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Methods of destroying immortals?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Vidar, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Vidar

    Vidar Scribe

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    I've gotten to wondering in certain myths, films and books etc immortality can be removed or destroyed...

    Other than the traditional, spell, potion, dagger and fire what other ways are there of destroying immortals?

    By this I don't mean vampires and werewolves etc but more gods of mythology...
     
    Luís Santana likes this.
  2. Astner

    Astner Guest

    Well it really depends on how you define immortality. But the idea is that you define some kind of over-death concept that the immortal is susceptible to.

    Maybe this over-death concept removes the immortal entity from the timeline altogether making it so that the entity never existed in the first place.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  3. Aosto

    Aosto Sage

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    I think that you as the author define the type of immortality. It could be that one just simply stops aging, but is still susceptible to the more violent causes of death. (decapitation, dagger to heart, blood loss) However, they would likely not be susceptible to death by disease or virus.
    As for mythical creatures. It has done and re-done that there is a certain way to kill them. Why re-invent the wheel? Then again, you are the creator. If you can make me believe that you can kill a vampire by tickling it behind the ear, then go for it.

    As for God's. That has always been a tough one to tackle. My take has always been this. God's are reliant on man. Neither exists without a need from each. God's can simply stop existing if man stops believing in them. If the God of fire once monopolized fire and brought it to man. Then one day man created fire on their own. They would no longer have a need for that God. The God would simply stop existing.
    It's just one take. I'm sure others have an opinion as well.
     
  4. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    Since this thread discusses Immortality and Supernatural elements, I have moved it from the Research Forum to World Building.

    In my opinion, how to destroy Immortals would depend completely on how your Fantasy universe and your Magic system works. Also, how do you define death? What does death mean in your worlds??

    Like Aosto says, Immortality can simply mean that you stop aging (yet you remain vulnerable to other causes of death) or it can be way more complicated than that... In my Fantasy worlds, it works like this:

    My Mages are above all laws of nature and even of reality- They don't age, and also they don't care if their bodies are destroyed because they do not really need to have bodies... They can be invulnerable and invisible ghosts whenever that they want, so this means that they are Immortal by many standards.

    Even then, they are vulnerable to their own Magical weapons because these weapons annihilate anything and everything including the souls of their victims, leaving nothing behind. In a certain way, everything is reduced to nothingness beyond reality itself and that is the only concept of death that they know =)

    Soul-killing magical weapons are a good way to deal with Immortal creatures.
     
  5. The Nasuverse story Notes has a "conceptual weapon" called Black Barrel. It's a gun that works by actually introducing the concept of mortality into immortal beings. Apparently it also does damage in direct proportion to how powerful the target it.

    Another approach might be time manipulation shenanigans, for example permanently freezing the immortal in time. Also I think there is supposed to be a theoretical way to send someone back in time in a way that results in them never arriving at their destination, which would essentially erase them from history.

    I personally dislike this approach, because I don't think having a parasitic dependancy on humans is very godlike. I think gods should be able to exist just fine without humans and, in fact, just make new ones if required. Gods should be powerful and immortal because they are gods, not because they run on faith batteries.
     
  6. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I've seen it used to good effect, though it was chiefly humorous in nature. Terry Pratchett's book Small Gods (I think?) dealt with that very issue, with gods losing or gaining power based on how many believers they each had.
     
  7. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

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    I agree gods should be able to survive without belief, but the idea that they get more powerful with it also intrigues me.
     
  8. Myshkin

    Myshkin Closed Account

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    If a godlike being was going to go walking around on the mortal plain one mythos you could use is that the body they inhabit while in a mortal realm can be destroyed though their essence is eternal. Then it's just a matter of how long it might take them to return or coalesce. If you use that mythos then whole stories dependent on weird virgin births and the like make more sense. Gods might need special circumstances to come back, strange sacrifices or the alignment of planets. For a god time would be meaningless, so if their mortal form is destroyed they might wander again in some outer realm or limbo before returning. Depending of the method of their destruction perhaps it is possible to banish them completely. In essence a god could be destroyed but not actually killed.
     
  9. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    Beheading, falling in love, being touched by another immortal, being stripped from immortality by the one who granted it, suicide. It all depends on the kind of immortal you are talking about.

    Talking about gods and stuff, I personally think gods are better being immortal by ALL standards, they cannot be killed in any way, however they could be disabled, for example: removing the god's heart and sealing it away would render the god powerless until it get's back it's heart (which cannot be destroyed)
     
  10. Vale

    Vale Scribe

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    Well, if the character is truly immortal perhaps an inescapable trap? That way any 'reincarnation' power the immortal may have wouldn't be of any use either.
     
  11. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    I've actually found the same thing as you, how to be original when killing an immortal and it is tricky.
    I trapped one of my immortals in a tomb for eternity. Immortals can't die and they heal quickly, but maybe not peieces. So chop of a head or something.
    But you don't always have to kill them. In my first book my MC found a way to steal immortality from a God, so he was just human. Loses all his power and making him a mortal is a kind of destorying. They don't always have to die, and can become useful characters.
     
  12. Zander

    Zander Dreamer

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    If your god/immortal has a strictly physical form (and cannot reincarnate) you could simply find a way of attacking the element of that form that makes it more than the usual biological form. If its it's in the blood, drain the blood to make it dormant. If its in the heart, remove it. If its in every DNA, burn or nuke it or whatever works. Or a combination. Immobilise it with bloodloss then burn it on a pyre. It might be super difficult, and there may be no permanent fix, but at least you could have some added verisimilitude with a more scientific basis. That said, some of the best fun with immortals never involves much explaination.
     
  13. Lucipher

    Lucipher Acolyte

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    Everything's been mostly said, but you could use the giant monster (typhon) concept, that has power the gods do not.
     
  14. Chime85

    Chime85 Sage

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    Trying to kill immortals is a bit of a futile task. Once tried, no point in another go, it's like saying red is blue. Never going to happen.

    How about instead, tricking them to some kind of trap? (I'm thinking something similar to han solo's fate, being frozen in carbonite.) Destroying does not always mean to kill, there are manh methods you can try out. Negating majic, trapping them (like poor solo), reasoning with them or sending them away someplace.
     
  15. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Maybe only immortals can kill other immortals.
     
  16. battlestar

    battlestar Dreamer

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    If an immortal does not also own an indestructible body:
    1. You could chop him up and have him rest eternally in pieces.
    2. Modify his body in other ways such as fusing him with an animal, into to inanimate object or material.

    If the body does not have healing powers:
    1. You could destroy a part of his body and leave him in eternal suffering. For example, destroy his hypothalamus and he'll have amnesia, or take out his lungs to make him choke for eternity.
    2. Swap his organs, or other modifications.
    3. Eternal illness.

    If the body is indestructible:
    1. Destroy his mind, drive him into madness. Examples include, natural aging of mind, torture, take over control of his body so his mind becomes entrapped within his own body, drive him to emotional anguish by harming things he cares about, trapped in the future, have him taste his own flesh to drive him into auto-cannibalism, etc..

    Both the body and the mind are indestructible:
    1. Someone with same powers could engage him in eternal combat, essentially nullifying both of their involvement with the rest of the world.
    2. Trap them within an illusion, or dream.
    3. Trap their physical being within a giant labyrinth.

    Some would consider these bad resources, but ideas are ideas as long as you know how to use them (and perhaps add a twist):
    Who Wants to Live Forever? - Television Tropes & Idioms
    Category:Execution methods - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  17. I always really liked Terry Pratchett's Small Gods idea. Perhaps the immortals could have a source for their immortality that can be cut off. The mythological substance ambrosia could apparently make someone a god if it was eaten; what if a god had to keep eating it to remain immortal? That's an idea for a hero's quest; to find and restore the source of the gods' power.
     
  18. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Weeee are the princes of the universe ;) Cut the head off like Duncan McLeod did... XD
     
  19. Creed

    Creed Sage

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    In the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin a god is a supreme being, who could crush the mortal realm in an instant. They were the first beings- and there are only free of them. But they had children called godlings, also extremely powerful. In her books, if a God or a godling has a child with a mortal, the child is known as a demon. The blood of a demon can cause the death of a God, or at least of a godling because I'm just starting book three, The Kingdom Of Gods.
    In the Elder Scrolls (some of the best games ever, like Skyrim) the gods (Aedra) were the only beings that really existed, and some of them were convinced to mutilate their flesh and wound themselves. In doing so they created Mundus, the mortal plane. The other beings became the Daedra, like Boethiah the daedric prince of plots and betrayal, or Azura of the dawn and dusk, or (my favourite) Sheogorath the daedric price of Madness. The gods didn't die, but they were weakened.
     
  20. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

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    I'll admit, this way my first thought.

    THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!
     
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