->''"According to a loose enough definition of 'hero', we qualify. Well, more or less. The point is that good deeds were'' '''done''' ''and'' '''we''' ''were '''nearby'''."''
-->-- '''[[Webcomic/EightBitTheater Red Mage]]''', ''[[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2007/11/15/episode-920-we-could-be-heroes/ 8-Bit Theater]]''

Fictional heroes tend to be a diverse bunch, but most have one thing in common: a morally positive motivation. Even morally questionable heroes usually are at least partially motivated by a genuine concern for others, desire for justice, belief in playing by the rules, etc.

The Nominal Hero is the exception to this rule. While at least technically on the side of good, their motivations are neutral at best.

So why ''are'' they on the side of good? Usually, it's one of the following:
* '''Leave Me Alone''': [[HeroicNeutral They just want keep to themselves.]] But that's not going to happen with the villain blowing everything up; or worse, specifically targeting them.
* '''Annoyance/Revenge''': For these characters, ItsPersonal. Maybe the villain did something to them (or to a loved one, which overlaps with the Relationships motivation below) in the past, or maybe they think the minion's uniform is tacky. They aren't interested in fighting ''evil'', they want to see their ''opponent'' defeated. Often overlaps with EnemyMine.
* '''Boredom''': These characters are basically fighting for good because they don't have anything better to do. They don't care if the heroes actually succeed, they just enjoy the adventure. A HeroicComedicSociopath or TheTrickster might have this motivation.
* '''Mutual Interest''': These characters have selfish reasons to help the heroes succeed. Often, they are characters who would normally be villains, but at least for now are more concerned with stopping some other villain (perhaps the first villain just wants wealth and/or power, but the second one wants to [[EvilVersusOblivion destroy everything]]). Often an EnemyMine. A MagnificentBastard might aid heroes to manipulate events in their favor as a standard tactic. Or a heroic dissident fighting an oppressive regime might end up side-by-side with criminals who probably deserve to be imprisoned or executed.
* '''Relationships''': Not all Nominal Heroes are purely selfish. Some [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes have a love interest or other that they do care about]]. A Nominal Hero might do [[VillainousRescue something heroic to impress or rescue that someone]], even though they couldn't care less if other people die.
* '''Reward''': These characters want something in return for their help, such as [[OnlyInItForTheMoney a share of the treasure]], or simply something [[VillainWithGoodPublicity to look good]] on their resume. They aren't interested in whether anyone else benefits. The MilesGloriosus is an example of a character type that might choose to join a band of heroes for this reason.
* '''Force''': Some characters become heroes because they literally aren't allowed to be anything else. Maybe they're on an ExplosiveLeash or are a CosmicPlaything, but when they fight for the side of good, it's only because it's their only option other than perhaps death.
* [[LawfulEvil Lawful examples]] of this trope find themselves "stuck" to the good side by [[IGaveMyWord a deal]], contract or some similar bind, or ([[RousseauWasRight more ideally]]) simply out of a sense of loyalty to the heroes.
* '''Other motivations''': Not all Nominal Heroes need to have a motivation that makes any sense to others. They might be a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} or have BlueAndOrangeMorality.

This type of hero is rarely averse to working alone, with other heroes. On a team of otherwise conventional heroes, they'll often be in an EnemyMine, SociopathicHero, or TokenEvilTeammate role. Other heroes may only work with them because they could use all the help they can get, or specifically to keep an eye on the hero-in-name-only, so that they don't become a more serious threat.

In terms of sympathy, most Nominal Heroes are {{Noble Demon}}s.
Many other tropes about questionable heroes can overlap with Nominal Hero, but most are not true {{subtrope}}s:
* An AccidentalHero, [[IJustWantToBeNormal Reluctant Hero]], or UnlikelyHero is at least as likely to turn out to be a ClassicalAntihero at heart.

'''Note:''' This is for ''InUniverse'' characterization. Subjective[=/=]{{Audience Reaction|s}} interpretations go in DesignatedHero.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator'', [[{{Deuteragonist}} L-Elf]] is this, firmly contrasting to the more typical protagonist, [[TheHero Haruto.]] He's on the good guys side because it will help him get what he wants, and really only sees them as tools, not allies.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'':
** In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', Vegeta goes through a Nominal Hero phase as part of his slow but eventual HeelFaceTurn, starting in the Namek arc as a VillainProtagonist seeking to overthrow his former master, and in the Cell and Buu arcs, defending Earth, but only for his own selfish reasons. After [[spoiler: his death and subsequent pseudo-revival in terms of coming back to Earth for one day]], he fights for the Earth for the sake of defending it for the first time.
** While the anime and moreso the English dub made him an outright hero, Goku is pretty much this in the manga. He just likes to fight stronger opponents and get stronger himself. ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' has caused something of a BrokenBase as it favors the original character interpretation. One episode in particular has Goku himself saying that he's not a hero, just a guy who wants a good fight; however, he does also say that if he sees someone in trouble then of course he'll help them out, because it's the right thing to do.
** Bardock, in his original special, certainly qualifies; he opens the story by wiping out an entire race with no small amount of satisfaction. The only redeeming quality to him is his genuine relationship with his crew, which is what motivates him to rebel against Freeza.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'', Lina Inverse and Zelgadis Graywords both fall in this category in different ways.
** Lina is fully conscious of her status as one of the greatest magical prodigies in the world, and is not above using her vast power to intimidate and extort food/treasure for herself.
** As far is Zelgadis is concerned, he is hell-bent on [[IJustWantToBeNormal changing his chimeric body back to normal]], and is even nastier than Lina in the intimidate/extort department. He ''will'' help save the world....if it'll save himself really.
** TokenEvilTeammate Xellos is a much straighter example.
* Mello from ''Manga/DeathNote'' is this with hints of an UnscrupulousHero. But despite intending to catch [[VillainProtagonist Kira]], he is more than willing to shoot anyone in his way, become a mob boss, kidnap innocent girls, and in the manga, threaten the President to sabotage his rival so that said rival can't catch Kira.
** Near also fits in a similar way; his sole goal lies in "winning the game," and he is far from opposed to putting others in the line of fire or (as Matsuda suggests he might have) using the Death Note himself in order to do it. Unlike their predecessor, both Mello and Near are more preoccupied by personal ambitions and competition than the actual idea of doling out "justice," which is maybe why their target -- the VisionaryVillain [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans Kira]] -- never develops the same WorthyOpponent respect for them as he had for L.
** Matt, despite being third in line to succeed L, doesn't seem terribly interested in the Kira case, and to have only gotten involved in it [[OnlyFriend for Mello's sake]].
** There are actually hints that L himself fits into the Boredom category and doesn't so much care for justice as he does for the challenge, and thus distraction, a case will provide him. The fact that he only takes on cases with at least a certain amount of people murdered, or those that personally interest him, supports that, as well as the fact that the authors have said many times that L and Light are [[NotSoDifferent two sides of the same coin]]. Light was bored out of his mind, found the Death Note, and with it something to sufficiently distract himself from the ennui of his daily life. L, who, as the world's top three detectives, has been shown several times to [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem not care about playing by the rules]] if it furthers his cases, thereby keeping him occupied the same way Light does; only he's still only the good side of the law because of his detective status--even if sometimes that's only because there's simply ''no one above him'' to reign him in.
* Guts of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' fits here. His phase as the vengeance-obsessed Black Swordsman takes this UpToEleven, though. An utterly ruthless warrior who cared about nothing except killing demons, and would not lift a finger to help innocents caught in the crossfire, considering them small fry without the strength to truly live, and in many cases, he could be seen as even more horrifying than the Apostles that he was driven to kill. Only after finding Casca again has he been able to mellow out, though not exactly move out of this territory ([[AlwaysSaveTheGirl since, besides his friends, he's only been concerned with keeping her safe]]). He also has to deal with a particularly nasty EnemyWithin that represents who he used to be.
** Most of Guts friends and allies, pre-Eclipse and post-Eclipse, are in this territory as well. The original Band of the Hawk are probably one of the most likeable examples [[HiredGuns as far being mercenaries goes]], since they were hired by the Kingdom of Midland and became its national heroes (despite still having little heroic motivations). Guts' current TrueCompanions are all following him for various reasons that also aren't really heroically charged, but they end up doing some good wherever they go.
* ''Manga/DesertPunk'' gives us more than one:
** Kanta has no real redeeming moral qualities and doesn't care about anything except money, boobs and staying alive. However, much of his work ends up being vaguely heroic because of the jobs he's assigned tend to be things like "Take out this gang terrorizing our town." [[spoiler: By the end of the series he crosses the MoralEventHorizon and does a FaceHeelTurn.]]
** Junko is equally amoral and only not a villain because her job is taking out people who tend to be worse [[spoiler: and like Kanta, she ultimately pulls a FaceHeelTurn]].
** Rainspider is a heartless enforcer for [[LoanShark loan sharks]] and implied deviant who has a tendency to abandon his teammates when battles are stacked against them. However, he's [[LaughablyEvil hilarious]], and always follows his fleeing by a BigDamnHeroes moment at the right time. He's kind of more likable than Kanta, if no morally better.
* In the Anime version of ''Anime/AfroSamurai'', the title character is something of a tragic example of this; he is not without some humanity in him, but ends up burying it in his all-consuming pursuit of vengeance and adherence to his brutal code of honor, to the point where it's not clear whether he's a Nominal Hero or a VillainProtagonist. Afro's goals are, effectively, identical to those that he fights, and a strong argument could be made that the audience only sympathizes with him because we saw his back story, and didn't see theirs. The manga (and by extent, the original doujin) just turn him into a full-on villain.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Mayuri's sole interest is to work for the advancement of scientific discovery and much of his science does prove beneficial to Soul Society. For example, he's the person the [[CombatMedic Fourth Division]] goes to when a patient needs organ transplants. However, he's a sociopath who doesn't care at all for his subordinates and sees everybody as either a tool or a research experiment (which are often cruel and sadistic in nature); he'll go to any lengths ForScience WordOfGod states he's an example of necessary evil.
* In ''Manga/{{Bastard}}'', NobleDemon Dark Schneider has some PetTheDog moments, but on the whole is an egocentric JerkAss and sadist who openly admits that as soon as he takes down the BigBad of the series, he will subjugate the world through mass-murder and warfare. He also shamelessly gropes girls and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking treats almost everyone rudely]].
* Kyo of ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' -- pretty much see the description of Dark Schneider, except in Sengoku Japan and with no interest in world domination.
* In ''Manga/ElfenLied'', NobleDemon Bando has some PetTheDog moments, but he's largely a egocentric {{Jerkass}} and sadist who joins the SAT to legally kill ForTheEvulz or for {{revenge}}, particularly towards Lucy after his fight with her. He does get CharacterDevelopment in the manga, giving him [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold a softer side and redeeming features]], though he still retains his obsession with killing Lucy. The anime adaptation just turns him into a full-on villain without any redeeming moral qualities whatsoever.
* Giuse of ''Manga/GunslingerGirl'', albeit with shades of an UnscrupulousHero. As he reveals to Henrietta, he's only nice to her until things go to hell and Henrietta is "reset to factory settings", leading Giuse to take a ''very'' steep dive over the DespairEventHorizon and [[TookALevelInJerkass treat her like he does practically everybody else]] following the realization that he could do nothing to help her. [[spoiler: Later on, though, he thinks his behavior led Henrietta to frag him during the nuclear power plant strike.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'':
** Domon Kasshu of ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'', at least in the first half of the series. What we know about his brother (and the Devil Gundam) certainly shows that stopping him ''would'' be a good thing, but Domon is ruled by his bitterness and anger until he obtains enlightenment and masters Meikyou Shisui. He'll even rudely barge into others' battles just to get information, and has no problem roughing people up to get answers either.
** ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' has a few; Hallelujah Haptism, the SuperpoweredEvilSide of ReluctantWarrior Allelujah Haptism, and Lockon Stratos, who seems like a regular hero but hides a powerful desire for revenge. Nena Trinity becomes one the second season by virtue of being against Ali Al-Saachez and [[BigBad Ribbons Almark]], who are much, ''much'' worse than her.
* ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'': The TV series' version has Alucard (since in the OVA/manga, he's more of a VillainProtagonist). The only reason he can be considered [[TheHero a hero]] is that he happens to be bound to the right KidWithTheLeash. Not only is he a monster who [[BloodKnight enjoys shedding blood]], but he's also aware enough of this fact to declare that only a man can kill someone like him. Alucard is made more sympathetic by his [[NobleDemon sense of honor]] and the fact that [[BlackAndGrayMorality his enemies are even worse than him]], but he is by no means a nice guy (though this isn't actually clear until the end of the TV show, mind you).
%%* NobleDemon Hiei from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''.
* Nao Yuuki of ''Anime/MaiHime'' strongly believes that the Himes should use their powers for whatever they want, but allies with them to stop the Searrs foundation. [[spoiler:And then she is attacked by the other Himes when they think she attacked Yukariko, [[EyeScream loses an eye]] and undergoes a FaceHeelTurn.]]
* Masaru "Kodama" Kodaka of ''Manga/{{Bokurano}}'', is fighting to save the world like everyone else, but not only does he not care about collateral damage, he thinks it's a good thing, since he sees people as divided into those who deserve to survive and those who do not, and thinks that his father (of the former type) would benefit from being able to rebuild.
* ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'' has Panty and Stocking Anarchy, who are incredibly rude and selfish and usually have no desire to help others. They only fight the bad guys because it slowly earns their way back into Heaven.
* Boa Hancock from ''Manga/OnePiece'' is of the "Relationships" type. She has a {{Love Interest|s}}, Luffy, and some {{Morality Pet}}s (her sisters and to a lesser degree Nyon and Rayleigh) that she cares about, and she has a genuine FreudianExcuse, but otherwise she is ''quite'' the ruthless and selfish bitch who literally [[KickTheDog kicks dogs]] ([[CrossesTheLineTwice and baby seals and baby kittens]]) and [[TakenForGranite petrifies]] people on a whim.
* ''Anime/FairyTail'' gives us Laxus Dreyar, who is only in the title guild because his grandfather runs the place. [[spoiler: That's actually the source of his rage: he believes he's seen as "the guildmaster's grandson" and not his own person. After being booted out and spending six months or so traveling and finding himself, he returns and softens into a PragmaticHero.]]
* ''Anime/KillLaKill'''s [[TheHero Ryuko Matoi]] plays with this: While she's a good person who cares for Mako and her family, she's not fighting Satsuki and [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil the Elite Four]] to overthrow them and bring peace to Honnouji Academy, she's doing it because she believes that they know [[YouKilledMyFather who killed her father]]. She eventually grows out of this, though.
* TeamPet Iggy from the Stardust Crusaders arc of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure''. He has absolutely no desire to help the others, runs at the first sign of trouble, and the only reason he's even tagging along is because the Speedwagon Foundation forced him to. His only real heroic moments come near the end of the arc with his fights against Pet Shop and Vanilla Ice.
* Natsumi Hinata from ''Manga/SgtFrog'' is Earth's primary defender from the Keronians...even when they're dong something good or just nothing at all. Oh, and Angol Mois the {{Human Alien|s}} ApocalypseMaiden [[MoralMyopia is one of her best friends.]]
* From ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}'', [[HotScientist Doc]] and [[TheStoic Ichise]]. The former being interested in the pursuit and propagation of Texhnolyze technology, regardless of how it aids others, while the latter, while not actively out to hurt anyone, has little to no qualms about hurting people for even stopping him in the street, shows little hesitance or guilt in caving in a man's skull with his bare hand, and is attached to the people around him purely out of [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe personal interest]] or even [[ExtremeDoormat because they asked him to]], rather than any idealism or heroism.
* ''Manga/ZetsuenNoTempest'':
** Mahiro states that his only goal is avenging his sister's death, and that his saving the world is incidental to that. [[TookALevelInKindness Later on, he does seem to care about the world's well-being.]]
** Megumu initially wants to become a hero to impress his ex-girlfriend.''
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'': Endeavor is the second-highest ranked hero in Japan, only surpassed by All Might. He's also a petty bastard with an obsessive desire to become Number 1, and abused his wife and children in order to reach that goal through his "favorite son", Shouto. Of course, most of the world is blissfully ignorant of his failings as a husband and father, so they just see him as an extremely efficient superhero with a giant stick up his ass.
* ''WebComic/OnePunchMan'' has several examples, which helps underscore its critique of superheroes being a paid government service like the police and fire department. S-Class hero Metal Knight only cares about developing his weapons technology, and sees protecting the innocent as a side-effect. A-Class hero Amai Mask is a {{Bishonen}} pop idol who cares more about appearance than saving lives, and has enough sway with the Hero Association that he gets a say over which heroes are allowed to advance to S-Class. The protagonist Saitama initially only cares about getting fans, but [[WhatYouAreInTheDark his actions when the cameras are off]] show that he's actually very noble deep down. Genos also starts the series as an example of the Revenge variation of this trope but grows out of it thanks to interacting with Saitama. A major defining moment comes with the alien invasion that caps off the first season of the AnimatedAdaptation: Saitama and Genos help fight off the invaders while Metal Knight and Amai Mask only show up after the battle is over, the former to salvage the alien spaceship for tech, and the latter so he can bawl out the other heroes for not doing a good enough job (in his opinion) and [[EstablishingCharacterMoment slaughter some aliens who had already surrendered]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Genis-Vell, a.k.a. [[ComicBook/CaptainMarVell Captain Marvel]], during his "space madness" phase. Genis was something of a VillainProtagonist with a severely warped sense of justice and rabid sense of entitlement. Rick Jones, to whom Genis was molecularly bonded, constantly opposed him and (rightly) questioned Genis's sanity. On one occasion, Genis bestowed powers upon a serial killer whom his friend Rick Jones had testified against in order to get the killer to stalk both Rick and his wife, Marlo. After putting Rick through absolute hell to the point where death seemed certain, Genis then executes the serial killer and explains to Rick that all of this was to teach Rick that he only lived on Genis's own whims, and that he was ''never to question him again''.
* In ''ComicBook/SinCity'', Miho's motives are unknown since she is mute, but she seems to have loyalty almost exclusively to Old Town. She has assisted Dwight in the past only because he once saved her life but that didn't stop her from essentially threatening to kill him if he interfered while she was torturing a corrupt cop in the middle of a street. Otherwise, the best you can say about her is that she doesn't target innocent people. In the first movie, she does seem like an UnscrupulousHero, but only because it covered her more heroic actions.
* From ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'', the Comedian: a thrill-killing BloodKnight, rapist, war criminal and all-around PsychoForHire (and he's actually a more sympathetic version of the trope, believe it or not).
* ''[[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} Hellblazer's]]'' John Constantine is also a milder case. But being an {{antihero}}, many of his battles are because he was being forced to comply, for personal gain (ready to sacrifice anyone), or simply just being bored and want to do some shit.
* In ''ComicBook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', Hyde, Griffin, and Nemo are a pair of serial rapists and murderers, and a psychopathic pirate, respectively, who are offered an official pardon if they'll turn those qualities against the Empire's enemies. In the [[Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen film version]], Griffin is replaced by LovableRogue Rodney Skinner, and Hyde and Nemo get a makeover. In the second volume of the comic, Griffin [[spoiler:eventually becomes a straight up villain when he betrays humankind to the Martians]]. His characterization never really changes, though, which shows how nominal a hero he was to begin with.
* ''SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}}'' is a NobleDemon SociopathicHero. He easily eclipses even Comicbook/ThePunisher, as he frequently finds it ''funny'' to casually torture, dismember, and murder people. Though in later years, Deadpool has become more and more heroic, to the point where he's a solid AntiHero in the place of his old Nominal Hero status. [[spoiler: To the point where he was the OnlySaneMan and the conscience of the X-Men's Black Ops squad under Wolverine who thought that killing the kid who was Apocalypses' reincarnation is just wrong. Throughout the arc, he became more and more heroic too via CharacterDevelopment, and even [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome convinced the kid to join the Jean School for the Gifted]] [[Heartwarming/{{Deadpool}} so he can use his powers for good instead of evil]].]]
* In ''Comicbook/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'', Max considers it a compliment to be called a grade-A sociopath, and was even dubbed the most terrifyingly dangerous force in the universe by ''the villain'' in Season One of the Telltale games. The only thing that really seems to keep him in line is his less sociopathic partner.
* DependingOnTheWriter, SelfDemonstrating/{{Lobo}} is sometimes portrayed as one, instead of a SatireParodyPastiche of an [[VillainSue unstoppable villain-full-stop]]. Considering that he is literally worse than Hitler, ''without any hyperbole involved'', [[WhereIWasBornAndRazed as he wiped out his own]] PillarsOfMoralCharacter utopian species for kicks and giggles... when he was a teenager, this reveals a lot about media conventions in general.
* ''[[Comicbook/SubMariner Namor]]'' can veer between this and UnscrupulousHero depending on the book and [[TheAgesOfSuperHeroComics era]]. [[WildCard Unless he's the villain of the piece.]]
* The vast majority of Gaulish villagers in ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' are like this. They're only heroic at all because they're fighting against TheEmpire, which they mostly just pick on, usually for fun, rather than make any serious rebellion against them. They have two reasons for fighting them -- they love fighting (even turning on each other when Romans aren't available) and they're incredibly set in their ways, usually even when the Roman way is better. They started out intended more as a RagtagBunchOfMisfits LaResistance, but got {{Flanderiz|ation}}ed into this mostly because it's funnier. Asterix, Obelix and Getafix are much nicer people, though.
* Scrooge [=McDuck=] develops into one by the "Empire Builder From Calisota" chapter of ''ComicBook/TheLifeAndTimesOfScroogeMcDuck''. His life experiences have hardened him to the point that he's become a corrupt robber baron, hates his family, has [[IgnoredEpiphany Ignored Epiphanies]], and only derives joy from getting even richer. He ''is'' redeemed later on, however.
* In ''{{ComicBook/Violine}}'', Kombo is cowardly, greedy, willing to betray his friends for money, and prone to abandon the heroes to their death at the first sign of trouble, but is treated by the main characters as an ally. If no one is around to steer him onto the right path, the plot will conspire to do so anyway, and he will take credit for "saving" everyone.
* The head of ''ComicBook/SuicideSquad'' ComicBook/AmandaWaller. DependingOnTheWriter she is either this or a KnightTemplar; her job is always for the government's best interest, but she sometimes uses methods that tend to be too extreme. Her plans are not limited to recruiting supervillains to get the job done, but extend to outright hunting superheroes.
* The Beyonder in ''ComicBook/SecretWarsII'' tried being a superhero for a while, just for the heck of it. He quickly got bored and decided instead that he wanted to [[OmnicidalManiac destroy everything]].
* The ComicBook/IncredibleHulk can frequently turn into this. While he generally dislikes the "puny humans" (and understandably so, given how often they [[BullyingADragon provoke him]] or [[{{Misblamed}} misblame him for things that are someone else's fault]]) he nonetheless ends up doing a lot of good by smashing villains whose plans threaten humanity, even if it's only because they [[YouWouldntLikeMeWhenImAngry made the mistake of pissing him off.]]
* The Clipper, a "hero" from the Great Depression era who is mentioned in ComicBook/TheFlash. While he gunned down poor people driven to crime by desperation, and then cut off the tips of the ears of the survivors, he lived in a fancy mansion and had it easy. He's quoted as having said "it doesn't matter if they're guilty, it matters if they're dead!" indicating he didn't even bother to check his his victims were innocent.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Array from the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''FanFic/ChroniclesOfHarmonysEnd''. He represents Order, and therefore opposes Discord on principle rather than morality.
* [[{{Manga/Bleach}} Ulquiorra]] from ''Fanfic/AHollowInEquestria'' fits the [[JustFollowingOrders lawful]] kind of Nominal Hero, something he spells out when Luna first calls him a hero, noting that the things he's done in the past without remorse means he can't be a hero by their standards.
--> '''Ulquiorra''': Hero? I still find it ludicrous that I would be considered a hero. You and the others are aware of my history and my nature of being. I do not qualify as the hero type. I don't act out of noble intention, or a desire to save others because they're in harm's way. Nor do I desire fame and fortune for my actions. I am merely doing as I was instructed upon my initial arrival in this world. The simple fact that several of my actions have been considered heroic is nothing more than a matter of coincidence.
* In ''[[https://www.fimfiction.net/story/183015/iron-wills-foalcon-necrophilia-sex-rampage Iron Will's Foalcon Necrophilia Sex Rampage]]'' Iron Will is the only hero of the story. The only other character apart from Sweetie Belle is the computer shop owner who finds Iron Will's stash of foalcon and tries to extort money from him.
%%* In Fanfic/TwilightSparklesAwesomeAdventure, ADMIRAL Awesome eventually becomes this, although he starts out as an AntiHero.
* ''FanFic/LatiasJourney'' has an in-universe example in the Red Ranger. An amoral and borderline sociopathic "[[BewareTheSuperman superhero]]" is designated as heroic by [[spoiler:Mr. Ford]].
--> '''Latias:''' So you even denigrate your comrades who fight alongside you. You attack a pair of Pokémon who had done nothing to hurt you without provocation or warning, intend to beat me to a pulp to capture me, and are also assisting a madman with his evil plans. You are no hero.\\
'''Red Ranger:''' Hey, as long as the people of Ever Grande City think I am, and I get paid for my work with money and power by Ford, I don't care what you call me!
** And the kicker? [[spoiler: He's ''Richie'' of all people.]]
* Nikolos Drakonakos from ''[[Fanfic/TheConversionBureau The Conversion Bureau: The Palladium Wings]]'' is the ''extremely'' cruel, borderline sociopathic leader of a band of {{Sky Pirate}}s. He fights against the Equestrians out of sheer hatred and desire for booty. In fact, many of the Sky Pirates have the same motivations that he does.
* Lieutenant Commander Brokosh, the Lethean protagonist of the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' fic ''Fanfic/RedFireRedPlanet''. He does follow an ethical code of his own making[[labelnote:*]]At least part of it reads, "Donít kill anyone you donít have to, donít risk your underlings without cause, and treat your prisoners with decency."[[/labelnote]], but he's a mercenary who signed with the Klingon Defense Force for the money, since he's married to a minor Klingon noblewoman from an ImpoverishedPatrician house and they have a son to support.
* Hakeev, of all people, in the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' fanfic ''Fanfic/EmaelMosekhesailho''. He's still definitely a very evil man--he's a leading officer of the [[StateSec Tal'Shiar]] and at one point he casually speaks of mounting a reprisal pogrom against the Remans after [[Film/StarTrekNemesis Shinzon]] is dealt with--but in trying to topple Shinzon and root out {{the conspiracy}} that put him in power, he's on the same side as protagonist Sahuel t'Khnialmnae, whom he's trying to recruit into the agency.
* The people who identify as Animals in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone'' could be see as these, since they were brought over by the Pyar gods as heroes to help overthrow the Black Tower and its minions. Theoretically they're doing this, though all the reader ever hears about them is what miserable torturing cruel bastards they are. Several minor characters even express bewilderment that the gods would bring over such people as potential saviors.
* ''FanFic/ABrighterDark'': Hans, of all people, rescues Sakura and Mozu from Nohrian bandits for the purely selfish motivation of retiring safely in Hoshido, who he believes will inevitably win the war.
* ''FanFic/{{Fade}}'': [[spoiler:Beyond Birthday]]. The only reason he bothers opposing Kira is because he hates L, who has become Kira in his attempts to stop the original's rise to power. It's implied that if L ''hadn't'' become Kira, he would've sided with the original instead just to get back at L. [[spoiler:Once Light enters the picture and becomes L's partner (mainly due to a combination of attraction and StockholmSyndrome), Beyond's motivation goes from "stop L" to "stop L and save Light" in quick fashion.]]
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] with the Black Arachnid in ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines''. As opposed to his canon counterpart, his incarnation in this story is a GentlemanThief who only targets people who are ''way'' worse than him, and takes something of historical or monetary value from them as punishment for their actions. However, despite some doubts among the members of the police force, they make it clear that he's still a thief and it's their duty to catch him.
* Jen Black in ''Fanfic/PrincessOfTheBlacks'' is only fighting Voldemort and his forces because 1) He tried to kill her (Jen even admits to herself she probably wouldn't have bothered reporting his return if he hadn't), and 2) Her patron (Death) has demanded she kill him. When asked, Jen admits she wouldn't join Voldemort, not for moral reasons, but because he's made himself her enemy.

* In ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'', Steven the Irishman seems to have only joined the Scots because he'll be able to kill Englishmen, not to help the Scots get freedom.
* ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'': When ordered to rescue the President of the United States, Snake Plissken would gladly hijack his transportation and fly to Canada, but a bomb planted in his body makes him do otherwise.
* The Heisei incarnation of Franchise/{{Godzilla}} saves the world, or at least [[TheTokyoFireball Tokyo]] from other monsters, but it's not clear whether he has any motivations other than territorial instinct and [[PapaWolf devotion to his son, "Junior"]].
* ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' is a milder example. But it's not entirely clear (until possibly the end) if the title character really knows and/or understands what he's doing.
* ''Film/IShotJesseJames'': Robert Ford is more than willing to kill UsefulNotes/JesseJames (and later, [[TheRival John Kelley]]) when he thinks itíll get him Cynthyís hand. However, he also has a sense of honor and seems decent enough in every other aspect of his life.
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers''. Humanity in this film is a race of [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters arrogant, jingoistic, xenophobic bastards]] run by an openly [[PuttingOnTheReich fascist]] and militaristic PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny. Their every action in the war against the [[BugWar Klendathu Arachnids]] is presented as heroic, embodying the film's intended satire on militarism.
* In ''Film/TheStreetFighter'', Takuma "Terry" Tsurugi is a brutal and pitiless man. He sells a girl into slavery and kills her brother when they're not able to pay him for services rendered, and he's not above sacrificing innocents that he's not directly helping. He avoids VillainProtagonist territory by fighting against {{Yakuza}}, whom he despises, and working to protect the good guys, even though he does so for his own reasons. In the VideoGame version, he's portrayed in a somewhat more positive light.
* ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'': Loki's reasons for helping Thor defeat Malekith are fairly selfish [[spoiler:(Loki wants to avenge Frigga's murder, and this mission offers him an opportunity to escape his prison cell)]], but he nevertheless puts his life on the line to achieve their mutual goal.
** Both Loki and Valkyrie count in ''Film/ThorRagnarok''. Loki helps Thor [[spoiler: save Asgard]] to regain his brother's regard and to get the gratitude of his people. Valkyrie, someone who spent years selling people to die in a gladiator ring, [[DarkAndTroubledPast is largely motivated by revenge.]]
* Lampshaded and played for laughs in ''Film/MysteryMen''. Captain Amazing is constantly viewed by the residents of Champion City as a great hero, even though he is often rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, and only interested in making money off his powers. He even brings about the events of the film, unwittingly, by getting his archnemesis released from prison so he can fight someone worthy (and save his sponsorship deals), eventually getting himself killed stupidly in the process. The audience isn't ''supposed'' to like him. Their sympathies instead lie with the title characters, who are the underdogs of the superhero world; most of them have [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway crappy superpowers]] (such as only turning invisible when literally nobody is watching...not even himself), and they're respected by next to nobody in the city they've sworn to protect.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': All of the Guardians have some kind of criminal past, and even TokenGoodTeammate Groot has apparently spent some time kidnapping and/or impaling people for money as Rocket's accomplice. They're interested in stopping [[BigBad Ronan]] either to save themselves or to get revenge on him for wronging them in the past.
-->'''Rocket Raccoon''': Why would ''YOU'' wanna save the galaxy?!\\
'''Peter Quill''': Because ''I'm'' one of the idiots who ''lives'' in it!
* ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'': The T-800 is a killer machine with no emotions, only protecting and following the orders of a ten year old because of his programming. By the end of the film he's able to understand human behaviour and emotions, so he becomes a more traditional hero over the course of the movie.
* The Terminator from ''Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines'' plays this far more straight. At one point he even flatly admits he doesn't care at all about John or Kate, and is only protecting them because it's his mission. Even toward the end, when he's been [[MindVirus corrupted by the T-X]] and is about to kill John, it's being reminded that he's about to fail his mission that [[FightingFromTheInside makes him stop]].
* [=MacNamara=] (James Cagney) in ''Film/OneTwoThree''. He cheats on his wife, neglects his children, and all of his actions are motivated entirely by self-interest. To get the prize job in London (for which he already has bought a new umbrella) he has no scruples to destroy the happiness of a young couple, make vanish the marriage documents from the registry office, frame the bridegroom as an American spy, destroying his intended career and at the very least ensuring that he spent several years in prison. Then unfortunately it turns out the bride, the only daughter of [=MacNamara=]'s boss is pregnant...
* ''Film/{{Vendetta}}'': As evil as Victor Abbott may be, let's not forget that Mason Danver's plan is to kill a man who, while a criminal, had nothing to do with the death of his wife, so he'll be sent to prison, where he can murder Abbott for a crime he's already been arrested and incarcerated for.
* In ''Film/JohnWick'', John himself. He massacres dozens of mobsters simply because the son of their boss, Iosef, killed his puppy and flat-out threatens to kill [[TheDon Viggo]] if he doesn't hand over Iosef. He's kept from being a full-on VillainProtagonist by a strict sense of honor (for starters, [[NeverHurtAnInnocent he takes great pains to avoid collateral damage]]) and the fact that, well, he's going up against TheMafiya.
* ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'': Blondie is "The Good", but only because the other two are even worse.
* All the protagonists of ''Film/KellysHeroes'' are disgruntled US soldiers, who intend to abscond to Switzerland with 16 million dollars in NaziGold. They are all fairly sympathetic in that they are repeatedly pissed on by their superiors and blamed for things they had no power over, but are also very blatantly only out to line their own pockets and don't care much about what they have to do to get what they want.

* Creator/StevenErikson's ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'':
** Karsa Orlong is just about as anti as a hero can get. Being a {{deconstruction}} of the ProudWarriorRaceGuy and BarbarianHero, Karsa aims to improve the world... by slaughtering millions of people and smashing civilization back to barbarism.
** Seerdomin is a hero to the Redeemer's followers, because his daily presence at the barrow discourages bandits from entering the camp surrounding it, but his reasons for visiting are rather personal and he is even surprised that people would look up to him.
* Yarol, the Venusian sidekick in C.L. Moore's ''Literature/NorthwestSmith'' stories, is heavily implied to be this. The narration never specifies his enormities, but hints that his [[{{Bishonen}} angelic beauty]] belies his absolutely evil nature.
* Senna Wales, the witch of ''Literature/{{Everworld}}.'' She is motivated by her completely selfish goal of overthrowing the powers of Everworld, seizing control over the foundations of reality, and then [[DimensionLord ruling over the universe]] as [[AGodAmI an absolute god]]. However, she is kept from being a VillainProtagonist because most of the real villains that she opposes (Huizilopocli, Hel, Ka Anor) are monsters, she [[TokenEvilTeammate helps the other protagonists more often than she goes against them]], and she seems to genuinely think that Everworld and its people would be better off with her ruling them all.
* Uhtred Ragnarsson of Bebbanburg, the main protagonist of the [[Literature/TheSaxonStories Saxon Stories]], is this in his halfhearted service of Alfred the Great. Although he would much rather accompany the Danish invaders, certain events forced him to make an oath of service to King Alfred that he refuses to break.
* Raistlin Majere is this in the original Literature/{{Dragonlance}} ''Chronicles'' trilogy. Really the only thing keeping him with the Heroes of the Lance is some lingering affection for some of them and the presence of his brother Caramon. [[spoiler: Even during ''Chronicles'' Raistlin started drifting towards becoming the TokenEvilTeammate and the FaceHeelTurn was complete by the next trilogy ''Legends''. Still he did earn his RedemptionEqualsDeath and had a few PetTheDog moments.]]
%%* In ''Ghost'', the first novel in the ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' series by Creator/JohnRingo, Mike Jenkins starts out as this. In later books he tones it down to UnscrupulousHero. Katya is this throughout the series.
* [[spoiler:Severus Snape]] in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books does have something of a moral compass, in that he aims to [[TheAtoner atone]] for his mistreatment and inadvertent betrayal of TheLostLenore by avenging her death. He doesn't care much for anyone else, though, as evidenced by his general nastiness. And even his concern for TheLostLenore comes off as a one-sided {{yandere}}-like obsession.
* Franchise/SherlockHolmes. In the early stories particularly, he's more interested in fighting crime for the ''novelty'' of it, and the fact that the more unusual cases give him something to do; if he gets too bored he starts doing cocaine. Later stories shy away from the drug use and make him a bit more classically heroic, though his main fascination with his work is still the strangeness of his cases. He rarely shows an interest in financial gain; he even states that "my work is its own reward." Holmes's motivation is really a combination of a sense of justice but also of a desire for a worthy challenge. He takes cases whose riddles he will enjoy trying to solve. You could say that he is a heroic foil of the Riddler who enjoys creating riddles.
* Many of the heroes in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' are morally dubious or in it for the sake of their own careers. The clearest example is Shadow Stalker - a thrill-seeking psychopath with a [[StrawNihilist poorly articulated philosophy]] that serves only the purpose of [[BewareTheSuperman placing her at the top of the food chain]] and regularly brutalizes or kills criminals when she thinks she can get away with it.
* ''LightNovel/HybridXHeartMagiasAcademyAtaraxia'': As of Volume 8, [[MadScientist Nayuta Hida]] has joined the protagonists in their battle against the [[PhysicalGod Deus Ex Machina]]. Nayuta has no regrets of what she has done for her [[AGodAmI pursuit of godhood]], such as the way she treated her children, and makes no attempts to redeem herself. For their part, [[TheHero Kizuna]] and the others know this and only accept her help because she is the best chance they have against the Deus Ex Machina.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' protagonist Jack Bauer skirts along this trope during the show's eight seasons, but manages to stay away from it for the most part. The sequel mini-series "Live Another Day," however, shows that he's officially entered this territory due to how much his experiences in the show's original run have soured him. He comes out of hiding to save the day again solely because he learned that his old flame Audrey and her father and his former boss James Hellar were in danger, and displays a much more ruthless attitude than he did during the original series, including shooting a group of people in order to incite a riot for a diversion and [[spoiler: outright murdering the main villain of the first half of the season with little provocation even after she's been successfully captured, a stark contrast to the original seasons where he primarily killed only in self-defense or if someone [[ItsPersonal murdered someone important to him]]]].
* ''Series/BlakesSeven'':
** Over the course of his development, Kerr Avon varies from TokenEvilTeammate to a JerkWithAHeartOfGold but loses all sympathetic qualities towards the end of Series 4 when he tries to kill Vila in cold blood. He's still fighting the LawfulEvil Federation but he only cares about saving himself.
** His reasons for fighting the Federation also change as time passes: in Season 1 he claims to have nothing to do with Blake's revolution other than living on the same ship, in Season 2 he's playing along because he wants the ship, in Season 3 the Federation is a threat to his freedom and by Season 4 he genuinely hates them, though by this time he's [[SanitySlippage sliding down the sanity slope]] and it's hard to tell ''what'' his true motivations are.
** Most of the other "good" main characters -- except Blake, Cally, Dayna and perhaps Jenna and Gan -- are being dragged along behind Blake's idealism. They fight because there's nowhere for them to run.
** Dayna seems to stay with Avon out of a combination of not having anywhere else to go and wanting revenge on Servalan for her father's murder. While the seven more or less end up as FireForgedFriends, only Blake and Cally really have anything approaching idealism, rather than being motivated by loyalty or self-interest, and they're both gone by Season 4.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', which was [[SpiritualAdaptation blatantly]] ''Blake's 7'' with money, was also filled with Nominal Heroes. The only reason why the main characters come together is because they're all being hunted by the oppressive government, but only one of them was anything approaching an idealistic revolutionary. (That one person was not the main protagonist and [[spoiler:died just over halfway through the show's run]].) In four seasons, they only consciously set out to do something "good" for the universe on two occasions, at the end of the third season and in the GrandFinale WrapItUp.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'': The titular character is at the far, dark end of this to the point where he could fairly be considered simply a likeable VillainProtagonist, being a SerialKiller who was disciplined at a young age to channel his sociopathy toward killing other evildoers. By the end of Season 7, he is 100% VillainProtagonist
* ''Series/FatherTed'': Father Jack Hackett is a violent, selfish, perverted alcoholic and flashbacks suggest he was once a bullying fire and brimstone preacher and a paedophile. The only thing keeping him from being a VillainProtagonist is that his alcoholism and old age usually renders him too docile to harm anyone. And sometimes they do the exact opposite.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Jayne is working for Mal only because Mal offered him more money and his own bunk. When given the offer he immediately shot the mercenaries he was currently working for and sided with Mal. He makes it clear throughout the series that he would do the same again if a better offer came along... Maybe. The big lug goes through a ''lot'' of CharacterDevelopment in thirteen episodes and one BigDamnMovie and shows regular signs of HiddenDepths.
** Arguably this can be applied to all the crew (with the exception of Book, whose motivations are unclear though his loyalty less so), who are on the crew for either financial gain or survival. Though there are moments of sincere heroism that even Mal can't ignore - such as returning the medicine they stole (only Jayne objects), helping out the whores (which only Jayne agrees to when he realises it'll get him free whore sex), and risking everything to out the secret behind the Reavers (even Jayne agrees to this).
* Amos from ''Series/TheExpanse'' (who is very reminiscent of a heavily {{Flanderiz|ation}}ed Jayne) only seems to stick around with the others out of personal loyalty and/or UnrequitedLove for Naomi and because he has nowhere else to go, at least in Season 1.
* ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'': Ankh is only helping Eiji against the other Greeed because it's in his own best interests, and has no qualms about who is hurt so long as he gets what he wants. [[spoiler: though he gradually transitions into a KnightInSourArmor by the end.]]
* ''Series/KamenRiderExAid'':
** Taiga Hanaya/Kamen Rider Snipe, who fights against the Bugsters not because he cares about the patients or their lives. He just wants to collect all the Gashats so can he destroy all the Bugsters and get his revenge on Graphite. He also doesn't care about who gets hurt because of his actions. However, he later reveals HiddenDepths and shows that this is mostly just a JerkassFacade.
** Former BigBad Kuroto Dan/Kamen Rider Genm eventually joins the heroes, but not out of a change of heart. He's upset because his father Masamune, the new Bad, has hijacked his scheme and diverted it away from the purpose he intended it for, and taken credit for all his hard work. There are also bits of the Relationship and Force motivations there, as he feels a familial connection to Poppy (for reasons that are complicated to explain here) and can now be trapped in a Bugvisor if he starts acting up.
* ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'': Magna-Defender is like this. He may assist the rangers taking down a monster or two and want to take down Scorpious, but he's only does it for the revenge. This definitely becomes clearer when he tries to destroy Terra Venture because it might destroy Scorpious. Although he gets better, [[RedemptionEqualsDeath near the end]].
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Rachel Matheson reveals herself as this in "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E17TheLongestDay The Longest Day]]", when she directly tells Aaron that she wants to turn the power back on not to help anyone, but to give the other factions the power to kill Monroe as revenge for killing her son Danny.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'': In this 2010 BBC modernization, Sherlock Holmes describes himself as a "high-functioning sociopath," and cautions Dr. Watson: "Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist; and if they did, I wouldn't be one of them." This shows that his motivations are not those of a typical straight hero, and that he's possessed of a very cynical worldview. His motivation is quite explicitly boredom and a need for intellectual stimulation.
--> '''Sherlock''': I may be on the side of the angels, but [[BadassBoast don't think for one second that I am one of them]].
** However, later episodes strongly imply that this is ''mostly'' an act. [[spoiler: The real high-functioning sociopath of the piece is Moriarty.]]
* ''Series/TheSopranos'': Tony Soprano is a con artist, a thug, a womanizer, a thief, a murderer, an extortionist, and an adulterer. But the things separating him from a VillainProtagonist are his genuine love for his family, kindness to his friends, occasional pangs of guilt and moments of vulnerability, and the fact that his friends (and enemies) are even worse than he is. It actually makes him seem like a milder case of the trope....and then he loses much of it by season 6B and the finale.
* Crowley in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' starts off as this. He's no less evil than the other demons, but he is the only to realize that it's in his best interest to [[spoiler:stop [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]] from destroying humanity]].
* In ''Series/TheWire'' many policemen and public servants don't really care about fighting crime or improving the city and would only perform good deeds when it furthers their own agendas.
* On ''Series/XCompany'' Mirri asks to join the resistance spies in order to get the chance to kill her enemies.
* While Lucifer Morningstar from ''Series/Lucifer2016'' has a strong sense of right and wrong (albeit a very twisted one), the only reason why he joined up with Chloe and her investigations was because she fascinated him due to her moral compass and immunity to his charms and because he found punishing criminals to be exciting. He only ever stays the course whenever it interests him in any way, becoming easily distracted or simply dropping out of the case all together if it bores him, only to re-enter the case if it suits his needs.
* Zigizagged on ''Series/{{Leverage}}''. In the pilot, the heroes are clearly only motivated by payback and greed. Throughout the rest of the series, their motivations flip back and forth almost every episode between wanting to atone, wanting to help the victims, and the love of stealing. Also, the "alternative revenue stream" is occasionally mentioned, implying that the team continues to profit from their work by betting against their marks in the stock market, like they did in the pilot.
* ''{{Series/Andromeda}}'': Tyr Anazasi is a mercenary. He is also a Nietzschean, a member of a HumanSubspecies that practices [[StrawNihilist enlightened self-interest]], [[DesignerBabies genetic engineering,]] and [[TheSocialDarwinist social darwinism]]. Tyr is ultimately on no-one's side but his own; he is not only not much of a hero, he is an out-and-out antagonist at times and will always play the heroes and villains against each other for his personal benefit (though he is more than willing to drop an immediate benefit for a larger, long term one). He will stand by the heroes, even at great personal risk, when their interests align with his and it seems like they will come out on top (which, he recognizes, is most of the time; Dylan and Rommie are good enough to beat the odds more often than not), but doesn't hesitate to throw the heroes under the bus when he thinks the risks are small and the payoff big enough.

[[folder: Podcasts]]
* The "heroes" of ''Podcast/TheAdventureZone'' are in the business of tracking down [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts of Doom]] for two reasons: because they don't want the planet destroyed ([[WesternAnimation/TheTick it's where they keep all their stuff]]) and because the pay is pretty good. [[HeroicComedicSociopath They'll gleefully lie, cheat, steal, and murder]] along their way toward saving the world from the latest threat, and everyone else has to put up with it, because [[UltimateJobSecurity their track record at world-saving can't be beat]].

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* In professional wrestling, good deeds, good sportsmanship, generally being a good person and of course, being a good or even adequate wrestler, will get one cheered somewhat reliably. But audiences are not static; it's impossible to really know how they will react until you're in front of them, and any wrestler who gets consistently cheered for will become a {{face}} by default. Generally one designated {{face}} or {{heel}} beforehand will try to invoke the "correct" response or correct the opposite, but sometimes, fans set their minds on someone being worth cheering for, no matter how reprehensible that someone might be. In the lucha libre territories of pro wrestling, tecnicos have a slightly easier time with this, as the battle lines are more clearly defined, but if they get booed enough they'll turn rudo too.
* Invasion angles have a tendency to create faces by default, since no matter how disagreeable a heel is he still represents the company the fans came to see, that those jerks are getting in the way of. Ray Gonzales, who was directly responsible for bringing Wrestling/{{AAA}} luchadors into WWC in the first place and only fell out with them when they stopped doing what he told them, is a prime example, since, hey, he's still a Puerto Rican fighting the foreigners in the Puerto Rican company. In fact, this can apply to invaders that have simply been around longer than more recent arrivals, such as the W*ING wrestles becoming {{faces}} in Wrestling/{{FMW}} when IWA Japan and Víctor Quiñones's Puerto Rican Army came in. [[ForeignWrestlingHeel The Dominican]] Los Compadres and Los Broncos becoming faces when different foreign wrestlers came into WWC and the Dominicans were nominal faces again when wrestlers from the ''Puerto Rican'' independent circuit came into WWC. There are a few aversions though, as Wrestling/{{Carlito C|olon}}aribbean Cool remained a heel when Savio Vega invaded WWC with IWA PR(mainly because his argument to Vega about not being a tecato just made fans think he was {{lazy|bum}} instead). Another was Averno, El Texano Jr and El Terrible taking advantage of first Los Independientes attack on Wrestling/{{CMLL}} to blindside Brazo de Plata, Jon Strongman and Wrestling/{{Mistico}}, as they ran out to stop the independent circuit invaders.
* In [[VillainBasedFranchise heel based promotions]] such as Fuyuki Army, Oz Academy, Kai En Tai Dojo and Perros Del Mal Producciones or on heel based shows like ''Wrestling/{{n|ewWorldorder}}Wo Souled Out'' or the Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA Wildside "Elite" events, it is incredibly easy for a heel not associated with the dominant PowerStable to become a face by default, as Wrestling/EddieGuerrero discussed when the nWo were taking over Wrestling/{{WCW}}.
* Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin in 1997. Although events involving Wrestling/BretHart made him firmly a face in the fans' eyes, he retained all of the aspects that made him a heel, to the point where some fans thought he was just a DesignatedHero. He beat up people who tried to help him, [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown smashed Bret Hart's leg into oblivion with a chair and then hijacked an ambulance to beat him up some more]] and generally acted like a massive JerkAss to everyone.
* Similarly, Wrestling/RandyOrton still acted as a heel after his 2010 [[HeelfaceTurn face turn]], [[KickTheDog beating]] [[KickTheSonOfABitch up]] anyone who gets in his way.
* The only real differences between Wrestling/TripleH as a heel and as a face is whether or not he's directly insulting the fans, and how often he tries to weasel out of a fight.
* La Sombra, La Máscara and especially Rush, the most hated man in Wrestling/{{CMLL}}, only avoided being officially designated rudos by the latter's sheer insistence that they were merely "Los Ingobernables, técnicos diferentes", and that the other técnicos they typically opposed like Volador Jr. and Wrestling/{{Mistico}} were still their brothers.

* {{Satan}} in Series 5 of ''Radio/OldHarrysGame''. The StoryArc of the season has Satan attempting to get humans to be less sinful because Hell is getting too overcrowded and it's placing an intolerable strain on the people who work there.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Voiree Misallo from ''8BitGamers''. Though firmly on the side of good after a religious experience and a genetic examination revealing her to be born with a semi-sociopathic defect, her motivation mostly has to do with wanting to avoid hell, keep her boyfriend, and remain friends with her TrueCompanions.
* Nagash is one of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}s'' biggest douchebags, and likely the single most evil person in the setting. He still has a vested interest against Chaos destroying the world however, and so for a good chunk of the lore he's technically been a "good guy". The quote marks are very much justified, and in ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'' it's no real surprise when he finally gives in to his baser urges. It's fair to say he was only prevented from betraying everyone in ''TabletopGame/WarhammerTheEndTimes'' because one of the other "Why are we friends with this guy again?" characters betrayed ''him'' before he had the chance.

* ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' uses this as part of its {{deconstruction}} of {{Fairy Tale}}s. Everything that goes wrong in the DarkerAndEdgier second act is a direct or indirect result of the heroes [[ItsAllAboutMe putting their own]] HappilyEverAfter above the greater good. By the end, the cast admits that they have no idea who's the hero and who's the villain, and the most sympathetic character is the WickedWitch who was the first act's BigBad.
--> '''The Witch:''' You're so ''nice''. You're not good, you're not bad, you're just... nice. I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'', not only does Durandal make it quite clear that he is only fighting the Pfhor as a means of escaping the end of the universe, [[spoiler: he is the one who brought the Pfhor to Tau Ceti in the original game, an action that resulted in the deaths of nearly everyone in the colony]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Hexen}} II'', two of the heroes are the Assassin (who wants to prove she can kill the most powerful and best protected being on the planet) and the Necromancer (who has a problem with Eidolon being more feared than him).
* In ''VideoGame/{{God of War|Series}}'', Kratos, to the point that, particularly after the first game, many consider him an outright VillainProtagonist, even worse than the people (or gods) he's trying to kill. In which case the gods themselves become Nominal Hero antagonists. Their motivations for opposing Kratos are purely selfish, and they have little concern or empathy for humanity itself. [[spoiler: This gets ''epically'' flipped on its head in the finale of the third game which reveals that the Gods were actually heroic until Kratos opened PandorasBox in the first game to beat Ares. The evils from inside infested and corrupted the Gods and twisted them from benevolent leaders into despotic bastards. Kratos is so shocked by this reveal, as well as the realization that he's caused and inflicted so much pain and destruction in his quest for revenge, that he kills himself and releases the powers of hope in order to give humanity a chance to survive on their own.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', Caim is this in the first game. The only thing that made him "heroic" in the first place was the fact that he was fighting against an evil empire that was [[ALighterShadeOfBlack even worse.]] Once they're defeated, he defaults back to [[KillEmAll RIP AND TEAR.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'':
** Zaeed Massani is a ruthless revenge obsessed merc on Commander Shepard's team. During his loyalty mission, he burns an entire refinery to the ground while callously disregarding the innocent lives trapped inside just to get revenge on another merc who screwed him over 20 years prior. In ''Mass Effect 3'' he becomes an UnscrupulousHero through character development.
** Aria T'Loak is a crimelord who allows slavery, drug running and pretty much anything else as long as it doesn't undermine her power. She is however willing to aid Shepard to some extent, and seems none too fond of Ardat-Yakshi or the Collectors. Probably both [[PragmaticVillainy for practical reasons]] and [[EvenEvilHasStandards on principle]]. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', she helps you out of self-preservation because, as she puts it, the reapers are a threat to ''all'' existence, including hers, so it's [[PragmaticVillainy "within (her) interests"]] to help Shepard.
*** By default, ''everyone'' in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' is either this or StupidEvil, depending on whether or not they side with Shepard, seeing as s/he's the best bet to stop the Reapers, [[KillEmAll who have made their intentions very, very clear.]]
** This trope is actually a plot point in the first game, where Saren is believed to be a hero throughout the galaxy and is well-liked by many. In reality he's a ''very'' amoral KnightTemplar who is willing to cause many civilian casualties as long as he gets the job done and is a severe racist. His popularity in the galaxy means that a big problem in the game's opening act is actually convincing the Citadel Council that he's not on their side anymore and has to be brought in.
* In the numbered ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games, an evil player character could be seen as this, since you have the freedom to blow of civilianís heads with absolutely zero provocation, enslave children and nuke cities. However, this is somewhat moderated by the main story pitting you against monsters who want to wipe out the vast majority of the remaining human race. With ''New Vegas'', the player has the option of becoming a full-blown VillainProtagonist by siding with Caesarís Legion, as they bring the region under the grip of a nation endorsing rape, slavery, child molestation and murder for public entertainment.
* Demitri Maximoff from ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}''. He only confronts PlanetEater Pyron and DarkMessiah Jedah because they are a threat to his plans in conquering the Makai, and treats everyone who aren't his servants with great disdain.
* [[BloodKnight Augus]] in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' only joined the Eight Guardian Generals so he could have exciting battles. [[spoiler:4 of all]] the Seven Deities are [[spoiler:implied to be]] this.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGear'':
** Meryl, Psycho Mantis, and Liquid [[InformedFlaw claim that]] Solid Snake is a SociopathicHero who enjoys combat and killing, with the latter two telling him that he's far worse then they are. However, Psycho Mantis and Liquid are mass murdering psychopaths attempting to 'kill as many people as possible' and bring on a Darwinist 'warrior's paradise' respectively, which makes their attacks on him border on HypocriticalHumor and possibly UnreliableNarrator as well.
** [[EnforcedTrope Enforced]] in the ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain Metal Gear Solid V]]'' duology, which shows Big Boss becoming more and more monstrous during his ProtagonistJourneyToVillain.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Fable}}'' games:
** In ''VideoGame/FableI'', the Heroes' Guild espouses this mindset, with its Guildmaster teaching that each Hero should strive for greatness but choose their own moral path. The Hero of Oakvale might pursue noble quests for [[PunchClockHero money]], [[GlorySeeker fame]], {{Revenge}} against his family's killers, [[BloodKnight the thrill of combat]], or [[ItAmusedMe personal amusement]] -- or turn evil for any of the same reasons.
** Reaver from ''VideoGame/FableII'' and ''[[VideoGame/FableIII III]]''. He tries to double cross the hero at least twice and only helps the hero because [[spoiler: the BigBad proceeds to double cross him when Reaver tries to turn the hero over to him]].
* In the first ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'', Travis Touchdown. The only thing that makes him any kind of hero is that the rest of the assassins are sociopaths. Later, though, his motivation becomes more heroic.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Maleficent, while still not "good" in any sense of the word, is allied with the heroes in a common goal of stopping the Organization, and helps the good guys out at least twice.
* Grom Hellscream and Illidan Stormrage of ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'': the first is an amoral BloodKnight and the other is a subject obsessed with demonic power.
%%** Another examples are Garrosh Hellscream, the goblins and the Forsaken.
%%* Booker Dewitt in ''{{Videogame/Bioshock infinite}}'' starts out this way.
* In the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series, more particularly in his own spin-off games, Wario frequently ends up doing a lot of good in defeating various bad guys, but he usually only does it when he's competing with them for treasure. Otherwise, he couldn't care less. WordOfGod notes that Wario doesn't really care about ''anything'', he just wants to keep doing what he wants.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Blood}}'', Caleb spends the entirety of both his games killing everything that moves. The only reason he's the good guy is, excluding a few mimes and other innocents, everything that moves is part of the world-spanning [[ReligionOfEvil Cabal]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ace Combat Zero|TheBelkanWar}}'', Cipher on the Mercenary path. As opposed to Soldier, on this path he's willing to take out ''anything'' not specifically on his side, be it enemy combatants, disabled enemy units, or even civilians on occasion.
* In ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'', Kokonoe has a few soft spots here and there, but REALLY has no problems in nuking a whole city just so she can claim the frag of Terumi's head... never mind thousands and thousands of innocents who will die along the way.
* One of ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters''' main characters, Iori Yagami (introduced in 1995 as the rival of Kyo Kusanagi), plays this role. A loner and a very angry and consumed character, he lives to see the defeat of Kyo and won't stop until that happens. He does do genuinely heroic things ([[TeethClenchedTeamwork even teaming up with Kyo]] when the situation warrants it) but only so that he can [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou resume thirsting for Kyo's blood]]. He has no friends and has attacked his own team members in the past (be it willingly or unwillingly when his Orochi blood goes out of control).
* Lord Scourge in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' is a Sith Lord who is a companion to the Jedi Knight class; he sides with the Jedi to stop the [[OmnicidalManiac Sith Emperor]] from destroying the entire galaxy. In the back story he was responsible for [[spoiler: Revan's capture and the Exiles death because he saw that they would fail in defeating the Emperor]]. By the end of the Jedi Knight storyline, he is credited as a hero of the Republic, which both him and [[BigGood Satele Shan]] really don't like the idea of.
* The playable characters in the main ''VideoGame/{{Pokemon}}'' games. Their only real goal is to enter the world of Pokemon, catch the titular monsters, train them, get to the Pokemon League and become the Champion. It's by pure coincidence that once your playable character (a random silent kid no less) enters the fold and starts their journey, a criminal syndicate is rising in power and causing trouble, lead by a CorruptCorporateExecutive or some wacko seeking to [[TakeOverTheWorld conquer the world]]/[[OmnicidalManiac erase life as we know it]] using Pokemon as a means to achieve it. You can't become the champion if things are messed up and the world is destroyed, so you have to stop them. ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' puts a spin on this by having the villain team infiltrate the Pokemon League and defeat the champion, leaving it all up to you to get there and save the day.
* Gensokyo, the setting of the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' games, is ''run'' by these. [[{{Miko}} Reimu Hakurei]] is, at best, motivated by a desire for her life to be predictable mixed with not wanting it to be too boring, either, and is at worst solely motivated by the [[{{Greed}} possibility of getting donations]] and being a SlaveToPR. [[CuteWitch Marisa Kirisame]] is one part motivated by the prospect of [[KleptomaniacHero getting to loot]] [[StickyFingers magical artifacts]] from the villain's lair, one part the opportunity to upstage [[TheRival Reimu]] and one part [[BloodKnight getting to kick someone in the teeth]]. [[{{Vampire}} Remilia Scarlet]] is more interested in alleviating her own boredom and maintaining her power than actually fixing Gensokyo's problems (and she's not the harmless kind of vampire, either). [[DeityOfHumanOrigin Sanae Kochiya]] is interested in spreading the worship of and gathering faith for her ancestor-goddesses. [[HalfHumanHybrid Youmu Konpaku]] fights because [[MyMasterRightOrWrong her mistress says so]], as does Remilia's maid Sakuya Izayoi, who is also implied to have done [[DarkSecret something ''really'' nasty in the past]]. And [[RealityWarper Yukari Yakumo]] is the {{Magnificent B|astard}}itch who founded Gensokyo as a FantasticNatureReserve and everything she does is to further the survival of {{youkai}}, up to and including striking up deals with the humans that favor ''them'', because she knows that if humans become content and don't feel as threatened by youkai, they'll lose their edge and become easier prey. Her colleague Okina Matara isn't much better, as her main concern is to make everyone in Gensokyo (native and permanent residents alike) to remember her, yet she is disliked by some of them due to her AttentionWhore and totalitarian nature.
** Subverted with the first later on in that as [[CharacterDevelopment Reimu matures]], she does later missions out of a sense of duty, even if she's [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold reluctant to admit it]]. Unfortunately, this places her to be manipulated by the above Yukari and has at least once led to her accidentally contributing to an invasion of the moon.
* ''VideoGame/{{Sacrifice}}'': The player takes the role of Eldred who use to be a tyrant on his own world, then when his own people turn against him he summoned the demon Marduk to defeat them, then Marduk proceeded to destroy everything else. He is really regretful of having to kill a dragon, but is ok with slavery.
* The Daemoness in ''VideoGame/{{Sacred}}: Underworld''. At the start of the game she gets stabbed in the back by her master, Anducar, and has a prophetic vision that working alongside the other heroes is her best chance of getting revenge.
* Several of the protagonists of ''VideoGame/BaldursGateDarkAlliance 2''. Vhaidra wants to hone her skills as a monk so she can take bloody revenge against the assassins who murdered her family, and Borador, as a result of a debt owed to the elves, wants to get his hands on as much coin as he can. Dorn is a borderline example, since his motivation comes across as equal parts 'make the realms a better place' and 'earn as much glory for myself and seduce as many women as I can.'
* Dark Pit from ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising''. He isn't too concerned with the war between the gods. He just likes beating up monsters. [[spoiler:After the time skip he gets more involved in order to make sure Pit remains alive (since he learns his existence depends on Pit's).]]
* ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'': Guy's primary interest is in stumbling home in one piece, and (with some exceptions), he's not doing anything heroic without some serious compensation.
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'':
** All of [[Characters/SonicTheHedgehogGUN Team Dark]], who only ever join up with the rest of the good guys when something even worse comes along, and it gets too big to ignore. The most straight up example is [[AntiHero Shadow]], mostly in [[VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog his own game]]. After ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'' had him pull a HeelFaceTurn, he protects the world only because [[MoralityChain Maria]] wanted him to, or to boost his ego and superiority over others as the Ultimate Lifeform. Shadow has been shown as willing to cross any line to succeed his mission and goals, which may or may not be for the good of Earth. Most of the time, it is, but it's always about Shadow [[ItsAllAboutMe achieving his own ambitions first]].
** As for the rest of Team Dark, E-123 Omega only ever does anything either because it involves his goal of getting revenge on Eggman for abandoning him for other robots, or because Shadow and Rouge asked him to help them out. Rouge the Bat's main motivation in being a government spy is her obsession with the world's most famous jewels, which she expects to be rewarded with.
** Eggman is this when he is fighting against the Deadly Six in ''VideoGame/SonicLostWorld'' [[spoiler:until all the Deadly Six meet their final defeat]]!
* Many of the Grey Wardens in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' universe qualify as this. The Wardens will take people of any background with sufficient talents at killing darkspawn, whether they're warriors, thieves, murderers, or even blood mages - anyone is acceptable as a candidate [[spoiler: as long as they're able to survive the Joining]]. The Wardens have broad powers of conscription that are honored by most governing bodies, so many Wardens are pressed into service against their will.
** Oghren is a warrior who fights because thats what he was trained to do and his training left him going stir crazy in dwarven civilization. He joins you to find his wife and stays with you because it means he can start swinging his axe again. Nothing more.
** Morrigan is a witch with a dark background and little to no regard for the well being of others. She's only with you because her mother told her to come and only helps because killing the darkspawn is in her own best interest (though she can develop an attachment to the main character, depending on how you play).
** Shale is a golem who likes to squish things and see blood fountain, especially if those things have feathers, and is mostly following the Warden around because it's something to do after spending thirty years as an amnesiac statue.
* Tyler Smith in ''Clear Vision'', whose motive is sole money [[spoiler:and later to save his beautiful wife]], in every shooting he does regardless if the targets in question are actually evil.
* Isaac Clarke, the protagonist of the ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' series. In ''[[VideoGame/DeadSpace 1]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/DeadSpace2 2]]'', he's just an ordinary engineer who wanted to survive the Necromorph ZombieApocalypse. In [[VideoGame/DeadSpace3 the third game]], he literally had to be coerced to get back into the fight, and even then only agreed because he learned his ex-Girlfriend was in peril. However, near the end of all three games, he ends up pulling a HeroicSacrifice, willingly entering a situation that would likely result in death in order to end the greater threat[[note]] Returning to Aegis VII to bring the Marker back to its pedestal in ''1'', assaulting an overrun EarthGov base to destroy the Golden Marker in ''2'' (which would cause a station overload), and staying behind to kill a Brethren Moon before it could find and consume the rest of humanity in ''3''. In all cases, when Isaac made his decision, he was in or right next to an escape shuttle[[/note]].
* Garrett of ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' doesn't really give a damn about anyone other than himself. He winds up in the "hero" role primarily out of circumstance: the BigBad is usually (in addition to their main plan) gunning for him personally for one reason or another. Also, it's of no benefit to him if The City is destroyed, then where would he do his thieving?
* ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'':
** Levi the Slasher, while being [[BoisterousBruiser a cheerful sort]], is mainly a ChallengeSeeker and had accidentally saved several towns in [[spoiler:[[DeathWorld Eltria]]]] since she loves taking down the powerful monsters that happen to be threatening them.
** Former BigBad and current AntiHero Lord Dearche is a CardCarryingVillain that has saved TheMultiverse in her quest to gain unlimited power, and is currently reversing the decay of a planet on its last legs as part of her plan to "[[TakeOverTheWorld conquer]]" it. At least, [[NobleDemon that's her story and she's sticking to it]].
* In the final stages of ''VideoGame/{{RefleX}}'', [[spoiler:the Phoenix is thoroughly trashed by ZODIAC Virgo and its pilot killed, causing its AI to take over and transform into ZODIAC Ophiuchus. It then proceeds to tear up Virgo, and later the other ZODIAC units. At first, the people of earth hail the Ophiuchus as its savior from the "Winged Menaces", but the Ophiuchus is not interested in protecting humanity, only dueling with the other ZODIAC units until they are all destroyed, no matter how much collateral damage happens in the process. The damage and death toll pile up, and before long, humanity sees Ophiuchus as [[HeWhoFightsMonsters simply yet another menace to the planet]]]].
* Joel from ''VideoGame/TheLastOfUs''. 20 years of hardcore survival [[AfterTheEnd in a world long]] [[ZombieApocalypse gone to Hell]] and [[spoiler:the death of his young daughter Sarah]] have left him an extremely bitter and almost nihilistic middle-aged man who will cross ''any'' moral line to survive in a harsh world. However, he is given the task to escort Ellie, a young girl [[spoiler:who may be the key to curing the plague]], to a holdout on the other side of America. He's ''not at all'' doing it because he cares about the ongoing factional conflict, or because he cares about Ellie's well-being [[note]][[spoiler:(initially)]][[/note]] or because [[spoiler:his doing so could end up saving mankind from extinction]]; he's doing it to get his guns back.
** Eventually his priorities do change, but even then he still remains this. [[spoiler:Ellie is ALL he cares about to the point that he slaughters the Fireflies when he learns they plan to dissect Ellie to learn how she's immune to the cordycepts. Marlene tells Joel that Ellie would want to give her life if it could save humanity, and that Joel even realizes that its what Ellie would want. Joel still shoots Marlene and then tells Ellie that the Fireflies gave up trying to cure the fungus, which Ellie seems to realize is a lie.]]
* Luke in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' for the first third of the game. Our ďheroĒ is functionally a child, having been kept inside and away from people ever since an accident stripped him of his memory, leaving him a moody, selfish and arrogant ShelteredAristocrat brat with little people skills or knowledge of the world. He is then told that he is TheChosenOne, which does very little to help his already over-inflated [[ItsAllAboutMe ego]] and [[SmallNameBigEgo sense of entitlement]]. This is made even worse by the encouragement of his mentor, the only person he truly respects. Luke continues to become more whiny and insufferable until the game's WhamEpisode kicks in, where he's [[WhatTheHellHero called out on his actions]] by the entire party. It takes a few more [[MindRape rather]] [[BreakTheCutie unpleasant]] [[AndIMustScream experiences]] [[TraumaCongaLine all in a row]] before he finally [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone snaps out]] [[CharacterDevelopment of it]].
* Harold Berselius in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' is an amoral MadScientist who just wants to kill a goddess, no other questions asked. Otherwise she's only considered good because she's on the side of the Er'thers, who are fighting the genocidal racist aristocratic Aetherians. While she does have PetTheDog moments, she also experiments on people without their consent and threatens to join Elraine at a point. Essentially, everything she does is for her own amusement, and our heroes' quest provides her with a lot of it.
* The entire party in ''VideoGame/TalesOfBerseria'' except for Laphicet and Eleanor are fighting for personal reasons instead of some noble cause. Velvet is driven by revenge, Rokurou wants to kill someone from his past, Eizen's target is part of the enemy group, and Magilou's along for the ride because she's bored and wants to see how things turn out.
* Rufus of ''VideoGame/{{Deponia}}''. His main goal of escaping the titular trash planet for Elysium is entirely selfish, he is arrogant, rude and beyond egotistical, and much of the first game is him using, manipulating, and outright backstabbing other people in order to achieve his goals. The "intentional" part comes due to the fact he's actually a {{Deconstruction}}. Its made clear that ''nobody'' likes Rufus precisely because he's such an asshole, most, if not all of the series' crises are directly his fault, and he is ''constantly'' called out for his actions. In fact, in the sequel, [[spoiler:Lady Goal abandons the other Goals and all of Deponia to certain doom ''just'' so she could get away from Rufus after everything he's done to her]].
* The titular ''VideoGame/{{Tomba}}'' Sure he's a nice guy and sure he goes out of his way to help a ''lot'' of people along his journey, but all he ultimately cares about is getting back his grandfather's bracelet. Had the Koma Pigs not stolen it he'd have been more than content to sit back and relax as they [[WorldGoneMad did their thing]] to the island.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow'': Said Lords of Shadow are the EnemyWithout of the original heroes of the Brotherhood, and have terrorized the Old World with hordes of monsters. However, due to a combination of MutuallyAssuredDestruction and fear of the REAL demons clawing their way from Hell, they've been forced to become the secret guardians of Earth - the license to kill anyone for fun is just a small bonus. Unfortunately, Zobek got sick of this détente with his bickering siblings and decided to take the fight to Hell for LevelGrinding... and got possessed by Satan for his trouble.
** In the sequel, Dracula has to save the world from Satan or he'll be tortured for eternity. He wouldn't care otherwise.
* Lara Croft in the UsefulNotes/PlayStation ''Franchise/TombRaider'' series is an archaeologist that is willing to kill anyone who stands in her way and destroy priceless objects as long as she can collect the fabled artifacts she had researched on. The only reason Lara can be considered "good" is because she's usually trying to get to the artifacts with power before the villains do so that they can't abuse them. If Lara does manage to work with someone, she only helps them as long as it helps her reach her goal. By ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderChronicles Chronicles]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderTheAngelOfDarkness Angel of Darkness]]'', Lara becomes a total bitch to everyone. The Crystal Dynamics reboots scale her back a bit. In the first reboot (''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderLegend Legend]]'', ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderAnniversary Anniversary]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderUnderworld Underworld]]'') Lara's motivations are more personal, and in ''Anniversary'' she shows scruples against killing other people (while she seems to have given them up in ''Legend'' and ''Underworld'', ''Legend'' at least introduces the mooks by having Lara overhear a conversation where they discuss their orders to kill her on sight). The second [[VideoGame/TombRaider2013 reboot]] features a [[ActionSurvivor younger, less experienced Lara trying desperately to survive]].
* The protagonists of the ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' series are vengeful [[HumanoidAbomination shapeshifting monsters]] whose primary goals are revenge. They do save the city of Manhattan from the villains of their respective games and genuinely care about those closest to them, but both Alex Mercer and James Heller acknowledge that they are not particularly morally upstanding people.
* If one does a PacifistRun in ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' after having previously done a [[KillEmAll Genocide run]], the ending will acknowledge the fact that the player has already dirtied their hands and so must effectively be the "did it because they were bored" variant of this trope.
** To parallel this is the fact that [[spoiler: upon discovering his SAVE ability, Flowey first used this power to solve everyone's problems and become friends with everyone, just as the player likely did before reaching the point where this is revealed. Flowey describes these activities and the friendship of the monsters as "amusing... for a while."]]
* Most of the Vault Hunters in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' are not particularly upstanding people. Axton is motivated by money, [[GloryHound glory]] and the chance of a worthy enemy; [[TheSpook insofar as anything about Zer0 is nailed down]], it's that he likes to kill things; Gaige isn't all the way sane; and Krieg is [[TheBerserker a rampaging murder machine]].
** Salvador the Gunzerker is heavily implied to be a mass-murdering criminal, responsible for [[AxCrazy lots and lots of deaths]], [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and other assorted crimes.]] So much so that he's managed to rack up a ridiculously large bounty as seen on posters throughout the game. The only reason he became a Vault Hunter is probably because doing so would allow him to continue to cause chaos ''while searching for treasure at the same time.''
* The VideoGame/SpeedRunners are supposed to be superheroes, but all we see them do in game is race each other. In the in-game comics, it is shown that they are getting in the way of the police by running through crime scenes, and their use of items is dangerous to civilians.
** While the main character is more than willing to stop a series of bomb threats in New Rush City, he seems to care more about running than anything else as he deliberately refuses to help people at times, such as [[spoiler: the runner known as The Falcon]].
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', you can recruit [[spoiler:Magus]] as an OptionalPartyMember. He doesn't really care about doing the right thing, and only aids you because you're his only shot at getting revenge on the BigBad.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Eugene Greenhilt swore a BloodOath to defeat Xykon the Sorcerer because the latter killed his mentor, but he was the one who muttered "yeah, whatever," afterwards. He was a horrible father, an inattentive husband, and the small amount of interest he has in Xykon being defeated is only because that oath he swore is keeping him from resting. He's only ''barely'' inside heaven in the afterlife. When his son Roy died and went to heaven, Roy was able to get much further inside heaven because unlike Eugene, he actually gave a damn and did everything he could to fulfill the family oath.
** Belkar Bitterleaf is an unapologetic HeroicComedicSociopath with no actual redeeming qualities. At one point, [[TheHero Roy]] claims that the only reason he keeps Belkar around is to keep him from using his abilities to become a full-blown villain. Belkar's StupidEvil antics are entirely deliberate on his part, as he finds being his own personal MookHorrorShow is not only entertaining but also an effective way of gaining XP. Later, he shifts to a more subdued TokenEvilTeammate role, and gains an actual MoralityPet of sorts, his RightHandCat, Mr. Scruffy.
* ''Webcomic/CurseQuest'': It is unclear why Avalon is even in the group considering he cheers on monsters trying to kill his teammates and pretending to be someone else when he needed to provide identification in the International Heroes Guild book. He does get excited about getting a quest to the Land of Avalon, so it can be assumed he has ulterior motives and is simply siding with the heroes as a cover.
* ''Webcomic/MagickChicks'': Melissa was introduced as [[AlphaBitch an antagonist]], back when she first appeared in ''Webcomic/EerieCuties'', but was eventually given her own SpinOff series which was meant to reform her -- ''[[BeingGoodSucks against her will.]]'' The comic stuck her with a sentient wand [[http://www.eeriecuties.com/strips-ec/stupid_magick_stick that acted as her conscience]] and Tiffany as her [[TheObiWannabe self-appointed instructor.]] Except Melissa couldn't care less and remained as [[http://www.eeriecuties.com/strips-ec/this_is_why_you_bother_me self-centered]] and [[http://www.eeriecuties.com/all_in_favor petty]] as before - despite occasional moments of heroism.
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', any time Bun-Bun does something good in the series, Pete Abrams is always careful to give him a completely selfish reason (usually either that the good guys bribed him, or that the villain happened to piss him off). It's rare that he's implied to do anything solely because he cares about a member of the main cast.
* The Light Warriors in ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' (with the exception of [[TokenGoodTeammate Fighter]]) only possess the distinction of being protagonists due to showing up at the recruiting station at the right time. Both in-story and by WordOfGod, they are far worse than any of the monsters they end up facing. The worst of the lot are Black Mage (a pure VillainProtagonist and an OmnicidalManiac who wants to deliver the world to [[GodOfEvil Chaos]]) and Thief (a cleptomanic JerkAss MiserAdvisor and race elitist who's only in it to screw over as many people as possible). Red Mage is an amoral {{Munchkin}} who's in it for the XP but will happily commit atrocities toward that end. Fighter, on the other hand, is an IdiotHero who is only going along with the others because he [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter thinks they're actually on the side of good]].
** Still, the epilogue has them being credited as the individuals who started the events that led to the world being saved. That is, by being responsible for the world-ending threat in the first place.
* In ''Webcomic/AnsemRetort'', the only difference between Axel and the villains he fights is that the villains want to destroy all of humanity at once while Axel would prefer to do it one person at a time.
* The Midnight Crew in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' are a group of bloodthirsty, vicious criminals. The only thing that keeps them from being outright {{Villain Protagonist}}s of the first Intermission is the fact that the gang they're facing off against, the Felt, is even worse and is led by the GreaterScopeVillain of the whole story.
** Vriska is normally fairly solidly on the heroes side, and still comes across as a villain most of the time. Any time she becomes too sympathetic she'll gleefully kick some random dog, and never stops being in it mostly for her own ego.
* Abigail from ''Webcomic/{{BACK}}'' seeks to overthrow a corrupt dictatorship, but only so that she may more easily bring abut the apocalypse. Any lesser villain she fights is because they got in her way.
* Sebastian in ''Webcomic/TrueVillains'' is a LivingLegend who took on heroic exploits more for the thrill and reward than any real benevolence. He becomes a VillainProtagonist more or less [[http://www.truevillains.com/comic-2007-12-08~N-To%20Be%20Expected-jpg.htm as soon]] as he gets a more interesting offer from a demon he'd intended to vanquish.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In [=ItsJustSomeRandomGuy's=] Website/YouTube ''WebVideo/ImAMarvelAndImADC'' sketches, this trope is played around with. Franchise/{{Wolverine}} [[LampshadeHanging says to]] [[Comicbook/{{Watchmen}} The Comedian]], "[[{{Dissimile}} You kinda remind me of myself at your age ... except I've got ethics... and I'm not a sociopath... or a rapist... you know what, maybe you remind me of someone else.]]"
* Captain Hammer of ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'''s ''only'' qualification as a hero is that the guy he's fighting is trying to get into a supervillain organization. He may look like TheCape, but underneath his dashing, larger-than-life demeanor is a misogynistic, self-centered, bigoted glory hound who's far more interested in his image than in actually helping people. This makes him the [[HeroAntagonist antagonist]] of the story, set against the nerdy, TechnicalPacifist, ShrinkingViolet [[VillainProtagonist protagonist]], Dr. Horrible.
* In ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'', the Scourge, which in the distant past has destroyed entire galactic civilizations in its efforts to defeat Mythos monsters. SociopathicHero Jobe Wilkins may fall in this trope as well.
* [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Spoony]] (the character, not Creator/NoahAntwiler) is a sleazy pervert and a confirmed rapist as both WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic and WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick found out the hard way. The Chick herself is a sociopath with no qualms when it comes to tormenting and manipulating her best friend.
* [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] fell into this trope during the Lord Vyce arc, becoming gradually more self-centered and obsessed in his fight against his enemy to the point of being abusive to his friends. The hard light hologram replica of himself he leaves behind to do reviews while he goes on a walkabout to figure out why his magical abilities shut down reflects this perfectly: it turns evil not because it was buggy or corrupted, but because [[GoneHorriblyRight it was a perfectly accurate reflection of Linkara at the time it was created.]]
* On ''Website/{{Cracked}}'', Dan O'Brien's darker grittier Spider-Man film franchise reboot (basically him as Spiderman) was this. He only ever beat up bad guys if he felt like it and he only ever rescued Mary Jane. His archnemesis was [[Creator/ScarlettJohansson Doctor Scarlett Johctopus]] and they ended up making out.
* ''Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars'': A version of Aurora is supposed to be the Dragonborn. Instead, she chose to focus on sidequests, and the Group essentially stole her job. However, the Dragonborn ends up being congratulated for their achievements, angering Imca and Asagi.
* X-Ray of ''WebAnimation/XRayAndVav'' his nothing more than a GloryHound, seeking to gain the fame and attention of being a hero and not actually really ''being'' a hero. He hates the idea of anything taking his spotlight and will attack and blame them for his shortcomings.
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': Lisa will fight for what is right, but only when she feels like it, and she'll often wait until the last minute to do so anyway.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' features a few:
** Zapp Brannigan is a selfish, womanizing, ignorant {{Jerkass}} whose incompetence is of epic proportions, and whose battle plans often if not usually call for callously sacrificing thousands of lives in order to further his own career. Nonetheless, he is a key asset for [[TheFederation DOOP]].
** Bender is an extremely selfish kleptomaniac, and thus falls into nominal heroism at times. However, much of this can be excused by the fact that as a robot, he does not fully understand human needs and emotions. He also has quite a few PetTheDog moments.
** Professor Farnsworth is an amoral crackpot who treats human life as expendable and freely admits that he's always expected that he would cause the apocalypse one day. He's still always on the front lines to save the Earth whenever it's put into peril by an even more evil entity.
* Eric Cartman from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' can be one of these when he's working with the other boys towards any kind of cause. He usually comes across as helping out for his own personal amusement, but it is just as likely that he simply has mutual interests - in "Kenny Dies" he wanted to reinstate funding for stem cell research. He had 33 aborted fetuses he wanted to sell.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'' has an InUniverse ShowWithinAShow example with Captain Ryan, the "hero" of the ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' parody "Space Heroes". He does nothing "heroic" on-screen, with actions like openly stating he brings along the {{red shirt}}s so they die, refusing to help two red shirts because "they'll never learn if we keep saving them" (and not caring that this is their first mission and they have no weapons), subtly taunting the Spock expy about being in love with one of the just-killed red shirts, and sucking a bunch of innocent aliens out into space because he finds their noise annoying. He's played on a meta-level as a HeroicComedicSociopath, in that the audience is amused by the fact that Leonardo seems to never realize how utterly terrible Captain Ryan is and tries to emulate his perceived leadership, whilst Raphael and the others recognize that "Space Heroes" is a terrible show because of Captain Ryan's utter lack of heroic qualities.
* Dr. Venture from ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' often falls into this category, sometimes bordering on VillainProtagonist. He's a BrilliantButLazy BunglingInventor with ''extreme'' {{Freudian Excuse}}s thanks to his [[AbusiveParent emotionally abusive]] father and HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood. ''Usually,'' he still does the right thing in the end, but in a few episodes ("The Buddy System", "What Color is Your Cleansuit?",) he's "heroic" only in the sense that he is the show's protagonist, and the "good" he does (cloning a child who was killed on a tour of his compound, restoring the interns after exposing them to extreme radiation,) is basically done to keep himself out of trouble.
* Varrick from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''. He's pretty friendly and helpful to the heroes, but he's motivated by self-interest and the villains just happen to be cutting in on his business. Come Book Four, however, [[spoiler:[[CharacterDevelopment he's actually started to grow a conscience]], and with some (heavy-handed) prompting from Bolin, he joins the heroes for good]].
* WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck is usually portrayed this way when he's the hero. Usually his heroism is motivated either by glory, money, or because the true villain is a threat to him personally, and in the last case it's often made clear that he wouldn't do it if it were anyone else who were in danger. He tends not to care about the damage his "heroic" antics cause as long as he gets what he wants, and he is perfectly willing to screw those around him over for even the slightest benefit to himself. All of these traits carry over to his incarnation as ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers''.
* Cotton Hill from ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill''. While he (and Hank at times) love to remind everyone he "killed fitty men in WWII", Cotton is also a racist, sexist, bitter old man who treats everyone ([[PetTheDog except Bobby]]) with utter disrespect and contempt. It's also shown that he exaggerated many of his "heroic" deeds in the war (Such as him claiming to be in two different battles that took place at the same time). It's even discussed in one episode when Hank points out to Peggy that, despite all his ''many'' shortcomings and exaggerated war deeds, he did come back from the war with both his legs blown off.
* The entire main cast of ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}''. Most of them are petty, hedonistic assholes who are more concerned with their lavish lifestyles, and do things that are morally questionable or just plain stupid in their spy business. The worst case however is Malory Archer, the head of ISIS who lies, manipulates, and abuses her workers for her own selfish gains. Worst yet, one of them happens to be her son Sterling Archer, whom she has abandoned and abused since he was a kid.
* Sentinel Prime from ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' is technically on the side of the good guys, being a member of the high-ranked Autobot Elite Guard, but is a pompous, arrogant, incompetent GloryHound JerkAss with [[FantasticRacism a truly appalling level of anti-organic bigotry]]. He hates the Decepticons, but that's about the only thing "heroic" about him. He manages to get even ''worse'' as we learn more about him, and discover the reason for his hatred for [[NiceGuy Optimus Prime]]: [[spoiler: way back when they were both cadets together, they had a female friend, Elita-1, until one day Sentinel and Elita-1 talked Optimus into making a trip to a forbidden, organic-inhabited planet to search for the wreck of a Decepticon battleship and retrieve its lost stockpile of Energon. Despite the fact that, as he repeatedly pointed out, this was both illegal and highly dangerous, Optimus eventually went along, mostly to keep them out of trouble. As expected, things went disastrously wrong when they were attacked by a colony of {{Giant Spider}}s and the Energon stockpile blew up; Optimus managed to drag Sentinel to safety, but Elita-1 was presumably killed. This got them both courtmartialed, but because Optimus took all the blame, only he was expelled from the Elite Guard Academy. Sentinel [[NeverMyFault never admitted he was the one who led them to the planet, nor stopped blaming Optimus for Elita-1's death]]. And just when you think he couldn't get worse, when he finally meets Blackarachnia, the transmutated Elita-1, he is so disgusted by her technorganic state that he outright tells her that she should have ''killed herself'' rather than living like this, making Blackarachnia, herself no fan of her state, protest that it's not ''that'' bad. He truly cements his JerkWithAHeartOfJerk status when he promptly attacks her and tries to kill her himself]]!
* Rick on ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' is a very, ''very'' extreme example, bordering on VillainProtagonist. He's a reckless, insane StrawNihilist who is blatantly emotionally abusive towards his family and has been repeatedly shown to always be only one night of heavy drinking away from turning into a full-blown OmnicidalManiac. Even so, he has a handful of PetTheDog moments and fights even more evil beings often enough to avoid being an outright villain: it helps that he ''clearly'' [[PapaWolf cares very deeply for Morty]], no matter how much he denies it or abuses Morty in the process.