Okay, so you've got one of those people who's got a "Special Power". But even if you supposedly only have the one ability, if you're going to actually use it for anything, Fridge Logic demands that you have myriad other passive powers in order to make it work the way it usually does. This is sometimes directly referred to and explained, and sometimes not.
Related to Fan Wank, this encompasses all of the powers that aren't explicitly stated that would make a power function like it does in the work in question. Often, these powers would be useless outside of allowing the main power to work, but some could have use beyond that.
This only covers if the power in question is not explicitly defined. While Cyclops from the X-Men doesn't hurt his own eyelids with his Eye Beams every time he shuts his eyes, this is defined as an explicit ability of his (and his brother's).
All these tropes are especially good targets for subversion or aversion, because the absence or malfunction of a superhero's Required Secondary Powers creates a dramatically useful limit on their primary powers. A slight lack of these may oftentimes cause a Logical Weakness. Compare Lethal Harmless Powers. Also, many accusations of Misapplied Phlebotinum rely on the assumption that the characters or factions in question have the RSPs needed to pull out all the theoretical potential. One way for people to learn ways to cope with, or even surpass the limits of their powers as outlined by this trope is to take Boxing Lessons for Superman, as the new skills and knowledge they can acquire from such training will let them better understand the scope of their powers and find ways to better control it, or work around said limits of their power.
Savvy use of explicitly stated required secondary powers may result in Exploited Immunity.
To see the types of powers commonly covered by this trope, you can go to the Analysis page.
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- The song "The Ballad of Barry Allen" by Jim's Big Ego goes into some detail of the loneliness it would impart to be living at super speed compared to the rest of the world.
And I'm there before you notice
I'll be gone before you see me
Do you think you can imagine anything so lonely?
- The hero Ural in Bashkir legend definitely has both Super Strength and the requisite anchoring power. He managed to lift a great big stone (in the challenge to win a princess and a demon-blooded winged steed... devised by said stallion himself), but his brother who tried before him didn't have these secondary powers and ended up buried waist-deep. Before this, a great bull buried himself knee-deep in a futile attempt to lift Ural while he was holding the bull's horns.
- Russian Mythology and Tales : A similar tale is told about Svyatogor. He boasted that he could turn the entire earth, so he was challenged to lift a bag which later turned out to contain all of its weight. He ended up knee deep in the ground, and (according to some variants) died there. He's also usually portrayed as too heavy for Earth to carry him due to his strength, which is why he usually stays in his mountains and cannot go anywhere else.
- Classical Mythology :
- Older Than Feudalism: This trope shows up in with Midas. Wishing that what one touches turns to gold certainly can have some horrible downsides (and economic consequences). The man lacked such necessary powers as "not turning food and water and people into gold." He didn't turn air into gold, though, nor the contents already in his digestive tract, so he survived just long enough to learn his lesson and beg for a wish reversal.
- It shows up also with the Cumaean Sibyl and Tithonus who both asked for immortality but both forgot to ask for eternal youth...well, it was Tithonus' lover who asked in his stead but the result was the same: they withered away and in the end only awaited a death which would not come. In a Shout-Out, "Tithonus" is the title of an X-Files episode about a man with immortality, but who's also stuck in middle age forever. He's started to forget parts of his past, like his dead wife's name, and wants only to die. Unlike in the myth, his wish is finally granted.
- Matoran actually have Required Secondary Powers, but have a minuscule amount of Elemental Powers. Of course, when they do become Toa, they will have the necessary secondary power for their element.
- The Rahi-Nui was defeated because the Toa Metru figured out that it lacked a certain required power. It had the ability to change its size but not its mass. By making it lose control of its size it grew so large that it evaporated from the loss of density.
- The shapeshifting Krakha has Power Copying ability on top of it, but averts How Do I Shot Web? by also gaining some of the memories of those she copies so she can get a grasp on how their powers work.
- Mixels shows off some characters that actually lack these powers, and end up affecting their own abilities thanks to this:
- Lunk and Slumbo, being ice-based Mixels, have a low base temperature and live in a frozen wasteland. As a result, they are both horribly slow and lethargic.
- Balk uses his head like a rubber mallet to defend himself. Unfortunately, this does not translate to the inside of his head, and he has brain damage as a result.
- Chomly is a living trash compacter that eats anything he can find and his mouth is not made for chewing properly. One of his upper teeth is now replaced with a gold one.
- Drawfee: Poked fun of this in one of their "super power roulette" and point out that without healing factor, some degrees of body manipulation or means to grow more bones, the ability of "Projecting bone bullet" will be extremely painful, impossibly visceral, and leave the user in the state of a useless sack of meat after excessive use.
- Red vs. Blue:
- It's explained that the Freelancers' AI granted them the Required Secondary Powers needed for individual armor abilities. When Griff tried out the Super Speed armor ability without an AI, everything, including his mental processes and metabolism, was sped up, and he ran straight into a wall because he had no way of knowing when to slow down.
- This is actually averted in the PSA Upgrading, when Caboose gets his armor stuck in invisibility mode.
Church: Don't worry, Caboose, I'm sure when the game comes out there'll be a way to shut it off.
Caboose: Good. I need sleep.
Sarge: Sleep? When that game comes out, I won't sleep for a week!
Church: Yeah, no, it's not that, it's just that he's having trouble sleeping because he can see through his eyelids now.
Sarge: Oh. That's creepy.
- Agent Washington mentions an incident where Agent Utah activated a force field, and almost suffocated to death before he could turn it off. The incident is in a deleted scene.
- RWBY: As revealed in "Downfall," Nora may be able to absorb electricity to boost her physical strength, but that doesn't mean being electrocuted doesn't hurt; when Hazel grabs her and tries to fry her brains out with lightning Dust, she screams in pain before getting enough power to toss him off.
- In the non-canon spinoff RWBY Chibi, Jaune finds and decides to play with Team RWBY's weapons. He can't hold Crescent Rose properly (and it's noted in the main series that Ruby and her uncle Qrow are the only two who have the skill to use scythe weapons) and he's blown away by an accidental discharge of Ember Celica, showing that he lacks the body strength to not get blow away by arm-mounted shotguns.