Created By: Bisected8 on September 11, 2013 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on September 16, 2013
Troped

Enhanced Archaic Weapon

Supertrope for weapons which have been enhanced beyond what they traditionally were capable of

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This trope covers archaic weapons that have been upgraded in some way to make them more effective. To qualify as this trope a weapon must have been invented before gunpowder weapons became dominantnote  and enhanced in a way that they were not at the time (although they can still appear before that point) through magic or technology.

"Why bother with them?", you ask? Let's not mince words; older weapons are cool and can say a lot more about characters (especially since they tended to be unique to some degree). It's a lot more exciting to have characters fighting up close and personal than it is for them to fling metal and fire at one another from half a mile away. Similarly, traditional projectile weapons (bows, slings, etc) give the impression that the user needs skill to use them. Making these weapons more powerful (or just look that way to the audience) not only makes it even more exciting, but can give a plausible reason why they're using them (instead of the aforementioned metal and fire flinging devices).

Subtropes include;

This trope often overlaps with Retro Upgrade (which might be used to justify why the enhancement hasn't simply been applied to more advanced weapons), Living Weapon/Empathic Weapon and Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age. Compare Older Is Better and Guns Are Worthless.

Examples (examples which fit into an existing subtrope belong on that page):

Live Action Television
  • CSI: New York featured the "Wasp Knife", which injects air into the target to cause them to burst, as a murder weapon.
  • Law & Order: SVU featured a similar weapon to the CSI example, which worked by injecting the victim with air.

Tabletop Games
  • Eclipse Phase has monofilament swords and garrottes, diamond-edged axes, vibroswords, swords made of memory polymer that becomes stiff or hard with an electric charge and wasp knives among others.
  • In addition to Chainsaw Good and Sharpened to a Single Atom examples being commonplace, Warhammer 40K also has much rarer "Power Weapons". These are enhanced by a hazy blue "power field" (produced by a generator on what would otherwise be a normal melee weapon) which weakens the molecular bonds of whatever they strike.

Video Games

Real Life
  • In Real Life many examples of more traditional weapons exist for one reason or another;
    • Compound Bows use a series of pullies and cams to make them easier to draw and hold in place (as well as increase the overall power of the bow). They were developed for hunting (as well as for disabled archers to use in target shooting).
    • The Wasp knife, as mentioned in the CSI example above. It was developed for divers to use to fight off sharks by injecting them with air, so they float to the surface (and don't bleed as much, which might drive other sharks into a frenzy).

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • September 11, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    According to your description, humans invented fire after gunpowder (otherwise Flaming Sword doesn't qualify).
  • September 11, 2013
    Bisected8
    Good point. Reworded.
  • September 11, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • September 11, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Tabletop Games
    • Eclipse Phase has monofilament swords and garrottes, diamond-edged axes, vibroswords, blades made of memory polymer that becomes stiff or flexible with an electrical charge, and wasp knives among others.
  • September 11, 2013
    Koveras
    • Mass Effect 3 multiplayer features the futuristic versions of shields, warhammers, and even longbows deployed in a 23rd century Robot War.
  • September 11, 2013
    Chabal2
    Power weapons in Warhammer 40 K are melee weapons (swords, axes, etc.) that have a shaped energy field generator that disrupts solid matter, making the blade go through anything. Thunder hammers have generators that discharge their energy on a hit, making them do more damage.
  • September 11, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Not to mention swords.

    Tabletop Games
  • September 11, 2013
    Bisected8
    Are they actually enhanced in any way? I'm not sure if oversized weapons really counts if they work the same as normally sized counterparts...
  • September 11, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Clanners refer to mech combat as "augmented".
  • September 12, 2013
    Bisected8
    But are they "augmented" by the definition given in the OP?
  • September 12, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Guess not.

    Another bunch of tropes to add to the list:

    Also added a weapon that doesn't fit any of the subtropes to my earlier Eclipse Phase example after going back over the rulebook.
  • September 12, 2013
    jayoungr
    Film:

    • In Van Helsing, the title character has a gas-powered repeating crossbow.
  • September 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ That would be a case of Automatic Crossbows, which is definitely a subtrope.
  • September 12, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Another YKTTW that sounds like it would go on the list: Gizmo Sword
  • September 12, 2013
    BibsDibs
  • September 13, 2013
    Bisected8
    ASB's a more about blades being more effective than they should be (it can be justified, but said justifications are separate tropes).

    I'll wait until Gizmo Sword's launched before adding it to the list (unless it's launched afterwards, in which case it can be added to the list, of course).
  • September 14, 2013
    Bisected8
    Well, this has enough examples (although I'd rather have a few more non-Real Life examples before launching, personally).

    Any thoughts on the name and the description?
  • September 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    seems good enough as it is. have a hat.
  • September 15, 2013
    Astaroth
  • September 15, 2013
    Bisected8
    I'm not sure if the MGS example should go here or on Static Stun Gun, but I've left it in for now.
  • September 15, 2013
    Bisected8
    Huh? Didn't this have three hats before?

    Well, I suppose I'll launched it tomorrow afternoon, unless there's any problems?

    Oh, and does anyone have suggestions for indexes?
  • September 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Well, Weapons And Wielding Tropes is the most obvious one.
  • September 16, 2013
    Arivne
  • September 16, 2013
    Bisected8
    I thought those two were for sword/polearm-only tropes (they don't seem to have any general weapon tropes listed)?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=accqkfb6jl3l2kw0tm6zzrll&trope=EnhancedArchaicWeapon