Giving the Sword to a Noob
"We can't trust the Sword of a Thousand Truths to a noob!"
Okay, here we have the Big Bad
, the Monster of the Week
, The Dragon
, or the Eldritch Abomination
bearing down upon the heroes, their hometown or country, the Royal Army, the Princess in her castle
, etc. Things are looking bleak; the villain is on a rampage, and nobody can stop him. But wait, all is not lost! We have this brand new weapon that can turn the tide of the battle
, drive back the Legion of Doom
, save the day, and make the wielder look totally badass
. All we need is to get it into the right hands!
But are these aforementioned hands around? Nope! All you've got is a handful of Red Shirts
, the Idiot Ball
holder, and/or the local Butt Monkey
. Still, times are desperate; we really don't have a choice. Give it to them, and pray they don't do anything stupid!
Unfortunately, such prayers go unheard. By some miracle the Butt Monkey
has reached the battle in time without getting lost or losing the weapon on the way, does he immediately seek out The Hero
, The Lancer
, The Big Guy
, or hell, even the Expert
? Nope! The C-List Fodder
decides to use the weapon himself, because of some misplaced sense of duty, a need to prove himself, or he just missed the point of his task entirely. This typically ends in one of two ways:
While the Sword is usually a weapon of some kind (typically a sword
), it can be anything, from a secret power
to a prototype vehicle to a legendary artifact, or even a TV Tropes account. All that matters is it's incredibly powerful and usually fairly dangerous or risky.
Contrast With This Herring
, where The Chosen One
is generally worthy or potentially so, but starts with a weapon woefully inadequate to the task.
Please note that if the character being given the weapon is The Chosen One
, the last man standing on the field, or the only person
capable of wielding the weapon at all, it is not this trope. This trope comes into play ONLY if there is someone else who is clearly more qualified, better suited, or just plain better who it could be given to.
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Anime & Manga
- In Dragon Ball Z, Goku attempts to use the Spirit Bomb against Vegeta early in the series. However, since it's so difficult to charge up, he gets interrupted. When someone else attacks Vegeta, Goku gives what's left of the energy to Krillin, who's significantly less powerful than Goku. When he throws the attack, Krillin misses. However, Gohan is able to reflect it back toward Vegeta, scoring a successful hit. Unfortunately, since much of the energy was lost earlier, the Spirit Bomb fails to finish off its intended target, though it still deals a lot of damage. In other words, the attack fails, then is passed on to the noob, then misses, then is bounced back by another noob, then hits, but still fails to deal the necessary damage.
- In Fairy Tail, Cana gained one of the three ultimate magic of her guild: Fairy Glitter. However, she got it only because she found Mavis's grave before the others in time of need, and it turns out that even with that magic in her possession, she's incapable of using it correctly. In the end, she's defeated and she loses the magic some time later, since it was a short time loan. Instead of a S-Class mage wannabe, true S-Class mages clearly would have been better choices for it. During the Grand Magical Games she is loaned Fairy Glitter again so she can win a contest. Proving that she's become a better mage, Cana is able to use it properly.
- In the second chapter of Rave Master Shiba is too injured to fight when Demon Card attacks the island. The enemy is too strong for Haru to fight bare handed, so Shiba lends Haru his sword. Haru hasn't the slightest idea how to use it.
- Possibly one of the best examples of this comes from Bleach, during the first episode. Rukia is injured enough that she can't fight after having been chewed up and spit out by a Hollow. So she looks over at Ichigo, who's a fifteen-year-old boy — who, luckily for him, has latent Spiritual Pressure and some kung-fu training — and decides to give him half her her powers in order to save his family, but he takes all of it. Having literally never handled a sword before in his life, he quickly dispatches the monster and saves the day. Later revelations shed some light on this and made Ichigo more of a Chosen One, but for a long time he was apparently just that good, and nobody really sat down and tried to figure out why.
- In The Helm from Dark Horse Comics, the eponymous magic helmet accidentally ends up in the hands of a morbidly obese, emotionally fragile manchild; the real chosen one, a stunningly handsome man of herculean proportions with a Badass Mustache, shows up about five minutes too late to claim it.
- DC has Major Bummer, a serious slacker who accidentally receives superpowers.
- The Phantom Menace: "Wesa make you bombad general!"
- In Ghostbusters II, Louis Tully gets a hold of a proton pack and makes his way to the museum to assist the Ghostbusters. Surprisingly, he's able to wield the particle thrower pretty well for a first-timer, holding it steady even if he's having no effect whatsoever on the building's barrier of mood slime. And then, the combined assault of the positive mood slime on Vigo, the other Ghostbusters firing on Vigo's painting, and New York's singing weakens the shell enough for Louis' attack to finish the job and shatter it.
- In Power Rangers RPM, the just-barely competent Ziggy is tasked with transporting the Series Green Morpher, only to activate it and become Ranger Green himself. In fairness, he only did it in desperation when The Dragon was about to get her hands on it. Even so, the fact remains that he is perhaps the least capable fighter of any Ranger in the entire franchise.
- This was the whole premise of Mr. Terrific; Stanley Beamish, the 'weak & droopy daffodil', was the only man who could take the power pill.
- Zoey 101 does a "sports" subversion of this trope in the episode "Disc Golf." Zoey feeling guilty for benching Nicole as they can only have 5 players on their roster (and Nicole is terrible at the sport) fakes injuring her hand to allow Nicole sub in for her at the chance to win the game. Nicole still misses the first shot out of three and the other team offer to return the disc since she "practically won the game for them" but they instead flee the game (being teenage criminals by some coincidence) causing Zoey and her friends to win the game.
- In Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie Cain manages to be semi-competent at Necromancy in the third book when given Solomon Wreath's cane. She still doesn't kill the Big Bad, but that's fine because even an army of super-skilled heroes couldn't.
- In the second of Jack Williamson's stories of the Legion of Space, the heroes fight their way to the heart of the world-ship of The Cometeers, finally capturing the one device that can harm their otherwise indestructible bodies. They then promptly hand it to the one person who has frozen up every previous time he has confronted the main villain, and has good reason to believe he is psychologically incapable of lifting a finger against him.
- Subverted with The Legend of Zelda games. The Master Sword can be used by a novice Link...but he has to pass through some trials before he can wield it.
- Except in the first game, where the sword requires 12 Hearts to wield.
- In Radiata Stories The main character and new Radiata Knight, Jack Rusell is given his father's sword at the start but told he cannot use it yet because he lacks the experience. However if you pick the Non-Human side in the second half of the game you later get the chance to prove yourself worthy of it's use. However in Human it is never seen again save for the ending.
- In Final Fantasy X, Auron passes one of Jecht's old swords onto Tidus who proceeds to be great with it after exactly one stumble. His incredible athleticism must help with that.
- Almost any competitive team based game will have this trope in play when powerful but risky weapons are involved. More of then than not, the noob will cause more damage to his own team with the powerful weapon than the enemy team would do.
- Breath of Fire III plays it straight as Ryu actually learns to fight with a sword. His initial attacks consists of cowering and stabbing the sword in the general direction of the enemy. After a point though he improves.
- In Tower of God, Baam, who is horribly under-equipped, receives an incredibly powerful Empathic Weapon, the Black March, from Yuri, who just so happened to take a liking to him note . Funnily enough, Baam is a sort of chosen one, but he loses that sword before he takes on that role.
- In DuckTales, mild-mannered accountant Fenton Crackshell acquired his secret identity as Gizmo Duck when he unwittingly used the password that activated a nearby suit of robot armor Gyro Gearloose had intended for a more-competent user.
- The Trope Namer is the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". The in-game Serial Killer that the main characters are trying to kill needs to be finished with the GM-only item The Sword of 1000 Truths, but to get it to the kids (who are the only ones capable of fighting the guy) they need to trust Stan's incompetent fourth-level Warrior father with the item. When this suggestion is proposed, the above quote is the response from one of the GMs. Randy fulfills his task of getting the Sword to Stan, but doesn't use it.
- Another funny moment is when Randy arrives in the nick of time to give the sword to Stan... but doesn't know how to give items.
- Ironically, this is something of an aversion: Randy not only doesn't use the sword, presumably it has a level requirement such that he CAN'T. Still fits the spirit of the trope, though, since he's incompetent not only as a wielder of the sword, but even as a courier.