A character, initially having no unusual powers, gains them
through interactions with powerful aliens
or supernatural beings
. Alternately, they might have very weak or useless powers
amplified to godlike levels
The powers may come in a wide range of just how much they can actually do:
Being Touched By Vorlons often, but not always, results in a character struggling to control
their New Super Power
. And it may backfire morally because often With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
, or literally in a Super Power Meltdown
Less frequently, this trope may be reversed and a supernatural being (possibly The Great Gazoo
, if it's being played for comedy more than drama) loses his powers
— again resulting in An Aesop
Closely related to Super Empowering
For the other kind of "touched" see Mars Needs Women
. Although in a few rare examples they overlap.
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Anime and Manga
- A human can gain shinigami powers if a shinigami plunges their sword into the human's heart. It doesn't have a very high success rate but can work sometimes. There are external factors involved in why Rukia and Ichigo's experience becomes a definite success instead of just a possible success.
- Captains and vice-captains have to wear power-limiters on their reiatsu when in the human world least their power start affecting human souls. This is lampshaded by observations on how Ichigo's extremely powerful, uncontrolled reiatsu (when in shinigami form only) has affected humans around him (with help from the Hougyoku changing the odds to make something that can sometimes happen into something that definitely happens) to enable Orihime and Sado to unlock to latent powers they possessed from birth but couldn't access without help and to give several classmates the ability to see ghosts and shinigami when they previously couldn't.
- Aizen uses the Hougyoku to create artificially-boosted arrancar at levels mock-arrancar in the past haven't naturally been able to reach. He also uses it to, in his personal belief, break the boundary between the shinigami and divine (although Urahara and Ichigo between them suggest he might have misinterpreted what happened to him). The small print behind the Hougyoku does actually say that it's only capable of manifesting desires that already have the potential to be achieved without the Hougyoku's involvement.
- The leader of the Vandenreich can transfer bits of his own soul to other people to grant them special powers. Each of his highest ranking subordinates possesses a unique power represented by a letter of the alphabet. The dark twist is that he sustains and empowers himself by reclaiming those bits along with the rest of their hosts' strength, which is inevitably fatal even if they aren't on the brink of death.
- In Hunter × Hunter, Nen ability can be gained by a process called Nen Baptism, which is basically direct exposure to Nen by a Nen user. The other method is through meditation and prayer, and can take years.
- In Mahou Sensou, exposure to magic is enough to turn a Muggle into a magician. After a magic battle occurs at their school, protagonists Takeshi, Kurumi and Ida all gain powers, and Takeshi's brother Gekkou gains them off-screen later on.
- Naruto's father seals part of a legendary and evil monster's soul into Naruto. A seal that leaks some of the monster's energy for him to use. Lots of demon chakra proves to be really good (spell spam, Healing Factor, stamina, Super Mode) and really bad (failing vital techniques due to chakra overload, wanting to tear everything apart with your energy claws in Super Mode, all that bad stigma for housing what killed loved ones, potentially being a ticking time bomb, and the stigma of being a ticking time bomb whether you are or not). Using said chakra to help in the butt-kicking of genocidal maniacs — who have actually done something bad and plan to do more — however, can do wonders for one's reputation. About damn time.
- In Code Geass, Immortals can give people Geass, which manifests differently with each person. CC gives main character Lelouch the ability to make people obey him absolutely.
- In Shakugan no Shana, Shana becomes increasingly powerful when Yuji is near her, leading to her ability to fly using flame wings.
- This trope much better fits the way Flame Haze gain their powers, which is essentially through a contract with a god. In particular, Shana goes from a Badass Normal to a flame-wielding superhero. Yuji is a completely normal person Or maybe not]] Shana is able to manifest her wings for the first time because She Is Not Alone rather than any special power of Yuji's.
- Kurau from Kurau Phantom Memory gains immense powers, such as flying, phasing through walls and disintegrating matter, after merging with an energy being called "Rynax". She also inherits the being's immense feeling of loneliness though, which is rather ironic since the Rynax came to her because she felt alone as a child.
- In Dr. Slump, Senbei and Midori's toddler son, Turbo gets Psychic Powers when he's accidentally killed, then resurrected, by aliens who don't quite grok human biology.
- In Transformers Energon, the human boy Kicker (Yes, Kicker. Is it any wonder he hates his father?) had a run-in with Primus earlier in his life that gave him the ability to sense Energon, which basically turns him into a walking MacGuffin. This makes him all angsty and stuff.
- Espers Suzumiya Haruhi, have been touched by Haruhi in that she created the world 3 years ago and therefore gave them their powers/identities. Aliens and time-travelers may be debatable but Koizumi outrightly states that he knows his powers came from Haruhi. If you don't trust him, (and you probably shouldn't), in Dissociation, Kyoko Tachibana, the esper girl, is sure her powers came from Sasaki. Different vorlons, same situation.
- This is essentially how Sho Fukamachi became the Guyver, though he never asked for the alien technology.
- In Tenjho Tenge, certain characters possess powers known as "Red Feather Powers." In addition to giving certain characters supernatural abilities that put them on a level far above that of normal humans, these powers have an additional effect known as Resonance, which means that people with powers, latent or otherwise, are stimulated by proximity to other people with powers. This results in either causing people with latent abilities to suddenly awaken their powers or enhancing the powers of people who are already awakened. Furthermore, the more people involved in the resonance effect, the greater its range and potency. This aspect leads the Big Bad of the series to try and use the resonance effect to awaken the supernatural abilities of every person in the entire world.
- In Tokyo Underground, the main character Rumina gains the ability to manipulate air, after dying, and being brought back to life from a kiss by Ruri, the "Maiden of Life".
- In Baccano!, a number of eighteenth century alchemists summon a demon to grant them Immortality. The demon complies, tossing in the extra of being able to kill other immortals and steal their memories, mostly for the the inevitable lulzy results of giving twenty quarreling people stuck on a boat a reason and the means to kill each other. He is not disappointed.
- Near the end of Hellsing, it turns out that the Doctor created Millenium's "vampires" by infusing people with tiny bits of the corpse of Mina Harker, one of Alucard's aka Dracula's past victims, who survived and died as a human but still carried some of his power inside herself. So all of Millenium's vampires were Touched By Alucard. Small wonder that none of them really stood a chance against him.
- In Digimon Adventure and its sequel, nearly all the original Digidestined were children who had been present personally for a massive battle between two Digimon, and the majority of the others seem to have witnessed the battle that took place on the internet. This seems to suggest that the only way to get a VIP pass into the Digital World is by being touched by Digimon.
- This was played for horror in Berserk, when Femto viciously raped Casca, who was pregnant with she and her lover Guts's child at the time. The baby was at first developing as a normal human in the womb, but when the fetus came in contact with Femto's demonic essence, it became deformed and took on a nature of evil, and was eventually miscarried due to the trauma Casca endured. However, due to it being a supernatural being born between worlds, the Child survived and continued to linger around its parents, actually helping and protecting them.
- In retrospect, all Apostle Spawns are created this way, since an Apostle can taint a normal human's life with their demonic powers.
- Rosario + Vampire When Tsukune needs to fight, a quick dose of vampire blood (courtesy of Moka) gives him some much needed ass-kicking powers. Unfortunately, this has some unfortunate side effects...
- When Season II comes, Tsukune's more or less got the vampire blood under control... right up until Tohofuhai gives him a second dose of Vorlon contact in the form of the Body Modification Techinique. That was bad enough in itself, but when those two get mixed, we've got a Tsukune that reeks of Alucard.
- In Trinity Blood, the Inquisition uses a special chemical to give them a brief moment of Vampire level speed and strength. The anime never states it, but the original books mention that the chemical is injected inside their suits, so the anime most likely never got around to showing this since it wasn't greatly important.
- In the Marvel Universe, kid superhero team Power Pack gained their superpowers from an encounter with a dying alien.
- Another Marvel example, the second-string superhero Comet Man was disintegrated accidentally by aliens, then resurrected using a machine that reassembled his body according to an alien template, giving him many of their Psychic Powers.
- In ElfQuest, elves gain new powers or have their existing powers enhanced by proximity to the Palace of the High Ones.
- In The Ultraverse, one of the only ways to gain superpowers was the Jump Start, a piece of alien technology on the moon that would randomly send out rays that gave humans superpowers.
- Hitman was given very useful powers (telepathy and x-ray vision) from an alien, when it sucked out his spinal fluid, and he survived.
- Jack Hawksmoor of The Authority. Since he was a child, he was kidnapped by aliens (actually, future humans) who turned him into a creature that could only survive in cities.
- The second-tier Marvel Comics hero Sleepwalker centered around a human college student named Rick Sheridan, who ended up with an alien from another dimension trapped in his mind. A partial subversion in the sense that it was the Vorlon that gained unusual abilities, namely the ability to manifest in the human world when Rick was asleep.
- Parodied by The Captain in Nextwave - he receives his "generic superpowers" from a pair of aliens who find him as he drunkenly staggers home. Their message to him, "do great things." His first act with his new powers is to punch the aliens out. And then vomit on them.
- Hey, leprechauns are supposed to give you gold if you hit them!
- DC B-lister Animal Man gained his powers from an exploding alien spaceship. At a later point some of the aliens reappear to help Animal Man.
- Green Lantern was given his powers (in the form of a ring) by a dying alien.
- They also gave GL Kyle the Ion power and transformed several other GLs into cyborgs called Alpha-Lanterns. Ganthet founded a Blue Lantern Corps for which he's recruiting. Sinestro got his yellow ring from another sort of aliens.
- The Orange Lantern Corps is a subversion. When the leader (Larfleeze if you care) gets touchy your soul, or something like it, is taken and made into a creature with superpowers... under his mental dominion.
- In his ongoing series, Marvel Universe Gambit gained megatronic powers which allow him even to touch Rogue. He had them all the time. In his fight against New Son, he burns out and goes back to normal.
- One of the major plot points of CrossGen's many Sigilverse comics is the rise of the Sigil-Bearers, who gain their power from a red and yellow mark bestowed by Solusandra via this trope.
- Ultraman, an evil version of Superman was a normal human astronaut who, like Animal Man was put back together by aliens.
- Apocalypse was granted much of his power by Celestial technology.
- A number of the supers in Empowered gained their abilities through "contact" with aliens. Alien STDs interacting with humans = Hilarity Ensues.
- In The Intimates, it's hinted that Destra's powers of Nigh-Invulnerability and incendiary fingernail projectiles are a side-effect of her summer romance with an alien.
- Ultra the Multi-Alien from DC Comics was a human astronaut who crash-landed on a distant alien planet. He was attacked by four different alien species at once, all shooting him with rays to turn him into a member of their own species. As a result, he's a mixture of all four species. Yes, he is from the Silver Age, why do you ask?
- In the Doctor Who Magazine comic story, Hunters of the Burning Stone, we learn that this happened to the cave people the TARDIS crew met on their very first adventure.
- In the Marvel Universe, this is the origin of nearly every superpowered human. Humanity's potential to develop superpowers, Mutant and Mutate alike, was created during the Celestials' experiments on early humans.
- Several superpowered aliens have this origin too, such as the Heralds of Galactus.
- In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Irina receives the knowledge of, well, everything from the interdimensional being that she places the skull on. She gets exactly what she asked for. The knowledge causes intense pain and pulls her into the being's dimension. This was meant to be a reward. Lesson learned? Don't help the Vorlons.
- Or at least don't help them without specifying how much knowledge. Be careful what you want, and all that good stuff.
- In 2001: A Space Odyssey, astronaut David Bowman gets captured by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, who cause him to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. He returns to Earth many years later as the Star Child, an Energy Being with superpowers. 2001 presents this as the ultimate step in biological evolution, but the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, reveals that the aliens have plans to use Bowman as a proxy while they carry on their mysterious agenda.
- In the second installment of Fantastic Four, the encounter with namesake Silver Surfer leaves Human Torch with an unusual ability to transfer and even accumulate superpowers. It causes no end of trouble for the group before helping them to save the world.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Woman uses this to give the title character her size.
- Buckaroo Banzai is a relatively mild example. All the Black Lectroids do is give him the ability to see all Lectroids as they really are and the knowledge to create an antidote to their illusion disguise.
- Subverted in Phenomenon: the aliens turn out to be hallucinations caused by George's brain tumor.
- Animorphs is a classic example of this trope. The protagonists were given amazing shapeshifting super-phlebotium by an alien who crashed in their hometown and hoped they could prevent the alien invasion he died trying to stop.
- The Andalites themselves got a big speed boost to their evolutionary process when Toomin was Going Native with them in The Ellimist Chronicles.
- Night Watch
- Similar but not quite the same: Potential Others could discover their powers by interacting with Others who had already discovered their powers.
- The third book also shows that members of the Inquisition are able to appeal directly to either the Light or the Dark (depending on what kind of Other they are) for a temporary boost in power, if necessary to carry out their duties.
- Being in the proximity of Warhammer (40k) Daemons is almost never a good idea. Unless, of course, you're on their side, and even that isn't all fun.
- In Karen Miller's book Empress, main character Hekat dedicates herself to the (uncapitalized)god and uses her perceived holiness as unquestioned justification for such niceties as murder, rape, more murder, child abuse, mass murder, power-and-land-grabbing, baby murder, the exile of her child and any people who disagree with her, the Lolita-licious public banging of a fifty year old man when she's twelve or thirteen, and murderous racism.
- In the Xanth book The Source Of Magic, the demon Xanth (the titular source) thanks Bink for freeing him - even though Bink knew Xanth probably would fly the coop and take all Xanth's magic with him - by ensuring that every one of his direct descendants would have a Magician-class talent. (So, in a sense, Bink's kids were touched).
- In Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series: Most of Petaybee's population over a certain age had been modified by the planet, itself, to live comfortably on the planet's sub-Arctic climate — with the nasty drawback that, once so adapted, any prolonged absence from the planet's surface (as little as a couple of days) ends with complete organ shutdown and death. Sean Shongili was further altered to be able to transform into a seal-like creature (The reason why isn't really explored to any depth)
- In Stephen King's novella, Low Men In Yellow Coats (Adapted into a film named for the anthology in which the story appeared, Hearts in Atlantis), anyone Ted touches gains his psychic abilities, at least temporarily.
- When the character turns up later in the final The Dark Tower book, we find out not only can he temporarily give a normal person psychic powers, but is also able to exponentially boost the power of someone who was already psychic.
- In another of Stephen King's novels, The Tommyknockers, an alien ship releases in the atmosphere a gas which gradually turns every inhabitant of a small town into amoral geniuses, except for the hero.
- In the George R.R. Martin-edited Wild Cards books, the Aces and Jokers are given their superpowers and super-un-powers, respectively, from an alien virus that's sorta kinda accidentally spread across the planet.
- In The Silmarillion:
- Tuor lived among Elves for the greater part of his life and married one; depending on which draft of Tolkien's work you read, it is implied that he too eventually became immortal. Other passages, however, state that the Valar can't take away mortality by making a being immortal because, in Tolkien's mythology, death is the ultimate gift. Therefore it's perfectly plausible that Tuor eventually died, even if his life was extended far past that of a normal human's.
- It's possible, if incredibly rare in Tolkien's world for a human to give up their humanity and become an elf, the same way that few rare elves give up their immortality. The will of Eru is always involved in these events, and it's perceived as giving up something incredibly valuable in return for something else in both cases.
- Most forms of awesomeness in Tolkien's mythology are contagious. The elves who hang out with the Valar are awesomer than the elves who don't, and the men who hang out with elves are awesomer than the men who don't. Some of this is simply a matter of learning skills and knowledge from them, but the elf-friends also tend to be taller, stronger, wiser, and much longer-lived. (Sadly, this doesn't stop some of the more High Elves from being total jerkasses.)
- The main character in Sergey Lukyanenko's Labyrinth Of Reflections novel gains Neo-like abilities both inside and outside the virtual environment after interacting with an energy being either from space or another dimension (its true nature is never explained). He already possesses superhuman abilities while in VR, namely the ability to leave VR at will (normal humans can't do that) and to literally "see" holes and backdoors in code. The new abilities include making him immune to viral weapons used by the virtual cops, flying, and hacking into any system he wishes with a thought. His most amazing ability allows him to enter the virtual world without the aid of a computer or a phone line.
- Another Mind Screw is that the energy being may have been someone like Leonid (if he did have a grasp on reality in certain stranger parts and wasn't hallucinating), what Leonid was fated to turn into, or a computer glitch that created a virtual spectre of a dead and utterly insane VR addict. Well, that or a really experienced troll who managed to put more than a few people into a Mind Screw-corkscrew. And Leonid realizes that. Well, sort of...
- Dean Koontz's Strangers has this. The Aliens wanted everyone to have the powers but crashed and were only able to give them to the people who had seen the crash and come to investigate.
- In Blind Lake, Tess becomes an Oracular Urchin due to being a subject of interest to the Starfish Alien she calls Mirror Girl. At the same time, the scientists at Blind Lake are studying an alien called Subject, who is fundamentally changed by the experience and effectively becomes "Touched By Humans".
- Happens to the pets of wizards in the Young Wizards series, by having wizardly energy leaked onto them. The powers gained can range from super strength to precognition to being able to create new universes.
- James H Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon starts out with latent psychic powers being awakened by aliens who need her to learn to communicate in a hurry. However, the learning process continues for longer than intended, eventually turning her into one of the most powerful telepaths in the Federation of the Hub.
- In China Miéville's Iron Council, Judah Low learns how golem magic works by studying a race of creatures born with this ability, but is only able to use it himself after being touched by the Stiltspear chief.
- Peter F. Hamilton's scary Night's Dawn trilogy has this happen to Joshua Calvert when he encounters the Tyrathca Sleeping God (which is actually a sentient naked singularity). An interesting example, in that while the Sleeping God gives him essentially unlimited access to its capabilities, he isn't allowed to use them as an offensive weapon and the capability only lasts as long as he needs it to reverse the rampage of the Possessed across the galaxy.
- In Journey to the West, any animal within earshot of a practicing Taoist or Buddhist, whether the religious figure intends it or not, will gain some degree of the same powers as the travelers. This is what led to the incident with the Scorpion-Woman, as even Buddha and Guanyin didn't want a damn thing to do with her.
- In Blue Light by Walter Mosley, a blue light comes from space and magically enhances anyone it comes into contact with. It makes them the best at what they are doing at the time.
- In The Featherbedders by Frank Herbert it's a reason why telepathic Slorin only rely on polymorphing to infiltrate societies they are parasiting upon.
- And then the creatures parasiting on their civilization need to take care...
Next time you find a blob of something jes' lyin' in a field, you leave it alone, hear? [...] It was you made him so dang strong, pokin' him that way. Slorin aren't all that strong 'less'n you ignite'em, hear?
- In The Parasite War, Alex and Jo are infested by colloids, but they're driven out. Afterward, they retain telepathic connections with the colloids and with each other.
- Hugh the Hand was initially nothing more than a very skilled assassin, but after his death in the first book he was made immortal by a Sartan. There are also a number of other characters more subtly influenced as well as a Sartan weapon that made its wielder incredibly powerful, though at a cost.
- The Last Dragon Chronicles: When the Fain commingle with people, they tend to leave quite a bit of residue behind.
- This happens a few times in the Star Trek franchise.
- During Star Trek: The Next Generation Riker is given the powers of the Q in order for him to learn a lesson.
- During Star Trek: Voyager Kes, comes into contact with a powerful telepathic race, which causes her telepathic abilities to grow beyond her ability to control them. This forces her to leave the USS Voyager, just in time for her to make room for Seven of Nine.
- This is how Wesley Crusher is given his final send off from TNG.
- This happens in the second pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series where Kirk's pal and helmsman Gary Mitchell gains incredible telekinetic amongst other powers from the "Galactic Barrier", consequently goes insane, tries to kill Kirk, and Kirk has to kill him. Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, another Enterprise officer, goes through pretty much the same process, although slower enough than Mitchell that she ends up reacting to his greater insanity by turning against him and sacrificing herself to weaken him (giving Kirk the chance to kill him).
- This is just a repeat of what happened before, when a pre-Federation ship ended up in the Barrier, causing one of the crewmembers to gain godlike abilities and forcing the captain to self-destruct the ship.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Charlie X," the eponymous human character is given his powers by the superpowerful Thasians.
- Star Trek loves this trope. Lieutenant Barclay (temporarily) gets an IQ in the thousands after an encounter with a Cytherian probe in "The Nth Degree".
- Babylon 5 is the Trope Namer:
- All telepaths were ultimately created by Vorlon meddling in order to use them in the next scheduled war with the Shadows, but Lyta Alexander, who disappeared after the events of the Pilot Movie only to reappear in season three, was vastly empowered by the Vorlons to serve their ambassador to the station. Before, she was a P5 rating (on a scale of 0, non-telepath, to 12, the Psi Cops), but afterward she's just plain off the scale. She says later that she thinks she was made to be the Vorlons' ace in the hole. To say it in her own words: "In a war, you have a certain number of small weapons, a certain number of medium sized weapons, and one or two big ones. The kind of weapons you drop when you're out of the small weapons, and the medium weapons, and you've got nothing left to use."
- Captain Sheridan was literally touched by a Vorlon; it left a piece of itself inside his head. That piece gave him telepathic resistance and guided him to encounter Lorien, who's even more powerful, and kept John from dying.
- On the opposite side were Bester's "weapons components," rogue telepaths that Earth sold to the Shadows in exchange for powerful technology, whom the Shadows modified to be living computer cores.
- The Techno-mages were originally created by the Shadows.
- An earlier example is Talia Winters, Lyta's replacement who eventually got replaced by her again: her old mentor and lover Ironheart ascended to higher plane of existence after an experiment increased his powers way off the scale (complete with difficulty to control them). He then gave Talia a gift, this trope.
- Cordelia began Angel as a normal young woman, a carryover from her role in Buffy. In the first season she gained the ability to have visions when Doyle, a half-demon, kissed her. These visions were from the Powers That Be, mystical overseers in a way. In the third season the pain from the visions had become so intense that Cordy became half-demon to sustain them. Later in that season, Cordy became a higher being. Then comes back down to Earth with a murderous backstabbing villain in her head trying to create a true vessel for itself.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Caleb was able to 'merge' with The First Evil, which greatly enhanced his strength.
- Stargate SG-1 has used this trope frequently. For example, Daniel Jackson's season-long "ascension", Sam's temporary blending with a Tok'ra that left her with some nice gifts-with-purchase, Jacob's permanent blending with a Tok'ra, Jack's downloading an entire library of ancient knowledge, etc.
- Anubis; the guy tricks himself into ascension, the Ancients are ticked off at this and pretty much kick him out of ascendedness, but leave him as an unkillable energy being with all the knowledge he had gained. Granted, he had some limitations on what he could do, but he could pretty much run over anyone in his way.
- The Priors are all humans or Jaffa that are empowered by the Ori. note
- Stargate Atlantis: Rodney gains superpowers after touching a device created by the Ancients in "The Tao of Rodney."
- What about Weir? She was infused with replicator nanites and gained some of their abilities; namely, rapid regeneration (we're talking about brain damage here!), limited telepathy versus other replicators as well as the ability to mentally hack into their wireless network.
- Teyla has the ability to sense the approach of a Wraith attack, due to having some Wraith DNA, which with training she learns to use to tap into the Wraith hive mind. Her ancestors fit this trope even better, as their genes were modified by Wraith experiments, which resulted in them getting the abilities in the first place.
- The premise of The 4400 is that 4400 people have been abducted by people of the future, altered to have special abilities, and returned all at the same time and place. Each returnee demonstrates one unique ability (some have not yet been manifested or revealed).
- In series 1 of Doctor Who, Captain Jack Harkness is exterminated by Daleks but resurrected by the Time Vortex-empowered Rose. In the spinoff series Torchwood, it is revealed that he has been immortal since then. In series 3 of Who, it is confirmed that this immortality was a side-effect.
- Likewise, Donna in the season four finale "Touched a Time Lord" (well, his hand at least) and got super vast intellect which got taken away thanks to Victory Guided Amnesia lest her brain go all asplody afterwards.
- In new Series 6, we get River Song. Her parents (Amy and Rory) are human, but she ends up being part Time Lord because she was conceived on the TARDIS.
- In Series 7, Clara, a girl who at the beginning of her introductory episode can't even find the wifi button, becomes an expert hacker after the Great Intelligence attempts - and fails - to download her conciousness.
- The Big Good Jacob and the Big Bad The Smoke Monster of LOST have supernatural powers and immortality thanks to the Source of Life located in the heart of the Island.
- Luther Dingle, titular character of The Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Dingle the Strong". Martians want to test a gadget that gives humans super strength, so they use it on the wimpy Dingle, who quickly lets his new power go to his head. The Martians take away his power after he starts to abuse it and begin to leave, only to meet some Venusians looking for a human test subject for their intelligence enhancer. The Martians helpfully point them to Mr. Dingle…
- In Threshold, people exposed to the Alien signal gain superhuman strength, resilience, and the desire to infect others. Or they die.
- In a way, the demons of Supernatural. They were once human souls that were twisted in hell (The first one turned by Lucifer himself) and became what could be described as Uber-Ghosts.
- Roswell had this. Liz began to manifest alien powers toward the end, as result of Max healing her. The follow up novel "season" had Kyle start to exhibit powers as well.
- Older Than Feudalism: Happens pretty often in The Bible:
- The language typically involves "the Spirit of God" / "the Holy Spirit" in some way: Being "filled with" the Spirit, having the Spirit "with" you, the Spirit "rushing upon" you, etc. The result may be miracles, or physical strength, or skill in battle, or even skill in craftmanship.
- The most notable Old Testament example would be Moses, who after talking to God through a burning bush, gained the power to turn his staff into a cobra, turn the Nile to blood, summon swarms of locusts, and blot out the sun.
- In this case, Moses only looks as if Touched By Vorlons to the Egyptians (and the Pharaoh in particular). In the text, it is clearly God who is performing the miracles, with Moses serving only as a herald and giving the "signal" for God to do his thing. Jewish tradition has never recognized that Moses had any powers of his own whatsoever, being hailed only as a wise man who was skilled and fortunate enough to be recruited by God. In fact, the passover Hagaddah mentions Moses exactly once, in passing, for this exact reason.
- Bezazel and others involved with constructing the tabernacle in the book of Exodus.
- Anyone from the book of Judges could be seen as touched.
- Samson is a wonderful example.
- Elisha has to qualify. After God took his mentor, Elijah, to Heaven (which He later revealed was a way to keep Elijah alive until the End Times, so he could prophesy again), God gave the power He had previously vested in Elijah to Elisha. Elisha proceeded to work many miracles in the Name of the Lord, and the power God bestowed on him was so great that his decaying bones revived a dead man.
- Like Elisha, the Apostles were given the ability to perform miracles in the Name of Jesus.
- Actually, Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth that every Christian has a "spiritual gift" which is a "manifestation of the Spirit for the common good". He ends up listing miracles & healing & prophecy alongside such mundane examples of service as "administration" and "teaching" and "encouraging".
- The famous "love chapter", 1 Corinthians 13, comes in the middle of this discussion of using your gifts for mutual benefit, in love. ("since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.")
- In Buddhism, one is supposedly able to perform amazing feats upon reaching nirvana.
- Rael, the founder of the Raelians, claims to be this. Funnily enough, his birth name is Claude Vorilhon.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The fourth edition has the Warlock class which, are usually described as having made a deal with a fiend or a lovecraftian entity from the stars, but sometimes are described as this trope, especially if their powers were granted by The Fair Folk.
- Eberron provides an entire race Touched By Vorlons. The Kalashtar started out as human mystics untill they merged with extraplanar beings known as Quori.
- Forgotten Realms after Time of Troubles has "Touched mages" — wizards who agreed to perform for the goddes of magic (but don't need to be Mystra's faithful) a "little" service — help to erase a dead-magic zone, drop a "funny" surprise on local Cult of the Dragon cell and so on. They receive a temporary granted power (which may change mid-quest). When the mission is complete and this power vanishes, the wizard is left with a little, but useful spell-like ability (like Feather Fall or Light at will) and is a bit less vulnerable to one school of spells. Naturally, this also stimulates the faith more often than not.
- Overexposure to raw magic/eldritch energy can also result in a disease known as Warp Touch, which may result in the development of all sorts of Red Right Hand attributes...unless the 1d100 roll is a critical failure, in which case the victim simply melts into a puddle of goo.
- Never, ever a good thing in Warhammer 40,000. Partly because you're liable to get nailed to a stick and purged with flame if you get touched by any alien... or listen to them... or look at them (unless through a gun sight)... or live in the same general area as someone who looked at them... and Emperor help you if someone on your planet was engaged in a Chaos Cult.
- Played more straight with Astropaths, a class of Psyker and the main means of interstellar communication in the setting. In order to survive sending messages through the Warp they undergo the Soul Binding, exposing them for a brief second to the mind of the God-Emperor. As a result, their eyes burn out, leaving them blind.
- Aside from the Chaos Gods, there's also the C'tan, Psykers, and the Eldar Gods. In general, getting Touched By Vorlons in this setting is never a good thing.
- Psykers in general are described as being "those touched by the warp." Since the Warp is home to a variety of Chaos Gods and daemons who think humans are wonderfully delicious, this isn't a good thing.
- Which is when the Commissar ability "It's For Your Own Good!" comes into play...
- The World of Darkness
- Rifts has the Cosmo Knight, people with phenomenal cosmic power granted by a mysterious artifact/being called the Cosmic Forge.
- The vast majority of Powers in Nobilis are given their Estate by the conceptual beings known as Imperators, although a few gain theirs by eating the heart of a preexisting Power. Nobles can also perform this trope on mortals with Persona and Treasure miracles.
- In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard gained the collective knowledge and experience of the Prothean race as a result of their exposure to the Prothean Beacons and receiving the Cipher. Because of this, they not only gained a subconscious understanding of the Prothean language, but are recognized by their technology as though they were Prothean.
- Geo Stelar of Mega Man Star Force becomes able to transform into the titular character through literal contact with the extraterrestrial electromagnetic bioform Omega-Xis. He's not the only one, though...
- Although the bulk of her power comes from her power suit, Metroid's protagonist Samus Aran is known to have near-superhuman abilities due to being raised by (and infused with the blood of) the Chozo.
- Biggest one, in canon, is that she can fit into that morph ball. Experiments to replicate it didn't go so well.
- The Morph Ball doesn't actually "fit" Samus in the ball. As demonstrated in the various Prime games, she actually is turned into energy when the morph ball is activated. The Space Pirates that attempted to replicate the technology didn't catch the "to energy" part, and so attempted to get their test subjects to crunch into little balls. Which, as mentioned above, didn't work. Samus's supposed other superhuman abilities have not been seen in canon.
- Some level of strength has been demonstrated, however. In Metroid Prime 3, she can rip metal plates and creatures apart, and, in one instance pried open Ridley's jaws.
- In Zero Mission, Samus ends up losing her Power Suit and running around with nothing but the Zero Suit, which apparently stores all her upgrades and still has an energy shield. She can still jump as high as she can with the power suit, and usually survives a number of hits (depending on energy tanks; one hit takes a whole tank) from an enemy (Space Pirates sometime obliterate themselves with same weapons). Snake's codec in Super Smash Bros probably doesn't count though.
- In Fusion, Samus is injected with DNA extracted from the last Metroid, wich gives her extra abilities. Among them are an immunity to the deadly X Parasites and a more organic Power Suit, but it also comes with a vulnerability to cold (she gets better).
- In RuneScape, it is possible for mortals to ascend into godhood by lingering around artefacts created by the Elder Gods or by killing an existing god.
- In the Nintendo 64 game Sin and Punishment, several humans are endowed with various types of psychic and telepathic powers, among other things, by receiving a blood transfusion from the mysterious girl, Achi.
- The Protoss and the Zerg of StarCraft are this. Before the game began, there were these beings called Xel'naga who uplifted them both by giving one with "Purity of Form", and the other with "Purity of Essence". The Xel'naga wished to have these two races merge in the future so that they will make the new iteration of their race.
- The player character in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne wasn't touched by Vorlons per se, but did have his powers implantedby no less a figure than Lucifer himself. In fact, the entire game could be seen as a test case to see just how usable the method was. Just so long the empowering worked it wouldn't matter what the newly-created Demi-Fiend did, even if that involved defying his Vorlon (so to speak). The method would be proved as workable, and it would likely be not that much trouble to duplicate the process with a more ready accomplice.
- Persona 4 plays the trope similarly, with the goddess Izanami granting the power to enter the TV universe and summon Personas to the main character and two others, more or less just to see what they would do with it. More relevant to this trope, the power is granted via contact— in this case, Izanami's disguised form as the gas station attendant giving you a friendly handshake.
- Persona 2 has Philemon granting humans the ability of Persona, though his rival Nyarlathotep played with this in the first Persona by empowering Kandori Takahisa during the SEBEC fiasco, in an effort to hasten the death of reality. Both continue playing with the same tricks through Persona and both halves of Persona 2.
- Jak from Jak and Daxter is blessed with Light Eco abilities by the Precursors, god-like figures of his world. While his Dark Eco powers were a result of being experimented on by Baron Praxis, the Precursors help him to gain control of them.
- Ragna the Bloodedge gained his powers by fusing with the remains of the Black Beast.
- Final Fantasy XIII has this trope at the core. All six main characters are l'Cie, humans who have been given a task by inscrutable alien beings called fal'Cie and superpowers to help them fulfill it. The downside of this is if they don't complete the task within a time limit, they turn into mindless monsters called Cie'th. The upside? If they succeed, they turn into crystals for eternity. Also the fal'Cie apparently don't feel the need to actually explain the task, they just give a vague vision and the l'Cie have to figure it out themselves. The fai'Cie are basically complete assholes.
- Asura's Wrath: The entire Shinkoku Tratrium race is revealed to be this. Done by Chakravrtin, the games Bigger Bad.
- Godlikes, one of the player races in Obsidian's upcoming Pillars of Eternity, were blessed in the womb by one or more deities. They exhibit quite a variety of added powers, though the wiki doesn't go into much detail.
- No one knows where the Bees come from in The Secret World, but they're responsible for granting the power of Anima to select mortals.
- In the world of Dishonored, certain individuals are given magical powers by the mysterious Outsider, the closest thing the setting has to a God, if the Outsider thinks they will be "interesting". These people, like main character Corvo, are apparently allowed to do whatever they want with their powers, though the Outsider will pop in from time to time to comment on what they are doing.
- In El Goonish Shive, Immortals can imbue a person with subtle magical abilities and start them down the road to more magic if they have a strong yearning for something or if they have an affinity for something specific. They can also unlock a person's natural latent magical abilities to be able to start getting access to and using explicit spells.
- In Black Adventures, Missingno. bitch-slaps Mary, injuring her eye. Her next appearance reveals that she has obtained some of Missing No.'s powers, which she uses to help her and Joseph get the upper hand against Black.
- In Sluggy Freelance, the filler story "Stick Figure Tales of Cotton", Torg and Riff both gained superpowers from a group of aliens (that were actually the author's hand) after going through some parodic superhero origin stories that didn't actually give them any powers.
- Gunnerkrigg Court had possessed Jack Hyland turning from already very tech savvy into a spirit-seeing and eventually flying Mad Scientist. Later he says "all these great ideas" were a temporary effect, but after complete recovery has both fledgling etheric powers and possibly improved tech-savvy side, if not on the same crazy level.
- Chakona Space gives us several examples:
- Boyce Kline is interfertile with any mammalian morph, taur or alien species, thanks to a meddlesome Rakshani fertility Deity, or possibly more then one.
- Shamara, a Herm Rakshani, winds up fertile with any biped feline species thanks to a different Deity. Possibly the same one responsible for hir being born a herm in the first place (hir parents lost a boy and a girl child in an accident, apparently some Deity thought it would be amusing to replace them both in one), possibly another one.
- The character Shadowcrest from the "Tales of the Folly" stories ends up with hir natural empathic abilities going Up to Eleven thanks to some more meddlesome alien Deities.
- The transporters aboard the Folly are able to perform a "Fountain of Youth" makeover thanks to yet a different Deity (or three).
- Hilariously Parodied in an episode of Invader Zim, with Dib being contacted by Shoe Aliens to help in his fight against Zim. He gains incredible mental and physical powers, which he then uses to prepare the Earth for Irken Invasion and defeat the Irken Armada. Turns out it was just Zim, having kidnapped him and hooked him up to an interrogation device, in order to determine if Dib threw a muffin at him earlier in the day. Zim then proceeds to gain his revenge by throwing a muffin at Dib.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)'s Demon Shredder started as a normal human, and obtained his god-like abilities after he allowed a dying Tengu to possess him.
- In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold version of Emperor Joker, the titular villain receives godlike powers after (accidentally) getting Touched By Vorlons in the form of Bat-Mite, an imp from the fifth dimension, just like Mr. Mxyzptlk. The imp attempted to transfer his powers to Batman in order to help him fight The Joker, unfortunately he does that by firing them in the form of an energy ball and he hits the wrong target.
- The Legend of Korra two-parter, "Beginnings" showed that this is how bending startednote : The Lion Turtle spirit temporarily gave humans the ability to bend an element, eventually letting them keep the power. The Avatar started by merging his energies with that of the spirit, Raava, allowing Wan (the first Avatar) to hold the power of more than one element. Eventually Raava merged permanently with Wan, in the process becoming what would be known as The Avatar Spirit.