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, though a character who fights like this may well combine these tropes.
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Anime & Manga
- Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica uses 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 Akemi has time-control powers but her lack of offensive ability has her resort to using 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 her 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.
- The two of them battled it out with all of their magical power and Gun Fu skills during the movie Rebellion. And it was awesome.
- 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. Each uses a different variant, with Alzack firing Trick Bullets from a magic pistol while Bisca uses Re-Equip Magic to switch guns as needed.
- 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.
- Vice Granscenic is a sniper who has a sniper's gun similar to Teana's guns and uses energy bullets.
- 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.
- The titular character of Coffin Princess Chaika uses a sniper rifle as her Gundo and shoots a versatile array of magic spells from it, which includes combat (the Ripper), support (the Breaker), and utility (the Searcher) spells among them.
Myths & Legends
- Harry of The Dresden Files routinely uses guns in combination with his magical tools, as does most everyone in the supernatural community. Part of the reason for this is that the White Council enforces a death penalty on human magic-users who kill other humans with magic (and that doing so is strongly implied to have a corrupting effect on the perpetrator in any event), so if violence does become necessary guns are often still one of the "safer" options.
- 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. However, Wax is the most prominent, being the protagonist and a combination of a Coinshot and a Skimmer in his Twinborn powers, making him capable of shoving his bullets much harder after firing them to add a lot to their impact.
- The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia is full of these. The story takes place in an alternate reality of the 1930s where a small but significant portion of the human population has magical abilities. Though the main characters are all powerful mages, they also train with and routinely use conventional weapons including firearms extensively.
- 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.
- Gunslinger 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.
- In the World of Darkness both Old and New, while characters in any game can be proficient with firearms, Mages and Werewolves are the best known for enchanting their guns or otherwise incorporating them into their magic. In historical supplements, similar effects can be done with bows.
- Dungeons The Dragoning has the Magitek Gunner class follow this to a T. Their signature class feature is the Elemental Shot series of feats which allow them to apply magical effects to firearms attacks. They gain access to both spell schools and Gun Kata styles and a feat attained in the last level lets them pre-cast and store a spell into a gun.
- 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. This is most notable in the Hunter Gunslinger subclass and both Warlock subclasses.
- 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. Thane in particular stands out as a biotic sniper (the only such squadmate in the trilogy).
- 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.
- Naoto from Persona 4 uses a gun but can also use magic through her Persona.
- In the Space Western MMORPG WildStar, 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.
- When playing on the special Halloween map Helltower, any of the player characters of Team Fortress 2 can start casting spells they pick up around the map while still using their guns as normal.
- In the Korean MMORPG Kritika, handguns are the Weapon of Choice for the mage class.
Anime & Manga
- InuYasha features the Miko Kikyo and her Reincarnation Kagome, who both wield a bow and arrow to focus their spiritual magic.
- Quincy from Bleach namely the Ishida family use archery to channel their Reishi into arrows. The Quincy from Vandenreich also use bows or crossbows.
- Gowther from Nanatsu No Taizai uses magically created Energy Bows and energy based arrows that inflict illusion based spells on opponents.
- Signum from Lyrical Nanoha has an attack called "Sturmfalken". Her Cool Sword Laevatein takes the form of a bow, "Bogenform", and then Signum creates a magical arrow that creates a big explosion. In the movie adaptation of A's, the energy around the arrow takes the form of a fire falcon.
- Cure Aqua has an attack called "Sapphire Arrow" in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!; she creates a bow and arrows made of water.
- Cure Beauty from Smile Pretty Cure! gains an upgraded attack called "Beauty Blizzard Arrow"; she turns her two ice swords into an ice bow and creates an ice arrow.
- Cure Heart from Doki Doki Pretty Cure has an attack called "Heart Shoot"; she uses her magical bow to fire a gigantic heart like an arrow. The group attack "Lovely Force Arrow" follows the same principle, only there are four Pretty Cures who bows and arrows.
- Sinon's ALO character in Sword Art Online is primarily an archer, but she can supplement her skills with magic to enchant Trick Arrows on the fly.
- 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 Codex Alera, one of the powers of woodcrafters is the ability to fire arrows with supernatural accuracy.
- In The Night Angel Trilogy, Durzo Blint at one point used his Talent to load arrows into his bow as soon as he fired the last one, effectively creating a rapid-fire bow.
- 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.
- The early 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. It shows up in later games, too — VI and VII had the Archer class in more-or-less the same, allowing for game-mechanics, way as the early games (with the mage part made rather explicit by fact that in both games one of the class promotion ranks was Warrior Mage), VIII had the Dark Elf race/class which was the same plus some special tricks.
- 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
- The Force Archer class of the game Cabal Online can also fit in this trope with their Astral Bow weapon.
- 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 meat shield 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.
- In The Legend of Zelda, the titular Princess Zelda is always something of a sorceress and on many occasions will take up arms with a bow and arrow mostly to fire the Light Arrows.
- Raven in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is both a skilled archer and a mage who learns spells from the Water and White Necromancy colleges of magic.
- Ronyx in Star Ocean 1 taught himself how to use both bows and offensive magic when time travel separated him from his preferred phasers. This backfired on him a bit in the Updated Re-release, since staves were changed to boost the wielders' magic power while bows give no bonus just like the original version.
- In Blackguards, Niam is an archer who can use magic.