Loophole Abuse: Fanfic
Attack on Titan
- In My Child, Levi makes a Deal with the Devil to save his son from dying in childbirth and give him supernatural protection. At the end of the fic, the demon he made the deal with (who has taken quite the interest in Levi) remarks that Levi's son resembles him so much, that he'll have to pay him a visit sometime. Levi yells that his deal means the child is protected, but the demon says that he conveniently forgot to mention that the deal did not specify protection from him, and so he is free to make a bid for the child's soul whenever he pleases.
- In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, Jack is easily able to block Shadow - since the latter's orders were to kill all living things, a robot wouldn't count.
- Averted in Dungeon Keeper Ami: the conditions of a Magically Binding Contract between the protagonist and a major antagonist is a single vague sentence. This is precisely to sidestep Loophole Abuse via Exact Words by having both sides being bound only by the intent of the agreement.
- The Infinite Loops normally prevent any looper from having children they would not normally have. But it's perfectly fine to adopt an actualized alter ego and have her start looping, as Twilight and Nyx demonstrate.
- In Last Second Savior Harry and Aayla Secura have a Time Turner with just enough sand to send both of them back nine hours once. Harry warns Aayla that they absolutely can't change anything they know for a fact happened (like saving Barriss Offee). However since they don't know for a fact who else died, they can send a warning to the Jedi Temple and have it forwarded to every Jedi except Aayla and Barriss.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures and Teen Titans crossover fanfiction A Shadow Of The Titans, Jade does this in a Cutting the Knot type situation. Basically the Drill Sergeant Nasty gym teacher for the HIVE (an overweight and balding villain with No Indoor Voice called Captain Hollywood) wanted her to run a dangerous obstacle course and ring a bell at the end. Jade asks again to make sure that the goal is to ring the bell, and then the timer starts, prompting Jade to turn around, since the course was circular. The school considered it valid, but Hollywood still sent her to detention, since the HIVE is a villain school and you don't need to break the rules to get punished.
- At least two instances Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo.
- While Garrus uses the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a subject, Samara is obligated to step in as torture goes against the Justicar Code...except if the target is definitely going to be sentenced to death. Since that sentence is certain (according to Garrus), Samara does nothing.
- On a larger scale, the creation of Sarah, the Force-sensitive Siren was a gigantic abuse of loopholes/abuse of Exact Words. A faction of Eridians, also known as Forerunners, disliked the notion of constantly having to "tend the gardens" of lesser races as commanded by the Mantle of Responsibility. They thus secretly created the Selfless Servant of the Mantle—Sarah—to carry out this duty for them. Whether the Mantle could in fact be so outsourced became a source of religious conflict, and whether such outsourcing permitted wholesale slaughter became an even bigger issue. Sarah herself didn't believe so, as her first inclination after waking with orders to uphold the Mantle was to try to kill those who created her for unjustified meddling with life and attempting to duck their duties.
- In Seeing, Believing, Dreaming, Deceiving it's mentioned that demons lords are bound by ancient laws so that they have to warn each other before they attack their fellow lords. So right before Tom Riddle sics The Dreaded Gerald Tarrant on a group of traitorous demons his remaining demonic ally warns them in such a way that they don't believe a word he says.
Gerald Tarrant: They took the bait?Karril: Hook, line, and sinker. Rassilos said - and I quote - you think we'll believe that Gerald Tarrant, the Darkest Prince of Hell, cares what we get up to?'. He thinks I was only fear-mongering. That covers the requirements of forewarning, though, so you're free to slaughter them at will.Tom Riddle: You circumvented the Demonic Code? You're good, Lord Tarrant, very good indeed.
- In Uzumaki Harry the Four Tri-Wizard Champions point out no one said they had to compete against each other, the official rules say only to participate, as well as the fact that the tournament was originally formed to forge bonds between schools—so they are totally justified in working together.
- In Crush, Powergirl gets around a law prohibiting nude sunbathing (specifically that a g-string is the minimum she can wear while sunbathing and still be legal) by wearing a G-string off a guitar.
- Many Death Note fics will circumvent the first rule of the Death Note "the human whose name is written in this notebook shall die" by revealing that a character isn't actually human but a Shinigami or a vampire or a werewolf or an alien or whatever.
- In Constant Temptation Kira can't kill Beyond Birthday because he doesn't know Beyond's true face. In fact B has been L's copy for so long that no one remembers what Beyond actually looks like.
- In Desideratum L is immune to the Death Note because he doesn't have a real name.
- In Haunted Light figures out that Rem can't carry out her threat to kill him if he kills Misa because Ryuk has to be the one to write his name when he dies; so Light kills Misa anyway and there's nothing Rem can do about it. This loophole is actually canon-it's Rule 34note of the Death Note: "1. The owner of the Death Note cannot be killed by a god of death who is living in the world of the gods of death. 2. Also, a god of death who comes to the human world, in the objective to kill the owner of the Death Note, will not be able to do so. 3. Only a god of death that has passed on their Death Note to a human is able to kill the owner of the Death Note."
- In The Killer In You Rem is able to get around the restriction that Shinigami aren't supposed to help humans by giving them the names of people they want to kill by giving Light the names in 1337 lingo that she apparently learned from watching Misa chat. Because she writes it as "'Ryuzaki: L L a 2u l i e t, 2uatari: Q u i l l s h 2u a m m y" she didn't technically give the name.
- Ryuk pulls this in MoonLight after Light is bitten by a werewolf—since only humans can be killed by the notebook then only humans are allowed to own a notebook. So Ryuk has Light declared a non-human and abruptly takes back the notebook, erasing his Kira memories.
- From the AU of Ragnarok after learning that Light is secretly the legendary hacker known as "Kira" (that the NPA pays a lucrative bonus for his consultation) L complains when Light again hires "Kira" to aid in his investigation. Light has this to say for himself:
Light: Technically, Kira is Matsuda's source, not mine. I have never stated that I was not, in fact, Kira. Technicality is the soul of the law.
- In the Discworld Tarot chapter The Ace of Swords, Miss Alice Band is able to tame a rogue unicorn where others have failed, despite being sexually experienced. The reason Alice gets away with it is because her sexual experience is only with other women. She still technically qualifies as a maiden, unsullied by contact with men, and therefore meeting the specification for unicorn-wrangling - because she has never had contact with men. It is possible that while the unicorn was trying to make its mind up as to whether she qualified, she got a silver-ornamented bridle over its head and settled the question definitively.
- In Never Had A Friend Like Me Norm, being a Jackass Genie, can use this to twist wishes. It's telling that he doesn't do this to his current master, Amanda Adams who is too selfless to make a wish in the first place, and whom he grows fond of. The Anti-Fairies and the Anti-Pixies invite him to watch Timmy's demise, provided he sign a contract where one of the clauses is "any threat to the health or freedom of the one who signs it will leave the contract null and void.'' When the Anti-Fairies and Pixies nearly kill Amanda in this plot, the contract is rendered null and void, since Amanda's death would have resulted in him being suck back into a lamp, leaving them at his mercy. He then reveals he would have found a loophole to save Timmy anyways.
- Many Girls und Panzer fanfics that include boys participating in tankery have the characters do so by saying there is no rule against having them participate in tankery.
- In 3 Slytherin Marauders the Goblins inform Tom Riddle that he can't completely empty out Voldemort's Gringott's vaults... so he leaves him a single Knut. Also fugitives can seek asylum at Gringott's because "Gringott's customers are allowed to stay and count their gold for as long as they like."
- In The Adventures Of Harry Potter, the Video Game: Exploited when Harry discovers that his life is actually a videogame he determines he'll use every cheat, grind, and underhanded tactic available in order to exploit the system. Harry becomes a Munchkin and exploits such videogame tropes as Good Bad Bugs, Save Scumming, and Take Your Time.
- In Courage and Cunning Dobby gets around the Malfoy's orders forbidding him to identify who his Masters are by telling "Harry" that he just spent the evening getting rid of the red and gold hair dye (that "Harry" had earlier pranked Draco with) out of young master's hair.
- In The Dark Witch and the Necromancer Harry relates that when summoning demons one must be careful to watch the wording:
Demons tried to kill their summoners because they despised humans generally but even more the ones, who dared to force them under their will. Which demon wanted to serve a mere human? So they tried to interpret the commands of their master in such a way, that allowed them to hurt or even kill their caster. If the summoner wasn't careful enough, that would happen very quickly. The demons had to do whatever the summoner demanded, but if he didn't word his demand carefully, the demon would take revenge later. For instance, one of the inexperienced Necromancers in the past had summoned a Demon. He had worded his demand carefully but had forgotten to forbid the demon to bring anything with him. So he brought two things, a burning torch and a barrel full of black powder. He didn't hurt or kill his summoner directly, but as he swept down back to hell, he let both fall down to the ground and the Necromancer was... well... history.
- In Deadly Eyes of A Phoenix Reborn in the first task of the Tri-Wizard tournament Harry just summons the golden egg.
- In Harry Potter and the Acts of Betrayal Harry discovered from a document at Gringott's that many years ago Tom Marvolo Riddle swore a Fealty Oath to one Orion Mordecai Black but the way it was worded Riddle swore loyalty not to Orion but to "Lord Black" and as the current "Lord Black," Harry calls in the debt.
- In Harry Potter and the Descent Into Darkness when Harry faces allegations that he "cheated" during the first task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament by subduing the dragon using Paraseltongue Harry points out that nowhere in the rules did it say he had to fight the dragon.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, battles between the armies only end "when Professor Quirrell, in his personal judgment, decided one army had won by practical real-world standards":
There was no formal victory condition, Professor Quirrell had explained, because then Harry would figure out how to game the rules. Harry had to admit this was a fair cop.
- In the first match with an explicit rule, namely you're what ever faction you state you are, which means points are taken away from that stated faction if you are knocked (which allowed for spies and the massive Gambit Pileup that happened in that match), Harry joined forces with Draco's army, with both of them declaring themselves as part of Hermione's army, meaning she lost the massive lead in points.
- Given that the main character of Harry Potter and the Natural 20 is a huge Munchkin from an RPG Mechanics Verse, this is to be expected. One particular example is how he handled the problem of obtaining resources to make magic items (which require a sacrifice of expensive material): buying up massive quantities of table salt. A pound of salt is worth only a few cents in the modern world, but it's worth five gold in the world of Medieval Stasis.
- In Harry Potter and the Parseltongue Legend the Hogwarts rules state that students are only allowed to bring an owl, cat, or toad, or a bonded familiar. Since Harry already underwent the familiar bond ritual with his magical cobra he's allowed to keep his snake.
- In Harry Potter and the Power of Paranoia when developing a weapon to use against Voldemort, Luna develops a way to smuggle a large amount of plastic explosives past Harry's best wards by transfiguring them into wrackspurts. This bypasses the "transfigured animals" and "weapons" wards because the wards aren't equipped to handle something that doesn't technically exist.
- The premise of the one-shot Slash Fic I bid him! Harry makes use of the old medieval law of "Verbidden" (in which a criminal facing the gallows is released in exchange for marriage) to save good!Voldemort from execution and since the law was drafted in the middle ages and homosexuality was considered abnormal it was just assumed that it would always be a woman so no one specifically wrote the law so that it had to be a woman who bidded someone.
- In If Thems The Rules with help from Melania Black Harry exploits an obscure pureblood law to keep his powerful and influential stalker firmly in the friend zone.
- In Impossible Harry utilizes this after being forced to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament—he enters the arena with the dragon and instead of bothering the dragon or trying to get the golden egg he summons Quidditch Through The Ages and conjures himself a comfy chair and just sits there reading for twenty minutes:
Dumbledore: Mr. Potter. What, may I ask, are you doing?Harry: I'm doing the task.Dumbledore: But the task is to collect the egg from dragon.Harry: No. To complete the task I would have to get the egg from dragon however just entering the arena constitutes competing which is enough to satisfy the contract.
- In Liquida Tenebris Harry gets Voldemort to vow on his life and magic to stop touching him. Voldie swears... and then immediately starts poking him with his wand.
- In Lord of Caer Azkaban Harry promises to remain at Hogwarts until he's completed his NEWTS... and then he hoodwinks Dumbledore into letting him take his NEWTS early.
- In The Mind's Guardian, an AU in which Harry has allied himself with Fudge against Dumbledore, as much as Fudge doesn't like Dumbledore he doesn't see any way to legally be rid of him but then Harry finds a loophole:
Harry: Isn't perjury grounds for impeachment?Norton: You're referring to him claiming Voldemort's returned? Unfortunately, speeches before the Wizengamot and ICW are not sworn statements during a judicial proceeding. If he were anyone else, the Wizengamot might hold him in contempt, but that's all anyone can do.Harry: I wasn't referring to his 1981 speech. I meant his testimony in the January 1982 trial of Severus Snape. Hogwarts doesn't have full transcripts, but The Daily Prophet printed an excerpt. I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I believe Dumbledore used the phrase 'Voldemort's death' during his testimony. If he's running around now saying he always knew Voldemort survived then he perjured himself during Snape's trial.
- From Oh God Not Again:
Harry: Wait... Didn't Draco order you not to try to save my life or to try and drive me from the castle?Dobby: Dobby wasn't trying to save the Great Harry Potter's life nor was he trying to send him away from Hogwarts. Dobby was trying to break Harry Potter's arm.
- In Passageways Harry's grandmother mentioned a demon which was ordered by the High Priest who summoned it to protect the pharaoh - but not his kingdom. The resulting devastation was what turned Egypt into a desert wasteland.
- In Past's Player Harry promises to stop Obfuscating Stupidity if Tom Riddle will just leave him alone. Tom agrees because Harry didn't specify how long he had to "leave him alone." Feeling generous he gives him a week...
- In Pavement Diaries Bellatrix manages to steal the prophecy orb that only Harry Potter and the Dark Lord can touch:
As for how she left with the orb, It was such a trivial loophole. So trivial, yet so brilliant. Bellatrix couldn't pick up the orb, but she could move the shelf it was on. So she did, and levitated it in a bag complete with featherlight and invisible extension charms, and walked right out the front door with it.
- In Princess of the Blacks Jennifer Black is able to bring her pet raven to Hogwarts despite it not being an owl because it's her bonded familiar.
- In Saving Her, Saving Us All, Sirius is restored to life because after being sent through the Veil of Death, it turns out to be a Veil of Judgment instead, and it judges Sirius' soul to be "pure," and thus refuses to condemn him. Harry is of course tremendously relieved, but then Harry remembers how Sirius almost got Snape killed with a schoolboy prank, so in chapter 3, Harry reluctantly asks Sirius why the Veil judged him to be pure in spite of that. Sirius answers that it was because he was so dumb as a schoolboy, he genuinely-within-his-heart didn't know that his prank could have killed Snape, so the prank didn't dilute his "purity" to the Veil of Judgment.
- In To The Waters and the Wild during flying lessons because Madam Hooch told them "no broomsticks in the air" Harry just flies after Draco without a broomstick.
- Averted in Visitor when Voldemort draws up an iron-clad secrecy contract to prevent Poppy from mentioning her treating Harry Potter or anything about their meeting to Dumbledore.
"It really was as loophole-free as he'd said it would be. It really was a perfect secrecy contract. If she had actually been planning to tell Dumbledore or anyone else anything, this would have made it impossible. Even the method of 'I'm lying to you but making it so obvious that you know I am lying' had been included in it. When she was finally through it all, twenty minutes had passed. Taking the quill she was being offered, she signed her name, and the contract shone bright silver before disappearing."
- Parodied in What A Cliché:
Harry: According to rule 149-A slash B-52 subsection alpha-3 beta rotgut of the Hogwarts Rulebook, I demand a resorting!Harry: According to rule 721-D slash N-12 subsection beta-9 theta boogedy of the Hogwarts Rulebook, bonded partners of an enrolled student have the right to reside within the castle.
- What Would Slytherin Harry Do? is all about this trope. From using plausible deniability to beat Veritaserum to pointing out that the ban on clubs without Umbridge's permission only extend to regular meetings and their meetings were highly irregular.
- One ficlet has Harry getting around the ban on underage magic by getting a job. As he points out, the job requires traveling and irregular hours, making it impossible to say he wasn't working whenever he casts a spell.
- Hivefled: The Condesce was permitted to choose her weapons for her battle with her ancestor. Technically, a lowblood follower counts as a weapon; she chose the Handmaid, the most powerful psychic ever known.
- Also, the Grand Highblood isn't actually forbidden from raping teenagers to death and binding their souls to himself.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan is fond of exploiting these in regards to his programming.
- Drill Man does likewise in Episode 8.
- Diaries of a Madman has several examples. Navarone and Discord both love this trope, but Celestia also occasionally makes use of it as well.
- In The Unchosen One, one of the standard tests Trixie has to take for her final exam at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns requires levitating a set of cubes. Although she can only manage four the normal way (the effort increases exponentially with each cube), she realizes that juggling them means she only has to touch one or two at a time, and ends up lifting all ten that way. Twilight (who managed nine, the intended way) spent years trying to figure out how somepony managed to get a better result, and is horrified to learn this. Not to mention learning that it was Trixie.
- In And The Meek Shall Inherit The Galaxy, the Exact Words method of loophole abuse gets lampshaded and subverted when the newly formed Independant League is held to the galaxy-wide Dreadnaught limit. Some turians are furious about this due to the fact that the League willingly accepts the limitation... because the combat doctrine the humans introduced has all but made dreadnaughts obsolete in favor of carriers. The Citadel Council refuses to place a similar limit on carriers to stay on the good side of the League.
- Naruto thrives on this in Cheaters Prosper. He cheats in the first exam by walking up to Kabuto and stealing his exam (which costs him only two points). For the second, he steals a couple scrolls then uses Henge to smuggle himself and his team onto Anko's coat so they arrive at the tower first.
- Hyouta Hyuga in A Growing Affection asked Naruto to agree to set aside his weapons so they could fight on even ground. When Hyouta breaks out his holdout kunai, everyone gets mad at him for breaking the deal, and Hyouta points out that he never agreed to fight without weapons, he just asked Naruto to do so.
- Tsunade promised not to send any Leaf Shinobi to rescue Princess Nyoko. Which does not cover hiring the Sand Ninja to find the princess, and then telling a group of ninjas, who happen to be Nyoko's friends and have a history of going AWOL, exactly where she is being held.
- Team 7 obliterates the record for the second chunin exam in Naruto Myoushuu no Fuuin. Each team is given a token worth between one and nine points and told to reach the tower with at least twenty-five points worth of tokens. Naruto pick pockets several teams beforehand then they sprint to the tower, beating the five day exam in twenty minutes.
- New Chance: During the Chunin Exams, Naruto simple solution to the first test is to summon clones on the outside of the classroom (he's by the window) in full view of all the proctors. The clones proceed to work out the problems in the test by literally acting out the scenarios from the test.
Proctor: "Is he allowed to do that!? Does that count as cheating?"Ibiki: (amused) "No. The clones still count as Naruto and since they're merely working out the questions outside of this classroom without disturbing anyone in here it doesn't count as cheating."
- Naruto, again, when there's a breakout at Konoha's prison. The Hokage (Jiraiya) said he needed every ninja to help. So since he just became a genin he counts as a ninja and so does Hinata so they can help. When Hayate points out that Naruto and Hinata aren't technically ninja until they get approval from their jonin sensei and should retreat, Naruto then argues that he's going to help any way since Hayate can't order him around since he's not Naruto's commanding officer.
- Real Skill has Kakashi sent back to the Academy after Naruto takes both bells during the bell test. As Naruto pointed out (and the Hokage agreed), the rules stated that anyone without a bell at noon would be sent back to the academy.
- In The World's Greatest Chunin Exam Team, a Kage retains the rank they had before they gained their title. Since Gaara was groomed to be Kazekage immediately after the invasion, he never had the chance to retake the exam and is still technically a genin. Meaning that he is still eligible to participate in the exam as a member of Team Terumi. Which is comprised of two other S-Class ninja as his teammates (who also happen to be genin) and another Kage as the jonin-sensei. Yeah.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
- In Act II, Kokoa, having fallen in love with Tsukune herself, invokes the Eia Dreahl, a sacred vampire pact that is punishable by death if broken, to see whether or not herself or Moka would be his mate. When they tell the others as such, they fail to specify that the pact was only supposed to be between the two of them, only stating that "the first girl to give Tsukune a nosebleed wins." Yukari promptly seizes this opportunity, with predictable results.
- Likewise, Inner Moka also realizes that the pact didn't actually specify how Tsukune was supposed to get a nosebleed, only that he did get one, and thus wins by punching Tsukune in the face and giving him a bloody nose.
- When Kokoa inadvertently breaks the Eia Dreahl by sleeping with Tsukune while possessed in Act III, Dark saves her from execution by pointing out that Inner Moka won the pact, but it was Outer Moka who actually mated with Tsukune. Since the two are a Split Personality and Inner Moka didn't actually break the pact, the agreement is null and void and thus no one has to die.
- At the end of Act III, Tsukune uses the Chrono Displacement spell to rewind time by a day and save his friends from death, dooming himself to die by 10:45 PM the next day. When the time comes, however, Tsukune's ghoul form was in control of his body, and since it had its own identity and personality, the ghoul was killed instead, leaving Tsukune alive and cured of its influence.
- In The End of Ends, the condition of being able to use the Dark Prognosticus is to have an empty heart and have never found true happiness. A cybernetic heart's essentially the same as an empty heart... Though it's unsaid how Beljar managed to fulfill the latter part.
- It says to have an empty heart and never found true happiness, it doesn't state the User has to be the one with both.