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Playing With / Honor Before Reason

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Basic Trope: A character does something unwise in the name of honor or virtue.

  • Straight: Alice has the chance to ambush and kill Emperor Evulz for good, but decides against it because she finds sneak attacks dishonorable.
  • Exaggerated: Alice has a ridiculously specific code of honor, to the point where she's almost ineffective as a hero.
  • Downplayed: Alice believes in putting honor before reason, but she is usually smart enough to arrange matters so she doesn't have to choose.
  • Justified:
    • Alice doesn't like being dishonorable - she'd rather get killed.
    • Alice is a Paladin or other person who gains their powers through honor.
    • Alice was shown a prophecy by the Oracle of Delphi, stating that if she becomes the Rebel Leader than her rebellion will commit so many atrocities that the UN will step in and arrest Alice for genocide and crimes against humanity. Her honor system is a way of saying Screw Destiny.
    • Alice watched Bob Jump Off The Slippery Slope by behaving dishonorably and doesn't want to risk becoming like him.
    • Alice swore an oath before her god(s) not to break the code of honour, and thus daren't risk divine retribution by being The Oath-Breaker.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Alice weighs the loss of honor from ambushing the Emperor versus the loss of life that Evulz has caused, and decides to ambush him.
    • Alice following her code to the letter causes her suffering afterwards, but turns out to be the right thing to do in the long run.
    • Alice follows her code because it gives her good publicity and support from powerful people. Following her code is more beneficial to her in the long run.
  • Double Subverted: However, she gives up on the plan halfway through because it just feels wrong.
    • Once she doesn't need anyone's support anymore, she breaks her code hard.
  • Parodied: Alice refuses to abandon American Customary Measurements, even when it would make her more easily understood, because of her patriotism.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice tries her best to adhere to a code of honor, but it's a semi-flexible one.
  • Averted: Alice has no stated code of honor.
  • Enforced: "Emperor Evulz is popular, so we can't just have him be losing all the time! Wait, I've got it..".
  • Lampshaded:
    • "I'm not going to attack an enemy from behind. I just won't! It's not fair!"
    • Lauren: "I won't be surprised if your stupid code of honor gets you killed."
  • Invoked: Alice's predecessor was a murderous piratical Blood Knight of the highest caliber. To avoid being like him, she decides to create a code of honour.
  • Exploited:
    • "Alice will never break her promise. Therefore I will trap her and will rule the world! Hah, Hah, Hah, Hah, Hah!"
    • The Emperor knows no one in his Badass Army would abandon their buddy in danger even if they don't care a thing about him. He uses that to Take Over the World.
  • Defied: "I know it's dishonorable to sneak up on him and kill him. But I don't care. This is for the good of the world."
  • Discussed: "Emperor Evulz! Turn around, I want you to see this one coming!"
  • Conversed:
    "Alice had a clear shot at the Emperor, just one pull of the trigger and they'd be scraping his brains off the carpet, but she wouldn't shoot him."
    "Why not?"
    "Because she only saw the back of his head, and Alice never attacks a guy when he has his back turned to her".
  • Deconstructed:
    • Emperor Evulz repeatedly invokes Alice's code of honor, to the point where she's not able to fight back and he successfully kills her.
    • Ulysses gets sick of Alice's honor code, in which millions of lives could have been saved if she just killed Evulz, thus he decides to leave her to a horrible fate while saving the world his way.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice's code of honor is the source of her power.
    • Alternatively, Emperor Evulz cannot comprehend why Alice would choose to be so honourable to anyone, nevermind her enemy, so he doesn't foresee Alice doing the noble, if stupid, thing. To him, Alice is more wild, unpredictable, and dangerous than any Combat Pragmatist.
    • Alice has a code of honor and lives by it most of the time, but is well aware that following it over her common sense isn't very smart. So she carefully considers when it's a good time to uphold her honour and when it's a good time to just forget honour and break the code. Also, there are some lines Alice, or any sane human being, won't cross, even if doing so improves her chances tremendously.
    • Alice has a code of honour and lives by it extremely strictly, but is capable of manipulating events so that she can avoid doing something she doesn't want to and still upholding her moral code. For example, avoiding killing Emperor Evulz while he's unarmed and defenceless, and ensuring that her Lancer Bob gets the kill. That way, Evulz is dead and unable to bring harm upon the world ever again, the day is saved, and since she didn't landing the killing blow, her code is upheld.
    • Alice's reputation for being honorable ultimately proves to be her strongest weapon—it keeps the alliance she's created from being too busy with infighting to oppose Emperor Evulz and ensure that his defeat will bring peace instead of just civil war among the various factions—more people may die in the process of defeating Emperor Evulz honorably, but this ensures that Evulz does get defeated and without a civil war following right afterwards.
  • Played For Laughs: Alice makes Bob fight Draco on his own, stating that This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. While Bob is being smacked around about twenty feet behind her.
  • Played For Drama: Alice causing something bad to happen because she followed her code to the letter causes her to have a severe Heroic BSoD, possibly even make her abandon it altogether.

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