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Battle Trophy
I don't think he's wearing those skulls to be trendy.

One way to celebrate a victory, as well as to remember a foe that is particularly hated or respected, is to take a piece of them as a keepsake.

The object in question should be something personal and connected with the enemy, such as an Iconic Item or, more morbidly, part of their own body. The victor might wear this piece, either to impress his allies or to taunt or demoralise his remaining enemies.

On a larger scale, one country can do this to another, taking a captured land's artworks and sigils for its own.

These might be kept in a Trophy Room or, especially for heads, mounted on a wall. In Video Games, this is often combined with And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating.

Related to Creepy Souvenir, Decapitation Presentation, Robbing the Dead, Plunder, Shrunken Head. Superhero Trophy Shelf is a subtrope. Will likely be related to Unsportsmanlike Gloating.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex's second season, Kuze keeps Batou's knife after beating him in a fight. He reclaims it in the final episode, when Kuze surrenders.
  • In One Piece, Zoro's sword Yubashiri had been destroyed and he needed a new one, when he confronted a samurai called Ryuuma. Impressed by his sword, Shuusui, Zoro stated that he will claim it as his own. When the battle was over Ryuuma acknowledged his loss by giving the sword voluntarily to Zoro.
  • Gunslinger Girl. After knocking out cyborg girl Triela, Badass Normal child hitman Pinocchio claims her SIG pistol, a particular humiliation as she was personally issued it by The Handler she dotes upon. After fleeing though, Pinocchio realises the necklace given to him by his cell leader/Parental Substitute has been left behind. Triela claims it for herself until she has the opportunity to leave it on his dead body.

Comic Books
  • Almost every incarnation of Batman collects items he gained from his enemies like weapons and costumes. In fact the giant penny was from a case where the Penny Plunder tried to steal it. It was later changed to Two-Face trying to steal it.
  • The alien Horde in Strikeforce: Morituri prominently wear souvenirs from their hunts, ranging from bottlecaps and trinkets to human bones.

Fan Fiction
  • Beyond Tomorrow: Inuyasha and co. are revealed in chapter 17 to have kept Princess Kaguya's mirror as a souvenir; Hanyuu uses said mirror to see her full human form for the first time.
  • The Dragon Ball Z fanfiction Bringer Of Death has a particularly gruesome example in the form of Frieza & Kooler's severed heads, affixed to the front of Vegeta's Cool Ship.
  • In The Great Slave King, both Darkpaw's pelt and skull are taken by the Slave King. He's almost never seen without wearing the former, and displays the latter above his throne.
  • A Diamond Dog foot soldier in A Dark in the Light tends to collect armor, weapons and other gear as a form of this.

Film
  • Undercover Brother. When the title character was a child his father gave him a medallion so he would never forget who he was or what he stood for. When Mr. Feather captures Undercover Brother he rips the medallion off his neck and says "So I can always have something to remember you by."
  • Superman II. Ursa rips off a piece of the clothing of people she defeats. She ripped the patch off the suit of an astronaut on the Moon, killing him through explosive decompression, and the badge of a deputy sheriff on Earth. By the end of the film she had a collection of them on her uniform.
  • In the movie Sky High, The Commander and Jetstream has an entire section of their base to show off stuff taken from defeated opponents. The villain, aware of their tradition, baits a rap by building a Humongous Mecha with a 'This should obviously be a trophy' eye, secretly building into it a transmitter that will let her see into their hidden base.
  • In Star Wars, General Grievous' lightsabers come from slain Jedi.
  • In the 2007 TMNT movie, Splinter keeps a trophy shelf that includes Shredder's Helmet from the first movie, the ooze canister from Secret Of The Ooze and the Time Scepter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III among other Continuity Nods. They then add Winter's Helmet, Nightwatcher's Helmet and Cowabunga Carl's mask to the shelf too.
  • Anyone who joins Aldo Rayne's company owes him a debt of one hundred Nazi scalps.
  • In Heartbreak Ridge, Gunny Hightower takes a Cuban cigar off the body of a dead Cuban soldier, killed by his platoon during the siege on Grenada. Earlier (at the base in California), he rejected a one, not because he didn't smoke, but because they're illegal.
    Hightower: Get that contraband stogie out of my face!!
  • In Predator, the alien hunter collects skulls (with the spinal cord still attached) from the humans it kills.
  • In We Were Soldiers, a French bugler is killed in battle, and his horn taken by one of the Vietnamese soldiers. The horn turns up again in the film's climax, being taken by an American soldier after the Vietnamese bugler is killed. In Real Life, the bugle would go on to be used in battle by the American Air Cavalry company that captured it.

Literature
  • Although she didn't kill him herself, Delores Umbridge's appropriation of Mad-Eye Moody's eye in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has this kind of intent.
  • The Black Ears from A Song of Ice and Fire books are a tribe of hillmen that rip off the ears of captured prisioners and keep them as trophies.
    • For the Ironborn, jewellery taken from slain foes is the only kind a man should wear. This is known as "paying the iron price"; by contrast, "paying the gold price" for ornamentation is seen as effeminate.
    • Also, the Tattered Prince tears off a scrap of clothing from every man he kills and wears them all as a patchwork cloak. Considering he's now past 60 it looks pretty impressive.
  • In The Things They Carried, some soldiers cut off thumbs and things from dead VC. This is to a certain extent Truth in Television.
  • The opening of Kim by Rudyard Kipling, mentions an actual cannon in Lahore:
    He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher - the Wonder-House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah, that 'fire-breathing dragon', hold the Punjab, for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot.
  • In the Homeric epics, warriors always try to bring home the armour and weapons of opponents they killed, while their late foes' comrades try to retrieve them. Thus in The Iliad there is a big fight for the arms of Patroclus, which is ultimately won by Hector. The Odyssey mentions the dispute between Ajax and Odysseus for the right to Achilles' arms, after the two had brought Achilles' body back to the Greek camp after Achilles' death.

Live-Action TV

Pinball
  • Presumably, this is why the Evil Sorcerer in Williams' Sorcerer pinball wears a set of human skulls on his sash.

Religion

Roleplay
  • Destroy The Godmodder: Played with, the spoils of war are a trophy of sorts earned by landing the killing blow on a boss, the added bonus is that you can use it too.

Tabletop RPG
  • In Nomine supplement Superiors 1: War and Honor. Angels who follow the Archangel Michael have been known to take the weapons, insignia or even body parts of defeated demons as trophies. A few of them have necklaces of demon ears.
  • Pretty much everybody in Warhammer40000.
    • Special mention goes to Chaos Terminators, many of whom are basically walking trophy racks themselves.
  • Warhammer Fantasy, at the end of the War of the Beard-I mean Vengeance, the Dwarf king Gotrek took the Elven kings Phoenix Crown as compensation, it still remains in the Dwarfs treasury to this day.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • 3rd Edition
      • The Chull takes trophies from its victims, such as weapons, armor and other belongings. If the victim has nothing, the Chull removes and keeps its skull.
      • Devils are known to attack other creatures in order to take trophies from them.
      • Creature Collection. Belsamaug keep knives and daggers it takes from their victims as trophies. Steppe trolls take the heads of mighty warriors they have defeated in battle, incorporating them into their armor or making the skulls into drinking goblets or saddle ornaments.
      • There is also the Trophy Collector feat, which allows the player character to do this themselves, and grants intimidation bonuses against the creature's kin.

Video Games
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Dragon with an Agenda Lloyd slays the Divine Dragon, claiming his Dragoon Spirit in the process. But it won't work for him so he says it will be his "trophy."
  • In Fable you get a trophy for each boss you kill. You can hang them on the walls in your house.
  • In de Blob2, after capturing the Color Revolution, Comrade Black steals the Prof's Super Wheel Chair and uses it for the rest of the game, including in the Final Boss fight.
  • Immigrant dwarves in Dwarf Fortress might arrive with jewelry made from the bones of creatures they've killed.
    • There used to be a bug where vampires would make (and carry) a trophy out of a victim if the victim died from blood loss. This would result in migrant vampires showing up with dozens (or hundreds) of dwarf hair bracelets and dwarf teeth bracelets around each wrist, and similar numbers of dwarf hair/teeth necklaces around their neck.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, you get to keep and display in your throne room: the dragon egg from the Silverite Mines, the inferno golem shell from Kal'Hirol, and the dragon scull of the Queen of the Blackmarsh.
  • After the first fight with Skorne in Gauntlet: Legends, you acquire his helm and gauntlets. Noteworthy in that they are among the most powerful secondary weapons in the game.
  • Super Smash Bros.. Brawl's The Subspace Emissary has the Trophy Stand, an item that, when thrown, turns weakened enemies and bosses into trophies that you can then pick up and add to your collection.
    • Similarly, the Idol Transformation power in Kid Icarus: Uprising allows you to turn an enemy or boss that's near death into an idol (the game's equivalent of trophies). Unlike Brawl however, you can get the enemy and boss trophies through the random toss mode; it's just somewhat easier to get the one you want using the power.
  • Diablo II has you fighting in PvP for ears.
  • Rugal Bernstein from The King of Fighters takes this a bit too literally, as it's revealed in his debut game that he preserves the bodies of the countless martial artists he's defeated over the years by subjecting them to a grisly liquid metal bath, making them living trophies.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company rewards a player successful in assassinating an enemy in online multiplayer with the knife with their dog tags. This has been included in every Battlefield game released since then.
  • In Dark Souls you can take the head of the armoured Fang Boars when you kill them as a rare drop. Also, Darkmoon Blades characters who invade and kill another player will be rewarded with their ear.
  • According to the Team Fortress 2 supplementary material, the RED Soldier (and presumably the BLU one as well) keeps a collection of severed enemy heads.
  • The Monster Hunter series runs on this trope, with the vast majority of the equipment being made from parts of the monsters you hunt and typically looking like it was made from the monster in question.
  • In Bully, after almost every significant mission a certain object will appear in your room.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, there are a handful of missions that will cause a certain artifact to appear at your mansion after completing them.
  • In Mass Effect 3, it is revealed that either the brain or the heart of the Human Reaper was taken from the Collector Base after the events of Mass Effect 2 and incorporated into the systems of Cerberus HQ.
  • In Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, Kano is seen wearing a lock of blond hair on his neck, like a pendant. As exposed in his Konquest Mode story, he tore the lock off Sonya's blond head in a fight back during the Outworld invasion of Earth.
  • Trophies aren't made or taken by you in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but you can get them as rewards. They are a classification of gift, which some companions like and some don't, and run the gamut from a notorious crime lord's personal ID card to a humanoid skull.
  • In X-Wing Alliance, your character's personal quarters are filled with trophies, but not from your missions with the alliance—instead, you retrieve pieces of enemy wreckage or receive gifts after performing family missions (your uncle gives you paired Jar'Kai dueling swords after you rescue him; you retrieve a piece of the hull from your first enemy starfighter shot down; and so on).

Webcomics
  • In It's Walky!, after killing Dargon and taking over his paramilitary organisation, Penny takes to wearing his eyepatch as a personal affect.
  • Jack Noir, the Big Bad of Homestuck (well, one of them), is expressly fond of doing this. To the point that near the end of his most active arc, he has far more trophies than he can actually wear and has to decide between them.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Roy takes Xykon's crown and wears it on a string around his neck after "setting him back a bit". This turns out to be a problem when the residual evil on it causes Miko to try and smite him. Xykon takes it back in their next encounter.
    • Later, Gannji concocts a plan that requires his partner Enor to kill him, cut of his tail, and keep it so that Gannji can be resurrected later. He tells Enor, 'Tell the guards it's a trophy of your victory. They won't question it 'cause you're part-ogre. They do stuff like that all the time.'
  • Girl Genius got Jägermonsters. Who got fascination with hats as their hat (sorry). Losing the hat is a disgrace and acquiring one is a Serious Business:
    Maxim: A Hat iz a badge of honor! A Trophy vot must be plucked from off de head of a vorthy enemy!
    Oggie: Yah! Vun who happen to gots hyu same head size!
    • And after Maxim manages to win the hat of a man very famous among the Jägers, about 400 of them queue to challenge him for this legendary headgear upon his reunion with "de pack".
    • Members of the Wespiary Squad wear over their helmets skulls of Slaver Wasp warriors. So far, it's unknown whether this gives anything other than a little extra protection and a statement.

Web Video
  • Linkara keeps Mechakara's dismembered right hand on his shelf. Bad idea, as Lord Vyce later uses it to take control of Pollo's new body.

Real Life
  • The Royal Navy tended to leave captured ships with their old name as a reminder that they were captured. If they performed with distinction after capture, a new ship might be built with the same name.
  • Ancient Greeks often dedicated captured shields and armor to temples. Spartan boys were regularly shown the piles of captured gear at the temple of Artemis.
    • There was also the famous exhortation of Spartan women to their husbands and sons going off to war: "Return with your shields or on them!" Meaning they should prevent their shields from falling into enemy hands, even if they got killed in the process. (It's also been interpreted that a warrior who flees would logically toss away his heavy shield to do so, which also has him break formation and leave the rest of his comrades-in-arms in a rut)
    • It was then also customary to assemble a kind of monument from captured weapons and armour on the battlefield or on a point of a nearby coast in the case of a naval battle. When the battle's outcome was in dispute, it could happen that both sides erected such a victory monument and then one side would try to destroy the other's victory monument, leading to another battle, as mentioned e. g. in Thucydides' history of the Peloponnesian War.
  • Headhunting was practiced by Allied soldiers in WWII (particularly American ones on the Pacific front), much to the horror of the White House. It happened again to a smaller extent in Vietnam. Nowadays US military regulations and federal law prohibit soldiers from keeping human remains.
    • Taking weapons from dead enemies was also relatively common, both as trophies (Lugers taken from German officers) and for more practical reasons (British soldiers would take German MP40s over their own Stens, since the Sten took the same ammo as the MP40, but were much less reliable). Note that this prevalence of this practice means that abandoned weapons are also commonly used as bait for Booby Traps.
  • Standards and artillery pieces have long been a traditional battle trophy. A regiment used to be considered shamed if it lost its standard.
    • Other objects could also become traditional battle trophies, for instance kettle-drums. One British cavalry regiment uses a silver chamber-pot (formerly the property of Napoleon's brother, king Joseph of Spain), which it had captured in the Peninsular War, at officers' banquets.
    • The iconic tall bearskin hats of the British Guards used to be the distinguishing feature of Napoleon's Imperial Guards. The British tradition began with the Battle of Waterloo where the British Guards defeated their French counterparts and captured their hats.
  • After the battle of Belle-Alliance or Waterloo, Prussian Hussars captured Napoleon's coach, which among other things contained his decorations, including the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle, which he had been awarded in 1805. King Frederick William III took the occasion to award the same order to Gneisenau, Blücher's chief of staff, specifying that he should wear the one from Napoleon's coach.
  • The Koh-i-Noor diamond, ended up in the collections of prince after prince after one conquered the other, finally(to date) ending up in the crown of Great Britain.
  • The semi-legendary Roman consul Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus (4th century B.C.) got his cognomen "Torquatus" (which was then passed on to his descendants) from the torque worn around his neck by a big Gaulish warrior he defeated in single combat.
  • According to the book We Were Soldiers Once... And Young, an old French bugle was captured by American soldiers during the fighting at Landing Zone X-Ray, during The Battle of Ia Drang. The horn was later used in battle by the American soldiers, under the command of a somewhat larger than life Cornish soldier turned American officer named Rick Rescorla.
  • Khan Krum the Fearsome is said by several historians to have done this with the remains of the Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I. After the latter sacked Krum's capital and had his army slaughter the civilians and burn it, the khan amassed an army in the meanwhile, including peasants and women, and ambushed Nikephoros on his way back through the mountain pass. The emperor was killed and Krum is believed to have kept his skull and had it fashioned into a wine goblet.

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