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Anime & Manga
- In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, traveling from each world causes the world's magical laws to change, to the point that certain worlds don't even have magic — and one world seems to somehow cancel out any magic users' abilities, a fact which the Valerians take advantage of when exiling their powerful twin princes.
- In Fairy Tail, when the main characters get transported to Edolas, they find out that their normal magic doesn't work, there are limited magic energy resources, and people have to use magic tools.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Makoto finds that science doesn't work quite the same on El Hazard as it did on Earth.
- In The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, after leaving Ente Isla and coming to Earth, the main characters only have a limited supply of magic power left to use and appear human. They discover genuine fear for one's life and the despair of it can refill a demon's magic while the holy magic can be recovered from various forms of love.
- When Lotte's mother in the fantasy comedy series Lotte no Omocha! decides to use a magical tree to travel from her own world to Earth (something that hasn't been done in generations), she is horrified to discover, after the initial few hours of having fun, that Earth has no native magic power in the air and she's thus incapable of activating the portal from the other side. Fortunately, she happens to be a succubus, and a very nice-looking boy's nearby...
- Fullmetal Alchemist: When Ed travels through the Gate to "our" world, he discovers that he can no longer use alchemy.
- In Future Card Buddy Fight, Tasuku travels to a bad future where the world is overrun with monsters. When he tries to use his Future Force to fight them off, he finds it doesn't work because Future Force is powered by his future self who doesn't exist in this timeline.
- The ESPERS in Haruhi Suzumiya can't used their powers outside of a closed space.
- In Dragon Ball Z, the fusion achieved by the Potara earrings is supposed to be permanent. But when Vegito is absorbed by Super Buu, immediately after lowering the shield he used to avoid being completely integrated into Buu (like Piccolo, Gohan and Gotenks were), there's something about Buu's innards that splits Vegito back into Goku and Vegeta.
- Dragon Ball Super retcons this understanding and reveals that the Potara Fusion is only permanent for Kais. For mortals it simply lasts an hour, and that hour just happened to be up right when he was absorbed.
- In Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade the witch students discover that outside their academy, there is very little magic in town.
- Superman and Supergirl lose access to their powers in red sunlight.
- In JLA/Avengers:
- In general Infinity Gauntlets only work in their native universe. They can't be imported from an alternate.
- In Marvel, magic users may occasionally relocate to another dimension with different magical rules that render master sorcerers having to relearn their skills.
- Green Lantern:
- When Green Lantern and Zatanna travel to the pocket dimension of Ys, they're initially handicapped by the fact that neither GL's power ring nor Zatanna's magic operates correctly under that dimension's rules. GL solves the problem by moving his ring from his right hand to his left; Zatanna, by speaking each word of her spells normally, but reversing the natural order of the sentences.
- In the Smax miniseries, Robyn is dismayed to discover that her high-tech toys don't work in Jeff's home dimension.
Films — Animation
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic spin-off movie Equestria Girls, Twilight discovers upon entering the Human World that magic doesn't work there, when she walks headfirst into a door she could have otherwise opened telekinetically. The thing is, Equestrian magic doesn't seem to work on Earth without magical items, The Power of Friendship or The Power of Rock (as seen in the sequel Rainbow Rocks).
- Dialogue establishes it as being the cause of Humanity Ensues on everyone that goes through the portal losing their unicorn horns and pegasus wings. Any magic that does exist in the human world is explicitly imported by magic objects from Equestria, wherein it begins to follow completely different rules, frustrating any curious former unicorns used to magic following the sufficiently analyzed rules from back home.
- In a Spin-Off novel of Labyrinths of Echo, Nests of Chimerae, Max is Trapped in Another World and apparently De Powered by its magic functioning differently from the magic in Echo. By the end of the book, however, he picks up a few nifty tricks and returns home.
- The Magician's Nephew:
- A British mob is narrowly saved from Jadis' wrath by the fact that her magic doesn't work in London. It's quite an annoyance to her to find that she's gone from being able to wipe out all life on her planet to being just a very tall human, although she has a significant degree of Super Strength. In Narnia, she has to spend a long time learning how to manipulate magic there before making her bid for power, and has to channel it through a wand.
- Likewise, Diggory brings a silver apple from Narnia to Earth. In Narnia, it can give immortality, on Earth it can merely heal.
- A Wizard of Earthsea:
- When Sparrowhawk (Ged) travels to the island of Osskil in the far north, his magic fails because he isn't familiar with the differences in magic there.
- The mage Vetch tells Sparrowhawk about the differences in magic between locations.
Sparrowhawk: They say, "Rules change in the Reaches."
Vetch: Aye, a true saying, I can tell you. There are good spells I learned on Roke that have no power here, or go all awry; and also there are spells worked here I never learned on Roke. Every land has its own powers, and the farther one goes from the Inner Lands, the less one can guess about those powers and their governance.
- Xanth: "Isle of View" introduces Jenny Elf from the World of Two Moons. When she arrives on Xanth, her telepathy no longer seems to work. But she develops another ability never shown in her home environment; singing daydreams and trapping the unaware within them.
- Ready Player One: Built into OASIS. Some worlds have magic, other worlds do not. If you try to fly to a world using magical means, and that world doesn't support it, you'll be stranded in space until you can hitch a ride on a someone else's technology-powered spacecraft. Of course, the same works in the other direction on some other worlds, with technology not working, but magic working. Or both working (chaos zones). Or neither (null zones).
- The Dresden Files: There is a variation of this idea for the spirit world Nevernever. It isn't magic which is affected but the laws of physics that are not necessarily consistent. Firing a gun could net one a plethora of results with it one time working fine, but in other shots the gun explode, not fire at all, or fire but the bullets move slowly. Gravity could be twice Earth's in one spot and zero gravity ten feet away. Further hampering the laws of physics are powerful Physical Gods in Nevernever which can manipulate and change things according to their will. Especially in their home turfs. Hades, Lord of the Underworld, once slowed time enough for he and Harry to have a several minute long chat before returning Harry to practically the moment he left.
- Hell's Gate: The universe of Sharona uses Psychic abilities, whilst their enemy Arcana makes use of Magic. Travellers (or in Arcana's case, invaders) from one universe to the other find their abilities slowly diminishing as they travel to universes closer to the opposing home one.
- Journey to Chaos:
- When Eric returns to his home world of Threa, he has to restrict his use of magecraft because his mana will not reload. He's almost out when he returns to Tariatla.
- Tariatlan mages are careful about using magic inside a Fog cloud because the Background Magic Field is highly charged and unstable. There's no telling what a spell would do in such a place, but the most likely outcome is an explosion that will kill and/or mutate the caster.
- In the Cosmere world of Sel, where Elantris and The Emperor's Soul are set, two Geometric Magic systems draw their power from the geography of their homelands, so Aons and Soulstamps lose power the farther away they are from Arelon and MaiPon respectively.
- In Angel, when the gang goes to Pylea, Angel is surprised to find out he can be under the sun without bursting into flames. Less good is that putting on his vampiric "game-face" is replaced by a uncontrollable berserker monster, thus his combat potential is actually a bit lower than on Earth (unless he risks hurting innocents).
- The Sliders went to more than one universe where magic was possible, most of which used different rules, so previous experiences didn't help much.
- On Charmed, going to Limbo greatly increases one's magical ability. Phoebe's ability to levitate a few feet off the ground on Earth practically became full-on flight while in this plane between life and death.
- This is one of the major premises of Once Upon a Time. The fairy tale characters have been brought to our world, the "land without magic", and turned into average people. After the curse is broken and magic is returned to Storybrook, Mr. Gold finds that while traveling beyond the town's limit, he cannot use magic.
- Doctor Who: In "The Three Doctors," the Doctor states that the Sonic Screwdriver doesn't work in Omega's world. "Not in this universe," he says.
- Supernatural: In the episode "The French Mistake", Sam and Dean are hurled into a dimension where their lives is actually a television show. A angel hitman working for the bad guy follows them there, but when he tries to melt their face off he discovers that his powers don't work because nothing supernatural exists there. The Winchesters beat him up until other crew members intervene, allowing the angel to escape.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Advanced D&D and 3.X edition: When creatures from the Prime Material Plane travel to other planes of existence they find that magic (spellcasting and items) don't work the same way they do on the Prime. Some spells/items have different effects, some don't work at all and some backfire. On rare occasions it's possible to use magic that can't be used on the Prime.
- BD&D Immortals set. Some planes (such as triplanes — no, not the airplane) lack the extra dimensions that are necessary for magic, thus preventing anyone — including visitors from other dimensions — from using magic while in them.
- Module I12 Egg of the Phoenix. In one of the mini-adventures the PCs go back in time several hundred million years to the time of the dinosaurs. Magic was much more potent then, so spells have double normal effect.
- Sometimes it doesn't even take leaving one's own home plane. Magic works differently in Mystara's Hollow World setting than it does on the outside of the very same planet, courtesy of the Immortals using the inside as a "nature preserve" of sorts for cultures that would have gone extinct in the outside world and using their own magic to prevent certain mortal tricks that could upset their pet project from working.
- In the Ravenloft setting, several spells flat out don't function (you are not allowed to use magic to Detect Evil or leave Ravenloft). However, Black Magic is greatly empowered, but quickly attracts the attention of the Dark Powers (which you do not want). Furthermore, several spells that are neutral or even benevolent in other worlds are considered black magic there, which can make for some nasty surprises for a spellcaster that just entered the plane. Particularly notable, spells that raise the dead not only have a chance of attracting attention from the Dark Powers, they also have a risk of failing to work correctly.
- The GURPS Alternate Earths setting. There are worlds with high mana, meaning anyone can do magic, and worlds with slightly bendy physical laws that allow superscience and/or superheroes to exist. People from these worlds are often in for a shock when they travel to a more "normal" world.
- A very interesting example in Mage: The Ascension. Magic used to be commonplace, until The Technocracy stamped it out and replaced it with technology. You are one of the few who knows the truth: that magic and technology works by the same metaphysical principles, and you know how to impose your will to alter reality. Problem is, so do the Muggles, unconsciously, and at best your magic will fail to work. At worst, reality will lash back in the form of Paradox. That said, 'local realities' work. A certain potion can work as Panacea in a supersitious rural area, and fail to work at all in more secular cities. That said, there are times when you're able to convince someone that a potion works and it does, assuming there are no doctors around to say otherwise.
- The opening for the Kanna class in MapleStory has her in Japan on our world at level 200 with all her abilities. At the end of the tutorial she's transported to Zipangu in Maple World and she has to relearn all her magic.
- In Ultima VIII, Avatar is trapped in the world of Pagan, where magic is ruled by the Elemental Titans, servants of the Guardian. He then has to learn their magic from scratch and Beat Them at Their Own Game.
- Subverted in Betrayal at Krondor: When Pug and Owyn end up in parallel dimension Timiranya, they first assume that this is the case. However, it turns out that magic works just fine, but in this dimension, mana is a physical object rather than an elusive natural force. As soon as they find some mana and figure out how to use it in solid form, they are good to go.
- The magic in the Ultima Underworld series is rune based, not reagent based like the main Ultima series.
- Ceannic magic from Leif & Thorn doesn't work within the borders of Sønheim, so a Ceannic spell backfires within the walls of the embassy.
- Among the major activities of StarDestroyer.net is what they call a versus debate: theorizing what would result if two sides from different continuities fought it out. One of the rules is that each side's Applied Phlebotinum and super powers work just as well in the other side's setting as it does in their own. So, for example, a Jedi can still access the Force in the Stargate-verse, and a psyker is not rendered powerless by landing in the Forgotten Realms (although he might prefer the alternative). This also extends to theorizing that (from one thread) the Yuuzhan Vong would be just as resistant to the Warp as they are to the Force.
- On his blog, George R.R. Martin contributed to an online debate on whether a squad of characters from his own works could defeat a squad of The Wheel of Time characters in Westeros. The end is decided by this trope, when Rand essentially runs out of magic. Tyrion explains that the pool of magic in Westeros is very scant compared to Randland, because, "We have our own Creator here... a crueler one than yours, I fear. In his domain the only pattern is the one men make themselves. There are no ta'veren. No man is ever safe."
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Orko's magic is considered a joke on Eternia because it always misfires and fails. Orko is from Trolla, a different dimension to Eternia and he complains that his magic doesn't work properly on Eternia. Eternians are surprised, but don't take seriously, the revelation that Orko is known as 'the Great' on Trolla because he's famous as a powerful wizard. When He-Man travels to Trolla, he immediately reverts back to Prince Adam; his power doesn't work but Orko's magic is working perfectly. He learns that Trollan and Eternian magic works in the reverse to each other. To activate the Sword of Power, he has to speak everything backwards. Upon realising that Orko has effectively had to relearn how to cast all of his magic backwards to function in Eternia, He-Man gains much more respect for Orko's abilities than he used to have.
- In the episode "Flight 601 Has Vanished" of the animated series based on Shazam, the threesome and Uncle Dudley where transported into the "Fourth Dimension". The Marvel family spent most of the episode unable to summon their powers, leaving them mostly helpless against the dimension's monsters and villains, until they realized they had to speak their magic words backwards. It was also an example of "Your Science Is No Good Here", as Dr. Sivana's shrink ray worked backwards as well.
- In Filmation's Space Sentinels, they visited the realm of Faria, the source of all fairy tales, and the heroes' powers worked badly. Hercules' super strength was intermittent at best, Mercury kept moving super-slowly, and Astrea could only transform into mythical animals (trying to turn into a normal animal just deformed her badly).
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender when Aang travels to the Spirit World, he can't use bending there. However, in the sequel series The Legend of Korra, Korra, Aang's reincarnation, learns if one goes body and soul to the spirit world, one can use bending. Further it is postulated as the Avatar, Korra could potentially tap unlimited power there as she is connected to all the spiritual energy.