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Technical Pacifist

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Don't worry, Laura.
He'll live.

"Sometimes even the Buddha had to kick a little ass."

If you live in an action-adventure universe, violence is one of those things that you just can't escape. (After all, you cannot spell pacifist without a fist.) This can be a real problem if you want your lead character to be a new-agey tree-hugging intellectual, because after Hunter S. Thompson died in 2005, how many gun-toting hippies do you know?

So you end up with the Technical Pacifist. The Technical Pacifist is willing to beat people up as much as they want. They may even get a few fatalities through the fridge. However, once it comes down to a choice between killing the villain and not, the Technical Pacifist will not kill the villain.

Unlike the principle of Thou Shalt Not Kill, the Technical Pacifist is certainly capable of making the killing strike if there was no other way, but they don't ever treat it lightly. In a certain variation they may be perfectly fine with the Self-Disposing Villain who is Too Dumb to Live being defeated because of their own Villain Ball or being hoist by their own petard; so long as they don't personally pull the trigger or push them off the building, everything is fine. A Murder by Inaction may also be fine. It's all fine as long as they don't do the killing themselves.


Sometimes, a Technical Pacifist may have an aversion to certain weapons due to their lethality (most often guns), preferring to fight with their fists and other blunt weapons that are less likely to kill someone. Other times, they employ swords or even bullets in ways designed to subdue their opponents in a non-lethal manner. Not only that but most other rules regarding Thou Shalt Not Kill are usually thrown out the window in the case of dealing with aliens, robots, zombies and/or monsters. Just as Beware the Nice Ones is for the Actual Pacifist, Good Is Not Soft is not an unusual trait for this character.

There is a villainous variant of the Technical Pacifist, often seen with the Corrupt Corporate Executive and the Worthy Opponent. In the former case, this is a villain who has no qualms about killing people, but doesn't like to get their hands dirty (or at least to be seen getting their hands dirty). So they have someone else do it instead. This invariably leads to the hero being locked in an Easily Escapable Deathtrap so that the villain won't get bloodstains on their suit. This tends to drop away when they're backed into a corner. In the latter case, the Worthy Opponent just refuses to use a gun because it's "not fair".


The Willing Suspension of Disbelief can be stretched in certain cases. Blunt weapons can still kill people, after all.

See also Family-Friendly Firearms and Improbable Weapon User. See also Martial Pacifist, for the martial arts expert who follows The Path of Peace.

Contrast Actual Pacifist for somebody who genuinely doesn't hurt people, instead of hurting them less, and Reckless Pacifist for someone who refuses to kill, ever, but comes frighteningly close to doing so. Also contrast What Measure Is a Mook?, for the surprisingly common situation where the hero has qualms about killing the main villain at the end of the story after spending most of the plot casually blowing away the villain's minions. Compare Reluctant Warrior, who despite not wanting to fight, does fight and kills, much to their own regret. Compare and contrast Badass Pacifist, who is capable of completely defeating their opponents using only nonviolent tactics.


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    Comic Books 
  • The rival gangs in 20 Fists have a solid rule about not killing anyone during their regular brawls, but they're both more than happy to beat the other side into paste.
  • Batman
    • In one Robin comic book, while the Boy Wonder is training with a super secret paramilitary unit, one of the members asks why he and Batman don't use guns. Robin replies that, unlike the cops and the military, Batman and Robin can't appear in a court of law to justify it if they end up killing someone, and they don't have any official authority, so they don't use lethal force.
    • Which is all a mask for the real reason; Bruce's parents were killed by a gunman, leading his philosophy against lethal force. Obviously they can't tell the world that, but still. It's also implied (or in some continuities outright stated) that Bruce doesn't trust himself to stop killing criminals if he ever violated that self-imposed rule, fearing that if the rule were anything less than absolute then he'd always be able to find a reason that one criminal or another "needs" to die. Basically, it's his way of averting He Who Fights Monsters. However, this rule does not seem to extend to anything that's not human. In The Supergirl from Krypton, you see him standing side-by-side with the Amazons wielding a frickin' BATTLEAXE, which he proceeds to bury in the bodies of numerous clones of Doomsday. His justification? They were never alive to begin with.
    • Cassandra Cain (Batgirl III). By being able to read body language as a first language means that killing a man makes her feel the horror of the other person's death, thus she doesn't kill.
  • Supergirl is more proactive and more hot-tempered than her cousin, and is willing to try to and reform criminals and villains... even if she has to beat them up first. Nonetheless, she attempted to kill the Anti-Monitor because was too dangerous, and she threw Worldkiller-1 into the Sun reasoning that an artificially-engineered murderous symbiotic parasite doesn't count as "living being".
    Supergirl: I know who I am, and I know what you are— A mockery of life. This is not murder. It is the end of a terrible mistake.
  • Superman abides by a "No killing" code, but he's forced to kill sometimes. Pre-Crisis, Superman's "No killing" code is so strict that some villains have tried to take advantage of it and, in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? depowers and banishes himself after killing Mr. Mister Mxyzptlk. In the Post-Crisis era, killing is a very last resort - in The Supergirl Saga, he kills three Kryptonian criminals when he realizes there's no way he could safely contain them and in The Death of Superman and Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey, he's forced to kill Doomsday as he won't stop at all.
  • Peter Parker is usually depicted as this in Spider-Man. Sure, he's willing to beat the ass out of the villains, but he absolutely refuses to kill anyone, even against said villains. Then again, it's also more or less of his fear of himself if he drops his Thou Shall Not Kill moral code. In fact, when a resurrected Kraven the Hunter offer Spider-Man the opportunity to kill him, he was about to pull a killing blow on Kraven, but later refuses to do so after given a vision of a Bad Future where he becomes mass murdering Anti-Hero vigilante, thus reinforcing his moral code.
  • King Mob in Grant Morrison's The Invisibles begins the series killing indiscriminately, then turns into a kung-fu master/Technical Pacifist after realizing that the death toll is negatively affecting his karma.
  • Green Arrow started as this, and indeed made it into a form of art, with stunning arrows, sleep/cough gas arrows, electronic disturbance arrows, and his trademark boxing glove arrows. When he accidentally killed a man in the '70s, he more-or-less had a breakdown. After his long-time lover got kidnapped and brutally tortured, though, he killed her captor and kept going from there.
  • ROM: Space Knight: ROM, SPACEKNIGHT, who banishes rather than kills the Dire Wraiths early on... because he thinks they suffer more that way. ROM is stone cold. A much later issue of The Avengers find themselves stranded in the dimension where ROM keeps sending all those Dire Wraiths. They force the Avengers to kill them rather than continue to exist there.
  • The Silver Surfer will only kill living beings if he feels there is no other option.
  • Traditionally, and very unrealistically for a military commander with hundreds of millennia of experience, Optimus Prime has been a Technical Pacifist or close to it. (More accurately, it is unrealistic that a technical pacifist would survive military command that long, though he might certainly want to be a technical pacifist after so much death and combat.) This is likely because the original series were aimed at children. More recent comics produced by IDW make Prime willing not only to kill enemy soldiers, but when absolutely necessary accept collateral damage, though it eats at him.
  • Brainstorm from The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is a skilled weapon designer, but his skill at building weapons let him make it through the Great War without actually ever using any of them, as he was too valuable to risk on the front lines. When first given the opportunity to actually shoot someone ( Megatron's helpless protoform, which he'd traveled back in time to kill in an attempt to avoid having the war ever break out), he ends up spending ten minutes standing there, unable to actually pull the trigger.
  • Tintin is somewhere between this and Actual Pacifist, but he generally only uses forces on self-defense. Tintin in the Congo doesn't count.
  • Both incarnations of Dove, of Hawk & Dove. Don Hall was somewhat more pacifistic than Dawn Granger, but both believed in using as little force as possible, contrasting with Hank/Holly. This is not entirely surprising for characters who are empowered by a Lord of Order to serve as the living embodiment of Peace. If anything, it's almost more shocking that the Doves are allowed to fight at all.
  • Throughout Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello has been shown to be the most peaceful of the Turtles, but he still needed to be a kickass fighter. So this personality trait was cemented with him fighting with the rather less lethal Bo, instead of something sharp. He's also stated a hatred of guns several times, although it's not clear whether he considers them an "immoral" weapon or whether he's just not comfortable using them.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate X-Men: Professor Xavier is a technical pacifist due to his desire to have mutants rise above humanity's baser instincts. For example, rather than simply defeat Well-Intentioned Extremist Magneto, he creates an impressive explosion to make it seem as though he perished and then takes it upon himself to rehabilitate him. It doesn't work.
    • The Ultimates: Thor preaches pacifism, but he's unstoppable in a fight. He's a pacifist with a big, scary hammer.
  • DC Comics Western character Bat Lash. He sees himself as a pacifist, and hardly ever uses his gun (although he's very good with it). And yet, he keeps finding himself in situations where he has to beat people up, or even kill them.
  • Nikola Tesla would never lay a hand on anybody. Heavens no! Why would he do that when he has a perfectly functional Atomic Robot to do it for him?
    Robo: But, Mr. Tesla, you're a pacifist.
    Tesla: Yes, Robo. But you are not.
  • The Incredible Hulk is this Depending on the Writer. Notably shown in World War Hulk: X-Men, where while trying to capture Professor X, he brutally disabled virtually every active X-man and woman one after another, taking full advantage of their healing factors and Nigh-Invulnerability. While he didn't kill any of them, he didn't have a problem crippling them.
  • Captain America varies from continuity to continuity, but he's usually unwilling to kill people outside of a combat situation unless it's absolutely necessary to save lives. (In the Silver Age, he never killed at all. In more recent versions, he's killed in war, but he no longer sees lethal force as appropriate, since he's now fighting criminals rather than soldiers.)
  • Klara Prast of the Runaways fills this role in the current lineup, preferring to use her plant-control powers for either defending her teammates or restraining enemies. But if you upset her to the point where she can't think clearly, all bets are off...
  • Piper in Zita the Spacegirl at one point has a big row with his ex-girlfriend Madrigal about his unwillingness to fight. Turns out the only time he's really in the mood for a fight is when she's threatened. It's the resumption of their relationship.
  • X-23 has slowly evolved into this. Born and raised to be a merciless killing machine, as she's put her life back together she's become increasingly reluctant to kill. The page image comes from All-New Wolverine, in which she's caught up in a conflict between Alchemax Genetics and four clones they made of her called the Sisters. Laura makes every effort to resolve the situation without killing anyone, and her refusal to kill Taskmaster when he came for the girls led to Zelda Taking a Third Option by Knee-capping. Of course, Laura herself has no problem cutting off hands and fingers, beating the crap out of Alchemax's mooks, and leaving their Bald, Black Leader Guy lying in the wreckage of his Humvee (which she helped wreck).
    • She finally reaches her limit in issue 18 when confronted by Kimura, her psychotic ex-handler, and the woman who's made her life a living hell since she was seven years old by torturing her, and threatening her family, friends, and other loved ones.
    • Gabby herself lampshades to a Brood Queen that Laura's "code" is more like a set of loose guidelines than an actual rule. So Laura will kill if she doesn't have a choice. It also depends on the adversary: Hand Ninjas and Brood are pretty much fair game.
  • Wonder Woman. Like Captain America mentioned above, Diana will use lethal force but only as a last resort.

    Fan Works 
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four, the heroes have managed to subdue the four villains. An Amazon suggests to kill them off, but Queen Hippolyta wants to exhaust all other options first.
  • In the Supernatural/Stargate crossover series Tok'ra Apocalypse, Dean encourages the Nox to take a more active role against demons by arguing that they can use wards and exorcisms to protect themselves, thus preventing the Nox from violating their rules against violence as they aren't actually killing anyone.
  • In fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes actually try to imprison Satan Girl... then she is released, makes clear she won't stop until seeing Kara dead, and Supergirl is forced to fight to the death.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni, Jackie, like his canon counterpart, counts as this. Also, when Jade is fighting Brother Light, he repeatedly throws her through the walls and down the hill (and at one point, through the roof), and when Jade complains during this he says he is a pacifist:
    "I am a pacifist," White objected.
    "Wha? Tell that to my bruises!" Jade shouted, pulling up her shirt to show her blue belly.
    "Okay, they don't show up well since I'm blue, but trust me they're forming," Jade explained.
    "I harm nothing, it is the objects you collide with that harm you," White enlightened her before flinging her away again.
  • In the Fate/stay night Path of the King, Shirou is this as The Archer.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, the Girl of Steel provides assistance to the Scooby Gang to deal with a Kryptonian vampire. Kara doesn't want to kill him, but at the end she is forced to agree Zol-Am's too dangerous to live and lends anti-Kryptonian tools to her friends. Prior to that adventure, she stepped aside when Buffy slew several vampires.
  • Adam Jensen in Mass Effect Human Revolution wants to be this and stick to non-lethal, but don't push him. Go far enough and he will take the kid gloves off. Go even further than that and he won't even feel bad about ending you.
  • After rejecting his Winter Soldier programming, Bucky Barnes in Infinite Coffee and Protection Detail embraces a "good-guy nonlethal" approach to dealing with villains, but his newfound ethics do not forbid Knee Capping an entire HYDRA base if necessary.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Theo in Children of Men bashes a couple of heads in self-defense (with a car door and car battery, respectively), but not once during the course of the film does he ever pick up a gun.
  • Sneakers arguably had one of the best uses of this, as the villain (played beautifully by Ben Kingsley) looks at the hero with the line, "I cannot kill my friend." Just as the characters (and the audience) sigh in relief, he turns to his shotgun-carrying minion, and in the exact same tone of voice repeats his last three words.
  • Averted in Rush Hour 2. One of the fight scenes focuses on everyone in the room trying to get their hand on a gun. A behind-the-scenes DVD featurette shows that the script originally called for Chan's character to have the gun fall in his hand, and then throw it away in disgust. Chan rightly pointed out that, given the fight going on in the room, throwing it away was "stupid."

    This is a trait shared by Bruce Lee. Despite never actually using a gun, in most of his latter movies he specifically asks about if he can use one, only for the possibility to be handwaved away. (Enter the Dragon, Uncut Game of Death, for example.) Also, from his 1971 English-language interview: "Why doesn't someone just pull out a .45 and — 'BANG!' — settle it?" In his own writing, he was rather explicit about how guns versus fists would actually fare.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) featured this trope in contrast to the original series, due to producer/star Drew Barrymore's aversion to glamorizing gun use (as opposed to kung-fu violence). The change is commented on in the second film by villainous former angel Madison who says "In my day we used guns," before shooting the heroines, hitting their surprisingly small bulletproof vests.
  • Field of Dreams played this one for laughs: Costner's character is threatening James Earl Jones with a fake gun, prompting Jones to pull out a crowbar and start walking toward Costner with a maniacal but serious look. Costner falls down, muttering about 'rules', then finally gets his act together just in time and shouts "You're a PACIFIST!" which he gets a very disappointed look and puts down the crowbar.
  • In the Bud Spencer Flatfoot series of films, the titular character, Commissario Manuele "Flatfoot" (Piedone) Rizzo forgoes carrying a gun in the mafia-infested Naples of the 70's in favour of his fists (which earned him the "Flatfoot" moniker), much to the exasperation of his superiors at the Neapolitan Polizia. This trait is so famous that the uniformed policemen in town joke he actually needs a license for his fighting skills, and it is a very startling moment in the first film when he actually picks up his service weapon from his office.
  • Partial example: In Tall Tale, Pecos Bill will not kill a man on a Sunday. He shoots off their trigger finger instead.
  • Subverted in Blade: Trinity. At one point, Blade and his sidekicks get into a fight with a group of security guards armed with nightsticks. The heroes kick and punch the security guards into submission, then Blade whips out a pistol and kills the last one just to show that he can.
  • The Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Ordered not to kill by a young John Connor, he shoots people in the kneecaps instead ("He'll live"). The one from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines also fits (complete with again a shootout where lots of cars are blown but no one dies), even though we never see anyone ordering him not to kill.
  • In First Blood (but not in the original novel), Rambo largely refrained from using lethal force-even Gault only died when he fell from the helicopter.
  • Walker does not directly slay any of his enemies in Point Blank.
  • In The Saint (1997), the Saint neither uses a firearm nor does he take a life, something the prose version of the character had no qualms about. The main gangsters even live to see trial at the end of the film.
  • In The Glimmer Man, Steven Seagal's character (a police officer) declares he can't fight when he and his partner are held up by some, but then proceeds to fight them (using a razor to slice a couple of throats, then his good old fashions limb breaking attacks and a final kick of one bad guy onto some spiky things). His partner says "I thought you said you can't fight?" to which he answers "It's not that I can't fight; I'm not supposed to. I'm a Buddhist." Prior in the movie, he neutralises a hostage situation because he knew SWAT would most likely kill the hostage taker (a high school student). The character's history also shows a violent person who converts to Buddhism in Vietnam (the war anyway, he wasn't actually in Vietnam at the time) which explains his skill in fighting.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Jedi are made out to be "keepers of the peace" who try to defend life and only kill when necessary. Even when the order is almost defunct, they try to solve problems peacefully rather than rush into battle. Of course, when that fails, they will battle.
    • The Naboo are pacifists, with no enemies. Their Royal Security Forces have anti-tank weapons (as they demonstrate against the Trade Federation invasion) and surprisingly effective hyperspace-capable fighters that carry proton torpedoes, useful against capital ships. Both have very practical reasons: Naboo's natives, the Gungan, had fought a war against the human settlers about fifty years previously and, seeing the remaining tensions, the Naboo decided that not being sure the Gungan still had an army was a good reason to fully disarm (the Gungan, it turned out, have to maintain an army, as their underwater cities are constantly under threat from Kaiju-and if they can turn said army against the Trade Federation it's a nice benefit), and as Naboo's economy depends from export it only pays to have the means to escort trader vessels in the pirate-infested Rim worlds, especially as the previous king of Naboo, Ars Veruna, had been engaged in a pissing match with the Trade Federation for quite a while and thus Naboo traders couldn't be sure to count on their Trade Defense Force anymore (the N-1, in fact, is a recent development of an earlier and lighter design, made to take on the Trade Defense Force if necessary-and severely underestimating what the Trade Federation could muster for a military confrontation).
  • Played with in a rather creepy way in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010). It's against the White Queen's vows to harm other beings, but she's surprisingly well-prepared for Alice to do so in her stead (even having armor made for Alice to wear) and leads an army out against the Red Queen. Word of God says the reason she swore this vow is out of fear of turning into a monster like the Red Queen if she starts harming others and can't stop. She was so well prepared because Alice was predestined to kill the Red Queen's Dragon.
  • The priests from Beneath the Planet of the Apes pride themselves on never killing anybody. On the other hand, they have no qualms about using mind-controlling powers to make their prisoners kill each other.
  • Unlike other action movies dealing with terrorists, Arnold Schwarzenegger never uses a firearm at all to kill anyone in Collateral Damage. Even in the scene when escaping from a police roadblock in Colombia and disarming an officer's AR-15, he just throws it away the instant he gets shot at.
  • Dr. Heller from Mystery Men is a weapons designer...who builds nothing but non-lethal weapons. Just because they're non-lethal, though, doesn't mean they can't kick huge amounts of ass.
  • Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy most definitely counts.
    • In Batman Begins he refuses to execute a murderer, opting instead to blow up the whole building he is in, let the leader get crushed under a pile of debris, and then rush out, leaving a great many ninjas, as well as the guy he originally refused to kill, in the building, presumably to die in the fire. note  Later on, he traps Ducard on a train, after demolishing the supports to its track, and shorting out the controls so it can't stop. Then, just as the train is heading over the edge, he jumps out, telling Ducard, "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you," leaving him to fall to his death. Yeah, definitely never does any killing.
    • A similar scenario is set up in The Dark Knight as it seems Batman is willing to let gravity kill the Joker, but then saves him with his grappling hook. This is immediately followed by tackling Harvey Dent off a ledge in order to save a child, and killing him.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, he actively uses lethal force in order to try and stop a nuclear bomb destroying Gotham, in what's easily the most desperate stakes in the entire series. He retires as Batman right after.
  • Valentine from Kingsman: The Secret Service absolutely hates the sight of blood, so he leaves the killing to Gazelle and his mooks. He also has no problem with wiping out most of humanity by sending a Hate Plague to make them kill each other, but the only time he personally kills someone, he's very Squicked out afterwards.
  • The hero in The Big Heat doesn't kill anybody in the movie.
  • Sergeant Nicholas Angel, the highly-trained by-the-book London Metropolitan Police officer turned small-time village policeman in Hot Fuzz, shoots at a lot of people in the film's climactic shootout, but not once does he actually shoot to kill, only to incapacitate. This is likely due to the amount of paperwork he'd have to do if he did actually kill someone, even in self-defence.
    Angel: You're a doctor. Deal with it.
    Danny: Yeah, motherfucker.

  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The Oach of Peace actually covers technical pacifism, and prevents unnecessary violence. It pointedly does not rule out killing — just restraining unnecessary violence.
    Do not hurt when holding is enough
    Do not wound when hurting is enough
    Do not maim when wounding is enough
    And kill not when maiming is enough
    The greatest warrior is he who does not need to kill
  • Edmond Dantes of The Count of Monte Cristo promises Abbe Faria that he won't kill anyone, a promise he keeps even after securing his freedom and the Abbe passes away. Instead, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against those who ruined his life consists largely of putting his enemies in situations where they are virtually guaranteed to be Hoist by Their Own Petard, and letting fate take its course.
  • The Assassins' Guild in the Discworld novels, while not pacifistic in even a technical sense, have suppressed the invention of guns, and aren't happy about improvements in crossbow technology, on the grounds that making it too easy to kill people devalues their profession. Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch, loathes "spring-gonnes" (concealable pistol crossbows) to the point where anyone caught with one within city limits will end up swinging gently in the breeze.
    • Incidentally, a Patrician-employed assassin comments that the Assassins agree, and that no matter what Vimes does to people he catches with spring-gonnes, they will still be glad the Assassins didn't find them first.
  • The Animorphs' allies, The Chee, are programmed to be 100% pacifistic, but Erek King is pretty technical about it. He managed to override the violence prohibition, but was so sickened by the massive amount carnage he caused (more deaths in one hour than the Animorphs themselves caused in months) that he immediately changed it back and had the item that made it possible thrown away. However, this doesn't stop him from attempting to manipulate the Animorphs into killing the aliens that destroyed his creators. Then there's the final battle, but it's unclear whether or not he was offended because Jake killed and threatened to kill indiscriminately, or because Jake blackmailed him. But it's probably both.
    • An excellent demonstration in the book that introduces the Chee: Rachel (in grizzly morph) bursts into the Kings' house because Marco's been in there for too long, runs into Erek's "father"... and is reduced to roaring in frustration because he just grabbed her arms, preventing her from moving any further.
    • Also, the Animorphs themselves. They're fine with killing Hork-Bajir, Taxxons, and the occasional Gedd, and God himself only knows how many Yeerks. But never ever a human. Which incidentally leads to Visser One (the original) figuring out that they're human. Because she couldn't remember the last time a human had been listed as a casualty. Cue the Animorphs present going "Oh, Crap!." It took the Yeerks a ridiculously long time to figure that one out. But considering who was leading them... there were several instances in previous books where minor Yeerks figure that out through various clues (including the above), discuss the possibility— and decide to let someone else tell Visser Three about it. Visser One is pretty much the first Yeerk to catch on who wasn't afraid of getting gutted on the spot for pointing it out.
  • Doc Savage had a code against killing that he really did stick to for the most part even using special mercy bullets. Unfortunately for his enemies this only seemed to extend to directly killing people. Causing plane crashes apparently didn't violate his code nor did arranging for suitably ironic deaths like sabotaging the protective cages a group of slavers used to protect themselves from their giant venomous vampire bats. The most extreme though is probably that he subjected criminals to personality-altering brain surgery in order to avoid having to execute or imprison them, which he saw as inhumane and wasteful.
  • The Culture epitomize this trope: they are a bunch of space hippies with the ability to make suns go nova. A character even points out that, since they actively and vocally prefer peace, they've had to learn to be extremely effective at war, when another civilization thinks they'll be a pushover. It's helped by the fact that Special Circumstances exists to intervene as nastily and precisely as needed to avoid larger conflict.
  • Twilight: The Cullens spend their eternal lives trying to coexist peacefully with people, giving up their human-chomping ways. They apparently have absolutely no problem letting other vampires eat humans in the area or even supplying them with transportation to do so. They also have no problem tearing another vampire to pieces and burning it if it tries to kill Bella.
  • Parodied in Rustlers' Rhapsody where the hero only shoots his enemies in the hand. At least one bad guy finds this more disturbing than if he shot to kill.
  • Durnik starts out this way in The Belgariad — letting an attacker be sucked down by killer quicksand rather than axe the guy's head in, for instance. He generally uses a club in combat rather than a sword or axe. "I really don't like chopping into people. If you hit a man with a club, there's a fair chance he won't die, and there isn't all that blood."
  • Subverted by the Aiel in The Wheel of Time. A Proud Warrior Race that bizarrely doesn't use swords, you later find out that their ancestors were Actual Pacifists and the pledge not to use a sword was part of a general pledge against violence, using the sword as a metaphor for all weapons, that got twisted over the years into a prohibition on a particular weapon but not on being a warrior in general.
  • In the Mistborn trilogy, kandra follow The Contract, which among other things, strictly prohibits killing humans. After OreSeur (actually, a different kandra impersonating OreSeur to serve as The Mole Hidden in Plain Sight on the good guys) attacks an assassin sent to kill his master, Vin is shocked that he broke his code. He responds that while most kandra "think that helping someone kill is the same as killing", it isn't technically in The Contract, and that he did nothing wrong.
  • In one Isaac Asimov short story, there is a robot whose programming includes a glitch that results in its not being fully Three Laws-Compliant: its version of the First Law of Robotics (usually "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.") is incomplete, stating only, "A robot may not injure a human being" and leaving out the bit about inaction. This seemingly minor omission has some truly frightening implications in the literal mind of a robot. For example, the robot could drop an anvil on a human's head: the robot is not squashing the human's brains out, the anvil is, and the robot is merely allowing it to do so by not catching it again.
  • The Race from SA Swann's Terran Confederacy universe. They consider it to be the height of immorality to actually raise a hand (or pseudopod) against another sapient. Hiring mercenaries, sparking wars, destabilizing countries, building AI guided weapons, these are all fine, but they would never actually use violence against you themselves.
  • Shrike becomes one of these towards the end of the Mortal Engines Quadrilogy, after Character Development causes him to feel tremendous guilt over all the lives he's ended in the past. He won't kill you, but he will disarm you of your weapons and subdue you non-lethally if required, and if his adopted daughter Hester decides you need to die, he won't do anything to stop her. He also feels no shame over the prospect of killing Stalker Fang, pointing out that her plans will result in genocide if he allows her to carry them out, and she's more machine than human anyway.
  • Harry Potter almost exclusively uses entirely non-lethal spells in combat, like Expelliarmus and Stupefy, even when others are fighting to kill. Not once has he come close to using Avada Kedavra. The one time he successfully used a potentially-lethal spell (Sectumsempra), he immediately regretted it.
    • He didn't have violent motives even when using Sectumsempra. He had absolutely no idea what the spell did - he found it in a potions book along with the words "for enemies." And the only time he used it, his opponent was about to use an incredibly illegal spell on him.
    • Of course, he does attempt to use Stupefy on Death Eaters while flying hundreds of feet above the ground, while knowing full well a successful hit could result in a fatal fall, as moments later he deliberately avoids using it on a mind-controlled Stan Shunpike for that very reason.
  • Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games. Before conflict arises, he will try to go the path that involves the least amount of bloodshed.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Gatherers kill to preserve the peace prescribed by Hananja's Law, and they do it in such a way that their 'victims' fall asleep peacefully.
  • In Daniel Keys Moran's Tales of the Continuing Time, Trent frequently tells everyone around him "Killing people is wrong". He is a big user of FadeAway, using it in squirt guns, automated defense systems and in a fire suppression system where it took out a room full of people. But he has been responsible for numerous deaths, including one PeaceForcer Elite who tried to swim after him but drowned (Elites are very heavy and don't swim well), and an unknown number of people when his opponent didn't believe that Trent had boobytrapped the weapons system on PeaceForcer Heaven. Trent truly regrets every one of those deaths.
  • The Stainless Steel Rat: Jim DiGriz frequently engages in non-lethal violence, but refuses to kill for religious reasons — as an atheist, he believes that this life is all anybody gets, so killing people takes everything away from them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rev. Bem in Andromeda, being a Wayistnote  priest and a Magognote  tries to avoid killing people despite being an obligate carnivore who needs to kill his prey in order to digest it. In fights he usually just paralyzes people with his venom and generally refuses to eat anything but fish, even if it means starvation. However, the first thing we see him do is work on salvaging an incredibly powerful warship, to sell it to a dictator with imperial ambitions. He's also more than capable of killing in self-defense during a Magog invasion of the Andromeda... but when the killings go even a little beyond immediate self-defense, otherwise justifiable due to the situation, he spends weeks going into months in recrimination.
  • Sheriff Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show almost never used a gun, preferring to outwit criminals. Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife was more willing to use his sidearm, but carried it unloaded so that he wouldn't accidentally shoot himself when attempting to draw it.
    • In an episode of the show, it's revealed that Andy doesn't use a gun because the last time he did, the criminal ended up without the use of one knee. Andy gets a letter from the criminal saying he's coming by for a visit. Though most of the town urges Andy to take up his gun again, Andy can't bring himself to do so. The end of the episode reveals that Andy did the criminal a huge favor, the loss of his knee made the crook start his life over. The criminal became a model citizen and wanted to give Andy a gift, a hunting rifle. Guns are both good and bad.
    • The "no gun" policy on Andy's part was most likely meant to convey the almost total lack of violent crime more than anything else, in keeping with the Idyllic Small Town setting.
      • Andy did carry a gun when one was necessary, such as when a dangerous criminal was on the loose. By him not carrying a gun, the show seemed to convey a message that he could solve most of the problems he encountered through reason and communications rather than by pointing a gun at someone.
    • Andy also uses a rifle, pistol, or shotgun when he sees fit. At one point, he recklessly points a shotgun at a shyster handyman in a ploy to scare the handyman away.
    • All of the above said, it's shown that when Andy does get a gun, he's a crack shot with it, managing to shoot out a tire on a speeding vehicle with Barney's pistol. He doesn't have a problem shooting crows, though.
  • Becoming this was major part of Character Development for Oliver Queen in Arrow. While centainly not'' this in season 1, he became this in season 2, avoiding killshots whenever possible. He still took out a few bad guys when situation forced him to but it was clearly a last resort. For better or worse he fell out of this trope in season 5.
  • "She's a hero, you see. She's not like us." - Giles sums up Buffy the Vampire Slayer nicely. She has killed several humans throughout the show in direct combat, in self-defense, and when she had no other choice.
    • Which makes it even more Egregious that she (and the other Scoobies) tear into Faith for accidentally killing one human (who happened to be working for the Big Bad of that season). This is part of what leads to her Start of Darkness.
  • Burn Notice plays with this trope. Michael is not so much against killing as he is not wanting to draw attention to himself by killing. It seems like he doesn't like the idea of outright murder, but he has killed people when pushed. Besides all of that, he is more then okay with the bad guys dying so long as the innocent are protected.
    • In the last episode of season 2, He and Victor, his new assassin-turned-ally, are trapped on Victor's houseboat. Carla has just shot Victor, and he is dying. He asks Mike to kill him and save himself, which Mike refuses to do (either on principle, or because Victor is the one person who understands what he's gone through). In the end, they both take the gun and put it to Victor's chest. Although it is unclear who pulled the trigger, Michael is visibly shaken by Victor's death.
    • Although when he found out that Strickler arranged to have Fiona killed, Michael didn't even hesitate to shoot him dead on the spot.
      • Strickler was holding a gun on Michael at the time. The 2nd half of Season 3 shows Michael being unwilling to kill even criminals who are trying (due to a misunderstanding) to kill him.
  • In Chuck, the protagonist refuses to even carry a gun, though he is not adverse to the use of nunchucks. Chuck generally prefers tranq guns, if he has to carry a weapon at all, or his Intersected Kung-Fu skills, though when presented with no alternative at the end of Chuck vs. the Other Guy, he did shoot to kill with tight grouping in order to prevent his opponent from killing a drugged-up and paralyzed Sarah. He has since not killed anyone on-screen. Note that this doesn't stop him from doing things like tranqing enemies and leaving them to die in explosions...
  • Max, of Dark Angel, hated guns because Colonel Lydecker shot her sister Eva to death with one. She never used any "cheats" (devices that aren't technically guns), but she did beat the crap out of the bad guys and sometimes killed them through fisticuffs.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's level of pacifism varies by the series and incarnation, but they've become increasingly a Technical Pacifist. Although they often kill the Monster of the Week and have wiped whole races out on occasion, they always insist on giving them a chance to stop their destructive ways, even if it means possibly sacrificing themself in the attempt. The Doctor also has a vicious streak that occasionally comes out when they're angry, which can be scary enough that some enemies who have pushed them that far have wished they were dead instead of what happened to them. The Doctor isn't proud of this behaviour, which is where the companions come in. The Doctor also Doesn't Like Guns, though on rare occasions they're seen carrying them for various reasons, and in some versions is a crack shot.
    • Lampshaded in "The Doctor's Daughter", where Ten's distaste for his clone "daughter" Jenny being a soldier is rebuked by the fact that he was a soldier, in the Time War, and has killed numerous beings and even whole races, both personally and by manipulation.
      • Lampshaded the same way in "The Caretaker", where the Twelfth Doctor refuses to believe that Clara and Danny could be together because Danny was a soldier. Perhaps even worse as Danny has now moved on and is a teacher, while the Doctor still kills people regularly. Danny points out the Doctor isn't a soldier at all, he's something far worse: an officer. He mostly keeps his hands clean because he gets others to do the dirty work.
    • Done to nearly suicidal levels with the Sontarans in "The Poison Sky", when he designs a self-destructing weapon with an activation button and teleports both it and himself to their ship to give the ultimatum instead of just putting it on a timer. He realizes his mistake too late when it's made very clear that for a race that cares about honour in battle above all else, being known as the crew that gave their lives to kill one of the most (in)famous people in the universe is one of the highest honours you could possibly imagine.
    • This trope was invoked by Davros in ''Journey's End''; he observes that while the Doctor themselves are reluctant to commit acts of violence, they frequently associate with violent people as allies (e.g. Jack Harkness, River Song), or they enable their companions to become more violent as a consequence of adventuring (e.g. Martha, Rory). The Doctor doesn't carry a gun, but it could be argued that they empower other people to pick up a gun, as it were.
  • The Equalizer has no problem with firearms, but prefers to use psychological warfare to inspire villains to recant or confess. His reluctance to kill is more because he's trying to atone for his past as a trained government spy/killer.
  • Firefly:
    • Shepherd Book won't kill people, due to it being against the teachings of The Bible, but those teachings are a "mite fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps." He's also shown beating the crap out of people a few times. He's also implied to have a violent past which he gave up and this is confirmed in an Expanded Universe graphic novel when the other characters remark about how, for a Shepherd, he's very good with a gun.
      Jayne: How'd a Shepherd learn so much about guns?
      Book: Hunting rabbits.
      Jayne: For stew, right...
    • Also, the con-artist Saffron.
      Saffron: I didn't kill him.
      Mal: No, I doubt there's many you kill. Just put them in a position to die easy.
  • In Gotham, Bruce Wayne becomes this at a fairly young age. After his parents are shot when he is twelve, he spends a significant amount of time trying to find their murderer so he can kill him. Upon meeting him, though, the killer expresses relief that one of his victims finally caught up with him, and doesn't try to stop Bruce from shooting him. This leads Bruce to realize that he's a man, not a monster, and he decides that he believes it is wrong to kill people in revenge. This later leads to the belief that it is wrong to kill criminals at all, something that he is prone to taking to ridiculous extremes, just like his comics counterpart. Also like his comics counterpart, he is completely fine with beating the ever loving crap out of them, or hitting them with batarangs, which could both potentially be deadly if Batman wasn't careful.
  • Kung Fu! Caine did plenty of beating-up, but never any permanent damage. Except that one time.
  • Leverage: Elliot Spencer fits the sub-trope of "doesn't use guns" technical pacifist. But in the season 3 finale, after being backed into a corner and being told to survive, he reluctantly uses his opponent's dropped handguns, and kills 15+ assailants. He says he doesn't use them because of his "past". It is also likely that he dislikes guns because he believes it makes things too easy.
    • Nate threatens to kill Dubenich (who killed his father) and Latimer in the Season 4 finale, but eventually puts the gun on the edge of a dam and walks away, leaving the two of them to fight over it. It's implied that they both killed each other.
    • There's also the end of the Cross My Heart Job, where the villain planned to steal a heart transplant for a sick child for himself.
"I didn't kill you, Mr. Chesney. God did. I just made sure it took."
  • The Lone Ranger used guns, but only to disarm his opponents in the least painful way possible. Presumably, he was one of the inspirations for Vash the Stampede.
  • MacGyver (1985), obviously. Vocally and obviously hates guns, but isn't averse to hitting people (with fists, or with a variety of heavy things), and for a "pacifist", he's awfully fond of creating explosives... granted, given the show's style, there also wasn't a lot of obviously fatal collateral damage to all the homemade bombs he set off.
    • He also doesn't hesitate to put people in what would, in reality, be very dangerous situations: shocking them with high voltage, suspending them high up in the air by flimsy cords, driving towards them at high speeds, slamming them headfirst into heavy objects, blinding drivers of fast-moving vehicles, hiding unconscious bodies inside heavy machinery, and so on. Probably the most egregious example of this is when he set up a trap that shot a bunch of automatic weapons at cars full of people... but aimed them at the tires.
  • Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H is supposedly a pacifist (owning to his Hippocratic oath as a doctor) but he is known to punch people who disagree with his moral and ethical views of the world. Hawkeye even removed the (perfectly fine) appendix of a gung-ho colonel to keep him from causing more casualties by continuing to attempt to take an objective even after being ordered to stand down. He felt horrible about it afterward, though — it was a genuine (and acknowledged) ethical grey area for him. Another episode has Hawkeye and Potter driving a jeep after getting drunk, when they come under enemy fire. They get out of the jeep and take cover, and Potter hands Hawkeye his sidearm and tells him to use it. Hawkeye protests that he will carry books, carry a tune, carry on, carry over, and even harikari (or possibly Harry Carey— so hard to tell with puns!) if desperate enough, but he will not carry a gun. Potter tells him to think of it not as a weapon, but as an angry noise-maker, and convinces Hawkeye to fire it in the air to at least give them some covering fire.
  • Mission: Impossible: The Impossible Missions Force, when taking an assignment to "permanently deal" with some threat, rarely are the actual killers: they typically set up a situation where they con the target into betraying their own side (and get caught), or con the other side into believing the target has/is/will betray them. As an added bonus, when dealing with criminals instead of foreign intelligence agencies, they'll often ensure that the local cops show up just in time to catch the killers red-handed. By contrast, the characters in the films do kill, though they try to avoid it whenever possible. Whenever it's not possible, they are remarkably effective at it.
  • In Nichols, Nichols was a soldier for 18 years and became sick of all the killing he saw. As sheriff of Nichols, he refuses to carry a gun, preferring to outsmart his opponents. He is not above throwing the odd punch if he has too, however.
  • Threatened by Jesus of all people in the Red Dwarf episode "Lemons".
    Jesus: Just because I'm a man of peace doesn't mean I won't punch your teeth out!
  • Stargate-verse
    • In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'ulds' zat'nik'tel are primarily for stunning (and torture). And they kill on the second shot. Stunners are all over the place in Stargate, and most SciFi. Plot-handy without necessarily being a statement.
      • It's also more convenient for capturing victims alive because you're a species that relies on living inside hosts to survive. The Zat's other two settings ("kill" and "disintegrate the body") are more for direct combat and assassination.
      • The writing staff realized pretty quickly that disintegration would require an ungodly amount of energy, so that function was quietly dropped after a few episodes. Also mocked in "Wormhole X-Treme!" when one of the characters on the set of the Show Within a Show calls "three shots disintegrate" the "stupidest thing I've ever heard".
    • The Nox are ordinarily Perfect Pacifist People, but in "Pretense" Teal'c, expecting the Goa'uld representatives on Tollana to sabotage the planet's surface-to-orbit defense grid, talks the Nox representative Lya into using her powers of invisibility to hide one of the cannons in question. When the inevitable happens and the hidden cannon saves the day, Carter questions her actions:
      Carter: I thought the Nox were pacifists.
      Lya: I only hid the weapon. I did not fire it.
      Carter: Ah. Pretty fine line you didn't cross.
      Lya: Yes it is.
    • Averted in Stargate Atlantis: Sheppard (hero) fights Michael (villain) on the roof-tops. Michael falls, and before Sheppard can rescue Michael, along comes Teyla. Michael had threatened Teyla's baby. Teyla stamps on one hand, then the other. Michael falls, but because he is a wraith, a creature with fast healing abilities who can survive multiple gunshots to the head and chest, he may have survived the fall. Awesome!
  • Starfleet officers from Star Trek are like this. When they go on away missions, they almost always have their phasers set on "stun."
    • Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As a police officer he does not like to kill (he has a personal rule of never using a phaser), but he is more than willing to fight hand to hand. His shapeshifting abilities and experience in combat allow him to be more dangerous unarmed than a rabid, bat'leth-swinging, disruptor-toting Klingon. He also has a certain amount of pride about this; upon being told Klingons attacking the station would likely come after him in hopes of making themselves worthy of song, he muses that if any one Klingon warrior did kill him in combat, it would be an act worthy of an entire Klingon opera.
  • In Ultraman Cosmos, Ultraman Cosmos is a pacifist and normally makes a token effort to subdue and calm down the monster he's fighting to the point his Luna Form has no real Finishing Moves that can kill. If faced with a monster he cannot subdue peacefully, or is truly evil, he has to switch to his more combat able Corona Mode, which can still calm monsters down if needed. His Eclipse Mode reflects this as well, with a finishing beam that only kills evil beings, passing through everything else. His support team, EYES, also tend to take this perspective on monsters, trying to subdue them, while the military tries to kill them, which often ends up re-enraging said monster EYES took care of. This actually comes back to help as on several occasions, the monsters and aliens they've spared or helped do come back to help out humanity, leading to a rather epic Gondor Calls for Aid moment in the third movie after Cosmos is killed by Ultraman Justice.
  • One of Mr. Chapel's codes in Vengeance Unlimited was that he did not kill his marks. However, he did use stuff that went boom (and called in favors from people who knew how to use stuff that went boom) to scare the bejeezus out of his marks.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Hershel is a man of peace, and at first refuses to kill the walkers, believing them to just be very ill. When that reality is shattered, he is shown to be a very skilled shooter, even though he doesn't care much for guns.
    • Morgan reappears in season 5, having gone from the insane survivalist in season 3 who had no qualms with killing other humans to the policy of Thou Shalt Not Kill, even against Always Chaotic Evil humans. He doesn't, however, let his new motto of "all life is precious" stop him from using his staff to beat the hell out of people, and still doesn't object to killing zombies.
  • On White Collar, Mozzie is a generally non-violent type, probably due to the influence of his old mentor Mr. Jeffries, who taught Mozzie to fight his battles with words, and Neal, who just doesn't like violence at all. Mozzie can babble and bluff his way out of almost anything. Hurt or kill someone he cares about, and he will put a six million dollar bounty on your head without a second thought.
  • Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess had no problems with beating people up, but throughout 1/2 of the series had a taboo about personally killing people, despite travelling with Xena, who was a walking Cuisinart. Then Gabrielle is converted by Eli, priest of the One True God, so she throws away her non-lethal staff because it is too violent and starts killing people with sais which are not violent at all because One True God says so.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara is a great wrestler. He gave pro wrestling the Fujiwara arm bar and was a notorious ankle lock fisherman. But as good as he is at wrestling he doesn't like striking too much and hates being struck even more. He'd even let go of submissions if it meant a strike free wrestling match, unfortunately he has close ties to Minoru Suzuki, who likes slapping him around, leading to Fujiwara having to tap him at Genichiro Tenryu's retirement show.
  • Dan Severn's problem in pro wrestling, and mixed martial arts. He's certainly not above hurting people with joint locks or ligament snapping. Even basic controling holds can hurt by moving people in directions they are adamant against going in. But there's some part of his psyche that says hitting people is wrong, so it takes him a while to work up the will to Just Hit Him.
  • Silver Potato's girlfriend in Kaiju Big Battel, Anna Dramina, never starts fights and only fights if first attacked.
  • Being a hippie, Daizee Haze abhorred violence but loved physical competition. So she took up wrestling, figuring she wouldn't have to hit anyone while sating her competitive side. Of course, if you're familiar with professional wrestling in her country you can guess how successful she was at maintaining this approach to matches, but it's okay. If opponent insists on striking they'll quickly learn a heart punch nicely transitions into most of her finishing moves.
  • The Blossom Twins were peace loving siblings who happened to enjoy amateur wrestling. They quickly found out pro wrestling was much more violent, especially tag team wrestling.

  • Jesus generally preached pacifism and tolerance ("Turn the other cheek," "Love thy neighbour," etc) and is typically portrayed as one. Of course, pacifists usually don't scatter crowds of merchants with whips on account of their greedy ways. Or, to quote from Matthew 10:16, "Be as innocent as doves and as cunning as snakes."
  • In Jewish law, there are very specific cases in which capital punishment could be used. When something doesn't fall into these cases, but the court felt that the defendant needed to die, they would use a sort of immurement, which technically wasn't execution, but resulted in the convicted's death.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the standard rule for generic clerics has long been "no edged weapons", in a Fantasy Gun Control version of this trope. The idea was originally to reconcile the presumably "peaceful" nature of priests with the vagaries of an adventuring life, though it's worth pointing out that nobody has ever requested a "humane" bludgeoning over execution by guillotine or axe.
    • This conception was actually inspired by a real world example and simply popularized by said roleplaying game.
      • Although to be fair, Odo of Bayeux's use of the mace wasn't quite a "technical pacifist" position, but more of a cynical attempt to get in on the glory of the English Conquest yet still be considered a "holy servant of god." Basically, Odo was a Rules Lawyer.
    • In 3rd edition, since increased customization allowed for followers of different gods (including gods of war) to specialize in different areas, this was dropped and it was made so that the average cleric only has proficiency in simple weapons—the kind anyone could pick up with basic training: clubs, staves, maces, and so on, but including edged weapons like daggers and spears, and ranged weapons like crossbows (as opposed to just slings as in previous editions). This reflects a relative lack of combat training (compared to fighters, barbarians, and so on). They can, however, use advancement opportunities to learn more advanced use of weapons, and priests of the aforementioned gods of war can even start play with significant skill in their god's favored weapon if they pick the right powers.
      • This has been around since Second Edition AD&D at the least. While clerics were limited in their weapon choice to non-edged weaponry (in as much as one can call a morningstar a bludgeoning weapon), the various gods in the multiverse all had what were called "specialty priests," who had their own restrictions for armor, weapons, and magical items. A specialty priest of Lathander, for example, was restricted to a cleric's weapons and no armor heavier than plate, while priests of Eilistraee could use any weapon they liked.
    • The Vow of Peace feat from the Book of Exalted Deeds essentially states "feel free to massacre undead, they don't count" and "nonlethal damage (read: beating people up) is acceptable". Also, if an enemy surrenders, agrees not to fight you again, and breaks his word, you are not required to interfere if your allies kill him.
    • 4th Edition's Shielding Cleric counts as well. You're not actually harming the enemies yourself—the Technical part comes in when you're leaving them stunned and with vulnerability 20 next to Shanky McRogue...
      • Taking it one step further is the feat "Pacifist Healer" which significantly increases the power of the Cleric's 'go to' healing class feature, but in return, permanently disallows them from damaging bloodied opponents, or wind up stunned themselves. Aforementioned non-damaging attacks are fair game.
  • GURPS has the Reluctant Killer disadvantage, which keeps a character from lethally attacking a recognizable person. The character can still use deadly force on: people wearing masks, people he can't see, occupied vehicles, anything that looks like a monster, and blips on a radar screen. Along with a number of other Pacifism variants, ranging from Cannot Kill to Total Nonviolence. Even beyond that, the highest level of pacifism requires you to stop other people from doing anything that might hurt another person for any reason.
  • Jadeclaw (and presumably other Sanguine Productions games) has the Pacifist flaw at three levels: "Cannot take a life," where the player cannot do anything that they 'think' will kill someone. If they "mortally wound" an opponent, they may not leave them untreated. "May only fight in self defense," which includes the previous caveats, as well as an inability to attack anyone until you, personally, are attacked. And last, "Total non-violence," where the most you can do is block, dodge, or parry.
  • Whenever pacifism is an option, Min-Maxing does this. As one poster puts it — "Pacifism. A commonly taken character trait. Confers +200 to revolvers."
  • Even the ludicrously deadly Paranoia has provisions for the occasional bring-them-in-alive scenario, such as tanglers (which fire sticky constricting cords, merely immobilizing the target unless they hit the neck) and stun guns.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Sun Empire in the Ixalan block holds that the greatest warriors don't kill. Feeding people to dinosaurs, on the other hand, is outright encouraged. And since some of them can magically command dinosaurs, this is little more than killing with a living weapon.
  • There was an RPG with a merchant in the Middle Ages, who was the most technical of pacifists. He would say, "I'm a pacifist! I won't hurt you, but my friends will." (I.e., if the person he was talking to didn't do what he wanted.)

  • LEGO claims to never produce war toys. This is only true in a certain point of view, because they still have lot of toys featuring conflict like Indiana Jones and Star Wars and produce a wide array of guns. LEGO probably stretched this statement to a critical point by releasing the "Green Army Men" set. It is part of the Toy Story line and includes four "plastic soldiers" with additional weapons and a jeep. The guns certainly aren't fitting (wild west rifles) and the figures are all-around green, but you only need to swap hands and head with yellow or flesh ones and you have a Vietnam-war era colored soldier, who you can pit against period accurate Soviet soldiers obtained from the above Indiana Jones set. There is also some kind of undergroundmarket around military LEGO. Sites like Brickarms and Brickforge sell custom-made LEGO-compatible elements, resembling authentic guns and rifles like AK-47s and bazookas to arm your figures. They are in no way affiliated with LEGO other than that their products are compatible with each other, but it's entirely possible to substitute the custom-made elements with similar official parts and build Cold War dioramas. The "Exo Force" sets were entirely about a war between anime-styled humans and robots.

  • Nailbat in Anti Bunny has no qualms with crippling people, and is even implied to use torture once, but always insists on leaving them still breathing.
  • Dr. Staph of Awful Hospital is the type who'll have the idea to turn her bottle of alcoholic antiseptic into a Molotov cocktail. But she'll then hand the bottle over to her friend, Maggie, to ignite and throw.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The Giant Mook Mongo becomes this — a really short flashback vaguely explains that he won't kill any more as a Hand Wave for why his boss has him capture the hero instead of kill him.
  • Celia from The Order of the Stick is probably a fantasy version of this. She won't compromise her anti-killing principles to save a friend's life, but she has no issues cheering on her teammate in battle, or blasting a guy with lightning for screwing with her.
  • Lightbringer starts off as an Actual Pacifist due to his parents' belief, but becomes this trope when he realizes that true pacifism won't help anyone in the crime filled Pharos City.
  • Thomil of Juathuur. His dead girlfriend, Neilli, was an Actual Pacifist.
  • Bob and George: X. Or so we are told.
  • Larima Torbern of Pacificators tries very hard to be an Actual Pacifist, but sometimes the situation forces her to become this. Either way, it annoys her sister Taffe.
    Taffe: You don’t need to fight. All you need to do is just end the fight.
    Larima: Oui, I can do that.
  • Decoy Octopus from The Last Days Of Fox Hound has never actually killed a single person, and doesn't even know how to use a gun. It's discussed when he's forced to "face the souls of every man he's killed" by The Sorrow and, upon finding themselves in an empty limbo, points out that being a master of disguise means subtlety and avoiding confrontation are his thing. However, he has acknowledged that just by associating with the likes of Psycho Mantis and Revolver Ocelot, he is technically complicit in mass murder.
  • Rusty and Co. has Dorylis, a Cleric who can invoke Disaster Dominoes to subdue undesirables and generally cause a lot of hurt without actually being involved in a fight.

    Web Original 
  • The titular protagonist of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog shows a strong aversion to violence and lethal force throughout the movie, with his laser weaponry being more non-lethal. Even when he finally has to carry through with his order to commit murder, he hesitates heavily. This ends badly. Averted with so-called superhero Captain Hammer, who has no problem using more than excessive force when the situation completely fails to warrant it.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance", the Galactic Commonwealth is a state which seeks to explore and keep good relationships with other galactic nations. Still, it is quite ready to go to war against any power which might put its citizens and territories into danger.
  • Kazina, from the MSF High Forum, was a perfect example of 'Tropes Are Not Good'. He decided to be a pacifist, got a tranq gun, called it a day.
  • In The Story of Anima, this is how Kit, Hayden and Ada operate.
  • Red vs. Blue: After Locus pulls his Heel Face Turn, he decides on this philosophy to do some good in the galaxy. Not that this makes the Reds and Blues less wary of him, or several goons kneecaps less shattered.
  • Ruby Quest: Interestingly, its heavily implied that Ace of all people is something like this. Prior to being corrupted by the CJOPAZE he was just an orderly and was not to harm any of the patients or staff. Even after he was corrupted, he still strictly follows those rules; while he has intimidating looks and will restrain anybody he's ordered to, he never seriously harms or kills the people he "attacks". Even as the protagonists are escaping the Metal Glen, he still refuses to hurt them and only tries to detain or slow them.
  • The Call of Warr: Gravesite's not absolutely opposed to killing, but refuses to let his unit kill unless he deems it absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, Prince doesn't quite agree with this viewpoint.

    Western Animation 
  • The titular Gargoyles were very opposed to guns, and killing in general beyond that. Broadway in particular had an experience in which he accidentally shot and nearly killed Elisa, one of the main characters and a close friend, but for the others their hatred of guns was specifically linked to their dislike of killing. In the Episode Awakening, Goliath actually mentions that a killing that occurs in the heat of battle is all right, it's deliberate (i.e. premeditated) attacking with intent to kill that they hate.
  • Justice League Unlimited
    • In the episode "Hawk and Dove", one of the title characters is a superhero named Dove who is an ardent pacifist as befitting his name. He is ready to mix it up as necessary, but largely with soft martial arts like aikido that allow him to take down the toughest foes without much injury and with a focus on subduing and disarming. In addition, when facing an unstoppable machine that feeds on aggression for its strength, he is the only one who keeps a cool enough head to realize that a passive stance against it could shut it down.
    • Also, Deadman, the aforementioned specter that possessed Batman was trained to abhor killing as well. The killing mentioned above happened entirely by accident. He used the gun to blast the gun Devil Ray was aiming at somebody, and DR just happened to stumble backwards in surprise...right into a mess of exposed wiring and electrocuted himself. Nonetheless, Deadman still got called out by the Powers That Be for causing it.
  • Jackie Chan, from Jackie Chan Adventures does not fight for the sake of fighting, and he clearly points this out, despite the fact that he is obviously a badass at doing it. He states that he will resort to fighting only when there is no other alternative. Of course since one of the points of the show is to show off Jackie's badassery of the martial arts, this typically means every episode. But still, he usually fights only when threatened and only enough to prevent the villains from actually doing anything bad.
  • Given a bit of a lampshade hanging in the usually Family-Unfriendly Violent Transformers Beast Wars, when the two sides have a truce. The terms of the truce ban weapons, but a fight begins anyway using cartoony but equally violent slapstick (Example: sabotaging an enemy's flight systems, causing them to plummet to the ground Wile E. Coyote-style). Optimus and Dinobot even comment on how peaceful it is, while watching an enemy get crushed by the rear end of a rhino.
  • Played for Laughs in an Animaniacs short. At the beginning of the short, Flaxseed, the Jerkass candy-shop owner who hates kids, is confronted by a kindly-looking nun in his store, pleasantly asking that he donate some of his candy to her Orphanage. He kicks her out onto the street. Near the end, about a half-dozen nuns come in, demanding he unhand the Warner Siblings that were running amok in his store, and get this close to beating him senseless with rulers when he calls them on it.
    Flaxseed: Wait, wait! You're nuns! You're not supposed to resort to physical violence!
    Nun: He's right girls, let us pray.
    All of them drop to their knees, praying. A bus full of Notre Dame football players show up and immediately surround Flaxseed with angry scowls.
    Nun: Our prayers have been answered!
    The players dogpile Flaxseed
  • In The Zeta Project, the titular robot goes from being an assassin to having a strict no-kill policy. Unfortunately, everyone is after him and his human friend, so he is forced to use his badass fighting skills to crash cars, destroy buildings, and lots more in the 'CLEARLY DANGEROUS' category, though he makes sure that nobody actually dies.
  • Stripperella. Parodied in "Curse of the Were-Beaver". Superhero Stripperella has no problem with beating the crap out of people, but loves furry animals. This causes problems when she's charged with stopping a man who keeps mutating into a giant rampaging beaver.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang is a technical pacifist, which brings up problems when the only apparent way of stopping Fire Lord Ozai is killing him. The previous Avatars were decidedly not technical pacifists, for example; Kyoshi, who could have a decent claim to being one (her victim died by freak accident when she split her island from the main continent), is steadfast in her belief that she might as well have done it herself, and even his immediate Air Nomad predecessor Yangchen was quick to advise him that his needs as a monk take second place to the needs of the world at large. Aang grapples with this decision but sticks to his guns and takes a third option and depowers Ozai leaving him alive but harmless.
    • The greatest example of this trope would have to be Iroh, who used to be a general to the Fire Nation, is currently the leader of a whole gang of Old Masters, and is quite likely the second most skilled and powerful bender in the world after the Avatar himself. He is, however, also one of the nicest people in the entire series, preferring to talk his way out of trouble, and has no problem giving advice to even his enemies on how to find peace and balance. All this started because he lost his son to a war he had been leading, and since then has changed his attitude, and in some ways is trying to atone for his past mistakes. That said, if you pose a serious enough threat, he will take you down faster than you can blink, and at full power, he can demolish city walls singlehandedly.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: Ant-Man will go out of his way to try every possible option before resorting to blows. He maintains that he is scientist first and a superhero second, but if he presses that button on his belt, you better hope he's not aiming that gigantic fist at you. This becomes a serious issue for him towards the end of the first season because he'd much rather be an Actual Pacifist. Come season two he's left the Avengers because of it.
  • In ReBoot, the protagonist, Bob, mostly plays this straight in regards to viruses. He'll certainly fight a virus if necessary, but is completely against deleting them and instead advocates containment and rehabilitation. This eventually leads to some conflict with Matrix and Turbo. Bob's policy pays off big time with Hexadecimal, who eventually has a Heel–Face Turn and saves the net. On the other hand, not deleting Megabyte certainly didn't pay off...
  • In Winx Club Helia plays this straight. Though Saladin, the headmaster of the Redfountain School, is his uncle, he transferred out for a time to go to art school, writes poetry, loves nature, and is a pacifist, even after he joins the Specialists. His Weapon of Choice is Spider-Man-like gloves that shoot ropes to incapacitate but not injure his opponents.

    Real Life 
  • A real-life example is the famous "Wild West" peacekeeper, Bat Masterson. He didn't use a gun very often, having been lamed by one in a moment of recklessness, but had no problem beating people with the walking stick that gave him his nickname. Nor, for that matter, did he have problems associating with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, who would kill people with guns.
    • Wyatt Earp, for that matter, didn't shoot quite as many people as is often thought, preferring to Pistol Whip criminals. At one point in the old west, getting hit in the head was known as "an Earp."
      • Before the gunfight atnote  the OK Corral, Wyatt Earp had only killed one man. The same is probably true of Doc Holliday, though not for lack of trying.
  • A surprising number of police officers can go their entire careers or at the very least large portions of the same without having to draw their service weapon let alone discharge it in the line of duty. Is even known to happen in "dangerous" cities. There might be some aversion to killing in the line of duty, as there's a bunch of red tape to ensure in the eyes of the public and such that the cop had to do what s/he had to do.
  • Saint Joan of Arc is a pretty good example of this. Though she courageously led armies into battle, riding right into the thick of the fighting, and was even wounded by the enemy, she swore to her chaplain that she had never actually killed anybody by her own hand. After the battle of Orléans, she stopped her soldiers from executing some of the defeated English defenders, and she wept at the sight of so much bloodshed. Moreover, she always tried to warn the English soldiers in any area she planned to attack, in order to provide them with an opportunity to peacefully retreat back to England.
    Joan of Arc (as reported by her chaplain): I loved my banner forty times greater than my sword. And when I went against the enemy, I carried my banner myself, lest I kill any. I have never killed a man.
  • John Dillinger robbed banks for the money and the thrill of it, his heists involving as much planning as a real job might, but would never, ever kill (though other members of his gang often did hurt or kill people). In fact, he despised cold blooded killers Bonnie and Clyde, saying they gave honest crooks like him a bad name.
    • He was suspected of killing an East Chicago police officer during a bank robbery in January 1934, though this is debatable.
  • One of the most common attitudes engendered among students at most martial arts schools is that the fighting techniques they are learning are never to be used in anger or aggression, but only for personal defense.
  • Anarchists have taken various positions on violence in different social, economic and temporal contexts, as one should expect from an ideology in which dogmatism is looked down upon and division is sometimes seen as a sign of progress. However, they are often this in battle; the anarchists of the Spanish Civil War are an illustrative if almost cliche example, preferring to advance without engaging their fascist rivals in battle, and if they had to, shooting them in the knees and dropping pamphlets as they left. In street confrontations against Black Shirts, anarchists in Phoenix, Arizona have been spotted carrying guns (perfectly legal in AZ) to communicate that the neo-Nazis' targets are not intimidated. Anarchists also infamously have a worldwide Black Bloc with a strict code by which they organize to break windows of target corporations and government buildings, but are not allowed to harm any living being or put unwilling protesters in harm's way in the process. Not all anarchists have been gun-shy; the movement was briefly associated with assassinations of political and business leaders, especially in Spain where revenge killings spiraled out of control for a time.
  • Libertarians generally follow the non-aggression principle, meaning that they regard it as a cardinal sin to initiate violence against anyone. This however does not prevent them from forcibly defending themselves and others, which is why they support and often practice the right to bear arms. And many libertarians believe in the right to use lethal force in defence of one's property, and also believe that taxation is theft...
  • This trope is arguably an example of a tenable, pragmatic pacifism that most people would ascribe to. War may indeed be Hell, making peace a far more preferable option if possible, whether ethically, economically or otherwise. Emphasis on if possible.
  • Norway held this position in NATO during most of the Cold War. After 1990, the nation has passed from this, over Reluctant Warrior to a downplayed Blood Knight whose military has embraced their traditional connotations.


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