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Carrying the Weakness

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"So you need one to kill one, but you gotta kill one to make one. How does that work out?"
Dean Winchester, "Like a Virgin", Supernatural

It's pretty common for enemies in games to drop items when defeated. What doesn't make sense is when enemies drop items they're weak against. Zombies drop holy water, vampires drop crosses, and werewolves drop silver bullets. In Revive Kills Zombie scenarios, undead enemies usually have the tendency to drop HP-restoring items.

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However, from a game design perspective, it can make sense: the enemy can be a challenge that the players must overcome by themselves. When it is defeated, the players are awarded with an item to which this enemy is weak, to make the next fights easier (they already passed the tough challenge once) and provide a satisfying payback. Storywise, you could argue that they collected and hid the items so the players would not use them against them. A unique form of Hoist by His Own Petard.

Sub-Trope of Impossible Item Drop. Related to Carrying the Antidote. Compare Takes One to Kill One; it may overlap if the enemy in question drops either their own weapon or their own body part, which are strong against their own kind.


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Examples:

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    Action-Adventure 
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin:
    • Slash damage:
      • Dragon Zombies drop both Gladiuses and Zweihanders.
      • Slogras drop Couses.
    • Strike damage:
      • Heavy Armors Wrecking Balls.
      • Skeleton Flails drop Morning Stars.

    Platformers 
  • In Mega Man 2, Metal Man is weak to his own weapon, the Metal Blade. The thing can kill him in one to two hits when you rematch him.
  • In Mega Man 3, every Robot Master is relatively weak to their own weapon.
  • In Mega Man Unlimited, Yoku Man is killed in two hits by his own weapon, Yoku Attack.

    RPGs 
  • In Dark Souls, Ghosts commonly drop the Transient Curse consumable, which can be used to temporarily inflict the Curse status on oneself, which is convenient, since you can otherwise only harm Ghosts while you are Cursed in the regular way, halving your max health.
  • Final Fantasy V:
    • Grand Mummies drop Hi-Potions.
    • Necromancers drop Holy Water.
    • Objets d'Art, which are made of stone, drop Gold Needles, which instantly kill stone enemies.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • Ghosts and the Living Dead drop Potions.
    • Cloudwraiths, Necromancers, Outcasts, Oversouls, Provokers, and Skeletal Horrors drop Holy Water.
    • Zombie Dragons drop Hi-Potions.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Ghost Ships drop Phoenix Downs.
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time: Elasto-Piranhas, which are weak to fire, drop Bro Flowers, this game's Fire Flower equivalent.
  • Mother 3:
    • Boa Transistors and Mecha-Turtles, both robotic enemies, have a chance at dropping the Saltwater Gun, which heavily damages robots.
    • Sticky Slugs drop Saltwater Guns as well.
    • Mobile Graves, which are weak to explosives, drop Running Bombs.
    • The Mecha-Mole! is also weak to explosives, and occasionally drops Bombs when defeated.
  • Paper Mario: Sticker Star: Piranha Plants, which are weak to fire, drop Fire Flower stickers.
  • Pokémon: Ghost-type and Dragon-type Pokémon are weak to their own type.
  • In Super Mario RPG, most undead enemies drop Pure Water, which instantly defeats undead enemies.
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Non-Video Game Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: The metal that surrounds Kabane's hearts is so hard it takes a Pile Bunker to penetrate it. Once the weapon is reverse-engineered and distributed to the train's crew, the survivors have enough of this metal to reforge into their their swords, making Kurusu (a samurai) useful in melee again.
  • One Piece: During the Thriller Bark Saga, Brook enters the kitchen looking for some salt, which is the one thing that can instantly defeat the zombies. Upon finding it, he ends up lampshading the fact that they even keep the salt in the first place.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Module G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King
      • One of the treasure items in a red dragon's hoard is a Sword of Red Dragon Slaying that has +4 "to hit" and does triple damage against red dragons.
      • A room has a group of wererats, which are a type of lycanthrope. One of the items in their treasure is a scroll of protection from lycanthropes.
    • Module S1 Tomb of Horrors
      • The demi-lich Acererak has three gems in his treasure worth 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 gold pieces. If any of these gems is thrown at him using a sling, he will take 1 Hit Point of damage per 10,000 gold pieces of its value (i.e. 1, 5 or 10 Hit Points of damage, respectively).
      • Acererak is immune to most weapon attacks. One of the few that can affect him is a +4 weapon wielded by a paladin. One of the items in Acererak's treasure is a +4 sword of defending. If the Player Character party has a paladin, that character could wield that sword to hit Acererak.
      • Deconstructed earlier in the tomb. Right outside Acererak's chamber, you can find a mace that kills him in three hits, and can't miss. But what you just killed isn't the real Acererak...
    • Module S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
      • A clay golem has a dagger +2 "Long Tooth" in its treasure. In the hands of a gnome or halfling, the dagger does maximum damage against stone-based monsters such as the clay golem.
      • The treasure of a group of lacedons (aquatic undead) includes a magical battle axe that has a +4 bonus vs. undead.
      • The 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide says that demons are affected by holy water. A group of chasme (minor demons) has four vials of holy water in their treasure, which could have been used against them if the PCs had had the vials when they fought them.
      • Subverted with a stone golem carved in the shape of a Type IV demon. In the golem's cave are two oddly shaped copper weapons, which many players will assume are to be grabbed and used to fight the golem. However, not only are the weapons useless against the golem, they're worthless against any opponent because the copper metal they're made of is so soft.
    • Module T1 The Village of Hommlet. In the ruins of the moathouse, the Player Characters can fight some undead ghouls. In the ghouls' lair nearby are seven vials of holy water, a potion of undead control and a scroll of protection from undead, all of which could have been very useful when fighting the ghouls.
    • Module WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
      • A coffer corpse monster can only be hit by magical weapons with a bonus of at least +1. A coffer corpse encountered by the party has a mace +2 in its treasure.
      • A shadow demon carries a Wand of Illumination as its treasure. The wand can create light spells that do damage to shadow demons.
    • Greyhawk module T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil.
      • While in the Earth Temple, the Player Characters will fight a quartet of earth elementals. If they defeat the elementals, in a nearby room they can find a Scroll of Protection from Earth Elementals, which would have been a great help during the fight.
      • The PCs may fight and kill two lycanthropes, a pair of werewolves. Their treasure includes a magical short sword which is +3 vs. lycanthropes and a scroll of protection from lycanthropes.
      • In the Fire Temple the Player Characters may have to fight four salamanders, which are from the Elemental Plane of Fire. The salamanders' treasure includes a magical Frost Brand sword, which is +6 "to hit" and damage against fire creatures - such as salamanders. The treasure also has two potions of Fire Resistance and a ring of Fire Resistance, which would have helped protect the PCs against the salamanders' heat-based attacks.
      • One room is guarded by 8 shadows (undead monsters). The shadows' treasure includes a magical scroll of Protection from Undead, which would protect against the shadows.
      • The Player Characters can encounter a group of small toadstool-like fungi that can cause blindness. If the fungi are exposed to any kind of bright light (like a Light or Continual Light spell), they will be destroyed in 1 combat round. The treasure of the fungi includes a Wand of Illumination, which can cast both Light and Continual Light spells.
    • Module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The Burial Chamber can be found on Level Three of Lolth's Web. In this room, there are 20 undead (5 ghasts and 15 ghouls) who will burrow up out of the dirt floor to attack the Player Characters. If the PCs dig long enough, they will uncover a potion of undead control that could have helped them against the ghasts and ghouls.
    • Module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror. In the final battle at the end of the module, some of the opponents are wererats, which can only be hit by magical or silver weapons. One of their possible treasure items is silver knives that are lying on a table. If the Player Characters realize the knives' usefulness, they can scoop them up and use them to attack the wererats.
    • Forgotten Realms
      • Supplement The Ruins of Myth Drannor boxed set, "Myth Drannor Adventures" booklet. In the adventure "The Crown of Stars", the Player Characters must fight a group of wights, undead who can only be hit by silver or +1 (or better) weapons. One of the wights is carrying a silver +2 dagger, which could have harmed the wights if the PCs could have obtained it before the fight.
      • Ruins of Undermountain boxed set, "Campaign Guide to Undermountain" booklet. Spectres are a type of undead that can be destroyed if a Raise Dead spell is cast on them. The spectre that was Bereg Whitehelm has a spell scroll of Raise Dead hidden in its treasure.
    • Dungeon magazine
      • Issue #9 adventure "The Crypt of Istaris". There are seven undead zombies in a burial chamber. In the burial chamber and a nearby chamber are two magical daggers that are +2 vs. undead.
      • Issue #12 adventure "Huddle Farm". The leprechaun Micko O'Malley has the innate ability to turn invisible. He carries Dust of Disappearance, a magical substance that turns invisible things visible. If it were used on him, it would make him visible and thus much easier to attack.
      • Issue #39 adventure "The Fountain of Health". One of the guardians of the Temple of Ariana is a lesser stone golem. It carries a magical axe which is +2 "to hit" and damage against stone monsters, such as stone golems (such as itself). On a natural roll of 20 "to hit", it does double damage to stone monsters.
      • Issue #44 adventure "A Hot Day in L'Trel". Wererats are lycanthropes, so they can only be physically hit by magical or silver weapons. A group of wererats has a hoard of silverware: the knives and forks in the silverware could be used to attack them.
      • Issue #49. In the adventure "North of Narborel", the dragon turtle has a magical scimitar in its treasure that does +4 "to hit" and damage vs. dragons and reptiles. In the adventure "Castle of the Blind Sun", a sirine (female water creature) has a magical short sword in her treasure that is +5 on to hit and damage rolls vs. aquatic creatures.
      • Issue #52 adventure "The Hurly-Burly Brothers". After the Player Characters kill a giant scorpion, they can find a magical silver flute that, when played, has the effect of a Ring of Animal Friendship on all animals (like the giant scorpion) within 30 feet. If they could have gotten it before fighting the scorpion, they could have charmed the scorpion and not had to fight it.
      • Issue #55 adventure "Umbra". The tanar'ri (succubus) Karylin has a henchman with two magic items that could be used against her: a bastard sword that is +3 "to hit" against tanar'ri and three crossbow bolts of tanar'ri slaying. If the PCs kill them, they can get the items from the henchman's body.
      • Issue #65 adventure "The Ice Tyrant". Agnhanor is guarded by the white dragon Wintergale. Her treasure includes a dwarven shield that reduces by half the damage caused to its wielder by dragon breath. This gives the shield's user a better chance to live long enough to kill a dragon.
    • Pegasus magazine #6 section "The Azurerain Pirates". A group of undead ghouls in a room has, as part of their treasure, a scroll of Undead Protection. If the party had obtained it before fighting the ghouls, they could have used it to protect themselves from them.
    • Polyhedron magazine
      • Issue #34 adventure "Revolution!". Night hags can be hit only by silver, iron or +3 magical weapons. The night hag the Player Characters fight has three iron weapons in her treasure, but the Player Characters can only obtain them after they've already killed the night hag.
      • Issue #49 adventure "Cataclysm Part 2: The Last Bastion of Bast". The vampire Devington Leither has a sword +1 Flame Tongue, which does +4 to hit and damage to undead (such as vampires).

    Real Life 
  • Diamonds are a 10 on the Mohs scale, meaning the only (naturally occurring) thing that can cut a diamond is another diamond.

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