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If You Die, I Call Your Stuff

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Erik: If I bash one more wall right now, my head will explode!
Olaf: I got dibs on his helmet.
Baleog: Okay, but I get his boots.
Erik: It's great to have such good friends.

You are about to do something stupid and/or fatal, and your friends decide to show their support of said action by staking their claim to your possessions, or at least your good ones. The statements are usually made in jest, as a means of Gallows Humor as no one expects the character to actually die from the action. It may be related to Try Not to Die, under the assumption that you'll be less likely to get yourself killed if all these greedy beggars will be using and abusing your stuff if you do.

Don't think, however, that this claim won't be invoked if in fact, you DO die (or appear to).

This is common both in and out of character in tabletop role-playing games, regardless of characters' supposed morals. In extreme cases, they might even plot to kill another player's character for it. This can also lead to conflicts of interest where a good roleplayer wants the stuff but has to play a character who would do anything to get their friend back.

If someone actually follows through on this, it may involve Robbing the Dead. Compare and contrast Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note and Personal Effects Reveal. See also Due to the Dead; actually looting the body is often regarded as an offense against it.

Compare Kleptomaniac Hero.


    open/close all folders 

  • The PC skydiver in a recent Windows' Phone commercial assumes his Mac friend will die because he's too busy fumbling with his iPhone camera app to pull his chute in time.
    PC: Hey, is it cool if I date Emily when you're... [chute opens] Nevermind.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Played straight in the fourth volume of Dorothy of Oz with Dopey asking Grumpy if he can have his helmet if said older dwarf dies after nearly being fried alive by Mara's lightning powers.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends: Madara/Nyanko-sensei tells everyone that the reason he sticks around Natsume so much is because he wants to take the Book of Friends once Natsume dies. It's probably a lie, though, since he could just kill Natsume and get it over with.
  • Sgt. Frog: Keroro says that he will take Natsumi’s room if she falls to conquer Giroro's garden army in the dub of episode 55a.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! dub:
    Weevil: If Yugi loses, I call dibs on his Dark Magician.
    Rex: Why don't you show a little compassion for once? Let me take his Dark Magician.

    Comic Books 
  • Brother Voodoo, Black Panther [T'Challa], Blade and Luke Cage once teamed up to clean up an infestation of vampires in New Orleans and to save the amnesiac Photon. Around this time Panther had stolen the Ebony Blade from Marvel's Black Knight, and Blade was so impressed by it that he asked T'Challa to give it to him in his will. Blade is berated by his partners but just responds, "When you're immortal, you don't sweat the small stuff."

    Films - Animated 
  • A Running Gag in Rango is the little girl claiming his boots when he dies. It's a sign that she's starting to respect him when she stops assuming he'll die every time he does something.
    Priscilla: Ya got any gold fillin's?

  • Reversed in Matthew Good Band's "Indestructible":
    Died in an amusement park accident
    I came back for you
    So you wouldn't be alone
    And if I go away again
    You can have my stereo
  • The chorus of the Irish folk song "Johnny When You Die":
    "Johnny when you die will you leave to me the fiddle-o
    Johnny when you die will you leave to me the bow"

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Dilbert, this is applied to layoffs. It goes a bit far in one incident where while Dilbert and Wally confine themselves to pilfering the ex-employee's office equipment and furniture, Alice goes and takes the man's pants. While he's on his way out the door.
  • In Foxtrot while Jason is acting as a Drill Sergeant Nasty football coach to Peter, he tells him "If you die I get your stereo."
  • Garfield:
    • From the August 13, 1997 strip.
      Jon: (talking on the phone) Ellen, if you don't go out with me, I'll die. (Beat) It's just a figure of speech, Ellen. (Beat) No, you can't have my computer!
      Garfield: Can I have the TV?
    • The November 23, 1997 strip.
      Garfield: How about a nice little game of “Stomp The Spider”?
      Spider: I'm warning you... You'd better not pick on me, cat! I'll tell my big brother! Hey, Rusty! C'mere!
      Rusty: Yeah?
      Spider: This big, stupid cat says he's gonna stomp me.
      Rusty: (considers Garfield, turns back) Can I have your CDs?
    • In another Jon tells Garfield that he wrote his will and Garfield asks him if he can have the fridge.
  • Sally in Peanuts was constantly laying claim to Charlie Brown's room should something happen to him. When he returns after being almost washed out to sea on his pitcher's mound, she says "I suppose you're going to want your room back." Also, when he returns from getting lost in the woods looking for Snoopy, she notes that it'll take a while to move all her things (including the bed) out of his room. She also tries to move into his room when he goes to camp.

  • A variant of this happens in Wolf 359.
    Eiffel: If I die, Hera gets all my toys.

  • In The BBC's Tolkien spoof Hordes of the Things, when the wizard Radox the Green is about to risk his life, he gets into a protracted argument with his fellow wizard Badedas the Blue about which of the wizards will get which of his belongings if he doesn't come back.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A potential rules exploit, as new PCs can start with magic items in 3rd and 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, since replacement characters usually start the same level as their player's previous character, with loot appropriate to their character level. The party gets to keep the old character's loot while the new character brings in new loot.
  • This is a rule in Munchkin, indeed losing your gear is the only penalty for dying.
  • Bizarrely, Paranoia, the RPG most infamous for having players kill each other, averts this, largely to make all the dying everyone does less bad. (There's is indeed plenty of "stuff", but you probably don't want to take it.) You get given all your things back, even the experimental/illegal stuff, although, given the nature of death in Alpha Complex, it's likely that the only salvageable thing left of your old corpse is a set of Smoldering Shoes.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: Mr. Welch gets in on this:
    The "Dibs" system is not a recognized method of promotion in the Ordo Malleus.
    'Dibs' is not a term of bereavement.
    • Also, his attempts go above and beyond mere looting:
    Searching the dead PC for spell components is fine. Using him for spell components is not.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Yes, Space Marine corpses are high priority targets for post-battle reclaiming by their Chapter... but it's because their armor and wargear are precious, irreplaceable relics that must be reclaimed so as to be passed on to another Space Marine, or avoid their being corrupted by Chaos. Even their bodies are taken, as each Space Marine grows two sets of the geneseed that powers their superhuman abilities, one of which is extracted to be implanted into an initiate.
    • Orks follow this religiously... they just don't always wait for the "if you die" part (or they ensure it happens themselves).


    Real Life 
  • Reversed by David Letterman, the day before he went in for bypass surgery: "Paul, I just want you to know, if something happens to me - I want Felicia Collins, the guitar player to have the show."
  • "In the Event of Rapture, Can I Have Your Car?"- bumper sticker
    • Also "In Case of Rapture, You Can Have My Car". Referenced in the political webcomic I Drew This: "But I don't want your car. It has that stupid sticker on it."
  • George MacDonald Fraser recorded participating in the division of a fallen comrade's kit in Quartered Safe Out Here.
    • While Fraser initially thought his squad-mates were being cold (if pragmatic), he came to realize that the division was actually this trope crossed with Personal Effects Reveal. Each survivor exchanged a piece of his army-issue gear with a better example from the dead man's kit. This gave everyone in the squad something to remember him by; his truly personal effects were left untouched.
  • In legal terms, the inversion — i.e. a person in a dangerous situation telling someone "If I die, you get my stuff" — is called a nuncupative will. Most jurisdictions require that wills are to be written down and properly witnessed, so nuncupative wills are invalid, but some jurisdictions allow dying people and people in dangerous situations — particularly soldiers on active duty — to make them under certain conditions. Note that "If you die I call your stuff" has no legal effect whatsoever unless it's explicitly agreed by the person whose stuff it is.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): If You Die Can I Have Your Stuff


The Kids Calling Dibs

Linda needs adventure or they're gonna shrivel up and die right in front of the kids. The kids immediately start calling dibs on their stuff.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / IfYouDieICallYourStuff

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