"We've run into scorpions the size of battle tanks, three men died from Eyerot last week, I've sweated enough to fill a lake, my boots just got sucked into a sink-swamp and the trees are so thick in places, you can't squeeze between them. Emperor help me, I love this place! It's just like home!"
A Death World is a highly dangerous place, where simply going
there is considered taking your life into your own hands. It could be from hazardous environmental conditions, such as an acidic swamp or poisonous fog, or from powerful native predators (Here there be Dragons, or worse, something
them), dangerous flora, or even all of the above. It's like the entire place is deliberately hostile to human life. (Of course, if it's also a Genius Loci
, it just might be!)
Very few people would ever choose to live there, but since anyone who does
is almost always a Badass
, expect any populated Death World to be a World of Badass
by default. Sometimes, The Obi-Wan
may hide out here. Alternately, it may be Mordor
, and/or home for an exceptionally tough and ferocious race. Some actually take advantage of this as a way of training
their Super Soldiers
on a planetary scale. Sure, half of the population might not survive through adolescence, but those who do should make good soldiers. Sometimes they are genetically engineered. Those who live on such a world may be an example of HAD to Be Sharp
In real life, every planet outside Earth is dangerous, because we have yet to verify that any other planet out there can support human life. The difference is that fictional Death Worlds
are more interesting.
Generally this means they have a relatively breathable atmosphere, have a compelling reason for characters to get out and walk around, and have a variety of dangerous flora and fauna to menace them. A planet that cannot host human life for any amount of time is just "uninhabitable" and not actually a Death World
For more details, the various Videogame Settings
actually do a decent job of describing the various kinds of dangers you might find in different ecosystems, since videogames almost universally have Everything Trying to Kill You
. The Dark World
is often a magical variant. Don't be too surprised if there are More Predators Than Prey
For examples of entire Death Universes
, see Crapsack World
Not to be confused with a Place Worse Than Death
, which refers to Real Life
locations with bad publicity.
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Anime and Manga
- The Sea of Corruption in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The very air is full of poisons that kill any humans that breath them in, and giant insects that can shrug off modern day weapons.
- There are many places in the Hunter × Hunter world that are extremely dangerous to humans. Those regions are closed off to everyone except full-fledged Hunters — because Hunters are the only ones who have even a snowball's chance in hell of surviving a visit. The Swindler's Swamp is an exceptionally dangerous area, even to Hunters. The Swamp's entire ecosystem has evolved around deceiving and eating humans, with such friendly wildlife as "man-faced apes" which go out to masquerade as humans and lure them back to the swamp.
Swindler's Swamp is used as staging ground of the second phase of the Hunter Exam that Gon and company take. The goal is simply to reach the other side. Everyone who reached this phase is a 1 in 10000 Badass. Out of a group of a few hundred, only 150 make it out alive. The rest became lunch or were killed by Hisoka.
- The Dark Continent. It's so dangerous and uninhabitable it makes the Berserk-verse looks tame in comparison.
It turns out that the place where humans live is only 1% of the entire world. The continents are actually islands on Mavius, a great lake of the Dark Continent.
- The entire world of 7 Seeds by the time our characters awaken in it. Evolution has begun to repeat itself and is filled with rodents, insects, dinosaurs and even flesh-eating plants that are trying to kill the humans, but also each other. It's a survival-driven world.
- The New World in One Piece could be considered one, as anyone who has been there then on refers to the first half of the Grand Line as "Paradise". Mind you, the first half is crawling with dangerous pirates, many of which have some pretty badass superpowers, seakings, unknown and unpredictable weather phenomena, and of course, islands that are somewhat few and far between, and is thus itself considered a Death World by just about everyone who hasn't been there or the New World. And even by Oda's standards it screws with physics! Islands that are consumed by perpetual fire, or plagued with storms where lightning strikes like a downpour, or a giant, floating one are some of the highlights from what we have seen thus far.
- The Megastructure in BLAME consists of thousands upon thousands of post-apocalyptic wastelands stacked on top of one another and compartmentalized.
- The planet Chimera in Jyu-Oh-Sei.
- The world of Toriko, as it is filled to the brim with animals that are strong enough to level cities (creatures are given capture levels, and monster with a capture level 5 or higher can topple tanks singlehanded), the worst place being the Gourmet world, a region which basically encompasses 2/3 of the planet, and was originally though to be a paradise since no one who went there ever returned, until someone actually did return, and revealed that it was in reality a hell that would kill a normal person almost instantly and even trained professionals who are considered superhuman can't survive without considerable training. Chapter 259 reveals that Gourmet World was created when a Gourmet Cell infused meteorite struck Earth. The Gourmet Cells absorbed energy from Earth's mantle and grew additional landmass. "Human World", the safest part of the world, is the original Earth. The reason Gourmet World is such a hostile and alien environment is because it was spawned by something from the depths of space.
- Taken up to 11 as of Ch 263, when we see the creatures that can survive such an environment. The Four Beast that nearly killed the human world is revealed to be nothing more then an ant in the grand scheme of these creatures. This included a massive Stronghold rhino, a powerful humanoid multi-armed Gouma beast that make volcanoes seem only as big as anthills underneath its feet, itself dwarfed and nearly stomped on by an even bigger Cthulu-Elephant Hybrid, with a flying dragon like creature overhead that's stronger then that, only for that to run away from a Fully grown, mature Battle Wolf. To put this in perspective, the Four Beast had a capture level that maxed out at 350. The beasts just mentioned range from 972 to 6090.
- Every Earthlike planet, save one, in 2001 Nights is a Death World that eventually overwhelms the efforts of humans to colonize them: mind-altering spores, periodically being engulfed in firestorms, wasting diseases, and run-of-the-mill hazardous planets and animals. As a few characters occasionally point out, and as humanity learns to great ruin, a few decades is not enough time to fully understand the biosphere of an alien planet. And the one basically Earthlike exception to the mix was actually terraformed at hideous expense, and even then said terraforming will degrade and collapse in a few centuries, rendering the planet uninhabitable. Oh, and even it has a few giant man-killing monsters.
- Earth becomes a death world in Blue Gender. The only safety and civilization is in orbiting colonies, and only remains safe for those willing to train to die on the planet.
- The titular planet in Hell Star Remina. In addition to being a living planet that consumes other worlds, the surface of the planet is filled with horrible hostile flora, and the atmosphere is not only poisonous, but nightmarishly corrosive as well.
- The world of Berserk is this - and this was even before it became a Hell on Earth. Life was so harsh that humanity subconsciously willed a God of Evil into existence just to give their suffering some semblance of meaning.
- The Earth of Van Dread. Turns out the planet got so polluted it's barely habitable, with such things as the moon being driven out its orbit.
- Trigun is set on planet Gunsmoke, an endless desert with sparse animal representation- including sandworms- and seemingly no natural flora. Its population are refugees from a fleet of Generation Ships, who would have bypassed the planet had not the Big Bad forced them to crash-land. In the 100-odd years they've been eking out a living on the harsh surface, human population figures have been in gradual decline and the people have become harsher and more violent as they've adapted to the environment.
- Outlaw Star gives us a Penal Colony on a planet with gravity that greatly varies from one place to another. It barely even needs the security it has since wondering into the wrong place can lead to a person getting crushed to death.
- DC: An artificial planet created by Devilance, a New God from Apokolips, is a death world, with automated defenses based upon the strength of the intruders and killer midgets, among various monsters. Seen in 52, the new Blue Beetle, and Salvation Run. Apokolips itself is also something of a deathworld.
- Marvel's Ego the Living Planet is a Genius Loci (or Loco) Deathworld. And frequently a mobile Genius Loci Deathworld, meaning it doesn't just wait for you to come to it...
- Krypton's Deathworldiness plays a part in the backstory of Superman's deadliest foe, Doomsday; a Mad Scientist dumped a baby onto the surface, where it died instantly. He then cloned the few surviving cells. Repeat ad infinitum until you get a Super Soldier. Comic Book Science at its best, folks.
- The goal of X-Men baddie Apocalypse is to create one of these via taking over the world, destroying civilization and culling billions of people he considers to be "weak" (and not necessarily in that order). In Age of Apocalypse he achieves this by triggering World War III and turning North America and much of the planet into a radioactive wasteland where he rules with an iron fist, while Europe exists as a continent-sized refugee camp in a state of total war with him and his empire. Other versions include the Bad Future his Arch-Enemy Cable hails from, an After the End dystopia where he rules the entire world. Apocalypse is the ultimate Social Darwinist so he wants to make a world so hellish and hard that only the toughest and meanest will be able to survive in it.
- Aliens: Nightmare Asylum takes the characters to the Xenomorphs' homeworld, which is naturally crawling with them and predators nasty enough to keep them in check.
- Judge Dredd:
- The Cursed Earth, the nuke-blasted wastelands outside of the few surviving Mega-Cities, inhabited only by mutants, criminals and exiled lawmen.
- Even worse is Deadworld, the home dimension of Judge Death. All life is illegal. After Death destroyed it, it's nothing but a ruinous wasteland filled with piles of bones and deserted buildings. Venture there, and the undead custodians will persecute you to the full extent that their law allows.
- Rogue Trooper has Nu Earth. Both of them. Due to chemical warfare, the very air and water are poisonous, and the slightest rip in a soldier's isolation suit guarantees death. Only the Genetic Infantrymen (GIs) can survive unaided.
- DR And Quinch once featured the antiheros being conscripted to fight in a war on a planet where "The saliva trees digest you alive and even the hideous diseases have hideous diseases".
- Bizarrely enough, the homeworld of Marvel Comics' happy-go-lucky Impossible Man was apparently one of these, with his species developing their Voluntary Shapeshifting as a survival mechanism. (When Galactus ate the planet, he got indigestion.)
- The Blister in Six-Gun Gorilla is an alternate dimension that's basically a giant desert inhabited by all sorts of hostile native life, where the high-noon sun (known as "the Blaze") literally disintegrates anything that goes out unprotected. On top of that, combustion doesn't work in the Blister, so the locals are reliant on Clock Punk. The only reason people colonized the Blister in the first place was because the soil was surprisingly well-suited for growing crops. And then it turns out the place is alive, in a manner of speaking.
- The reformed Earth in Xenozoic Tales is crawling with once-extinct life forms by the time the humans emerge from their bomb shelters. This includes carnivorous dinosaurs and giant man-eating invertebrates. Naturally, this proves to be a challenge to adapt to, which is the main focus of series protagonists Jack Tenrec and Hannah Dundee.
- The world of Fallout: Equestria gives us the Equestrian Wasteland. Think of the Wasteland as a typical Fallout Wasteland... on steroids. In Fallout, few creatures have energy-based attacks, Super Mutants don't have the ability to generate extremely sturdy protective shields or fly, and Deathclaws aren't adapted enough to qualify as a faction on their own, with enough wit to reverse-engineer firearms for their own uses, plus being able to dig fast enough for it to be a viable combat tactic. Guess what you can find in the now devastated Equestria. There's more, like the almost permanently cloudy weather due to the Enclave, the incurable Taint along with the "vanilla" magical radiation, and much more. And then there's Canterlot.
- On the other hand, the deadliness of the Equestrian Wasteland is (at least somewhat) offset by the fact that the heroes have access to magic, healing potions, Flight and such. Also, despite the ruined world Littlepip and her allies never find themselves struggling for basic resources like food or water.
- Nobody Dies: Australia is mentioned to be this post-Second Impact. Nobody Dies: Six AIs One Continent takes place almost entirely there, and reveals why: the wildlife has severely mutated, so that even the sheep are enormous, carnivorous monsters (don't even ask about the platypi), the spiders and scorpions have become gigantic and sapient, the few humans left are either freakishly mutated or savages (or both). The sky is permanently covered in dark clouds that never rain, but constantly flash lightning. And there's a dormant Angel underneath the continent, which became the source of all this nastiness after Second Impact spread some of ADAM's body to the area. The Reego (AI spawn of Rei Ayanami with a great love of violence) are sent to make the place safe again... namely, by depopulating it.
- The Pokéverse becomes this in Poké Wars after the Pokémon's power dampeners are removed. Forests, bodies of water, caves and even cities become deathtraps for the practically helpless humans that live there.
- Mercilessly parodied in XSGCOM. The birthplace of the First Prime of the Tau'ri is a desolate land, where the winds can strip the flesh from a man's bones, where water only falls in the form of snow, and the forests are filled with beasts, consisting of only teeth and claws and anger. This place? Canada.
- Knight's and Bishop's quips in KOTOR: The Prodigy of Revan imply that the planet Tharsis is very much like this. And on purpose, this is where the Spartan Union sends their Raider recruits to train. Terrain features include "dense forests, frozen tundras and jagged mountains crawling with beasts out of ancient myth, jungles teaming with ferocious predators and torturous diseases. And then there's the...er...'food.'"
- The World of the Creatures takes place in the author/portagonist's mind. Since the author is obssessed with zoology, paleontology, and speculative biology, the world just happens to be filled with more vicious, deadly creatures than you can stick a sonic screwdriver, wooden stake, or batarang at.
- Sonic X: Dark Chaos pretty much takes place in an entire death galaxy in general, but special mention goes to worlds that lose their Planet Eggs (which lose their power to sustain life and become barren rocks) or get infested with Shroud parasites (which are the very definition of Body Horror and Fate Worse Than Death rolled into one). Combined with the insane robot armies, demons, and Lovecraftian horrors everywhere, its amazing there's life in the Milky Way at all. And by the end, there isn't very much.
- A more straight example is Hell, the Demon homeworld, which is basically Mustafar on steroids... and the Angel homeworld Heaven, which is basically Jupiter on steroids.
- The Angry Red Planet. Space explorers land on Mars but instead of intelligent life, they're constantly attacked by monsters. When the survivors leave, they get a message from actual Martians, telling them never to return (possibly implying that the attacks were fostered on them on purpose).
- Nearly every world seen in The Chronicles of Riddick, save Helion Prime, is a planetary-scale deathtrap. Perhaps justified in that most of the planets seen were either uninhabited, or specifically chosen as sites for maximum security prisons.
- Pitch Black: The planet is an arid waste bathed in sunlight 24/7, except for one day every 23 years where there is a total eclipse and the surface is covered with light-sensitive predators.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: First we see an ice planet. Later is Crematoria, a volcanic planet with a sun so hot that being on the "day" side more than a few seconds will cause one to burst into flames.
- Riddick: "Not-Furya" is arid and seemingly only inhabited by large hyena/dog creatures that can apparently be domesticated and giant scorpion creatures that live in mud puddles. And there's a storm coming that will wake all the scorpions from dormancy. Though Riddick does spot a lush valley off in the distance.
- Quite probably the ultimate example in film is Peter Jackson's version of Skull Island from King Kong. Featuring the Invertebrates of Utterly Horrific Dimensions, prehistoric terrors and the most grotesque imaginable (and dangerous) evolutionary offshoots — often multiple representatives of them — in virtually every scene.
- Morganthus in Roger Corman's Galaxy of Terror.
- The Fire Swamp in the book and film The Princess Bride, featuring spontaneous bursts of fire, Lightning Sand, and the R.O.U.S.
Westley: It's not that bad.
Buttercup gives him a look.
Westley (defensively): Well, I'm not saying I'd like to set up a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.
- The jungle inside the board game in Jumanji, down to the plants.
- Pandora in Avatar. Except for the resident sentient humanoid species (who themselves are half again as tall as humans and Made of Iron to boot), the jungle-covered moon is teeming with megafauna, many of which can withstand automatic weapons fire from the BFGs seen in the film. There's at least two shown elephant-sized species and two Giant Flyer species, but you can still survive by avoiding them. But if the planet itself decides that you've gotta go and the local fauna start evicting you en masse, then you're really in trouble. On top everything else, humans can't even breathe the air - it has too much carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.
- Soldier is set on a planet which, while almost a vacation spot in comparison to most examples here, has lots of poisonous snakes and insane winds.
- Star Wars: Yoda's chosen refuge of Dagobah is nobody's idea of a vacation destination (at least nobody who isn't a Jedi Master). Then there's Tatooine and Hoth, though it's more possible to live on either of those if you're well equipped and prepared. According to several Expanded Universe sources, Felucia is no walk in the park either.
- Many hazards of living on Dagobah come up in Galaxy of Fear: The Hunger. A survey team crashed there and couldn't leave, and their malnourished, uneducated descendents, more resistant to disease and well warned about the animals and Man Eating Plants than their parents, have their Apocalyptic Log, which cuts out when their last bit of technology runs out of power.
- Yavin IV, its native fauna include aqua gundarks, piranha beetles, crystal snakes...and the Massassi temples hold the spirits of evil Sith Lords.
- Outworld in Mortal Kombat certainly applies.
"I'm in a hostile environment. I'm totally unprepared. And I'm surrounded by a bunch of guys who probably want to kick my ass... it's like being back in high school
- Subverted and parodied in the movie version of Tank Girl.
- The 'game preserve' in Predators is a jungle Death World full of lethal imported flora and fauna. And then, of course, there's the Predators themselves.
- The asteroid in Armageddon is not only airless, it's covered in big jaggged evil-looking spikes and regularly spews forth masses of gas and rock designed specifically to kill intrepid astronauts.
- The film Signs features one of the most dangerous death worlds in existence. 60% of the surface is covered by a fatal, skin-dissolving acidic liquid that also permeates the atmosphere, frequently falling from its skies like rain. All the local flora and fauna are suffused with the acid, with the crowning example being a sentient apex predator that bleeds, spits and excretes the substance through the skin through physical activity. For those of you who haven't seen the film, the substance is water and the planet in question is Earth. It's not a death world to us, obviously, but the alien invaders were another matter.
- The dinosaur-filled islands in the Jurassic Park movies (and books) which are even known to Costa Rican locals as "Las Cinco Muertes" (the five deaths). We only get to see Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna though. From Jurassic Park III:
Alan Grant: That's just great. Here we are on the most dangerous island on the planet and we're not even getting paid.
- After Earth has Will and Jaden Smith's characters crash-landing on a "class one quarantine planet" where everything has evolved to kill humans. Which turns out to be Earth.
- Screamers: The colony world Sirius B has become a wasteland due to an apocalyptic war between two different factions who completely destroyed each other. Near the end they release armies of self-evolving killer robots which kill indiscriminately, making the entire planet uninhabitable. Even venturing outside the few remaining bunkers is viewed as a Suicide Mission.
- Thor: The Frost Giant world of Jotunheim. A war-ravaged, frozen wasteland with a collapsing civilization inhabited by giant, aggressive beasts and ruled by a race of giants that can create ice weapons and physically strong and tough enough to fight physical gods.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who:
- Star Trek: The Original Series had a couple of examples:
- The planet Eden in the episode "The Way To Eden". Looks beautiful, but beware of differing chemistry; the fruit is poisonous and the grass has acid for blood.
- The planet Gamma Trianguli VI in "The Apple", including plants that throw poisonous thorns, rocks that act like anti-personnel mines and directed lightning strikes.
- Vulcan itself is pretty harsh by human standards, being extremely hot, dry and rugged, subject to intense electrically-charged sandstorms, and home to man-eating plants and giant, venomous cat-like carnivores (which are freaking adorable and the vulcans keep them as pets!).
- Star Trek: Voyager's "Demon" (Y-class) of planet probably qualifies, although the Federation has armored space suits sufficient to let humanoids brave the crushing gravity, poisonous atmosphere, and intense heat. The shapeshifting "silver blood" native to it was a bit more problematic.
- Several worlds in Firefly are Death Worlds, due to toxic interaction between Terraforming and the local environment to try to make them Earth-like. These worlds are generally referred to as "black rocks."
- "If you go to Z'Ha'Dum you will die."
- In Defiance earth has become a Death World. Fragments of the Votan Arks in orbit periodically fall to the surface, raining razor-sharp metal fragments and big pieces that leave craters, or malfunctioning Terraforming equipment that spawns hybrid monstrosities such as Hellbugs.
- JAG: A non-science fiction example; several episodes in the later half of the 7th season depicts Afghanistan as one.
- The plateau on which the explorers are trapped in Sir Arthur Conan Doyles The Lost World. A Lost World filled with dinosaurs, Cannibal Tribes, Lizard Folk, giant bees...
- The monster-infested main setting of Mortasheen is this, with the creator even mentioning that "[the setting] has enough deadly exponentially replicating organisms that they just cancel each other out. "
- This is the official term used by the Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000 to designate Single Biome Planets of this description. They're depressingly common, but any native populations are automatically prime recruiting stock for the Imperial Guard or Space Marines - indeed, several such planets were colonized specifically to provide badass soldiers for the Imperium's armiesnote . Rogue Trader characters who hail from a Death World get some serious stat bonuses, because even the biggest wimp from that planet still survived to adulthood on a world seemingly crafted to kill them. Some examples are:
- Catachan, a jungle world where nearly every animal there is said to be a carnivore, and so are the plants, the majority of the microbes, fungi, and viruses. Wildlife includes the Catachan Barking Toad, a "jumpy" critter that detonates into a cloud of toxins that kills everything within a kilometer radius if you startle it, and the Catachan Devil, a cross between a scorpion and centipede the size of a train, and is thought to be related to the Tyranids. Also note the needle-shooting plants that turn any of their victims into more such plants. Every settlement fights a daily battle to keep its structures from being reclaimed by the vegetation, feral orks breed in the deepest parts of the jungle, and on top of everything else the planet's gravity is slightly higher than normal. Living past the age of ten on such a planet is considered an achievement akin to graduating from boot camp, making the Catachan Jungle Fighters legendary among the regiments of the Imperial Guard.
- Fenris, a world that is exclusively Grim Up North. Its elliptical orbit takes twice as long as Terran standard and means that its long winters freeze almost the entire planet, while its summers bring lava flows and tidal waves as the world passes close to its sun. The land is constantly changing, making permanent settlement impossible, and its resources are so meager that its population must war amongst itself to survive. Other claims to fame include kraken, dragons, and wolves the size of tanks. The Space Wolves wouldn't have their homeworld any other way.
- The Blood Angels hail from Baal, an irradiated, mutant-infested, post-apocalyptic hellhole. They seek out similar worlds for training and recruitment purposes, such as an asteroid field orbiting a black hole where quakes can send mountains falling into the void, all sorts of evil nightmares lurk about, and it's a thousand miles to the nearest neighboring asteroid. This make the recruits' transformations into the most angelic of Space Marines all the more miraculous, and may help explain the chapter's preference for shock assaults.
- The Salamanders' homeworld is the binary planet of Nocturne, a rugged place of volcanoes, ash deserts and earthquakes, as well as fire-breathing reptiles the Space Marines take their name from. Every fifteen years the Time of Trials begins as Nocturne's moon Prometheus swings close, putting the already high seismic activity on overdrive, threatening every settlement save for the seven Sanctuary Cities. Afterward the planet is gripped by a long and bitter winter that covers the world in a frozen tundra, the only solace being the fresh veins of mineral wealth exposed by the cataclysmic upheaval. There is a reason the Salamanders fight more to preserve life than kill enemies: they know how precious it is.
- The world of Urisarach was a storm-wracked planet covered in dense, hair-like forests, home to a nigh-extinct race of huge, armored arachnids dumped there because the monsters were just that unpleasant. It earned its nickname after a failed incursion that nearly wiped out an entire expeditionary fleet of Space Marines: "This. World. Is. Murder."
- Cadia and Armageddon are not the bad per se, but right now both planets are a constant warzone with 13 Black Crusade and remnants of Third War for Armageddon. Cadia is generally famous for its conscription rate and birth rate being the same thing and that cadian toddlers learn to wield lasgun before they learn to walk. As of now, roughly 7% of Imperium military note is attempting to stop Abaddon's latest and largest incursion so its kind of crowded there.
- Krieg and Tallarn are both post-nuclear wastelands. Tallarns are great at mechanized wafare, because the only way to get anywhere on the surface is by using an armored vehicle and Krieg supplies Imperium with brainwashed clones that are overly zealous and really good at siege warfare.
- Craftworld Ulthwe is known as "Ulthwe the Damned" for the exact same reason as the above Cadia. It was one of the last craftworlds to leave the doomed Eldar empire, and managed to avoid being caught during the Fall, but it's now trapped within the gravity well of said Eye of Terror. The wraithbone arches and eldritch architecture broken and defiled by countless numbers of raids from Chaos forces. Luckily, Ulthwe's Eldar tend to have greater-than-usual psyker powers, as well as a Magnificent Bastard streak.
- Altansar, craftworld that is often named sister of Ulthwe spent 10 thousand years trapped in the Eye of Terrornote , its remnants escaped during 13th Black Crusade. The information about them is very scarce.
- Yet these are relatively mundane locales compared to Daemon Worlds, planets utterly corrupted by the warping influence of Chaos, where reality is reforged on the whims of daemons and the laws of physics are guidelines at best, the results looking something like a collaboration between H.R. Giger, Heironymous Bosch, and M.C. Escher. Despite being the home turf of the Legions of Hell and the fact that some planets may be literally trying to kill you, a few foolhardy explorers brave the Eye of Terror and search these worlds for ancient relics, for many are former Eldar homeworlds lost in the warpstorms of the race's calamitous Fall. The ones that survive probably wish they hadn't.
- There's a tale told about a batallion of soldiers who landed on a daemon world. Every day they're forced to fight to the death against opponents they can never beat, only to be revived the next day to repeat the process. Those guys happen to be Orks. They'd basically found Ork Valhalla.note
- That's a not a daemon "world" per se - that's Khorne's personal realm in the Warp, which makes all the aforementioned (literal) worlds look like Disneyfied resort planets by comparison. In fact, the reason they're there to begin with, as well as why they're constantly revived each day, is because Khorne was so impressed with their initial incursion into the Eye of Terror that he brought them to his domain, specifically so they could fight for all eternity at his (and their) pleasure.
- Also, Valhalla. The planet was really nice place until a comet hit the surface and changed its orbit making it an ice world. note Same comet also brought an Ork incursion. As a result, Valhallans are WW2 soviet soldiers expies that are great at holding defense in face of unbeatable odds, drowning opponents in bodies and being unsurpassed combatants in arctic environment.
- Mordia is unique being classified as both Death World and Hive World. Its generally not as bad as most examples, the only thing they have are violent gangs, whole planet population being conscripted, regular chaos incursions and half the planet living in perpetual freezing night, while the other half is uninhabitable desert.
- The jungles of Lustria in Warhammer are everything nasty about the Amazon with the added benefit of Lizardmen whose Mayincatec culture is fine with human sacrifice. The Dark Elves' homeland of Naggaroth is a shadowy, bleak continent whose native wildlife includes hydras and cold ones (flesh eating dinosaur-like creatures), and with sparse resources that force its cruel inhabitants to turn to piracy to survive. And worst of all, of course, are the Chaos Wastes, the polar regions around a gaping hole in reality that leads straight to hell.
- As of the Storm of Magic, the entire Warhammer has become this due to the huge infusion of raw arcane energy. Now it's anyone's guess whether that forest consists of normal trees or EVIL DEATH-TENTACLE TREES OF HORRIBLE TOXIC DOOM. You don't want to know what some of the other terrain pieces are like.
- Northern regions of the Old World also, the Northern Waste are where the Chaos Hordes reside where you'd most likely get killed by the Chaos worshipping tribes or by Chaos Daemons. Then there's the Troll Country which not only has tons of trolls but predatory animals such as wolves and bears that are thrice larger than the regular beasts, due in part they are so close to the chaos wastes that causes mutations.
- Dungeons & Dragons settings:
- Pathfinders Golarion setting has settlements on almost all of the planets. Including the surface of the Sun.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- Phyrexia is a techno-organic hell, complete with nine spheres, each with its own charmingly bloodthirsty hazards. The Other Wiki has a pretty detailed description.
- New Phyrexia may not be mono-black like old Phyrexia, but that just means it now has five different flavors of horrible death.
- Grixis and Jund, from Shards of Alara are death worlds. Grixis is similar to Phyrexia: cut off from green and white mana, the sources of life, it's a dying world infested with armies of the living dead, which fight furiously over the limited (and dwindling) supplies of life force, and even that apparently tastes like stale water or air. Jund is a world cut off from blue and white mana, the sources of order, and is a wild, volcanically active jungle filled with canyons, dragons and similar beasties on the top, and everything trying to kill you on the way up or down. On the bright side, the life magic is strong enough and the food chain is so horrifyingly efficient that there are no undead.
- Naya, the green-centred shard, also qualifies. At first glance it may seem less threatening than Grixis or Jund, assuming your first glance happened to miss the 50 foot tall monsters walking around the place. Fortunately, they're prone to missing you too—just don't get stepped on. And don't offend the natives, who worship them. And also watch out for the plants, who have to fend off the herbivorous behemoths. And...
- The plane Zendikar is this. Zendikar is a world where D&D-style adventuring isn't the path to wealth and glory, but survival. Full of ancient ruins filled with booby traps, with variable gravity, the land itself alive and cranky, and a chaotic force called the Roil ripping through and randomizing the landscape...well, let's put it this way— the largest center of civilization on the whole plane is a city of vampires.
"Granted, the world of Zendikar itself has done its best to kill you. A geopede bit clean through your leather climbing harness two miles up a sheer face of Mount Valakut, plunging you into a ravine—which fortunately bore water, but unfortunately also bore some rapids-loving breed of piranha. The same second you managed to get your hands on one of those strange stone hedrons in Turntimber, you crashed headlong into a crude earthen pit, facing a baloth who looked like it had just heard the dinner bell. You had almost arrived at the misty Jwar Isle, with your maps and guides intact, when the sea decided to take your journey personally, coalescing into an enormous, briny maw and swallowing your galleon whole, washing away all of your cargo and most of your resolve...you've seen more than your fair share of trail guides perish under rolling balls of lava, snatched up by hungry-tentacled gomazoa, or shriveled up skin-to-bone by a fierce case of mire blight, but that's the open trail for you."
- The plane of Rath, an artificial plane created by Yawgmoth (yes, that's the same guy who runs Phyrexia) as a forward base for attacking the plane of Dominaria. The entire plane is made of "flowstone", a semi-intelligent rocklike material that can be commanded to take any shape or form. It contains such lovely locations as the Death Pits of Rath, the Furnace of Rath, and the City of Traitors. It is also (probably) the original home of the slivers, a species of vicious, predatory, vaguely insectoid creatures with a hive mind that not only allows them to share thoughts, but also physical traits. Any sliver born with a new mutation quickly passes that trait onto the rest of the hive, and this rapid adaptability makes them a deadly menace to most other forms of life. When the invasion came, the plane of Rath "overlaid" itself on the central plane of Dominaria, ceasing to be a distinct plane and unleashing its myriad horrors on Dominaria. (The stronghold, however, overlaid on a volacno; the slivers, in the bowels of the fortress, were cooked alive. As it turned out, though, extinction only delayed their threat.)
- Dominaria itself spent some time as a Death World during the Time Spiral block. The multiple disasters and near-apocalypses the plane had experienced (including, among other things, the Rathi overlay) had destabilized the fabric of reality itself in this plane. Numerous "rifts" appeared, creating highly unpredictable magical phenomena, bringing in strange creatures from other times (and even other timelines), and draining mana from the plane, ultimately threatening to destroy it—and, since Dominaria is the central plane of the Multiverse, all other planes as well.
- Things really went to pot for humanity in Innistrad — a plane that embodies Hammer Horror — when their guardian angel Avacyn went missing. The werewolves, vampires, demons, zombies, and other supernatural nasties pushed humans to the brink of extinction. Things got better once Avacyn returned. As in humans actually have a fighting chance of not going extinct in a generation or two.
- Sarpadia from the Fallen Empires set became a Death Continent for anything that wasn't a Thrull or a Thallid after those two races turned against their masters and conquered the whole damn continent. Even the Phyrexians couldn't handle the place. They fled the continent after the Thrulls curbstomped them and dreaded the possibility of Thrulls somehow invading the greater Multiverse.
- Banshee, the planet where most of the action is in Deadlands: Lost Colony, is a place where evolution got dialed to 11 a long time ago; even the tamest places on Banshee occasionally have to deal with a humongous lizard-like creature called a "Rex" by the locals. There are worse places. Banshee doesn't like it that way, either.
- Legend of the Five Rings gives us the Shadowlands, which are a bit of Hell on Earth... literally. Not only is it home to such jovial creatures as tribes of murderous goblins, gigantic man-eating Oni (i.e. demons), and not only is the landscape full of every devious trap regular Nature can devise (tar pits, deserts, poisoned rivers...), but the geography itself changes dynamically so that the traveller will get hopelessly lost. Oh, and the longer you stay there, the more you'll catch the Taint, an uncurable and disfiguring disease that eventually turns you into a zombie or Oni. All in all, not a very tourist-friendly place.
- This trope is partially averted in the Star*Drive campaign setting. Though there are a number of death worlds throughout known space, human technology is generally capable of overcoming the worst effects. For instance, one former death world is now the capital planet of a major stellar nation.
- Niflheim, the moon of the planet Mjolnir in Traveller. It is covered by a vast slimy blanket of creatures that are either microbes or nanobots left by Precursors. No one is sure as no probe has even lasted long enough to say; every one gets devoured in a few hours. Not only that, observers aren't even sure the whatevers will be polite enough not to leave the world.
- Even the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has this, in the form of the Field Spell card, "Venom Swamp," which slowly kills everything except the native Venom monsters. There's also "Zombie World," (a world where everything is a zombie!)
- The tabletop miniature game War Zone has a supplement describing the flora and fauna of the colonized Venus as basically consisting of giant carnivorous plants, dinosaur-like lizards, deadly bacteria infesting the waterways and quicksand pits every inch you dare to tread. And that doesn't even include the Dark Legion's nightmarish troops lurking in the jungles.
- Earth itself in Eclipse Phase, which could be loosely described as a burned-out, ecologically wasted hell zone occupied almost exclusively by carnivorous nanobots, death traps, Exsurgent strains, and killing machines that exist solely to rip off heads and upload the ego contained therein for unknown reasons. A few others have been found through the Pandora gates, not counting the many with unbreatheable atmospheres they include:
- Droplet: Has enough six-meter alien crabs that the colonists carry weapons at all times.
- Echo IV: Known for its aggressive megafauna.
- Nott: Frozen ice ball, in addition there is something out there killing people, possibly living possibly not.
- Solemn: has a bacteria that eats metal, major problem considering how many transhumans are partially or fully synthetic.
- Tanaka: inhabited by ambulatory pseudo-fungi that attack anyone who comes through the gate.
- Strike Legion features the possibility of this trope with planets created for missions, with the options leaving it only limited by the player's imagination.
- Dragonstar has Arangorn, homeworld of the red dragons (and therefore one of the most important worlds in the setting) and a tectonically active hellscape way too hot to support most lifeforms even briefly.
- Of the terrestrial planets in Rocket Age Venus and Io stand out. Venus is a hot jungle planet full of dinosaurs and giant insects. Only the highlands are accessible; The valleys are full of fog so thick a diving bell is needed to penetrate them. Io is a blasted wasteland full of mutagens, radiation and disease. The gas giants are even worse but thankfully less frequented by humans.
- Les Luthiers: in Ańoralgias, a nostalgic zamba about the composer's hometown. The final verses translate to "Hungry wolves howl in anguish while they're bitten by fierce mosquitos, you can't sleep from the cries of thousands of vultures that blacken the sky, there's always an occasional earthquake, and at dusk it rains meteorites". And that's not taking into account stuff like the yearly 10-month droughts (which are interrupted by catastrophic floods), unbearable heat, and the near-constant eruptions of the local volcano.
- In Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity: Blood Tides of Ll'howon, the player visits the eponymous planet of Ll'howon under the command of the eponymous AI Durandal. The planet was covered mostly in vast marshes. However, the alien race known as the S'pht had turned nearly the entire surface into a city. After that, sometime around the 1800's, another alien race known as the Pfhor enslaved the S'pht, leaving behind only a few marshes and volcanoes (both full of hostile wildlife), along with crumbling ruins and the immense deserts void of life where these great cities once stood proud.
- The world of Fallout features giant ants, murderous mutants with mini-guns, scarce food and radioactive water.
- Fallout 3's Capitol Wasteland is the worst version shown so far. The ruins of DC are filled with homicidal mutants. The sewers are home to insane (and different) mutants. The outskirts are held by Raider tribes. On top of this, all food and water is radioactive unless put through time-consuming purification; the one source of clean water is being used as a delivery device for a bioweapon.
- Even worse is The Pitt, from the expansion pack of the same name, where the industrial pollution combined with the heavy radiation has resulted in a mutagen that either disfigures its victims, drives them insane, or transforms them into the subhuman beasts known as Trogs, and those who are still human are either slaves or their iron-fisted masters.
- Fallout: New Vegas has the Sierra Madre Villa, blanketed in a corrosive red fog and inhabited by holographic ghosts and zombified hazmat workers, and the Divide, a veritable hell hole scoured by earthquakes and blistering, irradiated sandstorms. Both were contributed to by the Mad Scientists of the Big Empty, and the Courier was inadvertently responsible for sealing the fate of the latter.
- Chiron, a.k.a. Planet of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, has an environment highly toxic to humans and animals, predators (including aquatic and aerial forms) with Psychic Powers and Body Horror modes of reproduction and, incidentally, is semi-sentient and not very fond of humans or other unassimilated sentient thought. And then there's that whole "accidentally killing off all life on its surface every few million years" thing. It's actually a pretty nice place while it's asleep. Too bad you show up when it's starting to come out, as it were, of REM. Despite this, it's still better than Earth in its current state, considering those left behind nuked themselves to extinction shortly after the Unity left orbit. One of the endings has the Chiron colonists go back to Earth and clean up the radiation to make it livable again.
- The planet Malta in Freelancer has Cardamine floating in the air; breathing that stuff is the in-game equivalent of breathing heroin. (It even gets into your genes, making the addiction permanent for you and all of your descendants.) In the same system, the planet Carinae seems idyllic, but its local biology is extremely poisonous to humans. Leeds, meanwhile, is so goddamn polluted their people lose their senses of smell and taste within 6 months, Pittsburgh is an inhospitable ball of sand and stone, while winters in New Berlin last an entire year and reach temperature similar to the ones in the Antarctica.
Still, these places are a walk in the park compared to one of the unlandable earth-like planets. Said planet is hidden in a radioactive nebula cloud, but the planet itself is almost ridiculously Earth-like, right down to having massive biodiversity. It's even described as a Paradise. It just has only one tiny problem regarding human settlement. All the life—both the animals and plants—have a chemical that's quickly and 100% fatal to humans. Humans wisely decided not to attempt colonization.
- In the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series, Earth itself has been turned into a Death World due to the transformation caused by the ludicrously lethal yet economically valuable Tiberium—which in C&C3 was revealed to be a Gray Goo Depopulation Bomb to weaken/xenoform Earth for the extraterrestrial Scrin's harvest. Unfortunately for them, Kane had other plans.
- The average threats in the Tiberium-infested earth include the air, which is laced with Tiberium and breathing it in translates to infection, and mutation if you're lucky, if you're not you end up meaning consumed by Tiberium, crsytals that cover the floor and slowly either mutate or consume all organic material on it, and happens to be spreading, and the countless mutants already turned into tiberium-based monstrosities by the stuff. Oh, and it's already assimilated enough of the planet for stuff like this◊. For scale, the big two-gunned tank on the top is about the size of a house. Large masses of Tiberium also generate enough energy to create Ion storms, which are basically giant EMP lightning storms, with far, far, more energy. Oh and it's a naturally valuable resources, so people end up fighting for it and even planting more of it on purpose to gather it.
- The Unreal Tournament 2004 Onslaught map simply called Red Planet is a weird hybrid. It's a planet without a sun, but the entire planet somehow radiates its own red light constantly. According to the map description, the effect drives a man insane within 18 hours. Thankfully (or not), you won't live that long...
- The planet Kaduna 3 in the hybrid IF game Gateway is one of these. It has spiky plants whose spikes shoot at you if you as much as breathe at them, worm-like creatures that cling to you the moment you depart your ship and will gnaw your space suit off if given enough time, and other plants that grow so quickly that you'll die if you stay in one place more than a few turns. And then there are the spiders and snakes...
- The game Elite II: Frontier came with the booklet Stories of Life on the Frontier, short novels set in the game universe. One depicted a group of game hunters visiting Bigg's World, a jungle planet where everything was vicious, deadly and/or poisonous. In an interesting twist, human proteins were even more poisonous to the native wildlife...
- Mass Effect:
- The krogan homeworld, Tuchanka, is one of these. The most common cause of death before the invention of gunpowder weapons was "eaten by predator". The krogan themselves evolved into one of the toughest, meanest, and most temperamental sapient species in the galaxy as a result. And managed to make their homeworld even worse. It's so bad that the aforementioned "toughest, meanest, and most temperamental sapient species in the galaxy" is actually, judging by their eye placement, evolved from a prey species. After the invention of gunpowder, their most common cause of death became "death by gunshot", and it stayed that way once they got off their homeworld. Furthermore, when they were discovered by the salarians, they were in the grips of a nuclear winter with the last remnants of their race struggling to survive. Finally, once they were taken off their planet and placed in a safer environment, their population exploded, since without Tuchunka's many natural dangers to balance out their birth rates, they were impossible to contain.
- A world in the same system as Tuchanka is even worse—a Venusiform planet. Most ships will get crushed if they don't have enough protection, and stepping out into the open is certain death - even for krogan. Regardless, it's something of a suicidal ritual to attempt to prove their manliness. Many krogan went out of their spaceships to the surface of the planet, deciding that if one of them survived, that'll be the sign of a real man. The number of survivors? 1!
- Several of the planets visited in the game will kill you over time unless you're wearing a protection suit or stay in the Mako, and even a protection suit won't help in the worst places. Furthermore, some planets are inhabited by massive Thresher Maws easily able to chew through a shielded armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle in one bite. The same vehicle that can absorb quite a few shots from even the worst Geth energy weapons. Also subverted in a couple of examples: the planets have oxygen and are teeming with life, but the native microbes or pollen provoke deadly anaphylactic shock to humans.
- Javik reveals in Citadel that the Protheans controlled a planet called Atespa that made Tuchanka look hospitable. It was so bad that the Reapers couldn't even harvest it because the local predators would just eat the husks and then spit out the metal. They eventually gave up on utilizing the planet's inhabitants and bombed the whole thing from orbit.
- The vorcha homeworld Heshtok is described by one human as "hell, plus vorcha". It's why the vorcha are so unbelievably adaptable as a lifeform. The Codex indicates that the Reapers are having a tough time exterminating the vorcha, because they aren't really able to come up with any weapons or strategies deadlier than what the planet has already thrown at the species.
- Ilos has a particularly charming feature that the player, fortunately, doesn't have to experience: because of its high amount of plant life, but almost total lack of animals (the Reapers shot them all), it has a lot higher oxygen concentration than Earth — so much so that random lightning strikes cause enormous explosions and firestorms.
- The Dark World in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past illustrates this trope considering that if Link goes there without a particular artifact, he's transformed into a helpless pink bunny.
- The world of Balaho from Halo has an atmosphere of methane, suffers from two winters, and is subject to random geysers of fire popping out of the ground. Disease is also rampant, forcing the inhabitants to burn the bodies of their relatives as basically an everyday chore. Considering that this is the Grunt homeworld, you'd think they'd be a bit tougher for all this. Though there are many hints that they are actually pretty dangerous in their native environment; the fact that they have to wear heavy and fragile environmental suits anywhere else drops their combat effectiveness to basically zero.
- SR388 Before Samus wiped out the Metroids (practically indestructible floating beings which can shoot destructive energy blasts and drain the life from any being they come across), they were the dominant lifeform on the planet (despite there apparently being only a few dozen of them) and any other creature had to be very strong in order to survive in such an ecosystem. After Samus wiped them out, the planet is taken over by a kind of shapeshifting bacteria (which the Metroids were the primary predator of) which most likely wiped out all other life on the planet, and prove a severe threat to human researchers (and eventually, the whole galaxy). Its very telling that Samus ultimately has to vapourise the whole planet.
SR388 hadn't even been given a proper planet name simply because it was so desolate, dangerous and just plain remote that nobody wanted to acknowledge it further. It's noted after the first game that Samus goes extremely out of her way just to get to the planet, nevermind the fact it hosts not one but two forms of life that, if left unchecked, could destroy the galaxy.
- It's later revealed that the Chozo engineered the Metroids as the perfect predator to keep the X parasite under control and prevent it from from completely screwing up the ecology of SR388. The Metroids are so damn indestructible because they had to be the top of the food chain on the deadliest planet the Chozo had encountered
- You spend about half your time in Metroid Prime 2 running around Dark Aether. Not only does the resident Hive Mind and its troops want to kill you, but the toxic atmosphere constantly drains your health unless you find a spot to rest in. Even worse the phaazon meteor that crashed into Aether creating Dark Aether royally screwed up the original too with the records left by the Luminoth lamenting that their once beautiful planet is now inhospitable: the plains are a desert filled with sand worms, the forest is a sunken bog filled with the mot out of control wildlife and the robots used to defend their fortress have been possessed and reprogrammed by the Ing to kill them.
- Zebes is a rather nasty place too. It's been described to be uninhabitable for normal humans (Samus was able to live there only because of being infused with Chozo blood, and even then she was only able to survive in the least deadly areas) and filled with miles of underground caverns crawling with all kinds of dangerous creatures. It got nastier when the Space Pirates conquered it, too (now the rain's acidic).
- When Samus goes to Phaaze in Metroid Prime 3, her path to Dark Samus is not only covered with super tough baddies, but the atmosphere itself is slowly corrupting her. And the planet itself is sentient.
- The planetarium in Prime features some data on other planets the Space Pirates are interested in, including one with radioactive dust storms and another inhabited by a Hive Mind created by a sentient and deadly virus. And as pretty as Tallon IV is, consider that Samus is exploring it in a special suit and is still in danger of dying from its fauna (aggressive Beetles, spiky Zoomers and Geemers, and explosive Blastcaps) and flora (Sap Sacs, which explode, and Bloodflowers, which have a projectile attack). And this is while you're still in the Overworld. It didn't need a Phazon-infused meteor to be deadly to insufficiently-protected humans, and that only made things worse.
- The Pirate Homeworld. It is plagued by constant acid rain powerful enough to eat through the strongest of metal, and even energy shielding. All rock formations seem to have been melted away, and the only structures are very well shielded, making the planet appear to be completely metal. At the time Samus visits, it's also being transformed into another Phaaze by a Leviathan, and features giant pools of phazon and tentacles reaching up from the surface. It's clear from the beginning that this place is bad news.
- Fable II has Wraithmarsh, a swampy region that's over run with Banshees and Undead. Ironically, Wraithmarsh used to be one of the villages of the first Fable, one of the nicer ones, and the one where the Hero was born.
- In Final Fantasy XIII the people who might have come into contact with the fal'Cie are deported down to the main planet Pulse, which is supposedly a Death World. Though it turns out they were just put on trains to the next death camp. Late-game, you travel to Pulse, and learn that while it's covered in very tough creatures, it's not as hellish and horrific as Cocoon claimed it was.
- Gears of War's Sera seems like a fairly nice place....until you realize that underground it is coursing with explosive, mutagenic chemicals that cause terrible sickness in humans, and aboveground during the wintertime, it is quite common to encounter "razorhail," which are shards of glass-sharp ice pouring down from the sky and able to rip human beings apart and even damage tanks. And that's before you get to the Locust Horde and all the other assorted monsters roaming underground... On top of that, there's the Kryll. It's not known whether they are part of the the Locust Horde or if the Locust just control them. What is known is that they'll eat anything that comes into the darkness at night in seconds. Nighttime will kill you on Sera.
- By the time of Gears of War 3, It's got worse. While the Kryll have been wiped out, it is now entirely possible for Lambent Stalks to erupt anywhere, spewing bioluminescent, homocidal mutants without warning (even over the ocean!). The surface-dwelling Locust have gone feral, killing anything they see. And to top it all off, Imulsion, the miracle energy source all the human tech runs on, is a parasite that is consuming Locust and humans alike.
- World of Warcraft:
- Outland, the shards of a destroyed planet where the fact that it exists partially in the endless darkness of the Twisting Nether that gives demons their powers is the only thing sustaining gravity and an atmosphere. What with the Hellfire Penninsula, Netherstorm, Shadowmoon Valley, and Blade's Edge Mountains (where black dragon carcasses decorate the landscape, killed by the mountain-sized gronn), every zone here falls under this trope except the verdant Nagrand, creepy Terokkar Forest, and just-plain-weird Zangarmarsh (which is still full of fungus and predators).
- There are parts of Azeroth that could probably qualify as well—Northrend is certainly one. Sithilus is dead, infested by silithids and qiraji. Felwood, and the Plaguelands (especially the east) are blighted, with the latter slowly recovering. The Burning Steppes, Searing Gorge, and Badlands are as pleasent as their names would indicate. Desolace and the Blasted Lands used to be nothing but wastelands, but are slowly recovering post-Cataclysm.
- Killzone 2 reveals the Helghast world of Helghan to be a death world, with giant killer dust storms, air that goes from "nastily polluted" to "downright freaking acidic", lightning bolts with enough juice to destroy ISA armored vehicles...and then there's the Helghast themselves, who had to evolve into hulking, bald, glowy-eyed Neanderthals in order to survive in Helghan's environment. This was briefly discussed in the manual and cutscenes of the first game, but this is the first time we get to see first-hand just how bad it is.
Prior to Killzone 2 being made, this was a case of All There in the Manual as the Helghast world and the Helghast's struggle to adapt to it conditions was explored in more detail in an historical timeline on the official Killzone website.
- The premise of Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2 is that the planet is defended from invasion with a universally recognized beacon declaring it to be a Death World. And if you wander outside of civilization, that's exactly what it proves to be.
- The setting of the Avernum series. An enormous cave system similar to the Underdark (see above). By the start of the series, several large caves are civilized enough to support cities. The First Exploration, however, found an underworld full of slithzerikai (savage lizard-people), undead, demons, and giant bugs. Part of the fun in the first game is to find the remains of the first explorers, all without fail dead in some corner of Avernum.
- The planet your mild-mannered scientist character is teleported to in Another World (Out of This World in the US) is like this. The very first screen of the game features a sea monster that will pull you down to your death if you don't start swimming to the surface. The next creatures you encounter are tiny slug-like things which will slash you with deadly poisonous barbs if you get too close. And this is in the first minute of gameplay; it only gets worse from here.
- Zoness from Star Fox 64 is a planet comprised entirely of machines and structures built on a toxic, acidic ocean that corrodes your Arwing. Also Solar from the same game, though that's justified in that it's a star. It's suggested that Zoness used to be a paradise before Andross' forces started messing with it.
- Also from Star Fox is the appropriately named planet Venom. It's completely covered in yellow dust clouds, the oceans are acidic enough to melt a spaceship, the gravity is twice as strong as the other planets in the Lylat System, and plant life can't be found anywhere. Sending Andross here in exile was thought to be the Cornarian equivalent of a death sentence.
- Wild ARMs has the numerous incarnations of the planet Filgaia. While its level of Death World-ness is variable, it is always a steadily degrading world that's mostly unfriendly, if not downright hostile to human life, usually thanks to environmental catastrophes or wars. Wild Arms 3's Filgaia is especially bad, as all the oceans actually dried up (there's nothing but endless sand formations left, which strangely behave a lot like water), water is awfully rare, nasty flora and fauna are everywhere, there are titanic monsters running around some locations (including one that systematically attacks anything that goes faster than a horse in its territory and wrecked many trains already) and several ingame sources hint that the environment is too far gone for anything to help: even nanotechnology is useless by now.
- The Wasteland from Billy Vs SNAKEMAN is an expanse of Death World made of ninja villages blown up by the sheer awesomeness of their leaders. The safest parts of even the outskirts of The Wasteland can be described as "Like the Sahara but the sand is poisonous". Near the center, sunlight occasionally spontaneously focuses into a laser, homicidal unicorns are perpetually searching for new victims, and the corn will eat you if you're too slow.
- While most of the Ages of the Myst game-series are liveable, Age 233 (where Gehn's office is) is a rather nasty place, with caustic oceans that have deeply eaten away the mountains up to high tide level. Selenitic is geologically unstable and has suffered some nasty meteor strikes in the past, and one false step in Spire will send you plummeting to your death in the fires of a green star. Riven becomes one at the end of the eponymous game. The Expanded Universe of the novels describes how Ages which haven't been visited in centuries have been known to turn into Death Worlds in the interim, forcing one of the Guilds to send scouts to check out such places in full-body protective armor.
- Char is a Single-Biome Planet of volcanoes, which the Zerg have come to call a de facto homeworld, because it is a practice for them to settle in harsh environments to force natural selection upon themselves. One soldier reports that "the planet itself joins in the killing". There is a part of Char that isn't a lava-blasted plain covered in ash. It's an acid swamp full of zerg eggs.
- Redstone is a molten planet, much like Char but even more so. The vast bulk of its lava is not contained, but floats freely in a massive sea, which naturally has tides.
- Kaldir is an ice planet so cold that it gets "flash freezes" which freeze all units other than the native ursadons (and Zerg that have consumed them) solid. The Protoss had a research colony there that was attempting to terraform it for colonization, and a Zerg Broodmother was sent there to use the environment to toughen up her brood (but she was killed by the Protoss).
- Zerus, the real Zerg homeworld, was very similar to Char when the Xel'naga first got there, but by the time we see it, it's a lush jungle world. Filled with deadly Primal Zerg organisms that have spent the intervening millennia fighting each other in a dog-eat-dog existence and evolving. And unlike the Zerg under the Overmind, they don't have a Hive Mind—each and every Primal Zerg is a sentient, sapient predator dedicated to killing you and each other.
- Borderlands brings us the wonderful planet of Pandora, which resembles many people's idea of Hell. To the point that one minor character, Corporal Reiss, accepted his death with grace because it meant he wouldn't be on the planet anymore.
- Days that are 90 hours long, seasons that are 7 years long. The planet was first discovered and settled in the winter, and everything seemed to be going fine for the first couple years. Then spring rolled around, and all the hibernating animals started waking up.
- The multiple wholly unique species of extremely omnivorous creatures perfectly willing, and capable, of bagging humans. Included are the skags, which are dog-like creatures that live everywhere on the planet and can eat nearly anything. There's the rakk, which are predatory avian/bat-like creatures that swarm prey on the ground in massive numbers. Spiderants, which live in massive colonies and have armored exoskeletons capable of repelling gunfire. Plus the stalkers, a species of predator who can turn invisible, fling spikes at ranges comparable to sniper rifles, and have organic shields. There's also the varkids, which are insects that can rapidly mature from small, easily-killed larvae to massive flying tank-like horrors. And worst of all, there's the threshers, a species of massive, subterranean serpents with long tentacles that move with terrifying speed and can attack from any direction and they're actually an introduced species. This is not counting the presence of the Vaults, whose ancient alien technology gives the local wildlife elemental properties, so any of the above could be covered in electricity, breathe fire, or shoot acid. The only creatures that weren't immediately hostile were the crystalisks, which were implied to be sentient lifeforms, but they turned on humanity with a vengeance when the Dahl corporation tried to "mine" them.
- There's also intense heat and horrendous weather, along with schizophrenic climate that includes a completely frozen area with active volcanoes. The opening of the first Vault made this even more violent and chaotic, to the point that hydroelectric dams literally froze overnight.
- And humanity made it worse, with a population of untold numbers of angry, mutant, or simply insane criminals and bandits, all armed to the teeth. Not counting tremendous environmental damage even before the first Vault was opened, causing the rampant growth of Eridium across the surface. It doesn't help that it's all but confirmed that Pandora's Eridium can and will drive people insane.
- And worst of all, midgets.
- The local plants get in on the act as well. One inhabitant experimented with rolling herbal cigars from the local flora. The result? Death from massive internal bleeding. The obviously lethal plants include electric cacti and firemelons.
- The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series (which Death Zone above spun off of) features the real life Chernobyl exclusion zone... which, thanks to Soviet Superscience (more specifically, an attempt by a group of Soviet scientists to use all of humanity's mental energy to be formed into one, to end all suffering and conflict and Alternate History (the experiment came in the 90s, using the abandoned Chernobyl area to conduct research in peace), has been morphed into a highly radioactive wasteland, where psychic storms that fry your mind occur on a daily basis, powerful mutants (some who can kill you with their brains) rip the inhabitants to shreds, The Mafiya and various thugs crawling everywhere to rob and murder anyone in sight, the Military, who are essentially bandits with superior tech, rips and tears in space-time called "anomalies" that defy physics - ranging from raging infernos, moving bursts of lethal eletricity, being tossed several feet into the air, being trapped for all eternity in a localized bubble of one moment, extremely acidic goop (some of which hides in the ground and doesn't pop up until it's too late) that chews through metal like nothing, and gravity itself picking unwary men up and tearing them apart mid-air. On top of that, well-armed militant fanatics who worship the Zone shoot up and kidnap what the Bandits and Military don't get to - and if they don't kill you, the chance of being caught in the crossfire between two armies, one who want the Zone to be open to all to improve human technology, and one who want it destroyed and sealed, will. Welcome to hell, Stalker!
- The various Pokémon regions, where bugs the size of car tires are the norm. People in the Pokeverse say that traveling without a Pokemon companion of your own is dangerous. They are not joking.
Even in a Lighter and Softer Death World like the Pokeverse, Pokémon Colosseum's Orre stands out in particular. First, it's based on real-world Arizona, which neighbors hellish California and Nevada. So, natural desert is the majority of the landscape. Second, if you think humans have it bad, wild Pokémon in Orre are said to be rarer than water, and that's saying something given that the only flowing water in the Eclo Wastes is in Phenac City and Agate Village. Third, the place is a Wretched Hive with the criminals in charge, and Cipher is top dog. Isn't it fitting, then, that the most Badass protagonist in the history of the series happens to come from this very hellhole?
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon has the titular mystery dungeons which have caused the local pokemon to go wild and feral and the layout constantly changes (so the same place never has the same dungeon) and are filled with traps that can be lethal. Taken Up to Eleven in the Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky games with the bad future where time is stopped and crazed ghost pokemon roam the land ruled by the insane Primal Diagala
- Discussed in Ultima Underworld II. When speaking to Iolo about the worlds beyond the blackrock gem, he expresses concern that one of the gem's facets could lead to an ocean floor or a planet of poisonous gases. (It doesn't.)
- Total Annihilation has a few: Barathrum (named after a Latin word for Hell) is Lethal Lava Land, Kral is covered in seas of acid, and Core Prime is a sterile metal-covered world inhabited solely by thinking machines.
- The Deep Roads in Dragon Age: Origins are pretty awful thanks to the literal Demonic Spiders, the Deepstalkers that erupt from the ground en masse without any warning, the hostile ghosts and out of control Golems in the lost thaigs, and Darkspawn. Lots and lots and lots of Darkspawn. Everywhere. Even if you somehow evade all of those, the only way to avoid starving to death is to eat Darkspawn flesh since nothing else is readily available. Assuming the Taint doesn't kill you outright, this will turn you into a Ghoul. Then you'll die in a few years anyway thanks to the Taint. In the Dwarven Noble Origin, the death penalty applied to you is being sent into the Deep Roads with nothing but a sword.
- Earth in Darksiders is a perfect example. Humanity has been wiped out by the Legions of Hell, who have settled in and attack everything they see outside of each other.
- Elemental - War of Magic - An arid barren waste, filled with giant spiders, trolls and golems? Sounds good.
- Parts of RuneScape, and a few dimensions that can be gotten to with portals from RuneScape, are Death Worlds:
- The Wilderness, with all its volcanoes, dragons, haunted graveyards, evil spirits, and absolutely everything trying to kill you. To make matters worse, it's a player-versus-player area, and player-killers can be even more deadly than the monsters.
- The Gorak's Plane that was visited very shortly during the "Fairy Tale, Pt. II" quest, which is a Pocket Dimension populated entirely by powerful, vicious monsters.
- The God Wars Dungeon. Imagine a huge open space with dozens of deadly monsters running around, protecting insanely powerful bosses with powerful bodyguards. Even some of the most experienced players tend to avoid that place.
- Not so much in terms of gameplay, but Yu'buisk is considered one. Once, the place was an idyllic plane. Then Bandos showed up. Nowadays, it's the water is toxic, the land itself is a burned husk, and literally nothing can survive on that plane. The Player can stay there as long as he/she wants though, with on ill effects. It's just that there's nothing to do there.
- The ultimate example of this is Freneskae, the homeworld of the Mahjarrat, a race of powerful beings who have shaped many of the game's major plots. The world is filled with poisonous gas, volcanic eruptions, and random surges of magical energy which makes just standing there deadly. Also, it is home of a possibly comatose creator god who spawns legions of Muspah horrors if she falls asleep.
- City of Heroes has the Shadow Shard, four zones of floating rocks, populated by a conglomeration of minor Eldritch Abominations and spirit-replicas of all the baddies that you already hate to fight, all in the service of a demigod who eats universes. The main means of travel are "Gravity Geysers" that launch you from rock to rock, and should you happen to miss your landing site, you will fall to you death and have to start again at the beginning of the zone.
And now, in the backstory of Going Rogue, we have Praetoria, an alternate Earth where the majority of the planet has been taken over by the Devouring Earth, led by the Hamidon. By part-scientific, part-magical means, Hamidon caused The End of the World as We Know It, by causing the Earth itself to literally rise against humanity. The player can't actually leave the safety of the city of Praetoria, but apparently, should you leave, the rocks, trees, and fungi around you will literally come alive and kill you.
- The eponymous planet of Kalevala in Legend Of Kalevala is brimming with biomechanical creatures that are all trying to kill the protagonist, pits of lava and acid, and all sorts of spikes, bombs, and other hazards. Turns out it's only a Death World for the protagonist; he is inhabiting the body of a Kuririi, which everything on the planet has been programmed to destroy.
- Don't let the colorful, 2D graphics deceive you—the randomly-created worlds of 'Terraria'' are Death Worlds, one and all. Killer slime can be found in the safest environments. Vultures, sharks, hornets bigger than you are, killer bats, and even piranhas await you above ground. Razor-sharp feather-slinging harpies inhabit the upper atmosphere. The underground is filled with skeletons, killer roots, vampire bats, and far enough down, demons. The hills and caverns are steep enough that you can die from fall damage just by traversing the terrain, plus the risks of drowning or falling into pits of lava. Meteors and Hellstone will burn to the touch unless you've built a charm to ward them off. Legions of zombies and enormous, disembodied eyes will pound at your door all night, every night. Eventually, an army of goblins will descend upon you with little warning. And every night has a chance for the Blood Moon to rise, increasing the number and might of the zombies, and turning even the harmless bunnies of the wilderness into walking horrors.
- The first instructions you get upon starting the game are on "surviving your first night."
- Similarly, Minecraft can easily be regarded as a Death World. Sure it's pixelated and only domesticated farm animals seem to be the most of your troubles at first, but once the Sun sets or you start exploring you realize this seemingly serene world is trying to kill you in every way possible. The terrain is littered with random cliffs, deep drops and pits of lava one could easily kill themselves in and random forest fires happen a lot. At night armies of undead zombies and skeleton archers along with kamikaze creepers and gigantic spiders will track you like heat-seeking missiles if they see you while the almost 3 metre tall Endermen will wipe the floor with any unprepared player does as much as glance at them. Meanwhile booby trapped ruins experiment with different ways to creatively end you; from housing nests of huge poisonous spiders to being able to blow you and all the treasure to bits or having tripwires primed to shoot any trespassers. Even seemingly "safe" mobs like the wolf will descend upon you in packs if you hurt any even by accident. It even has the Nether; it's version of Hell, home to it's own collection of death-toting enemies from huge fire-shooting Eldritch Horrors to 2.5 metre tall sword-welding skeletons that will cause you to literally wither away. At least with a Hell you'd think there would be a Heaven right? WRONG. It's just another Hell, where bottom void surrounds the one tiny island and Endermen are everywhere; if that's not enough there's also an almighty dragon that kills anyone on the island.
- And if you are playing on a server, sometimes other players will be yet another thing you have to avoid if people are after you for your blood and gear.
- The various planets in Starbound are like this. In addition to the ravenous beasts populating the landscape (which only get worse at night or underground), the planets have other hazards, such as acid rain or lakes of poison. Just visiting a snow biome planet without the right equipment can kill you in seconds. Some of the intelligent life you may encounter will also be hostile towards you, especially around prisons and dungeons.
- Dwarf Fortress, where just about every moving object tries to murder your dwarves. This is especially true in evil biomes, where lasting more than a few in-game years against the undead hordes and disease-spreading weather is an accomplishment.
- Planet Ortega in Space Quest III requires wearing special underwear to survive the intense heat.
- There are only three planets in Space Quest V that require you to beam down onto the surface as part of the storyline. Of those three, one of the planets has a toxic atmosphere requiring the use of a rebreather. All of the other planets in the game have conditions so hostile that you will die immediately upon beaming down to them.
- In the Jedi Academy, Jaden Korr is assigned a rather nasty mission to the planet Blenjeel, a Desert World swarming with sand burrowers (which bear a suspicious resemblance to the Graboids from Tremors). Oh, and there's a fierce lightning storm going on in the upper atmosphere, which forces Jaden's ship into a not-so-happy landing on the planet's sandy surface. By the looks of things, this is a common occurrence.
- Escape Velocity Nova has Cunjo, named for its top predator. Auroran warriors sometimes hunt them for bragging rights, and rendered a minor Federation world unsuitable for colonization by introducing cunjos to it.
- The Auroran capital worlds also qualify: ridiculous levels of pollution from extreme overpopulation makes them uninhabitable outside of arcologies.
- Really, most Role Playing Games qualify. Need to go to another city or town? Or just need to visit the countryside? Better be ready to fight off ambushes by bands of monsters and human marauders. No wonder every village, town, and city has weapons and armor shops!
- The dying world of Eltria in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny, where the lands are desert-like, the waters are contaminated, and giant, rampaging monsters roam everywhere.
- Naev's backstory has Sorom, which kept killing off its inhabitants by progressively worse plagues that eventually culminated in the Empire quarantining it. The Soromid only survived because of a breakthrough in LEGO Genetics that allowed them to augment their immune systems. Then Sorom was caught in the blast from Sol blowing up.
- Tau Volantis from Dead Space 3. Its an Ice World full of treacherous terrain, populated entirely by mutated, reanimated corpses. In addition to these threats, our heroes have to travel through unstable centuries-old (sometimes malevolent) architecture, hounded by Unitologist soldiers and deal with cranky teammates.
- Played with in Monster Girl Quest. The Monster Lord's continent of Hellgondo is this to any human (even the absurdly powerful Luka) since it's dark, eerie, and crawling with rather dangerous monsters. Alice and the other monsters, however, see it as a very pleasant and nice place to live.
- Silence in the F-Zero series is an unusual example, in that there's simply nothing on the planet to sustain life. The entire place is a plain white ball or rock, and utterly sterile with no native flora, fauna or microbiology at all. The planet gets its name from the fact the entire planet is dead silent because of it. Also Death Wind, a greenish desert planet constantly ravaged by winds capable of shoving a 1.5-ton hovercar around.
- The Desert Moon, where the player's ship of engineers crashes. It's filled with tons of vicious aliens- Runners are fast and lethal, Bursters are even faster and explode when killed, and Hunters are heavily armored and burrow underground to evade attacks. Then there's also the engineers from the other half of the crashed ship who didn't exactly survive and can convert living engineers into more of them.
- The Alternate Timelines of Blasted and Infernal Tokyo in Shin Megami Tensei IV; in Blasted Tokyo, God has successfully wiped out most of Humanity with a global cluster of nukes - everything is a burning desert. Pluto is spewing a 100% lethality poison into the atmosphere; either you use full body protection or you die - amputation doesn't work. Demons are struggling with all they have to eradicate the few survivors, who can only live in underground shelters. In Infernal Tokyo, God's plan was stopped - by introducing demon fusion technology to humans. This led to everyone either choosing to fuse with a demon to become a Demonoid or remaining human and serving as their food as a Neurisher. Society rotted away as new power lines were drawn; this happened globally. Demons also reached this world en masse, though they are not as openly aggressive as in Blasted Tokyo. Main Timeline Tokyo is no exception, either - demons are also massed there and one of the two organizations dedicated to dealing with them is guilty of horrifying atrocities, there are abundant poison swamps, growing food is dificult without an actual sun, and with no natural game, demon flesh is left as one of the few actual options.
- While not an entire world the Four Islands of the Dark Sea from Sky Odyssey count. These isolated islands have the worst and most unpredictable weather in the world, on top of frequent geological activity. Frequent hazards include windstorms, hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, rockslides, and active volcanos. In fact the main challenge in the game is trying to fly you aircraft through these islands without getting killed.
- The land beneath the Taintclouds in Baten Kaitos (the surface) is a deadly poisonous wasteland filled with all manner of deadly and vicious beasts. At least according to legend. When you actually go down there you find it's not poisonous at all (anymore), people live a quite peaceful and comfortable life there, the monsters aren't even that powerful, and other than being a bit gloomy thanks to the cloud cover it's not a bad place at all.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger:
- Near the galactic core lies the homeworld of the Kvrk-Chrk. In addition to having extremes of temperature, gravity, pressure, radioactivity, etc. that would be immediately lethal for most other lifeforms, it has a biosphere so aggressive that the natives have to eat their food still alive and kicking in order to ingest it before necrotic parasites do.
- Then there are the Kvrk-Chrk themselves, who consider awake and screaming a FLAVOR, have carapaces that would put a tank to shame, and can rip any other species to shreds effortlessly. The aforementioned extremes on their planet makes them essentially immune to all but the most extreme forms of weaponry (and even the most extreme might only annoy them briefly). Among their other quaint customs is, when visiting a neighbor, ripping off one of their own limbs to offer as a snack. They also consider all other intelligent lifeforms "chatty food". They once declared war by taking a defenseless colony ship and brutally butchering the crew, then broadcasting recordings of the slaughter on all channels, promising that this would be the fate of every other species in the galaxy. The only reason they didn't wipe out the competing empires is because they found out the hard way that being unparalled engines of annihilation on the ground doesn't help too well when the guys you're fighting against can annihilate entire systems with a single shot from a stellar lance several lightyears away.
- Almost entire Earth turned into Death World in Stand Still, Stay Silent. Lands that were not Cleansed are full of trolls, beasts and giants. Seas are full of transformed whales, aptly called leviathans. For somebody not immune contact with any of those means transforming into a troll, and all monsters attack humans on sight. Moreover, after 90 years of isolation, nobody from the Known World know what's really out there.
- Although it practically qualifies as a literature example, "A Christmas Eve in the Future" has a Shell Shocked Spess Mehren visit a brothel, and the prostitute he hires asks him "What's up?" He proceeds to tell her a confessional story of his experiences in a psychic Death World which will Mind Rape you in your sleep. Enjoy!
- Alternia. This is a world whose inhabitants are nocturnal because zombies wander around during the day. This is a world where the fauna are so vicious, 13-year-old children are expected to be combat-capable. This is a world where the only significantly large body of water is inhabited by a very large thing that must constantly be sacrificed to to prevent it from using its psychic powers on the whole populace. This is a world that serves as the training ground for a Proud Warrior Race that practices The Spartan Way. Thankfully, the protagonists from Alternia are sufficiently Bad Ass.
- And then there's Eridan's planet, which is even worse. Between all of his consorts going on a homicidal frenzy, and Eridan shooting anything that moves, even the most hardened Bad Ass trolls were afraid to set foot on the Land of Wrath and Angels for more than a few moments.
- Invoked and/or Downplayed in TwoKinds. One character's homeland is an (presumably volcanic) island chain so brimming with toxins that his people are immune to most known poisons and diseases.
- In The Silver Eye, the continent is split down the middle by the Deadlands, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They are inhabited by dragons known as weavers that kill all who choose to enter (or who are thrown into them as an execution, as they do in the eastern half of the continent.) The surrounding ocean is inhabited by sea-dwelling weavers who destroy any ships that sail past the continental shelf, and is known as the Deadwaters.
- The Girl Genius version of Europa. There's a reason anything outside of a town is referred to simply as "Wastelands." Wild monsters and abandoned experiments roam the countryside, with massive clanks still seeking to follow the orders of long-dead empires. Mad science has run rampant for so long that Baron Wulfenbach requires his officers carry "phenomenon logs" to document any time the laws of physics seem to have broken. And that's all not counting the Sparks who are still alive, sending new creations of mad science at each other for no other reason than they can.
- Tech Infantry has both Fieras VI, a fairly unpleasant world in terms of climate, terrain, and biosphere. But then there's the aptly-named Soul Eaters, alien life forms that possess humans, grant them Body Horror-based supernatural powers, and eventually totally take over their minds and convert them into new Soul Eaters. On top of that, the planet has a screwy magnetic field that interferes with electronics, especially targeting systems, so you can't even nuke the planet from orbit. There's also the prison planet in the R45 system, whose landmasses are mostly swamps overrun with poisonous plants, nasty predators, carnivorous plants, and stranded alien bugs driven insane by the planet's natural anti-magic field. A planet that drives BUGS insane is not a nice place to serve out a life sentence, however brief that may be.
- The Orion's Arm Hazard Scale has four full levels of this. 7) Planetary warzone; 8) Everything Trying to Kill You; 9) Unavoidable death in ~10 seconds; 10) Unavoidable death within nanoseconds.
- Felarya (NSFW), except everything is trying to eat you. Or just kill you. Or, you know, both. The writer specializes in vore, so, as expected, most of the flora and fauna in his magnum opus are based on one question: "How many ways are there for a creature to eat someone?" There's a creature for every possible method. How about gassing you and growing roots into you to suck out the juices? Or portals out of that hell being created by creatures who live between dimensions and will snatch you while you're in Subspace or Hyperspace for dinner? The ones on the low end of his hazard scale aren't safe, they just need to be near you to kill you as opposed to, say, creating a wind tunnel to suck you up from over a hundred yards away. It's amazingly creative. However, if you're not a voreaphile, the sheer number and creativity of ways you can suddenly find yourself in something's gut make it scary, not sexy.
- It gets better. He has most of his critters forgo the whole 'chewing' bit even when they've got big teeth. When - not if, when - something in Felarya makes a meal of you, you don't get to die quickly when the jaws close, no. You get a nice acid bath that can take days to finish burning your flesh and bones down to nothing. When the only mercy a world has is that if you're lucky, you run out of oxygen before you can suffer too terribly, you know you're in a Death World.
- That Guy with the Glasses' version of General Zod plays up Krypton's canonical deathworldiness. Apparently, apart from anything else, the acid rain melts heads. And the beverage of choice is uranium slurry.
- Little Lenny Penguin And The Great Red Flood's land of the eldritches, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a land chock full of Eldritch Abominations. As an added perk, they can turn you into one of them. (And the experience is quite unpleasant.)
- The native life of Green Antarctica is just plain nasty. There are the Gugs, murderous, raping gorillas, there are ants that shoot fire, giant platypus that have evolved convergently similar to crocodilians, a kind of small mammal who's bite sends humans into comas, and then eats them alive, and countless other disturbing animals.
- Spec World, an alternate Earth where giant killer dinosaurs still live.
- To give more information there are many dinosaurs that are almost overly dangerous with Names to Run Away From Really Fast like the Ninja (black raptor that often rips peoples' heads off for no reason), the imperial sabre Tyrant (tyrannosaur with sabre-teeth), or the black beast (Africa's largest and meanest predator).
- Also there are a lot of dangerous not-dinosaurs like the Terrorsaurs (no points for whoever guesses those evolved from), the large variety of crocodilians (cruncher-crocs, croclions, croc-tigers, jagators, cuttercrocs etc.), the mosasaurs (carnivorous aquatic-lizards such as the leviathans, the mosarks and the lizardwhales), ultravipers or featherboas (both incredibly venomous large snakes), or gobblers (it's version of terror birds) that really want to kill people.
- Even the soft and fuzzy mammals of the Mesozoic have been abandoned for vicious and dangerous new ones such as the baskerville (glowing canine-like member of the possum-hounds), Digga-dumdums (large burrowing animals that can use their claws to rip up the face of even tyrannosaurs), the powerpus (large bulky platypus with fangs), Moby Duck (multi-ton marine platypus relative), the unrats (primitive mammals with venom so potent not even the hungriest gobbler would eat them), or the tree foxes (primates with sharp fangs and retractable-claws).
- Earth, if the SCP Foundation is to be believed.
- Excerpt of the Journal of Archibald Hannity from The Wanderer's Library
- The Sporewiki Fiction Universe has quite a few: Nova Thei, the Zi-Jittoram Homeworld, Mahanaya, Vollix, Macronormus and Forda are the kind of planets where the local lifeforms easily have the means ot crush you and swallow you up. Paclernos and Mahanaya are planets where the planet itself may as well be a death wish (Mahanaya has been twisted by relics of the Ayrai'Shikua and Paclernos' environemnt is toxic to anything that's mostly water and doesn't have a natural pH of 2). Aside from Macronormus and Nova Thei all of them happen to be the homeworlds of the most fearsome Proud Warrior Race Guy species in the First Gigaquadrant. Then we have Occasus, an abandoned City Planet that is primarily used as the site for the final exam for the Agency of the Kicath Empire; essentially The Hunger Games only using 14,000 3-3/4 tall cyborg'd up reptillian supersoldiers, no publicity and passing involves surviving for an entire year. To put its lethality into perspective, city blocks have been known to be destroyed during the exams and almost every qualified agent would rather forget about their time there. Let that sink in...
- In The Jenkinsverse, planets are given a habitability rating. Anything higher than class ten is a Death World, and the deadliest known planet in the Milky Way is a class thirteen. The planet Earth is class twelve.
- Scientists determined the color of a distant exoplanet orbiting HD 189733 A. It was blue. From that spectral analysis, they determined that the planet has 4,500 mph winds in a 2,000 degree Fahrenheit atmosphere full of silicates. In other words, on this planet it rains molten glass sideways. Enter the two (and perhaps three) planets orbiting Kepler-70, a small but bright and hot star. Earth-like in mass and diameter -and, thus, density-, but with surface temperatures around 7,000 degree Celsius.
- Australia. The primary reason is because of the high rate of dangerous animals and flora; the page Everything Trying to Kill You has a list of the more unpleasant examples. The second reason is the generally hot and dry climate.
- In the Amazon Rainforest damn near everything from the plants to the bugs to the water is actively trying to kill you.
- The Central U.S., AKA Tornado Alley and it's smaller cousin up in Canada. Thanks to a perfect storm of ingredients for Tornadoes meeting up there, Tornado Alley gets more of said Tornadoes than anywhere else on the planet. Something to the level of a Tornado every one and a half months for each 10,000 square miles with some places just out and out getting them monthly.
- In Soviet Russia, the environment destroys you, as Napoleon and Hitler learned the hard way. Certain regions of it are surprisingly mild as Death Worlds go, and Russians themselves find these spots rather nice to live in. However, most of it (Siberia, the taiga, the tundra, the swamps) is a bona fide Death World featuring deadly frosts (Oimyakon, the Northern Hemisphere's coldest place, is here), literally man-eating swarms of vampiric gnats and huge bears (the Siberian brown ones are the size of American grizzlies, Kamchatkan ones are the size of kodiaks, and we don't even get started on polar bears) that do not fear man at all. And swamps, lots of them. Food comes from hunting and fishing, because this is permafrost country and no agriculture is possible. If that wasn't enough fun, the blistering summers are still there. It's called severely continental climate, and it's all about extremes. It's either hot as hell or cold as hell a thousand years before the Devil started the fire there. There's a reason why the gulags there will suck to live in. The North Caucasus region of Russia is a place that has long been affected by widespread violence (both criminal and political), corruption, terrorism, kidnappings, lawlessness, and poverty. Currently considered a ongoing war zone most governments have placed this area high on the do not travel list.
- The highlands of Papua New Guinea. It's not TOO bad if you know what you're doing (like the locals) or have their help. However, the Japanese tried going through it to capture Port Moresby after their invasion fleet turned back after the Battle of the Coral Sea. An estimated 75% of their forward fighting troops were killed, wounded, or became ill, and over 60% of the total force didn't make it back to their starting point.
- Ilha da Queimada Grande, a small island off the coast of Brazil, and crawling with very deadly Golden Lancehead vipers—as many as 1-per-square-meter if averaged out.
- South America's Atacama Desert is so arid that not even bacteria can live there.
- Antarctica. Whereas Australia has a permanent human population, the interior of Antarctica doesn't permanently support any life. Emperor penguins live there part of the year to breed and raise their chicks, and the males (who stay there the longest) lose half their body weight doing it.
- Mount Everest. If you're a strong-lunged mountain climber, you'll need an oxygen mask to avoid losing your mind in the thin air and walking off a cliff; if you're a regular person, you'll suffocate before you can get the mask on. It's also got unpredictable snowstorms, and if the cold doesn't kill you, it'll freeze your toes off—literally. Have fun!
- K2. Part of this is due to geographical conditions: whereas Mount Everest has routes that properly acclimated and equipped amateurs can use to ascend, climbing K2 is very technically difficult. In general, any altitude above 8000 meters on Earth would qualify as a Death World, as the atmosphere is so thin that there is not enough oxygen in the air to permanently support human life. That's the reason why its called the "Death Zone".
- There's a reason why the end-Permian extinction is called "The Great Dying". 90% of all life on earth went extinct, including the top predators, Gorgonopsids.
- For any humans it's likely the Mesozoic era. Obviously there would be dinosaurs everywhere but there are also many more dangerous wildlife like terrestrial crocodiles, giant pterosaurs, large venomous lizards, fresh and saltwater aggressive fish, toothy birds and large dinosaur-eating amphibians to name a few potential threats found during the age of reptiles.
- Scientists believe that it became even more of a death world after the KT Extinction Event. The meteorite impact froze all the plants, causing herbivorous dinosaurs to slowly starve to death. The death of all the plant eaters led to the meat eaters starving to death. Scavengers would be sustained for a short while, but eventually they too would vanish. According to some sources, anything bigger than a cat was doomed to suffer a horrible demise. Tellingly, the only dinosaurs that managed to survive were the birds, and even some of them died out.
- New Mexico has a stretch of desert called "the Jornada Del Muerto," i.e., The Dead Man's Trail. This is a chillingly lifeless hundred-mile desert trail completely devoid of life and water. Before the rise of the automobile crossing the Jornada was frequently deadly; when conquistadors from New Spain discovered it they named the first pueblo they found on the other side "Socorro" - Spanish for "help." In 1945 its lifelessness was confirmed when it was used as the test site for the world's first atomic bomb.
- Africa. It's the only place where a menagerie of large mammals still remain, both carnivores and herbivores are dangerous, the heat is very intense, there's an outbreak of all kinds of diseases, and it's home to the most dangerous snakes on Earth.
- Somalia, and especially the cities, a rare urbanised version. It is a landscape of gutted buildings, a government that only controls small parts of the country, a war that has been going on for decades, to the point it has become the norm. Life for anyone not able to afford protection, medication or simple infrastructure, clean water or food is nasty, brutish and short.
- This holds true for most long-lasting civil wars, especially in the 20th century and especially in Africa. One example would be Sierra Leone with it's marauding, drug-crazed, limb-amputating bands of RUF rebels, and the governement troops relying on "tactics" that are sometimes just as gruesome. Things supposedly have become better till the late 90s, though. Then you watch the news and see what's going on in Ciudad de Juarez/Mexico, it becomes more evident.
- Most planets in the galaxy are either barren rock worlds, or barren icy worlds, with some combination of extremely cold, or in a few cases, extremely hot temperatures. The Gas Giants have no surface, and mostly hydrogen atmospheres, with only cloud decks to supply moisture. However, a few standouts exist:
- Venus is the most extreme death world in the system. Surface pressure is about that several miles under the ocean, and the temperature, due to a super strong greenhouse effect, is several hundred degrees celsius. The atmosphere is almost all carbon dioxide, about 90x as thick as earth. The only space probes to reach the surface typically survived only a few minutes or hours. The surfuric acid clouds add icing onto the cake (these actually in some ways make the planet less extreme, reflecting most of the sunlight that would otherwise heat the planet at the surface.) (Oddly, the upper atmosphere is actually much more habitable, with earth like temperatures and pressures, and the acid clouds at this level protect against radiation, and may supply some moisture.)
- Things perhaps were far worse in the early days of the Solar System, assuming Venus was as water-rich as Earth. That water, when the greenhouse effect had started, would have gone to the atmosphere and, before getting destroyed by the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, would have caused a greenhouse effect so powerful than Venus' surface would have been an ocean of lava. This short of an atmospheric pressure several times the current one.
- Io, Jupiter's innermost large moon, is a literal Hailfire Peaks, it is the most volcanically active solar system body, with huge plumes of sulfur compounds, lava lakes, and other geologic activity to interfere with possible settlement, and much of the surface covered by frozen sulfur based chemicals. Most dangerous, possibly, are the extreme amounts of radiation from Jupiter's radiation belts. At Io, this radiation would kill a person in a hours.
- The worlds most likely to be exceptions are probably Mars, and some of the outer planets' icy moons. Mars merely has temperatures resembling those of Antarctica, less extreme than some other worlds, and has somewhat of an atmosphere (although still a very thin one; it used to be thicker), and does have ready sources of water and energy if settlement were to occur there. Many of the outer solar system moons (Europa the most sure example, with Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, Triton, and Enceladus also have varying levels of evidence) are expected to have a layer of liquid water under the surface, forming enormous oceans. These are considered some of the more likely locations for life. However, the surfaces of these moons still resemble the "freezing ice ball" death worlds at the surface.
- Ceres might be the most feasible colonization target in the solar system. While further from the Sun than Mars, and therefore colder, it's still close enough for efficient solar panels and for photosynthesis (in a greenhouse) to be possible. It's size (it's much smaller than the Moon, but large enough for gravity to make it roughly spherical), very shallow gravity well, and lack of atmosphere make landing on it much less tricky than landing on either the Moon or Mars. Water (in the form of ice) is also believed to be much more readily available on Ceres than it is on either the Moon or Mars. The launch windows for a Earth-Ceres Hohmann transfer orbit also occur more frequently than they do for an Earth-Mars Hohmann transfer orbit.
- Living near note Lake Nyos is quite hazardous given its nasty, if occasional, habit of belching 1.6 million tonnes CO2. Scarily, Lake Kivu has the same problem, is 2,000 times larger, and sits right next to a rather densely-populated area, including the major cities of Goma and Bukavu (with populations of about 1 million and 750,000 respectively) right on its shores. Considering that the Kivu area has a habit of revolting, one rather wonders if the leaders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo morbidly half-wish that the lake would just blow up tomorrow.
- The Vile Vortices, a group of places in the sea with an unusually high rate of ship and plane disappearances.
- Ramree Island in Burma is home to thousands of saltwater crocodiles, malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and venomous scorpions. During one battle of WWII, 1000 Japanese soldiers entered, and only 20 made it through alive.
- The North Yungas Road (and South Yungas Road to a lesser extent) in Bolivia. Collectively they're nicknamed "el Camino de la Muerte" which in English means "the Road of Death". Two-way traffic on a road that for most of its length is only one-and-a-half lanes wide, with no guard rails, and shear-cliff drops in excess of 1800 feet down one side.
- Averted with Death Valley, which despite being the hottest, driest place in North America, with a temperature of 134 degrees F observed in 1913, only sees two tourist and hiker deaths a year, which is actually a lower rate than some other US national parks.
- The ocean. More than half the life on the planet lives in the water that covers over half of its surface, and most of it is predatory. Coral reefs full of venomous creatures, where octopus and moray eels lurk within crevices, where the coral itself can kill, and where a staggering 89% of all life is composed of apex predators facing constant starvation and desperate for prey.. The open ocean is a realm where almost every animal is both a predator and a prey item, where they have to keep constantly moving, because staying still for even a moment can get someone eaten or starved to death. Tidal pools, where stranded creatures eke out a living in an environment where the water they need to survive can drain out overnight, temperatures roast them alive, and where oxygen is in short supply. Estuaries, where the flux of fresh water can rupture the cells of organisms, turning them to mush. The deep oceans, utterly devoid of sunlight, as cold or colder than the coldest temperatures on the surface, exuding enough pressure to crush a human body several times over. Where animals have evolved to eat whatever they bump into, and traveling more than a few feet up or down could mean instant death. For a good illustration of just how hostile the ocean can be, just look to what happens when there is a bloom in the krill population in a specific area of the ocean.
- The Earth itself, in the future, will likely be that again before things get even worse. And it was already this trope during many prehistoric periods. At various points in history there were ferocious theropod dinosaurs (the group that includes T.rex and Velociraptor), azhdarchid pterosaurs (basically giant scaly storks from Hell), giant dinosaur-eating crocodiles, mosasaurs (flesh-eating sea lizards), pliosaurs (picture a gigantic crocodile with flippers), 40-foot-long sharks, gigantic aggressive swamp-dwelling arthropods, eurypterids (colossal sea-going scorpions), saber-toothed cats, entelodonts (hideous pig-like omnivores), shark-sized ratfish with chainsaw mouths, huge wolf-hyena-whale hybrids with hooves, and giant carnivorous armoured fish.
- The environments were often extreme as well: widespread volcanic activity and rapid climate changes toward the end of the Cretaceous are possibly part of the reason dinosaurs started to go into decline. Droughts and massive volcanic eruptions during the last few million years of the Permian carried warnings of the most devastating mass extinction in the history of our planet (over 90% of all animal and plant species were wiped out). The ridiculously high oxygen levels of the Carboniferous swamps meant that any lightning would cause the air to ignite. Take a moment to let that sink in: there was was a very real threat of the sky exploding whenever storm clouds formed.
- You know how the bit above said jungles are death worlds where everything wants to kill you? Now imagine one of those where it's dark six months of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Eocene rainforest of northern Canada.