The Dreaded/Playing With

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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

  • Straight: When Alice enters a room, it falls silent and a few weak-willed souls may start quivering.
  • Exaggerated: Wherever Alice goes she incites panic and even madness in even her own followers. She's scary enough to have other major characters quailing in fear near her.
  • Justified: Alice really is that scary. Whether through magic, appearance or a reputation for slaughtering entire towns on her lonesome, people have reason to flee at the sound of her approach.
  • Inverted: Everyone is reassured and comforted by Alices presence, and are more likely to stand their ground when she's around.
  • Subverted: When Alice enters a room, the scene is set up as if The Dreaded is making their appearance. The lights fall, the scary music starts, and her entry is shrouded in darkness. After the entrance though, everyones reactions are passive or even downright friendly and informal towards her. Cries of "Oh hey Alice" irreverently sound out. Expect Alice to respond with Dude, Where's My Respect??
  • Double Subverted: Only for Alice to put on a terrifying display of authority and/or violence, silencing the crowd quickly, maybe by shooting or beheading one of the miscreants, prompting everyone to react as standard to the trope. It turns out they'd been lied to, told that treating Alice more informally was what she wanted, and they were all so terrified that they put on the act a little too perfectly.
  • Parodied: Alice is a five year old Eldritch Abomination who just wants to be friends with the cute little monkeys who keep running away for some reason.
  • Deconstructed: Alice's aura of fear means that would be friends keep away from her. Her council are a bunch of Yes Men because all the would-be Honest Advisors have been killed or fled in fear, the conquered might not face her in person but they're causing chaos everywhere she can't be, as she's so hated that no one can stand her rule. Alice is left with no friends and a misleading council, isolated and alone, while her kingdom is destroyed not by foreign armies but by civil unrest.
  • Reconstructed: But Alice realises this and tempers her ability to inspire terror with the ability to recognise and reward loyalty and honesty, making her an even more potent villain. She earns the trust of her still skittish advisors and the stemming of the constant campaign of terror against her own citizens starts to stop the constant unrest, while she still ensures that she inspires enough fear in any who would think of rebellion are too scared to do so.
  • Zig Zagged: There's no rhyme or reason to who stands and who runs, trained soldiers who outnumber Alice turn and run while heavily outnumbered conscripts stand their ground. The heroes quail, but children fearlessly mock the character.
  • Averted: Alice is not feared beyond what is reasonable for her position in the story.
  • Enforced: We need to show how scary our new Antihero is. Lets make other characters reaction to her that of obvious fear.
  • Lampshaded: "You'd think Alice casts jelly-legs on us all, the way our army runs from her every time she attacks." "Aw shut up Pete, you ran from her too!"
  • Invoked: "Butcher them all. I want no man or woman to dare stand against me from this day forth!"
  • Defied: Alice intentionally keeps a low profile so nobody knows how dangerous she is until it's too late.
  • Discussed: "That's the problem. No one will fight her, everyone is frightened. Even if we could beat her, the question is, who'd be mad enough to try?
  • Conversed: "Come on, is everyone in this show a chicken? I know she's scary, but you're the heroes! Do something!"
  • Played For Laughs: Alice enters a crowded room and in a friendly demeanor says: "Hey guys, what's up?". Everyone in the room panics ahortly after.
  • Played For Drama: Alice causes everyone around to quake in their boots, but Alice longs for nothing more than companionship - the constant fear is making her feel she really is a monster and it's breaking her heart.

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