A weapon of myth, sung of in songs and spoken of in whispers. Old, powerful, and possessing a name.
Most of the time, legendary weapons are a pretty big deal — they don't call them "legendary" for nothing, after all — and instead of being a very old, rusty piece of scrap that's been in a display case for the last millennium, are actually extremely powerful and useful. They might even have the spirit of an ancient hero trapped in them, have immense magical properties, or be made with a technique that has been lost to the ages. Occasionally, when the protagonist is The Chosen One of a Fantasy setting, they'll just happen to be a descendant of the last great hero to use that weapon, and the weapon will unlock its true power only in their hands.
Since having the protagonist find a legendary weapon at their local store is a bit silly (unless it's an unusual kind of local store), the weapon tends to be a Sword of Plot Advancement that is rather hard to acquire.
Please note that this is for legendary weapons, meaning that the weapon has to be part of the legends and history of the work. This is not a trope for just any ancient weapon or Cool Sword the protagonists find, or weapons in a work that happen to share a name with a Public Domain Artifact.
Subtrope to Named Weapons. Super-Trope to Ancestral Weapon. Contrast Penultimate Weapon and Day-Old Legend. See also Infinity +1 Sword, Infinity -1 Sword, Excalibur in the Rust, Cool Sword, and Sword of Plot Advancement. If the work's setting is based on the real world, it may overlap with Public Domain Artifact.
- Soul Eater: Excalibur is considered the strongest of weapons (which, in this setting, is a race) and his power is considered the stuff of legend. Any Meister who wields him is pretty much unstoppable, and many have tried, as his location and exploits are well documented. What isn't, is the fact that he is completely insufferable and no one can stand him long enough to use him for long.
- Fate/stay night: Most of the Servants' Noble Phantasms count. Considering the setting is based on the real world and the Servants are actually spirits of legendary heroes, a lot of them overlap with Public Domain Artifact.
- The Sixth Gun has the Six, which have been reborn in every age of the setting. Built to free man from an enemy that is no longer there, the Six were known to early man as clubs, to the Knights Templar as swords, to other ages as crossbows and matchlock muskets. In the age of the comic, they are .44 revolvers due to the Western setting.
- Superman story The Day the Cheering Stopped has the Sword of Superman, an inconceivably old, empathetic weapon which has zipped across the galaxy for eons, waiting for his rightful wielder calling it and claiming its power. Countless alien races have told stories about the Sword from time immemorial, and billions of treasure-hunters have tried and failed to catch it.
- In the Pony POV Series, Patch finds the sword of Squire, the knight from the legend she told in the first episode of the animated series. She uses it as her Weapon of Choice for the rest of her life.
- In the Harry Potter/Merlin (2008) crossover "Ancient Relics", after Voldemort masters the power of the Old Religion, Merlin determines that the only weapon that can kill him now is Excalibur, which can only be retrieved from Avalon on Halloween when the walls between life and death are particularly thin. Even Kingsley Shacklebolt, the current Minister of Magic and head of the Order of the Phoenix, is awed when Merlin lays Excalibur before him.
- Mjölnir in Thor.
- The sword Green Destiny in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, an Absurdly Sharp Blade famously wielded by Li Mubai and which serves as a MacGuffin for much of the movie.
- In The Mummy Returns in the final confrontation Rick sees a mural depicting the golden scepter his brother-in-law Jonathan has been hauling the entire film, showing it to be in fact a Retractable Weapon — the Spear of Osiris. Which is the only thing that can kill the Scorpion King. He instructs Jonathan on how to open it, and it turns out that Jonathan is quite the javelin thrower. Rick's follow up makes sure the Scorpion King is shut down.
- The MacGuffin of Gentlemen Explorers is the Infinity Pistol: a magical gun that never runs out of bullets. Most people only know of it from the story recorded by The Brothers Grimm, and regard it as nothing more than a legend.
- While Lone Wolf has many a Cool Sword and other awesome weapons, the Sommerswerd, the Sword of the Sun, is the blade of legend. This golden sword was forged by a god-like race and sent by the sun god Kai to the people of Sommerlund to aid them in fighting off the dark god Naar's champions, the Darklords of Helgedad. The second book revolves entirely around Lone Wolf retrieving the sword in order to repel another invasion by the Darklords.
- Early in The Hobbit, the party recovers a small treasure hoard from some trolls, among it a pair of magnificent swords which are taken by Thorin and Gandalf respectively. A little later Elrond, upon seeing the swords, reveals to them that the swords are "very old" blades forged by the elves of Gondolin, and that Thorin's sword is "a famous blade" called Orcrist, or the Goblin-cleaver, and that Gandalf's sword is called Glamdring, or Foe-hammer, and belonged to the king of Gondolin. Notably, these blades are also legendary among the goblins, who call them Beater and Biter and recognize them on sight.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Narsil is the legendary sword that was forged in the First Age by a famous dwarven smith, wielded and broken by Elendil and then used by Isildur to cut the ring out of Sauron's hand at the end of the Second Age, and then reforged under the name Andúril at the end of the Third Age to fulfill one of the ancient prophecies.
- Gandalf carries the elvish longsword Glamdring which he acquired in The Hobbit, and uses it to kill the balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring.
- Kormak's Saga: Preparing for his duel with Bersi, and following the advice of his mother Dalla, Kormak asks Skeggi of Midfjord to lend him Skofnung, the sword of the legendary Danish king Hrolf Kraki which Skeggi robbed from Hrolf's gravemound in his youth.
- The Saga of the People of Laxardal: Before Thorkel Eyjolfsson sets out to kill the outlaw Grim, he borrows Skofnung, the sword of the legendary Danish king Hrolf Kraki, from his relative Eid, the son of Skeggi of Midfjord who had robbed the sword from Hrolf Kraki's gravemound.
- The Riftwar Cycle: The Hammer of Tholin is an ancient weapon that belonged to the last king of the dwarves, believed to be lost to the ages. The lore attached to it is so strong that its recovery allows Dolgan to become the first king of the dwarves since its loss.
- The Sword of Shannara from the Shannara series is the legendary sword which the Elven King Jerle Shannara used to defeat the Warlock Lord and end the Second War of the Races. Five hundred years later, the entire plot of The Sword of Shannara is a quest for said sword.
- The Sword of Godric Gryffindor and the Elder Wand in Harry Potter, the sword being a goblin-made weapon and the Elder Wand a wand so powerful that it can supposedly perform impossible feats of magic, including repairing Harry's original wand, which had been dismissed as irreparable by Ollivander himself.
- The Dresden Files has the hat trick. The three Swords of the Cross are named Amoracchius, Esperacchius, and Fidelacchius. Or, as they've been called in the past, Excalibur, Durendal, and Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, respectively.
- The Sword of the Kings of Ankh in Discworld. According to the Discworld Companion, in the later years of the Ankh-Morpork monarchy, many fake swords started popping up in the hands of various claimants, to the point that King Blad claimed the throne on the basis of two bits of wood nailed together. It is generally agreed that the true sword must have been shiny, probably magical and always catch the light, and therefore can't possibly be Captain Carrot's, which is none of these things but just really good at being a sword. How good? It's an Absurdly Sharp Blade that routinely cuts straight through other swords and at one point, was driven straight through a man and the stone pillar behind him without much fanfare. The implied reason for its sharpness is that the sword is so boringly nonmagical that it ends up working as low-grade Anti-Magic against anything that has more magic in it, which is just about everything else in existence. Needless to say, it's the real thing, despite looking like an ordinary, slightly rusted sword.
- Egil's Saga: When Egil departs from York, Arinbjorn presents him Dragvandil, a sword once owned by the hero Ketil Salmon, who "had used it in his single combats". Egil uses Dragvandil when he kills the berserk Ljot, and also wields it in his duel with Atli. Ketil Salmon and his duels are the subject of another saga, The Saga of Ketil Salmon.
- The Elder Empire: The nature of Intent means anything can gain legendary power given time. If an axe is used for splitting wood, eventually it will become even better at splitting wood. Shera has weapons that were forged a thousand years ago before the Empire was born, and they can cut through nearly anything. Especially the blade she used to destroy a heart of Nakothi, and kill the Emperor. At the start of the novel, she has trouble even drawing that weapon at all, it's so powerful.
- Fablehaven has Vasilis, the Sword of Light and Darkness. The weapon even has poems and songs written about it, and learning that the good guys even have it proves to be a major morale boost for the Battle of Zzyzx.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Need is a sword so old that the legends about her arose, flourished, and were forgotten before the current era began. At first she is a female-only weapon with many special attributes. Then she wakes up and starts talking...
- Tracker's Strada Brac. note It was the subject of Vardian and Cirronian legends about how it was made during an ancient war and then stolen by the Migar council and hidden on Earth to keep it away from the Vardians. By the modern era, most of their peoples believed it was simply a myth. Cole and Mel obviously proved them wrong.
- The Mandalorian has the Darksaber (which was previously seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels). Constructed by the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order, wielding it makes someone the rightful ruler of Madalore, as long as the wielder acquired it by killing the previous holder.
- Excalibur in Merlin which Arthur is going to rip out of that stone as revealed by the series trailer, as well as Lancelot's Arondight.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Worf, Dax, and Kor search for the legendary Sword of Kahless, hoping that it could unite the Klingon people behind a new leader who could end hostilities between the Empire and the Federation. When they find it, it causes Work and Kor to become power-hungry.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Deconstructed with the Stone of Gol, a psionic resonator which allowed Vulcans to weaponize their telepathic abilities. It turns out there was a very good reason it stopped being used and faded into legend. It was powered by the violent thoughts of its target. Once Vulcan became a peaceful world, it became useless.
- Supernatural has the Colt. A bullet fired from this gun can kill nearly anything, even creatures that are normally Immune to Bullets. In fact, it's specifically stated that there's only a total of five beings in all of creation that it can't kill (implied to be God and the four Archangels).
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Mʔ, commonly known as The Scythe, is a powerful weapon (actually an axe) created for the Slayers by a group of powerful women called The Guardians. Buffy pulls it out of a stone in the latter part of the last season of the show.
- Legend of the Seeker: The Sword of Truth. In the hands of an ordinary person, it's just a regular sword. When wielded by the seeker, it turns him into a One-Man Army.
- Dungeons & Dragons has had many of these, from the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and Sword of Kas in the 1st Edition Dungeons Master's Guide to the swords of the Forgotten Realms as described by Ed Greenwood (Adjatha, Albruin, Demonbane, etc.).
- The Sixth Gun, due to the game being based on the comic book, features the quest for the Six.
- Warhammer has the eponymous Warhammer itself, Ghal Maraz, and to a lesser extent, the Runefangs (swords) of each of the constituent provinces of the Empire.
- The Borderlands series: Referenced with the Orange Color-Coded Item Tiers, a.k.a "Legendary". In addition to having the best stats, these items also have unique abilities like strange bullet patterns or always ignoring shields (some of these abilities render the items much worse than similar items of a lesser tier), and a quote from another game or series in red text. Their special abilities are therefore often called "red text effects."
- Any weapon (or, indeed, any item) that unlocks a Codex entry in the Dragon Age series. Additionally, if you acquired the weapon Vigilance in Awakening, the epilogue mentions that it went on to become one of these.
- The Runeblade from Drakan: Order of the Flame belonged to Heron, the last great dragonrider and is also the best weapon in the game.
- The Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep gives us the χ-Blade (pronounced Key-blade or kye-blade), of which other Keyblades were made to mimic its shape. Unlike the Keyblade, which was originally made to overcome Kingdom Hearts, the χ-Blade existed alongside it and protected it as well. It was over this that the Keyblade War was fought, which resulted in its destruction into 7 Lights, which became the Princesses of Heart, and 13 Darknesses, as well plunging Kingdom Hearts into darkness and forcing the Worlds to reorganize. There is a way to reforge it and bring back the lost Kingdom Hearts; by having a powerful Light and equally powerful Darkness clash, but they have to be in partitions of 7 and 13 respectively for it to be successful. Xehanort, who has reformed in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance aims to start a second Keyblade War by doing exactly that, the 7 Lights being either the Princesses of Heart or the various heroes of the series, while the 13 Darknesses who are multiple splintered versions of himself gathered across time.
- Kingdom of Loathing parodies legendary weapons at every turn.
Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings — common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
- There's a chain of quests where the player gets a series of legendary weapons. First, the player has to create the "Epic Weapon" for their class. Following that, they obtain more ingredients and upgrade it to the "Legendary Epic Weapon". Following that, the weapon gets transformed into the "Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon" when fighting the next boss.
- There's Trusty, Boris' trusty axe which the player is forced to use when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Master Sword, aka "the Blade of Evil's Bane," is as legendary as the Triforce itself. It is inscribed in Hyrule's lore that evil ones cannot touch it, nor can anyone save for the Chosen Hero draw it from the Pedestal of Time. Some Zelda games (those made by Capcom) feature the Four Sword instead, which has the same "evil-destroying" power, and is also attached to both a sacred pedestal and the ancient malice of an eldritch Big Bad.
- The Sword of Mana from the World of Mana series. Even more legendary because it is ALL the legendary swords that have ever existed, just with different name on each occasion.
- A semi-recurring element in Final Fantasy, particularly the games that feature a High or Heroic Fantasy-themed locale.
- Cecil's Mythgraven Blade in Final Fantasy IV, which he receives upon becoming a Paladin after passing his trial at Mt. Ordeals. True to its name, the sword is inscribed with the Mysidian Legend, a lore that foretells the arrival of a hero destined to bring light to the Blue Planet.
- Final Fantasy V has the twelve legendary weapons, also known as the Sealed Weapons.
- The Relic Weapons of Final Fantasy XIV qualify: though you have to reforge them, they are legendary in the history of the world (for example, the Paladin's weapon, Curtana, is the sister sword to Oathkeeper, and both are the best swords ever made). The more they're upgraded, the more powerful they become, until eventually they're reforged again into epic weapons (Curtana becoming Excalibur, for example).
- The Vampire Killer whip in Castlevania series is considered the ultimate undead-killing holy weapon.
- The Eternal Sword in the Tales Series. Also known as the Sword of Time, it is capable of cleaving time and space itself.
- Tales of Graces has the sword of Asbel's father, Aston, which was a legendary eleth sword. When Asbel was in training as a knight, he sold the old, rusted sword for cheap to a traveling merchant called a "Turtlez" (one of many in the game), not realizing its history or potential. Much later in the game, the player can buy it back for hefty premium and take it to the Amarcian Enclave and it turns out to be the extremely powerful Excalibur.
- Warcraft: The 'Legion' expansion gives a legendary weapon for every available player class specialization. These range from old classics (such as twin blades forged from the broken shards of Frostmourne and the sword that broke Frostmourne in the first place) to completely new ones, which were given a fitting backstory.
- Frostmourne itself is a subversion. While it is certainly powerful and extremely important to recent history, it's not very old. The Lich King invented legends and a long history for the sword in order to trick Arthas into thinking that finding the sword was his own idea.
- In Titan Quest the most powerful weapons and items are the "Legendary" or "Mythological" ones.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- The Silver Sword of Gith, an Ancestral Weapon of the githyanki and githzerai forged by Zerthimon for Gith to free them from the mind flayers. In the backstory it was lost in the Nine Hells, then recovered by Ammon Jerro to fight the King of Shadows, during which battle it was shattered. Its shards act as Plot Coupons to allow the blade to be reforged.
- Another legendary weapon from the first campaign is the Hammer of Ironfist, the Ancestral Weapon of your companion Khelgar's clan. Unfortunately by the time you get it Khelgar is likely well on his way to becoming a Tyrran monk, meaning he relies on Good Old Fisticuffs instead of weapons, and the Hammer can thus only be reliably wielded by a dwarf player character.
- Mask of the Betrayer has the longsword Sivlem, a weapon that has been attached to many glorious deeds. Its Flavor Text has a weird invoked Double Subversion when the mage enchanting it intended to give it an intelligence that would drive its wielder to yet greater acts of heroism, but applied said intelligence to a more mundane blade by mistake.
- The Elder Scrolls
- The Daedric Artifacts (at least those that are weapons) are the most legendary weapons on Nirn. Each is associated with a particular Daedric Prince and passes from owner to owner according to the wishes of those deities. Famous ones include the Malacath's hammer Volendrung, the dagger Mehrunes' Razor, the Mace of Molag Bal, Meridia's sword Dawnbreaker, and Sheogorath's staff Wabbajack.
- The Aedra, deities who aided in the creation of Mundus (the mortal plane) primarily worshiped in the Nine Divines religion, have provided some legendary weapons as well. Some of the most famous are Auri-El's Bow and Shield, Auri-El being the Aldmeri eagle version of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time. (The Bow is said to be the weapon that launched Lorkhan's Heart down into the world after he was "killed" for his perceived treachery during creation.) Similarly, the Divines each contributed to the Crusader's Relics. Originally worn by Pelinal Whitestrake during the Alessian Revolt when he defeated Umaril the Unfeathered, they would have to be collected and sanctified by "Pelinal Reborn" in Oblivion's Knights of the Nine expansion.
- In Morrowind, Yagrum Bagarn the last living Dwemer and victim of the Corprus Disease, has written the in-game book Famed Artifacts of Tamriel which details many such legendary weapons. He himself is in possession of Volendrung in-game, presumably acquired in his pre-disease days of searching Tamriel for any other surviving Dwemer.
- In the arcade Dungeons & Dragons games from Capcom, at the end of Shadow of Mystara, if a player kills the final boss with a magical sword (i.e. any sword that they did not start with), the epilogue states that the weapon is renamed "The Sword of (Player Name)." On subsequent playthroughs, the sword is actually called that for anyone that picks it up. At least, until the cabinet is reset.
- There's always at least one of these in every Fire Emblem game. They're mostly signature weapons of each game's Lord.
- The Dual Blade in the Lufia series, a weapon that amplifies the wielder's energy waves.
- Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has a weapon called the Legendary Sword, which the party is tasked to recover. Despite acknowledging the Legendary Sword's powers are quite exaggerated, the President of Parcelyte feels its presence would reassure the people of the city. It is a solid upgrade should you choose to use it yourself.
- In Holy Umbrella, the umbrella found and wielded by the player character has a "Legend of the Holy Umbrella" about it.
- Xenoblade Chronicles: The Monado, the legendary Blade that can defeat the otherwise invincible Mechons. There are two (Zanza's Monado and Meyneth's Monado), containing the spirits and power of the Bionis and Mechonis, respectively. During the Final Boss fight, this is joined by Shulk's own Monado—and by Alvis, who claims to be Monado.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Several of the Blades count, but none moreso than the Aegis, the Blade that destroyed three entire continents in a war centuries ago. Of course, Blades are also people, making this something of a strange example. The Aegis is a girl named Pyra with fire powers, who demonstrates far more power than anyone else. Then it turns out she's technically not the Aegis; the real Aegis is Mythra, who was so horrified at what she did during the Aegis War that she sealed away most of her powers and personality, creating the gentler Pyra. Eventually it is revealed that Malos is another Aegis, obsessed with destroying the world due to the initial desires of the man who awakened him; Mythra was awakened to fight him. At the very end of the game, the Architect explains that there were actually three Aegises—Logos (Malos), Ontos (lost in a dimensional rift and heavily implied to be Alvis from Xenoblade), and Pneuma (Pyra/Mythra's complete self). They were originally the AIs overseeing the space elevator that would eventually become the World Tree, but the Architect repurposed them to manage the Blades and heal the world. Notably, Malos's weapon is a Monado, with similar arts to Shulk's own.
- On a similar note are the Artifices, which fall more along the lines of legendary Superweapons that the Aegises can control, originally designed by them to defend the Conduit housed at the top of the space elevator that would become the World Tree. Activating Aion, the ultimate Artifice, is Malos's ultimate goal—doing so will allow him to destroy the world.
- Warframe: There are a number of weapons that could be described as legendary weapons, but the clearest example is the Paracesis, the Sentient Slayer. You receive the blueprint at the end of a quest specifically dedicated to it, it is one of the most powerful greatswords in the game, and it is the only weapon that can be upgraded past level thirty, making it easier to customize and definitely become the most powerful greatsword. It also has a hefty damage bonus against the Sentients, who are normally infamously hard to kill.
Ballas: Take this... the idea of it... it is the only way your war can end.
- Märchen Forest: Mylne and the Forest Gift: A legendary fishing pole which is a type of weapon, "Fisherman's Pole", as said when buying it:
A legendary pole said to have been used by an angler. It is said that it featured a straight lure.
- LiEat: The Infinity +1 Sword-s: The Legendary Knife and Legendary Cake.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels: The Darksaber was constructed by the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order. Wielding it makes someone the rightful ruler of Madalore, as long as the wielder acquired it by killing the previous holder.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Sword of Tengu. Legend says its creator folded the metal over and over until every impurity and imperfection was eliminated. It's actually made of alien metal.