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Playing With / Thanatos Gambit

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Basic Trope: Someone uses their own death as part of a plot.

  • Straight:
    • The late Mr. Smith's will is filled with secrets he learned over his lifetime, and are told at the reading of the will so that his family starts fighting with one another.
    • The Big Bad sacrifices himself in a demon-summoning ritual.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The late Mr. Smith's will abounds with wild accusations and reveals terrible secrets, including things he could not possibly have known in life, things which have happened since the drafting of the will, things which have happened since his death, and things the knowledge of which should have prevented his violent end.
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    • The Big Bad has Resurrective Immortality and exploits this by centering all his plots on the summoning of demons he requires a sacrifice for.
  • Downplayed: Mr. Smith leaves his money to a charity to house the homeless.
  • Justified:
    • By causing discord within his family, Mr. Smith ensures that he can leave his fortune to his favorite nephew rather than his own children, who would otherwise have united to legally contest the will.
    • The Chaotic Evil villain only ever did anything For the Evulz - the prospect of tearing the world asunder is the best legacy he could possibly hope for.
    • Mr. Smith has no intentions of staying dead; they're trading a temporary inconvenience for a benefit they'll live to enjoy.
  • Inverted:
    • Mr. Smith held contempt for most of the members of his family, but reveals secrets in his will that settles old disputes between them.
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    • My Death Is Just the Beginning.
    • Mr. Smith's plot involves time travel, and he has to ensure that he's born in order to succeed.
    • Mr. Smith's plan is untimely terminated due to the unforseen circunstances surrounding his death.
  • Subverted:
    • The Smith family has a history of patriarchs revealing the family's dark and terrible secrets in their wills, but Mr. Smith shocks everyone by simply dividing up his estate and sending his best wishes.
    • Mr. Smith just faked his death.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Everyone in the family then receives letters outlining the secrets of the other members of the family as part of their inheritance.
    • ... until a member of the family, angry at his deception, kills him and is imprisoned for the crime... Exactly as Planned.
  • Parodied: The entire Big, Screwed-Up Family are individually abused, mocked and insulted by the apparently prescient Video Will, which bequeaths an Ironic Hell-on-Earth to each of them.
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  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted:
    • Mr. Smith's will simply discussed the division of his estate.
    • The villain dies, without any extra-vital insurance policy of any kind. His Mooks disband when they discover their paymaster is gone. Eventually an entirely unrelated villain arrives to occupy the Evil Power Vacuum.
  • Enforced:
    • The series needed a Drama Bomb to stir things up, and Smith's actor wanted to leave the show.
    • The villain's actor died, but they had a whole season planned around bringing together the threads of his intricate schemes.
  • Lampshaded: "Mr. Smith made his will so that even when he's dead, he'll always make the rest of our lives harder."
  • Invoked:
    • The Black Sheep knew he was getting nothing in the will, so in revenge pressured his senile father to sign a dodgy will in the presence of an Amoral Attorney.
    • The Guile Hero convinces the villain that his own sacrifice is the best way to win the battle. With the villain gone, the hero foils the rest of the plan with ease.
  • Exploited: Mr Smith has a terminal illness, but decides to use his death to teach his family one last lesson.
  • Defied:
    • The family challenge the ridiculously exploitative will, and demand that they get the inheritance they legally deserve.
    • "If I died, their whole world would thrown into CHAOS! Mwahah- Oh no wait, I couldn't enjoy it if I were dead. Screw that."
  • Discussed: "He's playing one last trick, from beyond the grave."
  • Conversed: "Oh, the villain's suddenly dead mid-season in an accident he could have easily foreseen. I bet that's the end of that then..."
  • Deconstructed: Mr.Smith reveals the secrets in the will, but everyone comes to hate Mr.Smith for revealing their secrets, uniting in their hatred for him and forgiving each other they bond together and bring down Mr.Smiths good name.
  • Reconstructed: The departed was tired of life to begin with, and saw more of an opportunity to further his plans from beyond the grave than he could in life.

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