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Fantasy Gun Control: Video Games

  • There is absolutely no gun control at all in Ryzom; every major city will have a vendor that will sell you anything from a pistol to a bowrifle to a rocket launcher, and they'll even sell you whatever the other players have put up for resale.
  • The Legend of Zelda: You got bombs, cannons, and Tatl in Majora's Mask mentions one character smelling like gunpowder, but no guns are available. However, a rifle can be seen in the shooting range in Kakariko Village when Link is an adult in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Played With in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, where the battle between Science and Magick is an actual rule of Nature and a major sort of world-point; as to particularities of gun usage, the backstory examines the "conscript versus knight" problem, and firearms are both common and fairly effective... against unarmored humans and low-level monsters. Enchanted armor and mid-to-high-level monsters laugh at handguns, meaning that late-game technologists will be packing BFGs and lots of ammo. It's a recurring plot point as well in many of the sidequests, though it only becomes important to the main quest near the end.
  • Suikoden: The only group to possess firearms is the cult-like Howling Voice Guild, and even those are only issued to their most trusted (read: indoctrinated) members, apparently those of Knight Class or higher. If a non-Knight-Class-Gunner is found in possession of a gun, the Guild's response is immediate and predictable. They don't do this for the technological advantage, though: their technology seems to be of flintlock quality at best. They do it for the psychological advantage, which is why Gunners are also trained in stealth and infiltration. One character actually points out that compared to a bow guns are slower, shorter ranged, and far more expensive. Despite this the gun users are pretty much some of the coolest characters in the games, all being badasses of varying levels.
    • A Howling Voice Guildmember in the Gaiden games provided one exception, as despite owning what looked like a normal flintlock pistol there seemed to be something wrong with the ammo supply...
    • In Suikoden V, Cathari's rifle looks like a modern sniper rifle. She also has the highest attack power in the game except for 'Deathblow' Georg Prime.
  • Golden Sun has you running around with swords and magic for 99% of the game, and there is no such thing as "ranged combat." Right up near the end of the games, though, when you have at least one character with more than 5 Djinn, you get access to the Ninja class. While it may still be magic, the standard Flame line of spells turns into the Firebomb line of spells, each named after a progressively larger explosive. These are slightly more or less powerful depending on who you make the Ninja.
    • It underlies the changes in Weyard when more advanced weapons (fireworks and cannons) show up in Dark Dawn, showing the technological progress since the first two games. The player characters can't use them, though.
  • A considerable part of Granado Espada's appeal as a fantasy world was the combination of guns with swords and sorcery. It set the musketeer class apart from the usual archers.
  • Warcraft II had cannon-armed ships and towers and demolition teams on both sides carrying kegs of gunpowder; Warcraft III had Dwarven riflemen, flying machines armed with machine guns, and goblin demolition teams available to both sides; and a few classes in World of Warcraft can learn to use guns. Note, however, that most of the guns in the Warcraft series fire at rates one would generally associate with cartridge firing repeaters. Hunters in World of Warcraft do not have to carry powder along with their shot, and both they and the Dwarven riflemen in Warcraft III reload really, really fast.
    • The fact that they reload with superhuman speed may be for Competitive Balance, though.
    • Half the "bullets" are magical anyway, so it evens out.
    • Essentially, Guns in World of Warcraft are pretty much interchangable with Bows and Crossbows, the other types of ranged weapons. Especially after the need for actual ammo was removed.
  • Pokémon uses the Fireball example. While the technology in the Pokémon world is sometimes more advanced than ours, usually it's on par with that of the real world. However, you will notice that, unless it's the Anime canon, there are no guns. You'd think gunpowder would have been invented sooner or later, right? Well it seems that humans in this world never had a need to invent gunpowder or dynamite - you can capture monsters that can do it for you, so it makes a bit of sense that people would turn to technology to control these creatures rather than invent stuff to do it themselves. Ghetsis, the Big Bad of Pokémon Black and White, is unfortunately aware of this.
    • Zig-Zagged, however, as although conventional chemical explosive-propelled guns don't exist, guns and cannons themselves are implied to have been invented in some form, as evident by structures such as Genesect's added photon cannon and Pokédex entries such as Chesnaught's mentioning vehicles like tanks existing (with the interesting tidbit that said Pokémon can flip one of 70 tonnes: the average modern battle-loaded tank weighs just a couple tons more, likely to prevent giant pangolins from defeating them).
  • Bungie's Myth series has dwarves, who toss around molotov cocktails, plant bombs, and fire mortars (in Myth II), but no guns. There were, however, gun-wielding poachers in one humorous bonus level.
  • Jade Empire allows the player to claim a pseudo-European conquistador's musket as a prize for besting him in a duel. It does significantly more damage than most weapons, but has a low rate of fire and doesn't work well against magical creatures.
  • The Might and Magic universe goes straight to lasers in Might and Magic VI and VII, although it is Lost Technology. Unsurprising, considering starting from the first game, the series is heavily influenced by Star Trek and contains robots, transporter beams, and computer terminals. For that matter, the antagonist of the first five games, Sheltem/Alamar, is a robot built by Sufficiently Advanced Alien precursors.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V has the gremlins, who use some kind of hybrid gun that works on magic.
    • Might and Magic VIII revealed (after a quick cameo in the intro of Heroes III) that cannons certainly are within the technological reach of the natives, even if guns aren't known to have been developed. In fact, a plot-point centres around the development of a Magitek super-cannon, capable of sinking entire fleets in a single shot.
  • The Final Fantasy series has an odd relationship with this trope; it's generally played straight in earlier titles, but uses Guns Are Worthless instead for more modern games.
  • Soul Series:
    • An egregious case would be Soul Calibur Legends, which ostensibly takes place during the 16th Century. The Ottoman armies are conspicuously lacking in firearms, despite their historical proficiency in them. Indeed, the only gunpowder weapons in the entire game are small mini-cannon which are used against the player, and not against fortifications, as they should.
    • It's also worth a note that Mitsurugi's entire reason for wanting to find Soul Edge is because he was shot by a rifle, and wants to be more powerful than it.
    • Cervantes has had a pistol in the grip of his off-hand dagger since Soul Calibur. He uses it in a few attacks, most notably a command throw in which he jams it into his opponent's stomach and fires it two or three times in rapid succession.
      • The game notes that the "bullets" aren't actually pieces of metal being shot off, it's evil energy in the shape of a bullet, fired by force of will. Normally this would be in Hand Wave territory, but considering the main antagonist practically bleeds "evil energy" it's not that far fetched comparatively.
  • The Onimusha series is set in Ancient Japan, with you fighting against the Legions of Hell. In that kind of setup, you'd assume that Katanas Are Just Better - but in the second game of the series, one of the playable characters wields a high-accuracy rifle. And a gatling-gun. And a flamethrower. And they actually ARE pretty damn effective against the demons. And in the third game, Jean Reno is a playable character.
  • The TalesSeries averts this on multiple occasions.
    • Tales of the Abyss has Legretta, who dual wields pistols.
    • Tales of Innocence has Iria with her dual pistols and Ricardo with his rifle.
    • Tales of Vesperia has Patty Fleur, who occasionally busts out one or two pistols for her normal attacks and artes.
    • Tales of Xillia has Alvin, who wields a handgun along with his sword (Which is brought up in a skit, where Jude wonders whether or not it's magical in its nature). You also run into the Arknoah group later, who use various firearms and flamethrowers. It turns out both them and Alvin hail from Elenpios, a technologically advanced world that lies beyond the shell surrounding Riese Maxia.
  • While NetHack's greatest technological contribution to weaponry is the crossbow (in contrast to innovations in eatery such as the tin and candy bar), its variant Slash'EM includes a panoply of firearms — pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, sniper rifles, auto-shotguns, even rocket launchers. A dwarf or human with a character class capable of Dual Wielding can do so to great effect; the game even allows for simultaneous fire in two directions. Primitive graphics or no, there's nothing quite like having your dwarven warrior decked out in dragonscale armor, shielded by the gods, facing down demons, and firing enchanted machine guns. Of course, that's not mentioning the frag grenades, sticks of dynamite, lightsabers...
    • This makes sense when you realize that the Yendorian Army is composed of brain-washed 20th century soldiers, the main source of these weapons.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has a tech level equivalent to around the middle ages in terms of armour, ship building etc. But only the Dwarves have access to guns. And those are held up as very rare, with their secret unknown to anyone else. This is Handwaved as being due to the components for gunpowder being rare in-world. Oh, and they're called Thundersticks/Dragonstaves, not guns. Flame wars result otherwise.
  • Skies of Arcadia plays with the trope. Guns aren't nearly as common as swords or other melee weapons, but they do exist, if in primitive forms; one of the most powerful playable characters in the game, as well as the main character's badass father, fight with flintlock pistols. "Dance for me!"
  • The Anachronism Stew setting of Enchanted Scepters pits a typical fantasy kingdom of knights and wizards against invaders armed with machine guns.
  • A few variants of Angband add guns, though they tend to just be different flavours of crossbow aside from Animeband (obviously built on anime tropes, but it kinda sucks because development died) and Steamband, which is set in the Victorian era.
  • The technology of the Geneforge series is based on biological engineering, so any new inventions would be an application of that. The functional equivalent to guns are projectile-shooting batons that are grown to shoot thorns of varying power and effect.
  • Curiously averted in Lunia, an Action-Arcade MMORPG owned by Ijji; Ryan Hunt, a soon-to-be-released playable character, uses guns. He has a rifle and a gatling gun attatched to his hand, and seems to based off of another of Ijji's games, GunZ: The Duel. Seeing as cannons are wide-spread in Lunia, it's a surprise that the only guns that appear are owned by Ryan and some of the pirate enemies.
  • Guild Wars does not have any handheld guns at all, though does have gunpowder explosives and cannons in a few places.
    • Guild Wars 2 has had 250 years of technological development, giving Tyria flintlock rifles and pistols as fairly common weapons. Cannons are standard for naval warfare, and Charr artillery includes explosive shells, mortars, cannons, and tanks all on a roughly WWI-era level of sophistication. The Engineer player class makes use of guns, flamethrowers, grenades, bombs, mines, and automated turrets. Asura technology takes this trend even further with magical laser cannons.
  • Darklands averts this trope. It takes place in 15th-century central Europe, and you can find a few forms of gunpowder alongside the "natural" medieval weapon variety. And no, the guns are definitely not overpowered - they take ages to reload and are only useful against armored opponents (where a bow would cause very little damage, albeit repeatedly). Then again, this is a setting where alchemical concoctions made from things like Antimoni and Phlegmatic Base can do a lot more damage than any weapon.
  • The Iron Grip series heavily averts this, being set in a Steam Punk Low Fantasy world ravaged by endless wars, undergoing a second or already third industrial revolution in its long history. Then again, the aversion becomes slightly subverted itself - by the presence of a mostly archaic atmosphere and lots of old-fashioned weapons thrown into the mix...
  • Dragon Age toys with this - the native humans, elves, and dwarves haven't invented cannons due to relying on magic of various sorts (golems and rune-based enchanting on the part of the dwarves), but the qunari, a race invading from another continent, do have cannons, and their invasion was only stopped after four grand religious crusades against them and the use of high-powered magic that the qunari see as abomination. According to the qunari who can join the party (who himself uses a greatsword), they're planning another invasion.
    • According to the Awakenings' epilogue the qunari have a policy to assassinate anyone else trying to develop gunpowder or non-magic explosives. A couple of side plots in Dragon Age II have to do with attempts at obtaining the formula from the qunari, and the qunari response.
  • After being played straight in the first game, this trope was averted in Fable II, where pistols and rifles are used alongside crossbows, swords, axes and maces. In fact, the invention of firearms seems to have been a deciding factor in the destruction of the Heroes Guild, as the availability of pistols meant that people no longer had to be reliant on arrogant Will-users.
    • This also holds true for Fable III, where the Hero has a variety of pistols and rifles to use as ranged weapons, and cannons are also seen in use: one side-quest involves killing hollow men with a mortar.
  • Etrian Odyssey introduced Gunners in their second installment, characters that had above average attack and technical power, but were slow as rocks. The third game has a Spiritual Successor in Arbalists, whose weapons of choice are somewhere between a crossbow and a machine gun.
  • Guns are a very popular topic on the Runescape forums, with many people arguing why guns would or would not fit the world. Most of the arguments (including some from the developers themselves) against it were that guns were either too modern and would ruin the pseudo-medieval feel of the world, despite the fact that there were already cannons, trains and hot air balloons present in the game. Another argument was that they would too powerful despite the fact that early firearms were not very efficient. However in 2009, they finally introduced dwarven hand cannons, which are as close to actual guns as you can get in the game.
    • Also, there is a bazooka which shoots frogs. Yes, FROGS.
  • The Assassin's Creed series averts this in the second game, where Ezio Auditore acquires a pistol that can one-shot kill anyone except boss characters. As befits the era, it is slow to aim and reload, and has approximately the same range as a throwing knife (about twenty meters in game). Though it was built by Leonardo da Vinci, it was actually designed two hundred years earlier by Altaďr, the protagonist from the first game.
    • Altaďr designed the gun with knowledge from Apple of Eden. The same Apple which holograms (when watched in slow-motion) shows things like airplanes etc. Thanks to this, the weapon is far more advanced than Renaissance counterparts, and still have superior attributes (reload speed, accuracy) to weapons that Connor uses almost 300 later.
    • Further averted in Brotherhood and Revelation which both feature gun-wielding enemies (which have completely replaced archers as of the latter). Brotherhood also features a carriage-mounted machine gun developed by Leonardo Da Vinci. And a tank. And a flamethrower. And a goddamned aerial bomber.
    • In Assassin's Creed 3, set during the late Colonial/Revolutionary War period of America, guns are one of the most common weapons for enemies to have, and bayonets on muskets make them function as both melee and ranged. Doesn't mean the assassin, who has two flintlock pistols himself, can't be brutal with the enemy's weapons regardless. Because of the time it takes to reload, in a multiple-opponent melee bayonets, swords, axes, knives, tomahawks, and hidden blades (or using the bayonet on a musket) are typically superior at quickly eliminating enemies, but opponents that have distance and time will reload and shoot. And obviously if you need to quietly take at a target, a shooting them is counterproductive.
      • The naval warfare part of the game depends, of course, on cannons.
  • Sunset Over Imdahl gets off on a technicality—nobody is ever shown using a gun, but it's mentioned in the very beginning that Imdahl's rather backwards compared to the army outside its gates, which has guns in great supply.
  • Guns are not available in Ogre Battle, but are considered a new development in the sequel Tactics Ogre - and can only be used effectively by one special class. If you're not a Gunner, the weapon is merely a bludgeon! Not extremely powerful, but can shoot from any tile to any other, provided that there's no interference from the landscape (or other troops getting in the way!)
    • However, depending on your stats and your level, they become almost realistic in that you can shoot someone and knock out most of their health. It's a good job for opening, though, or providing support when you don't have Archers, though.
  • Averted in the Mortal Kombat series; In Mortal Kombat 3, Kano is hired to teach Shao Kahn's soldiers how to use modern weaponry, and in Mortal Kombat 9's story mode, Shang Tsung buys several rocket lauchers and machine guns from Kano.
  • In the original Phantasy Star quadrilogy (which is essentially Science Fantasy), guns exist, but are rarely used despite the futuristic setting. In I, the only guns available are heavy armor-piercing shotguns used by The Big Guy. II, pistols are essentially useless and only wielded by weaker support party members, while rifles, shotguns and vulcans are (again) Big Guy weapons. III and IV essentially limit firearms to Cyborgs who are specifically designed to use them. In all cases, the only enemies who use guns are robots. (Perhaps the Algolians never managed to develop effective small arms?)
  • No characters wield guns in Knights in the Nightmare, but guns exist in its world—one knight, an archer, has an early model of a pistol as his Key Item, and mentions that it's a new foreign weapon that a blacksmith recommended he try out.
  • Gloria Union, which has more advanced technology than the other games in the Union series, replaces bows with guns in the weapon triangle. Three recruitable characters—Elisha, Yggdra, and the robot Gangr—use firearms as opposed to traditional fantasy melee weapons.
  • Mostly averted by Touhou which includes largely-justified Schizo Tech, though it should be noted that Gensokyo completely separated from the Outside World well after the introduction of primitive firearms to Japan. None of the main characters use them, however, and it is suggested that the weaponry would not be as effective against youkai as a blade with a strong history attached to it (unless the bullets it was firing had an equally strong history behind them). That said:
    • Rika builds tanks and uses them to fight in Story of Eastern Wonderland. Notably, they have what appears to be seals on them to make them resilient to youkai attack and seem to use mostly energy-based bullets alongside conventional munitions in order to attack.
    • Chiyuri threatens the heroine with "a small but very dangerous weapon" in Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream (and Marisa can win an ICBM from Professor Yumemi)
    • Kawashiro Nitori - Super Youkai Warhead - employs something like rocket launchers and missiles, epsecially in Subterranean Animism. In this case, it is undeniably Schizo Tech as the Kappa are on the top of the technology-magic hybrid tree in Gensokyo.
    • The Lunarians are on the top of everyone's technology tree. In Silent Sinner in Blue, there is a demonstration of their Defense Corps in action - Moon Rabbits with dress jackets, short skirts, helmets, and advanced projectile weaponry that look like bayonets but fire a spread of magic(?) bullets. (The mass-produced rifles are still outshined by Watatsuki no Yorihime's named Sword of Gion.)
    • It should also be noted that of the characters we've seen in Touhou, most of them have no need for firearms, as they can naturally dish out More Dakka using danmaku than they would be able to with a gun. It would the equivalent of someone with a minigun deciding to use a flintlock instead. That doesn't even get into the fact that danmaku is already a way for characters to limit their story breaker powers for the sake of fairness.
      • Yet then again, Rika managed to get closer to beating Reimu anyone else using a combination of danmaku and (seemingly) conventional bullets in her final fight: They're hard to see and move extremely fast, after all.
  • Legacy of Kain: Averted, though not in the earliest era visited. Soul Reaver 2 has primitive-looking hand cannons and Defiance has demolition charges. The oracle's museum in Blood Omen has a more modern-looking gun which is just there not doing anything, maybe referring to the fact that some of the other items there are Chekhov's Guns.
  • Rift has magic vs. technology (or rather, "pure" divine power vs. potentially-reality-breaking magitech) as the crux of the conflict between the two factions. Warriors and Rogues can use both bows and rifles, though due to the way stats are applied, warriors usually end up with guns and rogues with bows. The only real gameplay difference between them is the animation used, and if the sound effect is a "bang" or a "twang".
  • A major debate in the Minecraft fan base hinges on this trope. Half of them want guns to be added and half of them think that guns will contrast with the setting, falling into this trope.
  • Deconstructed in Dungeons of Dredmor. Guns do exist - but they're kept down by the Bolt Council's monopoly.
  • Played with in Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming Pillars of Eternity. The most technologically advanced societies in the setting have developed black powder wheel-lock muskets, but they're largely Awesome, but Impractical and not used much. They do have one important use though: at close range they're good at penetrating wizards' spell shields.
  • Averted in Total War' Shogun 2. While it isn't easy, it is very possible to get gun using troops in the standard game. You can let in European traders, but you risk Christianity spreading throughout your lands, either making your population rebellious if you keep to Shinto Buddism, or other clans very angry if you accept the Western religion. You can also research them, but they are very far down the line on the tech tree.
  • The Mount & Blade expansion With Fire and Sword incorporates firearms. Many other community mods also utilize firearms.
  • Averted in Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, where guns exist alongside magic (though, guns are implied to be a recent invention). Three technologically-minded characters (Lucca, Norris, and Starky) use them and gun-wielding soldiers replacing sword-wielding knights is part of the backstory of Chrono Cross.
  • Played straight and later averted in .hack series of games. The first four games have a conspicuous lack of guns, but in the second series of games, taking place in a revamped in-universe MMO where the story takes in, there is a new class called Steam Gunners wielding Bayonets. They perform much like a mage would, except dealing physical damage. Later in the third game, Haseo himself gains access to a Job Class exclusive to him, in which he wields dual guns.
  • Averted in the original Spyrothe Dragon games to varying degrees. Do to the massive Schizo Tech of the series, you could see everything to muzzle loading muskets, to dinosaurs wielding revolvers, to mooks with modern machine guns, to futuristic lasers.
  • In Terraria, you have enchanted swords, water staffs, and Mario's fire flower, along with a shotgun, the laser rifle from Aliens, fully automatic crossbows, magic star cannons, and a minigun that looks like a shark.
  • In Sacred Underworld, the Dwarves use gunpowder and firearms perfectly fine. They have cannon, muskets and even semiautomatic rifles.
  • Small arms appear to be commonplace in Dishonored. Most city watchmen and Overseers carry pistols which look like wheel-locks, but which seem to use some kind of modern-ish mechanism with trans (refined whale oil) as a propellant. The player character, Corvo, can purchase quite a few modifications for his pistol, which when fully upgraded becomes a revolver. So far, we have only seen pistols, but it can be reasonably assumed that muskets and cannon with similar mechanisms are used elsewhere.
  • Justified and eventually averted in Shin Megami Tensei IV. The Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, due to its diminutive size and slowed development, really has never needed any weapons more advanced than pole weaponry, and their military force, the Samurai, mostly rely on swords and their Gauntlets. When demons start appearing en masse, they become desperate to even out the advantage and task their Samurai with retrieving various guns and firearms from Tokyo. Two missions have you raid military bases, first to outfit the entire Samurai force with guns and another to supply a resistance movement with bazookas.
  • The Demon Hunter in Diablo III goes way beyond an Automatic Crossbow, firing rockets, grenades, bolas, and nets, often on semi- or full-auto, from a crossbow, or even a hand bow.
  • Remember Me is bereft of human-used guns, due to laws of some sort in the backstory. Drones and gunships are able to use guns, but cops only use stun batons on you. The end result is Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting.

Tabletop GamesFantasy Gun Control    

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