A sword, or any other type of weapon, that unleashes some form of "hidden" (or not so hidden) power when certain conditions are met, such as the wielder nearing death, blood getting splashed on it, etc. This weapon tends to be most prominently used in a DesperationAttack.

Situational Swords are similar in concept to the EmpathicWeapon, but generally tend to be non-Sentient. When EmpathicWeapon is a Situational Sword, it is usually LoyalPhlebotinum; an [[EmpathicWeapon empathic]] Situational Sword can sometimes enforce its criteria through WeaponWieldsYou. One common subtrope is WeaponOfXSlaying.

Compare SituationalDamageAttack.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* One story of the ''Manga/CryingFreeman'' anime {{OVA}}s involved several parties falling under the curse of the Muramasa blades (explained below), which made the user go berserk until the sword left their grip.
* The Medicine Peddler's sword in ''Anime/{{Mononoke}}'' can only be drawn when he learns more about mononoke. But once he gets the Shape, Truth, and Reason, asskicking [[{{BFS}} ensues]]. Thankfully, he is proficient in the use of the sword even when it's still sheathed, by using it as a blunt weapon not unlike a billy club.
* ''Manga/RaveMaster'' uses the Ten Commandments sword, which has a total of 10 separate situational swords. However, Runesave is the one that stands out the most, simply because it only cuts things that couldn't be cut, like the wind or magic.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** Subverted with [[InfinityPlusOneSword Tessaiga]]. Tessaiga's trigger is the desire to protect humans. Inuyasha therefore has to learn the value of protecting humans before he can start using the sword. However, once he's got the hang of it, that doesn't matter so much. Mainly because he's now using the sword for the right reasons anyway so he doesn't have to consciously think about such things. The sword can therefore be used in any situation that requires a sword with no restrictions.
** Played straight with [[HealingShiv Tenseiga]]. Tenseiga is completely equal in strength to Tessaiga, but its trigger is compassion for all living things, even an enemy. The catch is that it is useless against living beings. Its reputation is to bring the dead back to life, which means cutting the pallbearers of the afterlife that ferry away the soul, restoring the soul to the body and therefore the life. It also has the power to cleanse the soul of the already dead, thus enabling a spirit trapped in purgatory-type hells to pass on peacefully. OutSideTheBoxTactic ends up revealing that Tenseiga is the only weapon capable of killing spirits or any type of being that is MadeOfAir. The sword is, in fact, hugely important to the plot but in a very specific way that's in keeping with the sword's limitations.
*** In one episode Tenseiga is used to greatly de-power a [[PoweredByAForsakenChild soul stealing enemy]] by restoring said souls to the recently sacrificed victims.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'''s [[OldMaster Cologne]] owns the Poison-Cleaving Sword, a semi-sentient Chinese ''dao'' with a flower at the tip. This flower has a mouth, and it detects poison and warns the wielder when poison is nearby... and then tries to run away from it, pulling the wielder along if necessary. The reason? Although the Poison Cleaver can indeed cut through any poison and render it harmless, it dies after just one stroke. And, in Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'s words, [[ShoutOut the rest... is silence]].
* Kaito from ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' wields the... well, '''weapon''' [[SentientWeapon Crazy Slot]] which randomly takes the form of one of nine weapons when [[HammerSpace materialized]]. These include a rifle, a SinisterScythe and a club. He cannot dematerialize or switch it until used.
* In ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', Yamamoto has two weapons like this: A baseball bat that turns into a sword when swung at a certain (fast) speed, and a bamboo sword that turns into a real one when he uses his special techniques.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' presents us with the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, each of which posses a sword with a special ability. Starting off, [[EverythingsEvenWorseWithSharks Kisame Hoshigaki]] has a [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment shark themed]] sword that can eat other people's [[LifeEnergy chakra]], among other things. The most interesting, though is that after all these years, we finally find out that the sword of Zabuza Momochi, the first Swordsman ever met in the series and original BigBad before his spectacular HeelFaceTurn, actually does something other than [[AwesomeYetImpractical look menacing and heavy]]. It can repair itself by sucking the iron out of someone's blood.
* Inverted in ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'': Tenchi ([[NamesTheSame the sword]]) would refuse to activate [[RuleOfFunny whenever a failure would be funny,]] at least until Tenchi ([[NamesTheSame the hero]]) TookALevelInBadass. Which is why [[spoiler:Yosho]], who was badass from the start, never had those problems.
* Inverted in ''Anime/DogDays'' with Cinque's MorphWeapon Palladion: though his WeaponOfChoice is a SimpleStaff, he figures out how to make it change into other forms, including a Frisbee, but remarks that for some reason he can't make it turn into a sword. [[spoiler:At the climax of the story, when faced with a giant demon that threatens all of Flognarde, he finally makes a sword out of it.]]
* In ''LightNovel/FateApocrypha'', Jack the Ripper's main Noble Phantasm, Maria the Ripper, are four daggers with three conditions. If the target is female, it is nighttime, and it is foggy, then they are an instant OneHitKill that eviscerates the target. If the conditions are not met, they are ordinary daggers.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Empowered in ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' has a suit that makes her a not-entirely formidable crime-fighter, but once, when she was saving her best friend's life, it grew a pair of glowing wings and unleashed awesome power. She still doesn't know exactly what stimulus caused it (though it's a safe bet it was emotional).

* ''Literature/LoneWolf'': The Sommerswerd's "supernatural powers increase the bearer's CS by 8 (prior to the application of weapon skill bonuses), and also increase the sensitivity of his Sixth Sense. It is [[WeaponOfXSlaying doubly damaging]] to undead foes and [[PowerNullifier absorbs hostile magic]]. Perhaps its greatest power is the ability to kill Darklords, and it's possible, as stated in ''The Curse of Naar'', that it might be able to kill [[BigBad Naar himself]]. Only members of the royal house of Sommerlund or a Kai Lord can wield it. If anyone else uses it in battle, it will slowly and irrevocably lose its powers." On the other hand, whip it out in the wrong spot, every Tom, Dick and Rubicante shows up to kick your ass. Fortunately, evil beings can't take advantage of this to depower the sword -- if you happen to be evil and try to hold the sword it will [[{{Fingore}} melt your fingers off]].

* Alanna's sword Lightning in ''Literature/SongOfTheLioness'' reveals its powers only after she has [[spoiler:given herself up to death.]] Or certain enemies are involved.
* In Creator/JamesSwallow's ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' ''[[Literature/BloodAngels Deus Sanguinius]]'', Rafen learns that to wield the Spear of Telesto, he must [[spoiler:[[ForbiddenChekhovsGun let loose with the Red Thirst]]. Fortunately for him, the spear protects him from [[TheBerserker the Black Rage]], the insanity that ensues when the Red Thirst runs wild in a Blood Angel.]]
* Felix's sword in ''Literature/GotrekAndFelix'' is enchanted to kill dragons and will grant its wielder extra strength and other bonuses, but only when fighting a dragon (or to get him through a fight so he can go fight a dragon later).
* In P.C. Hodgell's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' series, the hereditary sword of the house of Knorth, ''Kin-slayer'', can cut through opponents as if they were butter -- but only when wielded by someone wearing the Knorth signet ring on their finger. Furthermore, it cannot be sheathed until it has killed someone, and the energy of the sword numbs the hand of the bearer. Meanwhile, the ''Ivory Knife'', an ancient heirloom artifact reputed to come from the Kencyrs' God, kills from the merest scratch. It is called "the very tooth of Death."
* The sword Sting from ''LordOfTheRings'' is effective against most anything, but it also glows blue to give warning when orcs are near. This is a trait it shares with other Elven blades crafted during that period.
** The dagger Merry attacks the Witch-King with was also specifically made to fight beings of his nature, and so does crippling damage despite the Witch-King being a Ringwraith. In other situations, it's merely a decent hobbit-sized sword.
** Also from Tolkien: The sword Caudimordax (aka Tailbiter) in ''Literature/FarmerGilesOfHam'' will not stay sheathed if a dragon is within five miles, and also apparently gives a skill boost to its wielder when used against a dragon.
** Parodied in Terry Pratchett's ''Discworld/TheWeeFreeMen'': the Nac mac Feegle have swords that glow blue in the presence of ''lawyers''.
* ''Literature/BookOfSwords'': Some of Creator/FredSaberhagen's Swords of Power have situational powers.
** Shieldbreaker makes the wielder nigh-unbeatable in battle, but only if he's fighting an armed opponent.
** Townsaver has similar powers, but only functions when defending an inhabited place.
** Dragonslicer is the epitome, it only has magical powers when wielded against a dragon.
** Stonecutter too. Its only "magical" property is the ability to cut through stone.
* The title weapon in Creator/LawrenceWattEvans's ''Literature/{{Ethshar}}'' novel ''Literature/TheMisenchantedSword'' will do your fighting for you, but only against adult male humans, and once it kills, you have to sheath it and draw it again to re-activate its power. Also, [[BlessedWithSuck you can't resheath it, or even let go of it, until it's killed someone]].
** Also, no one else can use it, and you will die if and only if you have killed a hundred men with it (at which point it turns on you and finds a new owner - they will then remain alive until their 99th kill, and so on until some poor soul is slain on first drawing the blade). At first the character is unnerved by not knowing how close he was and that he could die at any time. Later, the character realizes it was AgeWithoutYouth and desperately tries to find a way to kill the last men. [[spoiler:Nothing that a youth spell wouldn't handle, though.]]
* Among its many other properties, the sword named Need in Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series provides a considerable amount of protection from magic if it's wielded by a trained fighter. If wielded by a SquishyWizard, on the other hand, it gives no magical protection but instead makes the mage an [[InstantExpert expert swordswoman]]. In the hands of someone with no particular talents in either direction, it does ''both'' (and some other neat tricks besides). What might have happened if Need were wielded by a genuine MagicKnight is never quite shown in the series, since by the time it's an option, Need [[spoiler:has regained full sentience and thus gets a say in how she's used]].
* In ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'', the magical sword Sikanda. Only those who have eaten, drunk, and bathed in the flames of the Many-Colored Death, and ridden on his back, may touch the sword without (unspecified) danger. Also, the sword may only be used when it leaps from the sheath. When the sword is drawn through brute force, it makes a [[TakeOurWordForIt terrifying noise]], the sword's [[PowerGlows light]] goes out, and implicitly its enchantment is lost.
* The black sword Dyrnwyn from ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfPrydain'' series can only be drawn by one of "noble worth". [[HeroicWannabe Taran]] at first assumes this means one born of a noble bloodline, but Gwydion later states that it is referring to character, not blood. In the hands of a worthy person it is an InfinityPlusOneSword capable of slaying just about any evil being. Those who are unworthy tend to get themselves killed trying to draw the sword. Taran has to go through four or five books' worth of CharacterDevelopment before he can wield it.
* In ''Literature/BlueMoonRising'' by Simon Green, the hero finds a sword which, if its wielder is in a desperate situation ''and his concern is less for himself than for others'', will call down a magical rainbow that disintegrates the supernatural evils caused by the Blue Moon. He nearly gets killed trying to invoke the rainbow in a tight spot where ''he's'' the only one he's really worried about.
* ''Literature/{{Percy Jackson|and the Olympians}}'''s sword ''Anaklusmos'' (Riptide) is made from celestial bronze, and is only effective against monsters or those with divine blood such as other demigods. It is completely harmless if used against regular humans. In fact, those properties are precisely why celestial bronze weapons are so popular among Greek demigods; deadly to monsters without risking mortal casualties.
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series the Sword of Godric Gryffindor appears in the sorting hat when a true Gryffindor has need of it. This is probably a power of the hat rather than the sword, but both belonged to Gryffindor and so this was clearly the intention he had for it. It wasn't specifically made for this purpose, but it also happens to be one of the only things capable of destroying a Horcrux (by virtue of having absorbed a basilisk's venom).
* In the novel ''Literature/UserUnfriendly'' by Creator/VivianVandeVelde, the player characters find a [[LordOfTheRings sword that glows in the presence of orcs]]. Since the players have artificially inflated their combat stats, the sword turns out to be more trouble than it's worth.
* The Sword of Truth in ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' is a big honking sharp piece of metal... that doesn't allow the bearer to hurt anyone or anything they believe innocent and magically guilts the user every time he kills someone, regardless. You have to be full of righteous fury just to ''use'' the damn thing. Unless you figure out [[spoiler: how to be full of sympathy and love for your target]] instead, which is a much better insulator. And then it turns out that the sword is also a repository for all of the experience and fighting prowess of all its past users that is instantly transferred during a specific test in an obscure jungle.
** And then it turns out [[spoiler: that it was all a SecretTestOfCharacter for the most important McGuffin of the series, and a key for it besides.]]
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' has the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin three holy swords]] which have vast evil-smiting powers when wielded for a righteous purpose; even a half-turned vampire, who is normally burned by its presence, can use the Sword of Love when she's using it to rescue her daughter. The flipside is that if someone uses them for the wrong reason (such as when [[spoiler: Harry brandishes one to try to break his word on a freely-made bargain]]) they lose their power and can be handled or destroyed by creatures of darkness unless they return to the hands of their chosen Knights. Demonstrated in ''Skin Game'' when Murphy breaks her oath and attacks Nicodemus after he had surrendered (but ordered his lackeys to murder Harry). He shatters it with ease. [[spoiler: However, all is not lost, given that Butters later reforges it into a lightsabre.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The rules for intelligent weapons include the option of a special purpose that comes with a matching special power only used in the pursuit of said purpose. The chance for a randomly rolled magic weapon to have this property is somewhere around 1% or less.
** You don't have to go quite that far, however. ''Un''intelligent weapons with situational bonuses and/or powers are likewise a long-standing and rather more common ''D&D'' staple. ''Sword + 1, + 3 vs. spellcasters'', anybody?
** The ''Bane'' enchantment is entirely this. (Animalbane, Demonbane, Elementalbane, etc.)
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' has the [[WeaponOfXSlaying Sword of Slaying Everything]] [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial Except Squid]]. It's a very effective weapon... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin unless you happen to be fighting a squid]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Link's sword in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' shoots [[SwordBeam energy beams]] when he's at full health in the 2D games, otherwise it's limited to melee. In every 2D game except the first two, however, Link doesn't have this ability until he gets the Master Sword (or what other legendary sword is standing in for the Master Sword).
** The Master Sword is also known as the Sword of Evil's Bane, and can reflect and dispel evil magic. It's also stated to be wieldable only by the true hero, and untouchable by evil, but those never play much of a part in the actual games. It also serves as a lock at least twice. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', pulling the sword from its pedestal transports Link to the Sacred Realm, where he sleeps for seven years, and putting it back returns him to his childhood, allowing him to travel back and forth in time. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' pulling the sword breaks the seal on Hyrule, which had been frozen in time in a bubble beneath the Great Sea.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'', the Master Sword has an above average power of 30 at all times, and whenever it "breaks" it regenerates in just ten minutes. However, when put up against foes under the direct control of the Calamity, or Calamity Ganon itself, its strength ''doubles'', which can make taking out the Blight Ganons pretty much trivial. This can also be subverted by the same weapon, because completing a difficult gauntlet available via [[DownloadableContent DLC]] makes the doubling effect ''always active'', which means you have a permanent, technically-unbreakable 60 Power shortsword at all times.
* Seen a lot in ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games, notably with weapons like Ultima Weapon (attack strength is tied to HP,) the ancient sword (chance of putting enemies to sleep,) and some weapons in Final Fantasy VI (which unleash spells when used on occasion.)
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV IV]]'' both allow you to cast spells from weapons if you select said armament from the inventory.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'': Some Blue Magic spells have "Level [value]" in their names, meaning they only work if the target has a multiple of the specific Level value. For example, Level 5 Doom only works on targets whose level is a multiple of 5.
** All the Ultimate Weapons in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' have effects like this, with some examples being the aforementioned Ultima Weapon, Vincent's Death Penalty (does more damage dependent on how many enemies he's slain), and Tifa's Premium Heart, which does damage based on how much of her [[LimitBreak Limit]] gauge is full.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has many weapons (and armor!) that will be stronger or have added effects depending on anything from the time of day, to the moon phase, to the weather, to whether or not you have a specific StandardStatusEffect on you, etc.
** To {{egregious}} extent in ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy''. The Iaijutsu build --[[OneHitKill Two Hit Kill]]-- requires you to be ''90 level below'' your opponent.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''
** ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' has swords such as the badelaire, which powers up as the in-game clock counter increases, and the muramasa, which gets stronger if you strike enemies capable of bleeding.
*** There's also the Sword Familar, which is an EmpathicWeapon version of this. It can only be equipped as an actual weapon once it hits level 50, and the amount of damage it can do as a standard sword becomes greater as it's level increases, making it one of the best weapons in the game.
** Most of the weapons in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia'' are based around the idea of being used in conjunction with each other, i.e. if you use two wind glphys and throw them simultaneously, they will create a screen-high tornado.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' the special named weapons will randomly unleash a special attack instead of a normal critical hit. This changes the dialogue from;
-->[Name of character] lets out a howl. Critical hit.
-->[Name of weapon] lets out a howl. [Name of special effect/attack]
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' has one kind of sword that glows when enemies are nearby, though unfortunately it counts normal-sized rats and spiders as enemies even though they can't hurt you. Also, weapons 'Of Disruption' have a chance of instantly vaporizing undead upon contact. The oringinal also had a nifty 'bastard sword +1/+3 vs. shapeshifters' (which you fought a ''lot'' of).
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' also has plenty of these. In fact, using runes the player can opt to make their weapon like this ie. +10 damage to darkspawn.
* ''DemonsSouls'' has two of those: The Morion Blade, and the Storm Ruler.
** The Morion Blade is a relatively weak two-handed sword with nothing too special about it... Except its special effect - when under 30% HP, you deal a lot more damage. Combine the Morion Blade and the Clever Rat's Ring and you absue what is commonly called the Hyper Mode, which allows you to deal three times as much damage on whatever you do.
** The Storm Ruler also doubles as a SwordOfPlotAdvancement, just not quite. You get it during the Storm King boss fight, and though it can be used outside of it (Normally during NewGamePlus) it's actually pretty weak outside of it... Inside of the boss's arena, though, both the normal and the heavy attack cause the sword to create a powerful and gigantic shockwave in the exact direction it was swung, this is the quickest way to beat the Storm King since you can't hit him with physical attacks and magic. Though you can beat him by just shooting arrows at him all day. It just takes one million times more.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'', the Majestic Greatsword is said to have been passed down into many generations, all of its wielder being left-handed. If you do wield it on your left hand, the sword gains better scaling plus a new moveset reminiscent of Artoria's Greatsword from the first Dark Souls.
* The ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'' series has the Lamb's Sword. In the first game, allowing the Lamb's Sword to reach critical [[BreakableWeapons WHP]] transforms it into the much stronger Wolf Sword until it is repaired. In the second game, the sword becomes the Wolf Sword from 9PM until 6AM, again with a boost in attack power.
* In ''VideoGame/ThreeDDotGameHeroes'', weapons are effectively useless unless you are at full health, at which point the upgrade abilities that either came with the weapons or were bought later kick in.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'': Robo's ultimate weapon, the Crisis Arm, has its power depend on Robo's last digit of HP. If the last digit is 0, it does no damage. If the last digit is 9, then it can consistently outdamage everyone except a level 99 Ayla. Thankfully, Robo hits [[{{Cap}} 999]] HP relatively early, so keeping the Crisis Arm powerful is merely a matter of keeping Robo as close to full HP as possible.
** The DS remake gives Lucca the Spellslinger, a similar weapon based off the last digit of her MP.
* Several weapons in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', including the ''Axtinguisher'' which does critical (triple) damage to burning players, and the ''Equalizer'' and ''Escape Plan'', which [[DesperationAttack does more damage]] and makes you run faster if you are low on health, respectively.
** And the Sniper's Bushwhacka which does critical damage whenever it would normally do a mini-crit, usually against a victim of Jarate.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Sonny}}'' series of flash games, many of the techs for the Shadow Psychological build are situational to the point of being frustratingly inconvienient at times, causing many to prefer the Electric Psycho build. In the Cold Hydro build, there is one attack called Shatter that can only be used on opponents who have 3 Ice elemental debuffs (if one debuff expires before Shatter can be cast, then it won't work).
* There's a number of these in the ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' series, such as the Muramasa (Damage is equal to your missing HP), the Custom Sword (Causes more damage the more filled the Custom Gauge is), and the Gaia Sword (Absorbs the power of all the battle chips selected after it).
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' some weapons have a "slaying" modifier which grant a 10-20% increase in damage to specific enemy types.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' "Slaying" sigils offer similar bonuses against specific enemy types.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* As an RPGMechanicsVerse, ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' has a few:
** Big Ears' axe has a situational strength and weakness at once: [[spoiler: it can't hurt paladins. Useful when someone tries to take it from Big Ears, not so useful when trying to fight another paladin (though this limitation was once cleverly exploited).]]
** Forgath and Minmax [[http://www.goblinscomic.org/10032013/ win]] an axe whose accuracy and damage skyrocket when the target is the same species as the wielder. It can also [[RetractableWeapon telescope out]] into a longsword, making it... situationally a sword.
* Tavor's swords in ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'' reveal a map to Kethenecia when coated in blood.
* [[Webcomic/SluggyFreelance Torg]] has a magical sword ([[ICallItVera dubbed]] [[FluffyTheTerrible Chaz]]) that, upon "drinking" the blood of an innocent, can cut through anything and speak. Torg is typically too nice of a guy to actively acquire the needed blood. The most amusing case was when his [[SheIsNotMyGirlfriend friend Zoe]], unaware of Chaz's true nature and utterly stupefied by the suggestion, made her single wish to a demon. Afterward, Torg used the now-awakened spirit sword to kill it.
-->'''Zoe:''' ''[{{facepalm}})]'' I want the blood of the innocent to rain down in every room of our house.\\
'''Gwynn:''' ''[cleaning]'' Did you have to say ''every'' room??\\
'''Zoe:''' I couldn't remember which room it was in!
* Since being reforged with starmetal, Roy's sword in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' occasionally channels energy that is harmful to undead and evil outsiders.
* In a parody of the ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' example, Lambert of ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' has a magic sword that sings "Don't Stand So Close to Me" when orcs are near.
* In ''Webcomic/ZitaTheSpacegirl'', the giant robot fighter can only be piloted by a true hero, [[spoiler:because only a true hero has enough self-sacrifice to let the robot adsorb him.]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Tucker's energy sword can function as a key at times, but is otherwise still a powerful weapon.
--> '''Church''': So, it is a sword. It just happens to function like a key in very specific situations.
--> '''Caboose''': Or... it's a key all the time... and when you stick it in people, it unlocks their death.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' and ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' give us the Sword of Power and the Sword of Protection, respectively. In a jam? StabTheSky and invoke the [[ByThePowerOfGrayskull Power (or Honor) of Grayskull.]] SuperpoweredAlterEgo invoked, problem solved.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'''s sword will not cut anyone pure of heart, as evident both when Aku stole it and tried to stab Jack with it and when Jack tried to use it to cut up a deer for food.
* The sword Rubilax in ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' is technically a four-element demon, and therefore assumably has as many forms in addition to his normal one.
* Lion-O of ''{{Thundercats}}'' fame possessed the Sword of Omens, a nifty sword that in addition to its "Sight Beyond Sight" ability and its power to call upon the other Thundercats, could literally get him out of any situation. For example, on one occasion it essentially transformed into a vaulting pole and propelled him up the side of a castle.
* The Leadership Matrix in ''{{Transformers}}'' canon only works in situations where the Autobots are faced with the most abominable of EldritchAbomination types, such as Unicron or a virus swarm, and there's little other recourse for them. Under the right conditions, the Matrix can then be used to "light our darkest hour".

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Smart guns are prototype firearms that use a unique locking system to prevent anyone who doesn't have the matching magnetic key from firing them. There are a number of systems: RFID tags, grip patterns, fingerprints.