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Only Good People May Pass

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No admittance if you're evil

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Aspie on May 20th 2011 at 3:41:16 PM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Mar 2nd 2018 at 12:53:26 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Taken Up for Grabs by Basara-kun. Let's see if this is worth to become a trope after all. As always, any help is welcome.


So you got yourself a MacGuffin/treasure/other item of value. Great. But of course, you have to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. The problem? Ordinary security measures won't do it. The Big Bad has the power to break through any standard magical and/or technological method of protection in a matter of minutes. What to do?

Simple. Protect your item by placing it somewhere evil people can't go to. There are two basic means of doing this:

  1. Magically create a barrier that locks out anyone with an impure heart and secure the object there. Keep in mind, this kind of magic doesn't discriminate. Even good people can have impurities of heart.
  2. Place the object on ground that is innately sacred, such as a shrine, temple, or church. The sacred nature of the place should keep out evil people. (Keep in mind, whether or not this works depends on the rules of the universe you live in.)

Sub-Trope of Only the Pure of Heart and Only the Worthy May Pass. If you are not worthy to this place, then You Shall Not Pass! and sometimes prepare for a Fate Worse than Death. Usually this place is guarded by a Gate Guardian. Tangentially related to Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The title character of InuYasha once had to enter a cave that was protected by an enchantment that prevented anyone from going in for selfish reasons. Needless to say, this presented some difficulty for him.
  • The entrance to Paradise in Wolf's Rain. Darcia attempts to enter after being fatally poisoned by Cheza's blood and is spectacularly destroyed. Unfortunately this also prevents Kiba and Cheza from using the portal.
  • Heaven in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is shown as this. In fact, both titular angels were kicked out of there because of their deadly sins (including Lust and Villainous Glutton) and now they have to gain their re-entrance with "Heaven Coins", getting them by destroying Ghosts in Earth and saving people in the process.

    Comic Books 
  • Sky Doll features Aqua, the world of (another) alien species who are devoted to harmony and peace. To keep aggression away, the method of entering Aqua expects that the individual seeking entrance can "purify their mind" through meditating in a specific place. It's proven not quite failsafe when an assasinator manages to enter by using a specific drug.
  • Hellblazer: The "All His Engines" story has John exploit this by summoning a bunch of demons inside a church (so they can't pass the door). Cue an Aztec death god, who is older than Christian rituals and thus could not care less about them, plowing through the wall and devouring them all.

    Film - Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series. The entrance to the Dark Tower has a barrier which prevents anyone from passing unless they are sufficiently ethically advanced.
  • The Divine Comedy: While sinners are famously sent to the various circles of Hell depending on their greatest sin in life, the entrance to Hell (Limbo) is populated by "virtuous pagans": philosophers or good people in general but were unfortunately not baptized (being for the most part born before Christ). Among them, Dante put Homer, Plato and Saladin (due to being a Worthy Opponent during the Crusades; by contrast, the prophet Muhammad is in the circle reserved for those who create discord).
  • In Deltora Quest
    • For anyone who drinks from the Dreaming Springs, if they are off good will then they will visit the place they thought about while drinking in their dreams, but for those who are evil they will become transformed into trees.
    • Only those who are righteous with no evil intent can enter the City of Tora. If an evil being tries to, such as the Ol named Dain, they became greatly weakened and reduced to a sobbing mass.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Reaper, Alan Townsend takes advantage of this to hide from The Devil after he wins his freedom from his contract. He hides in a cemetary, which is consecrated ground. This prevents The Devil from tempting him into sin.
  • The main purpose of the season 2 of The Good Place: After the revelation that The Good Place is revealed to be the Bad Place the whole time, thanks to a scheme of Michael who planned to have the four protagonists (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason) torture each other. The four main characters all tried to be good by performing good deeds to get into the real good place.
  • In Arrow, the episode "Haunted" had Oliver and John Constantine finding a mystical place with a seal that warned only those pure of heart could pass. Constantine was under the impression that Oliver was a bad person so hand cuffs him and leaves him outside, but Oliver escapes and enters the room, proving he's actually good.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Dragon magazine #50 article "The Glyphs of Cerilon". One of the Symbols (clerical/priest spell) in the article causes damage to anyone of Evil alignment who tries to pass it.
    • Several spells do this, such as the mage/wizard spell Antipathy and the cleric/priest spell Forbiddance, which can be used to enchant just about anything to make a creature of any given alignment not wish to approach.
    • The Forgotten Realms city of Silverymoon has a variety of powerful magical wards, one of which bars entry to creatures with an evil Character Alignment who belong to a long list of species. Evil humans and demi-humans, however, are free to come and go.
  • Call of Cthulhu
    • The Elder Sign can block the passage of any creature of the Cthulhu Mythos (who are almost all evil).
    • Campaign setting Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, adventure "The Watchers of Easter Island". The Crystal of Noa is placed inside an Elder Sign to protect it from being stolen by the evil Deep Ones.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, there is the Black Library. Despite the imposing name, it is actually a catalog of all the known information regarding Chaos. The Eldar Harlequins that guard it are known to grant access to anyone they feel has both the need and the strength of character to be useful in the fight against Chaos. Notably, the Emperor of Mankind has entered.

    Video Games 
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has three doors you can only go through if you are on a different section of the morality meter that was based on what Magatamas (power-up items)you had mastered thus far in the game: Light, Neutral, and Dark.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The Great Temple (the final dungeon of the game) houses the Triforce of Courage—and true to the item's name, the Temple's barrier will not open unless the entrant has placed eight jewels in the other temples as proof of their courage. The final challenge, before the person can claim the Triforce itself, is to fight the evil within them.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The entrance to the Sacred Realm (also known as the Golden Land) where the Triforce dwells is hidden and requires four sacred objects (the Kokiri Emerald, Goron Ruby, Zora Sapphire and Ocarina of Time) that are each protected by the various nations that populate Hyrule. Only possessing all four and then playing the Song of Time in the Temple of Time will reveal the hidden entrance, but this is technically possible if the items are stolen through nefarious means. The final test, however, is pulling out the Master Sword, which can't be touched by someone evil. Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping someone evil from waiting for a good person to do all that, and then step inside and enter the Sacred Realm themselves.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: At the conclusion of Ocarina of Time, the previous Chosen One that wielded the Master Sword was sent back to his original time, thus breaking the cycle of reincarnation which spawns a new Chosen One. The Tower of the Gods was created to test anyone who wanted to wield the sword in the future, and it requires three pearls that embody the virtues of the goddesses themselves to unlock it.

    Webcomic 
  • Very close to the beginning of The Order of the Stick, the heroes are fooled into helping The Psycho Rangers claim a powerful magic talisman. The final layer of protection for the talisman was a group of runes that wouldn't activate and reveal the room where the talisman was kept unless all three runes were touched by someone of pure heart. Naturally, various members of the Order were convinced or tricked into touching these runes.

    Western Animation 
  • El Tigre: During hero awards, they have in the doorway (where a metal detector would be in an ordinary building) a good and evil detector, meant to catch any bad guys trying to sneak in disguised. White Pantera buries the needle at good. His father, Puma Loco would likely bury the needle at evil and be carted off to jail. His son, Manny, as El Tigre, upon entering the machine, causes the needle to flail wildly between good and evil before finally exploding.
  • Samurai Jack: In "Jack and the Warrior Woman", the reality warping gem—powerful enough to send Jack back to his own time—is protected by a magical guardian who bars the way for all but the pure of heart. The guardian attacks Jack's companion for the episode, Ikra, revealing she was evil all along.

Feedback: 22 replies

May 20th 2011 at 6:38:01 PM

Literature

  • Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series. The entrance to the Dark Tower had a barrier which prevented anyone from passing unless they were sufficiently ethically advanced.

Tabletop RPG

  • Early editions of Dungeons And Dragons.
    • Dragon magazine #50 article "The Glyphs of Cerilon". One of the Symbols (clerical/priest spell) in the article caused damage to anyone of Evil alignment who tried to pass it.
    • Several spells could be used to do this, such as the mage/wizard spell Antipathy and the cleric/priest spell Forbiddance.
  • Call Of Cthulhu. The Elder Sign can block the passage of any creature of the Cthulhu Mythos (who are almost all evil).
    • Campaign setting Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, adventure "The Watchers of Easter Island". The Crystal of Noa is placed inside an Elder Sign to protect it from being stolen by the Deep Ones.

May 20th 2011 at 8:02:59 PM

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has three doors you can only go through if you are on a different section of the morality meter that was based on what Magatamas (power-up items)you had mastered thus far in the game , Light, Neutral, and Dark.

May 21st 2011 at 12:05:15 AM

Comics:

  • Sky Doll features Aqua, the world of (another) alien species who are devoted to harmony and peace. To keep aggression away, the method of entering Aqua expects that the individual seeking entrance can "purify their mind" through meditating in a specific place. It's proven not quite failsafe when an assasinator manages to enter by using a specific drug.

May 21st 2011 at 12:32:34 AM

Nimbus Privileges is awfully similar, perhaps with the exception of the fact that this is a deliberate effort to keep evil people away from something. YMMV on whether that makes enough of a difference. Thoughts?

May 23rd 2011 at 10:57:53 AM

In Dungeons And Dragons, the antipathy spell can be used to enchant just about anything to make a creature of any given alignment not wish to approach.

May 23rd 2011 at 8:21:42 PM

The entrance to Paradise in Wolfs Rain. Darcia attempts to enter after being fatally poisoned by Cheza's blood and is spectacularly destroyed. Unfortunately this also prevents Kiba and Cheza from using the portal.

Feb 6th 2018 at 6:33:00 AM

Taking this draft as Up For Grabs, I find it interesting and exploitable, as well stating this is a Sub Trope of Only The Pure Of Heart and Only The Worthy May Pass. And before you ask, the examples here aren't in any of the mentioned tropes.

Also, I've the doubt with places like Fortess of Solitude and Wakanda in which only a few chosen ones (usually chosen by the hero and knowing they're pure of heart) can enter, but I'm not sure if these places qualify as this. I added other examples I found that also aren't in the other ones, so now that there's a lot of more works than in 2011, maybe we can expand this more.

As always, any help is welcome ;)

Feb 6th 2018 at 6:54:05 AM

  • The Divine Comedy: While sinners are famously sent to the various circles of Hell depending on their greatest sin in life, the entrance to Hell (Limbo) is populated by "virtuous pagans": philosophers or good people in general but were unfortunately not baptized (being for the most part born before Christ). Among them, Dante put Homer, Plato and Saladin (due to being a Worthy Opponent during the Crusades; by contrast, the prophet Muhammad is in the circle reserved for those who create discord).

Feb 6th 2018 at 12:41:39 PM

The main purpose of the season 2 of The Good Place: After the revelation that The Good Place is revealed to be the Bad Place the whole time, thanks to a scheme of Michael who planned to have the four protagonists (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason) torture each other. The four main characters all tried to be good by performing good deeds to get into the real good place.

Feb 6th 2018 at 1:26:10 PM

  • In Warhammer 40000, there is the Black Library. Despite the imposing name, it is actually a catalog of all the known information regarding Chaos. The Eldar Harlequins that guard it are known to grant access to anyone they feel has both the need and the strength of character to be useful in the fight against Chaos. Notably, the Emperor of Mankind has entered.

Feb 6th 2018 at 2:19:30 PM

  • The Legend Of Zelda:
    • Zelda II The Adventure Of Link: The Great Temple (the final dungeon of the game) houses the Triforce of Courage—and true to the item's name, the Temple's barrier will not open unless the entrant has placed eight jewels in the other temples as proof of their courage. The final challenge, before the person can claim the Triforce itself, is to fight the evil within them.
    • The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time: The entrance to the Sacred Realm (also known as the Golden Land) where the Triforce dwells is hidden and requires four sacred objects (the Kokiri Emerald, Goron Ruby, Zora Sapphire and Ocarina of Time) that are each protected by the various nations that populate Hyrule. Only possessing all four and then playing the Song of Time in the Temple of Time will reveal the hidden entrance, but this is technically possible if the items are stolen through nefarious means. The final test, however, is pulling out the Master Sword, which can't be touched by someone evil. Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping someone evil from waiting for a good person to do all that, and then step inside and enter the Sacred Realm themselves.
    • The Legend Of Zelda The Wind Waker: At the conclusion of Ocarina of Time, the previous Chosen One that wielded the Master Sword was sent back to his original time, thus breaking the cycle of reincarnation which spawns a new Chosen One. The Tower of the Gods was created to test anyone who wanted to wield the sword in the future, and it requires three pearls that embody the virtues of the goddesses themselves to unlock it.

Feb 6th 2018 at 4:50:05 PM

Another Dungeons And Dragons example:

  • The Forgotten Realms city of Silverymoon has a variety of powerful magical wards, one of which bars entry to creatures with an evil Character Alignment who belong to a long list of species. Evil humans and demi-humans, however, are free to come and go.

Feb 6th 2018 at 8:30:49 PM

  • El Tigre: During hero awards, they have in the doorway (where a metal detector would be in an ordinary building) a good and evil detector, meant to catch any bad guys trying to sneak in disguised. White Pantera buries the needle at good. His father, Puma Loco would likely bury the needle at evil and be carted off to jail. His son, Manny, as El Tigre, upon entering the machine, causes the needle to flail wildly between good and evil before finally exploding.

Feb 7th 2018 at 12:20:39 PM

  • In Deltora Quest, only those who are righteous with no evil intent can enter the City of Tora. If an evil being tries to, such as the Ol named Dain, he became greatly weakened and reduced to a sobbing mass.

  • In Arrow, the episode "Haunted" had Oliver and John Constantine finding a mystical place with a seal that warned only those pure of heart could pass. Constantine was under the impression that Oliver was a bad person so hand cuffs him and leaves him outside, but Oliver escapes and enters the room, proving he's actually good.

Feb 7th 2018 at 4:31:47 AM

About the Black Library: it isn't so much "no evil can enter" as it is "evil hasn't found it". The Webway is mostly inaccessible to Chaos and its forces and they'd have a hard time getting past the Library's defenders, but it isn't innately holy.

  • Hellblazer: The All His Engines story has John exploit this by summoning a bunch of demons inside a church (so they can't pass the door). Cue an Aztec death god, who is older than Christian rituals and thus could not care less about them, plowing through the wall and devouring them all.

Feb 13th 2018 at 8:29:14 PM

  • Very close to the beginning of The Order Of The Stick, the heroes are fooled into helping The Psycho Rangers claim a powerful magic talisman. The final layer of protection for the talisman was a group of runes that wouldn't activate and reveal the room where the talisman was kept unless all three runes were touched by someone of pure heart. Naturally, various members of the Order were convinced or tricked into touching these runes.

Mar 1st 2018 at 6:32:27 AM

Well, it seems this is more than ready to be launched after all, what a good pick I did :P if there's no more examples to add, I'll launch this during these days. Thanks to all for your help!!

Mar 1st 2018 at 1:18:48 PM

  • Samurai Jack: In "Jack and the Warrior Woman", the reality warping gem—powerful enough to send Jack back to his own time—is protected by a magical guardian who bars the way for all but the pure of heart. The guardian attacks Jack's companion for the episode, Ikra, revealing she was evil all along.

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