troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesDe
Haiku
Laconic
Main
Playingwith
Quotes

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Batman Gambit
aka: Batman Gambits
Batman got the Joker to save him simply by counting on the Joker to be himself.

Sterling: Of course, you know your entire plan depended on me being a self-serving utter bastard.
Nate: Mmm, yeah, that's a stretch.

A complicated plan that revolves entirely around people doing exactly what you'd expect them to do. This trope relies heavily on Flaw Exploitation manipulating, although it can work with virtues instead of "flaws" just as easily. Sometimes the flaw is that the villains are so predictable that they'll take the first chance they have to do something mean and underhanded. Other times, the flaw is that the heroes are so heroic that they'll act for the greater good without even thinking about it. A particularly Genre Savvy person will recognize the fact that heroes always win — and design a plan based on the assumption that they will succeed.

Provided that a character is smart enough and manipulative enough, they can get the people around them to do just about anything. Sometimes this can be accomplished by the power of charisma, but other times it needs to be perpetrated through an elaborate scheme. This scheme takes into account everything that The Chessmaster (as well as the viewer) knows about the characters being manipulated, and uses it against them. The patsies in this scheme only act and respond as their own predictability dictates and all the pieces fall into place.

This is the essence of the Batman Gambit, which is a storytelling device that can be used by any unusually intelligent character, be they good or evil, to achieve what they want by using their own intelligence to make sure that the most probable outcome that is beneficial to them arises.

The key difference between the Xanatos Gambit and the Batman Gambit is that while the former is structured so that any reasonable outcome will work to the advantage of the gambit instigator (and is thus "foolproof") the Batman Gambit does have a failure condition. Indeed, this failure condition will often be quite obvious and foreseeable to the audience, who have the benefit of perspective and objectivity. The victims of the gambit, however, may not enjoy those luxuries. To say this another way: the failure condition in a Batman Gambit relies on someone acting out of character - or, more accurately, however the planner perceives their character. Consequently, Batman Gambits are only as successful as their planner is knowledgeable and insightful about everyone involved. This is why the trope is named after Batman: as the World's Greatest Detective, he can often analyze and predict his foes' actions to psychic-like accuracy.

The key to making a Batman Gambit work is by carefully guiding and manipulating the motivations of those involved, so that the "obvious" course of action to them is to do what will make the gambit work and it never occurs to them to do things that would ruin the gambit. Because of the presence of this obvious failure mode, anyone who tries to pull off a Batman Gambit and fails will look like a fool.

In short, if there is any reasonable action the pawns could take that would ruin the entire scheme, then it's a Batman Gambit. Because of this, a truly cunning planner will make it appear to their pawns that they do not have such options in the first place. This is called a bluff because if the pawns see through the smokescreen then The Plan will fall apart.

See also Manipulative Bastard, for the character most likely to attempt/pull these off; Unwitting Pawn, for the people who unwittingly help the Gambit along, and Spanner in the Works/Unwitting Instigator of Doom, for the people who unintentionally send it spinning into disaster. Also see Evil Cannot Comprehend Good for a common reason why villainous attempts fail.

Contrast with the MacGuffin Delivery Service, and the failed attempt, Springtime for Hitler. Also see Indy Ploy for the lack of a plan. A gambit that relies on the victim knowing he's being "played" but not knowing how is a Kansas City Shuffle. If things do go wrong, but the person keeps adjusting things so that Plan A works anyway, he's playing Xanatos Speed Chess. The Tape Knew You Would Say That is a subtrope.

Not an Amalgam Universe character. Also not a Slash Fic involving Batman or Gambit.

Warning: Spoilers


Examples


You came from a failed link? No? Curses.


The PlanPt/Índice de TraduçãoGambit Roulette
Badass NormalJustForFun/Tropes of LegendBerserk Button
The Batman AdventuresImageSource/Comic BooksBruce Wayne Held Hostage
A Simple PlanThe PlanBefriending The Enemy
MacGuffin Delivery ServiceGambit IndexBefriending The Enemy
Actor AllusionOverdosed TropesBadass Boast

alternative title(s): Likely Outcome Plan; Batman Gambits
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
14539
1