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You mean magic isn't for free?
"All power demands sacrifice."
Power. The ability to influence, create, change, and even destroy. Things, places, people.
It is by nature highly contentious: Some want it and would kill for it, others do not want it, or would gladly give away such a burden. Therein lies the rub. For all its force, blessings, or ability to change, power is not free... of responsibility, consequence, or cost. Some people think the exchange has to be "fair."
Drama derives vigor from the quandary of how power, seemingly free of any strings, has inherent costs. Whether they are hideous mutations, social alienation, or even death varies by story, genre, and kind of power. But the underlying basis is the same: Power at a Price.
- Age Without Youth
- A God Am I: Power will make you think that you're invincible. Regardless of whether or not it's true, you're gonna have a lot of enemies.
- Ambition Is Evil: Trying to climb the social ladder tends to knock everyone else down a rung; therefore, it is evil and shouldn't be done.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: You can read minds, but it's very disturbing.
- Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Mages can't wear armor.
- Artifact of Attraction: You'll be compelled to kill for it and be killed over it.
- Artifact of Death: Use it at risk of death.
- Artifact of Doom: Use it at risk of becoming evil.
- Assimilation Backfire: Sometimes you absorb something harmful or gives you a weakness.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Does not need weapons, but, therefore, does not benefit much from better gear.
- Beneficial Disease: When a disease provides you superpowers/immunity
- Black Magic: Very powerful magic, at a moral and material price.
- Blessed with Suck: You'll think it's worth it, but it isn't.
- Blind Seer
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: How much in Real Life dollars are you willing to pay for a Top Tier deck in a CCG, or for enhanced equipment in an MMO?
- Can't Stay Normal
- Cast from Hit Points: Magic fueled by sacrificing your current health (i.e., causing your body damage).
- Cast from Lifespan: Magic which shortens the user's lifespan.
- Cast From Money: These powerful powers requires in-game money to work.
- Clingy Macguffin: Throw it away, and it will come back.
- Clipped Wing Angel: Eventually, the "new form" turns out to be a bust.
- Close Range Combatant: You can handle things up close, but you're useless at a distance.
- Comeback Mechanic: Being ahead of the other players means you make the other players stronger.
- Comes Great Responsibility: No inherent price except using it responsibly.
- Conditional Powers: When the power comes with something you must (or must not) do
- The Corruption: Uncanny powers are just a symptom of a malignant infection.
- Crazy Awesome: You're insane, but in a cool way.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Really, really good at one thing; really, really bad at everything else.
- Cursed with Awesome: You'll think it isn't worth it, but it is.
- Curse That Cures: A sick or injured character is cured as a side effect of a Curse.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Upgrading your hardware downgrades your humanity.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: A powerful ability, with a powerful cost.
- The Dark Arts: The skill is deemed forbidden for any of a number of reasons.
- The Dark Side
- Deadly Upgrade: Eventually, your new form will make you die.
- Deal with the Devil: Never obtain magic from malevolent/mysterious entities or tricksters.
- Deus Exit Machina
- Dirty Mind-Reading: You can read minds, but it's very disturbing in that way.
- Disability Immunity: Rather than granting you powers to compensate, you are protected from something that would harm more able individuals.
- Disability Super Power: Power at the price of one or more faculties.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: When you can't judge how much power you're using.
- Drunk with Power: It's addictive.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Every ability is strong against and weak towards at least one other, usually in a cycle or in foil pairs.
- Empathic Healing: Yes, you can have Healing Hands, but you'll take the same injuries you're trying to heal on someone else.
- Empty Levels: When the power actually makes your character weaker or increases the difficulty disproportionately.
- Equivalent Exchange: Everything does not come free; it has a (sometimes terrible) cost.
- Everything but the Girl: You can do anything you like, except win over your One True Love.
- Explosive Overclocking: Or it will make your stuff explode.
- Eye of Newt: Magic requires magical components.
- Fantastic Fragility: Building in weaknesses to boost power.
- Fragile Speedster: Sacrifices overall power for mobility
- Fuel Meter Of Power: Limited usage of superpowers. Using them all up may cause death.
- Glass Cannon: Can dish it out, but can't take it
- God Job: Get the power of a god, but you've got a job to do.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Powers that require extreme out-of-the-box thinking in order to get any use out of it.
- Heroic Fatigue
- I'm Having Soul Pains: Too painful to use this power for long.
- Immunity Disability: Because sometimes being immune to something may be a detriment instead.
- Insert Payment To Use: It'll let you use it, but you have to pay with lifeforce, money, or some other form of currency.
- Invisible Streaker: You can't be seen, but you have to be naked.
- Jack of All Stats: Not bad at any one thing, but not really good at anything either.
- Level Scaling: Power that comes at a price of increased difficulty.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Wizards take longer to gain power, but gain more power in the end.
- Living Battery: The living power supply pays the cost.
- Logical Weakness: A weakness because of a power that actually makes logical sense.
- Lonely at the Top: The more powerful you are, the more isolated and lonelier you'll be.
- Long-Range Fighter: Great at dealing with things from a distance, useless up close.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: It looks really weird.
- Mad Oracle
- Magically Inept Fighter: Strong in physical combat but has weak magic, if any at all.
- Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Using magic draws the wrong sort of attention.
- Magic Knight: A fighter who can cast, but usually isn't as good at melee as a pure warrior or as good at magic as a pure wizard.
- Magikarp Power: This character or ability can be very useful... if you bother to grind for it.
- The Medic: Uses magic or items defensively (healing, Spells) while being physically weak
- Mighty Glacier: Sacrifices mobility for overall power.
- Multiform Balance: When each of your forms has a power set suited for particular tactics and situations.
- Necessary Drawback: For every advantage, there's a disadvantage.
- One-Winged Angel: Physical power at the cost of your physical form.
- The Paladin: Good in a battle (especially against The Undead) and has plenty of White Magic power, but lacks offensive magic skills and is often constrained by a code.
- Pent Up Power Peril: When your power builds up inside you and you have to release it regularly, lest it harms you.
- Power Born of Madness: Madness causes power.
- Power Degeneration: Having superpowers will accelerate your aging and kill you.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: It requires an ethically repulsive component to function.
- Powerful But Inaccurate: Hits hard, hard to hit.
- Power Incontinence: Limited control over destructive or inconvenient powers.
- Power Loss Makes You Strong: The flip side. By losing a superpower, you gain something. Namely, extreme badassery.
- Power Source: They may need to be refilled frequently.
- Power Strain Blackout: You faint after using your powers
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: You get loads of power, but it's because you got ugly add-ons.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Overuse or misuse of psychic powers results in physical injury.
- Psycho Serum: In the "Gone Horribly Wrong" sense.
- Psycho Serum: Potion causes Madness.
- Quantity vs. Quality: The two are always inversely proportional
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: When Reality Warping proves hard to control.
- The Red Mage: Can use all kinds of magic, but isn't the best at any of them.
- Required Secondary Powers: For all those extra powers you have (or don't have) to deal with your "main" power.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Sacrificial Revival Spell: This spell kills you, but it brings someone back to life.
- Sensory Overload: The drawback to certain Super Senses.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Inability to regain one's normal form.
- Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Trading armor for speed.
- Shoot the Mage First: High offense and low defense means you're going get targeted more than anyone.
- Shoot the Medic First: The ability to heal his allies means the Genre Savvy will take you out first.
- Situational Damage Attack: This attack's damage will vary depending on how you set it up.
- Situational Sword: You can use it, just not all of the time.
- Soul Powered Engine
- Squishy Wizard: Uses magic or items offensively (the nuker) while being physically weak
- Stone Wall: Can take it, but can't dish it out.
- Straight for the Commander: The commander is the biggest target, hoping his army falls into chaos when he falls.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Your power comes with an alternate, nasty, side.
- Super Powers for a Day: Powers for the price of time. Powers can never be gained again.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know
- Time Dissonance: You aren't in sync with the rest of causality.
- Too Fast to Stop: For when you have that Super Speed thing, but not that Super Stopping thing...
- Unhappy Medium: You're powerful, but really unhappy.
- Unholy Holy Sword: It's The Mole of artefacts.
- Virgin Power: You must remain a virgin to use your powers
- Weaksauce Weakness: Competitive Balance taken to extremes to offset for winning the Superpower Lottery.
- Weapon Wields You: To gain the weapon's (usually superior) fighting skills you have to give up control of your body.
- White Magic: Not as powerful as Black Magic, but less noxious.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Power causes madness.