aka: The Uriah Gambit
"In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, 'Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.'"What to do when you've made an enemy of one of your underlings? Hey, you're the boss. All you've got to do is send him out on a mission that's sure to get him killed. He'll die in action, and you'll have plausible deniability. In some cases, this can be as subtle as giving the underling in question dangerous tasks that need to be done anyway, resulting in a win-win scheme—they'll probably die, which is great, but if they're successful, that's fine too. Other times, the task might be a blatant setup solely for the purpose of killing them off, often going as far as Unfriendly Fire, deliberately backstabbing or sabotaging them at a key moment (or even simply Betrayal by Inaction) to ensure their death. Either way, it's this trope. If it's the hero who does this, can lead (as in the Trope Namer) to What the Hell, Hero? and My God, What Have I Done?. If it's done to the hero, Heaven help you if they should somehow not only survive but thrive on your Impossible Tasks. A subtrope of Shoot the Dangerous Minion and Make It Look Like an Accident. See also Unfriendly Fire for a more hands-on approach that can work in both directions. When you send someone out with an item that attracts danger, that's the Trouble Magnet Gambit. When that someone actually pulls it off, repeatedly, it's Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder. When you do this to yourself, it's Suicide by Cop.
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Anime and Manga
- Haruhi Suzumiya - What do you do when your Data Interface gains emotions, but you can't kill her off lest the protective Badass Normal called Kyon convinces Haruhi to recreate the world and wipe you out? You invoke the Uriah Gambit, sending the Interface to meet up with the Sky Canopy Dominion and hope she will Go Mad from the Revelation.
- In Code Geass R2, Lelouch tries to get Rolo killed several times as punishment for killing Shirley (and possibly trying to replace Nunnally, but it's uncertain if he was aware of that until later), but he keeps surviving. For further irony, when Rolo did die, it was through a heartwrenching Heroic Sacrifice to save Lelouch's life after Lelouch admitted he had been trying to kill Rolo and that he'd never be Lelouch's real brother... and Lelouch ended up genuinely forgiving him.
- Askeladd from Vinland Saga uses this gambit to facilitate his Evil Plan to remove a rival from the game.
- Yang Wenli in Legend of Galactic Heroes was given the mission of taking the impregnable Iserlohn fortress with half a fleet after opposing the Patriotic Corps. He takes it without losing a single ally.
- Happens to Reinhard quite a few times. The first battle of the series was an attempt to get him killed by depriving him of most of his talented sub-commanders, then sending him into battle and arranging for the enemy to find out he's coming so they'll send a much larger fleet to stop him.
- The first movie was an even more blatant attempt, where his commander sent his fleet out to the front of the battle unsupported, then gave the rest of his force orders to not worry about hitting friendlies when the shooting started. Just to make this clear, he was willing to kill over a thousand of his own ships and their crews just to see Reinhard dead. Just like Yang, Reinhard turns it around on him.
- Happens to Reinhard quite a few times. The first battle of the series was an attempt to get him killed by depriving him of most of his talented sub-commanders, then sending him into battle and arranging for the enemy to find out he's coming so they'll send a much larger fleet to stop him.
- The plot of Area 88 starts with Kanzaki tricking Shin into enlisting in the Aslan Foreign Legion in the middle of a civil war in order to have a shot at Shin's girlfriend, Ryoko.
- In the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, after Lior's Destruction by Scar's Philosopher's Stone Array and Alphonse telling to Roy that Fuhrer King Bradley is a Homunculus, the main villain has Pride send Roy, his squad and Armstrong to another war, so one of the homunculi can shoot them during the battle and blame it on their enemies.
- Happens more than once in Detective Conan, with the most spectacular case being the Diplomat Murder Case. The villain, Isao, fancied a lady named Kimie. Kimie was Happily Married to Yamashiro, Isao's rival. What did Isao do? Use Yamashiro as a scapegoat in a fraud (with help of his father Toshimitsu), wait until he died in prison, and then go Comforting the Widow on Kimie! This only backfired years later, when... Isao's son started dating Yamashiro and Kimie's daughter.
- In Claymore, the Organization reserves its most dangerous missions for its most troublesome members.
- In Irresponsible Captain Tylor, the Soyokaze is sent to the front several times in an attempt to kill Captain Tylor. It doesn't work.
- Implied in Pokémon of all things when Giovanni tries to get rid of James and Jessie by assigning them to a really dangerous airplane flight.
- Tsutomu Nihei's Knights of Sidonia revolves around one long Uriah Gambit against the protagonist.
- Which is debatable, since he's forced to fly every combat mission more out of necessity than outright malevolence, especially since he's the only living clone of the ship's greatest hero.
- Happens several times in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the most notable being Zeheart refusing to send reinforcements to Decil, leaving him fight the Gundam on his own.
- This is a rare instance when the David seems justified, however, as Decil had repeatedly demonstrated self-centered insubordination, which had directly lead to the death of several squadmates, so Zeheart can plausibly claim I Did What I Had to Do to his subordinates.
- A large-scale version of this happens in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED at the Battle of JOSH-A, halfway through the series. While the top brass of the Earth Alliance come from the Atlantic Federation, the military as a whole is pretty evenly split between them and the Eurasian Federation. At JOSH-A, the Atlantic Federation sets up a highly effective trap, sacrificing their main headquarters by self-destructing it on top of a massive ZAFT invasion force. While leaving a large force of mostly Eurasian Federation soldiers in the base as unsuspecting bait. This is also roughly the point where SEED ceases to be modern take on the original Mobile Suit Gundam (where both sides are morally questionable but one side is clearly better than the other) and into a flat-out Evil vs. Evil scenario where there is no lesser evil. This eventually prompts the real protagonists to create a third side in the conflict to offset them both.
- In a rare case of a hero doing this on a regular basis, in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Judai uses the strategy described below using his non-Fusion Elemental Heroes (who tend to have low Attack Scores) and the Trap Card "Mirror Gate".
- Yusei did something similar in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's at least once with his Junk Synchron during his Riding Duel with Mukuro Enjo. By using the Trap Card "Give and Take", he was able to summon Junk Synchron from his Graveyard under Enjo's control, and in return, add its level to that of his Quillbolt Hedgehog, enabling him to Synchro Summon the powerful Nitro Warrior and attack the physically weak Junk Synchron.
- In Magic: The Gathering you can force this with cards like Wanderlust, which does one damage to enchanted creature's controller per turn. Since this usually puts you on a clock (meaning you've got a constant source of damage or one at an opponent's whim, and no way to deal with it), it's common to send a Wanderlusted creature to a "chump block" if you can't form a block that will survive or defeat the enemy. And then there's Donate. And of course Swords to Plowshares lets you exile not only your opponent's creatures, but your own. Magic loves the whole Gambit Index.
- Tuktuk the Explorer is designed to be a target of this. He's a typically weak 1/1 goblin who is reborn as a mighty 5/5 golem upon death. In context, Tuktuk's death spawns a being capable of bringing down most dragons.
- A common way of pulling this off in Yu-Gi-Oh! is by taking a weak monster like Treeborn Frog, turning it up into Attack Position, and using Creature Swap to exchange it for one of your opponent's monsters. Not only do you gain a more powerful monster on your side, but you also have the perfect target to cause a lot of damage to your opponent's Life Points. Quite literally an example of making an enemy of one of your underlings and sending them to their death.
- There are certain cards that are made for this, such as the 6 Attribute Summoner monsters, which summon monsters of their attributes. Or Witch of the Black Forest and Sagan which can be used to obtain the Exodia cards into the players hand.
- Those who encounter Groo keep sending the titular character against impossible odds with little support both to get rid of Groo and sometimes serve as a distraction (This includes his family and "friends"). But since he's a One-Man Army and has the element of surprise (since no one would be stupid enough to attack, except Groo) he succeeds with the unintended consequences on those who sent him.
- In the prologue chapter of Necrophim, Lucifer sends Uriel to kill the king of the frost giants in order that he will die in the attempt.
- In Blood And Thunder, Warboss Gorgutz sends Skyva on a suicide mission to get his gargant back from a rebellious nob in hopes of killing him. When that fails, he gives Skyva command of the gargant and sends it to the front lines.
- In the leadup to Blackest Night, one of the first things Scar does is send Green Lanterns Ash and Saarek on a suicide mission, as the pair are a Vampire Hunter and a Necromancer respectively and thus the Lanterns most experienced in dealing with the undead, which could spell trouble for Scar's grand design.
- In Schmat-Razum, the hero is sent off by the tsar to make him leave his wife vulnerable.
Go ye back therefore to the Tsar and bid him command the archer to journey across three times nine lands to the little forest monster Muzhichek, who is as high as the knee, with mustaches seven versts long, and to bring hither his invisible servant, Schmat-Razum, who lives in his master's pocket and doth all that he orders him. Bid the Tsar demand this of the archer, and he shall have his will. For while Muzhichek indeed exists, no man can find his dwelling nor perceive his invisible servant, and Taraban will wander all his life long, though he live forever, without accomplishing the task, and the Tsar may have his beautiful wife.
- Another variant of this is "Go To I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What."
Films — Animated
- In the animated film Antz, the evil general sent the part of the army loyal to the queen to be slaughtered in the war against the termites.
- In Shrek, Shrek goes to demand his swamp back from Lord Farquaad. Lord Farquaad hires him to go and rescue Princess Fiona, who's guarded by a dragon. If Shrek succeeds, Farquaad would get the princess without risking his own life; if Shrek fails, then Farquaad got rid of a trouble-making fairytale creature. Of course, it doesn't quite work out like that.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Anderson Tapes, the mob's price for its help is that Duke take Socks along on the job...and make sure he doesn't survive it.
- In Batman, when mob boss Carl Grissom discovers that his mistress has been sleeping with his right-hand man Jack Napier, he sends Jack to go steal the books from a mob front under investigation by the authorities, then tips off the Dirty Cop on his payroll and orders him to kill Jack. This backfires magnificently when Jack is dunked in chemicals and becomes the Joker.
- Good Morning Vietnam: "I recommend we issue a 24 hour pass..." To get Cronauer out of the way, he was assigned to interview soldiers in the field, but the only way to get to the location was a road known to be hostile due to 36 hours of Viet Cong control.
- In Iron Man Obadiah Stane arranges to have Tony Stark killed by terrorists in Afghanistan while he is presenting a new missile system to the American troops stationed there. It doesn't quite work out as planned.
- In the film version of The Man in the Iron Mask, King Louis XIV, upon finding out that one of the women he desires is already engaged to a soldier, sends him to the front lines to die in battle. The spanner in the works there is that the man in question is the son of Athos, the super-serious member of the legendary Three Musketeers.
- In The Mechanic, the mob gets angry at Mr. Bishop for taking on an apprentice without their permission. So they give him a job in Italy to "cowboy" the next hit, where he's bound to be killed.
- In Road to Perdition, Connor Rooney first tries to kill Michael Sullivan Sr. by sending him out on a debt collection run to a speakeasy, with a letter for the guy there who owes some money. When Michael is in the back office, the guy opens the letter and reads it. But Michael sees that the guy has a revolver on his desk poorly hidden beneath a magazine and senses that the guy is going to shoot him. He manages to get the drop on the debtor and fatally shoots him and the bouncer, then grabs the letter Connor gave him: "Kill Sullivan, and all debts are paid." He then instinctively realizes it's a distraction to keep him occupied while Connor goes to Sullivan's house to kill Sullivan's son Michael Jr. for witnessing Connor's murder of Finn McGovern the day before.note
- Star Wars
- Palpatine does this to Dooku and Grevious. Grevious especially masterful as it works both ways, the ideal Jedi Trap, as either Obi-Wan or Grevious would die. Especially since getting Obi-Wan out of the way temporarily was the main objective.
- One of the major reasons Palpatine orchestrated the Clone Wars, and manipulated it to continue for as long as it did, was to reduce the Jedi's numbers.
- One of The Three Stooges shorts has the trio work as photographers. When they botch another job, their boss decides to send them on assignment in a country where taking pictures is punishable by death.
- In The Wizard of Oz, the eponymous wizard sends Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. When she triumphantly returns, we discover that the Wizard didn't expect them to ever come back. (In the book version, it was assumed this was the case too; however, sequels prove he had multiple reasons to want her dead without anyone knowing he was behind it.)
- The Shadow: Shiwan Khan invokes this to prove that Lamont Cranston is still Ying Ko, the Butcher of Lhasa, at heart.
Lamont: By the way, you sent Margo Lane to kill me.Shiwan: I would no sooner kill you than I would destroy a Rembrandt! No, I sent her to be killed.
- Louis' assistant Rick in Nightcrawler gets too demanding in terms of salary, so Louis sets him up to become Cannon Fodder for a wanted killer they are chasing.
- The Bible: Used twice in the Books of Samuel:
- This is named for an incident where, desiring Uriah's gorgeous wife Bathsheba, King David had him sent into battle as cannon fodder. David had first slept with Bathsheba while her husband was off on the front lines. Then, when David found out he'd gotten Bathsheba pregnant, he tried to cover it up. The first coverup attempt ("Hey, Uriah! Buddy! Doin' a great job as an officer, my man! As a reward, I'm gonna give you a little vacation. Here, have a drink... or two or three... now go home, relax, enjoy an evening with your wife. You've earned it!") failed because Uriah refused to accept privileges that his men weren't being allowed (even after David got him drunk). Being unable to explain away Bathsheba's pregnancy the normal way, David pulled the Uriah Gambit as a probably spur-of-the-moment backup plan. Joab, the general David gave the order to (who also knew what David had done), was forced to put all of his troops within arrow range, then pull all of them but Uriah back, to make sure Uriah was killed. In a passive aggressive What the Hell, Hero?, Joab returned to Jerusalem to say something along the lines of: "The deed is done. Oh, and by the way, here are the names of all of the other guys who had to die by your strategy for no reason." God's punishment was their child being struck with a terrible illness and dying shortly after birth.
- Earlier in 1 Samuel, David was on the receiving end of this, when seeking the hand of King Saul's daughter Michal in marriage. Saul, who didn't like David and saw him as a threat to his authority (especially after the whole Goliath thing), but couldn't kill or banish David because he was charismatic and popular (especially after that whole Goliath thing), sent David on a number of impossible missions from which Saul did not expect David to return. Inevitably, David survived, often doing more than Saul requested (for instance, in the famous quest to take 100 foreskins of the Philistines—which meant "fight 100 Philistines, kill them, and disfigure their corpses", not exactly an easy task—David took 200), much to Saul's chagrin. Eventually, Saul just gave up and let David marry Michal.
- In Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, General John MacArthur had used a similar method to dispose of his wife Leslie's lover Arthur Richmond (who also was his Number Two) during World War I. Afterward he avoided attending church whenever the David and Bathsheba story was scheduled to be read, and Leslie later succumbed to Death by Despair. Otherwise, it went so well that even Scotland Yard detectives, told afterwards that murder is involved, cannot be sure that it really is. Too bad a certain Hanging Judge and Magnificent Bastard got notice of it and decided to murder him, alongside other Karma Houdinis.
- In The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man", the victim was overheard arguing with his wife, and she was heard to say the name David. It turned out that she was alluding to the Biblical story described above. The eponymous Crooked Man was the victim of her husband's Uriah Gambit some thirty years earlier, and she had found him in the homeless shelter where she volunteered.
- The Trope Namer is referenced in the Starbuck novel "Battle Flag" by Bernard Cornwell, as Colonel Swynyard is ordered to send Starbuck and his company out as skirmishers close to enemy troops, expecting the rest of the battalion to follow them. They never do, leaving them on their own and facing overwhelming opposition. Starbuck survives and Swynyard is perhaps fortunate that he has a Faith Heel Turn in the meantime and apologises to him. The general that gave Swynyard his orders isn't so easily forgiven.
- A massive one forms the climax of The Way of Kings, where Sadeas arranges a joint operation with Dalinar using his own bridges to cross the chasms, and then retreats and leaves Dalinar's army to die. Fortunately Bridge Four is on hand with a secret weapon, and the gambit backfires.
- In Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold, the (failed) invasion of Escobar is a massive Uriah Gambit on the part of Emperor Ezar to dispose of his Sketchy Successor Crown Prince Serg and Serg's worst enablers, and weaken the faction supporting him. Cordelia, putting the pieces of the plan together, describes it as "put all the bad eggs in one basket... and then drop the basket."
- Earlier in the book, somebody else tried to kill Aral Vorkosigan this way, twice. It didn't work, mostly thanks to Aral's genius for ending up in a Reassignment Backfire.
- The Sign of the Broken Sword by G. K. Chesterton. An interesting twist on both tropes: The murderer, General St. Claire, killed his victim first, and then planned otherwise pointless assault so that it would happen at exactly the same spot, thus hiding his victim among other casualties.
- In the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher done a couple times.
- First by Lord Aquitaine with the Crown-loyal soldiers by having his forces either move too early or too late and his temporary ally's men suffer the worst for it.
- Then Gaius Sextus does this to Lord Rhodes, in revenge for his part in murdering Septimus, Gaius' son.
- In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor only brings his enemies on a campaign to fight the Seanchan. Why waste good men?
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, this often happens to the entire regiment, usually when someone wants to get rid of "Gaunt and his damn Ghosts". (In the worst cases, they resort to Unfriendly Fire.)
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, when Vespanian complains to Fulgrim that the captains who should have been supporting Captain Demeter didn't, and if it weren't for the intervention of other men, the captain and his men would have died, he realizes that this was exactly Fulgrim's intent. Then Fulgrim kills Vespanian.
- In The Bone Doll's Twin, the king sends Lord Rhius on suicidally dangerous missions, to dispense with his influence over his son, second in line for the throne.
- Dark Force Rising, the middle book of The Thrawn Trilogy, had an interesting variation: Borsk Fey'lya, going out to the site of the Katana Fleet in a ship crewed solely by his most ardent supporters, following right after some political adversaries, ended up ambushed by a superior Imperial force. He got the ship and its escort to turn around and start to flee, leaving Luke, Han, and Rogue Squadron high and dry. However, he got tricked into an Engineered Public Confession in which he stated his belief that those who weren't with him were his enemies, no one cared if their enemies died, and he wouldn't lose his allies, who were of purely political significance, to anything as outmoded as loyalty. His ship and its escort promptly turned back for a Big Damn Heroes moment.
- This was also the reason that Palpatine supported the Outbound Flight project. Eighteen Jedi, six of them Masters, heading off on a dangerous mission into the Unknown Regions... why, anything could happen out there. The fifty thousand civilians with them? Too bad.
- In Strength and Honor, book four of the Tour of the Merrimack series by R. M. Meluch, the emperor of Rome packs his space fleet (yes, you read that right) with political enemies. If they win, good. If they lose, good.
- In Flashman and the Mountain of Light, the Sikh ruling class deliberately starts a war with the British empire so that their unruly and regicidal army will be slaughtered.
- Flashman himself does this in Flashman and the Dragon to a subordinate who knows too much, although indirectly by tricking him into volunteering.
- Felix Cortez plans to do this in Clear and Present Danger, sending Cartel fighters against the American soldiers while building his own loyal group of fighters to take over the Cartel. The plan get interrupted in the story by other events.
- In Curse of the Wolfgirl The Avenaris Guild of Werewolf hunters have an accountant who just cost them their cushy expenses account. Said accountant is transferred to frontline werewolf hunting activity forthwith. Subverted as it turns out this was the accountant's plan all along as part of his Batman Gambit.
- In Catching Fire, book two of The Hunger Games, President Snow has a problem; many districts are beginning to rebel, using Katniss as their inspiration. An obvious death would just incite them further. What can he do? Just coincidentally discover that the Quarter Quell makes her fight in The Games again.
- In the later bits of the Belisarius Series, the Persian emperor cheerfully allows troublesome and arrogant members of the Persian nobility to partake in cavalry charges against dug-in enemy troops armed with rifles.
- In The Shahnameh, Gushtasp, trying to renegade on his promise to hand the throne over to his son Esfandiyār, sends him to bring Rostam to the Shah in chains. Luckily though, the curse that will torment the killer of Esfandiyār can see through this.
- "One-fourth of Rochmont's fighting strength--one battalion of Dorsai--were sent by Rochmont forth alone, to bleed Helmuth, and die." These being Dorsai, it didn't turn out well for Helmuth, and even less so for Rochmont. "No more is there a Rochmont town, no more are Rochmont's men. But stands a Dorsai monument to Colonel Jacques Chrétien."
- In Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, it was revealed that Greedo was set up to face Han Solo alone because Goa knew he [Greedo] wasn't up to it, and had been hired to get rid of Greedo by a tyrant who had condemned Greedo's entire clan to extermination. (Goa didn't have the heart to pull the trigger himself.)
- In addition to Unfriendly Fire, this is one of Tigerclaw's tactics in Warrior Cats when he's still a Villain with Good Publicity before his exile:
- Tigerclaw sets his apprentice Ravenpaw (who had witnessed him killing the Clan deputy) dangerous hunting tasks: first at Snakerocks (normally avoided by the cats in summer due to poisonous adders - but Ravenpaw actually killed an adder!), and then in ShadowClan territory.
- He later suspects that Ravenpaw told Fireheart what he had seen. During battle, when Fireheart is fighting for his life and calling for help, Tigerclaw just sits there and watches; fortunately Fireheart manages to fight his way out.
- For another attempt at Fireheart's life, Tigerclaw orders him to try and cross a flooded stream using a spindly branch caught in the water. When Fireheart's right in the middle and Longtail isn't watching, he tries to Make It Look Like an Accident by knocking the branch loose from the rock it's caught on. Longtail saves Fireheart from drowning.
- In the Shadowrun novel Lone Wolf, the undercover cop protagonist mouths off to the war chief of the street gang he's infiltrated, and nearly falls prey to this trope the next time he's sent on an errand for the gang. He lampshades the analogy between his predicament and Uriah's.
- The Robotech novelization says that War Correspondent Sue Graham was attached to the Jupiter Fleet trying to free the Earth from the Invid by Lisa Hayes-Hunter because she was trying to get too friendly with Rick. Lisa wasn't specifically trying to get Sue killed (though she did that on her own), she just wanted her several thousand light-years away from her husband.
- Ironically, this happened to the Hunters themselves in The Sentinels, when T.R. Edwards managed to get them both (and their supporters like Max and Miyria) sent off with the Sentinels.
- Done in the Mirror Universe novel Dark Mirror to Jack Crusher's mirror counterpart by Picard's to take possession of Beverly. The main universe's Picard is horrified to learn this.
- Also popped up in Q-Squared, where Trelane convinced an alternate version of Jack Crusher who didn't die that in every other universe Jean-Luc and Beverly ended up together at some point after his death. This universe spared Jack Crusher at the cost of his son Wesley, which drove Beverly away and eventually into the arms of Picard, who was Crusher's first officer after being broken in rank. Trelane even mentions Uriah and David, which pushes Crusher over edge into murderous jealousy.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy is assigned the Impossible Task of killing Dumbledore, with the clear understanding that he will be killed if he fails. Narcissa Malfoy and Dumbledore (correctly) deduce that this mission is just a way for Voldemort to punish Lucius for his slew of recent mistakes. Then averted when Snape performs the deed instead—the reasons behind it are left for the final book.
- It's worth noting that Draco very nearly succeeded, finding a way to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts that even Voldemort didn't know about and finding himself in a position where, if not for his own unwillingness to commit murder, he very well could have.
- Though not technically a subordinate of him, this is attempted by Klaus Hauptman on Honor Harrington in Honor Among Enemies, where she is sent out in a Q-ship to hunt pirates. If she succeeds, Klaus's ships are safer, if she dies, then she's dead and out of his way. Either way he wins.
- In Avalon High, Will's father pulls this off on one of his underlings because he is in love with his wife and wishes to begin Comforting the Widow. It works off so perfectly that people suspect as much and it is an open secret in the town. It is also part of the motivation of the book's antagonist, Marco, since it was his father who died.
- In Scorpia Rising, the ninth book of the Alex Rider series, Zeljan Kurst knows in advance that Levi Kroll will attempt to attack him, so he has him assassinated and plants false evidence on his body in order to force MI6's hand.
- Since kinslaying is a huge taboo in A Song of Ice and Fire, people occasionally have to get creative when it comes to getting rid of unwanted family members. In one battle, Tywin Lannister sends his son Tyrion to lead the least experienced part of his forces that he wants the enemy to overwhelm to lure them into a trap. Without informing Tyrion of the plan. It turns out the enemy doesn't fall for the trap, and the Mountain Clansmen Tyrion is leading into battle are so badass they throw back their attackers instead of breaking themselves.
- Cersei deals with her political rivals the Tyrells by sending them to siege Dragonstone, knowing full well that Loras Tyrell will rashly lead a full-scale attack, making this is a simultaneous Batman, Uriah and Xanatos Gambit. It doesn't quite work, Loras successfully takes the castle and is (supposedly) badly injured in the attack. While that pleases Cersei, since Loras was the leader it's treated as a Tyrell victory, making them more powerful.
- At the end of the third book, Janos Slynt sends Jon Snow out to treat with Mance among the wildlings, with the secret mission to assassinate him. If he does this, the wildlings would immediately slaughter him. And as Jon's recent Fake Defector gambit had already put his loyalty into question, Janos could have him executed for being a traitor if he returned without slaying Mance. In a rare instance of a Deus ex Machina being used in the series, Stannis' army arrives at the last possible moment and deals with the wildling threat instead.
- Roose Bolton does this with a skill verging on Magnificent Bastard status. From the moment he realises that Robb Stark can't win the war, Roose starts whittling down the forces under his command by placing them in situations where they'll be cut off and destroyed by Lannister forces. By the time of the Red Wedding, only his own men and the Karstarks are left. In ADWD, faced with the Freys and Manderly at each other's throats and potentially plotting treason, he sends then out into the snow to fight the forces of King Stannis, while keeping his own men safe in Winterfell. This one could backfire though, as it puts them in prime position to betray him and ally with his enemies. Particularly the Manderlys, who are planning to do so anyway.
- In a rare 'good guy' example, Daenerys Targaryen sends Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy on a Suicide Mission as a punishment for their betrayals/lies, but when they survive accepts that the gods have a different fate in mind for them.
- Discussed in Unto the Breach, between Mike and Anastasia, in regards to Kiril, fiance of Gretchen, but ultimately rejected as a solution to both Mike and Kiril being madly in love with Gretchen, the latter of which was formally arranged to marry her by Keldara custom.
- The War Against the Chtorr. After humiliating an idiot officer assigned to him, Captain McCarthy goes on a mission to investigate some Man Eating Plants, only to find he's being denied technical support, his security team has been ordered to withdraw without telling him, and there's a massive duststorm coming up that no-one's warned them about. He's finally extracted by a mysterious benefactor, but loses several members of his team in the process.
- In the first novel, the Uncle Ira group give McCarthy (who's been stirring up trouble thus drawing attention to their top secret organisation) a routine assignment to guard a Chtorran worm being displayed for a conference. Unknown to him, the case holding the worm has been deliberately weakened. Unknown to the Uncle Ira group, McCarthy has gone out to the firing range and trained himself to use the flechette rifle he's been issued with. McCarthy kills the worm becoming a hero in the process, so Uncle Ira decides to make the best of a bad situation and let him join for real.
- In Enders Game, Rose De Nose, the commander of Rat Army, tells his new recruit Ender that he can't use his holodesk until he freezes two soldiers in the same battle. Ender ignores him and uses it anyway, so Rose tries to humiliate him in battle by ordering him to be the first to enter the Battle Room, meaning he'll be completely alone against the enemy army. However, Ender turns it into a feat of glory by attacking Centipede Army while they're still entering the Battle Room, causing him to rack up a incredible kill count in a matter of seconds before he's frozen. After that, Rose leaves him alone.
- In Island in the Sea of Time, Walker encourages the moronic Pamela Lisketter and her followers in their supremely idiotic plan to steal a ship and travel to Mexico to educate the pre-Columbian civilizations, and even suggests that they kidnap Martha Cofflin and keep her as a hostage, because he knows that they'll all probably get killed and their ill-conceived venture will serve as a distraction to keep Marian Alston and the rest of the Coast Guard off of his ass while he sets up shop across the Atlantic.
- In "The Tale of Beren and Luthien" from The Silmarillion, Thingol orders Beren to bring him one of the Silmarils, enchanted jewels currently residing in the Big Bad's crown. Ostensibly this is as a bride-price to allow Beren to marry Thingol's daughter Luthien, but in reality it's a method of executing Beren without technically breaking his promise to Luthien that if she revealed the name of her lover, Thingol wouldn't kill or imprison him.
- The very plot of Tale of Fedot the Strelets, a poem by Russian writer Leonid Filatov (basically a retelling of the Fairy Tale example above). When Fedot, a strelets, married a beautiful fairy Marusya, his Tsar wanted the girl for himself. He started giving Fedot impossible tasks so that he could execute him for incompetence. Two of them Marusya managed to accomplish with her magic, but the third one was, literally, "Bring me the-thing-that-cannot-be". Fedot gets away by setting off on a journey, finding the "impossible" AND raising a revolution against Tsar.
- Duke Roger tries this on Prince Jon in Song of the Lioness, as Jon's birth inconveniently took away Roger's place in the line of succession. After a plague and goading him into exploring the Black City failed, Roger got himself a generalship in the Tusaine War and ordered Jon into an extremely exposed position. (This also failed.)
- As the title may hint, the poem "The Story of Uriah," by Rudyard Kipling, is a story about this trick being pulled on someone in colonial India.
- In The Initiate Brother, Emperor Akantsu deems Lord Shonto a threat to his throne, and assigns him to a border province while secretly encouraging barbarians to invade it. The hope is that even if Shonto survives, his inevitable defeat will permanently discredit him. The Emperor later throws his treacherous ex-lieutenant and his "useless" son into the same trap, just for good measure. The problem is, the barbarians arrive in much greater force than the Emperor expects (perhaps having noted well that the empire is not too big on the whole "unity" concept). They nearly conquer the empire.
- This is tried on T-Bag in Prison Break, multiple times. But he always comes back.
- Happens a couple of times in La Femme Nikita (the TV series).
- The usual practice in The Unit for officers who are discovered to be sleeping with a shooter's wife is for the shooters to put the officer on trial and then execute him to prevent this sort of thing. When Mac finds out that Tiffy and Colonel Ryan have been sleeping with each other in the season three premiere, Jonas stops Mac from killing Ryan there and then, and states a trial can wait until they've dealt with the more pressing problem of the terrorists who are targeting them.
- In the M*A*S*H episode, "The Tooth Shall Set You Free," the doctors discover that a racist commander has a particularly slimy way of dealing with the African American soldiers he was assigned with. Namely, he always orders them into dangerous duty instead of white soldiers in hopes of them earning points to be transferred out faster, if they aren't killed in action of course. The medical staff arrange a sting to force him to resign his commission.
- A Buffy example. An ally who thinks Buffy is getting a little too inquisitive sends her out to investigate what's presented as a possible low-level threat (maybe just a raccoon triggering their sensors):
Buffy: (speaking through a monitor) Professor Walsh. That simple little recon you sent me on? Wasn't a raccoon. Turns out it was me trapped in the sewers with a faulty weapon and two of your pet demons. If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out.
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, when Edmund is court-martialed, and Baldrick and George fail to do anything to save him, he volunteers them to a mission named "Operation Certain Death" (though they apparently manage to survive). However, since we only hear Capt. Blackadder's side of a telephone conversation in which the operation is mentioned, it's possible that he was just making it up, knowing the two dimwits would fall for it.
- In the 5th episode of Dollhouse ("True Believer"), Boyd attempts to get Echo pulled off of the job she's on because it's become too dangerous. However, Dominic (who believes Echo is becoming a liability to the Dollhouse) refuses to allow Boyd to extract Echo. When it seems that Echo is going to manage to scrape out of her situation after all, Dominic goes above and beyond this trope: he takes a private jet to the scene and slugs Echo in the face while she's in a burning building, and then flees with the hope that Echo will remain unconscious and burn to death. It doesn't work.
- After a handler is caught raping the Active in his care, Adelle offers him another chance to prove himself by killing Ballard's girlfriend, Mellie. Too bad for him the target was a sleeper active...
- The Lost episode "The Other Woman" strongly implies that Ben sent Goodwin on a risky mission to infiltrate the tail section survivors because he knew Goodwin was having an affair with Juliet and if Goodwin died then he could have Juliet for himself.
- And again in "Sundown" where Dogan sends Sayid out to kill Esau/NotLocke/Jacob's Enemy with a knife. Sayid, being the survivalist Bad Ass that he is, knows it's a Uriah Gambit but goes anyway. He lives. Dogan doesn't.
- He might not have done this actually. He told Sayid to not let "Locke" speak a word, but Sayid didn't stab him until after he'd said "Hello, Sayid". If he had followed Dogan's instructions, perhaps it would have worked.
- And again in "Sundown" where Dogan sends Sayid out to kill Esau/NotLocke/Jacob's Enemy with a knife. Sayid, being the survivalist Bad Ass that he is, knows it's a Uriah Gambit but goes anyway. He lives. Dogan doesn't.
- Some Get Smart fans have expressed belief that this was the Chief's real motivation for sending Max on so many dangerous missions.
- Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation speculated that Picard had done this to his First Officer, Jack Crusher, a notion that the show's producers tried to refute, for obvious reasons.
- The Expanded Universe did eventually provide an explanation for Jack's death and it's not entirely clear-cut although there was probably no malicious intent on Picard's part: Jack and the ship's security chief Joseph went EVA to cut loose a nacelle that was about to explode, Joseph got scared and abandoned Jack to do the job alone, and Joseph was helped to safety by Picard while Jack died in the explosion.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Court Martial", Kirk is accused of having done this to Finney who turns out to have faked his own death in order to frame Kirk.
- Before anyone objects that this rivalry wasn't over a woman: no, but it was over command of the Enterprise.
- Inasmuch as this makes any difference considering the two of them.
- Before anyone objects that this rivalry wasn't over a woman: no, but it was over command of the Enterprise.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, during the Dominion War, Klingon Chancellor Gowron felt threatened by General Martok's increasing popularity, so he repeatedly sent Martok on near-suicidal missions (instead of using him where he'd be most effective). It didn't work; Worf killed Gowron in a duel over this and gave Martok the chancellorship.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. In the Mirror Universe, Archer mutinies against Captain Forrest when he refuses to go on a risky mission into Tholian territory to steal an advanced Starfleet vessel from the 'normal' universe. Forrest retakes the ship with the help of T'Pol, but is forced to release Archer on orders from Starfleet, who want him to go ahead with the mission. Forrest sends Archer on the Boarding Party and orders T'Pol to go with him, making it clear Archer isn't to come back alive. When Enterprise is destroyed a short time later Archer becomes captain by default, so T'Pol never carries out these orders.
- It turned out that future NCIS director Leon Vance was first recruited specifically because he was a loner with no one who will miss him. The original idea was to send him on a suicide mission in Europe and use his death to justify an increase in funding to NIS's European branch. Needless to say, Vance turned out to be a better agent than expected and actually managed to accomplish the mission with help from Badass Israeli Mossad agent Eli David.
- In Community episode Modern Warfare Jeff discovers the position of the Glee Club by telling Pierce ''not'' to come over to him.
- In the Western-motif second season paintball episode, Pierce returns the favor (having become something of a villain within the group), sending Jeff out with blanks instead of real ammo in the hope that he would get "killed" on their mission to find the stash of last year's equipment.
- In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Forever Ambergris", a jealous war photographer sends his young protege to take photos in a village that had been ravaged by germ warfare, knowing that the younger man would catch the same disease that killed the villagers and die, leaving his girlfriend free for the older man's taking. Unfortunately for him, the younger guy's girl gets suspicious and deliberately exposes both of them to the same disease in revenge.
- Dyson's flashbacks in the Lost Girl episode "Brother Fae of the Wolves" ultimately lead to this trope being played out by his King. Not on him, but on his best friend. As in the case of The Bible above, it was so the King could get the guy's wife. Dyson was so disgusted that he quit his "pack", which is a very rare thing for wolf shifters.
- In the final episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Oswald Danes is the guy that ends up acting as a suicide bomber when the team needs one.
- In Game of Thrones, Tyrion suspects (with good reason) that his father Tywin is pulling this on him by making him lead the inexperienced Mountain Clans in battle. He calls him out on it too, saying that there have to be less costly means of getting him killed.
- In Season 4, Alleser and Janos attempt this against Jon Snow, knowing that he's quite popular within the Night's Watch and might actually attain command if they don't.
- In the second series of Horatio Hornblower, Buckland orders Horatio to blow up the Spanish fort on his own, and several characters accuse him of this. Including Captain Pellew, on the board of a court-martial.
- In Stargate SG-1, the head of the Lucian Alliance, trying to knock off a popular underling, sends him on a suicide mission to capture the Odyssey. Problem is, the guy is clever enough to pull it off and is well aware that he wasn't supposed to succeed.
- Referenced in Merlin. Morgana claims that Uther sent Gorlois into battle and withheld backup which resulted in Gorlois' death. It's never confirmed that Gorlois' death was intentional, but since Uther had an affair with the wife of Gorlois and fathered Morgana it's certainly possible.
- In the "His Last Vow" episode of Sherlock, Holmes has, in order to save Watson from a possible treason charge, killed Big Bad Charles Magnussen in cold blood. The government bigwigs quickly realize that, given Holmes saved the entire country from Moriarty last series and is the most popular man in Britain, imprisoning him for this crime would be political suicide for everyone involved. Instead they decide to send him on an extremely difficult mission for MI6 in the Middle East, presumably hoping he'd die "heroically" and thus keep the public happy. But before his plane even leaves the ground, Moriarty turns out to be not nearly as dead as he seemed.
- The 100 opens with one hundred juvenile delinquents being sent on a mission to the Earth's surface, to see if the radiation from the nuclear war has subsided enough to make the planet livable. According to everyone's calculations, Earth shouldn't be livable again for another hundred years, and all of the kids they sent down are expected to die. That's fine as far as the Council's concerned, since their real goal is to conserve their limited oxygen supply by reducing the population; the only reason the kids were given their "mission" instead of just being slaughtered is that, legally, the Council's not allowed to execute children.
- This is one of the main strategies of Michael in Burn Notice. He very rarely lethally shoots someone, but far more often gains their trust and sets them up on a course where they will be killed by their accomplices.
- This starts becoming standard operating procedure for Sarge in Red vs. Blue. Especially when Grif is the one involved, but not always limited to him. One sequence involved storming the enemy base in a single-file line, with Sarge at the back to 'evaluate' how well it goes. Grif is surprised he wasn't in the list ... until he was told his corpse was to be used to jam a deathtrap at the gates.
- The "deathtrap" moved at about five miles per hour, was easily avoidable, and the cut to what it would look like showed Grif's corpse having absolutely no effect on its movement.
- Attempted by both boss and minion on each other: Southeastern warlord Sun Ce with the "win-win" part in trying to bleed the Taiping sect's devotees by using them as canon fodder during his siege of a fortress in Liu Biao's territory, while said Taiping sect plans to leave him "high and dry" during it. Unfortunately for Taiping, Sun Ce is hardy enough to survive until for the Sun navy arrives to reinforce him, complete with their commander declaring that the Taiping sect's abandoning of Sun Ce gives the Suns an excuse to purge the Taiping...
- Elvis Costello has said that his song "Oliver's Army" was based on the premise that 'they always get a working class boy to do the killing'.
- The myth of the Greek hero Perseus killing Medusa was because the King of Serifos ordered him to do it so he could marry Perseus' mother. Backfires massively when Perseus learns that he has snagged Danae, thus he rushes back home to save his mom and shows him Medusa's head, turning him and his court into stone as punishment.
- Also from Greek Mythology, Bellerophon. He refused the advances of the queen of Tiryns, who then tricked her husband Proetus into believing that Bellerophon had tried to rape her. Bound by Sacred Hospitality not to kill his guest, Proetus sends Bellerophon to his father-in-law Iobates, King of Lycia, bearing a missive that asked the king to kill its bearer. Before reading it, the two had feasted well together and Iobates realized that simply killing Bellerophon might bring divine wrath upon the kingdom. Instead, Iobates repeatedly sent Bellerophon on suicidal missions where he continuously succeeded; this unfortunately got to the hero's head, earning him the wrath of Zeus, who struck him down.
- Most of Hercule's Labors were attempts to get him killed. They failed since Hercules was the World's Strongest Man and a clever one too. The labor of cleaning the Augean Stables (which had never been cleaned since ever) was unique in that it was meant to humiliate Hercules instead of kill him. Backfired when Hercules diverted a river into the Stables.
- Though that backfired on Hercules, since technically the river did the cleaning for him, so it didn't count, so he had another labor added.
- Other sources claim it didn't count not because of the river, but because he demanded payment for the job.
- Though that backfired on Hercules, since technically the river did the cleaning for him, so it didn't count, so he had another labor added.
- And another from Greek mythology - Jason. Went to claim his throne back from Evil Uncle Pelias. Pelias agrees to give him the throne if he sets sail to bring back the Golden Fleece. The Fleece rests in Colchis (modern day Georgia) with plenty of life-threatening obstacles in the way. Ironically it works but in a different way - Jason realises he doesn't want the throne after returning home, though this still has bad effects for Pelias since Jason's wife Medea kills him in an attempt to get the throne for herself.
- Paranoia encourages PCs to throw their underlings under the bus this way, while pretending that you're doing them a favor ("Suck-R, go disarm that berserk scrubot, you'll probably get a commendation for it"). If the underling seems devious enough to actually pull it off, then you may need to pile on some complications ("oh, but leave your toolkit here, we wouldn't want it to get damaged").
- A less subtle variation combined with Cavalry Betrayal in the history of Warhammer40000, when Horus put the loyalist elements of four of the Legions that supported his rebellion on the front lines of the assault on Istvaan III and then bombed the planet from orbit.
- In the game itself, the Space Wolves have a unit called the "Lone Wolf", a cheap but powerful character who will give the opponent a victory point if he survives the battle.. As a result, the basic strategy for Lone Wolves is to deliberately throw them at the enemy in the hopes that they die taking down as many enemies as possible, or at the very least drawing their fire.
- The Death Seekers in Legend of the Five Rings are a unit of Lion samurai who set up Uriah Gambits for themselves. If you fail the Lion Clan spectacularly enough that your death is required, but not so monstrously that immediate seppuku is the only way you'll exonerate your kin from being shadowed by your shame, you can join this unit. They intentionally rush the best of the Lion's enemies at the beginning of battle. Almost certain to kill them (and if it doesn't kill a particular Death Seeker, he/she will just prepare a new Uriah Gambit for theirself after the battle), but also certain to take a sizable chunk out of said best of the enemies.
- One personality outlined in the Planescape splat book Uncaged, Faces of Sigil is "Sly" Nye, a Xaositect who for some reason, works as a defense attorney. While Nye has never lost a case, he tends to drive the Guvners at the Courthouse up the wall, and they often assign him to defend criminals sent to the Dustmen's Court of Woe, hoping he won't come back. (The Court of Woe is a "service" rendered to the Guvners where petty criminals are sometimes sentenced to help deal with the backlog, and it is a hellish place overseen by the demonic Judge Gabberslug. While Gabberslug technically isn't allowed to sentence defendants to death, that occasionally happens to folks in the court, defendant or otherwise, that annoy him.) Unfortunately, it never works the way the Guvners intend. Gabberslug, being from the Abyss, appreciates Nye's grasp on Chaos, and is usually pleased when he shows up.
- There's an interesting version in Cyrano de Bergerac. At the beginning of the play, the Comte de Guiche is a lecherous evil aristocrat who wants to make Roxane his mistress and is the enemy of Cyrano and his cadets. During a battle with Spain, he sends a spy to tell the Spanish how to attack the Cadets so they will be massacred. What makes this interesting, is that although this scheme results in the death of Roxane's husband, Christian (which is typical of a Uriah Gambit), this wasn't the intent and seems to have prompted de Guiche's Heel Realization, as post-time skip, he admires Cyrano's virtue and is just a close friend to Roxane, who is now a nun.
- In Ultima V, one can get a spy to join the party; his name is Saduj. If you enter any combat with him in it, he will immediately become an enemy, but until then gameplay-wise is a member of the party. If you avoid combat and are captured by the usurper Blackthorne, Blackthorne always picks the second member of your party, and kills him off permanently. That person's ashes are then shown at the Codex, the shrine of all that is Virtue, as someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Good. We'll remember ye, Saduj. Do this before getting the Sandlewood Box.
- In the first game of the Baldur's Gate series, certain NPCs come in pairs and will leave the party together, as the one kicked out will initiate dialogue and take the other one with them. Dead, booted-out NPCs, however, cannot initiate such dialogue and frees up a slot while leaving their partner in the party. Jaheira used to have a nasty tendency of charging headfirst into marauding hobgoblin bands without armour and weapons on once Yeslick became available... As did Dynaheir right off the bat if the PC was a mage.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons Video Game version of Temple Of Elemental Evil, a temporary party member named Prince Thrommel has a Cool Sword called Fragarach. He will only release the sword if you pry it from his cold dead hands. Evil players can just kill him (and it's required for a quest in the Lawful Evil path). Good characters who want the sword "accidentally" let him die. (You can resurrect him later, he doesn't ask what happened to his sword, oddly and will still give you its counterpart.) You can also marry a (rather annoying) NPC (with subpar stats) for a gift and throw her into the middle of combat naked, her father doesn't care.
- In Pool of Radiance, the first of the Gold Boxgames, you could hire NPCs to go with you. Hire until you get two guys in plate armor, then 'accidentally' cast a sleep spell too close to them, which makes them die immediately when hit by the enemy. They have magic plate armor and swords. "Oops, I'm too low level to resurrect you, but I can use animate dead", and get two free fairly powerful zombies you don't have to pay, and once they finally get hacked to pieces, some nice armor and swords...
- The first mission given to you by Prince LaCroix in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a variation of this trope; once he realizes killing you in public would become a PR nightmare, he gives you a mission that would simply get rid of you... And if you by some incredible good stroke of fortune happen to succeed, well, that suits his purposes just as well. The last mission he gives you, which consists of making you find Nines and then setting fire to the forest next to your meeting place so the werewolves'll get you both, is an even better example.
- You can reasonably argue that all of LaCroix's missions are an example of this. Or did you think that being sent all by yourself against increasingly suicidal odds was just a gaming convention?
- In Knights of the Old Republic II, you find out that the Battle of Malachor V was like this too, at least according to HK-47. Revan stacked the fleet with Jedi and soldiers who might oppose his upcoming rise to power. The Exile was the only Jedi came out of the battle alive and returned to the Jedi Order to face trial.
- A minor variant here was that Revan didn't necessarily want to kill the Jedi he stacked the Malachor fleet with — the battle was so horrible that it would drive any Jedi there towards the Dark Side, which as far as Revan was concerned was even better than killing them (Revan had a thing for turning enemies into allies).
- If the Total War title you're playing doesn't allow you to change your faction heir, this is almost guaranteed to come up at least once a campaign. Disloyal generals can be bribed with wives and titles, but your unruly sons can't, and trying to have them assassinated may be too risky. Or maybe medieval inbreeding has left a character with a host of negative traits that you don't want contaminating your family line. In any case, these unwanted characters and their bodyguards function best as disposable heavy cavalry - either they'll die a "glorious" death on the battlefield, or somehow survive and pick up traits to make them even better disposable heavy cavalry. If you're Catholic, you can even use them to show the Pope how dedicated you are to his latest stupid crusade by martyring your "beloved" son to the cause.
- In Fallout, the player must succeed at one such mission before being initiated in the Brotherhood of Steel, which involves retrieving a pre-war data disc from a heavily radiated military base. Of course, the player doesn't learn it is an Uriah Gambit until after s/he succeeds.
- The Pariah Dog in Fallout 2 comes with the Jinxed perk, causing everyone in combat to fail spectacularly. (If you've ever played a Jinxed character, you'll be familiar with the lost ammo, destroyed own weapon, critically missed and crippled own arm shtick.) It doesn't aid in combat or even absorb blows for you, uses up a follower slot, and your Luck drops to 1. It doesn't help that doom doggy has 750hp, runs when you attack it but comes back once you stop, and you're missing half the time (and losing all your ammo). Suggestions for how to off it get pretty interesting... But heaven help you if you critical kill it with a zero damage attack, as its negative effects will never leave even though it's dead!
- Dominions has no way to disband a unit, and your units cost you full upkeep even when injury or disease renders them useless. Players will often send the expensive, feeble-minded old wizard on a suicide charge into the nearest enemy territory to get them out of the roster. Just send the player you're "attacking" a note; they'll understand.
- In StarCraft, Mengsk sends Kerrigan to hold off the Protoss during a Zerg invasion, and when the Zerg begin to overwhelm the Terrans and Protoss alike he abandons her. It's implied the reason he did this was because she and Raynor were beginning to get a bit too defiant to his increasingly extreme methods. Works outside the game reveal that another reason was that she was one of the Ghosts that murdered his family. Kerrigan in particular was the one who beheaded his father Angus Mengsk.
- Oh no, the Zerg just put a parasite on one of my easy-to-replace marines! That means they'll be able to spy on me and track my army's movements as long as he's alive! On a related note, we need someone to head into the enemy base so we can scout their troop composition. Any volunteers?
- Also happens in Starcraft II multiplayer games. If you get to extreme late game you might end up with more workers than you really want to have and you want that population cap freed up for more combat units. So from starting off as a valuable part of your forces they become a nuisance. Solution? Charge unwanted workers at the enemy ahead of your main army. That way it ensures they die to free up your population whilst simultaneously soaking up some of the enemy fire which would otherwise be targetted at your army. Even more viable with Zerg given how fast their tech switches can happen. Its not uncommon for a Zerg player to simply attack-move suicide "useless" units or even his entire army into an opponent with the aim of deliberately getting them all killed whilst doing as much damage as possible in order to be able to completely rebuild an army from scratch to take advantage of weaknesses in the opponent's composition.
- Blizzard seems to like this trope. In the Warcraft III expansion The Frozen Throne, the blood elves fall under the command of a racist human general named Garithos, who abhorred any non-human race but had a special place in his heart for the elves due to believing them being responsible for failing to protect his family's lands during the Second War. As such, when Kael came under his command, Garithos went out of his way to give Kael the most menial, humiliating tasks he could. When Kael asked for weightier tasks, Garithos gave one to him...in the form of a suicide mission where the blood elves were meant to be nothing but canon fodder while all Garithos' other forces aided him at the front line. Despite this, Kael and the elves survive, but Garithos sentences them to death anyway for consorting with the naga, despite the fact they would have died if they didn't. At that point, Garithos admits he never trusted the elves and believed they should have never been accepted into the Alliance, essentially revealing his treatment of them comes from the chip on his shoulder.
- Battlefield: Bad Company centers around B Company, an army company seemingly created for this very purpose and to which the most troublesome members of the Army are sent in the hopes that they get killed in their assigned suicide missions. At the time the game is set, the company consists of The Everyman PC, who took a helicopter for a joyride and crashed it on a general's limo; a cowardly nerd who infected a secure military network with a nasty computer virus after using it to look up porn; an explosion-obsessed redneck who blew up the largest ammo dump east of Paris; and the Only Sane Man sergeant who volunteered for the position in the hopes that it will help him retire faster (service in B Company counts towards discharge faster, so even if they somehow survive their suicide missions the Army will be rid of them soon enough).
- This is a frequently suggested solution for unwanted immigrants in Dwarf Fortress. Put 'em in a combat unit, send them out to meet raiding parties or down into infested caverns.
- May be a rare sympathetic one, depending on how much an immigrant could possibly mess up the live or die situation. Or it might be Just another day in the life of a fortress
- Happens more than once in the Fire Emblem franchise, where several Bad Bosses send out their Anti-Villain warriors into very dangerous missions to get them killed.
Sigurd: Telling your husband's little sister to go off to war... What is Mistress Iria thinking?!
- The most blatant example is Blazing Sword: Evil Matriarch Sonia sends her much-hated Dark Magical Girl daughter Nino to kill Prince Zephiel by promising her to give her the maternal love she craves for when she returns... and then secretly tells Jaffar, her partner in said mission, to kill Nino and use her as a scapegoat. Too bad Jaffar was starting to fall for Nino, so he decided to pull a Last Stand for her instead.
- Used in Seisen no Keifu too, when King Chagall sends out his knight Eltoshan against his childhood friend Sigurd. Only a very risky (and player optional) Go Through Me from Eldigan's sister Raquesis stops them from fighting to death.
- And in the Oosawa manga, Eltoshan's wife is derailed into a Clingy Jealous Girl who gives Raquesis permission to join Sigurd's crew in open hopes to get her killed in battle so she'll be forever away from the older brother she has Brother-Sister Incest vibes with. Raquesis immediately notices and is saddened, but she decides to keep fighting anyway.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, one of the Mage's Guild leaders has you go pull a ring out of the bottom of a well. A ring that happens to weigh as much as a full suit of armor. One of your predecessors is floating around in said well when you dive in. Guess which Mage's Guild leader turns out to be working with the Necromancers?
- In the Dark Brotherhood questline of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Astrid sends the player to poison the Emperor. After the deed is done however, Commander Maro, leader of the Penitus Oculatus states that the man you killed was a decoy and Astrid sent the player up in exchange for the Penitus Oculatus leaving the Brotherhood alone. Unfortunately for her, Maro hasn't exactly forgiven her for having his son assassinated and declared a traitor so he decides to kill you and the rest of the Brotherhood.
- In Liberal Crime Squad, Conservative enlightened too late are tagged "wanted for rehabilitation", and if they are arrested, they will spill the bean on their recruiters. So there are 2 ways to deal with them: Send them to a minor and crime free safehouse to do some tame stuff (like legal fundraising), or send them to their death (like ordering them to sell brownies until they run into the Police Gang Units, or better, the Death Squads, and make them fight to the death, or just showing up at a Conservative place naked and armed with molotovs.)
- In Dragon Age: Origins Loghain first tries to get Cailain to wait for reinforcements then tries to keep him from being on the front lines. When both attempts fail and the signal fire is late, Loghain simply leaves with the rest of the men rather than charging in as they had planned. There is much argument among both fans and various characters as to whether he was intending for Cailan to die or simply trying to save as much of the army as he could thanks to the beacon fire being late. Either way, he isn't too broken up about it and refuses to admit his own role. Even if you recruit him he maintains that he was not trying to get Cailan killed but simply could not save him from his own foolishness. Buuut then again, other actions immediately before the battle hint that he was plotting something anyway.
- Over the early part of the original Command & Conquer's Brotherhood of Nod campaign, your Mission Control, Seth, becomes more and more jealous of your success. After a few missions of supplying blatantly incorrect intelligence, he unconvincingly congratulates you on your latest victory, then announces that he has a new, secret mission for you, one that not even Kane is aware of:
Seth: You see, power shifts quickly in the Brotherhood. Kane has been loath to attack America, but I think now is the time, and you are the one to do it. This is the Pentagon. A full-scale attack with your strongest forces should render the military control center ino—
- In God of War III, Hephaestus learns that Kratos intends to open Pandora's Box, which will require Pandora, who Hephaestus regards as his daughter, to be sacrificed. So he sends Kratos to retrieve an Omphalos Stone, on a promise that he will use it to create a new weapon for Kratos, not mentioning that the stone is inside the guts of the Titan Cronos. It doesn't work.
- Any soldier that you take a dislike to in X-COM will most likely end up being the first one through the doors of a UFO.
- In the Soul Series side mode Chronicles of the Sword, Emperor Strife is jealous of The Cadet and their popularity. So what does he do? Sends him on the most suicidal missions with just his tiny standing forces, offers no back, and pretty much tells him to hold the line regardless of casualities inflicted to his forces. However, you still get to kill him in the end.
- In Duel Savior Destiny Taiga is sent to destroy the Messiah Armor. While it really is an artifact of doom Muriel gave everyone petrification potions and said they were wards against the undead. She was trying to get him killed by having him have to face the armor by himself since she recognizes that he's close to being the Messiah and the Messiah will destroy and recreate the universe if it is ever realized.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Sith Inquisitor story starts with Harkun sending you on missions around Korriban, explicitly saying he expects you to fail. The third time around, you start to catch on.
"Yes, I get it already. You send me into a tomb to do the impossible, hoping I die, and I come back and prove you wrong."
- In the Sith Warrior storyline, after completing Plan Zero and eliminating several key Republic leaders, Darth Baras sends you to Quesh, ostensibly to complete another mission, only to have another of his agents attempt to dispatch you, since you have now become powerful enough to threaten him.
- Alkin in Heroes of Might and Magic III was given a post in Tatalia's military by King Trallosk, who openly dislikes Alkin and privately hoped he would get himself killed on the battlefield. Much to the king's displeasure, Alkin has enjoyed a long and glorious military career.
- The entire reason Derpl Zork is fighting alongside the Awesomenauts is this. His uncle, Blabl, would rather Derpl didn't inherit the business he founded and turned into an interstellar corporate empire, so guess who's field-testing an experimental walking office desk mech with a secretary AI? Derpl isn't aware of the gambit, but then again, he's so stupid he's probably not even aware a battle's going on to begin with.
- The Slight Hope story from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND is one of these Hazama tries to subject Makoto to. The job involves investigating an energy source within the Ibukido ruins where Noel was "born", with obfuscating patches of debris to prevent investigation, seithr thick enough to choke a man to death, and a faulty cauldron with a direct link to the Boundary as the occupational hazards - failing to complete the job would result in career suicide, while the rest are more direct, meaning that this job was meant to kill the intrepid spy one way or another. In the true ending, this trope winds up subverted as, much to Hazama's dismay, not only did none of these hazards do Makoto in, but her little jaunt through the Boundary gave her knowledge that is toxic to his plans at large, with full intent on using it to fix her friends up and, by extension, ruin aforementioned plans completely, forcing him to take matters into his own hands. That she actually ruined his plans in the world she fell into during aforementioned jaunt is merely icing on the cake. Refreshingly, Makoto's quite aware this isn't standard protocol, but is willing to take it on to bring her family back into black. Hazama loses all around this time, which is a stark contrast from how he gets away with something in every other story.
"Ugh... I know for a fact the NOL's got outposts around here. Why not have a scout check it out? Meh... I should quit bitching. A job's a job. Can't help out the family just sitting on my tail."
- Prince Thrakhath in the Wing Commander franchise keeps his position of power despite being a General Failure by identifying those amongst his subordinates who are most likely to assassinate him and assigning them highly dangerous positions.
- In Modern Warfare 2, this is combined with Unwitting Pawn with fatal results for PFC Allen. Shepherd sends him to infiltrate Makarov's inner circle counting on Makarov seeing through him and using him as a scapegoat to kickstart a war between America and Russia.
- One of these gambits triggers the whole plot of Akatsuki Blitzkampf. Murakumo sent Akatsuki to the Arctic Pole so he'd handle the Blitz Engines knowing that his and his crew's mission would fail and they'd be sunk to the depths of the icy Arctic Ocean, which was all included in his plan to monopolize the Engines themselves. Fifty years later, when Akatsuki's Human Popsicle days finish and he returns, he tries to continue with his mission; if/when he faces Murakumo, now the Big Bad, he will NOT be happy to find out that he was thrown under the ice, uh, bus...
- Shogo in Saints Row 2 does this by leaking Jyunichi's location to the Saints, in a bid to prove his worth to his father. He pulls it off, sure, but it blows up in his face spectacularly.
- It's speculated that Zala'ess pulled this on her daughter Vy'chriel in Drowtales, considering that Vy'chriel's was sent into the middle of an enemy fortress with no visible backup against someone several times her age, resulting in a Curb-Stomp Battle that left her dead. There's also the fact that she's not the original daughter, she was the daughter's protector and killed her, only to take her place, and Zala'ess would have killed her herself if her older sister hadn't interfered.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Roy's first adventuring party kept sending Durkon on suicidal missions, but Durkon kept surviving. Durkon was actually aware they were trying to get rid of him, but he was resigned to it until Roy stood up for him, at which point the two left to form their own group.
- Miko Miyazaki overlaps this trope and Snipe Hunt. She's so unbearable to be around that she's repeatedly sent on missions away from Azure City, usually for months at a time; she's so bad that they actually consider it worth the bad publicity of having her representing the city if it means getting her out of their hair. No one ever explicitly says they're trying to kill her, but the other paladins sort of give the idea that no one would be particularly sad if she did die, either.
- Unfortunately, being on adventures so often and surviving means she's the most powerful paladin in her order. She almost kills Hinjo in combat, with martial prowess alone.
- Inverted by Tarquin, who decides he wants to marry a woman from the Free City of Doom who is already married to a Pikeman on the city's south wall. When his soldiers invade, they take special care of her husband. Which he then told her about.
- The title character was once sent to conquer a bunch of dirt-monkeys in a far away system as an alternative to flushing into space not offending his clan — it's a win-win.
- Later Vexxarr can identify this situation at a glance:
a Shlumpoid: Suicide mission? What makes you think the Supreme Council wants me dead?
Vexxarr: Oh, I don't know... There's just something about being sent against a technically superior enemy without possessing so much as an opposable thumb that sort of sets off my conspiratorial side...
- The entire test in the Zygaena's Flower arc from Tower of God is designed around the idea that public enemy Viole and his allies should meet Urek Mazino and just fucking die already.
- In this Schlock Mercenary strip, part of the book "The Blackness Between", Tagon and Jeeves discuss how to handle a frigate controlled by Admiral Breya Andreyasn's husband, as part of the Tough's assignment to capture Breya, by sending him and his ship off to attack a hostile force that the Toughs have no intention of engaging beyond a feint, leaving the frigate to be overwhelmed and destroyed.
- In If The Emperor Had A Text To Speech Device, one of the first things the Emperor does when he's able to communicate for the first time in millennia is order the Ultramarines - who he hates due to a mixture of their Mary Sue traits and the fact that he's been listening to their chanting for ten thousand years - to go right into the Eye of Terror to capture a Daemon Primarch with their ships' Geller Fields disabled so they have no defense against the daemonic hordes. Several episodes later he's astonished when the Ultramarines actually accomplish this suicide mission, and the Emperor has a change of heart, reasoning that a chapter of Boring Invincible Heroes may be annoying, but they can at least get stuff done, so he sends them on a seemingly impossible but non-suicidal mission.
- In one episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an Earth Kingdom soldier mentions that one way the Fire Nation deals with war prisoners is dressing them up in military uniforms and sending them to the front lines without weapons.
- It's implied (or at least suspected by some suspicious-minded fans) that this happened to Iroh's son, who died in battle before the start of the series.
- Also suspected by suspicious fans is that Ozai sent Zuko away on a Snipe Hunt hoping that he would get killed sooner rather than later, so that Ozai could have him out of his hair permanently without getting his hands dirty. Well, dirtier.
- It’s pretty heavily implied in canon that Ozai’s intention in exiling Zuko until he captured the Avatar was a Xanatos Gambit: if Zuko brought back the Avatar, that was an near-guarantee of Fire Nation victory in the war; if Zuko got himself killed, Ozai could replace him as heir with his brilliant and talented younger sister, whose ambitions and morals are totally in line with Ozai’s. Luckily, Zuko ends up choosing to Take a Third Option and defect. Eventually.
- In Invader Zim, the Tallest, the leaders of the Irkens, send Zim to "invade" an uncharted area they assume has no planets in it, inhabited or otherwise, because they don't want him screwing up any invasions. It turns out to be Earth.
- And in a later episode, they send him to a harsh alien boot camp in the hope that he'll be killed, while at the same time holding a betting pool on how long Zim will last. Not only is Zim the only member of his training unit to survive, but the Tallest end up losing an extremely large amount of money to the one guy they forced to bet more money than he'd ever see in his life on Zim surviving — since they'd lose money if no-one bet for him.
- On a similar note, they try doing the same thing to Invader Skoodge, sending him to Blorch, home of the slaughtering rat-people, because he's too short. Against all odds, he's the first invader to succeed his mission, so he's "rewarded" by being launched out of a cannon into the planet that he just conquered.
- ReBoot has Megabyte do this to his own henchmen Hack & Slash because he's sick of their incompetence.
- The Veggie Tales adaptation (needing to be family-friendly) had Uriah hold his ground and win the day single-handedly—but suffers from some long-term severe post-traumatic stress. Granted, he was unlikely to be killed by pies in the first place...
- The gambit was carried out because the king wanted Uriah's rubber ducky. Instead of lust over a woman he finds bathing, it's greed over a Kid's bath toy.note
- In Transformers Prime, Starscream does this to two different 'cons. First was Predaking, whom the Decepticons felt was potentially becoming too powerful, especially with the new Predcons coming online. So they opted to get the Autobots to destroy the research facility, and hopefully when Predaking wants revenge, either scraps the Autobots or gets scrapped by the Autobots. This plan has Megatron's full support. However, the second involved him trying to off Shockwave, who, although was his equal in rank, was running the risk of supplanting him, so he sprang the plan without warning Shockwave in the hopes he'd get scrapped (Starscream handwaves this by explaining that he wanted Shockwave's reaction to be genuine). Shockwave didn't die, but he was unable to save a lot of data, which could potentially affect his standing with Megatron. The next episode reveals that Shockwave caught on to Starscream's little scheme and he wasn't too happy about it.
- One episode of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, "The Crooked Man", is based on the above mentioned literary example. In this case, the gambit involved the man convincing his co-worker to undergo an experimental genetic process they were working on, then sabotaging it, all so he could marry the co-workers fiance. Whether or not he'd hoped it'd kill the co-worker is uncertain, but it did leave the poor guy as a lion/human hybrid who had to hide from society at large.
- In ThunderCats (2011), during a flashback, Grune thinks that King Claudus sent him on a Snipe Hunt for the Book of Omens because he feared his ambition. Which, in hindsight, wouldn't have been unreasonable since Grune really did try to become king and eventually betrayed the Cats.
- Homer does this unintentionally to Barney in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Plow", tricking him into thinking there's a customer on Widow’s Peak, a large treacherous mountain outside of town, so he's out of the way and can plow driveways again. (As underhanded as this was, Barney was being sort of a Jerkass in this episode by defaming and slandering Homer in his commercials.) When it does seem like it's about to turn into a real Urial Gambit (Barney's truck ends up trapped under an avalanche) Homer has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and drives to the mountain to rescue him.