[[quoteright:268:[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stickorder_9764.jpg]]]]
->"''You want to be afraid of somebody, be afraid of ME!''"
-->-- '''Block Warlord''' from ''Film/JudgeDredd'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itmNiTwHOsM#t=40s (context viewable here)]]

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

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

It's a common [[VillainousDemotivator leadership technique]] of DrillSergeantNasty and SergeantRock, or other kinds of [[AntiHero anti-heroes]] who sees this [[ShootTheDog as a means justified by a goal]]. See also IControlMyMinionsThrough, where fear is one of the means. TheMobBossIsScarier is a specific subtrope related to the world of crime dramas.

!! Examples:


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Used in ''Manga/OnePiece'' during the Arlong Park arc: Moomoo, the [[{{Kaiju}} Sea Cow]] is summoned to fight the Strawhats, but since he/she was already beaten by Luffy and Sanji earlier, it tries to escape. However, it turns out that It's even more scared of Arlong, as a simple menacing talk from him is enough to push Moomoo to attack the pirates.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'': Shishio's mooks are trying to escape as they can't beat the police troops guarding Kyoto. Then, [[BadassGay Kamatari]] [[CreepyCrossdresser Honshu]] appears and proceeds to mow them down with his giant weapon, claiming that anyone who wants to flee can do it... if he can [[SinisterScythe escape his giant scythe first]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* One ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'' story has a bunch of Mooks fleeing their increasingly unhinged boss, on the grounds that while he ''might'' be able to get them out of this situation, the Punisher ''will'' kill them.

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

* ''Literature/LoneWolf'': It is explained in ''The Magnamund Companion'' that [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Giaks]] are much more afraid of their officers than of the enemy. Which proved a weakness early on, as the Sommlending archers were quick to figure out that if you targeted and killed the Giak commanders, their troops would readily disband in panic. This forced the Darklords to look for stronger, arrow-resistant platoon leaders, which they found in the huge Gourgaz {{lizardfolk}}s.

* In ThomasLovePeacock's TheMisfortunesOfElphin, the monks are intimidated by the ruthless King Melvas, but: "The anger of King Arthur," said Taliesin, "is certain, and its consequences infallible. The anger of King Melvas is doubtful, and its consequences to you cannot be formidable."
* Various Literature/{{Discworld}} novels deal with this theme.
** There's a line in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' where Vimes pretty much says this to a less-than-loyal sailor regarding a dangerous beach.
*** Also in ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' is Colon being motivated to go through with the spy mission by the fact that his fear of Vetinari is stronger than his fear of the dangers of the mission.
** In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', Vimes is sent to {{Uberwald}}, much to his chagrin. When Carrot goes AWOL, Colon takes over and quickly drives the Watch into the ground. When the rest of the Watch goes on strike, it turns out crime rates in the city ''drop'', because while every thief knows that Vimes is out of town, they sure as hell know that his reaction on finding such a mess on returning won't be pretty. [[spoiler:Although in the event, Vimes had [[SurprisePregnancy other things on his mind]] when he did get back.]]
** In ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' Nanny Ogg rallies the villagers against the invading elves by pointing out that when they march off to face them, she'll be following on behind a little...just in case.
-->"Well," she said, "it's like this. If you go out there you may have to face elves. But if you stops here, you ''definitely'' have to face me. Now, elves is worse than me, I'll admit. But I'm persistent."
** In ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'' Cohen the Barbarian tries this, but without success - the villain in this case has quite a nasty reputation:
-->[The Lord Chamberlain] risked looking up and found the point of Cohen's sword just in front of his eyes.
-->"Yeah, but right now who're you more frightened of? Me or this Lord Hong?"
-->"Uh... Lord Hong!"
-->Cohen raised an eyebrow. "Really? I'm impressed."
* In the Literature/GauntsGhosts novel ''His Last Command'', Gaunt tells some soldiers that he could tell them he was more frightening than the enemy.
** When the Blood Pact warriors launch a frontal attack on the Hinzerhaus fortress in ''Only in Death'', their appearance is so terrifying that one of the Ghosts mutters that perhaps the Imperial Guard should learn from them how to raise fear among the enemy ranks.
* ''Marauders of Literature/{{Gor}}''. The alien Kurii have commandeered the {{Beautiful Slave Girl}}s of the Torvalslanders along with other livestock. The slave girls are terrified of the Kurii, but are given orders by their masters, which they obey.
-->We would soon see if such feared sleen and Kurii more, or Gorean males, their masters. If they did not obey, they would be slain. As slaves, they were commanded; as slaves, did they fail to comply, they would be put to death. They had no choice. They would obey.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', a group of Death Eaters run amok at the Quidditch World Cup as the Ministry tries in vain to control them. The riot only ends once an unknown person conjures the symbol of Voldemort, from which the Death Eaters immediately retreat. They're more afraid of the punishment they'll get for denouncing Voldemort when he lost his power than they are of the Ministry.
* In the Literature/CiaphasCain novels, this is Cain's own personal motivation: In any situation where his life is in peril, he will use any tactic that has only a slight chance of working in order to escape a situation that will be certain death. Case in point: in his first encounter with Necrons, he jumped into a teleportation device that would send him to an unknown location, since the odds of him surviving whatever he ended up at were at 1%, but the odds of him surviving another ten seconds in a room full of Necrons was 0%.
* In ''Literature/WorldWarZ'', a Palestinian family decides to accept Israel's offer of sanctuary in the days before the mass zombie outbreaks. The family's teenaged son, full of religious fervor and thinking that this was just an Israeli trick of some kind, declares his intention to go join the anti-Israeli militants instead. His father, who at all other times was a patient, quiet, and unassuming man, smacked him upside the head and shouted at him until the son was cowering and sobbing in fear. The son knows why his father did this in retrospect: his father knew it was the only way to get his son to go with them, and the only way to save his life.
* Many, many books and folktales aimed at three to six year old children use variations on this trope as the basis for their plot.
** ''Literature/TheGruffalo'' is currently the most popular example of this genre. In it, a little mouse scares off its predators by inventing an imaginary animal called a gruffalo and describing how horrifying said creature is, then runs into an actual gruffalo, and tricks it into thinking that mice are the most terrifying creatures in the forest, due to the fact that all the woodland predators scatter when they see the mouse and gruffalo pass by.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Subverted in "The Black Seal" episode of Series/BlackAdder, the Hawk impugns Edmund's fitness to lead the Six Most Evil Men in England. Edmund tries to dismiss this by telling them how utterly evil his rival is.... and of course it backfires.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', one version of the "Raging Goblin" card (the Exodus one) has this in the flavour text: "Volrath has bred them to fear only him. Are they charging to battle or merely fleeing his wrath?"
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** Part of the Commissar's job is to embody this. Possible death at the hands of of reality-defying abominations or a HordeOfAlienLocusts may be terrifying, but ''certain'' death for cowardice is a big motivator.
** Valhallan Ice Warriors: "I don't know what effect they have on the enemy, but by the Emperor, they terrify me." Said by their commanding general no less.
** Orks have the option of beating the crap out of their underlings to counter a failed morale test.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' RPG TabletopGame/BlackCrusade has a rule for this. If your minions are up against a ''fear''-causing foe, you can try to terrify them into attacking anyway because you happen to be the scarier threat. The next game in the Warhammer-RPGs ''RPG TabletopGame/OnlyWar'' does this as well, although due to lack of a minion-system, it is more broadly designed for anyone you can affect with the command-skill. The Commissar mentioned above in fact specialises in this with a special talent for him, which not only gives him a bonus for terrifying his underlings by - in that regard only - counting as causing fear similar to blood raining from the sky or "basic" demons, but also allows him to affect the player characters themselve. Similarly, he can also shoot the players NPC-comrades to make the player heal and ignore critical damage, like loss of limbs or broken bones (even not including the usual limiation of this not affecting effects resulting in death and lost/destroyed bodyparts).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MedievalIITotalWar'', you can try to counteract a dreaded general with a chivalrous one... or you could just use a ten-dread general yourself and make the enemy break first!
* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'': The unnamed author of a certain text log in Sector X seems to take this approach to leadership, ending his message to his troops with "If you're more afraid of [the title character] than ME, you're a TRAITOR."
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' this can work against Caesar's legion on one occasion. [[spoiler: There's a quest where you can be hired by the NCR to help interrogate a Legion officer they've captured. If your character has a high enough intelligence, then the best solution is to convince him you're a Legion assassin sent to punish him for allowing himself to be captured. He's obviously more afraid of the Legion than the NCR, and in his panic and indignation he lists everything he'd done for the Legion lately, which is exactly what the NCR wanted to know.]]
** Taking the Terrifying Presence perk allows you to do this in many NPC encounters. For example:
-->'''Legion Assassin:''' You just don't know when to quit, do you?
-->'''The Courier:''' Not while there are still spines left unshattered.
-->'''Legion Assassin:''' Oh God help us!!
* The opening of VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2 has you rallying West Harbor's militia to fend off an attack by bladelings and duergar. When you encounter one cowardly member of the militia, you have the option of telling him that if he doesn't head for the front line, you'll kill him before the enemy does... or beating him until he joins the fray.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'': Ghirahim pulls this when he [[ZergRush throws his entire army]] at Link in an attempt to stop him interrupting the ritual to [[spoiler:resurrect Demise]].
-->Hear me, my hordes! The spell will soon be complete! [[spoiler:The demon king returns!]] Until then, you WILL keep that whelp from interfering with my ritual. [[WeHaveReserves I don't care if the whole lot of you get lodged on the end of his blade.]] You will buy me the time I need! Do not fear him... Fear my wrath if you fail me!
* ''[[http://uesp.net/wiki/Lore:The_Art_of_War_Magic The Art of War Magic]]'', an [[Literature/TheElderScrollsInUniverseBooks in-universe book]] which appears in some ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' games, contains an account of a battle between the Chimer and the Nords; a Chimer sorcerer hears how the Nords have shamans who summon storms to confuse and dismay their opponents, so he summons an ice demon and orders it to hide behind the Chimer army. When the storm forces the Chimer army into retreat, the demon appears and terrifies the Chimer army into charging back towards the Nords, taking them by surprise and eventually winning a victory.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20060505 Veilchen does something like this]].
* General Tarquin employs this tactic to keep his army in line in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''. They go into battle knowing that the enemy might kill them, but [[IHaveYourWife Tarquin will eradicate their families]] if they disobey orders or otherwise displease him.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Twig}}'', Catcher and the Lambsbridge Gang do this to the Ghosts, a group of superhuman clones, by messily murdering two of them and letting their high-frequency screams speak for them.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* From ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
-->'''Azula:''' Do the tides command this ship?\\
'''Captain:''' Uh, no, Princess.\\
'''Azula:''' And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about smashing your body against the rocks?\\
'''Captain:''' N-no, P-princess...\\
'''Azula:''' [[EstablishingCharacterMoment So why don't you stop worrying about the tides, which have already made up their mind about killing you, and start worrying about me, who's still mulling it over.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}}'', the foosa try to attack the lemurs but become scared and run away at the sight of Alex the lion. [[PointyHairedBoss King Julian]] and [[OnlySaneMan his advisor Maurice]] briefly discuss whether or not it is wise to keep a large sharp-toothed predator (that the other predators seem terrified of) around for the sake of scaring the enemy.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* TruthInTelevision, but it can be inverted when one is afraid of one's underlings. There's a probably apocryphal quote attributed to the Duke of Wellington to the effect that the French would have to be terrified of his troops, since he certainly was.
* TruthInTelevision in many classrooms. Teachers and childhood workers don't go out of the way to be intimidating or fear-inducing to children, but it isn't uncommon for children to perceive them in these ways due to their size and air of authority. But the converse of this is also true, because fear is a much more common reaction than you'd think in classrooms/ school aged care environments when teachers and carers are confronted with an emotionally disturbed or severely autistic child with tendencies towards violence. A ten year old child can do a lot more physical harm than you'd think, and care workers aren't always trained to deal with this or aren't given the right amount of support, and so are placed in situations where they are constantly afraid of that they or the children in their care will get attacked or seriously injured.
* UsefulNotes/JosefStalin is quoted as saying ''"in the Soviet Army it takes more courage to retreat than to advance."'' When one takes account of the fact that the Red Army had units whose sole purpose was to shoot would-be deserters, this is probably not that far from the truth.
* All military organizations and indeed all dangerous occupations that require group coordination(sailors, cops, firemen, etc) depend to a large degree on the fear of social rejection. Indeed {{Honor|BeforeReason}} has been defined as a collective moral code enforced by social rewards and punishments.
* This is also the reason that the Roman Army would decimate its troops.
* In the eighteenth century Generals were so impressed by UsefulNotes/FrederickTheGreat that they imitated him, even to the point of instituting rigid regulations far beyond what even Frederick's army had. What they did not understand was that a disproportionate number of Frederick's men had been shanghaied and he had no choice but to be a ControlFreak even when he himself knew it was tactically suboptimal.