This character maintains immortality by consuming some vital force from their victims. This is often Life Energy
, but can also be their souls
, or youth or blood. If such an immortal doesn't feed, they will eventually die.
There is often some sort of conservation of lifespan
where the victim's life is added to the immortal's and the victim dies so that the immortal can continue to keep living. This form of immortality usually grants eternal youth and the feeding process may actually cause the victim to grow older because the victim's youth is being drained into the immortal. No Immortal Inertia
is often the result when this type of immortal is destroyed.
Although this type of immortality could be described as vampiric (and indeed it overlaps with Vampiric Draining
), only sometimes does it apply to actual vampires
. Vampires usually
won't die from a lack of blood - at most they will become weaker and suffer from Horror Hunger
May overlap with Blood Magic
(especially Blood Baths
) and Liquid Assets
. Might also involve an Artifact of Doom
or Evil Weapon
Subtrope of Immortality
Contrast The Ageless
, in which the immortal doesn't age to begin with and doesn't have to bother with taking others' lifeforce, but can usually still be killed conventionally.
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Anime and Manga
- Shinigami in Death Note. When a Shinigami kills a human, that human's remaining lifespan is added to the Shinigami's. Shinigamis who don't kill regularly will die.
- Kurobara Alice: Vampires can drink each other's blood to extend their lifespan, but it will shorten the blood-source's life by the same amount. Becomes a vehicle for some serious Angst when a sympathetic character is revealed to be short-on-time.
- In Zettai Karen Children, both Fujiko and Kyousuke have bodies of healthy adolescents while they are actually in their 80s. Fujiko accomplishes this by energy-drinking kissing (it's implied that she doesn't do any long-term damage to her "victims"), while Kyousuke (who is, paradoxically, at least initially perceived as the Big Bad of the series) explicitly says that he detests doing something like this, so he accomplishes this in some other ways (probably biochemically).
- Morlun from Spider-Man belongs to a race, the Ancients, that maintain immortality by draining life energy from people, especially people who are an animalistic totem.
- X-Men villainess Selene, The Black Queen. A millenia-year old mutant who can drain the life out of others to keep herself young. As an added bonus, said lifeforce also fuels her sorcerous powers.
- A Wonder Woman comic had a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Walt Disney named Wade Dazzle who was being kept alive by life force drained from visitors to his theme park and fed into his preserved body.
- In Doctor Who fanfic "The Worm from Space" the Worm Kings can heal themselves by consuming other life forms. The title villain, King Wurzin, was wounded by time travel and so needs to keep eating people.
Film - Live Action
- The Fountain Of Youth in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides restored a person's life this way.
- Queen Ravenna in Snow White & the Huntsman drains the Life Energy of unfortunate women to restore her magic and youth.
- The witches, a.k.a. the Sanderson sisters, from Hocus Pocus. They lure children to them, give them a spelled potion, then suck the life out of them until they're dead (not just prematurely aged, like with Ravenna) in order to stay alive and not continue to age.
- Speculated as the cause of immortality in The Man from Earth. Instead of taking all the life from any one person though, they suggest he takes ambient life force from everybody around him. Unknown if this is true though.
- The White Court Vampires in The Dresden Files are this; they absorb life energy through lust, fear, or despair.
- Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone stays alive by drinking unicorn blood.
- Elric will use his sword Stormbringer to drink the souls/lifeforce of the beings he attacks.
- The Kurians of The Vampire Earth drink life force through their vampiric avatars, who live off the blood of the victims.
- The villain, Carmody Braque, in The Changeover. The main character defeats him by turning his own nature against him.
- In Tanith Lee's Death's Master, there's a wizard who takes on an apprentice and charges only one fee for his lessons: he gets to bugger the kid every night. When the apprentice finally quits, the wizard reveals that the sex was draining off years of his life (which were transferred to the wizard); and that to add insult to injury, for the few years left of the boy's life, he will act more like the lustful old wizard himself.
- The Wraith from Stargate Atlantis, who feed on something from their victims that causes them to age rapidly. It's implied to be life force, but never actually spelled out. "Todd" for instance has been going about it for at least 10,000 years when the Atlantis team first meets him. Even accounting for hibernation periods, he's probably fed on hundreds of people by that point.
- Javna, a demon from Charmed. He needed to regularly steal the youth of his victims, aging them into old people, in order to retain his youthful form. If he doesn't, he ages rapidly.
- The Twilight Zone:
- One episode featured a man who found that he could obtain abstract or otherwise normally non-transferable attributes from other people by simply making the deal with them. Among other attributes, he restored his youth by "buying" it from younger men who thought him to be a kook giving them money for nothing. He only took a year from each man, but was able to become young again. Incidentally, he was only an old man because he had previously sold his own youth to an elderly millionaire (he came out financially ahead after the exchanges were complete).
- Another episode involves a movie queen who retains her youthful appearance by stealing the life force of others.
- "Queen of the Nile". A woman uses a scarab beetle to drain the life force of men so she can maintain her eternal youth. It's implied that she's the actual Cleopatra of Egypt.
- Ampata, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Inca Mummy Girl". She was an Andean mummy who sucked living humans' life forces dry to stay alive herself.
- Angel did it in the tie-in short story collection "The Longest Night". A man was killing people by using a demon's help to steal their youth, because he was desperate to see his son grow up. He tries it on Wesley, and when Angel gets there, it's the boy who's growing older while Wes becomes an old man, at least until Angel manages to break the spell.
- Magnus Greel in the Doctor Who serial "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" attempted to stay alive by draining the life essence out of young women. Leela only just avoided suffering this fate.
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "The Youth Killer". Helen of Troy has survived to the present day by sacrificing perfect human victims to the goddess Hecate. The sacrifice is made by magically causing Rapid Aging in the victims, which in turn gives Helen eternal youth.
- In "Something Wicked", an immortal creature called a shtriga drains the life force from people, mostly children.
- In "The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester", a 900-year-old Irish witch uses an enchanted card game to "win years" from his opponents, and used them to extend his own life and that of his wife, who had become tired of living forever and wanted to die after outliving her own daughter.
- Variant in Highlander: The Series. Immortals will remain youthful without any life-sucking, but if they behead another immortal they absorb their knowledge and skill. Since in the end There Can Be Only One, the ones who don't resort to killing tend to fall to the ones who do.
- The New World of Darkness supplement Immortals details a number of types of people who have managed to overcome the limitations of age — generally through this trope.
- In the fan-made New World of Darkness game Genius The Transgression, all "manes" (creatures created in realities produced by the excess mental energy of dis-proven theories), orphans (Mad Scientist inventions that have broken loose and gone mad), and any Genius who takes it have the "Calculus Vampire" merit which allows them to drain Mania (essentially mad science/brainpower as a sort of energy), which the first two groups must feed on.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, there is a prestige class that lets you do this in the book Faiths of Eberron.
- City of Splendors: Waterdeep has a spell which does this — as well as several examples of characters who prolonged their lives with it. While the spell is inherently evil, going around murdering hapless peasants with it wouldn't work — to actually prolong your life noticeably it has to be used against people who aren't too much weaker than you (consequently one of the examples is a neutral character who spends much of their time hunting down evil monsters and murders and using the spell on them).
- In Pathfinder, the witch Baba Yaga set up Irrisen, the kingdom of Endless Winter, on Golarion to found a royal dynasty of her female descendants. She did this because she sucks the life from those descendants to keep herself immortal, returning to Golarion once a century for this purpose. The adventure path "Reign of Winter" is what happens when one of these daughters decides she'd rather overthrow Baba Yaga instead.
- Reaver of Fable II, who keeps his youth through the centuries by sacrificing the youth of innocents to the Shadow Court.
- Metroids do this, using their claw/fangs to latch onto a creature and sucking the life out of it, leaving behind a withered husk that crumbles into dust at the slightest touch. This is also implied to be the reason that most weapons to not affect them: they channel absorbed energy into a natural forcefield that defends against attacks. It is not made clear whether or not a Metroid ever dies of old age.
- Cervantes from the Soul Calibur games maintains his immortality by killing people and feeding their souls to his own Soul Edge. If the life force runs out, he turns into a charred corpse.
- The Broken Lords of Endless Legend, having bound their souls to suits of armor to survive Auriga's collapsing climate, must sustain their bodies by consuming Dust, an almost magical substance. Unfortunately, Dust is very difficult to create under normal circumstances, but the Broken Lords discovered that they can drain Dust from sentient beings, which is fatal. Being a society of honorable knights forced to kill in order to survive has caused a significant schism within the leadership; those that wish to cure their dependence on dust one way or another, and those that wish to consume the weak.
- In Daniel, Daniel Groth is a vampire that claims to drink blood not to satisfy hunger, but to "feel life".
- The monster in France from El Goonish Shive was a former human who achieved immortality by draining the lives of young women.
- SCP Foundation: SCP-545 is a recipe that can bottle someone's life essence and make the drinker effectively immortal (but not immortally young).
- SCP-776 is a ritual that can make the practitioners de-age almost 40 years, although lately there's been some weird side-effects like birth defects ("too many eyes and not enough skin") and...:
What was it that your daughter said? 276
(776 practitioner): …She said, "Papa, why did you do that to me? Why did you [DATA EXPUNGED].
I…I didn't even notice how much she looked like my fourth daughter up until that moment…
- When Mega Man 9 came out, Capcom put out a press release that claimed it was so difficult because Inafune-san, its designer, keeps himself perpetually youthful by drinking the crushed spirits of frustrated gamers.