Previously named "Mandatory Damage". Should we get a better title to avoid using the stock phrase "no pain, no gain"? If so, what should it be? REQUESTING COMMENT ON TITLE
Sometimes, in order to progress, you have get dinged up a bit. Or possibly to within an inch of your life, depending on the circumstance.
This feature is particularly noticeable in videogames, where there are easily-identifiable situations where you can't get around obstacles without losing health or hit points. Such situations may sometimes involve Cast from Hit Points
Can be cheapened if immortal, as in Immortal Life Is Cheap
. This trope is NOT just the Stock Phrase
"no pain, no gain"; it also does not necessarily apply to situations where one character says that to another as encouragement.
- In chapter 9 of Mutant Storm, a crossover fic between Harry Potter and X-Men. Harry has an Heroi BSOD after having to kill Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy. Badly injured, he surrounds himself in a magical shield that is lethal to anyone who tries to pass through it. Logan ends up jumping through it, temporarily dying before his healing power kicks in, to talk Harry out of his Heroic BSOD.
- Die Hard: John McClane has to run across broken glass in his bare feet.
- In the Will Smith I, Robot movie, Sunni is told that he has thicker alloy on his end effectors compared to other robots. It turns out to be this trope when he realises it's so he can withstand the damage from reaching through a force field to retrieve some AI killing nanites (since the villain is the one with the ability to lower said field and said nanites are the only means of killing it).
Live action TV
- In Harry Potter, one of the Horcruxes was guarded this way, in addition to the island within the cave and Inferi in the water. In book 6, Dumbledore needs to give an offering of blood from his own hand to continue in a dungeon with Harry.
- In Angel the Series, Angel goes through a series of trials to win a new life for Darla, one of which involves him running through a hallway every surface of which is covered in crosses only to encounter a locked door, having to run back to a pedestal in the middle of the hallway and plunge his hand into holy water to get the key.
- Kung Fu: in order to leave the temple (after he was able to Snatch The Pebble) Caine has to move a brazier full of red hot coals, which burns the dragon and tiger brands into his forearms.
- Call of Cthulhu campaign Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, adventure "The Watchers of Easter Island". In order to succeed in the adventure the PCs must acquire the Crystal of Noa. Anyone who removes the Crystal of Noa from its Elder Sign protection takes 1d6 points of electrical damage.
- Some RPGs have damaging floors. Subverted in that some of them provide ways to negate the damage.
- While not technically "mandatory", some players of videogames who engage in speed running often take damage intentionally in order to save time.
- In Battletoads, if you are playing 2 player, a glitch causes you to have to kill off player 2 until he or she gets a game over. This is a case of Unwinnable by Mistake.
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia: You're forced to use the Dominus glyph union in order to defeat Dracula. Doing so at any other point in the game would kill you.
- Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers! has this as its gameplay gimmick: Donald gets increased abilities and attack power the lower his health is. Many areas require him to get hurt by enemies and obstacles to be able to proceed.
- In one of the many, many jarring scenes of Heavy Rain, you have to crawl over broken glass, inevitably wounding yourself. Your choices are to crawl too fast and pass out from the pain or to crawl slowly and endure the pain all the way. In another scene, you have to cut off your pinky to proceed.
- La-Mulana forces you to take damage from the water in the Spring of the Sky area before you can get the item that negates damage taken by being submerged in water.
- Metal Gear Solid 4 has the microwave hallway, which combines this with the Once An Episode torture minigame.
- In Monster Force's first Desert Level, one of the three paths you'll need to take to get keys is lined with spikes at the beginning of the path. Unless you happen to have the invincibility powerup, you'll have to pass this with a combination of your healing items and finger speed.
- A level in Planescape: Torment consists of elaborate Death Traps that the Nameless One has to disarm the hard way to proceed. Good thing that he always comes back. A case of Immortal Life Is Cheap.
- In World of Warcraft, Corpse Hopping is a valid strategy to get through areas with high level mobs. You take of your clothes, buff yourself up, run through an area while maintaining buffs till you die. You return as a ghost, and go as far as you can so you can ressurect, ressurect and start running. Rinse&Repeat. Also a case of Immortal Life Is Cheap.
- This is often the case with the recovery process in some medical conditions, such as broken bones and severe wounds. Less dramatically, pulling all nighters to get things done. Some people even see athletic training, military training, and even education as this trope.