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Immunity Disability

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This is about a situation where a character that's immune to something experiences a drawback based on said immunity.

The kinds of disability vary — You Feel No Pain? You might not know what hit you or how much it damages your body. Immune to Drugs? It's gonna stab you in the back next time you need medicine. You're immortal? You'd be surprised at what you can live through. And so on and so forth.

Sub-Trope of Power at a Price and Blessed with Suck. If your particular immunity is to death, it becomes the subtrope Who Wants to Live Forever?.

Compare and contrast Disability Immunity (its inverse trope), Logical Weakness, Disability Superpower and Exploited Immunity.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Blade of the Immortal: The protagonist, Manji, is not only immortal but can heal from virtually any wound. This comes back to bite him a few times:
    • In general, Manji bemuses that although he's one of the best swordsmen in Japan, his sword skills have slowly gotten worse because knowing he can't die dulls his instincts.
    • There's a special poison that works only on immortals; it doesn't directly kill them, but it basically reopens every single wound they've ever received after becoming immortal. When used on Manji, the results are especially gory, excruciating, and horrific.
  • In Bungo Stray Dogs, Osamu Dazai has the ability "No Longer Human", which allows him to disable the ability of anyone he touches. Unfortunately, this also means that if he gets hurt, Yosano can't use her own ability to patch him back up.
  • Inuyasha: Exploited by Naraku during Sango's introductory arc. After manipulating Sango into believing that Inuyasha attacked her village and slaughtered everyone there for the Shikon Jewel shard Sango had found earlier (unsurprisingly, Naraku was the real culprit), he embeds another shard in her body that completely negates her ability to feel pain, intending that she'll fight Inuyasha to the death without ever realizing how badly she was hurt. Indeed, she doesn't even notice she's bleeding out until Inuyasha calls attention to her wounds.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency, the villain Cars ends up gaining immortality and an auto-evolution ability after combining the Stone Mask and Red Stone of Asia. Joseph uses this ability against him by throwing him into an active volcano where he hardens in defense as it's about to erupt. He gets launched into space and is stuck floating around forever; eventually his mind shuts down completely.
  • Loveless is a universe in which Words Can Break My Bones and magical duels are usually determined by using verbal imagery to curse the opposition's existence, limiting their capacities or inflicting pain until one side can take no more. A personal project involved artificially creating interchangeable human duelists able to use magic and possessing no nerve endings. Unlike zombies nothing makes these too stupid to see things like hypothermia coming, but being so easily able to defeat most opposition means they tend not to learn to protect themselves... and their casual brutality makes a more dangerous opponent unlikely to leave them alive to learn.
  • One Piece: While fighting a giant zombie, Chopper, the team's doctor, tells it that the fact that it can't feel pain is its greatest weakness, as it has no way of knowing how much damage its body parts are accumulating until they're so injured that they simply stop responding altogether. The Straw Hats eventually beat it by shattering its spine, leaving the thing laying on the ground wondering why it can't move.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Similar to the One Piece example above, Kahlua Shuzen can temporarily make herself Feel No Pain for better performance in a fight, and as a result, she has no way of knowing how much damage her body's taking until it simply quits on her. In fact, this was what forced Fairy Tale to retreat from Mizore's homeland, as Miyabi realized that she was approaching her limit and would kill herself otherwise.

    Audio Plays 
  • Kate in The Elysium Project is partially immune to the Elysium formula, a Super Serum that grants people reality-bending powers. It does work on her, but unlike any of the other test subjects her powers go away after about a month unless she injects herself with more of the formula. This sucks when you're on the run from people who want to kill or capture you and all of your friends. This is not to mention the fact that Kate has only one normal arm. The other is a prosthetic that she manipulates using her powers. Without them, it's just a piece of metal.

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash: In one story, Bart Allen's kneecap is blasted apart by Deathstroke, and he's rushed to the hospital. During the surgery, his Super-Speed means that his flesh keeps trying to heal improperly before an artificial kneecap can be placed, forcing the doctors to cut him open repeatedly. His metabolism means that no anesthesia can be used either.
  • The Incredible Hulk: In one storyline, the Hulk gets poisoned and has to give a blood sample; however, the needles can't penetrate his tough skin. He resorts to hitting himself over and over again until he bleeds enough to fill a test tube.
  • During the Giffen/DeMatteis run on Justice League of America, Power Girl is badly injured in a battle, but the doctors cannot perform surgery because no scalpel can cut through her invulnerable skin. Superman ends up saving her life, using his heat vision as a laser scalpel while Kilowog, then serving as the Justice League's engineer and tech expert, whips up a device that can hold Superman's head perfectly still to allow him to use his heat vision with precision.
  • In PS238, Ambriel's power is what she calls her "Guardian Angel," a sort of semi-sentient force that protects her from harm. When it's temporarily turned off she quickly becomes sick—it seems her power kept germs away from her, which means that she never built up much of an immune system. It's made worse because now by now her power is working again and won't let Nurse Newbie give her a shot. Ultimately, Ambriel dies, becomes a ghost, and is then resurrected, after which her "angel" becomes more discerning about what it keeps out.
  • Thurim in Requiem Vampire Knight had a Healing Factor gifted to him by Dracula. When Thurim rebelled, Dracula took advantage of Thurim's unkillability by having him drawn and quartered for eternity.
  • In Rising Stars one man's power is invulnerability from external harm—but this also leaves him highly insensitive to any form of touch, except on the back of his tongue, where he could still taste. He developed an eating disorder and became an indestructible obese man. He's murdered when someone tapes a plastic bag over his head while he's asleep; he suffocates because he can't feel it.
  • The Sandman (1989) covers the trope as it applies to immortality:
    • Hob Gadling, who's been immortal ever since Death, in 1389, promised Dream not to take him until Hob was ready, spends the seventeenth century impoverished, sick and starving: "Do you know [...] how hungry a man can get if he doesn't die? But doesn't eat?"
    • Retired superhero Element Girl longs for death because her freakish appearance leaves her socially isolated and agoraphobic. However, because her body can automatically transmute itself into most any element, she's effectively immortal, and unable to commit suicide without the intervention of the god who bestowed her powers in the first place.
    • Dream's son, Orpheus, begs Death to make him immortal so he can enter the netherworld and rescue his wife Eurydice without dying. After failing in his quest, he tries to commit suicide but can't, and when a band of frenzied Dionysius worshippers tears him limb from limb, he lives on as a disembodied head, with only his estranged father able to grant him his wish to die.
  • The Savage Dragon has a Healing Factor as part of his power set. One villain took advantage of that by pounding his body into a pulp and breaking nearly all his bones, and then throwing him into a smokestack so by the time he could climb out, his body had healed poorly, his limbs and torso twisted and mangled. Mighty Man (the resident Captain Marvel Expy) had to re-break all his bones to allow them to set properly.
  • Superman's near invulnerability also prevents him from shaving because even his beard is too tough to cut, so he uses his heat vision. (In post-Crisis comics, he also has to use a bit of his spaceship, since a normal mirror would melt. In pre-Crisis comics, his hair just doesn't grow while he has his powers.)
  • In Thor (2014), Mjolnir's ability to magically purge its wielder of all poisons becomes a serious problem for the new Thor: Jane Foster, who is on a course of toxic chemotherapy drugs to treat her aggressive cancer.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ashes of the Past, the fact that Dark-types are immune to psychic powers results in occasional (usually humourous) inconvenience as they can't hear telepathic speech or be teleported when not in a Pokéball.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World:
    • Paul, being Nigh Invulnerable, finds that being caught in a dust storm is an inconvenience because his eyeballs don't get irritated and tear up to clear out his eyes.
    • Also, in a way, John, who's immune to the effects of alcohol and drugs, which is irksome when he really wants to get drunk or be knocked out by a sleeping potion.
  • In Snuggles the Symbiote, the Required Secondary Powers of Ashley's superhuman hormone production doesn't discriminate, making her immune or resistant to all drugs and toxins... including pain killers, antibiotics, and other medications. This is a problem because her chemical resistance is only enough to keep her from ODing on her own hormones, it's not calibrated to perfectly counter her increased production and potency meaning that she's physically weak with a severely compromised immune system.
  • In Weasley Girl, the core 4 ends up immune to all potions, meaning that they can't ever be poisoned or otherwise harmed by potions, but they also can't ever have useful potions used on them.
  • With This Ring: The Renegade has an artificial soul made for him, structured to let him grow into a New God. His innate divinity resists external changes to his body, granting him immunity to poisons and diseases, plus a substantial Healing Factor if he's injured. Unfortunately, if something does actually manage to seriously hurt him, then he's also immune to painkillers, and his power ring (which counts as an external effect) can't restore him. He also shrugs off beneficial effects like the Garrick formula in a matter of seconds.

  • Downplayed in Captain America: The First Avenger. After Steve's best friend is KIA during a mission, Steve complains that one of the downsides of the Super-Soldier serum is that he can't get drunk anymore.
  • Darkman: After being horribly burned in a lab accident, the title character was subjected to an experimental medical procedure that destroyed the nerve endings close to his skin. As a result, he's now immune to pain... and has no sense of touch whatsoever.
  • In Death Becomes Her, the two women gain immortality just before one suffers a broken neck and the other has a hole blown through her stomach. Yes, they are immortal but their bodies are falling to pieces, literally. The very end of the movie has their heads rolling down the stairs.
  • This sets off the whole plot of Santo vs. la hija de Frankestein — Frieda Frankenstein has developed an immunity to the youth serum she needs to survive.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder: Like in the comics, Jane's time as Thor occurs when she was dealing with a severe bout of cancer. Mjolnir's healing powers didn't register the cancer, but it did clean out the chemo drugs she was taking to deal with it. This would lead to her dying of the cancer by the end of the movie.

  • Touma in A Certain Magical Index has his enchanted right arm, Imagine Breaker, that functions as an Anti-Magic. In a world filled with mages, this gives him a great advantage. However, among other sucky things, it also cancels beneficial magic such as Healing Hands. If not for his expert surgeon friend, he would have died of many non-magical things that his enemy can use. And apparently, in this setting, luck is a gift from God. So his luck is non-existent because it is nullified.
  • Chrestomanci: At birth, it was foretold that Christopher Chant's weakness would be silver, so his father cast his strongest spells against silver affecting him. Ultimately, silver causes him to be Brought Down to Normal; when Christopher isn't touching it, he's the most powerful enchanter in the worlds. (It's implied that it was a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.)
  • In Escape From Genopolis, the people of Genopolis have eliminated all forms of pain, including hunger and thirst. This means that, aside from people forgetting to eat and not being able to gauge when they need medical help, nobody can feel emotion anymore.
  • In the Forgotten Realms Pools of Radiance trilogy, Kern was born immune to magic. Unfortunately, this makes him immune to magic healing and teleportation. With concentration, Kern can sometimes suppress this immune.
  • Shades of Grey: In Chromotacia, those who have been infected with the lethal Mildew can be euthanized by exposure to a specific shade of univisual green known as "sweetdream", which causes a surge of pleasure so incredibly intense that prolonged exposure will burn out the autonomic nervous system. Those who can see green naturally, however, are immune to the effects of sweetdream and must suffer through the full course of the Mildew.
  • Tofu from Super Minion destroys germs on contact and is therefore completely immune to infections, but that includes the Beneficial Disease benedicci, which among other things grants the ability to understand the inner workings of tinker tech.
  • The Twilight Saga: In "Eclipse", Jacob breaks his leg, and his Healing Factor quickly causes it to mend incorrectly. The other heroes have no choice but to break it again so that they can set it properly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the final episode of Alias, Big Bad Arvin Sloane has gotten his hands on enough Rambaldi documents to create a vat of fluid which somehow makes him immortal - and immediately thereafter a giant stone pillar falls on him, trapping him under it forever.
  • Angel: Darla gets pregnant, despite being a vampire. Darla tries to have an abortion, but can't — there's some sort of magical force field protecting the fetus from any harm. Good for the fetus, until said force field makes it impossible for him to actually be born. Darla, who is sharing the baby's soul and can't stand the thought of losing it when the baby's born/dies, stakes herself, leaving the living baby there when she turns to dust.
  • The Flash (2014): Similar to the above Flash and Captain America examples, Barry Allen's superspeed gives him a super-fast metabolism and super healing, so he's very hard to kill. Unfortunately, this means he needs to eat massive amounts of food to avoid passing out from low blood sugar levels. His body also burns through alcohol and anesthesia within a second, so he can't get drunk and, worse, is fully conscious during surgeries.
  • Forever Knight: If someone learns of vampires, a vampire will hypnotize them to forget. If they're one of the few people who are immune to hypnosis, they'll usually be killed.
  • In Haven, Nathan Wuornos's Trouble is that he can't feel anything. And the show thoroughly explores how much that sucks, particularly since Nathan is a police officer. For the obvious, he can't feel when he's been injured on the job, such as one notable case where he was impaled by half a dozen industrial nails. But he also asks his partner, Audrey, to check the temperature of his coffee before he drinks it so that he doesn't burn his mouth, and his kitchen is plastered in sticky notes reminding him to be careful around the stove and knife block. It sometimes gives him a Disability Immunity, but mostly he hates it.
    • Audrey, on the other hand, is immune to all the Troubles. This is mostly a positive, since it means she's able to tell when something has gone wrong and keeps her from being affected by Troubles that change people's behavior. It's a drawback, however, when the Troubled person is a Reality Warper. Being immune to the Troubles, she can't see what everyone else is seeing, and it makes it more difficult to help.
  • In Heroes, Claire can't get drunk because of her regenerative ability. She uses this to her advantage once, but complains about it other times.
  • Luke Cage (2016): As with the Superman example above, Luke twice finds himself in trouble when his impenetrable skin makes life-saving surgery nearly impossible.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Escape Clause", a man makes a Deal with the Devil to gain immortality, which is effectively immunity to death. He claims to have murdered his wife so that he can experience the electric chair, but his lawyer manages to get him life in prison. Since he can't die, he's going to be there a long time... at least until the devil shows up and mercifully gives him a fatal heart attack.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Before 3rd Edition, Magic Resistance gave you a percentage chance to be unaffected by a spell. This applied to helpful spells like buffs or healing just as much as it applied to harmful effects. On top of this, races that had Magic Resistance as an inborn trait generally had it get stronger as they went up in level, so the higher level they got, the less likely the party cleric could heal them or some other useful magic. 3rd edition reduced the problem by allowing characters to voluntarily switch off spell resistance, though this requires them to not be unconscious.
  • The shroud ability in Magic: The Gathering prevents the shrouded permanent from being targeted, whether by an enemy Abrupt Decay, or by a player trying to Giant Growth their creature to save it in combat. The protection mechanic runs into similar issues, in addition to being confusing.
  • In Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • Followers of Nurgle are generally immune to pain, due to their bodies being so much dead or festering tissue that they're only "alive" in the loosest sense of the word.
    • Likewise, Slaaneshi cultists are Too Kinky to Torture, but they require ever-greater amounts of sensory input to feel anything at all.
    • Khorne's followers are empowered in body and mind to ignore injuries and stresses that would break almost anyone else on the battlefield. Unfortunately for them, the fury never stops, making them endure intense, almost painful levels of anxiety and restlessness that is only ever alleviated by slaughter.
    • Blanks are rare individuals who are immune to all psychic powers. This causes a number of side effects:
      • Blanks not only nullify psychic powers on themselves, but often in a small area around them. Psychics in the area can normally find people by seeking out their psychic signatures. The dead-zone created by a blank is even more of a sign that something odd is there.
      • As emotions are a form of psychic power, blanks have muted emotions and drain the emotions from those around them.
      • Being immune to all psychic powers includes healing or support abilities as well.
      • Because blanks are so rare and their abilities as anti-psyker weapons are so invaluable, once discovered, you'll probably be picked up by the Inquisition and pressed into their service for the rest of your life. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either awesome or horrible.
      • Blanks inspire instinctive revulsion in almost all sentient beings. Because the soul itself resides in the Warp, being in the presence of one is disturbing because you can subconsciously sense your very soul being suppressed. In weaker blanks, this manifests as a mild sense of discomfort that can be interpreted as a something mundane like a foul body odor or unpleasant facial features that can be ignored. For the strongest blanks, known as Pariahs, the effect creates crippling terror or homicidal rage that makes being near them for any length of time intolerable to all but the strongest willed beings. To a psyker, being anywhere a blank's power is agonizing, potentially life-threatening agony. Needless to say, blanks tend not to lead long lives unless they get trained to control their "gift".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Legendary Fisherman is immune to spells and cannot be attacked while Umi is on the field. Not only can it not benefit from helpful spell cards, but your opponent can just attack you directly instead.
    • Gearfried the Iron Knight destroys any equip cards attached to him. While useful when targeted by certain enemy cards such as Blast Sphere and Ekibyo Drakmord, it mostly just leaves him unable to be buffed by your own cards.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • In the original Baldur's Gate, Viconia was a cleric who had a 65% resistance to magic, potentially incrementable. This made her a very effective asset against wizards, since she could avoid a lot of magic damage. Unfortunately, this meant also that often she wasn't able to heal herself or cast buff and protection spells to herself, rendering her a bit squishy. This was later adjusted in Baldur's Gate II (where she had a 50% resistance against magic except healing and defensive spells) and in the Enhanced Edition (the same).
    • By the end of Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, you can upgrade the Flail of Ages to the +5 version, which grants Free Action among other beneficial effects. That is, the character wielding the weapon is immune to spells affecting his mobility like Hold Person, Entangle, Stun or Web. The problem is that in the Enhanced Edition it also prevents buff like Haste. Since by the expansion it is rare to slip into anything like those spells, while Haste is practically mandatory to get the highest possible damage per round, many players don't upgrade the flail to its ultimate version, leaving it to the +4 one.
  • In Disgaea, Ninjas are the only class able to dodge special techniques. Unfortunately, that includes healing spells.
  • In Dota 2, it's usually a good thing to cast Magic Immunity on yourself in the middle of battle to prevent the enemy from stunning you — but this also prevents your allies from casting healing spells on you.
  • In Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, there are a few cases of this:
    • Mummies do not become hungry and thus cannot eat. This also prevents them from drinking healing potions.
    • Undead characters are immune to Torment, but because it can only be cast by those who will feel its pain, they can't cast it either.
  • A few skills in Elsword will deal more hits/be easier to follow up if the enemy is Immune to Flinching.
  • Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas suffers from horrific burns as a result of being covered in burning pitch as punishment for failing Caesar. He's also Immune to Drugs, meaning that no medicine can ease his constant pain.
  • Yunalesca in Final Fantasy X has the nasty habit of inflicting Zombie on your characters, which turns heals into damage and persists through death. You may be tempted to equip armor with Zombieproof on it, but as the fight wears on she pulls out Mega Death, an attack which only affects non-Zombie characters and deals an instant KO (unless your armor also has Deathproof).
  • In God of War (PS4), the Stranger/Baldur is impervious to harm and feels no pain. Because of this, he cannot feel the most mundane stimuli such as pain, temperature, taste or pleasure. This lack of sense drives him insane, as well as destroying any level of empathy he possessed. He even flat out said he would rather die than to not feel anything.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic games often feature one or more magic-immune creature, the most famous of which is the reoccurring Black Dragon. Creatures with this ability are completely immune to all enemy spells as expected, but are also immune to friendly spells. This means they're unable to be buffed, healed, or resurrected, and instead rely purely on their raw stats.
  • In Magicka, accidentally casting immunity to Life makes you unhealable.
  • In Mega Man X: Command Mission, Spider and Axl turn invisible in their Hyper Modes. In gameplay this makes them invincible, to reflect the fact that enemies attacking them can't actually aim at them. However, allies can't see them to heal them either.
  • Minecraft: The Illagers' Ravagers take 75% less Knockback from attacks. This backfires against the Villagers' Iron Golems, whose attacks cause a knockback that launches targets into the air and away from them, usually requiring the Golem to get back into range for the next attack. Due to the Ravager's knockback resistance, it gets knocked back a lot less, allowing the Iron Golem to attack and kill them faster.
  • This is one of the reasons why fighting the Superboss of Persona 3 is hard and tedious. You can at most resist her attacks. If you happen to null, absorb or reflect the element she's going to use, you get a 9999 damage Megidolaon to your face instead. This is an exception however, as other times being immune will greatly help you throughout the game.
  • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Gholdengo's "Good as Gold" ability makes it immune to all Status moves. While this makes it a godsend against enemies' Status moves, this also means it's immune to all its allies' helpful Status moves like Heal Pulse or Helping Hand.

  • In Dominic Deegan, resistance to magic is generally considered a disability, because while magic fireballs can't hurt you, white mages can't heal you when something non-magical almost kills you.
  • In Errant Story, many half-elves are immune to some forms of magic (such as transmutation). Unfortunately, this includes healing magic. Some of those that can be healed spontaneously reject the healing later.
  • In The Order of the Stick, the dragon Calder's Spell Resistance prevented his mind from being shut down when he was put in a stasis trap, leaving him trapped inside his paralyzed body for decades.

    Web Original 
  • Highlighted in a story from The Codeless Code, where a monk (read: programmer) is shown the error of his ways by having his sense of pain suppressed as he retrieves a coin from a fireplace.

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman: The Animated Series version of Poison Ivy confesses that her immunity to all poisons, toxins, etc. extends to... well, she can't get pregnant.

    Real Life 
  • The Greek king Mithridates reportedly suffered from this. Having ingested small quantities of poison daily to acquire an immunity, his first attempt at Better to Die than Be Killed by absorbing poison failed. The second try involved stabbing himself, and worked much better.
  • Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, or CIPA, is an extremely rare medical condition where the person cannot feel any pain (and which also renders them unable to sweat, and thus regulate their body temperature). However, the lack of feedback from pain means that sufferers often injure themselves without realizing it—for example, rubbing their eyes so much they develop corneal ulcers, or developing severe burns on their tongues by eating too-hot food.