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Instant Gravestone
Oh, no! Someone just died! The life drains out of him, his Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, his body falls to the floor... and is replaced with a gravestone?

This trope is where a death creates a gravestone on the spot; that is, the very fact of death creates a gravestone. No-one builds it, and there is no time lapse. Usually, no explanation is given besides Rule of Funny and/or Gameplay and Story Segregation. Or it happens in the type of game with Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Often involves Grave Humour, but not always.

Purposes behind the use of the trope vary. Sometimes it's just Rule of Funny / Have a Nice Death. Sometimes the gravestone is used to indicate to players that somebody died. Sometimes it serves a gameplay purpose, like containing loot. It is often used for similar light-hearted symbolism as the aforementioned Winged Soul Flies Off at Death.

This is not where a gravestone is used symbolically, such as if a "game over" screen is a gravestone, or a gravestone indicates a dead character in the interface. The gravestone must appear in the world.


Examples:

Video Games
  • In RuneScape, Instant Gravestones (usually) protect your items when you die. Bigger and fancier ones can be purchased which hold your items for longer.
  • In Realm of the Mad God, all players get Instant Gravestones; stronger characters get bigger, more impressive gravestones. Due to the game's use of Final Death, players will often pay respects to a particularly strong character.
  • The Oregon Trail contains this, including player-defined inscriptions. People tend to try to invoke Grave Humor with Bottom Of The Barrel Jokes, as future players can read the gravestones.
  • All of The Sims games use this, specifically it will be an urn if it's indoors and a tombstone outdoors, and it will change if the player moves the grave marker. If a sim's grave is on a lot, that sim's ghost may show up at night.
  • Worms games have dead worms blowing themselves up with a dynamite plunger and instantly being replaced with a gravestone.
  • Dying in Terraria will spawn a tombstone stating your cause of death. You can then dig it up if you like.
  • The Multiplayer game Glitch has this. When you die a gravestone appears on the spot. Other players can visit the gravestone to mourn or celebrate. The stone disappears after you respawn.
  • The RPG Crossfire does this. Gravestones can even be collected by someone.
  • In the Warrior Cats fan-made game Warrior Cats: Untold Tales, killing a cat will make a tombstone appear.
  • In the Kid Icarus: Uprising Multiplayer, when a player dies, a tombstone will appear where they died. If it gets hit enough, it will explode, hurting everyone within range.
  • The 1976 Exidy Arcade Game Death Race may be the Ur Example. Running over people turned them into grave markers that couldn't be driven over.
  • In Warcraft III, units with the Reincarnation ability leave a large cross/ankh-shaped marker on death. Played With, as the unit comes back to life a few seconds later.
  • In Maniac Mansion, whenever one of your characters dies, a gravestone appears on the front garden of the mansion.
  • In the Chinese version of World of Warcraft, tombstones appear instead of skeletons when a player character dies.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, you can watch a Show Within a Show where a salesman sells some concoction to an old man, causing him to dig his own grave, complete with headstone.
  • Later Grand Theft Auto games (third game onwards) have a variation. Bodies will eventually fade away and be replaced by a chalk outline (irrespective of whether the police have arrived at the scene or not).
  • In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair's multiplayer, dying creates a tombstone which spawns a skeleton.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, being killed by a sledge hammer produces a grave stone with Crash's face on it.
  • When a player's character dies in MapleStory a tombstone appears.
  • The human enemies in Secret Agent. The higher-ranking enemies turn into lower-ranking enemies until you kill the lowest, weakest form, at which point they become a gravestone (which can be picked up or just destroyed for points.)
  • A gravestone appears along with a Have a Nice Death message every time you die in Tomb Racer.
  • When heroes die in Majesty, a small grave pops up on the spot where they fell. The actual design of the gravestone depends on what sort of hero they were. If the player has the skill to revive the dead, there is a small window of time in which casting that spell on the grave will bring back the hero... who lampshades the instant nature of it all with a question mark over his/her head, as though wondering what the hell just happened.

Non-Game Examples
  • There's a gag in the Looney Tunes short "Baseball Bugs" where a player tries to catch a fly ball ("I got it! I got it!"), gets plowed into the ground by it, and a gravestone pops up where he stops (reading: "He got it").
  • In the Betty Boop short Betty Boop, M.D., a wheelchair-bound elderly man takes a swig of Betty's patent medicine Jippo, dances around seemingly rejuvenated, but then lies down in the road and pulls the asphalt over his head, as a scat-singing tombstone pops up. The man's arm then pokes out of the grave to plant a flower on it.
  • In an old Raid commercial, some bugs crawling on the floor turned into tombstones when the anthromorphic Raid sprayed them. See here.
  • In the anime Monster Rancher, whenever monsters die they instantly turn into a Lost Disk — a stone disk gripped in a dead shrub.
  • One of the Tex Avery MGM Cartoons, Little Tinker, features this after an elderly rabbit, in a fit of mad lust for B.O. Skunk's Frank Sinatra impression, jumps out of her wheelchair, does cartwheels, jumps into the air and lands in the ground. A tombstone then appears that reads "Oh Frankie!".
  • There's a trend in many Garry's Mod videos featuring the Team Fortress 2 cast, where when someone is fatally injured they'll announce their own death out loud and become a tombstone, sometimes even just blurting out "Dead.". Other times it will simply be the Heavy's voice saying "Dead.", as if it was a sound effect.


Inconvenient ItchRule of FunnyIt Runs on Nonsensoleum
Instant Death BulletDeath TropesInterrogating the Dead

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