Lovecraftian Superpower

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Meet the wizard of Yog-Sothoth.


Where Stock Super Powers meets Body Horror.

Usually, when you gain some special ability, it will manifest in some fairly conventional forms. Energy blasts, Psychic Powers, steel skin, control over different forms of matter and varieties of Magic are all relatively common.

For the less lucky, however, such new talents will have a disturbing biological component. They find themselves able to sprout thrashing razor-tipped tentacles, drool highly corrosive acid saliva, or extrude venomous thorns from their flesh. Alas, for these people have been Blessed with Suck and granted a Squicktastic Lovecraftian Superpower.

The name originates from classic scifi/horror writer Mr. H.P. Lovecraft, whose characteristic creations often seemed equal parts Nightmare Fuel and biology textbook.

A subtrope of Bad Powers, Bad People, usually, possibly because Magic Is Evil. May be a useful side-effect of The Virus or The Corruption. Often manifests as Combat Tentacles, cannibalistic and horrific Shapeshifting (sometimes partial shapshifting), Bloody Murder, or a Bee-Bee Gun, and is likely not quite controllable. Can overlap with One-Winged Angel and Shapeshifter Mashup, and usually counts as a Super-Trope of Spider Limbs.

Examples of Lovecraftian Superpower include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mushizo of Ninja Scroll is a deformed hunchback with a hornet's nest growing straight out of his back.
    • A few of the characters from the series are worthy of mention as well, such as a swordsman who has a hideous parasitic worm living in his stomach that attacks and kills anyone that is about to kill its host.
  • Likewise, Shino and the Aburame clan in Naruto turn their bodies into living hives for their Kikkai insects, but are portrayed much more sympathetically, and with only a few tiny holes in their cheeks as the only visible indicator of their trait (they wear rather concealing clothing, so any further changes are unseen).
    • The omake at the end of Shippuden episode 110 strongly implies that his eyes are empty sockets
      • His eyes are seen from the side in episode 149 of Part I. The manga says nothing either way.
    • Heck, a lot of ninjas are like this. Kimmimaro's blood limit is to weaponize his bones stands out as pretty freaky. But then there is any ninja who can use the 2nd level of the curse seal, that transforms their body into some monstrosity. Or Juugo, the original source of the curse seal, whose abilities are basically shifting his body into whatever the situation at hand calls for. Kakuzu passes into this territory as well, given that he is partially made of freely-controllable string and artificially extends his life by using his opponents like organ banks whenever something grows too old to work, plus there's those... things that he can create out of the string.
    • Orochimaru transformed himself into a humanoid-snake like being who can extend his body to bizarre lenghts(including his neck and tong), puke swords, eat large objects, body surf and do other nightmarish things. Also, his real form is a big snake made of other snakes with his human head on the end.
  • The aliens in Parasyte.
  • Awakened Beings in Claymore tend to start sprouting tentacles to rip people apart with. That's only the beginning of the Body Horror here, though...
  • Mentuthuyopi from Hunter X Hunter, one of the elite Chimera Ants, has the ability to mutate his own body. There is seemingly no limit to the number of bodyparts or amount of distortion. He does some really cool stuff with this, too; his period as a centaur-thing was impressive.
  • This is Naraku's main method of attack.
  • In Ranma ½ the character of Pantyhose (Yes, really) Tarou is bad enough with his ability to turn into a giant Bull/Yeti-Thing in his first appearance. Just to show how Badass (or Jerkass more like) he goes and mutates his body more to add tentacles (thankfully not naughty ones though).
  • In Speed Grapher, one of the Euphorics[1] is a dentist who can make lots of tentacles made out of dental instruments sprout out of his back. Because backs sprouting tentacles and dental tools weren't terrifying enough on their own.
  • Guyver tends to invoke this trope, especially with the first activation of the eponymous suit.
  • In King of Thorn, infection by Medusa can grant this to those with sufficient willpower. The good news: you can make all your dreams into reality! The bad news: by having them explode out of your body like chestbursters. Body Horror doesn't begin to cover it.
  • Xam'ds in Xam'd: Lost Memories. Even the most subdued use of their powers involves transforming an arm into a grotesque alien appendage or blade.
  • Alucard from Hellsing, when he takes on worthy opponents.
  • In Akira, Tetsuo manifests this trope in the Olympic Stadium when Colonel Shikishima tries to neutralize him; the flesh around the stub where Tetsuo's arm was fried off by the orbital laser shoots out in a massive bloody tentacle that attacks the Colonel. But then, later in the scene, Tetsuo gets shot by Kaneda's laser weapon. You see, Tetsuo is in so much pain that this trope suddenly combines with Superpower Meltdown. Naturally, Tetsuo's Lovecraftian Superpower Meltdown is just as bad as you can imagine it.
  • In Bleach the 9th Espada Aaronerio has resurrection.
    • Aizen during his fight vs Ichigo gets a gruesome transformation with the skin of his face splits in half
  • Almost everyone from the Demon World in Wicked City has some kind of Lovecraftian Superpower. Main character Maki's Femme Fatalons is probably the tamest example in the movie, which says something. The only demon whose power doesn't evoke Body Horror is Dirty Old Man Giuseppe who wields lightning instead.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion gives us a lot of the angels, but especially Bardiel and Armisael, though Israfel's dance of death is also pretty bad. And, ahem, the entirety of the Instrumentality.
  • All the devilmen in Devilman gain their powers through Demonic Possession and Body Horror. It gets worse the more a demon takes over a human host or several merge into one body.
  • Angel Sanctuary: So, so much. Rosiel's powers are exclusively this, and a few others get in on the act too.


Trading Cards[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Spike's mutant ability allows him to fire bone spikes out of his body. The film version has him shooting huge spikes out of his wrists. His teammate Phat can fill himself up with extradimensional gunk, growing to qroteque proportions but increasing his strength and durability exponentially.
    • In the X-Men: Evolution series, the character who inspired him, Spyke,[2] eventually becomes completely covered in armadillo like plates which he can't get rid of. Although on the upshot, he gains the ability to launch spikes that are on fire.
    • And of course, there's Wolverine's claws. Which are bone knives that slice through his forearms and hands everytime they extend. Good Thing He Can Heal indeed.
      • It still stings like hell, though.
      • This video parodies the problems that result from having the claws without the healing factor.
    • Predating the Spike is the even more Lovecraftian Marrow, whose bone growths were originally uncontrollable, random, and disfiguring. She would tear them out periodically to use as melee weapons, healing the wounds left behind with her Healing Factor.
    • As well as the rest of The Morlocks living in the sewers.
    • And then there's Tusk, who was exactly like this, but also with little Mini-Me sort of things that could jump out of the pods on his back, for some reason.
    • A former X-Man with the charming name of Maggott had two parasitic slugs that crawled out of his belly and could eat anything. He spent most of his childhood nearly starving to death until his primary digestive system (the slugs) emerged.
    • Johnny Dee of the 198 isn't a mutant, but his internalized parasitic twin is. It extends poison tentacles from his gut, and makes mind-controlling zombie dolls of anyone whose DNA it eats.
  • One short-lived member of X-Force, Sluk, (and when we say "short lived", we mean "he was already dead when his team was introduced") had creepy tentacle things growing from his face and tentacular feet and hands. His teammates secretly hated him for a few reasons. One was that he was only handy in close combat situations and it was difficult to get him into the right spots a lot of the time. Another was that he wasn't exactly Mr. Personality. But mostly they didn't like him because he just looked really, really weird.
  • Generation X foe Emplate had mouths on his hands that let him cannibalize mutant bone marrow.
  • Spider-Man has on at least one occasion turned into a literal multi-limbed arachnid-humanoid creature. Even normal Spider-Man, in those incarnations where the sticky white silk he shoots from his hands is organic, arguably counts.
    • Or the time when he fights Miss Arrow. Or, really, just her entire being. Bonus points for being a Lovecraftian horror in the FIRST place, madam.
    • Minor Spidey villain the Squid can grow multiple tentacles and spew black ink from his skin.
  • The Bride of Nine Spiders from Immortal Iron Fist can summon hordes of spiders from her chest.
  • Milder example in Fantastic Four: The Thing looks like a giant rock hulk.
  • The various 'Symbiotes' in the Marvel Universe all have this, to varying degrees. Most noticeable is Carnage, a psychopathic serial killer whose symbiote tends to turn into a cloud of barbed tentacles whenever it feels like it. Also, the reason his suit is red is that it's made up of the Venom symbiote mixed with Cletus Cassidy's blood.
    • Of course, in the Spider-Man: Web of Shadows videogame, Spider-Man's old 'Black Suit' symbiote also has the potential to turn into this, if you buy all its upgrades. Waves of writhing, black tentacles covering half a city block is just the beginning...
  • The Incredible Hulk is one of the most prominent examples of this trope.
    • And perhaps one of the tamest. At least Bruce maintains a totally humanoid form. There are a number of gamma mutates who aren't nearly so lucky...
  • Top Cow seems to be fond of this. With two parts of their Triarchy, Witchblade and The Darkness fitting the description. Combat Tentacles being just the start for both powers. The third of them, the Angelus, is more of a Holy Hand Grenade.
  • It's possible that Guy Gardner's Warrior powers weren't supposed to invoke this trope, but the terrible '90s art on his solo series made his transformations deeply squicky.
  • Most of the characters from Grant Morrison's run on the Doom Patrol.
    • Perhaps most emblematically, Freak. A parasitic tentacle beast lives in her body. While she has total control over its tendrils... ick.
  • The evil Green Martian D'kay D'razz, introduced in Brightest Day, uses her shapeshifting powers to frightening and effective use via Combat Tentacles and turning her head into a Venus Flytrap. Assuming a monstrous form comes naturally to her, since she's a murderous lunatic.
  • In the Marvel Universe, the Celestial experiments on proto-humans that created the Eternals and mutants also created the Deviants. While the Eternals are superhumans with the ability to manipulate energy, the Deviants look like horrible monsters straight out of Lovecraft's works. Fortunately, most of them aren't that bad and just want to live in peace.
  • Deadpool was an attempt to replicate Wolverine's healing factor that went wrong. Deadpool's healing factor comes from the fact that his entire body is made of cancerous tumors that are constantly being destroyed and rebuilt.
    • Actually, Deadpool's healing factor comes from having Wolverine's DNA injected into himself. The cancer was killing him already, and they thought the healing factor would cure that. Unfortunately, the healing factor applied to his body AND the cancer cells, so while his superhuman immune system is perfectly capable of killing the cancer, the cancer can recover and mutate just as quickly.
  • The first three issues of Generation Hope dealt with the manifestation of the powers of Kenji Uedo, the fifth new mutant since M-Day. His power is a sort of "techno-organic" shapeshifting, but that doesn't quite convey how very Lovecraftian they can be.
  • The miniseries North 40 deals with what happens when some kid reads the Tome of Eldritch Lore in a small town's library, triggering a Mass Super-Empowering Event of this type. The lucky ones get abilities like invulnerability, super-strength, and the ability to see through an animal's eyes. The other ones, however, get the ability to make man-powered killing machines, see through any photograph of themselves with their "new eyes" (which look like fanged maws), or just plain all purpose Body Horror.
  • In The Umbrella Academy series, The Horror is pretty much the embodiment of this. He's said to have several monsters hidden under his skin. Whether or not they're from space or another dimension or something else has yet to be stated. However, according to some people in universe, they're horrible and disgusting.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Corrupted spellcasters in The Banned and the Banished are linked to animals, but the link is always perverse in some way. The first in the series gives birth to man-eating spiders, and they scale up from there all the way to twins who grow pustules that explode into rats. The only one who initially avoids this transforms into any animal he wears the skin of, and he later skins and wears one of the protagonists.
  • In books by Clive Barker, villains (and otherwise) tend to have these.
  • A number of Jokers from the Wild Cards series. One that particularly pops to mind is Bloat. And Mother. And Ti Malice.
  • The Denarians from The Dresden Files are often Mind Raped by fallen angels (and sometimes Not Brainwashed) and have the ability to transform into a demonic form. These forms are often a bit disturbing, the best example being the one who transforms into a giant mutated praying mantis. That bleeds praying mantises.
  • Oddly enough, the kindly, feminine protagonist of Confessions of Super-Mom has a Lovecraftian power—her warped right hand constantly leaks a mysterious living fluid. She can blast it from her hand with incredible force as a way of knocking people over or making holes in weak objects, and she discovers that it can also be used as a stain remover.
  • Another heroic example: Bes from The Kane Chronicles, whose trademark attack is scaring the crap out of his enemy by warping his face hideously.
  • Drake from Gone (novel) ends up with a long, dangerous whip where his arm should be.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • In the Touhou Project story Imperfect Metamorphosis, the resident Blob Monster qualifies. Rin Satsuki was just a young Kirin with an interesting native power, and gained the power to absorb other people and use their abilities in turn, thanks to Eirin's experiments. At the cost of her own body. It's without saying that she really doesn't take that well.
    • In the same fanfic, Yuuka Kazami is capable of shapeshifting her own body into all kinds of horrid, twisted forms, all with a floral theme. This isn't just vine tentacles and root claws either. She can actually turn herself into Kaiju-sized plant monstrosities and weaponize every single part of her body. This power of Yuuka is justified in that she's actually an Elder God, albeit a very weakened one.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Engineers from Tokyo Gore Police are genetically modified humans who sprout weapons from injuries they receive. For example, the first one in the film grows a bio-mechanical chainsaw after his arm is cut off.
  • David Cronenberg uses this a lot:
    • Seth Brundle in The Fly gains the ability to wallcrawl, super strength, and even vomit a corrosive enzyme to dissolve food (or enemies). Unfortunately, he gained these abilities when he accidentally fused his genes with a fly, and slowly mutates into a grotesque giant insect/human hybrid. Blessed with Suck indeed.
    • The Brood. While Psychoplasmics isn't necessarily a superpower, the ability to birth homunculi from your traumatic memories who end up subconsciously doing your bidding might be considered useful, if fucked up.
    • Videodrome, where Max (probably) gets mutable flesh and a giant mouth in his stomach, which can apparently create hand grenades.
  • In District 9, Wikus is exposed to alien fluid which slowly transforms him (starting with his arm) into one of the aliens. This gives him both an alien's strength and the ability to operate their weapons.
  • Generally the Big Bads from the movies of Resident Evil gain this through the T virus.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Season 3 episode "Earshot", Buffy fears she might get a Lovecraftian superpower after touching demon blood. Instead she got Psychic Powers, though with great power came great suckiness that got her nearly insane.
    • Vampires can also be considered to have this, as they have a hideous Game Face that makes them stronger, and it's implied that, with age, the Game Face can't be changed back, but they get a massive power boost.
  • In one of the Heroes online novels, one man's superpower was to involuntarily grow spikes; he accidentally killed his wife this way, and then everyone in the van he was being transported to prison in (except for a guard who could turn into liquid).
    • And then, of course, there's volume 3 Mohinder, who uses his own serum to grant him Spider Man-style powers, with the side-effect of growing scales over his skin.
    • Maya could cry toxic tears.
    • In another graphic novel, there was a character who breathed out chlorine gas instead of carbon dioxide.
  • Pathfinders in Farscape can shoot poisonous bristles from the gills in their heads.
    • Aside from the Corlata's ability to shapeshift in a particularly gruesome way, one of them apparently had the power to exude an explosive fluid from his hands.
    • The Halosians can animate their vomit into a seperate entity.
    • When starved, Delvians produce venomous buds from their skin and exhale clouds of paralysing spores.
    • E'Alet, the villain from "A Prefect Murder", could grow swarms of mind-controlling sgabba flies inside his skull and emit them.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • The warp-spasm of Cuchulainn from Celtic Mythology is all this. Think the Incredible Hulk, only uglier.
    • Longrunning 2000 AD strip Slaine (being a fusion of Celtic mythology, Robert E Howard novels and the good old fashioned, classic 2000 AD, punk aesthetic) has its eponymous hero (an appropriate fusion of Cuchulainn and Conan, with a punk aesthetic) warp-spasm similarly.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • A feature of The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor, a supplement for Monsters and Other Childish Things. The more powers you have, the more creepy other people find you and the less you can pass for normal. (In the original game, you have a mon companion. In Candlewick Manor, you have an eerie power which (usually) manifests physically, or else mentally or psychically.)
  • Sorcerers in the game Sorcerer who have Parasite demons commonly have this kind of power.
  • Many of the mutations Chaos champions gain in Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 fit this, usually a physical boon specific to the chaos god they represent. If they are unlucky, however, they might get something like an eye on their navel or an emu's leg.
    • Hell, an eye or emu's leg is nothing compared to the grotesque explosions of tentacles (with breasts and tongues if we're talking about Slaanesh)that you can get stuck with!
    • Chaos Marauders, at least in their Age of Reckoning manifestation, use Chaos energies to spontaneously mutate their limbs into a variety of crablike claws and similar weapons.
    • In fact, a persistent danger to Chaos champions is that their gods will "gift" them with so many of these mutations that their minds collapse. These are known as Chaos Spawn.
  • GURPS lists the Battle Jaw, Tentacle Transplant and Ripsnake as potential body modifications, which can come as quite a shock to the unsuspecting.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The core rules have the Phantasmal Killer spell, which essentially makes your foes see something they consider the scariest thing ever approaching them. If it works, the victim dies of fright.
      • And then Planescape got a story of some wizard who had a bright idea to cast this on Ethereal plane, where any vision generated via illusion/phantasm has a small chance of becoming quite real - sometimes under the caster's command, sometimes not. The point is, a critter with powers resembling this spell is still around... unlike that wizard.
    • The Alienist is very explicitly Lovecraftian, as it involves abandoning their sanity, summoning outsider beings, and modifying their bodies with otherworldly effects. Appeared in Player's Option: Spells&Magic
      • 3e version in Tome and Blood turned from "mad stuff from beyond" toward "excessive tentacle fetish" interpretation of "Lovecraftian", but still.
    • Book of Vile Darkness There's also the Vermin Lord (who gets covered in bugs) and the Cancer Mage (how does "Sentient Tumour" sound as a superpower?).
    • Lords of Madness adds the Fleshwarper (grafts for all!). You can also take Abberant feats, which improve your body while making you look really messed up.
    • There are also TWO versions of the Pseudonatural Creature template. As well as a Half-Farspawn template. Both of which add tentacles to an existing creature(although, the first is more of a template for creatures native to Lovecraftian dimensions that happen to bear some resemblance to their Material Plane equivalents, rather than a modification).
    • Special mention should be made of the 3.0 Song and Silence Prestige Class "Fang of Lolth", who slowly gives over the body to an image preferred by the above-mentioned Spider-Queen. Unhinged jaws, bug-eyes, hairy limbs, EXTRA limbs. This starts when someone uses in an unintended way one of magical items produced by her priestesses.
    • Another notable one is called the Warshaper, which basically involves taking a character that can change shape in some way, and going nuts with it. Sprouting claws, horns, mouths and spikes at will, being able to double the length of limbs for better reach. Growing more limbs, all of the above at once...
    • The Expanded Psionics Handbook doesn't have anything explicitly aberrant (besides illithids), but many of the powers available to the psychic warrior involve sprouting claws and spitting acid. One of the higher-level abilities, Form of Doom, makes the psychic warrior's body stronger and faster, "complete with an ooze-sleek skin coating, lashing tentacles, and a fright-inducing countenance".
    • 4th Edition warlocks (particularly the Star-Pact variety) can attack foes with writhing tentacles and swarms of crawling unearthly vermin that sprout directly from the enemy's flesh, or simply attack their sanity with visions and apparitions of this nature. Gained, as the name suggests, by channeling the powers of various cosmic God-beings.
    • The Pathfinder campaign setting offers sorcerers different bloodlines. One of them, the Aberrant bloodline, gives the practitioner slightly 'wiggy' anatomy (which gets progressively more so as he gets higher in level). Starts out with the ability to spit acid, ends with Abberant Physiology, in which your characters so messed up, he's immune to critical hits.
      • The Vivisection Alchemist's recommended Discoveries are things like tentacles, parasitic twins, Tumor Familliars, and vestigial arms. And their base skillset is focused on making furries from animals who piss them off.
    • A Forgotten Realms 4e special is the spellscarred multiclass feature, which has all kinds of nasty Body Horror powers. Including unhinging your jaw to take a bite out of your enemies, bleeding on your sword to make it blister with plague, and creating a rope of flesh that binds you to your target so they can't escape you.
    • Dragon magazine in #296 and #300 introduced the Monster Cultist prestige classes. Give yourself over to a monstrous god, and you gain the powers of their natural worshippers ... at the cost of becoming more like them. Examples include Sphere Minion (beholders); Illithidkin (mind flayers); Snake Servant (medusas); Waker of the Beast (tarrasque); Faceless Ones (doppelgangers); Deep Thrall (kraken); Shoal Servant (kua-toas); and Tiger Mask (rakashas). Anything that involves shifting your Creature Type from Humanoid to Abberation is probably a bad idea...
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade is the Obtenebration discipline, which at a certain level allows the user to make tentacles out of shadows.
    • Don't forget what Tzimisce can do with their Vicissitude, which allows them to sculpt themselves or others into slimy pus-heaps or powerful mutant monsters, as they see fit. One sourcebook played up the Lovecraftian connections by making it a parasitic virus from the Umbra. This was not well-received and eventually struck out, but the idea remained that Vicissitude wasn't so much a proper Discipline as a virus devised by the clan's antediluvian for some foul purpose.
    • A few of the bloodlines in the successor game, Vampire: The Requiem, have similar abilities. Take the Carnival, whose special Discipline ranges from contortion tricks to merging with another vampire to form a hybrid. Or the Noctuku, who alter their flesh so they can absorb more blood and better digest vampiric flesh. Or the Norvegi, who lack fangs but make up for it by producing bony spines that allow them to feed through their fingers. Or...
  • The New World of Darkness Cherion Group thaumatechnology from Hunter: The Vigil is based on implanting monster organs and body parts into a human host.
    • The reality deviant worshippers in Second Sight get a whole section of Body Horror-themed features and rituals.
    • Sin-Eaters have the Caul Manifestation, allowing them to assume a whole range of horrifying forms. Most notable are the Industrial Caul (which allows them to implant objects in their body) and the Phantasmal Caul (which lets them transform into a living nightmare that can induce paralytic fear or outright madness).
    • And then there's the Centimani of Promethean: The Created, Prometheans who turn their back on the Great Work and embrace Flux. They can buy all sorts of twisted mutations, from tentacles to extra organs to the ability to turn into a puddle of sentient liquid.
      • Similarly, the Zeky get a whole bunch of unwholesome Transmutations based around atomic energy and its side effects. Three words: Mind. Control. Tumor.
    • Mages have Branding Paradox, where the Abyss warps their body in various ways, which can include temporarily granting them strange mutations of their bodies (such as horns, claws, tails, and, of course, tentacles). There is also a Left-Handed Legacy called "the Legion", whose whole shtick is that they give up parts of their body to the Abyss, and receive mutated transplants in return.
    • The fourth clause of the Contract of Mirrors allows changelings to turn a limb into a weapon, their skin into bark, etc.
  • Fomori have this and The Corruption as pretty much their entire schtick in Werewolf: The Apocalypse: sure, you can get Super Strength, but you're gonna look like a reeeally ugly Hulk for the rest of your life. Or that convenient armor power you just got takes the form of a thick, chitinous exoskeleton that covers your entire body. It doesn't stop there and Storytellers are often encouraged to go further down the Humanoid Abomination route. Justified by the fact that Fomori get their powers from being fused to a Bane on a physical and spiritual level, and that for each Power Point they get at creation, they must take on an equivalent Taint to balance it out.
  • In the Glorantha setting of RuneQuest, Chaos Features (powers granted by exposure to "primal Chaos") often have a physical side effect like this—But some folks get Chaos Flaws instead, all side effect and no power.
  • In Cthulhu Tech, Tagers and their Nyarlathotep-worshiping counterparts, the Dhohanoids, manifest a Guyver-style ability to transform into Eldritch Abominations.
  • Nightbane. A Palladium horror dark fantasy, where your Blessed with Suck powers are to transform into an inhuman, grotesque, powerful form.
  • Exalted has a fair number of horrors with these abilities. Chimera Knacks for Lunars, some of the freakier Yozi charms for Infernals, the Abyssals and their freaky undeath powers...and let's not even get into a discussion of the Wyld. (With the Broken-Winged Crane expansion, Infernals can even literally turn into a shoggoth.)
  • You can learn the Celtic "warp-spasm" in Scion. The picture that accompanies it shows someone in the middle stages of transformation, and it isn't pretty (he's effectively turning into a mutant crow).
  • One of the many consequences of taking high levels of Taint in White Wolf's Aberrant. Low-level aberrations might include glowing eyes or bulging muscles, while the higher levels of aberration include becoming too hideous to view or having an entire vestigial body. Made worse by the fact that the game's sister series, Trinity, implies that all super-humans in the setting will eventually fall prey to the higher-level aberrations.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The viruses and the Las Plagas parasites from Resident Evil usually spawn such mutations in those they infect. Even villains who don't go full-on One-Winged Angel tend to have giant claws and Combat Tentacles.
    • As Albert Wesker, who himself gained quite a few of these powers, revealed, this was the ultimate intention of the plague; to transform select humans into superpowered monsters and kill all others.
  • The hero of FPS The Darkness, Jackie Estacado, sprouts a pair of snapping serpentine demon-heads from his shoulders, as well as producing dark tentacles to impale foes and destroy walls as needed.
  • In the first Baten Kaitos game, Geldoblame is transformed into a hideous deformed monstrosity after infusing himself with the power of Malpercio. Jiggle Physics are involved, which is as unpleasant as it sounds.
  • BioShock (series)'s "Insect Swarm" plasmid causes a small hive-like growth to form on your palm, which allows you to throw live swarms of hornets at your foes.
  • Similarly to Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000, ADOM features various "corruptions" that you eventually gain after enough exposure to the forces of Chaos (from traps and Chaos beings, but also simply being deep in a dungeon). These most commonly take the form of Lovecraftian superpowers - although as "superpowers", they're mostly examples of Blessed with Suck. Also similarly to the Warhammer games, taking enough corruption will turn you into a "writhing mass of primal Chaos".
  • Prototype has the main character capable of significantly altering his own body, allowing him to grow everything from claws to Combat Tentacles to better destroy absolutely everything around him... or he can eat someone to steal their appearance and blend into a crowd. Combine this with Super Strength, Super Speed, and Nigh Invulnerability, and you've got one very scary Villain Protagonist on your hands.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 has The Pain, who is technically covered in hornets. He attacks by spitting hornets that burrow into Snake's flesh unless removed.
  • Yuri and other Harmonixers (except Shania) in Shadow Hearts fuse with various demons, including Cosmic Horrors, in ways that cause their bodies visible pain and take a toll on their minds. The villains tend to be even more so.
  • The Spines and Thorns powersets from City of Heroes/City of Villains.
  • Final Fantasy XI has this in Blue Mages and the backstory's precursor experiments toward creating the Blue Mage. The original experiments included grafting monstrous appendages and material to people, which gave them power but either drove them insane, or transformed them into flan (spell-casting blobs) or soulflayers (read: D&D's mindflayers with the serial numbers barely filed off). When they attempted to just graft a portion of a monster's magic and spirit to the experiments' subjects, they created the first viable blue mages, but even then, a Blue Mage gains their power from assimilating their opponents, and if one pushes too far, has the risk of becoming a soulflayer as well. Which brings some Fridge Logic Nightmare Fuel. Just imagine how many players have unlocked Blue Mage on any given server...
    • In fact from the combination of the danger of their powers, and the risk of being killed by allies who believe they're close to the turning point, it's said that there has never been a blue mage who died of natural causes.
  • Saki of Sin and Punishment, as a result of absorbing Achi's blood (she turns out to be an Eldritch Abomination, incidentally), gains the ability to transform into a really scary-looking Kaiju that can teleport, shoot giant lasers out of its claws, and grow to such immense size that it is fully capable of battling entire planets. As long as he's paired with Airen, he can control it. If not... it's not pretty. After it activates, even in his human form, he has disturbing looking patches of alien flesh on his body.
  • The Soul Series has a couple of examples. The various forms of Nightmare have a horribly disfigured and mutated arm, and Abyss, the ultimate form of Zasalamel...yeah.
  • In the Scott Pilgrim video game, Todd has this attack.
  • Baldur's Gate. In Shadows of Amn, the main character eventually gains the power to transform into the Slayer, a giant demonic creature with huge claws that's nearly unstoppable. Unfortunately, there are side effects.
  • Dead Space: Unitologists believe that the power of the Marker will allow them to become a new, immortal form of life... and they're not wrong. It just so happens that this "immortality" involves losing your mind and having your body transmuted into a specifically-formed zombie with no purpose than to harvest biological matter to propagate your species.
  • Some lucky Infected in Left 4 Dead gain considerable powers, at the expense of their... human appearance. May not apply because you can't "Choose" to become a special infected, but the theory is there anyway.
  • Being what amounts to a cute little girl with an eldritch tentacled horror attached to her back, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten's Desco naturally comes with quite a few of these.
  • Nero Chaos in Tsukihime is a magus whose entire body consists of the loosely drafted together biomass of 666 wild animals, beasts and legendary monsters that he can either send out in their true form or, more in tune with this trope, use partially, such as generating black tentacles, fangs, claws and such out of his flesh.
  • Being a direct and very obvious Shout-Out to Tetsuo, K9999 has this power, particularly as part of his Desperation Attack (which, yes, turns his hand into a horrifying giant tentacle of flesh).
  • Subverted with Double, from Skullgirls. She is an Eldritch Abomination who normally looks like she would possess this kind of thing but in reality, she's a Voluntary Shapeshifter with the ability to assume the form of any of the other fighters and use their powers in battle. Ms. Fortune is a sort-of example (her power comes not from the ability to mutate herself to fight but her undying body and nigh-infinite Healing Factor, though she can do things that fit such as ensnare opponents in her muscle fibers).

Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much everything in Mortasheen that has a power of any sort.
  • Squid Kid in the Metro City Chronicles can make indestructible tentacles sprout out of her back at will. When she leaves them out for too long, she starts turning all amorphous and inky looking.
  • Shadowspawn of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is an Eldritch Abomination from outer space who generates tentacles of shadow and darkness that can drain the life out of people. In addition, Shadowspawn itself is a Clingy Costume that is slowly devouring the human being it has engulfed. When it finishes eating its current "host", it will move on to another host.
    • Dagon, another Eldritch Abomination, has fused itself with a human being whose body was transformed into the spitting image of a Dungeons and Dragons mind flayer. The tentacles that have replaced his mouth are not just for show; they can inject a rotting poison into his victims.
    • The Swarm can transform herself into a horde of carnivorous cockroaches. The very thought of having this power has driven her stark raving mad. She's not a cannibal serial killer. Similarly, Hive can transform himself into a swarm of wasps, but has taken it a lot better than The Swarm has and uses his powers to fight crime.
    • Bloodstone of the Sinister Circle is a "hemokinetic". That is, he has telekinetic control over blood. His usual first move in any fight with a hero is to gather up some nearby blood to use as a weapon, and he gathers it from any nearby innocent bystander who is unfortunate to be close enough to become an unwilling donor.
  • Ruby Quest, quite literally, in the form of "the treatment". Apparently a universal panacea (even for death), it causes ongoing mutations and loads of Body Horror, which give its victims powers as a result (for instance, a third eye with some sort of true seeing in Ruby's case). Apparently the use of it also allows a Cosmic Horror called "Cjopaze" into this world, though that's never made quite clear.
  • Carmilla in the Whateley Universe, since she literally is a Cosmic Horror: one of her grandparents is Shub-Niggurath, on on her mother's side she's directly related to Cthulhu and the Deep Ones. And you thought your family was freaky. She's got the Combat Tentacles and wierd shapeshifting down. In one story, she split her face open to reveal what it looked like inside, and scared a superhero so bad he wet himself.
    • A lot of Whateleyites have such powers, due to the Mythos nature of the universe, not to mention plain(!) old mutations. Tennyo's is subtle, but she's no longer remotely human due to channeling the spirit of an ancient construct designed to destroy (or EAT) Great Old Ones, has (occasionally, when she's mad) anti-matter for blood, and even when her powers are negated, can inspire pants-crapping terror merely by making eye contact. Or Fey, who is the reincarnation of a GOO-level elven sorceress, and is supernaturally, mind-controllingly pretty, and can throw around spells that other mages can't even learn. Or more mundanely, Tool (now Demona) who used to have a body in constant flux, which occasionally reacted to his impulses by sprouting erections all OVER! Or any mage who decides to play around with GOO powers. Or any number of GSD sufferers, who have all manner of horribly inhuman transformations to contend with, up to and including And I Must Scream levels, like Puppet, whose blood is so horribly toxic it KILLED HER, and she now lives by occasionally-malfunctioning mad-science. Or... well, most of the Thornies, actually. Or the Foob, who got Mythosed fighting off something we've yet to find out about, and turned into, essentially, a mini-Cthulhu, which dramatically enhanced his psychic powers, rendering him basically unable to tune out the mind-numbing horror people experience when they see his physical form. Whateley's pretty screwed up in places.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Big Bang from the Static Shock animated was practically an area-of-effect Green Rock that simultaneously gave all nearby characters varying superpowers. The Metabreed was a gang of these characters who banded together specifically because they were the unfortunate characters stuck with Lovecraftian Superpowers.
    • Mind you, Shiv doesn't always have his energy projections deployed, so he could pass as normal by simply dyeing his hair. He likely stays because he's Ax Crazy and being with the Breed lets him slice and dice.
  • This is pretty much standard issue for EVOs in Generator Rex. The level of freakiness ranges from "cactus guy with vine whips" to "If there are words to describe that thing, I don't want to know what they are".
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Osmosians have the power to absorb matter and energy and use it to transform their bodies. Absorbing energy has the nastiest effects and warps body and mind.
  • Alpha from the Men in Black cartoon, due to grafting alien body parts onto himself. Whenever he looks like an ordinary human, you can bet he's really seconds away from sprouting tentacles.
  • South Park features Kenny, who has Type IV Immortality thanks to his parents constantly attenting Cthulhu cult meetings for the beer. Whenever he dies, his mom always gives birth to a new Kenny and puts him in bed. And no one else remembers that he had died.

Kenny's dad: God, this must be the fiftieth time this has happened.
Kenny's mom: Fifty-second.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • There's a species of lizard that sprays blood from its eyes when threatened.
  • Sea Cucumbers can eject part of their digestive system when threatened. They also can near-liquefy themselves to fit through small spaces.
  • Bombardier beetles can spray a jet of boiling acid from their abdomens.
  • Starfish feed by moving their stomachs out through their mouths and over whatever they're eating. They also clone themselves when they lose a limb.
  • Most (if not all species) of octopi can: strangle and crush enemies or prey with their tentacles, paralyze them with potent toxins from their beak-like mouthparts, or change their coloring at will. Some species can even change their texture and limb orientation so they look like harmless seaweed or fish. It's like Prototype, but in real life!
    • The mimic octopus can mimic twelve species, one of them being a venomous snake.
  1. (people with disturbing sexual fetishes turned into super powers)
  2. Because poor literacy is kewl