop. The only Compounder in the first book is Miles Hundredlives, who uses gold to store health and get a Healing Factor that makes Wolverine look like a wimp.
  • Pretty much true in Super Powereds, although telekinetics are invariably telepaths as well. It's thought that the two are really variations on the same ability. Some powers are more versatile than others. Most Supers are Shifters, requiring them to switch to their alt-mode in order to use their powers. That alt-mode can be anything. Some are lizards, some turn into themselves with metal skin, some are robots with missile launchers and flying capability. Extremely-powerful elementals are able to take on certain characteristics of their element (e.g. a Super's mastery of electricity also allows him to attain Super Speed). Some Supers don't have a power that is useful in combat, such as Nick, who can manipulate luck (most combat isn't based on luck). However, as shown in Year 1, at full power, even his ability can have devastating results (when using it to stop a truck on a highway, he manipulates the luck of the vehicle to simultaneously cause half a dozen improbable malfunctions that nearly rip the truck to shreds).

     Live Action TV 
  • Each witch from Charmed possesses a unique "active power" in addition to their basic powers of spell-casting, potion-brewing and scrying. They can range from telekinesis, creating fire, super speed and even invisibility. The Charmed Ones are an exception as they all start with one power and naturally gain new ones as they advance.
  • The 4400
  • Heroes has this for all the heroes. It's just that a couple of them have the single power of stealing/copying other people's powers.
  • Mutant X does this with the exception of Gabriel Ashlocke, who had every power.
  • Misfits subverts this. Although everyone seems to get one power, at least two people were given two powers in the storm, and Seth can give customers multiple powers with his ability.
  • Alphas


  • In Sidekicks all supublics are born with a single superpower. Superheroes subvert this by gaining a second superpower thanks to their hero capes and the villains working with Metheos do so via the Third Prana.

    Web Original 
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, this is how most superpowers work... while a person might have several abilities, they are usually just variants and special-purpose uses of their one superpower.
  • Most descendant powers work this way in The Descendants. There are exceptions, but they're rare enough that the fact that magic users don't conform to this rule is an immediate tip off that something is stranger than usual about them.
  • Outliers subverts the trope; while the first generation of supers only got the one power (although they tended to be fairly broad to make for it), the second generation often get multiple, including some Flying Bricks.

    Western Animation 
  • In the universe of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, every pony, Unicorn, Pegasus, and Earth, has a "special talent" that grants them anything from a proficiency in a fairly mundane task such as making other ponies happy to legitimate superpowers such as supersonic flight or the ability to easily use any form of magic.