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Blow Gun

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This is why you lock the doors at night, kids.

A tube used to shoot darts at targets by blowing into it, often used by hunter-gatherer tribes. Expect poison and tranquillizer darts.

Its near-silence makes it an ideal exotic weapon for a hunter or sneaky assassin who doesn't want to give away their position, while the pipe's simplicity makes it easy to conceal or disguise as something else. It can even be used as a snorkel so the assassin can hide underwater.

Two potential gags are for the user to accidentally inhale the dart or for the target to grab the end of the gun and blow the dart back.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Berserk, the smallest one the Bakiraka assassins sent into the sewers to kill Griffith uses a blow gun as his main weapon. He peeks out of his hiding place and shoots a poisoned dart at Griffith, but Charlotte leaps in the way, which creates a problem for the assassins who are trying to bring her back alive.
  • Used by a guy in Hunter × Hunter, who uses it to shoot a paralyzing dart at Gon.
  • Jinzō Konchū Kabuto Borg VxV: In episode 30, the assassin sent by the father of Kameida Carmeda tries to kill Ryūsei with a blow gun.
  • Ka Ryo Ten from Kingdom uses the blow gun she obtained from an assassin as her main weapon.
  • Princess Mononoke: Jigo's men use blow gun pipes which they keep disguised as parasols when not in use.
  • Ranma ˝: Ranma uses one to shoot down the Principal's hot air balloon in the manga.
  • Toriko: Gourmet Corps Sous-Chef Greenpatch uses a giant straw (obtained from the proboscis of a giant mosquito) as his weapon of choice, aide by his incredible lungs. While he normally uses it to suck in things and eat them, he can also use it as a non conventional blowpipe to shot powerful blasts of compressed air powerful enough to vertically drill through an entire island and reach the deepest caverns of the Earth.

    Comic Books 
  • All-Star Comics: Hartford Dormley uses a blow gun to inflict his captured partner Sam Brent with Professor Elba's "tonic" in order to prevent him from confessing anything about their racket to the Justice Society of America or the Police. The use of a blow gun means there's no noise to give away the cause of Sam's sudden lack of lucidity.
  • In one Batman possible future during the Armageddon 2001 series, The Joker frames Batman for the Penguin's murder by having a henchman shoot a poison dart this way, thus making it appear as if Batman knocked Penguin off a side railing with his Batarang and made the villain fall to his death.
  • A Hovito Indian attempts to kill Dr. Jones on The Precarious Ledge atop a New York skyscraper in The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #9.
  • Used by Papa Smurf in The Smurfs comic book story "The Black Smurfs" (and its English version "The Purple Smurfs") to shoot an antidote pellet into an infected Smurf's mouth.
  • A group of one-time villains in Spider-Man comic (four criminals who learned to copy Vulture's wings) used those. The curare was fatal for humans — Spider-Man was too tough to die outright, but would get stiffer with every dart and actually got close to succumbing. The next issue, he had to save their lives when the real Vulture came to town.
  • Tintin: Used by the Arumbaya natives of San Theodoros in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, as well as by the villains in The Cigars Of The Pharao and The Blue Lotus.
  • White Sand: The Kerztians use a more advanced version called zinkallin, in which the darts are shot from multiple tubes by compressed air.


    Comic Strips 
  • One Charles Addams cartoon depicts a white explorer being subjected to a "blowgun wedding" by a tribe of pygmies.
  • The Far Side: A strip has a native using a white explorer as a practice target while giving his son blowgun lessons.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Kakamora in Moana use blowguns with tranquilizer darts as part of their attack. However, the tubes are very short, which might explain why they don't hit anyone. Except their own chief.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Agatha Christie's Death in the Clouds featured a blowgun on a plane as the apparent murder weapon (it turned out the poison dart was pressed into the victim by hand). It wouldn't have worked anyway as real blowguns are several feet long (a policeman trying to reconstruct the scene by discreetly bringing the short tube to his mouth gets the entire plane staring at him), a fact that was self-deprecatingly pointed out in a later book.
  • Ben Snow: In "The Edge of the Year 1900", a blowgun dart coated in curare is used as the murder weapon. The murderer actually pressed the dart into the victim in the dark. Using the dart was an attempt to frame the blowgun's owner.
  • In The Colour of Magic, the leader of the Assassin Guild uses a blowgun as his weapon.
  • In one Forgotten Realms novel, the pirate hunter Captain Deudermont is darted by a thug who wanted to claim the black-market bounty on him. Apparently, his darts are made from cat claws (don't ask how those could be used as darts) and no other ammunition is compatible with his blowgun.
  • In Midworld and its sequel, human hunters on the green world use rifle-like blow guns called "snufflers", modeled on distant memories of their colonial ancestors' firearms. They're powered by tank seeds, which contain air bladders that burst when punctured, propelling their toxic-thorn projectiles with great force.
    • On a different planet in the same setting, the natives use a weapon that looks like a blowgun but actually isn't. Because of the way their lungs work, they can't produce a powerful gust of air when they exhale, so they outfit the "blow gun" with stretchy vines that allow it to act as a blow gun-slingshot hybrid.
  • The Hunger Games: Maysilee Donner, one of District 12's female tributes in the Fiftieth Games (which featured twice the usual number of tributes) found a blow gun and darts in her pack. Taking advantage of the fact that everything in the arena that year (with the exception of rain water and food obtained at the Cornucopia or via sponsors) was poisonous, she quickly turned the blow gun into a lethal weapon.
  • Shadow Police: In Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, the killer recreates the scene from The Sign Of Four by shooting one the victims with a poison dart from a blowgun.
  • In The Sign of the Four, Tonga uses poison blow darts.
  • Mraize of The Stormlight Archive is a spy usually seen with a blowgun, and in his first meeting he tests Shallan by asking her what its use it. He uses it to kill nearby cremlings, which turns out to be Properly Paranoid given there's not one but two factions spying through them or disguised as them. His mentor Iyatil tries to kill Brightlord Amaram with one, but is foiled by Talenel catching the darts out of the air.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo: Parodied in a TV sketch of the comic trio where the blowgun is used to anesthetize a patient.
  • Andor: The apparently orphaned youths on Kenari outfit themselves with long blowguns before approaching a downed Republic starship. They use the blowguns to kill a Republic officer after he shoots and kills their leader without warning.
  • Deadliest Warrior: One of two long-range weapons used in the "Spartan vs. Ninja" episode by the latter party (the other being the shuriken).
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor uses one against the assassin in "The Deadly Assassin".
    • Leela, one of the Fourth Doctor's companions, is skilled with a variety of weapons, including a blow gun which she uses to fire deadly Janus Thorns.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Faceless Man known as "Jaqen H'ghar" used a poison dart fired from a blowgun to kill Amory Lorch at Harrenhal (on the request of Arya Stark).
    • The Crannogmen (a unique sub-group of Northerners, residing in forested swampy terrain), are known to use poisoned blow darts in their traditional guerrilla tactics. In the words of Meera Reed, “A well-placed dart can be as deadly as any blade”.
  • Hill Street Blues: Subject of a gag at the start of one episode.
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Used in a parody of the soap TV series Scandal. [1]
  • MythBusters made these in the ninja special.
  • The New Avengers: Used by an assassin in "Target!". Gambit turns the tables on him by blowing down the end of the blow gun, causing him to swallow the poison dart.
  • Survivorman: A genuine Yanomami hunting blowgun was tried out in the Brazilian jungle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Unearthed Arcana (1985) supplement introduced the blowgun (which was 4-7 feet long) as an available weapon. The needle did only one Hit Point of damage, and was therefore only effective if poisoned.
  • Mechanical Dream has the Biosniper from the Wilderness Bestiary supplement. The Biosniper is a Weirdsmith weapon in the form of a blowgun made from a still-living plant and does tremendous damage per shot, hitting harder than a ballista. As a living thing, it requires a bit of water every so often to stay alive.
  • Traveller: One magazine article includes a Tech level 0 blowgun that costs zero credits, meaning there's no reason not to give your character one. It only deals nonlethal damage, and is consequently designed for being loaded with poisoned darts.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has these as a Wargear option for Skinks, and a Huge version for mounting on dinosaurs.

    Video Games 
  • 9 Monkeys of Shaolin has enemies using bamboo blowpipes trying to hit you with ranged projectiles in the earlier stages, though they're later replaced by archers and riflemen.
  • The Apple ][ game Aztec revolved around robbing an Mayincatec tomb. In the deepest levels there were 8-bit natives armed with blow guns. The stun effect was deadly: if the native didn't get the player, the wildlife probably would.
  • In Civilization Revolution, one of the barbarian tribes you can encounter has their spokesman threaten you with a blow gun.
  • Dark Souls has the Blowdart Snipers in Blighttown, who are one of the major reasons the level is so hated. They wear camouflage that makes them hard to see against the dark background, their blowguns are very quiet and the darts are easily missed, especially in a chaotic fight. While the darts don't do any damage, they inflict the Toxic status effect, which is super-poison that can't be cured by the normal means and drains your health about ten times more quickly. Unless you have the rare cure for toxin, getting Toxic inflicted is essentially a death sentence. The only mercy is that they do not respawn like most enemies after they're killed.
  • Dead Cells: Blowgunners are found in Morass of the Banished. They blow darts from below and jump between platforms to get in range. You can get the Blowgun weapon blueprint from them, which deals poison damage and deals critical hits if it hits the enemy's back.
  • The Diablo series:
    • Diablo II has pygmy enemies that uses blow darts to attack the player character.
    • Diablo III: The witch-doctor uses one for their starting ability.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Lanky's Grape Blowgun is essentially this, though it doesn't function much differently from the other Kongs' ranged weapons.
  • In earlier versions, blowguns were an option in Dungeon Crawl. They didn't do much damage, but were excellent for inflicting status conditions (most commonly poison, but some other Status Effects were also available) from a distance without relying on magic. Curare needles were particularly effective, as they also inflicted damage through asphyxiation. Version 0.24 removed blowguns and changed needles to hand-thrown darts to cut down on inventory bloat.
  • Aliciaconda from Dusty Revenge has her Instrument of Murder, a flute, which can shoot darts from a distance.
  • Used by the Beast Folk tribes in Dwarf Fortress, and a total Joke Weapon compared to bows or crossbows unless the darts are dipped in the secretions of the procedurally-generated horrible gribbly things that lurk in the caverns Beneath the Earth.
  • In the second chapter of Eternal Darkness, you receive these. It poisons enemies but does very little damage either way and has limited ammo. If you use it to Cherry Tap some zombies to death in order to save a particular NPC, however, you can get your sword (which just broke) repaired and then upgrade it to Dual Wielding with what would have otherwise been the replacement.
  • In Hitman: Codename 47, if 47 does any aggressive action in the presence of the Colombian jungle tribesmen in the first two Colombia missions, they'll shoot at him with blow guns (and it's a One-Hit Kill). 47 can't grab said blow guns, but a Cheat Code allows him to use one (and it also causes One Hit Kills on the enemies).
  • Teemo from League of Legends uses this as his trademark weapon in order to pump his enemies full of poison.
  • Little Big Adventure: Twinsen, the player character, uses one in the second installment.
  • Pirates (NIX) have native Aztec enemies in the Mayan jungles who attacks with blowpipes.
  • Riot: As you're shooting your way through hordes and hordes of assorted enemies, sometimes the game will throw random Hollywood Natives enemies in the foreground - guys wearing feathers in their hair and shooting darts at you with their blowpipes.
  • Spelling Jungle: The Dart Trickster is essentially a living one, blowing darts at Wali when he's passing by it.
  • You can find blowpipes in some chests near the surface of Terraria. While getting ammunition for a blowpipe is a cinch (it uses seeds that you collect by cutting grass), the weapon is far outclassed by most other ranged weapons, at least one of which you should have at that point. Later on, though, you can buy a proper blowgun from the Witch Doctor and craft proper poison darts from stingers dropped by jungle hornets, making for a much more useful weapon.

    Web Animation 
  • In a Happy Tree Friends short, Lumpy attempts to sedate an animal mauling one of the "children", but accidentally sucks the dart in when taking his breath.


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Jonny Quest: In the episode "The Deadly Doll", the villain Korbay uses a blowgun to fire darts that have a poison that causes its victims to enter a coma.
  • King of the Hill: A flashback shows that Cotton and Topsy attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro with a blow dart when attending a ball game in Yankee Stadium. The assassination failed when Tilly was in labor and all ran in to the ladies restroom which is where Hank was born.
  • Looney Tunes: In one short, a Wacky Native tries to use a blowgun on Bugs Bunny, but Bugs blows in the other end just before the native does, so it ends up going down the native's throat. The same gag was also used against prehistoric Elmer Fudd.
  • The Simpsons: In Simpson Safari, while attempting to defend a nature preserve from perceived poachers, Marge and Lisa shoot bees through reeds to puncture the tires of the group’s jeep.
  • Totally Spies!: In the episode Wild Style, Clover is shot with a blow dart - which she initially mistakes for a large bug - injecting her with the Villain of the Week's serum and transforming her into a human-animal hybrid.


Video Example(s):


Shy Bandit

The Shy Bandit blows paint at Mario through his straw.

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