Touch The Untouchable
The ability to interact with or harm an intangible being
A being or object with this ability can, for whatever reason, interact with intangible beings as if they were solid. Maybe they're a Physical God, maybe they're so in tune with the Spirit World that they effectively exist in both worlds at once, or maybe they're just wrapped in a force field that ghosts can't pass through. This is an Internal Sub Trope for things which can damage or disrupt intangible beings without necessarily being able to, say, shake hands with them. This is a common aspect of a Holy Hand Grenade or Pure Energy.
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Anime and Manga
- In Berserk, Guts's Dragon Slayer is a completely mundane (if large) sword, but whenever it's used to kill an Apostle some of their demonic power rubs off on it (and Guts has killed a lot of Apostles). This eventually results in it being able to wound a Super Smoke Apostle who even other Apostles cannot harm.
- In Bleach, living people need a certain amount of spiritual power to interact with spiritual beings, and vice versa. Slightly less is needed for living people just to see spiritual beings.
- YuYu Hakusho. Living people need to have spiritual power to interact with spiritual beings.
- In One Piece channeling Haki through an attack lets it harm the setting's Elemental Shapeshifters, most of whom are otherwise Nigh Invulnerable.
- In Shaman King, Anna's prayer beads have this effect, which she sometimes uses to tie up Amidamaru.
- The Shinmeiryu school in Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima! possesses the "Zanmaken"Translation and "Zanmaken: Ni no Tachi"Translation sword techniques, which are capable of cutting spirits and magic.
- The Ghostbusters's "Proton Packs" can be used to damage ghosts or yank them into containment.
- In The Dresden Files, ghost dust is a magical substance which feels "extra-real". It can be thrown at ghosts to disable them, or incorporated into a wall to prevent them from passing through. Harry's recipe includes depleted uranium for weight.
- The Lord of the Rings: In Return of the King, Aragorn can parry an attack from the leader of the Army of the Dead with Anduril, though this has more to do with Aragorn's (and Anduril's) connection to the one who laid their curse than anything else.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Ghost Touch items (most commonly weapons and armor) have this effect. Magical attacks can harm incorporeal beings, but have only a 50% chance of working each time.
- In Pathfinder, magical attacks always work, but deal 50% damage.
- Force effects (such as forcecage and magic missile) are even better as they extend into the Ethereal Plane, allowing them to affect even ghosts that aren't physically manifesting.
- 1st-2nd Edition
- Mixing gorgon's blood into the mortar used to create a building prevents creatures on the Ethereal and Astral planes (who are intangible on the Prime Material Plane) from passing through its walls.
- Creatures on the Prime Material Plane can use the Staff of Ethereal Action to attack creatures on the Ethereal Plane.
- A number of Point Build Systems include this as an option when creating powers:
- In Hero System games it's called "Affects Desolid". This costs 50% of the power's base cost, or 25% if restricted to a single type of incorporeal targets (such as ectoplasm).
- In Mutants & Masterminds this appears as the "Affects Insubstantial" power feat (2e) or flat-value modifier (3e), which grants 50% effectiveness the first time it's taken and 100% effectiveness the second.
- New World of Darkness. Blessed objects allow mortals to harm ghosts (and potentially spirits).
- The powers of the titular vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade are almost completely focused on the material world, so anything from the spirit world or the afterlife is essentially an Outside-Context Villain for them. That said, a rare few bloodlines and Disciplines are capable of allowing communication and combat with ghosts and spirits. The Khaibit bloodline being one such bloodline.
- Shadowrun. Both solid earth and the bodies of living beings (plants and animals) can block the passage of entities in the Astral plane.
- In The Elder Scrolls you generally need silver or higher-tier weapons to hurt non-corporeal enemies (like ghosts and will-o-wisps). They, on the other hand, can always hurt you just fine.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, some ghostly enemies can only be seen while Link is in his wolf form. Most can only be attacked while you can see them.
- Danny Phantom: The Fentons have a pair of gauntlets that enable them to bypass the intangibility of ghosts. They were used in The Movie twice: the first to separate Danny's human and ghost halves, and the second to get rid of an intangible pocket-watch that was tethering him to a Bad Future.
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