"Wait, wait. You ARE a rag-tag group of adventurers with unclear goals and good hearts, right? …yeah, you people are my LARGEST threat."This mission is important. The fate of the battle, nay, the war, nay, the entire world rests on the outcome. Who has the capability to stick it out, to give the good guys the victory they desperately need? This calls for a special team. The group of experienced, highly skilled, professional, team-oriented experts? Not them. The assorted group of ex-con lowlife inexperienced jerkasses who are trying to off their commander when they aren't going at each other? Yeah, them. This is usually justified in one of several ways:
— Galgarion, RPG World
- Despite their flaws, they're still the best at what they do. See Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
- They have talent but not much tolerance for traditional procedure, and/or they're the only ones who can stand to work with each other.
- Or, they are really good and not at all flawed, but really want everyone else to see them that way: making sure that the Big Bad does not realize that the Mildly Military goofballs are a Badass Crew is part of the plan.
- They're the best team that could be put together at short notice and/or budget.
- There simply isn't anyone else.
- If trouble blew up at a remote outpost, and there isn't time to get help, those characters who were Reassigned to Antarctica have to deal with it. Since they all did something to get themselves Reassigned to Antarctica, they tend to be a miscellaneous bunch.
- The villains, no fools, took out everyone that looked like they could stop their Evil Plan; this is what's left.
- The only essential trait is that they are not suspected of being The Mole or otherwise treacherous, and all the rest are under a cloud.
- In case the mission fails, they're expendable.
- Alternately, they are expected to fail, so their commander will be free to Nuke 'em like he wanted to in the first place.
- A mix of all the above, they may be sent in with people knowing they are the best, but not caring if they get killed either due to jealousy or just not liking them that much.
- Sending in more experienced/skilled/powerful teams would have drawn too much attention. Indeed, the better-suited teams may be deliberately deployed elsewhere to distract from them.
- More powerful teams would not put up with the person ordering them about.
- The authorities haven't actually noticed (or are) the problem, and the heroes have to gather whoever they can.
- There was a better first choice that did get sent, but they screwed up badly. These guys were the backup plan nobody wanted to be forced to use.
- They need them to do something untoward or outright illegal, and they know these folks will keep quiet about it.
- They're the only ones crazy enough to even try.
- They're random survivors of some apocalyptic event who more or less stumble across each other.
- The Magnetic Hero tends to pick up whoever is willing to join him, regardless of their quirks. In fact it's often implied the Magnetic Hero is the only one that can keep the team's assorted oddities under control and them all working towards a goal.
- Fate has determined that these misfits are The Chosen Ones, and saving the world is their ultimate destiny.
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- The Charlestown Cougars, a fake women's high school basketball team assembled for the purpose of Nike commercials.
- Dreamkix is about a group of Funny Animals working to overcome their physical disadvantages and personality clashes in order to become a champion soccer team. Pretty notable when your team members include an adorkably determined Dachshund, a surly Scottish sheep, and a chicken who often forgets he's playing soccer in the first place.
- The main group from the Calvinverse: a Book Dumb Gadgeteer Genius, a Cowardly Lion, a prankster Cloudcuckoolander, a Jerkass Bungling Inventor, and finally a nerd who's also the Only Sane Man.
- The heroes in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (or rather, one of it's side-stories A Month of Sundays): A sweet Camera Fiend who loves people's smiles, a Glee Club (with one being a Ninja and the other a Samurai), a Huge Schoolgirl who wields a vaulting pole, a cheerleader with a huge Sweet Tooth, and a Japanese Delinquent who was once a former monster called a Zodiarts.
- The protagonists in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune: a Knight in Sour Armor with a Dark and Troubled Past reluctantly teams up with a Chick Magnet Squishy Wizard, an Insufferable Genius Sexy Priest, a Knife Nut Nice Guy, a quiet Big Guy, an Innocently Insensitive Wide-Eyed Idealist and his Hot Scientist half-sister and an Only Sane Woman Church Militant. They start getting on well with each other once they determine exactly what they're meant to be doing.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog story Prison Island Break, this is what The Lancer Sonic ends up with by having a psychopath for his cellmate.
- The protagonists in Ronman the Barbarian (a Conan the Barbarian-esque Kim Possible fanfic) are called the Breeches Bandit Gang (BBG for short). They include Ronman (a young barbarian), Ruthless (his former pet Saber Tooth Naked Mole Rat), Wadelin (a young alchemist), Moniquity (the Queen of Thieves and Royal Best Friend of Kimila), and Kimila (the warrior princess, also known as the "Red Kim").
- The Heroes story Fearless is basically a group of a soccer players, a cheerleader/former federal agent and 12-year-old veruss the Company. Made worse by the fact that only one of them has a power that could be considered offensive.
- Any time a fanfic in the Shadowchasers Series is set around a team, they fit. The most ragtag group is in Shadowchasers: Backwater; Tsubasa and Rave are the only ones that are truly human, and all of them are unusual even when compared to Shadowkind either races that are incredibly rare on Earth (at least in this sort of situation) or unique beings entirely. note
- In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Eric and the crew of the Dreadnought take this Up to 11 - featuring Alice the Cat (a rescued orphan girl), Sonya the Hedgehog (a foul-mouthed Japanese Delinquent Wrench Wench who happens to be a former princess), Shadow the Hedgehog, Fang the Sniper, Mighty the Armadillo, and of course Eric the Hedgehog himself. They end up holding their own against Demon forces many times their size, and indirectly help Sonic and friends save the galaxy.
- In Mortal Kombat: Desperation, Kotal Kahn and his team of champions (an outlaw, a humanoid reptile, an eccentric trainer of martial arts, a duo consisting of a big guy and a little girl AND a collection of souls) reluctantly team up with several revenants from the Netherrealm (including two demonesses, two former Shaolin monks, a former Lin Kuei ninja, a police officer, a shaman, an Edenian princess and her mother) and with Earthrealmers (another physical god, a former actor and his wife, an ex-military specialist and his daughter, a telepathic swordsman and his son, and a Shaolin archer) in order to stop a power-hungry Raiden's desire to unleash Armageddon on all realms.
- In Mortal Kombat Vs Marvel Universe, you have The Exiled Kombatants, consisting of a former actor-turned-industrialist (Johnny Cage), his military wife (Sonya Blade), their two daughters (Cassie and Ravenna Cage), and the former rulers of the Netherrealm-turned-assassins (Liu Kang and Kitana) joining forces against their former boss (Raiden), corrupted from purifying the Jinsei, now seeking to kill the Elder champions and to bring back both Cassie and Ravenna back to Earthrealm by force. And that's not taking into consideration the Avengers and the X-Men.
- In Ragnarok: Ragna Guardian, The Chosen Many are Shiro, an Idiot Hero and The Slacker, Saya, a Shrinking Violet Tsundere, Roku, an Insufferable Genius with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Reiko, a Know-Nothing Know-It-All with No Indoor Voice. Naturally, they are hyper competent fighters.
- The Differentverse: This series' Mane Six consists of:
- Twilight Sparkle, the personal student of a Physical Goddess.
- Moondancer, her roommate who's just as good at research but has a tendency to be rather blunt.
- Derpy Hooves, the faithful mailmare of Ponyville with lazy eye syndrome, who is raising a daughter and niece effectively on her own.
- Scootaloo, Derpy's goofy little niece with a talent for speed on her scooter and who loves keeping her friends and family happy.
- Marble Pie, a shy little Earth Pony who does nice things for others even when they don't realize it was her.
- Coco Pommel Apple, who was adopted into the Apple family as a child and is willing to risk her life to save their livelihood.
- The Fallout: Equestria, an apocalyptic mix of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Fallout, it makes sense to have a group of ponies who are a bit on the weird side, trying to survive in the Wasteland that is Equestria. Our line up of heroes includes a naive unicorn named Littlepip fresh out of a war bunker, guided by an insatiable curiosity and Chronic Hero Syndrome, a kindly unicorn who escaped aforementioned bunker to become a Combat Medic and is obsessed with Fluttershy, a Defector from Decadence pegasus who really likes hoarding things, a gruff undead soldier bound to his Power Armor, and an enslaved zebra who hates being touched.
- The spinoff Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons ups the ante, based in the hellhole of Hoofington, and has an even more broken bag of heroes. Our hero Blackjack is a bisexual, trigger happy security guard who has an even bigger need to help others than Littlepip, emotionally and mentally unstable, an alcoholic, gambler, and a Lovable Sex Maniac. And that's even before she becomes a Cyborg. Not to mention the amount of times she has boats dropped on her head. Her companions include an escapee gay sex slave addicted to painkillers, and later joined by his estranged daughter who aims to become a plumber, a pegasus medic who becomes the victim of forced exile, a particularly violent mercenary who is both immortal and a Soul Jar, and an alicorn who is part of a larger Hive Mind, serving as a physical dumping ground for any and all unwanted emotions and thoughts.
- The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The new generation of Element-Bearers, which consists of a female Ahuizotl (the same species as the Daring Do villain), a batpony noble, a unicorn and librarian with a handful of secrets (including the fact that she's actually a unicorn/changeling hybrid), a griffon with a massive debt and a drinking problem, a jovial female minotaur, and a Diamond Dog with a talent for alchemy.
- Mötley Crüe got its name from this trope. Mick Mars recalled playing in another band in which a fellow member had described the group as "a motley looking crew".
- Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins recorded with a group known as the "Ragamuffin Band", who continued to perform together after his death. The opening track of A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band features a bit of Studio Chatter in which one of the band members admits he's barely ready to do this, which gets a laugh out of Rich and gives the listener the impression that the recording sessions were impromptu and fairly laid-back.
- The Savoyard march "Gironfla", where the Duke of Savoy musters an army of eighty peasants armed with halberds and wooden swords, gives them four cast iron cannons for artillery and twenty donkeys laden with turnips as baggage train, and nominates a 21-year old Ensign Newbie to lead the "army" to conquer France. Miraculously, they succeed. The song is based on historical events.
- K Pop idol group Super Junior started out as this. Originally a group made up of all the "reject" trainees who weren't selected for labelmate group DBSK, even their company didn't expect them to do well. Now they're one of the top idol groups in all of Asia with a huge base of loyal fans.
- Blood Bowl gives us the Motley Horde, a Blood Bowl team that fits this description to a tee. Not even the coach knows what kind of lineup he will see each game.
- Every Dungeons & Dragons party ever, with few exceptions. See also the Video Games section and how they talk about the various RPGs; this is where they got the idea. It's possible to coordinate a non-ragtag adventuring party with some pre-game work, but a Ragtag Bunch of Level 1 Misfits spontaneously joining up for mutual adventure and profit is the default assumption.
- A lot of Solar, Abyssal and Infernal circles in Exalted would qualify. For Solars, if you're a reborn god-king with about half the world gunning for you, you tend to associate with others who can help you punch that half the world in the face. Infernals and Abyssals tend to end up in these through a mix of that desperation and the details of the assignments they receive from their bosses.
- What any player group in Twilight: 2000 is. By the year 2000 US Army units included lots and lots of personnel who were hardly regular army: other NATO military personnel from defunct units, deserters from the other side, and even local recruits. The 1st edition rulebook recommends that at least half of the group be American, but anything else goes.
- Taken to an extreme, as is everything in the Warhammer 40,000 universe with entire penal legions, where the worst of the worst of the Imperium's convicted felons are sent on literal suicide missions in return for a general pardon in the unlikely event they survive. Think Dirty Dozen in battalion size. This trope is best exemplified in the novel Kill Team.
- Hell, the entire 597th could be considered a ragtag bunch of misfits. Of course, given the 40k universe's casually lethal nature, it's a good thing that they get constant reinforcements from Valhalla...
- Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers. Recruited from penal planets and given the opportunity to redeem themselves by dying for the Emperor.
- The 40k fan film Damnatus follows the same idea, centering around a squad of mercenaries conscripted by the Inquisition to root out a suspected Chaos cult. There's the leader von Remus, sidekick Corris, big guy Wodan and their resident tech-priest Oktavian, all kept under close watch by more straight-laced PDF sergeant Adeodatus and his sidekick Nira.
- A lot of Inquisitors' retinues tend to end up as this as well since Inquisitors frequently recruit people that they meet during their work with the only criteria being competence and loyalty.
- It should also be noted that the people they recruit can be of any social status or have any kind of occupation, too. For instance, one member of Amberley Vail's retinue used to be a fast food seller.
- Mordechai Horst ends up temporarily recruiting a prostitute desperate to escape from the societal role she was forced into as a guide. And his boss inducted a pair of Guardsmen simply because they were eyewitnesses to a major breach of security, and the pilot whose shuttle they were shot down in just because.
- Commander Farsight's personal retinue, The Eight. Listing them off, there's Commander Brightsword note , Commander Bravestorm note , Commander Arra'kon note , Commander Sha'vastos note , Sub-commander Torchstar note , Broadside Shas'vre Ob'lotai 9-0 note , and Honour-Shas'vre O'vesa note .
- For a while, Warsmith Honsou - an oddity himself, because his gene-seed is a mixture of the Iron Warriors and their worst enemies - went around with a personal retinue consisting of a thuggish Blood Knight, a Combat Sadomasochist who Honsou recruited by driving bone shards through his lungs, a renegade Raven Guard, and a horrific abomination produced from welding science and black magic together (up until he got all of them bar himself killed, anyway). That was just his immediate circle of what probably passes for friends among the Iron Warriors; his army consisted of basically everyone he could either convince or force to come with him, ranging from Space Pirates to cyborg war engines.
- The last faction of the 40k setting you'd suspect to have these kinds of teams would be the Space Marines, but even they have them, in the form of the Deathwatch and their kill teams. Officially an elite fighting force of the Inquisition dedicated to combatting xenos in all their forms, the Deathwatch recruits experienced Marines from loyal chapters. In reality, many Marines forwarded to the Deathwatch are misfits and relatively undiciplined for Space Marines, and so are sent away from the Chapter. When a Kill Team of Deathwatch Marines is formed, the team often grow a longlasting brotherhood of misfits, who learn how to deal with their differences to perform a single goal.
- You get these every so often in BattleTech, but for the longest time the premier group of quirky but remarkably influential mercenaries was Snord's Irregulars. As the name suggests, Cranston Snord picked some rather strange warriors to form his unit in the early 3000s, with a shared common quirk of collecting—Snord himself collected valuable antiques of the Star League era. Other collections belonging to members of his unit include antique art, weapons, sports memorabilia, the records of Elvis Presley, butterflies, and harvested/preserved human body parts. There's also a bit of a joke that Snord collects weirdos as well. Snord likes to claim he collects skilled Mechwarriors, and while his troops are indeed quite skilled, Snord somehow managed to gather together serious Bunny Ears Lawyers in the process.
- While familias in Nobilis are rarely ragtag - it would absolutely ruin their social standing - they can be a pretty weird bunch, because their bosses, the Imperators, are driven by stranger drives than "making teamwork easy" (these are, after all, people who find the purpose of sneezing incredibly confusing). Various editions have included or strongly hinted at characters who are living strains of music, dragons, sea captains, ten-year-old girls who can beat up the US Marine Corps, descendants of The Fair Folk and animated suits of clothes without human occupants, all of them effectively reality-warping demigods, and there's nothing that prevents all of these from being on the same team. That's without counting the possible inclusion of un-people from the void outside the universe who have turned their back on destroying everything, who, in third edition, are also playable.
- The main playable character options in the Glass-Maker's Dragon campaign for Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine are an Amnesiac God, his best friend who was wished into existence, an angsty mad scientist who may be an unwilling enemy of existence, a near-emotionless teenage Russian super-soldier, the daughter of the goddess of the Sun, the well-intentioned successor to the king of evil, the amnesiac remnants of a witch who sought to end reality, and Rinley, who defies rational explanation. Major characters in planned future campaigns include the spirit of the Amnesiac God's marvelous wish-granting engine (who manifests as either a steampunk Miss Frizzle or a huge luchador who is the best friend's Ambiguously Gay older brother), a nine-year-old elf and would-be noir detective with a magical cloak, a Large Ham who wishes to unmake reality for its own good, and the most popular kid in School, who has serious trouble with the concept of not being the most important person in the world.
- Comedy musical Starship features a crew including a robot that wants to kill all humans but can't, a battle-scarred emotionally unstable Commander with a mortal fear of robots, his violent and unsympathetic second-in-command, a Non-Action Guy nerd, a hyperactive idiotic recruit, a recruit from Farm Planet, a science officer whose relevant skills don't even extend to the ability to pronounce 'science', and the bratty son of the company boss. At first it seems to just be Played for Laughs in a parody of the sci-fi genre, but it is revealed later that Junior is evil and he needed the crew to be dysfunctional enough that they wouldn't notice his evil plan.
- The musical 1776 portrays the signers of the Declaration this way: a mismatched and forever-squabbling bunch of ordinary people inventing a new country by the seat of their pants. The approach was lambasted by Roger Ebert and others, who didn't realize how close to the truth it actually was.
- In one of the 2008 BIONICLE web serials, Federation of Fear, the Order of Mata Nui send out a Boxed Crook suicide team to bring back a Sealed Evil in a Can with a grudge to fight the Makuta. The team consists of two mutated ex-warlords/ex-prisoners, a disgraced scientist/ruler whose name has become a byword for "failure," a Manipulative Bitch whose name has become a byword of "treachery," a Knife Nut Bounty Hunter, a Cloudcuckoolander who is actually half of another being, and led by an Order member stuck in a Heel–Face Revolving Door who makes it clear at multiple points he won't hesitate to kill all of them if they cross him.
- The team in SC2VN starts off with an amateur foreigner, a high school kid who may or may not be a dropout, and a shut-in who only plays in online cups.
- A Girl and Her Fed has a main cast consisting of a hyperactive martial artist (the Girl) a 6'5 cyborg secret agent (her Fed), the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, and a talking koala.
- Master Payne's Circus of Adventure from Girl Genius is made up of an eclectic group of performers traveling the dangerous Wastelands from town to town. Many of the circus folk are actually Sparks who are hiding in plain sight from the Baron and people who might try to kill or capture them otherwise and the rest seem to be various runaways and oddballs.
- Crimson Dark also has the Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits IN SPACE!
- The second season of Tower of God features Team Tangsooyook (Sweet and Sour Pork Bowl in Korean). It is comprised of the Boisterous Weakling Ja Wangnan, who wants to become King of the Tower, The Proud Elite Yeon Yihwa who has insecurities because of her Power Incontinence, a young school girl, a slightly older school girl, a Papa Wolf who has a rather strained relationship with his charge, the son of a Loan Shark and mob boss who just realized that he was relatively useless, a Gentle Giant whose power is so deadly that he has to always hold back, and finally, a Person of Mass Destruction and God Slayer in training who's really a Nice Guy but who's being forced to work for the Tower's most feared criminal and rebellious organisation and whose bosses kind of want to kill everyone else in the team to get him a better one. This is going to be one smooth ride.
- Last Res0rt sees this and raises you a Reality Show. Of course, they don't really DO anything of worldly importance (yet), but still, there they are.
- Lampshaded and subverted in 8-Bit Theater, especially with the second party of worthy warriors always arriving too late to do any good or be hired for the quest.
- And again in Episode 1163 'Semantics' when they face Sarda. Red Mage confronts him and The Wizard Who Did It says "You and what ragtag band of adventurers with humorously conflicting personalities who learn the true meaning of friendship?" RM points behind him. They ran off.
- The Main Party in RPG World consists of an Idiot Hero, a thief chick who's the sarcastic Only Sane Man, two "cute fuzzy things", a prostitute mage, an extremely perverted White Hair, Black Heart, an engineer pirate with two (not so helpful) robot assistants, and a punk breakdancer.
- The Last Days of FOXHOUND portrays FOXHOUND (the Quirky Miniboss Squad of Metal Gear Solid) this way. It is played with a bit, as everyone, including the misfits themselves, readily acknowledge how unstable and insane the team is, but also recognize that they are able to accomplish feats that would be impossible for any other group.
- The Order of the Stick:
- The eponymous crew certainly qualifies. Roy is pretty competent in his own right, but his band consists of an ambitious and greedy rogue, a completely psychopathic ranger, a trigger-happy wizard that never stops talking, a dwarven cleric that is stuck in his role as a healer instead of being the nightmare that D&D clerics are known for and a bard that's as dumb as a box of moldy carrots. Roy at one point refers to his team as trained professionals before adding "Well, semi-trained, quasi-professionals."
- And for that matter, pretty much all of the comics in the fan comic section of the forum do this too.
- At one point General Tarquin, despite being initially unaware of the composition or existence of the Order of the Stick, deduces that it is a team almost immediately upon meeting all the individual members, largely because he recognizes that when a bunch of weirdly competent but oddly diverse individuals show up out of nowhere, he can assume they're a team until it's proven otherwise.
- Xykon never directly addresses the Order as such, but when he's off buying some new magic items he asks if he can get insurance that will cover the loss if his lair is destroyed by a ragtag team of heroes.
Clerk: How ragtag are we talking, here?
- This is also Xykon's justification for having a 'back-up lair'; "You never know, you could be just relaxing in your den on a lazy Sunday afternoon, reading the paper, when suddenly BAM! A band of unlikely heroes put aside their personal differences and evicts you from your own house."
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November acquires anthropomorphic cat Perrault (intentionally), the Ax-Crazy Red by accident, and Claire after they happen to rescue her from being burnt at the stake.
- The team in Rezz & Co Bounty Hunters. The two founders are an eccentric human with power armor and a lay-back attitude, and an AI tryinc to bring in logic and be the voice of reason. Joining them is an alien mercenary with a big gun and an alien biology that allows him to regenerate his many mortal wounds. Then there's a wannabe musician who mistook the team for a band and a lizard janitor recruited at the last minute because they needed to fill a medic quota.
- The main cast of Sluggy Freelance consists of a kinda dim freelance web designer, a Mad Scientist obsessed with guns and explosives, a witch who's occasionally possessed by her Tome of Eldritch Lore, an occasional camel, a shapeshifting alien, a hyperactive ferret, and the most dangerous and evil rabbit on the face of the Earth. Despite not making it a mission to fight evil, they've actually saved the world a number of times, mostly because apocalyptic matters seem to turn up wherever they go.
- And if something doesn't turn up to endanger the world, one of them will usually end up endangering it themselves.
- Teh Gladiators features as its protagonists not the seasoned World of Warcraft veterans that one might expect, but the most improbable and possibly the least competent Arena team ever formed. Gorrok, the orc warrior, is the only actual veteran present and the Only Sane Man; his companions include Vallant, the human (sort of) hunter who's a ditz with Accidental Aiming Skills; and Spin, a Tauren hippie who has no combat skills whatsoever. They are joined at various times by a pair of lecherous murloc Mad Scientists and Leeroy Jenkins, the Trope Namer of World of Warcraft fame. Yet somehow they manage to win.
- In Electric Wonderland, a Fiery Redhead Intrepid Reporter decides to end corruption through a hard-hitting, independently published newspaper. Who does she hire to help write? An unemployed Highly Visible Ninja, a Stepford Smiler with a mushroom costume, an outcasted Magical Girl, a talking bull who's Too Dumb to Live, and a Bratty Half-Pint mermaid. At the inquiry of the ninja, the redhead reporter admitted at the end of the first issue that she doesn't have any hiring standards.
- In Nami Warriors, the main characters are definitively this, to the point that at least one of them directly acknowledges that this is the case.
- Bob and George: Lampshaded. The heroic lineup outside that scenario is impressively odd. The core team has Mega Man (who is an idiot), Proto Man (who is the resident Meta Guy and has a bit of a weapon obsession), Roll (who has some fairly impressive anger issues), George (a superhero from another dimension), Bass (who is technically supposed to be a bad guy, but is too stupid to remember this), Nate (a reprogrammed Yellow Demon goo-bot enemy who communicates through signs), Chadling (another Demon, this time from another dimension, who bonded with the main characters over a shared ice cream addiction), Mike (a former villainous minion and very incompetent cyborg ninja), Rush (a sarcastic robot dog with self-esteem issues), Dr Light (a scientific genius and a short-tempered, arrogant drunk), the author of the comic (when he can be bothered to show up), and Ran (a Communist robot who, after his introduction, dies at least a dozen times in nearly every storyline). The list of temporary members is even weirder and includes several villains (reformed and otherwise), more than a few characters from other dimensions, time travellers, at least one version of a villain from another dimension, multiple sets of time-travellers from alternate dimensions, and Bob, the eventual Big Bad, who for the trifecta is a time-travelling villain from another dimension.
- Curse Quest: Not much is known for how the main group met, but it is clear that their goals are quite different. Walrus clearly just wants to get his curse removed, and Avalon seems to have ulterior motives selecting his curse quest for unclear reasons. Mogarth seemingly joins the group because he was looking for a job and his personality is drastically different from Walrus and Avalon. The original version of the comic had all six of the adventurers constantly bickering as they progressed in the dungeon. One can only assume what it will be like in the reboot.
- Pibgorn: A love-struck idiot, a homicidal digital maiden, and a omnipotent clueless succubus
- Mindflayed even had it discussed◊:
Mindflayer: Adventurers? I thought we were a bunch of outcasts banded together in hopes of increasing our odds of surviving to the next day.
Lomylith: That would be the definition of the word "adventurers", flayer.
- In Sinfest, Tangerine looks to be ready to form one.
- CK's crew from Commander Kitty includes Fluffy, a Cute Kitten and Cloudcuckoolander Mittens, CK's Bumbling Sidekick who's also a total slacker, and Socks, a genius ferret engineer with a serious language barrier.
- Contra Farce features one competent mercenary and three incompetent goofballs. They were the best Deputy Mayor Simmons could afford.
- In Hivebent, who gets to play Sgrub and create a new universe (Because Destiny Says So)? A matchmaking huntress obsessed with cats, a ghost obsessed with death, a bipolar oracle obsessed with computers, a serial killer obsessed with imitating her distant ancestor, a budding lawmaker obsessed with tasting things, a fish princess raised by an Eldritch Abomination, a bloodthirsty nobleman mourning his recent breakup, a perpetually angry mutant who's the descendant of Troll Jesus, a furry bigot who builds robots, a drug addict clown...and Kanaya and Tavros, though the last two are actually kind of normal. It should come as no surprise that their section of the plot goes to hell.
- The protagonists of Stand Still, Stay Silent are shaping up to be this. They're part of an underfunded research mission into the monster-infested Silent world, so the group hiring them specifically picks people who are stupid, desperate, incredibly bored with their lives or hate their current employers or co-workers with a burning passion.
- To wit, we have:
- Sigrun, a Blood Knight and Genki Girl who considers this expedition was a nice vacation.
- Mikkel, an omni-competent and stoic Danish farmer, who also is unemployable, mostly due to his tendency to troll his surroundings mercilessly.
- Tuuri, a sheltered mechanic who desperately wants to see the world outside the fort where she grew up.
- Lalli, Tuuri's possibly autistic, strangely cat-like and mostly weird cousin. Who also happens to be a skilled night scout and a mage of frightening power.
- Emil, an arrogant Pretty Boy who is looking for a quick path to the fame and glory he considers rightfully his.
- Reynir, an Icelandic sheep farmer who ran away from home to find adventure, and got a little more than he bargained for.
- To wit, we have:
- In Devils Dust, the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits include an impatient Kid Hero and a Big Guy who has to work more than he would like to. It seems clear that these characters aren't of best of terms with each other, but they have to work together for survival.
- In Nebula, because it takes place in a Small, Secluded World, the cast is stuck with working with each other despite their oddities. They are:
- Earth, a planet who is almost physically unable to keep her nose out of everyone else's business
- Venus, her more mature younger sister
- Mercury, an office worker who can barely start a conversation without insulting everyone else in the room
- Jupiter, a melodramatic Leader Wannabe with more ambition than brains
- Uranus, a moon-thiefnote and borderline con-artist
- Saturn, a recluse who would really just rather not interact with people in general
- Mars, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who speaks Cassandra Truth like a second language
- Neptune, an often spoken-over voice of reason (Neptune)
- And Sun, a member of a completely different species who's barely suppressing the urge to murder all of them.
- Critical Hit is an actual play Dungeons & Dragons 4 edition campaign that follows the adventuring party which consists of some rather unusual individuals, as per proud Tabletop Games tradition. A big and fierce-looking 3/4 orc with a giant axe who is more cunning than his obsession with funnelcakes would lead one to believe. An socially awkward Gadgeteer Genius with a robotic arm who, due to his player's abysmal luck with dice rolls, tend to be disaster-prone. A haughty and respectfully racist young Eladrin wizard obsessed over his hair. An unassuming young man prone to the bursts of wild magic and growing hair and claws during combat who has no idea what you are talking about. And that's before some even more odd characters joined in the later seasons. The party is regarded as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits In-Universe as well, with various people the party meets commenting on such an "eclectic group".
- The five protagonists from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes, despite their increase in power and skill over the course of the series, have yet to fully separate themselves from this trope.
- The main characters of Red vs. Blue. They are all fully armed soldiers who were hand pick for being one lowest scoring grunts in the military, they are also the least qualified people to be handling the various omnicidal maniacs that cross their path.
- With the exception of Tex, who is pretty much confirmed to be the single best fighter in the series.
- Not that she's without her own very special issues, however, as season 8 reveals. She's essentially cursed to ultimately fail at everything she tries to do. The most normal person they meet (Wash) still has issues, what with Epsilon's memories being beamed directly into his mind and all.
- Though in later seasons they start to pick up several levels in BadAss, and have managed to pull off some pretty impressive feats in recent years. As of season 11, they're rumored considered to some of the greatest warriors in the galaxy... Yeah, they couldn't believe it either.
- Turns out they aren't the only ones. In season 12, episode 10, it's revealed that Felix was lying about that.
- With the exception of Tex, who is pretty much confirmed to be the single best fighter in the series.
- Rooster Teeth seem to really like this trope. The entire cast of RWBY, though their Character Development has helped them shape up a bit in recent volumes:
- Team RWBY is made up of a scythe-wielding, weapon-loving Genki Girl, a stuck-upper-class Jerkass Magic Knight, a cute Ninja girl who is a loner as well as a catgirl and a former terrorist, and the Genki Girl's sexy Cool Big Sis who really doesn't like people touching her hair.
- Team JNPR is made up of a loveable loser, a fight-happy batshit insane cutie with a giant grenade launcher/warhammer hybrid, a badass Greek Hoplite Amazonian Beauty, and a really effeminate Chinese guy who's pretty much there to make sure the cute crazy girl doesn't get into too much trouble.
- By the end of Volume 5, the two teams have more or less melded into one unit, and they've picked up a few more misfits along the way, including an alcoholic with a power just as harmful to his allies as his enemies, a former thief who doesn't take much seriously, with a crush on the ninja girl, an untrained farm boy who shares a body with the team's dead mentor and an atoning ex-terrorist.
- Say, does Homestar Runner count?
- Team Kimba of the Whateley Universe. A former rich kid who is now the Fallen Princess. An Army brat chased out of his own home by anti-mutant fireteams. A nerd turned into a Person of Mass Destruction. A loner who turned into The Chosen One. A motherless victim of child abuse who has spent time as a foster child. A transgender black kid from Baltimore. A loner turned into one of The Fair Folk. And they're not the weirdest kids at Whateley Academy.
- The characters in A Game of Gods come off as this. Justified in that they were taking from their home worlds by the Nomads.
- The Fellowship of The Questport Chronicles starts out as this: one amnesiac Winged Humanoid, two elves (one of whom is an assassin), a Vegetarian Vampire, a fairy, a human trapped in a dragon's body, a Voluntary Shapeshifting demon, and an easily-confused pixie.
- The heroes of The Nerdy Show's pen and paper adventure podcast, Dungeons & Doritos, hurt each other and their allies or employers about as much as they hurt their enemies. However, over the course of the adventure, they learn to care for their teammates and become increasingly competent at working together. Except when they aren't, and then Hilarity Ensues.
- Reflets d'Acide starts with Wrandrall, a Half-Demon warrior, trying to assemble comrades for a quest. He ends up with a group including a Dwarf, an Elven Bard, a Fire Elemental and a female Barbarian Hero (the latter being soon replaced by a Dirty Old Monk).
- The members of "Team Templar" from Shadow of the Templar are the first type of this, all the way. Extremely talented but mostly crazy, their general rule of thumb seems to be that "standard procedure" is a good Plan B. All the same, they have a reputation for getting things done.
- Roll to Dodge Princess Celestia may have The Party count as this.
- The whole bunch of convicts living in the Paracelsus' Sword in the world of Einsteinian Roulette count as this, ranging from mercenaries, petty criminals and discarded experience subjects to farm boys, spoiled brats and crazy doctors.
- The entire cast of Hitler Rants. Hitler's staff includes an Ax-Crazy alcoholic, a professional map pointer, a bald man who specializes in objecting to his plans, and a guy who specializes in providing useless information. His enemies include ruthless dictators, U-Boat sailors, a psychotic demolitions expert who is determined to blow him up, and a number of little girls.
- Falling Rain's retinue in SavageDivinity is made up of crippled soldiers, former bandits, slaves, and an elite turtle guard. Said giant turtle also refuses to leave his side so can be considered a member as well.
- The Undersiders in Worm were created when a handful of isolated no-name teenage supervillains were recruited via a blend of bribery and coercion by a Mysterious Employer to act as professional thieves. At various times, the members include a textbook sociopath, a Manipulative Bitch, a Justified Criminal doing it for the sake of his kid sister, said Drama Queen kid sister, a Reverse Mole, and Bitch. They manage to get the job done well enough most of the time, though, and that's all their employer asks of them.
- Then there's The Deviant Universere's premeir Super Team The Thunder Force. The first incarnation consists of a government agent with a dark past and robotic enhancements to his body, an invisible gun toting ex-news anchor, a rich treasure hunter with a magic bone necklace and a tiger striped costume, a female super speeder, a strange girl in a school girl outfit, Canada's only hero who is powered by the internet, a living beat'em up video game chick, a symbiote who is similar to both Nightcrawler and Venom only with no angst about his situation, and a chibi computer program who is programmed to destroy the world himself. The second incarnation consists of a jerkass archer secret agent, an animal shapeshifter teen boy, a male Captain America expy who uses guns and is kept alive through cloning, a female Captain America and Wonder Woman combined expy, a hero with thunder powers combined with Flying Brick abilities, and a mermaid heroine with legs joined up with the aforementioned treasure hunter in tiger print and the symbiote guy.
- The main cast of Psychronicles takes this pretty far. For one we have the Genki Girl who's also an otaku and constantly Shout-Out to other works. Next up is the overly playful Cloudcuckoolander then the Lawful Stupid Leeroy Jenkins. Finally there's the ridiculously brilliant Teen Genius Straw Nihilist. Clara and Ian even lampshades it in chapter 14.
- The web series Star Trek: Renegades, per its title, centers on a pirate crew captained by the outcast daughter of Khan Noonien Singh and including a disgraced scientist, a rogue former drone, a genetically-defective Betazoid, a Pah-Wraith-worshiping Bajoran, and more.
- All of the That Guy with the Glasses anniversary specials where they team up against an enemy have them out of their depth, and even their themed costumes hardly unify them, such as when Brad Jones roleplays as Indiana Jones because "it's quest based, it counts". Lampshaded in To Boldly Flee, where one of the villains brags that only a ragtag group of Z-List internet reviewersnote could stop them now.
- The Dragon Maulers Incorporated from Fallout Is Dragons certainly qualify, blundering their way through situations that would daunt most skilled adventurers.
- The titular guild in Noob. Only Sane Man leader with a fear of Game Masters? Check. Self-centered misogynist? Check. A Manipulative Bastard and Dirty Coward package deal? Check. Stupid Good Manchild? Got that too. May I suggest adding a narcoleptic Mad Bomber or a Leeroy Jenkins Psycho for Hire to your order?
- Critical Role's Vox Machina certainly fits the bill. Their self-styled group of intrepid adventurers contains an exiled goliath barbarian and his best friend, an Adorkable gnomish war-cleric; a vengeful noble gunslinger in a medieval setting; a socially awkward druid princess; a gnomish Casanova Wannabe; and a brother-sister duo consisting of a Fearless Fool rogue and a flirtatious gold-hungry ranger with a pet bear. Somehow, they make it work.
- The Final Hazard from Roll To Breathe is a superhero team consisting of a walking superhero database, an overworked intern, an unintentionally destructive rich kid, a girl with no powers or training, a bullied Japanese delinquent, and a sweet eldritch boy. Also, they're all teenagers. Together, they defeat villains several times their size with many years more experience.
- The eponymous Time Police team in Past Division consists of a fire-throwing dwarven cleric who loves to go for the family jewels, an anthropomorphic panda bear with elite ninja skills and a very big hammer, a diminutive Team Primadonna Plant Person who fights with Cards of Power, and a teenage Horned Humanoid whose abilities clash a bit with her job.
- Tres Horny Boys from The Adventure Zone: Balance are an impulsive human carpenter-turned-fighter who really loves dogs and other animals of all sorts, a middle-aged hippie dwarf cleric with a plant fetish trying to spread the good word of the nature god Pan to teens, and a vain Lovable Coward elf wizard who's arguably more famous for his cooking show on TV than his magic. Their compatriots in the Bureau of Balance aren't much better, including among their number a stoner potion expert who loves Pringles to the point that everyone calls him that instead of his real name, an Insufferable Genius Mad Scientist that even the All-Loving Hero can't stand, a Kid Detective, a depressed bard, a gnome illusionist who mostly only says his own name, and a giant jellyfish that can cause Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- DSBT InsaniT: Oh so much. The craziness and interactions between the members of the cast is what gives it the 'InsaniT' label after all.
- Played with in Transformers: Beast Wars. The oft-bickering good-guy Maximals are somewhat of a ragtag group, the crew of an exploration vessel forced into battle and joined by a Defector from Decadence, but the Predacon antagonists fit the trope even better, backstabbing, scheming, and jockeying for position constantly.
- Similarly invoked in Transformers Animated, in which the job of saving the day lands on a repair crew with barely any real weapons who've mostly never been in combat before, while the Decepticons also spend a large time disorganized and spread apart. Of course, when the team of experts does show up, they're not a lot of help...
- Parodied with the elementary school dodgeball team in the South Park episode "Conjoined Fetus Lady", who make it all the way to the finals much to their own shock and dismay.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- The responsibility of defeating the Fire Nation and saving the world rests entirely with a 12-year-old goofball of a Messiah and the various other children he picks up along the way. These include a fourteen year old untrained water-bender, a fifteen year old wannabe warrior, a twelve year old spoiled runaway earth-bender and the angsty banished prince of the enemy. And don't forget Suki, the face-painted Kyoshi Warrior Action Girl.
- Three attempts were made by various characters to have actual armed forces involved, but the first two times were stopped before they started (the second when a fourteen year old princess and her two handmaidens, a dour Knife Nut and a Cloudcuckoolander acrobat, managed to pull off a coup in a hostile city) and the third time resulted in a crushing, ruinous defeat
- The group leading the aforementioned third attempt is referred to as a "ragtag team" by Sokka, due to it being made up of various allies that Team Avatar had met previously rather than a proper army.
- Jet and his band of Merry Men also qualify.
- The Legend of Korra gets in on the action too. The core team starts with a hyper-aggressive teenager who happens to be the next Messiah, a Spoiled Sweet and extremely beautiful Badass Normal, a pair of dirt-poor orphans who are involved in professional bending, an enormous polar bear dog, and an adorable red panda ferret creature. Counting their more reliable allies (who vary from potent authority figures, to street thieves), you get something of a mess, which only gets messier as the stakes get higher in the later seasons and even former enemies start putting their weight behind the Avatar.
- Stated outright in the Opening Narration of The Pirates of Dark Water: "At his side is an unlikely but loyal crew of misfits."
- The Planet Express crew in general; the main delivery crew is a good hearted yet goofball kid from the 20th century, a selfish robot who spends his time drinking booze and making wisecracks, and a social outcast cyclops who tries to be professional, maybe a little too much. The rest of the company is a nutjob century-and-a-half-old mad scientist, a Jamaican paper-pusher who likes to limbo and fill out forms, a ditzy clumsy Chinese girl from Mars, and a lobster alien who has neither social graces nor an accurate idea of human anatomy, despite being the company doctor for humans.
- Referenced and Parodied when Fry attempts to destroy a giant brain with a Quantum Interface Bomb. He's found by a squad of smaller brains that try to destroy him. When their brain rays fail, one of the brains say, "But we're an ambitious young squad, with everything to prove!"
- The Robot Chicken sketch parodying Armageddon, where the leader was chosen by call-in votes. The winner was Harrison Ford, who protests "I'm just an actor! I'm 62 years old!" but everyone expects him to act like a movie hero. Aerosmith fill the remaining slots on the team because the mission needs a cool theme song. They die trying to land.
Reporter: Don't we have highly trained astronauts?
Senator: Oh, that's something of a myth.
- G.I. Joe: Renegades invokes this hard in the first episodes, with the team only tolerating each-other for the mission, and getting much worse for a bit until the end of the second episode when they're able to come together to stop a threat. They're still at odds for the next few episodes, but gradually seem to come together as everyone gets to know each other.
- The ThunderCats, both the original series and the 2011 reboot, were survivors of a great catastrophe (in the original series, it was the destruction of their home planet Thundera while in the reboot, it was the destruction of the kingdom Thundera). The original group consists of a young inexperienced prince with a great destiny, an old soldier, an Action Girl, a scientist (original series)/arrogant prince (reboot), two Tagalong Kids, and the Team Pet.
- Ben 10: Alien Force focused (or was supposed to be focused at least) on Ben assembling a team from various Half-Human Hybrids to stop an Alien Invasion. In the finale, he assembles said team, which ends up made of himself, his Magical Girl cousin Gwen, his former Nemesis Kevin Levin, Time Travelling scientist Paradox, his Love Interest Julie and her alien pet Ship, Half-Pyronite Alan Albright, Technopath Cooper and temporary allied supervillain Darkstar. And that's just those who are in the battle from the beginning.
Gwen Tennyson: We're too late!
Ben Tennyson: It's never too late. New plan!... Working on it.
Kevin Levin: That's reassuring.
Ben Tennyson: Got it! We break into the Highbreed Control Room and force the captain to make his ships retreat.
Darkstar: That's your big plan?
Ben Tennyson: Hey, how many times have I beaten you?
Darkstar: Twice. But just at this moment, I don't see how.
- In the Family Guy episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us" Vladimir Putin notes the reactivation of a Cold War sleeper spy would be an embarrassment equal to, "our 1981 failed Czechoslovakian occupation outpost which was penetrated by Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and their ragtag band of misfit soldiers who didn't even graduate."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The "Mane Six". They're a graduate student taught by a Physical Goddess, a stubborn apple farmer, a hyperactive baker, a brash sound barrier-breaking flyer, a prim and proper fashion designer, and an overly shy animal caretaker. Princess Celestia, said Physical Goddess, seems to consider them to be the best team to deal with powerful threats to Equestria like Nightmare Moon and Discord (due to the Elements of Harmony) and a stubborn dragon whose smoke threatens the well-being of their country (which they must deal with without the Elements of Harmony). Nightmare Moon was defeated by the Mane Six after they had known each other for less than a day.
- The team Starlight leads to save the day in "To Where and Back Again": an amoral Reality Warper and reformed tyrant only helping out to save a personal friend, an itinerant illusionist and former Evil Overlord with an ego problem, and a former mook and deserter from the Big Bad's forces who's terrified at the thought of meeting his old boss again, all led by a former cult leader terrified at the idea of being in charge of anything again.
- This even happens in the 2017 movie, where the friends the Mane 6 make on their journey to retake Equestria include a fast-talking conman, a group of formerly Retired Badass pirates and a bubbly hippogriff princess who knows she's going to get grounded after this. Despite all their differences, the one thing they have in common is they were all helped by the Mane 6 in some way and want to help them too, and they managed to fight back against The Storm King's army.
- In The Simpsons:
- In episode "Homer at the Bat", Mr Burns calls his remaining players this after the professional ones are all made unavailable in ridiculous ways.
- In "Moneybart", Lisa tries to apply this trope to Bart's baseball team, ala the Oakland A's, but it doesn't quite work.
Bart: We're not losers! Last year we finished six and five.
Nelson: And we're not lovable. We had a tall freckle-faced kid on the team that we picked on 'til he quit. Hey, Splatterface, how's the weather up there? It's too bad, cause he's a great hitter, but it's worth it.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- At the beginning of the second Meap episode, the animators who made the trailers to it were described as a "ragtag group".
- Technically the titular characters' core group counts too. There's a miniature Wonka, his Inexplicably Awesome stepbrother, the local bully, the nerd said bully picks on, a bunch of Inexplicably Awesome Girl Scouts, a weirdo who stalks The Wonka and his stepbrother and a bunch of random people who walk in and out.
- The Animated Teen Titans, were specifically stated to have been formed because they don't fit in anywhere else. They include the former sidekick of a violent vigilante, a half-man/half-machine hybrid, a half-demon Lady of Black Magic, a green skinned animal shapeshifter, and an alien princess.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Mystery Dungeon" we have Lemongrab, Shelby the worm, Treetrunks, NEPTR, and Ice King. They were all brought together by Ice King to help him traverse the dungeon.
- Let's see. A super fast hedgehog, an innocent two tailed fox, tomboyish princess squirrel/chipmunk hybrid, a sweet half robotized rabbit, a cowardly coyote, a walrus who's good with tools, a clumsy but good natured dragon and robotized hedgehog? Yep. Sonic Sat Am is onto it too.
- In Steven Universe, Jasper isn't exactly impressed by what's left of the Crystal Gem rebel forces. To quote her, Pearl is "defective", Garnet's a "shameful display", Amethyst is an "over-cooked runt", and Steven is just "sick". In her opinion they're far cry from the formidable rebel army led by Rose Quartz that Jasper fought against thousands of years ago.
- Archer: ISIS/The CIA Freelancers/The Figgis Agency. Subverted in that they fail as often as succeed.
Sterling Archer: Why would you wanna work for those Ivy League white-shoe D.C. pricks? That's not who we are! We're the outsiders, the scrappy underdogs! We're Delta House, The Dirty Dozen, The Rebel Alliance. The Commitments. We're the Bad News Frickin' Bears, and our Lupus is an openly gay cyborg dying of sepsis in a wheelbarrow!
- The Trio from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin consists of an adventurous Farm Boy with Chronic Hero Syndrome, a brutally-honest Cowardly Lion Big Eater and an Absent-Minded Professor inventor with a Speech Impediment.
- The main group in Boo Boom! The Long Way Home consists of; a Cute Mute young boy, a snarky cat, a Lovable Coward klutzy talkative rooster, a Sapient Steed, a military dog, and a bee who serves as said dog’s partner and scout.
- The crew of the Ghost in Star Wars Rebels is a rebel pilot with family issues, an ex-padawan whose Master died before she could finish his training, a former bounty hunter, a Lasat with a bad case of survivor's guilt, an orphaned 15-year-old they picked up when he tried stealing from them and a droid which likes to electrocute friend and foe all the same.