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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. Also known as crocodile tears.

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. 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 Hero with Bad Publicity is especially vulnerable to this.

Compare Arrested for Heroism Why Did You Make Me Hit You? and Playing the Victim Card. 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.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • 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.

    Comedy 
  • 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.
  • Jimmy Marks aka Hybrid tricked the X-Men into attacking ROM: Space Knight 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.
  • Queen Bee: when the protagonist's rival garners sympathy for herself by using her telekinetic powers to hit herself in the head with a lunch tray and blame the protagonist.
  • 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.

    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 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.
  • 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.

    Films — 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 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.

    Literature 
  • A Brother's Price:
    • In the backstory, Keifer Porter gets away with torturing and raping one of his younger wives by convincing her eldest sister that she "provoked him". Due to Love Makes You Stupid, he actually succeeds with this.
    • A milder example would be Odelia, who is really hurt, but pretends to be unconscious in the hopes that handsome Jerin will enter the room where she lies without chaperone so that she can steal a kiss. She's not even able to sit up, so her plan likely involved asking Jerin for a kiss.
  • In Dragon Bones, Bastilla does this, by injuring her feet by running barefoot through the wilderness which makes that person more convincing as the poor, innocent victim. Ward is easily fooled, as protecting others is an integral part of his personality. Later, he uses the gambit himself, asking an ally to hit him over the head with a chamber pot, to make the villains think he had nothing to do with the escape of their other prisoners and is really on their side.
  • In book two of the H.I.V.E. Series, Laura uses this to lure Block and Tackle into a pit in the Maze.
  • In the ancient Egyptian folktale Tale of Two Brothers, from the New Kingdom, the wife of Anpu tried to seduce her brother-in-law Bata. When he refused, she used makeup to cover herself in fake bruises, and accused Bata of trying to seduce her and beating her for refusing his advances. Anpu completely fell for it and tried to kill Bata, who had to run away and get into all kinds of bizarre adventures to prove his innocence.
  • In The Accursed Kings (Les Rois Maudits), the last Pope has just died, so the Cardinals have to elect one of them as the next one. Unfortunately, the two favorites for the post have exactly the same numbers of voters on each side, so the election process goes on for several years with no result. The French Royal Family is growing impatient, since their King just died and they can't legally get a new one if a Pope doesn't oversee the coronation - and the country will fall into chaos if there's no new King. They therefore decide to kidnap the Cardinals and lock them up together in a room as prisoners to force their decision process: they'll only release them if they walk out of here with a new Pope. The two candidates and their voters come up with a solution: they're going to vote for a Cardinal whose health is declining and who won't pass the next month anyway. Once that new Pope dies, they'll be free to restart the same incessant voting process.
    • ...The final result is even more awesome and qualifies as Xanatos Speed Chess and Magnificent Bastard. The new Pope was actually working with the French Court all along and completely pretended having a deadly illness, because they anticipated how the Cardinals would take advantage of that. As soon as the voting has been confirmed, the ex-Cardinal and now Pope, who originally didn't get a single vote, rises from his deathbed with a triumphant smile. In a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment, the Cardinals realize they've just jeopardized every single political planning they made for the next thirty years. The king is immediately crowned, and France gets an extremely grateful Pope by their side. So it's a subversion or a double example, depending on your interpretation.
  • Agatha Christie uses this trope on several occasions. In fact, if someone survives an attempt on their life in one of her books, there is a 90% chance they did it themselves.
    • A Murder Is Announced is rife with deception, the most important one being that Miss Blacklock, who had ostensibly been the victim of attempted murder, was in fact the mastermind behind the attack.
    • In Peril at End House, Nick makes it look like there have been multiple attempts on her life to fool Poirot into believing that her later murder of her cousin Maggie was just an accidental murder committed by someone else who mistook Maggie for her. She even eats chocolates she poisoned herself to further this deception.
    • In Death on the Nile, the murderer gave himself an alibi - he was shot in the leg, and one of the victims therefore couldn't have been shot by him because he couldn't move fast enough to do it. Trick is, the shot everyone saw was fake. Only after doing the kill he "couldn't" have done did he go back and shoot his own leg.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it was revealed that Peter Pettigrew faked his death and framed Sirius Black for it.
    • In the same book, Draco Malfoy used his injury from a hippogriff to get special treatment, eventually leading up to his dad using political leverage to order the hippogriff's execution.
  • One of Tom Holt's near-interchangeable protagonists at one point remembers how, when left to play with a young cousin, the little rodent would at the first hint of boredom burst into tears and run out crying "Mummy, he hit me!" Since most of Tom Holt's protagonists are Butt Monkeys and/or Chew Toys, this is pretty much standard.
  • The entire point of Ann Coulter's book Guilty is to allege that the American Far Left has been pulling this on its right-wing opponents for several decades, with the Right being too dumbfounded by some of the allegations to intelligibly fight back. But this book is doing that for the right-wing people. It makes the right-wing look like the victims of "false victims." But this is a "chicken and egg" situation, so don't bother deciding who is the lion and who is the gazelle.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000: Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, Inquisitor Stele accuses the astropath Horin of trying to kill him and uses psyker magic to strengthen his case. The Space Marines he deludes promptly shoot the astropath apart.
  • In Jedi Apprentice: The Rising Force, thirteen-year-old Obi-Wan Kenobi's rival Bruck Chun does this in an attempt to discredit Obi-Wan and prevent him from becoming a Jedi. It almost works, too.
  • Another Star Wars Expanded Universe example, and this time by one of the good guys: "The Sand Tender" is the tale of Momaw Nadon (better known to fans of the movies as "Hammerhead"), an exiled Ithorian priest who is secretly helping the Rebel Alliance on Tatooine. When word gets out that Nadon might know where the blueprints for the Death Star are hidden (which he does, since he is friends with Obi-Wan Kenobi), the cold-hearted Imperial Lieutenant Alima comes to Nadon's house and warns him that if he does not tell him where R2-D2 is, Alima will sew open Nadon's eyes and force him to watch as the lieutenant incinerates all of the plants in his house (which, being Ithorian plants, are semisentient and can feel pain). Nadon is conflicted: he is repelled by the thought of betraying the Rebels, but he doesn't want to see his plant friends slaughtered either. He decides to kill Alima in desperation, even though as a priest he is supposed to be completely pacifistic. He buys a gun and goes to shoot Alima with it, but the lieutenant tricks him and shoots him first - and then, when the Hammerhead is lying wounded on the ground, kicks him so remorselessly that Nadon is left badly bruised. This gives Nadon another idea: he goes to Alima's superior officer and lies that the lieutenant had tortured him to get information on R2-D2 but then had not done anything with that information, offering his bruises from when Alima kicked him as "proof." Nadon assumes that Alima will now be either demoted or imprisoned, but the superior is so outraged by Alima's supposed incompetence that he has the lieutenant callously executed. Nadon is horrified that he has caused someone to be killed - even if it was unintentional - and decides to do penance by taking DNA from Lieutenant Alima's corpse, planning to use his genetic engineering skills to clone twin sons whom he will raise to be the good sort of person their father never was.
  • The most famous Wounded Gazelle Gambit of Romance of the Three Kingdoms happens in the lead up to the battle of Chi Bi, where Zhou Yu and Huang Gai pretended to have a falling out, after which Zhou Yu has Huang Gai flogged in public to help bolster Huang Gai's Fake Defector claims. (In fact, should TV tropes ever get translated into Chinese, this incident would be the Trope Namer.)
  • The Joy Luck Club:
    • One of the women tells her back story, in which she goes to live with her mother and her mother's second husband. It turns out that the husband has several wives and the second one frequently employs this trope by sickening herself by eating large amounts of opium and pretending to be dying so she could have her way. It gets to the point that she doesn't even need to eat opium to trick her husband. Ultimately, the narrator's mother goes one step further and actually does commit suicide by opium to ensure that her daughter is best treated and the second wife loses power. Possibly subverted in that the husband was extremely superstitious and feared angering a woman who would potentially come back to haunt him, rather than feeling sorry for her.
    • Also used in the back story of another woman, who was forced into an arranged marriage with a boy she only ever loved like a brother. She escapes the marriage and the wrath of her mother in law (who was pissed at the lack of grandchildren) by screaming in fear and claiming that the ghost of a family ancestor had tormented her in the night. She then spins an elaborate tale that boils down to that she and her husband weren't fated to marry, he should have married one of the servant girls (the servant in question was pregnant and the woman knew this) with further claims that her husband spiritually impregnated his "true wife" and that she's scared for her life. It works.
  • In the Star Trek: Millennium novels, the human archaeologist/adventurer Vash appears to have been hit by a toxic dart in an assassination attempt and is rushed to the infirmary, unconscious. The poison is an Andorian neurotoxin, implicating the Andorians Satr and Leen, who are rivals to Vash (and particularly shady characters). It is not in fact fatal to Humans, though, and Vash fully recovers. She later mentions the toxin by name in a throw-away comment, alerting Doctor Bashir that she planned the whole thing - because he never mentioned the name, and there are dozens of neurotoxins it could have been. It turns out Vash injected herself with the dart.
  • Faile threatens romantic rival Berelain with this in The Wheel of Time, threatening to challenge Berelain to a Duel to the Death. Both women know that their respective odds of success in such a duel are around 50/50, but Faile points out that if she (Faile) wins, Berelain is dead and Perrin (the central point of the love triangle) is pissed but will get over it, but if Berelain wins, then she (Berelain) becomes the one who killed Perrin's beloved wife and will never have a chance with him again. The threat works.
  • In Sideways Stories from Wayside School, a boy has been pulling on his classmate's pigtails. When warned by the teacher to stop or she will send him home early, the boy resolves to stop so as not to get into trouble... and suddenly, the girl screams out again, even though he didn't touch her.
  • Subverted in To Kill a Mockingbird. Mayella claims she was raped when, in fact, it was the opposite, in order to get rid of her guilt about kissing a black man.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The book Sweet Revenge reveals that Rosemary Hershey used this to ruin Isabelle Flanders. Too bad for her that Isabelle had help in getting back on her feet and she is now gunning for her....
  • Matilda in The Monk pretends that she is poisoned and dying in order to break Ambrosio's defenses down so he will sleep with her. While it is possible to interpret her as being honest, she gets over her "fatal illness" quickly and easily.
  • In Paladin of Souls, Ista threatened the head of her guards with this to make him give in to her demands after they were both rescued from a raiding party.
  • In The Caves of Klydor, Cord sets out to rescue Bren from the clutches of a team of Elite Mooks by feigning an injury. It backfires on him...but it turns out that Bren was pulling one of his own.
  • Sabina Kane: Sabina is a vampire, and not a vegetarian, either. A few times she's mentioned having found prey by going to bad parts of town and waiting for someone to mug her. She even fed on an attempted rapist once.
  • A male example in Companions Of The Night, it's how Ethan gets Kerry to help him at the laundry store. He is hurt, but considering he's a vampire, it's not serious injuries for him.
  • In The Quantum Thief—trilogy this is one of Gentleman Thief Jean le Flambeur's favourite strategies. He puts himself in a position where his enemies see him as weak and vulnerable, and weakly trying to bluff them into thinking that he still has some ace in the hole. It inevitably turns out that he does have a secret plan, and almost never the one which he seemed to be bluffing about, and which usually requires the opponent to be suspicious, confident and vengeful to work in the first place.
  • Joe Pickett: In Endangered, Dallas Cates is beaten up by his father and brother - dislocating his shoulder and breaking his ribs - in order to persuade Joe that he could not have committed the crime of which he is accused.
  • The Great Divorce: Sarah Smith's husband Frank's sin was using other peoples' pity to manipulate them and make them miserable. This trait is represented by the Tragedian, who eventually overtakes and (quite literally) consumes Frank's original personality.
  • So you've just been left behind in a non-FTL-capable shuttle with a Hanoverian customs cutter closing in. What do you do? Well, if you're Midshipman Alexis Carew, you pretend to be a terrified sixteen-year-old girl with a drunken crew and board the Hanoverians to steal their ship when they come to rescue you. Notably she's asked afterwards if she had signaled surrender during the ruse (which would violate the Fictional Geneva Conventions), but responds that she never actually struck her colors and that her only response to surrender demands was, "It would appear that I have little choice in the matter."
  • In The Irregular at Magic High School, Miyuki deliberately acts weaker than she really is to encourage Tatsuya to stay with her as much as possible.

    Music 
  • 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.
    • Later, after he gets fired, Laurinaitis reveals (during his handicapped match against Cena) that his injuries were fake. This leads his Dragon David Otunga to quit the match in disgust.
  • 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!

    Sports 
  • 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.

    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.

    Theatre 
  • 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 
  • 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.
    • 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 has a quest where you are asked to find a redguard woman in Whiterun (never mind that there are several redguard women in the town 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.
  • 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.

    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."
  • In 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 enrage the audience and attract the Grimm.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • 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.


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