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Weapons of Their Trade

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A specific style of Improvised Weapon when a tradesperson uses the tools of their trade as combat weaponry. Iconic tools are preferred, because they demonstrate the character's proficiency with the tool, despite the current use as a weapon. It serves the dual purpose of making the combatant's style unique and reminding the audience what career they're from.

In the real world, most occupations have tools of the trade that are used entirely for utilitarian purposes. In the fictional world, these master craftspeople can wield these tools with deadly force. The firefighter who normally only uses the axe to bash in doors now bashes in skulls. The painter's brush spills blood with every stoke. The mechanic's wrench now breaks ribs.

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Note that for this trope, "tools" are distinct from "weapons"; a weapon's primary purpose is to hurt people, while a tool intends some mechanical effect. A police club is a weapon, while the handcuffs are tools to restrain. Characters using these tools also count as an Improbable Weapon User.

Inversions (weapons used as tools) would be Improbable Use of a Weapon or Mundane Utility. When characters grab everyday tools (but not tools of their career) to fight with, it's Gardening-Variety Weapon. For skill with tools acquired as part of a character's backstory, see Chekhov's Hobby and Workplace-Acquired Abilities.

This is a Super-Trope to I Know Madden Kombat, where athletes use their sports equipment to fight, and Musical Assassin, where musicians use their instruments of death. Overlaps with Chef of Iron, a trope about cooks being fighters, even if they don't use their cooking implements to fight.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Winry (who is a mechanic) wields her wrench like a club.
  • Made In Abyss: Riko's mother Lyza's Weapon of Choice is Blaze Reap, a pickaxe designed for excavation and digging. While it's useful for helping her dig her way down into the Abyss, it's an equally powerful weapon when loaded with the Everlasting Gunpowder, making her a One-Woman Army revered and feared as Lyza the Annihilator.
  • One Piece: The shipwrights of Galley-La Company primarily wield saws, wooden logs and other woodworking/shipbuilding tools to defend themselves from pirates.
  • Speed Grapher: Tatsumi Saiga is a former war photographer who now worked in a gossip magazine, but always being loyal to his camera. When he got powers from the Euphoria virus, his camera now becomes his Weapon of Mass Destruction, blowing up the whole place where he shoots a picture.
  • In To Love RU's "Trouble Quest" arc, Rito gets Florist and his assigned weapon is the Watering Can he is seen with in previous chapters.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Every Gaul fights with his instruments: Fulliautomatix the smith with hammers, Cacofonix the bard with horns, Unhygienix the fishmonger with a fish, Obelix the menhir carver with menhirs...
  • Green Lantern: Butcher, the embodiment of the Red Lantern Corps, may use an axe most of the time but true to his profession, he also has a belt full of cutlery tools, including a rather menacing cleaver.
  • Dial H: In one issue of the China Miéville run, Nelson, a former industrial worker, has to rescue a friend from villains while his Hero Dial is non-functional, and cobbles together a "Rescue Jack" costumed identity with a Cheap Costume and a pipe wrench as a weapon.
  • X-Wing Series: In the beginning of Iron Fist the Wraiths get into a fight where Ton Phanan, the squad's medic, winds up killing someone with a scalpel. When it comes up during their debriefing, he's asked if he surrendered this weapon, to which Phanan matter-of-factly explains that it's not a weapon, it's one of his medical tools. So are his bandages and bacta packs, but under the right circumstances he can kill a man with any of them. The debriefing officer can only shoot a bemused look at Wedge, who just shrugs.

    Films — Animation 
  • Tack, the cobbler in The Thief and the Cobbler, uses one of his tacks to defeat the One-Eyes, shooting it using his thread as a slingshot.
  • In the first three films of Toy Story, Bo Peep is a porcelain doll patterned after the nursery rhyme, so she has a shepherd's hook that she uses when tending to her three sheep. In Toy Story 4 she has become more adventurous and competent in a fight, and uses the hook as a weapon among other things.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr. Giggles: In this horror film, the title character commits several murders using medical equipment such as scalpels and blood-pressure cuffs.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer antagonist "the fisherman" uses a longshoreman's hook as a weapon. note 
  • Mystery Men: Eddy is a sewer excavator who moonlights as "The Shoveler", a D-list superhero who wields, well, guess. He also carries a trowel as an Emergency Weapon.
    Eddy: God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.

    Literature 
  • In The Blasted Lands Series, former apprentice blacksmith Andover Lashk uses a modified blacksmith's hammer as his weapon.
  • Discworld:
    • Thief of Time: Lu-Tze the Sweeper, a man who spends his days being the literal Almighty Janitor of an order of monks, comments that since no-one notices weird little monks who are just sweeping up the place to begin with, he's far more stealthy and better equipped than the most highly trained of ninja. Not least because, in addition to being able to seriously inconvenience someone about twenty-seven different ways with a broom, if the floor gets dirty you can take care of that too.
    • Thud!: The butler for the Vimes household, Wilikins, is caught unawares by an assailant while cutting ice in the basement with an ice saw. He apologizes for being unable to avoid killing them.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Between Planets: When the Federation invades Venus in an attempt to re-conquer it, a cook named Charlie prepares to resist them by sharpening the cleaver he uses in his work and practicing throwing it. When a squad of Federation soldiers tries to burn down his restaurant, he throws the cleaver and kills the soldier commanding the squad.
  • The Wheel of Time: The Blacksmith-turned-Lord Perrin Aybara fights with both a forging hammer and an axe. His conflict over the choice of weapon is an ongoing theme; he throws the axe away when he realizes he's become too comfortable with killing, has a minor crisis when reminded that he's killed a lot of people with the hammer as well, but settles on the hammer as a Weapon of Choice because it has the ability to create as well as destroy.
  • The Wizard of Oz: One way the Tin Woodsman is identified as a woodcutter is his axe, which appears to be made out of tin like he is. He uses it to fight off flying monkeys.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek episode "The Cloud Minders" has the mining culture (called Troglytes in the episode) use their mining tools in a rebellion against the ruling class that oppresses them.

    Music 
  • Doctor Steel: Before becoming a Mad Scientist bent on World Domination, Doctor Steel was a toy manufacturer. In "Lament for a Toy Factory", Dr Steel tells how he was fired and turned his toys into an army to take revenge against his employers. And now his army of toy soldiers continue to march...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Arkham Horror 3rd Edition: The mechanic Daniela Reyes' signature weapon is a hefty wrench, which she can wield one- or two-handed.
  • Dragon Age: In the free module "The Dalish Curse", the village smith Coalan fights with his smithing hammer.

    Video Games 
  • Apex Legends:
    • The entire concept of Caustic's character is that he's a former chemical engineer (specifically someone who worked on pesticides) who's weaponized the chemicals he worked with to better test them on live subjects.
    • Lifeline mostly uses her equipment as intended in her role as a Combat Medic, but one of her finishers involves hooking up her healing drone and having it deliver a lethal shock. Another involves stabbing them with the same syringes used for reviving downed teammates.
  • Assassin's Creed III: Stephane, who works as a butcher, very predictably, grabs his cleaver to deal with the redcoats harassing him. That's also the weapon he keeps on using once you recruit him as an assassin.
  • Bioshock 2: Fall of Rapture: Barbara Johnson, aka The Housewife, uses her frying pan to attack enemies.
  • One survivor you can rescue in Dead Rising 2 is a professional golfer who is using one of her clubs to fend off zombies when you find her. She doesn't seem fazed from the ordeal and says it's good practice for her swing.
  • Dead Space: The premise of the series is that Isaac, an engineer, must modify the tools of his trade (which have safety mechanisms and the like) into effective weapons against the Necromorph enemies (which have to be dismembered to kill them properly).
  • Final Fantasy X's Wakka is a Blitzball player. In combat, he throws a Blitzball as his weapon.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Dr. Light's original Robot Masters were all designed for industrial work.
    • Elec Man could channel and monitor power plants while Cut Man is in charge of lumbering. But they're so much more advanced than any other robot at the time that they easily wreak havoc with those same industrial tools when they're reprogrammed by Dr. Wily.
    • Rock, a.k.a. Mega Man, is also an example, as his Power Copying ability is derived from his original power to imitate any household tool he touches, such as a handheld drill or a nail gun.
  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Phoenix Wright (from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) uses the evidence he finds on the ground, his briefcase, legal documents, and papers to fight his opponents. Of course, he's also a Fighting Clown who's not actually trying to fight.
    • Frank West (from Dead Rising) is a war photographer who uses his camera as a weapon. However, it is also used to raise the level of the character, so in higher levels, his Improvised Weapons are more powerful and with more effects on the enemies.
  • Melty Blood: Hisui, a maid, uses house implements such as frying pans, watering cans and dust cleaners to beat up her foes.
  • Rival Schools: Ran Hibiki is the photographer of Taiyo High School and she joins the fights to get a good picture of the scheme of the abducted students. Her main weapon is her camera, which works as her "projectile shooter", making damage to opponents and even negate other projectiles.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In Enchanted Towers, the Rhynoc mooks are builder workers; some of them chase after you with a pogo jackhammer while some others wield sledgehammers.
  • Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Roll (from Mega Man (Classic)) stays true to her primary use as a house-cleaning robot by using a broomstick to fight.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Engineer constructs buildings with a large wrench. He also clubs people with it.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Gotham Girls episode "Scout's Dis-Honor", Batgirl and Harley advise two competing groups of girls, the Mandy Scouts and the Harley Scouts. When they fight, they use the skills from their merit badges as techniques, calling out the name of said merit badge as they do so:
    Knot-tying badge! (lassoing)
    Fire prevention badge! (spraying a fire extinguisher)
    Rappelling badge! (sliding down a rope and drop-kicking)

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