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Basic Trope: A big crisis makes a character break their Heroic Vow.

  • Straight: Bob Doesn't Like Guns, but when things get really hairy, Bob grabs a gun to deal with the bad guys.note 
  • Exaggerated: Bob hates guns with a passion, but as soon as things get bad, he shows up with More Dakka.
  • Downplayed: Bob doesn't shoot to kill — unless things are really bad.
  • Justified:
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    • Bob dislikes guns, but he's not unskilled in using them. He figures he'd rather live than hold on to a vow anyway.
    • Only a gun is capable of killing the Monster of the Week, so Bob had better grab one.
    • The gun is the only weapon available, and Bob doesn't have time to come up with something else.
    • The bad guys killed Bob's father, so now It's Personal.
  • Inverted: The normally trigger-happy Bob takes on a vow of pacifism when things go south.
  • Subverted:
    • Things are going south. Bob is on his last legs. He...kneels down to surrender.
    • Bob Doesn't Like Guns, but when things are going really bad, he grabs one... to shoot a control panel.
  • Double Subverted: ...so that he can get a good, clean shot!
  • Parodied: Bob is a preeminent Torture Technician who uses everything from machetes to sharp sticks to kill his opponents, but the idea of using a gun breaks him up inside.
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  • Zig Zagged: Bob is a staunch pacifist who, in when the chips are down, whips out a gun and points it at Emperor Evulz's head. Evulz calls Bob's bluff, correctly guessing that the gun isn't loaded, so Bob beats him to death instead.
  • Averted: Bob never uses a gun.
    • Bob's vows are more about the spirit than the words. Despite saying he wouldn't use a gun he does do it - on a supersoldier who could recover from it in a month without any risk of death or long-term harm. When given a sword and facing his mortal enemy he fights with it sheathed. It isn't even a not killing since he is willing to Mercy Kill a mortally wounded ally at their request.
  • Enforced: "We need to show that things are really bad, so I figure Bob should whip out a pistol in this next episode."
  • Lampshaded: "Under normal circumstances, I would never use a gun. [*BLAM*] These aren't normal circumstances."
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  • Invoked: Knowing that only Bob can defeat Emperor Evulz, the rest of the team encourage Bob to break his vow or else their deaths will be on his head, and then go off to what they know is a hopeless fight in hopes of motivating him.
  • Exploited: Emperor Evulz sends his men to push Bob to his limit, knowing he'll either kill him or break him psychologically by forcing him to use a gun.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "Yeah, not using a gun is noble and all, but we need you to save us!"
  • Conversed: "When the chips are really down, the hero always ends up doing something he swore he never would."
  • Implied: Bob defeats Emperor Evulz offscreen. When questioned about how he did it, he simply says he did things he thought he'd never have to do.
  • Deconstructed: Bob keeps being put in situations where he is forced to break his vow, and eventually abandons the vow altogether.
  • Reconstructed: Bob decides that just because his vow had to be broken, that doesn't mean it's right to break it and continues to follow it nonetheless.
  • Played for Laughs: Bob has a very strict code of conduct that he constantly breaks for the smallest of problems.
  • Played for Drama: Bob breaks his code in a moment of desperation, causing him to question the validity his beliefs.

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