Created By: WiseMan23753 on April 20, 2013 Last Edited By: jormis29 on May 10, 2014

Must Kill To Live

A man or minion who must kill to survive

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
People usually have to do things in order to live. They eat, drink, breathe, and do what's neccesary to live. But sometimes, there's more to it than that. Normally, people would kill other creatures to get the necessities of staying alive.

And then, there are those just need to kill things to survive. Not get any materials or pieces of creature or other beings. Just klling them is what they have to do in order to stay alive in the world. There could be two types.

Periodic. The character needs to kill once every certain period of time. They can't surpass that amount and any attempts would just keep them at a maximum.

Limitless. There is no limit to how often the minion must kill. As long as they don't run out of time, they can get as much as they want.

Subtrope of Trapped in Villainy. Compare Horror Hunger.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Father could be seen like this as long as he turns them into Philosopher's Stones. Pride seems to have the same ability like how he absorbed Kimblee and needing the Stones due to being a homunculus.
  • The Eclipse infection from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force slowly kills all infectees unless they do so to other people.

Comic Books
  • Subverted in Preacher, where Cassidy (a vampire) reveals that while he does requires blood to survive, it doesn't even have to come from a live animal (when he does kill humans and drink their blood, it's mooks who were trying to kill him in the first place). He says this to a pretentious wannabe Classical Movie Vampire (who dresses in operatic clothes, kills humans to live, wears colored eye contacts, and broke both legs when trying to turn into a bat).

Literature
  • From The Sword of Truth, the Banelings have to kill periodically (every day or so) if they are to stay in the living world.

Live-Action TV
  • The Inca Mummy Girl in Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode of the same name had to kill in order to maintain her appearance as a young girl. She destroyed herself when she refused to feed on Xander.

VideoGames
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer the player character is afflicted with a curse requiring them to feed on souls periodically or their own will be eaten. Tricky part is, eating a soul increases the rate at which their soul is consumed. However a good-aligned character can, through certain dialogue options, gain the ability to feed on the necromantic energy powering undead instead, which does not increase soul hunger.
  • In the PS2 title Shinobi, after your characters' sword awakens at the start of the second level, you must keep killing enemies in order to keep the swords thirst for souls quenched. Fail to do so, and it takes yours.

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • April 20, 2013
    Koveras
    The title is an example of Trope Namer Syndrome, so please change it. Suggestions: Must Kill To Live, Kill Or Die?

    Subtrope of Trapped In Villainy. Compare Horror Hunger.
  • April 20, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    Thanks on that. Sure there are other examples of this.
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Actually as I recall, the former trope namer isn't even an example, at least not in the books. IIRC they changed the banelings into that for Legend Of The Seeker. (I could be wrong, though; it's been a while.)
  • April 21, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Real Life: Even if you don't personally kill the food you must eat in order to survive - both animals and plants - somebody did, and you paid them to do so (directly or indirectly).
  • April 21, 2013
    Koveras
    I'd suggest excluding examples where characters need to eat to survive and and need to kill what they eat first, because that's basically People Sit On Chairs, and instead concentrating on examples where the basic act of killing is necessary to survive, skipping the eating part.
  • May 5, 2013
    WiseMan23753
    Just added the extra parts said above.
  • May 9, 2013
    sgamer82
    • The Inca Mummy Girl in Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode of the same name had to kill in order to maintain her appearance as a young girl. She destroyed herself when she refused to feed on Xander.
  • May 10, 2013
    Chernoskill
    An early promotional poster image for Machete had the title "Yesterday he was a decent man living a decent life - Now he is a brutal savage who must slaughter to stay alive".
  • May 10, 2013
    Chabal2
    Subverted in Preacher, where Cassidy (a vampire) reveals that while he does requires blood to survive, it doesn't even have to come from a live animal (when he does kill humans and drink their blood, it's mooks who were trying to kill him in the first place). He says this to a pretentious wannabe Classical Movie Vampire (who dresses in operatic clothes, kills humans to live, wears colored eye contacts, and broke both legs when trying to turn into a bat).

  • May 11, 2013
    Adbot
    Video Games
    • In the PS2 title Shinobi, after your characters' sword awakens at the start of the second level, you must keep killing enemies in order to keep the swords thirst for souls quenched. Fail to do so, and it takes yours.
  • May 14, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer the player character is afflicted with a curse requiring them to feed on souls periodically or their own will be eaten. Tricky part is, eating a soul increases the rate at which their soul is consumed. However a good-aligned character can, through certain dialogue options, gain the ability to feed on the necromantic energy powering undead instead, which does not increase soul hunger.
  • May 16, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ I am pretty sure that falls under Horror Hunger, since it's not the just act of killing but additionally consuming a part of the victim (soul) that is required to survive.
  • May 16, 2013
    JonnyB
    The villain in Sliders has to steal brain fluid from victims in order to survive. Victims don't die, but lapse into an irreversible coma.
  • May 16, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^It's both. You eat their soul, you kill them.
  • May 16, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Yes, but their death is a consequence of you eating their souls. If you could choose whether to eat their soul or just kill them in order to survive, then it would be a clear-cut example. But "must consume souls to survive" is basically an upgraded version of "must consume meat to survive" and IIRC the OP decided this to be about the act of killing itself being required to survive, without the consumption part. OP, feel free to correct me--it's your draft, after all. ^^
  • May 16, 2013
    Earnest
    The titular Six of Cyber Six is a Phlebotinum Muncher for "sustenance", green liquid that animates the setting's mooks called Fixed Ideas. Though they're not quite sentient, she often laments she has to kill them to survive.
  • March 31, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Live Action TV
    • In Andromeda the Magog have to kill their prey in order to start the digestive process, and most prefer to eat sapient creatures. A rather big problem for the pacifist Rev. Bem, he has a tank of salmon on the Andromeda Ascendant but there is one episode where he gets hungry light years away.
  • April 1, 2014
    Koveras
    Corrected the Nanoha Force example.
  • April 2, 2014
    Arivne
  • April 2, 2014
    DAN004
    @Koveras: I'd argue that eating souls would count so long as it necessitates killing. If the dude can eat souls by nonlethal means, then that doesn't count.
  • May 10, 2014
    foxley
    In the Batman comics, Clayface III had to absorb the life essence other people in order to survive, transforming them into a lifeless pool of protoplasm.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=uioqh8iwo8dw7jy2s4p5m2uj