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[[quoteright:350:[[Series/DoctorWho http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/157f9c5c7a79b547ce09bcf722cbc27d.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:On the right: the UltimateLifeForm [[PoweredArmor wearing]] a HoverTank. On the left: its master, [[EvilCripple a blind guy in a wheelchair]].]]

->''"You see, I never had the chance to serve in battle, nor did fate provide me the opportunity to sacrifice myself for humanity as it did for so many others in the Great War."''
-->-- '''The Director,''' ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''

The BigBad, as everybody knows, is the source of conflict in a work of fiction, with their defeat being the main goal of TheHero which brings an end to that StoryArc. But, what exactly makes them such a threatening villain? Is it because AsskickingEqualsAuthority (and AuthorityEqualsAsskicking)? If the protagonist is an ActionHero, he must be up against an unbeatable Action Villain, right? Well, not always. They could be extremely [[TheChessmaster cunning]], and able to {{manipulat|ivebastard}}e others to do their bidding. They might be simply [[EvilerThanThou eviler]] than anybody else, willing to go to lengths others shy away from.

This villain has zero fighting skills, or they fight well enough ''for a human'' but they're against a superpowered hero. In any case, what they lack in physical prowess they make up for in resources, cunning, and/or [[VillainWithGoodPublicity good PR]], and will rely on a [[TheDragon second-in-command]] or QuirkyMinibossSquad to do all of the dirty work that needs to get done. In the event they do encounter the hero, they usually try to trick them into not attacking, just run for it, or they somehow have the fight stacked in their favor.

If encountered in a video game, this character will either act as a deliberate AntiClimaxBoss, an outright ZeroEffortBoss, or even be TheUnfought.

Often overlaps with EvilCripple, where the villain doesn't fight because they physically can't. Also compare TheManBehindTheCurtain and DragonInChief; in both cases, the Big Bad is only nominally in charge while someone else is calling the shots. If The Dragon knows they’re the one truly in charge and decides to do something about it, he may become TheStarscream. For Big Bads who ''have'' power but act like this until the climax, see OrcusOnHisThrone, where the Big Bad doesn't carry out any plans beyond sitting around being generally evil. This trope may result in ItsPersonalWithTheDragon, as The Dragon doing all the heavy lifting may become the hero's personal ArchEnemy.

While we can't name examples this is partly TruthInTelevision, as usually commanders are usually more well known for being a MagnificentBastard, and even real life badasses aren't the OneManArmy [[RealityEnsues that fiction tends to suggest.]]



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
%% * Dr. Tenma in the 2003 version of ''Anime/AstroBoy''.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': Schneizel el Britannia is a purely political figure, but he more than does the job with his silver tongue and has the protection of the [[OneRiotOneRanger Knights of the Round]], [[spoiler:and late in the series, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveANuke FLEIJA]] and [[KillSat Damocles]].]]
* [[VillainProtagonist Light Yagami]] from ''Manga/DeathNote''. He only writes people's names in the "[[ArtifactOfDoom Death Note]]" and has never done physical harm. Although it is shown he can throw punches to L, this is never shown as the series progress.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** "Emperor" Pilaf was the closest thing to a main antagonist the series had during it's early years... and was basically a tiny little PsychopathicManchild, who relied entirely on his duo of [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffective goons]] to do all the leg work.
** Commander Red in the Red Ribbon Army saga is such a weakling that when his subordinate decides he wants to be in charge he kills him easily.
** The Crane Hermit is the main antagonistic force in the 22nd Tenkaichi Tournament arc. He's actually quite strong, but he leaves the fighting to his pupils, hoping they'll crush his old enemy's own pupils; when he lashes out at them for [[HeelFaceTurn turning against him]], [[OldMaster Roshi]] sends him flying.
** Babidi in the Buu arc of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' is a powerful magic user but is absolutely no match for the planet-splitting main heroes, relying on his minions to do the fighting. He's eventually killed when Buu realizes that being bossed around by someone so much weaker than him doesn't make sense, and [[TheDogBitesBack reacts accordingly]]. It didn't help that Babidi was [[JerkAss a massive dick to Buu]] either. Hint to aspiring villains, when commanding a minion vastly superior to you in power, treat them with respect.
* [[spoiler:Ghoda]] in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' never fights or even has any weapons, and his mooks rarely use any violent means. Which doesn't stop [[NonActionGuy Aramaki]] to [[spoiler:have him [[ChunkySalsaRule riddled with exploding bullets]]]] when he refuses to be taken into custody.
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'':
** Neither [[AdiposeRex Degwin Zabi]] or his [[TheEvilPrince son]] [[DragonInChief Gihren]] were up to much physical action in the original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam''. As the political (and military in Gihren's case) rulers of Zeon they didn't need to be.
** ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' subverts this trope. It initially appears that {{Non Action Guy}}s Muruta Azrael and [[GeneralRipper Patrick Zala]] will be the show's BigBadEnsemble. The former is a psychopathic madman who leads the Earth Forces from behind the scenes, the latter an InsaneAdmiral turned PresidentEvil who rules ZAFT with an iron fist. Both lead massive armies, and are dedicated to eliminating one another. In reality however, they are both {{Unwitting Pawn}}s of AcePilot and MagnificentBastard [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Rau Le Creuset]], who is the ''real'' BigBad of the series.
** ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' has a BigBadEnsemble of Lord Djibril and [[DarkMessiah Gilbert Durandal]]. Both have more than enough resources (and [[AxeCrazy madness]]/[[ManipulativeBastard manipulative ability]]) to make up for their lack of frontline combat skills, with Djibril heading a world-wide network of hate-groups, and Durandal as ZAFT's new PresidentEvil (but with both [[WellIntentionedExtremist better intentions]] and [[VillainWithGoodPublicity better publicity]] than his predecessor).
** Chancellor Wong in ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' is the bad guy in the second act- he's super manipulative (he even has literal chess-pieces in the shape of the Gundams), is the De-Facto leader of everything and holds authority over [[OldMaster Master]] [[RatedMForManly Asia]]... however, he hardly stands up from his floaty chair, only sets up fights for Domon, and has an [[Manga/DeathNote L]]-Level sweet tooth. Suffice to say, [[spoiler: he's almost vaporized by collateral damage--which was the direct result of his own manipulations--and when he actually gets in a Gundam (unwillingly) he lasts all of two minutes. And most of those two minutes are spent talking.]]
** [[AffablyEvil Rustal Elion]] of the second season of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'' is never shown in a mobile suit cockpit, much less piloting one. Somewhat justified, since unlike other villains, Gjallarhorn was ruled by a system of families - and in Rustal's case, he was the heir of the Elion family, one of the families that ruled Gjallarhorn.
* The Major from ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}''. For an OmnicidalManiac enamored of war and carnage, he noticeably lacks any combat involvement and limits himself to inspirational speeches. [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Hilariously]], he can't even shoot a disobedient soldier standing ''right in front of him'', despite emptying a clip of ammo at him. Eventually, he just has his more loyal {{Mooks}} do the killing for him.
* Jail Scaglietti of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers''. Being a MadScientist with SuperIntelligence and a lot of resources, he was one of the biggest threats to the TSAB itself in the franchise and came the closest to taking TheFederation down even though he himself has little to no fighting abilities. [[spoiler:The battle against him was pretty much over once all of the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Combat]] {{Cyborg}}s guarding his base were neutralized and [[TheLancer Fate]] finally got around the Capturing Threads set up in his lab]].
* Nagi dai Artai in ''Anime/MaiOtome'', albeit largely because males can't become Otomes.
* In the ''Mazingerverse'':
** [[BigBad Dr. Hell]] of ''Anime/MazingerZ'' is a [[MadScientist certified genius]]... and a seventy-year-old man who isn't physically fit at all. He always sends his henchmen, minions and war machines off into battle because he can't fight his enemies face-to-face.
** The Great Emperor of Darkness of ''Anime/GreatMazinger''. Despite of being a very powerful, god-like being, he never fought the heroes directly.
** King Vega from ''Anime/UfoRoboGrendizer''. He would appear throughout the series giving orders to Blaki and Gandal until the destruction of Planet Vega. While hardly ever seen in battle, King Vega commands the King of Vega spaceship that can fight in space.
* Gato in the first arc of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', which ended up being his undoing after he tried to dispose of Zabuza for failing to defeat Kakashi, only for Zabuza to return the favor by killing Gato himself. After that, every other BigBad in the series has fully embodied AuthorityEqualsAsskicking.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Spandam is the leader of the Cipher Pol 9, an elite group of government assassins. He's also physically weaker than a single common fodder soldier. He does have a Cool Sword - The Elephant Sword - but the problem is that he can hardly use it properly. When he unleashes it on Franky, Franky [[spoiler:convinces the Elephant to squish SPANDAM]].
** The World Government are the ones ordering the marines, including the Fleet Admiral. Several of the members of the [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Five Elder Stars]] have what look to be battle scars, and one even carries a sword, so it's very possible that they're retired fighters, but none of them have been seen fighting.
*** Another branch of the World Government, [[AristocratsAreEvil the Celestial Dragons]], are hardly ever seen fighting, depending almost entirely on [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem their ridiculous level of authority over the Marines and the populace]] and the fear of [[DisproportionateRetribution how they won't hesitate to use such authority]] against anyone who so much as annoys them - sure, they use firearms a sometimes, but it's mostly against weak or helpless targets who couldn't possibly hurt them; the few times they try on someone stronger than an average civilian or grunt marine (i.e. almost any named character), [[NoSell it doesn't have any effect]] and/or invites [[CurbStompBattle a completely one-sided stomping]] if the other party is angry enough and/or doesn't give a damn about ending up on the entire World Government's shit list.
* Marder from ''Anime/PanzerWorldGalient'', who is completely defenseless in an actual battle and got almost killed at least once when [[UndyingLoyalty Hy ]][[TheDragon Shaltat]] wasn't around.
* Every single antagonist on the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' series, since it's the Pokemon who do all the fighting for them, while the main antagonist are not shown to have any fighting ability whatsoever. The Pokemon themselves are said to never be evil, while the theatrical [[OlympusMons legendary Pokemon]] are merely troubled, confused, or highly protective, and are EasilyForgiven at the end.
* The OverarchingVillain of ''Franchise/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica,'' [[spoiler:Kyubey]], may be an [[AboveGoodAndEvil amoral]] ManipulativeBastard, but he doesn't really have any sort of battle ability; in fact, he gets killed pretty easily. [[ImmortalLifeIsCheap Multiple times]].
* Desparaiah from ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5''. While her DragonInChief Kawarino is the most difficult villain the girls have to face in this season, the only things Desparaia does during the GrandFinale is [[spoiler:summoning {{Mooks}}, blocking the attacks with a barrier... and undergoing a '''HighHeelFaceTurn''']]! Weirdly she ''is'' the most powerful being in this season, the only reason why Kawarino is so damn loyal to her.
* Sakyo of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' is head of the antagonists in the Dark Tournament Saga, even if Toguro overshadows him in plot importance. He also knows he can't fight, despite being the fifth member of Team Toguro, so he says that the outcome of Toguro's match will decide the outcome of his, thus enabling whoever wins it to win the tournament.

[[folder:Board Games]]
* The king in TabletopGame/{{Chess}}. It's barely superior to a simple pawn, and spends as much time as possible hiding and fleeing (especially since it usually can't attack another piece without moving into check first).

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/SinCity'' baddies tend to be this trope. The Roarks, Ava Lord, Wallenquist, and the Colonel never get their hands dirty and are likely incapable of doing so. Instead, they send dirty cops, mooks, hitmen, and assassins to do their jobs who tend to be more physically capable. Manute, for instance, was Ava Lord's dragon. Ava was only dangerous if you were a man who didn't know she was untrustworthy. Manute, on the other hand, is so dangerous that he has been a recurring villain in the series... a rarity.
* ComicBook/LexLuthor most of the time. He does have a battlesuit, but he tends to get in fistfights a lot less than he uses his ManipulativeBastard and CorruptCorporateExecutive aspects.
* ComicBook/IncredibleHulk villain The Leader. He may be a mutant, but his only power is SuperIntelligence, and he's got the physique of a string bean.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
** In most forms of media SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker is this - he's generally portrayed as scrawny, and occasionally it will only take one punch from Batman to bring him down. He makes up for it by being a MagnificentBastard and stacking the odds. In a number of stories, the tension isn't on Batman beating him in a fight, but trying to catch him before he murders more innocent people.
** This usually goes for most of Bats' RoguesGallery, to various degrees. Guys like Riddler or Scarecrow are more masterminds than fighters. Two-Face or the Black Mask are gangster types who are capable of using a gun or fighting, but don't have the physique or skill needed to take Bats on in a straight fight.
* In the pages of ''Comicbook/IronMan'' and ''Comicbook/TheAvengers'', we have seen guys like the Roxxon Oil heads, Justin Hammer, and the leaders of the Maggia who were corrupt business men or mafia bosses who could not go up against the heroes one-on-one and often employed super villains. Obadiah Stane and Count Nefaria also started off this way but both men either gained powers later or eventually wore a suit of PoweredArmor.
* Darth Vader, of all people, ended up this way in the ''Comicbook/MarvelStarWars'' comics. The reasoning behind this was that Lucas Arts did not want to have Vader and Luke fighting too often, lest it conflict with the movies, which the comics were supposed to coincide with.
* Most of the [[ComicBook/XMen X-Men's]] human villains like Reverend Stryker, Bolivar Trask, Senator Kelly, and Arcade, since they mainly represent humanity's hatred of mutants (except Arcade, who's just crazy).
* Also in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, when the Elders of the Universe plot some evil scheme, the Astronomer usually orchestrates the plot and acts as leader. While many of the Elders have incredible superhuman powers and/or incredible technology at their disposal, the Astronomer does not seem to have any powers that are useful in a fight, and always teleports away if trouble starts.
* Franchise/SpiderMan:
** MadScientist and underworld supplier the Tinkerer is an old man with no fighting skills. The same can be said for Jonas Harrow, who's a DirtyCoward on top of it. (Ironically, Harrow was a one-time suspect for the Hobgoblin's identity.)
** ComicBook/TheKingpin is interesting in that he is a very strong and skilled fighter but is usually in the mob boss role. In his earliest appearances, he had legitimate SuperStrength and could fight guys like Franchise/SpiderMan and even overpower him. Once he became a Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} villain, he was brought down a peg or two and less likely to fight Spider-Man. Instead, when he shows up in Spidey's books now, he is usually employing supervillains.
** Fortunado is a crime boss who, at one time, filled the EvilPowerVacuum left by the Kingpin. While portrayed as a fighter in his youth, he's an old man at present whose physical skills have degenerated.
** Silvermane is this when not a cyborg; usually he's running his criminal organization from a wheelchair, being half-crippled. In one storyline he was even running his organization while bedridden.
* ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'':
** Bolivar Trask, the man who may be responsible for the deaths of the Parkers, as well as the Brocks, and the main villain of the Symbiote Wars arc. Justified because he's a middle-aged businessman, without any superpowers whatsoever.
** Kingpin again. Not that he isn't strong, he just prefers to sit back and stay incredibly rich, rather than get his hands dirty. Well, dirtier.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': Gendo and SEELE are schemers and manipulative bastards, but they have absolutely no fighting skills whatsoever. They're unable to do anything other than cringing when the main characters act directly against them, and Shinji actually mocks them for being helpless when their plots go awry and their puppets refuse to obey.
* In ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'', Gendo was the Big Bad, Manipulative Bastard and The Chessmaster who turned everyone into his unwitting pawns. Asuka almost killed him with her bare hands. Yes, he was nearly strangled to death by an angry teenager.
* In ''Fanfic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', Gendo and the SEELE members are manipulative bastards and schemers but no one of them can fight the heroes or the alien monsters directly. The latter instead relies on their [[TheDragon Dragon]], the shadowy official, Musashi Kluge, to do the heavy lifting.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': Gendo is a ManipulativeBastard, but when Shinji attacked him, there was nothing he could do to stop his son. If he would have not got kryptonite, he had been done.
* In ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'' Gendo and SEELE are good working in the shadows, plotting, scheming and moving their minions like chess pieces, but neither of them is a physical menace.
* ''FanFic/IcedFairysANewWorld'': Lord Tenshou is a particularly poor military leader. He'd prefer to be an advisor to a more competent BigBad, but his powerset all but ensures he's handed the position of main tactician anyway. [[spoiler:Yukari uses this trait to utterly screw him over.]]
* A couple examples in the ''Fanfic/RubyAndNora'' series:
** ''Ruby's Birthday'': Admah Keter downplays it. He's a SerialKiller who prefers to kill his own prey, but he only does it when he can ambush them. He stands no chance in a straight-up fight [[spoiler:as Pyrrha and Yang prove]].
** ''Weiss and Pyrrha'': [[spoiler: Nurse Abigail Lemon is an Angel of Death SerialKiller and only kills with hospital drugs and her {{EMP}} Semblance. She avoids a straight-up fight with [[TheAce Pyrrha]] and only kills from the shadows during the final confrontation. When Pyrrha starts deflecting bullets with her magnetism Semblance, Abby panics since she has no fighting ability whatsoever.]]
* In ''Fanfic/AnEmeraldUnearthed'', Randall Silva is a ruthless LoanShark who usually leaves the physical work to his grunts. He does personally shoot people's loved ones when they fail to pay up, but that's the most action he gets. [[spoiler: When he gets held hostage by Emerald, he is utterly helpless.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames'': Principal Abacus Cinch of Crystal Prep Academy has no magic or physical skills of her own. Instead, she mentally and emotionally manipulates the human Twilight Sparkle into being her [[TheDragon Dragon]], and the real threat of the film.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The Big Bad of ''Film/TheAccountant'' [[spoiler: Lamar Blackburn]] is just a Corrupt Corporate Executive who doesn't even try to confront Wolf on his own, instead leaving him to [[TheDragon Braxton]] and his mercenaries. [[spoiler: But after Braxton [[HeelFaceTurn figures out Wolf is his long lost brother and changes side]]]], Blackburn is left completely defenseless and Wolf unceremoniously blows his brains out without second thought]].
%% * Christo from ''Film/ActOfValor'' doesn't even try to resist when his yacht is boarded.
* ''Film/AssassinsCreed2016'':
** Alan Rikkin is an administrator and a speech giver; not a fighter. When [[spoiler: the Assassins start a prison riot]] he immediately leaves.
** Tomás de Torquemada has no fighting skills. [[TheDragon Ojeda is his sole rampart]] when Aguilar and Maria ambush him inside the Alhambra chamber where Muhammad XII kept the Apple of Eden.
* Every BigBad in ''Film/TheBourneSeries'' counts.
** Alexander Conklin from ''Film/TheBourneIdentity'' spends the film sending agents after Bourne from the safety of his control room. When Bourne confronts Conklin in personal, Conklin makes sure to surround himself with bodyguards. When Bourne defeats Conklin's bodyguards, he is about to knock out Conklin effortlessly. Conklin survives, but is then unceremoniously shot on the orders of his superiors.
** Ward Abbott from ''Film/TheBourneSupremacy'' forges evidence against Bourne and manipulates the authorities into going after Bourne. Although Abbott does kill an unsuspecting underling himself, when Bourne confronts Abbott in person, Abbot doesn't even attempt to fight back.
** Noah Vosen from ''Film/TheBourneUltimatum'' spends most of the film either spying on Bourne and his allies to predict his next move, or sending assassins to kill them. Vosen does shoot at Bourne at the end of the film as a last ditch effort to prevent his escape, but fails miserably. Vosen's superiors, Dr. Albert Hirsch and CIA Director Ezra Kramer, also qualify for this trope in ''Ultimatum''.
** Eric Byer from ''Film/TheBourneLegacy'' is only seen out in the field in one scene that took place years earlier, and even then he's out of the action. During ''Legacy'', he either spends his time in NRAG's office or in a crisis suite, hundreds of miles from the film's conflict.
** Dewey from ''Film/JasonBourne'' in particular may not be a physical threat, but he is the head of the CIA and this gives him a massive amount of men and money. He used this to have Bourne's father killed, and arranges for the death of several characters. He is also an expert smooth talker, capable of getting Jason to stand down, and is the closest any villain in the series comes to killing Bourne.
* King Edward "Longshanks" from ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'' commands his armies from the sidelines instead of fighting in battles personally. The closest thing Longshanks gets to fighting is when he throws an advisor out the window and beats his own son. When William Wallace confronts Longshanks personally, Longshanks flees to safety.
* ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'':
** Carter Verone in ''Film/TwoFastTwoFurious'' mostly relied on his brains and left his henchmen to be the brawn. Although he does try to kill heroes with a shotgun in the climax, Bryan manages to shoot him in the shoulder first and he puts up no further resistance. Even [[GracefulLoser accepting his defeat with dignity and giving the heroes a smile]], as customs agents are taking him away.
** In ''Film/FastAndFurious'' (the fourth film), we have Braga, who despite being a ''very'' SmugSnake who boasts that he clawed his way up from the slums, puts up no resistance once the heroes get the drop on him, beyond trying to convince Dom they are NotSoDifferent and spends the climax bragging that his men are going to kill them once they catch up, until Bryan gives him a very satisfying elbow to the face. When Braga turns up again in the sixth installment, he arrogantly confronts Bryan like he's invincible, while he has couple goons with shivs to back him up. But as soon as they're dispatched, Bryan finally wipes that smug look off his face, as Braga can do nothing but [[DirtyCoward beg for his life, until he gives Bryan the information he was after]].
** Despite being a drug lord, Hernan Reyes in ''Film/FastFive'' is a CorruptCorporateExecutive and the only time he kills anyone personally, [[YouHaveFailedMe is when executing one his own men.]] Instead, Reyes relies on his {{mooks}}, money, and the heavily corrupt Rio Police Department to throw at the heroes, and when [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext a giant steel vault is flung into his car]], he can only crawl out and beg for mercy, before Hobs puts a few bullets in him.]]
%% * The Governor from ''Film/AFistfulOfDynamite''
* [[spoiler:Rex Lewis]]/The Doctor/[[spoiler:Cobra Commander]] in ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra''. Slightly subverted. While he does leaves the dirty work to his Vipers and [=McCullen=], he does use his tools in wanting to torture [[spoiler:Duke]]. [[spoiler:Which makes sense since Rex blames Duke for his apparent death]].
* Commodus from ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'' is a DirtyCoward who has no combat experience apart from killing his deathly ill father to become Emperor. He relies on his countless soldiers to carry out his evil deeds, and sends his best gladiators into the arena in an attempt to kill TheHero Maximus. When Maximus goads Commodus into fighting him in the arena, Commodus stabs a restrained Maximus in order to win the fight unfairly. [[spoiler:Commodus still loses]].
* In ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'', Leviathan, despite being extremely powerful in it's home dimension, relies on Pinhead and the other Cenobites to travel to Earth to capture souls on its behalf.
* Pretty much every ''Film/JamesBond'' villain relies on TheDragon, TheBrute, or just a GiantMook to present a physical threat to Bond, while they provide the resources and ideas. There are some exceptions though; [[spoiler:Alec Trevelyan]] in ''Film/GoldenEye'' is a match for Bond, being [[spoiler:a former [=MI6=] agent himself.]]
** Ernst Stavro Blofeld, 007's biggest ArchEnemy, usually relays his orders to his {{Mooks}} while sitting on his CoolChair and stroking his RightHandCat, but when he decided to join the fray and take a more active role in ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'', ''[[KnightOfCerebus things really got uglier]]''.
* Balem only has one fight in ''Film/JupiterAscending'', and he loses pretty easily. Even Jupiter, who gets abducted or taken hostage by ''everyone'' in the film, can easily defeat Balem once they're in a one-on-one fight.
* Valentine from ''Film/KingsmanTheSecretService''. He has no stomach for blood or violence, and he's a feeble techie to begin with, so he lets [[DarkActionGirl Gazelle]] do the fighting for him.
** Poppy Adams, the sequel's main antagonist, despite being a ruthless and brutal drug lord, who has no problems [[spoiler: having one of her newest henchmen throw the recruiter in a ''meat grinder'' as a test]], she never personally gets her hands dirty, even when Eggsy and Harry have her cornered, the most she tries to do, is being [[EvilIsPetty as uncooperative as possible]].
* General Peter [=McAllister=] and Arjen Rudd from the first two ''Film/LethalWeapon'' movies. In the first movie, [=McAllister=] is able to sneak up on Riggs without the latter noticing, and is clearly proficient with firearms. He just chooses not to get his hands dirty. And in the second movie, the only time Rudd takes action is to empty an entire clip on Riggs in the climax.
* Sauron from ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' film series is a partial case. He does come out, and he DOES do some major damage in the prologue against the Last Alliance, until he's deprived of his RingOfPower. But he never comes out to play again during the main story arc; in the film explicitly because his form has been reduced to just an eye on his tower.
* Dieter von Cunth in ''Film/MacGruber'', for all his fearsome reputation, just stands there and gets his ass kicked when the finale comes.
* ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'':
** [[spoiler: Alexander Pierce]] in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' does nothing more in terms of action than use a gun to hold people hostage a few times. [[spoiler: Dr Zola]] is much the same, although he at least has the excuse of being [[spoiler: a computer now]].
** In ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', [[spoiler: Helmut Zemo]] despite being a former Spec Ops soldier, never directly confronts or fights the Avengers. It actually makes him more dangerous as he acknowledges he can't ever match or defeat them [[spoiler: and instead turns them against each other to destroy the group.]]
** Commented on in ''Film/IronMan'', which has sometimes seen disappointment for "not having a supervillain", where [[spoiler:Obadiah Stane admits that he's "never had a taste for this sort of thing" as his plan goes from behind-the-desk manipulation to mighty fisticuffs in the last twenty minutes.]]
* {{Downplayed}} in ''Film/MissionImpossibleRogueNation''. Solomon Lane is the only villain in the series that doesn't engage in hand-to-hand combat with Ethan. Nonetheless, he usually makes an effort to be on-site whenever an EvilPlan is being carried out, even if his minions are doing the actual work, just to make sure everything goes according to plan. [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking He is also a decent shot and sometimes carries out murders on his own]]. [[spoiler: In the finale, he chases Ethan down [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} Terminator-style]], only to find he was lured into a trap and is captured.]]
* Film/MurderParty: Alexander never once lifts a finger to participate in any of the conflicts that happen during the film, playing instead with his cellphone nonchalantly both when [[spoiler: the rest of the group hunt Chris armed and dangerous ( well apart from Lexi)]] and even more dumbfoundingly [[spoiler: when Zycho attempts to murder them all and Lexi tackles him and Macon lands him the killing blow.]]
* Morton in ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'', a crippled railroad baron who relies on gunslinger Frank and his henchmen to "remove small obstacles from the track." The trope's played with though: Morton initiates the film's events but Frank grows increasingly insubordinate, and the two spend the second half of the film trying to kill each other.
* Cutler Becket from the ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movies. He loves to sit and enjoy his tea while he watches his armies fight against the pirates. [[AllThereInTheManual According to secondary materials]] he is an expert swordsman but never gets the chance to show it in the films.
* Dr. René Belloq from ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' is an intelligent ManipulativeBastard SmugSnake who surrounds himself with his personal goons whenever he confronts Indiana Jones, but never attempts to actually fight him. However, without him, the Nazis would have gotten nowhere. Colonel Herman Dietrich, the leader of the Nazis searching for the Ark, also qualifies. Although Dietrich looks imposing, he never does any physical work apart from manhandling Marian, leaving his Nazis to do all the fighting.
* In ''Film/RamboIV'', unlike the other villains, Major Tint is [[DirtyCoward shown running for his life]] and hiding from the battle at the end of the movie.
* Dick Jones from ''Film/RoboCop1987''. Aside from [[spoiler:trying to take the Old Man hostage]], he never even attempts to harm anyone directly, instead using his [[MechaMooks ED-209 drones]] and [[PetRat Clarence Boddicker]].
* Subverted with [[MagnificentBastard Professor James Moriarty]] in ''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows'', who seems like only a thinker and not a fighter on the surface and never gets into a straight of fight with Holmes in the film. But it is established early on, that he is a former college boxing champion and later in the film, he [[spoiler: subjects Holmes to ColdBloodedTorture via ramming a hook through the latter's shoulder.]] Also, during Moriarty and Holmes's mental battle at the end of the film, both of them conclude that thanks to Holmes's [[spoiler: shoulder injury]], Moriarty would have probably won a straight up fight, between the two. [[spoiler: Luckily Holmes is smart enough not to play fair.]]
* In ''Film/{{The Shining}}'', Jack Torrance has been sent to kill his family by the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel. The ghosts do torment the main characters with hallucinations, and they do have some physical influence in the hotel, such as when one of them bruises Danny's neck, and when the free Jack from the kitchen. However, the rely of Jack to do the killing, and when Jack dies and the family escapes the hotel, the ghosts presumably can't do a thing about it.
* Franz Oberhauser, [[spoiler: a.k.a. Ernst Stavro Blofeld]] from ''Film/{{Spectre}}''. He is never seen engaging in combat, and during the FinalBattle in London, he simply watches as Bond tries to save Madeleine from the bomb going off at the ruins of the {{MI6}} building at Vauxhall Cross.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Grand Moff Tarkin in ''Film/ANewHope'', in a prime example of the films' EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. Although he commands [[ThatsNoMoon the Death Star]] and leads the hunt for the Rebels, he's just a bureaucrat and lacks any sort of Force power, in stark contrast to the major villains of the other movies and the saga in general.
** Jabba the Hutt from ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' serves as a DiscOneFinalBoss version of this, a [[FatBastard massive]] gangster who can't even move from his throne and is so inept at the physical stuff that Leia simply strangles him with the chain he was using [[GoGoEnslavement to enslave her]].
** Memorably subverted with TheEmperor, who projects an image (both to the audience and to Luke) of being a helpless feeble old (even using a cane that [[ObfuscatingDisability he doesn't need]]) man who needs [[TheDragon Darth Vader]] to fight for him. Then he busts out the [[ShockAndAwe Force Lightning]]. The same applies in the prequels (which take place before he was the Emperor), where he manipulates things behind the scenes and lets his subordinates do the actual fighting. When he's forced to actually get into a fight, however, he's shown to be a LightningBruiser able to kill several Jedi masters in seconds, even without using Force Lighting.
* All three [[BigBad Big Bads]] in the ''Film/{{Taken}}'' trilogy are this, with the [[TheDragon second-to-last villain]] putting up a big fight with [[RetiredBadass Bryan]] [[Creator/LiamNeeson Mills]] near the end of each movie.
** The first film has three different characters that can qualify for the BigBad, (the guy who actually kidnapped his the hero's daughter, the man auctioning off the women, and the sheek who buys her) ''non of which'' put up a fight, with only the first one actually trying to resist and the third making a feeble attempt to take his daughter hostage.
** Murad in ''Film/Taken2'', despite the plot being about his own [[ItsPersonal personal revenge]] against Bryan Mills, he does absolutely none of the physical work beyond slapping Bryan while they had him captive and without his goons to the killing, he is completely defenseless. When Murad tries to shoot Bryan in the back, after the latter tried to make peace [[spoiler: and dropped an unloaded gun to test him, Bryan kills him with one blow.]]
** In ''Film/Taken3'', after the defeating the ex-Soviet Spetsnaz and crime lord who was thought to be the man behind everything, both Bryan and the audience are treated to the revelation that, [[spoiler: Stuart St.Clare, Bryan's ex-wife's former new husband and CorruptCorporateExecutive]] with no known combat ability what so ever is the true Big Bad.
* [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in ''Film/{{Unbreakable}}'', where the mother of Elijah Price, a comic art gallery owner, mentions the "soldier villain", basically an EliteMook who fights with his fists, and the mastermind villain, who plots and plans and is often much more dangerous. David Dunn, the NighInvulnerable protagonist, runs into the film's BigBad, who is an example of the latter, pretty much immediately afterwards. [[spoiler: It turns out to be Elijah.]]
* ''Film/UnderSiege2DarkTerritory'': Travis Dane, the mastermind who hired the mercenaries and devised the plot to hijack the KillSat, isn't much of a physical threat. This is exacerbated by Ryback's InvincibleHero status, as TheDragon lasts only a few minutes in a fight against Ryback, Dane only seconds.
* Much like the comics, ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'' follows suit with their human villains:
** William Stryker is the most recurring BigBad in the series and he has military background unlike his comic counterpart. With that said he almost never takes on any of the mutant heroes, either because of his advanced age or couldn't possibly match them in a fight, even in his prime, he decides to ran away rather than face them head on. The only instance where he takes action is in ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'' when he shoots Wolverine with adamantium bullets.
** Bolivar Trask in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', though its extra-justified due to him suffering dwarfism.
** Zander Rice in ''Film/{{Logan}}'' is a MadScientist just like Trask, but unlike his predecessors [[spoiler:he successfully engineered the extinction of mutantkind through genetically modified food-stuff]].

* The bad guy in ''Literature/DragonBones'' is a noble who has all the dirty work done by his underlings. He is after a substance that can greatly increase a mage's power, but doesn't intend to use it on himself; he wants to use it on a powerful mage who is completely loyal and subservient to him.
* Malkaris in the ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' book ''Mattimeo'', who's a deformed creature who physically ''can't'' defend himself or fight, so he has his [[TheDragon Dragon]] lead his forces.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'':
** President Coriolanus Snow, being a politician who has lots of underlings to do things for him. He also veers into DarkLordOnLifeSupport as well, since he is a 80-year-old man [[spoiler: diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness]], compared to our healthy 16-year-old female heroine.
** [[spoiler: President Alma Coin]] from the third book, ''Mockingjay''. In fact, the series as a whole averts the AuthorityEqualsAsskicking rule; none of the physical characters in the series can be counted as true villains, as they mostly do their dirty work because higher, non-action but charismatic, powers force them. [[TruthInTelevision Which is how politics work in real-life, as well]].
* ''Literature/{{Divergent}}'':
** The series features Jeanine Matthews, who never, in her entire appearance, puts up a physical fight against anyone, especially not to TheProtagonist, Tris. What she is identified the most is that she has the highest IQ among her colleagues, which is why she is elected as leader of her faction. And when someone manages to totally corner her, [[spoiler: she dies.]]
** [[spoiler: David]] from the third book, ''Allegiant''. Sure, [[spoiler: he is the one who kills Tris]], but it's done by a pistol, which everyone can pick up, plus [[spoiler: Tris]] isn't in the best of [[spoiler: her]] condition, having been [[spoiler: incapacitated by the death serum]]. Like Jeanine, [[spoiler: David]] is also outclassed physically, being a [[spoiler: handicapped middle-aged man against a combat-ready teenage girl.]]
* Chancellor Ava Paige from ''Literature/TheMazeRunner'' isn't just isn't physical; she is never even ''[[TheGhost seen]]'' once in the entire series.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'':
** The Council of Thirteen are Non-Action {{Greater Scope Villain}}s, as they're political leaders and their hosts are apparently just normal Hork-Bajir and Taxxons (though a few have unknown hosts). They could take a normal human in a fight, sure, but they probably wouldn't stand up to the Animorphs. Their [[VoluntaryShapeShifting morph-capable]] servant, Visser Three, is the real BigBad.
** Subverted with Visser One. You wouldn't think a middle-aged housewife could be very formidable in a fight, even if she is controlled by the leader of the initial invasion of Earth. You would be wrong.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]]:
** Grand Admiral Thrawn from ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'' can get physical when required and is implied to be at least a decent fighter, but he has no interest in engaging in combat himself- it's strategy and trickery that hold his interest, not brawling.
** The BigBad for the first six books of ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' is a [[ShapeShifting Shi'ido]] named Borborygmus Gog. While the series' ''other'' Shi'ido, Hoole, takes several different forms in order to fight various menaces, Gog prefers to use his talents for impersonation and trickery. His menace comes from [[MadScientist his projects and schemes]], and while he menaces people with a blaster a couple times and once [[spoiler:detonates an ExplosiveLeash in a creation's [[YourHeadASplode skull]]]], he never actually fights anyone himself.
* Lord Straff Venture in the second ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' book- he's a thoroughly evil man, but is middle-aged, out of shape, and a Tineye (meaning that he has magical abilities, but they involve SuperSenses rather than anything physical). As such, he prefers to work through his army and his AxCrazy [[TheDragon Dragon]] [[spoiler: and illegitimate son]] Zane.
* Lord de Worde in ''Discworld/TheTruth'' doesn't hit people. He hires people to do that.
* The Toad Lord from ''Literature/TheBuilders''. He's a gluttonous, immobile PuppetKing who doesn't appear until the final chapter, while [[TheHeavy Mephetic]] is the one who does all the dirty work and sends his soldiers to go after the Captain's crew.
* The [[VillainProtagonist title character]] of ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'', largely because he's [[TeenGenius twelve years old]] and wouldn't last two seconds in a fight. And ''doesn't''; although his scheming in the first book causes no end of trouble, once Holly escapes she just [[TalkToTheFist punches him in the mouth]].
* Prince/King John in most versions of the RobinHood tales never confronts Robin directly, leaving that up to the Sheriff of Nottingham.
* In one of the Israeli writer Bormor's short short stories, an adventuring party fights its way thorough the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon, defeating many bosses along the way. At last they encounter the BigBad in his throne room... and he falls after the first strike. The adventurers [[JustifiedTrope justify it]]: after all, the BigBad was dangerous because of his commanding talents, not because of personal fighting prowess.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Most of ''Series/TwentyFour'''s {{Big Bad}}s, who prefer to leave the fighting to TheDragon or other more violent underlings.
* Linderman from ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', who as a [[AffablyEvil seemingly friendly]] old man with [[HealingHands healing]] as [[GoodPowersBadPeople his power]] is the only BigBad without decent combat skills.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** The Mayor hates getting his hands dirty (literally, as he's a NeatFreak who loathes germs) and while he gains NighInvulnerability that's all he gets; [[ButtMonkey Xander]] could probably take him in a fight. The problem is he's just as good a politician amongst demons as amongst humans, with no end of {{mooks}} and evil pacts to give the Scoobies a headache. His ultimate goal is to become [[ScaledUp a giant demon snake]], averting this trope... for all of ten minutes before the Scoobies blow him up.
** The First Evil, having no physical form, must resort to MindRape as well as TheDragon and its EliteMooks. It does not ''want'' to be this trope and attaining a physical form is implied to be its endgame (since it is MadeOfEvil, the more evil it can make the world the closer to fulfilling this ambition it gets). On the flipside, it is completely invincible and AsLongAsThereIsEvil it will always exist, so its a pretty high-functioning example of this trope.
* [[spoiler: Tousei Kaneshiro]] from ''Series/GAROTheOneWhoShinesInTheDarkness''. Justified, as he knows that the sect of demon hunters that oppose his plans are forbidden to slay ordinary humans. Thus, his complete lack of superpowers ironically becomes the perfect defence against his superpowered enemies.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Davros is an EvilCripple who created the Daleks. He can't do much beyond sit and talk and laugh maniacally, although he gets an artificial hand [[ShockAndAwe that can shoot bolts of electricity]] later in the series.
** The Master didn't start as this but became it later. The Roger Delgado incarnation did a lot of dirty work himself and got into quite a few physical confrontations, including a [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMoments memorable]] sword fight against the Doctor in "The Sea Devils". Later incarnations changed him to be more of a ManipulativeBastard who preferred working behind the scenes and through patsies, and would run at the first sign of an actual fight.
* Common enough in ''Series/{{Justified}}''. While [[VillainProtagonist Boyd Crowder]] (Seasons 1-the present), [[ArchnemesisDad Bo Crowder]] (Season 1) and [[SerialKiller Robert Quarles]] (Season 3) were capable (and in Quarles' case, terrifying) combatants, most of the other big players rely on their underlings to do their fighting for them. [[EvilMatriarch Mags Bennett]] (Season 2) was an older woman who operated through her sons and never personally pulled the trigger, [[SmugSnake Nicky Augustine]] (Season 4) executed an unarmed man, but always let [[TheDragon Mr. Picker]] do the fighting, and Theo Tonin (GreaterScopeVillain to Quarles and Augustine) never appeared in person, operating through more physically capable agents like [[ProfessionalKiller Sarno]] and [[PraetorianGuard Elias Marcos]].
* In ''Series/BlakesSeven'', Servalan was originally meant to be just this. It was initially thought that the Supreme Commander (later President) of the Federation would have better things to do than personally go around chasing Blake. In the real world, a Commander in Chief wouldn't command a flagship during wartime, let alone go about chasing terrorist units. Those are jobs for his generals, admirals, and Black-ops units. The Federation was [[SpaceIsBig just that big]]. Originally, he (yes, Servalan was orignially conceived as a male character) was only to have only appeared once in the series. Jaqueline Pearce's performance was so well received that she became a regular character and archenemy of Blake and Avon.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': Walter White becomes this toward the end of the series after he assumes the role of Big Bad. Being an older man with no combat or shooting experience dying of lung cancer means he's useless in a fight and can be taken out by his own protege, the short, string-beaned Jesse Pinkman. Walt uses this in his favor at points as more dangerous drug lords consistently underestimate him through the series; his intelligence, knowledge of chemistry and engineering, and cunning make him far more dangerous than you'd think.
* Joffrey Baratheon from ''Series/GameOfThrones''. Notorious for being a cruel sociopath and one of the biggest assholes on the show, he can't fight worth squat, and isn't a good strategist either. He talks tough, but when the fight starts, he runs and hides. At first glance, being as young as he is might be considered an excuse, but given the setting (younger ''female'' characters were skilled at swordplay) it can only truly be attributed to laziness.
* The Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse has given us a few such villains:
** ''Series/Daredevil2015'':
*** For the most part, Wilson Fisk. Most of his schemes involve manipulating those around him while he rarely has to get his hands bloody himself.
*** Madame Gao. It turns out she ''can'' kick ass but chooses not to. Rather, she lets people think she's just a frail old woman when such underestimation suits her.
** Justin Hammer from ''Film/IronMan2''. While he isn't quite as old as his comic book counterpart, he still doesn't get involved in physical combat, preferring to act as a CorruptCorporateExecutive.
** Helmut Zemo from ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar''. While he's certainly a capable fighter and a trained soldier, he never goes toe-to-toe with the Avengers. Instead he manipulates them into fighting ''each other''.
** Kilgrave from ''Series/JessicaJones''. Physically average in every way, it's his CompellingVoice that makes him truly horrifying.
** Councilwoman Mariah Dillard from ''Series/LukeCage2016''. Out of the first season's rather crowded BigBadEnsemble, she is the only one with no fighting ability whatsoever. Instead, she prefers to act through hired thugs, powerful connections, and plausible deniability (and a bit of luck), while using her position to provide a legit front for it all. After [[spoiler: she kills Cottonmouth]], she becomes a lot more ruthless but is still no physical match for Luke himself. Note that this is a far cry from her comic book counterpart, Black Mariah, who is a definite BrawnHilda.
** William Rawlins, AKA Agent Orange, from ''Series/ThePunisher''. He does perform interrogations, but possesses no real combat skills and is completely helpless in a fight against anyone who isn't tied up. Despite receiving numerous rewards for his service to the CIA he's never actually seen combat, and both protagonist Frank Castle and his DragonInChief [[spoiler: Billy Russo]] are disgusted by his refusal to actually get his hands dirty. [[spoiler: When Russo decides he's had enough of Rawlins, he discreetly sets Frank loose, knowing that without his intervention Frank will utterly destroy Rawlins, despite Frank having been tortured to the point of not even being able to stand on his own]].
* The Dominion from ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' are led by the "Founders", a race of reclusive changelings. The only thing they do personally is infiltrate their enemies (being shapeshifters, they're uniquely suited for this role); for everything else, they just pull the strings and use their most loyal armies as enforcers against the others.

[[folder: Music]]
* Dr. Wily in Music/TheProtomen's albums. It's lampshaded in Act I.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* King Cepheus and Lady Vega in the first two ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' games tend to rely on their ultimate weapons, {{Quirky Miniboss Squad}}s, and minions to do the fighting for them. In both games, the final boss isn't the villain, it's the device they planned to use to take over/destroy (delete as applicable) the world.
%% * Queen Brahne from the first half of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''
* ''VideoGame/BioShock'':
** Sofia Lamb from ''VideoGame/BioShock2'' spends all her time ranting at Delta over the radio, and even in her attempt to kill him she didn't harm him directly. Andrew Ryan of [[VideoGame/BioShock1 the first game]] as well, [[spoiler:until you deal with him and Fontaine takes over the show.]]
** Zachary Comstock from ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' is weak and dying from years using dimension-tearing technology and in no shape to put up much of a direct fight against Booker. This wasn't always the case, but saying any more than that would spoil it.
* Bob Page from ''VideoGame/DeusEx''. Although he's in the ''process'' of [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence becoming a god]], at that particular stage in the process he's so vulnerable that effectively all you do is turn off his life support.
%% * Gabriel Roman from ''VideoGame/UnchartedDrakesFortune''.
%% * Lord Lucien in ''VideoGame/FableII''.
* King Logan in ''VideoGame/FableIII''. After cutting a swath through his armies, TheHero storms Logan's throne room, only for him to surrender gracefully.
* Henry Leland in ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''. [[spoiler:He can be the final boss, but the fight is [[AntiClimaxBoss a joke]] and its made clear that this is just an act of desperation.]] [[spoiler:Sergei Surkov]] is also one.
%% * The head of the terrorists in ''VideoGame/SilentScope''.
* John Brightling in ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'', to the point that once you reach his lab he simply surrenders.
%% * The Kilrathi Emperor and [[spoiler:Admiral Tolwyn]] in ''VideoGame/WingCommander''.
* In the arcade version of ''VideoGame/TheCombatribes'', the main heroes spent the last two stages chasing after a man in a suit who fits the image of a stereotypical crime boss. When the crime boss is cornered in the final stage, he is betrayed and killed by his [[BodyguardBabes female bodyguard]] Martha Splatterhead, who proceeds to fight the player in her boss' place.
%% * Dr. Curien, Goldman, and the Mysterious Man in ''HouseOfTheDead'' series.
%% * Massimo Torini and Paulie Sindacco in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories''.
* Baron Alexander in ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'' never fights the player. Unlike most games it isn't as jarring, as there's no combat anyway.
%% * Dr. Harlan Fontaine in ''VideoGame/LANoire''.
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'':
** Caesar does not fight unless you decide to [[StormingTheCastle assault his fort]], preferring to let his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Lanius take command of the military campaign. It's justified in that he's an aging man with a brain tumor and doesn't put up much of a fight by himself, though statistically he is equivalent to an EliteMook with nonexistent armor since he wears ceremonial robes and is surrounded by {{Praetorian Guard}}s.
** Dr. Mobius in the ''Old World Blues'' DLC. While he spends the entire DLC siccing his Robo-Scorpions on you in as maniacal a manner as possible, when you actually meet him he turns out to be a heavily senile and grandfatherly old brain who can barely remember half of what he says. Most of his more maniacal rants are due to him taking Psycho. You can fight him, but he's hardly a match for you. Similarly, [[spoiler:The Think Tank at the end are equally pitiful in combat, though it's made clear early-on that without their pacification field there's nothing stopping you from curb-stomping them.]]
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'':
** [[TheManBehindTheMan Ozwell]] [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Spencer]] is a [[EvilOldFolks old man]] [[EvilCripple in a wheelchair]]. Needless to say, without the UndyingLoyalty of his DragonInChief, [[ColonelBadass Colonel]] [[FormerRegimePersonnel Sergei]] [[TheUndead Vladimir]], he wouldn't be very dangerous.
* Marian Mallon in ''VideoGame/DeadRising2: Case West'' is an EvilCripple in a wheelchair. In ''VideoGame/DeadRising3'' [[spoiler:she fights Nick with a series of cranes, but doesn't physically challenge him. She is later killed unceremoniously by the game's real BigBad.]]
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'':
** Major General Nikita Dragovich from ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps''. The best he can muster against Mason and Hudson when he confronts them directly at the end of the game is to try and shoot the former with his sidearm, before being easily beaten up and choked to death.
** The same can be said of Imran Zakhaev from the original ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare''. Without his Ultranationalist armies to protect him, he's just an angry old dude with one arm. The only reason he manages to kill Gaz and most of Soap's other squadmates is because they previously had a tanker truck explode in their faces. The moment Soap gets hold of a gun, he's done for.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'':
** After spending ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' in an uneasy alliance with Shepard, the Illusive Man becomes this, with Kai Leng acting as TheHeavy. It's kind of like they split the role Saren had in the first game into two people - Shepard and the Illusive Man constantly try to talk the other around to their way of thinking, while Leng is an exclusively physical threat who [[spoiler:ends up on the wrong end of Shepard's omni-blade]]. Originally, the creators intended for the players to fight a reaperized version of The Illusive Man as the final boss, however they felt that since TIM was meant to be a villain whose intelligence was his greatest weapon it would undercut the character for him to become a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere.
** [[spoiler:The Catalyst]] doesn't seem to have any weapons, powers, or anything else to oppose you or anyone else, until [[spoiler:the Crucible]] is plugged in - yet, as the Reapers' governing intelligence, it at least indirectly controls thousands upon thousands of enormous machines designed and optimised solely to destroy entire species.
* Dr. Breen in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''. The final battle consists of sabotaging his teleporter before he can ''run away'' (nuking you in the process), while he taunts you.
* Embraced in some iterations of ''Franchise/SilentHill'' series:
** The [[VideoGame/SilentHill1 first game]]'s villain, Dahlia Gillespie, functions behind-the-scenes and doesn't attack Harry directly. Plus, during the climax, [[spoiler: she gets [[HoistByHisOwnPetard incinerated]] by Alessa before Harry can do anything to her.]]
** In the same vein, Claudia Wolf of ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' acts through her minions to fulfill her goals and rarely takes action herself, [[spoiler: until she decides to swallow the God pill and [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong gives birth to God]], that is.]]
* In ''Videogame/EvilGenius'', the Evil Genius character is unable to attack enemies (though that doesn't stop him/her from [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness dispatching]] {{Mooks}}).
* Dr. Neo Cortex of the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series, he's a super genius and at least arms himself with a deadly laser gun, but he's also a weedy midget with a head almost bigger than his stick-like body. Granted RuleOfFunny applies on occasion, in ''VideoGame/CrashTwinsanity'' he actually ''brawls with Crash toe to toe''.
* The alien brain in ''VideoGame/XCOMUFODefense'' does absolutely nothing but sit in its underground base, waiting for someone to shoot it. The Great Dreamer (''VideoGame/XComTerrorFromTheDeep'') is no better.
* [[spoiler: Hyman Roth]] in ''VideoGame/TheGodfather 2''. Once you get past his plans and mooks, he's a ZeroEffortBoss who can be killed however you like with ease.
* [[spoiler: Jack Denham]] in ''VideoGame/{{Syndicate}}'' (2012). He tries to shut down your CHIP, but when that fails he doesn't raise a single weapon.
* [[spoiler: Victor Branco]] in ''VideoGame/MaxPayne3''. The one time he tries to pull a gun on Max, he gets disarmed quickly and only TheDragon saves him. The "boss fight" with him is just [[spoiler: blowing out his private jet from under him.]]
%% * Adrian Malprave from the ''Fracnhise/JamesBond game ''VideoGame/AgentUnderFire''.
* In ''VideoGame/AceCombatJointAssault'', neither the Valahaia leader nor [[spoiler:Oliveri]] fight you in the air.
* ''VideoGame/ActionDoom2UrbanBrawl'': Peter Crisp, the old, wheelchair-bound CorruptCorporateExecutive, who doesn't actually do anything during the final showdown, instead sending [[FlunkyBoss waves of mooks]] (and a helicopter) at you.
* ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime'' has Le Paradox, to an extent. As Sly points our while dishing out a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech, Le Paradox never actually stole the Coopers' various canes himself, instead leaving it up to his various partners to do all of the dirty work for him. That being said, he does put up a good fight against Sly during the FinalBoss fight.
* ''VideoGame/TombRaider2013'' has Mathias, who largely leaves it up to his Solarii goons or Himiko's Stormguard to do the fighting for him. He does attack Lara in the finale, but is easily shot off of a cliff.
* In ''Byteria Saga: Heroine Iysayana'', TheManBehindTheMan Behind The Man is [[spoiler:an unidentified superior being attempting to bring down the CelestialBureaucracy]]. He doesn't want the archangels to come for him, of course, so he [[spoiler:stays hidden and lets Paulinus, his mortal DragonInChief, execute his plan. He only (carefully) manifests himself when he tries to convince the heroes to join him; he could presumably wipe the floor with them but doesn't risk leaving traces]].
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'':
** The Center, leader of the Council. Heroes have only ever been able to talk him via radio in a mission added over six years after the game's launch. Villains can meet him in person during one of their story arcs, where he is indeed not a combatant.
** King Midas, leader of the Gold Brickers, has never appeared in person at all.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''. With the bad guy being a Senator, you'd think you'd only have to reach him, and it would all be over. After all, you're a cyborg. Then he goes and starts riding a Metal Gear. [[spoiler:And then he further subverts this to ridiculous lengths, personally giving Raiden the worst beating he'll take in the whole game. Nanomachines are a thing of wonder, ain't they?]]
* The Camerata in ''VideoGame/{{Transistor}}'' were never combatants to begin with, but while two of them gain some method of fighting Red, [[spoiler:Grant, their leader and the cause for everything,]] ends up being TheUnfought.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' has Hugo Strange; his "fight" with Batman consists of a cutscene where he's shoved aside so Batman can access some consoles. The Joker, as the other major player in the BigBadEnsemble, is even more of an example than usual, as he's dying of blood poisoning and understandably not up for a fight.
* ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns'': Adrian Vauclair of the expansion, Dragonfall, is an elderly scientist in the process of dying of leukemia. His [[TheDragon security chief/assassin,]] Audran, is a huge orc with a minigun and military-grade power armor. Unsurprisingly, the latter is the final boss, while the former [[TheUnfought shoots himself once it's clear his plans have failed.]]
* The Emperor in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' is a powerful magician, but spends the majority of the time out of the spotlight, plotting and wreaking magical havoc on the world. Even when [[spoiler:he gets a demonic upgrade after the party [[AntiClimaxBoss easily kicks his mortal head in]]]], he's content to sit on his throne and let his minions do the work.
* In ''VideoGame/WatchDogs'', Lucky Quinn and [[spoiler:Damien Brenks]] are both physically unimposing and prefer to get others to do their dirty work.
* While it's shown that Dusan Nemec of ''Videogame/WatchDogs2'' has no problem judo-chopping people who annoy him in the neck, he primarily relies on using his connections and tech-savvy to deal with [=DedSec=]. [[spoiler:In the end, Marcus and T-Bone get him arrested for Insider Trading.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AliceMadnessReturns'', [[spoiler:Doctor Bumby]] cannot fight at all in the real world. At the climax of the game, Alice (who also isn't much of a fighter in the real world, and is much younger than he is) is able to [[spoiler:finish him by shoving him in front of a train.]]
* Alex from the ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' series. While it's presumed that he's capable of fighting as he [[DeceptiveDisciple was once Mia's apprentice]] and is a fellow member of the Mercury Clan, the closest he ever comes to fighting anyone is when he ''says'' he'll hold off Blados and Chalis atop Apollo Ascent at the end of ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn Dark Dawn]]''; he's not shown on-screen for the rest of the game, so presumably he just left. This fits perfectly into his usual M.O. of [[LetsYouAndHimFight pitting various groups against each other while he takes advantage of both of them.]]
* Katherine Marlowe from ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}} 3: Drake's Deception'' never directly attacks Nathan Drake, mainly due to her old age (although she [[spoiler: ''does'' [[WouldHurtaChild slap young Drake during a flashback]]]]). To make up for this, she's the head of an AncientConspiracy that employs armies of loyal agents to dispose of Drake. Later, Marlowe hires [[RuthlessModernPirates a crew of Indian Ocean pirates]] to do the same.
* ''VideoGame/EscapeFromButcherBay'': Hoxie, the Warden of Butcher Bay, never actually fights Riddick personally and spends the entire game residing in the corporate offices of the prison. Even when Riddick faces off with him at the end, Hoxie attempts to flee and let his robotic guards deal with Riddick.
* ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'': Sebastien [=LaCroix=] is the Camarilla Prince of Los Angeles, the guy who bosses other vampires around and [[spoiler:one of the game's main villains]]. Despite being 200-years old, he is never seen in combat and would rather send you on errands (if you [[ButThouMust don't obey]], he uses [[CharmPerson Dominate]] to compel you), though its implied he is capable of combat since he is a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. In one of the games' endings where[[spoiler:you actually confront him, he doesn't even put up a fight, its his [[TheDragon Sheriff]] who serves as FinalBoss. He is instead reduced to a grovelling wreck at the end or if you chose to attack him, he goes down in two stabs, despite your character being a fledgling vampire and should be all rights be much weaker than [=LaCroix=].]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* [[Music/TheProtomen Doug Fetterman]] in ''WebComic/DeadOfSummer''. This may explain some of why he's evil; he didn't get any cool powers like the rest of the group did.
* ''WebComic/SluggyFreelance'': Every CEO of the evil, world-conquest-plotting company Hereti-Corp (as of 2016; there have been a couple) has been a DiabolicalMastermind (or at least wannabe) who relies on {{mooks}} and powerful minions to do the fighting and has no combat ability himself.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* The Shadow Overlord in the "Rise of Red" story arc of ''WebVideoGame/TheIrateGamer''. He's trapped in a mirrored prison and relies on [[EvilTwin the Evil Gamer]] and R.E.D. to carry out his plot to defeat the Irate Gamer. He is ultimately crushed by the decapitated head of the HumongousMecha sent to destroy his arch enemy, who remains in the dark about his existence.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'':
** Season 10 has The Director of Project Freelancer. [[spoiler:While the main characters are hunting him down, he does nothing to stop them except leave a bunch of Tex-bots for them to deal with]]. The page quote comes from season 6, ''Reconstruction''.
** General Doyle is this for Seasons 11 and 12, not even having any fighting experience (he was promoted from brigadier's secretary) and having no control over Locus. [[spoiler:Even when he is revealed to not be a villain at all, this trope still counts to the true BigBad, Control, who only gives orders for Locus and Felix to carry out while Control sits and waits.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Subverted by Tombstone from ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan''. Spider-Man invokes this trope, right before Tombstone beats him in less than 5 seconds.
* Dr. Drakken in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' can be beaten by [[ThisLoserIsYou Ron]] in a fight and relies on [[HypercompetentSidekick Shego]] to do all the dirty work for him, but his plans are surprisingly menacing [[NotSoHarmlessVillain when he gets serious]].
** In the "A Sitch in Time" BadFuture where Shego took over the world, she sends other villains (including Drakken, who is now [[FutureBadass a mass of muscle]]) to do her fighting for her -- "The Supreme One always delegates".
* Dr. Claw from ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget''. He doesn't lift a finger throughout the show, or even [[TheFaceless deigns to show his face.]] He just dispatches his {{Mooks}}, then escapes at the last minute once Gadget defeats them. He ''has'', however, personally engaged in vehicle-to-vehicle combat with the Inspector a few times, usually at the beginning of an episode before the plot's kicked off, but it rarely has anything to do with his plans.
* The Brain from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' season five is a very good {{Chessmaster}}- but he's also a literal BrainInAJar, and without his minions he can't even defend himself against a slap.
* Shendu from ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''. Being TakenForGranite will do that to you. Averted with his true form- [[OurDragonsAreDifferent a 16 foot tall flightless dragon]] and powerful and devious [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Demon]] [[EvilSorceror Sorceror]] who even without his magical talismans is seemingly invicible and an extremely dangerous enemy. In both his natural form and when he's stuck [[DemonicPossession possessing unwilling human hosts]], he demonstrates supernatural and impressive fighting skills as well as the ability to breathe fire. And until the 4th series, he could summon his EliteMooks [[MadeOfEvil the Shadowkhan]] at will to fight either for or with him.
* Xanatos from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' starts out this way; he's a MagnificentBastard to the bone, and surrounds himself with lots of MechaMooks and a very dangerous [[BigBadDuumvirate partner]], Demona, but while a skilled fighter by human standards he's physically no match whatsoever for any gargoyle. [[SubvertedTrope He does, however, recognize this, and soon has a suit of]] PoweredArmor [[SubvertedTrope made for himself that levels the playing field]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice,'' [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Queen Bee]] is a LivingAphrodisiac with the resources of [[{{Qurac}} her own country]], but WordOfGod [[http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=15648 admits]] that her powers "aren't particularly physical." The one time she was involved in an actual battle she was knocked out pretty quickly by a female assailant, allowing the males of the Team to enter the fight. ComicBook/LexLuthor admits that he thinks physical battles beneath him, though he does keep his trusted bodyguard [[{{Cyborg}} Mercy]] around for that purpose.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Hurricanes}}'': Being a CorruptCorporateExecutive, Stavros Garkos usually dispatches minions to do his dirty work. However, he's not above doing some of it himself.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Ultimate Spider-Man}}'' version of Norman Osborn started out as this; he [[TheManBehindTheMan the one behind]] [[TheDragon Dr Octopus]]'s chasing of Spider-Man, but for most of season 1, he remains passive and does nothing besides giving Octavius orders. [[spoiler:[[TookALevelInBadass Then he becomes]] [[HulkingOut the Green Goblin]].]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'':
** The Delightful Children from Down the Lane. They rarely face off against the heroes without a tough fighter, an army of {{mook}}s, or a HumongousMecha backing them up, and they get [[CurbStompBattle soundly beaten]] in the rare event that they do.
** Also, [[EvilCounterpart Negative Numbuh Four]] from the half-hour episode "Operation: P.O.O.L." Not only is he not a fighter, he's a [[DirtyCoward spineless coward]], as the regular Numbuh Four was, [[SmartBall ironically, the first to figure out.]]
* Varrick from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is this. He is quite ruthless and surprisigly competant a villain, yet hardly lifts a finger when opposing the heroes. Varrick isn't effective on the field, instead relying on {{Mooks}} to do his dirty work. He also makes up for it by being a MagnificentBastard.
* The Tallest in ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' rule the Irken Empire, which seeks to conquer/enslave everyone and everything, but they much prefer to [[OrcusOnHisThrone sit back and eat snacks]] than bother with any hard work. Though to be fair, they ''do'' manage to win a space battle when attacked by [[LaResistance the Resisty]], and [[AllThereInTheManual an unfinished episode script]] reveals that they used to be members of the Irken Elite.
* Major Nixel from ''WesternAnimation/{{Mixels}}'' prefers to just stay at base and let his minion Nixels do the dirty work. He brilliantly spelled out in "Nixel 'Mix Over'":
-->'''Major Nixel:''' Now go. Get me. Some Cubits! And I'm just gonna stand here!
* Hawk Moth's whole deal from ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'' is that he [[TheCorrupter corrupts people]] and turns them into his superpowered servants, [[VillainOfTheWeek the Akumas]]. As such, he spends most of his time [[OrcusOnHisThrone standing around in his lair]], directing them from afar. The episode "Robostus" shows that he ''is'' capable of fighting (with a handy SwordCane no less) when forced to, but he's left completely exhausted afterwards.