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Fantastic Terrorists

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In real life, terrorists have varying kinds of motivations and goals, as well as how and why they become groups. In Speculative Fiction, they vary even more greatly. But they share one thing in common: they work by spreading terror among people in order to reach a goal.

Fantastic terrorists may consist of "fantasy races" members, like werewolves, orcs, robots, superhumans, etc., especially when there's Fantastic Racism at work — and if that's the case, their goal could either be the equality of rights, or ruling over the others (likely by attempting to topple the local government or Kill All Humans). Dealing with a fantastic terrorist would be different from — and often worse than — regular ones. Might overlap with Anti-Human Alliance, if the multiple fantastic races are united against humans specifically.

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In a(n inverted) variant, it might be an "anti-fantastic" terrorist instead, consisting of normal people in a fantastic society. They might be Absolute Xenophobes who are against the other race(s) for one reason or another (could be sympathetic or not, justified or not), committing Van Helsing Hate Crimes.

Despite existing in speculative fiction world for SF reasons, there might be veiled references to actual terrorism or real life terrorist groups.

Will overlap in many instances with Scary Dogmatic Aliens, the use of antagonistic aliens to depict thinly veiled Real Life ideologies. May overlap with Weird Historical War, if the trope is used in a real life historical setting. Compare Ghostapo and Stupid Jetpack Hitler for when the Nazis get to use fantastic or science fiction element(s) in their crusades. Not to be confused with terrorists being considered fantastic people, which falls under Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters. In case it isn't obvious, No Real Life Examples, Please!.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Eye of the Midnight Sun in Black Clover is a group of rogue mages led by elves whose goal is to kill all the humans of the Clover Kingdom in revenge and reincarnate the murdered elf tribe by collecting the needed magic stones to do so.
  • Blue Ramun: The Garicalege are a group of Ramun poachers (Ramun being the healing-power imbued blood of the Blue Doctors). Functionally they operate more like a cartel than a terrorist organization, but the results of their activities are largely the same. Several members of the group have undergone voluntary limb transplants from animals like lions, wolves, or dragons in order to give them an edge in combat with the Silkdeep Empire's army. Their methods of obtaining Ramun range from imprisoning and bleeding trained Blue Doctors to kidnapping the illegal half-blooded children of Blue Doctors and civilians to harvest their blood and organs.
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Space Warriors are basically PETA IN SPACE, but their primary goal is to protect the Ganymede sea rat, and their ultimate plan is to use a virus that turns people into monkeys to get their way. It's... interesting.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a few examples in its cyberpunk setting (alongside many more mundane examples):
    • The main arc of the first season is about a terrorist called The Laughing Man who's able to manipulate data to the point he can literally edit himself out of people's sight by hacking their cyberbrains. The main twist being that no such terrorist actually exists; the entire movement was caused by people imitating the idea of such a terrorist. The nearest thing to an actual Laughing Man was just a very skilled hacker who only wanted to expose a medical malpractice scandal and created the general idea in the process (but the "motive" of the movement took on a life of its own).
    • One episode features a terrorist organisation consisting of anti-cyborg extremists (who're noted to be pretty dangerous in a fight despite their lack of any cyberware).
    • The second season's Individual Eleven arc seems to be a fairly mundane plot involving attempts to fight for the rights of refuges. Until it turns out their movement was initially faked by infecting people with a virus in an attempt to create an artificial Stand Alone Complex.
  • Maken-ki!: The secret organization Kamigari, led by Yamato Ouken, is an organization with a purpose of killing ancient gods in the past. However, as the time went by, they control Japan in the shadows. Its members wield immense supernatural powers and Maken in order to fight those who stand in their way.
  • My Hero Academia has the Meta Liberation Army, an Expy of Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants that seeks to overturn the laws restricting Quirk usage by any means necessary, often resorting to Quirk-powered acts of terror to get their point across. While the organization was thought dead after its leader, Destro, committed suicide, it has since started to move again after All Might's retirement and All For One's second defeat.

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: One of the problems Mega-City One has had to endure was a wave of mutant terrorism after they had been allowed entry into the city as refugees under Hershey's administration but were still objecting to the Fantastic Racism and legal restrictions they had to deal with. This was especially true after the new Chief Judge Dan Francisco and his deputy Martin Sinfield reversed the repeal of the anti-mutant laws and a mutant terrorist cell tried to assassinate Sinfield.
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe the Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy (Ultimate X-Men) and the Liberators (The Ultimates) are not just villain teams, but actual terrorist groups. The former consists of Mutants who are trying to rule over human society and the latter is an international group of superpowered anti-American terrorists.
  • In Strikeforce: Morituri, one of the alien Horde's campaigns involved dropping biological weapons that caused skin to grow over people's faces, suffocating them and leaving creepy blank-faced corpses.
  • Inverted in X-Men with the various anti-mutant terrorist groups, such as Humanity First.

    Fan Works 
  • Create Your Own Fate: Bajoran-born Starfleet Captain Kanril Eleya openly calls the Circle a domestic terrorist group shortly before they're manipulated into an armed uprising by an Undine infiltrator.
    Eleya: They're the unholy trinity: religious extremists, ultranationalists, and bigots.
  • Innocence Once Lost: In the side story "Luna Aeternal" Princess Luna and Twilight Sparkle have to help stop a terrorist attack on a human moonbase caused by two terrorist groups, one human and one pony, who are pulling an Enemy Mine to prevent a peace treaty.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the elf Nuada used beanstalks and tooth fairies as living weapons of mass destruction in his war against the humans.

    Literature 
  • Kim Newman's Diogenes Club series features the Mountmains, a family of IRA members who also happen to dabble in black magic. The first one we meet tries to recreate the plagues of Egypt as a prelude to toppling the British Empire.
  • Discworld:
    • Mime artistry is absolutely banned by order of the Patrician. A shadowy group of rogue mime artistes frequently express their dissent at this by holding impromptu street performances of their skills under the Free The Mime! banner. Ankh-Morpork citizens live in fear of the terrifying men in black with white pancake makeup appearing from nowhere and striking without warning in support of their Cause, leaving their victims with PTSD that can last for years.
    • In Raising Steam, the dwarfish fundamentalists mentioned in previous books have coalesced into a terrorist organisation called The Only True Dwarfs, who burn semaphore towers and attack the locomotive (because they symbolise modernity, which they associate with dwarfs forgetting their traditions and becoming humanified) and have also killed dwarfs they suspect of being "undwarfish".
  • The Death Eaters of Harry Potter are Wizards and Witches who terrorize Muggles and fellow magic users alike. The film series takes it even further by having Death Eaters destroy the Millennium Bridge in the sixth movie.
  • In The Garden of Sinners, Meruka Kuramitsu is a "bomber for hire" who takes money for blowing things up. That said, he has never targeted people (just structures that his employers want out of the way), at least until his identity was discovered by Shiki, whom he tries to kill in-story. The fantastic aspect comes from Meruka's ability to see the future — in fact, this is why his bombings are always successful and leave neither collateral damage, nor any traces to lead the police back to him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Grimm: Season Five involves Nick facing the Wesennote  Supremacist group Black Claw. Already responsible for much upheaval in the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Europe, their now planning to take over America staring in Portland. Black Claw holds the belief that the world should belong to Wesen, forcing them to come out of hiding and to re-embrace the barbaric traditions most have left in the past (such as hunting humans for food, human sacrifice rituals, etc.). Their methodology involves positioning their operatives in key positions through corruption and assassination, radicalizing peaceful Wesen, brainwashing children, and terrorizing any Wesen who don't join or oppose them.
  • In Motherland: Fort Salem, The Spree are terrorist witches who use magic to cause chaos.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: The end of the fourth and final season has the Enterprise encounter a highly-xenophobic terrorist group called "Terra Prime", which wants to end all contact with aliens and kick them all out of the solar system. They do this by cloning a hybrid Human-Vulcan child using Trip and T'Pol's DNA to demonstrate the "perversion" of intermingling with non-humans, and later hijacking an asteroid-deflecting system on Mars with the intent to use it to vaporize Starfleet Headquarters if their demands aren't met.
    • Star Trek: Discovery: In "Lethe", Sarek is attacked by a Vulcan "logic extremist", implied from context to be an anti-human Vulcan-supremacist or ultranationalist.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine starts shortly after the Cardassians withdraw from Bajor after a 50-year military occupation. The Bajorans, including main cast member Major Kira Nerys, used terrorist tactics to resist the occupiers, which has lasting consequences throughout the series:
      • "Past Prologue" and "In the Hands of the Prophets" both feature Bajoran ultranationalists turning their ire on the Federation, who were invited in by the Bajoran provisional government to help rebuild the planet after the Cardassians withdrew. In the latter case, it's wedded to religious extremism, with Vedek Winn Adami and her supporters opposed to Keiko O'Brien teaching a secular interpretation of the Bajoran wormhole and the Prophets (Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who live in the wormhole, long viewed as deities by the mainstream Bajoran religion).
      • The three-parter at the start of season 2 ("The Homecoming", "The Circle", and "The Siege") takes it a step further, with a Bajoran extremist group called the Circle trying to mount a violent overthrow of the provisional government.
      • Late season 2 introduces the Maquis. They arise from Federation colonists that refused to leave their worlds after the disputed Cardassian-Federation border was redrawn back in TNG, who start a campaign of armed resistance against the Cardassians. They end up attacking the Federation as well after Sisko finds himself forced to protect Cardassian civilians from their attacks, ultimately trying to establish an independent nation. Then they're wiped out altogether by the Dominion in "By Inferno's Light".
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The High Ground" has the Ansata, a violent separatist group on the planet Rutia IV. What makes them particularly dangerous is that they use a special transporter device called an "inverter", which is faster than most transporters on the show, can't be blocked by force fields and (initially) can't be tracked, meaning the Ansata can simply appear, plant bombs, shoot people and vanish without a trace. Repeated use of it kills you, but that's a sacrifice they're willing to make.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Aberrant has the Teragen (Greek > "Monster / Marvel race"), a diverse group of Novas who share a common philosophy called Teras (Greek > "Monster"). A direct result of this philosophy is that the group willingly embraces its evolved status, and therefore claim biological superiority to humans. While the outside world view the Teragen as a single group, it is actually a coalition of different interests united by philosophy and their enigmatic inspiration, Divis Mal. In his Null Manifesto, he declared, essentially, that novas could only be governed by their peers, freeing its members from the obligations of human law. The more extreme members actually undertake terrorist attacks on baselines and novas workingagainst Divas Mal's goals.
  • d20 Modern: The setting Urban Arcana has the Fraternal Order of Vigilance, a supremacist group that is not only ok with using supernatural methods to cause havoc but also hunt the supernatural: they are a human supremacist group and they have deemed all supernatural creatures, no matter how sentient (and lawful) they are, as worthy of extermination. There's also a group of ecoterrorists led by an elf.
  • Eclipse Phase has several terrorist groups including pro-human enhancement, anti-human enhancement, a group of uplifted animals who want to destroy uplifting technology and devolve etc.
  • In The Esoterrorists, as the agents of a benevolent ancient conspiracy known as the Ordo Veritatis, the players fight to save the world from the eponymous Esoterrorists, any number of cults and other organizations bent on breaching the fabric of reality on behalf of the various horrors of the Outer Dark.
  • Mage: The Ascension: The Chaioth Ha-Quadesh. It's a genocidal group that includes Knight Templar crusaders and jihadists, a Chinese gang that thinks it's After the End, and a group of guys who think they're in a virtual reality FPS and act accordingly. They use reality-bending magic in order to get the stuff they need to accomplish a strike in place and then execute.
  • In the D&D setting of Planescape, with its pseudo-Victorian Hub City/Portal Crossroad World of Sigil, has the Bomb-Throwing Anarchists of the Revolutionary League and the more extremist elements of the Doomguard.
    • The Anarchists of the League have infiltrated all the other factions in the name of burning down every last trace of the old order and replacing it with something... except that no two cells can agree on exactly what that new order ought to be. In addition to the usual D&D spells and magic items, faction members gain a supernatural ability to convince others that they're part of any faction other than the Anarchists.
    • Meanwhile, the more fanatical members of the Doomguard not only believe that entropy is inevitable and even desirable, as the rest of the faction does, but also that they have the duty and pleasure of speeding the entire multiverse along to its final destruction. To this end, they stage attacks with weapons from the City Armory, which they themselves control, even as a sizable splinter group within the faction has begun working with the demonic tanar'ri as mercenaries and saboteurs, researching spells, churning out enchanted weapons, and crafting living engines of destruction with which the demons will lay waste to countless worlds. They get away with this because, given the infinite scale of the multiverse, an entire world falling to demons can be written off as a petty, localized skirmish.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The Awakened Liberation Front is an Animal Wrongs Group focused on the "liberation" of paracritters.
    • Fear the Dark is a terrorist organization of HMHVV infectees, mostly vampires and banshees.
    • GreenWar are eco-terrorists who employ toxic shamans.
    • The Native American Nations started as Amerindian separatists incensed by the US government's use of eminent domain on reservations, and the ensuing internment camps, who used the newly returned magic to seize control of most of the western states.
    • Supplement Tir Na Nog. After magic returned to the world in 2011, the Irish Republican Army started a series of magical terrorist attacks against British military forces in Northern Ireland. They had been given the magical knowledge necessary for the attacks by several Immortal Elves who had existed for the thousands of years since magic left the world.
  • GURPS Technomancer has several:
    • The Dead Brigade is a group of vampires and atomic liches with a philosophy of "making more mundanes undead - or dead".
    • The Elemental Liberation Front is an Animal Wrongs Group, only for spirits.
    • Loki's Stepchildren are pagan nonhumans who are fighting for nonhuman rights, but tend towards an "all humans are the enemy" mindset.
    • The South Atlantic Solidarity Strikeforce is a group of human and demihuman guerillas who support the Giant Telepathic Communist Penguins.
    • The Weather Underground's philosophy is a more mundane leftism, but they use weather control spells to destabilise the US.
    • Inversions include the anti-magic religious fundamentalists of the Army of God and God's Own Army (very distinct groups despite the similar names; the former is Islamic, the latter Christian) and the non-human hating neo-Nazis of Wodinspear. The eco-terrorists Gaea's Guard are something of a zig-zag; they're an anti-nuclear group, which means they're opposed to the setting's version of Magitek, but they've no problem with "natural" magic.

    Video Games 
  • Astral Chain:
    • The main antagonist for the bulk of the game is Jena Anderson, a scientist who disappeared several years ago, and shows up with mysterious powers and an army of monsters in tow, from her studies. Much of the early levels involve dealing with her attacks (such as rescuing civilians from a subway she bombed). Her motivation turns out to be opposing Yoseph's plan to forcefully merge humanity into a godlike creature...but only because she believes that allowing humanity to be reassimilated into the astral plane is the way to go.
    • Downplayed by the Hermits. Kyle has taken them from a collective of hackers to a gang of enforcers (who while not liked, are appreciated by the citizens of Section 09 for bringing some semblance of order) and Information Brokers who use their skills to commit petty crimes for funding. While they want to protect humanity from the Chimera as much as Neuron, they also have a massive bone to pick with the authorities for walling off Sector 07 in the first place. To this end, they have started enhancing themselves with a drug called Blue Shift...which turns out to be all part of Jena's plan.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: the second game introduces Eden, a group of Adepts who seeks to Kill All Humans and make a world only for Adepts. Their strongest members wield incredible, potentially highly destructive powers. In the story, they get to terrorize different places and Gunvolt has to stop them.
  • Zig-zagged in Dragon Age II: Even though Anders is a mage in a world where demons and spirits are very real and active power players when he decides to assassinate the last Reasonable Authority Figure left in Kirkwall in order to plunge the city into chaos, he just builds a big-ass bomb out of common chemicals and blows up her workplace to smithereens, but the resulting explosion is clearly magical, given that it fires a beam of light into the air that sucks the debris upward into a ring.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind features the Sixth House, which uses the fantasy equivalent of bio-terrorism to achieve its goals of conquering Morrowind.
  • Genshin Impact: Both the Fatui and Abyss Order, having similar goals and methods, but different motivations could qualify as they want to conquer Teyvat, however as are in direct competition with each other for the world domination with the former being a league of corrupt bureaucrats, and the later an Anti-Human Alliance of shadowy monsters.
  • The Matrix Online: Morpheus is branded a terrorist when he starts to fight the Machines with code bombs, which disrupts the simulation of the Matrix and reveals its raw code to everyone around. To the "bluepill" bystanders who weren't aware they're Inside a Computer System, the sight is extremely traumatic.
  • Mega Man X: Sigma and his followers who most of them are bosses plan to overthrow humanity because he believes that they are in the way for the Reploids' growth and evolution. They do this by terrorizing and razing multiple places. X and Zero's job as a Maverick Hunter is to stop him and his goons' misdeeds.
  • Mega Man Zero: While the Resistance is a, well, Reploid La Résistance who are mostly benign and only fight to protect themselves from the oppression of Reploids, in the second game they become more terrorist-like under the new leader, Elpizo, who aims to overthrow Neo Arcadia to make the place a better one for Reploids. It culminates in his Operation Righteous Strike, a large-scale invasion force; unfortunately for him, it utterly fails.
  • Mega Man ZX Advent: Thetis, one of the bosses, is equal parts this and Eco-Terrorist. In his level, he raids the highway and terrorizes a lot of civilians in order to feed their souls into the Model W Fragment. He does all this because he's angry that people have polluted his beloved oceans, and he plans to use the Model W to give him enough power to remake the world to fit his ideals of nature.
  • Pokémon: While all evil groups fit into this trope, Neo Team Plasma from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is much closer to this trope than the others, wearing terrorist-themed outfits in a Big Applesauce setting.
  • The Witcher features the Scoia'tael, a loose Anti-Human Alliance composed primarily of elves. Some simply wish to Kill All Humans, others ally with the human empire of Nilfgaard to fight against the disparate northern kingdoms in exchange for being granted their own autonomous land within Nilfgaard's conquest.

    Web Animation 
  • Minilife TV:
    • The city of Minilife is plagued by mummy terrorists who were awoken by an ancient curse shortly after the colonization of the city. After they were forced to retreat, they formed smaller factions and occasionally send soldiers to try and steal the Power Brick at City Hall.
    • The X-Team is a terrorist organization that seeks to bring equality to Legondo by eliminating those who possess special powers.
  • RWBY has the White Fang, a Faunus terrorist group. They used to be a peaceful Faunus rights activist group, but over time, their methods became more and more radical and violent, culminating in them spreading terror in order to topple the human society who ostracized and persecuted them. Blake Belladonna used to be part of the group back when their methods were more peaceful, but broke off with them when she found herself increasingly at odds with their new direction and in particular the violent excesses of Adam Taurus, one of the leaders of the organization.
  • Epithet Erased has Bliss Ocean, which inhabits a world full of people who are either "inscribed" (born with attachment to a specific word that can give them superpowers called epithets) or "mundies" (normal people who don't have epithets). Dubbed a "mundie terrorist" group, Bliss Ocean seeks to level the playing field by eliminating epithets altogether. One of their members, Zora, is featured prominently in the second half of the first season, and explains her personal motivations for joining - despite being inscribed herself, she finds that epithets make years of training and dedication meaningless and therefore ruins any kind of fair fight. Of course, clearly has no problem using her epithet to torment mundies and cheat when it's convenient for her, so time will tell if the rest of Bliss Ocean is as lax about their principles as her.

    Web Comics 
  • SOMOS in Supernatural Investigation Department is a supernatural terrorist organization that claims what they're doing is for the spirits. However, they may have some goals of their own too.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation opposes several groups who don't hesitate to use SCPs for their own gain, notably the Serpent's Hand and the Chaos Insurgency. Less openly-hostile groups include Marshall, Carter, and Dark, who merely sell SCPs to the highest bidder with almost no regard to the consequences, the Manna Charitable Foundation who use SCPs for good (again, without considering side-effects), while Are We Cool Yet? is a collective of Mad Artists whose art installations take True Art Is Incomprehensible to lethal levels (including an invisible shark or a painting of an atomic bomb that turns the viewer into a caveman).
  • Andy Mogren (who'd eventually join Rocket Jump) made an intentionally slipshod short film Bear Force One about an epidemic of terrorist bears, or "bearorists", who attempt to capture Air Force One.

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Inverted with the Equalists. They're a group of Muggle terrorists led by Amon to promote the equality of benders and non-benders, usually in a violent way. Amon himself even knows a technique that makes benders powerless and his members utilize chi-blocking and various technologies.
    • While never referred to as terrorists, the Red Lotus from season 3 is a group of True Companions and extremely skilled benders devoted to freeing people from oppression through violence and murder to institute global anarchy (as opposed to the White Lotus, a Benevolent Conspiracy from the previous series). As Korra points out to him in season 4, Zaheer's murder of the Earth Queen only caused a fascist regime to pop up in her place, oppressing the people even worse than she did in the name of protecting them (guilting Zaheer into helping her). They also tried to kidnap the Avatar during childhood to raise her according to their beliefs, which is why she had to live in a fortified White Lotus compound at the South Pole for years.
  • Demona in Gargoyles is a straight example; the Weird Sisters call even call her a terrorist in "City of Stone." The Hunters who hunt her (and the Quarrymen who hunt gargoyles in general) are anti-fantastic inversions.

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