That makes for: longsword, katana, handguns, shotgun, mace, bow and arrow, spear, scythe, extending flail, martial arts, flute, deck of Tarot cards
and a moogle
. At least the uniform matches. Mostly.
In certain kinds of stories, you want characters to have weapons. It's important: They need weapons to fight, their choice of weapon may reflect their personality
, and it makes them look cooler.
The problem comes when you give The Hero
a rapier, The Lancer
a scimitar and The Big Guy
In real history, the development of swords in particular meant that each kind of sword had different uses. Arming swords and katanas, for instance, were primarily used for unarmoured civilian combat or as sidearms on the battlefield, generally not as primary battlefield weapons. Cavalry sabres (longer than the version used by infantry officers) were used by mounted troops against infantry and cavalry. Rapiers and small swords became popular as both civilian self-defense and dueling weapons, and were rarely seen on the battlefield at all. Some swords, such as the estoc and various late medieval longswords had narrow points designed for exploiting gaps in plate armour and thereby defeating fully armoured opponents, who were generally immune to simple cuts with a blade. Firearms and armor co-existed for a while (approximately three centuries), but eventually firearms made metal armor obsolete (with some exceptions) until the first practical bulletproof vests were created in the early 20th century.
In fiction, however, that goes right out the window. It's almost a given that both combatants will be unarmored
or lacking the most vital parts of their panoply
. A character in battle with a heavily armored combatant won't use a mace, warhammer or poleaxe to break the armor or cause indirect trauma or even use a straight sword to stab him between armor plates; the fighter without armor will probably dispatch the armored fighter with straightforward slashes with the edge of the blade, with the armor having zero effect on fighting technique. And of course, a Medieval European Fantasy
might have the odd Katana
show up in the hands of a really
cool Bad Ass
A kind of Anachronism Stew
. Justified by Rule of Cool
. Some may try to Hand Wave
it by having the weapons be more representative of a culture or nation rather than personality type, despite the clear impracticality of such a thing. Not to be confused with Swiss Army Weapon
, which includes everything but
the kitchen sink.
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Anime and Manga
- Ga-Rei -Zero-: Used to great effect; the Red Shirt uses machine guns that can shoot the supernaturals, the two main characters use katanas (and the titular Mons), and the other squad members use improbable weapons such as a gatling gun briefcase and a motorbike that engraves sacred runes on the street.
- One Piece: Many organizations, even armies, don't have a proper, "uniform" equipment. Among the egyptian-like members of the Alabasta army you can see polearms, katanas, zweihanders, morning stars and muskets.
- Actually, that example is an aversion. The organized Royal Army actually does have uniform equipment. The Rebel Army is justified in adhering to this trope, as they were specifically stated to have scrounged up weapons from wherever they could get them.
- Invoked by the Muhou Ryu members in Gamaran: While all the other ryuu (schools of martial arts) are focused around one type of weapon, the Muhou Ryu includes many types of different fighting styles, hence different types of weapons, ranging from katana to spears to rapiers and weird swords to western halbeards. A notable example is given by the 47th Division: Their leader wields a huge spiked club, while the members wield lots of weapons including huge swords, hammers, polearms and gauntlets.
- The Matrix Reloaded, when Neo fought The Merovingian's agents. Considering that everyone literally grabbed weapons off the wall, and that they were fighting in the Matrix, it makes sense.
- And there might have been a hole in his defense - using every available type of attack made sense.
- Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle.
- Redwall: Where do we start? Everything from rapiers to tree-trunks, slings to ballistas, cutlasses to teeth-and-claws makes an appearance. And of course, the hero gets the blade of Martin the Warrior, a straight bladed double-edged sword in accordance with the usual rules. Everyone else gets whatever their species usually uses.
- Justified in The Baroque Cycle. A very wide range of weapons come into the hands of various characters throughout the story, but everyone has a very specific reason to be carrying that type of weapon. When weapons are used, their appropriateness to the situation is almost always examined in detail. No one can ever accuse Neal Stephenson of not showing his work.
- In the Hawk & Fisher series, Hawk uses an ax instead of the standard-issue police sword. Justified because he'd lost an eye and lacks the depth perception for refined swordplay.
- In The Lord of the Rings each member of the Fellowship has slightly different weapons; justified by the fact that they come from different cultures and backgrounds (and have very different heights). Legolas, has a bow and a long knife, Boromir uses a sword+shield, Aragon uses a Bow and long sword, the Hobbits also have long double-bladed knifes, Gimli has a few different axes, and Gandalf uses a staff and/or long sword.
- The tabletop RPG Dungeons & Dragons is one of the biggest offenders in this particular category. Many worlds have lightly-armored characters wielding rapiers and scimitars alongside heavily armored guys with big whacking great swords and great axes. But then again, D&D's armor system makes heavily-armored fighters harder to hit rather than reducing damage (something that you can also do with light armor and a high enough Dexterity score), and the threat range on scimitars and rapiers make it easier to score a critical hit. The first edition rules did have "weapons effective against armor type" charts, but this was phased out in second and subsequent editions. As this editor recalls, chopstick vs platemail was a -10 modifier.
- When it's relevant to note that a blow simply made contact that was/might have been blunted by armor, 3rd Edition made use of the "touch AC" stat. It was mostly used for certain spells or attacks that involve grabbing the target rather than striking it.
- This is also noticeable with canon characters in the various game worlds. For example, in the Forgotten Realms, Drizzt Do'Urden fights with two scimitars. Artemis Entreri fought, for a long time, with a saber and dagger (he eventually got a straight-bladed sword that was more heavily enchanted). And so on.
- In their defense, the oddness of these choices was noted. A lot of Drow are ambidextrous and Drizzt is supposed to be an epitome of this. Entreri was, through extensive training, just about on par with Drizzt, and at least he was wielding a light weapon in his off-hand.
- That's because everybody believes that long swords were used with one hand. Every long sword was used as a sword to one and a half hands, meaning there are moves where its used with one hands, but just as many with two hands, and every rest position uses two. The short swords that were used with only one hand are basically long knives. The same goes for other weapons except rapiers and such, because these are so thin, that they are light enough. A one handed axe is called a hatchet, an "normal" axe is a two handed weapon.
- Most fantasy games feature this due to their D&D ancestry. Palladium Fantasy. Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, Anima, and the Riddle of Steel all follow this trope.
- Certain modern era action games and cyberpunk games will feature a more modernized version of this, where anachronistic melee weapons, small personal defense firearms, and military hardware suited to bringing down a corrupt third world regime will all be given equal time and consideration on the weapons list.
- GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy doesn't even bother with pretending that this doesn't happen, players are given access to all weapons from TL 0 to 4 because that's how the genre works. Also flamethrowers...
- Slightly deconstructed by the fact that GURPS uses reasonably realistic stats for all weapons - thus, using a weapon wrongly or against the wrong opponent will make the fight harder for you. The character templates and loadouts often try to match a fighting style (I.e. your choice of combat skills) with the appropriate weapon.
- Eon has everything from humungous two-handed swords, all the way down to thin little rapiers. Granted, you rarely see them in the same geographical area; you're more probable to encounter light weapons where people don't wear as much armour, such as on the high seas, or with isolated cultures that haven't had the need to develop heavier weaponry. When it comes to the players themselves, the unforgiving and detailed combat system keeps them in check, with light weapons being almost completely forsaken in place of spears (!) or broadswords, as any hostile encounter is a potential death-trap if you're not completely sure of what you're doing, and heavier equipment helps even the score.
- In A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe, the army of the future people use completely random weaponry (from shotguns to halberds). Justified in that they get all their weaponry from the miscellanopod trees, which give them entirely random stuff. Meanwhile, the members of the evil cult that opposes them are able to use Reality Warper powers to spontaneously manifest any weapons or equipment they want.
- Sluggy Freelance: During the "Oceans Unmoving" arc, the Space Pirates use swords, throwing hatchets, flintlock guns, grenades, switchblades, and even laser weapons. Justified since the residents of Timeless Space are literally from different points in history, some coming from the present, others the far future, and others the distant past. Also justified when it's found that most of the 'pirates' are geeks of one sort of another, who took the opportunity of being stranded in timeless space to play pirates, and so picked whatever weapon they felt was cool.
- Chaos Fighters are this as a whole, with modern and medieval weapons appearing simultaneously. It gets egregious when bronze coin daggers, scimitars and katana are added. This is not counting the double weapons and mix and match weapons.
- Comes into play at points of Tales of MU in Callahan's class, Mixed Melee, in which the main character, variously armed with a dagger, a pitchfork, and a quarterstaff, has to spar against Gloria, a Knight Templar with a sword. The lack of parity is at times remarked upon as well.
- The Whateley Universe. Some of everything in this package. Fey now has a magical mithril scimitar. Bladedancer has a magical jian made of jade. Tennyo has an antimatter lightsaber. Lancer is a flying brick and can extend his super-strong field over small things, so he has paper swords... which can cut through concrete. And then Winter Term courses include a 'special topics' class, so this gets really gets crazy. Phase is working with a tactical baton, Chaka is learning the meteor hammer, Aquerna gets a pair of kama, Shroud is working with a dozen knives (simultaneously), ...
- In Rollbots, most people who are onvolved in fights have some kind of special weaponry; Botch has a Hard Light grappling hook, Manx has Energy Balls, Macro has a giant Wrecking Ball, the Kei'zatsu have Hard Light handcuffs which coat the entire body... and Spin has a collapsible sword.