Agony Beam

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"It's called the Agony Matrix. Direct neuro-stimulation of pain receptors... All of them. Imagine the worst pain you have ever felt in your life times a thousand. Now imagine that pain continuing forever.
...Oh, that's right. You don't have to imagine."

There's a special place in the heart of Sci Fi and Fantasy geeks for the Agony Beam, usually because it's carved that chunk out of our collective heart and crawled into the resultant cavity. Despite being an old school staple that's used to the brink of cliche and back, it still sees widespread use and continues to serve a useful purpose: causing PG-rated pain on victims, much like an evil version of Stun Guns.

Along with its big brother the Death Ray, the Agony Beam is a staple in the armoury/spellbook of every Evil Overlord and Evil Sorcerer worth their salt. It is the Swiss Army Knife of a villain's arsenal: at low levels it enforces obedience when defiant prisoners are ordered to Kneel Before Zod, it serves as punishment for incompetent minions in place of more lethal measures, and prolonged use or higher settings work as a (bloodless) torture method, and when in excessive use or high power settings it can drive one mad or outright kill the victim. Usually it's depicted as a beam that emanates either from a gemmed ring, a staff, a ray gun, or even a miniature lightning storm. This last one works wonderfully as part of the lightshow when the villain gets Drunk on the Dark Side. When the victim is a major character, the Agony Beam is usually accompanied by Evil Gloating.

As mentioned earlier, the Agony Beam is rated PG. This is because, like the Death Ray, it's very "clean", leaves no scars, and is much less squicky than comparable torture tropes while being just as effective. Like Electric Torture, the lack of physical injury means the hero will be able to continue in the plot once it's over. That said, authors can turn it Up to Eleven and cause such unbearable levels of agony that it can break the victim's mind. All things considered, even at low settings the Agony Beam is the moral equivalent of a Dog Kicking Ray, a fact usually reinforced by the wielder getting off on using it.

When turned on a hero, they will demonstrate their mettle by not bending knee until it's at least two settings higher than necessary. Of course, at one point you can expect the villain to have their weapon turned against them (usually thanks to mirrors and/or silver trays) and do much less well.

Closely related to Electric Torture. The "Increase the intensity!" sample conversation there applies for this too. May be part of a Robotic Torture Device's arsenal. If used in a device attached to keep someone compliant, it becomes a Shock Collar. Can be a cause of I'm Having Soul Pains.

Examples of Agony Beam include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Mazinger Z and Mazinkaiser, the villainous Baron Ashura often uses this, in the form of a staff that shoots a blast of (usually) non-lethal electricity. Dr. Hell also uses an identical staff to punish Ashura when he/she/it screws up (or a device on his belt also shoots one).
  • Mildly subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion, where the 15th angel applies an Agony Beam to Asuka. It was turned Up to Eleven and broke Asuka.
  • The manga and anime Naruto brings us Tsukuyomi, a Genjutsu that is instantly cast and lets you live through 72 hours of intense mental/physical pain in a couple of seconds. Both victims in the first part of Naruto were out for a couple of weeks and needed the best medic the Narutoverse has to heal them. In the second part the Big Bad wants to use it on the world.
    • Tsukuyomi isn't automatically painful; the user can subject the victim to whatever he feels like, but torture is the typical choice. The Big Bad intends to use it for Mind Control instead, by casting it permanently on everyone.


  • In the movie adaptation of The Crow Eric defeats the Big Bad with this trope by Agony Beaming his fiancée's experience of being gang raped, beaten and dying from her injuries over 30 hours later into the Big Bad, rendering Big Bad incapacitated and vulnerable to the final death-dealing blow.
  • Emperor Ming in the 1980s Flash Gordon movie used this on Flash several times. Ming had a much less impressive looking version back in the 1940 serial.
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians gives us the Tickle Ray. If the Agony Beam is PG torture, the Tickle Ray is G torture.
  • In Spaceballs, Dark Helmet punishes an insubordinate mook by using his Schwarz ring to produce an agony beam that is directed at a particularly sensitive part of the mook's body. The anticipation of him doing this again becomes a Running Gag among the other Spaceballs.
  • Sith in Star Wars use Force Lightning both as an all purpose offensive weapon and as a means of torture. The Expanded Universe has a rather nasty example: Chiss weapon, the Charric; it has 3 settings: Kill, Burn and PAIN! Guess which one doubles as stun.
  • Ghostbusters: "Are you a god?" "" "THEN DIIIEEE!" :zaaaaaaaaaaap: Clearly Gozer was pulling her punches here; since it mostly just knocked them down, almost blowing them off the roof of the apartment complex. According to the Novelization, the proton packs absorbed most of the energy and nearly overloaded as a result.
  • Hellbound Hellraiser II's Leviathan likes to shoot people with an agony beam.
  • Inverted in Barbarella, Queen of the Galaxy: villain Duran Duran tortures the heroine by hooking her into a device which plays her sexual responses like organ pipes, the goal being to orgasm her to death. Barbarella being Barbarella, it doesn't work.
  • In The Princess Bride, the "machine" isn't so much a beam as it is a life-sucky thingy, but since it causes intense pain to the victims at various settings, it qualifies as the trope.
  • Another "life-sucky thingy" is whatever the MCP uses to de-rez (kill) errant programs in Tron. First, we see it used on Clu, then we see Dumont and other elderly (presumably user-interface) programs being put through the same torture.
  • Kalgan of Space Mutiny has a device he uses to torture the heroine that he claims is modeled on "ancient" dentistry equipment. He shoots a laser at one of her teeth. Doesn't seem to bother her very much, and the laser actually makes the same noise as a dentist's drill.
  • Genesis II. The mutants have devices that inflict pain by touch. The devices can be set to deliver various level of pain, from a mild correction up to incapacitation.
  • Played for Laughs in Back to The Future, where Marty, posing as an evil alien, invokes this trope using a Walkman and a Van Halen tape. Surprisingly, the victim didn't notice the headset over his ears, but it's safe to assume he was distracted by the yellow-suited figure threatening to melt his brain.


  • Speaker for the Dead[context?]
  • The neuronic whip in Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe.
  • Jane from Twilight had something like this.
  • The Cruciatus Curse in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe, which is used to torture several characters, and to drive at least two incurably insane.
  • In Dune, the Reverend Mother tests Paul Atreides's humanity with a box that directly stimulates the pain receptors in Paul's hand. She also holds a poisoned needle that will kill him if he withdraws the hand from the box. The logic is that a lesser creature will simply react to the pain and die from the poison, while an intelligent one will be able to override the instinct and save itself. Paul does not know this until he is told to withdraw his hand from the box, however, and what he thinks is happening to his hand is described in gory, most definitely not PG-rated detail.
    • Something similar happens in Phantasm.
    • Another Dune device is mentioned in passing, "pain amplifiers" that presumably make conventional torture that bit more effective with no greater risk of death.
  • Inverted—but oddly horribly—in Larry Niven's Known Space stories with the tasp. The tasp doesn't stimulate pain; it stimulates pleasure, simultaneously being just as incapacitating as pain and threatening a victim with permanent addiction.
    • In the Known Space book Destiny's Forge, the Patriarch's Telepath projects a void beam: a loss of sensation so horrible you'll beat your brains out on the ground just so you can FEEL SOMETHING. And the Norn's cane in "A World Out Of Time", which inflicts despair on the recipient that makes them want to end their life more than anything in the world. Naturally, it's only used as a torture device when the victim is well restrained.
  • The Agiel in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series is a magical stick used by the Mord-Sith to inflict pain on anyone it touches. The Agiel also hurts the Mord-Sith if it's the same one she was 'trained' with, but they're conditioned to withstand the pain. It is fatal, however, if it touches anywhere near the heart. There's also Wizard's Pain.
    • Mord-Sith even use the Agiel during sex. Mistress Denna, the main torturer in the first book, tells the protagonist she has never had intercourse without it.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's novel Line of Delirium starts with the main character being killed by a weapon that causes all nerves in his body to simultaneously transmit extreme pain signals to the brain. Normally, the person dies of shock. It is unclear if the main character died from shock or from bleeding out, as his thrashing caused him to cut him his body on some super-thin webbing. He gets better.
  • Particularly effective one in Animorphs that also had an opposite number feature built into the device. The idea was, that while pain was a good form of torture, a better method was to cause pain, then an overwhelming happiness, than quickly turn it back to pain to break the victim faster. Rachel considered its use on Tobias one of the worst things that was done in the war.
    • Another book described how the Yeerk Dracon Beams were descended from Andalite Shredder weapons, but were altered to cause as much pain as possible. Shredder weapons set to full power vaporize targets almost instantly and painlessly. Dracon Beams set to full vaporize victims slowly enough that they can feel their molecules explode.
      • Fridge Logic: How did they know that if the weapon itself tears apart molecules? A survivor would be in too much pain to tell the difference between the two anyway...
  • The agony booth and the agonizer are a feature of Star Trek's "Mirror Universe" first introduced in the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror." In the Diane Duane novel Dark Mirror, the crew of the Enterprise D confront their mirror universe counterparts. In the mirror universe, Troi's role as ship's counselor involves her using the agony booth a lot.
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Goes to Hell features a device called a 'bioclast', used on recalcitrant workers by an evil mine supervisor. Its effect is described by the protagonist/narrator ans feeling "like the flesh had been sliced to the bone and boiling acid poured into the wound".
  • In the Logan's Run novel, the Sandmen carried a Gun that fired a "Homer", which homed in on the target and, on impact, stimulated every pain nerve in the body before killing the victim. It was the primary deterrent against Runners: If you turn yourself in for Deep Sleep on Lastday, you'll be put to death by pleasurable gas, but if you Run, you'll suffer the Homer.
  • In Wintersmith, it's shown that very skilled Discworld witches like Granny Weatherwax can take the pain of an ailing patient out of their body and transfer it to somewhere else. I Shall Wear Midnight shows that, if push comes to shove, that somewhere else could be someone else.
  • Star Wars has a lot of examples of this. In addition to the Force Lightning featured at the top of the page, there are neuronic whips, the nerve disruptor which was a quite literal agony beam, and the scan grid used by Darth Vader on Han Solo and later improved by Imperial Director Ysanne Isard.
  • In Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space universe, this is a preferred method of torturing a Conjoiner; since Conjoiners can use their neural implants to block all physical pain, the only way to guarantee that they'll feel pain is by directly communicating it to their brains.
  • In the Bizarro Universe Transformers: Shattered Glass, the Autobots have the Agonizing Rehabilitation Chambers, (inspired by both the healing CR Chambers from Beast Wars and the agony booths from Star Trek's Mirror Universe ) which Optimus uses to dole out punishment to anyone he's not happy with.
  • A form of this is used on Winston in the Ministry of Love in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Live-Action TV

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 spoofed this with Dr. Forrester's DEEEEEEEEP HUUUUUUUURTING, which he used to keep Joel/Mike and the bots in line. The exact nature of Deep Hurting changed from episode to episode; sometimes the Hurting seemed to be actual physical pain caused by a device, but sometimes it was simply the fact that our heroes had to sit through yet another awful movie.
    • In The Movie, Dr. Forrester demands that Mike and the 'Bots bow to him. Then he turns and pulls a lever when they don't immediately obey. Whatever happens next, it appears to hurt the 'Bots, too.
    • Also in episode #611, Last of the Wild Horses, Tom and Gypsy are thrust into the Mirror Universe where Mike and Crow torment Frank and Dr. F. Crow screws something up, but has failed to keep the batteries in his personal agonizer charged and the Agony Booth is on the fritz—again!
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld "hand device" has this a standard feature. The area it affects is notably red for awhile afterward. Naturally, they love to use it at every opportunity and SG-1 have been zapped so often they should all have a permanent sunburn. Especially Daniel, who in one later season episode quips, "I think I'm starting to get used to that," after it happens once again. It can kill, though, with prolonged use—this just doesn't happen, to the heroes, very often.
    • At first, one shot of the Zat gun was an Agony Beam, but it eventually became "phasers on stun."
    • The Goa'uld have another Agony Beam that looks like a cattle prod. When its used, an orange light comes out of the victim's eyes and mouth, and presumably nose and ears (but that's harder to see). O'Neill gets this one used on him a lot.
  • Star Trek‍'‍s Mirror Universe had a device called the "Agonizer," and the "Agony Booths."
    • Interestingly, the Agony Booth didn't exactly make the Cold-Blooded Torture any less disturbing to watch. When Star Trek: Enterprise revisited the Mirror Universe in the "In A Mirror, Darkly" prequel episodes, showing among other things the invention of the booth's first prototype and its earliest usage, a lot of the filming crew got seriously upset while shooting the scene in which Mirror Tucker pleads his innocence while Mirror Archer tries to torture a confession out of him using the booth.
    • The booths are sufficiently bad one bad-movie recap website took its name from them.
    • In "Dagger of the Mind", there is a Mind Rape machine that looks like a sun lamp shining on a hair-salon chair. And Kirk isn't even strapped in. He could just stand up and walk off, but apparently it's so intense that he only sit there writhing in pain as a sort of post-hypnotic suggestion is used on him.
    • The Eymorgs' pain bracelets in "Spock's Brain". The unbelievable acting done in this episode would be spoofed many times, most notably in The Wonder Years.
    • The pain implants used by the mercenaries on Picard and Riker in the two-part episode Gambit.
    • Also, the pain implants used by the Cardassian interrogator on Picard in "Chain of Command" (The One With... the four/five lights argument).
    • Klingon Pain Sticks, from several TNG episodes. It turns out that as cruel as Klingons can be, they actually need their pain (quote from Star Trek V notwithstanding) from time to time, particularly for important warrior rites.
    • TOS Klingons used an agonizer as well in "Day of the Dove," and in "The Gamesters of Triskelion" collars of obedience were collars used to keep the thralls of Triskelion in place.
    • The TNG episode "Allegiance" also had a green ray effect that did this. Certainly a good example of how simple the effects need to be.
    • In "Power Play", the heroes use a plasma beam to inflict pain on three crewmembers who have been possessed by aliens - not as a means of torture, but to get the aliens to leave.
    • Then there was the energy field the space jellyfish in Encounter at Farpoint subjects Groppler Zorn to, though the sounds he was making made it sound more like he was in a tickle ray.
    • The TOS episode "The Cloud Minders" had rebel Vanna tortured by a rainbow-colored effect the interrogator referred to as "the rays." Vanna was a tough cookie, but the rays made her scream loud enough that Kirk objected even though she'd twice tried to kill or kidnap him.
  • "Pain-givers" in Babylon 5.
  • The imprinting chairs in Dollhouse can be used to generate this effect, as Bennett shows rather graphically to Echo.
  • Gene Roddenberry's TV movie Genesis II featured the evil mutant Tyranians using "stims"—short rods which could be adjusted to induce either pain or pleasure on contact. Unsurprisingly (to the viewers, anyway), hero Dylan Hunt (the one that one was named for) didn't fall to the ground until the highest pain setting was used. Then they gave him a pleasure dose: carrot after stick.
  • Subverted in Farscape: the Scarran's natural agony beam is one of solid heat. Not only can it kill, but the camera tends to linger on shots of the victim's skin bubbling and burning as they die- case in point, Prince Clavor and Diagnosan Tocot.
  • Used in the Doctor Who serial "Vengeance On Varos", which leads to the odd spectacle of a shirtless Jason Connery being tortured by having a torch shined on his chest.
    • Also used / threatened in "Genesis of the Daleks" by Davros against the Doctor / Harry and Sarah Jane.
    • ...and then, there's the Mind Probe. ("What? No NOT the mind PROBE!")
    • In The Deadly Assassin, the Doctor is tortured to get him to confess with this.
    • The Teselecta in "Let's Kill Hitler" punished historical criminals by intercepting them at the end of their lives to "give them hell." The beam was used on River Song, but the Doctor intervened so it is unclear whether the ultimate function would have included death as well as pain.
    • The Master uses this on the Doctor in The End of Time. And beautifully so.
  • Angels of Supernatural have this power, though it's explained that when they make a human double over in agony, it's specifically because the angel is messing with the human's internal workings (breaking their bones, removing their lungs, giving them stage 4 stomach cancer) in a nasty way.


  • The music video for Powerman 5000's When Worlds Collide has a pastiche of Ming with two agony beam rings, the hero manages to overpower his beams with his own energy blast, disintegrating him.

Tabletop Games

  • There are several lines of spells in D&D that do this. The Nybor's line of spells (going from Gentle Reminder to Wrathful Castigation) being particular favourites. 3.x also had an Exclusively Evil version named Wrack.
    • The big daddy of all these spells would have to be Eternity of Torture, which fills the target with unbearable agony unto them being unable to do anything besides writhe in pain. And it makes them immortal. So they can suffer forever.
    • The not so subtly named Power Word: Pain.
  • Absolutely every single Dark Eldar weapon in Warhammer 40,000. They have guns and CANNONS that fire pain. It's like overkill, but, you know, without the kill part.
    • Inflicting pain is the Dark Eldar's entire hat, so it is unsurprising that their weapons reflect this. The quote "Pray they don't take you alive" on their codex is not for nothing...
  • GURPS: Magic has "Pain" and the much worse "Agonize" (turns every sensation into extreme pain). Ultratech has Sonic Nauseators (pain and loss of bowel control) as well as the Neural Disruptors.

Video Games

  • World of Warcraft has at least two spells whose names imply that they do this. Priests have Shadow Word: Pain and Warlocks have Curse of Agony. Both of these spells inflict continuous shadow-elemental damage over a period of time and can kill their targets.
    • Priest's Mind Flay and Mind Sear probably also count (maybe Warlock's Drain Soul too). All are channeled spells that project a beam that rends the target's mind or souls, dealing shadow damage.
    • A quest in the Borean Tundra has you use one on a captured mage. The tooltip states that it 'inflicts incredible pain to the target, but does no permanent damage'. After the quest, you can get more of these, free of charge, just for fun.
    • Several mobs in the game have a "Pain Spike" ability, which inflicts instant damage on a target, but that damage wears off over time.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II's Emperor Mateus has one of these as part of his EX Burst. Perform it perfectly, and he performs Entice, suspending the enemy in zero gravity as he continually blasts them with arc lighting from his hand, Emperor Palpatine style.
  • At one point in Lost Odyssey, the Big Bad seems to do this to you—he gets tired of fighting you and uses a spell called "Pain Surge," dealing max damage to everyone in your party. Judging by the following cutscene, it also sends you into a coma.
  • The Shivering Isles expansion to The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion has a quest where you use this. Getting true answers from some people requires several uses.
  • Star Control 2 has the Excruciator, a device designed to directly stimulate the pain receptors of an Ur-Quan's brain. Unusual in that it was developed by the Ur-Quan, not for punishment or torture, but to protect against mind control by another species which had enslaved them, and was forced to break their control whenever their victims experienced extreme pain.
  • In Rise of Legends, this is an ability for one of the Vinci hero units, which can be used to immobilize and damage a single target.
  • Mundus can unleash these in Devil May Cry. He uses them to execute failed minions, like Griffon, and occasionally builds them into his creations, like Trish.
  • The tech ability "Neural Shock" in Mass Effect is essentially this.
  • In Dragon Age Origins, Uldred and his fellow Abominations torture mages with this until they agree to become Abominations themselves.
  • Is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, there's the Punishment Sphere. It is a fate so horrifying to be sentenced to that if you build one in a city, there won't be any riots there anymore. The downside is halving the research rate in that city. The faction leaders also have some reserved for their rivals, when they capture any.
  • This is the schtick that Saul Karath uses against you in Knights of the Old Republic. The Jerkass ups the ante by torturing your Optional Love Interest if you give him an answer he doesn't want to hear. It's especially brutal if you're playing female considering the long, nasty history between Carth and Saul.
  • Wild 9 puts you in control of one of these. The Agony Beam doubles as a sort of electro-lasso and allows you to throw your enemies off cliffs, slam them into solid objects, shove them through shredders, drop them into jet engines...the list goes on and on and on.
  • Postal 2 gives you one in the form of the "Shock Rocket" stun gun which, when applied to a subject, causes them to twitch involuntarily and smoke, and then drop to the ground, still twitching, losing bladder control, and whimpering pleas like "Just finish it!" or "I can't feel my legs!" Combine the max-ammo cheat (which bumps the charge capacity up to 999, with usage consuming about 5 units per second) with the fact that the game already runs on Video Game Cruelty Potential, and you can pretty easily see the kinds of horrible (or awesome, depending on your perspective) places this can go.
    • With the AWP expansion pack, you can also get a modified Shock Rocket called simply "The Puker." Exactly What It Says on the Tin, it induces immediate and incapacitating vomiting with even a split second's application to a subject of your choice.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • In one episode, Bubbles is trying to prove that she's as hardcore as the other Powerpuffs—and takes Mojo Jojo's Agony Device up on its eleventh setting.
    • Later shows up in the Musical Episode See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey where Gnomey uses a Force Lighting like attack accompanied by Ominous Latin Chanting to eliminate the villains of Townsville as well as take away the girls' powers. When the girls regain their powers and fight Gnomey, he tries it again, though it only serves to stun them for a moment.
  • In the series finale of Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid gets a chance to show off the "Agony Matrix", which... well, read the quote up above. Ow.
    • Darkseid's first appearance in Superman the Animated Series used his Omega Beams on low settings as his greeting to Supes. He had to turn it up a bit to force Superman to kneel though. What makes this just a little bit epic is that this is his introduction. Darkseid is not attacking Superman or trying to kill him, Superman has simply asked who he is. After leaving Superman in a crumpled heap on the floor, Darkseid walks off, looks over his shoulder, and responds "That is who I am."
  • The Care Bears Stare. Well, at least to the The Heartless.
  • Dr. Wily used one in the Ruby-Spears Mega Man TV show, incapacitating Roll, Rush, and, oddly, Dr. Light.
  • Danny Phantom
    • Vlad Plasmius has one of these as a standard ghost ability. Danny is rather unappreciative.
    • In Kindred Spirits, Vlad plugs Danny into a nasty-looking zappy capsule thing to try to force him to morph into his ghost form. It even has a dial to increase the intensity! Once again, Danny doesn't appreciate this.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode, "Journey to the Tower of Omens" Big Bad Sorcerous Overlord Mumm-Ra exhibits this ability in his One-Winged Angel form, and fully intends to use it to treat The Hero Lion-O to an agonizing death until The Obi-Wan Jaga intervenes.

Real Life

  • There's a real life weapon being tested as we speak[when?] called the Active Denial System. It uses millimeter wave radio energy to heat the surface layer of the skin, causing intense, incapacitating pain with no lasting injury. It's intended for use as a humane crowd control device (especially compared to the alternatives: tear gas, bullets, flamethrowers...).
    • There also seems to be a possibility that this system may come into actual use soon. Though the system appears to have taken on a more user-friendly acronym (Assault Intervention Device or AID), its function remains marginally unchanged.
    • Serious controversy has been raised over the question of what happens when people are too tightly packed to move, or rendered immobile by injury (Both are likely scenarios in riots and firefights), especially since the long-term effects are largely unknown, but probably not good.
      • It has been demonstrated to cause burns in skin and if the eye were exposed the cornea would quickly cook causing blindness.
    • All demonstrations shown so far, the pain has failed to incapacitate; it's hard to resist, but not impossible for a determined person. The same is also true of pepper spray and tear gas.
    • One occasional myth that does pop up is that metal objects worn by a target can heat up faster and cause more serious contact burns. Metal items are reflective in the microwave spectrum and sheet metal could be used as a shield.
  • The Long Range Acoustic Device is a sound-based weapon that serves a similar purpose.
    • AKA the Sonic Cannon, this is the device that was first widely publicized when it was used to avert a Pirate attack. You just can't make this stuff up! (In practice, it "fires" a blast of sound that, without proper protection, screws up the body's balance mechanism and inflicts some pretty serious pain)
    • The U.S. Army also uses extremely loud rock music to drive out terrorists in hiding.
  • Then there's pepper-spray, which, when dispensed from riot-control guns (also used to ward off bears) count as something between Agony Beams and Stun Guns, having a slightly shorter effective range but better takedown statistics than handguns.
  • The active components in Skunk spray have been released to the public in recent years as a toothpaste-like gel. Already, some police services use the potent smelling gel to keep people and animals out of abandoned buildings. It's proven almost 100% effective.
  • Another US DARPA project, the Pulsed Energy Projectile, used a "low" power pulsed laser beam to vaporize a small portion of the target's surface, causing a small explosion capable of knocking the target down. One side effect noticed in testing was that the EMP generated by the plasma that the laser impact produced stimulated pain receptors, and work was underway to amplify this effect.
    • Happily, like the ADS system above, the US DoD is keen to distance itself from accusations of torture and devices that might facilitate it, so these projects aren't likely to be released into use any time soon.
    • Less happily, this effect is something that could be replicated by any real-life laser weapon set to low-power single pulse output (the PEP was effectively a low power version of a Pulsed Impulse Kill Laser project, which did Exactly What It Says on the Tin). In the future, "phasers on stun" won't leave someone quietly snoozing, but burnt and screaming. Lovely.
      • ...and the acronym lends itself to dismissive terminology for the newly "pickled" victim.
  • A taser can be used to deliberately inflict pain, when operated in "drive stun" mode.
  • There is also a specialized LED device which projects a beam of light that rapidly pulses random colors. Looking at the light for too long messes up your brain since your eyes can't effectively focus on the colors and then you're incapacitated from a number of nasty side effects, like cluster headaches, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, irritability, and visual impairment.
    • Irritability? Wouldn't that be in much the same sense that hitting your thumb with a hammer causes swearing?
  • While not in a beam form, the stings of many small insects (as well as platypuses) are made specifically for causing pain.
    • the worst example is probably the Irukandji Jellyfish, a relative of the Box Jellyfish. While their stings don't kill unless you don't get help (Box Jellyfish stings are more dangerous, though not by much), they cause such a drastic assault on one's pain nerves that even people in a medically induced coma still scream in pain. A victim had previously given birth described the pain as "like when you're at the peak of a contraction and things can't possibly seem any worse. That's where (Irukandji Syndrome) starts, and then gets much, much worse." Some patients have reportedly tried to claw their own skin off to make the pain stop, and Irukandji Syndrome has the added bonus of psychotropic effects - a feeling of impending doom so powerful that patients have begged their doctors to kill them to get it over with.