Improbable Ailment Susceptibility YKTTW Discussion

Improbable Ailment Susceptibility
Enemies in a video game are susceptible to status ailments they logically shouldn't be
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-30 17:05:42 sponsor: shiro11 (last reply: 2011-09-05 15:21:45)

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A Video Game trope that is a subset of Fridge Logic and Gameplay and Story Segregation.

Almost any video game that has a significant combat element contains the use of Standard Status Effects as a valid strategical option. Unfortunately, many game programmers do not have the time to go extensively through the game's bestiary and individually adjust resistances and immunities for each character and enemy, to the point that there are some instances where the use of such ailments becomes extremely nonsensical.

In particular, robotic and ghost enemies tend to face the brunt of this. Logically, it should be impossible to inflict the status ailment "Poison" on any robotic enemy, assuming that the robot does not have any biological systems. Similarly, it would be rather difficult to Confuse a robot unless your character was a supreme computer genius that could tinker with the enemy's AI. And, obviously, what ailments a ghost or immaterial enemy would be susceptible to wholly depends on that universe's rules of physics governing said ghosts. Also, what biological basis allows plants to fall asleep? (Though, if the plant is sentient and blatantly attacking you, that should be the least of your worries)

While these enemies are the most Fridge Logic inducing, this trope applies to any instance where enemies are susceptible to a condition that should not logically affect them. This does not cover instances where the Contractual Boss Immunity is suspiciously absent for some reason.


Card Games

  • Occasionally averted in Magic: The Gathering. Common kill cards, Terror and Go For the Throat, and a form of evasion known as Fear/Intimidate don't work on Artifact creatures (Robots and constructs), as they don't have a jugular, and lack the emotional capacity for fear.
    • That's not to say, however, that this never happens in MTG; the scope of the game and the sheer number of cards guarantee that legal plays that invoke Fridge Logic vulnerabilities happen every so often. For example, Lightning Elemental can be killed by Lightning Bolt, Bloated Toad can be Turned to Frog, and Spirits can be Incinerated. Among countless others.


  • In Ragnarok Online, wearing cloth over your eyes reduces your susceptibility to blind-effects.
  • World of Warcraft has a handful of these, mostly due to the impact of stun-effects in PVP that are constantly being re-balanced. One example, the rogue's sap ability (knock unconscious with an unseen blow-to-the-head), now works on the headless. On that note, the neckless can be Garroted (strangled with piano wire or analog) just as easily.

Real-Time Strategy

  • Mechanical units in Rise of Legends, such as Clockwork Men, are somehow just as vulnerable to Poison and Plague as any man.

Role-Playing Game

  • Robo from Chrono Trigger
  • Due to a programming oversight, the final boss of EarthBound is vulnerable to the poison status despite being immune to most other forms of damage. This can cause a Game Breaking Bug if applied creatively.
  • Mass Effect 2 also had some pretty good aversion going for it. Four different kinds of health bar exist, Biologic, Synthetic, Shield (electronic) and Barrier (psychic). Each type of health bar has its own vulnerabilities and resistances, for example, an unshielded Synthetic could be Hacked, but Biologics would shrug the attack off.
  • [[Pokemon]] is all over the place with this trope.
    • In general, it is pretty good about making sure that immunities to ailments make sense (this has increased with the introduction of abilities in Gen III), but some exceptions stick out.
    • Ghost-types are immune from physical damage caused by Normal and Fighting-type moves but can be poisoned, put to sleep, pelted with rocks, and somehow are weak to Bites.
    • In Generation I, Fire-types were not immune to the Burn status ailment.
    • Ice-types can be frozen via Secret Power or Tri Attack.
    • In an attempt to account for this, Steel-types, which cover machines and various animals covered with metallic coatings, are immune to Poison-type moves. Unfortunately, this causes a problem for anyone familiar with chemistry since the move Acid is considered a poison-type move.
  • Xenosaga Episode I notably averts this by having completely separate status ailments for biological/gnosis and mechanical enemies. Most of the mechanical status ailments only reduce statistics, and ailments such as Pilot-Sleep and Pilot-KO explicitly target the pilots.

Tabletop Game

  • 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Monster descriptions sometimes listed things that monsters were immune to, but did not list every possible thing. For example, the skeleton wasn't immune to attacks that should only affect living creatures (like bleeding, disease and poison) because they weren't mentioned in its description.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Any character or creature whose Bravery stat falls below a certain threshold turns into a chicken in Final Fantasy Tactics. The closest this comes to making sense is a Chocobo turning into a chicken. Oracles and Mediators have a small arsenal of similarly head-tilting status effects.
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