Created By: MicoolTNT on September 25, 2012 Last Edited By: MicoolTNT on December 3, 2012
Troped

Instant Gravestone

A death creates a gravestone on the spot; no-one builds it. (usually in videogames).

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Oh, no! Someone just died! The life drains out of him, his Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, his body falls to the floor... and is replaced with a gravestone?

This trope is where a death creates a gravestone on the spot; that is, the very fact of death creates a gravestone. No-one builds it, and there is no time lapse. Usually, no explanation is given besides Rule of Funny and/or Gameplay and Story Segregation. Or it happens in the type of game/show with Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Often involves Grave Humour, but not always.

Purposes behind the use of the trope vary. Sometimes it's just Rule of Funny / Have a Nice Death. Sometimes the gravestone is used to indicate to players that somebody died. Sometimes it serves a gameplay purpose, like containing loot. Often used for similar light-hearted symbolism as the aforementioned Winged Soul Flies Off at Death.

This is not where a gravestone is used for symbolism, such as if a "game over" screen is a gravestone, or a gravestone indicates a dead character in the interface. The gravestone must appear in the world.


Examples:

Video Games
  • In RuneScape, Instant Gravestones (usually) protect your items when you die. Bigger and fancier ones can be purchased which hold your items for longer.
  • In Realm of the Mad God, all players get Instant Gravestones; stronger characters get bigger, more impressive gravestones. Due to the game's use of Final Death, players will often pay respects to a particularly strong character.
  • Oregon Trail contains this, including player-defined inscriptions. People tend to try to invoke Grave Humor with Bottom Of The Barrel Jokes, as future players can read the gravestones.
  • All of The Sims games use this, specifically it will be an urn if it's indoors and a tombstone outdoors, and it will change if the player moves the grave marker. If a sim's grave is on a lot, that sim's ghost may show up at night.
  • Worms games have dead worms blowing themselves up with a dynamite plunger and instantly being replaced with a gravestone.
  • Dying in Terraria will spawn a tombstone stating your cause of death. You can then dig it up if you like.
  • The Multiplayer game Glitch has this. When you die a gravestone appears on the spot. Other players can visit the gravestone to mourn or celebrate. The stone disappears after you respawn.
  • The RPG crossfire does this. Gravestones can even be collected by someone.
  • In the Warrior Cats fan-made game Warrior Cats: Untold Tales, killing a cat will make a tombstone appear.
  • In the Kid Icarus: Uprising Multiplayer, when a player dies, a tombstone will appear where they died. If it gets hit enough, it will explode, hurting everyone within range.
  • The 1976 Exidy Arcade Game Death Race may be the Ur-Example. Running over people turned them into grave markers that couldn't be driven over.
  • In Warcraft3, units with the Reincarnation ability leave a large cross/ankh-shaped marker on death. Played With, as the unit comes back to life a few seconds later.
  • In Maniac Mansion, whenever one of your characters dies, a gravestone appears on the front garden of the mansion.
  • In the Chinese version of World of Warcraft, tombstones appear instead of skeletons when a player character dies.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, you can watch a Show Within a Show where a salesman sells some concoction to an old man, causing him to dig his own grave, complete with headstone.
  • Later Grand Theft Auto games (third game onwards) have a variation. Bodies will eventually fade away and be replaced by a chalk outline (irrespective of whether the police have arrived at the scene or not).
  • In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair's multiplayer, dying creates a tombstone which spawns a skeleton.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2, being killed by a sledge hammer produces a grave stone with Crash's face on it.
  • When a player's character dies in MapleStory a tombstone appears.

Non-Game Examples
  • There's a gag in the Looney Tunes short Baseball Bugs where a player tries to catch a fly ball ("I got it! I got it!"), gets plowed into the ground by it, and a gravestone pops up where he stops (reading: "He got it").
  • This Raid commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRwlYLS_0fk
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • September 25, 2012
    Andygal
    All of The Sims games use this, specifically it will be an urn if it's indoors and a tombstone outdoors, and it will change if the player moves the grave marker. If a sim's grave is on a lot, that sim's ghost may show up at night.
  • September 25, 2012
    Astaroth
    Worms games have dead worms blowing themselves up with a dynamite plunger and instantly being replaced with a gravestone.
  • September 26, 2012
    Ryusui
    Dying in Terraria will spawn a tombstone stating your cause of death. You can then dig it up if you like.
  • September 26, 2012
    Chabal2
    • A variation in Warcraft3: units with the Reincarnation ability (or carrying an Ankh of Reincarnation, which does the same thing) that die will slump over, leaving a large cross-shaped marker (technically ankh-shaped, but it's easy to see it as a cross). The unit comes back to life a few seconds later, and the marker disappears.
    • There are several flash games that use this as a game mechanic, you are given multiple lives to cross a level with the usual platformer obstacles (Spikes Of Doom, Bottomless Pits, walls one block too high to jump, etc.), with the corpse of your previous attempt remaining in place (forming a bridge over the spikes, filling in the pit, letting you jump one block higher, etc.)
  • September 26, 2012
    Koveras
    • In Might And Magic titles, the portraits of slain companions are replaced with pictures of their gravestones.
  • September 26, 2012
    MicoolTNT
    ^^ 2nd example and ^ are both not examples. It has to be a gravestone forming in the world in response to the death.
  • September 26, 2012
    MorganWick
    This might appear in old cartoons as well. There's a gag in Baseball Bugs where a player dives for the ball, plows into the ground, and a gravestone spontaneously pops up.
  • September 26, 2012
    TheNinth
    The Multiplayer game Glitch has this. When you die a gravestone appears in the spot where you were standing. Other players can visit the gravestone to mourn or celebrate. The stone disappears after you respawn.
  • September 26, 2012
    TBeholder
    • crossfire RPG does this. A gravestones can even be collected by someone, including the respawned/reanimated character whose name is on it (though these things are massive).
  • September 26, 2012
    Dawnwing
    • In the Warrior Cats fan-made game Warrior Cats Untold Tales, killing a cat will make a tombstone appear.
    • In the Multiplayer part of Kid Icarus Uprising, when a player dies, a tombstone will appear where they died. If it gets hit enough, it will explode, hurting everyone within range.
  • September 26, 2012
    WolfgangAmadeusPenis
    How about the coffin that follows the party around in place of the dead character in Dragon Warrior? Quite the placeholder.
  • September 26, 2012
    Prfnoff
    The 1976 Exidy Arcade Game Death Race may be the Ur Example. Running over people turned them into grave markers that couldn't be driven over.
  • September 26, 2012
    Surenity
    • Similar to Baseball Bugs, this gag showed up in a lot of Tex Avery's work. For example, in Little 'Tinker, when all the girl bunnies are swooning over a skunk dressed as Frank Sinatra, an elderly rabbit jumps out of her wheelchair, does a cartwheel, jumps in the air and plows into the ground. A tombstone falls onto the spot where she buried herself reading "Oh, Frankie!"
  • September 27, 2012
    TonyG
    In the Classic Disney Short "Hawaiian Vacation", Goofy is surfing and wipes out so hard he is buried in the sand, and his surfboard serves as a tombstone (although he doesn't really die).
  • September 27, 2012
    WarriorSparrow
    In the Pokemon Creepy Black creepypasta (a hacked version of Red rather than being related to Pokemon Black And White), you can use Curse to kill trainers, and a gravestone is left on the spot where they were in the overworld if you momentarily leave the area and come back.
  • September 28, 2012
    morenohijazo
    In Maniac Mansion, whenever one of your characters dies, a gravestone appears on the front garden of the mansion.
  • October 2, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    Advertising: this classic Raid commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRwlYLS_0fk
  • October 2, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Averted in Sunset Over Imdahl. It's rather plot-significant. The hero find out that someone buried all the plague victims in a mass grave. When the villain of the series tries to show him how his gravestone is there, showing he's fated to lose, he points out that gravestones are symbols of respect so it wasn't in fact the villain that buried him, and instead he must've won and told the town in time.
  • October 3, 2012
    AgentSeattle
    Happens in Crush The Castle 2, when the royalty/civilians get, well, crushed.
  • October 4, 2012
    KarjamP
    • In the Chinese version of World Of Warcraft, tombstones appear instead of skeletons when a player character dies.
  • October 4, 2012
    GOROXChaingun
    How about Grand Theft Auto examples?
  • October 7, 2012
    Tallens
    • In Red Dead Redemption, you can watch a Show Within A Show where a salesman sells some concoction to an old man, but as soon as he drinks it, the old-timer lets out a yelp then digs his own grave with a pickax, complete with headstone.
  • October 7, 2012
    Goldfritha
    A comparison to Winged Soul Flies Off At Death would probably be wise.
  • October 9, 2012
    MicoolTNT
    Thanks, forgot about that one.
  • October 9, 2012
    Folamh3
    GOROX Chaingun mentioned this above.

    • A variation appears in the Grand Theft Auto series from the third game onwards. When the player kills someone, their body will eventually fade away to be replaced by a chalk outline (irrespective of whether the police have arrived at the scene or not).
  • October 10, 2012
    gamerex27
    Played with in Doctor Who. When Amy and Rory are zapped back in time by the Weeping Angels, the gravestone already exists, but it changes to include both of them once Amy is sent back.
  • October 12, 2012
    mew4ever23
    One of the death animations in Crash Bandicoot 2. In the levels Diggin' It and Bee-having, being killed by a sledge hammer wielding lab assistant produces a grave stone with Crash's face on it.
  • October 13, 2012
    dotchan
    Dying in multiplayer mode of Castlevania Harmony Of Despair creates a tombstone from which a skeleton emerges so long as someone else is still alive or there's time left.
  • October 18, 2012
    MattStriker
    In the Worms games, dead worms leave one of these behind after they self-destruct.
  • October 18, 2012
    Charmant
    Happens when a player's character dies in [1]. A tombstone appears, and your 'toon' becomes a ghost which hovers around said tombstone.
  • October 18, 2012
    StarSword
    I seem to recall seeing this in Final Fantasy Tactics A 2 with undead enemies, but I'm not certain and my DS is busted so I can't check.
  • October 25, 2012
    makesadifference
    In the most recent episode of Doctor Who, a gravestone in the graveyard the team are standing in when Rory is sent back in time bears his name, he wonders why then gets sent back in time. Lampshaded when Amy says "There's more room on the gravestone" then lets herself get sent back to Rory, he name immediately joining Rory's.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=y9z3ao8023c2d6vwkmjzzbsg&trope=InstantGravestone