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The whole is more than the sum of the parts.

Sometimes, several items put together deliver additional benefits more than if you just numerically or synergistically added up the power of all the items. It can apply both to powers and objects.

Most of the time there is no In-Universe explanation offered for why these items have to be together to produce the extra effects. It could be said that the enchantments need to 'overlap' or that the pieces when connected form the circuit of a system that then produces the effects. Most games with this mechanic will also have each item's description "kindly" inform the player of the potential benefits, without any proper explanation of just how the character could know about them. Maybe they were written somewhere on the items themselves.


This trope is absurdly prevalent (though by no means universal) in MMORPGs, but it turns up in other genres as well. It is often used to encourage trading among players, but it has the side effect of making the more obsessed sink extra time and money into a game. If significant enough, this trope should hopefully cut down on Rainbow Pimp Gear. Outside of MMORPGs, stories may have magical accessories, weapons, or magic rings be created as part of a set by powerful mages with this intended effect.

Related to Gotta Catch Them All. Compare Counterpart Artifacts and Signature Device.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Slayers, Lina has four magical amplifiers (that she bought off of Xellos) that work better in tandem than separately.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the (Nameless) Pharaoh, aka Yami Yugi, cannot move on to the afterlife without all seven Millennium Items and knowledge of his true name.
  • In Transformers: Armada, there are three sets of Mini-cons that fuse together to form the Star Saber, the Skyboom Shield, and the Requiem Blaster.
  • Bleach: In the anime filler Gotei 13 Invasion arc, seven lieutenants and the filler heroine, Nozomi, are fighting one reigai captain, but don't have enough power to defeat him. Nozomi uses her shikai to absorb all seven lieutenants' zanpakutou powers to combine it with her own into a single attack. The captain is promptly one-shotted. The anime never offers any explanation for how this fusion magically turned "not enough power" into "more than enough power".
  • In Toriko, each of the ingredients in Acacia's Full Course apparently has amazing effects. Eating all of them together also grants the power to use Gourmet Cells at peak efficiency.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover, The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos combines the Infinity Gems, each one of which already grants considerable power (except the Reality Gem, which has "issues" if used on its own), to form the nigh-omnipotent Infinity Gauntlet.
  • In Green Lantern this is the case when anyone wears more than one lantern ring, the wielder gets to essentially dual wield (or multi wield) superpowers. Combining different colored rings can be even more spectacular since they have interesting synergies. Hal Jordan has done this twice with Green and Yellow rings. In Brightest Day, Krona did this with rings of every color!
    • Particularly notable here is the interaction between the Green and Blue rings, representing Will and Hope respectively, even when they're worn by separate wielders. The Blue rings are near-powerless on their own, but when Hope is bolstered by Will (the presence of a Green ring) it practically becomes capable of miracles. In turn, the power of Hope supercharges the Will of nearby Green rings.
    • Kyle Rayner (pictured) learns the benefits and the downsides of using a ring of every color in the New 52. He later learns how to invoke this with a single ring, which leads to becoming a White Lantern.

    Fan Works 
  • Fallout: Equestria: The Ministry Mare statuettes are based off the Vault Boy bobbleheads from Fallout. Littlepip finds herself stronger or smarter every time she collects one; the "level-up" notes at the end of each chapter put it in game terms, where she is gaining a boost to each stat with every statuette. When she gets the last one, their magic increases, and she immediately decides not to separate them again. The end of chapter note says she got a bonus to her Luck Stat for completing the set.

  • In Lazer Team, the Champion Suit's full potential can only be realized when all the components (intelligence-boosting helmet, left shield-generating gauntlet, right blaster gauntlet, and Super Speed boots) are working together.

  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, simply wearing one of the two Silver Slippers (Ruby in the movie) is enough to give the wearer near complete invulnerability to magical attack and physical harm. Having both gives the wearer wish granting abilities close to a 3 or 4 on the Super Weight scale.
  • The eponymous artifacts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were believed to make the owner of all three Master of Death, granting immortality. The true Master of Death is one who knows Death is inevitable despite the existence of magic and accepts it when it comes.
  • In V. Panov's Secret City the protagonists are hired to gather a specific set of Faberge's eggs, each one containing a figurine associated with a continent. The full set of figurines combined with the original enchanted map becomes a treasure-locating artifact.
  • This trope is in effect in works of the Literary RPG (litRPG) genre, as they are commonly set in MMORPG video games.
    • In V. Ushakov's Manoratkha the protagonist found a dual-wield set of a legendary sword and dagger on two otherwise unrelated and convoluted quests. The NPC who hands him the reward for the second quest actually mentions that the Set Bonus exists and is very surprised to see the protagonist's character have the first weapon already.
    • In R. Mikhaylov's Rule of the Sleepless Clan the protagonist happens to solve an already hidden quest in an extremely specific manner, thus triggering a second hidden quest to find a legendary scattered armor. The armor becomes more powerful with each new piece found and will supposedly reach full potential when complete.
  • The three Orbs in The Wizard, The Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey have their powers magnified when multiple Orbs are possessed by the same person. With two, the Twilight Queen has plunged the land into twilight; with all three she can create eternal night. The Chosen One can defeat her by claiming all three Orbs.

    Live Action TV 
  • The "objects" in The Lost Room can be lethal on their own, but when one person has more than one they tend to become obscenely powerful. One particular combination of objects can potentially create a localized rip in space-time.
  • This shows up every so often in Heroes. Hiro's time-travelling is greatly helped by hints from Isaac's ability to predict the future. Samuel's ability to control earth (and ink) and Lydia's empath powers combine into a limited form of clairvoyance, which Samuel uses to find other people with abilities.
  • In one episode of White Collar, a thief was collecting a set of jade elephants that became much more valuable when all of them were sold together. Neal tried to lure her in by offering to team up so they could sell the full set and split the profits.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider OOO's belt is powered by inserting Core Medals into three slots, corresponding to the Head, Body, and Legs of his transformed form. Using three Medals of the same color creates a "Combo" which gives him increased powers and a new ability at the cost of leaving him exhausted when he powers down. The Greeed villains similarly gain increased powers the more Medals they have, along with a special Set Bonus of their own when they have all nine of their respective color. It's most notable with Gamel, whose bonus ability is a Touch of Death that takes him from the least dangerous of the Greeed to a Person of Mass Destruction.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid inverts this with Drago Knight Hunter Z. This form grants one Rider a big suit of dragon-themed armor, or the Transformation Trinket can be invoked by all four Riders at the same time to hand out one piece to each Rider. The form is based on Co-Op Multiplayer games, so it's the individual pieces that get the power boost, making the complete set an example of Clipped-Wing Angel.
    • Kamen Rider Build gets in on the idea with the Full Bottles, which are divided into organic (like Rabbit, Hawk, Pirate, Ninja, etc) and inorganic (Tank, Gatling, Train, Comic, etc), and Build needs to use one of each to transform. Every Bottle has one specific "Best Match", a Bottle of the opposite type with which it has high compatibility (like Rabbit and Tank); transforming with a Best Match makes Build stronger than if he just used random combinations and sometimes gives him access to unique abilities and custom-themed weapons.
    • In Kamen Rider Saber, the Riders draw their power from magical storybooks. Any Rider can use any storybook, but they get a better effect if they use ones from the set that matches their Elemental Power.

  • The fossils in Jurassic Park (Stern) are grouped into four sets, and collecting an entire group awards an increasing amount of points and another reward (like an extra ball or an increased amber multiplier).
  • Guns N' Roses (Jersey Jack) allows the player to obtain patches for gameplay perks. Getting certain sets of them bestows further bonuses upon the player - for example, collecting the band's four primary albums doubles the level of every album mode for the rest of the game.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Monopoly, the player is only allowed to build houses and hotels on properties where they own the entire color block. Just owning the entire block doubles the basic rent.
    • Railroads and Utilities have similar perks. Each Railroad the player owns doubles the rent. The two Utilities, the Electric Company and the Waterworks, normally charge rent equal to four times the number of the dice roll which landed the player on the Utility. If both Utilities are owned by one player, the multiplier is increased to ten.
  • Risk provides additional troop bonuses when you occupy an entire continent, as well as when you trade in three cards with matching symbols.
  • The Pokémon board game Master Trainer gives you a bonus if you collect Pokémon from the same evolutionary line. If you have two of them, the highest evolution gets a +3 attack bonus, and if you have 3, the highest gets a +5. The game leaves it up to house rules what to do if you get more of the Eeveelutions than just Eevee and an evolved form, since it's the only set in the game with more than 3 members and no defined "highest" evolutionnote .
  • The most ubiquitous example of this trope in Magic: The Gathering is the "Urzatron": Urza's Mine, Urza's Tower, and Urza's Power Plant. They give one mana each normally, but if you control all three, you get a total of seven mana from them.
    • Speaking of Magic, Visions had Feral Shadow, Breathstealer, and Urborg Panther. Sacrifice all three of them to bring Spirit of the Night into play directly from your deck.
    • Having Helm, Shield, and Sword of Kaldra all in play (each a strong card in their own right) and you can put a 4/4 legendary token creature (aptly named Kaldra) into play and attach all three of them to it for a much lower cost than attaching individually.
    • A storyline example appears in the Weatherlight Saga. The Legacy was Urza's ultimate weapon against Yawgmoth. Described as thought given purpose, the Legacy was a collection of artifacts and beings that was constantly changing and evolving, even incorporating artifacts that Urza didn't intend into its design. In card form, the Legacy Weapon is a single artifact card that can remove any permanent from the game. One of the artwork variants displays all of the artifacts that made up the Legacy. Nearly all of the component artifacts have cards of their own, too.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the five Exodia cards are worthless on their own. Get all five in your hand, and you automatically win the game. note 
    • There are also dozens of archetypes that entire decks can be built around (Six Samurai, Laval, Ice Barrier, Evol, Archfiends...)
    • If all five Exodia cards are in the graveyard, the player can use "Contract with Exodia" to special summon "Exodia Necross", an invincible zombie that gets stronger every turn. The only way to get rid of it is to remove one of the Exodia cards from the graveyard.
  • Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons has the Adventurer's Vault 2, which offers a few item sets. Most are the typical matched armor and/or weapon sets that gain additional bonuses when a character has more pieces of the set equipped. There are also a few 'group' sets which have similar bonuses for each member of the adventuring party using them.
    • 3.5 introduced non-artifact set items in the Magic Item Compendium, though the original D&D set items are probably the Regalia of Might, printed in Eldritch Wizardry in 1976. 3 alignment specific sets consisting each of a Rod, an Orb and a Crown. All three were powerful artifacts in their own right, and made stronger when brought together. The Hand and Eye of Vecna probably also count.
    • Also originating in Eldritch Wizardry, and possibly D&D's Ur-Example, is the Rod of Seven Parts. In its backstory, it was originally the Rod of Law, wielded by the Wind Dukes of Aaqa against the Queen of Chaos, and shattered in the climactic battle of the first war of Law vs Chaos, banishing the Queen's lover Mishka the Wolf-Spider, Prince of Demons and decimating both armies, forcing a stalemate. Each part had a separate power, groups of parts added more and greater powers, and nearly unparalleled abilities were available to a wielder who united all the parts. Since it was impossible to completely repair it, though, using the unified powers carried a chance of re-shattering the Rod and re-scattering its parts (with the side effect of Critical Existence Failure for the overly ambitious invoker). The words used to activate its parts were given as "Ruat," "Caelum," "Fiat," "Justitia," "Ecce," "Lex," and "Rex." The Easter Egg being that, as a Latin phrase, those words translate as "Though heaven fall, let justice be done. Behold! Law is king!"
  • Quite a few games have a scoring mechanism where a value of a set of cards increases faster than the number of cards. For instance, the point value of a set of Palace Guards in Guillotine or a set of unique artifacts in Stone Age equals the square (1, 4, 9, etc) of the number collected.
  • In Citadels, having all five types of districts in your city will give you bonus points in the final count.

    Video Games 
  • Item (particularly, armor) sets in Diablo II and Diablo III give you set bonuses if you wear some or all of them at once.
    • Diablo III has a special ring whose sole purpose is to reduce the number of items needed to activate the different bonuses for a set, allowing players to mix and match sets.
  • Dislyte: Equipping all items part of a Relic Set (4 for a 4-Piece/UNA set, 2 for a 2-Piece/MUI set) on an Esper will grant them a bonus depending on the Relic Set in question. For example, War Machine increases the attack stat by 30% while Wind Walker will increase speed by 25%.
  • Armor in Dragon Age gives additional bonuses if it forms a matching set.
    • Certain weapon combos do the same, such as Maric's Sword and Cailan's Shield. Most fall into that sword-and-board type, but the expansion Awakening offers up a sword and dagger set bonus for dual wielders.
    • Certain rings also provide additional benefits when paired together.
    • Dragon Age II has an armor set for Hawke to be collected for every chapter of the game, and one in both DLC campaigns. The final act 3 set is Hawke's iconic Champion Armor.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has a lot of these. Many equipment items have a property that, if you have three (or, in some cases, four) items with the same property equipped, you get a bonus effect.
  • In Hyper Light Drifter this is Inverted. Finding the corpse of a fallen warrior rewards the Drifter with the whole set of equipment at once: their cloak, sword and drone. All give the same beneficial effect, but it does not stack, so it is better to mix items from three different sets.
  • Magic Rampage: Using items with the same magic-type incur damage bonuses.
  • Onmyōji: Equipping a shikigami with two similar mitama gives a great boost in a certain stats, while four of the same type gives special effect unique to each type.
  • RuneScape uses this a lot. There are certain sets of clothing that boost the amount of experience you gain in skills. Wearing the entire set will raise the boost above just the sum of its parts. Additionally, certain armour sets will grant boosts to your combat stats, or grant access to special attacks, but only if every piece is worn.
  • The Seven Chaos Emeralds in nearly all Sonic the Hedgehog games; which are usually valuable to the player only when they are all collected. Originally, collecting them unlocked the Good Ending, and in later games the True Final Boss. They became very notable during the end of the classic era, when collecting all seven bestowed a Super Mode on Sonic or an ally during actual gameplay (Sonic 3 & Knuckles had the Super Emeralds — collecting all of those induced an even greater Super Mode). Individually, they rarely serve as anything more important than a Plot Coupon, maybe they might even allow for Cutscene Power to the Max, but in terms of functional gameplay, nada. The exception is Chaos Control, a teleportation technique that requires possession of at least one Chaos Emerald, though this rule isn't consistently followed in gameplay.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Zelda series in general has the three parts of the Triforce. They are three magical artifacts which were created by the 3 Goddesses themselves. Each fragment supposedly contains the essence of the goddess that created it: Power, Wisdom and Courage. When all three parts are combined, it forms a completed Triforce which will grant the wish of the first person to touch it. However, if that person has an unequal balance of Power, Wisdom or Courage, they will only receive the essence they value most (Ganondorf treasured Power, so that's all he got). The other two parts will then seek out champions which most exemplify the other two traits (Zelda has Wisdom and Link has Courage) to defend itself. It's only when all of the champions have been defeated (or willingly surrender their Triforce piece) that the complete Triforce will reappear and the wish can finally be granted.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Fused Shadows. Individually, each fragment holds a dark power that can warp the mind of whoever comes in contact with them. However, it is only when the four are combined that their true power can be called forth.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Certain sets of armor provide set bonus effects when you wear all parts; for instance, the Stealth set will boost your maximum running speed at night, while armor that gives resistance to a certain type of damage (such as heat, fire, or cold) will give full immunity to it instead. Most need you to upgrade them twice from the Great Fairies beforehand.
      • Combining multiple food types with the same buff will yield a stronger result than using multiple items of the same type. For example, a dish made with multiple ingredients with the "mighty" prefix, which boosts attack power, will give a larger attack boost than a dish made with only one.
  • In Vindictus, each armor suit has a couple of stats that increase incrementally as you put on more pieces, on top of the bonus the pieces themselves give you. This is why you will rarely see a Vindictus player wearing mix-and-match armor.
  • In The World Ends with You, many "Gatito" brand pins only function in battle if the player can collect all the pins in a set. The "Darklit Planets" set (comprising six pins) is an exception as each can be used individually, but they power up significantly if the player has all six. Which is no easy task, and involves beating the Bonus Boss on the highest difficulty.
  • Kingdoms Of Camelot on Facebook has a full set bonus now that the last of the four Guardians has been released. Only one Guardian can be active at a time, but unlocking all four gives the player a bonus, likely either resources or items for use in-game.
  • This is the idea of set bonuses for the Invention Origin Enhancements in City of Heroes. A character can only have one of each part of the set in a single power and with each piece added another stat bonus is unlocked. These bonuses are special in that they affect all powers on that character and each bonus can be stacked up to five times as it is possible to use most sets in multiple powers. It is also possible to use more two or three partial sets in the same power in order to create all sorts of set bonus mixes (though usually the best bonuses require having most or all pieces of one set.)
    • Further on in the game, as more and more sets became available, partial sets became the norm rather than the exception: using two or three sets which maximized as many stats as possible (and, preferably, gave the ever-coveted +Recharge Rate or +Defense).
  • A minor example, but in the second Neverwinter Nights Expansion, Hordes of the Underdark, if you can find and equip all of Lord Nasher's lost equipment, they each become far more powerful.
  • Terraria features multiple sets of armor made out of various different materials. If you wear a complete set of armor made out of a single type of material (all iron armor, all meteor armor, all mythril armor, etc.), then you get a set bonus. The mid-to-late game armors generally have some very nice set bonuses on them, such as extra melee power, more mana, or increased movement speed. Even in the early game, it's generally better to wear a complete set of armor made from one material (i.e. a full set of copper armor is better than if you had two pieces of copper armor and one piece of iron). With the introduction of hardmode and its new materials, each set of armor made from those materials has three different headpieces you can pick from, each of which will improve your skills with either melee combat, ranged weapons, or magic.
  • In The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb, acquiring 3 out of 4 specific cat-related itemsnote  in a single playthrough will transform Isaac into his deceased cat, Guppy. Not only it makes you look hilarious / adorable, but it grants you the abilities to fly and spawn blue flies whenever you hit enemies. Needless to say, it is an incredibly nifty bonus.
    • In the remake, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and its expansions (Afterbirth and Afterbirth+), there are more of these introduced, on top of the returning Guppy transformation (Whose pool of items has been expanded a bit with Guppy's Collar and Guppy's Hair Ball), although the most unique of these has to be Super Bum, which doesn't transform Isaac himself, but rather has the Bum Friend, Dark Bum and Key Bum perform a Fusion Dance. This particular transformation doubles the rewards for each Bum. You can find a full list of transformations in Rebirth and its expansions here.
  • Enter the Gungeon uses a downplayed version with Synergy bonuses. Most items in the game gain a bonus effect if you're also holding an item that triggers the Synergy bonus, although many of them only work for one item and not the other. Some of these bring even mediocre guns into Game-Breaker territory. And The Gunslinger's starting item automatically gives every gun all its Synergy bonuses.
  • In Titan Quest you can find certain items that, just like in Diablo, can form a set and give you bonuses if you wear more and more of them. They can be both blue (rare) and on Epic and Legendary, Purple (mythic). Plus, certain item sets works better on certain classes. Last but not least, thanks to the Caravans from the Expansion is possible to pass parts of these sets to other player. In short, is easier to collect all the sets and give them to the most suitable character.
  • In Drakensang, as part of the plot you have to collect all the parts of the Fire Armor (which is, helm, gloves, boots, greaves, armor, shield and Infinity +1 Sword. The last one depends on the main character's Weapon of Choice).
  • Certain armor in Torchlight does this. It actually tells you a) that it's in a set, b) the name of the set, and c) what bonuses you'll get for getting more pieces.
  • Expansion packs to Heroes of Might and Magic III introduced these, as certain sets of items when equipped result in absurdly powerful bonuses. In fact, two of the campaigns in Shadow of Death revolve around gathering those... for the Big Bad. Another campaign revolves around splitting one. The campaign that ties all of the stories together revolves around the heroes' efforts to reunite the divided set to counter the ones owned by the Big Bad.
    • The initial concept of the 'combination artifacts' was introduced in the expansion to Heroes II. The main difference — and why it counts as less this trope than the Heroes III ones — was that the combination was irreversible (in terms of gameplay, if not the story). Of course, storywise it is still a sword, an armor and a helmet, it just takes up a single inventory slot instead of three and grants the powers of all three artifacts (and an additional bonus).
  • World of Warcraft has an armor set for each class for each tier or season for both PVP and PVE. That's a lot of sets.
    • There are also sets you can craft, and sets that can get dropped. There are also sets of 2 items, 3 items, 4 items, etc... including one set that's nothing but two one-handed weapons.
    • Used to be played straight with World of Warcraft's item sets which grant increasing bonuses the more items from a given set are equipped. Downplayed nowadays so that people would actually have a choice of equipment; a typical set has 5 parts with bonuses awarded for 2 and 4 matching items, while before the Burning Crusade expansion sets had 8 parts and all were required to get the best bonus.
  • Having three matching viviosaurs of a set on your team in Fossil Fighters is necessary for using their team attacks. What makes a set varies, but it can be things like similar styles, diets, or elements.
  • In Animal Crossing, you get bonus points for your HRA score by collecting pieces of furniture sets, themes, and series.
  • Tactics Ogre Also used the set equipment variant, usually giving the character a lesser weight penalty.
  • In Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, depending on their version, the player gets an item that lets them capture either Kyogre or Groudon. Regardless of which one they caught, however, Oak's reaction is to state that he thinks of the pair as a set, and wonders if you can capture the other one. However, you can only capture one of the pair in each version — and the next event won't be triggered by any normal Groudon/Kyogre — you specifically need one who was lured in and caught by the exclusive HG/SS item.
    • There's also Plusle and Minun (and in later games, a handful of other Electric-types), who get a stat boost when they're paired together in a Double Battle.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters has armor pieces that can be discovered while playing through the levels. Collecting and equipping a matching set confers an additional bonus, such as adding acid or fire to your melee attacks. There are also certain other armor groups that are combinations of armor pieces from different sets, so it also averts this trope. In fact, the best armor combo, Stalker Armor, is an aversion, since it's made from the Wildfire Helmet, Chameleon Body Armor and Boots, and Sludge Mk. 9 Gloves, and grants 96% damage reduction.
  • Chrono Cross - collecting a special set of equipment for Pierre turns him from Joke Character to Lethal Joke Character.
  • Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest V uses this during the Style Contests in Litorud. Matching certain weapons, armor and accessories together (like Bunny Ears, Bunny Suit, Fishnet Stockings, and a Silver Tray, all-Zenithian gear or the Boxer Shorts and Pot Lid and nothing else) gives you bonus points for coordination.
  • Final Fantasy XI has two different kinds of set bonuses. The first and by far the most common type requires that all pieces of a particular set be equipped in order to get the effect, which for the most part isn't worth it, though the Usukane Haramaki set is fantastically powerful for Monks and Puppetmasters, and the full Perle Hauberk set is good for Dragoons and Dark Knights. The second type, used only in Campaign armour, allows for a partial bonus if two or more pieces of the set are equipped. Unfortunately, Campaign armour is so underpowered that even this doesn't make it useful. Rainbow Pimp Gear still rules the day for the majority of jobs.
    • This has changed in later addons, as armor from Ambuscade, for example, also have the cumulative bonuses for each piece of armor after the first and are rather powerful pieces.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has sets of armor, sets of jewlery, and sets that are a mix of both. However, some class-specific armor sets have a bonus for all six pieces, such as a 10% chance of instantly cooling down an ability .
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam gives stat bonuses for equipping parts made by the same inventor, and special skills for equipping multiples of the same part type.
  • You get a one-time bonus in Rise of Nations's Conquer-The-Entire-World campaign for controlling a complete continent.
  • Outfits in Kingdom of Loathing often have extra effects. For example, the eXtreme Cold-Weather Gear gives you a big boost to cold resistance, while the Clockwork Apparatus causes you to gain a beneficial effect instead of taking damage if you fumble a basic attack. To get the outfit bonus, you must be wearing every piece of the outfit. This also brings with it a change in your avatar.
  • In Billy vs. SNAKEMAN, some teams of allies have extra bonuses on top of individual ally bonuses.
    • Wearing all three pieces of a cosplay set during BillyCon gives you that set's "combo", a fourth cosplay piece for all intents and purposes.
  • Monster Hunter has every set of armor only provide bonus skills and resistances when the full 5-piece set is worn—or at least combined with equipment that gives similar skills.
    • Later installments change this up by requiring only a few pieces from a set, but not all.
  • In AdventureQuest, mastercraft items have a set bonus—for example, the Golden set having you heal half the damage you deal on a special attack. These are usually synched with the abilities of the items in the set. For example, the Golden set was meant for durability, hence the healing, Another notable example would be the Awe set, which gives you the ability to stun your target on an attack, which when combined with it's other Stone Wall properties, would give you more chances to turn on Power Word Die which had a 1% chance. Most others just enhance one of the set's items with higher rates or an added effect.
  • Flyff had the green items (which were not green, but had their name in green). Usually people would only wear green items because their bonuses and the amount of time you could use them was far greater than the normal items. Of course they were also really expensive.
  • Team Fortress 2 used these, with one for every class but The Engineer. They were quite blatant Revenue-Enhancing Devices, being difficult to craft in game and being offered in a bundle for a discount. The second wave of sets didn't require the themed hat to get the bonus, so they are more feasible to collect without spending real money. As of the July 10, 2013 update, however, the original eight sets no longer affect gameplay, changing this from set bonus to a Cosmetic Award which leave specialized markers whenever you get a kill while using them.
    • This was parodied by the "Dual-Purpose Fruit" set, of which one component is actually a long existing item, as the effect is "Reduces the chance of hunger by 13%". 0 is in fact equal to 87% of 0.
    • An unusual version that's just barely not a Cosmetic Award: the promotional items from Alien: Isolation include a set of items for the Pyro which, together, make his primary weapon specifically more damaging to Scout's wearing the other item set (a Xenomorph costume) at the cost of taking more melee damage from them. This basically lets people with each set cosplay at Ripley and the Alien without affecting anyone else.
  • Mega Man
    • Mega Man X's armor system in Mega Man X8 allows him to interchange parts between the two armors, Icarus and Hermes. However, if he instead equips a complete set, a special ability of that armor will be available for use: Icarus comes with the series' trademark Giga Attack, while Hermes has the X-Drive, increasing the capabilities of the Hermes armor further.
    • The Junk Armor in Mega Man Zero 4 comes in three pieces: head, body and legs. Only when Zero equips all three parts should the armor's ability be in effect: doubling his attack power while halving his defense.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In-universe, it is implied that Dwemer/Dwarven armor works like this, or at least used to work like this. The Dwemer were an extremely technologically advanced race of Naytheists, whose many creations include Mecha-Mooks of all shapes and sizes (right up to full blown Humongous Mechas). According to some theories, what modern people know as "Dwemer armor" is actually the mechanical exoskeleton of their most advanced "animunculi". A humanoid wearer can be encased within, where it seals and basically becomes a sort of Power Armor. However, since their disappearance, whatever their intended purpose, modern peoples wear the pieces as quality heavy armor. (A quest-reward perk in Skyrim is meant to provide such a bonus in-game, but actually just gives you a permanent armor bonus whatever you're wearing.)
    • In Skyrim, the Heavy Armor and Light Armor perk trees each have a perk that provides a large boost to your Armor Rating for wearing four pieces of Heavy or Light Armor respectively, as well as a second perk that provides another large boost if those four pieces make up a matching set. In the Dragonborn DLC, the enchantments on each piece of the Deathbrand armor set become stronger if you wear the other pieces of the set. The enchantments on the scimitars Bloodscythe and Soulrender become stronger if they are wielded together. This also complements the Deathbrand set nicely, since the Deathbrand Gauntlets increase damage done by dual wielding weapons.
    • The Elder Scrolls Online's endgame equipment is all about getting the best sets for your role. Although most of them give bonus stats if some of their pieces are worn together, having all of them usually grants a unique effect, like a chance to summon a floating sword to do damage for you or turning your Unnecessary Combat Roll into an actual Rolling Attack.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance gave bonuses depending on who was in your party, usually if they were part of a team like The Avengers or the Fantastic Four. Or if you group up people with similar traits, like the "Please Stop Talking!" group.
  • Fortune Street is similar in nature to Monopoly. Collecting all of the same color command tiles results in a 50% increase in all of the tiles in that color's value. It also showed up in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has a minigame called Command Board.
  • Star Trek Online has a number of item sets that follow this trope. All but one consist of three items (from September 2012 onward. Before there had been a four-item set), with the exception consisting of two items (several list four items, but this is because Romulan Singularity Cores and Warpcores are mutually exclusive and can only be used on specific ships, so any core-including set has to have both as alternatives). Generally one power is added when two items are combined, and a second when three are combined (some sets also grant an additional power at that point if used on the right ship).
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the Alucart items (not to be confused with the powerful Alucard items that you start the game with and quickly have stolen from you): the Alucart Sword, Shield, and Mail. On their own, they have pitiful stats and no special properties. Equip them all at once and they grant you +30 LCK, greatly increasing the chances of critical hits and rare drops.
  • Guild Wars 2 has runes, which gives set bonuses when you apply them to your current armor. They come as minor runes (two bonuses if two are applied to your armor), major runes (four bonuses if four are applied to your armor) and superior runes (six bonuses if six are applied to your armor). Unlike most Set Bonus examples however, you can just get one set bonus with only one rune. You will still need a full set to get all of the bonuses, however.
  • In the Disgaea series, items have a specific "set" number, which determines if the item will be a common, a rare, or a legendary (lowest numbers=legendary). Equipping two or more items with the same number boosts the effectiveness of those items, with the boost getting progressively larger the more items match.
  • In Elsword, there are a few different types of sets. Upgraded equipment (with a purple name) and Secret Dungeon equipment (with a tan/"gold" name), most costumes (save for the earlier sets), and some accessories all receive set bonuses dependent on how many pieces you wear, usually a decent stat bonus but also some specialty effects, such as reduced damage from certain enemies or even an extra level to certain skills.
  • In Toukiden, equipping a matched suit of armour (usually items sharing a name) will grant passive bonuses, such as extra health or elemental damage resistance. In addition, equipping Mitamanote  that were related to one another in life (say, spouses, siblings, or even just people from the same era) will grant bonuses.
  • In Hand of Fate, the Skeleton King Ring and Dragon Ring grant effects if and only if all other items from their respective sets are equipped.
  • The Ultima games have a long history of this, particularly Serpent Isle which could be completed only by assembling the full Serpent Armor.
  • In 20XX, you get a special ability for acquiring the four Core Augments of a given set: Dracopent (primary weapon DPS) makes all your attacks charged by default, Armatort (durability) makes you immune to damage caused by a lot of stage hazards, Owlhawk (power DPS) gives all of your powers special bonus effects (Fireshield gets double the number of fireballs, for example), and Oxjack (mobility) gives you a triple air dash.
  • Guns in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! work like this. All guns consist of a body which determines the manufacturer of the gun as a whole, and several other parts which affect its stats. These parts each have their own manufacturer as well. For example, a pistol with a Bandit barrel gets a boost to damage but its accuracy is lower. However, if the manufacturer of a part matches the manufacturer of the body, the gun gets an additional bonus. For example, a pistol with matching barrel gets a boost to damage, which means a Bandit pistol with a Bandit barrel gets its damage boosted twice over. This ends up being the bane of min-maxers who want the best possible equipment for their character, since its not enough to farm a boss over and over until they finally give you their rare drop, you have to farm multiple copies of that rare drop until you get one with as many matching parts as possible.
    • The Commander Lilith DLC of 2 introduces the Effervescent gear rarity, several of which have bonuses when used together in certain locations. For example: the Hard Carry relic, the Easy Mode shield and the Peak Opener rifle all have effects that only activate when equipped while in the Digistruct Peak map.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odysseyhas a number of Legendary tiered armor sets that have a special bonus activate when worn together. Notably, each armor set is divided among members of the various branches of the Ancient Conspiracy you're fighting, so taking out an entire branch is required to complete the set(which helpfully upgrades all parts of the set to the current level as well).
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a number of custom armor sets called Witcher Gear you can obtain. While each set is designed around amplifying different types of damage (Cat empathizes light attacks, Bear empathizes heavy attacks, etc), there are stat bonuses for having 3 and 6 pieces of a given armor set equipped.
  • In Dota Underlords, having multiple heroes that belong to the same alliance will trigger some kind of special bonus. For example, Assassins gain a chance to perform a Critical Hit, and Primordials spawn an Eidolon when they die. In most cases, the more different heroes you have, the stronger the bonus.
  • Grim Dawn: Epic and Legendary items can form sets similar to the Diablo model. Some sets grant new skills for having the full set, such as the Oathbreaker set giving a chance to shoot a fireball in place of a normal attack.
  • If you wear all the pieces of a costume in Hungry Shark World, then you'll get a strong bonus that's often related to the costume's theme. For example, if you wear all the parts of the bunny outfit - it'll cause your pets to grow to large size. Individual parts of the bunny outfit will give your shark a bonus to bite damage.
  • In Super Mario Bros. 3, using two warp whistles at once (that is, using a warp whistle while already in the Warp Zone) takes you directly to World 8, the final world.
  • In Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom every single piece of equipment belongs to a set, with a special bonus provided if you're wearing the fully upgraded complete set. Ironically doing this can actually render the intended Infinity Plus One equipment second class, as another set has a far more useful stat ability.
  • Artifacts in Genshin Impact tend to come in sets of five. Equipping two of the same set grants you one bonus while four of the same set garners a second bonus.
  • Magical Starsign features several sets that grant special skills once the full ensemble is equipped i.e the Cat set greatly increments agility, the Winged set allows the wearing to always act first in battle, and the Cash set increases money won from battles by 30%.
  • Valheim: Different armor sets hae different effects, like the Root et increasing bow skill but slowing you down, the Fenris set increasing move speed and unarmed damage, the Troll set making you sneakier, etc.

  • The point of the Rusty and Co. arc with Prestige Perkins: Prestige suspects that the Illithid Mobs are gathering lesser magical trinkets to create a dangerous weapon, later revealed to be a literal Magic Missile.
  • In Darken, the Regalia of Evil is comprised of a thorn crown, sword and gauntlet. By themselves, they have relatively minor effects. Get all three, and they fuse with the wielder, who gets exponentially more powerful.

    Western Animation 
  • BIONICLE: the Golden Armor.
    • And long before that, the masks that would combine into a Golden Mask with all the powers of the other masks and the six Great Kanoka Disks that combined into an ultimate disk used to make the Mask of Time.
  • The Makluan Rings in Iron Man: Armored Adventures that the Mandarin is after.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), the Thundercats and their Arch-Enemy Mumm-Ra hunt for various Power Crystals, one of which is the Cats' own Amulet of Concentrated Awesome, the Eye of Thundera. If all are placed in a sword and gauntlet, the wielder will be rendered nigh omnipotent.
  • The Shen Gong Wu in Xiaolin Showdown tend to have this effect. There's a subset of them that when combined will create the dreaded Mala-Mala Jong.
  • The Meta-Nanites from Generator Rex, one lets you control temperature, one lets you control energy, one lets you control Gravity, one lets you control Time, and the last one imitates Rex's powerset. Each one is at least a class 3 on the super weight scale but linked through Rex they are at least a class 5 if not class 7.
  • The Elements of Harmony from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, individually they are just jewelry but together they can perform feats such as world healing waves.
  • In Gargoyles, the Eye of Odin, the Phoenix Gate, and the Grimoire Acanorum are also known as the Three Keys of Power. Each is already a powerful artifact. Bringing all three together unlocks vast magical power. The spell responsible for the Gargoyles' Magic Pants was cast by a mage who possessed the Three Keys of Power at the behest of Caesar Augustus since he found the nudity of awakening Gargoyles distasteful. In the actual animated series the Archmage's Evil Plan was to obtain the Eye of Odin and the Phoenix Gate (he already had the Grimoire) to gain ultimate power. By the end of the animated series all three are lost forever. The Grimoire (which the Archmage ate to absorb it) destroys itself and the Archmage from within after he could no control its power due to losing the Eye. Odin reclaims his missing Eye. Goliath hurls the Phoenix Gate into the timestream to prevent anyone from using it again. In the comics the Gate is broken and releases the actual Phoenix that was imprisoned inside it.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures season 1 has the bad guys looking for 12 magical talismans in order to release the demon Shendu from imprisonment. Each talisman has its own power, and several of them work well together:
    • Jade is fond of pointing out the Rooster's Levitation and the Rabbit's Super Speed combine to create flight.
    • The Horse's Healing and the Dog's Immortality might seem redundant at first, but having only the latter doesn't stop you from feeling pain.

    Real Life 
  • This is essentially the theory behind vertical integration. For example, a mining company might set up a processing plant right next to a mine, so as to not have to pay to haul unprocessed ore very far, adjust the mine's output according to the demand for the finished product, and otherwise be more efficient than a mine and a plant run by unaffiliated organizations. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it does.
  • Fashion is in part an aesthetic version of this: finding combinations of clothing that look good when worn together.
  • In politics, many political parties claim that if enough of their members are elected to a certain political body, they will all vote much the same way and can proceed to get much more business done than if they have to negotiate each and every item. Opinions often vary on whether or not this would be a good thing (and whether a party's members would indeed unify to this degree).
  • Most useful and non-trivial machines are examples of this. A steering wheel, an engine, a transmission, and some wheels are not that useful separately, but put them together and you have a means of traveling fast.
  • Quite a lot of unrelated ideologies claim that once everybody in the world is a member of their ideology, the world will become a utopia. Even naming them will probably prompt essays on the merits or lack thereof of those claims.
  • Collectible items in a set sometimes sell for more than the items individually are worth.
  • Combined arms warfare is based on using different kinds of units (often of different specialization) to cover each other's weaknesses and better hit the enemy's.
    • One classic example is the Macedonian Army organized by Philip III and used by Alexander the Great in his conquests:
composed of Thessalian and Companion heavy cavalry, prodromoi, Paeonian and Thracian light cavalry, the heavy infantry of the Foot Companions and the Hypaspists, Peltasts (light skirmisher infantry) and archers, plus allied and mercenary Greek and (later) Oriental units. The units were organized in a precise order of battle and acting on standardized tactics, the most basic being the use of the Foot Companions' phalanx to pin down the main enemy force and make it vulnerable to the charges of the cavalry, to overcome even numerically superior forces.
  • Its successors, the Hellenistic Armies, remained dominant in the Mediterranean until they abandoned the combined arms approach in favor of a more powerful phalanx of Foot Companions, becoming vulnerable when faced by the more versatile Parthians (who favored Horse Archers to weaken the enemy and heavy cavalry charges the moment the enemy became vulnerable) and the Ancient Roman Army (that became quite efficient in disassembling the phalanx).
  • Life itself. If you are a biological Earth-based lifeform reading this, then you are nothing more than cells. Cells are nothing more than proteins. Proteins aren't alive. Yet put a lot of proteins together in just the right way and you get a living cell that can just barely survive and multiply. Put a lot of cells together and you get everything from mice to shrubbery, to fungi, to blue whales, to you. Dead stuff becomes alive through its interactive complexity, despite none of it having the capacity for life on its own.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Full Set Bonus


Nin Nin Comic

When two Fullbottles that produce a Best Match are inserted into the Build Driver, not only does it give a stronger form than a mismatch would, but it enables the use of a unique weapon.

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Example of:

Main / SetBonus

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