Follow TV Tropes

Following

Biomanipulation

Go To

"Physiomancy is frequently credited as a healing art. This reputation is deserved, as its primary application is the knitting of broken flesh. But most students of the arcane do not fully appreciate that Physiomancy is merely a neutral manipulation of live flesh. As readily as it can be used to knit, it can be used to tear."

This is, quite literally, the power to manipulate biology and biological lifeforms (mostly animals, usually not plants), also referred to as biomancy, biokinesis, fleshwarping, fleshcrafting and more. Depending on the setting and the power level, it may vary in range (long-ranged vs. strictly hands-on), comprehensiveness (e.g. can only affect humans), or scope (e.g. limited to the user's own biology).

Advertisement:

This is potentially a very broad power, with its capabilities including, but not limited to:note  Healing Hands and/or Healing Factor, Psychic Surgery, Shapeshifting, Shapeshifter Weapon, Bio-Augmentation and/or Body Horror. Usually a Lovecraftian Superpower when wielded by bad guys.

Supertrope of Master of Your Domain, which is when you manipulate your own biology.

Compare with Organic Technology and Artistic License – Biology. Compare also Creating Life, where you can outright create biological lifeforms instead of just manipulating them.


Advertisement:

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto: Orochimaru's experiments let Jugo manipulate his own flesh in various ways. Aside from Voluntary Shapeshifting (including partially) into a powerful monstrous form, he can heal himself by absorbing another person's flesh, or heal others by donating his cells.
  • One Piece: Emporio Ivankov's Devil Fruit lets him create and inject hormones with an enormous variety of effects, including an instant sex change, adrenaline boost, and healing acceleration.
  • Susanoo: Both Shingo and Uryu use it, the former to turn his body into a muscled colossus in his Superpowered Evil Side (and to turn Aunuma into a mouse) and the latter to turn himself into a woman.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest: Winnowill started out as a healer, but over time became able to shapechange herself and create mutant monstrosities.
  • Marvel Comics:
  • Rat Queens: Voon creates the Flesher orcs with torturous vicissitude and a very high casualty rate. Survivors have natural weapons and a carapace harder than steel.

    Film 
  • Star Wars: This kind of power isn't unheard of in the Galaxy.
    • Revenge of the Sith: One key example occurs when Palpatine asks Anakin Skywalker if he's ever heard of "the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise". He claims it's an old legend about a Sith Lord who was so skilled at controlling life that he could create life itself and even stop others from dying, something the Jedi had no idea about. Palpatine leaves out the detail that Plagueis was, in fact, his own master, and that the apprentice who murdered Plagueis was himself. And that since he lived recently, it's entirely possible that Plagueis created Anakin, who has no biological father.
    • In Star Wars Legends (the former Expanded Universe), Jedi could use this power to heal themselves or others of wounds, rather than unethical genetic engineering experiments like the Sith like to do.
Advertisement:

    Literature 
  • The Blood Ladders: Female magic is based around the body while male magic affects the external world. Female magic is usually used for healing or transformation but it's discovered that it can be used for destructive purposes as well, and since the magic doesn't care whether the "body" in question is alive or not it proves to be one of the more effective weapons against the undead.
  • Liminal World: Taggart can use his power at range but it works a lot better when he's touching the target. He is referred to as healer by most people he meets but given that we see him stripping the myelin off people's nerves, redirecting their stomach acid to places stomach acid should never go, growing gills and armoring his own body in multiple layers of callused skin, he is clearly far more than that.
  • Perdido Street Station: Biotaumaturgy is magic through which flesh can be altered and reshaped. It's most notably used to turn criminals, political dissidents and other undesirables into the Remade, whose bodies have been twisted into grotesque shapes to serve the roles they have been enslaved to fulfill.
  • The Rook: the power of Myfanwy, the protagonist. She's able to use it in a variety of creative and lethal ways after her amnesia.
  • Shadow Ops: Physiomancers can use their power to heal, harm, warp or augment their own flesh or that of others as their skills permit
  • Unknown Armies: The Freak, from Godwalker, demonstrates this power via shapeshifting, gendershifting as well as healing of self and others.
  • Wild Seed: Anyanwu. Her healing powers are just a subset of her actual capabilities. Anyanwu is a healer but, as she gained experience, she learned to heal others and transform into various animal forms.
  • Worm: Panacea pretends to be just a healer, but it becomes clear that, excluding her own body, she make organic matter do anything with just a touch and a few seconds of thought.
    • Notably, she refuses to treat brain injuries, because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body and she doesn't trust herself with the power to change people's personalities or thoughts. The moment she actually learns how to do so, she "accidentally" places a family member under More Than Mind Control.

    Roleplay 
  • Bad Magic: Chang Liang can manipulate any part of his body, which helps when he's injured in the middle of battle.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues: Irene's superpower is fleshcrafting. She can manipulate a body's biology and change a person's hair colour, skin tone, mold their muscles and bones, or even grant them extra limbs.
  • The First Hero: Talon's "Gift" allows him to augment existing attributes and abilities of himself, others, and objects. Through use of this power he has made himself Immune to Bullets and given himself a Healing Factor, among other improvements.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Æon: The Aesculapians and the Norça both have this power, split in half: The Aesculapians can psionically manipulate living bodies, both their own and other people's, in order to heal or hurt them, while the Norça can psionically manipulate their bodies in order to do things like disguise themselves or grow gills or Wolverine Claws to better survive a situation.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Sarrukh Creator Race had the ability to shape and alter non-Sarrukh reptilian creatures. This serves as an explanation for the sheer variety of reptilian creatures in the Forgotten Realms, often with only minor differences to other types — the standard Sarrukh solution to a new problem was making a new creature to solve it.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Fleshwarping is a process through which the appearance and biology of a living creature are altered, sometimes drastically, through magical and alchemical means. It's a very common practice among the drow, who learned of it from Haagenti, the demon lord of alchemy and change, and comes in two distinct types:
      • Fleshcrafting is the less extreme variant, where only a relatively minor part of a being is altered. It's often done at the request of a willing patient, who will use it to grow some new appendage — scorpion claws, spider fangs, a chitinous shell, an eyestalk, and so on — to suit their current purposes. These can be temporary changes that will wither and fall off after a while or can be permanent additions.
      • True fleshwarping involves the submersion of the subject into a brew of mutagens, alchemical reagents and flesh-eating bacteria, which will reshape, warp and replace the victim's tissues until they either die or emerge into a new and usually grotesque shape. There's a strong pattern regarding the fleshwarp created by a specific "input" — fleshwarped drow always become driders, for instance, while elves become horrific, barely mobile and pain-wracked horrors of twisted flesh and broken bone, humans turn into mindless slug-like beings, gnomes into fleshy, immobile, mushroom-like things, orcs into centaurine centipede people, and so on.
    • Alghollthus naturally secrete a slime that can be used to cause physiological changes in both the alghollthus themselves and other creatures, or to serve as a substrate for more fine-tuned genetic engineering. They have historically made prolific use of this, shaping themselves into a variety of specialized forms and transforming other creatures into a variety of servants, soldiers and guardian monsters.
  • Trinity: The Aesculapians and the Norça both have this power, split in half: The Aesculapians can manipulate other people's (and their own) bodies psionically in order to heal them or hurt them, while the Norça can manipulate their bodies psionically in order to do things like disguise themselves or grow gills (or Wolverine Claws) to better survive a situation.
  • Unknown Armies has the magical school of Epideromancy, which is entirely built around this power. Adepts of this school can heal any injury that is not self-inflicted and can reshape themselves and others if they have enough charges.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Tzimisce power of Vicissitude allows them to warp flesh and bone at will and even graft on body parts from other creatures.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Biomancers are able to mold flesh for shapeshifting or healing, channel the Warp into their own body for superhuman speed, strength and toughness, or direct their natural electrical field into crackling bolts of lightning.

     Video Games 
  • The central mechanic of Misshapen is the player's ability to make enemies grow misshapen tumurous growths from their body, which come in a few different varieties such as sticky, heavy, or floating. This is mostly used for puzzle-solving and incapacitating enemies.

    Webcomics 
  • Aurora (2019): Life mages can encourage the growth of living things, which can be used for healing. It is also possible to use life magic to create chimeras, but doing so is forbidden.
  • Wayward Sons this is ship physician Hara's power, and she can even alter people effected by the Star Core. This power has also been prophetically linked to her eventual death.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-040 ("Evolution's Child"), has the anomalous ability of manipulating living matter. She uses it to modify existing life forms to create new ones. Her creations include SCP-040-1a (a Voluntary Shapeshifter she wears like a sweater, formerly a cat), SCP-040-1c (a Living Gasbag that can play music) and SCP-040-1j (a four-legged, eyeless creature that can Wall Crawl). This ability extends to reanimating dead bodies, although the resuscitated person had no memories of their former life and the intelligence of a toddler.

    Western Animation 
  • In Steven Universe, Rose Quartz is known for her healing tears and control of plant life. However, she was actually Pink Diamond in disguise, and the plant specialization was merely a strategy to disguise her real power over life in general. The ability that brings the plants to sentience, sapience, and mobility is actually the same one that heals the injured, raises the dead, and gives the same sentience, sapience, and mobility to inanimate objects: the liquid secreted from her Gem form bestows life and the replenishing of that life to all that comes in contact with it.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown the Monkey Staff was a Shen Gong Wu that gave the user agility, balance, and dexterity, but also gave him/her monkey-like features, such as a tail, facial features, and a craving for bananas. It could also potentially turn the user into an actual monkey if used too long. Despite this, it seemed to Jack Splicer's favorite Shen Gong Wu, and the only one in his possession in the Series Finale.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Biokinesis, The Biomancer, Biomancy

Top

Joseph Bertrand III

Bertrand is a conduit that can turn people into monsters.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Biomanipulation

Media sources:

Main / Biomanipulation

Report