Yay! The Hero is coming to town!
Hey, where'd the town go? Why is there just this smoking crater covered in corpses?
Like Weirdness Magnet, except for disasters, death, widespread unpleasantness, explosions, alien invasions, zombies, crazy terrorists and jaywalkers. Wherever they go, cities crumble, villains show up, and weeping is heard. Not because they themselves cause it, but the worst of the worst are constantly drawn to them.
Unlike Walking Wasteland or Destructive Saviour, the person is not causing any of this. It just always happens where they are. Semi-related to Busman's Holiday, but it's not related to the person's job. Stuff just always happens wherever they are.
Doom Magnet is for when this directly affects the supporting cast of the main character and they start dropping like flies. See Person of Mass Destruction, with whom there may be significant overlap. Compare The Jinx, who attracts bad luck on a smaller scale. If plants and animals literally die in proximity, it's a Walking Wasteland. If there's anything of the city/country/planet left, expect the hero to be Persona Non Grata. See also Hero Insurance.
Seina Yamada in Tenchi Muyo GXP is a comic example. Accident and misfortune dog his every step, even causing him to be accidentally recruited into the Galaxy Police. Once he's there, though, his bad luck becomes an asset because it attracts pirate ships which the GP can then arrest. At the end of the series he somehow ends up with eight wives - whether that's good or bad luck is anybody's guess.
Vash the Stampede, also known as the "Humanoid Typhoon", is so potent an example of this trope that the planetary government legally declared him an "Act of God" and a "Natural Human Disaster". The plot of the anime involves him being followed from town to village by a pair of Insurance Agents who investigate insurance claims taken out against the damage caused by Vash simply being in the area.
Putting a high bounty on Vash's head probably makes his disaster potential worse, because a lot of the destruction is caused by people trying to capture or kill him for the reward. Eventually the posters stop carrying the bounty amount—whether for that reason, or because the printers ran out of zeroes—and start just warning people to get away from Vash.
...until they decided to remove the bounty in the manga because like an earthquake or typhoon, you can't put a bounty on him, so they declared him a local disaster in the second chapter. It took the anime about 16 episodes to do the same thing (he's declared a "living disaster" and his havoc is hereafter written off as acts of God).
Kei and Yuri of the anime/Amerimanga/Light Novel series Dirty Pair practically define this trope: Two sexy government operatives who just happen to attract apocalyptic disaster wherever they go. Their typically ham-fisted and violent style in handling such situations doesn't help matters, but Finagle's Law is a way of life with them, and calamity seems to strike wherever they go, even when they're on vacation. In one miniseries, a villain performs an "experiment" to see what would happen when a clone of Yuri is thrown into the mix, injecting three "Lovely Angels" into the situation. The result: a supernova that threatens to set off more supernovae by its shockwave. Clearly two women you should be inclined to avoid.
Gildartz, of Fairy Tail has this as his superpower. The most powerful member of the Guild, his magic "crash" literally destroys everything he touches. The only problem is that unless he's pissed off, he has an attention span of about 5 seconds and due to his nature prefers to walk everywhere; in a straight line. The town he lives in even has a restructured Gildartz mode where he has nothing in his path, to save on repair bills.
Most superheroes. One example is when Batman first dealt with a large plague, then a city-destroying earthquake, then (in the aftermath of the quake) a winter that was far colder than normal.
Mentioned in Batman Begins, as Gordon talks about escalation: "We start carrying semi-automatics; They start carrying automatics. We start wearing kevlar; They start using armor piercing rounds. And you're wearing a mask and jumping off rooftops; Take this guy, armed robbery, double homicide, taste for the theatrical, and leaves a calling card. (It's the joker.)"
This idea is covered a lot in superhero comics; especially Batman.
Being anywhere near the two main characters of Mortadelo y Filemón is very hazardous to your health. Lampshaded in one of the later albums: When Mortadelo and Filemon boarded a plane, all the other passengers refused to board.
Lately, in the special comics about the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, whenever the sportsmen/football players hear that Mortadelo and Filemon are going to join the team in order to follow on the mission, they do anything in order to get away from them (there is even one time in which they decide to travel to Morocco as illegal immigrants).
Don Depresor from the spanish comic book Fanhunter. Put him in an enemy ship/plane, tell him to act naturally, enjoy seeing the ship sinking/plane crashing.
Zipi y Zape: The twins, in many stories, but especially the "Around the world" story.
Meet Disaster Des. This British comic character was like a god of destruction. Buildings would collapse, machines would malfunction and ships would sink whenever Des innocently and obliviously passed by.
John Spartan in Demolition Man earned the titular nickname due to his tendency towards leaving any building he performs an operation in as a smouldering ruin.
The videocamera-toting cast of Cloverfield probably fit nicely into this trope - wherever they go, whatever they do, the monster is there as well.
Godzilla and all other Kaiju simply due to the fact that they are literally disasters.
Fackler in the Police Academy films. He can't walk through an office without getting a dozen people hurt and the office burnt down. And no, he has no idea he is the cause.
In Good Omens, War is working under an alias as a news correspondent, and it's noted by her colleagues that when war breaks out, she's there amazingly quickly - almost before it happens. Eventually the smart ones just start booking flight tickets based on her destinations.
Bobbie Faye Sumrall of the Bobbie Faye books is infamous for this. Words cannot describe.
Caine is this for multiple reasons. For one, because he was an actor by training and for the longest time either sought out or created violent situations to provide material for his adventures. Also, because the way he forces himself on reality actually causes the fabric of magic and chance to send hell his way (according to his more metaphysically-minded companions). But mostly, it's because the crazy bastard can almost never resist the urge to escalate a fight.
Jame in P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath. She's a walking disaster magnet, as one might expect for someone marked to become Nemesis, the avatar of destruction. Her brother is warned by a friend of hers that he'd probably find their land "reduced to rubble and [Jame] in the midst of it, looking apologetic." As she says, though, "Some things need to be broken."
Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings has been accused of this, hence his nickname of 'Gandalf Storm-Crow'. He defends himself by saying that there's two kinds of people who show up in disaster-zones: The ones who cause them or take advantage of them, and the ones who go there to help.
To be fair, the only person to call Gandalf by that name was Wormtongue, who was trying to turn Theoden against him. Gandalf does use the name himself once when he travels to Gondor, however.
Rand Al Thor, The Dragon Reborn, of the Wheel of Time is one of these, a fact that rather gets to him as things progress, not to mention damages his chances of winning people over even if he is the Chosen One. It varies a lot in terms of how much destruction and chaos turns up around him, but it always does.
Honor Harrington is nicknamed "The Salamander" by the Manticoran media, for her tendency to be where the fire is hottest.
Harry Dresden is this incarnate. Ever since he started working in Chicago, there's pretty much three gigantic magical disasters per year. Also it is also due to living in a Disaster Area - the Chicago area is strongly magical, drawing in all kinds of things. A mobster, who is so badass that he joins a magical legal organization containing entities like demigods and wizard councils purely based on being a badass muggle, complains that Harry threatening to show up is more blackmail than he ever does. It turns out that being a Person of Mass Destruction and hanging out with a surprisingly large number of beings who are at least as powerful does wonders for the insurance collection rates.
"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." - Harry Dresden, Blood Rites
Then it turns out that the opposite is ALSO true; Harry's presence is a huge deterrent for supernatural baddies. Monsters looking for quick and easy meals decide that the city with an ultra-powerful guardian with no compulsions about using his deadly magics on threats to the citizens there is NOT the place to look for them. And when Harry is apparently killed, they're very quick to move in, and Chicago suffers a VERY steep decline in safety for Muggles.
Jackie Rodowsky of The Baby Sitters Club is known as "The Walking Disaster" thanks to his seeming talent for self-injury.
In Redshirts, entire planets catch deadly diseases and go to war just to give the officers of the Intrepid dramatic plotlines.
Certain Doctors exemplify the trope far more than others, however. The Fifth Doctor instantly comes to mind, with one of his companions dying on him, and most adventures ending with many (if not all) non-mains dead. With the Fifth, it got so bad that one of his companions actually chose to leave for home rather than deal with the death and devastation.
Possibly topped in the revived series, when the Tenth Doctor discovered that London on one near-future Christmas Day was abandoned, as the residents had come to realize that every Christmas, aliens attacked their city. They returned a few days later.
To be fair to the Doctor, his TARDIS (combination of Cool Ship / Living Ship) actually takes him "where you need to be", which is mostly where people are about to start dying / monsters are about to attack. He is actually more of an inversion of the trope, as we saw in the episode "Turn Left" that things get a lot worse when he isn't there.
Eric Idle's character in one Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch (with the random title of "Prawn Salad") seems to cause accidents just by being there. Pictures fall off walls, furniture collapses, and a maid has a very unfortunate accident when showing him a dagger. And then it gets funnier.
And apparently only happen to people in the same grade as her.
That has to do with the school being directly on top of the Hellmouth.
One of the prequel comics indicates that it's actually the other way round - Buffy is drawn to weirdness, not vice versa.
This claim has some weight. Remember when she left Sunnydale? She couldn't spend a few months without tripping over demons again.
In the alternate wish-verse the Master's plan from the pilot worked, and while Sunnydale was overrun she was busy in desperate battles in Chicago.
Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote, and many other characters from detective fiction. Wherever they go, people drop dead at a rate that makes you wonder why the police don't either lock them up or put them under 24/7 surveillance.
Carly's brother Spencer is a mild example. Possibly due to te Rule of Funny, anything he does has a small chance of spontaneously combusting. Particularly glaring examples involve ringing a small desk bell...and having it burst into flame, and hitting a cymbal with a drumstick, which then began burning. Reaches its apex when, fed up with constant calls, the local fire department just gives Spencer some fire extinguishers for use around the house. Spencer pulls the pin on one, expecting a spray of foam...and gets a spray of fire!
In the video for Green Day's "Walking Contradiction", destruction and chaos follow the members of the band everywhere they go (which they completely fail to notice).
Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium, creates one of those. He tries to be posted on the least dangerous-looking commands only to find out they're not quite as safe as he assumed them to be. His favorite artillery regiment (watching the war from several dozen miles behind the front lines) was in the way of a tyranid flanking attack, his checking up on a few insurgents apart from the main host turns up the remnants of an inquisitorial warband fighting a nest of genestealers and having a cozy little war against seemingly poorly-organized orks reintroduces him to his best friends, the Necrons.
Can happen in Scion, due to the nature of Legend and Fate. As the Scions level up from heroes to demigods to gods, they inevitably either get drawn towards conflicts or cause conflicts to come to them. It gets stronger the higher a Scion's level, until it becomes so strong they have to either take on a godly avatar of lesser power or depart from the mortal world to prevent collateral damage.
Zidane of Final Fantasy IX is such an example that the Console RPG Cliche List named this trope after him. Surprisingly, it all happens for plot reasons (at least in theory) and none of the characters in the game (Zidane included) seem to notice the pattern.
Zidane's Curse: An unlucky condition in which every location in the game will coincidentally wind up being destroyed just after the hero arrives.
Gordon Freeman of Half-Life 2. Any sensible rebels would run for their lives instead of cheering when they see the good doctor approach. Of course, he is actively hunted by the Combine for being the unifying force of said resistance, so...
The Pariah Dog from Fallout 2. You find him standing in the middle of a pile of corpses, and having him in your party drops your Luck Stat to 1, and give you the Jinxed trait, causing you and everyone around to critically fail almost every move.
The player character in The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion; when they turn up the monsters aren't far behind. In fact it's the easiest way to get some wandering NPC killed, just wait for them to walk in the wilderness and follow them.
Fallout 3 continues this trend, so much so that this player tries to avoid going near 'Big Town', as doing so will spawn another monster the locals can't deal with.
As noted in her entry on the Doom Magnet page, where Samus Aran of Metroid goes, destruction usually follows. Unless it is a space station, in which case it will definitely be destroyed.
Commander Shepard in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. In his/her search for Saren in the first, and his/her battle against the Collectors in the sequel, almost no location has managed to avoid being wrecked. Some examples (spoilers):
When you reach Eden Prime, it is under siege. The colony is wrecked. The artifact you went to retrieve is still there, but after it is triggered by one of your teammates you interact with it and it overloads and explodes.
After recovering Liara, the Prothean ruins (that had survived fifty thousand years in a seismically active area) get destroyed by a quake Shepard triggered accidentally.
In Noveria, s/he triggers a neutron bomb to deal with a rachni infestation.
In Feros, s/he throws the thorian down a shaft to (presumably) its death.
In Virmire, s/he detonates a nuclear device to deal with the Krogan cloning facility.
The Citadel then gets thrashed by Sovereign as s/he is attempting to stop it from ending all sapient life in the galaxy.
In the sequel, then, two colonies are abducted (at the second you're in time to save one third of the population).
The dead Reaper (humongous ship Shepard explores in search of technology) is crushed by the atmosphere of the planet it falls into (after holding orbit for 37 million years).
You get to decide whether the Collector base survives or not, but it is to be expected that about half the time it's going to get exploded.
"Things explode around you, Shepard. You can't blame Aria for being careful."
And by Wrex upon meeting Grunt.
Grunt: He (Okeer) is dead.
Wrex: Of course. You're with Shepard. How could he be alive?
As well as Rana Thanoptis' reaction to seeing Shepard again;
Rana: Now if you don't mind, I'm going to run like hell before you blow the place or something. I know how you work.
Easily the biggest one comes at the end of The Arrival DLC where, whether Paragon or Renegade, Shepard sends an asteroid into a mass relay causing it to go supernova and destroy an entire solar system, killing 300,000 batarians. Unlike the others, this one really looks like it's going to bite him/her in the ass as s/he's now facing potential murder charges for those 300,000 people and a potential war even though s/he really did what s/he had to do for good reasons.
Nathan Drake of Uncharted would honestly prefer it if stuff didn't blow up everywhere he goes, but it just... seems to happen. Accidentally. This is lampshaded a lot and even played for subtle tragedy late in Among Thieves, when an innocent Tibetan village that happened to be sheltering Nate is invaded and shot to pieces with many casualties. In the third game, Nate manages to accidentally turn a plane in stable flight into a streak of flaming shrapnel from the cargo bay, shortly after boarding it, in an astonishing sequence of events that borders on Disaster Dominoes.
Goes Up to Eleven at the end of the third game when Nate causes the entire city of Ubar to collapse into a giant sinkhole.
Sully: Three goddamned bullets. How the Hell did you do this with three goddamned bullets?!
Hawke in Dragon Age II is both a Fight Magnet and this. Varric lampshades it in the Legacy DLC when Hawke comments that he/she wants to have a quiet vacation somewhere peaceful - maybe a beach?
Varric: Hawke, the day you go to the beach would be the day an armada of angry demon pirates shows up.
The Postal Dude from Postal 2 seems to attract trouble no matter how mundane his task. Go to work on Monday? Protesters break in and shoot up the place. Return a library book on Tuesday? Arsonists torch the library while he's in it. Go to church on Wednesday? Terrorists decide this is the perfect time to bomb the church in the name of Allah. With this kind of luck it would take the patience of Gandhi to beat the game without killing anyone.
In the first two series, Lara Croft tended to be more of a Person of Mass Destruction. In the 2013 reboot, however, she tends to fall more into this trope. Things tend to blow up spectacularly wherever she goes as the game progresses, but Lara herself is (usually) not the direct cause of it.
While all of the Resident Evil protagonists have a dose of this, Jill Valentine's is larger than most. She's already in a disaster area when Resident Evil 3 Nemesis starts and it gets worse as she goes; shortly after she arrives, almost every location in the game tends to get overrun by zombies, catch on fire, explode, or have large vehicles crashed into it, with the whole thing capped off by a bombing run against the city.
The C.O.G. in the Gears of War series are well-known for this, every place they show up seems to get overrun by Locusts and/or Lambent. Which is the reason why they're so hated by other like the Stranded, their leader Griffin hates them more then anybody else, because his town "Char" was devastated by Hammer Of Dawn strikes which turned many people into statues of Ash. Padduk also mentions this in "Aftermath" when the COG come to his home to get aboat, and they get attacked by Lambent and Locusts alike, Padduk blames them for this, claiming that it never happens to him when he's alone.
The so-called "Light Warriors" of 8-Bit Theater are walking agents of destruction, but they usually do most of the dirty work themselves. The character who does qualify for this trope is White Mage, who can't seem to complete a good deed before a godlike act of destruction annihilates everything she's worked for. The vast majority of those are caused by the aforementioned Light Warriors, particularly Black Mage.
In fact, some have given them the appropriate nickname of "Blight Warriors."
Happens in WTF Comics with Anna to the point of being lampshaded several times.
While exploding a cave under a castle.
*Crack appears in wall of cave.*
Straha: ...Anna... remember what I asked you not to do...
Anna: What... about causing terrible things to happen?
*Dragon bursts into cave.*
Straha: ...you're doing it again...
And later upon returning to Anna's home town and finding it in bad shape.
Straha: ...this usually doesn't happen until AFTER Anna gets somewhere..
Misery and everyone related to her. Apparently, they have been involved in every major disaster throughout history.
Invader ZIM, who once accidentally shut down the power for half a military training planet, for a snack, is this trope. At two minutes old, he blew the power for most of a planet. His leaders put him in military science to try and turn his capacity for horrible oblivious destruction in a useful direction, but it didn't really work out. For instance, Zim caused another power outage when he decided to visit the surface of Irk, killed the two previous Tallests by creating a Lovecraftian horror that nearly wiped out all space, and caused a planet to explode just by standing on it. To keep him contained during an invasion, his commanders confined him to a circle drawn on the ground. Zim promptly decided was too simple a task for his GENIUS and hijacked a Humongous Mecha invasion machine, whereupon he commenced with the invading and the exploding and the uncontrolled fires blissfully unaware he had not yet left Planet Irk and bringing the entire invasion down single-handed. For their next invasion, Zim's commanders exiled him to Earth - as far away from them as possible. From there, he still managed to destroy a large part of the invading fleet with an out-of-control rapidly moving planet Mars. In one unused script, there was to be a montage of everything Zim had ever destroyed. ...It would have gone on for a while.
In Codename Kids Next Door, "Operation: M.A.C.A.R.RO.N.I.", there's Numbuh 13, the biggest jinx and clutz in the organization, causing accidents everywhere he goes. Sector V is told by central command to give the Toilenator to the Mr. Boss villains in a Prisoner Exchange, and are horrified to find out that the prisoner they're getting back is him. They can't tell the villains You Can Keep Him (because he has information they need) and the team of operatives he belongs to refuse to take him back, so they're stuck with the disasters he causes until the end of the episode, when Mr. Boss accidentally kidnaps him again, much to his horror.
Jimmy Burns, V-Blogger and foreign correspondent in Shooting War, though he also gets misquoted on this. Then again, he's in a freaking war zone.
The adventuring group in Something Awful Dungeons And Dragons tabletop sessions has noted, with some despair, that places they're in have an uncanny tendency to unmake themselves. This has included a mansion, a magical tower-mountain (twice!), a dream dimension, and some islands.
SCP Foundation, SCP-1440, an old man who wanders eternally and brings ruin and destruction if he stops in any one place for too long.
Real life example: professional wrestler Ahmed Johnson (pseudonym). He seemed to have potential, but he couldn't go a month without getting injured. The most amazing part, though, was when he was thrown off the side of the ring and landed, on his feet, but using the announcing table for support. Somehow, his hand happened to land on some sort of big nail that was sticking out of the table for no apparent reason and he was injured once more.
More recently, Candice Michelle is being seen as something of a bad luck charm for the WWE women's division. Smarks generally watch her matches with the looming fear that somebody is going to get injured.
Another Real Life example: Terry Gilliam's film productions, while spectacular, are classically, and now superstitiously, known for tendencies towards mishap, one of the arguing points used to dismiss consideration of him as director of the Harry Potter series of films. (Gilliam was Rowling's choice.)
Canadian metal band The Agonist seem to have this trouble - an alarming number of their gigs have coincided with various natural disasters, and their singer has commented that she sometimes feels like they are "sync'd with nature in the worst way possible". This is especially ironic considering that several of their songs touch upon the theme of Gaia's Vengeance.