The Butcher is an Always Male Characterization Trope and a common Name. It refers to a character whose name or nickname is or includes the phrase "The Butcher". For Added Alliterative Appeal, the are often "The Butcher of (someplace that starts with a B)". The implication is usually that they've killed enough men they could practically set up a meat market. In a few cases, it may be applied to someone who actually chops the meat off the corpses of his victims, but that's pretty rare.
The following are historical and contemporary personages that have become known as The Butcher:
- Adulescentulus Carnifex (Kid Butcher) - Pompey the Great, of Ancient Rome. His father was known as "The Butcher", too.
- Black Clifford, aka The Butcher - John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, in the Wars of the Roses
- The Butcher - Ulysses S. Grant, Union General in the American Civil War, for his huge body counts on both sides.
- Butcher Cumberland - Prince William, Duke of Cumberland for his actions against the Jacobites in 1746.
- Butcher Harris- Arthur Travers Harris, better known as "Bomber Harris" - Head of RAF Bomber Command in World War II
- The Butcher of Baghdad - Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq.
- The Butcher of Belgrade - Slobodan Milosevic, former President of Yugoslavia
- The Butcher of Bucharest - Nicolae Ceausescu, former President of Romania
- The Butcher of Bucharest - A high Nazi official, Baron Otto von Bolschwing
- The Butcher of the Somme- Field Marshal Haig, British Expeditionary Force in World War I
- The Butcher of the Ukraine - Nikita Khrushchev for ruthlessly carrying out Stalin's orders in the 1940s.
- Der Metzgermeister (the Master Butcher) - Armin Meiwes, German cannibal
- El Carnicero de La Cabaña (The Butcher of La Cabaña)- Che Guevara, Argentine Marxist Revolutionary and Guerilla leader.
- The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run - one of the nicknames of the unknown perpetrator of the Cleveland Torso Murders
- The Shankill Butchers - a Ulster Loyalist terrorist group. Part of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Active in the 1970s.
- "Bill The Butcher" aka. William Poole, sometime leader of the Bowery Boys … something of a subversion in that he accquired the name by being an actual, rather than a metaphorical, butcher.
- "Butcher Bob" aka. Robert Mugabe, president of the former Republic of Rhodesia - now referred to as Zimbabwe. Famous for his crimes in office including the acts of genocide against the Matabele people, more generalised racist violence against the nation's white minority and the murder and torture of his political opponents. Also recognised for the formidable achievement of turning a nation capable of feeding most of subsaharan Africa into a wasteland incapable of feeding its own population.
- Sometimes "The Butcher" is applied as an ironic nickname to the most timid member of an otherwise violent group or organization.
- Sometimes it's a red herring, such as cases where the characters job is literally a butcher, but he's a really nice guy.
- Then there's Butch Cassidy, who really was an outlaw and a bank robber, but whose name came from the fact that he used to work as a butcher.
- Also, as above William Poole … although by all accounts he wasn't a nice guy, he just happened to dress and sell meat for a living when he wasn't engaged in organised crime.
- Might also be used as an ironic name for a very camp male character - either because he "could do to be butcher" or "because he has a lot of mince about him".
Game and Story Use
- Simple and effective way to note that a character is a murderer, torturer, or head of a genocidal regime. That name says a lot, and none of what it says is pretty.
- A character named The Butcher might actually be a reincarnation of one of the historically famous Butchers. Or, they might be possessed by the ghost of a historical The Butcher.
- If you're going for the subversion, don't be surprised if the PCs kill him before they can figure out that he's not the psychopath they thought he was. They're bound to assume that he had to earn a name like The Butcher.