Heroes Prefer Swords

"I'm pretty sure I'll be the main character. The people with swords usually are."

Want to know who is The Hero and The Leader of a group? Look for the guy with the sword!

The sword is a sign of the mighty warriors and nobles. It's a central part of codes of honor like chivalry and bushido, symbolizing nobility, leadership, justice, and power. In a group of fighters, the one wielding the sword will be the leader, with his subordinates wielding axes, spears, bows — all weapons more associated with the commoners.

This trope can take two main forms:
  • The leader or hero of the group carries a sword, while other characters carry other weapons.
  • A character receives a sword as a symbol of their status as hero, similar to a Knighting ceremony. Inversely, losing their sword signifies the loss of that status, similar to a Sword-breaking ceremony.

In European settings, it will usually be longsword or an Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age. Larger two-handed swords, smaller daggers and short-swords, and curved swords like scimitars will be given to other characters. In Japan, it will be a Katana. An especially heroic sword will likely be a named weapon.

May or may not be fully justified; see The Analysis page for more. (Short version: Historically, just about everybody who could afford a sword used one as a secondary weapon, as up until repeating pistols showed up, they were the best all-around weapons for close combat.)

Sometimes The Lancer will be armed with a different weapon to differentiate him from The Hero, or just a more unusual type of sword. The Big Bad and The Dragon are nearly as likely to use swords as The Hero, but will also sometimes use more "evil-looking" weapons such as morning stars, battle-axes, or maces, especially with spikes.

Compare Weapon of Choice, Red Is Heroic. Sister trope to Standardized Leader, since swords are the most "standard" of medieval weapons.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Great Mazinger: Main character Tetsuya Tsurugi uses two long, double-edged swords. He is the only character on the heroes' side that wields swords, and in fact he is is the only hero of the Mazinger Z trilogy that does so.
  • The Gundam series tends to show this as well, with early series units with a beam saber being the hero. However, if a group of pilots all have beam sabers, then it's the one with the unique blade of the bunch that's the hero.
  • In Il Sole penetra le Illusioni, a flaming rapier is Akari's weapon of choice.
  • Itto Ohgami of Lone Wolf and Cub primarily uses a dotanuki sword, a heavier, shorter version of the katana. His opponents are often armed with a wide variety of more unusual Japanese weapons.
  • In Only Sense Online, swords are very popular weapons in the titular game, and are the weapons of choice for quite a few major characters, such as Myu and Taku, and it is implied that both of them are trying to invoke this trope by using swords. Even Sei, who plays as a mage, has a spell to generate a sword she can wield with her Staff Sense.
  • Sayaka Miki of Puella Magi Madoka Magica believes that a Magical Girl should fight for truth and justice, and only use their powers to help others. Naturally, she's the only character out of the main cast who uses a sword. Unfortunately for her, this is a Deconstruction.
  • In Record of Lodoss War, Parn, the first main character of the series, uses a sword. When the next generation of heros takes over as the main cast in Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, their main character (Spark) uses a sword as well.
  • In Seraph of the End, the weapons used among Yuu's team are a Sinister Scythe, a bow, a polearm, dual swords, and a single sword. Guess who wields the last one?
  • Voltes V: Kenichi Go is the swordsman of his Five-Man Band, and nearly always uses a sword attack to finish the Monster of the Week.
  • Sword Art Online: Kirito's preference for swords is so strong that when he plays the VRMMO shooter Gun Gale Online, he buys a Photon Sword and uses it extensively, to the point where he can deflect bullets with it.
  • Sailor Moon examples:
    • In the manga Sailor Venus, leader of the Inner Senshi, sometimes carries a sword. She was also the only one who could extract the Holy Sword from its stone prison.
    • Sailor Uranus, leader of the Outers, has a sword as her weapon.
    • In the anime the legendary Sailor Senshi who sealed Chaos had one. To everyone's horror, she's actually Sailor Galaxia.
    • In the anime, Sailor Moon wields one when fighting Galaxia as the last hero standing.
    • In the live actio Princess Sailor Moon has a sword.
    • Having been the generals of the Golden Kingdom, the Shitennou are often armed with swords, with their leader Kunzite being the one using it most often.
  • Cutey Honey's iconic weapon. She's the only one of her series to wield one.

    Comic Books 
  • Emma/Gemini is the team leader of Zodiac Starforce, and her weapon is a sword.

    Fanfiction 
  • Luso in The Tainted Grimoire is the hero of the story and he uses two swords.
  • Valkron in Warriors of the World uses a longsword most of the time compared to other melee characters despite the longsword being an "unconventional" choice in-universe due to his lack of height. The other character who carries a sword is more likely to weaponise her shield instead. Everyone else who shares the same profession as he does utilises spears.
  • The Chapter Master of the Crimson Crusaders, as featured in Glory Or Death, has the title of Sword-Saint thanks to his immense skill with a blade.
  • Children of an Elder God: Asuka used two swords fo fight.

    Film 

  • In the Biopic Lafayette about the US Revolutionary War general of the same name, he rallies his troops (who, due to supply shortages, are only given six bullets per soldier) with the following short speech:
    You only have six cartridges, but I have only my sword! Follow me!
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and other Jedi Knights wield lightsabers, in contrast to the blasters used by everyone else. Lucas noted that the nature of a lightsaber makes it a defensive weapon, meant to show that Jedi use force as a last resort.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Snow White is the only important character who wields a sword. Everyone else uses axes, bows, daggers, a cane, and so forth. The only exception is her father, the King.
  • in The Lord of the Rings
  • In Pacific Rim, Gipsy Danger's "Sword" (no fancy names, just "Sword") is remarkably effective against class 4 Kaiju compared to other complicated weaponry.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, while Kaulder isn't fussy about what to fight with, he takes his sword to both fights with the Witch Queen. Justified, as Hexenbane is a Cool Sword all around.

    Game Book 

    Literature 
  • Black Crown averts or plays this straight depending on who you define to be the 'hero'; in 'Black Crown', King Valerius fights with a sword, but his rival King Marion fights with an axe.
  • Conan the Barbarian almost always uses a sword, although never the same one since they tend to break on him or get lost. Occasionally, however, he also uses spears, hammers, and axes.
  • Not surprisingly, given the setting, this comes up in the Deryni works:
    • While the heroic characters can and do use other weapons (Morgan's stiletto is practically an extension of his arm, and he, Kelson, and Dhugal are among those shown shooting bows), the heroic characters are shown to use swords often. Even Duncan McLain keeps in practice, despite having taken holy orders.
    • In the short story "Trial", Morgan uses his powers to find the real culprits in a rape/murder case, freeing a foreign swordsmith who was falsely accused of the crime. In gratitude, the smith offers to make Morgan a custom sword and asks to join his service.
  • Used several times in Heirs Of Alexandria, in various ways, even though gunpowder weapons are starting to dominate the battlefields.
    • When Benito and Marco gets introduced into the Venetian upper circles, they have to wear swords and are trained with them. However, they never use them in anger.
    • Duke Dell'Este signals his alliance with House Dorma of Venice by sending one of his honour-blades to Petro Dorma.
    • Justified in the case of the Knights of the Holy Trinity, since Cold Steel is effective against supernatural forces, and swords can be used as a cross in a pinch.
  • Funnily deconstructed and reconstructed in the Inheritance Cycle. The dragon riders have swords made of Thunderbolt Iron. They are far superior to any other weapons, so it makes sense to always use them. But one of the smiths makes a long lecture lampshading how stupid it is, always using the same sword. Even if you may have a favorite weapon, using the same regardless of the kind of battle is far from optimal.
    • In addition, Eragon seems to be at least subconsciously aware of this trope as one of his main through-lines in the book Brisingr (which is what he eventually names his sword) is trying to get himself a proper Riders' sword, as he feels he can't be a real Rider (read: hero) without one.
  • Lampshaded and deconstructed in The Last Hero, when Carrot faces down Cohen the Barbarian and the Silver Horde. "One simple sword in the hands of a truly brave man would cut through a magical sword like suet." Elsewhere in the series, the narrative discusses Carrot's Ancestral Weapon — nothing magical, just a simple steel sword so utterly mundane that it has a kind of power all its own. It's somehow more real than everything around it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn goes from being a ranger among others and someone fighting a losing fight to the man who will be King of Gondor and a member of the party that will win the war. This transfer coincides with the re-forging of Narsil and him claiming it as Andúril.
    • For that matter, in The Hobbit, the first step in Bilbo's transformation from helpless Everyman to brave adventurer is when he receives the blade Sting from a troll hoard. By the time he uses it to kill a Great Spider, he's accepted by the Dwarves traveling with him as a hero.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel(la) series, the titular character Percy Jackson is unskilled at nearly everything, minus sword-play and canoeing.
  • In the sequel series Heroes Of Olympus, this is embodied in the chosen 7 who are supposed to save the world: The two main heroes/leaders of the group are Big Three demigods Jason and Percy, who use swords. The only other main character who uses a sword is Hazel, and its unwieldly unless she's on her horse.
  • In The Silent War Serdra insists that swords are the best weapons for Redcloaks. They draw less attention that carrying a polearm around, and demons are hard to kill with anything other than slashing damage.
  • Nearly all of the important, heroic characters in A Song of Ice and Fire use swords, and many of them are named. Axes, maces and polearms are generally relegated to mooks and characters who don't fit the heroic mold. Tyrion uses an axe, as do many of his highland bandit henchmen.
    • An exception is King Robert Baratheon, who in his heyday was famous for his skill with his warhammer, and used it to kill crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen during his rebellion. This fits his Boisterous Bruiser personality, but is also a symptom of the series' fondness for Combat Pragmatists — a warhammer is a rather better choice of weapon for a strong fighter facing an opponent in plate armour.
    • Brienne of Tarth also prefers a mace for this reason, but she's very much aware of this trope when given a Cool Sword and sent on The Quest to find Sansa Stark. She finds it effective enough against the lightly-armored outlaws she's confronted with.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, the ruling lighteyes caste of the Alethi use swords (most mundane swords, a handful the famed magical shardblades), and certainly consider both themselves and the weapons heroic. However, it's made plain that the majority of the lighteyes have fallen far from their ideals, while The Hero is Kaladin, a lowborn darkeyes who uses the weapon of his caste, the spear, and is very good with it.
    • On the other hand, back in the time of the Desolations, all of the Knights Radiant carried Shardblades, immensely potent magical weapons which are the only practical way to fight some of the monsters they faced.
    • Averted once Syl turns into a Shardblade for Kaladin, and then adapts to optimally fit his personal fighting style by morphing into a shard-spear!
  • Deconstructed in Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. The nobles of the city take lessons in swordsmanship and carry swords, but they are never expected to use them themselves. Instead they hire professional swordsmen to fight duels and entertain for them. These swordsmen are usually common-born, and treated like disposable celebrities.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Badass Princess Daniar carries Truthbringer, a Ancestral Weapon that belonged to her father, the king. She leads Team Good. Everyone else uses a lance or their bare hands.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor is most proficient with a bow, but he receives a sword as he leaves home for the quest. When this sword is melted in his fight with Ba'alzamon at the end of the second book, he uses a blade wrought with the One Power from fire until he gets his signature weapon ''Callandor'' from the Stone of Tear. He is accompanied by two friends and followers: Mat Cauthon uses a bow and a staff, while Perrin Aybara uses an axe.
  • The Sword of Truth. In universe, the Seeker of Truth is this, leading to a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when everyone figures out that Richard has control of the magic of the titular sword even without having the sword itself.
    "You don't even have your weapon."
    Richard "I am the weapon."
  • In The Braided Path Tsata uses special blades adapted for close combat called "kntha".

    Live Action TV 

    Mythology 
  • King Arthur received a sword twice. When he pulled the sword from the stone he proved he was the King, and then he received Excalibur after his first sword was broken.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's not unusual at all for tabletop RPGs to err on the side of making swords the de facto best melee weapons available, period, which then kind of naturally leads to this trope among player characters. For example:
    • In GURPS, swords and knives are the main class of melee weapons that can actually be used to both attack and defend every turn. Something like an axe will likely have to be used in conjunction with a shield because it is "unbalanced" and requires a Ready action after each use before it can be used to either attack or parry again, while a sword can freely do both at once turn after turn.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons, across all editions, swords tend to be among the weapons with the best stats for the most situations. Depending on the edition, they do more damage to large opponents, have more favorable critical hit rules, use preferable damage types, or simply weigh less than comparable weapons. Being common in the world is also a bonus unto itself, as sword-wielding characters are more likely to find magical weapons that fit their abilities. Some of the most powerful magical items, such as the Holy Avenger, are swords.
    • At least in early editions of The Dark Eye, swords — and specifically one-handed ones at that — were essentially the only type of weapon that didn't come with an inherent penalty to attack, parry, or both.
  • Stanton, a self-styled neo-knight in the fluff of Nuclear Rennaissance, is fascinated by modern technology (rides a charger of iron) but when he fights, he sees anything but a sword as for "lesser men" and guns as dishonourable. Wearing scrap-metal armour, he seeks out the lost technologies of the past, marvelling at ingenuity and invention, but no matter how he covets technology, he refuses to fight in any other way other than up-close-and-personal with a sword.

    Theatre 
  • In the Revolutionary War drama Horn In The West, Dr. Geoffrey Stuart (the protagonist) carries a sword at the end when he leads the American settlers against the British in the Battle of Kings Mountain. He is the only one carrying a sword; all the others have guns or clubs.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • The heroes of Kingdom Hearts all end up wielding a specific kind of sword called a Keyblade, which allows the wielder to combat the forces of light and/or darkness, as well as the ability to open any lock. In-universe, anyone with a sufficiently powerful heart will be given a Keyblade, which enforces this trope across the series.
  • The main character of each game in the Tales Series always uses swords, with two notable exceptions: Senel from Tales of Legendia, and Jude from Tales of Xillia, both of whom fight with their fists. In Jude's case, you can choose to pick Milla as the main character instead of him, which would play this trope straight since Milla uses swords.
  • The Final Fantasy series uses this trope a lot:
    • In the first game the strongest weapons, Excalibur and Masamune, are both swords. Unlike most swords, Masamune can be wielded by all twelve classes. The representative of FF1 who appears in Dissidia, the "Warrior of Light", is also a swordsman.
    • While any party member can use any weapon type, Firion of Final Fantasy II starts with a sword, is typically depicted wielding one, and his exclusive Infinity+1 Sword in the PSP remake is the Ragnarok sword. The other sword-wielding party member, conversely, ends up becoming The Dragon.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Cecil, as captain of the Red Wings, uses swords, which don't exactly seem suited for aerial combat. Interestingly, after his job switches to Paladin, he can equip a larger array of weapons such as staffs and bows, but his best weapons are still swords, including the Sword of Plot Advancement.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Despite how technologically advanced and futuristic the setting is, the heroic characters always prefer a sword. A specific sword, in fact.
      • In the original game, Cloud can only equip swords, while his initial weapon, the Buster Sword, is a Tragic Keepsake from his deceased friend, Zack.
      • Crisis Core has Zack starting the game with a sword, which seems the preferred weapon of 1st class SOLDIER members. His dream is to become a hero. At some point, he inherits the Buster Sword from his mentor, Angeal. In this context, the Buster Sword seems to symbolize dreams and honor passed down from one man to the next.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Squall's gunblade is a Vibro Weapon looking like the combination of a gun and a sword, a weapon only usable by the elite SEED members. Along with his perpetual lion motif, it symbolizes his status as a heroic and proud figure.
      • Squall's gunblade is actually an in-universe example of this. Gunblades are Difficult but Awesomenote  and so not used very often, however it's also said that one day a hero will save the world wielding one. Most gunblade users chose the weapon in hopes of being this hero. Though Seifer is a bit more complicated.
    • Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII wields gunblades, though unlike FFVIII they're weapons that transform between blade and gun modes. Serah follows her sister in Final Fantasy XIII-2 with her bowswords (as does her partner Noel with two swords that combine into a javelin), and the majority of Lightning's weapons in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are traditional swords.
    • Noctis of Final Fantasy XV doesn't carry a sword around, but instead has the ability to summon and dismiss swords instantly from his hand.
    • Ramza in Final Fantasy Tactics gains the ability to wield Knight Swords in his unique Squire class in Chapter Four. All of the noble knights who join Ramza's squad, as well as the Knight Job itself, wield standard swords and Knight Swords (and typically can't use their Game Breaker abilities without them).
      • Both protagonists from the Advance games are depicted with massive swords in their artwork, but what they'll actually use is up to the player.
    • Benjamin of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest starts off with a sword, and his strongest weapon is the Excalibur.
    • Yuri in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is the protagonist of the game, leading even his older mentors. Although his first weapon is a hatchet, the weapon he adopts after the Time Skip is his father's sword and all weapons scrolls thereafter give him swords.
    • Although it's a job class game, the protagonist of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Brandt, is depicted with a sword. He also has high natural growths in Strength and HP, giving him a natural inclination to swordwielding jobs.
  • In Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, two of the three lords (each one being the main character at one point during the "normal" mode) use swords, and the other gains the ability to use swords upon promotion. The game also discusses and attempts to defy it briefly: Sain insists early on that "the lance is more heroic. A knight should look heroic, don't you think?" and so refuses to use a sword against the axe-wielding bandits they're fighting. It doesn't last.
  • In the original Golden Axe, two of the three playable heroes use swords, though Gilius Thunderhead used an axe because Our Dwarves Are All the Same.
    • Also, those two characters are the only characters in the game to use the typical straight-bladed, one-handed European longswords, other than the giant Knights. The skeletons wield curved, sabre-style swords while every other enemy wields a mace, club, axe, or hammer.
  • The protagonist of every game in The Legend of Zelda series has a sword. He's usually given one at the start of his quest, coinciding with learning he's the Chosen Hero. It will be replaced with the Master Sword, his fated weapon, in time to fight the Big Bad. In some games, he gives up the sword at the end, signifying that a hero is no longer needed.
  • While swords are a common party member weapon in Lunarosse, main character Channing uses knuckle weapons. He was originally to play this straight, but the game's creator felt he was more of a face-punch kind of guy.
  • In Odin Sphere, though three of the five main characters, including the one you start with, use a spear, crossbow, and chain, the two male heroes do in fact both use swords.
  • Played with in Rakenzarn Tales. Swords are a common weapon, but they're more the Jack-of-All-Stats. Since Kyuu can equip many weapon types, he can play it straight or avert it, depending on your needs.
  • In Rusty Hearts, Frantz and Angela both use swords, though they get axes and scythes respectively as secondary weapons.
  • Shadow of the Colossus subverts it: while Wander does carry a sword, and while the sword is the only thing that can kill Colossi, one look at how he wields it demonstrates that he has no idea what he's doing. It is heavily implied that he stole the sword, so it makes sense he has no training with it. His actual weapon of choice is his bow, which he shoots like a master.
  • The Star Ocean series alludes to this in every game:
    • Star Ocean has our medieval hero Roddick use swords, even though he comes from an isolated small village. The remake elaborates on this by explaining that he learned from his late father.
    • Star Ocean: The Second Story plays with this. Rena believes in the prophecy of a hero holding a sword of light. When Claude uses his Phase Gun to vanquish a monster that attacks her, she takes it to be the prophesied sword. After his gun is broken, Claude is forced to equip swords, as he's stuck on an underdeveloped planet. The rest of the journey has him overcoming his father's shadow and becoming a real hero.
    • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has Fayt using a sword because he is stuck in a medieval planet, and that in the battle simulator video game he always prefers a swordsman avatar.
    • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has two examples discussed in the story. Edge chooses a sword-type weapon because it was the only thing he could reach for to defend himself against a group of alien bugs. He noticed beforehand that blasters and laser guns were useless against them. Later on in the story, Edge is asked about it and says he's gotten used to using swords at that point. There's also the fact that, as a Seed of Hope, his reflexes are so good that he does very poorly with ranged weapons because he'll instinctively aim for where his target is going to be, rather than where they are. However, his reflexes work perfectly with a melee weapon.
  • Suikoden III has all three main characters wielding swords. Hugo's is closer to a dagger/main gauche, since he's younger than the others and requires a smaller weapon, but a sword it still is. To top it off, Thomas, star of an optional secondary scenario (and who as the Tenkai Star is actually the counterpart of the main heroes of each other the other games in the series), wields a sword too.
  • Suikoden IV hero Lazlo wields two swords.
  • Allegretto, the on-screen avatar Standardized Leader in Eternal Sonata and Jazz, the leader of Andantino, wields a massive broadsword.
  • Taiga in Duel Savior Destiny gets a shortsword (though it can change shape) while his allies get a staff, tonfa, a book, nothing, a magic glove and a bow respectively. Of course, it turns out the girl who had nothing also has a sword, but then she seems to have been the leader of her group originally as well!
  • Played with in Summon Night Swordcraft Story 2. The hero can use any weapon with equal proficiency, including drills. However, when they need to make a special weapon to exorcize an evil spirit, the Holy Man Toumei says he will only cast the spell on a sword. When the heroes question if there is a reason for this, he states "Because I only like swords."
  • Dragon Quest heroes always wield swords, which is given a twist in Dragon Quest V. There, the protagonist is always depicted as wielding a staff. Yet the Zenithian hero's equipment you spend much of the game looking for includes a sword, and it's said that the legendary hero will wield one. This is your first clue that the protagonist is not the Hero in questionthat's his son.
  • Averted in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, where Klein the alchemist (and hero) wields canes and maces, as well as being a powerful magic-user and healer. The most "hero-like" sword-user is Arlin, who turns out to be more of a taciturn Ineffectual Loner.
  • The hero in each Sakura Wars game uses dual katanas. And in all but one of the games, the primary female hero uses a katana as well, including the titular Sakura.
  • In the Persona series, many of the main characters, naturally, use swords rather than the diverse arsenal of their teams; Tatsuya Suou and Yu Narukami from Persona 2 and 4 respectively specialise in greatswords, while in promotional material and in the Persona 3 Portable Updated Re-release Minato Arisato uses single-handed swords, sabres and rapiers. In teams wielding boxing gloves, knives, bows, guns, battleaxes, fans and chairs(/flat bludgeoning weapons). Played even more straight when you realise that the former leader of the SEES, Mitsuru Kirijo, is also a sword-user, though her style is more like fencing. Subverted by FeMC in Persona 3 Portable, who exclusively uses naginatas, Maya Amano from Persona 2: Eternal Punisment, who wields Guns Akimbo, and the protagonist of Persona 5, who wields knives.
  • In both Legend of Legaia and its In-Name-Only sequel, Duel Saga, the hero and main character of the story uses a sword as his weapon of choice.
  • Subverted in .hack: the usual indicator of the main hero is dual shortswords (or long knives) held in a Reverse Grip, not a single larger blade (that's usually carried by The Lancer, oddly enough). Primary protagonists in the series have also wielded spears, staffs, and scythes.
  • Dynasty Warriors has pretty much every important leader using a sword/swords. Sun Ce is the only leader of the three kingdoms who doesn't (Tonfas) and Meng Huo is the only important leader outside of it to have not used a sword at some point in the series (Zhang Jiao used a sword in his first appearance,Dong Zhuo used a sword up to 5, and if Sima Yi is counted, he used a sword in his first appearance).
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, if there's a chip that only works at melee range, a good 95% of the time it's some variant of a sword. The Life Sword Program Advance is also probably the first one you will be able to actually use, which is itself made of three other swords.
  • Fate/stay night could very well be called a story about swords. Saber wields a sword, and Shirou has his entire existence revolving around swords. And of course, we could never forget—
  • Geralt in The Witcher is trained from his youth to use a sword to fight man and beast. Sure, he can use other weapons, but it's the sword that he utilizes most of the time, with devastating (and flashy) efficiency.
  • Chrono Trigger does this twofold. Crono, the player character, uses Katanas, which fits this trope and Katanas Are Just Better. However, Frog, the hero of Guardia in 600 A.D., and the only one able to equip the Hero Badge, which is tied to a prophecy of a hero wearing it coming and saving Guardia in a time of strife, uses Broadswords.
    • Chrono Cross averts this, however, as the main character, Serge, uses Swallows, which look like a shorter, double-bladed polearm.
  • Thief: Subverted. In the first two games, Garrett carries a sword, but the combat system is unreasonably complex and difficult, and it's likely that the player will never be as good with the sword as the basic enemy Mooks. This fits with the theme of the game: you're supposed to avoid combat at every opportunity; the sword is generally a weapon of last resort. Nevertheless, the most important weapon story-wise that Garrett gets to wield is the Sword of Constantine.
  • Specifically averted in Planescape: Torment in its quest to subvert, invert or avert as many classic RPG tropes as possible. The game contains two swords. One is the signature weapon of a companion and can't be taken off him because that would cause it to cease to exist. The second is Celestial Fire, the sword of a deva. You can only wield it if you're Lawful Good and he's not about to hand it to you, but if you kill him, you've very likely just ceased to be Good. If you can wield it, it changes shape and ceases to be a sword!
  • Inverted in Mass Effect, where Villains Prefer Swords. Though melee combat has not gone away, the Player Character and his or her True Companions avoid using swords. No swords appear in the first two games. The characters will use pistol whips and smash with the stock of their guns, punch, headbutt, and in the third game, use bayonets and a technological Hard Light blade that is formed for a slashing sweep of the arm, then disappears. Only Cerberus, a villainous group, makes heavy use of swords, and only in the third game. The only named character using a sword is the villain Kai Leng, and it would take a few Mass Effect 3 multiplayer DLCS before any of the "good guys" would be seen carrying a sword.

    Webcomics 

    Web Animation 
  • Subverted in Bee and Puppycat, Bee can summon a sword in times of need but she evidently favors her teeth and when she does use the sword she doesn't use it properly when she fighting a monster.
    Puppycat: Aw, siiick. Use the sword!
    (Bee starts bludgeoning the monster with her sword)
    Puppycat: USE THE SWORD AS A SWORD!
    Bee: DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DOOOOOOO!

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has Leonardo, who uses two katanas.
    Jesse Cox: "He's the leader, he has swords. You know he's the leader because he has two swords."
    • Invoked in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): when Splinter makes the turtles switch weapons around as a training exercise, Michelangelo gets Leonardo's swords and starts claiming that means he's the leader now.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): He-Man is given his Sword of Power by the Sorceress of the Castle, and uses it when leading his fellow warriors into battle. Even though Teela is seen teaching Adam how to use a sword, she often uses wrist-blasters, a ray gun, or hand-to-hand in battle. The other Masters frequently use their... natural abilities.
  • Thunder Cats: Lion-O receives the Sword of Omens from wise Jaga when he becomes leader of the Thundercats and ruler of the Thunderians. His companions use a whip, staff, nunchucks, slingshots and capsules, a hammer, and hand-to-hand. His allies the Warrior Women use archery and short knives.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: Thundarr uses the Sun Sword that can slice through or damage just about anything. He is usually the leader, decided where to travel and who to fight. His friend Ookla uses his massive strength, while his other friend Ariel uses her magic, learning, and brains.
  • Samurai Jack wields a magical katana.
  • In Transformers Prime, Optimus Prime and most other transformers primarily use built-in weaponry (guns, blades, saws, etc.) but about half way through the series he acquires the legendary Star Saber. This is especially noteworthy, as Optimus is most often associated with axes in other series.

    Real Life 
  • Parade dresses of officers and the regalia of royalty often include swords. Sword-breaking ceremonies, when an officer is stripped of their rank, also draw on this trope.
  • Historically justified in that a good sword was a massively valuable item for the Dark Ages/The Low Middle Ages in Europe, when knighthood and heroic legends developed after The Roman Empire fell in the West. Anybody carrying one was either rich and powerful, or good enough to have been given one by someone rich and powerful, or good enough to have taken one off the above category and kept it. Because their owners(' servants) took good care of them, 'dropped' swords were invariably scavenged given their high (but declining) value, and weaponsmiths continued to make them because of the profitability of doing so the number of swords in circulation steadily increased throughout the Middle Ages. Ultimately swords became a relatively common weapon by the end of the period, but the folk memory of such times remained and can be seen today with all the swords of heroes in Western legends, like King Arthur's Excalibur and Roland's Durandal.
  • Also, in general swords require more training to use effectively compared to spears, axes, or bludgeons. Thus in many cultures they served as the mark of a privileged warrior class who had the leisure time to practice martial arts, as opposed to levees or conscripts recruited from lower classes. This is especially true if honour duels are an element of the culture.
  • In very broad strokes and across multiple cultures, the sword also became a status symbol because it was a sidearm - which meant it would be reasonably comfortable to carry at all times. Wearing a sword at your hip almost entirely unencumbering, whereas carrying a polearm of some sort is a serious inconvenience. Likewise, swords are more comfortable to wear and more effective against unarmored foes than battleaxes, maces, warhammers, and so on. So if the local authorities were willing to let you walk about armed, you showed your status with a sword.
    • Again, in broad strokes, as cultures moved into the gunpowder era, swords were often given to officers leading troops, and officers were expected to be upper crust. This extended into the modern era, with pistols joining the sword and often replacing them as the officers' sidearm (contrasted to the weapons assigned to the rank-and-file). Only in recent decades have officers usually gone back to using the weapon the common soldiers were using.


Alternative Title(s): Swords Are Heroic, Heroines Prefer Swords

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroesPreferSwords