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Laser-Guided Karma

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"Karma police, arrest this man."
Radiohead, "Karma Police"

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 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.


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    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 Z villain (except Beerus) falls "victim" to this trope, usually via Kick the Dog that invokes a Heroic Second Wind.
    • Back in an early episode of the original Dragon Ball, Krillin cheats during training and as a result gets dinner while Goku goes hungry. However, Lethal Chef Lunch cooks dinner that night with toxic pufferfish, meaning Goku avoids getting sick.
  • 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. He was weakened to the point where Kakashi or Sakura could have killed him.
  • 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, prideful 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 minds-cape 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 of.
  • 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 Part III and V use the 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 of each respective part are Steely Dannote  and Ciocolattanote .
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 the Tintin story ''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 retailiation 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Nosflutteratu: The vampire who attacked and turned Fluttershy got ashed by Garlic Flank Stake that same night.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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, when 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 survived and rips her Iwa team to literal shreads with the Iwa nin barely escapes.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 (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 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 piledrive 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 exceptional cruel to her for no reason.
    • The Tallest' 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.
  • The Halloween Unspectacular anthology series has a few examples, all 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 long 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.
  • 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.
  • Deconstructed in The Royal Protector: Brittney Wong uses a False Rape Accusation against Marco but everyone immedietly realizes it's Not What It Looks Like, she begins suffering a Humiliation Conga which 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.
  • 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 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 The Web Of The Spider Man, this is integrated as a mechanic in the story known 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.

    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 who Roland cheats on Marianne with. 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 love potioned into loving a frog. note 
  • In Toy Story 3, Lotso leaves the toys to die in a garbage incinerator after Woody and Buzz saved 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 (Sid to be exact), who straps him to the front of his truck and drives off with him.
  • In Coco, Ernesto's death from getting crushed 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 and gained success off of the songs the latter was the one who really wrote.
  • In Frozen, Hans arrives in Arendelle so he can usurp the throne by killing Elsa to prove himself to his other siblings starting by manipulating a naive Anna into marrying her. Then at the end after his treachery is exposed, he gets punched by Anna for his troubles and is deported back to the Southern Isles to be judged by his own family.
    • A positive example is Anna's decision to sacrifice her life for her estranged sister instead of her own in spite of her previous actions. For this selfless Act of True Love, Anna gets thawed out, in the arms of someone she wanted for so long, Elsa discovers the key to controlling her powers and thaws Arendelle out of the Endless Winter, the open gates policy has been reinstated and Anna has finally seeked the relationship that she always wanted with her sister.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 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 steam-roll 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
    • 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 (presumably) 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 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's invitation for his lonely, recently widowed mother, to move to Madison, has him buy a house. Again, Mrs. Davis steps in and arranges to have the elder Mrs. Boynton as her new boarder. The upshot: Miss Brooks finally gets to marry Boynton, the 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.
  • Spiderman 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 Spiderman for mercy, while at the same time, trying to set up his Goblin Glider for a sneak attack. Unfortunately for him, Spiderman senses it coming and leaps over it, resulting in The Green Goblin killing himself.
  • In the final Star Wars film, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
  • 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, he's in 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" tattoed 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 misliked and mistreated by the end of A Storm of Swords.
    • His daughter gets the same treatment near the end of A Feast for Crows. She gets arrested by the story's Church Militant and gets punished for her sins in a most humiliating way. Thats right, the same Church Militant she raised back to power earlier in the same book.
    • After the Freys broke 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 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 he pushed Bran with 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, outcast Melinda befriends and helps out the new girl, Heather, but Heather ditches her the second she finds a more popular clique to hang out with, 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 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; "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 school house. In bitter retribution, Ms. Barlow becomes the feared outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow and the town suffers a drought that dries up the lake it was named for, 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, who did God punish, indeed?
  • There is an Irish folktale called The Hunchback and the Elves where a hunchback happens upon a gathering of elves and in exchange for being kind to them they reward him by removing his hunch. He tells another hunchback and this hunchback 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 heapful 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.

  • 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 and far you run for, 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 then 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 towards. 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. Sometimes 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, murderer 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. Not to mention that there are versions, where her brother's death was an accident anyway.
    • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 sacriice 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 trafficing 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 gamebooks 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.

    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 that "tea-bagging" a downed/dead team-mate 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.
  • 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: 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 Awakenings. 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 imposter 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 to 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.
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia no Rakuen: It was series villain Heath Oslo that thaught the basics of knife combat to protagonist Yuuji, or the fact that anything with a sharp point can be used as a deadly weapon. 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 knowladge to good use when killing Oslo, by stabing him in the eye with a ballpoint pen.

    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 
  • In Worm, Regent is baffled in the Shell arc by Taylor'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.
    • Dr. Mother, leader of Cauldron had thousands of people across various worlds kidnapped to act as test subjects for the formulas to create superheros, which ended up turning them into Case 53's: barely human creatures that have no memories of who they are and problematic powers. Before the final battle, Dr. Mother ends up crushed to death by a Case 53 who had lost control of her powers.
  • 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 frowney 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 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".

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Dr. Robotnik's plan that came the closest to succeeding was in "Hero of the Year", when he has Wes Weasely convince Sonic to host an award ceremony and invite most of his allies, then Robotnik crashes the event and demands that Sonic allow himself to be put into a bathysphere and left at the bottom of the ocean in exchange for everyone's safety. Of course, it turns out Robotnik lied and was planning to sink the yacht with everyone on it anyway. For helping him with the caper, Robotnik gives Wes his own shopping network, but his crucial mistake was attempting to outcon a Con Man; he didn't give Wes the freedom to broadcast and wrote their contract in disappearing ink, so Wes rescues Sonic to take revenge on Robotnik for stiffing him by humiliating Robotnik at his own award ceremony.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "You Made Me," Lemongrab tortures several people in an electrical chamber, tries to KO his mom, spies on the citizens of the Candy Kingdom as they sleep, and assaults a baby. In his next episode, "Mystery Dungeon," he is KO'd by the Ice King, separated from his family (who are in the process of slowly starving to death, as is Lemongrab himself), brought to the Mystery Dungeon against his will, and is nearly killed when a giant monster squeezes out all of his blood.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball's neighbor's sociopathic wife suffers a car-accident chain reaction after Darwin exclaims "Is there no justice in this world?!" when him and Gumball try to expose what a monster she truly is and they end up getting caught instead.
  • Later episodes of The Angry Beavers had this happen to Norbert a lot as a result of his increasingly Jerkass behavior.
  • Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force is incredibly and unremorsefully: rude, greedy, selfish, lazy, arrogant...and constantly abusive towards his roommate, Meatwad. Unlike most Jerkass characters from recent comedy cartoons though, he receives this trope on a frequent basis.
  • On Archer, this is pretty much the driving force behind most of the bad things that happen to the characters. Archer himself stands out in that while he sometimes seems like a Karma Houdini, almost any time he is injured or a mission goes bad, it is because of his own actions, tendency to get distracted by trivial things while in dangerous situations, or penchant for antagonizing other people.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka tries to stop Well-Intentioned Extremist Jet from robbing a harmless old man belonging to the hostile Fire Nation, and when later Jet attempts to destroy the village, Sokka is able to successfully evacuate it after the old man speaks out in his favor.
    • In the sequel, Korra accidentally injures a baby dragon bird and takes it back to its nest. In return, the parent dragon bird carries her to the spirit portal and later saves her from Unalaq.
  • The dog from Bad Luck Blackie bullied that short's main character before being stalked by a black cat for it.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • The Joker is usually a Karma Houdini, but he got it good in episode "Beware the Creeper". He pushes Jack Ryder into a vat of chemicals after dosing him with laughing gas. Ryder comes back as The Creeper, who hits on Harley and eventually chases Joker through Gotham in a chase scene so wacky it ends with Joker yelling, "He's a lunatic!" and practically begging Batman for help, only to get arrested.
    • The Creeper wasn't the Joker's first comeuppance. In "Joker's Favor", he forced an ordinary man to beg for his life in exchange for a favor, stalked him when he skipped town, called in the favor for a meaningless task, and then left him to die anyways. That same man confronts him, knocks him down, and threatens to blow him up, forcing him to beg for Batman. Not to mention the various nutshots he received throughout the DCAU shows he appeared in.
    • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker he is killed by Tim Drake, the child he tortured, by means of his own "Bang!" Flag Gun. When he is revived and takes over Tim's body, the microchip he used for the deed, and the only thing keeping him in existence, is destroyed by his own joy buzzer.
  • In The Boondocks, Riley is playing a game of basketball where he got the center to run off crying by telling her that her parents were getting divorced and waiting until after her birthday to tell her, and she was replaced by an autistic kid. Said socially challenged child turns out to be a child prodigy at basketball.
    • Another example was Uncle Ruckus Tempting Fate by declaring that if he wasn't correct, may God strike him down. God does. At the same time, this is positive Karma for Huey, who had spent the entirety of the episode trying to prove the innocence of a man on death row. The lightning strike knocks out the power on the electric chair for just long enough that the appeal proving him innocent came through.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: B.U.T.T." has the Delightful Children from Down the Lane blackmail Numbuh One into quitting his team by having a robot crab steal Numbuh One's swimming trunks and photograph his bare behind with the threat of having the picture included in the school yearbook if Numbuh One doesn't do as they say. When the other members of Sector V learn of what's going on, they give the Delightful Children their just deserts by yanking off their pants and skirts and photographing their butts.
  • Eustace from Courage the Cowardly Dog always gets struck by this. Trying to keep a million-dollar slab by King Ramses and refusing to give it up in "King Ramses' Curse"? He ends up part of the slab. Chopping down the titular magic tree in "The Magic Tree of Nowhere"? His head swells up. Stealing the titular artifact in "The Forbidden Hat of Gold"? He disintegrates into ashes right when he puts it on. Just name any wrong thing he's done, because once he does it, you know there's no chance in hell he's getting away scot-free. He's literally karma's punching bag.
    • In the show's penultimate episode "Remembrance of Courage Past", the veterinarian that launched Courage's parents and several other dogs into space gets sent to space himself and beat up by them offscreen.
  • In the short cartoon Creature from the Lake, Egomaniac Hunter Jack is prepared to take the credit for capturing the Creature, when it was his chubby, neurotic camera-woman Shelby who knocked it out. Then the Creature regains consciousness and swallows Jack whole.
  • In the Daffy Duck cartoon "My Favorite Duck," Daffy, in his Screwy Squirrel persona, goes out of his way to torment a camping Porky; every time Porky is pissed off enough to threaten violence, Daffy produces various signs that state it isn't duck season and Porky will be fined $500 bucks if he harms Daffy in any way. By the end of the cartoon, Daffy gets his just deserts when the final signs end up stating that it is duck season, and Porky eagerly takes the opportunity to get back at Daffy with a shotgun.
    • Another Daffy cartoon, "The Ducksters", has Daffy hosting a sadistic game show called "Truth or AAAAHHH!!", with Porky as the hapless contestant put through a series of brutal penalties. When Porky survives the last one (involving a gorilla) and returns looking homicidal, Daffy quickly awards him the $26 million (and three cents) jackpot to save his skin. Porky promptly buys the station with the prize money and puts Daffy through the penalty gauntlet.
  • In the Disney Short "The Ballad of Nessie", Nessie is kicked out of her original home by Mr. Macfroogal, a greedy land developer who paves over her pond and turns it into a mini-golf course. When the struggle to find a new home gets to be too much for Nessie, she cries so hard she fills a small valley with her tears, not only giving her a new home but flooding Macfroogal's golf course in the process.
  • Roger Klotz from Doug is often on the receiving end of this for being an asshole to others, which results in him either getting whatever punishment any authority figure gives him or taking the more hilarious embarrassments ever. Perhaps the most infamous example is the episode where he framed Doug for stealing Mr. Bone's trophy and succeeds in getting him in major trouble, with his punishment being that he has to polish all of Mr. Bone's trophies after school. When Roger brags about this to Doug, he accidentally sets on the intercom button in the office and Mr. Bone, who heard the whole thing, punishes Roger instead, and now HE has to polish the assistant principal's trophies after school.
  • Officer Deadbeat from Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop often got his comeuppance for trying to humiliate Dr. Zitbag or use underhanded methods to drive his pet shop out of business.
    • In "Bungle in the Jungle", he spreads rumors that Zitbag is afraid of cats after seeing him at the mercy of a pet named Frankenkitty who happened to be vicious when not fed enough. By the end of the episode, Deadbeat is frightened and chased away both by Frankenkitty and a Transylvanian tiger Zitbag befriended.
    • In "Ants in Your Pants", Dr. Zitbag discovers that Deadbeat hired his rival Professor Sherman Vermin to set up shop so that Zitbag would lose all his customers. He gets even by leaving Deadbeat and Vermin at the mercy of a bunch of vampire rats.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy are ALWAYS falling victim to this. For example, when the Eds play a trick on Jimmy in "Tinker Ed", this leads to Sarah and Jimmy setting up an elaborate trap for them to fall into, resulting in an embarrassing photo being taken of them in fairy-tale costumes which is promptly handed off to Kevin to show to the other kids.
    • Eddy alone is often the victim of this when he becomes an insufferable Jerkass, such as in the episode "Brother, Can You Spare an Ed?" when he made Ed spend Sarah's money she gave him to buy her and Jimmy fudge for jawbreakers instead, used his friends as toys for his scam to pay Sarah back, and tried to keep the money he was supposed to give to Sarah. He gets his just desserts in the end when he earns the same treatment he gave his friends in the episode.
    • In The Movie, however, the Ed-boys actually have this work for them in the end, when it turns out that Eddy's brother is a sadistic bastard who beats up on Eddy when the poor guy was just looking for protection from an angry mob. Funny how quickly said angry mob changes sides once they see that the person they're chasing isn't the biggest bad on the block.
  • Despite being a Sadist Show, Family Guy believes in this trope. Lois falls victim to this from her family members, like Meg verbally calling her out to the point she cried and Chris calling her a bitch. Connie falls victim to this when Chris made her unpopular (and when she made fun of Meg for going to the prom with Brian, with Brian calling her out on making fun of Meg by pointing out that the reason she does that is because she developed sexually earlier than Meg did and takes out all of her low self-esteem on an innocent victim), and Peter falls victim to this at times for all the idiotic and/or jerkass things he's done (one episode had him stand trial for blowing up a children's hospital). Inverted when he gets charged a jail sentence... till next Sunday night at 9:00.
    • The most infamous example involved Quagmire's sister's abusive boyfriend, Jeff. After emotionally, verbally, and physically abusing her, Quagmire, Peter, and Joe all hatch up a plan to kill him. It backfires, and Jeff proceeds to assault Peter and Joe before trying to kill Quagmire. When it looks like he's won, Quagmire gets in a car and murders him with it. Easily among the darkest, and most satisfying moments of the show.
    • Even Quagmire gets some of this trope when he hooks up with a woman who has an even more voracious sexual appetite than him, and ends up kidnapped, held as her sex slave, and tortured for her amusement until the gang finds and rescues him. These are no worse than the things he routinely does to women.
    • Carter Pewterschmidt FINALLY is completely humiliated in "Christmas Guy".
    • In "It's A Trap!" at then end of the battle of Endor, Chewie (portrayed by Brian) shows up in AT-ST and he indiscriminately blasts a squirrel, a butterfly, and a hummingbird. When he spots a bee-hive that he surmises must have taken months to build, he blasts it, with predictable results.
  • In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo becomes a deodorant mascot under an amoral manager who overworks him, makes him live under sub-optimal conditions, and tricked him into signing adoption papers so he couldn't go back to Foster's. When his friends come to rescue him, Bloo admits on live TV that the deodorant doesn't actually work and his manager snaps and adds that it actually makes people smell worse. He's promptly arrested for false advertising.
  • On Garfield and Friends, Jon's cousin's genius son gets a variation of this and Karma Houdini: On one hand, he gets off scot-free for framing Garfield twice. On the other hand, Garfield manages to get some revenge on the kid despite being scolded and shamed by Jon: when Jon tells him to go apologize to the sadistic inventor, Garfield instead sneaks in and grabs the remote to his Do-Anything Robot. At the end of the episode we see the robot forcefully making the kid spin around like a ballerina, with Garfield noting the kid made such a good work that the robot's battery is likely to last at least three days.
  • Pete on Goof Troop suffers this constantly. Sometimes he will try to do something selfish and end up having to deal with the consequences of his selfish action gone wrong. Other times he'll try to manipulate Goofy, only to have that backfire in a way that causes more problems than it solves. Treating his son as a lesser being can often lead to the boy getting either some sort of passive-aggressive revenge or aid from outside sources (if not the universe itself, which has actively guilt-tripped him about it via bus ads). And in any episodes he appears to be, if only slightly, a Karma Houdini? There's another episode matching it somewhere where out of context he looks like a harmless Chew Toy.
  • Happened to Preston Northwest in the finale of Gravity Falls, where he went bankrupt after investing all his fortune in the Weirdmageddon. He was forced to sell his mansion in order to preserve his wealth.
  • The Mickey MouseWorks short "Future Mania", which originally aired as part of the House of Mouse episode "House of Genius", had Ludwig Von Drake attempt to show Goofy, Donald, and Mickey visions of the future with his invention the Future Viewer to show them how their lives will be better with the advanced technology that will come. Unfortunately, the demonstrations prove to be more trouble than they are worth. For example, Donald's nephews are used to power their uncle's entertainment system, but they eventually get bored and go back to pestering their uncle. Mickey also gets the short end of the stick when a needlessly complicated attempt to talk to Minnie ends with her breaking up with him after he sees her in a towel by accident and is wrongly accused of leaving her for a mousedroid. Fed up with the Bungling Inventor's blunders, Goofy, Mickey, and Donald then hook Ludwig up to the machine, and he initially enjoys having a fast car and a duck gynoid with him until his car goes too fast and the duck gynoid becomes unnecessarily clingy to him.
  • An episode of Johnny Test was devoted to karma. Johnny insulted a man with a "glandular problem" that made him look fat by calling him fat. Thanks to testing a muscle-enhancing bar for Bling-Bling Boy, Johnny gets the same problem and is insulted by the same man as earlier. Throughout the episode, Dukey keeps telling him to do good deeds, but Johnny doesn't believe in karma...things keep going bad for Johnny until he finally does a good deed, triggering a series of events that returned him to normal. Bling-Bling also tried to help Johnny return to normal, and ultimately became a pop star.
  • Kim Possible has this happen to Bonnie a few times:
    • In "Car Alarm", she mocks Kim's hand-me-down car. Before the end of the episode, her own fancy car gets trashed.
    • In the Grand Finale "Graduation: Part 2" is revealed that she was the only senior in Middleton High who wasn't graduating because she blew off classes in the last week of school and missed an important quiz, forcing her to attend summer school.
  • In LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Naare attempts to use the Kyber Saber to dethrone Palpatine and conquer the galaxy, but is once again outsmarted by Rowan. She's later found by Graballa the Hutt and imprisoned in carbonite.
  • Happens in Lola & Virginia where the Rich Bitch Virginia always gets her comeuppance in the end.
  • Looney Tunes
  • In the Mickey Mouse (2013) short "No Service", Mickey and Donald draw straws, or in this case feathers, to decide which of them will wear all the clothes necessary to follow the Snack Shack's dress code. After deliberately making it so that Mickey gets the smallest feather, Donald takes all of Mickey's clothes, forcing him to be naked in public while desperately trying to hide from the approaching Minnie and Daisy. As if that wasn't enough, Donald also makes fun of Mickey for his predicament (and hates it when Mickey taunts him back). In the end, Donald gets his comeuppance when he is kicked out of the restaurant for trying to pay for the food with Mickey's I.D. and is left naked when Mickey takes his clothes in addition to reclaiming his own. Daisy rejects him for being nude in public and he ends up chased and laughed at by The Freelance Shame Squad while Mickey gets to go on a picnic with Minnie and Daisy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Twilight's, Kingdom Part 2" Discord stabs Equestria, and Fluttershy, in the back siding with Tirek. Tirek, after convincing Discord he was an ally and a friend, stabs him in the back. This seems to cause Discord to have a true Heel Realization.
      • Likewise, Tirek going back on his word to share Equestria with Discord. The medallion was meant to be a sign of trust between Discord and him. When he doesn't uphold the symbolism of such, it shows Discord the error of his ways and gives Twilight the very thing needed to beat him.
    • In "A Canterlot Wedding", Celestia ignored Twilight's warnings about Cadence, who was really the Changeling Queen, Chrysalis, in disguise. This gave the Queen the time she needed to absorb enough love from Shining Armor to defeat Celestia in combat. Later, the Changeling Queen is defeated by Shining Armor and Cadence, with the same love she claimed to live off of.
    • In "Green Isn't Your Color" Pinkie Pie forces Twilight to keep the secrets that could have solved the problem between Fluttershy and Rarity a lot sooner, even going as far as to stalk the unicorn and nearly driving Twilight crazy over it. Four seasons later, in "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows", Pinkie discovers Shining Armor and Princess Cadence (Twilight's brother and sister-in-law) are going to have their first baby, and is asked to not share the secret with anyone until the couple arrives in Ponyville so they can tell Twilight themselves. Between trying to hold back her usual Motor Mouth tendencies and enforcing her belief in taking secrets seriously, Pinkie literally falls apart by the time the couple finally surprise Twilight.
    • The good kind happens in the Season 6 finale, "To Where and Back Again" where Thorax, a changeling who was heroic in comparison to the evil Queen Chrysalis returns to the Changeling hive and through his heroic ways, reforms the Changelings while overthrowing Chrysalis.
  • In the "Know Your Mom" episode of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, Bradley the bear talks K.O. out of giving a macaroni-decorated card to his mom, just to satisfy his appetite. Lampshaded by R.M.S. at the end, when he gets sick from eating raw macaroni:
    Bradley: Why is this happening to me?
    Real Magic Skeleton: Your actions have consequences.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, a show that thrives on contrived coincidences, if Doofenshmirtz doesn't do anything particularly malicious in an episode, he'll usually get a happy ending along with the other characters. In short, he would get his consequences in the end if he, for the very least, tries to plan something.
    • Candace's Butt-Monkey status is often the result of her being mean to her brothers (such as trying to bust them), or just being a jerk in general.
  • Pingu
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Moral Decay", this happens to Buttercup, who, after learning that the tooth fairy gives money in exchange for teeth, decides to amass a fortune by knocking out villains' teeth. For a while, it's just her going for the teeth in her everyday routine as a heroine, so it's not exactly punishable. But then, after a day of no bad guys attacking, she goes and beats up villains for their teeth without them doing anything. Her sisters Blossom and Bubbles both agree that she needs to be taught a lesson, so they let the toothless villains get even with Buttercup by knocking her teeth out. In addition, Buttercup ends up losing all the money she obtained through her scheme when Professor Utonium uses it to pay her dental bills.
  • Cyril Sneer from The Raccoons both suffered and benefited from this trope. When he was a nasty Corrupt Corporate Executive, he would be repeatedly burned and lose money whenever one of his schemes was thwarted. After Character Development turned him into an Honest Corporate Executive and he became a better person overall, his luck dramatically increased and he began winning Karmic Jackpots.
    • Also, the pigs. When they are doing something bad so they can try to get rich, you're gonna guess they will have a karmatic kick in the ass, like in "Second Chance", where they con Woodstock into signing a contract against his will at a sleazy bar. When Cyril comes to save Woodstock, the pigs themselves are forced to entertain people in the bar.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Cheese Rush Days", Ren and Stimpy are prospectors hunting for blue cheese. When they strike the mother lode, Ren gets greedy and tries to steal it for himself, trapping Stimpy in the mine in the process. It turns out the cheese Ren found was low-fat "fool's cheese", and Stimpy is rescued by a prospector who helps him find a huge nugget of the real thing.
  • Done in a Robot Chicken episode where Billy Joel insults the patrons of the bar he plays at through song, especially one individual whose wife Joel reveals he's sleeping with; he also claims the novel that the guy's writing will fail horribly. As Billy leaves for the night, said person stabs him repeatedly and kills him. Then gets a call from his agent that his book is a hit, meaning he can leave his blue collar job. And that his wife died from an STD. The man happily hangs up and shouts "POETIC JUSTICE!".
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, this sort of thing happens to Ed Bighead on a regular basis.
    • In "Canned", he attempts to sabotage Rocko (who he tried to make think he was offering Rocko a job at Conglom-O) by putting him in precarious situations as a "test subject", only to have every scheme backfire on him and Ed himself ends up getting the short end of the stick every time. His final attempt consists on having a heard of giraffes run over Rocko, only for Ed himself to get trampled by the herd instead.
    • In "Zanzibar!", one of the songs warns not to pollute or "you'll get what you deserve". At the end when Ed is angry for Conglom-O making him clean up O-Town, he sings about how he doesn't care about the environment and sprays a can of aerosol into the air. The resulting CFCs eat a hole in the ozone layer and he gets burned by a blast of radiation.
    • In "Ed Good, Rocko Bad", he runs for city dog catcher against Rocko and creates a smear campaign to demonize him. In the end Ed wins in a landslide, but the job ends up being reduced to a janitor at a dog amusement park.
  • Angelica Pickles of Rugrats gets hit with this. However, how she gets hit with this depends on if Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil are involved in what she's doing. If the babies are involved in any way, then, yes, she'll get hit with this. However, she's been shown to pull the wool over her parents and the other grown-ups' eyes easily and incidents involving Suzie solely tend to have things go in Angelica's favor.
  • A relatively minor example from an episode of The Simpsons, when Homer taunts Bart for his joining the Junior Campers:
    Homer: How was jerk practice, boy? Did they teach you how to sing to trees and build crappy furniture out of useless wooden logs? Huh? [The chair that Homer is sitting on collapses] D'oh! Stupid poetic justice!
    • A rather less minor example happens in "Marge vs. the Monorail", to the conman Lyle Lanley. He's sold crummy, overpriced monorails to such towns as Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and after pulling his scam in Springfield he bolts on a plane to Tahiti. There's just one problem: the flight has a brief stop-over in North Haverbrook... where an angry mob awaits.
  • South Park:
    • Cartman gets bitten in the ass by this every so often. For example, he feigns Tourettes syndrome (mental disorder that strips people of control over their behavior and speech) so he could swear to his heart's content without reprimand. All goes shiny until he loses control of himself and starts spilling out all his embarrassing secrets.
    • To balance this, however, he is often thrown a bone on the rare occasions those he plots against are presented with similar cruel intentions (eg. bumbling terrorists or immoral anti-tobacco companies). In recent episodes, odd occasions have shown the other boys turn on Cartman without provocation or go to similar ruthless measures in their Escalating War with him (especially Kyle, who has an exceptional hatred of him) only for it to fall flat on them (eg. "Fatbeard"). That said, this doesn't prevent Cartman from taking his retaliation completely overboard at times (given all the unprovoked pain and humiliation Cartman went through in "Scott Tenorman Must Die", fans seem to be mixed as to whether his revenge on Manipulative Bastard Scott Tenorman counts as Moral Event Horizon or Moment of Awesome).
    • "Humancentipad" is possibly the ultimate case of Cartman getting an episode of this trope. His mother stands up to him for once for the episode and just as he's about to be rewarded for humiliating her on national television, his reward is taken away. So he starts yelling insults and accusations at God, and gets struck down by lightning.
    • Cartman receives his most ironic punishment yet in "Splatty Tomato". Throughout Season 21, he does everything to keep Heidi in a dysfunctional relationship with him (lying to her, controlling her diet, manipulating her beliefs etc.) all while he still thinks of himself as "the victim of her abuse". Not only does Heidi learn of Cartman's deception and malicious intents (include his attempts to kill her), but realizes how his victim mindhood set changed her, which causes her to break up with Cartman for good (even ignoring his suicide bluffs that originally kept her from leaving him). To make it even more ironic, the only reason Cartman keeps the relationship going is because of the attention Heidi gives him. By the time they break up however, everyone is too focus on The President and the Whites to pay attention to their breakup and his suicide bluffs.
    • Cartman himself dishes it out to Osama Bin Laden.
    • Also discussed with Jimmy and his parents, who nonchalantly believe that Jimmy's disabilities are punishment for their making fun of the handicapped in the past.
    • Randy Marsh gets this In "Holiday Special". Throughout the episode Randy bullies a Native American man and forcibly kisses him in order to falsify a cheek-swab DNA test and justify his playing the "victimized minority" card and getting Columbus Day removed from the list of school holidays. When the test proves inconclusive, representatives from the genealogy company show up to personally take an anal DNA sample from Randy.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Squidward's horrific luck was intially presented as a product of this trope due to his jerkass attitude. As the show evolved, however, his Butt-Monkey role became less provoked and leaned more into Comedic Sociopathy territory. Now he's widely considered the show's biggest Woobie.
      • This also makes the moments where he finally gets his revenge, or when karma finally hits SpongeBob, all the more satisfying.
    • Mr. Krabs tends to be a victim of this in episodes centric on him. Coincidentally these are the episodes when he's at his greediest and being antagonistic.
    • Plankton's schemes to steal the Krabby Patty always fail... except the one in the first movie, where he frames Mr. Krabs for stealing King Neptune's crown, steals the formula when it becomes unguarded, popularizes his Chum Bucket restaurant with the Krabby Patties, and, when Squidward catches on to his plan, uses his technology to brainwash everyone in Bikini Bottom and become its ruler. But in the end, SpongeBob recovers the crown and, through use of a music number, breaks the mind control devices. Plankton is trampled into a puddle, and then arrested.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Zero Hour", Admiral Konstantine disobeys Grand Admiral Thrawn's orders to keep his Interdictor cruiser in the back, and pays for it with his life when Commander Sato and two of his bridge crew ram the Phoenix Home into Konstantine's interdictor.
  • Tom and Jerry has Jerry provoking Tom for little to no reason at all and almost never gets punished for it, but one rare exception occurs in "The Million Dollar Cat", where Tom got tired of Jerry's shenanigans and attacked him even if doing so would cost him a million-dollar inheritance.
    Tom: Gee, I'm throwin' away a million dollars... BUT I'M HAPPY!
    • Especially noticeable since Jerry had been pestering Tom because he knew the cat couldn't fight back.
    • Actually this happened to Jerry on a deceptively frequent basis, especially in the later Hanna-Barbera shorts. At least a dozen instances where Jerry provoked Tom first or took his retribution to vindictive extremes, Tom would get the last laugh. Cases both characters were as bad as each other often ended in a stalemate. Similar odd cases Tom made a truce with Jerry often gave him a Karmic Jackpot.
  • In Total Drama every antagonist ends up suffering from this, which always leads to a Humiliation Conga. Each one is almost always worst than the last.
    • In Total Drama Island Heather bullies Lindsey and at one point threatens to cut off her hair. In the episode Triple Dog Dare the dare Lindsey created was for the person to be shaved bald, resulting in Heather losing almost all her hair—also, since Heather didn't technically accept the dare, she finally gets eliminated (and thus has no chance of winning the show's cash prize).
    • In Total Drama Action Justin gets rejected by his crush, pushed of a tower by said crush, getting hit by parts of the tower on the way down. When he is eliminated, no one really cares to see him go. Courtney had lost her PDA and got eliminated by her boyfriend for being so uptight.
    • Alejandro suffers this in the Total Drama World Tour season finale. After manipulating most of the female cast for most of the season, he falls in love with Heather....who tricks him into holding off his victory and kneeing him in the balls before pushing him down a mountain. He suffers the same fate he inflicted on all his victims. DAMN. And in Heather's victory, he THEN gets burned alive under an avalanche of molten lava. He's singed to a crisp and still alive, but still.
    • In Revenge of the Island Scott gets catapulted off the island with Fang, who mauls him to the point where he gets the Captain Pike treatment.
    • The evil show's host Chris finally get the ultimate punishment when the government arrests him for turning Wawanakwa Island into an environmental disaster in Revenge of the Island.
    • The only karma Sugar ever got for her elimination in Pahkitew Island was getting eliminated for her horrible singing. Ironically, she played a part in getting Ella eliminated by stating that she sang.
    • The good kind happens to Geoff and Brody in The Ridonculous Race. After sparing Carrie and Devin in Vietnam, the former picks Geoff and Brody to replace them in the final four, after Devin sustained severe injuries in Argentina. In the following episode, Geoff and Brody promise to split the money 25/25/25/25 with Carrie and Devin if they win.
  • The king in Wat's Pig did not do his part to protect the kingdom from the invaders, so he needs to help his family farm in their new cottage home (where Wat was raised). Cue the Rain.
  • We Bare Bears
    • After the way Nom Nom acted throughout "Panda's Sneeze", Ice Bear's malfunctioning robot arrives to the cuteness contest, destroys the trophy, and kidnaps Nom Nom.
    • In "Ralph", after Ralph ditches Charlie for trying to save some human hikers Ralph tried to kill as part of a Deadly Prank, Ralph gets his comeuppance when he gets attacked by a nest of snakes.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown the monks choose to save a little old lady, letting the villains get away with the "Bird of Paradise." Guess what the little old lady turns out to be.

Alternative Title(s): Poetic Justice