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Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits / Literature

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Ragtag Bunches of Misfits in Literature.

  • In Dale Brown's Act of War, Task Force TALON starts as a mish-mash of FBI agents, "lab-bound mavericks" and actual combat-hardened personnel.
  • Aeons Gate has one. Okay, so the leader is somewhat reasonable dude who hears a voice in his head, Kataria and Gariath that violent psychopaths that think Murder Isthe Best Solution always all the time, Dreadaeleon is a Smug Snake pretentious wizard, Denaos is a thief who will leave you to as soon as it's convenient, and Asper is the nice girl who heals you, making her the weird one.
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  • All for the Game has the Palmetto State Foxes, a ragtag team of delinquents. The team is like this intentionally, because their coach wants to give promising but troubled athletes a second chance.
  • Animorphs: The only defense the human race has against a race of parasitic aliens who take over their hosts' brains and render them completely helpless? Five teenagers and an alien cadet.
  • Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World: We have an experienced adventurer who was kicked out of his party for being too good at his job, a disgraced noble girl with a gambling addiction kicked out of school and abandoned by her fiancee and family, a defrocked priest that now indulges at hostess bars after being falsely accused of sexual misconduct, and, finally, a member of the Dragon Race who was betrayed and had her naivete destroyed by the first human friend she made. They team up based on their mutual distrust of all the rest of humanity.
  • Brotherband stars a half-Araluan skirl, a temperamental first mate, eternally bickering twins, a short-sighted giant, an excellent mimic, an expert thief, and the team chef as the Heron brother band.
  • Brothers Keepers: The monks come from all lots in life before ending up where they are; a Vietnam war deserter, a self-loathing gay man, a former corporate attorney, a boxer, a Reformed Criminal, a former actor, a banker, and a merchant marine sailor, just to name some of them.
  • In Cave King, the protagonist Heal is stuck with a population composed entirely of natives for the barrier reef he's dumped on and shipwreck survivors, so he winds up ruling over slimes, cave-spiders, goblins, kobolds, and orcs, the last three having a centuries-long feud among them. If not for the fact that he [Tamed] them all, they might well be murdering each other off!
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The Kamijou Faction, centred around the main character Touma Kamijou. It includes: a self-proclaimed normal high school student with an Anti-Magic right hand, a living library with knowledge of almost all magic, the third-most powerful esper with power over electricity, nearly ten thousand clones of the third-most powerful esper, an esper-magcian hybrid who's playing all sides, at least one Saint, the most powerful esper period, a construct made from the combined energy of all espers who can become an artificial angel, a Badass Normal who defeated the fourth-most powerful esper twice (and managed to get her to join his own "faction" of sorts), a different flavor of Badass Normal whose people skills are compared to Mind Control, the leader of a magical cabal, the second-strongest member of a terrorist organisation who once threatened the whole world, a former goddess who used to be the leader of said organisation, the fifth-most powerful esper with power over the mind... and that's far from an exhaustive list. Notable for being even more ragtag than many other examples on this list - the faction never gathers together in its entirety, and most members have no idea that the rest even exist. Which is arguably a good thing for the world powers, as doing so would probably let them establish their own personal nation.
    • Much later in the series, the Kamisato Faction appears, centered around Kakeru Kamisato. It includes: another self-proclaimed normal high school student with a different special right hand, a forensic specialist, a coin-using magician, a natural-born esper whose body is like a plant's, a mass-murderer cyborg magician, another natural-born esper who claims to have been abducted by aliens and is actually a magician spying on the group, a girl who was literally Raised by Wolves, a pirate-themed magician who can change her apparent age, a Playful Hacker ghost, a Magical Girl cosplayer, and two fortune-teller sisters. Unlike the Kamijou Faction, it's far more organised and actually acts as one cohesive group.
  • In Chanters of Tremaris, the True Companions who save the world are patched together of a teenaged priestess, the The Antagonist's old best fried, an inventor, an obnoxious princess, an ex-slave, a telepathic Noble Savage, and a couple of fishermen.
  • Nuke's team in Codename Omega by Jessica Meats definitely count. You've got a physics genius who's next to useless in combat. There's an upper class psychology student who likes beating up bullies. There's an English literature student with a passion for martial arts. There's a pair of teenagers, one who'll shoot before he thinks and the other who is training as a medic. All led by a mysterious guy with no name who might or might not be human. It doesn't get any better when they're joined by an inexperienced security guard who learned to shoot by playing laser tag.
  • The five central characters in Douglas Hill's The ColSec Trilogy are a group of juvenile delinquents who have been exiled to an alien planet by the world government. Of course, they end up as recruiters for La Résistance when one of its leaders falls in with them...apparently, because they're "tough, smart, lucky, and survivors." (Bear in mind that this group consists of a socially naïve Nature Hero, an empathic Wrench Wench, a Tsundere with super night vision, a Genki Boy, and a Deadpan Snarker...)
  • The Dark Profit Saga has the so-called "Seven Heroes", who consist of a has-been Dwarf berserker, his Goblin squire, a frequently drunk Elf ranger (also a has-been), two mages, who keep bickering and throwing dangerous spells around, a bard with a past career of a thie... umm... acquisition specialist, an Elective Mute Psycho Knife Nut with a death wish, and a high priest, who has never held a weapon in his life. Later on, they're secretly joined by a Troll, who has the hots for the above-mentioned Elf ranger, although he's too shy to let her see him.
  • In the Destroyermen series by Taylor Anderson, the actual Destroyermen are described as this. They're even called the misfits of the navy clumped together in the Asiatic fleet because they fit no where else and were even called a ragtag group of misfits in the first book.
    • They're also not just Destroyermen — along for the ride are a couple pilots, half a dozen nurses, an Australian engineer/scientist/diplomat, and a Japanese prisoner. In the course of the series, they are joined by even more — an entire submarine crew, a few Allied prisoners including an intelligence officer, one of the not-quite-enemy lizardmen, a princess, and a lot of alien Lemurians who have joined the American "tribe" from one of their own species.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward assembles a group of people most of whom are there because they have no other choice. It includes him (who has to flee his own castle to avoid being taken to an asylum for insane nobles), his sister Ciarra (because he couldn't just leave her there alone), the house ghost Oreg, the escaped slave Bastilla, Axiel, the valet of Ward's recently deceased father, and Penrod, the stable master. Fortunately most of them know how to wield a sword, their homeland being one where everyone is badass to some degree. Ward still considers it a good idea to give them some training before they get into a real fight. Later on, he picks up his brother Tosten, who is a bard by profession, but still remembers some fighting moves from his childhood. Ward's plan is to prove himself as war hero, so that they can't get rid of him so easily anymore. It works... somewhat.
  • In The Dresden Files, any time Harry brings along more than one or two people to help take on the book's bad guy, it's this.
    • In Summer Knight Harry brings together a group of werewolves, two changelings (half human and half fae) and a group of 6-inch tall dew drop fairies armed with box cutters to the middle of a war between the Summer and Winter Courts.
    • In Dead Beat Harry goes against a gaggle of necromancers with a polka-loving muggle coroner who got caught up in the situation, Harry's dog, the last standing Warden from a small group who came to help and a T. rex he brought back to life.
    • The biggest so far involves his assault on the Red Court at the Chichen Itza in Changes. Aside from a snarky wizard, his attack force consisted of his teenage neuromancer apprentice, an agnostic paladin wielding a holy sword, a Chicago PD lieutenant also using a holy sword, a spirit of intellect locked away in a skull, a half-vampire journalist wielding the third holy sword, another half-vampire, a White Court vampire, a fairy noble, a vampire hunter, and a temple dog.
  • Discworld:
    • Monstrous Regiment features one of these. Not only does the titular group of Borogravian soldiers qualify, they're all secretly women in disguise. The Monstrous Regiment's survival is a little more believable when you take into account that several of their number have super(natural) powers and their commanding officer (in fact if not name) is a Magnificent Bastard who knows everyone on both sides of the conflict and carries a bit more pull than you'd expect a sergeant to have. It may have helped a bit that they thought the enemy's senior commander was Vimes and he was gunning for them. But Vimes was not the enemy commander, Ankh-Morpork was not directly part of the fight, and Vimes is very pointedly not military; he is a policeman. But his help was very helpful.
    • And of course, the early City Watch novels. The change occurs after Feet of Clay, when the Watch starts getting so big that Vimes doesn't even know all his officers anymore. (Vimes still thinks of them as being something of a ragtag bunch, of course — no one sane wants to be a copper.)
    • Just as big a bunch of misfits are the night watch in Night Watch Discworld.
  • Esther Diamond: Disappearing Nightly has an odd, gradually growing group of heroes who investigate the kidnappings. There's a Weirdness Magnet actress, three mages from The Order (a kindly man who's Really 700 Years Old, a rude and lisping apprentice, and a stuffy bureaucrat), four performers from a Drag Queen show, a Cowboy condom magnate and his drama student daughter, a youthful stockbroker and amateur magician, and a flamboyant Las Vegas showman. The kidnapped Lovely Assistants also briefly form this dynamic once they show up in person. There's a self-centered B-List pop star, two socialites, a male stripper, an elegantly dressed woman (who is kidnapped along with a tiger), and two of the characters who start out investigating the disappearances.
  • Everworld has this even more. Especially in the later books when the stakes are higher and Senna gets more antagonistic.
  • Flawed Dogs: Sam befriends and teams up with the dogs at the pound, all of which have some sort of deformity. One of them, Madam, is actually a cat disguised as a dog!
  • The main heroes in Greystone Valley include two children, a mouse-sized dragon, and a very pessimistic warrior. In a world populated by fey, dragons, and wizards, this motley crew still seems to be the best hope of saving the day.
  • In The Hearts We Sold, the fate of the world rests on the Daemon and his troop of teenagers that are working for him. Said teenagers are a mess of emotional issues, screwed-up family situations, and desperation. The Daemon is less than thrilled with what he has to work with, but realizes he's not likely to do any better.
  • Hell's Children by Andrew Boland, features the Damned, who are made up of a Humanoid Abomination, an Eldritch Abomination, and a floating torso. And they’re the protagonists.
  • In Homage to Catalonia, the various party militias on the Republican side. Orwell describes the POUM militia, in which he served, as a particularly egregious example of this trope — an untrained, scruffy-looking band, partly composed of teenage boys whose enthusiasm was decidedly greater than their common sense.
  • In Jack Cloudie, the mission to investigate Cassarabia's source of lift-gas that would have been handled by the Court of the Air, prior to the events of Rise of the Iron Moon, is instead thrown together on a shoestring by their less-than-expert successors on Jackals' State Protection Board. It consists of a failed bank robber, a crackpot steamman, an embittered secret policewoman, a blackmailed smuggler, a manic-depressive captain, a Marine detachment of Benzari tribesmen, an all-convict crew, and an experimental tortoise of an airship that malfunctions in mid-battle.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Mia notes that Basilard's team is unusual in this regard. Its novices are a wimpy otherworlder, a posh runaway and an amnesiac street urchin.
    • The narration has this to say of the only group in position to stop the Big Bad's Evil Plan:
    The new party left the repository to confront the evil mastermind: a disowned princess, a noble with more loyalty than sense, and a two thousand-year-old mage in a teenage body.
  • In The King's Avatar, the start of Team Happy was this. Its initial members are: an Internet cafe manager, two newcomers to the Glory game, a mathematics Teen Genius, a former member of the "Tyrannical Ambition" guild, an infamous scrap picker from the Heavenly Domain and two retired pro players, one of which is the famed Ye Xiu.
  • The main character of KonoSuba used to be a shut-in with no useful skills, talents or prospects in the real world. When he turned into an MMO world style adventurer, he retained most of his general uselessness — not only does he start at level 1, but his stats are below-average and his class is basic and underpowered. Out of the party that forms around him, however (to his chagrin), he is easily the most competent. The arch priest goddess that was dragged with him to the MMO world is a certified idiot who retains none of her divine powers, but all of her bluster. The arch wizard is a little girl who knows a vastly powerful form of explosion magic, a single use of which leaves her incapacitated for several minutes, and nothing else. And the sword-wielding female crusader wears heavy armor and has enormous strength and stamina, allowing her to take inhuman amounts of punishment in battle (which she enjoys very much), but cannot actually hit a target herself.
  • The fellowship in The Lord of the Rings is about half badass, half misfit.
  • In Loyal Enemies, Shelena lampshades this when she tries to make the point that they've got little chances to win against the bad guys. As she puts it, her "fascinating company" consists of a banished wizard who can't conjure anything without fainting, a shape-shifting dragon who runs away from overgrown wolves, a sick adolescent with Honor Before Reason tendencies and a child. Though she neglects to mention that the latter is a Little Miss Badass. Not to be outdone in snarkiness, Veres shoots back that there's also a werewolf with a nasty character, and a female one at that.
  • The titular gang of kids in Neil Patrick Harris' The Magic Misfits series. An orphan skilled in card tricks on the run from his abusive uncle, a Genki Girl escape artist with a mysterious past, a gentlemanly violinist from a wealthy, achievement-obsessed family, a wheelchair-bound, Fiery Redhead Gadgeteer Genius, and a pair of Half-Identical Twins who use their banter for stand up comedy. Brought together by coincidence and a love of stage magic, they solve crimes in their sleepy town.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • It seems this makes up most of the Malazan Empire's armies, especially but not limited to the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters. It's stated that the Empire actually encourages that sort of thing, believing that allowing individual squads (and soldiers) to find their own idiosyncratic ways of fighting is more efficient than enforcing conformity in the ranks.
    • And then there's the Mott Irregulars, a bunch of insane country hicks lead by twenty warlock brothers and a sister (the meanest of them all) who are so ragtag and fit so badly that they managed to run circles around the Bridgeburners for more than a year and win at the end.
  • Mindscape: Elleni has to band together with a variety of allies in order to save the treaty in post-apocalyptic Earth.
  • In a more mundane version, James Howe's The Misfits centers on a group of four high-schoolers who are social outcasts: Joe, who is gay, Skeezie, who is the "weird" kid, Addie, an outspoken and stubborn girl, and the narrator, Bobby, who is overweight and shy. Over the course of the story, Addie gets the idea to run for student council president, and this ends up turning into a movement to call attention to the bullying and name-calling that they've endured for years. In the end, even though they don't win the election, their movement leads to positive changes in the culture of the school, paving the way for future groups of students to have a better experience.
  • The crew of Mission: Levity consists of: A disgraced USE captain, a Green-Skinned Space Babe spaceship architect turned telepath, an ex Space Pirate, a Teen Genius Jailbait, a not-so Ace Pilot and a killer robot with a blackmarket Emotion Chip. They... help people. If they get paid enough for it.
  • Monk: The novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu sees Adrian Monk being deputized by the mayor to run the SFPD's Homicide unit, and he's tasked with overseeing three other equally eccentric detectives who were kicked off the force for various reasons; more specifically, a hotheaded Cowboy Cop, a paranoid conspiracy theorist, and a senile old retiree.
    • The witches are also somewhat of a bunch of misfits.
  • In Myth Conceptions, Skeeve and Aahz are hired to defend the kingdom of Possiltum from an invading army easily twice the size of the kingdom's borders. Given no help from the local army and only ten gold coins to spend, they, along with curvaceous ex-assassin Tananda go to the Bizarre of Deva to recruit a fighting force. Due to their limited funds and some poor words from Skeeve, they end up hiring Brockhurst, an Imp Assassin who lost his magick in the last book, Ajax, a geriatric Archer, Gus, a gargoyle who works at a fast food place, and a salamander.
    Skeeve: Well, you said you wanted outside help.
    Aahz: But not this outside!
  • For a non-Discworld Terry Pratchett example, the titular group in Nation, made up of the remnants of many different Polynesian tribes who have managed to survive a tsunami and attacks by the Raiders, led by a Flat-Earth Atheist teenager whose tribe was eliminated before his initiation ritual into adulthood could be completed, meaning that to the others (except Daphne) view him as basically having no soul and being possessed by a demon.
  • N.E.R.D.S.: A disgraced former jock and a bunch of nerds save the world. Said nerds are a hyperactive sugar junkie, a Paste Eater and an aggressive asthmatic, all led by a Neat Freak with extreme allergies to everything.
  • Old Mortality: The Covenanters are a deconstruction. They're mostly poor farmers with very few weapons and no military training, they're divided by their own disagreements, and with the exception of their first battle they lose badly against the better-armed, better-trained royalist army.
  • Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos ends with the narrator considering the ragtag bunch of misfits that had literally gone To Hell and Back. He concludes that it's the devil who has no sense of humor; God must love to laugh.
  • In Tad Williams' Otherland series, the group of protagonists that ends up infiltrating the Grail Brotherhood's private virtual reality network consists of a South African schoolteacher, a Bushman, a pair of American teenage gamers (one of whom has a terminal disease), a third teenager who's an ex drug addict, a reclusive blind French researcher, a Chinese grandmother, a German doctor and cult refugee, and an old man who's an Accidental Pervert. Their only connection is that they all know someone who's fallen victim to the mysterious comas caused by the Other and stumbled upon the clues left by Mysterious Informant Sellars.
  • German troops fighting in Upper Silesia are described like this in The Outlaws. Their units are formed from volunteers coming from every possible corner of Germany and even from abroad, like Sweden or Finland. Moreover, the soldier had various occupations before joining the Freikorps, from university students to jobless men.
  • Implied in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series. Because of their natural battle reflexes, amplified senses and hardwired-for-ancient-languages brains, demigods in the mortal world are usually diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, so they tend to be isolated from other kids, and since, apparently, most teachers are monsters, they tend to fail in school a lot. The main protagonist and narrator of the first series, Percy, has been kicked out of almost every school he's ever attended, to the point where the only time he wasn't, he joked that he'd have to try harder to keep the record, and it's implied that he's never had many mortal friends. Many demigods share similar stories. Yep, these are the kids who hold the fate of the world in their hands.
  • The Phule's Company novels have this as their premise; The "Omega Company" is a dumping ground for troops that no commander wanted to deal with, and Phule is given command as a punishment for strafing a peace treaty signing. Naturally, the Omega Company just need a leader with charisma, patience, flexible ethics, and loads of money, which is what they get in Phule. The rest goes splendidly.
  • The Bronze Barbarians from the Prince Roger-series downplay the trope by way of Bunny-Ears Lawyer. The Barbarians insist that all new recruits be not only incredibly badass, but also possess some potentially valuable skill other than shooting things and polishing parade uniforms. This leaves you with people like the shipbuilder's apprentice turned armorer who uses more curse words than punctuation marks, the Master Sergeant who is also an accomplished dressmaker and an ordained Satanist priestess and the support gunner who joined the Army in lieu of doing time for car theft. The Bronze Barbarians are by no means ragtag, but they do snag up some... interesting people.
  • In Rainbows End, the Library Cabal, who are ostensibly trying to stop the destructive digitization of the library's contents. They don't even know they've been recruited by The Rabbit to try to save the world.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Who to send into the heart of Calvaria, the terror of the North, to retrieve the gem of Zosia? If Duke Nobel sends his own men, and the mission fails, he may inadvertently start a war he has no hope of winning. Hmmm. Better send in some expendables who have no clear tie to the Duke . . . Fortunately for Nobel, he happens to have an extremely capable group of Boxed Crooks on hand for the job.
  • In Romance of the Snob Squad by Julie Anne Peters, the Snob Squad is one of these. Jenny is overweight, Lydia talks too much, Max is big for her age, and Prairie only has one leg. They end up together in a P.E. class competition. They end up subverting the Underdogs Never Lose trope and losing the competition anyway, and Jenny even comments on this, saying that "if you think we pulled ourselves together and won this thing, you've OD'd on Disney".
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, the school is taken over by the villains as the test run of an Assimilation Plot with which they intend to ensnare the whole world. Opposing them are a mismatched dozen students who barely knew each other, or knew and disliked each other, before they were forced together by being the only ones left resistant to the villains' mind control.
  • Raymond E. Feist's Shadow of a Dark Queen book of The Serpentwar Saga has a bunch of convicts sentenced to death by hanging, given express (but effective) military training and sent on a suicide mission across the ocean, on the condition, that they may be given pardon, if they succeed and come back alive.
  • The Chosen Men under Sharpe in the Sharpe series of books by Bernard Cornwell. They are not vastly different from most infantrymen (the recruitment procedure was very loose back then) but their flamboyant personalities and lackluster approach to discipline makes them this very trope. They are scorned by officers but tolerated by pragmatic commanders like Wellington or Hogan who tend to highly value the unit's combat prowess and experience.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant has a well-dressed living skeleton Deadpan Snarker (who is a detective), a teenage girl with odd heritage who owns a mansion, a beautiful blonde woman with a sword who kills things for a living, and a heavily-scarred tailor who is also a boxer. They are later joined by the last teleporter, a vainglorious teenage boy with excessively stupid hair. All of them are mages. None of them are remotely normal. And in the fourth book, Billy Ray Sanguine actually refers to the protagonists as a "Motley Bunch of Misfits" or something along those lines.
  • Slayers has a team of regulars that involves an overzealous justice freak who often does Sailor Moon-style poses and failed acrobatics, an overly short Pettanko motivated primarily by greed/gluttony/revenge, a Big Eater Dumb Blonde Badass Normal, and a Cursed with Awesome golem-demon-human hybrid. The extra characters in the party include an ex-princess who worships a monster she made up, a demon with a penchant for secret-keeping (who is also willing to sell out the entire party), and a shrine maiden with an absurd lack of skill in black magic (to the point where she casts carrot-sized fire spells that tickle people) who somehow learned the strongest black magic spell.
  • Slow Horses has the titular ‘Slow Horses’ — British security service agents who’ve screwed up in some way and been banished to pointless jobs in Slough House until they retire or resign. Until the combination of a Mean Boss and unfortunate events on their doorstep starts to change their fate...
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The Night's Watch consists largely of outcasts, petty criminals, and political refugees and (surprisingly) even allows the overweight to join their ranks. The fat Samwell Tarly slays a seemingly invincible monster.
    • The defense of The Wall in A Storm of Swords takes this trope up to eleven. Since most of the Watch's best men have been killed, and the best of the rest are engaged in fighting elsewhere, only the very bottom of the barrel and some volunteers from a nearby town are left to fight the Wildling horde.
    • The Brave Companions, a band of sellswords made up of the most bloodthirsty and amoral fighters from all over the world, are an evil version of the concept, basically being a Carnival of Killers.
    • The Brotherhood Without Banners, made up of the remnants of a royal mission for a now very dead king, as well as a collection of miscellaneous stranded soldiers, armed peasants, petty bandits, and the like. It's telling that both of their leaders have been Westeros' equivalent of zombies.
    • A lot of Stannis Baratheon's army is being reduced to this. Though he still has forces from the Narrow Sea, Stormlands and Reach, he is so depleted in forces that he is forced to turn to pirates, sellswords and a sinister Red Priestess who burns people to her God. Later he is even willing to recruit Wildlings.
  • The girls of Lamplight in Spy Classroom are a group of trainee spies who were on the verge of washing out. They were selected in part because no enemy spy would bother gathering or studying information about the worst students at the academy, making them an unknown factor that can't be predicted.
  • The crew of the first U.S.S. Excalibur in Star Trek: New Frontier was definitely this: the Captain was a former rebel leader who overthrew his planet's oppressors when he was twenty and spent the last few years working Black Ops, the chief engineer is from a race of hermaphrodites, the CMO is harboring the katra of her lover who died during ''pon farr'', the science officer is hiding the fact she's half-Romulan, the helmsman falls asleep at his station...the most normal of the bunch are Commander Shelby and Ensign Lefler (both imports from Star Trek: The Next Generation), and even they're a bit off.
  • There are two in Michelle West's The Sun Sword/House War series. The first is the army of the Kalakar, the Ospreys. The second is Jewel's den, which are the much more ragtag bunch of misfits that are significantly more badass. Granted, they have an overlapping character who provides a liberal dose of overkill, but both fit this trope.
  • The 27th Penal Panzer Regiment of the Sven Hassel novels is made up of ex-convicts and court-martialed soldiers who have been 'pardoned' and sent off to die for Nazi Germany.
  • In one book of Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm series, a child ruler is on the run from traitors who assassinated her father and now control the guards and priests who are supposed to be protecting her. For bodyguards and advisers, she instead has a family of artists, a troupe of traveling actors and tumblers, and two of the (repentant) traitors. The group hails from three different countries and two opposing religions.
  • Knowingly enacted by a Genre Savvy warrior in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. An ambient magical force in the land (The Tradition) likes to have events work out like they do in stories. The warrior assembles a group of untrained teenage girls, equips them to look suitably ragged, and leads them into battle. The Tradition then ensures that they fight like expert soldiers, because they qualify and Underdogs Never Lose.
  • Tasakeru: The main characters are the Outcasts, a mixed-species group of sentient mammals who have all been exiled by their societies for going against the grain. They consist of a runaway Rōnin (formerly a samurai), a notorious thief, a Gentle Giant scholar, an ancient, mysterious, and anti-social white wolf, and a flower mage.
  • In Temeraire book five Victory of Eagles, the title character forges one of these from the collection of renegades, retirees, and rejected experimental crossbreeds that were in the dragon breeding grounds that he was exiled to, after getting word that his captain had been killed and Napoleon had invaded Britain. This group of misfits' efficiency is more justified than most, since most of the members are ex-military and know what they're doing. Also, they're flying mountains of teeth, muscle and claws the size of small buildings.
  • Andrei Belyanin's Tsar Gorokh's Detective Agency series has the titular agency composed of a Fish out of Temporal Water By-the-Book Cop, Baba Yaga (a forensics and magic expert), a young peasant man named Mit'ka (who mixes Mother Russia Makes You Strong, Dumb Muscle, and Large Ham), Yaga's black cat Vasiliy (who appears to be smarter than most people and may or may not be a Talking Animal who prefers to stay quiet), Sotnik (Lieutenant) Foma Yeremeyev who commands the hundred streltsy (guards with Hand Cannons) assigned to the agency, the later addition of the Azerbaijani domovoy (house spirit) Nazim (who has the hots for Baba Yaga) with the occasional assistance of the Tsar himself (when he wants to play detective) and, in the final novel, the cop's fiancée (a former demoness) and Tsarina Lidia (the Tsar's Austrian wife who doesn't mind the occasional manual labor much to the horror of the nobles).
  • Justified in Eve Forward's Villains by Necessity, where only criminals and evildoers can save the world, and there's only a handful left. Naturally, it takes a while for them to get along.
  • Warhammer 40,000 novels:
    • The Ciaphas Cain novels have several examples.
      • In Duty Calls, Inquisitor Vail's retinue already includes a former commissar/member of a penal regiment, and a former arbite who had, while undercover, imploded a criminal organization with a judicious murder and frame, and picks up a food vendor who had stumbled into some knowledge of the Inquisition and picked up a gun when cornered by a Genestealer cult. Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitors seem to attract this trope. It's lampshaded, too; Cain wonders if eccentricity is a requirement for joining up with Vail, who notes that in a job like that, you just tend to find more people whose view of the universe is... unusual.
      • In Death or Glory, Cain whips together "Cain's Liberators" from the tattered remnants of the PDF armies and civilians on the continent overrun by orks. Including getting all their medical attention from a vet.
      • In For the Emperor, the ragtag band of court-martialed soldiers offered amnesty in exchange for their services function as a well trained military unit. So much so that even two of them who were specifically court-martialed for trying to kill one another were able to work together without incident... at least between each other.
    • The Last Chancers novels fit this trope to a dark and bloody tee, being made up of the scum and villainy of the Imperium.
    • Sandy Mitchell's Dark Heresy novels have the Angelae Carolus, comprising among their number an ex-cop, a fanatic assassin, a cyborg who spends a lot of time contemplating the oddness of human speech patterns, a pair of Imperial Guardsmen who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Inquisitor Carolus' former pyrokine girlfriend.
    • In the Eisenhorn novels, Inquisitor Eisenhorn's retinue includes in their number: a gunslinging pilot, an aging scholar who's literally addicted to knowledge, an ex-cop, an anti-psychic prostitute, and a flamboyant cyborg starship captain. And that's just the first novel.
    • In the Ravenor novels, Inquisitor Ravenor, though starting with a retinue, adds a Street Urchin, an arbite who was targeted by the Chaos forces for knowing too much, and a doctor who is working illegally because of having lost his license by caring for people not allowed to be treated and falsifying records to get the supplies he needs.
    • Gaunt's Ghosts also has this: the Ghosts are made up of the scruffy stealth-based woodsmen of Tanith, the hive-born guerilla fighters of Vervunhive, and the more tradional Guardsmen of Belladon. And this isn’t including the plethora of characters they pick up from random planets.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Dendarii Mercenaries were a pretty ragtag bunch when Miles first created them in The Warrior's Apprentice.
  • The Wheel of Time series has quite a few examples, though it's usually a mix of Badass and misfit. Perrin and his band of Two Rivers men, Cha Faile, the rebel Aes Sedai, The Kin, and especially the first band of main characters in the first book.
  • The group designed to free Ciri in The Witcher was ultimately formed from an aged and mostly retired monster hunter, elder vampire, amazon bowwoman, perverted bard, teenager with villainous background and friend-turned soldier/secret agent/noble from the hostile empire. Also, few times a half dozen or so dwarves were thrown in.
  • Both of Wedge Antilles' fighter squadrons from the X-Wing Series apply to some extent:
    • Rogue Squadron consists of twelve of the absolute best starfighter pilots in the New Republic, all of whom have secondary skills that prove useful outside of a cockpit. They also have elements of a Five-Token Band since these expert pilots were selected as much for their backgrounds as for their flight skills, so there's a scion of a Tatooine water magnate who's also related to the famed Biggs Darklighter, a Bothan pilot to represent the people who played such a pivotal role in securing data on the second Death Star, a former space cop from Corellia, a pilot from the prison planet Kessel, and two pilots from Thyferra to placate the dueling monopolies who control the galaxy's supply of bacta. The Rogues are quite professional during missions, if unorthodox, but all their varying backgrounds cause some personality clashes.
    • Wraith Squadron was founded based on Wedge's idea to come up with a covert ops team that could also provide its own air support, and to sell the notion to his superiors he offered to build the squadron "for free" from the washouts, screw-ups, and mental cases that didn't fit into other squadrons. During the selection process, Wedge did have to discard some irredeemable pilots who were just too emotionally-unstable, or outright criminal, to be fit to fly, and was left with only ten pilots to work with, just short of a full squadron. The first generation of Wraiths included a Former Child Star from Imperial propaganda films, an alien with Split Personalities as a racial trait, the niece of the famed Admiral Ackbar, a genetically augmented Gamorrean, a Demolitions Expert with occasional crippling performance anxiety, and the shell-shocked Sole Survivor of another fighter squadron. They're soon proven to be unpredictable, unorthodox, and Mildly Military, but competent enough for new transfers to be unaware of the Wraiths' initial reputation - but luckily the newcomers are either as charmingly wacky or as deeply scarred as the original team, and soon fit right in. Appropriately, they Wraiths are eventually recommissioned as a purely Intelligence unit.
    • The Wraiths occasionally slip over into a Deconstructed Trope. In comparison to the relatively functional Rogues, the Wraiths are an outright Dysfunction Junction, with at least three severe personal breakdowns over the course of their first two books - one of them (Lara Notsil's) starting in the middle of a combat engagement.
      Wedge: I'm leading children, Wes, and I'm getting them killed.
      Wes: That's true.
      Wedge: What did you say?
      Wes: It's true. Wedge, you asked for misfits. You had to know that even with the ones who made the grade, they were going to take losses that were heavier than in a normal unit.
  • The Zone series of World War III novels by James Rouch is about the Special Combat Group, made up of soldiers picked up on their various assignments from the US, British, and Dutch forces, and deserters from the Soviet army and East German border police. The established special forces units despise such ad-hoc groups and are exerting political pressure to shut them down.