Follow TV Tropes


Supernatural Aid

Go To

"You got some power in your corner now
Some heavy ammunition in your camp!"
The Genie, Aladdin

Our Hero(es) receive gifts from a powerful being, either a reverential figure or a supernatural one. So named by our good friend Joseph Campbell, Supernatural Aid occurs between the beginning and midpoint of The Hero's Journey, usually about the time things start getting serious. The gift-giver will usually be either a godlike being trying to help the heroes without intervening directly, or just a Mentor. In the latter case, he may give the gift directly or fall victim to the Mentor Occupational Hazard and bequeath it upon his death.

Either way, the item in question will be special, powerful, magical (or the setting equivalent), and inevitably vital. As to its form, it may be a weapon, amulet, or any other useful item that may help him on his quest. If this is the case, the hero is generally told "You Will Know What to Do" (or, sometimes, "Figure It Out Yourself").

Often, the hero will need to pass a Secret Test of Character to win the item (traditional favourites include showing hospitality to a beggar, and helping an old woman cross a river).

Sub-Trope of It Was a Gift. See also Enigmatic Empowering Entity. A special case that needs no introduction is Giving the Sword to a Noob. For the exact opposite, where the hero is noticeably given nothing useful when being assigned a quest, see With This Herring.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The plot of Code Geass is driven by this, with the protagonist's life being saved by a witch granting him powers as part of a vague contract in the first episode.
  • In the first episode of Star Blazers the Earth is told of a gift that will save the planet, and the season is then all about the journey they have to take to retrieve it.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has the unlucky stones.
  • Chrome Shelled Regios is a bit of a twist as Layfon has lost his Heaven's Blade, the anime then plays it straight when it is returned and combined with his katana.
  • Fushigi Yuugi has power-ups given to all the Seishi by Taiitsukun. Arguably, the Shinzaho created by the Priestesses could also qualify.

    Comic Books 
  • This is how Captain Britain of Marvel Comics got his start, with a little help from Merlin. And then subsequently more help, since he's one of those heroes who can't seem to stop dying.
  • Most of Doctor Strange's mystic artifacts are treasures given by various entities, particularly the Eye of Agamotto. Interestingly, they belong to the office of Sorcerer Supreme, not to him personally, and are passed from holder to holder.

    Fan Works 
  • Very much played with in With Strings Attached. The four are told that they received their considerable magic from the Fans and the C'hovite gods so that they'll be equipped to go on the Vasyn quest. However, this is not the true situation at all. John is first transformed because the Fans have to save his life, and Shag intends to change him back as soon as she can figure out how. Then Ringo independently crops up psychic, and the Fans realize they'd better make sure George and Paul get magic too, or things will be quite awkward amongst the four. It's only after the four are fully empowered that the C'hovite gods notice them and hire them (via the Fans) to go on the Vasyn quest.
    • And that's a lie too. What really happened is that over Winter Solstice Vacation, Jeft got ambitious and decided to set the four on the Vasyn quest because it was something interesting for them to do.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mulan: When Mulan's ancestors send her a guardian spirit to help her.
  • In Mulan II, it is subverted in Mushu's trick.
  • The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio (Note, in the original story, the puppet came to life of his own accord).
  • In Sleeping Beauty, the fairies give Prince Phillip a Sword of Truth and a Shield of Virtue to fight Maleficent. They even add an extra incantation before the final blow.

    Films — Live Action 

  • In The Dreamside Road, Enoa Cloud inherits her staff and training equipment from her late aunt, Sucora. Before she died, Sucora intentionally prepared the powerful bequest for her niece’s use.
  • Ghost Roads: Rose often has to turn to the routewitches or the gods themselves for aid.
    • In the first book, she goes to their queen's court, where she gets a Power Tattoo that imbues her with the blessing of Persephone, protecting her from Bobby Cross.
    • In the third book, when she's finally about to confront Bobby, she prays for a weapon, and finds a scythe in the dirt. It becomes part of her when her act of vengeance turns her into one of the Furies.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, dragons grant magical powers right off, though it takes some instruction to use them properly. Over time, they also increase all the physical attributes of their rider. Ostensibly, anyway. The only people shown to be bonded with dragons are either very old, and thus have already gone through quite a bit of this, or get a Plot Relevant Upgrade fairly early on. Also, provided both partners aren't killed they'll live more-or-less forever. Technically Age Without Youth, but with enough power, one can look as old or young as they wish.
  • Galadriel gives the Fellowship parting gifts as they leave Lothlórien in The Fellowship of the Ring, most notably the lembas bread and the light of Eärendil.
  • Father Christmas visits the four Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, bearing a sword and shield for Peter, a bow for Susan, and a vial of healing potion for Lucy. (Edmund doesn't get anything, because he isn't there at the time ... though this is his own fault.)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz gives us a case of this, when the Good Witch of the North talks Dorothy into the shoes of the Wicked Witch of the East, which Glinda later reveals to be the only way for her to get home.
  • The Lady of the Lake presenting King Arthur with his sword (Depending on the adaptation of Arthurian Legend).
  • Harry Potter:
  • Elric of Melnibone summons Arioch several times for help and information. In return... well, his typical battle cry is "Arioch! Arioch! Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!"
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Nightmares II: In The Shadow Wood, a hero vows to set out and conquer the titular forest. Before he goes, an old man offers him a magic candle that, if lit when all else fails, will show him the answer to his problem. In the end, it does help him face off against an army of living shadows, but the final one to appear is unaffected by it.
  • Goblins in the Castle: When William goes off on his quest, Granny Pinchbottom provides him with some magical items to help, including an amulet that provides light, a hooded invisibility cloak, and the collar that, when used to attach the Goblin King's head to his body, will heal him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Bottom, when Richie and Eddie are stranded at the top of a Big Wheel ( which will be demolished in the morning), they are rescued by the hand of god. At least, until they admit they don't actually believe in god, and plummet to their deaths. They got better, though.

  • Extensively mocked in "Dream A Little Harder", the first song in Twisted, where the people of the Magic Kingdom know that all it takes to solve your problems is... wait for them to be solved by magic. And be good-looking.
    You've got to dream a little harder, when life won't go your way!
    Simply dream a little harder, trust me when I say
    That when you dream a little harder, you're sure to follow through!
    'Cuz if you're good and you're attractive
    No need to be proactive!
    Good things will just happen to you!

    For if you dream a little harder, you'll get what you desire!
    Dream a little harder, when things are looking dire
    If you dream a little harder, success is guaranteed!
    If you are sure of your intention
    Some magic intervention
    Will give you the edge that you need!

    Video Games 
  • In the Super Robot Wars Alpha and Original Generation continuities, Ryusei Date (whose character arc hews very close to the Campbellian Hero archetype) being made the pilot of the Gespenst T-Link Test Type and later the R-1, mechs made of Imported Alien Phlebotinum that run on Psychic Powers, could be seen as this.
  • Teddie/Kuma of Persona 4 initially acts an Adventure Rebuff by sending the protagonists back to the real world because of the danger of the TV World. Later, he assists the protagonists by helping them navigate the TV world and giving them glasses that makes it possible to see through the fog.
    • The residents of the Velvet Room also serve as this throughout the entire franchise.
  • In all three Dragon Age games, Flemeth always manages to arrive precisely when she is needed, saving the lives of both the Warden and Hawke and providing the Inquisitor with the means to defeat Corypheus.
  • Common throughout The Elder Scrolls series. Not even counting the optional Daedric sidequests, the Player Character usually receives some form of divine aid during the main quest. To note:
    • In Morrowind, you are (supposedly) the prophesied reincarnation of St. Nerevar, as foretold by the Daedric Prince Azura, Nerevar's patron deity. About halfway through the main quest, after fulfilling the first portion of the prophesy and finding the secret Cavern of the Incarnate, Azura gifts you Nerevar's Moon-and-Star ring. Forged by the ancient Dwemer and blessed by Azura herself to kill anyone that tries to wear it except for Nerevar, it serves as a symbol identifying you as the Nerevarine and allowing you to fulfill the rest of the prophesy.
    • Oblivion:
      • Averted in the main quest, where it is Martin who receives the aid of Akatosh, the Aedric God of Time at the end. You spend most of the main quest as Martin's Lancer and Hypercompetent Sidekick. However, you are also the Hero of Another Story (two, in fact)...
      • In the Knights of the Nine expansion, you are seeking the blessed equipment of the ancient hero (and psychopathic racist berserker), Pelinal Whitestrake. Pelinal's ancient enemy, Umaril the Unfeathered has returned and is seeking to destroy the Nine Divines for supporting his enemies thousands of years ago. Throughout the expansion's main quest, you are guided by the mysterious Prophet in retrieving these artifacts. It's strongly implied that the Prophet is really Talos, the Deity of Human Origin Ninth Divine, in disguise.
      • In the Shivering Isles expansion, you enter the titular realm at the behest of its master, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. He serves as your divine patron throughout as you attempt to end the Eternal Recurrence destruction of his realm by his Arch-Enemy Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. The situation ends up being a bit more complicated that Sheogorath lets on, and at the end, he passes the mantle of Mad God onto you.
    • Skyrim:
      • As a Dragonborn, you are a mortal gifted with immortal Aedric soul of a dragon by Akatosh himself. However, this gift does not reveal itself until there are actually dragons present, which happens very early in the main quest. Those who are Dragonborn come with an innate understanding of the Thu'um, the draconic Language of Magic which allows for small scale Reality Warping. When a dragon is slain, a Dragonborn can absorb its soul, permanently killing the dragon while boosting the powers of the Dragonborn.
      • In the Dragonborn DLC, your patron (whether you like it or not) is Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge. In exchange for performing services for him, he teaches you the final word of the "Bend Will" shout, which allows you to ride dragons. By the end of the DLC's main quest, Mora sees you as his new champion. Again, whether you like it or not...


    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in ReBoot. One episode had the User send Mainframe a new file upgrade that is supposed to help the heros. When Bob takes the upgrade inside the Principal Office to install it, Megabyte pops out of it and seizes control of the core control chamber.