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->''In this, the ultimate punishment for the Wrathful Damned, [=SOULs=] are forced to kill or be killed in a neverceasing battle between hundreds of armies. When the Damned are "killed," their bodies regenerate (making a keen "shlup-shlup" noise as they do), and they're sent back to the front to die anew.''
-->--'''"War! (What is it good for?)" description''', ''Videogame/{{Afterlife}}''

WarIsHell. So what better way to punish your foes than to make them fight forever?

Basically, a scenario in which a character (or characters) in fiction is forced to fight indefinitely, usually as a form of KarmicDeath. It doesn't necessarily have to be an afterlife.

The defining characteristics of the trope are:

* Characters are somehow imprisoned and made to fight
* Death is not an option for escape

Depending on how bad the punishment is, this can be used symbolically to support the argument that [[WarIsHell war is a terrible thing]]. A common subversion/inversion is for the "punished" character to [[{{Unishment}} enjoy the violence.]] SealedEvilInADuel is a sub-trope.

Compare and contrast WarriorHeaven, where [[BloodKnight getting]] to fight forever is your ''reward''. Although note that several examples are ''both'' depending on which combatant you ask.



* The Dead Demon Consuming Seal in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is a sealing jutsu used by Sarutobi, the Third Hokage on Orochimaru which apparently has the effect of making both the caster and the person it is cast on be forced to fight in the belly of the death god for eternity. He seals away the reanimated First and Second Hokages, but Oro impales him with his sword in the middle of the jutsu, so Sarutobi doesn't have the strength to complete it. He solves the problem by deciding to simply seal Orochimaru's ''arms'' instead. So, apparently, Sarutobi was going to spend the rest of eternity fighting a pair of limbs, [[spoiler: until Orochimaru figured out how to release all of them, along with the Fourth Hokage and the Yin half of the Nine Tailed Fox. All four Hokages are eventually allowed to go to the afterlife proper.]]
* ''Manga/VinlandSaga'': Thorfinn has a nightmare of a Valhalla where warriors fight every day but don't actually heal, so it looks less like a WarriorHeaven and more like a zombie ForeverWar.

* Kriegsaffe's "autopsy" of the infamous ''Fanfic/ChristianHumberReloaded'' includes a few breakaways to Kriegsaffe's own vision of Humber's world--in it, Hell is staffed by noble demons who have the damned continually re-enact battles (the D-Day landings are specifically mentioned) not as punishment, but as a means of redeeming themselves by strengthening the "soldiers" into a team and instilling virtues in them.
** ...until Christian Humber [[KlingonPromotion kills Hell's previous ruler and becomes the new one,]] and promptly neglects his new responsibility. After Kekanu and his family all perish trying to kill Humber and take his throne, it succumbs to Chaos and becomes TheNothingAfterDeath.
* In ''Fanfic/TheAllGuardsmenParty'', the ''Ocvurence Border'' has, as a Warp Phenomenon, a sort of "officer's club'' staffed by the Party's fallen comrades. Once Cutter died, it gained a fencing ring.

* The PenalColony in ''Film/TheOne'' consists of interdimensional criminals set to fight forever.
* ''Film/WhatDreamsMayCome'' has the protagonist pass through one of these on his journey across various afterlives. Given the nature of that universe, it may double as a WarriorHeaven.

* The fifth circle of Dante's ''[[Literature/TheDivineComedy Inferno]]'': the Wrathful are made to fight in a stinking swamp surrounding the walls of Dis (the "capital city" of Hell, as it were, comprising Circles 6-9). Also gives sad people something to cry about.
* ''Here In Cold Hell'' has ''both'' this and WarriorHeaven at once: while in a strange, violent Hell where each character is subtly being punished, one admits that for him, this is ''heaven''. [[spoiler: He was born a crippled, deformed child who only lived to around ten years old, but was guaranteed a spot because he fought every day to live.]]
* In Tad Williams's ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'' series, a very wealthy man treats people as expendable, torturing several for information and, upon learning they know nothing, dismisses them without ending their torment, merely silencing it. For someone who actively displeases him, he reserves the right to truly punish him; he sticks a man in an unending simulation of the trenches of the first world war with no memory of his life except for the grey mud and horror of the trenches.
* Inverted in ''Literature/OddThomas:'' Stormy, Odd's girlfriend, believes that life on Earth is a sort of "boot camp" and that the afterlife is a lighter version of this; good, noble, and brave souls are recruited into service to combat evil on a higher plane, while the rest, well ... [[CessationOfExistence don't]]. According to her, the rewards for this service will be given in a person's third life. Odd himself mentions disliking this theory, mainly because it implies that all the horror on our little rock is preparation for something ''worse.''
* The titular ''Literature/{{Mogworld}}'' in the book by Creator/BenCroshaw is slowly turning into this after an event 15 years previously. Now that every (living) creature comes back to life shortly after death, DeathIsCheap in the extreme, and various hostile groups fight, raid and slaughter each other weekly purely for something to do. [[spoiler: The reason: these are [[NonPlayerCharacter NPCs]] respawning. It's up to the reader whether ''every single persistent game world'' they've played in is such a hell.]]
* In ''The Defense of Hill 781'', soldiers who die are sent to the US Army National Training Center as Purgatory. If they win they get to go to heaven.
** It is not said whether the army copied the [[TheSpartanWay NTC from Purgatory]] or [[CrapsackWorld Purgatory was copied from the NTC]].
* ''Literature/CreaturesOfLightAndDarkness'' blurs the line a bit with WarriorHeaven. Anubis sometimes makes dead people fight each other and sometimes the winner gets a job and a name.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* The Last Great Time War mentioned in ''Series/DoctorWho''. Horrific to the degree it turned the Time Lords from bored aristocrats in funny hats into {{Omnicidal Maniac}}s. From supplementary materials, it is revealed what happened to the Time Lord casualties; if died, they rose to fight again, and again. Regeneration cycles were restocked over and over, never allowed to truly die. [[FateWorseThanDeath Ever]]. And that's without going into the {{Mind Screw}}y nature of a Time War and the nasty possibilities that can bring.
* An episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', where the crew lands on a planet with two rival factions incapable of dying thanks to highly unusual microbes. Anyone who 'dies' at least once on the planet comes back to life, but is now unable to leave the planet due to the microbes being the only things keeping them alive. This was a deliberate punishment by the rest of their species after the two factions had been at it for generations with no sign of stopping.
** From the original ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' "The Alternative Factor," Matter and Anti-Matter versions of the same man are locked in combat forever in the corridor separating their universes.
** Also happens in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." The last two survivors of a world destroyed by [[RippedFromTheHeadlines a racist civil war]] cannot give up their animosity, one continues to chase the other as he has done for the last 50,000 years. [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped The writers didn't feel much like being subtle.]]
** Another ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]]'' example: "Day of the Dove" has a being that lives off anger and hate. It pits the crews of the ''Enterprise'' and a Klingon ship against each other, gives them primitive weapons to deal the most damage, and heals any wounded. This allows the being to live forever off the crew's hate, as they are locked in battle forever, immortal. [[spoiler: Luckily, Kirk figures this out before it happens.]]

[[folder: Mythology]]
* ''Hjadningavig'' from Myth/NorseMythology, as retold in Literature/ProseEdda. This is the story of two armies that are doomed to fight it out each night for eternity.

[[folder: Religion ]]
* The Asura realm in {{UsefulNotes/Buddhism}}, a whole world of endless carnage. Supposedly, souls that incarnate here used to be extremely violent in their past life/lives.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* This is a major aspect of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''' cosmology:
** The Lower Planes, seven separate dimensions of endless torment, are eternally embroiled in the Blood War, a massive genocidal conflict between the [[LawfulEvil disciplined legions of the devils of Hell]] and the [[ChaoticEvil endless hordes of the demons of the Abyss]], with both sides throwing massive armies of abominations at each other in an attempt to wipe their rivals from existence. This war has been raging for eons, and is maintained by the Good-aligned gods who throw an InfinityPlusOneSword in the fray now and then to ensure neither faction is stronger than the other--because if the Lower Planes were to be unified, they'd overthrow the heavens in no time. The NeutralEvil yugoloths (a.k.a. daemons) hire themselves out as mercenaries to the devils and demons both, while secretly playing them against each other for their own benefit.
** This is used as a form of punishment in the Lawful Evil plane of Acheron, an ever-shifting swarm of metallic cubes and other shapes, home to numerous evil gods locked in eternal war against each other. The damned sent to this plane are drafted in the godsí armies, to spend eternity fighting and dying again and again in their mastersí pointless wars alongside devils and {{hellhound}}s hired as mercenaries. ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' took this idea to its logical conclusion, and treated the whole thing as BlackComedy gold. Acheron is also specifically the place of punishment for soldiers and other killers who commit atrocities [[JustFollowingOrders without questioning their orders]].
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', one [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Ork]] Warboss and his WAAAAGH! was treated to this trope after invading several Daemon Worlds (each one a literal WorldOfChaos) until his WAAAGH! was finally stopped and exterminated at the private daemon world of a [[EldritchAbomination Daemon]] [[AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence Prince]] of [[WarGod Khorne]]. For invading this Prince's world and castrating him, they were punished by being forced to fight for all eternity on that world, dying each day and rising anew every morning to fight again. The Orks, however, [[WarriorHeaven don't see it as much of a punishment]]. And [[SubvertedTrope it may not even be meant to be much of one]] since Khorne cares only about violence, [[BloodKnight especially for its own sake]].
** There are also several other Daemon Worlds where the Daemons fight each other, and indeed the Realm of Chaos itself consists mostly out of the legions of the Chaos Gods fighting an endless war with each other.
* TabletopGame/{{Infernum}} does this in miniature with the [[CirclesOfHell Circle of]] [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Slaughter]]. This was the testing ground for the demons back when the First Fallen were running the show, and even nowadays, it's an endless meatgrinder of demons versus demons, demons versus humans, and demons versus spawn. And sometimes [[MeleeATrois demons versus humans versus spawn versus other demons]]. Blood rains from the sky and forms gory mists that induce homicidal rage, the earth buckles and spews lava in response to artillery and sorcery barrages, and untold millions of demons are wiped out without a single thought. After all, a single demon can be rendered down to produce as many as thirty-six new demons, which will be fully grown and ready to kill about six or seven months after being "born".
** It's the primary holding ground of House Sturrach, whose Hat is basically being all of the evil tropes associated with armies and soldiers. Since they are quite comfortable with the fact they were bred as soldiers to fight against Heaven, and their House is strongly implied to seek a ForeverWar once they have conquered Hell -- their "flavor text" is an elder of the House explaining to a curious youngling that, once they have Hell under their command, they will storm Heaven and claim it for themselves, then they'll invade and conquer Earth, then they will seek out yet more worlds to crush, all in pursuit of "war without end" -- they see Slaughter more as a brutal form of WarriorHeaven.
* The fate of souls (and demons) who fall under the purview of Baal, Demon Prince of the War, in ''TabletopGame/InNomine''. In theory all of Hell is devoted to the war effort, but only Baal fights what could really be considered conventional war.
* The Realm of Fighting Spirits in the TabletopGame/{{Old World Of Darkness}}'s ''TabletopGame/KindredOfTheEast'' game. While ''technically'' not a hell realm in that it was not created specifically for punishment, many souls there ARE imprisoned as punishment. The realm has everything from [[AnachronismStew feudal ninja and samurais to WWII bombers and giant robots]].

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* The first ''VideoGame/TheDarkness'' game features Jackie going to Hell multiple times. Both times, he has to fight his way over battlefields of soldiers from World War I, including his great-grandfather. The majority of the soldiers have huge battle scars all over their faces, since they can't die, no matter how hard they try. (unless you feel like giving them a MercyKill with the Darkness Guns).
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' is set in a cosmological/ideological neutral plane where [[BanOnPolitics the presence of Gods is banned]] (as certain beliefs can literally manifest themselves in dangerous ways here), but the infernal races are permitted to recruit soldiers for their eternal Blood War against each other. Anyone who may have been blameless before enlisting is certain to earn an eternal position in the armies of the lower planes before their tour of duty is done, and if they haven't, that term can be extended. The Nameless One meets an ex-soldier lecturing against the lures and lies of the recruitment campaign and figures out that he had escaped by desertion.
* The FinalBoss of ''VideoGame/{{Painkiller}}'' takes place in Hell, which is portrayed here as a freeze-frame of war, depicting war throughout various points in history.
* Not a literal punishment, but the usual threat leveled at mercenaries in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' world is that they'll end up in "Outer Heaven"--an ideological concept of an absolute, timeless war--fighting for the rest of their lives.
** That's not a threat--that's the EvilPlan of most of the main villains. They are mercenaries and soldiers who ''want'' this kind of world, in part because they are tired of only fighting wars for selfish political reasons, and in part because war is the only place they feel their lives have meaning. It's Hell for the rest of the world, but for them it's the closest to Heaven that they can get, hence "Outer Heaven".
*** Part of the plot of the fourth game is that they ''tried'' to make a WarriorHeaven, and it ended up being this.
*** That's partially because the real meaning of Outer Heaven was really just a place where a Soldier can be outside of the control of the various government conspiracies and their attempts to take over the world. Being paid to fight was really just a way to pay the bills and make a honest living (For Ex-Soldiers. Yeeaahh...), and Big Boss didn't really want to end up being another Conspiring Cog in the global political machine initially. The "Outer Heaven" that was created was a perversion of both his, and his predecessor's vision of the future.
* This is the setting of the strategy game ''Lost Souls'', according to [[AllThereInTheManual the manual]]. It neglects to specify whether there's any benefit to winning the fights rather than losing, other than that winning lets you go on to the next level.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Folklore}}'', you get to visit several different afterlives, based on the beliefs of various people throughout time... one of them is a war-torn wasteland born of the feverish nightmares of soldiers serving in the trenches of the two World Wars, as their vision of the ultimate hell.
* A number of punishments for [[SevenDeadlySins Wrathful]] [=SOULs=] in ''Videogame/{{Afterlife}}'' are like this, but the ultimate punishment is "[[ShoutOut War! (What is it Good For?)]]," where the damned fight a perpetual war as they are revived shortly after being killed.
* The Fissure of Woe in ''VideoGame/GuildWars''. It's [[WarGod Balthazar's]] domain, after all.
* This is one interpretation of ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine''. The main character may be suffering this, with a healthy dose of IronicHell and ThroughTheEyesOfMadness to boot.
* In ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'', the [[PlayerCharacter protagonist]] was rescued from a bloody battle between [[TheEmpire the Jade Empire]] and [[{{Psychopomp}} the Spirit Monks]] [[MosesInTheBulrushes as a child]]. We later discover that [[spoiler: the Spirit Monks and Imperial troops are basically forced to fight one another forever as ghosts, because the Water Dragon, goddess of reincarnation, [[HaveYouSeenMyGod has been incapacitated]].]]
* The whole ExcusePlot of ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena''. SufficientlyAdvancedAliens search for the greatest warriors in the universe (which include a [[MsFanservice former porn star]], a [[FasterThanTheyLook pot-bellied outlaw biker]], and a [[DemBones walking skeleton]]) to enslave for their entertainment in a gun-laden gladiatorial arena. The [[LudicrousGibs indisputable deaths]] that are incurred do not allow the warriors to escape.