Badass Abnormal

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Sith Batman. The Force is weak in you, you superstitious and cowardly lot.

Your average Badass Normal can take on monsters, supervillains, and cosmic horrors with nothing but intense training and sheer determination. But that other guy can blow things up with his mind. And so can the villains. How could that puny human possibly compete with that? In short, despite his amazing capabilities, the Badass Normal just doesn't seem to be Badass enough. Time for a convenient power upgrade.

He may find some new Applied Phlebotinum, or discover a new power lurking within himself. Perhaps a sudden revelation reveals some otherworldly origin in his background, or he has an encounter with mysterious beings that leaves him forever changed. Or perhaps his badassness just escalates beyond the limits of normal humanity. Either way, an upgrade of this type may be required just so the Badass Normal won't become completely irrelevant compared to his superpowered comrades. If the Sorting Algorithm of Evil leaves him too far behind, and his role seems to be reduced to getting his ass handed to him, he may otherwise have to be Put on a Bus so he doesn't get in the way.

Keep in mind that to qualify as a Badass Abnormal, a character must spend a significant amount of screen time as a Badass Normal before gaining his upgrade. For example, Hal Jordan of the Green Lantern series starts off as a Badass Normal (he's an Air Force pilot) but gets his powers so early in the story that he cannot be considered a Badass Abnormal. Likewise, fellow Green Lantern John Stewart used to be a member of another Corps, but that wasn't even brought up until decades after his introduction. If the power upgrade is a part of the character's origin story, then he doesn't count as a Badass Abnormal. If the character only uses his powers in extreme circumstances, he probably Fights Like a Normal.

Compare Took a Level in Badass, where a character who was legitimately weak gets a power boost. Power Loss Makes You Strong and Boxing Lessons for Superman are inversions.

Important Note: Badass Abnormal is a trope that specifically deals with a Badass Normal who gains superpowers. It does not mean "Badass with superpowers." There are plenty of other Badass-related tropes to deal with those. Please help us fight this Trope Decay.

Examples of Badass Abnormal include:

Anime and Manga

  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Hibari Kyouya is already a very badass fighter with power level waay above the rest of the characters. He is still getting every single Shounen Upgrade along with everybody else, staying ahead of the curve.
  • Kino Makoto from Sailor Moon was already an experienced brawler before she even entered the story, and marked her debut episode by punching out Zoicite. Then she got her Senshi powers...
    • Minako too. In the anime it's not really visible, even if her moments as a Plucky Girl hint to that. In the manga, she can One Hit KO Makoto (done when Makoto had been brainwashed by the Dark Kingdom). In the live action, she provoked a collective Oh Crap in a group of youma by kicking one in a column so hard to break concrete, without transforming!!
  • Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ has gotten this on occasion:
    • The legendary Super Strength Soba noodles confer herculean strength; after Akane mistakenly ate Happosai's, she was able to lift, toss, juggle, and split in half multi-ton, two-stories-tall iron bells. Unfortunately, they had the side-effect of sprouting whiskers on her face until she took the antidote.
    • The Battle Dougi from the late manga, a sentient suit that unlocks the wearer's ultimate fighting potential. She was able to run rings around Ranma while wearing it.
    • A magical swimsuit made from a jellyfish-like substance, which allows the user to swim like a dolphin—not only negating Akane's Super Drowning Skills, but also giving her a speed and coordination that left Ranma wallowing in her wake.
  • Mwu La Flaga of Gundam Seed, a rare Natural ace pilot on a battlefield dominated by Designer Babies, is eventually revealed to have "enhanced spatial awareness". Which clearly is the "Cosmic Era" equivalent to Newtypes.
  • Darker than Black stars one. He was known as "The Black Reaper" even before he became a Contractor, and in one flashback he completely owned a Contractor in a straight-up fight using only a choke wire, throwing knives, and sheer Badass ninja skills. He still has the aforementioned skills, but now he can also zap the crap out of people.
    • Gets taken Up to Eleven when it transpires that these same powers make him a full-blown Reality Warper in the right circumstances.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima does this for Ku Fei, who goes from "Martial Artist" to "Martial Artist that can shoot beams out of her hand and has a magic staff" as she gains the ability to use ki around the time the second major arc begins. This is actually noted in-universe by the Meta Guy as being more impressive to watch than the stronger full-on magic users, as she's "closer to being human" and thus you can understand exactly how good she is. It's hard to compare to someone who can blow up mountains, after all.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Ling Yao is originally a Badass Normal who can take on homunculi but then he fused with the homunculus Greed and gets his Super Strength and Instant Armor power.
  • Creed Diskenth, The Big Bad of Black Cat was already a Charles Atlas Superpower abusing lunatic back when he was just an assassin. As the series progresses he upgrades himself with Tao abilities that grant him a Cool Sword, and then nanomachines that grant him a Healing Factor and make him to all intents and purposes Immortal.
  • Shigeru Akagi in his DEBUT survived a game of chicken before he entered the world of Mahjong and when given the very minimum of the basic rules of the game, it is just the beginning of the reign of the Genius who descended into the darkness.
  • Li Ho from The Law of Ueki was considered one of the strongest competitors, and had taken out a large number of opponents despite refusing to use his ability.
  • In One Piece, CP9 members Kaku and Kalifa were already amongst the world's top assassins and extremely skilled spies. Then they get Devil Fruit powers, which escalate their badass levels to an... unusually awesome degree. Immediately after consumption, no less.
  • Brandon Heat of Gungrave was a great Mafia sweeper who was a skilled hand to hand fighter and a great marksmen. Then, he was killed and become Necrolized. He became much stronger and could take a lot of damage.
  • Medaka Box: Male Lead Zenkichi was already a Crazy Prepared martial artist who could handle even abnormals in combat. After the battle with Kumagawa, he gained the Parasite Seeing ability which allows him to see things from other people's perspective. Literally.
  • Miyamoto Haiji from Rosario + Vampire, president of the school's karate club. Like almost all of the school's residents, he's some variety of monster, but he doesn't even bother using any monstrous abilities when he first makes a combat appearance. He just wipes the floor with other monsters using his martial arts; he still hasn't revealed what variety of monster he is.
  • Monster Rancher Genki may seem to be Badass Normal at first but is often seen focusing energy in order to attack, as well as transferring it to others and putting it into his attacks. Later on it is shown he can launch Spirit Bombs and, in the last two episodes focus the energy of everyone they know, combining the bodies of several of his friends and reviving the Phoenix.
  • Suzaku Kururugi may count. Already a Badass Normal (he was a skilled Knightmare Frame Pilot and martial arts prodigy) for most of the first season, he slips into this near the end of the first season and into R2. His most obvious upgrade was having the "Live!" geass cast upon him by Lelouch, allowing him to survive situations that would normally have killed him and allowing him to become much stronger and faster than a normal human being in order to do so. However, it had been hinted throughout the series that Suzaku had some as-of-yet unidentified connection to geass... that was never explained or elaborated upon.
  • High School DxD has Hyoudou Issei the protagonist is a human who got reincarnated into a devil, who happens to possess a more powerful version of a Sacred Gear called Boosted Gear that doubles his power every 10 seconds. Then, he attains Balance Breaker and is capable of fighting stronger beings and curb stomp weaker enemies. And then he attains the Illegal Triana (Cardinal Crimson Queen being the strongest form) to the point that Ddraig, the dragon sealed inside Boosted Gear, states that he's now at Ddraig's full power. And then he becomes even more powerful after having his old body dying at the hands of Samael, the dragon-eater, and both Opfis and Great Red, two of the strongest beings of the series, create a body for Issei while still having Boosted Gear. If anybody took this trope Up to Eleven, it's him.

Comic Books

  • An awful lot of Fan Fiction tends to give Batman powers, typically so he can "stand up" to Superman. Some comics do this, too, usually as a one-issue gag or an Elseworld. One Elseworld gave him a Green Lantern Ring—leading to this Demotivator titled "Overpowered"
    • Ironically, Batman canonically carries kryptonite with him at all times, just in case Superman were to go evil.
    • Also, ironically, in a different medium, Batman has been offered the ring, or at least comparable to it twice See below in Western Animation).
    • He was also offered a Sinestro ring in canon (well, canon Green Lantern Corps), which admittedly fits him remarkably well. However, previous contact with a Green Lantern ring let him be rejected.
    • The Amalgam Universe sees your Green Lantern Batman and raises you Wolverine Batman
    • Of course, he pretty much always loses such powers at the end of the story or has them ruled non-canonical. The writers know that Batman is known and loved as a Badass Normal, and neither wants nor needs superpowers. That and it gives them an excuse to experiment.
    • Don't forget Vampire Batman. The trilogy of stories ended with everybody dead, including Batman himself.
  • Iron Man gave himself technology based super powers with the 'extremis' virus after deciding he wasn't fast enough to keep up. In addition to speeding up his ability to control his suits by mental link it also allowed him to mentally link with other pieces of technology as well, often leading to 'I hacked it while standing here talking to you' asspulls.
    • The new Bleeding Edge suit can do a lot of what the Extremis suit could do and a lot of what it can't.
  • This used to come and go for Captain America (comics), with him gaining and losing superhuman levels of strength depending on the writers, before it was finally decided that his iconic status in the Marvel Universe was partly founded on him being a slightly-above-pinnacle of human physical ability (being the Living Symbol of America didn't hurt either). I guess that that Super Serum wasn't all that super, though given what Steve Rogers was before then it's still damn impressive. Steve Rogers' power was eventually set at a hair above normal (non-mutant) human maximum.
    • This is not the case for the Ultimate Marvel version, however, who was clearly superhuman from the get go.
    • While he was a Badass Normal when he was still serving as Cap's sidekick, Bucky Barnes now sports an artificial arm that grants him various nifty abilities such as an EMP and an electric shock.
  • Ultimate Origins #1 reveals that, apparently, Nick Fury's incredible badass-ness comes from having been a successful test subject of the Super Soldier Serum. On the one hand, you'd think just being Samuel L. Jackson would be enough; on the other, this kinda makes it easier to swallow things like dodging automatic weapons fire in close quarters, or holding his own against Wolverine until Captain America dropped the mutant with a taunt and a grenade. And most of his awesome is in his badass planning, anyway.
    • This is at least partially true for the normal Nick Fury, who is Badass and... virtually immortal. That near-immortality applies only to natural causes of death, though; Nick's survival in combat is purely a result of his badassitude.
  • This happened to a huge number of DC Universe's Golden Age superheroes, either the characters themselves or their legacy successors. Originally, non-powered mystery men were a popular character type back in 40s and all of DC's characters were supposed to be in self-contained continuities. As time passed, these characters were put into a Shared Universe with super powered characters and non-powered characters just didn't seem that impressive in comparison. Since a lot of these characters are fairly obscure, most people didn't really care much if they were reworked. All-Star Squadron was particularly guilty of this.
    • The most famous example is Black Canary. Before joining the Justice League, Black Canary had no superpowers, but one issue immediately after joining the Justice League, Black Canary suddenly acquired the Canary Cry, a sonic projection weapon emitted from her mouth. This conflicted so much with her traditional Badass Normal nature, that her solo series and the smaller scale Birds of Prey constantly use Kryptonite Is Everywhere to force her to solve problems without using superpowers.
      • Oh, it gets better. The Canary Cry is sometimes described as being so insanely powerful that any time she uses it, she's basically holding back so as not to completely and utterly eff up everything within earshot. It's put a hurt on characters who are considered to be much heavier hitters. Of course, this ironically lets the writers who are so inclined hold this back and let her use her 'fu as her primary weapon: The Canary Cry really is that powerful, and you use the conventional weapons before you Nuke'Em. Gangs of Mooks and non-Superman-class superpowered thugs just don't rate using it.
    • Happened to Green Arrow II, Connor Hawke, as of Green Arrow and Black Canary #14, when the genetics manipulation of Dr. Sivana granted him with a Healing Factor.
    • The Atom - Gained ability to increase strength with radiation. Later successors could change size.
    • Stars and Stripes - Star Spangled Kid got Starman's cosmic rod and technology, while Stripesy built a mech for himself. Their successor, Stargirl continues to use Starman's technology.
    • Wildcat - Got nine lives, legacy successors got cat related powers and could turn into a werecat.
    • Firebrand - Legacy successors got fire manipulation powers.
    • Liberty Belle - Acquired ability to project sonic vibrations from her hands.
    • Phantom Lady - Legacy successor could become invisible.
    • The Sandman - Legacy successors had all sorts of super powers.
    • Congo Bill - Gained the power to turn into a gorilla.
    • Crimson Avenger - Legacy successor is a spirit of vengeance with magic guns.
    • Red Tornado - Legacy successors could manipulate wind in the form of tornados.
    • Blue Beetle - Inverted this and then played it straight. The first Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) had super powers from a magic scarab, the second (Ted Kord) couldn't make it work, but the third (Jaime Reyes) goes back to using the scarab.
    • Rex the Wonder Dog drank from the Fountain of Youth, gaining the ability to talk and unspecified magical abilities. Overkill, considering that he was already a successful newspaper photographer before getting the ability to talk.
  • In the early years of his published existence, Jimmy Olsen was a sidekick who's only ability was a watch that let him call Superman for help. Then, in the pages of Jimmy's own title, the writers decided to have him Take a Level In Badass by giving him superpowers of his own. Trouble was, the power-ups never seemed to take, and they seemed to become wackier with each attempt. Over the years, Jimmy went through spats of being a speedster, a telepath, a Rubber Man, a werewolf, a human porcupine, a giant turtle, and a hippy, just to name a few. By the time the title was cancelled, they had abused the Badass Abnormal trope so throughly, the title itself had come to feel like an extremely meta subversion.
  • Averted in PS238 with resident student Badass Normal Tyler Marlocke. When his clone Toby gains incredible cosmic powers his lack of control coupled with no longer relying on ingenuity and determination to survive lowers his badass quotient to almost negligible levels, While Tyler's unpowered alter ego Moonshadow continues to aspire to even greater feats of badassery.
  • Near the end of Blackest Night, Ganthet triggers an emergency mechanism in the rings of the highest-profile member from each Corps, prompting them to create a temporary duplicate ring and 'deputise' the nearest suitable individual. Most of the resulting Lanterns already had powers (Star Sapphire Wonder Woman, Indigo Tribe Atom, Blue Lantern The Flash), but we also get Orange Lantern Lex Luthor and Sinestro Corps Scarecrow. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for the Orange Ring to drive Lex mad(der) with greed, and the first ring he steals is Scarecrow's.
  • Joshua Carver of No Hero did patrols at night without any super powers. Then, he gets FX7 and he becomes very powerful. In fact, he was raised by the FBI as a monster fighter and an FBI agent commented that she's very scared of Joshua since he has superpowers.
  • In 52 Natasha Irons, after a fallout with her uncle, enlists in the Lex Luthor Everyman Project and gains actual superpowers, going from a human in Power Armor to a human capable of crushing Power Armor. John Henry is infected with a metagene against his will and transforms into a being composed of stainless steel, capable of deflecting bullets and hurling blobs of molten metal.
  • Tigra of Marvel Comics fame started at The Cat, a lab assistant who used a super suit to make her comparable to Captain America, and give her finger claw grapples (the Suit was later taken on by Patsy Walker, HellCat).
  • The titular Metabarons in The Metabarons.
  • There is a variety of this in Irredeemable - while Charybdis always had the powers, they were pretty weak. So when he got boosted to Plutonian's level, he has an advantage, because he actually knew how to fight.


  • King Kong vs. Godzilla gives the gorilla a size upgrade and electrical abilities so that he can stand up to the atomic dinosaur.
  • In Tangled, Gothel kind of fulfills this trope. She seems to be a normal woman, except for the fact that she can maintain her youth forever using her adopted daughter's magic hair. Her only other weapons are a cunning mind and a knife. (Which sort of makes her an Inversion—the original stories describe her as a witch.)


  • This is hinted at being the possible future path of Lieutenant Sergeant Karrin Murphy in The Dresden Files, if she chooses to accept the offer from Big G and become a Knight of the Cross.
    • Both the Knights of the Cross and Nicodemus's Denarians tend to be dangerous in their own right even without holy swords or evil coins, respectively.
  • In Talyn by Holly Lisle, the main character of the same name begins with limited use of something called the Hagedwar, a tool which grants the user power restrained only by how well they know how to use said tool. However, as the heat gets turned up, Talyn conveniently learns how to do such extraordinary things with the Hagedwar that she essentially becomes a demigoddess.
  • Tavi of the Codex Alera is the one and only Muggle in a world where absolutely everything runs on Elemental Powers. He can't even turn the lights on and off by himself. He is, however, so Badass that he easily outmatches more than a few people who have Super Strength or can throw waves of fire around, and often saves the day through sheer Badass Normal awesomeness. But he also becomes less and less normal with time; his bond with Kitai increasingly sharpens his senses and improves his stamina, and at the end of Cursor's Fury, he finally starts to get over his mother stunting his magic and develops some rudimentary furycrafting ability. But since he's short about 15 years of practice, he's unable to utilize it properly until he gets some Training from Hell in First Lord's Fury.
  • Igor Dolinsky in Night Watcher is a half-vampire at most (well, it's rather more complicated than that, but as far as his power vis-a-vis that of the regular vampires he fights is concerned this usually holds), but being Weak but Skilled and something of a Determinator, he definitely meets this trope, effectively being a Magic Knight. Also, his mind powers may not be innately as strong as those of normal vampires, but he has trained them better and uses them much more efficiently than they usually seem to do.
  • In In Fury Born Alicia Devries is a highly decorated ex-marine, ex-cadre genius of literally superior genetic stock. After spending the first half of the book establishing her as a Badass Normal, she then becomes possessed by a demi-goddess of vengeance and shortly after bonds with the AI of an experimental warship. It is good.
  • Kaladin of The Stormlight Archive starts off solidly Badass Normal, managing to kill a Shardbearer, a feat considered nearly impossible for those without Shards of their own. Then he starts developing Surgebinding abilities.
  • In Snuff it's revealed that due to the events of Thud Sam Vimes can see in the dark, understand the language of goblins, and can ask the Summoning Dark to tell him anything that happened in darkness.

Live-Action TV

  • Happened subtly in Stargate SG-1, mostly the "Touched by Vorlons" variety. Jack O'Neill was already Badass before the reveal that he had the gene necessary to use the technology of the Ancients. Same for Sam Carter and being used as a host by a Tok'ra. Daniel Jackson was an Action Survivor until he Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence (twice). The difference between before and after is relatively minor in some cases, but it's definitely there.
    • Used less subtly in the episode "Upgrades", when the three of them all wear Atanik armbands, granting them enhanced strength, plus Super Speed on a level even The Flash would find respectable. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for the continued drama of the series, the armbands impart their superpowers by injecting a virus...that the human body eventually develops an immunity to. This turns out to be why the Atanik civilization is extinct: they relied on the armbands exclusively for their defense, and once the entire population was immune, they were helpless.
  • Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer definitely should be this. Before leaving high school, he's been possessed by a soldier and a hyena spirit, and been given a treatment which, had it been completed, would have turned him into a fishman. He more or less stops getting weirdness shoved into his brain after graduation. There are indications that all three events permanently (though subtly) changed him, and all made him more powerful.

Tabletop Games

  • This is quite often how Exaltation works in Exalted, but mostly for Solars and Lunars. To explicate: Solars are typically Exalted after performing an act of bravery or a great accomplishment. Lunars are typically Exalted after surviving in the face of overwhelming odds.
    • Even with this, there's a special prize for the Nameless Solar, who has his own folk mythology and handles problems with two plasma tongue repeaters (basically giant flame revolvers).
  • World of Darkness: Mirrors has the "Dark Hero" template, which (on top of a few inherent abilities such as a power stat and greater durability and healing) allows one to utilise "Skill Masteries", specialized powers based in mundane Skills. The weakest of these constitute Charles Atlas Superpowers, while the greatest are positively superhuman.
  • Quite a few Yu-Gi-Oh! (Tabletop Game)! cards underwent this. As the Lensman Arms Race of Game Breaker superpowers continued, a variety of iconic Normal Monsters became So Last Season Com Mons for many players. As a result, a large number of those Monsters were rereleased as Effect Monsters. For example, Battle Ox became Enraged Battle Ox, Gaia the Fierce Knight became Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight, St. Joan became Guardian Angel Joan, and Victory Viper/Gradius went from a random Shout-Out to another game to an entire archetype of similarly-statted references. But perhaps the largest of them all was Chaos Soldier/Black Luster Soldier, which went from a subpar and outdated Ritual Monster, to one of the founders of the banlist.
  • The Sisters of Battle of Warhammer 40,000 are for all intents and purposes normal humans, albeit trained to elite levels, and equipped with Power Armor, and a Boltgun. Their faith in the God-Emperor though is so strong that it gives them incredible powers on par with psionics (only explicitly not warp derived, therefore without possibility of invoking Perils of the Warp). In fact, they're good enough to where many players prefer to design their army specifically around Acts of Faith to make a competitive list, something of a necessity given that the codex is two editions out of date.
    • Especially fun when the Canoness walks (or flies as is more often the case) alone straight at an enemy line covered in Lascannons and invokes Spirit of the Martyr'. Yeah. Have fun emptying your entire shooting phase into a 2+ Invulnerable Save. (Hint: Take the Mantle of Ophelia so even if you do roll a 1 you can avoid Instant Death!)

Video Games

  • This happens to Link in various The Legend of Zelda games. Usually he starts the game as a regular sword-wielding kid, but by the end of the game he's acquired various spells and other magical powers, his energy level has been magically doubled, etc.
  • When you disregard his Evil Red Power Fist, which he does not use for swinging his sword or firing his Hand Cannon anyway, Nero from Devil May Cry 4 looks like a "mere" Charles Atlas Superpower user... until The Reveal that he is a descendant of the series' Defector From Decadence super-devil Sparda.
  • Kratos from God of War, when he opens Pandora's Box and becomes a god in order to slay Ares.
    • Although the revelation that he was a born demigod may mean he was Badass Abnormal all along.
  • Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil series was already one hell of a Magnificent Bastard, but after successfully pulling off his massive Gambit Roulette in the first game and coming Back from the Dead in Code: Veronica, he gains superhuman strength and speed thanks to a specific form of The Virus.
    • Resident Evil 5 reveals that Wesker along with the other Wesker children, though he supposedly was the only survivor, was a subject of Project W, the first and greatest of Umbrella's experiments. He was indoctrinated with Oswell Spencer's beliefs and treated with the Progenitor Virus since early childhood. He was a Badass Abnormal all along.
  • Would you believe it, but Sergeant Johnson of Halo, who was revealed to be a SPARTAN-I.
  • Final Fantasy V: Crystals let heroes change jobs and gain new abilties. Pretty nice as you start of the game with a group of people who can't do much more than "Attack" an enemy.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Espers, granting magic and stat boost for party members, and almost everyone includes a brawler, thief treasure hunter, and moogle can uses them.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Materia lets characters use abilities and gain special stats, but they can't used when unequipped. Even without them, the heroes can kick people's butts using Limit Break.
    • Even moreso in Final Fantasy VIII, the party do kick asses, but they also heavily depend on Summon Magic, which boost their abilities even more. Most especially there's Laguna Loire, a Galbadian soldier who relies entirely on a machine gun and the occasional grenade - except when Ellone's power links him to Squall, allowing him to use the latter's Guardian Force junctions.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has the whole party turnes into l'Cie, an esper like humans with magical power, by Anima after defeating it. Anima is a sort of god like monster.
  • In the Fallout games, you start as a plucky Badass Normal survivor relying on a hunting rifle, your wits and tactics to take on a variety of mutated animals and insects, Ghouls, Super-Mutants, military robots, and Super Soldiers. Over the course of the games, though, you can gain perks that grant you superhuman abilities and help level the playing field. They range from cybernetic implants, beneficial mutations, and quasi-supernatural abilities like the ability to gain health from drinking blood. You can also acquire special equipment like Power Armor, stealth devices, and ludicrously powerful weapons that fire conventional solid rounds, directed energy weapons, explosives and even nukes.
  • In the X-COM series, surviving soldiers with high psi strengh. They (mostly) start with poor stats, but will become Badass Normal. And when you unlock the Psi-Lab... May god have mercy on their souls...
  • James Heller in Prototype 2 is derived from the fact that he is a normal person who can take on the infected prior to his infection.
  • The protagonists of The Elder Scrolls generally either will become abnormal, or at least can become abnormal (the exceptions are The Elder Scrolls: Arena, where you remain normal, if increasingly badass, for the setting throughout the game, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, where your abnormality is something you were born with, even if it doesn't have much of an effect unless dragons are about).
    • The Nerevarine from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind eventually contracts Corprus during the Main Questline. Removing the negative symptoms of Corprus leaves the Nerevarine an immortal being immune to all other diseases.
    • The Champion of Cyrodiil starts off as a prisoner in a cell and ends up becoming the Madgod.
    • The Agent can become a werewolf, werebear or vampire.
  • This trope is the origin story of every character in Rift, although the means of gaining powers depend on the faction. On the Guardians faction intro, the narration specifies that you were not chosen because of your faith, but because of your strength.
  • Most of Exile's party in the second Knights of the Old Republic are this - they're already war veterans, trained fighters, spies, bounty hunters, etc. But most of them turn out to be Force Sensitive as well, leading the Exile to train them as Jedi. It's also a common fan theory that Carth Onasi from the first game is an untrained Force Sentitive as well.
  • Similarly, Kyle Katarn from the Dark Forces Saga games spent the entire first game and first 3 levels of the second as just a Badass Normal (during which he bests Boba Fett and takes out at least one Kell Dragon with just his fists). He then learns about his Force Sensitivity and gets a lightsaber.
  • Ashley Winchester, the protagonist of Wild ARMs 2 is this when he gets his Second-Hour Superpower a few hours into the game. Comes with a Theme Music Power-Up too.

Web Comics

  • Parodied in Shortpacked!, in which Batman has the ability to breathe in space, based on art in his action packaging which appears to depict him fighting Darkseid in space.
  • Bun-bun was already one of the most dangerous individuals in Sluggy Freelance. Having him become a godlike personification of holidays took him way over the top.
    • Also the big revelation near the end of "Oceans Unmoving": Captain Blacksoul is actually Bun-bun riding inside the head of a levitating robot with Super Strength.
    • Actually, giving Bun-bun superpowerful abilities doesn't seem to change much. The biggest thing that helps him fight battles is sheer attitude regardless.
  • Years into Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures' run, we find out that Dan's wings were the outward signs of his 'Cubi heritage (his mother was apparently a powerful succubus, something that apparently everyone knew except Dan). Now his 'Cubi nature has fully kicked in, granting him assorted new powers ( like shapeshifting) that he's mostly still getting the hang of. (That he refused to stay at the 'Cubi academy and practice full-time probably doesn't help.) Dan was a very successful adventurer already before he semi retired to Lost Lake and his heritage kicked in.
  • Sparky from A Girl and Her Fed - already a hulking M.I.B-type, ticks fully over to this trope once The ghost of Ben Franklin reprograms the magitech chip in his head, granting him the ability to control and interface any electronic device, see ghosts, and more .
  • Victor of Charby the Vampirate is looking more like this, he thinks of himself as human, others don't
  • Everyone who plays Sburb is ultimately destined to become demi-gods in a new universe, but given that many of them were badass before playing, their powers come off as this.
  • In Axe Cop, new powers are really easy to come by for just about all the characters. Axe Cop himself repeatedly just displays and also gains new powers, the latter including for example being given flight by the comic's writer, and making himself into a magical mummy. But, unlike other characters, he usually forgets about any and all of them soon and acts like a Badass Normal again, until it's time to gain yet another new power.

Web Original

  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the hero Achilles seems to be a non-powered martial artist in the style of Batman. He's actually a genetically engineered super-soldier cloned from the DNA of Lord Doom, whose strength, speed, and ability to shrug off damage come not from his intensive athletic work-outs, but rather from simple genetics.
  • Rear Admiral (retired) Sam Everheart, U.S.N., in the Whateley Universe, was already a retired Badass Normal before he took out a team of criminals looting a high-tech research facility and got dosed with nanotechnology. Now Hive is strong and fast enough to deal with the mutants at Whateley Academy.
  • Arguably Tex from Red vs. Blue. As a ghost and AI, she not only has all of her physical fighting abilities from before (as well as her armor power, the cloaking device), but is also pretty much impossible to kill and can possess people.
  • In Comic Fury Werewolf, analytical players tend to catch Werewolves a lot. Give them a role, and...
    • This includes any role...including being a Werewolf.
    • Ranger has had this twice. Once was in Game 9, where he was the Medium Mystic and he developed a Game Breaker strategy. The other was Game 11, where he used his analytical powers as a Werewolf.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers a certain character known only as "Trinity" is already a Badass Normal. But after she doses herself with a Super Serum her scientists were working on she gains Super Speed, super agility and Super Strength.

Western Animation

  • One episode of The Batman has Batman borrowing Green Lantern's ring to fight Sinestro. It looked like Batman was going to hand Sinestro a fairly heavy beatdown, but then the ring ran out of power. He hands it back to GL, saying it isn't his style.
    • People like giving Bats the Lantern ring. In Batman: The Brave And The Bold he nearly puts it on for the sake of an even playing field, to the chagrin of Guy Gardner. Sinestro (before his inevitable Face Heel Turn) half-heartedly agrees, citing regulation, but comes to a compromise by synthesizing a suit that functions as a Lantern's ring would: on willpower.
    • A number of Batman: The Brave And The Bold episodes give Batman superpowers. One time, he gained bat-themed superpowers from a magical artifact. Another episode caused a mishap by a villain's laser beam to give Batman Plastic Man's powers.
      • In yet another, he arrives on an alien planet whose atmosphere gives him Superman-like powers, to the chagrin of the local Badass Normal hero. After a while he realizes that he's making the alien Batman feel useless, the way Superman sometimes makes him feel, and in the end he has the alien Batman remove his powers to also negate his weakness to quartz.
  • Sari Sumdac. A Badass Normal in her initial mostly human form, once she gets an upgrade to seeming more machine than man, she gets nifty hand blasters and a processing unit boosted even beyond the Cybertronian standard! Not to mention temporary weapons generation.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, NegaDuck steals the powers of his villainous "allies". This doesn't actually make him detectably tougher, since by that time there's not much time left in the episode to defeat him in.
  • After seven seasons as a regular, yet freakishly strong, human, regular Ninja Turtles antagonist Hun becomes one of these after he accidentally gets doused in mutagen in Turtles Forever.
  • Macbeth from Gargoyles is a Badass Abnormal twice over. During his initial lifetime, he was a highly skilled swordsman and all-around warrior, but had no superhuman abilities. Following a bargain with the Weird Sisters and Demona, he gained virtual immortality, and then at some point between his medieval backstory and first appearance in the present storyline, he also learned sorcery, becoming a Magic Knight.
    • Owen could probably count, although more from the viewer's standpoint—he was actually Puck for the whole series, but came off as a Badass Normal Battle Butler until revealing himself near the end of season two.
  • On South Park, Mysterion/Kenny actually had powers from his first appearance, but his ability to come back from the dead wasn't revealed until the third of his four episode appearances as a superhero.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Kraven and the Enforcers started out as Badass Normals who, while not actually winning against Spider-Man, could put up a decent fight. To level the playing field, they got themselves powers: Kraven became a Petting Zoo Person and the Enforcers got Powered Armor.
  • In Teen Titans, while Slade serves as the Big Bad for the first two seasons, he has no superpowers beyond being a Badass Normal and a good chessmaster. After being killed at the end of the second season, he's resurrected as an undead servant of Trigon, and gets a truckload of superpowers out of the deal: pyrokinetics, flight, teleportation, phasing, and nigh-invulnerability. He's eventually stripped of these powers, though it doesn't slow him down much.
  • Agent Bishop in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003.[context?]