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De-Power Zone

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In a world where there are people with superpowers, said people often stumble upon areas that, either by some quirk of nature or intelligent design, rob them of those abilities. Such areas can either disable a certain power set, or all kinds.

This is often used as a Drama-Preserving Handicap, with the affected individuals having to rely on their natural skills and smarts in order to prevail.

See also: Anti-Magic, Brought Down to Normal, De-power, Power Nullifier, and Your Magic's No Good Here. Compare with Kryptonite Factor, where the characters are de-powered because of one specific item they're vulnerable to. Also, this item may actually hurt the character, as opposed to simply counteracting their powers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Any area with a Control Spire in it prevents Digimon from digivolving (and in some instances, will force a Digimon to de-digivolve when they enter the area).
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Edolas is an Alternate Universe where magic is not naturally occurring and must be extracted for use in magical items. As a result, Earthland wizards are instantly Brought Down to Normal like the rest of Edolas' people unless they take a special drug designed to restore their abilities.
    • The Magic Council has a weapon called Face that can flood an entire continent with so much Ethernano that it can make it impossible to use magic, effectively turning a country into this. It uses this as a deterrent against the Alvarez Empire, threatening Mutually Assured Destruction should it invade. Unfortunately, it's hijacked and nearly used against Ishgar by Tartaros, forcing Wendy and Carla to destroy it before it goes off.
  • In Fate/Apocrypha, one of Achilles' Noble Phantasms allows him to create a "Duel Field" where no gods, outside help, or luck can intervene. This is designed to create a fair fight between him and his opponent, going so far as to completely nullify his own legendary invulnerability. It's on this playing field he battled Hektor in the Trojan War and Chiron during the Great Holy Grail War.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Anti-Magic Fields are a big focus of the season, but they are a downplayed example. AMF generators essentially create localized no-magic zones around them, but even the strongest AMF, like the one covering the interior of the Saint's Cradle, can be overcome by mages with truly exceptional mana capacity, such as the title character (but not her students, for instance).
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, there is a place in the Magical World where magic is completely nullified, and it is inhabited by ravenous beasts, making it a popular execution site. Not that it stops Nagi Springfield from rescuing his love from it.
  • One Piece: A prison formed from Seastone is this for Devil Fruit users, as Seastone (like sea water) neutralizes their powers and weakens them.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: In Issue #37 ("Behold, a Distant Star!"), the team travel to the Skrull homeworld, and find their powers fading out shortly after arriving, due to some unknown element in the planet's atmosphere (Though they later are able to restore their abilities through the use of Reed's power ray}.
  • Superman:
    • Kryptonians lose access to their powers in worlds orbiting a red star and while in the Phantom Zone.
    • The Phantom Zone: Superman cannot use any of his powers in the weird parallel dimension located between the Phantom Zone and the physical world.
    • Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom In order to train Supergirl, Superman takes Kara to a planet under a red sun where their powers do not work, and they must use other skills to survive.
    • In Let My People Grow!, Superman and Supergirl enlarge the Bottle City of Kandor on a red sun world. When Kandor begins crumbling to dust, the Drygur Moliom (Kryptonian for the Science Council leader) asks Superman to do something, but Superman reminds them he has no powers under Rokyn's red star.
      Drygur: "Superman, you must do something— quickly!"
      Superman: "But I can't, Drygur! Under this planet's red sun, I'm as powerless as any normal man!"
  • Several writers on Wonder Woman (1987) treat Themyscira as a place where Wonder Woman's superpowers do not function, which becomes a plot point in The Contest as it allows others to keep up with her and hides the fact that her strength is being siphoned to Artemis in a plot to ensure Artemis dies instead of Diana in a prophesied death of Wonder Woman.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Mana draining diagrams are possible, to be drawn to affect an area, turning locations into this for spellcasters, unless they have a constant source of power greater than the drain.
  • In the Dragon Ball Z fanfic "KiBlind", invading alien machines set up satellites that cover the Earth in a ki-dampening field that prevents anyone from using their ki abilities, including techniques, transforming, flying, and teleporting. Afterwards, spider-like machine troops are sent down to destroy everything and kidnap anyone who can repair them, using torture methods on them until they cooperate, and even after that.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sky High: The detention room is designed to neutralize the students' powers if they are in trouble for misusing them. It's later used as a make shift holding cell for Royal Pain and her goons after they're defeated.

  • Labyrinths of Echo: Castle Kholomi is where the offenders against the Ban on Magic are incarcerated because no regular magic can be cast within its walls, turning it into The Alcatraz for mages.
  • In Timeless, Alexia finally finds out what her father did to upset so many people: he created a structure at the Temple of Hatshepsut, made out of the mummified corpses of fellow Preternaturals. Over time, the Anti-Magic influence of these corpses strengthens, and will eventually extend to Cairo itself, meaning any Supernatural who goes there will lose their powers and turn human until they leave. She decides to leave it, so she and Maccon will have a place to eventually grow old together.
  • The Legends of Ethshar:
    • The spell Ellran's Dissipation creates zones where wizardry doesn't work, rendering wizards powerless.
    • The refuge world in The Final Calling isolates warlocks from the source of their power.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flash, the metahuman wing of Iron Heights is fitted with power dampeners that disable the powers of any incarcerated meta humans, including that of The Flash.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • In "The Wedding", Alpha 5 (who has been reprogrammed by the villains) tricks the Rangers into teleporting to an abandoned theatre on the edge of Angel Grove. According to Zordon, the theatre is a "vortex", which prevents their powers from working. While they retain their morphed forms, the Rangers are unable to teleport back out, nor can they call upon their Power Weapons.
    • In "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger", Zedd and Rita launch a plan to have their minions infiltrate Santa's workshop in order to send brainwashing toys all over the world. Before the Rangers set out to stop them, Zordon warns the heroes that, due to a combination of Christmas magic and close proximity to the magnetic north pole, neither their powers, nor those of the villains, will work up there.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Anti-magic fields and dead magic zones frequently act as this for spellcasters. And considering how much most adventurers are dependent on magic items, they're quite weakening for anybody.
    • The Truce Zone Portal Crossroad World of Sigil exerts this effect around the infinitely tall spire where it hovers. As one approaches, its influence suppresses progressively greater powers; within 100 miles, even the highest Divine Ranks lose their abilities. Oddly, within Sigil itself magic works fine, with the exception of Summon Magic, as it's only possible to enter or exit Sigil by using a Portal.
  • Pathfinder: With the spell "Create Greater Demiplane", a spellcaster can modify a Pocket Dimension to block all magic and supernatural powers within. However, it needs to be cast from inside the demiplane, so if there isn't already an exit portal, they're in trouble.
  • Shadowrun:
    • Astral topographies and Background Count serves as this for mages. Areas with background count penalize spellcasting and reduce the potency of active spells, foci and spirits. They commonly appear in areas where pollution or mass acts of death or suffering have caused disruptions in the local mana flow, or where followers of a specific magic tradition have created a mana topography beneficial only to themselves. For example, the Modern Mayincatec Empire capital of Teotihuacan is so suffused with Blood Magic that non-blood mages take a -4 penalty on all spellcasting there.
    • Spam and dead zones in the Matrix does the same to wireless internet by introducing noise penalties to Matrix actions. The former appear in areas with lots of high-intensity Matrix usage and advertisements present (such as downtown shopping areas, stock exchanges, etc) while the latter appear in areas with bad wireless coverage. They are usually, but not always, exclusive to each other.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade: Kishuna, a morph created and abandoned by Nergal, is a Magic Seal, a strange creature that can prevent magic from being casted in a certain zone.
  • Aramis Stilton's manor in Dishonored 2. It's a strange place that leaves you drained of spiritual energy and unable to use your supernatural powers.
  • In A Hat in Time, as part of a deal with the Snatcher, Hat Kid is unable to use her hat abilities in Queen Vanessa's Manor and has to deal with her the hard way. The only hats she's able to use are her default hat (which only points the player in the direction they need to go), and the Dweller's Mask (which only reveals hidden secrets). Both are not really useful in helping Hat Kid avoid Queen Vanessa.
  • The Spirit Crucible Elpys acts as one of these in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, by virtue of the absence of Ether particles in its air. Without Ether, the grand majority of Blades are weakened and starved of their source of power, which results in your own Blades' capabilities being restricted in combat situations while there. There are a few exceptions, though the only one in the base game (i.e., disregarding DLC) is Poppi, who has a built-in Ether furnace, and, thus, her own power source. The fact that Nia also struggles to breathe while there is one of the giveaways to the later reveal of her status as a Flesh Eater; a Blade infused with human cells as part of experiments to increase their potential power.
  • In Fixation, there are no-smoking areas where you cannot produce smoke to trigger detectors.
  • Both Destiny and its sequel make use of Darkness Zones to keep players on their toes during story missions, strikes, etc. Players’ regular abilities still work, but if a character dies, they have to either be revived by a teammate or wait for a timer to rejoin the fight. If an entire fireteam dies, they’re kicked back to the last checkpoint. Nightfall strikes add additional wrinkles like waiting a certain amount of time before living Guardians can bring their fallen teammates back, and once even went as far as to kick teams out of the mission on a full wipe.
    • Certain missions in the first game, including the Oryx boss fight at the end of the Taken King campaign, also use mechanics where Guardians are locked out from using their Super abilities.
  • Anthem disables players’ Javelin suits from accessing their flight capabilities in some areas, usually during combat sequences in missions. Freelancers can still use their suits’ hover mode, making it more of a mild inconvenience than an outright roadblock (and no problem at all for the Storm Javelin, which has the longest hover timer of the four suits).
  • A lobotomized Courier is incapable of drawing a weapon in the presence of the Think Tank in the Old World Blues DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. That is until the end if you choose to side with Mobius.
  • Monolith: In breaches, you are forced to use your basic peashooter if you have a non-basic weapon.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Being based on Dungeons & Dragons, featured an anti-magic field being deployed against Varsuvius by a vengeful black dragon mother. Unfortunately, being Brought Down to Normal was far less of a drawback for her than it was for them. They only survived the resulting Curb-Stomp Battle because the dragon was planning a Fate Worse than Death for them.
    • The gladiator prison of the Empire of Blood has permanent Anti-Magic fields around its cells to prevent escape or magical outside help. Naturally, this doesn't extend to non-magical checks, which Haley uses to her advantage by boosting her already sky-high Bluff ranks with a Potion of Glibness, allowing her to lie her way past the guards.
  • Sinfest had The Reality Zone, a section of the 'verse where the rules of the real world applied. While it was capable of turning a humanoid robot into a real woman (because there is no such thing as Ridiculously Human Robots), it also robbed devilkins of their infernal powers, reduced the anthropomorphic pig to a regular one, and caused the cartoonish looking characters to appear more photorealistic.
  • Spinnerette has Cherenkov-Kirby damping and enhancing zones, which affect superpowers in those areas. Dr. Universe and the Columbus team use one of the former as a "neutral meeting ground" in one chapter.
  • Unsounded:
    • Centuries of magical warfare between Alderode and Cresce have permanently ruined the Background Magic Field along the border, creating a demilitarized zone where Reality Is Out to Lunch and magic is either unreliable or impossible.
    • Excessive magic in an area can produce a temporary "khert-fire" where any magic either fails or automatically misfires. In a Flashback, a rebel faction Invokes a massive khert-fire to protect its leaders from the State's Sympathetic Magic.
    • The Background Magic Field only extends a limited distance from the continental landmass of Kasslyne, beyond which magic doesn't work. As a security measure, the royal palace of Cresce has towers tall enough to escape it. The oceans are also without magic, which is part of why local religions believe Hell is on the ocean floor.

    Web Original 
  • In Through the Motions, the SCRB system (short for Spell Containment and Reduction Boundary) prevents anyone within its area of influence from using magic, and also nullifies any enchantments cast outside of the boundary if an enchanted object or person should enter a SCRB-protected zone. The system is used by some stores as an extra layer of protection against magic-based burglaries.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, benders' abilities don't work if they meditate into the spirit world. They, however, can bend if they enter the spirit world physically through one of the portals at the world's poles.
  • Ben 10:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the season 6 finale "To Where and Back Again", the area around the changeling hive serves as this to the rescue team, thanks to Queen Chrysalis's throne, which was carved out of a ancient dark stone that absorbs all non-changeling magic.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty", Rick follows a sorcerer to his home dimension, and finds that all his high-tech weapons cannot operate there.
  • ThunderCats Roar: "Warrior Maiden Invasion" reveals that the "Thunder Brig" neutralizes the powers and even weapons of those imprisoned within.
  • Trollhunters: In "The Oath", the mountain where the Staff of Avalon is hidden is protected in a way where no forms of magic can be used within it.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series: The Savage Land in the season 2 finale, due to Mister Sinister surrounding it in an energy field that neutralizes all mutant powers.