[[quoteright:312:[[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mtg_touchofdeath2.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:312:[[ComicallyMissingThePoint So... black bears must be immune to the hand of death? What do you know!]]]]

->''"A master of the Dim-Mak can poke an enemy in a certain spot and they die. It originated in ancient China when early man still had prominent off-switches located around the body, much like a modern lamp. Back then, you could kill a guy by selling him the wrong sized hat."''
-->-- '''Creator/{{Seanbaby}}''', ''[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-real-survival-guides-for-wildly-improbable-situations/ Cracked.com]]''

%% One quote. Extras go on the quotes tab, thanks.

A particularly subtle type of DangerousForbiddenTechnique, the Touch of Death allows its practitioner to instantly kill their opponent with extremely minimal force. This can be accomplished either with one touch [[PressurePoint at a specific point]], or a series of precisely calculated strikes.

The victim often survives for a few moments, allowing for the drama quotient to be raised either by quiet resignation or desperate denial, sometimes while the killer [[ToThePain describes in exacting detail]] what the technique is doing to the victim.

For the non-lethal version that renders an opponent simply immobile, see TheParalyzer.

A subtrope of the OneHitKill. Not to be confused with video game CollisionDamage, which is often given this name. See also FingerPokeOfDoom, MakeThemRot, PsychicSurgery and PoisonousPerson. If a character with this ability is paired with [[HealingHands the opposite ability]], see LifeDeathJuxtaposition.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'': The martial art of Hokuto Shinken specializes in this, with often ''very'' messy results for the poor bastard on the receiving end.
--> "[[CatchPhrase You are already dead.]]"
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Sui-Feng's Shikai creates a butterfly print on the body of whoever it hits. When the attack hits the same spot a second time, that person dies after a time period sufficient [[OhCrap for them to realize their predicament]]. What makes this ability even scarier is that [[spoiler:the second strike does not need to share the same ''entry'' point as the first one; it only needs to share the same ''surface'' of the first strike's wound itself]]. She demonstrates this by [[spoiler:impaling Ggio Vega twice, once from the front and once from the back, both times striking the same area in his lung ''inside'' his body]].
* Matsuri's InherentGift in ''Manga/{{Sola}}'' is the ability to rapidly decay anything she touches (if she chooses). Takashi freezes in place when she grabs hold of his arm during one of their battles.
* Scar's body destruction technique in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. It's explained as being incomplete alchemy- - alchemy is in three parts, analysis, disintegration, and reintegration; Scar stops at the second step. Edward does the same while fighting the Slasher Brothers.
** While Kimblee makes long-range explosions by disrupting molecules in the air, in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], he instead can turn anyone he touches [[WhyAmITicking into a living explosive]].
* The title character of ''Manga/{{Arago}}'' picked up this ability from a supernatural SerialKiller, but has failed to find a way to turn it off. So far he's not angsting much about it, since it helps him fight other monsters, but it's a bit inconvenient, to say the least. (It's decay-based and works on anything organic, though it's slow-acting enough that he's been on the wrong end of an ArmorPiercingSlap with only minimal damage to the slapper's hand.)
* ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'':
** The Hyuuga Clan specializes in the "gentle fist" technique. By attacking chakra points, they can screw with your internal organs.
** Danzo's body guard Torune can also kill you with nothing but a touch as any contact with his skin can spread microscopic insects into the target that rapidly destroy their cells with poison.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Crocodile arguably has this ability. His touch doesn't cause ''instant'' death, but he can dehydrate you pretty quickly. His Ground Death attack, however would likely be a instant kill, as he rapidly dehydrates everything within an InstantDeathRadius into sand, from trees to statues.
** Ain from the twelfth movie can use her [[FountainOfYouth rejuvenating powers]] to erase people from existence by touching them enough times.[[note]]How many times depends on how old the person is, as her power regresses people by twelve years a touch.[[/note]] [[InformedAbility She doesn't get a chance to perform it onscreen, though.]]
** Part of why [[spoiler:Charlotte Linlin, also known as Big Mom]] has managed to get so far is that one of her Devil Fruit's applications is to simply rip out a person's soul, entire lifespan (or fractions of it), or both with a single touch. It doesn't quite work on people who are not at all afraid of her, however, which leads to an embarrassing moment.
** Baccarat from ''Anime/OnePieceFilmGold'' is another unorthodox example. Her Luck-Luck Fruit powers let her manipulate the luck of those she physically touches, giving people bad luck or stealing good luck for herself. Being left with nothing but bad luck can be fatal, however, as a group of henchmen she robs of their luck are quickly crushed under a collapsing pillar.
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'': If Hei can touch you (either directly or indirectly with a conductive material), he can electrocute you to death.
** November 11 as well, where Hei can essentially fry people he can turn them into popsicles - he can instantly flash-freeze anything he makes contact with.
* This isn't a literal example, but if you watch ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', you know that [[CuteAndPsycho Russia]] [[PsychopathicManchild is not]] [[StepfordSmiler to be]] [[SlasherSmile angered.]] [[MadnessMantra EVER.]] All of the countries know this. So when he goes to visit [[{{Keet}} Italy]] and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Romano]], he tries to be as sweet as possible, and goes as far as putting his hand on Italy's shoulder. This causes them both to freak out, and Romano's next line could be the TropeNamer. (At least, in the English dub.)
--> '''Romano:''' Touch of death!
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': Accelerator can use his vector control to [[CruelAndUnusualDeath reverse a person's bloodflow or bioelectricity]] just by touching them if he wants to (with the obvious exception of touching Touma's [[AntiMagic right hand]].
* BlackMage Zeref from ''Manga/FairyTail'' has this as his main magic, but he can't really control it, [[spoiler:that's why he isolated himself for several centuries]].
* Frieza tried to do this to Gohan in ''Anime/DragonBallZResurrectionF'', giving him a lightning-quick punch to the chest that stopped his heart. Quick thinking by Piccolo, using a kiai blast to Gohan's chest to restart his heart, saved his life. (See "Real Life" examples for a likely explanation.)
* The titular mecha in ''Anime/AquarionLogos'' does this to who or whatever comes into contact with it, even entire concepts of reality are not safe from it.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Laurel Darkhaven of ''ComicBook/RisingStars'' is dismayed at first that she can only use her telekinesis to manipulate small objects. Until she realizes that includes the carotid artery. She becomes an assassin for the government.
* ComicBook/{{Rogue}} from Comicbook/XMen is normally BlessedWithSuck, but during some issues her sucky power was overloaded into the ''"you touch her, you'll die"'' category.
--> ''[[ComicBook/MiniMarvels "Rogue has cooties!"]]''
* There was also Wither from ''ComicBook/NewMutants,'' whose power was ''decaying'' any living (or once-living) thing he came into contact with. He eventually left the institute and fell in love with Selene, who was immortal and couldn't be affected by his power.
* Carrion, from [[SpiderMan Spider-Man's rogue gallery]] is a virus variety of undead, with a death touch.
** Another Spider-Man villain with touch of death is [[MeaningfulName Styx]] who got his powers from cancer experiment done by his associate [[PunnyName Stone]]. He needs to kill in order to survive, can kill almost anything living and can disintegrate organic matter. He almost killed Venom Symbiote with his touch in one of his first fights.
* An early issue of [[Creator/GrantMorrison Grant Morrisson's]] Comicbook/AnimalMan featured the tragic "Red Mask" who'd always wanted to fly. In the 50's he touched a [[MagicMeteor glowing meteor]] hoping it would give him powers; it did but the power was a literal death touch, any person or animal he touched would die. He feels he has no choice but to become a villain, something he's not very successful at. Animal Man runs into him in the midst of a last hurrah, attacking San Diego with lowtech robots he'd won in a poker game. Now elderly, overweight and dying of cancer he throws himself off a building and Animal Man is too late to save him.
* The Touch Of Death is common in the MarvelUniverse. Besides Rogue and Wither, there's Selene the former Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, a mutant with a life draining touch who has lived for millenia thanks to her powers, during which she also became a powerful sorceress. One of her followers, Lois London aka [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Mortis]], constantly emits a disruptive energy field that can induce heart attacks in living creatures. ComicBook/XForce member Joshua Foley aka Elixir can use his bio-manipulation abilities to kill people (pretty horribly too). Dark Young Avengers member Melter can, well, melt anything with a touch, and much like Wither, accidentally killed his parents this way. (And to top off the list, we have Hela. Kinda cheating since she is a Death Goddess.)
* ''ComicBook/AlphaFlight'' villain Deadly Ernest was an example of both this and ThePunishment: as a soldier in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, he was killed in battle, but rejected Death when she came for him. As a result, he was cursed to kill every living thing he touched. He ended up using the power to set himself up as a crime boss.
* In ComicBook/{{Venom}}'s 2017 BatFamilyCrossover event ''ComicBook/VenomVerse'', We have the creatures known as the Poisons. Like the xenophages before them, they prey on symbiotes. Essentially, they are to Venom what Venom is to normal people. In their natural state, if you're wearing a symbiote, they can kill you just by touching you.
* In ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'', the third Clayface, Preston Payne, received the power of melting human flesh into protoplasm with his bare touch. Preston is reluctant to use this ability, but he's wracked with horrible pains and headaches, and his touch momentarily allows him to transfer the sickness to another person. It's been mentioned that he's now on medication to reduce this pain, so any time he feels he ''needs'' to relieve his suffering is psychosomatic.
* In ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'', a member of the Sinestro Corps, Murr the Melting Man, was an alien scientist mutated in a lab accident into a shambling, mindless being who can melt anything he touches. His teammates make a note to keep their forcefields up when he's around.
* ''ComicBook/TheFlash'': Wally West learned a death touch technique in one mid-80s annual that was never, ever referenced again.
* In issue #398 of ''Adventure Comics'', ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} is made to believe she gained a power that means she kills everything she touches. In reality, an alien was trying to trick her into leaving Earth; but she quickly figured out his ruse.
* The most iconic power of the ''ComicBook/ManThing'' is his ability to secrete a psycho-reactive HollywoodAcid when aggravated, which causes those covered in it to burst into flames if they get scared.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''[[{{FanFic/Gather}} Gather]]'' features this as Taylor's ultimate attack. As part of her AU powerset she can instantly kill any parahuman she makes skin contact with, [[PowerCopying stealing their powers]] and [[MookMaker turning them into a nearly indestructable minion]].

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', any living thing Xibalba touch dies. The best example is the food from the Land of the Remembered, that instantly turned to mold, with a sickly green color, after they touched him. [[FridgeLogic Despite the fact that mold is alive]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Epic}}'' the Boggans' weapons can deteriorate anything they touch. Mandrake's staff is much more potent, able to fell a tree with one swing.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'', the Wuxi Finger Hold causes ((neither the scene in question nor WordOfGod is entirely clear)) the victim to explode with city-shaking force merely by flexing the pinky finger.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/IronMonkey'''s Hin-Hung, Imperial Legate Officer, renegade Shaolin monk and all-around BigBad of the movie, wields the "King Kong Palm," which allows him to deliver "the Buddha's Hit," which leaves a handprint embedded on the victim and poisons the blood.
* ''Film/KillBill'': Pai Mei's legendary Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which is used by [[spoiler:the Bride on Bill himself]].
* Eponymous in ''Film/KissOfTheDragon'', where Jet Li is able to do this by delicately applying a needle to the base of the skull, such that when he removes it, all of the victim's blood will travel to his head and not come out, resulting in an agonizing death as he bleeds out of every orifice in his head.
* Death in ''Film/LastActionHero'' can kill with a touch (complete with a tinkly "ding!" sound effect for extra [[LampshadeHanging Lampshadiness]]).
* Dan [=McCormick=] in ''Man Made Monster'' is turned against his will by a MadScientist into an electric monster whose touch instantly electrocutes anyone to death. Said scientist devises a way around this by making him a protective rubber suit.
* In ''Film/TheMenWhoStareAtGoats'', a move fitting this description supposedly killed China's greatest martial artist - thirty some-odd years after the fact. Lyn believes himself to be affected by this. Presumably the story is based on the "quivering palm" theory of the death of Creator/BruceLee. (Short version: a martial arts master, angry over Lee revealing martial arts sequences in his films, killed him with a slow-acting deathblow.)
* In ''Film/OsmosisJones'', BigBad Thrax's particularly long-clawed left index finger allows him to kill the other cellular beings he interacts with by simply poking them. [[EstablishingCharacterMoment Within moments of appearing on-screen]], he gently pricks a harmless cell worker who horrifically ''boils/burns alive from the inside out''.

* The infamous ''Avada Kedavra'' Killing Curse in Literature/HarryPotter kills (almost) anything the instant it strikes. It also utterly obliterates objects. It takes some powerful magic and intent to make it work properly however.
* In the novel ''Literature/ForeverAfter'', ''hingu'' master Gar Quithnick can inflict all sorts of instant or conditional death or paralysis with a touch (in addition to conventional martial arts). The highest technique of his art is a touch that will kill an opponent when he experiences a moment that defines his life. After using it on a deposed tyrannical despot, Gar informs him that he can live a long life of modesty and humility, or go back to his old ways and die.
* In ''Literature/LoyalEnemies'' there's an elven clan called the layne who can kill with their touch. [[spoiler:Seven-year-old Virra is one of them.]] Other elves treat them with attitudes varying from "I don't want to have them nearby." to "Well, they can't help it." Customarily, layne work as assassins. With the killing touch comes an uncanny knowledge of the whereabouts and status of life or death of their target.
* In the Creator/LarryNiven ''Literature/KnownSpace'' short story "Death By Ecstasy" the detective hero uses his "imaginary arm", a form of short-range telekinesis, to stop the BigBad's heart by reaching inside his body and ''squeezing''.
* In his books, Creator/RobertRankin frequently references a supposed martial art called "Dimac", with which one can maim and disfigure opponents with a mere fingertip's pressure.
* In the ''Literature/WildCards'' universe, there is a literal example and the slightly different "deadly stare" power of the ace Demise, who can kill by locking eyes with a person for few seconds.
* Employed in the first book of the Martial Arts series ''Literature/JasonStriker'' by Creator/PiersAnthony.
* Sau'ilahk of ''Literature/TheSagaOfTheNobleDead'' is capable of killing humans with a single touch. (Dwarves are somewhat hardier, as he learns to his consternation).
* In the second book of ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'', ''Playing With Fire'', the villain, Baron Vengeous, has a power that quite fits this: If he looks at people and has the will to, he can make "The body forget everything it ever learned about holding together", in short: explode
** The fifth book, ''Mortal Coil'', has the Russian assassin Tesseract, who has a rare ability called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Bonebreaker]]. With it Tesseract can fatally shatter bones with the lightest of touches, but apprently it only works if he's touching the victim with his fingertips.
* In ''Literature/TheAdversaryCycle'' book ''The Touch'', the Dat-tay-vao, a healing power, also works in reverse if someone gets in the way of the person with the power, and kills them with one touch.
* In ''Literature/TheFullerMemorandum'', the Nyarlathotep cultists' bungled summoning leaves Bob with the necromantic abilities of an [[EldritchAbomination Eater of Souls]] including the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin clearly labelled one]]. It takes some time for him to [[PowerIncontinence learn enough control to be able to touch someone without killing them.]]
* In the ''Literature/ParadoxTrilogy'', the Stoneclaw virus grants this power to its host. When it is active, her hands turn a sooty black color, and anyone she touches dies.
* In the novella "Literature/ShadowsForSilenceInTheForestsOfHell" by Creator/BrandonSanderson, the shades will wither any flesh that touches them. Applying silver to the area, or forcing silver dust down the victim's throat can reverse the damage, but only within a brief time.
* In ''Literature/WingsOfFire'', Peril has the power to fatally burn dragons just by touching them.
* In ''Literature/TheMachineriesOfEmpire'', the Vidona are described as having "Death Touch" as their faction ability, though the story is yet to depict someone using it.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Anyone from who touches Gwen Raiden from ''Series/Angel'' will receive an electric shock powerful enough to kill them (provided they aren't undead), much to her chagrin.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': The season two episodes "Surprise" and "Innocence" have the Scoobies dealing with the Judge, a NighInvulnerable demon who's mere touch can incinerate any being with "humanity," or more specifically the capacity for emotions. Only truly evil and depraved beings, such as Angelus, can survive the process.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Shakespeare Code", the [[WickedWitch Carrionite]] known as Doomfinger displayed the ability to stop the heart with a single touch... and she ''really'' seemed to [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything enjoy]] [[OrgasmicCombat doing]] [[TheImmodestOrgasm so]].
* In the ''WebVideo/Lonelygirl15'' episode "Shadow of Death", Emma kills the seeker by running at him. In "Help Us!", [=LaRezisto=] explains that trait positives have the power to kill Order members with a touch. [[spoiler:This was later revealed to be utter bull]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''
** Subverted in "The Enterprise Incident". Spock supposedly uses the famed Vulcan Death Grip to kill Kirk. Later on, we learn that no such thing exists, and Spock actually hit the captain with a Vulcan Nerve Pinch (which in itself is a milder version of this, capable of dropping almost anyone into unconsciousness in a matter of seconds).
** Although the Death Grip does not exist, it is revealed in the episode ''Journey to Babel'' that there is a Vulcan instant-kill technique known as ''tal-shaya'', which appears to be a semi-ritual NeckSnap. Historically it was used for the execution of criminals, but Spock's father is suspected of having used it to murder someone.
** Played straight in the episode with the holographic assassin-babe that imploded people's cellular structure with a touch. If she says "I am for you", ''run!''
* ''Series/TheMiddleman'''s not so OldMaster Sensei Ping has the Wu-Han Thumb of Death.
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': In #901, Crow gives himself the touch of death and kills Mike. Tom gives himself footsteps.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': "Reaper" featured a man who reduced anybody (including a dog and some vegetables) who made skin contact with him to dust. He [[PowerIncontinence couldn't turn it off]], but didn't seem to be overly distraught by this, and went around "mercy-killing" people whose suffering he considered to be too great. When he touched Clark Kent, even ''[[NighInvulnerable Clark]]'' screamed in pain before knocking him away. When he was finally convinced that his mission was wrong and went into WhatHaveIDone mode, he put his hands together, turning to dust himself, which [[FridgeLogic raises a few questions]] about how he was able to change his clothes and do other stuff that involves touching his own skin.
** Only one hand had this power, because he'd been wearing a Kryptonite bracelet on that wrist when he died. Also, it's suggested that he may have been able to turn it off but found it difficult to do so.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** At the end of season two, when all of Azazel's children meet up, they start comparing their powers: super strength, mind control, etc. Then one woman tells Sam to stop angsting about his death visions and says that when she touches people, their hearts stop. This included her girlfriend, apparently.
** Demonstrated by the [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse Fourth Horsemen]], [[TheGrimReaper Death]] himself during his spectacular [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg0kQHIMx9M&feature=related introduction.]] Also, when Dean becomes Death for a day, he kills people simply by touching them.
** [[LightIsNotGood Angels]] have a specific form of killing touch, it burns out the victims' eyes and liquefied organs. Works on humans, monsters, and demons.
* In ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', a fugitive named Tev had the ability to do this to the alien EnergyBeings, although it took a lot longer in humans.
--> '''Cole''': One of his victims was a Cirronian diplomat who did great things. One touch from Tev was all it took.
* ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' had an episode with a martial artist who killed the victim of the week with a single blow to the back of the neck.
* An interesting variant in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven'', where the wielder of said power, [[spoiler: Zoe Benson]], has no control over her ability, and it seems to activate on its own immediately after sexual intercourse. The effects seemed to be intense internal hemorrhage all throughout the body, causing blood to escape from the eyes, mouth, ears, nose, and possibly other places.
* In ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', the assassin 'Mr Blank' is somehow able to kill a man by prodding his forearm. This supposedly creates an air embolism that kills the target a few second later.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' has the Diviner, a piece of ImportedAlienPhlebotinum that kills any human who touches it [[spoiler: unless they are a potential Inhuman]].
** In the episode [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS2E2HeavyIsTheHead "Heavy is the Head"]], Carl Creel, a superhuman with the ability to [[ElementalShapeshifter turn into any material he touches]] touches the Diviner and gains the same Touch of Death ability, although touching it also screws with his powers, meaning he can't [[PowerIncontinence turn it off]].
** In the episode [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS2E3MakingFriendsAndInfluencingPeople "Making Friends and Influencing People"]], the VillainOfTheWeek, Donnie Gill, is AnIcePerson capable of freezing anyone to death simply by touching them.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Earlier versions have a few spells that do this (such as Slay Living, the evil reverse of the 5th-level Raise Dead for clerics), as well as the Quivering Palm ability of the Monk, which allowed the monk to simply will the death of the target for some time afterward. The downside is you can only use it once per week. Thanks a lot, Wizards!
** Although Monks in 4th edition have no instant Touch of Death attacks, Quivering Palm returns as a highest-level once-per-day power that does high damage and ongoing damage that gets worse with each failed saving throw.
** A demilich, which is a [[TheUndead lich]] only more so, can ''trap a living creature's soul'' if they fail a saving throw. What's more, unless it's defeated less than twenty-four hours afterward, the demilich will ''devour'' it, rendering the unfortunate victim DeaderThanDead. And it can trap up to eight souls per day. [[TotalPartyKill Have fun.]]
** There is an Epic Level spell in 3rd edition called Memento Mori. You think that you want someone dead. They die. Nothing else to it. They call it Epic Level magic for a reason.
** 3.0 and 3.5 editions really love these kinds of abilities. Many "save or die" effects exist in the game. To name a few: Flesh to Stone, Disintegrate (you MIGHT survive, but probably not), Power Word: Kill, Implosion (one target PER ROUND), the special Cleric power for the Death Domain (I believe it's even called Touch of Death), the Vorpal weapon enchantment (decapitates on a failed save), to name a few. There are also numerous Psionic variants which are even more brutal, with Decerebrate (save or get lobotomized) being probably the most straightforward. Some of these are not guaranteed to kill you instantly (even if you fail the save), but you have to be [[MadeofIron really durable]] to survive them. For example, Disintegrate's damage (if the save is failed) is calculated by 40 rolls of standard 6-sided dice; if the target has in excess of 240 HP, a single casting of Disintegrate will not kill them even if it inflicts the maximum possible damage...but few characters will have even close to that much HP.
** A monster in 5e called the Bodak can instantly reduce someone to 0 hp after a single failed saving throw simply by looking at them. There is another called the Intellect Devourer that can devour the brain of an incapacitated target if it fails a saving throw. This target is DeaderThanDead, only able to be brought back by the wish spell, effectively the InfinityPlusOneSword of spellcasting.
* Slightly more balanced is the Enlightened (read: fancy-pants martial artist) ability in ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'', the aptly-named Poison Palm. Hucksters have a similar ability. Sykers have a number of variations on this trick, but the one that actually requires touch is called "heartstopper." Then again, Sykers are SuperSoldier {{Ninja}} [[RecycledINSPACE In The Future]]. (Yeah. Dey gots baggage.)
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': Several instances, but practically anything with the [[ExavtlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Instant Death]] rule that causes an unsaved wound kills the target immediately, unless they have [[MadeOfIron Eternal Warrior]] rule, which explicitly makes them immune. Normally Instant Death is invoked by the ChunkySalsaRule, but certain artifacts, weapons, or a handful of exceptionally deadly units have Instant Death by default. The most common are the "Force" weapons are weapons forged for psykers, who can channel their psychic power into these weapons and cause enormous physical and psychic damage with a solid hit.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Martial Arts'' notes that this exists everywhere, 17th century fencers had the ''botte segrete''. The actual ''dim mak'' is just a use of the (fortunately cinematic) Pressure Secrets skill or an Innate Attack called "Hand of Death".
* ''TabletopGame/FengShui'' doesn't have many fu powers that might qualify as a "Touch of Death" (even Lightning Fist, on a path that includes "Dim Mak" which only ignores armor, mainly does damage that bypasses Toughness), but the prime contender for the title would be Storm of the Tiger, the ultimate technique of the Path of the Healthy Tiger, which you can only get by mastering both the healing and the vengeful paths of the style, and which allows you to spend as much Chi as you want on a barehanded strike that you have just made and do twice that amount of Chi in extra damage.
** Ming I's Arm of Darkness. The name should say it all.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' the keyword ability "Deathtouch", means any creature dealt any damage by a source with this ability is destroyed no matter how tough it is.
** There's also a magic card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=3883 Touch of Death.]] Unfortunately it's a waste of a good name, as the card isn't any good, and is incredibly unlikely to actually kill anything.
** The AwesomeButImpractical [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=106427 Phage the Untouchable.]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', being the game it is, has a myriad of ways to do this. One of the more painful is the sorcery spell Blood of Boiling Oil; Essence swirls around your hands and coats them red, and the first person you touch has their blood turn to... well, you know.\\
You can also punch off souls, hurl opponents into a temporary orbit, summon a demon to hurl them into a permanent orbit, dismember them, and kick people's heads off with a sufficiently impressive stunt.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'': Horn Drill, Fissure, Guillotine, and Sheer Cold (30% Accuracy, but opponent faints instantly if hit).
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVI'' The Pressure Pointer skill that the Martial Artist vocation learns is a pure example of this. There's also the Poison Needle, available since ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'', that can get a one-hit kill if it critically hits (it's extremely weak otherwise).
** The Poison Needle's effect actually makes it the safest way to kill Bomb or Crag type enemies. Simply hand it over to a Jester (huge crit range), then have the rest of your party just sit back and have a staring contest with the little bastards till the needle procs.
* ''VideoGame/EverQuest'' has many bosses that use this as their initial attack. This lead to a rather humorous habit of bringing sacrificial halflings, rangers, et cetera.
* [[spoiler:Gaia]] from ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'' is capable of absorbing any living being's life force and consequently [[TakenForGranite petrifying]] them with nothing but it's presence. The worst part? [[spoiler:Gaia is a humongous plant/insect [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abomination]] that spreads like wildfire.]]
* ''VideoGame/NetHack'':
** The Touch of Death as a spell used by high-level spell casting monsters, and a more potent version by [[TheGrimReaper Death himself]]. Unlike the other versions, this one is unlikely to kill a well-prepared adventurer.
** The ''Wand of Death'', which, coupled with an angry gnome, can really ruin your day.
** Powerful wizards can learn the ''finger of death'' skill (which is what the wand shoots). Anything without resistance is instantly obliterated (including the Wizard of Yendor). Oh, and did I mention it's a ray spell, meaning it can hit multiple targets at once?
* Shiki's MagicalEye in ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' allows him to see points of death. Simply poking such point with any sharp pointy object (like a kitchen knife or a sharpened pencil) will not only instantly kill said thing but also terminate its reincarnation cycle and any other metaphysical life functions it may possess. And this power is ''not'' limited only to living things, incidentally: he can "kill" non-living things as well. He once cured a person of poisoning by "killing" the poison.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Worms}} 4: Mayhem'', if you use Prod on an enemy worm during a match where the "Dim Mak" option is selected in the Wormpot, it will instantly kill him.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', monks have a skill called Touch of Death that originally instantly killed an enemy if it had less health than the monk (though you can't use it on other players for [[CompetitiveBalance obvious reasons)]]. Two expansions later it was [[{{Nerf}} nerfed]] to only deal 50% of the user's maximum health in damage after an 8 second delay, though the "target must have less health" restriction was lifted as well. Since the skill isn't actually guaranteed to kill the target anymore, the name could be considered an ArtifactTitle.
** ''Death Touch'' was a spell used by "Guardians of Blizzard", which were [=NPCs=] that served as a BorderPatrol for areas players weren't supposed to enter. These have disappeared since Cataclysm unlocked any areas that a player could get to that they previously weren't supposed to.
* Any game that uses the SuperStar power up, which makes your character invincible and uses CollisionDamage to instantly kill enemies by just touching them.
* Feng Wei of ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' practices the particularly brutal (and fictional) God Fist Kenpo style, with one of his unblockable attacks invoking the Dim Mak directly, both by name (''Death Palm'') and method (being what amounts to a highly ritualized short palm thrust that takes away a massive amount of your health bar).
* In ''Scribblenauts'', if you create Death, the game makes a small Grim Reaper which has this power and can kill anything with a touch, including Death and God.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has [[CuteGhostGirl Yuyuko Saigyouji]], whose InformedAbility is to, plain and simple, cause anyone not immortal to die.
* In ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'', [[{{Mummy}} Amumu]] causes all living things he touches to wither, his [[https://youtu.be/0AvWV6Mk374 music video]] portrays his condition very well.
* The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vgjPTy3jnA "Death" spell]] in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'' is this. Instead of just randomly killing off the targeted opponent as in other ''Final Fantasies'', "Death" in ''[=FFXV=]'' is an ability gained from the [[MementoMacGuffin Ring of the Lucii]] that has the target's life force slowly drained by said ring, shown by them slowly getting more and more emaciated before they burst into nothingness.
* [[OurLichesAreDifferent Liches]] in ''VideoGame/NexusClash'' get a touch of death as a basic ability, which grows progressively more lethal the more death magic and Lich powers they learn. It can be enhanced even further to damage anyone who tries to attack the Lich up close.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/KidRadd'': This is how CollisionDamage is portrayed (and what it's called!). Those with it cannot control it, and must avoid touching normal people. (It seems that those with it can touch each other without harm--at least, [[{{Sidekick}} Bogey]] can touch other members of his species.)
* In ''Webcomic/HowIKilledYourMaster'', Master Fei tells young Liu Wong that his father's style, aptly named "The Divine Fist of the Unconquerable Sky," used what we can presume are Touches of Death and [[TheParalyzer Paralazyer]] attacks.
-->'''Master Fei''': "All he would say of his style was, 'I don't know what it's like to hit a man twice."
* Webcomic/TwilightLady has this as her signature killing technique. It took years to master, but if the target has committed murder of any kind, she can just use her martial arts to poke them to death - or stand still and watch them grope her. Which is why it's surprising when a female muscle demon slaver IS COMPLETELY IMMUNE.
* Two-Faced has the Frozenclaws, a group of cats who can kill(if they want to) with one touch of their white paws. Each time they kill a cat, the white marking grows. This is unfortunate, because if the white completely covers their body, they die coughing up blood.
* The first chapter of ''Webcomic/BitsFair'' featured a character who severely injured Ida's dad by [[http://bitsfair.com/comic/1-033-38/ touching him with his palm]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Plume}}'', apparently touching Corrick's skin can cause death, as he warns Vesper of it.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''[[Literature/WhateleyUniverse Whateley Academy]]'': Two people have this as an explicit power, in addition to the many lethal abilities most of the student body possesses. Tennyo has a "Death Blow" that gradually [[DeaderThanDead obliterates you from existence]] and Gotterdammerung can [[DisintegratorRay unmake matter]] at a [[UpToEleven sub-subatomic]] level.
* Done subtly in ''WebVideo/TheTimeGuys''. Look carefully; you'll notice that [[DontFearTheReaper Death]] always wraps his hand in his sleeve whenever he physically interacts with someone.
* SCP-049 from both [[Wiki/SCPFoundation the SCP Foundation]] and [[VideoGame/SCPContainmentBreach SCP: Containment Breach]] is a medieval-style PlagueDoctor that seemingly believes most human beings are infected with ThePlague, with the unfortunate ability to [[DeadlyDoctor kill anyone he goes near by touching them with his hands.]] He then, utilizing strange surgery, turns his victims into [[PlagueZombie zombies.]] This is made much, '''much''' creepier when [[HumanoidAbomination you read that his clothing is a part of his body.]] In contrast, [[AffablyEvil he's extremely polite and generally compliant]] whenever he's being put back into containment, or whenever someone speaks with him.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': The ninja Kyodai Ken discovers the Way of the Fang technique and promptly decides to turn it against our hero. However, the always CrazyPrepared Batman wears armor to protect the exact spot Kyodai needs to hit. (Batman figured out the spot the Way of the Fang targets by looking at which spot hat been hit the most on Kyodai's training dummy.) The plan worked and Kyodai was convinced that the technique doesn't work.
** Kyodai Ken is apparently killed after their fight, leaving Batman as the only person in the world who knows the Touch of Death, as well as the only person who would never use that knowledge or teach it to anyone else.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Bart claimed to learn the Touch of Death in a karate class he had actually skipped out on. Which he then repeatedly threatened Lisa with to force her to do minor chores. (And was really just the "rock on" sign that he copied from a video game. \m/ - or rather \n/, as [[FourFingeredHands this is the Simpsons]])
** Played straight in a Halloween Special when Homer accidentally killed Death to save Bart. Homer tried on Death's cloak for fun and was conscripted by {{God}} to take Death's place. At one point Homer abused his Touch of Death to get better seats at a baseball game ''by killing everybody in the way''. He justified it to Bart by saying they would have died eventually.
** In the CouchGag of "Treehouse of Horror VII", the Simpson family find Death waiting for them on the sofa. They all drop dead when they touch him, after which Death puts his feet up on their corpses to watch TV.
* Death from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' can kill with a touch; excused by his being, well, ''[[TheGrimReaper Death]]''. When DeathTakesAHoliday and Peter needs to fill in for him, simply wearing Death's shroud causes anything Peter touches to instantly die, even without intending it. He learns this the hard way.
--> "Note to self, do NOT go to the bathroom".
* In ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'', there's one-shot character Dan from Grim Reaper Gutters, who won't leave until he makes a sale! He kills Carl with a Touch of Death after Carl refuses to buy any gutters.
* Timmy Turner's Mom in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' can never grow anything in her garden, because she believes she is cursed and most forms of produce tend to shrivel up when she touches it.
-->*bawling* "EVERYTHING I TOUCH '''DIEEEEES!'''
** Which was then PlayedForLaughs as his Dad says "Hey Dinkleburg. Why don't you come over here and give my wife a congratulatory hand touch?"
** In one episode where Mr. Turner started a farm, it showed he's just as bad, even with the land being magically enchanted to grow.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'': This is Phantom Limb's super power, aside from having [[FlightStrengthHeart invisible limbs]]. Apparently he actually can control this power, unlike Marvel Comics' Rogue, as observed when he was able to shake Brock Samson's hand with non-lethal effects. When activating this ability, the veins in his invisible limbs spark and give off a green-red light.
* In the Season 3 Finale of ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' one of the president's men are ordered to arrest Rick. Rick warns the young man that if he touches him, he'll die. True to his word the poor bodyguard drops instantly dead without a sound or a flash. Rick thinks this a very good deterrent.
* Cat Noir of ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'' is bonded to the kwami of Destruction. Among other powers, this lets him cause whatever he touches to rot away to nothingness. Fortunately for the show's kid-friendly rating, he doesn't use this ability on living things. On the other hand, whenever he's BrainwashedAndCrazy (which has happened several times so far), he almost invariably tries to use the ability on something alive.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* While not as easy as it is in fiction, a strike to the front or back of the neck can kill a person with much less force than anywhere else on the body.
** This is commonly referred to as a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_punch "Rabbit Punch,"]] and as such is ''highly'' illegal in professional combat sports.
* Halfway between the above and below examples, a precise strike to the carotid artery can stimulate the vagus nerve, drop the heart rate and blood pressure of the victim and cause immediate unconsciousness. The touch of death part comes from the very real chance of dislodging a cholesterol plaque and causing a stroke.
* It's also theoretically possible to kill someone with a ''very'' precisely timed blow to the heart during the T-wave (the refractory period), initiating ventricular fibrillation, and effectively stopping the heart in what is known as ''commotio cordis''. The level of precision this would require (plus the knowledge of the human body) makes it extremely difficult to do deliberately.
** There have, however, been documented freak cases of children dropping dead from cardiac arrest after being struck in the chest, particularly with a baseball or other sports instrument. Children are particularly susceptible to ''commotio cordis'' due to the lack of development in the rib cage. This can also be triggered by lightning strikes.
* On the opposite end of real-life touch of death, there is the "precordial thump", which is essentially a desparation move when a [[MagicalDefibrillator defibrillator]] isn't imminently available. It is done by placing a sharp strike to the center of the chest. It's the same mechanism as ''commotio cordis'', but in reverse. It's usually only attempted once, and only when cardiac arrest is directly witnessed.