Created By: Aminatep on November 21, 2009
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Cast From Lifespan

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Sometimes, powers are free. Sometimes, they have a price. There is a kind of price which is not payed immediately on-screen (i.e. Heroic R.R.O.D. or body damage) Your lifespan. Sure, you can warp reality or heal instantly, but never forget that each time you become closer and closer to your coffin, and there is nothing you could do with that.

So, basically Cast from Lifespan is a type of Cast From HP.

Actual consequences of it may be shown on-screen to do a Downer Ending if the power belongs to a main character, or a Tear Jerker if it's secondary. But they can be not shown at all, and it makes the trope different from casting from HP. In this case the trope can be used as a kind of a limit for using an overpowered ability.

The price can be payed in different ways: a part of Deal with the Devil, a side effect of Healing Factor (speeding cell division, shortening their lifespan), draining Life Energy connected with age in this setting, form of Deadly Upgrade, plain Magic A Is Magic A and so on.

Anyway, if you've got such type of a power, you are either Blessed with Suck or can use it as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique.

Examples:

Anime
  • Darker Than Black. There was a contractor whose price was aging each time she used her power. And the other whose price was aging backwards. This can also count.
  • Robert from Ueki No Housoku. Each using of his ablilty costed him a year of lifespan.
  • Naruto. Tsunade's and Naruto's healing factor makes them age faster. Technically, they both involve making their cells regenerate faster, but since cells only have a limited number of regenerations, this means they will run out of regenerative cycles and die sooner. As a result, Tsunade uses her Healing Factor only when without using it her lifespan will shorten much more.
  • One Piece. Body strain from Luffy's Gear Second shortens his lifespan.
  • Chrono Crusade. Chrono's powered by Rosette's Life Energy, shortening her lifespan.
  • Death Note. You can have Shinigami's eyes for half of your lifespan.

Film
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Each time Prince Koura used his black magic he became older. By the time he confronted Sinbad at the Fountain of Destiny he was an old man.
Prince Koura: To summon the demons of darkness has a price. And each time I call upon them, it consumes part of me.

Live-Action TV
  • Supernatural has two instances of this:
    • A Deal With The Devil usually includes selling your soul after a fixed amount of time (effectively reducing your lifespan to that amount)
    • There was an episode with a magic-user who played poker with people, and the chips represented years of their life. If they won they got 25 years back, if they lost they aged 25 years (he did this so he and his wife could be immortal).
  • In Reaper, kissing a succubus takes years off the end of your life. Not really a power, though.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition.
    • Several spells caused aging as a side effect of using them, including Gate, Haste and Wish.
    • One possible side effect of using an artifact/relic was aging 3-30 years.

Literature
  • Faust. The Trope Maker of Deal with the Devil had this part in the contract.
  • In one of the Artemis Fowl books, Holly uses magic to heal Butler from a fatal gunshot wound, but her magic is not enough and the spell starts drawing on Butler's life energy as well. For the rest of the series, he feels about ten years older than he ought to be.
  • In Nora Robert's Key Trilogy, three women are tasked with finding three keys, with the caveat that if they fail, they each lose an undisclosed year of their life.

Video Games
  • Dragon Age: Darkspawn's blood is poisonous. And Grey Wardens drink it. So, if you managed to survive the Joining, you've got no more than thirty years to live.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates does this. Whever twins Yuri and Chelinka do their weird... glowy... thingy, Chelinka gradually loses her soul while Yuri's lifespan is shortened drastically, leading to his near-death at the end of the game and prompting a Heroic Sacrifice from Chelinka.
  • Time Hollow: too much use of the Hollow Pen causes a person to age beyond their chronological age.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • November 1, 2009
    animeg3282
    I think in Young Wizards there was a shield that when hit used 1 year of life...
  • November 2, 2009
    Arivne
    Category 1:

    Film
    • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Each time Prince Koura used his black magic he became older. By the time he confronted Sinbad at the Fountain of Destiny he was an old man.
    Prince Koura: To summon the demons of darkness has a price. And each time I call upon them, it consumes part of me.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons 1st Edition.
      • Several spells caused aging as a side effect of using them, including Gate, Haste and Wish.
      • One possible side effect of using an artifact/relic was aging 3-30 years.
  • November 2, 2009
    Aminatep
    > I think in Young Wizards there was a shield that when hit used 1 year of life...

    I've definitely heard about this shield. Where is it from? What is Young Wizards?
  • November 2, 2009
    Evalana
    In Nora Robert's Key Trilogy, three women are tasked with finding three keys, with the caveat that if they fail, they each lose an undisclosed year of their life.
  • November 2, 2009
    animeg3282
    Young Wizards? It's a book series that started with So You Want to Be A Wizard... there are 8 books, and I don't remember which book the shield was used in.
  • November 2, 2009
    Kizor
    It was High Wizardry, but it used the other end of the caster's life. The caster was outwardly unaffected, though light-headed from the magnitude of the deed, and would die younger.

    How about Cast From Lifespan as a title?
  • November 2, 2009
    Unknown%20Troper
  • November 2, 2009
    Wulf
    Type 4 is Deadly Upgrade. The others are Cast From HP.
  • November 2, 2009
    random surfer
    There's a comic book character that fits this but I can't remember details, like the name. I think it's from the DC Comics version of The Avengers. A seven year old girl who transforms into a Monster Bruiser (she's the team's Hulk). It turns out that that she's not a little girl, each time she uses her power she grows younger and if she keeps using it will eventually die of young age. Or something.

    Help me Wiki Magic! You're my only hope.
  • November 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    oh goody, the "magic has a real and tangible cost to me" idea Keep up the good work

    In the Tortall universe, healing works near-perfectly, but works less and less well the more you have (the ramping effect), and your body gets "sent a bill when you turn forty". It is unclear how much is do to getting older, and how much is due to the magic.
  • November 3, 2009
    Aminatep
    > The others are Cast From HP.

    No, they are not. HP is Hit Points. Age is age. The trope I'm forcing is about enforced aging.

    > Type 4 is Deadly Upgrade.

    Yes. It doesn't stop this type from falling not only into Deadly Upgrade, but into Magic Aging, but thants for renaming a category.

  • November 3, 2009
    Aminatep
    > How about Cast From Lifespan as a title?

    Oh, actually I've thought about this one and forgot. Thank you.

    But. There is one thing that bugs me. What about aging a target, not yourself? Curses from D&D, Wither from X-men (partially), Vulture (Spiderman's enemy, youth-stealer) and another million example come into my mind. Hey, youth-stealing is actually popular. Even in RL.
  • November 3, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Chrono Crusade has a strange twist on this... when Chrono assumes his true, nigh-unstoppable demonic form, it consumes the lifeforce of Rosette, because she's the one who bound him in the human world. And it consumes it FAST. For that reason, he generally refuses to use his full power unless the situation is end-of-the-world level desperate.

    At one point, while revealing the nature of their connection, Rosette comments that she won't likely live to see 40, and probably not 30 either, with an offhand shrug.
  • November 3, 2009
    Kuzla3
    Gakuen Alice has a type of Alice that each time an Alice uses it, they became weaker.
  • November 3, 2009
    Sukeban
    In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, when you transmute yourself using your soul as a Philosopher's Stone you're taking time off your own lifespan.
  • November 3, 2009
    Aminatep
    > Gakuen Alice has a type of Alice that each time an Alice uses it, they became weaker.

    It's Cast From HP, definitely.
  • November 3, 2009
    melloncollie
    Naruto examples look right. If you want to get technical, they both involve making their cells regenerate faster, but since cells only have a limited number of regenerations, this means they will run out of regenerative cycles and die sooner.
  • November 4, 2009
    Wulf
    The cost of the life energy thus expended will vary. In extreme cases, a spell cast from HP may cost the caster their life, resulting in a Heroic Sacrifice; this is often done for the purpose of Taking You With Me. When done by multiple casters at once, this qualifies as a Spirit Bomb. Lesser versions may result in a decreased lifespan, which is typically given in round numbers such as years. Whether this is cut from physical longevity or some kind of cosmic clock depends on the series. At its mildest, casting from HP leads to immediate physical effects such as fatigue or a Psychic Nosebleed.

    Yes. It is Cast From HP.
  • November 4, 2009
    Aminatep
    No, it is not Cast From HP. HP is hit points. Lifespan is lifespan. When losing life energy leads to aging faster (Category 3), only then it qualifies as Cast From HP. My trope is about aging faster. It's different.
  • November 4, 2009
    Tomtitan
    Supernatural has two instances of this. Firstly, a Deal With The Devil usually includes selling your soul after a fixed amount of time (effectively reducing your lifespan to that amount), the second example comes from an episode with a magic-user who played poker with people, and the chips represented years of their life. If they won they got 25 years back, if they lost they aged 25 years (he did this so he and his wife could be immortal).
  • November 4, 2009
    Aminatep
    In Reaper, kissing a succubus takes years off the end of your life. Not really a power, though.

    Time Hollow: too much use of the Hollow Pen causes a person to age beyond their chronological age.
  • November 4, 2009
    Wulf
    Yes, "HP" means "Hit Points". I'm not arguing that with you. The tropes themselves, however are the same, or mighty damn close. A split may be possible, but as currently written, all four versions are covered by it or Deadly Upgrade.

    • Type One- They age when they use the power-- "Cut from physical longevity," "...Leads to immediate physical effects"
    • Type Two- Healing Factor Backfire-- "...May result in a decreased lifespan"
    • Type Three- Humans have a limited amount of Life Energy, once it's gone it's gone " No direct quote for it, but mentioned roundabout-ly"
    • Type Four- Get power and die sooner than normal- Deadly Upgrade, Deal With The Devil, possibly other tropes.

    That's not to say we can't split it off from this, by making this specifically about causing you to age as soon as you use it, and making Cast From HP specifically about taking your HP in video games and taking time off the end of your lifespan in other media, but right now, all this is covered.
  • November 4, 2009
    Aminatep
    If Cast From Hitpoints means non-specified self­-harm as a result of casting, Cast From Lifespan may be a partial subtrope.

    But it's better to split HP and age as it's done in videogames.

  • November 16, 2009
    Aminatep
  • November 20, 2009
    Aminatep
    Reorganised the examples and re-wrote the description. YKTTW Bump.
  • November 20, 2009
    Aminatep
    In one of the Artemis Fowl books, Holly uses magic to heal Butler from a fatal gunshot wound, but her magic is not enough and the spell starts drawing on Butler's life energy as well. For the rest of the series, he feels about ten years older than he ought to be.
  • November 20, 2009
    superfroggy
    Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates does this. Whever twins Yuri and Chelinka do their weird... glowy... thingy, Chelinka gradually loses her soul while Yuri's lifespan is shortened drastically, leading to his near-death at the end of the game and prompting a Heroic Sacrifice from Chelinka.
  • November 20, 2009
    Nate the Great
    Does the "jump meter" from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time count?
  • November 21, 2009
    Aminatep
    Nate the Great, how could it? It's just a battery indicator.
  • November 21, 2009
    Aminatep
    Any votes against launching?
  • November 21, 2009
    Aminatep
    For the 1st edition of D&D, I only saw aging apply for a few spells; age costs for wish, haste and some other stuff didn't appear until 2nd.

    Live Action TV
    • Babylon 5's Time Travel did this with the Babylon 4 episodes. Some selected people would age rapidly if they attempted to return to the original timeline, but others were unaffected. (Contestable; could be filed under Rapid Aging for Time Travel.)

    Real Life
    • One of the moves performed by the grandfather of Aikido allegedly removes a year from his lifespan.

  • November 21, 2009
    Aminatep
    Needs to be launched. Magical things start to occur, I'm constantly losing the end of the article after a specific point.
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