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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.

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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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 C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. One of the opponents the Player Characters may face is a werejaguar. In a nearby room is a magical Scroll of Protection from Felines, which would be a big help in their battle against the feline werejaguar.
    • 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.
    • Module G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. The Steading is filled with a large number of enemy giants, including many hill giants.
      • In a room occupied by giant maids is a potion of hill giant control. If the Player Characters find it, they can use it to control 1-2 of the hill giants. This allows them to stop the hill giants from attacking them or even have them attack other enemies in the Steading.
      • In the guest room occupied by some cloud giants is a giant-slaying sword that does increased damage against all giants.
    • Module G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. The Glacial Rift is filled with a large number of enemy giants, including many frost giants.
      • One room has a magical Giant Slayer bastard sword. This sword gives a +3 to hit against frost giants, ettins and ogre-magi, all of which can be found in the Jarl's caverns. In addition, the sword does double damage against all true giants, such as frost giants.
      • One room has two potions of frost giant control that allow mental control of 1-2 frost giants.
    • Module G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King is guarded by a group of monsters that includes multiple fire giants.
      • Queen Frupy (a fire giant who is King Snurre's wife) has a potion of fire giant control. Once discovered, it can be used against her or other fire giants.
      • Rakshasa use illusions to hide their true form from opponents. A group of rakshasa in the Hall have a scroll of priest spells that includes a True Seeing spell. If the Player Characters could have obtained the scroll, they could have used the spell to see the rakshasas' true forms and recognized them as enemies.
      • 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 D3 Vault of the Drow:
      • The vampire Belgos has control of 40 giant rats. In his treasure cache is a magical Pipes of the Sewers. It gives the person playing it a 30% chance to take over the control of giant rats that are under the control of a vampire. Once control is achieved, the player has a 70% chance of maintaining control each combat round thereafter.
      • The female fighters society barracks has a treasure chest that summons a type III demon when opened. Inside the chest is a Scroll of Protection from Demons that would defend against the summoned demon.
    • 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.
      • One of the rooms in Lolth's Web has five werewolves (who are lycanthropes). The person guarding the werewolves wears an Amulet of Protection from Werewolves around his neck and in another room there's a Protection from Lycanthropes scroll. If the Player Characters can obtain either or both of these items, it will help them against the werewolves.
    • 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.
    • 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 18 sprigs of wolfsbane, a magical short sword which is +3 vs. lycanthropes, five silver daggers and 19 silver-tipped arrows (only silver or magical weapons can damage 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 has a juggernaut, a type of golem. The juggernaut's owner, the cleric Belsornig, has a Rod of Smiting that does triple damage to golems (and juggernauts).
      • A monster that looks like a large pool of water is immune to most magic. Two of the few spells that can hurt it are Purify Food And Drink and Part Water. Both of these spells are found on a spell scroll hidden nearby.
      • 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 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.
    • Module WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. In the room where the iron golem is found, there are two statues, each holding a magical weapon. If one of the Player Characters tries to get the weapon, the statue gives it to them. These two weapons are the only ones that can hit the iron golem.
    • Module WG7 Castle Greyhawk, level 5 "The Name of the Game". In the Arena, the Apparatus of Kwalish is controlled by a Type V demon whose treasure includes an Arrow of Demon Slaying. Having the arrow would have made it much easier for the Player Characters to kill the demon if they had had it while fighting the monster.
    • Original Dungeons & Dragons Judges Guild
      • Adventure Citadel of Fire. In a dungeon room with three vampires, the monsters' treasure includes a magic sword that is +3 to hit and damage against vampires.
      • Adventure Frontier Forts of Kelnore. In Example Dungeon B, an undead vampire has a magical dagger in its treasure which is +3 to hit and +3 damage vs. undead creatures.
      • Adventure collection The Book of Treasure Maps II, adventure "Dragonspate Geyser". One room has a Sword of Red Dragon Slaying +2. Nearby is a Red Dragon which is very vulnerable to attack using the sword.
    • 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.
    • Dragonlance adventure DL12 Dragons of Triumph. The Treasure Room of the Dragonlord Highlord Ariakus is guarded by a red dragon. The treasure includes a Red Dragon Slayer sword +2, which (if the Player Characters could have obtained it) would have made the fight against the red dragon much easier.
    • 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.
      • Issue #76 adventure "Mertylmane's Road". One room in the former dwarven hall has a Giant Slayer short sword, which does +3 to hit and double damage against frost giants. This weapon would be very useful against the four frost giants (three warriors and one spellcaster) the Player Characters must defeat.
      • Issue #76 adventure "Fruit of the Vine". An olive slime is a form of dangerous plant that can be killed by a Cure Disease spell. One of the rooms in an abandoned house holds both an olive slime and a Cure Disease spell scroll. If the Player Characters can find the scroll, they can cast Cure Disease on the olive slime and kill it.
    • 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 the ghouls.
    • 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).

    Western Animation 
  • The Exorcists in Hazbin Hotel are invulnerable to mortal and infernal weaponry; weapons made from angelic steel, like the weapons they themselves carry, are the only means to harm and kill them. Many of these weapons are left behind over the course of just as many Exterminations, which has left a small black-arms market in their wake. It's revealed that Carmilla, who runs said black market, killed an Exorcist in precisely this fashion while covering her daughters' escape - "you don't become an angelic arms dealer without arming yourself first". This comes back to bite the Exorcists hard when Carmilla is convinced to arm the Hotel staff and an army of cannibals with weapons made from angelic steel in defense of the Hotel, and their leader Adam pays the price for this oversight.

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