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Extradimensional Power Source

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"We harness energy drawn from other dimensions of the multiverse, to cast spells, conjure shields and weapons... to make magic."
The Ancient One, Doctor Strange (2016)

The laws of thermodynamics and conservation of mass prove there's a finite amount of energy in this universe. It can never be created or destroyed, but just change form. Of course, there Ain't No Rule that says you can't bring in energy from somewhere else to solve your needs. Enter the extradimensional power source, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: utilizing the energy from another reality for whatever purpose one might have in mind for it.

Depending on the work, the extradimensional energy can be of magical, technological, cosmic, or even quantic nature. The latter often happens in sci-fi works because otherwordly particles are convenient Applied Phlebotinum. Using energy from another world frequently has unforeseen consequences, because of how it may interact with a different world. At worst, that other world may be populated, and sucking the energy out of it is killing them.

If there is No Conservation of Energy in a work, this trope is the most likely reason. Contrast Background Magic Field, which is when the power comes from the same dimension as the user.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Black Paradox: The titular Black Paradox is a group of people who agree to commit suicide together, but in doing so discover a gateway to a parallel universe that disgorges jewels that serve as a great power source. It turns out this alternate universe is actually the afterlife, and the jewels are human souls.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, this is considered the basis of Forbidden Magic. It is explained that there is a separate universe filled with limitless energy, and the magic brings that energy to the world. The dungeon is also said to be created with similar magic. Turns out that there's a good reason such magic is forbidden: that other universe is a sentient, malevolent Genius Loci that the first dungeons were built to contain.
  • The plot of Dimension W is driven by devices called coils which draw upon energy from the titular dimension. This dimension has other unique properties that become problematic when overlapping with Earth's because illegal coils grow unstable drawing upon more power.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), it's revealed that the energy source for all alchemical reactions is the souls of those who died in an Alternate Universe. Specifically, our universe.
  • Macross: In the backstory, the Protoculture discovered an alternate dimension in which no apparent matter existed, only energy, and they hit upon using it as a nigh infinite power source. There was just one problem: they didn't consider that an absence of matter doesn't necessarily imply an absence of life... intelligent life at that. Some of the energy they brought over was in fact intelligent beings, and these beings lashing out over being used as power started a chain of events that lead to the downfall of the Protoculture's entire civilization.

    Comic Books 
  • The backstory of the 2000 AD series Detonator X has humanity finding a near infinite energy source in another dimension. Sadly, it's inhabited by gigantic dinosaurs who aren't happy about humans invading.
  • Both Lord Sovereign and The Pale Rider of Astro City derive their powers from the dark energy in the Void Between the Worlds. The more one uses their powers, the weaker the other becomes; this leads them to try and kill each other.
  • The Authority: The titular team's Living Ship is powered by a baby universe.
  • The DCU:
    • The Flash: The Speed Force is an extradimensional energy field that exists outside space and time and grants all speedsters their abilities.
    • The Shade (DC Comics): The Shade draws his Casting a Shadow powers from a quasi-sentient realm called the Shadowlands.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • When it's not directly explained in the comics, databooks usually Hand Wave No Conservation of Energy as characters tapping into an extradimensional source.
    • In general, drawing upon extradimensional energy is one of the three sources of power for magical spells.
    • The Pym Particles in Ant-Man and related comics enable Sizeshifting by transferring matter to a pocket dimension when shrinking, then transferring it back when growing. Played for dark humor in Bizarre Adventures when Black Goliath's size-changing is depicted as sucking innocent aliens into a singularity when he grows and spitting them back out as a melded blob when returning to normal.
    • Ms. Marvel (2016): In issue #34, this is revealed to be how Kamala's powers work whenever she gains or loses mass when she shapeshifts. All Kamalas through time and space are connected to a nexus dimension that binds each other at a molecular level. Whenever she stretches or enlarges, she's essentially borrowing mass from some point in the past, future, or parallel present that she's shrunken herself.
    • New Warriors: Speedball can summon a kinetic energy field from another dimension. During the "Time and Time Again" arc, Robbie is trapped in this dimension and finds that he can bend and manipulate it as an extension of himself.
    • X-Men:
      • One of the explanations given out for Cyclops' power is that his eyes are essentially a gateway to a non-Einsteinian dimension full of energy that translates as concussive force when entering this one. Or, as the fans would memetically summarize, "PUNCHES! FROM THE PUNCH DIMENSION!"
      • Spiral uses the energy of the dimensional crossroads known as "the Wildways" to power her spells.
  • In PS238, Victor von Fogg discovers a means of siphoning off energy from an alternate universe that he thinks is uninhabited, but which later turns out to be a non-metahuman universe disguised as a lifeless dimension where Zodon sent his parents.
  • RASL: The secret government experiments were all about drawing energy from other universes. Robert has to shut the projects down when he discovers that those other universes are inhabited, and the energy drain actually kills people, rather horrifically.

  • In Doctor Strange (2016), magic is powered by the energy of other realities with different laws of physics. This contrasts with the comics, in which the energy comes from beings from other dimensions.

  • The Culture has developed the ability to draw from an "energy grid" that exists between universes, a functionally limitless power source. This allows them to power massive space stations and build ships that are both huge and fast, with none of their internal space devoted to fuel tanks.
  • Ringbuilder technology from The Expanse works on this principle. It draws power from an older universe, using the conflict between our universe's physics and the older one to produce power akin to a turbine. It wound up killing the Ringbuilders because some form of life exists in that universe and really didn't appreciate having a "splinter" of our reality in it drawing power away.
  • In The Gods Themselves, human scientists create a device called the "electron pump", which can produce an infinite supply of energy by transferring matter from our universe to another universe (with different physical laws) and vice versa.
  • Honor Harrington: The impeller drive produces what's called the "energy-siphon" effect, which draws power from adjacent Hyperspace bands to partially offset the energy cost of the drive. Nothing particularly noteworthy compared to the rest of the series' technology. The exception is when a ship is using a "Warshawski sail" configuration to travel along grav waves, which significantly increases the siphoning effect, making them popular interstellar highways for the discount they offer on fuel consumption.
  • One of the novels in The Laundry Files discusses a being that uses other dimensions this way to maintain its own existence. It uses up all of the other dimension's energy, and attempts to do this to our world.
  • While Speaker for the Dead doesn't have Faster-Than-Light Travel, ships can still move at tremendous speeds due to the energy they siphon from another universe. Ender is a little disturbed by the situation.
  • In Star Carrier, interstellar ships are powered by zero-point energy field manipulation, in other words pulling power from pocket universes.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, the titular Stormlight, which powers magic and fills gems with light, is brought into the physical world when a Highstorm causes the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual planes to intersect, thus allowing energy to flow from one to another. In Oathbringer, Dalinar gains the ability to open a perpendicularity (essentially a portal) between realms that lets Stormlight in to recharge the powers of his allies.
  • In The Wheel of Time history, researchers in the Age of Legends identified an infinite extradimensional energy source that could power a new form of Channeling, the setting's Functional Magic. Unfortunately, the power source is the God of Evil, and creating a hole into its prison outside Creation ends very poorly for everyone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, Vorlon and Shadow ships tap directly into hyperspace for power. When the Interstellar Alliance builds two destroyers with a Vorlon Wave-Motion Gun, the power requirements, which would be nothing for a Vorlon ship, are significant enough that everything else on the destroyer powers down for a full minute. This can cause problems if the shot from the main cannon doesn't vaporize the target.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The two-parter "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday" has Torchwood attempt to harness the energy of an opening in the fabric of spacetime 600 feet above London. They believe that this will make Britain truly independent. As a consequence, the ghosts start coming through...
    • The interior of the TARDIS exists within another dimension. "Flatline" features the two-dimensional Boneless, who keep leaching the TARDIS's dimensional energy and causing the Bigger on the Inside part to seep away and by extension the exterior to shrink.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Road Not Taken", an Alternate Universe version of Samantha Carter was attempting to draw power from alternate realities. An accident during a test killed her and transported the prime universe version of Carter into that one.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
      • Zero-Point Modules draw zero-point energy from a pocket dimension in subspace, albeit one small enough that the Expedition has a habit of depleting ZPMs shortly after finding them. The Ancients tried a reactor that drew energy from this universe but exotic particles killed everyone on the planet, and when McKay tried to "fix" it he blew up a solar system by accident — well, five sixths of a solar system.
      • The episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller" has an inversion — the team attempts to create a stable version of the reactor by venting its exotic particles into a parallel universe, under the logic that it has only a Million to One Chance of being inhabited. Naturally, an alternate version of Dr. McKay soon shows up, who politely asks his counterpart to stop destroying his universe.
  • In Star Trek: Discovery, the flagship of the Terran Empire, the ISS Charon, has a reactor that draws power from the mycelial network and looks like a miniature sun floating in a cavity in the middle of the ship. Unfortunately, it's also killing the mycelium and threatens to end all life in The Multiverse. Apparently, it was designed by the Mirror Universe Stamets. Prime Stamets is understandably upset at what his double has done. Blowing up the Imperial flagship reverses the damage and allows the Discovery to ride the shockwave back to the Prime universe.
  • In Supergirl (2015), Mr. Mxyzptlk is an imp from the Fifth Dimension, which is pretty much just reality-warping energy in the form of another dimension. On Earth, he can connect to his home to use this energy to power what looks like magic.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Early editions of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons feature this:
    • Magic-users and clerics/priests draw the power to cast their spells from the Positive Material Plane, the Negative Material Plane or some other plane in the multiverse.
    • Undead with the ability to drain character levels receive this power from the Negative Material Plane. One undead, the mummy, gets its power to cause disease from its connection with the Positive Material Plane.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones, Transcendent implants blur the lines between universes to telekinetically move objects, phase through walls, start fires, or summon small Eldritch Abominations. However, the further the user reaches (measured in Cuil), the less likely they are to survive.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Warp, or Immaterium, which is a realm shaped by the thoughts, emotions, and mental aspects of all life within the material world and is not governed by the laws of physics we know. In a similar fashion, Psykers can draw power from this realm to fuel their abilities and shape the material world. Unfortunately, the Warp is overflowing with daemons and other horrifying entities, and utilizing psychic abilities is often enough to attract their attention.

    Video Games 
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Long-ago Precursors detected a vast reserve of Source magic outside the physical universe and tapped it to become the Seven Gods. Unfortunately for the world, that reserve was a barrier against the Void, and its weakening caused all Sourcery to become tainted.
  • Doom (2016): Mankind was facing an energy crisis and found an energy source in syphoning energy from Hell. Extracting this "Argent energy" is fraught with health risks, note  but using it once extracted and purified is perfectly safe. Of course, beyond the health risks is the fact that you've opened a Hell Gate to siphon it, and demons can and will pour through every so often. The plot is kickstarted by one of these demons offering one of the top scientists a deal with the literal devil.
  • The Fade in Dragon Age is the source of magic in the world of Thedas. It's a metaphysical realm where the spirits of the dead go and that most can fleetingly enter when sleeping, but only Mages can remain fully conscious when they visit. Unfortunately, the use of magic can make Mages targets for the demons that reside in the Fade.
  • The bad guys' plan in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey and Dreamfall Chapters involve stealing the dreams from a parallel world in order to power-up the Undreaming, a primeval force of destruction, in order to tear down the Divide between Stark and Arcadia.
  • In Xenogears, there is an entity/dimension known as the Wave Existence, which is a higher plane of reality of basically limitless power. It is essentially God, but somehow wound up trapped in a monolith called the Zohar. By proximity or usage of the Zohar, one has source to an endless abundance of energy.
  • In Xenosaga, the Upper Domain is a higher dimension filled with energy derived from the collective consciousness. In this game, there is the Original Zohar, which is described as a direct door to the U-DO, with access to limitless power and energy, and then there are the Zohar Emulators, which attempt to use the same "wavelength" as the Zohar but with many more imperfections and thus (while still powerful) pale in comparison to the Original.

    Visual Novels 

  • In Exterminatus Now, lightsabers and the Inquisition's Kill Sat work by drawing energy from the Warp (or, rather, the Kill Sat opens a pinprick-sized warp-portal for a fraction of a second, releasing energy equivalent to a nuclear bomb).
  • In Narbonic, Mell sends back a video tape from a Bad Future explaining that physical time travel requires all the energy in the universe, so she destroyed hers by sending that one message back in time. It's a lifelong dream. However, after that timeline is averted, Dave meets his and Helen's future daughter who says that they solved that problem by siphoning energy from other universes that don't want to exist as much.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger: As part of an extended Take That! to Star Trek: The Original Series (specifically, a sendup of the episode "The Doomsday Machine"), the second story arc has Quentyn incensed that the stand-ins for the UFP lugs around extremely dangerous canisters of Antimatter to fuel their warp drive, because Hyperspace itself can be tapped to fuel the engine much more safely and mass-efficiently (although all involved are glad to have so much antimatter on hand when the Planet Eater comes a-knocking). He's also annoyed that the federation Teen Genius who theorized this was possible was told to can it for political reasons.
  • Roomies!, It's Walky!, Joyce and Walky!: This occurs accidentally in It's Walky!. The main faction of human villains arrive from an alternate universe and shunt the leftover energy created by their portal into a random tree branch that's nearby. This not only accelerates the heat death of their home universe, it also creates the Power Booster Rod, which ends up being a massive Chekhov's Gun for the story.
  • When confronted, the aliens from Sequential Art explain that "retardium" is generated by willfully ignorant people, and exists in another dimension as a physical material. This material can be harnessed to sustain the aliens, who operate a reality television show to keep these people glued to their sets, generating plenty of retardium. The mechanics are spelled out beginning with strip #871.

    Web Original 
  • In Orion's Arm, a "Tipler Oracle" is a Pocket Dimension created by an Archai for the sole purpose of answering a question that even a godlike artificial intelligence can't handle on its own: it's seeded with self-replicating computational material, processes the question through its entire existence through Time Dilation, and passes the answer back through a wormhole before collapsing into a singularity. Despite all this, they're still fallible.
  • SCP Foundation: Several SCPs rely on (or are) extradimensional power sources. For example, SCP-3304 shows the drastic consequences when an extradimensional being tries to sell its own world's energy to ours. The wiki uses the tag "ectoentropic" for anomalies that violate conservation of mass and energy.
  • Whateley Universe: Presumably the Transdimensional Aranis-Hewley Power Station from Even Murphy's Law has Loopholes Chapter 3 and Chapter 5, which is based on a scientific paper titled Theoretical Arguments for Extra-Dimensional Power Sources to Explain Paranormal Abilities.
  • All powers in Worm are extradimensional in nature, drawing matter and energy from alternate Earths to fuel them. While it is possible to "drain the well" and thus no longer have a power, this is exceedingly rare (given the setting, you are much more likely to die first).

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, the Spirit Vines, which comes from the Spirit World, can be used as a new energy source. Kuvira mostly uses them to power her weapons.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "The Ricks Must Be Crazy", it is revealed that Rick's spaceship is powered by a miniature universe inside the battery: the people of the "microverse" generate electricity using foot-pedals, with a portion of the power being redirected towards the battery. Unfortunately, this stops working when a scientist of the microverse discovers how to create his own "miniverse" and generate free power without having to work the pedals. The inhabitants of the miniverse then create a teenyverse for the same purposes. In the end, Rick manages to restore his battery's power by giving the microverse's inhabitants an ultimatum: either they go back to using the pedals, or he gets rid of his non-functional battery (and destroys their universe in the process).
  • The magic used by the Butterfly family in Star vs. the Forces of Evil comes from a place called the realm of magic. It enters The Multiverse in two forms. The first is a golden liquid which flows into each universe at one specific location like water from a well. This can be collected and used for rituals, but prolonged exposure causes amnesia and insanity. The second is a Background Magic Field which is everywhere, but undetectable and extremely difficult to tap in to without a special wand that was made by the magic's living embodiment. As a result, anyone who has the wand becomes a target for those hoping to gain power for themselves.