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Playing With / Powers as Programs

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Basic Trope: Super-powers can be removed or transferred.

  • Straight: Characters can be Brought Down to Normal and back, or given each other's powers.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice and Bob literally download a different powerset before each mission, or turn their powers on and off at will.
    • The name of this trope is highly literal — Alice and Bob's powers come with an app-like "settings menu" that they can bring up with a thought, word or gesture to modify their powers on a whim, and/or they can do the same modifications with a laptop computer.
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  • Downplayed: Powers can be transferred, but the person who receives them must learn how to use them properly themself.
  • Justified:
    • Alice and Bob are actually super-powered robots.
    • Bob and Alice are in a Lotus-Eater Machine and it programs them powers to keep them occupied, thus they can download and trade powers.
  • Inverted: Powers are brought over between reincarnations, with no way to lose them. If someone somehow loses their power anyway, none of their reincarnations can ever get them.
  • Subverted: Alice loses her powers and sets out to get them back. Nobody is able to do anything about it.
  • Double Subverted: ... Until she meets Charlie, who has the power to manipulate other people's powers. Including transferring powers between them.
  • Parodied:
    • Alice accidentally powered down at a wrong timing.
    • Bob is a geek, and can literally program powers through a programming language interface.
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    • Superpowers come with DRM and an EULA that must be agreed to in order to use them.
  • Zig Zagged: Continuing from Double Subverted: Charlie's powers can only be used during certain circumstances, meaning that transferring powers may or may not be possible depending on the episode.
  • Averted: Powers are inherently physical, even if not visible. Psychics will have strange brain structures, for example. The powers are part of the people, and are there to stay.
  • Enforced: "We don't want any inherent disadvantages related to gameplay to prevent people from playing as one or the other. Let's come up with a justification for why they can use the same skills despite their differing backstories."
  • Lampshaded: "What's the point of hard work when you can just download a power for anything?"
  • Invoked: The Source of All Magic makes it so people can swap around their powers, thinking it would be fun to watch.
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  • Exploited: Alice is a fast learner, so she sets up programs where she trains up powers for other people in exchange for money.
  • Defied: "I can't turn off my powers any more than you can turn off your brain."
  • Discussed: "I wish Alice would transfer her levitation skills to me."
  • Conversed: "Imagine if real life worked like that... No more studying into the wee hours if you could somehow pirate that!"
  • Implied: Whenever Alice has shown a power, Bob is able to use techniques that require said power as well, but he is never seen practising anything while Alice is.
  • Deconstructed: With how powers can just be removed and transferred, powers end up rarely used so nobody will steal their powers. Thus powers have little to no effect on anything, and since anyone trying to be a nuisance just gets robbed not even the villainous thieves are capable of major action.
  • Reconstructed: Though powers can just be removed and transferred, the potency of these abilities make them highly sought after all. Thus even if some of your powers get stolen, you can just acquire new ones and continue about your superpowered business.
  • Played For Laughs: To transfer powers you have to bungie jump together, with your powers getting uprooted from the fall and getting slammed into the wrong body as you go back up.
  • Played For Drama: Power transfer is a painful process if done willingly, with power theft being so horrible a lot end up in comas if not outright dead because of it.
  • Played For Horror: You think it's bad enough when terrorists use cell phones to blow up buildings? Now imagine them having access to mass disintegration apps.

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