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Johan Larson 09-12-2016 05:04 PM

bending stereotypes
The hero cop isn't a strong silent type. He's brave all right, and knows his business, but when things start going wrong he has to deal with the stress somehow, so he starts coaching his courage. Sometimes it's just muttering, but if things get really tight he flat out talks to himself.

And that platoon sergeant. He's not a tough-guy. He's a competent and experienced soldier all right, but his real value comes from a finely tuned sense of what the superiors really value. He can give his lieutenant very valuable advice about which regs are solid, which have a bit of wiggle room, and which can be ignored entirely.

And that politician. He's not crooked. But between the party, the donors, the civil service and the press, there are at least ten people who are making demands he can't afford to ignore, and life is a constant balancing act between them.


David Johnston2 09-12-2016 07:24 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
Comic book Atlanteans who may get shirty about surface worlders polluting the oceans but are busy building their own factories that produce pollution that floats to the surface as clouds of poison gas.

People with fire powers who are zen and relaxed or extremely disciplined instead of impulsive or quick tempered.

jason taylor 09-12-2016 08:35 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
Knights who are decent chaps who do what is expected of them but on the whole are pretty ordinary. They do not go in for saving distressed damsels disproportionately to the actual distress, nor yet are fond of oppressing hapless peasants, nor yet are they fond of pseudoadulterous sexual harrassment of their overlord's wife but they are mainly fond of a comfortable job and a cold beer. When it is time to go out and fight the Saracen's their main reaction is fatalistic resignation.

Vikings who spend most of their time fishing.

A Samurai whose livestyle is like an Orientalized version of a British country gentleman(one immigrant during the Meji Restoration whose memoir's I read described her father basically that way).

A Nazi who is cultured and discusses the finer things in life while negotiating with another Nazi to loan out prisoners as a work gang(Herman Wouk did that and it was brilliantly chilling).

A fighter pilot who is a faithful family man, drinks moderately, gambles moderately, is gentlemanly toward women, and Just Wants To Go Home. And has ten kills, did I mention that?

A British officer who likes neither tea nor port but has prejudice toward lemonade.

jason taylor 09-12-2016 09:05 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
A detective who sees a crime lord walk into a nightclub, with two tommy gun bearing enforcers and a dame on his arm and decides to leave the dame alone and go about his business. After all tommy guns are dangerous!

An eagle-feather bearing Indian chief that can quote Shakespeare, knows eight languages including Greek and Latin. And can split a twig with a rifle shot.

A cowboy who when the drive gets to the railhead, takes leave, checks into the local library and immerses himself in books. What about the gun he always carries? Oh last time he used that, there was a wounded calf you see...

Flyndaran 09-12-2016 09:12 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
A cop that succeeds playing by the rules and obeying the law. As well as having a happy marriage and no drinking problem.

jason taylor 09-12-2016 09:51 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
A princess who when forced to chose between marrying the handsome farm boy and the prince, marries the prince.

A Don who when his kinfolk are killed in a hit sends word to the police(Omerta only applies to unimportant gangsters after all).

A ninja who does not wear a ridiculous white kimono while on the job but simply dresses like a traveller to mix in. What the heck did you think he was going to do, announce it to everyone?

A bartender who is utterly incompetent at mixing but pretends he has invented a new drink thereby. He is not a knowledge broker but the cops ask him questions to make him feel important.

A bookie who is kind and generous toward clients. If they are to obviously profligate he simply freezes their credit rather then having them beat up.

An orphanage tender who is kind and thoughtful to the children. When an Adopter comes around they always give a hug before leaving. And usually pay them a call to say hello regularly after that.

jason taylor 09-12-2016 09:55 PM

Re: bending stereotypes
A spy who does not wear a suit, does not go on car chases, and spends most of his time negotiating bribes with vile but self-important traitors for dubiously important intelligence.

RyanW 09-13-2016 12:18 AM

Re: bending stereotypes
A mercenary who neither switches sides at the drop of a hat, nor becomes a true believer in the cause. He's there to do a job, and neither getting a reputation for betraying one's employers nor getting too closely involved in some crusade is good for the bottom line.

Flyndaran 09-13-2016 12:28 AM

Re: bending stereotypes

Originally Posted by RyanW (Post 2038961)
A mercenary who neither switches sides at the drop of a hat, nor becomes a true believer in the cause. He's there to do a job, and neither getting a reputation for betraying one's employers nor getting too closely involved in some crusade is good for the bottom line.

Is that not the stereotype? They obey the mighty dollar, not morality. Isn't that what mercenary means?

jason taylor 09-13-2016 01:14 AM

Re: bending stereotypes

Originally Posted by Flyndaran (Post 2038963)
Is that not the stereotype? They obey the mighty dollar, not morality. Isn't that what mercenary means?

Mercenary means a soldier who fights on a contractural or nearly contractural basis,that is one which has little connection outside the contract, which begins with the signing and ends with the termination. Rather then because of feudal, civic, nationalistic, ideological or other reasons. In practice, "pure" mercenaries are actually not as common as the description sounds. Gurkhas arguably are fighting for a feudal arrangement rather then a mercenary for instance. But yes that is the stereotype.

The description given would however describe Hawkwood's reputation which is why he did so well at it. However in the end, he evolved into what was effectively a Florentine regular.

A lot of eighteenth century noblemen served as officers in foreign forces individually. Like Hawkwood it was common to end up adopting a new country. Eugene of Savoy is an example of this. As is Von Steuben(whose noble credentials were dubious but then every Junker in Prussia claimed to be descended from Odin and the government only really worried about functionality). Basically when peace broke out in one place, all the lordlings that didn't have an estate of their own had to go soldiering for someone else or be unemployed.

And then there were the Wild Geese types who went soldiering for which ever power they thought most likely to fight the ones they had a grudge against. Those don't really count as "pure" mercs, but as ideological castaways.

There is also the reverse phenomenon that regulars for an Imperial army are likely to be de facto mercs having more interest in their little corner of the empire then in that empire.

And is a private wielder of internal force(like a bouncer)a kind of mercenary?

So you see mercenary can be given an objective definition, but there is no one size fit's all.

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