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You cannot harm me. You cannot stop someone who has been touched by Vorlons.
Lyta Alexander, Babylon 5

A character, initially having no unusual powers, gains them through interactions with powerful aliens or supernatural beings. Alternately, they might have very weak or useless powers amplified to godlike levels.

The powers may come in a wide range of just how much they can actually do:

Being Touched by Vorlons often, but not always, results in a character struggling to control their New Super Power. And it may backfire morally because often With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, or literally in a Superpower Meltdown.

Less frequently, this trope may be reversed and a supernatural being (possibly The Great Gazoo, if it's being played for comedy more than drama) loses his powers -- again resulting in An Aesop.

Closely related to Super Empowering. See also He Who Fights Monsters.

For the other kind of "touched" see Mars Needs Women.

Examples of Touched by Vorlons include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Bleach: A human can gain shinigami powers if a shinigami plunges their sword into the human's heart. It doesn't have a very high success rate but can work sometimes. There are external factors involved in why Rukia and Ichigo's experience becomes a definite success instead of just a possible success.
    • Captains and vice-captains have to wear power-limiters on their reiatsu when in the human world least their power start affecting human souls. This is lampshaded by observations on how Ichigo's extremely powerful, uncontrolled reiatsu (when in shinigami form only) has affected humans around him (with help from the Hougyoku changing the odds to make something that can sometimes happen into something that definitely happens) to enable Orihime and Sado to unlock to latent powers they possessed from birth but couldn't access without help and to give several classmates the ability to see ghosts and shinigami when they previously couldn't.
    • Aizen uses the Hougyoku to create artificially-boosted arrancar at levels mock-arrancar in the past haven't naturally been able to reach. He also uses it to, in his personal belief, break the boundary between the shinigami and divine (although Urahara and Ichigo between them suggest he might have mistinterpreted what happened to him). The small print behind the Hougyoku does actually say that it's only capable of manifesting desires that already have the potential to be achieved without the Hougyoku's involvement.
  • In Hunter X Hunter, Nen ability can be gained by a process called Nen Baptism, which is basically direct exposure to Nen by a Nen user. The other method is through meditation and prayer, and can take years.
  • Naruto's father seals part of a legendary and evil monster's soul into Naruto. A seal that leaks some of the monster's energy for him to use. Lots of demon chakra proves to be really good (spell spam, Healing Factor, stamina, Super Mode) and really bad (failing vital techniques due to chakra overload, wanting to tear everything apart with your energy claws in Super Mode, all that bad stigma for housing what killed loved ones, potentially being a ticking time bomb, and the stigma of being a ticking time bomb whether you are or not). Using said chakra to help in the butt-kicking of genocidal maniacs -- who have actually done something bad and plan to do more -- however, can do wonders for one's reputation. About damn time.
  • In Code Geass, Immortals can give people Geass, which manifests differently with each person. CC gives main character Lelouch the ability to make people obey him absolutely.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Shana becomes increasingly powerful when Yuji is near her, leading to her ability to fly using flame wings.
    • This trope much better fits the way Flame Haze gain their powers, which is essentially through a contract with a god. In particular, Shana goes from a Badass Normal to a flame-wielding superhero. Yuji is a completely normal person Or maybe not]] Shana is able to manifest her wings for the first time because She Is Not Alone rather than any special power of Yuji's.
  • Kurau from Kurau Phantom Memory gains immense powers, such as flying, phasing through walls and disintegrating matter, after merging with an energy being called "Rynax". She also inherits the being's immense feeling of loneliness though, which is rather ironic since the Rynax came to her because she felt alone as a child.
  • In Doctor Slump, Senbei and Midori's toddler son, Turbo gets Psychic Powers when he's accidentally killed, then resurrected, by aliens who don't quite grok human biology.
  • In Transformers Energon, the human boy Kicker (Yes, Kicker. Is it any wonder he hates his father?) had a run-in with Primus earlier in his life that gave him the ability to sense Energon, which basically turns him into a walking MacGuffin. This makes him all angsty and stuff.
  • Basically, every supernatural being in Suzumiya Haruhi, meaning espers, aliens and time-travelers have been touched by Haruhi in that she actually created the world 3 years ago and therefore gave them their powers/identities. Especially Koizumi.
    • That's only one possibility and we haven't gotten a definite answer.
      • Aliens and time-travelers may be debatable, but espers certainly apply. Koizumi outrightly states that he knows his powers came from Haruhi. And if you don't trust him (which you probably shouldn't), in Dissociation, Kyoko Tachibana, the esper girl, is sure her powers came from Sasaki. Different vorlons, same situation.
    • Mikuru (the time-traveler) has also been quite literally "touched" by Haruhi. A lot.
  • This is essentially how Sho Fukamachi became the Guyver, though he never asked for the alien technology.
  • In Tenjho Tenge, certain characters possess powers known as "Red Feather Powers." In addition to giving certain characters supernatural abilities that put them on a level far above that of normal humans, these powers have an additional effect known as Resonance, which means that people with powers, latent or otherwise, are stimulated by proximity to other people with powers. This results in either causing people with latent abilities to suddenly awaken their powers or enhancing the powers of people who are already awakened. Furthermore, the more people involved in the resonance effect, the greater its range and potency. This aspect leads the Big Bad of the series to try and use the resonance effect to awaken the supernatural abilities of every person in the entire world.
  • In Tokyo Underground, the main character Rumina gains the ability to manipulate air, after dying, and being brought back to life from a kiss by Ruri, the "Maiden of Life".
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has numerous girls getting supernatural powers by way of a magical contract with Negi. At least those that didn't have powers to begin with.
  • In Baccano, a number of eighteenth century alchemists summon a demon to grant them Immortality. The demon complies, tossing in the extra of being able to kill other immortals and steal their memories, mostly for the the inevitable lulzy results of giving twenty quarreling people stuck on a boat a reason and the means to kill each other. He is not disappointed.
  • Near the end of Hellsing, it turns out that the Doctor created Millenium's "vampires" by infusing people with tiny bits of the corpse of Mina Harker, one of Alucard's aka Dracula's past victims, who survived and died as a human but still carried some of his power inside herself. So all of Millenium's vampires were Touched By Alucard. Small wonder that none of them really stood a chance against him.
  • In Digimon Adventure and its sequel, nearly all the original Digidestined were children who had been present personally for a massive battle between two Digimon, and the majority of the others seem to have witnessed the battle that took place on the internet. This seems to suggest that the only way to get a VIP pass into the Digital World is by being touched by Digimon.
  • This was played for horror in Berserk, when Femto viciously raped Casca, who was pregnant with she and her lover Guts's child at the time. The baby was at first developing as a normal human in the womb, but when the fetus came in contact with Femto's demonic essence, it became deformed and took on a nature of evil, and was eventually miscarried due to the trauma Casca endured. However, due to it being a supernatural being born between worlds, the Child survived and continued to linger around its parents, actually helping and protecting them.
    • In retrospect, all Apostle Spawns are created this way, since an Apostle can taint a normal human's life with their demonic powers.
  • Rosario Plus Vampire When Tsukune needs to fight, a quick dose of vampire blood (courtesy of Moka) gives him some much needed ass-kicking powers. Unfortunately, this has some unfortunate side effects...
  • In Trinity Blood, the Inquisition uses a special chemical to give them a brief moment of Vampire level speed and strength. The anime never states it, but the original books mention that the chemical is injected inside their suits, so the anime most likely never got around to showing this since it wasn't greatly important.


Comic Books

  • In the Marvel Universe, kid superhero team Power Pack gained their superpowers from an encounter with a dying alien.
  • Another Marvel example, the second-string superhero Comet Man was disintegrated accidentally by aliens, then resurrected using a machine that reassembled his body according to an alien template, giving him many of their Psychic Powers.
  • In Elf Quest, elves gain new powers or have their existing powers enhanced by proximity to the Palace of the High Ones.
  • In the Ultraverse, one of the only ways to gain superpowers was the Jump Start, a piece of alien technology on the moon that would randomly send out rays that gave humans superpowers.
  • Hitman was given very useful powers (telepathy and x-ray vision) from an alien, when it sucked out his spinal fluid, and he survived.
  • Jack Hawksmoor of The Authority. Since he was a child, he was kidnapped by aliens (actually, future humans) who turned him into a creature that could only survive in cities.
  • The second-tier Marvel Comics hero Sleepwalker centered around a human college student named Rick Sheridan, who ended up with an alien from another dimension trapped in his mind. A partial subversion in the sense that it was the Vorlon that gained unusual abilities, namely the ability to manifest in the human world when Rick was asleep.
  • Parodied by The Captain in Nextwave - he receives his "generic superpowers" from a pair of aliens who find him as he drunkenly staggers home. Their message to him, "do great things." His first act with his new powers is to punch the aliens out. And then vomit on them.
    • Hey, leprechauns are supposed to give you gold if you hit them!
  • DC B-lister Animal Man gained his powers from an exploding alien spaceship. At a later point some of the aliens reappear to help Animal Man.
  • Green Lantern was given his powers (in the form of a ring) by a dying alien.
    • They also gave GL Kyle the Ion power and transformed several other GLs into cyborgs called Alpha-Lanterns. Ganthet founded a Blue Lantern Corps for which he's recruiting. Sinestro got his yellow ring from another sort of aliens.
    • The Orange Lantern Corps is a subversion. When the leader (Larfleeze if you care) gets touchy your soul, or something like it, is taken and made into a creature with superpowers... under his mental dominion.
  • In his ongoing series, Marvel Universe Gambit gained megatronic powers which allow him even to touch Rogue. He had them all the time. In his fight against New Son, he burns out and goes back to normal.
  • One of the major plot points of Cross Gen's many Sigilverse comics is the rise of the Sigil-Bearers, who gain their power from a red and yellow mark bestowed by Solusandra via this trope.
  • Ultraman, an evil version of Superman was a normal human astronaut who, like Animal Man was put back together by aliens.
  • Apocalypse was granted much of his power by celestial technology.
  • A number of the supers in Empowered gained their abilities through "contact" with aliens. Alien STDs interacting with humans = Hilarity Ensues.


Fanfic

  • In Divine Blood there are several examples.
    • Ranma early on commiserates that she's not quite a "non-magical" being any more given the changes that constant exposure to supernatural energies has wrought on her, not the least being her rape and impregnation by three of the Greek Gods
    • It is shown that both Demons and Gods have used their method of achieving immortality to recruit mortals of random sentient species to their ranks. Currently, the target is human (and assorted subraces) since there aren't many other sentient species that aren't immortal. and humans have recently stepped up to produce their own immortals
  • The Beatles in With Strings Attached. The first instances (John and Ringo) are actually unintentional on the part of the aliens involved; they end up giving George and Paul powers to make them roughly equal.

 Varx: I don't think we have a choice, Shag, unless you want half of our heroes feeling real inferior to the other half.


Film


Literature

  • Animorphs is a classic example of this trope. The protagonists were given amazing shapeshifting super-phlebotium by an alien who crashed in their hometown and hoped they could prevent the alien invasion he died trying to stop.
  • Night Watch
    • Similar but not quite the same: Potential Others could discover their powers by interacting with Others who had already discovered their powers.
    • The third book also shows that members of the Inquisition are able to appeal directly to either the Light or the Dark (depending on what kind of Other they are) for a temporary boost in power, if necessary to carry out their duties.
  • Being in the proximity of Warhammer (40k) Daemons is almost never a good idea. Unless, of course, you're on their side, and even that isn't all fun.
  • In Karen Miller's book Empress, main character Hekat dedicates herself to the (uncapitalized)god and uses her perceived holiness as unquestioned justification for such niceties as murder, rape, more murder, child abuse, mass murder, power-and-land-grabbing, baby murder, the exile of her child and any people who disagree with her, the Lolita-licious public banging of a fifty year old man when she's twelve or thirteen, and murderous racism.
  • In the Xanth book The Source Of Magic, the demon Xanth (the titular source) thanks Bink for freeing him - even though Bink knew Xanth probably would fly the coop and take all Xanth's magic with him - by ensuring that every one of his direct descendants would have a Magician-class talent. (So, in a sense, Bink's kids were touched).
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Petaybee series: Most of Petaybee's population over a certain age had been modified by the planet, itself, to live comfortably on the planet's sub-Arctic climate -- with the nasty drawback that, once so adapted, any prolonged absence from the planet's surface (as little as a couple of days) ends with complete organ shutdown and death. Sean Shongili was further altered to be able to transform into a seal-like creature (The reason why isn't really explored to any depth)
  • In Stephen King's novella, Low Men In Yellow Coats (Adapted into a film named for the anthology in which the story appeared, Hearts in Atlantis), anyone Ted touches gains his psychic abilities, at least temporarily.
    • When the character turns up later in the final Dark Tower book, we find out not only can he temporarily give a normal person psychic powers, but is also able to exponentially boost the power of someone who was already psychic.
    • In another of Stephen King's novels, The Tommyknockers, an alien ship releases in the atmosphere a gas which gradually turns every inhabitant of a small town into amoral geniuses, except for the hero.
  • In the George R.R. Martin-edited Wild Cards books, the Aces and Jokers are given their superpowers and super-un-powers, respectively, from an alien virus that's sorta kinda accidentally spread across the planet.
  • In The Silmarillion:
    • Tuor lived among Elves for the greater part of his life and married one; depending on which draft of Tolkien's work you read, it is implied that he too eventually became immortal. Other passages, however, state that the Valar can't take away mortality by making a being immortal because, in Tolkien's mythology, death is the ultimate gift. Therefore it's perfectly plausible that Tuor eventually died, even if his life was extended far past that of a normal human's.
    • Most forms of awesomeness in Tolkien's mythology are contagious. The elves who hang out with the Valar are awesomer than the elves who don't, and the men who hang out with elves are awesomer than the men who don't. Some of this is simply a matter of learning skills and knowledge from them, but the elf-friends also tend to be taller, stronger, wiser, and much longer-lived. (Sadly, this doesn't stop some of the more High Elves from being total jerkasses.)
  • The main character in Sergey Lukyanenko's Labyrinth Of Reflections novel gains Neo-like abilities both inside and outside the virtual environment after interacting with an energy being either from space or another dimension (its true nature is never explained). The trope is slightly subverted in that he already possesses superhuman abilities while in VR, namely the ability to leave VR at will (normal humans can't do that) and to literally "see" holes and backdoors in code. The new abilities include making him immune to viral weapons used by the virtual cops, flying, and hacking into any system he wishes with a thought. His most amazing ability allows him to enter the virtual world without the aid of a computer or a phone line.
    • It should be noted that the novel came out in 1997, while The Matrix was premiered in 1999. Then again, both works can be seen as spiritual successors to Tron.
      • Actually, Leonid becomes a progressively more delusional hikikomori due to his VR addiction, blurring the lines between reality, VR, and dreams, and making him an increasingly Unreliable Narrator. The sequel clearly reveals at least one major case of such mania and hints that there may have been more, much, much, more. Interestingly, the novel foreshadows RMT, MMO addiction, and Second Life.
        • Pity Lukyanenko sold out and is now churning out meaningless books at industrial rates. I'd all but forgotten that he used to be quite good!
    • Another Mind Screw is that the energy being may have been someone like Leonid (if he did have a grasp on reality in certain stranger parts and wasn't hallucinating), what Leonid was fated to turn into, or a computer glitch that created a virtual spectre of a dead and utterly insane VR addict. Well, that or a really experienced troll who managed to put more than a few people into a Mind Screw-corkscrew. And Leonid realizes that. Well, sort of...
  • Dean Koontz's Strangers has this. Subverted in that the Aliens wanted everyone to have the powers but crashed and were only able to give them to the people who had seen the crash and come to investigate.
    • But after being played straight then subverted, it's played straight again when it becomes apparent that the changed humans can themselves change those with whom they come into contact.
  • In Blind Lake, Tess becomes an Oracular Urchin due to being a subject of interest to the Starfish Alien she calls Mirror Girl. At the same time, the scientists at Blind Lake are studying an alien called Subject, who is fundamentally changed by the experience and effectively becomes "Touched By Humans".
  • Happens to the pets of wizards in the Young Wizards series, by having wizardly energy leaked onto them. The powers gained can range from super strength to precognition to being able to create new universes.
  • Telzey Amberdon, of James H. Schmitz's Federation of the Hub, starts out with latent powers being awakened by aliens who need her to learn to communicate in a hurry. However, the learning process continues for longer than intended, eventually turning her into one of the most powerful telepaths we meet.
  • In China Mieville's Iron Council, Judah Low learns how golem magic works by studying a race of creatures born with this ability, but is only able to use it himself after being touched by the Stiltspear chief.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's scary Night's Dawn trilogy has this happen to Joshua Calvert when he encounters the Tyrathca Sleeping God (which is actually a sentient naked singularity). An interesting example, in that while the Sleeping God gives him essentially unlimited access to its capabilities, he isn't allowed to use them as an offensive weapon and the capability only lasts as long as he needs it to reverse the rampage of the Possessed across the galaxy.
  • In Journey to the West, any animal within earshot of a practicing Taoist or Buddhist, whether the religious figure intends it or not, will gain some degree of the same powers as the travelers. This is what led to the incident with the Scorpion-Woman, as even Buddha and Guanyin didn't want a damn thing to do with her.
  • In Blue Light by Walter Mosley, a blue light comes from space and magically enhances anyone it comes into contact with. It makes them the best at what they are doing at the time.
  • In The Featherbedders by Frank Herbert it's a reason why telepathic Slorin only rely on polymorphing to infiltrate societies they are parasiting upon.

  A nudge from the Slorin mind-cloud helped, of course, but this carried its own perils. The nudged mind sometimes developed powers of its own -- with terrifying results.

    • And then the creatures parasiting on their civilization need to take care...

  Next time you find a blob of something jes' lyin' in a field, you leave it alone, hear? [...] It was you made him so dang strong, pokin' him that way. Slorin aren't all that strong 'less'n you ignite'em, hear?


Live Action TV

  • This happens a few times in the Star Trek franchise.
    • During Star Trek the Next Generation Riker is given the powers of the Q in order for him to learn a lesson.
    • During Star Trek Voyager Kes, comes into contact with a powerful telepathic race, which causes her telepathic abilities to grow beyond her ability to control them. This forces her to leave the U.S.S. Voyager, just in time for her to make room for Seven of Nine.
    • This is how Wesley Crusher is given his final send off from TNG.
    • This happens in the second pilot of Star Trek the Original Series where Kirk's pal and helsman Gary Mitchell gains incredible telekinetic amongst other powers from the "Galactic Barrier", consequently goes insane, tries to kill Kirk, and Kirk has to kill him.
      • This is just a repeat of what happened before, when a pre-Federation ship ended up in the Barrier, causing one of the crewmembers to gain godlike abilities and forcing the captain to self-destruct the ship.
    • In the Star Trek the Original Series episode "Charlie X," the eponymous human character is given his powers by the superpowerful Thasians.
    • Star Trek loves this trope. Lieutenant Barclay (temporarily) gets an IQ in the thousands after an encounter with a Cytherian probe in The Nth Degree.
  • The Trope Namer would be commercial telepath Lyta Alexander of Babylon 5, who disappeared after the events of the Pilot Movie, only to reappear in season three, vastly empowered by the Vorlons. Before, she was a P5 rating (on a scale of 0, non-telepath, to 12, the Psi Cops), but afterward she's just plain off the scale. She says later that she thinks she was made to be the Vorlons' ace in the hole.
    • To say it in her own words: "In a war, you have a certain number of small weapons, a certain number of medium sized weapons, and one or two big ones. The kind of weapons you drop when you're out of the small weapons, and the medium weapons, and you've got nothing left to use."
    • Technically, all telepaths might qualify, as it is eventually revealed that telepathy was induced in the younger races by the Vorlons so they could be used as weapons against the Shadows.
    • Captain Sheridan was literally touched by a Vorlon; it left a piece of itself inside his head. That piece gave him telepathic resistance and guided him to encounter Lorien, who's even more powerful, and kept John from dying.
      • It also let him stand up to Lyta - see the entry on the Click Hello page.
    • On the opposite side were Bester's "weapons components," rogue telepaths that Earth sold to the Shadows in exchange for powerful technology, whom the Shadows modified to be living computer cores.
      • and the Techno-mages, who were originally created by the Shadows.
    • An earlier example is Talia Winters, Lyta's replacement who eventually got replaced by her again: her old mentor and lover Ironheart ascended to higher plane of existence after an experiment increased his powers way off the scale(complete with difficulty to control them). He then gave Talia a gift, this trope.
  • Cordelia began Angel as a normal young woman, a carryover from her role in Buffy. In the first season she gained the ability to have visions when Doyle, a half-demon, kissed her. These visions were from the Powers That Be, mystical overseers in a way. In the third season the pain from the visions had become so intense that Cordy became half-demon to sustain them. Later in that season, Cordy became a higher being. Then comes back down to Earth with a murderous backstabbing villain in her head trying to create a true vessel for itself.
  • Stargate SG-1 has used this trope frequently. (For example, Daniel Jackson's season-long "ascension", Sam's temporary blending with a Tok'ra that left her with some nice gifts-with-purchase, Jacob's permanent blending with a Tok'ra, Jack's downloading an entire library of ancient knowledge, etc.).
    • Anubis; the guy tricks himself into ascension, the Ancients are ticked off at this and pretty much kick him out of ascendedness, but leave him as an unkillable energy being with all the knowledge he had gained. Granted, he had some limitations on what he could do, but he could pretty much run over anyone in his way.
    • The Priors are all humans or Jaffa that are empowered by the Ori.
    • What about Weir? She was infused with replicator nanites and gained some of their abilities; namely, rapid regeneration (we're talking about brain damage here!), limited telepathy versus other replicators as well as the ability to mentally hack into their wireless network.
  • The premise of The 4400 is that 4400 people have been abducted by people of the future, altered to have special abilities, and returned all at the same time and place. Each returnee demonstrates one unique ability (some have not yet been manifested or revealed).
  • In series 1 of Doctor Who, Captain Jack Harkness is exterminated by Daleks but resurrected by the Time Vortex-empowered Rose. In the spinoff series Torchwood, it is revealed that he has been immortal since then. In series 3 of Who, it is confirmed that this immortality was a side-effect.
    • Likewise, Donna in the season four finale "Touched a Time Lord" (well, his hand at least) and got super vast intellect which got taken away thanks to Victory-Guided Amnesia lest her brain go all asplody afterwards.
    • In new Series 6, we get River Song. Her parents (Amy and Rory) are human, but she ends up being part Time Lord because she was conceived on the TARDIS.
  • The Big Good Jacob and the Big Bad The Smoke Monster of Lost have supernatural powers and immortality thanks to the Source of Life located in the heart of the Island.
  • The Twilight Zone had Luther Dingle. Martians want to test a gadget that gives humans super strength, so they use it on Dingle, who quickly lets his new power go to his head. The Martians take away his power after he starts to abuse it and begin to leave, only to meet some Venusians looking for a human test subject for their intelligence enhancer. The Martians helpfully point them to Mr. Dingle…
  • In Threshold, people exposed to the Alien signal gain superhuman strength, resilience, and the desire to infect others. Or they die.
  • In a way, the demons of Supernatural. They were once human souls that were twisted in hell (The first one turned by Lucifer himself) and became what could be described as Uber-Ghosts.


Religion

  • Older Than Feudalism: Happens pretty often in The Bible:
    • The most notable Old Testament example would be Moses, who after talking to God through a burning bush, gained the power to turn his staff into a cobra, turn the Nile to blood, summon swarms of locusts, and blot out the sun.
    • Anyone from the book of Judges could be seen as touched.
    • Samson is a wonderful example.
    • Elisha has to qualify. After God took his mentor, Elijah, to Heaven (which He later revealed was a way to keep Elijah alive until the End Times, so he could prophesy again), God gave the power He had previously vested in Elijah to Elisha. Elisha proceeded to work many miracles in the Name of the Lord, and the power God bestowed on him was so great that his decaying bones revived a dead man.
    • Like Elisha, the Apostles were given the ability to perform miracles in the Name of Jesus.
  • In Buddhism, one is supposedly able to perform amazing feats upon reaching nirvana.
  • Rael, the founder of the Raelians, claims to be this. Funnily enough, his birth name is Claude Vorilhon.


Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • The fourth edition has the Warlock class which, are usually described as having made a deal with a fiend or a lovecraftian entity from the stars, but sometimes are described as this trope, especially if their powers were granted by The Fair Folk
    • Eberron provides an entire race Touched by Vorlons. The Kalashtar started out as human mystics untill they merged with extraplanar beings known as Quori.
    • Forgotten Realms after Time of Troubles has "Touched mages" -- wizards who agreed to perform for the goddes of magic (but don't need to be Mystra's faithful) a "little" service -- help to erase a dead-magic zone, drop a "funny" surprise on local Cult of the Dragon cell and so on. They receive a temporary granted power (which may change mid-quest). When the mission is complete and this power vanishes, the wizard is left with a little, but useful spell-like ability (like Feather Fall or Light at will) and is a bit less vulnerable to one school of spells. Naturally, this also stimulates the faith more often than not.
    • Overexposure to raw magic/eldritch energy can also result in a disease known as Warp Touch, which may result in the development of all sorts of Red Right Hand attributes...unless the 1d100 roll is a critical failure, in which case the victim simply melts into a puddle of goo.
  • Never, ever a good thing in Warhammer 40000. Partly because you're liable to get nailed to a stick and purged with flame if you get touched by any alien... or listen to them... or look at them (unless through a gun sight)... or live in the same general area as someone who looked at them... and Emperor help you if someone on your planet was engaged in a Chaos Cult.
    • Played more straight with Astropaths, a class of Psyker and the main means of interstellar communication in the setting. In order to survive sending messages through the Warp they undergo the Soul Binding, exposing them for a brief second to the mind of the God-Emperor. As a result, their eyes burn out, leaving them blind.
    • Aside from the Chaos Gods, there's also the C'tan, Psykers, and the Eldar Gods. In general, getting Touched by Vorlons in this setting is never a good thing.
    • Psykers in general are described as being "those touched by the warp." Since the Warp is home to a variety of Chaos Gods and daemons who think humans are wonderfully delicious, this isn't a good thing.
      • Which is when the Commissar ability "It's For Your Own Good!" comes into play...
  • The World of Darkness
  • Rifts has the Cosmo Knight, people with phenomenal cosmic power granted by a mysterious artifact/being called the Cosmic Forge.


Video Games

  • Commander Shepard of Mass Effect is given the Cipher from an asari. Both this and several uses of Prothean beacons allow him to understand the Prothean language clearly.
  • Geo Stelar of Mega Man Star Force becomes able to transform into the titular character through literal contact with the extraterrestrial electromagnetic bioform Omega-Xis. He's not the only one, though...
  • Although the bulk of her power comes from her power suit, Metroid's protagonist Samus Aran is known to have near-superhuman abilities due to being raised by (and infused with the blood of) the Chozo.
    • Biggest one, in canon, is that she can fit into that morph ball. Experiments to replicate it didn't go so well.
      • The Morph Ball doesn't actually "fit" Samus in the ball. As demonstrated in the various Prime games, she actually is turned into energy when the morph ball is activated. The Space Pirates that attempted to replicate the technology didn't catch the "to energy" part, and so attempted to get their test subjects to crunch into little balls. Which, as mentioned above, didn't work. Samus's supposed other superhuman abilities have not been seen in canon.
        • Some level of strength has been demonstrated, however. In Metroid Prime 3, she can rip metal plates and creatures apart, and, in one instance pried open Ridley's jaws.
        • In Zero Mission, Samus ends up losing her Power Suit and running around with nothing but the Zero Suit, which apparently stores all her upgrades and still has an energy shield. She can still jump as high as she can with the power suit, and usually survives a number of hits (depending on energy tanks; one hit takes a whole tank) from an enemy (Space Pirates sometime obliterate themselves with same weapons). Snake's codec in Super Smash Bros probably doesn't count though.
    • In Fusion, Samus is injected with DNA extracted from the last Metroid, wich gives her extra abilities. Among them are an immunity to the deadly X Parasites and a more organic Power Suit, but it also comes with a vulnerability to cold (she gets better).
  • In the Nintendo 64 game Sin and Punishment, several humans are endowed with various types of psychic and telepathic powers, among other things, by receiving a blood transfusion from the mysterious girl, Achi.
  • The player character in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne wasn't touched by Vorlons per se, but did have his powers implanted by no less a figure than Lucifer himself. In fact, the entire game could be seen as a test case to see just how usable the method was. Just so long the empowering worked it wouldn't matter what the newly-created Demi-Fiend did, even if that involved defying his Vorlon (so to speak). The method would be proved as workable, and it would likely be not that much trouble to duplicate the process with a more ready accomplice.
    • Persona 4 plays the trope similarly, with the goddess Izanami granting the power to enter the TV universe and summon Personas to the main character and two others, more or less just to see what they would do with it. More relevant to this trope, the power is granted via contact-- in this case, Izanami's disguised form as the gas station attendant giving you a friendly handshake.
  • Jak from Jak and Daxter is blessed with Light Eco abilities by the Precursors, god-like figures of his world. While his Dark Eco powers were a result of being experimented on by Baron Praxis, the Precursors help him to gain control of them.
  • Ragna the Bloodedge gained his powers by fusing with the remains of the Black Beast.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has this trope at the core. All six main characters are l'Cie, humans who have been given a task by inscrutable alien beings called Fal'cie and superpowers to help them fulfill it. The downside of this is if they fail, they turn into mindless monsters. The upside? If they succeed, they turn into crystals for eternity.


Web Comics

  • In El Goonish Shive, Immortals can imbue a person with subtle magical abilities and start them down the road to more magic if they have a strong yearning for something or if they have an affinity for something specific. They can also unlock a person's natural latent magical abilities to be able to start getting access to and using explicit spells.
  • In Black Adventures, Missingno. bitch-slaps Mary, injuring her eye. Her next appearance reveals that she has obtained some of Missing No.'s powers, which she uses to help her and Joseph get the upper hand against Black.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the filler story "Stick Figure Tales of Cotton", Torg and Riff both gained superpowers from a group of aliens (that were actually the author's hand) after going through some parodic superhero origin stories that didn't actually give them any powers.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Vaarsuvius briefly receives this from several fiends in exchange for a seemingly minimal price to stop a vengeful black dragon from killing V's mate and children.


Web Original

  • Chakona Space gives us several examples:
    • Boyce Kline is interfertile with any mammalian morph, taur or alien species, thanks to a meddlesome Rakshani fertility Deity, or possibly more then one.
    • Shamara, a Herm Rakshani, winds up fertile with any biped feline species thanks to a different Deity. Possibly the same one responsible for hir being born a herm in the first place (hir parents lost a boy and a girl child in an accident, apparently some Deity thought it would be amusing to replace them both in one), possibly another one.
    • The character Shadowcrest from the "Tales of the Folly" stories ends up with hir natural empathic abilities going Up to Eleven thanks to some more meddlesome alien Deities.
    • The transporters aboard the Folly are able to perform a "Fountain of Youth" makeover thanks to yet a different Deity (or three).


Western Animation

  • Hilariously Parodied in an episode of Invader Zim, with Dib being contacted by Shoe Aliens to help in his fight against Zim. He gains incredible mental and physical powers, which he then uses to prepare the Earth for Irken Invasion and defeat the Irken Armada. Turns out it was just Zim, having kidnapped him and hooked him up to an interrogation device, in order to determine if Dib threw a muffin at him earlier in the day. Zim then proceeds to gain his revenge by throwing a muffin at Dib.
    • From a cannon.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)'s Demon Shredder started as a normal human, and obtained his god-like abilities after he allowed a dying Tengu to possess him.
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