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I've created a monster with three weaknesses:

  1. A soft spot in his belly that can be pierced through normally with objects, but the monster is so big and fast that hitting it is extremely hard and dangerous.

  2. The monster has a severe allergy to some types of coffee, to the point where surrounding yourself with coffee grains can keep him away.

  3. I'm having trouble finding an explanation for the third weakness: a specific type of wood that can pierce through his armor even though bullets can't. Can someone please help me with an explanation about how a piece of specific wood could pierce through armor even when other harder, stronger materials can't?

Solution found!

Thank you all for all the answers, ive selected the most upvoted one as the "solved" one but you all helped me greatly! Thanks All.

The way i solved it is mixing all the answers in one explanation: Basically the monster has a combination of a non newtonian type of blubber (putting together Arcanist Lupus and Greig answers) that usually is strong against bullet-like projectiles and other blunt force stuff and also has a specific type of coat that is fibrous like a doormat (as chasly from UK pointed out) this way the monster gets pratically impervious to damage unless you use the right type of wood that generates the reaction Arcanist Lupus suggested. Also Cyn's response was extremely usefull for the purpose of getting the type of wood and helping in a way to mix wood with bullets.

Thank you all!

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    $\begingroup$ ever seen grass growing through asphalt? growing plants have an enourmous force, that could even pierce this armor. Maybe the wood grows extremely quick $\endgroup$ – user55267 Dec 27 '18 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ This needs an 'armor design' tag, and an explanation why bullets don't penetrate it. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Dec 27 '18 at 23:48
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    $\begingroup$ And a definition of bullet. Mine is anything smaller than a 20mm canon shell. List of armors that stop bullets: Kevlar and ceramics. Only Kevlar fits your needs. So it wears Kevlar; doesn't matter what kind of wood, as long as it can hold a point. See also, non-newtonian fluids. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Dec 27 '18 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ Wood hurts it but bullets don't - got that. But what about something like a bullet made of wood or tipped with wood? Or a crossbow bolt? By which I mean, is the deciding factor the material, or the delivery mechanism? $\endgroup$ – Nat Dec 29 '18 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ If mistletoe is good enough for Baldr ... Not that I'm suggesting it as an answer, just that people are only bringing vampires up in the discussion. $\endgroup$ – Alchymist Dec 31 '18 at 11:51

11 Answers 11

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The monster doesn't have armor - it has blubber.

Bullets don't bounce of the monster - instead they penetrate, but not deep enough to pass through the protective layer of blubber. The blubber isolates the bullets and then spits them out over time.

But the monster is allergic to this special wood. Instead of expelling the wood shards, the wounds close behind the shard, pushing it deeper until it reaches the vital organs inside, piercing and killing the monster.

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    $\begingroup$ If this is combined with @Cyn answer about a coffee tree, that would make plenty of sense. $\endgroup$ – ltmauve Dec 27 '18 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ There has been researches about non-newtonian fluids used for bulletproof vests: sciencealert.com/… because I'm not sure how much blubber you would need to stop a bullet. $\endgroup$ – Asoub Dec 28 '18 at 14:37
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The bullets are made from Adina cordifolia.

Adina cordifolia aka Haldina is a decideous tree that grows up to 20 meters (65 feet) high.

Haldina cordifolia, syn. Adina cordifolia, is a flowering plant in the family Rubiaceae, the sole species in the genus Haldina. It is native to southern Asia, from India in the east to Yunnan and Vietnam and south to Peninsular Malaysia. It is known as Kadam or Kadamba in Hindi and Gáo trò in Vietnamese. (ref)

It is used to make furniture and flooring.

Haldina is part of the Rubiaceae botanical family. The same family coffee is from.

Why would this wood work when metal fails?

For the same reason that silver bullets kill werwolves when lead bullets fail. Or why a small piece of crystal from their home planet will take away the powers of Supergirl and Superman when bullets, bombs, or being hit by a train does nothing.

In other words, it works because you say it works. Make it part of the allergy. Even brief proximity to anything related to coffee will weaken this monster.

The wooden bullet is strong enough to hurt a human...seriously, who wants to be hit by a small pointy stick going 950 miles per hour (427 meters per second, the speed of a slower bullet)? That would kill any human if it hit the right place.

Because the bullet is "made of coffee" (close enough for your purposes), it weakens the monster's body enough to allow the bullet to penetrate. The speed and force of the bullet does the rest.

EDIT: Why not just use a wooden stake?

A stake would work if you could get close enough without dying first. But this monster can sense the presence of coffee from a distance farther than its reach (since surrounding yourself with coffee grains works to keep yourself safe). It would know you were sneaking up on it with a stake and would move out of reach.

With a bullet, you can hit the monster from a distance. And with enough force to do some damage, even if you don't hit its soft spot.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ So wrap a shell casing around a dried coffee bean and make sure you have a good store of caffeine themed one liners available? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 27 '18 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Shotgun cartridge filled with used coffee grounds. Making espresso is now a vital part of your supply chain. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 27 '18 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Have you got your espresso shot today? In case you don't.... BLAM $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Dec 27 '18 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on the nature of the allergic reaction, it may not even have to penetrate - thousands of tiny shavings of the shattered wooden "bullet" could cause a fatal reaction. It doesn't even have to be a bullet, it's just that firing it from a gun gets it on target with enough speed, accuracy, and quantity to do the job. $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Dec 27 '18 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ [shoots the monster in the head. Flips him a salute]. "See you latté....In Hell." $\endgroup$ – Richard Dec 27 '18 at 22:55
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Only the locals know the secret

The invaders with their huge elephant guns can blast away for as long as they like. What they don't know, and the local tribes long ago discovered, is that the armour is actually fibrous and the fibres lie at right angles to the monster's skin (rather like a coir doormat).

enter image description here These fibres easily mat together temporarily to block a bullet and then bounce back to shape, but if the monster is shot with a needle-sharp, wooden arrow or dart, it parts the fibres easily and penetrates right through. A simple poison tip then finishes the job.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ How does this explain why a wooden arrow can hit, while an exactly same-shaped metal arrow fails to pierce the skin? $\endgroup$ – Hans Janssen Dec 28 '18 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Hans Janssen - It doesn't. I'm assuming that the 'invaders' or whatever they are, are equipped with ordinary guns and are taken by surprise when they meet the monster. They just blast away. They don't have time to go and research the monster, design (and make!!!) a new kind of bullet or make their own spears by finding and smelting iron ore to use for the tips. They would have brought all their ammunition with them. Presumably they don't have mining equipment and months or years to find iron ore in what I imagine is a primitive land. The locals use a hard wood that they find in the forests. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Dec 28 '18 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ You are the first user I've happened upon that also wrote where they are from in their username. Greetings, chaslyfromUK, I'm RyanfaeScotland! $\endgroup$ – RyanfaeScotland Dec 31 '18 at 15:02
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Why does a wooden stake through the heart or sunlight kill a vampire and bullets, knives, and other death dealing implements don't? It's part of the mystique of the monster.

Maybe the skin of the monster "senses" a metal bullet and turns into armor for the impact, then softens again. Sort of like oobleck, but better, since Mythbusters tried to stop a bullet with cornstarch and water and failed. The skin can't detect the wood, so doesn't harden and the wood is able to pierce the skin into the vital organs.

It all comes down to what you want to do. It's your book, you don't have to stick science. You already have the mythical creatures tag, so it, pretty much by definition, doesn't have to make sense.

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Can someone please help me with an explanation about how a piece of specific wood could pierce through armor even when other harder, stronger materials can't?

You're going to have to improve the armour before the question makes sense, because e.g. kevlar bullet-proof armour is famously not stab-proof. Kevlar stops fast relatively blunt objects, but not slow sharp blades, so being bulletproof does not inherently protect against metal blades.

Maybe you could come up with another reason why metal blades are no use (perhaps a dense acidic sweat which corrodes steel unreasonably fast, blunting the edge?) and make ironwood spears the weapon of choice against your foe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Before the question makes sense (+1) it's going to need to not start off with imaginary handwaved armor, that presumably can stop a .50 BMG? Yeah, no... $\endgroup$ – Mazura Dec 28 '18 at 0:04
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Perhaps the armour is a bit like a non-newtonian fluid (ok, solid in this case) that doesn't only react to force but also reacts/hardens depending on the density of the thing hitting it.

My balsa wood arrow doesn't have the density or velocity required to make it react and slips right through, but your dense fast-moving bullets make it tougher than Kevlar. Unfortunately, balsa is too soft to make a good arrow, but over the years we've found that handwavium wood is low density and really strong across the grain and that's why we use it against these monsters.

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  • $\begingroup$ A quick look at engineeringtoolbox.com/density-solids-d_1265.html suggests that all wood is less dense than metal. You can make the density-reaction curve anything you like if your story needs a more exotic wood. $\endgroup$ – Greig Dec 28 '18 at 20:43
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Since it's natural armor, I imagine it's made of some kind of keratin. Maybe reinforced with fiber.

Without getting into the specifics of the wood or the keratin, let me suggest that some quality of the of the sap in the wood is like silver nitrate solution (AgNO3) and some quality of the keratin "glue" is like salt (NaCl).

The reaction moves very quickly (see this video) and moves even more quickly in cold environments (like normal temperatures).

So again speculating with this hypothetical pair of reactive sap and keratin, lets say the output products are significantly weaker than the undamaged armor. Additionally, the chemicals that result from the reaction may cause a secondary reaction with the fibers reinforcing the armor, causing those polymers/fibers to curdle (see video).

The compound effect is that a simple touch from the wood causes the natural armor to gap open, and this happens quickly enough that a slow-moving attempt to penetrate the armor (such as stabbing it with a stake or spear made of this wood) just seems to pass through with inexplicable ease.

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I recommend quebracho, a wood so hard that it supposedly breaks axes.

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Your creature has a natural armor that is a non-Newtonian material (I won't say fluid because it's normally a soft solid.) When hit by a supersonic impact it's very hard and can bring a bullet to a stop before it penetrates deep enough to do a serious injury.

Your wooden arrow or bolt, however, is coming in subsonic and only faces a soft outer layer. It's long enough to penetrate deep and inflict a serious wound. (A subsonic bullet would likewise face only a soft layer but wouldn't get through it.) Your special wood is something that grows very slowly, makes a very hard, very straight branch. The rings aren't tightly bound to each other, though--when it hits the layer separate, the friction of trying to punch through slows the outer layers without doing much to the inner layers, hence allowing deeper penetration than you would otherwise get. It takes that to punch through the outer layer.

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This creature has a pseudo magical outer shell of unknown molecular structure. This gives it strength... But a specific wood type also has a molecular structure that loves to chemically interact with the shell of this creature. This interaction quickly weakens the surrounding structure and allows you to pierce through.

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The answer is even easier than you think.

Each wooden bullet would have to be made from the 'lodgepole' or core of the tree. As the tree grows layers develop at higher levels on this core. The bullet, looking at it end on, would have rings. When fired the bullet, conical in shape (7.62 NATO shape) would shed layers as it passed through armour. It would act like a depleted uranium round, heating up and hardening as it went through. Velocity becomes yur friend. Copper sleeve the round for stability, which would shed on the armour.

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  • $\begingroup$ Being weak vs. wood doesn't make you immune to depleted uranium rounds. If those don't do it, nothing will. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Dec 30 '18 at 5:36

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