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"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado.
Anybody want to see Second Prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives.
Third prize is you're fired."

The Hero has received the Call to Adventure, but has refused it. He is then told he will receive a reward for accepting it. If he doesn't do it, something suitably horrible will happen to him. Simply put, this is a way that the hero is forced to answer the call.

This is specifically for those instances when the same person (usually The Herald) will initiate both the reward and the punishment. Contrastly, if the hero is called upon to defuse a bomb, he might expect to be rewarded for succeeding, while the natural consequence of failing is being blown up. That is not this trope.

Essentially, while some people inspire loyalty by offering a carrot, and some people inspire fear by threatening a stick, this person just hits you over the head with the carrot.

Compare The Call Knows Where You Live.


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  • In Ninja Scroll, Jubei initially doesn't want to fight against the Seven Devils of Kimon, having nearly died fighting Tessei and barely escaping from Benisato. Dakuan offers him a generous sum of gold but Jubei still refuses. Then Dakuan reveals the throwing star he used to break Benisato's hypnosis was poisoned. If Jubei agrees to work for Dakuan, he gets the gold and the antidote. Otherwise, he'll die.

  • The Avengers (2012): Loki wants to get revenge against his brother and Take Over the World into the bargain, and enlists the help of prospective Galactic Conqueror Thanos and the Chitauri to do so (he gets to rule Earth; they get the Tesseract to aid them in conquering everything else). Early on in the movie, it's made painfully clear to him that should the conquest of Earth fail, he will be held entirely responsible and punished in ways he could not begin to imagine. In the Final Battle, he's almost talked out of his vendetta, but he's clearly terrified of what Thanos would do to him, and claims that it's "too late for that." Then, he largely intentionally brought in all of the Avengers and pointed them in the right direction to foil the plot with increasingly unsubtle hints, and in his next film appearance he faked his death well enough to fool a pack of Physical Gods, so he may have been taking an escape hatch out instead of actually accepting the call.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross: A scene added to the movie (to add urgency to the plot) has a corporate hatchet-man bluntly inform the sales team that in addition to the usual prizes for the top closers, the worst closers will be fired at the end of the week.
  • In Run Fat Boy Run, Dennis' motivation to run the marathon starts out as "prove to the woman I love that I have the willpower to see something through to the end". However, following her Guess Who I'm Marrying? scene he gives up on winning her back. By now there are other people involved, though; his Cranky Landlady threatens to call off his back rent if he finishes the race or kick him into the street if he doesn't, and his best friend has bet a lot of money on him (with dodgy people) and falls out with him when he quits.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm:
    • In the setting, it's quite frequent for people who committed a crime serious enough to be punished by execution to have family and associates executed alongside them. The archduke of the duchy in which the protagonist lives likes to avoid doing so when he can, and the alternatives he offers sometimes qualify for this trope. For instance, when a knight is executed for Bodyguard Betrayal, his family is allowed to live if the patriarch accepts to pay a fine and sign a contract in which he promises nobody in the family will ever interact with the betrayal's victim. A bonus added to that option is having the knight recorded as having died honorably while doing his job.
    • The protagonist getting Adopted into Royalty (nobility in the present case) is the result of a similar situation. The very person who was offering to adopt her would have had to order her execution alongside that of her family and attendants if she had refused.
  • Discworld:
  • Foundation's Edge: Mayor Branno banishes Trevize from Terminus, with the instruction to publicly lead a two-man search for Earth (secretly, he's looking for evidence of the Second Foundation). It's indirectly stated that if he returns without success, he will be killed. Success, however, will mean great honor. Choosing not to go at all would be punished with life imprisonment on manufactured charges of treason.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's Line Of Dreams: (A series of novels based on Master of Orion.) One of the major plot points near-instant resurrection infinite times without any negative consequences whatsoever at a nearest Respawn Point is avaliable to all of humankind, except it's definitely not cheap. The Corrupt Corporate Executive who's in charge of the whole resurrecting thing hires the Anti-Hero for a mission, and free unlimited resurrection for him is already granted as a part of the call. If he succeeds, the further reward is being discussed later. If he fails or runs away, then as soon as he dies and revives next time he will be going to be tortured to death by the best Torture Technicians in the known space. Infinite amount of times.
  • At the start of The Naked Sun, Elijah Bailey is told he will get a possible promotion to class 7 if he accepts and does a good job, meaning his family will be looked after, he will get better rations, better showers and all that comes with it. However with the offer comes the unspoken threat of declassification if he refuses.
  • "Sally": Jacob Folkers, who runs a Farm for Retired Automobiles, is offered a large sum of money for removing twenty-five positronic brains used to make self-driving cars. If he refuses, all fifty-one brains will be removed from the cars and he will get nothing.
  • The book Tiger Moon: Krishna tells the Unlucky Everydude that he's got to go rescue his daughter, the princess, from the Evil Overlord. If he succeeds, he will be reborn as a wise and prosperous man. If he fails, he will be reborn as low lifeforms, such as worms, over and over again.

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  • Gene from God Hand is put into this position when he loses a limb in a fight and has the God Hand grafted in its place. If he goes out and confronts the forces of evil, there's the potential of money, a lot of really good fights, and maybe a little extra attention from Olivia. If he doesn't, Olivia has an axe and no qualms about using it to get the God Hand back.
  • Evil version from PAYDAY 2: The Dentist gives Dallas two choices: take part in several high risk high reward heists and get his share of the loot as well as a shot to release one of Dallas' fellow career criminal Hoxton from prison, or refuse and have the Dentist use his connections to take out the whole Payday gang.

  • The title heroine of Glorianna is told that she has a twin somewhere out in the world, and that she will "never know peace" until she finds her. The "twin" ultimately turns out to be her abandoned daughter, Hope.