Metaphysical Injury YKTTW Discussion

Metaphysical Injury
Receiving an injury that hurts the soul, life essence, or similar
(permanent link) added: 2013-10-01 14:18:57 sponsor: kjnoren (last reply: 2013-10-29 09:25:33)

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YKTTW notes

  • Tweaked description, added some more related tropes
  • Added tropes to description; rolled in example
  • Some code fixes
  • New examples; rolled in and did a little mining from related tropes
  • Updated description and laconic

Should mental illnesses or direct mental damage be included here? I lean towards no, but have no hard opinion on the matter.


Not every injury is visible on the body. Some injuries may not be of the body at all. These are injuries that have been made to the soul, the spirit, the life essence, or whatever metaphysical construct a work uses together with someone's living body.

Note that for purposes of this trope Depression, psychosis, and other mental illnesses are not included.

See also Our Souls Are Different and Anatomy of the Soul. Compare Emotion Bomb and I'm Having Soul Pains. A Soul-Cutting Blade is a weapon that inflicts this type of injury, or someone with Soul Power can inflict it. Can be the cause of Death of Personality.


Anime and Manga


  • Hercules has the scissors with which The Fates cut the "thread of life," a cord they cut to send the soul of a mortal being to the underworld.


  • In The Sharing Knife series, everything that can support life is infused with ground, and there are that malices consume and are made of ground. There is a hereditary ability to manipulate and perceive ground. Malices and other powerful ground manipulators can ground-rip, causing weakness, slow-to-heal bodily injuries, or death. In the case of a malice, a ground-rip is usually instant death.
  • Demons in the Chalion books can absorb memories, skills, and character traits from their hosts, taking them with them when leaving. Most hosts dies, but they can also be left alive as husks of themselves.
  • In Chronicles of the Kencyrath Jamethiel Dream-Weaver reaped the souls of two-thirds of the Kencyr Host through dance during the Fall, and Jame shows the same level of ability.
  • The short story Different Kinds of Darkness by David Langford where certain graphical patterns haven been found to be damaging to human minds, similar to harmful machine code. These can cause nausea, catatonia, or instant death.
  • Werewolves and some other beings in the Jason Wood universe can draw energy directly from other living beings, killing them without leaving a mark or any discernible couse of death.
  • In Phoenix Rising, Rion is killed by a being that not only wounded his body, but also his soul. Later in the book, Thornfalcon showed himself to be a soul-cutter.
    "His soul itself is injured, cuts across his very essence in parallell with his bodily injuries. Those injuries... were mortal. If I cannot... bind his soul back together... it does not matter if his body is completely whole."

Tabletop Games

  • In Demon The Fallen the titular demons harvest faith to fuel their angelic powers. Typically they do this by creating cults or forging relationships with mortals; however the most heinous way a demon can do this is to literally rip the faith off of a human, which metaphysically scars them and makes them anything from an Empty Shell, Extreme Doormat to just extremely cynical. Repeated uses can make mortals catatonic or outright kill them.
  • Changeling: The Lost has Arcadia note ) and the border between it and the real world is The Hedge. Any human traveling through the hedge, specifically if they get cut by the thorns therein, has pieces of their Soul torn and ripped off. Humans who are kidnapped by the fae and become Changelings can escape Arcadia and recover most of these pieces. All changelings come back missing a piece, and it's usually used by the fae to create an Evil Twin (or a good twin, it's messy). Anyone looking at a Changeling's soul or aura notices it's kind of torn and flimsy, a bit insubstantial and incomplete. A Changeling who reconciles with their fetch (the above mentioned evil twin) can effectively heal their soul.

[AC:Video Games]]

  • The Cipher class in Project Eternity specializes in damaging the enemies' souls (with a consequence of reducing their Hit Points, as well).
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