The Magic Touch

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Sometimes, one touch can change everything.

Literally touching one or more mundane objects (weapons, sticks, rocks, etc.) to transform them into awesome objects by infusing them with magic. Occasionally, this power is contained in a glove. While this usually involves the touch of the hands, sometimes the touch with any part of the skin works similarly.

Depending on what specifically happens when you touch things, there may be potentials to this; "turning to gold" touch makes you rich, "turning to food" touch makes you never hungry, etc. However, if there are no way of limiting this (whether innate control of the power, or a Power Limiter), it could become messy quickly.

It potentially can be used to strengthen your weapons. You can, for example, make your pointy stick vibrate for extra killing potential or make your Blade on a Stick acidic. The important thing is that it is possible without a long amount of time or outside influence, such as The Blacksmith or, in extreme cases, tools.

The Trope Codifier is the tale of King Midas, who gets a wish of being able to turn everything he touches into gold. However, after he touches food and his own daughter and turned them into gold, he realizes that it's more of a Blessed with Suck.

See also: Elemental Punch, Item Amplifier, and Spell Blade. Touched by Vorlons is when your touch gives people superpowers. When your touch kills instead, it's the Touch of Death.

Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Skittles gives us the Skittles touch, a poor old man whose touch turns everything to Skittles. It's surprisingly dark for a candy commercial.
  • A McDonald's commercial has the Hamburglar imagine what life would be like if everything he touched would turn into McDonald's cheeseburgers. When Ronald won't let him touch Grimace, a frustrated Hamburglar accidentally touches himself, turning him into a cheeseburger.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Cinque's Inherent Skill "Rumble Detonator" turns any metallic substance she touches into high-grade explosive. Combined with her other special ability to summon any number of steel throwing knives, it turns her into one of the most dangerous girls around.
    • See Gambit, below.
  • Slayers has Astral Vine to enchant anything sharp including corporeal spell effects to damage targets immune to normal weapons.
  • Omamori Himari has the Light Ferry ability of the Amakawa family, which allows them to enhance objects and people.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this ability is possessed by Homura (along with a Shield of Holding), in contrast to most Puella Magi who summon magic weapons. Given the loose nature of magic in the setting, theoretically all Puella Magi could have this power.
  • Mina Hazuki from Darker Than Black can turn anything she's holding into something indistinguishable from a lightsaber.
  • Suzuka from Outlaw Star has a wooden katana that acts as a conduit for her Ki Attacks.
  • In Dragon Ball, minor villain Monster Carrot could turn any living being he touched into a carrot. He could change them back if forced to.
  • One Piece: Some Devil Fruit powers are activated with a touch.
    • Vander Decken's Mark Mark Fruit lets him mark someone/thing with his hand, and then anything he "throws" with said hand will home in towards that marked target. As he has only 2 hands, he can only mark 2 people at a time; his marking can also be washed away with water to his hand. In particular, he always keeps one hand for Princess Shirahoshi, who he has touched since a decade ago and he hasn't washed that hand ever since.
    • Sugar's Hobby Hobby Fruit lets him turn people or animals into toys with the touch of her hands. It has the side effect of making everyone forget about the victim. When Robin got her pinned with her hand-multiplication powers, Sugar simply touches one of Robin's "growth hands" with her own hand and Robin gets turned into a toy. She gets better though.
    • Gladius' Pop Pop Fruit makes everything he touches inflate and then pop, releasing deadly shrapnel all around.
    • Aside from turning himself invisible, Absalom can also make everything he touches invisible with his Devil Fruit power.

    Comic Books 
  • Gambit of the X-Men has the ability to turn anything he touches into an explosive. Although he prefers to charge and flick playing cards at his opponent. The Ultimate X-Men version claims that he joined Fenris because he was losing control of his powers (basically an even suckier version of Midas since all the food he touches turns into a bomb) and their experiments stabilized him.
    • Older Than They Think: Though it's oft-forgotten about now, Gambit's original connections to Mister Sinister were because he originally went to Sinister to get some of his brain excised to permanently dampen down his powers, so he couldn't lose control. He also had to deal with a short-lived villain called "New Sun", who turned out to be a version of himself from an Parallel Universe slash Bad Future who never got his powers dampened, grew to Physical God status, and lost control. He's called "New Sun" because he vaporised the entire planet Earth with his powers.
  • The Silver Samurai of Marvel Comics, after his reveal as a mutant with Absurdly Sharp Blade as his power.
  • Another Marvel Universe character, Harpoon, could charge a metal spear with his own bio energy and use it as a devastating weapon.
  • In the Don Rosa Scrooge McDuck story "Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies", it is learned that Magica DeSpell has been attempting to steal Scrooge's "Number One Dime" for this purpose; she possesses a magic formula that would grant her the ability to turn whatever she touches into gold, but the key component of the spell is the first coin ever earned by the richest person in the world.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Two characters in Justice Society of Japan have this. One of them is Electra Pendragon, who enchants pretty much anything she touches into a magic item, with the catch that it falls apart when she lets go. In contrast, Ino has little control over her Anti-Magic powers, disenchanting anything she touches aside from her Keyblade.
  • In one part of My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic II, Rarity essentially gets the Midas Touch.
  • Pony POV Series: Discord cursed Filthy Rich/Onyx Tiara so that any pony he touched transformed into a submissive duplicate of his wife (even a colt). He suffered Sanity Slippage and had an orgy with them, rejecting his real wife when she showed up. When Discord was defeated and all his enchantments ended, it was a very traumatizing experience.

    Film 
  • Ghost Rider: Johnny's motorcycle and a random shotgun.
  • Cinderella: The pumpkin king coach and partially the nifty dress.
  • In the stop-motion holiday special The Year Without a Santa Claus, Snow Miser demonstrates that he can turn objects into snow, and back to their original forms, by touching them. (Debatable whether this trope also applies to his brother Heat Miser, as melting things with a touch is changing what state of matter they're in, but not changing them into different matter.)

    Literature 
  • In The Chocolate Touch a boy has the same gift as Midas but with chocolate instead of gold.
  • Michael in the Knight and Rogue Series develops the ability to 'enhance' the properties of things, making water more effective while fighting fire, giving his horse Super Speed, and on one occasion making the air thicker to break his fall.
  • Berserker, the resident Hero Killer of Fate/Zero, has a combination of this power, Instant Expert, Implausible Fencing Powers and Super Strength, with the result that he can rip a telephone pole out of the ground and use it to completely overwhelm a legendary swordsman with an Infinity+1 Sword. Oh, and any magic weapon he holds responds to him as if he were its master. One of the biggest Oh, Crap! moments in the story comes when he manages to get his hands on a jet fighter.
  • Soulcasting in The Stormlight Archive. One touch can turn rocks into food, wood into steel, or a brigand into smoke.
  • The Practice Effect has a setting in which this is the normal effect of touching - more specifically, using - an object: natural law causes inorganic things to become more fit for a specific use with continuous use, and to rapidly fall apart from lack of use. The setting's "magic touch" is at base the power to prevent this: equally valuable, as a law of diminishing returns on "exercise" otherwise limit the complexity of tools and technology level which can exist.

    Live-action TV 
  • A Troubled woman in Haven turns any food she touches into cake. She's more than a little overweight.

    Mythology 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • One animated sketch featured King Minus, who would make things disappear whenever he touched them. The sketch ends with him accidentally making the princess he was trying to rescue vanish.
    • An episode features Cookie Monster being granted "The Cookie Touch", wherein whatever he touches turns into a cookie, so he never has to wait for them. He tries to share his newfound power with his friends by turning their favorite things into cookies, which doesn't bode well with them. He soon finds out he has another disadvantage when he wants to eat something other than cookies.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Gauntlets of Ghost-Fighting for when you want to kill incorporeal things but don't want to enchant all of your stuff. Even older are Gauntlets of Weaponry Arcane that make any weapon held count for purpose of immunities as silver and +1 to what it normally is.
    • Or for a less flavorful version you could learn the magic weapon/fang spell and hope the enchantment lasted long enough.
  • In Pathfinder:
    • The Arcane Strike feat allows any arcane caster to briefly imbue their weapons with magic, increasing damage.
    • A number Magic Knight classes like the magus and warpriest have the ability to grant enchantments to weapons or armor they're using. These can be simple numerical bonuses or other enhancement effects like flaming or spell resistance.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken has the rite of pants dedication. Interestingly enough, most Klaives don't count since they require the outside influence of a spirit and a great deal of time/effort.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, a lot of Clauses seem to work by empowering a prop, this is most clear in the case of the Entitlements: College of Worms, The Scarecrow Ministry, Bodhisattvas of the Broken Cage, and Squires of the Broken Bough.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, Mages can imbue objects with energy, thus for example allowing them to hit ghosts.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The first few stages of the obliterator virus work like this, up until you can't remove your weapons or armor anymore.
  • Played with a bit in GURPS — when it comes to magic, "standard" spells work best on things the caster can, indeed, touch, and the chance of success then drops off fairly quickly with distance (effective skill is -1 per yard between caster and target, in a 3d6-roll-under-skill system). This is exactly the main benefit of a magic staff in the game, too: properly enchanted, touching something with it counts as touching it personally and it extends the user's reach accordingly as well.
    • Played straight with Imbuements, which allow a character to infuse weapons (or limbs, armor, shields, etc.)that they use with magical enhancements.

    Video Games 
  • In Eternal Darkness, you learn the "Enchant Item" spell quite early on. While it can be used to power up weapons, it's also used to repair broken (by plot events only) items and at one point near the end make a C4 bomb powerful enough to destroy some catacombs full of Eldritch Abominations.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, poisons work this way. If you make a potion with only negative effects you can apply it to your weapon. While you're technically just using Poisoned Weapons, the poison is alchemical in nature, has most of the same effects as magic and allows the poisoned strikes to affect incorporeal creatures (magical weapon) regardless of type.
  • In the Makin' Magic expansion pack of The Sims 1, any Sim with magical powers can use the Enchant spell to temporarily bring a garden gnome or lawn flamingo to life or even just make the fridge open and close by itself as it pleases, or make the checkers on the checkerboard dance around.
  • In the Devil May Cry series, Dante can shoot enchanted bullets, shotgun blasts and grenades when using his Devil Trigger. It's impicitly his touch that makes this possible.
  • In The Secret World, every Player Character uses their weapons as a kind of magic wand, overlapping with this and Ki Attacks. Oh, and it's modern-day Urban Fantasy, and an Assault Rifle or pair of pistols conducts magic just as easily as a sword or traditional magic focus.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Worm: Dauntless has this as his superpower, being able to infuse a set of equipment with special powers each day, and therefore getting more and more powerful as time goes on.
    • Flechette has the ability to make anything she touches completely ignore most of the laws of physics for a short time, which allows any projectiles she uses to bypass any and all defenses until they are already inside their targets.
  • In the Super Mario Logan episode, "Bowser Junior's Curse!", Junior refuses to eat his corn dogs and tosses them out the window, and as a result, the Corn Dog God curses him with the corn dog curse, wherein everything he touches turns into a corn dog.

    Western Animation 

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