Protagonists Have Bigger Squads
Oh look, another pair of bandits for our FiveManBand to annihilate


(permanent link) added: 2011-12-21 15:35:58 sponsor: Westrim (last reply: 2014-05-22 13:00:57)

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The protagonists of the story face long odds. They live In a World full of baddies, whether working together as part of some larger group or bandits/pirates/et cetera, and working alone is a quick way to early death. Luckily they manage to gather or join a group willing to fight together. The group may even have complementary skill sets. There's still a large number of enemies out there though, so they better hope they're in a story that doesn't throw them at more than they can handle.

And indeed, despite the overall long odds the group will encounter only encountering only a couple of enemies a time- guards out on patrol, bandits in the woods, and so on. Or the group can successfully engineer circumstances such that a more cohesive enemy doesn't get too many forces positioned against them at any one time. The enemies may be kept manageable by a Sorting Algorithm of Evil so that whether it be one one Elite Mook or five particularly vicious bushes, they will be easily defeatable by working together.

This is most commonly a Video Game Trope, but occurs in other media as well.

Related to Mook Chivalry and Conservation of Ninjutsu, but both focus on large numbers of enemies versus small numbers of protagonists. May be accomplished via divide and conquer.
Examples:
  • 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 many 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, There can only be 3 enemies in battle at once. You, however, can have up to 4 squads (for a total of 11 participants on the protagonist's side):
    • First squad is The Hero and whichever Action Girl came into the labyrinth with you.
    • The other three squads are made up of 3 Star Children each.

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