Created By: StevenT on May 5, 2013 Last Edited By: StevenT on October 3, 2013

Almost Perfect Mind Control

There are some things even mind control can't make you do.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A character is put under almost complete mind control. Almost, because there is some trait they have that is so strong even mind control can't stop it.


Examples:

  • The Simpsons - In "Homer at the Bat" Mr. Burns hires a hypnotist to motivate the team and it seems to work, until he tells them to give 110%, to which they reply that's technically impossible.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball - In "The Refund" one of Gumball and Darwin's attempts to get Larry to give them a refund was to hypnotise him. After testing to see if it worked by getting him to impersonate animals they again asked for a refund but he still said no.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series - In "Checkers" Mertle manages to disobey Lilo's orders even under mind control.
  • In the Rated A for Awesome episode "Sleep Smart" when nearly everyone in town is hypnotised by a subliminal message in a commercial, making them go to buy the advertised product, when Les and Thera's hypnotised parents go to buy the product the mom insists they buy new shoes as well.
  • In the Futurama episode "Mother's Day" Mom orders all robots created by her company to rebel and help her Take Over the World, but there's no stopping Bender's vices.
    Bender: Sorry, Ma, but you ordered me to rebel. And loot I shall!
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • May 5, 2013
    Chabal2
    Often seen when hypnotism is mentioned, in that the hypnotist can't force the victim to do something they are viscerally against.
  • May 5, 2013
    Koveras
    • Triply-subverted in Code Geass: when Lelouch geasses Princess Euphemia by accident to massacre innocent civilians, which goes completely against her just and pacifist nature, she manages to resist his order for a few seconds (where everyone else obeyed a Geass order instantly), but then succumbs to it and proceeds with the massacre. Later on, as she is dying from a gunshot, she manages to snap out of it, with her memories repressed. Only one other character manages to fight off a Geass effect on her own much later in the series.
  • May 5, 2013
    Astaroth
    The Lilo and Stitch example comes across as a bit of a Zero Context Example; What was Mertle ordered to do and why would it have been out of character for her?

    • In Doctor Who episode The Christmas Invasion, the Sycorax are bluffing when they threaten to make their hypnotised victims commit mass suicide - the survival instinct is just too strong.

    • In Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox, Butler becomes mesmered by Opal Koboi, but refuses to follow an order to kill his friends Holly and Number One; instead he compromises by trapping them in a barrel so they can't interfere in Opal's plans. When he's ordered to kill Artemis, the boy who he's devoted his entire life to protecting, the effort of resisting causes him to suffer an almost-fatal heart attack.

    Edit: Bisected's post below reminded me of another example:

    • Played for laughs in Order Of The Stick; Nale places Belkar under a Suggestion spell, then orders him to kill his allies and bring Nale any magic items he loots from them. Belkar refuses, which reminds Nale that Suggestion can't compel someone to commit an act they would vehemently object to. He rewords the order to 'Kill your allies and keep their magic items for yourself'; Belkar, being a Token Evil Teammate, obliges.
  • May 5, 2013
    MonaNaito
    • Downplayed in Aladdin: Jafar ultimately succeeds in fully hypnotizing the Sultan. He does, however, initially have trouble getting the (otherwise easy to hypnotize) Sultan to comply with one particular aspect of his plan:
      Jafar: Desperate times call for desperate measures, my liege.
      Sultan: [hypnotized] Yes...desperate measures...
      Jafar: You will order the princess to marry me.
      Sultan: I will order the princess to marry... [breaks out of the trance] but you're so old!
  • May 5, 2013
    Bisected8
    • The "Suggestion" spell from Dungeons And Dragons works this way; trying to use it to force someone to do something against their nature gives them another chance to shrug off the compulsion.
  • May 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Spells
        • (Suggestion spell example)
        • Someone under a Charm Person spell would not commit suicide, make themselves helpless or give up something valuable.
      • 1st Edition psionic abilities
        • The Hypnosis ability allowed giving reasonable orders only. The victim couldn't be ordered to kill themselves.
        • Creatures under the effect of the Mass Domination ability would not do anything which was obviously self-destructive.
      • Magic items
        • Anyone affected by a Rod of Beguiling would not obey commands that would subject them to needless injury or destruction.
        • The Eyes of Charming, Philter of Love and Ring of Human Influence effectively cast a Charm Person spell (see above) on the recipient.
        • A potion of Plant Control cannot make an intelligent plant destroy itself.
    • Call Of Cthulhu. When the Dominate spell is used, orders given by the caster must not violate the basic nature of the target, such as committing suicide.

    Edit: moved some "against their deeply held beliefs" components to Intrinsic Vow.
  • May 6, 2013
    DracMonster
    A character trying to resist is already covered by Fighting From The Inside. Most of the "personality shows though" cases are probably really that.

    However, we dont seem to have one for specific actions like suicide being exempted.

    Mind Control Exemption Clauses, perhaps?
  • May 11, 2013
    1810072342
    A parodied/deconstructed/something-ed example: In Death Note manga, Light can control the circumstances of someone's death that is written in his notebook and the things they do in their final minutes. But he can't make a criminal from Japan die in front of the Eiffel Tower within an hour (which would include breaking out of their jail and getting the flight in time), as he attempts.
  • May 11, 2013
    DaibhidC
  • May 11, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    I started a YKTTW, Greed Trumps Mind Control, giving examples of characters whose avarice cannot be overridden by mind control.

  • May 12, 2013
    SKJAM
    In the Champions roleplaying game, trying to mind control people into breaking their Psychological Limitations adds a set amount of difficulty depending on how strong the limitation is (Total-strength limitations require a very high dice result indeed.) Or you can make your mind control power less expensive by taking "cannot force people to do something they would not normally do."
  • July 15, 2013
    XFllo
    bumpity bump
  • July 16, 2013
    Koveras
    This could use some Rolling Updates to get hats.
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 26, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ This trope is not limited to a vow a character has made.

    Tabletop Games
    • Earthdawn. The Nethermancer spell Command Nightflyer can't override the target creature's survival instincts or make it act against its basic nature (e.g. forcing a bat to fly around in the daylight).
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    Description plz.
  • August 13, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Role Master, Spacemaster Privateer campaign setting. The Suggestion psychic power causes the target to follow any suggested behavior unless the suggestion is completely alien to him (e.g. maiming himself or suicide).
  • August 13, 2013
    Generality
    ^^^ Nor is that trope. They are effectively the same.
  • August 15, 2013
    Arivne
    To distinguish this from Intrinsic Vow, it needs to say that it doesn't cover any Mind Control failure due to a character trait (deeply held belief) of the target. Any such examples should be moved to Intrinsic Vow.

    We also need a Super Trope covering all cases where Mind Control just doesn't work to avoid Missing Supertrope Syndrome. It would have both Intrinsic Vow and this trope as Sub Tropes.

    Tabletop Games
    • Toon supplement Tooniversal Tour Guide "Supertoons" setting. The Animal Control super power can make an animal do anything except something that will make it get hurt or Fall Down (the Toon equivalent of getting killed).
    • SPI's Universe. The Mind Control psionic power can make the target do anything except something that will harm themselves, such as walking off a cliff or shooting themselves.
  • August 15, 2013
    DAN004
  • September 28, 2013
    Koveras
  • September 28, 2013
    KarjamP
    • Truth In Television, as real life hypnotism has been generally proven to only be effective if the subject's willing to do what has been suggested. If they're not, then the hypnotism won't work.
  • September 28, 2013
    Lophotrochozoa
    @Bisected8: That's Dominate Person and Dominate Monster. Suggestion is a weaker spell, requiring the caster to make the suggestion seem reasonable.
  • October 3, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons, Dragon magazine #43 article "The Witch". A witch's Fascinate power can make the victim do anything except commit suicide.
  • October 3, 2013
    Koveras
    • Max's "Orbs of Death" in Labyrinths Of Echo actually have a Mind Control effect on people who can't deflect them, and their first effect is always the victim loudly proclaiming "I'm with you, master". Except in one case: the aristocratic mother of Max's love interest is so proud (and/or insane) that even under mind control, she refuses to call him "master", instead only saying "I am here, what do you want of me?"

    How about calling it Mind Control Red Line instead?
  • October 3, 2013
    Argon2
    • In the tabletop game Exalted, most forms of brainwashing can override anything save the victim's survival instinct. The devs explain this as one's instinct to live being stronger than any other drive they have. Another reason for implementing this was that they wanted the brainwasher to do interesting things with their victims that weren't; 'I order you to commit suicide.'
      • A Solar Charm, Righteous Lion Defense, allows the Exalt buying it to choose one thing- like a country, or relationship, or an ideal- that no brainwashing or influence can force them to betray.
  • October 3, 2013
    DAN004
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=4l11kmeeca28jvl33noeduz1