Required Secondary Powers

"That's the problem with any individual superpower: without the whole suite it just sucks. The Flash would liquefy from sheer Gs, and without super agility and strength Spider-Man's just a guy with sticky ropes."
Soren, The Best Super Power (Is Not What You Think) | After Hours note 

Okay, so you've got one of those people who's got a "Special Power". But even if you supposedly only have the one ability, if you're going to actually use it for anything, Fridge Logic demands that you have myriad other passive powers in order to make it work the way it usually does. This is sometimes directly referred to and explained, and sometimes not.

Related to Fan Wank, this encompasses all of the powers that aren't explicitly stated that would make a power function like it does in the work in question. Often, these powers would be useless outside of allowing the main power to work, but some could have use beyond that.

This only covers if the power in question is not explicitly defined. While Cyclops from the X-Men doesn't hurt his own eyelids with his Eye Beams every time he shuts his eyes, this is defined as an explicit ability of his (and his brother).

All these tropes are especially good targets for subversion or aversion, because the absence or malfunction of a superhero's Required Secondary Powers creates a dramatically useful limit on their primary powers. A slight lack of these may oftentimes cause a Logical Weakness. Compare Lethal Harmless Powers. Also, many accusations of Misapplied Phlebotinum rely on the assumption that the characters or factions in question have the RSPs needed to pull out all the theoretical potential. One way for people to learn ways to cope with, or even surpass the limits of their powers as outlined by this trope is to take Boxing Lessons for Superman, as the new skills and knowledge they can acquire from such training will let them better understand the scope of their powers and find ways to better control it, or work around said limits of their power.

Savvy use of explicitly stated required secondary powers may result in Exploited Immunity.

Warning: Exploration of this Trope may result in brain breakage. But you probably have something to counter that, right?

To see the types of powers commonly covered by this trope, you can go to the Analysis page.


Alternative Title(s): Required Secondary Power