Created By: Earnest on November 20, 2011 Last Edited By: Earnest on August 14, 2012
Troped

Cursed With Fringe Benefits

Horrible Curse? Well, at least no more acne/blindness/asthma.

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Trope
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.

Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • November 21, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Is this Beneficial Disease and Disability Immunity for curses?
  • November 21, 2011
    Earnest
    I didn't know we had those, thanks for bringing it up. Anyhoo, if I'm understanding those tropes right, this would be a Sister Trope. A Beneficial Disease is a biological disease that you can get cured of, but choose not to to enjoy the fringe benefits. In this trope you rarely have that option (which I'll have to work in) and the curse can be magical, biological, etc. A Disability Immunity is from a pre-existing physical trait or condition (like blindness) making you immune to some attacks. This trope has the curse cures the character of something they already had.

    For example, Disability Immunity means blindness would protect you from strobe lights, while Cursed With Fringe Benefits would screw you over but also cure the blindness itself.
  • November 21, 2011
    Bisected8
  • November 21, 2011
    Earnest
    Ehh... I guess it covers the trope part relating to magic on magic maladies, but doesnt really deal with stuff like cancer.
  • November 21, 2011
    aurora369
    Corprus disease in Morrowind warps you into a hideous deformed monster, but it also makes you unaging. Good thing that potion made by Divayth Fyr saved you from the worse effects and kept the better.
  • November 21, 2011
    kenshinta
    In an episode of Winx Club, Stella transformed into a hideous frog monster, but after she returns to her original form, she noticed that her skin was softer.
  • November 22, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    ^^^^^ Right, this is a sister trope. Some examples here should go into those 2 tropes.
  • November 28, 2011
    peccantis
    ^^ bears to mention that Stella's the one whose main gimmick is being obsessed about her looks.
  • November 28, 2011
    MorganWick
    So, is this partially to clean up Cursed With Awesome of questionable examples with one or two positive aspects of something that's clearly presented as a drawback?
  • November 28, 2011
    Earnest
    I was unaware it needed cleaning, I was going purely off of finding an empty niche. That said, if Cursed With Awesome needs cleaning then yeah, I'd move examples and give wick correction a shot. Let me just give it a look before I bite off more than I can chew. ^_^;
  • November 28, 2011
    Earnest
    Okay, I think these examples were wrong. I got up to Live Action TV. Four out of a fourth(?) of the page isn't too bad I'd say, though there were at least another 4 that wouldn't count as examples of this or Cursed With Awesome.

    • Both of the main characters from Get Backers have this trait. Both of their curses come with awesome powers, but with side-effects that makes it clear that these really are curses. Ginji's Raitei form grants virtually unlimited power near-instantaneous regenerative abilities with the low, low cost of taking on a personality that, at the best of times, seems more like a slightly more emotive Terminator and, at the worst of times, an utterly batshit berserker lashing at virtually everything and everyone around him. It gets even worse as the nature of the world in which the GB crew lives, an alternate plane born from a computer simulation, is revealed, indicating that Ginji's power has the potential to disrupt and even break the world around him at a fundamental level. Ban's curse is a bit more subtle and more easily overshadowed by the awesome part. All he has to do is spout out his pre-asskicking incantation and then wipe the floor with the villain of the week. However, in the final arc of the manga, the true nature of his curse is revealed as a form of Body Horror that transforms his right hand into a monstrous claw that threatens to consume his life as well. He ultimately manages to overcome his curse and is left with the purely awesome part though.
    • Subverted with X-Men foe '' The Juggernaut. Those who are bestowed with the power of Cyttorak through his crimson gem are also compelled to do evil, regardless of their previous nature. However, Cain Marko is a natural sociopath, and doesn't need much prodding.
    • In the classic Disney film Beauty and the Beast the Beast is constantly whimpering about how ugly he is. While there are a million cool things that a 250 cm 300 kg bear with buffalo horns could do, he had to live with the knowledge he cursed his staff into furniture, lived in isolation rather than be chased by angry mobs, and there's the Mode Lock coming in a few years. Also according to Word Of God the Beast is slowly losing his humanity the longer he's trapped in that form. If Belle hadn't come along he would be a beast in body as well as mind.
      • If nothing else, his servants don't seem to have aged while in furniture form, so they had a limited form of immortality if stuck and if the curse was broken lost no time living as human.
    • In the first book of The Sword Of Truth, Darken Rahl curses Richard in what he THINKS is a completely debilitating way: His enemies will see him as himself, and his friends will see him as their worst enemy. This has the expected effect (including being attacked by Zedd and Kahlan), but shortly afterwards, he meets his half-brother, and realizes his brother knows who he is.
  • November 28, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    Alternate redirect: Beneficial Curse

    Tabletop games
    • In Vampire The Masquerade when you are turned into a vampire all injuries, illnesses and disabilities disappear. However, now you are at the bottom of the pecking order surrounded by vampires who want to use you as a pawn and aren't shy of killing you if it helps them, must prey on humans to survive, can be smelled out by werewolves who will hunt you with prejudice and have to pretend you're human while dealing with the "burns in sunlight" thing.
  • November 28, 2011
    MorganWick
    I actually wasn't saying that because I felt it needed cleaning, just that it seemed like a plausible origin.
  • November 29, 2011
    pinkdalek
    This is how Edward views vampirism in Twilight - on the bright side, he was saved from a horrible, wasting death from Spanish flu and is now impossibly beautiful. On the negative side, he is hard as rock, dead, can't go out in direct sunlight, constantly thirsts to kill people and has to go to high school for the rest of his life (which is forever). This is why he is unwilling to make Bella a vampire, despite the fact that she wants to be one.
  • November 29, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Subverted in Blood Price by Tanya Huff. Victoria is slowly going blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. But she refuses to allow Henry to turn her into a vampire.

    Oh, also compare with Emergency Transformation, as a lot of these examples are "turn you into a creature to help or save you"
  • December 12, 2011
    Earnest
    ^^^ Oh, nvm then ^_^;

    Finals are over so I'll probably launch this sometime in the week. Last call for... Well, everything.
  • December 12, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Seems like this is still pretty close to Cursed With Awesome, but I see the difference. Cursed With Awesome is "Nooooo! I don't wanna be a vampire! ....Of course it DOES give me a superpower I could use to defeat the Big Bad, so that part's pretty cool...", wheras this is more, "I don't wanna be a vampire... but, dying of AIDS, or becoming a Vampire... I'm gonna go with vampire."

    Anime and Manga:
    • 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.
  • August 14, 2012
    Bisected8
    Also related to Disability Immunity (protected by something which normally handicaps you).

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9fn8i2m050kydu6y54ne5qw6&trope=CurseThatCures