Created By: GameChainsaw on February 27, 2010
Troped

Ranged Emergency Weapon

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Trope
Most Emergency Weapons are close-ranged or occasionally small, weak long-ranged weapons used in reserve for a character who normally fights with guns or magic in case they run out of juice for said guns or magic, or perhaps for a character with breakable or disarmable weapons. However, sometimes, rather than simply being a question of weapon availability, a situation occurs where a character who specialises in melee and isn't much good with ranged weapons, nonetheless does have a ranged option open to him. They are not very effective with the ranged weapon, but if they absolutely have to do something at a longer distance than the nasty sharp thing can reach, the ranged weapon will do the job. Often not an actual gun, bombs, throwing knives and other odd bits and pieces can do for these characters.

This is fairly rare, mainly due to the story wanting to focus more on the melee action: if a guy is an awesome swordsman why make him use a gun or bow? Also, there's a tendency for good guys in fiction to be great shots whatever their melee skills. However, a handful of characters graduated from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy even as they kick ass at melee.

Examples

Film

  • Several in the Predator 2 film. There's a disk gun which could cut through multiple sides of beef and still take someone out on the other side, an expandable spear, and a net that could be fired to pin a target to a wall.

Literature

  • in the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Winter Night, when Sturm needs to buy time for Laurana to use the Dragon Orb, he decides that he needs to draw the attacking dragons toward him, and fires a bow at them to do so, even though he never otherwise uses a ranged attack.

Video Games

  • The videogame version of Lord of the Rings gives Gimli throwing axes. They're by far the least effective of the characters ranged weapons (with the possible exception of the hobbits knives in the Return of the King) and are slow to throw, but they're useful for dealing with archers or enemies who are a long way away.
  • Darksiders gives War a gun and a boomerang for long-range work, but there's no question that he's a meele-character - neither of them can do much of any damage, but there are a few situations where you're forced to use them on enemies you either can't reach, or don't want to be standing next to.
  • In the Dragonlance video game Heroes of the Lance, Flint Fireforge, similarly to the Gimli example given above, has a single axe he can throw in addition to his melee axe.
  • Throwing Knifes in Mount & Blade require no skill in throwing to use and take up 1 of your 4 weapon slot (opposed to a bow/crossbows 1 another for ammo) but do poor damage. Their primary use is to give a sword/shield/lance user some range.
  • Handaxes/Javelins in Fire Emblem have the attack power of the most basic axes/lances with lower accuracy and much lower durability, but have a range of 1 or 2 tiles, opposed to every other melee weapons 1 (There are stronger versions with the strength of higher grade weapons, but they are rare and typically can not be bought)
  • Possible in Diablo for the warrior. The bow is hardly his most useful weapon but it can be handy if an enemy is behind a grate or if you need to exchange fire with something that won't let you close enough to engage in melee for a meaningful length of time.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television: Many combat knives are weighted so they can be thrown as a last resort. Of course most people who have a reason to have one won't do this because if they miss they'll be left without what was likely their weapon of last resort anyway.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • February 17, 2010
    BlackDragon
    Darksiders gives War a gun and a boomerang for long-range work, but there's no question that he's a meele-character - neither of them can do much of any damage, but there are a few situations where you're forced to use them on enemies you either can't reach, or don't want to be standing next to.
  • February 17, 2010
    Camacan
    Emergency Weapon includes ranged weapons: "Other shooting games give you a small gun with infinite ammo."
  • February 17, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Yeah, but that was for characters who already use shooting weapons, right? This is something a melee character specifically pulls out when they need a ranged solution.

    The name might be a tad misleading, and I'm not sure if we need a whole new trope, it might just be better to add the examples and a summarised trope description to the original Emergency Weapon page.
  • February 18, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    bump
  • February 19, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Needs More Examples to launch. Also, any comments on whether or not this just needs to be added on to the current Emergency Weapon page? I'm starting to think that would just be easier than making a full new page.
  • February 19, 2010
    RichardAK
    I'm not sure whether this is separate from plain old Emergency Weapon, but I can think of two examples, both from Dragonlance. First, in Dragons of Winter Night, when Sturm needs to buy time for Laurana to use the Dragon Orb, he decides that he needs to draw the attacking dragons toward him, and fires a bow at them to do so, even though he never otherwise uses a ranged attack. Second, from one of the Dragonlance computer games, Heroes of the Lance, Flint Fireforge, similarly to the Gimli example given above, has a single axe he can throw in addition to his melee axe.
  • February 19, 2010
    deuxhero
    Throwing Knifes in Mount And Blade require no skill in throwing to use and take up 1 of your 4 weapon slot (opposed to a bow/crossbows 1 another for ammo) but do poor damage. Their primary use is to give a sword/shield/lance user some range.
  • February 20, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Where this differs, to make it clear, is the function of the ranged emergency weapon.

    Most Emergency Weapons of the close or ranged variety are for characters who run out of juice or durability for their close combat or ranged weapons. In other words, you only use said Emergency Weapon if you want to save ammo or have no choice. The Ranged Emergency Weapon, which come to think of it might be a misleading name, is a situational thing for when a melee warrior is caught at the wrong range. For example, Gimlis throwing axes: not optimal but better than nothing.
  • February 20, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Handaxes/Javelins in Fire Emblem have the attack power of the most basic axes/lances with lower accuracy and much lower durability, but have a range of 1 or 2 tiles, opposed to every other melee weapons 1 (There are stronger versions with the strength of higher grade weapons, but they are rare and typically can not be bought)
  • February 20, 2010
    Bisected8
    Truth In Television: Many combat knives are weighted so they can be thrown as a last resort. Of course most people who have a reason to have one won't do this because if they miss they'll be left without what was likely their weapon of last resort anyway.
  • February 20, 2010
    RichardAK
    Dragons of Winter Night was a novel, not a movie. There is talk of an animated movie, but it hasn't been released yet.
  • February 20, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Taken to its logical conclusion by the Predators?
  • February 21, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Whoops. I'll fix it. WHY DID YOU LIE, GOOGLE?!! WHY DID THE AUTOFILL LIE?!!

    EDIT: On the Predator example, Please Elaborate. Not everyone will be familiar with them, me included.
  • February 21, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Launching in 24 hours.
  • February 22, 2010
    GameChainsaw
    Launch postponed. Waiting for some elaboration on the Predator example.
  • February 23, 2010
    Arivne
    I am not UT 68.226.133.122, but I assume that their Predator example was from the film Predator 2, either:
    • The flying disc weapon which could cut through multiple sides of beef and still take out an opponent on the other side.
    • The expandable spear.
    • The "net that pins you to the wall".
    • All of the above.
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