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Immortal Breaker

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"IMMORTALITY IS ONLY A WORD. ALL THAT EXISTS CAN DIE. EVERY LIVING THING HAS A WEAPON AGAINST WHICH IT HAS NO DEFENSE. TIME. DISEASE. IRON. GUILT."

The purpose of a weapon, naturally, is to hurt things or even kill them. However, some weapons have a unique or near-unique property — they can kill an immortal being. The precise means of doing so might vary — they might be the only weapon capable of destroying the soul directly, or they might have an Anti-Magic property that cancels inherently-magical immortality. Or it might be a Hand Wave, or simply something that it just does. There are a variety of ways this can work — it may depend on how magic and Life Energy works in the setting. It's also variable as to whether or not these weapons are especially dangerous to non-immortals as well. They may generate an effect that wounds the undying and obliterates normal people, or it may have the effect of a normal version of the weapon on all beings.

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This can also be magic spell or similar, instead of a physical weapon. There may be multiple Breakers in a setting, but they should still be extremely rare and/or monumentally difficult to acquire. Otherwise you may as well not bother calling the beings 'immortal' at all.

As a plot device, may serve as the Sword of Plot Advancement or the Villain-Beating Artifact (although this trope can work on immortals that aren't evil as well). This is likely also the weapon to Kill the God, if the character themselves doesn't have a power that allows them to do so. A character may use this as a basis of claiming that they go Beyond the Impossible, with all the glory, egoism and so on that can ensue. May be sought out by those on a Rage Against the Heavens, or by an immortal themselves that is Driven to Suicide. If this trope gets used for The Worf Barrage, you have a serious problem. If the being is noted for Resurrective Immortality, this trope's purpose may be to render them Deader Than Dead.

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Sub-Trope of Weapon of X-Slaying. Not to be confused with Mortality Ensues, when something breaks a creature's immortality to render them vulnerable to normal wounds — this kills them directly, rather than indirectly. Also not to be confused with tropes about methods to finish the otherwise-undying like Decapitation Required. Compare Depleted Phlebotinum Shells, which utilise a specific substance or property to target a specific creature and the link between them is usually spelled out, and Achilles' Heel. If the immortality is granted by a Healing Factor and the weapon interferes with that, see Anti-Regeneration. As a rule of thumb, an Immortal Breaker isn't specific about which immortal it can break.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Preacher: The Angel of Death's sword was melted down in hellfire and reforged into the Saint of Killers' guns, a pair of Colt revolvers enchanted to never miss, never need reloading, and no wound they give is anything but fatal. And it turns out they work on God himself, though the Saint claims it won't work if God is sitting on the Throne of Paradise. So he makes sure to sit there before God can, slaughtering the hosts of Heaven to do so.
  • In the 2018 run of Justice League, Lex Luthor beats Vandal Savage to death with Martian Manhunter's telepathic doorknob, causing him to revert to infancy.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Wonder Woman (2017): When she leaves Themyscira, Diana takes with her the Godkiller, a sword forged by Zeus and said to be the only thing capable of killing another god, which she intends to use on Ares. It doesn't work, simply disintegrating when she stabs Ares with it. Ares explains that the sword isn't the Godkiller, Diana herself is.
  • In The Forbidden Kingdom, Golden Sparrow carries an enchanted jade dart able to kill immortals, which she has been saving to kill the Jade Warlord.
  • In Wrath of the Titans,
    • Zeus' Thunderbolt is capable of killing any lesser immortals such as lower Gods.
    • The only weapon capable of killing Kronos is the Spear of Triam, which is itself a fusion of three Legendary Weapons: Zeus' Thunderbolt, Poseidon's Trident, and Hades' Pitchfork.

    Literature 
  • Whateley Universe: Tennyo has a "Death Blow" that can kill anything, down to the soul.
  • In The Woad to Wuin, Apropos gains an unbeatable Healing Factor, goes Drunk with Power, and becomes a murderous warlord thanks to an Artifact of Doom getting stuck in his chest, so Sharee undertakes an arduous quest to find a weapon capable of killing an immortal and put him down with it. When she comes back with said dagger, she's unutterably furious to find that he's already had a My God, What Have I Done? moment and destroyed the artifact, rendering her quest moot.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, a strange dagger from the Big Bad God of Evil Odium permanently kills Jezrien, one of the ten Time Abyss Heralds whose Resurrective Immortality was one of the terms of the Oathpact that keeps Odium's Legions of Hell contained. Since it undermines a pact forged by the God Honor to restrain Odium's power, this is Bad News.
  • In His Dark Materials, the Subtle Knife is prized partially due to the belief that it's the mythical God-Killer, a weapon against the Authority. Turns out it's just an Absurdly Sharp Blade and Dimensional Cutter, and that God is frail enough for a light breeze to kill him anyway.
  • Dragaera:
    • Downplayed with the Soul Eating Morganti blades: they're by no means a surefire weapon against the Jenoine Abusive Precursors, but they are one of a very, very few ways that anyone other than a Physical God can have a chance at killing them. While the slightest scratch leaves a human Deader Than Dead, a Jenoine takes quite a lot of stabbing.
    • The seventeen Great Weapons are Morganti blades of great power and were created specifically to kill the gods. They also do a dandy job against Jenoine, demons, or other beings.
  • In The Belgariad, the Orb of Aldur is a Cosmic Keystone that represents one half of the mind of the Universe, so its power surpasses that of the Gods. It deals the Mad God Torak a Wound That Will Not Heal in retribution for being improperly used; thousands of years later, Garion kills Torak with the Sword of Riva, which has the Orb set in its pommel.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The Anti-Art Attachment is a suit of Powered Armor armed with a massive array of powerful weapons, designed to fight magic in general and Magic Gods specifically. Among its weapons is a massive drill that can apparently use a person's willpower to kill Magic Gods.
    • Main character Touma may or may not be a living example of this. His unique power, Imagine Breaker, negates any (other) supernatural power. This would make it potentially capable of harming and killing gods, but Touma has yet to actually hit any with it directly (and he has a Thou Shall Not Kill policy on top of that). Touma also has an epithet, "The One Who Purifies Gods and Slays Demons", which sounds like an example of this trope but apparently isn't - according to the Magic Gods, this name represents his ability to come to an understanding with them through conversation. Aleister Crowley, who has the goal of wiping out the Magic Gods, considers Touma essential to this goal despite also having the aforementioned Anti-Art Attachment.
  • Overlord (2012): As the Tomb of Nazerick came from a world with far higher levels of magic, no magic weapon in the new world has enough Mana packed into it to even pierce the skin of its stronger inhabitants. Gazef's sword Razor's Edge may be sharp enough to cut steel like it was paper, but it's no exception to this... which makes it surprising when Ainz admits it can hurt or even kill him. This is because it was created using the near-extinct Wild Magic native to the new world (which has very few rules or limitations), whereas most other magic weapons are created using Vancian Magic brought from Ainz's world long ago (which had the advantage of being more powerful and easier to learn).
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The blood of demons is a deadly poison to gods, who are otherwise unkillable by anything less than a more powerful god. Since the gods sired demons with humans, demons are mortal but Semi-Divine, so their blood can literally infect a god with the concept of mortality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural:
    • The Colt is a revolver created by 19th century gunsmith Samuel Colt that kills virtually anything it's fired at, even a phoenix in one season six episode. Its reputation as a slayer of otherwise unkillable beings is such that the Winchester brothers get an unpleasant surprise when it turns out not to work on Lucifer, one of the five things in all of creation that it can't kill.
    • An Archangel blade, normally carried by archangels, can kill just about anything and actually has one up on the Colt - unlike the Colt, it can kill the devil, a fallen archangel.
    • Death's scythe is able to kill anything and anyone, including Death himself. Dean is given the scythe by Death to kill his brother, only for Dean to use Death's own weapon against himself and die.
    • The First Blade, a fragment of donkey jawbone used by the biblical Cain to kill his brother Abel, is effective against most immortal entities, including Knights of Hell, angels, and Reapers. However, it only works if the wielder bears the Mark of Cain, a primordial Curse obtained by killing its previous bearer.
    • The Equalizer, aka Hammurabi, is a gun created by God Himself that is capable of killing literally anything, at the cost of killing the shooter as well.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess and the surrounding Xenaverse, one of the few things that can kill a god is a Hind's Blood Dagger. Technically there have been at least two of them, but they're extremely hard to make since Golden Hinds became extinct during the series.
  • In Kamen Rider OOO, defeating a Greeed simply reduces it to its indestructible Core Medals, physical manifestations of its desire to live. With enough energy, the Medal containing its consciousness can then construct a new body for itself. That is until Eiji gains access to the PuToTyra Combo, which has the power to crush dreams and can therefore shatter Core Medals.
  • Lucifer (2016): Stygian blades are one of the few things that can harm demons or angels. Asriel's sword could also, in theory, kill anything, which means a Cessation of Existence for angels, demons, or gods. And it's one of the pieces of Lucifer's flaming sword.
  • The Dark One from Once Upon a Time is ageless and virtually unkillable by any conventional means. Even if their body were to be destroyed one way or another, they would be resurrected (with a sacrifice, of course) with the Vault of the Dark One and its key. The only way to permanently kill the Dark One is to use one of three methods - the Dark One's dagger - a kris blade with the Dark One's name inscribed on it that can control his/her will created by Merlin as a means of slowing down the first Dark One Nimue - by stabbing them in the heart. Should the wielder kill the Dark One with it, they themselves inherit their curse and become the new Dark One, their own name replacing theirs on the dagger just as it had happened to the current Dark One Rumpelstiltskin. The sword Excalibur which is what the Dark One's Dagger was made from can permanently kill the Dark One while also destroying the Darkness inside them ensuring they can't be resurrected by the ritual that normally revives them. The third is the Olympian Crystal which has the power to kill any being or entity in the show's verse as it magic that comes directly from the Gods. Inccidently it is also the only way to kill Gods (who are otherwise completely immune to all magic besides their own) and is used to kill Hades. The only possible ways that the curse can be broken is either by true love's kiss or willingly passing it on to the Guardian.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy wields Olaf the troll's hammer (which since being taken from Olaf got upgraded to a "troll god's hammer" when Anya reasons that a god's weapon kills gods. With assists from other Scoobies Buffy pulverizes Glory with it but doesn't finish her off although presumably it would crush her skull as easily as her limbs. That falls to Giles, who smothers Ben when Glory retreats to his form.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • The Originals are the first vampires to ever exist, and are immune to all vampire weaknesses like sunlight and wooden steaks. However, steaks made out of the White Oak tree used to create them can kill them.
    • When Esther turned Alaric Saltzman into an "Enhanced" Original vampire, she made him immune to even the White Oak steaks. The only way he could die was if Elena Gilbert died first.
    • Arcadius is a powerful psychic who killed himself to create Hell, yet still remained as a Nigh Invulnerable spirit able to control his new dimension. This is why the only weapons that can kill him are those made of his own bones.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In Greek Mythology there is a prophecy that if half bull half snake monster were to be sacrificed that the person who did it would be capable of killing the gods, who otherwise were absolutely immortal.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Elspeth's sword (and later spear), the Godsend, is the only thing able to destroy the gods of Theros and the enchanted sky they live in. It was forged by the blacksmith god Purphoros when his spat with another god reached a boiling point, but it fell to earth next to a young Elspeth, who took it and planeswalked away without knowing of its true power for much of her life.

    Video Games 
  • Under Night In-Birth: Hyde's sword, the Insulator (also known as the Indulgence of Sever Rending), attracts attention from a selection of characters due to its ability to kill anything by destroying their very existence. Hilda, for example, wants it to free herself of her ties to Kuon the Eternal, while Linne has realised Who Wants to Live Forever? and has Hyde promise to finish her after they take care of one more thing.
  • BlazBlue has the Immortal Breaker weapons, the Trope Namer. These can kill even beings like Observers. The most important example is Tsubaki's short sword Izayoi, which transforms into a Laser Blade in its unsealed state. Mai's spear Outseal, however, is also stated to be an Immortal Breaker.
  • The sword Dragonslayer in Breath of Fire IV is the only weapon capable of killing a dragon (which are beings akin to gods in the game's setting). It is used in this capacity twice; in a failed attempt to assassinate Fou-Lu by Soniel, and to Mercy Kill Elina when the extent of Yuna's experiments on her become known.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the Ultimate Blacksmith Coaxmetal can be persuaded into forging the Blade of the Immortal, a simple dagger that is the only weapon in the entire D&D multiverse that can permanently kill the Nameless One, who has an otherwise absolute Resurrective Immortality.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: In the Mask of the Betrayer expansion, the Spirit-Eater curse can be used to consume immortal beings, including the minor bear-god Okku and the remnants of Myrkul, the mostly-dead god who created the curse to begin with. In one of the endings, the Player Character goes on a rampage throughout the planes, using the curse in a one-being war against the gods and slaying many before being defeated (and the gods aren't completely certain they're really dead).
  • The Godsbane from Dragon's Dogma is a divine blade said to be able to guide the chosen to a true freedom, but is also the only weapon that can permanently kill the Seneschal, who gets stuck beyond the Rift for the rest of their life.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the crew of the Normandy spends the entire game trying to gather the materials for The Crucible, the only weapon believed to be capable of killing the Cthulu-like Reapers who come in every 50,000 years and wipe out all advanced civilizations. Depending on how the player chooses to use it, in addition to killing the Reapers, the Crucible can kill all synthetic life (including humans with cybernetic limbs), transform everyone into human-synthetic hybrid mixes, not kill the Reapers at all and simply pacify them, or do nothing and allow the Reapers to kill everyone.
  • The titular weapon from Infinity Blade is the only thing that can kill the Deathless, the immortal superhumans and self-styled gods of the post-apocalyptic setting, forged by the Worker of Secrets as "a weapon to slay the unslayable". Every Deathless wants their hands on the Infinity Blade so they can rule over the rest of their kind with the threat of true death. The third game has the Worker of Secrets disperse several mass-produced Infinity Weapons across the continent, which are weaker than the original but still capable of killing the Deathless permanently, in order to plunge the continent into chaos and keep the heroes occupied. They do not however work on the Worker of Secrets himself since he wasn't stupid enough to forge a weapon that could kill him.
  • In the Nasuverse, specifically in the Tsukihime and Kara no Kyoukai stories, the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception function as such. Someone with these eyes can perceive the "point of death" in all things around them. If something is stabbed in its point of death, it dies. It does not matter if it can regenerate, if it is immortal, or even if it's a nonliving inanimate object: if it's stabbed there, it dies, no exceptions. (Inanimate objects tend to irreparably fall apart if stabbed, or, in another case, liquid poison was stabbed and immediately became non-poisonous.) The only caveat is that the possessor of the eyes must be able to comprehend the "concept" of that thing's death: if they don't understand what death means for that thing, they cannot perceive its point of death.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: The Mortal Blade is a cursed sword that can kill immortal beings. The catch is that anyone who tries to draw the sword from its sheathe dies. And there's two such blades.
  • During the Yogg-Saron raid encounter in World of Warcraft, he will periodically spawn Immortal Guardians in Phase 3. The Guardians can be brought down to critical hp, which reduces their damage output, but you will need to enlist Thorim's assistance to to finish them off for real.
  • StarCraft I: Zerg Cerebrates usually enjoy Resurrective Immortality courtesy of the Overmind that controls them, but The Power of the Void, such as that wielded by Protoss Dark Templar, can disrupt that process. One Cerebrate in the Zerg campaign has an Oh, Crap! moment when it realizes that one of its kin has been killed in a way the Overmind can't fix.

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    Western Animation 
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