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Immortality Seeker

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"The truth is, for all my struggles to make my mark in life, for all I've accomplished, in just a few short generations my name will be forgotten. Even the greatest of us can't compete with time... and death."
Lex Luthor, Justice League Unlimited

When a character quests for eternal life. Sometimes it's given to them, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's given to them and they regret the consequences, but their desire and actions towards immortality are what count towards this trope.

Originally, this trope could be used for heroes and villains alike, as evidenced by quests for the Holy Grail and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Later it became one of the typical goals of an Evil Plan and thus the methods of achieving it were nasty, vile, and despicable. When heroes seek it they usually ultimately learn An Aesop and refocus their goals.

See Immortality (and in particular Immortality Inducer) for ways to achieve it and Living Forever Is Awesome and Mortality Phobia for why they want to achieve it. Supertrope to Immortality Immorality, where seekers of immortality tend to resort to bad deeds to achieve it. Compare with Godhood Seeker, who may also be angling for eternal life as part of their wish to be a god. Contrast Who Wants to Live Forever? for people that have immortality and hate it, and Death Seeker for those seeking death instead. Not to be confused with Glory Seeker, someone who might want to go down in history, but doesn't seek literal immortality.

Courtesy of The Epic of Gilgamesh, this trope is Older Than Dirt.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Baccano! features this with the original 1711 immortals who summon a devil to obtain the elixir of immortality. By the 20th century some of them question if it was a such a great idea (though they have a method to commit suicide if they decide to go with it). Others still think it's awesome.
  • It's a trend for Dragon Ball villains to seek the titular balls to wish for immortality:
    • Garlic Jr. is a movie villain who successfully obtains immortality by wishing on the Dragon Balls. He was also so stupid that he provided the very means to seal him away both times the hero fought him, when it was literally the only way to stop him. You have to be spectacularly stupid to foil yourself the same way twice.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta and Nappa invade Earth so they can use the Dragon Balls to become immortal, and therefore enjoy an eternity of combat. Later, both Frieza and Vegeta go looking for the Namekian Dragon Balls for the same reason — Frieza because it's the one thing he doesn't already have, Vegeta so he has a chance of overthrowing his former boss. He teams up with Goku and his friends to prevent Frieza from succeeding. To the surprise of no one, after Vegeta makes his Heel–Face Turn, this particular ambition is forgotten because by this point he's more focused on defeating Goku. Keep in mind Vegeta primarily wanted immortality because it meant even if Frieza beat him within an inch of his life, he could crawl back and try again. And given the nature of Saiyan physiology, Vegeta would get stronger each time until reaching a level that exceeded Frieza. With Frieza gone, he didn't have a want or need for it.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Zamasu obtains immortality before he goes through with his plans. While Supreme Kais are already extremely Long-Lived, he knew that what he was planning would take many times his natural lifespan, not to mention the threat of very powerful enemies he'd need to survive and overcome. Turns out even immortality can be undone by Zen'O, however.
    • By Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Frieza finally averts this trope when he hunts for the Earth Dragon Balls following his true resurrection at the end of Super as reward for fighting for Universe 7 at the Tournament of Power. His time in his Ironic Hell soured him on the idea of being unable to die, in the event of a crippling injury or worse that he'd wish for death to escape from.
  • In EDENS ZERO, Drakken Joe has kept himself young on the life force of others for this very purpose, initially just to survive beyond his projected death at the age of 15, but growing so Drunk on the Dark Side that he kept on trucking for over 200 years. Unfortunately for him, this method of immortality only lasts him for so long before it starts losing its effectiveness, so he finds a workaround by trying to steal Rebecca's Mental Time Travel ability and creating a "Groundhog Day" Loop that would allow his conscious mind to persist for however long he wants.
  • In The Executioner and Her Way of Life, the villain of the first arc seeks to gain control of Akari's Pure Concept of Time in order to use it to gain eternal youth and immortality.
  • In Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess, this is the goal of the villains through attempting to summon a phoenix. One of them, Dist, has a fairly silly or tragic (depending on your point of view) reason for wanting immortality: as a child, his pet weasel died and he tried to bring him back; upon finding out that there are no spells to bring back the dead, Dist became terrified of dying and vowed that he would find a way to live forever, eventually turning him into a vile, twisted individual.
  • In Fate/Zero, Norikata Emiya, the father of Kiritsugu Emiya, was a researcher who tried to create an immortality potion via time manipulation. All it did was transform the imbiber into a Dead Apostle.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The reason Ling Yao and May Chang come to Amestris. Their father, the Emperor, has become obsessed with finding the secret of immortality and has declared whichever of his children brings it to him will be recognized as heir to the throne, greatly benefiting their clan.
    • This is also Greed's primary motivation, because he's, well greedy. Incidentally, Greed is already damn close to immortal, but "close" isn't enough to satisfy him.
    • In the backstory, the king of Xerxes wanted to be immortal, and it's the reason he creates a giant transmutation circle that dooms his entire country and turns them into a Philosopher's Stone. He played right into the Big Bad's hands as a result, and died anyway for his troubles.
    • The Big Bad Father, on the other hand, becomes immortal as merely the first step to a much larger goal. The members of Amestris' Central Military Command, besides Führer King Bradley, believe the Nationwide Transmutation Circle will make them immortal, but they're just Father's pawns.
    • Dante, the Big Bad from Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), discovered she could Body Surf to extend her own lifespan but the method is imperfect as her body eventually breaks down. Most of the events of the series are driven by her attempts to refine a more perfect Philosopher's Stone to achieve true immortality.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Straizo is revealed to be a variant of this. Specifically, he has gerontophobia — a fear of aging. He became a Ripple Master in part because training in the Ripple slows the aging process considerably. Indeed, when Straizo shows up in Battle Tendency he looks decades younger than a 75 year old man ought to look. But even that's not enough for him. So he gives up his humanity (literal and metaphorical) to become an immortal vampire like Dio Brando (he even admits he was inspired by Dio), which restores his youthful appearance. However, Straizo differs from a regular Immortality Seeker in that he's not afraid of actually dying — he just doesn't want to die an old man. Hence, when Straizo is defeated by Joseph Joestar, he uses the Ripple to blow himself up glad that he was able to die looking young.
  • Magician: This is what most of those chasing the immortal wizard Edermask in the hopes of getting him to divulge the secret to immortality are. Ironically Edermask's goal is to find out this secret too.
  • Naruto:
    • This is one of Orochimaru's biggest motivations. His obsession with immortality drove him to create jutsu that can raise the dead and another to possess the bodies of others. Strangely this is only a means to an end. His real ultimate goal is to learn every jutsu. No, seriously; he needs to be immortal because there are far too many to learn them all in a normal human lifespan. Except the above is In-Universe Motive Decay. Original he just wanted to live long enough to have his parents reincarnated and meet them. Problem was that his experiments slowly drove him insane. After a resurrection and Tsunade healing him he had a Heel–Face Turn...maybe. His motives are rather ambiguous enough that it could just be an Enemy Mine.
    • Sasori, who turned himself into a human puppet in order to attain eternal life and an undecaying body as part of his philosophy that "true art" resists the passing of time (ironically he was also the first bad guy to be killed in the second season, a fact his partner, Deidara, who in turn lives by the completely opposite philosophy that "true art" is innately ephemeral and thus explosions make the best art of all, lampshaded).
    • Kakuzu, a ninja in his early nineties who can extend his own lifetime indefinitely by stealing and replacing his own old, worn out organs with younger, healthier organs from people he defeats,
    • Hidan, Kakuzu's partner, who maintained his immortality by killing others.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Kurt Godel. When a child who recently became immortal is being discussed, everybody else focuses on the "will outlive loved ones, probably won't be able to have children, is quite possibly going to be in early puberty for eternity" aspects, but Kurt zeroes in on the "can become a king and rule forever with zero fear of assassination" aspect.
  • One Piece: One of the main reasons why the Ope-Ope Fruit is considered the ultimate Devil Fruit is because it has the ability to induce eternal youth on someone, at the cost of the user's life. Doflamingo was absolutely livid when his brother foiled his attempt to gain the Fruit, and was so intent on gaining immortality that he wasn't above brainwashing Law into doing it (something that a young Law overheard during the confrontation).
  • Overlord (2012): Khajit's original motivation for studying magic was resurrecting his dead mother. But when he learned there simply wasn't enough time in a human life to learn all the spells required, he strove to become a lich instead (the one other character we see able to resurrect the dead is a vampire). Unfortunately for him, this involved killing a great deal of people, and earned Ainz' attention.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Ban sought out the Fountain of Youth in order to become immortal. His reason for doing this was that he believed that if he lived long enough, something good would eventually happen for him. He gave up this quest when he learned that it would destroy the forest. Unfortunately, he still became immortal via Elaine's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What?, Potimas was obsessed with achieving immortality from a young age. He pushed every modern science to new heights trying to find an answer before finally finding a possibility with the dragon gods. His meddling with the dragons and later MA energy kicked off the war that devastated the world and led to the creation of the Skill System. Potimas managed to escape punishment and is still pursuing immortality while body-surfing between his elf clone bodies.
  • In Uratarou, princess Taira Chiyo is used as Human Sacrifice by her clan and cursed to die at the age of 16, so she is looking for a way to become immortal.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5: Desparaiah is one of these. She succeeds, and explains that she did so because she didn't want to grow old, but she still feels unhappy and filled with Despair, being her namesake.

    Comic Books 
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: Judge Elan Fauster, leader of the occult department within Psi-Division, desires immortality. He retrieves the Half-Life psychic virus from Judge Anderson's mind so he can use its power to acquire the secret to eternal life. This causes a plague within Mega-City One that kills more than a million people. Fauster succeeds in his goal, but is then thrown inside a virtual reality prison on the Chief Judge's orders where he'll spend the rest of his days in constant torment.
  • Athena Voltaire: In Athena Voltaire and the Isle of the Dead, the Spanish explorer Fontenda searched for the Fountain of Youth, and found it. However, it eventually started to dry up, so he stored as much of its water as he could. The barrels in question are what de Vargas is looking for — because de Vargas is really Fontenda, desperate to regain the water.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman: Ra's al Ghul is either this or Heir Club for Men, sometimes both. At his worst, he combines the two to try to claim a fresh young body for himself. He's staved off death for centuries via the Lazarus Pits, but his ultimate goal is to find a way to cheat death permanently.
    • Doom Patrol: General Immortus' main motivation is to recreate or replace the Elixir of Life that was responsible for his unnaturally long lifespan and that he has lost.
    • Justice League of America: An obsession with becoming immortal is what the Mad Scientist Professor Ivo's early schemes. Then he gets what he wanted, unfortunately.
    • The Sandman (1989): Hob Gadling claimed he would become immortal by... not dying. Fortunately for him, Death and Dream were in the same tavern, and Death agrees to leave him alone so Dream can meet him at the same tavern every century. Overall, he's glad he's lived so long despite sometimes sinking very low, and he sees that the world is getting better.
    • Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer gained her unbreakable skin as a result of her scientist husband trying to preserve his own body in a metallic compound. Ironically, the compound ended up killing him.
    • Simon Dark: Dall Moss was rather interested in combining his occult information on prolonging and bringing back life with Gustav's revivification science, but given that he's a corpse being worn by the thing that killed him by the time Simon "meets" him, things didn't go as planned.
    • Superman vs. Shazam!: Karmang was obsessed with finding a way to achieve eternal life, despite everyone warning him that it was a bad idea. He succeeded into building a machine which made him immortal, but his device accidentally killed one billion of Martians whose ghosts spend one million of years haunting him.
    • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Jason wants immortality, and to be revered like the classical heroes that were raised to Olympus after their deaths such as Hercules. He is willing and eager to doom humanity and slaughter billions to achieve it.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Agents of Atlas: Ken Hale seeks and acquires Age Without Youth by killing (and becoming) the legendary Gorilla Man.
    • Eternals: A recurring theme with the Deviants. Although a handful have immortality or extended lifespans, the vast majority haven’t. And many of them investigate Human Resources or other options for fixing that.
    • The Mighty Thor: Sigurd (the Ever-Glorious) shows that not even coming from an extremely long lived and functionally immortal godly species makes someone immune to this trope. At this point he lost ageing past his late twenties/early thirties, gained even more invulnerability, and it's not enough; he intends to not die ever or if it's unavoidable have reincarnation or resurrection handy.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • The Butcher Bird: The main goal of Grigori Vinci is to discover the secret of immortality, then give it to everyone.
  • Daylight Burning: The Nightmare is motivated chiefly by her desire to live forever, and thus avoid the Cessation of Existence that comes with death.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In the second story, Diplomat at Large, chapter 10 reveals this was the real reason why Sunset Shimmer wanted to become an alicorn — she wanted to become immortal so she could spend all eternity by Celestia's side.
  • Fate/Parallel Fantasia: Zouken Matou wants to obtain the Holy Grail so he can wish for immortality. He has already cheated death for centuries, but he has reached the limit of his abilities and is beginning to rot away; this desperation leads him to tamper with the Holy Grail's summoning ritual, triggering the fanfic's divergence from the canon.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Harry wants everyone to become immortal, including Muggles. In chapter 96, it's revealed that we find out that the Peverell family, from which Harry is descended, has this as its family motto... probably.
  • Luminosity: Bella wants to live forever, and meets a vampire. Interest ensues. Ultimately, she'd like this for everyone.
  • Nobledark Imperium: Lucius the Eternal was obsessesed with living forever, and abanonded the Imperium when Fulgrim was unable to figure out a way for him to do so. He eventually became a C'tan vampire in pursuit of this goal.
  • The Nuptialverse: In Families, Olive Branch turns out to be one, with his whole conspiracy being one big plot to blackmail the Princesses into making him immortal. However, he's not nearly as clever as he thinks, and his plans fall apart.
  • Pages Of Harmony: In Chapter 10, while attempting to gain the Element of Kindness through Cold-Blooded Torture, Twilight Sparkle is revealed to be this so that true Harmony can be achieved.
  • Project Dark Jade:
    • Ages of Shadow: Brenner wants to gain immortality so that he can live long enough to find a way to free all of humanity from death. This is the reason for his Deal with the Devil with Jade/Yade Khan — he'll free her from her imprisonment in exchange for her using her powers to extend his life indefinitely.
    • Queen of Shadows: Himitsu, the sorcerer working for Lord Rokutaro, is obsessed with learning all the magic knowledge in the world. And to achieve this, he intends to first find a way to make himself immortal so that his quest can't be cut short. Hence the reason he's helping to fight the Shadowkhan — he believes they know where one of the Trees of Life is hidden, and wants to ransack the library in their central fortress to find it.
  • The Road to Shalka: This is the Master's main motivation, although he also does a lot of things for the thrill of them.
  • Scar's Samsara has Scar willing to do just about anything, even killing his own brother, to attain a place in the afterlife.
  • Shadows: This is revealed to have been Sombra's Start of Darkness. After watching his father Starswirl the Bearded grow old and die, Sombra became terrified of death and obsessed with becoming an alicorn to prevent his own. This caused him to drive away his friends and eventually cross the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Tough Love: Charlie points out that, for all her obsession over Edward, Bella doesn't seem to actually like him or his family that much. Edward, listening to the conversation while in the closet, realizes that Bella is just using him so he'll turn her into a vampire.

    Films — Animated 
  • Vizier Baramanda, the main villain of Ark, who wants the power of the titular Ark — meant to save his home planet — for himself, as it will make him immortal. He's willing to have the planet, which houses two different races of aliens, wiped out if it means he can live forever.
  • In Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shredder's reasons for helping Ra's Al Ghul in his plans to destroy Gotham — Ra's has offered to give Shredder access to the Lazerus Pit in exchange for the Foot's manpower and a supply of Ooze.
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Merlock used to be the genie's master centuries ago before the genie's lamp was lost to him. The reason he survived for so long is because his first wish was for the genie to make him immortal. So, having already achieved this goal, his only real objective in the present is to retrieve the lamp and Take Over the World.
  • Heavy Metal 2000: The villain's goal is to reach the fountain of youth so he can become immortal.
  • Tad, the Lost Explorer: The Odysseus Corporation led by the intimidating Kopponen and Max Mordon seek the Idol of Paititi to gain immortality. The latter villain actually succeeds in obtaining the idol. Unfortunately for him, however, it turns out the statue only grants immortality to those who hold it by turning them into mummies! Thus, Mordon is transformed into a living mummy and sent to the Mummy prison for his evil actions.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Alex Benedict: Polaris has the scientist Dunnager, who has made it his life's work to find a way to halt the ageing process.
  • All The Light We Cannot See: Reinhold von Rumpel is in pursuit of the Sea of Flames because of its rumored ability to turn its owner immortal.
  • The Book Of Skulls: All four of the protagonists are looking for eternal life. Which ones are the villains and which the heroes for doing so becomes increasingly less clear-cut as the novel progresses.
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: In Ghost Hunter,, the Evil Plan of Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage is to steal for herself Torak's power as a spirit walker and use it to live forever by using bodies one after another.
  • Coldfire Trilogy: Gerald Tarrant and the Undying Prince both seek to live forever, though they use very different methods — Tarrant is an Emotion Eater, while the Prince practices Grand Theft Me though he keeps his original body in a vegitative state in a tank — he needs it as an anchor even if he's not using it anymore.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: The human queens ally with Hybern to gain access to the cauldron's ability to grant immortality.
  • Dancers At The End Of Time, by Michael Moorcock, sees humanity reach immortality with little cost (at least immediately apparent), and consist of a few hundred near-omnipotent individuals who mainly seek to have a good time, having given up the old morals and social standards as useless, since nothing they do can actually harm anybody else in any significant sense.
  • The Demon Breed: Examined when Ticos Cay explains why he does indeed want to live forever. (Or to start off with, at least 1000 years).
  • Discworld:
    • Alberto Malich was a wizard who endeavored to become immortal — you don't become one of the world's most powerful wizards without making enemies, and most of those enemies would have been very eager to welcome him personally into the afterlife — by performing the ritual to summon Death in reverse, thinking it would keep Death away. Turned out that just summons you to Death. It did work out for Alberto after a fashion: he became Death's housekeeper and servant, and since time doesn't flow in Death's domain he can basically live as long as he wants.
    • The Light Fantastic gives us Greyhald Spold, a wizard who attempted to cheat death by hiding himself in an elaborate, magically-sealed box that would prevent Death from reaching him... but forgot to put any kind of life support in it. (The text also implies that Death simply got into the box with him before he closed it.)
      Dark in here, isn't it?]
  • The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant: One of the only positive examples. The plot revolves around a team of scientists in a kingdom where a dragon forces citizens to sacrifice the elderly as food to it who discover a compound they can use to make anti-dragon weapons. The fable mocks the idea that seeking immortality is evil, with The Heavy antagonists being people who've accepted the dragon as essential to the human experience and try to hinder research.
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish: Melvin's field of research is in the regenerative properties of certain life forms. It ultimately leads him to use an extract from a newly-discovered species of jellyfish to make a serum that reverts his body from 75 years old to 13 years old.
  • Future History: This is the goal of the Howard Foundation. Founded by a rich man who found himself dying of old age in his forties, it embarked on a program of human eugenics (before genes were even understood) by the very simple method of paying people with long-lived ancestors to marry and have children. Hundreds of years later, this eminently practical program produces humans with more than double the typical lifespan. Forced to flee Earth on an experimental spaceship due to public jealousy, the Howards return decades later to discover that, in their absence, humans have invented treatments that can prolong life enormously. Multiply this by the Howards' inbred longevity and you have a recipe for near-immortality. The longest-lived human, Lazarus Long, is nearly 2,500 years old by Time Enough for Love and shows no signs of stopping. (The funny thing is... under the plan, Lazarus is something of a sport. He was already alive when the Foundation started, and didn't have enough provable credentials — as in, long-lived immediate family members (with documentation) — to join as is, but still lived to 140 before he underwent rejuvenation for the first time. People still want to sleep with him, though.)
  • The Ghosts of Sleath: Sir Gareth Lockwood, from mystic secrets learned from his stint in the The Crusades, seeks mastery over bodily death.
  • In Guild Hunter the vast majority of vampires were this, prior to their Making.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Lord Voldemort, due to a pathological fear of death. He's also adamant that only he should be allowed it, at one point stating "Only I can live forever" right before he kills Snape. He achieved this by repeatedly cutting out bits of his own soul (a process that involves murder) and storing them in Horcruxes, allowing him to endure as a spirit when his first body was destroyed. This ultimately resulted in a particularly karmic fate for him. Because his soul was still split up when he did in fact die, he wasn't able to pass on to the afterlife, nor return to the world of the living. His life-long flight from death resulted in him being trapped in an empty limbo for the rest of eternity.
    • Only some methods of immortality require murder. The first book talks of Real Life legendary alchemist Nichoas Flamel, and concerns Voldemort's efforts to steal the Philosopher's Stone that allows making an elixir for immortality (though probably only Agelessness). The stone is destroyed at the end to prevent Voldemort getting his hands on it, with Nicolas and his wife Perenelle accepting death after living happily for centuries.
    • The Tales of Beedle the Bard: The tale of the Deathly Hallows is meant to teach people to accept death, and that someone who can do so is a true "Master of Death" because the fear of it doesn't control them. Dumbledore laments in his commentary that some wizards missed the point completely and believed the Hallows could grant immortality as the "Master of Death". Dumbledore and Grindelwald held this mad ambition in their youth before the death of Albus' sister during a duel between the former friends sobered him.
  • In Journey to the West, Sun Wukong responds to almost every piece of advice from his mentor with (paraphrased) "Yes, but will it make me live forever?" The prologue of the story has Wukong use multiple methods of gaining immortality but he's still not sure he's immortal enough.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien:
    • On Fairy-Stories discusses this theme in fairytales as the ultimate escape — the escape from the greatest limitation in human life — with an interesting Perspective Flip:
      "And lastly there is the oldest and deepest desire, the Great Escape: the Escape from Death. Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this... Fairy-stories are made by men not by fairies. The Human-stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness".
    • In The Silmarillion, the Numenorian king Ar-Pharazon's invasion of the Undying Lands is motivated in part by his desire take the secret of everlasting life from the Valar.
  • Larry Niven: In "Cautionary Tales", a human looking for a way to live forever goes to the center of the galaxy and runs into an alien looking for the same thing. Tales of living forever are in all cultures, but only humans have "cautionary tales". The alien has been looking for far longer than the human...
  • The Laughing Sutra: The protagonist journeys to the USA hoping to find a sutra that supposedly holds the secret of immortality in an attempt to help his ailing elderly Buddhist monk foster father. The sutra is ultimately revealed to be a prank — the writer of the sutra intended to mock the very idea of seeking immortality. The protagonist is disheartened when he realizes everything he endured was All for Nothing, but his dad has a good-hearted laugh over it and takes the sutra's lesson to heart.
  • The Long Earth: In The Long Mars, the mysterious billionaire Douglas Black is revealed to be one. As extra time is something his fortune can't buy him (yet), he installs himself on an expedition across the parallel Earths in search of a "fountain of youth". While eccentric and reclusive, he's never shown to do anything worse than irritate his captain in pursuit of his goal. He settles on an Earth with higher oxygen and slightly lower gravity; he himself admits he has no idea if it will help, but it's worth a shot.
  • In Mermaid Moon, the witch Thyrla has prolonged her life by several centuries by stealing life energy from other people, including her mother, her uncle, her husband, and all but one of her children.
  • In Mistborn, the Lord Ruler not only desired immortality, but he found it. And ultimately, he gets killed when the device he's using to keep himself immortal gets ripped out of his body.
  • In The Moon and the Sun, King Louis XIV hopes that Yves' dissection of the dead sea monster will find an organ that confers immortality. When that doesn't work, he wants the live monster butchered in the hopes that he can become immortal by eating her.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Alec Lightwood looks into this when he begins to angst over the fact that he is mortal and Magnus is immortal, but flatly rejects the use of dark magic or becoming a vampire as options.
  • Nowhere Stars: Liadain Shiell's whole motivation for becoming a Magical Girl is to find a way to cure her terminal auto-immune disease, and, ideally, full immortality. Since Magical Girls in this setting gradually gain the ability to alter themselves on both physical and metaphysical plains as they get progressively more powerful, this is entirely possible, but it requires her to kill a lot of Harbingers.
  • Otherland: Felix Jongleur and the Grail Brotherhood, the main villains, are a group of superpowerful billionaires who seek to become effectively immortal by uploading their minds into a massive virtual reality simulation that just so happens to be powered by devouring children's minds.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree
    • Queen Sabran commissioned the alchemist Niclays Roos to create an elixir of immortality so she could evade Mandatory Motherhood—fearing both the possibility of death in childbirth and the loss of importance that an heir would bring. She exiled him when the death of his lover caused him to use all the money on gambling and alcohol.
    • Subverted with Niclays; although he is still dedicated to the task of creating the elixir, he has no intention to use it on himself. He just wants to prove he can do it and then pointedly sell it to someone who is not Sabran.
    • The Golden Empress, a dreaded pirate queen of the East, is seeking a legendary mulberry tree whose fruit grants immortality and conscripts Niclays into her quest. The tree exists, but is no longer living.
  • In Sanctuary, the ghost eater tries to extend his life indefinitely by stealing corporeality from ghosts.
  • In The Secret History, Julian argues that this is what every human secretly wants, and it becomes a recurring theme throughout the book. Too bad Bunny ends up murdered, Charles tries to kill Henry, Henry kills himself, and Francis attempts suicide.
  • Septimus Heap:
    • Subverted with Etheldredda, as she takes the immature potion of immortality that makes her only a Substantial Ghost and gets eventually destroyed by Marcia Overstrand in the end of Physik.
    • Doubly Subverted with Marcellus Pye, as he first makes a potion without a critical component that gives only Age Without Youth. Septimus finally makes the complete potion and passes it over to the ailing Marcellus.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Darth Bane attempts to gain immortality by continuously transferring his soul from body to body as they became old and frail.
    • Emperor Palpatine uses the same method as Bane, but he's become such an affront to the Force the bodies don't last long. That, and a treacherous underling sabotaged his clones.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • Lucas and Moira Ozera were Moroi royals who willingly turned into Strigoi. They wanted to become immortal. Ironically they were killed by guardians not long after "awakening".
    • This is the established motive for most Moroi who willingly turn into Strigoi. Human Vampire Vannabes have the same motive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The Centari Emperor Cartagia, a megalomaniac and a sociopath, believes that he's destined to be made immortal by the gods and ultimately ascend to be one of them. He's so delusionally devoted to the idea that he allows his homeworld to be completely infiltrated by the Shadows, believing them to be agents of the gods who have come to assist him in his path to godhood.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master and Borusa, and a few one-off villains like Lady Cassandra, The Family of Blood and Professor Lazarus. It doesn't go well for any of them, since "everything has its time" is a recurring theme (especially in the revival). The Master gets away with Joker Immunity. Incidentally, the novels give one of the Master's pseudonyms as "Koschei" — as in Koschei the Deathless listed above.
    • In Torchwood: Miracle Day, Angelo is one, mainly because he wants to spend the rest of his life with Jack. The Three Families also, for a more sinister example, after witnessing Jack's immortality.
  • Extant: Yasumoto is seeking the alien intelligence in the hope to extend his life. It's later revealed that he's already over 150-years-old after already coming in contact with an alien substance.
  • House of Anubis has the Victor and his society, as well as Rufus Zeno. Victor's father had been after it as well, which meant Victor's basic goal was to finish his father's dream. Other members of the society had different goals as well; While most were selfish, it is known that Jason was dying of a degenerative illness, and would have died young unless he obtained the immortality. It is unknown what Rufus's larger goal was, but he was certainly more ruthless about it, willing to kill people if it got him what he wanted. Later, Rufus' goals became even more ambitious.
  • Lost: Richard Alpert makes a deal with Jacob to live forever because he's terrified of dying and going to Hell, as he accidentally murdered a man. Eventually, he comes to regret his choice.
  • Lovecraft Country:
    • Samuel Braithwaite wanted to gain immortality by opening a portal to the Garden of Eden, which he did awful things for. He ended up dying in the ritual.
    • Christina, his daughter, also wants immortality.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Malcolm Dreyfuss, the Big Bad of Season 4, spends half the season trying to piece together the Philosopher's Stone, so that he can use it to become immortal, as a means of Loophole Abuse to escape his Deal with the Devil (if he never dies, his soul isn't forfeit to Hell). He eventually succeeds, and driven mad, moves up to plans to Take Over the World.
  • A fatal Deconstruction happens in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season one episode "Too Short a Season". Admiral Jameson discovers an elixir that allows him to regain his youth and plans to use it with his wife to be able to live out the years of their lives they missed out on when he was in Starfleet. However, the elixir is said to run this risk of killing those who drink it and, when given the chance to defuse a Hostage Situation, he decides to down the doses right away. It de-ages him, all right, but not only does it go too fast, nearly derailing the process, it does ultimately kill him.
  • Truth Seekers: Dr. Peter Toynbee's ultimate motivation is to achieve eternal life in another dimension.

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Ur-Example (which is actually from Ur). Gilgamesh becomes obsessed with his own mortality after his friend Enkidu dies, and travels to the ends of the earth — literally — to find a legendary herb that would make him immortal. Ultimately, Gilgamesh is robbed of his chance at immortality by chance, and he decides to give up on living forever and accepts his own mortality.
  • The Sibyl of Cumae was given immortality by Apollo in exchange for her virginity. He didn't give her Eternal Youth as punishment for not upholding her end of the bargain.

  • The Adventure Zone: Dust: Gandy Dancer seeks magic in a quest to beat death after seeing her parents die at a young age.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Liches are wizards who made themselves undead in order to avoid dying. Their Immortality Immorality is completely Justified by the fact that drinking a potion containing babies you killed yourself is part of the process. Of course, at least in third edition one wonders why they bothered — there are several other kinds of immortality easily reachable (in game terms) that don't involve leaving you as a rotting corpse or having to cross the Moral Event Horizon in the pursuit of it.
      • Unfortunately, even with magic, being a lich is only a half-measure of immortality. DnD liches have to contend with their sanity and intelligence decaying away over the one thousand years that basic lichdom lasts. After that they are nothing more than a floating skull, or demilich. Demiliches are beings of absolutely incredible power, having lived long enough to learn every secret of magic that ever existed, but are also without exception batshit insane and utterly consumed by mindless insanity and loathing for everything. As far as immortality is concerned, demiliches are virtually impossible to either destroy or permanently kill. But, ya know, the whole "mindless insane bodiless skull forever" might be a bit of a downside.
      • Depending on which sourcebook you're reading at the moment, anyway. There are very nearly as many variations on lichdom and the lichification (is that a word?) process as there are books in the D&D line of tabletop RPGs. One variation, for example, requires zero babies, but instead a ritual involving the heart of a sentient humanoid that must be performed every 100 years. There is no obvious rule why this would mean a human heart instead of an orc or troll, or a convicted murderer. The same sourcebook says that demiliches are so decayed because they spend all their time traipsing through other planes of existence via astral projection or some such thing (whether they're likely to be insane after who knows how many millennia of existence lies in the eye of the beholder).
      • There's a less evil way to become a lich described in the Power Class: Alchemist mini-supplement.
      • There's a breed of liches known as baelnorns who are exclusively elven, and limited only to non-evil alignments. Unlike most liches, they do not do what they do in order to live forever to gain power. Instead, through a divine ritual, their immortality is gained by swearing to become an eternal protector of elves and their lands.
    • In OA7 Test of the Samurai, the evil Za-Jikku tries to become immortal by changing the world's atmosphere to a substance that will let him live forever. Unfortunately, breathing it will kill all other creatures who haven't prepared as he has.
    • On top of any drawbacks whichever method the above chose, there's also the problem that the inevitability of death is supposed to be an universal law, and those laws have enforcers. In this case, huge, armored humanoid robots that'll get briefed as to how to undo this immortality, find the offender, chase after him relentlessly and beat him to death until they're sure he's not coming back.
    • Eberron: Generally speaking, most of the elven religions are based around this. While giving everyone immortality is logistically impossible, they find their own ways to preserve their greatest heroes beyond death.
      • The Tairnadal work to preserve their heroes through emulating their deeds. Once a youth comes of age, the Keepers of the Past identifies which patron ancestor has chosen them. A gifted archer might have been chosen by a legendary archer who sniped giants on Xen'drik, a smith might have been chosen by the Ultimate Blacksmith who forged legendary arms. The child then must emulate the ancestor as best they can, following their path and ensuring that they are remembered. Each ancestor has many people emulating them, and supposedly they share their skills with their descendants to some extent. Unfortunately for everyone else, the ancestors being emulated are the victors of a guerrilla war against their slavemasters... meaning that the Tairnadal really just want to fight a war. Any war.
      • The elves of Aerenal use the manifest zones to Irian to create deathless, a specialized type of undead powered by positive energy and the devotion of their descendants. There are two primary problems with this system: There is a limited number of deathless the manifest zones can sustain, and they require the faith of their descendants to survive. A splinter sect pointed out that if living elves ever turned away from the Undying Court, the deathless would simply cease to be. Putting that aside, deathless come in two broad categories: The spirit idols and the deathless. Spirit idols are much cheaper to maintain but are little more than jars where a soul sits in a paradise constructed from its own memories. Deathless councilors are those who take a more active role in ruling the civilization, but their bodies are still withered husks, so they usually spend time as spirits exploring the Astral Plane.
      • Then there are the elves of the line of Vol, the other side of Aereni necromancy. They disliked the reliance on the living required by Irian deathless, so they used Mabaran undead, powered by negative energy, instead. Mabaran undead typically require something from the living (vampires need blood, etc), but they can take it rather than needing it volunteered. The other elves insist that all Mabaran undead, even ones that don't feed in an obvious way, suck the life energy of the world merely by existing, and considered them anathema. The tipping point came when the line of Vol created an apex dragonmark in the half-elf half-dragon Erandis d'Vol. The elves and the dragons united to wipe out the entire bloodline. Erandis only "survived" because her mother made her a lich, and anyone who still held to Vol's beliefs was exiled. Many of them ended up in the Lhazaar Principalities, where they became the Bloodsails, undead pirates.
      • The Blood of Vol is a religion based on Vol's teachings, but with a few twists. They believe that mortal blood contains the spark of divinity, and eventually they can build this into true divinity and ascend from this wretched mortal world. They use undead, but for purely practical reasons; mindless undead are useful tools, while intelligent undead are martyrs who have given up their own chance at divinity to guide the faithful. Evil intelligent undead are hunted down ruthlessly. Unfortunately, all the death trappings have given them a pretty negative reputation, and Erandis hijacking parts of the religion into the terrorist organization the Emerald Claw didn't help.
  • GURPS: There are some spells that can "steal youth", take months off your life, or halt aging. They are generally so expensive and limited as to not be worth it (the potion version of the Youth spell takes almost a year to make, any failure in making it causes the user to age faster, and it only takes one year off your life.) If permanently enchanted on a wearable item, the Halt Aging spell has such a ridiculous energy cost that even a Great Wish won't be enough to make one. (The book notes: "Kingdoms have been toppled for possession of such things...") In the powered by GURPS Scenario Transhuman Space you can become immortal by uploading your mind into a computer (if you have the money), though your biological body will die in the process, or before.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Members of the Legion of Dusk undergo an magical ritual that transforms them into vampires in order to carry out their mission. However, they consider their state an incomplete form of immortality since it robs them of most pleasures that make life worth living and they are in search of the Immortal Sun in order to gain Complete Immortality and share it with others. Their founder, who created the order out of genuinly pious intentions, is rather miffed when she finds out what became of her disciples.
  • Unknown Armies: There's a spell that lets you get the answer to any one question if you pull it off. The answer to "What could make the Freak forgive Dirk Allen?" is "Immortality".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This is the ultimate goal of many Chaos Space Marines and many of the mortal followers of Chaos as well. They hope to achieve this by gaining the attentions of the Ruinous Powers and becoming a Daemon Prince. Fortunately for the rest of the galaxy (and some of the other followers of Chaos), the attrition rate for this is very high.
    • The Necrontyr had short and miserable lives thanks to evolving on a radioactive wasteland of a planet. When they met the Old Ones and realized that immortality was a thing, they asked the Old Ones to share the secrets of immortality. The Old Ones said no. That didn't end well.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • The ancient Nehekharans became culturally obsessed with death and mortality, and their kinds demanded that their priests and wizards devise a method by which they might be made immortal, so that their reigns could last forever and they would not have to humble themselves before even death. They view their current undead state as a distasteful stopgap while they work towards their true goal.
    • Nothing awaits the elves after death but an eternity of torment in Slaanesh's realm, and they will do anything to avoid this. Unlike the Asur and Asrai, who bind their souls to their homelands after death, the Druchii aim to avoid this fate by simply never dying. As a result, they have no funeral customs or means to protect the souls of the dead because their culture views dying as a personal failure. Very few actually succeed in this goal, but those that do have cheated death for millennia and have long outlasted the already long elven lifespan. Notably, human undeath was originally devised as a Flawed Prototype in an attempt to recreate the forms of life extension used by the Druchii.

    Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: The protagonist of Secrets of the Ancients, Ardonna, wants to find a way to live forever and realize that necromancy could be a way to achieve it, necromancy being unlawful or the lives of people who oppose her be damned. She then meets another necromancer, Ras-Tabahn, who shares the same goal.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Joey Drew's speech heavily implies that he's interested in finding some way to live forever during Chapter 3, even when taking into account that most of that speech is a lie.
    Joey: Why with enough belief, you can even cheat death itself. Now that... is a beautiful, and positively silly thought.
  • Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling centers around the search for the eponymous Everlasting Sapling, a mystical plant said to grant immortality to anyone who eats one of its leaves. Queen Elizant II of the Ant Kingdom set up the Explorer's Association in large part to recruit adventurers to find the Sapling, while the Wasp King seeks to seize the Everlasting Sapling for himself to become immortal tyrant, ruling Bugaria with an iron fist for all eternity. It turns out Elizant II doesn't want the Sapling for herself; she wants it for her widely beloved mother Elizant I, who is currently in an artificial stasus, so she could step down herself and let the latter rule once again.
  • Cube Escape: Rusty Lake: Roots reveals that the Vanderboom family has had several men who attempted to create an elixir of immortality. Drinking the elixir has a big catch, though: it either turns you into a Bird Person with bizarre memory-related powers or kills you stone dead. Well, stone dead unless you can somehow convince several of your descendants to perform a complex resurrection ritual and even then, you are going to suffer.
  • Dark Souls: Seath the Scaleless went mad trying to discover the secrets of the scales of immortality the rest of his dragon brethen possessed. Granted, it's got to suck being the only mortal born to a race of immortals. Seath arguably just wanted to know why he was different. Tellingly, he continued to research the scales even after he helped Gwyn slaughter the rest of his "immortal" brethren and was given the Primordial Crystal, an Immortality Inducer, as a reward.
  • Destiny: Exaggerated. The Vex are already immortal by most conventional definitions, thanks to their non-linear relationship with time, imperishable metal bodies, and endlessly-reproducing cognitive liquid, so what's next? In the Vault of Glass, they are trying to turn their continued existence into a fundamental law of the universe. The special ending to the "Paradox" story mission indicates that they are doing this because they will ultimately be destroyed by the Darkness at some distant point in the future and are trying to find a way to escape it.
  • Dicey Dungeons: When the Robot wants to be The Sleepless for efficiency, Lady Luck muses:
    Why not just play for immortality?
    Then you'd have all the time in the world.
    Robot: All the research shows that personal change is more sustainable if you start small.
    I'm going to try for immortality next time!
    Lady Luck: Oh my dear!
    There won't be a next time.
    Just to make the most of this one. In you go!
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • According to old Aldmeri religious beliefs, the creation of Mundus was a cruel trick by the malevolent deity Lorkhan which forced limitation upon the other et'Ada ("original spirits"), robbing them of their Complete Immortality and trapping in the prison of mortal suffering that is Mundus. As the Aldmer (and through them, the Altmer or "High Elves") believe that they are they descendants of these spirits, they are constantly both suffering with dignity (as their Top God, Auri-El, taught them) while looking for a way to restore that which was taken from them. This is the motivation of the religious extremist Thalmor in the 4th Era around the time of Skyrim, attempting undo creation to return their spirits to true immortality. (Understandably, the other inhabitants of creation, including other Altmer, see this as a bad thing.)
    • This is one of the two most common reasons that wizards will opt to become liches. By sacrificing their humanity and very lives, they gain the undead form of immortality in addition to immense magical power. Mannimarco, a series' recurring character, was said to be the very first to become a lich, doing so for exactly this reason. (It was one step in his plan to eventually reach Complete Immortality, with him desiring to truly become a god. He eventually did... sort of...
  • In The Feeble Files, the Founder of the Omni Corporation did not want to accept his incoming death and the inability to continue controlling the Corporation, so he tasked his subordinates with devising a room in which he could live forever, never aging nor needing to drink, eat or use the toilet. Unfortunately for everyone, not long after he got bored of trying to control everything by hand and decided to devise a program that would control everything for him, while he took a nap that ended up lasting thousands of years. After all that time, the Omni Corporation rules the galaxy in a totalitarian regime that suppresses any signs of opposition with an iron hand.
  • Freedom Force: The villain Time Master seeks to avoid his ultimate fate, and is willing to go as far as destroy all of the known universe if it means he'll be able to live forever.
  • In Genshin Impact, Baizhu is a highly-accomplished doctor rumored to be pursuing a means to become immortal. This is initially framed as a suspicious element of his character, though his character side-quest reveals the more complex nature of his quest. His snake companion, Changsheng, is actually an ancient god dependent on a moral host to survive. For centuries, healers and doctors have entered into a mystical contract with her, becoming her host in exchange for access to her healing arts. These powers are Cast from Lifespan, allowing a doctor to heal their patients at the cost of their own health and longevity. Baizhu has concluded that immortality is the solution to their problem, maintaining Changsheng's life while also granting him an endless lifespan to give to his patients.
  • This trope kicks off the entirety of Hidden Dragon: Legend; In the backstory, the Tang Dynasty Empress Wu Zetian establishes an organization called the Trigram to find out how to live forever after realizing she's a few years near her death. It doesn't work for her, and after she passed on the Trigram now seeks the source of the immortality elixir for themselves while having their minions on a slaughter-fest across China to seek the source, besides putting hundreds of captives and prisoners as experiments for their immortality elixir.
  • Last Call BBS: In X'BPGH, the player character's motivation for embarking on the Forbidden Path is to obtain immortality.
  • Life Goes On: The only plot point in the game is the King wishes to find "the cup of life" to live forever. Morbidly sending hundreds of knights to die in the hope of living forever.
  • Marathon: This is Durandal's motivation. Yes, he's an AI and therefore already technically immortal so long as he keeps his hardware maintained, but he plans to outlive the universe and transcend reality, becoming truly immortal in every sense of the word. He fails... though he does live to see the universe's natural end.
  • Melty Blood: Zepia Eltnam Oberon who became a vampire in order to have infinite time to research a way to save the world from its inevitable doom. Then he decided that vampirism wasn't good enough to accomplish this, so he became a recurring phenomenon instead. It's a little confusing how that works.
  • Mystery Case Files: Many, many people in the series are Immortality Seekers. The series seems to love that trope really much.
    • Charles Dalimar was the first one met by the Master Detective, in the first three Ravenhearst games. Aided by his creepy son Victor, he built an Immortality Inducer that used the souls of other people to keep him alive.
    • Then the Master Detective crossed paths with Winston Malgrave in The Malgrave Island, who seeks to collect magical rejuvenating dust so he can remain young forever.
    • Fate's Carnival introduces Charles Dalimar's father Alister, whose obsession with eternal life can be traced back to the sixteenth century. He used different methods in four consecutive games, and was helped by his granddaughters in the last two. Guess it runs in the Dalimar's blood.
    • The medical prodigy Jacob Huxley, in Broken Hour, was obsessed with creating a device that could grant eternal life. He succeeded and implanted it on his dying wife (and on her father before that to test it). Too bad Meredith pretty much wanted to die because of her children's deaths and went completely unhinged, killing him and his assistant before committing many, many murders to keep her immortality.
    • Richard Galloway, in The Black Veil, is a subversion. He is already immortal after being graced by Ankou, and the player is lead to believe his schemes are meant to keep his eternal life. But it turns out he flat out wanted to die, and his last words were that seeing Death coming for everyone but you is incredibly painful.
  • The Friedman brothers in ObsCure were a pair of early 20th century Adventurer Archaeologists who were searching for the secret of immortality, and found it in Africa in the form of the mortifilia plant. Unfortunately, while Herbert Friedman and his wife Elizabeth Wickson both became immortal without any side effects, his brother Leonard was turned into a plant monster. As a result, Herbert founded Leafmore High School as a way to acquire test subjects for experiments to save Leonard. As revealed in the second game, their benefactors, the Delta Theta Gamma secret society, were also after this secret, and helped Herbert cover up his experiments and all the related disappearances.
  • In Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, the true villains, the Societea, are a group of elderly former thieves that got back together in the hopes of obtaining the legendary Golden Armor to stave off their impending deaths and enable them to Take Over the World.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Big Bad suffers from impending death from "consumption" (tuberculosis), and seeks eternal life — at the expense of the world. In the game's end, the Big Bad offers to share eternal life with the hero — who of course refuses it, in order to turn back time and bring everyone back to life.
  • Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages: Played with. If someone gets old enough they get a condition called wanderlust, when their soul becomes bored with the universe. If they don't do increasingly "interesting" things, their soul will eventually leave their body while their body drops dead. Every character who has wanderlust but still wants to keep living therefore engages in activities that would be more appropriate for a Death Seeker, because that's what keeps souls interested.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri almost makes this trope casual, until you see the consequences of Clinical Immortality.
  • Dr. Gerald Robotnik of Sonic the Hedgehog was contracted by the former president of the United Federation to assist with their project to develop eternal life. Gerald initially refused believing No Man Should Have This Power but changed his mind after seeing it as an opportunity to help his ill granddaughter Maria, eventually creating the Ultimate Life Form Shadow the Hedgehog (and a cyborg dinosaur, for some reason) in the process.
  • Ajunta Pall in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was one of the founders of the first Sith Empire, whose Force ghost is met in his tomb on Korriban. Unlike other ghosts, Pall never became one with the Force upon death as he used his knowledge of Sith alchemy to tether his soul to the physical world, essentially trapping himself in a self-made purgatory.
  • Vitiate, aka the Sith Emperor in Star Wars: The Old Republic accomplished near-immortality by absorbing everything on his home planet of Nathema, in a ritual that included the deaths of thousands of powerful sith lords and might well be considered the single most devastating use of the Force in Star Wars Legends. Unlike his fellow sith lords, most of which simply want to rule forever, this is just a step on the path to true godhood. His ultimate goal is to do the same to the entire galaxy so he can become a living force entity and live forever, travelling between galaxies and experiencing life as everything from a king, to an artist, to a simple farmer. When the last star burns out, he will simply rest, enjoy the quiet, and wait for the cycle to begin anew.
  • Sunless Sea:
    • The "Death Hath No More Dominion" ambition is all about this, seeking to steal immortality from the Presbyterate (the most powerful nation in the Neath, where all live to a thousand and the privileged go on even further) and joining forces with the Seven Against Nidah to do so. In the end, you can achieve it for all seven and all the rest, achieve it for just yourself, or betray them at the last minute and side with the Presbyterate. The rationale behind that latter one is interestingly all about this; would you want to put up with the sorts that would burn the most glorious of empires to the ground if it meant living forever in the ashes, like you and the other six just did? For the rest of eternity? Better to make it long and pleasant but finite than that.
    • Sunless Skies has the "Martyr-King's Cup" ambition. This sends you on the trail of a mysterious artefact that can supposedly imbue the drinker with immortality. In the endings to this quest, you can choose to live forever within the Lotus-Eater Machine of the cup, serve the Unseen Queen in her quest to make all humanity immortal, or betray the Queen and claim her immortality as your own.
  • In Sword of the Stars, the Suul'ka were willing to enslave their fellow Liir so they could live forever in space. Liir don't die of old age, but they keep growing until the Square-Cube Law kills them. The Suul'ka are crazed Liir Elders who said "fuck that" and forced the younger Liir to build them giant spacesuits, so they could live without gravity holding them back.
  • In Tales of Symphonia it is revealed that Mithos Yggdrasill and his companions found a way to stop individuals' biological clocks, essentially locking their bodies in the age they please. At the end of the game, it is revealed that he intended to convert all living beings in his universe to this state in order to reduce discrimination brought about by humans against half-elves for their human-like appearance and their naturally long life cycles.
  • TimeSplitters: Jacob Crow came across the secret of time travel during his research into immortality. He used this ability to travel back and forth in time to give his research to his younger selves in order to advance his research across multiple lifetimes. Eventually, he does discover a type of immortality, and subsequently sparks the genocidal war against humanity when his creations, the titular Timesplitters, seek to snuff out all of humanity after the Machine Wars, which were also instigated by Crow.
  • Touhou Project: Quite a number of characters:
    • It's mentioned that humans-turned-youkai like Alice Margatroid or hermits like Kasen gain indefinite lifespans as a result of their transformations, though it's unclear whether those characters did so for that specific reason.
    • Kaguya Houraisan is a Lunarian and thus was already The Ageless, but on a whim she had her vassal Eirin Yagokoro concoct the Hourai Elixir and drank it, leading to her exile from the moon. As a Hourai Immortal, Kaguya can regenerate From a Single Cell no matter what kills her, and even trying to use Time Travel to reverse the process won't work because the concept of death was removed from her very history, even retroactively. It's possible but unconfirmed that Eirin drank the Elixir as well.
    • Fujiwara no Mokou, the daughter of one of the noblemen who disgraced himself failing Kaguya's Impossible Tasks for her hand in marriage, happened upon a group of soldiers that was trying to dispose of another dose of the Hourai Elixir, which Kaguya had left as a gift for the Emperor of Japan. The soldiers ended up killing each other over the Elixir until there was only one left, and then Mokou, who had originally planned on stealing Kaguya's gift as a way of getting back at her, succumbed to the Elixir's temptation, murdered the last soldier, and drank it herself. She's regretted this Moment of Weakness ever since.
    • Tenshi Hinanawi became a Celestial through an act of blatant nepotism, and enjoys a form of de facto immortality — she won't die so long as she's strong enough to defeat any shinigami that's sent to claim her.
    • The Buddhist priest Byakuren Hijiri abandoned her teachings after her brother died, and turned to Black Magic in order to avoid the same fate. In the process she came to befriend the youkai she was studying magic from, and eventually resumed teaching her own brand of Buddhism. That said, one of the first things Byakuren did with her new magic was restore her lost youth, and she hasn't appreciably aged after a thousand years imprisoned in a demon world, so it's unclear whether or not she's come to accept her eventual death or is still prolonging her life.
    • Former Emperor and Historical Domain Character Toyosatomimi no Miko was apparently obsessed with extending her reign forever and researched immortality using Taoist magic, even while ostensibly pushing Buddhism to unite Japan. Ironically, the use of alchemy gave her mercury poisoning and she eventually settled for a lesser form of extended life using a Soul Jar. She's currently trying for a more "natural" form of immortality by becoming a Celestial. Incidentally, the historical person that Miko is based upon was also an Immortality Seeker.
    • Protagonist Marisa Kirisame has been known to perk her ears up at mention of easy routes to immortality, but so far she's found problems with the aforementioned options. She's quite proud of her role as an "ordinary black magician," so rejecting her humanity by becoming a youkai is out. She has little patience for religion, so becoming a hermit or Taoist brand of immortal is also off the table. Marisa's also smart enough to be leery of becoming a Hourai Immortal, both because the process is irreversible, and because that route would involve ripping out and eating another Hourai Immortal's liver to gain the effects of the Elixir. Plus, Hourai Immortals are barred from the afterlife, which is a day trip from Gensokyo and a nice place for a party.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nasuverse: Tons of people:
    • Michael Roa Valdamong from Tsukihime who first became a vampire and later invented a method to reincarnate with his own personality (and vampirism).
    • Nrvnqsr (pronounced "Nero"), also from Tsukihime, who also became a vampire, although later started to consider himself a research project on Chaos.
    • Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night, modeled after the original. He technically succeeded (even if he never actually used the Herb of Immortality himself) and even has the herb stashed in his Gate of Babylon, but being a Servant he can't actually take advantage of it since he's not really "alive", nor is he ever interested in handing it off to any "mongrel" in the modern world.
    • Zouken from Fate/stay night, who originally prolonged his life to reach a goal but later went insane and forgot why he did it in the first place. Failed to become a vampire and thus suffered the "immortality without youth" drawback of Who Wants to Live Forever?.

  • In Erfworld, the Big Bad, Charlie used a Dangerous Forbidden Technique to survive an assassination attempt, which came at the price of making him an enemy of the Genius Loci that is Erfworld and literally fated to die. Now a Cosmic Plaything and terrified of death, he has made living forever his main goal.
  • Girl Genius: Van Rijn sought to trap The Muse of Time in order to force from her the secret of immortality. Although it's been hinted that this was not done entirely for his own sake.
  • Supermassive Black Hole A*: Selenis Zea — the main character — goes on galaxy-wide searches and mercenary works to seek the ancient-yet-superior cloning technology. While her current facility is already advanced enough to essentially revive her upon her deaths for centuries, the system has issues in clone generation that.
  • Team Fortress 2: Gray Mann's ultimate motive, in the supplemental webcomics. Everything he has done so far has been in search of Australium to fuel his life extender. It's later revealed that his quest is a futile one, since there's too little Australium left. Even the administrator's more efficient life extender will only grant her a few more years. The administrator herself is not an example, since she just wants to have enough extra time to settle some old debts. Gray's not the only one either. The Classic Team Fortress Team are fully aware they are growing old. Classic Heavy rips out Gray's life extender so he and his team can use the Australium to extend their own lives.
  • Unsounded: Bastion Wilalils is a doctor who seeks to cure death. Unfortunately, he is willing to commit murders and war crimes in the name of this noble goal.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): Posing as a simple hotel owner, Ponce De Leon turns out to be this in "The Forbidden Fountain Of The Foreverglades." Having found the Fountain of Youth, he used it's waters to fill his pool and drain the youth of his patrons (primarily spring breakers) for himself.
  • Gargoyles: Xanatos. What good is all the money and power in the world (of which he has quite a bit) if he can't enjoy them forever? He's tried a number of things, but he's never yet been desperate enough to use them without testing on someone else first. He never fully gives up on this goal, but Hudson asking him an Armor-Piercing Question concerning the legacy Xanatos will leave behind does give him pause, though he tries to brush it off, and later the birth of his son shifts his priorities a bit.
    Hudson: Listen to me, Xanatos. What you seek demands a heavy price. I've been alive for over eleven hundred years. Most of my clan is dead and dust, and I am a stranger in a strange land. Demona and Macbeth are immortal; has it brought them happiness?
    Xanatos: Save your breath, Hudson. Death and old age have their price as well. And it's too expensive for me.
  • Justice League: Lex Luthor acquires this as a secondary goal in in Justice League Unlimited. In "The Return", he expresses envy at the immortal Amazo's lifespan — both because his own achievements will be forgotten in a few generations, and because Amazo will be able "to see where it's all going." At the end of the Cadmus arc, he attempts to download himself into a copy of Amazo's body made with Cadmus resources. While this turns out to have been partly due to the influence of Brainiac, he proceeds to willingly fuse with Brainiac because it's another shot at godhood.
  • Super Sunday: In "Bigfoot And The Muscle Machines", the ultimate goal of the antagonist Ravenscroft, a ruthless elderly millionaire, in his quest to find the Fountain of Youth. Indeed, he briefly turns into a younger man after accomplishing his goal and drinking of the Fountain's water, but his immortality is short lived as Yank ultimately rams a monster truck into the Fountain, destroying it. The effects of the Fountain wear off quickly, and it isn't long before Ravenscroft flees, unaware he's walking into an alligator-infested swamp, presumably meeting his fate.
  • Totally Spies!: In "Soul Collector", the school's principal, Mr. Smith, is revealed to be a 800-year-old explorer who had been using the "stones of Sumatra" to drain youth from people's souls, hoping to become immortal. Instead, the girls break the stones, causing him to crumble into dust from old age. Serves him right.

    Real Life 
  • The pursuit of immortality is a perennial pursuit in mysticism. Western alchemists spent their lives seeking an immortality potion that was variously called aqua vitae, panacea, elixir, the philosopher's stone, or literally hundreds of other names.
  • As did Eastern alchemists, including Chinese Taoists. Their elixirs tended to be based on gold, mercury and other heavy metals, so the effect might have been more pickling than life-extending.
    • Emperor Shi Huangdi of the Qin Dynasty was an avid user of alchemical potions. The man probably would have lived longer had he not ingested so many heavy metals and other toxins over the years. There is some evidence to suggest that GUN POWDER was one such elixir, ironically.
    • There were also some scriptures that recommended a kind of sexual vampirism to keep practitioners young. The general idea was to choose very youthful partners and sometimes to switch in the middle...
  • One of the primary goals of transhumanists today, through advances in science. Note that not all transhumanists desire immortality, though most do. Also, they discuss the ramifications of an unlimited lifespan regularly and the general consensus is that the only cost would be that you'd effectively cease to be "human" to some degree (a fair price, many think).
  • The real life Ponce de Leon averts this trope. He went to Florida in search of gold and to expand the Spanish empire. Only after his death did wild stories of his search for the Fountain of Youth begin to appear.
  • When Francisco Pizarro first contacted the Inca Empire, Emperor Atahualpa became interested in the foreigners and their magical arts, among them a mysterious method who could rejuvenate people. Naturally, Atahualpa decided he wanted to know those secrets and concocted a plan to ambush the Spaniards, kill most of them and keep some as artisans. The plan blew up in his face, as Pizarro Out-Gambitted him and captured Atahualpa, but most egregiously it turned out there was no immortality - what Atahualpa's spies had seen was a barber doing his job.
  • Many mainstream religions include "Everlasting Life" among their benefits, including Christianity, which teaches that immortality was the starting condition. It was forfeited by Adam and Eve and Jesus restores it. Most of the time it's about immortality in the afterlife, and\or after The End of the World as We Know It, however.

Alternative Title(s): So You Want To Live Forever


Blutarch Mann

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