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
- Code Geass
- The Contractors in Darker Than Black follow this rule strictly. Some of them even explicitly lack Required Secondary Powers.
- Witch Hunter Robin
- In One Piece, there appears to be only one of each Devil Fruit, and nobody can have two Devil Fruit powers (except Blackbeard). Averted with Haki, though.
- The Espers from A Certain Magical Index and its spin-off A Certain Scientific Railgun 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.
- Tiger and Bunny
- Well, almost everyone...
- 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 The Mistborn Adventures, the magical bloodlines have diluted such that there are no more Mistborn or Feruchemists: nobody has more than one Allomantic and one Feruchemical power.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- Sky High. While Nurse Specs mentions that its possible for the child of two superhumans to inherit both of their parentsí powers, the implication is that its damned rare, and everyone else's reactions to Will's not only being super-strong but being able to fly implies that most people only have one power.
- 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.