Death by Materialism

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Mugger: Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Now, come on--your money or your life.
Jack Benny: (silence)
Mugger: Look, bud! I said, your money or your life!
Jack Benny: I'm thinking it over!!


A good indicator a character is on the low end of the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality is that the character acts materialistic at any point. This is not the same as being a Rich Bitch. You can be poor and materialistic, and that will still get you whacked. The usual form of this is failing to get away from the monster because you have to pick up valuables off the floor.

This is of course a highly Anvilicious aesop that shows that Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, along with how often Corrupt Corporate Executives bite it in disaster films and Jaws ripoffs.

Can sometimes be a Karmic Death, but more often comes across as Too Dumb to Live. Often set in a Treasure Room. Chest Monster relies on this to ambush its prey.

Compare Death by Sex, Death by Mocking, and Villain by Default.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Death by Materialism include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the Anime OVA Guy Double Target, the BigBads of both episodes are cruel and sadistic, but they also show this trope, just in case it isn't clear they deserve their fates. Then again, the heroes are greedy, so this is a bit of a Broken Aesop.
    • In the end of Guy: Awakening Of The Devil, the villain is wearing a white fur coat, and is frantically trying to pick up the jewelry she dropped.
    • In Guy: Second Target, the villains are running a Corrupt Church, and have a giant statue made of gold (even though it turns into a demon).
  • The 'ingot scene' in Gankutsuou is an anthologic case of this. Basically, the Count catches Danglars as he's trying to escape from the Earth with 50 million francs in his private shuttle, forces him to confess his crimes, and leaves him in his shuttle with nothing but pure gold -no food or drink. It is strongly implied that the Count's henchmen have hacked into the shuttle's program so that it can't land anywhere. In the last scene Danglars is heard of, he's rolling around naked in his gold and probably close to dying.
  • In Ranma 1/2, Nabiki is challenged by Kinnosuke Kashao to a date in which neither can spend even a single yen of their own money—the loser has to pay for all expenses incurred throughout the date. At the end, having rented a helicopter, Kinnosuke bails out and Nabiki, Ranma, and Akane (there as Nabiki's chaperones) find out the helicopter controls run on five-yen coins, and bail out themselves. When Kinnosuke discovers his parachute is a fake (planted there by Nabiki in advance) she offers to sell him a real parachute for one yen. He smacks into the solid asphalt hard enough to leave a Kinnosuke-shaped impression. (But still survives.)
  • Humorously subverted in an early episode of Dragon Ball. A Mook decides Screw This, I'm Outta Here when Goku starts trashing the bad guy's fortress, and stops by the treasury to steal as much stuff as they can. While they're trying to escape they get shot full of holes by the heroes, but survive because all the jewels they stuffed down their shirt stopped the bullets.
  • Tokyo Babylon features a haunted Chanel suit. It doesn't actually kill its owner, though. Its entire arc/chapter is clearly meant to criticise consumerism; Hokuto does an outright speech at the end.
  • No Face in Spirited Away is the living embodiment of this. If you're greedy (you go for the coins he offers), he eats you. If you're really greedy, he goes on an apeshit killing spree

Comic Books

  • Nearly happens to Donald Duck in Don Rosa's comic story The Money Pit, where Donald gets buried alive while digging for rare coins in Uncle Scrooge's money bin.
  • In one Order of the Stick comic that ran in Dragon magazine, Haley explained the "copper coin trap" to Belkar to get him to leave behind a huge number of copper coins; basically, a huge amount of low-currency coins that amount to a good bit of money, but weigh so much that it'll slow you down, allowing monsters to catch you. (When he agrees to leave the huge pile behind, Haley surreptitiously puts it into her bag of holding instead.)


  • In The Princess and the Frog, Doctor Facilier's entire plan - kidnapping and transforming Prince Naveen, having a servant seduce and toy with Charlotte, and eventually promising the "wayward" souls of everyone in New Orleans to a group of demons - stems from his jealousy over Big Daddy Lebouf's vast fortune and his desire to acquire it. This, of course, serves as a foil to Tiana and Naveen who desperately want money themselves but use legal methods of obtaining it (Tiana works several jobs and Naveen...erm... plans to marry Charlotte as well but then later decides against this and works for a living in Tiana's restaurant after they are married).
  • Nearly happens in Disney's Aladdin, when Apu (Aladdin's pet monkey) grabs a large, shiny ruby in the Cave of Wonders, despite Aladdin telling him not to touch anything and the Flying Carpet trying (and failing) to stop Apu from grabbing the ruby.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Commander Rourke, Helga, and the rest of the crew kidnap the super-powered Kida for this reason, condemning the people of Atlantis to die when their lifesource is taken away. Most of the crew abandons the plan out of guilt after Milo calls them out on it. Rourke and Helga follow through. Helga winds up falling a long way down and is crushed by a flaming Zeppelin. Rourke winds up as a blue crystal monster and ultimately gets hacked up in the propellers of his air craft.
  • In Treasure Planet, most of the pirate crew die when the titular planet blows up to keep thieves from taking the treasure. Those who clung to their treasure eventually fell into the crevices below that opened as part of the booby trap. Those that dropped them and ran for their lives probably survived and can be seen tied up in the brig near the end of the film. Long John Silver escapes, though he does renounce the treasure at the last minute in favor of rescuing Jim.
  • Seen It a Million Times in Slasher Movies.
  • It didn't result in death, but this is what set the wheels of the movie The Wedding Planner into motion. Steve meets Mary by saving her after she refuses to leave her Gucci shoe stuck in a manhole cover, despite the heavy Dumpster speeding at her. It goes into Too Dumb to Live when you look at the Dumpster in question and realize that it's pretty high off the ground thanks to the wheels, and she could just get the damn shoe after the Dumpster rolls by.
  • Land of the Dead, where the zombies hit the rich folks harder than the poor because the rich simply lacked the Mole People-like hiding skills that the underclasses had developed.
    • A more straight example of the trope is Kaufman, who wastes precious time trying to escape with his huge sacks of money, even though it's after the apocalypse and cash presumably only has value outside of the Last Human City as toilet paper.
  • In the 1994 film of The Jungle Book, Mowgli and his love interest flee a treasure-filled chamber in some ruins while the antagonist, who is also Mowgli's romantic rival, shouts to her "Go then! Go with your jungle boy! I got what I came for! I don't need you." A snake then emerges from the treasure and startles him, and he falls into the water, weighed down by the treasure he has in his pockets and bag. His terrified screams go unheard as he views the drowned corpses of all the greedy treasure hunters who came here before him.
    • Arguably anticipated and lampshaded by Mowgli, who dissuades the love interest from taking the treasure with a comment along the lines of, "To take this gold is to take death." It's also implied that he's seen the snake.
    • Partially based on an original Kipling story, but there a bunch of people kill each other for an item of treasure.
  • Before Land of the Dead, George Romero's previous movie, Dawn of the Dead had this trope as its main theme. The survivors holed up in a mall that happened to attract zombies even when there were no living people around there at first, apparently the zombies were drawn there because it was "an important place in their lives" and this is to say nothing of Roger dying to help secure the mall instead of leave it and Stephen dying after shooting at bikers for trying to loot their say nothing of the bikers themselves, who invade the mall to steal the money and various other objects, which results in several of them getting killed by both Peter and the various zombies that they let in.
  • What happens to Beni at the end of the 1999 version of The Mummy 1999 is a Double Subversion. He safely brings a bag of treasure to his camel. Then he goes back to load up another bag, and doesn't make it.
    • Doubly ironic because it's setting down the sack of treasures that accidentally sets off the traps.
      • It should be noted that the four Americans are picked off one by one, because they took and kept the valuable ivory canopic jars from the crypt.
      • On the other hand, Rick, Evie, and Jonathan inadvertently carry off Beni's treasure at the end and wind up filthy rich in the sequels as a result (though Evie's inheritance from her late parents probably helped as well). Although one could argue that it was accidental and more of a case of of serendipity/good karma.
      • Jonathan isn't that rich by the sequel, but largely because he squandered it all in the meantime and all he was left with was a gold stick.
      • A milder example could be Evie and Rick's determination to gain the Book of the Dead. Granted neither of them dies from it, but that's not for a lack of trying on the antagonist's part.
    • A subversion in the sequel, The Mummy Returns. The heroes are escaping the collapsing pyramid in an airship. Evie's brother Jonathan is dangling by his ankle off the side of the ship and screams to be pulled up...until he notices the diamond pyramid topper.

Rick: It's not worth your life, you idiot!
Jonathan: Yes it is! YES IT IS!

      • And surprisingly enough, he manages to take it!
    • Warden Gad Hassan, who attempts to take some of the jeweled scarabs from a wall mural, only to discover that they're real flesh-eating scarabs after one burrows into his boot... up his leg... over his chest... and into his brain...
  • In the 1989 Batman movie, numerous Gothamites grab cash offered by a known serial killer. Many walk away in good shape, thanks entirely to Batman, but at least some disregarded warnings until it was too late.
    • In a bit of a subversion, the scene apparently went on longer originally, showing that all the money was fake, one dollar bills with the Joker on it, calling back to a earlier joke he made.
  • At the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, although it wasn't choosing the wrong grail (that was just paying attention to Biblical history), it was that Elsa kept reaching for the grail, instead of taking Indy's hand.
    • Happens to Mac in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Maybe.
    • Of course, Indy risking his life for his Nice Hat is another situation entirely.
      • Wouldn't that have resulted in a crushed hand if he hadn't made it? Not necessarily death.
    • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the villains are killed when they open the Ark. In Temple of Doom, Mola Ram dies when he tries to catch the stone and his hand is burned, then eaten by crocodiles. (And he had just displayed a bit of Genre Savvy by pointing out to Indiana that if he dropped the stones, they could simply be found again -- why did he bother trying to grab them as they fall when he was now in actual danger himself?) The Indiana Jones movies ARE this trope.
    • Early in Raiders, Alfred Molina as Satipo leaves Dr. Jones to die so he can escape the temple with the solid gold idol. Of course, he runs right into the spear trap they both avoided earlier.
  • Just about any of the films that involve Captain Nemo from the 50s through the 70s involve some person dying because of them trying to get/steal/carry gold.
  • This is basically the plot of the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • In Licence to Kill, Killifer accepts a two million dollar bribe to help drug lord Franz Sanchez escape. Sanchez then abducts Bond's friend Felix Lieter and has him mutilated by a shark. When James Bond catches up with him, Killifer offers to split the two million with him. Bond tells him to keep it and throws the suitcase containing the money at Killifer, knocking into the Shark Pool where he is devoured by the same shark that mauled Lieter.
  • Drag Me to Hell breaks the Aesop quite badly when the protagonist, who thinks she's escaped the curse, promptly buys a fancy new coat and begins planning for her future to show that she really hasn't changed her money-grubbing get-ahead-at-any-cost ways. Then again, she dies in the end.
  • Godzilla Versus Mothra has a corrupt businessman, go into a building to get his money, then he looks out the window, and Godzilla is right fucking there!
  • In the Sci-Fi Channel movie Webs, the Black Dude Dies First because he stopped to grab a huge sack of cash from an abandoned armored car instead of running away from the horde of Spider-Vampire hybrids chasing him. What an Idiot!.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a group of kidnappers threaten to kill a woman's husband if she does not give them her case of Wonka Bars. She is unsure how to respond. Apparently, a trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and the possibility of a lifetime supply of chocolate means more to her than her husband's life.

Detective: "Mrs. Curtis, did you hear me? It's your husband's life or your case of Wonka Bars!"
Mrs. Curtis: "How long will they give me to think it over?"

  • Onodera from Gamera vs. Barugon. Manages to steal a giant diamond from the middle of a military operation. The operation was to use the diamond to lure Barugon into a lake where he could be killed. Onodera knew this because a radio announcement for this told him where the diamond was. He's too greed crazed to realize that "carrying monster bait" = "YOU are monster bait." Dinner Ensues. Also serves as Karmic Death, as Onodera had racked up a bit of a Gold Fever-fueled body count earlier in the movie.
  • The otherwise horrid film of Doc Savage ends with The Dragon, in the middle of a hidden valley where a lake of molten gold is erupting, dancing in glee, and trying to catch the superheated metal in his pockets. Amazingly, he does not die from this, or even get burned as liquid gold splatters across him. However, when the hero and his allies leave the cave they took shelter in, they find him nothing but a statue, completely encased in gold.
  • In Marathon Man, Dr Christian Szell (played by Laurence Olivier) dies after he acidentally stabs himself risking his life to rescue a briefcase full of diamonds.


  • One of the funniest parts in the Mockumentary Zombie Apocalypse novel World War Z is when a bunch of celebrities (including not-so-hidden pastiches of Paris Hilton, Ruben Studdard, Bill Maher and Ann Coulter) set themselves up in a fortified mansion on Long Island and then broadcast the resulting party to the world. The compound is promptly overrun, not by zombies, but by desperate still-living humans, following the transmissions and looking for a safe place to hide. Cue the rich, arrogant bastards dying and the mercenary/bodyguard narrator fleeing the scene, along with Hilton's dog.
    • Played straight with the man who sold the fake zombie vaccine Phalanx, who made loads of money on "the appearance of the appearance of safety!" He then used his money to pay rent in a Russian facility in Anarctica. He appears to be a Karma Houdini, until in the closing chapter a government official says that he's in talks with Russia to stop renewing his lease.
  • If some street robbers on Discworld demands "Your money or your life" from some dwarves, they should be prepared for a long wait while the dwarves discuss.
    • It's also suggested that any bandit attacking a Dwarf mail coach, Dwarfs being faithful about sending money home, and demanding their money or their lives should bring a book, folding chair and lunch.
    • In Soul Music, one of the main characters is a dwarf, and at one point finds himself hanging over the edge of a cliff, holding on with one hand and holding a sack of five thousand dollars in the other. His friends yell at him to let go of the money, or he will fall and die. His response is "Letting go of five thousand dollars is death!"
    • Also in Discworld, the Luggage often suckers bandits or other riffraff into biting range by sitting perfectly still with its lid open, exposing a fortune in gold coins within.
  • "The Golden Girl", a short story by Ellis Peters in the Alfred Hitchcock collection Stories Not for the Nervous. A man and his pregnant wife are passengers on a ship. The ship catches on fire and the passengers must evacuate. After she gets her life jacket on, a ship's officer drops her over the side into the water, where she sinks like a stone. The man jumps in after her. The story ends with a line about how they'll never know if he jumped in to save the girl or to save the 30 pounds of gold being smuggled in her fake maternity bulge.
  • Eternity Road is set After the End, but the old money is still shiny and valuable. In one building, where all the signs have faded, there's a huge pile of money in the middle of the floor, waiting for someone to take it. The middle of the floor is as far as the last looters got before a police robot arrived to arrest the "bank robbers." This isn't directly Shoplift and Die, since the robot is armed with a stungun. Rather, it's shoplift and slowly starve to death as the robot forces you to wait for the long-deceased real police to arrive and haul you off to jail. One protagonist who stayed outside helps the rest by committing another crime: impersonating an officer.
    • This is exactly what happens to Duhamel in the Master and Commander books. He converts his entire fortune to gold, straps it to his waist then drowns. Of course he was only getting on the ship so he could defect to the Americas and retire from working as a spy, so this one's also Retirony.
      • This might be a case of Truth in Television, as it was customary at the time that officers of seized ships be stripped and searched for valuables, which led to a lot of officers having to carry gold bullion or coins sewed into their jackets. This is how many officiers of the "Prince de Conty" drowned when the ship sank off the Bretton coast of France in 1746.
  • In both Thieves Like Us and Thieves 'Til We Die, the villains die when they get too greedy in an ancient tomb/temple and set off some mechanism that leads to the place collapsing. This is driven home more in the second book, in which the villainess actually asks one of the protagonists to help her carry the "treasure" she gathered out (she had hit her head and thought that a lot of worthless rock and pottery was gold). On the other hand, it's subverted with the protagonists, who also loot the same places but manage to come out alive (in fact, that's pretty much their life's work). Mainly it's because they're Crazy Prepared with a bit of Genre Savvy.
  • In The Aeneid, Nisus and Euryalus are spotted and killed in the woods after a raid because the loot they stole sparkles in the moonlight. Unusual in that it's presented as tragic instead of a deserved comeuppance, and because they are explicitly stated to be lovers who die defending one another.
  • In The Bible, Lot's wife ignored the warnings against looking back at the burning city, unwilling to abandon her possessions. She gets turned into a pillar of salt.
  • In Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman, a man dies in a flash-flood when he could have saved himself by letting go of a bag of diamonds.
  • In the Matthew Hawkwood novel Rapscallion, Morgan attempts to escape wearing a waistcoat filled with gold guineas. Hawkwood shoves him off the side of the ship and he drowns.
  • In the second Book of Swords, the party makes it to Benambra's Gold, the main vault of the Blue Temple. Shortly after entering the Treasure Room, the party hits the seventh sealing protecting the treasure - the greed of thieves. Despite the fact that there's more money lying around than all of them combined could carry, they start fighting each other over the loot. Out of everyone in the cast, only the protagonists Mark and Ben make it out alive.
  • Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan narrowly averts this, when Alek and Count Volger are forced to dump about a quarter ton of gold from the titular airship to allow it to escape. The gold had been smuggled aboard by Volger, because it was the last scrap they have left of Alek's inheritance.
  • In The Silmarillion, the Dwarves that sacked Menegroth are successfully ambushed by Beren and the Green-Elves because their loot was weighing them down.
  • Ivan Krylov wrote a fable about a man who received a purse (either from a spirit or a devil) which contained a golden coin, with new ones spawning up as soon as the old one is taken out. The only catch is; not a single coin can be spent - unless you get rid of the purse. Try to guess the rest.
  • Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale.

Live-Action TV

  • In the Doctor Who serial Horror of Fang Rock, the last surviving non-regular character is killed when he starts scrabbling for a handful of diamonds the Doctor discards on the floor, despite the fact that the Monster of the Week is steadily advancing.
  • Happens routinely on Tales from the Crypt.
  • In the Lost episode "Exposé," Nikki has been bitten by a spider which causes paralysis. Before running to the beach to tell her fellow Losties what has happened, she takes time to bury $8M worth of diamonds. Had she not done this, she would have had time to explain her situation, preventing the Losties from burying her and Paolo alive.
  • In the Adam West Batman series, the only people who died were bad women who fell to their deaths. In Catwoman's case she died (until she was used again) because she wouldn't let go of her bag of loot.
    • Although anyone expecting Catwoman to stay dead hasn't paid attention to the name.
  • In one Twilight Zone episode, a group of thieves steal some gold bars and escape to the future. They then proceed to kill each other when they can't decide how to split up the gold, only for the audience to learn later that at the time they were in, gold was about as cheap as dirt. This episode probably came from the story of the three thieves who set out to kill death and wound up murdering each other over a bag of gold coins (which, of course, belonged to Death).


  • Jack Benny's famous "Your money or your life!" routine, quoted above, is a bit of a parody of this.

Tabletop Games

  • Monsters such as the mimic from Dungeons & Dragons often mimic treasure chests or the like, the better to lure in gullible adventurers.
  • About half of all adventurers have "Risk your life for treasure" as their job description, making this pretty much a guarantee.

Video Games

  • Tomb Raider Anniversary had one scene where Lara fails to find the 2nd piece of the Scion and discovers that Pierre took it and he shows up with a gun to her head. He taunts her as he gets ready to take Lara's other Scion piece in the following scene:

Pierre: "You see, instincts can be expensive, mademoiselle. Yours is going to cost you both pieces of the Scion!"
Lara: "That's not a price I'm prepared to pay."
Pierre: "Don't be absurd! No job is worth dying for!"
Lara: "Yes, it is."

    • The trope only applies to this scene if the player fails the quick time event that follows afterward.
  • Can be used as a weapon in MadWorld. In various levels, you can pick up big suitcases filled with dollar-bills, and throw them at the Mooks - who will immediately abort their attempts to kill you to instead go jumping around, trying to pick the floating currency out of the air. Leaving them all nicely gathered in a single spot with their defenses down. Cue the chainsaw.
    • Other levels uses alternate objects with a similar effect, though only some of them falls under this. Throwing a big-ass bloody steak at a bunch of zombies, or a plateful of hot pork buns at some Kung-Fu Mooks probably still counts... throwing a pirate-hat at a group of Ninjas so they'll ignore you to cut the hat to pieces instead, maybe not to much.
  • In Toontown Online, one set of Lure gags (which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin) contains money on fishing poles. You throw out a $1, $5, or $10 bill on a line toward one of the Cogs, and if it works, they come toward you. While they are lured, they cannot attack. Higher denominations keep them lured longer. Also, if a Trap gag is set before the Cog before it's lured, they walk right into the trap, resulting in anything from the famous Banana Peel to actually being blown up. Unfortunately, this kind of Lure gag only works on one Cog at a time, and are single-use. And low chance of working. But combined with traps, this is the best example of Death by Materialism in the whole game.
    • Except possibly the Cashbot CFO, where you have to fling safes at him to damage him. And then he gets run over by a train.
  • Paper Mario: Narrowly avoided by Professor Kolorado. He's inside an erupting volcano, jumping to grab a treasure chest, and another character has to drag him out to save his life. Even after seeing the volcano erupt and barely escaping crispy doom, he continues to complain about the rescue and the loss of the treasure. Oddly, the treasure is actually blown clear, and you have to give it to him to advance the story, making him a very happy man and simultaneously shooting the Aesop in the foot. Even though Kolorado was interested in the treasure for its historical value rather than the money, he was still about to die for it.
  • Particularly greedy players can bring this fate upon themselves in STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. This troper has fallen victim to enemies more than once because he was so weighed down with goods looted from corpses that he couldn't run.
    • If the player has over 50000 RU and reaches the Wish Granter, the PC will say "I be rich". He then sees hundreds of gold coins falling around him...which is actually an hallucination. The "coins" are actually bolts falling from the roof of the building which then collapses on him.
  • The ending of Sly Cooper 3 has this. Doctor M is finally in the Cooper vault..which is collapsing around him. Rather than flee for his life like everyone else was, he just kept yelling. Heavily hinted he was buried alive.
  • The infamous Dwarf Fortress Let's Play Boatmurdered has dwarves rushing under the Elephants' feet to loot their trampled comrades.
  • There's a monster in Monster Rancher 4 that looks exactly like a treasure box. If you "open" it, it attacks.
  • In Quest for Glory II, there's a treasure room while on the way to get the lamp. If you try to take any of the treasure, it's game over time for you!
  • At the end of Fallout: New Vegas DLC "Dead Money", the treasure of the Sierra Madre includes several gold bars that each value at a little over 10,000 caps and weights 35 pounds. However, by that point the player's Explosive Leash will activate, giving them limited time to make it out, with the intent that the player can at best grab a few of the bars before becoming overencumbered. It's all part of the DLC's theme of "letting go", though it's possible for a very crafty player to make it out with all the treasure via manipulating the gameworld.
  • In Startopia, the mindblowingly rich and lazy Gem Slugs have their own private, personalized bar and bathhouse; the contents of the latter smell positively vile to non-Slugs. Every once in a while, a Gem Slug will become so relaxed in one of these baths that they'll forget to take care of their health, eventually dying/drowning. The developers caught it early... but didn't really feel like fixing it because Gem Slugs dying by their own opulence was just plain funny.
  • Interestingly played with in the Myst spinoff Uru. One age consists of seven large puzzles/locks protecting a massive vault filled with gold, art, carpets, gems, valuables... and a single skeleton reaching out for a linking book out of the age. Bit of backstory, the D'ni suffered a great tragedy that killed them off, the few survivors retreating to other ages. This survivor retreated to his vault and locked himself inside to be with his valuables... lacking any food or water. He didn't USE the linking book due to the terror of dying away from his riches.
  • In the third dlc of Borderlands the last mission takes place in an armory teeming with weapons chests; however, the armory is set to explode in exactly two minutes. In short, the player has a limited amount of time to search the massive armory. Although the player is given the option to escape, the other alternative is continue searching for weapons knowing full well time is running out. Interstingly, Athena watches in the distance as base explodes; this implies she planned to kill the mercenary with the one thing they could not defeat: their own greed. This is of course assuming the player fails to escape in time.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, there are two areas in the subway tunnels that are obvious traps set up by the Riddler. It's easy for someone gunning for One Hundred Percent Completion to rush into the traps to get the Riddler Trophies hidden inside, but if you have the right tools, you can save yourself from it all. As well, if you die from the traps, the Riddler will taunt you for it, but will be aghast if you manage to outwit him.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, Conker's bad day is made much worse because he keeps getting distracted by wads of cash that sidetrack him from his goal of getting home.

Web Comics

  • Amelia Sturtz (formerly Amelia Travoria) from Dominic Deegan, who wears the most extravagant (and minimalistic/revealing) clothes of the Travoria sisters. After her plan to have her husband assassinated in order to gain control of his wealth goes south, the would-be assassin strangles her - with her own pearls.

Western Animation

  • This nearly happens to the gold-obsessed "El Capitan" in the DuckTales (1987) Five Episode Pilot "Treasure of the Golden Suns", but since it's a Disney production and the good guys can't leave him to die, Scrooge saves him from falling into a lake of molten gold.
    • This is also a Running Gag for Scrooge himself; on at least one occasion (including DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp) a character asks him point-blank "what's worth more: a fortune, or your life?". Scrooge will never provide a straight answer to this question.
      • Though it's been fairly solidly established that he values his nephews far higher than his money.
  • Daffy Duck in many Looney Tunes cartoons. But particularly in "Ali Baba Bunny", where after he finds a genie in a lamp in a treasure trove, this is his reaction:

Daffy: Oh, no you don't! You want my treasure! Well, it's mine, you understand?! (tries to shove the genie back in the lamp) Get back in there! Down! Down! Down! Go! Go! Go! Mine! Mine! Mine!
Genie: Duck! You have desecrated the spirit of the lamp! Prepare to face the consequences!
Daffy: Consequences, schmonsequences, long as I'm rich. (get zapped by the genie)

      • Zapped and shrunk to 3 inches in height. At the end he then runs out of a tiny hole in the ground and steals a pearl from Bugs Bunny.
    • Subverted in an episode where, at the end Daffy is counting his reward money for recapturing the Tasmanian Devil when one of the dollar bills falls into its cage. He rushes in, the audience hears the sounds of someone being beaten up... then Daffy emerges from the cage, largely unscathed, with a badly injured Devil behind him, proclaiming "I may be a coward, but I'm a greedy coward!"
  • Thailog, Goliath's Evil Clone in Gargoyles, fakes his death this way.

Real Life

  • A Turkish wrestler who was always carrying his whole fortune (in gold coins) hidden in his belt. One day he went on a cruise on a ship that would sink. He didn't want to take off his very heavy belt, and thus drowned.
  • This was also the fate of many of Cortez's men when they fled the Aztec capital. Set in the middle of a lake, the city was only reachable by man-made causeways. As they fled across these, in their panic many fell into the water. The weight of the gold they had stuffed their clothes with caused them to drown.
    • There are stories of soldiers that were caught by the Aztecs having molten gold poured down their throat, since 'if they love gold much - let's let them have it!'
      • A similar yet earlier story concerns the death of Marcus Licinius Crassus. He became the richest man in the Roman Republic through, among other things, buying burning homes before his fire department would put them out. Legend has it that the Parthians poured molten gold down his throat during an attempt at parley.
  • Mark Twain relates in, "The Innocents Abroad" on his trip to Pompei, "In one of these long Pompeiian halls the skeleton of a man was found with ten pieces of gold in one hand and a large key in the other. He had seized his money and started toward the door, but the fiery tempest caught him at the very threshold, and he sank down and died. One more minute of precious time would have saved him."
  • At the Battle of Kadesh, a division of Hittites was slaughtered by their Egyptian enemies, because they were too distracted looting a campground