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Super Toughness
"Any sufficiently durable individual is indistinguishable from immortals."
Anonymous

The power of unambiguously superhuman durability, ranging from being "merely" resistance to bullets, to getting hit by a nuke and finding it to tickle a bit, and even beyond that.

This is a Required Secondary Power to be able to do anything with Super Strength; without it, Newton's Third Law would result in you ruining your hand every time you threw a super-punch, and every bone and muscle would snap/tear under the tension of lifting a car.

A Sub-Trope of Nigh-Invulnerability (specifically, the Made Of Diamond type). Compare Made of Iron, where an explicitly non-superpowered character can take a lot more punishment than is normally possible for no apparent or explained reason, though Charles Atlas Superpower can blur the line between Made of Iron and Super Toughness.

This applies to a lot of superpowered powerhouses, Flying Brick-type characters, as well as many of those who utilize extensive cybernetic enhancement, Ki Attacks, Supernatural Martial Arts, and/or Functional Magic. It's sometimes a side-effect of particularly adaptive Healing Factors. Most Super Soldiers possess it, and it can also be achieved with Mind over Matter.

Combine it with Super Strength, and you're likely to end up with the Implacable Man. Often part of Super Speed users as well as per Required Secondary Powers, as anyone with otherwise ordinary human physiology would literally tear themselves apart very quickly.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Mokoto Kusanagi, courtesy of bionics. In the various animes,Batou was even more so, though in the original Manga he only had a few bionic parts rather than having a full prosthetic body like the Major or his anime incarnations and therefore wasn't substantially tougher than a normal human.
  • In InuYasha, Yokai and Hanyou can take more damage than a human can.
  • In Macross, Zentraedi were designed to be much tougher, physically, than a human being. Lampshaded by Breetai, who, it should be noted, had just been Thrown Out the Airlock without a spacesuit and came back in:
    "I am not built as weakly as you are."
  • Bleach
    • Shinigami life force is affected by their spiritual power. The more spiritual power they possess, the harder it is to even scratch them, let alone kill them.
    • Arrancar possess Hierro note , a supernaturally tough skin which makes it difficult to injure or kill them.
    • Quincies possess Blut note , a method of channelling reiatsu through their body's blood vessels via reishi manipulation. By channelling this through their arteries (Blutarterie), they can massively increase their attacking power. By channelling it through their veins (Blutvene), they can massively increase their defensive power. Blutvene can make it incredibly hard to injure or kill a Quincy.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! Someone once shot a ballistic knife into his chest at almost point blank range. It went in about half a centimeter.
  • One Piece had the CP9, an assassin group that knew the special ability Tekkai (lit. "Iron Mass"). It made their bodies as hard as iron to resist damage. The downside was that you couldn't move when in Tekkai, Jabra being the one exception as a master of Tekkai.
  • Seems to be a standard trait of yokai in Kamisama Kiss.
  • Armitage of Armitage III can take bullets, stab wounds and head-on grenade hits and keep going, with only cosmetic damage to her flesh. She even managed to survive her own self-destruct mechanism.

    Comic Books 
  • Numerous examples such as Superman, Ra's Al-Ghul, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, and others.
  • Rogue of the X-Men, when she was a Flying Brick (due to a certain instance of power absorption), was usually tough but not fully invulnerable. One comic had her taking a bullet to the head, which knocked her out (whereas such things would simply bounce off of other Flying Bricks).
    • Note that she often referred to this as "nigh-invulnerability." The "nigh" part was meant to mean that there were indeed still things that could hurt her, so it's not the Nigh-Invulnerability we speak of in trope-speak.
  • Wonder Woman is quite strong, and has the toughness to match as the required secondary power, but she's not so tough that she'd rather deflect bullets with her skin instead of her indestructible bracelets.
  • Similarly, Aquaman is able to take machine gun fire, but it does cut his skin and draw blood, so he wears Atlantean scale armour.
  • Being completely invulnerable is the sole power of Brit to the point that one mission consisted of strapping a nuclear bomb to his chest, setting it off to kill the superpowered henchmen of a villain, and then taking a beating from the guy until his enemy was completely exhausted.

    Fan Works 
  • Derpy from the Pony POV Series is implied to have a form of this, as her special talent appears to be 'being a Determinator.' Dark World!Derpy, however, is upgraded by becoming the new Element of Loyalty, which takes this Up to Eleven to the point getting hit with lightning doesn't even seem to effect her. This seems to be a Required Secondary Power of her Super Mode, which otherwise would tear her body apart.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Incredibles:
    • Besides Super Strength, Mr. Incredible has this going for him. Especially since he seems perfectly fine mere feet next to boiling lava.
    • The Omnidroid series of robots get progressively tougher with each model until v.10 can only be really hurt by itself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the case of Robocop, this arguably is his main superpower, with super strength and justified Improbable Aiming Skills as his secondary ones.
  • Not sure if King Kong or other Kaiju count or not, since relative to size, human weapons are rather puny.
  • The Terminator, especially in its debut film. It's not indestructible, it takes damage throughout the film. Actually getting what's left of it to stop is another story.
  • In Unbreakable David Dunn discovers that he has this power when he's involved in a train crash:
    ER Doctor: And, to answer your question, there are two reasons why I'm looking at you like this. One because it seems in a few minutes you will officially be the only survivor of this train wreck, and two, because you didn't break one bone, you don't have a scratch on you.
    • Note that there are limits to his durability however. David himself believes he wouldn't be able to survive being shot point-blank, which makes for a very tense scene in the movie when his son believes he can prove his father's indestructability by doing just that.

    Literature 
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast Lummox shrugs off a shot from an anti-tank rifle, consumes poisons happily, and even survives an attempt at drowning. The Sheriff who wanted to kill him considers tricking him into eating explosives, but fortunately doesn't get the chance, seeing as her race might have destroyed earth if their lost princess were killed.
  • Phylip Wylie's Gladiator.
  • In the Tales of Kolmar trilogy, Varien is cut with a sword, but rather than getting his arm cut off as everyone else expected, he actually stops the sword with his arm and manages to still fight the guy. It's because he used to be a dragon, and his bones and muscles are still as strong as they were in his dragon form.
  • In Mistborn, allomancers who can use pewter can increase all of their body's physical abilities, which includes not only strength and speed, but also resistance to injury (and a mild Healing Factor). The drawback of this is that an allomancer who turns his or her pewter off without seeking medical attention first can simply keel over on the spot, from injuries that were trivial in their enhanced state but are much more harmful (or even fatal) to an ordinary human body. The Inquisitors, who have pewter but also a ridiculously strong Healing Factor thanks to mixing all three of the setting's magic systems, not just allomancy are considered all but unkillable.
  • The Boy who was as hard as Stone has the main character gaining this ability.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us Buffyverse vamps, Slayers and many species of demons. All of them can take quite a beating, ranging from being able to take a full-force beatdown from someone with super strength to needing a specific way to be killed.
    • Also, while slayers are actually a little stronger than vampires, vampires can take a more thorough beating because they're technically not alive and thus don't have to worry about things like internal organ damage.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation Data is an android who possesses this ability, on top of being The Needless. In Star Trek: First Contact for instance, he casually shrugs off machine gun fire.

    Manhwa 

    Other Sites 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The discipline of Fortitude in the Vampire: The Masquerade is explicitly this, giving characters a larger 'dice pool' (i.e. a larger chance) to 'soak' (reduce or ignore) damage. It also allows those who have it to partially soak damage they normally couldn't, like a vampire reducing damage from sunlight or fire. Fortitude is not an automatic reduction, however, and a bad roll of the dice means you can still get just as carved up with a knife as anyone else. There's just a lesser chance you will.
    • It shows up in Vampire: The Requiem as Resilience. Activating it grants a temporary increase in health levels, and allows a vampire to downgrade a certain amount of aggravated damage to lethal.
  • Pretty much any superhero RPG or universal system will quite naturally feature at least one way to model this.
  • Available in The Dresden Files RPG in various degrees of the Toughness and/or Recovery power (potentially up to all-out Physical Immunity). These are only available to characters with a suitable high concept — i.e., actual supernatural creatures, which in many games will be primarily NPCs — and must be assigned at least one "catch" that bypasses them (like the classic example of silver for werewolves).
  • From Warhammer 40,000, Plague Marines are among the toughest regular infantry an army can field. On top of being a genetically engineered super soldier armed with power armour, they have been touched by the "gift" of Nurgle, and turned into a walking pandemic too inured with pain to feel it anymore and too necrotized too rely on their natural physiology anymore. In terms of shots from a bolter, (roughly) 1 in 20 will actually manage to kill one. TO put that into perspective, a regular human would be lucky to survive 1 in 3 shots.

    Video Games 
  • Master Chief of Halo fame is a SPARTAN-II who can survive atmospheric reentry and subsequent impact with the ground almost unaided. The fact that he didn't turn into a squishy soup like mixture is a testament to his Super Toughness.
    • It helps that his armor was upgraded immediately before Halo 2 (and that he has Plot Armor). In Halo: The Fall of Reach a group of SPARTAN-IIs tried that in the last-gen armor and half of them died.
  • Prototype gives us Alex Mercer. He isn't unkillable, but multiple RPGs, choppers, tanks and zombies aren't going to do the job unless the player is playing the game wrong.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The absurd durability of krogans is something of a running joke. Due to evolving on a Death World where they were a prey species until they invented gunpowder, they have second and often third copies of nearly every organ in their bodies (including a redundant nervous system), thick hides, a camel-like hump that stores nutrients, and great strength. As a result they can shrug off things that would kill other species, and BioWare never lets us forget it: to give you just one example from Mass Effect 2, the description of the M-98 Widow anti-materiel rifle states that it's intended for use against "armored vehicles and krogan."
    • It is telling that many people, including some krogan, think this about Commander Shepard. In the finale, s/he even takes a full-on shot from Harbinger's battleship-destroying main gun, and, while injured, gets up and continues. S/he's a Badass human with cybernetic enhancements, but still.

    Web Original 
  • Plenty of supers at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, but Peril is a good example. He field-tested an inventor's jetpack. It exploded at two hundred feet up (so he took the blast and then the fall). He's fine now.


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alternative title(s): Super Tough
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