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Obvious Rule Patch

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"That said, you can't create a focus item that helps you create other focus items. It's... uh, it's a magic thing. Just doesn't work."

When game designers block Loophole Abuse by corking the loophole with a new rule, instead of eliminating or changing one of the rules that leads to the loophole.

Games, of various types, are about rules. They may have intricate backstories, multi-layered plots and other such. But in the end, they're about rules. Rules define what are legal moves and what aren't (even Calvinball, which just doesn't have the same rules all the time). Rules create fun.

Sometimes, rules can interact in ways that developers didn't intend, allowing players to play the game in ways the designers did not intend. This is called "Emergent Gameplay" and is typically considered a good thing. But at other times, it leads to Gameplay Derailment in the bad sense.

The obvious answer is to change the original rules, but this isn't always possible. Say your game is two weeks from shipping. One of your testers has just come to you with a horrifically game-breaking scenario, a way for a player to game the rules so that their powers spiral out of control and Curb-Stomp Battle everything in their path. And the rule interaction is very complicated; you can't just tweak a few things to bring this back into balance. In order to truly fix the problem, you would need to rebuild a number of rules, test those rules and so forth... and miss your ship deadline. What do you do?

Or maybe your game is out there already. Thousands, maybe millions of people are playing and enjoying it. Then some Power Gamer figures out how to game the system and auto-win with some horrific combination of moves. You certainly can't "uncreate" the game once it's out there, nor can you radically modify the rules so that particular combo doesn't work, because that would fundamentally change the game and honk off millions of customers.

Or maybe the game breaking interaction is based on the interaction of such fundamental rules to your system that they cannot be changed without making the game unrecognizable to what game you intended to make. What do you do?

Make an Obvious Rule Patch. That is, create a completely arbitrary rule that forcibly prevents the particular interaction from happening, while having as little effect on other rules as possible. Doesn't matter if it sticks out like a sore thumb even to someone who hasn't played the previous version.

Note that issuing an Obvious Rule Patch for a competitive multiplayer game too soon can damage the evolving Metagame, which can often bring potential Game Breakers back into balance. And just so we're clear, "Obvious Rule Patch" refers to the rule that obviously exists solely to patch up something rather than the something that "obviously" needs a rule patch. "Rule" here is a simple adjective - the Patch is the focus, and the Obviousness is what makes it this trope. For the obviously needed patches, see There Should Be a Law. Sort of.

This sometimes is a result of Executive Meddling - showing once more that despite the negative press it gets, the trope is not always a bad thing.

Compare Arbitrary Mission Restriction. Compare and contrast Nerf, a decision that waters down a too powerful element in the game instead of forbidding its use or access to it. Also compare Highly Specific Counterplay, when the developers introduce specific counterplay to the element instead of banning it. May, if the situation is enough of a corner case, result in That One Rule. May also be used to avert Misapplied Phlebotinum by expressly banning certain applications. This is the eternal nemesis of the Rules Lawyer. Overlaps with Moving the Goalposts when done poorly or unfairly.

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Other examples:

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  • Almost as soon as pinball was invented, players shook, jostled, and even lifted the machines to score more points. Hence, the now-famous tilt mechanism was invented to penalize players who were too rough on the machines. Pinball machines nowadays weigh up to a quarter of a ton, so a grade above that, a "slam" or "slam tilt," was created later to more severely punish a player who plays so vigorously that it could harm the machine or bystanders (including the player). On most machines, a slam tilt is triggered by hitting the front of the machine or coin box area too hard, or lifting the machine off the ground (on purpose or otherwise). Creature from the Black Lagoon is the only known pinball table with a unique line for causing a slam tilt.
  • The bang back is a technique to prevent outlane drains by holding one flipper up and banging on the underside of the machine. Doing it right causes the ball to pass back up through the gap created by the raised flippers, allowing the player to continue the game. On older machines a mild push would do this, but modern machines are much heavier, which could lead players to perform full blown body-checks on the machines, possibly lifting them right off the floor or crashing the backbox into the wall behind the machine in the process (see "slam tilt" above). Manufacturers responded by installing metal brackets under the flippers, but this only encouraged people to thump harder in the hope the ball would jump the brackets. Some operators went further and installed nails at the bottom of the machine to give anyone who tried this a nasty and bloody surprise, although safety regulations now prevent this. This technique is one of the few that will immediately disqualify a player in all major tournaments (the other one being a "death save", which is a very similar but slightly different move). Oddly, pinball simulators often actively support and encourage bang backs, presumably because there is no per-game cost and no risk of injury or damage.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean (Stern), the pirate ship and Kraken on the playfield are surrounded by two large transparent plastic shields (dubbed "sneeze guards" by some players) to prevent airborne pinballs from landing in the mechanisms.
  • In KISS (Stern), the ball rolling out of Gene Simmons's head is designed to drop out in a random direction, with some horizontal spin. There were so many complaints when the game first came out about the ball taking an unpredictably curved path into a drain that the game was patched to return the ball to the plunger with no consequences if the ball drains in the next three seconds after coming out of Gene's mouth.
  • In The Avengers (Stern), the Black Widow ramp makes a steep incline, then a sharp 90-degree turn to the left at the start. Getting the pinball through this turn was soon discovered to be an amazingly difficult task, as the ball was far more likely to bounce back down instead of making the turn. In 2016, Stern distributed a patch that made it such that simply triggering the switch at the beginning of the ramp counts as making the full ramp.
  • People playing Star Trek (Stern) were letting the timer run out in the timed modes, due to how the game counts a timed mode as being complete when time runs out, even if the player does absolutely nothing the entire time. A patch in 2014 made two changes to discourage stopping and waiting: First, the timer would freeze if there has been no attempt to score for five seconds, then unfreeze when the ball gets moving again; and secondly, the game now has a medal system, where bronze, silver, and gold medals are given out with the player's third, sixth, and ninth successful shot for each mode, with a large point award given out for each medal after the ball drains. Additionally, any medals earned will have significant scoring implications for the game's wizard modes, encouraging players to actually attempt to play the modes out to reap their dividends later.
  • The original code of Ghostbusters allowed ghosts to be collected during Mass Hysteria multiball, which is awarded at 100 ghosts. Also, some machines shipped with a defect that made accumulating ghosts relatively easy. Mass Hysteria could then be restarted within itself, as well as Loopin' Supers and PKE Frenzy, which are huge scoring modes themselves. This lead to having minutes' worth of multiball ballsavers, and scores that could easily exceed 10 billion. The very next patch simply decided to stop allowing ghost progression during Mass Hysteria.
  • Tournaments sanctioned by IFPA (International Flipper Pinball Association) have point values given to the top finishers, with the people with the most given invitations to the World Championships. Initially, each event provided a fixed point value for the winner, the runner-up, and so forth, with anyone getting sanctioning as long as they had machines to play them on and the organizers filled out the paperwork. But there were some places, most notably in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, where pinball can be found in multitudes of public locations, some of which hold weekly and even semi-weekly tournaments, all of them IFPA-sanctioned. This meant someone could enter dozens upon dozens of tournaments through the year and get an invitation even though they might only be the best players at the local level. Through 2014 and 2015, there was a big overhaul of the IFPA points system, one of which was that points would be given out directly proportionally to the number of players in the tournament. This meant someone could be the best in their neighborhood, but they had to seek out a major event, like INDISC or MAGfest, where the world's greatest players would be, and go toe-to-toe with them to get the big points.
    • After the IFPA resumed its ranking system in 2021 due to COVID restrictions opening up, another phenomenon started sprouting up: "WPPR Farms". These events took advantage of the fact that a simple tournament format with a large participant count (including many top players) still results in a lot of ranking points, and large events have sprouted up combining multiple tournaments over a weekend, often two or three a day. A player who has a decent weekend at a "WPPR Farm" over multiple events can make some serious moves in the world rankings, but it's also largely gated by availability and means to travel to said WPPR Farm to begin with.
  • All machines made in the past 50 years have the "three-switch rule": If your ball drains before hitting the third switch, the machine will spit out another ball and pretend the previous one didn't happen. Over time, some players have discovered that these first two switches can be used to progress towards modes, point awards, and multiballs on certain machines, and by letting the ball drain, they can keep doing this until they get what they want. In response, manufacturers, starting in The New '10s, have released software patches that add exceptions to the three-switch rule if it can be exploited to play risk-free like that.
  • In Star Wars (Stern), the end-of-ball bonus includes all modes that the player has completed — but it also counts modes that the player automatically gets credit for at the start of the game (which differ by character). This caused end-of-ball bonuses to be disproportionately huge, especially if the player had a poor ball otherwise. It wasn't uncommon for a poor (~10 million) point ball to be rewarded with a bonus of nearly 100 million. A later update stopped counting these "freebie" modes, making bonuses more reasonable.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2017), the Hadron Enforcer originally was able to collect various important jackpots (such as the Wizard Mode’s Super Jackpot, or the hurry-up that both starts Orb Multiball and determines how much every subsequent jackpot is worth). Version 0.95 removed both of these.
  • Early versions of Stranger Things' code required the player to finish battles against the Demogorgon by shooting the ball into the corresponding toy's mouth. After it became clear that this was far more difficult than intended (the initial reveal stream made this shot appear far easier than it usually was), it was changed so that the Demogorgon had a health bar that decreased if the ball hit any part of it, with the mouth shot becoming a Difficult, but Awesome method of doing so that was quicker and more valuable.

    Reality Television 
  • The Amazing Race:
    • Limits on how many Roadblocks a racer could perform were instituted after Season 5, after the three women who made the Final 3 that year performed a total of three Roadblocks combined.
    • In Season 1, teams were only allowed to buy one set of plane tickets, and weren't allowed to switch, even if they found a faster flight or their original flight was delayed. This was changed on the very next season, and multiple flight bookings has become an important part of the Metagame ever since.
    • The first two seasons had no rules in place for when a team's car broke down. These were instigated in Season 3 after several time credits were issued in Season 2 (including one that saved Blake and Paige from an elimination, which they received after Paige threatened to sue).
    • After Season 3, it became standard on selling tasks, where teams had to reach a certain amount of money made, for each individual item to have a minimum amount it could be sold for. This was after Ken & Gerard completed such a task by selling massive amounts of fruit for what would average out to be very low prices, and repeatedly going back to the stall to get more to sell.
    • After All-Stars, where two teams horribly exploited the ability to take locals along on the leg with you to help with navigation and other tasks, bringing locals along in your vehicle was made against the rules.
    • In Seasons 7-9, the penalty for finishing last was surrendering all funds and posessions but the "clothes on your back". After three seasons where last place teams arriving at pit stops after stopping to put on as many layers of their clothing as physically possible, non-elimination penalties were switched to a delay-oriented penalties: 30 minute delay ("Marked for Elimination"), extra task ("speed bump"), or delayed departure.
    • Up through Season 15, the penalty for not completing either side of the Detour was 24 hours (which pretty much ensured elimination). But when Maria and Tiffany were physically unable to complete either end of the detour, it was shortened to 6 hours in Season 16.
    • After Nat & Kat on Season 17 took detailed notes throughout the race in anticipation of the Final Exam Finale, it became against the rules to consult your notes during the Final Exam Finale tasks. (There is no rule against taking notes)
    • Other minor changes were made to keep teams from taking advantage of loopholes, such as buying cellphones from locals (which Rob & Brennan did in Season 1) or switching their damaged car for another team's car at the Pit Stop (Dustin & Kandice in Season 10).
    • In early seasons, teams left pit stops 12 hours later than they arrived (sometimes 36 or 60, but made to appear as 12). This lead to many scenes of teams starting legs in the middle of the night and camping out in front of a task site waiting for it to open. Producers quietly switched to making pit stops what ever length of time would send most teams out when convenient to production needs. In the post-covid charter flight episodes, it was collapsed further to simply releasing teams in groups at 15 minute intervals, based on check-in order.

  • Survivor:
    • The hidden immunity idol mechanics were changed. First making it so that you could play it after the vote. Then, putting the limitation that you couldn't use it beyond the final six because it more or less gave Yul a free ride to the final three, since everyone was afraid to cast a vote against him for fear of the idol being played. Then, changing how the clues were hidden due to Russell's obsessive idol hunting. (Except they appeared to have forgotten it in Redemption Island and later; or later players were just that good to have found them in the first couple episodes.)
    • After "Purple" Kelly and NaOnka quit in Nicaragua, the rules were amended so that quitters can be banned from sitting on the jury if production felt it was appropriate. And typically, you can guess that unless you're trying to pull a Thanatos Gambit or are having a severe physical or mental breakdown, that'll probably be...never.
    • Reducing the eligible age to 18. (Although this hasn't really affected gameplay; several contestants have been below 21 in the game since China.)
    • Not using the "purple rock" tiebreaker (where, in the event of unresolved tie, elimination is by random chance with everyone but those voted for at risk and those with immunity) in the final four, because the one time it was used in Marquesas, Paschal was eliminated without having a single vote cast for him in the entire game.
    • Tiebreakers in general; although the spectre of drawing rocks (Blood vs. Water confirmed that they do still use it outside the final four) causing people to betray their alliances to avoid it. You'll notice that for some reason, people are quite afraid of forcing a tie outside of the final four that can't be solved by a simple re-vote (such as John changing his vote for Laura in Samoa, Russell being voted out first from his tribe in Redemption Island, and Cochran turning on his tribe in South Pacific).
    • Supposedly, someone smuggled something into the game in their luxury item (or used their luxury item in a rather creative way) to have fire.
    • In Season 2, Australia, contestants could bring a personal item. Colby brought a Texas flag that doubled as a tarp... It, along with all the other shelter items, got snatched mid-season.
    • The Final Two became the Final Three. While not all fans like this, Probst says that this was so people would have to face a competitor and not just drag The Load into the finals. Chances are, everyone's thoughts towards Courtney in Exile Island (intending to bring her to the finals because everyone hated her) made the producers think. In addition, Aras's serious injury on the final day of the season brought up the possibility of a finalist being evacuated and unable to appear at the Final Tribal Council, which in the final 2 would likely result in an automatic victory for the other finalist. Probst has pointed out there have been plenty of seasons where everyone complained the final two was a wash anyways, one of them conveniently being Exile Island. This didn't stop Earl from claiming the first unanimous victory against two disliked players in Fiji and Boston Rob from pulling the two dumbest and laziest players to the finals in Redemption Island, but most other seasons have had closer votes in the final three.
    • Episode 12 of Ghost Island technically has Wendell finishing his puzzle first in the immunity challenge. The problem is that he did not have the sense to call Jeff Probst over to check his slide puzzle, allowing Laurel to finish next, who did call him over. As a result, Jeff Probst was unable to notice that Wendell end up finishing his puzzle first, and he declared Laurel to be the winner. While Wendell ultimately decided to accept him losing, a new rule would end up being added that contestants have to call Jeff Probst over when they finish a puzzle.
    • Ever since the show began, there has been a rule prohibiting one player from sitting out in back to back challenges (meaning one person could not sit out in a reward challenge and an immunity challenge in the same episode) with a reset occurring after Tribal Council. But as the series phased out single reward challenges and only had one challenge per episode, some players took advantage of this loop hole and sat out in multiple challenges in back to back episodes (one of the more egregious examples being four time player Sandra in her later appearances). But after Claire from Survivor 44 sat out in the first three immunity challenges, Jeff put a stop to that come the following season and announced that nobody was allowed to sit out in back to back challenges after Tribal Council, meaning that everyone had to compete in a challenge no matter what.
  • In the American Big Brother:
    • During Seasons 2 and 3, after houseguests were evicted they would be released back into the real world and were able to watch the show. In addition, every evicted houseguest would return for the finale and cast a vote for who they wanted to win. However, this changed after season 3 and its Final 2 of Danielle and Lisa. Danielle was well-liked, widely regarded as the better game-player of the two, and by all accounts would have won the series. The only issue was, Danielle had said horrible things about her fellow houseguests in the Diary Room, and these comments were shown on the show several times. The evicted houseguests were angry at what Danielle had said about them, and come finale night voted 9-1 for Lisa to win. Ever since, the 7 houseguests evicted before final 2 have been sequestered after their evictions and form a "jury" that votes on the winner.
    • Starting with Season 15, the jury size was changed from 7 people to 9 people, to accommodate the increasing cast sizes.
    • The Power of Veto was made into the Golden Power of Veto note  permanently after Season 3.
    • In season 5, the houseguests realized that you had to pick the veto players yourself so you had full control over the players in the competition. So in order to get rid of Jase, the houseguests made up a plan and nominated two people who would have used the veto on themselves, or their other alliance members who'd have used the veto anyways. They then proceeded to pick players for the veto who would use the veto on their friends or were in on the plan and would use it anyways and evicted Jase without even letting him have a chance. The rule change was that Houseguests actually had to draw names out of a bag and only if they picked a "Houseguest's Choice" Token could they choose themselves. This has been changed again as of Season 15. Houseguests now pick players out of a box instead of a bag, presumably after Frank was accused of intentionally dropping the bag of chips & palming the "Houseguest's Choice" Token in Season 14.
    • This happened with Season 15's big twist. The idea of the twist was that each week, the public could vote for one person in the house to become the "MVP" for the week and have the special power to nominate a third person for eviction. In theory, this was a great idea that would lend itself to drama, the only problem was that one of the houseguests was the sister of a former fan favorite. After the sister was voted to have the MVP title 3 weeks in a row, and the twist was changed so that the audience was now the MVP and they would choose the third nominee. This led to an amusing situation during Week 4 where the sister was nominated by the public because fans didn't realize the rules had changed, and kept voting for her.
    • By the time Season 18 rolled around, the producers seemed to have learned their lesson. This season had a similar twist where each week the audience could vote to give one person an advantage. However, once one person had been given an advantage they were no longer eligible to be voted for, presumably to prevent a fan favorite from being rewarded week after week.
    • A very subtle example, but notice that the houseguests are cutting with plastic knives. This was because of a Season 2 incident in which Justin held a knife to another houseguest's throat and said "Would you mind if I killed you?" This, naturally, resulting in a Non-Gameplay Elimination, as producers ordered Justin to go to the Diary Room and removed him from the house, the first of four times that would happen.
    • If someone is expelled or leaves when evicted players go to the jury, their vote at the end is given to the viewers and is used as a tiebreaker.
  • The Canadian edition of Big Brother has had a few as well. Most notably, the change that the Head of Household (initially) does not compete in the Power of Veto.
  • In Top Shot, if one team has more contestants than the other team due to eliminations, the weaker team can choose who to bench from the stronger team. This inevitably leads to the stronger team's perceived best shooter being benched. There's a rule that the same shooter cannot be benched twice in a row specifically to avoid making a strong shooter sit out most of the series.
    • In one season, one team was losing so badly, they had to alter the rules to ensure the game was still equitable, because one team outnumbered the other 2:1 before the green team revamp was scheduled.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race:
    • For the first 3 seasons of the show, Ru would pick the winner from the season's Top 2 queens. During Season 3, however, Perez Hilton learned who the winner was ahead of time and leaked it on his website, something Ru was not happy about. This led to the tradition of Ru selecting a winner from the Top 3 rather than the Top 2, and filming all 3 queens being crowned so that only Ru and a select few editors knew the true winner before the airing of the finale.
    • Seasons 5 and 6 had Coco Montrese and Trinity K Bonet, respectively, both queens whose main strength was their lip syncing ability. Problem is, the only time a queen is required to lip sync on the show is when they're in the bottom 2. Because of this, the two struggled on the show, rarely placed high in a challenge (combined, they only had one challenge win), but ended up going far in the competition simply because nobody could beat them in a lip sync. Starting with Season 7, every season has had one challenge involving a group lip sync performance simply to give similar "lip sync assassins" a chance to prove themselves on the show.
    • Starting with Season 6, immunity from the following week's elimination is no longer given out as a reward for winning a challenge. This was after several instances in Season 5 where a queen would have likely been up for elimination if they weren't immune.
    • Season 9 had a finale patch. After several subpar lip sync performances throughout the season (Charlie standing in place, Nina giving up, Valentina and the mask), Ru announced that rather than the regular finale, where Ru picks a winner from the remaining Top 3 queens based on their performance throughout the season, there would be a Top 4 going into finale night, where the winner would be decided through a bracket-style lip sync tournament. An effective, if extreme message on the importance of lip syncing in the show.
    • On All Stars 3, Bebe notoriously refused to reveal who she had chosen to eliminate, "out of respect" for the just-eliminated contestant. Trixie revealed on social media later that the queen who didn't win the lip sync was still required by the producers to show who they chose to eliminate. Presumably this change carried over to All Stars 4 as well.
  • In Season 1 of Hell's Kitchen, the best performer of the losing team would nominate two chefs for elimination and Ramsay would eliminate one of them. However, when Michael was chosen to select the nominees, he nominated his two strongest competitors and Ramsay had to eliminate one of them. From Season 2 onward, Ramsay has the power to overrule nominations.
  • When Wendover Productions did its first reality TV show, Crime Spree, there were no rules for how much food or sleep the crew needed to get which resulted in them spending more than 24 hours running on minimal food and sleep and one of their members falling ill from food poisoning. Their follow-up series Jet Lag: The Game instated mandatory rest periods and an "at least one real meal per day" rule to prioritize the crew's health better.
    • A challenge in season three of Jet Lag was to touch an animal that wasn't a pet, which Sam almost immediately completed by interpreting it to include humans. When a similar "make a friend with an animal" challenge was written for season five, it made sure to include a "non-human" stipulation.

    Web Original 
  • Common in the "Nuzlocke" Self-Imposed Challenge ruleset for Pokémon:
    • In games in generations past generation three (where the run originated), particularly when those generations add features that would trivialize certain aspects of the run, such as the Dex Nav in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire making it easy to get ideal first encounters.
    • Players using the rules quickly noticed that the sheer prevalence of some early Com Mons would glut the party with copies of the same unspectacular Pokémon, leading to homogenous and uninteresting team compositions. The duplicates exception was quickly accepted by the community - if the first encounter in a route is a species you already own, you're allowed to disregard it and catch the next encounter.
    • Similar to the "Dupes Clause" is the "Shiny Clause": if you encounter an extremely rare Shiny Pokémon, you are allowed to ignore all normal catching rules to catch it.

Other Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the original Dragon Ball series, one of Goku's opponents in the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai, a Kaiju named "Giran", throws Goku out of the arena. However, Goku manages to save himself from "loss by ringout" because he gets Flying Nimbus to save him at the last moment. This causes a problem because Giran, of course, claims this was an unfair move, and the referee is having trouble deciding whether or not this should be allowed. The referee consults with the overseers of the rules off-screen, and the referee returns and finally says... since clouds are a natural part of the environment, it wasn't illegal for Goku to use one to stop his own ring-out. However, Goku is forbidden to use the cloud again (with the implication that this is now a new rule: no future fighters can use clouds to stop being thrown out of the ring). Giran is disappointed at not being immediately given the victory, but upon learning Goku can't use the cloud a second time, he smirks and says, "That sounds good. I can live with that."
  • Used again in Dragon Ball Z. At first, the Namekian dragon created by Guru can't bring more than one person back from the dead at a time. However, after the Frieza incident nearly left their race extinct, the new Namekian elder Moori decides to upgrade their dragon to be able to revive multiple people at once, something that turns out to be a wise decision, since it becomes instrumental to stopping Buu.
  • During a filler episode of the Davy Back Fight arc in One Piece, the Straw Hats are pitted against the Foxy Pirates in a game of Pirate Dodgeball, which comes with an absolutely massive rulebook full of an absurd amount of rule patches (including a rule for accidentally swallowing the ball).
  • In High School D×D, Rias voluntarily bans Issei from using his personalized spells during a Ratings Game. Not because they're overpowered, but because Dress Break and Bilingual (which allows Issei to communicate with a girl's breasts via touch) are humiliating for the victim.
  • Monster Musume: The entire reason MON, a monster task force, even exists. The Interspecies Protection Act states outright that humans are forbidden to harm liminals and vice versa, which enables monster criminals to freely wreak havoc and prevents normal police from doing anything to stop them.
  • Death Note:
    • If a name is misspelled four times in a Death Note, the person whose name is misspelled will forever be immune to that Death Note. If a Death Note user attempts to misspell someone's name four times in a Death Note on purpose, in order to protect them from the Death Note, that Death Note user will die.
    • If a Shinigami attempts to use their Death Note to save the life of someone they care for they will die, which apparently seems to be the only way to kill one of these things other than somehow tricking them into running out of time. Both Gelus and Rem were perfectly willing to do it anyway.
    • In the Special Chapter, the events cause the Shinigami King, until that point in the series completely impartial, to become so pissed off he makes a new rule: buying and selling a Death Note will lead to the death of the buyer upon accepting the Note and the seller for accepting payment. This prevents another world-wide auction from occurring. Especially spiteful because at that point the human who inspired the rule had no way to know the rule was changed and he was about to break it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, while being a Killer Game Master, Bakura initially cheats by rolling his ten-sided dice so that they spin like tops, greatly improving his odds and allowing him to control the result to a degree. When Dark Yugi responds by copying him, Bakura creates a new rule (applying to both of them) that they have to roll dice by sliding them off their hands and dropping them, with spinning being prohibited, and resolves to cheat in a different way from now on.
  • Happens between the first and second Squad Jam tournaments in Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. The change is that the "Satellite Scan Terminal" (basically a map that shows the location of the team leaders and that updates every ten minutes) is no longer considered an Immortal Object (something immune to the game's Everything Breaks mechanics), since in the first tournament LLENN won because Eva wasted her ammo hitting the pocket where LLENN was carrying her Scan Terminal.
    • After one team spent most of the second tournament hiding and got a better score than everyone who actively participated in the fights, the third tournament was engineered to take place in a gradually shrinking battlefield, making it difficult for a team to actively avoid everyone else for prolonged periods of time.
  • In Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense., after Maple's first tournament, where she placed third largely by camping in one spot, using her "Devour" skill which let her shield kill/eat enemies, and use said skill to regain MP which she then used to cast area-of-effect spells to poison/paralyze the attacking players en masse, the developers take notice of her and proceed to take measures to make sure nobody can repeat what she did to obtain a stupidly powerful build. One specific patch note mentions that the "Devour" skill could now only be used ten times per day, instead of infinitely as she had done during the tournament.
  • In chapter 18 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, the student council plays the banned word game (where each player is blindly given a word that will cause them to lose if they say it) to figure out who will go on a shopping trip. After Kaguya tries to game the system by just staying quiet the entire time, Shirogane adds a rule that players have to talk enough to carry a conversation in order to avoid a permanent stalemate.

    Fan Works 
  • In Making Rainbows Bloom, the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, which is a club of independent school idols, sign up for Love Live and, thanks to a million followers collectively on their 48 accounts, get them to the top of the ranking. But in Chapter 8, the organization recognizes the disparity compared to other idol group, so they alter the rankings to be based on an average of followers per associated account divided by a thousand, which brings Nijigasaki down to 21st place.
  • In Reaching for a Dream, after Naruto cheats in the first round of the Chuunin Exam by punching out another examinee and stealing his test, Ibiki declares anyone else who does it will be failed automatically. His reasoning is that Naruto had the balls to come up with it himself. Everyone else would just be copying him.
  • In Wind Lord, Naruto is banned from using his Sempuken in the prelims after his first use drills a massive hole all the way to the outside. There may be no actual rules but no one is interested in having the building come down on their heads.
  • In Zero Interface, after a trio of students accidentally cause Ranma (and via their bond, Louise) to enter Neko-ken and go on a rampage, a notice is sent out that "Any student caught antagonizing anyone's familiar will be immediately expelled. Also, all feline familiars must be left in their owners' dorm rooms. No exceptions." Given that both Ranma and Louise proved capable of cleaving through steel while using Neko-ken, it's hardly surprising.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, trainers are allowed to face a special challenge when they fight a Gym Leader of facing the team they use against trainers with seven badges. If they win, the resulting badge functions as eight badges so they can skip straight to training for the region's Pokemon League. After Gym Leaders had to deal with endless trainers thinking they can take on the challenge with untrained low level Pokemon, a new rule was added so that if a trainer enters such a challenge and loses, they can't challenge any gyms for a year. As a result, the only trainers who do said challenge are generally veterans of other regions who don't want to waste time gathering another eight badges, or skilled trainers unable to travel around their home region for whatever reason. Misty's sisters lose the Cerulean City Gym when their attempt to force this on Ash backfires.
  • In Fate Revelation Online, a concern among more savvy players is that Cardinal will increase the game's difficulty in response to Shirou and Ilya's game-breaking strength. To avoid this and encourage other players to become just as broken, Kayaba introduces the "Titled Players" rule, which grants especially powerful players perks and excludes them from balancing.
  • During the Chunin Exam prelims in One Eye Full Of Wisdom, Sakura notes that nothing in the rules states the fights have to take place in the room where everyone is waiting, so she sprints out of the room and performs a running battle against Shino using ambushes and hit-and-run tactics. Immediately after her match, the officials announce that leaving the room will result in an automatic forfeit.
    • As a result of Sakura's tactics, the arena for the finals is modified to have a multistory building in it as officials realized the previous completely open setting turned most matches into little more than slugfests and didn't allow much use for traps, ambushes, or other tactics beyond being a superior fighter.
  • In The Infinite Loops, a lot of additions have been made to "Da Rules" from The Fairly Oddparents thanks to looper antics. For example, there is now a rule against wishing that Vicky and Mr. Crocker were fairy godparents, thanks to Cosmo and Musa. Cosmo's involvement was him mishearing Musa's comment about it.
    • Another patch is "don't activate Loopers on your own", after Shiroe from Log Horizon did exactly that by abusing his setting's magic system.
  • After giving an impassioned speech about the importance of teamwork and friendship in The Beacon Civil War in order to convince Pyrrha to declare peace between their two factions, Jaune (and everyone else) is informed that such a thing isn't currently allowed in the wargame, but Ozpin plans to add it next year, finding it a wonderful idea.
  • In Princess of the Blacks, Jen is informed by the examiner for her Charms OWL (who tested Bellatrix) that "'accidentally' misaiming a Banishing Charm so you stab a quill through a fellow student's wand hand has since been made an automatic failure."
    • Jen gets quite annoyed when she hears nine such rules over the course of her exams.
  • The Contest: As a result of Shy Sparrow's skeleton technically qualifying to be a contestant in The Quiet Game, the new rulebook only authorizes living ponies for major tournaments.
  • At first in My Hero Playthrough, the "Lions and Gazelles" game really only had two rules: 1) Anyone who goes out of bounds is out, 2) Getting tagged by a "Lion's" hands marks a "Gazelle" as out. Within a few weeks, All-Might has had to make an entire paragraph of convoluted rules due to Izuku and Ami (along with the rest of the class to a lesser extent, the known confirmation coming via Kirishima in an early Heroes-Vs-Villains exercise) finding loopholes that are technically allowed, but against the spirit of the game. The first known example is Izuku simply grabbing Mina, one of the lions, by the back of her shirt and placing her out of bounds.
  • If Wishes Were Ponies: Once the Cutie Mark Crusaders show up at Hogwarts, the staff are quickly overwhelmed by having to add new rules and additions to rules in response to their exploits, having yet to grasp the futility of trying to keep the group under control. For just one example, a rule about not attempting spells found in books from home without permission is quickly expanded to include individually written spells. Then the rule is expanded to not trying any spells found outside of the Hogwarts library, which too gains an additional rule about not using spells found in books from said library's Restricted Section. Finally, the staff has to define a book as "anything with a spell written on it".
  • In The Unchosen One, Trixie notes that she got through her final exams back in school by way of Loophole Abuse, but only one test resulted in this trope. The test involved levitating a series of cubes, with each cube being exponentially harder to manage. The rules were vague enough that a cube still counted as levitating so long as it didn't touch the ground, so Trixie ended up "levitating" all the available cubes by juggling them. The rules were amended to stop future students from repeating the trick, but the school still respects it as an unbeatable record due to the ingenuity of it. Funnily enough, she didn't need to do this; Trixie was able to levitate four cubes in the intended way, and the passing grade was three.
  • Total Drama Do Over: Jealous of another cast member, Geoff, prompted by Alejandro, rigs the votes in Island to eliminate the target of their jealousy. By the next season, a new rule is made to void any further attempts. However, in All-Stars, another character gets away with it anyway, thanks to the rules being rewritten in haste, ergo excluding the rule patch. Said loophole is patched out by the next voteoff.
  • Total Drama World Tour Deluxe: After Justin is medically evacuated in Jamaica, Chris explains to the remaining cast that ever since Leshawna was injured earlier that season, the lawyers have been nagging him about contestant injuries, so to get them off his back he has officially added a new rule that injuries as severe as Leshawna's and Justin's now result in a medical evacuation. However, he also notes that from now on anyone who deliberately causes these types of serious injuries will also be disqualified.
  • Digimon Codex: In Codex, there is a special type of match called an Ante-Battle, that is mostly the same as a regular battle, except that the winner gets to take any scan they want from the loser permanently. However, this isn't just limited to scans and items the loser has, since their partner Digimon is also a valid option and can be taken from them if chosen, with the only thing deterring players from doing this a warning that such acts are looked down upon. After Jet Set takes Veemon from Flash Sentry this way, the Codex Commanders hold a meeting over this and how it has negatively affected all of Codex, with some regretting ever allowing Ante-Battles in the first place. After Flash wins Veemon back from Jet in another Ante-Battle, the Codex Commanders officially change the rules of Ante-Battles to make it so Digimon partners can never be won this way again, meaning only regular scans and items can be wagered from now on.
  • Keep Your Friends Close: The Urban Warfare Unit is only won by the villains if they complete 5 of 10 objectives. The villain team is composed almost entirely of Double Agents, and the true villains are outnumbered six to two, meaning the double agents could easily just eliminate the actual villains immediately and trivialize the rest of the exam. Solution? Both team leaders cannot be killed before 6:00 PM on the last day.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Aladdin, in addition to a handful of other "addendums and quid pro quos," the Genie makes sure to specify, "Ix-nay on the Wishing for More Wishes!" which would otherwise make the three-wish limit meaningless.
    • After Aladdin tricks the Genie into getting them out of the Cave of Wonders without wishing for anything, the Genie lets it slide, but declares "no more freebies" and doesn't directly do anything else for him without a wish. Later, Aladdin nearly drowns, because the Genie can't save him unless he makes a wish, and he's currently both gagged and running out of oxygen. The Genie decides to interpret his head bobbing down as a yes nod and uses a wish to save him.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Art of Self-Defense: The Dojo's ten rules are printed on a large sign and hung on the wall. An 11th rule was added as a smaller sign at the end: "Guns are for the weak."
  • Discussed in Official Secrets: Ben Emmerson mentions that the British government amended the eponymous Official Secrets Act to disallow the use of a "public interest" defense after it was used in a leaker case about the position of HMS Conqueror's torpedo attack against the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during The Falklands War.note 
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: James T. Kirk is the only Starfleet officer to ever win in the Kobayashi Maru scenario when he was a cadet. How did he do it? By reprogramming the simulation so that it was possible to win. Afterwards, Starfleet had to add a "no reprogramming the simulation" rule for future cadets.

  • In Ender's Game, Ender's final battle as commander pits his Dragon Army against two armies combined, in an entrenched position. Ender discards all combat strategy and has his boys move as quickly as possible to exploit an Instant-Win Condition: the game ends when one army unlocks their opponent's gate — regardless of whether the opposing army is still active. Since nobody had considered doing this without defeating the opposing army first, the other team(s) doesn't manage to stop him. Ender is promptly told that starting in the next battle fought at Battle School, it will not be possible for an army to perform the victory ritual without first defeating or disabling everyone in the opposing army. Ender doesn't mind. He only expected it to work once.
  • In The Giver, one of the rules Jonas receives about his training is that he may not apply for Release. This is because the last Receiver, Rosemary, couldn't handle the weight of all the memories passed onto her and applied for release, and the Council was obliged give it to her. This resulted in a multitude of memories being released onto the population of the Community, causing a minor catastrophe.
  • Discworld
    • The Assassin's Guild Diary has School Rule 16: "No boy is to keep a crocodile in his room." Followed by rules 16a to 16j to counter various forms of Loophole Abuse, from the obvious ("16a. No boy is to keep an alligator or any large amphibious reptile in his room"; "16c. Nor in the cellar.") to the outlandish ("16h. No boy is to convert to Offlerism without permission in writing from the Head Master." [Offler is the Discworld's Crocodile God])
    • At around the time of the Diary, the Assassins' Guild School became co-ed, as seen in Night Watch. To avoid situations such as girls keeping crocodiles in their room and pointing to Rule 16's use of the word "boy", they added "For boys read girls, and vice versa" as a note to the list, which led to this:
      School Rule No.145: No boy is to enter the room of any girl.
      School Rule No.146: No girl is to enter the room of any boy.
      School Rule No.147: (provisional) : It has been pointed out that our injunction to 'read boys for girls, and vice versa', can, if taken together with the two previous rules by someone with little to do but argue, mean that no pupil is to be in any room at all. This was not the intention. No pupil is to be anywhere except where they should be. A girl is defined as a young person of the female persuasion.
      School Rule No.148 : Regardless of how persuaded he feels, Jelks Minor in Form IV is a boy.
      School Rule No.149: Arguing over the wording of school rules is forbidden.
    • In Unseen Academicals, since the rules that distinguish street football from association football are being written in one swoop, Ponder Stibbons finds himself adding a lot of obvious patches, including the offside rule. We're also told that one of the oldest rules in the street game, "The Ball shall be the ball that is known as the Ball" (i.e. whichever object is deemed, by popular consensus of the players, to be the object being used as the ball, shall be officially regarded as The Ball, until such time as a new Ball is designated), was a patch added when someone scored a goal with an opposing player's head.
    • Lord Vetinari had to pass a law to cover the situation where a murder victim is brought Back from the Dead by an Igor and walks into the trial of their murderer. The law reads: "If it took an Igor to bring you back, you were dead. Briefly dead, so the murderer will be briefly hanged."
  • In the Harry Potter-verse, there are around 700 different possible fouls in Quidditch, but Quidditch Through the Ages only lists the eleven most commonly seen. Most of the rest are obvious rule patches such as, "It is illegal to hit your opponent with an axe." It is stated in-universe that the complete list of fouls is kept private to prevent people from "getting ideas". Quidditch Through The Ages also lists patches onto Quidditch, including the introduction of a standardized scoring hoop size. This was because the hoops replaced wicker baskets, which were tricky to standardize and led to teams deliberately putting grape-sized baskets on one end and "great wicker caves" on the other, or setting the baskets on fire.
  • In Animal Farm, the original commandments are altered to add loopholes so the pigs can indulge in the forbidden behavior. For example, the rule "No animal may drink alcohol" is changed to "No animal may drink alcohol to excess", and "No animal may sleep in a bed" is changed to "No animal may sleep in a bed with sheets". Then they claim the commandments always said that. Ironically, even the "patched" commandments are still broken. The pig who changed the one about alcohol was in a virtual stupor at the time.
  • In the second Red Dwarf novel, Better Than Life, part of the GELF backstory explains that Scotland fielded a goalkeeper in the 2222 World Cup who was just a massive oblong of flesh that covered the entire goal. Despite not even qualifying for the second round, the governing body for genetically modified athletics added restrictions as to what athletes could be fielded in certain sports.
  • Skippy's List naturally had a few examples of Skippy causing his superiors to have to do this:
    33. Not allowed to chew gum at formation, unless I brought enough for everybody.
    34. (Next day) Not allowed to chew gum at formation even if I did bring enough for everybody.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: During the Kirball game that opens Changes, Corwin signals one of the spectators (a Herald with the Gift of illusion-casting) to put an illusionary Corwin on guard at his team's goal while the real Corwin gets in position to score. After the game, the team captain predicts this trope will be the outcome:
    We'll get faintly praised for thinking of something new, faintly damned for scraping so close to cheating, and they'll make a rule against getting help from off the field that isn't a Healer or a runner.
  • Worth the Candle deconstructs this trope with Exclusion zones, limited areas where a magic that has been sufficiently broken are relegated to. They tend to be incredibly deadly and hostile to the unprepared.
  • In the backstory of The Zodiac Series, inter-House marriage was illegal, leading to a Civil War set off by two Star-Crossed Lovers (and House Taurus). By the modern day, it's legal, but Guardians aren't allowed to date (as the lovers in question were both Guardians). Doesn't stop Rho and Hysan, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Apparently, there is nothing in the Drazi political system, which is basically democracy but with a species-wide Bar Brawl instead of elections, which prevents... say... a disgruntled human First Officer, from stealing the rank insignia from the leader and order her new followers to stop fighting, as in "The Geometry of Shadows". The Drazi are well aware of the loophole and the rank stupidity of the whole matter, and proposed a rule patch to prevent aliens from participating soon after first contact (which, for added comedy, was over eight centuries ago), but it has been stuck in committee ever since. Some things are truly universal.
  • In the pilot episode of Deputy, the sheriff of Los Angeles County has a sudden heart attack and dies, and the county charter is consulted to determine who will become acting sheriff until the next election. The designated successor turns out to be the "longest serving member of the sheriff's mounted posse". This rule has been in the charter since 1850 (when the "mounted posse" would have consisted of the sheriff's most senior and trusted deputies) and no-one thought to amend it to fit with the changing nature of the sheriff's department. In 2020, most sheriff's deputies don't know how to ride a horse and the closest thing to a mounted posse is the department's mounted division, a secondary department that uses horses to patrol the rough rural areas of the county. So the job of acting sheriff goes to Bill Hollister, who is the longest serving member of the division because he is very unpopular with his superiors and has been permanently exiled there. The county government is bound by the charter so Hollister gets to serve as acting sheriff until the next election, at which point the charter will then be revised so that something like this never happens again.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, which uses a video game motif, originally has each Rider manifest a variety of objects around the battlefield like blocks, treasure chests, or barrels that might contain power-up items if broken. Because action scenes in Kamen Rider are mostly filmed on location instead of on dedicated sets, transporting and deploying all of these different props for every fight proved laborious. Around the end of the first quarter, a new character is introduced whose powers revolve around manipulation of the power-up items, and the first thing he does is permanently break open all of the containers.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Whenever wish-granting genies are brought up in fiction nowadays, "No Wishing for More Wishes" is a frequent rule (such as in Aladdin).
  • In The Bible a rule given a few times is "do not boil a baby goat in its mother's milk", which otherwise doesn't violate any of the dietary rules. Apparently this was an issue, but nobody really remembers why. The most likely explanation was that it was some kind of pagan ritual, but the only direct evidence of such a practice is a single Ugaritic text that may have been mistranslated. Other suggestions include consideration for the lactose-intolerant and a simple judgment that boiling an animal in its mother's milk is cruel and unnecessary. Whatever the reason, observant Jews generally avoid mixing any (land-based) meat (so you can poach salmon in milk, but not chicken, even though neither animal produces milk at all) and any dairy (so a beef hamburger with cheese is also impermissible, even though there is no boiling going on), just in case.
  • According to St. Thomas Aquinas, this is the explanation for the differences between the Nicene Creed and the older, shorter Apostles' Creed. The Nicene Fathers added lines to the Apostles' Creed to specifically address the heresies that the Council of Nicea had been convened to address. For example, the phrase "for us men and for our salvation" was added to address Origen of Alexandria's belief that Christ died to save Satan and demons as well and the phrase "he came down from heaven" was added to address Photinus' belief that Christ was merely man who became divine by living a good life.
  • Muslims are supposed to kneel and pray in the direction of Mecca. However, there is debate as to how one is supposed to do this in space and on other planets, since the rule was created long before space travel became possible. In 2007, the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia came up with a set of accommodations for the country's first astronaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor: washing one's face can be done with a wet towel, kneeling is not required in zero-gravity, and facing mecca is left up to the astronaut's best abilities.

  • In Mornington Crescent, the Offside Rule was added to the game to prevent people saying "Mornington Crescent" as an opening move, which was taking some of the fun out of it.

  • American Girl used to allow buyers to send dolls into the hospital in any state—including missing heads, limbs, or entire bodies (with people citing that the parts were too damaged to send in), as long as one component such as the head or body was sent in. However, unscrupulous people would send in headless bodies and state they were rarer and/or retired dolls, then place the new heads on other matching bodies to sell at a profit. Because of this, any dolls sent in for repairs must include the entire head and body, regardless of damage, and no parts replaced are returned.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, the Nonary Game's rules are so vague and general that they need a lot of obvious patches. To name a few:
    • Zero III himself states that the fact that the Secondary Chromatic Doors can't be unlocked until after the Primary ones close serves solely to prevent easy cheating.
    • Anyone can go through Chromatic Doors back and forth, but first they must escape from the puzzle room that's beyond the CDs. This prevents the nine players from returning to the warehouse empty-handed: the AB games would be pointless if no one had the keycard to enter the rooms.
    • Zero III forces all nine players to play the AB Game in the first round, but later on, you find out that you can in fact not participate, which will make your vote default to Ally. This presents the obvious solution of everyone agreeing to not vote, rendering trust a non-issue, since everyone could just stay outside the AB Rooms entirely and keep an eye on everyone else. Anyone who enters an AB Room at that point clearly intends to Betray, which their opponent(s) can simply counter with their own Betray, making Betraying entirely pointless. Repeat until everyone has 9+ BP and can all escape together. Those with less BP as a result of any Betrayals in Round 1 could also guard the Number 9 Door from those with more BP to keep them from escaping early and trapping everyone else inside. Since this would ruin the entire point of the AB Game, the rules state that at least one person from each team of three has to vote, or else all three of them are punished with death.
    • Anyone who has 9 BP or more can open the number nine door. So if you haven't enough BP, you just have to sneak out when someone else opens it, right? Wrong. If you cross the door and you have less than 9 BP, you die. So only people who have 9 BP or more can actually escape safely. This scenario is specifically addressed in-game.
  • During the course of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Monokuma will add new rules to his Deadly Game to keep the misery going for as long as possible. The most blatant example being when someone asks what's stopping someone from simply killing everyone and thus becoming the winner by default. Monokuma apparently genuinely didn't think of that and immediately declares that anyone who kills more than two people at a time will be automatically executed. How this was intended to stop someone from killing everyone at once is still anyone's guess.

  • In Chasing the Sunset, the rules are automatically patched.
  • This xkcd panel.
  • Penny Arcade parodies this with Scribblenauts. Tycho explains how the goal of the game is to get Starites, and you do so by writing the names of useful items (over 22,000 are available), which then appear. Gabe picks up the game and immediately writes "Starite". One appears and he wins. Note that in the actual game, doing this produces a fake Starite that's worthless. Except for the very last level.
  • Erfworld: The free casters of the Magic Kingdom will very rarely declare specific artifacts and spells "OP", forbidding their use, forbidding anyone associating with anyone who uses them, and walling up the portal of anyone who uses them. The worst part is that they have no problem applying this retroactively. When the Arkentools are declared OP during a trial, the defendant is sentenced to death despite the fact that she hasn't used them since she was captured. This is a big cause of the setting's Medieval Stasis. Every magical discipline is massively under-powered compared to its real capabilities. The only real exception is the Thinkamancers, who have gone to considerable lengths to hide their real power and rule the Magic Kingdom from the shadows.
    • Also a Lampshade Hanging here referring to the author retconning his own discrepancy between his own written rules for captured rulers (as stated at the very beginning of Book 3) and the way the rules seemed to work in Book 0. So the new and corrected rule comes from "Book of Patches, Chapter 11, The Book of Retcon".
  • The Order of the Stick: According to Word of God, the spell "Protection from Law" is illegal in most places. While that spell doesn't grant protection from literal laws, it does grant numerous protections against Lawful people, who are the ones most likely to be enforcing the law.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Predicted to happen at least once. When Kevyn and Tagon are talking in one early storyline, they realize Schlock is listening in...from an air vent.
    Tagon: You can't just...I mean...
    Kevyn: It's hard to find fault with someone so blunt.
    Tagon: Especially since there's no company policy about air vents.
    Schlock: There's going to be a new rule, just for me.

    Web Original 
  • During one episode of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V, the gang is playing a game where they're supposed to hold on to a "flag" while flying for a few seconds to gain a point. During one round, Michael Jones gets his plane's wing clipped off and he crashes into the water below, survives and gets the point. The very next round, Ryan Haywood gets the "flag" and immediately dives into the water, in this case a lake bed. Geoff Ramsay allows the point to go through, but tells them that after that, no diving into the water. Though, to be absolutely fair, Ryan is the master of Loophole Abuse in the team. He will force the others to enact this trope if there's even the possibility that he could bend the rules.
  • In Atomic Shrimp's Limited Budget Food Challenges, he establishes the rule that each day must involve the creation of three separate meals, and that those meals must be reasonably distinct from each other. Otherwise, the obvious solutions of "ignore a meal to save money" and "just eat pots of noodles for everything" would arise, destroying the intent of the challenge as one revolving around being creative with preparing food under strict limitations.
  • "Okay, new rule - no singing opera in detention, got it?"
  • Dream: About halfway through the second Death Swap, it is revealed that Dream and George came up with a special rule: you can't travel to the Nether to kill the other person with lava. This is likely to stop every Death Swap afterwards from degenerating into who can travel to the Nether first, as there are only two other reliable counters to this plan. The first one is by using Fire Resistance potions, which are only possible to make (or find) in the Nether by finding blaze rods and magma cream, or by trading with Piglins. The second solution is to get incredibly lucky with finding an enchanted golden apple, as Dream and George found out the hard way.
  • Jet Lag: The Game:
    • After JT fell ill from suspected food poisoning in season zero, subsequent seasons added mandatory rest periods and required team members to eat at least one meal per day.
    • A challenge in season three involved touching an animal, which Sam interprets as including humans and completes the challenge by touching Ben. It is now specified in any challenge involving animals that the animal must not be human.
    • A curse in season five penalized Sam and Toby if they said a word that contained the letter E before a certain amount of time had elapsed. Sam and Toby got around the curse by saying as few words as possible, which caused a significant amount of their screen time in two episodes to have no interesting dialogue or strategy discussion. In season six, when Adam got a similar "can't talk" curse, the card specified that he was still allowed to talk to the camera as long as he wasn't within earshot of his team partner.
    • Season 6, Episode 6 revealed two season-specific rules to prevent degenerate play. For the taggers, it is against the rules to take a train out of the neutral zone with the runners, because they wouldn't be able to get any space otherwise. On the flip side, players in enemy territory have to wait five minutes between placing towers, as otherwise, they could use them to burn coins before imminent capture.
    • When Ben and Adam discussed hiding places in Japan, it was made clear that hiding in public places is allowed, except bathrooms, because of privacy concerns.
  • A law had to be put in place on SMPEarth after Techno exploited the factions plugin to literally Take Over the World.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: Rule 502 bans starting sentences with "Me Grimlock" if the player's name isn't Grimlock. Fourteen rules later, there's a follow-up rule that prohibits naming the player's characters Grimlock.
  • TV Tropes:
    • The admin notes on BFG say not to write "Big Fucking Gun" anywhere in the article. After some Rules Lawyer put "Big Freaking Gun" instead, a second line was added saying, "Obvious Rule Patch: Or 'Big Freaking Gun'. Or 'Frigging'. Or any other such expansion of the acronym." A second patch had to be applied later after another Rules Lawyer added a paragraph Backronyming it.
    • While Complete Monster has strict rules and criteria on a potential candidate from the start, more than once they momentarily added new rules after a couple of hassles in the cleanup thread.
      • After a few tropers proposed their own works as a Complete Monster candidate (which due to the creator's bias, makes the candidate suggestion rather uncertain), the cleanup thread quickly added a new rule by disallowing other tropers from proposing their own creations unless another troper does it in their stead.
      • Additionally, tropers often try to bring up other fan-made websites as proof that the candidate deserves the trope despite the fact that other websites often have different perception on what counts as a Complete Monster. The thread eventually added a new rule by disallowing them from bringing up other sites to back their claims up.
      • A couple of tropers tried to bring in candidates from pointless Torture Porn movies that make even Nightmare Fetishists wet their pants in terror such as The Human Centipede & A Serbian Film, or grimdark fan fics that are dark for the sake of being dark when the original media itself is lighthearted in comparison. Soon after, a new rule was added that disallows "pointlessly grimdark" content.
    • A rule patch was added in March 2021 to prohibit users from attempting to hire other users to make pages, in response to a book author joining the site to do just that. An attempt to dissuade the author went south, to the point where a ban had to be issued.
    • 2022 saw the introduction of a feature allowing users to delete their accounts if they wish. Knowing well that suspended users could attempt to use this to circumvent their ban, moderators declare such cases as Rage Quits, and a new rule was implemented that declares any active bans of deleted accounts permanent.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, there is a sport called pro-bending, in which two teams made up of one waterbender, one earthbender, and one firebender compete (there are a single digit number of Airbenders in the world, so they aren't included). Korra, as the Avatar, is the only living person capable of bending more than one element, so it's a little weird how she fits into the rules. When she reflexively earthbends to block a shot despite being the team's waterbender, the referee calls "Foul!...I think." After a brief recess, the officials come up with a simple solution: the Avatar can compete, but may only bend her designated element.
  • Rocket Power:
    • One episode has the group play a game that Otto thought up. Otto repeatedly makes up rules on the fly, eventually causing Reggie to snap and call him out in front of everyone else. This also shows the downside to this trope, because eventually everyone else stops playing because of the "rules" and eventually leaves Otto and Reggie basically trying to play "HORSE", which she uses as a distraction while making Otto do a complicated move to piss off and go surfing with Twister and Sam.
    • Another episode involved the school principal catching Otto, Reggie, and Twister playing street hockey on school grounds and planning on punishing them. Sam (who was the hall monitor in the episode) comes to the rescue by showing that the rulebook has a specific list of activities not allowed on school grounds, but that hockey is not on the list. After the principal realizes Sam's in the right, he lets the kids go, but says that the next day the rule would be rewritten to include hockey.
  • The Fairly OddParents! has at least three examples of this:
    • In the first Christmas episode, Timmy wishes that every day was Christmas, which eventually messes things up since fairies lend their power to Santa for the holiday. Once everything is fixed, a new rule is added to Da Rules that forbids an "Everyday Christmas wish" from ever being granted again.
    • In "Love Struck", Timmy wishes that the world was separated by gender, but it soon starts to escalate into a war between the two genders and nearly kill Cupid. Once everything is fixed, a new rule is added to Da Rules that forbids "a world separated by gender" wish from ever being granted again.
    • In "Fairly Odd Baby", it's discovered that fairies are no longer allowed to have children after Cosmo was born (since Jorgen Von Strangle feared there being another idiot like Cosmo). Timmy decides to wish that Cosmo and Wanda would have a child. Jorgen intervenes in order to stop the wish, but as it turns out Jorgen never got around to actually putting the wish in Da Rules. Jorgen allows the wish to be granted, but from that day forward, Da Rules now states that such a wish can no longer be granted.
  • Wayside: In "He Is It", Todd learns the hard way that Myron cannot be tagged "it" during recess. Because this is Wayside, whoever becomes "it" becomes ruler of the school, and everyone knows Myron goes mad with power whenever he is tagged.
  • Done by Twilight Sparkle at the end of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "School Daze" to get around the rule that "all schools in Equestria must meet EEA guidelines." Because she can't get accredited by Chancellor Neighsay (due to both legitimate and racial reasons), she instead creates a new rule that simply declares "friendship schools are exempt from this rule".
  • One of The Simpsons's most infamous Lionel Hutz jokes is when he asks for a payment in advance and Bart shows him his newspaper ad that claims "Works on contingency — No Money Down". He hastily claims they got it all screwed up and, right in front of them no less, changes it to read "Works on contingency? — No, Money Down!"
    Lionel Hutz: Oops, shouldn't have this Bar Association logo here either...
  • In one episode of Dennis the Menace, the adults are having a party at Dennis' house, with the kids sequestered to upstairs. Dennis' dad tells them that they can't go downstairs, so the kids slide down the bannister instead, since his dad said they couldn't go down the stairs. Dennis' dad amends the rule to say "No going down the stairs or sliding down the bannister.''. However, Dennis, being Dennis, finds another way to get downstairs...
  • In one episode of Hey Arnold!, after Harold (and later Arnold) get suspended from school, Arnold discovers a rule that says that they may return to school if they so desire. When he and Harold try to do that, Principal Wartz stops them from doing so, and when Arnold brings up the rule he discovered, Wartz presents him with the revised rule, which forbids the two of them from returning to school.


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Humans Are Animals

Sam is tasked with touching an animal other than a pet, eventually realizing that humans count for this purpose. In later seasons, comparable challenges spell out that humans don't count for challenges requiring an animal.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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Main / ObviousRulePatch

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