At the climax of The Death Gate Cycle, main villain Sang-drax, normally a Magnificent Bastard par excellence, dies in an incredibly lame fashion- by rearing up too high and slamming his head (he's a giant snake in his true form) into the ceiling, causing it to collapse on him. Upon giving the scene some thought, however, I remembered that the chamber the climax took place in was actually a portal that led straight to the series' version of God, and therefore filled with energies that Sang-drax would find anathemic. That means he was most likely already dying from the moment he entered the chamber (which he only did in a panic to stop the magical ritual going on there), and it's no wonder he wasn't able to avoid the ceiling with half his brain fried. It's still a lame send-off for a great villain, but at least it's a send-off that makes sense. - Master Ghandalf
Well, that, and the chamber was explicitly stated to cause anyone who initiated violent action inside it to die. Naturally, that magic operates the same way Patryn and Sartan magic work, by reaching out into all the probabilities that could occur, and bringing the one you want into reality.