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Reinforce Field

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So you have Deflector Shields that stop incoming objects or propagating fields. Cool. You know what we really need to stop from moving too much? Parts of armor plates and loaded girders. Or, if you prefer, molecular bonds and atomic nuclei. So if the shields can work inside matter, they could (and should) be used to make materials stronger and more resilient than could otherwise be possible.

These reinforcement fields are sometimes used in Science Fiction settings to help spaceship frames withstand the strain of high-speed travel. As an extreme variant, some have Mile-Long Ships (or even larger) and Space Stations that are explicitly stated to be physically possible only due to "structural integrity fields" or the like that keep them from being crushed or torn apart. Size matters, but scaling things up is not cheap. Spaceships can be free from the burden of gravity, but the larger they are, the greater the strain on them when they accelerate or turn.

Of course, strengthening effects have lots of other uses, up to and including reinforcing frail melee weapons to make them both sharp and resilient.

See also Deflector Shields, Containment Field and Inertial Dampening. An opposite effect is Disintegrator Ray.


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  • Every so often (especially in the guidebooks), a structural integrity field is used to explain why Iron Man can withstand a punch from the Hulk.
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan got his powers when a freak lab accident removed the natural "intrinsic field" holding the matter of his body together, but left his bodyless consciousness, which was then able to reconstruct a body for him, as well as affect other matter.

  • The Harry Potter Pop-Up Book says that most of the buildings in Diagon Alley would fall over if they weren't held together by magic.
  • The tensor field is actually shown in action in the climatic battle in Rogue One. The U-Wing’s door gunner blazes away at the knee joint of an AT-ACT with an Ion cannon, which disrupts energy systems. This is normally used to temporarily immobilize or shut down vehicles, but after a few seconds of fire, the walker’s knee suddenly collapses as the field around the leg gets stripped away.

    Fan Works 

  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Some books mention "tensor fields" that serve this purpose for starships and Walking Tanks, particularly for operating in gravity wells.
    • The Star Wars Technical Manuals describe Particle Shields such a way that they could be Reinforce Fields that make armor more resilient against physical impact. They're paired with Ray Shields, Deflector Shields that protect against energy weapons.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Invasion, a massive alien starship arrives to the Solar System and proceeds to Curb-Stomp Battle a large chunk of the Earth Space Navy (to be fair, humans have just begun to explore space at this point and lack FTL). When the ship lands in the Antarctic to use melted ice as raw materials for repairs, a different alien teleports on-board and gives the protagonist a device that will destroy the ship's bio-computer. Apparently, the ship is too massive to support itself, and it's being reinforced with force fields that are controlled by the computer. As soon as the computer dies, the ship collapses on itself like a tin can, killing everyone on board. Apparently, the aliens have never heard of backup systems. The Reinforce Field has not been mentioned in later novels.
  • In Full Metal Panic! even the largest Arm Slaves are only around 10 meters tall, so when the 40 meter tall "Behemoth" shows up, the fact that a Humongous Mecha of its size normally shouldn't be able to support its own weight is a major plot point. Sure enough, the protagonists discover that the Behemoth is equipped with a Lambda Driver, which would normally provide it with Telekinesis but is instead being used just to hold everything together. When its Lambda Driver takes damage, the entire thing collapses on itself.
  • Hyperfiber in the Great Ship universe has an innate reinforcement field; any energy applied to the material is dissipated through multiple universes, making the material Made of Indestructium. The eponymous Greatship has an outer hull made of ultra high grade hyperfiber that is almost impregnable, and gives the ship enough strength to not crush itself under its own gravity.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy:
    • The Molecular Binding Force Generator reinforces materials several times over their normal strength (it might be only with some specially-made materials, but it's not clarified).
    • The Valency Generator is cleverly used in an airbag-like safety mechanism: in a collision, the vehicle is flooded with a gel or foam-like substance, and then the valency generator kicks in, making the substance rigid, absorbing the momentum of the passenger. After the collision, the valency generator turns off and the passengers can climb out of the foam unharmed.
  • In Knight's & Magic the bodies of demon beasts are magically reinforced. For larger beasts like Behemoths this means that running out of Mana can be fatal, since without a Reinforce Field their bodies are unable to support their own weight.
  • A version of this whose main obvious use seems to be to make solid materials disintegration-proof exists in the Perry Rhodan setting, as shown in one of the earliest issues and very occasionally brought up since. It's very much a niche application since various Deflector Shields can accomplish the same goal just as well while being more flexible (if perhaps also more obvious).
  • In The Black Magician Trilogy, building materials can be infused with magic to make them much stronger, enabling Kyralian nobility to build sweeping, airy constructions out of reinforced glass. Later, the invading Ichani Black Mages are delighted to realize that each noble estate is a reserve of magical power that they can tap for Mana.
  • "Edenite", in the Undersea series by Frederick Pohl and Jack Williamson, allows city domes and submarine hulls to withstand the crushing pressures encountered deep under sea.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry guesses that the Weasleys' bizarre house is probably held up by magic.
  • Babel, or the Necessity of Violence: Long-term Utility Magic is a Mundane Fantastic element of life in 1830s London, including enchantments to strengthen old building foundations. When the maintenance schedule for those spells is disrupted, those buildings start collapsing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek has lots of shields and force fields.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise features the invention of "polarized hull plating", the forerunner to the Deflector Shields of the later series.
    • Later ships have a "structural integrity" system, and can divert power to or from them. The abundance of Tim Taylor Technology coupled with the availability of force fields has led some to theorize that, in fact, all Federation technology is held together by tiny force fields.
    • The Structural Integrity Field [TM] first received that name on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's a standard feature of starships, absorbing forces that would otherwise be exerted on the hull or warp drive. Later works show that an SIF can be enabled or disabled over specific sections of a ship, or even extended to affect a nearby vessel in an emergency.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Magic items gain extra Damage Reduction, Hit Points, and resistance to magic over their mundane prototypes by default, but there are also enchantments specifically making important things much less fragile. Artifacts and relics are above normal mortal magic and mostly are Made of Indestructium.
    • "Glassteel" enchants glass to be as strong as steel, but remain as non-conductive, corrosion-resistant, and light as glass. Thus, it became the the armor material of choice for flying warriors, whether Aarakocra, Avariel or Nimbral (Forgotten Realms) pegasi cavalry.
    • Forgotten Realms has several permanent spells for this specific purpose, including Nulatoe's Ninemen for organic remnants and Veladar's Vambrace and Holy Might for other things. Crown Meld doesn't enhance in itself, but "borrows" the best resistances of each component material and applies it to the whole item (as steel vs. impacts + as ceramics vs. acid and electricity = Nigh-Invulnerable).
    • Eberron: Sharn, the City of Towers, is a variant — its massive skyscrapers are made possible by a region of Reality Bleed that enhances flight and levitation magic.
    • The Epic Level Handbook in D&D3E contains an adventure which includes a wizard tower with walls made of two thick layers of obsidian with a thin forcefield in-between.
  • In Pathfinder, the ancient Thassilonians used magic to preserve their monuments, which is why they're still standing 10,000 years later.
  • One sample explanation for the cosmic armor in GURPS: Spaceships is that it increases the binding energy between atoms.
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • In Scars of Mirrodin, the flavor text for "Tumble Magnet" suggests and inverts this trope: "Magnetic devices that keep massive golems and structures standing can also be used for the opposite purpose."
    • Earlier in Mirrodin there is the Darksteel, magical metal that is plain Indestructible. Things made of Darksteel has eerie light balls orbiting them, be they weapons, golems, or metal fortresses.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: Despite what the name might imply, the Barrier Jacket Charm actually functions as an example of this trope, infusing the Princess's Transformed body and Regalia to make it hard as iron. This means that the armor rating the Charm grants applies whether the Princess appears to be wearing armor or whether she appears to be wearing a leotard, tutu, and tiara, and that the protection the Charm offers has no chinks or weak points that can be exploited.

    Video Games 
  • Galactic Civilizations 2: Massive-class ships are possible by tinkering with the "Q-field" to increase their resilience, and civilizations can research more effective structural integrity fields to make it possible to build larger vessels.
  • Master of Orion 2: Doom Star class ships are stated to require these to be feasible.
  • Orisa from Overwatch is a centaur-like Omnic (sentient robot) who is a Tank-class character and has the ability Fortify, which charges her with energy that reinforces her body and reduces all damage taken by 50% as well makes her immune to all form of crowd-control and movement-affecting abilities and attacks. She can even casually stroll out of Zarya's Graviton Surge (a mini-black hole) and Mei's ice-based attacks that normally slow and freeze people in place while Fortify is active.
  • Shiki's glasses in Tsukihime are indestructible, period. The reason for this is that they block out his Magical Eye effects that allow him to destroy anything, period. Makes sense to have an indestructible Power Limiter on an omni-destructive ability, doesn't it?
  • A variant of this is in Fate/stay night. Reinforcement is one of the most basic forms of magic, and can be described as concentrating an objects traits. For instance, reinforcing a wooden sword makes it temporarily harder, sharper, and more resilient, reinforcing a body grands minor Super-Strength and Super-Toughness, reinforcing eyes gives you eagle vision etc.


Alternative Title(s): Reinforcement Field