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[[quoteright:301:[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/turnundead01_4018.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:301:Avaunt, soulless hellspawn!]]

A [[VideogameEffectsAndSpells standard spell]] which causes TheUndead to panic or be destroyed, depending on the work.

The idea may have come from one of two possible sources, both connected with vampirism. One is the movie trope of a religious person repelling a vampire by using a cross. The other is an old superstition actually practiced in the middle ages on bodies suspected of being vampires. Apparently, one of the ways to stop such a corpse from rising was to literally ''turn it'', burying it face-down to make it "bite the dust and not people". The idea could also be influenced by the religious practice of ''exorcism'', or driving away evil spirits or demons.

If such a power is imbued into a weapon rather than a character, then it's a specific case of WeaponOfXSlaying instead of this trope.

Subtrope of HolyHandGrenade. Closely related to ReviveKillsZombie. Can be a side effect of the CareBearStare. Contrast CrossMeltingAura. Not to be confused with AnimateDead and its logical conclusion, ZombifyTheLiving. If a character is turning ''into'' an undead creature rather than turning them ''away'', see AndThenJohnWasAZombie.




[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Melissa and the other priestesses of Mylee have this ability in ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie''.
* Etoh in ''Roleplay/RecordOfLodossWar'' uses this ability now and then.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'': Amelia uses the spell "Megiddo Flare" with the help of a stone of binding in one episode.
* Often used by Aqua in ''LightNovel/KonoSubarashiiSekaiNiShukufukuO'', basically her only combat skill since she spent all her skill points for party trick skills.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'':
** Spoofed in the card game, where a Cleric can turn a Wannabe Vampire just by saying "booga booga" at it.
** Also played straight: both the Warrior and the Cleric have the ability to trade in cards for a one-shot bonus in combat (up to three cards per fight). The Cleric's bonus is fully three times as high as the Warrior's, but only effective against undead monsters.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Featured in ''L'Armée du Nécromant'' ("''The Necromancer's Army''") -- the first album of the ComicBookAdaptation for ''Series/{{Kaamelott}}'', parodying both Arthurian Legends and Tabletop [=RPGs=]. Myth/KingArthur and his knights going on a mission to investigate a surge of zombies, they bring Father Blaise with them, on the principle that priests are supposed to have powers against TheUndead. However, Blaise never tried this before, and all his attempts are failures. Except at a critical moment toward the end, after hours of prayer, where he obliterates a group of giant zombies, almost accidentally (and fries his holy symbol in the process).

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/MyLittleMagesTheNightmaresReturn'', the paladin incantation used by Applejack to wipe out the undead horde that is closing on them. It's dangerous (she says there is a risk of all of them dying in the process) and quite lengthy (necessitating the other mages to set up a protective barrier in the meantime) but very efficient in the end.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Subverted hilariously in ''Film/CorpseBride'': as the dead head into town and towards the church, the Creator/ChristopherLee-voiced priest stands at the door to rebuke them.
--> '''Priest:''' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd5UvOT6S9M Begone, ye demons from Hell!]] Back to the void from whence you came! [[YouShallNotPass You shall not enter here!]] Back! Back!\\
'''Zombie:''' Could you keep it down? We're in a church!\\
-As the zombies file in, one of them tips his hat.-\\
'''Other zombie:''' Evenin'!

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Attempted in ''Film/TheMummy1999'', where the shady Beni tries to use various holy symbols to turn the title mummy away. It doesn't work. When he tries to use the Jewish holy symbol with Hebrew incantations, though, Imhotep recognizes the language and decides to make him his slave instead, as the ancient Hebrews were once the slaves of the Egyptians. It also means there's someone around who can actually ''understand'' him, which is a plus when you're trying to rule over people.
* In ''Film/DungeonsAndDragonsWrathOfTheDragonGod'', the party's cleric uses Turn Undead on a horde of specters sent after them by a lich.
* Filipino film ''ComicBook/ZsazsaZaturnnah: Ze Moveeh'' has the villagers, led by the eponymous heroine, doing a musical number on the steps of a church which ends with the crowd forming a cross, which results in vaporizing the invading zombies. And no, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2pe5MqgefY that's not the most outrageous part of this movie]].

* ''LARP/{{Amtgard}}'', which has its roots in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', gives Turn Undead to the Monk class, which forces the targeted undead to avoid the monk for a 1000 count. And also gives Banish to Healers, which temporarily kills an undead. For clarification on "temporarily": Banish makes an undead stay out of the game for a 500 count, which is longer than a normal death, but does not count against their allotted number of lives.

* In ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: City of the Dead'' an anti-zombie formula is developed. Just a drop landing on a zombie will revert it into a normal corpse. Also, for other uses of "Turn Undead", a CheerfulChild turns to an UndeadChild under the control of a {{Necromancer}}-y scientist, [[spoiler:but makes a HeelFaceTurn and helps the heroes in the climax.]]
* Dumbledore uses fire to this extent in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' when he and Harry are cornered by the zombie-like Inferi. But instead of burning them like you'd expect with fire, he merely uses it to drive them back into the lake where they'd been lying. Time, and Dumbledore's weakened state, is implied to be why he didn't destroy them.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' is probably the UrExample (and TropeNamer).
** Turn Undead is a power of [[ReligionIsMagic clerics and paladins]]; it causes one or more undead to panic, or be obliterated if the cleric is [[CurbStompBattle sufficiently stronger]] than the undead. The earliest editions also allowed you to turn ''demons and other denizens of the Lower Planes'' if you were at a high enough level to do so.
** Then there is Turn Undead's EvilCounterpart, "Rebuke Undead", which enslaves weak undead rather than destroying them. Evil clerics can also "Bolster Undead" which makes them more resistant to turning.
** In some settings there are the "Deathless", [[EvilCounterpart Good Counterparts]] of TheUndead. The roles are reversed here: they can be turned by evil clerics and rebuked or bolstered by good ones.
** And if the cleric has one of the elemental Domains, they can rebuke creatures of that element and turn creature of its opposite.
** The Sun Domain in 3rd Edition allows for a once-a-day use of "greater turning", in which if a normal turning attempt would turn the undead, it would instead totally destroy it. ''Complete Divine'' has a prestige class that allows you to do Greater Turning more times a day.
** The ''TabletopGame/EpicLevelHandbook'', which contains rules for characters past the level cap of 20, lets epic clerics and paladins gain a permanent aura of turning. Instead of using one of their limited turn attempts, they can just sit back and watch as lesser undead "dust" themselves by getting too close.
** Just don't expect the "obliterate" option to work in TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}, where scaring undead off is the best result you can reasonably expect.
** 4th edition continues this trend, not only by including the classic "Turn" and "Rebuke", but also by adding such powers as "Smite Undead" and "Abjure Undead".
** Wizards get in on the action too, with spells like ''Destroy Undead'' and ''Undeath to Death''.
* The Kender Spoon of Turning, from ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}''.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' has a few spells that do things like this. There is also the True Faith advantage which has an enhancement (called Turning) that makes this possible without a spell.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'':
** The Zenith Caste have the innate ability to deal hideous amounts of damage to the undead, as well as the ability to touch a corpse and grant it an instant cremation, ensuring the corpse won't rise as a zombie and the higher soul will enter the cycle of reincarnation.
** Beyond the Zeniths, there are a number of charms with the Holy keyword that do grievous damage to "creatures of darkness" (including demons, undead, and Unshaped [[TheFairFolk raksha]]).
** Sidereals have a number of powers dedicated to killing undead in a very painful fashion. All that needs to be said about them is that most of these powers are in the Medicine tree, while the main healing stuff is in Archery. Sids are ''weird''.
* Despite taking place in a DarkerAndEdgier CrapsackWorld, ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' has a very rare trait called "True Faith" which allows a person to actually drive off vampires by brandishing holy symbols at them; normally they laugh at such attempts. At higher levels, even hearing such a person pray can make a vampire flee or grovel.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-based games:
** ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsOnline'' pretty much follows the tabletop game rules with the Cleric class. Includes the ability to take additional feats and enhancements to improve your ability further, such as being able to turn more undead or more powerful undead than your level would otherwise allow. The EvilCounterpart "Rebuke Undead" returns as [[{{Necromancer}} necromancy]] spell "Command Undead" for Wizard class. Should you specialize necromancy on [[SkillScoresAndPerks Archmage Enhancement]], you can cast it ''without'' spell materials by the time when you reach Lv2 Spell specialization.
** ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'':
*** Also based off the ''D&D'' rules, the game amusingly takes it a step further by making undead who are outclassed enough literally explode into LudicrousGibs.
*** It also has the Mace of Disruption, which is very disrupty and allows you to plough through all but the most durable undead with ease. Amusingly if you [[GuideDangIt find the sidequest to upgrade it]] it even works on [[BonusBoss Kangaxx the Demilich]], whose piss-poor save versus death spells means he stands a good chance of eating an instant kill the round after you strip his spell protections.
*** The [[AnAxeToGrind Azure Axe]] has the same "save or die" effect on undead as the Mace of Disruption. There is a small chance it even works on [[TheDragon Bohdi]].
*** The expansion added yet another disrupting weapon, the Rune Hammer. Like the Mace of Disruption, it can be [[ItemCrafting upgraded]] with the right item.
** ''VideoGame/IcewindDale'':
*** Baldur's Gate's sister game operates on much the same principles, and here too sufficiently outclassed undead will explode into bits when successfully turned.
*** Several weapons have bonuses against undead, but the most powerful one is found in the Heart of Winter expansion: The "Three White Doves" mace works similar to the Mace of Disruption except that this version has a better chance to score an instant kill the weaker the targeted undead is. With it, a decent fighter can easily wrap up most undead encounters by themselves.
*** The bastard sword "Amaunator's Legacy" deals a significant amount of bonus fire damage to undead only, fitting as Amaunator was an ancient sun deity who thoroughly loathed the living dead.
** ''VideoGame/EyeOfTheBeholder'': This is a power for the cleric or the paladin, along with the 2nd edition rules.
*** In ''Eye of the Beholder'', it is an automatic function, as long as the character is holding a holy symbol.
*** Starting with ''Eye of the Beholder 2: The Legend of Darkmoon'', it becomes a selectable action like any spell-casting, though not limited in use.
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series, this spell effect causes undead to flee. ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' now has master level spells; the master [[WhiteMagic Restoration]] spell "Bane of the Undead" now not only sends undead fleeing in fear, but also burns them, causing damage over time. If they die from the spell, instead of a corpse or a pile of bones, they leave behind ashes (which means that they can't be resurrected by necromancy). Using Bane of the Undead onto the living makes them overreact and potentially become hostile however, because of the Fire Damage, even though it does no harm to them.
* One of the paladin's spells in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' was originally Turn Undead. It's now called Turn Evil and extends to demon targets in addition to undead ones. ''World of Warcraft'' paladins also have a HolyHandGrenade spell called "Holy Wrath" which affects everything, but stuns undead and demons.
* ''VideoGame/{{Crossfire|RPG}}'' has both Turn Undead, which inflicts fear upon the undead, as is standard, and, less specifically, Holy Word and Holy Wrath, which damage only creatures considered to be enemies of your god, whatever they might be.
* Tim Rhymeless of ''VideoGame/WildArms2'' has this spell with the same name and effect. It can even instant kill undead bosses and {{Bonus Boss}}es (hint hint).
* In the ''VideoGame/BreathOfFire'' series of games, there is the spell "Kyrie" which instantly kills all Undead enemies present in the battle. Even bosses, which is why most of the installments that had this spell tried to avoid undead bosses or simple made the spell unavailable till after said undead bosses. Usually learned by the Nina of that installment.
* In ''VideoGame/NetHack'', Turn Undead works like this on undead beings, but when used on a corpse it [[{{Pun}} "turns" it into undead]] -- in other words, brings it back to life. The latter is generally the more useful function, as it allows the revival of powerful pets, while most high-level undead have a good chance of resisting the former effect.
* This is Ryuna's basic ability in ''[[VideoGame/ShiningForce Shining Tears]]'', as part of her role as the WhiteMage. Considering how many Undead enemies appear early on, it really comes in handy.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' has the Dia line of spells, which only harm undead opponents. In all subsequent installments, [[ReviveKillsZombie Cure is used in place of Dia]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' has Requiem, a song for the Bard job class which deals heavy damage to all undead enemies.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsA2'' has a couple of specifically anti-undead abilities and spells: Exorcise and Burial might permanently remove an active undead (when they lose their HP they come back after a few turns if you don't do anything) and always removes inactive ones, Sanctify is like Exorcise except with a range and area of effect, and Requiem removes inactive undead from play while heavily damaging active ones. Bonus points for the one-line help option actually referring to Burial, Exorcise, and Sanctify's effects as Turn Undead.
** Exorcise and Burial are also present in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' and its sequel, there are three types of enemy: animal, demon, and undead. For each of the latter two, there are possible item enchantments that do extra damage. The first game also features the Holy Bolt spell, which specifically harms only undead. In the sequel, this is one of several anti-undead attacks available to the Paladin, who also has an Aura called Sanctuary which pushes Undead away from the character and hurts them a bit. Its main use is to keep the Pally from getting dogpiled. It also greatly increases your melee damage on undeads.
* ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' has this for the Priest class, which either deals minor damage to an Undead monster, or deals enough damage to outright kill them.
* In ''VideoGame/WanderingHamster'', the glimmer item is specifically made to kill skeleton enemies for good (otherwise, they just keep respawning unless you run away).
* In ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'', the turn undead spell deals vast amounts of fire damage, but only to undead.
* In ''Ley Lines'', the Sunbeam spell and the priest's Exorcism ability work only against undead troops, and have a pretty good chance of obliterating them.
* In ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV'', the paladin's ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Destroy Undead]]'' ability that [[LudicrousGibs blow undead to chunk of bits]], at the cost some of your stamina.
* In ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'', Carlie's Bishop class has this skill. It pretty much does 999 damage to any undead to the game, ''including her path's final boss'' if she is high enough level for a mere 1MP.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', the spell [=HolyLight=] -- already powerful -- automatically kills undead enemies.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' used to have a "Crumble Undead" spell early on in the standard spellbook. However, [[UselessUsefulSpell it is kind of weak]] compared to later spells.
* ''VideoGame/DantesInferno'' has this in the form of Absolve finishers, though it effects demons as well as the dead.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', the Goddess Shield will cause Cursed Bokoblins (basically undead) to cover their faces and back away slowly in fear when brandished at them.
* ''VideoGame/LightCrusader'''s version is a ranged magic spell that can instantly kill undead enemies, including the otherwise-stubborn skeletons, poisonous zombies, and ghosts that can bombard you with fireballs.
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfWonders''', every races' 'priest' unit, with the obvious exception of the Undead Doom Priest, gets the Turn Undead ability. The Highmen Paladin (calvary unit) also gets this ability. If it hits, it damages and stuns the target for three turns. It's most useful against the Undead Wraith, a weak unit with physical immunity which is otherwise difficult to even attack for most low level units.
* In ''VideoGame/UltimaIII'', the spell Pontori (or "Undead" in the NES port) is a low-level Cleric spell that has a 50% chance of instantly killing Skeletons, Zombies and Ghouls, similar to the Wizard spell Repond/Repel, which has a similar effect on Orcs, Goblins and Trolls.
* ''VideoGame/DragonsCrown'' has the D-B-G (Dead Be Gone) Rune Spell, which kills all of the enemy undead you're currently fighting.
* ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'' has the Recite ability for followers of Zin, god of law and purity, which can apply a number of negative statuses to undead and other unholy creatures. The Disrupt Undead spell is a non-HolyHandGrenade variation as it is actually a Necromancy spell itself.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}'' series has the Dispel Spirit spell under Priest Magic. It can only effect undead but inflicts heavy irresistible damage.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', being based on ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', features several examples.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0016.html Durkon has once gotten overenthusiastic]] with the power, every time he misheards something vaguely indicating an undead's presence.
--->'''Durkon:''' A lich is binding ghouls? TURN UNDEAD!\\
'''Roy:''' Okay, now you're stretching it.\\
'''Vaarsuvius:''' Sweet merciful gods, my poor useless eyes!
** In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0113.html the big fight ending Book1]], Durkon yells "Turn Undead!", which Redcloak counters with "Bolster Undead!" Not wanting to be left out, Belkar shouts [[CallingYourAttack "Stab Undead!"]] while doing so.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0459.html "Negative Feelings"]]: Redcloak and a hobgoblin cleric against the ghost-martyrs shows the reversal against deathless mentioned in the Tabletop Games section above, by using negative energy to turn the positive spirits.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0514.html "Elan Would Be So Proud"]]: Ho Thanh {{the Paladin}} turns some Wights by using his katana as divine focus. Good thing this isn't 1st Edition, or Tsukiko would have turned him in turn.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0873.html "Spell Check"]]: Durkon vs. Malack. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, since the vampire is also a cleric, he can bolster himself.]]
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0968.html "Next Week They're Getting Drab"]]: A young gnome cleric tries to turn [[spoiler:Vampire Durkon. But since she's too low level (and vampires tend to be quite resistant anyway) it has absolutely no effect]].
%%* In ''Webcomic/TropeOverdosedTheWebcomic'', Turn Undead shows up, complete with an IncrediblyLamePun.
* In ''[=PronQuest=]'' (a {{NSFW}} MMPORG parody webcomic), a Paladin following instructions on how to "Turn Undead" does so... [[VisualPun by giving their heads a quarter-turn]].
* Uriel (an Anglican minister in RL) of ''Webcomic/LittleTales'' usually gets annoyed when [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Gen]] asks if he can scare off vampires. Though he does once wonder if [[http://www.little-tales.com/index.php?Strip=349 a zombie priest can turn himself.]]
* From ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'', Forgath the dwarf cleric [[http://goblinscomic.com/01222013/ uses Turn Undead]] on a swarm of zombies (created from alternate universe doubles of his party). More keeps coming, though.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/{{Oglaf}}'', where turn undead, instead of making them flee, has [[http://oglaf.com/rigormortis/ rather NSFW effects]] on the living deads.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/JourneyQuest'': This Web video series brings us the undead cleric Carrow, who had the misfortune to become a RevenantZombie thanks to MagicMisfire while serving Vieris, the undead-hating god.
** He once turns a large group of zombies while wandering though a city of other undead. Unfortunately, he looks at his holy symbol and accidentally turns himself, running off farther into the horde of undead who don't react in any way.
** Bonus points for later trying to turn Death herself... and accidentally blowing his own arm off in the process.
* ''Podcast/DiceFunk'': As a cleric, Anne has access to the spell, but it's actually Rinaldo who attempts this by apologizing profusely to the undead victims of The Stoneroot Massacre.
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'', [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-2863 SCP-2863 ("がしゃどくろ")]]. SCP-2863 are giant skeletons that bite off people's heads and drink their blood. Shinto religious rituals can banish them but not destroy them.