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The heroes find themselves in a situation that would be difficult for normal mortals; but for them, it should be relatively easy. They have standard Applied Phlebotinum for this situation...
Only this time, they don't have it. The heroes are aware of the Phlebotinum, and how helpful it would be in this situation, but they realize that they have forgotten to bring it. Someone left it at home, or in the car, or someplace else that they can't get back to at the moment. Or maybe it, or its keeper, has been stolen from them. Our heroes will have to think of another plan...
Not to be confused with Forgotten Phlebotinum, where the characters seem to have forgotten that it even exists. This trope is for times when the characters remember it, but simply don't have it handy.
- A Fairy Tail omake has Lucy and Happy go try to exterminate poisonous rats in an old mansion. However, their only tool is a fly swatter, as Happy is in spaz mode and Lucy forgot the keys she needs to use her summoning magic.
- At one occasion in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon forgets his coat and weapons after leaving for school in a hurry. It becomes critical when the Combine attack the school, and causes Nonoko's temporary Magical Girl upgrade.
- Megamind has a weapon that would easily defeat his opponent... but he left it in the car... which is invisible... and he can't remember where he left it.
- Serenity: "It'd sure be nice to have some grenades right about now..."
- Made funnier by the fact the captain made him leave them behind in the first place.
- Labyrinths of Echo by Max Frei have most of the action in the magically-strongest region of a magic-rich world. Some clever characters who remembered that locals are spoiled rotten with "kitchen magic", and were aware of Max's youth in a magic-poor world sometimes called him for some non-magical solution, or a fresh point of view. For one, locals had a lot of magic and alchemy, but few hard metals and weak engineering. They invented magic cars and even low-pressure wheels, but not tracks. At least until Max got a mission to a swamped province and realized he will either explain to two mages what the hell "tracks" are in the next few minutes or wade through this half-mire for who knows how long.
- In a classic Doctor Who episode, the Doctor and Sarah Jane are locked in a prison cell, and are trying to open the door.
Sarah Jane: Just use the sonic screwdriver.
Doctor: It's in the TARDIS.
Sarah Jane: (groans)
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000-ridiculed The Giant Spider Invasion, two characters drive on a road close to the spider's location. They then radio a helicopter to drop a bomb on the spider when they signal with a flare gun, and start running towards the spider. When they get there, one of the characters says that he's forgotten the flare gun...
Tom Servo: On the way to shoot the flares I forgot them.
Crow: Bold new storytelling - forgetting to do a simple errand.
- Barely averted in the Stargate SG-1 episode Avenger 2.0. Felger and Sam go to an alien planet to deliver an antivirus that would solve the problem of the week. At the last minute, Felger's assistant Chloe stops him to remind him to actually bring the CD that the antivirus was on.
- In one Animaniacs episode, Wakko and Dr. Scratchensniff get stuck in the elevator. Scratchy suggests to Wakko that he "pull something big and silly from your gaggy bag" to help them. Wakko responds that he didn't bring it.
- Aladdin left Genie's lamp in his room to go looking for Jasmine and before he knew it, the Evil Chancellor had taken over and sent him to places that 9th-century Arabs didn't even knew existed!
- Futurama - Love's Labours Lost in Space: Bender forgets to replenish the ship's dark matter fuel. Luckily it turns out their newly aquired Team Pet Nibbler excretes it.
- On this page of Order of the Stick, all of Roy and Elan's magic weapons and other useful items are missing, because Elan sent them to be cleaned.