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Non-Combatant Immunity

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When video games don't start you off armed, they equip the player before they meet an enemy who can kill them. This is reasonable, since no one wants to fight a battle they not only can't win, but can't even fight. However, it does make it obvious when you can expect your first fight, since if you see a pistol lying on the floor in front of a closed door, you know you'll have to use it. Also occurs at the end of a No-Gear Level segment. When you get your inventory back, you know it's because you'll have to start relying on it again.

Alternatively, you do meet enemies before you can fight them, but they can't actually kill you, even if try to let them.

Related to Suspicious Video-Game Generosity. Falls off the bottom of the scale of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness. When it's averted, it's usually a case of a No-Gear Level for your first level.

NPC Immunity is covered under Invulnerable Civilians.


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    Action Adventure 
  • When you first enter the Forsaken Fortress in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, you lose your sword on the way there and you have nothing else in your inventory that you can use as a weapon. The whole fortress is played in stealth mode and being spotted gets you thrown into a flimsy jail instead of attacking you. Once you do get your sword back, you can effectively kill the mooks patrolling around but they will fight back as well.

  • The 1997 Blade Runner video game has a variant of this. The player is armed throughout the entire game, but cannot shoot while climbing ladders or stairs. Any nearby enemies will graciously refrain from attacking until he has reached the top/bottom. Of course, that doesn't mean the player will have the necessary time to defend themselves...

    First Person Shooter 
  • In Half-Life, just as everything goes to hell you find a crowbar on the floor, ready to help you fight through the beginning. Although there is an enemy before that, it's just a lone headcrab, which is fairly easy to dodge.
    • The fan mod Black Mesa zigzags this trope. You don't get the crowbar until after you've snuck through the vent in the Anomalous Materials lobby, but you can find some flares just lying around that you can use to set enemies on fire, and you meet a guard who you can take with you to provide some covering fire up to that point. If you don't know how to use the flares or recruit the guard, though, prepare for one hell of a trip there.
  • Zig-zagged again in Half-Life 2. Civil Protection starts attacking you before you've reached Kleiner and been handed your crowbar, and can kill you if you hang around, but only when they can hit you with their stun batons - by the time you're on the roof and they start actually shooting you, their shots aren't nearly as lethal, if at all.
  • BioShock: Just after exiting the bathysphere, you have to act as bait to the splicer who just disemboweled an unfortunate victim a few moments earlier. The setup works without a hitch and she's scared off by a security turret before she can attack you. You're then instructed to "Find a crowbar or something" and grab a wrench a few moments later.
  • Singularity and both Metro 2033 games both feature an extended sequence in which your weapons are taken away from you, and you must flee throughout a set course from pursuing enemy troops. Downplayed in Metro in that you can die, but it takes active effort on the player's part – Artyom's health and health regeneration are massively bumped up during this sequence.
  • You don't actually fight any Covenant at the beginning of Halo: Combat Evolved until you get a weapon. It is possible (by breaking the scripting) at the beginning to end up in the same room as the armed Covenant, but they do significantly reduced damage and you'd literally have to stand still for several minutes for them to kill you.
  • Zig-zagged the beginning of Video Game/Unreal, you get your first weapon, but you do not face any enemies until the following level. However, the AI of the Skaarj Warrior, who you can catch a glimpse of running away from the area you get the weapon, has a chance of bugging out, and he may attack you.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Outpost 2 in certain scenarios, as long as you don't research any weapons, the enemy AI won't attack you.
  • Warcraft III: Neutral structures like goblin stores or mercenary camps are invulnerable (any mercenaries you hire are fair game, obviously, even those with no attacks).

    Role Playing Game 
  • Fallout 3: You're handed a pistol on the same day your father escapes and the vault's guards are instructed to attack you on sight, assuming you promise you won't murder anyone with it.
  • World of Warcraft: During the Death Knight starting quest, the quest that provides you with your first weapon comes just before a quest in which you must duel a failed initiate. Applies to the initiate too, as they're chained right next to an equipment rack, and you can't attack them 'til they're geared up.
  • You can wander through the woods in pajamas for a while at the start of Breath of Fire III. Enemies don't start spawning till you get changed out of pajamas and into proper armor, and a sword.
  • The first three or four hours of Dragon Quest VII are infamous for the fact that they contain no combat, just walking back and forth between two towns and solving a puzzle.
  • Subverted in Xenosaga Episode 1 when the Gnosis attack the Woglinde. If you get caught in a battle against a Gnosis before Shion can get her weapon, it will kill her in a single attack. The game actually makes it a challenge in this early area to distract or remove the Gnosis without fighting them.
  • At one point in Chrono Trigger the party is captured and stripped of their gear. You are free to sneak around the ship, although getting caught will get the party thrown back in jail. Once you find someone's equipment, though, getting caught by a guard triggers a battle, allowing you to defeat them and go on. This is also true if you have Ayla in your party, because she fights with her fists.
  • Mass Effect 2 averts this in one scene where you play as Joker. No weapons, no powers, brittle bone disease, and if you're spotted then you're DEAD.

    Survival Horror 
  • Subverted in Eternal Darkness. During the hubworld sections, the mansion is free of any enemies. However, to keep the players suspicious and tense, you not only pick up a weapon, but also several upgrades that make those weapons obsolete, just so you know the game could send enemies after you, enhancing the Nothing Is Scarier effect.
    • You do however encounter a few enemies there towards the end.
  • Averted in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, where you spend the first several levels completely weaponless and must flee in terror from the hordes of angry villagers trying to kill you.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Dead Space: Although you meet enemies before being armed, they can't actually kill you.
    • Averted in Dead Space 2 where the enemies can gore you gloriously while you are still in your straight jacket.
    • Even after you free your arms, you're stuck using your Kinesis module as a primary weapon for a little while.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • PVP mode in Terraria. Both you and the other person need to be in PVP mode to kill each other.