Cast from Lifespan
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). Your lifespan. 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. This trope is often a way for writers to have 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 proceed 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.
- Robert from The Law of Ueki has this. Each use of his ability cost him a year of lifespan.
- 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 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.
- 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."
- 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 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 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. Bonus points for the steroids not remotely helping them fight the Straw Hats.
- Chrono Crusade: Chrono is powered by Rosette's Life Energy, shortening her lifespan. It leads to her dying at the end of the anime. In the manga, it leads to her becoming an Ill Girl by the end, and she dies at age 23.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dragon Ball:
- 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.
- The Evil Containment Wave drains a massive amount of the user's life force, which means it kills most people who use it.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Date A Live, 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 Fairy Tail, Ultear's ability to travel through time works this way. 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.
- After Lucy's power increases in Elfen Lied, 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 High School D×D, Issei compromises his lifespan several times. He's first warned he cost himself some time when incorporating a fragment of Divine Dividing into Boosted Gear, and later costs himself 99% of his lifespan by activating Juggernaut Drive the first time. He eventually uses what life he has left to defend Ophis. He's rewarded for the Heroic Sacrifice by being resurrected in a new body that can handle the strain of his abilities without sending him to an early grave.
- In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi Muyo! in Love, Achika unleashing her full Juraian powers causes her lifespan to be cut short, dying when Tenchi is only three years old.
- In the Legion of Super-Heroes, Kid Psycho could project a forcefield at the cost of one year of his life.
- The 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 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. Not explained is how this can be reconciled with explicitly immortal mutants like 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 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 ) 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.
- In the post-Original Sin Thor series, it's revealed that the new female Thor, Jane Foster suffers from this when she becomes Thor as transforming causes her cancer to spread. She doesn't care, though.
- Harry in The Next Great Adventure admits to one of his companions that the reason only he can use a ritual that brings the Forsaken back to life is because "all the years [they] now have to live have to come from somewhere."
- In the 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.
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; you 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.
- Faust: The Trope Maker of Deal with the Devil had this part in the contract.
- 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.
- The titular magic patch of skin in La Peau de Chagrin.
- In Diane Duane's The Tale of the Five books, wielders of the Fire die young.
- 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.
- One of the even-more-multitudinous Forgotten Realms series, the Cleric Quintet, concludes with a Bittersweet Ending in which Cadderly, the protagonist, uses divine magic Cast from Lifespan to construct a cathedral to his god, reducing himself to an old man even as his Love Interest remains youthful.
- 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.
- The Rivers of London series has an instance of Wizards Live Longer/Merlin Sickness, 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 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.
- 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.
- Kiva in Counselors and Kings 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 Required Secondary Power of instant beard growth.
- Some forms of magic in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel 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 Throne Of The Crescent Moon, Dawoud is a mage whose magic drains him of his life energy.
- In The Ring of Solomon, a 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 Outer Limits (1995), "Blood Brothers", 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.
- Late in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Shitari gives his second life note to allow a Monster of the Week 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 until the crossover movie.
- In Teen Wolf, 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.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- 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.
- Sorcerers in Carcosa risk aging several years every time they perform a magic ritual.
- 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 II Legacy 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, Wynne 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.
- 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.
- Final Fantasy XIV character Sylphie is a Conjurer who is gifted in healing magic. 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.
- This is basically what Galuf does in Final Fantasy V. As he keeps fighting Exdeath while already in KO status, the character sprite looks older and older until finally actual death results that a Phoenix Down can't cure.
- 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 Castlevania, use of the unsealed Vampire Killer by someone who is not a direct descendant of the Belmont clan will shorten their life. In the case of John Morris, this resulted 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—the Lecarde family. (Jonathan is resentful of this at first, but comes to respect his old man's choice by the time of The Reveal). This is Gameplay and Story Segregation in Portrait of Ruin, since the effects of such are well beyond the game's timespan.
- 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.
- Magic in Suburban Knights. The Big Bad is searching for an artifact that will allow him to avoid this problem.
- Scion in Worm, not that it makes a difference given how much he has to work with and how strong even his basic powers are.
- In Life Artificial, artificial intelligences understand money as computing Time, time to live and think. Thus, any expense is Cast from Lifespan.
- Noob: Le Conseil des Trois Factions 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 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...
- The Dragon Doctors 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, 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 I Dream Of A Jeanie Bottle, 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 Eva Braun.
- 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 (the oldest Avatar, Kyoshi, lasted two and a half centuries), paving the way for Sequel Series The 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.