Follow TV Tropes

Following

One Person, One Power

Go To

A setting where each of multiple characters has one, unique power. The power may occasionally have a name to refer to it (compare Differently Powered Individuals). May be tied to a Mass Super-Empowering Event in the backstory, or connected to a Meta Origin.

Some powers might more versatile than others, of course. These may include the power to copy or steal other powers, as long as that is the person's only designated power. Nobody gets Combo Platter Powers by default (which would mean that those who do are unnatural, and usually artificial, cases).

Advertisement:

See also Everyone Has a Special Move, Signature Move. Compare One Super One Powerset.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Anyone with the titular Geass from Code Geass has one ability that can be used in a variety of ways should the user get experimental, as series protagonist Lelouch demonstrates early on.
  • In One Piece, there appears to be only one of each Devil Fruit, and nobody can have two Devil Fruit powers (except Blackbeard). Trying to will result in the death of the person trying to obtain the second power. Averted with Haki, which can be learned by anyone and used in tandem with Devil Fruit powers or other abilities.
  • NEEDLESS: The Needless each have a power called Fragments, which originated from one human source before he disappeared, that can be shape-shifting, creating threads, manipulating gravity, and even copying other Fragments.
  • In Bungo Stray Dogs, most of the cast has a power that base around the works of the writer they are named after for.
  • A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun
    • Espers always only have one power but the versatility of this power can vary. Electromasters control electromagnetism, which allows for Lightning Can Do Anything, but Meltdowner essentially creates plasma and is mainly only useful for destructive purposes. The absolute king of this is Accelerator, whose Vector Control can do literally anything that involves movement, from stopping bullets to slowing the planet's rotation by borrowing some of its kinetic energy for a Megaton Punch.
    • In-universe urban myths exist about Dual-Skill and Multi-Skill people, with a single (temporary) example of the latter appearing in Railgun.
    • Touma is a special case here, as his Imagine Breaker is actually sealing away another power that might or might not be of divine origin.
  • Tiger & Bunny's heroes all have different powers, and it's considered surprising when Barnaby is introduced with exactly the same power as Wild Tiger. However, another NEXT having the same or similar powers is a known phenomenon. Wild Tiger was inspired as a boy by a hero who had the same power he did and nobody makes anything of it when his daughter initially seems to develop the same power.
  • In Alice & Zoroku, those who possess the "Dreams of Alice" are Reality Warpers whose power is themed around a certain "Card", allowing for varying versatility. One of a pair of twins creates a simple bow and arrow while her sister can create anything with a chain, ranging from actual chains to bicycles to wrecking balls.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, this applies to any human who can use Hamon or a Stand without being able to use the other. This isn't very likely in the first place since Hamon was only deadly to vampires, who were replaced by human Stand users as the main threats. The Stands, in particular, tend to work differently from each other.
  • My Hero Academia
    • Most people are born with only a single "Quirk", usually one of their parents' powers or a merger of bothnote .
    • It's mentioned that "superpower marriages" are a thing in this setting, with people specifically choosing their spouses for their powers in the hopes of siring super-strong children; Shoto Todoroki is the prime example of this: his mother has ice powers, and his father has fire powers. Todoroki's Quirk is a hybrid version that allows him to use both to great effect, though there is an element of Superpower Lottery with Shoto, as his three siblings developed pretty mundane abilities.
    • It is thought to be genetically impossible for a person to have more than one Quirk. The Nōmus/Artificial Humans are humans who have been genetically engineered to hold several Quirks but at the cost of mental faculties of a normal person.
    • All For One's original Quirk can steal other Quirks for personal use or grant them to someone else. This allows him to bypass the rule and he can use multiple Quirks without suffering from Quirk overload.
    • The original One For All Quirk is a fusion of a Stockpiling Quirk and a useless Transfer Quirk that belonged to All For One's frail little brother. Many wielders of One For All were already born with a Quirk of their own before obtaining One For All itself, allowing them to wield at most two Quirks simultaneously. One For All's current wielder, Izuku Midoriya is also revealed to be an exception to this rule because he is the first user to inherit all the six original Quirks of his predecessors.
    • Some characters, though, have powers that end up being multiple powers by nature. For instance, Tsuyu Asui has the Quirk "Frog", which means she has the same physiology as a frog - that includes super-strong legs and jumping, changing skin color, a sticky tongue, wall-crawling, excellent swimming, secreting an extremely weak poison, and being able to inflate her stomach.
  • Darwin's Game has powers granted to people who play the titular smartphone game called Sigils. The abilities it can give are a living lie detector, controlling string-like object, short-term predictions of the future, invisibility, or teleportation.
  • Iris Zero has the titular Iris, Magical Eye powers that 99% of people of the world have. The specific effects are unique per person, such as Living Lie Detector or seeing people's inner emotions.
  • Taboo-Tattoo: Certain people within this series can gain special power from tattoos called Spell Crests that can only be activated with the use of certain substances and they range from bullets of compressed air, barriers, a hypnotic voice, and even telekinesis.
  • Hunter × Hunter has their power that come from Nen, which is basically Ki Manipulation, but a user can create their own unique abilities based on their Nen category and personality along with the option to create rules and restrictions to make it more potent.

    Comic Books 
  • Power Pack had an alien with four powers divide them up between four siblings; however, in later stories they discovered that they can switch who has what ability, or for one person to take on multiple powers at once.
  • Normally, each mutant in X-Men have only one unique power, but it's occasionally subverted with secondary mutations, which are rare and often have little or nothing to do with the original one.

    Film 
  • Sky High (2005). While Nurse Specs mentions that its possible for the child of two superhumans to inherit both of their parents’ powers, the implication is that its damned rare, and everyone else's reactions to Will's not only being super-strong but being able to fly implies that most people only have one power.
Advertisement:

    Literature 
  • The eponymous Children of the Red King usually have only one 'endowment' each. A few characters have been shown to have two; only one person seems to have had more than that.
  • Legend Of Nightfall, by Mickey Zucker Reichert: Individuals with single "natal talents".
  • The supers in Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn by John Ridley all have strictly one power each (flight is an exception that works strangely). This became a major plot point in the latter book.
  • The Xanth books fit this trope. Every person has a single magical talent, and no two people can ever have the same one. Talents range from 'essentially completely useless' to 'Reality Warper'.
  • In Graceling, the Gracelings each have one Grace (which is either a skill at which they are superhumanly proficient or an outright superpower.)
  • The psychic children of the Gotterelektrongruppe in Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds and sequels thereof.
  • The Magicals/Actives of Hard Magic all have one power each, albeit with Required Secondary Powers included.
  • Gone by Michael Grant features several superpowered kids with a single power each, with the eventual exceptions of Brittney, Drake, and Gaia.
  • In Shadow Ops, "Latents" (humans who develop magical powers) only develop within one specific "school" of magic. Some of these are limited, i.e. pyromancers can only create fire. Others are impressively diverse, such as terramancers, who can control earth, shape and grow plants, and mind-control animals.
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy has an entire city with this.
  • Strength & Justice: One dyna per person.
  • By the time of Wax and Wayne, the magical bloodlines have diluted such that there are no more Mistborn or Feruchemists: nobody has more than one Allomantic and one Feruchemical power. Twinborn are those with one of each, and Compounders are Twinborn with matching powers—which, due to a quirk of the magic system, means that they can get more out of their Feruchemy than they put in, breaking the Equivalent Exchange and creating an infinite loop. The only Compounder in the first book is Miles Hundredlives, who uses gold to store health and get a Healing Factor that makes Wolverine look like a wimp.
  • Pretty much true in Super Powereds, although telekinetics are invariably telepaths as well. It's thought that the two are really variations on the same ability. Some powers are more versatile than others. Most Supers are Shifters, requiring them to switch to their alt-mode in order to use their powers. That alt-mode can be anything. Some are lizards, some turn into themselves with metal skin, some are robots with missile launchers and flying capability. Extremely-powerful elementals are able to take on certain characteristics of their element (e.g. a Super's mastery of electricity also allows him to attain Super Speed). Some Supers don't have a power that is useful in combat, such as Nick, who can manipulate luck (most combat isn't based on luck). However, as shown in Year 1, at full power, even his ability can have devastating results (when using it to stop a truck on a highway, he manipulates the luck of the vehicle to simultaneously cause half a dozen improbable malfunctions that nearly rip the truck to shreds).
  • Played With in Jack D. Ferraiolo's Sidekicks. There are three categories of power: strength, speed/agility and mentalnote ; people can have two (indeed, we don't meet any characters who have strength or speed/agility alone) but nobody has ever been known to have all three. Until the end of the novel, where we learn that the villain and the Love Interest do.
  • Alcatraz Series: The Semdrys are a family with a Talent, which is an ability that a family member has. The main character's Talent is being able to break things.
  • Outliers subverts the trope; while the first generation of supers only got the one power (although they tended to be fairly broad to make for it), the second generation often get multiple, including some flying bricks.

     Live Action TV 
  • Each witch from Charmed possesses a unique "active power" in addition to their basic powers of spell-casting, potion-brewing and scrying. They can range from telekinesis, creating fire, super speed and even invisibility. The Charmed Ones are an exception as they all start with one power and naturally gain new ones as they advance.
  • Heroes has this for all the heroes. It's just that a couple of them have the single power of stealing/copying other people's powers.
  • Misfits subverts this. Although everyone seems to get one power, at least two people were given two powers in the storm, and Seth can give customers multiple powers with his ability.

    Video Games 
  • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance has Overloads, which are special skills that only Overlords, those who have Overlord-class power have access to which is more powerful compared to average skills and magic.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt have people called Adepts with powers called Septima which range from electrokinesis, creating wormholes, summon and create flies, and necromancy.
  • Phantom Brave have certain abilities such as the main heroine which is called Chartreuse Gale which allows her to confine Phantoms to gain a physical form. The main hero seems to have an ability called Eccarlate, that seems to be the power of a water dragon. Another character has one called Psycho Burgundy which allows him to set anything on fire even his own soul. One character has the skill, Dark Eboreus, that allows the user to absorb another entity for power.
  • BlazBlue has the Drives, abilities that are derived from connecting one's soul towards the Azure. The Drives' effects are unique per person, such as Rachel's wind manipulation to Valkenhayn's werewolf transformation.
  • Under Night In-Birth has the EXS, a special power that every "In-Births"note  have. The effects of EXS ranges from Super Strength, to flame manipulation, to soul ripping.
  • In Touhou, each character's profile state their ability alongside their name and title, giving the impression of this trope. It's actually a subversion, as the abilities are self-declared by the characters themselves, and they can include anything. They range from abilities actually unique to the character (e.g. Flandre's ability to destroy anything), species-wide abilities (e.g. Nitori's ability to control water which is shared with all other kappa, or Kagerou, a werewolf's, ability to transform into a wolf), to not actually their own (e.g. Seiga's ability to pass through walls is from a magical artifact she owns).

    Webcomics 
  • In Sidekicks all supublics are born with a single superpower. Superheroes subvert this by gaining a second superpower thanks to their hero capes and the villains working with Metheos do so via the Third Prana.
  • The Gamer: Certain people can gain a power called a Natural Ability which is granted by the Earth itself. The main character is a Natural Ability User that is given the power of titular 'The Gamer', which allows him to live his life like an RPG game. There also others who gain their abilities through training and past knowledge called Acquired Abilites which range from Ki Manipulation using martial arts to magic.
  • Scoob And Shag: The cartoon characters we know and love are actually an alien race and each member is born with a unique power called a "Ballyhoo", corn from the adoration of humans. Each one is named after TV or video recording terminology. For example, Courage's "On Demand" lets him turn into any kind of object at will, Kermit's "Product Placement" lets him summon branded objects for a variety of purposes, and Droopy's "Direct-to-Video" summons creepy paintings that he can see through.

    Web Original 
Advertisement:

    Western Animation 
  • In the universe of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, every pony, Unicorn, Pegasus, and Earth, has a "special talent" that is reflected in their cutie-mark. This can be fairly mundane, like a normal talent, or a legitimate superpower. Twilight Sparkle has a particularly versatile one, since her talent is being good at magic in general (as opposed to other unicorns, whose magic generally helps them in something more specific).

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report