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Touched by Vorlons

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"You cannot harm me. You cannot stop someone who has been touched by Vorlons."
Lyta Alexander, Babylon 5

A character, initially having no unusual powers, gains them through interactions with some manner of Enigmatic Empowering Entity, usually powerful aliens or supernatural beings. Alternately, they might have very weak or useless powers amplified to godlike levels.

The powers may come in a wide range of just how much they can do:

Being Touched By Vorlons often, but not always, results in a character struggling to control their New Superpower. It may backfire morally because often With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, or literally in a Super-Power Meltdown.

Less frequently, this trope may be reversed and a supernatural being (possibly The Great Gazoo, if it's being played for comedy more than drama) loses his powers — again resulting in An Aesop.

This trope is closely related to Super-Empowering. If the Vorlon that touched the character is marking them as their own, then it overlaps with Claimed by the Supernatural.

For the other kind of "touched" see Mars Needs Women or Boldly Coming. Although in a few rare examples they overlap.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A Letter to Momo, Momo is able to see the Youkai because they touched her near the start of the movie (they were travelling as the water droplets that fell on her head on the ferry; the forms they are in for most of the movie are borrowed from a book in the attic).
  • The ability to see the supernatural in Ayakashi Triangle is usually an in-born ability, but some humans will gain it after being possessed by an ayakashi, as happen to Yayo.
  • Baccano!: A number of eighteenth century alchemists summon a demon to grant them Immortality. The demon complies, tossing in the extra of being able to kill other immortals and steal their memories, mostly for the the inevitable lulzy results of giving twenty quarreling people stuck on a boat a reason and the means to kill each other. He is not disappointed.
  • Berserk: Played for horror.
    • When Femto viciously raped Casca, who was pregnant with her and her lover Guts' child at the time. The baby was at first developing as a normal human in the womb, but when the fetus came in contact with Femto's demonic essence, it became deformed and took on a nature of evil, and was eventually miscarried due to the trauma Casca endured. However, due to it being a supernatural being born between worlds, the Child survived and continued to linger around its parents, actually helping and protecting them.
    • All Apostle Spawns are created this way, since an Apostle can taint a normal human's life with their demonic powers.
    • The Apostles themselves are empowered by the God Hand, who demand the sacrifice of someone very important in the would-be Apostle's life in order to remove their humanity and transform them into a powerful demon.
    • The God Hand, in turn, are empowered by God himself, or the nearest equivalent, the Idea of Evil through the sacrifice of many people who love and trust them. There's a bit of an inverse relationship between phenomenal cosmic power and being a decent human being in Berserk.
  • Bleach
    • A human can gain shinigami powers if a shinigami plunges their sword into the human's heart. It doesn't have a very high success rate but can work sometimes. There are external factors involved in why Rukia and Ichigo's experience becomes a definite success instead of just a possible success.
    • Captains and vice-captains have to wear power-limiters on their reiatsu when in the human world lest their power start affecting human souls. This is lampshaded by observations on how Ichigo's extremely powerful, uncontrolled reiatsu (when in shinigami form only) has affected humans around him (with help from the Hougyoku changing the odds to make something that can sometimes happen into something that definitely happens) to enable Orihime and Sado to unlock latent powers they possessed from birth but couldn't access without help, and to give several classmates the ability to see ghosts and shinigami when they previously couldn't.
    • Aizen uses the Hougyoku to create artificially-boosted arrancar at levels mock-arrancar in the past haven't naturally been able to reach. He also uses it to, in his personal belief, break the boundary between the shinigami and divine (although Urahara and Ichigo between them suggest he might have misinterpreted what happened to him). The small print behind the Hougyoku does actually say that it's only capable of manifesting desires that already have the potential to be achieved without the Hougyoku's involvement.
    • The leader of the Vandenreich can transfer bits of his own soul to other people to grant them special powers. Each of his highest ranking subordinates possesses a unique power represented by a letter of the alphabet. The dark twist is that he sustains and empowers himself by reclaiming those bits along with the rest of their hosts' strength, which is inevitably fatal even if they aren't on the brink of death.
  • Code Geass: Immortals can give people Geass, which manifests differently with each person. CC gives main character Lelouch the ability to make people obey him absolutely.
  • Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel: Yu gains her power in the form of a powder compact after helping an alien, Pino Pino, find his way home.
  • Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02: Nearly all the Digidestined were children who had been present personally for a massive battle between two Digimon, and the majority of the others seem to have witnessed the battle that took place on the internet, which the first two Digimon movies clarified as being a battle between a Greymon and a Parrotmon and the Digidestined's battle against Diaboromon. This seems to suggest that the only way to get a VIP pass into the Digital World is by being touched by Digimon.
  • Doctor Slump: Senbei and Midori's toddler son, Turbo gets Psychic Powers when he's accidentally killed, then resurrected, by aliens who don't quite grok human biology.
  • Garfaxy of Dragon Knights is a normal human who is immortal because of a pill his master and employer, Kharl the Demon Alchemist, mixes up for him once every hundred years.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: This is what happens to anyone who sees The Gate of Truth. They are granted some amount of information about the fundamental laws of reality, making them vastly more powerful alchemists and granting them the ability to perform transmutation without physically drawing a circle. This is technically because of the realization after seeing the Truth, that All is One, One is All; this means that the alchemist is themselves also the transmutation circle, as everything in existence is the same thing, but in different form.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Espers have been touched by Haruhi in that she created the world 3 years ago and therefore gave them their powers/identities. Aliens and time-travelers may be debatable but Koizumi outrightly states that he knows his powers came from Haruhi. If you don't trust him, (and you probably shouldn't), in Dissociation, Kyoko Tachibana, the esper girl, is sure her powers came from Sasaki. Different vorlons, same situation.
  • Hellsing: Near the end, it turns out that the Doctor created Millenium's "vampires" by infusing people with tiny bits of the corpse of Mina Harker, one of Alucard's aka Dracula's past victims, who survived and died as a human but still carried some of his power inside herself. So all of Millenium's vampires were Touched By Alucard. Small wonder that none of them really stood a chance against him.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Nen ability can be gained by a process called Nen Baptism, which is basically direct exposure to Nen by a Nen user. The other method is through meditation and prayer, and can take years but is a lot safer.
  • Kurau Phantom Memory : Kurau gains immense powers, such as flying, phasing through walls and disintegrating matter, after merging with an energy being called "Rynax". She also inherits the being's immense feeling of loneliness though, which is rather ironic since the Rynax came to her because she felt alone as a child.
  • Magical Warfare: Exposure to magic is enough to turn a Muggle into a magician. After a magic battle occurs at their school, Takeshi, Kurumi and Ida all gain powers, and Takeshi's brother Gekkou gains them off-screen later on.
  • Naruto's father seals part of a legendary and evil monster's soul into Naruto. A seal that leaks some of the monster's energy for him to use. Lots of demon chakra proves to be really good (spell spam, Healing Factor, stamina, Super Mode) and really bad (failing vital techniques due to chakra overload, wanting to tear everything apart with your energy claws in Super Mode, all that bad stigma for housing what killed loved ones, potentially being a ticking time bomb, and the stigma of being a ticking time bomb whether you are or not). Using said chakra to help in the butt-kicking of genocidal maniacs — who have actually done something bad and plan to do more — however, can do wonders for one's reputation. About damn time.
    • As it turns out, the existence of ninjas itself is this. A significant chunk of humans are born with chakra because their lineages trace back to Kaguya Otsutsuki, an alien who imbued herself with the 10 tail tree's power which became an inheritable trait.
  • Otherside Picnic: Sorawo's eye and Toriko's hand end up changed by their encounter with the kunekune, but it happens to also give them powers— Sorawo's eye (which is now a vivid shade of blue) can see the true form of Otherside phenomenon, while Toriko's hand (which eventually turns completely transparent) can interact with them. Combining their abilities gives them a fighting chance against all the strange threats from the Otherside.
  • Rosario + Vampire: When Tsukune needs to fight, a quick dose of vampire blood (courtesy of Moka) gives him some much needed ass-kicking powers. Unfortunately, this has some unfortunate side effects...
    • When Season II comes, Tsukune's more or less got the vampire blood under control... right up until Tohofuhai gives him a second dose of Vorlon contact in the form of the Body Modification Techinique. That was bad enough in itself, but when those two get mixed, we've got a Tsukune that reeks of Alucard. By the time he's finally brought back under control, Tsukune is less "touched" than "slowly turning into one" because Moka's "touch" turned out to secretly have a double whammy: the "touch" of Alucard.
  • Shakugan no Shana:
    • Shana becomes increasingly powerful when Yuji is near her, leading to her ability to fly using flame wings. This a cross between Yuji's status as a container for the Midnight-Lost-Child and The Power of Love.
    • This is the way Flame Haze gain their powers, which is essentially through a contract with a god. In particular, Shana goes from a Badass Normal to a flame-wielding superhero.
  • Tenjho Tenge: Certain characters possess powers known as "Red Feather Powers." In addition to giving certain characters supernatural abilities that put them on a level far above that of normal humans, these powers have an additional effect known as Resonance, which means that people with powers, latent or otherwise, are stimulated by proximity to other people with powers. This results in either causing people with latent abilities to suddenly awaken their powers or enhancing the powers of people who are already awakened. Furthermore, the more people involved in the resonance effect, the greater its range and potency. This aspect leads the Big Bad of the series to try and use the resonance effect to awaken the supernatural abilities of every person in the entire world.
  • Tokyo Underground: The main character Rumina gains the ability to manipulate air, after dying, and being brought back to life from a kiss by Ruri, the "Maiden of Life".
  • Transformers: Energon: The human boy Kicker (Yes, Kicker. Is it any wonder he hates his father?) had a run-in with Primus earlier in his life that gave him the ability to sense Energon, which basically turns him into a walking MacGuffin. This makes him all angsty and stuff.
  • Trinity Blood: The Inquisition uses a special chemical to give them a brief moment of Vampire level speed and strength. The anime never states it, but the original books mention that the chemical is injected inside their suits, so the anime most likely never got around to showing this since it wasn't greatly important.
  • YuYu Hakusho: One can be "touched" in different ways. For example, a side effect of a passage to Makai being forced open is that people in the vicinity start exhibiting assorted psychic powers. Also, once spirit or demon abilities enter a bloodline, it can be passed down through the generations (the Kuwabara siblings, Kazuma and Shizuru, are both naturally gifted), though atavism can result in the abilities not showing with each generation. In the case of demon heritage, it can take a long break of many generations before emerging with just the right descendant. In Yusuke's case, his demon heritage goes back 44 generations and only awakened when he died a second time.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Universe, kid superhero team Power Pack gained their superpowers from an encounter with a dying alien.
  • Another Marvel example, the second-string superhero Comet Man was disintegrated accidentally by aliens, then resurrected using a machine that reassembled his body according to an alien template, giving him many of their Psychic Powers.
  • Marvel also has 3-D Man. An astronaut encountered aliens, who somehow reduced him to two images, one red and one green, imprinted on his brother's glasses. When the brother concentrates on the images, 3-D Man is released for up to three hours, with tripled strength, speed, etc.
  • In ElfQuest, elves gain new powers or have their existing powers enhanced by proximity to the Palace of the High Ones.
  • In The Ultraverse, one of the only ways to gain superpowers was the Jump Start, a piece of alien technology on the moon that would randomly send out rays that gave humans superpowers.
  • Hitman: Tomy Monaghan was given very useful powers (telepathy and x-ray vision) from an alien during the Bloodlines event, when it sucked out his spinal fluid, and he survived.
  • Jack Hawksmoor of The Authority. Since he was a child, he was kidnapped by aliens (actually, future humans) who turned him into a creature that could only survive in cities.
  • The second-tier Marvel Comics hero Sleepwalker centered around a human college student named Rick Sheridan, who ended up with an alien from another dimension trapped in his mind. A partial subversion in the sense that it was the Vorlon that gained unusual abilities, namely the ability to manifest in the human world when Rick was asleep.
  • Parodied by The Captain in Nextwave - he receives his "generic superpowers" from a pair of aliens who find him as he drunkenly staggers home. Their message to him, "do great things." His first act with his new powers is to punch the aliens out. And then vomit on them.
    • Hey, leprechauns are supposed to give you gold if you hit them!
  • DC B-lister Animal Man gained his powers from an exploding alien spaceship. At a later point some of the aliens reappear to help Animal Man.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Hal Jordan was given his powers (in the form of a ring) by a dying alien.
    • They also gave GL Kyle the Ion power and transformed several other GLs into cyborgs called Alpha-Lanterns. Ganthet founded a Blue Lantern Corps for which he's recruiting. Sinestro got his yellow ring from another sort of aliens.
    • The Orange Lantern Corps is a subversion. When the leader (Larfleeze if you care) gets touchy your soul, or something like it, is taken and made into a creature with superpowers... under his mental dominion.
  • In his ongoing series, Marvel Universe Gambit gained megatronic powers which allow him even to touch Rogue. He had them all the time. In his fight against New Son, he burns out and goes back to normal.
  • One of the major plot points of CrossGen's many Sigilverse comics is the rise of the Sigil-Bearers, who gain their power from a red and yellow mark bestowed by Solusandra via this trope.
  • Superman:
    • Evil counterpart Ultraman was a normal human astronaut who was put back together by aliens.
    • The Girl with the X-Ray Mind: When Lena was a little girl, her brother Lex Luthor took her to his lab to study a the psychic energies emitted by an alien brain while babysitting her. Despite his warnings, Lena touched one antenna protuding from the sphere encasing the brain, and she was zapped with psychic energy. From that point on, Lena could read minds and foresee future events.
      Lex Luthor: When that [alien] brain short-circuited, it gave her a strange form of telepathy! It's incredible!
  • Apocalypse was granted much of his power by Celestial technology.
  • A number of the supers in Empowered gained their abilities through "contact" with aliens. Alien STDs interacting with humans = Hilarity Ensues.
    "Wait, your whole team got your powers through sexual contact?! That's awfully coincidental!"
    "Not at all. We met at a therapy group."
    • There's also some supers, known as "Bargainers", who gained powers from certain fell sources... with one main consequence being that they return from the dead. This is problematic for several reasons: They're a dark and embarrassing secret the other supers would prefer to hide from the public, and they're vulnerable to necromantic domination.
  • In The Intimates, it's hinted that Destra's powers of Nigh-Invulnerability and incendiary fingernail projectiles are a side-effect of her summer romance with an alien.
  • Ultra the Multi-Alien from DC Comics was a human astronaut who crash-landed on a distant alien planet. He was attacked by four different alien species at once, all shooting him with rays to turn him into a member of their own species. As a result, he's a mixture of all four species. Yes, he is from the Silver Age, why do you ask?
  • In the Doctor Who Magazine comic story, Hunters of the Burning Stone, we learn that this happened to the cave people the TARDIS crew met on their very first adventure.
  • In the Marvel Universe, this is the origin of nearly every superpowered human. Humanity's potential to develop superpowers, Mutant and Mutate alike, was created during the Celestials' experiments on early humans.
    • Several superpowered aliens have this origin too, such as the Heralds of Galactus.
  • Some of the gods in The Wicked + The Divine are the Vorlons for this story. They can give portions of their power to their followers and make them essentially demigods. Specific cases are Woden's valkyries who are actually Mimir's and the two secondary Norns, Verðandi and Skuld, who get their powers from Urðr.
  • Red Sonja was granted her strength and fighting skill from the goddess Scathach, in response for her cry for vengeancenote . On the condition that she would never lie with a man unless defeated her in fair combat first.
  • In PS238, Tyler's clone Toby started out as a Muggle, but was then possessed/influenced by a cherub of Order and an imp of Chaos as the two sides prepared for their war over Earth. As a result he became a Reality Warper whose powers operate on Equivalent Exchange.
    • The same arc saw Cecil become a Cthulhumanoid from constantly poking things while traveling through alternate dimensions, though he returns to normal when he's back in his universe. More unusual is that his trench coat was brought to life and remains that way in both worlds. Most notably it can reshape itself into wings and allow him to fly.
  • Billy Batson was a just an ordinary orphan boy who was empowered by a wizard to become the World's Mightiest Mortal, Shazam! (formerly known as Captain Marvel due to rights disputes).
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Ramjet was the most powerful herald of Unicron. After his master collapsed into a black hole due to the destruction of his physical body, Ramjet became trapped in the Unspace where he fell victim of the... things that inhabit the space between dimensions. Ramjet was tortuously made and unmade by them until they got bored and booted him back to his reality. Now, Ramjet gained powers far greater than the ones he had, his mere presence can corrupt the reality around him. Sadly, it also left him in a perpetual state of being and unbeing, holding himself together through sheer force of will, and the experience did wonder for his mental health i.e it shattered his mind.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Cassie Sandsmark, the second Wonder Girl, was granted super powers by her father Zeus.
    • A horrific version occurs with the Barbara Minerva, the post crisis/DC Rebirth Cheetah. She gained super powers from an African plant god but was cursed with an insatiable hunger.
    • Donna Troy has had this in at least two of her many origins. In one version, she was granted powers similar to Diana by the Amazons' Purple Ray. In another, she was a "Titan Seed", an orphan who had been rescued by the Titans of Myth and granted superpowers. After her death in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, she was resurrected as a Moon Goddess by the Titans of Myth.
    • Wonder Woman herself had this in her origin. She was a baby sculpted by her mother Hippolyta and brought to life by Aphrodite/the goddesses of Olympus (and Hermes).
    • The post-crisis version of Nubianote  had the power to turn her enemies to stone with her gaze, an ability granted to her by the Gorgons of myth.
  • In Jupiter's Legacy, the Utopian and the rest of the Union were granted superpowers by aliens from another dimension.
  • The main character, Mosely was just an normal human who was mugged by a cyber-enhanced toddler and his hench robots. He was saved by a mysterious glowing entity asking him to 'Free his people'.
  • Hound: Morrigan's breath gives Setanta the ability to hear her, as well as immense strength whenever he goes berserk under her influence.
  • Popeye: In the web-only Olive & Popeye strips, thanks to an encounter with soul-eating leeches on a remote island, Olive Oyl gained the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores and Boomsticks: Team RWBY unlocks the Aura of Casey and Lillie, giving the two enhanced physical abilities like their own as part of their Huntress training.
  • Child of the Storm has a couple of examples.
    • Two are related to the same being - the Phoenix. Lily cut a deal with Her that resulted in Harry's protection and her becoming the new White Phoenix of the Crown.
      • As a result of this, Harry finds out that he can manipulate the fragment of the Phoenix he's been given. Unfortunately, this can lead to him using it to become the Dark Phoenix.
    • Jean-Paul is given access to the Speed Force, the bequeathed power of a long dead cosmic entity from the Marvel Universe known as the Runner.
    • Doctor Strange's agelessness, vastly enhanced talents as a Seer, and abilities as a Time Master derive from contact with the Time Stone, which altered him for reasons known only to itself.
      • It is implied in Unfinished Business (and later confirmed) that Monica Rambeau was similarly enhanced, but in her case, it was by the Tesseract a.k.a. the Space Stone. Exactly what she can do and why is still up in the air, though it's implied that it's a lot.
    • Carol has this happen to her a lot, to the point where she wonders if she's still "me" or "Franken-me" after Unfinished Business. By this point, she's had her Super-Soldier genes activated by a temporary Plot-Relevant Age-Up courtesy of a Genius Loci, wielded the Green Lantern Ring twice (the second time she used her shield-suit as a stand-in battery meaning that she essentially was the Lantern), developed a Psychic Link with one of the most powerful telepaths ever to exist (who later used it with her consent to possess her), undergone a Superhuman Transfusion from Harry (who has some very odd things in his blood and is noted as the transition point from humanity to divinity), and now wields a weapon enchanted by Odin that absorbs energy and functions almost as a part of her. With all that in mind, it's a fair question.
  • In Divine Blood there are several examples.
    • Ranma early on commiserates that she's not quite a "non-magical" being any more given the changes that constant exposure to supernatural energies has wrought on her, not the least being her rape and impregnation by three of the Greek Gods
    • It is shown that both Demons and Gods have used their method of achieving immortality to recruit mortals of random sentient species to their ranks. Currently, the target is human (and assorted subraces) since there aren't many other sentient species that aren't immortal. And humans have recently stepped up to produce their own immortals
  • In Empathy, Riley Andersen acquires empathic powers after exposure to Boov mental interface technology.
  • Enlightenments: Wander's immortality is from having some of Dormin's soul still inside him after Shadow of the Colossus.
  • The Fall of the Fire Empire: Yue hasn't aged in a century and is the only remaining Waterbender, due to her connection to the imprisoned Moon spirit.
  • In the prologue of Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger, Jaune unlocks his Force-sensitivity and Aura after touching the Mask of Nihilus, which was the Soul Jar for an alien Undead Abomination.
  • The New Recruit: While Matt still has no idea what gave him, Andrew, and Steve their powers, Coulson thinks of this trope, but doesn't say so out loud so he won't scare Matt.
  • Carol Danvers from A Prize for Three Empires gains powers thanks to Kree villain Yon-Rogg's Psyche-Magnitron device somehow passing on genetic information from Captain Marvel's body to hers.
  • In Transition, Jinx and Raven gain Enlightenment Superpowers by having a lesbian threesome with an avatar of a sapient planet in its mindscape
  • The Beatles in With Strings Attached. The first instances (John and Ringo) are actually unintentional on the part of the aliens involved; they end up giving George and Paul powers to make them roughly equal.
    Varx: I don't think we have a choice, Shag, unless you want half of our heroes feeling real inferior to the other half.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies, it's rather "Touched by Magical Pretty Ponies".
    • After the events of the first film, the human Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie still have some bits of Equestrian magic left in them, causing them to shift into their anthropony forms when they play music. In Rainbow Rocks it also makes them immune to the Dazzlings' Mind-Control Music, at least until they start breaking apart.
    • In Friendship Games it is revealed that the transformation can also be triggered by doing something that embodies their element (Rainbow leading a pep rally, Rarity designing uniforms for her friends, etc.).
    • This becomes a major source of conflict in Legend of Everfree, as human Twilight is revealed to still have some residual magic from her transformation in the last movie and she becomes terrified of reverting into Midnight Sparkle every time her power manifests. Exposure to Gloriosa Daisy's magical geodes causes the other six girls to develop new magical abilities as well. By the end of the movie all seven undergo a transformation into Magical Girl Warriors, which they can apparently now do at will thanks to the magic lockets created from the geodes.
  • In Moana, Maui was thrown into the sea by his parents in an attempt to get rid of him. The gods objected to that and rescued him, making him Semi-Divine in the process.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Irina receives the knowledge of, well, everything from the interdimensional being that she places the skull on. She gets exactly what she asked for. The knowledge causes intense pain and pulls her into the being's dimension. This was meant to be a reward. Lesson learned? Don't help the Vorlons. Or at least don't help them without specifying how much knowledge. Be careful what you want, and all that good stuff.
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, astronaut David Bowman gets captured by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, who cause him to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. He returns to Earth many years later as the Star Child, an Energy Being with superpowers. 2001 presents this as the ultimate step in biological evolution, but the sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, reveals that the aliens have plans to use Bowman as a proxy while they carry on their mysterious agenda.
  • In the DC Extended Universe, Victor Stone becomes Cyborg when his father exposes his crippled remains to a Mother Box as seen in the footage kept that's stolen to Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and in a flashback in Zack Snyder's Justice League.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the encounter with namesake Silver Surfer leaves Human Torch with an unusual ability to transfer and even accumulate superpowers. It causes no end of trouble for the group before helping them to save the world.
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Woman uses this to give the title character her size.
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a relatively mild example. All the Black Lectroids do is give him the ability to see all Lectroids as they really are and the knowledge to create an antidote to their illusion disguise.
  • Mr. Nobody offers a unique inversion by showing that before being born, we all know "everything that will happen" in our lives, until we get touched on the upper lip by the Angels of Oblivion that make us forget all of that knowledge. The protagonists explains that the Angels didn't touch him, gifting him with an omniscience that allows him to see all the possible variables of his choices.
  • Subverted in Phenomenon: the aliens turn out to be hallucinations caused by George's brain tumor.
  • The heroes' encounter with the ghosts in Satyajit Ray's Gupi Gain Bagha Bain (1969). The surreal King of Ghosts grants them three boons which endow them with certain magical powers.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Rocket Raccoon is implied to be once a normal raccoon that was turned into what he is by unknown extraterrestrials. Later Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 confirms that Rocket used to be indeed just a regular raccoon kit from Earth, until he and many other animals got abducted and experimented on by the High Evolutionary, who engineers Funny Animals in order to be the god of a superior version of Earth's civilization.
    • Introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Vision is an organic-vibranium hybrid body upgraded with the Mind Stone, one of the ancient Infinity Stones created at the creation of the universe. In addition, both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were given powers by Hydra's experimentation with Loki's scepter, which contained the Mind Stone at the time. All three were created by Terrans, but given powers from an extraterrestrial source.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 revealed that the reason Peter Quill, aka Starlord, was able to directly handle the Power Stone in the first film despite his Terran origins is that he's half Celestial, a race of nigh-immortal, nigh-omnipotent beings able to take human (or other) form. When Starlord kills his father, Ego the Living Planet, at the end of the film, his Celestial abilities fade, making him equivalent to a normal human once more.
    • Zig-zagged in Captain Marvel (2019) - Yon-Rogg told Vers that she was given her powers by Yon-Rogg after some sort of accident, although at the time, Vers believed herself to be Kree like Yon-Rogg. When she discovers the truth - that she's actually a human named Carol with some of Yon-Rogg's Kree blood running through her veins - the trope seemed to be played straight. But then it's back to zig-zagged once again when Vers/Carol discovers that although she does have Kree blood inside her, she gets most of her powers, including the Binary State from an encounter with an exploding Kree Light-Speed engine that's powered by an Infinity Stone, in this case, the Space Stone.
  • Alice from Hellboy (2019) attributes her numerous paranormal abilities to her abduction by fairies when she was a toddler.

  • Stephen King:
    • In the novella Hearts in Atlantis - Low Men In Yellow Coats (adapted into a film named for the anthology in which the story appeared, Hearts in Atlantis), anyone Ted touches gains his psychic abilities, at least temporarily. When the character turns up later in the final The Dark Tower book, we find out not only can he temporarily give a normal person psychic powers, but is also able to exponentially boost the power of someone who was already psychic.
    • In The Tommyknockers, an alien ship releases in the atmosphere a gas which gradually turns every inhabitant of a small town into amoral geniuses, except for the hero.
  • The Shanda'ryn of Adam R. Brown's Alterien series fit this trope nicely. It was specifically Dr. Grey along with Ara, Li'nia and an ultimate life form called Eve who created the Alterien species with the intention of having them eventually replace Homo sapiens.
  • Animorphs is a classic example of this trope.
    • The protagonists were given amazing shapeshifting super-phlebotium by an alien who crashed in their hometown and hoped they could prevent the alien invasion he died trying to stop.
    • The Andalites themselves got a big speed boost to their evolutionary process when Toomin was Going Native with them in The Ellimist Chronicles.
  • Aurora Cycle: During her 220 years as a Human Popsicle on a lost ship in the Fold, Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley was transformed into a Human Weapon by things left behind by the Eshvaren, becoming the Trigger of a weapon intended to be used against the Ra'haam.
  • China Miéville's Bas-Lag Cycle: In Iron Council, Judah Low learns how golem magic works by studying a race of creatures born with this ability, but is only able to use it himself after being touched by the Stiltspear chief.
  • In Blind Lake, Tess becomes an Oracular Urchin due to being a subject of interest to the Starfish Alien she calls Mirror Girl. At the same time, the scientists at Blind Lake are studying an alien called Subject, who is fundamentally changed by the experience and effectively becomes "Touched By Humans".
  • In Blue Light by Walter Mosley, a blue light comes from space and magically enhances anyone it comes into contact with. It makes them the best at what they are doing at the time.
  • Chakona Space gives us several examples:
    • Boyce Kline is interfertile with any mammalian morph, taur or alien species, thanks to a meddlesome Rakshani fertility Deity, or possibly more than one.
    • Shamara, a Herm Rakshani, winds up fertile with any biped feline species thanks to a different Deity. Possibly the same one responsible for hir being born a herm in the first place (hir parents lost a boy and a girl child in an accident, apparently some Deity thought it would be amusing to replace them both in one), possibly another one.
    • The character Shadowcrest from the "Tales of the Folly" stories ends up with hir natural empathic abilities increasing thanks to some more meddlesome alien Deities.
    • The transporters aboard the Folly are able to perform a "Fountain of Youth" makeover thanks to yet a different Deity (or three).
  • Weavers in The Dawnhounds get their power by making contact with Eldritch Abominations from beyond the veil of death.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: Hugh the Hand was initially nothing more than a very skilled assassin, but after his death in the first book he was made immortal by a Sartan. There are also a number of other characters more subtly influenced as well as a Sartan weapon that made its wielder incredibly powerful, though at a cost.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry spends a few books with the psychic copy of a Fallen Angel rattling around in his head, trying to corrupt him. As a side effect of this, he gains the ability to cast Hellfire and use it to empower his spells. After Lash (said Fallen Angel copy) is destroyed by a Heroic Sacrifice protecting Harry, he loses the Hellfire, but then the Archangel Uriel steps in to maintain the balance of things by giving Harry access to Soulfire, the Heavenly equivalent.
  • In The Featherbedders by Frank Herbert it's a reason why telepathic Slorin only rely on polymorphing to infiltrate societies they are parasiting upon.
    A nudge from the Slorin mind-cloud helped, of course, but this carried its own perils. The nudged mind sometimes developed powers of its own — with terrifying results.
    • And then the creatures parasiting on their civilization need to take care...
      Next time you find a blob of something jes' lyin' in a field, you leave it alone, hear? [...] It was you made him so dang strong, pokin' him that way. Slorin aren't all that strong 'less'n you ignite'em, hear?
  • In Isekaid Shoggoth, any and all people who have gone through this experience are known as "defiled." Those who have endured the process and managed to hold their sanity intact are always welcomed by their government as they are stronger, smarter, wiser, and are very powerful. The main character is considered heavily defiled because she's a shoggoth posing as a (very eccentric) human woman. Her four wives have all gotten peeks at her true form and have all become defiled in their own right, especially her former handmaiden Bridgit who gained the ability to be multiple places at once and can bounce between them at will, or subconsciously.
  • In The Institute for Singular Antiquities, Romulus Hardy is the rookie Egyptologist who uncovers the crypt of the great sorcerer mummy Amun Odji-Kek. Keke would then form a psychic bond on Hardy to see through the man's eyes. Even after Kek's destruction, Hardy still retains some psychic ability and will sometimes randomly pick up stray thoughts around him. Meanwhile his comrade, Rex McTroy an infamous bounty hunter got hit by a sarcophagus thrown by Kek. To save his life, the jiangshi Mrs. Wu pours some of her own blood into the dying man's mouth and instantly healing him. Rex did not get any regeneration or other powers as it takes a jiangshi biting ther person to transform them, however Rex soon recovers and discovers his senses are supernaturally enhanced to the point of be
  • Journey to Chaos: During the events of Transcending Limitations, Annala is possessed by the Top God, Lady Chaos, which fundamentally alters her mind, body and soul. One result of this is acquiring many new abilities and divine-level power.
  • In Journey to the West, any animal within earshot of a practicing Taoist or Buddhist, whether the religious figure intends it or not, will gain some degree of the same powers as the travelers. This is what led to the incident with the Scorpion-Woman, as even Buddha and Guanyin didn't want a damn thing to do with her.
  • The main character in Sergey Lukyanenko's Labyrinth of Reflections novel gains Neo-like abilities both inside and outside the virtual environment after interacting with an energy being either from space or another dimension (its true nature is never explained). He already possesses superhuman abilities while in VR, namely the ability to leave VR at will (normal humans can't do that) and to literally "see" holes and backdoors in code. The new abilities include making him immune to viral weapons used by the virtual cops, flying, and hacking into any system he wishes with a thought. His most amazing ability allows him to enter the virtual world without the aid of a computer or a phone line.
    • Another Mind Screw is that the energy being may have been someone like Leonid (if he did have a grasp on reality in certain stranger parts and wasn't hallucinating), what Leonid was fated to turn into, or a computer glitch that created a virtual spectre of a dead and utterly insane VR addict. Well, that or a really experienced troll who managed to put more than a few people into a Mind Screw-corkscrew. And Leonid realizes that. Well, sort of...
  • The Mortal Instruments has the chalice of the angels. When an human drinks from him, he becomes a shadowhunter. However, the goblet is very picky, and kills everyone that he considers unworthy.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's scary Night's Dawn trilogy has this happen to Joshua Calvert when he encounters the Tyrathca Sleeping God (which is actually a sentient naked singularity). An interesting example, in that while the Sleeping God gives him essentially unlimited access to its capabilities, he isn't allowed to use them as an offensive weapon and the capability only lasts as long as he needs it to reverse the rampage of the Possessed across the galaxy.
  • Night Watch (Series):
    • Similar but not quite the same: Potential Others could discover their powers by interacting with Others who had already discovered their powers.
    • The third book also shows that members of the Inquisition are able to appeal directly to either the Light or the Dark (depending on what kind of Other they are) for a temporary boost in power, if necessary to carry out their duties.

  • No Gods for Drowning: Captain Arcadia Myrn gains special abilities from contact with the goddess, Medes. Myrn touched the Coralstone that had Medes sealed in and gained powerful abilities.

  • In The Parasite War, Alex and Jo are infested by colloids, but they're driven out. Afterward, they retain telepathic connections with the colloids and with each other.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series: Most of Petaybee's population over a certain age had been modified by the planet, itself, to live comfortably on the planet's sub-Arctic climate — with the nasty drawback that, once so adapted, any prolonged absence from the planet's surface (as little as a couple of days) ends with complete organ shutdown and death. Sean Shongili was further altered to be able to transform into a seal-like creature. (The reason why isn't really explored to any depth.)
  • Sholan Alliance: Having had his telepathic abilities destroyed by an implant, the Cabbarans help repair the damage, as well as installing some improvements. Once he's on the path to being 'fully powered up', he is able to detect some surveillance devices and destroy them with a thought.
  • In The Silmarillion:
    • Tuor lived among Elves for the greater part of his life and married one; depending on which draft of Tolkien's work you read, it is implied that he too eventually became immortal. Other passages, however, state that the Valar can't take away mortality by making a being immortal because, in Tolkien's mythology, death is the ultimate gift. Therefore it's perfectly plausible that Tuor eventually died, even if his life was extended far past that of a normal human's.
    • It's possible, if incredibly rare in Tolkien's world for a human to give up their humanity and become an elf, the same way that few rare elves give up their immortality. The will of Eru is always involved in these events, and it's perceived as giving up something incredibly valuable in return for something else in both cases.
    • Most forms of awesomeness in Tolkien's mythology are contagious. The elves who hang out with the Valar are awesomer than the elves who don't, and the men who hang out with elves are awesomer than the men who don't. Some of this is simply a matter of learning skills and knowledge from them, but the elf-friends also tend to be taller, stronger, wiser, and much longer-lived. (Sadly, this doesn't stop some of the more High Elves from being total jerkasses.)
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the biologist's "brightness", which she gains from inhaling spores in the tower, renders her immune to hypnotic suggestions, and gives her superhuman healing and reflexes.
  • The Space Trilogy: The Director of Logres has the face of a beautiful young man and golden hair well into his sixties due to his encounter with the gods on Venus. His demi-divinity makes him quite charismatic, even making animals perfectly obedient around him, yet his inability to age also keeps an injury on his foot from ever healing, so he's in constant pain while on Earth.
  • Mike Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land is a textbook example. He was raised by Martians, which imbued him with certain powers like levitation and the ability to wipe things out of existence with his mind. By the end of the book, he has established a school/cult that teaches others the Martian language and culture, which in turn gives them these abilities.
  • Dean Koontz's Strangers has this. The Aliens wanted everyone to have the powers but crashed and were only able to give them to the people who had seen the crash and come to investigate.
  • James H. Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon starts out with latent psychic powers being awakened by aliens who need her to learn to communicate in a hurry. However, the learning process continues for longer than intended, eventually turning her into one of the most powerful telepaths in the Federation of the Hub.
  • Being in the proximity of Warhammer (40k) Daemons is almost never a good idea. Unless, of course, you're on their side, and even that isn't all fun.
  • In the George R. R. Martin-edited Wild Cards books, the Aces and Jokers are given their superpowers and super-un-powers, respectively, from an alien virus that's sorta kinda accidentally spread across the planet.
  • In the Xanth book The Source Of Magic, the demon Xanth (the titular source) thanks Bink for freeing him - even though Bink knew Xanth probably would fly the coop and take all Xanth's magic with him - by ensuring that every one of his direct descendants would have a Magician-class talent. (So, in a sense, Bink's kids were touched).
  • Happens to the pets of wizards in the Young Wizards series, by having wizardly energy leaked onto them. The powers gained can range from super strength to precognition to being able to create new universes.
  • In the Ghost Finders novels, J.C. Chance was endowed with supernatural vision and brilliantly-glowing eyes by something from Outside the known boundaries of reality. Neither he nor others who've been similarly endowed in the past including Catherine Latimer are sure why they were granted such eyesight, but it does come in handy for seeing ghosts and for intimidating potential enemies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The premise of The 4400 is that 4400 people have been abducted by people of the future, altered to have special abilities, and returned all at the same time and place. Each returnee demonstrates one unique ability (some have not yet been manifested or revealed).
  • Babylon 5 is the Trope Namer:
    • All telepaths were ultimately created by Vorlon meddling in order to use them in the next scheduled war with the Shadows, but Lyta Alexander, who disappeared after the events of the Pilot Movie only to reappear in season three, was vastly empowered by the Vorlons to serve their ambassador to the station. Before, she was a P5 rating (on a scale of 0, non-telepath, to 12, the Psi Cops; this rates her as a fairly typical commercial/government telepath), but afterward she's just plain off the scale. She says later that she thinks she was made to be the Vorlons' ace in the hole:
      "In a war, you have a certain number of small weapons, a certain number of medium-sized weapons, and one or two big ones. The kind of weapons you drop when you're out of the small weapons, and the medium weapons, and you've got nothing left to use."
    • Captain Sheridan was literally touched by a Vorlon; it left a piece of itself inside his head. That piece gave him telepathic resistance and guided him to encounter Lorien, who's even more powerful, and kept John from dying. It also let him stand up to Lyta (check the stinger at the bottom).
    • On the opposite side were Bester's "weapons components," rogue telepaths that Earth sold to the Shadows in exchange for powerful technology, whom the Shadows modified to be living computer cores.
    • The Techno-mages are cyborgs whose implants replicate magic and were originally created by the Shadows.
    • An earlier example is Talia Winters, Lyta's replacement who eventually got replaced by her again: her old mentor and lover Ironheart ascended to higher plane of existence after an experiment increased his powers way off the scale (complete with difficulty to control them). He then gave Talia a gift, this trope.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Cordelia began Angel as a normal young woman, a carryover from her role in Buffy. In the first season she gained the ability to have visions when Doyle, a half-demon, kissed her. These visions were from the Powers That Be, mystical overseers in a way. In the third season the pain from the visions had become so intense that Cordy became half-demon to sustain them. Later in that season, Cordy became a higher being. Then comes back down to Earth with a murderous backstabbing villain in her head trying to create a true vessel for itself.
    • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Caleb was able to 'merge' with The First Evil, which greatly enhanced his strength.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", Captain Jack Harkness is exterminated by the Daleks but resurrected by the Time Vortex-empowered Rose. In the spinoff series Torchwood, it is revealed that he has been immortal since then. In series 3 of Who, it is confirmed that this immortality was a side-effect.
    • In "Journey's End", Donna "Touched a Time Lord" (well, his hand at least) and got super vast intellect which got taken away thanks to Victory-Guided Amnesia lest her brain go all asplody afterwards.
    • In new Series 6, we get River Song. Her parents (Amy and Rory) are human, but she ends up being part Time Lord because she was conceived on the TARDIS while it was in flight in the Time Vortex.
    • Clara Oswald:
      • At the beginning of "The Bells of Saint John", she can't even find the wifi button, but becomes an expert hacker after the Great Intelligence attempts — and fails — to download her consciousness.
      • "Hell Bent": The Time Lords kill her, setting off one hell of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge from the Doctor, and finally she's pulled out just before her last heartbeat. She's now time-locked with no heartbeat since her death is locked in time, but she also now has a TARDIS; she's decided not to accept her death right away.
    • Series 9 introduces us to Ashildr, who was killed and then brought back to life when the 12th Doctor implanted her with Mire tech. That tech merged with her, creating an immortal hybrid who managed to live clear through to the end of time, earning the infamous name "Me", as in the last being alive at the end of time. When we last see her, she's left to travel time with Clara in her TARDIS.
    • Then there's The Ghost. As a child, Grant complained of a cough, so the Doctor gave him a glass of water. And a small red thing. Mistaking the latter for medicine, he swallowed it. It didn't do much for his cough, but it embedded itself in his body and caused him to become what he wanted to be: a superhero.
  • At one point in Earth: Final Conflict, Renee Palmer is given some of Da'an's Taelon life energy, in essense, making her part Taelon.
  • Lost: The Big Good Jacob and the Big Bad The Smoke Monster have supernatural powers and immortality thanks to the Source of Life located in the heart of the Island.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Inheritors", Jacob Hardy, Kelly Risley and Curtis Sawyer all gain Super-Intelligence after being struck in the head by apparent meteor fragments which turn out to be pieces of alien technology.
  • Out of This World (1987): On several occasions, Donna Garland had some of Evie's or Troy's powers transferred to her, which she had difficulty controlling.
  • Roswell: Liz began to manifest alien powers toward the end, as a result of Max healing her. The follow up novel "season" had Kyle start to exhibit powers as well.
  • Stargate SG-1 has used this trope frequently. For example, Daniel Jackson's season-long "ascension", Sam's temporary blending with a Tok'ra that left her with some nice gifts-with-purchase, Jacob's permanent blending with a Tok'ra, Jack's downloading an entire library of ancient knowledge, etc.
    • Anubis; the guy tricks himself into ascension, the Ancients are ticked off at this and pretty much kick him out of ascendedness, but leave him as an unkillable energy being with all the knowledge he had gained. Granted, he had some limitations on what he could do, but he could pretty much run over anyone in his way.
    • The Priors are all humans or Jaffa that are empowered by the Ori. note 
  • Stargate Atlantis: Rodney gains superpowers after touching a device created by the Ancients in "The Tao of Rodney".
    • What about Weir? She was infused with replicator nanites and gained some of their abilities; namely, rapid regeneration (we're talking about brain damage here!), limited telepathy versus other replicators as well as the ability to mentally hack into their wireless network.
    • Teyla has the ability to sense the approach of a Wraith attack, due to having some Wraith DNA, which with training she learns to use to tap into the Wraith hive mind. Her ancestors fit this trope even better, as their genes were modified by Wraith experiments, which resulted in them getting the abilities in the first place.
  • This happens a few times in the Star Trek franchise.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In "Charlie X", the eponymous human character is given his powers by the superpowerful Thasians.
      • In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk's pal and helmsman Gary Mitchell gains incredible telekinetic amongst other powers from the "Galactic Barrier", consequently goes insane, tries to kill Kirk, and Kirk has to kill him. Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, another Enterprise officer, goes through pretty much the same process, although slower enough than Mitchell that she ends up reacting to his greater insanity by turning against him and sacrificing herself to weaken him (giving Kirk the chance to kill him). This is just a repeat of what happened before, when a pre-Federation ship ended up in the Barrier, causing one of the crewmembers to gain godlike abilities and forcing the captain to self-destruct the ship.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, Kes comes into contact with a powerful telepathic race, which causes her telepathic abilities to grow beyond her ability to control them. This forces her to leave the USS Voyager, just in time for her to make room for Seven of Nine.
  • In a way, the demons of Supernatural. They were once human souls that were twisted in hell (The first one turned by Lucifer himself) and became what could be described as Uber-Ghosts.
  • In Threshold, people exposed to the Alien signal gain superhuman strength, resilience, and the desire to infect others. Or they die.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", the two-headed Martian gives Luther Dingle the strength of 300 men. He quickly becomes a celebrity and is hailed as a modern day Hercules or Samson. However, the Martian is disappointed that Dingle is using his strength to show off and settle scores and it is removed. Two Venusian scientists then arrive and, on the recommendation of the two-headed Martian, bestow Super-Intelligence on Dingle as part of an experiment.


    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • The language typically involves "the Spirit of God" / "the Holy Spirit" in some way: Being "filled with" the Spirit, having the Spirit "with" you, the Spirit "rushing upon" you, etc. The result may be miracles, or physical strength, or skill in battle, or even skill in craftmanship.
    • Bezazel and others involved with constructing the tabernacle in the Book of Exodus.
    • Anyone from the Book of Judges could be seen as touched.
    • Samson is a wonderful example.
    • Elisha has to qualify. After God took his mentor, Elijah, to Heaven (which He later revealed was a way to keep Elijah alive until the End Times, so he could prophesy again), God gave the power He had previously vested in Elijah to Elisha. Elisha proceeded to work many miracles in the Name of the Lord, and the power God bestowed on him was so great that his decaying bones revived a dead man.
    • Like Elisha, the Apostles were given the ability to perform miracles in the Name of Jesus.
    • Actually, Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth that every Christian has a "spiritual gift" which is a "manifestation of the Spirit for the common good". He ends up listing miracles & healing & prophecy alongside such mundane examples of service as "administration" and "teaching" and "encouraging".
      • The famous "love chapter", 1 Corinthians 13, comes in the middle of this discussion of using your gifts for mutual benefit, in love. ("since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.")
  • In Buddhism, one is supposedly able to perform amazing feats upon reaching nirvana.
  • Rael, the founder of the Raelians, claims to be this. Funnily enough, his birth name is Claude Vorilhon.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The denizens of the Metal Glen in Ruby Quest had any ongoing ailments (like blindness) healed, didn't need food or water, and could resurrect from death due to taking a treatment made from a strange substance found in a room they discovered while excavating the Brig, which is heavily implied to be part of an Eldritch Abomination. Of course, said treatment also made them murderously violent, mutated them whenever they were injured, and eventually turned them into mindless abominations until they died and were resurrected (which reset the cycle).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dishonored Roleplaying Game: At the GM's discretion, a player can choose for their character to have the Outsider's Mark, allowing them to access a variety of strange powers from the Void. Even if the player characters don't actually possess the Outsider's mark they are still assumed to be subtly touched by the Void in some way. This gives them a resource called Void Points, which can be spent to reroll dice, get an automatic critical success on one of their dice, or to alter, remove, or add one truth to the current scene.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3rd, 4th and 5th editions have the Warlock class, whose members are usually described as having made a deal with a fiend or a Lovecraftian entity from the stars, but sometimes are described as this trope, especially if their powers were granted by The Fair Folk.
    • This is also a possible origin of Sorcerers — people whose magic is inherently part of them, rather than a learned skill — though it's just as likely to be genetic — in which case, the Sorcerer's ancestor was Touched By Vorlons, and the effects were passed down through the generations.
    • Eberron provides an entire race Touched by Vorlons. The Kalashtar started out as human mystics until they merged with extraplanar beings known as Quori.
    • Forgotten Realms after Time of Troubles has "Touched mages" — wizards who agreed to perform for the goddess of magic (but don't need to be Mystra's faithful) a "little" service — help to erase a dead-magic zone, drop a "funny" surprise on local Cult of the Dragon cell and so on. They receive a temporary granted power (which may change mid-quest). When the mission is complete and this power vanishes, the wizard is left with a little, but useful spell-like ability (like Feather Fall or Light at will) and is a bit less vulnerable to one school of spells. Naturally, this also stimulates the faith more often than not.
    • Overexposure to raw magic/eldritch energy can also result in a disease known as Warp Touch, which may result in the development of all sorts of Red Right Hand attributes... unless the 1d100 roll is a critical failure, in which case the victim simply melts into a puddle of goo.
    • In 3rd edition, a deity can designate a Proxy by investing a portion of its power in a mortal servant, who becomes a demigod while so empowered.
  • Never, ever a good thing in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Partly because you're liable to get nailed to a stick and purged with flame if you get touched by any alien... or listen to them... or look at them (unless through a gun sight)... or live in the same general area as someone who looked at them... and Emperor help you if someone on your planet was engaged in a Chaos Cult.
    • Played more straight with Astropaths, a class of Psyker and the main means of interstellar communication in the setting. In order to survive sending messages through the Warp they undergo the Soul Binding, exposing them for a brief second to the mind of the God-Emperor. As a result, their eyes burn out, leaving them blind.
    • Aside from the Chaos Gods, there's also the C'tan, Psykers, and the Eldar Gods. In general, getting Touched by Vorlons in this setting is never a good thing.
    • Psykers in general are described as being "those touched by the warp." Since the Warp is home to a variety of Chaos Gods and daemons who think humans are wonderfully delicious, this isn't a good thing. Which is when the Commissar ability "It's for Your Own Good!" comes into play....
  • The World of Darkness:
    • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem ghouls are people who, willingly or not, became imbued with Kindred blood, creating The Ageless Elite Mook with the ability to walk around during the day and use certain Disciplines. Of course, they have a tendency to not like you if they didn't have a say in the matter, since vampire blood is addictive.
    • The Imbued of Hunter: The Reckoning are granted strange abilities by the Messengers.
    • The changelings of Changeling: The Lost were abducted by The Fair Folk and dragged off to Faerie, where their bodies adapted to the fact that the laws of physics had been thrown aside in favor of contract law. But then, at a certain level, it turns out the abduction wasn't so much this trope as it was Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong...
    • Demon: The Descent has Stigmatics, humans who came into contact with the raw Infrastructure of the God-Machine and have been changed by it, gaining slight supernatural powers, "glitches" in their system (ranging from eternally smelling like strawberries to needing to drink motor oil to survive), and a sensitivity to the workings of the God-Machine. There are also cryptids, which happen when animals (or, in rare cases, plants and bacteria) get exposed to the raw juice of the God-Machine; when created intentionally, they're often used as cutouts by angels and demons.
  • Rifts has the Cosmo Knight, people with phenomenal cosmic power granted by a mysterious artifact/being called the Cosmic Forge.
  • The vast majority of Powers in Nobilis are given their Estate by the conceptual beings known as Imperators, although a few gain theirs by eating the heart of a preexisting Power. Nobles can also perform this trope on mortals with Persona and Treasure miracles.
  • In Pathfinder, sorcerers derive their magical abilities from their "bloodline". Sometimes this means they are literally descended from angels/demons/whatever, but more often it's an example of this trope.

    Video Games 
  • This is the requirement to become part of the Foreigner class in Fate/Grand Order. One must come into contact with an Eldritch Abomination or some other alien force and walk away still possessing their sanity. People who qualify for this class are exceedingly rare, but also incredibly powerful, some almost on the level of Beasts.
  • In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard gained the collective knowledge and experience of the Prothean race as a result of their exposure to the Prothean Beacons and receiving the Cipher. Because of this, they not only gained a subconscious understanding of the Prothean language, but are recognized by their technology as though they were Prothean.
  • In Outer Wilds, shortly before your first space launch, the Nomai statue in the observatory's museum unexpectedly opens its eyes and turns to face you, to a sort of sped-up, reversed slideshow of everything you've done in the game thus far. From that point on, every time you die, you see a replay of your recent memories before waking up at the same campfire you started the game next to — you are now aware you're trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and unlike everyone else on the planet, you remember what happened last loop. Your ship's computer contains a shard of that same statue, explaining how it too is able to retain information over the time loops.
  • Geo Stelar of Mega Man Star Force becomes able to transform into the titular character through literal contact with the extraterrestrial electromagnetic bioform Omega-Xis. He's not the only one, though...
  • Although the bulk of her power comes from her power suit, Metroid's protagonist Samus Aran is known to have near-superhuman abilities due to being raised by (and infused with the blood of) the Chozo.
    • Biggest one, in canon, is that she can fit into that morph ball. Experiments to replicate it didn't go so well.
      • The Morph Ball doesn't actually "fit" Samus in the ball. As demonstrated in the various Prime games, she actually is turned into energy when the morph ball is activated. The Space Pirates that attempted to replicate the technology didn't catch the "to energy" part, and so attempted to get their test subjects to crunch into little balls. Which, as mentioned above, didn't work. Samus's supposed other superhuman abilities have not been seen in canon.
      • Some level of strength has been demonstrated, however. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, she can rip metal plates and creatures apart, and, in one instance pried open Ridley's jaws.
      • In Zero Mission, Samus ends up losing her Power Suit and running around with nothing but the Zero Suit, which apparently stores all her upgrades and still has an energy shield. She can still jump as high as she can with the power suit, and usually survives a number of hits (depending on energy tanks; one hit takes a whole tank) from an enemy (Space Pirates sometime obliterate themselves with same weapons). Snake's codec in Super Smash Bros. Brawl probably doesn't count though.
    • In Fusion, Samus is injected with a "vaccine" extracted from the last Metroid's DNA, which gives her extra abilities. Among them are an immunity to the deadly X Parasites and a more organic Power Suit, but it also comes with a vulnerability to cold (she gets better).
    • Samus' infusion of Chozo blood is the reason she can use her Power Suit in the first place. The suit is Chozo technology, and only someone with Chozo blood can properly interface with Chozo technology.
  • In RuneScape, it is possible for mortals to ascend into godhood by lingering around artefacts created by the Elder Gods or by killing an existing god.
    • The player character becomes the World Guardian following Guthix's Assassination, and the beginning of the 6th Age of Gielinor, which is essentially Anti-God Magic - in essence, they are immune to the divine powers of the Younger Gods, such as Saradomin and Bandos, and most of the gods seen require their permission for their magic to work on the World Guardian. Due to the circumstances surrounding both this event and the World Guardian's overall destiny, they are one of the few beings in the entire multiverse who cannot ascend to godhood.
  • In the Nintendo 64 game Sin and Punishment, several humans are endowed with various types of psychic and telepathic powers, among other things, by receiving a blood transfusion from the mysterious girl, Achi.
  • The Protoss and the Zerg of StarCraft are this. Before the game began, there were these beings called Xel'naga who uplifted them both by giving one with "Purity of Form", and the other with "Purity of Essence". The Xel'naga wished to have these two races merge in the future so that they will make the new iteration of their race. Legacy of the Void reveals that the Xel'naga normally don't do this. A key part of the cycle is letting the races achieve these qualities on their own to ensure that they are worthy successors to the Xel'nagas' responsibilities. Amon and his rogue faction of Xel'naga uplifted the Protoss and the Zerg as part of a long-running scheme to break the cycle forever.
  • The player character in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne wasn't touched by Vorlons per se, but did have his powers implanted by no less a figure than Lucifer himself. In fact, the entire game could be seen as a test case to see just how usable the method was. Just so long the empowering worked it wouldn't matter what the newly-created Demi-Fiend did, even if that involved defying his Vorlon (so to speak). The method would be proved as workable, and it would likely be not that much trouble to duplicate the process with a more ready accomplice.
    • Persona 4 plays the trope similarly, with the goddess Izanami granting the power to enter the TV universe and summon Personas to the main character and two others, more or less just to see what they would do with it. More relevant to this trope, the power is granted via contact— in this case, Izanami's disguised form as the gas station attendant giving you a friendly handshake.
    • Persona 2 has Philemon granting humans the ability of Persona, though his rival Nyarlathotep played with this in the first Persona by empowering Kandori Takahisa during the SEBEC fiasco, in an effort to hasten the death of reality. Both continue playing with the same tricks through Persona and both halves of Persona 2.
  • Jak from Jak and Daxter is blessed with Light Eco abilities by the Precursors, god-like figures of his world. While his Dark Eco powers were a result of being experimented on by Baron Praxis, the Precursors help him to gain control of them.
  • BlazBlue: Ragna the Bloodedge gained his powers by fusing with the remains of the Black Beast.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has this trope at the core. All six main characters are l'Cie, humans who have been given a task by inscrutable god-like beings called fal'Cie and superpowers to help them fulfill it. The downside of this is if they don't complete the task within a time limit, they turn into mindless monsters called Cie'th. And if they succeed? Then they are turned into crystals until the next time the fal'Cie needs them. Also the fal'Cie apparently don't feel the need to actually explain the task, they just give a vague vision and the l'Cie have to figure it out themselves. The fal'Cie are basically complete assholes.
  • Asura's Wrath: The entire Shinkoku Tratrium race is revealed to be this. Done by Chakravrtin, the games Big Bad.
  • Godlikes, one of the player races in Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity, were blessed in the womb by one or more deities. They typically possess some obvious physical traits of their patron, as well as having unique magical powers, but cannot wear helmets due to their oddly shaped heads. They are also infertile and the real reason they exist is so that their souls can be harvested by the gods in case of an emergency.
  • No one knows where the Bees come from in The Secret World, but they're responsible for granting the power of Anima to select mortals.
  • In the world of Dishonored, certain individuals are given magical powers by the mysterious Outsider, the closest thing the setting has to a God, if the Outsider thinks they will be "interesting". These people, like main character Corvo, are apparently allowed to do whatever they want with their powers, though the Outsider will pop in from time to time to comment on what they are doing.
  • In Halo 4, the Librarian infuses John-117 with a "genesong" when he finds her on Requiem. Initially there doesn't seem to be any difference, but it turns out near the climax that she has made John immune to the Composer.
  • Shadow Hearts gives us Roger Bacon and Albert Simon. Bacon comprehended the will of God and being a scholar was compelled to record his findings. His apprentice eventually found said books and gained his own revelations. Both aside from being imbued with great power have gone almost completely mad, each adapting to it in their own way. For Roger he became The Wonka while Albert has adopted a Tranquil Fury. And honestly those two are probably the more composed examples, everyone else who reads them goes coo-coo.
  • In Stray Gods, Calliope passes her singing powers to Grace, which turns the latter into a Muse.
  • In Under Night In-Birth, ordinary humans can become the titular In-Births by being outside on a Hollow Night (a special night once a year where part of the world emerges in another dimension) and surviving an encounter with Void creatures who can turn you into one of them with the merest bite or scratch. Becoming an In-Birth is a horrific experience for the unfortunate soul but they do come out of it with the ability to manipulate EXS, the inherent power within all living things; usually this power manifests in a single unique ability (Linne and Yuzuriha have Super-Speed, Waldstein has Super-Strength, Orie can summon a Guardian Entity called Thanatos, Carmine has the power of Bloody Murder, etc.) but some individuals are able to win the Superpower Lottery through it; Hilda gained the ability to teleport, conjure up blades out of solid shadow and abilities far beyond that of a regular human, but the power broke her mind and made her insane.
  • In the video game sequel to Chainsaw Warrior from Games Workshop , the Chainsaw Warrior is sent to South America to stop the Darkness. If Chainsaw finds a temple, he can detour and liberate it from one of the Darkness's champions. Whenever he does so, the Mayan gods will give him a power such as regeneration or being immune to continuous damage.
  • In King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame, none of the Knights of the Round Table are Badass Normal. Each one of them have been given supernatural powers and might through one source or another, most commonly through contact with the Sidhe. Your Knights can get further powers through earning favours from the fey via quests.
  • Warframe: Being exposed to the Void has various effects on people. When a colony ship was stranded in the Void, all the adults went violently insane (or possibly were possessed by an entity from beyond time and space; it's unclear), while the children gained strange Void powers, starting with near-immortality. When the ship was discovered decades later, the children had not aged at all. The Orokin were planning to kill them all as abominations, but decided instead to use them to tame the uncontrollable warframes. The children learned to control and puppeteer the warframes through a process known as Transference, and were put into a waking sleep called the Second Dream where they could not directly harm themselves or others. They became known as the Tenno.
  • Borderlands: The Sirens, women with glowing tattoos and impossible powers. There are only six in the universe at any time, they have strange powers like phase walking or phase locking, and have an unclear connection to the Eridians. The ones that have shown up so far are: Lilith, Commandant Steele, Maya, Amara, Angel and Tyreen Calypso. Steele, Angel, Maya and Tyreen are dead by the end of the third game.
  • In Grim Dawn, the player character was indwelled by an Aetherial. When they were hung, the Aetherial fled their dying body. The Taken was left with the ability to use the Aetherial's Portal Network, and conjure their own, temporary rift portal. Whenever the Taken uses a portal, it's forcibly and permanently removed from the Aetherials control. And all because one Aetherial mook didn't want to die with its host.
  • Doom Eternal reveals that this true of the Doom Slayer. He was an ordinary (albeit extremely badass) man before the Seraphim hooked him up to the Divinity Machine and altered his body. Now he has enhanced strength, speed, doesn't age, and can absorb Hell energy to sustain himself.
  • Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom: One of Teotl's memories reveals that he was originally an ordinary forest animal before he ate the fruit of a strange tree. As he slept, he transformed into a powerful magical being. This is why someone who Speaks Fluent Animal like the protagonist Tepeu can speak with Teotl — he is an animal, just one altered by magic.
  • In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, the Knight Commander becomes a Mythic Hero at the end of the first Act. Their companions also gain access to Mythic Power thanks to the Knight Commander. The reason it's this trope is because the Knight Commander has Mythic Power thanks to Areelu Vorlesh infusing them with crystallized demon lord blood. Interestingly, the form that this power can take later in the game is also this trope:
    • Angel Path: Finding the lost sword of an Angel grants the Knight Commander the option to become one themselves.
    • Demon Path: The only Path that doesn't require an outside influence since it's already demon lord blood. Instead, becoming a Demon requires the Knight Commander to surrender to their own rage.
    • Aeon Path: An Aeon takes a special interest in the Knight Commander and sets them on the path to becoming an Aeon. Said Aeon is actually the Knight Commander's own future Aeon self. So the Knight Commander was touched by themselves.
    • Lich Path: A lich who was a former hero of the Crusades takes an interest in the Knight Commander and sets them on the path to becoming a fellow lich.
    • Azata Path: One early sidequest brings the Knight Commander in contact with Elysium, the realm of the freedom loving Azata. The exposure to this realm gives the Knight Commander the chance to join them.
    • Trickster Path: Like the Aeon Path, the "Vorlon" who touched the Knight Commander is themselves from the future. Specifically, one from a possible future where they merged with Shyka the Many, one of the Eldest.
    • Swarm-That-Walks Path: A late game path that requires the Knight Commander to cross several moral lines involving swarms of insects, culminating in the Knight Commander becoming a Hive Mind of hungry flesh eating bugs that becomes a threat to all creation.
    • Gold Dragon Path: A late game path revolving around redemption. By following the guidance of a Gold Dragon and taking in power from the remains of the Silver Dragon Terendelev who died in the prologue, the Knight Commander becomes a mighty Gold Dragon as well.
    • Devil Path: This late-game path is only available on two of the early paths. By perverting the ideals of either an Azata or an Aeon at the behest of the archdevil Mephistopheles, said archdevil will offer to make you a devil as well.
    • Legend Path: This is late-game path is an inversion. By rejecting the Mythic Power at the request of the goddess Iomadae, the Knight Commander unlocks their full potential as a mortal. In gameplay terms this translates to the level cap being increased to 40.

  • In Black Adventures, Missingno. bitch-slaps Mary, injuring her eye. Her next appearance reveals that she has obtained some of MissingNo.'s powers, which she uses to help her and Joseph get the upper hand against Black.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta has the Sovereign of Sorrow, who can grant upgrade and enhance a sprite's nature. Unfortunately, the Sovereign tends to break the minds of her victims, either revealing unsettling truths about the nature of their reality and filling them with nihilism or making them unhinged and murderous. It's a bad touch by Vorlons.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Immortals can imbue a person with subtle magical abilities and start them down the road to more magic if they have a strong yearning for something or if they have an affinity for something specific. They can also unlock a person's natural latent magical abilities to be able to start getting access to and using explicit spells.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has possessed Jack Hyland turning from already very tech savvy into a spirit-seeing and eventually flying Mad Scientist. Later he says "all these great ideas" were a temporary effect, but after complete recovery has both fledgling etheric powers and possibly improved tech-savvy side, if not on the same crazy level.
  • In Jupiter-Men, Quintin suffered brain damage after being stuck by a truck when he was younger, resulting in vertigo and difficulty percieving his surroundings as anything more than a haze. Jupiter-Man uses a Healing Hands power to heal Quintin, which has the side effect of granting Quintin a Photographic Memory.
  • Marooned: Captain Lian Fisher was quite badass already, but the Mindstone made her a powerful, glowy psychic.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the filler story "Stick Figure Tales of Cotton", Torg and Riff both gained superpowers from a group of aliens (that were actually the author's hand) after going through some parodic superhero origin stories that didn't actually give them any powers.
  • The Sword Interval: Fall Barros was attacked and changed by Big Bad the Hierophant when she was twelve years old, leaving her with Supernatural Gold Eyes and some other mysterious changes like a Healing Factor. It turns out to be a subversion. Fall is actually the current Harbinger, and was born with the golden eyes and superpowers. However, the Atlas Foundation edited her memories to make her forget she had the eyes and powers before the Hierophant's attack on her house.
  • In Las Lindas, if someone falls in love with an Immortal and they recipricate, they become immortal as well.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The Calamity Box that transported Anne Boonchuy, Marcy Wu and Sasha Waybright to Amphibia has three colored gems on the lid (blue, green and pink, in that order, which became colorless upon transportation. Throughout the series, each girl seems to possess some superhuman ability which manifests as the colors of the gems glowing in each respective girl's eyes, implying the gems' power was imbued into them when they got teleported. When the gems get recharged in the second season, the glow in their eyes drains, hinting they lose their powers. Anne's recharging gets interrupted, so she keeps some of her powers and gains a Super Mode. All three girls fully regain their powers in the Grand Finale to fight the Final Boss, but ultimately lose them permanently after the gems are destroyed.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold version of Emperor Joker, the titular villain receives godlike powers after (accidentally) getting Touched By Vorlons in the form of Bat-Mite, an imp from the fifth dimension, just like Mr. Mxyzptlk. The imp attempted to transfer his powers to Batman in order to help him fight The Joker; unfortunately, he does that by firing them in the form of an energy ball and he hits the wrong target.
  • Hamster & Gretel gain their Flying Brick powers this way, with enigmatic aliens empowering them and telling them to do good. Later episodes reveal that many of their villains gained their powers from the same aliens, with two even explicitly being told to use their powers for evil, calling into question the exact motives of their extraterrestrial benefactors.
  • Hilariously parodied in an episode of Invader Zim, with Dib being contacted by shoe aliens to help in his fight against Zim. He gains incredible mental and physical powers, which he then uses to prepare the Earth for an Irken invasion and defeat the Irken Armada. Turns out it was just Zim, having kidnapped him and hooked him up to an interrogation device, in order to determine if Dib threw a muffin at him earlier in the day. Zim then proceeds to gain his revenge by throwing a muffin at Dib. From a cannon.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • The two-parter, "Beginnings" shows that this is how bending started: The Lion Turtle spirit temporarily gave humans the ability to bend an element, eventually letting them keep the power. The Avatar started by merging his energies with that of the spirit, Raava, allowing Wan (the first Avatar) to hold the power of more than one element. Eventually, Raava merged permanently with Wan, in the process becoming what would be known as The Avatar Spirit.
    • At the start of the third season, to further restore balance to the world after Harmonic Convergence, the spirits revived airbending (which had been nearly extinct for two centuries) by granting it to hundreds of random people throughout the world. It took time for them to get used to their new powers, and some of them outright wanted to continue their old lives.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Power Lunch", the Girls accidentally give the Gangreen Gang superpowers when their Eye Beams react with the candy the Gangreen Gang ate, creating Chemical X.
  • Steven Universe: In "Off Colors" and "Lars' Head", Lars is brought back from the dead by Steven's healing powers, and Lars finds his hair and skin have turned a faint pink, he no longer feels hunger or thirst, his pulse is much slower than normal, and his hair has a portal to the same Pocket Dimension found in Lion's mane. This implies that Lion was an ordinary lion who was similarly saved by Rose Quartz and that Lars might have other powers he has yet to discover.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)'s Demon Shredder started as a normal human and obtained his god-like abilities after he allowed a dying Tengu to possess him.
  • Happens to Jerry Smith on Rick and Morty when he begins dating a Green-Skinned Space Babe, and having sex with her grants him telekinesis. Of course, this being Jerry, this relationship goes very south very quickly.

"You're not the only one that's been Touched by the Vorlons."
John Sheridan, Babylon 5


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Empowered By Vorlons


Liam Gaining Psychic Powers

After Spark fries Liam's brain with his electric powers, he suddenly gain psychic powers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TouchedByVorlons

Media sources: