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Adventure Duo

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Let's go have an adventure!

"Piper and Blue. Heh. Sounds more like a jazz combo than a traveling outfit. But it'll do."
Piper Wright, Fallout 4

A specific pair dynamic that is especially common in adventure stories. The Hero tends to be fairly serious, at least for what world they're in. They usually retain a sarcastic sense of humor and are quite literal-minded. The Lancer, on the other hand, is weird. They might be neurotic, borderline psychotic (or they are psychotic), naive, cowardly, lecherous, treacherous, whatever. They might occasionally act serious when the plot demands, but besides that, they're an oddball.

In regards to video games, the reason for this is so that when The Hero points something out, The Lancer will make a comment about it which is funny, helping the player to remember the clue.

Occasionally fights crime. Often confused with Battle Couple, which is entirely different. Usually. In cases where this trope is inverted, the sidekick might be one that is hypercompetent.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Havok and Polaris, from the first volume of X-Factor. Havok wrings his hands so much over the responsibility of leadership that Polaris has to gently remind him to not be so much like his brother Cyclops. Polaris has deep-seated insecurities that crop up occasionally, so they have been known to swap roles.
  • Red (2003) features Frank Moses and Marvin Boggs, a pair of ex-CIA operatives who take down a lot of fresh-faced assassins together - Frank with experience and all-rounded combat skills, Marvin with very large guns and the kind of mad survival instincts that eleven straight years of LSD dosing can instill in a man.
  • While during their earlier adventures both Bronze Tiger and Richard Dragon were more straight heroes after Tiger tracks down a broken Dragon and gets him to join him in taking down a group of psychotic killers, about half of whom Dragon trained, Tiger plays the straight man to Dragon's hot-headed impulsiveness and new nihilistic traits.

  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen gives us Kalam, a practically-minded, matter-of-fact professional assassin, and his best friend Quick Ben, a wizard who enjoys playing with voodoo dolls, scamming gods and eldritch abominations alike and is considered completely mad and a danger to everyone involved by friends and foes alike.
  • Gotrek & Felix: Gotrek Gurnisson is a dwarf Slayer, oathbound to find his doom against some worthy foe (and is very, very bad at finding it, coming out on top of every battle). Felix Jaeger is his Tagalong Chronicler, who is far from cowardly but finds it necessary to pull Gotrek out of pointless battles. They fight just about every horrible thing the Warhammer world can throw at them.
  • Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart: Inverted Trope. Lancelot is the main character but he's not a Vanilla Protagonist, he's ridiculous and dramatic, while Gawain behaves more conventionally. Lancelot gets in a cart (something considered very eccentric in the story); Gawain follows behind on a horse. Gawain obeys their host who says no one can sleep in the forbidden danger bed; Lancelot insists on sleeping in it. Lancelot sees Guinevere from a window and is so distraught when she passes out of view that he nearly commits suicide; Gawain tells him to pull it together.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mal and Zoe of Firefly somewhat invert this, where Zoe is the cool, levelheaded and serious one, while Mal is the somewhat weird one despite being the lead character.
  • The same thing is done in Farscape, where Aeryn is so in control that she's only ever out of control for one or two scenes in the entire series, and John starts out spooked by all the alien life and gets progressively crazier as it progresses. Also a Battle Couple.
  • Supernatural: Sam and Dean Winchester. Played straight in Sam-centric episodes where the more serious Sam is The Hero and Dean is The Lancer. Inverted in Dean-centric where the goofier (but very broken) Dean is The Hero and Sam is The Lancer.
  • Lois & Clark: Paradoxically (given his alien origins), Clark is actually The Scully, with Lois being the one leaping to wild conclusions and charging headfirst into danger.
  • Early episodes of The 100, where Clarke and Finn paired up a lot, used this dynamic, with Clarke always being very focused on keeping everyone alive, while Finn joked around a lot more and liked to treat their time on the ground as an adventure. Gets a Lampshade Hanging when Finn refers to himself as the reckless one and Clarke as the responsible one.

    Video Games 
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has many possibilities, especially adding in Mask of the Betrayer. You can play the silly one with Elanee, Casavir, Safiya, Kaelyn, or Okku as the serious sidekick; or you can play the serious member of the pair with Bishop, Khelgar, Neeshka, or Gann as the sillier sidekick.
  • Depending upon how you play it, the player character can be the silly one with Bastila as the serious counterpart in Knights of the Old Republic. (A female player character doesn't quite have the same dynamic with Troubled, but Cute pilot Carth, though she can still tease him mercilessly while he's trying to be serious).
  • Jade Empire has the potential for the player to be quite silly, with Silk Fox constantly reminding him/her of the seriousness of the situation.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is set up so that the Warden is usually going to be the Only Sane Man while everyone else in your party, including Alistair and Morrigan who both come closest to playing The Lancer, are at least slightly mad.
  • Grim Fandango stars Manny Calavera, a driven, lovestruck Grim Reaper, and his sidekick Glottis, an eight-foot-tall gearhead demon with a gambling problem and a weakness for nitroglycerin martinis.
  • Soul Nomad & the World Eaters: Revya, a Wide-Eyed Idealist Heroic Mime who wants to save the world, and Gig, the Heroic Comedic Sociopath Omnicidal Maniac who lives inside the former's head and wants to wantonly destroy, corrupt and befoul everything and generally make the world a worse place because he thinks it's funny, but has to come along on the world-saving anyhow and generally snarks about all the plot points and characters.
  • In Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time the protagonist, Crevaniel, travels with a quirky, fairy-like familiar.
  • The Sam & Max: Freelance Police:
    • Sam the sarcastic, literal hero, and Max, who's... er, Max.
    • Deconstructed in Sam and Max Season 3 Episode 4: Beyond The Alley Of The Dolls, when the Sam clones were made because Sam is 'the perfect straight man', meaning they could be easily controlled by a Funny Guy.
  • Baldur's Gate has Jaheira the wise fighter-druid, and Khalid her neurotic husband. Or Khalid the gentle and cautious fighter and Jaheira his overly wilful wife. Make of that what you will. They're both just slightly weird.
  • Neku and Beat in The World Ends with You, Neku and Shiki to a lesser extent. Neku is always serious and sarcastic, while Beat is goofy, impulsive, and stubborn. Shiki tries to pretend to be always cheery, but it turns out that she's not exactly what she appears.
  • The Courier of Fallout: New Vegas and any of their possible companions. There is no 'ordinary' when it comes to who you travel with in the Mojave, and the Courier is the sarcastic Straight Man to your companions, with not a single 'normal' one among them. Most of the Courier's reactions to their Companion is playing off their personality quirks. You also usually only travel with one intelligible individual at a time (you may find some companions who don't speak per se and will join you to make a trio), so there you go.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright (sarcastic, literal hero) and Maya Fey (happy-go-lucky oddball). Eventually he encounters Pearl who is less odd, but only because she's a little girl — her personality is equally upbeat, but more bolshy than Maya. Maya's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Ema, is even more happy-go-lucky and even more naïve.
    • When Franziska von Karma, the very serious, whip-happy prosecutor, tags along with you in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations, her general misunderstanding of American/Japanese culture and many things outside her area of expertise lead to much the same effect as if she was Maya.
    • Taken pretty much to the extreme with ultra-sarcastic, refined Edgeworth and his sidekick Gumshoe, who's like Doctor Zoidberg without the lobster.
    • Edgeworth gets multiple sidekicks throughout his own game. Gumshoe and Franziska are the only returning characters to fill this role while the most prominent of the new characters is Kay Faraday, a self-proclaimed Great Thief. Two different stewardesses take the role as well during the second case as you are on a plane mid-flight. There's also 13-year-old Franziska and new cop Gumshoe, who are paired with Edgeworth during a flashback case while he still strived for perfection leading to a slightly different feeling then their present-day selves. Also, Franziska is the butt of many short jokes during this time.
  • Inverted in Snatcher. Gillian, the hero, is a Handsome Lech with an odd way of looking at the world, and Metal is a literal strait-laced snarky robot. However, most of the environmental observations are governed by Metal, and Gillian takes the helm in conversations where his oddness can really shine.

  • The Order of the Stick: Xykon is the main villain, and just likes to goof around, while Redcloak is the serious one who makes all the plans and preparations. Strangely, the "goofy" one is the more powerful one. Xykon is mostly just bored, unable to sleep, and can only spend so many hours working on artifacts, posing him with the problem of how to spend those remaining hours. Up until Xykon gets ticked off when Redcloak loses Xykon's Soul Jar when V attacked. Xykon then proceeds to become more serious.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, there is a villainous variant with Kaizoku, who is the snarking and mostly serious fairy pirate, and Shuu, who is his oddball kitsune companion in a human shape.

    Western Animation 
  • Yet another subversion is that of Bonkers, where the lead character is well, a toon, whereas his partner and arguable sidekick Lucky Piquel is generally more level-headed.
  • The adventurous Rudy and the intelligent Penny from ChalkZone.
  • Rufus and Amberley in The Dreamstone. Something of an inverted case since Rufus is the more buffoonish of the two, with Amberley more often acting as the level-headed leader.
  • Gravity Falls has the "Mystery Twins" Mabel Pines and Dipper Pines. Dipper is serious and focused on the town's mysterious whereas Mabel is more eccentric and out there.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Adventure Couple


Ratchet and Clank

Ratchet is the fun-loving and whimsy, and sidekick Clank being serious and out to save the galaxy.

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