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Weapon Wields You

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This is when an Empathic Weapon not only has a mind of its own, but also has very definite ideas about what it should be used for, and is willing to act on it. During combat, it will take control of its bearer's body (or at least the arms) and direct the fight itself. Note that it characteristically neglects to ask permission of its bearer beforehand.

Depending on the personality of the weapon, this can range from helpful (particularly for the novice hero), to annoying, to dangerous, to outright suicidal. Being made mostly of metal, it is often unconcerned with the fragility of human flesh, and the need for things like backup or an escape plan. The weapon is most likely to take control either to force a fight (when the bearer would rather either not get involved or actually run away), or to stop the wielder from attacking a certain type of person (women are a common target). These problems are compounded when it is an outright Evil Weapon.

In visual media, expect scenes of the wielder being dragged helplessly behind the weapon. The bearer's lack of control is often indicated through the use of Marionette Motion.

In addition, it is frequently a Talking Weapon, and may actually be a Soul Jar or Sealed Badass (Good or Evil) In A Can. If it particularly likes or needs you, it can end up being Loyal Phlebotinum and/or a Clingy MacGuffin.

While this can occur with many types of weapon, it is most commonly found in swords.

This isn't something that necessarily happens in Soviet Russia.

Compare Flying Weapon where the weapon doesn't bother to keep a human attached to one end. Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object, Empathic Weapon and People Puppets or Demonic Possession. Contrast Equippable Ally, where you're wielded as a weapon.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Parasite-Type Innocence in D.Gray-Man can sometimes keep fighting even when their wearers are unconscious (or unwilling).
  • While it doesn't have a will of its own, Denkoumaru from Doraemon is a katana that comes with an AI and radar to determine the moves needed to defeat the holder's opponent(s), and carry out those moves by taking control of the arms of the holder. See how Doraemon makes the Big Bad of Doraemon: Nobita in the Wan-Nyan Spacetime Odyssey fall into trouble literally single-handedly with this katana while making some Exposition without even facing towards said Big Bad.
  • In The Familiar of Zero, Derflinger has the ability to turn his user into a puppet when they are unconscious.
  • Flame of Recca: Weapons created by the bloodthirsty Kaimon are hard to control at best, and can tend to have minds of their own.
  • In Guyver, it's largely indicated that the Guyver units affect the host's mind causing them to fight and kill with a greater, more vicious brutality. This is a large plot point of the second live action film when, with no Zoanoids around to kill the Guyver has taken to hunting down and slaughtering regular human criminals with the same savagery it used on the powerful genetic mutations to the point that Shawn no longer feels he's in control and tries to get rid of the armor.
    • The manga (and subsequent anime adaptions) show the Guyver units to have something of an auto-pilot mode that kicks in when the unit is first installed, regenerates its host from the core medal or if the host suffers catastrophic head injuries. Its a brutally efficient fight, at least compared to Sho early on but its lack of nuance in dealing with what it perceives as threats leads to tragic consequences.
  • In Inuyasha, Sesshomaru takes the fangs of one of Big Bad Naraku's previous incarnations to the swordsmith Kaijinbo, and commissions him to make a sword from it. He complies, but Tokijin, the resulting sword, takes over the will of anyone trying to wield it. In a display of how powerful Sesshomaru is, when he finally grips its hilt, it tries to work its mojo on him, and he No Sells it with barely a glance.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, the cursed sword in Egypt is possessed by an autonomous Stand named "Anubis". It has possessed at least 3 different people in the past, causing them to become murderous, and in the present it possesses Polnareff when he holds it, causing him to attack his friends with it.
  • In the Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection story "The Reanimator's Sword", the titular sword brings dead people back to life if they are cut by it, and the protagonist uses this ability to bring back his dead grandfather. However, the sword then takes control of them, and kills its previous owner so that it can bond itself to the protagonist, and this causes all the people it had revived to die again.
  • Kandachime: Jyatou are demonic swords that take over their wielders, and come in two varieties: Zatsushoku lose control if they're broken or their wielder is disarmed, while Kurogane Shiki permanently take control of their wielders until their host is slain.
  • A rather ambiguous (and positive) example in the climax of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS provides a somewhat more physical example than most: during a fight late in the show, Subaru is momentarily given a Heroic BSoD in the middle of a battle. Her Intelligent Device, Mach Caliber, is a pair of rocket-propelled roller blades linked to a Power Fist on Subaru's right arm, and proceeds to briefly fight for her by firing its various jets to maneuver the three limbs it can control.
  • Soul Eater:
    • Crona has a sword named Ragnarok that is physically part of their body (via his essence being blended with their blood). They always follow its directions, and during fight scenes appears to be to be being dragged around by it.
    • It's shown that the "Black Blood" in general does this (and can cause a weapon to overwhelm their meister). For example, when Maka's using it and acts Ax-Crazy, her consciousness is basically observing her and finds it embarrassing and Soul has nightmares about absorbing her.

    Comic Books 
  • The Black Lantern Rings in Blackest Night. "The rings are wearing the dead."
  • This is is what happens to wearers of the Ring of Volthoom, such as Hal Jordan of Earth-3 and Jessica Cruz: They take on the name Power Ring and gain abilities equivalent to a Green Lantern, but the ring forces them to carry out the sadistic and destructive desires of Volthoom against their will.
    "You have been chosen, Jessica Cruz... To annihilate the Earth" (Justice League Vol 2: 2011-2016, Issue #30).
  • A Bronze Age Legion Of Superheroes story, "The Gun That Mastered Men," has the evil Tyr bailed out of jail by his separate, talking gun hand, which takes control of Superboy when he attempts to destroy it. The gun then forces Superboy to vaporize the Legionnaires, but luckily it was an illusion by Princess Projectra, and Chameleon Boy poses as Tyr to get the gun back.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
    • Initially, when Lieutenant Posey activated her Shikai, Kyoki, it would take control of her and cause her to go berserk. This is because Kyoki hates how weak-willed and passive she is and believes he can do a better job, but Fluttershy forces him to see that he's being a bully making her do things instead of actually helping her.
    • Happens to Sweet Cider during her fight with Lament, as the emotional stress finally causes her Fullbring to overpower her and her Zanpakto, turning both of them into a wild berserker.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • RoboCop (2014): When paired off against an ED-208 in the simulator, the cyborg protagonist Murphy turns out to be several seconds slower as his reflexes are affected by human decision-making processes. Under pressure from his boss to get results, Dr. Norton writes Murphy's software so that it takes over in combat situations, while signals are sent into Murphy's brain giving him the illusion of controlling events.
  • The end of Stardust contains a subverted example. When the witch Lamia controls Septimus' corpse she only bothers with animating the sword (and hands/arms), letting the body dangle behind it.

  • Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords
    • When its wielder was fighting a dragon, the sword Dragonslayer would guide him to strike the dragon's most vulnerable spot for massive damage.
    • Shieldbreaker and Townsaver also have this ability, taking control of their bearer's bodies during battle and directing them, but also not letting them stop until the battle is over.
  • The titular swords in Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword have a similar effect: they affect and take over the mind of the character who wields them, turning them into bloodthirsty racists. The elf slave Agatha, who wielded the Wooden Sword, killed her former kinda-friend Trosha without a second thought, because he was one of the Human oppressors, and later regretted that greatly. Apparently, it only works on natives of Mel'in; Clara Hummel used both at once with no ill effect in the grand finale of the series.
    • The third sword, the Rain Master's Flamberge, doesn't force a racist personality on its user; it is an equal-opportunity misanthrope.
  • Discworld:
    • Kring from the first novel, The Colour of Magic, is a talking sword who is not so much "empathic" as "annoying", leading at one point to Rincewind being forced to save the others because otherwise Kring would kill him.
    • Men at Arms features "The Gonne", a firearm that takes control of the mind of its bearer to the point that it aims and fires itself even though the marksman tries to resist it.
  • Dragaera: In Issola, Morrolan gets killed during a battle next to the Lesser Sea (of Chaos), but his sword Blackwand is still able to use Sorcery to fight back; only needing to move Morrolan's arm to make sure it gets sent in generally the right direction. (Morrollan is revived later.)
    • In Hawk, Vlad's Empathic Weapon Lady Teldra realizes that Vlad is walking into an ambush before he does and proceeds to draw his arm and cut down the assassin with supernatural speed.
  • Stormbringer, the black runeblade wielded by Elric of Melnibone in The Elric Saga novels of Michael Moorcock, was an Empathic Weapon with a curious and sometimes hostile relationship with its owner — forcing him, on one occasion, to kill his lover after battling to rescue her.
    • In the end, it turns out Stormbringer was never really a sword in the first place. It was actually a powerful demon disguised as a sword that used Elric to destroy and recreate the universe, leaving it as the supreme evil power in the new one. It "rewarded" Elric with a quick death.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Need does this when carried by a woman without sword skills. Regardless of their skill, she also has a tendency to force her bearer to protect any woman in danger... even if the danger is caused by her attacking Need's bearer! This gets better when the spirit inhabiting the sword wakes up fully and is able to direct her actions rather than just acting on instinct.
  • R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt has a sentient sword named "Khazid'Hea," a.k.a. Cutter. This sword has a fiercely ambitious personality and wants to be wielded only by the best swordsman. So when Drizzt Do'Urden defeated its previous owner, the sword hoped to be taken by him; instead, he gave it to Catti-Brie. There followed a disturbing and hilarious sequence where the sword took over Catti-Brie's mind and tried to use her body to seduce Drizzt into wielding it. Fortunately, Drizzt saw through the ruse, and didn't take the offer.
  • The titular swords of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy are clingy Empathic Weapons. Due to the unique magic that went into their creation, they are practically living beings, with the ability to perceive and influence the people around them. At the height of their power, they can compel absolute obedience from their bearers.
  • The sword Sikanda from The Neverending Story is a benevolent example. Given to whoever can name her (i.e. a human from outside Fantastica such as Bastian), Sikanda jumps out of her sheath into the wielder's hand when the time is right, such as in defense of her owner, and moves with unmatched expertise. You can take her out at will, but it is not recommended...
  • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, "Combat nanotics" are a suite of advanced programs downloaded into the user's neural cybernetics, which are used in combat to vastly enhance the user's reaction time and automatically strike at the enemy target, turning even an unskilled (but strong) combatant into a whirlwind of death. They can be configured to automatically engage when the user is threatened.
  • In a non-sword example, necromancers (and Abhorsen) in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series need to be careful when using the bells. They are implied to have minds of their own, with particular ones are prone to using a moment of inattention to sound or create their own pattern, often to the wielder's detriment.
  • In Portlandtown the Hanged Man's red-handled Colt Walker makes anyone holding it want to use it.
  • In The Woman Who Rides Like A Man from Song of the Lioness, Alanna's crystal sword is empathic but not sentient. It is imbued with magic which amplifies violent tendencies. Several times Alanna is almost killed because she has to stop mid-fight to prevent it taking over and forcing her to kill someone she'd rather just scare off.
  • An Unwitting Pawn in Sword of the Rightful King gets possessed by a magical dagger and tries to kill Arthur.
  • The sword Nightblood in Warbreaker has a hypnotic effect on those who get a good look at it, making those with impure hearts fight over it while innocents are repelled and horrified. When someone with an impure heart tries to draw it from the scabbard, it takes them over and makes them attack any other stained souls nearby, and then when it runs out of targets it makes the wielder stab themselves.

  • Blue Öyster Cult's Black Blade, based on the Elric saga above, is this in spades:
    I have this feeling that my luck is none too good
    This sword here at my side don't act the way it should
    Keeps calling me its master, but I feel like its slave
    Hauling me faster and faster to an early, early grave

    Tabletop Games 
  • Intelligent items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder have egos that can override their wielders' minds if the item disagrees with their actions. For example, Pathfinder's sword Briar was created to defeat invaders from the First World and will fight its owner for control if the owner gets too friendly with Fae creatures.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Tyranid weapon-beast known as the Exocrine carries a symbiotic bio-plasmic cannon on its back that is far more intelligent than the beast itself. The result of this is that the cannon's mind will suppress its hosts simple mind so that it can move itself into an optimal firing position.

    Video Games 
  • In BlazBlue, Noel's Arcus Diabolus: Bolverk apparently does most of the fighting for her, as well as suppressing her emotions to some degree. Something of a positive example; it was helping her keep her Omnicidal Maniac tendencies in check — when she loses them in the first game, she breaks down in tears, and when it happens in the second (along with a little Mind Rape from the Big Bad), she becomes Mu-12. Averted by the time of the third game due to controlling Mu and Bolverk being broken and rebuilt.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the recurring Legendary Weapon Umbra, a sword which crosses over with Evil Weapon and Empathic Weapon. It was forged long ago to steal the souls of its victims. However, the wielder of the blade becomes a victim as well. Over time, it takes over the mind of the wielder, until they begin to refer to themselves as "Umbra", and turns them into a vicious Blood Knight. Either they slay their opponents and steal more souls for the sword, or they are slain, and the sword finds a new and more powerful wielder. The licensed novels show Umbra is responsible for some Nightmare Fuel levels of genocidal rampage. There is even some indication that it is capable of influencing Daedric Princes.
  • In Guilty Gear: The Missing Link, the parasite that allowed Zato-1 to manipulate his shadow assumes direct control over him in his ending. It remains in control even after his death in X, which causes it to start animating his corpse so it can search for a new host.
  • The Berserker Nobodies in Kingdom Hearts II wield "cursed hammers" that visibly drag them around. Sora can steal them — or Saïx's Claymore, during the fight against him — with a Reaction Command, and he will be sent careening across the battlefield, hanging desperately onto the weapon while it tears through everything in its path. Similarly, the Lance Soldier Heartless get dragged into their attacks by their lances. The Lance Soldier's reaction command isn't so much Sora flying around with its lance as it is the lance dragging Sora around as it desperately tries to get away from him.
  • In League of Legends, this is what happens to the people unfortunate enough to wield a Darkin weapon. Aatrox (a sword) has taken over his host so long ago the guy isn't even named, Varus (bow) is mostly in control of the body, but hosts Valmar and Kai use The Power of Love to stop him from taking over completely, which is represented by his appearance being stuck halfway between human and demonic. With Rhaast (scythe), it can go either way- he begins the game wielded by the champion Kayn, and depending on the player's choices he will either take over Kayn's body, or be purged from the scythe permanently.
  • In Mega Man Star Force, the wave energy alien Omega-Xis lives inside Geo's Transer (a wrist-mounted comm device). In one scene Mega drags Geo's arm around to approach someone, while in another he uses Geo's arm to punch out a guy bothering him.
  • In the Soul Series, Nightmare is the avatar and wielder of the cursed sword Soul Edge, which possesses everyone who wields it.
  • Under Night In-Birth: In some of his victory quotes, Hyde claims that his sword arm moves on its own to defend him when he feels threatened. His sword, the Insulator, is responsible for this, and it's also the main reason he manages to stay alive against more experienced In-Births. But it can only do so much for Hyde, as his inexperience with his powers and weapon means that a strong or fast enough opponent can bypass his defenses.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Happens briefly in "The Lost Episode" of Acquisitions Incorporated, when Aoefel picks up a cursed sword and fails the Will check to resist its influence (which directs him to slaughter his friends with it). Luckily, he rolls better on the later checks and manages to get rid of the sword before doing any real harm.
  • From JourneyQuest, The Sword of Fighting is particularly unimpressed with Perf's cowardice and lack of skill. Several times, it actually forces him into situations, at swordpoint...

    Western Animation 
  • The red chalk from ChalkZone. Unlike the normal white chalk, red chalk seems to see creators as just tools for it to wield and seeks to dominate anyone who uses it, making them do what it wants. It will then gladly turn on any creator who attempts to go against what it desires.
  • Rick and Morty features a variant where Rick (a mad, amoral genius with Super Science) injects his meek and timid grandson Morty with the "memories" of a severed arm from a warrior in your typical post-apoc Mad Max parody world. Morty's arm grows large and strong enough to push Morty around on the ground and go on an absolute killing spree in the local Thunderdome parody before becoming Morty's Loyal Phlebotinum Warrior Therapist, all without saying a word. Based on the size of the arm, its previous owner must have been immense.