Created By: fzzr_miller on June 7, 2013 Last Edited By: Guilen on October 18, 2013

Race Effect Magic

Something magical applies to an entire race, even those opposed or not present.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
You know, that thing where it's possible to do magic that affects an entire race incredibly precisely. This could be good or bad, but usually it's either climactic or happened in the backstory, because this is a big, world-changing deal when it happens. Pretty much every member of the race or species is usually affected, regardless of distance or assent.

See also Phlebotinum Bomb, for a localized but also very specific effect.

Needs a Better Name, probably. Needs a Better Description, definitely. Needs More Examples, please!

Examples

Comic Books
  • House of M: "No more mutants." Scarlet Witch says these words, and 99% of the world's mutants are de-mutantified... but not the popular ones.

Literature
  • In Belgariad the Ulgo race was given permanently white skin by the event that made them a distinct race.
  • In Dresden Files, Harry's interference with a crucial ritual leads to the extinction of pretty much every vampire of the Red Court.

Live Action TV
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors" the last surviving member of an almost all-powerful alien of a race called the Douwd (he's below Q-level but still practically omnipetent) is attacked by a small group of aliens called the Husnock, who kill his human wife in the process. In retaliation, the Douwd destroys all the Husnock everywhere in the universe.

Video Games
  • In The Elder Scrolls this happens several times. It's always deity-level magic.
    • The Dunmer were created this way when the Chimer were cursed by Asura. This turned them from more or less standard elves into the dark elves we see in the series.
    • The Orsimer were created this way when the Aldmer who worshiped Trinimac were cursed by his corruption by Boethiah. This turned them from more or less standard elves into the orcs we see in the series.
    • The Dwemer were DESTROYED this way - whatever happened at the battle of Red Mountain caused all of them but one to simply vanish. They were abusing the Heart of Lorkhan, a creator deity.
  • In Spellforce 2, the Big Bad makes a Pact on behalf of the entire Dark Elf race sometime between the opening cutscene and the first bit of gameplay. This causes irrevocable physical changes in every living Dark Elf.
  • In NetHack, the Scroll of Genocide can kill an entire race, such as all dwarves or gnomes, and you get a special death message if you're absent-minded enough to zorch your own race.

Western Animation
  • In the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Classics canon, Orko casts a spell that dissolves the entire Snake Men race. According to Word of God however, this didn't affect good, Snake Men-like people.
  • Gargoyles: According to Word of God, this is the in-universe explanation for gargoyles' Magic Pants. Some gargs visited the Emperor of Rome, and he was displeased by their perpetual nudity. His very powerful court-mage cast a "Spell of Humility" that enchanted all gargoyles everywhere. Now, when they turn to "stone" for sleep and wake up in the evening, anything they wear or carry and consider "theirs" is changed with them, instead of destroyed.
Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • June 7, 2013
    StarSword
    Somebody had to say it:

    Webcomics:
    • When Vaarsuvius does the Soul Splice in The Order Of The Stick s/he casts an epic-level spell on a black dragon that kills every creature on the planet related to it including the human guardians of one of the gates preventing the Snarl from being let loose, since one of their ancestors had slept with a black dragon in human form. S/he figures s/he's reduced the world's black dragon population by at least a quarter.
  • June 7, 2013
    Prfnoff
    This could be a good trope, but somehow "Race-Area Magic" doesn't sound like the best name for it.
  • June 7, 2013
    KZN02
    Similar to Phlebotinum Bomb?
  • June 7, 2013
    KingZeal
    Racist Magic would be funnier, but I would understand opposition.
  • June 7, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Race Area Magic doesn't even make sense. The equivalent term would be Race Effect Magic.

  • June 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "The Survivors" the last surviving member of an almost all-powerful alien of a race called the Douwd (he's below Q-level but still practically omnipetent) is attacked by a small group of aliens called the Husnock, who kill his human wife in the process. In retaliation, the Douwd destroys all the Husnock everywhere in the universe.
  • June 7, 2013
    fzzr_miller
    Definitely looking for name suggestions. I came up with this in about 10 minutes before work, with no more thought than "it's wide-area magic but only effects one race". Race Effect Magic sounds a little better, but more ideas anyone?
  • June 8, 2013
    DracMonster
    • In Net Hack, the Scroll of Genocide can kill an entire race, such as all dwarves or gnomes, and you get a special death message if you're absent-minded enough to zorch your own race.

    Most of the time, this is some sort of curse. Maybe go with Cursed Race or A Curse Upon Your People or something like that.
  • June 18, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    video game:

    • In the Video Game/Warcraft backstory, this was used to make all Night Elves into The Ageless (well, except those High Elf guys) for 10,000 years. The godlike Dragon Aspects created this magic using the original World Tree, and it stopped working when the tree died. After that, the elves all started aging again.

    western animation:

    • Gargoyles: According to Word Of God, this is the in-universe explanation for gargoyles' Magic Pants. Some gargs visited the Emperor of Rome, and he was displeased by their perpetual nudity. His very powerful court-mage cast a "Spell of Humility" that enchanted all gargoyles everywhere. Now, when they turn to "stone" for sleep and wake up in the evening, anything they wear or carry and consider "theirs" is changed with them, instead of destroyed.
  • June 18, 2013
    eowynjedi
    Would the Blood Pact from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn count? Basically goes like this:

    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Blood Pacts are contracts that invoke a curse on the signer's entire nation if the contract-holder decides that they're violating the terms. This is how Begnion manipulates Pelleas; should he disobey, one Daein citizen will die per day.
  • June 18, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    So dose someone have to cast a spell to quality or not, because I think the Pony species in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic would qualify under the latter.
  • June 18, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • When the fairy Wise Woman Magi Lune ascends to a higher plane, she embues all the other fairies of Fern Gully The Last Rainforest with her magic, enabling them to bend a stand of trees into a fortress against Hexxus.
  • June 18, 2013
    Jokubas
    In the Masters Of The Universe Classics canon, Orko casts a spell that dissolves the entire Snake Men race. According to Word Of God however, this didn't affect good, Snake Men-like people.
  • June 19, 2013
    randomsurfer
    House Of M: "No more mutants." Scarlet Witch says these words, and 99% of the world's mutants are de-mutantified...but not the popular ones.
  • June 20, 2013
    foxley
    At the end of Ben 10 Alien Force, Ben used the Omnitrix to reconstruct the DNA of all Highbreeds with the DNA of the aliens in the Codon Stream.
  • June 20, 2013
    Chabal2
    Also from Warcraft, the three-way split of the original Highborn elves: those that exiled themselves from the Deadly Decadent Court became the High Elves (and eventually Blood Elves once the hunger-satiating Sunwell was destroyed), those who remained and were dragged undersea became the Naga, and those who remained but stayed clear of demonic magics became the Night Elves.

    Also, not sure if this counts, but every female Night Elf unit (Archer, Huntress, and Priestess of the Moon) has the Shadowmeld ability, which ets them become invisible at night.
  • June 20, 2013
    GKaiser
    In Dresden Files, Harry's interference with a crucial ritual leads to the extinction of pretty much every vampire of the Red Court.
  • June 23, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    ^^ Weren't most of the Night Elves descended from the Night Elves who weren't Highborn? Weren't the Highborn just the nobility, not the whole species?
  • June 23, 2013
    Chabal2
    That's not the impression I got. Then again, it's what I read in the original game booklet, the backstory may have changed since then.
  • July 8, 2013
    Jokubas
    The highborne were the night elven nobility, 10,000 years ago. At the end of the War of the Ancients, the highborne were split in three. The first group stayed with Azshara and fell into the sea, where they were transformed into naga. The second were exiled, and over time evolved into the high elves. The third stayed hidden in places like Dire Maul, before eventually rejoining the night elven society, for Cataclysm, to justify the new mage option for night elf characters (and as such are the only group that still perfectly resemble night elves, as all highborne did in the past, simply being a caste and all).

    And for the record, not all high elves became blood elves. The blood elves are simply a group that took their people's near genocide a lot harder than the rest, resorted to using fel magic, and took up some new customs such as preferring the color red (they were eventually cured of their fel magic addiction however).
  • July 21, 2013
    fzzr_miller
    I added the examples that seemed to fit, does anyone have an idea for a better description? Or a better name?
  • October 3, 2013
    hbi2k
    • In the backstory of The Lord Of The Rings, the Numenoreans are granted extreme longevity (many times longer than a normal human lifespan) by the Valar (powerful gods or archangels) as thanks for their contributions to the war against Morgoth. This longevity waxes and wanes depending on their current favor with the Valar.

    • In Gargoyles, at one point Puck magically transforms all humans into gargoyles. It doesn't last long.
  • October 4, 2013
    DAN004
  • October 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Sorted the examples by media.
  • October 5, 2013
    dalek955
  • October 6, 2013
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: the Emotion Eater C'tan Star God known as the Nightbringer imprinted the fear of death into every species in the galaxy (save for the orks). As a result, every sentient species in the galaxy has their own version of the Grim Reaper to represent this fear (the Nightbringer's original form being a shrouded being wielding a scythe).
  • October 6, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Racial Specific Magic or Racial Targeting Magic or Racial Effect Magic... The word "Racial" is needed for a better title, because when I read "Race", I was thinking an actual race, like a foot race or car race.
  • October 6, 2013
    KarjamP
  • October 6, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In the Ravenloft D&D setting, the outcast and embittered Red Wizard Hazlik has spent many of his years of darklordship devising a curse which, once perfected, will kill every last member of his own ethnic group, both in the Land of Mists and in his native Forgotten Realms.
  • October 12, 2013
    DAN004
    Change the title plz?
  • October 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Allegedly real life: The now-discredited Hundredth Monkey Effect posits that after a certain critical mass of a species learns a certain behavior or activity, suddenly they all can do it even if they had no means of learning it from others. The alleged effect's namer was monkeys learning to wash sweet potatoes in the river. One did it, and others copied that one, and once the tipping point was reached (the hypothetical "hundredth monkey") all the monkeys in the area knew how - even those on nearby islands who would presumably have no way of learning from the core group.
  • October 15, 2013
    MrRuano
    Warhammer 40000 has the Rubric of Ahriman, a spell conjured by Thousand Sons chief librarian Azhek Ahriman and a cohort of fellow sorcerers to save his entire legion from a horrific transformation to flesh-abominations. The spell did save the legion...by turning everyone in the legion who is not a powerful enough sorcerer into walking automatons whose souls are locked within their armor.
  • October 17, 2013
    EmperorZim
    As far as names go, I'm thinking maybe something similar to Fisher King and Fisher Kingdom, since those are pretty similar to this. Fisher Magic, maybe?
  • October 18, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ This is specific to race. Neither Fisher King nor Fisher Kingdom say anything about race.
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