Created By: Bisected8October 4, 2009
Troped

Living Weapon

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This is the use of a living creature as a weapon. This can boil down to a few subtypes;

  1. Trained Creatures: A creature which has been trained specifically to act as a weapon by fighting alongside it's handler. A real world example of this would be an attack or hunting dog. To qualify the creature in question must specifically follow the orders of it's handler (it's not enough to throw someone into a cageful of lions, you have to be able to make the lions fight along side you) and have combat as it's primary purpose (so a mount that happens to be rode into battle doesn't count). It must otherwise act independantly. The Weapon Of Choice for The Beastmaster.
    1. When this happens to a human (or another sapient being), this tends to overlap with Super Soldier or Person Of Mass Destruction.
  2. One Man Quatermaster: Similarly to the above, this is an ally who can serve as a weapon. An improvised version of this (i.e. picking up an ally and using them to strike an enemy) could overlap with Grievous Harm With A Body if a habit is made of it. Sometimes more fantastical solutions present themselves of course...
  3. Bioweapon: This is simply a subtrope of Organic Technology; an otherwise normal, user controlled weapon which happens to be a living thing. To qualify, it must be alive when it is used (so a slingshot made from a springy Y shaped branch doesn't count, but if it was still attached to a living tree it would) and it must be separate from the user (so claws don't count, since they're part of the creature that uses them, removing the claws from a creature and strapping them to your hand doesn't count since they're no longer a living thing but a creature that happens to resemble a claw shaped glove that could be worn by another creature would).

Compare; Empathic Weapon where the weapon has some sort of mind of it's own but isn't necessarily "alive", Mon where most of the combat is based around type 1's, Shapeshifter Weapon which overlaps with type 2 and Evolving Weapon which can be justified by this.
Examples of Type 1
  • Pick a Mons series. Any mons series.
  • Fina from Skies Of Arcadia uses her pet (a creature called Cupil) as a weapon.
  • The majority of monsters in the Resident Evil were created to be these. Although the ones that could follow orders had an alarming tendancy to become...less controlled.
  • Warhammer 40 K's Tyranids (and by extension, the Zerg) are Type 1, being entire species evolved to serve as weaponry, controlled by more advanced creatures. Said weapons are either natural (shooting spines, claws...) or rather contrived (bio-plasma, symbiote (Mutalisk attacks are Type 2)).
    • Also from Warhammer 40000 are the Orks. They are believed to be created by a group of beings called Brain Boyz as a weapon against the Necrons. They are quite effective weapons against them, unfortunately the same is true of everyone else. Of course technically the Brain Boyz were themselves created to be their controllers by the Old Ones.
  • The entire Zerg race.
  • It is implied in some sources that the Xenomorphs from Aliens are this.
  • In several short stories (including one Twilight Zone episode), humans were genetically engineered supersoldiers of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Similarly the the Resident Evil example, The Virus in Prototype, but this is more of a subversion, as the scientists of Blackwatch tried this and got majorly screwed twice.
  • Besides dogs, many Real Life warhorses were like this, trained to bite, kick, or stomp at their rider's command.
  • War Elephants
    • In India, this was taken a step further by amputating the tusk tips and replacing them with huge knives.
  • Tolkein liked this trope. Lord Of The Rings contains trolls, mûmakil, wargs, fell beasts, etc. Apparently Morgoth originally bred Smaug's ancestors for use as living weapons as well.

Examples of Type 2
  • In Soul Eater the ability to turn into a weapon is essentially an ability some people happen to have. While they can do damage on their own, they're more effective when someone else wields them (explicitly acting as an amplifier for their wielder's own Ki Attacks).
  • Disgaea 3 introduced a mechanic to the series called "Magi-change". This allowed any monster type unit to fuse with a humanoid unit by turning into a weapon for them to wield for a few turns.
  • In Transformers G1 Megatron had a gun as his alt mode (which ironically meant he relied on Starscream to wield him).
  • The zanpakuto in Bleach are this in reverse; they start off as empathetic weapons and eventually begin to manifest a corperal form to attack alongside their wielder.
  • The video game Whiplash, as seen here.

Examples of Type 3
  • Half Life has a "hornet gun", basically a living alien be hive which shoots a constantly replenishing supply of bee-like aliens.
  • Geneforge has several type 3 weapons, most notably the "batons," gun stand-ins that eat and mate. (Also, creations are type 1, but they're Mons, so no matter.)
  • Every weapon of the Yuuzhan Vong
  • "Ophitech" in the Tabletop Games setting "The Day After Ragnarok" falls under Type 3.
  • Most or all of the weapons in Prey, in keeping with the Living Ship.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • October 1, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Geneforge has several type 3 weapons, most notably the "batons," gun stand-ins that eat and mate. (Also, creations are type 1, but they're Mons, so no matter.)
  • October 1, 2009
    Tomtitan
    People are going to quote loads of tropes that is covered by this. Seems to me like a large super trope.
  • October 1, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Warhammer 40 K's Tyranids (and by extension, the Zerg) are Type 1, being entire species evolved to serve as weaponry, controlled by more advanced creatures. Said weapons are either natural (shooting spines, claws...) or rather contrived (bio-plasma, symbiote (Mutalisk attacks are Type 2)).
  • October 1, 2009
    Unknown%20Troper
  • October 1, 2009
    Antigone
    "Ophitech" in the Tabletop Games setting "The Day After Ragnarok" falls under Type 3.
  • October 2, 2009
    Bisected8
    @ UT 76.190.138.221: The zanpakuto in Bleach don't count until the user gets powerful enough to comunicate with them (otherwise they're just a plain old empathetic weapon).

    Alex Mercer's own weapons don't count either, since they're part of his own body. Of course as you said, he is a failed type 1 (like the Resident Evil example).
  • October 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    You might also want to include Super Soldier as well, as this is another example of a person being turned into a weapon.
  • October 2, 2009
    EricDVH
    Hornet gun aside, I recall a couple more biological weapons in Half Life's Opposing Force expansion. One of the idle animations even has it purr when Shepherd pets it with his other hand!

    Oh, also, most or all of the weapons in Prey, in keeping with the Living Ship.
  • October 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Kazooie in Banjo-Tooie acts as a gun in some parts of the game, so that's probably either type 2 or 3.
  • October 2, 2009
    Bisected8
    @ UT 75.129.59.228: That would fall under type 1 (no one said they can't be sapient).

    @Eric DVH: I can recall "Snarks" beign a weapon, but I didn't count them since they were more along the lines of releasing a creature which is hostile to both the player and enemies than commanding them or using them like a conventional weapon..
  • October 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Besides dogs, many Real Life warhorses were like this, trained to bite, kick, or stomp at their rider's command.
  • October 2, 2009
    Bisected8
    I'll start Rolling Updates tomorrow to help make it clearer what's an example and what isn't.
  • October 2, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    • War Elephants
      • In India, this was taken a step further by amputating the tusk tips and replacing them with huge knives.
    • Tolkein liked this trope. Lord Of The Rings contains trolls, mûmakil, wargs, fell beasts, etc. Apparently Morgoth originally bred Smaug's ancestors for use as living weapons as well.

    Would living spacecraft used in combat count?
  • October 3, 2009
    bud001
    Several movies have used actual human as weapons, like a Jet Li movie and a couple of Jason Statum's.
  • October 3, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    The video game Whiplash, as seen here.
  • October 3, 2009
    random surfer
    Ted, the radioactive guy from Heroes Season 1, used himself as a weapon (and others did too).
  • October 3, 2009
    Bisected8
    If there aren't any objections, I'll launch this on Sunday.

    Any ideas on what indexes it should go in?
  • October 3, 2009
    EricDVH
    @Bisected8: Ah, the weapon I'm thinking of is apparently the spore launcher.
  • October 3, 2009
    witchdoctor
    Also under Warhammer 40000 are the Orks. They are believed to be created by a group of being called Brain Boyz as a weapon against the Necrons. They are quite effective weapons against them, unfortunately the same is true of everyone else.
  • October 3, 2009
    Wulf
    Type 2 is partially covered by Shapeshifter Weapon.
  • October 3, 2009
    Martin The Mess
    • Tech Infantry has this quite a bit.
      • The entire Arachnid/Bug race was created by the Horadrim (bred from domesticated animals) to be an army of disposable super-soldiers who bred quickly to replace losses. They were bred to fight the Caal, but quickly got out of control and ended up fighting the Horadrim, the Humans, and pretty much everyone else. The Bugs themselves used captured Horadrim technology to create new castes of themselves as well as ships and weapons that were genetically-engineered life forms in their own right, including vine-like plants whose fruit were fully functional plasma rifles.
      • The Soul Eaters of Fieras VI are a race of energy beings who can meld with organic beings such as humans, granting them shape-shifting powers at the cost of a good deal of Body Horror followed by total loss of self and complete control by the Soul Eater. The Tech Infantry has (supposedly) figured out how to kill the Soul Eater at an early stage of possession, allowing the human soldier to keep some of the Shapeshifting abilities without fear of the Soul Eater taking them over completely. There were heavy hints that this process actually only delayed full possession by a lengthy period, not stopped it completely, but few soldiers given this treatment and sent to the front to battle the Bugs ever lived long enough to find out.
    • The weapons and computer interfaces in Existen Z.

  • October 3, 2009
    Bisected8
    @ Martin The Mess: Could you elaborate on the "Existen Z" example, please?
  • October 4, 2009
    Bisected8
    2 hours and I'm launching (that's 17:40 GMT +0).
  • October 4, 2009
    askyle
    No objections, I'd just run a sanity check to make sure this isn't in fact a big supertrope. If it is so then the examples should go into their respective subtropes. Has anyone checked this is not the case?
  • October 4, 2009
    Nomic
    If yu want to get technical the Orks were created by the Old Ones, and Brain Boys were a specific casted of Orkoids that were reposible of controlling them. the Old Ones also created the Eldar to act as soldiers agaitn the C'tan, but the Eldar we created to be more intelligent.
  • October 4, 2009
    Bisected8
    @ askyle: Some tropes overlap (as mentioned) but I don't think they count as actual subtropes. If anything, types 2 and 3 are subtropes to Empathetic Weapon and Organic Technology.
  • October 4, 2009
    STUART
    Don't forget to distinguish Person Of Mass Destruction, which technically counts as a Type 1.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable