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Godzilla Threshold / Tabletop Games

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Examples of Godzilla Threshold from Tabletop Games:

  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Imperium has Exterminatus, a type of orbital bombardment deliberately designed to kill everything on the target planet. Despite Memetic Mutation about Inquisitors who order it for minor heresy, it's only used when something so dangerous is on the planet that Kill 'Em All is the best solution. Such as:
      • Chaos. A cult uprising is one thing, but if daemons are rampaging around at will, the world may be past saving. Even if the Imperium managed to cleanse the planet, the taint of Chaos would remain, like lingering radiation that's also sentient and teaches people how to build dirty bombs. As Ciaphas Cain, note  notes, the problem with destroying a planet in the grip of Chaos is that past a certain point the world isn't quite physically there anymore, so the best you can do is try to quarantine it.
      • Tyranids. If a Hive Fleet conquers a planet, even at a staggering cost, it will just add the world's bio-mass to the swarm and recycle the corpses of its dead, emerging only stronger. A controversial but effective tactic is to bait the Tyranids into committing most of a swarm to taking a world, only to blow it up before they can set about harvesting it, with any friendly casualties being acceptable losses. Unfortunately, the ever-evolving Tyranids have bred burrowing organisms capable of riding out such an orbital apocalypse.
    Inquisitor Kryptman devised a "scorched earth" strategy against Hive Fleet Leviathan, exterminating not just worlds undergoing Tyranid attack, but those in the fleet's path. While his gambit arguably succeeded in slowing the Tyranid advance, battlezone morale plummeted, billions died in the largest act of genocide since the Horus Heresy, and Kryptman himself was excommunicated. Though the Imperium is perfectly willing to sacrifice tens of billions of men to win a war, humans are a renewable resource. Habitable worlds are not.
    Kryptman outdid himself with his second plan to deal with Leviathan, capturing a bunch of Genestealers (already horrendously dangerous as a single escaped specimen could doom a planet) and dropping them in the Ork Octavius Empire to lure the fleet away from Imperial space. It worked, given the Imperium time to regroup, and Orks and Nids from all over the region began flocking to Octavius. But because Nids absorb traits from those they eat and Orks get bigger and tougher the more they fight, whoever wins is going to be stronger than both initial forces combined.
    It's worth noting that really desperate alliances can be formed when the 'Nids come calling. Yes, it's possible for the Imperium, Eldar and Chaos working together to fend off the 'Nids, and the Blood Angels did work together with the Necrons. They're that bad.
    • In Space Marine, Exterminatus is mentioned as a solution to an Ork invasion, but is dismissed immediately. The world in question is one of the dozen or so worlds capable of manufacturing Titans and has a nearly completed Titan in storage, the loss of which would set back Imperial operations for centuries. Put together, it means that in this case, Exterminatus is not an option.
    • The individual planets in Dawn of War II: Retribution are not beyond saving, but all of the sub-sector has been under attack for the past ten years and they're being attacked by nearly every major threat in the Imperium. The region has devolved into such a clusterfuck that most in the Inquisition see Exterminatus as the only viable course of action.
    • Codex: Grey Knights describes something called "the Terminus Decree." Knowledge of its existence is restricted to the Supreme Grand Master, who is only to access it when all of humanity is in peril of extinction or corruption.
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    • The Necron Tesseract Vault is essentially a weaponised device caging a Transcendent C'tan shard. When things really go to hell, the Nemesors can disable the seals and allow the C'tan loose, an act which could be loosely defined as "suicidally reckless" given that the C'tan have no reason at all to be fond of the Necrons, and which is spelled out in the fluff as being just as dangerous to the Necrons as to their enemies.
    • As the Eldar become more desperate, they start deploying more technology that they consider abominable to ensure their survival. Weapons like the D-Scythe (which literally strips the target's soul from them) are deployed by Craftworld forces, and Wraith constructs (Golems controlled by a dead Eldar, a process akin to Necromancy that permanently strips them from the Craftworld's infinity circuit) are used more and more often. The Dark Eldar actually rescued a Craftworld who had resorted to using constructs since they were amused by the Craftworld Eldar desecrating their dead in that manner and wanted them to live with their decision. The most desperate tactic is to activate the Avatar of Khaine, which requires the willing sacrifice of an Aspect Warrior Exarch.
      • These measures have now been topped by the actions of the new Eldar subfaction, the Ynnari, on two occasions, no less. The first was bringing forth the avatar of the slowly-awakening God of the Dead, Ynnead, at the cost of literally breaking Craftworld Biel-Tan. The second is less horrifying to the Eldar, but could still come back to bite them, and that is that Yvraine, the Herald of Ynnead, helped revive Roboute Guilliman to lead the Imperium. Yes, he's mostly going to be focused on fighting Chaos, as the Ynnari intended, but if the Imperium has a reason to oppose the Eldar in anything, they're now going to be doing it with the leadership of the most strategically-minded of the Emperor's Primarchs.
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    • The deployment of Imperial Titans is a mild version of this trope, as even the most basic Warhound Titan requires a good few centuries to construct. As a result, Titan Legions tends to be confined to the Forge Worlds they're built at as a purely defensive force, so that if one were to fall it would be easy to retrieve it's shell. Generally, their deployment is one sign that the world is on it's way to Exterminatus, as if the titans were to fail, there would be little else the Imperium can do for the planet at that point.
      • And even Titans are old tech; if things get even worse than that, the Adeptus Mechanicus may see themselves forced to, Omnissiah forbid, innovate and actually build something new to take care of the threat that's driven them to this point. The results are usually Ordinatus war machines, which are absolutely gigantic Military Mashup Machines that are specialized to take care of the threat in question by way of equipping them with a couple small weapons (rather than the giant arsenal of a titan), and one ludicrously huge and powerful piece of armament as the main gun, designed around the problem. Previous Ordinatus weapons have included a massive sonic cannon that melted a previously impregnable fortress to the ground in a single shot, a Macross Missile Massacre dispenser that shredded a huge WAAAGH in a week, and a plasma slinger that vaporized entire tank battalions with every blast. The Admech are very reticent to even create these things, let alone use them, and they are likely to keep them mothballed forever unless a threat of similar nature and caliber shows up again.
    • In the tabletop game, this is represented by the "Come the Apocalypse, but Not Before" level of the Allies matrix in the rulebook, which designates how factions can work together. In the 6th edition rules, this level was reserved for the Tyranids and kept them from allying with any other faction. In the 7th edition rules, this was tweaked to mean factions so antithetical to each other that teaming up is only done as the most desperate of measures — or, depending on how you play it in the narrative, two enemies who just happen to attack a third mutual enemy at the same time. This is represented by these allies following the Desperate Allies rulesnote  but with the further restriction of not being able to deploy within 12" of each other on the battlefield. Tyranids are still at this level with all other factions, but Imperial forces are also here with anything Chaos-related. This has caused the fandom to come up with some truly threshold worthy scenarios: Grey Knights allying with Daemons from all four Gods of Chaos to defeat something even more horrible, or the Eldar willingly ally with Slaaneshi forces to destroy something of even greater threat. In both cases, the forces are mortal enemies of each other.
  • Warhammer: In the End Times, Teclis engineers the revival of Nagash because he needed someone as powerful and as intimately tied to magic as him to become the Incarnate of Death, so that they may command the winds of magic to defeat the Chaos Gods. Similarly, several other races have such moments as well. Such as the revival of Sigmar and the Skavens finally uniting as a single coherent force. Unfortunately, in a subversion, these were still apparently not enough as the Chaos Gods still win in the end due to Mannfred's betrayal.
  • As the Old World of Darkness drew to a close, the Antediluvian vampire Zapathasura (sire of the Ravnos clan) rose in India and began wrecking things. The Technocracy responded with a Code Ragnarok, their contingency plan for 'if we don't win this, the world ends today' events. It involved solar mirrors (to direct the equivalent of five suns at the super-vampire), Prime-enhanced spirit-shredding nuclear weapons, weather control machines, and more. Ragnarok authorized the use of the entire Technocratic arsenal, a 100% civilian casualty rate and a 100% operative casualty rate — had Ravnos not been killed by the orbital solar mirrors, God only knows what they'd have used next, if they had anything else to use. This being the World of Darkness, things did indeed get worse thanks to Code Ragnarok. The Shadowlands were destroyed, the Fallen escaped from the Abyss, and the Time of Judgement began. Still, it beat the world ending that afternoon.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • Changelings in serious trouble who cross this Threshold can make use of a Goblin Contract titled "Call The Hunt" — you summon The Fair Folk to your location and they'll arrive soon, expecting one of their own to be in danger. On a critical failure, they'll know who really summoned them. (And on a critical success, they arrive within a few seconds.) The fluff mentions that while other Goblin Contracts have a drawback, this one doesn't — its effect is already its own drawback.
    • A villainous example in Princess: The Hopeful with Dethroned, Nobles who have crossed the Despair Event Horizon, turning them into warped, uncontrollable monsters. While they are technically creatures of the Darkness, Darkened and Darkspawns find them terrifying, as they constantly warp the dark around them, destroying sentience in Dark beings and turning them into their slaves. As such, they typically avoid Dethroned, and only lure them on the battlefield when they are desperate.
  • Exalted:
    • Elementals take on increasingly draconic forms as they grow in power, culminating in a transformation into a Greater Elemental Dragon. The Kukla is a Greater Elemental Dragon of Earth, whose mere presence is so destructive that he's been sealed away until the Unconquered Sun, ruler of Heaven and arbiter of justice, decides that the situation in Creation is so far past the Threshold that the general apocalypse resulting from the Kukla's release cannot possibly make things worse. Just to be perfectly clear: the Kukla is several miles long, utterly indestructible, completely insane, and possibly destined to destroy the world. Things have to be REALLY bad for "Release the Kukla!" to be a good idea.
    • Glories of the Most High revealed that the Unconquered Sun also has the authority to temporarily (if lucky) release a Yozi from Malfeas/Hell. Do mind that the Yozis are insane, world-making, world-sized Titans that have been seeping in divine amount of hatred and misery for several millennia. One of the Yozis, before being defeated by the Exalted, destroyed 90% of Creation — and the remaining portion is several times larger than Earth. Creation is liable to suffer several disasters where their presence is preferable to the alternative (and the Player Characters are tasked with taking care of it).
    • Beyond all of those is the Eschaton Key. When Malfeas created the Unconquered Sun, he granted him the power to utterly annihilate Creation in the event that any of its worst enemies should gain control over it. It's been used only once; to destroy the rival Creation that an enemy Primordial attempted to supplant the original with. After that, the Unconquered Sun sealed his world destroying power within a broken device that is beyond the ability of anyone less than the most powerful Solars to repair and operate.
    • Return of the Scarlet Empress revealed that if things get really, really, Ebon-Dragon-just-signed-his-name-on-the-Moon bad, there are certain world-shaking Astrology charms that can be unlocked for the Sidereals. These allow them to do things like give gods or Exalts battlefield promotions - to Celestial Incarnae.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Vengeful Gaze of God from the Epic Level Handbook is an epic level spell that will almost certainly kill whatever you're casting it on... but the chances of the caster surviving to is slim to none. Even the book says "The backlash damagenote  will almost certainly kill the caster, but most would consider this cost worth it."
    • In 3e/3.5e, anything in the Elder Evils rulebook. By the end of the plot arc involving (insert featured superboss here), a spell that obliterates your section of the Multiverse would probably be deemed an acceptable course of action to stop those creatures, especially in Atropus's case.
    • 3.5e's wu jen spell transcend mortality. When you cast the spell, you become nigh indestructible for the duration. The cost? You burn out the rest of your life force to cast the spell, and when the effect ends, turn into a small pile of ash.
    • It is generally known that if someone tries to put one extradimensional storage device (e.g., a Bag of Holding) inside another (e.g., a Portable Hole), the result is a catastrophic rending of the fabric of the universe. The extent of this rip depends on the GM's whim, but by and large the result is usually miles in diameter, cannot be done from range, and kills everyone and everything within the "blast" zone (okay, there's a slim chance of being cast into another plane instead). Adventurers have been known to do this anyway, if the situation is dire enough.
    • The artifact called the Bringer of Doom opens a massive cross-rip into Hades and releases thousands of hordlings over a radius of several miles. The user never survives.
    • A mage with one of the most powerful magical staves in the game - a staff of power or staff of the Magi - can perform what is euphemistically called a "retributive strike" — breaking the staff itself, killing herself (...usually...) and making a very big mess of the surrounding area.
  • Players in Call of Cthulhu with a bent towards magic can summon Azathoth to Earth. Azathoth, the boss of bosses of the Cthulhu Mythos, the blind idiot god that sits at the center of reality and is best described as a cross between an titanic amoeba and an ever-expanding nuclear explosion. Presumably, a sane player would only do this if the stars have become so right that Cthulhu and his pals are tap-dancing down Main Street. Keeping the mechanics of the game in mind, any situation where summoning Azathoth wouldn't make the situation significantly worse will almost certainly already have rendered all the player characters irretrievably insane.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the Duel Terminal storyline, the Ice Barrier tribe fought against the invading Worms and Fabled by progressively unlocking seals on a series of powerful Ice Barrier monsters. Eventually, they wound up pushed so far back against the wall that they released Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barriernote . In its berserk rampage, Trishula wiped out nearly everybody, friend and foe alike, including the Ice Barrier tribe themselves. Later expansions on the storyline show that there were survivors, just not very many. The only known survivors from the Ice Barrier were those who weren't present at the time.
  • In Witchcraft, the Mad Gods are seen this way by the Mocker covenant. The point is made that if an incarnation of a Mad God is imminent, a Mocker will stop at nothing to prevent it ("If doing so requires him to detonate a nuclear device in downtown New York, so be it").
  • Trinity almost had this as part of the backstory. When the Aberrants were truly ruining the world, China politely informed them that if they didn't leave the planet immediately, the entirety of China's orbital platforms would perform a simultaneous nuclear bombardment on every surface of the earth until it was turned into glass. Rather than preside over an empire of smoldering, irradiated, fused carbon and silicon, the Aberrants decided to take off, and China took its proverbial finger away from the Big Red Button.
  • One high-clearance Paranoia NPC, faced with the prospect of another one blowing up all of Alpha Complex with an Old Reckoning antimatter bomb, gives the PCs his ID card (the equivalent to the Director of the FBI giving a couple of part-time security guards his ID; the insane computer in charge of the facility will recognize those who hold the ID to actually be that authority) before running away from the approaching interrogators.
  • In Strike Legion, each Strike Team has access to the "Ultimate Solution": a piece of weaponized nanotech so powerful it can destroy an entire Dyson Sphere in seconds. Use of this weapon is considered an extreme last resort, for obvious reasons; Legionaires are usually sent in for more covert missions where outright annihilation of a target is not acceptable, and typically pack planet-ending firepower as standard kit, which puts the need for them to have a "last resort" weapon in perspective. If the Ultimate Solution becomes necessary, things have gotten really bad.
  • In Eclipse Phase, Firewall deploys "erasure squads" to eliminate existential threats that have gotten out of hand and can no longer be contained by the sentinel teams. Erasure squads' tactics range from assaulting and killing everything in a building to nuking an entire habitat with a kinetic strike. Furthermore, Firewall is fully prepared to cover the tracks of an erasure squad's actions by forging evidence proving some other faction was responsible for the atrocity in order to maintain Firewall's own operational security, even if this means burning the sentinel team that was unable to contain the x-threat.
  • In Mutants & Masterminds 2nd and 3rd edition, the supplement Hero High, which contains rules for making teenage heroes, presents a character drawback (2nd) or advantage (3rd) called Holding Back, where the character is far more powerful than the campaign power level describes, but they don't use it because doing so is dangerous. The level of power gained is fairly significant (typically jumping the character from a city or regional hero to a cosmic level threat), but unlocking it is fairly difficult. In order for the player to use it, half the party must be dead or otherwise incapacitated/occupied, or not doing it will result in a catastrophic loss of life. Even then, the character will need to make a Will check to temporarily remove the mental barriers the character had put in place for so long. The result is a significant boost in power, but with a significant cost, such as the character simply exploding from the sheer volume of energy, or the character entering a Berserker Rage, or even becoming possessed by the character's less-than-friendly benefactor, providing a mechanical risk to using their power.
  • In City of Mist, there is a power called Stop. Holding. Back. for when you make the full use of your powers and start to delve into deeper levels of power than ever before. It allows to just settle a threat at a cost determined by how well you roll. This can range from burning all the power tags on a Theme to outright replacing a Theme with one of the opposite kind to just dying. The more Themes you have related to mythical powers the less control you have over this as you are already riding the edge of diving into your supernatural nature. The range of prices is also determined by a long-term and major villain of the campaign in one fell swoop...that's probably the Ultimate Sacrifice where your worst case scenario is saying good-bye to your character.
  • Iron Kingdoms: Dragons have a more or less innate urge to consume each other, stealing the loser's power to add to their own. Alliances between dragons tend to be shaky, short-lived and end in betrayal the moment one of them looks vulnerable. When Toruk the Dragonfather, the godlike dragon whose power they were created from, appears to be on the warpath? Every dragon will unite against him because the alternative is to be devoured one by one by an increasingly powerful Toruk.


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