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Supernatural Fear Inducer

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"This stuff has a name that's as long as your arm. It was developed by the military during one of our more contemptible wars. It concentrates a powerful stimulant to a section of the right hemisphere of your brain. A strong dose and you die of fright in fifteen seconds. A light dose, like this — and you spend twenty or thirty minutes reliving your least favorite nightmare."

It has often been said that fear is the best weapon. So this is an ability that induces fear on people.

The person who has this may be psychic and can alter emotional states. Maybe he's got magic powers that can do the same. Maybe he gives off a pheromone that attacks the amygdala and induces terror. Maybe there is no obvious explanation. However he does it, it isn't natural,note  and now anybody who wants to fight him will have to do so while struggling to avoid wetting their pants.

This tends to be a villainous power, for obvious reasons. Having your hero stand up to someone who can literally transform his enemies into Dirty Cowards makes for good drama. Many of those who possess it will, accordingly, be sadists of one stripe or another, reveling in the terror they cause. It isn't impossible, though, for a hero to harness this power to a better purpose, scaring off people they might otherwise have to hurt. Regardless of the side they're on, characters with this sort of control over the fears of others are unlikely to be mentally well-adjusted.

This kind of ability can also appear in inanimate objects, particularly Artifacts of Doom, and if anyone uses it, they can induce fear on others with it. (But it leads to a Fridge Logic: How could the user themselves not be affected? There might be reasons to Hand Wave it.)

Compare/contrast The Dreaded, who scares you with his reputation. For characters who use a person's pre-existing fears against them, see I Know What You Fear. A hero who uses this power is a Terror Hero. Compare Empathic Shapeshifter (beings who transform as a response to another's emotions) and Killing Intent (which may cause fear and thrilling effect). Sub-Trope of Emotion Bomb.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ruti from Banished from the Hero's Party is a tragic version of this. Her aura as the Hero causes people to become fearful, even when she's trying to be friendly. Even friends and allies aren't immune, as seen when Tisse is frightened into drawing her sword at Ruti's approach, when she's only trying to be friendly to her pet spider. Needless to say, this aspect of her leaves Ruti terribly lonely.
  • Bleach:
  • Alucard from Hellsing can cause this effect through his supernatural presence, as best seen in the hotel scene. It's an ability all true vampires have, as when Seras fully awakens as a true vampire, her presence is enough to freeze every artificial Nazi vampire she is facing stiff with mortal terror.
  • In a rare heroic example, this appears to be what Dhienalia of Heroic Age does to Phaeto when she psychically attacks him. His mind is flooded with images of terrified humans, he retreats very quickly, and for the rest of the series has a crippling fear of humanity that causes him to act irrationally. (Unfortunately for Dhienalia, serving as the conduit for all that fear is not healthy for a person's psyche either.)
  • In Naruto, when confronted by Orochimaru in The Forest of Death during the Chuunin Exams, Sasuke and Sakura are paralyzed by fear from just one of his Evil Glares. Sasuke had to stab himself in the leg with a kunai in order to "wake up", grab Sakura, and escape before Orochimaru's kunai could finish them off.
  • Zofis, the Big Bad of a story arc of Zatch Bell!, is able to manipulate the demons of a thousand years ago into fighting for them by making them believe that, after being freed of their stone curse, that Zofis can return them to stone at will. After spending 1000 years utterly immobile, that fear is enough to get them to do anything for him.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • The Scarecrow uses fear gas to cause hallucinations, paranoia, and even full-on panic-induced heart attacks in his victims. This sometimes overlaps with I Know What You Fear, while other times it's just straight up irrational terror. In fact, during the events of Blackest Night, he's deputized into the Sinestro Corps, which proves him to be one of the scariest entities in his space sector!note 
    • The concept of a "fear gas" actually first appeared in Batman comics 27 years before the Scarecrow was shown using it, in Detective Comics #46, when the Diabolical Mastermind Hugo Strange uses a "Fear Dust" to terrorize Gotham City.
    • In Detective Comics #247, the criminal pharmaceutical scientist Professor Milo uses a drug of his own invention to artificially induce a phobia of bats in Batman, in order to make him give up his crime-fighting career. This is done by applying the phobia drug to the lens of a miniature Bat Signal and then shining the light on Batman, imprinting the bat emblem in his unconscious mind. How the drug's effects can be transmitted by light is never properly explained, but the issue comes from the Silver Age, so just roll with it.
    • Subverted in the prose short story "The Origin of the Polarizer". An unnamed man who works at a radio parts store notices all the electronics ordered by Bruce Wayne and realizes that Wayne is Batman, so decides to become a supervillain to capitalize on this knowledge. In their first encounter the Polarizer claims he has a "fear ray", but all it does is fry the electronics in Batman and Robin's utility belt paraphernalia, rendering their assorted devices inoperable. "Well, it's more of a 'consternation ray,' but that just doesn't have as much of a ring to it."
    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman uses a military-made fear-inducing chemical compound to reduce Two-Face's hired goons to quivering wrecks and gives a Private Eye Monologue about its effects (see the page quote).
  • Daredevil: Mister Fear is able to use his fear gas to instill unrelenting terror in his victims. In lesser doses, he can induce a constant feeling of paranoia (as opposed to all-out screaming terror) which can be far more deadly in the long run.
  • A minor Green Lantern villain, the Shark, has (among other things) the power to project extreme fear into his victims' minds. Not even Superman is immune.
  • In the Judge Dredd universe, the Dark Judges include Judge Fear, who can compel anyone to stare at his unmasked face and see their greatest fear, usually inducing a lethal heart attack. It doesn't work so well on Dredd himself, though:
    Judge Fear: Gaze into the face of fear!
    Judge Dredd: Gaze into the fist of Dredd!
  • Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strange Tales): In issue #157, Fury throws a "Hallucination Cube" at a bunch of Hydra mooks, which emits a vapor that induces hallucinations of their greatest fears. It's really just an excuse for Jim Steranko to draw something creepy and surrealistic.
  • Paperinik New Adventures has Trauma, the Evronian Super-Soldier who, in addition to being strong enough to casually lift a police car and tank being rammed by the PKar, has psychic powers that induce crippling fear and torment the victim with their worst nightmares, allowing him to reduce almost any opponent to a sobbing wreck before he eats that fear and turns them into Coolflames. Only the bravest can overcome his power and face him without a psychic shielding. Grrodon later created Evronian warriors with his same powers, but since they're warriors and Trauma started out as a general their physical and psychic abilities are much weaker.
  • Quasar: Phobius, one of Maelstrom's minions, also has psychic fear powers.
  • Robin (1993): Fright Knight can scare anyone who looks at them but seems to require visual contact or at least a good portion of their attention for it to work. Tim manages to avoid being scared because he's focused on other escapees, but those who look when they call for attention end up terrified and on their knees.
  • Phobos of the Secret Warriors uses this as his main power — an unusual example in this list because he uses his powers for good. He is the literal God of Fear from Greek myth, as his dad is actually Ares.
  • In Sleeper (WildStorm), Peter Grimm has the ability to trap someone in a mental loop reliving their greatest fear until they die.
  • In Sonic the Comic, Chaos does this. It is resistible, however, as two characters are able to get close to it this way (Sonic achieves it by concentrating on rage).
  • Phobia, a minor enemy of the Teen Titans and sometime member of the Brotherhood of Evil, has this power, as her codename indicates.
  • In the Marvel Comics miniseries Thanos Vs. Hulk, Annihilus manages to reverse-engineer the Hulk's power to make himself one. This also gives him the ability to project fear strong enough to even make the Hulk turn and run.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: One of the weapons of Gah Lak Tus is a psychic attack that can turn whole worlds mad with fear.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 2 and Vol 5: Phobos and Deimos can induce fear and panic in others, and exponentially increase any that's already there.

    Fan Works 
  • Children of the Force: Ezra was made into one by the Inquisitorius traumatizing him until he lost control of his empathic powers and started projecting his fear to anyone nearby. Depending on how badly he's triggered, this can range from simply intense nightmares to incapacitating anyone nearby.
  • Code Prime: Megatron's Dark Geass of Absolute Terror allows him to kill just about anyone with sheer terror alone. Even Code Bearers like V.V. and C.C. are not immune to it.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: There are magically powered trap statues that induce fear. Ami repurposes them as a non-violent torture method.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Journal, Jaroda and Lady Christine have access to an Aura technique called Fear Aura, which Jaroda uses to force Heath to take a job for him.
  • The Road to Shalka: The alien weapon in Children of the Sanctum reduces a troop of UNIT soldiers to complete mess in about two minutes of working on reduced power. Even the Doctor isn't immune, but he doesn't give up.
  • SAPR: An additional power of the Wyvern and its roar.
  • Shepherd of the Stars: This is the Morrigi's favorite trick because of their affinity for Emotion Control. The Asari are rapidly learning how to do it too. Thane gets hit by a particularly nasty one midway through the story and has yet to fully recover.
  • In Through Her Eyes, Ruby Rose has to wear tinted goggles whenever she interacts with another person, since her Grimm-eyes cause an overwhelming fight-or-flight response of anyone looking into them — either fleeing in terror or attacking her in perceived self-defense. In the original version of the story, this even carried over to photographs, while the Remastered story makes them the only safe way to look at them.

  • Being a Humanoid Abomination, Baccano!'s Ronnie Schiatto has managed to employ this technique to scare literally everything in a room (except for Isaac and Miria) stiff — including the air.
    The air didn't grow cold — it just stopped. Completely.
  • In Chaos Seeds, some things have the ability to cause a fear debuff in others. Richter's dungeon creates a "doubt" debuff, and another character points out that it's a particularly insidious type of fear; while for some it's enough to keep them out of the dungeon altogether, others will still be lured into the dungeon only to suddenly have it hit them and make them fatally hesitate in the middle of battle.
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves of Ice, the commando accompanying Cain into the Necron tomb holds its own until Necron pariahs appear, at which point they're overcome by paralyzing fear. It's suspected the reason Cain resisted was being close to Jurgen at the time, but as inquisitor Vail notes, blanks are too rare to risk in an experiment to verify this hypothesis.
  • In Codex Alera, firecrafters can project a directed aura of fear. In one of the later books, Gaius Sextus hits an army with such a powerful fearcrafting that the front ranks actually die of fear, complete with Psychic Nosebleeds.
  • The titular red gas in The Crimson Skew causes hallucinations that make people see those around them as monsters or enemies, resulting in massacres that wipe out whole settlements. It's revealed to be a biological defense released by an Innocent Plant Child who the Big Bad has exploited to create a Pretext for War.
  • Many of the more powerful monsters in Fablehaven have fear auras that paralyze any mortal who comes too close to them.
  • The cursed bridge from The Girl from the Miracles District induces fear and manifests the greatest terrors of all who try to cross it in an attempt to get them to jump off it into the river below.
  • The Harry Potter universe has two creatures with this kind of power (both introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban):
    • The Dementors are creatures who make people re-live their worst (including scariest) memories to remove all happiness from their victims.
    • The Boggart is a more thematically specific Empathic Shapeshifter who can sense what people are the most afraid of, and takes that form. It can be defeated by the power of laughter. For Harry, the Boggart turns into a Dementor, implying that he's the most afraid of fear itself.
  • Inkmistress: Raisa attacks Ina while they fight by making her experience her greatest fears.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The Ringwraiths are constantly surrounded by an "aura" of this. Hardened soldiers break and run in their presence, and it's strongly implied that Éowyn is only able to stand up to the Witch-King because she's been living in constant despair for years. She's used to it.
    • The Cavalry of the Dead has the same effect because of the natural reaction to seeing a huge horde of nasty ghosts. In the book it's left ambiguous whether they can actually hurt people, but they don't need to because the fear is enough. The only sign that they can is the centuries-old, broken skeleton of the unfortunate prince Baldor who unwisely attempted to enter their domain. In the film, because this sort of subtlety is hard to express in a visual medium, they kill people by more direct means, but their appearance still sparks a Mass "Oh, Crap!" from the enemy.
    • J. R. R. Tolkien's worldbuilding, in fact, establishes that an aura of fear and terror is an innate trait to the undead, from ghosts to wraiths and anything else. The Ringwraiths are just particularly potent with it because they've got the power of the Nine Rings backing them up.
  • In the Mithgar books, Gargons/Ghaths cast fear into anyone who comes near them, freezing their enemies in place.
  • The non-fiction book of the same title on which The Mothman Prophecies is based supposes that Mothman's Glowing Eyes of Doom emit a particular frequency of infrared light that causes terror in the mammalian brain. This is based on accounts of witnesses who reported being frozen with fear while they saw Mothman looking at them.
  • Orsted from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is cursed with this. Anyone crossing his path will be paralyzed with terror, as seen by Eris and Ruijird in their first encounter. Rudeus, not being from this world, isn't affected.
  • Once: Sinister witchcraft practitioner Nell Quick slips protagonist Thom a jar which unleashes a seemingly infinite horde of spiders. Later, a pervasive mass of concentrated darkness coalesces into nightmarish phantasms.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot", the murder weapon is a type of plant root which, when turned to a powder and then burned and inhaled, causes terror so intense that the victim is literally scared to death.
  • This is Nathaniel's power in Super Powereds. It works only for a few seconds, when he tries it on Alice, as she has already gone through something similar and knows how to fight it. Then she shows Nathaniel what it's like to mess with someone who can manipulate gravity.
  • In The Sword of Shannara, the Warlock Lord Brona attacks Shea's mind with fear, nearly shattering the young man's psyche with vision after vision of Brona breaking or killing him.
  • The Thebaid: Murder, cannibalism, blasphemy, and betrayal all occur under the infernal influence of a fury named Tisiphone, who invisibly spreads her vipers among men to make them panic and give into fits of violent rage. Almost the entirety of the war against Thebes happens under her influence, although getting two brothers to both attempt fratricide requires such passionate malice that she needs to call in her fellow fiend and sister Megaera to assist in the deed.
  • In Touch (2017), fauns apparently have this power, related to the Mythology example below. Peter's parents invoked his Traumatic Superpower Awakening by locking him in a room with one for three hours, and only let him out when he started begging in Turkish. As a result, Peter grows up to dislike the "abuse your kids JUST enough to give them superpowers" school of parenting.
  • The Quethnethogs from The Traitor Son Cycle have the ability to project an aura of fear that causes fear and panic in those trying to fight them — it can be fought off, but few have mental discipline required.
  • Inverted in Wax and Wayne, as Ironeyes uses emotional Allomancy as a supernatural fear dampener. He's The Dreaded, so to have a conversation without the other party screaming and running in the opposite direction, he deadens all emotions. When he does this to Marasi, she intellectually knows that this would be just as terrifying if she could feel fear.
  • The Fury Twins Phobos and Deimos of the Whateley Universe. Each has a fear aura. When they merge into a single creature, the fear aura gets so bad they warp reality in the vicinity. Unlike most characters in this category, they're not evil — in fact, they are receptive empaths, so they have to feel the fear of everyone around them, which they don't like.
  • Myrddraal in The Wheel of Time have a "fear gaze", despite having no eyes, that can freeze a man in place if he's not used to it. This power becomes a lot less effective over the series as the main characters take levels in badass, and is seldom mentioned in later books.
  • In the Dragonlance novels the Tower of Sorcery in Palanthis was cursed by a black robe wizard that no one should enter until the true Master of Past and Present returned. The grove around the tower causes fear so severe that even Kender (who are immune to fear) will flee in terror.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first arc of the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. features side villains in the form of so-called ghosts whose touch induces terror, hallucinations, and eventual death from heart attack in their victims.
  • Gachnar, the Fear Demon from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Fear Itself".
  • Charmed (1998):
    • Barbas, the Demon of Fear, is able to read the worst fear of his targets, and make them believe they are living it through illusions. He's even able to kill his victims his way.
    • Inverted by Barbas's flipped-universe counterpart, who is a hippie who lives in a beautiful garden and inspires the emotion of hope.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Frontier in Space", the Master uses hypnosound to make humans see his Ogron mooks as their former enemies the Draconians, and vice versa, to create a war between the two species. He later tries using it on Jo Grant, who sees him as creatures that she's encountered in past adventures, but by this point she knows that it's an illusion and is able to fight off its effect. When the Doctor gets hold of the hypnosound, he uses it to frighten off the Ogrons holding them captive.
    • Used in "The Sun Makers" by the evil tax-gathering government to control the human populace. The Doctor inverts the technology to make people angry instead.
  • Haven has a couple variations on this theme. In season two's "Fear and Loathing," a girl's Trouble makes everyone hallucinate their worst fear, sometimes causing the victim to lash out violently and hurt someone. In season four's "William," new Big Bad William uses supernatural goo to induce paranoia in Dwight, Nathan, and Jennifer, causing them to hallucinate scenarios that aren't actually happening, but prey on their fears.
  • Kamen Rider Double: Ryubee Sonozaki a.k.a. the Terror Dopant is able to generate a black sludge that causes anyone he wants who touches it to suffer from intense fear, with results ranging from leaving them curled up in the fetal position and screaming like a madman to making his victim so scared to think about him that they repress all memory of him without even realizing that they're afraid of something. Ryubee's been using the Terror Memory for so long that he can use some of its power even without transforming.
  • In the Space: Above and Beyond episode "The Enemy", US troops on a desolate planet the 58th have been sent to resupply are reported to be stuck in a meat grinder of a battle. It turns out that there aren't actually any Chigs on-planet, but they left behind a panic-inducing weapon that's causing the troopers to turn on each other or blunder into minefields.
  • Supergirl (2015): In "Triggers", Kara faces off against a metahuman with this ability. She's utterly incapable of stopping or even resisting Psi's attacks, even with J'onn's assistance. Fortunately, she manages to realize what she's really afraid of and confronts that fear. At that point, Psi's attacks are a No-Sell on her.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, the Trickster God Pan likes to sneak up on people and then let out a bloodcurdling scream, causing them to flee in mindless terror. This is the origin of the word "panic".

  • Earthsearch:
    • The Angel computers use Bedtime Brainwashing to make Darv forget about the Paradise survey recording by associating it with a childhood nightmare to make his subconscious mind afraid of remembering the recording. Later, when Darv gets insolent, they induce a fear response by transmitting a subliminal signal to remind him of the nightmare. The 'nightmare barriers' guarding the Angel's central switching room use this in combination with holograms of monsters.
    • In Season 2, the Artificial Gravity room of Spaceguard Six is guarded by an auto-suggestion field that causes a fear response to deter people from entering. Elka is unaffected because she's wearing an alien space helmet, but the moment she takes it off, she becomes a Hysterical Woman.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Call of Cthulhu, the King in Yellow has an attack that literally causes those who look into his eyes to be paralyzed with fear... and generally causes the character to lose Sanity in the process.
  • Champions: In the 2002 supplement Champions Universe, the supervillain Samhain feeds off the fear and terror in the minds of human beings. Its superpowers include the ability to induce such fear using mind control.
  • DC Heroes: The Mental power Aura of Fear causes extreme fear in other creatures. If the effect is strong enough, the victim flees in terror; otherwise, the target just sits there quivering.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Spells:
      • Various spells such as Scare and Cause Fear (the reversed form of Remove Fear) can temporarily frighten an opponent.
      • The Phantasmal Killer spell forces the target to save, or immediately die of fright.
      • In the Polyhedron magazine #28 article "The Specialist Mage: Unofficial New Spells for the Necromancer", when a necromancer casts the Fear Aura spell on himself, any creature of two hit dice or less that views the caster will flee in terror. Creatures with more hit dice may be paralyzed with terror.
    • The 1st Edition psionic power Telempathic Projection allows the user to implant fear in an opponent's mind.
    • The Wand of Fear has the effect of a Cause Fear spell on the target, causing it to turn and run away for six minutes.
    • The roar of an androsphinx can create fright in any creature within 120 yards, making them flee in panic for 30 minutes.
    • Beholders can use one of their 10 small eyes to cast the Cause Fear spell on other creatures.
    • In 5th Edition, the Oath of Conquest paladin has this as their shtick. Their core feature is their Conquering Presence, which magically causes nearby creatures become frightened of them. They also have features that allow them to take advantage of this, such as their Aura of Conquest, which causes frightened enemies to be unable to move.
    • All dragons in some editions are constantly surrounded by an aura of fear that sends any low-level character into panic. They can, however, turn it off for a brief time.
      • In 1st and 2nd Edition, all dragons of adult age (fifty-one years) and older radiate fear by flying overhead or charging. Depending on how many hit dice the victim has, it can cause them to flee in panic, be paralyzed with fear or just take a penalty to hit.
      • In 3.5, it's not a magical or psionic effect: dragons are just plain scary. Mechanically, if a dragon with greater hit dice than you does anything threatening, you have to roll your save.
      • 5th edition Draconic Bloodline Sorcerers can tap into their draconic ancestry to project an aura which charms or frightens all hostile creatures within a 60-foot radius.
      • In addition, sapphire dragons' breath weapon is an ultrasonic shriek that induces preternatural terror.
      • And brass dragons have a Breath Weapon that consists of a gas that causes fear in anyone who breathes it.
    • Demons:
      • The demon princes Demogorgon, Juiblex, Orcus and Yeenoghu can instill fear in a target as one of their innate abilities.
      • The demon prince Graz'zt causes fear in all within 60 feet who see and hear his displeasure.
      • The demon prince Sertrous is so monstrous that looking at nightmarish form risks causing the viewer to develop a profound case of ophidophobia, becoming deeply terrified of snakes and snakelike monsters of any sort — including, of course, Sertruos himself.
      • The Type II, Type III, Type IV and Type VI demons can act on other creatures as if using a Wand of Fear on them.
      • Babau, bar-igura, baron and marquis cambions, chasme, and rutterkin can cause fear by touch.
    • All devils have the ability to engender fear in living things. The exact details are different for each devil.
      • Arch devils inflict fear by looking at others: Amon, Asmodeus, Mammon and Mephisto with their gaze, Baalzebul with his glance, Belial and Dispater by staring and Geryon by glaring.
      • Other named devils: Bael in a 20 foot radius, bearded devils and Titivilus by touch, Glasya and Hutijin by speaking to victims, and Moloch with a Breath Weapon.
      • Barbed devils cause fear by striking an opponent, bone devils generate fear in a five foot radius, erinyes affect anyone who looks at them, ice devils radiate fear in a ten foot radius, malebranche exude fear in a five foot radius, and pit fiends shed fear in a 20 foot radius.
    • When a dragonne roars, the sound can inflict fear on anyone who hears it, which will sap 50% of their strength and may cause paralysis.
    • Just seeing a lich causes any creature with less than five Character Levels or hit dice to flee in panic.
    • The sight of a mummy can make any creature paralyzed with terror.
    • A satyr can play music with its pipes to inflict fear on any opponent that hears it.
    • Any being that looks into a yeti's eyes is rigid with fright for the next three combat rounds.
    • Al-Qadim: Debbi are two-foot tall hybrids of baboons and hyenas that, once per ten minutes, they can cause fear in other creatures within twenty yards of them.
    • In the White Dwarf magazine #28 article "Fiend Factory", the black unicorn can send out a wave of fear up to 110 feet away. Creatures are affected by the fear for 11 minutes.
    • Ghosts can cause their victims to roll a wisdom save to avoid being frightened. A particularly bad roll causes them to age a multiple of ten years.
  • Gamma World: The mutation Fear Generation instills complete terror in a creature, causing it to run away for an entire minute. If the target can't run away, it will collapse into unconsciousness.
  • The One Ring: The Ringwraiths and several other creatures of Shadow have this power as an active attack or passive trait, which can render adventurers unable to bolster their dice rolls with Hope. Hobbits and Shieldmaidens of Rohan are particularly resistant to fear effects.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Dragons induce an aura of terror without any need for magic — they're just that terrifying. Mechanically, if a dragon with greater hit dice than you does anything threatening, you have to roll your save.
    • A geist's laugh is terrifying to those who hear it, reducing other to dropping their weapons and fleeing as quickly as they can.
    • Keeping with their abilities being the Evil Counterpart of a paladin's, an Antipaladin has the Aura of Cowardice class ability, which causes nearby foes to become more susceptible to fear. It's particularly noteworthy in that even foes literally immune to fear — such as paladins, but also the undead, constructs, elementals, and mindless vermin, all of whom gain a sudden, overwhelming survival instinct in the Antipaladin's presence.
  • Stormbringer: One of the powers usable by certain demons is Fear. A demon can use it to cause panic in any creature (other than a deity) within 10 meters by succeeding in a POW vs. POW conflict. A creature affected by Fear can only cringe, whine and whimper helplessly until the demon moves out of range.
  • A very popular ability in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 is the ability to inflict fear (or, worse yet, terror) on the enemy.
    • Necron pariahs have this effect on people, due to the inherent wrongness of their lacking souls entirely. Some human blanks have this ability, but whether or not this is because they don't have souls seems to vary (Jurgen is generally repulsive to everyone around him, but this is generally because of his poor hygiene and appearance rather than his being a blank — though sometimes hinted to be merely how people perceive it).
    • Fearless Undead is the norm in Fantasy, with undead troops causing fear and terror in enemies instead. Except for the Chaos warrior Harald Hammerstorm, who's spent so long beating the everloving crap out of the undead that he scares them.
    • In Age Of Sigmar, the Nightaunts (ghosts bound to the will of Nagash) all project an aura of fear and terror to everyone around them; in some extreme cases they can literally scare someone to death.

  • BIONICLE has Turahk, the Rakshi of Fear, who can induce anything from slight unease to unrelenting terror in those he strikes with his staff. In especially strong doses, he can even use his fear to kill.

    Video Games 
  • Dawn of War:
    • The Morale Mechanic causes demoralized squads to take a lot more melee damage, reduces their damage and accuracy, and makes them move faster. Some enemies (usually the most fanaticized) don't even have a morale meter.
    • On the mundane front, weapons like flamethrowers do a lot of damage to infantry and morale.
    • The Space Marine Chaplain can break an enemy squad with a Demoralizing Shout, while the Librarian prevents it from rising with his Weaken Resolve spell.
    • Chaos buildings project an aura that increases their units' morale and decreases enemy morale when nearby.
      • The Soulstorm expansion gave Khornate Berserkers the Icon of Khorne ability, which scares enemies into running away.
    • The Imperial Guard commissar inverts this: he instantly restores his squad's morale (even from zero) by executing one member.
      "Fear ensures loyalty!"
    • Necron Flayed Ones cause nearby enemy morale to drop steadily. The Necron Lord can take an ability that causes all units to run like hell away from him.
    • Eldar Howling Banshees can use their War Shout to demoralize all nearby enemies.
    • Dark Eldar: this might take a while.
      • Terrorfex and Horrorfex grenades are squad and vehicle versions of a grenade that does morale damage.
      • The Haemonculus can broadcast the sound of a tortured slave across the battlefield (causing enemies to fire slower).
      • Slave Chambers can be upgraded to deal continuous morale damage and attack enemy units' souls for more morale damage
      • And then there's their Soul Powers: Rend Soul causes morale damage to enemy leaders, while Screams of the Damned instantly reduces the morale of every enemy on the map at once.
  • In Densetsu no Stafy 4, the first gate of Degil's castle, Okubyounomon, induces fear on anyone who approaches it. Once Starfy passes the Test of Courage and destroys all of the Frightened Hearts, the gate transforms back into its old self, Yuukinomon, which undoes this ability.
  • Diablo: Befitting his status as the Lord of Terror, Diablo can sow panic among his enemies and, as a bonus, is utterly incapable of feeling fear himself.
  • In Dungeon Keeper 2, the Fear Trap is a cheap dungeon decoration that triggers whenever an enemy gets close, driving them away with pure terror. Fortunately for the Keeper, it's introduced in the same level as Fearless Undead skeletons.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The aptly named "Fear" spell makes the target flee from anything hostile to them.
    • Skyrim:
      • The Battle Cry racial ability held by Nords makes anyone targeted flee for 30 seconds.
      • The Dismay Thu'um Shout can make enemies flee in terror, its power increase with each word obtained.
  • Elsword: Fury Guardian's skill "Pandemonium: Fear" can induce this (specifically, as a status effect) on enemies. They will take more damage from attacks and be unable to use skills for a duration.
  • In Empire Earth, Strategist heroes can use their Battle Cry to demoralize enemy troops, making them take more damage.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The Terrifying Presence perk allows the Courier to pick dialogue options that intimidate foes enough that many will run instead of fight you.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Demons have an ability called "Fear" that inflicts a critical damage debuff on a target for three turns.
  • The Daunt skill in the Fire Emblem series causes fear, which manifests by lowering the hit% and critical hit% of all opposing units by 5. When it is introduced in Path of Radiance, it's exclusive to a pair of bosses, but in Radiant Dawn, it can be equipped to one of your units — even ones that wouldn't make much sense to have this ability, like the Actual Pacifist herons or the fragile bishops, who probably benefit from it more than anyone.
  • Immortal Defense: The Fear Point slows down enemy targets, but represents the player character's own anxieties and its effect is probably just caused by its environment's metaphor tangibility. If fully upgraded, it "panics" and fires blindly.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has the Terror sleight, which inflicts the status effect of the same name. It causes enemies to stop attacking and slowly move away from Sora. Naturally, it's learned in Halloween Town.
  • In Kingdom Rush: Vengeance, the Hero Unit Beresad the Black Dragon has an ability called "Fear the Dragon", a Mighty Roar that causes a group of nearby enemies to temporarily reverse direction and walk back up the path. What makes this more than just a simply terrifying roar is that it even affects entirely mechanical enemies such as Clockwork Spiders and Chomp Bots.
  • League of Legends: Some champions are built around this:
    • Nocturne is an Eldritch Abomination born from people's nightmares. Of course, you can't actually replicate "pure undiluted fear" in players, but his ultimate ability is pretty scary — he blankets the enemy team in darkness, making them incapable of seeing enemies or allies for a few seconds, while Nocturne surges forward to attack. Apparently, the in-game characters see the world as a dark hellscape as he does so. He also has an ability that blocks enemy spells and boosts his attack speed if successful, playing on the idea that fighting back only makes him stronger.
    • Fiddlesticks is a demonic scarecrow with an ability dedicated to making the enemy slowly flee in fear for a few seconds, overriding whatever they were trying to do. He also scares enemy players if he gets strong, because his ultimate is a wide area of effect ability that does lots of damage and begins with a teleport, meaning he could be hiding anywhere you don't have map vision. Feel lucky?
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: Fear is one of Cynder's four elemental powers, and manifests as the ability to temporarily paralyze enemies with her screams.
  • LEGO Legends of Chima Online: Certain weapons can induce a fear status effect, which causes those afflicted to randomly run around until it wears off.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has Emotive Ammo that can inflict crying, screaming, laughter, and rage on their targets. The screaming ammo overwhelms enemy soldiers with terror, causing them to throw their weapons down in panic and sometimes even flee the battlefield altogether.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: Talion can acquire various upgrades and runes that scare Uruks and cause them to run if he murders Uruks in particularly brutal ways. This, alongside his other supernatural powers and guerilla campaign against the forces of Sauron, quickly makes him The Dreaded to his enemies.
  • Mother 3: The Pigmasks use their Frighbots to interrogate the Mister Saturns; however, when you fight them, they have no offensive or status-affecting abilities at all. Instead, you're simply told that their stories are really scary as you smash them to pieces.
  • In the Neptunia series, this is implied to be an innate ability of Plutia/Iris Heart, to the point where a weaker clone of her was able to make Green Heart and White Heart nervously hesitate even wanting to fight her, even though the two had no prior intel on Iris Heart, and the clone was just standing still, not saying or doing anything.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Most dragons are continuously surrounded by a magical aura of fear that makes any attacker flee unless they make a Will save.
  • Persona has the Fear status, which makes those afflicted by it so afraid that they either skip a turn or withdraw from battle. Persona 3 has Fear make characters more vulnerable to critical hits, while in Persona 4, they become vulnerable to the Ghastly Wail skill.
  • Pokémon:
    • A Pokémon using the ability "Intimidate" scares the opponent so badly that it lowers its Attack just by showing up. Naturally, Gyarados has this ability.
    • There's another ability called "Unnerve", which prevents enemies from using their held Berry, and can be used by Pokémon like Mewtwo, Tyranitar, and Joltic.
    • A weaponized version is used in the attack Dark Pulse, an attack in which an aura filled with horrible thoughts and emotions is fired, which may cause the target to flinch and not attack for a turn.
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, there's an IQ skill called Intimidator (not to be confused with the above Intimidate), which can scare enemies so badly that they won't attack for their turn. High-end bosses and certain enemies in later dungeons use this, which can be frustrating for the player. However, if the player picks the right Pokémon and is patient enough to raise its own IQ level, you can also use it, in a rare heroic version. However, this skill doesn't work if the enemy uses a long-range attack, even if they're right next to the user.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, one of the weapons you can get is the Nightmare Box, which summons the nightmares of your enemies. In gameplay, this causes them to stop attacking for a moment and try to kill the box instead.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: Apparition type enemies can inflict a status condition called "Terror", causing the player character to actually die of fright if it's allowed to build up. A handful of non-Apparition enemies can induce it as well, usually those who are undead or otherwise supernatural in some way.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Dread Masters are a cabal of powerful Sith Lords, who draw on the power of The Dark Side of the Force to induce panic in entire Republican armies and fleets at once.
  • This pops up in the form of a status ailment in Super Mario RPG. Enemies can inflict Fear on your party members which causes them to tremble with terror and cuts their attack and defense stats in half. Bowser's starting attack Terrorize will inflict this status ailment on enemies and make them flee the battle.
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft III:
      • Banshees scream to attack, with their basic spell cursing enemies to miss a third of the time in combat.
      • The Howl of Terror ability reduces nearby enemies' attack.
    • World of Warcraft: Fear effects are a common game mechanic, with afflicted players and monsters running randomly around the place. Many a player has cursed this when feared right into the next bunch of monsters, and it used to be that you could be scared right off a cliff!
  • The Witcher has a literal example in the King and Queen Trick Bomb, which evokes terror in those affected.
  • In the X-Men Legends series, Emma Frost can do this to every enemy in her range, making all of them bolt. This only makes it so that you have to run after them to take care of them before the effect wears off.

  • Vector from Castoff is imbued with a power that causes anyone who looks at him to freak out even though the only supernatural element of his appearance are his permanent Glowing Eyes. As a result, he's spent most of his life inside his home. Arianna is the first person other than his adoptive mother that doesn't freak out when she sees him. She later deduces that Vector's Supernatural Fear Inducer power triggers when people make eye contact with him, rather than when they see him, and that Vector himself isn't inherently frightening.
  • Flipside:
    • One of Bloody Mary's powers is to vomit up a "fear demon" who can literally paralyze people with an aura of overwhelming terror.
    • The first stage of the Dark Cell's defense system is an aura of incapacitating fear. Only incredible Heroic Willpower can overcome it — an emotionless Artificial Human succumbed instantly, and a Sense Freak who could "ride the wave" of even intense torture is still paralyzed by the fear until she changes her strategy.
  • unOrdinary: Dr. Darren's ability is called "Nightmare" and when activated makes those in his vicinity scared of him. This is handy for cowing violent teenagers into behaving when they're raised in a society where Might Makes Right and kids are expected and encouraged to use their powers on each other to establish who is stronger, and then bully and abuse those weaker than them.

    Web Original 
  • In Broken Saints, this is the form which angry Shandala's empathic powers take towards any hostiles.
  • Mortasheen: The monster Doomboros is a Cowardly Lion which can generate a psychic empathy field that makes its enemies just as fearful as it is.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-303 ("The Doorman"). When SCP-303 materializes behind a door, anyone trying to open the door from the other side will feel a paralyzing fear that lasts until SCP-303 de-materializes again.
    • The original SCP-1233 ("Mammal Terraformer"). Any mammal within 7 meters of SCP-1233 feels fear and revulsion. In addition, any human that close feels a desire to flee the area.
    • SCP-1346 ("Phobia Induction Corridor"). Anyone who tries to go down the SCP-1346 corridor starts becoming afraid at around the 50-meter mark. The fear becomes stronger the longer they stay in the corridor and the farther they go down the corridor. The Foundation's tests indicate that there's a creature beyond the door at the end of the corridor, presumably the source of the fear effect.
    • SCP-2592 ("Milk and Bananas"). If SCP-2592 is frightened or startled, it will use its Telepathy ability to cause intense fear in any human beings nearby.
    • SCP-2709 ("Can Anyone Hear You Scream?"). SCP-2709-1, a gigantic antlion, releases an anomalous chemical that causes terror in all animals (except human beings). Between sundown and sun-up, all animals within 8 kilometers of SCP-2709-1 flee until they are 8 kilometers away from it, and all animals between 8 and 10 kilometers away from it vocalize as loudly as possible and attack all nearby human beings.
    • SCP-2927 ("Soundspots"). SCP-2927 is two tones generated at 75 dB at frequencies of 16.8 kHz and 27 Hz. Anyone who listens to them suffers from dread and unease, which becomes stronger the closer the person gets to the source of the sound. Anyone who approaches within two meters will permanently experience night terrors, insomnia and a strong fear of prolonged noises.
    • SCP-7606 ("The Invincible, Undefeated One") is an Eldritch Abomination with incomparable powers, but the most prominent of them appears to be the one to induce terror and religious awe in everyone witnessing it - or even referring to it. Turns out that this is actually its only power: it's not an Eldritch Abomination at all, but twenty-something-year-old doofus who got hold of a magical technique that allows him to fool people into thinking that he's a godlike monster. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't work on the intoxicated, resulting in him getting shot dead by a Florida Man.


Video Example(s):


Princess Scares You To Death

The Princess becomes so supernaturally terrifying that she makes your organs fail when she approaches you.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / FrightDeathtrap

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