Follow TV Tropes


Rain of Arrows

Go To
Hope you brought an umbrella so we can fight in the shade.

"Their arrows will blot out the sun!
So much the better, we shall fight in the shade."
Dienekes, The Histories, Spartan warrior at the Battle of Thermopylae (or Herodotus making cool stuff up)

Bows and arrows are cool. Say what you will about Guns and Badasses going together like bread and X-treme butter, but without copious amounts of Bullet Time, you can not see the bullets in flight. Guns are, by and large, an invisible (and noisy) killer. Not so with arrows; a simple twang, a blurred shaft, and a guy falls down.

Up the scale a bit. You have a firing line of armed mooks; again, you'll see the gun smoke but not the bullets. Being cooler collectively than individually, a group (or a single!) archer can cause a rain of arrows to descend upon their foes like Death from Above. Add in some Arrows on Fire for extra fiery goodness, especially if it’s nighttime and they stand out like tracers against the dark.

Massive volleys of arrows were Truth in Television, and all arrows need to arc to some degree, but the situation would determine whether or not the archers used the extreme ballistic trajectory loved by Hollywood. A high arc was necessary at extreme distance, simply to compensate for gravity. It could also be useful to deliberately lob arrows at a steep angle so they’d hit enemies who were deeper than the first rank, or perhaps hidden from line of sight by terrain such as a hill. On the other hand a high arc increases flight time, and the further the arrows travel the more energy they lose. Therefore, anti-armor archery such as that of the English during the Hundred Years War was normally reserved for relatively close range using a relatively horizontal trajectory.

Hollywood really prefers a steep arc, however, since scores of archers shooting into the air is a really cool pose, and there’s a built-in suspense/payoff structure: you watch with dread as the arrows rise up into the air, perhaps even blotting out the sun as they reach the top of the arc, and then they come hissing down everywhere at once, killing Red Shirts left and right while somehow avoiding the heroes and their Plot Armor.

By definition, the Rain of Arrows trope is mutually exclusive with No "Arc" in "Archery". Compare Macross Missile Massacre, More Dakka, Beam Spam and Flechette Storm; see Death In All Directions.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Uryuu Ishida, after regaining his lost power, becomes capable of firing 1200 arrows at the same time via the Quincy technique "Licht Regen". His name actually does mean "rain dragon" and, when firing this bow, he lives up to that name. Episode 169 is a notable example. Unlike other examples when he uses this, every arrow is going to hit something.
  • In Double Arts, an entire area-saturating barrage is fired at the protagonists. They show off the results of their intense training by using their new dance moves to dodge through them completely unscathed.
  • The Familiar of Zero: It took an extended one of these to down Saito while fighting the 70,000 Army. He survived, so said army then resorted to the same thing but with fireballs. He got better.
  • Genesis of Aquarion: Silvia uses her Lunatique Archery technique to destroy the Shadow Angel Titania with a Rain of Arrows in the 9th episode.
  • Giant Robo: A character pulls this off in the last OVA. The area goes from sand dunes to looking like a wheat field.
  • Mages in Negima! Magister Negi Magi will occasionally fire massive salvos of magic arrows at their opponents. Often with Robo Teching.
  • In One Piece's sixth movie, Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, the hideous mutant flower Lily Carnation fires a hail of arrows at Luffy, turning him into a Human Pincushion.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Madoka does this twice with an Energy Bow. The first time, it's a single arrow that blows away the black storm clouds and reveals a beautiful blue sky. The arrow then bursts into an infinite number of arrows that transcend space and time. The second time, she instantly fires thousands of arrows at a planet sized witch, blowing up everything else in the process.
    • She carries this tactic over into Rebellion, where she uses it against a Nightmare and nearly catches herself in the attack. And then a double assault with her and Homura against the Incubators, annihilating all of them.
  • A common sight in Ravages of Time whenever two armies meet for battle (which is often).
  • Basara from Samurai Deeper Kyo is a one-man longbowman army. Even better, he can time the rain of arrows so that it act as a defensive barrier, hitting enemies when they try to attack him up close.
  • At the beginning of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Borgoff Markus manages to do this with a single-shot, hand-loaded crossbow. The mechanics remain a mystery.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5GoGo!, Cure Aqua displayed the ability to produce a Rain of Arrows any time it was useful (which was less often than you'd think). Although her "bow" is a magically summoned arc of water floating in midair which produces arrows (which seem to be made of ice) from nowhere, so we can probably call this justified.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, two known characters died in this situation, according to ancient flashbacks. One was Mizar, a dragon tamer who reincarnates as a Barian Emperor. The other is Iris, a young, recolored lookalike of Shark's sister Rio; Iris becomes a minor Barian with all the Red Shirts who also died in the assault from Vector's army.

    Comic Books 
  • Warren Ellis' historical novel Crécy explains how it's done in real life. Basically, you teach all your soldiers to shoot at the same range, then everyone fires together and something's bound to get hit.
  • The last issue of the short-lived Gargoyles continuation featured a magical version of this.

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: As a Bleach crossover, this is the specialty of the Quincy via their technique Licht Regen, which can let one be a one-man version of this trope. High-ranking Soldat can fire hundreds of arrows at a time. Most of the Sternritter can fire thousands. Schutzstaffel member Night Light, as a part of his schtick being he's refined the Quincy base techniques to a level unmatched by all but the Quincy King Sombra himself to make up for how his "unique" abilities aren't suited for direct regular combat, can fire millions of "arrows" (which are actually closer to spears in size).
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • During the Battle for Navarus Village, Maia and her company succeed in reclaiming the mayor's estate. This gives her archers a good position to rain arrows at the Black Dogs beneath.
    • A squad of goblin archers pulls off this trope to ambush Kyril and his company during the Battle for Oren. However, it is not effective due to their inaccuracy, as well as their targets being under cover. As such, the goblins are dispatched from a distance rather quickly.
  • A Thing of Vikings: This is stated as the best tactic to use when fighting dragons if you are not interested in selling your kills as that a single well aimed arrow can cause a dragon to explode. King Harthacnut's army used this tactic during the First Battle of Berk Sound.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Both featured and subverted; Chorh-Gom prison has hundreds of ballistae lining the ledges and battlements, each capable of firing frickin' enormous, spear-like arrows... but Tai Lung not only uses these to break open his manacles, he's able to toss them right back at the guards, then kick a volley to stab into the rocky walls, providing him with a way to ascend out of the pit. So the rain of arrows starts off as a cool motif for the good guys, only to be snatched away and showing off the bad guy's skills instead.
    • Similarly, the rhinos send down an eye-popping hail of Arrows on Fire, only to have Tai Lung avoid these too by dodging underneath the only protection available, the wooden elevator.
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: In the flashback narrated by Shifu and describing Master Oogway's past with Kai, a rain of arrow is depicted as it is mentioned they fell to an ambush, implying it was what wounded Oogway.
  • Done in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, when the orcs lay siege to Helm's Deep. The hail of arrows goes on for a good twenty seconds, at least.
  • Happens in Mulan when Captain Li's army is attacks by the Huns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: Does this twice. The first time is a case of ineffective Annoying Arrows. The second time is directed primarily at a single, extremely tough individual.
  • Alexander: The Battle of Gaugamela involves a veritable rain of Persian arrows on the advancing Macedonian phalanx.
  • Beowulf & Grendel: When the Geats arrive on Danish shores, a scout threatens them with a "shower of arrows" if they don't identify themselves (he ends up announcing their presence with a summoning horn).
  • Braveheart: Shown a few times. At the battle of Stirling, the Scottish taunt the English archers into firing their arrows. The Scots then quickly hide under their shields for protection, with mixed results.
  • Curse of the Golden Flower: Seen in the climatic battle, when the Emperor's guards shower Prince Jai's rebellion army with missiles.
  • Gladiator: The opening battle.
  • Henry V (1944): Has a rather pretty one of these during the Battle of Agincourt. The 1989 version (the Branagh one) was not so pretty.
  • Hercules (2014): Played for Drama and then For Laughs when Amphiaraus faces a rain of flaming arrows peacefully, eyes closed and arms spread wide, believing it to be his prophesied death. They all miss.
    [Amphiaraus cautiously opens his eyes, peers around, and shrugs]
    Amphiaraus: ...Maybe not. [Charges into battle]
  • Hero (2002): Happens a few times, and couples it with two kung fu masters using their skills to stop the hail of arrows from killing calligraphers. In the end, there's even a Knife Outline of the titular hero's silhouette — of course the outline was made not by the archers pinning him so much as pin-cushioning him and removing his body — his death isn't shown, just the outline. At one point master Broken Sword, doing some calligraphy of his own, has his brush broken by an arrow. He then catches an arrow and uses it as a brush.
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: In the Extended Version, Thranduil's Elf army attempt to rain arrows on Dain's Dwarf army, only to discover that the Dwarves have an ingenious (and visually impressive) counter-weapon.
  • King Arthur (2004): Provides a bit of Truth in Television example of how this was used in its final battle. The Woad archers create confusion and chaos in the Saxon ranks whilst thinning the numbers, which the knights then exploit, retreat and after a second volley return to finish the job. Traditionally European medieval armies (especially Frankish and later English) that employed archers used them in exactly this manner: To disrupt the enemy line and sow confusion and chaos that mounted knights could exploit.
  • Kingdom of Heaven: Both the advancing Saracen army and the defenders of Jerusalem shower each other with arrows in the final battle.
  • The Last Samurai: Katsumoto's archers unleash volleys on the Imperial Japanese army before the hand-to-hand combat begins.
  • The Lone Ranger: How the Comanche gets the initial drop on the U.S. Calvary that is under the control of Latham Cole.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • The Fellowship of the Ring: The prologue sequence shows the Battle of Dagorlad, where the combined armies of the Elves and Númenóreans rain arrows down on the orcs of Mordor before Sauron himself takes to the field.
    • The Two Towers: Happens during the siege of Helm's Deep. Turns out Elves are pretty good at raining arrow-y death on the Uruk-Hai. It's entirely possible the Battle of Helm's Deep would have been much less tense if Saruman hadn't sent bombs along... because while the Rohirrim only had about 300 men (most of them not soldiers), a couple dozens elves, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, they had enough bows, and probably enough arrows, to outfit every single one of them, and an enormous stone wall to hide behind. Legolas isn't able to pull off a literal rain, but he manages to create veritable stream of arrows at times.note 
    • The Return of the King: As the forces of Sauron besiege Minas Tirith, the Gondorians rain arrows down on the horde. Noted victims include the mountain trolls pushing siege towers, and the party of orcs who attempt to batter down the gates. When the Rohirrim arrive to break the siege, they go up against the Haradrim on the Pelennor Fields, who deliver arrow-y death from atop their giant Mûmakil.
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Since it's being used on an undead army — who immediately get back up and shrug off the arrows — it is only dangerous to the two humans fighting with them, and they take cover.
  • Prince Caspian:
    • During the night raid on Miraz's castle, the army of the Old Narnians is trapped within the courtyard, making them easy targets for the Telmarine crossbowmen stationed along the walls.
    • The Second Battle of Beruna features Queens Susan and Trumpkin the dwarf commanding the Narnian archers, who rain missiles down on the advancing Telmarines.
  • Red Cliff: Zhuge Liang (The Strategist and The Chessmaster) manipulates an opposing army into firing a Rain of Arrows at a fleet of decoy ships filled with straw, in order to meet a challenge to produce 100,000 arrows for his side within three days — the arrows were used, but still good.
  • Timeline: This Michael Crichton movie was worth the price of admission for these words: "Fire the Night Arrows!"
  • Troy: As the Myceneans charge against the walls of Troy, Hector commands the Trojan archers - finest in the world - to rain their missiles.
  • Throne of Blood (1957): The final moments of Akira Kurosawa's Jidaigeki Macbeth adaptation features a Rain of Arrows directed at a single, cornered dude. Most of these arrows were allegedly "live" — fired by expert archers just inches away from Toshiro Mifune. Needless to say, he looks pretty damn terrified.
  • Van Helsing: The titular character has an automatic crossbow fed by a drum of bolts, using which he can shoot practically nonstop.

  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
    • In Guards! Guards!! (about a dragon attack on the city of Ankh-Morpork), Captain Vimes observes that so many bounty-hungry amateur archers are manning the roofs of Ankh Morpork, the dragon "was going to think it was flying through solid wood with slots in it".
    • The Piecemaker, a ballista used as a handweapon for a troll. It fires a bundle of arrows at once that ignite from air friction and turns into a fireball after some airtime. Minimum safe distance is considered to be one hundred meters behind the weapon, preferably with some sort of wall between. The first time Detritus used it, the entire shooting range was devastated (along with a few seagulls who happened to be on the wrong place, AKA directly above Detritus). Needless to say, any thug in Ankh-Morpork surrenders before Detritus even starts to aim.
  • S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series, in which one character is trying to bring about the return of feudalism, features a group who intentionally train their militia to produce this effect. He calls it an "arrow storm", and describes the deadly effects with typical gusto and precision.
  • A Piece in the Game of Gods: As said in part 42, about Cassandra:
    If we’d been in the open, she could have rained down a couple dozen arrows at once, taking out whole groups of zombies. It was too bad that she couldn’t do that here without the risk of hitting our allies.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang uses one of these to replenish his ammunition supplies in the lead up to the battle of Red Cliff. With Zhuge's ships hiding in a fog, Cao decides that its too risky to attempt boarding them and instead relies on a hail of arrows to kill anybody who happened to be on deck. Zhuge used mats and straw dummies to collect the arrows. Once he was satisfied with his haul, Zhuge sailed off, only to reuse them in his attack against Cao's army. So famous is this maneuver that the Chinese saying "孔明借箭“ came directly from this. Translated literally, it means "Kong Ming (Zhuge Liang's nickname) borrows arrows".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay Bolton's archers loose a volley of arrows onto the soldiers in melee on the field, Ramsay not caring if they struck the Stark men or his own soldiers.
    • When Daenerys Targaryen attacks combined Lannister-Tarly forces on the Goldroad, her Dothraki cavalry fire from horseback into the enemy line. A volley of arrows is also loosed against her dragon... only for them to harmlessly bounce off his plated hide.
  • House of the Dragon: The primary tactic of the Crabfeeder's forces against the Velaryons and Daemon Targaryen in the islands of the Stepstones is to rain down arrows (including fiery when they attack Daemon on his dragon Caraxes) on them from the cliffs then take cover in caves whenever the dragons are brought in. This kind of attrition has a high cost for the Velaryon forces, until the day Daemon decides to "surrender" as a bait to make the unsuspecting Crabfeeder's forces get out of their caves, then Laenor Velaryon swoops in on his dragon Seasmoke and wipes the archers out.
  • MythBusters: Constructed and fired a replica hwacha (see the description below under Real Life) to test its reputation. It stood up to it.
  • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder: A common attack used by Trent the White Ranger is generating a salvo of laser arrows and firing them at the enemy.

  • They Might Be Giants' "Pencil Rain" applies this to bullets, hence the name (because pencils used to have lead in them). It's a song about a battlefield.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The fourth edition makes rangers the dedicated archer and multiple-attacks-per-turn class, giving them multiple powers to help them embody this trope if they so choose as they advance in level. At seriously high levels, they can get things like Hail of Arrows — usable once per encounter and automatically targeting each enemy in range.
  • Exalted: "Rain of Feathered Death" is a Charm allowing a character to replicate this Trope. All by themselves. Because they're just that awesome.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
  • In Pathfinder, there are feats one can take to ensure a rain of arrows (so long as you have the ammunition, of course).
    • And now, a literal rain of arrows spell that causes impressive physical damage and uses arrows of the same metal as that used by the caster to cast the spell — at the cost of a relatively small area of effect for the level it becomes available at.
  • Warhammer:
    • The Hail of Doom arrow. When fired, it splits into between 3 and 18 arrows.
    • High Elves can provide a Rain Of Arrows fire in two ranks, instead of just the front rank. Repeater bolt throwers can fire four large arrows at a time. note 
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: "Blizzard of Arrows", a gift specific to the Amazons of Diana camp of the Black Furies, allows a single character to launch one of these.

    Video Games 
  • Massed archers can be used in strategy games like Age of Empires, but tend to be rather fragile and only effective against enemies with relatively low hitpoints/armour.
    • That said, some of the archer unique units in Age of Empires II are among the most lethal units in the game, notably the Britons' Longbowmen (who are just as formidable as their historical counterparts listed below) and the Chinese Chu-Ko-Nu, armed with a crossbow which can rattle off three shots in quick succession.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations, Ezio can get the novice Assassins to do this, called an Arrow Storm. The narrator for one official video refers to it as an airstrike, and The Da Vinci Disappearance adds an achievement/trophy called "Airstrike" for killing ten or more guards in a single Arrow Storm.
  • Khita's Ultimate in Atlas Reactor is called Rain of Arrows. It creates a rain of arrows between two points on the map, damaging and rooting enemies hit by it.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, this is literally the name of Shrimp’s special attack, and boy does it live up to it. The animation is nearly ten seconds of arrows pelting the enemy from all sides. Thankfully, you can only use the attack once per battle.
  • Calling for one of these is the "magical" power of several bonus characters in Castle Crashers.
  • Similarly to the above example, Champions Online has the "Torrent of Arrows" and "Storm of Arrows" attacks in the Marksman (Archery) powerset. The former involves the character shooting several arrows at the same time in a straight line, while the latter has the character shooting many more arrows at the sky but individually, one after another in rapid succession, where they promptly rain on the enemies. Bonus points if more than one archer use this ability at the same time.
  • City of Heroes has this as the most powerful attack available in the Archery powerset. The game tends to work entirely in Comic Book Tropes and action tropes anyway.
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution allows Imperial Inquisitor Adrastia to acquire a hand crossbow with explosive-tipped bolts (because this is 40k) and an Area of Effect power where she shoots a volley of them into the air onto a nearby group of enemies.
  • The Disgaea series typically involves a rain of arrows in at least one bow skill per game. In particular, Zielregen in Disgaea 2 rains exploding arrows on the target(s), and Dart Trap in Disgaea 4 somehow creates an explosive pitfall under the target with a rain of arrows.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy Ultimecia has the attack "Knight's Arrow", where she summons a multitude of (stylized, magical) arrowheads to shower the enemy. Depending on input, they either swarm the enemy right away, or hang in the air and aim, delaying the attack. She also uses these arrows during her EX Burst/
  • Dragon Age:
    • During the Battle of Ostagar in Dragon Age: Origins, the darkspawn charge is met with a rain of arrows that are also on fire.
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening introduces an archer talent called Rain of Arrows that mimics this trope. Scattershot does it less spectacularly but more effectively.
    • Archers in Dragon Age II have a talent called Hail of Arrows where they fire a bundle of arrows into the air and it comes down in a veritable storm of pointy shafts.
    • Hail of Arrows is the Artificer's Focus Ability in Dragon Age: Inquisition, which causes all archery abilities to be used three times at once. It lives up to this trope when combined with Leaping Shot, which causes the user to shoot multiple arrows while leaping backwards, causing a truly alarming number of hits when used while Hail of Arrows is active.
  • The Elf in Dragon's Crown has a skill called Clone Strike which lets her fire a volley of arrows into the air, turning her into a one-woman version of this.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 6 (and possibly some of the previous ones, haven't played them all), several characters can create this effect with the 'Barrage' special attack, raining down arrows all around them. Two of the playable characters, Yue Ying and Sun Shang Xiang (AKA 'The Bow Princess'), are also capable of pulling this off with their ordinary attacks. Interestingly enough, they're generally considered to be the best characters for fighting on Chaos Mode... the Rain of Arrows is just that powerful.

    In the crossover series, Warriors Orochi, this attack becomes incredibly useful, due to effects that make projectiles stronger, the fact that she can charge the attack to fire more arrows, and a delay between when you fire and when you hit, which you can use to fire other arrow-swarm attacks.
    • In the online variation "Dynasty Warriors: Online", you can get the movesets of the original characters from 5, and Huang Zhong is the appointed bow user. One of the 6th charge variations on his moveset is this very attack. The fighter using the attack will charge up, shoot upwards, and then stagger out of the way as a hail of deadly arrows rains down where they were just standing. It's strong, but even more deadly if you have an elemental attack bonus on you, causing rains of flaming, frozen, electrified, semi-magical, or forceful arrows on a person. If you are lucky, it has a good charge up time for this amazing attack.
  • Fate/stay night: Strangely for a supposedly bow-using class, the Archers don't actually tend to do stuff like this much (with the exception of Atlantia). Gilgamesh, on the other hand, uses historic weapons of mass destruction as arrows because he has so many of them and doesn't see a need to actually use them properly. Hence why his class is Archer.
  • The Ranger class in Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark can learn an attack called Rain of Arrows which strikes all units in a line four squares long.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Edgar's first "tool" is a fully automatic crossbow, which pelts every enemy with a generous helping of arrows.
  • In God of War III, Kratos is able to do this after leveling up the Blades of Exile a few times.
  • One of the many hazards in Happy Wheels is a crossbow that can be attached to different surfaces (much like the harpoons). It is rather odd how a middle aged cyclist can survive twenty arrows to the ass and eyes though.
  • Human archers in Heroes of Might and Magic 5 have an ability called "Rain of Arrows" that covers several squares instead of one at the expense of the damage per square. Only human archers, though, not undead or elven ones. Don't ask why.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Ares transports his opponent to a barren wasteland where they become a victim of this as part of his Limit Break.
  • Jeanne d'Arc: One of the cheapest Skills is the Archer ability "Salvo", an area-effect attack that showers the entire selection with random, full-power arrows. It's offset slightly by the randomness of the squares that actually get hit, but use this in confined quarters, thus forcing the CPU to target only the available squares...
  • Kingdom Rush series:
    • Kingdom Rush: Origins has Eridan's Hero Spell Arrow Storm, which drops a huge number of arrows onto an area to deal a great amount of damage.
    • Kingdom Rush: Vengeance has Asra's Hero Spell Toxic Rain, which is this trope crossed with Poisoned Weapons. It inflicts enemies in an area with armor-piercing poison that deals heavy damage over time.
  • The League of Legends cinematic "Trials of the Poro" sees the titular Ridiculously Cute Critter caught up in a vicious battle between two tribes, culminating in a massive storm of arrows descending on the battlefield while the poor thing cowers in terror. Fortunately folk hero Braum, Heart of the Freljord is on hand to save the poro from the rain with his gigantic impenetrable shield. In the game itself Varus, the Arrow of Retribution, one of the game's two archer champions, has an ability called "Hail of Arrows" which unleashes a brief shower of magical arrows onto a small area.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online Hunters get a skill called "Rain of Arrows", which consists of shooting an inordinate number of arrows into the sky and having them fall around the target. There is also the "Rain of Thorns" counterpart which does the same thing but pinns the targets in place.
  • In Lords of the Realm 2, a large group of archers can do this, which can usually turn the tide of a battle, or cost you lots of men or your army if you're on the receiving end of one.
  • The Ranger in MapleStory gets a skill called Arrow Rain. On the other hand, the Sniper, their crossbow-wielding counterparts, get Arrow Eruption, which is the same but with the arrows coming from BELOW.
  • A Booby Trapped cake dispenser in Minecraft as seen here.
  • In Mount & Blade you can get the medieval version, just get enough archers and its a good ol' rain of death. Also possible with crossbows, though you need a lot more guys as these ain't of the automatic variety, but you can expect everything to die if you pull it off.
  • The Hunter class in Octopath Traveler has an attack explicitly named "Rain of Arrows" (which shoots 5 to 8 arrows at random targets, of which three are guaranteed to hit while the others can hit or miss), with an upgraded version called Arrowstorm (which hits all targets with 5 to 8 arrows each, again with three guaranteed hits and possibly more). The default Hunter H'aanit calls "A torrent of arrows!" for the latter attack.
  • The Of Pen and Paper series gives this to the Hunter class. All text is from level 1:
  • In Overwatch, Hanzo has this ability, at first it was shooting an arrow that multiplies into many and now is shooting multiple fast and powered arrows at once
  • Persona 3 and Persona 4 have this as a physical skill.
    • There's also a variation called "Aeon Rain", which combines this with Beam Spam.
  • Pokémon:
  • The Huntress in Risk of Rain 2 can unleash this as one of her abilities, appropriately dubbed "Arrow Rain". In addition to taking heavy damage, enemies in the area of effect get slowed, allowing the torrent of arrows to deal even more damage to them.
  • In Rogue Galaxy, one of Lilika's special moves, called 'Wild Thing,' resembles the Zielregen from Disgaea greatly, right down to the arrows exploding when they hit the ground. The only major difference is that she doesn't shoot a dividing arrow — she just charges up her bow in midair, and then launches a rapid-fire stream of oddly-arcing arrows.
  • Romancing SaGa series have this as one of abilities that bow users can learn.
  • Runescape has Sagittare Bolton, who, every time he teleports around the boss chamber, yells out the page header and launches several arrows straight up, which can cause some pretty heavy damage when they come back down.
  • In the unit-to-unit Turn-Based Combat sections of SaGa Frontier 2, having an archery unit next to your main attacking unit unleashes a hail of arrows before either side can do anything. (And the enemy can do this to you as well.)
  • Ina from Samurai Warriors has a rain of arrows attack, although it is one of the most useless (and I suppose realistic) attacks since the arrows do piddly damage and land in a completely random spread. There are also several instances of arrow raining in the dynasty warriors and samurai warriors games during cutscenes.
  • Opal (the fusion of Pearl and Amethyst) in Steven Universe: Save the Light has an attack named Rain of Arrows. It causes arrows to fall on the field at a designated location for several turns, leaving the team free to use other actions while enemies in the area are continually damaged.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth the Mongolian Horde, the boss of the Mongolian Beef quest, have the ability "Blacken the Skies" which shoots a storm of arrows at the New Kid and his buddy. If New Kid doesn't block the arrows cause massive damage and the Bleed debuff.
  • One of the spells in Spell Swap summons a rain of arrows.
  • In the later stages of Stronghold you usually have so many archers/crossbowmen on your walls that they reach this level.
  • Suikoden:
    • The series has the archery units in your army do the Rain of Arrows if you order them to attack.
    • In Suikoden II, the evil Prince Luca is only killed by his own army betraying him, the heroes forming three parties just for him, and multiple Rains of Arrows. Everyone wanted him really, really dead.

      The exact sequence was Rain of Arrows (killed his bodyguards), Rain of Arrows (he laughed it off), fight with party #1 (he laughed it off), fight with party #2 (he gets angry), fight with party #3 (he gets well and truly pissed), Rain of Arrows (this time he's visibly hurt), one-on-one fight with the protagonist (gets tired), Rain of Arrows (even more visibly injured), Rain of Arrows (dead after a short speech). Holy hell.
  • Tales Series:
  • Total War: Easily done in any of the games in the series. Archers tend to come in companies of around 60-100 that rain arrows down on other companies. Their effectiveness depends on the game, how tight the enemy formation is, the distance, the relative elevation, and good the archers are in relation to the enemy unit. In some games and situations, archers are extremely effective; in others, they're considerably nerfed.
  • The Einherjar archer party members in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria all share the same Limit Break attack.
  • World of Warcraft: Hunters once got the Volley spell, which fired a large number of arrows at a target area, even if the character is using a gun. Volley has since been removed and replaced by Multi-Shot, which hits everyone in an area in front of the hunter.


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Yuyan Archers (as seen in the episode The Blue Spirit) normally opt for extreme precision but occasionally fire en masse- in their first attack on Aang he has to use an air dome to repel the volume of missiles aimed at him.
  • The Dragon Prince: Queen Aanya and Duren assist with this to defeat Viren's zombie army and save Xadia from being destroyed by humans
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In "School Daze", when Yona charges the pukwudgies, they turn around and begin to shoot volleys of their quills like this to rain down on her. Only Silverstream using a wagon as a makeshift shield saves her, and afterwards the students remain pinned behind their barricade by the unrelenting rain of sharp quills.
  • Samurai Jack: In "Jack and the Three Blind Archers", although the titular jackal archers are only three, each is capable of rapidly firing dozens of arrows per second. The three are able to annihilate an entire army in mere minutes. Furthermore, they are all blind, and track their opponents on sound alone. Ownage commenced on that mechanical army.
  • Teen Titans: Speedy seemed to be a one-man Rain of Arrows during most of his guest appearances. Where he pulls all the arrows from remains a mystery...

    Real Life 
  • During The Hundred Years War, the English achieved major victories thanks to their longbowmen launching massive clouds of arrows, as in the Battle of Agincourt. This signaled the end of feudalism in France since French knights were being cut down in massive numbers. For an understanding of just how massive, consider the casualty reports from Agincourt. According to the best historical accounts currently available, the English (armed with primarily longbows) lost a minimum of 112 men, while the French knights and footmen suffered losses of approximately 6,000.

    This was the result of an almost obsessive focus on longbow training in England, to the point that sports like golf were at one point banned to prevent them from taking time away from archery. How obsessive? Arming the English longbowmen exhausted the country's entire usable supply of yew. In the 14th and 15th centuries any European ship arriving in England to trade had to pay a toll in yew bowstaves.

    The English at Agincourt had an army that was about five sixths archers. A kind of middle-ages Min-Maxing, with Henry V as royal Munchkin. The French, on the other hand, were the Scrub of the piece, convinced that their rules of chivalric and noble combat were the only proper way of making war. Still, despite the English being rather outnumbered, it ended up something of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • It wasn't even the first time they'd done this, either — they'd done it at Crecy, as well, over half a century earlier, and it had been similarly effective. Hell, this tactic was at the heart of English combat doctrine for most of 400 years (the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, towards the end of Henry VIII's reign and well into the Renaissance, was heavily stocked with yew staves for bows) — though the French finally started catching on after Agincourt.
    • The French circumvented this at the battle of Patay in 1429, simply with the element of surprise. The mounted knights of the vanguard of Joan of Arc's army spotted the English archers before they entrenched in their positions, and slaughtered them to proportions similar to what the archers inflicted to French knights at Crécy and Agincourt. Then the final decisive French victory at Castillon in 1453 saw the victory of artillery against the English archers (or really against just any type of English troops unlucky enough to be under said artillery's fire).
  • The Battle of Flodden in 1513 was the last major known use of the longbow and this tactic in Britain.
  • As shown by 300, the preferred tactic of the Persians was to sit back and rain arrows on their opponent, then send in the cavalry to finish them off. This failed spectacularly at the Battle of Marathon in 390 BC, where the Greek phalanxes, instead of slowly marching towards the Persians, ran at full speed. This so surprised the Persians that they fired their arrows in panic — and missed by a large margin. Also, no Persian cavalry; the Athenians appeared to have waited until the horsemen were sent off (after five days' standoff) before attacking.
  • The trope namer is quoted in Herodotus's The Histories (and therefore Older Than Feudalism), attributed to a Spartan named Dienekes, though it may have been apocryphal.
  • A hwacha is a historical Korean weapon that launched an impressive 200 rocket-powered exploding arrows at the opponent. Reportedly, they were so deadly in their ability for numbers-control, that they became the first line of defense for a city or stronghold against any invading army.
  • Featured at the Battle of Hastings. Several rains of arrows by the Normans at the start of the battle did very little to the English shield wall, but after an ill-disciplined charge got a number of the English killed the shield wall wasn't nearly so effective.
  • The Roman legions applied a variant with their pila (specially made Roman javelins with high piercing power): right before entering in contact with the enemy army, the legionaries threw two javelins each, hitting the enemy lines with a brief but intense barrage of javelins which, upon piercing the shields of whoever managed to raise the protection, would lodge in such a way to not be removable in the heat of the battle, unbalancing the shield (assuming the enemy had not been killed when the javelin pierced it) and preventing it to be thrown back at the Romans. And as this happened right before contact, the enemy would be still in broken formation and recovering from the shock when the well-ordered Romans arrived in shortsword range...
  • The late Roman Army: the two pila per soldier were replaced by either a single verutum (a throwing spear) or spiculum (like the pilum, only heavier) or two lanceae (small javelins of more traditional design) depending on supplies and deployment, plus the normal infantry started was supplied with a dozen plumbatae (darts made to pierce chainmail and kill at short distance), and was flanked by archers (both on foot and mounted) equipped with composite bows and sometimes crossbows for a more traditional Rain of Arrows.
  • For much of their history the Samurai were mostly mounted archers, and frightengly effective ones at that thanks to armor, precision, and longbows (while modern reproductions are toned down, a test on a historic one revealed it slightly more powerful than its English counterpart), effectively resulting in their enemies being buried in arrows - and beating the Mongols at their own game during their attempted invasions of Japan. Use of mounted archery started to decline after said invasions due the Mongols supporting themselves with gunpowder artillery, but remained important up until the Edo period.


Rain of Arrows

Queen Aanya's army lets its arrows rain down on Viren's men.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / RainOfArrows

Media sources: