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Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits

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In many video games, falling into a Bottomless Pit doesn't kill you; it just mysteriously transports you back to the start of the area. Sometimes this has no ill effect or explanation at all—it just never happened. Other times you lose a bit of health in the process, possibly implying that it did happen and you spent God only knows how long climbing back up. Even in games where extra lives are given out like candy, you sometimes find this effect.

Also used in RPGs in which it would be kind of silly and frustrating to punish the player for missteps (sometimes they also have an Invisible Hand Rail).

Often accompanied by Puzzle Reset.

In this special case of Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, more mundane hazards such as evil monsters and sharp blades force you to restart from the last Checkpoint or Save Point when you die, but falling into lava, down Bottomless Pits, into water, or whatever reduces your health by the same amount as a monkey hitting you on the head with a coconut. Possibly even less than that.

A Super-Trope to Bottomless Pit Rescue Service.


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    Video Game Examples 
  • Adventure Story: Falling into a pit inflicts a fixed amount of damage depending on difficulty, ranging from 5 on Easy to 20 on Epic. Knocking enemies into pits tends to kill them instantly.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Falling into any bottomless hole or a dangerous hazard will deal a small bit of damage to Ann before she's immediately sent back to the area she was standing on.
  • In An Untitled Story, falling off a ledge in CloudRun takes you instantly to The Bottom, but doing so in MountSide and the final boss battle hurts the player.
  • Backyard Skateboarding has nonlethal AND harmless bottomless pits.
  • In Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, there's a short section where Cyberdwarf has to get through an invisible floor over the pit. Falling into the pit has no effect other than being sent to the beginning with Cyberdwarf's comment.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City both use this. While there are bottomless pits, if Batman falls into one of them, he just uses his grappling hook to launch himself to the nearest ledge, unharmed. Both games also avert Super Drowning Skills if Batman falls into the water, having him do the same thing as if he fell into a pit.
  • Zelda-like game Beyond Oasis has these kind of pits (that drain a bit of life and teleport you to the room entrance), but it also has a powerup that will fly you out of the bottomless pit, costing you a bit of mana rather than life.
  • BloodRayne 2's bottomless pits were few but forgiving; dropping down elevator shafts, skyscrapers, and sky bridges would return Rayne safely to a nearby ledge.
  • The first Boktai game was a case, as you just started the room over. However, all the other ones treated it like an instant Game Over and charge you to restart in that room.
  • Bug Fables: Falling into a water or a bottomless pit doesn't carry a death penalty; instead, you simply reappear on the ground.
  • The Castlevania series:
    • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence features very little platforming, being a 3D Castlevania game, but two rooms feature platforms in a darkened room where your range of vision is slightly less than your jumping distance, requiring a great deal of guesswork. Due to the game's camera-based controls combined with the tendency of the camera to move mid-jump, navigating these two small rooms can involve dozens of tries. Fortunately, falling just teleports you back to the room's entrance with no damage sustained.
    • But you do get a wonderful blood-curdling scream as Leon plummets to his doom!
    • Similarly, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has many pits that simply take you to new or previous areas of the stage.
    • Castlevania: Dracula X has Stage 3, where the very last section in the level before the boss warm-up room has pits everywhere. Falling into one will actually send you to the alternate "Stage 4'", a sewer level. Unfortunately, entering this level means you'll invariably be getting the worst ending.
      • This is almost never done on purpose, since there are lot of Ledge Bats waiting to send you into one of about 30 pits, making this one of the hardest areas in the entire game and, with the added stuff ahead after Stage 3, effectively makes the whole situation an Earn Your Happy Ending marathon.
  • Ozzie in Chrono Trigger is quite fond of Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits, but they're lethal to him.
  • City of Heroes:
  • Clash at Demonhead semi-averted this, by having its pits be neither lethal nor bottomless. (Yes, you actually had to work at getting out of the pits.)
  • Most Bottomless Pits in Conquest of the Crystal Palace mean instant death, except for the ones in the castle levels (two and five). Falling down in one of those levels sends you back to a predefined checkpoint. One particular set of pits in the second level leads you to an Optional Boss, and defeating him gets you the rare "smart bomb" special weapon, the Moon Mirror.
  • In a departure from the earlier games in the Crash Bandicoot series (except for one instance in the level "Un-Bearable" in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and the motorcycle levels in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped), Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind Over Mutant featured these. It was made all the more blatant in the latter game, in which the lives system was dropped.
  • Cyber Chaser: Bottomless pits don't kill the player character, just deal some mild damage.
  • Dark Castle has a variation on this that's both better and worse. Whenever you fall down a Bottomless Pit, you always get kicked into the Trouble dungeon levels as punishment for your sloppiness.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: As part of its many, many Rule of Cool, falling into what seems to be Bottomless Pits teleports you somewhere else. Which is a good thing, since half the arenas are floating chunks of rocks or blocks of buildings in the middle of nowhere. The characters can glide effortlessly in the air, too.
  • In Doom Eternal, falling into a pit merely takes away a small amount of hit points and puts the player back on the map, whereas in the previous game they'd simply instantly kill the player.
  • During the rooftop race in Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku (a.k.a. Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge in the U.S.), falling into pits costs you a bit of your health and launches you forward, except in cases where the fall would bring your health down to zero (thus causing you to lose the event).
  • Falling down a pit in Dynamite Headdy flings Headdy to the top of the screen. Sometimes, using the jump is the only way to collect otherwise-inaccessible items on platforms too high to normally jump to. However, falling down a pit knocks off one unit of Headdy's health.
  • A version of climbing back up again happens in Evil Dead: Regeneration; when Ash falls into a bottomless pit, the screen fades out briefly and back in just as he drags himself up over the edge of the pit. Climbing up such a pit must be hard with only one hand... then again, he's ASH.
  • In Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, most race stages hover high in the sky, but falling off will just teleport you to the last checkpoint you've crossed. However, the "X-treme Fall Guys" show averts this; it's a special type of show where if you fall off the rounds at any point, you're instantly eliminated.
  • Fallout 3: In the Operation: Anchorage VR simulation, falling into a pit teleports you back to the nearest solid ground.
  • Final Fantasy VI has this as a result of falling into the lava in the Esper cave.
  • Gravity Circuit features bottomless pits that teleport the player back into solid ground with the cost of some health.
  • Another Treasure game, Gunstar Heroes, features these pits. Jumping in one would result in your character rocketing up out of the pit, losing 20 health in the process. Oddly enough, this applies to boss enemies as well — Orange in particular. If you throw him and he lands on the platform, he'll lose 400 health and be stunned; but if you throw him and he falls off the screen, he only loses 40 health and jumps back up with a damaging elbow drop.
  • Cleverly subverted in Hexen. In one level, a cavern passage leads to a small outdoor area with a swampy river that flows underground and ends with a seemingly Bottomless Pit, but it turns out to be not only non-lethal, but also the only way to get into a previously locked-out area and carry on with the game.
  • In Hollow Knight, touching Spikes of Doom from any angle results in one mask being subtracted from your Life Meter and you respawning on the nearest safe platform (which in some areas is likely to be inconveniently far from where you were). Falling into an Acid Pool has the same effect until you get the item that lets you float on those without taking damage. The few areas in the game that do have actual bottomless pits treat them the same way.
  • You find this trope all over in Hype: The Time Quest. Some are actual pits, but the largest is the ocean... or whatever big water that is.
  • In Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu, if you fall off on the cloud stage, you land on a big nasty foot which literally kicks you back to the beginning with the loss of one point of health.
  • James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod has downplayed examples in that the bottomless do kill you... if you're on your last hit point. Bottomless pits in the game merely hurt James Pond.
  • In Jet Set Radio Future, if you fell into a lake/off of a building on certain levels/random vat of water, it would show you climbing back up, wet (if in water), and Professor DJ K saying something humorous about your mishap.
  • Kid Icarus (1986), as long as you carry a feather; if not, it's game over. Kid Icarus: Uprising plays it completely straight, though (in the situations where it doesn't employ Edge Gravity to prevent you from falling in the first place).
  • Kingdom Hearts, to the point where, at one point in 358/2 Days, the solution to a puzzle involves jumping into a black, seemingly-bottomless pit when you can't progress any further horizontally. In a sequence taking place near the end of Kingdom Hearts III, namely, reforming Sora's body during the Final World, the player is tasked to collect a number of Plot Coupons scattered over a sandbox area, which happens to be a mess of floating ruins and debris with an infinite void beneath it. Falling into this void, a fairly easy thing to do, will simply teleport Sora to the very top of the sky, allowing him to fall back down to the top of the structure... or keep falling forever into infinity until he gets bored, if the player wishes.
  • The Catacombs in King's Quest VI are rife with deadly bottomless pits, but at one point, you're required to stumble into a seemingly bottomless pit that instead deposits you into the lower area of the Catacombs. However, you can still die in this room- if you don’t have the correct item, the Minotaur will enter the room and kill you.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: If Kirby or Bandana Waddle Dee falls into a bottomless pit, they take some damage and are respawned on nearby terrain. This breaks the usual trend in the series where bottomless pits are typically an instant kill, regardless of health.
  • Kunio-kun: Anytime one of the playable characters fall into a hole, they lose one bar from their health after respawning.
  • La-Mulana:
    • The Bonus Level of Hell has many pits that, instead of dropping you into the room below like most of the game, whisk you away to a magical place called the Land of Hell, where you have to kill all the (rather annoying) enemies in the room to open an exit back to the rest of the dungeon, probably forcing you to retrace your steps for several rooms. Oh, there's also an innocuous-looking ladder that sends you back to the beginning, but that's neither here nor there.
    • The third Land of Hell has pits of its own; falling into one drops you back into the second one, wiping out even more of your progress. And the worst part? In order to complete one of the puzzles, you have to sleep in front of the "LAND" sign in the first three Lands of Hell.
  • Legend of Kay has Kay lose a health point for each fall. Or each time he drowns, be it in water or in mud.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In most games, falling into pits or a pool of lava usually resets you at the start of the room, or near where you fell, with a little bit of health missing. Should you fall into a pit with your health too low to survive the penalty, you'll reappear, only for Link to just collapse and die on the spot. The exception is when there's another floor below the pit; Link will just fall through to that floor, which is often a bigger annoyance than the loss of health would have been. In some games, other "lethal" events will also have this effect, like being crushed by an obstacle or falling in quicksand.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has an interesting one. You have an area where there is a nonlethal bottomless pit. By solving the puzzle hinted earlier, however, the platform moves below and you fall onto solid ground with no damage, and can proceed with the rest of the dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
      • Being set on fire while in Deku or Zora form, and falling into deep water while in Deku or Goron form, have the same effect.
      • Wandering too far from the center of the boss battle arena in Stone Tower Temple will result in you falling into quicksand and being teleported completely out of the temple.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Falling into a pit only makes you lose a quarter of a heart.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has non-lethal lethal poisonous swamp gas, as well as pits and lava. It's especially odd considering that Midna's dialogue early in the Goron Mines implies that lava will kill you instantly. Interestingly, if you're wearing the Zora Armor or the Iron Boots, lava will cause an instant Game Over. Why you'd be wearing that in a place with lava is anyone's guess, but there you go.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Falling from Skyloft will result in a knight catching you and bringing you back to where you were, followed by a quick lecture on being careful. Everywhere else, you'll reappear at the ledge with no damage at all. Since your Sailcloth lets you avoid any Falling Damage, this makes some sense. What doesn't make sense is how you get back up.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom: Falling down bottomless pits (such as those in the Shrines), being submerged in the occasional Grimy Water, or running out of stamina in normal water will have you respawn on the last bit of stable dry land you stood on, losing 1 heart of health. Since Falling Damage can be a flat-out One-Hit Kill in these games, and so can many enemy attacks early on, losing only one heart is downright merciful in comparison. They also buck the long-standing tradition of having Link first respawn, then die instantly upon losing all health to a pit; if the fall or drowning is lethal, the game over screen will immediately display instead.
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals just takes off 10% of the active character's HP whenever they fall into a bottomless pit — unless you have the Ignore Falling Damage passive, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • MADNESS: Project Nexus 2: Falling offscreen or into a pit will take off a Corpus block before dropping you back on solid ground.
  • Marble Madness doesn't penalize you for allowing your marble to fall off the playfieldnote . You just have to suffer the respawn delay.
  • If you play Mega Man ZX Advent on easy mode, if you fall into a bottomless pit, you are drawn back up by Model A. You are given Mercy Invincibility, a few seconds before it disappears, and a small loss of HP. Don't fall again.
    • The same applies to the first ZX game; whichever biometal you're using at the time gives you a few seconds of flight, but if you fall again without touching land, you're doomed.
    • Rockman 4 Minus ∞ turns every Bottomless Pit into these if Mega Man has the Trampoline upgrade.
  • The Metroid series:
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, surprisingly.
    • And again in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. During the Boss Battle against Ghor, it's advisable to leap off the ledge rather than let Ghor ram you; you lose far less energy that way. If you know you're about to fall, you can also just activate Hypermode, which even protects you from fall damage.
    • But not in Metroid Prime: Hunters, which likely annoyed a lot of players who were used to the console versions.
  • Most bottomless pits in Moonlighter cost the player 5% of their maximum health should they fall in one, but there are a few that lead to special rooms.hint 
  • In Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream, contact with pits, spikes, bodies of water, and the like have very mild penalties: the heroine loses a little health and restarts next to the hazard.
  • NieR: Automata: Androids are too heavy to swim, and when you fall into water, you're brought back to land with some HP lost. The animation seems to imply your Pod carried you back, even though the most they can do under your control is slow your descent.
  • In Nintendo Land, you're allowed to fall off the edge of Nintendo Land Plaza, and you just reappear back inside it. Of course, it wouldn't make sense for you to be able to die while you're not even actually playing a game.
  • In Ōkami, falling in water or a pit would zap you back to where you started, at the cost of some health. The falls do not count as losing a life.
    • Getting zapped by a pit, water, or a curse zone does reset your Godhood to "skull", though. Until you pop a Traveler's Charm/Godly Charm or score enough combos to increase it, Ammy takes extra damage from enemy attacks instead of ignoring them completely, as a positive Godhood level would allow.
  • Arguable case for driving games, where if you total the car or fall off the track, you'll restart in the middle of the track with only a few seconds penalty. Outrun 2019 is an example of this sort of driving game. Whether or not you can recover from falling down is another story.
    • Mario Kart has Lakitu fish you out of the water/lava/pit whenever you fall off.
    • Trailblazer, though not really a driving game, also uses this system: falling off the track just loses a few seconds, and the only way to get a Game Over is to run out of time.
  • Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal, in one of the gyms (Ecruteak Gym, home of Morty the Ghost tamer). The Pokémon games don't normally feature this kind of situation, so this was a one-off example.
  • In Psycho Waluigi, when Waluigi falls into a bottomless pit, he bounces back up and loses 1 HP.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked does this if Ratchet falls into a pit or the yellow stuff in the DreadZone Arena, teleporting him back to solid ground at the cost of one health. It's also done when you fall off in the main hub, except you don't lose health upon returning.
  • Falling into bottomless pits in REAVER takes away a small amount of health after restoring the player into solid ground.
  • In Runman Race Around The World, falling into a pit launches the player back upwards, with losing momentum as the only punishment.
  • In Save the Light, falling into an environmental hazard hurts you (and in the case of cold water and lava, freezes and burns you, respectively) and teleports you back to your last position, but you can't faint outside of battle this way because your HP can't go lower than 1 here.
  • In Secret of Evermore, falling off a walkway led your character to come back up, saying they found a secret passage below.
  • In both installments of Shaman King: Master of Spirits, if Yoh falls down a bottomless pit, he will lose a somewhat sizable chunk of his lifebar, then Amidamaru will grab him and put him back on safe ground. If he loses the last of his health, though, that's it, he stays down there.
  • Falling down a pit in Shantae will deal damage to the player and place them back at the beginning of the room (except for the first game, where they're instant death). The second game onwards also has a helpful visual indicator of skulls emanating from the bottomless pits so you can quickly tell which ones lead to an new area. The player can also negate damage in Shantae and the Seven Sirens by equipping the Wetman card. Spikes of Doom behave similarly, but it takes a different card to negate their damage.note 
  • Sly Cooper: Pits and water in the first game deal a single hit of damage to you, so pits are only lethal if you don't have a horseshoe or the Thievius Raccoonus pages that allow you immunity to damage from water or pits (each a separate page). In the later games, which give the playable characters health bars, falling into a pit or water costs about 25% of your health but puts you back where you fell from.
  • Soaring Machinariae: Many maps have bottomless pits, but they do minor damage rather than instantly killing Iris. Iris's attack animations are unable to make her fall into a pit in order to make it easier to fight flying enemies. However, enemies cannot be pushed into bottomless pits, including the grounded ones.
  • The remake of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features a bottomless pit where the infamous inescapable spike pit was. Falling into it leads you to the Hidden Palace Zone.
  • In Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, falling off any Rope Bridge or into any pit returns you to the start of the area.
  • In Star Fox Adventures, the bottomless pits are not only nonlethal, but harmless. In fact, falling into one refills your life meter. You are merely deposited at an invisible checkpoint, sometimes near where you fell in. Some lava pits are the same, for all practical purposes, but others let you run around on the lava at the expense of eating your health. Basically, if you can get out of the pit using the game mechanics afforded you, it's a lot more dangerous to fall in in the first place.
  • Strawberry Shortcake will just teleport to somewhere safe if she falls into a Bottomless Pit in Strawberry Shortcake: The Sweet Dreams Game.
  • Streets of Rage 3's third stage has bottomless pits in the first area, and a place to fall into in the elevator sequence of the third. Your characters just take a good chunk of damage instead of straight up dying if they fall in, while enemies will simply die, even if they have multiple lifebars.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64
      • The Bowser battles had these not for Mario, but for Bowser. Throwing him into the bottomless void or lava just caused him to jump back onto the platform, which could actually make it more difficult for Mario, depending on which battle you were on.
      • Any bonus stages with a bottomless pit typically warp you to a safe place without any loss of health or lives if you fall out of them; Tower of the Wing Cap and The Princess's Secret Slide have you fall into the castle lobby, Vanish Cap Under the Moat warps you to the pool the waterfall outside the castle drains into, and Wing Mario Over the Rainbow drops you into the lake in the southeast side of the castle's exterior.
      • In the DS-exclusive stage Big Boo Battle, falling into a pit in The Maze has you drop back into the beginning of the maze.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: The Hub Level offers an exception to the exception, since if you fall off you just get placed back where you fell. In other levels, if you're on a stage where it's possible to fall off, you'll fall into a black hole. In fact, black holes are used as a visual indicator to let players know that falling will result in death, rather than gravity pulling you onto the other side of whatever you're standing on.
    • A variation occurs in Super Mario RPG, where falling into a lava pit will cause Mario to leap back out to safe ground with no damage.
    • Paper Mario series:
      • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has them as well, although with spikes and water rather than classic pits. You do lose some Life Points, however, which can potentially give you a Game Over.
      • In Super Paper Mario, falling into a pit has you take 1 damage, followed by getting warped back next to the ledge you fell from via the same "mouse" that draws the boxes throughout the game.
      • Paper Mario: The Origami King has "Not-Bottomless Holes", holes in the terrain caused by King Olly's Paper Macho Soldiers. Falling into one deals 7 damage to Mario, but then he simply jumps back out and dusts himself off.
    • The Mario & Luigi series has these with bottomless pits, lava, spikes, and such like, which do at most about 2 points of damage and cause Mario/Luigi/Bowser to jump backwards to the nearest ledge/start of the room. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team actually goes further still; you don't take any damage whatsoever for falling in lava (outside of one giant battle), pits, or spikes, just end up on the nearest ledge/start of the room again. There's also Mount Pajamaja, where if you mess up, you just end up on the screen one north of the entrance (so a long way back down from where you fell).
    • Super Princess Peach uses these rather than the lethal variant found in a normal Mario platformer. Pits do a half-heart of damage (equivalent to one hit-point) and warp you back to the start of the room.
    • Wario World:
      • The Hub Level, Treasure Square, is set on a structure that's floating in the sky. Jumping off makes you fall back to the center of the level.
      • Falling inside the main levels doesn't make you lose a life or even deal damage, but instead sends you into a pit full of ghosts that try to steal your money. You escape it by punching random boxes in the area until you find the one with a spring inside, which will bounce you back up into the main level.
      • In the sky-based side areas, the bottomless pits do cost you the time you spent progressing through the level, but they don't do any damage, as you're warped back to the start of the area to try again.
  • In Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Jazz is a high-agility secret operations agent with a Grappling-Hook Pistol. Any time he might risk falling into a pit (often full of of lethal toxic waste runoff), he deftly does a midair 180-degree turn and grapples his way to safety, usually with a quip about how close the call was.
  • TRI: Of Friendship and Madness contains many. Surprisingly, there are real ways to die in the later levels.
  • Turbo Overkill has bottomless pits. Falling into them sends Johnny back onto the solid ground with no cost.
  • Turgor is an odd case. Bottomless Pits count as exits to Chambers, throwing you out into the Void. As a result, you generally don't want to fall into one during a Boss Battle (since you won't be able to finish it) or if you're trying to do something inside the Chamber, but if you need a speedy exit from a horde of Predators, jumping into a Bottomless Pit is often the best option.
  • ULTRAKILL has both lethal and nonlethal pits. Nonlethal pits start appearing from layer 2 that take 50 health away in standard difficulty but never kill the player.
  • Thankfully in Warframe, where all bottomless pits will teleport you to near where you fell in. However, it was once possible to exploit this by knocking bosses in to said pits and it'd count as an instant kill.
  • Wild ARMs: "Let's just pretend this never happened."

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Dasshutsu Game DERO!, and its Spiritual Successor, Nazotoki Battle TORE, both have rounds centered around this trope; the pits seem to be made "bottomless" via CGI. In these rounds, the players have to solve puzzles as fast as they can, while the Malevolent Architecture makes it progressively harder not to fall in the longer they take to come up with the right answer. Players who fall in are out for the round (but not the game — they can still play in any subsequent rounds, hence the "non-lethal" part), while players who are still standing after reaching a target number of correct answers win money or score points for their team.
  • Gravity Falls: In the episode "Bottomless Pit", all of the protagonists accidentally fall into a bottomless pit. At the end of the episode, they see a white light... which sends right back out of the hole they fell into, while finding no time had passed on the outside.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Non Lethal Bottomless Pit


Not-Bottomless Holes

These holes found throughout the game do 7 damage and just toss Mario out if he falls in.

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Example of:

Main / NonLethalBottomlessPits

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