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Artifact of Power

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Phlebotinum in the form of a powerful, rare tool, item or device.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Existential_Tempest on Dec 15th 2017 at 11:30:59 AM
Last Edited By:
Existential_Tempest on Jan 1st 2018 at 8:43:37 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

You know, these people with their superpowers and magic are really annoying. They can summon fire up from nowhere, be in two places at once, even give other people abilities! Why can't I do that?

What you need is an Artifact of Power. Each is an item, tool or device capable of astonishing feats, typically (though not always) independently from any supernatural abilities of their wielder (though they don't necessarily need one), that outstrip anything else that their world can offer. They can range from the simplest Magic Staff to the most complex construct and don't even have to be magical either, though what else can anything on that power level be?

To be precise, the thing that separates Artifacts of Power from regular tools is rarity. Modern explosives might do a far better job than a Wand of Fireballs in causing explosion-based havoc; explosives, however, are (relatively) easy to manufacture today, whereas fireball-shooting wands in many settings won't be. If they are, then, though powerful, they in turn aren't artifacts; the Legendary Wand of Angkor Wat, on the other hand, will be one. As a result, Artifacts of Power are frequently either one-of-a-kind, the methods of crafting it lost to the mists of time; made of a substance that is difficult to find; or incredibly, incredibly hard to produce. This rarity, in combination with its might and utility, will often make an Artifact of Power an object of desire for a great many individuals and organisations, both savoury and unsavoury, meaning that a MacGuffin has a good chance of being one.

Has nothing to do with The Artifact.

Common categories, not mutually exclusive:


Feedback: 5 replies

Dec 15th 2017 at 11:37:01 AM

This is, as you might have guessed, my attempt to fill the hole of Ancient Artifact's Missing Super Trope - not all artefacts have to be ancient, after all! Were this to be added, Ancient Artifact's index (which I have copied into the above) would be deleted.

Dec 15th 2017 at 3:04:09 PM

So is this an index for Artifact tropes or are there also going to be example?

Dec 15th 2017 at 3:36:59 PM

The Ancient Artifact page doesn't have tropes but it doesn't conform to the typical index format either, I suspect because of the rarity issue - so many potential tropes would fall into 'it is an artefact if it is exceptional but isn't if it isn't'. That's the approach that I'm taking here for now; if it needs to be in either category, I'll be happy to change it.

Jan 1st 2018 at 6:08:09 PM

Does anyone have anything else to say? Please?

Jan 1st 2018 at 8:43:37 PM

If this'll be sort of an indexy super-trope, I'm for it!