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Empathic Weapon
They're hard enough to deal with when they don't have a mind of their own.

"If Harry Potter's wand can make decisions, why can't Thor's hammer?"

"How can you use a weapon of ultimate mass destruction when it can stand in judgement on you?"
Doctor Who, "The Day of the Doctor"

Usually lacking enough personality to qualify as an actual character, the Empathic Weapon nonetheless often seems to have a mind of its own, and reacts to the feelings of the people around it. The weapon somehow acknowledges the hero's desires and good qualities, and is willing to help him out. The hero also tends to treat (and even talk to) it as if it were a person of some kind. The hero doesn't simply wield it. He will ask it for help.

Quite often, it is designed to be impossible to lose, no matter how much you wish it gone. If the villain ever does get hold of it, if it's Loyal Phlebotinum, it simply won't work because it doesn't want to. It will, however, occasionally stop working if the hero is in doubt. If it breaks, it tends to be a big deal.

A lot of Humongous Mecha fall into this category, as it seems Japanese writers love to personify machines. Compare Mons, which typically also depend on the bond with the main characters.

Beware of the Evil Weapon, its Evil Counterpart. Compare Psychoactive Powers. May also serve as an Amplifier Artifact. Empathic Weapons tend to usually be some form of Situational Sword or Evolving Weapon. May also be a Living Weapon.

If the weapon communicates actively with the characters, it is instead a Talking Weapon.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: Youko's magic sword has a mind and a (bad) personality of his own. At one point, Youko's consciousness is sucked into the blade, where she meets the spirit of the sword in the shape of a talking monkey who tries to corrupt her into The Dark Side. She must beat him in a dialectical duel to break the psychic entrapping, return to her body and (finally) gain full control of the sword.
  • The Big O played with this trope a lot. Roger Smith's Humongous Mecha locked up on him in combat more than once as a direct result of his emotional state. And when Alan Gabriel tries to use another mech for nefarious purposes, it outright murders him in particularly nightmare-inducing scene, even if the sicko did deserve it.
  • The Gundams of G Gundam all tended to have an empathic component, which was required to use their full strength.
    • More Gundams do this sort of thing than you'd think. While either Retconned or handwaved away, oftentimes many Gundams somehow respond to their pilot's emotional state. Examples include the Zeta Gundam powering up to destroy the Big Bad, or the Nu Gundam's psychoframe technology suddenly creating a large psychic wave and sacrificing itself (and presumably the pilot) to prevent earth from being hit with a Colony Drop. Recently, the titular mech of Gundam 00 activated itself based on what appeared to be Setsuna's Power of Love persuasive argument to do so. In Gundam Wing, when Quatre activated the Sandrock's self-destruct sequence, the cockpit doors opened to let him out. Quatre understood this as the Gundam telling him to get off before walking away to its destruction. The Unicorn Gundam shut down on its own when Banagher was crying, but once he decides to fight, it activated on its own and on occasions, has activated its NT-D when Banagher wants it to.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, most of the characters talk to their mecha, though it could be for other reasons. You also have the case of when Quatre activated the Sandrock's self-destruct with the intent of sacrificing himself with it. Sandrock then opened its chest with the implication being that it wanted him to survive, before it began walking towards the enemy on its own so Quatre could get away. Then there was Duo's Deathscythe when it was heavily damaged in space; Duo attempted to hit the self-destruct button, but as he was not wearing a spacesuit to get out, it just plain refused to work.
  • In Space Runaway Ideon, though the titular robot itself is not sentient, the strange energy that powers it (called Ide) has a will of its own, and though it is never seen or technically communicated with, the show's cast know when it has been angered or has decided to forsake them.
  • Bleach: Shinigami all have an Empathic Weapon that is born from their own souls and imprinted onto an Asauchi which is a blank slate with limitless potential. As the Shinigami bonds with the Asauchi, the Asauchi takes on the form of the Shinigami's soul power in the form of a Zanpakutou. Only the most talented Shinigami can realise this process to such a a degree that the Empathic Weapon fully awakens into a Talking Weapon. If the sword breaks in battle, it can heal itself afterwards if given enough time. However, if the sword breaks while in bankai, the weapon can never be restored to its original form. The only exception is believed to be Komamura's.
  • Likewise, the swords of the Magic Knights. As their spirits and convictions matured, so did their weapons. (And their armor as well, for that matter.)
    • Empathic weapons also had a cameo in CLAMP's super-crossover series Tsubasa; in the world of Hanshin, every person has a guardian spirit or kudan. Stronger-willed and more aggressive people use their kudan to fight each other. Unsurprisingly, both the protagonist Syaoran and tough guy Kurogane get kudan that take the form of weapons, although they don't get to take the weapons with them when they leave.
  • The legendary Maou's sword "Morgif" in Kyou Kara Maou is supposed to be a powerful weapon in tune with its wielder, but because Yuuri's demon king side is usually sealed, all it does for him is groan a bit.
  • The Nirvash typeZERO mech from Eureka Seven; Eureka frequently communicates with it and says that it has feelings, although Renton seems unable to perceive or understand these things. Further it reacts to Renton's emotions and his desire to protect Eureka. At the end of the series, it's revealed that Nirvash is actually a sentient being, and experiencing Renton and Eureka's love for one another helps it reach enlightenment and prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
    • An argument could similarly be made for typeTHE END. By the end it is willing to sacrifice itself to protect Dominic and Anemone.
    • Also, much like the mecha of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Nirvash requires its pilot(s) to have confidence in themselves and in it; in the New Wave PS2 game, military pilot-turned rebel Sumner Sturgeon could not get it to start until he said that he believed he could.
  • The Thirteen Month Series from Tower of God. So far, two have been seen: the needle (think a rapier, but sturdier) Black March, which is actually a lustful woman with a very specific taste in men, so that she never cooperated with her previous Master, Princess Yuri, and Green April, a long hook that is more like a Blood Knight and berserker and can expand and split into multiple branches.
  • In the Sakura Taisen TV series, Li Kohran insists that the steam-powered kohbu armors have "hearts" and respond to the affection and attention of their users; events in the series seem to support her, but no definite determination is ever made.
    • Sakura's holy sword Arataka is also like this. It won't allow anyone unworthy to wield it.
  • In Naruto, the Akatsuki member Kisame Hoshigaki wields Samehada, a living, shark-skinned sword which eats chakra and visibly digests it. Also, if anyone other than Kisame tries to grab the handle, it skewers their hands with spikes.
    • Its full form steps right into terror as it starts making noises, grows at least double its previous size and a mouth grows near the tip of the sword and starts drooling
    • In chapter 472 it rebels against Kisame. Apparently it liked Hachibi's chakra so much that it doesn't want him and his chakra to disappear. Later this turns out to be a ploy, but it still did something it wasn't supposed to. And it goes back to the Hachibi's host again at the first opportunity, leaving Kisame to fight (and lose to) Might Guy without its assistance. It turns out that when your sword decides it likes your enemy better than it likes you, you're in trouble. Imagine that.
    • It's not exactly a weapon, but Sasuke's version of Susanoo seems to work this way in that it changes shapes based on the intensity of his emotions.
  • The Michael Revolution in Ga Rei. If the user doubts themselves or their cause, the sword won't allow itself to be drawn from its sheath, yet if the user believes hard enough in the Power of Love, it can cross dimensions.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, there are "Devices" that serve as Magitek / Magic from Technology Magic Wands. Armed Devices have limited intelligence and personalities, and no gender. They will provide feedback, advise a course of action, or give a short peptalk (or even a subtle verbal challenge) if their user appears lost. Intelligent Devices, with smarter AIs, do these things more often, have more complex personalities, even genders, and occasionally hold whole conversations with their masters. Unison Devices are the epitome, being complete, self-mobile persons in themselves. Though less often seen in-series, the Storage-type Devices are more common in their world, and have no real personalities at all.
  • The Seventh Holy Scripture from Tsukihime, a humongous harpoon gun thing that fires bible scriptures (... as spears, okay?) to stop reincarnations. It's powered by the soul of a young medieval girl crossed with the horn of a unicorn. Generally, it's called Nana (7 in Japanese) until Arihiko renames it Nanako. Oddly enough for this sort of thing, it's definitely its bearer who has the upper hand here, because Nanako is terrified of her.
    • And the Kaleidosticks from the Fate/stay night universe, appearing in the Fate/hollow ataraxia and Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA spin-offs. They offer their wielders tremendous power and knowledge, but also have the unfortunate tendency to intentionally manipulate those same wielders into humiliating situations for their own amusement. Ruby is much worse about it than Sapphire, but both of them force the Magical Girl costume...
  • The Liger Zero from Zoids: New Century Zero is an excellent example. However, in a partial subversion, it can make its own decisions, which occasionally turn out to be the wrong ones, requiring its pilot Bit Cloud to pull them out of the fire.
    • The Berserk Fury is the same way (allowing it to continue operating even when its pilot is knocked out cold)
    • All Zoids are technically sentient according canon, it's just that only certain Zoids get to show it in the anime series.
  • Sometimes the Empathic Weapon is a living, organic creature that just happens to be usable as weaponry or armor. Such as Princess Fatora's cat from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
    • The Organoids from the first two Zoids series arguably qualify here.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto Kaiba and his Blue Eyes White Dragon(s!- he has 3 of them) have a bond that goes beyond the normal Synchronization between duelists and cards. Even Kaiba, who insists he doesn't believe in magic, has acknowledged his uncanny ability to draw it when he needs it the most. (Then again, it is actually the spirit of a Mysterious Waif he loved in a past life...)
    • Everyone on the good side because of the Heart of the Cards, which is, um, what it sounds like.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Jaden has a similar bond with Winged Kuriboh, which in the manga, has a spirit within it. Manjoume has the Ojama trio in the anime and Light and Darkness Dragon (which is also a spirit card) in the manga.
  • InuYasha
    • Tessaiga and Tenseiga both have consciousness and a will of their own, most evident in Sesshoumaru's interactions with both swords. He loathes Tenseiga for being a Healing Shiv that can't cut anything and covets Inuyasha's Tessaiga instead, but Tenseiga freely protects him anyway and often prompts him to use its healing power. Tessaiga is less assertive but prompts Inuyasha the same way when necessary. On one occasion, both swords even work together to nudge their two stubborn masters into cooperation, a phenomenon which Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru end up calling "Resonance." Sesshoumaru unhappily interprets it as a sign that Tenseiga is Tessaiga's slave. It actually means that Tenseiga is Tessaiga's guide, which is the role their father intended for Sesshoumaru to play for Inuyasha.
    • Along the same lines, Sango's boomerang Hiraikotsu is inhabited by the souls of several demons whose bones were used to make the boomerang, giving it its own degree of sentience. At one point the demons actually become rather cross with her and refuse to help her because she sacrificed Hiraikotsu in order to save Miroku.
    • Sesshoumaru's other sword, Toukijin, has its own evil will and takes control of the body of the smith who forged it by sheer force of malice. The terrible amount of malice and evil power contained within it allows it to animate its creator's corpse even after Miroku kills him and not even Ultimate Blacksmith Toutousai can get close to the sword later on to negate its power. However, Sesshoumaru is so much more powerful (and strong-willed) that he completely represses Toukijin's will when he takes possession of it, and the sword's will is therefore never again an issue.
    • Later, in the third movie Swords of the Honorable Ruler, it's revealed that Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's father had a third sword, Sō’unga, called by Toutousai "the sword of hell", which is so evil it turns Inuyasha full demon, then finds, resurrects, and control's the man who killed Inuyasha's father, and tries to open the portal to hell just out of spite
  • The Evangelions in Neon Genesis Evangelion were a rather disturbing deconstruction of this trope, combining it with Organic Technology. The reason Shinji is selected as the pilot for Eva 01? It's because Eva 01 contains his mother's soul, who wants to protect Shinji. The same is true for Asuka, Eva 02, and Asuka's mother.
  • Exorcists in D.Gray-Man can activate their Innocence with thought alone, though most utilize verbal commands to invoke their abilities. Equipment-types are slow to respond while Parasite-types and Crystal-types react much faster .Sentient Innocence are rare, with only Allen's Crowned Clown, Klaud Nine's Lau Jimin and Cardinal/Apocryphos being known to have sentience.
  • The Master Key from Tenchi Muyo! is quite fussy about who is allowed to wield it. Anyone unsuitable gets a painful electric shock. In one case, when the unsuitable wielder insists on holding on, the jolt got so powerful that it blew up his hand. He promptly grew a new one, but it did stop him from stealing it.
  • In one episode of Magical Project S, Sammy's baton is shown to have a will of its own whenever it gets separated from her. When Haida ends up with it, it tries to direct her behavior towards being a paragon of justice while she just uses her powers for selfish reasons.
  • In Brain Powerd, the Brains are organic and intelligent, and their pilots tend to do more guiding, training and ordering than piloting in the traditional sense. At least for newborn Brains; most of them are outfitted with a cockpit at the first opportunity. Still, it's possible for a Brain to get angry or rattled in battle and do something stupid, at which point the pilot's job is supposedly to scold it.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann the Gunmen and Lagann are powered by the pilot's fighting spirit; if the pilot is lackluster or doubting, it won't move. Thankfully, they have Kamina.
    • One robot wouldn't start up because the pilot was hungry. Thankfully, they had Boota...
  • GaoGaiGar has the G-Stones, which are powered by the heroes Courage, when their courage begins to wane anything powered by a G-Stone will begin to falter. This is rarely an issue since everyone from the Crazy Commander to Token Foreigner and the robots have Lava running in their veins.
  • The Buster Machines from DieBuster are an extreme version of this, as not only do they 'talk' to their pilots, but they actually outlast them; to a Buster Machine, the pilot is little more than a battery, and the oldest Buster Machine, Dix-Neuf, has had dozens of pilots in its lifetime.
    • Likewise the lost ships in Lost Universe.
  • In the anime and manga series Silent Möbius, Grospoliner, Gesso, and Medium are examples of this trope. Of these, only Grospoliner is heard to speak to anyone other than its wielder, and Medium is an evil sword capable of possessing its wielder.
  • The Cloths of Athena's Saints in Saint Seiya have a will of their own. Those who wear them must first prove themselves worthy of the honor, and they must make some effort of upholding Athena's ideals (such as when a Gold Cloth outright abandoned its master in the middle of a battle.) The Andromeda Chain takes this one step further, as it can sense and attack a source of danger long before its wielder does, sometimes against said wielder's intentions.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke's Humongous Mecha comes equipped with Al, an Artificial Intelligence that ends up developing considerably more of a sense of humor than Sousuke himself has.
    • More importantly, the mech's Lambda Driver superweapon runs off of Sousuke's own emotions and aggressive impulses. Not the best thing to give to The Stoic, really.
    Sousuke: Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. What a piece of junk...
    Al: Agreed. Total garbage.
    Sousuke: Oh, so now you're getting cute on me. Huh, funny guy?
    Al: Affirmative.
  • The Data Weapon upgrades GEAR Fighter Dendoh are sentient data entities who won't even let people acquire them in the first place unless that person feels very strongly the emotion associated with the particular weapon (hope for Unicorn Drill, confidence for Viper Whip, etc.) If a person who "saves" a Data Weapon ever loses that driving emotion, the Weapon will leave.
  • In Vision of Escaflowne it is mentioned that at least some Ispano mecha bond with their owners, sometimes even fighting on after the death of their master. Escaflowne itself seems to possess a similar ability.
  • Zoro of One Piece often treats the named swords he acquires like they're these, particularly the one he started with that was previously owned by his childhood friend.
    • He also proves his luck is stronger than his named blade's curse.
    • The Going Merry (the Straw Hats' former ship) is also shown to have a soul and supports them in Skypiea and Enies Lobby
    • Lassoo the dachshund and Funkfreed the elephant... as they are actually a gun and sword, respectively. Through an unknown method, these weapons somehow "consumed" Devil Fruits and became sentient. Like all other Zoan Devil Fruit users, they are freely able to transform between their original form, animal form, and hybrid form.
  • In the Kirby anime series, Meta Knight's sword Galaxia is an ancient, legendary, talking weapon forged thousands of years ago and is said to have its own soul. If anyone other than Meta Knight (or Kirby) grabs it, it demands to know who they are and what they're doing, and will shock those not powerful enough to wield it.
  • The Living Weapons in Soul Eater. Conflict, either personal or between meister and Weapon leads to weakened combat ability, and in extreme cases the Weapon can't be wielded without causing harm to the meister.
  • In Simoun, the eponymous vehicles are powered by both pilots' feelings towards each other, as proven in episode 12 when the twin sisters' aircraft spirals out of control.
  • Kira in Angel Sanctuary is able to summon Shiranui, a sword that choose him as its wielder itself. Furthermore, Kira himself is Lucifer, the soul powering Setsuna's sword Nanatsusaya.
  • Most oversouls In Shaman King qualify, since most of them are made from spirits of dead beings. However some Shamans use objects for their oversouls. The most blatant are the Xlaws, who aside from their leader and Lyserg, use cars to create their angel oversouls. They try to justify it by explaining the cars are one-of-a-kind, loving products of their builders who dedicated so much effort into them that, in a way, some of their creator's spirit ended up in the vehicles.
  • Hero Tales has the conqueror's sword, Kenkaranpu. It can be drawn only by one acknowledged by the sword itself. First the only one who could do this was The Hero Taitō Shirei. Later, when Taitō found out he was related to the emperor, but decided not to run for the throne (and thus turned down the fate of the conqueror), The Big Bad Keirō became able to draw the Kenkaranpu.
  • Dai's orhicalcum sword in Dai no Daibouken can gauge the enemy ability: if he's too weak it stays locked in the scabbard to avoid excessive damage. It's also shown reacting to Dai's determination and protecting him with an energy shield.
  • The Hayagami in Arata Kangatari are living gods in the form of weapons.
  • In Madan no Ou to Vanadis, the Dragonic Tools are semi-sentient weapons that choose their wielders. Tigre's black bow goes a step farther, and sends thoughts into his head.

    Comic Books 
  • Jeff Smax of Top 10 owns - and constantly bickers with - a bearded, talking, singing sword. Which is why his climactic battle with the dragon Morningbright the Firstborn is set to the tunes of Abba's Dancing Queen.
  • Old Lace, the psychic dinosaur in Runaways.
    • Klara's plants might also count. If she doesn't trust you, they will make sure that you don't get anywhere near her.
  • The being who offers herself up for this purpose to Fauntleroy in Gold Digger come to mind.
  • The titular Witchblade from Witchblade.
  • Phil Foglio's Buck Godot includes a Space Pirate character called The Pistol Packin' Polaris Packrat who wields two sentient laser pistols. One is called "Smith", and the other is called "Wesson". They are capable of speech and firing themselves, and they are demonstrably smarter than the Packrat (although that's not saying much). They profess to believe that Buck's zap-gun, "Junior", is likewise sentient, but if this is true Junior is keeping quiet about it.
  • The heart of Kandrakar from the original W.I.T.C.H.. comic is an empathic-amulet, but with a justified reason: It's a vessel to the soul of Xing Ying, a Chinese nymph, who died when she freed the four element-dragons from an unfair punishment.
  • In Poison Elves, Lusiphur's (stolen) sword Cinlach is explicitly an empathic, intelligent weapon - it just refuses to speak to Lusiphur because he's somewhere between an Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist. It isn't until Lusiphur dedicates himself to doing some good that Cinlach does what it's supposed to do. Unfortunately, due to Author Existence Failure, we never get to find out the exactly extent of its powers or limitations...
  • The Tactigon and Gauntlet's gauntlet from Avengers: The Initiative. The Tactigon has an unsettling tendency to choose...disturbed...individuals as the wielders of its immense destructive power - when we first see it, its host is Armory, a suicidal psychopath. The gauntlet on the other hand once took over Gauntlet's body when he was in a coma to protect him when an Ax-Crazy clone wielding the Tactigon was hunting him down.
  • The title character's hypermembrane in Empowered
  • The Green Lantern rings seem to qualify for this sometimes.
    • This was shown somewhat significantly in the Elseworlds story JLA: Another Nail; a Green Lantern was killed while trying to save some of the slaves on Apokolips. The ring fled before the killer could take it. It chose Big Barda as the wielder since she's the only native on Apokolips worthy of such a weapon. It let the Guardians know of the wielder "in a tone and authority that surprised" them. It also merged with a Mother Box and bonded with Mister Miracle, which Highfather accepted.
    • In JLA: Earth 2, Green Lantern's evil analogue, Power Ring, has a... power ring inhabited by a sentient being referring to itself as "entity Volthoom".
      • Pre-Crisis Earth-3, Volthoom was a "mad monk".
  • Gunnar in Rogue Trooper, a gun fitted with a chip containing the mind of Rogue's dead buddy. There's also Bagman, am empathic backpack, and Helm, an empathic helmet.
  • Symbiotes of Spider-Man lore (Venom, Carnage, you know the guys) may fit the bill, and are about as empathic as a weapon could get. Their level of personality has crept up over the years though to the point they're more like characters.
  • The titular weapon tool from Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool. It will only work for Steelgrip because he is pure of heart. He lampshades this trope when he says it feels like the APPT is silently communicating with him.
  • Thurim's hammer in Requiem Chevalier Vampire will zaAAARRRRCHZZZCHZPTp those who are not worthy.
  • Thor's hammer Mjölnir. It doesn't matter how strong you are, but how worthy you are to weld it. The Incredible Hulk can barely lift it an inch. But Captain America was able to pick it up and throw it. Another instance had an emergency worker hand Mjölnir to a beaten Thor.
    • Even Superman isn't worthy of it — the one time he wielded it, Odin lifted the enchantment because of the crisis at hand. Wonder Woman, however, apparently is. Which actually makes sense when you consider that "worthiness" is judged by Odin's standards, and thus a true warrior spirit (including a willingness to kill but only when it's absolutely necessary, something Wonder Woman has demonstrated but Superman has not) would likely be part of the equation.
    • Beta Ray Bill's hammer Stormbreaker has a similar enchantment. Bill only realized he was taking his vendetta against Galactus too far when he couldn't lift Stormbreaker after he did something especially awful in a bid to kill Galactus.
  • Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto serves powerful wielders of light magic. On at least two occasions Strange ventured too far into dark magic and the Eye refused to work for him.
  • Nikolai Dante has his weapons crest, as do the other Romanovs - in Nikolai's case, this causes swords to burst forth from his hands at the moment of battle.

    Fan Works 
  • What Kyon's new weapon in Kyon Big Damn Hero appears to be.
  • Definitely John's Kansael and the Hunter's BFS Blackfire, and possibly George's Tribune ring, in With Strings Attached. The Kansael is semi-sentient and often gives John ideas about what to do with water, though he rejects many of them because they're quite scary. It is also rather opinionated and protective of him. Blackfire turns out to be a demon bound in sword shape. George's ring proves to have soul-bonded with him; at the very least, no one but him will ever be able to use it. It leaped onto his hand after having been torn from him. However, whether it's truly empathic is unknown.
  • In The Wizard In The Shadows, the Sword of Gryffindor is this. It also shows signs of sapience, choosing it's next wielder and occasionally being used by Godric Gryffindor to possess the wielder.

    Film 
  • Excalibur treats the titular sword this way. When Arthur uses the sword to strike down Lancelot in anger, it shatters. Arthur immediately realizes that he made a big mistake in using the sword to destroy an honorable knight. His admission of that fact allows the Lady of the Lake to repair Excalibur and revive Lancelot.
  • Mystery Men has The Bowler, who wields a Bowling Ball inhabited by the spirit of her dead father. More often than not, she ends up arguing with it.
    Blue Raja: Am I to understand that you have inserted your father's skull into that...ball for bowling?
    The Bowler: No, no, of course not. The guy at the pro shop did it.
  • The Jaegers from Pacific Rim, courtesy of the neural link. The stronger the mental and emotional connection between the pilots, the greater control they have over their Jaeger, which translates into better performance in battle. This is why many pilot teams know each other inside and out by being blood relatives, lovers, or lifelong friends.

    Literature 
  • Stormbringer, the black runeblade wielded by Elric of Melniboné in the novels of Michael Moorcock, was an empathic weapon with a curious and sometimes hostile relationship with its owner — forcing him, on one occasion, to kill his lover after battling to rescue her.
    • In the end, it turns out Stormbringer was never really a sword in the first place. It was actually a powerful demon disguised as a sword that used Elric to destroy and recreate the universe, leaving it as the supreme evil power in the new one. It "rewarded" Elric with a quick death.
  • Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures features a sword that hosts the mind of Cloudcuckoolander, Deadpan Snarker, Miles Gloriosus Dandelion, who claims to have been a demon and declares to have amazing abilities. Subverted, however, since he was just a weak cave troll who happened to have his ashes mixed with a sword.
  • The Great Weapons of Steven Brust's Dragaera. They are linked to the soul of their owners, and because they contain a soul, they are intelligent, have personalities, and can even occasionally take action without input from their wielders. The wielders we've seen so far all telepathically communicate with their weapons and often refer to them as people; in fact, Blackwand, Nightslayer, and Godslayer are all described as female. Pathfinder is gender-neutral, while Iceflame (and the other 12 not yet mentioned) are unknown.
  • In both Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and its prequel, The Hero and the Crown, the mage Luthe warns the heroine that Gonturan, the eponymous blue sword, is a good ally, but has thoughts of her own and cannot be entirely trusted. In the former, Corlath explains that Gonturan is a woman's sword which will betray any man older than 21 who attempts to carry her. Again in both books, the sword acts to save the day with little instruction from its wielder.
  • Gurthang (Anglachel), Túrin Turambar's sword in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. At the end of Túrin's saga, he discovers that he ended up marrying his sister (who just committed suicide), and he kills the person giving this news in a fury (he didn't like the guy already...). Then, full of grief, he speaks to Gurthang, asking it to take his life. Gurthang speaks, saying that he will slay him swiftly, in order to avenge its previous owner whom Túrin killed by mistake, and give justice for the murder he just committed.
    • Which, follows closely the story of Kullervo in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Which makes this Older Than Feudalism.
    • Oh yeah, and it likes to drink its enemies' blood. It also seems to be somewhat cursed, possibly by the malicious Elf that forged it.
  • Special swords called jivatma in Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer books are bonded with their owner's spirit. They also contain the wisdom and strength of whatever living thing was the first to die on that blade.
  • The Sword of Truth in the book series of the same name works something like this. It is capable of affecting the wielder's emotions (mostly anger), its magic apparently tests him after the first kill to see if he is worthy of it, and its ability of destroying an opponent hinges on the wielder actually believing the opponent being a threat.
  • Several of the novels and trilogies of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar universe feature Need, a magic sword with an occasionally highly inconvenient mind of its own: the events of The Oathbound are mostly driven by Need forcing its bearer and her partner to get involved any time a woman is in danger, from instances of basic domestic violence all the way up to demon-worshipping cults. Kerowyn, who inherits the sword next, puts up with such shenanigans much less, but still occasionally has to deal with things like being frozen in her tracks mid-combat because Need won't allow her to harm the enemy priestess who is about to bash her head in. Eventually it is revealed that Need is inhabited by the spirit of a female priestess/smith who had voluntarily sealed herself into the sword in order to help rescue a number of kidnapped young women. Once she regains her full consciousness in The Mage Winds she becomes much less troublesome, albeit snarkier.
  • The Orb of Aldur from The Belgariad has a personality of its own, about that of a small child. It won't let anyone besides Garion or Eriond use it, but is sensitive to surrounding peoples' emotions. It also has beyond godlike power and a tendency to try and be helpful, whether by giving suggestions (responding with instructions to Garion's offhand, sardonic comment about writing his name in the stars) or just being overenthusiastic. Case in point: Garion uses the Orb to knock down a city's gates as a distraction. Said gates (and part of the surrounding walls) are suddenly blasted miles away into the ocean.
    • A little while after acquiring it, he contemplates the 'damaged' world and how to fix it. The Orb promptly starts feeding him instructions on how to REBUILD THE WHOLE WORLD.
      • The Bhelliom from The Elenium by the same author shares many traits with the Orb, having apparently limitless power (it actually created the world) and can only be safely handled and used by the wearer of two rings containing fragments of the Bhelliom. Actually Anakha, that is Sparhawk, being The Chosen One, can use it safely without the rings, since Anakha is supposed to be Bhelliom's servant anyway.
      • The Bhelliom also seems to have a slightly more sophisticated intellect than the Orb; at some point during the second series Bhelliom starts taking over one of the companion's body to speak through their mouths. It still goes in for overblown solutions, though; at one point when they are attempting to flee pursuit, Sparhawk asks the Bhelliom for assistance, and it responds by raising a new mountain range between them and their enemies. It's quite proud of itself, too.
  • Kring from Terry Pratchett's first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was a talking sword who was not so much "empathic" as "annoying", leading at one point to Rincewind being forced to save the others because otherwise Kring would kill him.
    • In the book Equal Rites the staff left for Esk is an example for this trope.
    • In Sourcery, Coin's staff acts like this when no one is around to see it abuse Coin. It also shocked someone else who tried to pick it up. This is because Coin's father is possessing the staff to use the wunderkind as a tool of revenge.
  • Possibly the alethiometer of His Dark Materials: It responds to the user's thoughts, and Lyra once thinks she can sense it scolding her for asking a question twice because she can't believe the answer.
    • Appearing in the second book in the series, there is the titular Subtle Knife. Iorek Byrnison examines and reforges it in the third book and tells Will that the knife may have its own intentions that Will himself is not aware of.
    • The armoured bears regard their armour as such - they forge it themselves from meteor iron, and taking it is explicitly compared to taking a part of a human's soul.
  • In the Revelation Space Saga by Alastair Reynolds, the Hell-Class Weapons are controlled by AIs somewhere between beta- and gamma-level. That is, they don't have fully-fledged personalities, but are quite capable of acting on their own initiative.
  • The titular Lost Superweapon of The Tar-Aiym Krang, by Alan Dean Foster. It's actually superintelligent but can only be activated by someone with advanced Psychic Powers. Flinx and Pip together are the only beings in the universe capable of establishing the requisite link.
  • In Wizards Abroad, the fourth Young Wizards novel, the Four Great Treasures of Ireland are immensely powerful spiritual entities, with their physical "bodies" merely being there to allow them to interact with the physical world. They consider their wielders to be transportation more than anything else.
  • Wands in the Harry Potter universe seem to act this way (most evident in the seventh book). "The wand chooses the wizard" and will not live up to its full potential in another wizard's hands. Wand ownership can apparently only be transferred by defeating the original owner in a duel, or by taking the wand by force (and against the owner's will) in some other way. Because "true" ownership has to be transferred in this way, the possessor of a given wand may not be the true owner.
    • The Sword of Gryffindor seems to have a bit of this as well, only allowing a true heir of Gryffindor's philosophy to wield it.
  • The titular sword of Lord Dunsany's The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save For Sacnoth. May also count as an instance of Defeat Means Friendship since the sword was fashioned from the remains of a monster the protagonist had to slay first and retains one of its eyes and at least a portion of its memories, yet never turns against its wielder.
  • The book Path of the Sword by Henry Lion Oldie essentially revolves around two separate cultures - sentient weapon and warrior-duellist - each realizing the other was sentient, as well. Yes, the weapons considered humans hard-to-train living property without any intellect, and were actually pretty angry should some other weapon ruin their favorite "appendage."
    Be damned that day when the weapons began to get names!
  • The Swords of the Cross in The Dresden Files are three such swords.
    • They also happen to be the most powerful weapons known (on special occasions), with the possible exception of the Black Athame. They don't appear to be sentient in of themselves, but are often used as a conduit by anything up to an Archangel/God himself (that incident at the end of Changes is a bit ambiguous as to which Judaeo-Christian higher being it was), and each chooses their new wielder, often in fairly spectacular fashion.
  • The SIG from David Gunn's Death's Head, a Swiss Army Pistol with an embedded AI. Late in the first book, a top-of-the-line rifle is heavily modified to host said AI, as an extra dose of Badass to the protagonist.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, when Uriel and Pasanius find suits of battle armor in a museum, Uriel picks out one and cannot shake the conviction that it was waiting, and for him. He has all of it but the helmet repainted in Ultramarine colors so he can wear it; not the helmet, as a gesture of respect to the machine spirits. When the Grey Knights have been convinced of their innocence, they rearm them, and Uriel receives that suit that he had chosen, or had chosen him.
    • In Courage and Honour, he is set through the suits of battle armor to replace his; he feels an even stronger urge toward one particular suit. Then, this is his new, permanent suit.
  • Magical objects, such as a necromancer's bells or a Charter-Spelled sword, are implied to have minds of their own in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. Rather than being empathic to their user's desires, however, they seem to often have their own agendas; for example, Sabriel has to be careful when wielding certain bells for fear of causing the opposite of the intended effect, especially as some bells are known to ring of their own accord.
  • In Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air, the steamknights' weapons chose their wielder. We see this for a disgraced knight, and Lord Wireburn choses him. It can talk, and at one point explains that he chose this knight because he knew what fear was.
  • R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt:
    • Artemis Entreri, a ruthless assassin by anyone's standards, possesses a sentient sword called Charon's Claw, a Netherese artifact that engages the mind of anyone who wields it without a magic gauntlet. Since accidently absorbing the essence of a Shade Charon's Claw has developed a "Liking" to him, and resists even more than usual anyone who tries to wield it. So far the only person other than Entreri who can use it is an epic-level monk.
    • The same series also includes "Khazid'Hea," aka Cutter, a sentient sword that can change its shape and design to suit its wielder and cut through solid stone. It has a fiercely ambitious personality and wants to be wielded only by the best swordsman. When Drizzt Do'Urden defeated its previous owner, the sword hoped to be taken by him; instead, he gave it to Catti-Brie. There followed a disturbing and hilarious sequence where the sword took over Catti-Brie's mind and tried to use her body to seduce Drizzt into wielding it. In the end, however, Catti-Brie herself was able to master the sword and it agreed to serve her.
      • Until the Thousand Orcs books, where it escaped in the hands of an Orc, was briefly wielded by Drizzt, lost in a battle with the Orc leader, and found by a Drow assassin, who gets along rather well with it.
    • Drizzt's scimitar Icingdeath has a comparatively lower-grade intelligence, but Drizzt repeatedly notes that it transmits to him a feeling of hateful glee when he attacks fiends with it.
  • The titular swords of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy are this in addition to Clingy Macguffins. Due to the unique magic that went into their creation, they are practically living beings, with the ability to perceive and influence the people around them. At the height of their power, they can compel absolute obedience from their bearers.
  • Multiple weapons and artifacts in the Dragonlance universe are implied to be this way, including to some extent the Dragonlances themselves.
  • In Steve Parker's Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard novel Gunheads, Wulfe is disgruntled with his new tank, Last Rites II, because it was not its predecessor. When it breaks down near the end, he grumbles that she could not have picked a worse time, and the rest of the crew point out that she could have easily have picked a far worse time — she had carried them farther than any of the other tanks and broken down near safety. Wulfe realizes that he owes her more respect and when his commander makes the same comment he had, Wulfe repeats his men's objections.
  • In C. S. Goto's Blood Ravens trilogy, Vairicanum. When Gabriel hears its history and demands to know why Rhamah chose it, the Librarians explain that it chose him.
  • In the last story of the anthology Wandering Djinn, Malik only manages to survive and win a battle after being impaled with an ancient sword because it changed its mind over who it wanted to help. He even says "I've always loved empathetic weapons, they tend to pick who they want to serve in the middle of a battle."
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, Atkin's knife. It has a mind of its own, uses With Due Respect, and engages in philosophical debate with him. And wins.
  • Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series (the books, not the Disney adaptation of The Black Cauldron) featured Dyrnwyn, a sword with runes carved on it warning it can only be drawn by certain people (originally thought to be "Royal Blood", the true translation is eventually found to be "Noble Worth"). Taran tries to draw the sword near the end of The Book of Three and gets his arm burned as a result. But then, in The High King, he happens to unearth the stolen Dyrnwyn atop Mount Dragon. Desperate for a weapon to fight a charging Cauldron-Born, he grabs and draws the sword. Only after he draws it does he realize what he's holding...and the fact that it's not burning him, proving he has actually earned the right to be the sword's new owner.
  • In Weavers of Saramyr, the Weavers' masks. The Red Order also have their kana.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Bonded can be one or the other depending on how much of their personality they retain from the conversion and whether or not they're broken. Most of them are this trope because the wielder can sense their presence and a gist of their feelings but cannot communicate.
  • Excalibur in A Hard Day's Knight is shown hindering unwanted wielders and helping chosen ones. Even if they have almost no experience with a sword.
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Menelaus realizes that the Chimarae practice of Named Weapons stems from Ancestral Weapons that had AIs.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, the artifact Ziantha found is able to manipulate people about. Ziantha deduces it springs from its being used by sensitives for generations.

    Live Action TV 
  • KITT from Knight Rider.
  • Arguably, Xena's chakram is one of these.
  • The Madan Ryu from Ryukendo, who are as much a part of the main cast as the heroes themselves. Notable is one scene where Sixth Ranger Koichi's ZanRyuJin does his backtalking for him.
  • A possible example is the forcelances in Andromeda, since if they're given to someone who's DNA code isn't allowed, they'll shock the user.
  • Though the audience never sees anything unusual with Inspector Sledge Hammer!'s custom .44 Magnum, he treats it as a living, breathing entity. Subverted in one episode in which Hammer is hallucinating and the viewers do see his gun talking, complete with animated barrel/mouth.
  • In Earth: Final Conflict, the skrill are bio-engineered weapons fused to a human operator's forearm, and which draw upon the operator's own blood supply — so rapid use can cause the human to pass out. In fact, and not generally known to the characters, the skrill were originally an independent sapient lifeform; and despite the best efforts of the Taelons to eradicate that sapience, they sometimes communicate with their hosts.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Warhead," the series 5 long-range tactical armor unit counts as one. It's been launched accidentally, so Voyager's crew have to talk it out of exploding.
  • Doctor Who. The Moment in "Day of the Doctor", an ultimate Time Lord weapon that became so advanced it gained sentience, thus no-one dared use it for fear it would turn on them. When the War Doctor activates it to stop the Time War by destroying both Time Lords and Daleks, it takes the form of future companion Rose Tyler in an attempt to convince the Doctor not to activate it.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rifts, and much all of Palladium Book's games have these in the form of rune weapons. Which all have a personality because a living sentient creature must be sacrificed during their creation in order to trap its life essence/soul in the item.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, certain Imperial devices work like this, particularly their Humongous Mecha. Eldar psychically attuned weapons also have personalities of their own. Chaos Daemon weapons are exactly halfway between this and Artifact of Doom.
    • Imperial forces act as if all weapons with "machine spirits" are like this, and will treat them with respect. At times, it can be hard to tell if they're right.
    • Rogue Trader reveals that even Imperial starships have personalities of some sort. Not AIs persay, but ships seem to have definite preferences (ex. some are constantly itching for battle, others will do anything to get away from a fight.)
    • Asurmen, the Dire Avenger Phoenix Lord, has a Diresword that contains the soul of his brother, who was killed by a daemon.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has rules for intelligent weapons, though they are technically treated as NPCs and often qualify as characters by themselves. Among the examples in the Dungeon Master's Guide of 3.5 Edition is a talking sword that recalls the above Discworld example in that is said it would be best suited for a deaf swordsman.
    • In 4th edition every artifact is this kind of item, although only one of the presented ones is technically a weapon (the Axe of Dwarvish Lords).
    • The mechanism was partially put in as a limiter on power. The more powerful a sword was, the more likely it was to be intelligent and have a high ego score. The higher the ego score, the more likely it was to withhold abilities and/or outright lie to the player in order to fulfill its purpose.
  • The Engels of Cthulhu Tech are these, which is only natural given that the Evangelions are a major... inspiration for them. Given that they're lobotomised, cyberised Eldritch Abominations (and the Hamshall appears to be a Star Spawn of Cthulhu), they're a) kind of alien to humanity, and b) require brain surgery to be able to operate them.
    • So in other words, they ARE Evangelions.
  • GURPS: Thaumatology actually has rules for characters that are living weapons.
  • In Pathfinder, the entire "Bladebound" archetype for the Magus class is a direct Shout-Out to The Elric Saga, complete with gaining an intelligent bladed weapon that can eventually consume the souls of its kills as their signature weapon.
  • Like the GURPS example above, Legends of Anglerre includes rules for intelligent items both as equipment and Player Characters.

    Video Games 
  • Planescape: Torment one of your companions, Dak'kon, wields the last known Karach blade. It is made of chaos-matter and its form and abilities change to match the power of its user. If you did deeper in the dialogue it is revealed that a former incarnation of the Nameless one saved Dak'kon purely because of the blade, with the intention of eventually taking it for himself. It is implied that the Nameless one's power and force of will would make the blade phenomenally powerful.
    • You also meet an NPC called Ingress, whose *teeth* are empathic (if not outright sentient; it's hard to tell since The Nameless One doesn't speak Tooth Language). If you help her she'll gift the teeth to you, and they turn into Morte's Evolving Weapon by having you ask them to improve. Some Dummied Out dialogue also involves the teeth forcefully invading Morte's jaw for insulting them.
    • Finally, Nordom carries a pair of gear spirits, partially sentient spirits of mechanics that have taken the form of crossbows for him to use. Nordom can requisition them for improved ammunition.
  • In Warcraft III, Arthas's blade Frostmourne is one part of the Lich King's soul that eventually turns him into the undead.
    • Another famous World of Warcraft example is the Corrupted Ashbringer, apparently inhabited by the soul or remnants of the soul of the man that used to wield it. Said sword can actually speak.
    • Frostmourne's sister weapon, the axe Shadowmourne. The Lich King speaks to you through it.
  • The Swordians in Tales of Destiny. They actually contain the spirits of legendary heroes, thus can talk and have to put up of the naive stupidity of Tales leads.
    • Soma in Tales of Hearts don't have feelings of their own, but through them you can form a Soma Link. The party actually meets the "server" for Soma Link transmissions late in the game.
  • In Super Robot Wars, the mecha sometimes act like Empathic Weapons, especially when people with Psychic Powers are using them. See this clip. The Mechanoids also are also more requested to do attacks then 'piloted'.
    • Moreover, every pilot has a "Will" statistic representing fighting spirit that modifies his or her robot's stats and determines what attacks it can use. Depressed pilots deal less damage, take more, and can only use basic weapons.
  • The Masamune in Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Also the Einlanzer, to a less extent, in the second game.
  • Asgard from Wild ARMs activates only when Cecilia shows understanding of its purpose and reluctance to fulfill that purpose. Cecilia also shows respect for it by asking it for help rather than forcefully controlling it. To a minor degree, the titular ARMs of the series also qualify, as they're usually portrayed as only usable by certain people who have the capacity to attune their bodies and spirits to them.
  • Suikoden uses this trope quite a lot:
    • All the True Runes are implied to choose their own bearer.
    • Every gun in the setting is also implied to have a soul, and may refuse to work for people who don't have the "right" to operate them.
    • The Star Dragon Sword from I and II, which is used whenever the team needs to take down the vampire Neclord, goes a bit beyond this trope (it's an actual character, not merely empathetic.) Only Viktor is fit to use said sword, and the sword is never happy about it, berating the grizzled hero at any opportunity it can get. Incidentally, it is also a True Rune incarnate - namely, the Night Rune. That explains its ability to injure Neclord, since Neclord's barrier is powered by the Night Rune.
      • The Star Dragon Sword also appears in Suikoden III, wielded by a kid named Edge. Apparently, Viktor got tired of the sword's constant nagging and unloaded it on gave the honor of wielding it to Edge.
  • Sora's Keyblade in the Kingdom Hearts game series is very particular over who wields it, and will normally teleport itself back into his hands is held by anyone else. This is used humorously in the second game when Jack Sparrow asks for the Keyblade as payment. Sora willingly hands it over to him only for it to return to Sora a second later. He can also summon it back to him if it's knocked out of his hands, as seen in his dream-fight against Roxas. But if he doubts himself, the Keyblade won't stick around, as seen at Hollow Bastion.
    • And Kingdom Hearts II reveals that the ownership of a keyblade can be transferred, but only to other worthy wielders, as seen when Riku gives a Destiny's Embrace keyblade to Kairi.
    • Roxas and Xion have a pair that get passed around a bit, Xion borrowing Roxas' a couple times, Riku taking Xion's a couple times, and finally Roxas taking Xion's and wielding it along with his own before Riku takes it back again... and it all makes sense in context.
    • Birth by Sleep sort-of clarifies the process. Sometimes the actual Keyblade is passed down (Yen Sid giving Mickey the Star Seeker), while in other cases, existing Keyblade wielders can grant the same power to those with strong enough hearts (Terra to Riku, Aqua to Kairi).
  • The Blackrock Sword from Ultima VII and its The Black Forge expansion. The sword is only usable because of a demon sealed in the hilt of the sword, making it perhaps the ultimate tool in the entire game. This sword can instantly recharge the player's mana, instantly kill any enemy in one swipe, can provide hints for the player (by "talking" to the sword). In the sequel, you cannot escape the starting area without shattering the gem holding the demon, rendering the sword useless, in the spirit of Starting With Nothing.
    • The sword is actually lost at the beginning of the game, and recovered about halfway through the game. You get the awesome power of the sword for approximately five minutes before it becomes Blessed with Suck. You can eventually repair the weapon, but it never becomes as powerful as it was before.
  • In Dark Cloud, one of the weapons you can find is a talking slingshot named Steve, who gives advice about any monster you aim at, as well as talking about other unrelated things, such as his mother being a catapult, and he seems to have a crush on his owner, Xiao. He can be upgraded just like most other weapons... to Super Steve, which bears very little aesthetic change, apart from the cape adoring the human-shaped slingshot handle. And yes, it still talks.
  • In the Awakening expansion to Dragon Age: Origins, the sword Vigilance is implied to be this in the epilogue.
  • The Soul Calibur series of games features a few empathic weapons, all of which are (one way or another) the result of direct or indirect contact with the main evil one:
    • Although much closer to an Artifact of Doom, Soul Edge is a fully sentient weapon that seeks to control its wielder into killing people so it can eat the souls and gain power. The sword has an actual soul/mind (Inferno) and can communicate to its wielder mentally, usually to harass or demoralize him/her. It can also form into any weapon the wielder is most familiar with when held.
    • Soul Calibur was originally a bit emphatic, merely choosing to protect its wielder from Soul Edge and help fight it. IV and V, however, saw the sword go through considerable development: IV revealed it to actually be a purified shard of Soul Edge itself with an opposed but extreme goal to achieve peace and order by freezing the world in crystals. In V, it becomes the driving force for Patroklos when his older sister Pyrrha is manipulated into becoming the next wielder for Soul Edge. Though apparent in IV, it becomes clear that Soul Calibur herself can be just as bad as Soul Edge since she is only concerned with killing Soul Edge and its wielder and possesses Patroklos and removes his empathy to become an unfeeling and loyal Knight Templar. Also, much like Soul Edge, it changes shape to accomodate her wielder.
    • Ivy's sword, Valentine, is described as sentient, having been (unknowingly, at the time) animated by the evil energy of Soul Edge. It has a mind of its own and will protect Ivy from any harm, as shown in her ending during IV, where the sword shatters itself to protect Ivy from the evil of Soul Edge when the sword was destroyed.
    • Taki's second sword, Mekki-Maru, is somewhat empathic as it was also affected by a shard of the sword forged into it. It reacts strongly to the sword's energy and other similar emanations.
    • Yoshimitsu's self-named katana gains some sentience as well, once again due to its proximity to Soul Edge's aura. It feeds on the negative emotions of its wielder, slowly gnawing at their life. As it fed of Yoshimitsu's desires for revenge, he found a way to keep the sword in check, but since his successor (who's similarly furious at his mentor's killer) is incapable of doing it, he needs a second sword that palliates the effects of the first as a (temporal) failsafe.
  • The above weapon is seemingly the same one used by the modern-times Yoshimitsu from Tekken, whose katana is described as turning its wielder crazy if it's not used to kill (bad) guys.
  • Yoshimo's +1 katana from Baldur's Gate II. To very loosely quote the flavor text, traditional enchantments on katana are next to impossible due to the extremely high basic quality of the swords. Instead, it is implied that fallen warriors may have begged a Wu Jen to infuse their fighting spirits in their weapons with their last breaths, giving the swords a tiny sliver resembling sentience that improves effectiveness in battle. Yoshimo's own sword isn't mentioned to be magical at all, but instead implied to have bonded with Yoshimo to the point where it's superior to a normal katana and refuses to be wielded by anyone else.
    • Xan from the first game has an elven moonblade, who are all empathetic weapons. Because the moonblade has chosen him as its wielder, only Xan can use it.
    • Lilarcor, meanwhile, falls under a completely different trope. Not much 'empathy' to be had on that front.
  • Enserric the Longsword from Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, though its less the sword itself that talks, and more a soul that has been trapped inside that eventually became stuck, not much difference between the two. He especially likes the taste of elf blood in the morning.
    • From the same game's expansion Kingmaker, the weapon of the main character; you get to choose what it is, though it rather snarks at you if you choose something exotic. It turns out to actually be the protagonist's grandfather.
  • The daedric artifacts in The Elder Scrolls series. They have a tendency to just disappear if the user abuses them/becomes too dependent on them, latter reappearing in a completely different time and place (in an increasingly narrow range of locations, too... or not actually, but it looks like it due to variations in spatial compression. In Arena, they were spread over a continent; in Daggerfall they were limited to a transnational region, and in Morrowind they were limited to a single (albeit rather large) island. In Oblivion it was back to a nation, which is storywise the largest nation on the continent, and gameplay-wise around 3/2 the size of the aforementioned island.)
    • Though this may be more a case of the daedric princes associated with the artifacts just taking them back as need or whim dictates, as they are at least sometimes handed out directly by the princes, and tend to show up where important things are happening which may draw the princes' attention.
  • Most of the swords and other melee weapons in Devil May Cry are empathic. In the first game, the Alastor (sword) and Ifrit (gauntlets) actually attempt to kill Dante as a test of worthiness. Meanwhile, in Devil May Cry 3, Dante's weapons (aside from the keepsake Rebellion sword) are all actually the remnant of a defeated boss. Even Rebellion is implied to be this, too, since he can hoist it over his shoulder without cutting himself, and when it does get a taste of its master's blood, it unlocks his Devil Trigger form.
  • In the game Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, the Azure Azoth (wielded by the protagonist Felt), and the Crimson Azoth (wielded by the antagonist Chaos) are possessed by spirits that give the blades their power. In his case, Felt was the Chosen One able to pull out the dormant Azure Azoth when his peaceful world of Eden begins to crumble and goes into the parallel world of Belkhyde (which likely represents Earth) to save both worlds, and is assisted along the way by the spirit of his weapon. On the other hand, the spirit of the Crimson Azoth turns out to be The Man Behind the Man and the actual Big Bad of the game who has been using Chaos throughout the game (through a promise to use its power to resurrect his dead little sister if he should succeed). Also, while not a weapon, the Share Ring that allows Felt and his adopted sister Viese to communicate (via letters) and send items to each other across dimensions seems to have this quality.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II had a lightsaber crystal that changes stats based on your alignment. Though it's not technically alive in any sense, it "just" (never mind how) reflects your own Force signature.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the Devil's Arms, a collection of weapons which are cursed, alive, and probably evil. There is exactly one Devil's Arm each character can wield, and after completing the miniquest associated with them they can be the most powerful weapons in the game, since they deal more damage for every monster you slay. Equipping them before the quest is done will lead to great disappointment, because until then they are the weakest weapons in the game.
    • That said, they're a bit of a Bragging Rights Reward, seeing as you may not really need them once you've activated them, since to do so you need to beat a boss that's even harder than the game's final boss.
  • In Wild ARMs XF has two. The first is Strahl Gewehr, and gun that can only be used by a princess medium and channels the power of the Guardians. The other is Iskander Bey, which can only be used by Yulia and her descendents.
  • The Blade weapon from Cave Story. A throwing sword that has King's soul living on inside it. Nothing special unless you have it at max level, in which case King's soul takes ghostly form and slices up everything in his path when you throw it.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night had a talking sword as one of the familiars you could gain. Early on, it remarks that Alucard can't possibly use him - but once you're a high enough level, he starts calling him Master, and ask how he can serve.
    • The Vampire Killer whip that appears in (most) of the other Castlevania games is also a bit of an empathic weapon as its true power is only unlocked when a Belmont descendant wields it. Also, the fiancé of the first Belmont had to willingly sacrifice her life in order to empower it. And in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, it is shown to preserve within itself a memory of the last Belmont who used it, in PoR's case, Richter Belmont.
  • The Bard's Tale has the Ego Sword, an arrogant talking blade that the narrator notes is the perfect match to the Bard's personality (to which the sword replies "Well, I am a bastard sword you know.").
  • The Legacy of Kain series has the Soul Reaver, although it's a much more primal version.
    • Though by the end of Soul Reaver 2, you find out that the Reaver is actually Raziel's own soul.
  • Brave Fencer Musashi has the greatsword Lumina, which apart from ANNOUNCING THAT... IT HAS ABSORBED... A SCROLL, will occasionally point Musashi in the right direction or do something surprising to help him stay alive. And, oh yeah, there's a huge freaking lizard wizard sealed inside it.
  • Relic Weapons in Final Fantasy XI have their own personalities in cutscenes or when owned by an NPC. (The axe Guttler complains to its owner that it is thirsty for beastmen blood for example.) Once you spend a hundred or so million gil to get one of your own, they become much less talkative.
  • King's Bounty features a great deal of weapons and other items that are emphatic, which is expressed in their "morale" value. For example, a dragonslayer sword likes to fight dragons (duh) and using it for other fights lowers its morale until it refuses to provide its benefits until the morale increases either by killing a dragon or "suppressing" it, which is done through a special fight. Some items can also be upgraded through such fights.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Eyelander, a haunted sword that the demoman can use. It talks on occasion, but all it can say is "headsss". Killing opponents with it decapitates them and provides the user with extra health and damage until he dies.
  • The Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda only accepts pure hearted heroes as its wielder. As The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword reveals, it actually did initially have a true mind and personality, complete with the ability to project a body, but she had to go into a permanent sleep mode to delete the mind of the Bigger Bad after the sword absorbed it, leaving what amounts to the sword equivalent of subconscious reflex for the rest of the series.
  • In the main series Pokémon are generally shown less as the cute pets/best friends they are in the anime and more as a valued tool or weapon. A tool/weapon treated with love, compassion, and empathy but still a tool/weapon that lives in its toolbox/holster until needed.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduces Honedge, a Steel/Ghost pokemon that's actually a sword, making it a straight example of this trope.
  • Universe at War has Viktor, Mirabel's battlesuit, which has lines of his own (if not understandable). The two serve, together, as one of Novus' hero units.
    • Viktor's actually just as sentient as the rest of the machine race. It's just that while the others use Translation Convention and eventually explicitly communicate in English, Viktor only ever speaks to Mirabel, and therefore doesn't bother.
  • Guilty Gear has A.B.A., who carries around Paracelsus, her gigantic key (and fights with it, too). While Paracelsus doesn't talk, it's certainly attached to A.B.A.
  • Eternity swords in Eien no Aselia fall under this. Some of them aren't very intelligent, but have will. Some are intelligent as well, and others are intelligent enough to be truly rational.
  • In the Norse Mythology influenced Cyberpunk game Too Human Baldur's melee weapon (it can be reforged into practically anything), Fenrir, is a bloodthirsty AI imprisoned in a weapon. It can be heard snarling as Tyr holds it.
  • Aether Relics in Duel Savior Destiny generally fall into this category. They're apparently intelligent and willingly respond to the call of those who wish to wield them, but Taiga notes that his own sword, Traitor, is rather quiet. We don't even get to see that much. Turns out they've been forbidden from speaking by God and the moment God's eye falls off of Traitor, he immediately becomes Mr. Exposition, at which point it turns out that they haven't been allowed to speak because they'd tell everyone that God intends to destroy all of existence. It's happened before.
  • The Nox Nyctores in BlazBlue choose their owners and will protect the owner if the need arises. As seen in Jin's story in Continuum Shift, a Nox Nyctores can cease to activate if it doesn't approve the owner anymore and will even attempt to take over the owner's mind to fulfill its mission. There are only 10 of such weapons in existence, all in different forms and shapes. More info on them here.
  • In "Fallout: New Vegas" there is a rare entirely non-Magical example in the form of the K-9000 Cyberdog gun, a fusion of Dog and Gun. It uses it mechanical sniffer to find enemies for you, which is useful in a situation where you have no companions.
  • The Shichishito sword in Tenchu, owned by Lord Mei-Oh. It appears to have a bit of sentience, capable of seeking and returning to its master. It's also corruptive if used by other people (or forged into their katanas...)
  • Fawful's vacuum helmet is this, at least in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. After Bowser separates it from Fawful to fight him, the helmet is more than capable of fighting the Mario brothers on it's own.
  • This is a common justification given in the Fire Emblem games for why certain weapons are only usable by a single character. Lyn's Mani Katti in Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken for example, only allows Lyn to remove it from its sheathe and doesn't let anyone else use it. Zephiel's Eckesachs in Fire Emblem: the Sword Of Seals is another example, usable only by the king of Bern.
  • The Dual Blade from Lufia series was originally related to Arek the Absolute, who's the mysterious boss of the four Sinistrals, but then Maxim emerges as a hero and uses the sword to defeat Arek's evil subordinates. Ever since then Dual Blade is to be discovered and used by Maxim's descendent whenever the Sinistrals strike again.

    Web Comics 
  • Chaz of Sluggy Freelance is an odd example. While the sword is sentient and capable of killing almost anything, it is only able to do so when it has tasted the blood of the innocent. Even after that, Chaz only stays powered up for a short amount of time. A previous wielder took advantage of Chaz's ability and became an extremely powerful warlord. The current wielder Torg, is a good person and has never killed somebody for the purpose of activating Chaz.
    • While not powered up, Chaz has very slight ability to influence his weilder, making Torg a slightly more capable swordsman until he learned how to fight for himself.
  • The sword wielded by Komi in Darken is another example of an empathic sword, complete with an eye and shape-changing abilities. However, it tends to speak its mind a lot, and thinks its owner is better suited to the Regalia, despite his protestations. Normally, only its owner can hear its voice, although it has also spoken to Casper.
    • The sword also has the unsettling ability to possess its wielder. That, along with the fact that it was found held by its previous wielder's corpse, and the warning that Mephistopheles' servant gave to Komi concerning the sword, brings the sword closer to Stormbringer levels of Doominess.
  • Played with in this Nodwick strip, with a conversation between empathic weapons.
    • It was explained once that Yeagar's sword is actually obscenely powerful but was traumatized by his using it for a long list of rather distasteful acts.
    • Also several weapons that hate particular enemies here
  • Keeva's magical sword "Sword" from Mixed Myth.
  • Quentyn's sword “Wildcard” from Tales of the Questor.
  • The Dreamland Chronicles: Alex's sword. It's not too empathetic to him.
  • Dies-Horribly's artificial arm in Goblins combines this with Morph Weapon. Typically it transforms itself into some sort of spiked weapon in response to Dies' near-constant fear of his Prophetic Name coming true, but it can alos be used as a grappling hook, spiked shield, and a protective cocoon.

    Web Original 
  • Tech Infantry has the magic swords Kuar and the Sword of Omens, both of which have something of a personality and alter that of their owner.
  • Destiny's Wave, the talking sentient sword given to Bladedancer by the Eight Immortals of the Tao, in the Whateley Universe. It has the spirit of a great Taoist warrior embedded in it, and is capable of cutting anything that its wielder wants to be cut.
  • Journeyquest partners the long suffering wizard Perf with the "the sword of fighting" which has a will entirely it's own and the capability to enhance it's wielders fighting skills or in the case of Perf is his only source of fighting skill. When not sulking over who the chosen one turned out to be it is near constantly spewing obscenities, insults, or whatever movement it happens to be performing at the time. The sword is also vaguely sadistic taking great pleasure in slaughter regardless of the victim although with a marked distaste for Orc.
  • A lot of advanced personal weapons in Orion's Arm have integrated AIs to make up for their users' pathetic reaction times. Some, known as "Demon Weapons" have their own agendas that might conflict with that of their wielders.
  • Linkara's magic gun showed a minimal level of empathy when it stopped him from shooting himself in the head. It seems to consider him a friend and a partner...her parents, to their deserved misfortunate, were regarded a bit more poorly.
  • MSF High Forum: Berlioz has one in Supplice.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack's sword is empathic to a degree: It cuts through anything when he wields it, but in the hands of the evil Aku, it's suddenly as effective as a plastic butter knife.
    • Aku was hacking the scenery up left and right with it, though, it was only Jack it wouldn't harm. Since it's specifically an evil-destroying weapon, presumably it just can't harm the pure-hearted.
    Aku: How!?
    Jack: Even I had forgotten that the sword was forged with purity and strain. It can only be used for good. In the hands of evil it can never harm an innocent and so Aku... it cannot harm me but it can harm you.
    • In episode XLII, "The Aku Infection", it was practically Jack holding the sword, yet it couldn't harm the monks.
  • ThunderCats
    • The Sword of Omens seems to be partly empathic. On many occasions the Sword of Omens reacted on its own, usually by flashing and growing, to Mumm-ra or other evil characters touching or even just approaching it. In one episode the sword was broken after Lion-O was tricked into attacking Tygra with it, and the rest of the episode revolved around the ThunderCats trying to find a way to fix it. Furthermore, the sword has exhibited something of its own personality, such as when Lion-O decided to hunt for sport. The sword reacted by flying from the ThunderCat's hand, embedding itself in the ground, and refusing to be removed until the spirit of Jaga appeared to tell Lion-O that it will not cooperate in an act of evil.
    • Much in the same vein, at one point Mumm-ra uncovers Excalibur, King Arthur's legendary sword. The swords do battle (eventually abandoning their actual wielders and duking it out in the air) until Excalibur pierces the Sword of Omen's eye. The ThunderCats suddenly collapsed at the destruction of the Eye, but fortunately Merlin the Magician suddenly appeared to restore it before Mumm-Ra could fully triumph.
    • In another instance, Mumm-Ra tricked a Samurai named Hachiman to go after Lion-O, only to discover that both of their respective weapons refused to come out of their scabbards, since neither person was evil.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "The Forest of Magi-Oar", the Wood Forgers tell the Cats that Viragor has been terrorizing them and the forest. But when Viragor attacks later in the episode, the Sword of Omens won't work against him. Lion-O later figures out that it's because Viragor is the forest's true protector, and the Wood Forgers are really the ones terrorizing him and the forest.
  • The Omnitrix from Ben 10 has a mind of its own — possibly more than one. It will often turn Ben into an alien other than the one he's trying to become, and has a tendency to act in self-defense by zapping bad guys who try to tear it from Ben's wrist. Ben doesn't ask it for help so much as argue with it when it acts up. You could probably even say that the Omnitrix is trying to teach Ben something. His usual plan is to turn into Fourarms and just smack everything around until the problem's solved; forcing him to use other, more complicated aliens like Grey Matter and Cannonbolt is a good way to make him fight more strategically. It also seems to dislike being removed from Ben's wrist. It seems almost happy and enthusiastic when it jumps back on him after being removed in the season two finale, and after being stuck in the bottom of Ben's closet for 5 years, it refuses to work, and the watchface turns blue note  When Vilgax later steals it during Alien Force, the watch refuses to work for him... until Ben presses the dial in a Tricking the Shapeshifter plan. Even though removing the watch is now possible in the sequel series, Azmuth still seems sulkily resigned to the fact that Ben must be the wielder of his invention; the wand chooses the wizard, and the Omnitrix chooses its owner.
  • In Centurions, the heroes' Assault Weapon Systems respond to their mental commands.
  • The Exotar in Invasion America, a glove made of pure phlebotinum, gives the hero superpowers — but eats the hand of anyone else who wears it.note 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: The performance of the Planeteers' rings depended on their state of mind. So if someone was ever, say, despairing and feeling sorry for himself, or high - (stop scoffing, it happened) - the ring wouldn't respond.
  • Glitch and the other Guardians' keytools in ReBoot show sentience, being capable of making decisions on their own.
    • This was amusingly demonstrated in one episode when Bob was fighting Megabyte and Bob panics, telling Glitch to turn into 'anything'. It decides to turn into a lamppost. This actually helps when Megabyte runs into it face first.
    • It's been stated in the show that keytools choose their wielders and refuse to function for anyone they don't like. It was also stated that most keytools abandoned any Guardians that Daemon had infected.
      • This is why Daemon needed to infect Bob to make portals. Being fused with Bob, it was impossible for Glitch to leave like all the other keytools.
  • In the first season of Exo Squad, Able Squad sacrifices their E-Frame mecha to stop a NeoSapien plan. When Marsh disconnected from his, preparatory to dropping it in a volcano, its onboard computer unexpectedly said, in its emotionless female voice, "Farewell, Operator J.T. Marsh." Another squad member uttered a bromide about "Humans are great creators, but often do not know what they create."
  • Lula the talking sword from Dave the Barbarian is an intelligent weapon but not very empathetic, instead serving as the show's Deadpan Snarker.
  • Bugs Bunny was tasked to take a singing sword from a castle guarded by a dragon in the Oscar-winning short "Knighty Knight Bugs"; the sword is a bit on the heavy side for him and has the habit of breaking out into song at inconvenient times. Given that this is Looney Tunes (and Bugs Bunny), Hilarity Ensues.
  • Princess Maya's staff on Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers has been known to defy her commands to fire energy bolts, at one point telling her brusquely "lethal force not required," during the middle of a firefight.
  • Parodied in Jackie Chan Adventures. Jackie uses a magic walking stick to battle some bad guys. When he gets disarmed, he calls for the stick to return to his hand, only for it to fly into his gut and knock him out. Played straight when Jade retrieves it and fights with it perfectly.
    • It was implied that this wasn't the first time that Jade has used that stick.
  • Wakfu It has a set of weapons with deamons known as Shu-Shus that are bound to them. One of the main characters has the demon-bound-in-sword Rubilax which never limits its use, rather encouraging its wielder to go all the way, sometimes into being possessed by it. Rubilax's eye in the hilt is fairly expressive.
  • Though appearing only once in the series, the Lotus Blade from Kim Possible is implied to be one. In addition to being able to transform into nearly any kind of weapon (and then some) in the hands of those who possess Mystical Monkey Power, it can be summoned by a pure-hearted wielder, and it seemed to have a sense of humor when it ripped off Ron's clothes as it flew by. Since then, it has become a One-Scene Wonder, and has been a subject that appears in many fan fics, as well as having its abilities fleshed out.
  • Felix the Cat's bag of tricks, particularly in The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Blade of Grass" Finn's newly-obtained grass sword first appears to be an Evil Weapon bent on keeping itself attached to his arm whether he wants it or not, but when he accepts the fact that the sword will always be with him it does a Heel-Face Turn and becomes this.

Furry ReminderThis Index Has a Mind of Its OwnEvil Weapon
Electromagnetic GhostsParanormal TropesFearless Undead
Emergency WeaponWeapons and Wielding TropesEnhanced Archaic Weapon
Yawn and ReachImageSource/Web ComicsModern Day Treasure Seekers
Emergency Presidential AddressNarrative DevicesEmpty Cop Threat

alternative title(s): Sentient Weapon
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