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Ominous Floating Castle

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Some villains have their own country, and with a well-guarded desolate volcanic wasteland around their ominous, dark tower that the heroes must battle their way through. Others, however, have bigger plans. Entire planetary systems, or an alternate universe, perhaps. And right in the middle is this place, a floating, menacing castle of doom or huge levitating fortress overlooking... well, pretty much nothing. There's no Mordor here, no vice-filled urban district, and certainly no red-hot volcanic underworld. The base floats in absolute nothingness.

On top of that, there are multiple versions with their respective associations. A Floating Continent with this place on top will often be a rather mystical area, while aliens in space-faring series usually have an enormous Airborne Aircraft Carrier in the centre or edge of the universe. Then, of course, anything literally in a void has a pretty good chance of being a Mind Screw. Nevertheless, it's relatively common, especially as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in a videogame, providing the backdrop for many an extremely powerful evil force.

Not to be confused with Floating Castle. Outfitting such structure with long-ranged weaponry may upright turn it into Airborne Artillery. Extreme cases can overlap with Space Station and if armed, may even commence Orbital Bombardment.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass: Schneizel's Damocles fortress is basically an amalgamation of the earlier airships with a Britannian-style palace, using float systems and energy shields introduced earlier in the series. Knowing Schneizel, who had those technologies commissioned, this was all a part of the plan. True to its name, it's not only shaped like a hovering sword, but also houses a stockpile of FLEIJA warheads that could be launched on any city at Schneizel's whim, thus enforcing peace.
  • The SoulTaker: Episode 6 is aptly named "The Malevolent Stratosphere Castle" for its location. It was a safe haven for a mutant who had become jaded with his work for the Hospital and sought to end his life in peace.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has the Ark Cradle, Z-ONE's fortress, which is constructed from the ruins of the destroyed Neo Domino City in the future, and is set to crash into and destroy the present-day version of the city.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Kingdoms has the Museum of the Wyrd, which is located on a floating island in the middle of nowhere.
  • Doctor Strange: The archenemy of Doctor Strange, the Dread Dormammu, is typically depicted sitting on a throne floating in the middle of a swirling chaotic void that is the Dark Dimension.
  • ElfQuest begins with a magical fairytale castle appearing in midair... above a group of terrified neanderthals, who promptly attack its elfin occupants when it comes crashing to the ground moments later.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Knowhere is a fortress made from a Celestial's head, discovered by the Guardians and located near the Rip, the extreme outer edge of all existence. (Who killed it? Pretty much everyone hopes they never find out. It's later revealed that it was Knull, god of the symbiotes and the King in Black.) It serves as base for those who study the Rip and the space-time abnormalities of the location. (It also appears in the movie and the animated series.)
  • Justice League of America: The villain Prometheus lives in a crooked house version of this in his "Ghost Zone", which may or may not also be the Phantom Zone or Limbo.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992): Ganon's Tower looks like an absolutely massive floating sphere with massive spikes protruding all over its stony surface.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Jack and the Beanstalk": The focus of the story is Jack's exploration of the evil giant's castle high up in the sky. In some versions, it is implied that there's a whole world of giants up in the clouds.
  • "Prince Ivan, the Witch Baby, and the Little Sister of the Sun": A rare non-villainous example. The Sister of the Sun's castle is made of rose clouds and hangs in the sky beyond the end of the world. It is the only place where Prince Ivan can feel safe from his witch sister.

    Fan Works 
  • Ages of Shadow: Jade's Grand Palace of the Shadow Netherworld starts off as a palace made from solidified shadow, set adrift in the void. However, by the time she encounters the Shadow Walkers, she's expanded it to the point that it's a Floating Continent.
  • The Immortal Game: The boon that Nihilus asks for in exchange for serving Titan is a floating fortress, something her Co-Dragons General Esteem views as tacky and cliche. True to form, it collapses when Nihilus is defeated by the Elements of Harmony.
  • The Lion of Ivalice: Bethla Garrison first becomes an Evil Tower of Ominousness after Altima is revived and sets up shop there. When the combined armies of Ivalice lay siege to her tower, she simply opts to devote her power into tearing Bethla out of the earth and into the skies.

    Film — Animated 
  • Atlantis: Milo's Return: The deranged former millionaire Erik Hellstrom (who is under the impression that he is the god Odin) uses the power of a stolen Atlantean artifact to make his castle (appropriately called Asgard even before) and the mountaintop it's on float in the air above the mountain itself.
  • Castle in the Sky: Laputa isn't an evil castle per se, but lots of bad things happen there.
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: The evil sorcerer Merlock uses the Genie's magic to turn Scrooge's money bin into a Floating Castle that is very ominous. Merlock specifically wished to "return home in his new home", which Genie fulfills by making the fortress fly directly to Persia. Scrooge however defeats him before they get to the destination.
  • Pokémon 2000: Lawrence III's Hikōkyū (translation: Flying Palace) is a mechanical flying fortress the size of a city. Unfortunately for Lawrence, its only weaponry was on the bottom; when Moltres and Zapdos began quarreling around the central area of the ship, Lawrence was powerless to stop them, sending the palace crashing down.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Bowser's castle is built on a floating mass of rock with its lava dripping out the sides onto the ground and doubles as a ship, floating from location to location.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Black Widow (2021): The Red Room facility itself is a variant of this, being a modern spy fortress rather than a castle, but it still maintains the spirit of this trope. Going into the third act, the facility is revealed to be airborne, which is how General Dreykov kept off the radar for so long. At the film's climax, the Room is sent crashing to Earth, culminating in Natasha and Taskmaster getting into a Freefall Fight.

    Literature 
  • Dragonlance: The Flying Citadels, which also come with the benefit of being able to go to their supply lines rather than having to make them come to you.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Umbriel is a massive chunk of land in a downward pointing conical shape. Everything that falls in its shadow is turned into mincemeat.
  • The Legends of Ethshar: There are magical tapestries used for transportation — you weave a picture of where you want to be. One highly advanced magician makes a tapestry of a "in a void of nothingness" castle and thereby brings into being a little pied-a-terre (pied-a-void?) for himself and his mistress... but when the return route gets blocked, said mistress ends up trapped in said castle for a few centuries. Said magician also created a flying castle in the skies, which was brought down by a Fantastic Nuke.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • In the first book, Gardens of the Moon, the armies of the Malazan empire besieging the city of Pale face a flying fortress called Moon's Spawn under the command of a powerful sorcerer, Anomander Rake, who at first is presented as the antagonist — what with a titles like Son of Darkness and Mane of Chaos.
    • In book six, The Bonehunters, a group of Malazans find several of those floating fortresses hanging in the sky of the Imperial Warren. They try to investigate but get stuck, and after Cotillion, the Patron God of Assassins, informs them the fortresses are full of K'Chain Nah'ruk, they decide they've got more immediate problems.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth: The Castle in the Air is actually a floating prison, inhabited by a couple of captive princesses.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil:
  • "Shah Guido G." by Isaac Asimov features the titular despot ruling future Earth from his flying city before it is destroyed by piling on too much weight. (The title, when pronounced correctly, warns the reader that the entire story is a set-up for a truly hideous pun.)
  • Xanth: The floating castle made of clouds counts as it is currently the home of the Demon Xanth, his consort Chlorine and their son. Somewhat subverted in that the Demon currently in residence isn't actually evil.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragonlance: Mobile floating castles were used in the War of the Lance.
    • Forgotten Realms:
      • Netherese Enclaves are built by cutting off, turning over, and levitating the top of a mountain.
      • There was an epic level spell (the most powerful magic in third edition) that let you do this. In previous editions it was a 10th level spell in a system where the most powerful spells are normally 9th level.
      • Flattery Wyvernspur's castle, Temple in the Sky and several cases when the top half of a wizard's tower remained in a good condition and in its proper place for several centuries after lower floors were completely (and violently) removed. Starting with the one from which young Elminster, then Elmara, with her band of adventurers were kicked out in The Making of a Mage.
    • Planescape:
      • Floating castles, forts and fortresses are fairly common, most notably the Doomguard citadels which float on the borders between the Negative Energy Plane and the Quasielemental Planes and Orcus's crumbling fortress of Tcian Sumere also in the Negative. These all likely inspired the Fortress of Regrets in Planescape: Torment.
      • The Githyanki capital Tu'Narath is a fortress-city in the timeless void of the Astral Plane, built out of the petrified corpse of a forgotten god.
    • Tomb of Horrors: In Return to the Tomb of Horrors, the demilich Acererak has the gigantic Fortress of Conclusion hovering at the edge of the Negative Energy Plane, an infinite expanse of pure entropy and decay.
  • Exalted: The tomb-bodies of the Neverborn are both Ominous Floating Mountain-Thingies and one of the setting's (many) groups of Big Bads. They really want to fall into the Void and finish dying, and they're willing to destroy all of Creation to get there.
  • Pathfinder: In the Giantslayer adventure path, the Big Bad is a tyrannical storm giant who has taken over the flying castle of a clan of cloud giants by slaughtering its old rulers with the aid of a few traitors, and afterwards filled it with his minions and servants and converted it into a flying base of operations for his plans to conquer as much of the world as he is able.
  • Shadowrun: The Zurich Station, located on Earth's orbit. It houses the central governing body of all Evil Mega Corps, and is considered to be the most secure facility in existence.
  • Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies: Floating fortresses are common in the setting, as everything is either on a Floating Continent or free-floating in the Skies. Of particular note was the Astramorte, an obvious Expy of the Death Star, destroyed in a daring raid taking advantage of seemingly inconsequential vulnerabilities.
  • Warhammer has a couple. The Floating Castle is a creepy location in the Realm of Chaos, doubtless home to daemons. There is also a rare good example — the Palace of Hothar the Fey — a powerful High Elf mage prince's palace that drifts gently through the clouds of the Elven province of Saphery.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Silver Towers of Tzeentch float across the surface of a planet, held aloft by the power of its sorcerous residents and the energies of enslaved daemons. While they don't float far above the ground during a battle, they are spaceworthy and are often used as starships and Drop Ships.
    • During the Second Battle of Damnos, the Necron forces unleashed the Baleful Necropolis, a massive floating tomb complex that incorporated multiple Monoliths and a Tesseract Vault into its structure. The Necropolis did massive damage to the Ultramarines before it was destroyed.
    • "The Rock", the Fortress Monastery of the Dark Angels chapter of Space Marines, is all that remains of their homeworld of Caliban, a literal castle on a jut of rock floating in space. It has since been sealed against the void and equipped with engines to travel the stars, moving from world to world to find new recruits. Unlike a lot of other examples though, this also qualifies as Dark Is Not Evil. Well, mostly...
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a handful of these with varying degrees of ominousness, such as the Castle of Dark Illusions, Cloudcastle, and Skyfaring Castle of the Black Forest.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Online/Air Rivals: Not exactly owned by the villain, but the Advance Base Rakion at the Mesos Floor can look rather intimidating to inexperienced pilots. It doesn't help that it's the largest map in the entire game and that players from ANI and BCU must fight for control of the Advance Base to put it into use. The official website says it is a spy satellite of the Shrines, AKA the evil aliens that want to conquer the planet. ANI and BCU just borrow it during their skirmishes.
  • Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg: Giant Palace initially comes off across this way in its first mission. It's subverted though when Billy and his chums boot Dark Raven out, bringing morning. As a result Giant Palace becomes a much nicer place.
  • BioShock Infinite: Comstock House is the biggest and most intimidating structure in Columbia, even without the thunderstorm and the gigantic statues of the Founding Fathers it rests upon. In addition to being the house of the Big Bad, it becomes an asylum run by the inmates in the future of 1984. Concept art makes the building look even more Gothic (as in the architecture with sharp towers and flying buttresses).
  • Brave Fencer Musashi: The Soda Fountain is the capital of the evil Thirstquencher Empire. It's presumably kept aloft by the gigantic Binchotite crystals jutting out of the bottom, given that the ones you normally encounter in game constantly spin in midair.
  • Chrono Trigger: The Black Omen floats in the air for thousands of years, such that when it appears, people comment on it regardless of the time period you visit. In fact, it's been around so long that people aren't even scared of it anymore, even though it is a gigantic obsidian floating Magitek imposing thing that's even named the Black Omen.
  • Dark Chronicle: The Moonflower Palace used to be one, until it engaged the heroes' own flying fortress, Paznos, and it was sent hurtling right towards Palm Brinks. Paznos' robot mode was barely able to ground it elsewhere.
  • Dawn of War: Necron Monoliths from Dark Crusade, the only Necron building that can produce units. Once fully upgraded, they fly, teleport decent distances, and bring enormous firepower to bear on anything unfortunate enough to get in their path. If one ends up being severely damaged, it teleports back to its original location. Not really ominous, as that implies that your doom is merely impending, Monoliths are the final seal on your tomb.
  • Diablo II: The Arcane Sanctuary floats in space.
  • Donkey Kong 64: The seventh level in the game, Creepy Castle, is a haunted castle floating in the clouds, where it's always rainy and dark. Besides the small island that the castle is on, there's nothing between it and a long, long way down.
  • Doom Eternal: The Fortress of Doom orbits Earth and serves as the Doom Slayer's less than humble abode.
  • Dragon Age: The Black City, which supposedly was the home of The Maker and the location of heaven before it was corrupted by the hubris of mortals, appears as a vaguely city shaped blob of darkness in the otherwise empty sky of the Fade. Interestingly enough, the Black City is the only permanent landmark in the fade, with all points in the fade somehow appearing to be equidistant from the city.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest VI: Dhuran, the last of the Dread Fiends, has the Stormsgate Citadel as his lair, which is also fought as a boss after the Hero and his party gather what is nowadays the Zenithian Equipment.
    • Dragon Quest VIII: The Black Citadel, Rhapthorne’s lair and the final dungeon of the game which was formerly sealed within the Holy Island of Neos before Eight and the party defeated Marcello.
    • Dragon Quest X: The game’s second to last dungeon during Version 1 of the game, the Temple of Reidametes, is a volcanic temple that menaces the Ogre village 500 years ago as a fake sun and is also a place of worship for Nelgel the Netherlord's believers. The Hero fights Razuban there to try and prevent Nelgel’s coming, but is too late despite the latter’s defeat. Said temple is also used for the Heart of Hell, Nelgel’s base of operations, while Temple Reidametes itself is brought back during the game’s 10th Anniversary Quest sidestory.
    • Dragon Quest XI: The Fortress of Fear, Mordegon’s base of operations, where he mostly chills out after obtaining the Sword of Light and bringing Erdrea into a monster infested land of darkness. It’s also the final dungeon for the game, though since the evil that Mordegon stopped from regaining his power wasn’t properly taken care of…
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: The fifth Stratum of the game, the Heavenly Keep, is a legendary flying castle hidden within the highest reaches of Yggdrasil.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy: The Floating Fortress is a castle floating in the sky. The castle itself is not evil; it was constructed by the Lefeinish before Tiamat the Wind Fiend screwed them over and seized the castle.
    • Final Fantasy II: The Castle of Emperor Palamecia is kept aloft by a massively destructive Cyclone, and can only be reached with the help of a flying dragon.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Ultimecia's castle. It's so floaty that it has to be held down with improbably huge chains.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Sky Fortress Bahamut is both a floating fortress and an Evil Tower of Ominousness, tall enough to reach the clouds with its upper decks while its bottom floats just a few hundred feet above ground level.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Mt. Gulg is an unusual example: It's a huge mountain that was quite literally ripped off the ground and sent floating in the sky thanks to the powers of the Lightwarden Innocence. However, as you start reaching the peak, the "castle" part of the area starts to show itself, with huge white walls and pillars giving the players the feeling like they just stepped in the Pearly Gates! The 'ominous' part is that its utterly filled with Sin Eaters.
  • Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2: While no one is entirely sure if its inhabitant is evil or not, the floating Wizard's Tower has an ominous air about it. In the latter game, while the nearby town is protected by elementals charmed by its inhabitant, the townsfolk are still fairly doubtful of the elementals despite praising the wizard.
  • Halo: The Covenant capital of High Charity, a giant mobile space station built over a detached chunk of the Prophets' homeworld. It is first seen in Halo 2.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: The villain's hideout, the Castle That Never Was, which is right next to the Realm of Nothingness.
  • Kirby:
  • Land of Illusion has the Phantom's Cloud Castle, which serves as the game's fourteenth and final level. To access it, Mickey must first plant a beanstalk on the island below it so he can climb his way to the top. This level houses the Phantom, who has stolen the magic crystal and cast spells upon Mickey's friends, turning them into his henchmen. The Phantom serves as the game's Final Boss, and when Mickey defeats him, he recovers the crystal.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue has Neo-Vane, Borgan's floating fortress, which was built to replace the floating Magic City of Vane from Lunar: The Silver Star, with the original city having fallen to earth in a state of disrepair in the second game.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • The Lair of the Shadow Broker turns out to be a unique spaceship constructed to be permanently hidden inside a massive storm in the skies above a planet that is searing hot on the day side and freezing cold on the night side.
    • The Collector Base floats in deep space. It and the mass relay to access it are the only landmarks in the area at all. Of course, there's not nothing around — there are the ruins of thousands upon thousands of ships that tried and failed to enter Collector space over the millennia.
  • Mega Man X: Sigma Palace is shown to be a futuristic castle on a floating island in the game's ending. Curiously, the remake Maverick Hunter X makes it a regular island instead.
  • Metroid Prime: Hunters: The Oubliette is a prison structure stored in a pocket dimension to ensure Gorea can't escape. Samus ends up pulling it out of the pocket dimension late in the game, at which point it floats in normal space.
  • Minecraft: This is a somewhat popular model of base to build. Due to gravity not working on most blocks, elaborate floating bases can be made out of dirt, stone, brick, wood, metal, ice, or nearly anything else.
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch: The Ivory Tower floats above a mountain range in the Summerlands once the White Witch makes her existence known to the world.
  • Perimeter has the Frames — ominous floating cities housing what is left of Mankind.
  • Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs: The Sky Fortress serves as the setting for the climax of the game against the Societea and also an extra mission involving Purple Eyes.
  • Power Stone 2 takes place in a castle in the sky. In addition to collecting the titular wish-granting MacGuffins, the objective of the game is for the player characters to fight their way out of the castle. True to the form of this trope, defeating Dr. Erode, the master of the castle, in the Final Battle leads to the destruction of the castle.
  • Raging Blades: The first stage is the Castle of Immortal, a fortress on floating rocks above the skies of Atranart.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji: The final area, the Demon Castle, floats in a sky filled with demons.
  • Something Else: Else Castle in the void-like special world. It is Ballser's new base after Mario beat him in Something.
  • Slashout: The final stage, Diablo's Keep, is a floating castle in the air with Diablo's foetus-like form incubating in it's heart. The walkways suspended in mid-air contains various Living Shadow enemies, and you'll need to find a way to reach the castle's top to destroy Diablo.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Paper Mario: Castle Bleck is a floating, glowing castle in monochrome colours set in the middle of a void that is actually called "The Void" (which Count Bleck created for his Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum).
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: Smithy's Factory starts out as a series of platforming elements floating in a dark blue void of nothingness, but Mario and friends eventually discover that it's a giant factory floating in said void.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Bowser's Galaxy Reactor serves as his main base in the game, floating in the center of the universe. It consists of floating, broken chunks of castle mixed in with miniature deadly planets.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Bowser's Galaxy Generator is a castle bigger than the actual galaxy inside it.
    • Super Mario Bros. Wonder: Castle Bowser — yes, Bowser now takes the form of a castle after merging with Prince Florian's castle with the help of a Wonder Flower — is the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in this game.
    • Bowser's castles in many of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games can fly, and usually have some sort of giant cannon with which he terrorizes the citizens on the ground. In some games, sabotaging the castle's flight mechanism is necessary to Storm the Castle, but, in others, Mario and friends will fly up to it or find other means to board it while it's still airborne.
    • Yoshi's Island DS: The castle must be reached by space rocket (although it's shown in the clouds in the intro). Like most Mario examples, it crashes to the ground after the Final Boss is defeated.
  • Ultima Underworld II: Killorn Keep, suspended above a desert, serves as an outpost to the Big Bad and a Mirror Universe to Britannia. It's kept afloat by two brain creatures, and if you kill them it comes crashing to the ground.
  • Valfaris: The titular Valfaris is an ancient, corrupted citadel floating in space. Valfaris was home to the disappeared Emperor Vroll, a despot driven mad by his dark experiments into travelling to other dimensions and now it's a breeding ground to disgusting monsters and rogue war machines.
  • Warhammer Online: The (spectacular) Chaos capital, the Inevitable City, is located on the edge of a vast crater beneath a seething hole in reality. The Eternal Citadel, the fortress where the Big Bad lurks, sits on one of many floating chunks of rock hanging beneath the Alien Sky.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Tempest Keep and its satellite structures in The Burning Crusade float over the edge of Outland, above a drop into the Twisting Nether.
    • The Necropoli, the main fortresses of the Undead Scourge, are Nerubian ziggurats torn from the ground and floating hundreds of feet in the air to spread the undead armies and serve as mobile bases. The most prominent of those are Naxxramas in World of Warcraft (an Instance that was revamped for Wrath of the Lich King), and Acherus The Ebon Hold (The Death Knight's equivalent to Moonglade). They also showed up all over the place during the Zombie Apocalypse event before the release of Wrath of the Lich King, and Naxxaramas was ominous enough to get a patch named "Shadow of the Necropolis" after itself.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Prison Island is a fortress that floats above Eryth Sea and sticks out against the clean High Entia structures and natural scenery with its dark, medieval appearance. Late in the game, it is drawn into a void by the game's Big Bad and serves as his stronghold.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Gargoyles: This trope is probably what the Magus had in mind, when he froze them in their stone form "until the castle rises above the clouds". The possibility that buildings would one day be tall enough for the place to become a clouddeck penthouse didn't occur to him.
  • Gravity Falls: During Weirdmageddon, Bill Cipher creates an enormous floating pyramid to serve as his castle.
  • Lavender Castle, as the protagonists' goal, is not very ominous. In fact, it's the place they believe they will find their Big Good, who or whatever that may be. However it is a floating castle in space, shown several times as the characters fly right past without noticing. Dr. Agon's twisted cathedral ship, however, does look the part.
  • Metalocalypse: Mordhaus was turned into a free-floating complex during renovations.
  • Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis upgrades her Terra Cyclonia into one of these with massive crystals that allowed it to fly. She doesn't get to enjoy it long before the heroes blow up said crystals in the finale and send it all crashing to the ground.


 
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Alternative Title(s): Ominous Floating Building

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King Andrias Reveal

Andrias, the ruler of Amphibia, is revealed to be a genocidal tyrant who wants to use the Calamity Box to rule all universes, including Anne's.

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