Created By: ElodieHiras on May 24, 2011 Last Edited By: ElodieHiras on March 5, 2012
Nuked

Fantasy Right To Keep And Bear Arms

Everybody has the right to buy weapons in a fantasy setting

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Trope
In a fantasy setting, almost everybody (who has the money) has the right to keep and bear arms. The party can stock on weapons at any weapon shop (even when it is useless), and no one will find it strange. It seems like they have their own version of the second amendment.

This trope takes its temporary working title from the second amendment of the US constitution, which says: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Due to this trope being present in almost every RPG ever, please only list aversions and subversions

Aversions and subversions:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Both the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide and the 1E Oriental Adventures books said that peasants were forbidden to possess combat weapons (swords, lances, etc.

[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • May 24, 2011
    whereismytea
    You might want to be wary about the title. Not everybody is from the States or knows that's the amendment which covers firearms.
  • May 24, 2011
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    This is averted or subverted in Shadow Run; it's averted in the sense that there are rules for buying, selling, and keeping arms and subverted in the sense that the player characters are by default assumed to be breaking said laws.
  • May 24, 2011
    Fanra
    The Weapon Shops of Isher is a science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt. In it, the Weapon Shops provide the populace with defensive weapons and an alternative legal system. The motto of the Weapon Shops is "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free". However, Van Vogt's guns have virtually magical (psionic) properties, and can only be used in self-defense. Note that the world government in the stories, the Isher empire, does not give everyone the right to buy weapons, however the government is powerless to stop the Weapon Shops from selling them to everyone.

    Actually, re-reading the description, it says "fantasy" which does not involve this story.
  • May 25, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons aversions
      • Both the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide and the 1E Oriental Adventures books said that peasants were forbidden to possess combat weapons (swords, lances, etc.).
  • May 25, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    @ whereismytea

    Well, for the title, I couldn't think of a good title, and after seeing the Fantasy Gun Control trope, I searched for the US constitution to find which amendement was about the right to keep and bear arms. If someone has a better title to suggest, he is welcome.

    Thanks for the warning anyway.
  • May 25, 2011
    Deboss
    Do we have Guns In Church or some such? I swear we do, and it's related somehow.
  • May 25, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Why should we have a trope that only list aversions and subversions to a fantasy right to bear arms? Wouldn't such aversions and subversions pretty much qualify as Fantasy Gun Control, for which we already have a trope?
  • May 25, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    Fantasy Gun Control is about the lack of firearms in a fantasy setting. Guns In Church is about waving weapons in an inappropriate place (like in a church, a bank...). This YKTTW is about the legality of weapons (swords, warhammers, halberds, spears...) in a fantasy setting.

    If guns don't exist, and you don't carry weapons to a diplomacy meeting, a trade agreement, a church... and yet weapons are freely available, then Guns In Church is averted, Fantasy Gun Control is played straight, and this (yet hypothetical) trope is also played straight.
  • May 25, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Ah, okay. Sorry, I had forgotten what Fantasy Gun Control was about. Still, if we are only going to list subversion and aversions, wouldn't it be easier to simply invert this trope to make it about Fantastic Weapon Restrictions?
  • May 25, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    Well, in most RP Gs, you can buy whatever weapons you want, even if you're a a 13 years old boy, and today, most of the world leans toward gun control. So a Fantasy Second Amendment trope makes more sense than a Fantasy Weapons Restriction trope. And listing works where a Fantasy Second Amendment is played straight would mean listing almost all RP Gs (Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, Golden Sun...).
  • May 25, 2011
    halfmillennium
    I'm not from the US and I think Fantasy Second Amendment is a good title. Just mention somewhere in the trope description what it means, and it should be okay.

    There are a few things, however. There's a difference between the law saying you can have arms (which, as I understand it, is what the Second Amendment is for) and the law saying a child can walk into a shop and buy one with no checks. I'm not an expert on how things worked, but back in the days when boys were trained in swordsmanship and archery from childhood (in other words, around the time many fantasy games draw inspiration from), would that situation have been far from the truth?
  • May 25, 2011
    Sackett
    I'd recommend approaching it from the other perspective. Since not having weapons restrictions is the default position, make the trope be about when there are restrictions on who and what weapons you can have.

    Name it Fantasy Weapon Regulations or something.
  • May 25, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    When mentionning Ivan, I was just taking the most extreme RPG example I could think of (the rest of his party isn't much better since the oldest party member is 17 if I remember correctly).

    PS: I am not from the US either.
  • May 25, 2011
    LazarusAel
    Burst Angel is a series where everyone has weapons. It takes place in a future Japan, and we are specifically told that in the future Japan changed the law so that everyone can own weapons.

    Is that an example?
  • May 25, 2011
    Fanra
    Since not having weapons restrictions is the default position, make the trope be about when there are restrictions on who and what weapons you can have.

    Contrary to some Second Amendment fans versions of history, most societies have had weapons restrictions throughout history. Even the Wild West had signs outside of towns stating that you couldn't bring your guns into town.

    In the European Middle Ages, only nobles could carry weapons or own swords. The idea in England that all free men were required to own a longbow and practice it often was revolutionary and a reason that England was a major power.

    Everyone carried a dagger, as you needed it to cut your meat during mealtimes, as well as a useful utility tool since most people did manual labor. But beyond that, only noble born could own or carry weapons. If the peasants were drafted into the army (which rarely happened and only during certain times of the year, after all, if they didn't tend to the crops everyone would starve) they were given weapons to use during that time and returned them when they left the army.
  • May 25, 2011
    kjnoren
    Fanra's correct: most medieval settings had few weapons. During rebellions, farmer implements were often used or converted to ad-hoc weapons, but owning a sword or a spear could be grounds for execution. Dedicated weapons and armour were restricted to nobles and their sworn retainers, both due to the law and due to the expense.

    There were areas where weapon ownership was less restricted, and these often coincided with weak feudalism. Eg, it was expected for any free man in the Viking societies to own weapons, but it was ground for killing a thrall. Free farmers (as opposed to serfs) in Sweden could own simple weapons. England (and Wales) has been mentioned, but again it was restricted to free farmers, probably not serfs.
  • May 26, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Ahem. Guys, this is about fantasy roal playing games. Not Real Life. Please leave out the history lessons, as fascinating as they are.
  • May 27, 2011
    halfmillennium
    It's relevant. Many fantasy settings are based on historical mediaeval socieites.
  • May 27, 2011
    Hadashi
    What about Fantasy Weapons Deregulation since the weapons seem to be completely unrestricted in most cases? Especially games where you can just walk around with hundreds of them.
  • June 6, 2011
    TBeholder
    @Arivne: Uh, isn't it a reference to "katana-gari"?

    @Auxdarastrix: Yeah, right - as if half of the developers didn't try historical allusions in the first place. Blatantly.
  • June 7, 2011
    Arivne
    ^

    Oriental Adventures (1985)
    • "Tui-fa: This is also known as the tonfa. It is a hardwood rod with a small handle sticking out off-center from the side. [snip] It is often used in lands where normal weapons are not allowed."
    • "The Oriental society is not like the other societies of the world. Where the peasant of another land always keeps and feels entitled to carry a sword or similar weapon, it is not unusual in the lands of Oriental Adventures for severe edicts to be passed restricting the ownership of such weapons. [snip] Punishments could be quite severe, including torture and execution. Given these restraints, commoners often had to find other ways to defend themselves."
  • June 7, 2011
    MarqFJA
    Fantasy Weapons Deregulation sounds good, though I also suggest Fantasy Weapons Proliferation as an alternative.
  • June 7, 2011
    cocoy0
    I think the trope deserves an explanation why it persists, aside from Rule of Cool.
  • June 7, 2011
    Bisected8
    Averted in Final Fantasy XII, where you need a licence to equip pretty much everything (in fact it starts to go in the other direction at times, when you need a licence to wear a hat).
  • June 7, 2011
    Reflextion
    Referenced early in Illusion Of Gaia - in the starting town, you can talk to a merchant who's going door-to-door selling weapons to the townspeople to defend themselves from the increasing monster attacks with. He won't sell weapons to a child like Will, though.
  • June 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Is it possible to call this Right To Bear Arms? Or maybe Fantastic Right To Bear Arms?
  • June 7, 2011
    MarqFJA
    First one is too generic, the second is a better fit.
  • June 7, 2011
    TBeholder
    So, what the trope is supposed to be?
  • June 12, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    Fantastic Right To Bear Arms is a good one. Guess I'll take this one.

    This trope is about war weapons in a fantasy setting (swords, lances, polearms...) being legally available for anyone who has the money.
  • June 12, 2011
    peccantis
    Averted in Final Fantasy XII, where you need a licence to equip pretty much everything (in fact it starts to go in the other direction at times, when you need a licence to wear a hat).

    The hat and jewelery thing is justified when you keep in mind those items are specifically battle-intended with magical qualities, not just any ordinary baubles. Owning and using them would indicate you're going to use them in battle, so it's similar to owning and using weapons. The setting is a country occupated by the highly byrocratic Archadian Empire so all is pretty logical.
  • June 13, 2011
    Tambov333
    ^^Fantasy Weapon Deregulation is much clearer.
  • June 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Whatever words follow the first word, it should be Fantasy Blah Blah to parallel Fantasy Gun Control.
  • June 14, 2011
    Unknown Troper
    Mount And Blade lets any PC buy weapons if they have gold. Warband makes an off-hand justification (Some nobles will note that bandits and deserters are everywhere, and a traveling PC is entitled to arm themselves for defense). Even in the original game, the PC is officially a (wannabee) merchant lord, mercenary captain or noble, allowing it to make some sense.
  • June 14, 2011
    Noaqiyeum
    I think the "bear" is unnecessary. Fantastic Right To Arms flows better, to me.

    In Wings Of Dawn (historical fiction, not fantasy), the aversion of this is a plot point - the lord of Magnus keeps such careful control over his city that not only do the peasants and middle-class have no access to weapons, even their access to blacksmiths is limited.
  • July 1, 2011
    ElodieHiras
    Thing is, the formulation is inspired by the USA Second Amendment... OK, I will change it to right to keep and bear arms, to better mimic the second amendment formulation.
  • July 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In Recettear you (keeping in mind that the Player Character is a girl of about 10) can buy weapons and armour wholesale with no limits apart from availability (plus more valuable weapons are only avalable to more experienced merchants) and sell them to whoever you want. Even little girls even younger than Recette.
  • July 2, 2011
    RickGriffin
    I'm pretty sure most people shorten it to 'right to bear arms', leaving out the 'keep' part.
  • July 2, 2011
    c0ry
    Partially averted in The Forever War; Mandella is surprised to learn that he cannot buy laser weapons of the sort her relied on in the army, and is instead restricted to guns that fire physical projectiles (which are still pretty deadly).
  • July 2, 2011
    deuxhero
    Averted in The Bible: Samson had to kill people with jawbones or foxes attached to eachother by the tails and Shamgar used a sharpened stick meant for animal herding because the Philistines didn't allow the Israelites to be black smiths (forcing them to pay out the ass to Philistines blacksmiths for tool repair as well)
  • July 2, 2011
    RickGriffin
    ^ That's because the Bible is a historical setting, not a fantasy setting . . .
  • February 29, 2012
    RickGriffin
    I'm gonna go ahead and bump this. I should say however that this is almost a requirement of most game settings that weapons should be readily available to the player, since he is basically a walking international task force. It can be interesting what effect this has on the setting compared to actual medieval law, but most games never even attempt to justify it.
  • February 29, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    I agree with Noaqiyeum, "bear" is gratuitous. Fantastic Right To Arms or Fantasy Right To Arms is sufficient.
  • February 29, 2012
    SharleeD
    In the various Forgotten Realms supplements describing the city of Waterdeep, it's mentioned that civilians who carry weapons larger than a dagger must keep them "peace-bound" within the city limits. Weapons aren't confiscated, but must be tied into their sheaths with cord, covered with a leather wrapping, and/or kept unstrung, thus ensuring that hotheads who lose their tempers must take a few moments to ready their weapons: time in which they'll hopefully calm down.

    While mundane weapons weren't regulated, people in the Ravenloft domain of Darkon used to be forbidden to possess magical items (weapons included), which were confiscated by the state. This law was set aside after the chaos of the Grim Harvest, as the region became too dangerous to deny the populace such personal protections.
  • February 29, 2012
    pawsplay
    This is not an omnipresent RPG convention, it's simply assumed in many D&D settings. "A common assumption in D&D" does not an omnipresent trope make. It's not even true in Dragonlance; Sturm skirts the law by carrying his father's lawful blade when he himself is not a knight. Averted in Dark Sun (some versions), GURPS Yrth, and numerous other settings. By contrast, strict arms control was not present in all historical eras, the sword was commonly worn for defense in much of the Middle Ages (while restricted at other times). The Republic of Rome depended on private armies for much of its existence.
  • March 5, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^^ Er, peace-bonding is a tradition widespread in cities of at least the Western half of Faerun (from the Sword Coast to Westgate). Generally, it ends up being something that can't be tied quickly. Which still can help to clean up potential misunderstandings.

    I don't see here a trope, though. More of "ohmygosh, people drink from a well instead of a plastic bottle?" thing. I mean, duh. That's a normal situation just about everywhere as long as a potential rebellion isn't considered a serious threat.

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