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Anime & Manga
- In Last Exile, Disith invades Anatoray because an imbalance in their artificial planet is causing their land to freeze over.
- The ELS in Gundam 00 Awakening Of The Trailblazer are only attempting to invade the Earth because their original home planet was destroyed and now they travel around the galaxy, assimilating with other celestial bodies to gain and share their knowledge. And they aren't even malicious, either; they don't have any means of communication that humanity understands, and they don't realize that the assimilation process is extremely painful.
Films — Animation
- How to Train Your Dragon: This turns out to be the reason dragons raid villages.
- In Home, the Boov take over Earth because the Gorg destroyed their homeworld.
- Humans are this in Battle for Terra. The general in charge thinks that the primitive Terrians will be easy pickings for human space-age tech, not realizing that the Terrians are an After the End civilization with a cache of advanced tech left over from the old days.
- The Honored Matres in the Dune universe (who appear in the last two Frank Herbert novels of the series, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune) are aggressors who attack many worlds and wreak havok in the old Empire—but it is stated they are fleeing an even more powerful and terrible mysterious enemy, which according to the (much-maligned) sequel by Brian Herbert is The Thinking Machines.
- Crayak, the Bigger Bad of Animorphs, is said to be fleeing something even worse than him. However, he did not achieve the godlike power that enables him to rival the Ellimist until after arriving.
- The Abominor, a villainous robot species that turns up in a couple Star Wars Expanded Universe novels (along with their enemies, the much nicer Silentium), is known to be from another galaxy and fled from an organic species, heavily implied to have been the Yuuzhan Vong.
- Interestingly, the Yuuzhan Vong themselves are refugees, but not because they found someone even nastier than them. Instead, after kicking the droids out of their galaxy, they proceed to conquer their galaxy for themselves. Then they wreck most of it in a bloody and devastating civil war. After this the whole species loads up on their ships and leaves their galaxy looking for a new home to invade and conquer. That's when they stumble on the Star Wars galaxy we all know and love. Carnage ensues.
- Also interestingly, the Abominor and Silentium might be Asshole Victims. The Yuuzhan Vong version of the story involves them begging their gods for the means to defend themselves from the two races of Giant Robots tearing the galaxy apart in a Forever War (sounds familiar). The gods responded by giving them biotech, which they used to evict the Abominor and Silentium—and then to become just as bad.
- The Canim of the Codex Alera are eventually shown to be this, and the protagonists actually go to Canea and see what chased them away.
- The Insects From Shaggai (AKA Shan) in Ramsey Campbell's Cthulhu Mythos stories. When their home planet was destroyed by a Mythos abomination, some of them fled to a succession of other planets, finally ending up on Earth. They're still pretty evil by human standards.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- The Wildlings — a tribal society living beyond the Wall that marks the realm's Northern border — have been raiding the southern lands for as long as anyone can remember, and the Night's Watch has all-but forgotten its original mission as they focus all their resources on fighting back Wildling raiding parties. As the books begin, the Watch is getting worrying reports that the wildlings are massing together into a single horde intent on smashing their way through the Wall. What the Watch and the Seven Kingdoms are slower to come to terms with is that the reason for this sudden determination to move south is the re-emergence of the old enemy the Watch was created to hold back: the zombie-raising, icy Humanoid Abominations known only as "the Others".
- In backstory history, the Rhoynar came to Westeros fleeing Valyerian conquest.
- The Targaryens are also an example of this trope as they're the last dragonlords fleeing the Doom of Valyria. Their rag-tag fleet found that the land they sought safety in, was also ripe for conquest.
- In the backstory of the Deverry novels, the Gel Da'Thae hordes that destroyed the Seven Cities of the Elves back in the first century had been driven out of their homelands into the Elven Kingdoms by the onslaught of the Gaulish tribes who later became the Deverrians. They in turn had fled to what would become Deverry to escape the legions of Rome.
- Several races in the revived Doctor Who tried to colonise Earth because their home worlds were destroyed by some greater threat. To whit:
- In series 1, the Nestene consciousness in "Rose" and the Gelth in "The Unquiet Dead" were fleeing the great Time War.
- In series 4, the Pyroviles in "The Fires of Pompeii" had their planet taken by the Daleks as revealed in the series finale.
- In series 5, the fish-aliens in "The Vampires of Venice" fled from the cracks in the universe.
- In the anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" the Zygons are preparing an invasion of Earth because their home planet was lost in the crossfire of the war between the Time Lords and Daleks.
- In Defiance, the Votans arrive in space arks after fleeing the destruction of their solar system when its sun went nova. Though they supposedly made an attempt to negotiate for peaceful settlement before going to war. Later on repeated by the Omec, a race the others deliberately left behind to die because of their cannibalistic tendencies. One of their ships survives and manages to track the Ark fleet to Earth.
- The Big Bad Espehni of Falling Skies invade planets, including Earth, because they were forced to flee from their original galaxy by a "great enemy" and chose to enslaving other aliens as the means to fighting against this threat.
- In Babylon 5, the Dilgar began conquering other solar systems and doing unspeakable things to the inhabitants when they discovered their sun was about to go nova. The Earth Alliance drove them back and the nova wiped them out.
- It is implied by some Warhammer 40,000 fluff that something even worse than the tyranids is chasing them into the Milky Way.
- Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures: in the section on randomly rolling up yearly events, one example of a Major Incursion was a barbarian horde that had been driven from its homeland.
- As the Toa Metru journeyed through the Maze of Shadows, they were frequently attacked by Rahi running in their direction. After a few battles they realize these Rahi were fleeing something away from where they were heading towards. That something turned out to be the Visorak horde, and it further turns out that the reason many of those Rahi originally ended up in Metru Nui was because they were fleeing the advance of the horde until they could go no farther (Metru Nui is at the very tip of the Matoran Universe) until the path to Mata Nui was opened.
- The Rock Tribe from the north initially partake in the Glatorian system before straight up invading other tribes for resources. It turns out they were only doing this because the Baterra drove them out of their old home and killed a significant portion of the tribe.
- The orcs in Sacred aren't launching an invasion of the human kingdoms, they've been displaced from their homeland by the arrival of a horde of undead.
- One of the reasons the orcs invaded the world of Azeroth in the first place is because they made their own world of Draenor almost uninhabitable through their use of fel magic.
- Warcraft III: The night elves of Northern Kalimdor initially take a dim view of the orcs and humans who have arrived on their continent and despoiled their forests, even when it becomes clear that they are refugees fleeing from The Scourge and The Burning Legion. But they eventually join an Enemy Mine alliance once it becomes clear that The Legion poses a much bigger threat to them and their beloved forests than the refugees. This alliance breaks in two by World of Warcraft—the Night Elves remain on good terms with the few human settlers on Kalimdor, but are hostile to the new orcish nation of Orgrimmar right on their border.
- Total War: Attila depicts the Migration Period during the fourth and fifth centuries, mentioned below in the Real Life folder. Many of its factions, and plenty of the playable ones, are the Invading Refugees in question. This entry in the series introduced a new "horde" mechanic to portray this where a faction's people can pack up (or start packed up) and follow at its armies' heels, and it is pretty much inevitable any hordes will have to sack a few towns and slaughter its defenders to economically hope they can go off to permanently settle down somewhere else (if they do so). The Huns are permanently hordes that are generally an antagonist to all the other factions with their warriors looting and razing any civilization they come across, and things will only get worse when the titular Attila the Hun comes to power.
- The Tasen from Iji bombarded Earth to make place for them running away from Komato that want to annihilate them completely.
- In Ultima VI, the Gargoyles are presented as demonic invaders at first but are eventually revealed to be fleeing to Britannia from the collapse of their homeworld, inadvertently caused by the Avatar's own actions in the two previous games.
- The Vortigaunts and other Nihilanth's soldiers in the first Half-Life. Turns out, they were fleeing from the Combine.
- In the backstory for Halo 4, we find out that Halo's Forerunners have had a history of conflict with humans, leading to the Didact's current hatred of them. In reality, humanity was just trying to wipe out the Flood, and were fleeing from infected planets to inhabited ones which happened to be in Forerunner-controlled space.
- In Gears of War, the Locust Horde only emerged from their underground lairs and fought humanity because their homes were overrun by another, even more dangerous entity.
- In Sins of a Solar Empire the Vasari have been running across space from "something" that enveloped their empire for several centuries. And now they've reached the TEC's territory.
- In Mass Effect 3, this happens with the batarians, who begin fleeing their home systems en masse when the Reapers invade. They did so in such numbers the Alliance thought at first the batarians were launching an invasion, but they fortunately figured out the batarians were just refugees quickly enough.
- In Dragon Age, this is one in-universe theory regarding the Qunari (or the race of horned humanoids who make up most of the Qun's followers). Not even they know why they left their homeland—all they know is that they had to.
- The original Homeworld plays with this trope: your Mothership is the refugees, escaping the destruction of their second homeworld of Kharak, and the place they're invading is The Empire that destroyed Kharak and happens to be in control of your ancestral homeworld of Hiigara. And to reach the place you have to transit through the Great Nebula, where the locals treat you as an invader in spite of being just passing through and willing to leave without damaging anything.
- The locals' main concern is not that you're simply passing through but that you're gathering resources from their "sacred nebula" while you're doing that. As far as they're concerned, only those who worship and live in the nebula have the right to do that.
- The other reason they're hostile to you is that the Kadeshi are also refugees from Hiigara who were driven into the nebula by the aforementioned Empire, and are worried you'll draw the Empire's attention to them.
- Just to take it full circle, the Hiigarans were originally driven off Hiigara by the remnants of the Taiidan after they destroyed the Taiidan homeworld.
- In The Banner Saga, the humans and Varl are shocked when they discover a dead female Dredge and her newly orphaned baby. As they ponder why women and children are part of the invasion, they realize that the Dredge aren't invading—they're fleeing.
- In the Disciples backstory, the conflict between the elves and the dwarves started when the Legions of the Damned started appearing in the elven forests, setting them on fire. Fleeing, the elves happen to rush into the mountains, the land of the dwarves. The dwarves assume it's an invasion and strike back at the refugees. The misunderstanding is further exacerbated by the respective races' gods. Gallean and Solonielle go to the dwarves' god Wotan and demand that he discipline his "children" for this act. Wotan gets angry and kills Gallean by ripping out his heart and throwing it into the sun. Solonielle manages to catch it, but is horribly burned by the sun, eventually becoming the fleshless goddess of death called Mortis. Things only go downhill from there.
- In Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, Gensokyo is beset by Lunarians, who begin "purifying" the land; the process of which involves destroying all life in it (if the land has no life, it has no death either). When the heroines start tracking the motives of the invasion, they are informed by the invading general the Lunarians, normally a race of Space Elves with fearsome tech, have been backed against a wall by the appearance of lifeforce in the Moon, which has introduced the alien concept of death into the satellite. As the invaders are fairies composed of pure lifeforce, their purifying weaponry is worse than useless—forcing them to begin preparations to evacuate to Gensokyo—which they at the time consider enemy territory.
- In Chrono Cross, this is how the dwarves' invasion of Water Dragon Isle is portrayed. Enraged at humans driving their sacred hydras to extinction (even if Serge only killed the last one to harvest a life-saving medicine), the demihumans of the Hydra Marshes decide to make a new home for themselves on a nearby island… by killing all the native fairies. It's supposed to be a Humans Are Bastards Green Aesop, but when the dwarves spout lines like "You do not cherish the treasures of nature as we do" while committing genocide with Steam Punk tanks, and you might have finished the hydra quest in a way that ensured that the beast's young survived, it instead becomes an annoying Broken Aesop.
- In Stellaris, as of the Utopia update, if your empire has decided to become psychic, you can talk to the Prethoryn Scourge and reveal that they fled their own galaxy and are survivors of something called The Hunters. They're only here to feed on the planets in the galaxy and will return to inter galactic space once that's over, dashing away any hope of peaceful teaming up against The Hunters.
- 1.5 also introduced Refugee mechanics to the game, where species from an empire that doesn't normally make migration treaties if the species is being mistreated. Slavery and Purging tactics tend to do this. Purging by deporting every member of a race is also a viable tactic.
- You can use this as a tactic to destabilize empires by allowing migration and having a rapid breeding, nonconformist, repugnant species. This is more of a slow tactic, but Nonconformist works on the Empire they exist in, not yours. Some even gift an entire system with these guys, rather than actually risk that they may come back.
- In Star Ruler 2's Expansion Pack, the Heralds are fleeing something that is devouring their civilization in a nearby galaxy, and they have done so for eons. Their method of colonization frequently puts them in conflict with other empires, as they have no control over the refugee ships that Blind Jump into the galaxy and pick random worlds to land on.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! second season features an invasion by the shapeshifting Skrulls seeking to make the Earth their new homeworld. Galactus ate their old homeworld and a prophecy proclaims that Earth will be their new home.
- An episode of The Legend of Tarzan had the gorillas' home invaded by the rhinos. It turns out that they've been displaced by a trading post. The owner of the trading post gives Tarzan a line of credit for some dynamite, which he uses to blast out a new home for the rhinos to live in.
- In Care Bears Nutcracker Suite, the train ends up besieged by what turn out to be a small army of badly-injured toys: having failed to overthrow the Evil Vizier responsible for the Prince's disappearance, they were trying to commandeer the train in order to flee the soon-to-be-ruined Toyland.
- The Germanic peoples who invaded Roman territory in the fourth and fifth centuries were fleeing from Hunnic expansion, during the Migration Period. And many that weren't from continental Europe, such as the Burgundians and the Lombards, were fleeing the climate change and accompanying famine that was coming over Scandinavia at that time.
- Similarly, various factions of Cumans fled into Eastern Europe from what is now Ukraine ahead of the Mongol invasions. They became an important political force in Hungary and provided royal houses for Bulgaria and Wallachia during the 14th century.
- Triggered in South Africa by the conquests of Shaka in the late 18th-early 19th centuries. His conquest of one tribe would drive the survivors further away from him, towards the territory of another tribe; sometimes they would clash violently, other times the influx of refugees would simply strain the resources of the native tribe. Either way, the result was that the region ahead of him was pre-weakened by the time Shaka actually arrived.