Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
aka: Jump Off The Slippery Slope
"You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity; all it takes is a little *push*!"
Jumping off the slippery slope is when a morally ambiguous
character raises an ethical question by doing morally ambiguous things
, but instead of answering those questions, the character closes the debate
by going on to do something unquestionably and unforgivably evil
This is a condensed form of the Slippery Slope Fallacy
— instead of Slowly Slipping Into Evil
by gradually becoming more evil, they go straight from "may or may not be moral" at the top of the slope to "unquestionably evil" at the bottom, skipping all of the intermediate shades of gray — thus jumping off the slippery slope
A form of Debate and Switch
, because they never really
address the question of whether the original ambiguous action was acceptable or not. Also helps to maintain the status quo
by ensuring the main characters never question their own morality too closely. Compare Slowly Slipping Into Evil
for a longer, more developed process of going from "ambiguous" to "evil".
Compare with Moral Event Horizon
, Motive Decay
, and He Who Fights Monsters
. Can be a result of a Well-Intentioned Extremist
realizing that there is No Place for Me There
and becoming a full-time villain. In case the characters in question were friends prior to Slope-Slipping, it probably triggers We Used to Be Friends
. If the slippery slope has been greased with Applied Phlebotinum
, that's The Dark Side
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Anime & Manga
- Avoided in Higurashi. Shion goes insane and embarks on an attempt at revenge after the boy she loves, Satoshi, disappears. A lot of people are captured, killed or both, including her twin sister, her sadistic grandmother, and the village headman, who are all part of the village mafia. Then Shion goes after Satoshi's little sister, Satoko, because she's mad that Satoko's dependence on Satoshi wore him out. Shion captures Satoko and tortures her to death. Then she remembers that Satoshi's last request was that she care for Satoko for him. Shion was already crazy, but now she loses any pretense of acting for anything besides her own dark pleasure.
- To add to the issue it's revealed their deaths were in vain. None of them had to do with Satoshi's disappearance, and if anything they all liked him.
- Death Note:
- Light Yagami begins using the supernatural notebook to rid society of criminals, but soon his black list expands to include anyone who stands in his way for any reason, starting with the FBI. Along the way, he coolly manipulates the feelings of both people and shinigami. Repeatedly stating that he plans to become the god of the new world he is trying to create doesn't help matters, either.
- For that matter, Teru Mikami uses the notebook to eliminate minor and reformed criminals. Eventually, he declares he will start executing people who are just lazy or do not contribute to society. Light has to work to stop him, not because he doesn't want the book to be used like that, but because he believes it's too early to start doing that. Meaning that Light inevitably plans on going down that pathway, once he's rid the world of the rest of the more undesirable people in the world.
- Shu Ohma in Guilty Crown after Hare dies. Now regards all the 'F-Rank' Void users as worthless cannon fodder, sending them on suicidal missions to get supplies (including from a sunken ship, even the idiot Souta), eventually; after learning that breaking a void kills someone, in addition to a Trauma Conga Line, he starts on a path to The Atoner.
- In Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge wanted to destroy the Empire of Britannia (despite being an ex-Imperial Prince) and started to organize La Résistance. However, as time passes, he becomes more hardened and crazy, going as far as massacring children and unarmed people for possessing Geass powers and being a part of a Britannian-sponsored cult... which trained the children in it to use their Geass to make a guy murder his own allies. Let us not forget Rolo, THE Tyke Bomb of the series, was raised there too.
- And of course, we have The Emperor and V.V, who after suffering immense loss as children, do the exact same thing fifty years later, even though they said they will eliminate lies. Not to mention V.V. is to blame for ordering the brainwashing and training of Rolo and the kids, and also lying to and betraying Charles himself in addition to instigating some of the worst twists in the series...
- In general, everyone in Geass flew off slippery slopes.
- Lelouch and Suzaku are the extreme cases. As well as the others named above. Ironically, Euphemia, who actually goes on a rampage, killing Japanese people, only did so because she was under the power of Geass and had no choice.
- If you truly think about it the entire show is about Lelouch going from the fettered to the unfettered. He slowly slips into darkness as the series progresses and using more brutal tactics to achieve his ends. This happens because his situations demanded it and his own personal losses take a toll on him like killing Shirley's dad, to having to geass his best friend, to having to kill his sister, to having Shirley die in his arms, to having his main goals snuffed out because they either died or became lies, to having the army he founded betray him, everything about Lelouch's life sucks. Compare his methods at the beginning villeta being geassed to give up her knightmare instead of killing her and taking it to having legions give up their freedom at the end. Lelouch goes off the deep end but spends the better part of two seasons to get there.
- There's also Nina. Who has one of these when her idol Euphemia is killed.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the Trinity group shows up and starts actually destroying military bases and arms manufacturers. Most of the battles up until this point had hundreds of civilian casualties, with one battle threatening to basically screw the entire world with nuclear radiation. Through destroying military installations instead of waiting for war to start, Trinity is preventing these needless deaths. However, the "it's not right to attack before you're attacked" excuse is played, Trinity is painted as villainous when it's actually clearly good... and it suddenly starts blowing up random buildings for no reason. Let's also point out that the villains out to cause perpetual war for personal profit are never portrayed in nearly such a negative light.
- While Trinity's actions may have been jumping of the slippery slope they were hardly 'clearly good' in the first place- Gundam 00 is full of Grey and Gray Morality and the point is that no one side is clearly good or clearly evil. The Trinity's actions were simply causing more needless deaths by murdering civilians in arms factories and blowing up military bases which weren't attacking anyone, simply defending their homeland. Trinity's actions are a classic example of jumping of the slippery slope by quickly resorting to overly extreme methods, and are hardly unambiguously good ones being wrongly portrayed as evil.
- It's the difference between shooting the gun out of someone's hands and shooting their hands off so they can't wield a gun in the first place.
- Depending on your viewpoint, Celestial Being itself was doing a lesser version of this before Trinity even showed up. They certainly had no compunctions about blowing up a training facility for Super Soldier children, and all the civilians inside, as a revenge operation.
- Allelujah certainly had his compunctions.
- As did the rest of Celestial Being. Halleluah, Allelujah's dark half, enjoyed it and egged him on.
- It must be noted that Celestial Being actively tried to avoid civilian casualties, such as Lockon shooting to disable enemy suits when possible, or Setsuna taking off their limbs but not gutting them or cutting them in half. Celestial Being attacked only areas of active combat, and repeatedly tried to prevent situations that would increase civilian casualties, such as stopping a terrorist attack on a nuclear waste dump. Trinity, by contrast, repeatedly attacked civilians targets (including simple factories) and expressed neither remorse, guilt, or sadness for it, and then in a childish fit attacked a WEDDING. That's why the Trinities are portrayed as much farther down the slope.
- Yet it must be pointed out that Gundam 00 was heavy on the All In The Manual aspect and the side documents explained that the Trinities resorting to extreme measures and having sociopathic natures were not of their own intentions, but rather as a result of their development. (Nena, the one who attacked said wedding, was kept in stasis from her birth to her tenth birthday and thus has always the mentality of a little girl) Because their role was to make Celestial Being look bad, and then die immediately aftewords, their resorting to harsh measures was simply to cause a public relations nightmare with the group, and to ensure that Celestial Being would not bother helping the Trinity siblings in their hour of need (Setsuna did not intentionally save Nena, but rather was attempting to stop Ali al-Saachez from using a Gundam, especially since they used the Trinities' fight for survival as battle strategy for opponents). That's Fridge Horror in a nutshell.
- The Big Bad of Air Gear jumped long before the series began. At one point he contemplated concepts such as mercy and forgiveness, then he put on a pair of Jade Coloured Glasses and became utterly ruthless.
- The last two episodes of the first generation in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE shows Flit Asuno taking the dark descent to becoming a revenge-obsessed Earth Federation fanatic. His refusal to accept the UE as human beings and his Unstoppable Rage from seeing Yurin die only matters worse for him. As an adult, he leads a task force that purges the Federation government of any and all Vagan sympathizers, accusing them of collaboration and having them executed. When it's pointed out that this action will kill any chance of a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Flit merely says "Yes, I know. That was my intention from the beginning". Honestly, the man is getting dangerously close to the Moral Event Horizon here, if he hasn't crossed it already. Then he raises his grandson as a Child Soldier to take his place, is outraged when said grandson decides committing Vagan genocide would be bad, and advocates to have a captured base destroyed with an untested superweapon despite the presence of enemy civilians and Feddie prisoners.
- Zeheart Galette has crossed it in the third generation by putting his full faith in Ezelcant's true Social Darwinist agenda, despite the fact that it involves killing Vagan citizens and Ezelcant himself admitting that he was insane. The next episode, he's fully willing to open the EXA-DB, a database of all weaponry from previous, devastating wars, despite warnings that it is basically a Pandora's Box. Before this, he was a committed Anti-Villain who made a point of remembering that The Dead Have Names, still acknowledged that Asemu had been a friend, and said that he was fighting to return his people to the "Eden" of the Earth Sphere.
- Narrowly averted in Fullmetal Alchemist when Roy goes batshit insane against Envy, but is talked down from dealing the killing blow by his friends.
- Also narrowly averted in the 2003 anime version when Ed almost uses the prisoners trapped in Lab 5 to create a philosopher's stone he's been searching for.
- Fushigi Boshi No Futago Hime: Fine and Rein find out that Mirlo is in an Arranged Marriage with a rather undesirable dimwit, and are out to break it up. Reviewer Al1701 pointed out that this action seems short-sighted, since the deal for the marriage is in exchange for dimwit's father repairing the Waterdrop Kingdom's cloudmaker. That is, until the whole Arranged Marriage turns out to be a big ruse by the Moon Kingdom chancellor. Doesn't stop this from being one of the best eps of the whole series.
- In Berserk, no one ever really addresses Griffith's actions, since they're so amazed at how far he's willing to go in order to achieve his dream of having his own kingdom. Even if those actions may have included whoring himself out to an old pedophile to raise funds for his army, or planning assassinations to eliminate opponents or kidnapping kids and using them as leverage against other opponents. However, the audience is shown this from a more sympathetic light, especially so after his one year imprisonment and torture which destroyed any chance of him achieving his dream since he speaks of his dream so nobly and pure. And then the Eclipse happened. The audience lost all sympathy at that point.
- The Human Liberation Front, usually the go-to anti-pony La Résistance in TCB stories, went through this in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum. They first started off as a simple support group for people whose friends and family members had become newfoals, but it quickly attracted many unsavory characters when the war began and went further off the deep end, going from killing newfoals to eventually killing all ponies on suspicion of them being Equestrian spies. Moreover, they also show a distinct lack of regard for civilian casualties, and at some point it became ordinary for them to post videos of themselves torturing ponies online while expecting gratitude for their horrible actions. Then they went after PHL ponies, who, by the way, are the ultimate defectors from decadence in the story, and only want to help humanity overthrow Celestia. The last straw came either when they tried to murder Ambassador Lyra Heartstrings (who had tried to reach out to them for aid), or the horrific crimes that they perpetrated on a PHL pony nurse. They're also a group of Right Wing Militia Fanatics of the highest order, who are considered to be downright dangerous, ineffectual and even suicidal, and their rabid anti-pony stance does way more harm than good.
- Ho-oh from Poké Wars wants Pokémon-kind to live in a utopia and he limits his targets to humans only and tries to limit the damage he causes. He soon starts engaging in things like ordering wanton killing of Pokémon contrary to his ideals, utterly ruining the environment and not giving a damn about it, and generally being a filthy hypocrite.
- Summer Days And Evening Flames: Sergeant Sherry's logic for starting a gang war is sound, in a twisted sense, as it eliminated all the major players in the Farrington crime circuit. However, she somersaults off the ledge when she's about to be arrested for the indirect murder of dozens of city guards, where she shows little remorse and violently escapes. Sherry made a perfect landing when she pulls all of her connections to get Iron removed from his post and threatens him and his family if he pursues her.
- Mass Effect Human Revolution's version of Toombs. It was one thing when he was hunting the Illuminati scientists who conducted unethical experiments on him, but he lost any moral high ground when he started taking hostages with intent to kill in order to force out into the open the one who rescued the final scientist.
- In the The Dresden Fillies story False Masks, the plot is that the Order Triune, an ancient society have mistaken Harry Dresden to be their ancient foe, resurrected after 1200 years, and try to kill him. They attempt to poison him, and then kidnap the ponies close to him, like Twilight. When their coverts efforts fail, they take a direct approach. Summon HE WHO WALKS BEHIND (TWICE) to kill him, ignoring all the ponies around him that could have also died. And when that fails, they were ready go through the Mane 6 and the princesses to kill him, and would have done so, had they not been sacrificed themselves to summon a demon. And in turns out that Obsidian never was resurrected, so they had committed all these crimes for nothing.
- Allysion from Sonic X: Dark Chaos is an incarnation of this trope, at least according to the perspective of Jesus. Originally, she simply tolerated Angel excesses while focusing entirely on the defeat of Maledict. By the time of Dark Chaos, she's turned into a megalomaniac Blood Knight who channels God Is Evil and fully endorses rape and genocide simply to glorify herself, making her just as evil as Maledict if not even worse.
- Yoda of Star Wars warns of the danger of The Dark Side, giving a slippery slope argument on how it works: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate... leads to suffering." However it is exceedingly rare for somebody to not simply go to hate and Dark Side in the EU.
- Anakin Skywalker from the prequels. Specifically, note how quickly he goes from agonizing over his role in Mace Windu's death to killing younglings without a problem. Anakin finally slips so far, his own wife, Padme Amidala, loses the will to live and eventually dies, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is forced to duel him, ending gruesomely. In order to keep Anakin alive, Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, subjects him to painful body reconstruction. The final push to the Dark Side comes from Palpatine himself- when Anakin asks if Padme is still alive, the Emperor tells him in his anger, he killed her. In pure disbelief of this, Anakin's true power flares up, and he screams out in despair, fully overtaken with pain and hate, completing his transformation into Darth Vader. What was especially loathsome of him was that, rather than desiring everyone's well-being, his honest desire for good was corrupted into infatuation and affection (he wanted to be together with her, alive, rather than desiring what's best for everyone); a desire to be with her for the sake of his pride; to feel good about himself for being able to keep the people he knows personally from dying (although, sadly for him, Palpatine never had any concern for his wife to begin with).
- Fortunately, it was not to last. By the sixth film, it becomes evident Vader shows signs of regret when Luke challenges his motives, but Vader dismisses them and says it is too late for him- no one can leave the Dark Side. It isn't until Palpatine repeatedly strikes down Luke with Force lightning that Vader finally comes to his senses and reverts back to Anakin Skywalker, slaying the Sith Lord, but at a very costly price.
- Not very well fleshed out in the movies, but the fluff explains Anakin's motives as him being a Knight Templar. He's tired of people dying, the war, sees himself as the hero (since he's been told he is The Chosen One since childhood and thus can do no wrong) and is stupidly loyal to the Republic. All that makes him childlishly easy to manipulate by Palpatine. Combined with the corrosive effects of the dark side it makes baffling lapses of judgement come easy to him.
- The character of Amanda Young in the Saw series makes Jigsaw look downright merciful by the third movie. Of course, this was the fault of Jigsaw himself, who made her a murderer in an attempt to "help her", much to his shame when he realizes this. It didn't help any that Jigsaw's other protégé, Mark Hoffman, was already far down the slope, tugging on her leg at the time.
- Magnum Force has Dirty Harry dealing with cops who have been executing guilty criminals who escaped justice due to technicalities. They murdered Harry's unstable friend, Officer Charlie McCoy, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, making them obviously bad guys even in a franchise glorifying Cowboy Cops.
- Crimson Tide is often noted as quite admirably morally complex for a Jerry Bruckheimer film, with Gene Hackman's character given quite a bit of sympathy in wanting to launch the missiles. At least until the ending, when he makes a thinly veiled racist comment to Denzel Washington, which Washington promptly reverses on him.
- There's also the fact that Gene's character gets increasingly loud as the movie continues, yelling and screaming at people, while Denzel remains calm and logical, which serves to show you just who's right.
- However, the Navy board of inquiry at the end of the film sums it up as "You were both right, and you were both wrong."
- The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent didn't so much "jump off" as much as get
kicked a little push from The Joker.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd goes from wanting to just get revenge on two specific people to randomly murdering people off the streets who won't be missed and having them baked into pies about halfway through the movie (same thing goes for the stage version as well).
- Major König in Enemy at the Gates might be a Punch Clock Villain or a Worthy Opponent for most of the movie. He even shows a veiled contempt for brutal goons who beat up prisoners. And then he hangs a little kid.
- In Super, Rainn Wilson's character decides to fight crime. This begins with trying to stop drug dealers, but turns into him brutally beating people with a monkey wrench (for cutting in line at the movie theatre).
- A German Film Stahlnetz: PSI begins with two brothers kidnapping a rich girl actually she is not... for ransom. They reason a girl is a Spoiled Brat anyway and a few days in captivity won't hurt - and for her family, a million is only a pocket money, so it's not really bad. But then the younger brother decides that it is better to leave the girl to die, and when the other brother objects, beats him up and locks him together with the girl to die.
- In Jumper, the Paladins are concerned that the Jumpers will use their powers for selfish gain at the expense of others. In fact, they are right. However, they stop them by straight up murdering all Jumpers they come across and anyone associated with them, turning them into the bad guys.
- In The Star Chamber, the turning point comes, if not before, when Hardin and the rest go vigilante in order to pursue justice as they see it.
- In Ghostbusters, EPA agent Walter Peck had a point that the Ghostbusters' operations needed some inspection, especially considering Egon was getting worried about the abnormal amount of spectral energy they are containing in their protection grid. However, when Peck later vindictively barges into the business with a court order and imperiously orders the grid shutdown despite the warnings of the Busters and the reservations of the accompanying utility worker, he is shown to be totally unreasonable and completely in the wrong. The fact that Peck then orders the Busters arrested for an explosion he himself clearly was responsible for makes him truly despicable.
- Discussed between the president and Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand, when they debate weaponizing the cure as a safeguard against dangerous mutants. The president tries to rationalize it as a extreme circumstance, to which Beast responds by pointing out how quickly such a justification can snowball before resigning. The president ends up doing just that when Magneto's mutant army shows up, but by the end he's climbed back up and rehired Beast to help smooth things out again.
- For all its faults, X-Men Origins: Wolverine's opening montage of the many wars the US has been in did show Victor's decline from a soldier doing his job to a ruthless killer quite nicely without being really obvious about it.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past:
Young Erik has grown increasingly amoral since his actions in First Class. Mystique isn't far off, either. The two split right before Dallas.
Trask Industries' Sentinels originally targeted mutants. But as time passed, their programming came to include regular humans whose offspring would be mutants and eventually, anyone sympathetic to mutants who stood in their way. This ultimately brought about the Bad Future where the worst of humanity lord over the remnants of civilization, using the latest Sentinels to finish off the mutants once and for all.
- Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes does this terribly. Originally, he starts out as a Designated Villain, making some good points about the need to protect themselves from humans, as well as being a self demonstrating example of the terrible things that humans can do. It doesn't help that Caesar's good faith is continually undermined by one trigger happy idiot who almost single-handedly exacerbates the conflict of the film. Jumps off at the point when he finds the armory, with humans training with the weapons. Instead of flat out telling Caesar that humans are actively planning to kill them (which may have made Caesar actively fight against the humans), he instead says nothing, so as to set up a contrived plan where he shoots Caesar, takes command, and uses the human armory to take over the human city (itself a wallbanger, but that is another section). Even at this point, Koba is still in Well-Intentioned Extremist territory - he is technically right about everything he has said about humans, and he definitely shows that is willing to lead from the front in fighting the humans, so it can't be said that he's merely power hungry and cowardly - it can be argued that Koba really thought that there was a clear and present danger to apes that Caesar could or would not stand up against, and this was the cause of his behavior. The writers resort to having Koba kill Ash, one of the younger apes, when Ash refuses to slaughter humans after it's clear that the humans are beaten, in order to force him to be the bad guy, and his point of view to be wrong.
- Armored: Mike Cochrane, to the max, as observed by Tyler throughout the course of the plan going awry. Mike finding the opportunity to pull a $42 million heist irresistible to the point he had to pull Tyler in to get the necessary numbers for it was the first sign to Ty that things were going too far. Not abandoning ship (or letting Ty do so) once Baines broke their "nobody gets hurt" promise let Ty know that he couldn't trust Mike. From there, Mike would repeatedly hatch every plan in the book to try to get out with the money anyway as well as kill Ty and deputy Jake Echkehart to keep him from talking. This winds up forcing Palmer to kill first Dobbs, then himself, because of their consciences, and gets Quinn and Baines killed when Tyler decides to blow up the money in his car and they get caught in the blast. Finally, the fiasco ends... with Mike's soul so far gone that even with all the money burned, he tries to viciously run over and kill his own godson with the armored truck rather than admit this whole thing went a million degrees wrong.
- Oh dear lord Jacen in Legacy of the Force. In the first book he has a vision that the galaxy will fall into chaos and he will end up killing his mentor Luke Skywalker unless he listens to the Villain of the books, and is forced to kill one of his allies who refuses to listen to Jacen's reasoning. Cut to book two when he tortures a prisoner because she knows about a plot to kill his parents and accidentally kills her. Cut then to book three where it is he who is trying to kill his parents because "My parents are terrorist scum, and that is why I have to show no mercy towards them." This might be a clever showcasing exactly how "Falling to the Dark Side" works - turning the most justifiable cause into For the Evulz-Obviously Evil.
- In Damon Knight's short story "The Analogues", a scientist invents a procedure to create a "better conscience" in the form of hallucinations that prevent you from committing crimes. This raises a lot of questions about the morality of removing free choice, but then it turns out the scientist plans to use it to take over the world, and has already used it on the protagonist to prevent him from stopping the plot.
- In The Dresden Files, the White Council is extremely strict with their 7 Laws of Wizardry. First violation means an instant beheading unless a wizard on the Council bets their life they can reform the wizard, except in rare cases of self-defense. This is because Black Magic is almost always a slippery slope.
- In Changes, Harry- after surviving a brutal Trauma Conga Line- decides that he will do anything to save his daughter, and that the ends justify the means. He ends up making a Deal with the Devil, and personally considers himself evil from that point on. Once his daughter is safe, he commits suicide, not wanting to live if it means being the Winter Knight. But that only makes things worse.
- King Erius in Lynn Flewelling's Tamir trilogy starts by taking the throne from his insane mother, who was executing people left and right, in defiance of the divine edict that for no apparent reason essentially promises Bad Things if a man ever rules the country. Bad Things happen. You could debate whether or not he is really to blame for all that, but then he proceeds to institute sexist practices and start killing off his all female relatives.
- Ho boy, does this ever happen in the eleventh book of Everworld to Senna Wales. K.A. "Ambitious, intelligent, controlling, Dangerously Genre Savvy Visionary Villain with a taste for power" into "batshit insane, power-mad, Genre Blind Bad Boss Evil Overlord."
- In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, this trope in a nutshell is the backstory of the Big Bad, the Sitha prince Ineluki. Once a purely heroic figure, his ambition and willpower darkened when the Sithi's lands were invaded by savage humans. Dismayed by his people's despair in the face of their approaching doom, he delved into These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and constructed a weapon so terrible that his father the king insisted he destroy it. Maddened by this rejection and by his torments, Ineluki murdered his father and took the crown, leading a final, futile resistance against the humans that ended in his death via Dangerous Forbidden Technique. It is deeply unfortunate for the world of Osten Ard that he did not stay dead.
- Rachel from Animorphs spends three years trying not to fall into this as her Blood Knight tendencies slowly but surely turn her into the team's Token Evil Teammate. She has high points and low points, but generally she manages to keep it together until the events of The Return and the subsequent unmasking of the Animorphs by the Yeerks. Once she's abandoned the facade of ordinary life entirely what little restraint she had left quickly follows, and one of the last books in the series, The Sacrifice, consists of her mostly just kicking one dog after another. Realizing she's fallen into this, she agrees to a suicide mission at the end, knowing she could never fit into normal society again.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Theon was a jerk, but a pretty tame one by the standards of the series. However after taking over Winterfell and losing his hostages he allows Reek to kill innocent people in a cover up, including two children.
Live Action TV
- Vampire: The Masquerade has an actual mechanic for this: acting like an inhuman, unprincipled bastard will make you more of an inhuman, unprincipled bastard.
- This applies to all World of Darkness games and is a large part of the new system.
- The old system was an aversion; the more humanity you lost, the harder it was to lose the next point, the more extreme your behavior would have to be. Only if you're determined to destroy your humanity (or your Gamemaster paves your path with Sadistic Choices,) could you slip past a certain point, but it wouldn't happen by accident.
- It wasn't supposed to be an aversion because as the character's Humanity dropped, the character's sense of morality did as well. Yes, by the time you're Humanity is down to 3, say, it took doing something truly depraved to drop it any further, but by the time you're down that far, you consider murder to be roughly the equivalent of breaking the speed limit, so there isn't much keeping you from going even farther. However, since in reality a player character's morality is determined by the player, in practice this rarely came into play.
- Chaos in Warhammer 40,000 is grease on the Slippery Slope. As Chaos is a sentient form of The Dark Side by way of The Corruption, this trope becomes rather understandable.
- The entire theme of the Alpha Legion in 'Legion'. They are a secretive legion who achieve victory through the best means necessary, even if it means the deaths of hundreds of Guardsmen, but are still loyal to the Emperor. However, at the end of the book, they join the forces of Chaos, believing it's what the Emperor would want. Though it is possible they only wanted it to look like they had jumped off the slope so that they could manipulate Horus into losing the war.
- Tau as well, when one considers that its for the greater good for sterilization policies, and special "helmets" for their bug allies.
- The Inquisition contains two major factions: Puritans and Radicals. Puritans are the standard "burn the planet to ashes if there's a hint of Chaos on it" guys, while Radicals are the ones willing to use chaos against itself (i.e., get a guy possessed by a demon so he can use stupidly powerful magic or wield possessed weapons). Strangely, Radicals tend to be older than Puritans, it's implied seeing a lifetime of fighting against Chaos have so little effect they start using The Dark Side. Pretty much all of them end up falling to Chaos anyway.
- Exalted: Averted. Pledging yourself as an Abyssal or Infernal Exalt might seem like this trope, since it requires pledging loyalty to the Deathlords or Yozis, respectively. However, it's entirely possible (if not somewhat difficult) to go renegade and do your own thing, if you decide that being a Card-Carrying Villain is for suckers.
- Then there's the demons, dead and raksha themselves, who tend to be less evil and more along the lines of a Blue and Orange Morality. Demon summoning is a fairly common practice for everything from construction to medicine to entertainment, some places in Creation have regular interactions with the denizens of the Underworld, and The Fair Folk make great trade partners because of their ability to buy and sell immaterial concepts (like dreams and emotions).
- Played straight with the akuma, who allow themselves to be completely remade as agents of the Yozis in exchange for power. However, given the circumstances that lead many to become akuma, they tend to be a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us has a lot of this: Superman doesn't just jump, he flies in the highest speed he can through the slope after being tricked into killing Lois and then killing Joker in retaliation, establishing a totalitarian dictatorship where in exchange of his "protection", everyone that even dares to protest his method get swift death, as what happened to that universe's Green Arrow and later Shazam, and according to the backstory, Hawkman, causing Hawkgirl to retaliate in vengeance, only to be Brainwashed into servitude. He does it a second time when he goes from maintaining order with an iron fist — and demonstrably creating a peaceful world at the expense of a few lives, and freedom of course — to flattening cities himself because people don't agree. Via backstory, we see the only surviving Teen Titans being Cyborg and Raven, both end up disillusioned and Raven ends up giving in to Trigon's influence, gaining lust on torture and becoming Trigon's worshipper instead of trying to prevent his coming. And while Damian Wayne did accidentally kill Dick Grayson, he didn't look back in regret and goes far worse than before because Superman, being his 'new father figure', got to convince him to stay in the extremist way. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is unquestioningly convinced of Superman's "logic" for some reason, even after it gets clearly to the point of just doing those things he's supposed to be preventing. One man jumping off, the others follow suit in varying level.
- In BioShock, harvesting more than two of the Little Sisters gives you the bad ending; it is simply implied that you jumped off the slope and became ADAM- and power-hungry the moment you first harvested.
- Andrew Ryan. The whole point of Rapture was to create a utopia where individuality and free enterprise were unrestrained by the government. Once Fontaine began to rise in power though, paranoia and a fear of losing his city turned him into an ironfisted, totalitarian dictator, the exact opposite of what he set out to become.
- And in BioShock 2, if the player jumps off the slope so does Eleanor.
- In Neverwinter Nights, Aribeth leaps quite quickly down the slippery slope (partially excused as Morag is messing with her brain and her intentions)
- Subverted in Rondo of Swords. After a very harsh Friend or Idol Decision that ends up on the favor of the Idol, Serdic experiences an immediate Karmic backlash, complete with title change, power swap, and costume switch to reflect his dog shooting. While his Nakama repeatedly accuse or suspect him of jumping off the slope, Serdic experiences no lapse in emotional or moral health. The epilogue also reveals that he was a just and well-loved ruler with a happy marriage.
- CJ and Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV, respectively. Let's assume that they're good-hearted people at the start (if the cut-scenes are any indication), and let's assume the player doesn't do any killing not encouraged by the storyline (which is a stretch, but go with it). Now watch how their lives unfold. CJ in particular goes from "I guess I'll kill this guy since he's been screwing with my gang" to "guess I'll just kill all these guys for no apparent reason" so quickly it might make you wonder if you're still playing as the same guy.
- Well, Niko may seem pretty nice at the beginning of the game, but the plot eventually reveals that he is a war criminal out to kill other war criminals. So there's a good argument that he starts the game as a major bad guy, and indeed committed even more horrible acts before the game started than you can ever do in it.
- Mega Man X 8 has Lumine, a New Generation Reploid, and director of the Orbital Elevator project. He's the Big Bad, not Sigma this time.
- It doesn't help that the whole of Lumine's tale plays on the game's subtitle, Paradise Lost. Lumine is the analogue to Satan, rising against his creators and their vassals. He even seems to have enough truth in his words to shake up X into being completely unable to attack.
- Whenever Blizzard of the Warcraft series needs a new villain, they throw a dart at a character board and have the one they hit go insane.
- Malygos from World of Warcraft goes from a dragon who wants to rein in mortal spellcasters because he disapproves of their methods to a dangerously extreme tyrant who seems genuinely unaware that his plan to redirect and control magic has an excellent chance of destroying Azeroth.
- Kael'thas Sunstrider's goal was originally to improve his suffering people. As time went on he began to make more and more questionable alliances, first with the naga, then the partially demonic Illidan, and finally knowingly aided the purpose of Kil'Jaeden and the Burning Legion (albeit only helping them to fight Arthas, which was an admirable goal no matter who wanted it). And then he tried to summon Kil'Jaeden so the Burning Legion can destroy Azeroth, killing his own people when they tried to stop him. What.
- Illidan was always a self-serving Jerk Ass, but he had a more gentle side to him. After nearly being killed by Arthas, though, that gentle side was replaced with paranoia, insanity and a desire to crush anyone he deems as a threat, which happens to be everyone not on his side.
- This happens every time one of his plans fails though. Logically all that needed to happen was for Malfurion to beat on him for a few minutes and Tyrande to be in danger, and he'd do the same thing he's done every other time. Switch sides to save her.
- The Scarlet Crusade, at least those located within the Scarlet Monastery in Tirisfal Glades can be accused of this. This in contrast to their forces in the Eastern Plaguelands, who can be sorta excused for their most evil actions due to their leader being actually a Demon, who was manipulating them to fight the Scourge and the sentient undead of the Forsaken, and then following his Villainous Breakdown outright kills them all and raises them as undead.
- And, while we're on Warcraft games, as you play the human campaign of Warcraft III, Arthas starts out as a dedicated disciple of Uther Lightbringer (even though Arthas is a prince, Uther's military rank is higher than Arthas's, and they both respect that) but gradually starts betraying more and more people, and becomes less and less concerned with the whole reason he's fighting the Undead in the first place. Eventually, he totally betrays Azeroth, dresses in Undead armor, and kills his own father. In fact, in World of Warcraft, the very throne room in which he killed his father is now directly above Undercity, the Capital City of the Undead. In his case his abrupt descent was exacerbated by him taking up a cursed sword that stole the soul of anyone it touched.
- After Deathwing, the Big Bad in the Cataclysm expansion, is ultimately destroyed, the Horde and Alliance turn on each other big time in the following expansion, Mists of Pandaria. In particular, the Horde Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream, went off the deep end and ended up as the final boss in Pandaria. His attitude in the end could be described as "I AM GOING TO KICK ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE'S ASS."
- Arcturus Mengsk of Starcraft started out as a dashing rebel leader who saved you and Jim Raynor from the Confederacy for killing Zerg. The first time he used a psi emitter to summon the Zerg it was a military target and the rebels helped the majority of civilians flee. Then he dumped several on Tarsonis, a planet with a population of two billion, before attacking the Protoss who came to stop the Zerg, using the orbital defenses to stop anybody from fleeing, and abandoning his second-in-command to the Swarm.
- In Mitadake High it is common for someone to RP themselves going insane as a result of the madness going on around them. Unfortunately, not everyone is any good at it.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the country of Crimea is good with bits of gray, Daein is dark gray but with evil leaders, and conservative Begnion was in the middle with its corrupt Senate but well-intentioned leaders. When the sequel rolled around and Begnion became be the main antagonist, it became more ruthless.
- Final Fantasy VII - Sephiroth is initially the best SOLDIER in the world, but after finding out a certain fact about himself, he becomes a murderous psychopath, slaughtering the population of a village and burning it to the ground, and then sets out to destroy the world.
- In Final Fantasy XI after the woman that he loved was killed and he was left for dead by Ulrich during the Multinational Expedition to the Northlands, Raogrimm kills Ulrich. Then he hunts down and murders the rest of the people in the Multinational Expedition because they knew that Ulrich had done something and didn't say anything about it. Then he gets a giant "Slip 'N Slide" and whisks down the slope gleefully as he declares war on the human nations and nearly destroys the world. Mind you, some of it may have been the Dark Divinity Odin fanning the flames of his rage, but still... Although, Ulrich's actions during the Multinational Expedition could be considered the ultimate slippery slope, since they were the cause of pretty much all of the major, world-threatening troubles that Vana'Diel has faced in the following 30 years were stemmed from his (accidental) murder of Cornelia.
- So many in Dragon Age II, a game where no one is really evil and no one is truly good. By the end of the game, both of the leaders of the two warring factions give into their inner demons with Meredith, the Knight-Commander of the Templars calling for the execution of all mages in the city of Kirkwall for the actions of just one rogue mage who also jumped off the slippery slope and First Enchanter Orsino, leader of the mages, using Blood Magic in an act of despair.
- Both slopes were greased with phlebotinum in this case; Meredith was being corrupted by the lyrium idol in addition to her own paranoia, and the rogue mage was possessed by a demon of Vengeance.
- Actually, in the case of : Orsino he was not possessed by a demon but instead used Blood Magic to turn himself into an abomination of human flesh. The rogue mage was actually Anders, who corrupted a spirit of justice and turned it into of spirit of vengeance, and depending on your interaction with him was either possessed, or willingly blew up the chantry and single-handedly plunged the world into war. Because he willingly allowed the spirit to possess him, its debatable when, and how many times, Anders went off the slope as he is a well-intentioned extremist throughout the game, but before, in Dragon Age: Awakening, there was little, if anything, to hint that he would even become remotely extreme.
- Adele in Arc Rise Fantasia jumps right off the slope and onto the crazy train the very instant she finds out that she's an Unlucky Childhood Friend, taking this trope to a terrifying degree.
- The Protagonist from the Saints Row series gleefully leaps headfirst off of the slope, and then proceeds to nuke it. In the first game, you start off as a (mostly) silent henchman who more or less indifferently does what Julius, Gat, Lin, Troy, and others tell you without hesitation, and you seem to be a pretty sane individual. While you are killing, you're killing the other gangs for peace, and the cops you kill are corrupt anyway (of course, not counting civilian casualties in your gameplay rampages). But in Saints Row 2, after being betrayed by Julius and being blown up and disfigured to the point of needing severe plastic surgery (which is really just an excuse to make a new character), it's implied that you went insane and very much stated that you're paranoid, corrupt with power, take deep pleasure in murder, is only after the city, and nothing short of evil- the only people outclassing you are the gangs you fight and their leaders, but not by much. As the game goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer that you're not very interested in wiping out the city for peace anymore as your actions become more and more violent and Crazy Awesome, especially after two of your homies get murdered. The only person who ever stood a chance of stopping you, your old boss Julius, turns out to have done it because he savilily realized that you were a dangerous person; you kill him while happily stating you have full intentions of taking over the city in any means necessary.
- Johnny Gat qualifies as well.
- Saints Row: The Third plays this with most if not all of the main characters, and they each suffer for it. Boss, Gat, Shaundi, Loren, Killbane, Kiki, Temple and Kia are just some of the names who are guilty of this, and all either die or with the exception of Boss can be killed. Boss arguably gets it even worse if s/he chooses to jump off the slippery slope: s/he reverts back to being worse than ever, and a thoroughly despicable person.
- The Illusive Man from the Mass Effect trilogy takes a flying leap off the slope in Mass Effect 3. Whereas before he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who tended toward a lot of Shoot the Dog moments in his zeal to protect humanity, in the third game he flies straight off the rails and starts using Reaper technology to assemble a massive army of Brainwashed and Crazy Mooks, ordering the murders of civilians, and actively working to undermine the Alliance and the Council in their efforts to defend the galaxy against the Reapers. Eventually, it's revealed that he has completely hurdled the Moral Event Horizon with Sanctuary, a supposed safe haven for refugees from the Reaper attacks, which turns out to be a laboratory where the refugees are forcibly converted into Husks as part of his research into finding a way to control the Reapers.
- Explained by the fact that he was indoctrinated by the Reapers for the entire game.
- God of War: As shown in the first game and its prequels, Kratos was always a Sociopathic Hero at his worst and an Anti-Hero at his best, but from the second game onwards, his obsession with revenge against the Olympians causes him to devolve into a straight-up Villain Protagonist. In the third game, he indiscriminately kills the gods and essentially brings about The End of the World as We Know It just for his revenge.
- Callof Duty Advanced Warfare: Irons is a firm believer that Hobbes Was Right, and plans to unite the world under Atlas after toppling the world's governments. After a conventional invasion of the United States fails and the free world unites against him, Irons' next course of action is to hit every military installation in the world with biological weapons that'll kill anyone not registered with Atlas.
- In the Star Trek Online: Delta Rising mission "All that Glitters", Vaadwaur leader Gaul lures you to a meeting with what sounds like an offer of a peace settlement, with the stipulation that the Kobali release to him the cache of stasis chambers containing Vaadwaur soldiers from the 15th century whom they've been using as reproductive stock. Sounds perfectly reasonable at first, but then he says he wants the Alliance to pull a Face-Heel Turn. Upon being informed that the Federation-led alliance wants actual peace, as in an end to the Supremacy's war of conquest, he loses his shit, starts gunning down Talaxians, and blames you for it.
- In The Order of the Stick paladin Miko Miyazaki starts out as a narrow-minded, Holier Than Thou Knight Templar who the titular Order despise and even her own comrades tend to look for excuses to send her off on missions to distant lands that keep her out of town for long periods. Then she overhears Lord Shojo talking to Roy and Belkar about their plans to do the dirty work behind the paladins' backs, ignores his perfectly good arguments about why he had to do it, declares him guilty of treason and executes him on the spot. She's IMMEDIATELY stripped of her powers by the gods for murdering an unarmed octogenarian and goes into a psychotic breakdown when she refuses to accept that she could have been wrong.
- Vaarsuvius took a jump, too. See comic #639. Though debates on whether this counts as Pay Evil unto Evil, and whether that stops it being this trope, rage on the forums endlessly.
- As said by the fiends, the best way to get a good person to do horrible things is to convince them that they aren't responsible for their own actions.
- Wanda from Erfworld. Ever since she attuned to the Arkenpliers, she has become more and more sadistic and cruel, to the point that, when the team's Foolamancer is injured and unconscious, she says they should kill and zombify him instead of healing him, simply to save on resources.
- It ends up being subverted in that Jack knew something that Parson really needed to know, but Jack was contractually obligated not to tell anyone for the rest of his life.
- The inspector in Chisuji. First he decided to take justice in his own hands against the criminal who killed his wife and put his daughter in a coma; then he saw the killer's girlfriend holding said daughter's plush toy, and... snapped.
- Eridan in Homestuck was introduced as a Butt Monkey Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but some of his later appearances have shown that he pulled a Face-Heel Turn and plans to ally with the Big Bad, then proceeds to slaughter his teammates and destroys the one thing that could have saved his people, which he was trying to protect.
- Vampire Cheerleaders: At the beginning of the comic, Heather is seemingly sweet and somewhat naive, until she's initiated into the Bakerstown High cheerleading team, where she chose to become a vampire. At that point, she reveals her true colors, as her first order of business was to use her newfound powers to turn on her parents and, under Lori's instruction, made them her thralls. They spend the remainder of the story as her mindless slaves.
- The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Lock-Up" introduced Lyle Bolton, ruthless head of security at Arkham Asylum, who eventually goes crazy and becomes the supervillain Lock-Up. He starts off making some good points about his regime bringing Arkham's role as a Cardboard Prison to a halt. Fortunately - so to speak - he also turns out to be a sadistic monster who steps way past his boundaries, abuses his inmates, and eventually starts locking up politicians and media members, blaming them for allowing crime to run rampant in the first place, allowing Batman to take him down without any worries.
- When new-vigilante-in-town The Judge shows up later on, attacking the villains and not caring whether or not he kills them, this is never even brought up. It is taken for granted that his actions are wrong, which (given the long, horrible careers of Batman's rogues gallery) seems like it would be open to debate here. The big jump probably comes moments before Batman intervenes, when he is about to kill a small-time corrupt politician who had helped him, but still. The Judge showed how extreme he can really get when he tried to kill Two-Face in his own escape room. As it turns out, The Judge is Two-Face, as he is a third persona made by Harvey Dent to fight crime.
- Commissioner Gordon in "Over The Edge". After his daughter is killed in a fight with the Scarecrow, he blames Batman and launches a manhunt for him, going as far as to make a deal with Bane. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
- Also, in Justice League, Cadmus. Their stated goals: Provide America (and her allies, probably) a defense against the super powered types, especially the Justice League. What with Superman nearly taking over the world when being brainwashed by Darkseid, the Justice Lords in a parallel universe taking everything over, and the Justice League having an Orbital Superweapon pointing down, this seems entirely okay. Up until the cloning, torture, firing nuclear weapons, being allied with Luthor, creating Doomsday...
- What made Cadmus utterly irredeemable was finding out that they were responsible for putting Ace (the youngest member of the Royal Flush Gang) through hell, robbing her of having a halfway normal life and, eventually killing her by overloading her brain to evolve her psychic powers, and triggering a fatal aneurysm in the process. However, she died naturally after Batman went to be with her in her final moments.
- There is also the fact they tried to blow up the Watchtower before the League had ever done any harm, and that Gen. Eiling was willing to a nuke an island to "kill three birds with one stone," i.e. kill both Superman and Doomsday and stop the drug smuggling that came through it. Granted, only Eiling was behind this, and Amanda Waller is furious as soon as she finds out about the nuclear air strike.
- And the Justice Lords from a parallel Earth. Superman abandoning Thou Shalt Not Kill to stop Luthor from starting a nuclear war: justifiable. The entire team doing away with the concept of Joker Immunity altogether and resorting to killing and lobotomizing on a semi-frequent basis: arguable. Setting up a totalitarian state in which elections do not happen until the Justice Lords say they do and people can be arrested for complaining too loudly: seems unnecessary.
- And for that matter, Doctor Destiny's origin story in "Only a Dream". At first, he seems to be a fairly decent guy whose big mistake was simply getting hired as a guard by Lex Luthor, and the story starts raising questions about What Measure Is a Mook? and the hypocrisy of the henchmen going to prison and having their lives ruined while the villains themselves keep getting away scott-free. But once he gains superpowers himself, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge throws him right off the slippery slope, and into territory that even Lex never touched, with lemming-like gusto.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Jet's goal it is to protect children like himself orphaned by the war mongering Fire Nation and to fight back. However, it's made pretty clear that Jet has jumped off this slope when he attempts to drown an entire town uninvolved with the war effort, murder innocent elderly people, and put his own life at risk for the purpose of revenge. He notably later attempts to jump back on the slope, but it doesn't turn out too well.
- It's implied he had already fallen that far long before they met him- the plan was already in place and he had apparently been attacking travelers indiscriminate to their threat-level for a while now. Not to mention his "enforcers" thought nothing of Jet ordering them to kill Sokka. It's not entirely clear whether he truly regretted his actions for being morally wrong.
- This is what leads to Zuko's eventual Heel-Face Turn. He'd been hesitating for a while, thinking that his family really were good people, despite all the massive evidence otherwise: it's when his father and sister plan to burn an entire country to the ground that he realizes they've jumped off.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Tarrlok starts out as a Jerkass and manipulative self-serving politician. Then he goes completely off the deep end imposing a curfew on all non-benders and arresting anyone who complains or even has connections with Equalists. He arrests Korra's friends to blackmail her to join him and when she refuses, attacks her and reveals himself to be a bloodbender. By the end of the episode, he's got her locked in the back of a Satomobile to take her somewhere she'll never be found.
- Amon and the Equalists start off with a relatively valid complaint: Benders really do have all of the power in Republic City. Up until Episode 10 they had only committed one really extreme crime. Then, they jump full on off the slope by launching a full-scale invasion of Republic City, complete with bombings and gas attacks!. Arguably, their point is also undermined by the fact that Amon is actually a stupid-powerful Bender himself and uses his own bloodbending ability to destroy others' ability to bend, but whether that's this trope or simple Hypocrisy is open for debate.
- Kuvira starts off Book 4 a Well-Intentioned Extremist with valid reasons for reuniting the Earth Kingdom under her own rule. She uses some questionable means to persuade cities to side with her, but given the incompetency of the heir to the Earth Kingdom's throne, people didn't fault her for refusing to reliquish her power to him as had been previously agreed, because she seemed much more capable of actually leading. Attacking the United Republic might have been going a little far, but a lot of fans could still sympathize with her point of view, given that it used to be Earth Kingdom territory. Then, when her fiance is captured and she is offered a deal that will basically allow her to take Bataar Jr. and go home as the uncontested ruler of the Earth Empire if she only agrees to leave the United Republic alone, she decides it would be a better idea to launch an attack with the spirit cannon that will kill her fiance because she believes it will kill Korra as well. The show makes a point out of the fact that Bataar Jr. is not okay with sacrificing his life for the cause.
- Kim Possible: