Final Death

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Now, the only problem with the [Cowardly] Lion is that if he dies only once, he never comes back!"

...also known as Permadeath. Beyond Non-Lethal KO, beyond Only Mostly Dead. This is a relatively rare case in video games where a character dying in battle under certain circumstances is gone forever, and now the rest have to go on without him or her. Usually only happens with games where it's possible to get a fairly steady stream of replacements, so that if you manage to dwindle your party down so much that your next fight is pretty much Unwinnable, you deserve to be screwed. Said replacements may not be as good, however.

Note, this is usually separate from Plotline Death via Cutscene. No, you the player were either not good enough or not lucky enough. Hope you saved your game, unless the game doesn't let you do that.

Roguelikes tend to have this as their standard, and in many cases only, option.

This is a video game trope; the equivalent of this in fiction is Deader Than Dead. The inverse of this is Death Is a Slap on The Wrist.

Examples of Final Death include:

Video Games

Action Adventure

  • As mentioned by the AVGN, in The Wizard of Oz, if the Lion dies, he's dead for the rest of the game.
    • Not just him: Scarecrow and Tin Man too. Though you can pick up lives for all 3 of them, they are pretty rare in comparison to Dorothy's.
  • Friday the 13th. When they're all dead, "You and your friends are dead, Game Over.
  • The SMS port of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, and the English version of Wonder Boy in Monster World.
  • The Buffy Xbox game and Chaos Bleeds work like this. The health bar for Buffy and enemies is really just a guide to show when they can be killed. On the one hand vampires need to be staked, zombies need their head removed, ect. On the other hand, Buffy dies for good if fed on, bitten, or is dealt one of the special killing moves with no health.

Adventure Game

Beat Em Up

  • In the NES version of Double Dragon III, the player starts off as Billy Lee (and Jimmy if a second player is present) and gains two additional fighters (Chin Seimei and Yagyu Ranzou) after the second and third stages. The player can change characters once they gain the other fighters, but each of them has exactly one life. This can be problematic since a death during the first two stages means an instant Game Over, and with all four characters shared by both players in co-op mode, an unskilled player will become a handicap if he wastes the other characters before his partner can use them. There's only one continue in the whole game and it's only usable after Mission 3.
  • In Peace Keepers (aka Rushing Beat Syura), Prokop (one of the four default fighters) will suffer a Plotline Death if the player takes the wrong path in a certain stage, eliminating him from the character roster for the rest of the game.
  • The Puella Magi Madoka Magica Fangame Grief Syndrome starts with all five of the main cast, but if any of them die they're gone for good. And if Sayaka dies before the final boss you're forced to fight her witch form.

Driving Game

  • If all of your cars are impounded in Need for Speed : Most Wanted or Carbon, you must start your career from the beginning.
  • The "Deaths" option in San Francisco Rush makes crashing an immediate Game Over for both you and the opponents.
  • in Xpand Rally, in case of a really disastrous crash the pilot can die and the career must. Obviously, restarted from scratch with a new one.

Edutainment Game

  • Oregon Trail.
  • This is the entire point of Jesse Venbrux's ultra-short freeware game Execution.
    • To elaborate on this, You start the game looking at a man tied to a pole through your scope. Shooting him yields the message: 'You Lose'. Attempting to play a second time starts the game with 'Your actions have consequences, it is already too late'. If you try to play, the man will still be dead.

Fighting Game

  • In some deathmatch-style games, there may be options to give each player only one life per round, or use a communal batch of "tickets" that can only decrease in number. Neutralizing all the respawn points in "control point" matches can also cause enemy deaths to be final.
  • In the Dragonball Z game Legend of the Super Saiyajin for the SNES, this is in effect. If somebody dies in battle, that's it. If it's Goku or Gohan, immediate game over. That's right, you don't get to use the Dragonballs to restore anyone killed in battle, apart from at one fixed point in the plot.
  • In the Fighting Game Weapon Lord, you can continue after losing a match normally, like almost all fighting games. However, if the opponent defeats you with a Finishing Move, you will not be given this chance, and you'll have to start all over.
  • The manikins in Dissidia Final Fantasy. While in the original game they were just Mooks, in the prequel Duodecim it's revealed that anyone killed by a manikin isn't revived for the next cycle in the Groundhog Day Loop. This is why Lightning, Kain, Yuna, Laguna, Tifa, and Vaan weren't in the original. They got overwhelmed by manikins after closing the rift that they were spawning out of.
  • There are no continues in Kinnikuman: Muscle Fight's arcade mode. The player has to beat every foe in a No Continue Run in order to get the ending. If they lose a match, they get to see a shot of a burnt Choujin Prophecy page as the Game Over screen, meaning their character was Ret-Gone out of existence.

First Person Shooter

  • Call of Duty series: Sometimes fallen Redshirt Army characters can be healed with medkits, but if their name turns red, they are dead for real. Inverted with major characters, who are invincible except for Plotline Death.
  • In the Rainbow Six game series, at least the PC games up to Raven Shield, if any of the named characters are "KIA"'ed during a campaign, they are dead for good, and you have to make do with the reserve agents.
    • In later games, NPCs can only be Non-Lethal KO-ed, but if the player character dies, it's game over.
  • Left 4 Dead and its sequel has this for the finales. If a survivor dies in the final map, they are dead for good and get an honorable mention in the credits. The sequel does avert this if someone is carrying the Magical Defibrillator.


  • There were some old floppy-disk games where if your character died, the whole game would erase itself, ie game over forever, unless you shell out the dough for a new copy. Some online or downloadable games do this as well.
    • Sub Mission does this to some extent, and is probably the only game that ever did. There's a practice mode available where you can practice the game with robot, but if you attempt a mission for real and fail, a hostage dies and is erased from the disk forever. Unsurprisingly, sales were virtually nil.
    • Hideo Kojima considered using this method for Metal Gear Solid, but thankfully discarded the idea.
    • Any Arcade Game. Ever.
    • Wasteland did this, and the developers recommended you back-up your bought copy and only play the game using those back-ups. Ah, the days where archival purposes wasn't considered piracy...
    • There's a game for Mac OS X (Lose/Lose) that deletes a file in your Home folder everytime you kill an enemy. When you lose a life, the game deletes itself. Not only is it a Final Death for your player (of course, you could redownload it, but that's missing the point), but also for your precious files as well. Goodbye, music library and precious childhood photos. Norton Antivirus classified it as a virus, understandably.
  • This gets inverted in the MSX game The Short-Lived Adventures of Hobo Dan - you can die as often as you want, but after you actually beat the game, it erases itself.

Hack And Slash

  • Diablo II, already quite similar to Roguelikes, offers a "hardcore" setting to players who have beaten the game, in which their character file is locked after a single death, and can no longer be played. (It's still there, though, and you can see a record of all your Hardcore deaths if you feel like keeping them. And cheaters can edit the dead character's save to restore them to life, good as new. But that's cheating. Cheater.)
    • Quoth the game manual:

Note: Blizzard Entertainment is in no way responsible for your hardcore character. If you choose to create and play a hardcore character, you do so at your own risk. Blizzard is not responsible for the death and loss of your hardcore characters for any reason including Internet lag, bugs, Acts of God, your little sister, or any other reason whatsoever. Consult the End User License Agreement for more details. Blizzard will not, and does not have the capability to restore any deceased Hardcore characters. Don't even ask. La-la-la-la-la, we can't hear you.

  • So, too, does independently-designed Diablo clone Torchlight, but this setting is readily available upon character creation.


  • There's a longstanding debate over permadeath in MUDs and MMOs. Most of these games have no permadeath and the trend has been in the opposite direction by increasingly making it so that Death Is a Slap on The Wrist. However there have been exceptions, sometimes with very limited scope:
    • In Star Wars Galaxies, the original, highly exclusive Jedi characters had a form of permadeath. This was soon changed after the first Jedi characters in the game were predictably hunted down and ganked repeatedly.
    • In ThunderDome MUDS, death from loss of Constitution below 4 resulted in permanent Condeath. The mechanics associated with aging made this inevitable, no matter how much Con could be bought back.
    • Many roleplay-intensive MUSHes have a permanent policy on character death; one life, one death. This is more often determined by player agreements and/or moderator judgment than by game mechanics.
    • LPMUDs have always averted this, but a player who chooses to retire a character may remain a ghost, removing themselves from play but retaining communication.
    • Ultimate Mode in the MMORPG Shaiya allows you the most character points in the game, use of all the skills, and use of the best items. But if you die and are not resurrected within three minutes, your character is deleted.
    • Some players of DDO do this as a Self-Imposed Challenge. If your character dies and nobody is around to resurrect them, delete and roll a new character.
  • Spoofed in World of Warcraft with the April Fools Day announcement of Wisps as a new player race. They would have the ability to explode, permanently sacrificing the character in exchange for draining 50 mana from all units nearby (the ability wisps had in Warcraft 3). This ability would not be even remotely useful if it caused a normal WoW death, and there is naturally no ability in the game worth destroying your character in order to use.
  • Wizardry Online promises to feature permadeath as a core mechanic.

Platform Game

  • The true extreme is You Only Live Once a flash platformer which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. No extra lives, no continues, you only live once. Oh, and you can't play again, as it will remember that you died. And deleting cookies won't help. And purging your cache. And reinstalling your browser. The only way to truly restart the game is by going here and deleting the files uploaded to your player, but it's Completely Missing the Point.
    • In its sequel, The Execution, the player commands a firing squad aiming at whichever between Pink Lizard or the hero had been arrested, depending on the ending gotten in the first game. Execute them, and that's it. They're dead.
    • There is a much simpler way to restart the game, however. When you die, refresh the page and quickly click on the Kongregate before starting the game.
    • It may seem like there are a number of death sequences, but actually, the death scenes remain fairly static - the only thing that changes is the location and circumstances of your demise (which are sometimes alluded to by the paramedics). Otherwise, it's precisely the same sequence... unless you beat the game, in which case you're arrested for killing Sir Giant Pink Lizard (and your character says "Don't tase me bro!", no less), and the Goomba expies have a funeral for him. See this blog entry [dead link] for some screenshots.
  • Mega Man X 3 is notable for that. If you play as Zero and Zero dies, that's it, he's DEAD FOREVER AND YOU CAN'T USE IT ANYMOAR!! ...actually he is just "really badly damaged and therefore can't help you anymore", but the idea is still there.
    • But you can cheat him back pretty easily: Get your new password, enter it in, then keep adding 1 to the last digit and pressing start. Eventually you'll get one that works where Zero's back.
  • In the NES Star Wars game Luke can collect up to 7 extra lives (as well as having 10 continues), but if either Han or Leia dies they're gone for good unless you have Obi-Wan in your party, since he can use the Force to revive them, but only about 7 times total.
  • Survival Mode in Prince of Persia Classic.

Real Time Strategy

  • Many Real Time Strategy games have a kind of Final Death in place, with units that happen to die in a battle needing to be replaced. Age of Empires II could have special named units die and simply be lost, although this only happens to minor, one time characters (except during some campaigns, which require characters such as Joan of Arc, Attila the Hun and El Cid to stay alive during the scenario). The Total War series, while turn based, has your family members, which can die in battle, assassination, naval battle, plague, riots, disasters, and simply old age. Of course, new family members are born every few turns, but if you lose them all, you lose the game.
    • Lords Of The Realm 3 is also notable, and along those lines. Aside from a few infinite Red Shirts, all of your knights are actually drawn from a finite pool specific to the scenario you're playing. Knights are often able to retreat safely, rarely die even if felled, and high-tier or Hero Unit knights have a "luck" attribute that makes them even less likely to die in battle. However, if the knights are killed, or are captured and deliberately executed (as opposed to being honorably ransomed), they're dead for good. Killing certain knights is a victory condition in some scenarios.
  • In Real Time Strategy game Sacrifice, souls are essential for monster-summoning and, for certain sides, resurrection. Unfortunately the battlegrounds are giant floating islands, and if a monster falls off the edge, its soul(s) are lost forever. One particularly nasty spell cuts the ground out from under their feet. Conversely, one side's monsters can use friendly souls to fuel powerful attacks and upgrades.
  • In the multi-platform game Cannon Fodder, all of your troops only had one life. The more you killed, the more populated your graveyard would be with gravestones. Although the basic idea was that you'd be sending a few hundred troops to their deaths, it still stung when your current Lt. or General "Witty Name" got taken out by a spear trap.
  • In Warhammer Dark Omen you are given a set number of regiments at certain points: Have one wiped out (as opposed to routed) and it's gone for good. (especially annoying with your Squishy Wizards) even worse, regiments that have suffered casualties will have to buy replacements, and cash is VERY scarce.
  • Warlords Battlecry 2 has an "Ironman" mode which deletes the save profile if the players hero dies. (Essentially the same as the Diablo example above)
  • Some bosses in Patapon can perma-kill your soldiers.


  • Closer to it are Roguelike games, such as Nethack and Angband: If your character dies (and you can be very sure that they will), your saved game is erased. Some versions of these games try to detect—and reject—copies of the deleted save file, but most simply put in finger-wagging messages.
    • The presense of Final Death makes roguelike games stressful, of course, but it can also make them more exciting: when the Ancient Blue Wyrm can actually kill your character off for real, the thrill of actually defeating it with a single HP left is indescribable.

Role Playing Game

  • The "Gone" status from the classic Wizardry is just that: You tried twice to resurrect someone, and it didn't work.
  • In most Suikoden games, someone's squad falling in a war can randomly result in either Non-Lethal KO or Final Death.
  • In the Fallout series, dead is dead when it comes to your companions (though as a player you can reload if you die). In this first game, this was baad news, thanks to your companions having no survival instinct whatsoever and they couldn't equip any armour. It's possible, but extremely difficult, to beat the game with companions—most can be left outside dangerous areas but keeping Dogmeat alive is very challenging.
    • The 'Ironman' mode in Tactics makes reloading even more costly, as you can only save while in a BoS bunker. If a companion dies you have to make a hard choice whether to accept it as Final or roll back all progress before even setting out on the trip. If your main character dies, you don't even have that option.
    • New Vegas has ally permadeth only in "Hardcore" mode.
  • The RPG Vampire: The Masquerade actually uses the term "Final Death" as the only death that a vampire will not come back from. This is usually death by "Aggravated Damage"—fire, sunlight, or getting mauled by another variety of supernatural critter.
  • In Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, whether or not party members can die the final death is configured by difficulty. On the "easy" and "normal" settings, dead characters can always be resurrected; on "core" and "hard" it's possible for them to be permanently killed if enough damage is done to them in one turn, or if an instant death spell is cast on them. As an exception to this, being the target of a successful disintegration effect or being petrified and then having the statue damaged will always kill a character completely dead, but petrification is at least reversible by applying a Stone to Flesh effect on the statue. And as an exception to all of this, having the protagonist killed or Imprisoned is an instant game over, even if you could have technically "gotten better" at the hands of your party members if it had been a tabletop game.
    • You own un-resurrectability is justified: Children of Bhaal instantly turn to dust upon death, their essence going towards fueling the resurrection of the dead god, as seen in BG 1's final cinematic with Sarevok. This still leaves a few strange issues, such as why it doesn't happen to Imoen as well, but those are probably just engine limitations.
    • Also, if your love interest gets petrified or imprisoned in the second game, the romance is considered broken even if you do restore them afterwards. Guess they are angry about you letting this happen to them... :-)
      • From a gameplay standpoint, because petrification technically isn't killing them, but would present a problem if you have to walk to another area(possibly to get a Stone to Flesh scroll) with the petrified party member unable to move, it's considered equivalent to kicking them out of the party (which would not be good for any relationship between adventurers).
    • The first game has a particularly nasty variant towards the end. If you get captured by Angelo (one of Sarevok's henchmen), there is a random chance that he will murder one of your party members. That character is then considered Killed Off for Real.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, if you die you're Dead For Real (unless you have a companion with a resurrection scroll handy). And you get to see your own grave.
  • In Uplink, if you are caught doing any hacking activities, you will receive a warning or, depending on the severity, your account will be terminated. This means entering the game presents you with a simple "you hacked __ systems, but now you are dead" screen. Most importantly, there are no in-game instructions for covering your tracks.
    • In the demo there was only one way to get arrested: refuse to pay your fines and you'll get convicted. This is somewhat humorous since hacking into your ultimate employers computers (the titular Uplink corporation) would only get you disavowed. This is probably why it got taken out, along with the clash with the new identity never culpable theme.
  • Anyone, save Welkin, Alicia, Rosie and Largo (who are all main characters and therefore have Plot Armor) in Valkyria Chronicles will die for good if you don't get a medic to help them within three turns of losing the most important HP (or if the enemy gets to them first). Even during skirmish missions and side-story battles, they can still be killed permanently if you're not careful.
  • In Sweet Home, you have five party members at the start of the game, and the ones that die stay dead. The ending you get depends on how many of them are still alive at the end of the game.
    • To clarify, there were no reviving party member tricks, and only a limited number of inventory healing items throughout the game and one minor cleric.
      • And said cleric only healed status effects, not health.
  • Unusually for what's essentially a Mons series, Geneforge does this with any and all slain party members in games 1, 2, 4 and 5. 3 has your sidekicks "run off screaming" when badly wounded, allowing you to recruit them again, but still has your creations die permanently.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years has this for only a handful of characters. During Edge's Tale, you get four mini-missions with his Ninja in training, with each ninja going solo. Whereas in the rest of the game you get a Game Over if the party's wiped out, in this case, if a ninja dies on his or her mission, the game just moves onto the next one, and you never get that dead ninja back.
  • In Mass Effect, if Wrex, Kaidan, or Ashley dies in Virmire, they stay dead in Mass Effect 2, they don't come back as a burn victim, they don't come back as a badass, they stay dead. And anyone who dies in Mass Effect 2 stays dead, and won't come back in Mass Effect 3. One of the endings even has Shepard dying, and if Shepard dies, you can't import that save for ME3. All of the above fall somewhere between this trope and Plotline Death, since all deaths take place in cutscenes integral to the plot, but you can still affect some of them thanks to the non-linear story (though either Ashley or Kaidan must die on Virmire).
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is partly merciful: just letting an ally fall in combat won't finish them off. Sacrificing their life through dark magic to increase your power? That means Final Death. (Naturally, you get the best ending through refusing to kill off any of them.)
  • In Unlimited Adventures (based on Dungeons & Dragons above), a character destroyed with the Destruction spell will simply cease to exist - he cannot be resurrected, since there's no corpse to resurrect. Same happens if a character falls in battle and the other characters flee; all those left behind will disappear from the party. There are also other ways.
  • The Nuzlocke Pokémon runs work like this; if one of your Pokémon faints during a battle, it is considered "dead" and can never be used again. It must either be released or permanently placed in a PC box.
  • The Flying Men in EarthBound.
  • The Witcher 2 has this for you on insane difficulty. If Geralt dies, all your saves from that playthrough are rendered inaccessible and you must start over.

Shoot Em Up

  • The Escape Velocity series has a checkbox marked "Strict" for character creation that will delete your character file if you die ingame. While you can eject from a blasted ship if you bought pods, you'll lose your current identity and fail all of your missions.
  • In the original Star Fox, if any of your wingmen get shot down, that's it; they're brown bread, toast, worm food, and thou must continue the game without them. Averted in the sequels, where they just get a Non-Lethal KO and are temporarily grounded for repairs.

Simulation Game

  • In one of the most expensive home games ever made, Steel Battalion, your character will be killed and your profile erased if your Vertical Tank (Mecha) is destroyed and you fail to use the eject button on the massive controller included.
  • The Wing Commander series has flip-flopped on this a bit. In WC1, all wingmen could be killed with relative ease, meaning that you had to fly the rest of the system's missions solo. In WC2, all wingmen played a bigger role in the plot, and would automatically eject if their ship took lethal damage. Starting with WC3, wingmen would start out automatically ejecting, but after a certain point (depending on the wingman in question), each would start to be flagged as "at risk", and would no longer eject in time
  • In the Monster Rancher games, your monsters will eventually die of old age if you don't freeze or combine them.
  • Creatures series embodies this - a creature, be it Norn, Grendel or Ettin, that dies, dies for good. There are ways to stall death indefinitely but once a creature dies, there is no way to reverse it. The game uses a save system that prevents simply reloading the game and injecting a ton of various chemicals in the creature's system to stall death.
  • In Shadow President, depending on the actions that you take throughout the game, your advisors may resign due to policy disagreements, be assassinated, or be caught up in a scandal. These advisors do not come back, making your job as President very difficult, as they're able to provide many of the facts behind other countries including military capabilities, population statistics, and financial standings.

Sports Game

  • In a non-death example, the latest Punch-Out!! revamp has a "Mac's Last Stand" mode. Basically, lose three matches, and Mac quits. Which means you can never play Career Mode again from your profile.

Stealth Based Game

  • The PSP game Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops allows you to recruit your own allies and send them into battle. If these allies die, they cannot be brought back. Amusingly enough, while random allies can end up gone for good if they end up on the wrong end of too many bullets, any character who can't be renamed simply passes out and you get him/her back later. This obviously applies to the main character, Naked Snake, but extremely minor side character Jonathan is also invincible, even though he gets one Cutscene and then stops being in the plot until his meaningless and accidental Plotline Death, three quarters of the game later....
    • This is made more annoying by the fact that soldiers can die for good even with full LIFE - if they run too hard for too long without eating anything, their Stamina empties and they pass out - forever.
  • And speaking of Metal Gear: Metal Gear Solid includes the infamous torture scene, where Ocelot goes out of his way to warn Snake that there are no continues, and if Snake can't stand the torture and kicks the bucket, the game is over. Of course, this is all there to give players an incentive to submit to Ocelot's torture if they can't keep up (And don't even think about using auto-fire, or he'll know!), when the ending of the game depends on how well the player does at the torture scene.
  • In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, novice Assassins that die are gone for good and you need to recruit a replacement.

Survival Horror

  • The relatively unknown PSX game Hell Night had you fleeing through an Absurdly Spacious Sewer with a partner. If the monster caught up with you, your partner would die permanently and instantly. You'd be on your own until you found the next one.
  • Obs Cure gives your four (later five) characters to play as. If any of them dies, the game continues on without them, until everyone has been killed. This is the only way that a character can die; there are no Plotline Deaths within the main cast, and you can theoretically finish the game with everybody still alive (indeed, this is the only way to get the good ending). The sequel removes this system, instead opting for Plotline Deaths.

Third Person Shooter

  • In the first Star Wars Battlefront game, when using a Jedi Hero NPC, he respawns whenever he's killed... until your troop levels drop below a certain amount, at which point he'll simply fall down dead and stay that way.

Turn Based Strategy

  • In Tactics Ogre, deaths are permanent, unless the character is resurrected during the battle in which they died. Note that the resurrection spell is not found until late-game and is very expensive MP-wise. Few alternatives exist, and those are found even later.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics had characters reduced to 0 HP have Non-Lethal KO only for a limited time within the battle. If they were not healed and the battle wasn't finished within a certain number of rounds, they're gone for good.
    • Various games in the Final Fantasy series have stages called "Jagds," which always lack some vital mechanic of the game. In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance the mechanic in question is the magical law system that governs combat and keeps people from dying of their injuries. Any allies who have 0 HP at the end of a fight in a Jagd will die. (This is the only method by which Montblanc can be removed from your party---Ezel will replace him in later scenes.)
  • In the Fire Emblem series, a slain character is gone for the duration of the game. Plot important characters are considered to have sustained a crippling injury so that they can never fight again (allowing them to interact with other characters during cutscenes), while lesser characters just simply die. (The main character's death will send you straight to game over.)
    • Both NES entries allow for limited resurrection: The first allows one character to be brought back near the ending of the game with the Aum staff, while in Fire Emblem Gaiden dead characters can be revived if you travel to a resurrection spring (which are often difficult to reach, involving multiple encounters). A dead leader still ends the game.
    • The Aum staff returned in Fire Emblem: Mystery Of The Emblem: Book 1 and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, both of these being remakes of the original game. It is not usable in Fire Emblem: Mystery Of The Emblem: Book 2 however.
    • In the fourth game, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the Valkyrie Staff can revive one dead party member, similar to the Aum staff. The upside is that it can be repaired and used again. Like all holy weapons however, it requires 30,000 gold to repair, and unlike the rest of the holy weapons which can be partially repaired for a fraction of the price, the staff having only one use requires the whole amount be paid.
    • In Fire Emblem: Sword of Flame, any character who is defeated during the first ten chapters will return later in the game. This is because the first ten chapters are basically a glorified tutorial.
    • Characters who die in a chapter can be brought back by restarting the chapter of course, but the game (some of them, at least) will keep track of how many times each character died in battle, just to remind you how much you suck.
    • The DS version of Mystery of the Emblem has a "Casual Mode" to turn off permadeath. Characters who die in battle will be usable again for the next battle.
  • Critical Mass, a game originally created in the mid-90s, would delete your file if you died without ejecting, or your pod was destroyed. And, given the nature of your AI allies to shoot you as much as the enemy, it has become the main competition on the forum to see how many missions you can survive. (Don't worry about finishing, it's an Endless Game.)
  • Warhammer 40000 Chaos Gate- once a Marine is dead, he's dead. You only have limited Terminators too and can't move them over.
  • Unlike every other game in the series, the original Super Robot Wars on the Game Boy has permadeath. It can get away with it because it has the bare minimum of plot, compared to the series' modern trend of mixing tons of plots together.

Turn Based Tactics

  • In Jagged Alliance 2, ALL deaths are final. This ranges from a bullet, to a knife in the gut, to, in one frustrating example, an unlucky swimming skill check. Down to Davy Jones' locker, Ira!
  • In the X-COM series you can hire recruits cheaply and easily. Usually most of them will suffer perma deaths before they're experienced enough to stop being One Hit Point Wonders who graduated at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
  • While not "turn-based", Ogre Battle is tactical, and sometimes, if a human dies, they permanently change class into an angel or a zombie. The angel's nice, but only happens to female characters who were extremely lawful in life. The zombie class can happen to any human, and is exceptionally spoony. (However, they could upgrade to a passable skeleton, only to turn into an even spoonier ghost.) In some games, there was a zombie dragon for dragons.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • Likewise, Survival Crisis Z has Hardcore mode, where player death is final. Real Men play Hardcore.
    • Your allies will also die permanently if they get bitten too many times, even on normal.
  • In Dead Rising, all characters suffer from this. (Of course, if Frank dies, you get game over.)
  • Minecraft has Hardcore mode where you are stuck on Hard difficulty and dying means your save for that world gets erased from your computer!. Not recommended for players who want to build and/or explore.
    • Terraria, the "Minecraft if it were 2-d and more combat based" game, has hardcore difficulty. If you die, the character you made is gone. As multiple characters can go through your worlds, it's not a total loss if you stored items regularly. You still lose that inventory and HP/MP gained on the character.
    • Subnautica also has a hardcore difficulty setting where if you die, your progress is gone. To add some more peril, you are no longer informed if you're running low on oxygen.

Non-video game examples

Anime and Manga

  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke and his friends are forced to play in an actualized version of a video game titled "Goblin City" against a young kid known only as the Gamemaster. The Gamemaster takes the role of the game's final boss the Goblin King, not realizing that the Goblin King is killed off after the player completes the game, whereas the player can revive as many times as he wants since the game has unlimited continues. As a result, the Gamemaster dies for real when Kurama completes the final stage.

Fan Works

  • A particular Pokémon horror story features Mew doing this to all its trainer's pokémon.
  • This is the underlying point of the Nuzlocke challenge in Pokémon games. The base rules are simple: one can only attempt to capture the first Pokémon they encounter in any given route, and anyone that faints is considered dead and must be released or placed in a PC box indefintely at the next opportunity to do so.[1] As this makes any Pokémon captured very difficult to replace, it becomes surprisingly heartbreaking whenever one of them do faint, whether as a result of a random Critical Hit or, worse, because of your own mistakes. I believe this is all happening for a reason.
  • Draco Malfoy, acting on Voldemort's orders, attempts to destroy the ghost of Usagi Tsukino with a shard of stone imbued with the power of Death in the Harry Potter/Sailor Moon/Ranma ½ crossover fic The Girl Who Loved. He doesn't succeed, although he does destroy Nearly-Headless Nick and Peeves; in fact, his attempt ultimately results in Usagi's resurrection.


  • In Coco when a spirit is completely forgotten in the Land of the Living, they vanish completely in the Land of the Dead. It's even called the Final Death. Word of God says they end up in a more permanent afterlife.


  • The novel Sword Art Online is about the world's first Virtual Reality MMORPG in which the creator tries to increase its realism by taking out magic and also adding the fact that if you die in game, your headset will microwave your brain making death final. The story ends with about 4000 people dying.
  • Used in Otherland in a fictional MMORPG, where character death is permanent. After losing his high-level character due to the interference of the titular network, Orlando's driving goal is to find out why.

Tabletop Games

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the Final Death is that of old age. Any sentient creature, even if Deader Than Dead, can be brought back by a true resurrection spell, unless dead of old age. Certain spells such as trap the soul can prevent resurrection at the GM's discretion, but using a wish to bring someone back to life can trump even that. Just make sure the wish isn't being granted by a Jackass Genie...
    • There are ways around even that. An Elan (no relation) has no maximum age. The Green Star Adept Prestige Class confers agelessness, although it otherwise isn't that good. And depending on the DM, "Reincarnate" might be interpreted as a loophole, as it explicitly creates a young body.
    • Inversely, there are also ways of making sure someone stays out of the way forever, too. Certain spell effects or monster special attacks have a 50% chance of essentially destroying the soul of the victim as well, meaning that there's nothing to resurrect. Also, the spells for resurrection require the soul being brought back is willing so if they're happy being dead, then dead they shall stay, and finally, there are alternate rules for the DM who wants death to be a wee bit more enduring then a nap in the dirt.
    • In the splatbook Tyrants of Nine Hells states that Lawful Evil souls end up as sickly, pathetic soul-maggots in the eponymous place. The devils can then legally torture those soul-maggots to extract some evil divine-energy from them. And after nothing is left, the maggot can be crushed for a last drip of power, this act remove said soul from the multiverse, forever.
    • In 4th Edition, resurrection is handled as the person in question having an "unfinished destiny" and being able to come back. Thus, if the Game Master deems an NPC's death as "important to the plot", then he won't be able to be brought back. PCs can always be brought back by resurrection spells, though(unless the GM is a dick).
  • In GURPS this occurs when the body is completely destroyed; for a normal (HP 10) person this requires taking 110 points of damage. Any other sort of death can be fixed by sufficiently powerful magic while only a god can fix that much destruction.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, vampires have two stages of death: Torpor, where the vampire is basically sleeping for an extended period of time (up to centuries, in a few cases), and Final Death, which usually involves fire, explosives, or something equally severe.
  • You get three tries to bring someone back with the only resurrection spell in Rifts. It's very high-level. If you fail all three times (you have a 45% chance to succeed), one other mage may make three attempts. If the other mage fails thrice, the dead person is gone.
  • Being devoured in the board game Arkham Horror.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • TV example, sort of: Captain N could survive death in the video game world a few times, but if his "extra lives" ran out, he'd "go to the big game-over in the sky" (Also a Never Say "Die").
  • The Avatar spirit itself would suffer this if the current incarnation of the Avatar is ever killed while in the Avatar state. Otherwise it would just reincarnate into the next part of the cycle after his/her death.
  • In Code Lyoko, most of the heroes would not die if they were killed in Lyoko, losing all their life points would cause them to rematerialize in the real world. Aelita, however, was not so lucky for most of the show's run. Until season 4, she would cease to exist if it had happened to her, the reason the others tended to act as a Hero Secret Service detail for Aelita.

Real Life

  1. It's also considered good practice to nickname everyone you successfully acquire. Any additional rules are up to the player, should they choose to add them.