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Harmless Enemy

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Red eyes, but no arms to hurt you.
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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.

May overlap with Bandit Mook, Helpful Mook, Personal Space Invader. Pushy Mooks is a Sub-Trope when they're made to push you around. 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).


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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 damage,note  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.
  • Coffee Crisis have a purple Smurglien who, unlike the rest of it's kind, doesn't have any weapons or abilities to attack. This particular Smurglien instead lugs around a sack of coffee beans, and drops beans when he's hit (which can be collected for points). If left idel for too long the purple Smurglien will instead run off on his own.
  • Gourmet Sentai Barayaro has a humanoid enemy with a slab of tofu for a head called "Oh damn!" (yes, that's his name) that is incapable of attacking you, instead lingering around the area until you knock his lights out. He does explode after being defeated, which causes minimal damage to your players, but even that one is easily avoidable.
  • Landseek trucks from Metal Slug are entirely incapable of defending itself, where it's sole purpose is to transport enemy soldiers, drop them off, and then remain where they are until the players blow them up. It is possible to be killed by a Landseek if the player bumps into one on foot as soon as it enters the screen, but after dodging this initial attack the truck is just a stationary vehicle to be shot at.

    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.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The 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.
  • Hollow Knight has a few enemy types that are decidedly less threatening than a Crawlid. Most of these are extremely weak and are only worth killing to fill out the Hunter's Journal.
    • Maskflies appear in sizable flocks in Greenpath which rapidly flee when approached by anything. They do not even deal Collision Damage if you dash into them.
    • Alubas are placid flying creatures that glide slowly back and forth above acid lakes. They can still cause Collision Damage if you bump into them, but that's unlikely (especially if you don't have a Double Jump yet) given the height they fly at. Only two of these tangibly exist (in different areas), but more can be seen floating around in backgrounds.
    • Maggots belong to the same Servant Race as the False Knight, but lack its weapon, armor or attacks. You can only encounter one pair of these after killing the False Knight, and they do nothing but ineptly try to run from you in terror.
    • The Royal Retainers of the White Palace are weak variants of the standard bug Mooks whose only reaction to your approach is to fall to their knees, making them effectively dead for gameplay purposes. You have to dash towards them if you want to farm them for Soul. They also do no Collision Damage.
    • Lifeseeds and Bluggsacs, despite having entries in the Hunter's Journal, matter less as enemies than as sources of Lifeblood and Rancid Eggs, respectively. Bluggsac does take several hits to kill, but does not move or attack.
  • The Wrecked Ship from Super Metroid has several TinCanRobots with no arms that slowly walk around the area, unable to damage Samus.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spiny Beetles are enemies that hide under rocks and bushes and scurry away in terror when Link approaches, running randomly around the screen until far enough away to calm down and go back to hiding. In some games they will deal collision damage if they happen to bump into Link mid-scramble, but others remove even that.

    Fighting Game 
  • WWE Video Games: In Smackdown vs Raw 2011's edition of Road to Wrestlemania, one of the stories involves trying to break The Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak. The Raw before Wrestlemania involves the player facing Paul Bearer in a backstage brawl, in which the player has to knock him out in under ninety seconds. Paul Bearer will spend most of that match running away and begging you not to hurt him instead of attacking you. The most he'll do is reverse your moves but he won't try and hit you.
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    First-Person Shooter 
  • CarnEvil: The Mime enemies 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.
  • Halo: Reach: The Engineers/Huragok can't harm Noble Six directly, but can nonetheless be a serious nuisance as they provide Overshields to nearby enemies, making them several leagues tougher to kill. Their first in-game appearances in Halo 3: ODST averts this, however, as they're Action Bombs outfitted with exploding plates.

    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. Indeed, the majority of the "enemies" that Villain Protagonist Bob the Necromancer and his undead army fight are the stationary houses of innocent people.

    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 
  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night the Carabosse enemies were originally completely incapable of harming Miriam, using an attack that appears to inflict a status ailment but in fact does nothing at all. Presumably it was a glitch as later patches of the game have changed this into a weak damaging attack.
  • Kirby:
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles: The Sandopolis Zone features the Rock'n enemy, which is a giant walking block of rock that pushes the player into obstacles.
  • Spyro the Dragon: A recurring trend in the original trilogy is that most of the enemies in beginning stages run and mock Spyro instead of attacking him.
    • Spyro the Dragon (1998):
      • 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're 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 Bros. 3 introduced a smaller Goomba variant known as the Micro Goomba. They can't harm Mario directly, but they will latch onto him and impair his jumping ability. Fortunately, they can be knocked off of Mario by jumping repeatedly or running back and forth.
    • 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.
      • The tiny version of Goombas in the Tiny-Huge Island level cannot hurt Mario, but can still push him back. Subverted with the tiny Piranha Plants where their tiny fireballs can still set Mario on fire.
    • 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 Heihō 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:
    • Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3:
      • The series' Mascot Mook Wanderin' Gooms are completely incapable of attacking Wario in any way. Even if they walk into you they get stunned.
      • Konotakos aren't able to harm Wario at all. Even if stuck to him when they explode, it merely stuns him.
      • D.D.s and Guraguras can be rendered this via an easy-to-abuse glitch, done by scrolling them off and on the screen with the right timing, that despawns their boomerang or mace and leaves them unable to attack.
      • The Minotaur boss can't directly harm Wario, but instead attacks by picking him up and attempting to toss him in the lava for a One-Hit KO.
    • Wario Land II:
      • Mice can only bounce Wario back a bit. They're commonly used as a Goomba Springboard or as an obstacle that can knock Wario off ledges.
      • White puffs can block Wario's progress, but cannot injure him; if Wario touches them, he will be harmlessly pushed back.

    Puzzle 
  • Adventures of Lolo: The first enemy to appear is Snakey, who does nothing but stand there. His sole function is to block Lolo...or be turned into an egg.
  • Arkanoid: The aliens, 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 
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • Nerve Endings are stationary and have no attacks. They generally only exist to block shots for scarier enemies. Nerve Endings II are slightly more dangerous since they can swat at you, although it's pretty short-ranged.
    • Bulbs can only steal charges from your active item, and are completely harmless if you have no active item or it has no charges.
    • Henry is an Easter Egg Unique Enemy that only spawns in one super-rare room on one floor. If you do find him, all he does is flush himself away. He doesn't even deal contact damage.
  • 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.
  • Dungeon Crawl: Draining Eyes can only drain Mana with their gaze. While this is a great nuisance to mages, non-magical characters simply mash them to pulp with no resistance whatsoever.

    RPG 
  • Pokémon: Magikarp, an infamously weak fishlike Pokémon, is this until it hits level 15. Until then, the only attack it learns by itself is Splash, which quite literally does absolutely nothing to the target. Magikarp moves on from this stage once it hits level 15 and learns Tackle, a weak physical attack, at which point it gains the ability to do a small amount of damage to its opponent.
    Magikarp used Splash! But nothing happened!
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has the Nobleman, a starter enemy who only has two moves: Trip, which knocks you down but does no damage, and, if reduced to half hitpoints, Spare Me, which causes him to fall to the ground crying and ends the battle and gives you a large amount of money if you don't interrupt it.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash: In the Sacred Forest area, Kamek's magic has turned everything tiny...including the enemies. The stage is populated with Small Goombas, Cheep Cheeps, and Buzzy Beetles, and while some of them team up to become geniunely threatening, most of them have utterly pathetic HP and attacks that can only deal 1 damage. At the end of the level you fight two Small Hammer Bros. who are too short to hit you unless they walk closer first.

    Survival Horror 
  • Goosebumps: Night of Scares (and its sequel, Dead of Night) has those pesky lawn gnomes, who cannot harm the player in any way, but can be easily smashed on sight.
  • Silent Hill features the Larval Stalker, small transparent creatures who stumble away from you and pose no threat whatsoever.
  • Spookys Jumpscare Mansion has a number of these who exist to Jump Scare you or otherwise freak you out, but can't actually hurt you.
    • Specimen 01 in the main game is an entity that can manifest cardboard cutouts of various cartoonish little characters (and a few grotesque-looking ones) that leap out at you with a loud sound. They can't inflict any harm on you whatsoever, and the worst they can do is get in your way while you're running from another specimen. Despite this, it still managed to kill 4 people according to its Cat-DOS entry, by jump-scaring them so badly they died of heart attacks.
    • "Howard" will appear in a randomly generated room, rush at you with a bellowing screech, temporarily turn the screen black, and then... nothing. You just resume as if nothing happened.
    • Playing the record in room 557 will make "W.A.M." appear behind you. All he ever does is quickly dissapear once you look at him.
    • "Carl" in the New Game+ of the Katamari Hospital DLC will pop out of the bloody toilet if you flush it, scream for a few seconds, and then leave. According to the game's lore, he's literally just a plumber doing his job.
    • A couple of rooms in the Spooky's Dollhouse DLC feature "Clicky", a Creepy Doll that scurries along the ceiling or under the grated floor and follows your movements with eerie precision, but never actually attacks you.
    • Also in Spooky's Dollhouse is The Clown, who is built up as a deadly evil presence but, ironically, actually never even attempts to harm you. All he ever does is change poses whenever you look away and, once he's broken out of his cage, follow you around some rooms. Given how bad the scientists of GL Labs actually are at their job, it's quite possible the thing they summoned up which they believed was a horrifying demon actually is a harmless and friendly (if creepy) entity and they're just too thick to realize it.

  • Five Nights at Freddy's 2 has "JJ", an animatronic like Balloon Boy who appears under your desk to stare at you sometimes but won't actually harm you. There's also Shadow Freddy and "RWQFSFASXC" who just lurk around and give you the creeps without posing any real harm to you. Sometimes you'll also have to deal with "ENDO-02" appearing in one of the rooms or even crawling through the vents, but it never attempts to enter the office.

  • Around the Clock at Bikini Bottom has a few cases.
    • Pinkies are the basic enemy, merely stunning you and making an electric screen border for a moment. In the tutorial, red jellyfish appear, who act exactly like pinkies.
    • Squirters slowly follow you and shoot teal sludge that causes an Interface Screw.
    • Volters are a minor example of this, as their primary attack merely stuns you, but if you touch them they will kill.
    • The Weenie Hut Manager is a big example of this, being the only enemy in the game completely incapable of killing you, indirectly or not. It patrols the inside of Weenie Hut Jr.'s, and merely throws you out if it catches you.

    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.

    Other Games 
  • The Battle Cats: The Firework Guys show up as enemies in many event stages, but are completely incapable of attacking. To add insult to injury, they're also a One-Hit-Point Wonder. A few other enemies, such as Ms. Sign and Angel Fanboy, present a downplayed example; while they do attack, they hit for Scratch Damage and attack so slowly that they'd take ages to kill anything.


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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