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Weapon of Mass Destruction
Total destruction within a 22-mile radius with only half its power.

Dr. Hugo Sign: Lynn, what is the one and only way to prevent being killed by the explosion of a nuclear weapon?
Lynn: I dunno, don't be there when it goes off?
Dr. Sign: Actually, that's exactly right.
—From Paul Robinson's The Gatekeeper: The Gate Contracts

A specific type of MacGuffin. It is a thing that is just really, really bad for children and other small, living things. It may destroy entire cities or countries with the press of a button, it may just wipe out all electronics or something. Either way, expect massive amounts of damage if it's ever used, hence why it's rarely done.

We are sure, though, that it is at least as powerful as the Wave Motion Gun. It is found to be in the hands of the Big Bad, or being sought out by the Big Bad, or being assembled by the Big Bad's minions.

In Anime, this is subject to the Nuclear Weapons Taboo, and will invariably be something that isn't a garden-variety present-day nuclear weapon. Many Speculative Fiction Series similarly use Applied Phlebotinum in place of real weapons of mass destruction available today.

See also Artifact of Doom, Forgotten Superweapon and Wave Motion Gun. Person of Mass Destruction is when this is applied to a character. If it only destroys certain things, it's a Phlebotinum Bomb. If it's built into a famous real-world location, then it's a Weaponized Landmark. In a fantasy setting, expect a Fantastic Nuke. If a measurement or value is given to its power, expect it to use Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure.

For more on a certain type, see Atomic Hate.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • "N2 weapons" in Neon Genesis Evangelion, the "N2" part standing for "Non-Nuclear". Going by the concept notes for the show, they could be based either on pure nuclear fusion or on matter-antimatter reaction.
  • "Vegatron bombs" in UFO Robo Grendizer. They are pretty much nukes with another name.
  • Sweden's Surströmming.
  • The various Mobile Suit Gundam series bring us "Colony Drops", literally dropping space colonies into the earth or moon's surface, along with solar lasers, rogue Nanotechnology, purpose-built Nanotechnology, psychic weapons, automated robots designed to kill all humans, and microwave-powered super lasers.
    • Bonus points to the Psyco Gundam and Destroy Gundam which are essentially mobile, 400 tonne tactical nukes, capable of killing entire cities and armies using only their raw fire power. Both of course, are also quite vulnerable to attack by single enemy craft.
  • The "Book of Eternal Darkness" in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.
    • On a (comparatively) lesser scale, the Arc-en-Ciel cannon, a starship-mounted directed-energy weapon which works by essentially causing a localized dimensional collapse; if performed in-atmosphere, especially if at surface-level, the resultant shockwaves can obliterate everything for hundreds of kilometers around.
    • Reinforce and Agito in Striker(s) blur the line between "weapon" and "person."
  • The Ohmu and the God-Warrior's mouth laser in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
  • The "Dimension Eater" in Macross Frontier is a car-sized device that generates a planet-sized Negative Space Wedgie that eats anything in its path.
    • The Macross Cannon equipped on Macross and New Macross-class ships ranks up there in firepower, usually being a One-Hit Kill on anything that gets shot by it. The original series also featured the Grand Cannon, a truly gigantic beam weapon which, when fired at the Bodolza Fleet, took out a couple million ships in one shot. Too bad that was barely one-fifth of the armada surrounding Earth... and the remaining Zentraedi wasted no time in counter-attacking it to make sure it couldn't fire again.
  • Don't forget the FLEIJA warheads from Code Geass R2.
    • Developed by one Nina Einstein no less.
  • Buster Machine 3, also known as the Black Hole Bomb. It's core uses the planet Jupiter and the entire thing is a significant fraction of the size of Earth. It annihilates the Galactic Core and roughly half the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Pain from Naruto was planning to use the tailed beasts the Akatsuki were sealing away to create this.
  • One Piece has three of them: Pluton, Uranus and Poseidon.
    • Pluton is a huge warship, said to be capable of destroying whole islands. It is hidden away somewhere, and Robin is the only person left who has the ability to awaken it. Its blueprints still exist, and even though they are meant to counteract the original Pluton, they can also be used to revive it without the Poneglyphs. Its blueprints were in Franky's possession, but when he found out that Robin had no intention of awakening the weapon, he burned them, so as to prevent Spandam from reviving the weapon.
    • Poseidon is actually not a weapon in the traditional sense, but an ability. Poseidon was the name of a Mermaid Princess who lived during the Void Century, and had the power to control huge creatures known as Sea Kings. This ability came to be feared as a weapon, and all of Poseidon's descendants who had the same ability also inherited her name as a title. The current form of Poseidon is princess Shirahoshi.
    • Uranus is the third and last Ancient Weapon. So far, the only thing we know about it is its name.
  • InuYasha: Bakusaiga, Sesshoumaru's true sword. When it's revealed that Bakusaiga not only destroys what it's directly cut, but the blow then automatically transfers to anything that comes into contact with the original victim, Byakuya sets up a trap designed to kill Sesshoumaru. When Sesshoumaru points out a couple of youkai won't stop him, Byakuya reveals he knows and that's why he's enlisted an army of several thousand. Sesshoumaru destroys the entire army with a single swing of Bakusaiga.
  • Laputa, from Castle in the Sky has some sort of energy weapon built into it that was used by the original occupants to extort, threaten and ultimately punish earthbound civilisations. The Big Bad claims that it was responsible for the destruction of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Film 
  • Just as a warm-up, The Genesis Device of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is capable of almost instantly terraforming an entire planet. But if it used on a life-bearing planet, it would, as Spock points out, "Destroy that life in favor of its matrix." The fact that the Genesis Planet, created by using the Device on a nebula, eventually catastrophically exploded doesn't help, either.
  • And the trope is done to death in Star Wars. First, both "Death Stars" were capable of blowing up planets. The Marvel Star Wars comics, which began publishing shortly after the first movie, also featured the Empire coming up with new superweapons and predictably the rebellion discovering their existence and destroying them. Of particular note is the Tarkin, which was originally meant to be another Death Star, but Lucas forbade Marvel from using that since he was going to use the exact same thing in Return of the Jedi. And during the early '90s, many Star Wars Expanded Universe writers would use the "The Empire is building a new superweapon" plot gimmick so often that things quickly got out of hand (the Star Wars Expanded Universe was often referred to as the "Superweapon of the Month Club" during this time). The Sun Crusher and the Prototype Death Star, the Eye of Palpatine, the Darksaber, World Devastators and the Galaxy Gun... Kevin J. Anderson was the worst with this; every single adult Star Wars novel he wrote used one. Since Lucasfilm switched publishers to Del Ray, these mostly vanished (it was hilariously lampshaded by Han Solo in one New Jedi Order novel).
    • Timothy Zahn, who kickstarted the Bantam era of novels with The Thrawn Trilogy and concluded it with the massive Fix Fic Hand of Thrawn duology, had a quiet Take That when Mara Jade talked about how superweapons weren't Thrawn's style. He went for more effective means of conquest.
      Han Solo: What the Empire would have done was build a supercolossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus… Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose… And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up.
    • In the Knights of the Old Republic comic, the Mandalorians devastate a planet with good old-fashioned nuclear missles four thousand years before the movies. Makes you wonder why the Death Star was even necessary.
      • The Death Star blows straight through even the strongest planetary shield, and since it destroys a planet rather than merely devastates it, you can be assured that no matter what measures had been taken, anyone on the planet is dead.
      • According to expanded universe sources, standard starships could already devastate an entire planet that way (not destroy it physically but render the surface uninhabitable for life forms). The tactic is called Base Delta Zero and one Imperial-class Star Destroyer is enough to do it to one planet.
      • The problem is not devastating an entire planet, it's defeating the shields defending it: in The Empire Strikes Back we have a fleet of five Star Destroyers and a Star Dreadnought (like a Star Destroyer, only a pair of orders of magnitude bigger and more powerful) against a single half-completed Rebel base, and they don't even try orbital bombardment because, as stated by Vader's officers, its shield could deflect their bombardment. Planetary shields are a lot stronger... And the Death Star superlaser overwhelmed Alderaan's in less than a second and still had enough power to cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
    • Centerpoint Station, a gravitational weapon that could basically do anything including blowing up stars (while remaining stationary itself; its gravity bursts could work through hyperspace). Used once in the Yuuzhan Vong War to :destroy a Vong fleet, along with half the Hapan fleet engaging them which gets wiped out as collateral damage.
  • Nanomites from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which come in city eating Green Goo form or in Made of Iron / Mind Control injections.
  • Inverted in The LEGO Movie in that after discovering the fated Kragle, Lord Business plans to glue everything together on Taco Tuesday, rather than destroy anything. This is reinforced by the fact that he values perfection to the extreme, to the point where he doesn't believe in failure.

    Literature 
  • Speaking of planet-crackers, no one can beat for exuberance the science-fiction writer E. E. “Doc” Smith:
    • In his Lensman series, he went from massed fleets to a massive planet-sized sphere of antimatter to a literal "planet-cracker" — two worlds, with opposed velocities, made inertialess and moved on opposite sides of a target world. When the inertialessness was cut off... the three planets went squish rather spectacularly. And from this we get the Lensman Arms Race. The very first sentence of the Lensman series shows two galaxies colliding. (Though it turns out, one of them is ours, and that's where all the planets came from.)
    • Amazingly, Lensman is perhaps the least cosmically destructive series of novels he's ever written. The final book of the Skylark Series had explosions on a pan-galactic scale.
  • In the Animorphs books, the technologically superior alien Ax tends to look down on the kind of thing that passes for high technology among humans, and this includes the fact that the pinnacle of our destructive technology is the nuclear bomb rather than something more technobabbly, saying things like, "A fusion explosive? That's what that was? I assumed it was a small proton-shift weapon, at least." That's probably why he is so little affected by the Nuclear Weapons Taboo that he is capable of making the moral compromise involved in threatening to use a nuclear weapon.
  • Done realistically in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, where the weapon involved has infinite (or close enough to it) ammo, causes mass destruction (or would, if targeted the right way), and is not stoppable by any conventional means — trying to stop it would cause more damage than just letting it hit. What is it? Metal-sheathed chunks of rock fired from Moon-based linear accelerators. When it hits, each chunk is equivalent to a 2-kiloton atomic weapon, but with no radiation, no lasting effects — a Green Weapon of Mass Destruction. The Heroes, of course, aim the rocks to land near inhabited areas, but not directly on any cities — save for Cheyenne Mountain, home of NORAD, which they pulverize by the end of the novel.
  • In Larry Niven's Ringworld series, the eponymous Ringworld itself (or, more precisely, the shadow squares) can create a gas-laser using solar flares! That's right, a laser the size of a star!
  • The Obernewtyn Chronicles has the weaponmachines Balance of Terror (BOT) and Sentinel as a major part of the plot. Sentinel, once roused, could launch the Balance of Terror against whoever is responsible for any form of attack. In a world where almost everything is polluted, it would wipe out the world again.
  • The Molecular Disruptor, or "Little Doctor," in Orson Scott Card's Ender’s Game. The MD releases a burst of energy that tears matter apart at the molecular level. At the same time, this process releases more of that same kind of energy, meaning that once it hits an object, that thing is utterly destroyed as the energy propagates throughout it. In deep space, it's relatively safe to use, as the energy dissipates over much of any distance, meaning it's unlikely to destroy more than one ship unless they're tightly packed together. Used on a planet, however...
  • The planetoids from Empire from the Ashes by David Weber are armed with missiles that use warheads armed with everything from (super-powered) chemical explosives to gigaton-range antimatter devices. And they aren't even considered the real shipkillers, that honour falling to the gravitonic warhead, a micro-ish black hole generator. Then, there is the gravitonic super-bomb, a weapon that kills everything within a light-second or so of its activation point and can cause a supernova if activated close to a star. Oh yes, and one type of FTL drive can also nova a star if you're not careful.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: At the state of technology in 1869, the Nautilus is this: a submarine could easily destroy any ship in the sea without possibility of being persecuted when it submerges in the sea. Nemo’s Kick the Dog moment show how terrible its destructive power really is.
  • HALO: In the book "First Strike", we have the NOVA Nuclear Cluster. Admiral Whitcomb described it as a "Planet Killer", and was originally to be used to even the odds against the Covenant in space battles.
  • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, we find The Alchemist. This deceptively small device (comparably sized to a normal combat missile) was built for the specific purpose of destroying a star (specifically, the host star of the world that used antimatter strikes on the homeworld of the device's creator). It does this by a clever combination of two bog-standard technologies in the setting. Upon learning what the accursed thing is and how it works, the hero remarks on just how insanely dangerous the scientist who created it is, and internally wonders how nobody ELSE has thought of this. He proceeds to use it himself shortly afterwards, on the lower power setting, which paradoxically is the one that causes the target to explode.
    • The Planetbuster antimatter warheads themselves also qualify. A small number (less than 20) were used to wreck a planetary biosphere beyond hope of recovery, resulting in the death of anything more sophisticated than lichen.
  • Any Bolo equipped with hellbores. A hellbore doesn't just allow it to destroy anything on the planet the Bolo is on. It can lay megatons per second force with pinpoint accuracy at interplanetary range.
  • In Tom Kratman's Caliphate:
    • The eponymous Caliphate has hired several American scientists to create the ultimate bioweapon to wipe out their enemies, without any concern for who else — including themselves — that would be harmed by an engineered virus that's 97% fatal — and possibly mutilating the remaining 3%.
    • In the backstory for the book, Islamic terrorists deployed nuclear weapons against the cities of several western countries, including the US and the UK. The three that detonated in the USnote  were sufficient cause for the election of President Buckman, who later nuked almost all Islamic holy cities in retaliation for the various attacks on the US over the years.
  • Revelation Space has numerous very powerful weapons on board the Nostalgia for Infinity. One could potentially shatter a planet. Volyova uses one of the smallest of the ship's weapons to threaten a planetary government, a "surface supression element" that merely has a teratonne-yield nuclear warhead.
  • Red Mars Trilogy has a number of startlingly effective attacks using things that were never intended to be weapons.
    • What happens when you shop the counterweight off a Space Elevator? Why, it falls down and wraps around the whole planet. Twice. Going at several kilometres per second at the end.
    • An orbital laser that can just about cut a hole in a plastic greenhouse roof doesn't sound very threatening, but if those greenhouses are pressurised city domes on mars, the effects can be horrifying. Some domes are popped, suffocating the occupants, and others are pumped with oxygen, incinerating them.
    • There's a boring old civilisation ending asteroid, too. That gets stopped pretty quickly by railgun launched nuclear weapons from the moon, which must be pretty scary in themselves.
    • And a particularly unusual one is done by Saxifrage Russell, a quietly spoken, nerdy terraforming scientist. In revenge against the police who torture him, ultimately leaving him brain damaged he releases some terraforming biota that increase the oxygen level of the atomsphere a little faster than expected, and plants a lot of carefully engineered seeds which germinate after a fire in some soil rich in metals and oxidising chemicals. The prison is then hit with an incendiary weapon which sets the ground on fire in an raging inferno that torches thousands of square miles of wilderness, and then sprouts an impenetrable thicket of thorn trees. Beware the Quiet Ones, indeed.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire underlines how dragons, when used tactically, are weapons of mass destruction. OK, so they're not planet busters in and of themselves and they have animal minds of their own so can be a bit... unpredictable. But, three dragons that like you and (mostly) do as you suggest vs four large, converging armies who don't like you and a stonking Big Fancy Castle? Problems, you say? In the "not as awesome as dragons" stakes, however, is the rather more mundane alternative: wildfire. A conventional enough weapon, this: take napalm, cross it with Greek fire, add a little supernatural va-va-voom and some good, solid strategical placement. With enough of it, you can say goodbye to besieging problems... and, hello to a massive clean-up bill.
  • Several show up in various places in The Dresden Files.
    • In Dead Beat, the Red Court attack a hospital that contains a large number of injured Wardens with Sarin gas, which is legally classed as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. The next paragraph shows why, when it mentions that the gas wiped out not just the hospital, but most of the city the hospital was in.
    • Harry Dresden has the dubious honor of holding the trigger to one. As Warden of Demonreach, he has the authority to release some of the most terrifying and horrendous Eldritch Abominations in existence upon the world.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Dakara Superweapon from Stargate SG-1, capable of disintegrating a lifeform of your choice by a giant wave that wraps around the planet. (The wave can be altered to target any lifeform while leaving others alone; for example, choosing between organic lifeforms and replicators.) In fact, it can even be used to delete life in the entire galaxy.
    • More recently, in Stargate Atlantis, the "Attero" device disables faster-than-light travel for the series's Big Bads, destroying the ships as they attempt it. The downside is the device makes stargates explode. Mid-season six of SG-1 revealed that a stargate explodes with enough force to annihilate a planet, and the device does this passively to the ones in an entire galaxy.
    • Carter used a gate to force a star to go nova, wiping out the entire star system.
    • Then there's Project Arcturus, a failed Ancient Manhattan Project that uses the principles of a ZPM on a larger, less controlled scale to power a great big energy cannon. Throw in the fact that the power source itself is uncontrollable and ends up overloading. When McKay tries to get it working, he ends up blowing up most of a stellar system.
  • Farscape has wormholes. As the Made-for-TV Movie conclusively proves, they're not so much a "weapon" as they are the interstellar equivalent of shaking an etch-a-sketch.
    John: Wormhole weapons do not make peace. Wormhole weapons...don't even make war. They make total destruction. Annihilation. Armageddon.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: The Cardassian-built, Maquis-captured/modified ATR-4107 'Dreadnought', a self-guided strategic missile armed with a 2000 kilo matter/antimatter charge (enough to destroy a small moon like Phobos or Deimos, or make a Class 1-2 mess of a planetary surface) with its own defensive weaponry and a highly sophisticated computer system capable of adapting to any circumstance. Unfortunately, it was pulled into the Delta Quadrant along with Voyager, and headed towards the first inhabited planet fitting its target profile... Then there's the long-range tactical armor unit the crew encounter in "Warhead", which is so intelligent it's not only programmed, it's also fed with propaganda on its ruthless and hostile "enemy". Plus, the Krenim temporal weapon-ship in "Year of Hell", which can erase a species from every having existed, and nine Species 8472 bioships linking up to destroy an entire Borg planet in "Scorpion".
  • Of course, in Andromeda, the Nova Bomb takes the place of nuclear weapons today, since in Andromeda the ability to destroy an entire city is common to the point of being pedestrian. So, Nova Bombs, an antigravity device which removes the gravitational bonds keeping a sun together, so they take the place of the moral problems with nova bombs. There have been episodes where they tried to use it on the Worldship (but a godlike creature absorbed most of it and the worldship survived), a moral dilemma where a superior Admiral asks for use of a Nova Bomb without giving the reason why, a grave threat where a drift entirely of children wants to use Nova Bombs to destroy Nietzschian systems, and an episode where they have to sneak in and destroy a warlord's Voltarium factory (in other words, a uranium enrichment facility).
  • Babylon 5 has the "planet killers", used by both Shadows and Vorlons (interesting, since the latter were frequently grouped with the "good guys"). The mass drivers used by the Centauri might fall into this category, too.
    • Not only are the Mass Drivers classed as Weapons of Mass Destruction, their use in the manner shown is also explicitly illegal.
  • Doctor Who has had a fair few of these over the years.
    • "Silver Nemesis" had the Validium statue which was capable of wiping out entire Cybermen warfleets.
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks" had "The hand of Omega" which could rewire stars, and was used to vaporise an entire solar system.
    • Lampooned in the episode "World War Three", in which alien gangsters in disguise manage to gain control of the Western nuclear arsenal in order to reduce Earth to radioactive rubble simply by threatening Earth with a (non-existent) alien battle fleet armed with "Massive Weapons of Destruction".
    • This trope is taken to its logical extreme by Davros in "Journey's End": his planet-sized Dalek starship, The Crucible, is equipped with a "Reality Bomb", essentially a jumbo-sized, planet-powered disintegrator that can cancel out nuclear cohesion, reducing matter to nothing. One blast from it can propagate throughout the entire Universe, wiping out everything but the Crucible itself. And by setting it off next to The Medusa Cascade the blast would spread throughout The Multiverse, wiping out everything that could possibly exist, ever, leaving the Daleks as the only things left in existence.
    • In "The Day of the Doctor", the weapon the Doctor used to end the Time War was one of these called the Moment, also known as the Galaxy Eater, developed by Gallifrey's Ancients. It was so powerful that it became sentient and developed a consience so the Time Lords never dared use it because how do use a weapon of mass destruction that can pass judgement on you? It took the form of the Bad Wolf to try and persuade the Doctor not to use it, because it didn't want to kill the children still on Gallifrey during the War.
  • A somewhat tongue-in-cheek example, Gaius Baltar of Battlestar Galactica tends to cause a lot of destruction every time he gets laid. WikiFrakr refers to this phenomenon as "Baltar's Schlong."
  • Warehouse 13:
    • Shown in the season 2 finale, the Minoan Trident (also known as Poseidon's Trident), which when stabbed into the ground three times opens the fault lines below. Among other things, it's capable of triggering volcanoes, even supervolcanoes. In fact, it's even referred to as "The first Weapon of Mass Destruction."
    • There's also, from the season 3 finale, the tile from the British House of Commons that absorbed the full concentrated power of hate of the entire Nazi regime. When hooked up to a bomb, it creates an explosion large enough to destroy the entire Warehouse requiring a Reset Button being hit the following season.

    Religion / Mythology 
  • In Hindu Mythology, the Brahmastra is essentially a nuclear bomb, a weapon that can destroy an entire army, can kill anything from Brahma's creation (ie anything) and causes massive environmental damage in a huge area. There's even a second version that's four-squared times as powerful, which never gets used; at one point, Arjuna and Ashwatthama attack each other using the four-square-as-powerful version. They're forced to retract their attacks, because if the weapons collided it would destroy the entire universe.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Abaddon the Despoiler's flagship is called the Planet Killer. He also has the remaining two Blackstone fortresses, which he has subverted to the will of Chaos, and which he once used (when he had more of them) to send a star nova, destroying everything in the system. In fact, most races have their own WMDs; the Imperium have the Exterminatus doctrine - and god bless you if that only means kinetic or thermonuclear orbital bombardment. They also have a flesh-eating supervirus as well as weapons that destabilize a planet's core. The Necrons revel in destroying all life on a planet, down to and including bacteria; no-one knows how, though. The Tyranids do something similar, but instead of destroying all life on a planet, they simply consume it while assimilating useful genetic traits, leaving a dried-up ball of rock behind.
    • In fact, there are so many ways of utterly ruining a good planet in the 40K world, it's a wonder they've got any left.
      • Because stray Orks can land on just about anything with a basic atmosphere and turn it into an Orky biosphere. Of course, they often do the same to existing biosphere, so their biosphere is a biological weapon, with individual Orks simply conscious servants of it.
  • GURPS: High Tech actually lists specific stats for the original weapon of mass destruction, "Little Boy" itself is given specific stats.
    • GURPS: Spaceships has the Azrael (Angel of Death). It's basically a giant sentient missile carrying a bunch of smaller missiles. At full speed the impact of the Azrael is equal to 42 million megatons of TNT (the same as what killed the dinosaurs). The thirty smaller missiles are "just" equal to 700 megatons each. Better yet, this design uses zero superscience, making it one of the weakest planet killer ships you can design.
  • Blade / Flying Buffalo has produced an extension set for the Nuclear War / Escalation / Proliferation series of games called 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'. However, these are the classical (non-trope) WMDs, and there is one event card that has you try to find a nuclear warhead in the card hand of an opponent.
  • The Sword of Creation (also known as the Realm Defense Grid) from Exalted. Capable of targeted environmental destruction (using effects such as rains of iron needles or walls of fire) from a scale of anywhere between 10 square miles and all of Creation. Also enhances the spells of those using it, and can control the Warmanses of the Blessed Isle. Typically used to defend Creation from the Raksha, although the Scarlet Empress was able to use it to establish one of the most powerful empires in history. When used by anyone other than a circle of Solar sorcerers, has severe geomantic side effects (i.e. causes natural disasters across Creation).
    • On further development, it's been revealed that the Dirigible Engine Daystar (IE: the Sun) is in reality an autonomous God-Artifact that takes the form of a spherical airship sheathed in intense Solar fire. It was explicitly designed as a defensive Weapon of Mass Destruction, keeping Wyld Behemoths, Unshaped Fae, emergent Primordials, and other things outside Creation. One brash Solar wanted to fire the sun's primary weapon into Creation during the Primordial War, only to have the Unconquered Sun explain that he was utterly unwilling to reveal to the general populace that they were living under the barrel of a gun.
      • Also, the sun knows several varieties of kung fu, one of which was invented by a Kung Fu master explicitly for it.
  • AD&D 2nd Edition's Spelljammer setting had the Witchlight Marauders, essentially artificial engineered bioweapons, 500 feet long, which, when dropped onto a planetary surface, would grow, divide, and literally eat the entire planet down to bedrock if not killed off.
  • BattleTech has the WarShips, which are enormous, heavily armed ships with the capability to jump up to 30 light years every two weeks. In the Twilight of the Clans series, a Clan Smoke Jaguar WarShip opens fire on the city of Edo in retaliation for a prison-break, killing one million inhabitants instantly. The entire Inner Sphere then proceeds to kill every Jaguar warrior they can find. Once they reach the Jaguar homeworld, use their Warship's Gauss Rifle and Particle Projector Cannon to completely destroy several battalions of Jaguar warriors as they gather for an attack on the Sphere's ground forces.
  • Mortasheen has The Ultimates, monsters so powerful and hard-to-control that their replication is illegal even to replicate. They include a fetus monster that can mind-rape you as easily as editing a computer, a Nuckleavee-type creature that spreads disease and wiped out its creators so thoroughly that even their name is unknown, and a skyscraper-sized pillar of flesh with more methods of Bloody Murder than you can shake a stick at.

    Video Games 
  • Being a militar RTS Act of War has the obligatory Tactical Weapon for each faction, going from nuclear cruise missiles to Nuclear Artillery, however, in an interesting twist, the game also adds Counter-tactical Weapons, which can protect your base and forces pretty well.
  • Each race in EVE Online has its own flavor of Doomsday Device (the actual game term for the weapons class). When fired, they destroy pretty much any ship within 150 kilometers save for heavily armored battleships, which just barely survive.
    • As a reference point, a single detonation of a Doomsday Device is canonically capable of extreme damage to a planet; that is, apocalyptic hellfire and brimstone on the targeted area, with a side effect of initiating the destruction of the planet's biosphere.
    • The upcoming expansion pack "Dominion" is modifying the Doomsday Device of all four Titans: they are now going to be a focused-fire weapon. So as opposed to the area-of-effect destruction field, think Death Star superlaser.
  • The galactic federation of Mass Effect has an interesting definition for "weapon of mass destruction" — a WMD is defined as a weapon that causes "environmental alteration" if used on a planetary surface. So a bomb that simply blew an enormous crater in the landscape would not be a WMD, but one that kicked up enough dust or water vapor to cause nuclear winter would be. So would things like asteroid impacts, self-replicating nanite plagues, etc.
    • One codex entry actually lists the various type of WMDs by tier. The most devastating tier is asteroid bombardment, since that doesn't just destroy a lot of stuff, but pretty much irrevocably destroys the world that it hits (not to mention being basically free). The least devastating tier is ecological alteration such that a dominant species loses dominance. The implication is that the civilized races are less worried about the overall damage inflicted, and more worried about the possibility of the (rare) habitable planets being made uninhabitable.
      • Not that surprising, given that the Council has signed off on the complete extermination of two intelligent species. The Encyclopedia Exposita doesn't say much about the ABCs - Atomic, Biological and Chemical weapons. And given that the Turians are biologically incapable of contacting diseases from any other species but the bubble-boy Quarians, it makes you wonder how much of their peacekeeping was like the genophage.
      • Put in perspective, when the Council authorizes an extinction, they must believe that race's existence will have consequences as bad or worse than upper tier WMD's.
  • Homeworld has Low Orbit Atmosphere Deprivation Weapon, which, even though its effect is not described in-game, burns out the atmosphere of the planet.
  • The Mako Cannon from Final Fantasy VII.
  • "Vegnagun" from Final Fantasy X-2
  • The Gigas in Skies of Arcadia in general, and Zelos in particular, as it can devastate entire continents in a matter of minutes.
  • Along the veins of the Death Star, let's not forget Wing Commander III's Behemoth, a massive energy cannon with a ship wrapped around it that was designed to destroy the Kilrathi homeworld. Was only used once, and not on the Kilrathi.
    • There was also the Temblor Bomb, designed with a similar use in mind. It seems having Mark Hamill play the lead meant they had to plagiarize A New Hope wholesale; at least they did it well.
    • From the same game, the Kilrathi had their own WMD, a particularly nasty bioweapon that rendered Locanda IV entirely uninhabitable for centuries.
    • Secret Missions had you trying to destroy the Sivar, essentially a colony destroying Dreadnaught that the Kilrathi will use to enslave humanity.
    • And in WC4, the GenSelect device, biological warfare nanomachines that kill off up to 90 percent of the population of the targeted planet.
    • And on the literary WC front, in the novel Fleet Action by William Forstchen, Sirius (a colony of Earth) is rendered uninhabitable by especially "dirty" thermonuclear bombs. Earth itself was fated to get this as well, but thanks to a Big Damn Heroes rescue, it gets off lightly with having major defense cities wiped off the face of the planet by "ordinary" antimatter bombardment.
  • Most of Unreal II: The Awakening revolves around finding the parts of what the player believes to be a Weapon Of Mass Destruction. In a twist at the last minute, it's revealed to only be the activation key for the actual Weapon Of Mass Destruction — some harmless and unassuming aliens that the player has seen throughout the game, which turn out to be the dormant form of bioengineered supersoldiers.
  • The Drakengard series focuses on Eldritch Artifacts that turn humans into people of mass destruction:
    • The Seeds of Resurrection in Drakengard. The hierarch Verdelet seems to think they cause all of humanity, if worthy, to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. It's a pity he didn't consider that statement metaphorically.
    • However, when they are used correctly, they can create Dovahkiin. Nowe gets turned into one in Drakengard2, thanks to Legna guiding Inuart at using the seed as a forge correctly in Drakengard Ending A. In the other endings, it... doesn't pan out.
    • Nier involved Emil as the result of decades of magical research on children, combined with about 1300 years of detachment from the outside world. The end result of Emil the gorgon merging with his sister, the Ultimate Weapon? The perfect mini-antimatter bomb.
    • Finally, the nightmare that started it all is revealed to be a flower in Drakengard3. This little device prevents its wearer from dying, at the cost of their sanity and eventual mutation into a Mother Grotesquerie. Which explains why the psychopathic main character is hell-bent on killing her sisters - she's trying to prevent them from eventually causing the end of the world.
  • The Ace Combat series uses pseudonuclear weapons a lot. The weapons explode in massive fireballs, but are never explicitly said to be nuclear.
    • Ace Combat 04 features Stonehenge, a battery of hypervelocity cannons designed to destroy near-Earth asteroids. When fired near the Earth's surface as an area-effect antiaircraft weapon, the rounds from Stonehenge come streaking in horizontally and create large spherical blue-white fireballs, as if they were nuclear warheads set on a time delay fuse rather than solid projectiles. In one mission, you are called on to intercept and destroy a barrage of cruise missiles. The last (damnably evasive) cruise missile explodes in a massive fireball when you kill it. As it comes onto the map, the AWACS guiding you say "looks like a regular warhead, but keep your distance", which all but explicitly says that it's nuclear tipped.
    • Ace Combat 5 has "burst missiles" fired from very large submarines of the Yuktobanian Navy. These missiles function almost exactly like MIRV missiles from real life, coming down out of the sky, breaking into several independent warheads, and carpeting a large area with fireballs. There is no mushroom cloud, but the explosions behave more like a nuke than like any other real-world weapon. There is also a nuclear satellite explicitly equipped with a MIRV nuclear warhead.
    • Ace Combat Zero's final boss is a fighter which has, among other weapons, missile that appear to be tipped with a small subcritical nuclear bomb — you want to give those a very wide berth.
      • Also, during that game, the Belkans set off seven bombs on their territory that are explicitly nuclear, complete with mushroom clouds, to delay advancing enemy forces. This is only seen during cut scenes. This event is also mentioned in Ace Combat 5.
    • Strangereal doesn't seem to have nuclear proliferation; thus, when someone says the word "nuke," often after "Belkan," you know it's going to be even worse than the faux-nukes you've been dodging thus far, especially considering that if the Belkans dropped seven of them on themselves, who knows what else they'll do with them?
      • Though considering the fact that many a few countries in Strangereal have superweapons than can probably destroy the world 10 times over, they must've realized that nukes just won't cut it anymore.
    • Ace Combat 6 features a WMD never used, but explicitly stated to need a 'catalyst' to be shipped in from elsewhere as well as having the capability of wiping out a large city. Also, there's the cruise missiles used by the Agaion (a flying aircraft carrier) and Chandelier (a gigantic railgun).
      • The weapon of mass destruction was stated to be a chemical weapon, probably nerve gas.
    • Ace Combat X has the Shock Wave Ballistic Missile on the Gleipnir that creates a massive shockwave strong enough that your view shakes no matter how far your plane's from it, as well as its weaker cousin the Long range Shock Wave Missile on the player-usable Fenrir. A biochemical agent is also used by the enemy during mission 7C.
    • Assault Horizon, in keeping with it's more realistic setting, gives us a bit of a downgraded version in the "Trinity Warhead". It's basically a non-nuclear nuke: all the power with none of the fallout.
  • In the R-Type series, the Bydo were originally designed as Weapons of Mass Destruction. Unfortunately for 26th century humans, they ran out of control and were shunted to an odd section of space, only to come back earlier in time (R-Type is so confusing) and assault humanity in a pre-emptive attack. Humans of the 24th century retaliated with Force weapons, which were created with Bydo DNA, and at the end of each game, the Force weapons become Weapons of Mass Destruction in and of themselves. Particularly at the end of R-Type Final, when the Force weapon is destroyed to make the final boss vulnerable, and then everything explodes.
  • The Cannon Seed in Galaxian³.
  • Total Annihilation ups the ante with the Galactic Implosion Device, a bomb used by the remnants of the Core in the expansion pack in an attempt to destroy the entire frickin' galaxy (except themselves) and then repopulate the reconstituted dead stars and planets.
  • The eponymous Halos will, if all seven are activated, wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. The Forerunners built them in order to starve the Flood out of existence, and wiped out most life thousands of years prior to the games. Unfortunately, the Forerunners had kept some Flood in a safe place on at least two Halos for study.
  • Command & Conquer loves bizarre WMDs. Nod typically uses nuclear weapons (typically of the gameplay-balanced variety), GDI loves its Ion Cannon, the Allies have Weather Control, etc.
    • A major plot point of the third Tiberium game was the Liquid Tiberium Bomb, a Nod WMD that was all a part of Kane's Evil Plan.
      • As in Nod couldn't actually detonate it by themselves and needed GDI to hit Temple Prime with the Ion Cannon to set it off and summon the Scrin.
    • Don't forget the Red Alert 3 ones: Proton Collider(shout out, anyone?) and the Sigma Harmonizer for the Allies, a nuclear-powered magnetic vacuum imploder for the Soviet Union, and a Black, schoolgirl-powered psionic Sphere of Destruction for The Empire of the Rising Sun.
      • Not to mention Generals' repeated use of the term, whether the GLA stealing American weapons of mass destruction or the USA trying to stop their use.
    • The Tiberium games also point out GDI's hypocrisy, in that they outlawed all nuclear weapons soon after they developed the ion cannon.
      • It's not necessarily entirely hypocritical: GDI didn't have the political clout to ban nuclear weapons until after the First Tiberian War — and they didn't develop the ion cannon until late in TWI (also, enviromental concerns gradually become more and more important to GDI as Tiberium's negative effects became apparent, and since the ion cannon is cleaner than nukes...).
    • While the in-game nukes are slap-on-the-wrist, the story of Red Alert treated nukes as this trope — one Allied mission is about foiling a Soviet launch against major Allied cities and Stalin develops a 'sacrifice one Soviet army to nukes to kill several Allied armies' tactic that thankfully never gets implemented due to a lack of nukes.
  • Nuclear Strike gives us Shiva's Dagger, a Soviet super nuke that if launched and detonated in the atmosphere would wipe out the human race. As well as a successful bid to set off a nuke in Pyonyang and blame South Korea.
  • The Mana Cannon of Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia.
  • The Wings of Light in Tales of Legendia.
  • The Forgotten Shrine of Zaude in Tales of Vesperia. Or so Alexei thinks...
  • The Eclipse Cannon in Sonic Adventure 2 (sure are a lot of cannons on this list).
  • Final Weapon and Ragnarok, although they also belong to another trope.
    • Zero, a hero himself, is a weapon of mass destruction. Luckily, he doesn't want to be one...
  • The Planet Buster missile of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, although it doesn't live up to its name, can still do enough damage that using one is an atrocity that will get most of the other sides very upset with you.
  • Radiation cascade, Black Hole generator, and Burning Wrath/Matter Storm from Universe at War.
  • Quite a few of these show up in mecha form in the Super Robot Wars games. Quite a few of them can vaporize whole galaxies while they are at it.
  • Arguably, the Spire in Fable II. It's said that the Archon who commissioned its construction made a wish for the current world to be destroyed so that a new, purer one could take its place. The result: Seconds after a light bloomed in the Spire, a massive blast destroyed the Old Kingdom.
  • Galactic Civilizations 2 has the Terror Star, an obvious Shout-Out to the Death Star with far more firepower, enough in fact that it blows up stars and all the planets around them when fired. Researching Terror Stars is an excellent way to get the rest of the galaxy very suspicious of your intentions, even if they are your allies.
  • The Stellar Converter in Master of Orion 2. It's a Wave Motion Gun powerful enough to destroy planets and turn them into asteroid belts. It's slightly underwhelming in actual battles — while it is the most damaging weapon in the game being able to deal 400 points of damage in one shot while bypassing shields, there are ships tough enough to withstand a hit from it.
  • There are alot of destructive weapons in the Bloons Tower Defense series(along with nearly all games made by Ninja Kiwi), but currently none can compare to the Temple of the Monkey God. To put it in perspective, it has the ability to sacrifice any player-made towers in its former radious when upgrade & varies in power Because of this, its popping power varies, from being weaker then a Sun God to being more then capable of destroying entire armies of bloons.

    Web Comics 
  • In Chirault, the mage's council accidentally created a working simulacrum of the world—magically linked to the real world. For example, touching a spot on the simulacrum causes the corresponding real-world location to be completely crushed.
  • Minions at Work: A Doomsday Machine
  • S.S.D.D: The Tower of Babel was used by the Anarchists to destroy isolated Texan platoons and despite being a sky-scraper sized maser cannon couldn't really qualify as a Weapon of Mass Destruction until they used it to take out Texas' anti-missile defenses and nuked Austin.
  • No Weapons Of Mass Destruction are used in Rank Amateur until the Freedom War, when the Imperium drops fusion-boosted nuclear bombs on the cities of the rebel-sympathetic colony of Avalon. With the Imperium having crossed the Godzilla Threshold, the rebels authorise the Red Ochre to drop two antimatter/matter guided missiles on Orca 5, a colony which the Imperium spammed GELF manufacturing plants on to create clone armies.

    Web Original 
  • This has become a huge meme on YouTube. It started with the popular Downfall parodies, and more specifically, a series of videos in which Hitler uses his "Pencil of Doom" (literally a pencil that he can use to cause damage simply by throwing it against a table). Since then, numerous other characters in and even outside Downfall have been given their own bizarre superweapons capable of doing just as great (if not worse) damage as the Pencil of Doom, all contained in everyday objects such as bottles, pistols, forks, ect. Considering that such weapons are in the possession of so many people ranging from ruthless dictators to generals to U-Boat sailors, it's a wonder they haven't completely destroyed their world.

    Western Animation 
  • In BIONICLE, the Mask of Life (which is alive and sentient) is primarily intended to revive the Great Spirit Mata Nui, but it has a failsafe should the universe ever collapse into decay, plague, war, etc. Said failsafe is the absorption of all life in the universe, a la the Halo from the video games of the same name. However, while Halos have an activation sequence necessary, this does not. And there's only one needed, so it's arguable that it is even more powerful.
    • Word of God, though, says that Bionicle's "universe" usually equates to "known world" — anything off the map wouldn't be affected.
    • To be exact, the universe/known world is everything inside Mata Nui's body. He's a roughly planet-sized robot.
  • Omega Supreme from Transformers Animated is an example thats actually been called a WMD multiple times by BOTH sides.


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alternative title(s): Weapons Of Mass Destruction
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