A Death World is a highly dangerous place, where simply going there is considered taking your life into your own hands. It could be from hazardous environmental conditions, such as an acidic swamp or poisonous fog, or from powerful native predators (Here there be Dragons, or worse, something that eats them), dangerous flora, or even all of the above. It's like the entire place is deliberately hostile to human life. (Of course, if it's also a Genius Loci, it just might be!)
Very few people would ever choose to live there, but since anyone who does is almost always a badass, expect any populated Death World to be a World of Badass by default. Sometimes, The Mentor may hide out here. Alternately, it may be Mordor, and/or home for an exceptionally tough and ferocious race. Some actually take advantage of this as a way of training their Super Soldiers on a planetary scale. Sure, half of the population might not survive through adolescence, but those who do should make good soldiers. Sometimes they are genetically engineered. Those who live on such a world may be an example of Had To Be Sharp.
In real life, every planet outside Earth that we know of to a reasonable degree, is dangerous, because we have yet to verify that any other planet out there can support human life. In fiction, Death worlds generally have relatively breathable atmospheres (for native life, at least), have compelling reasons for characters to get out and walk around, and have varieties of dangerous flora and fauna. A planet that cannot host life for any amount of time is just "uninhabitable", not this.
For more details, the various Video Game Settings actually do a decent job of describing the various kinds of dangers you might find in different ecosystems, as a result of Everything Trying to Kill You. The Dark World is often a magical variant. Don't be too surprised if there are More Predators Than Prey.
Truth in Television: There are plenty of environments here on our own planet that can and will kill those who fail to prepare for them or take the appropriate precautions around their hazards. Even the most fantastic fictional examples are often extrapolations of dangers present here on Earth — and that's before we get into the fact that we still haven't found any worlds outside our own that are particularly inviting for human life.
- The Sea of Corruption in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The very air is full of poisons that kill any humans that breathe them in, and giant insects that can shrug off modern day weapons.
- There are many places in the Hunter × Hunter world that are extremely dangerous to humans. Those regions are closed off to everyone except full-fledged Hunters — because Hunters are the only ones who have even a snowball's chance in hell of surviving a visit. The Swindler's Swamp is an exceptionally dangerous area, even to Hunters. The Swamp's entire ecosystem has evolved around deceiving and eating humans, with such friendly wildlife as "man-faced apes" which go out to masquerade as humans and lure them back to the swamp.
Swindler's Swamp is used as staging ground of the second phase of the Hunter Exam that Gon and company take. The goal is simply to reach the other side. Everyone who reached this phase is a 1 in 10000 badass. Out of a group of a few hundred, only 150 make it out alive. The rest became lunch or were killed by Hisoka.
- The Dark Continent. It's so dangerous and uninhabitable it makes the Berserk-verse looks tame in comparison.
It turns out that the place where humans live is only 1% of the entire world. The continents are actually islands on Mavius, a great lake of the Dark Continent.
- The Dark Continent. It's so dangerous and uninhabitable it makes the Berserk-verse looks tame in comparison.
- The entire world of 7 Seeds by the time our characters awaken in it. Evolution has begun to repeat itself and is filled with rodents, insects, dinosaurs and even flesh-eating plants that are trying to kill the humans, but also each other. It's a survival-driven world.
- The New World in One Piece could be considered one, as anyone who has been there then on refers to the first half of the Grand Line as "Paradise". Mind you, the first half is crawling with dangerous pirates, many of which have some pretty badass superpowers, seakings, unknown and unpredictable weather phenomena, and of course, islands that are somewhat few and far between, and is thus itself considered a Death World by just about everyone who hasn't been there or the New World. And even by Oda's standards it screws with physics! Islands that are consumed by perpetual fire, or plagued with storms where lightning strikes like a downpour, or a giant, floating one are some of the highlights from what we have seen thus far.
- The Megastructure in BLAME consists of thousands upon thousands of post-apocalyptic wastelands stacked on top of one another and compartmentalized.
- The planet Chimera in Jyu-Oh-Sei.
- The world of Toriko, as it is filled to the brim with animals that are strong enough to level cities (creatures are given capture levels, and monster with a capture level 5 or higher can topple tanks singlehanded), the worst place being the Gourmet world, a region which basically encompasses 2/3 of the planet, and was originally thought to be a paradise since no one who went there ever returned, until someone actually did return, and revealed that it was in reality a hell that would kill a normal person almost instantly and even trained professionals who are considered superhuman can't survive without considerable training. Chapter 259 reveals that Gourmet World was created when a Gourmet Cell infused meteorite struck Earth. The Gourmet Cells absorbed energy from Earth's mantle and grew additional landmass. "Human World", the safest part of the world, is the original Earth. The reason Gourmet World is such a hostile and alien environment is because it was spawned by something from the depths of space. And apparently, this alien being did this on purpose. It's fattening the world for dinner.
- Taken up to 11 as of Ch 263, when we see the creatures that can survive such an environment. The Four Beast that nearly killed the human world is revealed to be nothing more then an ant in the grand scheme of these creatures. This included a massive Stronghold Rhino, a powerful humanoid multi-armed Thunderous Devil that make volcanoes seem only as big as anthills underneath its feet, itself dwarfed and nearly stomped on by an even bigger Ficasdaltonphant, with a flying dragon like creature overhead that's stronger then that, only for that to run away from a Fully grown, mature Battle Wolf. To put this in perspective, the Four Beast had a capture level that maxed out at 350. The beasts just mentioned range from 972 to 6090. And let's not start on the titanic beasts that rule these inhospitable lands. Basically, the Thing-O-Meter hasn't been made that can read them properly.
- That would be the Eight Kings. Each one has a capture level over 6000. They include a 22-kilometer horse that can create vacuums and send columns of air straight through the aforementioned massive planet by breathing, a monkey that plays by throwing mountains around the world, a whale with a literal black hole in its stomach, a deer the size of a continent, a snake as long as the circumference of the world, a crow that can kill anything by casting its shadow on it, the aforemetioned Battle Wolf (actually one way stronger than the level 6090 one), and a huge dragon that can fire planet-busting beams.
- Every Earthlike planet, save one, in 2001 Nights is a Death World that eventually overwhelms the efforts of humans to colonize them: mind-altering spores, periodically being engulfed in firestorms, wasting diseases, and run-of-the-mill hazardous planets and animals. As a few characters occasionally point out, and as humanity learns to great ruin, a few decades is not enough time to fully understand the biosphere of an alien planet. And the one basically Earthlike exception to the mix was actually terraformed at hideous expense, and even then said terraforming will degrade and collapse in a few centuries, rendering the planet uninhabitable. Oh, and even it has a few giant man-killing monsters.
- Earth becomes a death world in Blue Gender. The only safety and civilization is in orbiting colonies, and only remains safe for those willing to train to die on the planet.
- The titular planet in Hell Star Remina. The planet's atmosphere is poisonous and nightmarishly corrosive, but the planet's surface is also filled with horrible hostile flora. What really sets it apart from the rest of the examples on this page, though, is the fact that Remina itself is hostile, which is to say it's a living planet capable of detecting, traveling to, and consuming other worlds, making it something of an Eldritch Abomination.
- The world of Berserk is this - and this was even before it became a Hell on Earth. Life was so harsh that humanity subconsciously willed a God of Evil into existence just to give their suffering some semblance of meaning.
- The Earth of Vandread. Turns out the planet got so polluted it's barely habitable, with such things as the moon being driven out its orbit.
- Trigun is set on planet Gunsmoke, an endless desert with sparse animal representation- including sandworms- and seemingly no natural flora. Its population are refugees from a fleet of Generation Ships, who would have bypassed the planet had not the Big Bad forced them to crash-land. In the 100-odd years they've been eking out a living on the harsh surface, human population figures have been in gradual decline and the people have become harsher and more violent as they've adapted to the environment.
- Outlaw Star gives us a Penal Colony on a planet with gravity that greatly varies from one place to another. It barely even needs the security it has since wondering into the wrong place can lead to a person getting crushed to death.
- Near the end of Naruto, Kaguya Ootsutsuki possesses several personal dimensions that she can hide in or weaponize; among them are a lava world, a blizzard world, a desert world, an ocean of acid, and an extreme gravity field.
- The enormous cave system from Made In Abyss. As a person descends through its seven known Layers, the dangers faced become progressively more extreme. Predators become larger, more aggressive, and eventually capable of seeing likely future possible moves of their potential victims. From the Second Layer on, the scenery turns beautiful but horrific, with violent air currents in the Inverted Forest toward the bottom of the Second Layer, a sheer drop on the Third Layer, massive acid-filled plants on the Fourth, and then the Sea of Corpses, Capital of the Unreturned, and Final Maelstrom in the deeper levels. All of this pales in comparison to the dangers of leaving, though. The Force that gives the horrors of the Abyss their strength and pervades most of its area causes progressively severe effects on ascension, eventually resulting in madness, death, or worse.
- DC: An artificial planet created by Devilance, a New God from Apokolips, is a death world, with automated defenses based upon the strength of the intruders and killer midgets, among various monsters. Seen in 52, the third-generation Blue Beetle, and Salvation Run. Apokolips itself is also something of a deathworld.
- Marvel's Ego the Living Planet is a Genius Loci (or Loco) Deathworld. And frequently a mobile Genius Loci Deathworld, meaning it doesn't just wait for you to come to it...
- The homeworld of the Dire Wraiths from ROM was sufficiently dangerous that when ROM tricked Galactus into trying to consume it it was GALACTUS that had to run (acid rains that could dissolve away even his armor and was semi-sentient to target any intruders).
- The Mighty Thor: In his own words after Heimdall gave him the play by play run down of how the last incursion was playing out between earths during "Time Runs Out". Odin nonchalantly coins how "Midgard is—as ever—a roiling sea of chaos and madness". Often true given the Marvel Earth's penchant for Armageddon causing/defying events which leaves the planet a wasteland then does a hard reset that usually has (often negative) after effects on the universe as a whole.
- In Supergirl story The Supergirl from Krypton, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Big Barda travel to Apokolips, a hellish planet ruled by Darkseid, The DCU's God of Tyranny.
Wonder Woman: Smells like death.
Barda: There's no place like home.
Batman: (narrating) The concept of Apokolips is, at best, difficult to explain. A blazing inferno of misery, the planet exists in another universe. The gates of Hell can only be opened via Boom Tube.
- Krypton's Deathworldiness plays a part in the backstory of Superman's foe, Doomsday. In Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, a Mad Scientist dumped a baby onto the surface, where it died instantly. He then cloned the few surviving cells. Repeat ad infinitum until you get a Nigh Invulnerable monster that has evolved enough to survive.
- The goal of X-Men baddie Apocalypse is to create one of these via taking over the world, destroying civilization and culling billions of people he considers to be "weak" (and not necessarily in that order). In Age of Apocalypse he achieves this by triggering World War III and turning North America and much of the planet into a radioactive wasteland where he rules with an iron fist, while Europe exists as a continent-sized refugee camp in a state of total war with him and his empire. Other versions include the Bad Future his Arch-Enemy Cable hails from, an After the End dystopia where he rules the entire world. Apocalypse is the ultimate Social Darwinist so he wants to make a world so hellish and hard that only the toughest and meanest will be able to survive in it.
- Aliens: Nightmare Asylum takes the characters to the Xenomorphs' homeworld, which is naturally crawling with them and predators nasty enough to keep them in check.
- 2000 AD:
- Judge Dredd:
- The Cursed Earth, the nuke-blasted wastelands outside of the few surviving Mega-Cities, is inhabited only by mutants, criminals and exiled lawmen. Many areas are so contaminated that human habitation is simply impossible, and there are many nasty critters that love snacking on unfortunate wanderers. At the end of their career a judge can choose to take "The Long Walk" to bring law to this region as their final mission.
- Even worse is Deadworld, the home dimension of Judge Death. All life is illegal. After Death destroyed it, it's nothing but a ruinous wasteland filled with piles of bones and deserted buildings. Venture there, and the undead custodians will prosecute you to the full extent that their law allows.
- Rogue Trooper has Nu Earth. Both of them. Due to chemical warfare, the very air and water are poisonous, and the slightest rip in a soldier's isolation suit guarantees death. Only the Genetic Infantrymen (GIs) can survive unaided.
- Shakara: There's a sentient planet that is used as a killing ground by The Hierarchy, as it fights off every intruder by warping the environment to produce things like lighting strikes and earthquakes.
- Zombo: In the outer rims of explored space are Death Worlds, which are sentient planets that kill any humans who go near them. The flora, the fauna, even the air is a death trap. There are several different classes, with the worst being zombie-infested worlds.
- D.R. & Quinch once featured the antiheros being conscripted to fight in a war on a planet where "The saliva trees digest you alive and even the hideous diseases have hideous diseases".
- Judge Dredd:
- Bizarrely enough, the homeworld of Marvel Comics' happy-go-lucky Impossible Man was apparently one of these, with his species developing their Voluntary Shapeshifting as a survival mechanism. (When Galactus ate the planet, he got indigestion.)
- The Blister in Six-Gun Gorilla is an alternate dimension that's basically a giant desert inhabited by all sorts of hostile native life, where the high-noon sun (known as "the Blaze") literally disintegrates anything that goes out unprotected. On top of that, combustion doesn't work in the Blister, so the locals are reliant on Clock Punk. The only reason people colonized the Blister in the first place was because the soil was surprisingly well-suited for growing crops. And then it turns out the place is alive, in a manner of speaking.
- The reformed Earth in Xenozoic Tales (briefly adapted in the 90's as Cadillacs and Dinosaurs) is crawling with once-extinct life forms by the time the humans emerge from their bomb shelters. This includes carnivorous dinosaurs and giant man-eating invertebrates. Naturally, this proves to be a challenge to adapt to, which is the main focus of series protagonists Jack Tenrec and Hannah Dundee.
- In Deep Gravity, the planet Poseidon is technically habitable by humans, but only for short periods (due to toxicity and radiation) and with great care (due to large, dangerous, hostile lifeforms).
Flores: [D]on't worry about logistics for the time being. Do worry about Poseidon. Never forget it is not your home. Poseidon doesn't like you. We're not built to live there. [...] Look, I know how it is with scientists, but we can't have any absent-minded-professor shit down there. If you miss the next ship and stay six years, Poseidon will be your last home.
- In Warhammer 40,000 comic Bloodquest shows in detail what an Daemon World is like: Eidolon is a planet trapped inside the Eye of Terror that is a massive battleground between the Forces of Chaos fighting for dominance. Nearly the entire population is made up of Daemons or insane humans that follow Chaos constantly trying to kill each other. Couple with the fact the corrupting nature of the Warp would drive lesser minds to madness just from being there and even the austere Space Marines aren't immune to it (one of their main protagonists falls to Chaos and the another is being gradually corrupted very visibly).
- Terrenos from Birthright is a magical realm described by many who escaped to Earth as "a living hell". The land itself is filled with predators that are far more deadly than anything encountered on Earth and they are nothing next to beings such as Lore's demonic legions or diviners spirits. Terrenos has also been devastated by an ongoing war between Lore and its many residents that lasted for untold years.
- The first ever Star Trek comic book had the Enterprise encountering one of these, populated by carnivorous plants and spores that would transform other lifeforms into more of them. They considered the planet such a threat that they decided to wipe out the entire biosphere to prevent it from infecting other worlds.
- Paperinik New Adventures has "The Well" from the PK continuity. It's a small planetoid that, due to being in the middle of a very strange solar system, has one day of sunlight every Earth year. The local fauna and flora sleeps in hibernation except on that day - when everything wakes up and tries to kill everything else. The Evronians use it as a testing ground for mutant soldiers: if a model can survive on that one day, it's good enough to be mass-produced.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Plenty of planets that Spaceman Spiff visits. Hostile fauna, scorching suns, and alkaline lakes are common features.
Spiff: But aside from that, it's not much like Earth.
- The planet of Dandriss in Age of Strife. The planet is covered in nearly indestructible trees that can consume metal and incorporate it into their bark. The flora of Dandriss has evolved terrifying mechanisms for clearing space for their offspring, ranging from gales of biodiamond leaf blades and grenade fruits to continent wide firestorms and fission detonations. The wildlife of the planet isn't particularly dangerous, but the plant life on it's own is enough to keep humanity hiding in Adamantium cities most of the time.
- The world of Fallout: Equestria gives us the Equestrian Wasteland. Think of the Wasteland as a typical Fallout Wasteland... on steroids. In Fallout, few creatures have energy-based attacks, Super Mutants don't have the ability to generate extremely sturdy protective shields or fly, and Deathclaws aren't adapted enough to qualify as a faction on their own, with enough wit to reverse-engineer firearms for their own uses, plus being able to dig fast enough for it to be a viable combat tactic. Guess what you can find in the now devastated Equestria. There's more, like the almost permanently cloudy weather due to the Enclave, the incurable Taint along with the "vanilla" magical radiation, and much more. And then there's Canterlot.
- On the other hand, the deadliness of the Equestrian Wasteland is (at least somewhat) offset by the fact that the heroes have access to magic, healing potions, Flight and such. Also, despite the ruined world Littlepip and her allies never find themselves struggling for basic resources like food or water.
- In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, the universe of anti-matter of Qward. Every atom can hurt you or even kill you. Not even Kryptonians are safe.
- Child of the Storm has Asgard as this. It's stunningly beautiful and advanced, but it is infested with giant monsters and Everything Is Trying to Kill You. It's actually because of this that Asgardians evolved into their current state and considering the Asgardian mentality - "Apocalypse? Great! Fun day out for all the family!" - no one's overly bothered about it.
- Nobody Dies: Australia is mentioned to be this post-Second Impact. Nobody Dies: Six AIs One Continent takes place almost entirely there, and reveals why: the wildlife has severely mutated, so that even the sheep are enormous, carnivorous monsters (don't even ask about the platypi), the spiders and scorpions have become gigantic and sapient, the few humans left are either freakishly mutated or savages (or both). The sky is permanently covered in dark clouds that never rain, but constantly flash lightning. And there's a dormant Angel underneath the continent, which became the source of all this nastiness after Second Impact spread some of ADAM's body to the area. The Reego (AI spawn of Rei Ayanami with a great love of violence) are sent to make the place safe again... namely, by depopulating it.
- The Pokéverse becomes this in Poké Wars after the Pokémon's power dampeners are removed. Forests, bodies of water, caves and even cities become deathtraps for the practically helpless humans that live there.
- Mercilessly parodied in XSGCOM. The birthplace of the First Prime of the Tau'ri is a desolate land, where the winds can strip the flesh from a man's bones, where water only falls in the form of snow, and the forests are filled with beasts, consisting of only teeth and claws and anger. This place? Canada.
- Knight's and Bishop's quips in KOTOR: The Prodigy of Revan imply that the planet Tharsis is very much like this. And on purpose, this is where the Spartan Union sends their Raider recruits to train. Terrain features include "dense forests, frozen tundras and jagged mountains crawling with beasts out of ancient myth, jungles teaming with ferocious predators and torturous diseases. And then there's the...er...'food.'"
- The World of the Creatures takes place in the author/protagonist's mind. Since the author is obssessed with zoology, paleontology, and speculative biology, the world just happens to be filled with more vicious, deadly creatures than you can stick a sonic screwdriver, wooden stake, or batarang at.
- Sonic X: Dark Chaos pretty much takes place in an entire death galaxy in general, but special mention goes to worlds that lose their Planet Eggs (which lose their power to sustain life and become barren rocks) or get infested with Shroud parasites (which are the very definition of Body Horror and Fate Worse than Death rolled into one). Combined with the insane robot armies, demons, and Lovecraftian horrors everywhere, its amazing there's life in the Milky Way at all. And by the end, there isn't very much.
- A more straight example is Hell, the Demon homeworld, which is basically Mustafar on steroids... and the Angel homeworld Heaven, which is basically Jupiter on steroids.
- In addition to some pre-established death worlds from both canon and Legends, Star Wars: Paranormalities features a few original to it.
- Unlike most volcanic worlds, Kratzar — which is actually just a planet in its primordial state and not suffering from a cataclysm — is entirely covered in lava, save for a few islands. These islands are used as mining sites by both Mustafarian colonists and Valkoran forces, but are often infested with giant lava snakes that sometimes pop out of the mining siphons.
- Krantisi was once home to some really large creatures, whose skeletons are now part of the environment. It's still infested with a lot of dangerous creatures, including giant spiky lizards, sentient cacti that drain their prey's body fluids until they're a brittle husk and sand sharks among others.
- Guaymar is a planet perpetually shrouded in darkness. Its native sentient species are cannibalistic savages that worship a god of death and one of the only forests on the planet is also home to a deceptive, sedentary Planimal that is disguised among the trees. The massive, crashed starship is also haunted with four ghost-like Starfish Aliens (in actuality, the psychic extensions of an Eldritch Abomination) that, if they don't kill you by sucking out your blood, will cause you to die in four days from a death curse triggered from just having their prey seen all four of them. It also goes through a global Zombie Apocalypse every few years (and the summoning of Stythanyx, also the aforementioned Guaymaran god of death, could create a longer lasting one).
- Krishar has trees that fire Force lightning randomly (and these trees are otherwise like any other) and is home to an insane Eldritch Abomination that has driven its native sentient race into varying degrees of insanity just from being there (with them being Cloud Cuckoolanders at best, or at worst in the case of the same abomination, a barely-functional vicious idiot unable to think). Because of the lightning trees, the Krishari developed the ability to regenerate lost tissue incredibly quickly.
- Chilades is so cold that humans require devices that artificially raise their own body temperature in addition to heavy clothing just to keep warm, has toxic lakes and is inhabited by mutated animals, either native or immigrated and all carnivorous (and it's suggested that any herbivores have either Ascended to Carnivorism out of necessity or went extinct due to lack of plantlife and carnivore dominance). And the planet was even more dangerous when Facadma was trapped there in the distant past, as she could use the Force to feed on the wildlife's lifeforce with little effort and only didn't kill everything on the planet to keep the ecosystem in check and maintain a steady food supply.
- The New Adventures of Invader Zim presents Planet Meekrob as this, being primarily composed of barren wastelands, inhabited by deadly super-predators. Though since the Meekrob themselves are Energy Beings, it doesn't bother them.
- The Palaververse: The island-nation of Saddle Arabia. Its a barren desert wasteland battered by horrifying magical storms that regularly sow the land with chaotic magic, with the sun burning away any moisture they leave behind. The chaos magic and harsh climate have worked together to populate it with a parade of horrors — packs of mobile vampiric cacti, mountain-sized roc birds made of stone, enormous wind scorpions that surprise prey and evade pursuit by turning into wind, parasitic life-eating flecks that inhabit eyeballs and spread by eye contact...
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Kara takes M'Nagaleh to the anti-matter Earth of the universe of Qward. M'Nagaleh bursts into flames right away and Supergirl has to leave as soon as possible because not even she can survive there for longer than a few seconds.
In a move The Flash had taught her and Superman long ago, they began to lose the vibrational pitch that attuned them to Earth-One, and to slip into another plane of existence. The deadliest one she knew of.
<STOP,> thought Mnagaleh, and, indeed, she had to fight the impulse to stop right then and there. But she didnt.
Within seconds, she saw a similar but different Earth below her, and a different solar system and set of stars about her. She felt the bee-stinging of contramatter particles against her body, and knew if she remained more than a few seconds here, she would be in more danger, perhaps, than Mnagaleh could offer.
Below her was the anti-matter Earth of the universe of Qward.
<YOU ARE FOOD,> thought Mnagaleh, his bulk coursing towards her. <YOU WILL BECOME ME.>
<You will become toast,> said Supergirl, and thrust the towers away with all her strength. A tentacle reached out for her face, brushed it, missed.
The mass of metal and monster hurtled towards the rotating globe below. In seconds it was within the outer atmosphere, and small bursts of flaming explosion were seen. By the time it got to slightly denser atmosphere, the anti-matter fully reacted with the positive matter of the towers and what was on them.
It exploded, greatly.
- The world portrayed in The Croods is so dangerous that the Croods only dare to leave their cave once every three days or so to look for food. Gigantic man-eating cats, snakes that could swallow entire families whole, swarms of carnivorous birds that can strip a land-whale to the bone in seconds, and then it gets worse when the fissures start opening into chasms of lava.
- After Earth has Will and Jaden Smith's characters crash-landing on a "class one quarantine planet" where everything has evolved to kill humans. Which turns out to be Earth.
- The Angry Red Planet. Space explorers land on Mars but instead of finding intelligent life, they're constantly attacked by monsters. When the survivors leave, they get a message from actual Martians, telling them never to return (possibly implying that the attacks were foisted on them on purpose).
- The asteroid in Armageddon is not only airless, it's covered in big jaggged evil-looking spikes and regularly spews forth masses of gas and rock designed specifically to kill intrepid astronauts.
- Pandora in Avatar. Except for the resident sentient humanoid species (who themselves are half again as tall as humans and Made of Iron to boot), the jungle-covered moon is teeming with megafauna, many of which can withstand automatic weapons fire from the BFGs seen in the film. There's at least two shown elephant-sized species and two Giant Flyer species, but you can still survive by avoiding them. But if the planet itself decides that you've gotta go and the local fauna start evicting you en masse, then you're really in trouble. On top everything else, humans can't even breathe the air — it has too much carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.
- Nearly every world seen in The Chronicles of Riddick, save Helion Prime, is a planetary-scale deathtrap. Perhaps justified, since most of the planets seen were uninhabited, but the protagonists were forced to survive there for various reasons.
- Pitch Black: The planet is an arid waste bathed in sunlight 24/7, except for one day every 23 years where there is a total eclipse and the surface is covered with light-sensitive predators. The protagonists only came here because mechanical problems with their ship forced an emergency landing.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: First we see a desolate ice planet, where Riddick had been trying to hide until bounty hunters eventually tracked him down. Later is Crematoria, a volcanic planet with a sun so hot that being on the "day" side more than a few seconds will cause one to burst into flames. In this case, people actually took advantage of this trope to build an inescapable underground prison.
- Riddick: "Not-Furya" is arid and seemingly only inhabited by large hyena/dog creatures that can apparently be domesticated and giant scorpion creatures that live in mud puddles. And there's a storm coming that will wake all the scorpions from dormancy. Though Riddick does spot a lush valley off in the distance. Riddick only comes to this planet because he was lured by a treacherous underling who wanted to kill him.
- Everest (2015): Rob explains to his clients that once they climb above 8000 metres on Everest, they will be in the "Death Zone", and their body will begin to shut down. The climbers are constantly reminded during their summit attempt that they must keep moving or risk death.
- Morganthus in Roger Corman's Galaxy of Terror.
- The jungle inside the board game in Jumanji, down to the plants.
- The dinosaur-filled islands in the Jurassic Park movies (and books) which are even known to Costa Rican locals as "Las Cinco Muertes" (the five deaths). We only get to see Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna though. From Jurassic Park III:
Alan Grant: That's just great. Here we are on the most dangerous island on the planet and we're not even getting paid.
- Quite probably the ultimate example in film is Peter Jackson's version of Skull Island from King Kong (2005). Featuring the Invertebrates of Utterly Horrific Dimensions, prehistoric terrors, and the most grotesque (and dangerous) imaginable evolutionary offshoots — often multiple representatives of them — in virtually every scene. The tie-in book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island details it further, explaining that Skull Island's geology is literally tearing the island apart, making it smaller and smaller until it will eventually sink back into the sea. Because of the shrinking environment, competition between species has accelerated in a struggle for life and death unprecedented in the modern natural world. Skull Island and its creatures are the result of the brutality of natural selection at its worst.
- Outworld in Mortal Kombat certainly applies.
Johnny Cage: "I'm in a hostile environment. I'm totally unprepared. And I'm surrounded by a bunch of guys who probably want to kick my ass... it's like being back in high school."
- The 'game preserve' in Predators is a jungle Death World full of lethal imported flora and fauna. And then, of course, there's the Predators themselves.
- The Fire Swamp in the book and film The Princess Bride, featuring spontaneous bursts of fire, Lightning Sand, and the R.O.U.S.
Westley: It's not that bad.
[Buttercup gives him a look]
Westley: (defensively) Well, I'm not saying I'd like to set up a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.
- Screamers: The colony world Sirius B has become a wasteland due to an apocalyptic war between two different factions who completely destroyed each other. Near the end they release armies of self-evolving killer robots which kill indiscriminately, making the entire planet uninhabitable. Even venturing outside the few remaining bunkers is viewed as a Suicide Mission.
- The film Signs features one of the most dangerous death worlds in existence. 60% of the surface is covered by a fatal, skin-dissolving acidic liquid that also permeates the atmosphere, frequently falling from its skies like rain. All the local flora and fauna are suffused with the acid, with the crowning example being a sentient apex predator that bleeds, spits and excretes the substance through the skin through physical activity. For those of you who haven't seen the film, the substance is water and the planet in question is Earth. It's not a death world to us, obviously, but the alien invaders were another matter.
- Soldier is set on a planet which, while almost a vacation spot in comparison to most examples here, has lots of poisonous snakes and insane winds.
- Star Wars:
- Yoda's chosen refuge of Dagobah is nobody's idea of a vacation destination (at least nobody who isn't a Jedi Master), being a desolate swamp world devoid of sentient life, but hosting such delights as predatory dragonsnakes and a very noticeable Dark Side presence.
- Tatooine is a barren desert home to vicious barbarian aliens, giant desert dragons, and precious little civilization, all of which is run by criminals, although the desert climate is what makes things most difficult.
- Hoth is like Tatooine, except cold and worse. If the subarctic temperatures and howling blizzards won't do you in, the wampa ice beasts will.
- Mustafar is blisteringly hot and covered in many areas by molten lava. But the Separatists managed to build a base there anyway. The reason it's so ludicrously volatile? It used to be a pleasant place, but then it got caught in a gravitational tug-of-war between two gas giants, and the tidal forces have turned Mustafar into a volcanic hellhole as it is very slowly torn apart.
- On The 100 the Ark station is surprised that Earth seemingly isn't a Death World, since the radiation from the nuclear wars was supposed to take another hundred years to subside. In the second season, it's revealed that the Earth's surface actually is lethally radioactive; Ark people and Grounders have just adapted to high radiation levels over the last century. The Mountain Men, who have not gone through this adaptation, become covered in radiation burns after just a few seconds spent outside their bunker.
- Babylon 5: "If you go to Z'Ha'Dum you will die."
- In Defiance, Earth has become a Death World. Fragments of the Votan Arks in orbit periodically fall to the surface, raining razor-sharp metal fragments and big pieces that leave craters, or malfunctioning Terraforming equipment that spawns hybrid monstrosities such as Hellbugs.
- Doctor Who:
- The planet Skaro a delightful wasteland which experienced a nice long NBC campaign by two opposing sides, leaving it essentially a polluted, radioactive stone quarry and hideous monsters living in the Lakes. Also, there are the surviving inhabitants ...
- The planet Marinus from "The Keys of Marinus". Glass beaches lapped by acid seas. Jungles full of hostile plants and deadly mechanical traps. Frozen wastelands patrolled by packs of man-eating wolves. Bodiless, telepathic slavers. Then there's the WAR ...
- The jungle planet Kembel from "The Daleks' Master Plan" is apparently the most dangerous planet in the Universe. We don't see much of this, though it is seen after the Daleks get there and start using Varga plants. Of course, the Daleks could have cleared away a lot of the danger.
- Spiridon in "Planet of the Daleks" is a good example. Plants that spurt quick-hardening glue that can trap you or close off your airways. Plants that shoot spores that, if they touch you, starts growing in your skin and spreads fast. Tons and tons of carnivorous beasts. Hostile, invisible natives. Honestly, when the army of insane alien killing machines is the least of your worries, things are bad.
- Any planet where the Krynoid gets established.
The Doctor: On a planet where the Krynoid gets established, the plants eat the animals.
- The Death Zone on Gallifrey, a site where the most dangerous monsters in the universe (the Daleks and Cybermen are banned, but that doesn't stop them from appearing anyway) pit battle with one another in the Game of Rassilon.
- The planet of Androzani Minor from "The Caves of Androzani" features regular semi-volcanic mud bursts, is inhabited by a (admittedly rather unconvincing) carnivorous creature and is the native environment of a mineral which, in its raw state, will kill you within a few days if you so much as touch it. Not to mention you can get shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as there's a rather brutal war going on.
- The eponymous planet from "Midnight" is seemingly made entirely of precious gems, and as such has a stake as a high-class vacation planet... as long as you stay inside, as the reason the planet's soil has turned to gems is because it's constantly exposed to a form of radiation that would incinerate anything living in two seconds flat. Except for a nasty little body surfer...
- "The Ghost Monument": The planet known as Desolation, which lives up to its name. It's mostly a desert, its atmosphere is described as poisonous, and the water is dangerous to touch as it's packed with flesh-eating bacteria. It's also dangerous to stay outside at night due to the Remnants, killer ribbon weapons mostly immune to anything other than a flamethrower. It wasn't always like this, though: it used to be populated with much more life before the Stenza conquered it and forced its scientists to create WMDs for them, ravaging the place in the process.
- From the audio drama "Death's Deal", the title planet, a giant reef inhabited by various monsters.
- Several worlds in Firefly are Death Worlds, due to toxic interaction between Terraforming and the local environment to try to make them Earth-like. These worlds are generally referred to as "black rocks".
- JAG: A non-science fiction example; several episodes in the later half of the 7th season depicts Afghanistan as one.
- The plateau on which the explorers are trapped in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. A Lost World filled with dinosaurs, Cannibal Tribes, Lizard Folk, giant bees...
- Star Trek: The Original Series had a couple of examples:
- The planet Eden in the episode "The Way To Eden". Looks beautiful, but beware of differing chemistry; the fruit is poisonous and the grass has acid for blood.
- The planet Gamma Trianguli VI in "The Apple", including plants that throw poisonous thorns, rocks that act like anti-personnel mines and directed lightning strikes.
- Vulcan itself is pretty harsh by human standards, being extremely hot, dry and rugged, subject to intense electrically-charged sandstorms, and home to man-eating plants and giant, venomous cat-like carnivores (which are freaking adorable and the vulcans keep them as pets!).
- Star Trek: The Next Generation has Galorndon Core, a geologically unstable planet with constant electromagnetic storms and a strong magnetic field that damages the nervous system of anyone foolish enough to spend too long on the surface.
- Star Trek: Voyager's "Demon" (Y-class) of planet probably qualifies, although the Federation has armored space suits sufficient to let humanoids brave the crushing gravity, poisonous atmosphere, and intense heat. The shapeshifting "silver blood" native to it was a bit more problematic.
- By the time the events of AK47's ISOT Mapgame gets in motion, Europe and Australia become total hellholes.
- In There is no GATE; we did not fight there, man murdering monsters can be found in most corners of the setting. Most notably are the Hardy Beasts powerful enough to massacre entire provinces, such as the Tyrant.
- This is the official term used by the Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000 to designate Single Biome Planets of this description. They're depressingly common, but any native populations are automatically prime recruiting stock for the Imperial Guard or Space Marines - indeed, several such planets were colonized specifically to provide badass soldiers for the Imperium's armiesnote . Rogue Trader characters who hail from a Death World get some serious stat bonuses, because even the biggest wimp from that planet still survived to adulthood on a world seemingly crafted to kill them. Some examples are:
- Catachan, a jungle world where nearly every animal there is said to be a carnivore, and so are the plants, the majority of the microbes, fungi, and viruses. Wildlife includes the Catachan Barking Toad (a "jumpy" critter that detonates into a cloud of toxins that kills everything within a kilometer radius if you startle it) and the Catachan Devil (a cross between a scorpion and centipede the size of a train, thought to be related to the Tyranids). Also note the needle-shooting plants that turn any of their victims into more such plants. Every settlement fights a daily battle to keep its structures from being reclaimed by the vegetation, feral Orks breed in the deepest parts of the jungle, and on top of everything else the planet's gravity is slightly higher than normal. Living past the age of ten on such a planet is considered an achievement akin to graduating from boot camp, making the Catachan Jungle Fighters legendary among the regiments of the Imperial Guard (that each of them is equal parts Rambo and the cast of Predator doesn't hurt). And finally, it's possible the planet is sentient, and hates humanity.
- Fenris, a world that is exclusively Grim Up North. Its elliptical orbit takes twice as long as Terran standard and means that its long winters freeze almost the entire planet, while its summers bring lava flows and tidal waves as the world passes close to its sun. The land is constantly changing, making permanent settlement impossible, and its resources are so meager that its population must war amongst itself to survive. Other claims to fame include kraken, dragons, and wolves the size of tanks. The Space Wolves wouldn't have their homeworld any other way.
- The Blood Angels hail from Baal, an irradiated, mutant-infested, post-apocalyptic hellhole. They seek out similar worlds for training and recruitment purposes, such as an asteroid field orbiting a black hole where quakes can send mountains falling into the void, all sorts of evil nightmares lurk about, and it's a thousand miles to the nearest neighboring asteroid. This make the recruits' transformations into the most angelic of Space Marines all the more miraculous, and may help explain the chapter's preference for shock assaults.
- Nocturne, homeworld of the Salamanders. Already a rugged place of volcanoes, ash deserts and earthquakes, its climate is driven to extremes every 15 years during the Time of Trials, when its moon Prometheus swings extremely close. The gravity shifts ramp the planet's tectonic activity to insane levels, followed by a long and bitter winter that covers the world in a frozen tundra. The good thing is that once things calm down, the upheavals usually expose veins of minerals and metals that the population can mine, making Prometheus a very wealthy planet and giving the Salamanders the respect for preservation of human life they are known for.
- The world of Urisarach was a storm-wracked planet covered in dense, hair-like forests, home to a nigh-extinct race of huge, armored arachnids dumped there because the monsters were just that unpleasant. It earned its nickname (Murder) after a failed incursion that nearly wiped out an entire expeditionary fleet of Space Marines who managed to send this transmission: "This. World. Is. Murder."
- Cadia and Armageddon are not the bad per se, but right now both planets are a constant warzone with the 13th Black Crusade and remnants of Third War for Armageddon. Cadia is generally famous for its conscription rate and birth rate being the same thing and that Cadian toddlers learn to wield a lasgun before they learn to walk. As of now, roughly 7% of Imperium military note is attempting to stop Abaddon's latest and largest incursion so it's kind of crowded there. 8th Edition reveals that they lose, and Cadia is obliterated by Abaddon.
- Krieg and Tallarn are both post-nuclear wastelands. Tallarns are great at mechanized wafare, because the only way to get anywhere on the surface is by using an armored vehicle and Krieg supplies Imperium with brainwashed clones that are overly zealous and really good at siege warfare.
- Craftworld Ulthwe is known as "Ulthwe the Damned" for the exact same reason as the above Cadia. It was one of the last craftworlds to leave the doomed Eldar empire, and managed to avoid being caught during the Fall, but it's now trapped within the gravity well of the Eye of Terror. The wraithbone arches and eldritch architecture are described as broken and defiled by countless numbers of raids from Chaos forces. Luckily, Ulthwe's Eldar tend to have greater-than-usual psyker powers, as well as a Magnificent Bastard streak.
- Altansar, a craftworld that is often named the sister of Ulthwe, spent 10 thousand years trapped in the Eye of Terrornote , but its remnants escaped during 13th Black Crusade. The information about them is very scarce.
- These are relatively mundane locales compared to Daemon Worlds, planets utterly corrupted by the warping influence of Chaos, where reality is reforged on the whims of daemons and the laws of physics are guidelines at best, the results looking something like a collaboration between H. R. Giger, Heironymous Bosch, and M.C. Escher. Despite being the home turf of the Legions of Hell and the fact that some planets may be literally trying to kill you, a few foolhardy explorers brave the Eye of Terror and search these worlds for ancient relics, for many are former Eldar homeworlds lost in the warpstorms of the race's calamitous Fall. The ones that survive probably wish they hadn't.
- There's a tale told about a batallion of soldiers who landed on a daemon world. Every day they're forced to fight to the death against opponents they can never beat, only to be revived the next day to repeat the process. Those guys happen to be Orks. They'd basically found Ork Valhalla.note
- That's a not a daemon "world" per se - that's Khorne's personal realm in the Warp, which makes all the aforementioned (literal) worlds look like Disneyfied resort planets by comparison. In fact, the reason they're there to begin with, as well as why they're constantly revived each day, is because Khorne was so impressed with their initial incursion into the Eye of Terror that he brought them to his domain, specifically so they could fight for all eternity at his (and their) pleasure.
- Also, Valhalla. The planet was really nice place until a comet hit the surface and changed its orbit making it an ice world. note Same comet also brought an Ork incursion. As a result, Valhallans are WW2 Soviet soldiers expies that are great at holding defense in face of unbeatable odds, drowning opponents in bodies and being unsurpassed combatants in arctic environment.
- Mordia is unique being classified as both Death World and Hive World. Its generally not as bad as most examples, the only thing they have are violent gangs, whole planet population being conscripted, regular chaos incursions and half the planet living in perpetual freezing night, while the other half is uninhabitable desert.
- The Necrontyr homeworld lacked an ozone capable of protecting the Necrontyr from the worst of the radiation emitted by its sun. Radiation sickness, cancer, and brief lifespans plagued the Necrontyr. This led to the birth of a culture obsessed with death, an obsession that lingered even after they achieved immortality of a sort as the robotic Necrons. One major reason the Necrontyr waged war against the Old Ones (and eventually all life) was because they envied the Old Ones' power and immortality and resented them for not sharing their secrets.
- The jungles of Lustria are everything nasty about the Amazon heavily exaggerated and with more man-eating dinosaurs and carnivorous plants, with the added benefit of Lizardmen whose Mayincatec culture is fine with human sacrifice.
- The Dark Elves' homeland of Naggaroth is a shadowy, bleak continent whose native wildlife includes hydras, manticores and cold ones (flesh eating dinosaur-like creatures), and with sparse resources that force its cruel inhabitants to turn to piracy to survive.
- As of the Storm of Magic, the entire Warhammer has become this due to the huge infusion of raw arcane energy. Now it's anyone's guess whether that forest consists of normal trees or EVIL DEATH-TENTACLE TREES OF HORRIBLE TOXIC DOOM. You don't want to know what some of the other terrain pieces are like.
- The Northern regions of the Old World in general. The Northern Wastes where the Chaos Hordes reside are a bitterly cold, harsh wasteland full of horribly mutated monsters more than capable of tearing a heavily armed, experienced warrior limb from limb — provided you're not first killed by the local Chaos-worshipping tribes or by Chaos Daemons. Then there's the Troll Country which not only has tons of trolls but predatory animals such as wolves and bears that are thrice larger than regular beasts. This is all in general due to these lands being very close to the mutating influence of Chaos, as the north pole is covered by a gaping hole in reality that leads straight to hell.
- Dungeons & Dragons settings:
- The Forgotten Realms has one of these in the form of the Underdark, a massive underground realm full of all sorts of things that want to kill you. If it's nasty and it's murderous, it probably lives here—indeed, half the reason Drow are so tough is because they spend half their time fighting some of the nastiest things D&D has to offer, and the other half fighting the other inhabitants of the Underdark.
- Eberron has a lot. First there's Khyber, its underdark stand-in. Then there are certain planes of existence (Xoriat, the plane of madness, Shavarrath the Battlefield, Mabar, the plane of death, etc...) and some evocatively named regions of the mortal world: the Shadow Marshes, the Mournland, Frostfell, the jungle continent of Xen'drik and the Demon Wastes.
- Dark Sun's Athas, a world rendered barren by overuse of magic, which in D&D 2nd Ed. has you starting at level 3 so you weren't killed the first time you stepped outside. As Yamara put it—
Our scans show that Hard Fun has only about five weeks left.
Before its biosphere collapses?
No, before its entire planetary mass is eaten by inhabitants.
- In basic D&D cosmology, there's the various Elemental, Quasi-Elemental, Para-Elemental and Energy Planes. Most blatantly, there's the Negative Energy plane, which starts draining your life energy the minute you step in. Then there's the Positive Energy plane, which fills you with so much life energy you soon explode. The elemental plane of Fire is entirely made of fire and the Elemental Plane of Earth is solid earth, with only a very few habitable air pockets. This trope is actually part of the reason why the controversial 4th edition cosmology got rid of the old Elemental Planes setup, citing the resulting Planes being absurdly lethal and, even if you could survive there, tended to be boring, since they consisted of nothing but their specific element in all directions, with some token aspects of other elements mixed in. For this reason, they instead created the Feywild and Shadowfell and the Elemental Chaos... which aren't much less lethal. The Feywild is a place where even the darkest fairy tales come to life and hideously powerful, evil fey, like hags and fomorians, run rampant. The Shadowfell is the land of the dead, meaning it's crawling with undead monsters, can literally steal the emotions from anyone who lives there too long, is full of things like patches of pure entropy, and even the non-undead inhabitants tend to be insane, evil or both. The Elemental Chaos, meanwhile, is an incredibly bizarre, chaotic environment, home to things like floating islands of razor-sharp metal, seas of liquid flame or ice, and storms of pure chaotic energy, all of it swarming with beings of living elemental energy or matter that do not like having squishy flesh creatures running around their homes. It says something when one of the safest races to deal with in the Elemental Chaos are the efreeti, a race of incredibly arrogant fiery genies who want to enslave all other races.
- The Lower Planes. Besides the infestation of devils, demons, and other nasty things, 3.5 makes them quite literal death worlds. In several senses. The Abyss' colloquial description is "too horrible for conventional wisdom to comprehend" (one of the random things you can encounter on its infinite layers is an ocean of insects, for example), and the Nine Hells of Baator are all actively trying to kill you in some way shape or form:
Avernus: Giant fireballs from the sky. Dodge them and you just have to avoid the endless Blood War campaigns that'd love to have some cannon fodder.
Dis: Superheated environment meets government that makes 1984 look like happy flower hippies.
Minauros: Acid swamp perpetually absorbing the structures built on it, largely a wilderness in which giant things lurk which the devils are afraid of.
Phlegethos: Fire-dominant environment. The landscape is made of volcanoes and magma. The entire landscape.
Stygia: Cold-dominant environment. The entire landscape is glaciers and stop-your-heart-in-seconds water. That also rips out your memories.
Malbolge: Before Glasya, a land made entirely of hills suffering perpetual landslides from mountain-sized boulders. Now, the entire landscape is alive, and guess what it wants to do to you?
Maladomini: A morass of sludge and filth that makes anyone who visits lose all motivation. And the air is acidic.
Cania: Major cold-dominant. Breathing kills you, or you freeze to death first.
Nessus: One big flat plane, with some canyons. You have nowhere to hide from all the forces of the heart of Hell. No, the canyons are worse.
- As of fourth edition, Baator is now a planet◊. The one thing that won't kill you? Falling from the upper atmosphere, which is where most people who come here arrive. Why? Because the place isn't merciful enough to kill you that quickly.
- In 1st and 2nd Ed and Planescape, there's still the various elemental planes (such as Fire, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin) along with deadly variants such as Vacuum, Ooze, Dust and Ash, as well as the seven lower planes. The settings were at least 2/3s Death World and 3/2 Crapsack World.
- In Planescape, no layer of the Abyss was considered "safe". However, the Fraternity of Order tried to catalogue the layers, and if they labeled one of them "interdicted", it meant "avoid at all costs if you value your life". Layers that got this label tend to have environmental hazards that are lethal to humans, and the descriptions of each such layer often come from the sole survivor of the expedition team that discovered it.
- Of the domains of Ravenloft, Necropolis is the most extreme Death World, draining the lifeforce from any living creature. Bluetspur, Saragoss, Timor, the Wildlands and Keening are likewise hostile to human life, and the Shadow Rift can make you vanish from existence if you enter it the wrong way. The Mists themselves can be a Death World too, depending on what you encounter there.
- Limbo, the dimension of utter chaos. While most of it is just boiling "nothing specific" that only takes form when subjected to conscious will, there is a large island of stable land floating there too. It is a jungle and an extremely deadly one — since chaos-infused creatures acquire Healing Factor by default, any predator living there has to be all the more deadly. And the constant mutation gives evolution more chances to get the "ultimate predator" right than seems believable. Not that the local plants are any better...
- And, putting all the rest of the examples to pitiful shame, you have the Far Realm. Try to imagine a place where Lovecraft's monsters would not only originate from, but would be the most basic form of life. Now remove everything even remotely resembling the laws of physics, in any possible way. Now make it a billion times worse than that. You're not there yet, but you're starting to get the basic concept.
- For that matter, your average D&D world, including nearly all settings published to date is a horrible death world, crawling with extremely dangerous creatures even at the bottom of its ecosystem (things like three meter-long centipedes that spit acid are treated with as much seriousness as we treat something like raccoons), with sapient kaiju, physical gods, evil uberwizards, reality-warping artifacts and other apocalyptic threats pretty much at every corner. The places described above are notable for giving pause even to superhuman heroes who keep "normal" D&D worlds anywhere near habitable for normal humanoids.
- Pathfinder's setting details all the worlds in its solar system, each with their own hazards, but some are more hostile than others.
- Golarion, the default world, somehow manages to be the worst of the lot despite being an Earth analogue. Monsters are everywhere, from spiders the size of horses and flying undead heads to titanic dragons and mind-dominating worms. Politically, most of the outright good nations are in decline while empires of devil worshipers and necrocratic monsters vie for power. And on top of all of that, the planet itself is a prison for a god of destruction more powerful than any single deity in existence, a god who occasionally manages to find chinks in his cell to loose monstrous spawn on the world to slaughter all they can.
- Eox is a world of the dead after a superweapon tore it open to the core. The atmosphere was ripped away as radiation and sorcerous energies ravaged the surface. The native race transformed themselves into undead in an attempt to weather the cataclysm, while every other lifeform either died out or was warped into something new and horrible.
- Apostae seems like a barren world without an atmosphere until you find the gigantic hatches set into the ground. Managing to enter them reveals a network of tunnels absolutely filling the planet, as well as clues that the planet is actually a giant ship. Unfortunately, the tunnels are filled with malformed creatures resulting from malfunctioning cloning banks, ranging from vaguely curious to murderously hostile.
- Aucturn is alive. Want more details? You don't, but here you go. The entire atmosphere is a noxious mix of toxins that causes hallucinations, while simultaneously making it nearly impossible to see more than a few feet. Notable locations include the just-as-squicky-as-it-sounds Loving Place, a mountain that is actually the gestating child of the planet itself, and a titanic pyramid that houses a cult to the gods of the Dark Tapestry. The planet is inhabited only by its native monsters, eldritch beasts drawn to its power, and crazed cultists. The planet is hypothesized to be the egg of an Outer God, and worst of all? It's getting closer to Golarion.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- Phyrexia is a techno-organic hell, complete with nine spheres, each with its own charmingly bloodthirsty hazards. The Other Wiki has a pretty detailed description.
- New Phyrexia may not be mono-black like old Phyrexia, but that just means it now has five different flavors of horrible death. If you're lucky, you'll be killed by something horrible in short order. If you're not, you're likely to get captured by the Phyrexians themselves, Strapped to an Operating Table, and have all sorts of nightmarish, painful procedures done on you as you're transformed into a new Phyrexian.
- Grixis and Jund, from Shards of Alara. Grixis is similar to Old Phyrexia: cut off from green and white mana, the sources of life, it's a dying world infested with armies of the living dead, which fight furiously over the limited (and dwindling) supplies of life force, and even that apparently tastes like stale water or air. Jund is a world cut off from blue and white mana, the sources of order, and is a wild, volcanically active jungle filled with canyons, with dragons and similar beasties on the top of the food chain, and everything trying to kill you on the way up or down. On the bright side, the life magic is strong enough and the food chain is so horrifyingly efficient that there are no undead.
- Naya, the green-centred shard, also qualifies. At first glance it may seem less threatening than Grixis or Jund, assuming your first glance happened to miss the 50 foot tall monsters walking around the place. Fortunately, they're prone to missing you too—just don't get stepped on. And don't offend the natives, who worship them. And also watch out for the plants, who have to fend off the herbivorous behemoths. And keep an eye out for the regular carnivores. And...
- The plane Zendikar is this. Zendikar is a world where D&D-style adventuring isn't the path to wealth and glory, but survival. Full of ancient ruins filled with booby traps, with variable gravity, a land that is itself alive and cranky, and a chaotic force called the Roil ripping through and randomizing the landscape... well, let's put it this way — the largest center of civilization on the whole plane is a city of vampires.
"Granted, the world of Zendikar itself has done its best to kill you. A geopede bit clean through your leather climbing harness two miles up a sheer face of Mount Valakut, plunging you into a ravine—which fortunately bore water, but unfortunately also bore some rapids-loving breed of piranha. The same second you managed to get your hands on one of those strange stone hedrons in Turntimber, you crashed headlong into a crude earthen pit, facing a baloth who looked like it had just heard the dinner bell. You had almost arrived at the misty Jwar Isle, with your maps and guides intact, when the sea decided to take your journey personally, coalescing into an enormous, briny maw and swallowing your galleon whole, washing away all of your cargo and most of your resolve...you've seen more than your fair share of trail guides perish under rolling balls of lava, snatched up by hungry-tentacled gomazoa, or shriveled up skin-to-bone by a fierce case of mire blight, but that's the open trail for you."
- And then the Eldrazi returned. Which isn't necessarily a catastrophe, as long as you've lived a fulfilling and complete life without regrets. It turns out that Zendikar is even a Death World for the Eldrazi, with the entire plane actively fighting against them and eventually winning.
- The plane of Rath, an artificial plane created by Yawgmoth (yes, that's the same guy who runs Phyrexia) as a forward base for attacking the plane of Dominaria. The entire plane is made of "flowstone", a semi-intelligent rocklike material that can be commanded to take any shape or form. It contains such lovely locations as the Death Pits of Rath, the Furnace of Rath, and the City of Traitors. It is also (probably) the original home of the slivers, a species of vicious, predatory, vaguely insectoid creatures with a hive mind that not only allows them to share thoughts, but also physical traits. Any sliver born with a new mutation quickly passes that trait onto the rest of the hive, and this rapid adaptability makes them a deadly menace to most other forms of life. When the invasion came, the plane of Rath "overlaid" itself on the central plane of Dominaria, ceasing to be a distinct plane and unleashing its myriad horrors on Dominaria. (The stronghold, however, overlaid on a volcano; the slivers, in the bowels of the fortress, were cooked alive. As it turned out, though, extinction only delayed their threat.)
- Dominaria itself spent some time as a Death World during the Time Spiral block. The multiple disasters and near-apocalypses the plane had experienced (including, among other things, the Rathi overlay) had destabilized the fabric of reality itself in this plane. Numerous "rifts" appeared, creating highly unpredictable magical phenomena, bringing in strange creatures from other times (and even other timelines), and draining mana from the plane, ultimately threatening to destroy it—and, since Dominaria is the central plane of the Multiverse, all other planes as well.
- Things really went to pot for humanity in Innistrad — a plane that embodies Hammer Horror — when their guardian angel Avacyn went missing. The werewolves, vampires, demons, zombies, and other supernatural nasties pushed humans to the brink of extinction. Things got better once Avacyn returned. As in humans actually have a fighting chance of not going extinct in a generation or two. Then it got worse when Avacyn decided humans needed to die. Then it got even worse after Avacyn died, paving the way for Emrakul, the last and strongest of the Eldrazi Titans. Emrakul promptly got started on turning Innistrad's entire population into Mix-and-Match Critters by forcibly merging them with whatever happened to be near them. This essentially turned Innistrad into a Fate Worse than Death World. Fortunately, Emrakul was eventually sealed into the moon. Unfortunately, this was only possible because she let herself be sealed
- Sarpadia from the Fallen Empires set became a Death Continent for anything that wasn't a Thrull or a Thallid after those two races turned against their masters and conquered the whole damn continent. Even the Phyrexians couldn't handle the place. They fled the continent after the Thrulls curbstomped them and dreaded the possibility of Thrulls somehow invading the greater Multiverse.
- Amonkhet. From the first time we see it in the lore, the entire plane is a massive desert full of ravenous beasts, zombies, and ravenous zombie beasts because of the plane's unique property of raising anyone dead in the deserts as zombies. Then we find out that there's only one city left in the entire plane that is protected from the horrors of the deserts. And the people in town are more interested in getting themselves killed for the glory of their God Pharaoh (Nicol Bolas, by the way) than surviving in the last bastion of civilization in the plane. Then said God Pharaoh shows up, rips apart the city's protections, kills (directly or not) all but one of the actual gods who protect the city after harvesting the dead populace as zombie armies. Essentially what is left in Amonkhet now is massive expanse of deserts traversed by what essentially is a group of nomads.
- Banshee, the planet where most of the action is in Deadlands: Lost Colony, is a place where evolution got dialed to 11 a long time ago; even the tamest places on Banshee occasionally have to deal with a humongous lizard-like creature called a "Rex" by the locals. There are worse places. Banshee doesn't like it that way, either.
- Legend of the Five Rings gives us the Shadowlands, which are a bit of Hell on Earth... literally. Not only is it home to such jovial creatures as tribes of murderous goblins, gigantic man-eating Oni (i.e. demons), and not only is the landscape full of every devious trap regular Nature can devise (tar pits, deserts, poisoned rivers...), but the geography itself changes dynamically so that the traveller will get hopelessly lost. Oh, and the longer you stay there, the more you'll catch the Taint, an uncurable and disfiguring disease that eventually turns you into a zombie or Oni. All in all, not a very tourist-friendly place.
- This trope is partially averted in the Star Drive campaign setting. Though there are a number of death worlds throughout known space, human technology is generally capable of overcoming the worst effects. For instance, one former death world is now the capital planet of a major stellar nation.
- Niflheim, the moon of the planet Mjolnir in Traveller. It is covered by a vast slimy blanket of creatures that are either microbes or nanobots left by Precursors. No one is sure as no probe has even lasted long enough to say; every one gets devoured in a few hours. Not only that, observers aren't even sure the whatevers will be polite enough not to leave the world.
- The detailed world and creature generation rules make it very easy to make your very own Death World, with all kinds of possibilities.
- Even the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has this, in the form of the Field Spell card, "Venom Swamp," which slowly kills everything except the native Venom monsters. There's also "Zombie World," (a world where everything is a zombie!)
- The tabletop miniature game War Zone has a supplement describing the flora and fauna of the colonized Venus as basically consisting of giant carnivorous plants, dinosaur-like lizards, deadly bacteria infesting the waterways and quicksand pits every inch you dare to tread. And that doesn't even include the Dark Legion's nightmarish troops lurking in the jungles.
- Earth itself in Eclipse Phase, which could be loosely described as a burned-out, ecologically wasted hell zone occupied almost exclusively by carnivorous nanobots, death traps, Exsurgent strains, and killing machines that exist solely to rip off heads and upload the ego contained therein for unknown reasons. A few others have been found through the Pandora gates, not counting the many with unbreatheable atmospheres they include:
- Droplet: Has enough six-meter alien crabs that the colonists carry weapons at all times.
- Echo IV: Known for its aggressive megafauna.
- Nott: Frozen ice ball, in addition there is something out there killing people, possibly living possibly not.
- Solemn: has a bacteria that eats metal, major problem considering how many transhumans are partially or fully synthetic.
- Tanaka: inhabited by ambulatory pseudo-fungi that attack anyone who comes through the gate.
- Strike Legion features the possibility of this trope with planets created for missions, with the options leaving it only limited by the player's imagination.
- Dragonstar has Arangorn, homeworld of the red dragons (and therefore one of the most important worlds in the setting) and a tectonically active hellscape way too hot to support most lifeforms even briefly.
- Of the terrestrial planets in Rocket Age Venus and Io stand out. Venus is a hot jungle planet full of dinosaurs and giant insects. Only the highlands are accessible; The valleys are full of fog so thick a diving bell is needed to penetrate them. Io is a blasted wasteland full of mutagens, radiation and disease. The gas giants are even worse but thankfully less frequented by humans.
- One of the cards in Star Realms is called this. It certainly looks the part - a scarred world breaking up. And it is the base of hostile aliens.
- Les Luthiers: in Añoralgias, a nostalgic zamba about the composer's hometown. The final verses translate to "Hungry wolves howl in anguish while they're bitten by fierce mosquitos, you can't sleep from the cries of thousands of vultures that blacken the sky, there's always an occasional earthquake, and at dusk it rains meteorites". And that's not taking into account stuff like the yearly 10-month droughts (which are interrupted by catastrophic floods), unbearable heat, and the near-constant eruptions of the local volcano.
- In Super Mario Bros. Z, Sonic's home of Mobius becomes one after Mecha Sonic plunges the Death Egg into the planet. The impact causes the planet's atmosphere to be shrouded in thick black clouds, where Mecha Sonic goes on a genocidal rampage.
- The world of Remnant in RWBY qualifies, even if it's an idyllic beach resort compared to many examples here, since most of the flora and fauna won't try to kill everyone they encounter. However, the world is infested with Grimm, soulless monsters who attack humans on sight. The landscape is dotted with fortified cities (some inhabited, some lie in ruin) where the majority of people live, and according to Blake, the few humans who live outside these protected settlements live rather hard lives and have to learn how to fight very quickly or they will die - Ruby and Yang's superior combat skills compared to other Beacon Academy freshmen supports this assertion, although that may also be due to them having good teachers.
- What makes the Grimm an especially dangerous threat is that they're attracted to negative emotions. A couple of Grimm attacking a town might not do much, but a serious problem like a bandit attack or famine will bring quite a few more. The resulting fear and panic from that attack will bring more Grimm, and this rapidly becomes a series of Disaster Dominoes as each attack brings more Grimm until the defenders are overwhelmed. A prolonged period of dread and worry, followed by a horrific disaster, can end up summoning enough Grimm that even the massive defenses of the Kingdoms can be overwhelmed.
- Bandits aren't the only issue. Terrorist and criminal organizations such as the White Fang and Cinder's (actually, Salem's) group are also a big problem, especially given that the latter's sole purpose seems to be attracting Grimm so that the Kingdoms can fall. Even with the powers of the Maidens protecting mankind, they can just as easily end up in the wrong hands...
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger: Near the galactic core lies the homeworld of the Kvrk-Chrk. In addition to having extremes of temperature, gravity, pressure, radioactivity, etc. that would be immediately lethal for most other lifeforms, it has a biosphere so aggressive that the natives have to eat their food still alive and kicking in order to ingest it before necrotic parasites do. Then there are the Kvrk-Chrk themselves, who consider awake and screaming a FLAVOR, have carapaces that would put a tank to shame, and can rip any other species to shreds effortlessly. The aforementioned extremes on their planet makes them essentially immune to all but the most extreme forms of weaponry (and even the most extreme might only annoy them briefly). Among their other quaint customs is, when visiting a neighbor, ripping off one of their own limbs to offer as a snack. They also consider all other intelligent lifeforms "chatty food". They once declared war by taking a defenseless colony ship and brutally butchering the crew, then broadcasting recordings of the slaughter on all channels, promising that this would be the fate of every other species in the galaxy. The only reason they didn't wipe out the competing empires is because they found out the hard way that being unparalleled engines of annihilation on the ground doesn't help too well when the guys you're fighting against can annihilate entire systems with a single shot from a stellar lance several lightyears away.
- Almost entire Earth turned into Death World in Stand Still, Stay Silent. Lands that were not Cleansed are full of trolls, beasts and giants. Seas are full of transformed whales, aptly called leviathans. For somebody not immune contact with any of those means transforming into a troll, and all monsters attack humans on sight. Moreover, after 90 years of isolation, nobody from the Known World know what's really out there.
- Although it practically qualifies as a literature example, "A Christmas Eve in the Future" has a Shell Shocked Spess Mehren visit a brothel, and the prostitute he hires asks him "What's up?" He proceeds to tell her a confessional story of his experiences in a psychic Death World which will Mind Rape you in your sleep. Enjoy!
- Alternia, the home planet of the troll race. This is a world whose inhabitants are nocturnal because zombies wander around during the day and the sun is so bright that it will permanently blind anyone outside during the day. This is a world where the fauna are so vicious, 13-year-old children are expected to be combat-capable. This is a world where the only significantly large body of water is inhabited by a very large thing that must constantly be sacrificed to to prevent it from using its psychic powers on the whole populace. This is a world that serves as the training ground for a Proud Warrior Race that practices The Spartan Way. Thankfully, the protagonists from Alternia are sufficiently badass.
- Let's elaborate a bit, shall we? At daytime, the sun is scorching enough to kill any troll except for rainbow drinkers (who are extremely rare, by the way). At night, you are at constant risk of attack from lethal fauna and flora, seadwellers, bandits, pirates, trigger-happy FLARPers, eldritch horrors lurking in the sea, and, if you are a mutant or cripple, Imperial Drones, Subjugglators and Legislacerators. And that's not to mention trollish society, which is ruled by a gleefully murderous, sociopathic Empress, and a cabal of monstrous, psychotic juggalos who will kill you if you're not funny enough and who worship Lord English . Welp.
- And then there's Eridan's planet, which is even worse. Between all of his consorts going on a homicidal frenzy, and Eridan shooting anything that moves, even the most hardened badass trolls were afraid to set foot on the Land of Wrath and Angels for more than a few moments.
- Also to note is Post-Reckoning Earth. After The Reckoning, an event that involved the entire planet getting thoroughly showered in meteors, including ones several times the size of the one that caused the Cretaceous extinction, as well as a World-Wrecking Wave of First Guardian power, our planet has been rendered a schorched wasteland only inhabited by a few Exiles barely scraping by. Oh, and Earth is now a Single-Biome Planet, because the oceans evaporated.
- Then there's Post-Scratch Earth. It starts out pretty much like "our" Earth, then the troll Empress invades the planet in secret, and starts corrupting the populace through Subliminal Seduction. Then she publicly reveals herself, gets the Insane Clown Posse put in place as Dual Presidents of the United States, whose actions then cause the deaths of 5 billion people worldwide. Then the Empress starts to experiment on the remaining population, trying to bring back the now-extinct troll race. This results in natural reproduction being banned and replaced with an artificial way, the populace's biology being radically altered, robotized versions of the aforementioned Imperial Drones upkeeping an iron-fisted Police State (the originals were Organic Technology), and an attempt to institutionalize Raised by Wolves (It Makes Sense in Context). The result is a massive biological catastrophe as both the locals and the planet's biosphere fails to adapt, after which the Empress says "fuck it" and floods the entire planet. Sweet Troll Jegus.
- Alternia, the home planet of the troll race. This is a world whose inhabitants are nocturnal because zombies wander around during the day and the sun is so bright that it will permanently blind anyone outside during the day. This is a world where the fauna are so vicious, 13-year-old children are expected to be combat-capable. This is a world where the only significantly large body of water is inhabited by a very large thing that must constantly be sacrificed to to prevent it from using its psychic powers on the whole populace. This is a world that serves as the training ground for a Proud Warrior Race that practices The Spartan Way. Thankfully, the protagonists from Alternia are sufficiently badass.
- Invoked and/or Downplayed in TwoKinds. One character's homeland is an (presumably volcanic) island chain so brimming with toxins that his people are immune to most known poisons and diseases.
- In The Silver Eye, the continent is split down the middle by the Deadlands, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They are inhabited by dragons known as weavers that kill all who choose to enter (or who are thrown into them as an execution, as they do in the eastern half of the continent.) The surrounding ocean is inhabited by sea-dwelling weavers who destroy any ships that sail past the continental shelf, and is known as the Deadwaters.
- The Girl Genius version of Europa. There's a reason anything outside of a town is referred to simply as "Wastelands." Wild monsters and abandoned experiments roam the countryside, with massive clanks still seeking to follow the orders of long-dead empires. Mad science has run rampant for so long that Baron Wulfenbach requires his officers carry "phenomenon logs" to document any time the laws of physics seem to have broken. And that's all not counting the Sparks who are still alive, sending new creations of mad science at each other for no other reason than they can.
- The habitat of Eina-Afa in Schlock Mercenary could be considered this to some degree - a large dragon-like creature gets eaten by a whale, of all things, but the enormous technological advantage and available firepower of the visitors makes it a non-issue. Until the local Warden AI takes notice.
- Freefall: Earth, by Sam Starfall's standards. Given his people have not experienced any extinction events, they are particularly simple lifeforms and as such can be easily digested even by creatures not normally considered predators. Sam himself is terrified of horses, cows and ducks, and only vaguely knows that there are more frightening animals. Earlier, he commented ants would be a greater apocalyptic threat to his race than nukes.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Earth, for Kryptonians. They sent overpowered babies to worlds in order to take over those worlds, but later they had a culture shift. In each and every world they went to (trying to atone by taking their children back), their descendants had all been tyrants of that world... except Earth. Earth have so many supervillians that Superman was just too busy keeping Earth intact.
- Tech Infantry has both Fieras VI, a fairly unpleasant world in terms of climate, terrain, and biosphere. But then there's the aptly-named Soul Eaters, alien life forms that possess humans, grant them Body Horror-based supernatural powers, and eventually totally take over their minds and convert them into new Soul Eaters. On top of that, the planet has a screwy magnetic field that interferes with electronics, especially targeting systems, so you can't even nuke the planet from orbit. There's also the prison planet in the R45 system, whose landmasses are mostly swamps overrun with poisonous plants, nasty predators, carnivorous plants, and stranded alien bugs driven insane by the planet's natural anti-magic field. A planet that drives BUGS insane is not a nice place to serve out a life sentence, however brief that may be.
- The Orion's Arm Hazard Scale has four full levels of this. 7) Planetary warzone; 8) Everything Trying to Kill You; 9) Unavoidable death in ~10 seconds; 10) Unavoidable death within nanoseconds.
- Felarya (NSFW), except everything is trying to eat you. Or just kill you. Or, you know, both. The writer specializes in vore, so, as expected, most of the flora and fauna in his magnum opus are based on one question: "How many ways are there for a creature to eat someone?" There's a creature for every possible method. How about gassing you and growing roots into you to suck out the juices? Or portals out of that hell being created by creatures who live between dimensions and will snatch you while you're in Subspace or Hyperspace for dinner? The ones on the low end of his hazard scale aren't safe, they just need to be near you to kill you as opposed to, say, creating a wind tunnel to suck you up from over a hundred yards away. It's amazingly creative. However, if you're not a voreaphile, the sheer number and creativity of ways you can suddenly find yourself in something's gut make it scary, not sexy.
- Little Lenny Penguin And The Great Red Flood's land of the eldritches, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a land chock full of Eldritch Abominations. As an added perk, they can turn you into one of them. (And the experience is quite unpleasant.)
- The native life of Green Antarctica is just plain nasty. There are the Gugs, murderous, raping gorillas, there are ants that shoot fire, giant platypus that have evolved convergently similar to crocodilians, a kind of small mammal who's bite sends humans into comas, and then eats them alive, and countless other disturbing animals.
- Spec World: The setting is an alternate Earth.
- Giant killer dinosaurs still live. There are many dinosaurs that are almost overly dangerous with Names to Run Away from Really Fast like the Ninja (black raptor that often rips peoples' heads off for no reason), the imperial sabre Tyrant (tyrannosaur with sabre-teeth), or the black beast (Africa's largest and meanest predator).
- There are a lot of dangerous not-dinosaurs like the Terrorsaurs (no points for whoever guesses those evolved from), the large variety of crocodilians (cruncher-crocs, croclions, croc-tigers, jagators, cuttercrocs etc.), the mosasaurs (carnivorous aquatic-lizards such as the leviathans, the mosarks and the lizardwhales), ultravipers or featherboas (both incredibly venomous large snakes), or gobblers (it's version of terror birds) that really want to kill people.
- Even the soft and fuzzy mammals of the Mesozoic have been abandoned for vicious and dangerous new ones such as the baskerville (glowing canine-like member of the possum-hounds), Digga-dumdums (large burrowing animals that can use their claws to rip up the face of even tyrannosaurs), the powerpus (large bulky platypus with fangs), Moby Duck (multi-ton marine platypus relative), the unrats (primitive mammals with venom so potent not even the hungriest gobbler would eat them), or the tree foxes (primates with sharp fangs and retractable-claws).
- Earth, if the SCP Foundation is to be believed. According to the Foundation, Earth is filled with anomalies: people, other living things, objects (inanimate and otherwise), places, even concepts, which violate our understanding of the laws of the universe. Many of these are dangerous to humans, with more than a few capable of wiping out all humans if left unchecked. Fortunately, the Foundation is around to keep them contained and unable to harm humanity - except they haven't found all of them yet (and, since new anomalies keep appearing, it's unlikely they ever will) and many anomalies are impossible to contain.
- Ktrit in Junction Point. Its surface gravity is five times that of Earth, and it's a tidally locked planet, meaning that one side is wracked by a perpetual storm that often affects the other depending on the season. Temperatures run from tropical to water-boiling.
- Excerpt of the Journal of Archibald Hannity from The Wanderer's Library.
- The Sporewiki Fiction Universe has quite a few: Nova Thei, the Zi-Jittoram Homeworld, Mahanaya, Vollix, Macronormus and Forda are the kind of planets where the local lifeforms easily have the means ot crush you and swallow you up. Paclernos and Mahanaya are planets where the planet itself may as well be a death wish (Mahanaya has been twisted by relics of the Ayrai'Shikua and Paclernos' environemnt is toxic to anything that's mostly water and doesn't have a natural pH of 2). Aside from Macronormus and Nova Thei all of them happen to be the homeworlds of the most fearsome Proud Warrior Race Guy species in the First Gigaquadrant. Then we have Occasus, an abandoned City Planet that is primarily used as the site for the final exam for the Agency of the Kicath Empire; essentially The Hunger Games only using 14,000 3-3/4 tall cyborg'd up reptillian supersoldiers, no publicity and passing involves surviving for an entire year. To put its lethality into perspective, city blocks have been known to be destroyed during the exams and almost every qualified agent would rather forget about their time there. Let that sink in...
- Earth In The Jenkinsverse. In fact, Earth is not just a deathworld, it is possibly the very deadliest one in the Milky Way, and humans therefore are physically and mentally superior to everybody else in the galaxy without knowing it. To a human, scrubbing the enamel-eating bacteria out of their mouths is a normal start to the day, checking their boots for venomous creatures before putting them on is common sense, and bathing in the carcinogenic Ultraviolet rays of their sun is a recreational activity. The rest of the galaxy consider humans to be terrifying and strange.
- The planet Anur Vladias in Ben 10 was once home to a race of vampire-like aliens known as the Vladats until their war with the Transylians rendered it uninhabitable. Not only is the planet now completely unable to support life, it actively drains it from any living thing. Not even the Celestialsapiens (Alien X) are able to survive there, despite being for all intents and purposes Physical Gods capable of outliving the universe itself.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
- The planet Karn. It's a nature preserve and Single-Biome Planet — the biome in question is a vicious jungle in which everything can and will eat you.
- The original movie-length pilot episode opened on an unnamed planetoid. The atmosphere isn't thick enough for humans to breathe. It's also infested with Crater Vipers.
- The Realm in the old Dungeons & Dragons tv series. Not EVERYTHING was trying to kill the heroes, but most things were, including at least two beings operating on the deity level (one would attack them incidentally, the other was actively seeking to harm them). Most people with significant power were hostile or so totally preoccupied with their own problems that they couldn't help.
- In one episode of the nineties Fantastic Four animated series, Terrax tricked Galactus into devouring a world so awful that it poisoned Galactus.
- Parodied in Futurama; there's a sector of inhabited space called the "Death Zone", but it's just a name, like the Forbidden Zone, or the Zone of No Return. All the zones have names like that in the Galaxy of Terror.
- Invader Zim:
Almighty Purple: Zim again. We really should have sent him on a mission to a sun, or a planet of broken glass.
- One of the Irken leaders makes an offhand reference to such a place:
Almighty Red: Or one of those exploding head planets.
- There's also Hobo 13, the military training planet. It is a barren wasteland inhabited by deadly predators and covered by all sorts of other hazards. The Tallest send Zim there to get rid of him and immediately open a betting pool on how long he will survive.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S5 E26 "The Cutie Re-Mark Part 2", the Season 5 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the various Bad Futures triggered by Starlight Glimmer's interruption of the Sonic Rainboom see Equestria become this, including conquest by the Crystal Empire or Changelings, The Night That Never Ends courtesy of Nightmare Moon, Discord ruling a World of Chaos with the Princesses as his clowns, and finally a completely lifeless wasteland with no explanation.
- Even before that, the show is littered with examples of dangerous locations. The series premiere had the characters go into a forest that utterly terrified them, where they encountered two mythical monsters and a collapsing cliff. We later get to see a hydra and dragons on two seperate occasions, which the ponies just run from, a house-sized baby starbear, a race of goblin-like canines who attempt to enslave a main character, a cockatrice that petrifies a heroine and is implied to be fully willing to do so to children, and an Explosive Breeder Extreme Omnivore that literally destroyed the town. This is all in season one. Later seasons sport regular encounters with strange monsters outside civilized borders, establish that the Big Good of the series personally fought and imprisoned four separate villains that the heroes later had to deal with, reveal the existence of a hive of g-rated succubi, and explain their christmas equivalent is based on the fact that the country was founded when the ponies were driven out of their original home by hate-eating ice spirits causing an eternal winter. Basically, the only reason Equestria isn't a death world now is, quite literally, because of the Power of Friendship.
- Rainbow Brite: Rainbow Land is this before Wisp saves it. Giant monsters are everywhere including the rivers. There are constant earthquakes resulting in rock slides and lava flows. Oh and if you try to get close to the Evil One's castle? Lightning strikes you and turns you into an ice/crystal statue.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
- The Rishi moon, home to a Republic listening post, in "Rookies" faces threats from meteor showers and is inhabited by giant man-eating eels living in the cliffs. The staff is told not to go outside the installation for a very good reason.
- Geonosis is expanded upon in the second season. In addition to sandstorms, Geonosis is also home to brain parasites that can reanimate dead Geonosians in addition to mind-controlling members of other species.
- Thanks to centuries of senseless warfare, Mandalore has been turned into a barren desert outside of several artificial bio-domes. This also resulted in the Mandalorians temporarily turning into a pacifistic culture (aside from a cult of violent fanatics of the old ways).
- Lola Sayu from the Citadel arc is a Shattered World that went through an unknown cataclysm yet is still habitable enough to maintain a well-fortified prison. Outside the titular Citadel, there are lots of jagged rocks, strong winds unsuited for jetpacks and sulfur-stenched lava.
- Umbara is perpetually shrouded in darkness, which can lower visibility. The known fauna on the planet includes giant airborne carrion feeders that aren't above preying on the living and tentacled passive predators that can blend into the scenery (they also happen to be in the same family of animals as the sarlacc). The native sapient species is also one of the most duplicitous and technologically-advanced races in the galaxy, both in utility and military use. On a more ironic note, the Umbarans seem to have trouble breathing their own planet's atmosphere when non-native oxygen breathers can handle it just fine (even with the Word of God confirmation that the Umbaran pressure suits are also providing them a gas-based stimulant).
- Quarzite has a high-pressure atmosphere that would crush most starships upon entering and is only habitable underground. This necessitates the use of a Space Elevator for off-worlders.
- Lotho Minor is mostly a Landfill Beyond the Stars, but is inhabited by savage cyborg scavengers, giant fire-breathing furnace droids that don't acknowledge the existence of smaller beings and has acid rain. Darth Maul also made residence here after being cut in half in The Phantom Menace, having gone insane and killing (and implicitly eating) almost anyone Morley tries to bring to him.
- Abafar is an even more remote desert world than Tatooine whose only attractive feature is a reserve of an otherwise rare fuel. The majority of the planet is a featureless expanse called The Void, and due to the atmosphere's unusual light-bending properties, it is impossible to track the sun, for shadows to be cast and for tracks to be left in the sand. This makes it easy to get lost and die of dehydration, which is more likely if you came to the planet by accident. And one of the few settlements on the planet is a Wretched Hive.
- Star Wars Rebels:
- Aside from the various spires and cliff faces, Shantipole from "Wings of the Master" is mostly survivable on the surface. However, it's a one-way trip for most starship pilots, as electromagnetic storms in the planet's upper atmosphere short out all of the ship's systems upon entry, making landing a case of hoping you crash on top of something flat and not into one of the spires, and there are plenty of ships to find embedded in those spires. This planet was also where the B-Wing prototype was developed, as not only did the planet make it easier for Quarrie to operate under the Empire's radar, he reasoned that if a ship could fly on Shantipole, it could fly anywhere.
- Bahryn, one of Geonosis's moons, can reach temperatures below freezing, the exact opposite of the world it orbits. One creature that has adapted to the moon's climate is a giant, carnivorous lizard called a bonzami.
- Atollon is a desert world with large coral formations and inhabited by giant, amazingly-durable man-eating spiders that can produce webs strong enough to hold down starships, are very difficult to connect to with the Force and react very strongly to negative emotions such as fear (which is not exactly any easy thing to suppress considering that krykna are giant spiders).
- Unicron would be an example of the Genius Loci variant. His outside is mainly devoted to consuming other worlds, and most of his inside is devoted to killing anything that made it in alive with tentacle, spikes, vats of acid, et cetera.
- There are even some continuities where Cybertron is depicted as being hazardous enough in itself. The IDW comics make a point that their war had caused the planet to become completely uninhabitable for centuries (And when we say "uninhabitable", we're talking for a race of Humongous Mecha). When they finally are able to make a temporary base there, the planet is overrun by monstrous Insecticons that tear apart and devour any Cybertronians they come across.
- In some continuities, Cybertron's pre-apocalyptic war environment was pretty damn lethal as well. The exact features are never covered in detail and vary between continuities, but include nameless seas of mercury, acid and liquid helium, the Rust Sea (a sea-like area of "unstable planetary matter and molecular flux" that emits corrosive gasses), the Toxic Sludge Swamps, the Acid Wastes (an area so inundated with neutronic fallout that the frequent earthquakes, acid rain storms and other freak weather conditions are the least of your worries), the Devastator Winds (equatorial windstorms so fierce they can rip Cybertronians apart), and the Rust Spot (an area laced with every kind of hazard Cybertronians can imagine; nuclear winds, toxic sludge swamps, a hyper-corrosive hallucinogenic mist, vicious native predators, deranged cannibalistic tribal Cybertronians, etc)
- There's there's one comic (based on an alternate future to the live-action movies) where Unicron makes Cybertron itself his new body.
- In Transformers Prime, Cybertron has officially become inhospitable to Cybertronian life, forcing the Autobots to stay on Earth. And then its untold millions of fallen Cybertronians get animated as cybernetic zombies by Dark Energon. And to further complicate things - it turns out Earth itself is basically Unicron's body. This leads to a complicated issue: Does this make Earth a Deathworld? It has a highly corrosive atmosphere and is full of dangerous beings, including poisonous plants, ravenous animals and parasitic fungi, plus deadly microbes, and an intelligent species which somehow dominates all of them.
- Third Earth, on ThunderCats (1985), has such charming locales as the Phosphorus Desert (where the sand can burn the flesh from your bones with a mere touch), the Crumbling Cliffs of Vertigo, the Field of Daggers, and the Cave of Time (a deadly place with a curse that causes Rapid Aging to anyone who enters). There's theories it may be humanity's Earth in the far future — if so, no wonder there don't seem to be many humans left. And there's the wildlife, from the black widow shark to earthquake-causing caterpillars. The resident races are interesting, as well: giant stone golems, crab-clawed men, giantors... and those are the low-risk ones. More dangerous ones include giant robots without any real explained origin that do nothing but rampage around. There are a few friendly races around, and they seem to have adapted and toughened themselves pretty well; Panthro commented that the Berbels helped them build the entire Cat's Lair in the time it would have normally taken them to just finish the foundation.
- The Planet Mir, setting of The Pirates of Dark Water, has Middle Ages level of Civilization in a few Island Kingdoms. But everywhere else is filled with vicious pirates and bizarre beasts, with occasional savage tribesmen or fiendish swindlers to boot. And, large areas of the planet are getting eaten away by a substance of pure evil called Dark Water.
- In Avatar: The Legend of Korra, during the time before the Avatar Cycle, the whole world was shown to be like this, except for the lion turtle cities. The lion turtles had to temporarily grant humans the power of the elements whenever they ventured outside, and even with that they often didn't return.
- "Every creature [in Australia] is bigger and angrier than anywhere else in the world... Spiders and snakes and the like normally hide under rocks. The Earth is one big rock, Australia is at the bottom of the big rock, and so they're trying to hide under it."— Karl Pilkington, Happyslapped by a Jellyfish
Australia is so dangerous, we had to give it its own section.
- The variety of dangerous Australian Wildlife epitomizes the continent's reputation as a Death World. The following things will kill you: common spiders, most common snakesnote , ticks, crocodiles, sharks, and jellyfish. And that's just the obvious stuff; about the only things that aren't usually dangerous and poisonous are some of the sheep (which aren't even native to Australia). Among the more unusually dangerous animals are:
- Platypodes (or at least the males), which have some of the most terrifying venom in nature. While many animals in Australia are lethal, the platypus will make you wish it was. The venom attacks the victim's pain receptors, causing pain so horrible that even the highest non-lethal dose of morphine isn't enough to stop it. The only thing that can stop the pain is for the doctor to physically sever the nerve from the affected area to the brain.
- Wombats — they really can maul you. As they're burrowing animals, they have huge, sharp claws. A wombat's main defense against predatory dingos is to run for its burrow, wait for the dingo to stick its snout in, and then kick upward with enough force to crack the dingo's skull. So now you can say getting mauled by a wombat is not the most humiliating thing to happen to you.
- Kangaroos, whose hind legs are strong enough to disembowel a person with a single kick. Makes sense, given how adept they are at hopping around. The kangaroo derives its boxing reputation from its habit of using its arms to hold its victims in place while it wrecks them with its legs. Even its smaller cousin the wallaby can kick you hard enough to break a few ribs.
- The blue-ringed octopus, the only lethal species of octopus in the world. Its venom causes total paralysis, including involuntary muscle movement — such as your heart and lungs. But not your brain, leaving you conscious for the whole ordeal. And there's no antidote for its venom — the only way to treat it is to start CPR and get the victim on life support long enough for the body to flush the venom out of its system naturally. While it doesn't attack unless provoked, octopi are some of the most intelligent animals in the world, so it does make you wonder.
- Box jellyfish, which drift through the ocean by the thousands, but which are so small as to be invisible to the naked eye — and which can also kill you. The most infamous variety is the Irukandji, which will actively seek out its prey, can swim through anti-jellyfish nets on beaches, and pack a sting so horrifyingly painful that The Other Wiki includes among its symptoms as "a sense of impending doom." But the most lethal is the Chironex Fleckeri, of which a single specimen contains enough venom to kill 60 adult humans.
- Also really big jellyfish, like a variant of the Lion's Mane jellyfish◊ that can grow up to 120 feet long and 8 feet across, making it big enough to devour a human whole (although there aren't any recorded cases of that happening). Its stingers can remain dangerous even after detached.
- Cone snails, which are super sharp and venomous and a big reason why you should wear reef shoes when you go into the ocean in Australia. You know it's a Death World when the snails can kill.
- Stingrays, which are usually non-lethal — except they have electroreceptors that detect nearby nervous systems, which means that if one does feel threatened, it's usually going to aim a barb at a vital organ, like your heart. This is how a stingray famously killed Steve Irwin, known to the world as an adventurous animal lover and to knowledgeable Australians as a complete maniac.
- Emus, which are basically really big beaked velociraptors, and cassowaries, which are like emus but a lot more aggressive and with a bone outgrowth that's basically an axe attached to its head. Cracked has a video about why cassowaries are so terrifying. The emu and cassowary were even used as models to make the velociraptors of Jurassic Park. Emus also so tough and hard to kill that the Australian Army waged a war against them in 1932...and lost.
- Koalas, who have razor-sharp claws that are also designed to be habitats for all sorts of nasty organisms (including chlamydia), making them Australia's biological warfare experts. If you try to hug a koala, it'll try to hug you back — with said claws. And its growl sounds like it's from a much bigger animal. Beware the Cute Ones indeed.
- Cane toads provide an odd case, because they're not native to Australia. They were brought in from the South American jungle as a means to kill predators who weren't used to their venom, and to protect local crops. They were very good at the former; not so much at the latter, and they became an invasive species. This was a major impetus for Australia having strict biosecurity rules that prevent you from importing any non-native plant or animal species that can destroy the local environment — even if the local environment is already trying to kill you.
- Australian trees can also kill you:
- Eucalyptus trees have a tendency to explode in the proper conditions. Its dry, waxy leaves and loose bark are very responsive to the country's frequent bushfires. The fires it starts are hot enough to kill basically everything in the general vicinity, which is a very good evolutionary tool for staving off competition (and since it's Australia, the competition is probably deadly, too).
- Gum trees are notorious for dropping limbs with absolutely no warning. Falling gum tree limbs cause serious property damage and deaths, enough that it's a common lesson for Australian children not to stand under gum trees for any appreciable length of time. The legend of the "Drop Bear", an animal that hangs out in gum trees and drops down on passersby, developed as a way to impress upon children how dangerous the trees are (and also to prank the tourists). And yes, gum trees are flammable, too.
- The aptly-named Stinging Tree and its brethren have very fine hairs which will end up on your body if you walk too close — but since these hairs shed, "too close" generally means "about five kilometers". The hairs are actually poisonous stingers which have been known to kill horses, dogs, and yes, people. Even if it doesn't kill you, it's quite painful — it's called the Stinging Tree for a reason — and the pain tends to last several years, because the hairs are too fine to remove but don't break down in your body.
- Even the geography itself is trying to kill you:
- The Great Australian Bight is a region of South Australia where the ground is very brittle and conceals deep abysses leading to underground caverns filled with seawater, which will happily drown you if it isn't soft enough to prevent you from splatting.
- Much of the central part of the continent is covered by an immense, red desert where the temperature typically rises up to 50 degrees Celsiusnote . It's so dry that you'll basically die of thirst if you try wandering around in it and you don't know how to access the very deep groundwater.
- The city of Darwin, on Australia's northern coast and almost right up against Indonesia, is already infamous for its nasty cyclones and isolation, but its soil also contains a bacteria known as Melioidosis which causes what is popularly known as Nightcliff Gardener's Disease. The bacteria usually lives deep in the soil but emerges unexpectedly in the wet season. It has a nearly 90% mortality rate if untreated, and there's no known vaccine. It's so rare and deadly that even when featured on House, a series famous defined by its rare and deadly diseases, the patient who has it has to resort to taking hostages to get a proper diagnosis.
- Australian soil is notoriously difficult to plants that aren't already lethal or combustible, as the Europeans found out the hard way when they tried to establish agriculture on the continent. There has been no crustal overturn in most of the continent since the time of the dinosaurs, so Australian soil tends to be very thin and nutrient-poor, and in many places (especially in the southwest), it's also been sprayed with ocean salt for tens of millions of years. Plants have a strong tendency to stay alive by catching fire, and the local humans had to farm by setting everything on fire periodically. The first Europeans to discover Australia were the Dutch, who decided not to bother. When the English first landed in 1622, they landed in the middle of the wet season and figured the extreme weather was as bad as it would get; it turned out to be as good as it would get, and they got stuck trying to make it work ever since. Their first attempt at European-style agriculture led to the entire colony catching fire at once because they ignored the Aboriginal method — the event, known as Black Thursday, is still believed to be the worst wildfire in recorded Australian history, which means it was pretty bad.
- The Amazon Rainforest is the world's other default Death World, as everything in it — from the plants, to the insects, to the water itself — is trying to kill you, too. It's massive, impenetrable, full of mosquitoes carrying all manner of diseases, and the water has everything from parasites to piranhas to the infamous candirú, which is the size and shape of a toothpick and follows ammonia trails which is why you should never urinate in the Amazon.
- New Guinea is Australia's neighbor (half of it, Papua New Guinea, was even part of Australia until 1975), and it shares Australia's Death World tendencies — but in its own unique way. It's covered in mountains and jungles which are so impassable that the smallest tribes are cut off from each other. Half of the languages spoken on the planet are spoken in New Guinea, many tribes had to resort to cannibalism to survive, and some highland tribes weren't discovered until planes flew over them in the 1930s. The Japanese found this out the hard way when they tried to invade it during World War II, and about 75% of their fighting troops ended up dead, wounded, or sick with some exotic disease or other.
- The American Midwest and adjacent bits of Canada are known as "Tornado Alley" for a reason. The area is a meeting point for cold air from the Arctic, desert air from the Southwest, and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it absolutely perfect for tornadoes. As such, every 10,000 square miles of Tornado Alley gets an average of one tornado every 45-odd days.
- Siberia was thought of as a penal colony for a reason. It contains Oimyakon, the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere. It has swarms of literally man-eating vampiric gnats, several varieties of large and aggressive bears, and swamps full of practically every kind of mosquito there is. The ubiquitous permafrost means that agriculture is not possible there. And although the winters are indeed very very cold, the summers are also perversely very very hot, so Siberia gets both extremes.
- Very tall mountains are Death Worlds by virtue of the extreme environments at high altitude. The "Death Zone" is defined as any altitude above 8000 meters, as the atmosphere is so thin that it cannot permanently support human life. Even the toughest-lunged mountain climbers need oxygen to avoid losing their minds and falling off a cliff. Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, has very unpredictable snowstorms, so the frostbite will get you if the altitude doesn't. K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is actually harder to climb than Everest because it's steeper and more technically difficult.
- Africa has the distinction of hosting both natural and man-made varieties of Death World. It's home to some of the most dangerous animals on Earth, including all manner of deadly snakes, and the world's single most aggressive and dangerous animal, the hippopotamus. Its mosquitoes contain all sorts of exotic and deadly diseases. It's got vast deserts and dense jungles, both of which are oppressively hot. It's got places like Lake Kivu, where volcanic activity could cause it to belch lethal amounts of carbon dioxide at any time. And on top of that, it's home to some of the worst violence and political instability in the world; Somalia takes the cake with its Forever War that has left the government in control of only small portions of the country.
- Arizona is like "Australia-lite". Although it's not quite as obscenely lethal, and it's certainly not as empty with its famous cacti, it still gives Oz a run for its money. It's still obscenely hot and the sunstroke can kill you (except in the north, where the Rocky Mountains start and the frostbite gets you when you least expect it). The local wildlife is still lethal, with not just poisonous spiders and rattlesnakes, but also large predators like coyotes, cougars, and jaguars. It's also home to the Gila monster, one of only two venomous lizards in the world (like the platypus, it won't kill you but it will make you wish it had). The famous cacti tend to hide dangerous insects and also have a habit of snagging clothing so tightly, you have either use a knife or Give Them the Strip. Neighboring New Mexico has a stretch of desert called la Jornada del Muerto, or the "Dead Man's Trail", which is so devoid of life and water that the U.S. government used it to test the world's first atomic bomb.
- Part of the reason some things happen Only in Florida is because it has an absurd number of natural hazards. Various parts of Florida and the nearby ocean feature alligators, coyotes, sharks, rattlesnakes, killer bees, and the brain-eating amoeba. It gets hit by hurricanes and tornadoes on a regular basis. It's made up of porous limestone that lends itself very well to sinkholes appearing at random to swallow you whole. South Florida's machineel tree has sap so toxic and acidic that it causes third-degree burns (and the native Arowaks were known to execute people just by tying them to the tree). And that's before you get to its population.
- The ocean itself is a Death World. More than half the life on the planet lives in the water, and 89% of that is composed of apex predators facing constant starvation unless they get their meat fix. For any given animal, just staying still can mean death, either by being eaten or by starving to death. The deep ocean is utterly devoid of sunlight, can be colder than any place anywhere on the surface, and exerts enough pressure to crush a human body several times over.
- Any major urban area can turn into a Death World if it's not properly maintained, and most industrial-age cities were Death Worlds before they figured out sanitation and refrigeration. Food and water were contaminated, the streets were covered in filth, conditions were cramped and diseases spread easily, and factories belched all sorts of chemicals in the air. The average death rates outpaced the birth rate — the only reason cities survived is that they kept getting more people migrating in from the surrounding countryside.
- Naturally, most Real Life worlds that are not Earth are Death Worlds, and some are particularly nasty:
- Venus bucks the trend; while most planets are obscenely cold, Venus is obscenely hot — the super-strong greenhouse effect pushes the surface temperature up to 500 degrees Celsius. The atmosphere is almost all carbon dioxide and about 90 times as thick as Earth's, but the clouds are made of sulfuric acid. The surface pressure is the equivalent of that several miles below Earth's ocean surface, and the only space probes to even reach the surface lasted at best two hours. Part of the reason it's so hot is that it doesn't have plate tectonics, so it periodically leaks lava from its mantle to cover the entire planet's surface and water vapor expelled by that resurfacing event cause temperatures to soar for a time up to 600 degrees Celsiusnote . And just to top it all off, it doesn't even spin in the right direction. It's more like Dante's vision of Hell than the planet next door.
- Io, Jupiter's innermost large moon, is the solar system's most volcanically active body. It spits huge plumes of sulfur compounds and debris into space in spectacular fashion. Much of the surface is covered with frozen sulfur-based chemicals; what isn't is covered with lava lakes. And it gets the brunt of the radiation from Jupiter's radiation belts, enough to kill a person within hours.
- TRAPPIST-1b, the innermost of the seven planets of the faint star TRAPPIST-1, makes Venus look like a pleasant vacation spot by comparison. An extremely water/carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere up to ten thousand times as thick as Earth's is thought to produce a strong runaway greenhouse effect that causes surface temperatures to scram up to 1.500 degrees Celsius, enough to melt rock.
- Possibly one of the most hellish examples is HD 189733 b, a gas giant 64 light-years away and 13% larger than Jupiter. While it does have a beautiful blue color from space, don't expect to find water on this planet. Temperatures exceed 930 Celsius and winds scream around the planet at speeds of 2 kilometers per second, both of which are products of its close proximity to its parent star. Oh, and that blue coloration? It's the product of high concentrations of molten silicate particles in the atmosphere, which are blown around constantly by the intense winds. In other words, it rains molten glass. Sideways.