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Tranquil Fury

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"Astfgl had passed through the earlier stage of fury and was now in that calm lagoon of rage where the voice is steady, the manner is measured and polite, and only a faint trace of spittle at the corner of the mouth betrays the inner inferno."
Eric
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There may come a time when going berserk simply does not work. Or perhaps that burning rage is being outweighed and tempered by ice-cold hate. In either case, many people choose to turn to Tranquil Fury. This state of mind allows much whoop-ass to be uncanned without undue stress. When the time comes for the showdown between the Hero and the Big Bad, do not expect to see furious angry rage. Instead, expect The Hero (or Anti-Hero)'s face to be serenely, eerily calm. They will not appear to be even slightly put out with the villain but that won't stop them from trying to hack the villain to hundreds of tiny pieces. A defeat by someone in the grip of Tranquil Fury is likely to be more comprehensive than others, as the job will be done in a properly thorough fashion.

This is different from The Quiet One and The Stoic. The character in the grip of Tranquil Fury isn't necessarily an emotional cripple, and in day to day life they may be perfectly normal and happy. What defines Tranquil Fury is the tendency to become deadly serious when it gets deadly serious.

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Tranquil Fury is often preceded by the phrase "I didn't want to have to do this" or something similar. A loose real-life equivalent would be the concept of mushin. Typically, a Meditation Powerup invokes or results in such a state.

Compare Don't Make Me Destroy You; Bored with Insanity; Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass; Rage Breaking Point; and Heroic Safe Mode.

Contrast: Berserker Tears, Unstoppable Rage. Compare and contrast Dissonant Serenity and Beware the Quiet Ones. These characters often use Creepy Monotone, Death Glare, and Slasher Smile. When Good Is Not Soft, the most brutal examples of its wrath will often take this form.


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Examples:

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    Music 
  • Scottish traditional song Jock O'Braidosly, which describes a Scottish poacher who is ambushed and fatally wounded by a party of English foresters while sleeping in the forest. Leaping to his feet, he props himself against a tree, calmly strings his bow and proceeds to kill six, driving away a single grievously wounded survivor.
  • Phil Collins's song "In The Air Tonight", by Word of God, is about the singer confronting a cheating spouse. The slow, ominous music and steely delivery of a musical "The Reason You Suck" Speech slowly build as the singer calmly and coldly explains that even a stoic feels the pain of having their heart broken. The thing coming in the air? The singer's Rage Breaking Point, arriving with that famous drum riff.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Akebono is almost a Perpetual Smiler. Almost. He does get angry sometimes, but it's almost never above this level.
  • Bryan Danielson's first feud with Homicide. Cide had a million gruesome threats for Danielson, Danielson had a very long death glare.
  • After Bullet Club's attack on ROH itself on the 2016 Global Wars Tour, Jay Lethal's pursuit of the group was marked by this, in contrast to his usual scenery chewing ways. He did frequently lose his temper after the group forcibly shaved him bald, but returned to tranquility when he finally got Adam Cole in the ring, until Cole's taunting cause him to lose his temper again, anyway.
  • WWE NXT has Johnny Gargano, after his former tag team partner Tommaso Ciampa cost him his NXT career. Words cannot describe how furious Gargano was with his one-time best friend, and he made sure to show it to Ciampa, stalking him and attacking him until Ciampa requested a match (that would be stipulated as unsanctioned) to finally deal with him. However, when the match came around, in deep contrast to how he had been acting the previous few weeks, Gargano was oddly calm, laser-focused on finally defeating Ciampa, with only a very harsh Death Glare to show how angry he really was.

    Radio 
  • In The Men from the Ministry, after Mr. Lamb accidentally buys thousand pounds worth of light Stilton cheese, Sir Gregory is pretty much this.
    Sir Gregory: (completely calm) Lamb, in all my years in the public service I have never encountered such asinine incompetence...
    Lamb: Don't try to hide it Sir Gregory, you're cross.
    Sir Gregory: Cross? Cross? I'll murder you! I'll shake you 'til the sawdust runs out of your ears!

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • One of Patton Oswalt's bits described a time in the 80s when he was opening for a stage magician and the venue owner stiffing both of them for part of their fees. Oswalt all but described the trope word for word. But the punchline...
    Let's review: what invoked the wrath of the wizard? Five dollars.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Legend Of Drizzt: Drizzt Do'Urden normally does an Unstoppable Rage when he's pressed enough; he calls that mindset The Hunter. But he also has a "level 2" variant, referred to as the Warrior Incarnate, that's much more Tranquil Fury. He's only ever entered that once, and then only when he thought all his friends had been killed at the same time.
  • The berserkers of the Crab Clan in Legend of the Five Rings were originally portrayed as this, but are occasionally Flanderized into the normal, Unstoppable Rage kind of berserkers.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons D&D 4th Edition, a Paragon Path for the rage-focused Barbarian class called "Calm Fury" is available in the supplement "Primal Power," allowing them to use some of their most powerful abilities while not explicitly raging. According to the flavour text, "You now attain the furious clarity on the far side of rage".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marines and Eldar deliberately try to enter this state rather than "hot" fury. Given what they know about Chaos, justified trope. Tau are also normally calm during battle unless their Berserk Button gets pushed.
    • Dark Eldar Incubi (which are the 40k version of the Executioners mentioned below) also have this. In the Rogue Trader RPG, Dark Eldar players with the "Incubus Initiate" alternative career rank can buy a talent that lets them attain a state of Tranquil Fury, allowing them to enter frenzy without suffering the normal drawback of being unable to do anything but Attack! Attack! Attack!.
  • Warhammer:
    • This is the whole point of the Executioners in the Dark Elf army. While all dark elves love their blood lust, with most enjoying inflicting as much pain as possible, Executioners prefer to hone their skills in being able to kill whoever and whatever is in their way with a single precise swipe with their beloved draiches (which can either be a BFS or a big battle ax).
  • In Exalted the Lunar charm Relentless Lunar Fury, a key warrior-type technique that enables a keyword on other Lunar charms, specifically suggests tranquil fury as one of the ways to portray the effect.
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, vampiric frenzy is normally an animalistic Unstoppable Rage, but some members of the decorum-obsessed Sotoha bloodline practice a technique that allows them to retain their composure. One member, engaged in a prolonged vendetta, is rumoured to have been in constant, carefully controlled frenzy for decades.
  • Pathfinder has the urban barbarian, an archetype for the barbarian class with a vastly different rage ability called controlled rage : it imparts no penalty to AC and doesn't restrict the use of Dexterity-, Intelligence- or Charisma-based skills, doesn't grant any bonus to Will saves and instead of giving a static bonus to Strength and Constitution, it lets the character distribute a bonus between Strength, Dexterity and Constitution at the start of a controlled rage. In short, instead of going full berserk, the urban barbarian remains in control but gets lower benefits overall.

    Theatre 
  • Older Than Steam. Shakespeare's Henry V has the eponymous character's reaction to the tennis balls.
  • Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Othello in the BBC TV show, during the climax, was mostly like this.
  • In Peter Shaffer's "Black Comedy", Shaffer even writes this into the stage directions. The main character has surreptitiously borrowed his neighbor's very expensive furniture to impress a guest, but then there is a power outage and the neighbor comes home unexpectedly, prompting the lead to scramble about replacing the furniture while his girlfriend stalls the neighbor. At some point, the lead accidentally drops a priceless sculpture at his neighbor's feet — and the neighbor, who finally figures out what's going on, simply says to the lead, "I think I'm going to have to smash you." On top of this, the stage directions say that he is speaking "in the quiet voice of the very, very dangerous."

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick prequel book Start of Darkness, the lich Xykon discovers that he no longer has a sense of taste after attempting to chug a cup of truly horrendous coffee. What follows next is a terrifying example of this trope that demonstrates the gulf between the mortal Xykon and the undead version, as he coldly murders a waitress he had earlier described as very attractive. When Right-Eye gets angry, Xykon throws him against the wall and begins strangling him to death. Redcloak is only able to prevent Xykon from killing them both with a desperate bluff, though he still throws both goblins through a nearby window before announcing that he is now in charge. During the entire encounter, Xykon never once raises his voice.
    Pathetic little green worm. I ought to pop your sickeningly warm head off of your disgusting fluid-filled sack of organs.
  • In Girl Genius, Airman Axel "The Unstoppable" Higgs slides into this state after Zola stabs Zeetha. Every panel showing him afterwards depicts him with this look of pure yet tempered and determined fury on his face as he relentlessly pursues and fights her.
    • After beating Vole using Unstoppable Rage, Gil points out that his father feels like this all the time, which means the baron lives in tranquil fury all the time he doesn't spend in non-tranquil fury.
  • Homestuck's Doc Scratch is cool, calm, collected and an excellent host...until you break his clocks. Then he's cool, calm, collected, an excellent host, and perfectly capable of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • The Bully's Bully: The unnamed young heroine seems to go into this mode while deciding what action to take against the first bully she faces. The action she takes after all else fails? A beatdown.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: Son Gohan. Especially when his daughter is killed and he can't do a thing about it.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Luke defeats his opponent (who he was initially planning to lose to) with only a slightly furrowed brow and Scary Shiny Glasses to indicate his anger at his opponent's insult at the beginning of the match.
  • The Gamer: Thanks to Gamer's Mind, on the few occasions we've seen Han Jee-Han really angry, he's been creepily calm. It's always been in response to people from the Abyss thinking they could hurt either the helpless or someone he personally cares about (or, on one occasion, both at once) with impunity. Still, seeing as he was actively considering cold-blooded murder on two separate occasions when faced with Abyss-based human traffickers, the fact that this comes so easily for him is starting to become a serious worry for both him and his friends.
  • Betelgeuse gets this way in Cobweb and Stripes when a mook who's after him starts chasing Lydia instead. Instead of his usual Large Ham tendencies, the poltergeist goes stone-cold calm. The mook quickly learns the hard way why you should not mess with Betelgeuse's Protectorate.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Sigrun is all around a quite loud person, which usually results in her yelling when she's mad. However, if she's really mad, she'll greatly tone down overall instead.

Alternative Title(s): Cold Anger

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