The heroes nearly always face long odds, if only for the dramatic tension. They often live In a World
full of baddies, whether working together as part of some larger group or bandits/pirates/et cetera.
Despite the overall long odds the Five-Man Band
keeps encountering only a couple of enemies a time- guards out on patrol, bandits in the woods, and so on. This can be done badly and break Suspension of Disbelief
. Done correctly however, it can emphasize how outclassed the heroes are, since they need their numbers to have a chance against the stronger or more skilled enemy.
Related to Mook Chivalry
and Conservation of Ninjutsu
, but both focus on large numbers of enemies versus small numbers of protagonists.
- In Red Garden the four girls take on the monsters they're fighting one at a time, but it's mostly justified due to their low skill level and the way the creatures are cornered for them to fight.
- In The Lost Fleet, Captain Jack Geary goes to great lengths to make sure this is the case on the long trip home, constantly changing course and occasionally jumping even further into enemy territory so the enemy Syndics have to divide their forces to find him, and so if he does encounter them they'll be small enough to defeat. It happens often enough that even in retreat he destroys the majority of the much larger Syndic fleet.
- In Raiders of Gor Bosk leads 30 ships into battle against a much larger fleet, but he devises his strategy so that in any given ship-to-ship combat his ships are always 2 on 1 against the enemy's ships.
- In First Lensman the Triplanetary fleet devises a formation called a Battle Cylinder. Correctly deployed, it can force each enemy ship to face odds of up to two hundred to one, even if as a whole the enemy fleet has equal numbers.
- In Pokémon it's only towards the end of the game that you'll encounter trainers with numbers of pokemon even approaching the six you likely had by the second gym (bug trainers exempted due to lower levels). Nearly all of them have only have two or three.
- In many modern RPGs the villains/random enemies rarely attack in well-balanced specialized groups, and even fellow adventurers only come in pairs, at most. It is very rare that you see a Non-Player Party that actually functions and interacts as a team, rather than say, the bad guy and four random mooks devoid of personality.
- Most Golden Sun battles pit your group of four adventurers against a couple of monsters at a time- occasionally you'll meet four or five, but most of them will be the weakest in the area. In addition, the monsters never have a balanced team like you do, so they often can't heal damage.
- Often happened in the Sonic the Hedgehog series due to later installments Loads and Loads of Characters syndrome. Sonic Heroes has at exactly a dozen characters (albeit divided into four teams) against Dr Eggman and later Metal Sonic. Later games have subverted this and reverted back to using Sonic as the only playable character.
- The Archie comics take it even further with an enormous number of Freedom Fighters both from the games and alternate medias. While Eggman and other baddies have varied numbers of allies, even their generic Mooks sometimes don't level up to the numbers of the heroes.
- Zig-Zagged all over the place for the Final Fantasy series. Played straight in early JRP Gs like the early Dragon Quest titles.
- Tended to happen in most Transformers media, especially the animes. Transformers Energon took this Up to Eleven, while almost two dozen Autobots appeared through out the show's run, the Decepticons rarely exceeded six or seven. Adding to that Decepticons were the only Transformers Killed Off for Real and half of them were a near harmless Quirky Miniboss Squad.