Cursed With Fringe Benefits
Horrible Curse? Well, at least no more acne/blindness/asthma.


(permanent link) added: 2011-11-20 16:17:20 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2012-08-14 14:10:02)

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Sadly science doesn't have a cure for cancer. The supernatural however...
Gerard Argent, Teen Wolf 2.12, "Master Plan"

Despite the obvious downsides, a Curse or inhuman transformation has one or two redeeming features that, to be frank, can make it a very tempting offer. For example, undeath has the palpable upside of curing vast swaths of diseases and maladies... sure, it's by virtue of killing you and thus making the asthma/cancer/whatever irrelevant, and it saddles you with a Horror Hunger, but hey! At least no more Incurable Cough of Death!

While this can be analogous to the "Awesome" part of Cursed with Awesome, the "Curse" part is not to be underestimated. While Cursed with Awesome is about a "curse" that is actually pretty cool and useful, Cursed With Fringe Benefits is at best an even trade and usually the one silver lining in an actually pretty crappy case of cursing.

Still, this silver lining is actually significant enough that at least some will rationally and calmly consider taking the "Emergency" out of Emergency Transformation fully knowing the many downsides it carries. In fact, vampires, werewolves, cyborgs, transhumans and the like may well try to sell a potential victim-- err, converts with the fringe benefits while soft-pedaling the flaws.

Got AIDS? Not an issue for werewolves who are The Immune to all human diseases. Just hope you don't mind cannibalism. Missing a limb? An undead could grow it back (or attach a new one!), just be aware you have to drink it's weight in blood. Blind? Get cyborg eyes! There's probably a patch coming to correct that pesky Cybernetics Eat Your Soul bit.

This trope can usually be paired with Transhuman Treachery, with the convert knowingly doing a Face-Heel Turn on their allies or selling their soul.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The manga One Piece has an interesting version of this trope. Brook ate the Yomi Yomi no Mi, which meant that when he died, he'd be able to come back and live a second life. It took him a year to find his body, by which time it was a skeleton.
  • In Black Blood Brothers, Chan was made a vampire using Kelly Wong's blood to save her life at her mother's request.
  • In Gunslinger Girl, Rico is a cyborg, Professional Killer, Child Soldier, and for all practical purposes, a slave owned by a Government Agency of Fiction... and she loves her job. Why? Because it beats being a quadraplegic.
  • At the start of Hellsing, Seras is being held hostage by an enemy vampire when she finds herself between her captor and the business end of Alucard's pistol. Alucard asks her if she will agree to help him. When she nods, he mortally wounds both Seras and her captor. Alucard keeps his word and converts Seras to save her.
  • In Nightwalker, Mr. Shido's secretary Riho is bitten by a nightbreed, which, given that the nightbreed killed her parents, is a Fate Worse than Death. Mr. Shido, knowing this, turns her into a vampire as an act of compassion.

Comic Books
  • The comic book Blood + Water has two vampires turn a friend dying of Hepatitis C for this reason. The change even completely undoes all of the physical damage he had suffered over the years of the disease. Interestingly, he confronts them over waiting those years before turning him, and they reveal it was because their Spider-Sense warned them doing so would have a dark consequence. In this case, awakening the ancient Food Chain of Evil that were prehistoric super vampires. They had chosen to ignore it because they cared too much about him to continue to watch him suffer.

Film
  • In Corpse Bride, while being dead isn't exactly a picnic what with the gradual decomposition the dead suffer, it has it's upsides. Mainly that any pains felt in life are completely gone. Mayhew, who died of a coughing related illness, actually was fairly happy at the turnaround.
    Victor: Mayhew! How nice to see... [notices he's dead] I'm so sorry.
    Mayhew: Oh, yeah. Actually, though, I feel great.

Literature
  • One of the Night World books is about a girl with cancer whose vampire boyfriend offers to turn her to save her life.
  • In one Mercedes Thompson book a werewolf talks his father into getting infected, to save him from cancer. It does cure the disease but the father fears his werewolf side, which ironically only gets him more unstable (since he doesn't even try to get in tune with his animal side, he can't control his rage)
  • Claudia from Interview With A Vampire. Louis and Lestat find her almost dead of the plague; they turn her into a vampire.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lie To Me," a childhood friend of Buffy's sells her out to some vampires in exchange for being turned into a vampire to cure his fatal brain tumor. Buffy was quick to point out that the vampires in her 'verse don't have the Soul of the human the body belonged to; his body would move around, and a demon might have his memories, but "he" would still die.
  • In one episode of Forever Knight a blind woman regains her sight after being turned.
  • Moonlight: Beth asks Mick to do this for her fatally wounded fiance. He refuses. He musta seen that ep of Forever Knight.

Tabletop RPG
  • The whole point of worshipping Nurgle in Warhammer40000, if you are already covered in diseases and rotting flesh, you can't get old, and you won't feel pain. You also have a the patronage of the only kind god in the entire galaxy.

Web Comics
  • Xykon from The Order of the Stick. It is revealed in the prequel Start of Darkness that he became a lich, under Redcloak's suggestion, to escape a magical disease that was preventing him from using his sorcerer magic. Also, they were prisoners of a powerful druid and had little other options for escaping.

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