troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
X
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Single Phlebotinum Limit
In some fictional worlds, all the crazy (and mundane) technology is powered by a single kind of Applied Phlebotinum, often even the very simplest things that otherwise would be very simple to do, such as electricity or even fire.

Related to, but not quite the same as Minovsky Physics (In that it might not be heavily explained, and particles that follow Minovsky Physics may be joined by other Phlebotinum) and Green Rocks (which vaguely defined enough to be used for everything, aren't necessarily always used as such.) A Phlebotinum Muncher takes this to its logical conclusion by feeding on the phlebotinum.

Steam Punk and other *punks tend to be like this to a greater or lesser degree.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Giant Robo: The Shizuma Drive, explained in that it's pretty much free unlimited cheap power and it's totally scalable, deconstructed in that it shows you shouldn't put all your eggs in one Phlebasket.
  • Code Geass: Sakuradite, although there are other forces at work, every piece of non-real-life technology is Sakuradite-based. As well as, apparently, all the power plants; the Gefjun Disturber is explicitly stated to affect only Sakuradite-based tech, and when used to cripple Tokyo's defences in the Second Battle for Tokyo knocks out every electrically-powered device in the city.
  • The manga of Sakura Taisen included a reference to "steam mobile phones."
  • In Tower of God, everything runs on Shinsoo.
  • In LastExile, Claudia, which allows for all flying ships as well as serving as a currency.

    Comic Books 

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Narritivium. Everything traces back to it; justified by the fact that narritivium is literally story- so of course it causes everything, the Discworld is a series of books!
  • The Eastern Empire in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books has become so dependent on magic for basic needs like heating that it nearly collapses when magic becomes unreliable.
  • Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! book on screenwriting specifically advises authors to do this under his Double Mumbo Jumbo theory. According to him, if you try to make the audience buy two separate supramundane elements it stretches the film's credibility to the breaking point. He pointed out a flop like Signs which asked the audience to juggle a debate over whether or not God exists and one over whether or not evil space aliens exist. note 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • While it didn't run everything, an awful lot of the heroes' technology in Buck Rogers was based on the synthetic antigravity substance "inertron." This is really a perfectly justifiable application of Niven's Law—if an antigravity substance existed, it would be incredibly useful; once the stuff was introduced into the series's continuity, it would be odd if it didn't start appearing in all kinds of machinery.

    Live Action TV 
  • Everything in the Stargate Verse runs on Naquadah or Naquadriah (which is really just a more potent variety of the former.) The gates are made out of it, bombs, the starships run on it, it's the core element in the Replicators... If what you want to do can't be done with Naquadriah, the you don't have enough of it. Stargate Universe kicks off the plot by using a planet which has its entire core made up of Naquadriah to reach the Destiny.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Storm Hawks: Crystals. They even have flavoring crystals for making food, including one that turns things into cheese.
  • BIONICLE: Protodermis in the Matoran Universe.
  • Pretty much everything in the Transformers Verse runs on Energon. The earliest Marvel Comics stories avert this, having them use a liquid fuel that can be derived from oil, but the writers quickly adopted energon from the TV series and never looked back.

    Real Life 


Silver BulletApplied PhlebotinumSolid Clouds
Single Line of DescentSpeculative Fiction TropesSingle Specimen Species

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
15652
2