Sometimes, powers are free. Sometimes, they have a price. There is a kind of price which is not paid immediately on screen (i.e. Heroic RROD or body damage).
Sure, you can warp reality or heal your wounds instantly, but never forget that each time you become closer and closer to your coffin, and there is nothing you could do about it.
Actual consequences of it may be shown on screen to do a Downer Ending if the power belongs to a main character, or a Tear Jerker if it's secondary. But they can be not shown at all, and it makes the trope different from casting from HP. In this case the trope can be used as a kind of a limit for using an overpowered ability.
The price can be paid in different ways: a part of Deal with the Devil, a side effect of Healing Factor (speeding cell division, shortening their lifespan and making the user age faster), draining Life Energy connected with age in this setting, form of Deadly Upgrade, plain Magic A Is Magic A and so on.
Anyway, if you have such a power, you either are Blessed with Suck or can use it as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
Unfortunately, this trope is often a way for lazy writers to tack on a 'downside' onto various abilities, without actually creating a visible one, as very rarely will a character who does this actually be seen in old age.
It can then procede to making that character drop dead whenever it is convenient to do so.
Subtrope of Cast From HP. Compare Rapid Aging as a side effect of some versions of Cast From Lifespan. A revive spell that is also this will likely fall into Sacrificial Revival Spell. The existence of this trope in a magic system tends to be detrimental to the trend that Wizards Live Longer.
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Anime and Manga
In Darker Than Black, there was a contractor whose remuneration was aging each time she used her power. Another's was aging backward; overusing it would cause her to remove herself from existence.
Tsunade's and Naruto's healing factor makes them age faster. Technically, they both involve making their cells regenerate faster, but since cells only have a limited number of regenerations, this means they will run out of regenerative cycles and die sooner. As a result, Tsunade uses her Healing Factor only when not using it would shorten her life span rather more suddenly.
Pain's most powerful attacks are also cast from lifespan. 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.
One Piece: Body strain from Luffy's Gear Second shortens his lifespan. After the Time Skip, 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 we tell you that the survival was dependent on the Will to live?)
Death Note: 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 Hibiki no Mahou, the director of the Mage school has his lifespan exchanged for his magic.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, 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 chest wound would of 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 Philospher's Stone 30 feet away not 5 minutes later. Whoops.
In 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, she would have died at any moment even if she hadn't made a Heroic Sacrifice.
In Violinist of Hameln, Flute and her mother can heal anyone but at the cost of their own lives. To compensate, they have extra long lives.
In Nabari No Ou, Yoite's Kira technique continually saps his lifespan. By the beginning of the series, he only has 1 or 2 months left to live. He dies from this in both the anime and the manga.
This is a fundamental tenet of the world of Maburaho — every person has a certain number of times they can use magic, after which they turn to ash.
Vash from Trigun has various inhuman powers including the hilariously powerful 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: human-form 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 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 Be All My Sins Remembered by retaining them).
Zearth from Bokurano: to operate it, it costs the pilot his or her entire lifespan.
Kanon Makoto is able to become human at the cost of her memories and her life.
Tenshi Na Konamaiki 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 Necromancer with three years of life (or less if there isn't enough) taken and given to the resurrected.
Parodied in The World God Only Knows with Keima's "God of Conquest Mode," which allows him to play several Dating Sims 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.
In addition to being Cast from Hit Points, 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.
King Piccolo creating a monster or fighting at full power causes him to age faster.
In The Familiar of Zero, 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.
The Batman villain Bag O'Bones could become invisible, except for his bones, & gained electrical powers, but for each second he spent in that state he lost a day of his life.
In the Shadowpact books, Enchantress is mentioned using a spell that takes an 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 DC Universe so she probably doesn't mind nearly as much as a normal person would
In one popular version of 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 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 X Men Forever, The more a mutant uses his powers, the shorter their lifespan becomes. That is why there are so few old mutants.
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 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 Italiannote 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.) 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 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. The villain in the book has the same deal, but is trying to avoid the cost.
Films — Live-Action
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: Each time Prince Koura used his black magic he became older. By the time he confronted Sinbad at the Fountain of Destiny he was an old man.
Prince Koura: To summon the demons of darkness has a price. And each time I call upon them, it consumes part of me.
All magic users over the age of 18 in The Covenant are like this; we even get to see the consequences via one man who looks probably 30 years older than he should.
In 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.
In one of the Artemis Fowl books, Holly uses magic to heal Butler from a fatal gunshot wound, but her magic is not enough and the spell starts drawing on Butler's life energy as well. For the rest of the series, his body is about ten years older, although they use plastic surgery to mask it.
In Nora Roberts' Key Trilogy, three women are tasked with finding three keys, with the caveat that if they fail, each loses an undisclosed year of her life.
And in her Young Wizards 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 The Book of Night with Moon (which takes place in the same setting as the Young Wizards 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 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). 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 The Halloween Tree involves a group of children questing to save the life of their friend Pipkin, who has appendicitis. In the end, each gives up a year of his or her life in exchange for saving their friend.
In one of the multidinous 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.
In the Secret Histories 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 Children of the Lamp 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 Magister Trilogy. Whenever anyone casts a spell, it costs them part of their allotted life span, 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 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 The Wheel of Time, 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 The Giver 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.
Rivers of London series actually has one instance of Wizards Live Longer / Merlin Sickness but for most magic users it's show if you try to do a spell that is to excessively powerful; or get so addicted to magic that you are constantly doing spells it can kill you as magic burns the connections in you 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 The Princess Series, 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 Robert Holdstock's Merlin books, the wizard, whose power is written on his bones, is reluctant to use power for fear of using himself up.
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 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 Heroes, Hiro Nakamura's ability to Time Travel gives him a brain tumor that only gets worse each time he uses his ability. He gets better.
In one episode of Doctor Who, 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 regenerate when near death, but still...
"I just gave away ten years of my life." (manic grin) "Worth every second!"
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 Babylon 5: A healing machine that can heal injuries and restore life by drawing life force from the operator. Treating severe injuries requires a Heroic Sacrifice 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.
One of the first episodes in the revived series of The Outer Limits featured a serum that seemed to cure all ills, like the Fountain of Youth. 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 Rapid Aging and death.
Power Rangers Zeo: 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.
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 then the Third.
One possible side effect of using an artifact/relic was aging three to 30 years.
In module I9 Ravager of Time the Big Bad 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.
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-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.
7th Sea 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.
Dragon Age: Origins: Darkspawn's blood is poisonous. And Grey Wardens drink it. So, if you managed to survive the Joining, you've got no more than 30 years to live.Dragon Age IILegacy reveals that it's actually much worse than mere poison. 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, Wynneis 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.
Dragon Age II 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.
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: 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, leading to his near-death at the end of the game and prompting a Heroic Sacrifice from Chelinka.
Time Hollow: Too much use of the Hollow Pen causes a person to age beyond his chronological age.
Magic And Mayhem: Using magic in the Arcane Realms causes your body to age. This doesn't affect game mechanics, but it does drive the storyline; the Overlord is trying to recover various artefacts with which to reverse the process before his body wears out.
In Persona 3, 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 if you cast the Great Seal and don't die, the seal will fail. Sacrifice is necessary.
In Saga Frontier 2, 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 Tsukihime and Emiya Shirou from Fate/stay night 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 Archer's arm will kill him.
In Fate/Zero, 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.
Might and Magic 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 Star Wars: The Old Republic, during the Sith Inquisitor storyline it's revealed that Zash suffers from this due to overuse of more dangerous Dark Side abilities. As a result, she intends to regain this lost youth by using an ancient ritual to steal your body.
In Marvelous Bob, 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.
In 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 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...
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, 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 Tanica learns some basic healing magic that she can't summon enough magical power to cast, she ends up tearing out her own life essence to fuel the spell when Goro collapses at her feet and she has no way of summoning help.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Word of God holds that Aang's spending a century as a Human Popsicle burnt up a lot of extra Avatar time (the only reason freezing in a simple iceberg didn't kill him is that he was in the 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 (fellow Avatar Kyoshi lasted two and a half centuries), paving the way for Sequel SeriesThe Legend of Korra, set seventy years after series' end, and following his titular seventeen-year-old successor.
Mozenrath from Aladdin: The Series 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 Grand Theft Me on Aladdin in a bid to cheat death, and is last seen floating away in a balloon conjured by Genie without his gauntlet.
In W.I.T.C.H., 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 Spider-Man Unlimited, 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 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.
Transformers Animated: The human villain Nanosec found himself at the same situation of the above mentioned Speed Demon. Fortunately for him, he teamed up with and started dating the villainess Slo-Mo, who could use her time-manipulation to reverse his aging.