Created By: neoYTPism on March 17, 2011 Last Edited By: neoYTPism on May 19, 2011
Troped

Outscare The Enemy

Make your underlings more afraid of you than of the enemy, to keep them on your side through fear.

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"You want to be afraid of somebody, be afraid of ME!"
- Block Warlord from Judge Dredd (context viewable here)

Do We Have This One?? Oh, and I am open to title suggestions. (If anything, this is almost ready to launch except for the title.)

When you think someone on your side may give in to the other side out of fear, trying to outscare the enemy might be a way to counteract this.

This is essentially a competition between two sides for the title of The Dreaded.

It's a common leadership technique of Drill Sergeant Nasty and Sergeant Rock, and often times employed by the Anti-Hero who sees this as a means justified by a goal.

Examples:

Film
  • The way a crook in Judge Dredd deals with an underling considering surrendering to Dredd provides the page quotation.
  • In the movie Patton, Patton says something to the effect that he'll make his men unafraid of the Germans, but he hopes to God they never stop being afraid of him.
  • A major theme in 300.
    King Leonidas: You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won't be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.

Literature
  • Various Discworld novels deal with this theme.
    • There's a line in Jingo where Vimes pretty much says this to a less-than-loyal sailor regarding a dangerous beach.
    • In Lords and Ladies Nanny Ogg rallies the villagers against the invading elves by pointing out that when they march off to face them, she'll be following on behind a little...just in case.
    "Well," she said, "it's like this. If you go out there you may have to face elves. But if you stops here, you definitely have to face me. Now, elves is worse than me, I'll admit. But I'm persistent."
    [The Lord Chamberlain] risked looking up and found the point of Cohen's sword just in front of his eyes.
    "Yeah, but right now who're you more frightened of? Me or this Lord Hong?"
    "Uh... Lord Hong!"
    Cohen raised an eyebrow. "Really? I'm impressed."
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, Gaunt tells some soldiers that he could tell them he was more frightening than the enemy.
  • Marauders of Gor. The alien Kurii have commandeered the Beautiful Slave Girls of the Torvalslanders along with other livestock. The slave girls are terrified of the Kurii, but are given orders by their masters, which they obey.
    We would soon see if such feared sleen and Kurii more, or Gorean males, their masters. If they did not obey, they would be slain. As slaves, they were commanded; as slaves, did they fail to comply, they would be put to death. They had no choice. They would obey.

Tabletop Games
  • Part of the Commissar's job in Warhammer40000 is to embody this. Possible death at the hands of of reality-defying abominations or a Horde of Alien Locusts may be terrifying, but certain death for cowardice is a big motivator.
    • Valhallan Ice Warriors in Warhammer 40K: "I don't know what effect they have on the enemy, but by the Emperor, they terrify me." Said by their commanding general no less.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, one version of "raging goblin" card(the Exodus one) had this in the flavour text: "Volrath has bred them to fear only him. Are they charging to battle or merely fleeing his wrath?"

Video Games
  • In Medieval Total War, you can try to counteract a dreaded general with a chivalrous one... or you could just use a ten-dread general yourself and make the enemy break first!
  • Iji: The unnamed author of a certain text log in Sector X seems to take this approach to leadership, ending his message to his troops with "If you're more afraid of [the title character] than ME, you're a TRAITOR."

Western Animation
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
    Captain: Uh, no, Princess.
    Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing your body against the rocks?
    Captain: N-no, P-princess...
    Azula: So why don't you stop worrying about the tides, which have already made up their mind about killing you, and start worrying about me, who's still mulling it over.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television, but it can be inverted when one is afraid of one's underlings. There's a probably apocryphal quote attributed to the Duke of Wellington to the effect that the French would have to be terrified of his troops, since he certainly was.
  • Josef Stalin is quoted as saying that "in the Soviet Army it takes more courage to retreat than to advance."
Community Feedback Replies: 69
  • March 17, 2011
    Artemis92
    Lesser Of Two Evils?

    Also, there's a line in Jingo where Vimes pretty much says this to a less-than-loyal sailor regarding a dangerous beach.
  • March 17, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    Pretty much the MO of a lot of Anti Heroes. Batman and Punisher especially.
  • March 18, 2011
    TBeholder
  • March 18, 2011
    Fanra
    In the movie Patton, Patton says something to the effect that he'll make his men unafraid of the Germans, but he hopes to God they never stop being afraid of him.
  • March 20, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Not quite a clear enough title @ T Beholder
  • March 20, 2011
    Specialist290
    • Part of the Commissar's job in Warhammer40000 is to embody this. Possible death at the hands of of reality-defying abominations or a Horde Of Alien Locusts may be terrifying, but certain death for cowardice is a big motivator.
  • March 23, 2011
    GameChainsaw
    This is essentially a competition between two sides for the title of The Dreaded.

    • In Medieval Total War, you can try to counteract a dreaded general with a chivalrous one... or you could just use a ten-dread general yourself and make the enemy break first!
  • March 23, 2011
    Reflextion
    • Iji: The unnamed author of a certain text log in Sector X seems to take this approach to leadership, ending his message to his troops with "If you're more afraid of [the title character] than ME, you're a TRAITOR."
  • March 23, 2011
    Terabiel
    Badder than Big Bad?

    I like the concept. Inglorius Basterds kind of plays this one.
  • March 28, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Care to briefly describe how, Terabiel?
  • March 28, 2011
    BuckRivera
    There should be a line in Batman Begins about this. Something about bats? Hm... Or Scarier Than Thou.
  • March 28, 2011
    neoYTPism
    I know it is a theme in Batman Begins, but no particular quotation relevant to this trope comes to mind.
  • March 28, 2011
    Topazan
    Wasn't there something in 300 about making the Persian conscripts "fear our spears more than your whips."?

    EDIT: From IMDB
    King Leonidas: You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won't be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.
  • March 29, 2011
    BuckRivera
  • March 30, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Outscare the enemy seems like a good one...
  • April 26, 2011
    Topazan
    Borderline example at the end of this:

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0157.html
  • April 27, 2011
    neoYTPism
    That shall provide the page imag @ Topazan
  • April 27, 2011
    Goldfritha
    • In the Gaunts Ghosts novel His Last Command, Gaunt tells some soldiers that he could tell them he was more frightening than the enemy.

    (This is a subexample of Warhammer40000 commissiars.
  • April 27, 2011
    Frank75
    Worry About Outrunning Me sounds good IMO.
  • April 27, 2011
    GameChainsaw
  • April 27, 2011
    Stratadrake
    ^ That's a different trope, though. It's a perspective flip on the joke about "I don't have to outrun [scary monster], I only have to outrun you."
  • April 27, 2011
    Topazan
  • April 27, 2011
    neoYTPism
    That would be a slightly misleading name, Topazan.
  • April 27, 2011
    Topazan
    Yeah, I had second thoughts about it as soon as I posted it. So far my favorite is Worry About Outrunning Me. Stratadrake, I don't think that will be a problem. It seems very unlikely someone would use that phrase in that context. If you intend to sacrifice yourself so your friend can escape, you don't tell them to outrun you, you stay behind and hold off the monster.
  • April 28, 2011
    MorganWick
    I'm starting to think OOTS isn't that great a page image. Topazan called it "borderline" even as he posted it.
  • April 29, 2011
    neoYTPism
    It at least looks like an example, though, and that's what matters. Belkar even lampshades the effectiveness that kind of discipline would have.
  • May 1, 2011
    Jordan
    There's a probably apocryphal quote attributed to the Duke of Wellington to the effect that the French would have to be terrified of his troops, since he certainly was.
  • May 2, 2011
    Frank75
    Why was he afraid of them? Because many of them were recruited from the prisons, or because they were ineffective?
  • May 2, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    In Lords And Ladies Nanny Ogg rallies the villagers against the invading elves by pointing out that when they march off to face them, she'll be following on behind a little...just in case.
  • May 2, 2011
    Jordan
    ^^ Because they were peasantry/lowlifes and he was a toff.
  • May 6, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^^^^ That example could use rewording.
  • May 7, 2011
    TBeholder
    Are They Scarier Than Me?
  • May 7, 2011
    DaibhidC
    • A quote on the Nanny Ogg example, since it's so good:
      "Well," she said, "it's like this. If you go out there you may have to face elves. But if you stops here, you definitely have to face me. Now, elves is worse than me, I'll admit. But I'm persistent."
    • Another good Discworld example, from Interesting Times:
      [The Lord Chamberlain] risked looking up and found the point of Cohen's sword just in front of his eyes.
      "Yeah, but right now who're you more frightened of? Me or this Lord Hong?"
      "Uh... Lord Hong!"
      Cohen raised an eyebrow. "Really? I'm impressed."

  • May 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Marauders of Gor. The alien Kurii have commandeered the Beautiful Slave Girls of the Torvalslanders along with other livestock. The slave girls are terrified of the Kurii, but are given orders by their masters, which they obey.
      We would soon see if such feared sleen and Kurii more, or Gorean males, their masters. If they did not obey, they would be slain. As slaves, they were commanded; as slaves, did they fail to comply, they would be put to death. They had no choice. They would obey.
  • May 7, 2011
    AFP
    A common leadership technique of Drill Sergeant Nasty and Sergeant Rock.
  • May 8, 2011
    Topazan
  • May 8, 2011
    Bisected8
    Are They Scarier Than Me? works. Remember to add an exclaimation mark via a custom title after launching it.
  • May 9, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    • I remember a quote from one video game "In Soviet army, it takes more courage to fall back, than to advance" ( real? attributed to Stalin? could someone verify?)
    • In Magic The Gathering, one version of "raging goblin" card(the Exodus one) had this in the flavour text: "Volrath has bred them to fear only him. Are they charging to battle or merely fleeing his wrath?"
    • In Discworld, Nanny Ogg uses this (quite subtly but still) to get the people of Lancre go to war against The Fair Folk.
  • May 9, 2011
    Earnest
    See also I Control My Minions Through, where Fear is one of the means.
  • May 9, 2011
    MC42
    One of the gang leaders in the opening scenes of the Judge Dredd movie uses this to keep his gang members from running away from Dredd.
  • May 9, 2011
    SinusPi
    "Are They Scarier Than Me" sounds like a line out of a dialogue, which is apparently a no-no...
  • May 9, 2011
    dalek955
    • From Avatar The Last Airbender:
      Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
      Captain: Uh, no, Princess.
      Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing your body against the rocks?
      Captain: N-no, P-princess...
      Azula: So why don't you stop worrying about the tides, which have already made up their mind about killing you, and start worrying about me, who's still mulling it over.
  • May 10, 2011
    Chabal2
    • One Punisher story has a bunch of Mooks fleeing their increasingly unhinged boss, on the grounds that while he might be able to get them out of this situation, the Punisher will kill them.
    • Valhallan Ice Warriors in Warhammer 40 K: "I don't know what effect they have on the enemy, but by the Emperor, they terrify me." Said by their commanding general no less.

  • May 11, 2011
    BuckRivera
    I don't like Are They Scarier Than Me. Even with the exclamation mark it can be read as sounding desperate and whiny. I still prefer Outscare The Enemy.
  • May 11, 2011
    Arivne
  • May 11, 2011
    Shalriek
    ^^^ That one from 40K is a corruption of the Duke of Wellington's line referring to his troops as mentioned by Jordan earlier on "I don't know what they do to the French, but by God they frighten me." besides, that's an inversion of this trope, since it's the commander intimidated by his own men.
  • May 12, 2011
    Bisected8
  • May 13, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Sounds good @ Bisected8
  • May 16, 2011
    Topazan
    I'm not sure if I like this title. I keep thinking it means that something is better as intimidation than something else.
  • May 16, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^ It technically does mean that, but is just more specific than that.

    Again, I am open to title suggestions.
  • May 16, 2011
    Topazan
    I thought the intended meaning was 'superior' as a noun, ie a superior officer.

    Well, I already said which one I like, but apparently dialogue as a title is bad. Sorry, I don't have a better idea.
  • May 16, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Actually, I forgot what one you were referring to, care to repeat it?
  • May 16, 2011
    Topazan
    Er, the comment is still up there. :) Although, admittedly I did say I liked two, but the one I was referring to was Are They Scarier Than Me.

    Obviously, whatever you choose isn't a big deal for me, but that's just my opinion.
  • May 16, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Ah, okay then, it is easy to get confused when there are dozens of comments.

    The problem with Are They Scarier Than Me is that it is not specific enough; it sounds like it could be about any inquiry about one's scariness in comparison to that of others. What this needs in a title is something precise yet concise.
  • May 16, 2011
    Topazan
  • May 17, 2011
    BuckRivera
    I still prefer Outscare The Enemy. It's short, has a good ring to it and it describes the trope. Superior For Intimidation is misleading, in my mind.
  • May 17, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I don't even understand what Superior For Intimidation is supposed to mean. Like literally the grammar is off or something because I can't even configure a coherent thought from those three words. Is it supposed to mean Superior because of intimidation? Which still doesn't make sense with the trope.
  • May 17, 2011
    Bisected8
    It's suppose to be read "A superior for intimidation" (in the same way Weapon For Intimidation is supposed to be read "A weapon for intimidation"), using superior in the sense of "leader" or "someone higher in the chain of command".
  • May 17, 2011
    neoYTPism
    I will go with Outscare The Enemy for now, then.
  • May 17, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^ It doesn't work because we don't use weapon for an adjective like superior. I like this title much better.
  • May 17, 2011
    Topazan
    I like Scare Em Brave. It's a snowclone of Scare Em Straight.
  • May 18, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Scare Em Brave sounds just as much like it could be about overwhelming people with scary things to build up their courage.
  • May 18, 2011
    FastEddie
    Snowclones suck.
  • May 18, 2011
    Topazan
    ^^ Hmm, you may be right. But Outscare The Enemy sounds like you're in a scaring contest with them, or trying to scare each other.

    ^ Care to explain? They seem like a satisfactory method of explaining the meaning of a trope by linking it to a similar concept.
  • May 18, 2011
    BuckRivera
    ^ I think the concept of a scaring contest is not misleading here. That's more or less what's happening.
  • May 18, 2011
    Topazan
    ^ It calls to mind words like outgun, outsmart, outmaneuver or outnumber which are all things you do to the other guy. For that reason, outscare the enemy sounds to me like you're trying to scare the enemy more than they scare you.
  • May 19, 2011
    Specialist290
    ^ Depending on the reputation of the commander, both factors (scaring your own men into obedience and scaring the enemy into submission) could come into play.

    Although The Dreaded already covers the "scare the enemy" part, so we can still use Outscare The Enemy for this one.
  • May 19, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Noir Grimoir: That particular use of "superior" is a noun. Hence why it's grammatically correct.
  • May 19, 2011
    Chabal2
    Another quote: "In the Soviet Army it takes more courage to retreat than to advance". By Josef Stalin no less.
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