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"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

You've heard of Bad Powers, Bad People, where people got powers that only seemed to have evil uses and went evil. You've heard of Good Powers, Bad People, where bad people used their good-themed powers to do evil.

But what about the good people who got blessed with evil powers...who try to use those powers for good? Some folks are able to turn this to their advantage, others find that they can't do it.

Goes hand-in-hand with Dark Is Not Evil. Contrast My Species Doth Protest Too Much; that's when it's a matter of a member of a (commonly thought to be) Always Chaotic Evil species decides to cowboy up for the good guys. A subtrope is Faustian Rebellion, where powers the Big Bad granted to a former minion are used this way. Compare to Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds. If you have a good person using those nasty powers to do good things, you have Good Is Not Soft.

Examples of Bad Powers, Good People include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ayanami Rei was created for the specific purpose of more or less extinguishing all life on Earth, and her superpowers (which are not really on full display until End of Evangelion) are the same as those wielded by the giant monsters that are hell-bent on doing the same. Regardless, she is identified as one of the good guys... until she actually does extinguish all life on Earth. But she did it for love, so it's all okay.
    • To be even more fair, she probably didn't even want to do the deed. It was Shinji who basically told her to do it.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist for almost all of the series, Scar's ability is to destroy things.
    • Though alchemists don't see his power of destruction as evil, but merely as incomplete, as it is (together with understanding and reconstruction) a part of every alchemical transformation.
  • Princess Mononoke: The protagonist's arm is infected with some kind of tentacle-y incarnation of hatred, which among other things, allows him to shoot arrows hard enough to decapitate people and bend swords with his bare hand. He hates fighting, and spends most of the movie trying to end the war between Iron Town and the forest.
  • Soul Eater, everyone, heroes and villains alike, is either a human who can turn into a weapon and powers up by eating souls or someone who wields them (hence the title). The main difference is their choice of diet; the good weapons feed on the souls of demons, whereas the evil characters feed on human souls.
    • Some of protagonists are even still called Demon Weapons by heritage.
    • Arachne appeared to create the Weapons simply to see what would happen, and they've turned out various ways - some using their powers for good, others allying with the Big Bads, others just out for themselves. No-where does Arachne explain what she wanted the original/s for, and if its manifestation is the Nakatsukasa Purpose Tsubaki is host to, it isn't even inherently 'Bad'.
  • Magellan from One Piece, after a fashion. He's literally a Poison Man. He breathes poison, he sweats poison, he eats poison, etc. He is one of the most dangerous people in the world. What does he do with those powers? He guards the prison of Impel Down and prevents all of history's worst criminals from endangering the general public. On the other hand, he's also shown to be very apathetic about the fates of his charges and has on several occasions killed a number of them for such minor offenses as being too noisy. To say nothing of the massively inhumane state of the prison in general.
    • Brook has what he initially believes to be the power to bring himself back from the dead once--an extra life, in other words. However, it turns out that he actually has the power of spirits and the underworld. He can control the chilling winds of Hell and bring them into the mortal realm; move around souls, such as extracting them from people (including himself); and instill pure fear in others. Not to mention that he is an animate skeleton. In spite of these frightening powers, he is Lawful Good, fighting only those he feels is a threat to the world. He also enjoys companionship very much, is easily emotionally moved by stories people tell him, and is into planking.
      • How can a pirate possibly be Lawful Good? The simple fact that he is a pirate means that he's inherently unlawful. Even with a looser definition of Lawful Good, Brook does not seem particularly bound by any strict personal rules or ethics.
  • Similarly to Magellan above, Coco from Toriko uses poison as his main weapon, but he is one of the nicest, politest and kindest characters in the entire series.
  • Sai Akuto of Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou. He's a Nice Guy who wants to become The Messiah and make the world a better place. Unfortunately, as the person destined to become the next Maou (Demon King), Sai is a Person of Mass Destruction whose powers are geared towards causing as much pain and property damage as possible. One example: In chapter 3 of the manga, the students practice infusing their mana into living things using flower seeds. Rice lover Kena grew a rice plant. Junko grew a Mandragora that looks like Sai (which she immediately chopped in half out of embarassment). Sai...grew this.
  • In Durarara we have Anri Sonohara. She's the host of the Evil Weapon Saika, capable of turning everyone it wounds into part of its Hive Mind... And yet she is a firm believer in that anything people do for her should be paid back (even saving the one person she absolutely loathes from what looked like a horrible death because he had helped her that one time back then), and she's taking Celty's advice to try and use Saika's power for the best to heart.
  • In Inuyasha, Miroku's right hand is cursed with a vacuum-like supernova black hole (dubbed "Wind Tunnel") that he can barely control (by "control" we mean he can aim in a very general sense, and keeps it sealed with prayer beads when not in use). It has the ability to make anything disappear. Unless he defeats the the demon who cursed his ancestor, he will eventually swallow him. Being a Buddhist monk, Miroku uses it as a weapon to protect the innocent. He never uses it on humans.
    • In fact, in his original meeting with Inuyasha and Kagome, Miroku attacks Inuyasha and attempts to suck him into the Wind Tunnel. Inuyasha is saved because Kagome takes a leap of faith and Miroku has to quickly seal the Wind Tunnel before she's sucked in. This being AFTER Miroku runs to a safe distance from town in order to avoid innocent victims.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note claims to be this when the titular artifact grants him the power to kill people, saying he wants to make a better world (by killing off all the bad people in it), but it's quickly made clear that he's most definitely just a psychopath with a God Complex.
    • He goes mad with power pretty much the instant he accepts that the Death Note works. By the original appearance of "L", he's already so far gone that he'll kill people for just challenging his authority.
    • Played Straight with Gelus and Rem-Gods of Death who are very protective of the people that have gained their love and loyalty.
  • Saiga, the hero of Speed Grapher is the only non-villainous Euphoric, and like the rest of them, his powers are a manifestation of his deepest (generally sexual) desire, and in his case, involves making anything he takes a picture of explode. Besides starting as a fairly good guy, an important part of him being Bad Powers, Good People is because he hates his powers and just wants to be normal. Because he was a famous war photographer and would sometimes get a Raging Stiffie when taking a particularly good photo, he's horrified by the implication that deep down he wanted to kill his subjects, and besides that, hates the fact that his powers make him unable to take a normal picture of anything.
  • In Medaka Box, we have Munakata. In a world of people with strange powers, Munakata was born with an abnormal desire and ability to kill. He is, in fact, a serial killer who first killed at the age of 5, and he carried more hidden weapons than anyone else, ever. Just looking at someone makes him want to kill them. Except, as it turns out, he's never actually killed anyone. His serial killer status and creepy talk of killing lives (literally, "will these kill your life?") are purely to scare people away so he doesn't kill them--the serial killer charge is all fake. As he says, his killing desire is the real deal, and he wants more than anything to kill people, but restrains himself. "Because, if you kill a person, they will die."
  • Lelouch from Code Geass has the power of absolute Mind Control, which (according to the novelization) he finds loathsome because he hates taking peoples' free will away from them. This serves to explain why he never really uses it to its full potential by ordering people to become his slaves until he crosses his Despair Event Horizon, and resolves to achieve his goals whether he needs to sacrifice his morals or even his own life.
    • Even after crossing the line, he prefers to use commands that have the smallest possible impact on the recipient to get the result he needs. For example, instead of rendering Guilford his mindslave when he needs his loyalty for something, he hypnotizes him to temporarily see Lelouch as Cornelia at the opportune time.
  • Tsubaki in Fafner in the Azure. Festum. Capable of mindraping people. Could fight by generating black holes. Someone else in similar straits to her is a hate-driven madman that is the closest thing the story has to an individual villain. Instead she's among the nicest and most considerate people in the story.
  • The Second Hokage in Naruto has created a Necromancy technique which needs Human Sacrifice and rips souls out the afterlife. The Third and Fourth Hokages know a technique to seal souls in the belly of a Shinigami. Everyone with the title of Hokage is deemed Lawful Good.
  • Genosuke of Basilisk is a kind and honorable man who wants nothing more than peace, but he has a particularly horrifying and violent power. His Evil Eye ability fills those he's looking at with intense fear and pain, causing them to kill themselves in incredibly gorny ways. Interestingly, this power is actually well-suited to his personality rather than contrasting with it. He's a Martial Pacifist and his power involves directing others' murderous impulses against them. So, his enemies destroy themselves in the same way they wished to harm him.
  • Devilman, especially in an anime, where Akira uses his power to protect his girlfriend. In the other adaptions, he's still this, but the world's too evil, infected, and screwed up for him to protect without making him look like a evil murderous monster himself.
    • His genderflipped version in Devilman Lady has the exact same problem.
  • Hikitsu from Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden. One of his powers is a sort of hypnosis by which a person sees their worst memory or their greatest fear. Because he recognizes its cruelty potential (and it alienates him as well), he hides the eye with this ability under an Eyepatch of Power.
  • The main character of Psyren is the typical Hero archetype. Why is he here? His power, "Melchsee's Door", is basically a super-destructive ball of shadow that attacks and destroys anything it sees as dangerous.
  • Berserk provides a strange example with Guts and Casca's child. When we first see it post-timeskip, it appears to be on the evil side of things due to being corrupted by Femto's demon-rape However, it turns out to be very loyal to its parents and uses its demonic influence to shield its mother from a mass of monsters that were drawn to her brand.
  • A one-shot character in the manga Slayers Special was Winnie, a girl with necromantic abilities so innate she uses them reflexively. However, she is actually very shy and is at first even scared of her own creations, despite being unable to stop using her powers. She genuinely means no harm, though.
  • Arguably Vash the Stampede from Trigun. Not only does misfortune and mass property damage follow him like a magnet, but his arm turns into a giant gun that blows up cities and put a giant crater in the moon. However, he is one of the most likeable and peace-loving guys out there. He even claims to hate the sight of blood. He has only killed one person in the entire anime, that being Lagato Bluesummers in one of the last episodes. And even then, Legato was forcing Vash to hold the gun to his head while readying to kill Meryl.
  • Bleach: Hollows tend to be bad and powers rooted in hollow nature aren't considered a good thing. However, certain characters do have hollow-based powers.
    • Ichigo has an inner hollow that empowers him. It takes him a long time to master the power, and he goes through a few terrible experiences along the way.
    • Sado and his super-powered arms. When in the hollow world, he can feel his power whispering to him and it's not a nice feeling at all.
    • The Visoreds, like Ichigo, have inner hollows that they've learned over a long period of time to control and use for beneficial aims.
    • Riruka's fullbring is rooted in a hollow origin. She had to learn the hard way not to use her power for ill.


Comic Books

  • Laurel Darkhaven of Rising Stars used her tiny powers of manipulation to kill people...but her final act was to use those powers to make soil fertile again.
  • Johnny Alpha in Strontium Dog has Mind Rape among his powers, and he is The Hero.
  • Wither from X-Men was an example until his Face Heel Turn.
    • So was the more popular Rogue, whose touch could put people in comas (usually temporary, but sometimes permanently), but still fought with the good guys.
    • In Ultimate X-Men, when a teenage boy's mutant powers first manifest, he discovers that his only power is to unconsciously vaporize all living tissue within a mile. He was responsible for HUNDREDS of deaths, including those of his mother, his dog, his girlfriend, and every single person in his school. To prevent the nature of this incident from becoming public (and thus, demonizing all mutants irrevocably), he had to be put down by Wolverine, whose healing factor kept him from being vaporized. Wolverine did NOT enjoy doing it.
      • During the Punisher's "Angelic" phase, he had a run-in with Wolverine where they tried to stop a special Morlock with the power to spread death around her, killing anyone around her without a healing factor. To stop her from reaching the surface and killing the whole of New York, Wolverine and Punisher tried to stop her and in the end the angels called her to heaven. The worst part was that she wasn't evil: she was sealed in a tube by her parents when she was a child due to her powers and just wanted to be free, seeing people trying to help her as devils and people trying to kill her as angels.
  • Leetah in Elf Quest always uses her healing powers for good, except in one scene in "Kings of the Broken Wheel", where Rayek pisses her off so badly she uses them to blast him with pain, just as she's seen Winnowill do. Probably not a good idea, since he happens to be flying her somewhere at the time. He drops her. She survives. An interesting and continuing thematic between Leetah and Winnowill is that the only difference between their healing abilities is how they choose to use them. The proper name for healing in the Elf Quest universe? Flesh-shaping.
  • Possibly applies to the DC character Mister Bones. He is a walking skeleton (his skin and organs are transparent) and he has a deadly "cyanide touch" that can kill almost anyone he comes in contact with. Needless to say, he began as a villain. However, he has since reformed and is now the director of the DEO, a government department that deals with superheroes. He may not be unambiguously heroic, but is typically on the side of the good guys, or at least not actively against them.
  • Phobos, God of Fear, Son of War, in the Marvel Universe is a Creepy Child with fear based powers. He's an unambiguously heroic character.
    • Though he did cause a panic when he broke into the White House during the Siege event at the end of Dark Reign. It turns out he just wanted to talk to the president about the cost of lives that putting Osborn in charge had caused (including the life of his father, Ares). Since the president was naturally evacuated, he left a note on the desk in the Oval office... written in what looks like blue crayon.
      • And that was after seeing Ares ripped in half on national television. Some people would call that restraint, for a god.
  • Toxin from Spider-Man is a morally upright police officer that ends up with a symbiote and decides to use it to do good.
  • The scarab of the Blue Beetle is revealed to be an agent of the Reach, an ancient enemy of the Green Lanterns who created the scarab as part of a hive mind that controls the wearer. Fortunately, the Blue Beetle's scarab gets separated from the hive mind, manages to develop a sense of self thanks to the good heart of its wearer Jaime Reyes, and becomes a sentient being of good.
  • Bionicle's Matoro got necromancy as his mask power during the Mahri Nui arc as a test of character.
  • Infectious Lass, a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, causes plagues wherever she goes, but is really a nice person.
  • Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance, is a monstrous being empowered by the Devil whose exploits involve a whole lot of serial Mind Rape. He's one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes, thanks largely to a generous dose of Pay Evil Unto Evil and to his altruistic actions towards anyone who isn't on his hit list. That Mind Rape ability? It's useless against people who AREN'T evil. The pain inflicted is based on how many sins / crimes the target has committed. So it's basically divine punishment, in the sense that you can't hide what you did.
  • Hellboy: Liz Sherman has the power to burn things with her mind. When she was young she accidentally killed a dozen people including her family. For awhile, she believed her power was evil, but later she learns to control it.


Fan Fiction

  • Takato Matsuki from the Tamers Forever Series, is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. unfortunately, he is also the Vessel of Chaosand could potentially wreak untold havoc upon reality.
  • Deconstructed in the Touhou fan manga Touhou Tonari.


Film

  • Luke Skywalker uses the Force choke on a pair of guards in Return of the Jedi, which Darth Vader does throughout the series. Luke just chokes them into unconsciousness rather than strangling them, though. Jedi all seem to have the same powers, with the difference being how and when they choose to use them.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine argues that the Sith are all examples of this (or that they can choose to be) but that the Jedi refuse to believe it and tried to persecute them into extinction for exploring powers the Jedi considered "unnatural"
  • Deadly Girl in The Specials can summon demons. She is a hero.


Literature

  • In the Old Kingdom trilogy, the Abhorsens are a family of necromancers who use both Free Magic and Charter Magic to keep other necromancers in check. They can also walk in Death and use the bells like a Necromancer, but they are always good people dedicated to undoing the harm done by necromancers and otherwise helping people.
    • It is hinted that Chorr of the Mask was once the Abhorsen, but lost the correct respect for Death and fell first into necromancy proper and then into being one of the Greater Dead. So Abhorsen can go dark side, they just quickly stop being Abhorsen then.
  • In Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Jame can reap souls from the living when she dances, blood-bind people (and other creatures) to her, has a Compelling Voice (easily able to permanently damage people), and she's aligned with That-Which-Destroys. Brenwyr is a Curse-flinging maledict with berserker tendencies.
  • The entire plot of A Fistful of Sky is Gypsum being gifted with the power of curses, which she has to use frequently or else, and how she figures out how to deal with this.
  • Cal Leandros uses his ability to create gates in the later books in the series in fights, to dispose of bad guys, etc. While the gate-opening ability in itself doesn't seem evil, frequent use of it leads to Evil Feels Good, with Cal on a raging high and feeling far less concerned about not killing his nearest and dearest.
  • Dorilys of Stormqueen! does manage to use her storm-control powers for good on a few occasions... but also kills people with them.
  • Merry Gentry: The Unseelie have always had pretty bad press, what with powers like turning people inside out, consuming them with magical green fire, stealing their virility, opening every wound they've ever had, calling all the blood from their body... They are the protagonists of the series.
  • From the same author, Anita Blake has the ability to turn a human into a living mummy fully aware of what is going on around him or her and in terrible pain. She uses this ability, or the threat of it, to get information used to save the day.
  • In the third book of Midnighters, we get to see the consequences of one character's temporarily becoming a half-darkling in the second book. Among other things, he can look at anyone and know exactly what they're afraid of, and to a certain degree imitate that fear (e.g. move in a manner reminiscent of a snake.) He loses a bit of his humanity, and pretty much becomes the Token Evil Teammate, but he's still a member of the group.
  • The Shining Ones from David Eddings' The Tamuli are an entire race of these. They're a simple, pastoral people, gentle to the point of pacifism. They also possess a Touch of Death that causes the victim to instantly and painfully rot away into a puddle of foul-smelling goo. The reasons behind it are quite complex, but the results are fairly simple - actually using their powers, even if it's absolutely necessary, causes most of them to burst into tears, or fall into a deep depression.
    • Some who cannot bear to kill are allowed to use use their powers to destroy the walls of a city, allowing the populace to flee for their lives.
  • Thanks to Lasciel, Harry Dresden had access to Hellfire, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, once Lasciel was no longer a factor, Harry lost this ability and was given the angelic equivalent, Soulfire, instead.
    • Then there's Thomas Raith, life-sucking White Court prettyboy ... who, instead of draining his victims dead, 'sips' from the customers at a hair saloon and fights on the side of the good guys. While Thomas Raith is still allied with Harry Dresden, his torment at the hands of a skinwalker makes him forsake the Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire status.
  • Harry Keogh, the Necroscope, uses his necromantic powers for good throughout the series; those actually called necromancers, however, not so much.
  • In Dragaera, Morganti weapons are evil weapons which devour the souls of their victims and seem to hunger to kill. Great Weapons are the same, but are much more powerful and even more sentient, and make the wielder feel good/protect the wielder. However, everyone in the series who has one- Sethra, Morrolan, Aliera, Telnan, Vlad is on the side of good (within the series' Black and Grey Morality). In the case of Vlad, the weapon itself qualifies, since it was created from the soul of one of the series' nicest characters.
  • Harry Potter speaks Parseltongue, the language of snakes. Most people think Parseltongue is an evil power, because several evil wizards (Voldemort being the most recent and bigger example, Salazar Slytherin the most famous) not only spoke it, but used it for nefarious purposes. Harry becomes ostracized for having this power, and never uses it beyond the one time (but it was a very good cause: he had to rescue his future Love Interest Ginny Weasley). This becomes useful in Deathly Hallows, as Ron manages to imitate the word "Open", which he had heard twice (first when Harry opened the Chamber of Secrets back in book 2, and then when he opened the locket that Ron then destroyed). Harry loses this power after defeating Voldemort.
  • Seth Sorenson from the Fablehaven series fights demons with his own dark-magic powers.
  • Melisandre of Asshai from A Song of Ice and Fire has among her magical abilities, the power to dispatch shadow-assassins to do away with her or her king's enemies. As to whether she is good, well, she maintains that she is, and she is fighting to save the world. Opinion on her is divided, however, but most readers would allow that she is at worst a Well-Intentioned Extremist or a Knight Templar.
    • Played straighter with Thoros of Myr, who is more or less a Good Shepherd and belongs to the same religion as Melisandre. His specialty is Necromancy, which he seems to think is a Healing Hands type power. It may not be deliberate, but he functions quite well as a dark parody of the requisite cleric medic for an adventuring party. Even more hilarious is the fact that he joined the priesthood because he had nothing else to do, then woke up one morning to find his rituals did magic.
  • Valentine Ivashchenko's protagonist of Warrior and Mage and Dancing Flame, Vale, nicknamed "Black Earl", is a grand necromancer working by Dark Is Not Evil. He has kept his soul from the local Satan and in most cases takes power from things and ideas associated with secrecy, night and darkness, e.g. solitary contemplation, restful sleep or intimacy of lovers. Examples of good uses include:
    • Curing a plague released from a disturbed ancient burial site, although he used the responsible grave robber's forfeited life to fuel the spell. This was according to the Empire's law and with consent of the present heir to the throne.
    • Releasing the ghost of an ancient knight from a tomb by introducing said ghost to his direct descendant. The ghost is the founder of the Empire, the descendant is said heir to the throne.
    • Saving a dwarven tribe from an undead horde raised by making camp on a hill over another ancient burial site. In-universe quote: "Bringing together blood, fire and steel in any manner will cause nasty undead things to rise at most remarkable places."
    • Sealing the spellbook of the last grand necromancer inside himself to prevent power leaks.
    • Saving a girl from a voodoo-like curse. The girl is one of the Empire's princesses, and the curse part of an attempt to replace the Emperor, funded from outside.
    • Enchanting the steel layer of a ship's armour to prevent mussel growth.
    • Removing a curse from a trader's daughter.
    • Taking at least one Night Rider (a girl who has willingly sold her soul for revenge, e.g. after loosing her entire family and village, and works as a mercenary after completing the revenge) from death row, and later redeeming Night Riders in his employ.
    • Completing the local pantheon.
    • Saving numerous captives and Inquisition prisoners during the war.
    • However, the trope does not apply completely:
      • The losses in the war against the local Absolute Xenophobe Church Militant trigger a Roaring Rampage of Revenge during which Vale the Black Earl crosses the line. After finding those responsible for the destruction of his home castle and the death of all within including his parents, sister, pregnant wife and family-in-law the Black Earl began a dark ritual damning them one by one by Cold-Blooded Torture. His second-in-command struck him down, breaking the spell and making the death of the captives quick.
  • Given an aside mention in a short story in one of Bruce Coville's Book of Magic anthologies. In a world where most people get the power of wishing when they go through puberty, the main character's late aunt is mentioned to have gotten the power of curses instead. Since she didn't have anyone she disliked enough to curse, she didn't, and the unused curses built up inside and gave her cancer instead.
  • Jander Sunstar from Vampire of the Mists is basically good (although he does some very bad things) but at least some of his vampire powers, such as mind control, are at least morally questionable.
  • In The Shadow Speaker, Ejii can talk to shadows (hence the title). However many of the people in her remote village in Niger believe in Bad Powers, Bad People and think that she is a witch.
  • Like Rogue from X-Men, Juliette, the main character in Shatter Me has a fatal touch. She refuses to use it to harm people and hates being forced to use it for the bad guys aims, wanting to escape and live as normal live as she can.
  • Mr. Crowley of I Am Not a Serial Killer only wants to stay with his wife but he has to kill people and take their body parts to do it.


Live Action TV

  • Mostly played straight with Sam Winchester on Supernatural. His powers are demonic in nature, and he uses them to hunt demons. While he did manage to jump-start the Apocalypse, he was actually intending to stop it. But his addiction to demon-blood has led to some decisions that can charitably be described as "questionable".
    • He spent quite some time worried about "going dark side," and Dean's final wish at the end of season three was that Sam not use his demon powers. Knowing Dean would disapprove, Sam lied about it when Dean came back, and things got worse from there. It was never entirely clear how much of the problem was The Dark Side Will Make You Forget / This Is Your Brain on Evil, how much straight addict behavior from the blood, and how much Sam being an ass of his own free will due to trauma and pride. Still, he was trying to save the world and save people, even at his worst. And he got better.
  • On Charmed, Cole attempted this. He succeeded for a while, but then got even more evil powers. That... did not turn out well.
  • Clem, a demon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, can manifest fangs, tentacles, and poison. The only times he seems willing to fight are when he sees a friend hurt, or to protect a threatened teenager. (He eats kittens, though.)
    • Angel and Spike are vampires, which in the Buffyverse is just an evil demon possessing a corpse, but manage to be good guys none the less. (Spike is especially impressive, since he pretty much made his Heel Face Turn before he had a soul to induce it. Of course, both of them are still pretty big assholes. Angel sort of grows into his full assholishness as he gets a firmer sense of his own identity as a good guy on Angel.)
    • Anya, who is a demon as well. A vengance demon - or at least she is for the start of her stay in the series. When she temporarily got her powers back, we see why this is a Bad Idea.
  • Ned on Pushing Daisies has necromancy powers, but attempts to use them as little as possible and generally only to solve murders, with a few glaring exceptions: his childhood girlfriend, former murder victim Chuck, his dog Digby, and Chuck's father Charles Charles, although he was not aware of his powers when he revived Digby. He remains the protagonist and a thoroughly good guy throughout the series.
  • Joshua from No Ordinary Family after his Heel Face Turn.
  • Maya on Heroes, whose power is that she releases an invisible cloud of lethal poison whenever she gets upset. And the world seems hellbent on giving her good reasons to get really upset on a regular basis.
  • Lost Girl features several examples.
    • Bo, the main character, is the best example. Her succubus powers, which drain life energy from people she has sexual contact with, are so strong that she has killed people just from kissing them. Even so, she's one of the most unambiguously good people in the show, and has learned how to transfer life energy into people..
    • The Light Fae, who are gray in the show's Black and Gray Morality, have corpse-eaters and harpies as members. The corpse-eaters, called Aswang, are depicted as saintly old women, eating only the corpses without family and acting as a sort of supernatural sanitation service to keep diseased corpses from contaminating both the soil and the living.


Tabletop Games

  • Even though it's more like Bad Powers Chaotic Neutral people, you are perfectly capable of being a decent person in Mortasheen, even though pretty much every one of your Mons' superpowers will be Lovecraftian.
  • Dungeons and Dragons has a few ways of reflecting this character concept, particularly since 3rd edition.
    • Mr. Welch from the page quote could respond that, in 3rd edition, only 1 spell from the Necromancy school is explicitly Evil: Animate dead. If you can find a Lawful Good use for Circle of Death or Soul Bind, go right ahead.
    • The Malconvoker prestige class summons evil outsiders; one of the requirements is a non-evil alignment.
    • The supplement "Lords of Madness" includes the Fleshwarper class, which is based around turning yourself into a Humanoid (or not so humanoid) Abomination. The class itself has no alignment basis, so there can be as many good ones as evil.
    • The Warlock class in 3rd edition specifically must be either chaotic or evil to gain their powers. It's a safe bet that most Warlock players chose to be Chaotic Good.
      • And, due to an oversight, there's nothing stopping a Warlock from being Lawful Good. Wizards of the Coast realized this late in 3rd Edition's lifespan and created a prestige class where the sample NPC is a Lawful Good Warlock.
    • The 4th edition Warlock is loosened up a bit - only some of their powers can be called "evil," and at the same time, there's no alignment restrictions, so it's not uncommon to find Lawful Good player Warlocks using hellish powers.
    • Thanks to there being no "evil" powers in 4e, you can actually be a Good necromancer using the powers found in the book "Heroes of Shadow". Albeit, the powers are pretty brutal, but as long as you don't use them against anyone who's not evil...
  • The Lucifuge from Hunter: The Vigil are children of Satan who said "screw you dad" and now go around using their powers to fight monsters such as vampires and werewolves. Said powers include summoning demons, throwing Hellfire, making someone bleed out of their skin so that tracking them is easier, etc, etc. Not only do they use these powers to protect humanity, but they're actually one of the nicer conspiracies, in that they're actually willing to investigate the monsters beforehand in order to see if they merit destroying.
    • Unfortunately, there's explicitly a very good chance that having The Dark Side In the Blood and using it eats away at any goodness you may have, given enough time.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade you're a freaking vampire! Sure, powers like super strength, speed, and invisibility aren't necessarily evil sounding, but being able to rip the blood out of someone? Manipulate shadows? Control people's minds? Transform into horrible beasts and control bats and rats? Of course, it doesn't help that all powers are fueled by the blood of your prey. The good people part of this comes from how the standard vampire is someone following the "Path of Humanity" trying to keep themselves from giving in to the beast within, and hold onto human morals.
  • Any heroic Abyssal or Infernal Exalted. Abyssal's powers are 90% about killing things, Infernal powers are the actual abilities of their insane Primordial patrons. Especially difficult for Infernals with the Ebon Dragon's charms, as he's pretty much the living embodiment of the concept of Villainy.
    • With a bit of reading between the lines, Infernals have Charms that help defend their loved ones, enable eternal unsleeping defence of your realm, create food, bestow useful mutations, cause injuries to regenerate, force corrupt gods to do their jobs and rip the password to turn off the ticking soulbreaker orb right out of the bomber's mind. Even the Ebon Dragon's stuff can be used benevolently on the condition that one is being spiteful and malevolent towards worse people than yourself.


Toys

  • Matoro in Bionicle, who has Animate Dead as his mask power.
    • Surprisingly, The Makuta were originally this. They were always beings of shadow, but the Brotherhood's original purpose was to create the wildlife of the world. In fact, the Brotherhood's original leader, Miserix, helped the Toa Hagah in their attempts to hunt down Teridax, the evil being most commonly known simply as Makuta.


Video Games

  • Dark-types in Pokémon are called "Evil" in Japan and their attacks largely consist of inflicting pain or simply cheating. However, it's established canon that any Pokemon is only as bad (or good) as its trainer.
  • Castlevania: Aria and Dawn of Sorrow. Soma Cruz has Dracula's main power of controlling monsters (and stealing their powers). It turns out that Soma is the Reincarnation of Dracula. It's up to the player to determine whether he turns evil.
  • In the Touhou Project, every character has a power; some of are far more evil sounding or dangerous than others. For example, we have the curse-goddess Hina, who would normally use her cursing powers to spread misfortune and woe, but Hina's a nice person, who instead uses her powers to absorb misfortune and bring happiness to people. And after a brief bit of insanity, Utsuho is using her nuclear powers to run Gensokyo's first nuclear reactor. However, some abilities just are not good. Poor ghostly princess Yuyuko got saddled with the power to kill people. Her only use of this power in life was on herself. At the same time, it acted as a Heroic Sacrifice that sealed away perhaps the only truly evil thing in Gensokyo.
    • Then there's Yamame, who has the power to manipulate infectious diseases, but is just too nice to use her powers to wreak havoc.
    • Yuyuko could also be seen as a decontruction of the trope due to the fact of the nature of her power lead her to commit suicide.
  • Negative energy powers for heroes in City of Heroes.
    • The Demon Summoning and Necromancy power sets will definitely fall into this once the Going Rogue expansion comes out to allow villain characters to take a Heel Face Turn.
    • Canon character Infernal is a controller and binder of demons, who looks a lot like one himself. He's firmly with the good guys, though his Mirror Universe version[1] shows us how easily his powers could corrupt him.
    • There are quite a few characters like this. Desdemona (Going Rogue's Poster Girl) is a reformed demon summoner. Sea Witch can summon the ghosts of the dead to do her bidding, yet spends most of her time fighting the evil Cage Consortium. Oh, and every Warshade Ever.
  • Ragna the Bloodedge from Blaz Blue. He's a wanted outlaw armed with the Azure Grimoire and has the "Soul Eater" ability to drain health from people to restore his own. Also, his Astral Finish involves his BFS turning into a Sinister Scythe and him turning into... something and utterly destroying his opponent right down to their souls. Despite this, he's actually a Chaotic Good/borderline Chaotic Neutral Jerk with a Heart of Gold. The only reason he's not a complete Nice Guy is because his life sucks.
  • In Guilty Gear Slayer also fits. He's a very powerful vampire that sometimes drinks his wife's blood dry (infront of his foes) and the founder of the Assassin's Guild. But he used his powers only for good, even the guild originally before he retired was meant to put out evil people. After retirement (mostly in Accent Core story-line) he guides and advises other characters. Also his wife can't die so he can't suck her to death even if he wanted to. And he's a really nice guy all in all.
  • In World of Warcraft, there are Warlocks, who manipulate fel energy and command demons. Some are Always Chaotic Evil, but a number of them also fall under this trope.
    • There are also the Shadow Priests. The priest in World of Warcraft can go three ways: the Holy way of the healer, the Discipline way of the healer more focused on buffing, and the Shadow way of the damage-dealer is in a lot of ways even worse than warlockery. Shadow priest's signature techniques include utterly destroying an enemy's mind or controlling it, inflicting unbearable pain, consume an opponent's life and energy to revitalize the priest, channel the forces of Death itself, create beings made of concentrated shadow to serve the priest... As player characters, they can be as good as they wish.
    • As might be guessed by the name, Death Knights aren't using the most kind powers, but they can be played as rebels against their creator.
  • Nasus in League of Legends is actually a good person, but uses powers considered evil. For starters, he brings death, steal's people's life, gets stronger when he kills people with an attack, desecrating ground with spirit fire, and aging them to slow them down.
  • A young nobleman you encounter in Nie R fits this description. Going by the name of Emil, he's even-tempered and very gentle, but he also possesses a set of cursed eyes that instantly petrify anyone he looks at. He lives alone in a remote mansion with his faithful butler because he's afraid of accidentally petrifying anyone he gets near. Eventually, however, he finds a certain amount of joy in using his powers to aid your quest, stating directly that it's nice to be able to put them to good use for once.
    • Then, later on, he merges with his monstrous 'sister' and turns into a terrifying, floating Grim Reaper lookalike, with devastating magical powers, and a face that can turn strong men pale. And he's STILL one of the nicest people you're ever likely to meet. He might accidentally destroy a few villages when he loses control of his destructive might, but he'll feel REALLY bad about it afterwards.
  • In Yggdra Union and Blaze Union, we have Gulcasa and Emilia, who are both descendants of the demonic dragon Brongaa. Once their demon blood is unsealed, they're able to command insane amounts of power, if at the price of nearly-incapacitating strain on their bodies. Overusing Brongaa's power also threatens one's sanity if you happen to lose control of it. The main use of Brongaa's power, by the way, is in a technique aptly named "Genocide" that turns the user into an unstoppable berserker in exchange for the lives of his or her unit while bathing him or her in an aura of Hellfire. Gulcasa works hard to control his powers, and is using them to try to create a peaceful world where no one will have to suffer any longer. In the scenario where Emilia's blood is unsealed in Blaze Union, she's only fighting to protect her friends. Though it is possible for her to lose control, and the results are horrific.
  • Phantom Brave: Marona is the most kind-hearted necromancer ever.
  • Necromancer NPCs of Guild Wars tend to be either morally ambiguous, or have a somewhat skewed view of right and wrong. The Master of Whispers, however, is a genuinely heroic and wise old man in charge of a secret, ancient organization dedicated to watching for and battling forces of evil. The fact that he fights using plagues, curses, and the corpses of fallen enemies is irrelevant.
  • The good-aligned Bhaalspawn in Baldur's Gate II, including good PCs and Imoen. Good people... whose divine heritage leaves them capable of transforming into unholy killing machines with a burning desire to slaughter everything nearby. Even when you can keep control of the slayer form, it still dings your Karma Meter.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, a combination of Karma Meter and Gameplay and Story Segregation means that no matter how many Dark Chips you use, Mega Man's personality stays exactly the same. He is always the hero, even if he relies upon his Super-Powered Evil Side in every battle.
  • Merrill of Dragon Age II is a practicing blood mage, demon summoner, and is the only mage on the team incapable of healing others. Despite this, she's unfailingly kind, sweet, and naive, and wishes no harm to anyone, having turned to dark powers in the hopes of using them to aid her clan in regaining their lost glory. Outside of gameplay, she never expresses a desire to use said demons and blood magic on people; she mostly turned to those avenues for utilitarian purposes.
    • Jowan from Dragon Age: Origins is also a blood mage, but while he does cause a few problems-most notably poisoning Arl Eamon-he also shows regret for his actions and expresses a desire to fix his mistakes. If sent into the Fade to fight the demon possessing Connor, he will never consider making a deal. Or if told to leave, he'll take on a new name for himself and help others escape the Blight.
      • According to Word of God, Jowas was supposed to have been a companion to the Warden, but was downgraded to just a NPC due to time shortage.
  • Light-side Sith are perfectly viable in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and can be kind, honest, and honorable people whilst still utilizing the Dark Side and it's gifts of Force Lightning and rage-driven nastiness in combat.
    • Lord Praven is an example in the Jedi Knight storyline, he's an honest and honorable Blood Knight willing to give the player character an even chance of stopping his plot. It is possible to redeem him after beating him.
  • In Jedi Academy, Kyle specifically tells you that Force powers aren't inherently good or evil, it's how you use them that counts. For some reason, this doesn't keep Luke and him from berating you if you do decide to only use the "Dark" powers.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series has Mudo skills, which are based on darkness and can be used by both demons and humans.
    • Persona 3 has another example in one character who's closer to bad purpose good people. The entire reason for his existence is call Nyx to bring The Fall. However, due to gaining human form by means of a particular event ten years prior to the game, he is willing to at least try to delay The Fall even though he thinks that it is inevitable either way.
  • The Grey Order from League of Legends are Noxians who broke off from Noxus due to its evil, and study dark magic without the whole Complete Monster thing Noxus proper has going. Their representative Champion is Creepy Child Annie who is certainly sinister and uses dark magic to inflict fiery death upon her foes, but is, if not outright good, certainly not evil.
  • Moke from The Reconstruction, unlike any other shra, oozes disgusting, weakening venom and also fights using this poison. However, he is a friendly, meek, cooperative, and unconfident guy instead of the Complete Monster one might expect.
  • Malpercio from the Baten Kaitos games. Despite making a Deal with the Devil for dark powers, they're just normal people who are desperate to stop something far worse. By extension, Sagi could also qualify, seeing as how he gets his power from a chunk of Marno.
  • Donovan Baine in Darkstalkers is a Dhampyr, or half-vampire. As such he is a powerful foe owing to being a creature of the night, and is shown in the questionably-canon anime to be a very powerful and resilient character. However, he laments over his 'cursed blood', looks after an emotionless psychic orphan, appears to be a pious Buddhist monk and generally does what he can to help protect humans from the less benevolent Darkstalkers. All of this with a demon broadsword as tall as he is on his back. Hsien-Ko and Mei-Ling (Lei-Lei and Lin-Lin in Japan) are lesser examples.
  • While not evil in itself, the Satsui no Hadou from Street Fighter roughly translates as 'the surge of murderous intent'. The known practitioners are all good (Ryu and Ken), not true users (Sakura based her style off of Ryu's), have perfected it to the point where the desire to kill is suppressed (Gouken) or morally neutral (Akuma/Gouki, who is driven to be the best fighter in the world, and will not kill a weak opponent, but will not hesitate to utterly destroy a strong one).


Visual Novels

  • Shiki of Tsukihime. With his demon assassin abilities and Mystic Eyes of Death Perception that shows him, "To kill this person cut on line / stab at point here," the only reason he isn't the Grim Reaper incarnate to anyone within his knife's reach are the migraines his powers give him while sapping his life away. But he acts just like an Ordinary High School Student.
    • Shiki of Kara no Kyoukai has much the same issue, only she does NOT have the headaches, and doesn't bother going to school. She's still neutral at worst.
    • Also in the Nasuverse one can make a credible arguement for Rider of the Fifth Grail War. Her real identity is Medusa and most of her Noble Phantasms aren't that nice. Blood Fort Andromeda drains people of their energy and eventually reduces them to piles of blood and organic ooze. Summoning her mount, Pegasus, involves creating a spray of blood by stabbing herself in the neck and the bridle Bellerephon is used to whip the normally docile beast (which in some interpretation of the myth is her own child) into insane fury and bloodlust. The only exception is her mask, Breaker Gorgon, which seals her mystic eyes. Rider herself however is actually quite a nice person and something of a Woobie once you get to know her.


Web Comics

  • Rilian from Dominic Deegan seems to embody this - as the first Necromancer, he uses his powers to help maintain the balance between life and death. And mess with people's heads. And Kick Jacob Deegan in the head until he understands that Death Is Not Zombies.
    • That said, he gets way too much mileage out of his Omniscient Morality License and has a strong tendency to be a Jerkass.
    • Of course, when we find out that a few hundred years ago he was a jolly, friendly plump guy who seriously considered calling his new form of magic 'deathomancy,' it's a little sad how completely he's become what he is today. Dark may not be evil, but evidently it wears you down. Or maybe that's the thankless centuries of world-protecting with the face of a skull.
    • The strip plays Bad Powers, Bad People straight with all the infernomancers, though. They sold themselves to hell for power, and apparently it is either impossible to do that with good intentions, or impossible to hold on to good intentions for more than five minutes after doing so; "there is no such thing as an infernomancer with a heart of gold." Bulgak Adrak cannot escape Hell until he fully accepts that he earned his place there and repents. His soul then explodes. This is a good thing.
    • Word of God says the demons are all fully, fundamentally evil for the same reason. They can't become demons without actively participating in the evil that is hell. Karnak has still managed to become a mystery on this score without truly approaching Noble Demon, only partly because since the war in hell he has started to get all kinds of really kick-ass moments.
      • The mystery is resolved with The Reveal that Karnak isn't a true demon, but a human mutated by the powers of Hell. He's still not a good person -- good people don't try to Murder the Hypotenuse or attack children -- but he isn't fundamentally evil.
  • A comedic variant from Starslip - Quine the Obstructive Bureaucrat is finally putting his dread powers of annoyance to good use, slowing down Starcon's pursuit by burrying them in red tape.


Web Original

  • Shadowcloak from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. She can generate a "living darkness" that "feeds" on people's body heat. You just don't see too many heroic energy vampires.
  • Tennyo from the Whateley Universe is effectively a human machine built for destruction. She's also a very shy girl firmly on the good side who likes reading and ballroom dancing.
    • Sarah Waite aka Carmilla. Daughter of the demon Gothmog, granddaughter of the Shub-Niggurath, descended from Cthulhu on the other side of her family, has Lovecraftian Superpower, eats by sucking the lifeforce out of living creatures, and is predicted to wipe humanity off the face of the earth to be replaced with her spawn. She's one of the good guys.
  • In his Dragon Age 2, Let's Play, Gronkh played an overall Lawful Good warrior... with the Reaver specialization.
  • Worm features Taylor, who has the power to control swarms of bugs. The Squick imagery of her power is probably a part of why she is mistaken for a villain on one major occasion, and if she is not careful, offensive use of her power carries the possibility of anaphylactic shock (bee stings), comas (black widow spiders), tissue necrosis (brown recluse spiders) or death (black widow spiders, again). Despite this, she has aspirations of being a superheroine and is constantly striving to do the right thing.


Western Animation

  • Raven in Teen Titans, daughter of the demonic Trigon and intended to serve in destroying the world. Instead, she opposes him and fights for good with the other Titans.
  • Zak Saturday from The Secret Saturdays. His cryptid controlling powers turn out to be the powers of Kur, the most evil cryptid to ever exist. Naturally, Zak fights against this dark nature within him and uses it to do good for the world. Although unlike some cases, he doesn't fully overcome the darkness within him as his powers are taken from him by Argost (who ends up destroying himself due to already having the antimatter version of that power), leaving Zak as a normal person.
  • While it's not a power per se, Rose from American Dragon: Jake Long has a natural talent for fighting dragons. While dragons are normally good creatures and slaying dragons is frowned upon, it makes her the ideal choice to take on the evil Dark Dragon.
  • Firebending is an interesting example. At the time Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place, the Firebending style that most people know is fueled by rage and hate. But a few characters, like Jeong Jeong and Zuko, have been known to use this style without becoming really evil, and we are shown enough to see that even the storm-trooper-like firebending Faceless Mooks are just guys (and possibly girls) who happen to have taken the standard career path of 'benders in their nation and joined the army, which happens to be conquering the world. They presumably possess a standard variety of personal moralities, although the propaganda they're raised on can't help anything.
    • And the true, original style of Firebending, which Zuko later learns, is a creative, life-giving force (like the sun) taught to mankind by benevolent dragons. Aang and Iroh have also learned this style from the dragons.
    • Also, Katara learns to use bloodbending, and she's firmly on the side of light.
    • Jeong-Jeong is a curious example in that he managed to turn firebending into something more defensive (though not entirely harmless) whilst still firmly believing that firebending was an inherently destructive ability, and envied the healing skill of waterbenders. Zuko, by contrast, needed to find the original source of firebending before turning his practice of it to a more positive use.
      • Not that his use of it to express his feelings by turning the campfire into a pillar of flame in the Beach Episode wasn't kind of cool, and basically harmless.
    • There's a firebender in the first season who uses his abilities to make fire dragon constructs to entertain the crowds.

Notes

  1. It's telling that Infernal is the only signature hero who has the same costume/name as their Praetorian counterpart
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