Tele Frag

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Amy: So where'd [the Ood] go?
Doctor: You're breathing him.

Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife"

Teleportation can be very dangerous if you don't look where you're going. If you teleport into someone else, or someone else teleports into you... splat.

The term comes from early First-Person Shooter Video Games, where both materializing when spawning and proper teleportation can "frag" a player standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is also known as interpenetration, especially when there is no exploding involved.

In the cases where this is harmful to the teleporter, the dangers of teleporting into a space currently occupied by air and dust are usually ignored. This can be handwaved by stating that the teleporter is capable of displacing gases, liquids, and minuscule solids therein.

The usual aversion is swap-porting. Then, if you appear inside a mountain, a statue appears at the starting position, but you're still Buried Alive unless you can teleport again immediately (for one, encasing tends to impair ability to speak or move)... and didn't waste too much time on panic...

The opposite of a Portal Cut (a perfect guillotine made by disconnection of the gate's surfaces while someone or something is passing through, or otherwise using partial teleportation to cut something apart). If the teleporter isn't fine tuned, expect a Teleporter Accident to result.

See also Portal Slam (when there's something in the way when you try to enter a teleportal). Can be used to defy Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress by destroying the offending obstacle. The supertrope is teleporting things to anyplace that's inherently extremely dangerous even if it's not actually inside a solid object, such as into deep space, over lava, or 100 feet straight up.

Examples of Tele Frag include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mahou Sensei Negima: the cast had just traveled a ten-day leap backwards in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, unfortunately without enough time to give any idea as to where they would appear. They nearly fell several thousand feet, but afterward one character remarked about their luck of not appearing inside a rock.
  • In Darker than Black one of Contractors has swap-teleport power, so even arriving mostly inside a stone wall wasn't any trouble for him. It was more dangerous for people whose vitals he tried to swap with some part of said wall.
  • Hashigen Uchida from Bleach using this to take out Barragan.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Kuroko explicitly states her teleporting one object into another displaces the material occupying the old space, regardless of what either object was. At one point, she tears down a building by teleporting sheets of glass into its support pillars. She also threatens to teleport her needles into people. She only tries this once, however, and it misses.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Awaki is a Level 4 Teleporter like Kuroko, and was on her way to becoming Level 5, but she had an incident where she miscalculated her teleportation and ended up getting her leg telefragged into a wall and had her skin and muscles ripped off on removal because, unlike Kuroko, her power does not displace materials. The trauma was so terrible that she is paranoid about teleporting herself and takes an extra 3 seconds to recalculate, and anything that reminds her of the incident terrifies her. The stress when she actually does manage to teleport makes her unable to do it consecutively more than 3 or 4 times and makes her vomit.

Comic Books

  • Watchmen took this to the logical extreme with teleporting into air being deadly.
  • Gateway, from Marvel Universe, has the power to teleport people... or pieces of them... like hearts.
  • Marvel's most famous teleporter, Nightcrawler of the X-Men, has some really odd teleportation side effects: he generates a cloud of smoke, and the sound Bamf! when he disappears, but only the smoke when he reappears. The "bamf" has been explained as being due to air rushing in to fill the vacuum he leaves. But shouldn't the smoke be pulled in too? Not to mention the air doesn't get violently pushed apart causing more noise when appears.
    • The smoke is the atmosphere of the alternate dimension he travels through when teleporting.
    • The smoke is pulled in. But it puffs right back out again to fill the space his body took up.
    • Nightcrawler in the Age of Apocalypse is shown once teleporting away from an enemy—taking several of the foe's fingers with him. He does it again later, with Dead Man Wade's head.
      • The Regular continuity Nightcrawler has threatened this on several occasions, scaring opponents into submission by telling them he'll teleport their arms off. In practice all he really ever goes is grab someone and 'port them a few times until they pass out, as teleporting is depicted as extremely uncomfortable for those not used to it.
      • Rogue, using Nightcrawler's power, teleported Nimrod's arm off the first time the X-Men encountered him. (Nimrod being a robot gets around the heroes-don't-kill thing.) Nightcrawler tried to do the same thing later on, and Nimrod demonstrates why using the same tactic against him twice is a bad idea.
    • In Exiles, team teleporter Blink has done this, both intentionally and while under someone else's control.
    • More related to the trope page, Nightcrawler gives his fear of telefragging as reasoning not to teleport into a place that he hasn't seen, and in some versions that isn't within sight of his location.
    • The telefragging was present in X-Men: Evolution—but not for the party you'd think. Scarlet Witch messed up his powers and caused him to teleport into a sign. The sign was pushed apart by Nightcrawler appearing in the middle of it. What would happen if it had been a person is left to the imagination.
    • Nightcrawler willingly telefrags himself by teleporting in the way of Bastion's blow against Hope and gets an arm stuck in his chest for his efforts. He teleports Hope away, taking Bastion's arm with him, and clings to life just long enough to make sure that Hope is safe with Cyclops before dying.
    • In Kevin Smith's Spider-Man & Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do, Nightcrawler remarks on the effects of killing someone by teleporting into their body. He avoids the act based on the squick factor.
    • He pulls the "teleport your arm off" schtick with Spiral in Wolverine and the X-Men. Although in this continuity, she visibly has four robotic arms, and after he yanks the fourth one off he drops them at her feet, smirks, and states she should surrender because he's "run out of fake ones" to take.
  • This happened to Cable and Deadpool in their eponymous comic, Cable accidentally teleporting into Deadpool and fusing the two of them together.
  • Top Ten has travelers killed when two vehicles fuse together like this. It's treated like a traffic accident.
    • Wolfspider lost his legs in such an accident. He takes a personal interest when some jerk causes such a crash. Very personal.
  • In a recent Virgin Comics Dan Dare issue, a team of commandos is poised to rescue Dare from the Mekon's battleship via jumping by dead reckoning directly into the landing bay. It's a risky move no matter how confident they are in the maths. When they arrive, they have the top halves of some very surprised enemy troopers sticking out of the deck into their ship. Their intrepid pilot was less lucky; the nose of the ship, and part of his head, were embedded into a parked shuttle.
  • In Alan Moore's seminal Miracleman, one of the first moves in the climactic fight against Kid Miracleman is to teleport him into a wall. It doesn't work at all; he breaks out instantly. It does, however, work when the Warpsmith tries it the other way around -- teleporting a chunk of asphalt and rebar into Kid Miracleman's head, and an I-beam through his chest. Even this isn't immediately fatal.
  • Don Rosa points out that it can also happen with time travel [dead link]: what if, in the age you're travelling to, there's a tree right where you stand? It's what sets in motion the plot of The Once and Future Duck.



O'Neil: Give my regards to King Tut, asshole!

    • Also the climax has Daniel escape to safety when the transporter rings descend, just as Ra is about to kill him. Ra then realises that he's staring at a nuclear bomb that was sent up in his place... and its got about 5 seconds left on the timer.
    • There was also a deleted scene where its shown two Horus Guards apparently tried to come through the gate while it was buried. This left them flash-fossilised in solid rock.
  • Invoked by Doc in the third Back to The Future film. He explains the reason they're out in the middle of the desert is because the Delorean will have plenty of run-off space in a wide-open area. Sending Marty back to a place that is populated or geograhically unknown would be very dangerous idea, there's a risk he could easily crash into someone or something that once existed there.


  • Mentioned as a concern in the Halo novel Ghosts of Onyx where two human ships had tried to engage their FTL slipspace drives without sufficient power and were turned into atomized pieces.
  • A very mild form happens in Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony in the time-tunnel. Artemis and Holly each wind up with one of the other one's eyes, and No1 loses a couple megabytes' worth of memories.
  • One of the Magic: The Gathering books had a character with an item that let her teleport anywhere by intoning where she wanted to go three times (Wizard of Oz style). She uses it in a way probably not intended by the person who gave it to her when she says the name of one of the villains three times. Ludicrous Gibs result.
    • In the actual card game, this is how some visualize Counter Target Creature Spell effects. The creature arrives on the battlefield, halfway through stepping out of the portal, the counterspell is cast, and the portal closes. Resulting in bit of a mess for the janitors.
  • The protagonists of Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast worry about what would happen should they accidentally end up inside solid rock, mainly because their best guess is that it would create an explosion the size of a small star. Thankfully they're careful (or lucky) enough that it never happens.
  • In the novel The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, telefragging was used as an incarceration device. In the novel, every human has learned how to naturally self-teleport (called Jaunting), which made it rather difficult to detain prisoners. The method that governments used was to put the prisoners into jails which prevented them from having any knowledge of their present location (by being deep underground and in the dark, for instance). Knowing where you are, and where you're going are pre-requisites for safely Jaunting. By preventing prisoners from knowing where they are, they could not Jaunt to where they'd like to be without a very large chance of ending up somewhere else entirely... like inside a mountain. Occasionally a prisoner would go insane from the isolation and attempt a "Blue Jaunt" (as in "into the wild blue..."), which was just a fancy way to commit suicide.
  • Averted in Discworld, because when someone teleports, whatever was at their destination is sent back (see swap-porting above). In Interesting Times, Rincewind points out this isn't much better:

"So I'd still be in the middle of a mountain but in a me-shaped hole? Oh good, instant fossil."

  • In The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, traveling portals Portal Cut away anything that happens to be where they open, living or inanimate.
    • Later in the series, vertical spinning portals opening and closing rapidly are employed as weapons to slice apart enemy troops.
    • Likewise, Shadowspawn can't survive a trip through the gates, so opening random portals under them is a combat technique.
  • The Wild Cards villain The Astronomer was killed this way, but with intangibility instead of teleportation. He had a buttload of powers, but with the limitation that he could only use one power at a time. He tried to throw up a mental shield while phasing through a wall. Splat.
  • In one of the earlier Dragonriders of Pern books, a party exploring some of the abandoned corridors of Benden Weyr came across a Weyrling pair (a young dragon and his equally young rider) encased in rock after a bad jump between. They had no idea who they were or how long they'd been there. (We do find out who it is in Dragon's Blood). A more frequent danger for the Dragonriders is simply not coming out the other side of a jump. Obviously, bodies are unlikely to be found unless encased halfway, and such cases are rare, if particularly infamous.
  • In the Harry Potter universe, the Floo Network (basically magical teleport conduits) and use of Portkeys (charmed objects designed to transport the user to a designated spot) are monitored and regulated to avoid such collisions. Apparating is also restricted to adult wizards and witches for this reason, as there's a good chance that parts of the wizard or witch could fail to appear in the right places (a phenomenon known as "splinching"). This happens to Ron in Deathly Hallows, and it's not pretty.
    • Fortunately, wizarding medical science can treat pretty much everything other than death, curse injuries and (for some reason) eye maladies, so while messy, injuries resulting from failed apparition can generally be rectified with a minimum of fuss.
  • Relg the Ulgo from David Eddings' Belgariad series once used his power of phasing through rock to kill an attacker by phasing both of them into a boulder, then phasing just himself back out, leaving two hands gruesomely protruding from the boulder. He also used a more conventional telefrag to create handholds in a rock wall, allowing the rest of the party to easily scale it, by phasing his hand in and out, instantly powdering the rock in fist-shaped holes.
  • May have happened in Piers Anthony's Mode series. Darius can teleport himself and others safely to any location he's familiar with. (He names a general area, visualizes it, and the magic presumably does the rest.) When the group is attacked by two soldiers, he teleports them to their castle, which can just be seen on the horizon. When another character asks if he's ever been there, he says, "No. So their arrival may be unpleasant."
  • Pebble In The Sky by Isaac Asimov features an accidental time traveller from the 20th century whose had the toe of his shoe Portal Cut off by the "time travel beam". The same beam also brought half of a doll lying on the ground with him.
  • In The Tomorrow War by Alexander Zorich a jumping ship absorbs anything at the destination. Which is why it's wise to jump somewhere without atmosphere or excessive dust. And even better to pop up either very far from the star on in the shadow of a planet to avoid catching a flash of solar wind. They have lots of redundant systems to live with what contamination cannot be avoided. The only exception are ships hanging in transition state (submarine-like), as they exit into the normal space more slowly and somehow displace thin dust or gas. Also, a jump drive can carry limited volume (it quickly becomes prohibitively expensive), so a big ship needs to use several, and if one of its drives or their synchronisation fails, ship is Portal Cut by jump.
  • In the short story 'Via Vortex' of the Sideways in Crime alternate history anthology, the victorious Nazis use Pseudo-Science to teleport around the world. When you are teleported somewhere you need an equal amount of human flesh to recreate yourself. Convicted criminals supply said mass. The teleport booth has a built in shower to clean out either the original disassembled 'you', or any leftover mass from the victim you reappear within.
  • The Warlock's kids from The Warlock In Spite Of Himself series like to play by 'porting rocks inside of trees. Boom! Try it yourself, it's great fun, if you can surround yourself with impenetrable forcefields to avoid splinters. And be sure to telepathically scan the area first so no innocent bystanders get hurt. 'Kay?
  • Bhelliom in The Shining Ones mentions how unusual it is for two objects to share the same space. When asked about it:

"I beg of thee, ask him not to continue this line of enquiry. The answers will greatly disturb him."

  • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Transit has a teleport network spanning the Solar System, where trains are sent through the gates. There are occasional references to the Bad Accident, which is eventually explained as what happened when two trains tried to materialise in almost the same place at the same time. They ended up merged together. And so did everyone on board.
    • Also referenced in the Missing Adventures novel The Dark Path, as a semi-standard military tactic used to cripple starships (e.g., by teleporting someone or something into the location where a ship's pilot is sitting) without actually damaging the ship itself - and yes, the technique was actually referred to as "telefragging".
  • In the Young Wizards sidestories, the Feline Wizards, Arhu is arguing about the dangers inherent in the place they're going. His older partners warn against cave ins, at which points he mentions teleporting out or simply phasing through it. Irritated at him being right, they pull out an unlikely and convoluted scenario involving the Gates warping the reality of the rocks he's working on, getting him stuck inside and destroyed because the rocks are 'older.' His elders have been working with the Gates for years; they know that this kind of thing can happen. In fact, they've probably seen it.
    • It was a scare tactic. It's possible, but they just wanted him to shut up and listen since the arrogant attitude would cause dangers in itself.
  • The Stephen King short story The Jaunt has an interesting take on this. (And yes, the title's a Shout-Out to Bester's novel.) If you're conscious while you teleport, your mind experiences an astronomical amount of time as pure consciousness, while your body is instantly transported. We're talking millions of years seeing the unseeable. Everyone who has emerged while conscious has either died instantly from shock, or gone utterly insane, and so travelers are given mandatory sedation. It's mentioned that the system has been used by the Mafia and others as a dumping ground for victims both dead and alive, implying that there may be people existing eternally as pure consciousness. And I Must Scream, indeed.
  • John Birmingham's story Weapons of Choice sees a time-travelling naval flotilla from 2021 shoot back in time to 1942. It telefrags the US Carrier Strike Force en-route to do battle with the Japanese at Midway. Many crew and even the ships themselves intersect, and it's all very messy, really.
  • James H. Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon story "Sleep No More". Telzey is being pursued by a teleporting monster that homes in on its target's mind. She mentally projects an image of herself being inside a nearby mountain, and when the monster teleports to that location and merges with solid rock there's an explosion.
  • Dean Koontz novel The Bad Place. Frank Pollard has a problem: when he teleports, small pieces of nearby objects end up being permanently embedded in his body. As the porting is somewhat uncontrollable and resulting in more and more outside mass being incorporated, the book ends with him forcibly teleporting his villainous brother again and again until their bodies have merged and enough outside mass has been worked in to make the final configuration unable to survive.
  • In Michael Grant's Gone, a cat teleports into a book, and the results are not pretty.
  • In the novel "Mindbridge" by Joe Haldeman, there is a mention of the Los Alamos disaster. "Two human bodies trying to occupy the same place at the same time turned a mountain into a deep valley and spread heavy fallout from Albuquerque to Mexico City"
  • This little ditty from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

I teleported home one night, with Ron and Sid and Meg,
Ron stole Meggy's heart away, and I got Sidney's leg.

  • In the Voyager novel, Pathways, Harry Kim manages to telefrag his own foot because he stepped off the transporter pad just as it was dematerializing him. He rematerialized with his foot inside a rock wall. Justified in that the transporter they were using had been hacked together out of spare parts, with none of the normal safety features of a regulation one.
  • Used intentionally by Mackenzie Calhoun in a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel using a portable transporter that can send anything a short distance away using voice commands. Mac needs to destroy a generator, but he is in the process of being pummelled by an enemy near the generator. He slips the transporter (which is the size of a coin) into the enemy's pocket and tells it to transport 5 meters to the right, which happens to be the generator. Unlike normal transporters, the portable version doesn't check first to make sure there's space available, resulting in the bad guy fusing with the generator, killing the former and destroying the latter.
  • In Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe, it is stated that a starship's teleporting drive should only be used to travel into outer space. If you try to emerge in a place which already contains air, it's not pretty.

Live-Action TV

  • In Stargate SG-1, Stargate Command's gate has a reinforced steel shield designed to do just this in case of pesky invaders.
    • Also, when the gate "opens", a spray of energy gushes out, disintegrating anything it encompasses. Except the iris, which is said to be positioned so close to the gate's surface that it prevents the vortex from forming in the first place.
    • The Ring Transporters, in contrast, perform a Portal Cut on anything unfortunate enough not to be either inside or outside the ring in question. They avert telefragging by switching the volumes on either end of the connection.
    • Early appearances by the Asgard had them using some form of clean disintegration weapon which appears to function by them using their signature teleporter to beam stuff up and not bothering to beam it down anywhere afterwards.
    • The gate has a safety feature to prevent this, only complete objects are sent through, so you can stick your arm in and still have it on the other side. Unfortunately this feature backfires if the gate shuts down prematurely, causing a Portal Cut
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus", the titular USS Pegasus had a Tele Frag-like encounter with an asteroid, thanks to a cloaking device that made the ship intangible. It broke while the ship was drifting through an asteroid field, and the ship ended up embedded halfway inside solid rock.
    • An early episode of Star Trek: Voyager had a malfunctioning food replicator (which works by a variation of the transporter technology) fuse an alien halfway into the floor.
      • A similar thing happens in Next Generation episode "In Theory", when a nebula has strange effects on matter: some poor crew member ends up falling partway through a floor before it becomes solid again. Not actually teleportation, but the end result is remarkably similar.
    • Likewise Seska kills two troublesome Kazon leaders by beaming them out into space.
    • In episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, a Red Shirt (uh, Red Stripe?) who gets beamed up during a windstorm in a forest appears with leaves and sticks stuck in him, while another who gets beamed out in a sandstorm gets a dermis full of sand. They live, though. Justified because the transporter's still in beta and doesn't have filters to prevent that yet.
      • All things considered, by far not the worst thing to happen to anybody because of the Transporters. Though it is understandable why nobody wants to actually use that thing on the show.
  • During a rescue mission on Battlestar Galactica one of the raptors in a squad miscalculates its jump, and arrives inside a mountain.
    • In "Someone to Watch Over Me", when Boomer jumps while fleeing Galactica, she tears out a section of the hull because she's too close.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Nightmare of Eden" begins with a hyperspace traffic accident that results in two spaceships interpenetrating.
    • In "Remembrance of the Daleks", the Doctor sabotages a Dalek teleporter so it telefrags itself, with the Dalek's insides and outsides trying to occupy the same space.
    • In "The Doctor's Wife", Nephew is "redistributed" when he happens to be standing right where the Doctor's makeshift TARDIS materializes.
  • In Sliders, the timer has safeguards to ensure that our heroes always slide into open air over solid ground. When malfunctioning, it's been known to send them into a broom closet or in the middle of the ocean.
    • Or in a memorable incident, half of them high in the air, landing on a window washer's rig, and the other half safely on the ground.
    • Another example had the portal open halfway in a building with two of the heroes ending up inside and two outside.
  • Used in Blakes Seven when Brian Blessed, while explaining his thirst for power in his usual manner, accidentally steps onto the teleporter. The crew of the Liberator tries to send him back to his planet... but unfortunately for him, it's out of range.
  • In Babylon 5 Jump points destroy everything around them. This is used by Minbari as weapon in the Movie "In the Beginning" and attempted by Scary Dogmatic Aliens in episode "A View From the Gallery".
    • Not to mention what happens when you open a jumppoint inside an active jumpgate. It's called the "Bonehead Maneuver". If you don't have a very very fast ship you won't get out of the blast radius, and not even warships built by the First Ones will survive it.
      • Also worth noting that smaller, faster ships don't have the power output to generate their own jump points. The ships big enough to make their own jump points are too heavy and slow to make the getaway. It's not until they develop the White Star in the third season of the show that they are willing to even attempt this. It's a close enough call that they don't bother to attempt it again.
  • A case of accidental telefragging in the two-part Freaky Friday The X-Files episode. During an test run with an experimental and top secret aircraft by the more secretive parts of the military, something went wrong that had space-time warping in the area. The results? One of the pilots is fused to a boulder and still breathing, a couple that were getting intimate is found fused together by their friend, and Mulder finds a pair of dimes intersecting each other perpendicularly perfectly.
  • In an episode of Fringe, a building from the other universe ends up in ours, resulting in a man being fused with parts of the building as well as his own duplicate.
  • An episode of Earth: Final Conflict has a man build a teleportation device, which he uses to teleport bombs directly to the target to perform assassinations. When his hideout is discovered, he promptly teleports himself to a warehouse he owns, only to be half-embedded in some shelves, which have been moved when the feds raided the place earlier. Realizing he is pretty much dead, he chooses to destroy his creation to prevent it from falling into the Taelon hands. He does this by teleporting to the same exact location. According to Augur, this will create an anti-matter explosion.
    • Another example in the final season, when an Atavus female uses a modified ID portal to go back to the distant past, when the Atavus ruled the Earth, and humans were still cavemen. Renee goes after her and then jumps back. The Atavus female enters the portal, but Renee has already turned it to face a wall. The Atavus ends up embedded in it.

New Media

  • Wormholes in the Orion's Arm universe would be rather dangerous to use without the safety precautions they have in place. Each wormhole's event horizon is coated by a layer of exotic matter; if anything comes in contact with this layer during transportation, everything inside is annihilated. Also, nothing larger than the wormhole itself can come within 427 AU of the wormhole (standard safety distance), or it will collapse and explode.

Newspaper Comics

  • In this Sunday strip of Dilbert, a future version of Wally, conducting some highly unethical time travel, accidentally telefrags a past co-worker when attempting to get a fresh cup of coffee from the past.

Tabletop Games

  • Most forms of personal teleportation in Warhammer 40,000 present this risk. On top of teleports working through what amounts to Hell.
    • The Orks use a heavy weapon called a Shokk Attack gun, that fires a small orkoid called a snotling through the Warp (40k's version of hyperspace and hell) to emerge inside its target, and driven completely mad by the experience. A snotling can play hell with the crew, or organs, inside an enemy unit.
    • In earlier editions they also had a support gun that could teleport enemies randomly. This had predictable results if they were teleported down.
    • Even in more recent editions, "Deep Striking" required that everyone in the squad appear within a certain radius. If obstacles prevent this, part of the squad will be killed.
    • Also, daemon summoning usually results in the major daemon appearing "in" the caster or sacrificial victim.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the early editions there was no failsafe: if you teleported into a solid object, you died. From AD&D 2 on, there's also Teleport Without Error variant with a safeguard, but 2 levels higher, that simply fails instead of delivery off target (safe or not). Some other translocation spells and effects in case of failure would "shunt" the traveler to the nearest suitable space, but this inflicts damage.
    • In the newer games teleportation spells tend to feature a failsafe that, in the event of a spellcaster accidentally attempting to teleport himself into a wall or some other invalid location, will shunt the spellcaster to the nearest valid (read: empty) square. However, if said square is too far away from the initial target location, the spellcaster starts taking damage with every square he is shunted through.
    • Some of the more safe variants shunts you into the Astral Plane if you can't be shunted to a nearby square. That may or may not be a bad thing, depending.
    • That's one of two reasons why wizards who weren't feebleminded too often tend to scry on poorly known locations before jumping there, if possible.
    • The Blood Magus prestige class in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons has this as an ability. You can teleport by simply entering one living being, and coming out of another one you know, wherever they are. It's normally harmless for everybody involved, but if you wish, you can make what the game charmingly calls a "catastrophic exit," literally exploding your way out of the destination point.
  • Paranoia, on the other hand, does not have this kind of pleasant upgrade to the Teleportation power. One bad roll and you can wind up as mincemeat.
  • In GURPS you simply can't teleport in this way. Even a Critical Failure lands you in an open location.
  • In both Hero System 5th and 6th editions, you can't teleport into something solid. A teleporter's "natural safety system" will automatically shift him to the nearest clear area big enough for him. However, this is a severe shock to that teleporter's system, and you don't get any defenses against that damage, so better hope the GM rolls low.
  • In BattleTech, the odds of telefragging when a Jump Ship jumps are astronomically slim due to the vastness of space. However, the annihilation of whatever interplanetary medium matter was in the destination point when a ship jumps in-system emits an electromagnetic pulse which is easily detectable.
  • In the Starfire series, ships travelling via wormhole reappear in a random position. Normally a fleet will pass through one by one to avoid accidents, but if the race involved doesn't care about losses the ships can pass through simultaneously. They risk reappearing in the same space and blowing up.

Video Games

  • Subverted in Marathon, if one stands on a teleporter exit point when another goes through the teleporter, the player on the exit point will be launched at high speeds in a random direction. If the teleporter is in a narrow hallway and it sends the launched player into the wall next to the exit point, expect Ludicrous Gibs, because they'll probably both have rocket launchers out.
  • In the X-Universe series of games, ships travel between different sectors of space through jumpgates. Jumpgates are two way, meaning that ships both enter and leave sectors from them. Meaning, you can use your jumpdrive to jump to a distant sector for a mission... right as a 5 kilometer long vessel is entering the jumpgate's event horizon (where you are). The Terran sectors in X3: Terran Conflict were notorious for this, as they have very active military patrols which fly between the smaller Terran gates very often.
    • In fairness, the devs did consider this trope. The gates and trans-orbital accelerators have a sort of traffic light system, and only the player flying on manual can run a red, so to speak. When time is not of the essence (i.e. any time you're not in danger of being shot to pieces), use the autopilot to go through the gate and you won't have any problems.
  • Telefragging got its name from the Doom series, where if someone teleported in and you were standing at that exact spot, you'd get reduced to Ludicrous Gibs and the teleporting player would be awarded a frag.
    • The initial release of Doom did not have telefragging. If you tried to use a teleporter and an object or enemy was standing on the destination point, the teleporter would simply not work. This counted as a Game Breaking Bug, as many levels can no longer be completed when an enemy gets "stuck" over the destination point and makes the teleporter unusable. This was fixed in a later release by making the incoming entity frag whatever is standing on the exit point, and this evolved into a gameplay mechanism.
    • Doom II's final boss shot cubes that caused monsters to teleport in when they hit the ground. If you were standing there, you'd die instantly, even if god mode was on (this is because god mode only protects against attacks less than 1,000 damage, and telefragging does 10,000).
      • Interestingly, monsters aren't allowed to telefrag, except the above-mentioned spawn cubes (on any level) and all monsters on MAP30. This can clearly be seen on many maps, where a huge horde of monsters teleports in—one monster at a time, shortly after the previous one is killed.
  • Heretic and Hexen, being Doom-engine-based games, naturally have telefragging, though they may or may not have the restriction mentioned above of non-boss monsters not being allowed to telefrag. There are probably few Hexen players who haven't been telefragged by Korax at least once.
    • Careful when playing co-op! If two people enter a teleporter in quick succession or even simultaneously, a double telefrag is the usual result.
  • A staple of the Unreal Tournament series, through use of both teleporter gates or the Translocator Beacon. Also, a damaged Translocator beacon would always Tele Frag the user and credit the kill to whoever damaged the beacon, making it a good idea to leave the beacon in an out-of-the-way area when not using it as a rapid approach device. (Damaged beacons cannot be automatically recalled, either; they must be manually recovered.)
    • If you have Improbable Aiming Skills, you could shoot the translocator beacon of anyone trying to rapidly approach with it while it's still flying through the air.
  • Discussed in World of Warcraft in the "Schools of Arcane Magic" books:
    • "Make absolutely certain you know your destination before attempting to teleport... attempts to cast a teleportation "on the fly" often result in one very dead mage inside a wall, chair, or another mage. And I don't mean in a fun way."
  • Quake inherited the mechanics.
    • Shub-Niggurath (named after one of HP Lovecraft's Eldritch Abominations), the final boss of Quake I, is only killable by this method (or by cheat for way too much ammo). There's a weird looking pod that flies around the boss room and deposits the player wherever it happens to be when you go into the teleporter, and at one point, the pod goes into Shub's body. If you go into the teleporter at that point, the result is a VERY messy demise for the Hell-Mother.
    • In Multiplayer Quake, for those lucky enough to have played over LAN and not Dial-up, nested telefrags were quite common. Player A respawns and Telefrags Player B, who respawns and Telefrags Player A who Telefrags Player B who Telefrags Player A ad infitum. Naturally, this problem decreases rapidly with the size of a map and quantity of respawn points on it.
    • Likewise, teleporting enemies can also telefrag the player.
  • The teleport pads in Starsiege: Tribes (which either came with the base game or one of the most popular mods ironically played more than the real game itself) killed you if you stood on them when someone was coming through. It also would kill you if you were too heavy.
  • Still possible, though a lot less likely, in Team Fortress 2. Don't crouch and melee a teleporter exit - you're likely to get 'sploded.
    • A popular strategy now is to sap a teleporter entrance, wait until the engineer repairs the exit (the sapper appears simultaneously on both the entrance and exit and can be destroyed by removing it from either end, somehow), and then telefrag the engy, because he's probably standing on top of it to repair the thing.
    • Although as an engineer, there is no death sweeter than telefragging an invisible spy on your teleporter.
    • See also this video.
  • Though you can't teleport into anyone else, telepad mishaps can kill—once, even to advance the plot—in the Crusader games...and then in the second game, one gets a weapon to sabotage telepads, killing anyone incoming on them.
    • You can telefrag yourself that way if the pad was supposed to be your escape route later on. Time to start the level over again...
  • Ill-designed maps in old FPS game (or ones subjected to abuse beyond all reason) have been known to reach a state where each character returns into play before the previous one has had time to get out of the way, causing the creation of the gib fountain.
    • It's a lot worse when you don't get telefragged by bad spawns. Spending the first five minutes of a round of Counter-Strike trying to get separated from the person who spawned into your head is not a good way to relax.
  • In Halo multiplayer, if you try to go through a one way teleporter, and somebody else is in the receiving end, you'll be blocked out for quite some time. The guy blocking will have his screen go white and his controller vibrate, and then finally he'll die and the teleporter will be sent through, receiving a telefrag for his effeorts. However, since this takes time to do, the guy trying to teleport may end up screwed if he's relying on the teleporter to escape from death, and the guy blocking will be completely unharmed.
    • This can also be a tactic: sit on the exit, and wait for someone to try to use it. When your screen starts going white, step back. The traveller generally won't have time to react to that "Teleporter is blocked" message on their screen, and will appear right in front of you, facing the other way. Free kill.
    • Dropped in the Mac/PC port, where corking the exit is a major part of strategy. Unfortunately, there is still one very embarrassing type of telefrag: If unattended vehicles are set to respawn and you're standing at the wrong spawn point, it will literally pounce on top of you for an instant kill.
    • Reach actually invokes this trope. You strip a ship of its Slipspace engine, sneak it onto a Convenant Corvette, and then use the Corvette to deliver the engine into the center of a Covenant Supercarrier. The resulting teleportation rips the supercarrier apart.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as well as Oracle of Ages, avoid this with travel between their two worlds/time periods. If you try to transport yourself into a solid object you'll flash for a bit and then be kicked back to your original position, able to adjust your position and try again.
  • A boss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia uses a glyph to pass through walls. Absorb the glyph while he's inside the wall and he dies instantly.
  • Iji's Komato Assassins carry a device that allows them to teleport around at will. They mentally map out the area prior to the fight, and are trained to stop pursuit if the prey leaves that area to avoid teleporting into a wall. As part of the backstory, Assassin Asha got too wrapped up in the pursuit of an enemy, ignored his training, and lost his arm in precisely this fashion.
    • Also, Sector 8 has a Trapmine - an item you can set on a teleport pad that goes off when anyone teleports through it, instagibbing the sucker that uses it (except in version 1.6) and rendering the teleporter unusable. Do NOT use it when Dan tells you to: save it for a later teleporter in the same sector, where it is much more needed.
  • The Malor spell in Wizardry involved teleportation via punching in the proper code for the desired area. The catch? Punch it in wrong and you appear inside a rock or some other undesirable place, killing the entire party.
  • In Roblox, the CFrame system actively tries to keep players (and other objects) from sticking into each other, even if they have disabled collision. (Sidestepped by scripting and simultaniously anchoring the bricks, preventing flying stuff from going everywhere. For non-CanCollideable objects, the physics object "BodyPosition" also works.) Sometimes it also leads to players stacked up on a SpawnLocation. Telefragging must be deliberately scripted into a place (and even then it's hard.) The trope is also played straight with Regeneration Buttons: If a player stand where an object is created when the button is pushed, they are trapped inside until either they reset themselves (many in-game items have been created to do this in the most humorous way possible) or a benevolent player triggers the regen again, which normally has a delay timer. Sometimes, a place creator may actually put the regen button right below where the seat of a vehicle appears, causing the player to instantly get control of the vehicle. Kid-friendly Ludicrous Gibs result if a player dies in any way (being a Lego-like game, they literally fall apart, no blood involved, though a player's head may roll away to who-knows-where, taking the camera with it since the camera only watches the head, not the player as a whole), and if they were the driver of a vehicle, it also falls apart.
  • Achron is set to feature a time specific version of this called "chronofragging". When a unit travels through time, if the location at the arrival time is occupied, the unit will chronofrag whatever unit it runs into, dealing significant damage to both units. This can most easily happen if you set a unit near a chronoporter. If the unit is standing idly for a while and gets sent back in time, it will still be standing in that spot in the past (since it hasn't moved) and will frag itself. Traditional Telefragging, however, is averted. They just teleport slightly to the side.
  • In Star Control and Star Control 2, the special power of the Arilou spaceship is random teleport through the battlefield (a Colombus-effect bubble of space around planet). There is a small non-cumulative chance every time you teleport to end up inside the planet. This doesn't end well for you.
  • In Mighty Flip Champs, teleporting into a wall would kill you.
    • In its Spiritual Successor Mighty Switch Force!, you can (and are occasionally required to) telefrag enemies by switching while an enemy is standing in front of a background block. You can quite easily do the same thing to yourself if you aren't paying attention or your timing is off, and in fact this becomes one of the biggest hazards in some later stages.
  • Before Legend Entertainment got awarded with the job of making Unreal II the Awakening, they made a FPS based on The Wheel of Time universe with a magic system that used Ter'Angreal as the weapons. One of the Ter'Angreal available in multiplayer was "Swap Places", which experienced players could use to set up a Tele Frag on their opponents. For example, sic Swap Places on your opponent, don a Fire Shield and jump into the lava. Or use it to drop the player into the ring of Explosive Wards you set up beforehand; if they're running, momentum should do the rest. Or fire it at the guy who trapped you in ice with Freeze.
    • There's also Shift, which shifts you ahead about 5 feet and breaks the lock of any tracking weapons on you. It's good for escapes, but it's possible to telefrag yourself into, say, an incoming fireball.
  • In Star Trek Elite Force multiplayer, if two or more players (or bots) try to enter a teleporter simultaneously, both will be killed in the ensuing "transporter accident."
  • One of the grenade mods you can get in Borderlands is the Longbow. It teleports your grenades to their intended target.
  • The original Red Alert let the Allied chronosphere perform this on when used on an APC, always disintegrating the passengers. You could only chronoshift into an empty space, though, avoiding the most common kind of telefrag.
    • The Incident that inspired the Chronosphere allegedly inflicted this upon the unfortunate crewman of the ship involved.
    • Red Alert 2 enabled it as a viable tactic. One could even transport enemy units, meaning you could force a friendly-fire telefrag. By RA 3 you can destroy a construction vehicle using a Chronosphere and a dog.
      • RA 2 also features accidental teleportation: if you chronoshift units onto uneven ground, units that end up on higher elevation may end up inside the ground and explode.
    • For a more interesting variant, you could also chronoshift enemy land units into water and watch them die. Sadly, the expansion made this less useful, as more amphibious units got introduced in Red Alert 3. Fortunately, this tactic also works with impassable pieces of terrain, so even an amphibious unit can be telefraged if you have cliff or even a building handy.
  • In City of Heroes, you can only teleport (or teleport other people) to places you can see, but this is mainly due to game mechanics.
    • Additionally, the game mechanics actively prevent this from happening; if someone is standing at another character's teleport destination, one of the two characters will be pushed aside.
  • Mentioned in BioShock in some Mooks' random dialogue when examining a corpse, "The subject... appears to have been ripped apart from the inside... probably a failed teleport.[1]"
  • The crux of interstellar travel in the X universe is the Gate network - a sprawling system of kilometer-wide portals built by long-gone Precursors that ships fly through to move from sector to sector. This is all well and good until you realize that (A) portals are two-way with stuff continually going in and out and that (B) ships leaving a gate appear smack dab at the center, usually with engines all but completely nil. When piloting particularly large ships, it's not at all uncommon for a player just entering or exiting a gate to be hit by other ships popping through the gate at the same time.
    • It's common enough that the play style of Dead is Dead usually has a rule that dying this way does not count. Particularly early in the game when flying small ships that can't survive such collisions. Most players let the auto-pilot fly them through gates though, since it waits for a free space in the traffic pattern. Usually.
  • You can pull this off in Spelunky if you're incredibly careful about it. The main use is to kill shopkeepers without it being counted against you.
  • In the Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles expansion, the god Sheogorath (the ruler of the dimension the game takes place in) executes those who break his laws by teleporting the condemned to a point well above the execution grounds, and letting them fall the rest of the way there.
  • In Eternal Darkness' Trapper Dimension, the player character uses teleporters to move throughout the area. If a Mook happens to be standing where the exit is, they'll be reduced to little chunks. There's usually a Horror standing on at least one of the exits.
  • The old game Gauntlet (1985 video game) had teleport squares; beaming in from (not on) one of these could Tele Frag just about anything. Even Death.

Web Comics

  • The Awkward Zombie comic in the illustration for this trope.
  • Cowbirds In Love combines this with Literal Genie here.
  • A variation in Goblins: Big Ears has an axe which is enchanted so it will pass harmlessly through paladins rather than harming them. When the party fight Kore, Thaco has him throw the axe at Kore with a rope attached to it. The axe pulls the rope through Kore, but Thaco cuts the rope before it passes through completely, removing the enchantment and leaving part of the rope trapped painfully in Kore's body.
  • Discussed in Vexxarr here:

Vexxarr: If we could teleport anything, there would already be weasels in their skulls…
Carl: I know, right? A show where all sentient life has the ultimate superweapon, and they float around pointing flashlights at each other.


Web Original

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob visits Sandy and sees that she made a teleporter. Because he's getting late for work, he asks her to send him to the front of the Krusty Krab...just as Squidward was opening the door. They fuse together. Sandy tries hard to separate them but fails. Squidward has to perform, so he tries to hide the SpongeBob parts under a cape, but they are revealed. However, the audience seems to be impressed by this "freak" and they applaud. Sandy charges in with a "separator" she just invented, and not hearing Squidward's screams to leave them (he loves the applause), separates them. As most people get bored by the "normal" Squidward and SpongeBob and leave, Squidward freaks out and starts hitting random buttons on the separator to try to fuse back together. It explodes, making Squidward, SpongeBob, Sandy, Mr. Krab and Mrs. Puff all fuse together into a disgusting blob.
  • In Young Justice, Amazo can use powers copied from superheroes, but only one at a time. After it used Martian Manhunter's power to phase through an attack, Superboy stuck his fist inside its head as it switched to Superman's power to counterattack. It didn't end well for Amazo.
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle deliberately teleports into a beach ball, causing the ball to expand and pop (with seemingly no harm to herself.)