Neglectful Precursors

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

That ancient race sure built a lot of weapons...I mean did they really need to spend all their time building stuff to destroy the universe? Like, how about the galaxy's biggest movie theatre or some kind of super-advanced water park? All work and no play guys, seriously.

Grif, Red vs. Blue

Precursors; kindly ancient civilization or deadbeat parents? You decide, on today's episode of Judge Troper's Court!

The plaintiff: The Adventurer Archaeologist claims that the Neglectful Precursor has left this galaxy and not provided a proper means of child support. He further alleges that the abundance of sealed evils with flimsy seals and easily found keys, the leaving of outstanding debts with ancient enemies bent on collecting from humanity, and the presence of civilization-shattering plagues are clear signs of neglect. The plaintiff demands that the ancients stop leaving dangerous weapons lying about for villains to acquire, or else make access to them morality-sensitive, so only heroes can use them to pay off previous debts.

The defendant: Claims that since they've become Energy Beings thousands of years ago, they have evolved past conventional morality but are nonetheless caring for humanity or "testing it", evidenced by their "wise" decisions to hold back Lost Technology until we're ready to use it, and scatter the keys to important technology so it can be used again. They defend their "long distance parenting" as character building, making sure the threats humanity faces are in line with its skill, and that there's always one more Lost Superweapon around for each. They assure the court they "always knew we would win." And finally, the defendant argues that there needs to be a cutoff point where their actions, inaction, and remaining artifacts stop being the excuse for everything bad that happens in the universe—that they did the best they could under circumstances beyond our comprehension—and where the younger races start realizing that they are responsible for their own mistakes.

The Verdict? You decide!

See Abusive Precursors for Precursors that go beyond merely "guilty", or Benevolent Precursors for civilizations up for the "Precursor of the Eon" award.

No real life examples, please; at least, not until we have evidence of a Real Life intelligent Precursor race.

Examples of Neglectful Precursors include:

Anime and Manga

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (the first anime) is example when humans become Neglectful Precursors of much stronger beings than they are themselves. Because of bad initial appearance they dump their creations, which made them hate humanity or seek a very cruel ways to become humans, made worse when the Big Bad helps them survive and gain power by feeding them Philosopher's Stones.
  • The Prosecution would like to present evidence in the case against the much-vaunted Protoculture from Super Dimension Fortress Macross for being irresponsible forebears:
  1. Created the Zentradi race solely for the reason of waging war, to the point the Zentradi don't know how to do anything else.
  2. They involved themselves in Escalating Wars that led to the development of Weapons Of Mass Destruction capable of wiping out entire solar systems.
  3. Their creations were possessed by beings from Another Dimension that nearly annihilated the Protoculture itself. Instead of destroying them, they merely imprisoned them and left them there for further generations to deal with.
  4. They seeded Earth with life, but left behind an overseer in case things got too nasty just so it could put Humanity on Trial and trigger the destruction of life on Earth if it found mankind lacking.
  5. They left behind pockets of ancient technology in various worlds, which invariably is turned into weapons (if it's not a weapon itself) by either the Zentradi or humanity.
  • Your honor, I bring before the court the case of Al-Hazard from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The defendant is charged with the creation of no less than twenty-one 'Jewel Seed' Lost Logia with a combined output capable of fracturing reality, with an ease of use even a child could use. They also stand accused of the creation of several blatantly destructive 'Tomes', 'Dividers', and a fully armed interdimensional warship complete with an army of drone weaponry.
  • Your Honor, I would like to mention the Unnamed Aliens from Happy Seven. They were fighting so much they created a super weapon strong enough to blow up the universe, hid it inside Earth, then left.And, then they waited till there was actually less then 5 minutes left to decide to come stop the machine.
  • Your Honor, the people of Gall Force Earth would like to present their case against the Paranoids and Solenoids. They left humanity with no means to maintain civilization. We acknowledge the solenoids preserved data for human use, but rather than share it immediately, they chose to send it where it would not be found until after humans had reinvented space travel. Furthermore, they deliberately left out information that might have warned the humans of the dangers it presented! The discovery led to the conflict between humanity and the MME, which resulted in the loss of millions of lives and massive damage to Earth’s ecosystem.
    • Your honor, my clients only acted as they did in attempt to end the cycle of violence, not perpetrate it. It was hoped that the humans would be ready to accept their terrible legacy by the time it was uncovered. The humans’ own scientists were able to realize the dangers sufficiently to warn their leaders against using the alien technology recklessly, and they were ignored. We also ask the court to consider that the gift of data left behind contained technology to rebuild damaged planets. Finally, we have recently obtained information which appears to suggest that, due to a Stable Time Loop, the solnoids and paranoids own Neglectful Precursors appear to have been the humans and their MME and yuman creations.
  • In the manga Hotel. Humanity are precursors to the sentient computers, one (Louis) who's task is to ensure that the DNA of all Earth life is protected and a second who's task is to protect the DNA of humans in order to colonize another world in hopes of saving the species. While the creations of Louis may or may not be independent sentient robots separate from itself the creation of his counterpart in space certainly are ... we're assholes who did nothing but cause Earth to die and died in the process ourselves leaving Earth an unlivable wasteland.

Comic Books

  • The Merk in Nexus: when they left, they left behind one individual of their race, Drizripool, who inherited most of their power, with the mission of finding a race worthy of receiving the Merk's vision of justice through the eponymous nexus. The problem? Drizripool was insane! While the Merk did eventually send back another of their race, GQ, to stop Drizripool, why leave him behind in the first place?
    • Objection! GQ, upon asked by the main characters about Drizripool's madness, first provides some technobabble meant to prove how his psyche has deviated from what amounts to sanity between Merk, then quips that he himself is uncertain for how long he may hold his mental health, risking to succumb to the same brand of insanity is currently afflicting Drizripool. Thus it can be safely inferred that Drizripool used to be sane, and since (by GQ admission) he was also the most powerful Fusionkaster and champion of justice of their race, he was left behind to provide the Nexus with the best and finest of the whole Merk. Eventually, his insanity just took the best out of him, forcing the Merk to settle for the less powerful but trustier GQ.
      • Also, as a secondary proof, later in the story appears a new couple of a Merk and his human agent: Kimbo and Plexus, tasked with mercy and rehabilitation. While Nexus interacts meaningful with Plexus, GQ and Kimbo refuse to aknowledge their mutual existence, with each of them claiming that the other is "An insane superego left behind from our race". Thus, Merk psychology is still an inexplorated field, and we don't know if a single Merk can simply escape his race and set shop in our continuum with no other noticing.
  • The Celestials of the Marvel Universe tinkered with humanity's genes, creating the Eternals and the Deviants, as well as sticking the X-Gene into humanity's genetic mix. They also happened to leave behind one of their advanced spaceships where it would be found by En Sabah Nur, one of the first mutants resulting from the X-Gene. One can guess at the sort of use he put the Celstials' technology to by the fact that he renamed himself Apocalypse.


  • To be tried in absentia: the unspecified race which dispatched a probe to Earth's humpback whales in Star Trek IV the Voyage Home. This species, alleged to have long been in peaceful contact with said whales, equipped their probe with the capacity to communicate with these creatures underwater ... and to decimate Earth's indigenous ecosystems, in the event that the whales failed to respond. Even if the probe's makers were unaware that whales were not Earth's only sentient residents, such environmental sabotage is reckless and unconscionable. Moreover, if the whales' language were to change in the millennia between one probe's visitation and the next, rendering them incapable of a coherent response, then the probe's "peaceful communication" might well have exterminated the humpback species long before humans could do so! Your Honor, I submit a charge of reckless endangerment on behalf of plaintiffs George and Gracie, and of negligent homicide on behalf of other Earth life forms killed by the probe's transmissions.
  • The prosecution presents as evidence for the case of Gremlins the novelization of said film, which states that Mogwaii are an admittedly failed experiment by a group of aliens who. Said aliens discovered that their creations had an unstable psychology that would cause all but one out of 10,000 Mogwaii to lose their sweet, loving demeanor and become "mischievous" pranksters, far more likely to purposely desire transformation into gremlins.


  • The plaintiff brings the precursors of the Morgaine Cycle to court, having created a system of star gates that slowly tore the fabric of reality apart (This is not known until several hundred years after the network is finished). Eventually they discover this, after which they then proceed to cause a energy cascade that wipes out their entire race, just to destroy the incredibly dangerous gates. Unfortunately, one survives and is copied to create another network by a second precursor race who They are almost wiped out warring with each other over whether the gates are dangerous or not. The last member of said race is the titular Morgaine, who embarks on a million-year journey to close all the gates. Some others remain trapped on worlds as Sealed Evil in a Can, and these fall under Abusive Precursors as they typically run slave empires.
  • Your Honour, The Elder Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos would like to plead guilty, except that they have no concept of guilt. ...also, they want permission to use the buffet, that being what they prefer to call the jury.
    • A plea of no contest is entered. Permission to eat the jury is deniAAAAAAARrrrrggghhhh....
  • The Uplift Institute would like to find the lost patrons of humanity and prosecute them extensively for their abandonment of a semi-uplifted species. Such reckless behaviour cannot be tolerated, and an example must be set. Humanity is now a wolfling species and will likely die out within the next few thousand years, given galactic dogma against such species.
  • The "Great Ones" of the Belisarius Series were aware of The "New Gods" tampering with the past, but simply encouraged the crystals to send a single individual back to counter them, and occasionally dropped by to gossip. They clearly had the power to eliminate the Malwa empire (they did destroy the New Gods homeworld) the whole time.
  • The Prosecution would like to submit the Valar from The Lord of the Rings as Neglectful Precursors before this court. Evidence is as follows:
  1. When Morgoth fled from Valinor with the Silmarils and the Elves under Feanor pursued him they cursed the Elves for rebelling against their decree to remain in Valinor and refused to send any aid.
  2. After fighting several bloody wars that probably pushed the Elves in Middle-earth to the brink of extinction the Valar ONLY intervened when a half-elf, Earendil, begged for forgiveness and in the process completely wrecked the continent the Elves and Morgoth had fought over.
  3. Did nothing to really stop Sauron from amassing power in the first place taking him at his word when he submitted to the Valar, the latter being especially egregious as Sauron was one of Morgoth's most malicious and trusted lieutenants.
  4. Took no action when Númenor was corrupted by Sauron and again nothing during the war of the Last Alliance.
  5. Only sent the five Wizards to check in on things after Sauron was beaten the first time and did NOTHING else against a being who was easily outside of everyone's weight class later on trusting that the peoples of Middle-earth would fix the problem of Sauron without help.
    • Objection, Your Honour. As demonstrated in the War of Wrath, when the Valar intervene, the amount of power thrown about sinks continents. Their non-intervention was their attempt to avoid becoming Abusive Precursors. Perhaps they could have chosen better Maiar to incarnate as wizards, but it's not their fault that Saruman turned evil, Radagast spent too much time talking to animals, and Alatar and Pallando vanished.
  • Your honor, my clients, the Pak from Known Space would like to plead "not guilty", as they had no idea that the Tree-Of-Life root they need to maintain sentience wouldn't grow in soils like Earth's that lack thallium oxide.
    • Objection, your honor. While they are indeed innocent in that regard, even after the message asking for aid reached the homeworld, it took several million years for the Pak to get around to deciding to send a care package of Tree-Of-Life root and thallium oxide, by which point the abandoned breeder-stage Pak had mutated into horrific monstrosities calling themselves "humans" - a tragedy that could have been averted if they had sent a ship with help immediately.
    • The Pak had only sublight drives, and the communication for help was garbled and broken from having to cross a significant portion of the galaxy at lightspeed. By the time the plea reached Pakhome, there were few that would have remembered the expedition, and only the Librarians would have been able to act. Even if they had been able to act immediately, the colony would have been out of contact and without Protectors for no less than 75 thousands of years, and would have taken at least another 10-20 thousand years to actually reach; few would expect breeders to last that long on their own, making it clearly a fools errand. Pakhome is resource-poor and could not afford that kind of cost, to say nothing of the Protectors' genetic inability to support enemy families.
    • Further, when the Librarian Phssthpok rediscovered the plea far later, the Librarians DID create a relief ship immediately (Librarians, often lacking a clear Cause and in constant danger of suicide, found no issue with the fact that it was a fool's errand, as long as it gave them a Cause). This relief ship required so many resources that the Librarians absolutely wrecked Pakhome to get them, causing yet another globally catastrophic war. The fact that they arrived far too late to have stopped the mutation of the Pak form is not a sign of neglect, merely another tragic chapter in their race's history.
  • The Consu from the Old Man's War Universe have created the sentient race Obin without a sense of consciousness. Even though it turns out the Consu considers lacking consciousness to be an ideal state of being, the fact that they never told the Obin this little fact, and treated the Obin like a bunch of irritating insects who should stop asking questions definitely qualifies them as neglectful.
  • Your honor, the prosecution respectfully wishes to indict the Xunca, of the Humanx Commonwealth universe. Having risen to a state of absolute galactic domination some billion years past, they discovered an unstoppable galaxy-devouring horror approaching from across the universe. In attempting to deal with it, they constructed a super-superweapon concentrating the energy of millions of galaxies. However, prior to the activation of said weapon, they decided instead to flee to a different dimension... and forgot to leave behind a key, thus effectively condemning our galaxy to annihilation unless some freak accident happened to replicate the precise conditions required to activate it. Naturally, this happened, but the fact that they allowed the situation to come about in the first place can only be seen as the grossest evidence of neglect.
  • Your honor, the prosecution would also bring suit against the T'lan Imass from the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Their ritual sealing of captured Jaghut and Forkrul Assail proved ineffective in the long-term as any person with sufficient strength and interest could remove the rock and thus release the trapped being. In addition, their actions directly contributed to the destruction of magic at various locations around the world, which continues to this day.
  • Your honor, the prosecution would like to bring suit agains the Heechee of the Heechee Saga, who are responsible for leaving behind advanced technology when fleeing from the Assassins, which was bound to be found by a younger race and, without proper instructions on the use, would likely end up misusing it to disastrous ends. Furthermore, the continuous use of said technology is what attracted the attention of the Assassins toward the Heechee in the first place, which means that, by leaving such technology for anyone to use, the Heechee have doomed an unfortunate young race (namely, humanity) to extinction.

Stargate Verse

  • Your Honour, for unbelievable neglect, incredible incompetence, blinding hypocrisy, and a refusal to take any responsiblity at all for crimes, misdemeanours, or even basic sapient decency, the prosecution requests that The Ancients of the Stargate Verse be given the highest punishment the court will allow. A summary of their deeds and lack thereof is as follows:
  1. Refuse to help normal people ascend to Energy Beings save on their own merits, and punish those who do. Fair enough, but they also won't allow anyone who ascends to help mortals, bringing down the banhammer at the slightest sign of rule-breaking.
  2. Refuse to help any of the "lower beings" at all, including against monstrous, Exclusively Evil beings that will kill or enslave everything in their path. Which is extremely hypocritical considering they created almost all of them in the first place! (See below.) Anyone of their kind that does attempt to help are treated worse than those that attempt to help them ascend. Witness: Daniel Jackson.
  3. Rarely took security measures (and almost never left instructions) regarding the legions of Pointless Doomsday Devices they left like so much trash throughout various galaxies, leaving good people to pray and hope that using them wouldn't horribly backfire while evil people were practically gleeful at all the fun toys left lying around. The Goa'uld managed to go from a fairly mindless parasitic species to for thousands of years the single greatest threat in the Milky Way galaxy using Ancient leftovers, including a device which made them functionally immortal even with highly flawed copies.
  4. Directly responsible for the creation of two horribly powerful, ravenous, immensely destructive beings (the Replicators and the Wraith). Predictably, they did precisely dick to stop either of them.
  5. One of aforementioned Exclusively Evil beings managed to learn how to ascend and attempted to use the Ancient knowledge for his own benefit. The Ancients responded by only partially de-ascending him, leaving him with all the Ancient knowledge and some of the powers (including being impossible to properly kill), and not only didn't bother to fix their mess but, again, punished anyone else of their kind who tried to fix it.
  6. Worse, they deliberately chose to take this course of action in regard to Anubis in order to guilt trip the person who ascended him, despite the fact that she had the best of intentions. Even if her decision was wrong, this is still the equivalent of punishing her for giving a gun to someone she did not know was a murderer, by allowing the murderer to keep the weapon and letting him loose in a building full of helpless children.
  7. The justification given for their constant absence is not wanting to involve themselves with mortal affairs, believing they do not possess the right to wield such power in such a way. Yet when the Ori, beings comparable to the Ancients to whom they should have no such restrictions, set their sights on the Milky Way galaxy they are allowed to just waltz in on a technicality. In addition, they are perfectly willing to break this non-interference clause when their own well-being is at stake, sending Morgan Le Fay to stop Merlin (who at the time was descended and should have been out-of-bounds) when he made a device capable of killing ascended beings.
  8. The Morgan Le Fay case bears further elaboration, as she very carefully leaked information to the humans, while the rest of the Ancients watched her. The moment she tried to do anything but be vague, she was dragged away, never to be seen again.
  9. The primary aspect of the Ancients non-interference pact is long as there are no ascended powers being used. That seems reasonable. Yet when Adria fully ascended, and later came down to our lowly plane of existence and acted to her full powers, did the Ancients finally stand up and say, "No"? Well, no. While Adria returned to the Ori galaxy and never returned to the Milky Way afterwards, thus the Ancients were still playing by their (pompous, overblown, immoral) rules, the very fact that their rules allow for such a loophole merely strengthens the case against them.
  10. The death of the Asgard, the Ancients' allies. They let a race of their own allies die out rather than help them ascend for no apparent reason. Anubis himself said that if someone was worthy of ascension then the "Others" could collectively do so. Who's more worthy than their long allies?
  11. So, the prosecution suggests we extend the verdict to Guilty, guilty, hypocritical Lawful Stupid Energy Being scumbags. Thankfully, the Ancients turned out to be so neglectful they actually left behind the keys to creating the sangra'al, a device capable of destroying themselves. All in favor of capital punishment?
    1. Jury Foreman Turtler says Aye.
  • The defense would like to note that they did, in fact, attempt to stop the Wraith, starting a war that raged across a galaxy. They lost. Their complicity in the accidental creation of said space-vampires notwithstanding, they did do their level best to stop them until forced to retreat to the Milky Way. Similarly, they did almost destroy the Replicators, but unfortunately missed enough of them that the Replicators were able to subsequently rebuild. Although this was before they ascended, and they were still marginally benevolent at this point. It's only after they ascended that they became truly neglectful.
    • The defense would also like to note that most of the "lower beings" of the Milky Way galaxy owe their very existence to the Ancients: the Ori plague which forced them to ascend also wiped out most life in our galaxy. The Ancients built the device on Dakara to repopulate the galaxy with life. The defense therefore suggests that their policy of non-interference probably has more to do them being afraid of playing god than simply apathy. (Please see the case of The Ark of Truth vs. The Ancients' Conscience).
  • Reluctantly, the defense notes that the actions/non-actions of the Ancients may be justified due to reasoning beyond our comprehension. No one can deny that the Ancients behave wrong in terms of human morals, nor their hypocrisy. But no human can either imagine the consciousness of an ascended being, nor how small the lives of this existence are in comparison to that of the Ancients. After all, would you stop two ant colonies from fighting? Imagine this to an even bigger extreme, as they monitor not just one planet but the entire universe. This is no justification, just a comparison to what humans do, and does not excuse them in the case of Adria (who did indeed break the exact rules Daniel was guilty of breaking) or the Ori (who were to some level fighting on the Ancients' own level of existence and thus they should have jurisdiction), but may excuse their behavior in all other cases.
    • However, an Omniscient Morality License does not excuse their actions, given that while Daniel- one of the most ethical characters on the show- was likewise ascended, he still felt that their rules against noninterference were ridiculous.
    • The Asgard would like to point out that the reason the Ancients didn't fight the Ori or Adria was that they were in fact more powerful than the Ancients. It is stated that any human who believes in the Ori makes them more powerful on the ascended plane. As the series went on the population of the ENTIRE Ori galaxy and a large portion of the Milky Way was helping the Ori, and all that power switches from being split by a whole race to concentrated in one. single. being. It would've been frankly suicidal for the Ancients to directly intervene, but letting SG-1 fight in their own way kept the focus away from themselves. Furthermore, if they interfere they run the risk of people starting to treat them as gods, and that brings with it the possibility of them becoming more power hungry, and ultimately to them becoming as bad as, if not worse than, the Ori. They don't want to run the risk of becoming Abusive Precursors.
    • The convenient (alleged) banishment of Morgan Le Fey (a powerful Ascended Ancient) to the galaxy wherein lived the Ori, conveniently accompanying SG-1 through the Supergate, conveniently being present to heal Teal'c of mortal injury, conveniently giving Daniel Jackson the knowledge and means to sever Adria's power, and conveniently being on-hand to destroy her once her power had been severed, all while sticking exactly to the letter of their rules, should not be ignored.
    • In addition, the Ancients maintained a shield around the entire Milky Way galaxy (and likely Ida and Pegasus galaxies as well) for thousands upon thousands of years precisely so that the ascended Ori wouldn't learn about the humans in other galaxies and come to forcibly convert them. Daniel and Vala were the ones to screw that up, not the Ancients (after all, Daniel himself admitted that the Ancients wouldn't have stopped them because they believed in free will above all else).
      • It should be pointed out that the existence of said shield indicates that the Others (he Ancients are only some of the Others, not all of them) collectively (since when acting as a collective they appear to possess power on a scale best expressed as exponentialy greater) possessed the strength to shield and overcome the best efforts of the Ori across no less than three galaxies. That they indeed possessed the ability to defeat them in a straight fight should not be in question, hence the strategy of converting enough in the galaxies they protected to worship of the Ori, granting said energy beings enough power to overcome the Others. They appear entirely willing to be undone by the very beings they protect, as long as that choice to worship the Ori be made out of free will.

Live Action TV

  • Humanity themselves in Red Dwarf. They left a huge number of maladjusted sentient beings ranging from genetically engineered bioweapons to homicidal cybernetic war machines with indefinite lifespans to overpossessive gestalt entities to mind and emotion sucking parasites. The only saving grace seems to be that they all want to kill all humans (virtually to the exclusion of everything else), which three million years into the future consisted mainly of Lister, and could be considered to be dropped to the lesser offense of "Having Your Own Race Destroyed by Your Foolish Creations."
    • If Ridiculously-Human Robots may be counted as a "species", the prosecution brings forward the remains of the Wax Droids of the episode "Meltdown". After being abandoned for millions of years, they broke their programming, whereupon the Villain Wax Droids attacked the Hero Wax Droids and almost wiped them out (so the "good" wax droids were indeed left in the lurch). We are even forced to overhear the execution of Winnie the Pooh. It wasn't until Arnold Rimmer arrived and used his military "genius" to wipe out the entire planet.
  • The State Of New Mexico wishes to bring charges against the Greys of The X-Files. However, the evidence seems to have been destroyed by The Men in Black.
  • The people of Earth would like to bring charges against the Colonials and Cylons of the reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica for abandoning technology and sentencing their descendants to:
  1. 140,000 years of struggle to reinvent things such as basic sanitation, agriculture, medicine, education, and the wheel!
  2. Sentencing their immediate descendants to the horrors of disease, famine, dying in childbirth, and lack of long term protection from the environment (Earth was in an ice age, for frak's sake!), possibly hostile natives, and unknown indigenous flora and fauna.
  3. The loss of FTL drive and other advanced technogies, the loss of which to the present day (and possibly beyond) leaves us with no way to evacuate the planet in case of an asteroid strike. (And no, you can't blame Lee Adama for everything; the colonials and cylons all thought this was a good idea.)
  4. Left no messages or warnings to the descendants that that "all of this has happened before and will happen again" if they don't "take care to be nice to our robots" - mainly because by giving up technology their descendants had to wait ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS for someone to reinvent writing.
  5. And what is the backup plan? "Oh, we’ll just interbreed with the natives!". Even ignoring you can't tell whether or not you can interbreed by looking at someone, even if Gaius frakking Baltar made the test, then you have no way of knowing whether or not you just exposed yourself to a disease that you have no immunity against, and WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY you have no way to find a cure or at least a vaccine. And that isn't even considering they have no idea whether the natives are even friendly to outsiders. Your Honor, I hereby move that they be found guilty not only of neglectful actions to their distant descendants but also guilty of neglectful actions to their immediate descendants as well.
    • If my clients are to be found guilty, then they refuse to go down alone on this. If they get thrown in the stockade, then at least God and the Head entities should go down with them if not replace them entirely. They've got far more cosmological level chops then my clients ever did, were interfering tremendously with their lives, and had ample opportunity to influence highly influential members of the community to say this is a bad idea (one of the greatest scientists of the era, and a heroine of the Cylon people). Instead, they seemed to have encouraged the whole abandonment of technology idea, manipulated their lives, and seemingly did not offer any advice to future generations despite the fact that unlike my clients, they were immortal and didn't have heaps of species-wide post traumatic stress disorder from years of multiple near-genocides, multiple actual genocides, being cramped up inside ships for years on end with the knowledge you may die at any moment, having to abandon the closest thing to a new home they got, getting betrayed by their siblings, having to deal with their first recognized intra-species conflict, and actually cleaning up Neglectful Precursor-esque messes like their malevolent child/grandchild/sibling robot races.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40,000: The Craftworld Eldar. The very literal Defectors From Decadence saw what the debauchery of their civilization would result in and tried to stop it. They failed, and in a last resort to survive they constructed small artificial planets to escape the downfall of their species. That they seem to regard the failure to prevent the heart of their empire turning into The Eye of terror as "Neglectful" and they are now actively trying to fix the damage they've done, the Court finds that they have already plead Guilty and have sentenced themselves to an eternity of Community Service.
  • Your honor, The Empire would like to bring before the court the other Old Ones from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Creating a race of Eldritch Abominations through overuse of magic, shoving the burden of cleaning up their own mess onto their creations, making sure the only people who understand the plan were a group of lizard-people who may or may not have misinterpreted the entire thing (and are pretty anal anyways), and then packing up and leaving? The Empire accuses them of being neglectful in the highest degree!
    • According to the background, the reason that their gates failed was because said toad-like lizard creatures (the fourth generation of them, to be precise) were responsible for maintaining their magic portals. It wasn't actually their fault that the gates failed, and once they did, it was either escape or die. And in Warhammer, escape is an infinitely more desirable alternative to death.
  • The Scarred Lands franchise. The backstory to the series is a war against the amoral creators of the world, the Titans, and their rebellious children, the Gods. The Gods were unable to completely kill the Titans, so they just maimed and imprisioned them. Despite completely oblierating two of the Titans, the other Gods were left mostly whole and just imprisoned. Since then, the remains of the Titans has damaged the land and corrupted countless creatures, even the two who were almost destroyed. Despite the fact that the Gods now rule the world, they haven't shown themselves to be in any hurry to clean up their mess.
    • Perhaps the most noticeable screw up is what they did to the Titan Kadum, the Father of Monsters. They ripped out his heart, chained him to a rock and threw him into the ocean. Unable to die, his blood continually seeps out of his chest, corrupting a large part of the ocean and all of the creatures inhabiting it.
  • The gods in Exalted. Their creators, the Primordials, are not accountable due to being dead, imprisoned, or fled for their lives. The gods, however, designed a race of superhumans (the eponymous Exalted) to defeat their masters, then left them to run reality. The gods are still around, but the most powerful of them refuse to do anything except play heavenly foozball. The rest have become thoroughly corrupt, as all of reality falls into chaos and madness.
    • The defense appeals this ruling, on the grounds that it is implied that the gods were not entirely aware of just how addictive the Games of Divinity really were. If this is the case, they most likely had every intention of ruling wisely and well, and are guilty only of falling victim to Applied Phlebotinum of which they had little understanding. This is supported by the fact that the withdrawal of the Incarnae from mortal and Exalted affairs happened very gradually, over the course of millenia. Furthermore, the Great Curse and the Usurpation are responsible for much of the corruption in Heaven and Creation, and effectively removed the beings best equipped to clean up the situation. One of the functions of the Exalted is, after all, to keep the lesser gods (who have exceedingly narrow perspectives and tend to view everything through the lens of their spheres of influence) in line.
  • Star*Drive is filled to the brim with ancient alien ruins, some of them quite advanced. Humans of various faiths (Hatire and Ancientist) find religious inspiration in these ruins, but this probably wasn't the intent of the precursors.
  • Blackmoor and Evergrun, two ancient civilizations from the Mystara D&D setting, aspired to technological greatness but succeeded only in damn near blowing up the world. Oh, and they left some spare nukes sitting around for their barbaric successors to tinker with, which is why the Known World now has a contaminated wasteland called the Broken Lands in the middle of it.
  • Forgotten Realms—The Dracorage Mythal. Making the device designed to put all dragons in the world at once into murderous madness may be justified by the extreme situation those ancient elves faced. But leaving it around for the rest of eternity (it survived even severe damage to the Weave)? Especially considering its short activation by a comet was not an inherent feature, but merely a control condition that could be changed by a competent enough wizard—which eventually happened.


  • The Great Beings of Bionicle were scientist-rulers on their planet, until they created the Element Lords to take over the "ruling" part so they could focus on the "science". This is perhaps the most damning display of negligence, creating proxies so that they can safely afford to neglect their subjects. (Though it could be argued that they did act responsibly in making sure there were proper replacements.) While things were all right for a while, Unobtainium was discovered and the Element Lords led their subjects in waging a No Blood for Phlebotinum war over it, one that only ended when said Unobtainium split the planet into pieces. The Great Beings tried nonviolent solutions, all of which failed. The eventually resorted to creating baterra robots, a last-ditch doomsday weapon programmed to end the war by killing all armed combatants. However, they were released too late to prevent the disaster, and later overrode their shutdown commands.
    • Also built in response to the impending cataclysm was Mata Nui, a living forty-million foot Humongous Mecha, who was launched into space to observe other cultures before returning when the planet could be rebuilt. Large enough to house a biosphere and inhabited and maintained by man-sized biomechanical "nanotech". One race, the Makuta, eventually turned evil due to a design flaw (the Great Beings gave them elemental Shadow powers, unaware(?) that Shadow is The Dark Side). One Makuta took over Mata Nui's body and sent his consciousness into exile in a Soul Jar. Also, the plan was that this Makuta would take over the body while Mata Nui took over a second one, and the two would work together to restore the planet; Makuta just took over in the worst way at the worst time.
      • Objection!: Mata Nui created the Makuta, not the Great Beings. Mata Nui may have been destined to work together with Makuta, but the fact remains that Makuta's rebellion, ironically enough, was all Mata Nui's fault. Come to think of it, a case should probably be presented against Mata Nui...
    • While the sheer number of safeguards ensuring Mata Nui's functioning, as well as the attempts to stop the war and the disaster, argue against negligence, the issue of the Element Lords still looms large. However, it occurs to the court that the Great Beings are only precursors to Mata Nui and his inhabitants, not to the other races that they passed off to the Element Lords. So they were precursors and may have been negligent, but not both at the same time.
  • Charges have been found and filed against the Transformers being known as Primus: the defendant failed to properly expunge a deadly form of reproduction from the early Transformer ancestors, leading to the creation of the Swarm, an Omnicidal Maniac Eldritch Abomination that nearly destroyed several civilizations across the galaxy, including the modern-day Transformers. The defendant also created the Fallen, a creature that oversaw the universal element of entropy, an element that the defendant's brother and eternal enemy Unicron is the embodiment of, essentially handing the Chaos Bringer his very own avatar to do his bidding with. In short, thanks to the defendant's absentmindedness, he had an indirect hand in creating two of the Transformers' worst enemies, of whom only one had been "neutralized" (although the Swarm's "purified" form of the Vok could arguably be considered just as nasty as their previous selves), while the other is still at large and continues to plague the defendant's creations, on occasion. The defendant also is highly reluctant to wake himself unless there is a significant and direct threat either from Unicron himself, or against the defendant's person, and even then, he uses proxies to do the dirty work, for him; for instance, he allowed the Transformers to wage a civil war that lasted aeons and devastated and drained their home planet - the defendant's body - almost to destruction, with very little repercussions, but when Unicron began actively hunting down and consuming the sparks of the Transformers, thus weakening the defendant's power, the defendant hired one of the remaining Transformers to form an army against Unicron, and allowed him to choose a scant 2 soldiers from time and space to fill that army with.

Video Games

  • The Forerunners of Halo. Evidence: They knowingly concealed the existence of an extremely dangerous and parasitic organism capable of annihilating all sentient life in the Galaxy. They defeated this organism via the use of superweapons which did, in fact, annihilate all sentient life in the Galaxy. They leave the superweapons in an operable state capable of another Galactic genocide. AND they don't even bother to destroy the last remnants of the parasite, which they left in stasis on board the superweapons!
    • The defense enters into evidence Halo 3, confirming that the Forerunners' entire extinction was due to a sudden and unexpected shift in the war with the Flood, which forced them to fire the Halo array. In fact, in that same game, it is revealed that the Forerunners were actively attempting to preserve the species of the galaxy by sheltering them on the Ark, well away from the Halo array's firing range. Only when this came under threat did they utilize the Halo array.
    • The evidence is not simply misleading, it is largely untrue. The Forerunners did not conceal information regarding the Flood; that information is readily available if one simply asks the Monitors. The weapons in question were only operable by members of a single species which was supposed to serve as the Forerunners' successors, but due to cataclysmic damage they were not aware they could utilize the weapon. And while the Flood samples were contained on the rings instead of being destroyed, evidence indicates that the Flood are an extra-galactic entity (making extermination pointless and research on countering them important) and the Flood themselves were kept securely contained until the Covenant disregarded the warnings and forcibly released them.
    • New evidence from The Forerunner Saga clearly showed the Forerunners were not actually neglectful so much as self-destructive.
  • Your honor, the Hyrulians of The Legend of Zelda would like to bring forth a suit: the three Goddesses left behind the Triforce, which is their exit door and Cosmic Keystone. There were a few precautions against it getting nicked by a sociopathic man-bear-pig, but clearly they weren't enough. They let Link and Zelda clean up after them, giving them fairly useless "help" such as Light Spirits of Hyrule and the Sages, while in the interim innocents suffer and die before the Link of that time can get going.
    • Defense brings up that failure of precautions does not indicate failure of the precursors. Any precaution can fail when against someone who is intelligent and resourceful enough. Contrary to plantiff's arguments the three Goddesses are active in Hyrule insuring the rise of a hero or other action whenever evil rises. The Light Spirits and Sages have proven to be instrumental in stopping said evils proving they are far from useless. Innocents suffering is unfortunelty part of the mortal world, but these are usually short periods of unrest followed by long periods of quiet as demonstrated by the nature of the Hylian army. Defense moves to dismiss suit based on the Goddesses constantly taking action and not being the universe's baby-sitters.
  • In their exodus from this area of the galaxy, the Precursors of the Star Control series absent-mindedly left behind a humongous battleship armed with superweapons that can wipe out entire fleets with each shot. Naturally, the enslaving Ur-Quan Kzer-Za stumble across it, naming it Sa-Matra. Among the numerous other artifacts the Precursors left behind are: bombs used as planeteering tools (one is used to put a hole in the outer layers of a star, causing it to flare like a supernova and sterilizing the entire inhabited system, and another is deemed powerful enough to destroy the Sa-Matra only after amplifying modifications are added by the Chmrr), the Mycon (biological planeteering tools that evolved into a race of fungi who terraform inhabited water worlds by force to their own scorching ideal conditions), and Inter-Dimensional-Fatigue-wave-generating devices (the study of which gets the Androsynth eaten by Lovecraftian extradimensional horrors).
    • Arguably an act of self-defense. Word of God has stated that the sequel was always intended to explain what happened to the Precursors. Despite the fact that the original creators lost control over the IP before making said sequel; to some extent, the (non-canon) sequel Star Control 3 DID justify things. The Precursors had been searching for a way to survive a galaxy-wide genocidal sweep of sentient species from even more powerful space entities and FAILED to come up with a combative method of survival despite said superweapons.
  • The Xel'Naga of the StarCraft series created the Zerg, which promptly killed them, then spread like a plague of locusts and started consuming other species wholesale. The Zerg Overmind's rebellion shouldn't have been entirely unforeseen; the Protoss, their prior creations, similarly rebelled and chased their creators off. As of the end of the Brood War, it seems that the Zerg are the single most powerful force lurking in space, making things all the worse. If the kooks spent a little of their supposedly-vast resources building some defenses for their worldships instead of mucking with genetics, this mess wouldn't have happened.
    • Your honor, in light of new evidence it appears that the Zerg's misbehaviour may have been due to the intercession of The Dark Voice, an entity the Xel'Naga imprisoned in the ancient past. This may be grounds for them to have any neglectful accusations dismissed.
  • The Eloh, the ancient precursors of Tabula Rasa, created a superscience capable of manipulating energy and matter by acts of will. They then went through interstellar space handing this stuff out randomly. When this didn't end well - surprise, surprise - they annihilated the entire military of the first race to rise against them, the Thrax, firmly cementing xenophobia. Then a small faction called the Neph went and enslaved the Thrax and went on a war against the rest of the universe to make sure no one would ever be their equals again, starting with the mainstream Eloh. Rather than actually fighting back or enlisting (or even warning) the sentient races across the universe, the Eloh just tossed various pieces of Applied Phlebotinum on random populated and unpopulated worlds. At least the Sages of the The Legend of Zelda series bothered to seal away the evil in a can.
  • Suit brought on behalf of the people of Azeroth and related worlds of Warcraft against the the Titans, who ordered the universe, defeating evil where they found it. Crafting prisons to host creatures like demons, the Old Ones and their elemental servants, though their intentions were noble, it hasn't really worked out in the universes' favor. Also, the demons were released by a corrupted member of their race, and while they tried to ease his pain, it is unknown if they did anything to stop him after he turned.
    • Defense raises the following points: 1. Destroying the Old Ones would have required destroying and remaking Azeroth as well. By imprisoning them the Titans gave the races a chance to grow instead of destroying them outright. 2. The Titans are well aware of the fall of one of their own and the demons and are fighting against it across the universe. Whereas other precursors often abandon the younger races, the Titans continue to fight these evils providing support for the world of Azeroth and countless others. Move to dismiss due to being active and not neglectful.
  • Your Honour, we would like to know your opinion on prosecuting The Nameless One as a Neglectful Precursor to himself. Thanks to multiple cases of Easy Amnesia, almost every Precursor never figured out about the whole immortality loop. One of the few incarnations that figured it out took extreme measures to make sure that his next incarnation (the player) could fix the problem, although he was an extremely evil Jerkass.
  • Potentially the player in Spore. One of the achievements requires them to uplift a certain number of creatures. The easiest way to do this is to just randomly drop monoliths on every planet encountered without sentient life and then forget about it.
  • Your Honour, I would like to submit another case: The Elder Gods from the Mortal Kombat series. They seem to be perfectly willing to allow the realms to be endangered by either a renegade Elder (Shinnok), a Knight Templar protector (Raiden) or other entity (Blaze). Even the times they do pay attention, the go back on their word, as Scorpion will attest.
  • The Shee in the Creatures series created the Norns, fuzzy adorable little critters with rudimentary intelligence that they claimed to love as pets. But when they decided it was time to move on to a bigger, round world, they left most of the creatures they had created to die on their home planet.
  • Your Honour, we would like to state the case against the Precursors from Jak and Daxter on the following grounds: they did knowingly position the world's supply of Dark Eco in easily accessible silos that simply require one of their seemingly thousands of Humongous Mecha left lying around; they did position the Precursor Stone, the last egg of their own species. within a dungeon without taking any precautions to prevent its theft after the door was opened by their chosen hero; and moreover that the rupture of said stone would destroy the entire universe. However, there is a mitigating factor in their near-extermination by a Horde of Alien Locusts; what is the verdict, your honour?
  • Your Honor, I would like to bring forth the case of the people of Vana'diel from Final Fantasy XI versus Altana and the Celestial Avatars. Upon creating the world of Vana'diel Altana carelessly left the keys to undoing all of creation, the Mother Crystals, not in scattered places across the planet buried deep under the seas or mountains, but instead she left them easily accessible within hundreds of yalms of each other. And when the Zilart attempted to harness the power of the Mother Crystals nearly obliterating the planet, did she attempt to move the Mother Crystals or even destroy the machinery that the Zilart created? No! She left it all intact setting the stage for the same tragedy to unfold again! Instead she sat back and watched while random people got together and fought back the various schemes that she could not be bothered to acknowledge.
  • Your honor, the citizens of the Homeworld galaxy would like to present the following class - action suit against the ancient Hiigaran, Taiidan and Bentusi empires, and the Progenitors.
    • Your honor, the actions of the ancient Hiigarans, Taiidans, and Bentusi resulted in the Hiigarans' descendants being exiled for 3,000 years on the barren desert world of Kharak. The terms prohibited the exiles from developing certain technologies. However, the records of those terms were lost, so that the Kushans had no idea of the danger. As a result, the modern Taiidans attacked in response, unaware that the Kushans had no way of knowing what was going on, wiping out all life on Kharak.
    • Your honor, there is no incontrovertible evidence the loss of records was anything more than a tragic accident. The attack by the Taiidans was the sole result of a decision made by the Taiidan leadership of the time. The terms of my clients’ treaties did not require such a ruthless response. The exile itself, while harsh, appeared to be the only way to prevent the ancient Hiigarans from enslaving the galaxy. The Hiigarans and Taiidans paid a terrible price for their mistakes. The Bentusi accept some guilt for limiting their aid and propose their community service guiding the Kushans toward their destiny following the initial events of the modern Kushan – Taiidan conflict be accepted as penance. In summary, my clients have already paid their debt to society!
    • Your honor, the Progenitors left behind many ancient weapons and other devices. These items became the most prized commodity in the galaxy, giving military superiority to whoever possessed them, triggering wars for countless years to come. The security systems left behind by these artifacts made no attempt to stop the ancient Hiigarans or Makaan from obtaining their cores but instead attacked a fleet sent to stop Makaan.
    • Your honor, the evidence tying the Progenitors to many of these alleged crimes is very weak. We do not know how the unguarded artifacts came to be unguarded. The Progenitors had no way of knowing the fleet sent to retrieve their dreadnaught would do so to prevent misuse rather than to be an accessory to it. We move that charges be dismissed until more evidence can be uncovered.
  • Your honor, the people of the collective worlds of Final Fantasy wish to file charges against the Lufenian people. The plaintiff also wishes to directly charge Cid Lufaine and Shinryu in this incident. As evidence we point to the Lufenian War, which was directly responsible for the creation of airship technology, the floating fortress (which was filled with weaponry), the relocation of the crystal of Wind to said fortress, the invention of the War Machine technology, initial contact with the being known as Omega, the invention of Manikins, and the creation of the beings known as Cosmos and Chaos. Cid Lufaine and Shinryu, while not the perpetrators of the original Lufenian conflict are indicted for the following: 1.) Usage of Cosmos and Chaos to involve the innocents of other worlds, 2.) The eventual freeing of Chaos from World B, and the Time Loop he created thereafter, 3.) Imprisoning innocents in their sick war games, in a location known as "World B." 4.) The inhuman treatment of said innocents as cattle to feed Chaos and Shinryu, and 5.) All incidents caused, directly or indirectly, by the actions of Cid Lufaine, Chaos, and Shinryu, who, implicitly, endorsed the atrocities committed by Mateus Palamecia, the Cloud of Darkness, Theodor "Golbez" Harvey, Ex-Death, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Ultimecia, Kuja, and Jecht, up to and including their willingness to repeatedly restore life to these individuals at the cost of life of the innocent.
  • In light of the recent testimony of Cmdr. Shepard, the Citadel races would like to file charges against the Catalyst, and its creators to be tried in absentia. These individuals are responsible for the creation of the Reapers, currently facing at least 740 counts of galactic genocide. Only their claimed rationale for allowing these acts, that they believed a Robot War to be inevitable, and thus created the Reapers to prevent sufficiently advanced races from creating sufficently powerful synthetic races, prevents the plaintiffs from charging abuse rather than neglect.
    • The defense moves that charges against the Catalyst's creators be dropped or postponed due to lack of evidence. As it stands, we have only the Catalyst's word that he/she/it created the Reapers, that it set the Reapers on a never-ending cycle of destruction, and that it did so in spite of a better solution.


  • The Dragons from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob left behind one of the deadly Iridium Bombs from their ancient war that wiped out the dinosaurs. The government found it and human civilization almost got blown up in the ensuing scuffle.
  • The creators of the universe in Homestuck were caught up in other matters and never got the chance to shape it as gods. This was probably for the best.
  • Your honor, the people of Chel'el'Sussoloth would like to bring charges against the Dokkalfar kingdoms. They opened nether gates, bringing demonic beings to feast upon our life energy. They squandered their homelands and forced their descendents to live underground and be transformed into monsters! For 1100 years, they then ruled us with an iron fist from afar in their towers above our city. Had they stepped down and agreed to share what they knew, perhaps the recent Nidraa'chal “incident” would never have occurred. Now, when we need them most, they refuse to teach our heroes how to fight the darkness, instead waiting for us to destroy ourselves before deciding it is time to rebuild.
    • Your honor, have we, the last surviving Dokkalfar, not suffered enough? We sacrificed our lives and bodies to give our descendents a chance to build a new home, and how do they repay us? By slaughtering us so that they can forget what we taught them! It is we who are the victims here!
    • Your honor, my clients would like to ask that a verdict be withheld until the current series of events is played out. There is still opportunity for the facts of the case to change.

Web Original

  • The case against the P!k Gardeners of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is, granted, mostly circumstantial, but the prosecution is confident that the jury will reach the correct conclusion. The first action these so-called "Gardeners" took upon discovering ancient Earth some sixty-five million years ago is to completely wreck Earth's biosphere by dropping a nickel-iron asteroid some ten kilometers in diameter onto what would later be the Yucatan penninsula. After performing this massive act of vandalism (an act which only prevents them from being charged as Abusive Precursors because no sentient dinosaur-descendants survived the act itself), they fade into the woodwork for sixty million years. When they return, they continue their program of vandalism by tinkering with the genetic code of certain primate species, giving them the potential to develop superpowers, but failing to provide supervision or instruction in the use of those superpowers by once again disappearing into the blackness of space, never to be seen again. The resulting chaos caused by the appearance of those superpowers can be measured in the loss of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damages. The prosecution rests.

Western Animation

  • Your Honour, the prosecution wishes to file suit against The Vok from Beast Wars. While likely not outright precursors like the Quintessons, there is considerable evidence to be presented: At least two of their machines were present on or in the orbit of prehistoric Earth prior to the Beast Wars. While appearing more curious than malevolent in the beginning, by the halfway point of the show, they were clearly shown as openly hostile, and omnicidal. Consider the following:
    • Their second expedition to prehistoric Earth was an experiment to test and gauge the threat level of the transformers. When the robots failed, the Vok's third machine was revealed - one of Earth's moons turned out to be a heat ray capable of a Class X Apocalypse How event. This machine was used, and, if not for the intervention and sacrifice of Optimus Primal, would have achieved its' purpose. Additionally, this device was indeed in orbit long before the arrival of the transformers.
    • Also, their fourth machine, while not quite as destructive, still posed an enormous threat, once it was captured by Megatron. The security protocols were almost laughably inept at keeping them robots out, much less preventing a hostile takeover.
    • Finally, there is the arrival of the Vok themselves: intent on destroying the reality-breaking criminal Megaton, at a time when doing so would have created an equally damaging rift in time (i.e., the original Megatron's spark was still inside his body). Furthermore, their lack of willingness to cooperate, if not downright contempt for Optimus Primal's warning about these consequences resulted in him nearly being killed.