We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here
In Soviet Russia
, weapon wields you!
This is when an Empathic Weapon
not only has a mind of its own, but also has very definite ideas about what it should be used for, and is willing to act on it. During combat, it will take control of its bearer's body
(or at least the arms) and direct the fight itself. Note that it characteristically neglects to ask permission of its bearer beforehand.
Depending on the personality of the weapon, this can range from helpful (particularly for the novice hero
), to annoying, to dangerous, to outright suicidal. Being made mostly of metal, it is often unconcerned with the fragility of human flesh, and the need for things like backup or an escape plan. The weapon is most likely to take control either
to force a fight (when the bearer would rather either not get involved or actually run away), or to stop the wielder from attacking a certain type of person (women are a common target
). These problems are compounded when it is an outright Evil Weapon
In visual media, expect scenes of the wielder being dragged helplessly behind the weapon. The bearer's lack of control is often indicated through the use of Marionette Motion
In addition, it is frequently a Talking Weapon
, and may actually be a Soul Jar
or Sealed Badass
) In A Can
. If it particularly likes or needs you, it can end up being Loyal Phlebotinum
and/or a Clingy MacGuffin
While this can occur with many types of weapon, it is most commonly found in swords
Compare Flying Weapon
where the weapon doesn't bother to keep a human attached to one end. Also Weapon As Familiar
. Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object
, Empathic Weapon
and People Puppets
. Contrast Equippable Ally
, where you're wielded as a weapon.
Anime and Manga
- Team White Snow from IGPX Immortal Grand Prix use their "Puppetmaster" attack on Team Satomi. The arms of their mechs grab onto the enemy and hack into their systems. This resulted in Team Satomi unintentionally and uncontrollably attacking each other during their first encounter with White Snow.
- Crona in Soul Eater has a sword named Ragnarok that is physically part of his/her (it's hard to tell) body (via his essence being blended with hir blood). S/he always follows its directions, and during fight scenes is seen to be being dragged around by it.
- It's pretty much shown that the "Black Blood" in general does this (and can cause a weapon to overwhelm their meister). For example, when Maka's using it and acts Ax-Crazy, her consciousness is basically observing her and finds it embarrassing and Soul has nightmares about absorbing her.
- In InuYasha, Sesshomaru takes the fangs of one of Big Bad Naraku's previous incarnations to the swordsmith Kaijinbo, and commissions him to make a sword from it. He complies, but Tokijin, the resulting sword, takes over the will of anyone trying to wield it. In a display of how powerful Sesshomaru is, when he finally grips its hilt, it tries to work its mojo on him, and he No Sells it with barely a glance.
- In Guyver it's largely indicated that the Guyver units affect the host's mind causing them to fight and kill with a greater, more vicious brutality. This is a large plot point of the second live action film when, with no Zoanoids around to kill the Guyver has taken to hunting down and slaughtering regular human criminals with the same savagery it used on the powerful genetic mutations to the point that Shawn no longer feels he's in control and tries to get rid of the armor.
- The manga (and subsuqent anime adaptions) show the Guyver units to have something of an auto-pilot mode that kicks in when the unit is first installed, regenerates its host from the core medal or if the host suffers catastrophic head injuries. Its a brutally efficient fight, at least compared to Sho early on but its lack of nuance in dealing with what it perceives as threats leads to tragic consequences.
- Flame of Recca: weapons created by the bloodthristy Kaimon are hard to control at best, and can tend to have their own minds.
- Derflinger in Zero no Tsukaima has the ability to turn his user into a puppet when they are unconscious.
- A rather ambiguous example in the climax of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S. When stunned when fighting a Brainwashed and Crazy Ginga Subaru is monetarily stunned and it appears that her Intelligent Device, Mach Caliber, temporarily takes control of her body to dodge an attack, made possible by the fact that Subaru is a Combat Cyborg/
- The end of Stardust contains a subverted example. When the witch Lamia controls Septimus' corpse she only bothers with animating the sword (and hands/arms), letting the body dangle behind it.
- Robocop 2014. When paired off against an ED-208 in the simulator, the cyborg protagonist Murphy turns out to be several seconds slower as his reflexes are affected by human decision-making processes. Under pressure from his boss to get results, Dr Norton writes Murphy's software so that it takes over in combat situations, while signals are sent into Murphy's brain giving him the illusion of controlling events.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Need does this when carried by a woman without sword skills. Regardless of their skill, she also has a tendency to force her bearer to protect any woman in danger... even if the danger is caused by her attacking Need's bearer! This gets better when the spirit inhabiting the sword wakes up fully and is able to direct her actions rather than just acting on instinct.
- In The Woman Who Rides Like A Man Alanna's crystal sword is empathic but not sentient. It is imbued with magic which amplifies violent tendencies. Several times Alanna is almost killed because she has to stop mid-fight to prevent it taking over and forcing her to kill someone she'd rather just scare off.
- Stormbringer, the black runeblade wielded by Elric of Melniboné in the novels of Michael Moorcock, was an Empathic Weapon with a curious and sometimes hostile relationship with its owner — forcing him, on one occasion, to kill his lover after battling to rescue her.
- In the end, it turns out Stormbringer was never really a sword in the first place. It was actually a powerful demon disguised as a sword that used Elric to destroy and recreate the universe, leaving it as the supreme evil power in the new one. It "rewarded" Elric with a quick death.
- Discworld series:
- Kring from the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, was a talking sword who was not so much "empathic" as "annoying", leading at one point to Rincewind being forced to save the others because otherwise Kring would kill him.
- Men at Arms features "The Gonne", a firearm that takes control of the mind of its bearer to the point that it aims and fires itself even though the marksman tries to resist it.
- In a non-sword example, necromancers (and Abhorsen) in Garth Nix 's Old Kingdom series need to be careful when using the bells. They are implied to have minds of their own, with particular ones are prone to using a moment of inattention to sound or create their own pattern, often to the wielder's detriment.
- Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords
- When its wielder was fighting a dragon, the sword Dragonslayer would guide him to strike the dragon's most vulnerable spot For Massive Damage.
- Shieldbreaker and Townsaver also have this ability, taking control of their bearer's bodies during battle and directing them, but also not letting them stop until the battle is over.
- In Portlandtown the Hanged Man's red-handled Colt Walker makes anyone holding it want to use it.
- The titular swords in Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword have a similar effect: they affect and take over the mind of the character who wields them, turning them into bloodthirsty racists. The elf slave Agatha, who wielded the Wooden Sword, killed her former kinda-friend Trosha without a second thought, because he was one of the Human oppressors, and later regretted that greatly. Apparently, it only works on natives of Mel'in; Clara Hummel used both at once with no ill effect in the grand finale of the series.
- The titular swords of Tad Williams' Memory Sorrow And Thorn trilogy are clingy EmpathicWeapons. Due to the unique magic that went into their creation, they are practically living beings, with the ability to perceive and influence the people around them. At the height of their power, they can compel absolute obedience from their bearers.
- The sword Nightblood in Warbreaker has a hypnotic effect on those who get a good look at it, making those with impure hearts fight over it while innocents are repelled and horrified. When someone with an impure heart tries to draw it from the scabbard, it takes them over and makes them attack any other stained souls nearby, and then when it runs out of targets it makes the wielder stab themselves.
- There's also the eponymous weapon of Lawrence Watt-Evans's The Misenchanted Sword.
- Blue Öyster Cult's Black Blade, based on the Elric saga above, is this in spades:
"I have this feeling that my luck is none too good
This sword here at my side don't act the way it should
Keeps calling me its master, but I feel like its slave
Hauling me faster and faster to an early, early grave"
- In BlazBlue, Noel's Arcus Diabolus: Bolverk apparently does most of the fighting for her, as well as suppressing her emotions to some degree. Something of a positive example; it was helping her keep her Omnicidal Maniac tendencies in check - when she loses them in the first game, she breaks down in tears and when it happens in the second (along with a little Mind Rape from the Big Bad) she becomes Mu-12.
- In Mega Man Star Force, the wave energy alien Omega-Xis lives inside Geo's Transer (a watch-like device). In one scene Mega drags Geo's arm around to approach someone, while in another he used Geo's arm to smack his friend in the face.
- Sora's Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts is implied to be some form of this, at least initially: one of the villains states that "the boy's power is not his own" and he uses it both for combat as well as casting magic spells.
- In the Soul Series, Nightmare is the avatar and wielder of the cursed sword Soul Edge, which possesses everyone who wields it.
- From JourneyQuest, The Sword of Fighting is particularly unimpressed with Perf's cowardice and lack of skill. Several times, it actually forces him into situations, at swordpoint...
- Happens briefly in "The Lost Episode" of Acquisitions Incorporated, when Aoefel picks up a cursed sword and fails the Will check to resist its influence (which directs him to slaughter his friends with it). Luckily, he rolls better on the later checks and manages to get rid of the sword before doing any real harm.