1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Weapons tropes that are tired

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Wreybies, Oct 31, 2014.

    I feel like I'm just asking for brickbats this morning, but later I'll post a similar discussion concerning science fiction tropes that provoke eye-rolls from even the most ardent fans. ;)

    http://io9.com/10-tropes-involving-fantasy-weapons-that-should-die-in-1653194903?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    I'll list them in short, totally paraphrased, form for those who hate reading linked articles and let y'all discuss as you either nod slowly in begrudging agreement or clutch the pearls with your jaw hanging open in deeply offended shock and indignation. :-D

    1. The Reforged Weapon. Basically the broken weapon that is a metaphor for its broken owner who finds healing and strength in some way and then the sword is reforged, mightier and awesomer than ever. Basic gripe: we've seen it way too much and the symbolism is as heavy handed as a gorilla doing brain surgery.
    2. The Secret Weapon in Your Back Pocket. There are some magical, mythological things either sought or spoken of in the story and only toward the end does someone realize the pretty little flute in their pocket that's gotten them out of so many jams is one of those things. Blind much?
    3. Mystical Materials. Valyrian steel. 'Nuff said.
    4. The Absurdly Sharp Blade. It can cut through time and split light. Why? Who cares?
    5. The Rusted and Dented Swords of Evil. Kinda' the opposite of the Mystical Materials trope. Why do the bad guys always have shit weapons? Not much of a fight when your shit cuts time and space and the baddie's shit won't open a can of tuna fish.
    6. Weapons Tied to Specific Races. Would this really play out in real life? "Me axe is mighty and strong and heavy as fooq to wield on the ba'lefield. It gives me absolutely no advantage in reach and since I'm a Dwarf, that's not exactly a good thing, but I'll be damned if I pick up a human blade or an elvin bow. I'd rather have me beard cut off."
    7. The Weapon too Big to Be Useful. It represents the level of hidden awesome inside the soon to be hero. We get it. We soooooooooo get it.
    8. Unusually Plot-Specific Ability. "And this arrow right here, that I can only ever use once so I'm saving it, has a charm on it that takes it to the target I see in my mind, even if I cannot see it with my eyes." So, we can definitely expect that some scene is going to happen where that little trick saves the day, aye? Nice foreshadow... not.
    9. The Evil Weapon that Hungers for Blood and Corrupts the Soul. Yes, yes, power corrupts. Why so much heavy handed metaphorical investment in weapons? What gives?
    10. Weapons with Minds of their Own. Not really sure why they didn't like this one, but it's on the list.
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to include ALL of the above in my NaNoWriMo!
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Don't forget the hidden gun!
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    More TV/movie than novels but I'm so tired of the 'bad guy has a large caliper automatic assault rifle which shreds building walls and furniture while the good guy is never hit, then the good guy returns fire with a pistol and takes the bad guy out with one-shot trope.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Although, following another thread on this site I checked out the FN Five-seveN pistol, and discovered that it can penetrate Kevlar body armour at distances up to 100m...and is noted for being very accurate!
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think the part that aggrieves Ginger are the hundreds of rounds expended at Target A that takes out everything but leaves Target A without so much as a scratch. Perfect example is the alley scene in Red 2 where Han pretty much demolishes a 19th century French building behind the parked cars he is shooting through to get at Frank and Marvin but Frank and Marvin are untouched. The only scene where I've ever seen it used to good effect is the scene from Pulp Fiction where it happens and Jules takes direct and sharp notice of the unexplainable thing that has just occurred. It's a crucial moment in the story of Jules, not just poor writing.

    Regardless, this is more of an action/spy film trope that's overused, not fantasy.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There's no substitute for a good blaster at your side, kid.
     
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  8. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Valyrian Steel isn't a special material, it's a forging method, similar to Damascus Steel. There is no special material involved, it's just an old forging method from the Freehold of Valyria that was lost. Once the steel is done like that, you can reforge it all you like and it'll still be Valyrian Steel.

    But otherwise, it's an interesting list. I always say, don't use cliches unless you can spin it in a unique way.
     
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  9. J Faceless
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    J Faceless Active Member

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    Have you seen this in DRED? Perfect example of this thread, the hero has a gun with special abilities for every circumstance. The bad guy has huge cement shredding Gatling guns. Great action movie though.
     
  10. rycbar123
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    rycbar123 Member

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    I don't think Valyrian steel counts as a "Mystical Material". It's nothing more than very tough metal.
     
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  11. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    On a similar note since when were car doors, sofas, interior hollow-core doors etc bullet proof? I get quite bored of the protagonist hiding behind an inappropriate item of furniture and the bullets just bouncing off.
     
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  12. A.M.P.
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    Valyrian Steel is a forging technique that is superior to regular weapon forging.
    It's only "mystical" because Valyria got pwnt by a submerged volcano and therefore the art was lost.
     
  13. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Exactly. So if you melt Lord Stark's big-ass sword down and make two new swords out of it, unless the person making the two new swords is gifted in the Valyrian art of forging steel blades, then the two new blades are NOT Valyrian steel blades, and that's not a pedantic argument, it's an end-product argument. The new blades would not have the same properties as the old original blade. Unless, as griped in the original article, some mystical property is imbued into the Valyrian steel that goes against all real forging knowledge to somehow keep the qualities of the end blades the same, regardless of who was forging them and how.
     
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  15. A.M.P.
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    But there isn't anything mystical about them.
    They're just a tier higher than steel such as Bronze < Iron < Steel < Valyrian Steel
    And Tywin found someone capable of reforging the sword well enough to keep it's original properties.
    It's the equivalent of how Japanese swords or middle eastern weapons were superior to western weapons due to how they were forged. It was multiple layered materials fused together in a way that kept the best of all properties rather than losing or mixing them together.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    But this is exactly my point. Were you to commit the crime of melting a true Japanese katana, a sword made by the hand of a master, a miracle of metallurgy and engineering, you would have nothing but a crucible of melted steel that possesses none of the qualities forged into the original katana. I can see the symbolism of melting Lord Stark's blade and reusing the metal as a kind of act of desecration (from a writer's perspective), but if Tywin found someone capable of forging a Valyrian steel blade (I admit to never have read the books, so I'm going off of the show and what you said earlier), then that dude should be stupid rich selling Valyrian steel made from raw materials and not dependent on the melting of an old Valyrian blade. The show makes the metal blades look quite rare, equivalent to elvin blades of LotR, in that respect. Is Valyrian steel more common in the books than it is made out in the show?
     
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  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Valyrian steel isn't just the product of a process. The sophisticated process itself is important, but magic is involved in the forging and the steel itself has superior properties because of it. The reason Tywin can't just have someone else forge a sword using the Valyrian method is that the magic part of it is lost, so you can't prepare the steel properly. He has to rely on the existing steel of an existing blade.
     
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  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    George Martin addresses this on his blog (questions posed by readers are in italics, his response in plain text. The bold emphasis is mine):



    http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Category/C91/P30/
     
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  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Tada! Mystical Material. ;)
     
  20. A.M.P.
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    Foiled by the author :(
     
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  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    One other thing that bugged in the show about the creation of the two swords from Lord Stark's sword was that, in typical Hollywood fashion, the swords are shown being poured into sword shaped moulds. That is not how you forge a real sword at all.

    Here's an interesting vid from NOVA about the forging of unusual Viking swords. Most vids about swords focus on the near mythical katana, but this vid shows a completely different tradition.

     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
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  22. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How about heavy swords? Like if a woman picks it up, she can hardly wield it, that kind of thing. Another is long sword fights. Like H2H scuffles, apparently they were very brief as well.

    However, since it's fantasy, I guess I can't really fault the authors for giving magical properties to weapons. There tends to be magic all around fantasy worlds, so why wouldn't it seep into their weaponry as well?
     
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  23. A.M.P.
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    [​IMG]
    One thing: greatswords where they hold them with both hands by the grip.
    In fact, greatswords were wielded with one hand on the grip and the other above the guard.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    That sounds rather like taking a loaf of bread made by a master baker and somehow re-baking it into a bunch of dinner rolls of similar quality. The fact that an item is of extraordinary quality doesn't mean that someone with normal skills can transform it into something else of the same quality.
     
  25. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Almost like a pike where the blade and shaft have been made a little more even in length, relative to one another.
     

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