Created By: Aquillion on February 15, 2012 Last Edited By: lycropath on April 2, 2012
Troped

Flying Weapon

A weapon that flies and fights by itself.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
You know what the weakest point on a typical sword is? The wielder.

A flying weapon is a weapon capable of fighting without anyone touching it. It floats into the air, moves as if there were an invisible hand guiding it, and attacks freely. Some flying weapons will stay near a particular user, parrying attacks against them; others operate entirely on their own. Sometimes they're magical tools, or haunted weapons, or wielded telekinetically.

A flying weapon is very likely to be an Empathic Weapon, and may also be a Living Weapon. Nearly always a Cool Sword. See also Attack Drone for the real-world high-tech equivilant. When it is a sword and used in large numbers, they may overlap with a Storm of Blades.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Orochimaru from Naruto can do this with his sword the Kusanagi.
  • In Rune Soldier Louie, a man went around pretending to be a Master Swordsman and Knight In Shining Armor, but it turned out he had a "Dancing Sword", which did all of the fighting on its own, and he just held on. When faced against another Dancing Sword, he lost his grip, leaving the swords flying around as they fought each other.

Literature
  • Xanth novel The Source of Magic. While going to a masquerade ball Bink is attacked by a flying sword sent by an unknown enemy. Luckily for him the sword is not very skilled at swordplay and he can parry its blows. He finally neutralizes it by getting it to stick itself into a gluebark tree.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian story "The Sword of Skelos", the titular weapon is a sword enchanted with the four elements which can fly around and kill people when ordered.
  • In The Wheel of Time there are severl occasions where a bubble of evil causes weapons (and sometimes other objects) to start flying around trying to kill their owners.
  • The evil Black Sword in Michael Moorcock 's Elric (and other) series occassionally self-propels its way to a target/victim in a manner not unlike flight. Wielded by the Hero Urlik Skasgol in Phoenix in Obsidian, the Sword celebrates its return to the hands of the Eternal Champion by leaping from Urlik's hand to take the life of a passing slave girl. Thrown off the back of a dragon in high flight by Elric, whose intention it is to lose the Sword in a deep sea several thousand feet below, Elric is later consternated to discover the Sword has flown back, under its own power, to take its accustomed place in the City Armoury. In one Elric story, the Sword flies away in a time of great danger, only to return with an uncountable number of its brothers and sisters from other dimensions - a cloud of Black Swords that make mincemeat of the enemies of Elric of Melnibone.

Live Action TV
  • In one episode of Charmed Paige's husband fights against a sword that was being telekinetically controlled by a British witch who wanted to produce magical offspring with Paige.

Mythology

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Module S1 Tomb of Horrors. One room had swords mounted on the walls. If any attempt was made to escape, the swords flew off the walls and attacked the escapees.
    • Dancing Swords were also a magic item available for general use in earlier editions.
    • Also in D&D, Molidei demons have flying two-handed axes as their standard equipment.
    • Module S1 Tomb of Horrors. One room had swords mounted on the walls. If any attempt was made to escape, the swords flew off the walls and attacked the escapees.

Trading Card Games

Video Games
  • Most likely Exor from Super Mario RPG. It doesn't move as much in battle due its size, but it doesn't have anyone wielding it and flies during cut scenes like the game's intro.
  • RuneScape has Magic Axes, floating axes that attack on their own, as well as Possessed Pickaxes, their more mining-oriented cousin.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest: Kleever, which is a giant living cleaver. It is the boss of Crocodile Cauldron.
  • The Final Boss of Knights of the Old Republic II fights using three lightsabers at once, levitating at least two. While lightsabers are not autonomous storywise, each acts pretty much independently.
  • A common enemy in Castlevania:
    • Played straight in the Sword Companion.
    • Subverted in the Hunting Girl, Vandal Sword, and Azaghal: the swords turn out to be wielded by invisible swordsmen.
  • Mabinogi has a whole class of Flying Sword monsters.
  • In Dragon's Lair there's a room where you're attacked by a flying sword. Then a flying morning star. Then a spear. The by a whole ''anvil''
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series Sora can use the Master and Final Drive forms can cause the equipped Keyblade(s) to float alongside their user. Likewise Aqua from Birth By Sleep can do this when in her Spell Weaver command style.
  • This trope appears on occasion in the Final Fantasy series
    • Exdeath from Dissidia: Final Fantasy may carry his sword in his hand but when attacking he will always move it with magic. Vaan can also do this with a Simple Staff instead.
    • Vayne Solidor the Big Bad of Final Fantasy XII commands several magical swords called Sephira.
    • There are monsters in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 that have an ability called Forge Blade which creates one of these as a new monster in the encounter. If you destroy the sword, it will create another shortly.
  • Secret of Mana has two enemies that are this: The Doom Sword and the Evil Sword.
  • Irelia in League of Legends owns four of these
  • In Atelier Iris 2, the final boss uses not one, but sixteen of these things at once, resulting in some horrible combo attacks.
  • In Lufia 2 Rise Of The Sinistrals you will encounter enemies called the Cursed Sword and Cursed Armor, of which the former is one of these. If you kill them, there is a chance of getting the same item as a drop.
  • In Diablo II there are haunted scimitars. These may drop a normal scimitar when defeated, or merely shatter.
  • In The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess, there is a miniboss that seems to be one of these, but its body is actually invisible.
  • The living sword family of enemies in Tales of Symphonia are also floating swords.
  • In Drakensang 2: The River of Time, the Final Boss will always summons a threesome of floating magical swords to aid him in his battle.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, the Swords of Never guarding a tomb are supposed to be these. In fact, the designers cheated a little- you're actually fighting human warriors with 'null' character models, so only their swords are visible. To interact with them, you still need to click where the person holding the sword should be.
  • Warcraft3: On arriving at Frostmourne's vault, the sword breaks free of its icy covering and lunges out to kill Muradin. He gets better by World of Warcraft. It doesn't show this capacity again.
    • In World of Warcraft Blood Death Knights get an ability called Dancing Rune Weapon, including the parrying bit.
  • Shadowrun: while it's easier to find robots that have a weapons slot there are also rules for adding propulsion methods including flight to your weapons.

Webcomics
  • In Tower of God, swordsman Hatsu dual-wields a flying sword, 'The Sword That Flies Higher Than Any', alongside a more conventionally-wielding blade.
  • The Blade of Sigmr Ch'k in Kagerou, which is implied to take different forms for different wielders. For Kano, its hilt is covered in sharp teeth, making it necessary for him to use his telekinesis to wield it.

Western Animation
  • There was an episode in ThunderCats (1985) where the Sword of Omens engaged the Excalibur by itself.
    • There was an episode in the original ThunderCats (1985) series where Mum-ra disguised himself as King Arthur, claimed Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, and sets out to pick a fight with Lion-o. At a point during their duel, both swords fly out of the hand of their owners and begin fighting in mid-air.
  • Quick Draw McGraw - El Kabong ran into an opponent who knew how to do this by technique, they ended standing by watching their rapiers duel for a while.
  • The magic sword in Kim Possible could fly when called like a dog. But only for and to Ron Stoppable.
  • Bugs Bunny has a singing sword in "Knighty Knight Bugs" (Freleng 1958). Not really useful for fighting, but it could carry a tune quite well....
  • In Scooby-Doo Monsters Unleashed when the Black Night was introduced? His sword started fighting by itself?
  • Gargoyles: Thailog in the episode sanctuary had a rifle that could fly and IIRC fire itself somewhat overlaping with Attack Drone


Community Feedback Replies: 66
  • February 15, 2012
    troacctid
  • February 15, 2012
    thewriter
    • Not a straight examples, but in one episode of Charmed Paige's husband fights against a sword that was being telekinetically controlled by a British witch who wanted to produce magical offspring with Paige.
  • February 15, 2012
    ccoa
    • There are monsters in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 that have an ability called Forge Blade which creates one of these as a new monster in the encounter. If you destroy the sword, it will create another shortly.
  • February 15, 2012
    Koveras
    I swear we had this. But maybe not...

    • The Final Boss of Knights Of The Old Republic II fights using three lightsabers at once, levitating at least two. While lightsabers are not autonomous storywise, each acts pretty much independently.
  • February 15, 2012
    Ryuuma
    In Norse Mythology, Freyr's sword can fight by itself. In the Conan The Barbarian story "The Sword of Skelos", the titular weapon is a sword enchanted with the four elements which can fly around and kill people when ordered.
  • February 15, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Dancing Swords in the earlier editions of Dungeons And Dragons were like this.
  • February 15, 2012
    BOFH
    Video Games
    • Castlevania Symphony Of The Night:
      • Played straight in the Sword Companion.
      • Subverted in the Hunting Girl, Vandal Sword, and Azaghal: the swords turn out to be wielded by invisible swordsmen.
  • February 15, 2012
    Catbert
    Subtrope of Cool Sword.

  • February 15, 2012
    dalek955
    • Mabinogi has a whole class of Flying Sword monsters.

    In fact, here's a picture: Flying Sword
  • February 15, 2012
    Aquillion
    Ah, one of the characters in Tower Of God uses a flying sword (alongside a more normal one), too. That was what made me suggest this (I was going to add the trope to that page, then was surprised when I realized we didn't already have it.)
  • February 15, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Is it just me, or does that central sword look like the Dragon Slayer?
  • February 15, 2012
    Aquillion
    I edited it to note that telekinetically-wielded swords qualify (and to slightly rephrase the definition so they do), since two people have mentioned them already, and it's such a fine distinction that they're likely to get included anyway. Not sure if it should cover weapons other than swords (I can't think of a single non-sword example, for some reason. I guess a flying mace just doesn't have the same grace to it.)

    For the picture, Magic's Dancing Scimitar might work, though there's a lot of options.
  • February 16, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Xanth novel The Source of Magic. While going to a masquerade ball Bink is attacked by a flying sword sent by an unknown enemy. Luckily for him the sword is not very skilled at swordplay and he can parry its blows. He finally neutralizes it by getting it to stick itself into a gluebark tree.
  • February 16, 2012
    Ryuuma
    ^^^ Well, all BFS are similar...

  • February 16, 2012
    wesnprogamat
    • Also in 3.5 and 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons.(I just found out this post was unnecessary and don't remember how to remove this post)
  • February 16, 2012
    Generality
    • In Lufia 2 Rise Of The Sinistrals you will encounter enemies called the Cursed Sword and Cursed Armor, of which the former is one of these. If you kill them, there is a chance of getting the same item as a drop.
    • In Diablo II there are haunted scimitars. These may drop a normal scimitar when defeated, or merely shatter.
    • In The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess, there is a miniboss that seems to be one of these, but its body is actually invisible.

  • February 16, 2012
    mdulwich
    I think Excalibur does this in one of The Librarian films.
  • February 16, 2012
    TiggersAreGreat
    Okay, it looks to me like this is different from Throwing Your Sword Always Works!

    Video Games

  • February 17, 2012
    Arivne
    Edited my example and its copy in the OP example list to correct an error.
  • February 17, 2012
    KZN02
    Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest: Kleever, which is a giant living cleaver. It is the boss of Crocodile Cauldron.
  • February 17, 2012
    Tiiba
    There was an episode in Thundercats where the Sword of Omens engaged the Excalibur by itself.
  • February 17, 2012
    Desertopa
    The Blade of Sigmr Ch'k in Kagerou, which is implied to take different forms for different wielders. For Kano, its hilt is covered in sharp teeth, making it necessary for him to use his telekinesis to wield it.
  • February 17, 2012
    Ryuuma
    In Drakensang 2: The River of Time, the Final Boss will always summons a threesome of floating magical swords to aid him in his battle.
  • February 18, 2012
    BlackMageJ
    In Neverwinter Nights, the Swords of Never guarding a tomb are supposed to be these. In fact, the designers cheated a little- you're actually fighting human warriors with 'null' character models, so only their swords are visible. To interact with them, you still need to click where the person holding the sword should be.
  • February 18, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    Also in D&D, Molidei demons have flying two-handed axes as their standard equipment.
  • February 18, 2012
    troacctid
    • RuneScape has Magic Axes, floating axes that attack on their own, as well as Possessed Pickaxes, their more mining-oriented cousin.

    Axes count, right?
  • February 18, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Dnd has magic weapons that do this. sometimes the only do it for a few rounds before you have to hit the enemy yourself.
  • February 18, 2012
    Bibliophile
    In The Wheelof Time there are severl occasions where a bubble of evil causes weapons (and sometimes other objects) to start flying around trying to kill their owners.
  • February 19, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Module S1 Tomb of Horrors. One room had swords mounted on the walls. If any attempt was made to escape, the swords flew off the walls and attacked the escapees.
  • February 21, 2012
    Chabal2
    • If you take chainsaws as an advanced form of sword, there's a drawing out there of a rocket-propelled chainsaw. It's as awesome, impractical, and scary as it sounds.
    • Warcraft3: On arriving at Frostmourne's vault, the sword breaks free of its icy covering and lunges out to kill Muradin. He gets better by World Of Warcraft. It doesn't show this capacity again.

  • February 21, 2012
    compro01
    Blood Death Knights get an ability called Dancing Rune Weapon, including the parrying bit.
  • February 21, 2012
    lycropath
    If I remember properly, this should be right. (If not, feel free to correct me)

    Video Games
    • Diablo II has the occasional flying scimitar spawned by traps. Sometimes, when killed, they drop a scimitar.
    • The living sword family of enemies in Tales Of Symphonia are also floating swords.

    I might be wrong about the Tales Of Symphonia example since I can't seem to find a picture and it's been quite a while since I've played.
  • March 2, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^^^^
    • Dungeons And Dragons has loads of these. Taking Forgotten Realms, there are items such as flying daggers (used as an autonomous guard/trap) and spells such as Sakkratars's Circle of Swords (circling phantom dancing swords).
  • March 2, 2012
    neobullseye
    Note that the enemies noted under the Castlevania Symphony Of The Night example also exist in several other Castlevania games. It may be best to leave out the Symphony Of The Night part and just call the example "Castlevania"

    On a related note: another Castlevania enemy that fits the bill is called Bloody Sword, whose only attack is flying around and trying to impale you. Since they tend to appear in groups, they can get pretty nasty.

    Another example: In Atelier Iris 2, the final boss usse not one, but sixteen of these things at once, resulting in some horrible combo attacks.
  • March 2, 2012
    aurora369
    The Dancing Swords from D&D were parodied in the card game Munchkin with the Singing and Dancing Sword, which not only moves by itself, but also sings songs. It loves the Battle Hymn of the Republic, but gets the tune wrong, since it's not written yet.
  • March 2, 2012
    LarryD
    Western Animation
    • Quick Draw McGraw - El Kabong ran into an opponent who knew how to do this by technique, they ended standing by watching their rapiers duel for a while.
  • March 2, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • The magic sword in Kim Possible could fly when called like a dog. But only for and to Ron Stoppable.

    Looks ready to go once the categories are sorted.
  • March 2, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    One more example then.

    In Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, Cortez's final form is a floating skull and each of his weapons--a hook, a cutlass, a rapier, and regular sword--hovering on their own.
  • March 2, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    Bugs Bunny has a singing sword in "Knighty Knight Bugs" (Freleng 1958). Not really useful for fighting, but it could carry a tune quite well....
  • March 5, 2012
    TBeholder
    @ aurora369: you may be surprised, but that was already done too. =)
  • March 5, 2012
    TheWanderer
    • There was an episode in the original Thundercats series where Mum-ra disguised himself as King Arthur, claimed Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, and sets out to pick a fight with Lion-o. At a point during their duel, both swords fly out of the hand of their owners and begin fighting in mid-air.
  • March 5, 2012
    Cider
    Why not flying weapon, why should it only be swords? Soul Calibur 2(annoyingly) had you fight many flying weapons.
  • March 8, 2012
    benjamminsam
    A digital sword was a mini-boss in Magna Centipede's level in Mega Man X 2.
  • March 8, 2012
    Ekuran
    ^^That's a good point.

    How about you keep the name (because swords are the only ''real'' weapons, in fiction at least), but expand the definition to include other flying weapons.
  • March 9, 2012
    Arivne
    I support expanding this to all weapons, not just swords. If it is, the title should be changed to Flying Weapons so people don't think it's just about swords.

    Literature
    • Conan novel The Sword of Skelos. The title magic sword can be commanded by its owner to attack and kill a living target.
  • March 9, 2012
    AgProv
    The evil Black Sword in Michael Moorcock's Elric (and other) series occassionally self-propels its way to a target/victim in a manner not unlike flight. Wielded by the Hero Urlik Skasgol in Phoenix in Obsidian, the Sword celebrates its return to the hands of the Eternal Champion by leaping from Urlik's hand to take the life of a passing slave girl. Thrown off the back of a dragon in high flight by Elric, whose intention it is to lose the Sword in a deep sea several thousand feet below, Elric is later consternated to discover the Sword has flown back, under its own power, to take its accustomed place in the City Armoury. In one Elric story, the Sword flies away in a time of great danger, only to return with an uncountable number of its brothers and sisters from other dimensions - a cloud of Black Swords that make mincemeat of the enemies of Elric of Melnibone.
  • March 13, 2012
    DragonGeyser
    In Kingdom Hearts II, certain Drive forms can cause the equipped Keyblade(s) to float alongside their user.
  • March 13, 2012
    Goldude
    Irelia in League Of Legends owns four of these
  • March 20, 2012
    lycropath
  • March 21, 2012
    Nin3DS
    Most likely Exor from Super Mario RPG. It doesn't move as much in battle due its size, but it doesn't have anyone wielding it and flies during cut scenes like the game's intro.
  • March 21, 2012
    lycropath
  • March 22, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • One type of Quall's Feather Token can change into a whip that attacks the user's opponent(s) by itself.
  • March 22, 2012
    partner555
    Do you guys remember when in Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed when the Black Night was introduced? His sword started fighting by itself?
  • March 22, 2012
    partner555
    Also, the examples already in the article should be sorted.
  • March 29, 2012
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    • Gargoyles: Thailog in the episode sanctuary had a rifle that could fly and IIRC fire itself somewhat overlaping with Attack Drone
    • Shadowrun: while it's easier to find robots that have a weapons slot there are also rules for adding propulsion methods including flight to your weapons.
  • March 30, 2012
    somerandomdude
    In World Of Warcraft, Death Knights of the Blood spec can get a Dancing Rune Blade, which is a flying sword that copies the death knight's attacks.
  • March 30, 2012
    HumanaUox
  • March 30, 2012
    EarlOfSandvich
    Secret Of Mana has two enemies that are this: The Doom Sword and the Evil Sword.
  • March 31, 2012
    lycropath
    I think its all sorted out now!
  • March 31, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think we should consider making this more vague and just be flying weapon, but aside from that i think its ready.
  • March 31, 2012
    lycropath
    I believe its been decided the sword is in the title but it covers all flying weapons? Just the title keeps the sword since it outnumbers other weapons like 10 to 1. Well thats what I assumed anyway and included the weapons that weren't swords when organizing them.
  • March 31, 2012
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    Would something like Melee Mobile Massacre work? or something like Mobile Weapon?
  • March 31, 2012
    nman
    • In Rune Soldier Louie, a man went around pretending to be a Master Swordsman and Knight In Shining Armor, but it turned out he had a "Dancing Sword", which did all of the fighting on its own, and he just held on. When faced against another Dancing Sword, he lost his grip, leaving the swords flying around as they fought each other.
  • April 1, 2012
    Arivne
    The problem with Flying Sword is that when most people see it, they'll assume it's just for swords. Flying Weapon is better because it makes it clear that it covers all weapons.
  • April 1, 2012
    lycropath
    I'm open to switching but I'm not sure I have the authority for it I just prettied it up XD
  • April 2, 2012
    lycropath
    Alright I switched it up to be more neutral, now it just needs launching.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gjcl6dmdcaribzta5gbjqzrj