Combining swordplay and sorcery is a viable strategy in your Standard Fantasy Setting
, but perhaps this magic wielding character prefers to engage enemies at a distance to use their Improbable Aiming Skills
. Or perhaps this character lives in a setting where Fantasy Gun Control
isn't in effect and swords are obsolete. Enter the Mage Marksman.
The Mage Marksman comes in two flavors:
- The Magic Gunman, who uses a gun in tandem with magic. Aside from simply being another means of bringing the pain, magic spells may supplement the missile weapons, such as time spell that makes it easier to land headshots, or using telekinesis to rip an enemy out of cover. The Magic Marksman is commonly found in Urban Fantasy and Gaslamp Fantasy settings, where magic exists but using a sword simply wouldn't make much sense.
- The Arcane Archer, who uses archery instead of firearms. The Arcane Archer's powers may include summoning animals in fights, Trick Arrows, Magic Music, or your standard fare Elemental Powers. The Arcane Archer will usually be found in the Standard Fantasy Setting, but may wander into other fantasy settings too.
Compare Magic Knight
and Kung-Fu Wizard
, wherein the character uses a sword or their bare hands alongside magic. See also Postmodern Magik
. Not to be confused with Depleted Phlebotinum Shells
, where the weapons or bullets themselves are magically enhanced.
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Anime & Manga
- Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magicauses her magic powers to conjure single-shot muskets, bombards and cannons out of thin air. Sometimes in massive amounts, only to have them fire a shot each and disappear. Homura has time-control powers but her lack of offensive ability has her resort to use ordinary firearms in combat. This has massive synergy with the fact that her magical shield can store an entire Hyperspace Arsenal, and her time stop powers allow it to abuse said arsenal with impunity. At one point she froze time, then fired an entire army base worth of weaponry at an Eldritch Abomination.
- Background characters Alzack and Bisca from Fairy Tail use Gun Magic as their main power but this is more of a case of All There in the Manual.
- Teana Lanster of Lyrical Nanoha, a mage who fights using illusion magic and a pair of Magi Tech guns that fire energy bullets. She has the ability to guide the trajectory of her bullets and fire several of them at the same time. She also eventually masters the title character's Signature Move, Starlight Breaker.
- Psychic powers ("Stands") are all over the place in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, so inevitably a few users wind up being gunslingers. Hol Horse and Guido Mista both have Stands that allow them to redirect their bullets mid-flight, and in Steel Ball Run arc (set in the Wild West), most people there are already gunslingers who now have to factor super powers into their gun fights.
Myths & Legends
- Harry of The Dresden Files routinely uses guns in combination with his magical tools, as does most everyone in the supernatural community. There are few creatures so mighty that they can't be brought down by modern weaponry applied correctly.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- The Coruscant Nights trilogy, set a year or so after Revenge of the Sith, introduces a Jedi sect called the Gray Paladins who eschew lightsabers in favor of blasters and favor a minimalist approach to the Force. The mainstream order considered them borderline heretics.
- Members of the New Jedi Order often carry blasters in addition to lightsabers. This shouldn't be too surprising given many of their number are former military.
- In The Powder Mage Trilogy, this is the signature ability of the mages referred to in the title. Powder mages can guide bullets as they fly, carrying them further than normal or bending their course. They're contrasted with (and resented by) the Privileged, whose sorcery is more traditional.
- Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/Zero is a ruthlessly pragmatic low-level "magic user" (as opposed to an authentic "magus"), who only sees magic as another tool to complement his weapon arsenal. The ultimate symbol of this is his "Mystic Code" (The equivalent of a magic wand in the Nasuverse): A Thompson Contender with enchanted rifle shells filled with two of his powdered ribs. The strength of the shell means that it will punch through almost anything short of dedicated armor that most people won't have on hand, but if the target uses magic to defend himself, the bullet enchantment will react to the spell and cause the mage to explode from the inside out.
- Most combat Allomancers from The Alloy of Law fall under this trope, since this world has plenty of guns.
- Railroad Bill was an African American outlaw who robbed trains and sold goods to the poor at a reduced price, like a Postbellum Robin Hood. Aside from his skill with rifle, he was believed to use shapeshifting powers to evade capture time and time again.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Dragon magazine #71 has Murlynd, a "Quasi-Deity" of the Greyhawk campaign setting. He is able to shoot guns in combat as well as casting spells.
- The Spelljammer and Forgotten Realms campaign settings had primitive firearms (e.g. flintlocks) that could be used by spellcasters.
- Mages can cast spells, but smart ones will keep a firearm handy as well.
- Casting spells can cause fatigue damage as well as possible body damage, or even death.
- Chi-Adepts can use their magic powers to enhance their ranged combat skills, becoming something like Gunkata embracers, with a mix of gymnastics and dual-wielding pistols as their signature combat style.
- Most pyskers in Warhammer 40K prefer to fight at long range, though using their powers to assist their shots is more of an RPG occurence (Dark Heresy, etc.).
- Deadlands had Hexslingers; a combination of a Huckster (a spell-caster) and a gunslinger, who specialised in spells that affected their shooting.
- The Castle Falkenstein supplement Sixguns & Sorcery has spellslingers, gunslingers who could enchant magical spells onto their bullets.
- Pathfinder. Spellslingers from the Ultimate Combat book. They are a wizard archetype who can use spells to magically enhance bullets.
- Warmachine has Gun Mages.
- The BioShock series allows the player to use Plasmids/Vigors in addition to a selection of guns and RPGs.
- The Traveller is the source of the "Space Magic" featured in Bungie's Destiny.
- Devil May Cry has Dante shooting self-enchanted bullets, shotgun blasts and grenades as readily as he swings an enchanted sword.
- Bullet Witch pretty much has this trope as its basis. Protagonist Alicia has a magical gun that looks like a broomstick, can morph into either sniper rifle, shotgun or gatling gun, and its ammo is reloaded with magic. Not to mention her deadly mass-destruction spells when things get really hairy.
- In Bayonetta, Umbran Witches fight with a combination of guns and black magic, either to augment their physical abilities or to summon up demons or torture devices to execute their enemies.
- Final Fantasy
- Lucca from Chrono Trigger fights with a pistol, and becomes the party's fire-mage once they get trained in spellcasting.
- The protagonists of Digital Devil Saga typically do battle by Voluntary Shapeshifting into magic-wielding demons, but they're all competent in the use of firearms when in human-form.
- Mass Effect's biotics invariably enter combat armed with some form of gun in addition to their powers.
- In the Borderlands series, whose combat is almost entirely gun-based, the Sirens are women with various psionic abilities. Lilith can transit another dimension, while Maya can temporarily trap a foe inside it.
- The early Heroes of Might and Magic like II, III, and IV had the Archer class. Besides being good with bows and crossbows, they also could equip medium armors, some weapons, and got arcane magic spells.
- Naoto from Persona 4 uses a gun but can also use magic through her Persona.
- In the Space Western MMORPG Wild Star, the Spellslinger class is a "Guns Akimbo Mage" that fires enchanted bullets.
- Xigbar and his human self Braig from Kingdom Hearts is a Space Master and goes Guns Akimbo with his Arrowguns.
- Lita from Breath of Death VII is both a gun user and Player Party's dedicated Black Mage.
- Illia Animi from Tales of Innocence uses dual pistols as her weapons of choice, and can utilize supportive magic along with water/ice based offensive magic.
Anime & Manga
- Discworld series: Mustrum Ridcully is a wizard who likes to hunt animals with a crossbow in his spare time.
- Deryni series: After Conall loses to Dhugal in an informal archery contest early in The King's Justice, Kelson explains to Dhugal why it wouldn't have been fair for him to have joined the competition, and he shoots an arrow "precisely in the center of the target." Then he demonstrates how he can use his Deryni powers to enhance his archery skills, shooting a second arrow exactly alongside the length of his first. Dhugal is suitably astonished when Alaric Morgan does likewise at Kelson's request (without looking at the target while he shoots); the result is four arrow shafts in a tight square in the target. The scene foreshadows their parts in the rescue of Duncan from Loris and Sicard; Kelson and Morgan use their powers to deflect the arrows of Loris' archers as they shoot at the captive Duncan.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, any spellcasting character proficient in archery would qualify. In 3.X Edition (and Pathfinder) a ranger with the archery Combat Style is a particular example, gaining archery-improving feats and a handful of nature- and hunting-related spells.
- The arcane archer prestige class combines both archery and spellcasting into one class, with the signature ability of imbuing area spells into arrows to deliver them from great distances.
- There is also the marksman, a psionic class that specializes in ranged attacks. The specialization includes options for enhancing either crossbow or bow attacks.
- 4th edition has the Seeker, the Primal power source equivalent to the Ranger class. Their bows fire missiles made of primal magic. There's also the Euphonic Bow paragon path for Bards, which is all about using their magic songs to enhance their marksmanship (and vice-versa).
- Elven rangers in Heroes of Might and Magic V are able to enchant their arrows with harmful spells.
- In World of Warcraft, the hunter class has many arrows with special effects. Most of them are Trick Arrows, but some, such as Arcane Shot and Black Arrow, are undeniably magic. In addition, most of their special shots do some form of magic damage. Also, since hunters can use both guns and (cross)bows, they could also fit the Magic Gunman type.
- In Warcraft III, features a few in the form of hero units Priestess of the Moon (the most notable being Tyrande Whisperwind) has a ranged attack and boosts ranged abilities of surrounding units, but can also cast spells as well as Dark Ranger's like Sylvanas who favored Necromancy and the Naga Sea Witch who favored storm flavored spells.
- Final Fantasy features more than a few archers who also specialize in magical attacks as well.
- Marle from Chrono Trigger fights with a crossbow, and becomes the party's ice-mage once they get trained in spellcasting.
- The Diablo series each features one such character playable starting with the Rogue, an archer who was the middle ground of magic users between the Sorcerer and the Warrior, the Amazon who's archery was supplemented by support magic such as making enemies glow making them easier targets and summoning Valkyries. The Demon Hunter in Diablo III favors Automatic Crossbows and using Black Magic against the demons themselves.
- The Tales Series
- Dragon's Dogma has the Magick Archer class, who uses Magick Bows with homing properties to fire magical shots. Some of which includes bolts of ice magic capable of Roboteching in on enemies, lightning shots that bounce all around the walls and fire shots that act as a time-delayed bomb.
- A viable build in most The Elder Scrolls titles, usually using Conjuration to summon and enhance an ethereal Bound Bow and summon MeatShield mooks, as well as Illusion to enhance stealth. Alternate builds could replace Conjuration with Enchanting to create powerful enchanted bows and Alchemy to create poisoned arrows.