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Deadly Force Field

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One of many exciting ways to misuse force fields for fun and profit.

"Did you know I can create a force field inside someone's body and expand it until they explode?"
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Deflector Shields are usually a defensive measure, protecting a person, object, installation, or ship from harm. But sometimes, force fields can be dangerous, either intrinsically or through using them in creative ways. Force fields opening and closing may cut objects or beings into pieces, or a force field may shrink around an object, crushing it into oblivion. If the capability exists to create force fields within another object (like a person), those fields may interrupt vital connections (such as blocking a human's carotid artery, starving the brain of oxygenated blood) or be expanded to tear the unfortunate subject apart. If the force field in question is strong enough, hitting it may be like hitting an indestructible barrier, smashing the crashing object into bits.

When a Barrier Warrior decides to get dangerous, chances are good they will invoke this trope. Technical Pacifist versions can non-lethally disable their enemies with such attacks, while less scrupulous ones may end up invoking the Chunky Salsa Rule.

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Related to Portal Cut, when dismemberment happens as a result of a teleport portal. Subtrope of Lethal Harmless Powers. Related to Absurd Cutting Power. Compare Orbiting Particle Shield. If the force field is used as a melee weapon, it's a kind of Shield Bash.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: EVAs have to use their AT Fields offensively to neutralize that of an Angel so they can make the kill. It turns all humans make their own AT Fields, which aren't capable of shielding them physically, but do keep their minds separate from each other. Using Lilith's AT Field to neutralize all of those is the cornerstone of SEELE's Assimilation Plot.
  • Goblin Slayer: The titular slayer repeatedly uses the priestess' barrier powers offensively (much to her unease, because she'd very much prefer to remain a White Mage) such as casting an impenetrable barrier over the only exit to a goblin stronghold he'd set on fire so they can't escape death by asphyxiation, or summoning two barriers on either side of a goblin lord and crushing him between them.
  • The Daedalus Maneuver in Super Dimension Fortress Macross has the Macross focus its Deflector Shields on the "fist" so it can ram opponents without damaging itself.
  • One Piece:
    • A variant: Doflamingo's Birdcage technique is to surround a city-sized area with his impenetrable Razor Floss. Near the end of the Dressrosa arc, he decides to shrink it to kill everyone inside Dressrosa City. Fortunately he's defeated before it fully shrinks, making the Birdcage disappear.
    • Bartolomeo ate the Bari-Bari no Mi (Barrier Barrier Fruit) which lets him create translucent barriers. Aside from defense, he can use the barrier powers to attack, such as sending it to collide with the enemy or coating his fist with barrier to empower his punches.
  • Jake Martinez from Tiger & Bunny, has the power to create Deflector Shields and uses it offensively creating tiny shields that act like a bullet on contact, applying a large pushing force in a small surface.
  • In an episode of Sailor Moon, Kunzite traps the Sailor Senshi in a contracting force field. Fortunately for them, Sailor Venus shows up and manages to disrupt it before they are crushed.

    Comic Books 
  • In Legion Of Superheroes, in the "End of an Era" storyline that led to the first reboot, an evil Brainiac 5 from a Mirror Universe used his forcefield belt to crush several Legionnaires, while commenting on the "lack of imagination" the mainstream Brainy showed by using it purely for defence.
  • Fantastic Four: Sue Storm is the poster girl for Took a Level in Badass precisely because of this trope. In the original comics, she had a more passive role, often playing the Damsel in Distress. The writers gave her invisibility powers a force field aspect to make her more active and useful, other writers gave her more creative ways to use them, and now "lil' Suzie" is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, period. Notably, she can deal out all four main manners of death this trope describes: cutting, crushing, popping, and internal blockage.
    • Marvel Zombies shows us some good examples, including:
      • Ultimate!Sue blocking the light from reaching some zombies' retinas, rendering them blind, and later, rapidly creating and dissipating bubbles in the zombie!FF's brains, causing them to collapse.
      • Pre-zombie!Sue using the popping variant on zombie!She-Hulk's head.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles and Faith are fighting a rogue Slayer and her warlock ally. Giles grabs a book and starts chanting, the warlock mocks him for grabbing a book of defensive spells. Then Giles says he just created an expanding forcefield... inside of the warlock.
  • In The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos creates an indestructible force cube around Cyclops's head to counter the latter's eye beams. Unfortunately for Cyclops, it also cuts off Doctor Strange's spell that allowed him to breathe in space, and he suffocates to death despite Captain America desperate attempts to free him.
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    Fan Works 
  • In From Bajor to the Black, Eleya orders her chief engineer to adjust USS Kagoshima's Deflector Shield waveform until it is precisely 180 degrees out-of-phase with the shields of a Borg probe, which lets her ram their shields together so they cancel each other out and open a hole she can beam a photon torpedo through.
  • In The Potter Family Grimoire, that's how Lord Voldemort dies. Harry cast an old family spell, creating a completely impenetrable shield destroying all it touches. Then he shrinks it around Voldemort's wraith.
  • Attempted in Clash of the Titans against the entire Jump City as a final act of a defiant villain.
  • Oversaturated World: From Oversaturation, in Clashing: Sunset's reflexive shield spell is a green barrier "that redirected the force, combining offense and defense".

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles, Violet is able to use her force fields offensively. She can project them so that others crash into them, like she does with Dash. She and Dash can also combine their powers to form the "Incredi-Ball", where Dash uses his Super Speed to run inside Violet's force field, which results in an unstoppable sphere hurtling along and bowling everything in its path out of the way. Incredibles 2 has her using them like blades and battering rams.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Infinity War: The Outriders breaking through Wakanda's shield through sheer force of numbers are cut to pieces. Even the ones who make it through intact have large amounts of flesh burned off.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Sue threatens Dr. Doom by informing him she has the ability to create a force field inside of someone and then expand it until the person explodes (an ability well within the range of her comic counterpart, see above).
    • Both movies have Sue using her force fields to knock people back.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: In the final battle, the teachers create a magic force field around the school. When a couple of Death Eaters run into it, they disintegrate.
  • The Predator: Predator ships have Some Kind of Force Field. As our heroes are trying to bring the ship down after jumping on its hull, the shield comes on. One slides under, another jumps over, but a third ends up Half the Man He Used to Be. Later, the quick, well-timed activation of the now-crashed ship's shield lops one of the Ultimate Predator's arms off, which provides the key to finally killing it.
  • Star Wars:
    • Narrowly avoided in Return of the Jedi. Palpatine lured the Rebels to Endor with the hope of getting most of their fleet to crash into the Death Star II's deflector shield, which the Rebels thought Han's team had brought down. Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb deduce that the shield is still up with seconds to spare and order the fleet to break off. According to the novelization, not everyone pulled up in time.
    • And Rogue One shows what happens when you fail to evade such a large-scale deflector shield, as several Alliance fighters attempting to plunge through Scariff's closing shield are smashed to pieces.

    Literature 
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus gets trapped in a Containment Field that slowly shrinks, forcing him to shapeshift into smaller and smaller forms. (He escapes.)
  • Deathstalker: Force shields, round energy barriers worn on the arm to defend against disruptor and sword attacks, have Absurd Cutting Power at their edge. This is used a handful of times throughout the series.
  • Robert A. Heinlein short story "Lost Legacy". At the end of the story, two of the protagonists confront a council of evil psionics, one of whom is some kind of alien/mystical creature. One of the protagonists traps the creature inside a telekinetic sphere and reduces the size of the sphere until the creature is crushed to a bloody jelly.
  • The Hunger Games: In "Catching Fire", the arena is surrounded by a barely-visible force-field that electrocutes tributes on contact. Peeta was almost killed walking into one and Blight, the male from District 7, died running straight into it.
  • In The Salvation War, Yahveh is killed in that manner by an energy attack. His body is stated to be considerably smaller once it's done.
  • Spots the Space Marine: Early on Spots jumps into a swarm of Crabs swinging her shield like a large blade (one is supposed to avoid the edges on the setting's shields). After that incident the squad's attached Violinist (species that gave humanity advanced tech) technician starts working on a shield specifically designed to be used as a melee weapon and they train to use them that way.
  • From the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, while fending off an assassination attempt against himself and Leia, Hapan Crown Prince Isolder makes use of a handheld personal deflector shield. As it begins to overheat he throws it at one of the assassins and burns the poor bastard to death.
  • From the The Sword of Truth series:
    • A spell capable of doing it is used against Richard in the first book. The spell could have crushed him, although it's also poisonous (in his case, it was intended for capture, not killing). He manages to change it so that the caster is crushed to death instead.
    • One of the magical barrier types featured in the books is a so called light spell. It can be set as a simple incinerating barrier, but it can also be set to expand, breaking all in its path. Out of the cases shown of that happening, one leveled a house, one destroyed a palace... and one was an outright Fantastic Nuke.
    • The background of the books has Zedd stopping a war between Midlands and D'Hara by erecting a magical boundary between the two regions, one instantly killing anyone attempting to enter it. A prequel short story set at the time shows that he originally claimed he intends to drive the boundary over the whole D'Hara as a wave of death, but ultimately decided that such indiscriminate and complete genocide is way too much.
  • In The Zombie Knight
    • Roman kills Hanjir's reaper by surrounding him with an inward-facing spherical shockwave.
    • Ivan's favorite killing technique is to catch the opponent in a cage of his odd weak-force fields, and then collapse the cage and disintegrate them.
  • The Dresden Files: Carlos Ramirez uses a water-based shield spell that disintegrates anything that tries to pass through it instead of directly stopping attacks. At one point, he uses this to liquify a Troll that tries to jump him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Flash, Block is a Villain of the Week capable of creating cubical force fields which she projects around a victim and then reduces the size until they have been crushed and compressed into a tiny block.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Beachhead" the Ori use a force field transmitted through a stargate to crush a planet until it becomes a black hole, which they use to power a supergate to bring their starships from their home galaxy to the Milky Way. Vala Mal Doran foils this attempt, but it's a big galaxy and the Ori succeed offscreen in "Camelot".
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine establishes that certain types of force fields, like those used by the Jem'Hadar (and possibly the Cardassians), are lethal to the touch.
  • Under the Dome: When the Dome first appears, it drops out of the sky and cuts anything in its path cleanly in half, starting with a cow that is gorily split lengthwise. We're also shown destroyed houses and a woman who lost a hand.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions. A Force Field power can be given the advantage Damage Shield. Anytime the force field touches an opponent (e.g. by the character grabbing or running into the opponent) the opponent will take the appropriate damage.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Defied by the Scroll of Protection: It acts as a force field, preventing a specified type of creatures from entering the protected area. If the user of the Scroll tries to use it to push the creature(s) around or trap them, the protection immediately fails.
    • The Prismatic Sphere spell is normally stationary. If it can be made mobile (perhaps by modifying it so it can be cast on a movable item/creature) it can be touched to an opponent, inflicting a variety of massive types of damage on the victim.
    • The Forgotten Realms 3.5E supplement Lost Empires of Faerun contains the spell crushing sphere, which envelops the target and crushes it over several rounds.
    • The Compleat Arduin, Book 2: Resources. Phandelume's Spell of the Sphere of Doom contracts at a rate of 3 feet per melee round. Any creature trapped in it is pulverized and incinerated to dust.
  • In the original Villains & Vigilantes game, a character with the Force Field power can use it as a weapon.
  • Earthdawn. The Circle 8 Wizard spell Compression Bubble forms around an opponent and contracts, causing damage to the opponent.

    Video Games 
  • Several of the shield types in Borderlands 2 are weaponized in some way. The most obvious examples being the nova shields (which were also in the first game), which unleash blasts of energy when they're depleted and spike shields (which hurt enemies which use melee attacks on them). The third DLC also features "traps" which are basically activate-able bubble shields that explode when they're destroyed.
  • Conan Exiles: The Exiled Lands are surrounded by the "Ghost Fence," which prevents those wearing certain bracelets (like your Player Character) from crossing it. If you do, you die. If you take your bracelet off, you die.
  • In Crash Team Racing, the powershield power-up can be either used as a forcefield to negate one attack or launched ahead to attack another player.
  • The entire idea of the Crushing Prison spell from Dragon Age.
  • The shoot-em-up Flying Tigers has a "shield" weapon which, when activated, not only makes your ship immune to all damage, but also damages all enemies you come in contact with.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: Yamabuki Armor (one of Bronya's "Valkyrie Suits") has a passive skill that creates a Deflector Shield for the team, which will block incoming damage until it's destroyed. She also has another passive skill that lets the "burst" of the bubble shield damage nearby enemies.
  • All over the place in Magicka. The shield spell can be mixed with any other spell type, allowing you to create walls of fire, electricity, etc...or just build a rock wall where your foes are standing.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Dormammu's lv 3 Hyper Combo (Dark Dimension) encases his victim in a dark bubble which he then shrinks and then pops with his fingers.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. One of Green Lantern's Heroic Brutalities involves him using his ring to form a compacting bubble of green energy that shatters the bones of the unfortunate victim. Notably this is the only Heroic Brutality that doesn't give any indication that the victim survived.
  • The old Lucasfilm game Rescue on Fractalus! has your ship usually protected by an "energy field" that burns all nearby life forms to a crisp. It can be turned on to incinerate an alien who was attempting to get into your ship... or one of the unlucky pilots you're trying to rescue in the game.
  • Pokémon: The attack "Spiky Shield" will negate any damaging attack thrown at its user, and will also damage any foe that uses an attack which makes contact with the shield. "King's Shield" works similarity, but instead of damaging the target that makes contact, it cuts their Attack stat in half.
  • Sengoku Basara: One of Motonari Mori's skills is to create a circular green barrier. Enemies would get knocked back if they run (or get knocked toward) said barrier, dealing some damage; one common tactic of using it is to place another barrier at a distance in front of the first one, knock some enemies to one barrier and watch as the barriers deflect the enemies towards each other while dealing constant damage.
  • In Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, the Gargantuan hero vehicle can use "Shield Flare", completely depleting its shields... but unleashing a shockwave that destroys most nearby enemy units.
  • Street Fighter V: G's V-Skill "G Barrier" has him creating a force field momentarily that covers his body. It can deal damage if done at close range, and if he has activated his V-Trigger 1, he can also launch the barrier forward as a projectile.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Fox's and Falco's down-B move is Reflector, which will reflect ranged attacks and knock around anyone close to them.
  • Team Fortress 2: In Mann Vs. Machine mode, one of the Medic's upgrades is an Ubershield, which, in addition to reflecting projectiles such as rockets and grenades, is capable of disintegrating robots that come into contact with it rather quickly, being able to dispatch weaker robots such as Scouts and Spies after only a second or two of contact.
  • The bubble-like "Telekinetic Shield" is the main character's method of attack in Vivid Conceptions. When activated, it destroys nearby enemies and fragile blocks.
  • Warframe
    • Rhino's Iron Skin creates ablative armor that renders him invulnerable and immune to status effects up to a cap. With the Iron Shrapnel mod, Rhino can shatter it to impale his foes on a storm of shrapnel.
    • Nezha's Warding Halo works similarly to Iron Skin, nullifying status effects and absorbing almost all incoming damage. In addition, any foe who approaches the forcefield gets blasted with fire, stunning them and dealing damage.
    • Gara's Shrapnel Storm creates a field of orbiting glass shards that sharply reduces the damage taken by Gara or an ally on top of shredding any foes nearby. Its damage can be further enhanced by shattering the protective glass wall created by Mass Virify, which itself deals massive damage to all foes unfortunate enough to be standing outside as it does.
  • Most of Mega Man's Shield-type weapons operate like this, destroying incoming foes rather than just deflecting them. Sometimes they can even be fired outwards or in a specific direction to turn the shield, or fragments of the shield, into projectiles.
  • This is the secondary use of the Final Fantasy spell "Reflect". Protecting yourself from incoming magic is all well and good, but it's even better if you reflect that spell right back at its caster. Reflect can also be used offensively by casting it on enemies who have a healer in their party, or are healers themselves, so their Cure spells bounce off the shield and restore your party instead. Final Fantasy IV very pointedly required both of these tactics to defeat Bahamut and Asura, respectively, and they became series staples ever since.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2, the Sentinels' unique power is Tech Armor, which allows them to create a protective Instant Armor shield around them. If the shield breaks (or in the third game, you must break it manually), it explodes, damaging any enemies in the vicinity.
    • The third game also gives you the ability to purge the biotics' Barrier ability like this to damage nearby opponents. In multiplayer mode, the Asari Justicar's Biotic Sphere ability, in addition to protecting allies, also damages any enemies that step into the field, while the Geth Juggernaut Soldier's Hex Shield releases an electric pulse when deployed that damages enemies, and can also be upgraded to damage any enemies that try to walk through it.
  • In the first two Fallout games, yellow force fields were completely impenetrable, while red forcefields could be crossed but would cause damage. Canonically, this is how Dogmeat died in the first game, according to the Fallout 2 manual.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Some alien invaders attempt to sweep away The Herculoids by generating a wide force field wall. This barrier is shown to reduce trees to toothpicks and boulders to gravel on contact. Fortunately, Igoo the rock ape deduces that such a force field would be equally deadly to those on its other side, and uses a treebuchet to push the aliens from behind into their own force field.
  • Justice League: When Green Lantern fought Volcana and Firefly, he used his ring to form an airtight container around them, causing their fire to burn up all the oxygen and make them pass out.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Anansi", Nino — now Carapace via the Turtle Miraculous — activates the power "Shellter" for the first time to create a Beehive Barrier around him, Alya and Chat Noir, cutting through the webbing that has them all trapped.
  • Steven Universe has found a surprisingly large number of offensive uses for his bubble shield:
    • In the third season, Steven discovered he could make the shield grow spikes, which he uses in "Reunited" to make himself more damaging when thrown as a projectile.
    • When a pair of Topazes fuse together to trap people inside their combined body, Steven lets himself be captured so he can form his bubble from the inside and force the Topazes apart.
    • Pink Steven can make the shield explode into a shockwave, something Steven figures out how to do regularly by the movie.
    • Also in the movie, Steven puts a small bubble around each fist to act as knuckle dusters.
  • In Transformers: Prime: Knockout eventually gets his hands on a portable shield generator. After a bit of experimentation, he uses it to block his enemies off on one side... with the opposite side leading straight off a cliff's edge. With his enemies unable to retaliate, he starts to force the shield closer and closer to the edge, intending to shove them right over it.
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Tanks for Nuthin'", Brock manages to make it up to the residential area where he proceeds to fight off the villain Think Tank. During their scuffle, Think Tank manages to stop Brock's knife-strike with a force-field, his upper arm stuck in the force-field. Brock thinks they are still evenly matched, only for Think Tank to retort that if he wanted to, he could cut his arm off through the bone and blast the rest of him point-blank. Brock isn't too concerned about it.

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