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Regional Effects

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The great power of a being makes it a problem for people nearby.

This trope has been Nuked
Proposed By:
bulmabriefs144 on Jan 1st 2018 at 5:09:41 PM
Last Edited By:
bulmabriefs144 on Jan 22nd 2018 at 8:01:11 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Up for Grabs, Needs a Better Description (I just want to add this one, but the way it's written, I can't seem to keep it from sounding like Power Incontinence, which it isn't)

Although this looks like Power Incontinence, the difference is that this is not necessarily a lack of control of their power. Conscious control, that is.

It's like this. When you learn to control your powers, you can get a grip on how to not make them hurt others while focusing. The problem isn't control of one's powers. The problem is the powers themselves, or rather the unconscious portions of having powers.

Maybe it is just that their Power Levels are so much higher than those around them, maybe it's the nature of their abilities to act on emotions (making it very dangerous to be near them during issues like depression), or maybe they had a bad dream that is messing with people without their intending it. Simply standing near the Battle Aura of the person may be enough for the passerby to develop a Psychic Nosebleed.

Effectively, this is With Great Power Comes Great Insanity only for everyone around you, among other effects, typically based around the user. See also Fisher King for the Reality Warper version of this.

The term is based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual, which offers particularly strong creatures passive abilities known as Regional Effects. Such powers can extend beyond their location and may even persist after their death (for awhile, anyway). It was originally known as Psychic Fallout, because of the tendency for telepathic characters to have this trait far more often than others, and for it to resemble nuclear fallout.


Examples:

Literature

  • In Harry Potter, all young witches and wizards have little control over their latent magic, and moments of high emotional distress can cause it to be released completely beyond control. Lord Voldemort, however, inverts this trope by finding a way to weaponize this latent magic at a young age to instill fear among the other children at his orphanage, though he still lacked a fine control over it and often would result in his "pranks" going too far.
  • Doctor Who: One of the books follows the Doctor as he enters a cruise that is also a mystery convention full of Expies of various famous mystery characters (and as is usual of the genre, all of a sudden people start getting killed). The twist at the end is that the Miss Marple Expy has psionic powers that she never knew about, and has constantly subconsciously sent out a signal that brainwashed people near her to commit elaborate murders so she could solve them.

Tabletop Games

  • The term is based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual. These abilities were usually appropriate to the monster, although some were fairly strange (brass dragons apparently can make tracks appear which lead to shelter and water, and away from where the dragon is).

Webcomics

  • Zimmy in Gunnerkrigg Court has the ability to cause vivid hallucinations as a persistent aura. This is usually suppressed by Gamma, and Zimmy can do pretty cool stuff when she actively uses her power.
  • Jean Grey in some of the X-Men series, can sometimes cause issues in those around her, particularly when she becomes stronger, or when she has serious nightmares.
  • Flipside seems to have some sense that powerful mages can literally affect the minds of others.

Western Animation

  • In Justice League, Ace has powers that can alter reality around her, and if out of control, they can cause serious psychological damage to those around her (such has, tragically, her parents).. CADMUS takes her into their care and teaches her how to gain some semblance of control over those powers in the name of keeping her as a potential weapon to turn against the Justice League, but this only causes her to become bitter and leads to her nearly permanently altering reality mere hours before her death.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, Starfire and Raven find that their minds have been forced into the other's bodies, complete with powers. Starfire, emotive and full of expression, inadvertently causes all sorts of mayhem around the two of them because Raven's powers stem from her emotions, and letting them run wild means that they will cause several problems when not reined in.

Feedback: 14 replies

Jan 1st 2018 at 5:12:11 PM

This needs help with the description. I'm not actually sure if it works better as a general power aura that is unconscious or only applies to psychic power.

Jan 1st 2018 at 5:14:07 PM

I think I do like the idea of a sort of fallout, from being too powerful for those around them even if they do have control (i.e. slightly different from Power Incontinence), but I can't really fine-tune this very well.

Jan 1st 2018 at 6:19:41 PM

Would characters that have no idea they know they have power would work as well?

Example. (Literature): Doctor Who: One of the books follows the Doctor as he enters a cruise that is also a mystery convention full of Expies of various famous mystery characters (and as is usual of the genre, all of a sudden people start getting killed). The twist at the end is that the Miss Marple Expy has psionic powers that she never knew about, and has constantly subconsciously sent out a signal that brainwashed people near her to commit elaborate murders so she could solve them.

Jan 1st 2018 at 8:23:02 PM

Comic Books

  • In Runaways, the "Witchbreaker" version of the Staff of One had a tendency to affect people beyond Nico's intended target. For example, she once cast a "Scatter" spell to teleport a group of hostile aliens away from the team, but the spell also caused the other Runaways to become unable to tolerate each other's presence for more than a few minutes at a time.

Jan 2nd 2018 at 8:30:05 AM

Top Ten: The hostage negotiator's superpower is a Compelling Voice. If he forgets to specify who he's addressing, everybody around him including his allies ends up following his instructions (such as dropping their weapons and keeping their hands in the air).

Jan 3rd 2018 at 10:03:09 AM

Example. (Tabletop Games) In Warhammer 40000 some of the more powerful Psykers are unaware of the full scope of their power, unconsciously affecting their surroundings with varying degrees of effect at all times. Things like always having "good luck" or being unnaturally charming are common examples of unconscious psychic ability.

Jan 4th 2018 at 9:00:44 AM

Literature

  • In Harry Potter, all young witches and wizards have little control over their latent magic, and moments of high emotional distress can cause it to be released compleetely beyond control. Lord Voldemort, however, inverts this trope by finding a way to weaponize this latent magic at a young age to instill fear among the other children at his orphanage, though he still lacked a fine control over it and often would result in his "pranks" going too far.

Western Animation

  • In Justice League, Ace has powers that can alter reality around her, and if out of control, they can cause serious psychological damage to those around her (such has, tragically, her parents).. CADMUS takes her into their care and teaches her how to gain some semblance of control over those powers in the name of keeping her as a potential weapon to turn against the Justice League, but this only causes her to become bitter and leads to her nearly permanently altering reality mere hours before her death.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, Starfire and Raven find that their minds have been forced into the other's bodies, complete with powers. Starfire, emotive and full of expression, inadvertently causes all sorts of mayhem around the two of them because Raven's powers stem from her emotions, and letting them run wild means that they will cause several problems when not reined in.

Jan 8th 2018 at 12:33:13 PM

I decided to widen the scope of the trope and call it regional effects.

Jan 8th 2018 at 2:36:11 PM

In Promethean The Created, all Promethean Lineages have a "Wasteland" effect which negatively affects the environment around them if they stay in one place for too long, as well as a "Disquiet" effect which provokes negative feelings in ordinary humans. For example, Frankensteins have an elemental affinity for fire and lightning; their Wasteland manifests as uncontrollable blazes and neverending thunderstorms, and their Disquiet causes pity, fear, and eventually hatred.

Jan 8th 2018 at 1:31:37 PM

Would Professor X in Logan count? He's suffering from dementia and he and Logan use meds to suppress his powers, but when he skips his meds or they were off, it's hard for anyone save for Logan and Laura to withstand the blowback from his powers.

Jan 8th 2018 at 4:10:45 PM

Power Incontinence does cover "unconscious burst of powers", right?

Jan 8th 2018 at 4:35:12 PM

Yep, this looks like a downplayed version of Power Incontinence. Throwing bomb.

Jan 22nd 2018 at 7:57:31 AM

It's not a Power Incontinence. There is some overlap, but I suppose it can be an actively used thing too.

Jan 22nd 2018 at 8:01:11 AM

I'm making this up for grabs. The idea behind this is "a powerful person has a powerful constant aura that creates effects to less powerful people" but I failed at explaining it right.

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