"Naruto has a strange power... to bring out the best in people."Occasionally, you get a hero with such personal magnetism that he is capable of persuading others, usually the Badass Bystander, to join him in his quest. Of course, the new companion has no qualms about killing for, or even dying for, the hero, despite having known him only briefly and facing many people who want him dead. This is a staple of fiction that may well be Older Than They Think. Many epics and legends chronicle the process by which a hero gathers a band of motley friends and allies of dubious background but doubtless courage and nobility. Even if the hero has no special quality compared to his subordinates, this is often his implied "power", Heart. There's a few variants of this:
— Kakashi, Naruto
- Beat them up. Sparing someone's life after kicking their ass has a 50/50 chance of making them rethink their ways or at least earning their respect and maybe they'll eventually become a lifelong friend and ally.
- Conversely, beat up their enemy along with them. Fire-Forged Friends are always ready to come along.
- Give a kid a candy bar. Because hey, proving you're kind to cute orphans is the best way to get their Caretaker to dump them to come with you!
- Save their life. Simple: save someone's life, or buy their freedom, and they'll be your slave forever!
- Tell them your quest. Who knows? Maybe they too are out to put a stop to Doctor Demonica? A particularly idealistic or persuasive hero can pull this off with gusto on even the most jaded.
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Anime and Manga
- Jacuzzi Splot from Baccano! has a natural ability to draw people towards him, unconsciously forming his own street gang largely off of this tendency. The Light Novels point out that this has less to do with any extraordinary amount of charisma so much as he gives people the impression that he'd be helpless on his own and is in constant need of coddling.
He wasn't especially charismatic, but he had a strange way of gathering people about him — or, to be more specific, it was like they gravitated to him. His appeal didn't spring from any sort of trustiness, but instead from the feeling that, if left to his own devices, he'd probably end up walking off a cliff somehow. He evoked a strange sort of protective instinct in people.
Christopher: That's so mean, Firo. I just wanted to be helpful to the first friend I made here in this city - you!Firo: ...I can't trust you. Frankly, you're the type that'd just march into the casino and shoot the place to hell.Christopher: Wow! That's amazing, Firo! You know me so well! I knew we were friends!
- Firo Prochainezo a darkly comedic version of this. For whatever reason, Firo is able to win the trust, admiration, and respect of people with little to no effort on his part. The only problem is that this ability seems to apply exclusively to complete nutbars and dangerous lunatics that he'd rather stay very far away from, and any attempt to dissuade them only seems to encourage them.
- Tatara(Sarasa) in Basara; some other charaters may also counts: Shuri, Raizo, etc.
- The Power Trio that was Guts, Griffith, and Casca from Berserk were this and still are even after their fellowship was tragically (and horrifically) split apart. When they aren't attracting their share of enemies (in several different ways), all three have amassed rather devoted followings due to their stature, conquests, and overall heroism and bravery though its misled in the case of Griffith. Guts is revered due to his raw strength and sheer determination to overcome his obstacles; Griffith is exalted because of his military prowess and natural charisma as a leader; and Casca is adored because of her capability of commanding an army of men but also for retaining her beauty and grace.
- Ichigo from Bleach. Turning the Shinigami who was initially antagonistic to acceptance to willingly give him his power back.
- Sengoku from Cage of Eden starts off as another goofy schoolboy, but begins to come into his own as he pulls more of the survivors into his group.
- Touma from A Certain Magical Index even if they don't fight alongside him all the time, many people would rally to his cause, something that a magic cabal took note of and tried to have someone use magic to pose as someone in the group to assassinate him and split it up even though there is no real group. Others he's beaten take new paths in life.
- Miria, the Supporting Leader of Claymore, has this quality: wherever she goes, other Claymores follow, often without exactly understanding why. Perhaps the best example is when she rallies the entire current generation to rebel against the Organization—despite their standing order to kill her on sight.
- Light from Death Note is a Magnetic Villain, His cult of personality is so strong that he gets three other people (four if we count Higuchi) to commit mass murder on his behalf. He gains Rem's loyalty as well even though she hates him (because his motives are more pure than Higuchi's).
- The Dragon Ball series uses this with The Atoner to have a Badass Crew full of reformed bad guys. Oolong, Yamcha, Puar, Tien, Chaozu, Piccolo, and Vegeta started out as Goku's opponents, though not all of them turned face immediately after being defeated by Goku.
- In Endride, Demetrio, the Rebel Leader, is the master at gathering characters, mostly via kindness, persuasiveness, and generosity. Occasionally through asskicking and a winning smile. He even manages to gather the series' protagonists, one of whom is a prince, into his team rather than the other way around.
- Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!!. He actively tries to discourage people from becoming his friend, and is generally very business-like and unfriendly, disliking chit chat. Yet somehow, he always manages to attract a bunch of people to him. And all of them really like him (many times, to the point of being willing to die for him). Even his enemies are attracted to him. In the novels, as Lemon puts it, "even though he is so expressionless, he's oddly charming."
- Even though Gin from Gintama is basically a jobless man with the body of a twenty something, he was still able to attract many followers as the Emperors of Kabuki-cho arc demonstrated.
- A villainous version comes from The Claw in GUN×SWORD, where nearly everyone he meets considers him to be a kind man.
- Koichi in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4. Several characters praise Koichi's virtuousness and state their pride at his friendship, including Josuke Higashikata, Rohan Kishibe and Jotaro Kujo. Others tentatively brought from deficit into moral equilibrium by his influence include Toshikazu Hazamada, Tamami Kobayashi, and Yukako Yamagishi; his eventual girlfriend.
- Tsuna from Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, anyone? He's quickly building up a gigantic harem of incredibly loyal underlings (99% of which are male) whose main purpose in life is apparently to protect him. And most of his enemies/rivals, after being defeated by him, become... very friendly and affectionate towards him. In a creepy way though, since they're normally rather Ax-Crazy.
** One of the more... interesting examples is Spanner's sudden decision to switch sides and become a part of Tsuna's family. This decision was reached after the two spent a long, undisclosed amount of time alone together. With Tsuna naked, unconscious, and handcuffed to Spanner's bed. You figure out the reason and method of how Tsuna unwittingly managed to convince him to join.
- Franchise/ Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - Nanoha is apparently at her best accompanied by former foes she's thrashed to within an inch of their lives. Of course, she's very nice about it.
Teana: (to Erio and Caro) You don't have to become friends with everyone like the Stars' front attacker.
- Subaru also has this quality, befriending not only the Tsundere Teana, who initially dislikes her and tries not to bond with her, and the initially socially awkward Erio and Caro, but also the reformed Combat Cyborgs, four of whom become her adopted sisters. She also manages to befriend Ixpellia and change her worldview. Lampshaded by Teana.
- Negi Springfield of Mahou Sensei Negima!. He starts out working pretty much on his own, but by this point he has a troop of around 15 or so primary allies (mostly various students) in addition to an absurd number of secondary characters. He has tried on many occasions to ditch his True Companions but that just starts fights and he sees himself as the Papa Wolf now since they keep hanging around.
- Of course, it doesn't hurt that most of his group (which tend to be female) find him attractive the usual way.
- Tenma from Monster often saves the life of people regardless if they are innocent or criminals. Sometimes he uses #5 and a few times #3.
- Monster Rancher has Genki who is able to see the good in the most evil-seeming enemies, and then get them to see it. Notable examples include Pixie and Big Blue as well as a large number of mooks and lesser villains as well as Tiger and Hare (Maybe even Golem if you think about it).
- This has been one of Naruto's most consistent and defining traits, tracing back to Land of Waves Arc. Naruto is capable of influencing friends and enemies alike and even boosting the morale of his comrades by his presence. Several characters like Konohamaru, Hinata, Neji, and Gaara have all adopted his nindō.
- One Piece:
Mihawk: It's not some kind of special power, but he has the ability to make allies of everyone he meets. And that is the most fearsome power on these high seas!Doflamingo: I'm impressed that even under these circumstances you've managed to find yourself allies! I've respected that ability of yours since the War of the Best! Really, hats off!
- Luffy. He manages to befriend and inspire the loyalty of practically everyone that he meets. In breaking out of Impel Down he became the leader of the prison revolt and even inspired many of them to help him save Ace. Even Crocodile, one of his staunchest enemies, respects him enough to help him with the breakout. He earns the respect of Whitebeard, the most legendary living pirate who treats almost anyone outside his crew with disdain, in the course of a single conversation, enough for him to dedicate his entire army to backing up Luffy, who is ultimately weaker than the majority of its members. It's even directly acknowledged by Mihawk, who considers it to be the single most dangerous trait Luffy possesses. Doflamingo expresses a similar sentiment later on.
- From time to time, Usopp shows that he's almost as good as Luffy at this. The Enies Lobby and Dressrosa arcs are the standout examples.
- All of the Straw Hats, due to their general combination of incredibly zany personalities with pureness of heart and big dreams, tend to earn the respect and friendship of many characters in their travels. Most notable during the timeskip, when they were all separated and resolved to train and become more powerful to tackle the challenges of the New World. All of the Straw Hats made fast companions during this time.
- Pokémon Satoshi/Ash always has unbelievable luck in finding traveling companions. It's basically episodic.
- Not just humans. Most of the Pokemon he captures, he does so by getting them to like him and follow him. Not to mention the god-like powerful legendary Pokemon he has befriended, listing Arceus, Mewtwo, Giratina and Lugia to name a few.
- Taken even further in the Kalos Saga, where he becomes the inspiration figure for at least three different people.
- Haru slowly accumulates buddies in Rave Master. Elie by the power of love, Musica (more or less) by uniting him with his grandfather, Let with an impressive display of belief, Celia by pulling her out of a rock, Lazenby by showing him he was working for the villain, Shuda by motivating him to live (and also some stuff with his dad), Julia by his determination, Julius by... *cough*, and Belnika by being cute and friendly.
- Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon:
- Ami, Rei and Makoto always had the power to be Sailor Senshi, but accepted to fight because Usagi befriended them.
- Minako became a Sailor Senshi a whole year before the others and initially joined the group because her mission at that point was to be Usagi's bodyguard and Body Double. It didn't take her long before becoming Usagi's best friend without even noticing.
- Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna started out standoffish and borderline antagonistic. By the time of the final arc/season they were part of the group after being impressed and befriended by Usagi.
- Subverted by Sword Art Online, at least for the first arc. The Protagonist, Kirito, is a solo player. It's seen most dramatically in the chronologically ordered Anime. Klein, the new friend Kirito just taught how to swordfight: "Kirito!" *Kirito walks away.* It's played fairly straight in later arcs, though.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Kamina. A Type 4 except most of his group came because of his sheer power of awesome. Kittan and Simon each get a turn with the magnet.
- Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Mostly it's #1, but #2 and #4 has also worked.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's Judai. Every single character he ever disputes with is converted, seemingly by the sheer force of his personality, either to a friend or a hardcore devotee by the end of the episode/duel/season.
- Yusei from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, and even more naturally than Yugi. He grew up with Kiryu's True Companions, formed one of his own that we meet at the start of the series, then quickly gets separated from them to form an entirely new one. We also see he recruits using all five methods.
- Yu Gi Oh Zexal's Yuuma Tsukumo. Everyone Yuuma meets becomes his friend. This includes minor characters who reappear to rescue him later, his entire friend group in season 1, both his rivals, and almost all the villains.
- Superman is at, or near, the forefront of nearly every major event in The DCU since he began his career of heroics. If not just because of his incredible power, then for who he is as a symbol, and the sheer number of other heroes he's befriended and/or inspired through the years.
- John Constantine of Hellblazer attracts friends with his charming and magnetic personality, but they all eventually either get offed by the many Cosmic Horror Story villains or screwed over by Constantine himself. He gets called out on this many times, but despite constantly flirting with the Moral Event Horizon, he's never quite passed it in 20 years of stories.
- Captain America is so well-respected by the superhero community that they usually follow his lead whether he's their official leader or not. This is because he's both incredibly competent despite not having superpowers and because they trust him to always be true to the right ideals. It comes to a point that when he fails them, the whole community gets demoralized (ex. in Civil War.)
- Nightwing is a huge one too, to the point where some believe his superpower is charisma. When he showed up to a fight with multiple generations of Teen Titans, Superboy noted how everyone instantly followed his lead. He also once convinced every hero on Earth, without question, to jump into a parallel dimension (saving them all). Batman even said it's one of the reasons he's proudest of Dick—unlike Bats, he can gain and keep allies. So essentially he's "Batman with social skills."
- Cyclops of the X-Men, especially in recent years. With the mutant population decimated, he was able to unite every one of them who remained under his flag, took them to a Utopia to keep them safe, and use each one of their skills and powers in the most useful manner possible to fight off attackers and aggressors. Even when the X-Men were schism'd, and eventually he was possessed by a Cosmic God and discredited after he went insane with power, he's able to get a lot of support from the public, partially because of the good deeds he did while 'evil' and because of his unique ability to make charismatic speeches without fuddling words at the drop of a hat.
- The Dark Knight Returns provides a Deconstruction of this, by extending it to include Batman's villains. One psychiatrist in-universe claims that Batman's mere force of presence forces weaker-willed people to act accordingly, hence his Rogues Gallery of mentally-deranged individuals. Given that The Joker comes out of a decade-long catatonia in response to Batman's return, Doctor Wolper might have been on to something.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
- In Act II, it's revealed that when Dark first defected from Fairy Tale, several other former agents decided to follow his example, with Kenzo Shikazan's gang idolizing him.
- In Act III, during the big fight to prevent Fairy Tale from destroying Yokai Academy, Tsukune and co.'s efforts to do so inspire the vast majority of the student body to aid them.
- In Star Wars Fan Fic By the Grace of Lady Vader Padme inspires fanatic loyalty in her subjects and wins allies for her case with astonishing ease. This later leads her to become a new Empress, when Palpatine is overthrown. It is deconstructed, when she goes down the Sanity Slippage and her fanatic subjects lose their moral compass.
- In Child of the Storm Loki notes this of Captain America, Thor and Harry - he's charismatic, but they have a magnetic x-factor that draws people in. Harry has so far, on top of Ron and Hermione, drawn in Carol Danvers, Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar and Diana of Themyscira , a.k.a. Wonder Woman (and daughter of Marvel's Hercules, who can go toe to toe with Thor and the Hulk), Uhtred Ullrson - a young Asgardian warrior with an inferiority complex and a protégé of Sif herself - with the more recent additions of Jean Grey and Maddie Pryor. Though they're all young (teens/late preteens), considering the people that they become... Loki's spot on.
- More examples of "Magnetic Villains" in The Darkness Series: Voldemort, being the magically appointed Dark Lord which all darksiders are magically bound to follow has this naturally. Also Harry.
- Popular Firefly fanfic Forward says this is Mal's talent—attracting talented, brilliant people, and winning their loyalty.
- In Gods Of This New World a Death Note fic Light is a Magnetic Villain. He already had the loyalty of Misa (killed the guy that murdered her parents), but he also wins over the allegedly neutral Ryuk (give the Shinigami an apple), his Arch-Enemy L (because Defeat Means Friendship), and later Near, L's successor.
- Harry in Knowledge Is Power, even more than he is in canon: even when he's going into rages that make CAPSLOCK!Harry from Order of the Phoenix look calm and effing and blinding at everyone in sight, everyone who's not a Designated Villain thinks he's wonderful and they all fall over themselves to join him.
- In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, Braska fills this trope with his charisma.
- In Rurouni Kenshin and Star Wars crossover Shadowsin Starlight by Vathara Kenshin has an ability to easily form force-bonds, which means he can inspire Undying Loyalty and quickly make friends. It’s one of the reasons his former employers fear him so much and will do anything to either eliminate or have him under their control.
- Vale Whitaker, the heroine of the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, is a Magnetic Hero. Even in the midst of the Games, she manages to make plenty of allies: Kit, Fen, Lark, Phlox ( though she quickly betrayed her), and finally, Privileged Rival Obsidian.
- Sehnsucht plays with this in regards to main character Reiki Noriko and her best friend, Sawada Tsunayoshi (the main character of Katekyō Hitman Reborn!) — while Noriko is the one who brings in more people into their ever growing circle of friends, the reason they all stay is for Tsuna.
- Though the Lady Inquisitor is an All-Loving Hero, the Lord Inquisitor in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird is one of these. He draws people's loyalty through their admiration for his noble character and heroic deeds.
- X-Men Film Series: Professor X is exceptionally charismatic because he's gifted with the uncanny skill to influence people (without the use of his psychic ability) who hardly know him to risk their lives for him and/or uphold his philosophy against his enemies. In the time span of no more than a year (with some breaks, as Logan was digging around for his past at Alkali Lake, and later was "passing through"), Wolverine goes from mocking the Professor's paraplegia ("What do they call you, Wheels?") to being "tamed" by him. In X-Men: First Class, Charles is a very attentive and earnest coach who is able to shape the adolescent Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that he has recruited into an effective paramilitary group within a short period of time, and his new team is strong enough to withstand the more experienced Hellfire Club. In X-Men: Apocalypse, Cyclops, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler endanger themselves to rescue Xavier, whom they had only met once (or in the case of Kurt Wagner, he didn't even get the chance to talk to the Professor before the latter was captured), and they all elect to become full-fledged members of the X-Men.
- Played remarkably straight (along with several other tropes) in the movie Krull. Prince Colwyn got an Ergo The Magnificent, a group of escaped prisoners intent on robbing him, a Blind Seer and a cyclops to join his party.
- About the first third of The Magnificent Seven consists of this.
- In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, this seems to sum up Captain Jack Sparrow's recruiting technique.
- Morpheus in The Matrix. His ability to convince people to take risks irritates the more pragmatic Commander Lock.
- King Arthur in most of his incarnations in film, but most notably John Boorman's Excalibur. If you're fighting a fully-armed knight, get the better of him, and demand he swear faith to you with your sword at his neck, you generally don't ask him to knight you and hand over your Infinity +1 Sword to him when he objects to giving you his allegiance because you're a squire and thus he outranks you. On the other hand, if you're the knight in question you generally don't use said sword to knight said squire when he kneels before you to accept your knighting and then kiss his hand in fealty ... unless the squire, of course, is a Magnetic Hero.
- Buckaroo Banzai, the hero of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, has already gathered a team of variously awesome people, and collects another one in the course of the movie.
- The 1982 Conan the Barbarian (1982) film. Conan releases Subotai from chains in exchange for his companionship. The two of them meet Valeria while robbing a temple of Thulsa Doom. Conan later runs into the wizard on his journey to assassinate Thulsa Doom. The sequel, Conan the Destroyer, relies more on Avengers, Assemble!, but Zula's recruitment is an example of this trope.
- The Terminal: Viktor Navorski slowly grows into this role. He slowly builds friendships with various airport employees. After he helps the Russian man who needed pills for his father, every airport employee starts looking up to him. After he leaves for New York, everyone follows him to save goodbye, and offer him gifts.
- Protector of the Small's Keladry of Mindelan. Seriously. This Badass Normal girl makes friends with EVERYONE (except the bad guys) and those that don't befriend her at least respect her (save the bad guys). Kids, Commonfolk, pages, birds... Kel will never be one of those heroes that fights alone in dark places, because while she may not be a Wild Mage or have the Gift, she's got the superpower of building one of the most loyal band of True Companions in a few hundred pages. They won't let her go off and do anything stupid without them.
- Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus: Percy Jackson. He's even described as the 'glue' that holds the True Companions together.
- Cohen the Barbarian has this sort of power. As Rincewind explains it, when you interact with him for long enough, you see the world the way he does... and want to be part of it.
- Carrot is the driving force behind the expansion of the City Watch, and its large presence of non-humans.
- This trope is played with in Carrot's case, as it is mentioned that he could get people to do just about anything but does not, possibly because of the negative consequences of this trope. He's a Magnetic Hero who doesn't believe that heroes are a particularly good solution. In Men at Arms he remarks to the Patrician that people only need a hero when times are bad; they need peace and stability every day.
- Speaking of, Corporal Nobbes is probably an inversion. He's so horrible, he's fascinating, and people are drawn to him just to see what he might do next.
- Moist Von Lipwig has traces of this as well, as evident by how he gradually rebuilds the postal service in Going Postal.
- Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter of His Dark Materials are both imbued with an uncanny ability to persuade people over to their side, to command and convince them to obey. Their daughter, Lyra, is nothing if not more so, as almost everyone who meets her takes an immediate liking to her and wants to help her.
- It's a plot-point that Wheel of Time's Rand Al'Thor and his friends have this quality. Of course, this magnetism is but one manifestation of reality itself warping around them.
- Stephen King's The Dark Tower series calls this effect "Ka", with a good bit of You Can't Fight Fate thrown in. Roland is magnetic, possibly in addition to ka. His ka-tet all end up seeing him as a father, despite knowing that he would off them at any point to reach the Tower. Of course, this might be different towards the end.
- The Chosen: Rebbe Saunders. Not only is he a charismatic and beloved "Rabbi Man" but the Back Story shows Hidden Depths that reveals he is more then just the demanding father we see. In Russia during the many excesses of the chaos there he had led his people to immigrate to America. Reuven finds it odd that a rabbi would have such autocratic power and it is; Danny's sect is odd in that respect. In a way though Reuven is Completely Missing the Point that Rebbe Saunders was also the first one in his community to think of a good idea about how to get out of their difficulties.
- In The Hunt for Red October Russian officers and men had once competed to get berths with Ramius and he was accused of forming a "cult of personality". Once the Americans board his sub there is a sense of him recuiting them!
- In the Dragonlance novels the elven princess Laurana is a remarkably charismatic figure whose incredible beauty, charm, and courage inspires thousands to join her army.
- In the Belgariad novels, Ce'Nedra becomes this trope as well, albeit that it's much more consciously manipulated by those supporting her, and she actually feels some remorse over being the Magnetic Heroine to her army.
- Robin Hood
- Achilles, and later Odysseus.
- Judge Dee: Three of Judge Dee's trusted lieutenants are criminals who abruptly reformed after their first encounter with him. He occasionally has trouble getting shut of attractive young women who've assisted him too. Magnetic is definitely the word.
- Paul Atreides of Dune.
- Amaurn of the Shadowleague books, though, unusually for this trope, he's very much an Anti-Hero.
- Jenna in the Great Alta Saga attracts followers everywhere she goes; they eventually declare her a Messianic Archetype.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Dorothy and pals all want to see the Wizard, but for different reasons.
- Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files, although a very powerful wizard in his own right, one of his most valued assets might be the staggering number of allies he has acquired/known/converted over the years.
- In The Dragon and the George, Jim Eckert is surprised to find a band of True Companions coalescing around him.
- In Myth Adventures, Skeeve's generosity and caring draws in a fiercely loyal group of associates, many of whom were originally his adversaries. Massha defines the process in M.Y.T.H. Inc. Link:
He's always gettin' in over his head tryin' ta do what he thinks is right, and a body gets the feelin' ... I don't know, that if you stand beside him he just might be able to pull it off. Even if it don't work out, you feel you've been doin' somethin' good with your life instead of just hangin' in there for the old number one.
- Athos in Twenty years after, the sequel to Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. He and Aramis go to England to help King Charles I while d'Artagnan and Porthos (acting on Mazarin's orders) are supposed to be on Oliver Cromwell's side. It takes Athos one scene to convince d'Artagnan that a true gentleman can only fight on the king's side.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Robert Baratheon is an anti-heroic who is described as a charismatic charmer who can make friends of his enemies.
- Jason from The Beyonders. Unlike most of the people he meets, he's 100% normal—no special powers, no special skills, no lifelong training, nothing. However, he's extremely good at persuading others to join his cause, and serves as the rallying point and emotional glue of the entire resistance group. Notably, all of his group consider this an extremely valuable trait, and when he begins to worry that he doesn't have much to offer them, they're quick to remind him that without him, there'd be no "them."
- In the Books of Samuel, David is one of these, at least at first. The people fall in love with him, Jonathan goes so far as to give him his sword, and even when on the run from Saul, David gathers a group of "outlaws" around him much as Robin Hood would 2300 years later.
- Harry Potter, who attracts problem as much as people willing to help him. It develops him well enough to make Harry accept occasional leadership roles, such as "teaching" Dumbledore's Army and captaining the Quidditch team.
- Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games.
- Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. He's part military genius, part con man, and he has allies and people in his debt across the galaxy. When an organization tries to oppose Miles, he tends to end up in charge of it by the end.
- Schooled: Cap averts this, with his odd appearance making him the butt of every joke and the school's biggest loser. Once he saves the bus driver with a stunt, suddenly everybody starts making tie dye shirts and practicing Tai Chi.
- The Red Knight of The Traitor Son Cycle has an almost superhuman ability to make friends and command loyalty from people - it takes him less than six months for Morean soldiers to demand that he be placed on the throne, and at one point, Gavin notes that despite having only served alongside him a year, he already feels like he's been in their mercenary company since its inception.
- In Warrior Cats, Firestar's heroic actions and good-hearted nature turns almost everyone to his side eventually. Yellowfang's Secret even shows that he snapped Yellowfang out of her depression just by talking with her for a few minutes.
- In The Spirit Thief, Eli has a way with spirits that makes them like him and want to help him very quickly. He's a bit worse with gaining support of humans, though.
Live Action TV
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Janeway does this, first getting Chakotay and the crew from his ship to join, then Neelix, then later Seven of Nine, then even later, they pick up several children who were assimilated by the Borg. Most of them return to their various homeworlds, but one remains on Voyager.
- Scandal: Olivia Pope fixes things, including people. Said people explicitly say that they would follow her off cliffs.
- Definitely happens on Farscape, but it's hard to say exactly which attribute it is that draws people to John Crichton. It's probably a mix of all of the above, and a just general lack of what to do without him.
- The Doctor in Doctor Who. This is how he picks up nearly all of his Companions. Also how he picks up the majority of non-companion allies. People usually start doing what he tells them within minutes of meeting him, however batshit insane he may have been acting.
- The trope is subverted occasionally, particularly in the disturbing episode "Midnight". Though ironically the end of the episode provides a slight reconstruction, when the first person to turn on the Doctor is ultimately the one who sacrifices herself to save him.
- "Journey's End" provided a decontruction then a reconstruction. The Doctor is called out on this by Davros of all people, who asks how many have died in the Doctor's name. Cue flashbacks of nearly every Mauve Shirt in the revived series. The reconstruction is how the story is resolved: every major character in the revived series comes together to save the universe, without having to do any of the morally gray things the Doctor or companions are sometimes forced to do.
- "The Vampires of Venice". Rory provides another deconsturuction when he calls out the Doctor for this: "It's not that you make people take risks, it's that you make them want to impress you. You make it so they don't want to let you down. You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves!"
- Ironically enough, he goes over to help Amy save the Doctor and stays by his side. The Doctor himself jabs Rory for this. This is Foreshadowing: in spite of his concerns about Amy, Rory's the one who sacrifices his life to save the Doctor's. He gets better.
- Lampshaded in the novelisation of "Shada", where Clare, who is unusually clever, notices the magnetic effect that the Doctor has on her mind (depicted as being borderline Emotion Control) and finds it a bit creepy, not to mention a bit sexist as she finds herself acting like a Neutral Female as a result. Her attempts to defy her desire to love and trust the Doctor and do everything he says drive her to start solving the mystery herself, leading to her accidentally launching the TARDIS of a retired Time Lord.
- Leroy Jethro Gibbs in NCIS. His whole team says so. But he only uses his powers for good. Ask Abby.
- Merlin is highly magical, but also seems to possess the innate ability to make every man, woman and child that he comes across fall hopelessly in love with him. With the exception of Prince Arthur and King Uther, Merlin has made immediate and life-long friends with cast regulars such as Guinevere, Lancelot and Gwaine, as well as guest stars such as Freya and Gilli. Most, if not all, are willing to die for him within mere moments of their meeting. At least one has come back from the dead in order to aid him on his quest.
- Steve McGarrett in the re-imagined Hawaii Five-0 recruits his team in the pilot by basically going to each of them and saying "Come work for me". In the second season premiere after being framed for murder, even characters like Dr. Max who he's only ever interacted with on a professional level, are willing to put themselves on the line to keep him out of jail and help him prove his innocence. Even ne'er-do-well informant Kamekona offers to invoke Bolivian Army Ending on his say so.
- Gentaro Kisaragi from Kamen Rider Fourze makes it his personal goal to make friends with everyone at his high school. He's lived up to that promise as he has saved some of his new friends' lives from Monsters of the Week, as well as getting to know the personal issues of some of them as well. The villain even compares him to a gravitational lens It's to the point where the Mid-Season Upgrade deals with magnetism.
- His reputation might have been tainted by his boneheaded move in the Heroes vs. Villains season, but back in Survivor: Tocantins, J.T. was the epitome of a Magnetic Hero who had even the members of the opposing tribe willing to sacrifice their chances of winning for him and who could backstab his allies and have them still completely trust him afterwards to the point that some viewers wondered if he had some supernatural Charm Person ability to make everyone around him fall in love with him. Heck, even in the HvV season where he became a lot less heroic and should have had a HUGE target on his back due to his Flawless Victory in Tocantins, he somehow managed to avoid being even considered as someone who needed to be voted out by his tribemates until the merge and even then would likely have made it even farther if not for his moronic idol play.
- John from Sherlock. He seems to have this "you can completely confide in me" aura around him. Sherlock befriends him. Mycroft confides in him. Government scientists will tell him about their experiments even if they're aware John is just an average guy. The only person we've seen him talk with that was completely immune to John's charming skills is Moriarty, who's an Ax-Crazy psychopath bordering Omnicidal Maniac.
- Stefan from The Vampire Diaries. He has always been popular, well-liked and respected since his human life. He has the ability to charm others and persuade people to listen to him without the use of mind control. Not to mention that many people find Stefan likeable.
- Game of Thrones has Daenerys Targaryen. Her typical M.O. is to conquer a city, free the underclass, and invite them to follow her to the next city. Wash, rinse, repeat. It gets a little tougher once she settles down to try and actually rule, but by that point she's got enough momentum that people start coming to her.
- Agents Of Shield proves that this trope is in full play for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phil Coulson, who can inspire people to follow him straight into Hell without flinching if he asks it of them. Remarkably, he is entirely physically unassuming (until he starts shooting or punching people, as you'd expect of a SHIELD agent), but he has so much sheer, magnetic charisma that people treat him like he's an Old Hollywood hero come to life. Which... he kind of is, actually. The common refrain: "Coulson has a plan."
- In Forgotten Realms Cormyrean dynasty Obarskyrs are born charismatic. Once very young princess Alusair slipped from her guards while in Waterdeep. The city watch found her in Dripping Dagger—a mercenary hangout with door covered in blood stains and weapon marks. During this time patrons played with her, let her taste local beverages and taught some tricks with weapons. The watchman who had to dodge a dagger she was throwing at the door marveled no one here knew who she is. Her father was amazed only by amount of salty language she learned in about one hour. Of course, adult Obarskyrs in their land are even more popular—no wonder they remained in power about millennium and half.
- One of the main points behind the charisma stat is to turn you into one of these.
- Magic: The Gathering has this with cards like Seraph, which steals your opponent's creatures when they die. It's Awesome, but Impractical because of the high mana cost, at which time your opponent's biggest creatures should be much bigger than 4/4.
- In Dungeons & Dragons third edition and Pathfinder, the Leadership feat turned you into one of these by granting you loyal followers.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. The protagonist has no problem whatsoever in recruiting people to cheerfully abandon their livelihoods and trudge along, carrying crateloads of gear into dangerous situations and swinging weapons at all manner of ungodly foes and beasts, and not even say anything when you're announcing your plans to go to the next "no-one-ever-came-back-alive" destination, such as the Vendigroth Wastes, Island of Despair, ultra-secret enclave of the dark elves, or the Void. (Those are Names to Run Away from Really Fast, people.) The protagonist will also usually inform the latest recruit that they're hunted by an ancient order of assassins who want them, and everyone associated with them, dead. This fails to deter anyone. I guess living in Dernholm must suck majorly if this is the preferred choice.
- Subconsciously attracting allies is a semi-divine power of Breath of Fire IV's hero.
- In Chrono Cross, only a few of the 40+ characters join Serge because their own ambition drives them to seek the Frozen Flame (and even then, they become subservient to him instantly.) The others join up simply for the reasons described above, or Because Destiny Says So.
- The MC of Devil Survivor can become one, depending on dialogue choices and in some paths, end up recruiting more humans than the player can deploy in battle. A good example is Haru, who happens to be suicidally depressed, but nevertheless opens her heart up to the protagonist almost from the moment they meet.
- Valvatorez of Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten has an extreme knack for bringing people to his side. Apart from drawing in Fuka, Emizel, Vulcanus, and Desco, he also manages to unconsciously amass an entire army willing to fight for him. For Tyrant Valvatorez, it's taken to an even higher level - he can get a passive ability to turn any enemy he defeats into an ally for the rest of the battle.
- Dragon Age:
- The Grey Wardens of Dragon Age: Origins have far less clout in Fereldan then they enjoy in other countries, so they rely on this for their recruitment. Duncan and the player are two such examples. Arl Eamon also owes his political influence to being one.
- Hawke in Dragon Age II seems to have an unerring ability to gravitate people towards them. Besides their regular companions, it's shown that Bodahn Feddic vowed complete Undying Loyalty after Hawke rescued his adopted son, Sandal, in the Deep Roads, becoming their man-servant and official Team Dad of their estate, despite Hawke's protests that it really wasn't necessary. Hawke's maid, Oriana, was a former slave that s/he rescued from an insane Tevinter Magister. She's naturally bewildered when Hawke informs her she's now free, proceeds to offer her a job... and more astoundingly, is actually going to pay her for her service.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric might tell the Inquisitor a story about Hawke, specifically how some moron in the Carta sent some people after Hawke to get him/her to pay for his/her uncle's debts, after Hawke became extremely wealthy. A Snarky!Hawke was waiting for them with cards and kept them busy until the guards showed up and arrested them. A number of them still liked Hawke so much that, after getting out, they became regulars at Hawke and Varric's weekly card games.
- It's observed early on that the protagonist of Exit Fate has a knack for this. After he defects to the opposing army, his superiors don't even bother assigning troops to him, since he's so good at finding new recruits. At the end of the game, your crew count will be somewhere between 40 and 75.
- Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII. Despite the fact that he's a former soldier for Shinra, not to mention a jerk, AVALANCHE accepts his help and eventually admit him as their leader. It gets even harder to swallow when they find out that his memory of certain important events is wrong, and even when they discover that he can be mind-controlled by the Big Bad they still trust him! The most painful Idiot Ball moment is how, despite Cloud's orders not to give the Black Materia to anyone, including himself, Barret or Red XIII (depending on who you pick to hold it) will give it back to the possessed Cloud as soon as he asks, out of his sheer charisma alone.
- Every Lord in a Fire Emblem game. Enough so to attract more allies than your party has room for.
- Yuri from Infinite Space seems to have natural air of leadership that draws people to him... or have him to do dirty work for them.
- Sora from Kingdom Hearts. He is explicitly stated to have the power to connect with anyone. Unfortunately, the Big Bad realizes, as bonds and other such links between Hearts are very important in this series, that anyone includes him, and attempts to use this to possess Sora. It should be noted that the Big Bad can be rather charismatic (if he chooses not to simply beat your face in) in virtually every incarnation, and he has a lot of those.
- A Deconstructed Trope in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. The main character is (in)famous for creating bonds like this subconsciously by using the Force, sometimes creating bonds strong enough for a Synchronization. Further deconstructed when it's revealed that you're regaining your connection to the Force by basically pulling the Force into yourself through said bonds.
- This trope is played straight in the original Knights of the Old Republic. But there is some mild deconstruction and Ascended Fridge Horror involved; your character is Darth Revan, whose legendary charisma and skills all but destroyed the Jedi Order and the Republic by dragging half the Jedi Order and a third of the Republic military with you when you made a Face–Heel Turn.
- The Legend of Zelda - Link is made of this trope. All sentient characters except Ganondorf are required to help him in some way.
- Commander Shepard of Mass Effect has natural talent for influencing other people. Whether that talent is for charm or for intimidation — and to what uses Shepard puts it — is up to the player. Paragon Shepard even recruited from supposedly Always Chaotic Evil races. note
Miranda: But Shepard? They'll follow him/her.... s/he's a bloody icon!
- Hackett himself even notes that this is exactly why he essentially made him/her the Big Good to the other species. Because he knew that s/he could get them to believe in the cause and follow him/her, no matter what the cost or odds.
- Lampshaded by Miranda in the second game as the reason why Cerberus spent billions in credits in order to resurrect Shepard;
- Shepard's ability to do this is seemingly a Running Gag in the third game: whereas most characters react with astonishment to Shepard having a Prothean squadmate, Wrex and Mordin's reaction essentially boils down to, "It's Shepard... what else is new?!"
- Archangel is another example, recruiting a multi-species band of vigilantes to fight crime all over Omega. It worked fairly well until a traitor left them wide open to retaliation. Since he's Garrus, you can guess where he picked up the multi-lateral team idea from.
- So great is Shepard's ability to inspire complete Undying Loyalty in such diverse groups of people that the Big Bad of the Citadel DLC derisively refers to Shepard's team as "The Cult of Shepard". The entire theme of the DLC was essentially that as big of a badass as Shepard is, it's this trope mixed with The Power of Friendship s/he inspires that make him/her such a powerful figure.
- It is of course telling that the Commander's last name is Shepard, in that it is pronounced the same/has the same meaning as "shepherd." Essentially - one who leads the flock.
- Metal Gear:
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - Big Boss can recruit any soldier he come across, including his bosses and the Big Bad.
- A major portion of both the gameplay and plot in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain revolves around Big Boss's ability to attract even his enemies to his cause.
- His successor Solid Snake has this ability to a lesser extent. For example, sometime before Metal Gear 2, he recruited Kyle, who was an enemy in Metal Gear.
- In Ogre Battle, your hero does it with main characters, and you can also do it with neutral encounters, and occasionally you'll get an item called Love and Peace that lets you do this to enemies.
- Mario in the Paper Mario series, where he gets some pretty helpful allies, most of them belonging to a usually antagonistic race.
- Also deconstructed in Planescape: Torment, which KOTOR II took many notes from. The Nameless One's allies are drawn to his torment by torments of their own. He literally is branded with the Rune of Torment, which draws tormented souls to him. Furthermore, with the exception of Annah, Nordrom and Fall-From-Grace, their torments are mostly your fault.
- Sonic the Hedgehog - Not only does he have his main Power Trio of Team Sonic, he has plenty of other friends and allies.
- The New Kid, from South Park: The Stick of Truth, has an uncanny ability to make friends on Facebook. Gets Played for Drama / Laughs when it's revealed that the government hunted him to exploit his ability, and that his family transferred to South park to escape from its agents.
- According to Rose in (Super) Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter series lead Ryu is an unintentional variant of trope and mixes this with The Chosen One. According to Rose's fortune telling, Ryu is designated as The Fool, the only one who can possibly hope to defeat Bison, but only when "the stars align to herald his coming." Rose would attempt to do the deed herself (and in fact, has tried at least three times beforehand), but seeing as she's the good half of Bison's soul, her Soul Power and his Psycho Power simply stamp each other out at best, so she can only hope to stall Bison as she lends her power to Ryu's quest (and sometimes prevents him from preemptively facing Bison). Addition, Rose notes that anyone who's crossed paths with Ryu (which is practically everyone, ranging from the likes of Chun-Li and Guile to Guy to Sakura) will have their life's path altered accordingly; Ryu's best friend Ken will apparently play a role in the final battle and Sagat's destiny was ultimately changed when he met Ryu back in the first World Warrior tournament. In a sense, Ryu's a Black Hole Sue minus the Mary Sue qualities.
- The hero in Suikoden gathers 108 people towards them Because Destiny Says So. Well, that and if you play the game right.
- Tears to Tiara 2: Hamil The Leader and The Hero
- Beat Them Up: Aemilia
- Recruitment By Rescue: Charis in a bit of back story, when he saved her and her father from an oppressive Imperial soldier. Artio, Elissa, and Daphnis by jumping into their fight and saving them from certain death.
- Tell Them Your Quest: He convinces Tartetos he is a worthy successor to the Barcids, so Kleito offers her support. His dream of creating a Hegemonic Empire wins over Aemilia.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Artio, Elissa, and Daphnis. See above.
- Reimu and Marisa from Touhou are extreme examples of this trope - every game introduces about 8 new characters, and the series is a dozen games long, not even counting the Gaiden Games leading to roughly a hundred characters (117 named characters as of this writing), and Defeat Means Friendship is practically ironbound law in Gensokyo, leading to them having massive numbers of Superpower Lottery winners to call on for allies. Although only a fraction of these characters actually wind up fighting directly alongside the heroines in any of the regular games (doujin games like Touhou Labyrinth that have real party systems being an exception), and often are more friendly rivals in function, the sidestories like Silent Sinner In Blue feature essentially half of Gensokyo teaming up in a massive jumble to take on the Lunarians.
- Undertale: The player character becomes this when playing Pacifist or mostly-Pacifist, despite never (visibly) speaking to anyone. One of the game's core mechanics is the ability to spare and befriend literally every enemy in the game. Yes, even Flowey, though that requires a second playthrough.
- Fei of Xenogears falls into this, since he recruits quite a large party of people from all over the world, including at least a couple who try to kill him at first.
- Rinka Kagurazaka from Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni- is the reason the rest of the cast is able to set aside their differences and become friends with each other.
- "Sparks" of Girl Genius have this as an explicit power; it was described as "a strange charisma".
Mr. Rovainen: Ah—it is part of the power of the gifted. Those around them wish to aid them. To serve them. Even when we know them to be monsters. Heterodyne Sparks are alleged to be even more charismatic than the average Spark.
- Agatha seems to be especially skilled in gaining people's loyalty. It's one reason Baron fears her so much.
- This trope is precisely how the Order of the Stick was formed.
- Looking for Group, of course, is named for this sort of occurrence. It takes place there, too but not a lot.
- No Rest for the Wicked: November is quite talented at this.
- In Wake the Sleepers, Oralee attaches herself to Locke.
- Axe Cop is all over this like an axe on a bad guy's neck. His recurring sidekick (variously Flute Cop, Dinosaur Soldier, Avocado Soldier, Uni-Avocado Soldier, Viking Cop...) is secretly his brother, and I don't think there's been an explanation for Wexter yet, but any time anything bad happens, Axe Cop announces "we need to have more try-outs" and people pour out of the woodwork to join him. Examples: the Moon Ninja Brothers, Sockarang, Uni-Man and his family, Chihuahua Soldier, that cyborg lion, the King of the Mermaids, "a wrestler", Leaf Man, Mr. Wilkins, those various aliens from the Bad Guy Planet Two arc...
- In Sinfest, Monique manages, briefly, to attract the other characters to protest.
- In Blue Yonder, a villain thinks Jared is this -- winning him some respect -- when he sees that other heroes showed up to help him.
- Tower of God: Twenty-fifth Baam, who recruited a Magnificent Bastard of a Blue Blood, a Tomboy Princess, her haughty little sister and a giant bipedal alligator. And that's just his close friends.
- There are people in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe who would follow Global Guardians team leader Achilles into the fires of Hell just because the man said it might be necessary.
- Rob from Dimension Heroes brings a group together, not because he has any particularly appealing qualities, but because he unintentionally put them under fire from the enemy, thereby forcing them to become involved as part of the group.
- Sasha Hunter in Greek Ninja, although shown and claiming to not like people and even being rude to them a lot of the time, somehow manages to gather a group of capable fighters around her. The twist is, most of them join her on her quest even though she was unwilling to accept them. The only character she actually asked to join her on her own accord was Electra.
- Chaka of the Whateley Universe seems to have this. She pulled Fey and Lancer along in her wake when they first met, and then helped pull Team Kimba together. Since then, she's also pulled in more boyfriends and girlfriends than any fourteen-year-old could possibly handle.
Recently, her team-mates have begun pointing out that this is not a good thing, as far as her relationships go. Ayla does not expect it to end well, if/when Chaka's significant others all find out about each other, and has had to explicitly forbid Chaka from bringing both of them to his birthday party.
- The protagonists of Here Comes the Grump travel from town to town enlisting the local folk to aid them in escaping from the eponymous Grump, who is always hot on their tail.
- Metalocalypse - Although we don't know much about how the band was actually formed, Nathan Explosion seems to be capable of getting virtually anyone to do anything purely by his personal magnetism, at one point even convincing the most homophobic of his bandmates to attempt autofellatio in front of the others with a brief pep talk. Even the villains often comment on his so-called Stalinlike ability to galvanize the masses, and how dangerous that is.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle barely walked into Ponyville before her friends-to-be started flocking around her. She's even deliberately trying to keep them at a distance due to her mild antisocial tendencies, but the magnetism is too great. They're not taking no for an answer.
- Recess has TJ who frequently saves the playground through personality alone and is adored even by his enemies.
- Star Wars Rebels has Hera Syndulla, who gathered a crew within a matter of days in a prequel novel, swayed Ezra to fight for the Rebellion, and even got her father's loyal lieutenants to side with her in a standoff. Ezra follows in her footsteps in her regard, supplemented by his natural empathic abilities, and has gotten quite a few ordinary people and even enemies to follow him by choosing the right words.
- This is the primary modus operandi of Steven Universe, as well as his mother before him: gathering the loyalty of down-and-out Gems. Jasper even calls him out on it directly when he tries to recruit her.
- Any great leader fits this trope. No leader can be great without it.
- Innumerable ordinary heroes. You probably know a couple personally.
- Both Churchill and Hitler were Magnetic Heroes, in the eyes of their followers. Hitler was not heroic in any other sense. They had tens of millions of followers. Both managed to array great world powers behind them on the issue of the largest war in human history, based largely on the force of their personality and oratory. Hitler was a decorated soldier in WW1, Churchill fought as a soldier/reporter in the Sudan and Boer Wars.
Several people who met Hitler said he was magnetic. Of course, really, you should wonder about the testimony of someone who was granted an audience with Hitler. One of the chief appeals of Nazism was to give people a way to try to live fantasy in Real Life . That was one of the main points of the torchlight parades and the hocus-pocus. Thus if one is to convince factory workers that they were Proud Warrior Race guys, they need to have a Magnetic Hero just like the ones in poems did. If Hitler didn't fit the bill, the Ministry of Propaganda could easily enough pretend he did.
- Horatio Nelson. The man was heavily into self promotion, but he earned every accolade, and his ability to inspire men was even termed 'the Nelson effect'.
- Stonewall Jackson. This is a man who, when his men are outnumbered 10 to 1, turns a full rout into a counter-attack through sheer force of personality.
- Canada had Isaac Brock in the War of 1812, a savy general who was able to persuade the Aboriginal leader, Tecumseh, to join forces with him so effectively that the Native Leader stood up, patted Brock on the shoulder and proclaimed, "This is a man!"
- If you ask any Marine, General James "Mad Dog" Mattis seems to fit the bill, due to his combination of erudite oratory and ruthless honesty regarding the central theme that death has in the profession of arms.
Alexander the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying — studying, vice just reading — the men who have gone before us. We have been fighting on this planet for 5,000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. ‘Winging it’ and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of competence in our profession.
- George Washington in both the American Revolution and his term as first President of the United States. During the Revolution, the American Colonies were more like a loose conglomerate of separate states instead of a unified nation, so it was a matter of contention as to who would command their forces. Washington was a Virginian plantation owner, which gave him the support from the southern states, but his reputation in the French and Indian War also made him respected by the northern colonies as well. Washington's stature (six foot two) and reticent demeanor served him well as a dependable leader, and it was due to his charisma that the Continental Army was able to remain bound together despite their many defeats and the varied backgrounds and origins of the men under his command. Little wonder then, that Washington is the only President in American history to be elected unanimously.
- There's a lot of room for debate on Cao Cao's motives and personal behaviour, but history makes it clear that he was this. When the Han Dynasty was usurped by Dong Zhuo, Cao Cao was just a minor noble from a family with a mixed reputation. But a combination of his dogged determination to fight Dong Zhuo, utter intolerance of corruption and generous nature to those who joined him (regardless of their past) saw him become the dominant force in Northern China. Extraordinary men like Xun Yu, Xun You, Dian Wei and Xiahou Dun, joined him in his early days and former enemies such as Zhang He, Zhang Liao, Jia Xu and Zhang Xiu all gratefully accepted Cao Cao's offer to join him and worked faithfully for him until his death.
- Cao Cao's one time rival and childhood friend Yuan Shao was this in his youth. He was a charismatic and noble young man who starts an underground railroad for those wanting to flee the corrupt Han court and was a figurehead in the fight against Dong Zhuo. But his arrogance, tolerance of corruption, inability to discern good advice from bad and poor judgement saw his fledgling state collapse to the numerically inferior Cao Cao and his sons were too divided to recover after his death.
- Sun Quan inherited an established state, but he was an exceptionally discerning man who cultivated the loyalty of his followers carefully and always knew the best man for the job. Unfortunately, his keen mind fell off the deep end in his later years and the resulting chaos kicked off the start of his empire's downfall.
- Liu Bei, while definitely not a hero in the actual history of events, started as a sandal weaver and became an emperor. In truth, he relied heavily on the negotiating skills of his childhood friend Jian Yong until the establishment of his state but all the same he was a man with good judgement who attracted many talented men to him and used them well. For once thing, he kept Zhuge Liang in check while he was alive but after his death, Zhuge Liang became obsessed with his disastrous northern campaigns against Cao Wei that drained Shu Han's limited resources.