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Civilization Destroyer

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"The Honkai is bent on destroying the humanity. As human civilization advanced, this force pushed back harder. Herrschers are powerful humanoid embodiments of the Will of Honkai. They can bend physical laws on a whim to wreak destruction on humanity. (...) The base kept an arsenal of 300 nuclear weapons to deal with potential Herrscher attack. She fired them all at the last 3 cities of the world. These 3 cities were gone in an instant. Nothing was left except for smoking craters. The 31022 people in the base became the only human survivors of this attack."

A Civilization Destroyer is a force that devastates an entire civilization, ending with its extinction. Often used in sci-fi and fantasy settings, the force behind the destruction may vary from an Absolute Xenophobe superpowered being, Eldritch Abomination, Horde of Alien Locusts, Planet Looters, Planet Eater, Precursor Killers, and even sometimes a Well-Intentioned Extremist. If of planetary scale, what is left would normally be a Death World, if in more local scale, this may lead to a Doomed Hometown, may some times caused that afterwards Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth. Related to World-Wrecking Wave. Contrast with Apocalypse How.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Overlord (2012): Ainz runs into the Quagoa, a civilization of mole-men. As he's entered an alliance with the dwarves (their competitors for territory and ore), he tells Shalltear and Aura to reduce their numbers a little and ask them to surrender. When the Quagoa don't see why they should surrender to two little girls, their numbers are culled from 80,000 to 10,000 by Shalltear because they didn't agree quickly enough. This has the curious effect of later creating an Odd Friendship between their leader Riyuro and Jircniv, as both were leaders of mighty empires who had no reason to believe they could be curbstomped by anyone before meeting Ainz, and pledged themselves to his service to save their people.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Father is revealed to have been behind the destruction of Xerxes, a genocide so thorough as to leave only one survivor, and he was only spared because the culprit had a soft spot for him. Most of the plot turns out to be driven by his plan to repeat it. Using Amestris. Xerxes was destroyed to create two philosophers' stones: the one that empowers Father, and the one that empowers Hohenheim. The attempted Amestrian genocide, which almost works, is to empower Father enough to capture God.
  • Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters: Godzilla Earth destroys human society and comes very close to destroying all of humanity, and in City on the Edge of Battle he brings about the extinction of the Bilusaludo. It's later revealed that Ghidorah has destroyed countless planets, and the Exif are summoning him to destroy more.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime:
    • The True Demon Lords have a reputation for doing this when they go on the war-path. Milim Nava destroyed the advanced elven nation of Soma when they made the mistake of killing her pet dragon in their attempts to control her, which is how she evolved into a True Demon Lord in the first place.
    • The Primordial Demons had a habit of doing this in the past. Before he became a True Demon Lord, Guy Crimson back when he was known as the Primordial Rouge was summoned to destroy an enemy nation. He wiped it out and then wiped out his summoner's nation for kicks and to drive home how he doesn't like being told what to do. Testarossa, Ultima, and Carrera (Primordials Blanc, Violet, and Jaune respectively) in part chose to join Rimuru Tempest because they thought serving such a powerful yet interesting being would bring more entertainment than destroying random civilizations for kicks and killing time.
    • True Dragon Veldora did this plenty of times in the past before he got sealed away in order to "let off steam". No, really, if he didn't release his magicules after storing them up too long it would rush out in a massive explosion that could also birth powerful monsters like Charbydis. His sisters don't have this problem since they have much better control of their power (though Velzard deliberately lets her power leak out passively to cause a continent-wide Endless Winter). One of the nations he destroyed was one for vampires which caused their Vampire Monarch and True Demon Lord Luminous Valentine to establish a new empire in Ruberios that lurks in the shadows.

    Comic Books 
  • Crossed: The Blood Men's civilization is destroyed in the Toba supervolcano eruption. If it ever existed in the first place, as the story of its destruction is told by a archeologist infected with the Crossed virus.
  • Venom:
    • The Venom symbiote's first host used it to carry out a genocide on his homeworld, reducing it to a barren wasteland.
    • Knull, the antagonist of the fourth volume, is an ancient deity and the source of all symbiotes who traveled the cosmos for billions of years, devouring entire civilizations.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gozer (also known as Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Gozer the Traveler, Volguus Zildrohar and Lord of the Sebouillia) in Ghostbusters is an extradimensional being worshiped as a god by ancient Sumerians and modern cultists. When it enters a world it annihilates the population; before it tried to come to Earth it already had destroyed the Meketrex Supplicants and the Vuldronaii.
  • The Planet Looters from Independence Day do not actually destroy the planets they loot, but after taking all the planet's resources nothing is left from any possible civilization to survive in it.
  • Played for Laughs as a parody for alien invasions including Independence Day is Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! Martians do not want to destroy Earth itself but they do want to Kill All Humans and vandalize their monuments. The novelizations and tie-in books clarify that this is the entire basis of Martian civilization; they have no great purpose or joy than finding other planets with intelligent life, wiping out the inhabitants, taking everything they find interesting or useful, and then moving on to the next inhabited planet to repeat the process.
  • Hellboy is apparently the Beast of the Apocalypse and is fated to destroy human civilization on Earth, which is what Rasputin wants in the first movie. It is also prophesied by the Angel of Death in the sequel.
  • Godzilla: King Ghidorah's Showa and anime incarnations are renowned for traveling the cosmos, destroying civilizations.
  • Wonder Woman 1984: The Stone is said to be responsible for the destruction of the Hittite, Cushite, Mayan, and Roman civilizations, among others.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League: Darkseid is said to have conquered uncountable worlds by using the three boxes to turn the planet into something similar to his own and the few survivors become Parademons. In fact, Darkseid requested for Steppenwolf to conquer 50,000 worlds just to talk to him again.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thanos has quite a record of going to planets and brutally murdering half of their occupants in his mad, obsessive quest to prove himself right.

  • One of the basic characteristics of the Cthulhu Mythos horrors is that most of the different Eldritch Abominations would rapidly destroy human civilization if they ever awakened. The exceptions would simply want to toy with us first.
  • Plato's Atlantis was famously destroyed in a single day and night of misfortune. Many succeeding works treat it as a historical or mythical event and try to explain how it happened, despite it only being an allegory.
  • Thunderworks brought about a Class 1 Apocalypse in the backstory of The Dreamside Road. Though they’ve been gone for years, the influence of the global Thunderworks attacks is felt in all aspects of the plot.
  • Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem series reveals in The Dark Forest that the universe is populated largely by xenophobic Civilization Destroyers; as in, every single alien civilization either is one, is hiding from them, or has been destroyed by one. Death's End drives home how utterly mundane our complete destruction is to them.
  • In the Priscilla Hutchins series the Omega Clouds—known as the "Engines of God" in the alien legends that first put humanity on to them—are planet-sized organized clouds of unknown nature which sweep through the galaxy in waves approximately every 8,000 years, destroying obvious signs of civilization. They seem to be primarily attracted to right angles. One now-extinct race went around building fake cities with lots of right angles on various uninhabited moons to try and distract them. The next wave is expected to reach Earth in about a thousand years.
  • In There Is No Antimemetics Division, SCP-3125 is a meme from somewhere outside our reality so alien and so powerful that once it takes hold in human minds, it completely wipes out civilization as we know it. A human in control of SCP-3125 is debatably a human being any longer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Thirdspace Aliens in the Babylon 5 Made-for-TV Movie Thirdspace have, according to the Vorlons, massacred thousands of races in their home universe and continue doing so every day because they believe only they have the right to exist.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • "That Which Survives". Thousands of years ago, an Human Alien civilization called the Kalandans made an artificial planet to live on. Unfortunately, the process created a microorganism that killed the personnel stationed on the planet. By the time they died, the disease had been transported back to the original civilization via supply ships, completely wiping it out.
    • ''Operation: Annihilate!" Going back to ancient times, a number of civilizations on different planets have been destroyed by outbreaks of mass insanity. The cause of the insanity is alien creatures that attack people and inject material into their bodies that takes control of their nervous systems. The aliens make the victims travel to other planets using starships, thus spreading the infection.
    • "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" The aliens who lived on the planet Exo 3 created android robots to serve them. When the androids developed Artificial Intelligence, the aliens became afraid of them and started to turn them off. In self-defense, the androids Turned Against Their Masters and destroyed them.
    • "The Changeling". The interstellar probe Nomad uses its alien technology-enhanced weapons to completely wipe out the population of the Malurian system, killing more than 4 billion people.
    • "I, Mudd". The aliens who created the androids originally came from the Andromeda galaxy. Their home planet's star went nova and destroyed their civilization except for a few outposts, whose inhabitants died out over time.
    • "The Immunity Syndrome". The entire population of the Gamma Seven-A system, consisting of billions of inhabitants, is killed by having their Life Energy drained by a giant space amoeba.
    • "Return to Tomorrow". A half-million years ago, a highly advanced Human Alien civilization fought an apocalyptic war that destroyed the surface of their planet, ripped away the atmosphere and killed all living creatures on it. Before the end, a few members stored their minds in advanced devices to wait rescue.
    • "The Empath". The star Minara is about to go nova, and all of its planets (several of which have populations) will be destroyed. The Humanoid Alien Vians can only save the population of one planet. They do so, but the other civilizations are doomed.
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefied". The Humanoid Aliens of the planet Cheron completely wipe themselves out in a genocidal war.
    • "That Which Survives". Long ago, every living thing on the planet Zetar was killed. The minds and Life Energy of 100 of its Humanoid Aliens inhabitants traveled into space and search for new bodies to possess.
    • "For the World Is Hollow, And I Have Touched The Sky". Several thousand years ago the Fabrini people's home sun went nova and destroyed their planets, but some of them were put on a ship resembling an asteroid and sent to another planet.
    • "Plato's Stepchildren". When the planet Sahndara is destroyed by its sun going nova, almost all of its civilization is annihilated. A small number escape to Earth, then later another planet.
    • "Wink Of An Eye". On the planet Scalos, radioactive water causes the entire race to live at hyper-accelerated speeds (which tremendously shortens their lifespans) and makes the male part of the population sterile. By the time the Enterprise arrives, there are only a few Scalosians left.
    • "All Our Yesterdays". When the star Beta Niobe goes nova, its only planet, Sarpeidon, will be destroyed. However, the entire population of the planet has used time travel to journey into the planet's past. They are mentally and physically conditioned to fit in, but their civilization in the future is effectively destroyed.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Borg would not destroy any planet they conquer, but they would assimilate all the sentient life forms on the planet, essentially eliminating any form of native culture and civilization.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "The Impossible Box", Picard invokes this when he furiously disputes Jurati's suggestion that the Romulan-controlled Borg on the Artifact may be different.
      Picard: (outraged) Change? The Borg? They coolly assimilate entire civilizations, entire systems! In a matter of hours! They don't change! They metastasize.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", Sutra learns from her mind-meld with Jurati that there are extragalactic synths who can be summoned to eradicate all biological life in the Milky Way. In the next episode, there are robotic tentacles emerging from an interdimensional portal, but Soji breaks the beacon's console before they fully enter our space.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2", General Nedar's dialogue reveals that the Romulans have at least five different settings for planet-wide sterilization, and they very nearly obliterate the androids (and presumably all plant and animal life as well) on Coppelius.
  • The Replicators in Stargate SG-1 would use all alloy and technologies available in a planet to keep replicating themselves destroying all civilization, but not the planet itself which would become one large Replicator-like world.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons. The civilization of the nation of Blackmoor reached an incredibly high tech level compared with the rest of the planet. Unfortunately, their knowledge exceeded their wisdom, and the accidental detonation of some of their machines annihilated Blackmoor, the neighboring Thonian Empire, and other populated areas. They were submerged under the ocean and their populations wiped out.
    • Eberron: The daelkyr brought down most of the old hobgoblin empire, and it's implied that they've caused similarly eldritch downfalls for other empires on other worlds. The quori devoured a lot of cultures as they built Riedra. This has...worrying implications for Khorvaire given that the dwarves of the Mror Holds are now dealing with Dirrn the Corruptor, and the quori have big plans for the Five Nations.

    Video Games 
  • Crash Team Racing: a Dummied Out dialogue shows that Nitrous Oxide was the reason there's no life in Mars: there was, until Oxide came to them, challenged them to a racing competition, and won.
  • Khimera Puzzle Island: The mastermind has lived for at least a millennium, and as they say, "I have wiped entire civilizations from history!"
  • In Spore, species with the Scientist ethos get access to the Gravitation Wave, a superweapon capable of destroying every structure on a planet while keeping its ecosystem intact. Using it is against the Galactic Code.
  • Stellaris:
    • Your Colossus can be outfitted with the Neutron Sweep, a weapon capable of killing any intelligent life while keeping the planet colonizable. Diplomacy-wise, it's treated about the same as using a Planet Cracker.
    • A more specialized version is the Divine Enforcer, which converts all inhabitants of a planet to spiritualism. Since robots and hive-minds can't be spiritualists, they will all be killed instead, leaving the planet empty.
    • Both the Unbidden and the Prethoryn Scourge will completely cleanse a planet after bombarding it long enough, killing all bio-matter and destroying all machines. All they leave behind is a barren world. On the flip side, if the Prethoryn decide to colonize a world themselves, you'll be the one doing this to them if you want to take it back.
  • In Mass Effect, the Reapers come to the galaxy every 50,000 years or so and wipe out all advanced intelligent life before leaving. The Mass Relay network they leave behind ensures that galactic civilization develops along predictable lines, making it easier for them to destroy it. The first game starts with the Reapers about to return.
  • Monster Hunter: One Fatalis single-handedly obliterated the ancient kingdom of Schrade.
  • Sonic Frontiers: The End is the reason why the Ancients are extinct as it destroyed their homeworld and chased the evacuating survivors to Earth. Some of the Ancients tried using the Titans to fight back, only managing to beat it by using the Chaos Emeralds to seal it inside one of them.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Subverted trope. Salem has been trying to divide humanity for thousands of years, co-opting the monstrous Grimm for her own ends, and pitting civilisations or Humans and Faunus against each other. Every time humanity gets too peaceful or settled, she arrives to destroy it from within. However, her goal isn't to destroy civilisations, it's to destroy the entire planet. The Big Good has spent millennia encouraging people to oppose her, thwarting her enough for "only" individual civilisations to fall, but ensuring the planet and humanity survives to rebuild. In Volume 8, Salem takes a giant step towards that goal by destroying the Kingdom of Atlas to obtain two of the four Relics she needs to destroy the planet.

  • Girl Genius: The Other came very close to destroying all of Europa, and successfully destroyed the civilizations of most of the ancient immortal god queens with only two queens and their lands and people known to have survived, though Zeetha is from a people whose civilization survived the destruction of their immortal queen.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Seven are serial examples of this, being Dimension Lords who subdue, consume and destroy practically every civilization in every universe they touch. The 'nicer' ones, like Solomon, simply add you to their glorious empires. The less nicer ones, like Mottom or Gog-Agog, strip your land clean of resources or simply consume all life on the planet for their own benefit or entertainment.

    Western Animation 
  • In Superman: The Animated Series Superman discovers that Brainiac kills every sentient life form on the planets he collects knowledge from. Brainiac's reasoning is that "the fewer beings who have the knowledge, the more precious it becomes," which naturally outrages Superman.
  • Ōban Star-Racers: Canaletto had destroyed many civilizations millennia ago, seeing them as "impure and imperfect". It's because he deemed Great Beings' view of life as "weak".
  • Justice League three-part premiere episode "Secret Origins" shows that the same aliens that decimated the Martian civilization (leaving J'onn J'ozz as the sole survivor) are awakened on Earth.
  • In DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp the Genie explains that Pompei and Atlantis were destroyed by Merlock the Magician's wishes.
  • The Lost City of Krobos in Extreme Ghostbusters was a civilization destroyed 2000 years in the past due to its alchemists dabbling in demonology.
  • One episode of X-Men: The Animated Series mentions that Apocalypse was behind the destruction of several civilizations, including the Babylonians, Sumerians, and Assyrians.

    Real Life 
  • The Minoan civilization's capital Akrotiri was utterly destroyed when the volcanic island it was built on erupted. It's believed the destruction of the island influenced Plato's description of Atlantis. With the Minoan civilization greatly weakened, the Mycenaeans (Bronze Age Greeks) invaded and occupied the island of Crete and finished off the Minoans. As added Irony, there is evidence that the Minoans were overlords of several Greek cities like Bronze Age Athens and extracted tribute (possibly people for use in Human Sacrifice or cannibalism), which would make the Mycenaean invasion of Crete a real-life case of The Dog Bites Back.
  • Written accounts remain of the mysterious "Sea Peoples" who operated in the eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age (1200-900 BCE) and were involved in the Bronze Age collapse by raiding prosperous civilizations such as Egypt or Mycenaean Greece. It's unknown if they were a cause, a result or a factor of the Bronze Age collapse, but they were definitely responsible for a lot of destruction.


Video Example(s):


Triangle of Light

Lara Croft finds a letter from her fathering telling her the story of the time-manipulating Triangle of Light, whose power caused the destruction of an entire city. leading it to be split into two pieces which were hidden at opposite ends of the world. Unfortunately, the Illuminati sought to reunite the two halves, and it was up to Lara to stop them.

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Main / NoManShouldHaveThisPower

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