Activation of most superpowers and magic spells requires you to use parts of your material body in some way: physical contact
, specific hand gestures
, targeting with
and/or firing from your hands
, uttering incantations
and/or activation phrases
with your lips, establishing eye contact
, firing from your eyes
, etc., etc..
This trope is about characters who have honed their powers to such degree that they don't require any of the above and can activate and control them solely by thought or will. Such characters are almost inevitably feared, because they can attack anyone without any warning at all, without even looking at them
. Moreover, they cannot be prevented from using their powers with Bound and Gagged
treatment, so any captor will have to either keep them unconscious at all times or use some kind of Power Nullifier
, if one exists.
The rule of thumb to determine if a character's power falls under this trope is to check whether he or she can still use it when tied up, gagged, and blindfolded.
Many instances of Telekinesis
fall under this, but not all telekinetic powers are thought-activated and not all thought-activated powers revolve around moving physical objects. This trope is less about what
the power does and more about how
it is triggered/controlled.
Also, such a character will inevitably be a master of Ominous Walk
. Required Secondary Powers
usually include some kind of Super Senses
to complement the ability to act in all directions with sensing in all directions at once.
Not included in the definition are psychics who use their minds to affect other minds
, since their powers are usually this by default and don't cross into the material world directly.
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Anime and Manga
- Diclonii in Elfen Lied possess several pairs of invisible hands called "vectors" that can pass through material objects but cut human flesh with ease. Their captors keep them inside steel spheres just thick enough for their vectors not to reach the outside.
- Galatea from Claymore can manipulate flows of yoki (demonic energy) around her just by thinking about it. Most of her encounters with powered enemies therefore boil down to calmly walking past them while redirecting each their hit to miss her with her mind.
- This is how Rolo's geass works in Code Geass. The rest of them usually require eye contact.
- In Bleach, the powerful arrancar Coyote Starrk usually fires cero beams from his "guns", but can fire them from his hollow hole without posing. This comes as a surprise to the opposition.
- Belgarath and assorted fellow sorcerers in the Belgariad/Mallorean books use the Will and the Word. Belgarath says he's fairly sure you don't really need the Word, if your Will is strong enough and given that Poledra doesn't seem to need the Word at all, he's probably right.
- Charlie's pyrokinetic powers in Firestarter. To a lesser degree, her parents' respective powers.
- Certain forms of Magyk in Septimus Heap, unlike other forms, can be used without the help of words or Charms.
Live Action TV
- In Heroes, Hiro's teleportation and time dilation powers.
- Most activatable powers in Champions and GURPS Supers are this by definition unless the character's creator gives them a disadvantage that requires some special activation technique.
- In early editions of Dungeons & Dragons, innate creature spell powers and psionics were usually activated "at will" unless specifically described otherwise.
- Shadowrun. Mages can cast spells just by concentrating on doing so. It's possible for a mage to voluntarily use gestures or speech as a centering technique or be forced to do so because of a geas.