Person Of Mass Destruction:

Total posts: [13]
1 Cider13th Feb 2011 08:32:01 AM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
From reading the trope description, it means person who is used, or was intended to be used as a weapon of mass destruction.

As far as I read, just having impressive super powers does not qualify you for this trope. So, unless someone has an objection, I'm going to clean the examples.
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
hmmmm.... I just thought it meant a person who has enough strength or is the owner of an ability to wreak an amazing amount of destruction.
3 Cider13th Feb 2011 11:14:33 AM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
A Speculative Fiction trope dating at least to World War II and the Hiroshima disaster (possibly even earlier), the Person Of Mass Destruction is almost always a metaphor for real-world weapons either subtly, not subtly or somewhere in between. Often the result of trying to create a Super Soldier. Almost always comes with an Aesop about the dangers of letting the metaphorical genie out of the bottle or to convey a Science Is Bad message. Especially if female, the Person Of Mass Destruction is very likely to turn into The Woobie or suffer a Super Power Meltdown at some point.

You'd think their own side would take this into account and at least try to make things easier; on the logic that one would want to be on the good side of a weapon capable of saving or destroying them, but curiously this is not the case. No, people who resort to using a Person Of Mass Destruction usually treat them like crap and go Bullying A Dragon. It's possible that this indicates that they are shamed for having to resort to this, and are displacing this into abuse. Or maybe it just never occurs to them that they would benefit from having good relations with the person that can either save them all or kill them all instantly. On the other hand, the prerequisite megalomania to build or exploit such a person, as well as the ego to assume that one can control it, tends to mean that the people controlling (or trying to control) the PMD are of the sort that isn't particularly concerned with their personal well being. Nice people tend not to have uses for tools of unimaginable destructive force, after all.

If they're a main or recurring character, a common plotline for them will be trying to avoid Bad Powers Bad People, or coming to realize that they're better off leaving the planet; either by realizing A God Am I and turning into an Energy Being or, more tragically, committing suicide. If they didn't start so overpowering, they may give up their powers or lose them in some other fashion.

Likely overlaps with Weapon Of Mass Destruction and Walking Wasteland. Omnicidal Maniacs themselves often have such powers (hence why they're capable of being Omnicidal Maniacs) but tend to take a more... pro-active approach in using their abilities than normal examples of this trope. Compare and contrast One Man Army, where the character in question is usually not imbued with incredible powers but nevertheless gains an impressive kill-count.

Unless I read that wrong, then no, its about that kind of person being used in a specific way.
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
4 Deboss13th Feb 2011 03:55:06 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Hm, that seems off. I think Tyke Bomb is when somebody is raised from an early age to be a Person of Mass Destruction. If it's time for a split, I suggest Weaponized Person.
5 Cider1st Jan 2013 06:11:13 PM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
This is not the place for proposing new tropes, not that I think a new one is necessary, just cleanup

It seems like the super weight scale before the repair shop redefined it. Tropers are so in love with listing feats that they do so without explaining how the trope is used.

Such as this
  • Liz Sherman of Hellboy. The harmless-looking girl is the one who as a child lost her temper and destroyed an entire city block and everyone on it (except herself).
It is practically zero context and would have me asking Please Elaborate if not for the fact I am familiar with the work in question. As always there are plenty of actual context less examples from works I am unfamiliar with.

For reference, here is a correct entry based on the description.
  • Gulliver becomes this in Lilliput, in which the inhabitants attempt to use him as a superweapon in their war against their bitter rival Blefuscu.
This example is not on the trope page but on the work page of Gulliver's Travels if you thought it lacked context but even if it was on the trope page it would be the better example. It does not go on about "Gulliver destroying an entire block of Lilliput by accident" but goes straight to the weapon part, the important part. If anyone is familiar with any examples they know to be incorrect or at least know enough about them to emphasize the relevant information you could help with cleanup. Super Weight is(now) the place to list feats.

edit: It seems I made this thread back when I did not know about special efforts. Is a move possible?

edited 1st Jan '13 7:26:36 PM by Cider

Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
6 Fighteer2nd Jan 2013 07:18:29 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I see that I may have misused Person of Mass Destruction at times. This is about someone who is intentionally used as a weapon, not merely a person whose powers and/or abilities make him exceptionally destructive? Let's get some clarification here with two examples that I'm intimately familiar with.

  • Flinx from the Humanx Commonwealth series. He was genetically engineered before birth to give him Psychic Powers, one consequence of which is that he can occasionally erupt in uncontrolled telekinetic detonations that wreak havoc on his surroundings. However, this was not an intentional outcome of his creators' meddling, and at no point does anyone try to steer Flinx into using it as a weapon. Flinx himself, however, does use it offensively at least twice. Counts or not?

  • Vanyel Ashkevron from the Heralds of Valdemar series. The most powerful Herald-Mage who ever lived; his magical arsenal is such that he's more or less a walking tactical nuke — he is reputed to wield sufficient power to level an entire city. In service of The Kingdom, he takes on entire armies singlehandedly and comes out victorious. So, he's not born and raised as a weapon either. There's another character from the same series, Lavan Firestorm, who does more or less the same thing with Psychic Powers alone, only in his case it's due to extremely strong Gifts plus mental instability. Do either of these count?

edited 2nd Jan '13 7:19:08 AM by Fighteer

7 Cider2nd Jan 2013 08:38:24 AM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
Well, they don't have to be born and raised, or created with that purpose, that is Tyke Bomb. The person of mass destruction just has to be treated that way once his potential is made known. If we stretch it, characters directly comparing them to a mass destruction weapon in the story works too I guess, such as the Hulk's shock waves being just like the bomb that made him.

So I am guessing Flinx would not count. Vanyel and Lavan may be more appropriate under One-Man Army if they are treated more like good soldiers than super weapons. How does their kingdom treat them, how does it refer to them?
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
8 Fighteer2nd Jan 2013 09:24:22 AM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lavan is depicted as a walking time-bomb, although I haven't read the novel that features him. Vanyel is revered and dreaded by turns, even among his friends; his reputation for being able to level a city is known throughout Valdemar and even some of its neighbors. People avoid pissing him off, not because they think he's a bad person (he's one of the noblest people ever), but because they fear what might happen should he ever lose control.

As for Flinx, those who know what he is and who created him are often scared shitless of him, again not because he's a bad person, but because of what he might become. Basically any time the world "Meliorares" comes up in the context of discussing him, people turn pale and find excuses to be somewhere else — or sometimes to entrap and study him. This is a significant plot point in Flinx in Flux, and the fears of the villain turn out to be somewhat accurate.

edited 2nd Jan '13 9:28:46 AM by Fighteer

9 Cider2nd Jan 2013 12:01:55 PM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
Well, based on what I read I would see Properly Paranoid or Beware the Superman to be more appropriate except for maybe Lavan. Not that these tropes cannot overlap but if they are not trying to control, however benevolently or not, the destructive potential for weaponry purposes or at least have an obvious weapon to parallel with I would say no.

To put it this way. Any healthy adult human could do stupid amounts of damage in Lilliput, Gulliver included. His ability to do damage is not what makes him the weapon, the person of mass destruction though. It is the Lilliputans trying to use him as one.

By the time Raditz shows up in Dragon Ball, anyone in the series with any noteworthy amount of strength can destroy stellar objects while standing on Earth. What makes someone like Vegeta a person of mass destruction is not power though, it is that Freeza sends him out with the expectation he will destroy things for him, as opposed to King Cold, who at the time was even stronger than Vegeta but was not being used a a tool to exterminate entire worlds.

The Human Torch caused much destruction in New York at first but he was not so much a mass destruction weapon as a stumbling accident. A criminal did try to use him for purposeful arson and racketeering but he responded with I Am Not a Gun, defing the trope. The second torch was even less an example, following pretty much none of the conventions for most of the Fantastic Four's history despite being even more dangerous than the original.

Silver Surfer is more dangerous still, but he was not a person of mass destruction and fact that he was such a hazard is a design flaw/plot hole that is rarely ever acknowledged. His job was simply to find food for Galactus, who despite being a humanoid planet eater is also not the trope except in a small number of story arcs late into his history. The less powerful than either Incredible Hulk is an example in that he is weapon, the gamma bomb Banner was working on, gone horribly wrong and there have been stories about trying to tame, mind control, direct or duplicate him for military purposes frequently since the start.

Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man has nothing in the way of superpowers(besides being Made of Iron) or mass weaponry beyond automatic guns. What makes him akin to a weapon of mass destruction is that pretty much everyone in LA has forgotten how to be violent and Simon is a mass murder being used for the sole purpose of killing those who do not obey the city's dictator-mayor. Sure he would never be considered anything like a Weapon of Mass destruction on Modern Day Earth but then neither would Gulliver. Just the ability to cause impressive damage by our standards, or lack of it, does not mean the trope is in use.

The description is open enough that even if the character is not used that way some kind of metaphorical comparison would still be enough, such as Mewtwo from the Pokemon movie's glow looking just like Cerenkov radiation but on Mewtwo's entry a whole paragraph is spent on "OHMYGODHEISSOPOWERFUL" before getting to more details that show the trope is in use. Lack of those details in particular is what I feel needs cleaning.
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
10 Fighteer2nd Jan 2013 12:21:57 PM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
By that distinction, all three of my examples are likely incorrect, as at no point are the characters ever "weaponized" in the sense that someone deliberately sends them out with the purpose of blowing stuff up. I think that this criterion has been the subject of Trope Decay. Certainly, it wasn't something I was aware of, up until this thread.

This doesn't need TRS, as we aren't talking about redefining the trope, but it is an example cleanup issue. That wouldn't need Special Efforts, either, unless of course the question frequently comes up as to whether a particular example really qualifies. If that is a concern, then Special Efforts is the proper place.

edited 2nd Jan '13 12:25:03 PM by Fighteer

11 Rotpar2nd Jan 2013 08:07:53 PM from California , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Breaking the Guardian Code
Changing the laconic to "A powerful person utilized as a weapon of mass destruction" isn't a TRS action right?

I'm hoping "utilized" gets the point across rather then needing to add "by others".
DDC = Dyslexia Done Correctly - totlmstr
12 Fighteer2nd Jan 2013 09:25:04 PM from the Time Vortex , Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Say "deliberately utilized".
13 Rotpar3rd Jan 2013 03:44:02 AM from California , Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Breaking the Guardian Code
Sounds good.

I'll look into some things for later, like the Sailor Moon example. The currently provided context of "Sailor Saturn can blow up the world" is misuse, but the proper story context of "Hotaru was possessed" should be right.

edited 3rd Jan '13 4:19:21 AM by Rotpar

DDC = Dyslexia Done Correctly - totlmstr
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Total posts: 13