Originally, the word "comedy" meant that the story ended on a positive note, and the word "tragedy" meant a Downer Ending (or, at the very least, a Bittersweet Ending). The meanings of these words have evolved over time, but the concept remains: Some stories end happily, and others...not so much. This is a scale of how happily a given story is bound to end. See Multiple Endings when a work has more than one possible outcome (good, bad, AND neutral).
- Belated Happy Ending: When a story has an Ambiguous Ending or No Ending, but a sequel or continuation gives the story as a whole a Happy Ending.
- Deus ex Machina: Something completely out of left field saves the day.
- Golden Ending: Top of the list, variant of Multiple Endings. Usually invoking Earn Your Happy Ending. Everybody Lives is generally a prerequisite.
- Happily Ever After: The good guys win, the bad guys get their comeuppance or redemption (depending on the villain), and everyone is happy.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The good guys will have to slog through a great deal of mud and tragedy first, but, ultimately, everything ends well. At least, for the ones that survive.
- Everybody Lives: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Surprisingly Happy Ending: You have braced for a Bittersweet Ending, but things turned out a lot better than you expected.
- Ambiguous Ending: The ending is left purposely vague in some way, so that one or more outcomes are unknown.
- Bittersweet Ending: The good guys win, but if there's no telling on if the villain will return back to power, or due to terrible tragedies, they will not be able to fully enjoy the victory. Alternatively, the heroes die, but everyone else good is happy.
- Pyrrhic Victory: One side wins, but they are so ruined that the net benefit is minimal or even negative. Often the result of a Bittersweet Ending, sometimes results in a "Ray of Hope" Ending.
- "Ray of Hope" Ending: The bad guys win, but there are still hints that the heroes can turn things around, and all is not lost.
- Happy Ending Override: It's a happy ending, but something happens in the period afterwards and before the sequel to ruin it; the sequel is a chance to start again.
- Multiple Endings: A character's actions in the game decide how the ending turns out.
- No Ending: The ending is ambiguous. Did the heroes win, or did they all die horribly? The author or creator ain't talking, so it's up to the viewer to decide. Bolivian Army Ending is a subtrope.
- Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: All well and good if you have the protagonist ball. Anyone else? Sucks to be you!
- Gainax Ending: The ending is confusing and full of Mind Screw; differing interpretations can lead it to being placed in any of these three categories.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: The ending features one final battle to the death between the protagonist and at the very least one still surviving antagonist that easily serves as a chance for the former to truly clean things up and likewise subsequently truly resolve his current conflict following his given work's climax.
- Downer Ending: The good guys lose. They might at least get to take the villain down with them, though.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Or not.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: And then that too is for naught for the villain.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Or not.
- Have a Nice Death: You've lost the game and are dead but at least you get a cheery message about it.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: An Anti-Climax renders the events of the whole story moot.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The bad guys win. Or nobody wins and the whole ordeal is a waste of time and human lives.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: A game player has screwed up big time and has to watch the repercussions.
- Sudden Downer Ending: You fought hard, you got that Infinity plus one sword, you pulled 100% Completion...And the best you can get is a Sadistic Choice.
- Cruel Twist Ending: A story that screws the heroes at the very end.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Similar to the above, but it comes out of nowhere.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: Happily Ever After in the mind of the writer/director, Downer Ending or Shoot the Shaggy Dog for the audience.
- "Everybody Dies" Ending: Exactly what it sounds like.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Similar, but applies to a Show Within a Show under the control of a character in the main show.
- Earn Your Bad Ending: A bad ending out of multiple endings that can only be seen if the player goes out of the way to achieve the requirements to watch it.