"Brown-robe types are always protecting something. It's the only way they can justify giving up girls."Some places are so holy or magical that they have the property of protecting those inside the location from harm, either by keeping out ghosts, demons, or other supernatural beings, or by preventing any sort of violence or evil from occurring there. This might be because a spell was placed on the location or simply because the place is inherently sacred. In mythology, many places that are considered holy ground, such as churches and graveyards, have the ability to keep out undead or evil spirits. If a character is merely trying to invoke the symbolism of a place, most likely a church, they are Seeking Sanctuary.
— Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Blood Ties"
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Anime and Manga
- In Berserk, Schierke is able to set up a massive defensive spell over a church... because the church had been built over a sanctuary to one of the elemental spirits.
- In Highlander: The Search for Vengeance immortals are not allowed to fight on holy ground (just like in the live-action Highlander films). In one scene an immortal refuses to put his weapon away while standing on holy ground, and he is immediately struck by lightning.
- Mount Hakurei in InuYasha is a place so holy demons are purified just by setting foot on it. The Big Bad Naraku hides within the mountain using its holy barrier by placing the undead monk who keeps the barrier under More Than Mind Control.
- Some variations of Tag - you know, that game where you run around until whoever is "it" tags you - have safe areas or similar.
- DC Comics' Blue Devil is a devout Catholic, who had the misfortune to be turned into a demon. The result is a blue guy being immolated by holy fire every time he goes to church. You'd think either he'd take this as a sign or God would arrange some kind of waiver after a while.
- In Blackest Night, Wonder Woman uses her lasso to consecrate an area, causing any zombie that sets foot on it to be reduced to ash.
- Any 'sacred ground' in the Highlander 'verse might fit, though it is unclear whether it's an actual place of protection or they won't fight there because of their rules.
- The series seems to imply that it's only a rule.
- Warlock (1989). The title Big Bad is a Satanic creature who can't set foot on holy ground.
- In Tribulation from the Apocalypse film series, Tom Canboro is being chased through a hospital by a One Nation Earth agent who uses his mind powers to close all doors in the hallway so his prey cannot escape — all except for one room that Tom enters, which turns out to be a chapel which provides for him a means of escape.
- Tolkien has a few examples:
- Andre Norton's Witch World novels, particularly the High Hallack cycle. Some areas have a benevolent aura which prevents evil creatures from entering.
- The Witch World series also has examples of the inversion of this trope — stones and circles that are so overwhelmingly evil that they are not safe places to be near.
- Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series book The Dark Is Rising. The Old Ways (ancient roads) can be commanded to expel creatures of the Dark from them and prevent such creatures from passing over them.
- In The Dresden Files churches act as these against unholy creatures. It's indicated that the significance of the church controls how difficult it is to enter it.
- Homes also get a sort of this as any creature of Nevernever must either use mirrors or reflections to weaken the protection or be invited inside. Even wizards are weakened if they come in uninvited.
- The city of Petra in the Left Behind books is a safe haven for Israelis and believers, due to God's protection over the city from Global Community forces.
- The Wizard Tower and many so-caled Safe Chambers in Septimus Heap serve this purpose in Darke.
- The Earth Wife's Lodge in the Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Characters frequently arrive there pursued by enemies, or barely ahead of a natural disaster, but as soon as they're in and the door closes behind them, they're safe. Makes perfect sense, because the Earth Wife is a goddess, one of the Four who embody the elements of Rathillien. So of course her house is open to those she wants to help, and not to their enemies.
- Harry Potter:
- The Dursley residence is this for Harry as long as he can call the place home. Thanks to a combination of the Protective Charm his mother's Heroic Sacrifice placed on him and the ancient magic Dumbledore invoked, as long as Harry lives in the same home as someone related by blood to Lily like her sister Petunia, he cannot be harmed by Voldemort or his servants. In the final book, Harry comes of age, meaning he can no longer call the Dursley residence home. The instant he turns seventeen and the protective magic ends, Voldemort and his Death Eaters attack.
- The Fidelius Charm can turn any place into a sanctuary where the residents cannot be found even if the people looking for them are staring right into the windows. The catch is that the Charm can be broken if the Secret Keeper entrusted with the location as part of the Charm betrays the secret. The Potters' home was protected this way, but they met their end when their Secret Keeper Peter Pettigrew sold them out to Voldemort.
- In "Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell", Silence Montane runs a waystop, a place where people traveling between the forts may spend the night in peace, sheltered from the shades by the waystop's silver rings. Also Subverted. If you happen to have a decent bounty on your head, stopping at Silence's waystop is a good way to end up dead, though she works very hard to keep anyone from realizing this.
- Stedding in The Wheel of Time are zones of Anti-Magic that also keep out the forces of darkness, providing safety against most forms of supernatural threat. They don't prevent mundane violence, but exude an ambient sense of peacefulness so that nobody wants to fight. On top of this, many of them are inhabited by Ogier, who hold to a strict nonviolence policy and enforce it for any visitors.
- One episode of Doctor Who sees the gang take refuge in a church...magically shielded not by any holy powers, but simply because the monsters of the day were agents of time. Older things have more history and thus take more time for the creatures to penetrate, and the centuries-old church was the oldest thing around.
- In "Route 666" (S01, Ep13), a ghost truck is destroyed when it chases Dean on to the hallowed ground of a burnt down church.
- The Men in Letters bunker is warded against almost all supernatural creatures.
- Salt lines can be used to create localized safe areas.
- In "All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two", Samuel Colt is revealed to have created a massive Devil's Trap made of churches and old-iron railway lines spanning 100 square-miles around a Hell Gate. No demon, no even the Yellow-Eyed Demon, can cross it. Unfortunately, the army of released demons are able to break out, apparently overwhelming the protection through shear numbers.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Invoked when Glory instructs a demon to seek out the Key in the "holy places", unaware that the Key is now in human form and living at Buffy's house in the form of her little sister. Instead of a place of protection, those hiding the Key sent it to a person of protection.
Table Top RPG
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Has various spells in each edition to create an area like this as well as evil equivalents, presumably in case a player wants to build their own graveyard. It also strengthens certain undead created in the area.
- Adventure S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth had an area where wandering monsters wouldn't attack the PC party.
- Call of Cthulhu supplement Fragments of Fear, adventure "Valley of the Four Shrines". In the valley there's a path surrounding a lake with the magical property of preventing zombies from passing over it. This protects the human fishing village from being destroyed by zombie attack.
- More like a "Person of Protection" rather than place, but playing as the Bishop in Citadels prevents the Warlord or Diplomat from messing with your districts.
- In the Quest for Glory series of games, places where Erana has been are protected by her magic, and are safe havens for the hero to sleep at night. The town in the first game also has her spell cast over it, preventing any violence from occurring there, except for in the back of the alley and the graveyard.
- In Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow Lavender Tower had a "purified" area near the top which restored all your mon's health and PP. It implied it was simply enchanted to keep ghost Pokemon out, allowing the player to rest (since other such non-Pokecentre "heal" points tended to be beds).
- Circle MUD has PEACEFUL rooms, which prevent anyone from attacking anything there. Often used for rest areas, shops, and so on.
- Save Points in Final Fantasy IV.
- Safe Zones in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Phantoms can't see or enter them, and time doesn't drain from the Phantom Hourglass when Link is in one.
- In World of Warcraft Light's Hope Chapel weakens the Lich King because of the souls of all the heroes buried beneath it.
- PVP combat is disabled in "Sanctuary" cities shared by Alliance and Horde
- Stone circles in Armello restore one health when a character enters, save for Corrupted characters and Banes who are instantly killed.
- In the Whateley Universe, just off the campus of Superhero School Whateley Academy, is 'The Grove', a Genius Loci forest which physically keeps out the unwanted and attacks undesired visitors, while protecting beings it wants (like Fey). Students and security forces are warned not to try to go in there, at their own peril.
- Dreamscape: The Well of Power. It's a secret location which provides the planet with natural energy, and where Kai and Eleenin monitor the state of the planet.
- In The Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow, the covered bridge serves as one from the Headless Horseman for the Smurfs as well as for Gargamel and Azrael — that is, until Gargamel decides to taunt the Headless Horseman. The Headless Horseman cannot cross the bridge, but he can still throw a flaming pumpkin into it.