Required Secondary Powers

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Invulnerability: Not much of a downside to this, as long as you're also invulnerable to things you might want to get a shot for. And your hair and fingernails aren't invulnerable. And you're not planning on getting into the piercing and tattooing scene. And your skin doesn't have the texture of cold bicycle tires as a result.

Lore Sjöberg, The Book of Ratings, "Superman's Powers"

Okay, so you've got one of those people who's got a "Special Power". But even if you supposedly only have the one ability, if you're going to actually use it for anything, Fridge Logic demands that you have myriad other passive powers in order to make it work the way it usually does. This is sometimes directly referred to and explained, and sometimes not.

Most portrayed uses of super-powers have No Conservation of Energy; whether strength, speed, energy blasts, etc., supers tend to use far more energy than the human body actually contains, let alone can spare and still live. To use any physical power at anything above a moderate level (think Buffy, not Hulk), there needs to be not only access to some source of energy (Another Dimension being the common Hand Wave), but also some means of channeling it through the body's fragile systems safely. Otherwise your characters will be limited to only-slightly-greater-abilities-than-the-best-humans superheroics.

Related to Fan Wank, this encompasses all of the powers that aren't explicitly stated that would make a power function like it does in the work in question. Often, these powers would be useless outside of allowing the main power to work, but some could have use beyond that.

This only covers if the power in question is not explicitly defined. While Cyclops from the X-Men doesn't hurt his own eyelids with his Eye Beams every time he shuts his eyes, this is defined as an explicit ability of his (and his brother).

Types of powers commonly covered by this:

Super Strength

Read more at Super Strength/Analysis

To use super strength effectively also requires the ability to strengthen objects by touching them (Unless the object is made of some advanced material, of course). Otherwise, holding up (for example) an airplane with one hand would simply result in a hand-shaped hole in the still-plummeting airplane. This was addressed in the second episode of The Big Bang Theory, as the characters discuss a scene from the original Christopher Reeve Superman movie:


Sheldon: Lois Lane is falling, accelerating at an initial rate of 32 feet per second per second... Superman swoops down to save her by reaching out two arms of steel... Miss Lane who is now traveling at approximately 120 miles an hour hits them and is immediately sliced into three equal pieces...Frankly, if he really loved her, he'd let her hit the pavement - it'd be a more merciful death.


Nigh Invulnerability

Other than folks who fall under the Made of Air version of this trope, these characters also frequently exhibit the ability to anchor themselves. Even if they don't take damage from a heavy blow, it should still send them flying if they can't diffuse that much force. This one is more frequently subverted, with characters who resist damage but get knocked around quite easily, which makes for good No One Could Survive That moments. If they have superstrength, they could conceivably be bracing themselves for the blow, but those invulnerable characters without super-strength have no such excuse; this only works up to a point, however, as no amount of strength can defy the laws of motion. Strike someone with enough force, and they will move. (Superman and others of his ilk get a pass again because they can hold themselves in place with their flying powers.) Also, see the page opener quote for more downsides. Again, may be excused if the invulnerability in question is essentially due to Inertial Dampening.

Healing Factor

Read more at Healing Factor/Analysis

Any character with a healing factor presumably also requires superhuman pain tolerance, to avoid falling unconscious from the crippling pain and then waking up ten minutes later good as new. Still would be useful, but not so much in a combat situation (where being unconscious makes you useless at best, and makes you a liability or opens you up to a Coup De Grace at worst.)

More importantly, they'd burn up a lot of energy accelerating the healing process that fast, and so would need super-stamina and more efficient internal energy use than normal (or an alternate energy source) or their own power could kill them by draining their body's resources too fast.

Finally, bodies with Healing Factor may heal things that are wrong with you body as they were. Deadpool gives us a pretty bad look at what happens when your healing factor heals cancerous cells or brain abnormalities as if they were normal healthy cells.

Super Speed

Read more at Super Speed/Analysis

These characters are somehow immune to the effects of friction - specifically, the chafing that would naturally occur from using extremely rapid speed for extended periods of time, especially while wearing spandex. And they face a problem the other direction, of having too little friction. Feet coming down at superspeed would presumably have super impact, and push them off the ground and at least a few feet in the air. Even once that's explained, someone going at superspeed over the slightest hill, or up stairs, or just random dips in the ground, would lose contact with the ground, they would keep going in the 'same direction' as before, into the air.

They would also need some type of super-concentration. Given that they must have some form of Super Reflexes so they can react normally to things at super-speed, they should perceive normal speed to be horrifyingly slow. Imagine trying to hold a conversation with people who take several hours to speak a single word. Similarly, if a speedster does something like typing millions of password combinations into a computer, he must somehow avoid getting bored after the first few hundred.


Read more at Flight/Analysis

Other than those with obvious mechanical assistance (either wings or rockets), flying characters possess the ability to propel themselves through no effort of their own. This might be due to some inherent telekinetic ability, or perhaps it might be due to the ability to manipulate their own personal gravity. Winged flyers don't have it much better; they need some way to offset the mass and awkward shape of the human body, whether it be super-powerful wing muscles (and more importantly very large wing surface area, about that of a hang glider would do), a bird-like hollow bone structure (which would only save a few pounds for something with the body mass of a human - some engineering doesn't scale up well, as the ostrich can attest), or perhaps even a method of non-powered flight or levitation that is merely augmented by the wings (or some combination of the three).


Read more at Shapeshifting/Analysis

Characters that shift into other objects also have the ability to ignore how said objects would ordinarily hurt people. For example, someone who could become living flame is also immune to being burned (either by their own flame or that of others). Someone who can turn into water often gains the ability to breathe in water (or has no need to breathe at all).

There's also the issue of surviving while transforming and in the transformed state (altering one's body structure even a little is usually fatal in the real world, let alone having your flesh turned into another substance or turning into something with no internal organs) and keeping the ability to shape shift rather than transforming into something cursed with permanent Shapeshifter Mode Lock... This one could fill a page on its own.

Rubber Man

Flexing yourself into cartoonish shapes would be great fun, provided you were strong enough to support yourself enough to stand up. There's also the issue of organs and blood. Aside from the obvious repercussions of flattening yourself against a wall, the human heart isn't designed to pump blood into an arm that just grew one hundred feet. This power would also have to extend to their clothes, otherwise it'd be very uncomfortable (or publicly embarrassing).

Time Freezing

Read more at Time Stands Still/Analysis

Those that stop time should be blinded. If time were stopped, everything else stops too, including light. And air, which would hold them in place because the air they displace when they move can't get out of the way. In fact, those that stop time should be frozen along with everything else by the mere nature of the ability.

One explanation for this is a Time Bubble, where the character stays in bubble of sped up time, thus avoiding many of the problems that speedsters would face (and the bubble must move with you or you're stuck in one spot). Of course, while this solves some of the problems, it merely displaces others; for example, you'd still be unable to see outside the bubble.

Time Travel

Read more at Time Travel/Analysis

Most time-traveling heroes have the benefit of being immune to Temporal Paradox and the physical effects of The Time Traveller's Dilemma. Even if they do accidentally erase their own parents from history or create an even worse Crapsack World by killing Hitler only to have someone worse take over, the hero will remain unchanged and still be capable of trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.

There's also the problem of traveling only through time and ending up floating in space because surprise, surprise, planets, star systems, and even galaxies happen to move around. Most time travel stories will completely ignore this problem, but some have the heroes teleport to a different place on Earth relative to their starting point, which just happens to be the perfect spot to set the plot rolling.

There is also the issue of traveling too long. If you're gone for six years, you can't come home on the day you left and expect that nobody notices that you're six years older (you can always tell them you went to California to have your face lowered).

Force Fields

Read more at Deflector Shields/Analysis

Force fields are often air-permeable, which not only allows people to speak and listen through the field, but it also allows oxygen to filter in through the force field and thus allow breathing. However when a force field is used to keep water out while underwater, the force field often appears to have the power to actually extract breathable oxygen from the water around it and remove carbon dioxide from within it.

Similarly, they are usually invisible (or at least translucent) until something pushes against them, which means they let at least one wavelength of light (if not the whole spectrum) pass through unimpeded while still keeping lasers or any other emission that the force field's generator considers "harmful" outside.


Read more at Invisibility/Analysis

Applies not just to you, but to things you are carrying, or wearing. Any dirt on you becomes invisible, and either you get clothes made of some suitable material, or provide some Fan Service. Also, your light distortion fits that of your surroundings, and food remains invisible through the digestive process.

Also, to work properly an eye normally must at least have a lens bending the light (thus being visible at least as glass-like objects), pigments in sensitive cells absorbing the light (as opposed to passing right through just like, say, x-rays) and something preventing the retina from blanket exposure by light not focused with the lens, that is, blocking all the rays not coming in via the pupil, including those from behind the retina. Oh, wait, doesn't that add up to almost a complete eyeball?


Read more at Intangible Man/Analysis

You are immune to gravity or gain some kind of buoyancy, hence not plummeting through the ground. You also gain some self locomotion, so as not to worry about friction, (though many intangibles can float or explicitly fly). You can still interact with air normally allowing you to breathe (if you need to breathe), hear and speak.

Furthermore, an Intangible Man is still anchored relative to the Earth. Remembering that Earth whizzes around the Sun at a frankly irresponsible speed, anyone who can walk-through-anything should find themselves suspended in space a few seconds after their powers manifest, watching the Earth slowly but surely arcing away from them...

Alternatively, you remain affected by gravity but your intangibility makes an inexplicable exception with the ground so you can just walk on it normally instead of falling through.

Super Senses

Clearly, a lot of potential downsides to this one. The ability to selectively screen your input is an absolute necessity unless you want your hero to be called "Captain Migraine", "The Squinter" or "Curled-Up-In-The-Fetal-Position-On-The-Floor-Man," and let's not even go over issues with sensitivity in the nether regions. Likewise, being able to see through things is only good if you can also see the outsides of them when necessary.

Heroes with this power also seem to automatically gain the skills needed to properly interpret the new sensory input. In reality people tend to struggle when they suddenly gain a new sense, and it can take years to adjust to it.

Immortality/Agelessness in its various forms

Read more at Who Wants to Live Forever? and Immortality/Analysis

As an immortal, you are in some way exempt from being tied to the normal mortal coil. You're either fully immortal, reincarnated immortal, or ageless but vulnerable. The latter type requires a lot of intelligence and careful planning if you don't want to be discovered. You should ideally have a lot of resources financially, and certain contacts, like people who can change your identity. Also it helps to be VERY mentally resilient, because We Are as Mayflies and so forth. There's an eternal life that does not include eternal youth, leaving you in worse shape every year but knowing that your condition has nowhere to go but down.


Read more at Teleporters and Transporters/Analysis

Teleportation-users would need to have some way of extending their teleportation to their clothes and items if they do not wish to reach their destination naked. Clothes are one thing but dental fillings, bone pins, pacemakers, etc would be unpleasant to suddenly be without. Ignoring the ludicrousness of trying to extend quantum-scale barrier tunneling to the classical scale (assuming that's how matter teleportation works in your particular 'Verse, or that the Real Life rules of quantum physics even apply at all), such motion usually needs large amounts of energy as well.


Manipulators of heat energy would be kicking the laws of thermodynamics in the nads, unless it is explicitly detailed that they are moving heat energy around as opposed to creating or destroying it.[1] Not so much a real power, but may be worth looking into for Harder or Deconstructive works. Being immune to their own powers is quite important to prevent self-inflicted frostbite or burns. If the power is described as the ability to create and destroy heat energy, instead of explicitly heat or cold, it implies the character should be able to pull double-duty as both a cryokinetic and pyrokinetic.

By the same token, psychic powers may theoretically be turning mental energy into other types of energy. Not that that makes any more sense...


Read more at Shock and Awe/Analysis

Electricity has a tendency to take not only the path of least resistance, but to a lesser degree all other possible paths as well. Hitting your target without inundating everything around it with current would require a great deal of setup, meticulous planning, prior knowledge of electrodynamics, and the resulting hours of linear algebra to ensure that all other available paths are sufficiently resistive enough not to cause collateral damage. Here's hoping you're really Good with Numbers.

Lightning generates a lot of heat even in a quick flash, enough to fuse surrounding soil into glass. Sustained arcs are terrifyingly hot. Unless you want to melt your own flesh to gory slag, you had best pick up a fireproof perk as well. Even then, you'll want to turn off the juice before you kill everyone in the room via heat exhaustion. Lightning is also extremely bright, as anyone who's used an arc welder can tell you. Unless you want to reduce your retinas to gory slag, this is another good part to reinforce.

Sonic Powers

(No, not that) - It's good not to be deafened by your own sonic scream. Not to mention what stronger vibrations can do to unprotected internal organs, especially the vocal chords and breathing passages that actually produce the sounds and are thus in the closest proximity to them.

Size Changing

Read more at Square-Cube Law and Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever/Analysis

The ability to shift one's size would require the following abilities:

  • Control over one's mass and density so that one does not blow away or sink into the earth (due to the shift in surface area and pressure).
  • Super Strength to be able to support the increased weight, as well as the increase in pressure on the body.
  • Control over one's internal body temperature to avoid freezing to death at small sizes, or dying of heatstroke at large sizes.
  • Control over the performance of your vital organs to accommodate your body.

...boy, sure starting to feel Made of Plasticine now, aren't you?

All these tropes are especially good targets for subversion or aversion, because the absence or malfunction of a superhero's Required Secondary Powers creates a dramatically useful limit on their primary powers. A slight lack of these may oftentimes cause a Logical Weakness. Compare Lethal Harmless Powers.

Warning: Exploration of this Trope may result in brain breakage. But you probably have something to counter that, right?

Examples of Required Secondary Powers include:

Anime and Manga

  • Momo from My Hero Academia quirk (super power) requires her to know the atomic structure of the objects she is making. If she wasn't a genius, she'd probably be able to only make rather simple substances. Even so she still needs to study. But it is easy to think about how much less useful her power would be in the hands of someone less smart (there are quirks that steal or copy other quirks). Momo can make painted wooden Russian nesting dolls!
  • Pointed out by the author in the manga version of Ghost in the Shell. He goes on to explain that this is why full-body prostheses, like those of Motoko Kusanagi (whose only remaining organic components are her brain and nervous system), are preferable.
    • To clarify, the manga points out that if someone were to get, for example, his arm replaced with a prosthetic, his biological body would still be subject to the strain of muscle fibers tearing where the arm is connected if they lift too much weight. Full-body prosthetics on the other hand, have theoretically limitless strength (since it's now all a matter of technology), enabling them to jump huge distances (like how The Incredible Hulk does) and survive the impact of the landing (albiet the ground will take damage.)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist acknowledges some of the Required Secondary Powers related to bionic limbs, by having Ed need to get his automail updated by Winry should he get taller.
    • Alphonse, as a soul inhabiting a suit of metal armor, has the advantages of Nigh Invulnerability, but also the drawbacks. His great weight serves to anchor him, but also hinders him. He is unable to eat or sleep... but also has no need to. He cannot feel pain... because he is completely numb. However, while an inability to feel without nerve endings makes sense, for some reason he can still see without eyeballs, hear without eardrums, speak without vocal cords, and even move without muscles or feeling and equilibrium required to co-ordinate movement.
      • The speaking part is actually lampshaded a bit, in that Al's voice has not changed since the incident. In the anime movie Conqueror of Shamballa, where Al has gotten his body back, and grown up to the age he was in the series, his voice is deeper. Oddly, when he gets his soul temporarily shifted to an identical suit of armor on Earth, he sounds like a nine-year-old again.
      • The manga does explain why he can still remember things without a brain his soul is still "connected" to his body and mind which is on the other side of the Gate (and still aging).
      • Al and the other animated armors can move without muscles because his soul is infused into the armor. During Ed's fight with Number 48, 48 shows Ed the blood seal on the inside of his helmet. After some fighting Ed knocks 48's head off and thinks he's won because the part of the armor the seal is on is no longer connected to the main body. However, it's revealed that he has another seal on the chest of his armor, but after Ed uses a variant of Scar's disintegration to destroy part of 48's armor, the severed torso with the seal is no longer able to move its legs or defend itself against Ed.
        • Similarly, when Barry the Chopper's armor is destroyed, the piece with the blood seal on it can still talk, hear, see, and move (he can't move a lot, but he can move), but the rest of the armor can't.
      • Although, it is shown that somebody in Al's situation will feel it if you touch the blood seal. At one point in the anime, Lust scratches Al's blood seal and he seemed to be in pain.
    • Alchemy outwardly seems to change objects from one state to another, but the process is basically breaking things down and rebuilding them, not outright changing them as-is. This is why Scar can only destroy things with his "alchemy": He does not know how to rebuild things once he "breaks them down".
  • Brook from One Piece is basically made out of these. In life, he ate a fruit that allowed him to return to life once after he died, aside from this he only had the powers of a human. When he died, the ship he was on was in a dense fog and it took him a year for his soul to locate his body and revive. Because of the time, his body decomposed until all that was left was a skeleton with an afro (strong roots). Despite reviving being the main power of the fruit, it also provided him with everything he needed to survive in his body; he can move the bones without muscles, see without eyes, speak (and drown) without lungs, eat without a stomach, use a toilet without bowels (Luffy asked), etc. Many of Brook's ACTUAL powers are merely extensions of this. For example, in life he was over 8 feet tall and pretty strong (if not super strong). He maintains that same level of strength and can even increase it with time, but now his body is a mere fraction of the weight, allowing him to leap incredible distances and run across water.
    • It turns out that all of his secondary powers are a result of a special energy given off by his soul. Post Time Skip he's learned to channel this energy for all sorts of supernatural effects, from Astral Projection to Mass Hypnosis to a weaponized Ghostly Chill.
    • Luffy can bleed so much without dying because one of his secondary powers is a circulatory system that can make extra blood instantaneously to pump into his stretched out limbs. In fact, his rubberized organs, bones, and indeed every single vital part of his anatomy is the only reason he is able to withstand the stresses inherent in his Gear Second Super Mode. According to Rob Lucci, if anyone but Luffy were to use something like Gear Second, their heart would explode.
  • In Bleach, this trope is partially acknowledged in that Ichigo's speed increase from his Bankai lacks one notable secondary power: namely the ability to withstand his own speed. His first use of Bankai almost causes his own bones to break towards the end of the fight. He has to toughen up before he can get over that particular limitation.
    • There's also the scene where Kurotsuchi Mayuri inflicts a drug on his opponent that increases his perception of time, resulting in the world appearing to slow around him, without actually granting him super reflexes so his body can keep up (Mayuri mentions that he usually dilutes this particular drug). As a result, poor Szayel can do nothing to stop Mayuri from stabbing him in the heart, despite seeing it coming for what to him seems like centuries. By the end, Szayel is begging for death.
    • Required Secondary Powers also proved key to defeating an Espada, Barragan, whose power was that his touch could rot and decay anything. His opponent, Hachigen, worked out that Barragan had to have a secondary power to keep the rotting touch away from his own body. Hachi exploited that fact by warping his own decaying arm inside the Espada's body, causing Barragan to rot away from the inside out.
  • In Dragonball Z, the weakest member of the Ginyu Force has the power to stop time. However, he can't maintain it indefinitely and can only do so for as long as he can hold his breath and maintains the proper concentration. Considering how out of shape he is, this isn't long.
    • Fridge Logic dictates this is why Oozaru form increases a Saiyan's strength and chi ten-fold. Growing to giant proportions allows them to access additional strength and chi, which would be needed to prevent their body collapsing under its own weight.
    • Many characters of Dragon Ball and Dragonball Z have super anchoring abilities as addition to their strength. Especially noticeable is that with Tao Pai Pai, in his Curb Stomp Battle with Bora, the not native American. He holds onto Bora's spear, who is unable to even move it one bit, not even upwards even though he should by all means lift Tao Pai Pai upwards as well.
  • The manga series Cannon God Exaxxion goes into some considerable detail about what a 500+ ft. Humongous Mecha would need to be able to move around. The mechs use Imported Alien Phlebotinum gravity/inertial control devices to prevent them from collapsing under their own weight & allow their limbs to move at a reasonable speed, instead of feet they have invisible forcefields to distribute their weight to prevent them from crashing through the ground, because having actual feet big enough to accomplish this herculean task would look insanely silly (the fields are described as "invisible snowshoes" at one point), although at least that way bystanders would see them coming rather than being crushed underfoot by a robot that appears to be safely dozens of feet away. Aside from this, they're otherwise portrayed realistically & thus cause massive property damage to anything they get anywhere near simply by walking around.
  • Darker than Black plays with this all the time:
    • One of the Contractors in can teleport with "passengers", but cannot transport non-living matter... it's not much of an issue when teleporting away, but as Naked on Arrival, she tend to stand out. And she cannot steal any inanimate objects.
    • Another contractor had bursts of super-speed, complete with friction resistance and clothes-extension. But he can't change direction all that easily, and often risks crashing into objects. And the friction-resistance only worked on air: Cue nastiness from Newton's Third Law as he ran into some raindrops at a speed faster than a speeding bullet.
    • With Hei's electric powers, most of the issues listed above are addressed simply by requiring something to conduct electricity. Plus, that's the only way he can control the path at all; shocking someone through a puddle of water on the road also blew out a nearby streetlight, for example. {{{1}}}.
      • There's also an episode where Hei faces down another Contractor with powers like his. When they grab each other, they form a complete circuit, knocking each other back but not producing a lethal shock.
    • In Darker Than Black: Shikkoku no Hana Hei tested the idea that a Contractor who can disintegrate matter does something close enough to negate with his electron control, as he tried to go hand-to-hand with a guy who disperses bullets so fast they can't harm him. He's kind of right. They both even survived it. But it was nasty.
  • Nancy Makuhari (a.k.a. "Miss Deep") of Read or Die possesses the power of intangibility, but is unable to breathe while using her powers, as air passes through her lungs while she is intangible. This presents the very real danger of drowning while using her powers underwater.
  • In Code Geass, Rolo the Tyke Bomb is a subversion because he doesn't stop time, he puts your brain (and his own heart) on pause so you think he stopped time.
  • This is referenced in Psycho Busters when lead Kakeru wonders whether Kaito ever gets burned by his own flames. He then answers himself saying "Nah! He must have the impervious-to-fire power!". Kakeru later sees Kaito turning down a coffee saying his tongue is sensitive to heat.
  • Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index has a rather interesting required secondary power: mathematics and spatial relations. Yes, without them he could probably deflect anything anyone sent at him, but he couldn't really aim. Vector control requires him to be able to figure out what to actually do to get the result he wants. Post Heel Face Turn he's notably weaker because of some brain damage.
    • In fact, it's mentioned that most powers, if not all, are based on this, revealing the reason why the ability users have to study extensively to be able to get more powerful.
    • Some of the others are brought up in the A Certain Scientific Railgun side story. Range and accuracy are the limiting factors of Kuroko's teleporter abilities (any objects intersecting with things she have teleported are explicitly stated to be displaced). Mikoto uses the heat generated from her electrical abilities on two separate occasions, once to cook an opponent using a non-conductive barrier and another time on a smaller scale to cook rice in a metal canteen when the stove isn't working. In the anime Uiharu mentions a specific lack of required extras. She has the power to prevent things from changing temperature but her hands can only tolerate a normal range of temperatures limiting the potential for its use (though she's great at keeping take-away warm). Touma also has some going for him otherwise attacks like Mikoto's railgun would still be lethal as momentum keeps the projectile going even after her power has been negated.
    • Shizuri Mugino, the Meltdowner, can fire laser beams and create energy constructs like shields, but is not immune to them, leading to Shiage Hamazura tricking her into blowing herself up.
  • According the the backstory of Zeta Gundam, Transforming Mecha are only possible, or at least practical, due to a revolutionary variable-friction magnetic coating on their joints that was first used by the original RX-78 series Gundams. This allows them to change in a snap. Without it, their joints would either be too rigid & their Transformation Sequence would take hours, or else their limbs & other moving parts would constantly be flopping around & falling out from under them.
  • Similar to the above, the various signature Transforming Mecha of Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its sequels employ 'Energy Conversion Armor' which uses metals and technologies reverse engineered from the eponymous Macross itself (termed 'Overtechnology'). This armor can absorb energy and use that energy to reinforce it's own structural integrity. According to the various supplementary materials of the series, this is what the energy output of the Reaction Engines is used for when not being 100% committed to thrust. Thus when in Battroid (giant robot) mode, standing on the ground, with 0 thrust, 100% of the engine output is going towards telling the Square-Cube Law to take a hike.
  • In Naruto the Fourth Hokage's "Flying Thunder God" technique lets him teleport to within a certain distance of a seal which he puts on weapons and enemies, thus avoiding Tele Fragging by only teleporting to places likely to be close to open space. Likewise Tobi once implied that he can detect things (or at least people) from great distances which would probably explain why he never teleports into random objects.
    • It's stated that the Super Speed charge the Chidori is used at would make it impossible/impractical because it's so fast that it causes a tunnel vision effect if Kakashi and Sasuke didn't have their Sharigan eyes to speed up their reflexes. The same goes for Kiba and Akamaru's Dual Wolf Fang (which is even harder for them to see while using since it also has them spinning the whole time), so they need to have Akamaru piss on the enemy beforehand, so they can find their target by scent.
      • The sharingan itself has a similar problem, it grants the user superhuman perception but not superhuman agility. Sometimes a sharingan user can predict an attack and see exactly where it's coming from, but if their body can't keep up with their opponent they still won't be able to dodge/block in time.
    • Another example is Naruto's Rasenshuriken jutsu. At first his own arm would get busted up due to recoil damage, since it's a Rasengan-based technique and sits on the palm of his hand. After he gained Sage mode, the enhanced chakra gave Naruto the extra powers he needed to be able to throw the damn thing.
      • Also, most of his Rasengan techniques require this. Due to his poor chakra control, he relies on his clones to assist in properly forming even a basic Rasengan. He eventually removes the need when obtains a different secondary super power, the ability to form chakra arms with the Kyuubi's chakra.
      • Naruto's Healing Factor also qualifies. It's based on rapid mitosis, which shortens his life every time he uses it. However, he has longevity on his side- members of his clan are very long lived, so he can still live to a ripe old age even after having his skin burned off multiple times.
    • Sakon and Ukon's ability to fuse their bodies with each other or other people requires them to be able to greatly manipulate the structure of their own body in some other ways, including healing themselves.
    • Susanoo generates a very strong Force Field, but it lacks anchoring (its user has been both knocked into another room, although not injured, and nearly sucked into the mouth of a giant monster) and at least slightly air permeable (an acidic mist was able to get through it, albeit it's still better than being unprotected).
    • The databooks state that the Earth technique to burrow underground has the user act as a human compass to keep track of their location and sense what's above so they know where to attack when coming up.
    • Mabui's ability to move a target from one location to another at the speed of light is largely limited to inanimate objects. For a living being to survive, they either need advanced self-healing, like Tsunade, or to be Made of Iron, like the Raikages.
  • In Claymore, when Clare awakens while fighting Rigaldo, she cannot control her speed and winds up running into more than a couple buildings.
    • Those Claymores who are known by the Organization to have shape-altering abilities are issued special uniforms that can stretch to accommodate the changes.
  • Durarara!!'s Shizuo acquired Super Strength pretty early on in life, but not the physical resistance that usually goes with it. The end result was that he spent as much time tossing cars as he did in the hospital from the resulting fractures until around high school.
  • Liaoyuan Huo of Ravages of Time seems to have a Healing Factor as a required secondary power, because being Nigh Invulnerable as a result of not being able to feel pain is a pretty terrible "superpower" in real life; just ask any person with leprosy: they can't tell if they've been injured and lose limbs to infection.
  • Subverted with Zelgadiss in The Slayers, a human/demon/rock golem chimera whose Nigh Invulnerability comes from him having skin made of stone (and hair that resembles steel wire.) Due to his "monstruous" (in his opinion) appearance, he's willing to lose his supernatural powers as long as he can become fully human again.
  • The various physical laws that Digimon break (size-shifting, thermodynamics, etc.) can be explained by the fact that their world is a big computer program. How they do it in the real world, however...
  • It is assumed that the superstrength of the vampires in Hellsing comes with a limited form of telekinesis to deal with recoil. It's the only way that Seras could fire a gun that weighs three times as much as she does on full auto without bracing against anything without going flying.
  • The fact that one enemy's force field was not air-permeable was the key to her defeat in Dragon Half. Mink breathed fire at her until all the air in the bubble ran out.
  • Being omnipotent without the omniscience to deduce how your changes will play out is a significant plot point in Serial Experiments Lain.
  • Chirico from Armored Trooper VOTOMS has a powerful Healing Factor but still feels pain the way a normal person would. As he result he has serious psychological problems due to suffering through the agony of countless things that should have killed him, like being cut into pieces or burned alive with high octane fuel.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, the main downside of Negi's Raiten Taisou is that Negi doesn't have the required secondary powers, and must control himself through extremelly advanced wind magic, which, due to requiring him to previously "mark" the destination and makeing him unable to actually react to change course mid-air, make it very possible to counter it by just obstructing the way between Negi and his target. Raiten Sousou, its upgraded version, provides the required secondary powers.
  • Several of the heroes in Tiger and Bunny. The strong, and/or fast ones (Kotetsu, Barnaby, Antonio) are durable enough to use those skills without injuring themselves. Karina and Nathan are likely to have resistance to their own elements, and Pao-Lin explicitly states that a taser won't work on her. Possibly odd example in the case of Lunatic who can create fire in his hands for use in his crossbow, but his flashback in episode 16 shows that once he's set light to something (or in that instance someone) his fire can still harm Lunatic himself, as his father quite deliberately burnt young Yuri's face.
  • In High School DxD, Issei's power is having Boosted Gear, a Sacred Gear that doubles his power every ten seconds to the point that he can kill any deity whatsoever. The drawback however is that his stamina also gets drained because his body cannot handle the stress of his Sacred Gear's power. This leads him to undergo Training from Hell twice, once from Rias, and another one from Tanninim.
  • It's eventually explained that the whole reason Squid Girl can pick up people and other heavy objects with her tentacles without losing her balance is that she can alter her weight with her bracelets, becoming heavy enough to anchor herself.
  • At first one might think that the armors in Saint Seiya protect the users from the oponents attacks, in fact the armor's main function is to protect the user's body from his own powers since a normal human body isn't able to resist such ammounts of power, of course Fridge Logic kicks in most fights since more often than not the characters end up half-naked.

Comic Books

  • Implicitly acknowledged with the Marvel Comics "Decimation" arc, where several mutants keep their primary powers but lose the secondaries. Mutants with fire abilities are no longer immune to their own flames and incinerate themselves, a dragon-like mutant falls out of the sky because his mass can't stay airborne under normal physics even with the wings, a fishlike mutant drowns because his gills can't extract enough oxygen from the water to support a human body, and so forth.
  • After Crisis on Infinite Earths, after the new Flash (the former Kid Flash) had his powers restored, he had to eat huge amounts of food to fuel his Super Speed powers. Later, it was revealed that the semi-mystical Speed Force provided both the energy and the friction shield.
  • The Flash's powers are an all inclusive package called the Speed Force but parts of it come and go for the purposes of a given story. For example, his seeming ability to slow down his required super-perception has been pointed out a few times. In the Justice League episode "Only a Dream", for instance, the villain Doctor Destiny tormented superheroes with various nightmares; the Flash dreamt that he was unable to slow down, and perceived everything around him as motionless. The idea of a Flash unable to slow down his perception was also eloquently expanded upon by Jim's Big Ego in this song.
    • Alternate Company Equivalent Quicksilver explicitly doesn't have this: while he can slow down his perception as he speeds up, his default is still faster than human normal. It's described as the reason that he's so cranky: everyone else is moving at a snail's pace.
    • Flash doesn't always have this ability. In one comic he spent a subjective week watching a movie with his wife.
      • This would be really painful, given that persistence of vision wouldn't work, and so you wouldn't even be able to perceive the motion in the movie properly. It would be like watching a slideshow of someone's vacation pictures.
        • Or rather like watching a procession of phosphorous dots or pixels cover the screen one at a time, possibly building up to a coherent picture at the end. For every single frame of the movie.
      • At least one comic has explained this as being subconscious. When he is bored he tends to zone out and activate his speed without meaning to. This means that a conversation with his father in law, or a trip to the opera, can take forever.
    • Early in volume 2 of The Flash, Wally West discovered a new trick with the aura that protects him from air friction. He can consciously remove it from objects he's carrying, thus exposing them to extreme heat. (This was of limited use against the robotic Kilg%re, but still.) He hasn't used this much since, but it's a fine, rare example of a weaponized Required Secondary Power.
    • Super speedster Bart Allen (first Impulse, then Kid Flash, then regular Flash until his untimely death) was once shot in the kneecap by Deathstroke. At the hospital the doctors discovered, to their horror, that his hyper-accelerated metabolism had already begun to knit the broken bones back together and they would have to break them again so they could be set properly. They also couldn't use any anesthetic because his superfast metabolism would purge it out of his bloodstream too quickly.
      • Bart also discovers that he can't have a tattoo because of this. After impulsively getting a Green Lantern logo tattoo (because who would suspect a guy with Green Lantern's logo tattooed on him being Kid Flash?) he finds that it quickly fades away, as if decades of epidermal rejuvenation were taking place in a few seconds. One wonders why he doesn't leave piles of skin cells everywhere he goes.
    • In an "elseworlds" story set in the future, Flash's son inherited his speed, but not his friction resistance, with the tragic potential being explored.
  • In one of the Impulse comics where he's fighting against his evil twin/arch rival, the narration goes into a loving description of all the Required Secondary Powers that speedsters must apply to keep from destroying the landscape everywhere they go. Of course, the evil twin in question is taking no such precautions, so their super-sonic battle is marked by a trail of broke pavement, shattered buildings, and general total devastation.
  • In one of the Superman annuals (as part of the "Legends of the Dead Earth" motif), there was a team of heroes, each of which having one of Superman's powers, but the powers were either stuck "on" or coupled with potentially-hazardous side effects, even when those were powers granted by a "supersuit" rather than bio-modification. The speedster's suit had to keep her blood sugar levels up and the super-breath guy's collar worked both ways, so he could have ruptured his lungs if he breathed in too suddenly. Of the bio-modified heroes the super-strong one couldn't even feed himself because he would crush the spoon and the food, the X-ray eyes hero saw everything in X-ray eyes and had to wear special lead glasses, the flier had to be tethered to something because if he wasn't deliberately moving towards something he could drift away, the heat-vision guy had to discharge the energy from his eyes every so often to prevent a fatal buildup, and the invulnerable one had no sense of touch.
  • Chris Claremont usually averted this, giving the X-Men their Required Secondary Powers explicitly and having some of them learn to use them on their own. Shadowcat, for instance, can often be seen climbing air. (However, he wrote one of the junior team, Sunspot, as super-strong but not invulnerable, which led to a letters-page discussion about why the character didn't break bones while lifting things.)
    • Also, though it may not have had anything to do with Claremont's work, some of Wolverine's secondary "powers" have been indicated: When Rogue got a full taste of his Super Senses she was overwhelmed by the sensory input (and in intense pain, as the tactile sense was in overload as well; his use of meditation apparently helps him deal with it, along with constant exposure to mild-to-excessive pain giving him a very high threshold for pain, and it may also explain why he always seems to be in a bad mood and how, though he can survive it, he doesn't collapse from pain whenever he takes a few hundred rounds to the chest and face). The problem of why the backs of his hands, where the claws come out, don't each have three holes is explained by his claws actually punching a hole through his flesh every time he extends them, at which point his Healing Factor closes the wounds before he bleeds all over the place. Just where all the mass of his body comes from when he heals from massive injury (for instance, all of his organs and flesh tissue, aside from his brain and skeleton, more than once), however, is completely ignored. As is why his bones don't fall apart when everything that's not bonded with adamantium is completely destroyed. He does tend (recently, anyway) to wind up naked when that happens, though, at least.
      • It isn't COMPLETELY ignored probably wasn't Claremont's, but there was a short arc in which Logan, while travelling through a desert, catches and eats raw a crow (he feigned fainting to let the birds approach) after a hallucination he was having (long story) reminded him that his healing factor needed proteins in order to regenerate tissues. For regeneration of far more severe injuries, another explanation has been given in a more recent comic: Logan had...ahem...defeated the Angel of Death in a duel (he didn't know who the guy was though) and had since then been granted a sort of "immortality" (his healing factor was able to heal him from ANY injury). At the end of the arc, Logan had his "pact" with the Angel canceled and was informed that, from that moment on, his healing factor was going to be far less effective.
      • He's got to have superhuman strength (or close to it) to be able to be agile at all while carrying around a skeleton that weighs around a hundred pounds, Depending on the Writer, more than a normal human's. Possibly the result of his healing abilities building more efficient muscles, since he was pretty quick relatively shortly after receiving his adamantium, or a combination of that and training while lugging around so much weight.
      • One description of his healing factor indicates that he has unlimited stamina - due to constant regeneration, his muscles never tire from overuse. Thus Wolverine is granted a degree of superhuman strength from constantly training and fighting with 100 extra pounds of adamantium to haul around. Also, human muscle is much stronger than one might think, but using it to its full potential would result in muscle damage and liquefaction. Wolverine's healing factor means he can use his maximum theoretical strength all the time. Combined with unbreakable bones, this means Wolverine can also lift objects much heavier which a normal human otherwise could with their own muscle strength at peak athletic levels, but cannot in reality due to their bones snapping from the pressure.
      • Wolverine's healing factor even extends to his mind. As stated in the trope description, super healing doesn't account for a mind being overloaded with pain. Wolverine's healing factor, however, compensates for this by cutting out the most traumatizing memories (both emotionally and physically). This can be interpreted as meaning that the reason Wolverine is able to withstand such devastating injuries because his brain cuts out all trace of the trauma, much the way the brain in Real Life averts Dizzy Cam by inducing temporarily blindness whenever the eyes move.
    • Banshee's hearing is extremely powerful. According to him, with powers like his (sonic powers), the alternative would be being deaf.
  • After the 1986 revamp, Superman was assumed to have some version of touch-based telekinesis, as there's no other explanation for why he can lift up giant objects without the part that he's holding simply overbalancing and ripping free, or how he can catch falling objects (and people!) without doing them harm from the sudden stop. On at least one occasion Superman did comment that things felt different when he was carrying them while flying than they did if he lifted something similar when not flying.
    • This was tacitly acknowledged to be true when he was cloned, resulting in Superboy. Superboy's only power was tactile telekinesis, which he used to "fake" stuff like flight, invulnerability, and super strength, until eventually his Kryptonian genetics kicked in and he got them for real.
    • Superman's heat vision started out as a seeming Required Secondary Power of his X-ray vision. It was originally assumed that his X-ray vision worked by projecting X-rays and that he could focus this to generate heat. Now it seems that they are separate powers and his X-ray vision works by attuning his eyes to perceive X-rays (this in turn was extended to allow him to see an increasingly broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum).
    • John Byrne, who revamped Superman, had previously used the explanation for Gladiator over at Marvel, who was a Superman-ersatz from the Imperial Guard, themselves an Alternate Company Equivalent of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In Gladiator's case his power level is explicitly affected by his state of mind—loss of confidence makes him physically weaker.
    • This was parodied in Wild Cards by Golden Boy, who when rounding up Nazi war criminals attempted to do things like stop cars, bend tank turrets into knots or lift a tank up by the turret, but invariably the gun barrel would rip off or he wouldn't have the leverage, and cars just sent him flying. Eventually, he gave up and resumed just knocking them over or tearing them apart from below.
    • The "using-telekinesis-to-fake-strength" power is common enough in the Whateley Universe to have a name, "TK Brick". Hank (aka Lancer), one of the main characters, is one.
    • In one Silver Age story, a villain removes Superman's powers one at a time. At one point, he is about to land, but loses his strength at that very moment, and as a result plows into the ground (he was still invulnerable). He points out that even though he still has the ability to fly, he needs the super-strength to coordinate his flying and landing.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four:
    • Ultimate Sue Storm lampshaded the impossibility of her powers, pointing out that there's no conceivable reason why she should be able to see things while invisible. Luckily, she's a bio-geneticist and thinks the mystery is fascinating.
    • Even in Marvel Classic, Sue's Force Field isn't permeable to air, and the limited air supply is used both offensively and as a limitation when she's using it for protection. Like nearly everything, this is Depending on the Writer.
    • Sue's invisibility is explained in the Main Marvel Universe. She extends a a light-bending field around herself and her immediate area, which is what renders her body and clothing invisible, and she can extend this to other people or objects if she wishes. As for her vision, remember that she can see other things that are invisible - whether it's under her power or not. Her eyes can percieve wavelengths of light that normal humans can't, and it's through these wavelengths that she can see while invisible. Again, Depending on the Writer.
      • Warren Ellis pointed this out in Planetary with Kim Suskind, the evil version of Sue Storm. She has to wear special goggles directly wired into her nervous system whenever she turns invisible. Without them, she's blind. Presumably the goggles interact with nonvisible radiation - UV or infrared - while still magically being totally transparent to visible wavelengths.
    • When Stan the Man created her, he might have remembered that Marvel had already done this story in Tales To Astonish earlier the same year, lampshading this problem with invisibility. Maybe if he had we wouldn't have all these Flame Wars today regarding Sue's eyesight.
      • In fact, the original letter that detailed the Fantastic Four and their powers was reprinted some years back in a special issue. Sue's eyesight is not mentioned, but she was permanently invisible and unable to make anything else invisible, even clothes. This was nixed because Sue taking off her clothes on-panel was deemed too sexy.
  • Human Torch not only has the fireproof skin secondary power, but he also has the power to absorb energy to a degree, converting it to flame. He can also suck up heat from things, and once froze up Hydroman this way.
    • However, he doesn't seem to hold much knowledge as of how fire itself works. There was one instance (in the animated version, admitedly) where Mr Fantastic gave him a watch which was in fact a special torch capable of lighting underwater (which actually exists in real life, the olympic torches of 2008 were known for that). He then uses such fire to light himself while underwater, which he ought to be able to do anyways without the watch, or not do at all. Unless it was magic fire.
    • Not necessary for being the Human Torch per se, but certainly necessary for doing many of the things Johnny does, is magic fire. He creates specific shapes from fire that maintain their shape (and of course keep burning, as do his own flames, with no perceivable fuel). He creates cages of fire that are hot but do not burn, and in fact can keep fire from burning things. I guess it might be an example of Convection, Schmonvection.
  • In The Ultimates, mutant Quicksilver had a Required Secondary Powers battle against Hurricane, an enemy speedster who'd got her powers from advanced surgery, and who wore a reinforced suit designed to resist friction. He grabbed her and started accelerating. Her skin burst into flames around Mach 4 or so, and she completely disintegrated moments later. So much for the suit. Quicksilver, whose mutant power includes all required secondary abilities needed to move at an acceptable fraction of the speed of light, reminded her smoking body that he'd been easily hitting Mach 10 since he was a teenager. The moral of the story: if you fight someone with the same primary power set as you, make sure your Required Secondary Powers are up to their standard.
  • Sometimes, the Required Secondary Powers pop up when the writer wants to find some way for a superhero to make up for their somewhat less satisfying powers. Aquaman's lifetime in the sea leads to an increased strength, agility, and resilience on land that would help him to survive and move easily in the ocean depths.
    • Technically, Aquaman always had superstrength and durability, at least in his first Golden Age appearances, that were forgotten during the Superfriends era. On the splash page of his very first appearance, More Fun Comics #73, he's shown deflecting an artillery shell with his hand.
    • Grant Morrison also gave him the ability to essentially induce seizures by telepathically touching the part of the brain that humans share with fish. It's a shame that he doesn't do that more often.
      • During the "Justice League Detroit" days, he was shown being able to influence people's actions through the same "fish portion of the brain" excuse. How little sense this makes is the least part of why many people deny the JLD ever happened.
  • Archangel of the X-Men has the increased strength and stamina necessary to fly with a gigantic honking wingspan. His wings themselves are also strong enough to pimpslap a grown man across a room, or break many bones at once.
    • His actual wing surface area isn't nearly large enough to lift a human-sized body using real-world physics—ever wonder why hang gliders are so big? So Stan Lee gave him a required-power weight loss by attributing zero body fat and hollow bones like a bird—except that doesn't work out either, the largest birds have proportionately a lot more bone per body volume than even the smallest human, let alone a six-footer like Angel, and hollowing his bones only shaves off a few pounds of weight. Likewise, a man of his athletic build and muscle mass normally has less than ten percent body fat anyway, not nearly enough savings in weight, especially with such a high proportion of dense muscle.
  • Cyclops of the X-Men is probably one of the best billiard players in the world. Why? Well, eventually somebody realized that the absurdly complex ricochet effects he pulls off with a moment's thought using his eye-beams must mean he has some kind of sixth sense for angles and geometry. So now he does. Not necessary, but necessary for him to be able to use his powers the way he does.
    • According to The Physics of Superheroes (by real-world physicist and comic book fan James Kaklios) Cyclops must also have super strong neck muscles, as the beams are described as concussive force - without such musculature, Newton's 3rd law says his neck ought to be snapped every time he uses his powers. Not sure how accurate this logic is, though.
      • The Word of God is that he feels no recoil at all, since the "push" for his eyebeams actually comes from another dimension. He's just the doorway for the particles that make up the beams.
      • Course the first time he activated his powers was to use the recoil to slow his and Alex' descent to the ground from the plain they jumped out of.
    • Alternatively, there is a minor meme going around, which proves Cyclops can fly. The eyebeams produce kinetic kickback, but he is immune to this kinetic energy. If he only held his hand in front of his eyes, then WHOOOOSH.
    • Something similar happened with Bouncing Boy from Legion of Super-Heroes, a rare case where the required secondary powers actually became more prominent than the primary one. Because of the impressive ricocheting moves he pulls off, the writers reasoned he must have an innate knowledge of geometry & mathematics, so he became one of the Legion's main science guys & rarely used his primary power. Thankfully.
      • And he was a great billards player- he knocked three balls into the nets with one strike!
  • Colossus in Ultimate X-Men can turn his body to steel. It was recently revealed that he has no natural super strength to compensate for the added weight of a metal body and instead dopes with a power-magnifying super steroid.
    • The Ultimate Galactus trilogy also has a bit where Sam Wilson realizes that if Colossus turned his entire body to organic steel, then he wouldn't be able to see. One eye poke later...
      • Ultimate Hawkeye makes this observation and it was utterly idiotic because I could use the same reasoning to deny any of Colossus' powers (solid steel muscles would be immobile, steel tendons could not stretch, steel blood could not flow, steel hearts can't beat, etcetera). The arrow should have just smashed uselessly against Colossus' eyeball and Hawkeye should have been severely pummeled.
    • Ultimate Pyro is able to generate flames, but he is not immune and is covered with gruesome scar tissue as a result.
      • It was even worse for non-Ultimate Pyro, since he could only control fire, but needed a special suit to generate flames (which was likely also fireproof).
  • Marvel's Taskmaster can achieve limited superspeed if he copies the moves from fast-forwarded video, but he can only use it in limit, since he does not have secondary powers to compensate for the fact that it strains his body.
    • He also lacks certain required secondary skills - for instance, when he was young, he copied a professional diver's dive. But neglected to learn how to swim first.
      • Taskmaster is a bit of an odd case; he supposedly has no superhuman powers beyond his signature "photographic reflexes", yet is not only able to pull off the aforementioned feats, but also Spider-Man's speed and agility, and further, can catch bullets, leap dozens of feet vertically, casually send a man flying with a punch and shake off getting smashed through a reinforced wall by the force of an enraged Spidy (thinking Taskie had kidnapped Mary Jane) kicking him in the head.
      • Recently, it was shown that every time Taskmaster memorizes a new set of moves, he loses a bit of memory, including things like his real name. While this isn't how memory works, it may explain why he's able to do Spidey's moves. If his brain is constantly compartmentalizing, it may be able to shut off the parts of the nervous system that would cry out in pain when attempting a crazy maneuver, while increasing adrenaline output (á la mothers lifting cars off of their children, also an Urban Legend).
  • Ultimate Marvel's version of Reed Richards has his body transformed into an undifferentiated "bacterial stack" with no internal organs or tissues, so he has no need to worry about, for example, his stretched arms going numb because his heart had to try to pump blood the length of a football field. How he gets energy without eating is glossed over.
    • Note that this is roughly the power of Plastic Man. Nothing new under the sun.
  • Daredevil is occasionally shown having to deal with the sensory overload that comes with his powers, especially regarding hearing and sound. Notable examples are loud sounds or concussive blasts (like from an explosion) disrupting his sonar and causing him pain, and having to sleep in a soundproof isolation chamber.
    • In The Movie, he's shown sleeping in a sensory deprivation tank, which closes and opens according to a timer.
    • One particular article predicts a few problems with the sense of touch...
  • Iron Man villain Ezekial Stane, the so-called "Iron Man 2.0", has bioengineered himself in such a way that he can fire repulsor blasts using his own bioelectricity, increases his healing, and so forth. However, he has to consume a very high calorie paste in order to keep his blood sugar up, and his armor chiefly acts as a way to vent heat from his body, as he hasn't figured out how to keep his flesh from burning off.
    • If his special abilities come from his own body instead of his suit, shouldn't he be called Organic Man? Or Asbestos Man if you take the cooling effect into account?
  • A villain from Static Shock had the ability to absorb matter directly into his body, which resulted in him becoming so dense as to be impervious to all weaponry and super strong... but he wasn't quite strong enough to move well with his weight. He was eventually defeated by forcing him to absorb so much matter he become too heavy to move... so heavy, in fact, they had to use the NASA Crawler to haul him to jail!
    • Another was Rubberband Man who once turned into a vacuum cleaner to avoid being caught by Static's sister. When Static's sister tried to wheel him out of the room, she found it rather difficult because A. he still weighed the same, and B., as he put it, "Wheels are hard."
  • One character in Global Frequency has a cybernetic arm with superhuman strength, and goes into detail about all the secondary modifications that had to be made to her body so she could use it without ripping it out of its socket or breaking her own back.

Member 436: I have to be careful with it. Bioelectric enhancements are cranky. It's not a case of just sticking an artificial arm on. The surrounding bones and fibers have to be hardened and supported, or else the new arm will rip clean off your shoulder the first time you flex. You'll need tensile support across your back, or your spine will snap the first time you lift something heavy. You need new skin; human skin isn't tough enough to handle the subcutaneous tension of superhuman strength. You'll take a chip in your brain to handle the specific dataload from the artificial nerve system controlling the arm. You're getting the idea, right?

  • Durlans, a shape-shifting species in the DCU, were eventually revealed to have an extra sense that allows them to scan all the cellular and anatomic details of a new being they encounter, as well as perfect memory for same. For which their antennae are the sensory organs.
  • John Byrne's Next Men series has a super-speedster who runs barefoot—his body can stand the speed, but shoes wear out in seconds. Even at that, he still had to spend months toughening up his soles to avoid crippling blisters. One of his teammates has superstrength, but needs a special exoskeletal harness to dampen his powers or his body can tear itself apart, not to mention destroy everything he touches. Although his hyperdense bones and muscles do save his life when they limit the penetration of bullets, saving his vital organs. Scanner gets super-vision, but his eyes become huge and all-black to absorb all those frequencies and he needs to wear a special filter visor to avoid painful sensory overload. The invulnerable woman couldn't cut her invulnerable fingernails or hair, and her skin was slowly turning chalk-white as ultraviolet light stopped causing tanning (a minor research miss, as tanning is made up of two processes, only one of which is a result of UV damage).
    • Did she develop Vitamin D deficiencies as well?
  • In the Valiant Comics Solar, Man Of The Atom - Solar encounters various empowered people, some with no secondary ability to compensate. One petite woman has super strength, and a level of invulnerability, but no anchoring ability. So if she threw a punch foward, the reaction would in turn throw her body backwards. She fixed this by wearing a vest weighted down with depleted uranium. This also kept her from hitting the ceiling every time she took a careless step.
  • The New Universe minor villain Skybreaker could fly, but had no other powers, so he required a special suit to protect him from wind, friction, high-altitude cold, and to provide oxygen. It also has navigational gear, since there are precious few road signs at 40,000 feet.
    • Another New Universe character, D.P.7's Jeff Walters (aka Blur) was a super-speedster who did require large amounts of food every day. He was also obese before his power manifested via the "White Event."
      • Food was the lesser problem. Apparently, his body is potentially much faster than his mind, so he can't get a restful sleep if not under tranquilizer (or a teammate's energy draining power). And the constant vibration caused by lesser muscular movements cause him to be mildly distructive when touching things. Or opening Coke cans.
  • Empowered tried to pick up a car, but succeeded only in tearing off the fender. She did manage to pick it up and throw it on her second try, with more careful hand placement, but...

"Aaa! M-my BACK! Oww... I think I pulled something...!"

    • Then she figured out that driving a car into her enemies is easier and has more force to it.
  • Deadpool's Healing Factor only works because he has such severe cancer that his body is constantly regenerating lost cells. He just makes it regenerate more when he takes damage. He actually weaponizes this when the Skrulls want to make an army of clones with him, and gives them the healing factor, but not the cancer, causing them to mutate and die.
    • However, while he has to ability to regenerate tissue, there is no guarantee that it will regenerate right. Once he broke multiple bones and his assistant strapped him to a rack in order to ensure that they would heal straight.
  • Strangely both averted and used in Legion of Super-Heroes V2. Supergirl is trying to move a planet. She has the strength, but attempting to do so just ends up digging a hole through the planet because she can't move it as a single object by touching a small part of it. However, the "solution" used is to have her bounce into the planet, which really should fail for the same reason.
  • It's possible that Spider-Man's super-strength is a Required Secondary Power. Everything else - agility, wall-crawling, advanced nervous system - falls under "proportionate powers of a spider" but spiders aren't really known for their brawn. It does, however, probably keep him from dislocating his arms when he leaps from a great height onto the side of a building.
    • Spiders, like ants and many other insects, have a muscular system that is actually built on the same principles as hydraulics. How Spidey pulls off hydraulic-based strength without massive physical mutation, however, is anyone's guess.
    • Lampshaded on at least one occasion when Spidey loses his powers but still has his web shooters; he tries to swing away but lacks the strength to hold onto his own web!
      • Most comics allow normal-strength people to hold their own weight on one arm for some reason, it's interesting that writer remembered. Another didn't, and had him able to web-swing fine with his powers gone, except without his spider-sense he had to actually concentrate on things like aiming.
    • Spider-man's super-strength is not a Required Secondary Power at all; he's always been presented as having the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider. It all stems from the same simple concept: a misunderstanding of the Square-Cube Law.
  • Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Donna Troy (and Artemis back when she was Wonder Woman), share the powers of Super Strength and flight, but not (exactly) Nigh Invulnerability. But while not Immune to Bullets, they are usually depicted as being quite a bit tougher than the average human being. Tough enough to withstand glancing blows from Giganta without having every bone in their body shattered, for example. Any other issues with their powers can be Handwaved by their divine origin - Greek gods or their artifacts did it.
  • The young teleporter Misfit introduced in Birds of Prey astounds Oracle because she effortlessly avoids nearly every complication associated with teleportation. She can "bounce" (her term for it) anywhere, no matter how far away, without even having to visit the place beforehand. She instinctively avoids teleporting into objects. And she can "bounce" any number of times without exhausting herself. She actually heals herself each time she does this, and recovered from a gunshot wound this way in her debut. The only limitation of her ability is that she can't take other living things along for the ride - they die when they reappear. Misfit discovered this when she tried to bounce herself, her mother, and her little brother out of their burning home and accidentally killed them this way. A later storyline revealed that her powers are magical in nature, explaining this somewhat.
  • In issue 75 of JSA, Atom Smasher explicitly mentions breaking and regrowing his bones and muscles as he grows. While it has never been done, this would theoretically allow him to heal bone and muscle damage by simply shifting height again. He also has a specific height (around 50 feet) wherein his powers start to malfunction and the Square-Cube Law starts paying attention to him again.
    • Subverted in a JLA story where Superman encounters a new superhero while rescuing some firemen from a collapsing building. The newbie has super strength and is able to hold up the falling ceiling long enough for Superman to evacuate the firemen. Unfortunately he discovers that he does not possess invulnerability and is killed when a gas main blows up in his face.
  • The Eternals are powered by cosmic energy flowing through every cell in their bodies. This makes them able to do things like fire Eye Beams and use Super Strength, as well as powering their Psychic Powers, but dispersing all the resulting waste heat is quite a problem—they tend to stick to cold places like mountaintops and the middle of Siberia for just that reason. Gilgamesh even went into a coma once fighting a lava monster—and before that, he had to go into a motionless trance just to survive in a hot cavern while guys like Captain America (comics) and Black Panther just stood around and sweated. The laws of thermodynamics are a harsh mistress.
  • Chamber from Generation X is a triple subversion: he doesn't need to eat, breathe or drink thanks to the pure-energy furnace within his chest, which is a fortunate thing since the same furnace blew off his jaw and a good portion of his chest when his powers first surfaced. With no lungs or mouth, he can't talk normally but then he develops a secondary mutation of Telepathy to communicate with others. As it turns out, he doesn't need telepathy; he has the potential to reconstitute his missing parts but isn't skilled enough in his powers to do so for long. He nearly died in Decimation when he lost his powers and suddenly needed things like food, water, and oxygen again.
  • Plutonian, being a Flying Brick, should need several of those to be able to use his super stengh the way he does, like lifting ships without them breaking apart, but he doesn't, because he doesn't have primary powers either - he is a Reality Warper who subconciously alters the fabric of spacetime around him. When he punches something, he changes the density of his fist and the objects he punches and breaks Newton's laws to not outright kill his opponents. He isn't even aware of it, he just thinks he is very strong.
    • Max Damage, from Irredeemable's sister title, has super strength and invulnerability which proportionally increase the longer he's been awake. Unfortunately, a side-effect of the latter is that he loses all sense of touch, taste and smell after a couple of hours - he describes it as being numb instead of being tough, like God didn't know when to stop with the Novacaine. He also suffers from the normal effects of sleep deprivation, which is sometimes necessary to get his powers up to a certain level, so the stronger his body becomes the weaker his mind gets.
  • Minor character from Rising Stars was Nigh Invulnerable, but doesn't have several secondary powers that usually come with it - he has no enchanced senses so his powers block his sense of touch, pain and temperature and he has no super strength so he is rather useless in a fight, being beaten like anybody else, just without feeling anything. And he needed air just like anybody else, so he was suffocated to death with a plastic bag. In fact, lack of enhanced senses was what killed him - without his powers he didn't feel it when the murderer tied him up and put the bag on his head.
    • Butterball, from Avengers: The Initiative has similiar problems - his powers made him frozen in the form he was when they have activated, which means he cannot realize his lifelong dream of being a superhero because he can never train and get in shape for crimefighting and he doesn't even have muscles necessary to fight in a way the likes of Blob do. Of course Initiative could use their nanotechnology to block his powers and then train him, but their chief scientist was really a Skrull and he used his position to kick him out.
    • Also relevant is Citizen Steel of the Justice Society of America, who is super strong and invulnerable to harm but has an extremely stunted sense of touch as a side-effect of the treatment that gave him his powers
    • Image character Brit also has nigh invunerability without super strength, so his way of fighting super-strong villains was to let them throw him at nearby buildings and make them fall on their heads, until he got himself pair of strength-enhancing gloves. Later, he also started using a Jet Pack.
  • The Savage Dragon averts the typical Healing Factor trope of bones automatically resetting themselves as they heal. A foe once beat Dragon until nearly every bone in his body was broken, then stuffed him down an industrial chimney, forcing Dragon's healing factor to repair all those bones (and, presumably, whatever muscle and other tissues damaged along with them) in the wrong positions. Despite this, Dragon managed to climb out of the chimney and even (briefly) get into another fight before being discovered by allies and receiving medical treatment. The worst part? One of Dragon's super-strong friends had to re-break all the misaligned bones so that doctors could re-set them properly.
  • The secondary power of "can tolerate cold temperatures" is memorably played up for three X-Men at once in an issue of X-Men Unlimited, while a team of Storm, Iceman, Colossus, and Angel are on a mission in Antarctica:

Storm: "Hmm. Angel, my weather powers protect me from the chill, Colossus is immune to extreme temperatures while armored, and Iceman is, well, Iceman. How are you doing?"
Angel: "I'm very cold, thank you for asking!"

  • Mystique, an X-Men villain shapeshifter, can copy the appearance of other people down to fingerprints, voice and retina patterns closely enough to pass biometric scanners. In addition to the Photographic Memory required to remember all this perfectly, she must have some kind of ESP to detect such things in the first place just from a brief encounter. She's certainly never shown scanning and studying the retinas of people she is going to copy.
    • It was shown in her side series that she requires a minimum of eight words to adequately mimic someone's voice. How this allows her to pick up speech idiosyncrasies is anyone's guess.
  • Punisher 2099 once tracked down a techno-shaman who had encased himself in an impenetrable force field to protect himself. Punisher figured out that it still had to be able to exchange heat through the field, and fried the guy inside the force field by showering it with hot plasma.
  • Red Hulk becomes hotter the madder he gets, allowing him to burn and melt things just by touching them. He suffers his first defeat when he becomes so mad that his own heat hurts him.
  • In the first issue of H-E-R-O, a man uses the HERO Dial to turn into Afterburner, a Flying Brick who, as it turns out, is not nearly as Nigh Invulnerable as he looks; the guy ends up nearly killing himself saving a little kid from a drunk driver in a semi.
  • Deconstructed in a Donald Duck comic by Don Rosa. Donald briefly becomes a Flying Brick after chugging down some Applied Phlebotinum, and makes several attempts to impress his nephews with his new powers. He tries to travel around the world in an instant, but realizes that he still perceives the passage of time normally despite everyone else effectively being frozen in time while he's moving around at superspeed, so the task could take him several months or even years to complete, and nobody would notice anyway. He also tries to use his superstrength to lift both a mountain and a sunken cruise ship, but the mountain starts falling apart at the base and the ship breaks in two due to years of rust decay to the hull.
  • Brainiac Five of the Legion of Super-Heroes has a force field belt that (before Crisis on Infinite Earths, at least) was explicitly noted to have the ability to automatically generate breathable air whenever creating a closed shield. Even before he invented the transuits, it was stated that he didn't need a conventional space suit for this reason.

Fan Works

  • A problem with regeneration was mentioned at least once in Fanfic:

"We had learned the hard way- well, Steve had learned the hard way, by having it happen to him; Valerie and I had learned the easy way, also by having it happen to him- that while werewolf bodies heal wounds instantly, they don't always heal right."

  • In Those Lacking Spines, Vexen states that one of the traits of being a "Part-Disney" character is an immunity to most Earworms.
  • A Fantastic Four 2099 fanfic series occasionally explored the limitations of the characters' abilities in this way:
    • Johnny Storm (or rather, his clone—all of the Fantastic Four of 2099 are clones of the originals)) is at one point exposed to the Negative Zone's poisoned atmosphere through a leak in a labor frame suit he was wearing/driving. He ended up briefly coughing from it, but otherwise he sustained no long-term effects from it. When questioned about this later, he pointed out that as The Human Torch he tended to be surrounded by plasma flame, meaning that the very air he inhaled was superheated plasma. His lungs would have been scorched without the Required Secondary Power of enhanced lungs that could very efficiently filter out what he breathed. As a result, breathing toxic Negative Zone air was relatively a piece of cake, and he was shown doing so without a gas mask on at least one occasion.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, the clone of Ben Grimm has the same rocklike epidermal layer as his predecessor—which he at one point described as "a full-body callus strong enough to withstand being hit by a missile." Unfortunately, his thick hide was still pierced on a few occasions, but the injuries were slow to heal, leaving deep craters and sensitive scar tissue in their wake.
    • In Minsinoo's Climb The Wind, Logan mentions that he has increased protein needs as a result of his healing factor. Also that he's not good at dealing with chronic pain, because he's used to things healing almost instantly.
  • From Sleeping with the Girls vol II
    • Washuu restores Luna's ability to turn into human form. Later we learn she also retained cat's muscle density, which makes her really strong and agile but also uses proportionally more energy. So she either has to eat a lot in human form or stay most of the time as a cat to save energy.
    • The protagonist receives a strength multiplying bodysuit, and learns the hard way it lacks any kind of reinforcement (he forgot to read the manual, then punched a wooden pillar breaking his wrist). Fortunetly he sill has medical nanites, but those too use a lot of fuel while healing major injuries.
  • At the very end of With Strings Attached, we find out that the cloned bodies that the four are inhabiting had been supplied with complete immunity to disease to prevent them all coming down with dysentery two days after arriving in Focan, which was quite filthy.
    • Also, Jeft talks to himself about all the stuff he had to build into Paul to get him to work properly:

~Now, I gotta say, I did a darn good job on him. Probably a good thing I didn't tell Shag and Varx that he only had about a forty percent chance of remaining stable after he came back together, with all the weird scalar/planar energy fields I had to design into him. They just don't have any idea what you have to go through to get a human-sized frame to be able to wield that kind of strength and still walk without creating giant holes or move his arm without blowing down everything in its direction. I still couldn't get it perfect, so he's always gonna make some chaos if he's not careful, but jeez, I was brilliant, converting most of that kinetic energy right back into raw Field energy before it even got past his skin.~

  • Harbinger mentions this in regards to Shepard's Psychic Powers that allow him to move at Super Speed. His fists move extremely fast when he strikes someone in close quarters, hard enough to crumple armor and throw people across the room, but his arms also move so fast and with so much force that they'd break on impact. His armor and omnitool generates a dual-layer mass effect field (pun questionably intended), with the outer layer being a hardened kinetic barrier while the inner layer being a "cushion" that behaves like ballistic gel, absorbing the reaction to his punches.
  • The Teraverse superheroine Sister Marie has an almost-total immunity to the effects of fire, heat, and smoke. It does usually come in handy for her, as she often associates with her local fire departments in the course of her heroism. She once got a large chunk of her habit scorched off and only had a 'mild sunburn' underneath, and in the same incident, discarded a self-contained breathing unit after discovering that she's immune to the effects of smoke inhalation. She also frequently handles things in the kitchen (such as cookie sheets or paper coffee cups) without protective insulation. Unfortunately, she actually can't tell how much hotter something is if it's above room temperature, and finds it necessary to ask someone else to check the water temperature when giving her infant godson a bath.

Films -- Animated

  • The Incredibles mentions a few of these with the outfits made for each of the main characters. Elastigirl's is able to stretch as far as she can (explicitly stated to be as far as she can without hurting herself, implying there's an upper limit to her elasticity), Dash's is resistant to the friction created by the super speed, Violet's is designed to disappear when she does.
    • An aversion of one of the problems with force fields from the same film. At the final battle, the Omnibot is attempting to crush Violet and Dash, who are inside one of Violet's spherical force fields. When it lifts right after Violet is knocked temporarily unconscious, we can see that an indentation in the street has been made in the shape of the force field, suggesting that the force field was acting as an indestructible sphere, transferring the force of the Omnibot to the street below.
      • However, this view presents several problems, which, because not all of them directly relate to this trope, are listed under the headscratcher section in this movie's page.
      • Earlier in the film, when she is first using her powers in combat, her force field "ripples" when hit by machine gun bullets, implying some elasticity as well as an efficient enough redistribution of energy to resist the impacts for a sustained period of time without any reduced functionality. If anything, it implies that there is simply an upper limit as to how much energy her fields can absorb and redistribute in a single collision. At the same time, the key point of her invisible shields is that they are invisible—the flashes of violet light could very well be how the field discharges the accumulated energy, whether from simple contact (and therefore friction) with the air, leading to a faint haze, or from larger impacts that create bright flashes and visible ripples across the surface.
    • Also, it deconstructs Mr. Incredible's Super Strength + Nigh Invulnerability combo. He can't magically anchor himself and when he uses his strength on normal objects, they're visibly warped (grabbing his car to stop from falling, he bends the roof badly enough the door won't close). Rule of Funny, however, when he lifts his car without damaging it further. When he stops a train, he does so by bracing himself and relying on friction; also, he visibly winces just before impact. Finally, when fighting the Omnidroid, it smacks him all over the place because he can't just plant himself at will. Really, the movie is a Deconstruction + Reconstruction of the superhero genre.
      • And that train? The people on board were all injured by coming to such a quick stop. As was the suicidal guy he tackled in midair, though not as badly as you might expect. Frozone also can't just make ice because there needs to be at least some water around. On the other hand, he can make a lot more ice than the air should be able to hold as water vapor.
  • In Disney's Tangled, Rapunzel's magic hair must also be magically immune to split ends and other problems that would plague normal hair that hasn't been cut for 18 years.
    • Perhaps she's just using massive amounts of conditioner?
    • Wait, doesn't her hair have healing powers?

Films -- Live-Action

  • Another take on invisibility would be Hollow Man. The character Sebastian Caine gained invisibility powers that made all of his organs invisible. The problem was outlined when he screams that he can't block the strong ambient lights, since, well... if your organs are invisible, then so are your eyelids and your arms; nothing will block the light from you.
  • Consider the physics of the American Godzilla. In order to not tear itself apart every time it took a step, the Godzilla would need hyper durable muscle and bone tissue. A body composed of this kind of material would undoubtedly be extremely resistant to even heavy artillery fire. Yet somehow this Godzilla seems to be very susceptible to military weapons and survives mainly by evading the enemies attacks.
  • Superman Returns seems to have used this, though inconsistently, in the early "falling plane" scene. Previous incarnations would've just grabbed the plane anywhere and guided it gently to the ground. Here it rips apart repeatedly and nearly crashes despite his best efforts. Though once he got it down, he did hold the entire plane up by the nose; it scrunched the outer skin a little, but did not collapse on itself realistically.
    • Lifting the entire island at escape velocity, though, was pure Tactile Telekinesis.
    • They also show one of the downsides to Nigh Invulnerability when, after being killed by the fall from space due to Kryptonite temporarily taking away his powers, medical staff attempt to revive Superman with defibrilators, only to find that his powers have returned, and the electricity can't get through his skin to reach his heart.
  • One of the more amusing scenes in Iron Man 2 is watching military scientists around the world try to kit-bash their own homemade Power Armor, but being completely unable to figure out the Required Secondary powers.
    • Tony chides the captured Anton Vanko about his failed attempt to kill him, implying that although he figured out the arc reactor technology, he screwed up on some other details, which allowed Stark to defeat him. Vanko implies that that was the plan all along....
    • The first film features this as well. Tony initially discovers the problems of flying without stabilizers, and didn't forsee the problem with his equipment icing up at high altitudes. The "Icing problem" becomes a Chekhov's Gun near then end when it turns out that Obadiah and his team didn't consider it either.
    • One subplot of that movie is that Stark himself didn't fully anticipate all the secondary tech required for the arc reactor to work perfectly either.
  • The invulnerable Hancock is shown to shave with his own fingernails. One wonders how he clips his fingernails, though; possibly with his teeth. He also has to focus in order to not leave a huge crater every time he lands. He leaves a small crater instead.
  • Superhero Movie: lampshades this as a spoof of the superhero-genre. In a brief scene, Rick Riker meets another hero who has the power to become living flame like the Fantastic Four's Human Torch, but is not immune to being burned. Thus as soon as he transforms, he immediately experiences extreme pain and begs Rick to put out the fire.
  • In the X-Men movies the shapeshifter Mystique is shown capable of imitating the form of another person so closely she can fool retina and voice scanners. Doing so without a close examination of the person in question implies powers of observation on the level of ESP.
    • Although she fails to mimic Storm's scent to Wolverine's satisfaction. Somehow, this isn't a factor in the sequel though.
      • That's explainable as something she didn't think of. Having that flaw in her power pointed out in the first movie, she likely would have rectified that in her future encounters with mutants that have heightened senses like Wolverine's. That or Wolverine was simply too distracted to notice the difference in scent that time around.
    • The novelization of X-Men 2 implies that most of the time many of her disguises are purely cosmetic, as actually replicating the textures of clothing and other materials put a strain on her abilities.
    • In X Men Origins: Wolverine, it is shown that Fred J. Dukes has super strength and invulnerability eenough to stop a tank round by punching it. However, when shown later in the film, he's become morbidly obese, because he doesn't have a heightened metabolism to burn through all the pounds he's packed on due to his eating disorder. He's shown trying to work out in a boxing ring, because presumably lifting regular weights wasn't working.
  • In The One, all shown versions of Jet Li's character never have problems that a Super Speedster or a Lightning Bruiser should have, such as flying backwards every time he punches someone at super-speed or having his clothes ripped off by running at speeds at over 60 mph, or jumping high and leaving footprints in the road every time he moves really fast. Also, his gun doesn't seem to suffer any ill effect from being hit with a bullet from a futuristic gun, not even a scratch. Inertia also, apparently, does not exist for them, as they can go 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds and stop just as fast.
    • There is also the fact that Gabe seems to instinctively know how hard to hit, even though his strength and speed have been rapidly increasing for the past several months. Granted, his constant martial arts training could have something to do with this, but he seems to be genuinly surprised every time he does something superhuman.
  • In Stardust, Lamia puts a curse on Dishwater Sal so that Sal will be completely unable to see, hear, feel, smell, or otherwise perceive Yvaine. The curse does give Sal one benefit: when Yvaine tries to attack Sal, she is stopped by an invisible forcefield (to ensure Sal can't feel Yvaine).


  • The dragons from Dragonriders of Pern generally range from 20 to 42 ft. long, with wingspans not anywhere near large enough to support that much weight in flight. Much later in the series, it's retconned that they're instinctively using telekinesis to help out the flight process. Since their telepathic and teleportation abilities were known long before this, it's not a huge leap.
    • Also, their bones aren't of the same material as Terran animals' bones: lifeforms of Pern have some chemical differences (notably being high-boron), and dragons were engineered from native creatures.
      • Though the native creatures were far smaller, throwing the Square-Cube Law right out the window. Though since Kit Ping Yung, the creator of the dragons, was stated in the book to be the only geneticist smart enough to be taught the Eridani secrets of gene manipulation, it's entirely possible she enhanced the telekinetic properties of the fire-lizards to make up for this.
    • Important plot points in some books rely on the fact that teleportation is a dangerous business; as suggested in the article it is possible to accidentally arrive underground and be entombed in stone.
  • Similar to Pern, the Eleint Soletaken of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are able to transform into massive dragons. However, the sheer size of their new forms means that half of their flight relies on sorcery and if their wings are damaged they need to rely almost solely on it to stay airborne.
  • H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man needed to walk around naked to use his power, and had to avoid eating beforehand, so that digestion wasn't visible. Also, his corneas weren't actually invisible, just really, really hard to see due to some partial invisibility and small size. His eyelids, on the other hand...
    • Note that the nudity requirement wasn't actually necessary, as Griffin's process worked on white fabric as well as living creatures. He just didn't think to create some invisible clothes for himself before smashing his equipment and becoming a fugitive.
    • Lampshaded in the Chevy Chase movie, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, wherein the main character sees his own stomach activity in the mirror and is so disgusted that he throws up. He later is told by his love interest that she understands why he missed their dinner date. His response: "Trust me - the last thing you want to do is watch me eat." Also, smoking lends itself to some interesting effects, and he becomes semi-visible in the rain. However, the suit he was wearing during the industrial accident is also invisible, meaning he doesn't have to go naked as long as he keeps it clean. He later has said love interest teach him how to apply make-up so that he can interact with society in at least a semi-normal fashion.
      • Somehow, the question of whether his urine should also be visible never seems to rate a mention...
    • In the H. G. Wells short story The New Accelerator, which features a super-speed serum (probably marking its first use in its modern form), not only predicts today's doping scandal by mentioning that the stuff could be used to cheat in fencing, but also has the characters suffering vertigo while the serum takes effect, not being able to run without beginning to burn up, leaving footsteps of burnt whatever-they-step-on wherever they walk, and in one instance being unable to keep objects perfectly still, so that a little dog goes flying across a field. While talking about the serum (which is when the cheating was brought up), the characters talk about the consequences of using the serum over long periods of time, namely accelerated aging and appetite. The only thing it misses is they should be walking like they're on the moon.
  • The Required Secondary Powers necessary to use the magical gadgets of folklore and mythology are acknowledged in some of the Rincewind novels of the Discworld series. For instance, seven-league-boots exist, but using them requires extensive magical protection and preparation, since having one leg miles ahead of the other causes an awful groin sprain.
  • Played straight in the BE Archive story Keeps The Autodoc Away, where a couple hack the eponymous AutoDoc to "cure" them of being out of shape. Al tells the machine to, among other things, turn all his fat into a set of enormous, powerful muscles. Near the end, it is revealed, aside from his seven-foot erection knocking him out from blood loss, that his enormous muscles had shattered almost every bone in his body. If it wasn't already obvious, this story isn't exactly safe for work.
  • In the Midnighters series, one of the characters incredible leaping abilities in during the 'blue hour' translate to leParcour in normal time because of his innate sense of physics.
  • In David Eddings's Belgariad, when you use magic to move an object, the resulting force is the same as if you had physically touched the object - so you have to brace yourself with equal force, similar to tightening up your muscles, or some such. The main character learns this the hard way the first time he tries to move a giant stone, as he ends up buried up to his armpits in the ground (he tried to push it up instead of merely sideways).
    • The protagonist's mentor scolds him and comments that if he HAD tried to push it sideways, he'd likely have been thrown across the continent by now.
  • Something similar to Belgariad also holds for magic in Discworld. A wizard who wants to move a large weight telekinetically needs to harness some secondary force to avoid being crushed by the mass he's lifting; e.g. in Light Fantastic, a wizard levitates himself by dropping a weight off a roof and transferring the force to himself. This rule seems to be often ignored if it would get in the way of the story, however.
    • If attempting something like this without such an exchange, they have to use their own mental skills to do so, with a related physical cost... avoidance of which is described as (paraphrased) "preventing your brain being flicked out your ears". One example is in The Last Continent, where a mathematically-inclined wizard spends some time working out a long-distance teleportation spell to account for angular momentum (which they end up dumping on a kangaroo, since it has to go somewhere).
      • The math for this infuriated the senior staff to no end in Interesting Times, where Ponder Stibbons insisted that, since the Disc is constantly revolving, they had to find an object of similar mass to Rincewind to trade him with during teleportation, otherwise either he would end up smeared all over the destination, or they would receive something at terminal velocity in their Main Hall. It worked out reasonably well the first time (he traded with an iron cannon on wheels, which did no damage on arrival, while he splashed into a convenient mound of snow) but the retrieval accidentally resulted in a triangular tradeoff between Rincewind (arrived with zero momentum,) the aforementioned cannon (ditto,) and the very, very unfortunate kangaroo mentioned above.
    • Not to mention Eskarina demonstrated teleportation without an "anchor". Part of the Discworld narrative causality is things can be possible as long as you aren't told they aren't.
  • Directly stated in the Wild Cards series of novels with the beautiful (and winged) character of Peregrine. When a boyfriend tells her he hates mutated "Jokers", she explains to him that she is one. After all, her wings are large deformities that are not the source of her flying ability, she does that psychically.
    • The Wild Cards criminal Fadeout bends light to become invisible, and is effectively blind while doing so. He can only see by making his eyes visible.
    • There's also a Deuce with the ability to produce flame from his hands. Normally this would make him an Ace... except for the fact that he's not immune to his own fire.
    • And then there's Kid Dinosaur, who can change into any dinosaur he wants...but he can't increase or decrease his body's mass. So he can become a T-Rex, but the T-Rez is only 4 feet tall.
  • Heretics of Dune sees Miles Teg gain Super Speed, but needs to become a Big Eater to compensate (several characters lampshade his Big Eating). He also gets his hands badly bruised and torn from hitting his enemies at such speeds.
  • In the The Shahnameh, written by Ferdowsi of Tus, the main hero, Rostam, at the beginning of the story is too strong to walk, since with every step he would ram his leg into the earth up to the waist. He had to pray to his god make him weaker to actually be able to walk normally.
  • On a similar note, in Harry Potter it is mentioned that people are (almost) weightless while flying a broom. Otherwise doing so would be very unpleasant.
    • It's called a Cushioning Charm, and its pretty much spelled out in Quidditch Through The Ages that the first brooms were Groin Attacks before the development of that spell. A handy diagram in that book likens the effects to an invisible pillow directly under where the person sits.
  • Tuck Everlasting is probably the first children's book to examine Who Wants to Live Forever? in detail. It's never explicitly stated that the characters can't die in any way (other than a brief anecdote of Jesse surviving a fatal fall), but this is implied to be the case, given the Tuck household's being located squarely on Dysfunction Junction and the fact that none of its inhabitants have offed themselves in their roughly 100 years of immortal life thus far.
  • In Maximum Ride, the eponymous winged girl, and her friends, were genetically engineered so as to have these necessary powers, so to speak. They do have Birdlike bones, and are definitely Big Eaters. They also happen to be super strong for some reason.
    • Probably because their wing muscles had to be built using a more efficient chemistry than human muscle to make them strong enough to lift a human-sized body without a heavy load of muscle mass, and as long as you're doing the wings, hey why not buff the whole body as well.
  • Black and Blue Magic avoids most of the side effects of a human with wings because A Wizard Did It, but the main character does wind up with extraordinarily well-defined chest muscles as a side effect of weeks of flying. Despite the human body not having muscles and bones in the right places for that to happen.
  • Corran Horn can manipulate energy in any way he desires, but he has to find some output for it. Interestingly, this is the only way he can perform psychokinesis, so Corran is one of the few Jedi who actually obeys the laws of thermodynamics.
  • In Timothy Zahn's Cobra trilogy, the eponymous Cobras are commandos whose bones have been covered with a practically unbreakable ceramic laminae, whose joints have been augmented with servomotors, and who have been implanted with a power source, concealed energy weapon systems and a computer to help them control everything (which also provides a library of preprogrammed "combat reflexes", shortening training time). In the first book, the initial crop of training injuries are skin abrasions and subcutaneous bleeding caused by not possessing Required Secondary Powers for super strength. It's eventually discovered that Cobra modifications inevitably cause anemia, arthritis, and (believed) immune system deficiencies. (The books are devoted less to combat than the peacetime ramifactions of wartime decisions... incidentally, Cobra recruitment is still going strong by the end of the trilogy, two generations later.)
  • Jack Fleming in PN Elrod's The Vampire Files can turn invisible and (mostly) intangible, but he's unable to see in that form.
  • Harry Dresden gets badly screwed when a vampiric sorceress works out that the force fields he uses so much block force, but not heat. Two of her goons break out the flamethrowers, and while the shields block the napalm itself, the heat roasts Harry's hand and renders it nigh-useless for several books. When he finally gets around to making a new shield bracelet, he hits the books with this trope. The new shield protects against everything, even things like sound and electricity, but this has the drawback of using more of his energy.
    • Harry also points this out himself when dealing with potions. While he can make a super-strength potion, he'd also need to make a corresponding potion to deal the damage having said superstrength would deal to his body. The issue with that, of course, is that mixing potions, like mixing any other drug, is a bad idea.
    • Sometimes this trope is the loophole that Harry uses to get himself out of impossible situations, especially when motorcycle-jousting with a limo.
    • Overall, the series as a whole very strongly obeys the laws of physics, which seems odd for a series where magic is real. Basically, magic is only how an effect (like a blast of wind or fire) is produced. Once the effect is summoned or otherwise put in play, it will obey normal physical laws from that point on.
  • In the Warlock In Spite Of Himself series, Rodney's children do an As You Know Info Dump about how being able to sense where you're about to teleport is a survival characteristic to avoid Tele Frag.
  • In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Dr. Impossible, a Mad Scientist, has superhuman strength and durability from a lab accident. However, he's not as strong as any of the superheroes who have superhuman strength as a power, and all his plans revolve around Mad Science rather than his own brawn. Considering that he's a Super Villain in a Comic Book-like world, Failure Is the Only Option, so presumably he would have to have some degree of superhuman strength or toughness just to survive all the times he gets thrown around, beat up and concussed by heroes.
    • The heroes get a good dose of this, too. Fatale is a combat-ready cyborg who needs specially crafted furniture due to the weight of all her cybernetics. Feral is a Wolverine-style genetic mixture of an ordinary human and a Bengal tiger, but his frame is such that walking on fours isn't really possible and walking on just his feet hurts. And Damsel is a Half-Human Hybrid whose parents didn't really look into how well the two genomes mix; as a result, she's stricken with regular bouts of nausea, and throws up so much her teammates think she's bulimic.
  • This can be an issue with the Elemental Powers in the Codex Alera. A windcrafter can move with Super Speed, but if they go too fast they risk breaking their own bones; a metalcrafter can block out huge amounts of pain, but may consequently ignore severe injuries that incapacitate them; a watercrafter can feel the emotions of those around them, but any especially strong emotion can have them curled up in a ball and wimpering. Most of these weaknesses can be made up for with a talent for one or more of the other elements, but since very few people outside of the High Lords can use all of them, Unhappy Mediums, Fragile Speedsters, and the like are fairly common.
    • Specifically addressed for flight though. "I know that you find it counterintuitive to project wind both ahead of you and behind...but you body was not designed for high speed flight... if you do not take measures to protect yourself, especially your eyes, even relatively minor amounts of particulate matter in the air could blind you or other bring your flight to a ... terminally instructive conclusion. Adept fliers accomplish it so naturally that they have no need to consciously think about creating the shield."
  • Lampshaded as early as the first scene of The Runelords in which two men who each have multiple endowments of strength engage in a fight which the narrator explains is little more than "bone breaking contest" for though they both have super strength, that power does nothing to harden their bones. The books further illustrate the need to balance ones endowments such as balancing 'brawn' with 'grace', 'metabolism' 'stamina', and 'wit'.
    • Unfortunately, this forms a minor plot hole - the strength of ten men would be more than enough to break the bones to which the muscles were attached, let alone the strength of hundreds or thousands. Runelords do, however, have major issues with things like leaning into turns when running at 60 miles per hour, healing correctly, living their lives at massive speed whilst everyone else is normal, aging at supernally fast rates because they've loaded up too much on metabolism, etc etc. In general, Farland deals with the lack of required secondary powers very effectively. Similarly, the difficulties which occur when one loses one's Dedicates are dealt with in detail.
  • Addressed for Teleportation in the third Young Wizards novel, High Wizardry. When Dairine first becomes a wizard she gets a computer which does the spells for her, with Dairine acting as the power source (sort of a training-wheels for wizards). After a long-range teleport renders her nauseous, she opens up the source code for the teleportation spell, determined to improve it... only to find that it's highly complex, dealing with all the things that are needed to keep a human alive when teleporting over long distance. She wisely decides to leave it alone until she has a lot more experience.
  • Not touched upon at all in Sergey Lukyanenko's Rought Draft and its sequel Final Draft, where the protagonist is erased from existence and becomes a "functional", gaining various abilities specific to his "function", in this case that of an interdimentional customs official. He lives in a water tower that links to several parallel worlds. His job is to let other functionals and normal people through, provided they follow the rules and pay their customs duties. His powers include super-strength, super-speed, nigh-invulnerability, knowledge of advanced martial arts, knowledge of all contraband items and duties, and the ability to determine what a person is carrying at a glance. At one point, he is running away at super-speed from soldiers and helicopter gunships. Nobody mentions that he should be bouncing instead of running, but he is able to zig-zag, avoiding bullets. The soldiers then take a pill that temporarily allows them to move as fast as him. The second novel briefly touches upon the functionals using advanced quantum physics to do whatever they please (something about taking pieces of themselves from myriad other worlds, where their powers are the norm).
  • In the Dale Brown novel Fatal Terrain, Jon Masters mentions that though the variable airframe on the Wolverine cruise missiles allows for incredible maneuverability, they have to be limited below what they can really do because pulling super high-G maneuvers causes the explosives to cook off or something and a super-maneuverable missile's a fat lot of good when it blows itself up before even reaching the target.
  • Honor Harrington has capabilities that are above what we would call peak human. Explained by being a genetically engineered Heavyworlder. She has to pay for it with a proportionally larger appetite to fuel those boosted muscles.
    • Because the ability to eat all the food you want and not gain a pound is such a big downside. It's only a problem when she is given standard prisoner rations, which isnt enough for her to maintain her weight.
  • In the novel Nuklear Age, the villain Blazer can shoot lasers out of his eyes that obscure his vision and leave him unable to see, although he somehow manages to avoid permanent blindness. However, Nuklear Man gets some of the same powers as Superman with absolutely no implications; at one point, a scientist puts him in a chamber of heat that goes up to thousands of degrees to test his powers, and marvels at the fact that even his clothes were undamaged. Presumably the fact that he draws energy directly from the stars has something to do with it.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space series, humanity has developed teleportation technology that has distance and mass limits due to the Law of Conservation of Energy. Teleporting east-west doesn't generate many problems, but teleporting too far north-south generates problems because of the difference in orbital velocities between where you are and where you were. In short, teleport too far north or south, and you arrive at your destination as a human-shaped exploding nuclear weapon.
  • In one Dragonlance story, a group of Gnomes fly a zeppelin to the moon of Lunitari, the god of neutral magic. The inherent magic gives them powers... but not secondary powers. At first the powers are very light; one can see slightly better, one can hear slightly better, one is stronger, one can cling to walls, etc... but with prolonged exposure the powers keep getting stronger and stronger. Eventually the one with sight starts seeing through the entire moon with covered eyes, the one with hearing has to stuff his ears lest the crawl of insects make them bleed, the strong one breaks everything he touches and the clingy one just gets stuck.
  • Thanks to Brandon Sanderson's rather scientific approach to magic systems lots of his powers show the problems of missing Required Secondary Powers. For instance in the Mistborn trilogy, tineyes have heigtened hearing and sight, but can be very vulnerable to bright lights and loud noises while burning. Steelpushing and Ironpulling are not run-of-the-mill telekinesis, but are based around force, mass, and their interaction through Newton's Third Law. The Kandra are a race of shape shifters with a Healing Factor who can't actually be killed by wounding them, but wounds are still incredibly painful and regeneration takes time.

Live-Action TV

  • The Syfy show Alphas is built on this trope. The title characters are shown as a drastic mutation in the human genome, but their bodies and minds have to adjust dramatically to accommodate their powers. You can read electromagnetic signals? Great, but that means you brain is now mostly a data processor, eating up the neurons used for emotional neural paths, making you severely autistic.
  • No Ordinary Family includes a few examples of imperfect powers. In one episode, Jim tries to stop a moving car, but his super strength and invulnerability are not enough to overcome a car's inertia. This results in him getting run over repeatedly. Stephanie is depicted as consuming huge amounts of food to fuel her super-speed. She also trips and tumbles for hundreds of meters when she tries reading a text message while super-running. There's also a bit of lampshading going on, with Stephenie's assistant spouting the number of laws of physics that are being broken (why doesn't the friction burn off her clothes? Shouldn't the sand destroy her corneas at that speed?).
  • Both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman would rip their bionic arms right off when trying to lift a big enough weight, unless their entire skeletal structure were augmented to support the stress of heavy lifting, not to mention their running speeds. Acknowledged and gently handwaved away in the 1987 TV movie The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, where Rudy Wells mentions adding such augmentation "just as we did for you and Jaime" to Steve's now-bionic son.
    • Also averted in the 2007 Bionic Woman; her bionics are grown by nanotechnology, which does a certain amount of general augmentation of her body to support them.
    • Averted in Martin Caidin's original novel, Cyborg, upon which The Six Million Dollar Man was based. Caidin expressly states the limitations of Steve Austin's bionics: he can't lift a car, but he has a grip with incredible crush strength. He can't outrun a car, but he can run at a sprinter's pace indefinitely, since he's not building up fatigue poisons.
    • Subverted in Warren Ellis' Global Frequency, when a bionic man has to go through several alterations just to use his super strength, making him a hideous, misbegotten freak of nature. The process renders him so unstable that he basically amounts to a Laser Guided Tykebomb slash Super Soldier. A nuke without the radiation. And then there's the other cyborg, who explains to the Global Frequency agents just how many augmentations she had to go through to make sure her bionic arm didn't rip itself from her shoulder every time she flexed it.
  • On Syfy's The Invisible Man series, the "Quicksilver" coating warped/blocked out all visible light, but converted ultraviolet passing through it into wavelengths that Darien could see. When invisible, Darien can still see, just in black and white. not only that, he can see other invisible people and vice-versa. Occasionally, he would only cover his eyes in the Quicksilver rather than going entirely invisible for the effect. And to save money on effects.
    • He was also cold due to much of the heat passing around him. Somehow, however, he was able to freeze a bomb in the second episode but doesn't turn into a Human Popsicle every time he goes invisible.
    • In one episode, Darien is also able to see a ghost (actually, the disembodied entity of a woman killed with a particle accelerator).
    • In another, what would have been a permanently blinding attack is reduced to a temporary inconvenience because his eyes were coated in quicksilver at the time (and he was still able to see as usual if he quicksilvered them up again while they healed).
  • One episode of Eureka dealt with a serum giving the user Super Speed, but like the Darker than Black example above, the Required Secondary Power of withstanding friction only applied to air. The results were quite gruesome. They also had Hyperactive Metabolism, which helps Carter figure out who the users were.
    • The serum also, apparently, turned them stupid, as one of the scientists didn't think to look both ways when crossing the street at Super Speed, resulting in him slamming into a car.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Timescape", the Captain, Troi and Data use devices that give them personal "subspace isolation fields" which allow them to enter and move freely in the time-frozen Enterprise. The field apparently allowed air molecules it came into contact with to speed up to their rate and slow to normal on leaving, so they could move and breathe, and also extends itself into objects they touch, so they can move things and open doors. However, staying in the field too long (subjectively) makes you loopy.
    • Applies to Trek tech as well. The warp core and transporter have some sort of perfected radiation shield that doesn't kill the crew every time they're used. The Required Secondary Tech is touched upon, briefly, in the prequel series Enterprise.
  • The Founders, main villains of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, are shape shifters with more than necessary secondary powers. They possess heightened intelligence, eidetic memory and the attention to detail that allows them to analyze their photographic memory with frightening efficiency. One Founder posed as chief medical officer Dr. Bashir for more than a month, successfully performing critical surgeries on main characters while mirroring his every nuance, while trying to destroy the Bajoran sector with an artificially induced super nova at the same time.
  • Heroes has many examples of powers with and without Required Secondary Powers, some explicit and others implied.
    • Dale Smither (the mechanic with super-hearing) had to listen to music constantly to block out distracting faraway sounds, and when Sylar stole her ability, he found the suddenly-loud sounds agonising.
    • And in Series 2, Peter Petrelli's ability to heal caused his new tattoo to be rather less than permanent. The writers have yet to explain how Claire can have a tan and pierced ears, though. (Maybe the tan's fake.)
      • Tanning is the result of two biochemical processes, one involving cell damage and one not. She could easily use one without the other and still get a mild tan.
      • And healing wounds as piercings is how the body reacts to having something stuck through it and not removed (just as long as it's kept clean and doesn't get infected first, and as long as the person isn't allergic to the type of metal used, which is known to happen). It also helps (maybe?) that she was pierced before she got her power.
    • More on Claire: in the episode where everybody lost their powers, Claire gets easily infected in addition to a gunshot wound. Since her regeneration had amped up her immune system so much and killed every infection, her body is incredibly weak due to its sudden absense.
      • This is actually mentioned in The Office (US version), where Dwight claims he has never been sick. Jim replies that he shouldn't have any immunities then.
    • Another thing on Claire: her healing doesn't work if there's something in the way. She can re-grow a toe, and possibly as much as a hand, but she would have to reset a broken bone or pull a knife out of a wound. Bullets either get pushed out, or they somehow wind up in the healer's mouth to be spat out (which makes no snese, since the bullet went nowehere near her mouth, but whatever).
      • She can heal from death, but only after the stick pulverizing her brain was pulled out.
    • Hiro has been shown to slow time to a crawl when his powers were going whacky, so it's implied he never actually stops time, just slows it down to the point where objects and such are effectively frozen, but extremely fast things, such as photons, aren't. Their wavelength should still change, however.
      • Supported in season 3 when Hiro gets a rival who has Super Speed. He can slow time down to a "stop", but she's so fast that it merely brings her down to normal speed. She even says to him "You must not stop time completely, or we wouldn't be talking right now."
    • Peter and Hiro, who both have time-travel powers, seem to be immune to the effects of Temporal Paradox, their memories remaining exactly the same regardless of how they alter the past.
    • Hiro avoids the "flung off the planet" side effect because his powers explicitly affect spacetime, not just time. It also makes for handy teleportation—into the ladies' room, but hey.
    • DL, the Intangible Man of the show seems to affect the objects he phases through, rather than affecting himself, given the wavy effect of any object he goes through. His intangibility is also selective, apparently instinctively; he can reach through a door, then reach back with the same hand and unlock it from inside.
    • Meredith the firestarter is not only unable to be burned, but also doesn't seem to need to breathe oxygen either (which makes sense, seeing as how fire eats up oxygen and would suffocate you if you needed it).
      • This is shown in the episode where she is training Claire by locking themselves in a small room with no ventilation and lighting a fire. Meredith is fine, but Claire starts suffocating.
    • Likewise, Ted Sprague is unaffected by the radiation and explosions he generates. The series creators even refer to this trope as the "Rule of Ted".
    • Daphne the super-speeder is explicitly able to extend her protection from her power to anyone she's touching (and doesn't leave a trail of ripped-up pavement wherever she goes).
    • Lampshaded by Doyle in the online comics. When Doyle uses his people-puppet-power to force a Company agent to shoot himself in the head with a finger laser, he muses "So tell me, are you one of these guys immune to your own power? Hmmm... Guess not."
    • Perhaps the oddest use of this trope is with Isaac Mendes, his artistic ability appears to be a secondary part of his prophetic painting powers. When other people copy his powers they are shown able to paint pictures just as well (though in different styles). This is partly explained when Peter copies his powers and appears to be simply tracing visions that appear over the canvas.
  • Buffy has super strength and resilience, as do the vamps of her universe, but lack super anchoring. This results in them being thrown around a lot in fights without sustaining any significant injuries.
    • The Healing Factor is also much slower than in most otherworks. Slayers and vampires heal at a rate faster than a human, but slow enough so as not to violate the laws of physics.
    • In the episode Earshot Buffy kills a telepathic demon and accidentally gains the ability to hear other peoples thoughts. Unfortunately, the transfer of power did not include the ability to process all of the information it provides, nor the ability to 'tune out' the input. The lack of such Required Secondary Powers caused Buffy to collapse when she overheard the thoughts of a cafeteria full of students and nearly drove her insane.
    • Also frequently used In-Universe against Monsters Of The Week with Resurrective Immortality: if nothing can kill them, just cut them up and bury the pieces separately.
  • Possible subversion in Smallville: in a cliffhanger where Clark loses his powers near the end, a doctor must save his life by injecting him with a substance via syringe. Clark's parents (unaware that he has lost his powers) are terrified that the doctor will discover their son's secret, as they expect him to be invulnerable to needles in much the same way that he is invulnerable to bullets. However, the needle goes in fine, because of the loss of his powers.
  • The lack of said required abilities - specifically, the ability to filter input from Super Senses - is a crippling problem for Firefly's River Tam. Since she cannot filter incoming stimuli due to her empathic abilities, being in contact with the minds of other people is debilitating, and when others suffer sudden physical trauma it can render her catatonic.
  • In something of an aversion of the pyrokinetic version, Charmed has offered any number of witches, demons and warlocks who are completely vulnerable to their own fire-based powers, most notably Christy, who is burned to death by her own flame-throwing ability when she tries to use it against her telekinetic sister Billie.
  • The Time Lords must have spent millenia perfecting all the biological processes necessary with the act of a body undergoing DNA rewriting at the most basic cellular-level across every organ from bone to hair. And it happens in roughly a minute, and doesn't kill the person undergoing it.
    • The energy is referred to multiple times by the Doctor as healing energy, rebuilding and restoring damaged cells as much as slightly rewriting their DNA to modify appearance and personality. They don't just call it regeneration because it sounds cool.
    • Also understand that at least in the Doctor's case, it shouldn't take a massive rewrite of his DNA for his appearance to have varied to much. Remember the Doctor has always appeared externally as a caucasian male human would. Even his hair colour was only blonde in two regenerations out of the current eleven he has been through. The rest of the time he has had dark hair. His first had white hair due to physical age, but would otherwise have been dark in his youth (like William Hartnell's real hair colour was dark), and his third was probably forcefully made to look aged with white hair by decree of the time lords at his trial. The Doctor even joked many times about possibly regenerating into a truly bizarre appearance, perhaps with two heads - or maybe no head (and don't say that's an improvement). However apart from his disturbing dress sense, the Doctor has always looked like a dark haired caucasian male human.
    • In "The End of Time", the Master lacks a Required Secondary Power - creating the energy he produces when he gains the power to shoot energy bolts.

The Master: I am so hungry!

    • While Jack Harkness has a healing power,he doesn't have the resistance to pain secondary power.
      • Several other secondary powers (both mentioned above and not) are explained by the fact that his healing isn't so much restoring damaged tissue as it is reverting it. He is a "fixed point in time," however if this is explained as something like hitting the refresh button every so often, then how is able to retain memory?
      • Captain Jack remembers dying, so the fixed point aspect probably only retains physical attributes. His memory is unaffected.
  • Averted in the Highlander television series. Immortals while not invulnerable, have an extremely fast healing factor provided that their heads remain attached to their bodies. However, they still need to breathe and eat as mortals do and can temporarily die of starvation, dehydration, suffocation or enough bodily damage from ordinary weapons. There is one episode centered around an immortal seeking revenge against Duncan Macleod for marooning him on an island without food or water. The vengeful immortal asks Duncan if he has ever had to endure constant recurring death, resurrection, then death again (happening every few minutes from the point of first death as his body was already so heavily weakened) from starvation and dehydration. This cycle was implied to have continued for two centuries before the other immortal escaped the island.
    • Possibly even worse than this is the way immortals first have their immortality activated - at the moment of their first death. This means if an immortal dies before puberty, they will resurrect and remain at that age, being small and helpless and often easy prey for another immortal to take their head. Likewise if an immortal suffers their first death at a very old age, they will remain permanently old and infirm until death by beheading. As an immortal, you had better hope another immortal discovers you who is kind enough to kill you while you are a healthy adult so you can enjoy immortality until your head is eventually taken by an evil immortal who will usually have his head taken by Duncan later on.
  • In an episode of Stargate Atlantis, one of the characters finds an ancient alien device which creates a forcefield around him, giving him invulnerability. Unfortunately, the forcefield also 'protects' him from food and drink. And it won't come off... (for some reason it still allows him to breathe, though.)
    • And the others can hear him just fine.
    • The shield generator won't come off because, like many Ancient devices, it is telepathic in nature. Since Rodney isn't exactly the master of his own thoughts, his constant fear results in the device permanently activated, until Weir intentionally suggests he be used as bait for an energy-draining creature due to the shield, causing the device to shut off.
  • Seven Days acknowleges the positioning problem of Time Travel by requiring Parker to "fly the needles" when using the Sphere. He still usually winds up several (hundred) miles from the mountain base. One of his predesccesors didn't do that well.
    • A lot of time, he even ends up back in the hangar.
    • Strangely, the scenes of time travel usually show him appearing in orbit and then falling to the surface, which would indicate that he appears "in front of" Earth, as the planet wasn't at the same location 7 days before. However, he seems to be too close for that.
  • Subverted in Torchwood: Miracle Day. Everyone on the planet becomes immortal, but without the required secondary power of super-healing. So, the guy who gets a metal rod through his chest survives, but still needs to spend days recuperating on painkillers. And the suicide bomber whose entire body gets pulverised survives, even when a flat puddle of muscles and bones on a table, and even when they remove his head. And that doesn't cover the real Fridge Horror of the story...
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Terminators don't need to breathe; that also means they can't take air into their lungs to float like humans can, and sink in deep water. Terminators that need to infiltrate human society also cannot weigh much more than humans, which is especially important for ones that have to pretend to be lightweight, small human women, like Cameron. That also makes them very easy for other Terminators to pick up and throw around and reduces their physical strength, meaning a Terminator like Cameron can't win a straight slugging match. A Terminator's mechanical nature means that it cannot heal physical damage like a human can and must keep a stockpile of parts to repair itself, and damage to its neural chip means that it cannot repair damage to its programming at all.
  • Painkiller Jane averts the Healing Factor version: Jane can heal herself, but has no super tolerance for pain and has to endure every minute of the pain associated with the injury she receives.


  • The song "The Ballad of Barry Allen" by Jim's Big Ego goes into some detail of the loneliness it would impart to be living at super speed compared to the rest of the world.

And I'm there before you notice
I'll be gone before you see me
Do you think you can imagine anything so lonely?


Myth and Legend

  • The hero Ural in Bashkir legend definitely has both Super Strength and the requisite anchoring power. He managed to lift a great big stone (in the challenge to win a Princess and a demon-blooded winged steed... devised by said stallion himself), but his brother who tried before him hadn't these secondary powers and ended up buried waist-deep. Before this, a great bull buried himself knee-deep in a futile attempt to lift Ural while he was holding the bull's horns.
  • Older Than Feudalism: This trope shows up in Classical Mythology with Midas. Wishing that what one touches turns to gold certainly can have some horrible downsides (and economic consequences). The man lacked such necessary powers as "not turning food and water and people into gold." He didn't turn air into gold, though, nor the contents already in his digestive tract, so he survived just long enough to learn his lesson and beg for a wish reversal.

Tabletop Games

  • Alternity specifically limits the degree to which muscles can be augmented with cybernetics by specifcying required secondary cybersystems that need to be installed first. Want to get a single point of extra strength? You need a nanocomp installed to manage the synthetic myomer. 2 points? Need a nanocomp and you better have endo or exo skeleton to mount those hyperstrong muscle fibers. 3 points? Nanocomp, exo/endoskeleton, AND your limbs better be fully cyberized, because your poor meat self is going to pull itself apart otherwise.
  • The Traveller system has a detailed set of rules about psychic teleportation, its energy limits, and how 'porting to different altitudes and different areas of planetary rotation can produce fever or hypothermia, depending on whether the jumper is gaining or losing energy.
  • GURPS notes the need for various secondary powers. In some cases the secondary powers are implicit in the ability and their lack has to be added through disadvantages and limitations, other times explanations about what is realistic and what isn't are given (along with ways to justify getting around them) and finally the designers point out that justifying powers isn't in the spirit of some genres.
    • Notably in GURPS Supers, there is a Costume advantage, which must be purchased if you want your costume to automatically work with your powers. It isn't technically "required", but they note that many super powers would leave the user naked without it.
  • In Aberrant, Novas are generally assumed to have these unless explicitly stated. The in-game explanation is that they subconsciously develop these additional effects alongside because they believe powers should work in certain ways. For instance, a mega-strong Nova trying to lift an oil tanker believes the tanker should be lifted intact, and subconsciously wraps a "quantum field" around it to keep it intact. The same field is nowhere present when he smashes through a wall.
  • Vampire: The Requiem and Vampire: The Masquerade share some vampiric Disciplines to which this trope can apply.
    • In both games, vampire characters can gain an ability called "Auspex", which at its lowest level grants heightened senses. Unfortunately, while the vampire in question is using the heightened senses, they can very easily be overwhelmed by all of the stimuli.
    • The two games also have Celerity, which is super speed and it's stated that no matter how fast a vampire moves, he'll never catch fire and so on. So, basically A Vampire Does It. They actually say this, very clearly. Celerity is a supernatural power. It doesn't make you faster by enhancing your reflexes or something, it actually is a magical manipulation of space and time.
    • Likewise, use of the "Obfuscate" discipline functions more as a mind trick rather than true invisibility, so there's no need to worry about the Vampire being unable to see.
  • In the spanish parody of The World of Darkness, Fampiro (Fanpire), one of the powers avaiable to the "Fampires" is Super Speed, which damages the user due to friction. But this is the only power with any drawback, since the power of super-strength doesn't damage you if you don't have the power of super-resistance, nor will the body-manipulation power damage or kill you if you miss ("Don't touch that heart too much").
  • In Mage: The Ascension it's explicitly stated that any Mage using Forces to bend light in order to make themself invisible cannot see using normal vision and needs to actively use secondary spells in order to see. Fortunately, most Mages will have other options available, including but not limited to using Forces to see infra-red, sensing the Matter around them (although they'd still be liable to walk into a tree), or using Mind magic to see through another person's eyes. Or use Correspondence 1 and just cast their senses around them.
  • Magic the Gathering has "wish" cycle, with the flavor text about several people wishing for skills, items, or powers from Djinn, noting that they neglected to wish for abilities that would let them properly utilize those things.

Golden Wish: She wished for nobility, but not for a nation to honor it.
Cunning Wish: He wished for knowledge, but not for the will to apply it.
Death Wish: He wished for power, but not for the longevity to abuse it.
Burning Wish: She wished for a weapon, but not for the skill to wield it.
Living Wish: He wished for growth, but not for a way to control it.
Glittering Wish: She wished for gold, but not for the strength to carry it.

  • In Scion, the most basic power available from any given Purview is usually the required secondary power needed for the rest of the powers to either work as intended or work as intended without killing the user. For example, the first dot in Fire and Frost makes the user immune to heat and cold, the first dot in Water lets the user breathe underwater, the first dot in Sky makes the user immune to falling damage, and the first dot in Death lets the user see and interact with ghosts.
    • The books actually lampshade and handwave it with Epic Attributes, which allow supernatural and divine beings to be super-strong, super-fast, super-resilient etc. Due to the way the Scion universe works, and due to the fact that all supernatural beings are bound by Fate, which represents (to a point) the collective subconscious of humanity, beings with Epic Attributes physically act not like they scientifically should, but how the common person thinks they should. The common person doesn't know that it's impossible to lift a bus without breaking it no matter how strong you are- so a demigod with Epic Strength can do that.
  • Part of the reason Warhammer 40,000 contains such nightmarish procedures to convert a normal human into a Space Marine is due to attempts to provide them with Required Secondary Powers. In order for a Space Marine to move their Power Armor as swiftly and instinctually as their own body a plastic film fitted with neural sensors and interface points is inserted under their skin, to allow them to interface with it directly. In order to prevent their bones from snapping due to the immense forces created by the Power Armor's servomotors they are reinforced with ceramics. In order to provide the chemicals necessary their organs are modified so that the Space Marine can digest concrete and metal. And so on and so forth.
    • This is a debatable point. It is true that Space Marines need to be modified in order to use their power armor, but unlike some settings, there is power armor available for normal humans. It's difficult to say whether Space Marines are modified to use their equipment or their equipment is specced for the modifications made to Space Marines. Almost every piece of equipment they use has a variant that can be used by normal humans.
    • It can be argued that the augmentation is a required *tertiary* power, since without both the natural strength boost in conjunction with the power-armor's strength boost, they would be unable to carry and fire the unreasonably large guns they are issued. Man-portable Las-cannons and Multi-meltas, weapons that weigh 40+ kilos and are usually crew served or vehicle mounted weapons are carried around by Marines and fired from the shoulder.
  • Wild Talents Second Edition's One-Roll Talent Generator table gives a character with any level of Flight above the minimum Light Armor, "�cause honestly, at around 500 mph, you�re going to need to worry about skin abrasion if not an air supply."
  • In Shadowrun super-strength cybernetic replacement limbs are specifically noted not to have these—a recipient trying to lift a car is in danger of ripping his prosthetic limbs off instead.
  • In Rifts there's a class known as the Titan Juicer, chemically-enhanced humans who are much larger and stronger than is otherwise possible for a human. The class specifically mentions that the bones are made stronger so as to handle the increased weight and strength. Their punches are also so powerful they have to wear special gloves so that they don't break their hands when they take a swing at something.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has some natural limitations on effects like scrying and translocation - one needs to have a good idea of the destination. . The caster of Teleport not knowing the destination very well risks to end up misplaced, which includes arrival in mid-air or into a wall. There's a more complex - of higher level - variant of Teleport spell with added safeguard, originally named simply "Teleport Without Error" (see 3.5 version - Teleport vs. Greater Teleport).


  • Bionicle: Matoran actually have Required Secondary Powers, but have a minuscule amount of Elemental Powers. Of course, when they do become Toa, they will have the necessary secondary power for their element.

Video Games

  • Pokémon in general. A lot of them must have pocket dimensions inside them to hold all that water/rock/webbing/snow/acid/etc. And, of course, there's the logistics behind fire and electric Pokemon not hurting themselves...
  • Mario, when properly empowered, can throw fireballs (and ice balls) and not be burned/frostbitten by them, but is harmed by other fire sources.
  • The times in which a power Mega Man acquires is noticeably different from its source (Top Spin & Charge Kick), it's because he doesn't have wheels on his feet and must adapt the move. Further, he must have a built-in replicator to construct the ammo for those weapons that are physical in nature (such as the Metal Blade or Needle Cannon).
    • This is also the case with Mega Man X and Axl. They can't fully replicate the weapons as used by the bosses and adapt them as well. Although in X's case, once he gets the hardware upgrade for his X-buster, he can charge the special weapons up and do things that the bosses couldn't do themselves.
    • Similarly, while Zero can mimic bosses attacks after he beats them, he often doesn't have their weapons or range to go with it.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog immunity to G-forces are a no-brainer, but he's also managed to fall from space at least twice without any significant injury. He can not only breathe at supersonic speeds, but also, again, in the total vacuum of space. Can't breathe underwater, though, because... huh?
      • A random thought: In the 2D games, Sonic must have always had the subconscious ability to push himself downwards, so that he didn't go flying off every hill. The jump dash he gets in the 3D games is simply him learning to consciously use that ability in any horizontal direction.
    • Originally he was affected by friction, as the original story stated he was a brown hedgehog and breaking the speed of sound changed his quills blue.
    • It was also a problem with his shoes; in a comic printed in one of the strategy guides, it opens with Sonic trying out his friction-resistant red-and-white shoes, which his uncle invented after burning through several previous pairs.
    • Canon said that at the end of Sonic 2, when Sonic was re-entering on Earth, he was Super Sonic then. (The first seconds of Sonic 3 show Sonic going Super... for a while.) Perhaps it was done to avoid Nightmare Fuel (Sorry, you saved the world, but because you didn't get the seven emeralds you're dead).
    • Maybe only in the Archie comic, but the rings are supposed to provide energy. It could well be infered that Sonic offsetting his need to be a big eater by having a lot of rings. While this might mean he's also effectively an energy leech, most of his allies seem to be too. On at least the level needed to create a personal protection field.
  • Metroid Prime lampshades this when the Space Pirates try to reverse engineer Samus Aran's powers. They manage to clone her basic weaponry but abandoned the Morph Ball research due to... let's just say "unknotting a pretzel" and move on.[2]
    • Certain depictions, Super Smash Bros., the e-manga, and Prime for example, solve the problem of how Samus jumps with all that armor on by showing that she has jump-jet assistance.
    • Rolling around in the Morph Ball also requires Samus to be immune to motion sickness, not to mention impact trauma when she lands, boosts into walls or is hit by enemies. Some depictions solve this by showing the interior of the Morph Ball as a ball of energy, implying it converts Samus to energy, but that raises many issues of its own.
    • Recurring series villain Ridley is a Giant Flyer, with all the logic problems that implies. Prime mitigated it somewhat by giving him forcefield wings, which would essentially be massless, aside from the physical parts by which they are generated.
  • In Quake, the Ring of Shadows power-up makes your character invisible, but lacks the appropriate secondary power. End result? You appear to others as a pair of small floating eyes.
  • In the Condemned games, protagonist Ethan Thomas has the primary superpower of super shouting. Sadly, he doesn't find out about it until two thirds of the way through the second game, and doesn't learn how to use it until the last level. Thankfully, the super-dense bone structure that allows him to produce the necessary sonic vibrations also gives Nigh Invulnerability.
  • Halo... insofaras the Mjolnir armor can be considered a "super power". It's mentioned in the books that the Spartans are the only human beings capable of wearing it, because their enhanced durability (particularly their harder bones) is what allows them to survive the armor's incredible strength. An ordinary human was killed when testing the armor because even the slightest movement shattered his bones.
    • To go into detail, the "normey" tried to move, and broke something. He then spasmed due to the pain, and broke something else. This pretty much repeated until death. The liquid-crystal matrix that was used to enhance the strength of the user could not actually be scaled back for the existing models, and since the suits were being designed for the Spartans anyway, no one bothered re-engineering the suits for normal soldiers.
  • The Pyro from Team Fortress 2. The only reason it can run and fire his/her flamethrower is that it wears a fireproof suit.
  • Rumia, a darkness-generating character from Touhou, cannot see through her own cloak of darkness, which results in her aimless wandering being constantly interrupted by collision with trees.
    • Not even lame powers are immune to this trope. Rinnosuke has the power to identify the name and purpose of any object, but that doesn't mean he understands its actual function. He deduced a Game Boy that had fallen through the Barrier was for the purpose of destroying large amounts of enemies, but is unaware of the existence of video games and so concluded that it was a powerful weapon.
    • On the other hand, it's been theorized that this trope is the reason Utsuho, otherwise a huge birdbrain, is well-versed in nuclear physics in Hisoutensoku.
    • Mokou seems to be safe from her own flames, but her clothes apparently are not. That's the reason she has all those Ofuda attached to her clothes: they grant immunity to fire.
    • ZUN himself points out that Sakuya's power to stop time would require her to be able to manipulate space as well, so she can do things like move or breathe in stopped time. This explains why the Scarlet Devil Mansion is so much Bigger on the Inside, as well as where Sakuya keeps her knives when she's not fighting.
  • Alex Mercer from Prototype, much like Mystique, is technically naked all the time. His "clothes" are just shapeshifted tissue that are still part of his body. This explains why none of his footwear is instantly ruined when he jumps off a skyscraper or heck, even when he's on a stroll considering he actually weighs at least a ton due to Shapeshifter Baggage. This also handily justifies why his clothes are never ruined; presumably he automatically regenerates any damage to them thanks to his Healing Factor.
    • That last is explicitly shown - Mercer spends the first few minutes of the game with bloodsoaked clothing riddled with bullet holes. After you consume your first victim, and regenerate your first chunk of health, his clothing is repaired.
    • Being a wad of nothing but biomass also explains how Mercer can hip-drop a tank from the top of a skyscraper and walk away uninjured - he had no bones to break or organs to rupture.
    • Similarly, Mercer is a giant wad of biomass, and given some of the powers he can pull off (such as turning one of his arms into a gigantic blade or coating himself in thick armor), it's got to be dense. This is backed up by how glass cracks under his feet when he runs up the side of a building, and how he instantly sinks to the bottom of any body of water he falls in (only to leap back out when he touches the bottom).
  • Some of this in In Famous. Cole's electricity powers must also come with some control over magnetism for him to decrease his falling speed and jump off of skyscrapers only to land without breaking anything - it's mentioned explicitly that being able to jump off buildings is a part of his powers, but how it relates to electricity is up to conjecture. More obviously, Kessler's final power once he fully evolved as a Conduit was the ability to travel into the past one time, but likely thanks to this trope, he's immune to Temporal Paradox and freely alters his past life with no side-effects to himself.
  • This trope is what makes Shirou and Archer from Fate/stay night so dangerous. Sure he is able to replicate swords, even Noble Phantasm swords, but they are weaker imitations of the original. However, he can also replicate the skills of the original's wielder throught the weapon's memory, allowing him to draw on the skills of countless swordsman, including heroic spirits. Gilgamesh has the similar power of summoning the prototypes of Noble Phantasms, but without the ability to wield them effectively, he loses in his fight with Shirou despite Shirou using weaker versions of Gilgamesh's own weapons.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, due to an inability to "turn off" his telepathic powers, Psycho Mantis wears a gas mask in order to block out the constant flood of thoughts he receives from others. How a gas mask keeps out people's thoughts is beyond me, but steel helmets worked for Magneto...
  • The Soul Series makes a case for a perfectly mundane character laking a Required Secondary Skill: while Cassandra is plenty proficient with the weapons she "borrows" from her sister, she doesn't know how to take care of them. Not normally an issue, except during her ending of Soul Calibur 3 where her sword breaks after being used to shatter Soul Edge, and Sophitia catches her trying to hide it after a bad patch job and sends her straight to the forge to fix it properly. Cut to Cassandra having a sobbing fit on the forge floor, sword still broken, wailing that she doesn't know how to fix it.
  • In BioShock (series), the Little Sisters have the abiltiy to heal very quickly due to the Sea Slug in them... but 'quickly' does not equal 'correctly'. One Audio diary tells about how one Little Sister broke her legs, and they healed at awkward angles. In order to fix them, she had to keep having her legs broken until they were in the correct position. And what's worse is that Little Sisters aren't immune to pain.
    • In the diary concerning the Telekinesis plasmid, Dr. Suchong mentions that it can't be used to do a Bullet Catch - not because of the plasmid's deficiency, mind, but the user's reaction time.
  • Dark Forces Saga II: Jedi Knight, there is a little of aversion of this in play when using the force speed and force jump powers. Using either at its highest setting causes a little damage to the player upon running into something or landing on a surface equal or lower than the one from which he or she jumped. If a player tweaks the powers outside the game (which is quite easy), force speed can easily mean death when running into stair steps at top speed, and force jump can be a great way to get higher, but the fall back down is a killer. The sequels apparently address this by increasing the distance characters can fall without taking damage as a side feature of their increasing Force Jump skill.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has two different upgrades: the Icarus Landing System (sort of a fancy auto-deploying electromagnetic parachute) and the High Jump (see previous two words). Problem with the latter is, it often propels you higher than the minimum distance required to hurt you upon landing; a surface just a couple feet lower than the one you started on makes a big enough difference. So, get the jump before the Icarus, and be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting for your health to recharge so as to avoid nickel-and-diming yourself to death.
    • The use of cybernetic implants in general is also explored. In real life, cybernetics that are married to biological tissue face issues of immune system rejection and the buildup of glial tissue that results in the device not working. As a result, anyone in the setting who uses augmentations must take regular doses of the drug Neuropozyne or their own bodies will reject their augs. The fact that Adam Jensen doesn't have this rejection issue is an important plot point; he is the "Patient X" that Megan Reed was referencing as having the genetic ability to allow cheap and sustainable augmentations available for all of humanity, and the breakthrough was what triggered the Illuminati's attack on Sarif Industries because of fears that human augmentation would go out of their control.
  • The water breathing potion in Terraria makes it so that you drown in the air while it has it's effect. However, if you wear a fish bowl on your head, you can go in and out of water just fine.
  • A lot of the flavor text in StarCraft 2 is dedicated to explaining the secondary powers of the units.
    • Viking pilots must be able to bend quickly or the machine will crush them during the air to ground transformation sequence, and most pilots die because of this during their first battle.
    • Ghosts can read the minds of others, but can't block other ghosts from reading their thoughts.
    • Almost all the Dominion's forces have been "neural resocialized" (read, brain washed) so they are suicidally complacent (most of the army is former criminals).
    • The Hydralisk has several thousand mores muscles in it's large head than the entire human body. Each is needed to fire their spikes. which can pierce future tank armor.
  • As well as being armed with a portal gun, Chell in Portal is fitted with a pair of legs springs that allow her to survive falls from any height. According to the commentary, the developers added these because playtesters complained about the lack of realism. Even though the leg springs couldn't possibly account for all the issues with survivng falls, the complaints stopped.
  • In Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars the flamethrower-using Black Hand aren't immune to hostile fire attacks.
  • Discussed in Mass Effect with regard to biotics, who can manipulate mass effect fields to lift, throw, warp, or block things. This is done because they have nodes of element zero in their bodies that are activated by electricity from the nervous system and produce mass effect fields. The asari are the only species that can naturally do this on any significant scale - all other species must have implants to strengthen and control their powers, allowing their biotics to actually become useful, as most species' bodies can't generate electrical fields like that. There's also the problem of energy, as using biotics uses a significant amount of it. Because of this, biotics have a significantly higher required calorie intake than ordinary people (half again as many calories are allotted to biotic soldiers as compared to regular ones, for example) and often have to stop to eat and rest after extended use of their powers.
  • Guild Wars 2 features the springer, a mount with the special ability to make impressively high jumps. In order to be practical, it also has a high tolerance to fall damage that allows it to fall from lethally dangerous heights without suffering damage.
  • Averted in Hatoful Boyfriend with Anghel Higure, who has the ability of emit potent hallucinogenic pheromones with neurotransmitter properties but lacks himself the immunity to those. To most people he just looks like a Chuunibyou who spends too much of his time in a fantasy world of his invention, but people who hang with him long enough can be dragged into his fantasy world via hallucination, and it's implied that his condition make him increasingly difficult to snap out of his delusions.

Web Comics

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the superpower of flight is bestowed by an organic jetpack that grows from overly-developed abdominal muscles. It's spelled out that fueling the organic jetpack requires a methane-rich diet, and that the power of flight does not grant immunity from the thin air of higher altitudes—those with the organic jetpack are invariably driven insane by the oxygen deprivation.
    • A fight with an opponent with a laser eye a cyborg Frans Rayner ended very quickly once the beam was fired and missed, leaving Frans too weak to fight. Why? The good Doctor noted that the eye had no outside power source, and was never used earlier in the fight, meaning it burns up a lot of calories.
  • Magellan - The level of secondary superpowers varies. One of the staff members has to wear an exoskeleton because she has super-strength but not super-durability. One of the early superheros, The Streaker suffers Clothing Damage when using his super-speed and resolves the problem by not wearing clothing. On the other hand, most of those with super-powers do sport Required Secondary Powers. Or maybe those who don't have them eliminate themselves.
    • Since most characters we see are superheros, or superheroes in training, perhaps those without the required secondary powers just didn't get past the strict selection process.
    • There is also a kind of magic water that allows blades to cut superhuman skin and hair, without superheroes wouldn't be able to shave.
  • PS238 contains several cases where this comes up
    • Subverted horribly when a little girl with a very peculiar type of invulnerability has her powers temporarily disabled, she dies from opportunistic infections, the doctors are unable to treat her with antibiotics once her powers return.
    • The teacher Miss Kyle has the ability to change her density. As her density increases her size decreases. It was stated somewhere that she normally has a small amount of density increase at all times, converting a beautiful but petite woman into someone a little more than average.
      • If your powers can't draw on extra mass from somewhere, getting smaller as you get denser is exactly what should happen. Her strength shouldn't be anywhere near what it's shown getting to, but she should certainly be able to become at least a walking brick.
    • The Gym coach, aka Rockside, is a brick literally made of stone. He can't find a sneaker that can stand up to his weight and hence has to walk barefoot.
    • Harold Nelson's powers include being able to weaken or strengthen other people's superpowers. When used offensively he can increase people's powers beyond their control and potentially beyond the capacity of their requisite secondary powers to contain; this can be painful, inconvenient, or deadly (the girl who dies from infection example was a case where he shut down her powers for half an hour).
  • Definitely a part of WLP Comics. While these are explicitely stated, this trope is responsible. Most of the big-breasted charactes, of which there are many, have super-strength. This is because if they didn't, they wouldn't be able to move!
  • Another Gamic Comic crosses over into tabletop tropes with this: pyromaniac Nuclear Dan, whose catchphrase is "I cast Fireball centered on myself!", had his roleplaying character briefly lack full immunity to his fire. Not wise enough to just stop casting centered on himself, said character took a few hitpoints of damage from every blast, inciting Dan to rage.
  • Dinosaur Comics discusses this, when T-Rex designes a game much like Super Mario Bros., except that the player character can't shoot fireballs from his hands without burning them.
  • In Order of the Stick Roy dons a belt of gender changing and becomes a bald girl, because if a "magic item doesn't specifically say it grows hair, it probably doesn't."

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, this is usually an important part of the plot and/or the character. Telekinetic Flying Brick characters like Lancer get flight and anchoring and Nigh Invulnerability and such from their PK field around (and through) their body. Density changers like Phase, when completely light, also have gravity warping so they don't sink through the floor (Phase can now fly, but when she first got her power she did have trouble not sinking through the floor). Speedsters like Scrambler and Quickie are Energizers, need to eat a ton, and do have to worry about things like chafing (Quickie also has breasts, and has to worry about bounce when she speeds.) Wallflower can go invisible and make things around her invisible: when doing powers testing they found that her 'sight' when invisible wasn't perceiving light, but was psychic.
    • Frostbite really lacks the Required Secondary Powers. She can move water telekinetically, but as the heat gets displaced it all freezes solid wherever it happens to be, and so she ends up being an 'ice manifester' by accident. And she has no protection from the cold she creates. She's given herself lots of colds and one nasty case of pneumonia.
    • Phase may be an Intangible Man, but he doesn't become intangible as much as he moves matter interdimensionally. So he has no trouble with breathing or keeping his blood inside his circulatory system: it's just that he's moving matter into another dimension. It turns out this means he can go to 'normal density' and 'disintegrate' whatever he is moving through.
  • In the sixth Shadow Hawk story in Epic Tales, Shadow Hawk's required secondary abilities are actually a major plot point, as there is a character who's presence negates them. Also interesting in that Shadow Hawk's powers are magical in nature, while the negation powers are scientific in nature, and result after a section of really bad technobabble.
  • In
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, it was generally assumed that all characters had these as a matter of course. Exceptions tended to make for interesting side-stories. For example, Silly Putty was a Rubber Man, but he lacked the power to actually control his extended body when stretched; as a result, he had to be manually shaped by other people. The Shield was Nigh Invulnerable, but wasn't anchored (or superhumanly strong), and as a result was regularly knocked ass-over-teakettle when he was hit with any significant force.
  • In Red vs. Blue, it's explained that the Freelancers' AI granted them the Required Secondary Powers needed for individual armor abilities. When Griff tried out the Super Speed armor ability without an AI, everything, including his mental processes and metabolism, was sped up, and he ran straight into a wall because he had no way of knowing when to slow down.
    • This is actually averted in the PSA Upgrading [dead link], when Caboose gets his armor stuck in invisibility mode.

Church: Don't worry Caboose, I'm sure when the game comes out there'll be a way to shut it off.
Caboose: Good. I need sleep.
Sarge: Sleep? When that game comes out, I won't sleep for a week!
Church: Yeah, no, it's not that, it's just that he's having trouble sleeping because he can see through his eyelids now.
Sarge: Oh. That's creepy.

  • In Trinton Chronicles it would seem like everyone who has an ability that might normally kill them has an unmentioned secondary power.
    • Best example of this is Dan who controls time, in order to move at hyper speeds when emulating Super Speed he would need a way to extract air with out burning his lungs and in order to see when he slows time to a crawl he would need a way to speed light up to his eyes while still perceiving slowed time.
  • The demons in the The Salvation War all have giant back muscles that are very similar to the cells of the electric eels, which makes up for the needed energy a 20 foot tall man would need. The flying demons are filled with a light and highly flameable gas that allows them to fly and breath fire. However, the byproduct to the gas makes the demon's blood HIGHLY acidic, and while their insides are well protected from the acid, their skin bursts into flames if the blood touches it.
    • Another example is the healing ability of the angels and daemons. One wounded angel noted he needed a lot more food and water when they were healing, and because of that his was slowed greatly. It is mentioned they have systems in their bodies that prevent such a fast healing rate from becoming cancerous. When an angel army was Nuked, the radiation broke down the systems with horrible results. They, however, also fall to the problem of "healing fast" vs. "healing right". The broken wings of several angels healed so the bones fused and the joints lost their ability to move.

Western Animation

  • On Batman Beyond, one villain was an Intangible Man who eventually lost his anchoring ability and started falling through successive layers of ground. The episode ends with the implication that he'll keep falling until he reaches the center of the earth.
    • Oh, it's worse than that: with nothing to oppose his inertia, he'd continue past the center of the earth, with gravity slowing him down, until he reached the other side - only to start falling again. Repeat forever... or at least until he suffocates, leaving us with an intangible dead body in the center of the Earth, unable to decay, burn, or compress.
    • As seen in Batman Beyond, and the DCAU in general, that a chemically induced transformation usually lacks the ability the control the new form and the long term effects on the body. Examples include Mister Freeze's body rotting away to his head because of his lowered temperature, likewise Clayface faced decomposition since his powers were granted by an overdose on a cosmetic product. Blight's radioactivity was growing in intensity and affecting his mind and Inque's liquid nature made her vulnerable to simple water attacks (which would dilute her to the point where she couldn't hold any form).
    • Another notable thing about the DCAU is that nobody has anchoring abilities. Many super strong and invincible characters get thrown around by punches and throws by even much weaker characters. Even BATMAN once threw Superman across the room into the tables, although it only really surprised Superman rather then hurt.
    • Of course, Superman wasn't actively trying to use his powers there. He has shown anchoring powers before and since, so it's probably something he has to consciously make happen, and Batman caught him by surprise (Superman's so used to people shooting him, the thought that an unpowered human would use a martial arts throw against him probably never even occurred to him).
      • Of course, Batman already knew that. That's why he did that instead of punching him in the face with Kyrptonite right off the bat.
  • Played for laughs in the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Don't Be A Hero" where Dexter tries to give himself various superpowers. He gets all of the powers but none of the Required Secondary Powers. It doesn't work out too well. Another episode had Dexter running late for school (he only had 30 seconds before the bus would show up), so he sped himself up 60-fold (giving himself 30 minutes). This lead to him having to move very slowly to avoid friction burns (even having to re-do his homework after accidentally setting it on fire), having to grab water droplets from the showerhead due to how slowly they were going, and numerous other subversions.
    • Timmy Turner does the same thing in The Fairly OddParents. He learns is leasson and wishes for secondary powers after the first few backfires.
  • Averted in Gargoyles, as the eponymous beasts, despite having wings, don't have any of the Required Secondary Powers necessary to enable flight, and thus can't actually fly (they simply glide). However, Dr. Sevarius notes since the amount of energy the species uses would require eating the equivalent of three cows a day, he theorizes that their daytime stone forms may be used to absorb solar radiation for the necessary energy. However, this has not been proven, especially since the Gargoyles have gone into their stone states indoors and in dark areas without seeming to be lethargic.
    • Word of God has said that missing a day's worth of solar radiation for a Gargoyle is equivalent to skipping a meal. They'll have less energy, but it won't be very noticeable.
    • To add credibility on the Dr. Sevarius theory, it is noted that in stone form they can heal better and often refer about it as "the sun will heal".
    • Their clothes however are affected by the stone curse, even though the Word of God said it was not an actual magical curse (the stone part wasn't -- the thousand years' sleep part, yeah, pretty much), but a biological mechanism. The same word also said that their clothes changed because of a spell placed to avoid them to be naked (because their clothes would normally be torn apart by the stone shards).
      • Hey, real Magic Pants!
      • The spell that froze them must've also proofed them against the stone-destroying action of plants, lichens and weather for them to remain unharmed for a millennium.
    • Their clawed hands are sort of required power in replacement of flying. They allow the Gargoyles to climb up to the high places needed to launch off from so they can glide for long periods of time..
  • Bunnie Rabbot from Sat AM Sonic the Hedgehog would have had the same problem, but the writers never discussed it. Since the interrupted process was supposed to transform her entirely into a machine, it's presumably pure luck that the half-way state she is stuck in is organically viable, or a safety device to prevent her from dying during the process.
    • Some fanfic authors have used the idea that the build up of toxins from the robot parts could be fatal. The actual comics used a similar 'her stuff is killing her' at least once, which led to her getting a revamped look, and establishing she can't be 'cured' ever.
    • Most versions of Sonic the Hedgehog have him as a Big Eater, and note that his sneakers are specially designed to reduce the problems with friction. Occasionally other secondary powers are alluded to, and on occasion he has learned to use them for other means (the Sonic the Comic version noted that part of the reason he was so tough was that he could vibrate the particles around him to provide a forcefield against air friction and direct damage).
    • There was an advertisement/comic about Sonic that stated that his sneakers were, in fact, "frictionless". Which, while solving the problem of his shoes bursting into flames, creates the new problem of how he gains any traction, and thus is able to move at all... or stop, for that matter.
    • The idea of the sneakers protecting Sonic from friction was a plot point in an episode of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Robotnik's robots stole the shoes, leaving Sonic unable to use his speed.
      • Cross-county skis actually hold the answer to this: fish-scale skis, in which the bottom of the ski is like a ratchet, with the front edge of each "scale" being a shallow incline and the back being a sharp slope.
  • In Loonatics Unleashed, Rev Runner's powers include Super Speed, Sixth Sense and "GPS Sense". While endurance isn't normally a problem for him, he once stopped to take a break while powering the Lunatiks' holodeck on a bicycle.
  • The Venture Brothers have The Impossible Family, semi-Affectionate Parody of the Fantastic Four; Cody bursts into flames when exposed to oxygen, and merely burns painfully as a result. The Invisible Woman expy can only make her skin invisible.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Firebenders don't burn themselves despite their fires coming from their bodies, but can be burned by the flame of other Firebenders.
    • This seems to be a matter of control, however. Skilled Firebenders have been shown to be able to at least deflect or disperse fire thrown by an opponent if prepared for it; part of it comes from the bender's method of manipulating their element in unconventional ways ("bending" of plants, sand, metal, and even human bodies, or adapting principles like redirection from other bending disciples). It stands to reason that an unskilled or careless Firebender could hurt themselves, but it's likely that they're taught extreme control and discipline from an early age (after all, if your kid could breathe fire, the first thing you'd do would be to make sure he or she fully understood how dangerous it is).
      • If Aang's first Firebending teacher is anything to go by, the very first lesson a Firebender learns is iron control, and any Bender that can't or won't learn is probably going to get exiled because of the danger they pose to others (remember that Aang ended up burning Katara because he decided control was boring, and learned his lesson because of it; now, imagine someone who's screwed up once or twice and still doesn't get it).
      • Actually, there are visible minor burn scars on Aang's palms and feet in the latter half of Book Three, as he's beginning to master Firebending.
    • An idea which is supported by the Nickelodeon site stating that Combustion Man's missing arm and leg were caused by misusing his own explosive power.
    • While maybe not required, the Airbenders seem to have resistance to wind burns and Earthbenders aren't bruised by their kicking and punching of rocks, though how much of that is Kung Fu magic or just bending power is left unanswered.
      • Aang has been shown to use a spreading motion while increasing his speed meaning he is likely moving air out of his way. As for how he can breath without said air it has also been shown that Aang has in impressive lung capacity.
      • It's possible all forms of bending utilize a development of the person's chi similar to telekinesis- for example it's not actually their foot hitting the rock but energy transferred to the rock by the kick. Or they simply don't physically connect with the target and there's a miniscule gap unnoticeable to casual viewing, which is supported by the fact that Firebenders don't create flames touching their skin, but hovering just above.
      • A sound theory, supported by Haru's actions in episode 6, where he's seen multiple times just twirling a few rocks in the air above his hands.
    • Also, airbenders and firebenders both seem to be resistant to extreme temperatures, or at least extreme cold; Iroh was dragged around in only his underwear the day before the winter solstice, Aang wore his signature light clothes at both the north and south poles and went swimming near an island with patchy snow on the ground, and Zuko exploits the fact that Firebender requires breath control to swim under water for a long time.
  • Darkwing Duck: When a misfired particle accelerator gave Darkwing Super Speed, he caught fire from the friction when he first used it, and Honker had to treat his uniform with some type of chemical to prevent this. Worse still, the Super Speed also accelerated his metabolism so he aged at a hyper-accelerated rate. This was used as a plot point as the villain set up a trap that would make Darkwing Super Speed himself into a pile of dust.
    • Apparently, simply walking backwards really fast reverses the aging process.
  • The villain Nanosec in Transformers Animated aged to an old man after overusing his powers (He was back to normal for his next appearance, though.)
  • Blastus in Robotomy has flame eyes, but not flame-proof eyes, so when he tries to use them he accomplishes nothing but setting his own eyes on fire.
  • Jimmy Neutron used a superslick spray to give his shoes Super Speed while the effect of friction in the air is never discussed, he had horrible control of the friction on the ground and was unable to stop. He ended up as a pile of goo.
    • A sentient pile of goo no less. Apparently it somehow separated his atomic structure and blended them together while still allowing his organs to function.
  • An episode of Kim Possible had the title character (and Rufus) don a pair of hi-tech shoes that allowed her to run incredibly fast, so that she could fight an army of super-sonic robots. She had all the secondary powers associated with super speed, apparently, except the ability to slow down. Even while not moving, everything around her moved so slowly it was almost stopped. By the end of the episode, she was mostly back to normal, but couldn't hit the brakes fast enough to stop in Middleton.
    • This also brings up a few questions, regarding the time she spent apparently doing nothing for what was to her likely several hours, while those around her were shown to have moved.
  • The titular character of Danny Phantom has a bucketload of these. For example, he's clearly very hard to injure considering the number of buildings he falls off of or is blasted through with minimal damage to himself or his jumpsuit. This one is pretty reasonable, though, because the story wouldn't be very interesting if damage was realistically represented every time Danny gets blasted, punched, zapped or shot through a wall.
    • Considering his powers are derived from being part-ghost, it's entirely possible he may have some form of Immortality.
    • Also applies to ecto-blasts, which punch through walls with ease but only smack normal characters around.
      • Actually, his ecto-blasts seem to avert this. It seems like they can blast through people too. One episode, "Flirting with Disaster", suggests that he holds back when fighting around (or with) normal people. He even says that since he knew that it wasn't really Valerie he was fighting in that episode, that he wouldn't hold back this time. He then proceeds to blast two of the robot's limbs off.
    • He has no lasting problems with being frozen from the inside out, and their only effect during their uncontrolled development is to make him feel very cold and move slowly. Nor does he have any problems channeling pure cold through his body during subsequent uses of the ability.
    • He clearly also has some variety of superhuman eyeballs which never get dry or irritated from speeding through the air.
      • Then again, the same must also apply to any speedster type.
    • All standard secondary super strength powers also apply.
  • A minority fan theory about cutie marks in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. The mark signifies what a pony's special talent is, and is usually seen as limiting; ie, if a pony's special talent is woodworking, woodworking is all they can do. The theory holds that, inversely, the pony is intrinsically talented at everything related to their main hub talent; so a pony whose thing is woodworking is good not just at engraving wood, but knows about different kinds of wood, the proper uses of all the tools and creative applications thereof, the properties of different kinds of stains and varnishes, and what you can do with all that sawdust when you're done.
    • This is actually supported in an episode where Apple Bloom made a potion that made her keep getting cutie marks. She was able to use all the skills like a master, with ranged from speaking French to taming lions to using a hulo hoop like a helicopter.
    • This is actually explained quite handily by Twilight Sparkle. She says that all unicorns have a little magic that help them with whatever special talent they have, despite not being especially talented in magic. For instance, in Twilight's case, her special talent is magic, essentially giving her endless possibilities in using it.

Real Life

  • Cybernetics will only reach full viability when they can be tied into the human nervous system. Replacement sensory organs are obvious, but a cybernetic limb will not have the same fluidity and grace of a natural limb until the brain can treat it like one. Some method of translating between electrochemical and digital transmission is needed.
    • They're getting there.
    • Correspondingly, many attempts at power-multiplying exoskeletons have resulted in broken bones and strained muscles when the exoskeleton multiples the force and speed too far. There have been some recent[when?] successes as designers learn to work around this.
      • At the other end of the scale, there's a robotic arm which has been made deliberately weak. The fact that it is too weak to hurt anybody is a selling point.
    • An issue of National Geographic included a story about a teacher who lost her arm in a car accident, and now has a highly-advanced prostetic replacement.
  • Poisonous creatures (such as monarch butterflies) sometimes form an immunity against their own poison.
    • Venomous creatures mostly aren't immune to their own venom though, so must isolate it from the rest of their body kind of like the same way we have hydrocholoric acid in our stomach (with a very complicated "support" system to neutralize it) but aren't by any means acid-proof.
      • As anyone with acid reflux issues (a failure of that containment system) can attest.
      • As medical science will attest, the human stomach is in a constant state of digesting itself, the inner lining of the stomach reforming itself faster than the stomach acids can digest it. Stomach ulcers are what happens when the acid wins.
    • Scorpions are immune to the venom of their own species, and often their entire genus.
  • The human body has a limit on the severity of the G-forces it can withstand before going into blackouts, physical injury and eventually death. Until this physiological limitation can be overcome, having a Cool Plane that is agile enough to have a turning radius small enough as to be literally turning on a dime is worthless as no pilot would survive using its full potential. One possibility is to make it a UCAV, but if the military-industrial complex has any Genre Savviness about AIs in control of weapon systems...
    • Or just have the best of both and make it remote-piloted like the Reaper UAV.
      • And even if the vehicle is unmanned, if the UAV was too agile, the pilot's reaction couldn't keep up.
  • While it has been well documented that falls from heights of less than a few meters can result in severe injuries, the Required Secondary Powers of tumbling, falling properly and weight distribution is the basis for the sport of parkour.
  • Wolff's Law states that after injury, the human body repairs itself so that it is stronger than before. This is how competitive board breakers can break concrete without injury: harder bones.
    • And with time and lot of training, horrible deformity, bone pain and cumulative disability. Yes, it's a charm.
    • Don't forget the ballerinas. They basically break the bones in their feet and have them heal in an unnatural position. One reason why you might not want to give one a foot rub; black toes aren't exactly attractive.
  • Wolff's Law seems to apply to athletic or physical training in general. It is generally known that one of the most sure-fire methods to slowing down aging is consistent physical and athletic activity. Such activity causes the body to draw a greater number of nutrients from food, forces the body to produce regenerative hormones, and even forces the brain to maintain higher cognitive abilities into old age (aka assists in preventing Alzeihmers) due to the fact that a body constantly in physical motion requires the nervous system to maintain constant contact with all the assorted muscles, tendons, and body parts et al.
  • People who grow to heights of about 6'3" or above can often suffer chronic pain because bones, muscles and tendons don't develop sufficiently to deal with the attendant weight. People above 7 feet can have real problems, as Andre the Giant (at 7'4" and 500 pounds) could attest. 7'5" was André René Roussimoff's kayfabe height, he actually topped out a 6'11" but his gigantism and massive daily beer consumption gave him the proportions of a much shorter man.
  • One problem in the developed world is that, while advanced agriculture provides abundant food, our metabolic systems are still not that dissimilar from Stone Age hunter-gathers. This often leads to calorie intake outstripping energy needs, causing weight gain. It is not increased food consumption but decreases in physical activity and the reduced nutritional range of the foods we consume that is responsible for this change. Actual stone-age hunter gatherers had the best diet of any society humans have ever developed.
    • Except before that our ancestors ate mostly fruits and nuts for millions of years, not meat. This is the reason we are among the rare animals that can get scurvy, a problem those hunters will have faced, especially during winter in colder area's. Our diet has in fact changed faster than our evolution can keep up with, and we currently are not adapted to deal with any of them perfectly.
    • The high, year round calory intake is why Type II Diabetes, once rare and found only in the middle-aged, is becoming very common and is appearing even in children.
  • The brain averts Dizzy Cam by inducing temporary blindness that exists for a fraction of a second. In other words, your brain averts Dizzycam by using Jittercam.
  • Human beings in general, actually. Water and oxygen are very corrosive. Their reactivity (separately and together) are the basis for all earth life, because they make biological reactions possible. Our bodies have to be built from the ground up to be immune, so that we can breathe air and drink water. (Consider that salt water and air can eat through an iron bar in a few weeks, but are harmless to human flesh).
  • Bat echolocation is amazingly high-energy, loud enough that some species can use their calls to stun their insect prey. As the Make Me Wanna Shout page observes, their own calls should be loud enough to deafen them—but they have an autonomic reflex which uses the stapedius muscle to dampen the vibrations of the inner ear. Humans have the same muscle reflex but it is really only useful for dampening the sound of yourself chewing.
    • Cicadas have an extremely loud call. In fact, they would make themselves deaf if they didn't have built-in earplugs.
  • I seem to remember reading an article claiming that people with significantly above-average intelligence learn how to lie very effectively so that they can interact with "normal" people even in a basic social fashion.
  • This trope is technically a different way of saying "it's not the weapon that's deadly, but the man who uses it". You can own a gun and know how to shoot it. But even if you have a full-auto weapon, while it may give you an edge against someone with a weaker or slower weapon, having little to no marksmanship skills is a definite handicap in the least.
  • The human body, and the bodies of most animals infact, are filled with all kinds of required secondary powers, and often what isn't was itself a secondary power until some point in the evolutionary line a creature found to use the function in it's own right. Everything from the bones being used as anchors to muscles, to the shape of the blood cells, to the material of your teeth having to be water proof to not be eroded down by your spit. Many forms of birth defects and most of the effects of old age come from the body's lack/degrading of the secondary systems.
  1. Really, though, this would still violate the laws of thermodynamics, just the one about entropy
  2. "Science Team is attempting to reverse-engineer Samus Aran's arsenal, based off of data acquired from her assaults on our forces. Progress is slow, but steady. Command would dearly enjoy turning Aran's weapons against her. We believe we can implement Beam weapon prototypes in three cycles. Aran's Power Suit technology remains a mystery, especially the curious Morph Ball function. All attempts at duplicating it have ended in disaster: four test subjects were horribly broken and twisted when they engaged our Morph Ball prototypes. Science Team wisely decided to move on afterward."