The Always Lawful Good Chronic Hero
has died after a life of stopping to help
. He Goes Into The Light
and... wait, it's Fire And Brimstone
"Cower, mortal! Your Soul Is Mine
The dead are not ending up in their correct afterlife. The forces of evil may be nabbing good souls, either before they complete their journey to their final reward, or actually kidnapping them from paradise after they arrive. Souls have so many uses
, after all, and even if they didn't, this is a great way to snub the Council of Angels
up there in Fluffy Cloud Heaven
. And when Hell Invades Heaven
, there'll be that many less enemies to deal with.
Alternately, it may not be specifically malicious. The Obstructive Bureaucrats
running the Celestial Bureaucracy
may have cocked things up or perhaps the Afterlife Express
hit the wrong switch-track. In these cases, you can also end up with unrepentant Complete Monsters
Compare This Isn't Heaven
, where a character's personal heaven turns out to be an Ironic Hell
ALERT! Death Trope ahead! You will be Spoilered Rotten! Hit the back button, hit the back button!
- At the end of Constantine, the titular character dies and his soul is finally judged worthy of entering heaven, but the devil is so annoyed at being cheated out of his soul that he brings Constantine back to life and cures his cancer so that he has at least a few more years to screw up and get himself damned to hell.
- In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden encounters an angel sent to a critically wounded Father Forthill to escort him safely to Heaven if he dies. She explains that Hell would steal even the souls of saints if they could get away with it. And the nether zone of the afterlife is unsafe enough that the souls working there need an angel security guard.
- In the Incarnations of Immortality series, the system for processing souls is rather messed up, due to God slacking off. Zane, the new Death, is unsatisfied with babies going to Purgatory, and manages to get the system adjusted to send them to Heaven instead. Later on, when Parry takes over running hell in For Love Of Evil, he realizes a large portion of souls arriving there don't deserve it, and tries to show the A Hell of a Time instead. Eventually he instigates a Plan to get God replaced.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons module A Paladin In Hell, during the funeral of a powerful paladin, the entire temple hosting the service is dragged into hell to claim his soul. The players have to travel to hell, find the temple and free his soul. Oh, and the module was close to Tomb of Horrors in terms of unfair difficulty.
- Kodlak in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim wants to go to the Nordic afterlife of Sovngarde, but since he's a werewolf, knows that the Daedra Hircine will claim his soul after death instead. Kodlak is killed when his home is attacked by werewolf hunters, but the Dovahkiin is able to break his curse after his death, freeing his soul from Hircine's realm.
- Grim Fandango: Big Bad Hector is stealing tickets to the Number Nine express, a luxury train that takes the most virtuous souls directly to the next underworld, and selling them to people who don't deserve them. However, the tickets he's selling are counterfeit, he's hoarding the real ones for himself in a desperate bid to balance out a life of evil.
- In The Legend of Dragoon, the Wingly civilization built a machine that reroutes all human souls to hell (because they could, apparently). By the time of the game, the device has largely broken down so that now it only snags those souls who are in great emotional turmoil, including a main character and several bosses.
- In The Salvation War, Heaven has been closed off for centuries. Everyone who otherwise would have gone there has gone to Hell instead, no matter how Faithful they were.