History CombatPragmatist / Literature

25th Aug '16 9:42:00 AM NNinja
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* This is practically M.O. of [[Franchise/TheWitcher The Witchers]]. In addition to genetic enhancements and TrainingFromHell they use simple spells designed for quick use in combat with just a simple hand gesture and potions that improve their senses and capabilities. During training one of the witchers states that there is no such thing as "fair fight" and every advantage is to be used to win.
25th Aug '16 7:15:09 AM StFan
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-->-- ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant: Playing With Fire''

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-->-- ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant: Playing With with Fire''



* ''Literature/BlackCompany'', a mercenary force in the series of the same name by Creator/GlenCook, make a living, and survive in the face of enormous odds, by fighting dirty and using every resource available to them in order to make themselves look like the baddest motherfuckers around. When it works, things look good for the Company. When it doesn't, that's when the fun begins.

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* ''Literature/BlackCompany'', ''Literature/TheBlackCompany'', a mercenary force in the series of the same name by Creator/GlenCook, make a living, and survive in the face of enormous odds, by fighting dirty and using every resource available to them in order to make themselves look like the baddest motherfuckers around. When it works, things look good for the Company. When it doesn't, that's when the fun begins.
14th Aug '16 12:00:26 AM Euodiachloris
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** The mercenary Bronn regularly uses unchivalrous tactics to win fights. When championing Tyrion in a trial by combat, he uses light armor and evades his heavily armored knight adversary until the man is exhausted. The knights in attendance find these tactics in very poor taste.
** When [[spoiler: Cersei]] orders [[spoiler: Bronn]] to be killed, the man who does it knows that he would be no match for such an experienced killer in a sword fight. Consequently he challenges [[spoiler: Bronn]] to a joust on horseback (thinking that he would lose because he would have no experience of jousting,) and plans to kill him while he's lying stunned on the ground. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, Bronn proves himself to be a better Combat Pragmatist than him; [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome he aims for his horse rather than him, and kills him while he's lying stunned on the ground]].]]

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** The mercenary Bronn mercenary, Bronn, regularly uses unchivalrous tactics to win fights. When championing Tyrion in a trial by combat, he uses light armor and evades his heavily armored knight adversary until the man is exhausted. The knights in attendance find these tactics in very poor taste.
** When [[spoiler: Cersei]] orders [[spoiler: Bronn]] to be killed, the man who does it knows Balman Byrch realises that he would be no match for such an experienced killer in a sword fight. Consequently he challenges [[spoiler: Bronn]] to a joust on horseback (thinking that he the ex-sellsword would lose because he would have no experience of jousting,) and plans to kill him while he's lying stunned on the ground. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, Bronn proves himself to be a better Combat Pragmatist than him; Balman; [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome he Bronn aims for his horse rather than him, Balman himself both more quickly and accurately than the older knight could try pulling the same tactic, and kills him while he's lying stunned on the ground]].]]



** Ser Duncan the Tall from the ''Literature/TalesOfDunkAndEgg'' prequel novellas starts out as little more than an upstarted street urchin. He is a terrible jouster, and is handily defeated in a sword duel by a proper knight. However, when the battle descends into an unarmed brawl, Dunk easily pins his opponent and beats him senseless.

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** Ser Duncan the Tall from the ''Literature/TalesOfDunkAndEgg'' prequel novellas starts out as little more than an upstarted street urchin. He is a terrible jouster, and is handily defeated in a sword duel by a proper knight. However, when the battle descends into an unarmed brawl, Dunk easily pins his opponent and beats him senseless.senseless, partially using his opponent's own shield.
** Tyrion Lannister ''has'' to be as pragmatic as humanly possible when any confrontation turns physical, simply because pretty much everybody outweighs and outreaches him. He also happens to use his history of reading in a fight: when fighting with a party of the Vale Mountain Clans, he breaks out Dunk's "if in doubt, mash them with a shield" tactic to kill. There's little doubt about the source for that.
12th Aug '16 12:29:43 AM PaulA
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* Simon Illyan, Miles's 50-something boss in the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', is a fairly uptight but ReasonableAuthorityFigure. He doesn't actually get his hands dirty, he has underlings for that. When his artificial memory chip is sabotaged, and his underlings have to get him into medical treatment, though, he fights back... and he fights ''dirty''. No one knew, because no one had ever seen him fight before.
** In ''Ethan of Athos'', Miles' protege, Elli Quinn, has to rescue a hostage, with inadequate forces and without collateral damage.
--->She paced back and forth like a frenzied tigress. "I'm being stampeded. I know I am. ... Q.E.D.—Quinn Eats Dirt. Gods. Don't panic, Quinn. What would Admiral Naismith do in the same situation?" She stood still, facing the wall.\\\
Ethan envisioned diving Dendarii starfighters, waves of space-armored assault troops, ominous lumbering high-energy weapons platforms jockeying for position.\\\

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* Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'':
**
Simon Illyan, Miles's 50-something boss in the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', boss, is a fairly uptight but ReasonableAuthorityFigure. He doesn't actually get his hands dirty, he has underlings for that. When However, when his artificial memory chip is sabotaged, sabotaged in ''Literature/{{Memory}}'', and his underlings have to get him into medical treatment, though, he fights back... and he fights ''dirty''. No one knew, because no one had ever seen him fight before.
** In ''Ethan of Athos'', ''Literature/EthanOfAthos'', Miles' protege, Elli Quinn, has to rescue a hostage, with inadequate forces and without collateral damage.
--->She paced back and forth like a frenzied tigress. "I'm being stampeded. I know I am. ... Q.E.D.—Quinn Eats Dirt. Gods. Don't panic, Quinn. What would Admiral Naismith do in the same situation?" She stood still, facing the wall.\\\
\\
Ethan envisioned diving Dendarii starfighters, waves of space-armored assault troops, ominous lumbering high-energy weapons platforms jockeying for position.\\\\\



:: ... So she files a false report of a new infectious disease.
* LoisMcMasterBujold's other series has Cazaril, an experienced soldier who is a decent swordsman but notes on many occasions that swordfighting is not nearly as useful as dirty fighting, which he is also good at.
--> Cazaril had to admit, the battlefields he'd been on had more resemblance to the butcher's yard than the dueling ring. But if Dy Sanda knew the desperate brutal tricks that kept a man alive on the battlefield, he'd not taught them to Teidez.\\
(also)\\
"I don't duel, boy. I kill as a soldier kills, which is as a butcher kills, as quickly, efficiently, and with as little risk to myself as I can arrange. If I decide you die, you will die when I choose, Where I choose, by what means I choose, and you will never see the blow coming."

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:: ...::: ... So she files a false report of a new infectious disease.
* LoisMcMasterBujold's other series Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion'' has Cazaril, an experienced soldier who is a decent swordsman but notes on many occasions that swordfighting is not nearly as useful as dirty fighting, which he is also good at.
--> Cazaril **
--->Cazaril
had to admit, the battlefields he'd been on had more resemblance to the butcher's yard than the dueling ring. But if Dy Sanda knew the desperate brutal tricks that kept a man alive on the battlefield, he'd not taught them to Teidez.\\
(also)\\
"I
Teidez.
**
--->"I
don't duel, boy. I kill as a soldier kills, which is as a butcher kills, as quickly, efficiently, and with as little risk to myself as I can arrange. If I decide you die, you will die when I choose, Where I choose, by what means I choose, and you will never see the blow coming."
21st Jul '16 10:05:08 AM Morgenthaler
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** The DangerouslyGenreSavvy vampire Mavra knows she would at the very least have trouble taking on Harry in a magical slugfest, so instead she uses hostages, land mines, and minions with flamethrowers. [[spoiler:This last almost kills him. She figured out his shield only blocks physical force, not heat, so she pins him in place and keeps up with the fire until his hand is charred black. The only reason he regains the use of that hand is the wizard HealingFactor, and even then it takes years.]]

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** The DangerouslyGenreSavvy vampire Mavra knows she would at the very least have trouble taking on Harry in a magical slugfest, so instead she uses hostages, land mines, and minions with flamethrowers. [[spoiler:This last almost kills him. She figured out his shield only blocks physical force, not heat, so she pins him in place and keeps up with the fire until his hand is charred black. The only reason he regains the use of that hand is the wizard HealingFactor, and even then it takes years.]]
7th Jul '16 2:46:32 PM margdean56
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--->'' Two Grins was the dirtiest fighter Vimes had ever met. Anything was a weapon, anywhere was a target. Two Grins was a kind of genius in that limited area. [[ImprovisedWeapon He could see the weapon in anything]] - a wall, a cloth, a piece of fruit. . . He wasn't even a big man. He was small and wiry. But he liked fighting big men, [[ManBitesMan on the basis that there was more of them to bite.]] ''

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--->'' Two Grins was the dirtiest fighter Vimes had ever met. Anything was a weapon, anywhere was a target. Two Grins was a kind of genius in that limited area. [[ImprovisedWeapon He could see the weapon in anything]] - -- a wall, a cloth, a piece of fruit. . . He wasn't even a big man. He was small and wiry. But he liked fighting big men, [[ManBitesMan on the basis that there was more of them to bite.]] ''



*** Later on in the same book, one of the local lords shows off his Samurai by having him throw a handkerchief into the air, and slicing it cleanly in half. Cohen then throws ''his'' handkerchief into the air...and then chops off the Samurai's head as he's watching the handkerchief.
** It's implied in the City Watch novels, that in the street fights of Anhk-Morpork being able to use your hands is already considered posh.
** Vimes' fighting style is contrasted with that of the Marquis of Fantailler, a send-up of the Marquis de Queensbury who "wrote a set of rules for what he termed 'the noble art of fisticuffs,' which mostly consisted of a list of places where people weren't allowed to hit him. Many people were impressed with his work and later stood with noble chest out-thrust and fists balled in a spirit of manly aggression against people who hadn't read the Marquis's book but did know how to knock people senseless with a chair." A surprising number of those people's last words were something along the lines of "Stuff the bloody Marquis of Fantail-"
*** Vimes' opinion on Fantallier seems to have softened slightly by the time of ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'', at least to the extent where he's prepared to offer the use of the rules when challenged to a duel. Alternately, he's offering to go easy on the poor fellow by only hitting him in certain defined placed. When they're refused, he brings this trope out ''in spades''. "Should've accepted Fantallier", indeed.

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*** Later on in the same book, one of the local lords shows off his Samurai by having him throw a handkerchief into the air, and slicing slice it cleanly in half. Cohen then throws ''his'' handkerchief into the air...and then chops off the Samurai's head as he's watching the handkerchief.
** It's implied in the City Watch novels, that in the street fights of Anhk-Morpork Ankh-Morpork being able to use your hands is already considered posh.
** Vimes' fighting style is contrasted with that of the Marquis of Fantailler, a send-up of the Marquis de Queensbury who "wrote a set of rules for what he termed 'the noble art of fisticuffs,' which mostly consisted of a list of places where people weren't allowed to hit him. Many people were impressed with his work and later stood with noble chest out-thrust and fists balled in a spirit of manly aggression against people who hadn't read the Marquis's book but did know how to knock people senseless with a chair." A surprising number of those people's last words were something along the lines of "Stuff the bloody Marquis of Fantail-"
Fantail--"
*** Vimes' opinion on Fantallier Fantailler seems to have softened slightly by the time of ''Discworld/{{Snuff}}'', at least to the extent where he's prepared to offer the use of the rules when challenged to a duel. Alternately, he's offering to go easy on the poor fellow by only hitting him in certain defined placed.places. When they're refused, he brings this trope out ''in spades''. "Should've accepted Fantallier", Fantailler", indeed.



*** [[spoiler:The titular sourcerer has to be defeated and Rincewind is the only one capable of following the sourcerer through a portal. The sourcerer is just a kid that has faced lots of wizards by following orders from his father, cointained in his staff, but he only does it because they are dangerous. Cue Rincewind, inept wizzard and incapable of hurting a fly (not for lack of trying, mind you), attempting to attack the staff with half a brick in a sock. After asking if it's an magic sock or if this is a trick, the boy is so convinced that Rincewind is completely harmless that he refuses to follow his father's orders for the first time in his life. Technically, fighting dirty '''did''' save Rincewind's life, just not as somebody would expect it to work.]]

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*** [[spoiler:The titular sourcerer has to be defeated and Rincewind is the only one capable of following the sourcerer through a portal. The sourcerer is just a kid that has faced lots of wizards by following orders from his father, cointained contained in his staff, but he only does it because they are dangerous. Cue Rincewind, inept wizzard and incapable of hurting a fly (not for lack of trying, mind you), attempting to attack the staff with half a brick in a sock. After asking if it's an a magic sock or if this is a trick, the boy is so convinced that Rincewind is completely harmless that he refuses to follow his father's orders for the first time in his life. Technically, fighting dirty '''did''' save Rincewind's life, just not as somebody would expect it to work.]]



** The Nac Mac Feegles are this too a tee, partly because they're fairies (of the Scottish type, ie, neglectfully dangerous at best, ranging on down to pure evil) by origin, and partly because when you're six inches high, fighting 'fair' is actually rather difficult all around. The fact that they view the Disc as a sort of heaven (ie, having been good in the past life they can let themselves go in this one) probably helps as well.
** 71 Hour Ahmed from ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' is likewise although it's fully justified when you're chasing desperate criminals into the far reaches of desert land by yourself. 71 Hour Ahmed is a MeaningfulNickname. 72 hours (ie 3 days) is the honorific [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Klatchian]] period of time you ''have'' to wait before you would attack your guests, or hosts. Anybody you meet in the desert? Is either your guest or your host. Ahmed is a NotSoDifferent counterpart to Samuel Vimes. He's a copper. Vimes' beat is Ahnk-Morpork. Ahmed's beat is all of the desert of Klatchistan. He found a particularly bad sort of criminal after a heinous crime, and... Well, you can extrapolate with insufficient data.

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** The Nac Mac Feegles are this too to a tee, partly because they're fairies (of the Scottish type, ie, i.e., neglectfully dangerous at best, ranging on down to pure evil) by origin, and partly because when you're six inches high, fighting 'fair' is actually rather difficult all around. The fact that they view the Disc as a sort of heaven (ie, (i.e., having been good in the past life they can let themselves go in this one) probably helps as well.
** 71 Hour Ahmed from ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' is likewise although it's fully justified when you're chasing desperate criminals into the far reaches of desert land by yourself. 71 Hour Ahmed is a MeaningfulNickname. 72 hours (ie 3 days) is the honorific [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Klatchian]] period of time you ''have'' to wait before you would attack your guests, or hosts. Anybody you meet in the desert? Is either your guest or your host. Ahmed is a NotSoDifferent counterpart to Samuel Vimes. He's a copper. Vimes' beat is Ahnk-Morpork.Ankh-Morpork. Ahmed's beat is all of the desert of Klatchistan. He found a particularly bad sort of criminal after a heinous crime, and... Well, you can extrapolate with insufficient data.
23rd May '16 5:39:08 AM PaulA
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* Creator/DavidGemmell characters, by and large, tend to favour the policy that the best opponent is a dead one, and that rules that get in the way are best ignored. It's even a plot point in ''Hero in the Shadows'' when Waylander chooses to fight in a semi-honourable but still brutal duel rather than just nailing the guy with a crossbow bolt.

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* Creator/DavidGemmell characters, by and large, tend to favour the policy that the best opponent is a dead one, and that rules that get in the way are best ignored. It's even a plot point in ''Hero in the Shadows'' ''Literature/HeroInTheShadows'' when Waylander chooses to fight in a semi-honourable but still brutal duel rather than just nailing the guy with a crossbow bolt.
29th Mar '16 8:12:30 AM Chariset
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* This shows up all the time in Creator/MercedesLackey's work, especially her ''[[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Velgarth]]'' novels. Fighting instructors, as opposed to fencing masters, constantly emphasise to their students that there's no such thing as "unfair" or "dishonourable" tactics in a real fight. Fencing matches and the like are a different thing entirely.

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* This shows up all the time in Creator/MercedesLackey's work, especially her ''[[Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar Velgarth]]'' ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' novels. Fighting instructors, as opposed to fencing masters, constantly emphasise to their students that there's no such thing as "unfair" or "dishonourable" tactics in a real fight. Fencing matches and the like are a different thing entirely.entirely.
** Other examples appear in her ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms'', where a bit of ruthlessness in the right cause goes a long way. (It helps that these are based on fairytales, where the protagonists almost never have the odds on their side).
17th Feb '16 1:41:38 PM ClearMadness
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* In ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'' Blacknail the goblin has absolutely no sense of fair play whatsoever. He is constantly ambushing his opponents or attacking them from behind. He also attacks unarmed men with a sword several times as well. It never even occurs to him to fight fair.
27th Jan '16 4:38:49 PM TechPriest90
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* ''Literature/GauntsGhosts:'' Considering that the main characters (The Tanith 1st and Only) are all stealth experts fighting a war against an enemy [[Main/TheUnfettered that feels no fear, pity or remorse and has no morals or qualms whatsoever]], and considers most atrocities [[Main/ReligionOfEvil as a form of worship to their Gods]], this trope comes into play a lot from both sides.
** It is explicitly mentioned, however, in ''His Last Command'' where [[Main/DrillSergeantNasty Major Rawne]] is shown fighting with no restraint whatsoever against the Archenemy. It frightens some of the men beside him - men who've probably seen the worst the Galaxy has to offer. Justified in that the Major had spent a long time as an infiltrator on a Chaos-held World named Gereon, which [[Main/IDidWhatIHadToDo necessitated him learning how to fight dirty]].
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