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Training the Peaceful Villagers

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"Set aside your peaceful ways
And prepare for war
Melt down your plowshares
And take up your swords
We will see the flesh laid low
The bodies fall
The Most High that none may know
Watches us all..."
The Sword, "Hawks and Serpents"

For added effect, listen to this while reading this page.

There's a big bad gang/army out there that wants to sack the peaceful village for whatever reason. The Protagonist can't stop them by himself for whatever reason. Either way, it's time to teach the initially Untrusting Community how to fight and defend themselves. Expect some complaining about "losing their peaceful way of life." If there's a Wasteland Elder around, expect them to back the hero and shush the young'un.

The villagers will fight back with pitchforks, plowshares and improvised weapons. It will also include many Bamboo Technology traps involving previously innocuous items, like laundry buckets filled with boiling water. Usually, the outlaw band/army should have been able to beat them, had they taken the villagers seriously and fought with genuine strategy; but their downfall usually lay in rushing into traps.

In some instances, the villagers may have existed under the oppression of the hordes for years or even generations without even thinking of fighting back. Not, that is, until The Hero shows up. Basking in the glow of his shining example, the common people finally rise up to combat the Evil Overlords.

With the enemy dead or on the run, and the villagers converted to the notion of violence for self-defense, the heroes leave. The young'un won't be complaining after that.

See also The Magnificent Seven Samurai, The Paragon, Perfect Pacifist People, Home Guard, Instant Militia, or Holding Out for a Hero. The village is often a Doomed Hometown that fights back. Compare Defiant Stone Throw. Contrast One-Man Army, where this sort of thing is not necessary. Compare and contrast Torches and Pitchforks, when the villagers take matters into their own hands and become an Angry Mob.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cyborg 009 uses the trope and ends the episode with a subtle but ominous picture of one of the formerly peaceful (not to mention god-like powerful) aliens callously trampling over a flower.
  • Drifters has the oppressed elf farmers being trained by samurai.
  • Parodied in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, when Kaname and Sousuke are assigned the task of training up the comically pacifist school rugby team for what will be their last match should they lose. After Kaname's more genre-appropriate measures fail to get through, Sousuke steps up to the task. The only problem is that Sousuke, not having the slightest clue about how rugby is played, just decides to put them through Full Metal Jacket (complete with direct quotes from the infamous Gunnery Sergeant Hartman). The end result is nearly as disastrously violent as its inspirations'.
  • Primarily averted in Naruto, given that the setting revolves around villages filled with incredibly powerful ninja, but it's Played Straight in a Big Damn Heroes moment near the very end of the Land of Waves arc, which takes place in the only known country with no ninja village. In this case, though, it's less "Training the Peaceful Villagers", and more "Inspiring the Peaceful Villagers".
  • In One Piece, the Toy Soldier realized he couldn't protect Rebecca forever due to his fragile toy body, so he trained her so she would be able to protect herself. Bonus points for Tough Love because it was later revealed Rebecca is his daughter.
  • Samurai 7, being a Seven Samurai adaptation with mecha added.

    Comic Books 
  • Blaze of Glory: Kid Colt suggests this in Issue #3, but he draws the line at teaching Reno's son Cass how to fight because he won't let him go down the same path as he did.
  • ElfQuest: When their revered Mother of Memory is entrapped on the spirit plane by an enemy they can't begin to comprehend, the peaceful Sun Folk ask the few remaining Wolfriders to teach them weapon skills. No, they never use their skills in any useful way during the main storyline, but at least learning to shoot arrows makes them feel like they're doing something.
    • The issue was more that the Wolfriders were leaving, and since the arrival of the Wolfriders had precipitated the departure of Rayek, their previous warrior-defender, they felt that they would have no more protection. Plus their healer was leaving them at the same time.
  • Done darkly in an early Groo the Wanderer comic. Groo trains a peaceful village to fight against two hordes of bandits. In the process, the village and all its crops are destroyed. Having no other way to make a living now, the villagers and the bandit hordes unite into a single, massive bandit army that overruns nearby cities.
    • Darkly and surprisingly often — another, even earlier story had women being kidnapped by an airship. Groo "trains" the villagers (with the usual complaints of the attack having been less painful and going into battle being safer than Groo's training). Turns out that the women were being held in a... basically a resort... and had no intention of leaving, and that they rather resented being "rescued". A later story involved bandits riding giant birds, and while Groo's "training" more or less worked, his help, as usual, backfired spectacularly.
  • Done in an issue of Marvel Adventures: Avengers, where the Avengers have to train a village to fight off a warlord and his minions. The Avengers fight along with the villagers in versions of their costumes modified to look as if they're villagers themselves, to try and make sure that the warlord won't just regroup and come back the moment he thinks the Avengers have left.
    • Even more, Cap couldn't lead them because it would tip the warlord off - he had Wolverine lead them. It was like a dream come true to him.
  • Shamelessly parodied in a Thrud the Barbarian story. The Xena-eat-your-heart-out-gorgeous warrior woman Lymara shows the village women how to kill two men. She drops her sword and bends over to get it, giving the men a great view of her cleavage. The two men stop and leer. She swiftly beheads them both with a cry of "Hah! Sexist pigs!" Then she looks at the (realistic) peasant women for a moment and asks, "On second thoughts, who knows how to shoot a bow and arrow?"

    Fan Works 
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, the Royal Guard is seen levying Ponyville civilians in preparation for a large-scale search of the Everfree Forest for changelings.
  • Murphy's Militia.
  • One of the early plot points of The Crimson Badger of The Urthblood Saga, where Urthblood arrives at Redwall Abbey to help them prepare for the coming dark times he's seen in a prophetic vision.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage: When Ganondorf arrives in Equestria in Season 2, Vaati suggests that it might be necessary for his monsters to train the citizens of Ponyville how to fight, in order to better their chances of defending themselves.
  • In Project Delta, the attack on Mindoir turns out differently largely due to Jane doing everything possible to invoke this trope.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Ant Colony from A Bug's Life. Even the grasshoppers recognize the Ants' potential threat (They outnumber the grasshoppers, 100 to 1), but the Ants don't... until it is expressly spelled out for them.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 3, after some advice from Po's adoptive father Mr. Ping, Li Shan decides to aid his son Po in helping him defeat Kai and his Jade zombies by offering him and the other Pandas a chance to train Kung Fu. Po having previously been angry at his father for lying, eventually accepts, regaining back some of the faith and trust he lost for his father.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Frighteningly prevalent with experienced players in Dungeons & Dragons.
    • The degree to which this can work varies by edition. As of 4E, you can arm everyone in town with reasonable gear and give them weeks of training, but they'll still have exactly one hit point and die from the indirect side effects of a single enemy's attacks. Third edition let them live long enough to buy the heroes time and/or provide flanking bonuses. Second edition would let them win almost any fight hands-down through mob rules for overbearing.
    • Once used to defend a village against a rampaging horde of kythons. This was not the worst thing in the campaign.
  • Though perhaps more frightening when done in Exalted. Tiger Warrior Training can turn even the smallest peasant villager into a lethal combatant.
    • Also, one of the secondary signature Zenith Caste Solars, Karal Fire Orchid, does this in her origin story.
    • Infernals can't train them anywhere near as well (yet), but can provide the peaceful villagers with power-enhancing mutations to make them just as dangerous. If you really want an unholy terror, get a mixed Circle to use multiple Charms of this sort on the same group of villagers, then hold off the monsters with firebreathing, taloned Super Soldiers.
  • Happens in one of the Pathfinder Society modules taking place in the Asian-inspired continent. A village holding the lost heir to an artifact's power is annually attacked by bandits at harvest time. It is up to the PCs to train the villagers to defend themselves in the upcoming battle. It's a Whole-Plot Reference to Seven Samurai.
  • In Traveller, mercenaries are often hired to do this.
  • This is in the backstory of Mortarion, Primarch of the Death Guard Space Marine legion in Warhammer 40,000. He was adopted by one of the overlords of the planet he was found on, but later escaped into the valleys, where the air was breathable for normal humans, and trained them to resist the overlords (who used them as slaves and experimental subjects), forming the Death Guard (not originally Marines, but the legion took the name) to fight. The Salamanders' Primarch pulled off a similar trick, beating Eldar raiders around the head with his blacksmithing hammers.
    • Also a tactic sometimes used by the Space Wolves, as described in the codex. An example has a squad of grey hunters being ordered to evacuate the main spaceport to allow orbital bombardment of it to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. The Space Wolves, in their rebellious natures, instead decided to stay and not evacuate the spaceport, to train the local populace until the enemy arrived so they could defend the spaceport instead of losing it forever.


    Western Animation 
  • Bounty Hamster. Parodied in "The Good, the Bad, and the Adorable", most notably in the scene where the cute alien villagers decide that the best solution is to steal their saviour's spaceship and run away en masse.
  • Filmation liked this trope, using it in episodes of Bravestarr and She-Ra: Princess of Power. Although in both cases, it was more a matter of getting the villagers to work up the courage to defend themselves than actually training them.
  • Centaurworld's first season ends with Horse deciding to stay in Centaurworld in order to help prepare the peaceful centaurs for the coming war with the Nowhere King's army.
  • A hilarious example in the Futurama episode "Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", in which Bender teaches the rapidly-multiplying penguins how to defend themselves against humans, only to have the flock be hilariously devoured by an orca in one gulp... On Pluto. The trope is played with at the ending, in which a pair of penguins pick rifles, and glare menacingly.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades: In the fourth episode the Dreadnoks debut by taking over a peaceful town. The Joes show up and work with the bullied citizens and two emergency service workers to train them to fight back against the biker gang.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: In "Twin Beaks", the gang encounters a community of raccoons living in resigned fear of a giant predatory bird and teaches them that they can fight back against it.
  • In Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, Mao Mao hears word that his old partner Bao Bao is coming to Pure Heart Valley and decides to arm the local Sweetiepies with cheap spears, regardless of their fighting ability (or lack thereof) or number of fingers (or lack thereof).
    Mao Mao: You pick up that spear, Kevin! Grab it...GRAB IT...!!
  • Tragically subverted in a flashback episode of Phantom 2040: at the end of the Resource Wars, the still-human Graft is drafted by Maximum Inc to clear out native villagers from the Amazon so that Maximum can strip the resources. Graft defies his employer and trains the villagers to fight back... but they still get massacred, and Graft is turned into a Cyborg.
  • One episode of Samurai Jack had Jack teaching a group of peaceful monkey-men (and their human friend) to defend themselves from a thieving, bullying rival tribe, in exchange for their giving him some training to enhance his jumping abilities.
    Jump good!
  • An episode of Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is about the Hyperforce motivating a village of alien Cat Folk to fight the mantis monsters that have been attacking their village. They give the villagers weapons and training to defend themselves.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka, along with four bounty hunters, teach the farmers of a small village to fight pirates and protect their homes.
  • The ThunderCats (2011) episode "Berbils" has Panthro and the Cats' teach Ro-Bear Bill and the cute and cuddly Ro-Bear Berbils how to defend themselves from those who would use them as slaves.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) did this with a planet of "peaceful space turtles".
  • The first episode created for Wakfu (chronologically the fifth episode) has this as a premise, the heroes trying to teach a peaceful society of blob-people to stand up against the bull-creatures who are stealing from them.


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Wartwood attacks the robots

The frogs of Wartwood help Sasha and Grime fend off the robots.

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