Created By: Euan2000April 26, 2013 Last Edited By: StarSwordFebruary 5, 2014
Troped

Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction

When the application of two or more sources of great power mix with bad results.

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Trope
"This ingredient is made of blur. Hah.... And this has blur in it too. Blur is very dangerous. You don't want to mix blur with blur."
Adam, Myth Busters

So you are someone who wants more power? Well, If one is good two must be better right? Not necessarily. You see some forms of Applied Phlebotinum are incompatible and attempt to mix the two will yield dangerous results. There may be several reasons for this:

  • The phlebotinum used are polar opposites: Generally speaking using two polarized sources of power together like that will be impossible. Light and darkness will try to engulf the other and mixing fire with either ice or water will get you water or steam respectively. Contrast with Yin Yang Bomb.
  • They both have a failsafe to prevent this. If the phlebotina are made by the same person/group or people related to that person/group then they would be compatible enough to work together. Thus if the combined forces are capable of The End Of The World As We Know It then chances are that they implement systems in place to prevent them for working properly together or just make it impossible for them to work together at all. (This is more common with technological phlebotinum.) Of course if Failsafe Failures come into play then watch out.
  • It would be Awesome But Impractical: The use of both phlebotina would actually make it harder to use ether one to their full potential. Simple as that.

Of course there can be other reasons why it would be a bad idea to mix two different sources of great power.

A very common version in more science-based works is drug interactions.

Compare Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object. When the heroes are warned of this and have to do it anyway because they've hit the Godzilla Threshold, that's Forbidden Chekhovs Gun. Contrast Phlebotinum Handling Equipment, where one piece of phlebotinum is used to contain the other.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In One Piece, what is currently established about Devil Fruits is that, among other things, you do not eat another fruit if you've already eaten one - it's believed that the "devil" inside the fruit will fight each other, causing the eater to implode. Subverted when Blackbeard, already an user of Dark-Dark Fruit, manages to get Whitebeard's Rumble-Rumble Fruit power, though the process of which is still unknown.
  • Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple has Roar-As-one. It's a technique that combines Sei and Dou Ki. While it does give the character immense power for a while, the end result will normally cripple or outright kill the user.

    Film 
  • In The Incredible Hulk, Blonsky makes Sterns infuse him with Bruce Banner's blood so he can gain the Hulk's power. Due to his own Super Soldier Serum reacting with it he undergoes a one way transformation to the stronger (and uglier) Abomination.
  • Exploited in Star Trek Into Darkness where John Harrison's agent destroys the Section 31 weapons lab by dropping a ring he's wearing into a glass of what at least looks like water, causing a tremendous explosion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Dark Angel, Max used a brain implant designed to boost normal humans to superhuman levels of performance. With her genetically-enhanced physiology, it would have killed her if the implant hadn't been removed very soon.
  • The early Stargate SG 1 episode "Singularity" shows that in addition to the main way naquadah is explosive, it reacts explosively with an alloy of iron and potassium (we're talking two microscopic amounts of each obliterating a whole room, including the camera on the other side of it), a fact used by Nirrti to turn a girl into a walking weapon of mass destruction.
  • Myth Busters:
    • Parodied with the page quote, where the actual names of the ingredients for an experiment are blurred out to keep from giving the audience ideas.
    • When examining the Hindenburg disaster, they tested the flammable properties of both the hydrogen gas and the zeppelin's metallic paint, and decided that a combination of the two was probably responsible.
    • When they were testing a Breaking Bad method of Disposing Of A Body, they accelerated sulfuric acid with some "special sauce" to make something monstrously corrosive.
  • In the Firefly episode "Ariel" an undercover Simon Tam saves a patient from cardiac arrest, then tears the patient's doctor a new one for causing it. The doctor had made the mistake of giving his patient a painkiller that, when combined with a standard prep drug used for the patient's procedure, reacts to form a vasoconstrictor.
  • In the Burn Notice episode "Bad Breaks" one of Michael's customary voiceovers narrates his efforts to foil a gang of bank robbers.
    "Mixing medications is always a bad idea, especially when one's an upper and one's a downer. Anxiety and allergy meds together are a scary combination, and that's before you add the caffeine of an energy drink."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons And Dragons
    • 1st Edition had the Potion Miscibility Table, which had a variety of results when someone drank two magic potions. The bad results ranged from mild poison to lethal poison to an explosion inside the victim.
    • Putting a portable hole into a Bag Of Holding causes very bad things to happen, although precisely what effect results depends on which is put into which. Putting the bag into the hole sucks both into the Astral Plane and renders both items Lost Forever. Putting the hole into the bag opens a dimensional breach into the Astral Plane, destroying both hole and bag and sucking anything in a ten foot radius into space.

    Video Games 
  • In Spider Man Shattered Dimensions Juggernaut gets his hands on a fragment of the Maguffin tablet which increases his already insane physical strength but it cancels out his own invulnerability meaning Spidey can take him down.

    Real Life 
  • Innumerable examples in chemistry.
    • Basic laboratory safety techniques include diluting acids by adding the concentrated acid to water, not water to acid. Sulfuric acid in particular reacts quite violently with water, and may boil and spatter.
    • As seen in the Firefly example above, some medicines can interact in ways that are harmful to the body, depending on the chemical substrates of the medicine.
    • Bleach and ammonia. Both are excellent cleaning agents, but if mixed they react and produce poisonous chloramine gas.
    • Binary chemical weapons exploit this trope. Two chemicals are relatively innocuous by themselves, but when combined they produce something far deadlier.

Indexes: Applied Phlebotinum

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • April 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons. 1st Edition had the Potion Miscibility Table, which had a variety of results when someone drank two magic potions. The bad results ranged from mild poison to lethal poison to an explosion inside the victim.
  • April 27, 2013
    StarSword
    Also from D&D:
    • Putting a portable hole into a Bag Of Holding causes very bad things to happen, although precisely what effect results depends on which is put into which. Putting the bag into the hole sucks both into the Astral Plane and renders both items Lost Forever. Putting the hole into the bag opens a dimensional breach into the Astral Plane, destroying both hole and bag and sucking anything in a ten foot radius into space.
  • April 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Fixed formatting and Example Indentation in the draft.
  • April 28, 2013
    chicagomel
    Real Life: Hypergolic chemicals are volatile when mixed. Sometimes harnessed for propulsion,as in spacecraft.
  • April 29, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In one episode of Dark Angel, Max used a brain implant designed to boost normal humans to superhuman levels of performance. With her genetically-enhanced physiology, it would have killed her if the implant hadn't been removed very soon.
  • April 29, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Fixed the description.
  • May 1, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Ghostbusters
      • Egon Spengler warns Peter Venkman about the unlicensed nuclear accelerators they use to capture ghosts.
      Egon: There's something very important I forgot to tell you. Don't cross the streams.
      Peter: Why?
      Egon: It would be bad.
      Peter: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
      Egon: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
      Ray: Total protonic reversal!
      • Inverted at the end of the movie, when crossing the streams turns out to be the only way of closing the Gate and destroying Gozer.
  • May 2, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Fixed the link to Crossing The Streams. ^Which fits that example more then this Trope.
  • May 3, 2013
    MorganWick
    I feel like using Adam Savage's line about "mixing blur with blur" as a page quote, but maybe And Some Other Stuff already having it is for the best... (especially since that trope could use a TRS)
  • May 3, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Tropes aren't supposed to have more than one page quote. I'll leave the Burn Notice one and we can use the "blur with blur" one here.
  • May 13, 2013
    Euan2000
    Added the Blur with Blur quote.
  • May 13, 2013
    StarSword
    TV:
  • May 16, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    bump.
  • January 2, 2014
    Generality
    Another couple of examples from Mythbusters would be:
    • When examining the Hindenberg disaster, they tested the flammable properties of both the hydrogen gas and the zeppelin's metallic paint, and decided that a combination of the two was probably responsible.
    • When they were testing a Breaking Bad method of Disposing Of A Body, and accelerated sulfuric acid with something else to make something monstrously corrosive.
  • January 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Real Life: Some medicines can interact in ways that are harmful to the body, depending of the chemical substrates of the medicine.

    • In One Piece, what is currently established about Devil Fruits is that, among other things, you do not eat another fruit if you've already eaten one - it's believed that the "devil" inside the fruit will fight each other, causing the eater to implode. Subverted when Blackbeard, already an user of Dark-Dark Fruit, manages to get Whitebeard's Rumble-Rumble Fruit power, though the process of which is still unknown.
  • January 3, 2014
    dalek955
  • January 3, 2014
    KarjamP
    The current trope title sounds like someone giving an instruction to another person, which is against the rules according to No New Stockphrases (which also applies to dialog-based titles).
  • January 3, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 3, 2014
    StarSword
    Updated a pothole to a renamed trope. And this lapsed into Up For Grabs months ago.
  • January 3, 2014
    StarSword
    Updated the draft with recent examples and added a few of my own.
  • January 3, 2014
    Goldfritha
    Is the the parent trope of Hybrid Overkill Avoidance or a sister trope?
  • January 5, 2014
    StarSword
    ^EDIT: On look #3, I really can't tell. That trope seriously needs a laconic version.
  • January 6, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ Sister Trope more likely.
  • January 7, 2014
    StarSword
    Did a little description tidying.

    What do people want for a better title?
  • January 7, 2014
    DAN004
  • January 8, 2014
    StarSword
    ^I like that better than the previous suggestions.

    Hats? Description thoughts? Examples?
  • January 8, 2014
    KZN02
    Compare with Phlebotinum Handling Equipment if one type of Phlebotinum is used to contain the other?
  • January 8, 2014
    StarSword
    ^More of a Contrast, but yeah, added.
  • January 9, 2014
    KantonKage
    Dangerous Phlebotium Incompatibility

    Anime

    • Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple has Roar-As-one, it's a technique that combines Sei & Dou Ki while it does give the character immense power for a while. The end result will normally cripple or outright kill the user.

  • February 5, 2014
    StarSword
    Hats? Examples? Description thoughts?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable