Created By: Earnest on July 2, 2010 Last Edited By: Earnest on July 6, 2010

Every Lock Must Have A Key

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I'm strung out for clever names, ideas?

Anyhoo. When a wizard, scientist, (or both!) create a can to seal evil into, a suit of armor that can withstand all harm, and a weapon capable of felling anything it strikes in case the evil should somehow get loose (hey, at least they're planning for the inevitable), they must all have a key or weakness that can activate, deactivate, or destroy it.

It's unstated, (at least I haven't found a work that explicitly talks about this) but magic, technology, or whatever, can't make a truly inescapable prison, unbreakable armor, weapon that can One-Hit Kill, or unsolvable puzzle. These artifacts or devices always have a limitation or weakness that somehow enables their power, like a keystone.

This is probably just to avoid creating a Mary Sue object, and to give the villains and hero a way to fight each other. However it might be a form of intentional irony, the only way to make these things inescapable, unstoppable (or basically anything you could add the in/un prefix to) is to make it stoppable by at least one thing.

It can be a key, a weak point, not being able to harm virgins, a remote control or something more exotic. If the weakness is a Power Source Soul Jar, or a form of remote control, destroying the "Keystone" destroys the device/weapon/person/army.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • July 2, 2010
    In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy book Life, the Universe and Everything, the population of the planet of Krikkit is in a Slo-Time envelope but for some reason there is a Wikkit Gate that will let them out.
  • July 2, 2010
    • The World Of Darkness likes this one.
      • Werewolves can make traps etc. for spirits but they always have to include a way out.
      • Changelings are taught that everything has a price but nothing is truly forbidden this comes to the forefront with fetches some have a catch called Fragile Creation in which one specific thing will destroy the fetch utterly, nothing else will.
      • Vampires gain new powers but only if they gain new weaknesses, probably how the whole immortality vrs sun thing happened.
      • Prometheans can do all kinds of nifty stuff with their bodies, except the power that animates them is utterly unnatural and the universe acts accordingly.
      • Mages are well magical but just enough to be squishy wizards, they are also loathed by the universe witch allows paradox to do nasty things to them.
      • Sin-eaters have it relatively easy though.
  • July 3, 2010
    Everything Has A Weakness?

    Compare Achilles Heel, which is this for creatures/characters.

    • Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant.
      • The wild magic power of white gold can break the Arch of Time and release Lord Foul from The Land.
      • From The Other Wiki: During the Second Chronicles, the thaumaturge Kasreyn said that each of his theurgies contained a single deliberate flaw, because perfection could not endure within the imperfect world. He claimed that white gold would allow him to overcome this.
    • The Lord Of The Rings. The One Ring can only be destroyed by throwing it into Mount Doom.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons. In earlier editions, artifacts and relics could only be destroyed by a single specific means.
  • July 3, 2010
    I think Alexander comments on this trope in Kings Quest V during the Beast scenario.
  • July 3, 2010
    According to Word Of God, magic in the Gargoyles universe is more powerful if you give it some sort of get out clause (even an absurd one). Hence the series' premise that the spell on the Gargoyles was undone by a spell with the criteria "until the castle rises above the clouds".
  • July 3, 2010
    In Justice League Unlimited, Hephaestus creates an invincible, sentient suit of armor for Ares, but like all his creations, he builds it with one fatal flaw: it's powered by conflict, so if nobody is fighting around it, it shuts down.
  • July 3, 2010
    some overlap with Necessary Drawback
  • July 3, 2010
  • July 6, 2010
    If you still want a new name how about For Every Lock A Key, or A Key For Every Lock, or Sword of Damocles, or Scale of Damocles, or For every Diamond A Flaw, or Fantastic Fragility, or Only Imperfect, or Fatal Flaw, or Flawed Construct, or Limited Perfection, or Choose 2 Of 3 Only, or Haud Silentium Ex Machina, or Haud Deus Ex Apparatus?
  • July 6, 2010
    Fantastic Fragility sounds good, or maybe Fantastic Frailty.
  • July 6, 2010
    In my opinion Fragility would work better since Frailty is mostly used to talk about people/characters.