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Lord British Postulate

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"If it exists as a living creature in an MMORPG, someone, somewhere, will try to kill it."
Mike Schramm, WoW Insider

If a game designer wants an NPC to be invulnerable, they'd better make sure that it truly is.

The Lord British Postulate was coined in this WoW Insider post, and is the cornerstone of the creativity and ingenuity of the more cunning player. In short, if a Non-Player Character cannot be killed through normal means, then there must be some abnormal means to do the job. Quite often, if a character's weapons fail to do the duty, then the task falls upon other NPCs, world objects, or the environment to assassinate the relevant target with some prodding from the player characters. The Lord British Postulate is not restricted to MMORPGs, but can be applied elsewhere: CRPGs, FPSes, even Tabletop RPGs.

The name references the fact that there is a way to murder Lord British in nearly every Ultima game, famously including Ultima Online, where Lord British was killed by a fire spell because his invulnerability flags hadn't been set properly after a server crash. That said, the Lord British Postulate has less grounding in reality than one would assume. A great number of NPCs are free to walk around unmolested, safe in their invulnerability. However, the more important the NPC is, the more likely it will be the target of a creative assassination attempt. A king is a bigger target than the common baker and much more satisfying to dispatch.

This is most common in Western RPGs, as they are usually programmed with player freedom in mind, which means all characters, from the Player Character, to the bandits you are clearly meant to kill, to the villagers you can kill (but shouldn't), all the way to the king that the game does everything to prevent you from killing (making him the target of this trope) are all treated as the same "Entity" class by the game, which gives them all Hit Points, an inventory, a death state, and the ability to be affected by combat mechanics. In other genres, enemies and NPCs tend to be considered completely different types of objects, so the concept of death (at least due to game mechanics) does not apply at all to any character who wasn't specifically programmed as an enemy. For such games, this trope usually requires something like a Hopeless Boss Fight, Cutscene Boss, or Puzzle Boss.

This trope can be an applied form of Loophole Abuse with how you go about killing Lord British (or any other normally unkillable NPC). Does not apply to a character who is not clearly intended to be unkillable. Just because no reward is offered for killing a character does not mean the developers intended them to be unkillable. This only applies when they are invulnerable to all normal forms of attack, or the developers have stated they are intended to be invulnerable. It also doesn't not apply to techniques used to solo kill bosses that are intended to be killed by larger groups.

Savvy developers will code in what happens if you do manage to kill them.

Compare Murphy's Law, a similar caution regarding the misuse of technology, and Defeating the Undefeatable, the story/plot counterpart of this trope. Contrast with Invulnerable Civilians, which simply can't be killed, if they can even be engaged in combat at all. A Hopeless Boss Fight or Invincible Minor Minion is seen as a challenge to these people. Can lead to the game being Unintentionally Unwinnable if the loss of the NPC screws you over. This has nothing to do with the other ship from Gradius.


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    Fighting Games 
  • In Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, by informing the moogle running the tutorial that you are familiar with Dissidia battles (thus skipping the basics carried over from the original Dissidia and going into the mechanics introduced in 012), then asserting that you have already mastered Dissidia when asked, you will be thrown into a battle with the True Final Boss - a Lv. 130 Feral Chaos with more abilities equipped than his AP should allow and special accessories to make the slightest slip-up lethal even to a maxed out player - with a Lv. 1 Lightning. By all accounts from hackers, emulators, etc. there's no real reward for successfully winning this battle, and the moogle doesn't even react any differently in the cutscene after the fact. It doesn't stop a single player from putting up the best fight they can every time they play through the tutorial.
  • Fighters Destiny and its sequel have a minigame where the objective is to stay in the ring as long as possible against a seemingly invincible bull. In reality, the bull can fall off the stage, though if this happens the round ends as if you fell.
  • In Rival Schools, when playing story mode, there's an early battle with the final boss and a brainwashed student. He's supposed to beat the player so they get brainwashed as well, which is a part of the story. He has insane attack and very high defense; however, very high defense doesn't mean invulnerability, so a skilled player can still beat him. Doing so will make you skip most of the story and throw you straight to the last battle with a heavily weakened version of the boss compared to the one you just beat.
  • In Soulcalibur III, the sub-boss Ceres is supposed to be unbeatable (you are told to endure the battle until time runs out without getting killed), but it is possible to beat Ceres if you attack very quickly and break his guard. Probably because the game designers didn't intend you to beat him, nothing special happens after you do.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the supposedly invincible Wario-Man, as well as characters using a Starman, can both be KO'd in the conventional fashion by chucking a Team Healer item at them while they're at a high enough percentage and not on your team. On a similar note, while Giga Bowser is completely Immune to Flinching, he can still be star KO'd if he's hit while he's off the top of the screen.
    • Several additional characters in the fourth and fifth games can be hurt but not flinched or knocked back during their Final Smash, namely Lucario, Charizard, and Little Mac (who transform into Mega Lucario, Mega Charizard X, and Giga Mac, respectively).

    First Person Shooters 
  • BioShock features an invincible Splicer named Rosenote  that can only normally be killed in her final appearance, but it is possible to kill her sooner on Easy if you've stocked up on anti-personnel machine gun rounds.
  • Borderlands 3 has it so that any allied unit cannot be harmed whatsoever by your weapons... however due to the way they coded the rocket launcher "Jericho", the projectiles don't count as yours. As such, if you load it up and fire it on a target, it's possible to actually knock that target down. Some random resident NPCs of Sanctuary III will actually outright vanish upon defeat and are completely killed. Others, like Ava or Lilith, are sent into a downed state and can either be revived, or will eventually get up on their own.
  • Deus Ex
    • The game has plenty of invincible characters, but many can be killed due to a collision bug. Get one to stand on the edge of a piece of furniture, then push the furniture against a wall. They will pass partially through the wall and then die instantly as the game seems to think they've been crushed.
    • Anna Navarre and Gunther Hermann are the reverse; the game forces confrontations, and they're immune to any non-lethal damage. Naturally, players immediately started finding ways to spare them (but the game acts as though JC killed them anyway).
    • Walton Simons is not invulnerable during the cutscene, so a well-timed and well-placed high-explosive shot from either the GEP or assault rifle will hit and kill him during his speech.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War:
    • Important NPCs aren't coded to be invincible, but are simply placed in areas where you can't use your weapons, or speak with you from behind bulletproof glass. One such important NPC, Billie Adams, can be seen at the beginning of the game running into an inaccessible booth before speaking with you. It's possible to kill her before she gets into the booth. This removes her from the game, but in later encounters there will be gaps in the dialogue where she was supposed to be, because the game was never programmed to deal with her not being alive. Interestingly, the engine does support flagging NPCs as unkillable — though any NPC flagged as such is in a place where weapons are disabled, with one obscure exception, so most players will not notice. Why Billie is not flagged this way is unclear.
    • One side-quest has a canopy with a weapon and a scientist. Open the canopy with a button press and the scientist gets locked behind an indestructable door. Kill the scientist and the canopy locks down instead, denying you the weapon. To achieve both, place a metal box so that the door cannot close, open the canopy, get the weapon, and then head for the scientist. Get a melee weapon and hack away (which will really take a while due to obscene amounts of health). For your effort, you get chided from one faction for helping the other, but later still get their award as well as the other faction's bonus.
  • In GoldenEye (1997), a glitch involving using two controllers at once allows the player to fire on characters during cutscenes from the camera's perspective, instantly killing any that are hit. This includes Baron Samedi during his The End... Or Is It? moment. This has no gameplay impact whatsoever, though. A similar trick is to place explosives where a character will appear during a cutscene. The villain gets two words into their spiel before flying face-first across the room.
  • Half-Life 2:
    • Prior to being patched out, it was possible to kill Eli Vance at the end of the chapter "Entanglement". Your weapons don't hurt him at all, but if you grabbed a sentry gun from earlier in the level, carried it all the way to Eli, and set it down facing him, it would quickly blow him away.
    • The physics engine can be exploited to kill certain otherwise-invulnerable NPCs using the Gravity Gun and nearby physics objects, and done at the proper times, you can avoid triggering a Nonstandard Game Over where you would otherwise receive one. Observe.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved: The reason that Captain Keyes doesn't keep the pistol he hands you at the start of the game loaded (forcing you to progress a bit in the level to get ammo) is because playtesters kept shooting him in the face immediately after receiving it, just to see if they could. Note that after getting ammo, there's nothing stopping you from going back to the bridge and shooting Keyes dead then, along with everyone else on the bridge; if you do, Cortana freaks out and declares that you've gone rampant, promptly summoning a bunch of unkillable marines to kill you.
  • Quake: The final boss Shub-Niggurath is a Puzzle Boss you are meant to kill by Tele-Frag by entering a certain teleporter at the right time. However, she is not immune to the player's weapons and initially had only 40000 health, which, while being too much to make shooting her to death practical, meant it was not impossible to do if you used cheats to get more ammo and/or Quad Damage and were really persistent. As she didn't have any "death state" programmed in, killing her this way would cause the game to crash. This was eventually fixed with a patch that made it so her health keeps resetting to 40000, making her unkillable by weapon damage.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein: It's possible to kill Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler himself by noclipping away from the final boss fight to a normally inaccessible part of the level where the cutscene plays, as it is done in-engine, and placing a timed dynamite charge set to detonate at just the right time. Ludicrous Gibs ensue. You can also attempt this with the observing scientist at the end of the Time Gate mod. However in this case it will cause the game to crash.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront: The Jedi heroes in the first game are invulnerable to normal weapons; they would deflect blasters and simply get knocked down by splash damage. It is possible to kill them by using grenades or heavy weapons to knock them into environmental hazards: off the edge of Cloud City, into the Sarlacc pit, or into the Carbonite Freezing chamber. It is also possible to kill them by landing aircraft on them or ramming them at a fast enough speed with a speeder bike. An even easier method is to get them between a few turrets firing at the right rate. The flinch effect will keep them immobilized long enough for you to take them out. Sadly, they'd just respawn like Agents in The Matrix. You could also do this by using a vehicle to push said Jedi off the playable area; though this will kill you eventually, it'll also kill the Jedi, which will (for whatever reason) not damage your vehicle whatsoever. This works great with the Republic and Empire's tank, which has noticeable projections on the sides that can completely trap the Jedi in front of it.
  • Team Fortress 2 has an example very similar to the original from Ultima Online. Team Fortress creator Robin Walker has equipped himself with the Valve Rocket Launcher, a Purposely Overpowered joke weapon that gives him ludicrous damage, health, and mobility. However, Robin isn't completely invincible, and a sufficiently skilled and/or opportunistic player can still manage to kill him.

  • The proto-MORPG AberMUD featured a dragon which had 4x the hit points possible for a level capped player, and did approximately the same damage per round as the best weapon in the game. It was, however, able to be killed in one hit if you had a specific unique (as in, one copy in the entire game world at a time) weapon equipped. Naturally, a few people took this as not a puzzle to be solved but a challenge. It also had a unicorn with 4x the hit points of the dragon. This wasn't even in the game proper; it was intended as a GM's "pet", but the mechanics allowed players in certain circumstances to attempt to summon any NPC in the game. Players who thought the dragon wasn't enough of a challenge would have a go at the unicorn. If superbly equipped, it was possible to win this fight, though the odds weren't terribly good. Later GMs learned from this and, if they bothered to create a pet, created one that was either weak enough not to be worth killing for bragging rights, or with hundreds of times as many HP as players and attacks strong enough to kill obliterate level-capped players with a single hit.
  • In Champions Online:
    • Justiciar in Canada is positioned dangerously close to a pair of explosive barrels which respawn. So long as no one's Nemesis minions show up to draw him into combat (and thus full heal him when he returns to his default position), a persistent player can kill him with the explosive damage from the barrels.
    • Another instance of this were statues in one of the endgame lairs. These statues were immune to all damage types, and shot lasers out of their eyes when approached, which the player had to use a mirror to reflect back at the statue to destroy it to progress through the lair. However, characters who had Parry could actually guard to penetrate the statue's immunity to normal damage, allowing players to bypass complex mirror puzzles by just waiting in front of statues while blocking.
  • City of Heroes has the Hamidon, a giant blob monster, which was similarly very difficult to kill. For the first year or so, players kept coming up with strategies, only to have the Devs change the rules. Eventually, the players found an "acceptable" strategy and raiding began in earnest.
    • CoH also has Riechsman, who's supposed to be completely invincible... however, when he first came out, he was still susceptible to Sleep abilities, which, while not killing him, completely mitigated him. Also, later on in the same set of missions, you get the means to defeat him... which you can keep, then do the story over again, and use the same weapons to defeat him when you're supposed to be helpless against him!
    • The Rikti Invasion events in City of Heroes feature dropships, which the dev team made virtually unkillable, with oodles of hit points, powerful attacks, and a tendency to simply fly away and escape before anybody can kill it, and which give no rewards for defeat, specifically because they were not intended to be defeated. When the Issue that introduced the Invasion events was in beta, a group of players took this as a challenge, banded together, and killed nine of them. The devs then made them even tougher, but still not unkillable.
    • Similarly, when the Rikti Invasion events went live, the expected response was that players would flee from invasion sites — after all, the zone was being flooded with extremely powerful enemies who gave no experience or rewards for beating them. Instead, as soon as dropships appeared in the skies, every player anywhere remotely nearby rushed into the fray. They're superheroes and the city is being invaded by aliens; beating back the invaders turned out to be its own reward.
    • On a smaller scale, the "Magic Man" arc has the eponymous character who, during your battle against him, uses Time Travel to heal himself repeatedly when his health gets low. Mechanically, this is implemented as a new copy of the NPC running in while the low-health NPC copy gets flagged as invisible and untargetable, but not untouchable. Area-effect attacks and pets can still hit the old copy, and you can get XP and drops for defeating him as many as five times.
    • The finale of the first chapter of the villain "Who Will Die" arc ends with five high-level, high-rank hero NPCs arriving to drive the player character off. These NPCs are twenty levels above the player characters (in a game where a seven-level difference is considered insurmountable), but have no special protection. Player speculation is that concentrating confusion attacks on the healer NPC would get her to wipe out the other heroes, but nobody has claimed to have actually done so, and that still leaves the problem of defeating an incredibly tough NPC with self-healing abilities.
    • It's not killing, but turrets are implemented as ordinary NPCs that are prevented from moving with a stupidly high immobilization debuff. A sufficiently patient player can stack immobilization protection on one until it jumps off its pedestal and goes wandering around.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online has a number of "invincible" monsters, usually seen but not directly encounted in inaccessible areas of dungeons. Most of them have enormous HP reserves and full health regeneration. This hasn't stopped players from using high-level characters with powerful ranged weapons/attacks to attack Aussircaex, a level 32 dragon (player cap is 25 currently). However, this is usually true only in the first dungeon they're encountered in — most are quest-end bosses in separate adventures, since Turbine is aware that players are going to attack anything targetable.
  • In EVE Online, CONCORD serves as the police force in high security systems and will attack players who perform certain illegal acts, such as attacking other players without provocation, attacking a CONCORD ship, entering high-sec space with a low security rating, etc. If a player commits such an act, an endless stream of CONCORD ships will very quickly enter the system and destroy the player's ship. Due to their weapons and equipment, most Concordokkened players don't even have a chance to fire a shot at them. There was one case, however, called the Yulai Incident, where a well-organized and well-prepared gang was actually able to hold off CONCORD for over two hours, killing over a hundred people in a supposedly safe system.note  CONCORD has since been upgraded (and continues to be upgraded every time anybody tries to tank them) and everyone involved was banned (if the players somehow figure out a way to subvert CONCORD, that is considered an exploit and a bannable offense), but the Yulai Incident lives on in legend.
  • At the end of EverQuest's Scars of Velious expansion pack existed a prismatic dragon known as Kerafyrm the Sleeper. His very existence was deemed a crime against dragonkind, and he was magically sealed in a hidden tomb, guarded by four wardens who would keep him asleep for all eternity. Once those 4 wardens were killed, Kerafyrm was scripted to wake up and sow havoc and destruction upon certain areas of the continent, killing certain NPCs in the process. One of the most noteworthy examples of Temporary Online Content — Kerafyrm could only be awakened once per server, and the game world was permanently changed to reflect his awakening. The first server to awaken him discovered this harsh truth without knowing. Some servers followed afterward thinking this was an accomplishment, and many tried to fight Kerafyrm with the intent of killing him. People were supposed to think they could win, and be on the end of a giant Player Punch when they inevitably lose. They couldn't make him actually unkillable because you weren't supposed to know it was hopeless, but once the first group to wake him found out, no one else would do it, because there is no benefit from trying and failing. Many servers discovered that the loot that dropped from the wardens that kept him asleep was far superior than the loot from the bosses that would replace them once the zone was changed to reflect the awakening. Most servers signed truces for the sake of farming the superior gear, but guilds would eventually one by one wake him up across each server. Ironically, it was the Rallos Zek server, the original PVP server that launched among the game's 12 original servers, that honored this truce the longest. After a few years of honorably farming the wardens for loot, in November 2003, the top 3 guilds on the server decided to band together and prove that Kerafyrm could be killed. Once word got out, Player Killer guilds tried to grief the server by prematurely awakening him, but they all failed. It took over 200 players just over 3 hours using Zerg Rush tactics against a dragon who was immune to all forms of magic except for the Shadowknight class' Harm Touch and the Wizard class' Mana Burn, but in the end, the dragon fell, and his corpse had no loot. A few weeks later, a game-wide announcement was told of the accomplishment.
  • EverQuest II has Lord Nagafen, a dragon found at the bottom of the Solusek's Eye volcano. He plays a major story role in the base game's questlines. The game will program an NPC as either Non-Combat (meaning you can only talk to them, if even target them), and regular enemies with designated levels, damage output, HP, and stats. Nagafen falls into the latter because a foolish player who thinks can challenge him will find out how quick a death they will recieve. At the start of the game, the level cap was 50, and Nagafen was listed as a 100x4 epic mob. As the level cap increased closer to 90 with the Sentinel's Fate expansion, Nagafen was boosted to 120x4. With the level cap of 120 with Blood of Luclin, Naggy was increased to 150x4. One player almost managed to kill him using environmental exploits, but was caught and punished before he could finish. Since then, Nagafen has an anti-cheat mechanic that prevents him from taking any forms of damage after a certain point, making the effort ultimately futile. There is a subversion in the form that Nagafen's Lair was later repurposed for the Kingdom of Sky storyline as a seperate zone. The Nagafen inside there is still 100x4, which is completely trivial to anyone geared up in the Reign of Shadows expansion and can be killed in one hit. He's oddly fitted out with tier 5 loot from level 50 from the base game.
  • Final Fantasy XI had Absolute Virtue, whose absurdly high HP, auto-regen, and a spell that restores all his health meant it was borderline invincible through legitimate means. The developers designed Absolute Virtue to be defeated in a very specific way. If players found a different way to defeat it, which happened somewhat frequently, the developers did not negate their victory, but did patch the boss to make it impossible for that method to work again. The devs never allowed Absolute Virtue to finally go down until the level cap was raised past 75, several years after its release, at which point the level difference allowed players to simply muscle through it.
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Inverted, which tries very hard to make towns a safe zone where you can't die, by never placing enemies there, making Falling Damage never kill you outside combat, and not giving any suicide abilities. However, if you get a poison debuff from a high-level enemy and quickly warp to town and switch to a low-level class, you can indeed die in a town. A handful of players make it their personal Running Gag to spend the majority of their time online dead in front of major town fixtures.
    • With the addition of Blue Mage in Stormblood, it is entirely possible for players to simply kill themselves by casting Self-Destruct, an AOE spell that reduces the caster's HP to zero upon execution. It was quite common to see towns and cities full of dead Blue Mages when the job was new, though a patch reduced how much one could spam Self-Destruct by applying a debuff that prevents the player from blowing themselves up again for 10 minutes after being revived.
  • In Guild Wars, a well-placed herd of Necromancer minions can sometimes kill exactly the wrong person during a mission cutscene.
    • The Eye of the North expansion is far more explicit with this. If an allied NPC is killed, it will either return hale and hearty on the next dungeon level or, more commonly, wait until its aggro circle is clear before standing back up, dusting itself off, and running back to your location. Quite a few NPCs will rubberband back up to about 30% if their health drops below this threshold, even if the damage they receive puts them deep into negative health. Of course, it was possible for decorative player minipets and certain resurrection NPCs to be accidentally killed by rolling ice boulders when they shouldn't, but this was quickly patched.
    • One month, it was discovered that a specific buff could be used to spawn minions in some outposts by gaming the system slightly. As players do not have access to skills in outposts, the minions would quickly kill them, and their corpses would spawn more minions.
  • In Guild Wars 2, there were some child NPCs for a snowball-tossing minigame in the winter months, which were untargetable with combat abilities. Then one day, after the developers had added the ability to give stacks of Confusion (which causes damage on skill usage) to armor, it was discovered that you could give said child NPCs Confusion with this, and they would die the next time they attempted to throw a snowball. (Even worse, they gave XP and loot.) Cue a bunch of child murder and a fast hotfix.
  • Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates has El Pollo Diablo, the black ship that appears if players attack ships weaker than themselves too often. It can't be shot, and it's crewed by (noq) 150 skeletons, but it has been defeated multiple times, each matched by a severe upgrade by the developers... Further, the hardest defeat so far, 100 skeletons versus a full Grand Frigate of top players, had one of the Game Masters fighting on the Black Ship, for full Lord British Postulate goodness, no less!
  • In the MMORPG Runescape:
    • One update introduced a new enemy, the Vyrewatch. Vyrewatch read your mind to avoid hits, and so were essentially invincible despite having a combat level. And then some player with a lot of patience went to the trouble of getting one to attack him while friends re-stocked him with rings of recoil (which reflect a small amount of your enemy's damage back to them) and massive amounts of food. Eventually the Vyrewatch died, with no death animation or drops, since the developers hadn't expected somebody to actually kill them. Later updates have introduced special weapons capable of hitting Vyrewatch, removing their invincibility.
    • Another more game-breaking variant existed for a brief period when the Mindspike staff was introduced. What was normally a very early level item that was meant to facilitate unlimited elemental runes albeit a very low statted weapon it came with a special attack that would deal weapon damage to an NPC... any NPC, including those which did not have any combat stats or health leading to the deaths of such NPCs as Bankers and many quest-starting NPC which would take quite a while to respawn naturally.
  • The Secret World features one of these in the Issue #9 mission “The Pachinko Model.” Here, one of the later goals involves retrieving a randomly-placed key from the third floor of the FNF offices — all while avoiding Sachiko, the ghost of a former FNF member. This is intended as a stealth mission: after retrieving the key, Sachiko bursts in, forcing the player to either hide behind a screen until she leaves or just sneak away... but naturally, some players are tempted to try tackling her in combat. Unfortunately, Sachiko has more hit points and attack power than most of the enemies in Kaidan and this quickly ends in a Curb-Stomp Battle; monsters as tough as Sachiko generally require players to team up against them, but “The Pachinko Model” is a strictly single-player instance -– forcing you to play the mission as intended. Since players engaged and killed her from time to time anyway, developers later buffed her HP and shields into the stratospere, making her way tougher than local Eldritch Abominations, and buffed her attack power to One-Hit Kill levels.
  • Kingdom of Loathing:
    • There was a rumour/legend that the Hermit NPC was killable, via some sort of trickery. As a browser-based not-so-multiplayer role-playing game, he had no stats and no way to be encountered as an enemy. He's said to 'drop' most non-obtainable (or even nonexistent) items in the game. As of July 2015, he can be fought, but he has not been (nor should be) killed.
    • The final boss of Kingdom of Loathing is the Naughty Sorceress, who is supposed to be killable only with a certain item in the inventory. Two players, Cobain Dougans and DarthDud, managed to beat her without the special item and were rewarded with custom Golden Sausage and Silver Sausage items. The description on the Golden Sausage reads, 'Congratulations on your surprising victory, and darn you for forcing us to come up with a way to keep that from ever happening again.'
    • Cobain Dougans has also managed to defeat the Guy Made of Bees, who is also supposed to be unkillable without the use of a certain (different) inventory item.
    • Before a revamp in 2015, the Naughty Sorceress' tower was guarded by a series of monsters which, like the Guy Made of Bees, had massively high stats but were each vulnerable to a specific item. Power creep got to the point that killing them by alternative methods became the preferred option for speedrunners, because it was less trouble than fetching the items.
    • The Sorceress has been beaten a third time by MimiRiceCat. No Bronze Sausage yet, but the Sorceress has been upgraded again. It is now no longer even theoretically possible to kill her without the necessary item—you instantly win if you have it, and instantly lose if you don't.
    • It should be noted that while the others had to get crafty about it, Cobain was one of the highest leveled players in the game, and accomplished this through SHEER FORCE. In a game where the average player ascends by level 15, and there are trophies for those that get to 30, and most clan-quest people hover around 40, he was 116 at the time. Note that leveling up requires you to get a specific base stat (which one depends on your class) up to (current level^2)+ 4, and to get the nth point in a stat requires n^2 total EXP in that stat. Cobain Dougans' screen shot shows that he had a base Mysticality stat of 13354, buffed up to 48476. This means he had over 178.3 million EXP in his Mysticality stat, when the only enemies at the time with a base yield of more than 40 EXP were for seasonal special events. Determinator indeed.
    • It happened again. Even though you instantly lose if you don't have the item you need, a glitch in a newly implemented item gave a player a chance to act, upon which they made use of a different newly implemented item to reset her stats to manageable levels. This would serve as a testament to the ongoing creativity of players, except that it apparently managed to happen entirely by accident this time.
    • A fight against "The Whole Kingdom" (involving literally fighting the entire map at once, encountered in an area where you've been made gigantic) was intended to be unbeatable. It has 1 million hit points, and takes only 1 point of damage from all attacks. Furthermore, the battle automatically ends in 10 rounds (so you can't just do one damage a round for a million rounds). Of course, someone has finally defeated it, essentially by using an obscene quantity of separate auto-damage buffs to induce Death of a Thousand Cuts. Notably, it had "Monster Manuel" entries — something you only see after beating an enemy — despite being supposedly impossible to kill.
  • Lord British, of course, from the Ultima series, who just happens to be one of Richard Garriott's two in-game Author Avatars. The postulate itself stems from a time during the Ultima Online beta test where, following a crash, Lord British' invulnerability flag was unknowingly turned off, and a player killed him with a hastily-stolen firefield spell on the spur of the moment during a public gathering. The guards moved in, the players fought back, and the whole thing turned into an in-game riot. A special pair of leggings were introduced to "commemorate" the event. There was also an event during the early weeks of Tabula Rasa that was about killing General British. Well, clones of him, actually; there were dozens of them.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Most characters are actually killable to players of the opposing faction, including racial leaders such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore, and the like. However, most NPCs in the neutral city of Shattrath should be invulnerable, as combat from players is forbidden there... unless, of course, one pulls an enemy from outside of the city into it and lets them run loose on the population. The main NPC of the city, a massive naaru named A'dal, was killed in this way several times until it was buffed to nigh-unkillable levels. It seems that the original A'dal had very little HP. Even more uncanny is that after death, it just keeps hanging there despite being considered a corpse by game mechanics; naaru don't even have a death animation! It's still possible to kill A'dal with a quest mob that becomes immune to everything at 50% health (you need a quest item to kill him). It just takes a very very very long time. In theory, it would also be possible to kite said mob to A'dal, then kite him away, effectively kiting A'dal itself (and every guard in the city). There is a rumor of this being done, but there are no videos to back it up.
    • The pre-launch event of the second expansion involved an infection that would turn player characters into zombies that were hostile towards everything but each other. You can use this opportunity to kill characters that were otherwise unattackable to both factions.
    • The Mount Hyjal raid has two parts where the raid is supposed to flee from an overwhelming number of elite undead, one where they overwhelm the Alliance base while the raid flees to the Horde base, and again when they overwhelm the Horde base as the raid flees to the Night Elf base. As soon as the next expansion dropped and players were a lot stronger than the raid expected them to be? They mowed their way right through the overwhelming stampede and got a ton of Shop Fodder in the process. Sometimes even solo.
    • Early on in the third expansion, the infamous Goon Squad guild managed to kill Tirion Fordring during a cutscene by luring a miniboss from earlier in the Icecrown Citadel raid to him, something that shouldn't normally be possible given that they were already at the final boss. Turned out they actually bypassed said miniboss by deliberately dying and rezzing to reset its aggro, and then got its attention right before teleporting to Arthas — upon which the miniboss clipped straight up through the tower and into the Lich King arena. This had since been patched out after the glitch was discovered.
    • The Whale Shark is an immense boss mob with no loot of any kind and the ability to one-shot anybody that attacks it. Nonetheless, Blizzard had to add an achievement for killing it because so many people wanted to.
    • Some players expand this to include other players when not in PvP situations that allow deaths. Duels end with the other player having one hitpoint, but using knockback or mind control during the duel, it is possible to kill via fall damage.
    • Perhaps the worst incident of this behavior was the Corrupted Blood Plague. Players discovered they could bring a highly-contagious disease to their home cities, where it would promptly spread and kill characters who were ordinarily protected from other players. The incident has been studied by epidemiologists.
    • Early in the Mists of Pandaria beta, there was a bugged version of Chi Wave. The spell is supposed to bounce between PCs and NPCs, healing if friendly, damaging if an enemy. Earlier versions were bugged so it would damage all NPCs.
    • In Shadowlands, because of a bug in the Spires of Ascension dungeon, a warlock's doomguard attacked and killed Kyrestia the Firstborne, the Archon of Bastion, who is normally friendly and thus unattackable. Turned out that she had a special on-death text prompt and trigger that kills the entire party, which led to speculation that keeping her alive was originally part of the objective of the boss encounter she appears in.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, the SE.RA.PH. event features a portion where the Big Bad, Kiara Sessyoin, has ascended to her true final form of a universe-warping near-deity, and you have to find an item that will block her from accessing the transformation, and then start gathering more that will make the fight progressively easier. However, you can also choose to just fight her without getting the item, letting her access the full power of Demonic Boddhisatva. Given that she has 2.8 million HP, is invincible and ignores your own invincibility skills for the first thirteen turns of the fight, is almost completely immune to debuffs, is largely exempt from class disadvantage, and kicks off the third turn with an attack that will bring your starting roster to 0 HP, she's pretty clearly a walking talking indicator of how screwed you are if you don't get the item. Naturally, the playerbase took this as a challenge, and discovered that it was indeed possible to beat her—the fact that most such fights tend to last the better part of an hour should probably be indicative of how difficult it is to outlast her.
  • During a limited-time event in Star Trek Online, Cryptic put a hologram of the Deep Space 9's Captain Kurland on the Promenade as the contact point to get a prize. Klingon Defense Force toons quickly discovered they could fight him due to a Good Bad Bug, and hilarity ensued.

  • In Jak II the waters around Haven City are patrolled by a sentry bot which will kill the player with one shot if they move too far out. However, Dark Jak can destroy it with a dark bomb, although it may still get a shot off. It won't respawn, but you can only move so far before you fall off the world.
  • A staple enemy in the Kirby series is Shotzo, a little cannon that shoots cannonballs at Kirby. Normally, Shotzos are invulnerable, and must be avoided, or dropped into a pit. However, Shotzos sometimes come in from the sky, floating down with Parasols, which are far from invulnerable (destroyed on contact with anything faintly Kirby-related). Normally, if Kirby sucks up the Parasol, it'll simply come off; however, the Throw ability found in some of the games will pick up both the Parasol and the Shotzo, and when said Shotzo hits a wall, it pops like any other enemy.
  • Normally, there are only a couple of ways to kill NPCs in LittleBigPlanet, set by the level's creator. If you use the Overlord Glitch, however, you can drop explosives on anything and everything in the level.
  • In the Mega Man (Classic) games, the penultimate boss is typically the Wily Machine, which is piloted by the series Big Bad Dr. Wily. After defeating the boss, he typically ejects from it via escape pod, which is normally invulnerable to Mega Man's weaponry. In Mega Man 4 however, there's one weapon (Rain Flush) that will kill him as he's escaping, causing him to poof in a small explosion similar to a typical enemy. However, doing this will then prevent the stage from properly finishing, leaving you trapped in the room with no other option but to reset the game.
  • In Rogue Legacy, traps that are immune to damage from your weapons (bouncing spike balls, spring-loaded floor spikes, and wall-mounted fireball shooters) can be killed using Retribution runes (which return a percentage of damage taken to the enemy that causes it).
  • In Sly Cooper:
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles: At one point in Launch Base Zone, Eggman flies by to pick up a box. You can hit him a couple times, but then he'll fly away with the box, to be fought again later in the level. However, in a Sonic and Tails playthrough, if Sonic stays below a certain point, Eggman won't fly away, allowing Tails to keep hitting him. After 256 strikes, he explodes and leaves a small animal behind like any regular badnik does when defeated. Of course, he'll still be around for the boss battle later in the zone.
  • In the Roguelike/Platformer hybrid Spelunky, the Ghost is a recurring "enemy" who serves as more of a deterrence, to discourage dawdling on a level to get all of the treasure. If it touches you, you instantly die. It isn't killable at all in the original freeware version of the game, but in the multi-platform HD version, it has 9,999 HP, and it can be harmed for what amounts to Scratch Damage if it comes into contact with lava or a UFO's plasma shot. One player, Bananasaurus Rex, successfully killed the Ghost by chipping away at its health, but since it's not intended to be killable, it has no death animation, and it just disappeared once its health reached zero.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2: Phanto, the mask that pursued you when you collected a key, can be killed. You have to get four cherries, pick four large vegetables, pick the fifth to get a clock to stop time, get another cherry to get an Invincibility Star, and while you're invincible, slam Phanto. You're out of luck in Super Mario Maker 2, because Phanto is truly invincible there.
  • Super Mario 64 has the "Mystery Goomba" or the "Impossible Goomba" in the "Bowser in the Sky" level. Basically, YouTuber pannenkoek2012 discovered that there are 8 Goombas in the level, but only 7 spawn. The problem is that one of the spawners that spawns 3 Goombas in a triangle formation has one of the corners going off of the edge, resulting in the Goomba spawning for a single frame at the bottom of the screen (past the area that triggers the bottomless pit death). The original mystery was just finding the Goomba, since it spawns at the bottom of the level, meaning that the Goomba's activation range is out of the range of the spawner's activation range (meaning that it's impossible for Mario to activate the Goomba and kill it, since it despawns if you leave the spawner's range, and the Goomba disappears after the one frame it's alive because Mario isn't in the range to activate the Goomba). But after it was discovered, the problem quite naturally turned from "where's the Goomba?" to "how exactly do we kill the Goomba?" He made another video of him trying out multiple methods to kill the Goomba, though none of them worked. The search for a way to kill it continues, however, and one day a method might be discovered.
  • The last stage of Yoshi's Island features a side-scrolling segment with Kamek, who is invulnerable to attacks and vanishes whenever Yoshi comes close to him, making him unkillable by any normal means. However, Kamek's attack transforms blocks into enemies, and it is possible (though very difficult) to make him transform the block that he is standing on, making him fall down. If there is a bottomless pit beneath him, then this will successfully kill him during the side-scrolling portion.
  • Spider-Man 2 – Enter: Electro: The Lizard is supposed to be invincible unless the cure serum is used to temporarily weaken him, but with the right combination of abilities, it's possible to whittle his health down without it.

    Puzzle Games 
  • 39th Slayer in DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold. You're not meant to be able to defeat him until the final level, but the fans have discovered ways to kill him in most rooms that he appears in. (He always comes back....)
  • The Neather in the original King Dugan's Dungeon. If you kill him anywhere other than his final appearance, the game pops up a dialog box apologizing for the developer not allowing for every way he could be killed, and warning he won't die because "the story must go on".

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Age of Mythology:
    • The Titans expansion, one level has you scrambling to revive a giant Guardian statue in Egypt, because an equally giant Titan (Cerberus) is coming who is designed such that killing him should only be realistically possible using this guardian, due to his massive damage and hp. However, using vast number of priests, who gain damage bonuses towards creatures of Myth, it is quite possible to kill him without awakening the guardian, though he does tend to kill a lot of them before he goes down.
    • You can kill Gargarensis forever, preventing him from resurrecting, by building a house upon his corpse.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm:
    • The super-charged veinhole monster from a GDI mission, which will die when you fire long enough on it. "Long enough" being a long time.
    • The Core Defender that activates during the last missions of the GDI or NOD campaign when you have to destroy CABAL's core has the highest health and armor rating of any unit as well as a powerful and rapid firing laser cannon that delivers a One-Hit Kill to any unit. You're supposed to ignore it and just run for the core. It still hasn't stopped people from destroying it by swarming it with infantry or tanks/Titans. More unconventional tactics involve luring it onto a bridge and then blowing up the bridge beneath it, or getting it to walk over a Firestorm wall section or between two laser fence posts and then activating them.
  • The demo of Ratropolis ends with an unwinnable battle against a horde of mooks buffed to 99 attack and 999 health. Though the use of exploits, however, it is possible to delay it indefinitely,note  and then use that time to upgrade your defenses sufficiently.note  If you manage to win, the game continues as normal, though every enemy afterwards will have similarly overpowered stats. You can even Earn Your Happy Ending this way.
  • StarCraft:
    • Arguably the defining event of StarCraft (and probably the whole universe) is the capture of Sarah Kerrigan by the Zerg. However if you plan ahead, it's quite simple to prevent her from being overrun in the first place, so simple that it might happen by accident. The Zerg simply send all their available units, and once those run out, all you have left is a thin trickle of infinite Zerglings, like someone left the tap on. That Mengsk refuses to rescue her from a threat that's already contained makes him look less like an evil bastard and more like the laziest man ever born. In the same mission, Kerrigan becomes invincible by script when the Zerg invasion starts, in order to avoid her being killed by the aliens. The mission actually forces the player to defend the Zerg from the Protoss invasion force. When the last Protoss building is destroyed, the Zerg invasion is triggered. However, in the fraction of seconds between the destruction of the last Protoss building and the triggering, it is possible to kill Kerrigan just a moment before she becomes invincible. This is easily done by setting speed to the slowest rate and using battlecruisers with Yamato cannons to attack simultaneously Kerrigan and the last Protoss building. If timing is right, the trigger will happen while Kerrigan dies, thus starting the ending cutscene with the Zerg overrunning everything. Oddly enough, although killed, Kerrigan will still play her quotes during the cutscene, asking for an immediate evacuation.
    • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty:
      • A mission on the main path of involves racing against the Zerg in an attack on a nearby Protoss base to grab an artifact. If you put off that mission and do many of the side missions and research and upgrade your units (or build lots of Reapers), it is possible to destroy the Zerg base. Although the AI cheats with regards to the resources and larvae it has to spend, all attacking units it creates outside the drop pods are built normally, and destroying the base makes it impossible for any units (other than the aforementioned drop pods) to be created.
      • Any mission against the Tal'darim in Wings of Liberty that doesn't involve wiping out their forces as a primary objective can still be completed by wiping out said forces. Matt Horner will indicate that the Tal'darim are in full retreat and the mission will end successfully. This is most noticeable in the Siege Tank mission, where you have control of a Wave-Motion Gun. As long as you have researched orbital commands, you can scan a part of their base, queue up a couple of buildings, and destroy them one at a time until the mission is over. There's even an achievement in the Feats of Strength section if you take out the Protoss in Welcome To The Jungle (a mission where you're supposed to only send out heavily armed convoys to protect a single SCV collecting gas canisters).
      • The devs seem to have caught on to this, as all expansions have achievements for destroying bases when you're supposed to be focused on more urgent objectives (even as your allies tell you to stop attacking an entrenched and fortified foe when there's other things to worry about).
  • Warcraft III has a number of missions where the player is supposed to win without destroying the enemy base and in fact they are designed to discourage attempting to.
    • March of The Scourge is a Hold the Line mission against an undead opponent who has access to higher up on the tech tree than the player does and they will be almost constantly under attack from two different bases. On top of this an optional quest appears where the surrounding towns are corrupted by the undead, which can lead to a third sending attacks. Even if the player stays the defense the mission is still considered That One Level. Trying to go the offense is risky since it takes units away from defending the player's base. The enemy bases are well defended, very large, and one has a level ten hero. The defenses for one of the bases can however be largely bypassed by using siege units to blast the trees down. The second base will still send attacks but as long as the player keeps some units defending their base it is possible to repel them. Though even if the player destroys the undead bases they still have to wait for the timer to run out before the mission ends.
    • The Culling provides an aversion. The goal of the mission is kill a number of peasants before the enemy hero Mal'Ganis turns them into undead. Mal'Ganis' base is very well defended but it is possible to destroy it. Doing this however only prevents attacks on the player's base because the altar that revives Mal'Ganis is invincible. It's also located on a plateau that can only be reached by flying units, something the player isn't given access to yet, so you can't keep an army up there to kill Mal'Ganis after he revives, so you can't stop him from teleporting off the plateau, afterwhich a number of units spawn around him.
    • The final human mission Frostmourne expects the player to find the titular Artifact of Doom before finally killing attacking Mal'Ganis' base. You have access to the full tech tree by this point so it's entirely possible to destroy the undead base without getting Frostmourne. Killing Mal'Ganis however, is more difficult, or more accurately, making sure he stays dead, as this video demonstates. Killing Mal'Ganis doesn't end the mission however, the player still has to complete the quest to get Frostmourne before the mission ends.
    • The undead campaign's final mission Under the Burning Sky is another Hold the Line mission, this time where the player has to defend a Squishy Wizard hero, who won't defend himself, from three very large human bases. The mission is already considered to the be the hardest in the game by most players if you stay on the defense as intended. The human bases are all surrounded by elevated terrain that can only be crossed by flying units, with towers on all sides and the only to enter on the ground funnels units through an entrance that leaves them open to get shot at by the towers and vulnerable to AOE spells used by the bases' heroes. Nonetheless it is possible to destroy the human bases, though again, you still have to wait for the timer to run out before the mission ends.
    • The orc campaign's Hunter of the Shadows initially expects the player to retreat from the attacking night elf army and complete the quest that gives the orc units Chaos damage. Beating the night elves is possible but the demigod Cenarius leading them has Divine armor which reduces all attacks to one measly point of damage, except from Chaos damage which does full damage to all armor types. Despite the game listing it as the main quest to unlike Chaos orc units, it is still possible to kill Cenarius with normal units. Cenarius has staggeringly high stats but has the same spells as the Hero Unit he's based on, and his damage isn't so high that he can't be held in melee while ranged units peck away at him.
    • The orcs' final mission By Demons Be Driven provides another subversion. The player's goal is to capture Grom Hellscream with a Soul Gem. Trying to beat him normally is impossible because everytime he's killed he will revive instantly with full health and mana.
    • The night elf mission Awakening of Stormrage expects the player to reach Cenarius' horn and awaken Furion Stormrage before the undead chop down all the trees blocking the way to his sleeping place. It and the undead base are placed across gaps to keep the player from reaching them, but it is possible to cross the gap with a Scroll of Town Portal and clever placement of the right building. Actually attacking the undead base requires destroying some of the trees they are trying to cut down. The undead base isn't especially well defended, except for that fact that is guarded by Tichondrius, a level 10 special Hero Unit has two campaign exclusive spells, and Divine armor. While he's very strong, it is still possible to kill Tichondrius by bringing building base on the undead's side of the gap, training an army of dryads (who are immune to spells, though that won't stop Tichondrious from still trying to use spells on them and can slow him, which severly cuts down on the the damage he can deal as he is a melee unit) and setting up a number defensive buildings. Once he is killed, his base is easy to destroy. Not that this gets the player anything, they still have to finish the mission normally.
    • The following mission The Druids Arise contains another two bases that is placed a location that requires a Scroll of Town Portal to reach, though once the player gets to them they are not too hard to destroy with a good sized army, though the player needs to have a second scroll ready to teleport back out after destroying both bases. The last base can, surprisingly, mostly be destroyed by summoning treants.
    • The final mission is another Hold the Line level where the player isn't expected to destroy the undead base sending the attacks due to Archimonde guarding, but it can be done. Doing so completely stops the attack until the scripted event begins where Archimonde scales the mountain personally. In fact the base can be destroyed suprisingly easily since once the main base building for the human or orcs is destroyed, the undead set up a new base where they just destroyed one before. During this time the base is at its most vulnerable, you can stop it from getting built to the point where it can pose a threat.
    • Archimonde is meant to be unkillable, as he's strong enough to massacre almost anything in his way and No Sells everything you can throw at him via Spell Immunity and Divine armor. But like Cenarius he still takes Scratch Damage from attacks, so that didn't stop players from killing him anyway. This leads to a very strange end-of-level cutscene where Archimonde is absent and a couple of buildings spontaneously implode.

  • In NetHack:
    • In the last level, you will meet the Riders, three immortal beings who, when killed, will always rise from the dead again. There are only two known ways to dispose of them permanently: kill them, and fill the level entirely with monsters so they have nowhere to reappear, or turn them into green slime. Neither is considered a bug (in fact, there's a special message for the former), although most players consider them much more of a hassle than simply finishing the game. It's also possible to level-drain two of the three until they become weak enough to enslave with Charm Monster — now you're playing with power!
    • Some players like to take this to the next level, and kill entire species. This is generally easy for most monsters, as almost any monster that is created 120 times is considered extinct and will never be generated again. Unique monsters can also be made extinct because the game has Loads and Loads of Rules and Developer's Foresight. Of particular note is Juiblex, who is as near-impossible to render extinctnote  but even he can be made extinct, by a techniquenote  which was discovered only in June 2012, when the last update to the game was December 2003. Extinctionists take their job seriously.
    • The Mail Daemon is a creature that delivers messages from other players watching you online. It appears and disappears within the span of one turn and, therefore, can't normally be interacted with at all, much less killed. So, naturally, sufficiently Crazy-Prepared players have found a way to kill it. To do this, the player needs to wish for a statue of a mail daemon, cast stone-to-flesh on it and to kill the resulting daemon in one turn before it disappears with a cry of "I'm late!" No more mail will be delivered for the remainder of the play session.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky: The first Special Episode, Bidoof's Wish, has a Hopeless Boss Fight at one point against a trio of Snover, Bagon, and Gligar. You're playing as a Bidoof with weak stats and moves, and the three are about twice your level and pack some powerful attacks, especially Snover. However, there are a few ways to beat them; for example, you can take a Protect TM out of storage and teach it to Bidoof, letting him block damage while wearing the three down. Whether you win or lose, though, the cutscene after plays out the same way.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • Very rarely, in the initial build of BG1, Gorion would kill the Armored Figure during the ambush encounter, causing the game to lock-up and crash (though it required his spells to hit for 85+% of their possible damage each time, and he needed to kill the ogre on his first spell); the Armored Figure's hp was buffed in the following patch.
    • Elminster is very killable, but it's EXTREMELY difficult since he has -30 AC (only a 5% chance of hitting him since only a natural 20 will work), 1800 hp, and will despawn if he can talk to you which he constantly tries to do. An attempt requires boots of speed and the throwing axe +2, and managing to avoid him at his first encounter so you can come back later. It takes about 3 hours of running a circle chucking the returning axe at him. He awards 26000 xp.
    • In the German version, children are supposed to be invincible. This can be annoying if they turned hostile to the players for whatever reason. However, if you polymorph them into squirrels by magical spell or wand, you can kill the squirrels - and watch them polymorph back into dead children.
    • A slightly more obscure example can be found with the mage Shandalar, who serves as a quest-giver in Ulgoth's Beard in the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. Although not immortal, he is very obviously designed to be as close to unkillable as the game engine allows. He will cast Globe of Invulnerability on himself the moment anything threatens him, and is specially coded to be able to cast spells twice as fast as the player can. His AC is also so high that only a maximum level fighter stands a chance of hitting him. To add insult to injury, he will teleport away after a few rounds of combat, rendering attempts to whittle him down with lucky hits pointless. However, a Scroll of Protection from Magic will render his attacks completely harmless, and an extremely liberal use of magic wands will suffice to kill him before he can teleport away. For your troubles you get the best (neutral aligned) mage robe in the game, which can otherwise only be purchased for an enormous sum of money at one special shop.
    • A good number of characters that are supposed to be unkillable (for example Ulraunt from Candlekeep) rely on one or more of the following: having their HP boosted to absurd amounts (several hundreds in Ulrant's case), making them invulnerable to attacks, and giving you only a very limited time to interact with them. However, a player can delay the event interruption by immobilizing the NPC that is supposed to start it and bypass the invulnerability with Critical Hits (if the invulnerability is combined with boosted HP then this can take hours but is still doable). The creators of the game anticipated that something like that may happen and created a special NPC called Biff the Understudy who automatically appears to say the dead person's lines in their place.
  • Baldur's Gate II:
    • All critical plot characters are now immortal, but there is one instance that is clearly an oversight by developers: you can kill Desharik the pirate at the start of chapter 4 before entering Spellhold, but then he will come back alive later when you have to escape from the island, with no explanation.
    • In Chapter 4 the fight with the Big Bad is scripted to end after he loses a certain amount of hit points, triggering a dialogue in which he teleports away. You can then exit Spellhold and continue the game. However, if you somehow get extraordinarily (un)lucky and Irenicus fails his save against Disintegrate, then he does indeed Disintegrate - which renders the game Unintentionally Unwinnable, since he's no longer around to trigger the dialogue and you can't move on. Of course, by all in-universe logic, you'll have won right then because the rest of the game is about chasing and stopping him.
  • A more suicidal variation is in Bloodborne. Normally it's impossible to die in the Hunter's Dream except at the hands of the Final Boss and True Final Boss, but many players have found ways to do so anyway, such as by using Cast From Hitpoints weapons.
  • Chrono Trigger: during the first (forced) encounter with the Big Badnote , its stats are actually inflated to ensure you lose. On top of that, it constantly spams its most powerful attack (which can do enough damage to instantly kill your party members if their stats were what were normally expected at that point of the game). However, with sufficient grinding or on a New Game Plus, you can kill it and witness a truly odd alternate ending.
  • In Dark Souls: Black Dragon Kalameet spends all his time in the sky raining fire down on you, making himself near-impossible to fight. The player is supposed to enlist the help of Hawkeye Gough to shoot Kalameet with a greatarrow and knock him out of the sky, then he can be fought. However, it is possible to exploit blind spots in Kalameet's attacks and pelt him with arrows from the ground yourself to kill him without Gough's help, though it is extremely time-consuming.
  • In Dark Souls 3, there are three bosses (Yhorm the Giant, High Lord Wolnir, and the Ancient Wyvern) that you're supposed to kill using certain tricks in their area, but there is nothing stopping you from just beating them to death besides their absurd defense and HP totals.
  • Once you get to Fort Joy in Divinity: Original Sin II, you encounter Bishop Alexandar, Magister Dallis, and Dallis' two pets interrogating another magister before killing her. You're obviously not supposed to be able to kill any of the four, as they're level eight and you're level one or two at this point. However, clever players have found ways to kill three of the four (Dallis can't actually be killed by any method at this point due to a scripted sequence in which she transforms into a dragon and flies to safety, and in the Definitive Edition, neither can Bishop Alexander.) On the ship you start out on, quickly grab a deathfog crate or barrel from the bow room before the Kraken destroys all of them, then drop it on top of Alexandar when you reach him. As deathfog is an instant kill on the living regardless of level or stats, this will kill him and Dallis' pets, though, as noted, will leave Dallis alive. However, even if she were killable at this point, this wouldn't work anyway since she's actually undead, making her immune to deathfog. Dropping an extremely heavy object on their heads, or abusing invisibility to prevent anyone from attacking you while dealing chip damage, will also work, though the latter usually takes an extremely long time.
  • Median XL is a Diablo II mod that features invulnerable trap-like monsters that kill you instantly when you get near, but don't move. This being Diablo, you can imagine how well that went. Players also figured out ways to kill monsters that are immune to all elements, monsters that cannot even be targeted (tip: damage reflection) and even monsters that cannot be targeted and are immune to all damage and do not have any attack that would trigger damage reflection. There are even four different ways to do so: resurrect monsters with "burn" damage which bypasses resistances and attacks hit points directly; find the item that summons instakill reanimates on your side when you kill enemies; find the item that summons a certain boss whose death animation is coded to autokill nearby monsters on your side and let it "expire"; or use a bugged passive in combination with Open Wounds to cause the monster to take physical damage despite being immune to it.
  • Disgaea:
    • Characters are everywhere across the castle - Running the hospital, the shops, even the portal that takes you to the storyline maps. Now, you can't attack them in the castle.... or can you? (Here's a hint: You can.) All you have to do is call an assembly. If one of the characters shows up, you can happily beat the tar out of them. Then when you get back to the castle, you'll find a little gravestone where they were. Wait a minute.... you just killed the demon running the Hospital... how are you supposed to heal? Just save, reset, and they'll be back in their spots again.
    • The series also features a few Hopeless Boss Fights that you must lose to advance the plot (Etna and Laharl in Disgaea 2, for instance). These enemies are never truly invincible, just way more powerful than your party is expected to be. This being Disgaea, you can stop and level grind for ages until you are capable of winning. Typically results in a Nonstandard Game Over. Since seeing all the different endings is a frequent goal of players, plenty of people actually do this.
    • In Makai Kingdom:
      • At one point in the main story you face off against Zetta's nemesis Alexander, who is level 1000, which you'll have no chance to beat if you''re only leveled appropriately for the previous fights. However, Salome joins at level 1200 as a neutral party and almost certainly kicks his ass. However, with some dedicated power leveling/grinding/New Game Plus, you can either beat them both, or assist Alex in winning over Salome and then beat him. This triggers a new fight where Zetta wants revenge on Alex for killing Salome (yes, even if his team killed her). Winning leads to a Nonstandard Game Over and a New Game Plus where Alex is now part of your army.
      • The titular Tome himself. The game's primary gimmick is that Zetta is a Cosmic Keystone that affects everything on the map if interacted with. Healing spells, buffs, debuffs, even inflicted damage...all bounces off of him and sticks to everything. Here's the thing: You get stronger as you make your way through the game; the Tome does not. It's completely possible to reach a point that you can actively damage and even destroy Zetta. (His HP doesn't recover between fights, either) But, this forces a Game Over even if one of your units is somehow still standing.
  • Mother:
    • Giygas in EarthBound (1994) is supposed to be killable through one means and one means only: Paula's "Pray" command. While he does have a "real" HP value, calculational trickery otherwise keeps him alive. However, in the Game Boy Advance Compilation Re-release, using a Viper on Giygas can poison him... and the poison will eventually kill him. On the other hand, since the battle wasn't ended the scripted way, glitchery ensues and you end up in a world preconfigured for the game's ending... an ending which won't happen now.
      • Master Belch is immune to damage of any kind until you use the Fly Honey on him. However, the Hungry HP-Sucker doesn't count as damage, because it's a draining effect. It's possible to kill him the long way by exploiting his vulnerability to status effects and drawing his hit points out the long way.
    • In Mother 3, the only way to kill the Superboss Pig King Statue is supposed to be with either a lucky shot of PK Flash, or use the New Year's Eve Bomb. He has 100 million HP otherwise, and regularly hits you for more HP than you probably have. It's just not possible to beat him conventionally without cheat codes, if only because, at the end of the day, long after you've run out of PP and healing items, he still has 99,000,000 HP left to go. It's a numbers game and his are just far, far, far superior to yours. That hasn't stopped people from trying, though.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
      • It is possible, although in some cases quite difficult, to kill numerous Non Player Characters that are marked as essential for the main quest in the game files. In most cases the game will alert the player to having done so with a pop-up message explaining how they have broken the thread of prophecy and should go back a save or else "continue in the doomed world you have created".
      • The main game's main story ends with the player using enchanted tools to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan. Said Heart is coded as a creature in-game, with a constant health regeneration effect to prevent normal attacks from killing it. A player with sufficiently buffed strength (something easily accomplished without actually cheating due to the Game-Breaker nature of the Alchemy system) can one-shot it, though. This breaks the standard script, leaving the game Unwinnable.
      • The Tribunal expansion adds the King of Morrowind, Hlaalu Helseth, as a major character. He is in a room full of at least a half-dozen of his tough bodyguards at any given time and wears a signet ring that bestows some incredible defenses upon him. Notably, the ring blocks all magic used on him except elemental spells, which it will instead reflect back onto the caster. It also has constant effect Health and Fatigue restoration enchantments, meaning he will heal faster than you can reasonably damage him and will never tire out during the fight. This adds up to him being virtually unkillable. (Emphasis on the "virtually" though, as he can definitely be killed, allowing you to loot his Purposefully Overpowered ring.)
    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:
      • Dropping otherwise unkillable NPCs into lava, which always results in an instant reduction to 0 HP, will kill them permanently. Just don't let this happen to Captain Burd.
      • Under normal circumstances, Mehrunes Dagon, when he appears at the end of the main quest, is impossible to kill; hitting him with weapons will only stagger him. However, you can use Wabbajack on him. It won't trigger Forced Transformations on him, but will remove his invulnerability. He has no death animation, though, so when he dies, he just melts into a weird lump of Dagon-colored goop. Similarly, you can hit him with an exploitative custom spell or a game-breakingly powerful weapon to achieve the same effect. In either case, "killing" him does nothing to change the game's ending.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
      • While there are no HP To 0 mechanics in this game like there were with Oblivion's lava, the Wabbajack's effect of transforming whatever it hits into random things sometimes circumvents the Essential flag, meaning that under the right circumstances, one can turn Jarl Balgruuf into a sweetroll. The community has yet to figure out how to weaponize this without mods, however.
      • In early releases, NPCs could drown even with the Essential flag. Once that was discovered, no one was safe, not even the children. This was eventually patched out not long after discovery.
  • Evil Islands has many monsters that were designed as unkillable by giving them tons of HP and rapid regeneration. However, with the introduction of easy mode in a patch, most of them became technically possible to kill, even though the process was long, difficult, and involved a share of luck. Enthusiasts posted a detailed guide to killing every single creature outside of towns, except two dragons that are too tough to kill even this way and a frog in the tutorial, which only survives because the player has no ranged weapons at this point. This slaughter, nicknamed "Project Genocide", completely breaks the game scripts, making quests play in the wrong order, NPCs making references to future events, and corpses and empty spaces participating in conversations.
  • In Fable, your weapons are taken away from you in Bowerstone, which is merely cosmetic because you can't beat anyone to death there, either (naturally, that's where the game puts all the children). Unfortunately for the people of Bowerstone, the game is only nerfing your damage, and if you can bring in and subsequently protect a mercenary or two, you can murder your way across town all you like! In addition, you can always pick a fight with the guards and navigate the town in a way that gets the townsfolk killed by friendly fire. And one of the simplest mods to make for Fable is one that lets you keep your weapons in Bowerstone, with predictable results.
  • Familia: The developer states that Linky, the cameo battle from Radiant Arc, was never meant to be beaten, despite implementing post-battle dialogue and adding an achievement for winning. Linky is at the stat cap, but the party members' stats don't come anywhere close to that, making it so that all of Linky's attacks are likely to oneshot even the tankiest characters. It's still possible to win with either excessive Reach grinding or a luck-based poison and counter buff strategy, the latter of which prompted the developer to lower Linky's EXP rewards.
  • In the US version of Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy II, Kain is intended to be invincible when Cecil fights him over a crystal after Kain's under the influence of Golbez's mind control. However, though Kain has 60,000 HP, a ridiculous number of health points for an enemy so early in the game, one can use a combination of level grinding Cecil to 40+ as well as unequipping all of his armor except for his shield to make Kain's "jump" attack miss virtually every time, allowing one to slowly drain Kain's HP and heal Cecil before Kain can inflict enough damage to win. Of course, though Kain turns purple and fades away, as if a normal enemy has been defeated, the scene immediately afterward goes on as if Cecil had lost the fight, not acknowledging anything the player accomplished in battle.
  • In the original NES version of Final Fantasy III, you have what is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight against Bahamut early in the game. He has 65535 Hit Points (an absurd number for that game), and fully heals every single round, but it is still possible to kill him. If you do, not only do you get no reward, but you get punished — it becomes impossible to get him as a summon later in the game.
  • The Famed Mimic Gogo in Final Fantasy V can only be beaten by copying what he's doing at the moment: standing completely still. But if you do try to beat him the old-fashioned way, he'll get ridiculous stats, counter every hit with 9999-damage spells, and triplecast Meteor when he's at below a certain HP threshold. There's also a short timer on the fight, and you die if you don't beat him before that. There are multiple ways of beating him, like bouncing Gogo's attacks back at him with Reflect or locking out his spells with Silence.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, you have the Guardian, which is supposed to be invincible and act as Border Patrol, blocking entry into Vector at a couple points in the game. It can be defeated due to the Echo Screen/Joker Doom glitch (which allows you to instantly win any battle.) As expected with this trope, the game acts as if you lose (this glitch was fixed in the GBA port). Alternatively, cast confuse on one of your own party members, and, before the spell takes effect, have that party member use a smoke bomb. They will get confused first, then use the bomb, throwing it at the enemy rather than the party, thus making the enemy 'escape' and winning the battle. You don't get a bestiary entry for beating enemies this way, though.
  • The Final Fantasy Tactics Fan Mod "FFT 1.3" contains a rare battle that was intended to be Unwinnable: not only does he have a slew of incredibly deadly abilities (including one that instantly crystallizes a character to Permadeath), he can't be damaged by conventional means...except the battle arena contains a trap that does Scratch Damage to him when he steps on it. When an extremely patient player managed to kill this encounter via Death of a Thousand Cuts, the mod-maker promptly patched the game so that even this exploit no longer worked.
  • Most of the townsfolk that aren't important in some way or merchants can be killed in Final Fantasy Adventure if you have the patience to do so.
  • In the Fire Emblem franchise:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Shadows Of Valentia:
      • Desaix, the boss of Chapter 1. There are actually 2 bosses on his map, and he's nigh invulnerable and not really intended to be defeated, not only having a third tier class and massive stats, but also a shield that raises his defense and resistance through the roof and heals him every turn. However, grind enough, or just position your units cleverly enough, and you can defeat him and pry said shield out of his cold dead hands. It really isn't him, but a body double, which explains how he appears later anyway.
      • Also, the final boss, the Dragon Duma can only be killed by the Falchion once he hits low HP, anything else simply misses. (In the remake, this includes summoned Amiibo of other Fire Emblem characters who use the Falchion). However, because the Cleric spell Nosferatu has a baked-in hit percentage, it can hit and even kill Duma. This was kept in the remake.
    • In Genealogy of the Holy War, the Final Boss appears on the map in Chapter 10. This is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight, but you actually can cherry tap or if you're lucky, Holsety them to death. If you manage to do this, the boss even says "Playtime is over -- I'm going home."
    • It's actually possible to kill Fargus in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. You're warned not to do so because it's a Hopeless Boss Fight otherwise, but people have managed to defeat him legitimately. Alas, it's not a good idea to do this because this causes a game over just for attacking him. Maybe don't try to kill the only guy who both has a boat that can take you to the Dread Isle and is actually willing to take you?
    • Similarly to the Genealogy example above, in Radiant Dawn, the Big Bad appears in chapter 4-3 amongst his hordes of Mooks. He's supposed to flee once a certain ally appears during the battle, but it's possible to get to him and take him out first. As above, he makes a pompous exit and returns later in the story no worse for the wear.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, Garon appears on the map in Chapter 12 of Birthright. Naturally, his stats are far beyond what the game expects you to have at that point... However, if you've done enough Level Grinding, it is possible to fight and even kill him on this map. Like the above two examples, you'll get some special dialogue for it, and Garon will continue to show up with no other issues throughout the story.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
      • Zigzagged example - three stages in the first half of the game have a very powerful opponent called the Death Knight on the map to make you go around him. However, the developers programmed in dialogue for if you do attack and defeat him, and to further incentivise this, he has a Dark Seal in his inventory which he will drop if defeated (or if you put a thief nearby to steal it). In point of fact, the Crimson Flower route actually expects you to defeat him at least once so that you can promote Hubert into his canon class Dark Bishop (you get a second one for free when the Death Knight joins you).
      • The Final Boss of the Verdant Wind route, Nemesis, is expected to be fought once his 10 commanders have already been defeated (even the in-game hints suggests you to do so), as their presence alone rise all his stats (bar HP) to unbelievably high levels. Despite this, with some careful planning, raw power, and even sheer luck, it's very much possible to bypass all of his boosts and defeat him anyway, thus ending the mission early.
  • In Last Scenario, the Superboss Melchior was not supposed to be defeatable — you are supposed to scan him and then choose to run away, after which he will give you an item, saying you've learned an important lesson of knowing how to pick your fights. If you do choose to fight him, though, it seems impossible as almost all of his stats are maxed out, he has 500,000 HP and 5000 MP, he absorbs or nullifies all elements, all of his attacks are one-hit kills if they connect, and as soon as he's damaged he casts regen, which causes him to regain 62,500 HP per turn (which is far more than your party could conceivably dish out in a turn). However, it is possible to beat him via a process of extreme grinding and farming stat capsules until your dexterity is high enough that his attacks almost always miss, and then using MindBlow until he runs out of MP, so he can no longer cast regen, and then wear him down with attacks. If you do manage to pull this off, you get no reward, but rather he tells you that you haven't learned his lesson yet.
  • The free flash game Mobile Weapon on Newgrounds pits you against an extremely powerful enemy mecha long before you would realistically have any chance of defeating it in a Hopeless Boss Fight. However, with obscene amounts of grinding, it is possible to max out your level before fighting the boss. It's still by far the hardest battle in the game, but the boss is actually defeatable, and drops the most powerful weapon in the game if you manage to beat it.
  • Kichikuou Rance is a game about large armies, numbering in the hundreds by even the middle of the game. But you start in a tutorial, controlling only a few dozen bandits. Your spellcaster even stands on her own, in a unit of only herself. Should you advance the plot, or wait three months, a real army of 900 will come to bring your shenanigans to a crashing end. If you spend those three months grinding, you might be able to win the battle (it's still luck-based) and reach a special ending where you conquer the world.
  • In LISA, you are often tasked to make an extremely difficult choice between hurting yourself or hurting others by Buzzo. Any attempt to Take a Third Option by fighting him results in you and your whole party getting insta KO'd by him. If you do somehow manage to beat him, he simply says, "You made a terrible mistake. I'll end this world now." The result is a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • In MARDEK Chapter 3, when you go through the Warport you get barraged with security questions from thinly disguised TSA guys. If you give the wrong answer *, you get to fight a Security Demon, which is immune to your best attacks, has 50000 health plus regen, all of its attacks are one hit kills, and can't be summoned by the time you're strong enough to take something like that in a fair fight*. However, by having the right party members, spamming the right skills and being crazy lucky, it's possible to kill it. It gives massive amounts of XP, and the security guy grants you the Gold Warport Pass early since obviously they can't stop you even if you are a terrorist.
  • Sheltem/Alamar in Might and Magic V cannot be killed by the PCs. It doesn't even give you a Hopeless Boss Fight; facing him is an instant Nonstandard Game Over. Corak has to destroy him via self-destruct.
  • During the last rite of Quest for Glory V, the assassin will harass you by teleporting in, throwing a dagger at you before teleporting out. This was done before the final showdown you're suppose to have with him. A mage could conjure tons of explosive skulls at his spawning point and send him straight to the moon and therefore break the plot. It was later patched and the assassin will show up only at the final showdown.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, at one point you're meant to damage down an enemy to make them surrender. This was implemented by giving that enemy around 1300 HP, and turning on an invulnerability flag as soon as they hit about 1000 HP, making them unkillable by any normal means. Nonetheless, by combining a Harm spell (which sets an enemy's HP to single digits) and a damage-over-time spell like Creeping Doom on the area around that enemy, you can manage to knock that enemy down to 0 HP and death just before the invulnerability flag triggers. Sadly, this makes the game unwinnable, because you needed to speak to them to leave the room that you're in.
  • The final boss fight against Bowser in Paper Mario: Sticker Star is designed to be unwinnable without using Kersti as a sticker to power up Mario: he has 500 HP and such high defense that he takes only 1 damage from any attack. The Battle Spinner is also disabled, denying Mario the ability to use multiple stickers per turn. However, though use of the Infinijump stickers, which hit 100 times for low damage anyway, it's possible to wear down Bowser the long way.
  • A Zigzagged example happens with Shadow Sae in Persona 5, specifically the first phase. You're supposed to expose her cheating, in order to make her go berserk and enter the second phase. If want to fight her the conventional way though, good luck. First of all, her first form has 65,535 HPnote . Second, she has a rule in place that if you attack her while the roulette is spinning, she uses an almighty attack that causes HP to One and nothing else, meaning if you're already on 1 HP, it doesn't do anything. With enough patience however, she can be defeated in her first form and you will enter the second phase anyway, with a much more reasonable 8,000 HP to deal with.
  • Secret of Mana has Charon, the guide who takes you to the Moon Palace, who is actually just a common enemy called a Robin Foot locked into a position where he cannot attack the player. He can't be hit with weapons, but magic can kill or transform poor Charon. Additionally, the final boss is supposed to only be damaged under very specific circumstances (having the hero hold the Mana Sword and having both of his sidekicks cast Mana Magic on him), but his defenses are not impenetrable to normal weapons when charged to sufficient levels.
  • In S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl you can kill Sidorovich in the final mission by throwing a grenade through a portal that opens into his bunker.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Destiny: The first fight against Leon is meant to be unwinnable, as Leon is level 50 and has access to his full roster of spells, including Marian. However, it is possible to defeat him with enough level grinding or through the use of a Gameshark, which will give the player an alternate ending.
    • If you try and push through the miasma in Tales of Zestiria, you'll eventually come face to face with the final boss, who is there to force you to turn back. However, even at that early stage he can be killed, and the game actually acknowledges you succeeded by giving you the bad ending.
  • In Torneko: The Last Hope: there are priests in Toro Ruins, and they are treated like monsters, except you can't attack them directly. But you can shoot arrows, magic thunders, or even turn them into items. When this occurs, though, a message appears and says: "Divine retribution!" and a giant lightning bolt drops your HP to 1. Oddly, this is recorded on your adventure log.
  • Two Worlds: It's possible, by exploiting certain aspects of the combat engine (or, in the unpatched version of the game, simply not starting the main quest until you've grinded your way to reaching endgame character level), to actually kill Gandohar at the beginning of the main quest (this is akin to starting off the Lord of the Rings by having Frodo kill Gandalf right off the bat). In fact, "speed runs" of the game exploit the fact that A) your character respawns, even if he is one-shot killed by the obvious final boss and B) that villagers can mob and kill said final boss. The game treats this as though you've beaten the final boss normally, even giving you the achievement for it.
  • Ultima:
    • In most of of the single-player RPGs, Lord British is not invulnerable — just very, very, very tough, with limited invulnerability to all but certain weapons. In later installments the developers caved to player's persistence in finding ways to kill him, and started adding easter-egg murder methods on purpose. This article details all of the ways that Lord British can be killed in the Ultima series. His "death" in Ultima VII, where the player can drop a plaque on his head, was based on a real-life incident where Garriott was injured by a falling metal bar at the Origin offices.
    • In one of the expansions to Ultima VII you can obtain a mythical black sword that can instantly kill almost any creature in the game. Naturally, this includes Lord British. Killing LB with the black sword even triggers special dialogue. Strangely, this doesn't include the final boss Batlin, which was lampshaded by Spoony:
      "So I can kill Lord British and make the game unwinnable, but killing the villain (which is logical) I can't-... because."
    • Lord British didn't appear in Ultima VIII: Pagan, but there was Beren, the town sorcerer, who punished any misdeeds the Avatar committed by blowing him up. He couldn't be killed by normal means, but that didn't stop some players from exploiting the game's Super Drowning Skills against him.
    • In Ultima Underworld 2, it is possible, though extremely difficult, to kill NPCs by pushing them into water if there is a body of it available. This can be used to best effect against Dorstag, whom you are supposed to obtain a quest item from through combat or other difficult means. Though most of his plunderable inventory disappears beneath the water with him, the quest item actually stays on the surface for you to pick up. You can kill virtually all NPCs by attacking them too, but drowning them avoids retribution. Both Underworld games also have the secret spell Armageddon, which kills everyone when it is cast. The exceptions are the inhabitants of Castle British in Underworld 2, including Lord British. They have unlimited health, there isn't any water available, and high-level spells like Armageddon don't work in Britannia because of the blackrock gem encasing the castle.
    • Parodied in this short film, where the Avatar (Played by Spoony) attempts to kill Lord British (played by Garriott himself), only to find that swords, axes and even a grenade launcher do absolutely nothing to him.
  • In the genocide route of Undertale Yellow, Martlet retreats from the battle in Snowdin when her HP gets low enough that your next attack could kill her. It's possible to get around this by lowering her HP to just above this threshold, then switching to stronger ammo that can finish her off in one attack. Although she has unique dialogue for this (to the tune of The Battle Didn't Count), the game crashes afterward.
  • The first Valkyrie Profile game has Brahms, Lord of Vampires. You are not supposed to beat him. If you do through luck, Level Grinding, or cheating, the game just deposits you back into the Overworld without ever mentioning it again, and the game pretends that you had chosen the "don't fight him" option. He appears again in the Bonus Dungeon, but by that time you are expected to be strong enough to match him.

    Third Person Shooters 
  • In Dead Space 2 the Ubermorph is an eight-foot invincible behemoth of a monster that can automatically regenerate any and all damage you do to it. You're not supposed to fight it, you're supposed to cut its arms and legs off and then run to the next room while it's stuck growing its limbs back. Players found a way to kill it anyway, either by pushing it into a giant fan or by crushing it in an airlock door (both make it vanish in a brief spray of misaligned particle effects, showing it wasn't intended for you to delete the Ubermorph from existence that way).
  • In Enter the Matrix, you cannot kill agents by beating them down or shooting them, but in the rooftop level you can hit them until you push them off the precipice. The fall does them in.
  • In Fortnite's Battle Royale mode, a sidequest during Season 3 required touching ice cream trucks, so Epic Games buffed the health of them to 100,000 to prevent players from breaking the vehicles. It didn't work.
  • In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it's possible to kill Big Bad Cole Walker near the beginning of the game during the Hopeless Boss Fight against his Elite Mooks. The game even counts it as a legit kill, too; he doesn't appear during the Final Boss fight, and though most dialogue is unchanged one major mid-game cutscene is altered heavily to account for the fact Cole is dead.
  • Uncharted has two:
    • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, you cannot kill the pseudo-yeti that you encounter in the Ice Level. The point of the level is to run away from him, while shooting with a small pistol (with a Bottomless Magazine), until you deal him enough damage to activate a scripted sequence where he leaves, synonym of your victory. However, if you play with the "Choose your Weapon" bonus option, you can use the "innocent" one-shot Tranquilizer pistol, and it will work better than anything.
    • Both of the fights against Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End are supposed to be Hopeless Boss Fights: The second fight, much like the first, is completely unwinnable under ordinary circumstances — unless you exploit the split second before she starts swinging to activate the two-man takedown used for normal enemies, in which case the brothers Drake grab her by the shoulders and spike her into the ground like a football, knocking her out cold.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Endless Sky it's not only about killing the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, which can simply be done with an ungodly large fleet of warships, but capturing their ships is even harder as it involves actual boarding combat.
    • The strongest ships obtainable this way are the Quarg with their Purposely Overpowered Intrusion Countermeasures preventing you from doing so, but the hardest ship to actually capture is unarguably the Korath World-Ship with the highest crew number in the game, so high that it becomes a Game-Breaker and because of this is not intended to be obtainable in regular play. That didn't stop players from taking their chances at nabbing one, which even in an optimal case scenario and with a min-maxed ship is a nigh-impossible Luck-Based Mission, and even if you succeed you have to get both ships, now severely undercrewed and extremely difficult to pilot, out of the hostile area, which in the current version can't be done without angering important factions. The entire task is so hard that there are entire forum threads dedicated to just it, and so far only a few successful cases have been reported.
    • The Archon was always supposed to be unbeatable, having absurd levels of shielding and armour with very fast regeneration of both, extremely powerful turrets with longer range than anything the player should have, invulnerability to missiles, and a force field that pushes it away from approaching ships, allowing it to use its powerful Antimatter Cannon to snipe the player. On the few occasions where it's hostile, you're supposed to just use a small fast ship to run past it. However, dedicated players have found ways to take it down, primarily revolving around spamming heat damage to disable its systems, until the devs gave up and granted it true invulnerability: it teleports away on defeat, and comes back later, instead of dying.
  • The EV Nova mod Starfleet Adventures starts the Player Character about to take the Kobayashi Maru scenario, which in this game pits the PC in a Constitution-class against a dozen Klingon D-7 battlecruisers. This should have been a Curb-Stomp Battle, but a couple players managed to win despite the odds and break the game. The dev team posted about a possible solution involving starting the PC in Starfleet one rank higher if they succeeded, but never released any more updates.
  • Minecraft: Killing a Warden is an achievement in itself, considering they have as much health as the Ender Dragon and the Wither combined and can kill players wearing full Netherite Armor in only two hits. And yet for the longest time, players weren't really intended to do so — for most of their lifetime in the update snapshots, they flat out had no items for players to kill them for, only dropping a pithy 5 experience orbs. Even now, they only drop a Sculk Catalyst, which can be more commonly found inside chests in the Ancient City.
  • Terraria:
    • The game allows players to kill the neutral/friendly NPC characters in their village under some circumstances. The Clothier drops his red hat when you take him out, and the Guide can be directly killed if you equip the Guide Voodoo Doll and attack him, or if you dunk the Voodoo Doll in the lava in the Netherworld. You HAVE to kill him by the latter method to spawn a certain boss that must be beaten to progress to Hard Mode. The other NPCs can't be harmed by the player directly without the Rotten Eggs from Halloween, but they can be killed by monsters, land mines, traps, or lava.
    • The Dungeon Guardian enemy, meant to protect the Dungeon from earlier access than intended, had 9999 hp, 9999 defense and 9999 damage, aside from being very fast. Yet, many players were able to kill it, using fast shooting weapons (that would deal 1 damage per hit) and reversing gravity in order to be fast enough not to be hit. Thanks to how defense works, and the addition of armor dealing melee damage done to the player back to the attacker, as well as an item allowing a small dodge chance, this was in a few updates relatively easy, until it was patched by decreasing the guardian's attack to 1000. However, another later patch introduced a flying mount with exactly the same movement speed as the Dungeon Guardian, once again trivializing it by letting you just fly away from it across the entire world while peppering the Guardian with bullets or arrows. The developers have since acknowledged the ability to kill the Dungeon Guardian by making it drop a unique pet. Further, killing the Guardian does not allow you to Sequence Break the game: next time you try entering the Dungeon early, another Guardian will spawn in regardless of how many of them you kill.
    • Skeletron Prime has been killed after sunrise, although it's more boring than anything since he only takes Scratch Damage and instakills you if he touches you. He doesn't drop anything special, as opposed to the Dungeon Guardian.

  • Alter Aeon seems to enjoy tormenting players with this: in the starting city, there is an NPC called "The Captain of the Guard". The message for the area explicitly tells the player (paraphrased) "This is the Captain of the Guard. He cannot be killed. No matter how many players you bring, you will not kill him". Naturally, many see this as a challenge.
  • Assassin's Creed II:
    • Killing Da Vinci is possible by having the guards hit him. Poor Leo.
    • An otherwise unkillable character (at least, at that point in the game) is intended to be escaped; throwing him in the water neutralizes him just as easily.
    • Knocking civilians into the water, so long as they're not deliberately thrown in, will kill them without desynchronizing the player.
  • In the original Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars mod, it was possible to kill the Fountain, which not only has a massive 50000 health but also an extremely powerful attack used for deterring spawn-camping, as Crystal Maiden could freeze it with Frostbite and Ursa Warrior's Fury Swipes lets him rack up ridiculous amounts of attack damage from hitting the Fountain. Dota 2 makes the Fountain fully invulnerable to prevent these shenanigans.
  • The Battle Cats:
    • Some stages are designed to make the player lose if they take too long, usually by triggering a Hopeless Boss Fight with a strong Assassin Bear or another enemy. However, some of these are possible to defeat. For example, in Merciless Onslaught, a 4000% Assassin Bear comes out if one of the One Horns dies, but it's possible to freeze it with the Thunderbolt cannon for just long enough to kill it.
    • Enemies that use a Suicide Attack, such as Elder Flame Doron, are designed to be unkillable through normal means — in the case of Doron, it has over 2 million HP, only stays on the field for a short period of time, and its attack weakens cats to 1% damage. However, through use of high-damage units like Lasvoss Reborn and Idi:N2, paired with careful timing of Sniper the Cat to reset its attack animation, it's possible to kill the enemy Doron. Defeating it drops a whopping 8,776 money.
  • Disciples:
    • The series has Capital Guardians - the guys that are roughly twenty to thirty times more powerful than the strongest units the player can get, make actual bosses in the game look like chumps, and are not allowed to leave the faction's capital city under any circumstance. With proper strategy and lots of preparation (and luck), it's possible to take the Capital Guardians on in open combat and win - in the first game beating one is an Instant-Win Condition, scenario objectives be damned, in the second and third you get all the resources and magic spells the enemy has.
    • The second game introduces an official "Capture enemy Capital" as an objective, and usually if the map requires doing it, the guardian is weakened to be beatable through normal means. There is one scenario that requires the player to beat a full power guardian, but in that particular case it comes at the end of the long mission where you practically swim in experience.
    • The guardians actually suffer from Badass Decay as the series goes on. In the first, it was all but numerically impossible to beat a guardian without hitting a 10-round limit (which is in this game only). In the second, the introduction of overleveling, armor-bypassing Damage Over Time effects, and increased unit power in general means taking down a guardian no longer requires as much preparation (though it's still required). In the third, guardians by themselves will no longer suffice against a leveled army, as the game will demonstrate at the end of Undead Hordes campaign by putting the player in the shoes of a Capital Guardian, and having them fight a borderline unwinnable battle against Emperor Ferre.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Players will do their best to kill anything, and have even gone so far as to survive digging too deep by colonizing hell. This is meant to be impossible, as it's called the "endgame" in the source code. Other examples include draining an entire ocean to trap walruses, digging out undiggable stone, and, in a previous version, causing the extinction of demons and using the portal into hell as a garbage chute.
    • Toady's stated design intent to make it possible to annihilate all life on a generated world, ushering in the Age of Emptiness.
    • Most creatures can be killed by crushing them under a drawbridge. Large enough creatures however will instead crush the drawbridge. Still these creatures can be killed using drawbridges - by putting them in a cage first.
    • Whenever a major content update is released that has a new mechanic or even a notable glitch, DF players will do their best to find some way to turn it into a weapon. Prominent examples include a bug with temperature simulation that caused any creature who got wet to be scalded to death when the water evaporated, and the newly-added minecarts being turned into deadly projectiles more often than used for their intended purpose.
  • Cap'n Hector from the Escape Velocity games was an NPC who would remind players to register (pay for) the shareware game. After the 30 day trial period ended, the Cap'n would start warping in to attack your starship every chance she got, usually resulting in a very quick death. However, while Hector was invincible to conventional attack, it was possible to kill or disable her with splash damage in the original game. Similarly, all the developers appear as customized ships in EV Nova that have a small chance of appearing in any system. Two of them are invincible, with no weapon being capable of damaging them. However, the death explosion of ships dealt damage that was not prevented by their invulnerability. For most ships, this damage was minuscule and the explosion was tiny. However, the massive Leviathan freighters exploded across half the screen for high damage and could be used to kill these two NPCs.
  • In the Freespace series, there are some missions you are supposed to fail, and some ships that are supposed to survive and escape to fight another day. Naturally, some players attempt to Sequence Break the game by killing these ships. There is an "Invulnerability" flag for each ship that can be triggered by a mission designer to prevent this, but many mission creators consider using it to be cheap and sloppy. Thus leading to this trope when they try to engineer a situation in which it seems logically impossible to defeat an enemy, yet some player manages it anyway and breaks the mission.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East:
    • One of the missions of Necropolis scenario features a fortified Orc town with a huge army*. This army never leaves the town, and the game specifically warns you that you don't have to and shouldn't attack it. However, it is possible to destroy it, by prudent use of Dark magic (specifically, Berserk and Puppet Master spells).
    • The supposedly unassailable Inferno fort presents in the last mission of Haven campaign. The growth of creatures in this fort greatly exceeds that of player: for example, player can buy 2 Archangels in a week, while in this fort several Archdevils appear EVERYDAY. But this fort can be taken through a loophole in game mechanics: on each creature's week several of the named creatures spawns of the map and through Diplomacy you can take them in your army. While the growth in the fort is astounding, it is arithmetical. On the other hand, the growth of creatures on the map is geometrical (and higher the difficulty, faster the growth), so it is possible to build an army which can take the fort. Unfortunately (or fortunately considering the following events), it is impossible to proceed on the plot once you've done that.
  • Immortal Defense has a boss at the end of the second campaign who's supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight, but players who are just that good have gotten him. The developer didn't think anyone would be able to do it and the game assumes the normal events happened where the boss wins and continues from there. The rest of the game, heavily psychological, goes on to make near-record amounts of no sense.
  • If you make it to the second boss of Inscryption on your first run, the Angler's second phase will spawn eight 4/6 Grizzlies with Mighty Leap. The idea is to force you to die by throwing you against an unstoppable meat grinder, allowing the game to teach you the next set of mechanics on your second run. However, with the right deck setup and the proper items, it's possible, with some planning and a little luck, to get past this wall and defeat the boss, allowing you to reach the Final Boss on your first run.
  • Nothing in Kerbal Space Program is supposed to be destructible, other than your ships and crew, and there isn't much else in the game besides planets. So, naturally, players found physics glitches that allowed them to destroy planets.
  • When the Howling Abyss map was released for League of Legends, it was originally possible to kill the tiny Poros that run around the map by pushing them into the range of the turret on the spawn platform. This was removed in later patches, though.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Bubbles are supposed to be invulnerable, but due to programming limitation are actually set to have 255 hit points before being defeated. If you have enough patience (or leveled up your sword enough) it can be done for a measly 50 experience.note 
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Cuccos and dogs can't be killed with the sword, attacking the former enough causes a whole flock of Cuccos to start swarming Link (as is the norm in Zelda games), and attacking the latter triggers a counterattack. Use the Fire Rod or Magic Powder, however, and not only can you kill them, but an active Cucco swarm will stop. A mild case of Early-Installment Weirdness — this was only the second game in the series to feature Cuccos, and in all later games killing them is completely impossible.
  • MechWarrior Online has Captain Adams, the instructor from the MechWarrior Academy, the game's tutorial mode. He pilots a nominally unkillable Atlas BattleMech. The game has two achievements that each award 100 C-Bills; to unlock these achievements, one must shoot Adams, then get killed by him for shooting him. As the Academy is in-universe a simulation, Adams will kill you instantly if you provoke him enough no matter what 'Mech you are using at the time. This Reddit user managed to kill Adams, however, by shooting his Atlas in the "eye" with two Autocannon/20s. It's not possible to kill him in current versions of the game.
  • The original Metal Gear Solid included a fight with psychic Psycho Mantis, who would dodge all your attacks because he could read your mind. In order to hit him, you were supposed to shut down his mind reading ability by plugging your controller into controller port 2, but there are brief moments where you can make a hit connect even without doing this, letting you (slowly) win the fight with the controller still in port 1. Combining the FAMAS with the Bandanna and just utterly saturating the boss room in a spray of never-ending bullets will wear him down relatively quickly, his mind-reading be damned.
  • In Metroid: Zero Mission, during your steath escape through Chozodia, you'll spot a Power Bomb Tank held by a statue in a spot just above the room you're in. A few seconds later, you get there to find it gone, and a Space Pirate a couple screens up above is absconding with the prize. Sadly, not even tool-assisted speedrunners are capable of catching up with him.
  • In Minecraft, every block in the game is destructible except for bedrock, which forms the indestructible bottom limit of the game world. But just because it's supposed to be indestructible and there's no good reason to want it destroyed (no, you can't build hanging constructions below the bottom of the world - the game makes building there outright impossible, with any placed blocks vanishing instantly), people have figured out how to destroy it, despite the developer's continuing attempts to prevent the exploits. This is most often used to get above the "indestructible" ceiling of the Nether, where you can place blocks; this makes building portal networks and certain types of farms much easier, since it provides a perfectly flat empty space without all that pesky lava.
  • Nothing is ever unbeatable in a Nippon Ichi game. With some clever tactics, decent equipment and/or lots of grinding, anything can be defeated, and doing so may even net you special rewards in the form of rare gear, named characters and special cutscenes or endings. Be aware that defeating some enemies you were supposed to lose to may result in Bad Endings.
  • The deckbuilding Rogue Adventure includes a possible fight against an elite monster with 9999 health, while attack cards start at 2-6 damage, and the player is merely required to Hold the Line for 9 turns against the monster's escalating assault, at which point it automatically dies. However, with sufficient abuse of the Overcharge mechanic and enhancement cards like the Wizard of Nature, it's actually possible to scale up your attack strength and kill the elite before time is up. You don't get anything special for doing this, however.
  • The first duel with Genchiro Ashina in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight, and it is indeed very difficult... but it's not totally unwinnable. With enough skill and/or luck, it is completely possible to defeat Genichiro, and the game acknowledges what you've done; in the subsequent cutscene, Genichiro still defeats Wolf and cuts off his arm, but he only manages it by cheating (a Nightjar throws a shuriken at Wolf, distracting him long enough for Genichiro to strike), and his dialogue changes to a snide comment about Wolf's honor.
  • In Spore Galactic Adventures, you can make buildings indestructible if you want them to function solely as set dressing; in that case, the building's name, life bar and alignment won't show up when you hover your mouse over it.
  • The Starfleet Adventures mod for EV Nova has the Kobayashi Maru scenario as the first thing done by the player. Naturally it's supposed to be an Unwinnable Training Simulation but some players managed to pull a Kirk, to discover that the mod had no idea what to do with it.
  • The 4x/grand strategy game Stellaris has three endgame crises. These are designed to be tough to defeat, but possible, and in fact most players with some experience can beat them on their standard settings. However, some players have taken it to the extreme, causing them to spawn at maximum strength as early into the game as possible, resulting in them spending in excess of a century fighting them but ultimately succeeding. Then there's the End of the Cycle, which is only available to psionic empires. It provides you with enormous benefits for 50 years, the price being at the end of those 50 years your entire empire is destroyed and you take over a single planet, with the only things you inherit being the technologies you researched and your traditions. Every other empire gets a major opinion malus, and the single most powerful "ship" in the entire game appears on top of your old capital. So of course, people have proceeded to come back from this and conquer the galaxy.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows, the Big Bad Gamall can't be harmed by any of your weapons; you're just supposed to sneak past her and put the Plot Devices into their proper places. However, if you create an Oil Slick at the top of some stairs and get her to trip, it's entirely possible that she'll break her neck and remain stuck on the ground, unable to do anything except blink and fruitlessly turn invisible, which makes the stage a cakewalk. Similarly, if you place the Oil Slick on the docks and get her to run over it, there's a chance she'll slip into the water, which renders her just as impotent.
  • Vampire Survivors: The Red Death that shows up to end your run when the timer goes past 30 (or 15 in special stages), can be killed, but it's almost impossible to do so. While there is an "intended" way to do it with the Clock Lancet and the Laurel's evolutions (which are particularly hard to get), abusing terrain and other weapons to kill it or simply outlast it has been done, and it counts just as well; there's several achievements that require making it to the 31st minute, which means somehow enduring Red Death. If you kill it, however, White Hand (the true reaper) will show up after an ominous, chiming intro: He will chase you relative to your position to be unavoidable, he will reach you without even being touchable by your attacks, and instead of doing damage he'll just set your Max HP to zero to instakill you. No way to deal with White Hand has been found, and it's doubtful one will be provided.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Hellsing has this as essentially the reason the entire plot happened. Alucard is the most absurdly powerful and indestructible vampire who has ever existed, so much so that he's working for the good guys by obliterating lesser vampires. So one of the pitifully few enemies who survived the initial encounter decided to pull out all the stops in the hopes of finding a way to truly destroy Alucard for good, including bringing in some others who'd also survived. It still failed.

  • The Sudden Game Interface Peggy Sue fanfic The Adventures Of Harry Potter, the Video Game: Exploited has Harry kill (with a lot of cheating) an early game Killer Rabbit. Judging from the amount of times the boss keeps respawning in more and more powerful forms, there were many earlier invocations of this trope. Harry barely has time to save the game after the battle before everything goes down to apply the patch making Mr. Tribbles definitely invincible now.
  • The entire premise of Left Beyond is that a group of teenagers want to take God Himself out of the picture, so that they can have fun and colonize space, not necessarily in order of importance. The problem, of course, is that God is invulnerable and His prophecies are set in stone. The solution involves zombie raver lesbian cyborgs, teaching Noah how to surf on the Ark's bow wave, and turning the internet into an AI.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Matrix has Agents, entities the Machines use within the Matrix to hunt down runners and rebels. They possess the bodies of normal humans, making them impossible to kill permanently (as they'll just leave the dead body and possess a new one). Even killing them temporarily is all but impossible, as they're very good at dodging bullets. But, at the end of the first movie, when Neo embraces his identity as the cyber-messiah, he actually does kill Agent Smith by directly screwing with Smith's code. In the sequels, Agent Smith actually returns from death — rather than submitting to deletion, Smith transforms himself into a computer virus. By the end of the third movie, he's infected every program and human in the Matrix. This makes Smith both impervious to deletion attempts from Machines outside the Matrix, and able to defeat Neo within the Matrix. Smith is finally killed for good when Smith possesses Neo, which makes him vulnerable to a kill-code the Machines inject via Neo's body.
  • Predator sums it up with one single Badass Boast: "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek II, the Kobayashi Maru scenario (the original trope namer for the Unwinnable Training Simulation) is designed as a Hopeless Boss Fight for cadets, more as a psychiatric evaluation than a tactical scenario. It involves trying to rescue a stranded ship in Klingon space (later in-universe iterations change the "enemy" race as society changes; a similar scenario depicted in Star Trek: Voyager uses Romulans). Captain Kirk relates the story that, as a cadet, he hacked the program to make it winnable, and received a commendation for original thinking in the process rather than being reprimanded.
    • A novel called Star Trek The Kobayashi Maru had Enterprise crew members tell stories of how they dealt with the scenario. Kirk's story revealed that he actually went up against the no-win scenario multiple times in fruitless attempts to beat it. He eventually decided that since the computer was cheating to make the scenarios unbeatable, it was only fair for him to cheat back. So he reprogrammed the scenario to make his opponents recognize him as The Dreaded, allowing him to beat his opponents merely through the reputation he hoped to build in the future. The sheer audacity of the move was what allowed him to get away with it.
    • Scott's method from the same novel was Not the Intended Use: he exploited a simulator mechanic that was based on a theory that worked numerically, but was refuted in Real Life.
    • In the Star Trek (2009) pre-boot, Kirk does the same, but based on his attitude in the changed timeline he gets in trouble for it. In this version, he has the Klingons drop their shields so he can kill them easily, and then acts like a smug jerk about it.
    • The Expanded Universe revealed that now cadets are encouraged to find solutions like these.
    • One of the "New Frontier" novels revealed that Captain Calhoun's solution was more similar to this trope than the others — instead of trying to rescue the Kobiyashi Maru, he blew it up and ran like hell, reasoning that either a) a trap, as it was just too convenient that the Birds of prey just happened to show up when they were essentially three steps into the Neutral Zone, or b) even if they weren't it wasn't possible to rescue them, and he was sparing them from being sent to prison camps.
    • An early episode of Voyager had Tuvok criticize his trainees for this; in his version of the scenario there was literally no reason not to simply retreat, but they tried to fight it out anyway.

  • In Ender's Game, the cadets play a video game as part of their training. In its most notorious scenario, a giant offers the player two cups and the player has to choose the one that doesn't contain poison. The catch is that the game is rigged — no matter which cup the player chooses, it'll end up being the poisoned one. After obsessively playing through the scenario numerous times, Ender opts to gruesomely kill the giant, being the first cadet in Battle School to do so.note 
  • Saintess Summons Skeletons: After finding a way to reliably sneak past a Lesser Stone Dragon in the second filter trial, which is meant to control a Mobile Maze and be far too powerful to fight directly, Sofia nevertheless then spends four months training [Angel's Bolt] so she can kill it. And when even that proves insufficient, she just tries another strategy. And since she's at the level cap, she couldn't even gain XP from it, she just wanted to do it because it was supposed to be impossible.
  • Sword Art Online: In the Aincrad Arc, towns are programmed as safe zones where no violence can take place, but player-killers discover a loophole in the code governing PVP duels that allows them to murder players inside towns in their sleep: the player does not have to manually accept the duel request in order to take Hit Point damage. This is theorized to be the method in an in-game murder case that Kirito and Asuna investigate in volume 8.
  • In the novel You (2013), the Game-Breaking Bug that the plot revolves around sometimes results in supposedly invulnerable characters being killed. Trying to find and squash the bug drives the main character to distraction.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Robot Wars, the House Robots are designed to outclass the competitor robots in every way, being bigger, heavier, and having much more powerful weaponry. Most times that a robot ends up fighting them, it's a Curb-Stomp Battle with the House Robots as the winners. However, a few times in the show's run, some robots have managed to take down or otherwise disable a House Robot, despite being at a massive disadvantage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An old adage in tabletop RPGs, and similar to this trope, is "If you stat it, they will kill it." This is probably a take-off of the Predator quote, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
    • This may be why various RPGs avoid statting certain characters. For instance, Spirit of the Century gives only a few ballpark skills for Dr. Methusala, but only as a last resort. GMs are encouraged to treat him as an event, rather than a character.
    • Similarly, the tongue-in-cheek First Law of Munchkinism: "Any finite number can be reduced to zero."
    • In one of the books, White Wolf has an encounter with Caine, the first vampire in Vampire: The Masquerade. His given stats are two words: "you lose".
  • Arkham Horror: It's possible to win a fight against the Eldritch Abomination the players picked at the start of the game. The exception is Azathoth. While other bosses have unique, nasty attacks, Azathoth's attack description is: "The end is here! Azathoth destroys the world." Furthermore, on the off chance that players could somehow bypass his infinite Damage Reduction and defeat him before he has a chance to attack, he has the additional special ability that the players lose the game when he awakens.
  • Call of Cthulhu
    • Great Cthulhu has a stat block. Good luck. The first of the combat abilities of Cthulhu reads: "Each round 1D3 investigatorsnote  are scooped up in Cthulhu's flabby claws to die hideously". Through Memetic Mutation, or perhaps from an earlier edition, this often gets quoted as "Cthulhu devours 1d6 investigators per round" or the like. Just seeing Cthulhu forces a character to lose 1d100 SAN (sanity) and the maximum SAN is 100, so do the math. If somehow you manage to kill Cthulhu, he just reforms a few minutes later, fully recovered. Nuke him and he comes back radioactive.
    • In fact, almost every Great Old One and Outer God in this game has stat blocks, and almost all of them can take up to 1d20 or 1d100 Sanity just looking at them. The most triumphant example is likely Nyarlathotep - if you kill him while he's masquerading as a human, he simply becomes a horrible monster (causing your poor Investigator to Go Mad from the Revelation in the process) and flies off into space. If you kill him as a monster, that particular form of him dies and he is banished, but it's only a small part of him you actually managed to defeat in the first place, and it will come back to haunt you later...
    • And, of course, this didn't stop an annoyed player from screwing with his GM and managing to kill Hastur via lots of explosives. (This was due to house rules that effectively give the Great Old Ones "summoning sickness" when manifesting, resulting in an extremely short window of time where they can be permanently killed. Since the GM had established this rule previously, he had to abide by it or admit to Railroading the campaign.)
  • Deadlands
    • The crew at Pinnacle would recite the adage about statting things in the first edition of the books. They would refuse to stat certain characters in order to railroad people into sticking with the metaplot. Seems to have been reversed in the Reloaded release, though.
    • The character Stone has no stats for this exact reason. In Deadlands Reloaded, he has stats, and it's possible (though very difficult) for a powerful posse with the right abilities to incapacitate him for long enough to make an escape, but he takes no actual damage from anything other than a gun he fires himself, or the bullets that killed him the first time. Neither of which is going to happen.
  • Deep 7 Games, a small RPG company specializing in quick, "beer and pretzels" role playing (you can roll up characters, learn the setting, and play a story in a single afternoon) gives impossible to beat characters with all stats reading "Yes" and/or flavor text in the description that they'll One-Hit Kill anyone stupid enough to try.
  • The Dresden Files RPG provides stats for many of the series' stronger characters, although they would be tremendously difficult to overcome, and usually come with a note saying that they are "heavyweight class supernaturals". There's two exceptions: Mother Summer and Mother Winter. Their stat blocks read: "Aspects: Mother Summer — and that's all you need to know."
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Original Edition Gods, Demigods & Heroes and the 1st Edition Deities & Demigods Cyclopedia gave the gods stats. This led a lot of players to treat them just like really tough monsters and try to kill them. Later editions generally avoided statting the gods themselves, and if they needed to make a personal appearance, would send an avatar with a fraction of their powers (but still really tough).
    • The 3rd ed book Deities and Demigods contained almost exclusively stats and info on most gods in the game, including the Faerûnian pantheon and the Greek, Norse and Egyptian pantheons. A majority of them are grossly underpowered and badly built, ripe for having player parties kill them and steal their divine powers.
    • The Planescape entity known as the Lady of Pain has no stats for this very reason. As the inscrutable ruler of Sigil who can flay an opponent with her shadow and keeps major gods at bay, she's not supposed to be taken down by a bunch of munchkins. The fans wouldn't have it any other way, to the degree that when the 3rd edition Planar Handbook statted her Character Alignment and nothing else it was met with disapproval.
    • Writers for the Ravenloft setting split the difference with Gwydion, an Eldritch Abomination: they wrote up stats for his tentacles, but never give the heroes a chance to confront his actual, unstatted body.
    • The Tarrasque:
      • It is designed to be the most powerful monster in the world - it's huge, it's strong, it regenerates any damage quickly, and it can't be permanently killed outside of a wish spell when it is at a negative hit point total. However, it can't fly, has no ranged attacks, and possesses no magic, making it easy pickings for any decent mid-to-high level group or monsters like dragons (which are, generally speaking, the most powerful monsters in the game due to their spellcasting abilities, ranged attacks, and ability to fly).
      • The Tarrasque's claimed status as being The Dreaded has led players, combined with the relative ease of victory, to come up with creative ways to fight it. One thread on described how the rules make it entirely possible to have a city capture the Tarrasque and use it as a neverending supply of food, since it'll always regrow what it loses. Then again, since the only comprable thing to it would be SCP-682 mentioned below, which isn't very good eating, one has to question the quality of the food...
      • Each edition of D&D buffs the Tarrasque to defeat the previous edition's cheese strats. By now it is flat out immune to ability drain and damage (which used to permanently incapacitate it) and throws 6 spines from its tail to stop people from cheesing it with ranged attacks. Fourth Edition even gave it a very wide aura effect that inflicted a "ceiling" on anything that tried to fly in its area, preventing them from getting above chomping distance.
    • In contrast, all major characters in Eberron are quite killable, by design. The Lord of Blades, a major character in the setting, is only level 12. Vol, a being worshipped as a deity by thousands, is only level 16 with some templates. Of course, a level 12 3.5 character is still ridiculously strong by any reasonable standard; even the non-spellcasting classes at such levels are far beyond what a real human could achieve. The creators have also suggested that these are just their stats now, and they're still active and growing stronger over the course of any given campaign.
    • Faerûn's major players are also mostly statted out. Though they're generally higher-level than Eberron's, they're not designed very well, being hastily converted from their AD&D stats. Evil adventuring parties tend to treat Faerûn like a big theme park full of low-hanging branches of XP.
    • One of the vestiges the Binder class can augment themselves with is Chupoclops, a lampshade of (and possible posterchild for) this trope. Clearly inspired by the long history of the Postulate in action among D&D players, this particular spirit is the shade of an unkillable creature from beyond space and time destined to be the harbinger of the apocalypse. Until a band of heros broke into the spirit world the gods had trapped it in and killed it. (by unspecified means probably involving multiple rings of three wishes, an epic level wizard/rogue/ranger/cleric/monk half-dragon pixie, and a bowl of lemon custard.) The universe had no clue how to handle this turn of events and so Chupoclop's spirit was sent to the same planar waiting room as the rest of the vestiges and its corpse remains ignored where it died, for all eternity or until someone figures out what to do with it.
    • The Dark Sun module "Valley of Dust and Fire" explicitly brings this trope up. The Dragon of Tyr is utterly beyond any mortal adventuring party's weight class, and killing it would totally wreck the setting. Yet there's a fair chance your party will be crazy/stupid enough to try it, just because the thing has stats. The module notes that while it's entirely up to DM to decide whether to allow the Dragon to die, they're on their own if they do.
    • Gary Gygax himself was actually very reluctant to give stats to Angels expressly because of this trope. He was all too aware of this mentality, and as a devout Christian, the idea of players butchering the literal servants of God for XP probably strayed a little too close to Dude, Not Funny! territory for him. As is, most types of Angel do have stats, but generally speaking, your party is unlikely to be going around killing heavenly spirits unless you’re running a really unusual campaign.
    • The Dungeons and Dragons adventure Tomb of Annihilation included Artus Cimber, a friendly if distant NPC who owns a powerful magical artifact ring, which has him constantly hunted by giants seeking to reclaim it. He isn't evil and doesn't oppose the players. But still, in the Adventurer's League notes for Tomb of Annihilation, Wizards had to add a warning that any PC group who killed Artus and stole the ring would be banned from ongoing League play.
    • DNDBeyond has an Encounter Builder in which DMs can algorithmically compare and contrast game elements — like monsters, NPCs, and items — to get a sense of how balanced it would theoretically be in-game. Tiamat is the most powerful potential enemy in 5th Edition and a minor god, the progenitor of all dragons and a horrifically unstoppable monster that can easily wipe all but the most game-breakingly strong parties. Naturally, these two things combined into a meme about inputting random (and usually ridiculous) objects and creatures into the encounter builder to see how many it thinks it would take to kill Tiamat with a Zerg Rush, such as sending wave after wave of kobolds after her. Note that in the actual game, Tiamat is more than immune to this sort of Munchkin behavior, possessing extremely potent powers like Divine Word or breath weapons that allow her to easily obliterate huge swaths of enemies very fast.
  • Exalted: The Exalted were made to defeat impossible and unkillable threats. As such, even top gods and rulers of all Creation have both stats and notes for GM on how the world will be changed after their deaths.
  • Furry Pirates sticks to mostly historical accuracy, and wisely does not give stats to royalty. However, it does include stats for famous pirates so you can fight them...and a number of civilians. Decided to kill Cotton Mather? You can!
  • GURPS:
    • It is impossible to kill anything with Unkillable 2 or 3. However, even if the GM gives an NPC one of these traits, player can still attempt to do any number of other nasty things to it, like mind controlling it or chopping off its arms, which kind of exemplifies this trope.
    • GURPS Illuminati University provides the ArchDean. She's the one in charge, and the stat block for her, such as it is, says that she has fnord points, and it only gives rough approximations for her known advantages (such as levels of Resources that make intergalactic empires weep in jealousy) and disadvantages (she's known to have some levels of Greed, and she's very protective of cats). The book makes it perfectly clear that she can't be killed, might only be reasoned with if the player is lucky and/or smart, and that attracting her attention (even in a positive fashion) is not a smart idea even if you're a literal god.
    • Discworld Roleplaying Game: There are some stats for Death, but the game notes that these only really apply when he's "acting human", and even then he can be disassembled but not killed. When challenged to a contest, regardless of its form, his skill level is 15 if "narrative logic" requires a meaningful chance of failure, or 20 if it doesn't (although he can choose to lose). The book also notes the speculation in Hogfather that he can be killed with his own scythe or sword, but neither confirms or denies it, simply pointing out that getting the weapons in the first place is far from easy.
  • Iron Kingdoms: Dragons, which are closer to Eldritch Abominations, have such insanely high stats and powers that most parties wouldn't last a turn in a fight. However they still can be defeated (but not killed, only another dragon can kill one off for real.)
  • Middle-Earth Role Playing gives statistics for Sauron in the Necromancer of Dol Guldur supplement. He's immensely powerful at 240th level (for comparison, Nazgul are 20th level in the original book or 40th in the supplements and Gandalf et al are 60th level), but since Middle-Earth Role Playing has open ended rolls and instant-death criticals, even the lowliest hero can get lucky and kill him with a lucky combination of 96-100 attack rolls and a decent critical hit, assuming they could get into combat with him in the first place.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: The most powerful characters are considered to be "PLX", meaning that their power level is as high as they want it to be. Most of them don't even have stats, just a block reading "PLX", with the assumption being that they can do basically anything. Due to lacking combat stats, they can't be defeated except by plot mechanics. However, a few have a statblock where one or more of their power rankings is listed as "X" (meaning, again, it's as high as they want it to be), and these guys can be defeated — though it's still very, very difficult, especially if the "X" is listed under "Variable."
  • New World of Darkness:
    • It's explicitly stated that the Leviathan, ruler of the deepest level of The Underworld, can't be killed or even stopped in any meaningful sense — the stats provided are solely for escaping it, or hurting (more like "annoying") it enough to drive it away temporarily.
    • Spirits or similar entities of Rank 6 or higher have no stats at all and are so much more powerful than playable characters that it is essentially impossible to harm them. Zig-zagged with the Imperial Mysteries sourcebook, which does provide guidelines for statting out entities of cosmic power.
    • Promethean: The Created notes that there is no significant way that any creature of this world can hope to damage an Arch-Qashmal. If it can even be bothered to retaliate, it can wipe out the players with a thought. The book that says this does, however, add that intrepid players can destroy it indirectly; all qashmallim are created to fulfill a specific goal, so if they can render its goal impossible, the Arch-Qashmal will cease to exist.
    • The God-Machine from Demon: The Descent is not a single entity and more of an exosystem. You can defeat pieces of it, and make it concede, but you can't even see it, let alone fight it directly. And if it thinks you actually have a chance against it... oy.
  • The One Ring doesn't include game stats for some entities from Tolkien's Legendarium that adventuring heroes cannot or should not fight. Notably, Gandalf has no stats despite appearing often as a player Patron, and nor do Sauron or the slumbering Balrog known as Durin's Bane. Smaug the Golden also doesn't have stats, as most campaigns are set after his death in The Hobbit.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Tarrasque is meant to be unkillable, period, even with wishes and instant death spells. It will always regen the damage eventually. Of course, making it someone else's problem is not out of the question. Even then, it's still killable. Its immortality is listed as an ability in its stat block, so with the right spellnote , it's entirely possible to remove it, rendering the beast mortal. That's more a bug than a feature, but by the rules as written it does work.
    • This trope is the dividing line between demigods and true deities — demigods (like Demon Lords and Archdevils) have stats and can be killed by sufficiently powerful characters, while true deities have no stats and are basically untouchable to the players. Where the trope really comes into play is with the Great Old Ones (like Cthulhu). They're treated as demigods, and thus have stats and can be killed. However, in the spirit of their source material, this death is supposed to be temporary — they all have varying abilities that allow them to eventually return. Unfortunately, as with Tarrasque above, this immortality is an ability in their stat block, meaning the same ability-removing effects can render them permanently dead, ultimately confirming the Postulate.
  • Pendragon: Pendragon's combat system works on a basic d20 to hit. You have a skill, roll under it and you hit and between you and your opponent, the highest hit wins. Roll your skill exactly and you critical; A critical is better than a hit so it's possible to defeat someone of higher skill in a pass of arms with a critical even if their skill is higher and they roll a higher hit. When your skill reaches 21 you critical on both 20 and 1; 22 is 20, 1, and 2. Lancelot has a 40 skill with all weapons; he always hits and he always crits. Yet it is possible to beat him in a pass at arms and even in an entire fight (as happens once in the entire Morte d'Arthur). If you always crit higher than Lancelot's crit, you can damage him through his usually-amazing armor, his usually-present protection from God, and his slightly-superhuman hit points until he falls. Galahad is another story. Under Galahad, it reads, "Galahad wins."
  • Rifts being Rifts, when it added "Pantheons of the Megaverse", the first thing many players tried to do was take on Odin, Ra, Marduk, or whoever was handy. But the book also described beings far more powerful with lines as succinct as "tick them off and it's time to roll up new characters." No stats or names were provided, but presumably the writers were referring to capital-G God and distinguishing Him from those wannabes on Olympus. (It also suggested that Game Masters didn't include Him in the campaign, since constant divine intervention makes the game kind of boring.) Full character stats for such in-universe celebrities as Erin Tarn and Emperor Prosek are presumably included in the game just so players can take a stab at offing them; named characters without stats are actually a minority.
  • 7th Sea has one of its most infamous villains, Captain Reis, on the cover. He has stats. He's also nearly impossible to hit... with a sword. However, he doesn't wear armor and you can't block bullets. Shoot him and throw in all your drama dice and you can put a hole in his skull. Except anyone who picks up his scythe and uses it gradually turns into Reis, his legend too powerful to be killed by mere death.
  • Shadowrun
    • The module Harlequin refuses to stat the titular elf, and explicitly calls this out as the reason. (Great Dragons, meanwhile, avoid the Postulate not by not having stats, but by having a mechanic in their stats that allows them to say The Battle Didn't Count, to appear dead but actually survive, and then destroy the PC party via manipulation from a place of complete safety.)
    • Harlequin finally got statted in Steet Legends, which is full of stats of famous Runners. If you though Harlequin was tough, Gwynpaine is much worse. And unless you perform massive overkill, Harlequin will appear later and state he had a nap and may let you off seeing how you amused him.
    • One of the developers used to recount an incident when a fan described how his party had set off a briefcase nuke the moment they met Harlequin, thereby sacrificing themselves to kill the unkillable. Their GM had let it work because "there was no way even Harlequin would be walking around with a custom anti-nuke protection spell." The developer responded that he would have ruled that knowing humanity the way he did and being the kind of guy he was, Harlequin would have dropped everything to create an anti-nuke protection spell about 10 min after the first test in 1945 and would not have let it lapse since then.
    • As of the fifth edition, all dragons now have Edge and great dragons no longer have stats in the rulebook. There are guidelines for making them, however, but given how fierce a regular dragon is, the concept of fighting one, let alone getting away with it, is a pipe dream for most runners.
  • Star Wars: Roleplaying Game: The game attempts to get around this by stating that, except in exceptional circumstances, the rules for any confrontation between Darth Vader and a PC are simply "You Lose". The movie duel between Skywalker and Vader, for instance, counting as having exceptional circumstances because Vader was deliberately not fighting at maximum strength.
  • Unknown Armies: It's stated that it's impossible to effectively fight or even oppose an Ascended Archetype unless you have another one on your side. However, the most powerful Archetype of all, the Comte De Saint-Germain, does have stats — in three versions. In one of these he's ridiculously powerful, but in another he's a baffled regular guy and could be potentially killed. Of course, since his role as Archetype of Karmic Reincarnation is to install the rules of Ascension in every newly created universe, killing him could have very complicated consequences.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The third edition of the book made sure to give all vampires of third generation and below at least one Plot Device power to keep the players from just killing them willy nilly. Which is amusingly inverted in the Time of Judgement, which has a couple of scenarios that go out of their way to give players ways to kill (or help kill) 3rd generation vampires (and Caine!) willy nilly. That said, the official stats for Caine are three words: "You fucking lose."
  • Warhammer 40,000: In older editions, Celestine the living saint had an ability which means that she can never be killed — rather, if you do, she would get back up. Players found multiple ways to kill her permanently using specific rules phrasing. In 7th edition, Celestine can be revived only once per game. note 

  • Homestuck:
    • The leader of criminal gang the Felt is named Lord English, after a particular spin put on a cue ball in pool. Creator Andrew Hussie hadn't even heard about Lord British until later but, when he was informed about similarity between the names, decided to make the Lord British Postulate apply to Lord English, mentioning in a character's narration that he can only be killed by exploiting "numerous bugs and glitches in spacetime." This particular Retcon surprisingly fits very well within the Time Travel-related powers that the rest of The Felt possess.
    • Eridan's NPCs in the Land of Wrath and Angels were supposed to be unkillable, but Eridan believes they were enemies — despite, as Karkat observes, the fact that they don't drop loot like actual enemies — and somehow manages to kill them all through sheer determination. Sheer determination and about a minute apiece of sustained fire from Ahab's Crosshairs. Unfortunately, after too much of this, they become hostile and actually begin attacking him; how he manages to fight off and eventually kill the entire species is a mystery not explored by the comic.
    • This is Vriska's attitude towards Bec Noir the Omnicidal Maniac created when Becquerel prototyped himself, inadvertently giving the Kids version of Jack Noir (who had already gone insane) a massive power boost. Specifically she wants to be the one to personally kill him (despite how ungodly powerful he is) to "win" the game. Naturally it turns out that she massively underestimated his abilities and Terezi is forced to kill Vriska to keep her from leading Bec Noir to their hiding spot (which, in an alternate timeline, caused the deaths of all the trolls).
    • Denizens, powerful and unique monsters that are central to each Sburb player's in-game story, can be interacted with in a number of ways and are coded to attempt to bargain with their associated heroes and offer them complex moral choices, which will play a large role in their personal development and their quests. The trolls, however, simply saw their Denizens as huge monstrous enemies, assumed that they were there to be killed and slew them all.
      GG: well maybe if you werent in such a grumpy hurry all the time you wouldnt have killed your denizen so quickly
      GG: you might have actually learned something!!!!!!
  • Kid Radd is a Deconstruction Crossover of video game tropes, so this comes up a few times:
    • The final boss of the game Mofo was supposed to be only vulnerable to a special ability none of the characters had. It turns out that he just has a lot of hit points and regenerates them each turn, which allows the team to defeat him. In an in-universe nod to the Postulate, this unlocks a tongue-in-cheek ending to the game where they are chided for "cheating".
    • Said game was a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of EarthBound (1994), and as discussed above, Giygas has similar protection.

    Web Original 
  • Discussed several times in Counter Monkey by Spoony, who has also described the Trope Namer in his Ultima Retrospective videos.
    • In "All Jedi or No Jedi", he mentions having put a cameo of Darth Vader into a Star Wars roleplaying campaign just to add a bit of flavour, only for it to instantly derail as his players become obsessed with trying to kill Vader. Spoony refuses to let them and tries to nudge them into realizing it without stating it, but they still pursue Vader and end up being killed when he escapes and they're surrounded by enemies. Spoony says this taught him a valuable lesson about never including canon characters in roleplays of existing franchises like Star Wars, because the GM's players are going to go after them every time.
    • In "Because He's There" and "If You Stat It, They Will Kill It" he criticizes the use of the D20 system for games involving entities like Cthulhu, because if the designers give something stats, inevitably the party will try to kill them. Even though they are such strong stats that it is almost impossible to actually defeat Cthulhu, and knowing he will just regenerate even if they somehow do, players will still always try because of this trope.
    • "Thou Shalt Not Fuck with the Lady of Pain" details a Planescape campaign where a player tried to pull a fast one on the Lady by using a mis-remembered racial ability of the Minotaur to easily escape her Maze spell. Spoony's response: make the "maze" a 100 million mile-long hallway that'll take a million years to escape, even with that ability.
    • Spoony spoofed this with the original Lord British himself, Richard Gariott! As his "Avatar" self, he tries to attack Lord British, who doesn't even notice he's being attacked.
    • In the "Thieves World" story, his players accidentally made enemies with an immortal champion of the setting's god of war who was supposed to be their benefactor. They have to spend the rest of the campaign hiding from him until they find a way to get rid of him as he is simply too powerful for them to have any hope of beating him. They ultimately succeed in killing him with the help of the man's also extremely powerful sister. He eventually will come back, but probably not until they are dead of old age. (Spoony also admitted he somewhat fudged this fight and it probably wouldn't have worked as written in the stats, but they'd worked so hard for it by this point that his GM fiat allowed it.)
  • NationStates is a political simulator played largely by answering political issues. That it has a combat system at all is an example of this trope.
  • Boone Quest featured an odd inversion. The character of Nel Torokvei was created to be a Sacrificial Lamb who was infected with a deadly parasite and would have to suffer either a Mercy Kill or a Heroic Sacrifice early on. She was chronically depressed and nigh-useless and most interactions with her involved her on the verge of breakdown. However, the playerbase found a chamber meant to heal badly-injured party members, and decided to use it on her instead. She ended up being cured, and surviving to the end.
  • In the same vein as Boone Quest above, Ruby Quest has Stitches and Jay. The players were able to avoid killing Stitches when he attacked them because they'd earlier bashed their way into a medicine cabinet (which they were only supposed to get the key for after killing Stitches) that contained tranquilizer. Jay was supposed to suffer a Mercy Kill, but the players asked to free him, and Weaver couldn't think of any reason not to. This saves Tom later on, as Stitches makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save him from having to fight Ace to give Ruby and Jay the opportunity to get out.
  • One of the oldest canons of the SCP Foundation is the long-running and often-disastrous attempt to kill SCP-682, an immortal hostile entity. These attempts have extended to the use of some of the most dangerous SCPs in containment. So far, only few stories manage to kill it. Notable are one that has 173 (the original SCP) multiply, another is drunk driving. Additionally, their guidelines on how to kill Physical God Reality Warpers involves a bit of this. They might be able to erase you from existence itself with a thought, but they're still limited by human intelligence - the trick is to come up with ways of killing them that they won't see coming, mostly involving sniping them through the head from over a mile away.

    Western Animation 
  • Gargoyles: The inciting incident for the series comes when the gargoyles of Castle Wyvern — dreaded by warriors all throughout Scotland and seen as basically invincible demons — fight off a Viking attack like usual… but during this particular battle, the Viking leader Hakon sees Goliath's hand bleed after the latter catches the former's blade with it. This causes Hakon to infer, correctly, that while the gargoyles are extremely powerful and durable, they are also just as mortal as any human and thus can be killed. He becomes obsessed with doing just that in order to claim the Castle's riches for his own, and manages to succeed… by cheating suitably enough (specifically by convincing the Castle's disillusioned second-in-commands — human and gargoyle alike — to backstab their allies and open the way for a daytime assault, during which Hakon has his men smash all the gargoyles while their in stone-sleep).

Alternative Title(s): The Lord British Postulate, Have Stats Will Murder, If It Has Stats You Can Kill It