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Non-Lethal K.O.

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"I was really careful in making monsters faint rather than die. I think that young people playing games have an abnormal concept about dying. They start to lose and say, 'I'm dying.' It's not right for kids to think about a concept of death that way. They need to treat death with more respect."
Satoshi Tajiri, regarding this trope in Pokémon

Even though opponents are commonly described as being "killed", monsters usually inexplicably disappear after being defeated rather than leave corpses. Similarly, no one in your party really dies except if the plot calls for it. When your HP runs to zero, you're just knocked out, provided there's other party members still conscious to carry you away or heal you. (The monsters will eat you at their leisure if you are all knocked out.) Some games may even bump such characters back up to 1 HP once the battle is over. This only comes to play when a supposed permanently lethal attack/beat down/curb stomp/smack down/bullet storm/application of lethal force only causes someone to get KO'd or otherwise easily revived.

This might be to soften the idea you're basically going around killing wildlife, which could get morally sketchy in some places. It could also be so that when one of the characters dies because of the plot, one isn't distracted by questions like "Why don't they just use a Phoenix Down?"

This game mechanic is sometimes complemented with following mechanics:

  • "Revive": The ability to bring a fallen teammate back into the action before the encounter is over.
  • Execute: The enemy ability to "execute" a knocked-out party member so that "revive" won't work on them any more. Some particularly nasty enemies will have a kill-and-execute move.
  • Bleed out: A time limit on "revive" usage, after which the party member either outright dies or can no longer participate in the current encounter.

See also Tap on the Head, Only Mostly Dead, Nobody Can Die, Death Is Cheap, and Permadeath. Compare Set Swords to "Stun". Though 'fainting' is sometimes used to describe a Non-Lethal KO, this should not be confused with Fainting.


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Video Games

    Action Games 
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, the main Player Character never actually dies in-game; instead, Desmond's or the Featureless Protagonist's actions while controlling their ancestor become so "de-synched" from the "real" memories that the Animus has to restart the simulation.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City: You'd think that detonating a bomb next to a person and then bashing their head against cement would at least have a chance of killing them, especially after going hours without medical attention. But no, Batman doesn't kill, so they're just unconscious.
  • In the Like a Dragon series, defeated enemies are always shown holding their sides and begging for mercy but otherwise still very much alive. Even if you've impaled them with sharp objects, suplexed them into railings or even outright shot them with guns, no one dies in a fight. According to Word of God, Kiryu has never killed anyone except for in self-defense (which has mutated in the fandom to "Kiryu has never killed anyone", period); the fandom has, in turn, turned explaining how series antagonists survive some of the things Kiryu puts them throughnote  into a spectator sport, with the most overblown and ridiculous ones usually winning. If someone does die after a fight, it's because someone else finished the job, and the current Player Character is never pleased with it since nine times out of ten, they were just trying to defend themselves.

    Fighting Games 
  • Dead or Alive matches end somewhat similarly to the Injustice example above (in that even after a "KO", the defeated character is just lying on the ground trying to rouse themselves back to their feet, not actually knocked out). This is after things such as being thrown down a ten-story building or into a container of explosive material has happened in the previous round.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us has some really over-the-top super moves (Superman's involves uppercutting an opponent so hard that it blasts them above the Earth's atmosphere followed on by him flying up and smashing them back down) but not only does no one (human and metamhuman alike) die from this kind of abuse, matches end simply with the defeated character dropping to one knee and trying to recuperate, completely conscious. The story attempts to Hand Wave this by saying the non-metas have taken some kind of pill that gives them relative durability to the more empowered individuals they have to fight.
    • The sequel, Injustice 2, has similarly destructive super moves (for example, Supergirl's involves punching them into space, dragging them around the sun, then throwing them through an asteroid and heat-visioning them until they're knocked back to Earth) with a similar lack of death. But this time, the super-pills from the previous game aren't being used so characters like Deadshot and Green Arrow are supposedly no more durable than the average human.
  • In Killer Instinct, characters were only considered "dead" if you used your finisher on them. In fact, killing (or not killing) certain characters altered your character's ending.
  • For a non-gory fighting game example, in Marvel vs. Capcom, Mega Man, Zero, and Roll die as they would in the Mega Man games when knocked out.
    • On a similar note, Strider Hiryu also dies at the end of a round like he would in his native game.
  • Quite often in Melty Blood. Shiki's power is killing something, no matter what. Period. Yet after being explicitly told he won the fight because of his eyes, his opponent is more along the lines of 'exhausted' than 'a cooling corpse' a few minutes later. Doesn't even seem to seem to leave normal knife wounds.
  • Mortal Kombat was one of the most notorious fighting games of its day because of its subversion of this trope. Not only was the fighting bloody as hell, but when the game called for someone to "FINISH HIM!" a player could do just that, pulling off a Fatality that could kill a character in all sorts of bloody ways.

  • In One Must Fall: 2097 you can blow up your opponent real good without actually killing them. How? Everyone is, effectively, remotely-controlled robots. And then the game has a Double Subversion at the end of the single player story mode, where Kreissack is revealed to have actually had his brain transplanted into his robot's body.
  • One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows plays this for humor in regards to Saitama, who is essentially completely invincible in-lore. On the off chance that he actually runs out of health (which is usually only possible in a mirror match), instead of actually being KO'd, he will simply decide to leave the battlefield so he can go shopping for groceries.
  • Soul Calibur maintains the conceit that battles are decided by a KO, even if that KO is achieved by ramming a metal spike through a 16 year old girl's spine, tossing her into the air and bashing her head repeatedly with a gigantic axe. Also apparently you can be thrown off a shrine that is floating in the sky only to come back for the next round no worse for the wear.
    • Sister series Tekken also ends all matches with a KO even if they included Yoshimitsu running his opponent clean through the abdomen with his sword, Kuma gnawing on his enemy or crushing their spine, or Lars Alexandersson grabbing his opponent by the hair and snapping their neck all the way back, complete with Sickening "Crunch!".
  • Generally played straight in Street Fighter. However, if Akuma, Oni, or Evil Ryu finish off their opponents with their Dangerous Forbidden Techniques, the screen's background will go black instead of the usual orange for finishing off a player with a Super or Ultra, and the words "KO" will be noticeably absent...
  • Weaponlord would let you chain special moves at the point of knocking out an opponent, causing a series of increasingly gory and over the top mutilations of your beaten enemy. Apparently hitting someone repeatedly with a six foot long polearm or a stone hammer the size of an engine block will only cause a non-lethal KO unless they're really tired. As with some of the other examples, killing an enemy will change the storyline, such as Korr having accidentally killed his long lost brother at the end of their fight.

    First Person Shooters 
  • Batman Doom. Well, you're Batman, and he doesn't kill. The enemies presumably just pass out from being struck with your batarangs or fists, or from inhaling the smoke from your smokebombs, or from being... burnt to a crisp with your flamethrower?...
  • The player in Deus Ex can Non Lethal KO opponents with riot batons, cattle prods, and crossbow-fired tranquilizer darts. Although the tranquilizer crossbow averts the trope a bit, as while shooting someone in the body will render them unconscious, a shot to the head will kill them. Your character's brother encourages the use of these non-lethal weapons because he's working with the 'enemy', while two of your co-workers encourage you to kill them all. Surprisingly enough, they turn out to be the real bad guys. The game also hints you along that you should be doing this. The quartermaster will scold the character (read: you, the person controlling the character) for killing too many people in mission one if, in fact, you do go on a shooting spree. Incidentally, you won't get any ammo from him if you do.
  • The End Times: Vermintide has two tiers for Player Characters by default, either or both of which might be disabled in a Challenge Run:
    • PCs are knocked down at zero Hit Points, leaving them helpless until revived. While downed, they slowly bleed out and remain vulnerable to enemy attacks.
    • If a PC bleeds out or suffers an instant-death environmental hazard, the other PCs react as if they had died, but they respawn as a captive somewhere ahead in the level, rejoining the fight as soon as they're untied.
  • Metro: Last Light has an example in Artyom punching the daylights out of enemies with his knife's knuckles. The Redux Updated Re Release brings this ability back to Metro 2033, and it carries over into Metro Exodus.
  • NightFire for the PC uses this. Due to Executive Meddling on the part of MGM Interactive (who owned the James Bond license at the time), blood and death were no-nos. Thus, our intrepid hero only knocks people out. From a long distance. With a sniper rifle or rocket launcher. (Fair enough in the case of the game's default one-hit-'kill' weapon: it was tranquilizer pen-dart.) This whole situation becomes a little bit silly when playing multiplayer and you shoot someone in the head with your Walther P99. More than once. No blood, no death.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 can have your characters bleed out if they are not revived in time, but if they do bleed out completely, they get taken into police custody rather than dying and can get back in the game if the other players secure a hostage. One heist in the sequel takes this to a ludicrous degree where you have to jump out of a plane; if you somehow jump out of the plane with no parachute, you'll go splat into the ground and are taken into police custody anyway.
  • Your teammates in Rainbow Six: Vegas can be revived with a shot, but you can't unfortunately.
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando uses a similar system, in which downed squad members go into a coma-like state, from which they must be revived (with 50% health) with a defibrillator-shaped bacta dispenser. If all 4 of you are KO-ed or if your health reaches zero while you're cut off from your squad, it's game over.
  • In the reboot of Syndicate, your co-op characters will only be disabled. You can still hobble about, but cannot breach or fight. A teammate has to "reboot" you. If your teammates take too long, you'll fall to your knees in one place and be stuck there, but still don't outright die.
  • Water Warfare goes the opposite direction in terms of absurdity: you will inexplicably faint from getting too wet. It's nonlethal because it's only water, but it's unclear why it makes you drop unconscious — perhaps the shock of cold water?
  • The Bowdlerized German version of Valve games such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike has all the human characters death animation replaced by holding down on their sides like the Like a Dragon example above.

    Hack and Slashers 
  • In the Dynasty Warriors franchise most, if not all, characters carry lethal weapons (swords, spears, all manner of bladed weapon really) and ruthlessly hack away at lesser opponents, sending them flying. Nonetheless, your counter at the bottom of the screen is called a "KO counter", and whenever you beat an important character, the games always say they were "defeated" or the like instead of that you killed them, although there are exceptions to the "no death" aspect. (In some games, as well as the Samurai Warriors series, there are different cutscenes for a defeated-but-non-generic character depending on whether they're defeated but retreat, or die here. In Warriors Orochi, this is replaced by separate quotes for the generic officers.)
    • Notably, while the Empires side series of games still uses a KO counter, and defeated generals may get captured, a game option allows players to execute captured officers, and they may die of old age, leaving them really dead.
    • Also, in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games, both options exist along with the option or whether or not officers can die in battle; in turn, Historical or Fictional gameplay options determine whether or not Plotline Death intrudes.
    • The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games replaces the KO counter with a "Shot Down" counter. Which can be interpreted to include retreats from battle, mobile suits being disabled without pilot death, and killing blows. In game there are various Gundam universe based storylines where canon deaths appear, and main original storylines - who dies and who survives in these varies greatly.
  • In HoloCure, storywise you're trying to beat some sense into brainwashed fans, and not kill them. This just happens to involve explosives, bladed weapons, and fire. Ignore that Calli literally has a skill named 'Death'. And that Okayu can eat regular enemies.

  • City of Heroes links this to Thou Shalt Not Kill; heroes "apprehend", "arrest" or "stop" criminals, even if the hero does so with a broadsword, katana or high-powered rifle. Also, Paragon City has a municipal teleporter system which, among other things, is used to transport unconscious criminals directly to an unspecified law-enforcement facility, possibly the Zigursky prison in Brickstown, and unconscious heroes to the hospital.
    • Interestingly, the Expansion Pack City Of Villains lacks this explanation; while official heroes are presumably linked up to the aforementioned teleport system, the random thugs you meet on the streets of Mercy Island may well really die from your attacks. This idea is supported by the fact that while the police drones in City of Heroes are stated in their description as being tied to the teleporter system, their equivalent Arachnos drones in City of Villains are stated in their description as "vaporizing" targets.
  • DC Universe Online likewise takes this approach due to their heroes (generally) also having a Thou Shalt Not Kill rule. Regardless of the weapon type or power being used on opponents they are always described as "knocked out." In many cases, the hero player can then apprehend or arrest the enemy after taking them down. Villain players also only knock out their opponents in the combat logs even when using lethal force would make more sense for them. Though in their case, they get more special interactions with non-player characters that explicitly harm or kill them such as knocking them off tall buildings, lighting them on fire, poisoning them, etc. Moreover, players themselves also never "die" as they too are always described as being "knocked out" when they lose their HP and need to be revived within ten seconds or they're teleported out of the battle. Depending on the difficulty the player may or may not be able to return to the area where the fight is taking place until it's over.
  • In EVE Online, a destroyed ship will always spit the pilot out in an escape pod. However, a player who doesn't mind being universally hated can take out the escape pod too, reducing the pilot to however they were when they last updated their clone.
  • Firefall plays with this concept. Your battleframe has a non-lethal setting, which makes your weapons target specific VIPs and deal non-lethal damage specifically to them, which means that at the cost of your enemies being stronger, you can capture them or leave them alive. Even if you hit their heads with a full-charge plasma burst. Or a toxic grenade. Or even a giant melding tornado. Seriously, the concept is ridiculous, but important for preventing the game from becoming annoying; you think people want to restart a mission every time your capture target is squished by a random terrorclaw? On your side, your character will usually bleed out instead of dying from regular wounds, but can be killed if enemies/melding finish them off. No matter what happens to them, they can always respawn at a safe zone.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has players labeled as "KO'd" if their HP reaches zero, even if they took an explosion to the face. When a revive spell is used on a downed player and thy have yet to accept the revive, the status buff describes it as "teetering on the brink of consciousness". Enemies whose HP is depleted are identified as being slain/killed unless the plot says otherwise. The in game lore also states that healing and resurrection spells can mend most wounds and bring people back from the brink of death in a pinch, but they can only do so much on their own compared to traditional medicines. The White Mage quests in the Stormblood expansion shows that if a person is gravely sick, no amount of healing magic will prevent them from dying.
  • No one dies in Kingdom of Loathing; they just get "Beaten Up".
    • This goes for at least certain enemies too, if the integral article is any indication (that is, while in the Penultimate Fantasy Airship, it always says "You're fighting The Protagonist" indicating there is only one that you beat up repeatedly).
  • In Mabinogi Once the players Health is down to zero, they are knocked out and could be revived by a passer-by. Justified they cant die, due to the 'Milletians' (the player) being from another world.
  • Star Trek Online refers to zero-HP players and bridge officers as "unconscious" and allows you to revive them with "Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation" (=waving a tricorder at the guy). Even if the "unconsciousness" was caused by the complete disintegration of the body by energy weapons.
    Even more absurdly, the game will list destroyed teammates in space battles as "unconscious," too. As if the ships didn't explode to tiny little pieces every time they reach Critical Existence Failure.
  • In zOMG!, players who lose all of their HP are considered "dazed". They can still slowly shuffle around the screen they're on or send chat messages, but can't change screens or interact with anything. Oh, and the ability that lets a player revive another player on the field is called "Defibrillate".

    Platform Games 
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog the enemies are non-sentient robots, and when destroyed a woodland critter of some kind is released, which merrily dashes away. So, not only are you not killing your enemies, but you are actually doing a kindness. Most later games in the franchise do roughly the same thing, though some of those entries have had some or all of the robots instead drop flower seeds, robot parts, or absolutely nothing upon defeat.

  • Abomi Nation, as a Roguelike, punishes you with Permadeath if an Abomi runs out of HP during a serious battle... But if you're fighting a normal Abomi just for training (or playing with permadeath off), Abomis who run out of HP are just "knocked out". You also do this to enemies, even Abomis who are working for the Big Bad. This foreshadows that Furcifume's lieutenants come Back for the Finale, as you never really dealt with them.
  • In The Alliance Alive, unconscious characters can be revived with standard healing items or magic, unless the effect is specified as "survivor heal" instead of just "heal". However, a character's HP cap lowers each time they faint or are attacked while unconscious, and you lose instantly if any character's max HP reaches 0.
  • Party members are only knocked unconscious in Avernum 4 and 5, though averted in the first three games, where party members die and have to be resurrected.
  • BioWare games since KotOR often have this:
    • In the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series, as well as Neverwinter Nights 2, party members reduced to zero HP are knocked out until all enemies are defeated, after which they struggle to their feet with one HP. However, if the entire party is reduced to zero HP, the game is over.
      • But subverted in Storm of Zehir, the second expansion to NWN2. As in pen-and-paper D&D, party members who are reduced to zero HP will bleed out and die if left untreated, at which point a raise dead or resurrection spell is required.
    • Mass Effect has this, but only for squadmates. If Shepard goes down, it's game over. Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode additionally features bleed-out and execute mechanics: if a player isn't revived within a short time, they stay down until the end of the current wave; most enemies have the ability to execute a fallen player with the same effect; and some particularly nasty mobs can kill you good in one strike.
    • Dragon Age likewise has this, but with a twist:
      • In Dragon Age: Origins, everyone gets back on their feet as long as at least one party member is still standing after the engagement is over, but each "death" leaves the character with an injury, i.e. a penalty on the stats, which can only be cured with specialized consumed items or high-level spells.
      • Dragon Age II replaces stat penalties with a penalty on your total health (you also get it from triggering traps, even if you are not killed), but otherwise plays it the same way.
  • Deltarune: Unlike the game's predecessor, every time an opponent is defeated violently, they merely flee or are launched away from the battle, or (in the case with some more plot significant characters) initiate a story cutscene. This makes it impossible to gain EXP, since you can't actually kill anyone. The same is true if a party member has their health bar completely depleted in battle; they merely collapse and will eventually revive by themselves after a few turns. Getting your heath depleted by environmental hazards is immediately fatal, however, and in Chapter 2, a character temporarily joins the party who can actually kill enemies in battle, which is required if you want to reach Chapter 2's bad ending.
  • Throughout the Dragon Quest series, monsters overcome in battle are described as "defeated". This rule does not apply to your own party, however - when a character is reduced to zero HP, the game announces, "(Character) dies". In addition, monsters dispatched by the instant-death Whack and Thwack spells are explicitly described as "killed".
  • In Dungeon Siege, characters losing all of their hit points will be rendered unconscious. If they continue taking damage, they'll get killed. If your entire party gets killed, the game is over. Of course, you can always revive your party members.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons-based Gold Box games from SSI used the same rules on hitpoints as its tabletop basis: characters reduced to exactly 0 HP are knocked unconscious, characters dropped below 0 HP but above -10 HP go down and are "dying", losing one HP per round unless "bandaged" (which sets them to 0 HP) and a character reduced to -10 HP or less (either from bleeding out or from an powerful attack) are killed.
  • In EarthBound (1994), the "defeated" message depends on the type of enemy you fight. Animals become tame, zombies and ghosts dissolve away, possessed plants or objects stop moving, and some enemies explode upon dying to deal massive damage to your party.
    • And human enemies come to their senses. All of these are justified in EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound, since all these things are under the influence of an alien with ultimate evil power on its side. When you defeat an enemy, you are usually just freeing it from the alien's mind control. Objects that stop moving are otherwise inanimate objects that simply revert back to their normal state. Party members will become unconscious instead of dying, but follow you as ghosts/angels until resurrected.
  • Your Servants in Fate/Grand Order do die when their HP reaches zero, but since they have a Contract with you, this is a mild inconvenience and they recover between battles. The exception is Mash, a pseudo-servant formed in the present and therefore still capable of permanent death - if defeated, she's shown retreating from the frontlines instead of fading away like usual.
  • The Final Fantasy games moved from describing characters who lose all their HP as "killed" to "KOed" or "wounded" once they hit 16-bit. This may have been done in part to Hand Wave the "Why don't they use a Phoenix Down?" problem when characters die as a result of the plot. The spell which restores one from this state, though, remains "Life", "Raise", or "Rise".
    • In the PS1's Final Fantasy Tactics, though, if someone stays knocked out long enough, they die permanently, resulting in a Game Over if it's the main character. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the GBA, there are special areas called "Jagds" where the laws of the world are on hold and death is permanent. However, sometimes an auto-controlled "Guest" character will join you in battle. If their HP drops to zero, they'll simply pass out and "dizzy stars" appear above their heads without a death countdown timer.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, it is confirmed in-game that characters can die. But as long as there is a soul trying to come back alive, and a fitting container (preferably the person's own body), the person can be brought back to life with magick (Raise spells, Phoenix Downs). All battle-kills are recorded as KOs however. It goes even farther when an Alchemist transmute a weakened enemy into a Potion or a Phoenix Down and they're still treated as not dead. Even if you use the item.
    • Your own party gains special protection in the form of the Judge, as well. When Luso takes the oath from the Judge, it's explained to him that the Judge's power ensures that those under his protection cannot be slain in combat. It therefore becomes quite ominous when dealing with the Big Bad and her minions, who seal the Judge away at the start of a fight.
    • Gets rather silly in Final Fantasy IX where a character that is hit with the Death spell or any variant of it shows the words "Death" appear in front of them and they simply pass out. There are also enemies that can eject characters from the battlefield and they can't come back until the fight is over. However, ejected characters are labeled as dead as far as the game is concerned, so you can still get a game over if your remaining characters are thrown out.
    • In Final Fantasy XII it's shown that monsters don't always die when they run out of HP. One mission has you hunting someone's pet turtle that has become giant due to being in a Magicite Mine. After you defeat him he is explicitly shown to have survived and shrunk back to normal size when you talk to his owner.
      • Also averted with some Hume bosses, who can be defeated by knocking their HP down to 25%, rather than all of it.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, party members who get KOed are knocked to the ground, but don't even appear to be knocked out. This doesn't change the fact that you get an instant Game Over if the party leader dies, even if your other party members have revive spells.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2 follows suit, except that once the party leader falls, the control automatically switches to the second party member (out of two available in total). If the second party member falls, however, the game's over, even if the summoned monster knows the Raise spell.
  • In Freedom Force, everyone is only knocked out (even Mooks). It's not too out of place for people like Minuteman, who hits people over the head, but considering other people have powers like shooting fire from their fingertips, throw bombs filled with acid, or shoot energy out their chest, and they can do things like push people off buildings, hit them with lamp-posts, and throw cars at them, it gets kind of sketchy that no one dies except for Plotline Deaths. It's even more egregious in the Pulp Adventures mod, where most of the heroes' abilities are plain old guns, blades, or explosives (though most heroes also have unarmed punches, stun items, or logically non-lethal weapons like Indiana Jones' whip).
  • Games using the Gamebryo engine (e.g. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3) have an NPC flag called "Essential." Since some NPCs are vital to the main quest, they are set to essential so they can't die; when their HP is reduced to zero, they fall down and a message displays "(NPC) is unconscious." The NPC will wake up after a short time.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has no essential NPCs except Yes Man and your current companions (and if you play in Hardcore mode, just Yes Man). It also incorporate non-lethal damage with a few weapons (boxing glove variants, cattle prods, and beanbag shotgun rounds), but unconscious enemies can't be looted and always get up after thirty seconds, which rather defeats the point; you may as well just sneak by them entirely. As these weapons all apply the same amount of fatigue regardless of enemy DT, they're really more useful for stunning your opponent to kill them while they're unconscious.
    • Unlike 3 and New Vegas, it's impossible for your current companions in Fallout 4 to permanently die. Even in Survival mode.
  • The original Gothic put an interesting spin on this trope: if you fight monsters, they always kill you good, and you return the favor. However, when fighting humans, both sides deal a Non-Lethal K.O. first, with an option to execute the downed enemy later. The point is that a downed enemy can be looted like a dead body without incurring any penalties for murdering them—however, that also applies to the downed Player Character, so the enemies who don't immediately execute you will search your pockets and strip you of any valuables they find.
  • In the Golden Sun series, both monsters, characters, and bosses are described as being 'downed' when their HP runs out.
  • Kingdom Hearts: your party members and some bosses.
  • In Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos, it is not clear whether party characters with 0 HP are supposed to be incapacitated or dead. One one hand, characters with 0 HP can still talk and manipulate items, suggesting that they are just too wounded to fight. On the other hand, they can only be healed with magic and special items, are unable to perform most actions, and any poison effects they have are removed, suggesting they are dead.
  • Legend of Mana plays it straight: KO party members automatically revive after a set amount of time provided the other party member (or even your pet monster or golem) is still standing. Surprisingly, though, this rule applies to the boss battle against Sierra and Vadise, who also revive from KO after a set time.
  • MARDEK has the KO'd/revive with one HP version. Monsters always go poof, even the mirror-image four-man-band who call themselves the World's Saviors, who should be able to revive each other the way your own guys can.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In the Mario & Luigi series, the Mario bros and any named characters merely get knocked out or hurt if they run out of health in battle, with the Elite Trio in Dream Team even mentioning it by name (saying that all three have to be KOed at once for Mario to win). Though bosses often explode after being defeated, this merely seems to a fancy version of Everything Fades unless it happens to a Big Bad like Cackletta and Fawful, who are usually evil enough to warrant being Killed Off for Real.
    • Paper Mario 64 doesn't have Mario's allies die or even pass out; because Mario's partners don't have HP, being attacked simply injures them and they can't be switched or fight until the injury recovers. Changed up in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door where Mario's allies have their own HP and they simply become unconscious if they are defeated, although they recover 1 HP after the fight is over. It is also implied Mario simply falls unconscious when his HP reaches zero (but the game still ends if Mario is defeated), but there's several kinds of a Non-Standard Game Over that show or at least imply that Mario actually dies.
  • In Miitopia, if your entire party is defeated, the scene changes to show the party running back to the inn as if you quit the exploration yourself (with the same music, no less). Also the first Dragon enemy and the Woof-o'-the-Wisp enemies don't die when defeated, but simply come back to their senses and run off, respectively.
  • Despite doing battle with massive untamed wyverns, the hero in Monster Hunter never dies. Should he or she run out of life, a pair of cats wheel him or her back to camp and unceremoniously dump out the body with full health. However, running out of life cuts your reward by one-third, and after three KOs (resulting in a reward of nothing) you immediately fail the mission. You can also capture monsters by ensnaring them in traps and tossing Tranq Bombs at them. If their health is low enough, they'll fall into a deep sleep and you'll win the battle.
  • Octopath Traveler: Even if Olberic or H'aanit fall in battle against an NPC they challenged with their Path Action, it won't count as a Game Over; they'll just reappear on the map with 1 HP. This also applies to any NPC you defeat in such a challenge.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is inconsistent about this. When a character's HP reaches 0, a window pops up saying "[Character] is dead!", but your Mission Control will say that the character is just unconscious. This is merely a carryover from Etrian Odyssey, where the game is taken from and does have that message.
  • Pillars of Eternity characters have both health and endurance; damage affects both, but total health is always substantially higher than total endurance. Characters are "knocked out" when they reach 0 endurance, but endurance recovers automatically when out of combat. Characters are "maimed" when they reach 0 health, and then only die outright if they are damaged while maimed (though some players may enable an option to skip the maiming step and go right to death).
  • This is most explicit in the Pokémon games, where every defeat is a KO, and when you're defeated you black/white out temporarily. You are also forced to give a portion of your money to the person who beat you. Oddly enough, in FireRed, LeafGreen, Diamond, and Pearl versions, after being defeated your character is described as running to the Pokémon Center, so the fact that your character blacks out is now utterly pointless. Also note that in Generation I, being beaten by a wild Pokémon also cost you half of your money (which later games have explained as being lost in the confusion). A glitch in Generation I allows you to have a party consisting of only fainted Pokémon after depositing others into a PC, which causes the same "blacked out" effect after you take three steps. In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the "blacking/whiting out" was replaced with "You were overwhelmed by your defeat", which keeps in the dramatics of losing but making more sense.
    • It's been noted by the creator himself that he preferred a nonlethal KO system because of the abundance of pointless violence in many video games.
      • Lampshaded by the Rival in the Pokémon Tower, where he notes that while your Pokémon don't look dead, he can settle for making them faint.
    • It becomes a bit odd when you take into account moves like Selfdestruct or Explosion, which cause the user to "faint". What exactly has exploded? Pokémon Snap shows the user creates an explosion that blow it and the attacker away from each other but leaves the user spent. Supposedly the original idea was to say "unable to battle" but fainted took less text.
      • Some fans avert this for a Self-Imposed Challenge, releasing defeated Pokémon in order to treat their knockout as a permanent kill.
      • Also averted in Pokémon Adventures. Sure, battles aren't inherently dangerous... but some people are just evil enough to tell their Pokémon to actually hurt others.
      • Also averted straight to hell by Cipher in Pokémon Colosseum, whose idea of dealing with interlopers involves taking down their Pokemon, then beating the offender black and blue! You can see it happen best when Dakim nails Vander in the solar plexus, a rare case of human-on-human violence in the franchise.
    • If you try to use the Pokemon Refresh feature on a fainted Pokemon, it shows them sleeping. Unlike when they're affected by the Sleep status effect or just napping, you cannot interact with them at all and they'll just go back to the ball after a few seconds.
    • The trainer can faint in Pokémon Legends: Arceus from taking too much damage or falling from too high a point. You get text saying "everything went black" and re-spawn at camp with text saying "apparently you were rescued".
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army subverts the trope. At first, it seems to play it straight with the message "Raidou fainted from his injuries...". Then you get the game over sequence... Poor Raidou.
  • Played with and justified in The Reconstruction. Every character has three Life Meters: Body, Mind, and Soul. Reducing any of them to 0 will defeat them. It makes sense that wearing down an opponent's willpower or cognition would merely cause unconsciousness, Body damage is usually described as being lethal. There's even one quest where this comes into play.
    • Your party members will always go into a Non-Lethal K.O., though, even if they took Body damage. There are plenty of enemies that are still alive in cutscenes after you battle them, as well, regardless of what method you used to defeat them.
  • The earlier games in the Rune Factory you would have to restart from a save point if killed in one of the dungeons. Running out of HP outside of a dungeon resulted in fainting and waking up in the town hospital (or equivalent). Starting with Rune Factory 3, getting taken down would result in waking up in Marjorie's clinic, short some gold.
  • In Romancing Saga and its successors, your characters automatically recover HP after every battle. However, should they lose all of it in battle, they will get KO'd and lose one of their LP. If a character loses all their LP, Permadeath ensues and they will die permanently.
  • Both played straight and averted in Saga Frontier 2 - your characters, if they are taken to 0 HP in battle, will simply collapse and get up with a small number of HP and one less LP after the battle. However, there are attacks that do LP damage, and if a character's LP hit 0, they're dead. Permanently. FOR THE REST OF THE GAME.
  • Unless otherwise mentioned in dialogue, no one seems to die in Super Robot Wars. Unless its a special mission, whenever your soldiers are shot down, they simply eject and you have to pay to repair their unit. The same courtesy is also given to your enemies, as a large amount of their Reduced To 0 HP dialogue involves them trying to eject.
    • Taking this into consideration, it seems really strange how so much of your characters' dialogue upon being shot down refers to being killed.
  • In X-Men Legends II, enemies are only KO-ed when disposed of, no matter how (say, by Wolverine's "Eviscerate" attack, or by hurling them off of a roof or into a flaming pit, or turning a Mook into a box and breaking it for goodies). Presumably because of the X-Men's long-established Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.

  • The first Bangai-O game plays this for laughs, since recurring bosses tend to survive their mechs exploding (to Riki and Mami's confusion). Bangai-O's pilots aren't as lucky.
  • In Child of Eden, you aren't destroying viruses (enemies), you're purifying them. This is best exemplified with the bosses: When you defeat one, it takes on a friendly One-Winged Angel form in a cutscene as the stage ends.
  • Pixelvader: There is no in-game death for the player character, instead you just retreat when the shields get low.
  • In Star Fox 64, your wingmates will be "downed", I.E., say a small line with the "crossed wrenches" sign over their picture, then leave the mission. They sit out the next one, then reappear. You, however, clearly explode when your shields fail.
    • Also played straight in Assault. Averted in the SNES game, where your wingmen can die for real.
  • Spellcard System rules in Touhou Project exist for this explicit purpose. Otherwise, the One-Hit Kill abilities of most high-level youkai would instantly end Barrier Maiden Reimu's career; a very bad thing, considering she is tied to the existence of the very border that keeps the setting together. (She even fights a ghost capable of killing with nothing but thinking about it. Imperishable Night proves she can do it without other people even noticing she's trying.)

    Simulation Games 
  • In AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, when you hit something, even if you're falling from a height equivalent to several skyscrapers, you'll survive, but with most of your bones broken. Sometimes the game is rather specific in telling you which bones are broken, e.g. "You broke ten of your fingers".
  • In Animal Crossing, If the player is attacked by a scorpion or a tarantula, they will pass out and awaken in front of their house.
  • Dead In Vinland, being a survival management sim with RPG Elements, has this in effect for battles, but Permadeath otherwise. However, a character who is reduced to 0 hit points in battle is likely to acquire a nasty Status Effect injury like "Head Trauma" or "Deadly Wound," and will take serious damage to their Injury meter, leading to Permadeath if it hits 100%. (Lesser amounts of damage cause less serious injury if they take the character below 10 HP.)
  • In Spore, if your creature's ship explodes in the Space stage, you don't die, but is revived through cloning.
  • Speaking of immortal wingmates, in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron wingmates who are downed will land on the surface but never will die. This even occurs during the Death Star level.
  • If your patient's vital levels reach zero during an operation in Trauma Center: Under The Knife, he or she ostensibly doesn't die; another doctor simply takes over and the player character is said to have quit in shame. Near the end game, however, this happens less and when it does it is implied that the other doctor will fail. These scenes also occasionally imply that the main character killed himself from the shame, instead of just quitting.
    • There's a notable exception in the sequel, where you're forced to operate on an active bomb among a crowd of people. If you lose the mission there's a flash of white and the sound of an explosion before the game prompts you to retry, giving little doubt as to the fate of everyone in the room.

    Strategy Games 
  • In the Advance Wars series, Commanding Officers are apparently off-limits for either side's troops to shoot at. At first you might think this is because the COs are far behind the front lines coordinating the battle by radio, but multiple "mission failed" cutscenes in story mode make it clear this was NOT the case. Hell, many story mode scenes have named characters storming into each other's offices, guns drawn, yet the loser almost always escapes without a shot being fired by either side.
    • Averted in Days of Ruin, with COs actively trying to kill each other, and often succeeding.
  • In the campaigns of Age of Mythology and its expansion Age of Mythology: The Titans, when the heroes are "killed" they are unconscious until one of your units gets close to them, at which point they revive with low health.
  • In Colobot, the Thumper bot is designed specifically for invoking this on the enemy lifeforms over a certain radius around itself (if only temporarily).
  • Dawn of War: In the second game, heroes are just incapacitated when their HP runs out, and can be revived by a teammate or medkits. However, if every hero is down they're all teleported out.
  • In Dungeon Keeper 2, most creatures fall unconscious when felled in combat, granting a short time window in which an Imp can drag them back to their Lair to recuperate. In that time, they're helpless and can't receive healing magic from the Keeper; if an Imp doesn't come for them, they're worm food. Exceptions include vampires, who reconstitute in their coffins on their own or suffer Deader than Dead if they get killed by a monk; and skeletons, who suffer immediate Deader than Dead.
  • Even in Fire Emblem, a game where characters who run out of HP permanently are dead for the rest of the game's campaign (That is - can never be deployed in combat again for that save file. Ever.) in later games, plot relevant characters who lose all Hit Points are depicted as simply being too heavily wounded to continue fighting. This is presumably so that plot-important PCs can still take part in conversations outside of battle. That said, they do die in the epilogue, with their endings stating that they died from their wounds during the war instead of what it normally would. On the other hand, if any of your Lords lose all their Hit Points, they will die and the game is over.
    • Non-plot important characters however, often die complete with death speech.
    • Exception: the tutorial campaign in The Blazing Blade. Any characters used here return in the main campaign whether they were injured or not.
      • There are endings for these characters that explain what happened after the campaign. A character's story changes slightly if you lost him or her during one of the battles.
    • Noticeable is that in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn characters injured this way don't fade away like dead ones do.
    • Starting with New Mystery of the Emblem, players can follow this trope with their own units. "Casual" mode lets KO'd characters fight again in the next battle, while "Classic" mode utilizes Permadeath. The exceptions are Marth and the Avatar, whose defeats result in Game Over even in Casual Mode.
    • Awakening continues the Casual/Classic dynamic, with the exception again, being Chrom and the Avatar, who give Game Over should they fall.
    • This continues into Fates, only this time Casual Mode also affects the main character. It's also the only game to include the even easier Phoenix Mode, which makes your units return to battle on your next turn after they are incapacitated. The Avatar even has a unique Game Over quote for Casual Mode/Phoenix Mode (which occurs when all of your active units are incapacitated at once).
      Avatar: "No! There's no one left who can fight! We've lost..."
    • In Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, three enemy cavalrymen are affected by this trope: Slayde, Fernand, and Berkut. Like in the Tellius games, when you defeat them before their Plot Armor expires, their battle models show they are simply stunned, while their final deaths have them go flying off their horses like any other cavalier.
    • Three Houses features the choice between Casual and Classic again. However, a few of the battles in Three Houses are simply mock battles, where characters who fall will retreat to fight another day, even if you're playing Classic Mode.
    • And once again the Classic/Casual dynamic appears in Engage. Additionally, similar to in the previous game, there are skirmishes labelled as "training", which take place in the castles of allied nations. These skirmishes do not kill characters whose HP are reduced to 0, even on Classic Mode, with the one exception being, of course, Alear.
  • In the Galaxy Angel, even when their Angel Wings blow up in the middle of space, the Angels under your command gameverse are simply KOed, brought back to base after the battle, and only get a little ticked off at you for giving them sucky battle plans. The third game actually used this shot-down-but-not-killed device as a plot point. Your Angels probably have better defences than you do; if the Elsior, Luxiole or Brave Heart goes down, it's over.
  • In League of Legends, when you kill an enemy champion, they are revived by the magical energy of the battlefield. Then again, Cho'Gath eats his opponent, Fizz has a shark eat them (small opponents are swallowed whole) and Thresh claims their soul.
  • In Mount & Blade your character can't be killed in battle; instead, you will be knocked unconscious and either captured by the enemy, or rescued by your allies.
    • While normal and elite characters often get killed off for real, Lords and Kings always fall unconscious when beaten, Then they may be taken as prisoners or flee the battle and appear in a nearby city several weeks later.
  • In Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars, your mechs explode when their HP is reduced to 0. When that happens, they're out for the rest of the stage, but the characters piloting them are still alive, and they do come back next stage.
    • Everyone who you fight are either Mecha-Mooks (unmanned) or shows enough mercy to allow the pilot to escape. Even Pharsti calls Edge out on being a technical pacifist and he supposedly follows it until his Midseason Upgrade where he supposedly kills Ned after he threatened to kill several children with explosive collars and done so already with one pilot.

    Survival Horror 
  • Clock Tower: Bobby being a supernaturally empowered demon child, anything Jennifer does to him (poison gas, using a murder of crows to attack him, tricking him into falling down a hole) will only have him down for a minute or so, or until she leaves the map (whichever comes first).
  • Haunting Ground: No matter how many times they stab, shoot, stomp or Kick the Dog, Hewie will only make a sad noise then collapse for a few minutes. Unless you're in Hard Mode... The same goes for all of Fiona's stalkers.
  • In the Siren Games, this trope applies to the enemies, the shibito. Instead of being killed, a defeated shibito will only stay down just long enough for the player to escape before getting back up.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In Fortnite Battle Royale, nobody sheds a drop of blood at any point. Completely "eliminating" a player causes a drone to appear and the eliminated player being scanned out with fading holographic projection effect, leaving behind only their items. The "Fly Explosives" Limited-Time Mode outright mentions blasting your opponents "back to the lobby."
  • In the Splatoon series, being "splatted" after sustained enemy team ink fire (or falling in water) is barely a mild inconvenience for Inklings and Octolings in most situations, since they're usually hooked up to a respawn machine where they can easily go and restore themselves (or in Salmon Run, have someone else restore them) after Giving Up the Ghost.
    • Splatoon 2 subverts this, however, during the escape phases and final boss of the Octo Expansion .As confirmed in this interview, being splatted here is the first time in the series that your character can actually die. If you continue after dying, you instead "go back in time" to when Agent 8 was still alive.

    Turn Based Tactics 
  • The Lamplighters League: If your Agents reach zero HP, there is a three-round limit to revive them, with a limit to the number of times that this can be done on a mission. If you take too long, or go over the limit, then they suffer Permadeath ... except on Easy, in which case they are captured, and you will get a mission to retrieve them a few weeks later.
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden: If characters reach zero HP they have a few turns of "Bleeding out" status, in which they can be revived with a medpack.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: If a character in your squad reaches zero HP, then you have three turns to get a comrade to their position, in which case they will be "safely evacuated" by the Medic, and can rejoin the battle in a later turn. If you take too long, or an enemy reaches them first, then they will be unrecoverably dead.
    The sequel Valkyria Chronicles II also follows this trope: the worst that can happen to your characters (outside of cutscenes, of course) is being "hospitalized", which means they can't join your next three battles.
  • Any Guest-Star Party Member in Final Fantasy Tactics cannot die if they're knocked out. If the mission objective is to keep that party member alive, then a knockout will have them Killed Off for Real, and thus you get a game over for it.
  • X-COM
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has the "critically wounded" status. A soldier has a small chance to drop unconscious and bleeding out from otherwise lethal damage. You have three turns to save them, either by finishing the mission or stabilizing them with a Medikit; a Support with the Revive skill can instead resuscitate them at 33% of their max health. Either way, the soldier takes a big hit to their Will and needs a long time in the base's medical wing to recover. The chance of critical wounds can be increased for high-rankers with the "Don't Die On Me" upgrade from the Officer Training School in the core game; with the Enemy Within Expansion Pack, that's replaced with the "Secondary Heart" gene mod – a soldier with this mod will be critically wounded the first time they take lethal damage in a mission, the amount of turns to save them is increased to five, and there's no Will loss from it.
    • XCOM 2
      • The critical wound mechanic is also present, but the critical wound is outright called "Bleeding Out", and on top of medkit stabilization, another soldier can carry the one that's bleeding out and evac to the Skyranger with them to prevent their death.
      • The Unconscious status effect makes the unit essentially dead unless revived by a Specialist's proper skills. Melee strikes from Stun Lancers and Berserkers have a small chance of this that increases the lower the target's health is, anything that has its HP reduced to 0 by a Viper's constricting bind will go Unconscious instead of dying, and most of the special abilities of the Alien Rulersnote  have a high chance of dropping your squad Unconscious. A unit that's Bleeding Out will also switch to Unconscious once stabilized.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Bully, which is often described as a Lighter and Softer version of Grand Theft Auto, has this. Since Hide Your Children won't work in a game where most characters are children, NPCs (as well as the player) can only be knocked out instead of killed. The gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same. They even fade away after a while and will later respawn alive and well.
  • Whenever a player or pet loses all their health in Impressive Title, they receive a Wounded status, which prevents them from using Skills or attacking other creatures. For players, their health bar turns red and becomes a timer, which slowly ticks down until it becomes green again and then the player can heal themselves or continue fighting. Pets, on the other hand, must either be healed by another player or leave the area entirely to gain back their health.

  • 100% Orange Juice: If the character's HP hits 0, s/he cannot move, but can roll the die to get back up (roll equal to/higher to revive).
  • Tamagotchi don't die. They simply return to their homeworld after some time. How well they are cared for determines when they leave: the better you care for it, the longer it will take for them go home. The same idea applies to the Eevee versions of Tamagotchi: they also don't die, but rather retreat back into their Pokeball and never come back out.
  • In Yandere Simulator, you have methods through which you can eliminate romantic rivals without having to murder them. These include, but are not limited to:


    Anime and Manga 

    Live Action TV 
  • In basically all tokusatsu programs such as Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, or Power Rangers, there's an unwritten rule that no amount of damage can actually kill someone while they're transformed into their superhero form. Even if the character gets hit so hard that they explode, when the smoke clears and they drop out of costume, they'll just have torn clothing and cosmetic scratches. This is so common that it's often justified in-story somehow if a character won't have this happen to them, such as the consequence of a Deadly Upgrade being stated to be that taking a lethal blow will actually be lethal.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Occurs frequently on Walker, Texas Ranger during its fight scenes. Walker and his allies always try to bring the bad guys in alive, even though they have to beat the crap out of them beforehand, but a few fight scenes have had some lethal outcomes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Usually averted in All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but played straight for the heroes in the "Singing Cowboys" Deadworld. Because they're the protagonists of a series of movies, if a hero runs out of Life Points, they survive through some bizarre circumstance (usually based around Never Found the Body) and reappear at the start of the next scene. There are only two exceptions. First, if they fight an Elite Mook, both sides get one freebie and then are capable of killing one another the next time they fight. Second, when the zombies show up, running out of Life Points while fighting one means you get eaten, no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 2nd Edition added an optional rule where a creature reduced to zero or fewer Hit Points is disabled and falls unconscious. After that, they have until they reach -10 to be stabilized or healed, losing another hit point each turn. However, an attack that drops them to -10 HP still causes instant death.
    • 3rd Edition made the -10 HP rule the default. Zig-zagged with effects that cause death through other means than hit point damage, like various Touch of Death abilities; and with specific effects like Disintegrate, which does exactly that when it drops someone to 0 HP.
    • In 3rd Edition, this is the default for most poisons: they usually damage Ability Scores, which leaves a victim unconscious (e.g.: Intelligence) or paralyzed (e.g.: Dexterity) when drained to zero, with the sole exception of Constitution.
    • Nonlethal damage in 3rd Edition can only cause the target to fall unconscious, which has the odd effect of letting someone survive being used as a punching bag for hours on end, unless their assailant chooses to do lethal damage with their fists.
    • 4th Edition characters can fall to negative HP equal to half their maximum before they automatically die. When in negative HP, they make a saving throw every turn until they stabilize, die, or receive healing. Most monsters, however, die normally at 0.
    • 4th and 5th Editions allow a PC who drops a creature to 0 HP to administer a Non-Lethal KO or just kill it.
    • A character reduced to 0 HP in 5th Edition has three turns to roll a d20 with no bonuses. Failing the last one of them (or rolling more than two ones) means the character is dead, otherwise the character is "stable" and only knocked unconscious. Healing even one hit point of damage is enough to take them out of this state, a mechanic happily abused by parties with a dedicated healer, tank, and Nietzchian approach to suffering.
  • Fabula Ultima: Unless the controlling player decides otherwise, player characters do not die when their HP is reduced to zero. Instead, they "surrender": they fall unconscious and can no longer influence the outcome of the current scene, even if some effect brings them back above zero HP. The only way to bring a surrendered character back into the action is with the Hope spell, which can only be obtained by mastering the Spiritist class.
  • In Flying Circus, as brutal as the game's consequences can be, a Player Character cannot die unless their player agrees. In even the deadliest of situations—such as falling from high-altitudes and smashing into the ground, a Player Character can end up passing out. However, allied NPCs do not receive this luxury.
  • GURPS has had a rule similar to 4e D&D since its 2nd edition: characters are weakened at low HP, lose consciousness at 0 HP (but they can make a roll to keep standing), and at -HP equal to their standard healthy HP, they start rolling to resist death (at -5x HP, they die even if they withstood all rolls). Again, Chunky Salsa Rule applies; a character whose corpse is damaged to -10x HP has nothing left to revive, he's just turned into hamburger.
  • Mice and Mystics: Player characters are "captured" when they run out of Hit Points, not killed, and return to the board as soon as it's cleared of enemies. However, a game counter is advanced towards defeat whenever this happens.
  • Mutants & Masterminds defaults to the conceit that the player characters are dealing non-lethal damage unless otherwise specified to reflect the Silver/Bronze Age setting where heroes didn't kill.
  • The One Ring: Player Characters fall unconscious when brought to zero Endurance or when they take a major Wound while they're already Wounded. A short rest lets them wake and begin to recover unless they're out of Endurance and Wounded, in which case they need prompt medical attention to survive.
  • In the fan-made Pokémon Tabletop Adventures Pokémon can die in battle, but they have to take twice their max HP in damage. When their HP is zeroed they simply get knocked out.
  • In Pokéthulhu, people and thulhu also faint at zero HP, although it does caution that this leaves them vulnerable to being eaten by "wild thulhu or ill-mannered friends". Averted with the sample adventure and some of the Chaos cards, though, in which thulhu can be lethally devoured or disintegrated by lightning bolts.
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution you get knocked out when you hit 10 - Will hit points. You don't actually start bleeding out until you hit zero hit points.
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse, heroes cannot die, instead simply being "incapacitated". This is to make sure players can still be part of the game even after being KOed as every hero has three incap abilities that can have varying effects. This carries over to the RPG spinoff/sequel Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game where every hero has an "out" ability based on the personality they chose that they can use after running out of HP.
  • The Teenagers from Outer Space RPG is based on slapstick anime, and characters who run out of "Bonk" points will recover in a few turns.
  • In Toon: The Cartoon RPG, the player characters are cartoon characters, who as everyone knows can take massive amounts of abuse without getting killed. So instead of dying when they run out of hit points, they Fall Down, and are taken out of action temporarily.
  • Invoked as a way to justify how named characters can be "killed" in Warhammer 40,000 as well as the player's own self-made characters. This way players don't have to find ways to justify how a commander with a survival deficiency somehow appearing in multiple battles, but gets kind of ridiculous when the character can take a planet-vaporizing blast and was only "knocked unconscious". Also comically used in various one-hit KO spells, where the combatant can be rendered as either a deformed blob of flesh, a gibbering idiot, locked in a box, or a squignote .


    Web Original