History Main / PlayingPossum

14th Apr '16 6:42:53 PM dRoy
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In RealLife, this is a ''war crime'' and has been since at least 1948. UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar state that those soldiers that are ''hors de combat'' ("out of the fight") a category that includes prisoners, the severely wounded, the dead and ejecting aircrew -- although not paratroopers -- [[WouldNotShootACivilian are not]] [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown to be attacked]]. Feigning that status is perfidy and highly illegal, since it would lead to the other side [[CoupDeGrace killing the genuinely wounded]] [[LeaveNoSurvivors on the spot]] (which is a war crime too) to make sure.[[note]]Modern weapons can make survivors look dead, so examination of the apparently dead is mandatory where practicable[[/note]] Of course, fictionally (and [[RealLife non-fictionally]]), you're often up against people who aren't signatories to the Geneva Conventions, or the instigator themselves is not protected under them due to [[TheSpook not belonging to any 'official' government]] ...

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In RealLife, this is a ''war crime'' and has been since at least 1948. UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar state that those soldiers that are ''hors de combat'' ("out of the fight") a category that includes prisoners, the severely wounded, the dead and ejecting aircrew -- although not paratroopers -- [[WouldNotShootACivilian are not]] [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown to be attacked]]. Feigning that status is perfidy and highly illegal, since it would lead to the other side [[CoupDeGrace killing the genuinely wounded]] [[LeaveNoSurvivors on the spot]] (which is a war crime too) to make sure.[[note]]Modern weapons can make survivors look dead, so examination of the apparently dead is mandatory where practicable[[/note]] Of course, fictionally (and [[RealLife non-fictionally]]), you're often up against people who aren't signatories to the Geneva Conventions, or the instigator themselves is not protected under them due to [[TheSpook not belonging to any 'official' government]] ...
government]]. That said, provided that you don't initiate attack, playing dead until your enemy goes away is not a war crime.
11th Mar '16 11:31:24 AM Vicky125
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[[folder:Western Animations]]
*In "WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar in "Smoterly love" there is [[spoiler: a possum, who, well, plays the possum.]]
[[/folder]]
29th Dec '15 1:20:32 PM Market43Fan
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** Similarly, during the 1988 NFL playoffs the Cincinnati Bengals faced the Seattle Seahawks in an AFC Divisional playoff game. During the game, as an attempt to stifle the Bengals' "attack huddle"; nose tackles [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aD6v7qzEmc Joe Nash and Ken Clarke feigned injuries]] a total of six times (all before 3rd down). The Seahawks tried the gambit again when the teams [[http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19901002&slug=1096157 met two years later as well]].
16th Sep '15 10:18:14 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. In "Helpless" the MonsterOfTheWeek gets round the VampireInvitation problem by wrapping himself in [[LittleDeadRidingHood Buffy's red cloak]] (which he [[GivingThemTheStrip took from Buffy earlier]]) and lying on the verandah. When Buffy's mother runs out to check on her apparently injured daughter, he takes her hostage.

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* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. In "Helpless" the MonsterOfTheWeek gets round the VampireInvitation MustBeInvited problem by wrapping himself in [[LittleDeadRidingHood Buffy's red cloak]] (which he [[GivingThemTheStrip took from Buffy earlier]]) and lying on the verandah. When Buffy's mother runs out to check on her apparently injured daughter, he takes her hostage.
16th Sep '15 5:28:01 AM Adept
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* ''Manga/InuBaka'': Lupin always try to play dead whenever he's intimidated by something (usually by much larger dogs).
11th Sep '15 1:01:09 PM Kakai
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* In ''Webcomic/{{Godslave}}'', Edith pretends to have fallen unconscious so that Turner would stop punching the walls with her and turn his attention to Anpu, whereupon she goes for the final blow.
27th Aug '15 6:58:23 PM LunaEtte
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* In ''VideoGame/RadiaSenkiReimeihen'', this takes the place of the escape command, where the entire party plays dead to trick enemies into leaving. Curiously, this can be used (and works best) before the battle has even begun, with the result that monsters leave your party untouched after the sight of them apparently gives everyone fatal heart attacks.
20th Aug '15 3:00:46 PM Someoneman
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* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', one boss, [[spoiler:King Kenji]], will exclaim that you beat him and fall down, and an option to grab the item you were fighting for appears. It's a trap and you're supposed to ignore the item, as the boss will get back up and continue fighting afterwards.
18th Aug '15 12:52:37 PM HeraldAlberich
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->Quando omni flunkus moritati.[[note]]When all else fails, play dead. [[CanisLatinicus Apparently.]][[/note]]
-->-- Motto of [[TheRedGreenShow Possum Lodge]].

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->Quando ->''"Quando omni flunkus moritati." [[note]]When all else fails, play dead. [[CanisLatinicus Apparently.]][[/note]]
]][[/note]]''
-->-- Motto of [[TheRedGreenShow [[Series/TheRedGreenShow Possum Lodge]].
Lodge]]



In RealLife, this is a ''war crime'' and has been since at least 1948. UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar state that those soldiers that are ''hors de combat'' ("out of the fight") a category that includes prisoners, the severely wounded, the dead and ejecting aircrew -- although not paratroopers -- [[WouldNotShootACivilian are not]] [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown to be attacked]]. Feigning that status is perfidy and highly illegal, since it would lead to the other side [[CoupDeGrace killing the genuinely wounded]] [[LeaveNoSurvivors on the spot]] (which is a war crime too) to make sure [[note]]Modern weapons can make survivors look dead, so examination of the apparently dead is mandatory where practicable[[/note]]. Of course, fictionally (and [[RealLife non-fictionally]]), you're often up against people who aren't signatories to the Geneva Conventions, or the instigator themselves is not protected under them due to [[TheSpook not belonging to any 'official' government]]...

to:

In RealLife, this is a ''war crime'' and has been since at least 1948. UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar state that those soldiers that are ''hors de combat'' ("out of the fight") a category that includes prisoners, the severely wounded, the dead and ejecting aircrew -- although not paratroopers -- [[WouldNotShootACivilian are not]] [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown to be attacked]]. Feigning that status is perfidy and highly illegal, since it would lead to the other side [[CoupDeGrace killing the genuinely wounded]] [[LeaveNoSurvivors on the spot]] (which is a war crime too) to make sure sure.[[note]]Modern weapons can make survivors look dead, so examination of the apparently dead is mandatory where practicable[[/note]]. practicable[[/note]] Of course, fictionally (and [[RealLife non-fictionally]]), you're often up against people who aren't signatories to the Geneva Conventions, or the instigator themselves is not protected under them due to [[TheSpook not belonging to any 'official' government]]...
government]] ...



[[folder:Anime and Manga ]]

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[[folder:Anime and Manga ]]Manga]]



* ''SamuraiChamploo'': [[spoiler:Mugen against a Shaolin trained swordsman at the end of "Lethal Lunacy". After pretending to be weakened by his opponent's chi attack, he waits for the swordsman to come close to strike the CoupDeGrace, only for Mugen to kill him with a knife built into the opposite end of his sheath.]]

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* ''SamuraiChamploo'': ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'': [[spoiler:Mugen against a Shaolin trained Shaolin-trained swordsman at the end of "Lethal Lunacy". After pretending to be weakened by his opponent's chi attack, he waits for the swordsman to come close to strike the CoupDeGrace, only for Mugen to kill him with a knife built into the opposite end of his sheath.]]



* ''{{Preacher}}'': Cassidy does this when investigating a SerialKiller's apartment. Just as he finds the corpses (and the guy whose face was cut off and nailed back upside down, he hears the police coming in and realizes he's been set up. So he grabs the first scalpel he finds, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal jabs it in his throat]] and plays dead.

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* ''{{Preacher}}'': ''ComicBook/{{Preacher}}'': Cassidy does this when investigating a SerialKiller's apartment. Just as he finds the corpses (and the guy whose face was cut off and nailed back upside down, he hears the police coming in and realizes he's been set up. So he grabs the first scalpel he finds, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal jabs it in his throat]] and plays dead.



* In ''Film/FatalAttraction'', Glen Close appears to be dead-- but wakes up and attacks Michael Douglas again.

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* In ''Film/FatalAttraction'', Glen Close Creator/GlennClose appears to be dead-- dead -- but wakes up and attacks Michael Douglas Creator/MichaelDouglas again.



* Liam Neeson's character Bryan Mills in the movie ''Film/{{Taken}}'' does this in one scene. After Mills massacres all the bad guys in the kitchen, the men standing guard outside run in to find the cause of the commotion. They see a room filled with dead bodies. Suddenly Mills begins firing from underneath a corpse.

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* Liam Neeson's Creator/LiamNeeson's character Bryan Mills in the movie ''Film/{{Taken}}'' does this in one scene. After Mills massacres all the bad guys in the kitchen, the men standing guard outside run in to find the cause of the commotion. They see a room filled with dead bodies. Suddenly Mills begins firing from underneath a corpse.



* In ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'', James Bond's first kill stops struggling a bit too quickly while being [[TheCanKickedHim drowned in a toilet]]. He also waits a bit too long to leap back up, though, allowing Bond to retrieve his gun and kill him for real.

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* In ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'', James Bond's first kill stops struggling a bit too quickly while being [[TheCanKickedHim drowned in a toilet]]. He also waits a bit too long to leap back up, though, and makes a bit too much noise doing it, allowing Bond to retrieve his gun and kill him for real.



* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture''

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* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture''''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'':



** Doc Brown did it in the [[Film/BackToTheFuture first movie]] -- at least in the new timeline.

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** Doc Brown did does it in the [[Film/BackToTheFuture first movie]] -- at least in the new timeline.



* This is used in the book ''TheLordOfTheRings: The Two Towers'', during the siege of Helm's Deep. After Aragorn and Éomer have run off a group of Uruk-hai, a dozen of them pretend to be dead and leap up on them when their backs are turned - only to have [[BigDamnHeroes Gimli pop up and cleave off two of their heads]] in a typically Dwarven display of [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome.]]

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* This is used in the book ''TheLordOfTheRings: ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings: The Two Towers'', during the siege of Helm's Deep. After Aragorn and Éomer have run off a group of Uruk-hai, a dozen of them pretend to be dead and leap up on them when their backs are turned - -- only to have [[BigDamnHeroes Gimli pop up and cleave off two of their heads]] in a typically Dwarven display of [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome.]]



* This tactic is used so often in the WW2 novels by SvenHassel that veteran soldiers never pass an enemy corpse without putting a bullet in it.

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* This tactic is used so often in the WW2 novels by SvenHassel Creator/SvenHassel that veteran soldiers never pass an enemy corpse without putting a bullet in it.



* [[spoiler: Harry]] in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. [[spoiler: He is apparently killed by Voldemort. It didn't quite work. He ended up playing possum until he could slip away unnoticed, only to confront Voldemort again and come out on top.]]
* In Creator/BernardCornwell's ''[[Literature/{{Sharpe}} Sharpe's Triumph]]'', Sharpe survives Dodd's massacre, as the SoleSurvivor, in the opening by this.

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* [[spoiler: Harry]] in ''Literature/HarryPotter''.''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows''. [[spoiler: He is apparently killed by Voldemort. It didn't doesn't quite work. He ended ends up playing possum until he could can slip away unnoticed, only to confront Voldemort again and come out on top.]]
* In Creator/BernardCornwell's ''[[Literature/{{Sharpe}} Sharpe's Triumph]]'', Sharpe survives Dodd's massacre, as the SoleSurvivor, in the opening by this.this method.



** In episode "Journey to Babel", Kirk defeats an untouchably-fast enemy ship by shutting down the Enterprise ship's power and pretending to be dead, causing the enemy ship to close in for the kill; this allows the Enterprise to disable the ship with one well-placed phaser shot.

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** In episode "Journey to Babel", Kirk defeats an untouchably-fast untouchably fast enemy ship by shutting down the Enterprise ship's power and pretending to be dead, causing the enemy ship to close in for the kill; this allows the Enterprise to disable the ship with one well-placed phaser shot.



** In "The Ultimate Computer," the M5, convinced that "murdering" men and women on the starships in the war games deserves death, deliberately [[SuicideByCop drops the Enterpise's shields to induce the other ships to destroy it]]. Kirk keeps the shields down in order to restore communications and the commander of the opposing force breaks off attack. Spock comments that this is just the type of trick that the M5 would have played, but Kirk trusted the other captain.

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** In "The Ultimate Computer," Computer", the M5, convinced that "murdering" men and women on the starships in the war games deserves death, deliberately [[SuicideByCop drops the Enterpise's shields to induce the other ships to destroy it]]. Kirk keeps the shields down in order to restore communications and the commander of the opposing force breaks off attack. Spock comments that this is just the type of trick that the M5 would have played, but Kirk trusted the other captain.



* A random, unnamed soldier does this in an episode of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', FakingTheDead in order to attempt to kill an alien. Most of the guards stationed at the entrance to a stockpile of United Kingdom nuclear weapons have all been slaughtered by the attacking alien, who has now crossed the entrance and is approaching the facility itself, when suddenly one of the soldiers lying on the ground bounds up, grabs his assault rifle, and starts gunning right into the aliens back. It fails (Damn forcefields), but still, BadAss.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E6TheInvasionOfTime The Invasion of Time]]'', one of the savage Gallifreyans, after telling Leela IWillOnlySlowYouDown.

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* A random, unnamed soldier does this in an episode of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', FakingTheDead in order to attempt to kill an alien. Most of the guards stationed at the entrance to a stockpile of United Kingdom nuclear weapons have all been slaughtered by the attacking alien, who has now crossed the entrance and is approaching the facility itself, when suddenly one of the soldiers lying on the ground bounds up, grabs his assault rifle, and starts gunning right into the aliens back. It fails (Damn (damn forcefields), but still, BadAss.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E6TheInvasionOfTime "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E6TheInvasionOfTime The Invasion of Time]]'', Time]]", one of the savage Gallifreyans, after telling Leela IWillOnlySlowYouDown.



* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': In "The Frogs and the Lobsters", Master Bowles plays dead and kills a French soldier whose uniform he needs for another rather dirty trick --DressingAsTheEnemy. He's a British guy in the Royal Navy, so we still love him. He was sent to accompany General Charette to brief Captain Pellew about their progress, but nearly everybody in the troop gets killed except him, and the General advises him to disguise himself and return back to his ship, as it is not right to die in a foreign war. In addition, the French soldier was stealing valuable things from the dead and had it coming.

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* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': In "The Frogs and the Lobsters", Master Bowles plays dead and kills a French soldier whose uniform he needs for another rather dirty trick --DressingAsTheEnemy.-- DressingAsTheEnemy. He's a British guy in the Royal Navy, so we still love him. He was sent to accompany General Charette to brief Captain Pellew about their progress, but nearly everybody in the troop gets killed except him, and the General advises him to disguise himself and return back to his ship, as it is not right to die in a foreign war. In addition, the French soldier was stealing valuable things from the dead and had it coming.



* This is a trademark trope of BretHart. He would often fake being injured far more severely than really was (usually with the leg) in order to sucker his opponents into pinning predicament. During his feud with Vince [=McMahon=] in 2010, he executes a BatmanGambit revolving around this trope to screw his ArchEnemy.

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* This is a trademark trope of BretHart.Wrestling/BretHart. He would often fake being injured far more severely than really was (usually with the leg) in order to sucker his opponents into pinning predicament. During his feud with Vince [=McMahon=] Wrestling/VinceMcMahon in 2010, he executes a BatmanGambit revolving around this trope to screw his ArchEnemy.



** It returns in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' with the Dead Ringer, which drops a fake corpse when the Spy is damaged, and makes the Spy invisible. Can be very useful to get behind and backstab an enemy, if they don't hear the Dead Ringers very loud decloaking noise.

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** It returns in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' with the Dead Ringer, which drops a fake corpse when the Spy is damaged, and makes the Spy invisible. Can be very useful to get behind and backstab an enemy, if they don't hear the Dead Ringers Ringer's very loud decloaking noise.



* Splicers start doing this regularly by the end of ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', but it's certainly a scare the first time. "We tricked you, ''monster!''"

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* Splicers start doing this regularly by the end of ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', but it's certainly a scare the first time. "We tricked you, ''monster!''"''monster!"''



* [[NoMoreHeroes Bad Girl]] will drop at random and start crying, though there are times her hands are completely off her bat, which means she's open to a Travis Touchdown spanking. If she's got one hand on her bat, approaching her is a bad idea.

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* [[NoMoreHeroes ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'': Bad Girl]] Girl will drop at random and start crying, though there are times her hands are completely off her bat, which means she's open to a Travis Touchdown spanking. If she's got one hand on her bat, approaching her is a bad idea.



* In the Future level of ''VideoGame/TimeCommando'', there are spacesuited... monkey... things that will try to do this. Remember, [[EverythingFades it ain't dead if it don't fade!]]
* In ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'', you get a phone call from your predecessor mentioning that if push comes to shove, playing dead can fool the animatronics into thinking you're an empty costume, saving you from getting stuffed into a metal-laden costume, though he doesn't think it the best idea. [[spoiler:In the event that you run out of power, though, playing possum could buy you enough time to make it to the end of your shift...key word being "''could''". If it comes to this, don't move a single muscle, or Freddy will kill you.]]

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* In the Future level of ''VideoGame/TimeCommando'', there are spacesuited... monkey...spacesuited ... monkey ... things that will try to do this. Remember, [[EverythingFades it ain't dead if it don't fade!]]
* In ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'', you get a phone call from your predecessor mentioning that if push comes to shove, playing dead can fool the animatronics into thinking you're an empty costume, saving you from getting stuffed into a metal-laden costume, though he doesn't think it the best idea. [[spoiler:In the event that you run out of power, though, playing possum could buy you enough time to make it to the end of your shift...shift ... key word being "''could''". If it comes to this, don't move a single muscle, or Freddy will kill you.]]



* Another example of TruthInTelevision - during WorldWarTwo, Japanese soldiers often played dead and ambushed US troops when they passed, or [[UngratefulBastard took advantage of corpsman willing to treat them by letting off grenades]] - a cruel move. One Marine veteran wrote of possum squads - Marines who, after a battle, were tasked with bayoneting "dead" enemy corpses.

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* Another example of TruthInTelevision - -- during WorldWarTwo, UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, Japanese and German soldiers often played dead and ambushed US troops when they passed, or [[UngratefulBastard took advantage of corpsman willing to treat them by letting off grenades]] - -- a cruel move. One Marine veteran wrote of possum squads - -- Marines who, after a battle, were tasked with bayoneting "dead" enemy corpses.



* When the State of Qi during China's [[DynastiesFromShangToQing Spring and Autumn period]] was entangled in a SuccessionCrisis in 685 BC, the two pretenders, with their retainers, were racing back to the capital to be enthroned. When a retainer of Pretender Jiu saw Pretender Xiaobai, he promptly shot Xiaobai-- but only hit his belt buckle. Xiaobai quickly played possum to fool Jiu's faction and won the crisis.
* A college football defensive coordinator was suspended for a game after it surfaced that he ordered his players to feign injuries to slow down another team's hurry-up offense, designed to keep the defense winded and unable to substitute players. However, feigning injuries in and of themselves carries no penalty, unless they're blatant. The only "penalty" for going down with an injury is to leave the field for at least one play...an outcome the player faking the injury likely wanted to do in the first place. Now, to prevent such stunts, on the college and pro level, injuries cost the injured player's team (legit injury or not) a time out. If the team is out of time outs, ten seconds is run off the clock.
* Germans started doing this in WorldWarTwo. It wasn't long before American soldiers, when in doubt, bayonetted enemy corpses.

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* When the State of Qi during China's [[DynastiesFromShangToQing [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Spring and Autumn period]] was entangled in a SuccessionCrisis in 685 BC, the two pretenders, with their retainers, were racing back to the capital to be enthroned. When a retainer of Pretender Jiu saw Pretender Xiaobai, he promptly shot Xiaobai-- Xiaobai -- but only hit [[PocketProtector his belt buckle.buckle]]. Xiaobai quickly played possum to fool Jiu's faction and won the crisis.
* A college football defensive coordinator was suspended for a game after it surfaced that he ordered his players to feign injuries to slow down another team's hurry-up offense, designed to keep the defense winded and unable to substitute players. However, feigning injuries in and of themselves carries no penalty, unless they're blatant. The only "penalty" for going down with an injury is to leave the field for at least one play...play ... an outcome the player faking the injury likely wanted to do in the first place. Now, to prevent such stunts, on the college and pro level, injuries cost the injured player's team (legit injury or not) a time out. If the team is out of time outs, ten seconds is run off the clock.
* Germans started doing this in WorldWarTwo. It wasn't long before American soldiers, when in doubt, bayonetted enemy corpses.
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20th Jul '15 9:59:33 AM AtticusOmundson
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* Several of the immortals in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' do this when they realize the immediate threat won't leave right away. They have the ability to will their bodies not to reform back into a whole for an undisclosed amount of time, but it has been implied that a person can go for minutes in this apparently dead state.

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* Several of the immortals in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' do this when they realize the immediate threat they're facing won't leave right away. They have the ability to will their bodies not to reform back into a whole for an undisclosed amount of time, but it has been implied that a person can go for minutes in this apparently dead state.
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