Gobber: I think I'll stay, just in case you're thinking of doing something crazy.
Stoick: I can buy them a few minutes if I give that thing something to hunt!
Gobber: Then I can double that time.
When a group of characters face a threat, one or more characters will make that threat focus on them to the exclusion of the other characters.
This trope varies depending on the nature of the threat.
- If it's a deadly threat (often a monster), then often one or more characters will draw aggro when other characters are trapped. While those characters get away, the characters drawing aggro either already have a way out or they are making a Heroic Sacrifice.
- If all the characters are actively fighting a threat, then the character drawing aggro will be constantly doing it to keep the focus on him/her and not the other characters, and then tank the attacks from the threat. This is common in video games, particularly when the AI will otherwise Shoot the Mage First, Shoot the Medic First, or go Straight for the Commander.
Often this is done intentionally, but it also can be done by accident. The Butt-Monkey is one of the most likely characters to accidentally draw aggro. Some online multiplayer games have plenty of player stories of the weakest character drawing aggro, thus ruining the party's battle strategy.
Some games have spells and abilities which make enemies target one character. A Practical Taunt is a common form of this.
The trope name comes from the fan term for these gameplay tactics in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. A Leeroy Jenkins will almost always end up doing this whether they intend to or not.
Compare Taking the Bullet, Take Me Instead, Encounter Bait (making enemies attack you, just for the sake of fighting them), I Am Your Opponent, Fishing for Mooks (drawing the aggro of just a small part of an enemy group, to pick them off).
- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is an RPG-Mechanics Verse work. In the Fifth Novel (episode 10 of the anime), Yamato, facing injuries within her own parties, accidentally lures a large group of monsters onto Bell's group while attempting to run away. Since Bell and the others were already fighting several, this forces them to run away as well, and they end up even deeper in the dungeon as a result.
- In My Hero Academia, towards the end of the first half of the provisional license exam, Yuuga fires his Navel Laser into the sky to draw other contestants towards him and Tenya, intending to sacrifice his chances of progressing so that Tenya can ambush the contestants from behind and progress himself. As it happens, the beacon also attracts every other remaining U.A. student, allowing them to regroup, and they all subsequently pass - including Yuuga.
- In Monstress, little Kippa, of all people, does this when she realizes that the Cumaea are threatening to kill Emilia's baby. She breaks off a thorny branch and beats the Cumaea's horses (unicorns, actually) so that they run and the Cumaea have to run after them. Master Ren does it later in the same scene, attacking a Cumaea mook to give Kippa time to run as the Cumaea come back.
- At the climax of How to Train Your Dragon, Stoick the Vast plans on doing this to buy time for his fellow Vikings to escape the monstrous dragon.
- In Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), when hopelessly outnumbered by the body snatchers at the pier, Jack draws their attention long enough for Matthew and Elizabeth to escape. This ends up being a Heroic Sacrifice for Jack.
- In the film of Jurassic Park, both Alan and Ian try to get the T-Rex's attention when it's attacking the kids. Alan methodically draws the Rex's attention to a flare that he waves deliberately back and forth before throwing it, while staying still himself; it works, and the Rex chases the moving object while ignoring both the kids and Alan. Ian, taking exactly the wrong lesson from this, frantically waves his arms and yells at the Rex before running away. The Rex, recognizing prey, ignores the flare and attacks Ian directly.
- At the opening of the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope, Garven Dreis (Red Leader) leads Red Squadron in several strafing runs across the Death Star's surface to draw Imperial fire away from Gold Squadron's slower Y-Wings. However, Darth Vader sees through this, ordering all TIE Fighters to attack the X-Wings while he and his personal squadron attack the Y-Wings.
- Occurs in The Last Jedi, as the the First Order's fleet bombards the Rebellion main cruiser, the Raddus, with a relentless barrage, General Leia and Vice-Admiral Holdo devised an evacuation strategy by having almost everyone stealthily leaving the Raddus in a number of small shuttles, while Holdo alone remained behind to pilot the Raddus to continue to draw the First Order's attention on the larger ship. It's subverted when the plan fails and the First Order starts firing on the escaping shuttles, but unwilling to see her allies mercilessly picked off, Holdo turns the Raddus towards the First Order's immense flagship, and activates the hyperdrive, effectively ramming the ship at light-speed.
- Shaun from Shaun of the Dead draws off a huge crowd of zombies before they can break into the group's bolthole by running off and screaming to get their attention.
- Near the end of the first Tremors, three characters are stuck on the sand where the graboids can get them. While they are forced to stand still, other characters on a rock make noise to get the graboids to come to them. Unfortunately, the graboid doesn't fall for it (but fortunately, Val comes up with a plan).
- In The Running Man, Richards taunts Dynamo to draw him away from Amber.
- In Aliens, when the Alien Queen reveals itself on the ship, Ripley waves her arms and yells "Here! Over here!" When the Queen focuses on her, Ripley tells Newt to run away. (Newt hides in the vents, and then Ripley runs the other way.)
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) and Jurgen confuse a combat servitor in Death or Glory by alternating shots at the thing. Each time it targets one of them, the other attacks and the servitor's targeting systems reset onto the new threat.
- Gor: In Priest-Kings of Gor, Parp, Vika (his daughter), and Tarl are trying to escape the Collapsing Lair of the Priest-Kings, only to be met by two larls (basically, tigers the size of a small elephant). Parp flames one with his pipe-lighter, using up all its energy in one go, then asks Tarl to confirm that he can kill a larl with his sword if he is given a free shot at it. Tarl agrees that it's possible - and Parp gives him that free shot by flinging himself into the monster's jaws.
- In the Hank the Cowdog book "The Case of the One-eyed Killer Stud Horse", Hank gets Tuerto's attention so Little Alfred's cousins Amy and Ashley can get to safety. He originally plans to do this in such a way that he can stay out of Tuerto's range, but when the horse says he wants the girls, Hank goes for the jugular.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- This is Robb's plan for dealing with Tywin Lannister's army in A Clash of Kings, as revealed in A Storm of Swords. He plans to lure him into the Westerlands where he'd be stuck fighting a running battle with Stark and Frey cavalry instead of helping the Lannister and Tyrell forces to fight off Stannis Baratheon's attack on King's Landing. Unfortunately, Edmure Tully is unaware of this plan and mounts a strong defense, preventing Tywin from crossing into the Westerlands long enough to receive word that his army is needed in King's Landing.
- In A Dance with Dragons, when Daenerys' untamed dragon Drogon starts attacking the pit and is a threat to everyone there, (including Dany), Ser Barristan, who has swore his life to serve Dany, jumps down a ten foot wall (which in itself is no small feat for a man his age) and begins shouting at the dragon to draw its attention away from Dany. He's earned his sobriquet "Barristan the Bold".
- In The Avatar Chronicles - Epic by Conor Kostick, in the eponymous game, Erik discovers that smaller creatures will switch the person they're aggroing to whoever's doing the most damage, and that if a team does an equal amount of damage to a creature - enough that one hit changes the person it targets - the creature will stay in place, doing nothing but turning toward whoever hit it last. Dragons are supposed to be unbeatable, but given several hours and a couple thousand arrows, they're able to apply this strategy to the Red Dragon and bring it down.
- Journey to Chaos: this tactic is part of the Triple Orbit Layers strategy used by adventurers. When confronting a large fire monster, Tiza screams at it, waves her water-attribute weapon and inflicts minor damage to keep the monster's attention.
- The Way of Kings (first book of The Stormlight Archive): After Kaladin's first attempt to protect the bridgemen from Parshendi arrows fails horrifically, he comes up with another one. Instead of trying to protect his crew at the expense of others, he makes armor out of Parshendi bones and tries to draw their attention. Since the Parshendi have a race-wide Berserk Button about even moving the dead, the entire army focuses on him, even as they are being cut down by the army Kaladin belongs to.
- Game of Thrones: This is Robb Stark's plan for dealing with the army led by Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane. He wants to draw him into the Westlands, coaxing him into chasing Robb's horsemen across the countryside and sapping his strength with hit-and-run attacks. Instead, Edmure Tully gives him a bloody nose and captures Stone Mill, a village of no strategic importance, causing the Mountain to fall back and regroup. Robb is not pleased.
- An unusual text-adventure example comes from 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at Mcdonalds. Guile Hero Lucy has the option of performing a specific sequence of flirty moves to get the vampire's attention off the cashier and onto herself. There are other, more hostile ways to get the vampire's attention, but those tend to fail or backfire.
- Anarchy Online
- Enforcers specialize in this. They have single target and area-of-effect taunts that pull aggro towards them. Soldiers and Martial Artists possess single target taunts as well.
- Inverted with Agents, who possess programs that reduce the target's aggression towards them.
- A core mechanic of the Army of Two games. Using bigger guns, More Dakka, or guns with garish paint jobs covered in bling will draw more attention to you and away from your co-op partner. Max out your aggro meter and your partner will be practically invisible to the enemies.
- Borderlands 2: Salvador's "Come At Me, Bro!" skill lets him taunt his enemies while he's in Gunzerker mode, drawing fire away from his team-mates while restoring his health and temporarily boosting his damage resistance.
- Dark Souls
- Through the series, tough players (such as those starting with the Knight class) and NPCs can get bosses to go after them while the ranged characters shoot them from afar.
- Dark Souls II has a ring which causes enemies to go after the wearer. It's very useful for preserving NPC summons, which have to end the fight alive to advance their questline.
- Dragon Quest
- Games in the series often have a move (such as Whistle) that enrages a single enemy into attacking only the caster. It also summons a fight when used out of battle.
- The Forbearance skill in Dragon Quest IX makes one character take all attacks for the next turn. It's possible to spam this move with one character, letting the other three concentrate on damage, but it can be interrupted by a Disruptive Wave.
- Elsword: Elesis as Grand Master has the skill "Provoke" which affects all enemies at a certain range in front of her. Under the "provoked" status effect, monsters will selectively attack her (as well as having their defense lowered).
- Final Fantasy X: Every character can eventually learn this, with everyone having a different animation for it (Yuna waves, Rikku slaps her ass, Kimahri does an Eye Am Watching You...).
- Final Fantasy XIII: Half of the Sentinel role's job is this, the other half is to take damage for the party. There's even two different versions of the skill; one with an area of effect and one that has a high chance of working.
- Final Fantasy XIV has tank classes whose purpose is to yank aggro off other party members and keep it upon themselves, since tanks have the highest HP and defense naturally. Some non-tank classes also have skills that lets them reduce aggro on themselves so that the tank has an easier time having the enemy focus on the tank instead. However, some bosses rely on scripts instead of the aggro table and will attack whoever they please.
- In Granblue Fantasy, characters with the "Substitute" buff will take in all incoming damage for themselves during the next turn. Additionally, the "Hostility" buffs determine the chance for a party member to be targeted. high Hostility characters will be targeted more than those with low Hostility. However, this Hostility mechanic does not work for enemies who can attack all allies simultaneously.
- In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the Taunt Deck Command will cause enemies to attack the user instead of their allies.
- In The Last Story, Zael has the ability Gathering, which causes enemies to focus on him. This can be turned on and off at will.
- Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
- This is Sweet Potato's ability. She attracts nearby zombies in the lane above and below into her own lane. When given Plant Food, she attracts zombies in a large area, even behind her.
- Hot Date also has this ability and is very similar to Sweet Potato, up to having the same Plant Food powerup. However, he also has the added effect of exploding into a powerful line of fire when eaten.
- In the Pokémon series, the moves Follow Me and Rage Powder force opponents to target the user in Double and Triple Battles. However, from Pokémon X and Y onwards Rage Powder does not affect Grass-types or Pokemon holding the Safety Goggles item.
- Star Trek Online allows players to invest skill points into Threat Generation, increasing the likelihood an NPC enemy will target them instead of teammates. Romulan embassy science consoles can also increase or decrease threat generation, and normal cruisers come with an Attract Fire aura that can be switched on to further increase threat gen.
- Warcraft III
- In World of Warcraft many player parties use knowledge of enemy AI to have the toughest character take the hits while the other players support the tank or go after the enemy. In single player characters can use pets and familiars to draw aggro from enemies.
- In X Com Enemy Unknown, the enemy AI usually prioritizes easy-to-hit targets. One tactic is to place units with high HP, Damage Reduction skills, and/or a Healing Factor, such as a MEC trooper, in the front of the formation to attract enemy fire. Additionally, if the player knows that an enemy is in Overwatch (which grants a reaction shot if a target in range moves), they can move an Assault with the Lightning Reflexes skill (which forces the first reaction shot that targets them to miss) or a unit far enough away to be difficult to hit first, triggering the reaction shot so that other units can move into position safely.
- Conversely, Fire Emblem's AI prioritizes units who are unable to strike back above all else — which means it tends to go after healers (especially before they promote) and archers (with close-combat units, anyways), but you can easily exploit its priorities and use pretty much anyone you want as a meatshield by stripping them of their weapons. If it can't attack a helpless unit, the AI will go after the unit it can deal the most damage to — even if it has no chance whatsoever of actually landing a hit and/or will get itself completely shredded by your counterattack. Basically, the Fire Emblem AI is pretty stupid.
- Xenoblade has several abilities related to drawing aggro and getting bonuses from how enemies are aggroed. Reyn has the most of these, including his central move "Mad Taunt,"◊ since his high hit points and defense also make him the tank.
- The Banner Saga. Fasolt has this ability, called Malice. Don't worry though, he has the highest armor stat of any playable character and will probably be fine. In the sequel, The Banner Saga 2 all shield bearing Varl can get this ability once they reach level six. Malice is particularly useful for protecting your archers and glass cannons, and all characters that learn it have the passive ability to give as good as they get. Some items in both games also draw aggro to their wielder, but they usually boost armor, damage resistance, or evasion too, and are best given to tanks like Fasolt.
- Taunt abilities in League of Legends force the target(s) to attack the user for a few seconds. Just long enough for the user's allies to get ahead of their attackers, though not necessarily long enough to keep them ahead.
- The Elder Scrolls Online features a strange case. Aggro exists in the game as much as any other MMO using a Damager, Healer, Tank combat system, but only two skills exist to manipulate it: Inner Fire and Puncture. This makes having one of them a must for any tank, as healers will be easily squished if bosses ever attack them.
- In Onmyōji, the Red Amanojaku has a skill that allows it to "taunt" one member of the opposing team, causing that enemy to lose control and automatically fire their basic attack at it on their turn. Heiyō takes it one step further with a skill which allows him to taunt all members on the opposite team while strengthening himself so he can take all the attacks fired at him. Neither skills work when the opposite team is protected by Seimei's Deflector Shield.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth, Butters has the "Born Victim" passive ability that makes enemies more likely to attack him than you. The explanation given is that he is just so pure and innocent that it's disgusting to every other living thing on the planet, and they just can't help wanting to beat the crap out of him.
- In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, certain classes and characters can taunt enemies while also putting up a shield that blocks most forms of damage. Super Craig does this by Flipping the Bird, Call Girl "blocks" enemies on Social Media. For the player character, the Cyborg class can draw aggro by blaring annoying music at the enemies while the Martial Artist class has the "Dragon Swagger" ultimate, which summons a dragon to flip off all enemies on the field.
- In zOMG!, healing yourself and other players is one of the best ways to divert attention away from your crewmates, by deliberately exploiting Shoot the Medic First. In certain areas and boss instances where mobbing is the best or only strategy, doing this is a key part of that strategy. That is why the "heal-tank" build - a healer who beefs up with Meat (and Sweetheart, if possible) so they can tank on the side - exists. Another ring that's good for this is, of course, Taunt.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, Mr. Satan has the Ultimate Attack "The Savior Has Come!", which causes the user to perform a victory celebration that forces all enemies in the area to target them for a set period of time. Since it's the only aggro-drawing skill in the game, it can be highly useful.
- Dragon Age: Origins has the ability "Threaten", which causes enemies to flock around the user.
- The Spoony Experiment:
- When Spoony talked about the Artificial Stupidity in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, he mentions trying to turn it to his advantage by invoking this trope, by trying to use the aggressive NPCs in the squad to draw fire to them while he moved to the objective. Unfortunately, the AI just followed where he went, drawing fire to the group and his player character.
- In Counter Monkey, Spoony discusses when players can have their characters act Lawful Stupid, and using it to the other players' advantage, such as having the lawful player call out enemies to fight directly, and the other players can sneak around while the enemies are focused on the first player.
- Accidentally done in Sword Art Online Abridged more than once by Kirito's companions of the week, much to his annoyance.
Kirito: Yeah, maybe you should stick behind me. You're so low level, you're aggroing everything in this place.
Silica: Don't worry about me, Mister Kirito! I can take care of myself!
[Cue ominous purple glow underneath Silica's feet as she runs forward, causing offscreen panic.]
Kirito: Sigh... This is gonna be my whole day, isn't it?
- DuckTales (1987): In the episode "A DuckTales Valentine", a shark attacks while Scrooge and company are in a sunken temple. Launchpad attempts to distract it, telling Scrooge to save the boys and Webby.
- Tom and Jerry: Jerry is frequently left doing this to Tom to protect a smaller animal, such as Nibbles or Quacker.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Super Watermelon Island", the Watermelon Stevens' can't seriously harm Malachite, but they can go for her eyes and distract her enough for the Crystal Gems to finish the job.
- In Code Lyoko's "I'd Rather Not Talk about It," Jeremie uses this tactic to lead a Brainwashed and Crazy pig away from his injured gym teacher.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "To Where and Back Again," Trixie deliberately walks into the changeling trap to let Thorax and Starlight Glimmer race to the throne room.
- In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Catra walks straight into the Princess Prom in full view of Adora and the others, and outright challenges Adora to work out her evil plan and try to stop her. It's only after Adora has spent the whole night watching her nemesis like a hawk that she realises that this entire time Catra's been acting as a distraction for the rest of her team, who have been busy rigging the building with explosives, kidnapping her friends, and stealing her sword.
- Catra repeats this during the Battle of Bright Moon, using her speed, agility, and personal connection to keep the far more powerful She-Ra focused on her rather than the siege weapons directed at the castle's runestone.
- In 2010, a 12-year Norwegian boy named Hans Jørgen Olsen was credited with saving himself and his sister from an attack by a moose in a forest. Crediting his tactics to many hours of playing World of Warcraft, Olsen taunted the moose away from his sister, allowing her to flee to safety. Then he "feigned death", another technique he learned from the game, causing the moose to lose interest and leave the scene.
- The Japanese battle plans for the massive naval battle of Leyte Gulf included a decoy fleet centered around their remaining carriers -that with few and untrained airmen were little more than sitting ducks- that would basically taunt the US one while their main battle force would attack the now unprotected beaches of Leyte. It worked, leaving there just a bunch of small escort carriers and destroyers... that managed to repel a far more powerful fleet.