Trope Workshop:Power Systems

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Just your average Quirks.

Superpowers within a setting which all derive from a shared trait or discipline.

There are many ways for a person to gain super-powers, be it heredity, a Mass Super-Empowering Event, a divine gift, or sometimes pure random chance. Whatever the explanation, there's more than one of you. Despite the outward appearances of your abilities, you share a form of kinship with your fellow empowered, be it a common weakness, power source, or genetic bloodline. The powers follow at least one of these criteria:

  • These powers are usually unique to individuals, but some can be common.
  • A setting can have characters with one superpower or a combo platter of powers.
  • Powers have rules, limitations, restrictions, etc., that act as Necessary Drawbacks.
  • The powers can be put under categories, types, classes, and the like.

Sure signs you're dealing with this kind of power-driven link are as follows:

  • There is a clear divide between those with powers and those without, possibly leading to persecution of one or both groups.
  • There is a shared name for your abilities or people, like Blessing, Chosen, or Unclean.
  • Those with powers organise into factions, either by the nature of their powers, or ideology.

Exclusivity in powers are usually a result of Superpower Lottery being very random at least in detail. However, it may also happen due to a person giving their power away to someone else. A milder case of exclusivity is powers naturally restricted to specific bloodlines, though even those may at least express differently, including occasional duds. See also Personality Powers.

Examples of Power Systems include:

Anime and Manga

  • From Hunter X Hunter, Nen, is a technique to use one's aura for different applications. Depending on what Nen Category a person is born under, they can access diverse abilities.
  • 80% of the population is born with a Quirk in My Hero Academia, a superhuman power based on genetics. Quirks fall into three types: Emitter, Transformation, and Mutant, plus one person has one Quirk.
  • On the vast seas of One Piece, Devil Fruits gives specific powers to whatever eats it and falls into three types: Paramecia, Zoans, and Logia. A person can only consume one Devil Fruit or they disintegrate.
    • There is also Haki, which is a mysterious power within every living being. Haki falls into three types: Observation, Armament, and Conqueror's Haki. Everyone can awaken the first two, but few people are born with Conqueror's Haki.
  • Darwin's Game gives its players Sigils, supernatural powers granted by the titular app. The app provides a unique yet randomized ability to a player. Each player can only have one Sigil that fall into one of five types.
  • From Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Stands are humanoid beings or other forms with unique powers related to the user's personality.
  • Players known as Masters are granted Embryos when they create their character in the VRMMO of Infinite Dendrogram. Embryos fall into one of 5 broad types based on personality plus evolve with their players, which may give other Skills and Types.
    • Skills are abilities that Tians, Masters, and monsters gain in the VRMMO. Tians and Masters can gain Skills from equipment and jobs, but Masters can also gain Skills from their Embryos.
  • Ninjas like Naruto utilize Justu, magical arts they use in combat from their chakra. Jutsu comes into three categories: Taijutsu, Genjutsu, and Ninjutsu.
    • Kekkei Genkai are unique abilities based on the hereditary within ninja clans. Ninjas inherit one Kekkei Genkai and naturally develop these powers with age and experience.
  • In Psyren, PSI is the ability that Psychicers wield that falls into three basic types: Burst, Trance, and Rise.
  • Abnormalities are superhuman abilities possessed by a few humans called Abnormals in the world of Medaka Box. These superpowers are based on Abnormals' mental development and each Abnormal would only have one Abnormality.
    • Minuses are Abnormalities corrupted by the mental negativity of the users. Unlike regular Abnormalities, these powers are based on the mental environment involved in the person's development.
    • Styles are the manipulation of language for different effects, created to fight on par with Abnormalities.The superpowers are not exclusive like Abnormalities where everyone can gain one or more, even an Abnormal.
  • Branches of Sin are powers that people called Deadmen wield in Deadman Wonderland. Each Deadman has one Branch of Sin whose blood turns into a weapon or attack.
  • In the Book of Bantorra, Magical Rights are individual magic that a person can possess. One person has one Magical Right except for Book Eaters.
  • The Demon Slaying Corp uses forms of swordsmanship called Breath Styles to slay Demons during post-World War Japan in Demon Slayer. The swordsmanship uses specific and concentrated breath patterns that increase oxygen in the blood for a unique physical superhuman ability but with drawbacks.
    • Demon Slayer Marks are markings that can appear on a strong Demon Slayer's body. These marks can give improved physical abilities and upgrades Breath Styles.
    • Blood Demon Arts are unique spells that Demons can develop through different means. Most of these monsters have one Blood Demon Art, but some can have more.
  • Powers are mysterious abilities based on their will, beliefs, and experience that people can awaken in the world of The Seven Deadly Sins. Each person has one superpower but can develop different techniques from them.
  • In Edens Zero, some people have Ether Gears, which are individual superpowers made by having Ether flowing through the body.
  • In Mondaiji, people in the world of Little Garden have Gifts that are special abilities to participate in Gift Games. A person can gain an unlimited number of them by going through various games as rewards.
  • FromYu Yu Hakusho, Territories are supernatural powers that some humans have due to being in the Demon's Door's vicinity and are used within a specific range.
  • Aliens have Space Pheromones or SPH, natural chemicals secreted by aliens in ēlDLIVE. Space Pheromones grant different abilities based on the species.
  • Minimums, from Hamatora, are unique abilities that a small percentage of the population has called Minimum Holders. The Minimum Holder's ego determines their superpower and can only hold one Minimum.
  • The world of Black God has Exceeds, abilities granted to Tera Guardians through a human contract. Each Exceed is unique to a Tera Guardian and each have only one. Tera Guardians use the spiritual force called Tera from humans and need to achieve Synchro with them to enable the use of Exceeds.
  • In Fire Force, Ignition Abilities allow Third Generations to produce fire from their body. Some Ignition Abilities can even make plasma, electricity, and electromagnetism.
    • Adolla Burst is another ability that certain Third Generations can awaken to by creating a connection with a being from Adolla. Adolla Bursts upgrades Ignition Abilities to an extra-dimensional level.
  • In Gate Keepers, Gates are doors that give extra-dimensional energy to a person and manifest as a unique superpower.
  • Authorities are divine powers of Gods, Heretic Gods, and Campiones. Gods can hold multiple Authorities but Campiones would need to slay different Heretic Gods to have more than one.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Yokai has the supernatural ability known as Osore: supernatural skills based on fear related to their species.
  • Each King in K grants an Aura to their Clan for incredible powers. Depending on the King, Aura can manifest different abilities.
  • Norito are extraordinary powers that women known as Sekirei activate through a specific person's kiss. It is implied that a Sekirei can have more than one Norito.
  • People on the scattered islands of Esprit have Jinxes; special abilities brought out by a person's faith. One person can have only one Jinx.
  • Needless have Fragments, which are unique superpowers and their sources. Each one has one Fragment but also passive physical superpowers.
  • From Re:Zero, Divine Protections are blessings that people are born with and given by the Od Laguna. A person is usually born with one Divine Protection, but some have more than one but are rare.
    • Authorities are supernatural abilities wielded by a compatible host and the powers are shaped by their desires. They are also considered the antithesis of the Od Laguna, meaning a person born with a Divine Protection can't gain an Authority.

Comic Books

  • Miracles, from the manfra,[1] Radiant, are powers that do not use Fantasia but stem from a different source. Each person has one Miracle, but all of them are versatile in combat, especially against magic
  • The Dom, from Monster Allergy, are special powers used by Tamers and are inherited from parent to child, which falls into five abilities, giving them various powers.
  • Mutants from the X Men are treated differently than heroes of other, more acceptable origins, and shunned by society. Many mutants have chosen to ally themselves with either Professor X or Magneto, representing peaceful co-existence or superiority over humans respectively.


  • Powers within the Star Wars universe derive from the Force. While some powers are fairly universal, such as hyper-awareness and telekinesis, others, such as force lightning, are limited to those on either the Dark or Light side, and some appear unique to one particular force-user.


Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Tabletop Games

  • Tieflings (mutant humans who express traits of ancestor(s) who were fiend(s)) of Dungeons & Dragons and (via Open Gaming License) Pathfinder all belong to a single species, but "no two tieflings are the same" in how their ancestry impacts their appearance. The statistical benefits tend to be the same between them however.

Video Games

  • From the Blazblue series, Drives are the manifestation of a soul's power using a force known as Blue that comes from another dimension.
  • In Digital Devil Saga, Atma is a virus that can cause humans to transform into an Atma Avatar, a monstrous form with magical powers.
  • Persona, from the Persona series, are manifestations of a person's personality as a "mask" to help face difficulties in life. Personas come from the Collective Unconscious and are based on mythological archetypes. Personas grant unique powers plus influence their users' physical and mental attributes.
  • Evilities, introduced in the Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice series, passive abilities where a character can equip two at a time. There are two kinds which are Unique and Generic. Unique Evilities depend on the classes, while anyone can access Generic Evilities.
  • Fighting Spirits, introduced in Inazuma Eleven GO, are users' spirits manifested in a physical form. Fightings Spirits are used to perform powerful Special Moves and fight other Fighting Spirits.
    • Mix n' Match is a technique to fuse a person's aura with another individual. Mix n' Matches activation causes a person's appearance changes while also gaining their physical attributes plus a new Special Move.
    • Totems introduced in GO Galaxy is an ability that allows a user to transform into an animal. The transformation is temporary and gains another Special Move plus particular Totems also grants a Soul Strike, techniques similar to Special Moves but more potent.
  • EXS Abilities, from Under Night In-Birth, are powers that allow In-Births to manifest EXS (energy found in all earthly matter) as a unique ability. The use of these abilities also gives superhuman physical abilities.
  • In the Suikoden series, Runes are used to summon magical spells and come into four types: Common Runes, Unique Runes, True Runes, and a fourth class that doesn't fit in the others.
  • The Azure Striker Gunvolt series has Septima, ESP that humans known as Adepts can use in the form of different superpowers. Some Adepts have common Septima, but others may have more varied powers.
  • Characters in Genshin Impact may find themselves in possession of a "Vision", a glowing gem that resonates with one of the seven elements of the world and allows for magical powers. These Visions are granted by a celestial force to those meeting some unknown criteria, and will not work if obtained by other means. Surrendering your Vision can have negative consequences, altering the owner's personality or damaging their memory.

Visual Novels

  • From the Fate series, Noble Phantasms can come in the form of powers based on the legend related to the Servant along with their summoned class.
    • There are also Skills that gives Servants passive abilities. They are two categories: Class and Personal. Class Skills are based on what Class the Servant is summoned. Personal Skills are reflected by the Servant's past life as a hero.

Web Animation

  • From RWBY, Aura is the manifestation of one's soul that allows for different abilities. An activated Aura by itself provides physical protection and limited regeneration, but every Aura user also eventually gains a personal ability known as a Semblance. Each Semblance is effectively unique, although different persons' Semblances can resemble each other. For example, Harriet of the Ace Ops in V7 makes it clear she's met other people besides Ruby with a Super Speed Semblance like her own, and that there's something different about Ruby's speed.[2] A person can have one Semblance but most have versatile applications. In combination with what Aura can do, a person can have a mix of powers.
  • Epithets from Epithet Erased are powers that people called Inscribed have attached to their souls. An Epithet comes from a single word which grants their ability but can show versatility with imagination and training.

Web Comics

  • Abilities in The Gamer webtoon are powers in the setting that comes in two types, Natural and Acquired:
    • Natural Abilities are bestowed by Gaia and based on the person's most traumatizing experience. The main protagonist has the titular ability due to his gaming obsession.
    • Acquired Abilities are magic and martial arts developed by groups in the Abyss. Anyone can gain these abilities through training and study. Natural Abilities are exclusive to those blessed by Gaia has granted while anyone can learn Acquired Abilities, even Natural Ability users.
  • From Hardcore Leveling Warrior, Personal Attributes are in-game skills randomly gained when a player creates a character in the VRMMO, Lucid Adventure. Each player has one of these skills that fall into five types.
  • From Kubera, Transcendental Skills are divine abilities only used by Gods, Sura, and Halfs (human-sura hybrids). There are two types of Transcendental Skill: General and Unique. The three races can use General Types, but Unique types are exclusive to Gods.
  • In God of Highschool, Borrowed Powers are abilities from supernatural entities (like monsters, gods, and historical figures) that made a contract with a person. A person that uses a Borrowed Power can create unique powers depending on their imagination and the entity that falls into six classes.
  • Passive Skills in the Zero Game, are abilities that players gain once they participate in this game. Each player has one Passive Skill but also can have an Ability.
    • Abilities are powers bought from the Ability Shop where each player can have one Ability at a time.
  • Shinsu Quality, from Tower of God, is Shinsu that carries unique qualities that can be controlled by few people. Once a person finds a Shinsu Quality that suits them, the user can manifest into a power that is either elemental or non-elemental characteristics.
  • In Awaken, Ripples are the movement of Flux (the flow of consciousness penetrates from living organisms). They are manifestations of Flux through a person's Field of Awareness and classified into four types, and two types can combine into different sub-types.
  • From Scoob and Shag, Ballyhoos are powers made from channeled fandom for cartoon characters that create an alien race's unique abilities. Each alien has one Ballyhoo and is named after a broadcasting or animation term. They also come into two types, Physical (Ballyhoos that have physical effects) and Energy (metaphysical Ballyhoos with semantic effects).

Western Animation

  1. Manfra are French comic books inspired by and styled after Manga.
  2. It's later revealed that Ruby's "super speed" is actually a form of teleportation.