Talking the Monster to Death
The hero has cornered the vicious monster. It's taken out everyone who has confronted it thus far, and the hero seems like no exception.
That's when the hero, rather than drawing a sword, pulls out his cue cards. He begins a speech about the good things in life, the wonders of good, how Humans Are Special
and the monster should respect that, etc.
And it works
. This hideous monster surrenders, lets itself die, chooses to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence
, disappears in a Puff of Logic
, or what-have-you. Basically, an organic version of the Logic Bomb
, it moves the monster just long enough for the hero's friends to open fire
, shuttering out
that one chance of redemption...
Or it doesn't work at all and just gives the monster some open spot to attack the hero.
Done well, this can be a very moving finale. Done badly, it comes across as a giant cop-out (See: Swiper, No Swiping!
). Sometimes spoofed by having the monster giving up just to make the hero shut up.
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Anime and Manga
- Usagi talks down Black Lady, who reverts to ChibiUsa in Sailor Moon R. Then she does it again with Nehellenia, and finally Galaxia in Stars. The anime also had her talking down lesser villains on a pretty regular basis.
- Tenchi in Tokyo ended with Tenchi telling the villain that he accepts and understands her, and she agrees to put herself into suspended animation until she grows up into a better person. His grandfather had earlier remarked that Tenchi had the gift of being able to solve problems without fighting.
- Digimon Adventure 02's Mind Rape-powered Big Bad is Nigh Invulnerable (without the "nigh") and has been kicking our heroes' butts and spreading a sinister black cloud over the world that can't be good. The ultimate battle to save two worlds ensues... no, wait, it doesn't. Instead, the heroes get the kids whose fear he's using to think about their hopes and dreams, resulting in one of the most humiliating villain deaths ever: Various parts of his body disappear as kids say "I want to be a teacher!" "I want to be an artist!" etc. until nothing remains. Then Malo gets blasted and well whining saves the day. The villain in question, Malo Myotismon, got nicknamed "Marsh Malo Myotismon" on numerous boards for this.
- The part that made this painful was that the future aspirations of the character seemingly had nothing to do with what had come before in the series. The guy who's currently in a wildly popular (for a) garage band? Yeah, he wants to be an astronaut.
- The oddest, funniest part in all of that is when one of the kids said "I wanted to be a comic book artist, but everyone laughed at me so I gave up on it." And another part of Myotismon vanishes! Despite it sounding like a rather depressing comment that should have made him stronger...
- Played with in Slayers: Since mazoku feed on negative emotions, Amelia's justice speeches tend to leave Xellos feeling rather queasy.
- Used twice in Cyborg 009's 2001 series. 005 uses it against the Spirit of the Earth (in the form of a gigantic jaguar that has been killing people, including the husband of a friend of 005 himself, and both 003 and 009 do that to Sphynx, a super computer who kidnaps 003 to make her his puppet girlfriend and tries to kill the others, specially 009 and 004.
- Happens in Naruto itself, at the resolution of the Pain arc. After beating the villain in a fight, rather than killing him, Naruto uses a book written by their shared mentor to get Pain to Heel-Face Turn.
- Played straight with Naruto's own dark side. It was during a Journey to the Center of the Mind, and perfectly symmetrical violence had proven to be pointless.
- It's also one of the few ways of killing Edo Tensei zombies. If the soul obtains emotional closure, they lose their connection to the physical world and move on, breaking the jutsu.
- Naruto does it again with Obito Uchiha. After having torn through his facade as the Ten Tails with fused Kurama and Susano'o, Naruto looked into his mind, saw him daydreaming about a world where he was Hokage, and tore apart all his villainous motivations.
- Happened to both of the Big Bads in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Gakuto ends up dying in his collapsing castle (voluntary, to "right his wrongs") and Micheal ascends to some kind of Angel-plane, along with the spirits of his fallen minions (who helped Talking The Monster To Death )
- In Infinite Ryvius, the Grey Geshpenst completely outpowers the Ryvius and is only stopped when a badly-battered Neya begs Captain Viscuess to stop, and he realizes he can't go through with murdering 500 children. Combined with the events occurring on the Lift Ship at the same time, this is part of an Aesop that words can solve problems that violence can't.
- Played with in Mahou Sensei Negima!; after Kotaro joins Negi's side, he starts and keeps bothering Negi about the proper way to fight (fighting for the sake of fighting), prompting Yue to flatten him with a speech. She even feels kinda bad about it, knowing there's no way a kid like him can stand up to her in conversation if she decides to overwhelm him.
- Altered slightly in Macross 7. At the end, with the entire galaxy's spiritua about to be consumed by Lord Geppelnich's monstrously transformed body. Basara's singing finally gets through to another Protodevlin, Sevil, and she begins singing. As a result, she starts to produce spiritua within herself, proof that Protodevlin don't need to steal spiritua from others. Geppelnich hadn't believed the process of consuming the galaxy's spiritua to be reversible, but when he starts singing, it and his transformation reverse. Having no longer need to steal spiritua, they then leave the galaxy.
- Played with in Fullmetal Alchemist. When Envy makes a desperate last attempt to turn Ed, Roy, Riza and Scar against each other, Ed tells him he's realized the reason he hates human beings so much is his very envy of their humanity. His response is to kill himself. Not a straight example since he was half-dead already anyway and was completely powerless to defend himself, and it was very clear that he wasn't leaving that room alive anyway. He just took what he saw as a less humiliating exit.
- Mr. Satan (Hercule in the dub) does this to Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z. Unfortunately two hunters cause Buu to transform into a more evil form.
- Scrapped Princess has the final confrontation between humanity and Providence pivot on a conversation between a woman and a teenage girl. Of course, it also depends on a battle between angels and dragons IN SPACE, so it's not a total letdown.
- The subverted version is used in the Climactic mid-way Boss Battle of the OVA of Record of Lodoss War (which also happens to be the final battle in the first manga, where this trope is also used, since the OVA condensed the story dramatically. Ghim insists that Leylia still exists within her possessed body, and shows a comb he made for her, which allows Leylia a foothold, distracting Karla long enough for the Party to defeat her. Too bad the Sixth Ranger Woodchuck was possessed next.
- In Girls Bravo's final episode Yukinari confronts Yukina who had kidnapped his girlfriend Maharu and was about to kill all the men on her planet. However he is a Non-Action Guy and instead of fighting he had a heart to heart talk with her about how they were both Allergic to Love and convinced her to change her ways. Unfortunately for him she changed into a Yandere Stalker with a Crush and joined his Harem.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The magical trio of Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate manage to talk the sentient Artifact of Death (who is also a young girl, as these things so often are,) into being friends. This is rather short lived, as said artifact is still an Artifact of Death, and they have to blast the 'Death' part out with an interdimensional warship. Particularly sad in that she asks to be destroyed before she has a chance to regenerate the corrupted section of her programming.
- In general, this is usually Nanoha's first course of action when faced with a new villain. They never listen: cue Beam Spam, Out of the Inferno, etc.
- Subverted in Souten Kouro. Cao Cao has a whole debate with Li Lie and defeats him with rhetoric... which buys Xu Chu enough time to come and blow his brains out.
- Subverted in Paranoia Agent: Mrs. Ikari sits Li'l Slugger down, discusses her life up to this point, and proceeds to divine his true nature and weaknesses... but unfortunately, she's not the one who has to come to terms with him. All her speech does is freak him out and start the destruction of Tokyo.
- Subverted in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In episode 9 after Sayaka became a witch, Oktavia, due to her corrupted Soul Gem, Kyoko desperately looked for ways to revert Sayaka back to being a human. QB told her that to his knowledge no one has ever been able to turn back once they became a witch. He gave Kyoko a Hope Spot by saying that there is no precedent to such thing, and there might be a way which he does not know of. Kyoko then proceeded to befriend and team up with Sayaka's best friend Madoka in an attempt to talk Sayaka back into humanity. It did not end well.
- A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijo is as fond of doing this as he is punching out the bad guy. Sometimes he does both.
- Ouma Yamisaka kidnaps Index and attempts to drain knowledge from her mind so he can lift a curse from a girl, claiming he's only doing it to prove his skill. Touma orders him to stop lying: it's obvious that he's in love with the girl. Touma also explains that he can easily lift the curse and offers to do so. Upon hearing this, Ouma breaks down in tears and surrenders.
- Touma asks Fiamma of the Right why he had to go through all the theatrics of his overly complicated plan when he is already powerful enough to destroy the world. Touma then says it's because despite Fiamma's power, he was afraid he would fail. Touma also points out that despite everything that has happened, Touma's friends and even complete strangers have proven that not all Humans Are Bastards like Fiamma had claimed. Touma then punches him out.
- When Marian Slingeneyer threatens to draw the cursed sword Dáinsleif and trigger Ragnarok, Touma mocks her and says that if she had the guts to do that, she would have done it immediately. Marian is enraged, but then realizes she is too afraid to actually draw it. Touma then punches her out.
- In Flint The Time Detective, Flint or the historian-of-the-day does this to a Time Shifter, whenever they are transformed into their Con forms by Petrafina.
- In episode 2 of Kotoura-san, Manabe chews Hiyori after he found out that she psychically exploited Haruka during the Fortune Teller scene and teased her about the Stress Vomit. Check out Manabe's Tranquil Fury, his Love Confession for Haruka, and the fact that both Haruka and Yuriko were eavesdropping on this conversation. The former even sheds Tender Tears afterwards as the latter holds her tenderly.
- Shaman King arguably ends on this note in the Manga. Much of the series has been about one desperate measure after another to catch up with Hao, so that he cannot attain the power of God and eradicate humanity. Unfortunately, unlike in most manga, Hao's thousand-year head start on the forces training specifically to fight him proves to be an utterly insurmountable barrier: Hao has been training so long and so hard that he is completely unbeatable, even with all the strongest shaman beneath him working together, and even somehow managing to kill him wouldn't stop him from coming back in 500 years even stronger. Yoh's solution to this is to realize defeating Hao with force isn't an option and never was and proposes an alternative plan: confronting Hao in the Shaman King's realm and convincing him he's wrong. Appealing to Hao's humanity (particularly when Opacho and Hao's mother, two of the few things he truly cares about, join in the appeal) eventually convinces Hao to relent and bring everyone back to life, letting Yoh and the others live their lives without his interference. It's implied this is the only tactic that wasn't simply delaying the inevitable as far as Hao was concerned.
- Apple Pie in the Pony POV Series can do this to certain monsters due to her power as the Element of Laughter. The first time happens, ironically, completely accidentally when she's talking with her 'new friend' Halflight Dawn (who is actually Twilight Tragedy in disguise) and manages to undermine Discord's brainwashing to the point it ultimately enables Twilight to break free and pull a Heel-Face Turn. Later, she manages to wipe out a zombie army simply by pointing out the paradoxical fact that they're apparently dead and alive at the same time. She also manages to convince one of Discord's Mooks to take up knitting in the middle of a battle and blow up a robotic minion via Logic Bomb. However, this doesn't work on Rancor or Discord, due to Concepts being immune to paradoxes.
- The Marvel Super Heroes CYOA Spider-Man: City In Darkness featured a rather Anvilicious version. Doctor Octopus has embarked on a scheme that will destroy New York. If you (as Spider-Man) try to actually fight Ock, he goes down in less than a paragraph, only for his psychiatrist to chew you out over saving millions of lives. The proper solution is to simply tell one of web-head's greatest enemies that he's hurting people; he immediately stops his evil schemes and breaks down crying.
- In Breaking Dawn of the Twilight series, a great battle pitting vampire against vampire is waived in favor of a lengthy discussion. Everyone goes home without a single punch thrown.
- Unlike the above MIB example, everyone complained, despite the fact that most of the cast would have ended up dead. Or, more likely, especially because most of the cast would have ended up dead.
Stephenie Meyer: Alice
tore a page from The Merchant of Venice
because the end of Breaking Dawn
was going to be somewhat similar: bloodshed appears inevitable, doom approaches, and then the power is reversed and the game is won by some clever verbal strategies; no blood is shed note
, and the romantic pairings all have a happily ever after.
- Any Discworld book aimed at younger readers (marked "A Tale of Discworld") will likely end like this. A Hat Full of Sky contains a particularly notable example, as Tiffany literally talks the Hiver through to the death it wants.
- In Guards! Guards! a Non-main character tries this on the giant fire-breathing dragon. It does not work.
- Played with in Pyramids in that a character talks his way by the sphinx and its riddle by confusing the heck out of it with Ankh Morpork Insane Troll Logic. By the time it's realized something is wrong, he's already started running.
- In Robert Lynn Asprin's Myth-Ing Persons, Aahz is being held in a prison which is a magically-animated monster-head. Skeeve frees him by prompting him to tell a string of his old drinking stories, which are so infamously boring the prison-head yawns, allowing Aahz to jump to freedom.
- Ayn Rand has a knack for these in her novels, where the climax tends to involve a lengthy philosophical rant against a corrupt society delivered by the protagonist. Howard Roark's comparatively short speech at his trial for the dynamiting of a housing project in The Fountainhead (around 8 pages) simply manages to nab him a verdict of not guilty. By contrast, John Galt's 56 page radio address in Atlas Shrugged ultimately leads to the collapse of human civilization.
- Dostoevsky is a tad more forgiving. The finale of The Brothers Karamazov has two speeches, one by the prosecutor and the other by the defense attorney, which combined last only 54 pages. The author even hangs a lampshade on the length of the prosecutor's speech (31 of the 54 pages) by saying he was feeling particularly energetic that day.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
- Marvin the Paranoid Android is an expert at talking the monster to death by communicating his own depression so powerfully it makes his enemy commit suicide.
- On Magrathea (in the books) he kills two policemen by talking in this way to the ship controlling their life support system.
- Later, he defeats a sentient armoured tank by asking it to guess what weapon he has been given with which to defend Zaphod against it. When he reveals that the answer is "Nothing", the tank gets so angry that it blasts out the floor, causing it to plummet to its destruction.
There was a dangerous pause.
"Nothing?!" roared the tank.
"Nothing," confirmed Marvin. "Not so much as an electronic sausage."
- God gets unmade by virtue of the existence of the babel fish.
How it is such a bizarrely impossible coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God. The argument goes something like this:
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," say Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't though of that" and promptly vanishes in a Puff of Logic
- However, this causes the Man in question to start following Insane Troll Logic. Case in point: his encore was to prove that black is white. He got himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
- In the climax of the (Objectivist) children's novel The Girl Who Owned a City, the title character literally scolds the leader of the opposing group into surrendering and joining her. Keep in mind that this kid is the gun-toting leader of a street gang in a adult-free world, had several cronies around, and was the one who basically acted like a giant Jerk Ass for the other parts of the book.
- In The Hobbit, Gandalf achieves a variant of this by keeping the trolls who had taken Thorin and his companions prisoner talking until the sun came up (turning the trolls to stone). Bilbo attempts this to defuse the tension between the elves and men and the dwarves. It doesn't turn out so well. Also, in a milder example, Bilbo learns Smaug's weakness and avoids being caught and eatten by flattering and speaking cleverly with the dragon.
- The Golden Age series by John C. Wright has this as a property of the setting—AIs are all inherently ethical, and if you can convince them their very existence is making the universe worse they'll shut down. Similarly, the robots of Isaac Asimov can be coerced into shutting down, the method of which depends on how advanced they are. The early robots in 'I, Robot' could be shut down simply by giving them a decision whose end results, including those caused by inaction, would result in some sort of harm to humans (mental included), a violation of the first law of robotics. Later robots were programmed to choose the lesser harm and could avoid destruction this way, though a sufficiently advanced roboticist could still cause their destruction through a very deliberate and specific conversation. Lastly, (most) robots of all time periods could theoretically be ordered directly to destroy themselves, as the 2nd law, which dictates that robots must obey the commands of humans, supersedes the 3rd, which dictates that robots must enforce self-preservation. However, the robot would need to understand the reasons for its destruction as the difference between the two laws is not terribly considerable.
The best example is "Liar!". US Robots accidentally makes a robot that can read minds, and no one knows how they did it. The three main characters (Susan Calvin, Pete Bogert and Alfred Lanning) are amazed by this. Susan Calvin gets told that a man she likes also likes her back, and Pete Bogert gets told that Alfred Lanning has resigned and left his position for Pete. However, soon they discover it was a lie (the man Susan liked is going to marry another woman he had brought to work a few days before, and Lanning hasn't resigned), and Susan makes the connection: the robot is still bound by the Three Laws, and thus it lied to them so that it didn't hurt them. Susan confronts the robot and provokes a Logic Bomb to it, making it realise that both doing something and not doing something will hurt some people.
- A form of this in the X-Wing Series book "Isard's Revenge". The Rogues, in that final battle, tell the clone Isard that she is a clone, and come up with the various discrepancies and memory-holes she must have wondered about which were solved by that knowledge. This leads to a very short Freak Out before she plays dead - which is exactly what the original did. Even if this one wasn't talked to death exactly, she was certainly talked to distraction.
- Eddie literally does this to Blaine the Mono in Stephen King's Wizard and Glass. More accurately, Eddie kills Blaine with an unstoppable barrage of really bad jokes.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final battle with Voldemort (you know, the one that was hyped up for the entire series?) consists of about four or five pages of Harry and Voldemort talking to each other, then each throws one curse and the battle is over. Well, Harry tries to talk Voldemort into not throwing the curse and repenting his crimes. Instead, Voldemort refuses to listen and casts the Killing Curse at Harry refusing to accept that Harry had become the master of the Elder Wand, which caused said curse to backfire and kill Voldemort instead.
- In Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, the protagonist scares a dragon away by the nothing he is carrying in his pocket. The dragon happens to be afraid of nothing. Absolutely terrified, in fact.
- In the novel Far Away From Us by Michael Uspensky, King Solomon convinces some brigands that "life is futile and is full of sorrows and is pointless to carry on", whereupon they (the brigands, that is) wholeheartedly agree and stab each other. The Hero then inquires if the trick could be repeated with a whole army. The king is uncertain.
- In Ovid's The Metamorphoses, Mercury conquers the many-eyed Argus by conversing with him until the monster falls asleep during the story of Syrinx, at which point the god is finally able to kill him. So this is Older Than Feudalism.
- In The Silver Chair, Puddleglum manages to break the Green Witch's spell by a combination of burnt-marshwiggle odor and this trope. Ironically, he does so by conceding to everything she's said in her own Breaking Speech, then declaring that even so, he'd rather go on living as if her accusations are baseless than embrace her overly-bleak perspective.
- At the every end of The Legend of Holly Claus, the villain Herrikhan is defeated when Holly forgives him for everything he's done. He can't stand that, and the shock kills him.
- Thalia tries this in Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure against the Erinyes. It doesn't work so well. It does, at least, delay them long enough for Apollo to arrive and do it better.
- This is to an extent the hat of the somewhat unimaginatively named Linguid species in Perry Rhodan. Sure, the average Linguid is just a somewhat furry-looking humanoid next door type who shouldn't be exposed too directly to hyperspace because they'll literally lose their mind; but by virtue of the same "defect" (courtesy of the Negative Space Wedgie their distant ancestors spent time trapped in and inheritable ever since), certain members of the species — their arbitrators and especially their few elite "Peace Speakers" — can be very, very convincing if they want to be. (Thankfully, they're also generally pretty careful about not abusing this; the one time the then-current generation of Peace Speakers did start to go off the deep end, it was a sign that there was something seriously wrong with them.) This isn't even mind control; instead, it's a knack for being preternaturally good at figuring out exactly what the other side will actually listen to and then working with that.
Live Action TV
- Mercifully free of any heroic platitudes, Roman writer Ovid brings his version of the Greek Mythology of Argos, a hundred-eyed and eternally vigilant watchman. The trickster god Hermes defeated Argos by telling him a series of long, sad, and boring stories until every last one of his hundred eyes shut and fell asleep — and then cutting his head off.
- Similarly, Oedipus talked the Sphinx into suicide simply by solving its infamous riddle.
- Princess Scheherazade of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Her husband, the king, was in the habit of serially executing his wives ... but she kept him entertained with stories night after night, and he couldn't execute her because he wanted to hear how the latest story ended ... until a thousand nights had passed, and he finally decided she was too interesting to kill.
- Subverted in a Japanese folktale: a monk meets in a ruin a wicked, cannibalistic hag who's crying because she can't reach Nirvana (being a cannibalistic hag and all). The monk tries to talk to her and make her repent her sins, but the old witch changes her mind and devours the poor guy.
- While reviewing a cavalcade of old NES peripherals, The Angry Video Game Nerd accidentally discovered that a voice-activated Zapper knock-off could be triggered to fire by saying anything, not just the prerequisite "Fire!" He then launches a Cluster F-Bomb at a slew of Zapper-based games, culminating with shooting down one of the ducks in Duck Hunt by shouting "Fuck!"
- The infamous story of a PC in Paranoia talking the Computer into a logic loop and crashing it.
- Most RPGs that have a skill system (read: most RPGs) will usually have some sort of "diplomacy" skill. Judicious use of these skills can often allow victory with very few die rolls (because very few RPGs have social conflict resolution mechanics anywhere near as complex as their physical combat rules) and even less conflict.
- There are several ways you can do this in Exalted, to the point that most Social charms are built around this trope. A few of them even references the story of Zhuge Liang (see Real Life examples).
- Magic: The Gathering has Azor's Elocutors. Keep them talking long enough and you win the game.
- Burning Wheel has the Duel of Wits, the argument/debate mechanics which are structured almost identically to combat. Talking an enemy down is no less climactic or mechanically intense than killing him. Subverted in that you can't force someone to argue, especially if they're in the middle of attempting to kill you.
- In Pokémon Live!, this is how MechaMew2 is defeated. Mewtwo hitting it with Ash's memories give it sentience and an understanding of right and wrong, which it uses to try and take out Giovanni.
- In Icewind Dale 2, if you can impress a demon enough by demonstrating knowledge of his kind, he'll leave without a fight. You can also unnerve a Barghest and its brood (provided you didn't kill him earlier) from a fight by showing him the dead kitty you've been carrying around for no reason since the beginning of the game. If you also happen to be carrying a dead man and a dead woman (and have enough ranks in Intimidate), the Barghest will run off in fear because someone as deranged as you clearly isn't to be messed with.
You... I... But... By Iyachtu Xvim, you're SICK!
You hold no concept or understanding for things alive or dead! I want no part of you, not when I'm so close to maturity! Collect all the bodies you want, sick fleshy mortal, but you'll not have mine! I'll leave this place, and you, in peace and never return, of this I swear! Player Character:
Oh, well, okay, if you insist. Pity, though, you'd have made a fine addition to my pretty, tender collection... Yquog:
- Planescape: Torment allows the player to literally talk some NPCs to death, including the final boss, and avoid many other enemies or dangerous situations merely by virtue of having a high enough Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma. This is largely because its world is shaped by belief.
- And in the case of the final boss, it's an aspect of the hero himself. Convincing it to rejoin with him whether by threats, trickery, sincerity, or force of will results in a somewhat better ending than simply destroying it.
- A flashback to one of the main character's past selves has the most literal example in an academic debate. He argues that his opponent does not in fact exist. As much as the opponent would like to object to that, he cannot find any flaws in the argumentation, and thus vanishes from existence.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
- The last case of Trials and Tribulations has Mia Fey talk the spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne past death, forcing her to recognize that all her plans have ended in failure and apparently condemning her to an eternity of regret. Dahlia's ensuing rage forces her out of the body she's been possessing with a scream of frustration. Let's just say the Judge was not the only person freaked out and awed.
- Of course all the 'battles' in the game are won by doing this. It's never enough to prove your client is innocent, you have to meticulously unravel the lies of the true murderer through the careful application of contradicting evidence and basically force them into a confession. Somewhat justified, as, in the real-world Japanese legal system, many defendants would have already confessed, courtesy of intense interrogation techniques.
- The Fallout series is famous for this. In almost every game you can talk the Big Bad down by just telling him how stupid his plan is.
- In Fallout 1 (from the makers of the Planescape game above), the final boss could be beaten like this. If you can convince him that his plans are utterly futile, he'll initiate his base's Self-Destruct Mechanism and let you run to escape.
- The final boss of Fallout 2 could not be directly talked to death, as no matter what you say he dismisses all your claims and will eventually attack. However, you can talk to his bodyguards and ask them to side with you against them, and you can also reprogram the automated turrets in his chamber to attack him. note
Chosen One: Can't we talk this over?
Frank Horrigan: We just did. Time for talking's over.
- In Fallout 3, you can talk down Eden and Autumn (well, Autumn doesn't die but just walks away) in the main quest by pointing out that they've either already lost or that they can't even keep order in their own organization and have no chance at taking over the wastes.
- Fallout 3 again, in the add-on Operation Anchorage, the last boss in the simulation kills himself if you pass the speech challenge. Once again, you do this by pointing out that his army is dead and his fortress is surrounded by power armor wearing American super soldiers.
- Fallout: New Vegas lets you convince Legate Lanius to pull back the remains of his army and retreat... if you have a Speech skill of 100. Depending on the dialogue path you take, you either bluff him into retreating or point out that this army has no chance of conquering the New California Republic even if they somehow take Hoover Dam, due to their horrific logistical situation.
- You can also pretty much talk down 99% of all non-random fights.
- You can talk down Ulysses in the Lonesome Road add-on for New Vegas by using his own philosophy to single him out as a hypocrite or by convincing him of your belief in your chosen faction.
- Ditto the Think Tank in Old World Blues, this time either befriending four of them and setting them against the fifth one, or convincing them you're actually their enemy, Mobius.
- Salt-Upon-Wounds from the Honest Hearts add-on for New Vegas can also be talked down, but only in one of the two ending quests. Otherwise, he is unceremoniously executed or runs away on his own.
- Averted with Father Elijah, who you cannot talk down. The most you can do is convince him to meet you face-to-face via a speech check, which gives you the opportunity to leave him trapped in the inescapable Sierra Madre vault.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura also from the Fallout designers, allows the player to have a philosophical debate with the Big Bad. The player can convince the villain to give up and let himself be killed peacefully.
- A variation occurs in the Hordes of the Underdark expansion for Neverwinter Nights. If you managed to get Mephisto's true name right before the final battle with him at the end of the game, you can use it to stop the fight before it even begins. This only works if you have his name, and with it you can do different things based on your Character Alignment and conversation options you choose, such as: order him to drop dead, order him to return to Hell, or even order him to give you command of Hell and become your either you partner or lackey. Your choices have major effects on the epilogue.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2 you can convince a demon that merely by talking to you, it has failed in its assigned task to knock down a door, and has failed its master. Since failing its master is punished by death, it promptly keels over.
- In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, the only way to defeat Darth Sion is to talk to him in the breaks between combat. Eventually, you succeed in weakening his will to live, at which point he accepts death peacefully. Roughly:
Exile: Sion...your life...was it worth living?
Darth Sion: It was not. No matter how many Jedi I killed...no matter how many lay broken at my feet...the pain would not end. I am glad to be rid of this place.
- In the Neverwinter Nights community module The Bastard Of Kosigan, your character gets to hold a conversation with your recently deceased father's ghost. Not forgiving him makes him take damage, but you can choose to forgive him completely and avoid the battle at the end.
- In Mass Effect 1, you can talk your way out of a few fights using the Charm and Intimidate skills. You can even convince the Brainwashed and Crazy Saren that siding with Sovereign will save nobody. Though being convinced that Sovereign can regain control over his mind and body at any time, he pulls out his gun and shots himself in the head.
- In Mass Effect 3, the Illusive Man can be made to realize that he too is indoctrinated and his actions are doing far more harm to humanity than good. He eventually admits the painful truth and chooses the exact same solution as Saren did... if you got all the pertinent reputation checks while talking to him throughout the game. It only works through Charm options, though.
- Hell, Shepard talks a goddamn REAPER to death! With a Paragon interrupt, he/she points out that whatever race the Reaper was made of died thousands of years ago, making its claims of preserving organics from destruction kinda pointless. The Reaper promptly shuts down without a single word of protest or dismissal. We already know that Shepard's a Messianic Archetype but damn...
- Inverted in one chapter of Disgaea, where the monsters, knowing that Laharl is Allergic to Love, bombard him with happy and cheerful sayings, sapping his powers for the duration of that battle.
- Amused by this, Flonne even joins in with her happy message of eternal love. The irony of the moment is that Laharl wouldn't have been impaired (as badly?) had Flonne NOT joined in. The monsters are just saying it, Flonne REALLY believes it.
- The Mediator class in Final Fantasy Tactics has the "Death Sentence" skill, which kills its target in three turns if successful.
- There is also the much milder skill "Mimic Darlavon" ("Daravon" in the previous localization,) which simply puts the enemy to sleep by droning on and on and on, like the tutorial-dispensing Professor.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has a Clan Trial where you need to chase off some monsters. Not with spells and swords, but picking the right interaction (stare down, threaten etc)..
- This is a staple of the Mother/Earthbound series.
- Earthbound Zero/Mother: In the final battle, Giygas cannot be physically harmed. In order to beat him, Ninten and his party must sing the lullaby once sung by Giygas' human mother. Unable to cope with his emotion, Giygas flees the planet.
- Earthbound/Mother 2: Giygas has gained so much power since the last game that he is now a mindless Eldritch Abomination. It is impossible for the Chosen Four to physically harm him because there's nothing physical to harm. Instead, Paula must use her near-useless Pray ability to summon the aid of everyone they met on their journey, even the player. Overwhelmed by emotions, Giygas is vanquished.
- Mother 3: Heartbreakingly subverted. The final boss of the game is The Masked Man - formerly Lucas's brother, Claus. Lucas cannot bring himself to hurt his own brother, so he must guard and heal himself until his mother's voice tells them to stop fighting. Claus, no longer Brainwashed and Crazy, commits suicide to stop Pokey's influence over him, and dies in his brother's arms.
- Early on in Baldur's Gate, you can encounter an evil cleric named Bassilus and his army of skeletons and zombies. If you pick the right threads in the Dialogue Tree, he loses control over his undead minions and they all fall apart, making the fight against him that much easier.
- In the sequel, you eventually meet an Spectator (a non-evil Beholder) who is magically bound to guard a box containing an item you need. The most obvious solution is to kill him, but with a high enough Wisdom you can point out to him that the wizard bound him to guard the box, not the ''contents'' of the box. . .
- In Flight of the Amazon Queen, you encounter a gorilla blocking your way; you can get rid of it by telling it that it doesn't exist. (And even if it existed, it has no business being in South America when gorillas only live in Africa.)
- Final Fantasy X has a Talk option suddenly appear during the last boss battle that allows Tidus to talk down his father, Jecht, who "is" Sin. It doesn't beat him or do any damage, but it takes down his Overdrive meter, which in his soul-crushingly painful sword-wielding form is more than worth spending a turn on.
- But it only works three times, after which it's implied that Jecht has lost consciousness, if not control, of his Final Aeon form. From there, one's only option is to open a can of whoop-ass.
- The option also appears for certain party members in the first three fights with Seymour, granting them a boost to their statistics.
- Possible in a roundabout manner in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: by exploiting Ubermann's lust for power so that he uses the ascension machine on himself.
- Scarface: The World is Yours. Inverted. Become sufficiently awesome (Balls points) and you can talk women into joining your harem. Health benefits (resistance to damage, etc.) later follow.
- In Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny, Dampierre's finisher just has him telling the opponent a sob story and ends with them giving him a coin while they go off to cry.
- Alpha Protocol has a lot of situations where talking to the right people beforehand can make certain fights much easier (for instance, being friends with Steven Heck can make Brayko a lot easier to fight), but the only boss fight you can outright talk your way out of is the rematch with Conrad Marburg if you didn't kill him in Rome, which requires high reputation or the piece of evidence that proves Parker was the one who cut him loose during his Deus Vult days.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, wandering through Denerim's market may lead you to being confronted by a royal knight who fully believes Loghain's lies that the Grey Wardens murdered the king (It was really Loghain leaving him to die) and demands that you face him in honorable combat. With a good persuasion skill, you can make him question why the Wardens would want the king dead, and, unable to think of an answer, he agrees to back off.
- The final showdown with Tolwyn in Wing Commander IV is this. You need to make the dialog choices to get Tolwyn to trip up and reveal all his dirty deeds, so the Great Assembly will vote against his call for war, and he will hang himself in his cell during the final cutscenes.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution gives you the opportunity to use diplomacy to overcome some situations. Unfortunately, the main bosses can't be beaten this way.
- There is a nice final boss fight beforehand, but this is how the Big Bad Lambda in Tales of Graces is ultimately defeated. Following Asbel's eager Patrick Stewart Speech, Lambda agrees to give humans a chance, merges with Asbel, and becomes dormant.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, at the end of the first act of the Imperial Agent story, the agent can do this to the Big Bad by pointing out that a) his plans require his/her cooperation, which (s)he's not going to give and b) if he kills him/her, his/her allies will retreat with knowledge of his identity and plans, which will bring the Empire and Republic alike down on his head. Left with no winning play, the Big Bad surrenders.
- The premise of The Logomancer is that all "battles" are actually like this. They still play like typical JRPG conflicts, though.
- There is one point where this is done literally, and the "a JRPG without killing" tagline is proven wrong: Stanislav Anarkum's Malformed Thought, the Final Boss. Winning the battle involves convincing it to kill itself.
- Citizens Of Earth includes so many cases of this that "verbal" is actually one of the elemental types. The first character you recruit is you mother, who attacks by giving monsters a lecture.
- The Tales of RPG (insert title) loves this trope to bits. This occurs during the heroes confronting the main antagonist. The heroes try to lecture him. Which ends up in a heated final battle
- Sailor Nothing ends with Himei ending the Dark Queen's rampage by telling her that Aoshi forgave her.
- Spoofed in The Salvation War. A Russian politician makes a defeated demon beg to be killed by reciting some speeches of Russia's then-president Vladimir Putin to it.
- Linkara, in the climax of the 2011 "Entity" Arc, talks the Entity into killing itself by using an Omnicidal Logic Bomb.
- Mocked in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, where Tea pretty much lobotomises an enemy with what she refers to as 'the mother of all friendship speeches'.
Tea: Brainwashing people is fun!
Yami: Indeed Tea, it looks like we had more in common than I thought.
- Also parodied when Tea is dueling Mai Valentine and gives constant friendship speeches during nearly every sentence she says, which causes Mai to give up just to shut her up.
- Played for laughs in Naruto The Abridged Series by the Third Hokage against his fight with Orochimaru. When confronted by reincarnated forms of the previous two Hokages, he performed one of his strongest techniques: "The Old Man Monologue Justu". No, seriously.
- Spongebob Squarepants
- In the episode "Born Again Krabs," this trope is spoofed when Mr. Krabs greedily trades Spongebob for 62 cents, thus sending Spongebob to Davy Jones's locker (the equivalent of Hell) for eternity with the Flying Dutchman. A few seconds later, the Flying Dutchman returns Spongebob, stating that Spongebob talked too much and that it was driving him crazy. This cuts to a scene of Spongebob babbling about his life rapidly and non-stop while the Flying Dutchman looks exasperated.
- In the episode "F.U.N.", Plankton disguises himself in front of a magic shop when SpongeBob shows up. He doesn't recognize him at first, but when he sees the magic shop, he starts gushing about a magician he once saw. Plankton finally has enough of his glurge-filled rambling and gives himself up.
SpongeBob: Plankton! It's you!
Plankton: Yes, and all this time I thought I was the master of torture. But that... that just wasn't fair!
- One episode of The Powerpuff Girls had Blossom and Buttercup arguing over whether to use tactics or brute force against a monster. Bubbles solves the problem by simply asking the monster to leave town, pretty please with sugar on top. On the other hand, Blossom and Buttercup keep trying to prove that their way works, even when it's obvious that they don't. This actually might explain why the monster finally left when Bubbles asked - when the argument leads to Blossom and Buttercup making one final attempt to prove that their way is the right one, the monster is annoyed◊ that the girls are still trying to beat him, and was probably glad for the excuse to go.
- The Simpsons:
- Subverted in "Treehouse of Horror" in which a haunted house seeks to force the Simpsons out. After a Can't We All Get Along? speech from Marge, the house thinks about life with the Simpsons, and chooses to destroy itself in a scene reminiscent of the finale of Poltergeist.
Lisa: It chose to destroy itself rather than live with us. You can't help but feel a little rejected.
- Subverted in "Treehouse of Horror VIII". Marge gives a heartwarming speech to a mutated mob that calms them down long enough for Marge and kids to get into position and blast them away with shotguns.
Marge: Living with mutants… yeah, right.
- In the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) episode "Daimar the Demon," the title character believes he is predestined to destroy Eternia. He-Man makes the giant monster realize that he has free will and doesn't have to be evil, and so Daimar chooses not to hurt anyone after all.
- In an episode of Invader Zim, Dib uses his newly gained super powers to dodge Zim's defense lawn gnomes (which he could have easily done without powers) and talk to Zim at his house.
Dib: I've got some stuff to say to you Zim. (Fade out and fade back in hours later.) And that's all I have to say about that.
Zim: Well, Dib, Your words have moved me. I'm done with evil. Gir, it's been a pleasure working with you, now self destruct.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Equinox wants to reset the universe, as he wants to make order and chaos balanced. After a short talk with Batman, he realizes that he's too chaotic to make a fair judgment on reality.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,
- The Real Ghostbusters Halloween special, "The Halloween Door". A Halloween-hating Moral Guardian has created a machine that destroys all evidence of the holiday; Jack-O-Lanterns, costumes, candy, decorations, etc. Unbeknownst to him, doing so breaks an ancient contract with the spirits of the netherworld, who agreed to leave Earth if they would be remembered, which led to the holiday. The monsters return and cause havoc, and the Ghostbusters are powerless to stop them. Until a little girl offers to help them, revealing that she isn't afraid of the monsters. The Ghostbusters have her walk up to the lead kaiju, request candy, tell him he's funny, and demand a Halloween story. This reveals that the actual point of Halloween (teaching children not to be afraid) is still alive and well, and forces the monsters back into the netherworld.
- Justice League Unlimited
- In the ep "Patriot Act" a bunch of second-string Badass Normal heroes go up against a rogue general who shot himself up with Super Serum to prove that superheroes/metahumans are a threat to normal people. When the heroes go down, the civilian population intervenes, informing the general that he's the only one in the battle who actually has super powers. "All right, I've become what I hate, I'll give you that," the villain says, putting down the car he was about to throw, and departs.
- In "Flash and Substance," the Flash sits down at a bar with the Trickster, chides him for not taking his medication, and persuades him to both give away the other rogues and turn himself in by promising to play (soft) darts with him in the hospital.
Flash: ...as soon as you finish your drink, turn yourself in!
Trickster: (raises his glass in salute) Got me again, Flash!
- In the Transformers Botcon 2008 script reading, "Bee In The City", an entire legion of newly-sentient robots is turned against Megatron once the heroes explain to them the ridiculous amounts of paperwork they'll have to go through.
: And don't even think about deactivating yourselves. You don't want to see the paperwork for that
- The Optimus Prime of Transformers Prime would often try to play this straight (mainly with Megatron, Starscream, Skyquake and his brother Dreadwing, he even tried it on Unicron), results would often vary depending upon whom he was speaking to at the moment. The brothers at least paused to listen due to their sense of honor, while Megatron and Starscream would have none of it. Prime was at least able to stall the latter by genuflecting before him.
- Terry gives an example in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. While Bruce much preferred to ignore the Joker's insane ramblings and stay silent, Terry has no difficulty pushing Joker's buttons in a complete reversal of Joker's speech with the original Batman. Who knew laughing at the Joker would be his Berserk Button?
- In an old animated short on Sesame Street, the Western town of Sniddlers Gulch is terrorized by Cowboy X, a huge bruiser who rides around town using an ink stamp to mark random things with a letter X. One small boy finally tries asking Cowboy X not to do that. Cowboy X actually agrees to stop. In a subversion, he immediately changes his name to Cowboy O, and rides around town stamping things with the letter O. In a double subversion, the people of Sniddlers Gulch are satisfied with this.
- In "The Cloud", Freakazoid manages to beat the Lobe by telling him his latest plot (to forcibly turn people into Non Ironic Clowns and use them as sleeper agents) was ridiculous, and shaming him into packing up his operation and going home. Freakazoid then confides to the audience that he actually thought it was a pretty good plan.
- In another episode, Freakazoid manages to convince one-off villain the Nerdator that his plan of kidnapping nerds to steal their brainpower will make all girls avoid him. So, the Nerdator decides to kidnap "good-looking but vapid air-heads" instead to steal their good looks, and according to the narrator, no one cares.
- This is how the final 'fight' of The Legend of Korra ends. After Korra saves Kuvira's life from her own malfunctioning spirit vine cannon the two end up in the newly created spirit portal made from the resulting energy. While there Korra manages to convince Kuvira that the two of them are similar to each other and that Korra can understand what it means to be helpless. This act of kindness makes Kuvira realise that she has become no better then the dictators she hates and willingly surrenders herself for punishment at the end of the series.
- The entire job of a police negotiator is to do this. Instead of overcoming criminals by force, a negotiator will tell the crooks that it's better to surrender, usually for moral reasons (not being able to live with having killed someone) or practical reasons (like not being shot by the police). Negotiators may try a Patrick Stewart Speech, a Rousing Speech, or even tell the crook to be better than he believes himself to be. Whatever works to get the hostages free, and the criminal in custody, with everyone alive.
- This is basically the definition of a filibuster, where the "monster" in question is a bill that a legislator wishes to block. The record in the U.S. is held by Strom Thurmond, who rambled on for more than 24 hours to block the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
- Ironically enough, it was subverted in its very first use during the Senate's meeting over the issue to reverse the censure placed on Andrew Jackson. The opponents to reversing it simply began to talk on and on. The Jacksonian faction's response? They simply stocked up on food, ale and coffee and enjoyed themselves until the opposition gave up.
- In America at least, the ability to use a filibuster to halt the passing of a bill became so annoying that it was decided that any use of it could be overridden by a 60% majority simply because pretty much anyone could delay a bill and piss off everyone just by talking for a long time.
- This ended up getting subverted in the USA by the introduction of rules that remove the need to talk for hours to filibuster - a formal declaration of filibustering a bill is enough for it to count. To say this provision has become contentious would be an understatement.
- Still played straight in Britain, but with a twist: Because the rules of the British Parliament say that an MP must make points germane to the topic, the usual US tactic of rambling on about anything (derisively referred to by British parliamentarians as "reading the phone book") is not available. The record for managing to spin reflections on a single topic is eleven hours.
- One tactic, such as that suggested for enshrining a promised referendum on the EU in 2017, seems to be tabling excessive amounts of amendments to a bill in order to ensure it runs out of parliamentary time.
- Zhuge Liang has a knack for this. He once challenged Wang Lang to a battle of words, and when Zhuge finished verbally lobotomizing the reasons for Wei's political moves, Wang Lang DIED. Same thing happened with Cao Zhen, but with a LETTER. In the exact words, "Cao Zhen became furious, coughed, and spat blood..." If only Zhuge Liang could have a little chat with all his enemies...