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Wounded Gazelle Gambit

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"The first girl to cry always wins."
Sae, Peach Girl

Using self-inflicted injuries, real or fake, to deceive others and manipulate them into doing what you want. Often used to frame a third party, this strategy is particularly effective for, and often used by, women, due to societal prohibitions against hurting women. Named for the trick sometimes used by a mother gazelle (as well as certain birds and deer) of pretending to be injured in order to lure a predator away from her young. Once a safe distance is reached, the pretense can be dropped, and the mother can bound away, leaving the hapless predator in the dust.

Pretending to be a victim can be a great way of disguising your own guilt, so this is a common trope on a mystery series. In Film Noir, this became a stock trick for the Femme Fatale or The Vamp. May involve Crocodile Tears. When the self-inflicted injury is terminal, it can become a case of Suicide, Not Murder.


This is by no means limited to personal injuries. The Evil Overlord can injure his own people and try to blame another country, providing a quick and easy justification for war. This is mentioned as #34 (not that kind) in The Thirty-Six Stratagems, making this one of The Oldest Tricks in the Book.

Can cover anything from a lame excuse to Malicious Slander. For a slandered party, it often precludes I Can Explain, and can lead to Poor Communication Kills. Can overlap with I Surrender, Suckers. If you're a member of a minority, Everything Is Racist is a convenient way to invoke this trope. When done against police, it's often a Police Brutality Gambit. When done on a large scale, it's often a False Flag Operation. False Rape Accusation is a very specific subtrope of this. The Bully Hunter and Wife-Basher Basher easily fall for this trick. The Hero with Bad Publicity also tend to get their reputation from these.


Compare Decoy Damsel, Arrested for Heroism, Why Did You Make Me Hit You?, Playing the Victim Card, and Defensive Feint Trap. Often related to Guilt by Association Gag and Et Tu, Brute?. Contrast Wounded Gazelle Warcry where it's not a trick. Not to be mistaken with Deliberate Injury Gambit as well; that one is about someone getting themself hurt for real to achieve a goal. Compare Sick Captive Scam for instances where a prisoner pretends to be sick or injured to get the drop on his captor.


    open/close all folders 

  • Subverted in this advertisement for Snickers, where a soccer player tries this tactic. Unfortunately, he didn't count on Mr. T and the tank.
  • This ploy is used in a Pepsi ad in a job interview, all but one of the next interviewees fleeing in terror and assuring him the job. He turns out to be in cahoots with the "victim" of the faked beating. One wonders, however, why none of the scared job applicants called the cops or how that guy managed to be certain he'd be picked first to pull his stunt or that all the other people would run away in fear, as a single other interviewee could unravel the entire plan. Or for that matter, why the interviewer didn't use the information on that guy's job application to call the cops.

  • Comedian John Heffron has a joke about this; whatever he was doing to annoy his brother would lead his brother to yell out "I can't breathe!", leading to Heffron being grounded.

    Comic Books 
  • Sin City:
    • This was how Ava manipulated Dwight into murdering her husband in the story "A Dame to Kill For."
    • Also used Squick-tacularly in the story "Daddy's Girl". A young woman, complaining of being abused by her father, convinces her boyfriend to kill him. Except that the gun she gives him is loaded with duds, and he's been set up to get beaten to death by the dad. And he's not the first guy she's done this to. Why? Because her father gets off on this, and she's daddy's girl.
  • The Wuzzles: In Walt Disney Comics no. 512, Croc gains sympathy from Butterbear by pulling up a board and pretending to have been injured. It works on her account, although Bumblelion overhears his plan and makes sure his stay is not a pleasant one. His plot? Well, his roof leaks and he was seeking shelter from a fruit salad storm. That's right, a fruit salad storm. Unconventional weather the land of Wuzz has, no?
  • Jenifer. In both the comic book and the Masters of Horror television adaptation, she takes this trope to a horrifying extreme. Suffice to say her hideous appearance is the least disturbing thing about her.
  • A 40's Batman features a short one: A low-level crook fires a bullet through his own hat (which he's holding in his hand), while yelling "Drop it, Wayne!" He proceeds to put the hat back on and tosses the gun to Bruce Wayne, who catches it. The police barge in and see Bruce Wayne with a smoking gun in his hand, and a hole in a bystander's hat.
  • This trope forms the backbone of the DC Comics miniseries Identity Crisis. When Elongated Man's wife Sue is murdered, it looks like an isolated incident; until Jean Loring, ex-wife of The Atom, is nearly killed as well. It seems someone is murdering the spouses of superheroes, and the hero community comes together to try to figure out which super villain might be behind it. Except, of course, that it's not a super villain; it's Jean, who staged her own attempted murder to both throw suspicion off herself, and to send the heroes on a wild goose chase by making Sue's murder look like part of a larger series of killings. And, in keeping with the scenario at the top of the page, it turns out she did it all to get a man's attention.
  • Employed by proxy in "Jabba the Hutt and the Dynasty Trap", a Star Wars-inspired story by Dark Horse Comics. Having just acquired a valuable Nuffin freighter on one of his adventures, everyone's favorite gangster slug decides to travel to the planet Smarteel where his counterpart Sha Cabrool Nu'um has his palace, intending to sell the freighter to the wealthy warlord. While staying at the Nu'um estate, Jabba finds himself caught in the middle of a power struggle between the aging and demented dictator and his two Bratty Teenage Children, Norba and Rusk. After Cabrool has Jabba locked in his bedroom for refusing to perform a task for him, Rusk talks his way past the guards and offers Jabba the opportunity to kill his father in his sleep, which Jabba accepts. But once the Sha Cabrool is dead, Rusk proves to be every bit as tyrannical as his father had been, and when Jabba refuses to submit to his authority he has the Hutt imprisoned in a pit full of spiders. Norba then approaches Jabba and denounces her brother, explaining that the Nu'um family needs to be headed by a woman (Norba, of course) in order to function properly. Jabba agrees, so Norba brings him into Rusk's office under the pretense of informing her brother that Jabba has had a change of heart and is willing to do what Rusk had commanded. Rusk catches a sinister glaze in his sister's eye, but too late: Jabba grabs him violently by the throat and pulverizes him into a pulp with one mighty punch. Rusk's bodyguards almost immediately arrive on the scene and see their master's dead body (or what remains of it) - and the treacherous Norba reveals her true colors by claiming that she had nothing to do with Rusk's murder, and that Jabba did it on his own and against her wishes! She has the Hutt dragged off to a dungeon, with Jabba roaring in rage and reaching (feebly) for the little bitch's throat. Fortunately for Jabba, he ultimately manages to avenge himself by escaping from the dungeon, eating Norba in one gulp, and rejoining his own henchmen.
  • ROM: Space Knight:
    • Jimmy Marks aka Hybrid tricked the X-Men into attacking Rom by blowing up his house and shapeshifting back into his human child form and blaming the death and destruction on Rom. Since Rom looked like a seven foot tall murder machine and Jimmy looked like a helpless child, the X-Men were easily duped. Fortunately, Hybrid got overconfident and revealed himself when he tried to kidnap Kitty Pryde during the battle.
    • The 32nd issue has Mystique pretend to be wounded to lure Rom into a trap.
  • Queen Bee: When Alexa garners sympathy for herself by using her telekinetic powers to hit herself in the head with a lunch tray and blames Haley (who has the same powers as her) for it.
  • After massacring a presidential candidate, his family, and an entire room of armed security, staffers, aides, and journalists during her "field test" for the Facility, X-23's exit strategy was to masquerade as the badly wounded, sole-surviving victim of an attack she herself carried out. She successfully duped Captain America.
    • For that matter, her entry was a variation of this: She masqueraded as a physically disabled child wearing leg braces and needing crutches to walk, made a scene in the lobby when a security guard tried to deny her request to meet Candidate Johnson, and played on her "disability" in order to gain access to him and carry out the attack.
  • Early in the Runaways' history, they took in a teenage boy named Topher, who claimed that his evil parents were forcing him to help them commit crimes. Topher was actually a vampire, and once they brought him back to their headquarters, he tried to feed on them, only to die after Karolina's blood turned out to be loaded with sunlight. Subverted in that Alex Wilder quickly realized that Topher was lying, but said nothing to anyone else, because he wanted to use the bastard's deception to make his team more distrustful of outsiders.
  • New Avengers: A demon possessing Luke Cage pretends to flee, in order to get Jessica Jones in closer. After a few seconds everyone figures out it's not her husband. Cue the enraged Flying Brick.
  • In Mastermen #1, with help from Overman, the Human Bomb threw off Leatherwing and the rest of the New Reichsmen by pretending to be gravely injured by Leatherwing's interrogation, giving him the chance to wait to break free and then destroy the Eagle's Nest.
  • Used in the second arc of Copperhead by Zolo's gang. One flags down his police car to request aid for an injured man, but as soon as Boo approaches several guns are pulled on him.
  • Minor Spider-Man villain the Black Fox pulled this on a regular basis. Whenever Spidey was about to catch him, the Fox would give some sort of sob story about how he wouldn't survive jail time in his age or how he would swear to never steal again on the grave of his mother (who wasn't even dead!) and so on. And Spidey kept falling for it repeatedly. After about five or six encounters of this happening though, he finally got wise and sent the Fox to prison.
  • In Hex Wives, Bradley pretends to be badly burned as part of a scheme by the Architects to dissuade the women from wanting to leave the cul-de-sac.
  • A variation in Suicide Squad. When she's hit in the face with a pie, Amanda Waller naturally assumes it's resident troublemaker Captain Boomerang. Just as Boomerang is showing up, he's hit by a pie and berates Waller for setting him up for this. Over the next twenty issues, every member of the Squad (and others) are hit by pies as well. Murph finally arranges video to show the culprit is...Boomerang. Knowing he'd be the first suspect, Boomerang had cunningly set up a "boomerang pie" to hit him right off to deflect suspicion.

    Comic Strips 
  • Barry, The Scrappy little brother in Curtis, shows how it's done here.
  • Humorously subverted in a Dilbert strip: Dilbert accidentally bumps the car in front of him and gets out to apologize. When he looks in the front window of the other car, he sees a man with a grotesquely twisted-up body who screams "LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO ME!" The alleged victim takes Dilbert to court, intending to sue him for all he's worth. "Now I'll never be able to work again!" he whines to the defense attorney. But the plaintiff's scheme fails when the defense attorney asks him what his job had been, and he's forced to admit: "Circus contortionist."
  • One Bo Nanas strip featured a woman asking the main character to hold her purse. Once he does so, she starts yelling, claiming that she's been purse-snatched. It didn't work; the policeman nearby saw the whole thing, and apparently she's done this before.
  • Inverted and then triple-subverted in one Garfield strip. Garfield sees Jon lavishing attention on the cute kitten Nermal and becomes envious. He walks up to Nermal and—with Jon's eyes upon him—deliberately kicks the little guy over in the hope that Jon will become angry with him. He is disgusted when Jon simply takes pity on Nermal and completely ignores what Garfield did. Figuring that "two can play the sympathy game," Garfield takes up a plate of fine china and smashes it against his head, then "falls down unconscious" in an attempt to make Jon feel sorry for him. Instead, Jon scolds Garfield for breaking one of his most valuable plates—and, even worse for Garfield, it turns out that the plate-breaking really did hurt him, giving him a colossal headache!
  • In a Peanuts strip from 1952, Charlie Brown is minding his own business and playing with a toy truck, when Lucy runs past him, yelling at him not to attack her. Patty overhears and threatens to beat Charlie Brown up, so Charlie Brown tells Lucy to stay away from him. Lucy gets upset, and when Charlie Brown tries apologize to her, Lucy yells at Charlie Brown not to attack her again.

    Fan Works 
  • In Enemies Within, Evil!Sayori cuts her cheek to incriminate Yuri of attacking her.
  • In I Won't Say when L catches Mello and Matt sneaking around his room Matt turns on the waterworks and tries to blame it all on Light.
  • The Immortal Game: After Terra is stripped of her power and imprisoned by the Mane Cast, she eventually pretends to have an emotional breakdown in order to lure Fluttershy close enough to her cage that she can try and strangle her through the bars.
  • In Shinji and Warhammer 40k, when Gendo and SEELE finally realize that neither of them was behind Shinji's messianic rise in popularity and influence, they conclude that a third party is manipulating events. Gendo interrogates Shinji privately, hoping to learn who's behind it. Gendo is careful to avoid leaving any obvious bruises during the interrogation, and when physical pain proves ineffective, he starts threatening Shinji's friends. Shinji responds by savagely punching himself in the face over and over. Due to an old incident where Shinji provoked Gendo into striking him in public, combined with the public persona Shinji had cultivated, Gendo realizes there's nothing he can do to convince people of the truth.
  • In A Cure for Love, while Light is in the middle of killing one of his former coworkers he makes said coworker shoot him in the arm so that he will look innocent to the investigators.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes fic The Ghost Map, Holmes shoots himself in the shoulder to frame a Serial Killer/Deadly Doctor and get him convicted in court.
  • In Monster a jealously scorned Misa calls the police on Kira's operation in the hopes of eliminating her competition and forcing Light to be "hers" again. When calling the police, Misa gives a great performance, tears and all, and downplays her own involvement claiming she was "so scared" of Kira.
  • After Mikoto Uchiha kills off most of her clan in A Dark Obsession, she deliberately injures herself and tells Naruto that the Hokage was responsible in order to convince Naruto to leave Konoha with her.
  • In Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything B locks himself and Light up in L's kitchen and begins beating himself up in an attempt to frame Light. Luckily L knows B and Light well enough to figure out what's going on.
  • Checker Monarch from Getting Back on Your Hooves has Manipulation as her Special Talent, and thus has this as part of her arsenal, and threatens to do so if anyone reveals her crimes. Ironically, Trixie uses this trope herself to lure Checker into an Engineered Public Confession.
  • Shadowfax tries this to escape interrogation in You Obey.
  • Vivian pulls this trick on Lyrius during the Final Battle of Yu Gi Oh: The Thousand Year Door Redux. When he's understandably upset at having fallen for such an old trick, she says she "had a good teacher". (Implying that she learned it from him.)
  • In Shadowchasers: Ascension, Shock Jock Sarah Blaze uses a variation of this similar to Palpatine's in Star Wars: Clone Wars, arranging for her own kidnapping and pretending to be a Damsel in Distress so she won't be considered a suspect later when things get more serious. Unfortunately for her, Karen picks up on a few interactions between her and the kidnapper that seem contradictory. When she interviews the kidnapper on her show, she acts like the two have never met; however, when she's actually kidnapped, she addresses him as if she's known him a long time. This eventually gets her found out, and ruins a big part of the villains' plans.
  • In Hybrid Theory, through make-up and tears and being naked in bed, Nabiki convinces Ryouga that he snapped and abused her, because she wants him to be her perfect willing slave.
  • In Another Chance (as well as many Fairy Tail fanfics like it), Lisanna, by using makeup, manages to fool most of the guild into thinking Lucy injured her, causing them to turn on and beat Lucy up. Only Wendy, Juvia, the Exceeds and Gajeel, of all people refuse to take part in it, but only Makarov sees through Lisanna's deception by smelling her makeup (which the other Dragon Slayers should have been able to do), and after having Juvia use her magic to wash it off, expels Lisanna from the guild.
  • In Persona EG, Sunset Shimmer uses this as one of her plans to humiliate Flash and anger Twilight. She breaks into the Applewood dorm one night in February and rapes Flash, then one month later claims that she is pregnant with Flash's child because he forced himself on her. Although she was attempting to get pregnant for real when she raped him it didn't work and she just made up that she was pregnant to humiliate Flash. Though many people in the school believe the rumor at first, the attempt ultimately fails when Flash, Cadance and Celestia call her out on her lie and set up a test to prove it is false. Sunset backs down and admits her lie, but gets out of any official punishment by messaging over Canterbook that she panicked and misread her result. Despite the rumor being proved false, many people are still upset at Flash for having had sex with Sunset, but Sunset herself is just as humiliated as Flash.
  • This Backyardigans fanfic be a bully do this to get the kids (specifically Pablo and Tyrone) in trouble. It works.
  • In Heart Of Ashes, Andraya uses this trick to frame Smaug (or "Cail Agonn" as he's known in his human form) for King Wilhelm's murder in order to get back at him for breaking off their expired deal. She enters the king's bedchamber in a maid's attire, kills him, leaves the door of the servant passage open, slices her own forehead, sinks the dagger in the king's chest, and screams for help. Pretending to be a hysteric maid, she tearfully tells the guards that "Cail Agonn" murdered the king and escaped through the servant passage, leading the guards to search for him and (unsuccessfully) attempt to arrest/kill him. It helps that "Cail Agonn" is a wanted man who recently spoke disrespectfully to the king.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku gets into an arm wrestle with Kendo Rappa that's so so one-sided that Rappa's arm gets twisted all the way around. Izuku screams and apologizes for what he's done until Rappa reveals his Abnormal Limb Rotation Range and resets his arm while laughing at Izuku's reaction.
    Izuku: Ahhh! I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to-are you okay?!
    Rappa: [arm twisted 180 degrees] "Okay"? "Okay"? "Okay"?! You think this is okay?!
    Izuku: Ahhhh!
    Rappa: You think this is okay, kid?! 'Cause if you do... then you're totally right to do so. [spins his shoulder back into place]
    Izuku: Wh-What?
    Rappa: Ha! Got you good, kid! Ah, if I had 100 yen every time I got someone to have that look on your face.
    Izuku: [under his breath] Yeah, real funny.
  • White Sheep (RWBY):
    • Cinder mentions that Salem's daughters quickly realized that Salem was completely incapable of denying them anything while they were crying; it makes any attempts to punish them doomed to failure. While this did also apply to Salem's son Jaune, he never took advantage of it.
    • In the story proper, Jaune invokes this on Cinder's behalf. He attacks her while in his Grimm form to keep her cover safe when Ironwood attacks their meeting with Adam in chapter 40. Adam, for his part, catches on quickly, and talks about having "lost the hostage" in earshot of Ironwood's men.
  • RWBY: Dark: P.E.N.N.Y., disguised as a girl, fakes a broken leg and having lost her parents in order to gain sympathy from the Resistance and use it to infiltrate their base. Fortunately, Mercury sees right through it.
  • Missing (Miraculous Ladybug): In order to get Alya in trouble, Lila slaps herself across the face hard enough to leave a mark, then bursts into Crocodile Tears, making it seem as though the other girl attacked her.
  • Sins of the Past opens with Lila cornering Marinette, then grabbing her journal and smacking herself in the face with it. Their classmates believe that Marinette was the one who struck her, save for Adrien... but he still blames her for what happened.
  • In “Telling Lies No Mama”, Chloé explains that Lila uses this as a tool to get everyone on her side, even when what she says doesn’t add up. At the start of the story, Lila tries to claim that Marinette attacked her, and everyone jumps to her defense, except for Alya, Nino, Adrien and Chloé. When Chloé presses the class if they really believe Marinette did it, they admit that they didn’t really believe Lila and only defended her because she seemed so vulnerable and sad and they didn’t want to seem like jerks.
  • In Underestimation, Lila tries to claim that Marinette pushed her on the way to school in order to get the rest of the class to turn on her. While they do believe she was assaulted, they end up questioning the identity of her "attacker", since Marinette is an All-Loving Hero who would never bully someone like that; Lila is ultimately forced to concede that she may have mistaken her "attacker" for Marinette.
  • Henri LeRoi, the new villain character in Jerk In Sheep's Clothing, pulls the same stunts Lila usually does in salt fics, only the targets are reversed so that he’s faking it to get Marinette’s sympathy and make the class seem like the bullies instead of the other way around, all to get her to cut ties with them and become dependent on him.
    • When Ivan confronts him on his behavior, which is very gently and not at all threatening, Henri puts his hands on himself and throws himself down the stairs just as Marinette is coming over, making it look like Ivan pushed him down. When Ivan tries to defend himself, Henri fakes an ankle injury to steal back her pity.
    • Kim tries to catch Henri in the act of faking by throwing a paper football at his face, prompting him to get up on his ankle and catch it. When Kim points this out, Henri claims he risked his injury to save Marinette from a paper cut on her face, earning her admiration and getting her to believe her friends are bullying him.
  • Sherlock Holmes fanfic The Ghost Map: Holmes shoots himself in the shoulder in order to convict the Deadly Doctor who spread the disease.

    Film — Animation 
  • Done by Steele in Balto. Steele says that Balto attacked him and tried to steal the medicine for the sick kids, only to fall off of a cliff. Balto actually demanded the medicine because he knew the way back. Steele didn't want to give it up because he wanted the glory of bringing the medicine back himself, so Balto took it by force.
  • Dee Dee pulled this trick to get the drop on Terry in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. When he showed up when they and the other Jokerz were in the middle of a robbery, they held each other and pretended to be terrified; when he turned his back to concentrate on the tougher-looking male members of the gang, they pounced.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • In Lady and the Tramp, the two Siamese cats do a lot of damage to the Darlings' house, and arrange for Lady to get caught in some drapes so that it looks like she did it. Afterward, they lie down on the floor and roll around piteously meowing, with (self-inflicted) scratches on them, to make it look like Lady attacked them as part of her rampage. (Of course, Lady did try to attack them, but it was out of righteous fury at the cats' mischief, not bullying.)
    • Cinderella included a scene where Cindy lectures the hound dog Bruno on getting along with Lucifer. While her back is turned, Lucifer lies down in front of Bruno and scratches his snout, yowling when he growls. The trope is played with a bit, however. Cindy does not try to play favorites with any of the animals, insisting that they treat each other equally. After she sends the abashed Bruno outside, she angrily sets down Lucifer's saucer of milk while snapping a remark that she knows Lucifer to be a bully himself, and that he probably deserved what he "got."
    • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Iago tries to trick Aladdin into letting him back into the palace by acting severally injured and claiming that he just escaped from Jafar. Naturally, Aladdin isn't fooled and attacks Iago.
  • In Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, Joe tells Miss Acacia about how he lost his right eye because of Jack's cuckoo clock heart, but makes it sound like Jack did it on purpose.
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the penguins pull one on the tourists. Private covers himself in red paint to make it look like the tour jeep ran him over, and as the tour guide gives him CPR, the others hijack the jeep.
  • At the end of the fourth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, Weslie manages to discover that Wolffy is only pretending to be badly injured from the events of the film so that he could have his wife Wolnie and his son Wilie help him to break into Goat Village and capture the goats.
  • In the Wallace & Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, the murderer deceives Wallace into thinking Gromit has attacked them, even going so far as to bite their own arm to provide an injury. This one only worked through Wallace's Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies, as it would be hard for Gromit to bite anyone, as he has no mouth.

  • From Sparks's "Waterproof":
    "I see you crying but I'm not buying your Meryl Streep mimicry
    It's misdirected, your voice inflected
    For maximum sympathy"
  • In Plan B's concept Album "The Defamation of Strickland Banks", after Strickland rejects a Loony Fan he had a drunken one-night stand with, she alleges that he raped her and he gets sent to jail.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In Genesis chapter 39 from The Bible, Potiphar's wife flirted with Joseph, who went about doing his chores as usual, until one day, she managed to get ahold of Joseph by his linen garment, and when he hastily flees, she told the servants that Potiphar brought a Hebrew servant in to mock them and she cried out for help, and Potiphar has Joseph sent away to an Egyptian prison.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This often happens in Professional Wrestling, of all places. A favorite tactic of the late Eddie Guerrero was, when the Easily Distracted Referee's back was turned, slam a chair on the ground, throw it to his opponent, and then lay down like he'd just taken a chair shot. Ref turns around, sees the "carnage", and DQ's the opponent. And this was while he was a Face, mind you. In fact, this is exactly what he did (to Mr. Kennedy) in his last match before he died (may he rest in peace). CM Punk inverted this same move against Alberto Del Rio years later. Del Rio slammed the chair into the mat, then threw it to Punk— who caught it, threw it back to Del Rio, and fell to the mat. The ref ended up berating Del Rio.
  • Though Eddie Guerrero employed this trope regularly, he wasn't the first (though he may have been the first good guy). In the early 1990s, Michael Hayes was wrestling Rick Steiner in World Championship Wrestling. The referee was distracted; Hayes's partner, Jimmy Garvin—lurking at ringside—threw Steiner a length of two-by-four. Hayes dropped to the mat, holding his head and writhing in pain. The ref turned to see Steiner standing over him with the board and promptly disqualified him. This was particularly effective because Rick Steiner's persona was that of a lovable doofus with very little going on upstairs; thus it was perfectly in character for him to not only catch the board, but stand there holding it with a confused look on his face.
  • Parodied at TNA's Hard CORE Justice Pay-Per-View, where Brother Runt performed this stunt with Al Snow while the Ref was out, and while the ref was recovering, Snow similarly banged the chair against the mat, and then fell down, holding his head. The ref was quite befuddled. This also ties in to the Rick Steiner example in that both Brother Runt and Al Snow were using their mentally disabled gimmicks - Runt tripping on LSD, Al Snow mentally ill and talking to a mannequin's head.
  • The Florida Brothers from Dragon Gate used to do their own variation, where instead of dropping to the mat, one of them would instead catch a chair attack from an opponent, then actually open the chair and drape it around their neck while feigning pain. It may have been used one time by Genba Hirayanagi when he was a young heel in Pro Wrestling NOAH as well.
  • Lince Dorado has started using this in CHIKARA. It being a lucha libre promotion, unmasking an opponent is grounds for disqualification. He waits for the referee to turn his back, takes his mask off, throws it at his opponent, and lays on the ground, covering his face. Instant DQ. This spot has also been performed on MTV's wrestling program Lucha Libre USA.
  • ROH's Sixth Anniversary Show had Nigel McGuinness pulling a slick one against Bryan Danielson. McGuinness, the ROH World Champion, nearly walked out without defending the title against Danielson…until Danielson agreed to avoid blows to the head. Nigel ended the match throwing headbutts, attacking Danielson's injured eye, and using the trapped elbows to add more insult.
  • Cleverly employed by Randy Orton in early 2009, when he was still a heel and the leader of the Legacy stable. Having just won the Royal Rumble the night before, Orton announced that he was going to bring a lawsuit against WWE for threatening to fire him despite his having been guaranteed a title shot at WrestleMania (when in fact the McMahons had threatened to fire him before he won the Rumble match)....and also threatened a second lawsuit, this time applying the WGG in a subtle way. He claimed that he had slapped, kicked, and punted the head of Vince McMahon because he was suffering from a made-up disease called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (which, apparently, is actually a real disorder) that causes its victim to resort to violence when provoked (in Orton's case, he had been slapped by Vince's daughter Stephanie, heard his father "Cowboy" Bob Orton insulted, and seen Chris Jericho fired in a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment and feared that he might be next). Randy accused WWE of knowing that he had IED but refusing to treat it, even though there was no way he could prove this. He announced that the two lawsuits combined would drive WWE to bankruptcy and cause WrestleMania to be cancelled. Orton's machinations backfired: not only did everyone in WWE outside of the Legacy turn bitterly against him, but he angered Stephanie's husband Triple H into launching multiple attacks on him and terrorizing his family.
    • Orton's father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. used the fake cast gimmick for years.
  • Vickie Guerrero followed in her late husband's footsteps on some occasions, starting in late 2006. After Chris Benoit accidentally knocked her off the ring apron during a match with her nephew Chavo, Vickie appeared backstage wearing a neck brace she didn't really need and sobbing hysterically, hoping to substantiate rumors at the time that Benoit was a "woman-beater" (which, sad to say, now counts as one hell of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment). Vickie kept exploiting her "injuries" long after her neck healed, often appearing in a wheelchair and otherwise acting helpless in order to get her male companions (both members of her family and her romantic interests) to act as her servants.
  • Played with in a 2008 Raw sequence in which Chris Jericho stripped off his shirt before the crowd to reveal a collection of ugly red welts he had received when Shawn Michaels had thrashed him with a belt in their "Unsanctioned Match" at Unforgiven. He called Michaels a hypocrite for claiming to be a good Christian and yet acting violently ("What kind of a man would do something like this?"). In fact, Jericho fully deserved those welts, since he had looked forward to the match because he was sure he would win and wanted Michaels's kids to see him cripple their father on pay-per-view television.
  • The Rock defended the Intercontinental Title against Ken Shamrock at the 1998 Royal Rumble. He hit Shamrock with brass knuckles, and then hid them in Shamrock's tights. Shamrock eventually won the match, but the Rock claimed he had been hit with a foreign object. The referee searched Shamrock, found the knuckles and reversed the decision.
  • John Laurinaitis fakes the injuries he got from John Cena. When Cena looks for the Big Show for a little payback, Laurinaitis retorts that he doesn't know where he was...and goes off topic by cruelly saying that if Cena hurts him, he's fired.
  • Ivelisse Vélez returned to SHINE Wrestling from TNA with taped ribs, which would have been believable if one only watched SHINE but should have made any TNA viewers suspicious. Sure enough, the tape ended up off Velez's mid section and around the throat of Jazz.
  • On the first night of Super Card Of Honor X, Roderick Strong played one of these not so much to fool his opponent, Moose, but to fool his night 2 opponent Bobby Fish, using an "injury" inflicted by Moose as pretext to crawling over the announce table where Fish was doing commentary in order to draw the fight with Moose closer to Fish and give him a cheap shot.
  • Parodied in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. After Toru Yano and Sanada play hot potato with a turnbuckle pad (about the same size as a chair), Toru throws it to the referee and...while the ref looks away in confusion...drops to the ground as though he'd been hit by it. And the referee actually questions Sanada like he hit him with it!

  • In sports, this is colloquially known as flopping. Both the NBA and the WNBA have forbidden it.
  • In soccer/football this is often called "diving" - though diving is often used as a more specific term for falling over and pretending to have been fouled without any contact from the opposition player whatsoever. If the referee concludes that this trope has been invoked, he/she is authorized to punish the one who pulled it. However, if they're fooled and award a penalty, it still stands - the player and/or team can still be punished later, though. Referees will give out yellow cards for diving in the penalty area (or in a similar high-stakes situation).
    • It should also be noted that the tolerance for this trope overlaps somewhat with the general tolerance for physicality (while football/soccer is nominally non-contact, a certain degree of physical contact is inevitable) - in Britain, and to a lesser extent in Germany and Russia, players are harshly condemned for diving, exaggerating injuries, and other ploys, and a much greater lenience towards physical contact (there's a reason that the Defensive Midfield position is sometimes referred to as the 'Midfield Destroyer'). In Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and Central and South America, there's a greater tolerance for it (the exaggeration part, at least, as well as berating the referee) and a correspondingly lesser tolerance for physical contact.
  • Brazil vs. Chile, 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying. A firework fell in the field. The Chilean goalkeeper fell to the pitch with an apparent injury to his forehead, and play was suspended. Later it was discovered the player created the injury himself, with a razor blade hidden in his glove. Chile was banned for eight years, and the keeper for life.
  • Notorious troublemaker Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers admitted in a documentary that he "milked it" when Knicks player John Starks headbutted him on the court in 1993.
  • Terry Bradshaw was famous for this on the gridiron. He claims that at one point his teammates presented him with a mock-up Emmy statuette.
  • The 1974 Firecracker 400note  (the summer race at Daytona) featured a climax where defending Winston Cup champion David Pearson, shortly after crossing the start/finish line on the final lap, began pulling onto the apron as if he blew an engine. This led to Richard Petty momentarily taking the lead only for Pearson to catch up to Petty, ultimately slingshotting his way ahead of Petty on Turn Four for the win. Interestingly enough, Pearson and Petty were good friends when they were not racing, so you'd excpect a gambit to strain their friendship. Not exactly. All that happened it that Petty swore at Pearson....then offered to buy him a beer!

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is a staple trick of any Tabletop RPG, used by both the Game Master and Players alike regardless of the setting. The common setup is something like this: a character is in trouble, whether held captive or simply seeking out help righting a wrong he or she cannot right. He or she uses his or her apparent vulnerability to manipulate the other parties into doing what he or she wants. Depending on the genre, mystical or technological augmentations can help with the con. Then, when the character gets what they want, they may either dramatically betray the others then or just leave their stooges in the dark entirely. Alternatively, play the victim when the paladins/Jedi/police/player characters show up.
  • Exalted has an entire Martial Arts style based around this trope.
  • In Warzone, the tabletop game set in the Mutant Chronicles universe, the "Dark Huntsman" is a Dark Legion unit in the form of a former human soldier who was brainwashed by the Dark Symmetry and then sent back to the no man's land between the front lines to prey on his ex-comrades. His modus operandi is lying in a ditch somewhere crying for help, claiming to be wounded, then killing any soldiers that come investigating. Of course, since he retains all knowledge of codewords etc., he is also a perfect infiltrator.
  • Pathfinder's Broken Wing Gambit feat allows a party to pull this off. A character makes himself appear vulnerable and grants the opponent a significant bonus to hit and to damage him. If the opponent buys it and attacks, the rest of the party gets to unload a whole mess of hurt onto the enemy beforehand.

  • In The Crucible, Abigail Williams stabs herself in the leg to frame Elizabeth Proctor. She also, later, pretends to be possessed by Mary Warren.
  • Subverted in King Lear, Edmund, the son of the Earl of Gloucester, cuts his own arm to make it look like his older brother Edgar attacked him. Although his father does disinherit Edgar, he barely acknowledges that Edmund is hurt.

    Video Games 
  • In Among Us, If you're an Impostor, you can pull this off by reporting your own kill, but it can backfire easily if you do it at the start of the match or do it in front of someone.
  • Rottytops pulls this in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. She pretends to have been bitten by a giant spider in order to get Shantae to carry her home, betting that Shantae's Chronic Hero Syndrome wouldn't allow her to leave someone behind. It works, and Rottytops admitted it was a lot of fun, in her own way.
  • Dr. Wily of Mega Man has done this a total of 11 times to make sure the main character doesn't maim him, send him to jail, or flat out kill him. Not that Mega Man can anyway, no matter how hard he's tried. It runs in the "family." Bass does it in Mega Man 7 to gain entry to Dr. Light's lab and steal the Super Adapter.
  • The first game in the Wing Commander series features an object lesson on this in the manual, which is treated as a copy of Claw Marks, a news magazine published on-board the carrier TCS Tiger's Claw. The reader learns that two fighter pilots aboard the ship, Captain R.A. Skinner and Lieutenant Larry Dibbles (a cartoonist for Claw Marks), were taking part in a strike on a Kilrathi destroyer. They encountered two Jalthi fighters—one adrift in space, the other with intermittent thruster power. Lieutenant Dibbles took the bait, disobeyed orders and abandoned his wingleader for easy kills. The result: two good pilots dead, no more cartoons for Claw Marks, and in their place a stern lecture by one of the resident top aces, Major James Taggart.
  • In The Legend of Zelda series:
    • In A Link to the Past, one of the dungeon bosses tricks Link by disguising himself as the innocent maiden who Link came to rescue.
    • In Phantom Hourglass, the four creepy sisters you have to rescue on the ghost ship do this to you. They act frightened and innocent and do their damnedest to get you killed, including alerting Phantoms by screaming and directing you to make bad decisions.
  • In the human campaign of Starsiege, once the Cybrids begin their war of extermination in earnest, there is a series of O-Web transmissions between Harabec Weathers and a little girl stranded on a Europan colony, Melanie, who claims to be the only survivor of a Cybrid attack. In the Cybrid campaign, it's revealed that the Cybrids got to her first, removed her brain, and installed a Cybrid infiltrator unit in its place as part of a "Siren Program" to lure human forces into traps.
  • No More Heroes: Bad Girl, the number 2 ranked assassin, sometimes collapses to the ground and starts crying. Sometimes, she's genuinely crying, meaning you can get some free hits in. More often than not, though, it's a facade, and if you fall for it, she will One-Hit Kill you. The trick is to see if she's holding her bat: if she is, steer clear, and if she's not, go nuts.
  • Pokémon:
    • Mawile's gimmick revolves around this. Its "Fake Tears" move lulls its foes into a sense of complacency with its adorable face, leaving the foe wide open for a bite from its big steel jaws. Any Pokémon with Fake Tears can do something similar.
    • The moves Growl, Tail Whip, and Charm are also centered on this.
  • The Witch from Left 4 Dead: her crying can be heard long before you even come across her. However, the characters already know to stay away from her (and will warn the others when they hear one) and it's even one of the tips you can get on the loading screen.
  • RosenkreuzStilette: Iris Sepperin is incredibly fond of this trick in the game, when she uses it to manipulate her dad into war and imprisoning Karl because He Knows Too Much and in Grollschwert, made Grolla look like the bad guy in front of her superior Sichte, and, being a Mega Man clone, she does the whole "Please don't kill me" thing. By the sequel, Freudia doesn't buy it and froze her for eternity for all the trouble she caused.
  • In the third Ace Attorney game, Dahlia Hawthorne milks this trope for all it's worth. Thankfully, Mia Fey is not easily fooled.
    • In the third case of Ace Attorney Investigations, Lance Amano, having supposedly escaped from his kidnappers, collapses in front of Edgeworth and the others investigating. Not only did Lance fake his own kidnapping so he could pocket the ransom, but he is also the murderer, and manipulated his girlfriend into thinking she had shot the victim (while feigning disbelief that she could do something like that) when he was already dead.
    • Played with in Apollo Justice: Alita Tiala tries to get out of being accused by showing a wound she got from the case's victim, claiming that because of the attack she was unconscious when he died. He did attack her, but it's her that killed him.
    • Again in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: after Phoenix accuses Detective Bobby Fulbright of being the phantom, he tries to claim that he's being blackmailed by the phantom into working for him, not the phantom himself. When he's pressed, however, he can't even decide which of his relatives is the hostage, and no one takes it seriously.
  • Sonya defeats Kano this way in the storyline of Mortal Kombat 3 during a rooftop battle, pretending she's hurt to lure him close in order to grab him with her scissor kick and throw him off it.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Queen Anora pretends to be in danger of her life in order to gain the protagonist's sympathy and force the Warden to eliminate one of her enemies. (She was locked up and in danger of losing power, but not actually in danger of dying. She just thought that sounded more likely to get a hero's help.) Depending on how events play out, she may later claim to others that you were kidnapping/threatening her, so that she can get their sympathy. Twice. However, it is strongly implied Howe was planning to kill Anora and frame the Warden for it, so she may have genuinely been in danger, but just didn't know it.
    • In dialogue, Morrigan can mention that on one of her earlier journeys out of the Korcari Wilds, a Chasind recognized her as a witch. She acted innocent and frightened, and the Fereldans looking on (who didn't understand Chasind) thought he was the mage and was trying to curse her.
  • A bit downplayed here in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow: Alexander acts all Emo in the Pawn Shop and pretends that all hope is lost without Cassima while pretending to cry, and fakes suicide by drinking the "Drink Me" potion. This gambit is an effort to trick Shamir and the guard dogs into lowering their guard for entry into the castle.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • There is a quest in Whiterun where you are asked to find a redguard woman in town (never mind that there are several redguard women in the city and you don't get any closer description). When you find her, she tells you that she is chased by assassins because she said something bad about the Thalmor, and asks you to kill them. When you enter their lair, they will tell you that she lied and that they want to capture her because she sides with the Thalmor. At this point you can choose to help either of them. While you can't verify who is actually telling the truth, if you side with the assassins they actually take her alive and gives the "don't trust a pretty face" aesop, suggesting that it is actually this trope.
    • While exploring the Reach, you might run into a man named Telrav lying seemingly-wounded at the side of the road, who claims to have been ransacked by bandits and left for dead. He then begs that you help escort him to his nearby camp, but of course it's all a setup and once you reach the camp, he and his bandit gang try to ambush you. Notably, if you sneak into the camp and kill off the other bandits before finding him, he won't even bother with the ruse and attack you straightaway.
  • Havelock does this in Dishonored's Low Chaos ending. If you make yourself known to him in the final confrontation, he will surrender peacefully and tell you where the key to the room where he's holding Emily is, while also claiming he will let Corvo have him arrested if he so chooses. If you take him up on his offer, he'll reveal his "surrender" was a ruse and attacks you. Cue Final Battle.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has Selvaria pull off a very convincing one. After her defeat, she feigns exhaustion and surrenders; one of the soldiers doesn't buy it and pistol-whips her, with General Damon pointing out that she could still be dangerous; Welkin and Alicia are shocked and appalled at Damon's apparent mistreatment of a prisoner, but the matter is out of their hands. A few hours later, Selvaria obliterates the entire army in a Suicide Attack, which she had been ordered to do before the battle at Ghirlandaio even started.
  • Planescape: Torment features a version where a woman on the street is covered in blood and cries out for help against assailants. If your mental stats are high enough, her story and disguise unravel. If they are not, or you go along with her anyway, her allies try robbing you in an alley. Mugging the Monster ensues.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, distress beacons will sometimes be pirates who pretend to be in trouble just so they can lure you in and attack you. You should still try to go to every beacon you can, since if it's a genuine distress signal, you'll get a nice reward for helping (some Scrap, some fuel, maybe even a new weapon), and if it's a trap, killing the pirate who set the trap will still get you some Scrap.
  • This was a strategy in single-player Civilization III. If a civilization was an aggressor in war, it suffered a penalty in diplomacy (the idea being that an aggressor can't be trusted). However, the AI was generally too stupid to distinguish between a provoked and unprovoked declaration of war—the only issue that mattered to the AI was which civilization declared war, not why the civ did so. So a smart player could provoke an AI civilization they wanted to beat up into declaring war by making unauthorized incursions into the AI civ's territory—and, when the AI civ justifiably declared war, suffer no penalty in diplomacy. This was particularly amplified once gameplay reached the Industrial Age, when Mutual Defense Pacts became available—with a pact, you could ally yourself with the neighbor of whichever civ you wanted to fight, provoke the civ into declaring war on you, and then—because your enemy had declared war on you and not the other way around—your allied neighbor civ would automatically declare war on your target. All of a sudden, your target is fighting a two-front war (and we all know how those turn out), and as long as you leave enough scraps to keep your ally satisfied and haven't completely underestimated your opponent, victory is all but guaranteed.
  • In The King of Fighters: KYO, this is how Chris manages to capture Kyo's girlfriend Yuki while she's waiting for her boyfriend for what was supposed to be their last date before the tournament. He pretends to feel ill and asks Yuki for help, and when the girl's guard is low enough he seizes her and brings her to his teammates so they can use her as a Targeted Human Sacrifice to resurrect Orochi.
  • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Mary Read pulls one of these on some guards, so that they'll open the doors. She promptly kills them.
  • In The Last of Us, while driving on the highway Joel and Ellie come across a man hobbling in front of them asking them to stop. While Ellie's all for helping him out, Joel sees right through it and tries to run him down, causing the man to drop the act and pull out a gun. Joel later states that he's been on both sides of that trick.
  • Firefall: Most of the time, that wounded bandit who is begging for mercy will ask for medicine in exchange for crystite, only to reveal that the medical supplies are a homing beacon. Cue "Big Brother", the dreadnaught with a rocket launcher. Then the little guy will pretend he's sad about the death of his "big brother" and give you co-ordinates and a key to a loot crate — which may or may not work. Occasionally, it really is medical supplies and the wounded bandit will give you the map and key out of gratitude... or to make you look the other way while he runs.
    Wounded Bandit: Guess what? We're going to rob you!
    Big Brother: Guess what? We're cannibals!
  • Cantr II: Another tactic, guaranteed to get sympathy. Or encourage the more ..... violent members of the community to try and pull a Dexter. Or The Silence of the Lambs. Or Psycho. Hell, pick a serial killer trope, and we've got/had some iteration of it.
  • Occasionally in Streets of Rage, hitting certain Electras (a female whip-using enemy) will cause her to scream and drop to her knees, no longer attacking you. Turning your back on her at this point, or just leaving her alone for long enough, will make her get right back up to try and catch you by surprise.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, there are optional escort missions involving helping civilians in need, in the neighborhood of 'Can you give me a ride to [place]?'. Sometimes these civilians are actually bandits and they are indistinguishable from the real deal until either the guns come out or they make a run to steal your horse.
  • Skyforge has the Love Goddess Thais deliberately provoke Sea God Protheus when he's trying to tell the player about her secret plots - when he lashes out at her, she sports a Smug Smirk as the player takes up arms against him.
  • In the Fatal Frame II remake Deep Crimson Butterfly it's revealed that Mayu fell off the cliff, permanently injuring her leg, on purpose to ensure that her twin sister Mio would feel guilty enough to never leave her.

    Visual Novels 
  • Magical Diary sees Damien fake being in danger of dying, claiming that his demon blood is burning him out. But he's willing to die, he claims - he would never ask you or anyone else to pay the price for curing him. What would it cost? Just your soul, voluntarily given. If you believe him and offer your soul anyways, it does not go well for you: he admits that he's been playing you all year and didn't really love you - he just wanted someone stupid enough to give him their soul and figured that a wildseed freshthing would be perfect. Depending on how you play your choices, this can end with near-death because he really does love you (he just didn't know it) and can't bring himself to go through with it and significant damage that can take the rest of the year to repair (if you manage to fix it at all, in the time you have left) or possibly death (although this is not yet confirmed).
  • Done in Umineko: When They Cry Episode 6, Dawn of the Golden Witch by Erika, who pretends to have a Villainous Breakdown so that Battler will take pity on her and grant her the use of her dreaded duct tape. According to Episode 8, Twilight of the Golden Witch, Battler fell for the trick on purpose because it helped set up the logic error that revived Beatrice.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Felix lets himself gets shot in the leg by his partner, Locus, in order to trick the stranded Reds and Blues into trusting him. Later on when Felix's true motives are revealed, he takes great pleasure in taunting them about it.
    "Yeah, funny how an act of sacrifice like that buys you so much trust. And so much information."
  • RWBY: Mercury, with assistance from Emerald's illusions, tricks Yang into shooting him in the leg after she has already won a match against him, in order to horrify the audience and attract the Grimm. Mercury actually has prosthetic legs so he wasn't harmed at all; Emerald had to use more illusions to make the medics think he was really injured.
  • Puffin Forest: One of Ben's Neutral Evil characters was Trixie Starbright, a seemingly happy-go-lucky tween who enjoyed tearing her rivals down in sadistic life-destroying schemes. After one of her illegal pokemon-poaching (but technically heroic) adventures, she diverted suspicion from her injuries by bashing her head on a window and breaking her arm over a barrister railing in order to frame her social rival of pushing her down the stairs.
    GM:... Uh, Ben? I don't think you're playing an average high-school girl, like you said.
    Ben: *chuckles* You didn't go to the same high school that I went to, did you?

  • In Bastard!!, Jin was forced to pull this routine as a child where he would approach a woman crying and claiming to be lost, only to then lead her to his father, who would murder her.
  • Done by a vengeful bitch named Olena in this particular Dominic Deegan because Nimmel broke up a fight. It didn't end well for her pack-mates because Nimmel overwhelmed all of them with elemental attacks nor Olena herself due to a particularly nasty comment she made at that moment afterwards, only to find out her pack-mates were disgusted at what she said. The pack took Nimmel under their wing, and Olena was left out in the cold.
  • Endtown: Denise, the serial-killing Butcher, pretends to be one of their own victims so they can blame their accomplice. Bonus points for claiming that Portia was the heroine who stopped the killer, because they knew that they dealt fatal wounds. Unfortunately for her, Portia managed to survive long enough to point out the real traitor.
  • Freefall:
    • Mr. Kornada fakes a heart attack, forcing the nearby robots' "human preservation safeguards" to kick in and abandon Florence, who's currently stuck in the ocean during a hurricane, to take him to get medical care. And all this is because he's missing a meeting.
    • A later strip has an interesting variation when Sam sets Florence up to look like she's tried to kill him and present his body to the Mayor. This is for the benefit of them both, though - the Mayor hates Sam, and is extremely grateful to Florence for trying to take him down.
  • Girl Genius:
  • Grrl Power has Sidney pull this on a villain, pretending to be Blind Without 'Em to Velma-levels where she can't see a thing when, as she points out later, she may need glasses but the guy was four feet from her and so aiming a Groin Attack wasn't that hard.
  • RAIN: When Maria gets expelled from St. Hallvard's, Emily (who is about four-and-a-half months pregnant) goes to the office with her to provide emotional support. After the two of them come up with a plan to get Maria to somewhere she can safely lay low, Emily fakes going into labor, and Maria sends office assistant Pete to get supplies, giving Maria the opportunity to escape.
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki has Loki (yes, THAT Loki), who, acting under orders from Surt and/or as a Stealth Mentor, convinces his son that Yuuki forced him to stab himself. Sleipnir, who has completely forgotten that Loki is there to fight Yuuki, is easily convinced, since then it is personal.
  • In Spina Cage the thorn faerie pretends to be a gravely injured human in need of aid to lure the unsuspecting off the path so that he can eat them.
  • This comic features a mob hitman who uses this as his modus operandi, screaming about an unspecified injury to...his butthole to lure his target closer for a Boom, Headshot!. This has apparently worked for him 47 times before with no signs of stopping.

    Web Original 
  • How to Survive Camping:
    • Rule #9 warns campers about the lady in chains: she pretends to be in distress so that people will attempt to help her, but it is merely a ruse so she can kill them.
    • The little girl weeps outside the owner's house all night long, begging to be let in, and gets dragged away by a monstrous beast before dawn, screaming in terror all the way. Inviting her inside would however lead to a gruesome death, with the last person to have done so implied to have been ripped to shreds.
  • Super Best Friends Play: In one version of the Rustlemania 2: Superbrawl Saturday III opening, Woolie and Matt are in a match. While Pat distracts the ref, Woolie tosses Matt a folding chair and takes a dive. Matt looks at in confusion as the ref turns back around and looks at him.
  • In Twig, Sylvester uses the pain bullets used by the rebels against warbeasts to invoke sympathy from his enemies by being a screaming, injured thirteen-year-old. This is enough to overcome the fact that the rebels have been ordered to shoot suspicious children on sight.
  • In the Search and Rescue Creepypasta series, the protagonist hears a crying child, and goes to investigate. He then notices something wrong: the "crying" is the same sound over and over again, like a song on repeat. He wisely nopes out of there.
  • An oft-parodied self-defense video from the Facebook page "Las Vegas Gunfights". An old man is approached by a mugger with a knife, and then begins to clutch his chest as if he's having a heart attack. This is actually a ploy to stall the mugger so the old man can draw and aim a gun he had stashed in his coat pocket. What really sells it is the old man's accompanying dialogue:
    Old Man: Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance! (draws gun) But not for me!


Video Example(s):


Dracula Prince of Darkness [Helen's Plea for Help]

Scene from the 1966 film, Dracula Prince of Darkness. After Charles and Diana narrowly escape Dracula's castle, they're found by the local monks and taken in. But Dracula, along with a newly vampirized Helen, follow after them. When night falls, Helen locals where Diana is sleeping and pleas for help to get away from Dracula's control.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / WoundedGazelleGambit

Media sources:

Main / WoundedGazelleGambit