Heroic Fatigue


(permanent link) added: 2010-12-29 06:15:01 sponsor: AFP (last reply: 2011-01-08 19:39:30)

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this is a trope where The Hero, suffering (or enjoying, depending on the mood of the story) from Chronic Hero Syndrome, spends so much of his time and effort helping people, that it is physically and emotionally wearing him down to the breaking point. It can be even worse for him if he has something akin to super hearing or telepathy, so he can always hear people calling for help, even when he's trying to get an hour or two of sleep before clocking in for his Stock Super hero Day Job and chugging coffee for the entire day.

This may lead sooner or later to Passing the Torch and Retired Badass, or in more cynical works, a Heroic BSOD or a Despair Event Horizon, as the increasingly strung-out and hopeless hero just loses it because he can't save all those people who need him.

  • Harry Dresden goes through this all the time. Often he will forget to eat, or sleep when he's on a case and the world needs saving from supernatural doom. By the time he manages to solve everything he's usually so strung out that he often ends up just blacking out from exhaustion.
  • Batman suffers an emotional breakdown like this in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "I am the Night".
  • J'onn J'onzz temporarily quits the Justice League late in the third season of Unlimited partly due to this.
  • In Heroes season 4, Peter wore himself to the breaking point trying to rescue and heal people in his job as a paramedic using his abilities.
  • Daredevil: We see the hero going through his before-bed routine, getting everything put away in just the right place, climbing into the sound-proof casket (necessary due to his super hearing, only for him to hear a woman somewhere nearby crying for help. He only lets out an exhausted sigh before slowly closing the casket to close out the sound.
  • In the Pathfinder Adventure Path Curse of the Crimson Throne, most descriptions of Field Marshal Cressida Kroft--the captain of the city guard and resident Reasonable Authority Figure--stress how exhausted she looks from dealing with the various disasters of the city.
  • In ''Megamind, Metroman gets so tired of being a hero all the time he fakes his death.
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