A character in a work finds a weapon, and discovers that it is the same weapon from one of the legends
of their world. Most of the time, legendary weapons are a pretty big deal - they don't call them "legendary" for nothing, after all - and instead of being a very old, rusty piece of scrap
that's been in a display case for the last millennium, are actually extremely powerful and useful. They might even have the spirit of an ancient hero trapped in them, have immense magical properties, or be made with a technique that has been lost to the ages
. Occasionally, when the protagonist is The Chosen One
of a Fantasy setting, they'll just happen to be a descendant of the last great hero to use that weapon, and the weapon will unlock its true power only in their hands.
Usually a Named Weapon
. Since having the protagonist find a legendary weapon at their local store is a bit silly, the weapon tends to be a Sword of Plot Advancement
that is rather hard to acquire.
Please note that this is for legendary
weapons, meaning that the weapon has to be part of the legends and history of the work
. This is not a trope for just any ancient weapon or Cool Sword
the protagonists find, or weapons in a work that happen to share a name with a Public Domain Artifact
to Ancestral Weapon
. Contrast Penultimate Weapon
and Day Old Legend
. See also Infinity+1 Sword
, Infinity–1 Sword
, Excalibur in the Rust
, Cool Sword
, and Sword of Plot Advancement
. If the work's setting is based on the real world, it may overlap with Public Domain Artifact
Anime and Manga
- Excalibur in Soul Eater is considered the strongest of weapons (which, in this setting, is a race) and his power is considered the stuff of legend. Any Meister who wields him is pretty much unstoppable, and many have tried, as his location and exploits are well documented. What isn't, is the fact that he is completely insufferable and no one can stand him long enough to use him for long.
- Most of the Servants' Noble Phantasms in Fate/stay night count. Considering the setting is based on the real world and the Servants are actually spirits of legendary heroes, a lot of them overlaps with Public Domain Artifact.
- The Sixth Gun has the Six, which have been reborn in every age of the setting. Built to free Man from an enemy that is no longer there, the Six were known to early man as clubs, to the Knights Templar as swords, to other ages as crossbows and matchlock muskets. In the age of the comic, they are .44 revolvers due to the Western setting.
- In the Pony POV Series, Patch finds the sword of Squire, the knight from the legend she told in the first episode of the animated series. She uses it as her Weapon of Choice for the rest of her life.
- Mjolnir in Thor.
- The sword Green Destiny in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, an Absurdly Sharp Blade famously wielded by Li Mubai and which serves as a MacGuffin for much of the movie.
- In The Mummy Returns in the final confrontation Rick sees a mural depicting the golden scepter his brother in law has been hauling the entire film, showing it to be in fact a Retractable Weapon - the Spear of Osiris. Which is the only thing that can kill the Scorpion king. He promptly takes it and uses it to defeat the Scorpion king.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Narsil is the legendary sword that was forged in the First Age by a famous dwarven smith, wielded and broken by Elendil and then used by Isildur to cut the ring out of Sauron's hand at the end of the Second Age, and then reforged under the name Andúril at the end of the Third Age to fulfill one of the ancient prophecies.
- Early in The Hobbit, the party recovers a small treasure hoard from some trolls. Among the hoard are a pair of legendary elvish blades, Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver and Glamdring the Foe-Hammer, two legendary swords forged millennia earlier by the elves of Gondolin. Thorin Oakenshield takes Orcrist and it's eventually buried with him, while Gandalf takes Glamdring and uses it several decades later to kill the balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring. Notably, these blades are also legendary among the goblins, who call them Beater and Biter and recognize them on sight; pretty impressive considering they haven't been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years.
- Several of the 13th century Sagas of Icelanders (specifically Kormak's Saga and Laxdoela Saga) have a cameo of Skofnung, the legendary sword of the ancient Danish king Hrolf Kraki told about in The Saga of Hrolf Kraki, which supposedly was robbed from Hrolf's gravemound and brought to Iceland by the Icelander Skeggi of Midfirth.
- The Riftwar Cycle: The Hammer of Tholin is an ancient weapon that belonged to the last king of the dwarves, believed to be lost to the ages. The lore attached to it is so strong that its recovery allows Dolgan to become the first king of the dwarves since its loss.
- The Sword of Shannara from the Shannara series is the legendary sword which the Elven King Jerle Shannara used to defeat the Warlock Lord and end the Second War of the Races. Five hundred years later, the entire plot of ¡¡The Sword of Shannara'' is a quest for said sword.
- The Sword of Godric Gryffindor and the Elder Wand in Harry Potter.
- The Dresden Files has the hat-trick. The three Swords of the Cross are named Amoracchius, Esperacchius, and Fidelacchius. Or, as they've been called in the past, Excalibur, Durendal, and Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, respectively.
- The Sword of the Kings of Ankh in Discworld. According to the Discworld Companion, in the later years of the Ankh-Morpork monarchy, many fake swords started popping up in the hands of various claimants, to the point that King Blad claimed the throne on the basis of two bits of wood nailed together. It is generally agreed that the true sword must have been shiny, probably magical and always catch the light, and therefore can't possibly be Captain Carrot's, which is none of these things but just really good at being a sword.
- Tracker's Strada Brac. note It was the subject of Vardian and Cirronian legends about how it was made during an ancient war and then stolen by the Migar council and hidden on Earth to keep it away from the Vardians. By the modern era, most of their peoples believed it was simply a myth. Cole and Mel obviously proved them wrong.
- Excalibur in Merlin which Arthur is going to rip out of that stone as revealed by the series trailer, and Lancelot's sword which I have momentarily forgotten the name of.
- Dungeons & Dragons has had many of these, from the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and Sword of Kas in the 1st Edition Dungeons Master's Guide to the swords of the Forgotten Realms as described by Ed Greenwood (Adjatha, Albruin, Demonbane, etc.).
- The Sixth Gun, due to the game being based on the comic book, features the quest for the Six.
- Any weapon (or, indeed, any item) that unlocks a Codex entry in the Dragon Age series. Additionally, if you acquired the weapon Vigilance in Awakening, the epilogue mentions that it went on to become one of these.
- The Runeblade from Drakan: Order of the Flame belonged to Heron, the last great dragonrider and is also the best weapon in the game.
- The keyblade in Kingdom Hearts.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep gives us the χ-Blade (pronounced key-blade or kye-blade), of which other Keyblades were made to mimic its shape. Unlike the Keyblade, which was originally made to overcome Kingdom Hearts, the χ-Blade existed alongside it and protected it as well. It was over this that the Keyblade War was fought, which resulted in its destruction into 7 Lights, which became the Princesses of Heart and 13 Darknesses, as well plunging Kingdom Hearts into darkness and forcing The Worlds to reorganize. There is a way to reforge it and bring back the lost Kingdom Hearts; by having a powerful Light and equally powerful Darkness clash, but they have to be in partitions of 7 and 13 respectively for it to be successful. Xehanort, who has reformed in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance aims to start a second Keyblade War by doing exactly that, the 7 lights being either the Princesses of Heart or the various heroes of the series, while the 13 darknesses who are multiple splintered versions of himself gathered across time.
- Kingdom of Loathing parodies legendary weapons at every turn.
- There's a chain of quests where the player gets a series of legendary weapons. First, the player has to create the "Epic Weapon" for their class. Following that, they obtain more ingredients and upgrade it to the "Legendary Epic Weapon". Following that, the weapon gets transformed into the "Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon" when fighting the next boss.
- There's Trusty, Boris' trusty axe which the player is forced to use when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings — common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Master Sword, aka, "The Blade of Evil's Bane", is as legendary as the Triforce itself. It is inscribed in Hyrule's lore that evil ones cannot touch it, nor can anyone save for the Chosen Hero draw it from the Pedestal of Time.
- The Sword of Mana from the World of Mana series. Even more legendary because it is ALL the legendary swords that have ever existed, just with different name on each occasion.
- Final Fantasy V has the twelve legendary weapons. They are weapons. They are legendary. There are even twelve of them.
- The Vampire Killer Whip in Castlevania series is considered the ultimate undead-killing holy weapon.
- The Eternal Sword in the Tales Series. Also known as the Sword of Time, it is capable of cleaving time and space itself.
- Warcraft: Frostmourne (among others).
- In Titan Quest the most powerful weapons and items are the "Legendary" or "Mythological" ones.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- The Daedric Artifacts (at least those that are weapons) are the most legendary weapons in The Elder Scrolls universe. Each is associated with a particular Daedric (daemonic, more or less) deity and passes from owner to owner according to the wishes of those deities. Famous ones include the hammer Volendrung, the dagger Mehrunes' Razor, the Mace of Molag Bal, the sword Dawnbreaker and the staff Wabbajack.
- Tales of Graces has the sword of Asbel's father, Aston, which was a legendary eleth sword. When Asbel was in training as a knight, he sold the old, rusted sword for cheap to a traveling merchant called a "Turtlez" (one of many in the game), not realizing its history or potential. Much later in the game, the player can buy it back for hefty premium and take it to the Amarcian Enclave and it turns out to be the extremely powerful Excalibur.
- In the arcade Dungeons & Dragons games from Capcom, at the end of Shadow of Mystara, if a player kills the final boss with a magical sword (i.e. any sword that they did not start with), the epilogue states that the weapon is renamed "The Sword of (Player Name)". On subsequent playthroughs, the sword is actually called that for anyone that picks it up. At least, until the cabinet is reset.
- There's always at least one of these in every Fire Emblem game. They're mostly signature weapons of each game's Lord.
- The Dual Blade in the Lufia series, a weapon that amplifies the wielder's energy waves.
- Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has a weapon called the Legendary Sword, which the party is tasked to recover. Despite acknowledging the Legendary Sword's powers are quite exaggerated, the President of Parcelyte feels its presence would reassure the people of the city. It is a solid upgrade should you choose to use it yourself.
- The Relic weapons of Final Fantasy XIV qualify: though you have to reforge them, they are legendary in the history of the world (for example, the Paladin's weapon, Curtana, is the sister sword to Oathkeeper, and both are the best swords ever made). The more they're upgraded, the more powerful they become, until eventually they're reforged again into epic weapons (Curtana becoming Excalibur, for example).