Immunity Disability

This is about a situation where a character that's immune to something experiences a drawback based on said immunity.

The kinds of disability vary - You Feel No Pain? You might not know what hit you or how much it damages your body. Immune to Drugs? It's gonna stab you in the back next time you need medicine. You're immortal? You'd be surprised at what you can live through. And so on and so forth.

Subtrope of Power at a Price and Blessed with Suck. If your particular immunity is to death, it becomes the subtrope Who Wants to Live Forever?.

Compare and contrast Disability Immunity (its inverse trope), Logical Weakness, Disability Superpower and Exploited Immunity.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • One Piece. While fighting a giant zombie, Chopper, the team's doctor, tells it that the fact that it can't feel pain is its greatest weakness, as it has no way of knowing how much damage its body parts are accumulating until they're so injured that they simply stop responding altogether. The Straw Hats eventually beat it by shattering its spine, leaving the thing laying on the ground wondering why it can't move.
  • Likewise, Loveless is a universe in which Words Can Break My Bones and magical duels are usually determined by using verbal imagery to curse the opposition's existence, limiting their capacities or inflicting pain until one side can take no more. A personal project involved artificially creating interchangeable human duelists able to use magic and possessing no nerve endings. Unlike zombies nothing makes these too stupid to see things like hypothermia coming, but being so easily able to defeat most opposition means they tend not to learn to protect themselves... and their casual brutality makes a more dangerous opponent unlikely to leave them alive to learn.
  • In Part 2 of Jojos Bizarre Adventure, the villain Cars ends up gaining immortality and an auto-evolution ability after combining the Stone Mask and Red Stone of Asia. Joseph uses this ability against him by throwing him into an active volcano where he hardens in defense as it's about to erupt. He gets launched into space and is stuck floating around forever; eventually his mind shuts down completely.
  • Touma in A Certain Magical Index has his enchanted right arm, Imagine Breaker, that functions as an Anti-Magic. In a world filled with mages, this gives him a great advantage. However, among other sucky things, it also cancels beneficial magic such as Healing Hands. If not for his expert surgeon friend he would have died of many non-magical things that his enemy can use.
    • And apparently, in this setting, luck is a gift from God and is nullified. So his luck is non-existent.
  • Blade of the Immortal: The protagonist, Manji, is not only immortal but can heal from virtually any wound. This comes back to bite him a few times:
    • In general, Manji bemuses that although he's one of the best swordsmen in Japan, his sword skills have slowly gotten worse because knowing he can't die dulls his instincts.
    • There's a special poison that works only on immortals; it doesn't directly kill them, but it basically reopens every single wound they've ever received after becoming immortal. When used on Manji, the results are especially gory, excruciating, and horrific.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Similar to the One Piece example above, Kahlua Shuzen has been charmed to Feel No Pain, and as a result, she has no way of knowing how much damage her body's taking until it simply quits on her. In fact, this was what forced Fairy Tale to retreat from Mizore's homeland, as Miyabi realized that she was approaching her limit and would kill herself otherwise.
  • InuYasha: Exploited by Naraku during Sango's introductory arc. After manipulating Sango into believing that Inuyasha attacked her village and slaughtered everyone there for the Shikon Jewel shard Sango had found earlier (unsurprisingly, Naraku was the real culprit), he embeds another shard in her body that completely negates her ability to feel pain, intending that she'll fight Inuyasha to the death without ever realizing how badly she was hurt. Indeed, she doesn't even notice she's bleeding out until Inuyasha calls attention to her wounds.

     Audio Play  

  • Kate in The Elysium Project is partially immune to the Elysium formula, a Super Serum that grants people reality-bending powers. It does work on her, but unlike any of the other test subjects her powers go away after about a month unless she injects herself with more of the formula. This sucks when you're on the run from people who want to kill or capture you and all of your friends. This is not to mention the fact that Kate has only one normal arm. The other is a prosthetic that she manipulates using her powers. Without them, it's just a piece of metal.

     Comic Books  

  • Thurim in Requiem Vampire Knight had a Healing Factor gifted to him by Dracula. When Thurim rebelled, Dracula took advantage of Thurim's unkillability by having him drawn and quartered for eternity.
  • Superman's near invulnerability is often parodied by having it also prevent him from shaving because even his beard is too tough to cut, leading to some memorable workarounds.
  • In Rising Stars one man's power is invulnerability from external harm—but this also leaves him highly insensitive to any form of touch, except on the back of his tongue, where he could still taste. He developed an eating disorder and became an indestructible obese man.
  • In an Incredible Hulk storyline, the Hulk gets poisoned and has to give a blood sample; however, the needles can't penetrate his tough skin. He resorts to hitting himself over and over again till he bleeds out enough to fill a test tube.
  • The Sandman covers the trope as it applies to immortality:
    • Hob Gadling, who's been immortal ever since Death, in 1389, promised Dream not to take him until Hob was ready, spends the seventeenth century impoverished, sick and starving: "Do you know [...] how hungry a man can get if he doesn't die? But doesn't eat?"
    • Retired superhero Element Girl longs for death because her freakish appearance leaves her socially isolated and agoraphobic. However, because her body can automatically transmute itself into most any element, she's effectively immortal, and unable to commit suicide without the intervention of the god who bestowed her powers in the first place.
    • Dream's son, Orpheus, begs Death to make him immortal so he can enter the netherworld and rescue his wife Eurydice without dying. After failing in his quest, he tries to commit suicide but can't, and when a band of frenzied Dionysius worshippers tears him limb from limb, he lives on as a disembodied head, with only his estranged father able to grant him his wish to die.
  • Guardian Angel of PS238, suffers from this. She's never experienced the feeling of rain until Harold neutralizes her power. Due to her power protecting her from everything, she's never developed any immunities and she essentially dies due to a common cold, which is made worse by the fact that when her power comes back, it prevents her from being injected with anything that might cure her.
  • The Flash: In one story, Bart Allen's kneecap was blasted apart by Deathstroke, and he was rushed to the hospital. During the surgery, his Super Speed meant that his flesh kept trying to heal improperly before an artificial kneecap could be placed, forcing the doctors to cut him open repeatedly. His metabolism meant that no anesthesia could be used either.
  • During the Giffen/DeMatteis run on Justice League, Power Girl was badly injured in a battle but the doctors could not perform surgery because no scalpel could cut through her invulnerable skin. Superman ended up saving her life, using his heat vision as a laser scalpel while Kilowog, then serving as the Justice League's engineer and tech expert, whipped up a device that could hold Superman's head perfectly still to allow him to use his heat vision with precision.
  • The Savage Dragon has a Healing Factor as part of his power set. One villain took advantage of that by pounding his body into a pulp and breaking nearly all his bones, and then throwing him into a smokestack so by the time he could climb out, his body had healed poorly, his limbs and torso twisted and mangled. Mighty Man (the resident Captain Marvel Expy) had to re-break all his bones to allow them to set properly.
  • In Thor (2014), Mjolnir's ability to magically purge its wielder of all poisons becomes a serious problem for the new Thor Jane Foster, who is on a course of toxic chemotherapy drugs to treat her aggressive cancer.

     Fan Works  

  • A minor example in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: Paul, being Nigh Invulnerable, finds that being caught in a dust storm is an inconvenience because his eyeballs don't get irritated and tear up to clear out his eyes.
    • Also, in a way, John, who's immune to the effects of alcohol and drugs, which is irksome when he really wants to get drunk or be knocked out by a sleeping potion.
  • In Weasley Girl, the core 4 ends up immune to all potions, meaning that they can't ever be poisoned or otherwise harmed by potions, they also can't ever have useful potions used on them.



  • In Escape From Genopolis, the people of Genopolis have eliminated all forms of pain, including hunger and thirst. This means that, aside from people forgetting to eat and not being able to gauge when they need medical help, nobody can feel emotion anymore.
  • Chrestomanci: At birth, it was foretold that Christopher Chant's weakness would be silver, so his father cast his strongest spells against silver affecting him. Ultimately, silver causes him to be Brought Down to Normal; when Christopher isn't touching it, he's the most powerful enchanter in the worlds. (It's implied that it was a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.)
  • In the Forgotten Realms Pools of Radiance trilogy, Kern was born immune to magic. Unfortunately, this makes him immune to magic healing and teleportation. With concentration, Kern can sometimes suppress this immune.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Escape Clause". A man makes a Deal with the Devil to gain immortality, which is effectively immunity to death. He murders his wife so that he can experience the electric chair, but his lawyer manages to get him life in prison. Since he can't die, he's going to be there a long time... at least until the devil shows up and mercifully gives him a fatal heart attack.
  • In the final episode of Alias Big Bad Arvin Sloane has gotten his hands on enough Rambaldi documents to create a vat of fluid which somehow makes him immortal - and immediately thereafter a giant stone pillar falls on him, trapping him under it forever.
  • In Heroes, Claire can't get drunk because of her regenerative ability. She uses this to her advantage once, but complains about it other times.
  • Forever Knight: If someone learns of vampires, a vampire will hypnotize them to forget. If they're one of the few people who are immune to hypnosis they'll usually be killed.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Followers of Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are generally immune to pain, due to their bodies being so much dead or festering tissue. Likewise, Slaaneshi cultists are Too Kinky to Torture, but they require ever-greater amounts of sensory input to feel anything.
    • Blanks are rare individuals who are immune to all psychic powers. This causes a number of side effects:
      • Blanks not only nullify psychic powers on themselves, but often in a small area around them. Psychics in the area can normally find people by seeking out their psychic signatures. The dead-zone created by a blank is even more of a sign that something odd is there.
      • As emotions are a form of psychic power, blanks cannot feel emotion and drain emotions from those around them. This gives them an Uncanny Valley effect.
      • Being immune to all psychic powers includes healing or support abilities as well.
      • Because blanks are so rare, once discovered, you'll be picked up by the Inquisition and trained into a commando. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either awesome or horrible.

     Video Games  

  • In Disgaea, Ninjas are the only class able to dodge special techniques. Unfortunately, that includes healing spells.
  • Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas suffers from horrific burns as a result of being covered in burning pitch as punishment for failing Caesar. He's also Immune to Drugs, meaning that no medicine can ease his constant pain.
  • One of the reason why fighting the Bonus Boss of Persona 3 is hard and tedious. You can at most resist her attacks. If you happen to null, absorb or reflect the element she's going to use, you get a 9999 damage Megidolaon to your face instead. This is an exception however, as other times being immune will greatly help you throughout the game.
  • In Magicka, accidentally casting immunity to Life makes you unhealable.
  • In Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, there are a few cases of this:
    • Mummies do not become hungry and thus cannot eat. This also prevents them from drinking healing potions.
    • Undead characters are immune to Torment, but because it can only be cast by those who will feel its pain, they can't cast it either.
  • In The Last of Us Ellie's immunity to the fungus means that she won't become a zombie, but the Fireflies plan to use her to develop a vaccine would have resulted in her death.
  • In Dota 2, it's usually a good thing to cast Magic Immunity on yourself in the middle of battle to prevent the enemy from stunning you - but this also prevents your allies from casting healing spells on you.
  • A few skills in Elsword will deal more hits/be easier to follow up if the enemy is Immune to Flinching.
  • In Mega Man X: Command Mission, Spider and Axl turn invisible in their Hyper Modes. In gameplay this makes them invincible, to reflect the fact that enemies attacking them can't actually aim at them. However, allies can't see them to heal them either.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic games often feature one or more magic-immune creature, the most famous of which is the reoccurring Black Dragon. Creatures with this ability are completely immune to all enemy spells as expected, but are also immune to friendly spells. This means they're unable to be buffed, healed, or resurrected, and instead rely purely on their raw stats.
  • Yunalesca in Final Fantasy X has the nasty habit of inflicting Zombie on your characters, which turns heals into damage and persists through death. You may be tempted to equip armor with zombieproof on it, but as the fight wears on she pulls out Mega Death, an attack which only targets non-zombie characters and deals an instant OK.

     Web Comics  

  • In Dominic Deegan resistance to magic is generally considered a disability, because while magic fireballs can't hurt you, white mages can't heal you when something non-magical almost kills you.
  • In Errant Story, many half-elves are immune to some forms of magic (such as transmutation). Unfortunately, this includes healing magic. Some of those that can be healed spontaneously reject the healing later.

     Web Original  

  • Highlighted in a story from The Codeless Code, where a monk (read: programmer) is shown the error of his ways by having his sense of pain suppressed as he retrieves a coin from a fireplace.

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: The Animated Series version of Poison Ivy confesses that her immunity to all poisons, toxins, etc. extends to... well, she can't get pregnant.

     Real Life  

  • Allergies. An allergy is an over-reaction by the body's immune system to (perceived) foreign pathogens. The consensus is that allergies develop due to too clean and hygienic an environment where the immune system develops over-reactions to usually harmless substances such as foodstuffs and pollen.
    • By extension, autoimmune diseases, where the sensitivity is to stimuli occurring naturally in the patient's own body, leading the immune system to attack healthy cells. The sufferer's immune response to external pathogens is great, but on the flipside their own immune system becomes the sole reason they are ill.
  • The Greek king Mithridates reportedly suffered from this. Having ingested small quantities of poison daily to acquire an immunity, his first attempt at Better to Die than Be Killed by absorbing poison failed. The second try involved stabbing himself, and worked much better.
  • There is a conditional called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain. It is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and those born with it suffer multiple injuries over time due to their inability to tell when they are beginning to be injured. They can continue to discriminate, for example, hot and cold or sharp and dull, but they cannot tell when that sharp is cutting them or that cold is freezing their tissues.