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Harmless Enemy

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A type of enemy in video games that is completely incapable of damaging the player. Usually, they attack in an unconventional way (such as draining Mana, debuffing player characters in some way or causing an Interface Screw), but some serve no purpose other than to be destroyed by the player for points.

Super Trope to Bandit Mook, Helpful Mook, Personal Space Invader, and Pushy Mooks. See also Defenseless Transports, Fairy Battle, and The Goomba. Compare Harmless Villain, and contrast Utility Party Member, a Player Party member who doesn't participate in combat often (if at all).


Examples:

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    Action 
  • Amorphous+ has the basic Glooples. Colliding into them will "bump" you, stunning you for a short while without killing you (and leaving you very open to more dangerous things). Getting bumped still counts as a form of harm, and even getting touched by one of these will disqualify you for the "Badass" achievement where you need to complete a level without getting harmed. On uncommon occasions, the basic Glooples can glom together into increasingly deadly forms if they bump into each other.
  • Bubble Tanks has several types in the series. Besides The Goomba enemies that appear frequently in starting zones and less commonly in later ones, there are also those that appear after the player takes too much damagenote , don't attack, and drop loads of bubbles when killed.
  • Burrito Bison: The only enemies that cause harm are the cops, who greatly reduce your speed and interrupting your run. All other enemies instead boost your speed when they explode.

    Action-Adventure 
  • Cave Story: The Chinfish (or the Egg Fish) is a Unique Enemy in the Mimiga Village fishing hole, who never attacks or moves, and doesn't block your way, and only does Collision Damage if you deliberately run into it. It can still be destroyed for XP.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons game for the Intellivision has spiders that steal the player's arrows, of which there is a limited supply. The game also has bats which follow the player around and make an annoying flapping noise. The only "harm" they can do is tempt the player into wasting an arrow on them, which can also wake up other monsters sleeping nearby.

    Fighting Game 
  • WWE Games: In Smackdown vs Raw 2011's edition of Road to Wrestlemania, one of the stories involved trying to break The Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. The Raw before Wrestlemania involved the player facing Paul Bearer in a backstage brawl, in which the player has to knock him out in under ninty seconds. Paul Bearer will spend most of that match running away begging you not to hurt him as opposed to attacking you. The most he'll do is reverse your moves but he won't try and hit you.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Mame enemies in CarnEvil are a group of Enemy Mimes that do nothing but perform their mime routines and get in the player's way without actually hurting them.

    Idle Game 
  • Zombidle: The only things that can do damage are on your side. Combat is not a matter of killing enemies but doing damage fast enough, as not killing bosses in the time limit simply pushes you down a level.

    MMORPG 
  • AdventureQuest Worlds often has inanimate objects that the player can 'fight', but they do not attack back at all and are typically just for receiving quest drops.

    Platformer 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
      • The Hydrocity Zone features the Mega Chopper, a piranha enemy that latches onto the player, draining coins and making you unable to jump, duck, or Spin Dash. However, you can randomly mash the controls for a bit to make the Mega Chopper fall off, and if you're playing co-op with Sonic and Tails, the second player can use Tails to destroy the Mega Chopper as long as there isn't one attached to him as well.
      • The Sandopolis Zone features the Rock'n enemy, which is a giant walking block of rock that pushes the player into obstacles.
    • The Mega Chopper from Sonic 3 & Knuckles reappears in Sonic Mania with the same attack pattern, again in the Hydrocity Zone.
  • A recurring trend in the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy was that most of the enemies in beginning stages run and mock Spyro instead of attacking him.
    • Spyro the Dragon
      • The first Hub Level Artisans has two gnorc enemies; the Goon and Gem Thieves. The Goons (also known as Common Gnorcs and Basic Gnorcs) run away from Spyro as soon as they see him and cower when cornered. Gem Thieves do the same, running in circles and dropping gems (and life if they have been killed before) every time they get hit before dying.
      • The second Hub Level Peace Keepers has Foot Soldiers, who run and hide when they see Spyro. When They are cornered, they ineffectually moon Spyro before dying.
    • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!: In the first world Spyro explores Glimmer, the Indigo Lizards laugh and mock Spyro from a distance or when his back is turned. They run from him as soon as he goes after them and cowers when he catches up to them, usually hiding behind the much more threatening Brown Lizards.
    • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: The main enemy from Sunny Villa are the aptly named "Coward Rhynocs". They dress like centurians and possess only ridiculously tiny shields. They run and cower when Spyro is near.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64:
      • Bullies do nothing but charge at Mario and shove him around, possibly into a nearby pool of lava.
      • Chuckyas, a non-explosive Bob-omb variant, pick Mario up and throw him in a random direction.
      • The Heave-Ho enemy has a dustpan in the front that flings Mario if he steps on it.
    • Super Mario Galaxy:
      • Unlike in their previous appearance where they cause Collision Damage, Cataquacks in this game are completely harmless, only being capable of flinging Mario into the air.
      • The various types of Topmen, spinning top-shaped enemies that try to bump Mario off ledges or into electrified rails. Although Spiky Topmen damage Mario when jumped on, Spring Topmen and Topminis are completely harmless.
    • Super Mario 3D Land introduces Inky Piranha Plants, which unlike the regular varieties do not attack Mario. Instead, they spit ink at the screen, covering it with black splotches and making it difficult for the player to see what's going on until they clear the ink by blowing into the 3DS's microphone. They reappear in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, working in much the same way — they show up in the background during fights with other enemies, and spit ink on the screen which players have to clear.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island:
      • Bumpties are harmless penguins which are capable of causing Yoshi to bounce into enemies and obstacles. Additionally, if Yoshi's damaged, Bumpties can steal Baby Mario similar to Bandits
      • Fuzzies are flying cotton balls that cause the stage to appear colorful and distorted if Yoshi comes into contact with them.
      • Grim Leechers are small ghost enemies that switch places with Baby Mario and reverse the controls if they come into contact with Yoshi.
      • The game also features extremely rare unnamed green Shy Guys (known as Itsunomanika Heihos in Japanese guides), which hide behind foreground objects such as crystals in underground stages. If Yoshi comes into contact with them, they'll switch places with Baby Mario, who will be quickly stolen by a suddenly appearing Bandit.
  • Wario Land Super Mario Land 3 features Wanderin' Gooms, which are completely incapable of attacking Wario in any way.

    Puzzle 
  • The first enemy to appear in The Adventures of Lolo is Snakey, who does nothing but stand there. His sole function is to block Lolo...or be turned into an egg.
  • The aliens in Arkanoid, which are destroyed on contact with the Vaus or the ball (but deflect the ball in the process). Arkanoid II adds aliens which bounce off the Vaus rather than disintegrate.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin: While most of PNF-404's fauna is notable for its aggressive and predatory natures and their tendency to gobble the titular creatures in vast amounts, numerous creatures throughout the games are completely unable to directly harm player characters or their Pikmin.
    • Some can cause harm in indirect ways, such as by stealing resources or putting your Pikmin in harm's way.
      • Breadbugs are Bandit Mooks that steal treasures and enemy carcasses and take them back to their dens.
      • The Puffy Blowhogs' only attack is to blow gusts of air, which can't harm Pikmin but will knock them about and scatter them. The Withering Blowhogs act similarly, but their gusts also transform Flower and Bud Pikmin into Leaf Pikmin, making them slower and weaker until they can be transformed back by using up nectar.
      • While Male Sheargrubs devour Pikmin like most enemies, the female ones are limited to gnawing on and destroying bridges that you build. Swarming Sheargrubs instead consume nectar before Pikmin can, and cling onto fruit to make it heavier and require more Pikmin to carry back. In both cases, the Sheargrubs are limited to running around in terror once you actually attack them.
      • Waddlepuses have only two attacks — inflating to knock Pikmin off of themselves and releasing clouds of bubbles that pick Pikmin up and carry them away. Neither can harm Pikmin on its own, and the effectiveness of the second attack is limited to the chance of the bubbles floating towards a hazard or an enemy before popping. If they head towards neither, the only effect will be to temporarily scatter your troops.
      • Arctic Cannon Larvae shoot snowballs, instead of the rocks that similar enemies do. Instead of crushing your Pikmin to death like the rocks will, these will simply roll them up and carry them along until the snowball hits an obstacle and breaks, depositing your Pikmin safe and sound — but potentially quite far away.
    • Other enemies, like the butterfly-like Spectralids, the Flint and Glint Beetles, the nectar-carrying Honeywisps and Dandelflies and the timid, leaf-like Skitterleaves, cannot even do that much, and largely serve as extra sources of nectar and/or Pikmin seeds that need to be chased down before they escape.
    • The Puffstool, a large walking mushroom, is an odd example. It can't directly harm either the captains nor the Pikmin — what it can do is release clouds of spores that will brainwash Pikmin and turn them into Mushroom Pikmin under its control, which it will then use to attack the player and the still-loyal Pikmin. This, however, is entirely reliant on Pikmin being present — it is possible to seek a Puffstool out with a solitary captain and punch it to death. This will take a long time, because a captain's punching attack doesn't deal a lot of damage, but the Puffstool will have no way of fighting back or retaliating.

    Roguelike 
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer:
    • Green Slimes never move, and thus never attack the player. There is an achievement for getting killed by one, which requires you to go out of your way and use very specific items.
    • Water Balls in the Amplified DLC create a puddle of water upon colliding with the player, slowing them a bit. They do no damage otherwise.

    RP Gs 
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had the Nobleman, a starter enemy who had only two moves: Trip, which knocked you down but did no damage, and, if reduced to half hitpoints, Spare Me, which caused him to fall to the ground crying and would end the battle and give you a large amount of money if you didn't interrupt it.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft: Slimes are a kind of Asteroids Monster that attack players by ramming into them and usually come in three sizes, huge, normal and small, the larger ones splitting into two to four slimes of the next size tier down upon death. The larger kinds deal damage like all hostile mobs do — the huge ones dealing more than the normal ones — but small slimes cannot deal any damage. They will still tackle the player, but they cannot do more than lightly push them back through the knockback all in-game entities give when they collide with each other — which, however, can still be threat if the player is standing next to a cliff or another high drop.


Non-Video Game Examples:

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    Tabletop Game 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, "Shriekers" are fungal Plant Mooks that can't move, attack, or even think, but scream like banshees whenever they detect movement or light. In the Death World of the Underdark, this is quite dangerous enough: they survive by attracting more dangerous predators like Violet Fungi and digesting the remains of their meals.

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