A video game trope found mostly in [=RPGs=]. Whether it's something you [[AnEconomyIsYou buy in a shop]], [[InexplicableTreasureChests find in a dungeon]], or [[RandomlyDrops loot from an enemy's corpse]], TheLawOfConservationOfDetail guarantees that it'll be of some use for someone in your party.

So what does it mean, when you find a giant axe that's too big for any of the characters to wield? Naturally, that the BigGuy is well on his way to join the party. Alternatively, one of the existing characters will get a PlotRelevantPowerUp and gain the ability to use such weapons.

This trope usually appears in [[EasternRPG Eastern-style RPGs]], in games where every character has a set type of weapon only they can use. When the game allows choosing player character's class, items usually will be placed in a way that ensures every class will find something useful for them ever so often. In such cases the trope can still occur, when an item is described as being useful for races or classes that are currently unavailable to the player.

Often, this trope is a big clue to the existence of a HiddenCharacter. See also InterfaceSpoiler, where existence of a character, item or power-up is suggested by the interface itself.

Note, that this trope only applies to items that are clearly treated as usable by the game's system. A mysterious PlotCoupon that may or may not be crucial for defeating the BigBad doesn't count.


[[folder: Action Adventure]]
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidZeroMission'', Samus can pick up powerups which are incompatible with her Power Suit. The fact that you don't get the fix that by the time you face Mother Brain, the FinalBoss of the [[VideoGame/Metroid1 original game]], tells you your adventure isn't over just yet...

[[folder: Eastern [=RPGs=]]]
* In ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'' you can find knuckle attacks before Savyna shows up.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' has a merchant selling you scythes shortly before [[spoiler:Magus joins up]].
* Common in ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games:
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'', you can find job-specific equipment (books for Scholars, bells for Geomancers, etc.) before the corresponding jobs are unlocked.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', you can find throwing stars for Edge in Eblan Cave before he joins the party at the end, and buy Paladin equipment before Cecil changes class.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' you can purchase spells for Time Mages and Summoners in Walse, shortly before acquiring those job classes.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', you can find shops that sell ninja scrolls and weapons in areas where Shadow can join the party.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', you may find a weapon for Vincent way before you can recruit him. And even then he and Yuffie are {{Hidden Character}}s, so you'll be encountering better and better weapons for them even if you miss them.
*** Averted at one point early in the game where you can find Cait Sith's [[InfinityPlusOneSword ultimate weapon]], but Cloud lets it be because no one in your party has any use for a megaphone at that point and he doesn't even think anyone ''could'' use one as a weapon (unlike Yuffie and Vincent's gear).
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', a Weapons Monthly issue describing Rinoa and Irvine's weapons can be found before either of them is introduced (Rinoa does appear, but you don't learn who she is at that point).
*** You could also buy ammo for Irvine's gun before you met him. Rather annoying, considering that Squall's weapon was a GunBlade, which contrary to what one would assume, didn't use any ammo at all.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has claws and forks for Amarant and Quina in the shops way before you even meet them.
*** You can even steal Needle Fork from [[MiniBoss Zaghnol]] long before Quina properly introduced, assuming you skipped meeting her/him before heading to the next dungeon.
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Besaid]] temple's destruction sphere treasure is a staff for Yuna. Tidus hasn't met her at that point, but the inventory screen says her name, albeit in grey text. Though you do see Yuna before this, as most of the game is a {{Flashback}} in the form of Tidus telling his story.
* Common in ''VideoGame/{{Lufia}}'' games:
** ''VideoGame/LufiaAndTheFortressOfDoom'' has an interesting example for a character who's ''already'' part of your party. The last town of the game has Zircon Swords for sale, and there's even a easily-found Zircon Sword in one of the last dungeons. [[spoiler:But by that point, you've already got the much-stronger [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Dual Blade]]...and probably already know from this that [[TeasedWithAwesome you're going to lose it]].]]
** In ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'', Bound Kingdom sells a piece of armor that not even your current MightyGlacier Guy can equip. Said armor is exclusive to [[ArrogantKungFuGuy that guy who just proclaimed himself]] [[WorldsStrongestMan the strongest warrior in the world]].
** Most party members in ''VideoGame/LufiaTheLegendReturns'' have their own unique weapon, which you can often find in shops in the towns they'll end up joining you in. You'll also often find Ancient Texts that none of your party members can use shortly before someone who can learn their IP Attacks joins, and early in the game the "Holy Attack" Ancient Text is a good indicator that someone with green Spiritual Force will be joining soon.
** In ''VideoGame/LufiaCurseOfTheSinistrals'', you can buy hammers and discs as soon as you reach Parcelyte, before Guy and Selan have joined the party. Artea's guns can also be found in the Ancient Cave, though [[DittoFighter Dekar]] can still use them even before you've met Artea.
* In ''VideoGame/LuminousArc2'', the endgame quests give you [[InfinityPlusOneSword various characters' best weapons]]. There's absolutely nothing to stop you from getting the weapons of a character you get even later in the game.
* ''{{VideoGame/MOTHER|1}}'' has this in Magicant, where a present containing a Sword can be found. At this point, all the player has in their party is Ninten; the Sword goes on the final member of the party, Teddy, and it just so happens to be his InfinityMinusOneSword as well.
* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the police station sells a costume for Ken a few weeks before he joins the party. Weapons usually don't count for this trope in this game as the protagonist can use all of them. However, if you keep up with Elizabeth's requests, you'll see one that has a weapon type the protagonist ''can't'' use as its reward... and that fact that it's a bone (the JokeWeapon of that type), is a pretty big hint that the party member who uses it is [[spoiler: a dog.]]
* In ''VideoGame/RadiantHistoria'', you can find claw-type weapons before you get a claw user, and buy weapons for a character who already left the party, spoiling that he would return eventually.
* Pretty much the case for every game in the ''VideoGame/{{Shining}}'' series which generally has multiple character classes and LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters. However this can work in it's favour at times because multiple characters can be the same class.
** In the ''VideoGame/ShiningTheHolyArk'' later weapon shops end up selling claw-type weapons. They belong the GuideDangIt hidden character Doyle.
** ''VideoGame/ShiningForceIII'' almost always ruins the surprise of a new character as weapon shops suddenly have new types of weapons just before a new character shows up. Most notably with Irene; but as she can die before you recruit her you know there is going to be another character shortly that can use her gloves...and sure enough Kahn appears shortly afterwards.
** Subverted however in ''VideoGame/ShiningForce II'', where Talos can drop his sword, which can only be used by the Giant class. No Giant ever joins the team.
* An interesting one in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''. There's a point in the game where your party seems to be killed off one by one. During that sequence, you find... a new weapon equippable only by one of the party members that already died. Spoils the moment a bit.
** You also find new equipment equippable only by [[spoiler: two people, both of which are seemingly now the enemy]].
** Played more straight in ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces''. A particular Dualize recipe spoils the fact that [[spoiler:Richard will rejoin your party,]] because the Darkshine Crystal can only be dualized with his weapon, and can only be found after [[spoiler: he leaves.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', if you go out of your way to kill certain high-leveled enemies ''long'' before what is reasonable, you may obtain a type of weapon and a unique class of armor that nobody in your party can equip. [[spoiler:What's more, the weapon type is similar to the weapons used by a certain party member who was killed...]]
* Surprisingly subverted in ''VideoGame/DiverDown''--the very first shop sells an expensive suit of armor that no character will ever be able to equip (and this is a game that does ''not'' give MoneyForNothing, so you will definitely regret purchasing it.)
* In ''VideoGame/LastScenario'', you will sometimes find weapons of a type that isn't used by any of your characters yet at a [[MiniGame hex tile]] trading post. {{Lampshaded}} in Keltena's LetsPlay:
-->[[http://screencappery.livejournal.com/193382.html I am happy beyond belief to finally have access to a Hex trading post. Although I'm not sure why they think we'd be interested in throwing knives.]]
* Used in ''Videogame/{{MARDEK}}'' in an interesting way:
** Some monsters in Chapter 2 drop weapons that are not usable by anyone. You can [[OldSaveBonus carry them over to the next chapter...]] only to discover that most of them are starting weapons for the new characters.
** In Chapter 3 you can buy a weapon usable only by a character that's considered missing-in-action as of second chapter's ending. It sprouted [[EpilepticTrees fan speculations]] about [[HesJustHiding the character returning]] in a future installment.

[[folder: Real Time Strategy]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Videogame/DawnOfWar 2'' you can find pieces of armour for the Dreadnought way before you get one. Not enough information to guess that [[spoiler:Captain Davian Thule dies]] but once that happens, if you are familiar with the Warhammer 40k lore enough to know what exactly dreadnoughts are, you already know who will be piloting the one in your party.

[[folder: Roguelike]]
* At one point, in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Explorers of Darkness/Time/Sky]]'' you find yourself in what feels like the PointOfNoReturn. But, once there, enemies start dropping treasure boxes. These boxes do not appear before this time, and can only be opened at a shop in Treasure Town. So, that means that you will return to Treasure Town.

[[folder: Survival Horror]]
* In various ''Franchise/SilentHill'' games, you tend to start finding ammo for new types of guns shortly before you find the gun itself.

[[folder: Turn Based Strategy]]
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemMysteryOfTheEmblem'''s Book 2: You can get a few axes but never get an axe user; [[VendorTrash you're supposed to sell them for cash]]. The remake, which features playable axe users, replaces those bonus axes with simply getting bonus money.

[[folder: Western [=RPGs=]]]
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/BetrayalAtKrondor'', though it's not quite as obvious as some examples. All swords and armor have a "racial mod" of either human, elven, or dwarven, granting a modest effectiveness bonus for the corresponding race. While you do have control of an elf and several humans throughout the game, you never get a single dwarf. The items are still perfectly ''usable'', but the dwarven racial bonus on will never benefit you.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', as early as Ostagar and even some [[MultipleGameOpenings origins]], you can loot large colored crystals that get sorted into weapons and armor inventory sections but cannot be equipped on any your party members. They are actually for Shale, a {{golem}} whom you can recruit at the end of DLC-only Honnleath quest line.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** In [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 the first game]], you can buy krogan, turian, and quarian armor before you meet Wrex, Garrus, or Tali.
** In [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 the second game]], you can acquire an upgrade for the "squadmates with geth shield technology" during Tali's loyalty mission, before you meet up with Legion.
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' oculars "usable by Modrons" drop from enemies all around the maze where you can find a HiddenCharacter of that race if you look hard enough.

[[folder: Non-Video Game Examples]]
* In chapter 18 of ''FanFic/PaperMarioX 2'', [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Link]] finds [[spoiler:a pair of Super Shoes]] instead of an upgrade for himself, and instantly knows that the upgrade belongs to [[spoiler:[[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic]]]].
* Referenced in ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' when TheHero panics on discovering a shop that sells a weapon no one in the party uses, deducing that they must have missed a secret character. [[spoiler:They meet and recruit the user of said weapons later]].
* In one ''Webcomic/NerfNow'' strip, the [[BigBad Big Bad's]] [[TheDragon Dragon]] keeps the hero from attacking her boss by dumping a pile of rockets in his path. He immediately concludes that there's a rocket launcher he missed and goes back to search for it.