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Playing With / The Dreaded

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Basic Trope: A character who is defined by the fear others have of them.

  • Straight: When Emperor Evulz enters a room, it falls silent and a few weak-willed souls may start quivering.
  • Exaggerated: Wherever Evulz goes, he incites panic and madness in even his own followers. He's scary enough to have other major characters cowering in fear near him.
  • Downplayed: In a show where most villains are treated as comic fodder, Evulz is taken seriously, without any jokes or slapstick, even when he's not being particularly dangerous.
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  • Justified: Evulz really is that scary. Whether through magic, appearance or a reputation for slaughtering entire towns singlehandedly, people have reason to flee at the sound of his approach.
  • Inverted: Evulz "(It's pronounced 'Eh-vools'. Short 'e'.)" is a friendly Hope Bringer; everyone is reassured and comforted by Evulz's presence, and are more likely to stand their ground when he's around.
  • Subverted:
    • When Evulz enters a room, the scene is set up as if The Dreaded is making their appearance. The lights fall, the scary music starts, and his entry is shrouded in darkness. After the entrance though, everyone's reactions are passive or even downright friendly and informal towards him.
    • Evulz is first painted as an utter terror, but when he finally appears he turns out to be a stupid Surfer Dude with the intimidation factor of a mosquito.
  • Double Subverted:
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    • ...Only for Evulz to put on a terrifying display of authority and/or violence, silencing the crowd quickly by shooting or beheading one of the miscreants, prompting everyone to react as standard to the trope.
    • Turns out that Evulz is a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass and the rampages he unleashes when he decides to activate "badass" mode always leave behind a body count in the three or four figures at least.
    • Evulz is an idiot. A Lethally Stupid idiot. People dread to be around him because "killed by Evulz's incompetence" is a real shit way to be remembered.
  • Parodied:
    • Evulz is a five year old Humanoid Abomination who just wants to be friends with the cute little monkeys who keep running away for some reason.
    • Evulz is a friendly individual who really isn't threatening and he mostly just wants to speak to people. Due to his name though, which has been inherited in the constitutional monarchy he is leader of, everybody is terrified of him when the worst he'll do will be to jump up from behind something.
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    • Evulz is Harmless Villain and yet everyone is still afraid of him.
    • Evulz is dreaded by everyone, hero and villain alike, not for his villainy, but for his unrivaled capactiy for collateral damage.
    • Evulz is feared and hated because he's the most unrelentingly annoying (or boring) man in the kingdom.
  • Zig Zagged: There's no rhyme or reason to who stands and who runs; trained soldiers who outnumber Evulz turn and run while heavily outnumbered conscripts hold their ground. The heroes are terrified, but children fearlessly stand up to the villain.
  • Averted: Evulz is not feared beyond what is reasonable for his position in the story.
  • Enforced: "We need to show how scary our new villain/Anti-Hero is. Let's make the other characters' reaction to him that of obvious fear".
  • Lampshaded: "You'd think Evulz casts dark magic on us all, the way our army runs from him every time he shows up on the battlefield".
  • Invoked: "Butcher them all. I want no man or woman to dare stand against me from this day forth".
  • Exploited: Another character uses Evulz' fearsome reputation to coerce his subordinates into doing his will.
  • Defied:
    • Evulz intentionally keeps a low profile so nobody knows how dangerous he is until it's too late.
    • The cast will never be afraid of Evulz. Because they are brave, powerful, or too stupid to understand how dangerous the man is, that is Depending on the Writer.
    • As scary as Evulz is, someone still kills him.
  • Discussed: "That's the problem. No one will fight him, everyone is frightened. Even if we could beat him, the question is, who'd be mad enough to try?"
  • Conversed: "Wow... look, it's Evulz again. Everyone in the show is afraid of him... and to be perfectly honest, I'm a bit afraid of him too."
  • Implied: Nobody is willing to say Evulz's name.
  • Deconstructed: Everyone's terrified of Evulz, good and evil alike. And rather than run, they all team up to take him down.
  • Reconstructed:
    • And yet, that doesn't make them any less terrified. He's able to drive a wedge between the joined sides by aiming his nastier threats at the more cowardly parts of the alliance in question.
    • Evulz demonstrates that such an alliance will do nothing to even the odds.
  • Played For Laughs: Evulz enters a crowded room and asks "Hey guys, what's up?" in a friendly tone of voice. Everyone in the room panics shortly after.
  • Played For Drama: Evulz is the Knight of Cerebus, a walking Drama Bomb. Every time he is on screen, people either commit atrocities to try to escape him or he commits atrocities to demonstrate why fearing him is a proper, unashamed, emotional response.
  • Played For Horror:
    • The fact that people are horrified of Evulz is always played straight, regardless of how the rest of the story goes.
    • People tend to commit suicide rather than face Evulz' wrath.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: Evulz is established as an incredibly frightening fellow only to run into Bob, who spends the rest of the story wrecking Evulz' reputation, often by accident.

Only the bravest would dare return to face The Dreaded.
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