Follow TV Tropes


Laser-Guided Karma

Go To

"Karma police, arrest this man."

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 the rule seems to be more, What you do unto others will be done unto you. If you mistreat the people and things around you, karma will strike you down. Treat them well, and you will be rewarded. Accordingly, every notable act of a fictional person will yield a meaningful return before the end of the story; every little action, good or bad, will be repaid in kind with the accuracy of a laser guided missile. Whether its payload is sunshine and puppies (see Earn Your Happy Ending) or painful irony (also see Ironic Hell) depends on whether Bob was a saint or a bastard.


If taken too far, stories with this aesop can turn anvilicious or into a Space Whale Aesop: always be kind 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 always gets repaid. That being said, it's worth noting that the negative consequences tend to fall more directly than the positive; the villain's evil deeds turn out to be the ultimate cause of his downfall, while the hero's virtue rewards him with some much-needed assistance (but still leaves it up to him to save the day).

On the good side of the karma coin:

On the negative side of the karma coin:

See also Pay Evil unto Evil, Sweet and Sour Grapes, and Sexual Karma, especially Karmic Rape. 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.

When you help someone but receive punishment rather than reward, you might be looking at The Farmer and the Viper.

See also: Hoist by His Own Petard, when a villain gets killed by their own weapon, or The Dog Bites Back, when they're killed by an abused lackey.

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.

Since in Real Life, whether a bad thing that happened to someone had been karma or not is inherently controversial and subjective, No Real Life Examples, Please!

This trope is by its nature Spoileriffic; spoilers will be unmarked.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Osomatsu-san:
    • After the hell Iyami put the Matsunos through in Black Factory, he gets a taste of his own medicine when his teeth are exploited for their mineral value at the same place at the end of Episode 6.
    • Todomatsu got his after he pissed off his brothers and lied about his life situation in order to pick up chicks. The brothers basically embarrassed him to the point where his reputation with the Sutabaa baristas is shattered beyond repair.
    • When the brothers discover that Iyami and Chibita scammed them out of millions of yen in "Iyami and Chibita's Rental Girlfriend", they lock the two in a tiger cage and charge them an even larger sum of money to rent the key (with the amount increasing each time they accept).
  • Every Dragon Ball villain (except Beerus) falls "victim" to this trope, usually via Kick the Dog that invokes a Heroic Second Wind.
    • In an early episode of the original Dragon Ball, Master Roshi says that whichever student succeeds during training will get to eat while the other won't. Krillin cheats to win, but that night's dinner turns out to be pufferfish...which Launch prepared improperly, meaning Krillin gets sick while Goku doesn't.
    • Beerus eventually got his in Dragon Ball Super when Zeno revealed that Universe 7 had the second lowest mortal rating of all 12 universes because of his pettiness and would have destroyed it if not for Goku's proposal for the multiversal tournament.
    • In Dragon Ball Super: Broly Frieza forces Broly to fight despite Broly generally hating violence, and pushes him past his Rage Breaking Point by killing his father Paragus. This comes back to bite him when Broly, now a Super Saiyan, proceeds to beat Frieza for an entire hour while Goku and Vegeta are working out the Fusions Dance.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch chose to wear a mask and use the Power of the King so he could invoke this.
    • Some of the stuff Lelouch does in Code Geass eventually bites him in the ass unintentionally. The Geass Cult he massacred? His army is appalled once they find out.
    • A bigger example example would be V. V., who finally gets his just deserts when his brother Charles spots him at the gate to C's World, and has had enough after his latest lie, so he takes his code and leaves him to die.
  • Probably about 90%-95% of the death toll or sufferers of A Fate Worse Than Death in Franken Fran are the result of this, although some of them are rather excessive. Chapter 10 is probably the worst here. An arrogant germophobe who sees the rest of humanity as immoral, filthy fools who need to be educated and improved by the "elite" gets swarmed by cockroaches, nearly raped, has all her skin burned off, and gets skin grafts made from cockroach exoskeletons. The stress causes her to go insane and try to tear off her skin. An epilogue page in the collection shows her to have recovered from her insanity and attempt to remove her own skin... only for the graft to have gone wrong and her face to be covered in living, twitching cockroach legs.
  • Demon King Daimao: In episode 3, Junko assembles a lynch mob to kill Akuto, only for Keena to say something that causes said lynch mob to turn on Junko as well. When Junko pleads with them that they've misunderstood and should listen to her explanation, Akuto points out that he's been trying to say the exact same thing to her almost since he arrived at school, and that they're unlikely to listen to her any more than she did to him.
  • Love Hina:
    • Throughout much of the first part of the series, Motoko constantly belittled Keitaro for his failed attempts to get into Tokyo U. After the first Time Skip, Motoko herself is trying to get into Tokyo U, and has discovered firsthand just how tough it is.
    • Naru (and all the other girls by extension — yes, even Shinobu, who never lifted a finger against Keitaro) also gets some when Kanako comes along and subjects her to everything she did to Keitaro during the first part, particularly since Keitaro took notes on the specifics of the torture she put him through.
  • After a millennia of forcing innocent girls to die painful, horrific deaths and getting away with it, Kyubey and his entire species finally get what's coming to them at the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion. Being an entirely emotionless species that sees humans as cattle, the Incubators have never felt any reluctance or guilt about doing so. Then Homura repurposed them into her new universe — where they suddenly felt the pain and despair of all the girls they'd harvested, and were forced to bear it as their victims had borne it. Kyubey's plans: destroyed beyond repair. His species: enslaved by one of his own "cattle" to serve as the outlet for all the curses of the world. Kyubey himself: Mind Raped.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Nena Trinity attacks a wedding purely out of spite ("How dare you have fun while I'm busy working!"), killing all but one of the attendees, who loses a hand. Karma bites Nena extra-hard: firstly she gets to watch her beloved brothers get killed by Ali al Saachez, then after the four-year Time Skip to the second season she's forced to be The Dragon to the Dark Chick (a position she considers humiliating), and finally the lone survivor of the wedding massacre, who became a mobile suit pilot herself in the intervening time, finds and kills her.
    • Ali Al Saachez falls victim to this. He gets overpowered and badly injured by the only survivor of a family he almost destroyed. The man, Lyle Dylandy, is willing to spare him because he doesn't want to sink to Ali's level. Ali tries to take advantage of this, only for Lyle to beat him on the draw and blow his brains out.
    • Ribbons has his plans collapse around him due to the child he manipulated behind the scenes and who inspired him to try and play God. Said kid? The Hero, Setsuna F. Seiei.
  • Tsubarov and Quinze in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Tsubarov dies when the Mobile Dolls that he held to be superior to manned suits were reprogrammed into destroying his base. Quinze was killed by the original Gundam Scientists on board the crippled battleship Libra while attempting a Colony Drop at the end of the series; the Colony Drop being what Operation Meteor originally was, and the very Gundam Scientists who retooled it to be the less deadly version we saw ended up giving their lives to prevent Quinze from making it happen.
  • In the first revival round of the Liar Game, interestingly Nao chose the one man who apologized to her after the rest of the contestants turned against her, to get kicked out of the game. When he asked why, she explained this revival round was a chance for one person to escape from the game and be free from debt. So after she won the round, she gave him her winnings, which was enough to pay off his debts and walk away from the game a "free man".
    • Also done more negatively to Yokoya. By bullying and blackmailing his team in the Second Game, he had them all under his rule. However, in the end, three of them turned traitor to the other team and were able to successfully pay off their debts with the help of Nao and Akiyama
  • Sword Art Online gives us Nobuyuki Sugou, aka Oberon. He's shown to be a complete scumbag when he's introduced, conspiring to marry Asuna (who hated his guts even before being trapped in SAO), trapping her mind in another VRMMO, then near the end of the Fairy Dance arc, tortures Kirito by running him through and decreasing his pain inhibitor while sexually assaulting Asuna, all the while promising to rape her comatose body in the real world. Karma comes in the form of Akihiko Kayaba's digital ghost giving Kirito administrative control, so he can set Sugou's pain inhibitor to level zero and beat him so badly, he started going partially blind in the real world. On top of that, when he tries to kill Kirito in the real world as revenge, Kirito overpowers him and leaves him unconscious in a parking lot, where he's arrested and incarcerated.
  • Hell Girl plays with this exceptionally well. Not only you can get thrown into hell for as much as making your personal stalker angry, but Ai and her subordinates will make you relive your worst nightmares right before doing so.
    • In addition, those who use Ai's services are, themselves, doomed to hell when they eventually die. In this series, karma is a double-edged sword.
  • Pet Shop of Horrors demonstrates both sides of the Karmic Coin, though to be honest the dark side more often. However, the episode with the little girl who wants a bodyguard, and treats him kindly and with care, stands out as a heartwarming moment for the series.
  • Happens surprisingly often in the Crapsack World manga Cage of Eden. A group of men who raped and killed Oomori's senpai are eaten by vicious carnivores. Two other students who helped Zaji build a raft and later pushed the others off, claiming to have planned to betray them all along find out that the island they were hoping to reach was just an illusion, and then they get eaten by a large aquatic dinosaur.
  • Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto (despite it not sticking). Abuses his Mangekyo Sharingan so much during the fights with Bee, the Kage's, Danzo, and finally Team 7, his vision completely vanishes just as he completes Susano'o.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, this is applied to a few of the homunculi. Gluttony, who ate his victims, was himself devoured by Pride. Envy killed himself when in his helpless maggot-form the humans started pitying him, and Pride was Brought Down to Normal, made into the human boy whose form he was inhabiting, despite being extremely, well, proud of his homunculus superiority.
    • One of thing really bit Pride in the keister was his habit of devouring his beaten comrades. Turns out he should have been more careful because one of his victims is able to keep his consciousness in his mindscape and helps the hero at a critical moment.
  • Comedic example in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Chamo makes fun of Negi in his internal monologue and instantly gets hit by a car. He's an Iron Butt-Monkey, so it all works out.
    • Non-comedic example: Quartum cuts Chachamaru in half, then suffers the same fate at the hands of Negi.
  • Digimon Adventure Myotismon gets karmic payback for everything that he did to the Digidestined but more specifically, for murdering Wizardmon. This causes Gatomon to Digivolve into Angewomon, the Digimon predestined to kill him. The karmic retribution for the crap he put the others through comes when they combine their energies with hers to form an arrow she uses to shoot him through the heart and kill him (but not really).
  • One Piece: This is a running theme in the series. It may take decades or even centuries, but good deeds are always rewarded while bad deeds are punished. The Straw Hats in particular abide by this; if you are kind to them, they will return that kindness tenfold, but if you make them angry, you will only live to regret it. Take Rebecca from the Dressrosa arc, for example: she had been suffering for years under Doflamingo's rule, yet still had enough kindness in her heart to befriend a disguised Luffy and pay for his food. Luffy returns this kind gesture by saving her country, taking down Doflamingo, and reuniting her with her father and the rest of their family.
    • Arlong, years before the main story started, began taking over villages and forced a young Nami to join his crew as cartographer. As a carrot, he promised that if Nami could raise the money, she could buy freedom for herself and her hometown. Jump to the present, Nami almost has the money she needs, but Arlong uses some Loophole Abuse in order to keep her in line. This causes Nami to break down, which gives the Straw Hats motivation to beat down Arlong's crew. If Arlong hadn't tried to cheat Nami, he wouldn't have lost his would-be empire.
    • Bellamy. Had he not been such a nihilistic, unrepentant bully and pissed off Monkey D. Luffy, he wouldn't have ended up being punished by his own boss for disgracing the flag he sailed under. But at least he learned from it.
    • Spandam. A complete Jerkass whose status as such was established years before the main storyline began, his abuse of Robin throughout the entire Enies Lobby arc had him positively begging for retribution. Robin's last act to him as the Straw Hats escape with her, considering as she does so all of the pain he had caused her, is clutching him so hard that his skeleton breaks in half. But of course, this being One Piece, he survives and eventually becomes a member of CP-0 under Lucci's command.
    • Lampshaded in one cover arc; at one point of "Caribou's Kehihi in the New World", he abandons his brother to steal their ship and sail away from a Navy base. The next episode features Caribou being caught in a storm, with the episode title "Punished By the Heavens".
    • Speaking of Bellamy, his boss Doflamingo got hit with this hard. When he was a child, Doflamingo murdered his well-meaning but misguided father. His brother hated him for it, joined the Marines and infiltrated his crew, eventually preventing him from gaining the Op-Op fruit. Doflamingo promptly murders him, which causes Trafalgar Law (Doffy's former protege and the one his brother fed the fruit to, in order to save his life) to swear revenge, plotting his demise for the next thirteen years. All of this culminated in the Dressrosa arc, in which Doflamingo's criminal empire, the one he spent building for nearly his entire life, falls apart in a spectacular fashion over the course of a single day. Unlike Bellamy, Doflamingo fails to realize that if he had shown even the slightest shred of compassion in any of those instances, none of this would have happened.
    • Another thing that helps throw Doflamingo's plans into turmoil was his plan to separate Luffy from Law by using his dead brother's devil fruit as bait for a trap, since he knew Luffy wouldn't let anyone else have it without his approval. Unfortunately, Luffy has more than one brother, and that one is not as dead as previously thought. Said brother especially counts, because not only was he the only person Luffy would ever allow to have the fruit without second thought outside of members of his own crew, he also made it his specific goal to find that exact fruit, to not only honor their deceased brother, but to also help protect Luffy.
  • In Innocent Venus, both Jin and Drake are killed by their pet-project war machines which are driven by the brains of little children cloned for the purpose and then implanted in the 'gladiators', where they obviously undergo horror and torment. When they get a chance for revenge, they're not particularly forgiving.
  • Seraphim gets this in Is This a Zombie? when she decides not to follow through with the hit on Eucliwood. One episode later, when she's killed in an ambush, Eu was on hand to supply blood to revive her.
  • Mr Don in Eyeshield 21 had earlier used Gaou as his punching bag and ran Yamato out of Notre Dame. In the Japan vs. America game, those two are the first who end up beating him for the first time.
  • Wyald of Berserk is a hedonistic Apostle who is after the Band of the Hawk and Griffith in particular on orders from the King of Midland and has a particular delight in raping people. When he tries to do this to Guts' Love Interest Casca, Guts almost kills him despite being half-dead and "takes his weapon away from him" in graphic fashion. Things only get worse for Wyald when Zodd shows up to teach him a very painful lesson about trying to get in the way of Griffith's destiny as a Godhand and rips him in half for his trouble.
  • Dark Yugi / Pharaoh Atem of Yu-Gi-Oh! loves the crap out of this trope. He's the laser-guider in which whenever a villain of the chapter (in the first dozen volumes) causes trouble, he uses that specific action against them, especially when he knows they are cheating in his Shadow Games. In the Duelist Kingdom arc, he pretty much Mind Rapes two guys with his Penalty Games because of their crimes (one was tricked into thinking a puppet of himself was attacking him when he tried to mock the [then in a coma] Kaiba with his puppetry, and one was trapped in an illusion where he was hung at the gallows after threatening to hang Yugi).
  • Muteki Kanban Musume: Parodied when Megumi, just seconds after tries to curse Miki with The Power of Hate nailing a wara ningyo to a sacred tree, sees Kayahara Sensei falling from that same tree and takes her for a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl that is going to curse Megumi.
  • In Princess Mononoke, the whole mess was started when Eboshi started using the iron from her foundry to produce guns with which she drove out or killed the spirits of the forests that she needed to tear down to expand her business. In the end, she gets defeated by the head of the giant wolf spirit she just killed. But since she ran the foundry and gun factory mostly to provide jobs and homes for the outcasts of society rather than for her personal profit, she survived having her whole arm ripped off, but won't ever shoot any guns again.
  • Wong Lee in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam proved to be a jerk and a bully who put the profits of Anaheim Electronics over the needs of the AEUG, going so far as to beat Kamille Bidan to a pulp and calling it "correcting". When he returns in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, he's put into his place by Judau, greatly humbled by the young teen.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Deshiko Deshi, one of the members of the corrupt Security Committee. Like all the other members of the committee, she regularly abused her authority and made the other students' lives hell For the Evulz, until Tsukune's Unwanted Harem take down her leader Kuyou. By the time of her reappearance in Capu2 episode 8, a year after Kuyou's downfall, she's been reduced to a sad, pathetic wretch and a target of ridicule for the very same students she used to victimize.
  • Invoked with Ange, the protagonist of Cross Ange, in the very first episode. When she witnesses a Norma for the first timenote , while the mother was begging that she will take care of her kid, Ange's response is to tell her to just give birth to another one. Karma caught up with her the very next day on the biggest day of her yearnote  when she was found out in public that she's also a Norma. She then gets sent to Arzenal to fight and slaughter dragons like a slave while losing her mom, her family honor, and her entire life turned upside-down, with the mother yelling "Serves you right!" as she is taken away. As it turns out, the rest of the mana society is leagues worse, as the townspeople are chanting for her death simply for being a norma when she is lured back by her brother, including the mother of the norma baby taken away. Ange's only sin was ignorance. These people on the other hand? Out and out supremacists by comparison, and the fact that they can't think for themselves serves as little defense.
    • Speaking of her brother, Julio, who is responsible for most of the events mentioned above, used his army to order a genocide of all the normas after his original plan to have Ange killed failed. This comes back to bite him big time in episode 13 when Ange, who at this point has become a One Woman Army, completely decimates much of his forces and was ready to kill unless he called off the massacre. Even after he does, Ange, who is understandably pissed at him, is prepared to kill him anyway, leaving him pleading for his life. Ange is about to deliver the final blow, but is stopped by the series Big Bad, who proceeds to do the deed himself, taking Julio and a good chunk of his army down.
    • While she was doing what she did for the right reasons, and didn't deserve to get caught and Forced to Watch her comrades die in a trap, Riza, Julio's right hand and mole for the dragons, walked on a few eggshells in the process. Namely, helping depose a reasonably benevolent leader and sharing responsibility for the death of him and his wife, and their daughter (Ange) being exposed as a Norma and sent to Arzenal to die by the usurper she aided, who then attempts to finish her off himself when that fails. TWICE. Now all of that is one thing, but then she also compels the new ruler into opening a portal over Arzenal, resulting in half the island getting destroyed along with serious casualties. At this point it should have been clear enough that the Arzenal residents, of which former Misurugi Ange was now one of, had been used as dragon-killing tools, and she could have came as an envoy and clarified her role. Finally, when an already distraught Sylvia stumbles on her in the act, Liza puts her under her draconic thrall, leading Sylvia to whipping her later as payback (albeit for various petty reasons included).
    • As of episode 22, you can say that all of mana society goes through this, thanks to Embryo's plan to merge the two worlds together which cause them to lose the ability to use mana. As they were very much depended on mana before, being lost without it puts them in a very venerable and panicked state of chaos. When several of them come across Ange and demand that she help them escape, she is understandably pissed that they would have the balls to try and tells them to piss off. By the end of the series, Ange outright abandoned this high and mighty pompous community full of Hypocrites in their crumbling world, leaving only their spoiled minds to try and recover it, which would be difficult... Meanwhile, the Normas that they prejudiced, the DRAGONs that they made the Normas fight for their own safety... those two got the good karma strikes. After defeating Embryo, they take residence in the other original Earth where DRAGONs originated from and start rebuilding it in peace. Since they're not that dependant and their sufferings by the hands of Embryo and these Mana people toughened them up to be more self-sufficient, they fared better in rebuilding.
  • Rurouni Kenshin provides plenty of this. Even for Kenshin.
    • One chapter features Kenshin pitted against a foe by the name of Senkaku, a towering, hulking pinheaded thug armed with bladed knuckles, the same speed which our hero can achieve, and is the bullish tyrant who dominated a village for his master's conquests, going as far as even murdering a boy's family for the simple act of leaving. Though he hopes to best Kenshin to gain brownie points from his boss, he is tricked into utterly tearing apart his knee muscles from being goaded into speeding up as fast as our hero, who had better training to adjust to his level of agility, and used his hulking mass to his advantage, by merely gradually speeding up and forcing him to his limits. After this, he is subjected to three people's verbal breakdowns: one from Kenshin, who lets Senkaku know why his body gave out, and puts him under fire for his atrocities, bringing to him the realization of his actions; one from Saito, who explains how Kenshin's tactics worked, and gives him a faceful of ironic humble pie; and one from his aforementioned boss, Shishio, who nails it in that he knew from the start that he had no chance in hell of defeating Kenshin, lets him know that a personal execution is in store for him for being embarrassingly defeated by not even getting his foe to draw his sword, letting him know of how much worth he truly is to his master and ups the shame factor to 11. By the end of this, he is shipped off to the authorities to be tortured and up on the block for Death Row, while the anime shows that he escapes- And is put to death by right hand man Sojiro, who still follows the group's "Kill or Be Killed" mentality and is not convinced of his turn of cheek.
  • DNA² provides us with Ryuuji Sugashita, an extremely successful playboy, who justifies his continuous cheating on his girlfriend Tomoko with him having such a superior DNA that women can't help but throwing themselves at him, and also adding that's why she'll never break up with him: her own DNA will force her to stay with him. Then Tomoko meets the Mega Playboy, who does have such a superior DNA that women can't help but throwing themselves at him, and she dumps Ryuuji and justifies her sudden feelings for the Mega Playboy with Ryuuji's own speech on DNA.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure loves this trope, especially when it comes to main villains:
    • Kars, villain of Battle Tendency and leader of the Pillar Men, craved the Red Stone of Aja to become a perfect being and surpass his weakness to the sun. Through trickery, he manages to steal the Red Stone and gets exactly what he wanted. He would have won if his final battle against Joseph wasn't happening near a volcano. He decides to finish off Joseph with a Hamon far stronger than his, but he hits the Red Stone of Aja instead, which in turn amplifies the energy, and the volcano erupts, and a series of events lead Kars to be launched to space, forever undying but powerless to do anything. To add the final nail in the karmic coffin, the final thing that blocks him from avoiding this fate is Joseph's severed arm that he cut off moments earlier.
    • From Stardust Crusaders onwards, the series uses a Monster of the Week format, so minor villains who commit nasty strings of karma are pretty much beaten up by the heroes as fast and spectacular as they appear. Particular stand-outs are Part 3's Steely Dannote  and Vento Aureo's Cioccolatanote .
    • In Diamond Is Unbreakable, Yoshikage Kira is a twisted Serial Killer who kills for sexual pleasure and fetishizes and cuts away the hands of women he kills. In his final battle against the heroes, an ambulance arrives at the area due to the house he made explode, and after a severe beatdown from Jotaro, he falls in the middle of the street, the ambulance drives back, and crushes his head against the tires. But what makes this truly karmic is what happens after his death, as he realizes his soul is stuck in a limbo between the world of the living and the dead, and after being tricked by the ghosts of his first murdered girl and her dead dog, he gets Dragged Off to Hell by hundreds of hands.
  • Suzy's Zoo: Daisuki! Witzy has the "Swift and Instant" type in Witzy Plays a Joke. For each of Witzy's friends he played "the joke" on, he caused Patches to accidentally threw his toy train into the air (and then stepping on it while attempting to flee), caused Lulla to throw his newly cleaned socks onto the ground, dirtying them again, and caused Boof to throw the donuts meant for him onto the ground and rendering them inedible.
  • Pokémon: Virtually every time Team Rocket decides to Kick the Dog, this trope usually hits them hard:
    • Their attempt to incinerate Ash with the flames of Moltres backfires when the real Moltres emerges from the flames, fries their robot, and sends them blasting off.
    • When they had their Arbok and Victreebel attack Ash directly, it led to Ash's Chikorita, who was locked in a cage and being Forced to Watch, evolving into Bayleef, breaking free, and blowing them away.
    • Their aerial bombardment of Ash's party in the Indigo League aftermath backfires badly when they make the mistake of pissing off Ash's Charizard by blowing up a table of food Charizard had his eye on. Charizard promptly attacks them and throws their own bombs back at them.
    • Their Electric Torture of Ash during his Viridian Gym battle comes back to bite them when Ash pulls off his Heroic Second Wind, revealing that James also rigged Jessie's own platform to zap her whenever her Pokémon take damage. When Jessie demands to know why he did so, James confesses that it didn't occur to him that they might lose again, so he didn't think it would matter.
    • On the other side of the coin, most of their more benevolent acts have a far better success rate and sometimes grant a Happy Ending, especially since often Good Feels Good.
    • Most other members of Team Rocket look down on the trio for their incompetence and use their better reputation or ranks to humiliate or bully them. Most of the time however, when put into action themselves, they end up suffering a similar fall for grace that makes them look even more buffoonish, something the three often get to observe and enjoy thoroughly. Domino, Butch and Cassidy are key victims of this.
    • In comparison to their countless painful failures trying to steal Pokémon, nearly all their legitimate captures are incredibly easy, and result in succinctly loyal comrades. Inkay and Pumpkaboo, two of their most reliable Pokémon, were both caught just by idly flicking a single Pokéball at them, while the likes of Cacnea and Chimecho willingly joined the team after they asked them. Mime Jr. takes the cake, he eagerly jumped into James' Pokéball without him even trying to catch him.
    • During the Alola League, Faba opts to cheat during his battle with Ash by having his Hypno pull Meltan onto the field when Ash intends to use Pikachu. It backfires when Meltan ends up eating Hypno's pendulum.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Abe no Seimei's first act upon his rebirth as the Nue is to betray his mother Hagoromo Gitsune, who had endured countless reincarnations and spent centuries trying to bring him back, and cast her into Hell. While it takes a while, karma does catch up to him; Hagoromo Gitsune eventually returns, understandably furious with him, and plays an instrumental role in his defeat and death.
  • My Monster Secret: Being a Butt-Monkey, pretty much all of Aizawa Ryou's antics end up backfiring on him (not that he doesn't deserve it):
    • He deliberally used a female disguise for his earth infiltration, for the dual purposes of sneaking into the girls' bath and for finagling money out of people. Unfortunately, the only person he manages to get the attention of is Shimada, which typically results in Ryou being on the receiving end of massive Squick whenever Shimada starts to flirt with him.
    • One the rare occasion that he manages to locate a stash of food to pilfer, said food ends up belonging to Akane, who has such a strong Sweet Tooth who once tried to destroy earth by summoning an Eldritch Abomination because someone ate her cookies. It doesn't end well for him.
    • Pretty much any other time he tries to either slack off or otherwise abuse the resources of the mission that he's on, it won't be long before his sister finds out and takes it upon herself to straighten him out.
  • In Chapters 74 and 75 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, it is revealed Kanna was tricked into playing with the a powerful magical item by Azad, a human wizard ally of her father's resulting in her banishment, and the trickster knew because of her history with other pranks, her trying to pass off blame to someone else would be ignored. Now, at the present time, Kanna meets the trickster and secretly records their conversation when he gloats about his actions, how he hates all dragon kind, and is playing both dragon factions against each other. Kanna records the whole thing on her tape recorder and, when Kobayashi and Tohru arrive in the nearby battlefield where a battle is about to happen, sends the message to them by her cellphone, destroying his reputation on both sides.
  • In Assassination Classroom, whenever the higher-ranked students are shown to look down upon or make fun of Class E students, Koro-sensei helps them to get their revenge or something eventually happens to make them regret it, unless Asano Sr. intervenes. In the end, Shiro/Yanagisawa, the Mad Scientist who was behind most of the misfortune in the series, is left a vegetable while his antimatter experiments are officially outlawed, while Asano Sr. is forced to resign after his school's discriminatory policies are leaked into the public.
  • Arabian Nights: Adventures of Sinbad: Sinbad finds the sorcerer responsible for turning Shera into a bird and forces him to turn her back into a human. By the end of the episode, the sorcerer is transformed into a turkey and is never seen again.
  • In an early chapter of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, there's a torrential downpour and Kaguya tries to engineer a situation where Miyuki will have to ask her for a ride home. While waiting for him by the school gates, her maid Hayasaka asks "How exactly am I supposed to get home?", and Kaguya dimissively replies "Walk?" Hayasaka says "You shouldn't take me for granted or you'll receive divine punishment", and almost instantly a gust of wind nearly blows Kaguya's umbrella out of her hands (prompting her to claim that she was just kidding, and she'd called for a taxi). However, this is followed by Miyuki racing by on his bicycle, kicking up water and soaking Kaguya, who comes down with a cold the next day (and gets an I Told You So from Hayasaka).

    Comic Books 
  • In Archie Comics Veronica's schemes to beat Betty usually tend to backfire on herself.
  • 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 showed karma being paid onto a resident of Earth-3. Superman-Prime kidnapped Annataz Arataz, the evil doppelganger of Zatanna, and forced 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 went on she found the strength to help Myx and turn against Prime, foretelling that he would never find his home. Myx offers to help Annataz escapes, 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, felt Annataz didn't deserve to die that way.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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?".
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man:
    • 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.
  • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Mxyzptlk and his kind initially found messing with Linda Lee funny as part of a game they were playing together. But then he got greedy, broke the rules (never take the game too far), trapped his kind in a separate dimension, and tried 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 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 who 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.
  • 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 foreginers, and is given a talisman which will save him from death.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In Scrooge and Flintheart's second confrontation for determining who was 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.
  • The Batman prequel story Dark Victory has two.
    • 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 do two things: gloat about both Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face and the Hangman killing Chief O'Hara, and to not-so-subtly imply 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 fire bombing of a building ordered by Loeb and attempt 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 Batman comes to, he finds that the Hangman got to Pratt in the meantime.
  • 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.
  • The Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! mini-seriesis 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.
  • Some of the strips Sergio Aragonés does for MAD features 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 in 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Green Arrow: Deconstruction. 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 had been traumatized by the events of the story, Star City being destroyed for Dinah, the lost 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the leader of the Rocket Racer Gang gets his hand mangled by the same rocket-powered glove he used to assault and rob people when Peter tricks him into punching a wall.
  • In Ashes of the Past, Pikachu ends up being captured by the Iron Masked Marauder, and near the end of the movie, his Poké Ball winds up in the hands of the Team Rocket Trio... who give it back to Ash. One region later, Jessie's contest prowess wows Wallace, who gives her a Cosplay Pikachu as a gift.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic The Bonds We Share, Ash re-encounters Damian, Charizard's cruel former trainer. The asshole challenges Ash to a battle for his Orange Island Badges. Ash proceeds to wipe the floor with his Pokemon with Charizard, the very Pokemon he abandoned, and later when Damian punches Ash in the face over his defeat (in front of Charizard), the lizard puts Damian in the hospital with a skull bash to the chest.
  • Codex Equus:
    • Pakak has this as an explicit power. He can convert a person's good or evil karma into spells, either giving them a great blessing or a terrible curse. Apparently he tore out one of Discord's fangs using his own evil during their fight when he was sealed. And after he learned that some Cutie Mark-phobic ponies from Sunnytown murdered a young filly for getting a Cutie Mark, he cursed everyone to live as zombies until they took responsibility and atoned for their crimes. He was noted to have felt not a shred of remorse for doing it.
    • Choice warned the Changelings and Dragons that their actions against Queen Acherontia and Dragon Lord Vulcan out of Fantastic Racism and paranoia would inevitably have consequences and come back to bite them. Cue the two's hybrid daughter returning a millennia later, royally ticked off and on the warpath against them for what was done to her family. Notably, even Mothryu pointed out this was something they brought on themselves to the point she refused to do more than evacuate the innocent civilians from her warpath.
      • Empress Blackrose received this for mistreating her daughter out of disgust towards her relationship with a dragon as well as her hybrid daughter - many of her children called her out on her actions, with Princess/Captain Mimetidae outright punching Blackrose in the jaw before she cut off contact with her family for a few centuries. Queen Pentatomidae avoided the Spring Court for longer at a whopping 500 years. Puck also pointed out that Choice told them what the consequences of their racism would be, yet they didn't heed the deity's warning, capping off with "I told you so."
    • The Clovenist Empire had committed a few share of atrocities - when their Mana Bomb ocean tests resulted in the birth of a few Kaiju, they refused to take responsibility for it. And when they attempted to experiment on the Sparkle Ponies, some of them ended up killed by an enraged Visitor. As a result, most countries dislike or hate the Clovenists with a passion, with the Neighponese wind god Kazekami calling them "honourless cowards".
    • One reason why the Elternteil pantheon splintered was because they shunned and emotionally abused Temnobog for being born "evil", even though he personally didn't do anything evil to them at the time, while they favored Belyolen because he was born the pure and benevolent god they wanted. To ensure that Belyolen wouldn't be corrupted, they taught him to see Temnobog as "inferior" and prevented him from even seeing his brother, forcing him to watch as Temnobog endured more abuse until he snapped. This came to a head when Belyolen overheard some of his family discussing the idea of getting rid of Temnobog entirely. Belyolen was so upset that he confronted his entire family and called them out on their arrogance and abusive hypocrisy, pointing out that they became no better than the evils they opposed by abusing a child for being born "wrong" in their eyes, while shaming himself for not protecting or helping Temnobog when he needed it. This inspired many of his brothers and sisters to leave the Elternteil pantheon out of guilt and shame, spawning both the Bogolenya and Hoyklan pantheons. It's noted in Belyolen's entry that the Alicorn Primeval of Self-Love, Amour-De-Soi, helped Belyolen act on his decision by encouraging him to do the right thing out of disgust towards his family's arrogant complacency.
    • Two disgraced teachers and criminals, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker, tried replicating the Ascension process so they could help Ponykind tap into its collective inner potential by luring/kidnapping and experimenting on young foals and teenagers who have great talent/potential. The first time literally blew up in their faces when one of their students, Scarlet Bell, confronted and fought them to save her classmates from a "monster", and the resulting fight created a huge fire after Noble Grace's spells misfired. The second time, after Midnight Bell made some more lies out of stress and to save face for her initial dishonesty, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker would try again with Page Wheel, a unicorn colt they kidnapped and experimented on under the false belief that he was a Child Prodigy. Page Wheel became a magic-devouring monster that not only caused a lot of damage in his rampage through the Grittish Isles, but he also exposed Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker's crimes, and left Noble Grace completely powerless by draining her of all her magic, revealing her true age as a very elderly mare. At the end of the day, Noble Grace and Bubbling Beaker were arrested, tried, and put away for their crimes, with an angry Luminiferous chewing them out for their actions while showing them their own potential that they squandered.
    • High King Irminsul ended up becoming a Badly Battered Babysitter when he met Scrappus. After the latter somehow dug his way into the Elternteil pantheon's territory, he let Scrappus stay for a while, having sensed no genuine malice in him. Unfortunately for them, Scrappus turned out to be so bratty that he injured many of his family members and their divine servants, drove Irminsul's wife Arvan to tears, and caused Irminsul himself to enter a rare fit of anger and swallow Scrappus whole for a time-out. While this caused Scrappus to have a Jerkass Realization and change his ways, it was also karma for Irminsul, who emotionally abused Temnobog for being evil even though he never did anything evil at the time, only to end up with a real brat later on. It's also because of this that Temnobog himself is one of the only few people who has a good opinion of Scrappus, due to his murderous hatred of Irminsul.
    • One Elternteil deity insulted and demeaned Bolezn to the point of making the latter cry, enraging his siblings to the point where Yarost chased after the offending deity as a literally burning stag, and punched the guy in the face just before the other Bogolenya deities successfully restrained him. Belyolen, while massively displeased with his nephew because of the repercussions it might have for both the Bogolenya and Elternteil pantheons, ultimately let Yarost go scot-free because he later acknowledged that if Temnobog was insulted, Belyolen wouldn't hesitate to defend him as well.
  • In Earth's Alien History, the Batarians end up being victims of the Space Pirates, who also like to take slaves and claim and raid planets. They find they don't care for the shoe being on the other foot.
  • In First Try Series: Sasuke and Sakura spread rumors that Naruto dropped out and is faking being a ninja and refusing to believe that he legitimately graduated. Sakura is humiliated by a clerk when she tries to report Naruto for defending himself when she tried to hit him and humiliated by her own incompetence when she joins Team Tetsuo with Naruto. Sasuke is told that his attitude was the reason he was passed over early graduation and discovers that Naruto outclasses him.
    • In Team Tetsuo, Sakura and Sasuke find out that Naruto outclasses them in skill by a mile and they are not as good as they thought they were when they are made to go on a three-month training trip when they are transferred to Naruto's team.
    • In First Try, an Iwa Genin sets up a fatal trap for the Konoha team in the Kiri Chunin exams to get revenge on Konoha for her father's death. The trap kills and maims the Konoha team; but unfortunately for her, Naruto survives and rips her Iwa team to literal shreds.
  • A positive example occurs in Game and Bleach when Ichigo and Tatsuki complete a dungeon to wipe out the ogres who've overtaken a castle. After slaying the ogre lord, they not only free the slaves they found, but make sure they're well taken care of for the rest of their lives. Afterwards, they learn doing so was a secret portion of their quest and rewards them massively in both currency and experience.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Both the homophobe and the bully receive this. Germany and Japan beat the ever-loving crap out of the homophobe while they pointed out the flaw in the bully's logic, humiliating him.
  • This is played with in the Gensokyo 20XX series. The first instance is in 20XXIII when Seija tries to brainwash Yukari into killing the children and she is punished in a the harshest way there most possibly can be and that was by having her limbs cut off and having her gapped far enough away. However, in 20XXV, this is an arguable case with Reimu stabbing Yume Ni with a pair of scissors in the arm for kicking her in the face and breaking her teeth. Considering what Yume Ni had been doing so far, it's either this or Disproportionate Retribution.
  • In Getting Back on Your Hooves, Checker Monarch's decision to screw over her own allies, the Diamond Dogs, is what ends up motivating them to turn on her. What's more, her decision to follow through with her threat to ruin the protagonists' lives and homes even though she's gotten what she wanted (forcing Trixie to become a homeless recluse) is horrifying enough that her own henchman Helping Hoof betrays her, helps rescue Trixie back, and helps the protagonists to take Checker down. Ultimately, Checker suffers a complete mental breakdown when her two favorite pawns slip from her grasp.
  • A Growing Affection: Naruto spent most of Part I watching Sakura fawn all over Sasuke, Sakura spends most of the fanfic watching Naruto and Hinata fawn all over each other.
  • The Halloween Unspectacular anthology series has a few examples, most of them involving Gaz:
    • In "The Sea of Switching" in HU5, Gaz is the daughter of a colonial governor, who uses that family connection to get away with tormenting the crew of the ship transporting them to their colony. This angers a sea spirit of some kind, which transforms her into a member of the crew. And while her family no longer recognizes her (costing her their protection), the crew do, and take advantage of her now being at their mercy.
    • In "Karma Punishment" from HU7, Gaz gets her hands on a machine which lets her control people, which she uses to enslave them and make them serve her. When the machine is damaged, Gaz's own mind gets erased, leaving her a drone whom is then used as a servant by her former victims.
    • In "Iron Horses" from HU8, Gaz is the daughter of a Wild West railway baron, who rides hard and brutally on her father's workers. This eventually leads to a group of them breaking into her mansion to try and rob her, but accidentally start a fire, which due to the expensive construction methods Gaz wanted spreads too fast for her to escape, leaving her to burn to death. And, it's implied, leading to her soul (rejected by Heaven and Hell) becoming trapped inside a train engine employed by the rail workers.
    • The fairytale parody "The Curse of the Cursed Curse" from HU9 features Gaz as a cruel noblewoman who likes to torment peasants, including Mabel, for her own amusement. When Mabel finally hits her Rage Breaking Point from Gaz's behavior, she goes to the fairies and makes a deal with them to switch lives with Gaz. Afterwards, Mabel goes on to live a wonderful fantasy life, while Gaz is condemned to a miserable existence as a peasant.
    • "Bother Can You Spare A Soul?" from HU9 is an example about someone other than Gaz. After Sandy dies, her ghost becomes enslaved by Mr. Krabs (whom she had sold her soul to as a joke to prove a point), who intends to make her work for him for free forever. She gets free by buying her soul back for 20 dollars, counting on his greed overriding everything else. In response to this lost opportunity, Mr. Krabs has a heart attack and dies... at which point it turns out he's sold his soul to numerous people over the years as a scam, and he'll now be enslaved by whichever one of them wins the resulting court battle.
  • In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), Frank Chen betrayed his friend Robert to Malcolm and planted the bomb that stranded Oliver on Lian Yu. Ten years later, he's forced to take canon Moira's place in revealing the Undertaking to the public, while the friends he betrayed have all evidence of their involvement with Tempest erased and get off scot-free.
  • In LadyBugOut, Alya goes full Paparazzi and posts a photo of Ladybug and Chat Noir kissing while under Oblivio's influence, deliberately omitting the context for the sake of getting views. This prompts Ladybug to start her own blog, starting with a video clarifying what really happened with Oblivio. This naturally ruins the Ladyblog's reputation — and to top it off, Rena Rouge finds herself permanently retired, because Ladybug no longer trusts her with the Fox Miraculous.
  • Loved and Lost:
    • At the end of the 12th chapter, the author explains how the Mane Five, Shining Armor, Celestia and Spike trying to tell Twilight a truth she doesn't believe is intended to be a karmic punishment for not believing what she tried to tell them about Queen Chrysalis.
      Some of you may be quite disturbed by Twilight's dark change in character and the misfortunes happening to her friends, brother, and mentor. But if you think about it a little, what just happened to them in this chapter is a bit karmic. They all refused to listen to Twilight's suspicions about the evil bride and in the end she was right. Now they're the ones trying to tell Twilight that her new friend and mentor is evil, but due to Jewelius's manipulations, she won't listen to them. They're going through the same treatment they gave Twilight.
    • Not only does Celestia walk out on Twilight along with everypony else, but when Jewelius tries to say Twilight only acted out of a big misunderstanding, Celestia refuses to even consider it and shushes him. She later gets detained by her own Royal Guard when Jewelius tricks everypony into blaming her for the collateral damages of the invasion, and the resentful wedding guests do nothing to help her. Celestia lampshades the irony by wondering if she's having the same feelings of betrayal as Twilight had.
    • As soon as Jewelius is defeated in the final battle, he desperately begs to be spared by the same heroes whom he had begging for mercy as he sentenced them to slavery. He's then brutally slaughtered by the Changelings whom he set to invade Equestria, double-crossed, and stubbornly refused to consider as a threat after they escaped from his dungeons.
  • In Lost Boy, while Snotlout is too stupid and egotistical to actually learn anything, he is often duly punished when he does something especially callous.
    • When Snotlout tries to kill Hiccup when he beats him on their first day of dragon-training, Gobber has him expelled, meaning that he won't be able to enter dragon-training until the next generation is trained. While Hiccup agrees to forgive him and allow him back into dragon-training to prevent Astrid from her losing her place with him, he immediately gets expelled again when he forces Hiccup into the open within line of sight with the Deadly Nadder to save himself.
    • Snotlout turns a catapult (a device he has no experience or authority to use) around into the village, destroying the forge and the Thorston's household. He is thoroughly reprimanded by everyone (including his father), loses Ruffnut and Tuffnut's respect, and even leads Stoick to openly question his decision to let Snotlout be his heir when he sees that Snotlout does not regret his actions in the slightest.
    • When Snotlout gives Hiccup to Alvin to be his hostage, he loses what little respect anyone else had for him. Not only was being the hostage himself something he as heir was obligated to do for the good of the tribe, but it was made abundantly clear that he would have been treated far better than Hiccup would. Astrid even points out that he could be banished for this level of betrayal.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton:
    • Dash. Every time he tries to mess with Danny during his dates or tries to steal his girls, it ends up backfiring him because the girls end up disliking him and he suffers from some form of karma.
    • Vicky gets it good from Danny after he witnesses her bullying Timmy and stealing his comic book.
    • Dash was angry that he could not make fun of Danny for using the dating service and could not steal his dating in the previews story, so he join the dating service for only almost week, only for every girl to tell Dash to take a hike, and Dash is angry to discover that almost every girl Danny dates like him were he could not even get one girl to like him. Even Tucker had a few good dates before he hook up with Velma Dinkley.
    • Dash try to bully and assault Danny only to be restrain by Kara twice. On the second time Mr. Lancer appear and Dash lie to him saying Kara attack him, since Mr. Lancer favor him it look like he get away with it, only for Kara to turn the tables on both of them by threatening to report Mr. Lancer to the superintendent and have the Daily Planet revealed his favoritism to the A-Listers, Mr. Lancer punish Dash with a week of detention and called his parents.
    • Sam keep spying on Danny and Kara's dates, she was determined to prove there was something wrong with Kara, unlike the other times Sam was jealous of the other girls that like Danny, her actions were seriously call out on, with Tucker telling her that he stopped helping her and Kara has done nothing wrong, and Kara threatening to tell Danny she was spying on Danny if she does that again. When Sam refuses to listen and follows them to Metropolis, and discovers that Kara is Supergirl. After the battle with Brainiac, Sam's actions were called on, when she finally confesses her feeling for Danny, he rejected her because he lost the feelings he had for her, fell in love with Kara, and because she spied on his and Kara's dates. Danny also ended their friendship because she broke the trust he had in her.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Ballade is introduced torturing a man and woman for money. At the end of the episode, he fails to kill Dr. Wily and gets tortured by the Syndicate bosses as punishment.
  • In Total Drama fanfic series Monster Chronicles Duncan and Alejandro spend most of chapters 4 and 5 scheming against Cody for his role in winning the Area 51. The plan then gets turned around on them, resulting in Alejandro getting framed, eliminated, and murdered within 20 minutes. Duncan is forced into being one of Cedric's minions for most of the story.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic Never Had A Friend Like Me, Adrien gets this twice over:
    • He sticks by his original "high road" mindset in regards to Lila, refusing to help Marinette with the bullying she received. Years later, Marinette has launched a successful fashion line; when Adrien's father tries to form a partnership with her, she not only refuses, but she goes on to do an interview detailing exactly how Adrien and Lila (now a couple) treated her, leading to them becoming punchlines in the entertainment business.
    • Later, as Chat Noir, he physically threatens Marinette's new boyfriend when he sees him interact with Marinette as Ladybug, spouting his beliefs that Ladybug was "destined" to be with him. Said boyfriend gets akumatized as a result and strips Chat of his ring on live television before revealing every horrible thing Adrien has done in both forms.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim:
    • The Humiliation Conga that Viera puts Gaz through in Episode 8 is a direct result of the latter being exceptionally cruel to her for no reason.
    • The Tallest's treatment of Zim ultimately results in him going rogue and costing them their shot at retrieving Project Domination.
    • In the epilogue of Season 1, Gaz decides to sabotage the Spittle Runner just to spite Dib and the twins. The damage she causes electrocutes her, then triggers a security system which launches her through the air to crash into the skool. And then she's forced to clean up the mess by hand.
    • In Season 2 Episode 4, Gaz spends most of her time during her Career Day internship at Game Slave Incorporated headquarters goading the boss into having employees beaten by security guards for "discipline". Then one of them takes the opportunity to frame her for something not her fault, leading to her being "disciplined" herself.
    • In the same chapter, Tak uses her mind control implant to hack the Job Evaluator, in order to cheat the system and spend her Career Day assignment at her own front company. However, due to circumstances outside her control, this results in her having to fight the Ham Demon and apparently getting blamed for the damage it causes.
  • Nosflutteratu: The vampire who attacked and turned Fluttershy got ashed by Garlic Flank Stake that same night.
  • In the backstory of Not In Kansas, Senator Kinsey raped a young orphan girl. Years later said girl is magically turned into Supergirl, whom upon finding him, beats him so badly others remark that he looks like he was "put into a cement truck with a bunch of rocks". Then she has his crimes exposed so he spends the rest of his life in prison.
  • The Nuptialverse has a few examples:
    • The Flim Flam brothers suffered this, as told by Apple Fritter in Post Nuptials. She tells Applejack they tried their luck at Appleloosa, but Braeburn and Thunderhooves weren't pleased with what occurred in Ponyville and ran them out of town, trashing their machine in the process. Then they went to Canterlot to see if they'd do any better there, but skipped town as fast as they could when they found out that Celestia was friends with Applejack.
    • At the end of Families, Olive Branch gets his in the form of a spell performed by Luna herself. The spell subjects him to feel all the pain and torture that he inflicted onto others, directly or indirectly. All of it. And the best part? If he ever causes anypony pain ever again, he'll feel that too.
    • Also at the end of Families, Speedy and Quick Delivery are "rewarded" for their abuse by being forced into a Sadistic Choice. Either rot in jail for the rest of their lives or be forced to give up their child in trade for lighter sentences.
  • In Chapter 27 of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, during the Fuchsia Tag Tournament Paul ends up releasing his Raichu after she loses one too many battles. She is later found by Ash, who shares with Red that Paul discards his Pokémon if they don't live up to his expectations. Despite being in the middle of a rather big argument with each other at the time, the fact that Paul released Raichu without properly healing her makes them set their differences aside enough to work together and make sure that he doesn't win the tournament.
  • The multi-fictional wrestling interpromotional PPV Pride & Glory has this happen on several occasions:
    • Taiki Kudo had spent the several months prior to the PPV defeating and taking out the Z-Fighters, then overthrowing Davis Motomiya as head of their Digivolution stable. When he and Digivolution open the PPV bragging about their accomplishments, Ghost Rider shows up and gives Digivolution a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, sending them running for the hills.
    • Zoe Payne, alongside her E.N.D. stable, had in the previous Character Championship Wrestling PPV, brutalized Emmy to the point where it seemed unlikely that she'd ever be able to appear on CCW programming again. At P&G's Diamond in the Mine ladder match for a shot at any promotion's Women's Title, Zoe is on the verge of winning when Emmy associates Reggie Rocket and Anne Frazier interfere and cost Zoe the chance at winning the briefcase. And later, Emmy shows up at P&G as well, showing that Zoe and her associates failed to take her out permanently.
    • UEPW owner Mr. Billy has his Corporate Hierarchy break into the Elimination Chamber match for the WCW Championship and attack champ Deadpool in order to help UEPW's participant in the Chamber, Arkham Knight to win. Instead, Deadpool's friend Wolverine and WCW legend The Tick make a Big Damn Heroes moment, throwing the Corporate Hierarchy out of the Chamber where the rest of the WCW roster await to drive them away from ringside, allowing Deadpool to pin Arkham Knight and retain the title.
    • Gwen Tennyson has been a general terror in Character Championship Wrestling, acting like she's a literal goddess and pretty much getting away with several Moral Event Horizons on CCW programming. In her match against Avatar Korra, karma attacks her on several levels: First, several female wrestlers whom Gwen had insulted and beaten in previous cross-promotional PPVs show up to help Korra when Gwen's cult begins interfering and attacking Korra. Then CCW commentator Jonathon Ellis, who Gwen had stabbed several weeks before to open up an episode of XX, hits Gwen in the face with a chairshot when Gwen attempts to pile-drive Korra onto a pile of thumbtacks (which she had previously used to erase Emmy's two previous CCW Females Championship wins over her). Then, to top it all off, in a clash between the Avatar State and Mana, Korra manages to defeat Gwen, putting an end to her PPV winning streak both in CCW and in interpromotional PPVs.
    • Ever since Claude Speed had prevented The Joker from winning the WWE Championship from Charlie Brown, Joker had gone out of his way to make Claude's life miserable, mostly by attacking Claude's friends and associates in Xtreme Championship Wrestling in an attempt to break him. In their Gas Chamber match at P&G, not only does Claude defeat Joker, but reveals that he replaced the people setting up the Gas Chamber with GTA guys, who, in turn, replaced the laughing gas with liquid nitrogen, resulting in the Joker being frozen alive.
    • Haruhi Suzumiya had in the previous WWE Animated PPV won a Triple Threat for the Women's Championship against teenage Gwen Tennyson and Katara by faking a concussion heading into the PPV. When at P&G, she tries to have Emmy show up at her SOS Chat show, first other wrestlers show up instead mocking her actions in getting the title. Then Emmy does show up and gives a "The Reason You Suck" Speech regarding CCW Gwen, Zoe, and Haruhi herself, ending it by saying that "(Emmy) can't handle Haruhi but she can," resulting in Haruhi being attacked from behind by former champ teen Gwen who chases after Haruhi, only to get arrested by Steelport police. However, as Haruhi is mocking Gwen as she's being taken away, Katara shows up and kicks Haruhi off the stage before giving her a leg drop off the stage as well.
    • But the BIGGEST instance of this has to come at the conclusion of the Main Event: Vince McMahon and Lex Luthor had spent the last several months of WWE Animated bad-mouthing Character Championship Wrestling and everything associated with it, even going so far as to fire Dan Kuso, having him arrested, and making him join the Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club simply because he was also a CCW wrestler who tried to speak up for the promotion. Meanwhile, WWE Animated commentator and former wrestler Vegeta, disgusted with what he saw as a "joke of a champion" holding the WWE Championship in Charlie Brown had beaten up Brown on several occasions, mocked Brown as an eternal Butt-Monkey, and at the previous PPV, had defeated CB for the title thanks to interference from Linus. At the conclusion, of P&G's main event, in which Vegeta had defeated twelve other wrestlers from other promotions, including Charlie Brown, in order to retain the WWE title, Vegeta celebrates by mocking a defeated CB some more, prompting Charlie Brown to give an Armor-Piercing Slap to Vegeta, enraging the Saiyan Prince and prompting him to begin giving another No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Charlie Brown when Dan Kuso runs down to make the save for Charlie Brown, causing Vegeta to leave the ring, mocking the both of them all the while, only for Sokka and Jake Long, who were also involved in the main event, to grab Vegeta and throw him back into the ring to receive a Pyrus Plant from Dan. Dan then whistles for May and Dawn who Luthor had also previously fired from WWE due to CCW ties, to come down to the ring with the Gold in the Fort briefcase Dan had previously won at a cross-promotional PPV, giving him a title shot at any company's title at any time, which he now chose to cash in on Vegeta. With Sokka and Long preventing the Saiyan Prince from getting a countout defeat, Dan hit Vegeta with another Pyrus Plant and Charlie Brown's Home-Run Elbow to win the title, before retreating and waving goodbye to an enraged McMahon and Luthor.
  • In Princess Trixie Sparkle, Trixie opens the story by tricking Twilight into switching bodies with her and spends a large part of the story as a Smug Snake, using her new found "royal" status to frame The Mane Six, has Twilight locked up, and even boasts that she will have her and her friends left to rot for the rest of their lives. So when they are forced to work together in the latter half of the story, Twilight eventually double crosses and attacks her, thinking she was just trying to manipulate them again and no one tries to come to her aid.
  • In The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor the Ascended try to keep Naruto and Xanna from interfering with lower beings and at one point attempt to forcibly descend Oma for giving them advice. At the end of the story, Naruto gets the entirety of his and Xanna's empire (over 70 billion people) to worship Oma when he makes her God-Empressnote  and forcibly descends all of the Ascended before his group leaves that reality. Thus, the former Ascended have to appeal to Oma to get their powers restored; Oma is quite happy to refuse them, noting that being ascended has made them unworthy of it.
  • The Raven's Plan:
    • A lot of this happens in general to various people post-Remembering, to the point that those who don't remember are barely able to hold their friends back from taking their revenge.
    • Word of God is that Melisandre being rendered brain dead is this for her actions in the old timeline.
    • Lomys was part of the Maesters' conspiracy to destabilize the realm, and murdered Alleria and Luthor Tyrell to achieve that. When this is exposed, he's promptly killed by Mace, who stabs him in the back in retaliation for the death of his wife and father.
    • Zigzagged in regards to Hizdar (at least in his mind). He died saving Daenerys' life; in exchange, he and his family are the only masters in Mereen whose lives are spared when the slaves rise up again. The zigzag part comes in when he is forcibly co-opted into ruling Mereen in Daenerys' name...with Daario.
    • Qyburn reveals that his canonical Painful Transformation of the Mountain into a zombie was revenge for nearly being killed by him at Harrenhal. As is his killing of the Mountain and his men when given the chance in the new timeline.
    • Euron is killed by the crew of a ship that he destroyed in the original timeline.
  • In the Our Miss Brooks fan fic ''The Reunion Assembly'', political straw man Fred Fields' elevator crashes and he ends up in the hospital.
  • In The Rival Prefects Trilogy, Thomas gets a dose of this when Malcolm turns him to stone in retaliation for Thomas turning him into a toad.
  • In Robb Returns, Lysa Arryn attacked Jon Arryn because he had Littlefinger killed, and Jon managed to make a cut on her. This cut proceeds to fester and corrupt, making it likely that she will lose her arm — and perhaps even die.
  • Deconstructed in The Royal Protector: Brittney Wong uses a False Rape Accusation against Marco but everyone immediately realizes it's Not What It Looks Like, she begins suffering a Humiliation Conga. Marco tries to avert it since it was a misunderstanding, and because he wanted to raise his social status by throwing a good party and needs her approval.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III: Apoch and Astreal spend several chapters treating Yukari like crap and even try to kill her out of fear that she would steal Ahakon from them. After said attempt to kill her goes wrong, Tsukune unleashes Inner Moka, who is anything but pleased with how Apoch and Astreal have been treating Yukari and promptly beats them senseless.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic Satisfaction Brought it Back (NSFW), the villain is fired at the end with a hefty compensation, so as to avoid a scandal over his embezzlement and abuse of power. He decides he will have his revenge, and immediately starts calling some thug to hire for roughing up a couple of people. He's so busy with the call he ignores both the signs and the people trying to keep him from drowning in ten thousand gallons of sewage.
  • In Scarlet Lady's version of "Stormy Weather", Alec's decision to taunt Aurore about just how severely she lost comes back to bite him once she becomes an akuma. What really hammers this home, though, is that he also rigged the contest in the first place — and when Mireille finds out, she immediately reveals the truth to the public, leading to massive backlash against his station.
  • After Garnet shows his jealous side when Sage shows an interest in his girlfriend Yang in a previous chapter of Strawberries and Lemons, Team RWBY (But mostly Yang) continuously tease him for it. Later on, when Team RWBY meets Garnet's new friend Penny, Yang has to deal with her jealous side since Penny is being just as affectionate with Garnet as she usually is.
  • After a thug rapes Nabiki Tendo in Tears of Vengeance, Ranma buys a packet of Jusenkyo powder to turn him into a girl and drop him off naked in the worst part of town.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Travels of the Trifecta, when traveling through Route 216, Paul threatens to release Weavile and his other Pokémon for wanting to help him get through a giant wall of snow. He ends up being able to break through the snow wall on his own, but is too tired and frostbitten to notice his surroundings and ends up falling off a cliff, where he would have died frozen and bleeding if his Pokémon hadn't disobeyed his orders and gone to get him help along with Conway's Slowking and Castform.
  • In The Web Of The Spider Man, this is integrated as a mechanic in the story known as Great Power; Great Responsibility. If Peter acts up to his uncle's ideals and becomes a true hero, he won't be plagued by the same Parker luck experienced by his comic counterpart. But if he decided to act like the Amazing Spider-Douche, then things will go seriously downhill for him.
  • Who You Know hits Lila and Alya with this:
    • Lila claims to know the hot new fashion designer MDC, despite their identity being a well-kept secret. She tells Alya that she's going to offer Marinette the chance to meet her, having no intention of making that claim to the other girl, as she knows Marinette won't fall for it and just wants to make her look ungrateful. What she doesn't realize is that Marinette is MDC, and said revelation causes all of her lies to blow up in her face.
    • Alya, meanwhile, refuses to believe Marinette, hitting her with a brutal lecture about "it's all about who you know, and Lila is someone people dream of knowing". Her own words and actions come back to haunt her when she realizes far too late that because she refused to hear her 'best friend' out, she missed out on the incredible opportunity she was being offered, and has to hear her own words coming back to haunt her.
  • This trope is weaponized in the Worm fanfic It Gets Worse, where Taylor's new power delivers instant and delicious karma on anyone who would wish her harm, in ways that are swift, improbable, and above all, hilarious. As long as you leave her, her father and her friends alone, you're fine. Attacking them will get you slapped HARD by a chain of Disaster Dominoes set up a week in advance...before you even knew about them. The best part? Taylor's power isn't under conscious control. It does it all on its own!

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • Played with in The Incredibles. Thanks to Syndrome's Kick the Dog moment, his Dragon Mirage does a High-Heel–Face Turn in favor of the merciful Mr. Incredible.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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 "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.
  • 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.
  • In 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.
    • A positive example is Anna's decision to sacrifice her life for her estranged sister. For this selfless Act of True Love, Anna gets thawed out and finds true love, Elsa discovers the key to controlling her powers and thaws Arendelle out of the Endless Winter, the open gates policy is reinstated at the palace, and Anna finally has the relationship that she always wanted with her sister.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The final outcome that awaits Carter Burke in Aliens is this in spades. After ditching everyone else behind a locked door, he runs into one of the very creatures he wanted to capture and weaponize. It isn't a pretty fate.
  • In Andhadhun, Murli dies as a result of his involvement in the organ harvesting scheme, and when asked to save him the doctor says that the only thing that can be done is to donate his organs.
  • In An Innocent Man, the two dirty cops who framed the main character James get sent to the same prison, on the same block at the end (although in Real Life they likely would be put in protective custody).
  • A very literal use of this trope was utilized in Austin Powers in Goldmember, specifically in regards to the film's titular villain. To put it simply, Goldmember betrays Dr. Evil (who surprising for his name, undergoes a Heel–Face Turn when he learns that he is actually Austin Powers' long lost brother, and that Nigel Powers is his father) and attempts to fulfill the plan which Dr. Evil nearly started: the destruction of the planet with a Golden Meteorite dragged onto the planet by the Preparation H tractor beam. He also kept a spare of the master key (hint: it's his gilded groin) after losing the original Master Key into the shark tank. Dr. Evil, now Dougie Powers, manages to reverse the polarity of the tractor beam, which causes the tractor beam to backfire on Goldmember, electrocuting him. He is then arrested and going by his comments, is most likely going to await execution.
  • The Avengers (2012): Loki spends much of the movie belittling Bruce Banner/Hulk, basically describing him as a mindless uncontrollable subhuman to anyone within earshot, even to his very face. Loki even manages to use Banner's more vicious side to steamroll over S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. No prizes for guessing who gets to ram a thick, humbling slice of marble and concrete-flavored pie down his slimy gullet in the denouement!
    Hulk (after beating Loki to a pulp): "Puny god!"
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lex Luthor gets what's coming to him big time at the end of the film. After blowing up a Senate hearing, kidnapping Martha Kent, manipulating Superman and Batman into trying to kill each other, and creating Doomsday, Lex is arrested, and his use of an Insanity Defense to avoid jail time backfires when Batman arranges for him to be sent to Arkham Asylum.
  • The Bling Ring has a rather embarrassing example. What did Nicki expect when she burglarized the home of a regular lawbreaker?
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A tragic example. A commander of a concentration camp happily partakes in the murder of Jews. His own son is inadvertently gassed.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Harvey Logan challenges Butch, the leader of their gang, to a Knife Fight in the hopes of scoring a Klingon Promotion. Butch inquires what the rules are, and Logan responds that There Are No Rules — and promptly gets a kick in the nuts and a quick knockout for his trouble.
  • Early on in Carrie, instant karma hits a boy on a bicycle who dares to mock Carrie as they cross paths. His bicycle goes off the path and crashes almost at once, implicitly because of Carrie.
  • Cloud Atlas: Occurs repeatedly, both for good actions (such as Ewing saving Autua's life, and then being saved by him) and bad (as when Smoke shoots a woman's dog and is later killed by her). Plays heavily into the theme that our actions create our own future.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Batman Begins:
      • A Smug Snake crime lord named Falcone, who is implied to have caused a lot of poverty and corruption in Gotham, eventually gets confronted by Batman during a drug shipment, and chained to a searchlight for the police to find. That's not all, though; in prison, there's a scene where Falcone's talking to a corrupt psychiatrist named Jonathan Crane, and trying to resort to blackmail against him. Crane sprays fear toxin in Falcone's face in response to this, forcing Falcone into an intense panic attack that leaves him permanently insane.
      • Crane uses his fear toxin on Batman in their first encounter and has a grand old time taunting him as the Scarecrow before setting the Caped Crusader on fire. In their second encounter, Batman sprays Crane with his own fear toxin ("Taste of your own medicine, Doctor?") and tries to intimidate information out of him while Crane freaks out thinking that Batman is some kind of monster before an irritated Dark Knight bashes his head in.
    • The Dark Knight:
      • Coleman Reese is about to use his information on Lucius Fox as a means of extortion, but backs off when Lucius calls his bluff by pointing out a few theoretical flaws in his strategy. Getting off with a warning might make him seem like a Karma Houdini, but then later in the movie he is apparently considering revealing Batman's identity so as to appease the Joker. The Joker goes back on the idea and threatens a terrorist act if Reese isn't killed by any random person within an hour, and crowds of people in the streets try to kill him. Before he could even resort to appeasement, he ends up being the victim of others' appeasement. It would be too cruel an irony if not for the fact that Reese was, conveniently, an extortionist.
      • Another crime lord, The Chechen, is ordered to be put to death by the very same psychopath he had no qualms about hiring earlier in the picture.
  • Happens in Deconstructing Harry as the payoff for a short story written by the protagonist: borrow a sick friend's apartment, pretend it's your bachelor pad, use his name to introduce yourself to a High-Class Call Girl... hey, that's The Grim Reaper at the door. And he won't believe you're not the guy.
  • Die Hard: Dick Thornburg endangered Holly by inadvertently revealing her relation to John on television, resulting in her being taken hostage. When he requests a live interview, she appropriately punches him in the face.
    • In Die Hard 2, he acts like a smarmy ass on the plane, and later causes a panic at the airport by revealing and embellishing the terrorist plot impeding John from taking down the terrorists, and possibly injuring hundreds. Holly tases him.
  • Downfall: Hitler is dining and elaborates about being The Social Darwinist, how compassion is an evil sin, to feel empathy for the weak is treason to nature, and how Hitler had always chose the most reasonable path: to destroy the weak inside and outside Germany. Just then, he gets a report about Himmler surrendering to the allies. Himmler just had Screw This, I'm Outta Here! and, reasonably, is abandoning the weak (Hitler) to join the strong. Of course Hitler fails to see the irony and begins yet another Villainous Breakdown.
  • Played for Laughs with the gassing of the Nazi radio tower during the climax of Escape to Athena.
  • What happens to Rodmilla de Ghent and Marguerite in Ever After. They verbally and emotionally abuse Danielle and Jacqueline and also mercilessly bully the servants, punishing them for "stealing" household goods when they themselves are secretly selling off those same items to buy jewelry and other fripperies. So it's a glorious comeuppance at the end when Danielle — now Princess Danielle — and her royal in-laws enact a lavish spectacle to humiliate the pair in front of the court, then banish them to work in the palace laundry. The karma runs in the other direction too; Jacqueline, the stepsister who always treated Danielle with kindness, gets to live in the palace with her and (it is implied) marries the Prince's personal guard, and the servants who raised and loved Danielle all her life likewise get to live with her in the palace.
  • In The Fly (1986), Seth Brundle's Godzilla Threshold plan to reclaim some of his humanity turns out to involve genetically fusing himself with his lover Veronica (and their unborn child), figuring that if nothing else he'll have "the ultimate family". He comes very close to pulling this off since in his One-Winged Angel Brundlefly state she isn't able to stop him from tossing her into one telepod while he climbs into the other...but Veronica's desperate ex-lover Stathis, who's just lost a hand and foot to Seth's corrosive vomit, manages to shoot out the cables connecting her pod to the others with seconds left on the countdown. With his Tragic Dream thus denied him, Seth/Brundlefly has a Villainous Breakdown and smashes open the door of his pod to at least get back at Stathis...but can't get out before the countdown ends, and as a result the computer controlling the pods merges him with the wreckage of the pod that ends up teleported with him! This leaves him a pathetic Clipped-Wing Angel, and though unable to speak, he manages to communicate to the now-free Veronica that he wants her to finish him off with Stathis' shotgun, and she tearfully obliges.
  • In The Fury of Hercules, the mute warrior Kaldos kills the Queen by throwing a spear at her, stabbing her in the back. Shortly thereafter, a pissed off Hercules kills Kaldos by breaking his neck with a spear.
  • Gang Related: A positive example at the very end. After Cynthia reveals the truth about her accomplices framing William McCall for the murder they themselves committed, Divinci comes back to exact revenge on Cynthia for her betrayal. She's brought into the ER afterwards, where McCall is the head surgeon and is implied to save her life.
  • The first Godfather starts with Don Vito sending Clemenza and some "people who aren't going to be carried away" to demonstrate lex talionis by beating up two young men who had escaped justice after violently violating family friend Amerigo Bonasera's daughter and beating her to the point that "she will never be beautiful again", having decided against outright executing them ("We're not murderers, in spite of what this undertaker thinks").
  • In a deleted scene from The Godfather Part II, Michael is told that his treacherous bodyguard Fabrizio has been tracked down. The man is seen leaving work and getting into his car, which promptly explodes, killing him exactly the way he murdered Michael's first wife Apollonia.
  • And in The Godfather Part III, Michael's daughter is murdered by one of his many enemies, and he dies a lonely, broken-down old man.
  • Godzilla (2014): Albeit with both parties unaware of the fact: right when Godzilla is being pinned down by the MUTOs, Brody sets fire to the nest and draws the female's attention, giving Big G an opening to stand up and regroup. His assistance is rewarded when, just as the female MUTO is about to kill him, Godzilla appears out of nowhere to bite on the MUTO's neck and let Brody get away.
  • In The Grey Zone, during the revolt, one of the Nazi officers overseeing the mass incineration of the Auschwitz victims is himself loaded into one of the burning ovens by the Sonderkommandos.
  • Hang 'Em High has a rancher's murderer, who framed an innocent man for the crime and nearly got him lynched by vigilantes. He himself is hanged for his crime onscreen shortly afterward, with his exonerated would-be victim being treated to the sight from the sheriff's office. As for the vigilantes, most of them (save for the Big Bad) are killed by their intended target, who turned out to be a former lawman from a different town and was appointed deputy so he could personally deal with the vigilantes without himself committing a capital crime for real.
  • Alan uses roofalin with malice aforethought in The Hangover Part II, and the third film has been confirmed to revolve around him being committed to an insane asylum after treating himself and the rest of the Wolf Pack to roofalin.
  • In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, the sports enthusiasts and racist cops are all arrested in the end.
  • Highwaymen In the climax, the serial killer Fargo temporarily leaves his car to inspect Cray's totalled car. Molly uses the opportunity to get behind the wheel and run Fargo over with his own murder weapon.
  • In that scene we all know from Jurassic Park, Asshole Victim and Amoral Attorney Donald Gennaro abandons Tim and Lex during the Tyrannosaurus attack. He subsequently gets eaten by the dinosaur after Ian Malcolm unintentionally leads her over to where Gennaro is hiding, thereby ironically getting killed by the very thing he abandoned the children to.
    • In another well-known Jurassic Park scene, Asshole Victim and the guy who caused the whole mess by being a greedy amoral dick (computer programmer Nedry) gets blinded and mauled by a dilophosaurus. Nobody cried, many cheered.
    • In Jurassic World, Hoskins is killed by Delta, one of the Velociraptors he wanted to weaponize. After invoking the Godzilla Threshold, Hoskins was able to manufacture a situation that justified releasing the raptors into a combat zone, only to learn first-hand just how effective the Velociraptors are.
  • In Kidulthood the film begins with a group of vicious bullies, including the show's antagonist Sam, beating up and humiliating an innocent girl, leading to her suicide. This doesn't come back at him until during the movie's climax, when he meets the girl's big brother. Who happens to have a gun. He is forced to the ground, obviously crapping his pants, before the protagonist manages to talk the brother out of pulling the trigger. Granted, Sam doesn't die, but the sheer humiliation of having to beg for his life in front of a majority of his school still make this a memorable moment.
  • About as literal as it gets without actually involving lasers in Kingsman: The Secret Service: Valentine is able to fill an entire Elaborate Underground Base with world leaders and one-percenters who support his scheme, as well as similar ones throughout the world — and gives them all Explosive Leash implants that protect his secrets and protect them from the Hate Plague. Eggsy and Merlin set them off — all of them — during the Final Battle. As there were numerous similar individuals who didn't support him imprisoned on the base without implants and thus spared, global politics have taken a massive step forward — the only ones left are the ones who find attacking their citizens repulsive enough to be imprisoned rather than do it. Last time something like that happened, the Kingsmen were created.
  • In Little Big Man, the Seventh Cavalry ride into a Cheyenne village at Washita and rape, kill and destroy everything in their path, with the mad Custer roaring encouragement. In the background, musicians are playing the regimental march, Garryowen. Indeed, the faint distant strains of Garryowen are the first sign the cavalry are coming. The next time we hear Garryowen, the Seventh are riding to their death and destruction at the Little Big Horn.
  • Man of Steel: Clark gets back at a rude trucker who was harassing a waitress by smashing his truck instead of fighting him.
  • Muppets Treasure Island: Long John Silver disposes of Mr. Arrow by setting him adrift, after convincing him the ship's lifeboats may be in bad condition and need to be tested. By the end of the film he attempts to escape justice with a share of the treasure in another one of the ship's lifeboats, only for Arrow (who survived because the lifeboat he tested turned out to be in perfect working order) to point out that the lifeboat Silver stole was in horrible condition. Sure enough, it sinks and maroons Silver on Treasure Island.
  • In No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh murders the innocent wife of the protagonist even after she argues with him that he has no reason to kill her. As soon as he drives off, he gets hit by a car. The laser was slightly off that day; Chigurh gets through the car crash with a broken arm, but it is made clear that was more because of pure luck than anything else.
  • Office Space: Initech is burned down by the very man they mistreated.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks spends the movie tutoring Gary Nolan and helping him reconcile with his father. This, with a little subterfuge by Mrs. Davis thrown in, makes Mr. Boynton jealous enough to finally get serious. Later, Mr. Boynton invites his lonely, recently widowed mother to move to Madison, which leads him to buy a house. Again, Mrs. Davis steps in and arranges to have Mrs. Boynton as her new boarder. The upshot: Miss Brooks finally gets to marry Boynton, and two have their Happy Ending.
  • In Plunkett & Macleane we get a pretty vicious example of this. General Chance, who is quite fond of eye torture, ends up with a bullet through the eye whilst he's about to gouge yet another person's eye out.
  • In the movie Polar Storm, a soldier refuses to believe (including turning off the generator) that Cynthia Mayfield (who has received information) and know how to survive the EMP blast and told her to get out and to not show the map again (no one went and believed her except two people who went with her). A few minutes later, the EMP activates, the generator short-circuits and a bolt of electricity goes inside the church, killing everyone.
  • Subverted in The Rape of Richard Beck (also called Deadly Justice): a cop who is flippant and insensitive in his dealings with rape victims is assaulted himself, but as the message of the film is that no one deserves or "asks" to be raped, his attack is not portrayed as karma so much as a terrible experience that he eventually turns into a useful lesson.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
    • Stacey, with a big smirk, tries to manipulate the conversation so that Ramona and Knives discover that Scott is dating them both. A moment later, Wallace steals her boyfriend.
    • Later in the movie, Gideon kicks Ramona down a flight of stairs during the climax, and gets his ass promptly kicked soon after by both Scott and Knives.
  • In Skyfall, James Bond's boss M gets a heart-wrenching version of this. Having given up one agent to save six others in the past, years later she can only watch helplessly as the same agent exposes five others to certain death.
  • In the movie Snakes on a Plane, an absurdly, cartoonishly snooty bald guy tries to throw a small dog at the snakes to cover his escape. This is after he insulted a woman and her child for simply sitting next to him and genuinely being a tremendous douche from scene one. His plan ironically failed because he stopped to gloat about it afterward, allowing the snake to eat both him and the dog. Oh but wait, that's not all: afterwards he and the snake eating him were both sucked out of the plane as it crashes. In keeping with everything else, it was a borderline Humiliation Conga with fatal results.
  • The plot of Snatch. centers around a stolen diamond that most of the other characters are trying to steal so that they can profit from it... except for Turkish and Tommy, two hapless boxing promoters who don't even know the diamond exists and are doing nothing more morally or ethically questionable than trying to survive a rigged boxing match organised by a psychotic gangster. They end up finding the diamond and profiting from it, while everyone else either dies, gets arrested or loses out.
  • Spider-Man gives a triple dose.
    • First, Bonesaw McGraw's booker short-changes Peter Parker on the money he was supposed to win thanks to Exact Words: "You had to stay in there with him for five minutes, and you pinned him in two." When Peter protests, saying he needs the money, the booker replies "I missed the part where that was my problem." Immediately afterwards, a burglar steals the booker's money, and Peter lets him get away. "I missed the part where that was my problem."
    • Unfortunately, the Laser-Guided Karma hits Peter immediately afterwards, since the burglar's escape ends up resulting in his Uncle being shot and killed.
    • Near the end of the movie, Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin is begging Spider-Man for mercy, while at the same time, trying to set up his Goblin Glider for a sneak attack. Unfortunately for him, Spider-Man senses it coming and leaps over it, resulting in the Green Goblin killing himself.
  • Return of the Jedi:
    • Done both positively and negatively. Palpatine ends up telling Luke after he (literally) disarmed Vader to kill Vader and take his place as his apprentice. Luke refuses, so the Emperor attempts to kill Luke instead. Negative Laser-Guided Karma was inflicted on Palpatine as, because of his attempt to replace Vader and hurting Vader's son, has Vader grabbing the Emperor and throwing him down the Death Star's reactor shaft. Positive Laser-Guided Karma was inflicted on Luke as, because of his earlier refusal to kill Vader, Vader ended up saving Luke from Palpatine by doing the above act, also redeeming himself in the process.
    • When Luke, Han, Chewie and the droids are surrounded by the Ewoks. While they could've probably fought their way clear, Luke instead gives up his lightsaber and urges Han and Chewie to hand over their guns and surrender. By sparing the Ewoks, and later trying to non-violently win their confidence, the Rebels gain valuable allies in the coming battle. Behind-the-scenes footage of Mark Hamill, George Lucas, and director Richard Marquand shot on the set reveal that this was the intention of the scene.
      • "Valuable allies" is an understatement here. Palpatine's plan was perfect, but the Ewoks proved to be enough of a Spanner in the Works to make it all unravel; if it wasn't for them, Palpatine may have still died at Vader's hands, but all of the other victories would have been beyond the Rebels' reach.
    • A similar example later (or earlier) in the saga was how Qui-Gon befriended Jar Jar in The Phantom Menace, which later leads the Gungan to bring his people to aid the good guys in the battle on Naboo.
    • The discovery of Dantooine to have an abandoned Rebel base, and not much besides, could be this to the Empire for the destruction of Alderaan in A New Hope. Then again, Leia is a Force-sensitive, so she may have deliberately lied to Tarkin, knowing that he'd destroy Alderaan regardless. Tarkin wouldn't find out until after the scouting mission to Dantooine, and Vader quickly calls him on his blind arrogance—arrogance that would later get him and his subordinates on the Death Star killed later in the film as an example of this trope hitting the Empire with a double whammy for the same act of wanton and callous destruction.
    • Also in A New Hope, the destruction of Alderaan by the Death Star caused a great disturbance in the Force...and later, the Force directed Luke's hands to fire the shots that visited that same destruction on the Death Star.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a guard at the mental hospital commits a rather squicky sexual assault on Sarah Connor, and is also seen harassing sleeping mental patients by banging on the doors with his nightstick. Needless to say, viewers didn't feel much sympathy for him about two scenes later, when Sarah escapes from her cell and gives him a teeth-shattering wallop around the face. (He's even worse in the extended cut, making his comeuppance that much sweeter.)
    • It's even better in light of this out-of-universe tidbit: In the earlier scene where orderlies subdue the raging Sarah Connor, that particular orderly's actor had been pulling his punches, which resulted in the need to reshoot numerous times. Linda Hamilton was not happy about this. For the scene where she gets violent revenge on the deviant orderly, the beating she inflicts is 100% real. And, as a result, Hamilton nailed it on the first take.
  • Trading Places:
    • Louis Winthorpe III, a racist and an elitist, gets a black man arrested for accidentally bumping into him — although to be fair, Winthorpe honestly thought he was being attacked and Billy Ray Valentine had already caught the police's attention as a con beggar (pretending to be a blind, disabled veteran). Over the course of the movie, he gets his job, home, and social life taken away from him, and ends up a street hustler himself, thinking that the very man he sent to jail stole it from him. Ultimately, he gets better and loses his old habits.
    • That's more than you can say about his bosses the Duke Brothers, who not only caused his fall from grace but planned to leave him there, and Valentine as well, all over a one-dollar bet. Valentine and Winthorpe, whom the Duke Brothers trained in commodities trading, give them theirs by sending them a fake crop report, causing them to bankrupt themselves while attempting to corner the frozen orange juice market.
  • The entire plot of Unfriended is Laura's vengeful spirit haunting and killing her 'friends' to find out who posted an explicit video of her that resulted in her humiliation and suicide. At the end of the movie, Laura hacks into Blaire's Facebook account posting the extended version of the video, revealing it was Blaire who posted it finding amusement at Laura's expense. This is immediately followed by Blaire's Facebook followers seeing the video and becoming disgusted with Blaire for causing Laura's death, resulting in all of them denouncing their friendship with her. With Blaire's dark secret revealed for the world to witness, Laura finally appears before her, jumping her upon closing her laptop presumably killing her.
  • Happens in Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie. 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 lead them into. Minutes later, Scowler gets attacked and mauled by Gorgon with the rest of the herd abandoning him.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Erik kills Shaw with the very same coin that "Dr. Schmidt" killed his mother over. Very slowly.
  • In Youth in Revolt, Jerry screws over a trio of sailors by selling them a car that immediately breaks down. They respond by disassembling the car, and reassembling it piece by piece in his living room.


  • In "Dancing Dan's Christmas" by Damon Runyon, Dancing Dan decides on a whim to borrow a drunken Mall Santa's outfit and anonymously improve the lives of some poverty-stricken persons of his acquaintance. This whim saves his life, as it causes a hitman who'd almost tracked him down (and of whose existence he was completely unaware) to lose his trail.
  • Arianna Ortega from The Dresden Files falls prey to this; she kept her dad from interfering with her plan to gain the prestige to dethrone him by citing legal reasons; when the father of the girl she kidnapped and planned to sacrifice came calling, he used the same excuse that she did to get her father to let him challenge her, which ended with Arianna impaled by ice spears.
    • Then her father tried to back out of his deal with the father to let him and the child go. It cost him more than his life when karma came calling.
  • Lots of fairy tales rely on this trope. Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm have a lot of stories like this, such as Diamonds and Toads and The Queen Bee. In at least one Russian story, Baba Yaga's gate/pets/household goods help the heroine to escape because she was kinder to them than Baba Yaga was.
    • Many fairy tales have poor, hungry, often ugly old women who just want some food or a place to stay. They may or may not be a fairy queen in disguise, but it's always a Secret Test of Character, generally with good advice for the people who succeed and deadly curses for those who don't. The most obvious example is "Beauty and the Beast".
  • In Loyal Enemies, one of the villains attempts to pull a Karma Houdini after the final battle by stealing one of the heroes' kelpies. Now, kelpies are actually water currents which take the form of white horses on land and have to be kept bridled or they run for the nearest body of water to reunite with it. Veres, pretending to be intimidated, lets Etvor have the horse — sans bridle. Thinking of only getting away as fast as possibe, Etvor lets the kelpie run freely and ends up drowning in the nearest icy river.
  • In the The Lord of the Rings, each of the Ring-bearers shows mercy to Gollum and is rewarded for it later. Bilbo refrains from murdering Gollum in the goblin caves, and is rewarded (according to Gandalf) by taking very little hurt from the evil of the Ring, and being able to give it up at the end. Frodo is merciful when Gollum finds him and Sam in the Emyn Muil, and is rewarded when Gollum successfully gets the two of them into Mordor. Finally, Sam himself shows mercy to Gollum on the slopes of Mount Doom, and is rewarded when Gollum bites the Ring from Frodo's hand (thus freeing Frodo from the Ring's control) and falls with it into the Fire. Conversely, the Ring's malevolent corruption of Gollum ultimately results in the Ring's own destruction.
  • Harry Potter:
    • This trope is subverted and then played straight, then subverted again, in the case of Wormtail. Harry allows Wormtail to live, even though Wormtail was responsible for the death of Harry's parents, which first allows Wormtail to find Voldemort and return him to full power. However, as Dumbledore suggested, Harry's kindness meant that Wormtail felt that he was in Harry's debt, eventually leading to Wormtail saving Harry's life in the final book. Wormtail is then rewarded for this act of mercy by being strangled to death by his own magical prosthetic hand, which had been programmed to do so by Voldemort in case Wormtail's loyalty ever wavered again.
    • Snape does this. When Voldemort kills the woman he loves, he betrays Voldemort and spies for the Order.
    • Also, Narcissa Malfoy in Deathly Hallows: Voldemort tries to get her son killed, takes over her house, and treats her family like dirt; she lies to him at a crucial moment, causing Harry to win.
    • A possible case of Laser-Guided Karma existed in the first part of the film adaptation of Deathly Hallows, where, after Harry Potter managed to deactivate Umbridge's Patronus keeping a hive of Dementors at bay, she and the court were engulfed by them.
    • Umbridge at the end of Order of the Phoenix. Hates "half-breeds" like centaurs, mermaids, etc. Traumatized so badly by them that the next time we see her (not too long after the incident in question), she's practically catatonic. Sadly it doesn't stick.
    • Cornelius Fudge spent an entire year denying that Voldemort was back, and set up an entire smear campaign against Harry, Dumbledore, and their supporters to disgrace them and to destroy their reputations. Once it turns out that Voldemort really had returned, all of the slander he aimed at his "enemies" turned around and bit him in the ass. The entire wizarding community now sees him as a Dirty Coward, so he gets fired in disgrace and his reputation is destroyed, and he's going down in history as one of the worst Ministers of Magic ever.
    • Marietta Edgecombe betrays Dumbledore's Army, only to have the word "Sneak" written with pimples all over her face. This was Hermione's doing— all of the members of Dumbledore's Army unknowingly signed an enchanted contract.
    • Gilderoy Lockhart, who takes credit for other people's achievements then erases their memories. He tries to do the same to Ron and Harry in Chamber of Secrets but uses a broken wand, which causes the Obliviate spell to backfire and wipe ''his'' memories. Pottermore shows that this was somewhat intentional on Dumbledore's part at least, since he knew some of the people whose memories Lockhart wiped and hired him so he'd end up exposing himself as a fraud.
    • What gets Bellatrix Lestrange bitten in the butt was her trying to murder Ginny Weasley in front of her overprotective and furious mother. "Not my daughter you bitch" indeed. Even more ironic is that Bellatrix kills her cousin Sirius after he underestimated her and yet she later does the same thing with the same consequences; especially ironic is the imagery of both of them laughing right before the curse hits.
    • Dudley Dursley spends his childhood bullying Harry just because he was there. Once Harry has some more powerful friends, they seem to make it a personal mission to torment Dudley whenever in his presence. But in the fifth book, Dudley gets a different kind of karma when he and Harry are in the presence of a Dementor - which causes him to see exactly what a horrible person he truly is. Because of that karmic revelation, Dudley changes his ways. By the time the Dursleys go into hiding in the last book, Harry and Dudley have made peace and part very amicably, and Word of God says that as adults, they occasionally get their kids together for play dates.
    • The Death Eater organization as a whole end up being on the wrong end of a satisfying karmic beatdown during the end of the battle of Hogwarts at the hands of everyone/thing they've been terrorizing for the last two books, including: the enraged Mama Bear and Papa Wolf parents and family members of every student who stayed to fight, the returning students of Slytherin house who had fled before the fighting started (including their head of house), every house elf in Hogwarts (who they view as slaves), the centaurs (who are viewed as animals), a herd of Thestrals, a Hippogriff and a giant.
    • Bartemius Crouch Senior becomes an Unwitting Pawn and later killed because of the two Death Eaters who helped Voldemort's return to power. One of those Death Eaters is Bartemius Crouch Junior, who was at large because Senior broke him from Azkaban and kept him under the Imperius Curse, which was later used to force Senior to help with their plan; and the other is Peter Pettigrew, whose trick to cheat justice in the past was helped by Crouch Senior sending Sirius Black to Azkaban without a trial.
  • One particularly horrific version appears in the Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Festival of Death, in which a character wipes out a species as research into how they are able to resurrect at the beginning of their lives with memories of how the last one went, in the hope of doing this and saving his parents from a shuttle accident. He succeeds, and learns he can only watch, not interfere with what's happened, essentially forcing him to watch all the tragedies and atrocities of his life an infinite number of times.
  • Discworld:
    • The Eludidated Brethren of the Ebon Night, who summon the dragon in Guards! Guards!, end up burnt to death as soon as the dragon slips the leash. The Discworld Companion lampshades this in the entry for the Brethren "The thing about karma on the Discworld is that it often happens real soon".
      Brother Watchtower: We just wanted what was due to us.
      Death: Congratulations.
    • The Last Hero mentions one tribe with no imagination, and therefore no gods, that was wiped out by a nearby tribe who believed a light from the moon was a signal from their god to increase their hunting grounds. The second tribe was wiped out years later by a third tribe, who apparently got a message from their ancestors living in the moon that all non-believers in their goddess should be killed. That third tribe was killed years later by a rock falling from the sky, as the result of a star exploding a billion years ago.
      What goes around comes around. If not examined too closely, it passes for justice.
  • Walter The Weremouse, by John Dashney, works on this trope. Walter Wampler stops on his way home from work to help an old woman who's struggling with her grocery bags, and when they've been successfully trucked home she reveals that it was actually a Secret Test of Character; she appears to people who don't even have the opportunity for potential (much like Walter, whose life is at such a dead end that occasionally people forget he exists), and if they pass her test, she gives them a special cheese that, aside from being the most delicious cheese anyone's ever tasted, gives them just enough of a shove that they can make their lives go much better, but will have unpleasant consequences if eaten after midnight (hence why the book is called Walter the Weremouse).
  • In How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse'', Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III spends the whole book on a dangerous quest for the believed-nonexistent potato to save his friend Fishlegs from the bite of a poisonous dragon. That's a good thing, because guess who was really bitten.
  • Although Artemis Entreri was a Karma Houdini in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, taking Regis captive and cutting off two of his fingers, karma catches up to him shortly after. In The Legacy he tortures Regis even more, to goad Drizzt into fighting for his friend's life. But when it's all said and done, Entreri ends up badly injured and hanging from a cliff by his torn cloak. He is stuck in that position for over a day before he is found... by Regis. Regis taunts the helpless Entreri, takes several of his possessions, wonders aloud if he should bring help for the assassin... then decides that he's not feeling too merciful, and cuts the last remaining strands of Entreri's cloak, causing him to fall. And while Entreri does survive this, he winds up stuck in Menzoberranzan, and he is absolutely miserable there.
  • In Tom Kratman's Caliphate, an amoral, self-centered pedophile with no redeeming qualities whatsoever is working for the book's bad guys to create a super-virus. When he along with the child slaves being used for both test subjects and his personal gratification are rescued by the protagonist team, two of the children he abused use a shoelace and pencil to create a tourniquet they use to kill him by strangulation.
  • In O. Henry's "A Retrieved Reformation", safecracker Jimmy Valentine tries to make a new life for himself as "Ralph Spencer" after pulling a few jobs, but his nemesis police officer Ben Price tracks him down. During Ben's visit, a little girl gets herself locked in the bank vault. Jimmy puts his safecracking abilities to good use by rescuing the little girl, confirming his identity to Ben beyond a doubt. But when Jimmy resigns himself to being arrested, Ben pretends not to know him and says goodbye to "Mr. Spencer".
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Jonathan's father Lawrence decides to punish a servant who annoyed him by sending him out on a long and pointless journey on a cold night. When he comes back feverish Lawrence insists that the man attend him as he works all night, and opens a window. He overlooks that feverish as the man is, the servant is much younger and in better health, and in the morning Lawrence is found to have died of exposure.
  • Olivia Goldsmith always made sure the scumbags in her books got their richly deserved comeuppance:
    • In The First Wives Club, all of the ex-husbands end up humiliated in their various fields, a couple losing their jobs when their long-term cheating is discovered and Gil (a racist who drove his ex-wife to suicide) going to jail for insider trading.
    • In The Bestseller Daniel goes to massive lengths to "prove" he wrote a major novel when his wife Judith did all the work. The novel turns out to be a huge flop and Daniel's insistence on taking sole credit means he gets sole blame.
    • In the same book, bitchy editor Pam's constant scheming and screwing over others finally gets her fired.
    • Also, Gerald's own scheming and attempt to steal the sales of other books to boost his own is discovered and he's fired by his own father.
    • In Young Wives, cheating husband Reid ends up humiliated by his ex-wife into a kinky scene in front of his new fiancee.
  • In Warrior Cats, Tigerstar has been manipulating events for a while in order to become ThunderClan's leader. He got set a trap for Bluestar at the edge of the Thunderpath with the intention of killing her, but Cinderpelt ended up investigating the Thunderpath and getting hit by a car, which permanantly damaged one of her legs and dashed her hopes of ever being a Warrior. Before that, in Into The Wild, he killed Redtail, ThunderClan's deputy at the time. Not many moons after that, he learned that Ravenpaw, his apprentice saw what happened, and Tigerstar tries to turn the clan against Ravenpaw, and planned to kill him to make sure he stayed silent. In Forest of Secrets, he led a group of rouges in an attack against ThunderClan, and he surely would've killed Bluestar if Firestar hadn't been present. In A Dangerous Path, he led a pack of dogs to Snakerocks, which ended up killing one apprentice and disfiguring another as well as killing another cat to give the dogs a taste for cat blood. It all came to a head In Darkest Hour when he wanted to unite the clans as one(which is a lot worse than it sounds) under his leadership. He managed to get RiverClan to join "TigerClan" and tried to get Graystripe's kits killed by having Stonefur, Bluestar's son, to kill them. When Stonefur refused, he sic'd Darkstripe on him, and when it looked like Darkstripe was going to lose, Tigerstar got another one of his followers to kill Stonefur. And after his betrayal, Bluestar completely lost her mind, which made her stop caring about her Clan. While his death at the hands of Scourge wasn't one that any sane cat would wish on another, you have to admit that after all that happened he really deserved to die. In fact, Tigerstar was so despised, that his son carried the suspicions of his Clanmates.
  • Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile. The title character's misdeeds towards other animals throughout the book backfire on him big time, and devious attempts to eat kids are thwarted at every turn. He ends up being thrown into the Sun by the elephant he bit earlier.
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory runs on this with regard to the four naughty kids — their selfishness, pride, etc. is such that they disregard Willy Wonka's instructions and warnings as the tour of the factory progresses, and in each case it backfires on them big time.
    • Screw that, Roald Dahl loved this trope. If anyone does anything bad in his books, there will always be a nastier punishment for them.
  • Played straight in The Millennium Trilogy. Every single evil doer gets their comeuppance.
    • Gottfreid Vanger is murdered by the daughter he raped and abused for years.
    • Gottfreid's son, Martin, who also turned out to be a serial killer, committs suicide after being attacked and chased down by Lisbeth.
    • Nils Bjurmann first gets "I am a sadistic pig, a pervert and a rapist" tattooed on his abdomen by Lisbeth; then, in the second book, he is murdered
    • Best laser guided karma in the final book with members of the Section. First Zala is shot shot point blank and murdered by Evert Gullberg who then turns the gun on himself
    • Gunnar Björk is murdered and staged to look like a suicide
    • Peter Teleborian is arrested for possession of child pornography which Lisbeth and her fellow hackers found on his own laptop!!, after being exposed as a liar and a criminal by Lisbeth's lawyer, Annika Giannini
    • All the members of the Section are arrested by the police in a highly organized raid and crackdown
    • Niedermann is shot by a rival gang members and then those gang members are arrested by the police!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several instances of this. Probably one of the most shining examples would be Tywin Lannister getting killed by Tyrion, the son he always disliked and mistreated, by the end of A Storm of Swords.
    • Twyin's daughter Cersei gets her own karmic treatment near the end of A Feast for Crows. She gets arrested by the story's Church Militant and punished for her sins in a most humiliating way. That's right, the same Church Militant she raised back to power earlier in the same book.
    • After the Freys break the Laws of Hospitality by killing several Starks and their bannermen during the Red Wedding, their reputation is tarnished. Even worse, many of the Northerners and the Brotherhood without Banners actively hunt down and kill any Frey they capture.
    • In the first book, Jaime Lannister pushes young Bran off a tower in an attempt to kill him, thus violating his guest rights to his hosts, the Starks. Two books later, the hand with which he pushed Bran gets cut off by a bloodthirsty sellsword.
    • Jorah Mormont is extremely bitter about being banished from Westeros, which he believes to be Disproportionate Retribution for selling "a few lice-ridden poachers" as slaves. Later, he thinks nothing of encouraging Daenaerys to buy the Unsullied, an army of slaves, to retake Westeros despite her hatred of slavery. Several books later, he himself is Made a Slave.
  • In Speak, the protagonist Melinda, a social outcast, befriends and helps the new girl, Heather; however, Heather, being a Social Climber with aspirations of popularity, ditches Melinda the second she gets the chance to join a clique of popular girls known as The Marthas, even returning the friendship necklace the latter gave her for a Christmas gift. Several months later, Heather comes crawling back to Melinda, asking her help in decorating the Route 11 Holiday Inn ballroom for the prom, as she is unable to do it by herself. Melinda refuses, and the last we hear of Heather is that she missed school the day after prom because everybody is grumbling about her lame decorations. Immediately afterward, Melinda remarks that Heather should run away and join the Marines because "they'll be much sweeter to her than a swarm of angry Marthas".
  • Struwwelpeter from Germany has the story of the Inky Boys: Three kids who tease a black boy get their just deserts when Nikolas dips them into a gigantic inkwell.
  • In The Land That Time Forgot, U-Boat commander Baron von Schoenvorts drives one of his men to suicide and brutally whips another for a minor offense. Near the end of the novel, Plesser, the guy he whipped, kills him by stabbing him to death with a bayonet during a battle. Plesser explains he did it because of the systematic abuse he'd suffered at von Schoenvorts' hands and because it was his friend who had been driven to suicide.
  • In Space Marine Battles novel Siege of Castellax, Skintaker Algol threatens to kill a runaway slaves as slowly and painfully as possible. Come the end of the novel and he's buried under rubble, immobilizing him. The same slave finds him and starts stabbing him, and Skintaker's superhuman metabolism results in long, drawn-out death.
  • In the final Mythos Academy book, Gwen is fighting Vivien, who murdered Gwen's mom and countless others, and is just all-around evil. Gwen uses her psychometry to push every bit of suffering she's experienced in her own life and through others into Vivien's mind until it breaks. Vivien is left curled up mumbling to herself and begging for it to stop — apparently for the rest of her life. Even Vivien's thoroughly evil mentor is horrified and looks at Gwen with fear.
  • In the first book of the The Hunger Games trilogy, Foxface keeps stealing everyone else's food. In the end, she dies after stealing some berries from Peeta that turn out to be poisonous.
  • Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt has three heinous villains (because one creep obviously wasn't enough). But at least, Karma eventually caught up with them.
    • Count Rosenschiöld is a sadistic serial abuser of women, who rapes and almost kills Beatrice (the poor female protagonist) on their wedding night, ends up dying what we only can hope is a painful death. As a beautiful irony, Beatrice survives to find happiness with another (much younger) man and work for women's rights.
    • Edvard takes his sadism too far once too many, leaving him brutally maimed and hiding in a hospital in Germany.
    • Wilhelm is a cruel domestic abuser, who has to lose everything in the end. His son has been maimed, his daughter no longer wants to see him, even his doormat wife has left him, and Beatrice (his niece) claims the right to "his" house, which turned out to be her inheritence from her grandmother.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Two from Honor Among Enemies:
      • Andrew Warnecke and his close followers are killed by Honor and her crew, having followed the terms of the agreement that Warnecke "forced" on them nearly to the letter. His mistake was in not searching for chemical-propelled weaponry, like Honor's Colt M1911 pistol.
      • Steilman's gang of thugs ultimately wind up killed by a grazer fired by a warship from the same people to whom he had planned to defect, with copies of the manuals for advanced Manticoran military technology.
    • In Storm From the Shadows, Solarian admiral Josef Byng slaughtered three Manticoran destroyers out of hand while their wedges were down and the ships were entirely unprotected in the star system of New Tuscany; the fourth and last member of the division survived only because it was hiding out-system. Later in the novel, Admiral Michelle Henke, a bit irritated at the unprovoked destruction of a part of her fleet, guides karma comprised of lasers — the kind that make up the RMN's ridiculously powerful, precisely targeted, and very lethal missile heads — right into Byng's flagship. Neither flagship nor Byng survive the encounter.
  • In Watch on the Rhine, Sergeant Major Krueger, a rejuvenated SS soldier who once served in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, loved to boast about how easy it was to rape the female prisoners — you didn't even need to ask their names. His commanding officer was also a rejuvenated SS soldier — but one who later in life had joined the Israeli military as a form of penance, and ended up marrying a survivor of Ravensbruck. At the end of the book Colonel Brasche ends up alone with Sergeant Major Krueger.
    Hans Brasche: This is for my wife Anna, whose name you never asked, you NAZI SON OF A BITCH!
  • In Holes, white school teacher Kate Barlow and black onion seller Sam kiss, and as a result the town of Green Lake lynch Sam and burn down the schoolhouse. In bitter retribution, Ms. Barlow becomes the feared outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow; meanwhile, the town suffers a drought which dries up the lake for which it was named, also causing the fortune of the man who led the mob to dry up as well. Ironically, an old woman who saw the kiss commented "God will punish you!" As the narration notes, whom did God punish, indeed?
  • There is an Irish folktale called The Hunchback and the Elves where a hunchback happens upon a gathering of elves; because he is kind to them, they reward him by removing his hunch. He tells another hunchback, who also visits the elves, shows them kindness, and is rewarded the same way. A third hunchback visits the elves, but tries to steal their treasure and instead of being rewarded, the elves give him the other two hunchbacks' hunches in addition to one he already had.
    • Japan has its own version of the tale titled How An Old Man Lost His Wen. The only differences are there are two men instead of three, instead of a hunch the men have a growth on their faces called a wen, and instead of elves they run into tengu.
  • This has been known to happen to Brother Bear from The Berenstain Bears whenever he was rude to his little sister. For example, in "The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream", he drags his sister to a movie about the Space Grizzlies (a series he loves) that scares the daylights out of her and results in a bad dream. Not long afterwards, he also has a bad dream. He also (somehow) winds up afraid of the dark by the end of "...In The Dark" after he picked on his sister about being afraid of the dark herself for most of the book.
  • Peter in Divergent receives a whopping heap of it. After spending most of the book bullying others, sabotaging or attempting to murder anyone who does better than him in the trials, he ends up injured courtesy of Tris, begging for his life and forced to assist in undoing the brainwashing simulation knowing that everyone can see him for what he really is.
  • In Monster Hunter International, Owen Pitt's introduction to the world beneath The Masquerade is facing off against a werewolf. Ultimately he kills the werewolf by knocking it out the broken window on the 14th floor of an office building, after which it and the desk used for the shove crashes down on a double-parked Lincoln Navigator.
  • In an Italian children's story called Strega Nona (Which translates to "Grandma Witch"), the titular character owns a pot that can magically cook pasta. One day, she leaves to visit a friend, and her caretaker, Big Anthony, uses the pot to make pasta for the entire village. But because he doesn't know how to make the pot stop, the entire village is soon flooded with pasta noodles. After Strega Nona returns and saves the day, she hands Big Anthony a fork and tells him to eat all of the pasta, saying "the punishment must fit the crime".
  • In And Then There Were None, Judge Wargrave lures nine people who escaped punishment for killing others to an island with the intent of being the instigator of this trope for them. It's quite telling that in adaptations that spare some of Wargrave's intended victims, the spared victims are always revealed to be actually innocent of the murders he believed them to be guilty of.
  • Way of Choices: Xu Yourong, poisoned and gravely wounded, is captured by the cowardly Bai Hai, who hopes to drink her blood and steal her power. He does manage to get at her blood, but it's still full of poison and he is much, much weaker than her...
  • At the beginning of Dragon Bones Ward finds out that one of their cousins has bullied his sister Ciarra, and punches him in the face. Then he goes to find her, as if she is late to dinner, their abusive father will beat her up. When they arrive home, they are told that their father is on his deathbed after having been thrown by his horse — a horse he turned into an aggressive beast through mistreatment.
  • A Rebellious Princess herself in her youth, Cassandra does not appreciate having a daughter who does the exact same things she did as a stupid teenager. This is lampshaded. Heavily.
  • King Of The Bench: Jimmy Jimerino's dad spends every game in the third book being loud and obnoxious, and becoming disappointed in his son every time he misses. At the end of the book, he's been sentenced to spend every game he attends from that point on sitting in front of Principal T.
  • In the Wings of Fire series, Darkstalker committed such horrifying atrocities that other NightWings gave up their powers (of telepathy and precognition) to make sure no one as powerful as him would ever be born again. This is why no one knows Darkstalker is still alive, hundreds of years into the future, trapped under a mountain and unable to move or eat- they can't hear him.
  • In Worm:
    • Regent is baffled in the Shell arc by Skitter's refusal to seek any revenge on those bullying her civilian identity. After they discover one of these bullies to be a Type V Anti-Hero, Regent takes control of her for a mission then fakes driving her out of town for his team. In actual fact, he puts her through a Humiliation Conga by exposing all of her misdeeds that he can and revealing her nature to her family, culminating in nearly having her kill herself, all because she messed with his teammate and he knows she'd never do it herself.
    • Doctor Mother, leader of Cauldron, had thousands of people across various worlds kidnapped to act as test subjects for the formulas to create superheroes, which ended up turning them into Case 53s: barely human creatures that have no memories of who they are and problematic powers. Before the final battle, Doctor Mother ends up crushed to death by a Case 53 who had lost control of her powers.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, a man in one city begins to rape his own daughter, telling her to shut up and enjoy it as she screams. Cue Daylen Namaran crashing through the roof and performing an impromptu castration on the rapist before throwing him straight through a brick wall.
    Daylen: "Your father deserved it."

  • 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..."
  • The whole idea of "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.
  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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."
  • And 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 Galations 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.
  • The story of "Androcles and the Lion" is a good example. In most versions of the story, a Roman fugitive slave named Androcles takes refuge in a cave, and finds a lion wounded by a thorn in its paw. He removes the thorn, and cleans the infected wound, nursing the beast back to health. Years later, Androcles returns to civilization, only to be arrested and condemned to be devoured by the wild beasts in the Circus Maximus, the usual punishment for a fugitive slave. The emperor (presumably either Caligula or Claudius) shows up to watch, and as fate would have it, the most vicious beast that is sprung upon Androcles is the same lion that he healed, who remembers and shows affection toward him. The emperor is impressed by the display, pardons him, and gives him custody of the lion.
  • 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 led to his death by Paris, who was a servant of Apollo.
    • Depending on the version, Apollo cursed 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.
    • Odysseus blinding Polyphemus was what incited Poseidon to curse him, setting the stage for The Odyssey.
      • Other examples include the greed of Odysseus' crew leading to Aeolus' gift blowing them off course, the plunder at Ismaros being rewarded by storms that blew them off course, and Odysseus' patience and faithfulness at Calypso's island leading to divine intervention aiding his escape. On the other hand, Odysseus only put out Polyphemus' eye because the cyclops meant to eat him, so they were kind of holding each others' lasers. Odysseus' 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.
    • On top of that, the vast majority of Greek kings and leaders ended up reaping the karmic rewards for massacring the Trojans that attempted to seek sanctuary in the temples of the gods.
    • Jason helping an old woman across a stream was fortuitous, for she was actually Hera in disguise, and she set in motion the events that let to his later adventures with the Argonauts.
      • Jason would suffer both good and bad karma with this trope, as his efforts to dump his lawful wife Medea (who had allowed the Argonauts to escape the land of her father Aeetes) for another woman cost him Hera's favor and led to his disgrace and eventual death.
      • Jason's betrayal was a case of Laser-Guided Karma for Medea, who betrayed her father, murdered her brother, and later tricked the daughters of Jason's uncle into murdering their father.
      • Her father was actively trying to murder (indirectly) Jason using undead skeletons and an unkillable dragon. His uncle was a Lawful Evil despot who murdered Jason's father and stole his throne, and was ALSO trying to get Jason killed indirectly. Her brother... was just kinda in the way, and his murder forced her father to stop his pursuit of Jason to bury him. Alternately, there are versions where her brother's death was an accident.
    • Ixion is another mention, given that he first murdered his father-in-law, fled to Mount Olympus to escape punishment, and repaid Zeus's hospitality by attempting to rape Hera. An infuriated Zeus banished him to Hades, where he was 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 was not amused. When Heracles came down to the Underworld on the last of his Twelve Labours, he was allowed to free Theseus from Hades' captivity. The Underworld shook when he tried to free Peirithoos, which was Hades' way of letting our hero know that this was 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' attempts to cheat death (and by extension Hades) ended in failure and got him stuck pushing a boulder up a mountain for eternity.
    • The moral of these stories? Don't piss off the Greek gods.
    • That said, though they are the main forces of karma in Greek myth, not even the Olympians themselves could escape karmic retribution for some of their particularly loathsome actions. The deity who suffered from this most often was Hera, whenever she tried to kill one of Zeus' many children when they were babies they would always live either via Zeus saving them or just fate itself ensuring they would survive, and they would almost always become either a great hero or come up to Olympus to become a god much to the fury and humiliation of Hera.

  • At the end of the Cool Kids Table 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 sacrfices 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.
  • 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 suggests 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.

  • 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.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta 2 has Alraune, who sought to use Jeanne's soul to gain more power for herself after Jeanne got Dragged Off to Hell. Aside from getting her ass kicked by a pissed-off Bayonetta, who tore through Inferno just to save Jeanne, her ultimate fate is deliciously ironic: Rodin uses her soul in order to create a new weapon for Bayonetta.
  • Beyond: Two Souls: During the "Homeless" chapter, a group of thugs burn down the building where Tuesday has just given birth and beat Jodie into a coma. As revealed in a newspaper article Jodie sees when she wakes up, the thugs were arrested shortly afterwards because of the smell of gasoline on their clothes.
  • Dishonored has an entire achievement revolving around eliminating your targets non-lethally, aptly named "Poetic Justice". High Overseer Campbell, the most corrupt member of his order, can be branded with a special brand that makes him a public outcast, the corrupt aristocrats Morgan and Custis Pendleton can be abducted by a street gang, who will shave them, cut out their tongues, and put them to work in their own silver mine, and Lady Boyle can be delivered to her stalker. The crowning example, though, is Lord Regent Hiram Burrows. By playing his audio diary over the city's PSA system, it exposes his role in not only the empress's assassination, but also the rat plague that's been devastating Dunwall, for the whole city to hear.
  • In the prologue of Resident Evil 4, you can choose to rescue a stray dog from a bear trap. Most players do this solely due to the dog's Woobie-ness, to be rewarded when he jumps into their fight with El Gigante, distracting him and making the fight easier.
  • Early at the fair in Chrono Trigger, Crono has the opportunity to help a little girl find her cat, and to eat a random man's lunch for HP. A few sequences later, though, he needs character witnesses, and every Good or Evil act comes back up... not that it will matter. Sure, being found innocent nets you a couple Elixirs, but...
  • At the end of Metroid II: Return of Samus Samus spares a baby Metroid that imprinted upon her as its mother. In Super Metroid, the Metroid returns the favor by not draining Samus to death, and then sacrificing itself to save her life in the fight against Mother Brain, triggering the mother of all Mama Bear moments from Samus, who, by the way, now has the Hyper Beam.
    • In the beginning of Metroid Fusion, Samus gets infected by the X Parasite, whose only natural enemies are the Metroids she all but annihilated. Her life is saved by cells extracted from the last Metroid and these events would have happened with less favorable results even without the baby Metroid.
    • Another cross-game example: Remember those cute critters that taught you how to shinespark and wall-climb in Super Metroid? At the end of Super Metroid you can take some time off your busy schedule of escaping the self-destructing planet and help them reach their own ship (it's the small dot flying away from Zebes in the ending cinematic). These critters appear again in the middle of Metroid Fusion trapped in a research habitat, and Samus saves them once more; after which, they return the favor by saving your ship from the rampaging Omega Metroid, allowing you to escape the doomed space station.
  • Especially common in adventure games by Sierra such as Quest for Glory and King's Quest, being based off of The Hero's Journey and Mega Crossover Fairy Tales respectively. Kill a rare flower? You'll eventually get turned into one. Fail to stop a cat from attacking a rat? Well, now who's going to chew through your ropes?
    • Quest for Glory tends towards the positive karma version of this trope (usually negative karma is quite predictable since someone is present and may warn you not to do something). Fail to rescue the monkey from the cage? Well good luck going to the lost city. Didn't show compassion to the woman turned into a tree? Well no magic fruit to make a dispel potion!
  • In a franchise that allows and even encourages wholesale pot destruction, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword manages to sneak in a bit of this. In one of Skyloft's houses lives a woman who says she's an antique collector. Break her stuff and she'll make you pay for it.
  • A minor act of kindness by Disgaea 3's Chew Toy Almaz towards Sapphire (she overheard him defending her in the guard barracks) in the background story is the ultimate source of his case of Throw the Dog a Bone and Rags to Royalty.
  • On the other hand, Disgaea 5 has karma force-feeding Majorita more humble pie than she can stomach. At the game's onset, Majorita is running a manhunt for Usalia after cursing her, taking over her Netherworld (Toto Bunny), exploiting it for manpower, killing her parents and raising them as zombies to torture her further, on top of committing all sorts of atrocities in Void Dark's name. Over the course of the game, not only does Usalia devolve the curse into her Overload and take back Toto Bunny, but Void Dark uses his own Overload to throttle Majorita's out of her before killing her and reviving her as a zombie. Even the post-game is unkind to her; Majorita does come back to life as a living being... but she had to prepare one of her own curses in advance to do so, and the curse in question requires her to "fulfill the wishes of the one who hates her the most", and Majorita knows exactly who that is and what that entails. As one of Seraphina's skits would say: Karma is a bitch, plip!
  • In the second Yakuza game, Kazuma helping out a fun-loving old lady with item quests will allow him to learn some useful fighting techniques, and eventually discover that she is in fact the former martial arts instructor of a Triad leader he fought in the first game.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has this. At one point late in the game, you can choose to either help a man who once betrayed you with a large heroin deal (you're ordered to do so by a mafia boss), or just kill the guy for revenge. Whichever choice you make though, you end up paying for it DEARLY. if you help with the H deal, not only do you get double-crossed AGAIN, but your cousin gets killed. If you go and kill the guy who betrayed you, the mafia boss that ordered you to work with him comes along and shoots your girlfriend. During a WEDDING!
    • The mission that follows this lets the player get their turn at inflicting some Laser-Guided Karma, thus subverting Heads I Win, Tails You Lose.
  • Near the end of Dead Space, you desperately fight to put an artifact back in place on a pedestal to neutralize all the alien monsters on the planet. Then The Mole shows up and steals it away, mocking you. Not five minutes later, said Mole is smashed into paste by the monster that would have left everyone alone if the artifact hadn't been disturbed.
    • In the sequel, Daina Le Guin dies about 20 seconds after you find out she was a Unitologist using you the whole time.
  • Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 absolutely love punishing egotistical behaviour on higher difficulties. The game actually actively spawns Special Infected next to people that wander off on their own to scavenge some pills or think they can survive on their own. Chargers in particular have a reputation for this.
    • Rumour has it that "teabagging" a downed or dead teammate spawns a couple of hordes which home in on you.
  • In Final Fantasy you have a sort-of example with Tonberry enemies, which cast a spell called "Everyone's Grudge" (varies from game to game) which does damage that scales with how many of their friends you've murdered.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, a priest locked himself in a small fortress with a powerful artifact that could've been used to save his village from vampire attacks for his own personal protection. Almost immediately after the main character takes the artifact from the priest to use against the vampires, the priest gets torn apart by vampires who seemed to have been waiting for the moment they could kill him.
    • In the original series, a now-retconned plot point revealed Alucard to be Trevor Belmont's father. This would have meant that Dracula had been getting taken down by his own descendants, generation after generation.
      • This twist has been applied to the sequels of the Lords Of Shadows universe as Trevor and Alucard are the same person.
  • One of the choices at the end of The Dark Meadow is to corrupt your daughter's soul in exchange for a longer life. If you decide to cross the line, your character will land in a mental asylum for the next 17 years of his life. Have fun!
  • In the first Dead Rising, Frank comes across a paranoid gun shop owner warning another man to stay away, while the other man is asking him to let other people use his guns. Finally the shop owner shoots the man with a shotgun, blasting him out of the store. After defeating him in a mini-bossfight, he staggers out of his shop blubbering and terrified, only to run headfirst into the zombie of the man he killed.
    • In the sequel, Dead Rising 2, Chuck comes across an unhinged CURE (basically a zombie rights group) supporter in a bathroom. He's been keeping a zombie around to spread the disease, because he thinks it's a blessing of sorts. Shortly after you beat him, he stumbles right into the bathroom stall he was keeping the zombie in, and is bitten. Rather than become a zombie, he opts to slit his own throat.
  • In the scenario of "Battle of Okehazama" in Samurai Warriors 2, a dying Yoshimoto threatens Dark Lord Nobunaga with a speech about Karma that will eventually find him and make him suffer a painful defeat. Nobunaga's answer?
    Nobunaga: ...I cannot wait.....
  • Fallout 2 features an amoral, greedy little twerp named Myron, who thinks he's hot stuff because he invented the highly damaging and highly addictive drug known as Jet and thus is the key for consolidating the Mordino crime family's power in New Reno. Except in practice he's just a petty drug dealer and given an alternate interpretation of a Series Continuity Error made in Fallout 4, it's even possible he never actually invented Jet, he just reverse-engineered a pre-War drug and took the credit. Whatever the case, the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue reveals that only a few weeks after the end of the game, he was fatally stabbed to death in a sleazy bar by a Jet addict and the Wasteland immediately forgot all about him.
  • Subverted in Fallout 3. Mr. Crowley gives the player the quest "You Gotta Shoot 'Em in the Head", in which he hires them to kill four supposed Ghoulophobes. He stipulates that they must be shot in the head as a sort of ironic nod to the false belief that ghouls can only be killed that way. He also mentions that three of them have keys that he wants. His actual goal (discoverable via a speech check) is more materially motivated. One of his targets, Alistair Tenpenny, hired Crowley and four other mercenaries years ago to retrieve a rare weapon from Fort Constantine. The heist ended with one of them dead and Crowley also presumed dead. Crowley wants the keys from the surviving mercs in order to enter Fort Constantine and take a valuable suit of power armor. As for Tenpenny, that's played straight; he really is just a bigot who deserves to die.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas downloadable content Dead Money, you spend most of the time trying to access a secret pre-war fortress of technology for the insane former elder of the Brotherhood of Steel, Elijah. At the end of the DLC, when you finally access the Sierra Madre Vault, you have the option of talking him into coming down, then simply leaving. Elijah will walk into the vault and try to access whats inside. Then he'll accidentally trigger an event on the computer that traps him inside. There's no way out of there now, he's trapped in there until he dies.
    • The hordes of nightmarish Ghost People are victims of karma. The entire construction crew that was building the Villa around the Casino was pulling a scam; they were cutting every corner possible to make the flimsiest, least safe town ever constructed, and saving a ton of money in the process. Partially as a result of their shoddy construction, a dangerous toxic cloud began building up in the ventilation systems. After the bombs fell, with no one to turn off or repair the vents, the Cloud spewed out unstopped for centuries, and the construction workers can be found shambling around the Villa in a horrid parody of life, still wearing their hazmat suits.
      • The hazmat suits themselves are also part of the whole karma play. In order to get back on the costs of the Villa's creation, the client got in contact with a group of crazy amoral scientist, who used the Villa as a test lab for their newest creations. One of them being the hazmat suits which were made of an experimental material and could seal people inside them because contact with the cloud quickly corroded the seals. This means the workers who were trapped in the cloud were unable to get out of the suits because of the client having to get back money that the workers displaced.
    • Caesar's Legion don't like women very much, and will tell your female Courier to her face that she should Stay in the Kitchen. She can potentially: Kill the frumentarii and all his bodyguards in Nipton; kill all the elite Legion assassins sent to do her in; wipe out the slaving camp at Cottonwood Cove; slaughter various Legion patrols; lead the NCR to take the town of Nelson from them; repel an attack on Bitter Springs; destroy the Fiends and kill all their leaders, and dig out the Legion spy at Camp McCarran. After you reach Vegas itself, she can kill Alerio after he tries to give you the Mark of Caesar, foil the Omertas plan to attack the Strip, sever the Legion's alliance with the Great Khans, unite all the factions of the Mojave against them either under the banner of the NCR or under an Independent Vegas, upgrade and activate an entire army of elite killbots sitting right underneath their main fort, personally rampage through their base, slaughtering their troops by the truckload and even possibly killing Caesar himself, and even launch nuclear strikes at their cities out East. Several characters, such as Astor, relish in the irony of one woman single-handedly breaking the backs of an entire civilisation of hardcore rapist misogynists.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • In the Dwarf Noble origin, Lord Harrowmont is a Reasonable Authority Figure who will support your character if you were falsely accused and puts his political career on the line to try and save your life (although he ultimately fails because your accuser was one step ahead). You later return to Orzammar and find him deadlocked in a battle for the throne with your accuser, and have the option of handing him the crown.
    • If you spare Loghain and allow him to live, he's a Grey Warden and is being shipped off to Orlais after Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. Loghain hates Orlais.
  • In The Reconstruction, Yacatec is a slave trader who sells his own race into slavery, but he's revealed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold due to Love Redeems. After the apocalypse, his wife is murdered, and he himself is enslaved by the si'shra.
  • One of the PvP factions in Dark Souls, the Darkmoon Blade, is all about this. When players kill other players and NPCs, they accumulate sin. The Darkmoon covenant is a covenant specifically based around hunting down those with a large amount of sin.
  • In one of the Beyond Good & Evil trailers/in-universe Hillian News propaganda videos, Fehn Digler warns that pearls are illegal to use as currency, and quotes the Alpha Sections as describing the damage the Mammago Garage (which accepts them) has suffered as "poetic justice".
  • Sirrus and Achenar rightfully fall prey to this in Myst. After pulling off their scheme to trap their parents in books, they wind up trapped in prison books themselves.
    • To extend the karma even further, in Myst III: Exile, after trapping Saavedro for 20 years, Sirrus and Achenar remain in their respective prisons for the same amount of time.
  • The player can invoke this on Alexander in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Alexander is revealed to be a Manipulative Bastard who is responsible in torturing and killing hundreds of people to harness the orbs power. He is also manipulated Daniel into torturing innocent people, and lied that he would protect him from the Shadow that's chasing him, and would have just left him to be eaten by it. The player can disrupt the portal from opening leaving him to be eaten by the Shadow.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
  • Phantom Brave: At one point in the game, Marona is hired to stop Raphael from wreaking havoc in a village, only to discover that it was an impostor using his name. After the job is complete, the person who offered the job uses Loophole Abuse to cheat Marona out of her pay, stating that, regardless of who was actually behind the trouble, the job explicitly said to stop Raphael. As it turns out, the real Raphael, who showed up during the fight and helped Marona stop the fake, overhears the entire exchange and promptly goes on a rampage through the town for real. To further add to the karma, Marona refuses to stop Raphael when the man asks her to and leaves.
  • Steve Haines in Grand Theft Auto V is the quintessential government scumbag that these kinds of games love to produce. Most of the jobs that the three protagonists end up doing for him revolve around him doing something against the IAA to get funding for the FIB, which includes torturing an innocent man that did nothing to deserve it, shoot up the office with a sniper rifle resulting in the deaths of multiple agents, and various other activities that culminate in them bombing the FIB headquarters in order to remove incriminating information that they have on him. This later turns out to not be enough, as he's led into a setup that results in him getting shot in the leg. This isn't the end, though, as in the game's Golden Ending he's killed.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: The demise of the Big Bad Ashnard. An unlockable cutscene in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn reveals that the man who was in charge of strategy for the battle where he lost was the son he abandoned as an infant, all grown up. Additionally, the man who kills him was the person who, through being nice to said son, gained his Undying Loyalty forever. If Ashnard hadn't abandoned his son, the two of them likely wouldn't even have met let alone be working together to cause his demise.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has a Running Gag wherein Setsuna tends to fall into pits and get stuck in traps. When paired with Jakob, Jakob constantly expresses his frustration for her getting stuck in pits all the damn time and for having to rescue her from them. Naturally their "A" support begins with Jakob stuck inside a pit, and Setsuna rescues him. (...after she jumps in with him.)
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 4, it's possible for this to happen to the player depending on what's in their chip folder. Late on in the game, MegaMan must fight against his Dark Soul, who has access to all of MegaMan's battlechips and upgrades. Do you have a bunch of nigh-impossible to avoid attacks in your folder? If so, have fun taking ~100 damage attacks that you could never hope to avoid! It's true that using invulnerability chips or hiding behind an object you placed can protect you, but timing those correctly is down to luck.
  • Wily's plot in Mega Man 10 is to infect all robots with the Roboenza virus, using the promise of a cure to lure any robots that haven't been driven berserk by it into serving him. By the time you defeat him, it turns out that Wily's fallen ill himself (possibly with actual Influenza) and needs to be taken to a hospital.
  • In Undertale, Sans weaponizes this against you in the Genocide Route, along with breaking practically every rule in the battle system.
    • At one point in the fight, he'll offer to spare you and give you a hug, saying he knows there's some good in you somewhere. He's damn lying. What makes this Laser-Guided Karma is this is the exact same way you killed his Nice Guy brother Papyrus earlier in the game. If you are on the Genocide path when you meet him, he always spares you right away, hoping to turn you around. And you killed him in one hit. You Bastard!
  • The Ace Attorney series, being an exploration of legal justice, has several examples of this trope.
    • The fact that Iris looked the other way the first time her sister, Dahlia committed murder makes it all the harder for her to come forward when Dahlia tries to kill again...and this time, her victim is a person Iris actually personally cares about. To add insult to injury, Iris is a shrine maiden, and can actually recognize and understand her karma. (That's why she peacefully accepts imprisonment at the end of the game.)
      Iris: I've committed some sins. Sins that I need to pay for.
    • Another example is when Iris lied to Phoenix about her identity for a full 8 months, and consequently broke off ties with him because she couldn't bear to admit her guilt. Some time later, Iris is framed (by herself) so expertly that only one lawyer is willing to defend her in court...Phoenix. Even Edgeworth, a total stranger, only helps Iris on the condition that she be honest with Phoenix.
  • The Player Character in Baldur's Gate II has an opportunity to deliver a sweet dose of this to some drow. S/he is infiltrating the Underdark with his/her party, on a mission to recover a good dragon's eggs from Matron Mother Ardulace. Meanwhile, her daughter Phaere is trying to usurp her mother's position, and hopes to use you and the eggs to accomplish this. You could choose to betray the mother to the daughter or vice versa — morality-wise, it makes little difference, since both of them are nasty pieces of work. However, with the right choices, you can arrange things so that both of them get their comeuppance at the hands of a demon they tried to summon.
  • The Mystery of the Mooil Rig Downloadable Content for Sunset Overdrive provides a fairly blatant example with Corrupt Corporate Executive Gwyneth, who attempted to turn the rig's workers into OD after they threatened to unionize. Shortly after her introduction, she is smashed into paste by a tentacle from the DL Sea Monster. Her bloody remains even spell out the word "Karma" on the deck of her ship.
  • The Talos Principle: Humanity as a whole received this when it suffered extinction due to a virus released by global warming.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In Morrowind, Mages Guild Stewardess Ranis Athrys has a very With Us or Against Us, Join or Die attitude toward any mages who do not join the Mages Guild. Several of her quests involve convincing some of these outside mages to join the Guild, and in most cases, simply killing the outsider mage satisfies Ranis. During the quest to root out a Telvanni spy, you can lie and say that Ranis is the spy. She'll be immediately expelled from the Guild.
    • Skyrim:
      • The sidequest villain, Arondil, who is a Necromancer and a necrophile. After being kicked out of Dawnstar for lusting after women there, he decided to retreat to the tomb of Yngvild and start kidnapping women, murdering them and raising them from the dead with magic so he can keep them as undead Sex Slaves. If you'd been to Rannveig's Fast previously and encountered the Apologetic Attacker ghosts there, you'd know that ghosts are fully conscious but unable to control their actions. One of the best ways the player can dispose of him is, instead of confronting him directly, to simply run back to his chamber and remove the soul gem controlling the ghostly women — doing this causes them to go berserk and tear him to shreds.
      • Between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the Dunmer (Dark Elf) people get hit with this. The post-Red Year invasion of Morrowind by the Argonians is a result of the Dunmer's own centuries of raiding Black Marsh for slaves. Admitted by a member of House Telvanni in a posthumous letter to his son:
      Lymdrenn Tenvanni: "The irony of our demise glows brighter than Masser on the summer solstice. We brought this upon ourselves; the Argonians simply answering a rallying cry incited by a millennia of suffrage imposed by my kind."
  • Punch-Out!! (Wii) has Aran Ryan, who has two signature illegal moves: a headbutt and, in Title Defense, a glove on a rope that he uses when he gets knocked down. Countering the former with a 3-Star Punch or the latter with any Star Punch will KO him instantly.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: The shopkeeper Kecleon has a random bazaar in dungeons selling various goods that can be picked up and he'll ask for payment. You can easily steal them if you want, but karma will have a funny thing to say about that- Literal endless waves of super high-level Kecleon with high speed swarm the floor all with a direct bead on your location and proceed to curb stomp you. And if you thought you could sneak a few stolen items past the respawn, the Kecleon will replace every last item with worthless plain seeds. "Thank you for coming, I'll see you in hell!". In the first instalment, this scenario even had its own theme. However, doing this is also the only way to recruit a Kecleon.
  • WarioWare: In WarioWare Gold, after Wario has stolen Luxeville's golden pot which is really the village toilet, made all of his friends do all the work for his video game tournament and attempted to run off with all of the money as Wario Deluxe, Karma comes back to bite him...hard.
    • First, the Hero of Luxeville, Lulu, defeats Wario Deluxe with the help of the player and steals back the toilet.
    • Then, all of Wario's employees arrive and he attempts to run away with the money, only for Young Cricket to catch him and dangle him off the ground by the overalls.
    • Lastly, upon finding that he already spent most of the money, all of the employees divide what little money remains between themselves.
  • World of Warcraft: When the Alliance and Horde tried to halt the Legion at the Broken Shore, it was a disaster for both. Heroes were slain, the armies were destroyed, and survivors were forced to limp back home while the mostly-unscathed Legion was laughing in their faces. Then came patch 7.2, known to players as Round 2. As the intro shows, the tables have turned, with dozens of troops from all the class orders and races, including some that aren't even technically part of the Alliance and Horde, joining the players as they bum-rush the beachhead of the Broken Shore, pushing the Legion back a good 1/3 of the zone in a show of unity not seen since the Battle for Mt. Hyjal. All the while, demon commanders are shouting This Cannot Be! and Khadgar is celebrating our rousing success, proving once again that nothing stands in the way of a united Azeroth.
  • What happens to Kizami in Corpse Party. After hurting animals, killing innocent people and even kicking Yuka, he ends up getting attacked by Yoshikazu, dragged to Sachiko and gets turned into an anatomy model.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal is subjected to this for the majority of the game, and he subjects it on a few people as he goes. The business bum also gets this in spades during the apocalypse chapter.
  • Persona 5:
    • Most of the major targets end up foiled at the hands of the same people they tried to prove their dominance over, but none get it as bad as Masayoshi Shido. A Corrupt Politician who spent his entire political campaign assassinating or ruining the lives of anyone who ever inconvenienced him, he's personally pissed off every playable character (save Morgana) by the time you fight him. He compares his campaign to an unsinkable ship, and justifies his actions with "a small leak will sink me," not realizing that his pettiness created enough leaks to sink the ship he's so proud of. His entire campaign is ruined because an insult to his pride that he trampled on and forgot about came back and dismantled his entire operation.
    • Yamauchi, one of the few corrupt adults who doesn't get his heart stolen, plans on using Takeishi's mother, the president of the PTA, to help him become coach of the track team, making her son captain to secure her cooperation before making him suffer a Career-Ending Injury to make way for a better captain. Once Mrs. Takeishi finds out, she and the rest of the PTA get together and thwart his plan.
  • In Little Nightmares, the Janitor is a Super-Persistent Predator to Six, especially in his Lair. He is ultimately defeated because of said Lair, as his rooms are disorganized and unkempt, allowing Six to evade and distract him, and in his persistence to capture Six, he ultimately loses the ability to do his job.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a good few, given its nature as an MMO. But a few manage to stand out:
    • Teledji Adeledji, one of the leading Monetarists of Ul'dah, is a massive Smug Snake with delusions of grandeur. His mask of concern and generosity fully comes off during the final cutscenes before the Heavensward expansion, as he gloats to an utterly shattered Raubahn about Nanamo's (assumed) death by poisoning. This was an unwise idea; Raubahn, assuming Teledji was responsible (which he wasn't, admittedly, but had tons of motive) rushes him in a colossal rage and chops the little bastard in half, to the delight of nearly every player.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia no Rakuen: 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 which 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 novel, Yuuji puts this knowledge to good use when killing Oslo, by stabbing him in the eye with a ballpoint pen.
  • In Steam Prison, heroine Cyrus's impulsive decision to defend a young boy in the sanctuary district from Sachsen during the observation mission very likely saves her life once she's exiled there herself shortly afterwards. The boy, Merlot, and his grateful mother Rielith welcome Cyrus into their home and share their limited resources with her, providing her with shelter and support without which she could easily die of starvation or exposure out in the streets.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • When Morris of Domain Tnemrot punches Cheerful Child Mia in the stomach, her Parental Substitute Angel grabs him by the back of the head and smashes him face first into a table, shattering his nose.
  • 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!! Brilliant! 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.
    • Also from their first fight with the Linear Guild the guild disables their cleric and moments later loses their own. Roy even said at the time "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.
  • Material Girl has this happening to the main character right at the beginning.
  • 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 Sluggy Freelance the exact moment Cloney tries to bite off Aylee's head, Torg chops Cloney's head right off.
  • 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.
  • From Blip, this guy trying to slip some roofies to a succubus.
    • Also worth noting is the children at Hester's summer camp who 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.
  • In Urban Underbrush,
  • In White Dark Life, Dark Matt becomes the embodiment of this post-Time Skip. Before the Time Skip, on the other hand, he spends pretty much every other appearance getting hit with it instead.

    Web Original 
  • Played for laughs in Team Four Star's 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 Rainnote . 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 Kaiser Neko 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: BFE mission, Lani made a joke about fat people and was blown up seconds later. He calmly admitted that was karma.
  • In the Yogscast Minecraft machinima, 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.
  • Of all people, 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...
    (Josh almost immediately dies)
    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 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.
  • While she's too oblivious to see it as such, The Nostalgia Chick has got 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.
  • Bitey is usally 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.
  • Played for laughs by The Whitest Kids U' Know with the Instant Karma Bigot.
  • 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.
  • In Achievement Hunter's 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 ran 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.
    • This has been a thing with the AH Let's Plays, especially with the Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V series as 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 out bid 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 throw 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. Examples include
      • 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 the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Adam takes the place of the laser in A World Less Visible, when he gets revenge on Sima by making sure she walk unsuspecting into the path of two other people out to kill her.
  • In Soylent Scrooge, after making a meal of Marley's remains, Scrooge finds it gave him killer food poisoning.
  • Battle for Dream Island: Pencil's downfall in "Reveal Novum". After 6 episodes of being a complete Jerkass, Pencil still haven'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 gets finally ejected from the game.
  • 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.
  • 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".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Poetic Justice


Nelson's humilliating parade

Nelson had it coming a long time ago

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / LaserGuidedKarma

Media sources:

Main / LaserGuidedKarma