Copper... drains... my powers! Megamind:
Your weakness is copper? You're kidding, right?
Being a Super Hero
ain't easy. Most of the original Flying Bricks
have the good Achilles heels
covered, and the pharmacy is even out of Psycho Serum
to give you a cheap Backstory
gimmick to explain your powers.
What's left for the modern hero and villain to do? Make do with a Weaksauce Weakness. It's great for comedic effect, but just as often it ends up being an Achilles' Heel
that makes your average Mundane Solution
seem perfectly reasonable
The weakness isn't a common household cleaning agent like Mundane Solution
, but something so incredibly, stupidly embarrassing you'd think the Super Hero
would never use his power out of shame in the off chance someone found out about it, or because it shows up regularly
in the course of their super heroing. The "weakness" might come in the form of the fuel for the super power, a humiliating Transformation Sequence
or activation phrase, or just a set of restrictions on the powers that really are begging to get laughed at. Therefore, this is one of the most popular ways to Bless your hero With Suck.
If the weakness is a Logical Weakness
, it can be pulled off. If not, it can seriously stress the Willing Suspension of Disbelief
, unless it's Played for Laughs
Especially cruel writers will have clever villains make it a Weaponized Weakness
. However, a Kryptonite-Proof Suit
can even the odds.
This is also commonly exploited in an Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion
, where Bizarre Alien Biology
is probably to blame.
Related to Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?
. See also Kryptonite Factor
. If played for laughs, the one so harmed may Fight Off the Kryptonite
. In extreme cases, the character will defend themselves from the weakness with a Cross-Melting Aura
. For the inversion, of being at risk from a lack
of something, see Phlebotinum Muncher
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Fiction in General
- Vampires, the badass creatures of the night who always want to suck your blood, tend to have a lot of weaknesses. Popular tradition holds that you're fine as long as you stay in the sunlight, have some garlic, stay inside your house and refuse to let them in, or even wield a simple cross. In fact, pretty much the only traditional weakness of vampires that's not weaksauce is the whole wooden stake bit, since getting stabbed through the heart with a pointy stick kills most things.
The multitude of fiction involving vampires, though, has led to a multitude of differing weaknesses—including varying degrees of effectiveness. In some settings, vampires are weak to silver, and other religious symbols affect them as much as Christian ones. Then there's the older, more obscure, and even more restrictive weaknesses such as inability to cross running water, or obsessive-compulsive disorder causing the need to count piles of seeds, grains of sand, or other small objects, inability to stand constant bell ringing, and even the need to be invited to enter houses.
On the inverse, many of the works that tend toward "non-standard" portrayals of vampires also go at length to mock the traditional weaknesses.
- The Fair Folk are terrific—as in terror-inducing—beings of legend and myth ... and yet, they can be beaten by a stick of iron, a horseshoe, a length of rowan wood, clothes worn inside-out, or a stick of bread.
A popular explanation for the weakness comes from Victorian Era archaeologists, who held that this is all just symbolism for the bronze and stone-working cultures being conquered by iron-working ones. More recent academics (like Dr. Diane Purkiss) have shown there's no archaeological or historical evidence for this.
- This is an especially big problem for the Nuckelavee of Orcadian folklore. Widely considered the most malevolent elf in all of Scotland, the Nuckelavee is an eldritch horror that resembles a man on horseback, if the man was fused to the horse and both had all their skin flayed off. It rides through the countryside destroying crops, killing travelers, causing floods and plagues and generally being a harbinger for all things bad. How do you defeat this monstrosity? Fresh water, and burning seaweed. The Nucklavee fears freshwater, so much so that it cannot cross a stream, and hides in its oceanic lair during the winter storms. Likewise, it finds the smell of burning seaweed intolerably offensive. However, don't provoke the Nucklavee, especially with taunting or burning seaweed, as whenever the Nucklavee is offended, it tries to kill all of the horses in the Orkneys with a hideous disease called "Mortasheen."
- The Irish/Celtic Dullahan, a fearsome headless fairy that rides at night (either alone or accompanied by banshees) to splash buckets of blood into people's faces — to announce the recipient of a face-full will soon die. They're also a mean shot with a whip, and sometimes drive horse-drawn carriages decorated with human skulls and femurs. There's no known way to actually kill a Dullahan, and the only way to ward one off is to exploit its intense fear of... gold. That's right; the Dullahan, possibly one of the most pants-wettingly scary portents of imminent death, can easily be warded off by one of the metals most commonly used to make jewelry, and which also used to be a standard monetary metal before paper money was widely adopted. Please remember this is more weak sauce in real life than fiction though.
- Gold was in no way a common standard for cash; it served strictly for large trade and few people would have carried any that wasn't jewelry.
- Werewolves have their share of weaknesses, too; earlier legends provide ones such as having an iron bar thrown over their head - although hitting somebody with an iron bar is pretty incapacitating for most creatures - drawing three drops of blood, or having their name announced one to three times.
The popular weakness to silver weapons is a relatively new invention. It often comes with an immunity to anything not made of silver. Most werewolves that don't have the silver weakness can be killed by any type of weapon, including silver.
- Basilisks. Okay, they can kill you if you look directly at them, or hear their voice, or if you touch them, or it breaths on you, but guess what? They can be killed instantly by the crowing of a rooster, and their powers don't work on weasels.
In some legends, Basilisks are also weak to themselves. There are stories of men killing a basilisk by wearing mirrors sewn into clothing.
- Trolls. Yeah, they can rip you limb from limb with their bare hands, but a little sunlight turns 'em into inanimate rocks.
One good way to trick a troll into watching the sunrise is to challenge them to a game of riddles: no troll can resist such a challenge. But beware—according to the legends trolls are extremely good at riddles, and if you decide to give up before dawn then they celebrate their victory by eating the loser.
- Many of the oldest portrayals of Satan, the ostensible antagonist to God, has him easily outwitted by peasants and driven away by holy symbols (such as a scapular).
- How many mighty gods/beings have been defeated by a mere logical quibble with their own rules? Ditto for evil Artificial Intelligence.
- Achilles was the greatest of the Greek Heroes. When he was born, his mother dipped his body in the river Styx (or into a fire, depending on which version of the story it is) so that he would be invincible. The only part of him that wasn't affected was his heel, which was where she held him. Given that the trope Achilles' Heel is named after him, you can guess what happened to him eventually. However, some of the myths indicate that he was shot with arrows poisoned with hydra venom, the same ones that killed Hercules, which deflects the weaksauce bit. (If he can only be killed by shooting him in one really hard-to-hit spot with arrows dipped in a poison that, even diluted, could bring down a demigod, then that's... actually a very minor weakness and not weaksauce at all!)
- Not even a weakness, really. Just a specific place where he's down to normal human vulnerability.
- Homer's depiction of Achilles does not appear to include the tradition of limited invulnerability. When Achilles takes the field in the later books of The Iliad, a spear (thrown by a mid-level mook) grazes his shoulder and draws blood.
- In folk tradition, salt is often used to repel evil. It was said a circle of salt could protect one from witches, that salt over your doorstep would ward off ghosts and evil spirit. Salt was often seen as a symbol of purity, especially in its uses: Salt is a conservation agent after all, and salt-cured meats don't spoil. Salt as a purifier appears in Shinto (Where it is used as a ritual purifier and small mounds of salt can be used to repel evil spirits) and Christianity (where it is used before mass and to consecrate a church).
- In Arabic legend, a ghoul could be killed with a single kick. However, there's an up-side—kick the ghoul again and it immediately springs back to life.
- Kappa in Japanese myth are river goblins ranging from mischievous to outright malicious who are said to kidnap children to drown them or tear out their souls and livers. They have a dent in their skulls in which they store water, allowing them to walk on land. Despite their appearance, kappa are extremely well-mannered and cannot resist answering a polite bow with an even deeper one. This will cause the water to spill from their heads, forcing them to retreat. Additionally, they love cucumbers even more than children and can easily be distracted with them.
- In a great many works, robots or anything else with electronic components get destroyed by water being thrown on them.
Anime and Manga
- Prism, a member of the X-Men villain group the Marauders, is a truly pitiful example that combines this trope with What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?. His mutant ability is that he is made of a crystal that can absorb and redirect light energy (like a prism) and is no more durable than glass. Yes, he is made of glass. His weaknesses include any sort of impact. Two of his four deaths (yes, he has died often) involve being thrown into a wall and being shattered by bullets.
- Thor used to have a debilitating weakness: If he let go of Mjölnir for more than a minute, he turned into doctor Don Blake, who has a crippled leg (and presumably an acid tongue a dry wit), and Mjölnir turns into a walking stick. Basically, House. This was removed years ago, which now makes Thor virtually invulnerable.
- Perun from The Ultimates is essentially a Thor wannabe...without the superhuman strength most Asgardians possess. Despite having a powerful hammer similar to Mjölnir, Perun is killed after an enemy sneaks up on him and quietly snaps his neck.
- The greater the power, the weaker the sauce! Marvel's latest and most prominent Superman pastiche is The Sentry, a "golden guardian of good" who's as powerful as he lets himself be. However, he's also agoraphobic—he can't stand being outside. If you also so much as remind him of his little Dark Side problem, he'll fly off to Saturn and cry. Or revert to human form. Or, if he's really unlucky, let the Void out—and suddenly things will look a whole lot better for the bad guys.
- One fancomic actually has him carrying around his entire living room whenever he wants to go anywhere.
- Iron Man once defeated him by forwarding his mail, more or less.
- This was once parodied in the British comic, The Beano, in which the character Calamity James is rescued by a superhero and offers him a Jelly Baby by way of thanks. Guess what the hero's one weakness is!
- Mr. Mxyzptlk is so powerful that he has no natural weaknesses. To make his fights with Superman more challenging, he gives himself one. Which one does he choose? Saying his own name backwards.
- Used hilariously in the animated series, with an episode consisting of Superman using clever and creative ways of exploiting Mr. Mxyzptlk's "weakness", often without having to use any sort of super powers at all.
- Post-Crisis it's a self-imposed weakness. In the Silver Age and Useful Notes/Bronze Age, it was a natural aspect of fifth dimensional beings that saying their own names backwards sent them home. In the Golden Age, anyone (human or imp) who said Mxyztplk's name backwards would end up in the Fifth Dimension... or the Fifth Dimension attached to Earth-2, anyway.
- Mxy's biggest weakness is that he's a gullible idiot.
- Venom. Weaknesses? Fire and loud noise. At one point, he's defeated with nothing more than a lighter (which raises the question of why Spider-Man doesn't just carry a $1.98 Bic lighter with him at all times). This varies Depending on the Writer. Carnage shares some of the same weaknesses.
- Fan-favorite (yet sadly not used, ever) Toxin, Carnage's "child" however doesn't, what it does have is being very child like, (one point it refused to help it's host because he yelled at it.)
- All Symbiotes are vulnerable to intense heat and sound. The amount of their resistance varies depending on the Symbiote in question (Carnage's resistances dwarf Venom's) and, on a more meta-note, as mentioned Depending on the Writer.
- Though it's actually justified in that the symbiotes come from a world with no atmosphere, and thus have no natural resistance to extreme temperature or noise because they'd never naturally encounter them. Even a few generations with them around and the weakness is bred away quickly.
- Perhaps in response to claims of how silly his weaknesses are, the Ultimate version of Venom lacks the vulnerability to fire and sound. Instead, the only real threat to him is electrocution.
- Marvel's Valkyrie, in her early Defender years, was unable to fight against any foe that was feminine, even if she was alien or a robot.
- Marvel's The Inhumans, genetic superhumans who have advanced technology and a civilization predating regular humans' by millennia, are done in by... pollution and germs.
- The Darkness, phenomenal cosmic/demonic power. But can't operate under a 60 Watt light bulb.
- Static's nemesis Hot-Streak had the ability to conjure powerful fireballs which he could hurl at his opponents. The catch? His powers were friction-based, so he could only use them after running around (albeit at super-speed, which he possessed in his first appearance) and building up heat energy from his feet. Once Static realized this, he simply attacked from behind and immobilized Hot-Streak with metal fixtures from a playground, rendering him completely helpless.
- He was a much bigger threat in the cartoon adaptation precisely because the writers ditched the friction weakness.
- Static himself gets completely shorted out if he is hit with water while powered up. He doesn't have this weakness in the comics.
- The DCU also had Firestorm, whose weakness is organic materials. All of them. He can't affect them with his power, or he'll suffer painful consequences. So...he could be foiled by a stick. Or a leather wallet.
- The second Firestorm was once beaten because he published a scientific paper on how his own powers worked. And Lex Luthor read it. "Oh no" indeed.
- Firestorm needs to merge with someone in order to use his powers. If the merge happens too long, his powers eat his partner.
- In one of his appearances on Super Friends, he was rendered helpless after being sprayed with plant food. Even their version of Aquaman wasn't as lame.
- In Firestorm's case, his weakness was probably imposed to prevent the implications of his powers being used on living people and animals. Since Blackest Night eventually provided us with a very memorable example of just how scary his powers could actually be, maybe it was for the best that writers watered him down early on.
- Commentators both in-universe and out have pointed out that Firestorm's real weakness is being an idiot. He can simply turn the air around someone to steel, yet his infamously lame villains have included a powerless albino dwarf and a guy with a rope.
- The short-lived hero Gunfire had the power to turn anything into a gun by charging it with explosive energy. Anything (except, oddly enough, an actual gun). Enter the Hitman story where Tommy defeats a future version of Gunfire by causing him to turn his own ass into a living grenade. Good times were had by all.
- Although it's since been removed, Eclipso - DC's god of darkness - could be dispelled from his human host by a camera flash.
- Gladiator, Praetor of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Strong enough to shatter planets. Able to fly at many times the speed of light. Can withstand the heat of a star or the blast of a supernova. Has Eye Beams of unimaginable heat, and they can see particles on a subatomic level. Truly a being of such infinite power can only be defeated by...making him feel bad about himself.
- Somewhat justified in that his powers are explicitly psionic/mental in nature. If he believes that they won't work or that he can't complete a task with them, they won't work and he won't be able to complete that task. This means you don't actually need a weapon powerful enough to beat him, only something which you can convince him is a weapon powerful enough to beat him, which Rocket Raccoon exploited.
- Alternatively, bringing anything to the table that can disrupt psionic powers works just as well, as Nova showed when he beat Xenith -another Strontian- in just one punch after messing up her psionic powers with a headbutt from his psionic-dampening helmet.
- Another parody—Super-Ace, an alternate Ace Rimmer from a superhero universe appeared in one Red Dwarf Smegazine comic strip. While he had the full array of Flying Brick powers, his one weakness was ... human flesh. So an ordinary Mook could punch him.
- Storm, of the X-Men, has complete control of the weather: in practice it gives her flight, superspeed, and the command of electricity, water, cold, and wind. So what's her weakness? Claustrophobia. If a writer wants to take her out of a battle, all they need to do is drop some rubble on her—and sometimes not even that much. In her early years, she had a Heroic BSOD when a villain only mentioned a word that made her think of enclosed spaces. (These days, trying to stick her in an enclosed space just makes her mad.)
- When he first appeared, Loki had one—he couldn't use his powers when wet/in contact with water. Against Thor, who could easily make it rain. No wonder this is ignored now.
- The sword in, umm, The Sword grants whomever touches it serious Super Strength, enough Super Speed to run on water and deflect bullets, and a powerful healing ability that can close gaping chest wounds and reattach limbs. Unfortunately, these only last for as long as the user maintains physical contact. Put it down to eat a sandwich or go to the bathroom and you're mortal again. At one point, protagonist Dara drops in the middle of a super-strength high jump (a natural reaction to being shot) and suddenly finds she's not landing, she's falling. Worse, go too long without touching the sword and any injuries it healed come back all at once.
- The first story of the 2011 relaunch of Swamp Thing features a kid villain named William Arcane. William's connection to the forces of Death (or The Rot) allow him to control all dead or decaying matter. This gives him immense power. The only problem is his fatal allergy to chlorophyll.
- "The Day Red Turned to Green", in Tales of the Unexpected #85 features giant mushroom-like aliens that can be harmed by anything red. The main character finds one of their "absorbo-sponges" while spelunking and anything red that he passes while carrying it turns green.
- Billy Batson/Captain Marvel says "Shazam!," the name of the wizard who granted him his powers, to change between his hero and civilian forms. This isn't really that bad, but his friend Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel Jr. has to say "Captain Marvel!" to transform—meaning that he not only has to be careful talking to Billy, but he can't even tell people his own code name without becoming powerless. He started going by "CM3" to fix this.
- In the first Titans Tomorrow storyline (which featured evil future versions of the Teen Titans), CM 3 can also be depowered when a recording of his voice says "Captain Marvel!". This is played dead straight, as Batman (Tim Drake) uses a recording of CM 3 revealing his secret identity to Tim to shut him down before CM 3 can beat him into the ground.
- Pick someone, hero, villain, or somewhere in between with electricity based powers, chances are their weaknesses are, among other things, rubber and water.
- Speaking of Superman, a cover of an underground comix subverted this trope for laughs. You see loads of bullets bouncing off him harmlessly...and a custard pie volley. Granted, it doesn't hurt him either...but his pride.
- In The Umbrella Academy, Seance's powers only work when he's barefoot. He apparently collects shoes.
- How do you defeat your own author? Well, if you're a character in You Got HaruhiRolled!, just show him a disgusting Doujinshi. He'll be so Squicked out that he will be unable to resist you forcing him back through the dimensional portal whence he came.
- In Queen Of All Oni, a Jackie Chan Adventures fanfic, Jade gains the weakness to onions Oni have in canon after EATING an Oni mask.
- Because he is a Living Shadow, Mysterious from My Little Unicorn gets hurt by standing in any form of light.
- In Christian Humber Reloaded, Vash, a God-Mode Sue with countless superpowers, multiple super modes, and an arsenal of high-tech and legendary weapons, who can take on entire armies and the main villains of several works of fiction without breaking a sweat, is vulnerable to Paralysis, a Useless Useful Spell in RPGs that rarely affects anything stronger than a common enemy.
- When the Discworld had a brief and potentially deadly meeting with the Alien Queen, a very improbable Ripley - albeit one working for the Guild of Assassins - realised that a lifeform based on very strong acids could be vanquished by application of drain and toilet cleaner (very strong alkalines). As she put it, simple alchemy: if the brute spits ph1 at me, then I'm jolly well going to respond with lots and lots of lovely ph14. Acid plus alkali equals salt and water, Captain Carrot. Any organic material subjected to caustic potash is reduced to soap. SHE is going to be a puddle of salty soapy water in no seconds nothing!"
- In the Star Wars/Mass Effect crossover Origins, the "hibridium"-based cloaking devices aboard Trans-Galactic Republic and Republic Intelligence Service ships fail to conceal the ship's magnetic properties, meaning if one drops a strong enough magnet near the ship its presence will be revealed as said magnet is pulled toward the physically-invisible target. Aria T'Loak, never one for games, exploits this to blackmail RISE. It starts off okay but ultimately doesn't end well...
- Vampires in My Immortal are vulnerable to steak. Early in the fic, the protagonist, herself a vampire, contemplates committing suicide with one she hides in her bedroom.
- Also, vampires are not only vulnerable to crosses, they apparently can't even write the word "cross." Of course, the story sometimes forgets all that and depicts vampires wearing cross earrings.
- In Shinobi Of The High Seas Kizaru has been beaten twice by using a mirror to reflect him away.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The Wizard of Oz gives the trope-codifying example: the Wicked Witch of the West melted when Dorothy splashed her with a bucket of water.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger, the nigh-unstoppable humanoid monster that can kill you in your dreams, has a weakness to people not believing in him. This becomes far funnier when you realise that his weakness is the same as Tinkerbell!
- The aliens in Signs. It's hard to feel threatened (retrospectively) by creatures which will dissolve in an April shower or corrode in a particularly humid breeze. And are completely incapable of breaking down wooden doors.
- In Shyamalan's earlier film, Unbreakable, he also used water as a weakness for the main superhero character. In that case, though, it wasn't that he was especially vulnerable to water, but rather he was just as susceptible to drowning as a normal person. If he drank something too quickly he would choke and if he was submerged he would succumb to drowning just like everyone else—though it was theorized that the dense bone and muscle that made him unbreakable also made him unfloatable (or the character simply couldn't swim). There was a complicating factor in the scene where he ends up almost drowning in a swimming pool. He's tangled up in a big piece of fabric, which would give anyone a bad time while in water. It was also a psychological weakness: he had almost drowned once as a child (probably due to the aforementioned bone density), an event so traumatic he blocked it from his memory. That would make anyone nervous around water, even if they couldn't remember why.
- Shyamalan probably got the weakness idea for Signs from Invasion of the Saucer Men, whose aliens were melted by light. There is nothing lamer. Especially considering they were done in by the headlights of teenage hot rodders!
- The Bioraptors (also called 'Demons') of Pitch Black had a similar weakness to light. Though this actually worked, as most of the movie was during a solar eclipse and they broke their flashlights. Oddly enough, the creatures are shown moving about in the light, albeit cautiously, before the eclipse. Compare this to later on, when a lighter is enough to make them run away...
- The same thing appeared in Attack of the Eye Creatures. Although, in this case, it was more because They Just Didn't Care (and because it was an almost word for word remake of Invasion of the Saucer Men).
- Also happens in The Mole People; in which a lost colony of ancient Sumerians living Beneath the Earth had adapted to their lightless conditions to the point where our heroes could kill them with a flashlight.
- In the movie version of The Day of the Triffids, the titular monsters were melted by sea water. Nearly as lame. In the original novel, ironically, flame-throwers are among the most effective anti-Triffid weapons.
- The Tenctonese in Alien Nation (the movie as well as the series) are harmed by salt water. Seawater is like acid to them. They live mostly on the Californian coast; while they do develop a tolerance to it, direct exposure is still harmful to them.
- There is a slightly funny moment when the police find the partially-dissolved body of a Newcomer washed up on the beach. When asked how they were able to identify him, they simply shrug and show his soaked wallet. All his clothes were, naturally, fine too.
- In the Disney Channel movie Up, Up and Away!, the weakness of the superhero family is aluminum foil. However, it's never made clear if it was just their family or all supers who are vulnerable to foil. Both Spider-Man and Superman are mentioned to exist in this 'verse, and they don't have any weakness to aluminum foil (although Supes has his own weakness). If the weakness is hereditary, then it should realistically only affect one of the parents.
- In SYNGENOR, the titular creatures were created to be the perfect soldiers for a war with the Middle East. They don't need to eat or sleep, are immune to most weaponry, and reproduce every twenty-four hours. Their only weakness? Water is like acid to them. It's somewhat hard to be afraid of a super soldier that can be defeated with a super soaker. Or, if worst came to worst, by peeing on them.
- In the Dead Gentlemen Productions (of The Gamers fame) running Demon Hunters series, Duamerthrax the Indestructible is a walking brick that is, well, all but indestructible. He's an "earthwalker", a demon said to have been kicked out of hell for being too mean. Unlike other monsters and demons in the mythos, he's not susceptible to ordinary injury. He can eat the round of a large-caliber revolver jammed in his mouth ("Mmm! Nice 'n' leady!") casually regrows limbs after being dismembered, and generally shrugs off what few injuries he even takes while making terrible puns. So what's the convenient balance? We're told that every earthwalker has a weakness to some substance, "a plant, metal, anything". Duamerthrax's turns out to be mint. Being shot repeatedly at close range with numerous handguns does little more than inconvenience him, but the breath of someone having just used breath spray causes him intense pain, water-guns full of mouthwash can inflict serious harm and mint dental floss can do even worse things.
- Mars Attacks!. The Martians' weakness is hearing high-pitched yodeling, such as in the song "Indian Love Call" by Slim Whitman, which causes their heads to explode.
- The Tomatoes in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! had the same weakness, in the form of a song called "Puberty Love".
- The Mummy (1999): Imhotep in his incomplete form was immediately chased away when a cat is in his presence, because they guard the Underworld. Naturally, the heroes never did anything to exploit this weakness, such as by putting cats in the room full of the people he needed to kill to stop being vulnerable to cats.
- From 1966 superhero parody Rat Pfink A Boo Boo: "Remember, Boo Boo, we have only one weakness... bullets."
- Like the Dalek example given below, in RoboCop (1987), the killer robot ED-209 chasing the titular character was taken out of play simply by trying to chase RoboCop down stairs that its chicken-walker legs were ill-suited to negotiate.
- In an Homage to The Wizard of Oz, Death in Six String Samurai is killed when squirted with water.
- Derek Zoolander can't turn left until his Big Damn Heroes moment. (Though continuity nitpicks will note that he does turn left (relative to himself, though not the camera) while in disguise while trying to retrieve Maury's computer.)
- The Spiderwick Chronicles provides a literal weaksauce weakness: Tomato sauce is corrosive to goblins. (This was not in the original book.)
- Mystery Men: Invisible Boy's weakness was anybody looking at him while he was invisible. (Machines, like motion detectors and cameras, didn't trigger this.)
- The Super Cop in Super Fuzz has super speed, super strength, invulnerability, telekinesis and so on, but he completely loses his powers when he sees the color red (probably a nod to GL and his vulnerability to yellow): a red traffic light, a red flower, a red ribbon, and he's harmless.
- The Psychlo homeworld of Battlefield Earth can be blown to (relatively) tiny bits with a nuclear explosion. You'd think that a nuclear bomb is substantial enough to bypass the Weaksauce bit, but remember that this is a PLANET. It'd be like a human exploding in a smear of gore after stubbing their toe. The given reason is that the planet's atmosphere ignites upon the slightest exposure to radiation. This, of course, implies that the planet completely lacks in any heavy elements.
- Sleepwalkers had monsters that were Made of Iron, except when scratched by house cats.
- As is the usual with horror movie monsters, the 1973 Blaxploitation movie titular character Blackenstein was Immune to Bullets, fists, and blunt objects—traits which, when added to his Super Strength, seemingly made him all but unstoppable. What is it that finally laid the mighty monster low? The primal forces of nature themselves or divine intervention? No. The police sicced the hounds on him. That's it. Doberman Pinscher fangs trump bullets, apparently.
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Blaster is the immense Dragon to Master. According to people who want him dead and have been hunting for the right assassin to get the job done, "He can kill most men with his breath." His weakness: he can't stand high pitched noises. Max discovers this when the car alarm on his vehicle renders Blaster into a writhing, screaming, mess- and promptly figures out that his old police whistle can have the same effect.
- The undead mutant warrior things from the 80s flick Neon Maniacs are virtually invulnerable except, like many other things on this list, they can be dissolved with a squirt gun.
- The goblins from Troll 2 are defeated when Joshua eats a double-decker bologna sandwich in front of them during the film's climax. They can't come within 20 feet of you after you eat 2 bites of bologna.
- Ernest Scared Stupid's titular monsters are these trolls, who legend speaks of them being weak to... milk.
- In The Lair of the White Worm, a vampire's natural enemy is the mongoose due to vampires in this universe being snake-people. The mongoose ends up getting killed anyway but it's still enough to make the Big Bad retreat for a while.
- Also, playing the bagpipes puts them in a trance. Unless they have earplugs.
- In Hook, the Lost Boys exploit Captain Hook's fear of the sound of ticking clocks, which they attribute to Hook's memories of being pursued by a clock-swallowing giant crocodile. Subverted when Peter points out that Hook can't really be afraid of the crocodile, which he killed years ago; rather, Hook is afraid of time, as he's become an old man beneath his wig and make-up, and old age is hardly a fear that can be dismissed as Weaksauce.
- Superman IV: The Quest for Peace brings us the horror that is Nuclear Man who, for reasons unknown, is powered solely by the sun. The minute he is out of direct sunlight he stops dead. Even if he's in a well lit room but slightly in the shade then he's next to worthless. This is especially pathetic when you consider that, in canon, Superman's own powers are ultimately derived from sunlight, but *he* doesn't power down in the shade.
- In The Traveler, the only way to counter Mr Nobody is actually by letting him hear his real full name, which will make him lose powers and become vulnerable to physical attacks. Kinda makes sense for him to conceal his identity throughout the film.
- Played for laughs in Evolution, where the aliens' critical weakness is to dandruff shampoo.
- Hancock's only weakness? His real wife. Any attempt to live a loving, fulfilling life with his wife of 3,000 years will cause them to both become mortal in order to die together. Unfortunately, Hancock has a hero complex to save people. Which attracts bad guys who attack them in their weakened state. They argue, he leaves, they meet again and the whole cycle starts again. His wife says the gods who created them gave this as a gift. So that they could find love and be happy, and not have to see everyone they care about die as they remain unchanged and alive.
- R.O.T.O.R. is about a robotic policeman gone mad. He's almost unstoppable except for being paralyzed by loud noises. This might not sound that dumb until you realize he's repeatedly frozen by people honking their car horns at him or playing a radio a little too loud.
- The Sensory Overload to the Kryptonians in Man of Steel. Good thing Supes learned how to control it and unfortunately, so did Zod.
- Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation is every bit as tough and unstoppable as you would expect from a terminator... except for his glaring exposed weakpoint in the form of his organic human heart (which isn't even covered with any sort of armor; it just hangs there in a big gaping hole in his chest, leaving it completely exposed to any stray pistol shot or well-aimed punch).
- In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla's arms are very stubby compared to the rest of him. The male M.U.T.O took advantage of this a couple of times by jumping on his head and stabbing away at him with those long forelegs, with Godzilla having an extremely difficult time dislodging him since he could barely touch the top of his head. They are plenty strong, though, and he uses them to fight the female Muto.
- The titular Nightmare Man is a pretty powerful fertility god, he can kill people, grab and crush people's hearts by sticking his hand in, control dead people as puppets, etc....his weakness, if the person he's possessed is on anti-psychotic pills he can't do anything at all.
- The Darklords of the Lone Wolf gamebooks are (were, as of Book 12) crippled by clean air and can only unleash their full strength in toxic habitats. Half the reason they waged a centuries long campaign ruining Magnamund (the other half being that they are Always Chaotic Evil embodiments of evil) is (was) to make the world a paradise for themselves. Even in their weakened state they can still put up a good fight with their mastery of Black Magic and immunity to conventional weapons. In one story arc, the Darklords develop a magical engine that allow them to retain their full strength outside their realm. About a dozen of them are on the frontlines of their war when the protagonist smashes the engine, singlehandedly ending their reign of terror.
- In one Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Enchanted Kingdom, your character visits a mystical land populated by fairies. You find out that they have the standard folklore aversion to iron, but when some ghouls break your sword, you find out the ghouls are weakened by the presence of plastic when you pull out the only blade you have left, your Swiss army knife.
- The Wicked Witch of the West from the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was done in by a pail of water. This was explained in the book (but not in the movie) as due to her being "dried up by years of evil" but no indication was ever given that water would kill her. The book does mention that the Witch would never go near Dorothy when she bathed because she hated water.
- The Wicked Witch is not the only one afraid of water: while Tin Man doesn't melt, he rusts to the point of total immobility - even though he shouldn't.
- Another Oz-related Weaksauce: the Nome King was an extremely powerful, nigh-invincible subterranean fairy who had armies of nomes... all of them, including him, could be weakened to the point of being killed by eggs. This doesn't look as bad as it seems at first, because there's only one chicken in Oz, and even that one was brought there from Kansas.
- PvP parodied it here.
- Tik-Tok is an impressive clockwork man, whose processes (thinking, movement, and speech) are powered by three separate springs which need to be periodically wound, or he'll run down. And he is unable to wind them himself. Leaving him alone for more than a few hours is all it takes.
- Wicked, a parallel novel based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, explores the Wicked Witch of the West's weakness to its entirety, explaining that since birth, exposing her skin to water hurt her, so she had to clean herself with oil and find creative solutions for things which normally involve using water. When she cries, it's like acid flowing down her face. Weakness to water could be the result of the unexplored concept of being "a daughter of the dragon". Its also implied that if Elphaba had ever come into the fullness of her powers, water would cease to be a true threat to her (at one point she instinctively freezes a lake, allowing her to cross it unharmed). The Musical adaptation openly mocks the entire idea of water melting the Witch. Elphaba uses this urban legend about herself to fake her own death at Dorothy's hands.
- The weakness from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is spoofed in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, where evil wizards can be melted with water—but only with soap and lemon juice added. The good witch Morwen, on the other hand, explicitly does not melt. It is later theorized that this might be because the wizards never shower while Morwen is something of a neat-freak. Eventually, the heroes refined this into a one word spell with the same effect. One very memorable word, too: Argelfraster!
- The aliens in The War of the Worlds were killed by a common disease. The aliens were so advanced and germophobic that they wiped out all microbial life on their native planet. Which meant they had nothing to develop immunities to when they invaded Earth.
- The Martians, in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, are killed en masse rather early in the book by a human-induced plague of chicken pox. It's a knowing reference to both American history and The War of the Worlds.
- Harry Potter
- The Boggart in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be almost an incarnation of this trope. A Boggart will materialize in the form of a person's worst fear (though exactly what that means is debatable). The way to repel one is to forcibly imagine the fearsome thing as something ridiculous, and then laugh at it. Alternatively, the Boggart can't handle trying to frighten more than one person at once, as attempts to materialize into more than one person's fear results in things such as the "half a slug" incident. This is why Lupin advised his students not to face a Boggart alone (combined with the above reason).
- Pottermore goes a little more into detail with the boggart - since they're nearly impossible to kill and feed off emotion, they're incredibly dangerous to Muggles, but given that Riddikulus is such a simple spell that a thirteen-year-old can learn it in minutes, even a very powerful boggart is a minor nuisance to a prepared wizard. At one point, it describes a boggart that had fed on the fears of local Muggles and become "an elephantine black shadow with glowing white eyes"... only to then note that a Ministry wizard was able to trap it in a matchbox.
- Voldemort's inability to understand Love, and The Power of Love, proves to be his ultimate undoing. However, this is more of a Fatal Flaw. Harry does not beat Voldemort because of some mystical aspect of love, but because having reliable friends and allies ultimately gives him an advantage over Voldemort, who underestimates the capacity of others to behave selflessly because he would never even consider doing so himself.
- In the Sin War trilogy, Diablo, the Lord of Terror and one of the three most powerful evil things in existence, is defeated by a reflective surface. Diablo appears as things you fear, and if it's bad enough to scare Diablo, it's pretty bad.
- Eddings' The Redemption of Althalus featured both one protagonistic and one antagonistic Five-Man Band, both with similar power arrays. The villains included the evil mind-leech Koman, with telepathy and mind-warping abilities... who was defeated when Althalus thought about random numbers. Fractions of numbers, even.
- Discworld examples:
- The Auditors in The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch. There are very logical and clearly worked out reasons why chocolate kills them in Thief of Time, due to some peculiar circumstances. In SoDIII, though, it just does.
- Non-incarnated Auditors can be killed by getting them to say "I", "me", or otherwise admit individuality. Since it's widely known that (a) only living things have individuality, (b) all living things die after some amount of time and (c) any living thing's lifespan is practically no time at all compared to the universe's, any Auditor who admits individuality instantly dies. By the perspective of the rest of them, this isn't much of a loss, since there are more Auditors than there is anything else in the universe and, by definition, any given one of them is supposed to lack any defining characteristics.
- Much of the plot of Carpe Jugulum concerns a group of "modern" vampires attempting to subvert this trope by developing resistances to the traditional vampire weaknesses. They ultimately fail to do so.
- Discworld vampires play this trope in a weird, All Myths Are True way. ALL weaknesses you might have ever heard of apply to SOME vampire, but you may have to do trial and error to find out which ones apply to the particular one who's trying to eat you right now. There are also a few with psychological problems that compel them to do things that directly address their particular weakness (such as the vampire flash photographer who works for The Truth, who has a weakness to bright light, and the one who worked at such jobs as pencil maker, garlic stacker, and whole-sale holy water clerk).
- Discworld bogeymen are incredibly strong, reasonably nasty, and some of them can teleport to some extent. Their vulnerability is that they're ridiculously susceptible to Clap Your Hands If You Believe. If you can get your head under a blanket, then you believe you're safe from the bogeyman and therefore you are. If you can get the bogeyman's head under a blanket, he goes into "existiental shock", since he no longer believes he exists.
- In Artemis Fowl, fairy magic can be completely stopped by animal fat. That's right, magic that can make you invisible, hypnotize people, heal nearly anything, and in some cases travel through time can be stopped by lard. Praise the Lard!
- Possibly a Logical Weakness instead. Fairy magic is strongly connected to the power of life, so animal fat, as a substance strongly symbolic of death, counters the effects.
- Some of the laws that (most) fairies have to adhere to thanks to some very old, powerful magic— the most commonly seen are the Ritual for restoring magic (has to be done with an acorn, at the full moon, under an oak next to a bend in the river... or at least to start with. By the second book that's already been thrown out as mere myth.), the 'fairies cannot enter human houses without permission' rule, and by extension, the 'fairies cannot disobey a direct command given by a human eye to eye' rule. These are handwaved away by No1 in the 6th book.
- The Haunter in the Dark, the titular monster in a story by HP Lovecraft, is an avatar of the god Nyarlatothep. It's a huge winged and tentacled mass of darkness with a three-lobed burning eye, whose touch will burn the flesh from your bones. However, it's extremely vulnerable to light. Even little light will hurt it, and strong light will banish it. So you can temporarily defeat an avatar of an ancient and evil god with a flashlight!. Temporarily. As soon as the lights are out, it can come back, just as nasty as before.
- In Worldwar, the invading reptilian aliens called 'The Race' had an immense weakness to ... ginger. Not only was it an incredibly addictive narcotic, but it also made the females produce sexual pheromones outside of the normal fertility cycles, turning exposed members of The Race into crackheaded sex fiends. When the humans attacked Race-occupied Australia, they used missiles armed with warheads packed with powdered ginger.
- Even before they discover ginger's effect on the Race females, they find that not only does is it extremely addictive to the lizards, but it also causes them to temporarily feel nigh-invincible - not a good trait for an infantryman, a tank crew commander, or a fighter jet pilot.
- In L.J. Smith's Night of the Solstice series the Fair Folk-like race known as the Quislai have many advantages, such as immortality, invulnerability, extreme beauty, the ability to throw lightning bolts, the power to travel to places quickly using secret pathways through space, and freedom from nearly all physical limitations. They can't be imprisoned by normal means, as doors and windows will unlock themselves for Quislai, and they can travel through dimensional gateways between worlds without preparation while everyone else requires a special magical amulet to use them. However, the one thing that can restrain them is a thornbranch tangled in the hair. Unfortunately, most Quislai seem too ditzy to think of cutting their hair short or at least avoiding rosebushes.
- The Bible
- Judges 1:19 is often taken by unbelievers and skeptics to argue that iron chariots are a weakness of God; as the King James Version translates it, it reads "And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." Needless to say, this interpretation is not generally accepted by believers.
- The great Samson got his Super Strength from Nazirite rituals, and breaking them was his big weakness. He attempted to mask this by making up a bunch of equally weaksauce fake weaknesses, only to kill anyone who actually tried them. He was still stupid enough to tell his true weakness to Delilah, despite her being the only one who knew of his "weaknesses" and therefore the only one who could have told them to his enemies. By the time he'd cut his hair (famously thought to be his sole weakness), he'd already violated other parts of the Nazirite rituals, such as drinking alcohol and handling dead bodies. Cutting his hair was the last straw, so to speak.
- The Death World creatures of Fragment are averse to salt water and avoid it (it's toxic to them for some reason), which is presumably what's kept them confined to Henders Isle. This is discovered accidentally by a lucky fool who blunders into a saltwater pool while fleeing the orgy of death chasing him, and is later adapted as a defensive measure against Henders creatures.
- The main weakness of vampires in Peter Watts's Blindsight-verse is geometry. If right angles take up too much of their visual field, they have massive, frequently fatal seizures. Right angles are very rare in nature, but once humanity developed architecture the vampires went extinct until later humans reconstructed them and developed "anti-Euclidean" drugs to counter the special vampire weakness (and keep the vampires dependent).
- In the Simon's Quest volume of the Worlds of Power series, Dracula's vengeful spirit can be driven off by bad jokes.
- In Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords and Books of Lost Swords series, Shieldbreaker, the Sword of Force, can defeat any weapon, and as such is the only thing that can defeat, even destroy, one of the other Swords, but is powerless against an unarmed man. In the final novel, Shieldbreaker is destroyed by Woundhealer, the only one of the Swords which cannot be used as a weapon.
- In The Wheel of Time, channelers are people and therefore are vulnerable to all the things that squishy humans are (though they can do things to help offset that). However, they are particularly vulnerable to Forkroot tea. In normal humans, it's harmless, if at most a mild sedative. In channelers it cuts off their ability to use their magic and knocks them out.
- Not to mention that of those who naturally develop the ability to use the local flavor of magic have a 75% chance of it being fatal without instruction.
- Trollocs and Myrddraal (the local flavor of evil Mooks and Lieutenants) have the old folk story weakness of not being able to cross running water. Myrddraal, with sufficient coaxing, could drive Trollocs to cross water, but it needed a damn good reason.
- In Nick Perumov's novel Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword, magic-users are vulnerable to the herb swamp crower. Its smoke makes everybody cough, but magic-users also temporarily lose their powers.
- In Bystander Lucretcia won the Superpower Lottery. But, she has two big weaknesses. First, she is weak against hot weather. A warm summer day means she can't leave the air-conditioned car, or she'll blister instantly. Two, she sucks at using her powers. Especially fighting. Being as strong as Superman isn't much use when you can't HIT the opponent!
- The kids in "How To Kill A Monster" have to figure out exactly how to do that. Falling three stories doesn't stop him nor does poisoning a pie. Luckily, there's a Deus ex Machina way out. the monster dies after they confirm they're humans, as he's allergic.
- In "Attack of the Mutant", there's a subversion of the trope that's invoked to then play the trope straight. Specifically, the young male protagonist is facing an enemy supervillain who has the ability to change into anyone and anything. The boy knows in advance that if the supervillain were to change into a liquid, he'd get stuck that way and be defeated, which is the supervillain's Weaksauce Weakness. Since the villain is under the impression that the boy is a superhero, the boy pretends that his Weaksauce Weakness is that he's vulnerable to acid. So the supervillain changes into a wave of acid, and after the boy hastily jumps out of the way, the supervillain gets stuck in his liquid-acid form, thus ensuring his defeat.
- Iron against the chaos mages in the Saga of Recluce. Even the strongest bolt of chaos fire can be stopped cold by a thin sheet of iron, and the more powerful a chaos mage is the more they're hurt by iron, to the point that what for anyone else would be Only a Flesh Wound will be a One-Hit Kill for an experienced chaos mage.
- Bram Stoker's Dracula averts most of the popular traditional weaknesses; for example, he can't be killed by most conventional means, and can use his shapeshifting powers during dawn, noon, and dusk. However, he does have unique weaknesses; he can only cross running water during high or low tide (this amounts to 12 hours and 25 minutes per day), needs to keep a small amount of Transylvanian soil in his home, and needs to be invited inside before he can enter a building (considering this is Victorian era England and he is a noble, this is a non-matter).
- Mercedes Lackey has fun playing with the iron weakness of fae; in her SERRAted Edge book series, the good elves not only use their skills as race car mechanics to work up a tolerance to iron, but also gladly use the metal to shield themselves from enemy elf attacks. Also, elf magic goes haywire in the presence of iron.
In fact, the good elves have noticed that iron makes their magic go haywire in extremely predictable and repeatable ways, so they have incorporated it into their defenses and can use it to, for example, negate their enemies' magic while delivering their own with deadly accuracy.
- In the same series, however, she plays the Trope straight in that her elves have a powerful vulnerability to caffeine.
- The Hunter from the Coldfire Trilogy is one of the most powerful beings in the series, but also fatally flawed in his nature. As part of his Deal with the Devil to stave off death, the Hunter surrendered his power over life, creation, and light. He can no longer use healing magic without dying, sunlight burns him horribly, and he is completely unable to manipulate ordinary fire. A villain in the first book took advantage of these weaknesses by luring him into a cave filled with crystal and used a mirror to reflect what little sunlight there was back at him, with the light magnified by the crystal. Then he was rendered helpless by being placed in an ordinary bonfire.
- Animorphs has one book where the group finds out the Yeerks' Bizarre Alien Biology allows both them and the hosts to treat instant maple oatmeal as an addictive drug on par with heroin. While they plan on dumping a bunch of Quaker Oats' finest into the pool the Yeerks use to rejuvenate, they don't end up using it as a weapon because it plays merry hell on the hosts as well.
- Captain Underpants loses his powers when he's subjected to spray starch. Actually, he doesn't, but he thinks he does, in an inversion of the Placebo Effect.
- In the Codex Alera, all of the various crafters' fury-granted Elemental Powers can be countered by their opposing element (i.e. dripping water on a firecrafter prevents use of fire furies, putting a woodcrafter in a metal cage nullifies wood furies, etc). Windcrafters have greater difficulty using their wind furies closer to earth, and being covered or surrounded by earth renders their furies impotent. However, they also have another weakness: salt, when it comes into contact with their furies, causes them great pain and disrupts them. As a result, anyone expecting to fight a windcrafter carries bags of salt with them to disrupt their Bullet Time, flight, and other powers. Salt-tipped arrows are a specialist weapon against hostile wind furies, and a salt-tipped arrow is what Bernard uses to critically injure High Lord Kalarus in Cursor's Fury by disrupting his wind furies in mid-flight, causing him to take a nasty plummet into a forest and introducing him to Newton's laws in a most painful and crippling manner.
- The Dresden Files
- All illusion has the problem that anyone capable of using the Sight can simply activate it and no matter how skilled the illusionist, they'll be able to see what's really going on. While most people avoid using the Sight due to the potential for seeing disturbing, unforgettable things with it, the ability for the most marginally skilled caster to counteract any illusion means that the Council doesn't consider it an especially useful discipline.
- Of course, the Sight has it's own odd weakness included in the form of permanent and perfect recall of whatever you see. Sounds good until you remember that normally scary things get the terror factor turned up to 11 and you have to relive it every time you think about it.
- All Fae are vulnerable to iron. So much so that Queen Mab, one of the most powerful beings in existence, is scared of an iron nail. The Summer and Winter Knights, while human, inherit this weakness as well- touching iron completely nullifies all of their Fae powers, which is especially dangerous because one of those powers is the ability to ignore disabling injuries.
- The Nazgűl from The Lord of the Rings are vulnerable to sunlight and fire, and will not cross running water if they can at all avoid it. The first two are actually a Logical Weakness- as creatures of darkness and cold; it makes perfect sense that they wouldn't like light and heat - but Tolkien never explains (either in the books themselves or Word of God) why they feared water.
- Tolkien was famous for using existing legends to establish the reason why certain myths are the way they are. The fact that they fear running water is a reference to many mythic demons, who could not cross running water. In-universe, one could infer that it's because their cloaked robes are the only things keeping their wraith-forms contained in any semblance of physical form. Trying to cross rapidly moving water would run the risk of their cloaks being swept away, meaning they'd become intangible and useless until they found replacement clothing to allow them to reconstitute themselves, which is exactly what happened to the ones caught in the flood outside Rivendell. (This also gives them a second reason to want to avoid fire)
- An alternate explanation would be that running water carries the power of Ulmo, the Lord of Waters and one of the most potent Valar. Since things symbolically connected to the other powerful Valar (eagles, the distilled starlight in Galadriel's phial, etc) have been shown to oppose creatures of evil, there is some logic behind this.
- The Witch King of Angmar, the most powerful of the Nazgűl and Sauron's Dragon, cannot be killed by the hands of men. This invulnerability does not include women or hobbits, so the lord of Nazgűl falls to the blades of Eowyn and Merry, a woman and a hobbit respectively.
- In the first book of Anne McCaffrey's Tower and the Hive series, The Rowannote , Prime-level Talents could not travel off-planet, due to Travel Sickness - a severe form of vertigo. They later found out that this wasn't the case - one of their own imprinted her own physical condition on the rest. So now the older Primes consider it a phobia, rather than a medical condition.
- All types of the fae in The Name of the Wind are susceptible to iron.
- Star Trek Novel Verse
- A secondary canon Star Trek novel (World Without End) describes Vulcans as being extremely vulnerable to cold, sufficient exposure to Earth's winters can kill them much faster than the exposure can kill a human. When staying on Earth briefly with his mother's family as a boy, Spock has to be completely bundled up whenever he is walking outside in the snow.
- The Saurians are immensely strong, can breathe almost anything, have incredible stamina…but being nocturnal and having huge, sensitive eyes, they can be rendered helpless by shining a bright light. Saurians serving in Starfleet wear protective lenses.
- In Vadim Panov's Secret City, Nav' are non-aging Magic Knights who will survive anything short of Chunky Salsa Rule. Unless the offending item is made of or covered with obsidian. This was successfully weaponized by both Lyud' in sniper bullets and by Chud' in obsidian sword coatings. The only record of an inter-Nav' war also tells of Nav' warriors wielding obsidian blades.
- Leto II, the God-Emperor of Dune who lived a few millennia, was vulnerable to water due to his sandtrout symbiosis, which was how he set himself up to be killed.
- Grettir of the Old Icelandic The Saga of Grettir the Strong was considered the strongest man on Iceland, but after being cursed by a revenant, he was afraid of the dark for the rest of his life.
- The Masters in The Tripods had a huge weakness to alcohol. Granted, so does anyone or anything else that drinks too much of it, but in their case, just a small drink of alcohol-laced water was enough to knock them cold and paralyze them.
- The Tanu in Julian May's Saga Of Pliocene Exile are much stronger than humans and can survive being hacked up by bronze swords. However, just a scratch from an iron blade is fatal. Iron is also the only way to safely remove the torcs they use to enslave and/or grant psychic powers to humans; attempting to remove one without iron tools will kill the wearer due to psychic shock.
- Epics in The Reckoners Trilogy all have one factor that will at least temporarily negate their powers. They range from incredibly difficult to identify, much less exploit, to ones like ultraviolet light and smoke.
- The Parasol Protectorate has the usual weaknesses for vampires, plus a psychic tether to their hive and a strong aversion to citrus that can be overcome with time. Werewolves are vulnerable to sunlight, silver, airsickness, and basil. In this universe, pesto sauce was invented to weaponize the allergies of both species.
- Trolls in A Fantasy Attraction has a weakness for... [drumroll] flowers. Herbal shampoo by extension.
- In "Rawhide Rex", a short story from Clive Barker's Books of Blood, the titular creature is nearly immortal and capable of paralyzing his enemies with a gaze. What does him in, is his pathological fear of menstruating women. To him, the idea is unnatural and smacks of castration. So strong is his fear, he was able to be entombed in a pit for 400 years simply by being buried with a few primitive statues depicting a menstruating woman. Having one of these shown to him, makes him seize up in fear allowing the villagers to lynch him to death.
- In the Sabina Kane series vampires spontaneously combust when attacked with apple-related substances (some examples: Sabina's apple cider bullets, applewood stakes, and a can of pepper spray loaded with apple cider instead). Justified by vampires' ancestral connection to the Garden of Eden, through their progenitors Lilith and Cain. Sabina, however, is immune, because she's half-mage. Garlic is pointedly harmless; in fact Sabina's Internal Monologue states that the vampires made that up as a smokescreen for the apple thing.
- Ghosts don't like salt. "Truth in Television", or as close as you can get: A book on ghosts states that they actually can't stand salt. If you sprinkle some on your doorstep, they can't get in your house. It's supposed to be pure.
- The Fair Folk are also weak against salt, sugar, or any granular substance. If some is spilled, they have to stop and count each piece. After losing a fight against one, Sam simply says "Why didn't I do this earlier?" and opens the capsule of salt he had on him.
- For some reason the Leviathans are harmed by Borax, a chemical you can find under the kitchen sink. Interestingly, this might be one of the reasons why the Leviathans targeted America first, since Borax is also used as a common food additive in every country except America. So in other words, the rest of the world is literally Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth!
- Doctor Who is renowned for ending its episodes either by Reversing The Polarity or exploiting the latest Monster of the Week's Weaksauce Weakness.
- The most famous example is the Cybermen and their allergy to gold, which underwent a Power Creep, Power Seep, slowly going from "gold dust can gum up the works" to "touch gold, die screaming." It eventually led to "Silver Nemesis" and the hilarious scene of Cybermen being stopped by gold coins and a slingshot. At the time a popular joke was that in their next appearance, just saying the word "gold" to one would kill it. This was quietly ignored in later episodes, since those Cybermen came from an Alternate History (though a Continuity Nod was made in a tie-in website which stated that said Alternate History Cybermen did initially have an "allergy" to gold, but it was eliminated by R&D). No one has actually tried using gold on them yet... As of "Nightmare in Silver", it is revealed that the weakness to gold wasn't due to hardware but, somehow, software problems!
- The new Cybermen don't have it much better. Their weakness is being given back their emotions; they fry when the humans they're made from enter What Have I Become? mode. The Doctor really hates doing this because it's turning them back into real people who promptly suffer Death by Despair at the horror of their situation. What makes it weaksauce is that it gets easier and easier to do: "emotions removed" seems to mean "everyone's emotions suppressed by a single Emotion Suppress-O-Tron." If you point a sonic screwdriver at the right doohickey in a Cyberman-run facility — and getting into position to do this takes less fuss with each encounter — an entire invasion force winds up clutching its heads and falling dead. At least with the old ones, you'd run out of coins to slingshot eventually.
- The Cybermen had a wide variety of one episode weaknesses in the original series including radiation, cold, plastic, bullets (yes, really) and nail varnish remover.
- "Image of the Fendahl" had the monsters defeated by rock salt.
- Daleks are famed for their inability to climb stairs, though this was never established in the show. However, they could be blinded by obscuring their rather obvious eyestalks, or incapacitated by pushing them over. One '60s story even sees a Dalek defeated by pushing it so it faces a wall and then piling rocks around its base to stop it moving. In their very earliest appearance they could only operate by absorbing static electricity, preventing them from leaving their city. This was later ignored, even in "Genesis of the Daleks", which was set earlier. Over time, they became far more credible foes. They were actually shown climbing stairs in 1988's "Remembrance of the Daleks" (much to the Doctor's horror). In the new series, they cannot only hover but swoop around like crazy ("EL-EV-ATE!!"), remove foreign substances from their eyestalk lens (much to Wilfred's chagrin), and incinerate humans on touch. Their main weakness now seems to be stupidity, given that the Doctor convinced them a Jammie Dodger was a TARDIS self-destruct device. This only worked because the Doctor threatened to "use it" if the Daleks present tried to scan it to verify his claim. Considering Daleks probably haven't got any clue about Earth biscuits, it's more a case of uninformed cautiousness.
- The Slitheen, due to their bodies consisting mostly of calcium, messily explode if acetic acid comes into contact with their skin, no matter how little. Cue the squirt guns filled with vinegar.
- "The Fires of Pompeii" has the Doctor fighting seven-foot rock beasts with a water pistol... and winning. Well, irritating them into backing off, not killing them.
- The Sensorites from the classic-era first season. Afraid of darkness and loud noises. They panicked if you turned out the lights (we're not talking pitch-black darkness, either — half-lit darkness a person with modest night vision could navigate was enough) and could occasionally be cowed into submission by raising your voice.
- "Blink" has creatures that can, when no-one's looking, move faster than Jack Harkness confronted with a twelve-step program. When seen, however, they can't move. The episode plays this up for Nightmare Fuel, as you have to blink sometime... On the other hand, their biggest weakness is being tricked to look at each other. Apparently, a video recording of an Angel is an Angel in itself. The problem is, if you keep staring at it, it'll eventually download into your brain. That weakness? It's just another trap. Everyone knows to keep their eyes on them, but if you stare into the abyss long enough...
- When an episode of Extras featured the filming of a mock Doctor Who episode, this very trend was parodied with a giant slug who was vulnerable to table salt — which he conveniently kept on his desk, just within reach of the Doctor. It's a reference to Colin Baker's first serial, "The Twin Dilemma", where the Doctor really does fight a giant slug. In the novelisation, the Doctor briefly wonders where he could find a lot of salt, before dismissing the idea.
- The Doctor has one of his own: aspirin.
- The Doctor's sonic screwdriver "doesn't do wood" (Hee hee hee!) in that it can't help much against wooden latches and other such things. It also doesn't do deadlocks, and can be deactivated by some hairdryers.
- Sylar could be reduced to a writhing, quivering lump with the use of a tuning fork after acquiring Dale's super hearing (though Dale was the same way). This no longer affected him after he lost almost all his powers in the second season.
- Similarly, Elle possesses powerful electrical powers, but because of them can be incapacitated by a bucket of water, which shorts the circuit and fries her with her own powers if she tries to use them.
- Aquaman's guest appearance explained that he needed to be constantly wet or otherwise have a glass of water or he loses his immense strength and begins to wither. Considering he has had plenty of his own superpowered problems, this is especially glaring.
- Kryptonite is so common that Clark would almost be better off powerless. Especially problematic in the earlier years when his "monsters of the week" got their powers FROM kryptonite.
- This (unbelievably large amount of Kryptonite on Earth) even made Ultraman flee his own reality because everyone had it and wouldn't hesitate to use it against him.
- The classic Star Trek episode "Day of the Dove" features an Energy Being which feeds on negative emotions, and so causes total chaos on the Enterprise by provoking conflict in order to feed on it. Kirk eventually figures out that the alien can be driven off by peace.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- In an episode, the crew deals with a hostile silicon-based lifeform that draws its energy from light. They subdue it by turning the ship's interior lighting off.
- In another episode the Captain finds an ancient Vulcan artifact believed to be some kind of superweapon. By that time he has realized its critical weakness — it can only kill people who have violent thoughts. Remaining calm renders it ineffective — even Worf is able to counter it using this method.
- On All That, Superdude... is lactose-intolerant. Even throwing milk on him will send him to the ground, disabled. The bulk of his rogues' gallery is dairy-related: Butter Boy, Yo-Girl, Cow-Boy, the Dairy Godfather, & his Arch-Nemesis Milkman. His one foe without quick access to lactose, the Evil Superdude, gets a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment when confused bystanders use a pitcher of milk to Spot the Imposter.
- In the '80s series V, aliens are vulnerable to certain inoffensive bacteria that live in the human digestive tract. It backfires later on.
- The alien "Gua" in First Wave turn out to be badly affected by salt. It affects them roughly like heroin affects humans. One episode featured renegade Gua hiding out in a derelict building snorting packets of McDonald's salt. This is the same series where the hero fought the alien invasion using the lost diaries of Nostradamus, so... Technically, we never see an actual Gua. They're husks — cloned human/Gua hybrids. it's possible that actual Gua are immune to salt but happen to be crappy genetic engineers.
- Sportacus, the superhero of LazyTown, becomes helpless if he eats things with sugar, like candy. However it may be that he's actually weak to processed sugar, as he can eat (and in fact gets stronger) from eating fruits, which also contains sugars.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Turned on its head by the Gentlemen who die instantly upon hearing a human scream. Because of this they steal everyone's voice, making themselves essentially invincible and all the creepier — they're cutting your heart out and you can't scream!
- "The enemy of all magic" for the Wizards of Waverly Place is... wait for it... plastic! The villain of the week even manages to take over WizTech by filling the place with plastic balls. Considering how ubiquitous the stuff is in the mortal world, it's a wonder magic works at all. In later seasons, all spells can work through phones. Explain that.
- In season one, Kelly can't read minds unless the person is thinking something about her. She advances beyond this weakness by episode 5. But in season 3, her new power, rocket science intelligence, is useless because of her "chavvish" personality.
- In season one, Simon's invisibility won't work if someone is looking directly at him and he notices. Also in said season, he randomly turns invisible whenever he feels ignored.
- In perhaps the most annoying example, Curtis cannot use his time control power at all unless he feels intense regret or fear. This means if someone important dies, he has to either witness it or cause it in order to undo it. It's speculated that he gets over this weakness in episode six of season two. This also happens to be his Berserk Button. He's annoyed by this weakness just as much as we are.
- His new power he gained to become a woman, comes with every disadvantage a dirty Hormone-Addled Teenager could come up with.
- Then after trading THAT power, he gets the power to resurrect the dead, which seems good, but results in an eventual zombification.
- Alisha's weakness is her power itself: people want to have sex with (or rape) her the second they touch her, and don't even remember it afterwards.
- A dangerous mind-controlling villain cannot control minds unless her victims can hear her.
- A shape-shifting villain feels incredible pain anytime she shapeshifts.
- A villain of the week turns out to be allergic to peanuts, which gets cranked up to Mundane Made Awesome levels and treated as a Kryptonite Factor in the confrontation.
- The new version of the Putty Patrol in season two of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were stronger than their predecessors... but the Z logo on their chests is their power source, and hitting it causes them to fly apart. It is also honking big. This rendered the new Putties the weakest grunts ever. In one episode, children (only some of which were de-aged Rangers) dealt with them using a ball.
- Rangers had a sister series, VR Troopers that had their own Mooks with a bad weakness. The Skugs could be defeated by touching each other.
- In Farscape, Sebaceans are slowly incapacitated by higher temperatures; by higher temperatures, we mean "sweaty but bearable" by human standards. This hits recurring villain Scorpius particularly hard, since as a Scarran/Sebacean hybrid, he has both the crippling heat weakness and glands in his body with no function beyond generating massive quantities of heat, forcing him to insert cooling rods into his brain.
- One episode of The Twilight Zone features aliens that can't stand the harmonica.
- The alien "Frogs" (who despite the name look more like humanoid Energy Beings) in Raumpatrouille are immune to hard vacuum and the beams of the human protagonists' energy weapons pass right through them when they're encountered for the first time on the space station MZ-4 in the pilot episode. What kills them in short order once their unprotected bodies are exposed to it? Oxygen. What keeps this weakness from being completely ridiculous in at least that episode is that they've already vented the station's entire atmosphere into space and wrecked the life support system beyond repair, so the two Orion crewmembers trapped with them have to improvise (and get them all right the first time, too, because the same trick might well not work twice).
- In Lost Girl, as a wolf-Fae, Dyson is very strong with excellent senses. These senses can be thrown off by kitty litter. Bo is appropriately incredulous.
- The Busters of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters each have a weak point. Ryuuji (Blue Buster) and Yoko (Yellow Buster) have relatively reasonable and easily dealt with weaknesses, but Hiromu (Red Buster) freezes (to the point of hanging in mid-air) if he gets scared. Which wouldn't be too bad, since he's rather fearless, in general. Unfortunately, he has an extreme phobia of chickens — even seeing a cartoon chicken, or hearing the word is enough to lock him down for a while. This happens in battle multiple times. His Buddy Roid partner, Cheeda Nick also has a terrible sense of direction.
Myths & Religion
- Norse Mythology: When Baldr/Balder, the son of Odin, was born, his mother Frigg made all living things vow not to be able to hurt him. The only living thing that didn't make this promise was mistletoe, which would be fatal to him. So Loki, the trickster god, goes and gets an arrow tipped with poisonous mistletoe and has the blind god Hoor shoot it at Baldr, killing him. Baldr's death would start a chain of events that led to Ragnarok (see further below for the Devil Survivor example).
- In Arab folklore, ghouls could be killed with a single kick. However, be careful with the corpse — kicking it again will bring it back to life.
- In Monster Bash, you can collect items (bombs) that can be used during each monster, such as garlic for Dracula or a Silver Bullet for the Wolf Man. The Bride of Frankenstein's weakness is a hair dryer.
- In Heavy Gear the advanced Black Mamba Gear — one of the more powerful designs in either of the two superpowers' armies — had exceptionally weak rear armour. The result is that Black Mambas could be (and routinely were in gameplay) easily defeated by lightweight Cheetah scout Gears. While the fluff text initially ignored this, the game's designers eventually acknowledged and lampshaded this weakness by having Mamba pilots clamoring for a solution to the "glassback" problem.
- Hero System; Most of the monsters in Lucha Libre Hero take extra damage from lucha combat maneuvers. And since the PCs are by default technico luchadors, there's a lot of these showing up in the fight scenes. But then, the sourcebook was inspired by Mexican lucha films, and "every problem can be solved with a good wrestling hold" was standard in those films.
- In GURPS, the disadvantage Supersensitive makes having any other sort of sentient creature with 20 meters a serious weakness. With Combat Paralysis your greatest weakness is being put in any sort of danger. Naturally such disadvantages are not recommended for Player Characters.
- d20 Modern has a table of random weaknesses... including some really stupid ones, such as: Clowns, the number 8, math, and books written by William Blake.
- In the The Dresden Files RPG, all creatures who take some sort of supernatural toughness, regeneration, or physical immunity must take something called "The Catch", which, when used against them, will take out their ability to shrug off damage. The more common/easily accessible the ability to fulfill "The Catch" (so, something everyone knows about and can get easily), the more points you can get back. So, Catches like "Swords Of The Cross", "Wizards Born Under Special Circumstances", "Soulfire", and "Nuclear Detonations" don't really offset the power, while more common and known substances (like iron vs Fey, holy items vs Black Court Vampires, or physically attacking magically immune creatures with a brick loaded sock) will give you more points to potentially work with.
- In Deadlands, there are some creatures and villains who are immune to anything except one weakness. For example, a Hangin' Judge is vulnerable to a weapon held by a legitimate lawman on duty, a Tummy Twister to hot chili peppers, and Jasper Stone to suicide. That last one is technically correct, but it's so much more. The conditions are actually "Stone can only be killed by a gun fired by his own stone-cold hands", so suicide counts... but so would redirecting his shot before it hit its target. So would having Young Stone and Old Stone shoot each other.
- Changeling: The Lost has the concept of "frailties", little weaknesses that certain fae (and overly-powerful changelings) are prey to. Some of them are the classic faerie weaknesses, others can be as odd as "must drink alcohol instead of water" or "cannot cross lines of ants". The only universal weakness is iron, which isn't as dangerous as you think because pure iron is rare... and steel does nothing. These weaknesses differ from subject to subject; the fiction for one book has a Genre Savvy mortal invoking every bane she knows from the old tales in an attempt to scare off one of the Gentry. None of them work.
- In Rifts, vampires have all the "classic" weaknesses found in folklore; crosses, garlic, wooden stakes, sunlight, as well as a couple usually attributed to other monsters (wolfsbane, silver). One weakness that's rather unique to Rifts, and the most weaksauce of all, is running water, in any form. Which means a vampire that can shrug off nuclear detonations and hails of rail gun bullets can be taken down by a squirt gun.
- It's possible to give a character in Champions such a weakness via the Susceptibility Disadvantage. Water, for example, could be worth quite a few points depending on how many dice the character takes from it since it's one of the most common substances in practically any game world. This would make it impossible for your character to do such simple things as bathe or shower, and any kid armed with a Super-Soaker and/or a bucket of water balloons would become a credible threat.
- Magic: The Gathering: Marit Lage. An ancient, powerful entity. A sorceress transformed into a horror larger and more powerful than even the mightiest of Eldrazi. Capable of killing a planeswalker in one hit. Immune to most forms of direct damage. And, being a token, is vaporised instantly on contact with Unsummon, a one mana spell that was in more than a dozen core sets.
- In Gian-Carlo Menotti's opera Help, Help, the Globolinks, the invading Globolinks are repelled by music.
- In the Whateley Universe, The Fair Folk (and mutants who are turning into Fae) are vulnerable to Cold Iron. Wrought iron benches, cast iron skillets, and so on. But Fey is also vulnerable to synthetic fabrics which give her a burning rash. She could be incapacitated by rayon lingerie! (Or The Seventies.)
- Apparently there is a reviewer that can be destroyed by edutainment games.
- In the Star Wars fan film Pink Five Strikes Back, Rebel pilot Stacy realizes that since the walkers attacking Hoth only had forward-facing guns, the Rebels could've just shot at them from behind. While being chased by a scout walker in The Return of Pink Five, Stacy remembers this train of thought in the nick of time - and causes the walker to lose its balance and crash by running in between its legs.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, plastic, a substance unknown to the Ancient Greeks, is completely opaque to the Mask Of Justice's vision powers. Thus, he can't even see through Saran Wrap (tm) while wearing his mask. (This weakness extends to other substances unknown to the Ancient Greek magicians, but plastic is the one that keeps coming up.)
- Mongibello, a "geokinetic" who can control and move earth and stone, can be rendered powerless simply by picking him up, or otherwise prevent him from touching the ground.
- Eddsworld: In one of the early Christmas specials Edd is saved form death when he finds the Grim Reaper's one weakness: Gravy.
- The Centaurians in The Pentagon War are cold-blooded. They automatically hibernate whenever it gets too chilly.
- In Group Of Weirdos, the Iron Knuckles are completely invincible, unless tag-teamed and attacked repeatedly by Link, the hero of time, and Ganondorf, a dark wizard with great power. Or you can just slash them a few times with a Deku Stick.
- "Kitten Fight!" "No wait, I'm allergic to adorableness!"
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series video "Marik Plays Slender", Marik theorises that The Slender Man has a weakness against bathrooms, since he doesn't show up in the tiled corridor:
Maybe going to the toilet is like his kryptonite. "I'm going to kill you! Heh heh heh... what's that, you need to go Number 1? Here, I'll just wait outside while you deal with that, OK? Make sure you wash your hands, OK, I don't want it to be gross when I kill you. Well, I do, but not like that."
- In Ultra Fast Pony, Rarity thinks she's allergic to water. Applejack calls her out on the stupidity of this, but Rarity points out that every time she hangs out in the rain for extended periods of time, she gets a cold. Then Rarity develops a nasty rash all over her face. "I told you I was allergic!"
- Life as we know it is remarkably fragile; too little or too much of any one thing can kill. In fact, except for (parts of) the surface of one small planet, there is no known place in the universe where an unprotected human could survive more than a few minutes.
- Any human being, no matter their condition or how healthy they are, are at risk of Commotio Cordis (agitation of the heart). This requires being hit in the chest over the heart at the right point of a heartbeat. Only a few dozen cases are reported per year, but victims are almost guaranteed to die if it happens (survival rate is 35% ... if the victim is treated in three minutes). Even a gentle blow that doesn't bruise the skin can trigger commotio cordis—which means every time you get hit in the chest, you're playing Russian Roulette. Even worse, it's most common in teenage boys, usually while playing sports...
- Allergies. Nuts, animals, shellfish, bananas...in the case of peanut allergies, some cases are so severe that people could be in serious danger just by being in the same room as peanuts.
- Some people suffer from Aquagenic Urticaria (water allergy). That's right, there's people who were unfortunate enough to be born allergic to a substance they can't live without. Any moisture build up on their skin aggravates the condition, so they must carry umbrellas with them at all times, avoid heavy clothing/exercise to prevent sweating and prefer to remain indoors in well ventilated surroundings. For all their precautions, though, they still have to wash themselves with water regularly.
- There's a lot of stuff that can incapacitate a human. Tickling is a lot of peoples' weaknesses and a lot of people have a sound that 'goes through them' like the sound of plastic folders being rubbed or nails on a blackboard.
- British sailors in the 19th century hated eating fish or any food from the ocean for that matter, preferring weevily biscuits and gruesome salt pork or beef to fresh fish. Sailors hate the sea, pilots hate the wind, and retailers hate customers—Weaksauce Weakness in its truest form.
- The right pattern of flashing lights can cause nausea in any human, people with epilepsy simply have a more severe reaction. This has since been weaponized And now you can build your own.
- Tropers: Little do some know it, but the wiki they created is eating their spare time. And if you do know, knowing doesn't help a bit.
- The skins of land snails and slugs are water permeable, and as such, are extremely vulnerable to fatally drying out. It's also why they're limited to dark, moist environments. Salt kills land snails and slugs by screwing up their osmotic balance, in that the salt speeds up the drying process by pulling the water inside of their cells and internal organs out.
- Giraffes can easily suffer fatal neck and head injuries just from falling over. Don't believe it? Just imagine the whiplash with a neck that long... This is true of most large animals—the bigger you are, the worse falling over is for you. That's why, for example, elephants keep at least 3 legs on the ground when running (rearing up on their hind legs, as is sometimes seen in circuses, is not a natural behavior). Gravity is a bitch.
- Most electronic devices can be damaged irreparably by brief contact with water.
- It isn't the water that kills it. All electronics are only good up to a certain voltage or current. Go beyond the specification of a given part for either and it goes boom. Water simply provides a method of short circuiting the gadget, thus bringing the current over what the electronic likes, usually. If you dunked a cellphone (without the battery) in water and let it dry for a day or two, it could still operate. Wouldn't recommend you try it though.
- In fact, the best way to clean your keyboard if it can take the abuse? Run it through the dishwasher.
- When an electric device has become wet it can be dried quicker by first dunking it in another fluid (that may or may not be able to shortcircuit the electronics by conducting electricity itself) with a lower boiling point. This fluid will replace most of the water in the device and afterwards evaporate quicker, leaving the device dry and ready to use sooner.
- Static electricity can do this as well if you touch electronic components directly while carrying a charge in your body. Your desktop can be murdered by your carpet.
- Modern electronics are often powered by Lithium-Ion batteries because of their high charge speed, stable voltage and limited charge decay. Problem is that lithium catches fire in contact with water. A damaged battery must be discarded immediately. This is applicable for electric cars as well - battery fire has destroyed a fair deal of vehicles that way.
- The transport infrastructures of many countries (such as the UK) are vulnerable to ice and snow. That includes roads, rails, and airports.
- The UK rail network is (in)famously vulnerable to leaves.
- Aircraft that employ stealth technologies can very easily lose their stealthiness to the most mundane of things.
- The F-22 "Raptor" is one of the most advanced stealth fighters in the world. Yet the radar-absorbent coating can be easily damaged by water, significantly increasing its visibility to radar.
- The F-117 Nighthawk, the world's first stealth fighter, had a radar-absorbent coating that would be ruined by just leaving fingerprints.
- Irrational fears can be constituted as weaknesses. If you're lucky enough to catch one of those Maury episodes, you can see fears of mustard, butterflies, lettuce, and so on.
- Some people with PTSD have triggers of the Nightmare Retardant variety that, out of context, seem laughable to those who aren't triggered by them, but remind them in some way of their traumatic experience and can trigger anything from an uncomfortable sensation to a full-blown flashback of the event. To make things worse, people with this kind of trigger will sometimes experience belittlement if they dare to disclose it.
- Worse is the way Kryptonite Is Everywhere; people could understand if a loud bang causes someone who'd been in a war zone to flash back to a bomb strike, but what if a certain enemy vehicle sounded a lot like a certain civilian one, or someone was holding a cup of McDonald's coffee just before the worst attack they'd lived through? Suddenly a car in need of a tune-up or a cup of coffee on a table is Kryptonite to a Colonel Badass who eats nails for breakfast. One could also easily imagine a person who has suffered abuse needing to, say, not watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit if they'd been molested. But some could watch it all day, and then the mailman comes by wearing the same brand and color of shoes their abuser preferred.
- Going a night or two without sleep can severely weaken you, both physically and mentally.
- Diabetics have sugar. Too much AND too little.
- Albinos have sunlight.
- The RIAA came up with a brilliant new method for encrypting data on CDs, which works fine on PC computers, but rapes Macintoshes with a hand blender. It can be negated by drawing a circle on the CD with permanent marker.
- Optical discs themselves (especially those which have two shiny sides) have a Weaksauce Weakness - simple tape. If one pastes tape or a label on the front of some discs, then decides to remove the tape or label, the adhesive peels off the data-containing foil layer, rendering the disc unusable. This is because the disc has almost nothing between the foil and the label side of the disc. The fact that the disc is shiny on the label side as well as the data side shows that the disc has no protective label printed onto it, only a thin layer of plastic that is easily removed. In fact, any optical disc is much more likely to be ruined from the label side than the data side because of the thinness of that side, even with a factory-printed label.
- Doctors have a working understanding of the entire human body, and require the cognitive capacity to make fairly accurate life-or-death decisions with a scant amount of information. But ask them to print legibly...
- Phobias in general can be like this for those who suffer from them; they cause crippling, irrational panic at the slightest indication of the feared objects. Worse, being irrational after all, the object doesn't even have to be objectively frightening. Most of us can probably understand why people would be afraid of spiders, or snakes, or heights, but imagine having a phobia of flowers, buttons, or peanut butter? (Imagine it too hard and you'll get phobophobia...)
- Laser weapons that are starting to be used by the US military can be thwarted by such extremely rare phenomena as dust, sand, bad weather, clouds, smoke, steam, etc. As Stephen Colbert put it, it's a good thing they're not planning on using it in regions that have above-mentioned problems, or if Iran develops sand technology.
- People can pass out by locking their knees for too long. This isn't normally a problem, but people who have to stand still for long periods of time, such as people in the army, marching band, or choir, have to make sure to bend their knees occasionally.
- Animals with strong clamping muscles, such as crocodiles or lobsters, tend to have weak muscles for opening. Their main weapon, whether it's a mouth or a claw, can be rendered useless by a rubber band.
- Read the "Orion" entry above? Well, primeval (anaerobic) bacteria have the same problem (and early life on earth was in real trouble when oxygen accumulated).
- Elephants are afraid of mice. At least in cartoons. The scientific jury is still undecided whether this has a sound real-life basis or whether it is just an Urban Legend.
- Mythbusters tested it and found it confirmed: elephants will actively avoid mice if at all possible. Though it's not specifically mice so much as it is wariness at something smaller than an elephant's poor eyesight can reliably identify, to them it could be a snake or something else potentially threatening.