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Equipment Spoiler

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A video game trope found mostly in RPGs. Whether it's something you buy in a shop, find in a dungeon, or loot from an enemy's corpse, The Law of Conservation of Detail guarantees that it'll be of some use for someone in your party.

So what does it mean, when you find a BFS or hulking suit of armor that's too big for any of the characters to use? Naturally, that means The Big Guy is well on his way to join the party. Alternatively, one of the existing characters will get a Plot Relevant Power Up and gain the ability to use such weapons.

This trope usually appears in Eastern-style RPGs, in games where every character has a set type of weapon only they can use. When the game allows choosing player character's class, items usually will be placed in a way that ensures every class will find something useful for them ever so often. In such cases the trope can still occur, when an item is described as being useful for races or classes that are currently unavailable to the player.

Often, this trope is a big clue to the existence of a Hidden Character. See also Interface Spoiler, where existence of a character, item or power-up is suggested by the interface itself.

Note, that this trope only applies to items that are clearly treated as usable by the game's system. A mysterious Plot Coupon that may or may not be crucial for defeating the Big Bad doesn't count.


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    Action Adventure 
  • In Metroid Prime, Samus' Notes on the Phazon Suit obtained from defeating the Omega Pirate state that it will protect you from taking damage from blue phazon. Up to this point, all of the phazon you've encountered is blue and there is no indication that other colors even exist until you reach the Impact Crater, which is brimming with orange phazon that nothing in the game will protect you from.
  • In Metroid: Zero Mission, Samus can pick up powerups over the course of the game which are incompatible with her Power Suit. The fact that you don't get to fix that by the time you face Mother Brain, the Final Boss of the original game, tells you your adventure isn't over just yet...
  • Averted and played straight in Spider-Man (PS4):
    • There are more upgrade tokens than necessary to fully unlock and upgrade every item, so having a surplus just means you were really good at cleaning up sidequests, not that there's something else coming down the line.
    • That said, equipment becomes available in your upgrade menu once you have one of the token types needed to unlock it, even if you don't have the others. For example, you'll see equipment that requires Challenge Tokens well before you run into a Taskmaster Challenge for the first time.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • In Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean you can find knuckles before Savyna shows up. You also can find swords shortly before Kalas rejoins you.
  • Chrono Trigger has a merchant selling you scythes shortly before Magus joins up.
  • Surprisingly subverted in Diver Down—the very first shop sells an expensive suit of armor that no character will ever be able to equip (and this is a game that does not give Money for Nothing, so you will definitely regret purchasing it.)
  • Dragon Quest XI has a nice item compendium, all sorted by item type. Thus, you know what all the weapon types are as soon as you receive it, well before you've encountered several of the characters.
    • The greatest example among them is Axes. When you think you've recruited everyone and are nearing the end of the game, you won't have encountered an axe wielder. This is a big hint that you haven't found everyone yet, though it doesn't point directly towards Hendrik, who has been an antagonist who uses swords up until then.
  • EarthBound Beginnings has this in Magicant, where a present containing a Sword can be found. At this point, all the player has in their party is Ninten; the Sword goes on the final member of the party, Teddy, and it just so happens to be his Infinity -1 Sword as well.
  • Common in Final Fantasy games:
    • In Final Fantasy III, you can find job-specific equipment (books for Scholars, bells for Geomancers, etc.) before the corresponding jobs are unlocked.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, you can find throwing stars for Edge in Eblan Cave before he joins the party at the end, and buy Paladin equipment before Cecil changes class. The latter is lampshaded, as one of the customers in the armor shop mocks you by informing you nobody in your party can use the Paladin equipment. When you come back after the class change, talking to him has him begin to repeat himself... only to be stunned when he realizes you do have a paladin.
    • In Final Fantasy V you can purchase spells for Time Mages and Summoners in Walse, shortly before acquiring those job classes.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, you can find shops that sell ninja scrolls and weapons in areas where Shadow can join the party.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, you may find a weapon for Vincent way before you can recruit him. And even then he and Yuffie are Hidden Characters, so you'll be encountering better and better weapons for them even if you miss them.
      • Averted at one point early in the game where you can find Cait Sith's ultimate weapon, but Cloud lets it be because no one in your party has any use for a megaphone at that point and he doesn't even think anyone could use one as a weapon (unlike Yuffie and Vincent's gear).
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, a Weapons Monthly issue describing Rinoa and Irvine's weapons can be found before either of them is introduced (Rinoa does appear, but you don't learn who she is at that point).
      • You could also buy ammo for Irvine's gun before you met him. Rather annoying, considering that Squall's weapon was a Gun Blade, which contrary to what one would assume, didn't use any ammo at all.
    • Final Fantasy IX has claws and forks for Amarant and Quina in the shops way before you even meet them.
      • You can even steal Needle Fork from Zaghnol long before Quina properly introduced, assuming you skipped meeting her/him before heading to the next dungeon.
    • Final Fantasy X: Besaid temple's destruction sphere treasure is a staff for Yuna. Tidus hasn't met her at that point, but the inventory screen says her name, albeit in grey text. Though you do see Yuna before this, as most of the game is a Flashback in the form of Tidus telling his story.
  • In Last Scenario, you will sometimes find weapons of a type that isn't used by any of your characters yet at a hex tile trading post. Lampshaded in Keltena's Let's Play:
  • Common in Lufia games:
    • Lufia & The Fortress of Doom has an interesting example for a character who's already part of your party. The last town of the game has Zircon Swords for sale, and there's even a easily-found Zircon Sword in one of the last dungeons. But by that point, you've already got the much-stronger Dual Blade...and probably already know from this that you're going to lose it.
    • In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Bound Kingdom sells a piece of armor that not even your current Mighty Glacier Guy can equip. Said armor is exclusive to that guy who just proclaimed himself the strongest warrior in the world.
    • Most party members in Lufia: the Legend Returns have their own unique weapon, which you can often find in shops in the towns they'll end up joining you in. You'll also often find Ancient Texts that none of your party members can use shortly before someone who can learn their IP Attacks joins, and early in the game the "Holy Attack" Ancient Text is a good indicator that someone with green Spiritual Force will be joining soon.
    • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, you can buy hammers and discs as soon as you reach Parcelyte, before Guy and Selan have joined the party. Artea's guns can also be found in the Ancient Cave, though Dekar can still use them even before you've met Artea.
  • In Luminous Arc 2, the endgame quests give you various characters' best weapons. There's absolutely nothing to stop you from getting the weapons of a character you get even later in the game.
  • Used in MARDEK in an interesting way:
    • Some monsters in Chapter 2 drop weapons that are not usable by anyone. You can carry them over to the next chapter...only to discover that most of them are starting weapons for the new characters.
    • In Chapter 3 you can buy a weapon usable only by a character that's considered missing-in-action as of second chapter's ending. It sprouted fan speculations about the character returning in a future installment.
  • Oracle of Askigaga: The Castle Askigaga weapon shop sells Quarter Staff, labeled "Weapon for Oracle.", implying that the titular Oracle is joining the party, when the current party does not have her.
  • In Persona 3, the police station sells a costume for Ken a few weeks before he joins the party. Weapons usually don't count for this trope in this game as the protagonist can use all of them. However, if you keep up with Elizabeth's requests, you'll see one that has a weapon type the protagonist can't use as its reward... and that fact that it's a bone (the Joke Weapon of that type), is a pretty big hint that the party member who uses it is a dog.
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Ursaring was able to benefit from using the Eviolite, an item that empowers Pokemon that are not the final stage of their evolution chain. This is despite Ursaring being the final evolution of Teddiursa since Gold and Silver on the Game Boy Colour. In the series' next instalment, Ursaring gained the evolution Ursaluna.
  • In Radiant Historia, you can find claw-type weapons before you get a claw user, and buy weapons for a character who already left the party, spoiling that he would return eventually.
  • Sands of Destruction:
    • The game has a Quip system, pieces of beneficial Party Banter that you can set up much like equipment. Characters learn them by saying the line in the story dialogue, and the first usage of any quip is always voiced and highlighted with yellow text. As such, when Rhi'a or Naja start saying voiced lines with yellow letters, you just know that they'll soon join you.
    • In a more conventional case, you can find a gun in the Azure Tower, and no one in your party can use it. Now, who is shown using guns in the Spoiler Opening?..
  • In Shadow Hearts a shop starts selling swords right before you visit a certain castle in Transylvania.
  • Pretty much the case for every game in the Shining series which generally has multiple character classes and a huge cast. However this can work in its favour at times because multiple characters can be the same class.
    • In the Shining the Holy Ark later weapon shops end up selling claw-type weapons. They belong to the Guide Dang It! hidden character Doyle.
    • Shining Force III almost always ruins the surprise of a new character as weapon shops suddenly have new types of weapons just before a new character shows up. Most notably with Irene; but as she can die before you recruit her you know there is going to be another character shortly that can use her gloves...and sure enough Kahn appears shortly afterwards.
    • Subverted however in Shining Force II, where Taros can drop his sword, which can only be used by the Giant class. No Giant ever joins the team.
  • Sonic Chronicles: All items show every potential party member that can wield them, with those who haven't joined yet shadowed out. Despite this, Eggman's head is still recognizable and another icon is recognizable as Shade. Furthermore, the presence of gloves that are "not usable by robots" implies the existence of one or more playable robots.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia:
      • There's a point in the game where your party seems to be killed off one by one. During that sequence, you find... a new weapon equippable only by one of the party members that already died. Spoils the moment a bit.
      • You also find new equipment equippable only by two people, both of which are seemingly now the enemy.
    • Playing Tales of Vesperia and you're worried that you might not retrieve a certain character from the plot? Did they turn evil? Have they been sacrificed? Have they finally grown apart from the protagonist? Oh no wait, shops all around the world indicate the skills of party members not in your party at the moment on weapons you can buy or Synthesize, looks like you'll be picking them up later when the plot lets you. Oh well. There goes that tension.
    • Played more straight in Tales of Graces. A particular Dualize recipe spoils the fact that Richard will rejoin your party, because the Darkshine Crystal can only be dualized with his weapon, and can only be found after he leaves.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, if you go out of your way to kill certain high-leveled enemies long before what is reasonable, you may obtain a type of weapon and a unique class of armor that nobody in your party can equip. What's more, the weapon type is similar to the weapons used by a certain party member who was killed...

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • In Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II you can find pieces of armour for the Dreadnought way before you get one. Not enough information to guess that Captain Davian Thule dies but once that happens, if you are familiar with the Warhammer 40k lore enough to know what exactly dreadnoughts are, you already know who will be piloting the one in your party.


    Survival Horror 
  • In Alien: Isolation it is rare but possible to find the ammo before the weapon.
    • After jettisoning the xenomorph into space at the end of Mission 10 and telling Waits via radio comms that you're returning to the headquarters, you find the shotgun, hinting that this is not an epilogue and you're gonna have to use it.
  • In various Silent Hill games, you tend to start finding ammo for new types of guns shortly before you find the gun itself.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem's Book 2: You can get a few axes but never get an axe user; you're supposed to sell them for cash. The remake, which features playable axe users, replaces those bonus axes with simply getting bonus money.
  • An unusual example in Fire Emblem Fates. The "End: Lost in the Waves" DLC has you control the second generation units in battle against the first generation fathers, who have Came Back Wrong as Vallite zombies. They all use generic Silver-grade weaponry... except Takumi, who has his own personal weapon, the Skadi. This is a major hint that he is resurrected as a Vallite zombie in the Conquest route and serves as the Final Boss.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the protgagonist can get gifts from the Mono-Mono Machine, which can then be given to others, with different people liking different things depending on their personality (e.g. Aoi's Trademark Favorite Food is donuts, so donuts are a good gift for her, and Toko is a writer, so she's happy when gifted a pen). One prize is 'field rations', which are a good gift for ... Junko Enoshima? The fashion model? It's actually a hint that the girl you've been talking to isn't Junko, she's the Ultimate Soldier, Mukuro Ikusaba.

    Western RPGs 
  • Subverted in Betrayal at Krondor, though it's not quite as obvious as some examples. All swords and armor have a "racial mod" of either human, elven, or dwarven, granting a modest effectiveness bonus for the corresponding race. While you do have control of an elf and several humans throughout the game, you never get a single dwarf. The items are still perfectly usable, but the dwarven racial bonus on will never benefit you.
  • Averted in Cosmic Star Heroine: you get the ultimate weapon of a character who previously left your party right before you kill her in a boss battle.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, as early as Ostagar and even some origins, you can loot large colored crystals that get sorted into weapons and armor inventory sections but cannot be equipped on any your party members. They are actually for Shale, a golem whom you can recruit at the end of DLC-only Honnleath quest line.
    • You will also find, eventually, that while maps are among the items you can give as presents to the others, none of your teammates particularly like them, implying the existence of another recruit who likes maps more than any other gift. Admittedly, it doesn't imply that said recruit is Loghain.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the first game, you can buy krogan, turian, and quarian armor before you meet Wrex, Garrus, or Tali.
    • In the second game, you can acquire an upgrade for the "squadmates with geth shield technology" during Tali's recruitment mission, before you meet up with Legion. This was likely an artifact from earlier builds, given the Dummied Out scenes of what would've happened if you recruited her with Legion already in your party.
  • In Planescape: Torment oculars "usable by Modrons" drop from enemies all around the maze where you can find a Hidden Character of that race if you look hard enough.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
Fan Fic
  • In chapter 18 of Paper Mario X 2, Link finds a pair of Super Shoes instead of an upgrade for himself, and instantly knows that the upgrade belongs to Sonic.

Web Comics

  • Referenced in Adventurers! when The Hero panics on discovering a shop that sells a weapon no one in the party uses, deducing that they must have missed a secret character. They meet and recruit the user of said weapons later.
  • In one Nerf NOW!! strip, The Dragon keeps the hero from attacking her boss by dumping a pile of rockets in his path. He immediately concludes that there's a rocket launcher he missed and goes back to search for it.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Yfa's feathers and Grace's lucky card deck appearing in their weapon slots on the status screens give indications of how they fight before this is ever shown in the comic itself.