Created By: BronyHeresy on February 21, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 10, 2013

And the Forty Thieves

A group of criminals living outside the bounds of society

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When you're out in the middle of nowhere, it's just you, all by your lonesome right? Unfortunately wrong. In fiction, you can't go practically anywhere without running into trouble. So what sort of villain are you likely to run into in the vast, technically unsettled stretches of land beyond civilization?

That's where And the Forty Thieves comes in. Whether it's a smallish band of thieving savages, a group of cattle rustlers, highwaymen, or their high seas equivalents, or even Robin Hood and his merry men: a lone traveler, or band of adventurers is almost guaranteed to be assailed by men looking to take his money or other valuables.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • February 24, 2013
    BronyHeresy
    Bumped.
  • February 24, 2013
    lexicon
    You want us to give you a list of examples that are a group of thieves?
  • February 27, 2013
    BronyHeresy
    Sure! Or at least help me get started...
  • February 27, 2013
    DracMonster
    Not supposed to use Trope Namers anymore. Bandit Gang or Band Of Outlaws (Or Band Of Bandits, heh.) Also, How Did We Miss This One?!

    • Water Margin is a Chinese novel about the exploits of a group of bandits.
  • February 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Alternative trope name suggestion: The Uncatchables. This trope applies to more-than-ordinary criminals who can routinely evade capture or thwart justice. They might have a Hidden Base, such as Ali Baba and his forty thieves. They might be so numerous or well-armed that only a military assault force could deal with them, such as the rogue company in The Rock. Or they may be foreign nationals with diplomatic immunity.

    Film Animated
    • Disney's Treasure Planet begins with tales of pirate Captain Nathaniel Flint and his crew of brigands, who would appear from nowhere, raid merchant ships mercilessly, then "vanish without a trace." An ancient alien teleporter helps the pirates target laden vessels, and acts as their secret base.
  • February 28, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    Would the Morlocks from the X-Men count?
  • February 28, 2013
    lexicon
    More-than-ordinary criminals who can routinely evade capture or thwart justice is much better than just a group of thieves. I was going to say chairs but if that's what you're going to make this into then that sounds good.
  • February 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Stormbringer supplement Stealer of Souls. When the PCs take the caravan to Kaarlak they will be ambushed by a group of experienced bandits. The bandit leader Bow Mennen is very clever and plans well, including how the bandits can escape if things go wrong. As a result they have had complete success in raiding caravans in the area.
  • March 1, 2013
    LordGro
    "And the Forty Thieves" is unnecessarily cryptic. Nobody is going to guess what the trope is about with this title. On the other hand, I think "Band of Outlaws", "Robber Band" is a perfectly good supertrope.
  • March 1, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Tribesmen of Gor Tarl's boon companion of the book is the leader of a group of nomadic outlaws, and is also the high chief of one of the two most powerful desert tribes. He likes to go slumming.
  • March 9, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animtion
    • Don Karnage and his air pirates qualify in the Talespin universe. Their base of operations is Pirate Island, known only to air pirates and Kit Cloudkicker. They usually raid air transports while operating from the Iron Vulture, an Airborne Aircraft Carrier. Though routinely thwarted, Karnage and his pirates have never been apprehended.
  • March 9, 2013
    jatay3
    Quite common historically. In many areas banditry was a tribal occupation with bands of hundreds strong requiring small scale military operations to keep them under control.
  • March 9, 2013
    gallium
    Older Than Print, at least, with Robin Hood.

    Don't know if this should be the trope title or not, but since we're listing examples...

    Literature

  • March 9, 2013
    StarSword
    @Drac Monster: Actually, Trope Namers are still allowed as long as the name illustrates the trope to folks unfamiliar with the work and isn't dialogue-derived. One of mine, Fowl Mouthed Parrot, comes from a sidequest in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.

    Film:
  • March 9, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film Live Action
    • The coalition of Chicago's con men in The Sting construct an elaborate facade to fleece the ruthless banker Doyle Lonnegan. None of them were apprehended afterward, despite the amount attained: $100,000 post-Depression dollars.
  • March 10, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ From the OP description, this appears to to be about criminals operating in the wilderness (bandits, pirates, cattle rustlers etc.).
  • March 10, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Yeah, it's a Super Trope we don't have, I don't think we need to narrow it too much. It can intersect with a wide variety of other tropes like Sympathetic Criminal and Just Like Robin Hood.
  • March 10, 2013
    JonnyB
    In The Magnificent Seven, there are forty bandits. (Early in the film, they are told they are going against "thirty guns", but when Calvera and his men ride into town and first meet the Seven, he mentions there are forty of them riding with him.)
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