Sometimes, powers are free. Sometimes, they have a [[PowerAtAPrice price]]. There is a kind of price which is not paid immediately on screen (i.e. HeroicRROD or body damage).

Your lifespan.

Sure, you can [[RealityWarper warp reality]] or [[HealingFactor heal your wounds instantly]], but never forget that each time you use your power, you come closer and closer to your coffin, and there is nothing that you can do about it.

The price can be paid in different ways, and for a number of reasons:
* It may be part of a DealWithTheDevil, with a set upfront cost- say, ten years of life for a spell to wipe out that army.
* Each use may literally [[InsertPaymentToUse cost a set price in hours, days, or years]]
* It may be an inherent side effect of a power like a HealingFactor [[note]]say, faster cell division makes them heal faster, but shortens their lifespan and makes them [[RapidAging age faster]] thanks to the [[ Hayflick Limit]][[/note]]
* EquivalentExchange and LiquidAssets may allow magic and age-related LifeEnergy to be used interchangeably.
* The long-term consequences of a DeadlyUpgrade might be taking a silent toll.
* Using their powers might accelerate PowerDegeneration or TheCorruption.
* Their FuelMeterOfPower might also be powering that life support system keeping them alive (and reactor-grade {{Unobtainium}} isn't easy to come by.) A PureMagicBeing or EnergyBeing may face similar problems.

If you have such a power, you either are BlessedWithSuck or can use it as a DangerousForbiddenTechnique.

Actual consequences may be shown on screen for a DownerEnding if the power belongs to a main character, or a TearJerker if it's secondary. The main appeal of this trope for writers, however, is that it gives a way to put a very real DramaPreservingHandicap onto various abilities, without CastFromHitPoints' issues of hindering the character in the short term. Those years come off the ''end'' of the character's life, after all, and after the story is over they can drop dead whenever it is convenient to do so.

Subtrope of CastFromHitPoints. Compare RapidAging as a side effect of some versions of Cast From Lifespan. While less squicky and immediately harmful than BloodMagic, magic Cast From Lifespan can be more dangerous in the long-term and has even ''worse'' ethical ramifications if you aren't paying the price yourself. A revive spell that is also this will likely fall into SacrificialRevivalSpell. The existence of this trope in a magic system tends to be detrimental to the trend that WizardsLiveLonger.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', there was a contractor whose remuneration was aging each time she used her power. Another's was [[MerlinSickness aging backward]]; overusing it would cause her to remove herself from existence.
* ''Manga/DGrayman'' : The parasitic-type exorcist suffer this because their weapon is fused with their organism. So every time they fight, this uses their life energy and reduce their lifespan.
** Kanda's regeneration ability refuses his lifespan too. As well as using the upper illusions of his innocence that directly convert his lifespan in power. The fifth illusion is said to "sublimate his soul".
* [[RealityWarper Robert]] from ''Manga/TheLawOfUeki'' has this. Each use of his ability cost him a year of lifespan.
* ''Manga/{{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 start dying of old age sooner. As a result, Tsunade uses her HealingFactor only when ''not'' using it would shorten her lifespan rather more suddenly.
** Pain's most powerful attacks are also cast from lifespan. [[spoiler:He ended up expending all of it and dying by resurrecting the people of the village he just destroyed.]]
** This isn't as much of a problem for Naruto or Nagato since the Uzumaki clan have very long natural lifespans.
*** Tsunade herself is 1/4 Uzumaki, but when she lets down her youthful appearance genjutsu, she looks much older than her mid-50's, suggesting that she has been using her healing factor or other Cast From Life Span techniques to the point of aging faster even with the Uzumaki blood. How long a pure-blood Uzumaki could live is not actually stated, though it was enough to get them dubbed, "The Clan of Longevity."
** Turns out to be an InformedFlaw in Tsunade's case. [[spoiler:She's still shown to be alive in the series' epilogue when she'd be around 70 years old, and there's no indication that she's in poor health.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Body strain from Luffy's Gear Second shortens his lifespan. After the TimeSkip, Luffy seems to enter Gear Second for almost every attack, usually averting the consequences of the action by staying in this form for just enough time to launch the attack.
** He also was healed from ''uncurable'' poison. Cost? Ten years of his lifespan (and an estimated 2 Day's of torture by having the cells in his body destroyed by poison and healed in rapid succession) in exchange for boosting his survival rate from 0% to a measly 3%. (Luffy beat the poison in 20 hours instead of the estimated 2 days, did they mention that the survival was dependent on the Will to live?)
** The Energy Steroids from the Fishman Island Arc temporarily double the user's strength at the cost of shortening their lifespan. The [[VillainOfTheWeek villains of the week]] take so many in their attempt to take over Fishman Island that they're all old men by the end of the arc. [[CurbStompBattle Bonus points for the steroids not remotely helping them fight the Straw Hats]].
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'': Chrono is powered by Rosette's LifeEnergy, shortening her lifespan. Early on, she comments that she probably won't make it to age 30. [[spoiler:[[DownerEnding It leads to her dying at the end of the anime.]] In the manga, it leads to her becoming an IllGirl by the end, and she dies at age 24.]]
* ''Manga/DeathNote'': You can have Shinigami eyes for half of your lifespan. (That's half your ''remaining'' lifespan, so the longer you have left to live, the more time it'll cost you.) Even if you lose the power, you don't get the time back, but you can choose to make the deal again as many times as you want, halving your remaining lifespan each time.
* In ''Manga/HibikisMagic'', the director of the Mage school has his lifespan exchanged for his magic.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Ed once used his own soul as a Philosopher's Stone (read: a huge energy source, itself made of souls) to heal himself from mortal wounds, shortening his lifespan in process. Bleeding out from a massive abdominal wound would've course have shortened his lifespan a lot faster, so it seems like a good trade-off...except that one of Ed's new allies finds an ''actual'' Philosopher's Stone 30 feet away not 5 minutes later. [[StupidSacrifice Whoops]].]]
** [[spoiler: Given Ed's opinion of the Philosopher's Stone creation process, it's unlikely he would've used it even if they'd found it sooner.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Mahoromatic}}'', everything Mahoro does costs her a certain amount of energy (which can't be refilled for some reason). Even if she doesn't use her combat abilities, she's got about a year to go when the series starts. ''Using'' those abilities costs her a lot more, and she keeps being forced to; at the end of the series, [[spoiler:she would have died at any moment even if she hadn't made a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* In ''Manga/ViolinistOfHameln,'' Flute and her mother can heal anyone but at the cost of their own lives. To compensate, they have extra long lives.
* In ''Manga/NabariNoOu'', Yoite's Kira technique continually saps his [[LifeEnergy lifespan]]. By the beginning of the series, he only has 1 or 2 months left to live. [[spoiler: He dies from this in both [[DownerEnding the anime]] and the manga.]]
* This is a fundamental tenet of the world of ''Anime/{{Maburaho}}'' -- every person has a certain number of times they can use magic, after which they turn to ash.
* Vash from ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' has various inhuman powers including the ''hilariously'' powerful [[ArmCannon Angel Arm]] which can put a huge crater ''in the moon'' with only a single shot. Too bad every use of his powers costs him a portion of his lifespan as measured by the color of his hair: [[spoiler:human-form [[StarfishAlien Plants]]]] start out as blonde with their hair darkening as their internal power is spent. If it turns fully black, they die. By the time Knives is defeated in the manga, Vash's hair is [[DeadManWalking almost completely black]]. And this is after we're told that Vash could easily use his powers to regenerate all the [[ scars]] his body bears but chooses not to. He most likely knows this trope is in effect and doesn't use his powers for trivial purposes (as well as invoking BeAllMySinsRemembered by retaining them).
* Zearth from ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'': to operate it, it costs the pilot [[spoiler:his or her ''entire'' lifespan.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', [[spoiler:Makoto]] is able to become human at the cost of her memories and her life.
* ''Manga/CheekyAngel'' the demon gives you the opposite of what you wish for then offers to trade 10 years of your life to undo the wish.
* This is how necromancy works in ''Manga/{{Necromancer}}'' with three years of life (or less if there isn't enough) taken and given to the resurrected.
* Parodied in ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'' with Keima's [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique "God of Conquest Mode,"]] which allows him to play several {{Dating Sim}}s simultaneously, but supposedly uses up 3 years of his life for every hour he uses it. In reality, using up his lifespan in this way only makes him pass out and dream about a literal dating-sim heaven.
* ''Manga/{{Dragonball}}'':
** In addition to being CastFromHitPoints, the Tri-Beam is stated on its first use to shorten your lifespan even if it doesn't kill you. This is then completely forgotten about, as within ten episodes Tien feels free to use it for such mundane tasks as clearing a large amount of ice to find a Dragon Ball faster.
** The Evil Containment Wave drains a ''massive'' amount of the user's life force, which means it kills most people who use it. Again, if you've got a lot of energy to burn it doesn't really matter, as Goku practiced it multiple times without any notable problems, and Trunks and Future Mai didn't suffer any negative effects [[spoiler:when sealing Zamasu]].
** Every time King Piccolo spawns one of his sons, it drains his life force. He loses this weakness after wishing to have his youth restored.
** An interesting variant occurs in the Buu saga: Goku is already dead, but has been allowed to return to the world of the living for 24 hours so he can spend the day with his friends and family. During the battle with Buu that begins on that day, Goku transforms into the new Super Saiyan 3 form... which is such a massive energy drain that it burns through all of Goku's allotted time on Earth, forcing him to return to Other World early.
* In ''LightNovel/TheFamiliarOfZero'', a familiar with the Lifdrasir runes can transfer his or her life energy into a void wizard to power up his or her spells. Unfortunately, the life energy does not regenerate, so if this technique is done too many times, the familiar will die. Fortunately for Saito, his Gandalfr runes gave him extra life energy, allowing him to survive his final use of the technique in the series finale and still live a normal lifespan. His Lifdrasir runes are canceled afterwards.
* In ''LightNovel/DateALive'', when Kurumi Tokisaki uses her powers, she drains her "time" (represented by a clock in her left eye). She can replenish it by draining time from other people.
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', there are several types of powerful Magic that burn through the user's lifespan if overused.
** Angel's [[OurAngelsAreDifferent Angel Magic]] works by creating golden coins, each one representing a portion of her lifespan and a cost of "10". By creating and using a certain number of coins and cost, she can [[SummonMagic summon angels]] to fight on her behalf, but not only does this drain her lifespan with each use, if they're destroyed she suffers [[AgonyBeam extreme pain]]. She doesn't care at first, [[DeathSeeker and even relishes the idea of someday "dying and becoming an angel in Heaven"]], but overuse of her Magic and [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech Gray calling her out on her death wish and desire to throw her life]] eventually turns her "angels" into {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that try to consume her and Gray, and she's only saved by Gray destroying them and another ally "refunding" her lifespan. She starts being more careful after that, and even seemingly figures out how to summon angels without using the coins.
** Ultear's ability to travel through time works this way. [[spoiler: However, using it results in her rapidly aging to become an old woman, and to add insult to injury, it takes her entire lifespan to go back one minute. Fortunately, that one minute is all that the rest of the cast needs to turn the ongoing predicament in their favour.]]
** Ever wondered why Makarov doesn't just nuke his enemies with Fairy Law all the time? [[spoiler: Turns out the price to pay for casting the spell is effectively this trope. The amount of lifespan one must pay using the spell is proportionate to the number of enemies eradicated. The larger the number of enemies are, the greater amount of life force is paid in exchange]]
* After Lucy's power increases in ''Manga/ElfenLied'', it becomes a variant of this (specifically, the use of her vectors causes her bodily entropy to increase at a rapid rate, basically resulting in her disintegrating with each use of her powers).
* In ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'', Issei compromises his lifespan several times. He's first warned he cost himself some time when [[spoiler:[[YinYangBomb incorporating a fragment of]] Divine Dividing into Boosted Gear]], and later costs himself 99% of his lifespan by activating [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique Juggernaut Drive]] the first time. [[spoiler:He eventually uses what life he has left to defend Ophis. He's rewarded for the HeroicSacrifice by being resurrected in a new body that can handle the strain of his abilities without sending him to an early grave which also restores the lifespan he lost from his previous actions.]]
* ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'': During Tenchi's closing narration of the first movie (''Tenchi Muyo! in Love''), he explains that his mother, Achika, died because the Juraian power that would've sustained her life was passed onto him, during his birth. She passed away only several years later.
* In the manga ''Manga/MahouShoujoSite,'' whenever a magical girl uses her stick, her lifespan is shortened. As such, whenever a character goes overboard with their stick, expect a rather messy PsychicNosebleed to occur.
* Inverted with [[CreepyChild Loco]] from ''Manga/{{MAR}}'' who uses powerful darkness [=ÄRM=] which operate at the cost of de-aging her. While actually 32 years old, she appears to be about 10 at her first appearance and ends up de-aged all the way to being a baby in the finale. Oddly the possibility of using this "negative" effect to prolong her lifespan is never addressed and she consistently [[CursedWithAwesome treats it like a bad thing]].
* In ''Anime/MacrossDelta'', the [[HumanAliens Windermerians]] have superior physical and sensory abilities compared to the other "Children of the [[{{Precursors}} Protoculture]]", but they pay for it with an incredibly short lifespan (only thirty to thirty-five years); they basically "burn out" much quicker than other species.
* ''Manga/MakenKi'': Blood Pointer allows the user to empower themselves [[KiManipulation by drawing "Element"]] from the surrounding environment and, if need be, from the user's own raw emotion. But it also causes them gradually [[BloodFromTheMouth succumb to sickness]] with each use, and can eventually result in their death. It's said to be the curse of [[spoiler: Yabiko Himegami]]'s bloodline and the Oyama Family are his direct descendants.
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', Kurapika learns how to activate his [[SuperMode Emperor Time]] ability at will instead of only when under large emotional stress, but it will remove one hour from his lifespan for each second it's used in this way.

* In the ''Comicbook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}'', Kid Psycho could project a forcefield at the cost of one year of his life.
* The Franchise/{{Batman}} villain Bag O'Bones could become invisible, except for his bones, and gained electrical powers, but for each second he spent in that state he lost a day of his life.
* In the ComicBook/{{Shadowpact}} books, Enchantress is mentioned using a spell that takes a year off her life to keep her team's leader Nightmaster alive for either another hour or another day. However, its also mentioned that she's supposed to live for centuries like a lot of other magic users in the Franchise/DCUniverse so she probably doesn't mind nearly as much as a normal person would
* In one popular version of [[Franchise/TheFlash Barry Allen]]'s origin (the retelling in ''Secret Origins'' Annual #2), the lightning bolt that gives him his powers actually speaks, offering him the choice of whether to accept. It warns him that his life will be shorter if he does. (How does it know? Because [[spoiler:it's Barry himself, at another point in the closed electrical/temporal circuit of his life.]])
** Flash's successor, Wally West, once had to heal from repeated lightning bolts cast down upon him by Kadabra, he did this by speeding up his body's natural healing process so quickly he basically aged himself a couple of years.
* In ''ComicBook/XMenForever'', [[spoiler:the more a mutant uses his powers, the shorter their lifespan becomes. That is why there are so few old mutants. Not explained is how this can be reconciled with explicitly immortal mutants like ComicBook/{{Apocalypse}}...who also uses his powers ''a lot''.]]
* ''The Great Ten'''s Immortal Man in Darkness pilots the otherworldly fighter known as the Dragonwing. Each flight of the Dragonwing takes a year off his life. Pilots tend to last between 7 months and a year before a replacement is required, but there is no shortage of volunteers.
* At the beginning of ''ComicBook/{{Spawn}}'', every time Spawn used one of his powers, he was closer to dying and going back to hell and the reader was constantly reminded of this at first by the appearance of his power bar. After a while, the power bar appeared less and less, until the creators seemed to forget about it altogether. Recently, having lost the throne of Hell (and the unlimited power it maintains), Spawn has limited power again, cued by the reappearance of the power bar.
* Used in a particularly barmy (probably Italian[[note]]This is based on the Finnish translation, but since those particular translations are pretty decent, it can't have made any more sense to begin with. Less is possible.[[/note]]) [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] story. Let's see... Scrooge finds out that if you travel to the centre of the Earth (beware the giant snails!), you'll find a smaller Earth whence all time originates, and there the keepers of time can give you the key to time, which enables you to operate on all time zones at once. (No-one knows what that's supposed to mean, not even after he starts doing it, but it's the key to making boatloads of money.) But they also give him twenty-four negative briefcases. Those vanish, but they're still with him, much like the key is never shown to be an item but just is in his pocket. Anywho, it turns out that in doing whatever he's doing with the "key", he's also consuming his own time twenty-four times faster. Not that it's very relevant since very shortly he would have been crushed by the weight of the briefcases anyway, whatever that means. Um. Got it?
* In Marvel's Mystery Men limited series (set in the 1930s, with a distinct period feel to it), the hero Achilles loses a year of his life for every day he uses his powers. On the other hand, he regains a year of life for every person he kills as Achilles. His fights thus tend to be bloodbaths.
* The lead character in ''[[SubHuman SubHuman]]'' doubles up her life energy every second, giving her roughly twice human capacity in strength, speed, etc., at the cost of half a normal human's lifespan. [[spoiler: The villain in the book has the same deal, but is trying to avoid the cost.]]
* In the post-''ComicBook/OriginalSin'' ''{{ComicBook/Thor|2014}}'' series, it's revealed that the new female Thor, [[spoiler:Jane Foster]] suffers from this when she becomes Thor [[spoiler:as transforming causes the effects of her chemo that would treat her cancer null, thus causing her cancer to spread once she reverts. She doesn't care, though.]]
* [[CosmicEntity The Phoenix Force]] of [[ComicBook/XMen The X-Men]] derives its power from the reserve of life energy left for new generations. So anytime someone uses the phoenix power they're reducing the capacity for a baby to be born in the future. Since the Phoenix's primary activity seems to be destroying planets at "evolutionary dead-ends" this might even out.
* Gotham and Gotham girl of Franchinse/{{Batman}} bought powers like flight, super strength, and super vision but every time they use those powers, they lose their lifespan.
* A story arc spanning Marvel Comics' Avengers issues #281-285 saw the team up against the Greek gods, who blamed Earth's Mightiest Heroes for injuries team member Hercules sustained in battle. One of their main allies on Mount Olympus was the Titan Prometheus, who sought to quell the conflict by waking Hercules from his injury-induced coma, imparting part of his own immortal lifeforce to do so. The results were reflected in new wrinkles on the face of the previously ageless Prometheus, as well as grey hairs.
* A variant in ''ComicBook/TheHerderWitch''. Magic requires the sacrifice of a memory to function. Morie's attempt at teaching Yanna spells includes her implanting Yanna with a foreign memory so as to have something she can expend for her practice spell.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* [[Literature/HarryPotter Harry]] in ''[[ The Next Great Adventure]]'' admits to one of his companions that the reason only he can use a ritual that brings the [[Videogame/WorldOfWarcraft Forsaken]] back to life is because "all the years [they] now have to live have to come from ''somewhere''."
* In the [[FanFic/TriptychContinuum Triptych Continuum]], this can potentially be done by ''every single pony in Equestria''. If the need is truly there and there's no other way out, any pony can choose to put the last of themselves into their magic, trading their existence for a closing surge of strength. This final burst of energy can be directed into any magic the pony has, including racial abilities and their mark talent. The event is extremely rare, frequently spectacular in what it can achieve -- and invariably fatal.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheGoldenVoyageOfSinbad'': 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.
* All magic users over the age of 18 in ''Film/TheCovenant'' are like this; you even get to see the consequences via one man who looks probably 30 years older than he should.
* In ''Film/{{Clockstoppers}}'', a Hypertime watch works by rendering someone's molecules into a hyper-accelerated state, allowing them perceive the world as if time is standing still. Unfortunately, this eventually causes users to suffer from rapid aging as a side-effect. The villains plan to counteract this is to kidnap scientists and force them to work on a de-aging device. As extra incentive to succeed, they're forced to work on this device whilst ''in'' Hypertime.
* ''Film/MerlinsShopOfMysticalWonders'' (best known for its MysteryScienceTheater3000 episode), states that all magic artificially ages the user. The finale to the first story in the anthology culminates in the magic user needing to concoct a youth potion to counteract the effects.

* ''{{Faust}}'': The TropeMaker of DealWithTheDevil had this part in the contract.
* In one of the ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' 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, his body is about ten years older, although they use plastic surgery to mask it.
* In Creator/NoraRoberts' ''Key Trilogy'', three women are tasked with finding [[MacGuffin three keys]], with the caveat that if they fail, each loses an undisclosed year of her life.
* The titular magic patch of skin in ''[[ La Peau de Chagrin]]''.
* In Creator/DianeDuane's novels:
** In ''Literature/TheTaleOfTheFive'' books, wielders of the Fire die young.
** In the ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series, powerful spells may result in a reduced lifespan or death. Much of ''Deep Wizardry'' revolves around Nita's participation in a ritual that requires the central wizard's death (Nita being chosen by fate because she already owed some hundred years of lifespan after the first book), and in ''High Wizardry'' she uses a shield spell that drains a year of the wizard's life each time it's activated.
** Similarly, in ''Literature/TheBookOfNightWithMoon'' (which takes place in the same setting as the ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series), one of the cats sacrifices one of her nine lives to fuel a wizardry.
* In the Magic or Madness trilogy, using magic costs you your lifespan. However, not using your magic costs you your sanity, so it sucks either way.
* The [[WitchSpecies Qirsi]] from the ''Winds of the Forelands'' are shorter lived than the non-magical Eandi because their magic burns up their life-force.
* Mages from the ''{{Mithgar}}'' books age rapidly when using their magic, though they can enter a trance-like state to regain their youth (this also allows them to be functionally immortal, as long as they don't over-exert themselves). [[EvilSorcerer Black Mages]] have a way around this by basically becoming psychic vampires, drawing on the fear and misery of others instead of their own lives.
* The children's book and movie ''WesternAnimation/TheHalloweenTree'' involves a group of children questing to save the life of their friend Pipkin, who has appendicitis. [[spoiler: In the end, each gives up a year of his or her life in exchange for saving their friend]].
* In one of the multidinous ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' books a mage casts Haste (which speeds you up and alters your perception of time) on himself and a buddy so that they can run faster for a time. He neglects to tell his friend that they have just shed a year of life in the process thanks to the rapid flow of time in their bodies.
* One of the even-more-multitudinous ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' series, the Cleric Quintet, concludes with a BittersweetEnding in which [[spoiler: Cadderly, the protagonist, uses divine magic CastFromLifespan to construct a cathedral to his god, reducing himself to an old man even as his LoveInterest remains youthful]]. A cameo appearance in one of the Drizzt Do'Urden books implies [[spoiler:that his god, as a reward for his willingness to make the sacrifice, is slowly restoring his youth.]]
* In the ''Literature/SecretHistories'' series Wild Witch Molly Metcalf traded several years of her life to gain the powers necessary to avenge the murder of her parents.
* In P.B. Kerr's ''Literature/ChildrenOfTheLamp'' series, any djinn who uses their powers will reduce their lifespan. How much varies depending on the power used, but granting a typical wish will cost someone about a day of their life. Considering that djinn can live over 500 years, and entering a lamp puts them in suspended animation where they don't age, this isn't all too bad.
* This trope is foundational to the ''Literature/MagisterTrilogy''. Whenever anyone casts a spell, it costs them part of their allotted lifespan, and human society is built upon the sacrifices of witches. Magisters seem to be able to circumvent this law and do any magic without ever paying for it, but even they are afraid of what would happen if the secret behind their power ever got out.
* In ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'' Andy Mcgee has the ability to implant suggestions into others, however each time he uses the power he damages his own brain, and knows that eventually it'll kill him.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Seanchan suicide assassins known as Bloodknives use magical artifacts to gain extreme strength and speed as well as a cloaking effect. The downside is that once they activate it, it can't be turned off, and they have only a few weeks (at best) before the side effect poisons their blood and kills them.
* The elder Giver in ''Literature/TheGiver'' mentions that using his memory-absorbing power has "aged" him; though it isn't clear whether it has actually shortened his life, or if he just looks much older than he really is.
* The ''Literature/RiversOfLondon'' series has an instance of WizardsLiveLonger[=/=]MerlinSickness, but for most magic users it's shown if you try to do a spell that is excessively powerful, or get so addicted to magic that you are constantly doing spells, it can kill you. Magic burns the connections in your brain cells out over time and can, in some cases, lead to brain haemorrhages, so it's best to avoid too much build up. People who have spells done to them can also succumb to the same effect of magic as well, so it's not only the casters at risk.
* In ''Literature/ThePrincessSeries'', Snow White can summon aid in the form of the Seven Dwarfs- here elemental spirits-, but the dwarfs, although completely loyal to Snow, take seven years off her life as 'payment', with the result that Snow appears to be in her mid-thirties when she is barely twenty.
* In Leah Cutter's ''Paper Mage'', the heroine is horrified that a fellow mage won't help his home city without a huge payment. He explains to her that unlike her magic, his comes off his lifespan, and the spell that would be required in this case is powerful enough to cost him dearly.
* In Creator/RobertHoldstock's Merlin books, the wizard, whose power is written on his bones, is reluctant to use power for fear of using himself up.
* Goldmages in Goldmage. Other types of mages have different prices, linked to what their abilities are; whitemages, who cure people, become sickly, redmages lose their memories and ability to form memories as their brains become full of the people the Know, etc.
* [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Kiva]] in ''Literature/CounselorsAndKings'' loses her wizard's powers at the end of the first book. She gets them back partway through the second, but only through a difficult magical process that causes her to age visibly.
* In Brandon Sanderson's ''Infinity Blade'' series, the healing rings speed up the body's natural healing processes, aging you about six months with each use. Also provides the RequiredSecondaryPower of [[BadassBeard instant beard growth]].
* Some forms of magic in ''Literature/TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel'' age and weaken the caster, even if they're an immortal. Nicholas Flamel himself suffers this throughout the series, as does Machiavelli at the end of the fifth book.
* In ''Literature/ThroneOfTheCrescentMoon'', Dawoud is a mage whose magic drains him of his life energy.
* In ''The Ring of Solomon'', a ''[[Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy Bartimaeus]]'' novel, the titular Ring of Solomon is essentially this. Touching the ring brings forth a multitude of spirits, while twisting it upon the finger calls a spirit of unparalleled power. However, even just ''wearing'' the ring causes the owner immense pain and every use ages the wearer a little, sapping their life energies.
* In Literature/TheLaundryFiles, anyone performing magic directly (instead of using a computer, which is a perfectly viable option since [[FormulaicMagic all magic is math]]) will eventually fall prey to K-syndrome. Particularly nasty since long before it kills you outright, K-syndrome causes incurable early-onset dementia. [[spoiler:Even more nasty when you know the mechanism: performing magic attracts inter-dimensional brain-eating parasites, and they're always hungry...]].
* [[spoiler: Scion]] in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', not that it makes a difference given [[Really700YearsOld how much he has to work with]] and [[PersonOfMassDestruction how strong even his basic powers are]]. The only ability he has that takes off a significant lifespan chunk is [[spoiler: Contessa's "Path to Victory" power]], which is such a StoryBreakerPower that his entire arsenal pales in comparison, but is implied to take millenia off his lifespan. It says a lot that he uses it exactly once in the entire story.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': This happens to Cordelia Chase, after she took on Doyle's visions. Humans aren't strong enough to handle the visions, and they began to cause her extensive brain damage to the extent that she chose to become a half-demon to survive and keep them.
* ''Series/{{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 his life. If he won he got 25 years back, but if he lost he aged 25 years. He did this so he and his wife could be immortal. He wasn't all bad though (as he keeps telling everyone). Notably, he deliberately folds to let an old man see his grandson grow up.
* In ''Series/{{Reaper}}'', kissing a succubus takes years off the end of your life. You temporarily gain super-strength, super-speed, and the good effects of a hundred cups of coffee.
* In seasons three and four of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Hiro Nakamura's ability to TimeTravel gives him a brain tumor that only gets worse each time he uses his ability. [[spoiler:He gets better.]]
* In one episode of ''Series/DoctorWho'', the Doctor sacrifices ten years of his life to help recharge the TARDIS when it's stuck in a parallel universe. Granted, he has a centuries-long lifespan, and the ability to completely [[TheNthDoctor regenerate]] when near death, but still...
--> "I just gave away ten years of my life." (manic grin) "Worth every second!"
** [[spoiler: River]] uses her remaining regenerations to revive the Doctor at one point; the Doctor later uses some regeneration energy to heal her broken wrist.
* A variation is featured in ''Series/BabylonFive'': A [[AppliedPhlebotinum healing machine]] that can heal injuries and restore life by drawing life force from the operator. Treating severe injuries requires a HeroicSacrifice or operators working in shifts to share the load. If this sounds like a poorly designed piece of medical equipment, then it's worth pointing out that it was designed by an unknown alien race for ''executions''. A condemned person would be hooked up to one side, and a sick person would get the other side.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'':
** "Blood Brothers" featured a serum that seemed to cure all ills, like the FountainOfYouth. Too late, the antagonist discovers that instead of simply giving you a new lease of life, it uses up all your {{life energy}} in a short burst, followed by RapidAging and death.
** "In The Zone" had an experimental treatment that could give a person SuperSpeed, but the person ages the more he uses it.
* ''Series/PowerRangersZeo'': When Jason takes over as the Gold Zeo Ranger from Trey when he's injured and put out of action. However, the Gold Ranger's powers are not meant for a human, and they start sucking the life out of Jason. This example is unique in that there appear to be no long-term effects, and Jason is perfectly healthy after giving the powers back to Trey.
* Late in ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'', Shitari gives his second life [[note]]Each of the monsters in this series have two lives: one at normal size, and another as a giant.[[/note]] to allow a MonsterOfTheWeek to have an even more powerful third life. Of course, he seldom enters the fray, so he was in no real danger of losing his first life [[spoiler:until the crossover movie]].
** Before this, in the crossover with ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'', the oni Chinomanako steals Daiki Kaito's Diendriver to become Chinomanako Diend. However, doing this cost him his second life, allowing Shinken Red and Kamen Rider Decade Complete Form to finish him off without the threat of growing.
* In ''Series/TeenWolf'', kitsunes can summon Oni (powerful demon warriors) by breaking some of their nine tails, but this drains them of their powers and (it is strongly implied) drastically shortens their otherwise centuries-long lifespans.
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'': In "Back to Normal", Griffin Grey has SuperStrength, but since it works by overexerting his cells, every time he uses it, his body ages. He's only 18 and by the end of the episode, he looks like an old man.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Several spells caused aging as a side effect of using them, including ''Gate'', ''Haste'' and ''Wish''. Varies from edition to edition. Generally, such costs are much more common in Second Edition than the Third.
** One possible side effect of using an artifact/relic was aging three to 30 years.
** In module I9 ''Ravager of Time'' the BigBad Nuala aged one year per spell level each time she cast a spell. She used her Life-Bane power to drain youth from her victims to negate this aging.
** The Wu Jen spell, Transcend Mortality, takes this to the logical conclusion: You use up ''all'' of your lifespan (and lifeforce in general) at once. You'll be more or less entirely indestructible for a while, but after that, you don't just die, you turn to ashes.
* TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} has Tien Yu, the Goddess of Lookshy, whose most powerful attack, Lance of a Fallen Era, shortens the lifespan of the ''city of Lookshy'' by a number of days equal to the damage it does.
** This makes perfect sense when you consider that Lookshy fields the Gunzosha commandos. Gunzosha power armor is one of the few artifacts in the entire game line that can be used by non-[[{{Mana}} Essence]] users -- at the cost of a year of your life ''for every twenty minutes of use''. This can be mitigated by having aegis-insert amulets surgically implanted, allowing a commando to use his armor free of charge... but the amulets themselves cause you to age twice as fast as normal.
** Before errata, Sidereals had Burn Life, a Charm that empowered their body at the expense of a few days or weeks. Given that their 5000-year lifespan has so many days and weeks in it that burning a few was pretty much meaningless, the Siderrata cut the entirely toothless disadvantage and just made it permanently online at no cost.
* ''TabletopGame/SeventhSea'' has the Bearsark advantage, which allows a player to fly into a superhuman rage so terrible to behold that enemies must make a Resolve test to keep from cowering. However, the Bearsark ages by 1 week for each round he is in this state.
* Sorcerers in ''TabletopGame/{{Carcosa}}'' risk aging several years every time they perform a magic ritual.
* Iron-Bound Elves in ''TabletopGame/WickedFantasy'' have the ability to sacrifice some of their lifespans to enhance various abilities, making them, at the least, more likely to succeed at attack rolls, skill checks or ability checks. As the process of becoming Iron-Bound cuts an elf's normal lifespan from "tens of thousands of years" to about "one to twelve years" in and of itself, and is typically the result of the elf being forcibly enslaved by a (usually human) master, most don't consider the sacrifice to be all that big a deal.

* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'': Darkspawn's blood is poisonous. [[spoiler:And Grey Wardens drink it. So, if you managed to survive the Joining, you've got no more than 30 years to live.]] ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' ''Legacy'' reveals that it's actually much worse than mere poison. [[spoiler:Ingesting Darkspawn blood always leads to either death or becoming a ghoul. The Wardens' version, if it doesn't kill the recipient immediately, merely delays the transformation by a few decades. Surviving the Joining means you will one day become a willing slave to the Darkspawn.]]
** Also, [[TheMedic Wynne]] [[spoiler:is dead. She was brought to life by a spirit of the Fade, and using her Spirit Vessel ability shortens her lifespan each time. She doesn't seem to care, though, because she is already very old and her bonus lifespan is going to be short]].
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' applies this to a ''stat-boost''. The Elixir of Heroism ages the drinker, "but with age comes wisdom" - you apparently get the experience of fights you ''would'' have had in that time, without the trouble of actually doing it.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyCrystalChronicles: Ring of Fates'' does this. Whenever twins Yuri and Chelinka do their weird... glowy... thingy, Chelinka gradually loses her soul while Yuri's lifespan is shortened drastically, [[spoiler:leading to his near-death at the end of the game and prompting a HeroicSacrifice from Chelinka]].
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' character Sylphie is a [[WhiteMage Conjurer]] who is gifted in healing magic. [[spoiler:However, because she refuses to learn about nature, and thus cannot draw upon the boundless energy of the world itself, her healing magic is instead cast from her ''own'' life force, in effect shortening her lifespan significantly.]]
*** Also in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', after the events of ''A Realm Reborn'', it turns out that [[spoiler:Y'shtola was trapped in the Lifestream. While it seems at first that the rescue effort has gone off without any more hitches than usual, it turns out that she's slowly being drained of Aether - and was furthermore blinded, so every time she tries to cast magic or even ''see'', she's bringing herself closer to death.]]
** This is basically what [[spoiler:Galuf]] does in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV''. As [[spoiler:he keeps fighting Exdeath]] while already in KO status, he winds up with an actual death results that a Phoenix Down can't cure.
* ''VisualNovel/TimeHollow'': [[spoiler:Too much use of the Hollow Pen causes a person to age beyond his chronological age.]]
* ''MagicAndMayhem'': Using magic in the Arcane Realms causes your body to age. This doesn't affect game mechanics, but it does drive the storyline; the [[BigBad Overlord]] is trying to recover various artefacts with which to reverse the process before his body wears out.
* In ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'', use of the unsealed [[AncestralWeapon Vampire]] [[WhipItGood Killer]] by someone who is not a direct descendant of the [[BadassFamily Belmont clan]] will shorten their life. In the case of [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaBloodlines John Morris]], this resulted [[spoiler:in his wounds from his battle with {{Dracula}} not healing, culminating with his premature death. This trope is the entire reason his teaches his son Jonathan how to fight ''without'' the use of the Vampire Killer and refuses to tell him the means of how to unlock the whip's true power--[[MagicKnight the Lecarde family]]. ([[WellDoneSonGuy Jonathan is resentful of this at first]], [[CharacterDevelopment but comes to respect his old man's choice by the time of]] TheReveal).]] This is GameplayAndStorySegregation in ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin Portrait of Ruin]]'', since the effects of such are well beyond the game's timespan.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', [[spoiler:The Great Seal which you must use to end the final boss fight. The protagonist dies slightly more than one month later.]]
** It's later discovered in ''FES'' that [[spoiler: if you cast the Great Seal and ''don't'' die, the seal will fail. Sacrifice is necessary.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SaGaFrontier2'', you can use a Life Point at the beginning of each turn to restore your character to full HP. However, once you run out of Life Points, that character is dead and is unable to be revived.
* Both Tohno Shiki from ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' and Emiya Shirou from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' have insane powers which put intense strain on their bodies and minds. It's implied that Shiki won't live too long even if his eyes don't drive him crazy. Shirou risks his life every time he uses magic (especially before Rin trains him), and in Sakura's route, he has a much more immediate limit: three tracings with [[spoiler:Archer's arm]] will kill him.
** In ''LightNovel/FateZero'', Matou Kariya makes up for a lifetime of never doing magic by having Crest Worms implanted into him. Downsides include physical effects similar to a stroke victim, tremendous physical pain whenever he uses magic, and having only one year left to live.
* MMORPG ''A Tale in the Desert'' had (has?) Speed of the Serpent, a potion that let you teleport for a certain amount of distance. Want more teleportation? Drink more! The downside is that it is poisonous. The antidote is not especially difficult or expensive, but you must remember to take it every 30 days after your first drink or else your character dies. Subtract one day from your time limit for every successive Serpent potion. There is no respawning in ''A Tale in the Desert''.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' has more powerful spells and effects aging characters. This can be reversed except for some of the most powerful spells and effects, such as miracle or a ghost's attack, which increase your age permanently.
* In ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', during the Sith Inquisitor storyline it's revealed that [[spoiler: Zash]] suffers from this due to overuse of more dangerous Dark Side abilities. As a result, [[spoiler: she]] intends to regain this lost youth by [[spoiler: using an ancient ritual to steal ''[[BodySurf your]]'' body.]]
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has [[spoiler: Azura, who possesses a magic pendant that lets her use MagicMusic. However, the pendant's powers have been slowly killing her ever since she started using them. This leads to her dying in ''two'' of the three paths of the game.]]
* ''Daibanchou - Big Bang Age -'' has this with Jinnai Heita after you clear all his character events but his final one, which has him go Super Saiyan. He also gains an attack called Ten Year Knuckle, which he claims takes ten years off his life each time he uses it. [[spoiler:It does, and you need to use it seven times to get his full character clear, which results in his death.]]
* ''VideoGame/DemonGaze'' has this with [[spoiler:demon gazing, which takes a massive amount of your lifespan, even if you don't fully gaze them. This results in one character dying and being unable to be revived by the necromancer, as she can only bring back people who died before their lifespan ended. This applies to the main character as well, but he's so long lived that it hardly matters.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''MarvelousBob'', Alex has the power to travel through time, but however far he travels, he ages by that much. If he goes forward in time one year, he becomes one year older. When he comes back, he becomes ''another year older.'' He always gets older no matter which direction he travels. By the time he's chronologically ten years old (from his own point of view), his body is nearly ''eighty.''
* Magic in ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights''. [[spoiler:The BigBad is searching for an artifact that will allow him to avoid this problem. This is also what ends up killing Ma-Ti.]]
* In Life Artificial, artificial intelligences understand money as computing Time, time to live and think. Thus, any expense is CastFromLifespan.
* ''Film/NoobLeConseilDesTroisFactions'' introduces a tennis player who can hit the ball hard enough to break his opponent's racket. However, the method he uses puts such a strain on his heart that according to his doctor, his lifespan gets reduced by a year each time he uses it.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sorcery101}}'', both Magic and Sorcery takes a heavy toll on the user's health, with the result that neither Mages nor Sorcerers ever get particularly old. (It's more of a 'Will drop dead around 60-70' thing than an 'unlikely to see their 30th birthday' type thing, but still an unpleasant fact.) The main character, Danny, is a Sorcerer, but he's safe from these consequences due to being the [[{{Familiar}} Blood Bond]] of a powerful vampire. His teacher IS a vampire, and thus also safe. Main character Ally, however, is a Mage with no added advantages, so...
* ''Webcomic/TheDragonDoctors'' has two examples:
** One chapter deals with a horrible curse that prevents a lost soul from moving on to the afterlife; the price for this terrible curse is that while the soul is unable to rest, ''neither is the caster'' -- she is unable to sleep, suffers from a continuous burning sensation in the back of her mind, and ages at about double speed. Worse, [[spoiler:the wording in the spellbook is so vague that ''the caster didn't even know it was a curse in the first place''.]]
** More traditionally: after [[spoiler:Tanica]] learns some basic healing magic that she can't summon enough magical power to cast, she ends up [[HeroicSacrifice tearing out her own life essence]] to fuel the spell when [[spoiler:Goro collapses at her feet and she has no way of summoning help.]]
** In ''Webcomic/IDreamOfAJeanieBottle'', a genie can die if they overuse their powers on a broad (read: "global") scale for too long, presumably at the behest of their master. It is heavily implied that the last known genie to suffer this fate was [[spoiler: Eva Braun.]]
* The [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demons]] of ''Webcomic/SlightlyDamned'' have the ability to enter a monstrous OneWingedAngel form with vastly increased size, strength and magic but doing this causes them to both [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity become mindless killers]] and will kill them in a short time due to how much stress it puts on their bodies. They can [[TakingYouWithMe trigger it willingly]] but as we've seen with [[spoiler:Lazuli]] it can also happen involuntarily if they receive fatal (but not immediately lethal) injuries.
** However there is a way to get around the fatal part, by drinking [[spoiler:the [[{{Superstrength}} red]] [[AlchemyIsMagic Rainbow Reverie potion]]]] they will only be berserk for a short time and when it wears off they change back [[PowerStrainBlackout exhausted]] but alive.
* Attempted in ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater''. Red Mage casts several Haste spells on a bone dragon in the hopes that it's lifespan will be greatly accelerated until it dies... even though he knows it doesn't work that way, he just wanted to see if it could work. You honestly can't blame Black Mage for trying to shank him right after.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', WordOfGod holds that Aang's spending a century as a HumanPopsicle burnt up a lot of [[WizardsLiveLonger extra Avatar time]] (the only reason freezing in a simple iceberg didn't kill him is that he was in the [[SuperMode Avatar State]] for the entire century; an Avatar is not supposed to be in the Avatar state for nearly that long). As a result, he died young, at a mere sixty-six years old (the oldest Avatar, Kyoshi, lasted two and a half ''centuries''), paving the way for SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', set seventy years after series' end, and following his titular seventeen-year-old successor.
* Mozenrath from ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'' sacrificed two things for his magical gauntlet. The immediate price was the flesh from his right hand. In the last episode starring him as the villain it's revealed that it also drained his life force and he doesn't have much longer to live. He tries and nearly succeeds in performing a GrandTheftMe on Aladdin in a bid to cheat death, and is last seen floating away in a balloon conjured by Genie without his gauntlet.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', it's revealed that former Guardians who use their elemental powers without being connected to the Heart of Candracar ends up draining from their own life force. It probably explains why Yan Lin, Kadma and Halinor still look youthful in their old age where Nerissa was withered and deformed. Cassidy doesn't count as she was dead.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManUnlimited'', it's stated the serum that allowed Counter-Earth's Kraven the Hunter to enhance his skills is shortening his lifespan. (A trade he's comfortable with.)
* One of WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}'s enemies (Speed Demon) unwittingly sped up his aging process by overusing his superspeed. The medics who examined him afterwards managed to reduce his aging to a normal pace but were unable to undo the extra aging.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'': The human villain Nanosec found himself at the same situation of the above mentioned Speed Demon. Fortunately for him, he teamed up with and [[UnholyMatrimony started dating]] the villainess Slo-Mo, who could use her time-manipulation to reverse his aging.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostBusters'', the heroes' mutations are made out of ectoplasmic energy (borne out of failing to properly dispose of their old uniforms). As Egon puts it, "Each time they fire, they weaken." The more energy they consume, the less that is available to them.