A type of Cool Sword
, the rapier is often associated with those of high class, or at least some suave character.
Note that in the hey-day of the rapier, it was as likely to be associated with traveling entertainers who gave what we would call “performances” with the rapier and buckler (small shield
— hence the term swashbuckler
) as with the courtiers, like Pietro Monte, whose favorite weapon it was. Old-fashioned gentlemen of the Elizabethan period tended to despise the “foining” and dancing they associated with the weapon, and preferred the good old longsword.
If your characters are living in The Cavalier Years
, and especially musketeers are involved, you can definitely expect them to use rapiers. In Japanese media, you can expect the Ojou
to use one.
Also included is the espada ropera
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Anime and Manga
- In Mobile Suit Gundam, M'Quve's YMS-15 Gyan uses a beam saber in very rapier-like fashion. Given his aristocratic tendencies and cultured behavior, this makes a lot of sense.
- Griffith in Berserk wields a gleaming cavalry sabre, in contrast with Guts' BFS. Griffith is of common birth, but is noted several times as embodying nobility better than the actual nobles.
- Serpico wields one when he manages to delay Guts for a few minutes before realizing how screwed he is. Later he gets another one infused with wind elementals that let him throw winds around. Serpico was born a street urchin, but is the illegitimate son of a nobleman and was given a position (and presumably an education) in his household at a young age, and so acts with the culture and sophistication of a young gentleman.
- While it's technically a Sword Cane, a lot of Brook's fighting style is fencing with a thin blade mixed with quick-draws. An aversion; he is not high-class or suave— in fact his social skills have deteriorated from long isolation— but fits the "entertainer" mold mentioned in the description.
- Perrine from Strike Witches, who is a Gallian (French) noble, sometimes carries a rapier in the series' promotional art. In season 2, it turns out that the rapier is the last family heirloom she has which she hasn't sold away. She also uses a different rapier in the same episode her rapier is brought up to defeat a golem.
Film - Live Action
- The Princess Bride: both Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black wield them. Inigo Montoya is the simple son of a swordsmith, albeit a relatively cultured and well-spoken one. The Man in Black, on the other hand, is a dashing pirate.
- Inverted in The Crow: Top Dollar is a common thug, but selects an ornate rapier as his weapon of choice. Interesting trivia: his rapier is the Six-Fingered Sword from The Princess Bride
- In most adaptations, the weapon of choice of Zorro is a Spanish rapier. Zorro's Secret Identity is Don Diego de la Vega, back when the title "Don" was still reserved for the nobility as opposed to crime bosses.
- In the Fighting Fantasy book Magehunter, if you decide to rush Mencius as he casts his spell, you will find yourself wearing regal red clothes and armed with a fancy rapier when you recover. spoiler
- Played straight in The Color of Magic, the first Discworld novel where it is used to reinforce Rincewind's perpetual incompetence. Rincewind is challenged to a sword fight; his opponent wields a rapier, while Rincewind is stuck with a short sword that looks more like a shovel.
- In The Riftwar Cycle, the rapier is the Weapon of Choice for Prince Arutha. At the end of the first series, it gets infused with a magic-repelling artifact, which lets it harm demons and other supernatural foes. Arutha's popularity causes rapiers to become much more widely used in the Kingdom during and after his reign.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Braavos has an indigenous fencing style called water dancing that uses rapiers. True to the weapon's real life history, the city-state is filled with street-fighting bravos. Westeros favors knightly longswords, but Jon Snow has a slender sword made for Little Miss Badass Arya Stark that resembles a rapier. She receives lessons in the water dancing style. Her swordmaster, Syrio Forel, really is as cultured as his Weapon of Choice implies (it's unknown if he's of noble blood, however), but the other bravos seen are little more than street thugs in fancy clothing.
- In the sequel to The Elenium, Emperor Sarabian begins to use a rapier after the arrival of Queen Ehlana and the Church Knights. It's a sign that he's beginning to take control of his own country.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe had a Laser Blade version of a rapier, called a lightfoil. It was invented by a Sith sect called the Mecrosa Order and adopted by the nobility of the Tapani sector; the latter modified it to be slightly weaker than a more usual lightsaber, but much easier to use for a Muggle.
- Subverted by Zorro, of all people: he uses a Spanish cavalry sabre. Justified as he would fight both unarmoured and armoured opponents (a rapier of his time couldn't handle the latter) and both on foot and on horse (a rapier was just not made to fight on horse, while a sabre, while made mainly for mounted fighters, could work in both situations).
- Subverted by Richard Sharpe; an infantry officer of his rank is normally expected to carry a small and lightweight sabre that's effectively a slightly curved rapier. Being the sort of fellow he is, Sharpe instead totes a whacking great heavy cavalry blade which many lesser men would struggle to wield while dismounted. And before he acquired said sword, when he found himself drafted into a Boarding Party while travelling home from India on a Royal Navy warship in Sharpe's Trafalgar, he developed a certain fondness for the cutlass.
Live Action TV
- In the Firefly episode "Shindig," the local nobility like using these in duels. High-Class Call Girl Inara shows a little proficiency too. And Working Class Hero Mal shows little. He thinks that Flynning with his means he's winning the fight, not knowing his opponent is just toying with him.
- In one episode of Blackadder I, Prince Edmund challenges Lord Dougal MacAngus to a duel. Edmund uses a rapier, but MacAngus effortlessly snaps it in half with his longsword.
- In Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 the rapier has the distinction of being one of the most effective weapons to which the Weapon Finesse feat can be applied, making it a perennial favorite of the sort to favor speed over brute force.
- In Warhammer Fantasy has Sigvald the Magnificent, whose trademark weapon is rapier. He may look like a flimsy pretty boy, but he can slice you to ribbons with it, plus he's the mortal champion of Slaanesh.
- The Suikoden series provides us with quite a lot of characters wielding a rapier:
- Vincent de Boule, a former aristocrat from the Scarlet Moon Empire, uses one in Suikoden and Suikoden II.
- Lilly Pendragon carries one in Suikoden III. She also dresses like a musketeer, complete with a big plumed hat. An another character from the same game, Yuber, seems to dual-wield rapiers.
- Prince Enrique from Skies of Arcadia uses one.
- The Prince(ss) class from Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City initially uses Rapiers. So do Buccaneers, which combine traits of Musketeers and Pirates.
- Estelle from Tales of Vesperia can wield these as well as staves. She also wields a shield, and has the highest defense stat by default among your characters. However, she doesn't have many combat Artes, being a better mage than a fencer (although very capable in expert hands).
- Richard in Tales of Graces wields these and is a prince.
- Saleh from Tales of Rebirth wields one. It's fitting for a suave Smug Snake like himself.
- Noblewoman Phiona in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, while a member of the series' Heavy Warrior class, goes with a giant rapier as her weapon of choice, regardless of how little sense that makes.
- Sima Shi, Yuan Shao, and Liu Shan in Dynasty Warriors 7 and subsequent games. All three of them are nobles and are quite skilled with this weapon.
- In the most recent Final Fantasy games, the rapier became the weapon of choice of The Red Mage job, a class of suave fencers with a pimp hat skilled in both black and white magic. Notably, the Joyeuse became a recurring weapon and is always a fencing sword.
- Larsa from Final Fantasy XII wields one (quite fittingly for a prince of the empire).
- In Tactics Advance and A2 rapiers are used by the Red Mages, Elementalists, and Fencers, all three of which are Viera only classes.
- One of the weapon types available in Dark Souls, used for quick, repeated thrusts. There's even a unique one dropped by the Undead Prince Ricard, Ricard's Rapier. You can actually find two of them in Dark Souls II for dual-wielding purpose.
- Fiora Laurent, the Grand Duelist of League of Legends. Her lore stated that she used to belong to a family of nobles that has fallen from grace due to her father doing some sort of foul play. A frustrated Fiora defeated her father and set off to beat down everyone she comes across with her rapier to restore her family's honor. Oh and she is extremely smug at doing so.
- Elan the Bard of The Order of the Stick, who became able to use it more efficiently after taking a level in his prestige class, Dashing Swordman, allowing him to add his charisma modifier to his attack rolls instead of his dexterity if he delivers quips and puns during his fights.
- The rapier was not intended to deal with armor and saw limited use on the battlefield. Instead, it was developed as civilian weapon for personal defense. As such, it was primarily associated with street brawls, bravos, swashbucklers and duelists. Only in later, romanticized tales did the rapier become a symbol of elegance and sophistication.
- No sword was ever made to deal with a 16th century munitions cuirass head on, the association with bravos and duelists is ultimately thanks to one Mister Silver, in the anglosphere at least, a man who largely misrepresented what the italian masters taught as flynning and managed to create the image of the rapier as a thrusting sword for dandies, mainly to defend his livelihood as a short sword fencing master. Swords identical to what is called a rapier in english saw extensive use as sidearms in the French, Spanish, and Swedish armies at a time when these were the main land powers in western Europe.