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Choice of Two Weapons

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A great many characters take one weapon and stick with it. This makes a lot of sense, seeing as you often need a lifetime of practice to be fully proficient with a weapon. Training with more than one would just leave you weak in both areas. That said, some heroes decide that flexibility is better than specialisation, realising that however skilled they are in their current field, a sword is still going to lose to a bow at long range, so it's a good idea to have a bow in reserve. This makes them something of a Red Mage when it comes to fighting, as they can do two things at once, making them very flexible fighters.

It's also damn cool to be able to wield two completely different styles of weapons at will.

These come in various combinations, but a bow and a sword is the most common, as it balances range with close-quarters protection.

Historically this was common. Knights rode into battle on horses with lances, several lances in fact, in case one broke, but you wouldn't catch them dead without their signature swords. Archers would wield swords if they could afford and use them, and daggers if they couldn't. Spearmen often had swords and daggers in reserve, but the absolute king of this trope in reality was the Vikings. A bow for long range, then a light throwing spear, followed by a long-handled axe, a shorter axe, and then the sword, a last desperate defence when fighting got really close.

Storing all of these may require a Hyperspace Arsenal.

Common combinations (and possible tropes) include:

  • Bow and Sword in Accord. This is probably the most popular ancient cross. Usually these characters are flexible souls, and they usually wear light to medium armour. One character you won't find with a shield, as they need to be able to swap from bow to sword fast. This combo makes sense as it gives a character range and protection, though they tend to be lightly armoured.
  • The Musketeer: A gun and a sword (or other melee weapon) combo. Typical combination for characters and armies on the advent of gunpowder, the ranged weapon in this case is often more of a throw-away weapon used to down an opponent before closing to meet with the rest. Bayonets are a special case, a type of multi-purpose weapon that originally functioned as a spear which happened to fire something before you used it, until the gun part of the weapon became more important with the advent of accurate and fast-firing rifles.
  • Multi-Melee Master: A character who carries more than one melee weapon. Frequently, carries a short ranged and a long reach weapon (such as a sword and a spear, or a sword and a bigger sword). That or a weapon that is good for offense and defence. They tend to have trouble changing between them though as it means they have to draw the new weapon and dispose of the old one somehow.
  • Multi-Ranged Master: A character who carries more than one ranged weapon. Frequently, carries a short ranged weapon and a long ranged weapon. That or a bullet-hose coupled with a precise weapon. Faces the same challenge as a multi-melee wielder in that they have to quickly get rid of their current weapon if they want to use their other option. More common in modern settings, with it being a standard Truth in Television to soldiers in this day.
  • Emergency Weapon: In more modern times, a first-person-shooter protagonist is likely to wield some kind of back-up melee weapon just in case the main blaster runs out of juice. The traditional example is a crowbar or some other Improvised Weapon. Professional soldiers usually carry knives. And of course, there are the futuristic weapons like lightsabers and chainswords. Desperate FPS protagonists may show some rather startling boxing skills.
  • In Working Order: A character in a war between two different intelligent species who both use radically different weapons to each other, who is able to pick up the other side's apparently "alien" weaponry and use it themselves.
  • Magic Knight: The character is either a warrior who took some time to learn a few spells, or a spellcaster who learned a non-magic attack to defy the Squishy Wizard trope.

Having a multitude of weapons is a sign of being well-prepared, and probably well trained to boot; that requires diligence and flexibility in your talents to be able to pick up both schools of training. Characters like this tend to have the experience to both learn a new weapon and to have learned the need of having two weapons to rely on. As a result, these characters can be slightly older... or not, but it is a potential application of the trope in a story. Two weapons can often symbolise two different things; a sword and bow for a noble soul born from humble circumstances, or, the opposite, someone of high birth either fallen on hard times... or low on morals.

Note that both in real-life and in fiction, this trope needn't be limited to individuals. Vehicles, from airplanes to mecha to battleships, normally carry at least 2 varieties of heavy weapon. The most common arrangement in real-life is a heavier, longer-ranged one meant to act as the main damage dealer, which is supplemented by a weaker but quicker firing one for use against targets which aren't worth a shot from the main weapon (either because of limited ammo or because the pilot/crew can't afford to waste precious time loading and aiming another). Interestingly, this is often reversed in fiction, especially video games: the weaker, simpler to use rapidfire weapons is more likely to serve as the main mode of attack while the more powerful, homing or explosive one would be relegated to the role of a "special weapon" for those "special occasions". Examples include tanks carrying machine guns to supplement their cannons, fighter planes carrying chainguns to supplement their missiles, or a fictional starship carrying powerful torpedoes to supplement its lasers (a reverse example).

For characters who use two different weapons at the same time, see Guns Akimbo, Dual Wielding, Sword and Fist, and Sword and Gun. Also see Knightly Sword and Shield, which similarly uses two pieces of equipment; only one is defensive. Contrast Weapon Specialization. When a character uses one of the above as their primary weapon and any randomly acquired instrument as their secondary, compare Improvised Weapon. In video games, this trope is often implemented in form of a Real-Time Weapon Change. Take the trope to its Logical Extreme, and you get Walking Armory. Not to be confused with Limited Loadout, which is more of a gameplay mechanic than a narrative one.

The below example space is for examples that cover more than one of the above combinations. (Like Guts of Berserk, who covers Bow and Sword in Accord and The Musketeer.)


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In Ah! Archfall!, Lind has her halberd and a seax knife. Jago has a lot more.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The Good Hunter is able to carry two melee weapons and one firearm during combat. One instance in the remastered version has him overdoing himself by carrying the Saw Cleaver, the Holy Moonlight Sword, the Hunter's Pistol, the Hunter's Blunderbuss, and presumably a bandolier of throwing knives at the same time (though the sword is strapped to his horse's saddle). He also has the option to use magic-esque abilities like A Call Beyond, making him a multi-melee, multi-ranged Magic Knight.
    • Hugh is a Multi-Melee Master who carries two trick weapons (Threaded Cane and Chikage) with him, plus a pistol. The pistol may or may not be used together with a trick weapon. He later gains the Simon's Bowblade — a curved sword that can transform into a bow — as another weapon, giving him two additional options: Bow and Sword in Accord and Multi-Ranged Master.
  • In The Tainted Grimoire, there is Cheney who as a Hunter uses both a hunting knife and a bow.


    Game Books 

  • In Way Of The Tiger you can be challenged to a duel by Aiguchi the Weaponsmaster. He uses a bow with distracting humming bulb arrows at range but switches to a Naginata if you get up close. Should you manage to break that, he pulls out a Nunchuka to continue the fight.


  • In Gwendalavir Universe, most fighters learn to be efficient with at least two weapons which almost always include the bow. Exceptions include Bjorn who sticks with his axe whenever he can, and Edwin who is a master of arms, and is ridiculously skilled whatever the weapon is.
  • In Grent's Fall, Warren Stanley and his bodyguards use both a spear and a sword, while Paul Knyvett uses both a bow and a pair of knives.
  • Tarzan uses several weapons in the original stories, but in his jungle domain, his go-to weapons are his father's hunting knife and a bow and arrows (although he also demonstrates masterful skill with Blade on a Stick).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Highlander:
    • Duncan MacLeod always prefers his katana, but he can fight with many different types of swords, from rapier to claymore. On top of that, he's been seen wielding a battleaxe, knives, a Lakota war spear, and a staff. He's even a threat when completely unarmed, as he knows at least one style of Japanese martial art.
    • In "Mountain Men", Caleb Cole carries a short-handled battleaxe, but when he's forced to fight using Duncan's katana, he's very good with it and comes close to winning.
    • In "Homeland", Kanewulf the Viking prefers a long-handled Viking battleaxe, but is quite good with a sword as well.
    • In "Brothers in Arms", Andrew Cord engages Charlie DiSalvo in a brutal knife fight, and later fights Duncan with a cavalry saber.

    Tabletop Games 

  • A pistol and (power/chain)sword-combo is very common in Warhammer 40,000. In addition, Chaos Space Marines and Space Wolves carry a gun, a pistol and a sword, so they can both shoot effectively and fight in close combat. In older codexes where the characters are allowed to pick a certain points worth of items from the wargear list it was possible (but not very practical) to buy multiple ranged or close combat weapons. In the newer codexes characters can only pick certain items listed on their profile and the choices tend to be mutually exclusive (so one on range weapon from the list of available options etc). However there are some exceptions; for example Huron Blackheart has a power weapon and a powerfist (he can't use them both at the same time, though).
  • Most characters in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons are proficient with broad categories of weapons, and carrying at least one for melee and one for ranged combat was generally wise. Because of the way damage reduction worked in 3.5e, some characters carried weapons that did bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, made from adamantine, silver, or cold iron, and were holy, unholy, axiomatic, or anarchic, in various combinations, sometimes jokingly referred to as a "golf bag" of weapons.
    • 1st and 2nd edition were less strict, but even then, veteran players will often suggest carrying at least a dagger and club regardless of your class, if only because daggers have great utility and skeletons (virtually impervious to non-bludgeon weapons) tend to be plentiful adversaries. 4th edition eliminates the weapon resistance issues, but a melee character is still advised to have a ranged option in reserve against those enemies that stubbornly refuse to fight face-to-face.

    Video Games 

  • Your hero from Fable is both Bow And Sword wielder and a Magic Knight. The second game swaps the bow and sword combo for The Musketeer, the hero wielding a pistol or rifle.
    • Or a crossbow, but no one cares about those.
    • Fable III phases out crossbows completely, besides a few owned by poorer NPCs. They also add the hammer as the melee equivalent of the rifle. Of course, you can still be a Magic Knight.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series in general has just about all of the non-gunpowder combination options available. Bow and melee weapon? Yep. Melee weapon and spell? Yep. Two melee weapons? Of course. Use, for example, your big claymore to take down slower enemies and then switch to your short blade to take out faster ones. The combinations are limited only by the level of the associated skill. There is also the possibility to use Hand-to-Hand combat as one of your "weapons," although it's not always an effective choice.
    • Morrowind has the greatest diversity of weapons in the series to date, allowing for even more combinations. In addition to the series' staple bows as ranged weapons, Morrowind has numerous types of throwing weapons as well as crossbows. It is also the last game in the series to allow for the use of spears (and other polearms, such as halberds).
    • Oblivion drops a number of the weapon types from Morrowind, but each of the two weapon skills rant you competency in at least two types of weapons. Long and short swords as well as daggers for Blade, and the fairly similar axe and mace for Blunt.
    • Skyrim adds Dual Wielding to the series for the first time, allowing two different melee weapons to be wielded at once, with the drawback of being unable to block incoming attacks.
  • Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, and Bloodborne all feature two inventory slots for each hand. Typically this results in the player having two different weapon sets to switch between. Bloodborne does it one better by even having transforming weapons with two modes.
  • In Age of Empires III, all non-artillery or vehicle units have a melee weapon to defend themselves close-up. Most are only competent in one area, aside from; the musketeers who have a ranged attack to help soften up melee units and a bayonet melee attack to beat cavalry and to use against ranged units, longbowmen who use swords that make then better in melee against most other ranged infantry.
  • In the latest expansion for Age of Mythology, the basic hero unit for the chinese, the Immortals, are the only ones that have two different weapons: a blade for melee combat and a bow for distance combat. They will pick the weapon more convenient for the unit they are fighting.
  • Total War series:
    • Ranged units will either come under Bow and Sword in Accord or The Musketeer, depending on whether they are archers or gunners. The weapons vary, low level archers use knives, wealthier ones may have swords.''
    • A few melee units carry javelins as well, and there are a few units who both carry javelins and can hold their own in melee.
  • Last Cloudia: There are arks in the game that, when equipped, can grant their users the skill to equip a weapon they do not normally use once the meter for enabling it is filled up for each character, once that's done, the user does not have to keep the ark equipped and just have to equip the skills. Sevia, at least in her Thunderbolt form, can actually carry two different weapons at once, such as an axe and a sword, once the right meters are filled up.
  • The Legend of Zelda gives us Link, who wields a sword as his primary weapon, but also carries a bow, a boomerang, bombs, a whip-like weapon, and various other weapons, occasionally including magic. Justified in that Link has had no prior training in any of these weapons, meaning he hasn't had time to specialise. Of course, this just brings up another trope...
  • The majority of units in Battle for Wesnoth carry two different types of weapons, often one each of ranged and melee.
  • Oni gives us the option of a ranged weapon and Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon also allows for a variety of guns paired with melee attacks, including sliding or jumping kicks in all the games and putting your guns away to punch out your enemies in the first.
  • Mario can punch enemies or use a hammer in Super Mario RPG.
  • Might and Magic series uses this frequently, not bothering to stop with only two different weapons, but three and even four in some cases.
    • Everyone can learn to use the bow in addition to their primary weapon (with other weapons being very class specific, the primary weapon is often something other than a sword).
    • Mastering sword or dagger makes it possible to dual wield with another weapon, such as a spear or a mace. Now add also a bow.
    • There are classes that focus on fighting, but can learn some basic magic as well. Some of them are also capable of learning the aforementioned dual wielding. Plus, of course, the bow.
    • Not to mention that all the magic focusing classes can get two weapons - their primary weapon plus the bow.
  • After reaching level 4, in Victor Vran, Victor can carry any two weapons and switch between them at will.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night lets Alucard equip a weapon in each hand, with a separate button assigned to each. Handy for areas where enemies have varying weaknesses as it keeps the player from having to constantly hit up the subscreen.
  • The Hunter class in Salt and Sanctuary begins with a whip and a crossbow.
  • Most of the classes in Team Fortress 2 have some combination of long(er) range weapon, mid-range weapon, and melee weapon in their slots. Given the variety in the unlockables, this makes for very interesting combinations.
  • In God Eater, 2nd-generation God Eaters (including the player characters) wield a Morph Weapon that switches between melee and ranged modes (as well as a shield). The player has several choices for each slot, but must have exactly one of each before embarking on a mission.
  • Monster Hunter typically only allows one weapon at a time, but some of them have two modes. The Switch Axe transforms into a greatsword, the Bow conceals a blade for melee attacks, and the Lance can fire bullets.
  • Fallout
    • Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics let you carry two weapons in your hands and switch between them without the penalty associated with digging into your inventory during combat. Most players would just carry two guns, say a long-range sniper rifle and a close-range bullet sprayer. You also had the option of carrying a gun and a Super Sledgehammer or two melee weapons. And then there's the Hyperspace Arsenal you're carrying around in your pants that costs a few AP to access. Finally, if you left either (or both) slots open, you had access to two different sets of hand-to-hand attacks.
    • Fallout 3 works in a different way: you can hotkey items from your inventory, but as the game is not turn-based there's no penalty for digging into your backpack in combat. It still uses the trope, though: you could place your skills to be specialized in two (or more) types of guns, or a gun and one of the other types of weapon. You're limited, however, by how much weight you can carry. Assuming you have good armor (read, heavy), you're not likely to be able to carry around too many different weapons unless you pump a lot of points into your strength rating and get a few different perks at level selection. Fallout: New Vegas ups the ante with hardcore mode, where even ammunition has weight, so you're really hard-pressed to specialize and only carry what you'll absolutely need.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura characters can be built to switch between guns or bows and melee weapons, but carrying multiple weapons of your chosen type is also common because Breakable Weapons is in effect and swords are no good for breaking open stubborn chests.
  • Dynasty Warriors
    • In 3, 4 and 5, all characters can switch between their normal weapon and a bow. The bow is more or less useless, though.
    • In Strikeforce, you can have two different weapons to fight with. One is your main weapon which has a unique moveset while the secondary can be anything you want. Of course, some characters are better with certain weapons than others and some enemy units may shrug off a certain weapon while keeling to another.
    • Dynasty Warriors 7 takes a page from Strikeforce in that all characters can equip almost any two weapons, with the only real limitation being that male characters cannot equip chain whips, and female characters cannot equip great swords. Characters do have their preferred weapons, however, and will be able to execute their unique EX attack if they have it equipped. 8 uses a similar system but removes the gender restrictions (and gives every one of the 77 characters a distinct weapon of choice).
    • In Hyrule Warriors, many characters possess more than one weapon moveset. However, they cannot freely switch between them during battle, so the weapon must be equipped before a mission.
  • In the Arslan crossover game, all characters carry more than 1 weapon type into battle, with some characters carrying up to 3 weapon types. The game's charge-shift mechanic allows characters to freely switch between weapons at any time.
  • It's a fairly good idea to have this set up in Diablo, at least in the first game. Warriors occasionally find themselves needing to shoot at something (or, in the case of enemies trapped on the opposite sides of portcullises, want to pick enemies off at a distance.) A rogue often finds herself needing to resort to hand-to-hand if fast enemies are encroaching, so having a sword and shield and the strength to use both available helps. Straying out of Bow and Sword in Accord and into Magic Knight, magic is helpful to the rogue as well, though the warriors maximum magic is so low that its barely worth his while. The sorcerer is pretty damn awful with both bow and sword, but its worth giving him a bit of strength and a light sword and shield in case he runs out of mana (True, you might be screwed if this is the case, but its better than nothing).
    • This became vastly simpler to manage in Diablo II's Lord of Destruction expansion pack, which added two extra weapon/shield slots that could be toggled to and back with a single keypress (as well as providing more Inventory Tetris space, natch).
  • In Mount & Blade, you have four weapon (and shield) slots to fill as you please. Bow and Sword in Accord is the obvious combination (though heavy on the skill points for archers), but there's three types of melee weapon and three types of ranged, and among those subsets, many different tools for many different tasks; you may want a heavy damage-dealing two-hander, a one-handed weapon and shield for shieldfighting, a bludgeoning weapon for prisoner-taking, a polearm for lancework (which is likely to be different from the polearm you could use for two-handed damage or shieldfighting), a bow or crossbow and arrows or bolts if you're a primary ranged fighter, or a brace of thrown weapons (such as javelins) for a backup ranged weapon. Since you have only so many spaces (unless you return to the baggage train), you need to prioritize (fortunately, many weapons fill more than one role).
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Raven counts since he's wielding both a bow and a dagger at the same time.
    • Actually, the whole group. The system has a set up for a sub-weapon that gives them something else to attack with and gives unique skills as well. Yuri has a glove on his off-hand to punch enemies with, Estelle and Flynn use shields for protection and bashing enemies, Rita has a book and Karol a bag, Judith uses her heels, Patty has a gun (which is used more in cutscenes than her main weapon, a knife), and Repede has a collar as his subweapon.
  • In Rogue Galaxy, each character has access to two distinct weapons, generally a main one for melee and a less-cool one for ranged. Of course, the ranger switches that around with a cool bow and a lame melee weapon, and the rogue dual-wields daggers with the back-up weapon being her shoes (for kicking). In practice, there are only a handful of bosses in the game where the ranged weapons are necessary, and the overpowered hero has a special ability that lets him use his sword at range.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Richter Abend wields a sword and an axe. At the same time.
  • In the earlier XCOM games, UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep, your soldiers had two 'hand' inventory slots, where you would need to put weapons in order to use them. Most larger weapons such as rifles or rocket launchers suffered big accuracy penalties if both hands were used, but pistols did not and so having some troops wielding pistols and grenades or stun rods or thermic lances saved valuable APs by not swapping weapons when confronted with suitable situations.
    • Notably, whilst dual wielding pistols or melee weapons was not penalised in any way, there was also absolutely no benefit to doing so as it took the same number of APs to use a single weapon twice as it did to use two similar weapons once each. Having two grenades handy might save a few APs, but was not as useful as a gun, and reloading took up few enough APs that having a backup pistol ready wasn't really worth it.
    • On the other hand, wielding two pistols essentially doubles magazine capacity - a real-life revolver trick known as the New York Reload: since revolvers take a long time to reload, you just pull out another revolver if you run dry.
  • In Tales of Graces, Hubert uses a weapon that is a two-ended swordlike weapon, that he can seperate to wield as either twin swords or twin guns. In his second hi-ougi and Accel Mode (in F), he can use it as a bow as well. Even characters in game comment on how odd his weapon is.
  • Final Fantasy XV: Noctis Lucis Caelum. The first trailer alone showed him wielding swords, spears, axes, multiple types of firearms, magic, and a primary weapon consisting of a falchion with an engine built into the hilt.
  • All characters in Gungnir are capable of wielding two types of weapon.
  • In Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, Izuna can fight effectively with either a sword-and-gauntlet combination, or a set of clawed gloves. Its sequel, Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns, expands the playable character roster and the arsenal of available weapons to include bows-and-arrows, dolls, battle boots, boomerangs and yo-yos. Most player characters are able to use at least two types. Mitsumoto, being the series' Chew Toy, can use all of the weapons, but can't use any of them more exceptionally well than others. The only character who can't is Fuuka, who is limited to using the battle boots.
  • In Bastion The Kid can bring two weapons with him into the field. While this makes him something of a master of many weapons, whenever you first leave the armory with a given weapon combination, The Stranger will provide a commentary on the advantages of the combo, and the versatility it would provide.
  • In Fate/stay night, Archer ( and by extension Shirou) laughs at your choice of only a few weapons and raises you the ability to wield any weapon he has ever seen with nearly the same skill of the original user, giving him the ability to wield spears as easily as swords as easily as bows as easily as axes as...
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Most of the combat-oriented classes have two different weapons they can equip, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City adds the ability to Subclass, making it possible to master more weapons (if that class has a 'Mastery' skill they can train in). It's up to the player whether any given guildmember focuses on one weapon profenciency over the other or learns how to wield both effectively.
    • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan changes this up a bit. All characters can equip two weapons simultaneously upon unlocking Subclasses, though without the right skill, it's closer to this trope than Dual Wielding. Normally they'll still attack with only the "main" weapon, but switch to the "secondary" if they use a skill requiring that type of weapon.
  • In Call Of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, each player character has two weapon slots which can be filled by any combination of mêlée weapon, firearm, and offensive spells (the homing pigeon to request artillery strikes also uses a weapon slot).
  • Any Adept Rogue in .hack//G.U. is capable of doing this after various Job Extension quests. Interestingly, this is also the main reason why Adept Rogues are considered in-universe to be weak in comparison to other classes.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning the Fateless One can equip any combination of longswords, hammers, greatswords, staves, scepters, chakrams, daggers, faeblades and bow & arrows.
  • In Guild Wars 2, seven of the nine classes have two weapons loadout slots that they can toggle between at the press of a button. These loadouts can consist of either a 2-handed weapon like a greatsword, staff, bow, or rifle, or a combination of two 1-handed weapons, such as one-handed swords, daggers, axes, wands, pistols, or warhorns. Every weapon has its own set of skills, and there is a quite staggering number of combinations available, with Bow and Sword in Accord or The Musketeer being common choices (even a heavily-armoured berserker doesn't want to be caught without a ranged weapon when fighting high-damage bosses with powerful point-blank area-of-effect skills, or flying enemies who don't want to come into sword range).
  • In Brawlhalla, every character is skilled with two weapons, and can switch between them by picking up the "glowing sword" item on the field. While everyone who uses the same weapon has the same set of basic attacks, their special attacks vary wildly depending on the user, and no two characters have the same proficiency with the same two sets of weapons.
  • The inventory system of Kenshi allows every character to do this. Each character has a larger slot which can be filled a with a crossbow, a heavy, long weapon such as massive axe or sword, two lighter, or two long weapons such as Nodachi or polearms (despite the fact that you can only use one at a time). These are typically two-handed weapons. A secondary slot also exists which a character can use to equip a smaller, one-handed weapon. When a character moves inside a building, they will automatically switch to their secondary weapon if their primary weapon suffers a penalty for being used indoors. They will also switch to their one handed weapon if their arm gets broken or hacked off and archers will put their crossbows away when enemies approach melee range. It is also possible to have additional weapons in your backpack so you can pause the game and equip them at the drop of a hat (though longer weapons will not fit in your default inventory). The end result is a character with a sidearm at their hip, one or two long and/large weapons on their back, and potentially a dozen more sidearms in their bags which are not visible on their model.
    • Because each class of weapons (Katanas, hackers, sabers, polearms, heavy, crossbows, blunt, and Martial Arts) has its own skill and skills are improved via use, it's possible to have characters who are adept in several styles of fighting. While there is some variation within each category and some overlap between the categories, each category focuses on a particular balance of speed, damage, armor penetration, and damage bonuses to certain foes. Because of this, it can be very useful to ensure your squad members are at least somewhat proficient in a variety of weapons to handle a variety of situations.
  • Nioh 2 encourages this, giving players the choice to two weapons to start with (Sword, Dual Swords, Odachi, Axe/Hammer, Spear, Kusarigama, Tonfas, Hatchets and Switchglaives, and the DLC adds the Splitstaff and the Fists). You might also use a Bow, a Rifle, a Hand Cannon and/or ninjutsu tools as well to supplement your melee weapon.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 

  • The Immortals of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were the embodiment of this trope. Being the professional elite of the Empire's army, and the true ethnic Persians/Medes of nomadic ancestors, they were expected to excel in both melee and ranged combat. They carried a spear with a special apple/pomegranate-shaped butt made of gold or silver as a mark of distinction that could also be improvised as a mace; at least two kinds of large shield, a composite bow, and a sidearm such as the kopis (Falchion-like blade), akinakes (long dagger), or sagaris (axe/hammer with a pick-like side). Even though individual equipment would depend on the designated role in combat, the company as a whole employed the whole array of weapons in an highly disciplined and coordinated fashion, so every Immortal had to be well-versed in all of them to assume different roles in different situations. On top of that, the best men fought as cavalry.
  • Roman legions carried javelins as an opening weapon before moving in with their signature sword and tower shield combo, while Greek armies and armies of Macedonian descent preferred using the spear as their primary, but could switch to swords when necessary.
    • Greek hoplite spears often snapped in combat. When this happened, hoplites tended to flip around the part of the spear they were still holding, and use the spear's butt-spike as their secondary weapon. The short sword they carried was actually more of a tertiary weapon, used only as a last resort - it was not considered part of the equipment that made a man a hoplite.
  • Landsknecht mercenaries would mostly carry a pike as main weapon, but some, called Doppelsoldner, carried halberd or two-handed sword. But all of them had a short sword called Katzbalger, the cat-gutter, for close range clinches.
  • Musketeers were issued with swords to use if the enemy got too close. However, using the gun as an improvised club was also deemed acceptable.
  • Samurai wielded the katana only as a backup weapon. In a battlefield, they typically wielded spears or bows as their main weapon, though they also the choice with either a nodachi or, upon its introduction, the matchlock. Even the katana had a backup weapon, considered a part of a daisho pair. The usual pairing of a katana was a wakizashi.
  • Warriors from several East-African tribes including the Samburu and the Maasai carry a range of throwing weapons. When an animal attacks they first throw their stick (also used for herding cattle as well as ritual fights with other warriors), then their spear (also their preferred weapon for hunting) and then their rungu (a short club that also has ceremonial uses). Their last weapon is a short sword for melee combat. (During wartime other weapons saw use, including bows and shields.)
  • Commanding Officers used to be issued a sabre and a pistol.