main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Required Secondary Powers

"Invulnerability: Not much of a downside to this, as long as you're also invulnerable to things you might want to get a shot for. And your hair and fingernails aren't invulnerable. And you're not planning on getting into the piercing and tattooing scene. And your skin doesn't have the texture of cold bicycle tires as a result."
Lore Sj÷berg, The Book of Ratings, "Superman's Powers"

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.

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.


Re PowerSuperhero TropesRich Idiot with No Day Job
The Red MagePower at a PriceSacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training
Randomly GiftedMagic and PowersRestraining Bolt
MasqueradeImageSource/Web ComicsleveL
Mundane UtilityCharacters/We Are Our AvatarsBlack Comedy

alternative title(s): Required Secondary Power
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy