Created By: Mozgwsloiku on May 22, 2011 Last Edited By: shimaspawn on September 23, 2015

Clingy Doom

An attack that hits you and starts spreading - over your body or to your teammates.

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Trope
This is one of the nastiest things a villain can do to his enemies (Bad Powers, Bad People mean that very few heroes get access to such moves). It strikes the primary target and then spreads from the point of impact. It comes in two flavours - either it spreads over the target's body, causing increased effect until neutralised (a Life-or-Limb Decision is common in darker settings) or it spreads onto other people, forcing everybody to avoid the affected victims. The ways it actually work vary, from mundane (napalm will stick to your body and make you set other things on fire) to magical (gradual petrifaction) or technological (Grey Goo). May be the ultimate weapon of a Gradual Grinder. Compare The Virus.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In One Piece, Magellan's poison gains this quality once he Turns Red, forcing the heroes to hastily discard anything they use against him. At one point his poison hits an escaping prisoner - he grabs onto his friend, begging for help, and ends poisoning him as well. -ZCE. What is this quality?
  • In Naruto the flames of Amaterasu spread from the original target. Since nothing short of high level sealing techniques can extinguish them against the user's will, it makes them extremely dangerous.
  • In Bleach Barregan's aging curse spreads over the affected object and onto anything it touches. This gets him killed when his last would-be victim cuts off the cursed hand and teleports it inside his empty ribcage.
  • One villain in the Sailor Moon cartoon had her magical computer create nanobots that worked like this. -ZCE
  • The Corruption in Princess Mononoke, though it never gets intense enough on secondary targets to spread further on. -ZCE
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Dabura's spit had a little of this. Gohan was able to avoid being petrified by removing the affected glove. -ZCE

Comic Books
  • In Infinity Gauntlet, there is a scene in which Thanos touches She Hulk and Sub Mariner during battle. A strange substance grows on them, eventually covering them until they die. They got better before the end of the story, though.

Literature
  • In The Witcher, the basilisk is said to be so poisonous that if you run it through with a lance, the poison will saturate it and kill both you and your horse. The witchers claim the story to be false though.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Wildfire - with a bit of alchemy, the local equivalent of Greek fire gets all the power of modern napalm, a horror for anyone trying to put it out.
    • Greyscale - unusual in that the original point of infection does not matter - the symptoms will always start at the extremities and, unless you chop them off and get lucky, spread up your limbs until you you are a mad, half-calcified zombie.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter - the curse from the ring looks like this but the curse itself reaches deeper than the visible effect - cutting off the arm will do no good. -ZCE. How is this a subversion?

Tabletop Games
  • Some things in Dungeons & Dragons work like this. -Like what?
    • The spell Blackfire, which engulfs the victim in constitution-damaging "black flames" spreading to anyone who fails to move away in time.
    • Green Slime will spread over and convert any living tissue it touches into more green slime. It will eventually convert the victim's entire body if not removed. Anyone touching the new green slime will be infected as well.
    • In Module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan a substance called "liquid light" will spread, covering 5% of the victim's body per minute. After the victim's mouth and nose are covered, they will suffocate in two minutes. A Darkness spell will destroy it.

Video Games
  • In Diablo 3, some of the witch doctor's spells possess this quality, making them perfect weapons against large groups of enemies. -ZCE. What is this quality?
  • Homeworld. Cataclysm, the Beast infection can work this way. The infection beam can jump smaller targets; the infection can also spread via impact with cruise missiles or ramming frigates. -ZCE
  • The infamous "Corrupted Blood" debuff in World of Warcraft was essentially a highly damaging damage over time effect that spread to any nearby players. It's infamous because an exploit was found that allowed it to be taken out of the one boss fight it appeared on by getting a pet infected and dismissing it and then summoning it again later. The resulting "plague" essentially played out like a Real Life epidemic.
  • The virus/infection from TRON 2.0 is like this; once you get hit with an infected weapon, you have to isolate and decontaminate your infected memory blocks before the contagion spreads to all your subroutines.

Web Comics
  • In Girl Genius one of the Jaegermonsters gets stung by a weird monster. He saves his life by getting his arm cut off - just in time, since the poison is so potent, the arm melts by the time it hits the ground.

Western Animation
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka and Katara get trapped in growing crystals that start to engulf their bodies. fortunately the crystal turns out to be edible

Real Life
  • Arguably, any venom counts. Though cases of cutting off a poisoned limb are extremely rare.

Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • May 22, 2011
    Riddlewizard
    Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker has these small black one-eyed things with orange spikes. If you go near them, they jump on and slow you down- until you swing your sword in a circle to get them off. They can cover your entire body if there are enough.
  • May 22, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Does the spiky thingy spawn new ones on your body if you don't get rid of it? If not, it doesn't count - see the laconic description.
  • May 22, 2011
    Riddlewizard
    Forget about my example then. Sorry.
  • May 22, 2011
    blueranger
    Charmed - Agent Brody infects Paige with a bit of paranoia and it quickly spreads through her and her sisters.
  • May 22, 2011
    Scooter007
    The virus/infection from Tron 2.0 is like this; once you get hit with an infected weapon, you have to isolate and decontaminate your infected memory blocks before the contagion spreads to all your subroutines.
  • May 23, 2011
    Arivne
    @Mozgwsloiku/OP wrote: "I already made this one once...but I can't find it anywhere. Does anyone know if it has been launched under a different name/discarded/died of old age?"

    I remember when this came through YKTTW. These are two of the examples I added. I looked for them on the Wiki but couldn't find them, so I assume it was discarded.

    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Green Slime will spread over and convert any living tissue it touches into more green slime. It will eventually convert the victim's entire body if not removed. Anyone touching the new green slime will be infected as well.
      • Module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. A substance called "liquid light" will spread, covering 5% of the victim's body per minute. After the victim's mouth and nose are covered, they will suffocate in two minutes. A Darkness spell will destroy it.
  • May 23, 2011
    Hadashi
    Real Life

    • Shellac, especially the synthetic kind. Nasty, nasty, stuff.
    • Burning, melting, plastic
  • May 23, 2011
    Flioro
    The Sci Fi Original Movie Splinter had this, coupled with Body Horror. If you got stung by a splinter, it would start taking over your body, sprouting more splinters.
  • May 24, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Real Life: Arguably, any venom counts. Though cases of cutting off a poisoned limb are extremely rare.
  • May 24, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I don't really like the name, I Thought It Meant an evil version of Clingy Mac Guffin, which it totally isn't.
  • May 27, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Any ideas for a different name then?
  • May 27, 2011
    Fearmonger
    Napalm. Also, Dabura's spit had a little of this. Gohan was able to avoid being petrified by removing the affected glove.
  • May 28, 2011
    Bisected8
    • Acid damage in Borderlands has this effect (fire also deals DoT, but only acid damage spreads to other nearby enemies).
  • May 28, 2011
    Antigone3
    ^^^ How about Clinging Doom?
  • May 28, 2011
    DonZabu
    The Sproutella in Grim Fandango.
  • May 28, 2011
    Nibbles2
    • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible is shot with small black spheres which stick to him. They start to slowly expand until they cover his entire body and he collapses under the weight of them.
  • May 28, 2011
    JoieDeCombat
    In Inuyasha, Sesshoumaru's sword Bakusaiga works this way; the destruction caused by being hit by it spreads through physical contact. Sesshoumaru wipes out a horde of a thousand youkai this way.
  • May 28, 2011
    JAF1970
  • May 29, 2011
    TBeholder
    • In Girl Genius, when a goofball glowy monster spits on Dimo. The result wasn't pretty.
  • May 29, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Already included that one - it wasn't spit but some kind of lashing tongue/feeler thingy. So I wrote that he was stung.
  • August 1, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Wild fire in A Song Of Ice And Fire starts out as local version of Greek fire. But later we learn that it is made with actual magic.
  • August 1, 2011
    madelinemary
    • The spooky black wormy stuff from Princess Mononoke. What is that stuff again?? Anyway, it causes a weird rash and... eventually it is supposed to envelop Ashitaka and he'll die.
    • In Avatar The Last Airbender, Iroh is engulfed by a rash due to ingesting poisonous berries, and he says that if the rash reaches his heart, he will die.
    • The Alien Symbiotes from Spiderman, i.e. Venom and Carnage.
  • August 1, 2011
    Earnest
    In Saint Seiya, the shadow Pegasus saint had a pretty weak attack and was easily defeated by his good counterpart. However, he reveals it causes black, poisonous bruises to spread over the target's body until he dies. Luckily, Seiya was saved by the shadow Dragon saint pulling a Heel Face Turn and doing some emergency acupuncture.
  • August 1, 2011
    Seiryu
    There was also an instance in Naruto where Orochimaru was hit by something (the Nine-Tails chakra, IIRC), and it turned out to be this. He managed to escape by making a double of himself and shedding the old copy like a snakeskin.

    If we do some serious overhaul on the trope description and make it more like the laconic version, we could have it ready for launch.
  • August 1, 2011
    Stratadrake
    It would be important to mention The Virus as a related concept.
  • August 1, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    As I recall, The Blob started this way. Some guy got it on his hand, it expanded and consumed him, then kept eating more people until it was the size of a building.
  • August 2, 2011
    Antigone3
    In Champions, a power with the "Sticky" advantage will affect anyone who touches the original target.
  • August 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    In Pokemon (Pokemon Black And White specifically), the "Mummy" ability spreads to other Pokemon by physical contact; this nullifies a Pokemon's normal ability as long as they are in battle (but has no other effect).

    Viral Attack?
  • August 3, 2011
    terrafox
    Command And Conquer Tiberium Wars features the Scrin mothership unit, whose attack instantly destroys whatever building it touches. The attack turns buildings close to it white before they explode, and each building it touches, causes it to spread to other buildings. The spread is so wide that even moderately spaced-out bases can be wiped by a hit on a perimeter building.
  • September 7, 2011
    MiinU
    • deleted.
  • September 7, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    That was among the first examples I added and (along with Magellan) an inspiration for the trope.
  • September 7, 2011
    MiinU
    ^Didn't see it, my bad.
  • September 7, 2011
    aurora369
    Gangrene works in a similar way, slowly spreading from limb to body unless killed by antibiotics or limb amputated. Before antibiotics, amputation was the only way to treat it.
  • September 8, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Subverted in Harry Potter - the visible symptoms of the curse slowly move up the arm but the curse spreads much faster - the victim is done for whatever they do.
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    This often takes the form of an arm. IIRC, Leto's arm in Children Of Dune, Soul Edge's corruption on Siegfried arm, and... bugger, I forgot the last one.
  • September 26, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    ugh... this should have been launched months ago.
  • September 26, 2011
    Irrisia
    Not sure "clingy" really implies the "spreading" part of this trope. Creeping, maybe?

    Not sure if Napalm would fit, either.
  • September 26, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    "creeping doom" would also be confusing - there is a spell like this in D&D (a giant swarm of insects)
  • September 29, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
  • September 29, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I think "clingy" is helpful, as it implies a substance with some kind of adhesive quality causing the trouble.
  • December 7, 2011
    AP
    Comic Books

  • June 2, 2012
    Astaroth
    • Diablo II's Druid has a rare heroic example in the form of Rabies, which inflicts large ammounts of poison damage and can spread through crowds of enemies.

  • June 11, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms spell Virus Charm. If the victim of the spell touches or is touched by anyone else, the spell's effect will spread to the other person(s).
      • Basic D&D supplement The Book of Marvelous Magic. If a Tangle of String is unraveled, the creature doing so is hit by a Confusion spell. If anyone takes the Tangle of String from the victim, both rescuer and victim are paralyzed until it is replaced.
    • Mythus/Dangerous Journeys. In the Journeys magazine #2 adventure "It's Never A Good Day To Die", the PCs encountered a pool that had been contaminated by an Artifact Of Doom. Anyone who touched the water died and decomposed, and anyone who touched the body of a previous victim suffered the same fate.
    • Atlantis: The Lost World generic RPG setting. When a basilisk was stabbed with a weapon, its venom-like blood would flow along the weapon to the body of the person holding the weapon and kill them.
  • July 11, 2012
    FruityOatyBars
    That black goo monster that killed Tasha Yar on Star Trek The Next Generation?
  • July 11, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Yes! It tried to drown Riker too, as I recall.

    Film: The Blob (1958) is definitely one: An old man hears a meteor crash near his house and finds it in a field. He pokes the meteorite with a stick, causing it to break open and revealing a small jelly-like blob inside, which crawls up the stick and attaches to the old man's hand. In pain and unable to scrape or shake it loose, the old man runs hysterically onto the road and is picked up by a pair of curious teens, who take him to see the local doctor. The doctor decides he must amputate the man's arm since it is being consumed by the Blob. Before he is able to operate, the Blob completely consumes the old man, the doctor, his nurse...and eventually a number of other townspeople.
  • July 11, 2012
    KZN02
    Is Chain Lightning related?
  • July 11, 2012
    kjnoren
    Sort the examples! See Our Zombies Are Different, the plague-bearing/parasite type.

    Literature:
    • People who are bitten by haunts in Chronicles Of The Kencyrath slowly turn into haunts themselves, unless the wound is cleansed with fire.
  • September 20, 2015
    DAN004
    Subtrope of Herd Hitting Attack?
  • September 21, 2015
    Arivne
  • September 21, 2015
    dalek955
    • In Mabinogi, the elven Mirage Missile causes a poison-like HP To One effect that occasionally throws off pulses from the victim that infect other enemies. It's a great skill to combine with Crash Shot, which does fragmentation damage.
  • September 21, 2015
    malias
    Tron Two Point Oh is actually a video game, not a film.
  • September 21, 2015
    DAN004
    I think it's less "clingy" and more like "spreading". The wording really throw people off as many submitted examples aren't about spreading.
  • September 22, 2015
    JohnnyCache
    • In Hero System and its variants, any attack with the "sticky" advantage will behave in this manner.
  • September 22, 2015
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    The trope description is so disjointed as to be nonsensical. Interrupting it constantly with random parentheticals does not make it more readable. The examples being a mass of Zero Context Examples does not help.

    What is the trope here? Is it:

    1. ) A negative effect is highly contagious?
    2. ) A negative effect eats the person unless limbs are chopped off?
    3. ) A negative effect can only be removed under certain circumstances?
  • September 22, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ If and when I'm taking this ykttw over, I'll make 1) the definition. The title implies 2) and so are some examples; I'll trim them down.
  • September 23, 2015
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • The Forgotten Realms spell Shroud of Flame. This spell causes a target to burst into flames and eventually burn to ashes if it isn't stopped. While the victim is burning they throw off gouts of flame that can hit and damage other living beings nearby. If the other beings are carrying flammable objects they can be set on fire as well.
    • Champions supplement Champions III. The Entangle power is given a new Advantage: "Sticky Entangle". When a target is hit with this kind of Entangle, anyone touching the victim is Entangled as well. Each victim has to get rid of their Entangle separately.
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