42
$\begingroup$

Gentlemen, I am sure you all know why I have gathered you here today.

As we all know, the Dark Lord who has appeared on the borders of our beloved realm of Average Magical Medieval Setting commands his legions of demons and trolls with an iron grip and threatens our very existence as a cruel feudal society based on slavery with nonsense such as "industrialization" and "human rights", but what truly makes him worse than the seasonal run-of-the-mill insane necromancers is his recently patented defense spell.

For those of you who didn't get the memo, this incredibly slightly-stronger-than-average man is the inventor of a passive spell that is independent from his senses and, in event of imminent death or damage to his body by physical means, stops time from his perspective and warns him of the danger that set it off, allowing him to move in a radius of 10 meters and manipulate anything he can touch. As long as he does not exit the aforementioned radius, time will stay still. We have however recently discovered that the spell has a downtime of two seconds after every activation.

He has so far survived magical bullets travelling faster than the speed of sound, explosions set off behind a wall of his room while he was sleeping (I've heard he spent about five "hours" in stopped time before waking up and realizing something was wrong), ghosts that could punch very hard, Endless Pits of Death (did I mention that during time-stop he is not affected by The Invisible Imps That Push Everything Down, and he can thus float out of the way of danger?), and even our polymorphing assassins got squashed when they tried to inoculate him with lethal poison while disguised as mosquitos. And of course, stopping time has been trademarked as a vital part of his spell under planar copyright laws so we can't just send a couple of warriors armed with it against him.

So here we are. How do we stop him before everything we know and love is irredeemably made better for everyone else but us?

Yes, yes Arnold, I know what you're about to say, but not everybody can get mad glimpses of the future like you, and as I already told you earlier we don't even know what germ theory is, let alone atoms and nuclear reactions. All we can do is try and beat him only using something that makes sense for our setting.

$\endgroup$
  • 22
    $\begingroup$ I think you may have logic'd yourself into a corner from which there is no escape. All hail the time stopping dark lord. $\endgroup$ – James Jan 27 '17 at 20:37
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Whenever you invent the impossibly powerful bad guy and then beg other people to help you figure out how to kill him, expect to answer extremely pointed questions. For example, can you define precisely what "...in event of imminent death or damage to his body by physical means." The fundamental strength of this superpower is in its ability to react, so knowing exactly how that trigger works will be important. Also are there any cooldowns involved? I.e. if I can set it up to trigger his ability, force him out of the 10m sphere, then hit him again, how does the next trigger work? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Jan 27 '17 at 20:47
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The only way I can see to do it is to get him into a room with walls thicker than 10 meters and then lock the door behind him. There is no immediate threat to him so I suppose he couldn't activate his spell. The threat comes when he starts to starve so you have time to fill the 10 meter tunnel with rocks or something. The problem is: how do you get him in there? $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Jan 27 '17 at 20:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The downtime is specified in the post. And the limits of direct damage are left ambiguous on purpose because the focus of the question is creative answers for indirect death (see: the 21-meter rock one). $\endgroup$ – Some Guy Jan 27 '17 at 21:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SomeGuy The problem with that is vague definitions yield vague answers. You list several ways that you can't kill the villain, but that's all we have to work on. For example, it's entirely reasonable that this spell would trigger just before the 21-meter rock is put in place because because once it's in place death is guaranteed, and guaranteed death should qualify as "imminent danger." In that sense, I suppose we should be glad your villain's spell is as weak as it is. This one is unusually easy to defeat compared to other "stop my invincible warrior" questions. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Jan 27 '17 at 23:23

18 Answers 18

57
$\begingroup$

Oh, the possibilities...

I'm assuming that even in 'stopped time' our villain still has a metabolism to be able to do things.

Poison

This one is ideal even for non-magical folks. It comes in a wide variety of convenient packages, and can be easily administered in a way that is not immediately lethal - and should thus bypass the "imminent death" trigger - but also irreversible.

An Oubliette

Exactly how you arrange this one is up to you; all you need to do is ensure that Our Bad Guy ends up in a space that he cannot remove himself from. A great option might be to lure him into a room with only a single exit, and seal the exit with a heavy block, then just...leave him to it. Death will not be imminent until several hours or days after he is trapped (depending on whether the room is airtight), thus will not trigger the annoying spell until it is too late.

Garotting

If you can get your hands on him, simply bind his hands with chains he cannot easily break, and bind his throat with a tight wire. The spell will trigger, yes, but he'll have at most a few minutes to try to get out of it. With bound hands. (Hopefully the spell will stop once he's gone cold).

Drop a 21-meter wide rock on his head

That 10-metre radius limitation is a key vulnerability. If you can get him out on a rock surface (so he can't dig) and drop a rock on his head that's too wide for him to dodge (I'm assuming, of course, that you have standard Invisible-Imps-That-Push-Everything-Down-Cancelling Spells), he can stop time as long as he likes, he's got nowhere to go. He can stay there and die of thirst/starvation/old age.

$\endgroup$
  • 47
    $\begingroup$ The 21-meter wide rock option is downright evil. I've got to say that it's an exquisite way to approach the problem. $\endgroup$ – Some Guy Jan 27 '17 at 21:02
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ My understanding was that time is stopped for everyone else, but not for him. So if he's starving to death, he can stop time all he wants - it's not going to create any more food for him. $\endgroup$ – Werrf Jan 28 '17 at 15:54
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Your rock probably needs to be bigger. It stops 10 meters above him. If he sprints from one side of the safe zone and dives out the other side, he should be able to clear that 0.5 meter gap before it falls the 10 meters. $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Jan 28 '17 at 15:55
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Xavon_Wrentaile Not to mention the absurd accuracy requirements of an exactly 21 meter rock. A 40 meter rock would probably work better. About 5 meters of leeway centering it, and then too far to get out of the way once time resumes. $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Jan 28 '17 at 20:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don't forget where you drop the rock on him. Make sure he can't dig down far enough to where he won't be damaged. Bonus points would be doing it over a spike pit trap, provided time resumes if he dies while time is stopped. If that is a worry, just make the pit trap 12 meters below the ground. $\endgroup$ – Erroneous Jan 29 '17 at 16:51
32
$\begingroup$

Gentlemen, I propose the following way of getting rid of this pest:

His ability will only trigger on imminent death. This indicates we can tie him up with a rope! Then we can just put him in a cell and watch him slowly die of dehydration. Easy, relatively fast, no blood and no pesky time-control. That will teach these new-age-mages with their fancy passive spells a lesson!

If you want it to be quicker, dear Lord, you have to use your mind-control ability of really-really-bad-music and drive him insane. I a sure you can do this! Maybe he will kill himself. Again I recommend tying him up first and making sure he can't escape. Ropes make everything so much easier. I love ropes!

Luring him into one of your dungeons by means of your umeasurable wealth might be an option too. Just seal the entrance once he is in and again let him die a slow and painful death, alone in the darkness without his allies. Downside: no ropes...

Kind regards

Your cordmaker

$\endgroup$
  • 18
    $\begingroup$ I like this idea. In fact, I like it so much that I have chosen YOU, kind cordmaster, as the one who will wade through our enemy's endless armies to tie him with ropes. Good luck getting past the demons! $\endgroup$ – Some Guy Jan 27 '17 at 21:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SomeGuy Ehm, well... That's - an honour!... Thank you so much. I don't know what to say... Will I at least get companions....? I thought we had some Invisible-and-Untectable-Fairies-of-Light for this kind of task? Or... like... an army or somethin. Where did they go? $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jan 27 '17 at 21:14
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The army? Oh, they've just been busy getting slaughtered by the endless legions of the Dark Lord for the past few months! Why did you think we were even discussing this if it could've been fixed just by throwing soldiers at the problem? Were you sleeping during our meeting again? $\endgroup$ – Some Guy Jan 27 '17 at 21:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SomeGuy Oh, yeah ... right... I remember! Thinking: "Should I tell him about my Electrostatic-Fire-Rainbow-Rope-of-Permamnently-Binding-Everything-Dark-and-Evil....? Nah, I should go home and practice my 'Hail dark and evil Overlord!'-Speech" $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jan 27 '17 at 21:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ All I can hear as I read this... is "No Mr. Bond... I expect you... to die!" Visual Here $\endgroup$ – WernerCD Jan 28 '17 at 3:14
19
$\begingroup$

Two Bombs

So this assumes he knows no other magic (dang those other patents!)

Once we figured out 1 doesn't work, but it has a 2 second recharge time, we just set 2 bombs. The first goes off and triggers his little time stop.

This smart Dark lord, understanding that the superheated and the concussion blast of air are what would kill him (and a couple of those pesky pieces of shrapnel), uses his stopped time to push away those molecules of air and shrapnel that would hit him and steps through the 10 m radius right where this little vacuum pocket he's made himself. Satisfied, he smiles to himself before being concussed, eviscerated, and evaporated by the explosion that happens 1/2 second later.

Of course, to ensure he dies, they made this bomb significantly bigger so that its concussion blast definitely kills him because they don't want him to be simply thrown back say into a wall that's far enough away that it triggers another time stop so he can keep himself from smashing into it.

$\endgroup$
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ And to be tripply sure... make a third bomb that's even BIGGER to really ... "concush, evscerate and evaporate" him 1/2 second after the 2nd bomb. You have to REALLY be sure in these situations. $\endgroup$ – WernerCD Jan 28 '17 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ My first idea was to toss flaming sacks of fertilizer at him from trebuchets, placing him at the centre of a 10 metre circle. Then follow up with another ring one second later. Between this answer and Werff's, I don't think I've added anything new. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jan 28 '17 at 9:14
11
$\begingroup$

A Pair of Snipers

With knowledge of the two second cooldown period a pair of crossbowmen can situate themselves in good sniping positions. First crossbowman fires a bolt, which gets frozen in time. The Dark Lord, savvy to the nature of crossbow bolts and knowing they take longer than two seconds to reload, steps aside and causes the bolt to miss.

But the second crossbowman, with a keen eye on the look out for the Dark Lord suddenly teleporting out of the way from his perspective, readies his own shot. The second the Dark Lord does his time skip a second shot is fired and hits it's mark before the two second period is up.

It doesn't have to be crossbows of course, but the idea is the same. Two assassins. One to trigger the spell and another waiting to take the Dark Lord out once the spell ends.

Trap Him

Wait until the Dark Lord is smelly and in need of a nice, warm bath. Once he has submerged himself use a magical assassin to transmute his bath water into iron. It shouldn't trigger the spell because he is in no immediate danger, but it will completely immobilize him and leave him at your mercy. You can then make him your prisoner and use him as a nice yard decoration. Certainly quite the conversational piece at your next party.

Just as before you don't need to use this exact plan. Simply find a way to capture him that won't cause any harm to his person and the spell shouldn't trigger. Once he's captured you can execute him at your leisure. After all, if he stops time but can't move he'll just be trapped in place until he dies of dehydration.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I like the second idea. Water can also be frozen - same effect. $\endgroup$ – Neolisk Jan 29 '17 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ So, how do you plan to aim in two seconds? One second if you're 60 metres away? $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Jan 29 '17 at 17:07
8
$\begingroup$

Blow his legs off

If his passive spell only activates on imminent death, then make sure your magical explosions aren't big enough to kill him in one shot. Stopping time is a pretty useless ability if you're on the ground, bleeding to death.

If his ability also triggers on things that indirectly cause imminent death, it should still be possible by calling your most able earth-mages to create a 20-diameter stone dome around him when he's walking outside. That way he can't mess with the forming of the walls, as walking out of his 10 meter magic sphere would break the spell. When you've caught him, you simply wait until he starves to death.

Or incapacitate him in some other way. Really anything he can't escape from no matter how much time in the world he has.

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Surround Him

Summon a 25 meter diameter dome of rock around him. Make it mostly airtight, and at least one meter thick. Leave a small hole in the top. Now through that hole, fill it with poison gas, alchemist's fire, etc. Or just pump the air out. If he tries to leave, he'll have two seconds of whatever you are using, filling the dome.

If he has some way to break through the rock, surround the first dome with a second one, and fill the space between them with your poison/fire/etc.

Alternately, just surround him on all sides with the poison gas. If he tries to leave, all he gets is a smaller space of clean air.

$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Arrows, lots of 'em

It's quite simple really. He can move in a 10 meter radius if he's about to be harmed. If you deploy a squad of highly trained longbowmen, composed of 30 men, in a square formation with, each row with 6 men, each 0.5 meter apart, then he can't escape.

He can run go 10 meters in each direction, which means he'll escape the 5th man of either side he runs to, barely....but then he's hit by the 6th longbowman.

All it takes is a medieval mathmatician to come up with this idea, no need for magic bullets.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Carpet-bomb a 15m radius with arrows. Like a good Spartan, if the arrows will blot out the sun, the Dark Lord will fight in the shade - for a couple seconds before suffering several dozen puncture wounds. $\endgroup$ – Iwillnotexist Idonotexist Jan 29 '17 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking about this. If time is stopped, with a bunch of arrows in his spell's radius, won't he be able to simply pick them up and toss them away, neo-style? $\endgroup$ – Cássio Renan Oct 14 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps, but he'd have to have really good timing to do so, as he'd have to grab them before being hit, but close enough that he can pick them up. Also worth mentioning that arrows are quite fast (if shot properly), especially when falling. $\endgroup$ – Oak Oct 15 at 8:24
5
$\begingroup$

Well, the easiest way would be to convince/force him to kill himself, since the time warp won't stop him. Therefore, poison him with something that will make him suicidal within a day or two.

in event of imminent death or damage to his body by physical means

Well, there's a loophole if I ever saw one. In fact, in a magical universe, this should be downright easy to work around. We just have to use magic to alter him or his surroundings so that he will be helpless to save himself regardless of how much time he has.

  • Bait him onto a portal to a dimension where there is no physical existence. Now nothing triggers the defense and he can die as easily as anything else there
  • Zap him with a magical death ray (pure magic, no magically-enhanced regular projectiles)
  • Polymorph him into a slug when he's on a salt flat
  • Polymorph him into a shark (while he's on dry land)

Now, assuming you close that loophole, your next best loophole is that he can't stop the defense except by leaving leaving the bubble. This is perfect, since it allows you to force him to move somewhere lethal.

  • Put lethal traps or assassins outside the radius of his defense, and then trigger his defense with something else. Kill him when he leaves the bubble.

Finally, the true weakness is the time-stopping itself. You just have to go backwards in time to kill him. His defense will render him completely blind to an attack from the future, since the time-stopping will prevent the attack from even existing until his shield disengages. (The simplest would be a magical bomb that detonates backwards in time.)

$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

Don't listen to these evil counselors of yours. Poisoning? Infectious diseases? Maliciously well-thought traps? A big rock? Leave those for the assassins guild!

We are men of honor, and with honor we will fight! Let us assemble the biggest army that we can. The Armies Of The World™ will surely be his bane!

He can't fight an army! Battlefields are huge. If he moves away 10 meters... He'll still be in a battlefield. 10 more meters? Still there! I'm sure someone in our ranks will be able to finish him off in 2 whole seconds. Probably that vagrant swordsman that redeemed himself from some of his old doings and is now flirting with the princess. That guy is manly.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

The easiest way to negate incredibly powerful and wide-ranging magical defenses is to negate magic (hopefully in a limited time/space, not permanently everywhere). Simply™ coerce the Dark Lord into the zone of antimagic (or have some sort of antimagic "bomb" that releases it's field upon "detonation"). After that, use a knife, a spear, a particularly heavy frying pan - the possibilities are endless.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the serious student as to how to create such an antimagic field. I never claimed to be an experimental thaumatologist, merely a theoretical one. If you need me, I'll be in my ivory tower napping... er... researching.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

I recommend the Zerg Rush, which I discovered the other day while researching Google Search easter eggs.

Essentially, surround him with many, many, many opponents. He can freeze time, but unless he wants to stick around in a crowded (but frozen!) throne room or battlefield for the rest of his "time" in his little bubble, he'll have to attempt to fight his way out eventually. Just make sure you bring more people than can fill a 10m bubble, and you should be able to rush him effectively during his two second break.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Oh dear. These are all too complicated and reek of irreligiousness. Everyone knows that for evil, the only sure cure is the purifying fire.

Set fire to the entire area around where he is. A 10m time stop ability isn't much use in the heart of a half mile wide incandescent circular forest fire centred on him.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

The core flaw is the downtime and the radius. Step one, have a huge hidden explosive somewhere that he is going to be. It needs to be powerful enough to kill him regardless of where he is in the area of effect of the spell. Step two is to trigger the time stop using something like the magical bullets when he is in the blast radius. Step three is to trigger the blast during those crucial two seconds.

A more general solution is anything that will kill him during the two second window or anything that will kill everything within the area of effect no matter what they do. Remember, "As the size of an explosion increases, the number of situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero."

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

An infectious disease

Almost all diseases have incubation periods long enough that by the time "imminent death or damage to his body by physical means" is satisfied, the only warning he'd get would be "you have measles". Not much he can do about that, time stop or no.

One of those polymorphing assassins of yours just has to get close enough to sneeze on him, smear a bit of infectious goop on his doorknob, or put some contagious fleas on his bed. Getting someone sick is not exactly a tall order for an intelligent, determined rodent.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

This guy is basically a one-trick pony and this should not be too difficult. Here are some other more or less conventional means of defeating him.

Disempowerment

Stopping time is a pretty major magic, however it is primarily protective power and not an army-crushing power (potentially yes but see below). So for projecting influence, this guy still needs intermediaries, i.e. other people (armies, agents, servants,...). While it may be difficult to kill their Dark Lord, killing his servants should be fairly standard business, particularly because he cannot be everywhere and most leaders tend to stay out of harm (if he does not, combine with one of the solutions below). Without means of projecting influence, he is... well... nobody really. If not sure how to kill his armies, raise a separate question.

No Harm / Capture policy

The guy is probably a killer in personal combat because as damage approaches, he stops time and can kill anybody in the immediate surroundings (that can be a whole lot of people). So the key is not to damage him. Train your soldiers that if they get a whiff of him on the battlefield (I suppose he must be distinguished from his regular troopers so that commanders do not try to command him around), he is to come to no harm at all. Thus you will turn the battle to a regular battle and the key is just to defeat his army (if you don't know how, raise a separate question). The one guy you cannot afford to harm should not be a battle-turning factor, furthermore you should have some special forces trained and equipped to handled him (heavy soldiers that will form up a shield wall around him; riders with nets etc.) so you can capture him and dispose of him in a manner that does not trigger his trick (dehydration, poison, suffocation, disease,...).

Full area saturation

My favourite solution, derived from the 21 meter rock, as it should be the easiest to achieve. Your task here is to simply overwhelm him and overload his power. This can be achieved either by the super-large rock which he cannot avoid even if the trigger gets... triggered, or by anything else similar to it. My first choice would be probably a few cohorts of longbowmen trained to fire in coordinated salvos that will kill anything in rather wide area, following each other very quickly, i.e. your guy is likely to survive the first, but the second, coming immediately afterwards, is likely to get him. If he is clever and say, builds some sort of shield (e.g. from the bodies of his henchmen), you have not saturated the area enough and you need to you more firepowah - batteries of cannon or squads of mages with AoE spells,... again basically anything saturating the wide area of his teleport as well as vaporising whatever protection he can build around himself.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

The issue with stopping time is you then need to restart it. Watch the Twilight Zone episode where the guy finds a clock that can stop time, but while using it to rob a bank vault it breaks leaving him forever stranded in a frozen world. (Check Wikipedia for "A Kind of Stopwatch".)

So the solution is simple. Foreshadow this two-world universe: one of motion and one of stillness. And then have the one thing he so desperately needs to get out of the frozen world be somehow broken or disrupted by the brave hero. Maybe the two of them are forever stuck in the frozen world. Maybe a whole away-team or an army get stuck in there. You then have reduced the problem to a battle where time cannot be stopped again. Unless, of course, it could still be, and then you could go inception style and stop time within time, and so on.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Teleport him into the ocean several miles below the surface. Obviously this depends on if he can escape from targeted spells. If he can, teleport the entire sphere he can move in into the ocean. Just make sure there are no merfolk around the target to accidentally save him.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Does he spend any time in a castle, tower, or similar high structure with lots of potential energy? Preferably in the upper flors, or at least middle floors.

Target the structure. Standard one-shot covert demolition job. Magical explosives if physical explosives are not advanced enough.

Even if the time-stop is triggered a couple seconds before the bomb goes off, it's far enough out of his sphere of influence. Nothing he could do at that point.

Once the building he's in starts falling, there's not much he can do either, unless he's next to a window.

Bonus hilarity points if the spell triggers when he's free-falling, and he immediately splatters into the lower limits of his sphere of influence, or into the falling floor that just froze in place. But I guess we'll never know from the rubble mess.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ The falling imps don't pull him whilst he's in the magical time bubble. He could just move sideways, if he's near a window, or if stuff fragments enough for him to push his way through, then swim through the air. If he can travel at 5m/s sideways whilst barely falling, he's sure to get to something soft. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Jan 29 '17 at 15:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.