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You Would Not Want to Live in Dex

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"If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell."
Toombs, on Crematoria, The Chronicles of Riddick (and paraphrasing a quote about Texas usually attributed to Philip Henry Sheridan)

Because there are so many types of Dystopian settings, a Supertrope index was needed.

This is intended to cover both those settings where virtually any honest, decent, rational people wouldn't want to live if they had a better choice, and those that while some people REALLY wouldn't want to live here, others would find them to be a paradise or at least acceptable.

In a nutshell, for settings that are Dystopias. For those who hate regional or National Stereotypes, please instead see the Hollywood Atlas. When the oppressed fight back, see Civil Unrest Tropes. Compare Being in This Index Sucks.


The Big House: It might look a warm and cozy place to spend the night, but most guests are going to be gravely disappointed.

After the End: see Apocalyptic Index.

Nightmare worlds: It's Nightmare Fuel and doesn't bother to hide it.

Too Good To Be True: Just like a Utopia...Until you scratch the surface.

There Ain't No Justice: Possibly a good place to hide from authorities, if you can keep from being victimized yourself.

  • Caught in the Bad Part of Town: A town that has a dangerous part where outsiders aren't welcome, and a character accidentally winds up there.
  • The City Narrows: A lawless area of a city.
  • Crapsack World: Anything and everything that can go wrong will go wrong, in the worst possible way.
  • Failed State: A fallen nation that lacks the ability to enforce its laws or provide for its citizens.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: A place so messed up that people are arguing for either abandoning it, actively destroying it, or both. (Though whether it belongs here or in Not So Bad is up for interpretation.)
  • Outlaw Town: By criminals, for criminals.
  • Sadist Show: Everyone in this show's setting is abusive, abused, or both and no one is sympathetic.
  • The Savage South: See its description in the "nightmare worlds" place.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: A city that was so bad it was destroyed.
  • Totalitarian Gangsterism: When the criminals are the ones performing the Day of the Jackboot, you know you're in a hellhole.
  • Urban Hellscape: A look 20 Minutes into the Future, where the city is infested with violent criminals, and the police are either too ineffectual to stop them or can only do so by being that much more brutal.
  • Vice City: Crime rates are so high, it's a wonder that people still live there.
  • World of Badass: Everyone is a badass... even that innocent little Heartwarming Orphan.
  • World of Ham: Everybody has to take and act out everything in such an overly exaggerated manner that it often resorts to screaming, chasing and fighting all over the place.
  • Wretched Hive: ...of scum and villainy, of course.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The poor area of town.

Not So Bad: A bit smelly, a bit sour, but it's ours. (Or to quote Aladdin: "It's barbaric, but hey, it's home.")

  • Advert-Overloaded Future: The future is full of ads.
  • Bad Present: The present is fine for us, 'cause we're used to it, but the time-traveller from the past sees it as bad.
  • Crapsack World, Escapist Sanctuary: It's an awful place to live, but as long as you can dream and play, it's bearable.
  • The Dung Ages: The Dark Ages are portrayed as grody but not terrible.
  • Dingy Trainside Apartment: A cheap, dilapidated urban apartment next to train tracks.
  • Doomed Hometown: The place the hero first appears in will get destroyed.
  • Dying Town: A town that isn't thriving.
  • Egopolis: Dictators renaming towns after themselves.
  • Ghost Town: A town that's abandoned or has very few citizens. Often portrayed as spooky but not straight-up evil.
  • Hated Hometown: A character hates the place they grew up in.
  • Horrible Housing: A house in poor condition, meant to highlight the residents' poverty.
  • Industrial Ghetto: A poverty-ridden, usually polluted, industrial neighbourhood.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Those who disagree will likely consider it more along the lines of this. Again, whether it belongs here or "there ain't no justice" is up for interpretation.
  • Lost World: A place that's kept off the maps.
  • Quirky Town: Those that don't have a dark secret can actually be pretty nice when you get used to them... or at least get used to not being able to get used to them.
  • Scavenger World: When a lot of people are killed, the rest has to scavenge as they don't know how to make things.
  • School Is Murder: Students are routinely murdered by monsters, but it's the only school in town.
  • Small Town, Big Hell: A small town with a Close-Knit Community... but if something happens to you, everyone will know about it.
  • Throw-Away Country: A made-up country that disaster strikes.
  • Used Future: In Rust We Trust!. Namely, sci-fi tech that looks dingy and used but works.
  • A World Half Full: A world that's dark and gritty but there's hope.
  • World of Snark: A place that isn't so bad, except everyone's got a sharp tongue.