Clarification: This is when a character who is hesitant to take charge in place of their groups leading hero or formal superior is prompted to get on with leading the group by a character of equal or lesser rank. It doesn't apply to when senior characters promote the character, thats a Field Promotion
The basic premise of this trope is when a leader of a side has been knocked out of the action, and other characters prompt a reluctant lancer
or formal second-in-command to take up the post of the fallen leader.
For a Five-Man Band
, this usually means that The Hero
has been temporarily or permanently
taken out of commission, and The Lancer
has suddenly found him or herself as the dominant personality of the team. (however reluctantly.) Unlike Take Up My Sword
though, The Lancer
hasn't formally stepped up to the plate yet, and frankly, doesn't feel ready to. This is when another character steps in and says "Get ahold of yourself, you're our leader now.
No need for this to be a permanent state of affairs involving the heroes permanent absence, The Lancer
may simply feel that he or she is not up to the task and needs that final push to take control and get the party rolling again, whether or not this is temporary.
This is very often when The Lancer
reveals his or her position in the team, if their status wasn't clear before: they're the ones that everyone finds themselves looking to now. On the other hand, its not always The Lancer
, another character may step up, in which case the lancer to the previous hero will become the lancer to the new hero.
For military settings, there may be a formal second-in-command to The Captain
or other high-ranking good guy. This is often how the main character of a piece gets his position in the first place. The new second-in-command may feel that they aren't up to the post, especially if they feel they don't deserve the post in the first place because they got it in a (to their mind) less than honourable manner. In any case, the crew, army or unit needs a leader and someone will prompt the new commander to stop angsting over the unfortunate change in commander and get on with doing some actual commanding.
Alternatively, a character who was previously not the leader may find themselves the unwilling catalyst for a change of leadership in a group who are dissatisfied with the previous leader. For all the apparent lancers protests that they are not the leader of the group, they'll inevitably find themselves leading the group by force of personality, usually while the previous "hero" grumbles that they're still formally the leader.
Whatever the case, a second-in-command character is prompted to fill the place of a missing leader with the encouragement of at least one other member of the group.
See also You Are in Command Now
, where the subordinate finds himself in charge more or less by accident, Field Promotion
, where a senior
character promotes the subordinate as opposed to just one of his peers, and Take Up My Sword
, which this may also be if its the teams lancer
or other member who is replacing The Hero
- One of your soldiers you can talk to in the pub may tell you that "Its time to step up Gerald" in Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusades.
- Order Of The Stick: When Roy is killed during the battle for Azure City, Haley is distraught and unable to take action. Durkon reminds her that she's second-in-command, reminds her that Roy can be resurrected, and tells her to take action on the situation. This kicks the rogue into action.