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Bad Powers, Good People

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He's probably wishing he could control his.

"This power that we have comes from a dark place, but it's not who we are. And we can use it to help people."

You've heard of Bad Powers, Bad People, where people got powers that only seemed to have evil uses and went evil. You've heard of Good Powers, Bad People, where bad people used their good-themed powers to do evil, but what about the good people who got cursed with evil powers and try to use those powers for good? Some folks are able to turn this to their advantage, others find that they can't do it. Which is prime angst material.

Goes hand-in-hand with Dark Is Not Evil. Friendly Neighborhood Vampires also often exhibit this trope. If a character's "good" use for their bad powers is that they only use them against villains, then it counts as Good Is Not Soft or even Pay Evil unto Evil (depending on the nature of the Bad Powers).

Naturally, given how the danger of their abilities clashes with their moral alignment, such characters often get burdened with a No-Harm Requirement and have to figure out how to save the day without causing too much damage or death.

Contrast My Species Doth Protest Too Much; that's when it's a matter of a member of a (commonly thought to be) Always Chaotic Evil species decides to cowboy up for the good guys. A subtrope is Faustian Rebellion, where powers the Big Bad granted to a former minion are used this way. Also see Phlebotinum Rebel, where good guys use powers made by the bad guys but they're not "bad powers" per se. Compare to Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds, Anti-Anti-Christ, Creepy Good, and Mind over Manners. See also Power Stereotype Flip, for when it's the personality, not morality, at odds with the powers, although there could be overlap.

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Fusion Fic

  • Fallout: Equestria (Fallout & My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic):
    • Littlepip has several powerful Blood Magic spells implanted into her head after being Mind Raped by the Black Book of Zebrica. She uses one of them to save Xenith's life after a Killing Joke plant turns her zebra stripes into gaping wounds, leaving her in danger of bleeding to death, by magically turning the blood into clots.
    • Rarity had the book long before Littlepip and used its spells for even more good. The book expected her to be The Corruptible, but she was able to use it for years without being corrupted at all. Her biggest accomplishment with the book was the Ministry Mare statuettes: forty-two figurines of herself and her friends (seven sets of six ponies), each infused with a sliver of her soul and enchanted to give strength to the owner. Littlepip's set even protects her from the Black Book's corruption.


  • Tamers Forever Series: Takato Matsuki is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Unfortunately, he is also the Vessel of Chaos and could potentially wreak untold havoc upon reality.

Godzilla / King Kong / MonsterVerse

  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Monster X's powers such as bio-electricity and a powerful Healing Factor are derived from Ghidorah (and Ghidorah itself notes that this should make them as unnatural to Earth's biosphere as Ghidorah is); but this incarnation of Monster X is heroic and can choose how to use their power, something which is explicitly pointed out by Mothra.

Gravity Falls

  • Alcor/Dipper in Transcendence AU. He's a demon, with all the darkness that implies, but he's still Dipper. Doesn't keep the family from getting a reputation, though. Most of Mabel's descendants get seen as a Creepy Child at some point or another because many of them know how to summon and make a deal with him before they graduate elementary school.

Harry Potter

  • In Ginny Weasley: Double Life, Ginny is hypnotised by Milikan, a serpent with Hypnotic Eyes who can talk to humans and even implant false memories with her abilities. However, Milikan only uses this power to make Ginny perceive Milikan as her 'Mistress' and best friend, adding memories of a childhood friendship but doing nothing to compromise Ginny's marriage to Harry or her relationship with her children.
  • Harry Riddle: Harry uses the Cruciatus curse on the troll attacking Hermione.
  • In Tormentor Harry/Ajas uses his Dementor powers and dark curses to save a little girl from a gang of Death Eaters.

High School D×D

  • High School Dx D Inheritor Of Malevolence: Although his Sacred Gear contains the souls of the seven most powerful Evil Dragons in history, who are determined to either drive their host insane or destroy their body, the story's main character, Takeshi Ryuugamine, remains a heroic individual who uses his powers to assist his friends, defeat various villains and help others.

My Hero Academia

  • Blood for the Blood God: Izuku's quirk gives him vampire powers (including a thirst for blood), he can weaponize his own blood as weapons and is even able to copy the quirks of those who he feeds directly from to a minor extent, but Izuku is hellbent on becoming a hero.
  • Cursed Blood: Izuku is a Necromancer with a Healing Factor with a zombie girl as a familiar/pet. It's later revealed that anyone healed by his Quirk is also turned into a thrall who can't disobey him and wants nothing more than to please him, at least until his blood is out of their body. Even in-universe, he's described as a cinnamon roll and a Knight in Shining Armor.
  • In From Muddy Waters, Izuku is the son of and has the same Quirk as All For One, the most dangerous villain in all of Japan. He can obtain any other Quirk by consuming bits of DNA such as hair or blood and even steal Quirks from other people, but he hates doing either of those things and wants nothing more than to become a hero like All Might.
  • In Juxtapose, Izuku's Quirk, "Minor Banishment", is initially derided as being so useless that he's effectively Quirkless, as he can only delete 10 g of whatever he's touching at a time with an upper limit of 2 kg over a short period, but everyone is thankful that it's in his hands and not anyone else's after he realizes that he can banish pieces of people's vital organs from existence, allowing him to slowly cripple a villain who was about to murder him and his friends.
  • The Norse Hero: Fenrir: To say that Izuku's powers are terrifying at first glance would be an understatement. He basically has the ability to shift between a human and Hellhound wolf-man form and can sometimes be overwhelmed by his more animalistic instincts, his Ragnarök form becoming famous as the "Demon Werewolf". He has powers over smoke and embers, is strong enough to decimate the Zero-Pointers, and let's not forget he was based on a Beast of the Apocalypse. With that in mind, he is still Izuku, with all of the idealistic heroic qualities you would expect from him, not that Bakugo will ever acknowledge it.

My Little Pony

  • Pony POV Series:
    • Havoc is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Fear and the Ruler of Hell. Though he subscribes to Blue-and-Orange Morality, he's actually a pretty nice guy as long as you don't anger him. For one thing, he seeks to punish people who actually deserve to go to Hell, not harm the innocent. It's notable that the survival instinct comes from him, and he becomes happy when people's fear motivates them to fight and save their own lives and the lives of others.
    • Trixie's mother Morgan's Special Talent is Destruction. While others fear her for it, Morgan herself is a loving mother and good person all around.
  • The Powers of Harmony:
    • Libra and his Echo Blair are classic heroic knights, but in an act of desperation against Nightmare Moon's undying army, broke taboo and used Lifeforce magic, which turns the user into a nigh-uncontrollable addict who's as likely to kill his own comrades as his enemies.
    • Fluttershy is, as per canon, one of the nicest ponies you'll ever meet. However, the most powerful ability granted to her by the Element of Kindness is Fearsense, which forces the person on the receiving end to experience a vision of their worst fear, basically Mind Raping them.


  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: Deconstructed. Jaune's Force abilities are the result of Nihilus' mask amplifying Jaune's midi-chlorian count, and although Jaune aims to use his abilities for selfless motives and protecting his team, those motives grow increasingly skewed after he resorts to using the Dark Side of the Force, since the Dark Side by its very nature requires malevolent intentions and negative emotions to work.
  • Through Her Eyes: Basically the entire premise of the Alternate Universe fic, which replaces Ruby's canon abilities with Grimm-related powers, strongly implied to be connected to Salem. Her entire motivation to become a huntress here is to hopefully accomplish more good than the damage her abilities could possibly do. Ruby is also more shy and timid than canon, due to having a Friendless Background.

Tales of Arcadia


  • An Alternate Universe called Fantasytale casts the human protagonist as a silent but good-natured Necromancer—though they're still raising skeletons, zombies, and ghosts, they're using their power to bring fallen heroes and innocents back from the grave so that they're "given a second chance at living," as Papyrus puts it.


  • Here Comes The New Boss: Taylor has inherited the Butcher's powers, which come attached to a bundle of voices in the back of her head, all the previous Butchers urging her toward ruthlessness and violence. She can push them down, but she needs to let them closer to the surface in order to access their powers, leaving her with a precarious balancing act between using their powers for good, vs losing herself to indiscriminate violence and slaughter as they want her to do.
  • Mauling Snarks: Slaughterhouse Nine are overall good people, whose powers drive them to murder and violence, which is something they can't really stop, so much as take out their urges on the criminals who arguably have it coming and try to minimize collateral damage. Even outside their villainous identities they try to do good: Jack Slash is a renowned therapist, Bonesaw is a medic who both heals injuries and grants enhancements, and Shatterbird is a Protectorate hero.

Young Justice (2010)

  • Risk It All: Soul-Crushing Strike is guaranteed to smash bone is such a way that it will never heal properly. It can't be blocked properly through martial arts and is delivered with a simple punch. Ren only ever uses it to incapacitate mobsters who don't think twice about murdering others. Even then, he purposefully avoids hitting the legs, chest, and head to avoid turning them into vegetables or preventing them from walking.
  • With This Ring: The SI is a bearer of an Orange Lantern Ring, which utilizes the Orange Light of Avarice, and is powered by the user's greed. Its only other user is an insane immortal that lives in a cave, killing and devouring anything that enters, enslaving their souls in the process. He uses it to be a superhero, and fix the environment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ling-erh from The Battle Wizard is a sorceress who controls snakes, and has the ability to fire live, poisonous snakes as projectile, as well as teleporting vicious serpents into her enemies' flesh, burrowing through their bones and causing several unfortunate mooks to die horribly with plenty of Body Horror to boot. But she's one of the heroes of the film.
  • Star Wars:
    • Luke Skywalker uses the Force Choke on a pair of guards in Return of the Jedi, which Darth Vader does throughout the series. Luke just chokes them into unconsciousness rather than strangling them, though. He uses the stronger variant called Force Crush in The Mandalorian, but only on a Dark Trooper droid. Jedi all seem to have the same powers, with the difference being how and when they choose to use them.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine argues that the Sith are all examples of this (or that they can choose to be) but that the Jedi refuse to believe it and tried to persecute them into extinction for exploring powers the Jedi considered "unnatural". The fact that he's a lying, manipulative psychopath responsible for a galactic war that caused billions of deaths to secure his rise to power casts doubt on his claim. In Star Wars Legends it's shown that overuse of the Dark Side is comparable to hard drugs and while it's possible for Sith to take the Dooku approach and be Noble Demons, the vast majority just become murderous lunatics.
    • Expanded Universe materials, especially video games, have some Force powers, such as lightning, slated as explicitly belonging to The Dark Side, because they can only be used to harm. However, it's apparent that a sufficiently knowledgeable Jedi master understands these powers, even if they choose not to use them- when Dooku threw lightning at Yoda, the little guy just absorbs it. Other stories disagree with this, and have good Jedi such as Master Plo Koon using powers such as Force lightning (although in Plo's case he invented a Light side variant that wasn't fueled by The Power of Hate like normal Force lightning).
    • Jedi Master Mace Windu created his own variant of the seventh lightsaber form, Juyo, known as Vaapad. Juyo was considered to be taboo among the Jedi as it drew on the user's aggression, linking it to the Dark Side. Vaapad was functionally the same, but according to Windu it was more of a state of mind than a combat style and allowed the user to channel their inner darkness into a weapon of the light.
    • The Disney Star Wars films fall back on the side of all Force users having access to the same set of powers, mostly so that they can avoid the traditional infinite pretzel of rationalizations previous novels and games have needed to justify Mind Rape being a light side power in the original trilogy (The Force Awakens actually frames it with a lot of implicit horror even when used by the hero and The Last Jedi explicitly makes it part of the movie's theme).
  • Deadly Girl in The Specials can summon demons. She is a hero.
  • In Dracula Untold, Vlad III Dracula gains his supernatural powers for good reasons but even though he uses them for such they are still considered evil, since they did originate from demons and include an insatiable thirst for human blood.
  • The Shadow casts the Shadow's considerable collection of powers in this light: Lamont Cranston is actually "Ying Ko", a warlord of the orient, master of Opium, with hideous and largely vague powers. After a Faith–Heel Turn involving a tulku, Lamont Cranston returned to the den of evil known as New York to use his Mind Rape abilities and vast resources and enormous web of contacts to wage war against organized crime. The various other sources have different takes on the same concept, but generally the Shadow is somewhere between The Cowl and The Scourge of God, so it's by-and-large "scary powers, scary guy, bad victims who had it coming".
  • Mythica: Marek has Necromancy, which here means she's capable of draining others' life force to empower her magic along with calling up the dead but is a very good person. In the films, she continually struggles since her power is apparently both addictive and corrupting.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Wanda Maximoff's abilities include mind control, telekinesis, and outright reality warping as of WandaVision. Most of her magic comes off as creepy and red looking when she performs it, but she's on the side of the heroes... sort of.
    • Scott Lang is also capable of mind control, but to a lesser extent since his mind control only works on creatures in the Formicidae taxonomic family, which includes all known ant species.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): The Ancient One uses the power from the Dark Dimension to keep herself alive, and fight Dormamu, Lord of the Dark Dimension. Baron Mordo cannot reconcile this and leaves at the end of the movie, seeing all users of Dark Magic as evils to be fought.
    • Eternals: Druig's superpower par excellence is mass mind control, but he primarily wants to (and does) use it to stop wars and prevent genocides. It's worth noting that the MCU version of this character is a case of Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Nice Guy; the original in the comics does use his mind control powers for nefarious purposes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Thoros of Myr from Game of Thrones is affable, polite, and generally a good man, but his primary ability is necromancy.
  • Supernatural:
    • Mostly played straight with Sam Winchester. His powers are demonic in nature, and he uses them to hunt demons. While he did jump-start the Apocalypse, he was actually intending to stop it, but his addiction to demon-blood has led to some decisions that can charitably be described as "questionable". He spent quite some time worried about "going dark side," and Dean's final wish at the end of season three was that Sam not use his demon powers. Knowing Dean would disapprove, Sam lied about it when Dean came back, and things got worse from there. It was never entirely clear how much of the problem was The Dark Side Will Make You Forget or This Is Your Brain on Evil, how much straight addict behavior from the blood, and how much Sam being an ass of his own free will due to trauma and pride. Still, he was trying to save the world and save people, even at his worst. And he got better.
    • Played straight with Andrew Gallagher, the only one of Azazel's Special Children who doesn't succumb to With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
    • Subverted with Jake Talley and Ava Wilson, both of whom also appear to be good Special Children at first, but are then corrupted by Azazel.
    • Played straight with a couple of other monsters encountered throughout the series who managed to resist the urge to kill humans.
  • On Charmed, Cole attempted this. He succeeded for a while, but then got even more evil powers. That... did not turn out well.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Clem, a demon, can manifest fangs, tentacles, and poison. The only times he seems willing to fight are when he sees a friend hurt, or to protect a threatened teenager. (He eats kittens, though.)
    • Angel and Spike are vampires, which in the Buffyverse is just an evil demon possessing a corpse, but manage to be good guys (some of the time) nonetheless.
    • Anya, who is a demon as well. A vengeance demon — or at least she is for the start of her stay in the series. When she temporarily got her powers back, we see why this is a Bad Idea.
  • Ned on Pushing Daisies has necromancy powers, but attempts to use them as little as possible and generally only to solve murders, with a few glaring exceptions: his childhood girlfriend and former murder victim Chuck, his dog Digby, and Chuck's father Charles Charles, although he was not aware of his powers when he revived Digby. He remains the protagonist and a thoroughly good guy throughout the series. However, it's still unnerving that every time he "alive agains" someone for more than a minute, someone else dies through random proximity.
  • Joshua from No Ordinary Family after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Heroes:
    • Maya, whose power is that she releases an invisible cloud of lethal poison whenever she gets upset. And the world seems hellbent on giving her good reasons to get really upset on a regular basis.
    • Similarly, Ted Sprague, who emits nuclear radiation. He learned to focus and control it after accidentally giving his wife cancer. When he gets arrested, despite being innocent, his first insistence is that he be contained in a radiation-proof cell so as not to pose a danger to his guards.
  • This is one of the core tenets of the Kamen Rider franchise. The original was meant to be a cyborg superweapon created by the Big Bad to Take Over the World, but he kept his free will and escaped. His powers were meant to cause havoc and destruction, but he only uses them to destroy the monsters that he was supposed to serve. The heroes ultimately draw power from the same source as the villains they fight, but they use that power to save people. Several seasons have Riders as the primary antagonists as well as protagonists. This concept comes to a head in the post-finale epilogue of Wizard, where it's revealed that all Kamen Riders are united by a metaphysical power called the 'Cross of Fire', which binds Riders to the sin they were born from.
  • Lost Girl features several examples.
    • Bo, the main character, is the best example. Her succubus powers, which drain life energy from people she has sexual contact with, are so strong that she has killed people just from kissing them. Even so, she's one of the most unambiguously good people in the show, and has learned how to transfer life energy into people.
    • The Light Fae, who are gray in the show's Black-and-Gray Morality, have corpse-eaters and harpies as members. The corpse-eaters, called Aswang, are depicted as saintly old women, eating only the corpses without family and acting as a sort of supernatural sanitation service to keep diseased corpses from contaminating both the soil and the living.
  • Todd the Wraith from Stargate Atlantis might look VERY evil (plus, he can suck life out of other people to feed himself), but he's probably the only member of his race who doesn't backstab the team when he allies with them. Of course, he did it once, but only because he thought he had been double-crossed. As much as he likes to threaten everyone by feeding on them, he doesn't seem to actually enjoy doing it except when hungry. The only occasion when he did feed on Sheppard, he did so under duress. And even when Sheppard expired, Todd cleared the area first, fed on the attacking soldiers then revived him by giving back what he took.
    • To a lesser extent, Replicators. They may be universally evil, but when Weir became one herself, she didn't go wacko; instead, she attempted to make an organic body for her peers so that they can ascend. When that didn't work, she worked with her old team to set up a trap for the remaining Replicators, sacrificing herself in the process.
      • Niam. Despite being a Replicator, all he wanted was to learn ascension. Too bad he got reset by Oberoth into his default violent nature.
    • Plus the team themselves when they got copycat cloned by rogue Replicators, complete with rapid regeneration and everything. The part-human-part-Replicator clones even set up a distraction so that the real team can escape.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Medusans were introduced as having forms so hideous that they turn most people into gibbering madmen before causing complete organ failure. The one Medusan we meet is a nice guy who is courteous enough to stay in his tiny sealed box and only opens it up for people he knows can't view him, people trying to kill him, or that one accident with Spock.
  • The Gifted (2017): Sonia, codename Dreamer, can manipulate and read memories. She is not a classical telepath though, and if she does not have enough time to act or is forced to quit the process before it is finished, then her subjects might either see their memory scrambled or realize their thoughts have been manipulated, which verges or outright qualifies as Mind Rape. She does not like to use her powers but will do so if there is no other option.
  • Looks That Kill is about a boy who has the (incontinent) power to kill anyone with his handsomeness, and his attempts to literally keep it under wraps.
  • Gen V: Series protagonist Marie Moreau has the power to manipulate blood, a power usually more associated with villains than heroes. When her powers were first activated it leads to the Accidental Murder of her parents. However, Marie gives her best to be a true hero. Given that the main goal of the Godolkin University is to create Celebrity Superheroes, she actually gives her superiors a hard time making her look marketable.

  • The video for "Dance In The Graveyards" by Delta Rae shows the most cheerful and kindly necromancers (or death spirits) and the most benevolent use of necromancy you will ever see.

  • Kravitz of The Adventure Zone: Balance, who is literally a Grim Reaper - with the skeletal form and scythe-y powers that entails - but he's actually a pretty nice guy. Also applies to Barry and Lup, two Necromancers/Liches/Grim Reapers who are firmly on the side of Good.
  • In The Magnus Archives, Jonathan Sims gets these in later seasons. Having a Compelling Voice that forces people to tell the truth sounds cool... until you realize it also comes with the ability to rip information out of people's heads via Mind Rape, the ability to give people recurrent nightmares of their trauma and then watch their dreams, and a Horror Hunger for other people's fear. Jonathan Sims tries to use these powers for good, although he begins to stray into Anti-Hero territory during season 4.

  • Glowfic has Corbelan, who has a magic system that eats worlds and can only be used to destroy things. He uses it to destroy Elves' oaths and destroy illness and weeds and such. Also Melkor and Sauron but this totally counts as being good, those two are basically horribleness maximizers.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • One of the main characters, Sebastian, is possessed by an eldritch spirit that grants him control over his shadows. In spite of his dark power and its dubious origin, he's a Nice Guy who tries to use it for good.
    • Another main character, Irene, is granted the power to manipulate people's flesh in a way that's borderline Body Horror. Irene, however, is a polite Only Sane Woman who doesn't wish to abuse her power.
    • Benjy is given a superpower that transforms him into a giant, monstrous bug with razor-sharp teeth and acidic mucus. However, he retains his kind-hearted personality from when he was a human.
  • In Ruby Quest, Ruby's third eye qualifies. The eye can see things that her normal eyes can't, which did come in useful on a couple of occasions, but it also hurt like a motherfucker and bled rather nastily each time she used it. When it started to feel good, the genre-savvy players wisely decided to avoid using it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Yahenni, a character from the Kaladesh Saga, is an Aetherborn, who all possess incredibly short lifespans. However, Yahenni is one of the few "Gifted" Aetherborn who can extend that lifespan... by draining people's life energy, killing them painfully.note  Yahenni only uses said power to stay alive long enough to aid the Revolt, and afterwards they live out their last few days naturally. This makes them one of the few Mono-Black heroes in Magic history, and unlike Liliana or Sorin, they're not an Anti-Hero.
    Yahenni: I get to decide who I am, on my terms. And I am not a killer.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a few ways of reflecting this character concept, particularly since 3rd edition.
    • In the core of 3rd edition, only one spell from the Necromancy school is explicitly Evil: animate dead. If you can find a Lawful Good use for circle of death or soul bind, go right ahead.
    • However, a few splatbooks introduced spells that have the Evil descriptor tag, which makes casting them an inherently evil action. Of course, depending on what else you do that still might not be enough to drop you all the way to the deep end of the alignment pool — there were canonically Neutral characters who explicitly were in the habit of casting specific evil spells on a relatively regular basis.
    • Among the gods in Greyhawk is Wee Jas, Goddess of Death and Magic. She is Lawful Neutral. That's right, the goddess of necromancy is not explicitly evil, and it's within the rules to have a Lawful Good cleric with the Death domain. Plus, a Lawful Neutral goddess of death wouldn't consider necromancy necessarily evil, and wouldn't find her clerics casting "evil" spells a deal-breaker anyway since she accepts both good and evil followers. Supplementary material notes that while she isn't opposed to necromancy on principle, she's still a goddess of order, and expects any necromancy done on her behalf to be within the bounds of law and with respect to the dead: turning someone into a zombie when their corpse was donated to the church by their surviving family is perfectly fine, but sneaking into a graveyard in the middle of the night, digging up a random coffin, and exhuming its inhabitant to fight for you is another story.
    • The Malconvoker prestige class summons evil outsiders to fight against evil; one of the requirements is a non-evil alignment.
    • The supplement Lords of Madness includes the Fleshwarper class, which is based around turning yourself into a Humanoid (or not so humanoid) Abomination through grafts. The class's only alignment restriction is that you cannot be Lawful, so there can be as many good ones as evil.
    • The same book also includes a race of Aberrations that can split into a swarm and have a Mad Scientist feel but are generally good enough folk.
    • The Ardent class gains its power from various "mantles" that represent metaphysical ideas. Several of the mantles listed are clearly malevolent in feel: Corruption and Madness, Consumption, Conflict, Death, Destruction, Pain and Suffering, or just flat-out Evil. Despite this, mantles do not have an alignment requirement, and it's specifically called out that Ardents can draw power from all these mantles (even Evil!) and still be good. After all, Ardents are meant to be philosophers, and it's quite reasonable for a philosopher to be fascinated by the nature of pain and death without believing that pain and death are good. In fact, the book throws out the idea that an Ardent could use both Good and Evil mantles while being neither (there would be little in-game reason to do this, though), as a way of understanding both parts more effectively.
    • The supplement Libris Mortis is all about undead, not all of which are necessarily evil. It also adds a deity called "The Eternal Lover", a minor True Neutral god dedicated to The Power of Love and helping lovers stay together even after death.
    • The Warlock class in 3rd edition specifically must be either chaotic or evil to gain their powers. It's a safe bet that most Warlock players chose to be Chaotic Good. And, due to an oversight, it's actually possible for a Warlock to be Lawful Good. Wizards of the Coast realized this late in 3rd Edition's lifespan and created a prestige class where the sample NPC is a Lawful Good Warlock.
    • The 4th edition Warlock is loosened up a bit — only some of their powers can be called "evil," and at the same time, there's no alignment restrictions, so it's not uncommon to find Lawful Good player Warlocks using hellish powers.
    • Thanks to there being no "evil" powers in 4th Edition, you can actually be a Good necromancer using the powers found in the book Heroes of Shadow. Albeit, the powers are pretty brutal, but as long as you don't use them against anyone who's not evil...
    • The 3.5 Shadowcaster class is described as dealing with dark powers ("magic often associated with evil") and living with a skewed, alien perspective of the world to master their branch of magic, resulting in good shadowcasters being exceedingly rare. However, the key word there is rare — they explicitly can be of any alignment, and indeed there are no mechanical limitations indicated on alignment for them.
    • Hailing from the same book as the Shadowcaster, the Binder is a Willing Channeler who calls upon the long-dead spirits of beings trapped beyond the reach of the world and makes pacts with them. Notable vestiges include demons, undead, and deceased gods of evil (and one of them, Tenebrous, is technically all three), and most of them did at least some kind of terrible thing in life. Many of their powers are also somewhat malevolent-looking, such as summoning shadow, calling forth beings from the Far Realm, growing long black talons, a poisonous bite, terrifying others, or forcing enemies to attack each other. Despite this, no vestiges have any kind of alignment requirement; a Binder can be Lawful Good and utilize all of the above without any compunction.
    • The Shadow Sun Ninja from the Tome of Battle – Book of Nine Sword is a Prestige Class heavily versed in the power of darkness; one of the first power gained is to drain the lifeforce of living beings. They must be non-evil. It is somewhat implied this is a safety measure for members of the class, so that they don't find the darkness too attractive and get corrupted by it.
    • The 2nd Edition Complete Book of Necromancers offered new kits (variant classes) for necromancers who wanted to do good — or at least neutral — instead of rampantly evil. These included the Anatomist, who studied the dead to better learn how to heal the living, or the Deathslayer, who uses the powers of necromancy against the undead. The heroic example Deathslayer even uses magic to puppeteer corpses to keep himself safe while he hunts.
    • There is this story about a player in a solo campaign where he played a heroic necromancer travelling a war-torn land ruled by cruel tyrants. He would teach the people necromancy as a force for good, help them overthrow the tyrants and leave behind prosperous nations where the people would use their undead thralls for manual labour to leave the living free to pursue their passions and grow fat in post-scarcity democracies. The heroic Necromancer grew old in time and on his deathbed, used a scrying scroll to see over his realm... and to his horror had found that a band of adventurers had been moving around behind him, "freeing" these people from the "evil necromancer" and reinstating the old kings and feudal systems. They also called him the "Arch-Lich", which offended the Necromancer because he had no intention of becoming one. When the "heroes" broke into the Arch-Lich's sanctum expecting a fight with a cackling Evil Overlord, they instead found a heartbroken old man who tearfully explained what he did, why he did it, and how they had ruined everything and cast the land back into the hands of evil based on their own ignorance and bigotry. Turns out the Necromancer was actually being used as the Big Bad in another campaign without either party's knowledge. The DM said he played his role beautifully.
  • In 1st edition Pathfinder, all sorcerers have a bloodline. There are some evil-themed bloodlines (such as demonic or infernal), but your bloodline doesn't require you to be a certain alignment.
    • The Sorcerer pales next to the Witch for having powers that range from horrifying to holy, but plenty of the creepy witch hexes (like Child Scent, the literal ability to sniff out children) can be used by good characters (the better to rescue you, my dear!)
    • Pharasma, the goddess of death in Pathfinder, is absolutely neutral and includes healing in her domains. She also is the goddess of birth and judgment; she is the one who decides the fates of mortal souls sent before her. "Pharasma makes cradles for us all."
    • Clerics have the power to cause a wave of healing or antilife energy to harm their enemies. Generally, good gods channel the power to heal and Revive Kills Zombie. Evil gods let you destroy the living and heal the undead. Neutral gods let neutral followers choose which power they want, allowing casters who despise the undead to still use the negative energy channel feature to damage living wrongdoers.
    • Spells in Pathfinder First Edition have alignment descriptors, but as long as casting those spells doesn't make a divine character offend their deity too much, they can be used. Frequent or flagrant use, or uses that cross the Moral Event Horizon, will cause alignment shift, but for many characters that doesn't really mean much mechanically.
    • Pathfinder Second Edition now links the Sorcerer's magical tradition to their bloodline, and infernal and demonic grant divine spells. This means that a demon-blooded sorcerer could load up on holy and healing magic due to their demonic influence. Or they could take all the darkest divine spells. Either way, if they keep their moral footing, it's this trope. The witch is similar.
  • In Deadlands: Hell on Earth, there are the Anti-Templars, who draw upon the powers of the Reckoners to perform horrific acts of Black Magic. However, these individuals typically not only use their powers because they believe they are weakening the Reckoners by stealing their energy, their usual purpose for becoming Anti-Templars is to save as many people as possible, even if they must sacrifice their souls to do so, whereas their Templar counterparts feel that only the "worthy" should be saved, and all else condemned. The authors strongly disagree with this Pay Evil unto Evil approach, and consequently an Anti-Templar is by default a Tragic Villain and/or Well-Intentioned Extremist in the making since the rules support that overusing their power will slowly corrupt them and turn them evil, but many fans feel that the Anti-Templars are the more heroic force.
  • World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade you're a freaking vampire! Sure, powers like super strength, speed, and invisibility aren't necessarily evil sounding, but being able to rip the blood out of someone? Manipulate shadows? Control people's minds? Transform into horrible beasts and control bats and rats? Of course, it doesn't help that all powers are fueled by the blood of your prey. The good people part of this comes from how the standard vampire is someone following the "Path of Humanity" trying to keep themselves from giving in to the beast within and hold onto human morals.
    • The Lucifuge from Hunter: The Vigil are children of Satan who said "screw you dad" and now go around using their powers to fight monsters such as vampires and werewolves. Said powers include summoning demons, throwing Hellfire, making someone bleed out of their skin so that tracking them is easier, etc, etc. Not only do they use these powers to protect humanity, but they're actually one of the nicer conspiracies, in that they're actually willing to investigate the monsters beforehand in order to see if they merit destroying. Unfortunately, there's explicitly a very good chance that having The Dark Side as a Villainous Lineage and using it eats away at any goodness you may have, given enough time.
    • Played straight and subverted in Leviathan: The Tempest. According to the Tribe's origin myth, Marduk was a man who drew power from humanity's despair, which he then used to fight and kill the Progenitors, freeing humans in the process. Unfortunately, when he tried to then spread hope around the world, his disciples, realizing that would weaken their powers, murdered him and founded a society dedicated to make sure there is plenty of despair in the world, all while still pretending to be good guys.
    • Princess: The Hopeful has some Darkened called Deluded Vigilantes, who received powers from the Darkness but try to use them for good, fighting crime and other Darkspawns. Since they use powers that are evil by their very nature, they usually end up becoming ruthless Knight Templars with a warped perception of what a crime is, but because they still are motivated by good intentions, this means Princesses can actually try to reason with them and solve the situation peacefully, typically by offering them new, safer powers (typically by making them Sworn). It's also mentioned there are very rare cases of such Darkened who do have enough willpower to keep control over their abilities, and can become valuable allies to Princesses while still keeping them.
  • Exalted: Any heroic Abyssal or Infernal Exalt. Drawing power from the beings who created the Underworld with their passing and defined Hell with their imprisonment will do that to you. An Abyssal's powers are 90% about killing things, while Infernal powers are the actual abilities of their insane Primordial patrons. This makes heroism difficult for Infernals with the Ebon Dragon's charms, as he's pretty much the living embodiment of the concept of Villainy.
    That said, all is not lost. With a bit of reading between the lines, Infernals have Charms that help defend their loved ones, enable eternal unsleeping defence of your realm, create food, bestow useful mutations, cause injuries to regenerate, force corrupt gods to do their jobs, and rip the password to turn off the ticking soulbreaker orb right out of the bomber's mind. Even the Ebon Dragon's stuff can be used benevolently on the condition that one is being spiteful and malevolent towards worse people than yourself. Abyssals work on the same principle: no one said you could only kill decent people.
  • In the tabletop game Mutants & Masterminds, more evil powers are not restricted to evil guys, but just asking to be used. Who doesn't want the ability to sicken people by altering their nerve impulses with a touch (granted, it's the same power to sicken them any other way, but considering how many elemental-themed superheroes there are, this is pretty much going to occur to everyone)?
    • One fan expansion of Freedom City has the character Horrorshow, who has the power to sense someone's greatest fear and project an illusion of it so realistic the victim experiences actual injury. He only does this on criminals and never causes permanent damage, believing in Scare 'Em Straight, rather than Scare 'Em To Death.
  • GURPS Psionics rounds out its discussion of Psychic Vampirism by pointing out that one can use it to do things like leech away negative emotions (calming angry characters, soothing depressed ones, etc.) and remove debilitating nightmares—as well as attack villains, of course.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, having the ability to Mind Rape or kill in unbelievably horrible ways is generally grounds for immediate execution or corruption by Chaos, but conversely, it also makes one an attractive prospect for recruitment by the Inquisition.
    • Then again, using "Good" to describe anyone in 40K is really overselling it at the best of times.
  • Non-evil Necromancers in Rifts are possible, though a "Selfish" alignment is the best they could hope for, and it's doubtful that even the most well-intentioned Necromancer is going to be palling around with the forces of good. And any Necromancer who has moral qualms about messing with the dead is going to be forfeiting a lot of his power when it would be much easier to choose a less morally-ambiguous discipline in the first place. Good Shifters (wizards who specialize in summoning creatures and dimensional travel) are possible, but there's nothing inherently evil in their powers. It's just that the evil ones, using their powers to unleash demons and monsters on the land for nefarious purposes, get all the press.
  • One of the sample Madness Talent in Don't Lose Your Mind is the Knife. It's a knife that can kill anything; mortals, ghosts, immortals ideas and other abstract concepts... but the knife can also be used to cut off flaws, sever unhealthy relationships, and kill personal demons.


    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Some of the characters have talents that seem to imply moral ambiguity or outright villainy, but the characters themselves are decent people.
    • Mondo Owada is the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader. While he does have a Hair-Trigger Temper, he's an honorable sort that cares for his gang and wants to end the killing game. While he does kill Chihiro, it comes in a Moment of Weakness and he admits he blacked out from rage and couldn't remember actually doing the deed, and he accepts his execution without a fight, being more regretful that he couldn't keep his promise to Chihiro.
    • Fuyuhiko Kuzruyu is the Ultimate Yakuza, and while rough around the edges, he doesn't have it in him to kill anyone, especially after his Character Development.
    • 'Ultimate Impostor' sounds like a rather sketchy talent to have, but the guy himself is one of the sweetest characters in the series; often, the biggest clue that he's not the person he's imitating (aside from his weight) is that he's far nicer than the real deal. When he's imitating Byakuya, he acts haughty but immediately tries to take charge and prevent any murders- compare that to the real Byakuya, who had no empathy for the victims, once messed with the crime scene for his own amusement, and only took action against the Mastermind after chapter 4.
    • V3's resident 'evil talent' is Kokichi Ouma, the Ultimate Supreme Leader. And while he's The Gadfly and his goodness is in question due to his status as a Consummate Liar, he does play a major role in trials. He's revealed as Good All Along after his death.
    • Maki is the Ultimate Assassin, but she's The Stoic at worst and gets better over the course of the game.
  • Shiki of Tsukihime. With his demon assassin abilities and Mystic Eyes of Death Perception that shows him, "To kill this person cut on line / stab at point here," the only reason he isn't the Grim Reaper incarnate to anyone within his knife's reach are the migraines his powers give him while sapping his life away, but he acts just like an Ordinary High-School Student.
    • Shiki of The Garden of Sinners has much the same issue, only she does NOT have the headaches, and doesn't bother going to school. She's still neutral at worst.
    • Also in the Nasuverse one can make a credible argument for Rider of the Fifth Grail War. Her real identity is Medusa and most of her Noble Phantasms aren't that nice. Blood Fort Andromeda drains people of their energy and eventually reduces them to piles of blood and organic ooze. Summoning her mount Pegasus involves creating a spray of blood by stabbing herself in the neck and the bridle Bellerephon is used to whip the normally docile beast (which in some interpretation of the myth is her own child) into insane fury and bloodlust. The only exception is her mask, Breaker Gorgon, which seals her mystic eyes. Rider herself however is actually quite a nice person and more like The Woobie once you get to know her.
  • During her first appearance in Battle Moon Wars, Matou Sakura relies exclusively on her own shadow magic to defend herself and really doesn't do a very good job of it. After she's kidnapped, nearly turned back into Dark Sakura by Zouken Matou, and subsequently rescued with The Power of Love, Sakura Takes a Level in Badass and starts using her connection to Angra Mainyu as the power source for her attacks while still remaining a textbook example of a Nice Girl. May also be an aversion to Evil Is Not a Toy.
  • The "Bad Boys Love" route of Hatoful Boyfriend indicates that this was true of Fujishiro Nageki when he was alive; he was the carrier for a fast-acting lethal-to-humans virus, and committed suicide to stop Dr. Shuu's attempts to weaponize it. By the end of the storyline (assuming you get the good ending), Ryouta becomes a carrier for the same virus and chooses to be isolated to prevent it from spreading, hoping only that he'll be able to be cured someday.
  • Aoba of DRAMAtical Murder has the ability to Mind Control and Mind Probe people with his voice, an ability that can permanently destroy people's minds if abused, and his powers are explicitly linked with death and destruction. He also has a Superpowered Evil Side that grows stronger the more often he uses his power. In spite of all of this, he's an unwaveringly good-hearted and selfless person who's horrified when he accidentally renders one of his friends comatose by entering his mind and finds a good use of his destructive powers in exorcizing the mental demons tormenting his friends/love interests.
    • The same could be said of Aoba's twin brother Sei, who has the ability to brainwash people by merely looking at them but turns out to just be a lonely and abused pawn of the Big Bad who asks Aoba to Mercy Kill him when they finally meet.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Qrow Branwen has the ability to cause bad luck of varying degrees. While certainly useful in battle, the problem is that it is passive and permanently active, effecting friends, foes, and even himself; in turn, he's developed a rather sour outlook on life, not trusting himself to be around others for long periods of time lest he bring his loved ones misery. Nevertheless, he abandons the murderous bandit tribe who raised him to become a proper Huntsman when Professor Ozpin becomes the first person to see any worth in him beyond being The Jinx, prompting Qrow to give him his Undying Loyalty. Unfortunately, when he learns the Awful Truth about Professor Ozpin's past and the mission he's been following for years, his entire world shuts down, he succumbs fully to his alcoholism and, for a while, becomes a massive burden to the heroes.
  • The White Knight in The Cyanide & Happiness Show takes this to comical extremes, being essentially a racism-themed superhero. His outfit includes a KKK hood, swastika boots, and a Confederate flag cape, and his powers include White Flight, which manifests a burning cross on his back that lets him fly, and White Sight, which allows him to identify a criminal just by looking at them (and suspiciously only seems to trigger when he's looking at black people). Despite this, he reacts with complete bafflement and disgust when a genuinely racist police chief complains that he isn't leaving enough black people for the regular cops, and seems utterly bewildered at the implication that his actions have any kind of racist intent.
  • Battle for Dream Island: Black Hole is, as his name implies, a black hole, whose suction powers are true to life in that they cause mass destruction whenever people or things get too close to him. Despite this, he's a Mellow Fellow who doesn't like causing damage, and is the Number Two of Death P.A.C.T., a team dedicated to preventing the deaths of other people.

  • Dominic Deegan:
    • Rilian seems to embody this — as the first Necromancer, he uses his powers to help maintain the balance between life and death. And mess with people's heads. And Kick Jacob Deegan in the head until he understands that Death Is Not Zombies. In conversation with Dominic, it's pointed out that there are non-villainous necromancers whose primary duties revolve around funerary rites. That said, he gets way too much mileage out of his Omniscient Morality License and has a strong tendency to be a Jerkass. Of course, when we find out that a few hundred years ago he was a jolly, friendly plump guy who seriously considered calling his new form of magic 'deathomancy,' it's a little sad how completely he's become what he is today. Dark may not be evil, but evidently it wears you down. Or maybe that's the thankless centuries of world-protecting with the face of a skull.
    • The strip plays Bad Powers, Bad People straight with all the infernomancers, though. They sold themselves to hell for power, and apparently it is either impossible to do that with good intentions, or impossible to hold on to good intentions for more than five minutes after doing so; "there is no such thing as an infernomancer with a heart of gold." Bulgak Adrak cannot escape Hell until he fully accepts that he earned his place there and repents. His soul then explodes. This is a good thing.
    • Word of God says the demons are all fully, fundamentally evil for the same reason. They can't become demons without actively participating in the evil that is hell. Karnak has still managed to become a mystery on this score without truly approaching Noble Demon, only partly because since the war in hell he has started to get all kinds of really kick-ass Moments. The mystery is resolved with The Reveal that Karnak isn't a true demon, but a human mutated by the powers of Hell. He's still not a good person — good people don't try to Murder the Hypotenuse or attack children — but he isn't fundamentally evil.
  • Zoophobia's Damian possesses immense demonic powers and shapeshifting abilities but chooses to use them for nothing more than harmless pranks and to mess with others.
  • The image is of "The Girl with the Skeleton Hand" from Johnny Wander, readable here with a sequel here. Death, a polite, awkward guy, goes on a date with Cecilia and kisses her hand, accidentally turning it skeletal.
  • Starslip:
    • A comedic variant: Quine the Obstructive Bureaucrat is finally putting his dread powers of annoyance to good use, slowing down Starcon's pursuit by burying them in red tape.
    • Just about any of Mr. Jinx's myriad and horrifying biological functions would be the basis for a particularly disturbing Xenomorph expy. Instead, he uses them to save the crew.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • A Dragon Magazine comic has a Medusa who doesn't want to hurt people, so Durkon sets her up with a job where she petrifies the terminally ill, to be de-petrified when medical science advances enough to be able to cure them.
    • The vampire Durkon helps defend the Order against an attacking army with its Hypnotic Eyes and Touch of Death. Subverted in that the vampiric spirit possessing Durkon is Evil All Along.
    • Melisander, who appears in a sidestory in Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, is the ghost of an elven maid who gets discovered when people move into her now-deserted city. She wants to keep up her old work, but is stymied by the fact that being a ghost in D&D doesn't provide you with a lot of avenues to help others: she's incorporeal, so she can't do any usual custodial duties, and her main ghostly powers are possession (which is highly unpleasant for the possessed individual), an aging gaze (they try using it on fruit tree saplings and it results in cursed fruit), and a touch that puts people to sleep. This last one ends up being her saving grace, as she can use it as a cure for insomnia.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Torg gains a magic sword that can kill just about anything. This isn't so bad, since "anything" includes murderous, soul-stealing demons. The catch is that, to use this power, the sword needs to feed on the blood of the innocent before battle. Fortunately or unfortunately, Torg is usually able to find plenty of innocent people bleeding to death when he really needs it. It's worth noting that the sword can talk after coming in contact with innocent blood, and when Torg accuses it of being evil, it replies that it's only a sword, has no alignment, and will be used for good or evil depending only on the master who wields it.
  • Capricorn from Zodiac is demon-possessed and can willfully (and sometimes unwillfully) transform from introverted teen to fire-breathing monstrosity. She is not particularly fond of this situation and was quick to ask Aquarius to exorcise her when she found out that Aquarius was an advanced magic-user. Aquarius explained that she can't because demon possession was of a different religious school.
  • In the webcomic Zom Ben, the title character is a superhero whose power of turning into a zombie is gained from an amulet that Set gave him.
  • This is pretty much the entire premise of Zebra Girl. It starts off with a carefree, lighthearted guy playing around with a book called the Tome of Evil. Said tome accidentally (maybe, turns out it's sentient) turns his roommate into a demon-girl, whose unique stripes and hooves makes her the titular heroine of the strip. Now SHE'S the one with the bad powers but is trying to keep as much of her life together as possible... While making things spontaneously combust when angered, having claws that can shred anything, every bodily fluid (Word of God says yes, every fluid) being highly corrosive, and gaining sustenance by devouring life force. And coffee, which somehow is the only thing she can still taste properly given the acid-saliva. It's one long struggle to enforce this trope instead of slipping into Evil Feels Good. Then, to defeat an enemy who has completely embraced demonic power, Shandra does as well... and doesn't look back, inverting this trope for a very, very long time in-universe.
  • With the exception of Gamzee and his dancestor Kurloz, most of the characters in Homestuck with apparently evil attributes use them for good purposes. Karkat, the Knight of Blood, is a surly but essentially good character, and his dancestor Kankri at least tries to do the right thing. Likewise, the two Doom players (Sollux and Mituna) are both heroic protagonists.
  • Chiasmata:
    • Many characters from the expanded universe qualify for this, like Misanthrope, a friendly, social girl who is so radioactive that can't even be in the same room as anyone without some serious detriments to their health. There's also Saboteur, who has the ability to induce entropy in matter. However, she is a well-meaning individual who is absolutely terrified of her abilities and the idea of hurting someone. Especially since the combination of her powers awakening and an anxiety attack has already caused a lot of damage.
    • One character who plays with this trope is The Devouring Hate, who went on a murderous rampage after her loved ones were killed in a 564 attack, draining the blood of multiple civilians and turning it into a giant spiderlike construct, before being sedated and taken into custody by the Benefactors League. Some time and psychiatric care later she has regained most of her sanity and is genuinely remorseful for what she did, even though she wasn't exactly in the right mind at the time.
  • Peligroso from Heroes Alliance gains his power from a pact struck with a devil named 'Wraith'. He has some anger management issues but uses his power to pound on the bad guys.
  • In Cucumber Quest it eventually turns out that the Nightmare Knight is an example of this. He's actually a pretty nice guy and doesn't want to hurt anyone, but he's also an Emotion Eater whose powers are based entirely around fear and despair and is secretly terrified of being seen as weak. Worse, if people aren't scared of him, than his children, the Disaster Masters, will disappear because his powers are the only thing sustaining them; if he stops now, he'll kill them.
  • In Earthsong, Tristram's Vampiric Draining proves to be this after he resolves his Trapped in Villainy issues and has a Heel–Face Turn. Used judiciously, it lets him store Life Energy from plants, heal others by transferring energy into them, and subdue people harmlessly by siphoning just a bit of their power.
  • Super Stupor: Magic Eye has the power to force a person to tell the truth. Unfortunately, his penis has to be in them for it to work - meaning that using it on an unwilling subject would be rape. He prefers not to even talk about that power.
  • Awful Hospital:
    • Willis is a Blood Sucker who cheerfully discusses the times he's drunk adult humans dry. He's also about the size of an Ipod and has the personality of a ten-year-old child. Fern essentially adopted him and he's quite happy to help her navigate the Hospital.
      Willis: [about his trip to the Grey Zone] I drank a couple things that were you-shaped but then they stopped moving and when I checked again they were just GROSS!!! Don't live there Fern! You could stop moving and get GROSS!!!
    • Maggie is a walking, talking maggot and Pest Controller, and also one of the most kindly and likeable individuals Fern has encountered to date. Magdolene, Maggie's "daughter"note , seems to have inherited her mother's personality.
  • TwoKinds usually plays Bad Powers, Bad People straight, the protagonist, Trace Legacy, is an avid practitioner of Black Magic, resistant to The Corruption of mind, body, and soul that mucking about with the stuff usually entails. However, that's because said corruption is compartmentalized into a Superpowered Evil Side that manifests as an Enemy Within; visualized as a demon made out of black smoke and hellfire.
  • JoJopolis: Murder Most Foul, Sonny Zeppeli's Stand, has the power to induce cell death in any organism it touches. Sonny is also one of the main heroes, and he'd really rather not kill if it's unnecessary. He even uses his power for good, specifically killing the cells of the brain tumors in Butterfly's Dream users, freeing them of the mind-controlling effect.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Osu is a very nice person. It's just that every part of his body is an addictive hallucinogen. He can drug people by standing in the same room as them. The number of people that can be around him without taking a special medicine can be counted on one hand.
  • The title character of Erma. Possessing all the powers of a frightening onryo. Shapeshifting, mind control, a propensity to go One-Winged Angel when she's really angry, etc. Erma herself however is at her core your average little girl who wants to play with friends and her toys. She's also a sweetheart in general.

    Web Original 
  • Cody Giles, AKA "Odelarch" from Angel of Death is, in his true form, a large, putrid walking corpse whose powers include devouring the souls of the living and pooping them out a slaves he can use to spy for him or animate corpses, making any material (including dead flesh) rot at hyper-speed, killing anyone with a touch, inflicting any disease on anyone with a touch, and draining all of the light out of an area around him. He wears a Black Cloak and wields a Sinister Scythe. Despite all of this, he is an incredibly moral character, who is constantly concerned with doing the right thing and only devours human souls because if he did not, he would soon starve himself into a frenzy and eat hundreds of people.
    • Other Liches, though, are much less benevolent.
  • Tennyo from the Whateley Universe is effectively a human machine built for destruction. She's also a very shy girl firmly on the good side who likes reading and ballroom dancing.
    • Sarah Waite aka Carmilla. Daughter of the demon Gothmog, granddaughter of the Shub-Niggurath, descended from Cthulhu on the other side of her family, has Lovecraftian Superpower, eats by sucking the lifeforce out of living creatures, has killed humans to survive, and is predicted to wipe humanity off the face of the earth to be replaced with her spawn. She's trying to be a hero.
    • Gotterdammerung can disintegrate matter by touching it, sometimes by accident, and his upper limit is somewhere around 700 kilograms. He's a shy Wholesome Crossdresser who just wants to be left alone.
  • In his Dragon Age II, Let's Play, Gronkh played an overall Lawful Good warrior... with the Reaver specialization.
  • John Lant from Phaeton tried to be this, but died before he had a chance to use them.
  • SCP Foundation:
  • The Millennial King was created by /tg/ when the board wondered why there seemed to be no good necromancers. The titular king becomes a Benevolent Mage Ruler who uses his necromantic creations to destroy the need for a menial worker caste and respects his citizens' right to refuse becoming undead when they die of natural causes. This is usually not a problem, as there are no shortage of volunteers.
  • Critical Role:
    • Fjord, of the second campaign, is a sailor-turned-warlock who entered a pact with a dark being called Uk'otoa to save himself from drowning after a shipwreck. His magical powers include Mind Manipulation, demon summoning, necromancy, and worse, but Fjord himself is a relatively noble and good-hearted man. Eventually, he rebels against Uk'otoa and starts taking levels in Paladin, under the auspices of a nature goddess. While he keeps all his old warlock powers, they take on more natural and less eldritch qualities.
    • Laudna from the third campaign looks like a vampire, is indeed (maybe) dead, and her powers are generally very creepy, such as her form of dread which looks so terrible that it causes actual fear in everyone who sees it, or her message spells getting accompanied by dissonant whispers. However, as a person, Laudna is actually very friendly and caring.

    Western Animation 
  • Marceline from Adventure Time is a vampire, and can turn into a hideous monster when upset, but certainly isn't a bad person. It helps that she doesn't need to subsist on blood. It turns out she used to be a vampire hunter and successfully eradicated the evil vampires, although she got turned in the process, but retained her morality.
    • Flame Princess burns pretty much everything she touches, and has a compulsive need to destroy things, but is still a perfectly nice girl.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra:
    • Firebending is an interesting example. At the time Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place, the Firebending style that most people know is fueled by rage and hate, but a few characters, like Jeong Jeong and Zuko, have been known to use this style without becoming really evil, and we are shown enough to see that even the storm-trooper-like firebending Faceless Mooks are just guys (and possibly girls) who happen to have taken the standard career path of 'benders in their nation and joined the army, which happens to be conquering the world. They presumably possess a standard variety of personal moralities, although the propaganda they're raised on can't help anything. A firebender in the first season even makes fire dragon constructs to entertain the crowds. And the true, original style of Firebending, which Zuko later learns, is a creative, life-giving force (like the sun) taught to mankind by benevolent dragons. Aang and Iroh have also learned this style from the dragons.
      • Jeong-Jeong is a curious example in that he managed to turn firebending into something more defensive (though not entirely harmless) whilst still firmly believing that firebending was an inherently destructive ability, and envied the healing skill of waterbenders. Zuko, by contrast, needed to find the original source of firebending before turning his practice of it to a more positive use. Not that his use of it to express his feelings by turning the campfire into a pillar of flame in the Beach Episode wasn't kind of cool, and basically harmless.
    • Katara learns to use bloodbending, and she's firmly on the side of good. Unlike any of the previous examples, bloodbending is never redeemed either during the original series or The Legend of Korra: indeed, its use is banned by law.
    • Lavabending, introduced in The Legend of Korra, is also an interesting example being an exceedingly rare ability that embodies all the destructive aspects of Firebending, Earthbending, and Waterbending with none of the creative, life-giving, or constructive aspects of those powers. As things stand in the show there have only been two non-Avatar Lavabenders: the villainous Ghazan who uses it to terrifying effect like demolishing the entire Northern Air Temple and the whole mountain it stood on, and Bolin the Idiot Hero who gets closer to being Incorruptible Pure Pureness than any other character in the entire series. Notably, it takes Bolin's loved ones being seconds away from death for him to even realize he's capable of doing it, and after that, he tends to only use it when it's actually needed and merely default to regular Earthbending the rest of the time, unlike Ghazan who's first resort is to just wreck everything with lava.
  • Danny Phantom's Ghostly Wail. Danny first learned of this power when he saw Dark Danny using it. Since its only use is for total destruction, and the fact that it severely drains him of energy, Danny only uses it as a last resort.
  • The Dragon Prince: Dark Magic in general, which requires the body parts of magical creatures (sapient or not) to work. Practitioners believe that Dark Is Not Evil, but elves and dragons see it as an abomination. Teenage prodigy Claudia uses it despite usually being a totally kindhearted Cloud Cuckoo Lander; her father, while certainly on the darker side of the moral alignment these days, once used it to avert a famine that would have killed thousands. Unfortunately for Dark Magic's publicity, both of them start Slowly Slipping Into Evil as events in Season 3 fall out of their control, with Claudia sacrificing a number of injured elves to resurrect Viren after his Disney Villain Death while Viren forcibly mutates a number of his soldiers to give his army an advantage as he goes out to kill the titular Dragon Prince, who at this point is a baby.
    • Epitomized by Ziard, the first human dark mage. While his first appearance in the intro has him seemingly kill magical creatures for power, the full scene shown in season 3 shows that he was doing it in order to save an entire human city from a murderous dragon.
  • Final Space: It's revealed in Season 3 that Ash, one of the heroes, got her destructive powers from Invictus. She's still one of the good guys at first, until Invictus corrupts her.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The Cat Miraculous bears the power of destruction, and allows its wielder to use the "Cataclysm" technique, which causes anything to crumble to dust at a touch. It's hard to imagine a more "bad guy" power than that, but like every other Miraculous, it was created with the explicit purpose of empowering heroes. Its current holder, Cat Noir, is one of the show's main protagonists, 100% on the side of the angels; the only time he's even thought about using Cataclysm on a person was when he was Brainwashed and Crazy (and once when he was still learning his powers and didn't realize that the Monster of the Week was a transformed human victim). However, in "Dearest Family", it's shown that Tikki has a dangerous addiction to sweets to the point that she creates gigantic galette as a Lucky Charm without a channeled user, which nearly destroys Paris. Plagg explicitly states "There's a reason there's also a kwami of Destruction."
  • Zigzagged in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Both Celestia and later Twilight Sparkle were able to use the same black crystal spawning magic of King Sombra that was explicitly referred to as dark magic fueled by fear and hatred. However, the next season referred to it as "Alicorn" magic, meaning either it inherently isn't evil or Alicorns inherently are (the latter is highly unlikely). This has never been addressed any further in the series.
  • One of the spells that Luz learns how to perform in The Owl House is Petrification. While it's not specifically stated to be evil, it does have very negetive conotations on the Boiling Isles due to being used as a form of public execution (something that her mentor Eda nearly fell victim to in the season 1 finale). Understandably, Luz labels it as "BAD" in her notes after learning it and never uses it again.
  • The Powerpuff Girls were made to believe their powers were bad in their movie because they were irresponsible with them. When they found out what responsibility meant, that changed them.
  • Zak Saturday from The Secret Saturdays. His cryptid controlling powers turn out to be the powers of Kur, the most evil cryptid to ever exist. Naturally, Zak fights against this dark nature within him and uses it to do good for the world. Although, unlike some cases, he doesn't fully overcome the darkness within him as his powers are taken from him by Argost (who ends up destroying himself due to already having the antimatter version of that power), leaving Zak as a normal person.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Queen Eclipsa uses taboo dark magic. That, along with abandoning her Mewman husband to elope with a Monster, got her labeled as "evil" by the Magic High Commission. While she is by no means perfect, she's not actually a bad person. She is a loving wife to Globgor and a doting mother to her daughter Meteora and to her granddaughter Starnote , and is in truth a Sympathetic Adulterer who refused to carry on Mewni's historic persecution of the Monsters. Her dabbling in dark magic was born out of her belief that there is no such thing as inherently bad or evil knowledge.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
  • In The Venture Bros., Dr. Orpheus is a necromancer (though he says he uses the title because it sounds cool, he has done genuine necromancy) and is not only a good guy, but possibly the nicest character on the entire show.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Good People Bad Powers


Black Hole

Black Hole is a calm and gentle soul who wants to keep people from dying, but being an actual black hole, his powers are inherently destructive. Teardrop uses his fear of killing others as a gambit to keep him away from her block stack, but when she accidentally slips on a banana peel, she gets sucked up by Black Hole, who says that this is the worst day of his life.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (16 votes)

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Main / BadPowersGoodPeople

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