While in Real Life there is rarely a direct and easily traced cause-and-effect relationship between Bob's actions and their subsequent reward or punishment, in fiction the connection is usually a lot more... express. Did Bob help an old lady across the street? Several chapters later, she'll turn out to be an elite ex-commando who will gladly help him storm the Big Bad's castle. Did the Big Bad kick the little dog just because it was barking at him? The dog will sniff him out and lead the heroes right to his Supervillain Lair.
The Golden Rule states, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but in fiction, morality operates more on Newton's Third Law — Every action results in an equal and opposite reaction. Abuse others, and the cosmos will heap that same abuse on you. Accordingly, every notable act of a fictional character will yield its due return before the end of the story; every deed, good or bad, will be repaid with the accuracy of a laser-guided missile. Whether its payload is sunshine and puppies (see Earn Your Happy Ending) or painful irony depends on whether Bob was a saint or a bastard.
This is a common trope for works containing An Aesop about morality. But if taken too far, the story will turn unbearably anvilicious: be polite to strangers, never kick puppies, et cetera, or the universe itself will make your life a living hell. It also undermines the standard "do good for goodness' sake" lesson, since Bob never has to suffer for doing the right thing or accept virtue as its own reward — in Fictionland he will always get repaid. That being said, the negative consequences tend to fall more directly than the positive; the villain's own deeds will be the ultimate cause of his downfall, while the hero's merits win him some much-needed assistance but do not provide a Deus ex Machina that solves all his problems for him.
On the good side of the karma coin:
- Helping out the Character Witness gets you an advocate.
- Aiding a wild beast befriends Androcles' Lion.
- Helping a stranger will put you in the good books of an Angel Unaware or King Incognito.
- Giving the scavenger kid a meal gets you a Sidekick.
- In general, these good actions net heroes a Karmic Jackpot and the bad guy a reprieve.
On the bad side of the karma coin:
- Dismissing the sorceress in beggar's robes gets you turned into a monster.
- Mocking Bugs Bunny will land an anvil on your head.
- Accusing someone of stealing your wallet gets him to exact what you accused right on you.
- Attempting to use a power for your own gain gets you defeated by that exact power.
- Demeaning the secretary gets him to help the heroes.
See also Pay Evil unto Evil, Sweet and Sour Grapes, and Sexual Karma, especially Karmic Rape. Ironic Hell is the afterlife version of this. Contrast Karma Houdini and Karma Houdini Warranty. For karma punishing a hero for their mistakes, see Tragic Mistake. Also contrast with "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished", which is a corrupt form of this trope; as well as Can't Get Away with Nuthin', where the slightest misdeed committed by the hero results in Disproportionate Retribution. If the character is a jerkass and the karma isn't enough to make them learn, then it's a Karmic Butt-Monkey.
When you help someone but receive punishment rather than reward, you might be looking at The Farmer and the Viper.
For sake of trope differentiation, examples should be limited to bad karma, heroic or villainous, and when an opponent's "good karma" combines to double-wham the antagonist.
This trope is by its nature Spoileriffic; spoilers will be unmarked.
- Anime & Manga
- Fan Works
- Live-Action Films
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Front Row Joe: In the holiday trailer, Clyde puts dynamite into a gift box and gives it to Joe, intending to blow him up. Joe gives Clyde movie tickets as a gift. Clyde is so moved by this gesture that he takes the gift box back... and gives it to Elton. Elton opens the box to find popcorn and drinks. Confused, Clyde takes the box and looks into it. The dynamite immediately explodes in his face.
- Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts:
- In "The Starving Skeleton", a chef had refused to fix something for a starving man, only for that man's undead spirit to return and eat him as revenge.
- The titular pirates in "The Pirates" make it no secret that they all intend to rape the woman they find adrift in the ocean. In-response, the woman (revealed to be a Sazae-oni) steals all of their testicles and swims off with them.
- In "Salty Horse", a Spanish Lord develops an insatiable appetite for horse-meat and has every single one of his horses - including the foals - killed, cooked, and eaten. One of these horses manifests as a vengeful spirit and possesses him. If the story-teller is anything to go by, the rest of his life was very unpleasant.
- At the end of "The Heads", a mugger tries to mug the protagonist after he has been through hell escaping a Rokurokobi and being accused of murder. He then gives him the detached head as compensation, whereupon it comes to life and eats the mugger.
- In "Deep", a particularly sadistic chef that sexually molests his apprentice has his shirikodama ripped out of his torn-apart carcass and eaten by a Kappa.
- In "The Snow Woman", the Yuki-onna spares the man — and even has sex with him — in exchange for not speaking of it to anyone. Years later, he confesses of his encounter to his wife. His wife turns into the yukionna and freezes him to death.
- In "The Cow Head", the starving villagers kill and eat the kudan that had done nothing to them. Then youkai all burst out of their stomachs.
- The chefs in the Framing Device reveal themselves as youkai and cook and eat their hosts, doing so to punish them for their Conspicuous Consumption.
- In Archie Comics, Veronica's schemes to beat Betty usually tend to backfire on her.
- Batman: Dark Victory has these:
- Former commissioner and Corrupt Cop Gillian Loeb briefly reappears in issue #2. Jim Gordon, who'd recently attained his iconic rank as Commissioner, is clearly less than pleased by the visit — and rightfully so as Loeb came to gloat about both Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face and the Hangman killing Chief O'Hara, and to not-so-subtly imply that he intends to use the latter to try to get the Commissioner position back from Gordon. The issue literally ends with the reveal of Loeb's corpse, a victim of the Hangman, before he could realize his plan.
- SWAT officer Pratt, another corrupt cop (whose crimes included partaking in a firebombing of a building ordered by Loeb and attempting to shoot a cat while searching through the wreckage for Batman) tries to shoot Batman as retaliation for Bats punching him through a wall (which itself was a response to Pratt's attempt to shoot the cat). Not only is Batman wearing body armor, but when Batman comes to, he finds that the Hangman got to Pratt in the meantime.
- A stand-off between the Joker and Two-Face ends with Two-Face repaying a beating the Joker gave him in The Long Halloween with a similar beating of his own.
- Berrybrook Middle School
- After being insufferable bullies to Jensen throughout "Brave", Foster and especially Yannic are caught red-handed while harassing him by his friends and some teachers. Yannic is seemingly suspended for good, while Foster comes back a very changed and regretful kid now on the receiving end of what he used to do alongside his worse companion. Jensen decides to forgive him regardless.
- At first, James seems like a Karma Houdini when the last we see of him is mocking Jorge for being framed. But the trope is played straight with Offscreen Karma when it's revealed that he and his cronies were suspended. It helps that the events beforehand had him progressively lose what was important to him (his girlfriend and other kids' respect).
- From Black Science:
- In the first issue, Grant impulsively rescues a slave during his smash-and-grab. They immediately run into her husband when they reach the surface. Overjoyed to be reunited, the husband leads his warriors against the slavers pursuing Grant so the latter can escape.
- A woman murders her alternate universe clone and takes her place. Grant reveals evidence of the murder to her family and calls the police, knowing that she can't furnish any realistic defense.
- In Camelot 3000, Sir Tristan's reincarnation as a woman initially seems purely random, until it's revealed that he'd raped at least one woman in his previous life. His new female form is therefore both a deterrent and a karmic lesson, especially when he/she is stalked by his/her reincarnation's former fiancee, who won't take no for an answer.
- Countdown to Final Crisis shows karma being paid onto a resident of Earth-3. Superman-Prime kidnaps Annataz Arataz, the evil doppelganger of Zatanna, and forces her to help him torture Mr. Mxyzptlk for information on Earth-Prime's whereabouts. When Annataz is first shown, she's a sniveling coward who begs Prime not to kill her, but as her ordeal goes on she finds the strength to help Myx and turn against Prime, foretelling that he will never find his home. Myx offers to help Annataz escape, but she sends him away as a way of acknowledging what a horrible person she truly was, and that Prime's torture was karma getting even. She pulls a Heroic Sacrifice as a way to fully atone for her past deeds, allowing Prime to kill her when he brings down his headquarters on top of them. Even Mxyzptlk, the mercurial trickster that he is, feels Annataz doesn't deserve to die that way.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In Scrooge and Flintheart's second confrontation for determining who's the world's richest duck, they convert all their holdings into silver dollars and will have the piles measured. Glomgold, worried he might lose, tries to cheat by purchasing a special liquid that can shrink things with the goal of using it to shrink Scrooge's pile of money. His plan is thwarted, and he ultimately loses... by the same amount of silver dollars that he spent to buy the juice.
- An interesting one that took a few storylines to get to. In Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes an elderly couple, acting on the xenophobic drive of Earth-Man, murder a crash-landed alien child and bury him in their field. Flash forward to Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, where the same couple discover Superboy-Prime in their field. They make the mistake of pissing him off and he vaporizes them both, unwittingly avenging the young alien.
- The Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! mini-series is this trope's race to catch The Human Flame. After being pegged as the man who photographed the Martian Manhunter's final moments, he suddenly finds himself the most wanted man ever and he decides he's not going to be pushed around anymore. He gains what he feels is ultimate power, only to for karma to finally catch up, leading to Firestorm, Red Tornado, and John Stewart to haul him away in a prison in space, unable to move or use his powers. John even calls this karma.
- In the early days of Firestorm, the villain Plastique tried to blow up a building full of innocent people with a suit that had a bunch of bombs attached to it. So how did Firestorm defeat her? He vaporized her suit to get rid of the bombs, leaving Plastique herself naked in public, laughed at by her would-be victims.
- The Flash:
- In one issue early in his time as the Flash, Wally West expresses contempt for a homeless man who seeks shelter in his apartment building. Then he's evicted, and thanks to various other misfortunes (his credit cards being inexplicably declined, his superspeed shorting out from hunger, losing both his luggage and his mother) he's reduced to eating pretzels from mud puddles in less than a day and getting the same amount of scorn from passersby (one of whom dropped that pretzel in the puddle to see if he was desperate enough to eat it). It eventually turns out that it's all due to machinations from aliens who were deliberately putting him under stress.
- Zoom (Hunter Zolomon) tried to ruin Wally's life because he thought Misery Builds Character and he wanted to make him a better hero. It was also partly out of revenge for not helping him prevent his paralysis at the hands of Gorilla Grodd. So Wally shoves him through one of his time rips, where Zoom is forced to watch His Greatest Failure: Sending his father-in-law to his death because he (a criminal profiler) told him a criminal he was meeting with wouldn't be armed. Again and again and again. Hearing himself say "He won't have a gun. Trust me Ashley..." over and over. The last we see of Zoom in that story, he's vibrating from impotent rage. So... How about that misery, Zoom?
- One issue of G.I. Joe: Special Missions juxtaposed positive and negative examples of this. Just before a mission, pilots Ace and Slipstream are friendly and cordial with their ground crews while Cobra's Strato-Viper is mean and abusive to his. During the mission, the Strato-Viper shoots down Ace, only to be shot down himself by Slipstream. The Joe ground crew rushes to Ace's aid and rescues him, but the Cobra ground crew takes their time and gets to the crash site just in time to see the Strato-Viper's Night Raven slip beneath the ocean surface. Not only that, the Strato-Viper was unable to escape from the cockpit because one crew member stole his breakout tool.
- Green Arrow: Deconstructed during the Cry for Justice & Rise and Fall storyline, where Green Arrow I (Oliver Queen) murders Prometheus for destroying Star City and causing the death of his adopted granddaughter Lian Harper. During Oliver's capture and trial, his family washes their hands of him, with his wife Black Canary (Dinah Lance) returning her wedding ring and declaring their marriage over. His adopted son Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow I (Roy Harper) and biological son Green Arrow II (Connor Hawke) tell him they are through with him. It is implied that Oliver killing Prometheus is the last straw, with Oliver constantly cheating on Dinah, his neglect of Roy, and his abandonment of Connor and lying that he did not know he was his son was the main cause of them leaving Oliver. However, before that storyline, Oliver Queen works hard to repair his relationships with them, and they had forgiven him before. It is also implied that they were traumatized by the events of the story, Star City being destroyed for Dinah, the loss of his daughter for Roy, Connor being in a coma and losing and regaining his memories, and with the resentment they have for Oliver despite forgiving him, they all lash out at Oliver.
- Literally in Halo: Blood Line. After the Covenant warrior Reff goes mad with power, kills his brother, and tries to take over an ancient Forerunner superweapon, the facility's robot caretaker fires an Eye Beam of doom and fries him to a crisp.
- The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner's father, Brian Banner, was, not to put too fine a point on it, a complete and utter monster. He brutally abused his wife and son, eventually killing his wife and forcing Bruce not to testify. Eventually, he broke out of an insane asylum (where he was put after drunkenly gloating about getting away with murder) and confronted Bruce at his mother's grave. The two fought, and Bruce knocked Brian down... which caused him to smash head-first into his wife's tombstone, killing him.
- Happens to Iznogoud in almost every episode. Whatever trap he's trying to set for the Caliph, he's the one who will fall into it, so that he ends up blasted into space, trapped in the Stone Age or the 20th century or an alternate dimension, turned into a dog or a frog or a woodlouse or a gold-plated statue or a photograph, turned invisible, and so on and so forth. One particularly memorable example happens in "Scandal in Baghdad" when he has a scandalmonger who can literally sniff out scandals plant a fake story in the papers about the Caliph having an abandoned illegitimate child. When the plan backfires, Iznogoud jails the scandalmonger... who sniffs out that Iznogoud himself has three secret children whom he had imprisoned so that he didn't have to deal with them — and when Iznogoud is jailed for being a deadbeat dad, the family reunion is far from happy...
- In Jupiter's Circle, J. Edgar Hoover tries to blackmail Blue-Bolt into becoming his pawn through photos of him in a tryst with another man. He later drops the scheme when Skyfox blackmails him with his own photos of Hoover engaged in sex with his right-hand man.
- After Red Mist is revealed as The Mole, Kick-Ass soundly beats the shit out of him the first chance he gets, and without much effort to boot. And this is pre-Took a Level in Badass Kick-Ass, for those keeping track.
- In Love and Rockets, Gato and Sergio are killed in a car crash immediately after murdering Fortunato, because Sergio injured his hands beating Fortunato to death and consequently lost control of the car.
- Some of the strips Sergio Aragonés does for MAD feature this. One notable example is from "A MAD Look at Racism", where at a restaurant, a black man is treated poorly by the head waiter, ignoring him in favor of white patrons, placing him at terrible tables, etc. The waiter gets his comeuppance when he later finds out that the black man was a food critic for a local newspaper, who proceeded to give a scathing review to the restaurant.
- In Preacher, Cassidy the vampire is captured and tortured mercilessly by a hitman until Jesse arrives to save him. Jesse knocks the hitman into the pit where Cassidy's been contained, breaking his neck in the fall and paralyzing but not killing him. The last shot is of Cassidy leaning right over him with a big grin and saying "How're yeh?".
- Rick and Morty (Oni): When the Meeseeks escapes prison, the guard viciously beats his legless cellmate, who stayed behind, not wanting to get in trouble. Once the guard's finished, he realizes that the Meeseeks, on its way out, let all of the other prisoners out of their cells.
- If you encounter the Runaways, stay far away from Molly Hayes. Do not yell at her, spook her, be mean to her, point a gun at her, breathe fire at her, or try to hurt her in any other way. And definitely do not kidnap her and try and kill her, even if her evil parents killed your whole gang and psychically paralyzed you. It never ends well. Just ask the Punisher.
- The Spectre: Overlapping with There Is No Kill Like Overkill, those who find themselves on the wrong side of the Spectre almost always end up facing the most gruesome form of poetic justice.
- In his origin story Spider-Man allows a burglar to escape from a pursuing policeman. One page later his beloved Uncle Ben is dead, killed by the same man. Not a Tragic Mistake, as this event then galvanizes him to devote his life to heroically fighting crime instead of propelling him towards a tragic catastrophe. Which is also why Spider-Man decides not to interfere with the event when he travels back through time in Amazing Spider-Man #500.
- Flash Thompson seems to be an aversion, as he ends up sharing an apartment with Peter Parker. Averted/lampshaded when he loses his legs when serving in Iraq, saving a fellow soldier, fulfilling the jock ending up crippled aspect of this trope.
- Karma finally catches up to Prince Namor in the All-New, All-Different Marvel reboot of Squadron Supreme — after willingly destroying the Black Panther's kingdom of Wakanda in Avengers vs. X-Men and pairing up with Thanos and his group to speed up the Incursions in the lead up to Secret Wars (2015), he finally gets his comeuppance as he ends up getting killed at the hands of Hyperion, whose homeworld was destroyed by Namor's actions.
- Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Aphra spends the entire Catastrophe Con arc manipulating and using a hapless, innocent shapeshifter despite his kindness towards her, even admitting to him that "it's used or get used" when he tries to protest her treatment of him. Turns out he wasn't an innocent shapeshifter after all, but Dr. Evazan, and Aphra's actions gave him an idea to use her for a little entertainment.
- In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Mxyzptlk and his kind initially find messing with Linda Lee funny as part of a game they're playing together. But then he gets greedy, breaks the rules (never take the game too far), traps his kind in a separate dimension, and tries to gain power for himself. After he's defeated and poofs back home in humiliation, his kind punish him by sending him to the 1st dimension, which is just a flat land akin to a kid's scribble drawing.
- In Tintin:
- In The Blue Lotus, Tintin defends a rickshaw driver from an abusive racist bully. Later, when the Japanese put a price on his head, he manages to escape the town with the help of the driver's brother.
- Likewise, in Prisoners of the Sun, he defends Zorrino from bullying foreigners, and is given a talisman which will save him from death.
- In The Batman vs. Dracula, when The Joker shocks Penguin and tosses him into the river, Penguin recovers just in time to see Batman swing after a retreating Joker. He nearly drops the trope name:
Penguin: Instant karma, Joker!
- Disney's Beauty and the Beast has the prince and his castle and staff transformed for denying a beggar woman shelter. She was really a beautiful (if somewhat petty) enchantress.
- In Coco, Ernesto being crushed to death by a falling bell back in 1942 seems to be this for him after he deliberately poisoned the tequila his former music partner Héctor drank, then gained success by claiming to have written songs that were really composed by the man he murdered. Even better, after he gets tricked into making an Engineered Public Confession while in the Land of the Dead, he ends up trapped under another bell.
- Frozen: Prince Hans arrives in Arendelle with an idea to usurp its throne in order to prove himself to his Massive Numbered Siblings. He quickly formulates the plan when he meets the naive Princess Anna, using her loneliness and desperate longing for affection to manipulate her into accepting his marriage proposal; once they're married, he intends to murder her sister, Queen Elsa, so he can be the royal consort. He even gloats about it when he thinks it's all about to come to fruition — prior to this gloating, the audience has practically no reason to suspect him. But at the end, after his treachery is exposed, he gets punched by Anna for it before being exiled from Arendelle to be judged and punished by his own family.
- The Incredibles:
- Huph refuses to let Bob stop a mugging going on outside the office. In his fury, Bob throws Huph through a series of walls which lands him in hospital. This gets Bob immediately fired.
- Thanks to Syndrome's Kick the Dog moment, his Dragon Mirage does a High-HeelFace Turn in favor of the merciful Mr. Incredible.
- Mirage encounters a downplayed version. She was fully complicit with Syndrome's Project Kronus that led many supers to their deaths. After her HeelFace Turn, she frees Mr. Incredible from his restraints only to immediately face his grief-filled wrath that nearly ends her life. She is spared only because she reveals that Mr. Incredible's family is alive and even then she receives a punch in the face from Helen.
- In Inside Out, when presented with a memory retrieval chute that can instantly return her to Headquarters, Joy abandons Sadness rather than risk her corrupting the core memories by proximity, and because "Riley needs to be happy". This act of betrayal directly leads to Joy being plunged into the memory dump when the memory chute is damaged.
- When they first meet in the climax of Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung, mocking Po's weight, goes "What are you doing to do, sit on me?" This is also Tempting Fate as, during the stairway tumble, Po does land ass first on Tai Lung's face at one point.
- In Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, when Mickey interferes with Pete conning a poor family into buying a badly-made 10-foot tall Christmas tree, Pete takes the money he would've gotten out of Mickey's paycheck, leaving Mickey broke, before literally throwing Mickey and Pluto off the lot. He then proceeds to put his cigar in the same back pocket with Mickey's money, which burns his butt and causes him to run into and ignite the buckets of highly flammable glue he used to make the trees, sending him into the sky and causing flaming shrapnel to fall down and burn the lot to the ground.
- Strange Magic: The unnamed girl with whom Roland cheats on Marianne. Since Marianne is the princess of their kingdom and is getting publicly married to Roland, the girl is a knowing home-wrecker. The film punishes her by having her be influenced by a Love Potion into loving a frog. note
- Toy Story:
- In Toy Story 2, Al steals Woody from an innocent family out of greed and selfishness, intended to sell the "Woody's Round-Up" collection to a Japanese museum for millions. He ends up getting zilch due to the toys escaping the luggage they were thrown in, losing his chance at getting rich and the rest of his collection in one fell swoop.
- In Toy Story 3, Lotso leaves the toys to die in a garbage incinerator after Woody and Buzz save him from the shredder. For a moment, it looks like he's going to be a Karma Houdini, as Woody tells the others that "he's not worth it" upon escaping. But then Lotso is found by a Cloudcuckoolander garbageman who straps him to the front of his truck and drives off with him.
- Walking with Dinosaurs: Scowler attacks and beats up his brother Patchi, nastily tells him he's no longer of the herd, and leaves him to die while preventing everyone, including Juniper, to help him. All for leading said herd from drowning in a frozen lake, which Scowler himself led them into. Minutes later, Scowler gets attacked and mauled by Gorgon with the rest of the herd abandoning him.
- The White Witch of Rose Hall: The titular witch, a torturous, Black Widow slave-owner, had her death come during a slave uprising, at the hand of either a lover or vengeance-seeker.
- The Korean folk tale of Heungbu and Nolbu, which originated in a popular play that explicitly taught the concept of karma to popular audiences, revolves around this trope. Working-Class Heronote Heungbu, who was forced to live in a small hovel with his family by his wealthy, but evil brother Nolbu, discovers an injured swallow and nurses it back to health. Afterwards, the bird flies away and returns with magical gourd seeds that contain treasures, a mansion and servants. When Nolbu finds out about it, he finds a swallow and breaks its leg to nurse it back to health, expecting the bird to reward him as it did Heungbu. The bird comes back with gourd seeds... which contain all sorts of nasty demons, who proceed to ransack Nolbu's palace, leaving him with nothing. (In some modern versions of the story, Nolbu learns his lesson from that ordeal and lives Happily Ever After in with Heungbu, who more than gladly takes him in.)
- The Bloodhound Gang's "I Hope You Die" starts with a guy Flipping the Bird to another guy, who cuts the first guy off and causes him to crash, killing scores of innocent victims. When the first guy goes to prison and has to share a cell with an insane cellmate who rapes him and forces him to wear a wedding dress while Bound and Gagged, the prison guard refuses to come to help... because he's the guy he flipped the bird the other day.
- The whole idea of Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down". If you're a sinner, God is pissed and He's coming for you. It doesn't matter how long or how far you run, you will get the judgment you deserve.
- The Grayson DeWolfe song "Karma" is sung from the perspective of a man who learns that his ex-girlfriend, after cheating on him, ended up discovering that her new boyfriend is cheating on her with someone else.
- In the Gary Moore song "Over the Hills and Far Away", the subject of the song is accused of a robbery where his pistol had been found. Unfortunately for him when the robbery was occurring he was sleeping with his best friends wife and so cannot provide an alibi without exposing the affair. This leads to him getting sent down for ten years. One theory is that his friend saw him and his wife together and staged the robbery with his pistol to frame him in revenge. Regardless his illicit affair led to his incarceration making it an example of the trope.
- Willie Nelson: "A Little Ol'-Fashioned Karma". In this 1983 song, he keeps it simple with a former lover who had done him wrong: There'll be "A little bit of sowing and a little bit of reaping / A little bit of laughing and a little bit of weeping", and "If you're gonna dance you've gotta pay the band".
- In Queen of the Wave by Pepe Deluxé, it's strongly implied that Atlantis was destroyed because of the moral failure of its citizens: both "Grave Prophecy" (in which Atlantis's destruction is foretold) and "Riders of the First Ark" (in which the destruction happens) prominently mention The Book of Laws being "forgotten". An even more direct example is when Zailm begins an adulterous affair with Lolix: "The nemesis of Karma starts pursuing him. A pursuit that will eventually lead to the deaths of both Zailm and Lolix..."
- This is the theme of the main story of the Sublime song "Date Rape". First, a guy attempts to drug a girl and rape her. However, the girl wises up to the man's plan and files a police report. The guy then gets sent to prison, where he is anally raped by a fellow prisoner.
- The Bible:
- The "Eye for an Eye" law established by Moses can be interpreted as applying this directly to real life.
- In the New Testament, Acts 12 (21-23) (NIV);
On the appointed day, Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
- In Matthew 7 (1-2) (NIV), Jesus warns, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
- God's justice is described as this in Galatians 6:7 (KJV): "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall also reap."
- The Bible also hints in a few places that Heaven and Hell reward and punish proportionally, though exactly how the rewards and punishments are proportioned is not explained.
- Some might say it's subverted in Greek Mythology because most times karma is just the gods helping or messing with the heroes, but the fact is that the heroes' good or bad actions have consequences, and the gods represent universal forces, so this is still technically true. Here are some examples:
- Achilles's profanation of Apollo's temple leads to his death by Paris, who is a servant of Apollo.
- Depending on the version, Apollo curses Cassandra that her prophecies may never be believed because she lied to him to get her power in the first place. In some versions, though, it was just because she rejected his sexual advances.
- The Odyssey:
- Odysseus blinding Polyphemus is what incites Poseidon to curse him, setting the stage for the whole story. On the other hand, Odysseus only put out Polyphemus's eye because the cyclops meant to eat him, so they were kind of holding each others' lasers. Odysseus's tribulations are as much because of hubris as anything else because he would have gotten away with blinding Polyphemus if he hadn't decided to boast by shouting his real name at the monster as he left. Polyphemus initially offered to feast with Odysseus instead of on Odysseus in his honor for his cunning; it was only after Odysseus cursed him that Polyphemus cursed him back.
- The greed of Odysseus's crew leads to Aeolus's gift blowing them off course.
- The plunder at Ismaros is rewarded by storms that blow the crew off course. And by an attack from the natives that butchers a lot of Odysseus's men.
- The vast majority of Greek kings and leaders end up reaping the karmic rewards for massacring the Trojans that attempt to seek sanctuary in the temples of the gods.
- Jason's efforts to dump his lawful wife Medea (who had allowed the Argonauts to escape the land of her father Aeetes) for another woman costs him Hera's favor and leads to his disgrace and eventual death.
- Ixion first murders his father-in-law, flees to Mount Olympus to escape punishment, and repays Zeus's hospitality by attempting to rape Hera (and only sort of succeeds; he rapes a cloud nymph in the form of Hera from which the centaurs are born). An infuriated Zeus banished him to Hades, where he's strapped to a flaming wheel and left to spin around for the rest of eternity.
- Ixion's son Peirithoos is just as bad, convincing Theseus to sneak down with him into Hades and kidnap Persephone to be his bride. Needless to say, Hades is not amused. When Heracles comes down to the Underworld on the last of his Twelve Labours, he's allowed to free Theseus from Hades's captivity. The Underworld shakes when he tries to free Peirithoos, which is Hades's way of letting our hero know that this is a very bad idea.
- Tantalus was a king who tried to steal some ambrosia from the gods. They found out and banished him from Olympus. He invited them to a feast at his home to "try to make it up to them"; he killed his children and fed them to the gods to prove that they weren't all-knowing as revenge for being banished. They found out about that, too (they are gods, after all) and now he's in the Fields Of Punishment. He's standing in a lake under a fruit tree, and he's starving. Every time he tries to eat or drink, the food/liquid moves away from him.
- Sisyphus's attempts to cheat death (and by extension Hades) ended in failure and got him stuck pushing a boulder up a mountain for eternity.
- Though they are the main forces of karma in Greek myth, not even the Olympians themselves escape karmic retribution for some of their particularly loathsome actions.
- The deity who suffers from this most often is Hera. Whenever she tries to kill one of Zeus's many children when they're babies, they always live either via Zeus saving them or just fate itself ensuring they survive, and they almost always become either a great hero or come up to Olympus to become a god, much to the fury and humiliation of Hera.
- Hephaestus is easily one of the most easygoing and friendly gods on Olympus, but not even he can tolerate adultery. When his wife Aphrodite cheats on him in favor of Ares, Hephaestus catches them in an unbreakable net whilst they're having sex and drags them in front of the other gods, who point and laugh at the two adulterers.
- Even before the Olympians and mortals, the primordial gods and titans were not immune to karma. Ouranos threw the cyclopes and hecatoncheires into Tartarus for how ugly they were. In anger, his wife Gaia made a golden sickle that she gave to Kronos, who rose up against Ouranos and killed him... but then Kronos was also repulsed by their appearance and left them in Tartarus. Later, when Zeus and the other Olympians found them and released them, it was easy to convince them to rise against Kronos. The cyclopes made powerful magic items for Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades which helped them beat Kronos's army, then when the titans were thrown into Tartarus themselves it is none other than the hecatoncheires who now make sure they can't escape.
- The Adventure Zone: Balance experienced a brief break from the Dungeons & Dragons formula during the Stolen Century-arc. When the new arc begins, the D&D-ruleset returns with Merle and Taako having to make saving throws. Clint (Merle) immediately rolls a 2. Justin (Taako) starts making fun of him... and then also rolls a 2.
- Cool Kids Table:
- At the end of the game All I Want for Christmas, Jed the toy collector is forced to give up his entire toy collection as punishment for causing chaos in an attempt to get a Turboman toy.
- At the end of the fourth arc of The Fallen Gods, a Tower full of Wizards who enslaved dozens of merfolk end up getting torn apart by them as soon as the spell is broken.
- When Kix Brooks (formerly of Brooks & Dunn) took over as host of American Country Countdown, he cut the show from 40 positions to 30 after program directors complained about the unfamiliarity of the lower-charting songs. In 2012, Brooks released "New to This Town", his first solo single since the breakup of Brooks & Dunn. Where did it peak? #31.
- During the backstory of the New World of Darkness game Asylum, Psycho Psychologist Dr. Moorcock conducted over five hundred unnecessary lobotomies over the course of his career, killing fourteen; in one particularly egregious case, he even went so far as to perform the procedure on Allison Purchase — who was not only perfectly sane but had only ended up at the asylum due to a bad LSD trip. Naturally, Moorcock's tenure comes to an end when someone decided to lobotomize him, leaving the doctor a gibbering, barely functional ruin of a human being. The game books suggest two possibilities: either Moorcock was silencing witnesses on behalf of a third party, and said third party decided that He Knows Too Much... or Allison managed to recover just enough to take ironic revenge.
- Instant Karma is an optional game mechanic in GURPS: Thaumatology that can strike people who use ritual magic to harm others.
- Magic: The Gathering has It That Betrays, a card that makes any card your opponent sacrifices yours. It also makes your opponent sacrifice two cards each time it attacks. Given that Eldrazi (the creature type It That Betrays is a member of) cause people to sacrifice permanents, this is more like Laser-Guided Theft.
- In Traveller, judicial slavery is sometimes used as an alternative to capital punishment in the Sword Worlds. If this is interpreted to imply that this is the penalty for human trafficking, which seems likely, then the poetic justice of this is rather grimly amusing.
- In Twice Charmed, Lady Tremaine tries to summon her Wicked Fairy Godfather, Franco DiFortunato, to wreak havoc at the ball. But since they failed to separate Cinderella and Prince Charming, the Tremaines are forced to do Franco's chores for eternity.
- The Eden of Grisaia: It was series villain Heath Oslo who taught the basics of knife combat to protagonist Yuuji, as well as the fact that anything with a sharp point can be used as a deadly weapon. It's a method that Yuuji used often when he was still a brainwashed child soldier/assassin of Oslo, killing several of his targets with a ballpoint pen. At the climactic confrontation of the two at the end of the novel, Yuuji puts this knowledge to good use when killing Oslo, by stabbing him in the eye with a ballpoint pen.
- Averted much more often than not in Katawa Shoujo (which is interesting in itself, because even good Visual Novels tend to invoke this trope way too often), but there are still a few examples.
- Act 1's bad ending and Lilly's entire path are this. Following Lilly's path, Hisao manages to pull a good end only if he was completely open to Lilly on three separate occasions during the story - and his way of doing so isn't related to any of those occasions.
- An interesting variation in Shizune's story, where a single bad act (which can be a romance-ruiner in itself so very much) committed by Hisao doesn't, in fact, have any direct grave consequences, but another practically unrelated chain of events appears and eventually leads to a bad ending.
- In Spirit Hunter: NG, Masaru offered up the Momoi Department people as sacrifices to summon Tsukuyomi and have it grant his wish. When he died along with them, he became Tsukuyomi itself, forced to live a life of torment until Akira and co. take care of him.
- One guy trying to slip some roofies to a succubus ends up getting drained by her.
- The children at Hester's summer camp could have saved themselves some future therapy bills and mental trauma had they been actually nice to Hester. As it stands, their hazing of the red-headed witch is directly linked to their terrorizing by a vampire.
- In Dead Winter, Arlen insists on kicking Liz, Alice, Monday, and Lou out of his shelter (in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse)—and as if that wasn't dickish enough, he also steals the keys to Lou's van. Then the hitman Sixgun comes looking for Monday, and the van out front convinces him that Monday is inside the shelter. Arlen attempts to bar Sixgun's entrance, and just gets shot.
- A Loonatic's Tale: Not a villainous example, but certainly notable: Dr. Chester is mean to everyone, and the degree to which he is mean is in inverse proportion to how much they need someone to be nice to them (so to his bosses, he's merely surly, but to Dr. Qubert or his own patients, he's actively derisive and hostile). As a result nothing ever goes his way — machines won't work, his bosses wonder why they hired his useless butt, and his coworkers have nothing nice to say either to or about him.
- The Order of the Stick:
- After conquering the hometown of the paladins, Redcloak loses his eye to a paladin that he had tortured in order to gain information about a plan for which he had, in Start of Darkness, murdered his own brother, who himself had lost an eye to a paladin of the same order who helped conquer Redcloak's hometown. It's like a karma palindrome. For bonus points, it's the other eye! And afterwards, when Xykon's phylactery is falling, it bounces off the statue of Redcloak, hitting the same eye he lost! For double bonus points, Redcloak, as a cleric, has access to the Regenerate spell that would let him get the eyeball back... but Xykon forbids him from ever using it so that he'll always have a reminder of his failure.
- In the first fight with the Linear Guild, the guild disables the cleric and moments later loses their own. Roy even says, "I think karma just evened that score."
- From the same fight, Nale falling off the bridge that he ordered destroyed. And lampshaded again with "Karma-riffic!"
- Vaarsuvius unleashes a spell called Familicide that wipes out an enormous number of black dragons and their descendants. Turns out the Draketooth clan that guards one of the gates is descended from a black dragon, wiping out the clan and leaving the gate unguarded.
- In Sluggy Freelance the exact moment Cloney tries to bite off Aylee's head, Torg chops Cloney's head right off.
- Unordinary: Sera views this as something that happened to herself. By remaining ignorant to those around her when she was the school's powerful Ace, karma came back to bite her in the ass when the Wellston mid-tiers she's been ignoring and possibly harming decide to kidnap and beat her up after she's been depowered.
- In Urban Underbrush:
- Weak Hero:
- Gray's a fan of taking down his opponents in ways that are based off their own bullying techniques:
- Teddy starts off his bullying of Gray by dumping cola on him, dunking his schoolbag into water, and marking his back with a giant black X. When Gray retaliates, he does so by soaking Teddy's prized backpack in the rain, knocking him out with a cola can, and then topping off with the X across his back.
- When taking down Oswald's gang after they hospitalise Stephen, Gray makes use of the safety pin Stephen gifted him to restrain Oswald, and then wraps them all up in the tape that Stephen used to use, and which got him made fun of by the gang.
- After all the bullying he's already done, Jeongmu tops things off by tricking members of the Manwol Gang into fighting Gerard for him, claiming that Gerard's a member of the Yeungdeungpo Union. Gerard takes them down and then beats Jeongmu into a pulp. After he leaves, the Manwol members realise that Jeongmu duped them, and that Gerard doesn't even know what the Union is- the last we see of Jeongmu is his face screwed up in terror as he receives his second ass-beating, this time by the gang members that he tried to trick.
- Gray's a fan of taking down his opponents in ways that are based off their own bullying techniques:
- In WTF Comics, Nikisha (a Dark Elf Dark Action Girl working as an assassin for the villains) helps an imprisoned child she was supposed to be guarding escape. The same child promptly acts as a Character Witness and prevents the heroes from killing her. That is not enough; the Big Good happens to meet her shortly after and gives her advice on how to protect herself from the Big Bad. Karmariffic, indeed.
- In this Pokémon fan-comic, two archaeologists investigate a temple, but one kills the other so he can claim the sole credit for the discovery. The dead archaeologist comes back to life as a Yamask and eventually evolves into a Cofagrigus. Some time later, the murderer is investigating another temple and notices a trail of gold nuggets, which he follows, only to be caught by the Cofagrigus, who traps him inside her coffin-shaped body and seals his fate.
- Achievement Hunter:
- In the Let's Play of Far Cry 3, a lot of the gang gets hit with this constantly. Incidents include Jack getting ran over by a truck twice after he reveals that he refused to help Ray with being attacked by a dog, Ray getting attacked by a dog for taunting Jack over being run over by the truck, and Michael getting attacked by a dog when he says that the dogs were attacking him because he was Puerto Rican.
- In the Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V series, Ryan enjoys being a dick and trying to mow down everyone during certain events (especially the Heist episodes). Karma will usually come back and bite him hard.
- A particularly poignant example is in their Let's Play of "Bidiots". Jeremy, already lined up to make a modest profit on one of his drawings but looking to make a couple extra bucks, bids up his own drawing then sneakily tries to use a Screw to force someone else to outbid him. This would have worked finenote if the person he chose to Screw hadn't been Gavin, who had already been Screwed into purchasing several other drawings already, leaving him nearly broke and unable to top Jeremy's bid, invalidating the Screw. As a result, Jeremy's Screw is thrown out and, with no one lifting a finger to bail him out, Jeremy is forced to buy his own artwork for an exorbitant amount while also forfeiting his artist's commission for the drawing.
- In their Let's Play Minecraft videos, this is present all the time. One example is Episode 9, where the crew must build the Tower of Pimps, which consists of three blocks of gold. Gavin is the first to place a piece of the tower and is in the lead since no one else has placed a piece or is even close to making their first one. After dying and losing his map, he decides to kill Michael, then Ray, but neither of them had any maps. So he then decides to attack Geoff... who proceeds to kick Gavin's ass in real life, and then, for good measure, steals the gold Gavin was carrying with him. Gavin continues to mine for materials (and gold) to renew his attack Geoff, only to die each time and lose more gold he had mined, inadvertently giving Geoff the win. Which is then Lampshaded by Geoff.
- There was also the time where AH and Fun Haus played a few rounds of Smite, with FH not realizing that AH swapped out their usual team in favor of their more video game-competent "B Team", creaming them. In response, when they came back to play Overwatch, FH brought in Cloud 9, a professional e-sports team. The Curb-Stomp Battle was so bad, Geoff Ramsay had to call in his daughter Millie to save face!
- In the Bad Call TV episode "What's in a Name?", both of the executives that oppose changing the name of Ayds Candy in light of the growing AIDS crisis wind up dying of AIDS.
- Battle for Dream Island: Pencil's downfall in "Reveal Novum". After 6 episodes of being a complete Jerkass, Pencil still hasn't been booted from the game, because she is rarely up for elimination. In the episode, she wins the challenge, triumphing over such threatening enemies as Rocky and David... Then, because of the double-digit point system, she falls to the bottom of the scoreboard and finally gets ejected from the game.
- Bitey is usually the victim of this in the Brackenwood series. This is mostly because he keeps being a total Jerkass to the many peaceful animals of Brackenwood. However in a twist, in "The Last of the Dashkin", it's revealed that some of those sweet little animals may be just as deserving of that karma as Bitey.
- Dreamscape: After putting Keela in the hospital from going overboard during their fight in the tournament, Vampire Lord is subject to a mauling by Anjren's pet polar bear as payback.
- In one D&D story, described in the "Barbarians: The true masters of the Mind" demotivator image, a barbarian ended up dying, with a psion character mocking him by stating this is why he kills with his brain: to not get killed back. Since the barbarian had Diehard, he decided to kill the monster who gravely injured him by throwing his brain at it. He missed and ended up hitting a psion, inflicting huge amount of damage to him, killing him in process.
- In Noob, Omega Zell, in addition to being a misogynist with three female guildmates, also has quite a few cruel words for Sparadrap. Guess what happens when he gets into his dream guild through the back door, hence angering its female recruiter, teams up with the recruiter in question, and pretty much ends up being The Load.
- While she's too oblivious to see it as such, The Nostalgia Chick has gotten her disregard for the privacy of others thrown back at her a few times, like Obscurus Lupa hiding in her bed or Nella popping up next to her out of nowhere.
- The Runaway Guys:
- The Runaway Guys are struck by this in episode 8 of New Super Mario Bros. Wii when ProtonJon is attempting to guide the others through the fortress, and JoshJepson decides to have a little fun...
- They have another occurrence in their very first project, the classic Mario Party for Nintendo 64. Towards the end of the first part of Luigi's Engine Room, when Jon gets a Poison Mushroom, Chugga chimes in with this:
Chugga: Hey, Jon. Hey, Jon. Don't eat the mushroom.
Jon: ...I hate your face.
[Chugga laughs, NCS groans]
NCS: Man, talk about perfect timing!
Chugga: I was saving that joke!
Jon: I like how you scripted jokes for— to say—
Chugga: Well, I just thought of it on the plane!
Jon: You thought of it on the wa— You literally have thought of this for days! You've been waiting days to make a "Don't eat the mushroom" reference!
Chugga: Well, I guess I knew it would bug you! I knew it would bug you, that's why I did it.
- One turn later, Chugga gets a Warp Block ("NOOOOOO!"), switches places with Jon ("NOOOOOO!"), and also gets a poison mushroom ("NOOOOOO!"). NCS bursts out laughing while, naturally, Jon remarks with a mocking tone, "HEY, CHUGGA! DON'T EAT THE MUSHROOM! I HEAR IT'S BAD FOR YOU!"
- Another one that originated in Mario Party: Emile, after winning Bowser's Magma Mountain by beating AI Wario for the Coin Star 112 to 111, says "Suck it, Slim.", then references Slim losing to AI Mario at Sweet Dream in his Mario Party 5 LP 179 to 178 for the Mini-Game Star. It took until Toy Dream of the Guys' own LP of 5 for karma to strike: Mario, who Jon had played as in Parties 1 and 2 before switching to Waluigi on his debut in 3, beats Emile, now playing as Daisy thanks to multiple innuendos from a Mario Party 6 livestream and Donkey Kong's shift to an NPC role, for the Mini-Game Star 107 to 106.
- Part of what helped Emile get that 112-to-111 win at Bowser's Magma Mountain was a Jon-triggered Chance Time where Jon gave two of Wario's Stars to Emile. AI Luigi would give two of Emile's Stars to Jon at Woody Woods in Mario Party 3 through Chance Time.
Jon: There is a god.
- And speaking of Mario Party 3, Emile uses a Plunder Chest to steal Jon's Koopa Kard at Creepy Cavern... which he then proceeds to waste. The next map, Waluigi's Island, Jon gets him back with a Plunder Chest of his own for a "rude awakening".
Jon: Remember when i said i had an insurance policy?
Emile: OH FRICK!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Part of what helped Emile get that 112-to-111 win at Bowser's Magma Mountain was a Jon-triggered Chance Time where Jon gave two of Wario's Stars to Emile. AI Luigi would give two of Emile's Stars to Jon at Woody Woods in Mario Party 3 through Chance Time.
- Another moment occurs in their playthrough of Kirbys Return To Dreamland. Early on in one of the final levels, Chugga and NCS are trapped on a collapsing bridge and end up falling. NCS dies and loses a life, but Chuuga just barely manages to fly back up in time. Even though Chugga is playing Kirby and him dying would force all three to restart the level, Jon starts getting exceptionally trollish and is upset that Chugga survived, wishing that he'd also fallen to his death while making a Dead Artists Are Better joke, all to Chugga's annoyance. Immediately after this happens, Jon flies too low and crashes into a platform made of lava, causing him to fall to his death.
- The RWBY franchise:
- RWBY: A grander example than usual. The man who would become known as Ozpin failed to stop Salem's evil plots. The gods therefore cursed him to keep fighting her, forever. Thousands of years later, he considers this a perfectly fitting punishment. Of course, as with everything else regarding this character, it turns out to be quite a bit more complicated than he claimed. Ozma was Salem's lover until he died of a mundane disease. Salem entreated the gods to resurrect him, and even tricked them into doing so briefly, but was punished for her hubris with Complete Immortality. When she raised a rebellion against the gods, she was punished further by having all of humanity wiped out, leaving her alone. It was only when humanity managed to return, in a lesser state, that Ozma was pulled from the afterlife and given the opportunity to redeem humanity. He was reincarnated, found Salem, and they raised a family together. But when he realized that Salem planned to start a Master Race of their children and kill everyone else, he tried to take the children away. Ozma and Salem fought, the children died, and Ozma was reincarnated again. So while it was a karmic punishment, it wasn't really as simple as the gods directly punishing him for his mistakes, as he originally said.
- RWBY Chibi: In "Happy BirthdayWeen", Ruby acts like everything should go her way and everyone should do what she wants because it's her birthday, up to and including forcing Team JNPR to give her their Halloween candy as a present and stealing an entire bowl of candy left out by Dr. Oobleck. By the end of the skit, the rest of Team RWBY has gotten sick of it; when Ruby tries to convince them to buy a Halloween costume for her, they dress her up as a trash can, complete with a sign saying "TRASH".
- This happens fairly often with the gaming clan Shack Tactical, but the most direct and quickest case might be in one of their (many) ARMA sessions, "Being John Kevbovich". Dslyecxi, the founder of the clan, and Kevb0, one of the founding members, spot a lone enemy fleeing across an open field with no cover and no apparent support. The two of them (Kevb0 especially) gleefully take potshots at their enemy, pinning him down, wounding him, and eventually killing him. Afterwards Dslyecxi speculates about what could have made him so desperate that he would attempt such a suicidal maneuver in a realistic military simulator. Not two minutes later, Dslyecxi asks Kevb0 if they are sure that a building across a relatively short open field is clear of enemies, and Kevb0, who has a long and well deserved reputation for being a Fearless Fool and an all around Leeroy Jenkins (also, for always dying), immediately charges across the open field with no cover and no support to make sure the house is clear, much to Dslyecxi's dismay. Sure enough when they're almost to the house enemies start opening up on them from a distant tree line. Kevb0 gets killed, and while Dslyecxi makes it to the house, the enemy knows he's there and he's still cut off from reinforcements, who are a long way away. And that's where the video ends.
- Back in 2008 during the midnight launch of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, ScrewAttack members Craig and Ben went to their local Gamestop to auction off an early copy of the game they had received, with the proceeds going to charity. At one point a customer in line for the game objected to having his face on camera and angrily ordered them to turn it off. (His face was edited out with a paper bag with a frowny face reading "I don't want my face on camera".) Eventually, he accused them of assault and called the cops. When they showed up and the guys gave their side of the story, the cops turned around and arrested the guy who called them.
- Share My Story: Clara and Brandon both get hit with this:
- Clara dumped, cheated on, and humiliated her boyfriend just to date this cool ladykiller, only for her to be cheated on and humiliated as well before they break up.
- It is implied that the only reason Brandon wanted Clara in the first place was to spite the protagonist. After winning Clara over, they end up having a lot of problems in their relationship and it's implied that he was miserable with Clara for months and cheated on her constantly as a result.
- In Soylent Scrooge, after making a meal of Marley's remains, Scrooge finds it gave him killer food poisoning.
- Many episodes of SuperMarioLogan have Bowser Junior do something bad and try to cover it up, only to fail miserably. One notable example is in the episode "Bowser Junior's Clown Car!", wherein Junior breaks a table with Bowser's old clown car and gets sent to Military School for it.
- Team Four Star:
- Played for laughs in the Let's Play of Left 4 Dead 2 custom campaign "I Hate Mountains". During the rescue, they remind each other to remember the lessons learned when they played "Hard Rain". After a Beat, they start shooting Kaiser Neko, who was the Sole Survivor of "Hard Rain"note . When the rest of the group runs to the escape plane, a Tank appears and starts kicking their butts; they instantly declare it the Karma Tank (though two of them still manage to get away).
- In Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged, Lanipator gets hit twice with this during part 3 of "Blood Harvest". At one point Takahata has been incapped and KaiserNeko asks if anyone wants to help him. Lani just says he's shooting Taka. A Charger then attacks Lani. Later, Ganxingba gets trapped by fire and Lani decides to throw a gas can and a propane tank to make it worse. He's then grabbed by a smoker. In both instances, he calls it karma.
- In a Serious Sam 3: BFE mission, Lani makes a joke about fat people and is blown up seconds later. He calmly admits that was karma.
- In the Yogscast Minecraft Series, Simon jokingly sets fire to the Yogcave, then stands around yakking while Lewis panics trying to put the flames out. Moments later, Simon is "accidentally" knocked into a deep underground pit. He climbs out and promptly burns to death. Later, when he's respawned and the fire's gone out, he wanders out the back door... and triggers a booby trap and blows up.