Look at all those covers of books, movies, or video games…they all have someone wielding an awesome weapon, and you know that they will be using it in a forthcoming battle.
But is a fight really needed to progress a story?
The list of cool awesome weapons in fantasy could go on and on forever. But there is one aspect of a weapon that a lot of people do not really think about: doubling as a useful tool.
These types of weapons, or “practical weapons” as I will call them, are awesome. Not only do they get the job done in offense and defense, but they can be used for other means as well. What kind of things? Well just check out this list of “practical weapons:”
Lightsaber – Star Wars
Everyone, whether you were a kid or an adult, always wanted a Lightsaber. And who wouldn’t? These super awesome glow sticks were the swords of the future. The fact that they could basically melt anything made them extremely dangerous as well, and were recommended for only the most adept users like the Jedi or Sith. What makes them practical? Oh, how about the said fact that they could melt anything. Need to get through a steel door? No problem! Just stick it in and cut through. Blaster fire from guns? Just deflect what’s shot at you. Or how about needing to keep warm in the deadest of winters? Just slice open your trusty mount that has succumbed to freezing and stick yourself in it…gross.
Phaser – Star Trek
As Star Wars is to Lightsabers, Star Trek is to Phasers. These death-ray beams were not really designed to really be just that. Most in the shows (and books) argue that it is a defensive weapon and a tool in which most measures have demonstrated. Phasers have been seen to remove rock obstructions by vaporizing them instantly, or use it to warm up a bunch of gathered rocks to create warmth. And the ability of having a stun setting on it makes it for a less-deadly weapon against a rowdy person or crowd.
Combat Cross – Castlevania: Lords of Shadows
I’m pretty sure no one has played this game as much as I have. The protagonists in this series are vampire hunters combating Dracula using a whip called the “Vampire Killer.” It was cool and everything, but the Lords of Shadow series one-upped the matter.
Gabriel Belmont uses the Combat Cross, a mystical weapon that spews out a chain-like whip. The whip is deadly to monsters in it’s own right, but throughout the journey, Gabriel is able to upgrade the cross. Such upgrades include a grappling hook in which he is able to latch onto branches and swing across. Another upgrade is adding spikes to the chain, enabling the whip to saw through wood and stone when the whip wraps around such obstacles. It also doubles to tame wild beasts like giant wargs wrapping around their necks. And finally, the pummel of the cross is given an extending spike, specifically used for staking vampires. Cool, right?
Wolverine’s Metal Claws – X-Men
Ok, so Wolverine’s claws are not necessarily a weapon of it’s own as it is an extension of his own body, but they aren’t part of his mutation either. Wolverine was given these metal claws that extend from his knuckles through a government program which also encased his entire skeletal structure in the same way. He had bone claws before, but that’s frightening, right?
Wolverine uses these claws for battle, but also has been seen opening steel doors, as his claws were made from adamantium, the “strongest” metal discovered by man in the X-Men universe. Wolverine is also seen climbing with these claws, using them to fasten himself on a speeding train and of course opening numerous cans and bottles of beer when needed – the perfect party host.
The Omni-Tool – Mass Effect
I sure hope someday in the near future that the Omni-tool is invented. In the futuristic video game series Mass Effect, the Omni-tool is the smart phone equivalent, as you can communicate with it, play games, record things, take pictures, use it as a flashlight…the list goes on.
The Omni-tool projects an orange holographic like glove around your hand and arm when you desire to use it, thus eliminating the need to carry around something. This wasn’t necessarily a weapon at first, but the second and third installments made it more prevalent to use it as one . Using the Omni-tool, you could shoot off drones capable of either exploding, burning or freezing opponents. And in the third game, you were capable of using a jack-knife like blade from it to end your enemies up close and personal.
I think these types of weapons are where the imagination truly was exercised. Too often we just see ray guns or swords that really don’t do anything else except succumb the storyline into a violent situation. But seeing a practical tool means that something else along the plot could be used for other reasons.
Anton Chekov said “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”
I couldn’t agree more. With a practical weapon, will it mean that a violent situation can be foreseen then? Or perhaps other ways of advancing a plot could be used with it then?
Food for thought.