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Phlebotinium powered by forsaken children in video games.


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    A 
  • In Ad Venture Capitalist, restarting the game earns angel investors that increase your profits. Some of the upgrades require sacrificing angels, although you must careful consider the cost of losing their multiplier vs the benefit of the upgrade. (At first anyway. Eventually you have so many angels it's a non-issue.)
  • Alice: Madness Returns has the Dollmaker power the infernal train with the bodies of insane children, which reaches horror levels when you realise the very deliberate pedophilia subtext in that level.
  • In Alundra, it's no coincidence that you gain new items whenever someone dies: Jess is able to craft new weapons thanks to the spirits of deceased villagers who wants to help Alundra.
  • In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Vitae, a substance containing the cosmic lifeforce Baron Alexander needs for his alchemy, can only be obtained through the prolonged torture and suffering of human beings. This, more than anything else, is why Castle Brennenburg is such a gallery of horrors.
    Baron Alexander: As long as the body suffers, it will continue to produce the vitae and saturate the blood with its properties.
  • In Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, children have proven indispensable for maintenance work in the pipe system of the evil machine. Mandus regularly sends down orphaned children into the steam pipes to clean them up. They often get scalded to death in the process.
  • This is why the Seven Deities kidnapped Mithra in Asura's Wrath, as they need her to power their Mantra Reactor and gather enough Mantra to destroy Gohma Vlitra. The main problem with this plan (other than their callous slaughter of innocents for their Mantra, which they call "purification") is that the process makes poor Mithra suffer horribly. And her father, the title character, is about as happy with this state of affairs as you can imagine from the title.
  • Athena: Awakening from the Ordinary Life:
    • Towards the end of the game, it's shown that the Creepy Child with Psychic Powers whom Athena befriended, Masato Kurihara, is hooked up into the Super Computer that handles the whole Tantauls system... and said super computer is the Final Boss that Athena must destroy. And there's no way to save Masato, as destroying the machine will kill him. When Athena destroys it, she manages to pull the dying Masato out, and he dies in her arms.
    • In the third CD's Game Over sequence, instead of dying of what's implied to be a psychic backlash coming from overusing her Psychic Powers, Athena herself is seized by the Tantauls System and forcibly made into the new core. She's last seen hooked-up to the Computer, as a Single Tear rolls down her cheek.
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    B 
  • The Angelic Rifle in Baroque fires bullets that contain the Littles, which are living incarnations of pain extracted from the Absolute God and look like winged, misshapen human babies.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, Baelheit's machina is powered by afterlings, gigantic creatures that are the result of a failed experiment to implant pieces of a dead god into humans. It's never made clear if the victims are still aware.
  • In BioShock, the Plasmids are marvels of superscience that give powers from generating electricity, to telekinesis, to shooting swarms of angry wasps from your arm, through genetic engineering far ahead of their time — or our time. But to obtain ADAM, the Applied Phlebotinum needed to make new plasmids, sea slugs have to be implanted into little girls — it must be little girls, for reasons that are never explained.
    Tenenbaum: I know why it has to be children, but why just girls? This I cannot determine why, but I know it is so. Fontaine says, "Ah, one less bathroom to build in the orphanage".
    • At some point shortly before the beginning of the game, a plasmid has been developed that will allow someone to destroy the sea slug from within, yielding a considerably lesser amount of usable ADAM but rendering the girl a normal human being again. In most cases.
  • Nearly everything in BlazBlue is Powered by a Forsaken Child. The Magitek that the world is so heavily dependent on for its survival relies on seithr, The Corruption created by the Black Beast that made it necessary in the first place, and the Beast itself was an attempt to gather the souls needed to create a magical superweapon that went horribly wrong. The Nox Nyctores that several characters use in battle were also created by sacrificing thousands of human lives to create each one.
    • On the subject of Nox Nyctores, nasty bastard though he may be, Relius states that it is possible to use fewer souls to make a Nox Nyctores, but the reduction is highly dependent on the quality of the souls used. A focused soul is higher-quality than a scattered soul, and a multilateral soul higher quality than a unilateral one. By that logic, a focused soul, pointing in multiple directions, is of the highest quality possible, and could very well be used to make a Nox or "detonator" on its own. That should explain a lot more about his "obsession" with Makoto...
  • In Borderlands 2, the main plot revolves around stopping the Big Bad from activating a Lost Superweapon. It turns out the price of activating that superweapon is keeping his own daughter locked away. The player(s) end her suffering at her request, but the Corrupt Corporate Executive kidnaps an allied character to activate the superweapon instead—cue Boss Battle.
  • In Breath of Fire IV, The Empire has a long range "hex cannon" that's powered by torturing people to death, and is more effective if the victim has a strong connection of some sort to the affected region. When Fou-Lou proves virtually unkillable by all other means, his girlfriend Mami is used to power the cannon, with the shot centered directly on him. He survives, but he's not exactly sane afterwards.

    C 

    D 
  • In the Dark Souls series, this is the dark secret of the Age of Fire. The First Flame that sustains the Age of Fire (and more importantly keeps the Dark Soul from becoming an Abyss that consumes everything) must be rekindled every now and then with a sacrifice. Not just anyone will do either, the sacrifice must have a very powerful soul. In the first game's backstory, God-Emperor Gwyn sacrificed himself to Link the Fire, and one of the endings has the player character repeating the sacrifice having proved themselves to be worthy by passing all of the trials needed to reach the Kiln. In the sequel, the Undead Hero does the same thing in the end. One ending of the third game, however, shows that the Linking was at best a stopgap measure, so by that time the sacrifices are no longer enough to sustain the First Flame, which is dying regardless.
    • To make it worse, turns out the "seal of fire" warding the Abyss and feeding the First Flame was entirely unnecessary and only got put in place, screwing the entire natural order of the world, due to Gwyn's absolute paranoia.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the Hyron Project is a immense quantum computer/security system powered by three women trapped in life support pods, who constantly beg to be allowed to sleep. To increase the creepy factor, it acts like a normal computer system, but ends its official announcements with disturbing messages. These women don't survive for very long and a DLC reveals there is a secret base which kidnaps women, "processes" them and ships them to the Hyron Project. Their experiences throughout this are suffering defined. And those system generated passwords? Hyron employees keep complaining in internal email how creepy they sound...
  • Diablo III has the Dark Coven, whose Black Magic is fueled by human suffering and sacrifice, usually with Cold-Blooded Torture involved.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • The golems, who were created out of people. Some of them volunteered to have molten rock poured over them and give up their free will. When they began running short on volunteers (and when the dwarf who invented the technology suffered an attack of conscience), the king started conscripting his subjects and sent the inventor through the process himself.
    • A defeated blood mage will offer to magically increase your strength and endurance in return for his life, all it takes is sacrificing the lives of all the elf slaves you came to free, one of whom, if your character is a City Elf, is your father.
  • In most versions of Dwarf Fortress, dwarves will occasionally enter a "Fell Mood" - leading them to kill a nearby dwarf, process his carcass in the nearest Butcher's Shop, and turn it into an artifact. This being Dwarf Fortress, nine times out of ten it's something like a dwarf-bone scepter decorated with an image of a dwarf-bone scepter in dwarf leather. The other dwarfs, operating under the unique strictures of Dwarvern morality, don't freak out when one of their number starts murdering people. Engravings, sewn images, and such will be made to celebrate the creation of this fine dwarf bone scepter.

    E 
  • The manual for the RTS Earth 2150: The Moon Project contains several essays to bring the player up to date with the plot. One of the more memorable ones is a request for asylum from a disillusioned soldier formerly of the United Civilized States military forces, describing how the cyborg battalions of the last war disappeared only just prior to the invention of a portable AI module, large enough to store a human brain and a few electronics, that also has a very large warning stating the type of execution awaiting anyone who opens it. In another essay this is alluded to, as well as praising the soldier for anticipating the turn of events and defecting.
  • In the section of Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future where dolphins turn into jerkasses and take over the world, the three highest members of the ruling class have sequestered themselves off in giant water bubbles high in the sky. The only way up to them is to turn on the Hanging Waters tube system. The only thing that can power the Hanging Waters is the life force of enslaved whales.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, Soul Gems. They are used to trap the souls of slain creatures, and the resulting soul can then be used to enchant an item. Black Soul Gems take this even further. They are a variant of soul gem, favored by Necromancers, which allows the trapping of sapient (Men, Mer, Beast Race) souls. In fact, sapient souls create some of the most powerful enchantments in the series.
    • In Morrowind, due to the weakening state of the Tribunal as a result of being cut off from their divine power source, they were no longer able to sustain the Ghost Fence around Red Mountain by their power alone. As a result, the Dunmer began interring the bones of their dead in such a way that their spirits would power the Ghost Fence. That's why it's called the "Ghost" Fence and not the "God" Fence.
    • The Shivering Isles expansion to Oblivion takes this a step further with Dawnfang/Duskfang. To start with, it's a magical weapon and so must be recharged with soul gems (although see below). What's worse, it changes damage type with the day/night cycle (fire by day, frost by night), and each time it switches it can become (for the next 12 hours) a stronger version of itself... if the other form was "fed" 12 souls. So in order to keep the blade perpetually in its Superior state, one has to let it claim 24 souls EVERY DAY * and* make sure the enchantment itself is charged with souls. Add that to the rather disconcerting toothy maw of the blade, and one begins to wonder what sane hero would willingly carry this on her person. (You find it in the Shivering Isles, also known as the Realm of Madness. What did you expect?) One advantage of Dawnfang/Duskfang is that it refills its charges every 12 hours, when it changes form. This, technically, makes it the only magic weapon in the game which doesn't have to be recharged with soul gems, and some players use it exactly for this reason.
    • In Skyrim, the Ebony Blade has turned into this as well. In the previous games, it was merely a particularly powerful Ebony Dai-Katana with some nice buffs. In Skyrim, it has a Life-Steal power that can be enhanced... by using it to kill people who love you. (In in-game terms, any NPC you've completed enough quests for to make them 'like' you.) In its base form, it's marginally useful. Fully-boosted - which requires you to murder 10 people who consider you a friend at the very least - it provides a powerful life-steal with infinite charges, making you extremely hard to kill in a melee.
      • Though there is a work around. If you have a Dead Thrall spell - which, unlike the lower level Zombie spell, doesn't reduce the target to dust when they're killed - you can kill a single companion, then resurrect them, then kill them again. Rinse and repeat. Because of the way the game is coded, undead Thralls count as Followers, and thus count towards murders with the Ebony Blade.
    • In the backstory, the Dwemer did something to the Snow Elves to turn them into the modern Falmer. Snow Elves as sentient beings would require a very rare black soul gem to put their souls into soul gems but as Falmer much cheaper soul gems work. It just so happens that a lot of Dwemer technology relies on soul gems to function, in fact.
    • Daedric equipment is this by default: each piece of Daedric equipment is Ebony with a Daedric soul infused into it at creation. In Skyrim, the first installment that actually lets you craft Daedric equipment, this manifests in having to spend a Daedra Heart (a rare alchemical ingredient gained from killing certain Daedra) on each crafted piece.

    F 
  • Fable II features Reaver. First, his eternal youth and good looks were put in place by sacrificing the entire population of Oakvale, albeit by accident. Second, continuing to have those good looks comes at the price of tricking someone to give up their own youth and beauty. Not to mention his company Reaver Industries from Fable III, which heavily depends on child labor. It's up to the player whether or not to continue the child labor once they become a monarch.
  • In the Fallout 3 DLC The Pitt, obtaining a cure for The Virus requires kidnapping a baby.
  • In Fatal Frame, the reward for the eight-year-old who wins a game of demon tag is to spend ten years locked in total isolation before being torn apart by ropes, all to keep the Hell Gate closed. The loser doesn't fare much better, having stakes stabbed into her eyes and becoming "it" for the next game of demon tag.
  • Heroic spirits in Fate/stay night agree to fight in the Grail Wars because they believe it will grant them a wish, usually to let them live a second life or fix a past mistake. However, a defeated Servant is actually drawn into the Grail where it is turned into pure magical energy, and the 'winning' Servant that touches the Grail is also subject to this. This is what powers the Grail. Only the last remaining Master really gets a wish. However, very few of the main characters actually know this while competing, possibly only Ilya and Zouken Matou.
    • All the Servants participating in the holy grail wars, except Arturia (who's not truly dead, but in Avalon), and Emiya!Archer (who made a contract with the world) are actually spiritual 'copies' created from the immortal concept of the hero, which exists beyond time and will remain inviolate no matter what happens to the copies. The same hero can therefore potentially participate in any number of Grail Wars (and theoretically, for heroes that qualify for more than one of the Grail War's seven classes, multiple aspects of the same hero could fight at once), as it's only the copy that's absorbed. It's still pretty ghastly, though; copies or no, they're still sentient beings.
    • Gilgamesh and Kotomine have another (and very literal) use of this trope going straight into horror, no questions asked. Shirou wasn't the only survivor of the fire ten years ago - all the other orphaned children have been imprisoned in the basement of Kotomine's church for the last ten years, unable to move, deprived of all their senses, being kept alive only by the barest thread and only barely recognizable as human so that Gilgamesh may take mana from them.
      • Doubly ghastly when you consider that the spoilered part must be the fate of Miyu Edelfelt Emiya in any universe except the one in the spin-off Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA.
  • The trope is the force that drives the plot of all the F.E.A.R games. Defense contractor Armacham Technology Corporation started a project to train psychic commanders to lead mass produced clone soldiers. To get adequate, controllable psychics (the goal was for them to eventually be reliably producible as products), the head researcher believed the commander embryos can't just come from a psychic's DNA but also need to gestate inside a psychic... so... they take Alma, a disturbed, psychic 8 year old girl, put her in an induced coma, lock her away in a machine in "The Vault" underground for years until she's ready for pregnancy, and pump two children out of her, putting her back into a coma each time. Did we mention that the father of those children is Alma's father? Despite being in a coma she's eventually able to psychically reach out to one of the young commanders and get him to kill some of the researchers in revenge. This convinces the researchers to shut down the power to the facility holding Alma, so naturally she dies a few days later. Turns out when you forsake a psychic child that badly, being dead doesn't stop her from taking revenge... Alma reaches out to the psychic commander again, jump starting the plot.
  • Final Fantasy IV's Dark Knight Cecil and the Fake King have a few shadows of this. The former's Dark Knight Armor is apparently powered by Cecil's own Spirit (it actually reduces the stat), while the King's first mission is to destroy a town to gain power.
  • Final Fantasy VI:
    • The Magitek and Magitek Knights come from draining a still-living Esper, and siphoning its power into weaponry and human soldiers such as Kefka and Celes. The very Magicite that the player characters can equip and use in order to learn magic and enhance their skills is actually the crystallized remains of a dead Esper — to the point that many living Espers deliberately reduce themselves to Magicite either to strike back at The Empire or to assist the party members, but the latter never show any regret for using the crystals.
    • The World of Ruin is created by 3 statues sacrificing, well, everything.
  • Final Fantasy VII has this on a global scale. Mako Energy is powered by the life of the planet, or the latent life force that is currently cycling around waiting to be reborn.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, it turns out that Guardian Forces actually carve out a space in their hosts' heads for themselves, destroying memories in the process. The heroes continue to use Guardian Forces after learning this and no further memory loss occurs. Additionally, the final Guardian Force, Eden, has an ability called Devour, which enables Eden's host to eat his or her opponent in order to gain various benefits from HP to stat increases - although depending on the opponent, the effect could be negative instead. Either way, the game cheerfully acknowledges the rather Squicky implications of this: the animation for the ability involves cutting to a screenshot of a serene landscape, over which is played the very loud, messy slurping and smacking noises of the target being messily eaten.
  • Final Fantasy IX has Quina the Blue Mage. To learn blue magic spells, s/he has to eat the enemy. His/her weapon? An oversized fork. Additionally, the fuel everybody uses to power airships, Mist, is made of souls barred from the afterlife, but it's never made quite clear whether they're actually consumed in the process.
  • Each summonable creature in Final Fantasy X is powered by a different Fayth, a person willingly entombed in crystal specifically for that purpose. Look at the lovingly rendered temple wall decorations incorporating the body of the sacrificed Summoner. They're really quite lovely. You don't even notice the protruding parts of the entombed human body unless you look closely! Somebody put real care and artistic vision into those, which is morbid beyond belief when looked at in this context.
    • The Fayth are on call for the summoners at all times; whether they're pulled from their slumber every time a summoner needs help, or deprived of rest completely like those on Mt. Gagazet, it sounds like a pretty miserable way to pass the centuries.
  • Final Fantasy X-2's Dresspheres are created from memories of past people, in fact Yuna being overcome by the memory of the Songstress Sphere is a major plot point. Now keep in mind there are about 40 of these dressspheres, most of them created by Shinra 'during' gameplay. However, Lenne sealed herself in the songstress dressphere entirely by choice, and can clearly leave anytime she wants; she's just waiting for Shuyin to be saved before she does. The person whose memories are recorded in the Black Mage dressphere is met by the player and clearly not trapped.
  • In Final Fantasy XI, learning blue magic involves "absorbing" the "essences" of monsters. Translate the euphemisms yourself. Furthermore, it's dangerous to do this, as a blue mage grows gradually less human as they gain more spells. It's implied that any character who actually does pursue the path of blue magic is amoral and ambitious. It is revealed that at the end of their life they transform into soulflayers.
    • It's true that the Aht Urhgan Immortals, a sect of Blue Mages who've sworn their eternal servitude to the Empress, become Soulflayers when they die—but after the Blue Mage LB 5 fight, it's strongly implied that because adventurers live a completely different lifestyle according to completely different ideals, their will is strong enough to fight the Beast indefinitely.
    • Scholars too. The Grimoire—the source of a Scholar's power and versatility—only achieves its true power after several rituals. The first one? Soaking it in the blood of other magic users—especially other Scholars.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, the fal'Cie Orphan powers the entirety of Cocoon, especially the antigravity tech that keeps it from falling onto Pulse. Of course, this gets more complicated when you find out that most of the game has been orchestrated by Barthandelus (possibly under Orphan's influence, depending on interpretation) just to get you to kill Orphan, destroying Cocoon and killing millions of people in the hope that the Maker will return to the humans and fal'Cie alike, who are seen as having been forsaken by him.
    • Wasn't the entire point that the Fal'cie of both cocoon and Pulse were working together, pretty much raising the cocoon population for the mass sacrifice, and that the entire plot is them trying to do it again since the chosen pulse L'cie didn't do the job 400 years previous?
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the false moon Dalamud which was used to hold the elder Primal Bahamut captive also contained thousands of captured dragons in stasis pods which have kept them alive and in pain for over 5000 years by the time the events of the game take place. This ensured that their cries and prayers would keep their deity Bahamut summoned inside the moon's core, preventing him from escaping his prison. Dalamud itself was used by the Allagan empire to syphon energy from Bahamut and power their advanced technology. It didn't turn out well for the Allagans in the end.
  • In Final Fantasy Adventure and its remake Sword of Mana, the Mana Tree that sustains the world will grant its power to the first person who touches it and then dies. The only way to save the balance of nature is for a woman of the Mana tribe to become a new tree in its place, a fate that befell the heroine's mother and eventually the heroine herself.
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    G 
  • In Galactic Civilizations there is a chance that any particular planet that is being colonized will have something special on it that lets the player choose from three options: Good, Neutral, and Evil. Many of the evil options (and some of the neutral options) are of the Forsaken Child variety. For example, a life form on the planet links people together to create a psychic network that gives a huge improvement to science production on the planet, but the people must permanently enter the life form's pods (signified by a reduction in population). The options are: (Good) Cordon off the area and allow NO ONE to enter.(Neutral) Hook up only the infirm and the elderly. (Evil) Excellent! Hook up a random selection of the population.
  • In Ghosts of the Past: Bones of Meadows Town Loki's medallion can open a path to Valhalla - if the user sacrifices five human souls.
  • In Guilty Gear Xrd REVELATOR, Elphelt Valentine's Story Mode reveals that the Universal Will/Ariels (also Elphelt's creator/"mother") has put her mind in a Lotus-Eater Machine-dream state while using her body as the core of Justice. Towerds the end of her Story Bedman tries to keep her from waking up, afraid for her sanity, but she defeats him and then remembers that she's become this.
    "Now I remember! I'm... I'm... Going to become JUSTICE!"

    H 
  • Try almost every enemy in Half-Life 2. There's a reason the Big Bads are known as the Combine (as in harvest). Combine mooks? Normal people with most people-bits taken out and cyborg alien science put in. The Headcrab zombies? Turns out the 'zombies' underneath the Headcrabs aren't all the way dead (and their screaming is some of the most potent nightmare fuel in the game). This makes the Zombine (a Combine soldier zombified by a Headcrab) a double-whammy. The Striders? Same thing as the "human" soldiers, but with another alien race. The same goes for their Dropships and Gunships, by the way. And who's in charge of assembling these things? The Stalkers. Humans with their limbs cut off and their vital organs removed, but kept alive and utterly dependent on obeying their orders. Walking is a privilege they have to earn, as are eyes. Without effort on the viewer's part, they're no longer recognisable as human. Alyx puts it best. "I hope you don't remember who you were."
  • The Garland device in Hellsinker is powered by four dead children buried beneath it. To get the best ending, you must face Garland, then defeat the spirits of the children, who have taken a great interest in a cat and insist on bringing it into battle.
  • This appears pretty often in Heroes of Might and Magic V. The Necropolis Town has a building that can convert living units into Undead. There's an adventure map building where a Hero can sacrifice units in exchange for experience. The Demon Lord Heroes' "Consume Corpse" ability removes dead creature stacks from the battlefield to replenish mana. The Stronghold faction introduced in Tribes of the East owns this trope though. First, there's the "Slave Market" town building that lets you sell units for resources (ironic, given the Orcs' history as oppressed slaves). The Wyvern Upgrade, the Pao-kai, can consume dead creature stacks to heal and revive their own numbers. Their strongest unit, the Cyclops, can use Goblins (the weakest unit) as food and ammunition, making the poor saps literal cannon fodder. The Shaman upgrades, the Sky and Earth Daughters, are both able to sacrifice Goblins to replenish their own mana. In fact, this is the only way the Sky Daughter can use her "Chain Lightning" ability since she doesn't start battle with enough mana to use it. Her in-game creature description ends with this little gem: "Because of this, they are greatly feared by their opponents - and by Goblins". Not to mention that the Cyclop's description mentions that the Orcs bought the Cyclops' allegiance by offering them their favorite food: Goblins. Yeah, Goblins are pretty much the Stronghold's Buttmonkeys.
  • The Kushan mothership in both Homeworld games is so large and complicated that no conventional computer system or crew can manage it. As a result, a system is created that involves permanently surgically implanting a living person into a Wetware CPU so that the various subsystems can be managed directly. The system's creator, Karan S'jet, volunteers herself, partly because she understands it best, and partly because she wouldn't trust anyone else with it. At the end of the game, Karan is disconnected from the Mothership. In Homeworld 2, taking place several decades later, she connects herself to the new and improved mothership Pride of Hiigara to serve in the same capacity.

    I 
  • In Immortal Love 2: The Price of a Miracle the blue side of a two-faced amulet can heal any injury and grant special powers, in exchange for using the red side to sacrifice a human being.

    J 
  • BioWare had this trope running in Jade Empire. The Emperor has ordered Death's Hand and the Lotus Assassins to hire slavers to raid "insignificant" villages. These villagers are brought to the Lotus Assassin base and killed by some kind of alchemical acid, leaving behind a Soul Jar that's used to power the terracotta army they're building.
    • That's just an extension of the worst act. The Water Dragon's mutilated body is kept as a trophy in the Palace. Its power is siphoned by the Emperor to grant him strength and vitality. The Dragon's blood is water, and so its body was carved open, allowing a flood of water to pour out of the Palace and into the Empire's rivers and lakes.

    L 
  • In Labyrinths of the World: Shattered Soul the villain uses the hero's sister's soul to power an invention allowing him to travel to different realities.
  • The Soul Reaver in the Legacy of Kain series drains the souls of enemies in order to power itself up. However, the whole reason it can do this in the first place is that a maddened, ravenous spirit is trapped inside the blade... a spirit that just happens to belong to the protagonist of two of the games.
  • In Lost Kingdoms 2, it is strongly implied that the artificial Runestones are made from people's souls. You only find this out if you go back and check Sol's body in the Royal Tower, Lower without meeting the requirements for the Good ending.
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    M 
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • In order to reproduce, the Reapers have to capture alive billions of sentient beings, liquefy them (which you potentially see done to most of your crew first hand), and inject the genetic material into the mechanical portion of the Reaper. This makes ONE Reaper. In Mass Effect 3, a dead Reaper is confirmed to be one billion years old; assuming that this was the first cycle, and that's a big assumption, there are at least 20,000 Reapers.
    • In the Overlord DLC, David, an autistic man, was hooked up to a VI so that he could communicate with the geth, perhaps control them. His physical body is suspended, naked, in the centre of the machine, wires jammed beneath his skin, into his mouth, and his eyelids pinned back. Arguably even more horrifying is the mental effect, however - the over-stimulation is obviously near-unbearable even before David enters the machine. When he does, he begins screaming in agony and terror... Those horrible high-pitch distorted screams you heard all mission? That was David desperately pleading with you: "Quiet! Make it stop!!!"
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has Metal Gear Sahelanthropus, which was designed to use a combination of a human pilot with an artificial intelligence. The presented challenges in its construction: to accommodate the AI's computer, the cockpit had to be downscaled, as making the cockpit larger would make it too top-heavy to be practical. As such, no adult could pilot it. The cockpit, however, was perfectly sized for children. It is piloted by two children during the game: a psychic child from Russia, and an African child soldier.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, you awaken after an unfortunate encounter with Dark Samus to find that your weapons, your suit and your body now run on Phazon.
  • Averted in Metroid Fusion (which takes place after the Prime trilogy). Samus survives her initial encounter with the X Parasite due to a vaccine derived from a baby Metroid; however, all study by the scientists was carried out either humanely or posthumously after Mother Brain killed it in Super Metroid.

    N 
  • In the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer the player is afflicted with a curse that makes him or her hunger for spirits, and able to choose to increase his or her power by eating said spirits. In addition to being obviously morally questionable, spirit-eating on a regular basis also has the downside of increasing the player's hunger to the point that he or she requires multiple spirits per day just to keep from dying.
  • The Void Walker skill Breath Of The Dead Child from Nexus War does Exactly What It Says on the Tin. in-game it's powered by magic points, but according to the fluff, the demon infiltrates the paediatric ward of hospitals, harvests the dying breaths of children, and unleashes them later, causing the children's tormented souls to bite and gnash at his foes. Hope you weren't planning to sleep tonight.

    O 

    P 
  • All of Pathologic's healers' techniques involve this to some extent.
  • Planescape: Torment:
    • the Nameless One's immortality is fueled by other people's lives. To be more specific, whenever he gets killed, the force keeping him alive casts about the Planes, steals someone's life force, and forces it onto the Nameless One. Naturally, the people this happens to aren't terribly happy about it: they compose the monstrous shadows that stalk you through the game.
    • In a shop run by an Always Chaotic Evil Tanar'ri there is a "baby oil" literally made from children. The merchant would be glad to describe the gruesome process in detail.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon X and Y features the "Ultimate Weapon" created by Kalos's king, AZ, three thousand years ago. It sucks life of dozens, maybe hundreds, of Pokémon and can be used as either a device to give eternal life or basically a nuke. AZ used it in the past to revive his beloved Floette, and in the present Team Flare plans on using it to wipe out all people for the sake of the planet.
    • In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Infinity Energy used by Devon Corp. is based on the same idea as the energy used in AZ's Ultimate Weapon, using Pokémon's bio-energy to power machines and such.
    • The Mythical Pokémon Magearna is an automaton that has a central component known as a "Soul-Heart", which is the Pokémon's true body. Unsurprisingly, its Soul-Heart was also created using the same technology of using Pokémon bio-energy.
  • The Neuromods of Prey (2017) can make anyone an Instant Expert, in almost any field, after nothing more than a very unpleasant injection. They are also created from the remains of extremely hostile Starfish Aliens, disconcerting enough its own right... but said aliens also reproduce by consuming human minds, and if you want a reliable supply of neuromods, well...

    Q 
  • In Quake IV, the main character eventually gains the ability to use a miracle healing fluid called Stroyent... which is created by using a bizarre cyborg monster to process liquefied human bodies. Indications in both this game and predecessor Quake II are that the humans are usually alive when they're liquefied — fortunately, the liquefaction process, although gruesome, does seem to kill them.
    • It also shows up in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars as a dual health/ammo pickup for the Strogg team, and destroying a processing plant for it is the GDF objective for one stage, but its origins aren't directly addressed in that game.
    • Though it is part of the advertising campaign for Quake Wars. In spite of its Soylent origins, the advert that features it is rather hilarious.
    • You also see dismembered humans powering certain devices around the Strogg factories, as well as one powering the Makron, and they are also alive and at times trying to escape. Most of them appear to be heavily drugged, a state in which they're probably better off.

    R 
  • In Radiant Historia, the world relies on Sacrifices willingly giving up their souls to keep it from becoming a lifeless desert. The entire plot is kicked off by one intended Sacrifice's attempt to Screw Destiny not only for his own sake but for the sake of the next chosen Sacrifice the player character.
  • Yuri's household in Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge would make even NOD shiver with unease. He got power from bio-generators (like in Matrix) that could be enhanced by placing additional humans in them. His primary harvesting facility was a Slave miner and the secondary one was a huge Grinder that processed humans into credits. He used cloning vats to churn out infantry and his super-weapon turned humans into bulky brute mutants. Oh, and all his army was mindcontrolled by him. What a jerk.
  • It's not surprising that his spiritual successor in Red Alert 3, Yuriko, runs on the same logic. However, she is the forsaken child. As Uprising reveals, her Psychic Powers alienated her from everyone in her village, and she was taken by the government at a young age and brainwashed into being a mindless killing machine. Even when she breaks free after the war, she's forced to kill her own sister, and her revenge leaves her feeling empty inside. That's not even mentioning the thousands of expendable clones, all of whom apparently felt the same things she did.
  • ResidentEvil: Survivor reveals that the process used to create Tyrants (one of the toughest enemies in the game) involves removing the pituitary glands from the brains of teenage boys after first producing a massive quantity of a chemical created by fear. The "improvement" Umbrella comes up with is to perform the surgery without anesthetic.

    S 
  • Samurai Shodown: The Gandara is a huge hulking monster created by Yuga the Destroyer. If you're wondering how it was created... Have a look at the details of how it was created (it'll be too long to list on this very page) and then you may start shivering.
  • Quite a few magical rituals used in The Secret World require particularly gruesome materials or conditions in order to work properly; given the Grey and Grey Morality at work in this game, quite a few of the perpetrators are still considered the player's allies.
    • Innsmouth University is outfitted with a network of magical batteries that supply the Illuminati staff with additional Anima - drawn from magicians who've been buried alive in the foundations, all of whom are still fully conscious; in one mission, the player is given the task of sealing a few escapees back into the wards in order to prevent any further occult disasters.
      • Also from Innsmouth, the protective wards require sacrifices of Anima in their construction. Thankfully, due to the sheer number of feral familiars roaming the grounds, no morally-ambiguous deaths are required this time.
    • The Sentinels that watch over the City of the Sun God were created through a particularly tragic example of this: with no other way to keep the Black Pharaoh sealed inside his Pyramid, High Priest Ptahmose sacrificed his children and transferred their souls into seven giant statues designed to keep Akhenaten imprisoned for all time with their unified song. About half the family were adults at the time of their deaths; the other... wasn't.
    • Theodore Wicker's journey to Hell and transformation into a half-demonic immortal required numerous human sacrifices in order to complete; though not reflected on in great detail, it ended up killing all the other tenants at the Overlook Motel - if not dragging them to Hell along with Wicker.
    • In a much more villainous example, the events of The Park reveal that Atlantic Island Park was created with this in mind: wanting to achieve ultimate magical power and immortality, Nathaniel Winter outfitted his park with machines to siphon off the happiness of guests, which he would then use to unlock the dark energy sealed under Solomon Island and imbue himself with it. Trouble is, some people responded very badly to having their happiness removed: just setting up the machines resulted in dozens of workers dying in "accidents" or committing suicide. Once the park was opened, the accidents escalated to full-blown murders when depressive carnival workers found themselves Driven to Madness by the siphoning process. Winter didn't care much — up until the authorities had the park shut down; resolving to find a way of getting the machines to work, he stayed in the abandoned park until he was able to capture a thrillseeking Innsmouth student and literally tickle him him to death — a sacrifice enough to transform Winter into the Bogeyman.
    • The Orochi Group excels at this, from the research facility that only uses child test subjects to the constantly-regenerating being forced to suffer through being butchered for meat. However, the crown goes to Project Odyssey, in which one of Gaia's Chosen ends up being used as an organ donor, forced to spend the rest of eternity being operated without anesthetic, dying as a result of overharvesting, and then respawning so that more organs can be removed.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga, in a rather disturbing version. Your characters (and, by extension, your enemies, who have the same power) get stronger by eating other people. Which they do. With frequency and sometimes gusto. Other demons, to be more exact. Killing humans actually gives you no Atma and you can't use Hunt skills on them either. It's definitely as per the above as far as the backstory is concerned, though. In the main franchise, there are several examples of farming of a substance needed to soothe demonic hunger, called variably Magatsuhi, Magnetite, or Red Pills, which is just as variably identified as a distilled, concentrated form of human souls, emotions or neurotransmitters. It's perfectly possible for a single human to generate enough to sustain a small team, but larger operations like the Nightmare System or Reverse Hills require massive People Farms.
  • In The Sims 2, a Cowplant's milk can grant the drinker an extra five days of life, at the price of one human life a pop. Sims can roll wants to "drink" their enemies. If you want to be especially evil you can feed your entire neighbourhood to the Cowplant, making your own Sim immortal by eating the souls of children, so to speak.
    • This tweet claims that it's possible to start one's family with a "painting goblin": a sim who loves to paint and be alone, hates the outdoors, and is then trapped in the basement with an easel and the basic necessities of life. Over time, the "goblin" becomes very good at painting, and the player can sell its paintings for lots of money. "My family always ends up feeling blessed because of their fortune, and they never find out about the horrible secret living beneath their home."
  • In the doujin game sora, Starbreaker has to tie herself to a satellite in order to attack the earth.
  • In Star Control 2, the sinister Druuge's entire culture revolves around this. They consist of just one company, the Crimson Corporation, which owns everything. So any Druuge that transgresses is fired, which immediately leads to them being guilty of stealing Corporation resources (such as air), at which point they feed the furnaces. The creators of the game are quite proud of this little bit of nastiness.
  • In Star Flight, it is revealed that the fuel used to travel in hyperspace is actually the long 'lost' ancients. Even more, the mysterious crystal planet that is the big threat of the series is actually a defense system constructed by the ancients to fight the mysterious and horrible monsters that are kidnapping their people and burning them alive to power their star ships.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Jedi Masters explicitly state that the Exile is a "Wound in the Force," and not truly connected to it. Due to your connection to the Force being severed and your powers stripped, throughout your whole adventure, you siphon the Force energy from those you kill and your own party members (most of whom are Force-Sensitive and all of whom are in some sense bound to you) to stay alive, become stronger and use your Force powers.
  • In the original Suikoden, the Rune that Governs Life and Death works like this - it's pretty powerful even at the worst of times, but it grows stronger by devouring the souls of people loved by the wielder. Friends, family, 's all good. He doesn't have to kill them directly, but nor does he get to choose - the Rune itself seems to employ some form of probability manipulation to bring about the death of the loved ones so it can grow stronger. On the bright side, it's literally the most fearsomely powerful Rune that has ever appeared in any of the games, so hey, at least you got something OUT of all those tragically dead family-members and close, long-time friends...
  • Sunless Sea:
    • Downplayed with the Milebreaker, a sinister-looking contraption you can install on your ship. It'll make your vessel significantly more fuel-efficient, but it also unnerves the hell out of the crew with how evil it looks (which is reflected in a blow to the Hearts stat, which in many ways represents morale and the captain's charisma); apparently, the crew being terrified of the thing is fundamental to its function.
    • Played straighter with the Fulgent Impeller, the single best engine in the game. You need several freaky things to assemble it, such as a piece of a Mechanical Abomination and sea monster bones, but all of these aren't what counts. What does count is that the engine "needs a heart", and that heart is a person that must be sealed shut inside a steel capsule at the heart of the engine, never to be let out. The Unsettling Sage that helped you build it (after getting him out of The Alcatraz) thankfully volunteers because he really wants to see it done, and he's treated as a martyr to progress. But, if the dreams your sailors can have are anything to go by (who will try to join him in the capsule), he's still inside there as you sail, screaming and burning
  • In Sunrider, the ancient Ryuvians had a Doomsday Device called the Sharr’Lac which could obliterate everything within a half-lightyear radius. To prevent the abuse of such destructive power, it was designed so that it can only be piloted by the Sharr (or crown princess) of Ryuvia, and can only be activated at the cost of her life. Thus, the Ryuvian God-Emperors would have to decide whether using the Sharr’Lac was worth the sacrifice of their daughters.
  • In Super Robot Wars, Jurgen's ODE System which was used to command the Bartolls which required living humans hooked up to cores. The Mironga, a variant merely has the pilot using the system linking them directly while maintaining some will of their own. The ATX and SRX team were shocked to learned about this, the fact that Lamia was used as the main nexus of the core prevented further victims from being used for the ODE System as the newer ones were totally unmanned.

    T 
  • Tales of Innocence has a line of giant war mechas called the Gigantess. These happen to be powered by the bodies of captured humans with magical powers like a literal battery.
  • Tales of Symphonia features Exspheres, a form of Magitek symbiote mass-produced by the villains that empower their wielders with superhuman abilities and can be used to power Magitek devices. They are eventually revealed to be powered by the soul of a living being that has been killed slowly and painfully in the process of activating the Exsphere for use. What's more, those belonging to a few of the main characters turn out to contain the lives of their loved ones, and two more had "different", experimental ones that were stealing their lives. The heroes must use them anyway, because the villains certainly won't stop doing it.
    Zelos: This is the grand Tethealla Bridge, powered by FIVE THOUSAND EXPHERES.
  • The blastia in Tales of Vesperia are a widely used technology made partly from the souls of sentient monsters known as Entelexeia.
  • In the third Thief game (Deadly Shadows), the Old Gray Lady has killed an orphan to use her shape as a disguise. Garrett restores the orphan's soul to her body, which destroys the disguise and advances the plot.

    V 
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4: The battleship's super secret reactor stops working around the time that a young girl with amnesia is found in the engine room. You can probably see where this is going, but wait! It gets worse! If you overload a working reactor, then it will cause a nuclear-level explosion. The enemy's capital city is on the coast. The reactor only works if the girl wants to go in, but she just thinks that she is powering the ship, and does not know that she is the true payload.

    W 
  • Warframe: The warframes themselves are actually piloted by the surviving children caught from a botched void jump aboard a colony ship called the Zariman 10-0. With the children's exposure to the Void, the Orokin exploited their ability to manifest its energy and link with the warframes like an avatar as a means to fight a war against their previous creations, the Sentients.
  • In White Knight Chronicles, the Knights' pact-makers were originally adult warriors. Then the first pact-maker of the White Knight turned on Madoras since he couldn't stomach working for such an evil bastard anymore. After the rebellion failed, Madoras decided the best way to avoid a repeat incident would be to use infants as the pact-makers instead.
  • A bit of Wild Mass Guessing by The Sign Painter in World of Goo posits that the cute little sentient goo are the power source for the entire world.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Scourge qualifies for horrible often enough, but the creation known as Thaddius fits this trope specifically, being made up of the souls and bodies of women and children slaughtered in conquering Lordaeron.
    • The Lich King's sword "Frostmourne" can absorb the souls of those it slays to power up, or to turn the slain into Scourge, controlled by the Lich King.
    • The player-obtainable axe "Shadowmourne" must absorb the souls of 1000 entities from Icecrown Citadel as part of its manufacturing process before it gains its full power. The visual effect of the buff it grants the wielder is a vortex of the absorbed souls swirling around the player.
    • The little draenei boy sacrificed by the Shadow Council to open the Dark Portal.
    • In Warlords of Draenor the Iron Horde uses the souls of slain Draenei and non-allied Orcs to power their Dark Portal, with Gul'dan and his minions acting as conduits for the energy.
    • One of the older and more notorious World of Warcraft examples was the "Chained Essence of Eranikus" item which created a poison cloud around the player, the downside? The item is powered by the tortured soul of a dragon who begs for mercy (and occasionally threatens) everytime the object is used.
    • Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester got much of its power (along with its title) when its first wielder used it to drain all the life from Deadwind Pass. Furthermore, it feeds on the souls of its victims and, if they cannot control it, its wielder.
    • Unsurprisingly, the Burning Legion fortress the Fel Hammer is powered by souls. Despite they themselves being empowered by consuming the souls of demons, the Illidari are quite emphatic that You Don't Want to Know what it does to said souls.
      • Soul engines appear throughout the Legion expansion, as they power every Legion ship and are at the heart of major bases. The Legion's victims are tortured to death, then their souls are further tortured, before they are used as fuel.
      • The destruction of one Legion ship released its fuel source: The desecrated remains of enough sentient beings to fill an entire valley.
    • Argus has been used as a power source for the Legion, allowing their soldiers to resurrect whenever they are slain. He has spent eons being used for this purpose while simultaneously being tortured into insanity, unable to resist because he hasn't been born yet.

    X 
  • In Xenoblade, the Mechon are draining the ether (basically the life-blood) from the slumbering god/titan Bionis and converting it into a universal poison for all life-forms that were born from the Bionis. It turns out they were doing this to stop the Bionis from absorbing said life-forms and using them to refill its life energy, making an even straighter example.
  • Xenogears has a variation on this; the murderous pseudo-undead monsters known as Wels are revealed to be the byproducts of Solaris' human experimentation projects. At first, this causes the PCs to wonder if it's actually right to kill them... but then, it's further revealed that the reason they're murderous is that the experiments leave them in constant, maddening agony which they lash out with violence to try to relieve, and death is the only true escape left to them.
    • Also in Xenogears, the meat made in Soylent in Solaris is made of Wels.
      • In fact, the entire Soylent System — a mechanism used to reabsorb mankind and Wels for their raw materials — is a reference to the actual Soylent Green movie.
  • In Xenosaga, the nerve cells of Realians (who are basically "Bio-Androids" or human beings specifically made for certain tasks) are eaten as a drug.


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