[[quoteright:320:[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TriforceALttP.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:[-In a realm beyond sight\\
The sky shines gold, not blue\\
There, the Triforce's might\\
Makes mortal dreams come true.-] ]]

->''"Who designed this campaign setting? Why would you include four points of such catastrophic weakness that tampering with any of them results in the destruction of the global ecosystem? It makes no sense! A kind and loving creator would never have done this, and a cruel one would simply have made the air out of acid. And it wouldn't have evolved on its own, as there's no advantage to living in a world poised on the brink of annihilation!"''
-->-- '''Red Mage''' calls out this trope, ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', "[[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/02/28/episode-390-a-deal-with-the-devil/ A Deal with the Devil]]"

Oh no! The world is in danger! Happiness, sunshine, puppies, and ice cream will cease to exist! Why, you ask? Well, it seems that the villains have stolen, corrupted, or destroyed the [[MineralMacGuffin Four Orbs of Fate]], the [[PlotCoupon Pillars of Reality]], the TomesOfProphecyAndFate or TheLifestream. The loss of even ''one'' of these is enough to [[WorldWreckingWave make the world spiral]] into a [[{{Mordor}} hellscape of torment]] consumed by [[EldritchAbomination Inconceivable Horrors beyond the comprehension of All Logic and Reality]]. It seems that for some unfathomable reason the PowersThatBe or CrystalDragonJesus who created the universe saw fit to make its continued healthy existence contingent on these [[MacGuffin poorly guarded, easily found, delicate, carry-on-luggage sized objects.]] Obviously they never heard of redundant systems and [[FailsafeFailure failsafes]].

Justified if the world/universe was once healthy and self sustaining but due to some catastrophe was broken, requiring the hasty creation of a Cosmic Keystone by a [[BenevolentPrecursors benevolent precursor]] as a ''patch'' of sorts to hold the world together. The cosmic keystones could also be a side effect of creating the world in the first place.

If the villain ever gets the cosmic keystone, expect him to try and use it to destroy and/or [[EndOfTheWorldSpecial remake the world]] in [[DespotismJustifiesTheMeans his own twisted image to rule over.]] If he even realizes the reality-central nature of the item. Sometimes the villain has a smaller goal in mind for its power; he just doesn't believe it'll destroy everything if something goes wrong, or else has an overinflated opinion on his ability to prevent that from happening. If he doesn't have it he'll [[MacGuffinDeliveryService tail the hero, let him do the hard work of finding it, and snatch it from the heroes' grasp]] at ''just'' the last second, only to fly away cackling. One would think they'd know better than to tamper with the underpinnings of reality, but [[SanityHasAdvantages villains have never been the sanest lot]]. When the changes [[WorldHealingWave can be easily reversed]], there is obviously NoOntologicalInertia in that cosmos. Good thing there are no RealLife examples... that we know of.

A ''person'' who is one of these is a BarrierMaiden, and possibly a LoadBearingBoss. Settings where reality works via the MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality will probably have a lot of cosmic keystones.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' the Soul King is described at this. Without him, Hueco Mundo, Seireitei, and the human world would all collapse. [[spoiler:Aizen]] believes letting this situation continue is the logic of losers and [[spoiler:Yhwach]] doesn't care.
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', the Digital World has seven Destiny Stones which maintain the barriers between realities. Each universe seems to have equivalents, our world's being Kyoto shrines. If all of any one universe's set of seven are destroyed, all dimensions will collide, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroying the multiverse]]. You'd think TheFourGods would have thought twice about leaving them all in plain sight and in the same city.
* In ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'', the world will essentially end if seven buildings in [[TokyoIsTheCentreOfTheUniverse Tokyo]] are destroyed. Naturally, the Dragons of Earth tend to challenge the Dragons of Heaven to massive, destructive battles at these places.
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon 2000}}'' movie, three of the Legendary Birds maintained the balance of the world's climates. Capturing just one quickly threw the whole thing out of whack, turning a tropical area downright arctic. This is a massive change of theme from the GottaCatchThemAll mindset of the games; More like "Catch 'em all... except these three!" It's unknown whether this applies ''just'' to those specific three, or whether the capture of ANY Legendary Bird would have the same effect (or whether it would make a difference if the Bird went willingly).
** When Ash meets one of the Frontier Brains, him and the others tell the Brain how impressive it is that he caught Articuno (although he didn't), showing that, at the very least, one CAN catch the birds as long as they aren't from the three islands. Either that, or Ash suffered from amnesia after that movie.
*** Considering the fact that later tournaments have competors packing ''Full Legendaries'' [[spoiler:i.e. Heatran, Latios, and Darkrai, and this isn't the first appearance of the last]][[note]][[spoiler:nor of the others if you count the Movies (''and'' time travel for the first)]][[/note]], it seems that the former is the case. Granted, however, the events in ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'' mentioned in the Video Game section below also occurred in the Anime[[note]]as did the [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Ruby-Sapphire]][[/note]] one, [[OffModel to an]] extent; making this a case of "[[DependingOnTheWriter depending on the Legendary]]."
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', the Magical World has literal Keys that [[RealityWarper can rewrite reality]]. The villains already have a few of these Keys, and used them to ''erase'' several Magical World inhabitants from existence [[spoiler: including Jack Rakan]]. Obtaining the most powerful Key of them all is the main goal of the villains ''and'' the heroes (who want to undo the damage already inflicted by the villains).
* The plot of ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'' revolves around saving the kidnapped "Pillar of Cephiro", who supports the existence of the entire world with her prayers. The plot of Rayearth 2 revolves around [[spoiler: finding a new Pillar.]]
* In ''Anime/SpiderRiders'' the Oracle Keys where created to... Well we don't know exactly why they exist, except to tempt people into abuseing there power.
* ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'' revolved around the characters attempting to recover the Cyber Planet Keys and the Omega Lock. Optimus Prime needed them to save Cybertron, Starscream wanted to [[AGodAmI become a god]], and Megatron wanted to destroy the universe and remake it in his image.

* The Franchise/MarvelUniverse contains several objects capable of severely screwing up time and space, some of which bestow varying degrees of omnipotence on their wielders. These include the Infinity Gems (particularly when brought together and mounted in the Infinity Gauntlet), the M'Kraan Crystal, and the Ultimate Nullifier. One of the very first such artifacts was the Cosmic Cube, now made famous by the Avengers' film.
** Most of the gods (and we mean Cosmic gods, not the local ones like Thor) are this as well, which is why they can't just kill Galactus or a Celestial. It's eventually shown exactly ''why'' killing Galactus would be a very bad thing, when somebody manages to actually do it: the NighOmnipotent OmnicidalManiac Abraxas is unleashed. Galactus gets restored to life afterward.
** The relationship between ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} and Jean Grey, of all things. Certain things with universe-affecting implications (such as stopping the M'Kraan Crystal, as mentioned above) ''don't happen'' if Scott and Jean never got together.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}'', the Crown of Horns is the balancing point of both the physical world and the dreaming-world.
* In the ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'' comics God himself is the Cosmic Keystone, and his abdication leads to reality beginning to unravel ([[OmniscientMoralityLicense Though he had a plan to address this).]]
* Nowadays in Franchise/TheDCU, the whole of the multiverse (fifty one universes to be exact) rest on top of the main Universe-0 (the fifty-second), more specifically on Earth due to all of the massive {{Crisis Crossover}}s. Should Earth-0 ever be destroyed, all of the multiverse would be destroyed (this was the goal of the Anti-Monitor in the Sinestro Corps War arc).
** In the limited series "Trinity", the Big Three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are cosmic keystones ''of'' the cosmic keystone earth.
** As of ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'' the Franchise/DCUniverse got a new one: the Entity. It is the source of all life in existence. In ''ComicBook/BrightestDay'' the Entity reveals to [[Comicbook/{{Deadman}} Boston Brand]] [[spoiler: that it's dying and needs to be replaced before it takes all life in the universe with it.]]
** Eclipso once tried to destroy Earth as part of its plan to ''kill {{God}}'' [[spoiler:because ''Earth itself'' is vital to God. Earth was created by God to be the wellspring of belief that fuels His continued existence.]]
* In the ''ComicBook/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' Season Eight comics, the Seed of the World, the source of all magic in this reality, is introduced. [[spoiler:It was in the custody of the resurrected Master until it was recovered and destroyed.]] Season Nine reveals that the Seed [[spoiler:was the source of ''creativity'' as well. Unless it is somehow replaced, humanity will lose their stories, music, and art forever. In Season Nine, the magic-draining character Severin makes a HeroicSacrifice and generates a new Seed.]]
* ''The Incal.''
* Subverted in ''Death: The High Cost of Living.'' Some of the characters, [[WrongGenreSavvy and likely also the reader]], believe that the ankh that Death carries around holds some cosmic power. [[spoiler:It doesn't. It's just an affectation. When the Eremite steals it, Death just...[[CrowningMomentOfFunny buys another one.]]]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TheThiefAndTheCobbler'', in which an OpeningMonologue explains that the safety and balance of the Golden City depends on three golden balls perched on top of a minaret. News of an invading army comes just as King Nod discovers that the balls are gone, but the defeat of said army only seems to be incidental to the Thief finding and "returning" them.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Dogma}}'', the cosmic keystone isn't an object, but a concept: God is Infallible. If God is ever proven wrong, existence would end. The movie's plot involves stopping two angels from doing that, by using [[ArtisticLicenseReligion Hollywood Catholic Dogma]] to end their banishment on earth.
* ''Film/TheFifthElement'' didn't ''just'' have cosmic keystones, but a living [[InformedAbility "perfect" human]], the titular Fifth Element, was the focus and trigger for the only weapon that could fend off the elemental, perfect evil that wanted to destroy the world.
* ''Film/TheGoldenChild'' is a living cosmic keystone, keeping the forces of evil from devouring the world through his IncorruptiblePurePureness alone.
* Smaller-scale version in ''Film/SgtPeppersLonelyHeartsClubBand'' with the original band's instruments, which protect the SugarBowl of Heartland USA. When they're stolen and scattered, the town decays into a sleazy shadow of its original self.
* ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'': the six Infinity Stones, being the Tesseract (Space), the Either (Reality), the Orb (Power), the Eye of Agamotto (Time), Vision's Mind Stone, and the still undiscovered Soul Stone. Possession of all six bestows God-like power.

* White gold in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' is a cosmic keystone that is conveniently located outside of the cosmos it affects... until the start of the story anyway. The One Tree is another cosmic keystone, but with protections far surpassing the typical keystone. (Subverts the usual pattern further in that the DarkLord never got his hands on them -- they were used by the good guys instead.)
** Well, not really. [[spoiler: The Big Bad DOES get his hands on the white gold at the end of the Second trilogy. At that point, however, the hero has realized the true nature of the power of the white gold, and is able to trick the Big Bad into wasting his one shot at its use.]]
** The white gold itself isn't precisely a Cosmic Keystone; it's just a way to draw power from the real Cosmic Keystone, the Arch of Time. If the white gold is destroyed, nothing happens. If the Arch of Time is destroyed, reality (if you can call it that) will crumble.
* Downplayed in ''Literature/LoyalEnemies''. The [[AmplifierArtifact Staff]] of [[GreenThumb Fertility]] (and oh boy, is there anybody in-story who doesn't snark at its name?) is an integral part of the elven half of Ash Keep, without which the giant plants constructing the elven town can't survive. Its theft is enough to put the dryad and elven halves of Ash Keep on the brink of war.
* ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' in the series of the same name. It manifests in all worlds, but only in one does it appear as an actual tower -- which is held up by six radiating Beams that span the sky in twelve directions from it. In most worlds, it takes the form of a rose, though it has also been known to appear as a tiger, a dog, or a talisman. Long and short of it is that all worlds are connected to the Tower, and the destruction of the tower is all it takes to bring everything down.
** In an interesting twist, two ''entire universes'' function as Cosmic Keystones for TheMultiverse. One the world in which the Tower exists as a real tower, and most of the characters' adventures take place. The other is (''almost'') our world, in which their adventures are described in a series of books by Stephen King -- actually referred to as the "Keystone World", and the only one for which time travel is impossible. Destroying the Tower in either of these universes would lead to all of God's (er, "Gan's") creation being unraveled.
* Susan Cooper's ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'' series revolves around this.
* The Boxes of Orden in the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series fit the trope, as using them incorrectly can let the Keeper, the local equivalent of Satan, into the world of the living. The Pillars of Creation are living versions.
* The [[strike:Holy Grail]] Lightstone is the Cosmic Keystone of the ''Literature/EaCycle''. One would think something with that level of potential for abuse would have been guarded better.
* The ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series has ''The Book of Night with Moon'', a book which describes the entirety of existence and which must be read from periodically by wizards in order to remind Reality what it's supposed to be like. It's indestructible and can't be used by the BigBad, but simply keeping it out of the hands of the good guys for long enough will result in reality slowly unraveling.
* Played sort of straight in Robert Jordan's ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series with the 'invincible' ''cuendillar'' seals containing The Dark One being the key to his release and the apocalypse that would ensue as he rewrote the Pattern in his image.
** Interestingly, Jordan plays with this trope as the seals are gradually weakening (and outright breaking in some cases) without any outside influence. This is generally put down to The Dark One breaking free of his prison, because the seals are the focus of the magic that's doing the actual imprisoning, so although they're invincible normally, as the magic gets damaged so do they.
** At the end of the series, [[spoiler:Rand realizes that the Dark One itself is also a keystone of sorts. It, and by extension evil itself, is vital to humanity's capacity for choice and change. People ''need'' to be able to make poor choices.]]
* [[Creator/RaymondEFeist Ray Feist's]] Literature/TheRiftwarCycle, and most particularly ''A Darkness at Sethanon'', has the Lifestone, which draws power from and could be used to end all life on the planet. Justified as the creators thereof didn't give a good goddamn if they sterilized the planet so long as they won their war. [[spoiler:They didn't.]]
* The Orb of Aldur and the Sardion in the {{Belgariad}} and the Malloreon are stones which embody the conflicting destinies of the universe and bestow godlike power on anyone they allow to hold them.
* The Ruby Sunstone was said to be something like this for ''Literature/{{Dinotopia}}'' in 'First Flight'; it would maintain a balance as long as it stayed in its place at Highnest, but trouble would ensure if it was removed. However, it may have simply been a legend or First Flight may not completely fit into the other books' canon, as the Sunstone was lost, then stolen briefly by Lee Crabb, then dropped into the sea during the final battle where Arthur and Will, helped by the Skybax,Northies and Giganotosaurs, managed to stop him.
** The TV miniseries came up with a storyline about a ring of sunstones that kept the large carnivores in the basin, when some of them went out, chaos ensued.
* The Gates from ''Literature/ThePowerOfFive''.
* ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' has the sleeping goddess Burn, who dreams life into existence. Burn's body being poisoned [[spoiler: by the alien presence of the Crippled God]] is a ''very'' pressing issue once Quick Ben learns about it. All life is supposed to be destroyed when she awakens -- nobody knows what will happen if she ''dies''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The 1978-1979 series of ''Series/DoctorWho'' revolved around the Doctor's needing to gather and assemble the pieces of "The Key to Time", [[SanDimasTime scattered across space and time, before]] an evil power could get its hands on it. The villain had a particularly clever plot, too; [[spoiler:his agent located the final piece of the Key and settled down nearby to wait for the Doctor to bring all the other pieces there along with him when he came for it.]]
** Subverted somewhat in that The Key To Time is used to restore the universe's balance, which apparently gets upset ''all the time''. This is partly because the opposing [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Black and White Guardians of Time]] are adversaries, and keeping the pieces of the key scattered is necessary to prevent the Black Guardian (Chaos) in particular from using it to spread entropy.
** The new series also features an equation that can "solve" the universe, and somehow rewrite it to suit the solver's needs. The Doctor has to decide whether or not to use it to bring back the Time Lords and stop the Time War from happening. [[StatusQuoIsGod He]] [[TheWoobie didn't.]]
** 'Logopolis', the final Tom Baker episode, features the titular planet which was itself a universal keystone. The people were bringing energy into the universe as a way to fight off entropy. When the Master decides to stop activity there for a little while (admittedly, not really understanding what they were doing) large chunks of reality were destroyed before the problem could be fixed. Even then, there was no reset button.
** Gallifrey itself may be full of these, not least of which are The Eye of Harmony and The Moment. It is taken quite seriously that the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Time Lords]] could end the universe if they chose to do so, using technology they already possess.
* ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' has the five jewels of the Crown of the Gods, each of which has a complicated series of {{MacGuffin}}s as clues to its whereabouts.
* In Season 5 of ''[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]]'', we get "The Key" (note the capital K), a device which can destroy the barrier between realities and turn southern California into Hell on Earth.
* Done in a slightly [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness harder SF]] context in ''Series/SeaQuestDSV.'' A deforested future Earth depends on ten massive air processing plants to keep what's left of the planet livable. Then a race of genetically engineered SuperSoldiers - with lower oxygen requirements - decide they wouldn't mind the place to themselves...
* The Emerald of the Eclipse in Series/TinMan.
* [[spoiler: The Heart of the Island]] in ''Series/{{Lost}}'' [[spoiler: from which emanates "life, death, and rebirth." Conflict has existed for centuries between those that would protect it, and those who would use it for their own purposes.]]
* ''Series/TwelveMonkeys'' reveals in Season 2 the existence of the Primaries, humans with a special connection to Time itself, whose existence keeps it linear. [[spoiler: The 12 Monkeys intend to use time travel to kill them with paradoxes in order to cause a TimeCrash.]]

* ''[[VideoGame/ProPinballTimeshock Pro Pinball: Timeshock!]]'' has Time Crystals, which are needed to generate a counter-shockwave of time to prevent the end of reality.
* The Tesseract in ''Pinball/TheAvengersStern'', which spells COSMIC (and enables the Super Jackpot) as it spins.

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* One interpretation of the [[Literature/TheBible biblical]] story of Adam and Eve holds that the ForbiddenFruit of the tree of knowledge essentially acted as a Cosmic Keystone. The [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent serpent]], who is [[RetCon supposed to represent]] {{Satan}}, tricks them into partaking of the forbidden fruit. The result, of course, is the fall of man and the ruin of God's perfect creation. Some believe that this is the reason why we have natural disasters, diseases, wars, famine, and death in the world today.
** Interestingly, Revelation 5-6 and 8:1 speak of a scroll that is believed by scholars to be the title deed to the Earth. Now to whom could it belong? [[spoiler:[[CaptainObvious It's Jesus.]]]]
* In Myth/GreekMythology, anyone who burns the entrails of the Ophiotaurus would gain the power to defeat the gods.
* In Myth/MesopotamianMythology, the supreme god (which may be Enlil, Enki or Marduk, depending on the tribe) possessed ''Dup Shimati'', the Tablet of Destinies, essentially a legal document that [[TomesOfProphecyAndFate dictated the laws of the universe and the fates of those who lived in it.]] The tablet was both the badge of office for the ruler of the universe and in no small part the source of his powers. This makes this trope OlderThanDirt.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In many fantasy [=RPG=]s is a common plot device used by {{Game Master}}s. Have the heroes find the Cosmic Keystone before the BigBad can get to it and destroy it. Very much a form of stock plot.
* Used very literally in the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' adventure module ''The Apocalypse Stone''. The ''Stone of Corbinet'' (which must always be italicised) is the Cosmic Keystone used by the gods to create whichever world you choose to set the campaign in, and which connects it to the other planes. As long as it stays in Castle Pescheour, the Axis Mundi, everything's fine. The castle is watched over and kept secret by the Pescheour family and their servants. The BigBad is an exiled prince of the family whose brother was chosen to rule the castle in his stead, and who doesn't even know what the ''Stone'' really does, but [[EvilPlan wants to steal it so he can play king himself]]. He sets the player characters to [[MacguffinDeliveryService steal it in his stead with no idea what they're actually doing]]. As the world starts to [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt fall apart]] gradually as a result and the heroes eventually find out what they've done, they must hurry to undo their mistake -- the BigBad certainly isn't going to that, being evil enough to [[EarthShatteringKaboom let the world be reduced to nothing]] if he can't have his way with things.
* ''{{Exalted}}'' has a few examples, most notably the Elemental Poles and the Loom of Fate. Differ from most in that the Poles are incredibly durable and malleable (the four that exist at the edge of the world can adjust themselves to how far the edge happens to be), and the Loom is probably the best defended thing in the world.
* The Astronomicon from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' functions as this for humanity. It is a massive beacon of psychic energy powered by the dying GodEmperor, used by starship pilots to navigate the Warp. Theories on what could happen should the Emperor die range from inconveniencing (the Emperor reincarnates into a new body and returns to rebuild the Imperium) to very bad (the psychic backlash plunges Terra and a good portion of space into a second [[NegativeSpaceWedgie Eye of Terror]], leading to the collapse of the Imperium and a win for Chaos).

* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}:'' According to supplemental materials, Primus is a living version. Realities where he's been killed apparently tend to start falling apart at the seams (or at the very least, start getting very confusing).


[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Pillars of Nosgoth in ''Blood Omen: VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'', though there it's subverted because the AntiHero protagonist decides to destroy the pillars completely and rule as an evil vampire king.
** The Pillars are technically more of a representation of the state of Nosgoth as a whole, and they are maintained by their nine guardians, whose states of mind the pillars reflect. Alternatively, the player can choose to save the pillars by killing himself (him being, unknowlingly, the last pillar guardian), but canon says that he chose not to, condemning the pillars to eternal ruination.
*** Later games reveal that [[spoiler: Kain killing himself would have doomed Nosgoth anyway. As the last true vampire, Kain's existence is connected to the Pillars since they were originally created by the vampires prior to their corruption. This makes ''Kain himself'' a Cosmic Keystone.]]
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series has many of these.
** ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI The original]]'' has the Four Orbs, one for each [[ElementalRockPaperScissors classical element]]. Their loss is what's slowly destroying the world. They were only called "Orbs" because "Crystals" wouldn't fit in the space allotted.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' (the ''real'' one) had four elemental crystals, fairly standard stuff. Much like the elemental crystals of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' (see below), they give the heroes jobs. Unusually, they are neither destroyed, stolen, nor tampered with. They ''are'' losing their light, though, which is why the Wind Crystal summons the Onion Kids (or Luneth in the [[VideoGameRemake remake]].)
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' had not just four crystals for the elements, but an additional four dark equivalents for the underworld. While these crystals are never threatened within the time-frame of the game (merely used as tools to reach villains' goals), it is strongly implied that they are just as vital to the world as similar crystals other installments in the series.
*** And there's a second full set of eight on the Moon. Using both sets together is what enabled the BigBad to send the [[HumongousMecha Giant of Bab-il]] down to the world in order to raze it.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' also had four crystals for the elements, the destruction of each in turn wreaking havoc with the given element.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' had the statues of the three goddesses, which merely ''moving out of alignment'' would cause the entire world to fall to pieces. Although they have that effect because they ''want'' to destroy the world, or at least don't care if it gets wrecked while they fight amongst themselves.
*** According to the Esper legend, the Warring Triad came to realize the horror they had brought upon the world, and voluntarily sealed themselves away. However, the raw magic that emanates from them is so powerful, they ''need'' to be sealed in a precise alignment to nullify each other, and prevent their mere existence from causing further damage.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyMysticQuest'' had four Crystals very similar to the Orbs in the first Final Fantasy. Additionally, there was a Crystal of Light, but its significance to the world was never well-established.
** In something of a reversal, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' had the protagonist going around ''destroying'' Ivalice's Cosmic Keystone set to turn the world back to normal. [[spoiler:This is subverted when, after all of the keystones are destroyed, ''nothing'' changes - the world is still held together by [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve Mewt's desire to live there]], and the only way to unravel it is to convince him to give it up]].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', the Crystal is indeed a very ''Cosmic'' Keystone, as all life, everywhere, comes from and is sustained by it.
** It's very much like that as well in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'', as the Mothercrystal is the basis for all of Vana'diel. It was also absurdly hard to get to, originally, but when the thing trying to destroy it is comic itself, that kinda doesn't matter.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', [[spoiler: the Cocoon Fal'Cie Orphan]] is the keystone that holds Cocoon together. Without it, all of Cocoon's Fal'Cie would die and Cocoon along with them. [[spoiler: The Fal'Cie ''want'' this to happen. They miss their creator and hate working for humans that much.]]
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestMaskOfEternity'': The Mask of Eternity.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series features the Triforce which is said to grant any wish. The limitations of this are not known, but Ganondorf possessing a piece of it was enough to turn the world into {{Mordor}}. Said wish will also turn the Sacred Realm in which it usually resides into a [[FisherKing reflection of the bearer's whim]]. The Triforce has canonically only been used directly a handful of times to grant wishes (''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link to the Past]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]''), and during the timeskip of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', BigBad Ganondorf uses it to warp the Sacred Realm from a Golden Land into a DarkWorld.
** In ''Ocarina of Time'', Ganondorf makes a grab for the Triforce (whole) and it shatters: Power is given to Ganondorf, Wisdom goes to Zelda, and Courage goes to Link. The ''real'' Ganondorf has been with Power in almost every other game (''A Link to the Past'' is a notable exception since the Triforce is actually all in one place for once), while Link is often on quests to retrieve Courage and Zelda almost always has Wisdom innately (with the original game being exception for both).
*** Which in turn explains his incessant desire to kill or otherwise "deal with" Link and Zelda, since the death of either will release their part of the Triforce, making it up for grabs -- exactly what Ganondorf wants.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' changes up the mythos a bit: the Triforce is notably backgrounded, and new Light Spirits are added; without the Light Spirits, the Twilight Realm takes over the world. And the Twilight Realm has its own -- small suns that return Dark creatures to their original, more peaceful forms.
** The endgame of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds'' shows just how powerful the Triforce is: [[spoiler:The people of the AlternateDimension of Lorule destroyed their Triforce to prevent abuse of its power, only to find that it literally acted as a keystone holding everything together and that without it the world was doomed to slow destruction. Link and Zelda then wish on the Hyrulean Triforce, and it creates a ''replacement Lorulean Triforce''.]]
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' has [[TheWorldTree the Mana Tree]], which has already been dead for four thousand years or so due to a great {{Magitek}}-based war. [[spoiler: Mithos made a SadisticChoice and split the world in two, then set up a system to sustain both worlds with what little mana came from the Mana Tree seed; but then he started obsessing over reviving his sister, necessitating a ScrewDestiny by the heroes.]]
** The Mana Tree's revived by the end of the game... only for it to die ''again'' in ''another'' Magitek war in the backstory to ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia''. [[spoiler: Derris-Kharlan's Mana Tree also died in the backstory, prompting Dhaos to come to Aselia to procure a Mana Tree seed to save his world. He gets his wish in the end, albeit posthumously.]]
* ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa'' pulls something more out of this, The legendary Artifacts; Fatestones, if not collected will be used to power up the Final Boss, you can even power him up intentionally for a greater challenge if you wish after clearing the game one time.
* In ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'', General Scales manages to snag the four [=SpellStones=] that keep the planet together. Its initial effect is to push four chunks of land away from the planet, but there are concerns that the planet could explode. ''You'' don't need to worry about that happening, however; you can TakeYourTime.
* In ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile2Silmeria'', the four worlds of the setting are each stabilized by one of the four treasures. Removing a treasure from its world causes that world to quickly become unstable and eventually cease existing.
* The world of ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}} VI'', ''VII'' & ''VIII'' are chucked full of these. First theres the Cosmic Forge, a pen and book in which anything written (or erased) affects reality accordingly.
* The four seals in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' fill this role. Partially subverted in that [[spoiler:the world was created far differently from how it appears, and the seals hold back the true world by replacing it with one that is user-friendly]].
* In ''VideoGame/ZorkGrandInquisitor'', the world will stay a world oppressed by the technological dictator The Grand Inqisitor if the player doesn't find three object with massive magical power: a Cube of Foundation, the [[TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples Skull of Yoruk]], and the Coconut of Quendor.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Nox}}'', the player must find the Halberd of Horrendous, the Heart of Nox, the Weirdling, and finally The Orb.
* In ''[[{{VideoGame/Diablo}} Diablo II]]'', the evil Baal tries to capture the Worldstone. He aims to corrupt it and turn the mortal world into a bastion of Hell. [[spoiler:He pretty much succeeds. Tyrael is forced to destroy the Worldstone to keep Sanctuary from becoming part of Hell. Fortunately, destroying the Worldstone removes the seal on humanity's true potential as [[YinYangBomb angel-demon hybrids]] (Sanctuary itself was created through an angel-demon union). Unfortunately, it also makes humanity a target for the fanatically anti-demon angels.]]
** ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' has another, the Crystal Arch, which is the origin of all Angels and their power. If it is destroyed, Angeldom will cease to exist and both Sanctuary and the High Heavens will be cast into darkness forever. [[spoiler:Diablo is just barely prevented from doing this.]]
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' features the Elemental Stars, which when removed from their hidden chamber cause a calamitous volcanic eruption. Placing these stars in their respective elemental lighthouses will destroy the world. [[spoiler:But in ''Golden Sun: The Lost Age'', this is inverted: If the Elemental Lighthouses are not lit, the world will definitely be destroyed, and the only danger otherwise comes from what humans might do with the power of the activated lighthouses. Oh, and just lighting a few of the Lighthouses will upset the climate. Case in point: the Mercury Lighthouse stopped the excessive snowing in the Imil region (and may have stopped the rain on the Osenia continent), the Venus Lighthouse caused a massive earthquake and tidal wave, and slammed Indra into Osenia and Gondowan, and the combination of both Mercury and Jupiter being lit with only Venus to counter them dropped the world's temperature. Things only stabilized after the Mars Lighthouse was lit.]]
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'' has the [[RealityWarper Reality Warping]] HumongousMecha known as Numidium, constructed ages ago by the Dwemer and used by [[GodEmperor Tiber Septim]] to forge his empire. It was designed to be powered by the heart of the dead creator god Lorkhan (see below) and was modified to use the Mantella, an unimaginably powerful soul gem containing the soul of the Underking, believed to be a "Shezzarine," a physical form taken by the soul of Lorkhan ("Shezzar" being the Imperial name for Lorkhan).
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' features the Heart of Lorkhan, the creator of Mundus, the "mortal plane" in which the TES series takes place. The other spirits who participated in creation lost a good portion of their divinity in the process and felt betrayed by Lorkhan, so they killed him, tore his heart from his body, and cast it down into the world he created where his soul is forced to wander. The Dwemer uncovered it and planned to use it to power the Numidium, but the entire race disappeared without a trace when they tried to tap into it. Using their tools, the three [[PhysicalGod God-Kings]] of Morrowind (and their rival, BigBad Dagoth Ur), managed to tap into it to achieve divinity for themselves. The plot of the game involved severing their ties to the heart.
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'':
*** Inverted in that the player goes around entering small hellish dimensions stealing their cosmic keystones in order to collapse them and prevent the demons within from attacking your world. Of course, the reason the demons are able to do open up the portals is because the Cosmic Keystone on your side (The Amulet of Kings) was stolen, and you need to get it back.
*** It's buried fairly deep in the lore, but the events of Oblivion were actually set in motion by the destruction of disguised cosmic keystones across Nirn, including the Heart of Lorkhan. With enough of them gone, Mundus is in trouble; this also suggests that Azura's motivations in steering the hero towards destroying the heart in Morrowind may have been out of different motivations than she let on.
*** Oblivion revolves around three cosmic keystones: the Emperor's bloodline, the Amulet of Kings, and the Dragonfires. The Dragonfires maintain the barrier that separates Mundus from the [[spoiler: (other?)]] Daedric Realms as long as they remain lit. They were created through a bloodpact between the Emperor's ancestor and the leader of the Aedra, the dragon god Akatosh. Due to this, the fires only remain lit so long as the current Emperor is still alive; if the Emperor dies, another of the bloodline must relight the fires using the Amulet of Kings (which holds Akatosh's own blood) or else the barrier weakens and eventually vanishes. By the end of the main campaign [[spoiler: all three keystones are lost. Mehrunes Dagon shatters the barrier and enters Mundus, rendering the Dragonfires useless. Martin Septim, the last member of the Emperor's bloodline, shatters the Amulet of Kings and sacrifices himself to become an avatar of Akatosh in order to fight off the Daedra Prince of Destruction. Dagon is sent back to Oblivion, but the dragon avatar is mortally wounded as well and turns into a statue that replaces the Dragonfires]].
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' Features this as part of its backstory. According to the faiths of most elves, Mundus (their physical universe) is a prison for their souls. Several prominant landmarks in the series, The Crystal Tower, The White-Gold Tower, and Red Mountain, were part of a series of things holding it all together. The reason that the Thalmor (the fascist High Elf political group that rules the new Aldmeri Dominion) forced the Empire to ban Talos worship is because they believe that is the only thing keeping humanity existent and reality from collapsing.
* Averted/Inverted in ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'', with it's 27 True Runes. The Runes are major parts of the world, and at least one is required for the continued existence of its domain (the Dragon Rune allows dragons to exist) and the destruction of the 5 True Elemental Runes is Not A Good Thing. In fact, it's implied (and the BigBad of ''VideoGame/SuikodenIII'''s plan is predicated on this premise) that the destruction of any one of the True Runes would destroy the world. However, the Runes are rarely in danger as they have wills of their own and generally control their bearer ''far'' more than their bearers control them.
** And even if the bearer has sufficient willpower to dominate the Rune, the Rune will never have sufficient power to destroy itself or any of the other Runes. To destroy a True Rune requires multiple other Runes' powers to be united, under very specific circumstances. And even then, it's not certain that the attempt to destroy the [[spoiler:True Wind Rune]] would actually have worked even if it ''hadn't'' been interrupted.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire''/''Emerald'' were centered around this. Evil bad guy(s) steal(s) object(s) of power, world goes to hell.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl''/''Platinum'' were even more centered around the trope, if that's even possible. There were even ''separate levels'' of Cosmic Keystones here: [[spoiler:the Lake Trio, when brought together, created the Red Chain. That in turn summoned Dialga or Palkia, who were cosmic lynchpins that could literally destroy and reform the universe. ''Platinum'' takes it a step further, with the temporospatial chaos created by Dialga and Palkia's presence summoning Giratina, who could also destroy the world. Presumably with a bigger bang. And, wouldn't you know, Cyrus had the fantastic idea to make the Red Chain and (try to) pull this Trope, though it turned out to be pretty difficult.]]
** Another D/P example is found in the postgame, when [[spoiler:the removal of the Magma Stone from Stark Mountain almost caused said volcano to erupt. Not "cosmic" persay, but certainly destructive.]]
** The Time Gears in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'' are initially believed to be responsible for maintaining the flow of time in the world, but in reality, are simply tools needed to repair the true keystone; the Temporal Tower.
* The first ''TyTheTasmanianTiger'' has five talismans that need to be recovered so the BigBad of the series can't unlock the power of the Dreamtime and wipe out all the mammals. Incidentally, the place the talismans are returned to serves as the conveniently-located hub of the game.
* ''{{Wild ARMs}}'' has the Tear Drop - a crystal with a link to the guardians and should not be in the wrong hands. There's also the Ray Line, a sort of underground conduit linking the guardians' powers. When the villains manage to damage it, the forces of nature go out of whack, wreaking havoc.
** And this makes more sense if you take into consideration BlindIdiotTranslation: Ray Line = ''{{Leyline}}''. Indeed, it was translated as Leyline in the [[VideoGameRemake remake]].
* The Chaos Emeralds in ''SonicTheHedgehog''. If you ever want to make something go horribly wrong, just gather them. Then you can drain them, make them evil, use them to power evil or use them to power yourself to defeat evil as you wish.
** ''[[VideoGame/SonicRushSeries Sonic Rush]]'' has a more explicit version in the Sol Emeralds, the counterparts of the Chaos Emeralds from a [[AnotherDimension parallel dimension]], which are vital in maintaining that universe's balance. When Dr. Eggman steals them and brings them back to his own world, they begin to [[MergedReality draw their native dimension into their current one]], forcing their guardian [[DefrostingIceQueen Blaze]] to pursue Eggman and retrieve the Emeralds before both worlds are irreversibly damaged by the process.
** The Master Emerald, which has the power to strengthen or disable the Chaos Emeralds. It's [[WarriorMonk Knuckles]] duty to guard it, but he doesn't do a particularly good job of it because it gets stolen by Eggman in ''Sonic 3 and Knuckles'' and [[DismantledMacguffin broken]] in both ''Sonic Adventure'' games.
* In ''VideoGame/Mother3'', the [[spoiler: Seven Needles sealing away the [[SealedEvilInACan Dark Dragon]], although subverted somewhat by the fact that not just anyone can pull it - you have to have a certain special PSI power. It also helps that if a good-hearted person pulls the Needles, the Dragon wouldn't so much ''destroy'' the world as ''upgrade'' it.]]
* In ''VideoGame/VagrantStory'', the city you fight in is the Cosmic Keystone. Yes, drawing on its power irrevocably damns your soul, and sometimes you can't even stop yourself from using it. Yes, it also unravels that pesky LaserGuidedAmnesia (''OR DOES IT?''). And yes, everyone and their grandmother has designs on the bloody place, including that CorruptChurch. All to the point where you don't know who might have the right idea up. Until the end, where it becomes a case of who's the last man standing.
** Said Cosmic Keystone, named 'The Gran Grimoire', is the source of all magical energy in the world. And, in the Final Fantasy games that tie in with Vagrant Story, normally manifests as a book that created, and is holding together, the entire world.
* The {{Infocom}} InteractiveFiction game ''Spellbreaker'' has its protagonist traveling the world in search of its Cosmic Keystones, which in a borderline subversion manifest as featureless white cubes that are utterly indistinguishable from one another (but can be written on to differentiate them; this was considered a neat feature when the game first came out). [[spoiler: It turns out that this is all ThePlan of the protagonist's evil magical doppelganger: you've been playing MacGuffinDeliveryService for him all along, and once you unwittingly bring all the cubes to him, he magically paralyzes you and uses the cubes to build a tesseract - a ''hyper''cube - at the center of which is the Cube of Magic. Once he enters the hypercube, reality will reconfigure itself around him - essentially [[AGodAmI turning him into a god]] - but the protagonist can use his HeroicResolve to shake off the doppelganger's spell just in time to replace the Cube of Magic with something nonmagical, erasing your evil twin from existence... [[TheMagicGoesAway as well as magic,]] unfortunately.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' both have the Zohar Modifier, an object that has existed since the beginning of the universe.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' and ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' have a few of these -- the Time Egg (the "Chrono Trigger"), the Frozen Flame and the Chrono Cross. In the FanGame ''VideoGame/CrimsonEchoes'', the Frozen Flame is the prominent Cosmic Keystone, while the Time Eggs have become more easily manufactured and used (with both Balthasar ''and'' Lucca constructing them), suffering [[BadassDecay Keystone Decay]] by virtue of this.
* The Seven Seals in ''{{Darksiders}}'' are essentially a countdown to Armageddon. Breaking the Seventh is the signal for everybody to engage in the massive cosmic winner-take-all power struggle that is the Endwar, with the Horsemen ready to clean up the mess when everything is resolved.
* Valerian Scarlet's Arc in ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'' has you collect a collection of artifacts that have the potential to jump start the apocalypse. You know, so she can seal them? [[spoiler:[[NiceJobBreakingItHero You poor gullible fool...]]]]
* The Stone-Like in ''VideoGame/RadiantSilvergun'' and ''VideoGame/{{Ikaruga}}''.
* DemonsSouls has the Monumentals and the Archstones in the Nexus. The Monumentals, willingly transformed into half-living magical statues, [[SealedEvilInACan sealed]] away the [[EldritchAbomination Old One]] the last time it went on a soul-devouring world tour, and created the six Archstones to bind together the remaining fragments of reality. If the Monumentals completely die out, or the Archstones get destroyed, cue TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* The Flame of Olympus in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar''.
* ''VideoGame/{{NieR}}'' has [[spoiler:The Shadowlord, the supposed BigBad of the game. He's the reason that the Shades, AKA the unrelapsed souls of humanity haven't all gone insane and turned into monsters. Unfortunately, by killing him, Nier ends up dooming humanity to extinction.]]
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' has the Lord Souls, fragments of the First Flame. These flames created disparity in a once ordered and gray universe, and the Lords wielded the power of these Souls against the everlasting dragons. The dragons were defeated, and thus began the Age of Fire, the age of Lords. The premise of the game is that the First Flame is flickering, and the world is slowly dying as a result. The mission given to your character is to rekindle the First Flame to save the Age of Fire. [[spoiler:But your ''true'' destiny according to Darkstalker Kaathe is to let the First Flame die so that the unique Lord Soul you inherited from your ancestor the Furtive Pygmy, the [[TitleDrop Dark Soul]], can begin the Age of Dark, the age of humanity.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2: Seeds of Evil'', the destruction of the five Energy Totems will release Primagen from his prison and [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroy our universe]].
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' had the Well of Eternity, a well created by the titans that poured magic out across Azeroth. When it was destroyed at the end of the War of the Ancients, it caused the sundering, which ripped the super-continent apart into the world as its known in the games.
** In the ''Cataclysm'' expansion, a second is revealed; the World Pillar in Deepholm, responsible for keeping Deepholm (one of the parts of the elemental plane) from collapsing into the world.
* In ''[[VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia Legaia II: Duel Saga]]'', the three sacred stones - the Pyrolith, Aerolith, and Aqualith - are tied to the Source Forge, the beacon of the world's creation.
* ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'' has the Sacred Tome, which doubles as a valuable source of information as it knows everything about the Netherworld. VillainProtagonist Zetta sets it on fire out of spite after it said he'd end up destroying the Netherworld by being an idiot...which is precisely why it ends up being destroyed. He manages to preserve the tome by merging with it, however, leaving him as an angry-faced book for the entire story. This translates into the gameplay, as if he happens to get attacked by an enemy, all the manner of bizarre (And frequently harmful) things will happen.
* In ''TheDungeonRevealed'', the theft of the Orb of Carnos plunges TheKingdom into "blight, disease, confusion and senseless infighting."
* Every world in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' has a Keyhole, which lead to the heart of the world and can be opened or closed by Keyblades. Destroying the world's heart on the other side of the Keyhole [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt shrouds the world in darkness and destroys it]]. The Keyholes are usually HiddenInPlainSight; for example, Atlantica's is within Ariel's grotto among her treasures and Neverland's is on the face of Big Ben. Keyholes can also be used to outright alter a world. At the end of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'', [[spoiler:Aqua uses the Keyhole at the Land of Departure to change it into Castle Oblivion.]]
** Kingdom Hearts itself is the Keystone for all reality: the Heart of all worlds and of everything that is. The villains in the games invariably want control over it, since that would effectively grant them control over ''everything''. [[spoiler:Kingdom Hearts has a counterpart, the χ-Blade, the original weapon that all other Keyblades are copies of. It was destroyed in the Keyblade War, but if it were remade, then there is a chance that Kingdom Hearts could fall under someone's control once again.]]
* ''VideoGame/RealmsOfTheHaunting'' has the seven seals, whose breaking will plunge the world into eternal darkness, as envisioned by [[spoiler:Florentine]].
* Justified, in ''[[VideoGame/InheritTheEarth Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb]]'', as the titular Orb of Storms was created by [[MagicFromTechnology sufficiently advanced humans]]. It has been used for generations to judge the growing and planting seasons and its holders have a huge advantage in managing their food supply. It's apparently [[spoiler: the core operating system for some weather control satellites]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Gruntz}}'' has Warpstone Pieces. They're 4 pieces of a big circular rock with a spiral in the center, and getting them together is the only way the Gruntz can go back home.
* ''VideoGame/BattleGirl'' has the Great Machine, a massive computer at the center of the universe which acts as "source of cosmic order and enforcer of natural law."
* ''VideoGame/TheSecretWorld'' features the Gaia Engines, a network of giant cuboid MagiTek devices hidden across the world, primarily used to keep the [[EldritchAbomination Dreaming Ones]] [[SealedEvilInACan asleep and imprisoned]], and to cleanse [[MysticalPlague the Filth]] from the world before it builds to dangerous levels. Interfering with either function is a very good way to kick off TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt - not that it stops the villains, who either want to harness the power within or just end the world on behalf of the Dreamers. [[spoiler: However, later issues of the game reveal that the Engines also serve as a universal ResetButton: in the event that an apocalypse-level event does continue through to the final cataclysm, all the Gaia Engines activate in unison and temporarily harness the Dreamers' reality-warping power to rebuild the world. Unfortunately, this still leaves the world effectively restored to factory settings, and only a few rare individuals and artifacts remain from the previous era. Doubly unfortunately, the Engines have already rebooted three times - and they might not be capable of a fourth...]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Red Mage of ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' (a sprite comic based on ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'') points out the ridiculous nature of this trope in the page quote.
* The five Gates in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' are somewhat more reasonably founded than most examples: they were placed over flaws in space-time in order to keep the Snarl, the local SealedEvilInACan [[ContainmentField canned]]. And the gods could indeed fix it, in the same way you can fix a horribly screwed-up computer by formatting and reinstalling... (which is to say, by [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt starting over with a fresh world]]). The gods would do that if the Snarl is ever freed, so the protagonists are working to prevent it from being freed in the first place, for obvious reasons.
* In ''Webcomic/EmergencyExit'' the main cast was assigned to collect "artifacts" in order to save someone's world from destruction, but it turns out to be a flat out lie and now nobody seems to know what they are for. It is shown that each artifact has a minor power, but implied that they do something far more spectacular when put together (hence an alternative collective name for them, "The Puzzle").
* In ''Webcomic/CityOfReality'', the Aura Stones appear to be this for the various {{Alternate Universe}}s. Each world has a master stone which allows its particular "reality" to exist, and removing or destroying this stone may have catastrophic consequences.
* ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'' has the Disaster Stones, which, if all gathered, can be used to resurrect the Nightmare Knight.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has the Tree of Harmony, which prevents the Everfree Forest from overtaking the rest of Equestria. Not to mention how it spawned the Elements of Harmony (and eventually "upgraded" them into the Rainbow Power), which are needed for a {{World Healing Wave}} whenever some EldritchAbomination or PhysicalGod causes significant damage.
** The Crystal Empire is said to be able to turn its ruler into a FisherKing over the rest of Equestria. Unfortunately for everypony, [[EvilOverlord King Sombra]] nearly takes advantage of this twice, wanting to turn the world into a giant {{Mordor}}. Fortunately, after he's ultimately destroyed, Princess Cadance and Shining Armor take advantage of this to keep the world running normally.
*** The Season 5 finale, which explores multiple "What if?" scenarios, goes into specifics about what would've happened if he wasn't destroyed: not only would Equestria be covered in his dark crystals, but he would even be willing to MindRape the Empire's inhabitants into becoming his soldiers. And Celestia and her own army would only be able to slow him down at best.
* ''WesternAnimation/PiratesOfDarkWater'' had thirteen treasures which [[SealedEvilInACan kept the evil, omnivorous Dark Water from escaping.]] The show's central premise is recovering them before it's unsealable.
* ''WesternAnimation/Thundercats'' had scads of these. Most of the second season was taken up recovering the sacred treasures of Thundera in order to restore and stabilize said planet after it was originally destroyed.
* MagiNation has the eleven Dream Stones. [[spoiler: Actually, there's twelve; the Core has one, too.]] If they are brought together, they form the Core Glyph, which can seal [[BigBad Agram]] away for good. However, if Agram and the Shadow Magi get them, Agram can break free of the Core.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' animated series, people with PsychicPowers proved to be Cosmic Keystones when brought together, as killing them all at once would have allowed [[BigBad Apocalypse]] to remake the universe in his image.
** Albeit only if it was done in the Axis of Time, a kind of convergence of history existing outside of time. Plus, being in the Axis increases the psychics' powers, such that all of them gathered together collectively overpowered Apocalypse. So somewhat more stable than most Cosmic Keystones.
* In ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'', entering "Code XANA" into a Way Tower will destroy the sector it is in. Furthermore, Lyoko can be deleted all at once by destroying the "Core of Lyoko" in Sector 5.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', the spirits of the moon and ocean, bored with existence in the spirit world, came to live in the mortal world in the form of koi fish. If they are killed, the part of nature they represent (or the effect it has on other objects [[MST3KMantra or something]]) will be gone forever.
** Although one of them was smart enough to [[spoiler:heal someone in exchange for them becoming [[SoulJar a backup spirit]].]]
*** In essence, the spirits took mortal form as a way of maintaining the balance of the cycles of the world. The destruction of one puts the other out of balance, in a manner which would destroy the world's cycles disastrously.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', the Avatar Spirit is revealed to be [[spoiler:not the spirit of the world, but rather a spirit of Light and Order named Raava. Raava dying in itself wouldn't have any horrible effects, light and order could still exist. It's just that while she spends 10,000 years regenerating, her EvilCounterpart Vaatu the spirit of Darkness and Chaos would have free reign to wreck havoc.]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' featured a box containing the universe[[note]]First it contained another universe which had its own box containing our universe, but they switched the two around at the end[[/note]]. Played for laughs, as even with warnings that it had to be treated as dearly as life itself, the box is shaken to listen for anything rattling inside (causing a small earthquake) and sat on (stretching out the picture horizontally).
* The plot of ''WesternAnimation/BarbieAndTheDiamondCastle'' involves the [[TheHero heroines]] trying to keep the [[LocationMacGuffin titular castle]] and the instruments in it out of the [[VainSorceress villain's]] hands, lest the world turn to "shadows and sorrow." The villain's actual goal in gaining the castle is to solidify her position as the only muse and rule all music, but those side effects will occur, apparently.
* The ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' Special ''WesternAnimation/TurtlesForever'' has [[spoiler: an entire dimension and group of the eponymous Turtles]] as a Cosmic Keystone for the entire Multiverse. Called "Turtles Prime", it is, basically, [[spoiler: issue #1 of the [[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage original Mirage comic book series]] and its native TMNT]]. Destroy it, and the [[TheMultiverse Turtles Multiverse]] will ''literally'' be ''erased'' from reality in position.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretSaturdays'': The eponymous pin in "The Atlas Pin", which was created by the Atlanteans to lock key tectonic plates in place. Tampering with it causes devastating worldwide earthquakes. Removing it will destroy the planet.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndTimesOfJuniperLee'': Orchid Bay City has three touchstones that protect [[{{Masquerade}} the Veil]], which the finale villain Auntie Roon can only destroy the stones with magic of the elders. [[spoiler: She does so by corrupting the protagonist into a mindless monster.]]