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Playing With / False Flag Operation

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Basic Trope: Members of one group impersonate another to perpetuate to achieve a goal such as making an excuse for war.

  • Straight: The Empire has some of their soldiers wear The Good Kingdom's colors and attack The Federation in order to spark a war between the two.
  • Exaggerated: A tiny country publicly fields only a small force of defenders, but secretly has trained regiments that wear the colors of The Good Kingdom, The Federation and The Empire and sends them on raids to keep those three fighting each other.
  • Downplayed:
    • The Empire has some of The Good Kingdom's stationary and uses it to write insults to The Federation.
    • The Empire has its troops raid the outer villages of The Good Kingdom under the disguise of being unaffiliated bandits, also attacking Imperial villages to maintain deniability.
  • Justified: They want to spark a war, but without being seen as the aggressor, so they frame another force.
  • Inverted: The Empire has some of their soldiers wear The Good Kingdom's colors and fight for The Federation against another foe in order to end a war between the two.
  • Subverted: The soldiers from The Empire involved in the plot were secretly in the pay of The Good Kingdom, and were supposed to be captured and reveal their true origins to trigger a war between The Federation and The Empire. The Empire was completely ignorant of the plot.
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  • Double Subverted: Or so The Empire wanted them to believe. In fact, they let it happen, and arranged for all of the evidence of their soldiers' involvement to be erased, leaving The Good Kingdom unable to prove that the troops were actually from The Empire.
  • Parodied: All of the Empire's soldiers have a full set of uniforms from every kingdom and country in the world, just so they can do this.
  • Zig Zagged: The Empire sends its soldiers dressed (badly) as soldiers from The Good Kingdom to attack The Federation but it fails to convince the The Federation that it's The Good Kingdom's soldiers because the soldiers from the Empire never bothered to grow out their distinctive Imperial Soldier haircuts, speak only the Imperial language and other basics. HOWEVER, these False Flag soldiers are actually double agents for The Federation, letting themselves be captured and exposed to show The Empire can not be trusted, only their handlers were turned by The Good Kingdom and though they think they act for The Federation, it's The Good Kingdom they are working for. Of course, the Emperor knows all about it and plans to let the fiasco go on and expose BOTH The Good Kingdom and The Federation to this duplicity, weakening the alliance between them, all according to the Emperor's plan.
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  • Averted: The Empire invades in full force without warning.
  • Enforced: The writers want to establish that The Empire is not only evil, but sneaky and manipulative. Having them run a false flag operation also sets The Good Kingdom against The Federation, letting that drive the early plot before the eventual reveal of the truth.
  • Lampshaded: "You mean this entire war started because The Empire dressed as the enemy? That's exactly what happened in the last major war! Our government is so stupid!"
  • Invoked: The Emperor's right-hand man comes to him with a plan for a False Flag Operation, thinking it would be a clever way to achieve the Empire's ends.
  • Exploited: The Empire's soldiers sent to impersonate The Good Kingdom's soldiers shamelessly Rape, Pillage, and Burn their way through the countryside, knowing that they won't be held accountable.
  • Defied: The Empire repudiates such dishonorable tactics entirely.
  • Discussed: "I've got the perfect plan! To initiate a war between The Good Kingdom and The Federation, we should have soldiers pretend to be from The Good Kingdom and attack The Federation!"
  • Conversed: "Oh no, the villains in this story are Playing Both Sides! I wonder if the heroes will figure it out this time?"
  • Deconstructed: A few soldiers who participated in the assault become overwhelmed by guilt and reveal the truth, along with proof to back up their claims. Upon learning what really happened, mass rioting erupts in the manipulative country.
  • Reconstructed:
    • To avoid such an incident, the country pulling the false flag operation ensures that everyone under the false flags is slaughtered.
    • Alternately, they simply discredit the soldiers and paint them as traitors turning on their country in their time of need.
  • Played For Laughs: Both sides of a conflict ride into battle pretending to be the other side's forces, leading to mass confusion when they meet in the middle. (Which actually happened with two WW1 ships.)
  • Played For Drama:

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