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Legendary Weapon
Weapon of Yore Lore


(permanent link) added: 2012-04-10 08:49:09 sponsor: nman edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2013-03-12 15:27:18)

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Indices: Older Is Better, Weapons and Wielding Tropes, Speculative Fiction Tropes

A character in a work finds a weapon, and discovers that it is the same weapon from one of the legends of their world. Most of the time, legendary weapons are a pretty big deal - they don't call them "legendary" for nothing, after all - and instead of being a very old, rusty piece of scrap that's been in a display case for the last millennium, are actually extremely powerful and useful. They might even have the spirit of an ancient hero trapped in them, have immense magical properties, or be made with a technique that has been lost to the ages. Occasionally, when the protagonist is The Chosen One of a Fantasy setting, they'll just happen to be a descendant of the last great hero to use that weapon, and the weapon's true power will only be unlocked when in the hands of will unlock its true power only in their hands.

Usually a Named Weapon. Since having the protagonist find a legendary weapon at their local store is a bit silly, the weapon tends to be a Sword of Plot Advancement that is rather hard to acquire.

Please note that this is for legendary weapons, meaning that the weapon has to be part of the legends and history of the work. This is not a trope for just any ancient weapon or Cool Sword the protagonists find, or weapons in a work that happen to share a name with a Public Domain Artifact.

What I'm not sure about is where this fits in with the other tropes. It might be a Super Trope to Ancestral Weapon, Excalibur in the Rust and Day Old Legend, but it might not, what do you all think? There should also be a "see also" linking to Infinity+1 Sword, Infinity–1 Sword, Penultimate Weapon, Cool Sword, and Sword of Plot Advancement. If the work's setting is based on real world, it may overlap with Public Domain Artifact.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Excalibur in Soul Eater is considered the strongest of weapons (which, in this setting, is a race) and his power is considered the stuff of legend. Any Meister who wields him is pretty much unstoppable, and many have tried, as his location and exploits are well documented. What isn't, is the fact that he is completely insufferable and no one can stand him long enough to use him for long.
  • Most of the Servants' Noble Phantasms in Fate/stay night count. Considering the setting is based on the real world and the Servants are actually spirits of legendary heroes, a lot of them overlaps with Public Domain Artifact.

Film

Literature
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Narsil is the legendary sword that was forged in the First Age by a famous dwarven smith, wielded and broken by Elendil and then used by Isildur to cut the ring out of Sauron's hand at the end of the Second Age, and then reforged under the name Andúril at the end of the Third Age to fulfill one of the ancient prophecies.
  • Early in The Hobbit, the party recovers a small treasure hoard from some trolls. Among the hoard are a pair of legendary elvish blades, Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver and Glamdring the Foe-Hammer, two legendary swords forged millennia earlier by the elves of Gondolin. Thorin Oakenshield takes Orcrist and it's eventually buried with him, while Gandalf takes Glamdring and uses it several decades later to kill the balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Several of the 13th century Sagas of Icelanders (specifically Kormak's Saga and Laxdoela Saga) have a cameo of Skofnung, the legendary sword of the ancient Danish king Hrolf Kraki told about in The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, which supposedly was robbed from Hrolf's gravemound and brought to Iceland by the Icelander Skeggi of Midfirth.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: The Hammer of Tholin is an ancient weapon that belonged to the last king of the dwarves, believed to be lost to the ages. The lore attached to it is so strong that its recovery allows Dolgan to become the first king of the dwarves since its loss.
  • The Sword of Shannara from the Shannara series is the legendary sword which the Elven King Jerle Shannara used to defeat the Warlock Lord and end the Second War of the Races. Five hundred years later, the entire plot of The Sword of Shannara is a quest for said sword.
  • The Sword of Godric Gryffindor in Harry Potter.

Live-Action Television
  • Tracker's Strada Brac. [[hottip:*:note that as the series ended just after its discovery, we still have no idea how it's spelled for certain. This spelling is a fan consensus]] It was the subject of Vardian and Cirronian legends about how it was made during an ancient war and then stolen by the Migar council and hidden on Earth to keep it away from the Vardians. By the modern era, most of their peoples believed it was simply a myth. Cole and Mel obviously proved them wrong.
  • Excalibur in Merlin which Arthur is going to rip out of that stone as revealed by the series trailer, and Lancelot's sword which I have momentarily forgotten the name of.

Music

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had many of these, from the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and Sword of Kas in the 1st Edition Dungeons Master's Guide to the swords of the Forgotten Realms as described by Ed Greenwood (Adjatha, Albruin, Demonbane, etc.).

Video Games
  • Any weapon (or, indeed, any item) that unlocks a Codex entry in the Dragon Age series.
    • If you acquired the weapon Vigilance in Awakening, the epilogue mentions that it went on to become one of these.
  • The Runeblade from Drakan: Order of the Flame belonged to Heron, the last great dragonrider and is also the best weapon in the game.
  • The keyblade in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Kingdom of Loathing parodies legendary weapons at every turn.
    • There's a chain of quests where the player gets a series of legendary weapons. First, the player has to create the "Epic Weapon" for their class. Following that, they obtain more ingredients and upgrade it to the "Legendary Epic Weapon". Following that, the weapon gets transformed into the "Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon" when fighting the next boss.
    • There's Trusty, Boris' trusty axe which the player is forced to use when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
    Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings -- common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Master Sword, aka, "The Sword of Evil's Bane", is as legendary as the Triforce itself. It is inscribed in Hyrule's lore that evil ones cannot touch it, nor can anyone, save for the Chosen Hero draw it from the Pedestal of Time.
  • The Sword of Mana from the World of Mana series. Even more legendary because it is ALL the legendary swords that have ever existed, just with different name on each occasion.
  • Final Fantasy V has the twelve legendary weapons. They are weapons. They are legendary. There are even twelve of them.
  • The Vampire Killer Whip in Castlevania is considered the ultimate undead-killing holy weapon.
  • The Eternal Sword in the Tales Series. Also known as the Sword of Time, it is capable of cleaving time and space itself.
  • Warcraft: Frostmourne (among others).
  • In Titan Quest the most powerful weapons and items are the "Legendary" or "Myhtological" ones.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2:
  • The Daedric Artifacts (at least those that are weapons) are the most legendary weapons in The Elder Scrolls universe. Each is associated with a particular Daedric (daemonic, more or less) deity and passes from owner to owner according to the wishes of those deities. Famous ones include the hammer Volendrung, the dagger Mehrunes' Razor, the Mace of Molag Bal, the sword Dawnbreaker and the staff Wabbajack.
  • Tales of Graces has the sword of Asbel's father, Aston, which was a legendary eleth sword. When Asbel was in training as a knight, he sold the old, rusted sword for cheap to a traveling merchant called a "Turtlez" (one of many in the game), not realizing its history or potential. Much later in the game, the player can buy it back for hefty premium and take it to the Amarcian Enclave and it turns out to be the extremely powerful Excalibur.


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