Created By: TorchicBlaziken on October 2, 2010 Last Edited By: TorchicBlaziken on June 14, 2013
Troped

Revive Kills Caster

This spell kills you, but it brings someone back to life.

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Trope
Needs a Better Description. Needs More Examples. Rolling Updates.

I just thought of a title: Revive Kills Caster. (the other potential titles were Sacrificial Revive and Fatal Revive.) Is this a Bad Snowclone of Revive Kills Zombie or a good title?

Bob couldn't save Alice in time to save her from death, and after mourning her he finds he has a revival spell available to him. He uses it and presto! She's alive again. But suddenly Bob collapses and dies. It seems the spell required the user to sacrifice his life to bring another's back.

Essentially, it's a spell that sacrifices your life to bring someone Back from the Dead. It may be a Dangerous Forbidden Technique because of this sacrifice, and so people tend to know that they're going to die if they cast it, meaning they either think it's worth it or they're crazy. When it's used in Video Games (aside from in cutscenes) the stakes don't tend to be as high considering that there may be some other ways of reviving party members.

A Darker and Edgier Sub-Trope of Equivalent Exchange.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • An amusing but but still touching instance of this occurs late in the Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z. The beyond ancient Old Supreme Kai gives up his life energy so Goku, as a dead man stuck in other world, can fight elsewhere/live normally again. His halo vanishes and the old kai, without pain or distress, gains one.
  • In the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Ed is killed by Envy, then Alphonse transmutes his own life into Ed's, then Ed transmutes his life and body into Al's life and a new body for him, to boot. Alphose can't repeat the process after that because Ed gets stuck in a parallel universe.
  • In Naruto, Lady Chiyo uses a secret jutsu to revive Gaara, but at the cost of her own life.
  • One of the Forbidden Spells in Ojamajo Doremi is bringing someone back from the dead, for the exact reason of it basically being a trade of lives.
  • Toward the end of the Scryed anime, Scherris Adjani finds and uses her "Eternal Devote" alter power on Ryuhou shortly after he's killed by Big Bad Kyouji Mujo. His agony and gratitude upon seeing her deceased boost his power.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, this was Kurama's reason for stealing the Forlorn Hope, a magic mirror that grants any wish, but kills the user to do so. He was going to use it to save his terminally ill mother. Subverted in that Yusuke prevents this by joining him in the wish, so the Forlorn Hope takes half of their lives to save her.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • In Supernatural, once Dean traded his life to a Crossroads Demon in order to get Sam back from the dead.
    • Dean's father also traded his own life to the crossroad's demon to save Dean.
  • In Warehouse 13, there is a medallion called the Pheonix that when it's wearer dies from a fire or an explosion, they are reborn from the ashes and someone else nearby dies instead.

Video Games
  • Dragon Quest: Kerplunk does this with everyone in your party that is dead. It also removes all of your MP so you can't just have your newly revived healer revive you so you can use it again.
  • Final Fantasy 12 has the Revive Technick, but you didn't get it until long after you got the basic Revive spell, and it was also on the market next to the more useful Arise Spell.
  • In Persona 3, Chihiro revives Junpei after he was shot by Strega, at the cost of her own life.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei, the recarmdra spell .
  • The MMORPG in Yureka has the Sacrifice spell, which not only kills you but makes you lose levels and randomises your stats. And has a less than 100% success rate. However, one character manages to avoid Awesome, but Impractical by using it on an NPC who loves her, causing him to enter an Unstoppable Rage.
Community Feedback Replies: 94
  • September 29, 2010
    Heart-mint
    Shin Megami Tensei: The recarmdra spell.
  • September 29, 2010
    Duncan
  • September 29, 2010
    PaulA
    Is this specifically a Video Game Trope?
  • September 29, 2010
    Stratadrake
    No, it just lacks examples from other media.

    • In Naruto, Lady Chiyo uses a secret jutsu to revive Gaara, but at the cost of her own life.
  • September 29, 2010
    randomsurfer
    At least a couple of times on Supernatural. Once Dean traded his life to a Crossroads Demon in order to get Sam back from the dead. Another time Bobby had lost a poker game with another demon, where the stakes were years of life; Dean played that demon to try to get it back. The first thing he did after getting his chips was cash out half in order to get Bobby's years back (thus losing years himself), trusting his own poker skills to win enough to stay alive.
  • September 30, 2010
    PaulA
    The reason I ask is that if it's not specifically a video game trope, I think it's already covered by Balancing Deaths Books and Equivalent Exchange.
  • September 30, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    does it count if you protect someone by transfering the damage into you, like the "shadow sacrifices" i Clamp's X ?
  • September 30, 2010
    Kayube
    This happens twice in a row in One Over Zero, mutually between two characters.
  • September 30, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • In smallville zatana uses a spell to resurrect her father for the rpcie of a anotherĀ“s life
  • September 30, 2010
    Sweet Madness
    • In Persona 3, Chihiro revives Junpei after he was shot by Strega, at the cost of her own life.
  • September 30, 2010
    MikaruKeiko
    • In the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Ed is killed by Envy, then Alphonse transmutes his own life into Ed's, then Ed transmutes his life and body into Al's life and a new body for him, to boot. Alphose can't repeat the process after that because Ed gets stuck in a parallel universe.
  • September 30, 2010
    Stratadrake
    @Paul A: This sounds like a specific skill with Balancing Deaths Books as its side effect. Sounds like a clear Sub Trope to me, and the examples don't overlap all that much.

    That being said, Koveras, Fullmetal Alchemist is a case of Equivalent Exchange.

    And since we already have a different trope called Take Me Instead, this one Needs A Better Title.

  • September 30, 2010
    MikaruKeiko
    In Yu Yu Hakusho, this was Kurama's reason for stealing the Forlorn Hope, a magic mirror that grants any wish, but kills the user to do so. He was going to use it to save his terminally ill mother. Yusuke prevents this by joining him in the wish, so the Forlorn Hope takes half of their lives to save her.
  • September 30, 2010
    Sweet Madness
  • September 30, 2010
    Bisected8
    Would Harry Potter count, since he was protected from being killed by Voldemort because his mother died protecting him.
  • September 30, 2010
    Stratadrake
    ^ No.

    For titles, maybe Fatal Revive?
  • October 1, 2010
    shimaspawn
    I think this could be a legitimate subtrope of Equivalent Exchange. Take Me Instead requires that death be an actual person you can bargain with. These examples don't. Equivalent Exchange covers all cases of magic trading one thing for another thing of the same value. This would be a subtrope.
  • October 2, 2010
    c0ry
    This seems a bit too specific to be its own trope.
  • October 23, 2010
    MikaruKeiko
    • One of the Forbidden Spells in Ojamajo Doremi is bringing someone back from the dead, for the exact reason of it basically being a trade of lives.
  • November 7, 2010
    johnnye
    Cast From Hit Points?

    I suppose it's really a combination of Cast From Hit Points Equivalent Exchange Balancing Deaths Books. With crossover with Empathic Healer, Take Me Instead and Cast From Lifespan. All in all I think it's too close to lots of other tropes.
  • December 6, 2010
    troacctid
    ^ I agree. We don't have this exactly, but it's already adequately covered by other tropes, even if they do come from slightly different directions.
  • January 1, 2011
    Andygal
    Would the Returned in Warbreaker count as this? They can sacrifice their lives to heal one person, granted that person doesn't actually have to be dying {the one time we actually see this happen Lightsong sacrifices himself to heal Susebron's severed tongue but they might be.
  • January 1, 2011
    DAN004
  • February 5, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    Mira does this to Dany's husband in A Song Of Ice And Fire.
  • February 5, 2011
    EffStar
    Equivalent Exchange and Balancing Deaths Books don't fit the bill as well as Cast From Hit Points. This seems to be a direct subtrope Cast From Hit Points where the cost is always all of your HP and the effect is always a dead person (or people) coming back to life.

    I think just about every CCG has a creature with this ability. MTG has Doomed Necromancer.
  • February 5, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I think this effect happens enough in this specific form that it warrants it's own trope, even though it borrows from a lot of other tropes.
  • April 6, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    The MMORPG in Yureka has the Sacrifice spell, which not only kills you but makes you lose levels and randomises your stats. And has a less than 100% success rate. However, one character manages to avoid Awesome But Impractical by using it on an NPC who loves her, causing him to enter an Unstoppable Rage.
  • May 7, 2011
    Fozi
    How about "A death for a life"?

    And about the description, this trope refers only to magical or supernatural means of revival, it is not cast from hit points as whatever method used for this trope is only a means of transport for the exchange of one life for another. Very much like equivalent exchange but focusing on the sacrifice of the user and much more emotional.

    Does not count if there is a soul collecting entity, then it's Balancing Deaths Books.

  • May 7, 2011
    hevendor717
    How about I Give My Life To Bring Back Yours? Or since this is more about nakama's-just-been-killed emergency situations than depraved lover-resurrecting necromancy, how about I'll Die So You Don't Die On Me.
  • May 7, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    Toward the end of the Scryed anime, Scherris Adjani finds and uses her "Eternal Devote" alter power on Ryuhou shortly after he's killed by Big Bad Kyouji Mujo. His agony and gratitude upon seeing her deceased boost his power.
  • May 7, 2011
    bluepenguin
    I believe that the backstory/legend of the Second Hand of Time in DN Angel featured this, but it's been a long time since I've seen/read it, so I forget the details.
  • May 7, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    An amusing but but still touching instance of this occurs late in the Buu saga of Dragonball Z. The beyond ancient Old Supreme Kai gives up his life energy so Goku, as a dead man stuck in other world, can fight elsewhere/live normally again. His halo vanishes and the old kai, without pain or distress, gains one.
  • May 7, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
  • May 8, 2011
    akrolsmir
    Looks like it's been abandoned... Anyone want to take this over?

    Also, I think the current title (Sacrificial Revive) gets the point across much better than any of the other suggestions so far.
  • May 8, 2011
    Fozi
    Yep this title's the best, mind if I take care of this one?
  • May 30, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    If no one objects, I'm hijacking this one.
  • May 30, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides the fountain of youth works by a ritual where two people drink the water and one is revived by taking the other's years.

    (not sure if it works this way in the novel the film is Very Loosely based on)
  • May 30, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    The supernatural example goes even further, because Dean's father also traded his own life to the crossroad's demon to save Dean. (Supernatural is also Live Action TV, not a Video Game)

    In Warehouse 13 (TV) There is a medallion called the Pheonix that when it's wearer dies from a fire or an explosion, they are reborn from the ashes and someone else nearby dies instead.
  • May 30, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    ^My bad. ^^If one of the people is dead, it works.
  • June 2, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    ^what I was saying is I don't know if the rule exists in the book or was made up for the movie. I've never read the book but I do know the movie is only loosely based on the book. In fact the film's credits say "Inspired by the novel"
  • June 2, 2011
    Aielyn
    A variation of this occurs in Pokemon, where there's a move, Healing Wish, which causes the user to faint, and fully heals the pokemon that comes in to replace it. The new pokemon can't have been fainted (the pokemon equivalent of temporary death), but it can be right on the border. (that's why I called it a variation)
  • June 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Does the spell have to sacrifice the caster's life? Like in Pushing Daisies, Ned can bring anything back from death for 60 seconds with no harm done - but if it's more than 60 seconds then (a) they're back permanantly and (b) a life force of "equal value" has to go; in the case of humans, another nearby human life. But specifically not Ned's life.
  • June 3, 2011
    OneMore
    Also in Naruto, Pain's resurrection technique revived a whole village, but killed him, although it's implied that he died because of chakra exhaustion.
  • June 6, 2011
    TomWalpertac2
    The alien healing/torture machine in Babylon5. Marcus Cole uses it to save Ivanova.
  • June 9, 2011
    MikaruKeiko
    To clear up some questions, Word Of God says that it requres the user to sacrifice his own life, not someone elses.
  • June 9, 2011
    foxley
    This used as a cop-out ending in Disney's film of The Black Cauldron. This does not happen in the book where the character who throws himself into the cauldron to break the enchantment (who is the not same character who does this in the film) stays dead.
  • June 9, 2011
    Madrugada
    Randomsurfer: If it's broadened to "somebody (not necessarily the caster has to die for the resurrection to work" it's pretty much already covered by Equivalent Exchange
  • June 19, 2011
    TorchicBlaziken
    OK, hijack away. I don't care if you hijack it.
  • June 19, 2011
    Chabal2
    Thorgal: Thorgal is in a place with bright glowing strings all around him representing human lives. He will only get his life back if he cuts a single one, killing the person. He refuses, but Shaniah, the girl who'd followed him (and is desperately in love with him) cuts it herself. Thorgal gets back to life, but as they leave, she fades away, as it was her own lifeline she'd cut.
  • October 4, 2011
    judasmartel
    Final Fantasy V has the Blue Magic Fusion, which gives the caster's remaining HP to its target, then the caster dies.
  • October 5, 2011
    somerandomdude
    In World Of Warcraft, the paladin spell Divine Intervention makes an ally invulnerable for a time, but kills the paladin.

    It's not a resurrection, but I think it counts...
  • October 7, 2011
    azmod
    • Vampire Diaries has John Gilbert sacrifice himself so a spell can ring Elena back from the dead.
  • October 7, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ That's just Cast From Hit Points to a high degree. Heck, this trope might be a Sub Trope.
  • October 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Good notice. Definitely related to Cast From Hit Points.

    • In Final Fantasy XII, the "Revive" Technick (not to be confused with "Raise" magic) revives one party member to full health/MP/status, the only cost being that the caster (regardless of status) is KO in the process.
  • October 7, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Averted in Paul, when Paul survives reviving Graeme from his previously fatal gunshot wound, despite having indicated earlier that trying something like that could kill him in return.
  • October 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ Not An Example. He himself said only that it "could" kill him, meaning that it's just a risk, not a requirement.
  • October 8, 2011
    DaibhidC
    When the Legion Of Super Heroes brought Lightning Lad back to life, it was at the cost that someone would have to die channelling the reviving lightning. It turned out to be Proty, Chameleon Boy's pet.
  • October 8, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I believe this was referenced in X Men at the end of "Dark Phoenix" saga -- Phoenix said she could revive Jean but only by taking the life energy from someone else. However, she didn't have to take it all from one person -- she agreed to take a small amount from everyone instead.
  • February 17, 2012
    Koveras
    • Happens in the end of Dragon Age novel Asunder, where Wynne transfers her life energy to the fallen Templar Evangeline, resurrecting her but dying instead.
  • February 17, 2012
    Acebrock
    Related to Heroic Sacrifice
  • February 17, 2012
    chicagomel
    Merlin could be a variation of a sort, though an ultimate aversion. Usually the revival spell-the water from the Lake of Avalon in the Cup of Life-doesn't kill specifically the caster. However, Merlin decided to sacrifice himself when his mother got sick as the one chosen to die. He was all set to sacrifice himself for Arthur until Gaius showed up first at the Isle of the Blessed and then Nimueh was taken instead. Not sure it'd fit, but I thought I'd see.
  • February 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Smallville: For a while Chloe had a Healing Power. The first time she used it she was declared dead by doctors, but eventually recovered. Another time her heart stopped for 18 hours.
  • February 18, 2012
    Arivne
    .
  • February 18, 2012
    Koveras
    So is anyone going to launch this one? It's over one and a half years old now.
  • February 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Don't exaggerate. It's only 1 year 4 months and 8 days old.
  • February 18, 2012
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Matoro sacrifices his life with the help of the Mask of Life to revive Mata Nui and, in turn, the Matoran universe.
  • February 19, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ OK, I'll come around again in two months. :D
  • February 19, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    Related: Cast From Hit Points

    I'm uncertain about the current title because it sounds like "the caster knew it would kill them and it did" but many of the examples are more of the form "it could have killed the caster and they took a chance" or "it almost killed the caster". I think Sacrificial Revive covers a lot more of these.
  • February 19, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ Then we've got bad examples.
  • March 23, 2012
    animeg3282
    hm?
  • March 23, 2012
    Mauri
    Tactics Ogre Let us Cling Together: one of the spells from hell gate qualifies.
  • June 19, 2012
    animeg3282
    how so?
  • June 19, 2012
    Ghilz
    What if the spell requires a willing sacrifice but not the necessarily caster's?
  • June 20, 2012
    Koveras
    @randomsurfer: This YKTTW is now 1 year, 8 months, and 10 days old. Can it be launched yet?
  • June 20, 2012
    elwoz
    If the spell has to kill the caster, then A Song Of Ice And Fire is not an example, since Mira is the caster, but it didn't kill her.
  • June 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^You should have been here two months ago!
  • June 20, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Yeah, sorry about that, got careless and was sucked in by the real life. :(
  • June 21, 2012
    LOAD
    I say launch it.
  • June 21, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    A couple more things:

    • In Tales Of Symphonia, Colette gets a magic spell that allows her to revive her fallen teammates, but she is KO'ed after using the spell.
    • In Pathfinder, there is a Monk archetype that focuses on using ones own Ki energy to fuel healing magics, harming oneself in the process. At 20th level, said monk can sacrifice his own life to revive all his allies as per the True Resurrection spell. Taken Up To Eleven, as in a world where Death Is Cheap, this technique not only kills the user beyond the power of mortal or deity magic, but also eliminates all memories any other person has, and erases all written records of his/her existence.
  • June 21, 2012
    animeg3282
    I Does everyone agree on launching?
  • June 23, 2012
    troacctid
    Revive Kills Caster is a bad name, so I guess I disagree.
  • June 23, 2012
    elwoz
    The hivemind has gotten way too uptight about naming lately. It's a perfectly cromulent name. Have another hat.
  • June 23, 2012
    animeg3282
    I'll launch it when I get back home
  • June 23, 2012
    elwoz
    Changed my mind: I still think the title is fine, but I'm feeling lumpish today, so I want you to make a case for treating this as a separate trope from Balancing Deaths Books, before launch.
  • June 23, 2012
    cenauge
    I suggest Risky Revival Magic, if the tropes isn't always death of the caster (lots of examples where the characters state "That will kill you!" and yet the caster somehow pulls through.) If it's actual death, a lot of the video game KO examples don't really fit and it is essentially a form of Balancing Deaths Books.
  • June 23, 2012
    animeg3282
    What? This totally doesn't make sense to lump in. It's one thing to try to trick Death into taking you instead, it's totally another to have a spell that kills the caster to revive someone else. The first is pretty much a plot- we have to go to the world of the dead to convince so and so to kill me instead. The second is a mechanic- I cast Recarmdra and fall down dead not due to the good grace of an entity, but because of how magic works.
  • June 23, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    I'm inclined to agree with the above. Balancing Deaths Books requires that the Grim Reaper or other similar entity be involved. The current YKTTW requires that Applied Phlebotinum and/or Functional Magic be employed.
  • June 23, 2012
    cenauge
    The difference isn't that extreme. To illustrate: 1) Caster's friend dies. Finding that unacceptable, Caster enacts a ritual. Death shows up, rips out the Caster's soul, revives the dead friend. 2) Caster's friend dies. Finding that unacceptable, Caster enacts a ritual. Nothing shows up, Caster keels over dead and the friend is revived. I just don't see that as two different tropes. Balancing Deaths Books is a broader trope (since it covers actual interactions with Death as an entity), and includes what this trope would be in several of its examples.
  • June 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ Well, actually there isn't normally a ritual involved in 1. It tends to be a speech or an epic quest. Two, while they seem superficially similar, their narrative effects have almost nothing in common with how they actually play out. Three, while Balancing Deaths Books is always one for one, this one tends to be one for multiple.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    bump
  • June 13, 2013
    YeOldeLuke
    Somebody make this a trope already!
  • June 13, 2013
    Arivne
    The OP Torchic Blaziken hasn't edited this since 2011 so it is officially Up For Grabs if anyone wants to launch it.
  • June 14, 2013
    StarSword
  • June 14, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Web Original
    • This trope is the entire premise behind Cerberus a/k/a Tirell's Adobe Flash work "Trading With Ghosts." A feline mage uses her powers to enter the spirit world to recover her deceased daughter. However, magic that powerful demands a horrific price.
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