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Emotion Bomb

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For goodness' sake, someone get her some ice cream before we all kill ourselves!

"The Tyrant's Blade no blood hath spilled,
But doth the spirit carve.
Soulcutter hath no body killed,
But many left to starve."

Among the ways Psychic Powers, superadvanced technology, and magic can be used in combat is to manipulate the minds of others, stopping them from fighting you or making them fight for you. But not every psychic, piece of mind-altering supertech or spell of mental magic is strong enough for outright Mind Control.

Instead, they may force a particular feeling upon their victim with the Emotion Bomb, which still leaves one's victims able to choose how they react but is often incapacitating just the same.

The effect, which is often More than Mind Control, can also be accomplished in more "realistic" settings with a drug, fantastic or otherwise, that produces or intensifies the emotion in question.

A subtrope of Emotion Control, and supertrope of Supernatural Fear Inducer. Compare Mind Rape. Contrast Care-Bear Stare, which is this but with niceness, to be used against a villain. Contrast Emotion Eater, who eats emotions rather than induces them. Not to be confused with Angst Nuke, where a character blows up from emotion.

Types of Emotion Bombs:

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Sapping the enemy's will to fight is always a good idea; the Emotion Bomb can make it quick and easy (barring any inconvenient Heroic Willpower, of course). Victims of despair begin to think of themselves as worthless, of the enemy's victory as inevitable, and of any attempt at resistance as utterly pointless.

    Despair examples 

Anime & Manga

  • Perona's Negative Hollow attack in One Piece sends a ghost through the opponent that leaves them crippled with despair and depression (often wishing they were, say, some seaweed) though only lasting a few seconds. Usopp, who already lacks self-confidence and spends a lot of time in a funk anyway, is immune to it.
  • Arael's weapon of choice in Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's the Trope Namer of Mind Rape for a reason.
  • In the second Ranma ˝ movie, one henchman uses this on Ryoga. The henchman didn't know that Ryoga's most powerful move is powered by depression. Cue One-Hit KO.
  • The teddy bear Digimon Monzaemon with his Care-Bear Stare-like Hearts Attack has an evil Palette Swap called Waru Monzaemon with a Heartbreak Attack. This reduces the enemy to a sobbing pile of Wangst. Sadly beaten just as he was announcing it in Digimon Adventure, but we finally get to see it in action in Digimon Frontier.

Comic Books

  • The heartbreaker in Saga is implied to do this. Marko says getting hit with it makes him "feel like his dog died".

Fan Fiction

  • In the Phineas and Ferb fanfic Inator Anniversary Contest, Isabella and Phineas get hit with the Depressinator, which causes this effect, and only lasts a day.


  • The aptly-named character Despair in The Faerie Queene. Three guesses as to what he does...
  • The elves in Discworld's Lords and Ladies seem to include this in their general aura of "glamour". How could something as clunky and utterly inadequate and human as you ever hope to defeat an elf? You don't even deserve to exist next to, much less rebel against, something so perfect as an elf. The Auditors also fight like this when incorporeal, making people think that fighting them is pointless because there's nothing really there to fight.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • It's implied that a slow-acting version of this mixed with mundane counterintelligence got to Denethor (book only), finally driving him to an attempted murder-suicide. This is why you shouldn't engage in direct psychic contact with the immensely powerful Big Bad (Denethor has one of the palantíri, or Seeing Stones, like the one that Pippin took from Gandalf and looked in).
    • However in both the books and films, the Nazgûl have this power, mixed with fear.
  • Ciaphas Cain gets a nasty hit of this in Duty Calls, complete with Religious Horror. Heroic Willpower keeps him sane until Jurgen arrives to break the spell, but he was still out of the fight for a bit.
  • Harry Potter's world has Dementors, who guard the prison of Azkaban. Dementors sense and feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings, forcing them to relive their worst memories. It is notable that Dumbledore is against the use of Dementors, considering them cruel and unusual punishment (as well as a natural fifth column for Dark wizards).
  • Averted in The Bones Of Haven. Initially, the Brimstone Boys' very presence seems to have this effect on the Special Wizardry And Tactics team's sorcerer. It turns out he was faking, so as to catch the Boys off-guard.
  • One of the sets of Allomantic powers in Mistborn is the ability to Push (suppress) or Pull (inflame) specific emotions. Even Mistings who only have one of the two powers can very deftly manipulate those around them with practice. A Mistborn with duralumin even managed to force a pseudo-VillainousBSOD by literally completely suppressing all emotion. The Lord Ruler uses his powers of Soothing to deaden the emotions of anyone within about a mile radius of him, sapping them of the will to resist him (though a skilled Mistborn can counteract the effects to a degree by Rioting the emotions of those in his or her immediate vicinity). Later on, Vin learns to do a similar trick, though because she's much weaker than the Lord Ruler she can only affect a few people at a time.
  • In Saberhagen's Books of Swords series, this is what the Tyrant's Blade (AKA Soulcutter) does. When it is drawn from its sheath everyone in a 250m radius including the wielder is struck with such crippling despair that most will be unable to summon the will to do anything, even eat when food is provided.
  • The Nameless one from the Brimstone Angels novel The Adversary is a Chosen of Shar (goddess of darkness, nihilism, and entropy) and carries a permanent aura with her that saps life and hope from anyone in the vicinity. Prolonged exposure is sufficient to reduce Sairche (who in addition to being a poised, composed villainess is a literal devil) to a shivering wreck.
  • Used in the final Inheritance Cycle book. Eragon uses a spell to make Galbatorix feel every emotion he has ever caused anyone else to feel. Galbatorix blows himself up because the pain is just too much. Doesn't qualify as Angst Nuke because Galbatorix is well and truly killed by the explosion.

Live-Action TV

  • The aptly named Despair Squid of the Red Dwarf episode "Back to Reality" causes hallucinations in its victims that are so terrible that the victim commits suicide.
  • According to the Ninjormon, ninjanaries have to fight a sad dragon to get their mission calls.

Tabletop Games

  • The Dungeons & Dragons spell crushing despair does not disable its targets completely, but is one more avenue (along with spells like cause fear) to whittle away at an opponent's combat effectiveness until he can't hurt anyone, defend himself, or even run away.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Lady Olynder, the Mortarch of Grief, has this as her curse and her deadliest weapon: in life, she was a serial Black Widow, who married powerful men and murdered them for their wealth, faking grief and despair in public. In death, her ghost was cursed to feel all the despair of every mortal in all eight Mortal Realms. Forever. However, she's also capable of externalizing that grief and forcing it on others, driving stalwart heroes to suicide by her mere presence. The novel Lady Of Sorrows details this from the perspective of her victims, and it's not pretty.

Video Games

  • Morag uses one of these to turn Aribeth to the dark side in the original Neverwinter Nights campaign.
  • Guilty Gear -STRIVE- with I-No's ascension to godhood, which causes everyone in the world to cry. Not even Zato is immune.

Western Animation


  • In Captus Cinematic Universe, Mister Sadness owns a "state of the art" sadness ray which has the ability to make any normal person it shoots feel an immense amount of sad emotions, sometimes even causing them to break down crying immediately.


Hugely popular with the Obviously Evil set, an aura of terror can have similar effects to that of despair, but usually more immediate and obvious. It tends to cause less passive slumping and more panicked fleeing. Or panicked A-Team Firing. Or panicked freezing-like-a-deer-in-the-headlights. Just as long as they're panicking.

Examples have been split off into their own trope, Supernatural Fear Inducer.

Love / Lust

Definitely more a distracting tactic than an incapacitating one. When Love Is in the Air, no one's mind is on their job. If it's possible to direct the emotion at yourself, you can even use it as the lead-in to More than Mind Control, or just make sure people are reluctant to attack you. See also Charm Person for a character who specializes in this.

    Love/Lust examples 
  • General: If there are any Succubi and Incubi who can't do this, they're very much in the minority.

Anime, Manga, & Light Novels

  • The Girl in the Dress from A Certain Magical Index has a certain psychic ability, Measure Heart: she can make any person feel towards her as if she was their most beloved, shattering their will to fight, giving them an extreme guilt complex and mercilessly confusing their feelings. However, she makes special note of that it only works on specific enemies: Those that wouldn't harm their beloved when betrayed. That is why she stays the fuck away from Accelerator.
  • Salamander, a low-level villain in the first issue of Fairy Tail had such a spell, which he used to entrance young women and attempt to sell them into slavery.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, America invents a "love gun" which he believes would make enemies shot with it fall in love with each other and leave them unwilling to fight.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! played with this by having Mai Valentine (Mai Kujaku) use the "Shadow of Eyes" spell to entrance monsters to attack, having their power drastically reduced by her "Mirror Wall" trap and be destroyed in the process. Yami Yugi cleverly (and in defiance of all game rules) subverts this by summoning "Mystical Elf", a female monster, in defense position.
    • GX also plays with this trope by having Rei Saotome (Blair Flannigan) initially run a deck focused on dropping Maiden Counters on her opponent's monsters and having them serve her. While the way Judai (Jaden) trumps this is within the boundaries of the rules, it still focuses on Burst Lady (Burstinatrix) being female, which is overall irrelevant to the duel at hand.

Comic Books

  • The main power of Venus from Agents of Atlas. It gets them out of a lot of fights, as suddenly everyone is either gaping at her or thinking of their own love.
  • When Eric and Linda Strauss were Doctor Fate, they fought Darkseid, and were losing badly. Then they cast one last spell on him, and he gets this look of utter confusion and despair on his face. He turns to them and plaintively asks "What have you done to me?" to which they reply that they've shared their love for one another with him. Feeling love so discombobulates him that he surrenders. Then one of his footsoldiers kills Eric with a spear.


  • In Saberhagen's Books of Swords series, the Mindsword, when drawn from its sheath, causes all within 250m including gods to become fanatically devoted to serving the wielder.
  • The episode of The Divine Comedy set on Venus begins with a reminder that the planet was worshipped as a goddess because ancient people thought its light brought with it fits of insane, passionate love. Even under such intoxicating light, Dante's focus is solely on Beatrice.
  • One of the effects of P939 in Kronk is a "prommy" phase where the infected seek to have as much sex as possible, further spreading the virus.
  • The finished product in Perfume causes such powerful feelings of love and desire that it triggers an instant mass orgy at the scene of its maker's intended execution. In the end, an overdose of the perfume causes a mob to gather around and devour the protagonist.
  • Vampires in the Ringworld books are non-sentient hominids that give out a pheromone that can override any non-sex-related thoughts in the victim while the vampire feeds.
  • Whateley Universe examples: Fey has a glamour that does this even when she doesn't want it to. Carmilla can evoke a lust aura that's overwhelming. And Cytherea likes to use her lust aura to get her way, since she's really the avatar (or something) of Aphrodite.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, the female aliens go into heat when exposed to ginger (and their pheromones drive nearby males into a mating frenzy). So the clever earthlings use ginger bombs.
  • In Codex Alera, Earthcrafters are able to invoke either lust or calm in people they are in close contact with via their furies. The furies themselves may directly invoke this as well, when they think their human needs it.

Live-Action TV

  • The "gay bomb" is referenced on 30 Rock, when Jack Donaghy uses it on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to get fired and return to GE.
  • Star Trek:
    • A less-publicized race is the Deltans, a species that look like hairless humans (they have eyebrows and eyelashes, but male and female are both completely bald). They naturally produce universally recognized pheromones, and when in Starfleet have to take pheromone-production-inhibitors to keep everyone (of either gender, apparently) from trying to have sex with them.
    • Polywater (featured in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Naked Time" and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now") surreptitiously replaces the water in any organic systems it comes in contact with, spreading like a disease. It puts humanoids into an intoxicated state when they're infected, and one of the most noticeable effects of a polywater outbreak is that suddenly Everybody Has Lots of Sex.
  • Torchwood:
    • In the first episode, Owen is shown using some sort of alien breath spray that causes anyone who gets a whiff of it to want to jump him right there and then.
    • The following episode has an alien that possesses a human invokes Out with a Bang coupled with driving people around it mad with lust.
  • Alisha's power in Misfits makes anyone she touches crazy with lust for her. This often does more harm than good.

Other Sites

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • This is usually the emotion stoked by your average Charm spell.
  • A Valentine's Day seasonal event in World of Warcraft has someone do this worldwide so that everyone will be moonstruck and distracted for some attack that's never followed through on. He has help from some naive individuals who really just want to "help ease the awkward rituals of courtship".
  • The Pokémon move "Attract" gives a chance that Pokemon of the opposite gender will become too smitten to attack.
    • Pokemon fangame Pokémon Clover has the "Gay Agenda" move, which does the same as attract, except that it only works on Pokemon of the same gender.
  • Baroque has Lust as a status ailment. It makes all enemies and treasure chests look like women (and the women all look the same).
  • RuneScape: The God of Light Seren inspires love and trust in everyone near her, whereas her counterpart the God of Darkness simply subsumes people's free will. There's little difference in the end — prolonged exposure reduces people to a state of blind obedience, and Seren can't turn it off.
Web Comic
  • In Grrl Power Dabbler is a succubus who is able to push her lust aura to cause others to become aroused. It's strong enough thhat her boobs are "literally hypnotic" and she can detect the presence of other people who are aroused even if otherwise invisible.

Western Animation

  • Ember in Danny Phantom made Danny fall in love with Sam to distract him from fighting her.

Real Life

  • In a strange Real Life example, during a "no criticism allowed" brainstorming session the US Army speculated on chemicals to provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops. Found here with other lovely ideas that never got past the brainstorming point. Nevertheless, it has found its way into pop culture (see above).


Why go with the hard route of pleasing people through expressing altruism, charity and suchlike? Just skip the middleman and make them feel happy in an instant!

This is rarely seen as positive as, even if you can make people happy, it's likely done against their will (unless the affected people consents, like asking to be made happy - which is rare, but does happen). There's also the case of making people happy without actually solving their individual problems, which will make things worse down the line.

See Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul for examples of this.


Despite being one of the least subtle emotions, anger requires perhaps the most finesse to weaponize effectively. Afflicting someone you're already fighting with Unstoppable Rage is... unwise. (Though it can be used to your advantage if you remove their ability to think straight, or at least get them pissed enough to charge in without taking time to plan—some video game foes can cause absolute devastation by inflicting the Berserk status (while others can have their ability to inflict damage or defend themselves completely nullified). But if you can deploy it from a safe distance before or between fights, especially if their alliance against you is already a case of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, it's amazing how much trouble can be caused.

This is its own subtrope, Hate Plague, so examples go there. Compare I Shall Taunt You and Troll for making people angry the mundane way.

Other or Multiple:

    Other / Multiple examples 

Anime & Manga

  • In Fairy Tail, the Moe stellar spirit Aries uses Wool Bomb attack, which overwhelms her opponents with comfort.
  • Masamune Ichijo from Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches can use his "Power of Provocation" to enhance people's negative emotions - usually jealousy, anger, and/or feelings of inferiority - and make them mostly unable to control them.
  • Tamami Kobayashi in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable has a Stand called The Lock. It manifests inside a victim when they experience guilt, passively amplifying the sense of guilt and physically weighing them down. The more guilt a person feels, the larger and heavier The Lock becomes. If the Lock becomes large enough, the victim can be driven to commit suicide under the weight of their guilt. Because Tamami is an experienced, amoral con man, he has no problem rigging scenarios to plant a seed of doubt about his targets' guilt, thus allowing The Lock to take effect.

Comic Books

  • The Authority: One arc has a previous Doctor kick the team's ass and lay waste to the planet until they force empathy on him, making him feel the suffering of all his victims. They kill him while he's reeling in horror and remorse.
  • The Psycho-Man, a villain from Fantastic Four, has three settings on his emotio-caster: Fear, Hate, and Doubt (the last of which has similar effects to Despair, but is less likely to produce suicides). Usually he is a serious villain who uses the 'caster to Mind Rape his foes, but on one occasion he attempts to get the rather stupid "hero" Drax the Destroyer to do his bidding and is brought to lament that he needs some new settings on the thing — hate makes Drax lash out at everything, including him, while fear and doubt make him cower.
  • The DCU:
    • Wonder Woman has an aura of truth, such that it's nearly impossible to lie to her face even when she's not using the magic lasso on you, and weaker minds are liable to just start spilling their guts from sheer proximity. Some writers extend this into a sort of aura of trust, making people calmer and more amenable in her presence to a supernatural degree even beyond what you'd expect from a hero of her stature. Genocide, a new foe introduced in Wonder Woman (2006), being an evil Frankenstein version of Diana, has traded in the aura of truth and trust for the more standard villainous aura of despair and loathing.
    • The Seven Deadly Sins are demons who can make people fall under the influence of their respective sins. One villain Sabbac briefly merged with all seven demons and gained their powers. The first thing he did was to use Lust to make a prison complex have a massive orgy just for kicks.
  • In Strikeforce: Morituri, Scaredycat is able to broadcast emotions into everyone nearby; she typically uses fear or disgust to incapacitate enemies, or excitement for her allies. Her teammate Scatterbrain can broadcast mental states, such as drunkenness, for a similar effect.
  • Finger Guns: The finger gun ability that the kids have can control people's emotions. Two fingers (the ring and middle finger) together can make someone angry, pointing just one (ring finger) can calm them down. Wes is good at the first ability, Sadie is good with latter. Crossing the middle and ring finger can apparently either make someone brave and/or make them feel good about themselves.

Fan Fiction

  • In Forward, all of the above and more are used as weapons by the Inducer-type psychics, which are psychics who can manipulate human emotions. Lust, fear, and despair are used alternately on River when she confronts one of the Inducers, and Hate Plague is used on a bystander to make him shoot and critically injure Mal.
  • In The Child of Azkaban, Voldemort reveals to Harry that both he and Harry possess a rare magical skill (other than being a parseltongue) that causes them to emit a magical aura that enforces a specific temperament onto those around them. Voldemort emits an aura of awe, ensuring that those around him - be they allies or enemies - notice him and take him seriously. Harry on the other hand enforces a sense of Reason, causing those around him to remain calm and think rationally, with prolonged exposure healing mental trauma, as it slowly did with the Longbottoms and the inmates in Azkaban.
  • In Faded Blue, like his mother, Steven can immobilize Gems by overloading them with negative emotions. He also has a lightning attack that forces people to listen to their own worst fears about themselves. 
  • A Wolf In The Garden: Leman Russ is sent on a quest where he must complete a trial for each of the (non-Chaos versions of the) gods. Slaanesh's trial is forcing Leman to walk through a hallway, where each step exposes him to a different vision. In order: he experiences the despair and humiliation of Lorgar and the Word Bearers when the Emperor rejected them at Monarchia; the fear and misery of Mortarion and the Death Guard when they were suffering from Nurgle's Rot, but unable to die; the pain Angron felt when the Butcher's Nails were implanted; Konrad's despair on the night he committed suicide; the day he burned Prospero; and many, many more,, finally culminating with the Emperor's regret and Horus' fear during their duel at the end of the Heresy.
  • In The Infinite Loops, there's a fused loop between Mega Man and Inside Out where a total of 6 are made. One for each emotion known as Joyous Sunburst, Sad Raincloud, Blooming Disgust, Frantic Fright, and Angry Flame, and one that is basically an emotional reset button called the Zen Buster.

Film — Live-Action

  • The "blamethrower", from Mystery Men, produces not so much Anger as petty bickering.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) has a "Point of View" gun, which forces the person hit to suddenly understand the wielder's point of view. Generally just distracting, but utterly incapacitating when Marvin uses it, as you can imagine.
  • The Force power known as Battle Meditation works by bolstering the confidence, courage, and such of the practitioner's allies while at the same time sapping the enemy's will to fight and causing despair and a huge morale drop. It's a very difficult and complicated power, and is very rare; users include Oppo Rancisis, Bastila Shan, and Lord Kaan.


  • The Ilivais units in Ilivais X (especially the Phonos Weapons) tend to utilize emotion as a control scheme, at the very least. The Phonos Weapons and their pilots have ridiculously strong Drive Cores, and all of them except for Iriana have been reduced to near Soulless Shells that only live to feel their set emotion. Iriana has a weird thing that's caused due to X's Drive Core being essentially a really powerful version of the standard, and uses this because she's trying to become an Emotionless Girl instead of a Love Freak. This at least partially explains why she isn't as good at piloting it as Mille.
  • Flinx, main protagonist of the Humanx Commonwealth universe, by Alan Dean Foster, has empathic powers that were originally sense-only, but received an upgrade in Flinx in Flux that allowed him to fully access his latent projective powers. He has used this ability to induce catatonic fear and/or despair in his enemies, at one point immobilizing a youth gang simply by exposing them to a glimpse of his personal angst. In Reunion, he uses his powers to seduce an employee of the Terran Shell complex in order to gain access to restricted data, and manipulates the computer itself.
  • The Gubru in The Uplift War have spheres which broadcast signals which produce certain emotional responses in anyone who gets too near. Fibbin, one of the main characters, encounters one set which broadcasts fear, and one which broadcasts self-consciousness. Fortunately, neither set is a match for a determined neo-chimp "with delusions of adequacy".
    • In Startide Rising many psi-weapons are mentioned in the massive space battle happening overhead. The Streaker crew use a psi-bomb as a distress beacon. And the Karrank% unleash a psionic assault that temporarily disorients every non-cetacean sophont in the system, the humans are less affected than most since their brains have some similarity to their dolphin clients.
  • In The Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb, a form of magic induces despair and fear.
  • The Shamer Chronicles by Leene Kaaberboel has at its center two women who are Shamers. They can make people feel buried shame by looking them in the eyes. Conventionally in their society, it is used to find out if an accused is guilty or not, and to make criminals repent on their behaviour. The books also shows it backfiring in several ways.
  • Codex Alera: Firecrafters can inflame the emotions of others. Senators and Lords of the realm that can firecraft generally use this ability during their speeches to influence the listeners. Also, Earthcrafters can create lust, which many exotic dancers use to their advantage - though being able to throw your clientele farther than you trust them doesn't hurt, either!
    • While politicians use firecrafting subtly, it goes up a notch. In the first book Count Gram creates a fear strong enough to drive back a barbarian horde, and Gauis Sextus can knock entire legions of veteran soldiers unconscious through sheer mind-breaking terror.
      • knock unconscious hell, some of them died from it!
    • Watercrafters have a lot of trouble turning off their psychic sense, such that cities can be actually painful for strong watercrafters from the steadholts. It's also a great way to neutralize them in a fight - just give in to a strong emotion like panic.
      • Tavi takes out a notably-insane expert swordswoman by using his watercraft to figure out which taunts would be most effective, causing her to lose her cool and make mistakes.
  • This is the schtick of the White Court vampires in The Dresden Files. The most common emotional affinity is lust, especially among House Raith, which is why they're often called Succubi and Incubi. Other branches specialize in fear or despair. (Though, interestingly, real, pure emotion can actively injure them; True Love burns lust-feeders, for example.) In addition, there's Vittorio Malvora: because he decided to do some finagling outside of the traditional Planet of Hats line, he has the ability to use despair, plus lust, plus fear, all at the same time. It takes the Heroic Sacrifice of a freakin' fallen angel to keep it off Harry.
  • Worm and its sequel Ward have many capes that can influence emotions of others:
    • Glory Girl can create an aura which causes awe in those around her — awe which tends to manifest as fear in those opposing her.
    • Gallant fires beams which induce random emotional states in those he hits.
    • Heartbreaker can induce permanent emotional changes in people, which he uses to kidnap and brainwash women into his harem. He can also use a short term form of this, hitting his targets with a single concentrated blast of emotion. He often used this power to discipline his children; it's implied Regent's sociopathy is at least partially due to overuse of this ability burning out his ability to feel normal emotions. Several of his children (collectively known as the Heartbroken) also have emotion-based powers:
      • Cherish has similar powers as her father, though non-permanently and at a longer range. She uses it to drive people to suicide.
      • Nicholas can cause extreme fear in other people around him.
      • Roman can cause intense, psychotic rage in his target, but it also affects himself at the same time.
      • Aroa can fire blasts at people that cause them to enjoy pain.
      • Candy can cause extremely intense hallucinations of pleasurable experiences tailored to her victim, which causes them to permanently hate those experiences afterward.
    • Precipice has a minor emotion power that allows him to cause feelings of guilt and shame in his target, though not intense enough to incapacitate them. He finds it worthless, although Victoria finds a use for it: intentionally subjecting his allies to his power in the middle of a fight makes them much faster learners because the amplified feelings of shame acts as negative reinforcement. It's still not at all pleasant to go through, however.
  • The Protege in Brennus continually projects mind-breaking shame into the minds of everyone within his range — which covers sixteen square miles. The closest anyone has gotten within six years was five hundred metres, achieved by a metahuman with a supposedly invincible mind shield who subsequently went insane. Thankfully, the Protege also hasn't moved in those six years.
  • In Dream Park, Neutral Scent is an experimental emotion-enhancing chemical that intensifies whatever a person is already feeling. When a sample is unleashed on a group of unsuspecting Gamers, some run off in fear, others goof around, two of them pick a nasty fight, and several pair off to have sex.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, when Cheris' fleet enters the calendric rot zone for the first time, everyone but her falls unconscious or catatonic, and Cheris herself almost takes her own life before Jedao talks her through it.
  • The Wandering Inn: When Erin uses her "Immortal Moment" skill while singing, everybody present hears instruments that aren't being played and is moved to tears by the music, even the toughest listeners.
  • In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Vin and Elend make a point to Straff Venture about Bullying a Dragon by using duralumin-enhanced emotional Allomancy to bombard him with one overwhelmingly powerful emotion after another, and finally an apathy strong enough that it feels like dying to him.
    • In the sequel Wax and Wayne, Marsh needs to talk to Marasi in private. Unfortunately, that someone is believed to be the Grim Reaper, and is generally considered terrifying to most of the populace. So to get her to chase him, he slams her with curiosity, and once she sees who he is, he deadens all emotion to stop her from panicking. Marasi intellectually knows that she'd be terrified, if she could feel anything at all.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Mule": This is The Mule's favorite weapon. Used broadly, it makes enemy armies surrender. Used narrowly, it is the most horrible death possible. He can produce other emotions too, such as loyalty and confidence for his own servants.
    • "Search by the Mule": While in the first chapter, in conversation with Bail Channis, the Mule forced him to feel overwhelming grief, in direct response to his delight. It is later revealed that the Mule was testing him, and he managed to block the Mule's attack briefly, something only another person with Psychic Powers could do, which reveals him to be an agent of the Second Foundation.
  • A rare positive examples of the trope is used in The Charmed Sphere. Magic users can't use their gifts to harm another living creature, but the tiny kingdom of Aronsdown still makes use of Military Mages. Protagonist Chime is an emerald-level mage capable of casting powerful mood-detecting, mood-boosting, and mood-altering spells found in the green spectrum (as well as the pain-soothing orange spells and emotion-soothing yellow spells). When she uses her powers to bolster Aronsdale's army, she does so by pumping up the morale and confidence of Aronsdale's troops as they face the invading army of Harsdown.

Live-Action TV

  • The Eureka episode "Alienated", has several characters unknowingly hit by an experimental beam that causes extreme paranoia, while watching a movie about an Alien Invasion. They kidnap a visiting senator, who they're sure is being controlled by an alien.
  • Used comically in Get Smart where Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) and Ozark Annie (Carol Burnett) are escaping from a KAOS lab. They're developing airborne gasses that instill fear or lust — but so far only able to affect females. The two flee into a room with the first gas, and Annie dissolves into horrified shrieking fits at Max. She runs into the next room, Max cautiously pursues her — and she's become an aggressive, heavy-breathing vamp, to his alarm.
  • One Monster of the Week in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger had, of all things, a magic fishing rod. With it, he could fish out what looked like glowing copies of people's skeletons, leaving his victims "boneless" and turning them into a Lazy Bum.
  • Implied in WandaVision: Episode 5 reveals that everyone in the sitcom reality can feel the grief Wanda feels over the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame while they are being forced to act like typical wacky sitcom characters, but they cannot do anything about it due to said brainwashing. The only ones who appear to be exempt from this besides Wanda and Vision themselves are Wanda and Vision's kids Billy and Tommy and Agnes, who is the one responsible for much of the show's plot in the first place.


  • "The Thing in the Bass Amp!" by The Aquabats! is about a town overcome with malaise and apathy thanks to the eponymous Thing.
    Well it's got my goat, for heaven's sake
    What? Ha-ha!
    Seen something come over the people 'round here
    They never leave their comfort zone
    What? Ha-ha!
    They seem not to care, so try to steer clear

Other Sites

  • SCP Foundation, SCP-1225 ("The Worst Christmas"). Anyone who spends more than 4 hours per 24 hour period within 10-12 meters of SCP-1225 will express aggression, anger and irritability as well as decreased patience and tolerance for frustration.

Tabletop Games

  • This is one of Red's specialities in Magic: The Gathering, since it is the colour of emotion; most of the time its anger or fear (since it is a game about fighting, after all), but occasionally love/lust is also induced. Black also gets a few on virtue of being the colour of darkness, inducing despair and fear.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • There are a bunch of emotion-affecting spells, including the one actually named Emotion. (That spell includes Despair, Fear, Love and Rage)
    • Sympathy and Antipathy are two other good ones. Cast on a place, they make you very strongly want to stay there, or get out as soon as possible. Cast on an object, they make you either covet it and obsess over possessing it, or want absolutely nothing to do with it. Furthermore, they only affect specific beings determined when you cast the spell, leaving all other beings unaffected.
    • Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter. It not only incapacitates the target, but also weakens their muscles for a while after they calm down.
    • In 1st Edition the psionic ability "Telempathic Projection" could send an emotion to a target creature.
    • Calm Emotions is the opposite, damping strong emotions within a target area. While it can be a useful way to have a sensible conversation with someone, in such a combat-oriented game it's perhaps most useful as an offensive maneuver, making a target so mellow that they fail to adequately defend themselves.
  • In Nomine: The Habbalah impose anger, hatred, depression, love/attraction, fear, or nearly any other emotion upon others. They can also impose "emptiness", which is essentially a state of total emotionless apathy. However, if the target successfully resists, the emotions will sometimes backlash upon the demon, who can either accept them, and be affected by their own power, or absorb them and eat dissonance. If the demon is subjected to his own emptiness, however, there is a small chance that he may instantly realise he is a demon... since Habbalah by default are deluded into thinking they are angels.
  • The Psychic Powers sourcebook for GURPS includes a literal emotion bomb — when it goes off, everyone in range experiences the emotion preset into it. The Mind Control skill can be taken with an "Emotions Only" limitation, and the Terror advantage produces fear or "awe".
  • The "Emotion Control" power in Mutants & Masterminds, which can also be used to instill calm or hope.
  • Paranoia Tabletop RPG. 2nd Edition changed the Empathy mutant ability so that the user could project his own emotions onto an opponent.
  • Changeling: The Lost offers several Emotion Bombs to the members of the Great Courts. Each Court (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) has a Fleeting [Season] Contract list centered around manipulation of the Court's ruling emotion (desire, wrath, fear, sorrow). In addition, high-powered changelings have the ability to inflict bedlam, which hits everyone in the immediate area with an intense dose of an emotion.
  • Geist: the Sin-Eaters likewise has various ways to make this work through the Passion Key. The Passion Boneyard allows a Sin-Eater to enter a trance and assume control over an area, where he can manipulate the emotions of everyone therein (and gain benefits when they act towards a certain emotional resonance). The Passion Curse, on the other hand, hits a target with an uncontrollable burst of the Sin-Eater's choice of emotion... and higher levels make it spread to everyone the target touches.
  • Khorne of Warhammer 40,000 has this for his followers, particularly in the World Eater Chaos Space Marines. Though most of them underwent voluntary lobotomy beforehand.
    • More to the point, Slaanesh is the Chaos god of lust, pleasure and emotion and experience in general as long as it can be experienced to excess. Inflicting overwhelming emotion on people is both a reward for worshippers and attacks on non-worshippers. As far as Slaanesh is concerned, there's really no difference.
    • Nurgle is also considered the god of despair and other associated negative emotions. However, there tends to be more focus on disease and death, with the emotion side of things generally being a side effect rather deliberately used as attacks.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons compatible The Tome of Mighty Magic supplement by North Pole Productions. The spell Emotion Alteration can instill any emotion desired in the target, such as loyalty, panic or love.

Video Games

  • In .hack//G.U., this appears to be what happens to people infected with AIDA: it doesn't force an emotion on someone, but it amplifies their existing emotions to extreme levels. This is almost universally a bad thing, regardless of which emotion was amplified. A few examples:
    • Atoli. Sweet and bubbly, but hides a need to be accepted due to a background of abuse. AIDA amplifies the need for acceptance, making her extremely subservient to Sakaki and her Avatar Innis is unlocked in a fit of rage towards Haseo for not paying attention to her as much.
    • Sakaki. Puts himself forward as a defender-of-the-weak paladin type, but AIDA amplifies his own power complexes and makes him one of the most active villains of the series, driving him mad the less Haseo is able to stay under his thumb and fight back.
    • Ovan's cool, confident, mysterious persona hides that AIDA is in his massive cannon-arm and primarily amplifies desperation: doing anything to get his sister free from a coma even if it includes manipulating a bunch of people and putting even those who he would consider friends at risk of the same fate if it meant having her back.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has multiple spells to this effect. For added effect, each can be crafted into a massive Area of Effect spell if you choose, making it even more "bomb"-like. Examples:
    • The Calm spell will turn hostile foes non-hostile for the duration of the spell.
    • The Frenzy spell will turn non-hostile foes hostile for the duration of the spell.
    • The Rally spell will turn neutral targets into allies for the duration of the spell.
    • the Fear spell will make a target flee from anything hostile to them for the duration of the spell.
  • The Epic Battle Fantasy series has the Berserk skill, which inflicts Berserk on its target. It was limited to targeting allies in its debut in Epic Battle Fantasy 3, but it would gain the ability to target foes in Epic Battle Fantasy 4. Epic Battle Fantasy 5 would add a multi-target version, called Raging Force.
  • The Parabola Gun in Mega Man Legends 2 causes the target to feel one emotion only: uncontrollable laughter. It's so potent that it works on both organic (Glyde) and non-organic (Glyde's birdbots) beings. The laughter is so bad that two of Glyde's birdbots start clubbing the bridge and blowing up Glyde's main ship just to get the laughter out while Glyde can do nothing but watch.
  • Occurs in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. When Liquid shuts off SOP the first and second time, the soldiers affected immediately experience all the emotion the system had prevented them from feeling. This involves such graphic displays as soldiers unable to stop laughing as they beat the shit out of their comrades, and other soldiers simply killing themselves as fear and sadness overwhelms them. Most become brain-damaged from the extreme emotional trauma they endure.
    • Similarly, Snake himself can get four kinds of "Emotive Ammo": crying, screaming, laughter, and rage. Crying makes them drop their weapons and break down in tears, screaming makes them flee in terror, laughter turns them insane and makes them fire on allies and enemies alike, and rage makes them rush the enemy in a way that would make Leeroy Jenkins proud.
  • Emotions is one of the core battle systems in OMORI, and thus there are various ways to inflict Emotions on either allies or enemies. Right off the bat, Omori has the skill Sad Poem to make a character Sad, Aubrey can make a character Happy with the skill Pep Talk, and Kel can Annoy someone to make them Angry. Hero also learns Massage very early on, a skill that removes a character's Emotion. As the game progresses, you can find many more ways to inflict or remove Emotions.
  • Literally used in Psychonauts with the Confusion Grenade, which manifests as a green question mark of psychic energy before being primed and thrown by the player.
  • Star Trek Judgment Rites features The Savant, an Energy Being comprised of pure emotion. However the Savant wishes to maintain a state of pure joy, and therefore excretes all other emotions in the form of large gem-like rocks, which can be found littered around its Pocket Dimension. When touched, these rocks trigger an intense emotion in the victim, corresponding to the color of the rock. This nearly causes the Landing Party to attack one another, break down in hopelessness, or cower in fear. In the end, Kirk throws these emotional excretions back into the Savant in order to get its attention.
  • A number of Touhou Project characters are known to manipulate emotions:
    • The Prismriver Sisters do so through Magic Music: Lunasa induces depression, Merlin induces manic delight, and Lyrica neutralizes feelings altogether.
    • Reisen has an indirect version - she's capable of speeding up or slowing down peoples' brainwaves (inflicting restlessness, apathy, etc.), which she uses in conjunction with illusions in order to screw with her opponents' heads.
    • Parsee is a Green-Eyed Monster who can inflict her jealousy on others (and frequently does, since she can't travel freely and is mad with envy for those who can, driving her to attack them).
    • Hata no Kokoro, a spirit born from a collection of theatre masks, can control emotions in general. In her debut game this gives her a Stance System, allowing her to hot-switch her religious affiliation (a modifier normally selected at the start of a match) as well as inflict such changes on her opponent.
  • Parodied in When Tails Gets Bored, where Amy uses mind control on Tails to... make him bored.
  • In World of Warcraft, the warlock class used to have a spell called Curse of Recklessness. It would drive the target into overconfidence, making them immune to fear effects (and ordinary fleeing, if an NPC) and hit harder but causing them to drop their defence (reducing their armour stat). The spell was recently removed and the armour reduction effect combined with another curse.
    • The Sha in the latest expansion have this power and use it liberally to their advantage when they lack the power to simply manifest and attack things. The Sha of Anger will Emotion Bomb a village of nomads and send them all into a blind rage directed at anything nearby for any possible reason, Despair will bomb its opposition into depressed lethargy, Doubt will bomb its foes into frantic indecision, and Fear will bomb as expected and has even managed to mobilize an entire civilization into military action by instilling fear for their lives in the empress and her drones.

Visual Novels

  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, Hinamizawa Syndrome is at least as much a Fear/Paranoia Plague as a Hate Plague. Although the characters start attacking each other, rather than being motivated by outright anger, frequently, it's a poorly-conceived self-preservation method. Keiichi in Onikakushi-hen in particular comes to mind.

Web Animation

  • In RWBY, the Apathy are a type of Grimm who incite apathy in their victims. Proximity to the Apathy causes a loss of other emotions, calming people down, and the number of Apathy increases the impact of their proximity to the point that they can cause an entire settlement to simply stop caring about anything and die of starvation or dehydration. At closer range, the Apathy can also unleash a piercing scream that dramatically amplifies this effect, causing victims to collapse and lose all will to fight, eventually just lying down and waiting to die.


  • This was the basis for Dr. Steve's control over Oasis in Sluggy Freelance.
  • Magus of El Goonish Shive can't cause or change emotions, but he can strongly amplify existing ones, causing people to act on what they are feeling at the moment. It doesn't always work; he was first seennote 1 note 2  trying to amplify Ellen's impulse to zap Elliot with her Gender Bender beam, but she resisted it and zapped Tedd instead before passing out from the effort of resisting the impulse.
  • Freya's "vybe" power in Magellan falls into this category. In a more benign application, she can make a large group of people collapse into helpless laughter, a good way to break up a fight. In more desperate circumstances, though, she can do a "full-spectrum vybe" which apparently makes someone experience every possible emotion simultaneously at full force, enough to render them catatonic for hours or days.
  • Wayward Sons: Frodaity can do this to anyone. She's used it to make people pass out from lust (directed at her), and caused sadness in a couple of enemies so they couldn't fight back (though that was a staged fight).
  • Swords The Boredsword inflicts boredom upon wielder and adversary alike.

Western Animation

  • The Kim Possible episode "Emotion Sickness" has both Kim and Shego get accidentally implanted with emotion-altering computer chips, controlled by a remote-control device. The device then gets mistaken for a video game...
  • BIONICLE the Makuta are capable of this as part of their Combo Platter Powers, and can use this to devastating effect by forcing their foes to feel multiple intense emotions one after the other, such as inducing intense confusion, then anger, then fear, and then drowsiness all within seconds of each other. The Rahkshi they spawn containing the specific emotion-based power can also do this, though only with one emotion rather than multiple.
  • The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "One Million Emotions" had the team seeking to recover a stolen "sensation doll" created as a piece of art by an extinct alien culture. Anyone who made direct contact with the doll would be deluged with "one million emotions" ALL AT ONCE (or as Goose called it, "the emotional electric chair"). One of the thieves who touched the doll was reduced to an insane wreck. note 
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series, "The Flawed Couple", had a Villain Team-Up between Abis Mal and Mecanicles involving magical stones that could alter people's moods. Aladdin managed to break the fear one by focusing on the fact that Jasmine was in danger.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show - In "Stimpys Invention", Stimpy creates the Happy Helmet for Ren, in the mistaken belief that Ren would want to be happy all the time.


The Trial

"It was a SWORD!!"

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