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You're playing a video game, and you get to the epic battle where it's your team against the enemy team that has ten times as many members as yours. But you have a secret attack in store for them: one that engulfs everything on the field in flames For Massive Damage. Your team is victorious! Hold on... everything? If it was that far-ranging, then why are your team members standing unhurt with only the scars they gained from enemies, and the grass with every blade untouched?

Just call it immunity against friends' attacks. Perhaps The Power of Friendship becomes a tangible force in combat that can be used as a shield against friendly firepower, accidental clicks on them instead of the opponents, and toxic, wind-spreading spells cast a foot away from them. A shield so flexible that it can also protect any surroundings and landscape formations from harm. This makes it easy to focus on the enemies alone, as you know that you can pull out bombs, poison, Dangerous Forbidden Techniques, the like against them; so long as the Evil Minions don't touch you, your friends will be perfectly fine.

This is largely an Acceptable Break From Reality because it'd be cumbersome to hold off your team's strongest attacks for fear of blowing one of your members up. It could also be considered as keeping you in-character; the person you're playing as wouldn't shoot their squadmates, so giving the player that ability would be a matter of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Still, it can get ridiculous at times, as some of the examples below testify; this is especially true if you are allowed to kill civilians or other friendly targets, and only your squadmates are immune to your idiocy.

Many players of multiplayer shooters also have friendly fire turned off in a desperate measure to prevent griefers from team-killing, which of course results in unthinking, indiscriminate spamming of machinegun fire and high explosives into mixed groups.

Less common in Real Time Strategy than in other genres where armies are less disposable.

Prevents Friend or Foe becoming an issue. Subtrope of Damage Discrimination.

See also Invulnerable Civilians. Not to be confused with Insult Friendly Fire.

Examples of Friendly Fireproof include:


Action Game

  • Cannon Fodder hand waved this in the instruction manual by saying your little cartoon men fired “smart bullets,” though you could still inadvertently kill everyone with a misplaced grenade or rocket.
  • In Bloodline Champions, you are incapable of harming your team. Throw those axes, boomerangs, fireballs, bullets, arrows and all sorts of magical attacks without fear. This is quite an advantage since you can have ranged attacks hit enemies through your large-sized but durable tank bloodlines while they absorb the enemies' attacks.
  • The Dynasty Warriors series (and spinoffs) not only have the general meaning of this in spades (you can swing your weapon around freely in a pitched melee and still only hit enemy soldiers, leaving your friendly Red Shirts unscathed), it also applies a particularly literal version: Using a Fire Attack to set an area ablaze will generally only harm enemies. So if you just set a base on fire, it'll burn your enemies to a crisp, while you can freely fight amongst the flames without even SWEATING. Of course, it also works the other way around if the AI decides to set something on fire. Interestingly, with fire being so partisan, the only kind of flames that'll indiscriminately hurt BOTH sides are ACCIDENTAL fires... so really, the best way to avoid getting burned is to set the place on fire before anyone ELSE can.

Beat'Em Up

  • Averted in Battletoads. As if the game wasn't hard enough with just one player, in co-operative play it's almost impossible to avoid hurting and inadvertedly killing your partner, making the game practically unplayable in co-op (and very literally Unwinnable near the end too due to a glitch).
    • Level 2 (in which the 'toads rappel down a cliff) is particularly unreasonable. A normal attack has melee range, but if a player hits the same attack button when there is an enemy on the other side of the screen, they'll turn into a wrecking ball and swing to the other side of the screen. This wrecking ball will kill your ally in one hit. Did I mention that when you hit the attack button, the game counts your ally as an enemy when deciding what to do? Oh, and if one of the 'toads runs out of lives, it's game over. For both players.

Fighting Game

  • Averted in Magical Battle Arena. Thankfully in some cases, since this meant that there's a chance that your enemies might accidentally blow their companions up trying to get at you, but be very wary if someone like say... Lina or Nanoha is your ally. If you hear the Dragon Slave chant or the words "Zenryoku Zenkai", that should be your signal to fly far away from their target.
  • In Super Smash Brothers, you won't harm your partner if you hit him during team battles. You can turn this option off, though.
    • Friendly Fire is almost always on in competitive play to prevent horribly abusive strategies (especially involving firing projectiles through your partner)
    • The blog for Brawl discussed strategies that can be used if friendly fire is on, such as having a team-mate throw projectiles into Mr. Game & Watch's bucket.
      • An alternate use for this is Ness and Lucas' PSI Magnet, which is the only way to heal with items turned off. Turn Friendly Fire on and have a character with energy attacks shoot them when Magnet is up.
    • One fun thing to do is set up three computers vs you and turn on Friendly Fire. Most of the time, all you have to do is stay out of range and watch as Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Gundam Extreme Vs game averts this. You can't directly target your partner, but friendly attacks still cause harm. This can be a problem if, for example, your AI partner decides to nuke the enemy with whom you are currently exchanging melee blows.

First-Person Shooter

  • In Borderlands, you are incapable of harming your allies. Hell, one character even has an ability to heal their allies when they hit them. You are not immune to your own explosives, though.
  • In the Jedi Knight games, friendly NPCs are immune to most of your Force powers (but not your saber or guns.)
  • Many online FPS games, such as Counter-Strike and the Battlefield series, have a server-controlled friendly fire switch: if the admin turns it on, better be careful not to get in the line of fire of your partners, or you'll get smoked.
    • And it's usually “on” in games such as Day Of Defeat: Source.
  • Team Fortress 2 has no friendly fire, because the game designers said in an update note that “the game breaks fundamentally with it turned on.” One main reason for this is the fact that the only way to root out Spies that may be disguised as teammates is to shoot every ally you find and see if they die. And, let's face it, everyone would HATE the Soldiers and Pyros on their team.
    • Some mods enable it. And yes, Spies become absurd and friendly fire casualties tend to exceed the number of enemies killed. “With friends like these…”
      • Team Fortress 2 has the same friendly-fire switch as Counter-Strike does, it's just disabled by default. If it is enabled, the following weapons still don't work against allies: Direct Hit (other than the small splash radius), the Flamethrower, the Backburner, the Flare Gun, The Huntsman, and Jarate. Additionally, backstabs do normal knife damage against allies.
    • However, players can hurt themselves. It's what allows players to Rocket Jump. If the projectile/explosion/bullet belongs to you, you take damage from it, though it may be reduced (rockets, stickies), full (sentry guns), or even increased (Detonator).
      • With the weapons in the Engineer update, the Engineer can control his sentry and fire rockets with secondary fire… this allows the engineer to rocket jump and access places that only Demomen and Soldiers could rocket/sticky jump to.
    • There are even a couple weapons that can hit allies, but have completely different effects: the Crusader's Crossbow acts a normal weapon or Healing Shiv depending on the target, while the Jarate, Mad Milk, and Airblast extinguished allied characters on fire.
  • As does Medal of Honor: Airborne, which is a good thing since your Allied allies have a seemingly suicidal tendency to run right in front of your gun while you're blasting at the enemy.
    • The older MOH games mostly play this trope straight.
  • Averted in Call of Duty and America's Army, where the game hates you if you plink any friendly (on purpose, as a few strays are acceptable in CoD). CoD ends your "life", while AA sends your character to Fort Leavenworth.
    • Call of Duty World at War plays the trope straight (at least in single player). Especially bad when you can shoot napalm straight through your squad to hit the enemies on the other side...
  • Averted in the original Half Life, where shooting some of the friendly characters would cause a Nonstandard Game Over. Also, firing at a security guard would cause him to shoot at (and damage) Gordon, provided he did not die. The second installment changed this by making Gordon automatically lower his weapon when aiming at friendlies. You could still fire at them (as in the page image), but the bullets would inexplicably not harm them.
  • Left 4 Dead averts this. There is no option of turning friendly fire off, and it's easy to shoot teammate because you jumped after some infected suddenly appear.
    • The amount of damage you do to your teammates is determined by the difficulty level. On easy, you're immune to damage, but the game still keeps track of friendly fire. On expert, a single shotgun or hunting rifle shot is an instant incapacitation.
    • There's a term scraping which is the careful removal of Common Infected swarming a Survivor (say, after a Boomer hit) while not hurting him or her in the process. Snipers and Assault Rifles are good for scraping. Shotguns, not so much.
    • Special Infected are also not immune to friendly fire damage from their own zombie friends. Hilarity Ensues when a Tank smashes a Hunter that pounced a survivor, killing the Hunter while freeing the survivor.
  • Inverted in Soldier of Fortune II, where the allies in Colombia are immune to enemy bullets, but yours can kill them, and if you kill one, it's Game Over.
    • Further inverted in that if you start screwing around they're cheerfully kill you as a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • Used in the Killzone 3 mulitplayers. This comes especially handy with explosives, and is the reason why some players strap proximity mines onto allies, usually without their consent.
  • Averted in a chillingly realistic fashion in Halo: CE, where a squad of highly aggressive Marines will hunt you down and terminate you with extreme prejudice if you should happen to accidentally discharge a fully loaded firearm in Captain Keyes' face. Twice.
    • This is highly averted in most of the Halo series (annoyingly enough). This made certain gametypes hard to play or make it nigh impossible to complete a match, since most Halo games (Number 3 and Reach) had the boot-button which most players used whenever it appeared. This makes alot of lengthy gametypes a pain, and a game of Video Game Caring Potential, which is diffecult with imcompetent teammates.
      • Friendly fire and the boot-button can be a kick to the nads, at times. Especially during Invasion, or a gametype where you're kikcing ass.
    • This is why most Halo-gamers play with their friends so it fills up a whole team for certain gametypes. Mostly Team Slayer, where the friendly casulties are highest, and teammates are usualy 4-5 players. (Which can screw you over if just one team-mate quits/gets booted.)
  • Averted in Tron 2.0. Though, if you screw-up and de-rez a non-hostile character, the game immediately protests "Illegal Program Termination" and gives you a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • Averted in No One Lives Forever, to the point where shooting a monkey will result in a Nonstandard Game Over with an "unacceptable simian casualties" message. The civilians will also cower if you approach them with a drawn weapon.
  • Averted in Marathon and its sequels. If you kill too many of your allies, they will no longer be allies.

Light Gun Game

  • The House of the Dead III has occasional "rescue your partner from zombies" scenarios. Shooting your partner has no effect, so feel free to open fire on or extremely close to them if it'll save them[1] from a zombie within critical proximity.
  • Area51 has your members jumping into your fire, and if you accidently shoot them, your health goes down. However, if you do this at the begining, you unlock a differnt mode, where you have to stop the mutant aliens, human or not.

MMORPGs

  • City of Heroes labels other people on the field as either friendly, hostile, or null: only friendlies can be hit with healing and Status Buffs, only hostiles can be hit with damage and debuffs, and nulls (some hostages, all civilians on the street) can't be helped or harmed at all by anyone. This allows you to unload indiscriminate explosions (or, for that matter, blanket healing) in a tight battle without fear of hitting the wrong person, hostages included.
    • However, a Confuse effect will randomly scramble your friendly and hostile markers. Not only does this make it briefly impossible to damage some of your opponents, but any attempts to Nuke'Em will likely hit at least one suddenly-"hostile" person you didn't want to hurt. Recently (05/08) patched to make you only able to target people in your current group, along with being unable to target the enemy that placed the effect on you.
  • Heavily featured in World of Warcraft, where swinging blades, fire and ice and arrows and holy wrath coming down from the heavens all ignore each other and allies. Even buffs with two-edged effects can be removed in case they would be a disadvantage in that situation. In spite of this, it is remarkably easy to get everyone killed.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, there are many massive techniques that can engulf the room with fire, lightning, or massively damage one target. Though multiplayer cohorts are totally unaffected. However, the player automatically aims at the closest available target and may cast techniques on item-boxes of not positioned properly.
  • Averted in World of Tanks. Your own shells will quite happily damage or destroy your teammates and poorly aimed or timed friendly artillery fire is also a danger. The occasional mishap is considered part of the game, but deliberate Team Killers are quickly flagged by the automatic system and it's open season on them from then on.

Platform Game

  • Completely absent from Shadow the Hedgehog, in which your allies' attacks will not only damage you, but so will merely bumping into them.
  • Both averted and inverted in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. When Farah is with you, she supports you by firing a bow and arrow, and will occasionally hit you and do damage. The Prince is appropriately annoyed when this happens, and Farah offers a quick, "Oops, sorry."
  • Iji. Tasen-dispensed munitions harm Iji and Komato, Komato-dispensed munitions harm Iji and Tasen, and player-dispensed munitions harm Tasen and Komato. Splash Damage ignores all of this regardless of who pulled the trigger. In stages where both races are available, they will tend to take priority on killing each other over the Anomaly. This is useful if you need to get the hell clear of an Annihilator; let your Tasen friends draw its attention away from you.

Puzzle Game

  • In Angry Birds, the birds can't hurt each other, either through impacts or special attacks. This can really screw up a shot if you land a fresh bird or the white bird's egg on a stunned bird, so waiting until the bird(s) poof out from where you want to shoot is generally a good idea.

Racing Game

  • Most versions of Mario Kart make drivers immune to attacks from fellow team members in team races and team battles.

Real Time Strategy

  • In Age of Empires, 'siege weapons' that hit stuff in an area can damage your units, but they are otherwise immune to their own forces.
    • Particularly frustrating in the second game, where they suffered from a severe case of Artificial Stupidity and would auto-fire on enemies even if allies were in the way. (And they'd often end up killing more allies than enemies like this) One of the advertised changes in the expansion pack was "Siege weapons don't auto-fire if it would harm allied units." And There Was Much Rejoicing.
  • Averted in Starcraft; if a nuclear strike is launched, the explosion heavily damages everything in range, friendly or not. Siege tanks in siege mode also hit allies caught in close combat with their targets. Strangely, Reaver scarabs do not, despite the guide saying that they do. This is usually used as a balancing agent, as skilled play can cause Siege Tanks to kill each other. This involves rushing them with melee units; shots meant for the melee attackers have unpleasant consequences for the nearby Tank. And blind use of Psi Storm can have equally unpleasant consequences. Because the AI on Reaver scarabs is perhaps the dumbest AI ever put into a game, they decided to go easy on you and keep it from killing your units.
    • Friendly Fire is almost a racial trait in SC. The Terrans, a more rugged, down-to-earth species with barely functional equipment, can't really make explosions that discriminate. The Protoss, a more enlightened, evolved race, can and does.
    • However, all friendly fireproof splash damage attacks will damage units owned by allied players.
    • The sequel has an upgrade for tanks which reduces friendly splash damage by 75%
  • Absent from the grand strategy game Hearts of Iron - in naval engagements, at least. There's a small chance that one of your ships will fire on a friendly vessel, which actually did happen a couple times in WWII.
    • Since most combat other than sea battles takes place on the scale of infantry divisions, with the minimum "tick" of time being an hour, this is probably justified. There were lots of times in air-to-air or land combat where two units on the same side attacked each other. But it's hard to imagine two entire infantry divisions of several thousand men, with tanks and artillery, getting into a firefight with each other for an entire hour without anyone realizing that they were both on the same side.
  • Averted in Total Annihilation and its 3D spin-off Spring: explosions will damage everything. However, friendly fire will actually go straight through friendly units (though this is mod-dependent in Spring), which means that technically you can fire at a friendly unit all you like and it will go unharmed so long as the missiles / lasers / whatevers don't explode on the ground next to them.
  • Averted in Total War: Archers firing on units in combat will not only kill those on their own side, but also hurt their morale.
    • Ditto for artillery, which is why putting cannons behind your infantry in Empire and Napoleon is not the best idea. Unfortunately, the AI will occasionally fire cannons at targets, even if there are friendlies in the line of fire. This may be actually used against the enemy.
  • Inverted in the Warhammer 40000 RTS Dawn of War: Imperial Guard Commissars can raise the morale of all nearby friendly units by executing one of their own men during battle. In addition, certain artillery units also do damage to nearby friendly units.
    • Used...randomly in Dawn of War 2. Frag grenades harm friendly squads but the grenadier's squad is impervious. Stun grenades do not affect allies at all. Explosives and artillery harm everyone, but rocket launchers are safe, as well as plasma guns and flamers. All bolter weapons are safe. Area-effect concussion attacks, like a squad of Assault Marines plummeting from the sky, or a slam on the ground by a huge Dreadnought (that levels buildings) are also inexplicably selective.
  • Averted in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, in which the easiest way to lose mounted troopers is to put them in the same group as an Assault Mech (which does vast amounts of splash damage), and then order the group to attack a specific target. (Fortresses seem to be large enough that Pummels can rip them apart without being hurt by Assault Mechs that are also firing on the fortress, though)
  • Ground Control had this on lower difficulty settings.
    • When averted, careful unit placement is important, as they fire at the enemy even if there are friendlies in front of them. Since rear armor is much weaker than frontal armor, this can lead to problems.
  • Populous the Beginning: used and averted this, the shaman is immune to her own spell damage (except swamps) but her followers all take full damage.
  • Severely averted in Bungie's Myth games, as over-eager ranged units tend to lob attacks right into melee battles, wounding friend and foe alike. But at least they apologize.
    • Magic users are generally immune to their own explosive attacks, but not teammates'.
  • Friendly units in Brutal Legend are immune to any friendly attack, including fire, axe attacks, being run over by an armor-plated hot rod, and flaming zepplin explosions.
  • It is 100% impossible to hurt your own units with anything in Star Wars: Empire at War and its Expansion. Which is a good thing, considering how often units are packed right up against each other. Especially in Space combat, where fighters often fly around capital ships during battle, as said capital ships attempt (and fail) to shoot down the fighters with their turbolasers. It would be quite annoying if these turbolaser shots then damaged your own capital ships.
    • YMMV. One of the most famous in-universe tactics in Star Wars is the Ackbar slash, which is pretty much what was described. To some players being able to use tactics like that (and other similar tactics) would make up for the annoyance of friendly fire.
  • Archers in King Arthur the Role Playing Wargame technically fire in an area rather then specific targets. Thus, firing at an enemy unit that is very close to your own may harm your own. Some magic spells also do damage in an area to all in that area, while others may avoid this. However, your cavalry and knights can be at Foe-Tossing Charge speed, but won't hurt your own units if they get in the way (Especially Acceptable Break From Reality since getting to high speeds can be tough, so tying up enemy units in melee with your own is a particularly sure way to get it to happen. Otherwise, you'd probably need magic.).
  • In Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Spies and Sudden Transports (units that can disguise themselves as enemy infantrymen or vehicles, respectively) will never be accidentally targeted by friendly forces, even when their disguises are active. The game itself, however, has a force-attack option, which allows the payer to order their units to attack friendly units and structures.
  • Command and Conquer, at least the first one, does a terrible (to the player) work at averting this trope. With several units that deal splash damage, you may try a mass attack, but a mass attack of grenadiers or flamethrowers is going to hurt you more than the enemy.
  • Frustratingly sporadic in the current version of Bowmaster: Winter Storm; arrows that deal damage directly instead of having some special area effect will go right through friendly deployed units... Except when they don't. The arrow that can go right through targets will only avoid going through your guard most of the time, while the arrows that heal their targets can heal enemy units if fired into close combat.

Roguelike

  • In Angband, you aren't affected by your own area-of-effect spells. As a result, a standard way for mages without the "see invisible" ability to deal with invisible monsters is to repeatedly cast area-of-effect spells centered on yourself.

Role Playing Game

  • In Final Fantasy VII, you can call down a gigantic explosion on the entire battlefield without even singeing your allies' hair.
    • The all-time king of the ridiculous, from the same game, is Sefer Sephiroth's Super Nova attack, which destroys three planets just getting to Earth, then blows up the sun, taking out Mercury and Venus in the process. And he can do it multiple times in one battle.
    • Squaresoft/Square Enix likes this one. In Xenogears, Fei's ultimate Ether - Big Bang - simply sends a gigantic blast through the Earth, cutting a hole through the core and causing it to explode. Cut back to the battlefield and everyone's perfectly fine.
  • Generally averted in Final Fantasy VIII as summons and most of the bigger spells cause your party to teleport out before the effect occurs.
    • And then you have Blasting Zone...
    • Final Fantasy VII also uses the teleportation effect. In fact, it's standard for summons in the whole Final Fantasy series.
  • Averted in Final Fantasy VI, as the spells Quake, Tornado, Meltdown (or Merton), and the Esper Crusader will harm your own party in addition to the enemies on screen. However, this seems a bit silly at times when similar massively-damaging spells such as Meteor (bombards the area with meteors) and Ultima (concentrated nuclear blast) leave your party members alone, leaving the others Awesome but Impractical.
    • Also done in Final Fantasy IX with the Dark based Doomsday spell.
    • Unless you equip your party with the proper element absorbing items, in which case they're just awesome. Ultima doesn't heal your party every time you cast it. Meltdown, Tornado, and Quake can.
    • Justified in the case of most Espers, whose summoning sequences cause the party to vanish first.
  • Turning Friendly Fire off in Dragon Age utterly breaks the game. The secondary knockdown/flash-freeze effects of spells like Fireball and Cone of Cold still apply, but they deal no damage to your allies or your person, making mages unbeatable.
  • Final Fantasy IX continues with the tradition of making your party members vanish before the summon attack begins. It also has a subversion in Quina's Night spell. Night hits your party members along with the monsters, but you can make yourself immune by equipping the Insomniac ability.
  • Skies of Arcadia's Combined Energy Attack, Prophecy, crashes a moon into the planet. This doesn't even change the characters' formation, much less knock the planet out of its orbit and cause mass extinctions.
    • Not to mention how often often you fight on airships... yet the moon can crash through them and half-burrow itself into the planet.
  • The flashier Summons in the Golden Sun series call down friggin' gods, who wreak havoc with the surrounding landscape...until their animation is over, at which point everything goes back to normal. Particularly ridiculous with Judgment, who fires an energy blast which is seen scouring most of the planet into nothingness; Catastrophe, who wreathes the world in demonic flame, and Iris, who causes the sun to go nova. Can you spell "overkill"?
    • Then there's the more advanced weapons, which will occasionally "unleash" a more powerful attack with its own cutscene. In The Lost Age, a properly equipped character with the Sol Blade can drop a meteorite every turn with no apparent environmental consequences.
  • Most games in the Tales series. As the games in the series are action-RPGs and the antagonists frequently draw from the same pool of spells as the protagonists, this can make dodging a chore if you're not paying attention, since Abyssion's Meteor Storm looks exactly the same as Genis's Meteor Storm.
    • Hand waved in Tales of the Abyss - Fonists (read: "mages") can mark their allies with invisible friend-or-foe markings to prevent friendly fire damage. Mentioned in one cutscene in which Jade says he can't use his magic to defend himself because there are too many civilians around who don't have friend-or-foe markings.
    • To say nothing of Hi-Ougi. You can become a whirling torrent of massive energy blades, fire a gigantic laser across the battlefield, call down comets from space, call out an elemental, and all sorts of other very impressive flashy things. But, like Final Fantasy, your allies disappear beforehand so it's okay! Then again, normal weapon attacks and spells treat allies like they just don't exist.
  • Averted in Suikoden III - area effect spells hit in the area of effect, and if your friends happen to be standing right next to your target , then that's just too damn bad for them. Spells that are 'Hit All', however, will still only target foes...
  • Demons Souls: Friendly NPCs can be hit with any of your weapons. Fortunately (and/or gamebreakingly), most of them will hold off retaliating before you deal significant damage to them. On the other hand, you can't hurt Blue Phantoms, so Friendly PC Fire is off.
  • In Pokémon double battles (ones in which each trainer uses two Pokemon at once) some attacks hit only one opponent, some hit both opponents but with the power divided amongst each other, and some hit both opponents and the other Pokemon on the same side for full power (and you can tell this by which ones are glowing when you pick the attack).
    • Some players can use this to their advantage, if one of their Pokemon has an ability that would make it benefit from or immune to its ally's attack. If you can hit your enemies at the same time, well...
      • There are some ways to actually benefit from this. Pairing a Flying-type with a Pokemon that knows Earthquake allows to you damage both opponents, but Flying-type Pokemon are immune to Ground-type attacks. In a similar vein, Flying-types can use Fly to avoid attacks like Surf, which damages everyone but the user.
      • In another similar vein, Pokemon with the ability Levitate are immune to ground attacks,also allowing the pairing with an Earthquake user to work. Probably the best known example of this is Bronzong.
      • Abilities that absorb a certain element of attack, such as Flash Fire or Water Absorb take it one step farther, where instead of just missing your teammate your attack with buff them up instead of doing damage. Two Fire types with both possessing Flash Fire and Lava Plume is a very scary thing.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has some attacks, like Earthquake, that hit everyone in the same room.
      • Of course, there are IQ powers that make it so you cannot hurt allies unless confused.
  • Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 allow you to choose whether you can damage your friends by changing the PvP settings. You can opt to not be able to hurt any friendlies, not to hurt your own party members, or just to damage anyone who gets hit.
    • The chief problem with leaving it on "hurts friendlies" is that if you have a melee-based henchman, they will run into the area of your fireball (or other favoured "kill lots of things" spell), receive a mild injury, and come running back over to beat you up with their weapon.
  • Averted in Wizardry, where the effects of spells are described in the manual rather than shown due to the primitive graphics of the time. In the description for the most powerful spell, Tiltowait, the manual specifically mentions that the spell also creates a force field to protect the party from the tremendous explosion created.
  • Rogue Galaxy gives a send-up to Final Fantasy VII with the 'Supernova' attack - a Combined Energy Attack special-move initiated by the hero, which creates a huge beam of energy that literally blows the planet you're standing on to smithereens, and scatter the lifeless rocks that result to the eight corners of the universe. And yet, somehow, the planet is still there for you to stand on when the move is over...
  • Averted in Fable, where friendly/neutral NPCs are immune to your melee attacks (unless you're locked on to them), but not to your arrows/magic. This can be frustrating when NPCs get between you and your target, and they will.
  • Stop shooting me in the back, Ian!
    • The sequel has many NPCs capable of using automatic weapons, from SMGs to automatic shotguns to miniguns. Every last one of them will fire unhesitatingly into the little cluster of Power Fist -wielding maniacs surrounding you.
      • Note that unlike the original, Fallout 2 allows you to talk to you allies and tell them when burst fire is acceptable. Options range from "don't use burst fire if I'm in the way" to "Use burst fire even if I'm in the way", and everything in between (that option being "only use burst fire if you're sure you won't hit me"). This does absolutely nothing to prolong your life.
      • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas both have friendly fire turned on, the later has a feat that makes you less likely to hit your allies.
  • Mass Effect abused this trope quite thoroughly. Apparently, your guns, biotics, tech mines, et cetera, could distinguish between friend and foe. Strangely for a game that usually explains everything, this wasn't even handwaved If you shot something that exploded, however, you could hurt yourself and your allies.
    • It was sort of handwaved - your shots would bounce off your allies' shields, although this wouldn't have any actual effect on said shields.
      • Fortunately, it works both ways. THEIR shots bounce off YOUR shields as well without doing any damage. As you're the perpetual pointman unless you specifically order them ahead, and they will in fact try to shoot an enemy behind you, this is a good thing. Except, of course, that the shield impacts DO bounce your aim around, making sniping basically impossible while your allies are shooting you.
    • For the PC version, you can turn off friendly fire protection in the configuration file. Whether this makes combat more realistic is up to taste: it's certainly realistic that your teammates' weapons now damage you, but it's not so realistic that your teammates are too stupid to step to the side when you are in their line of fire. Carefully ordering them to positions becomes mandatory.
    • In Mass Effect 2, your squadmates will yell at you if you shoot them. But you still won't do any damage.

  Kasumi: What am I, invisible or something?

  • Annoyingly absent in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion where three accidental hits will turn allies into enemies, usually because they keep getting in the way.
    • However, you can "yield" to them and if their disposition to you is high enough they will back off.
      • However, AI characters cannot yield to each other, and even A Is in the same faction will fight each other to the death if they hit each other 3 times. Some players take advantage of this by crafting a spell or bow of Command Humanoid up to Level 25, to make the enemies take each other out while you laugh and point from the shadows.
  • Somewhat unusually for the series, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings has this. No Revive Kills Zombie for you!
  • In the Slayers video game (one of them) ALL spells can hurt your own party members, so be very careful. Also, big fireball spells or destructive ones will scorch the ground!
  • Slightly averted in Phantasy Star II, where the best offensive technique in the game hurts your friends too. A lot.
  • Dragon Age does the hell out of this. Say you have a ton of darkspawn coming at you and are on such a difficulty level that friendly fire is turned off. You can nuke said darkspawn with...oh, lets go with Inferno...WHILE STANDING IN THE GIANT PILLAR OF FLAME WITHOUT FLINCHING! In addition, you can even have conversations with party members and NPCs while ON FIRE. And this is without any snarky commentary or anything.
    • Averted though, when you do have the friend;y fire on (every setting but Easy), you need to be careful with the Mages. Doesn't help when you cast a giant fireball at an enemy that is running at your party. Sure he's knocked down and set on fire, but so is everybody else in range. Including you. Also annoying to accidentally freeze a party member. Still, it is funny to see a party member talk to you while on fire, but some moves that paralyze of freeze an opponet that talks to you when defeated won't let the convo start until it wears off.
    • Also, even on the lowest difficulty, when Friendly Fireproof is enabled, while your party members are immune your attack spells, possible ally characters (unless they have Plot Armor) are not, making large-scale magic attacks impractical for mass combat.
    • In "Dragon Age 2", friendly fire is only actived on the highest difficulty setting. Normally, having a few melee based characters ganging up on a single powerful foe and unload BFS based super-attack is a good strategy, except that now, every blade attack has a small AOE that hugely (as warriors' damage output is now very high) damage ANYONE, especially the BFS, so essentially, your melee characters are going to slaugther themselves. Ironically, mages don't suffer as much from this change, since comparatively few of their spells can do friendly damages.
  • Mount and Blade averts this for ranged weapons but plays it straight for all melee weapons. Once your army gets large enough, you WILL get shot by your own forces at least once a battle.

Shoot'Em Up

  • In Star Fox Assault, your wing men are immune to your own blasts. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem, but when they fly into your line of fire and being taking the shots meant for the enemy (and they will), chances are you'll want to hurl your controller through the screen.
    • The other games in the series, however, make it possible to hurt your wingmen (but a few supportive characters are immune) -- Peppy, in particular, would answer with an angry "Knock it off, Fox!!!". As little help as they tended to be, they still had to be alive by the end of the mission if you wanted to score a medal in Star Fox 64.

Simulation Game

  • Averted in Free Space. Aside from specific mission that have the special no-traitor flag, allied spaceships will give you a warning after a few shoots on them ("Whose side are you on, pilot ?!"). If you persist, all your allies will suddenly turn against you (and of course, your enemies will stay enemies), which kind of result in a Game Over.
    • When becoming a 'traitor' and returning back to base, you get a game-over debriefing, common to all missions ("you are hereby striped of your wings and... blah blah.")
  • Averted in space-sim Starlancer - while you'd ordinarily have to actually be trying in order to shoot down a friendly, God help you if you catch one of your buddies in the blast when killing one of the game's many, many, MANY torpedoes. Even an obviously accidental teamkill results in a nonstandard gameover complete with firing squad. Some of the more chaotic missions get really hairy because of this.
  • Averted in F/A-18 Hornet, where if you damage any friendly planes or structures, you will be court-martialed as a Nonstandard Game Over.

Survival Horror

  • Thankfully present in Resident Evil 5, where your bullets and those of your partner can't hurt each other. Its still annoying, though, that your partner will gladly stand right behind you and keep shooting you in the back to get at the enemy in front of you.
  • Completely averted in Resident Evil 4 You can kill your Escort Mission PresidentsDaughter in ONE hit by ANYTHING including one knife swipe. And even the merchant. However the ENEMY can't hurt each other AT ALL, even if the person obviously had stabbed his partner in the back. However people with dynamites can still kill the other ganados, and Jj can also shoot his own military.
  • Completely and often infuriatingly averted in Dead Rising; your attacks can and will hurt the Survivors in your group. Combine this with the game's Infamous AI and you have a recipe for disaster.
    • It get's better since certain weapons do a downwards swing that will crush a zombie skull. It get's worse when you attempt to save a survivor using that weapon. Why? Let's just say that survivor's can't take a 2x4 (or at times sledgehammers) to the face.
      • In Dead Rising 2 most attacks won't be a survivor deadly as the first one.
  • The Dead Space series uses this to great effect, although it's more noticable in Dead Space Extraction and the second game. In Extraction, you can fire bullets around your allies, but you can never pull the trigger while the crosshairs are over them. The same also applies to the scenes in Dead Space 2 when you interact directly with Ellie and still retain control over Isaac.

Third-Person Shooter

  • Freedom Fighters makes soldiers immune to their own side's bullets, but not explosives. The best way to deal with a crowded alley battle can be to whip out a machine gun and unload indiscriminately into the middle of it.
  • Gears of War also allowed you to shoot your allies without harming them. Mostly, shooting at your allies or vice versa too much might make your character or theirs to tell them to get out of the way, or something to the air of 'you're blocking my shots.' It's not very nice.
  • Averted in Oni, and enemy mooks will not shoot if there is another blocking their line of fire. However, seeking weapons are indiscriminate and it is quite easy to lead them into another mook, who will be too dumb to get out of the way. Enemies are also rather indiscriminate with the sole Splash Damage weapon (a grenade launcher) and will happily fire it into melee.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II gives you the option to turn off friendly fire. Do it, and watch as the AI units on your side suddenly become more effective.
  • Ghostbusters the Video Game plays the trope straight, hitting any of the other Ghostbusters will provoke nothing worse than a sarcastic remark. Pretty jarring when you remember how powerful the Proton Pack is. Crossing the Streams however is a bad idea, it does a large amount of damage and knocks both characters on the ground.

Turn-Based Strategy

  • Averted in the Final Fantasy Tactics series, where attacks damage anything in their range, including allied units... except for Summon Magic, where it halfway makes sense anyway due to being the efforts of two sapient beings. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, "Target All" attacks are still mostly "Target all enemies" except for the Blue Mage's Night spell, which does indeed target everyone except the caster. And the Tinkers spells randomly target either the enemy or your own team.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics a 2 has the Scholar, basically an Illusionist without Friendly Fireproof mechanics. Fortunately, the right equipment setup can negate the damage on part of your own party members or even turn it into healing.
    • In both Advance games, the basic Summon Magic doesn't discriminate. The stronger totema/scions however, do, despite their animations showing them blasting the entire battlefield.
      • With a few exceptions. One scion has a (generally) 50/50 chance of causing 999 damage to EVERYONE, making it possible to completely wipe out your team and the enemy team at the same time. Two other scions that target just one person can be chosen to hit friend or foe. Another (Ultima) nukes your enemies and fully heals your side.
      • The reason most Scions and Illusion spells don't hit your team is because teleporting the entire team away temporarily is apparently part of the spell. Much like how the characters vanish when using summons in Final Fantasy VI.
    • Tactics Ogre did something similar: area spells would usually hit anyone within range, and the enemy had the annoying habit of knowing when you were going to cast healing spells.
  • Some of the area-effect "MAP" attacks in the Super Robot Wars series will target everyone in the line of fire, friend or foe, some won't. If you're lucky, the game will have a way to let you know which one it is before you let loose with it.
  • Brigandine has this for its "geno" area-of-effect spells (Geno-Frost, Geno-Flame), and the slightly wider but slightly weaker "Holy Word". You don't have to fear harming your allies, and the enemy needs to be a bit more cautious when placing all its troops around you. However, the game also includes several area-of-effect spells that do harm your allies - and, while a few of the stronger tank-type heroes have the a-o-e spells, they're mostly found on weaker heroes who shouldn't be toe-to-toe with the enemy, making the spell's range a little less impressive.
  • Averted in most of Nippon Ichi's strategy RPGs, from La Pucelle on. All area effect spells and attacks hit EVERYTHING in their radius, including people you don't want it to. In later games, the number of friendly kills plays a role in determining which ending you get.
    • In the Disgaea series, characters are incapable of damaging themselves with their own area attacks, but anyone else is free game. However, there's an evility in 3 and 4 makes the user friendly fire proof.
  • Averted in Vandal Hearts 2: All attacks hurt anyone in range, which if you plan badly or the enemy move can make attacks not only devastating for yourself but the enemies untouched. This made some powerful spells unusable in close combat, and the enemy could also sneak into the range of your healing spells.
    • However, it's in full effect in the first game. Kind of necessary though, given there are a couple spells that hit all enemy targets within either 7 or 9 spaces of the caster.
  • Averted in Sword of the Stars. Your ships can damage each other. The Smart Nanites upgrade exists to allow you to play this straight with Nanite Missiles.

Turn Based Tactics

  • Averted in the X-COM series. Explosives can do damage to friendly units too close to the blast, as do stray rounds from standard weapons.
    • Notably, this works for the computer enemies as well. Seeing a Snakeman accidentally shoot its Cryssalid ally while trying to kill a civilian was a true Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • If one or more of your soldiers go berserk, they will start spinning and shooting, often hitting anyone near them. Since soldiers aren't usually facing one another, and side and rear armor is much weaker, those can result in one-hit kills.
  • Averted in the Worms series. Inaccuracy can and will hurt your own team. Sometimes, however, it's worth it.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • In Terraria's PVP mode, players on the same team can't hurt each other, also players who have PVP turned off can't be harmed by other players.However, this only applies to melee weapons and bullets (both physical and magical), but not to environmental damage, that will damage any players (including the one who triggered it) regardless of their status.Oh, and explosives of any kind, rolling boulders and arrow turrets are treated as environmental damage.
  • Averted in Bully. Most missions where Jimmy is working with someone else, it's imperative that they survive the whole thing, save for Halloween and rumbles. Kind of annoying when you're messing around and you kill a superfluous character because they're only slowing you down anyhow then you lose the mission.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, Aldo can't attack his Corleone brothers-in-crime, while they don't hurt him when shooting at enemies.
  • In Spore, you cannot kill or even harm any members of your own species in the Cell and Creature stages.

Non-video game examples:

Anime and Manga

  • In Fairy Tail, Guild leader Makarov has an attack called Fairy Law that only damages people whom he views as his enemies, leaving everyone and everything else unharmed.
    • Later, Jerkass Luxus tries to use this on his own teammates because he claims that their weakness is getting in his way, and therefore they are his enemies. In the end, the attack does no damage, because he doesn't actually believe this is true.
  • The Genie Hunter in Soul Eater doesn't harm Muggles, so Maka has free reign to rip Medusa's soul right out of the innocent little girl she's occupying.

Film

  • In Westworld, the guns are fitted with a module that prevents you from using them on other human beings; only the androids can be shot.

Literature

  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium, when preparing to storm an Imperial military base, the main character decides to arm his teenage companion with an "intellectual" weapon, which will not fire (or even aim) at an ally (or a child).

Machinima

  • During Church's time-travel escapades in Red vs. Blue, he attempted to prevent his death by auto-fire tank blast by tinkering with Sheila the tank's friendly fire setting. However, the friendly fire was turned on by default, which caused Church to disable it by accident. Before he could correct it, Caboose took the tank out to attack the Reds and Church's death still happened as before.

 Church: Oh no! I'm the team-killing fucktard!

Tabletop Games

  • Averted in Dungeons & Dragons, where a mage who's less-than-careful with his fireballs can quickly become the least popular member of the party. However, there are several spells which only harm characters of a certain alignment, which works out to "enemies only" or "allies only" in a Good vs. Evil game. Woe betide the evil character in a good party, though.
    • Some special abilities let you do this, regardless of alignments.
    • There are also some spells that allow you to affect any subset of the creatures (chosen by the caster) in a limited area, bringing this trope into full effect. Horrid Wilting is one example.
    • Forgotten Realms has a few spells from Myth Drannor like this. Symkalr's Friendly Fireball doesn't burn the creatures chosen at the time of casting -- e.g. elves -- and snuffs any fires it created so there's no conflagration. The reversed version, Symkalr's Unfriendly Fireball, burns only whoever it was set to burn -- e.g. only orcs (or humans). This also means the loot remains perfectly intact among the smoking ashes, of course.
  • Averted in Mutants and Masterminds for their Area powers. They can be made Selective although it is more expensive for actual attacks than for effects that do something like impose concealment. GMs are also encouraged in the manual to be stingy in allowing this modifier because it removes a good deal of the balance involved in area attacks vs. single-player attacks. Also, attacks can only be selective where the attacker is aware of the targets to be excluded. Dependent on descriptors, selective attacks may miss hidden enemies or hit hidden allies.
  • Averted in GURPS unless the attacks says otherwise. The Selective Area enhancement can make guns that seemingly bend bullets around friendly people.
  • Mostly averted in Shadowrun, where bullets and explosions kill indiscriminately, but played straight with smartguns: Not only will the gun avoid firing at friendlies when doing full-auto sweeps, it also conserves ammo by not firing at the scenery.
  • Paranoia looks like an aversion until one remembers that the other team members don't actually count as "friends".

Notes

  1. or rather, the potential life bonus and bonus room if you (and the 2nd player if any) haven't failed any rescue scenarios yet; your partner cannot take damage or die from a failed rescue
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