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Remote Yet Vulnerable
"I'm using a spell that makes it so a fairy version of myself takes physical form near a person I want to communicate with, only with a small margin of error, which explains why I didn't appear right by you. My real body is back at the anime martial arts school. If anything happens to this body, I'll feel it, but I won't actually be hurt. No matter how the spell ends, either by choice, or by something bad enough happening to the fairy avatar, I'll simply awaken in my real body. In the meantime, I'm unaware of anything that happens with my real body."
Nanase, from El Goonish Shive.

Suppose your main body is distanced from the means by which you conduct an otherwise dangerous mission; this means you're safe, right?

WRONG!

This is for cases where someone's body is distanced from what they're doing but their body happens to be in danger anyway, whether for related or for separate reasons.

Note that this is distinct from Your Mind Makes It Real. In that trope, anything that happens to your remotely-controlled self also happens to your real self. In this trope, your physical self is being directly threatened while you are currently out of your body; thus, you might not be aware of the danger, or even if you are, you might not be able to stop it.

See also Actually a Doombot, Body Surf, Decoy Getaway, Demonic Possession, Enemy Without, Keystone Army, Myself My Avatar, Remote Body, Robot Me, and Soul Jar.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, something like this happens in a particularly spoileriffic manner: Kuze, the Major, and Batou are pinned down in an abandoned building on a small island. A nuclear missile has been fired on the island. Meanwhile, the Tachikomas discover that their bodies are actually being controlled by a spacecraft in Earth's orbit and decide to attempt to hack the satellite. when the Tachkomas become aware of the full situation, they order the satellite to block the missile in order to save their beloved Mr. Batou, knowing full well the consequences.
  • Common problem for the Yamanaka clan in Naruto - many of their techniques involve body theft and they rely on their teammates to keep them safe.
  • The team witch in Berserk relies on her teammates to guard her during astral travel.
  • A cause of concern for Den in Battle Angel Alita. He's actually Kaos' split personality controlling a Humongous Mecha with a transmitter implanted in Kaos' chest. Alita eventually learns the truth and Den knows she knows his secret.

Comic Books
  • When Doctor Strange is engaging in Astral Projection, he tries to make sure that someone (usually his manservant Wong) will be present to watch over his body to make sure nothing happens to him while he's "gone." Occasionally, however, a threat comes up which is too much for Wong, and this trope plays out straight.

Film
  • Avatar involves Jake Sully working through a Na'vi body remotely controlled by his human form; and then seeing while in Na'vi form that his human body is in danger.
  • Inception involves major characters assuming that dying in a dream would wake them up, only to find out that it doesn't work when they're sedated, and that they risk going into uncontrolled dream space.
  • The Matrix series
    • The Matrix. When Cypher pulls his Face-Heel Turn, he starts killing off other members of the crew by disconnecting them forcefully one by one.
    • The Matrix Reloaded. While the crew of the Vigilant is in the Matrix trying to stop the back-up power supply from going online, their hovership is destroyed (and they are killed) by the attack of a bomb-throwing Sentinel.

Literature
  • How To Build A Robot Army warns that if you use remote robots to explore a pyramid, any curses you incur will probably still attach to the operator rather than the 'bot.
  • In War of the Spider Queen, where the Villain Protagonist party goes to an astral journey, they leave their half-deamon psycho awake to guard their bodies (and to kill their guide's body , if he tries anything funny. He does).
  • John Scalzi's Locked In features numerous paralyzed characters who remotely pilot robots often quite far from their bodies, which are completely vulnerable. Some paralyzed characters choose to turn off sensation from their bodies and come to believe their robots are them - a character relates the story of one such person who died of a heart attack.

Tabletop Games
  • Shadowrun
    • Netrunners in the Matrix.
    • When a mage projects himself into astral space, he leaves his body behind on the physical plane.
      • If the body is moved, the mage might might not be able to find his way back to it.
      • If an astral opponent hits the mage's body with a spell, the spell will take effect on the physical plane at that location, possibly affecting the people guarding the mage's body.
  • Dungeons & Dragons.
    • When a wizard uses an Astral Spell and enters the Astral Plane, they leave their body behind where they can't protect it.
    • 1st Edition Oriental Adventures supplement. A number of spells send the caster's spirit away from their body, which not only leaves the body vulnerable to attack but can leave the caster stranded in spirit form if the body is moved. The spells are Dream Vision, Dream Sight, Possess Animal, Possess, and Spirit Self.
  • DC Heroes. While a character is using the Spirit Travel power, their body is left behind and is very vulnerable.
  • Villains And Vigilantes. While a character is using Astral Projection their body drops into a coma. The body can be attacked while the character is gone.
  • Fantasy Games Unlimited's Psi World. The Astral Projection discipline allows the user to send their consciousness away, leaving their body behind and vulnerable.
  • In Nomine. The Song called Projection allows the singer to send their consciousness elsewhere, leaving their corporeal vessel unconscious. The vessel can be attacked while they're away.
  • Alternity supplement Beyond Science: A Guide to FX. When a shaman enters a trance in order to perform a miracle they are out of contact with the real world and their body is vulnerable. If he receives a Critical Failure on the skill check for the miracle his spirit is lost in the spirit world. If the spirit is lost for too long, the spirit fades and the body is left in a vegetative state.
  • Hollow Earth Expedition supplement Mysteries of the Hollow Earth. When a shaman uses the Spirit Journey ritual their spiritual self leaves their body and travels through the spirit world. If their spirit spends too long away their body will waste away and die, stranding them there.
  • Hero System Fantasy Hero Companion. The magical College of Sense and Exploration includes the spell Astral Projection. While the mage's spirit is away from his body, the body is very vulnerable and the mage's spirit doesn't have a magical link to it. If the body is killed the mage will die, and if it is moved the mage will have no idea where it was taken and can't return to it.

Video Games
  • In Star Wars Battlefront II, you are killed if the turret you are remote controlling from the bridge on a capital ship is destroyed in a space battle. Something about the control panel feeding back.
  • On Mega Man 5 Stone Man's atack is quite impresice and it takes a long time to dissapear from screen, time during wich you can't atack again, so if you use it you'll left yourself open and will fail to atack anyways
  • On Mega Man X4, you get the special ability "Soul Body" wich is basically a hologram of X that does damage, however if the real X is damaged the hologram disappears also if you charge the hability you creat a Hard Light clone of X (withouth any armor parts or hability to charge though), however the real X get's freezed whenever he was when he summoned it,and loses any mommentum he had previously, meaning that if you summoned him somewhere where the terrain could be destroyed or moved you are in danger of dying after the clone dissapears, Zero also get's his ability Raijingeki, a powerful middle range atack, that can't be interrupted once started, meaing that any opnonent can atack him from any angle that is not directly in fron of him
    • In Mega Man X5, Zero gets the ability Twin Dream, wich is basically the same as X's Soul Body, and the W-shredder, which is also similar to the other, but his drawback is the one of the Raijingeki. X meanwhile gets the F-Laser, a remote control atack that has the combined drawback of both uncharged and charged Soul Body (freezes X, and can be hurt while using it)...however when charged it is a bit of a Game Breaker. Another weapon is the Tri-Thunder, while used normally is a good weapon that fires in 3 directions dealling a descent amoung of damage, when charged a lot of lightning bolts appear on screen for a few seconds...randomly, meaning that you can't aim it at your oponent leaving you open for an attack (you still having your regular buster, though).
  • The boss "Judgement" from the second House of the Dead game consist in a tiny petulant imp controlling a huge axe-wielding suit of armor. The armor itself is invincible, and the only way to stop it is to shot the imp instead.
  • BattleTanx subverts with the Guided Missiles. If the player's tank is destroyed while it is using Guided Missiles, the player will continue to control the missile until it hits something.
  • Grand Theft Auto II double-subverts this with remotely operated vehicles; yes, the game is designed such that the player character is unlikely to be attacked while the camera perspective focuses on the remotely operated vehicle. But that won't protect you if you're standing next to a burning car when the remotely operated part starts, and if said burning car explodes before said remotely operated part is over.
  • The second-to-last boss of Geist can be difficult due to this. The best way to defeat him is to leave your body, possess the missiles he fires at you, and pilot them back at him. But you have to be careful, as enemy ghosts are prone to jumping into your body and running into a One-Hit Kill furnace if you aren't there to resist it.
  • The team's commander in Battlefield 2 primarily does his job from a top-down, RTS-like view, but still has a physical presence on the map. As such, it's generally a good idea to hide in some distant and unpopulated area, preferably inside of some kind of structure to prevent the enemy commander from lobbing artillery at you.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang's body is vulnerable to attack whenever he crosses over to the spirit realm. Because of this, someone has to keep watch while he's projecting. This was seen in the 'Siege of the North' part 1, where Katara elects to stand guard while Aang crosses over to seek council with Koh, the Face Stealer. An act which left him vulnerable to be kidnapped by Zuko, after he defeated Katara.
    • Also true in the sequel series Legend Of Korra. Once, while projecting Korra got captured by The Earth Queen and didn't realize it until she got back to her body.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures. The sheep talisman allows the user to astral project their spirit but this leaves their body limp and essentially comatose. Not only does this make it vulnerable to physical attack but is can also then be taken over by another spirit.
  • The Venture Bros.. Dr. Orphius once returned from astral projecting to find Hank and Dean had T.P.ed his corporal form.

Other
  • BIONICLE. The Kanohi Iden allows the user to separate their spirit from their body, which is limp and vulnerable.


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