The most ludicrously impractical RPG weapons

Videogames are a realm of fantasy. They're placed where your imagination can run wild, where you can pursue adventures you didn't know existed - and where there are weapons on offer that would make a blacksmith cry. It's up to you whether that's from joy or sheer madness, but taking a gander at these insane weapons might make you well up too. How would you lift them? How many of them would give you serious injuries if you tried to wield them? It's up to you to find out, so from Breath of the Wild's skeletal arms or the Turbo Super Sledge from Fallout: Brotherhood of steel, we'd advise you to start hitting the gym if you're planning on swinging any of these over your head...

Conductor's baton - Eternal Sonata

Impracticality rating: 2/10

What does it do? Um, hit people. It's basically a glorified stick. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: It's not, nor has it ever been, a weapon. A real-life conductors baton is simply a small wooden stick. A musical chopstick, if you will. At a push it could work offensively in the right context, but that context would be Manhunt or a hideous gangland statement killing, whereby it would be stabbed into the victim's eye socket and snapped off.

And combat does not work that way in whimsical anime RPG Eternal Sonata.

Ball and chain - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Impracticality rating: 2/10

What does it do? Using the strength and momentum of whoever's wielding it, it swings on a chain to pummel someone IN THE FACE. Or any other region.

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Okay, the thing will smash through a wall of solid ice, but the basic laws of physics dictate that the force required to project a metal ball with the speed required to do so would not come from a slight elfin boy. It would come from a cannon. So you might as well just use a cannon instead.

As an added bonus cannons come on wheels, so they can be easily transported without compacting one's spine to half of its original length.

Boomerangs - Skies of Arcadia and many others 

Impracticality rating: 3/10

What does it do? After hitting something, it returns back to the thrower. Neat. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Weaponised boomerangs were used for hunting, i.e. sneaky one-hit takedowns from a hidden position. In open combat, they have absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Once a boomerang hits something, it stops flying. It falls to the ground and categorically does not come back to the user for another throw in the next round.

The only way to make boomerangs practical in sustained battle is by carrying about 50 of them. But to be honest, if you're going to do that you might as well just pick up rocks off the ground and hurl them at your enemies heads. They're harder and you don't have to take them with you afterwards.

Gun arm - Final Fantasy VII

Impracticality rating: 4/10

What does it do? Transforms an arm into a gun. Simple. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: The idea of expanding the range of one's limb-based repertoire with the ability to fire bullets from the wrist sounds like a wonderfully empowering innovation. A literal case of point-and-shoot, allowing you to rain down hot fiery lead upon any who cross you with a mere gesture.

The reality? Machine guns are hard to use. They take a fair amount of effort just to control. In fact they tend to require two fully functioning hand-equipped arms simply to avoid tearing a hole in the ceiling. Of course you could use your spare arm in an attempt to steady the recoil of a gun-arm, but given that the thing you're attempting to hold still is your bullet-rattling other arm you'd hardly be working at full capacity. Not least when you eventually end up shaking your elbow cartilage to jelly and then discovering that your forearm is riddled with stress fractures.

Vanille's rods - Final Fantasy XIII

Impracticality rating: 5/10

What does it do? Uses various prongs at the end of the rods to scratch and maul. Like giant cat claws. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Egad, where to start with this thing? First up there's the fact that they look to be constructed from a set of deer antlers on a stick, making them both utterly unwieldy and giving them a fragility rating roughly on a par with that of a glass spider-web. So, a wonky but at-least-sharp hitting-stick then? No. You see Vanille's rods aren't used like that. Instead, their primary attack method comes by way of four hooked lines that project from the top of the rod, turning it into a kind of combined whip/flail/scratching device.

Does that sound familiar? Similar to any easily recognisable real-world hunting equipment, perchance? Yes, Vanille is essentially fighting Final Fantasy XIIIs various beasts, monsters, and house-sized bosses with a fishing rod. Go out into the countryside and attack a bear with a fishing rod and see how far you get. Come back and tell us all about how it went. Oh wait, you wont be able to, because bear poo can't talk.

Buster Sword - Final Fantasy VII

Impracticality rating: 5/10

What does it do? Its great weight and sharpness slices through anything it comes into contact with - if you can lift it. It's heavy. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: The Buster Sword is the poster boy for showboating impracticality. Huge, angular, and sporting the kind of heft that could crush a skull just as easily as it could cleave a limb, visually it's as intimidating as a herd of drunken elephants in football shirts.

Until, that is, you realise that its wielder isn't so much wielding it as he is dragging it along behind him like a giant, lazy, obstinate St. Bernard which refuses to move and is carrying a bag full of bricks and is also dead. And that any attempt to actually swing the thing will results only in dislocated shoulders or a dislodged or broken spine.

Flaming sword - LOADS of games

Impracticality rating: 6/10

What does it do? Sets itself on fire. Then the fire does extra damage to whatever it hits. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Although it would look cool, the flames would do minimal damage compared to the actual puncturing of skin and perforating of organs that the blade would be responsible for. In fact if anything, the fire would slightly cauterise the wound, slowing down bleeding. That's if you can even swing the thing accurately given how much pain your hand would be in due to the uncanny heat conducting properties of metal.

The main point though is one of post-battle practicality. As soon as you sheathed the thing you'd set your pants on fire. Remember, kids: It's only a victory if your groin doesn't require treatment for third-degree burns afterwards.

Rumbling Rose keyblade - Kingdom Hearts II

Impracticality rating: 7/10

What does it do? It might look pretty, but it works rather simply: it just hits things really hard. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Keyblades by and large are a pretty ridiculous design. For a start, most of them do not actually have blades. Thus, what you're dealing with is actually a giant, top-heavy metal club. As such, it's a weapon that's about as balanced as civil rights debate at a KKK meeting. The Rumbling Rose from Kingdom Hearts II is particularly impractical, being as it is essentially a solid slab of metal with a handle made of chicken wire. Oh, and the handle is covered with metal thorns too, so its actually more like barbed wire.

You know, comfortable, ergonomically designed barbed wire, just like they stuff cushions with.

Skeletal arm - Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Impracticality rating: 7/10

What does it do? Grasps and clutches at the air even while it's being used to slap someone who's almost out of arm's reach. Except they're not. Because you're holding onto an extra arm. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Skeletons aren't famous for their durability. We break bones, bruise them, and you can bet that after we're dead they only decrease in usefulness. Think about it for a second: there's a reason that humanity invented swords and spears instead of continuing to fight with our fists. Pointy sharp things are, well...pointy and sharp. And very effective against other squishy meatbags (i.e. humans). 

So having a weapon made out of a skeleton arm not only puts a lot of faith into cartilage but also means you've been digging. In a cemetery. And then pulling apart decomposing bodies and waving their arms around in your fists like a necro-windmill. 

Dragon Tooth greathammer - Dark Souls 

Impracticality rating: 8/10

What does it do? Uses its massive weight to act as a giant club. As its from a dragon, it's almost unbreakable. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: Okay, okay. Let's bypass the entire scenario of actually trying to fight with this weapon and focus on how you'd get it in the first place. You'd have to kill a dragon (famous for being a rather difficult endeavour) and then rip a tooth from its jaw. I can't imagine a string tied to a slammable open door will do the trick, so there's that obstacle to surmount. Maybe make sure you have a tow truck and a length of adamantium chain handy. And a very, very enthusiastic dentist. 

Also, once you've pulled out a tooth from the deadliest reptile known to mankind, you don't decide to carve it into something else. Like a sword, or a set of unbreakable armour - oh no. If it worked for a dragon it must work for a human, right? Yeah, probably. Just hit someone round the head with it. Donezo. 

Turbo Super Sledge - Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

Impracticality rating: 8/10

What does it do? A jet engine is used to give this greathammer some extra oompf, to ensure it meets its target with a devastating force. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: The Turbo Super Sledge is the kind of weapon a six-year old would design. Obviously that automatically makes it amazing, but by definition it also makes it flat-out ludicrous.

How ludicrous? It's a sledgehammer with a nuclear-powered jet engine running through the head. Earlier and later versions of the Super Sledge use a relatively sensible kinetic energy store for extra impact, but for the Turbo edition, only the force of an actual rocket-powered swing will do. Sounds awesome, but compare the mass of a rocket-propelled sledgehammer to that of a stationary human hammer-swinger. Swinging this thing would simply turn its wielder into a (very brief) human Catherine Wheel, before catapulting them over a couple of city blocks and inflicting the kind of whiplash that turns neck vertebrae into powder.

Gunblade - Multiple Final Fantasy games

Impracticality rating: 10/10

What does it do? Combines blades with...guns. There's a gun attached to its hilt. So you can fire bullets and then run in for an almighty slice with the same implement. 

Would be utterly useless in real life because: It wouldn't function as either a gun or a blade. The firing mechanism of Final Fantasy VIII's version (which doesn't actually fire a projectile but rather sends a shockwave down the blade for additional impact) would probably result in severe carpal tunnel syndrome for the user over prolonged combat. And the resulting numbness, tingling sensation, and loss of grip strength would turn the already-challenging act of carrying the ludicrously unbalanced thing into a borderline impossibility.

And on that note, the simple fact is that swords with hybrid pistol hilts are just not practical. They handle badly, their weighting is all wrong, and they're generally just a big unwieldy mess. In fact they did actually exist in real life for a while, but were written off as a stupid idea for exactly that reason.

M-490 Blackstorm - Mass Effect 2

Impracticality rating: 17/10

What does it do? It fires black holes. You know, those things with mass so great and gravity so powerful that not even light can escape their pull.

Would be utterly useless in real life because: The very idea of projecting one of those away from oneself is inherently broken. As is the idea of said impossible projectile not instantly sucking the entire corridor into its black, merciless grasp the second the trigger is pulled, starting with the nearest thing to it (the gun itself) and then branching out from there (i.e. crushing you to a pulp an instant later). It's quite literally a self-defeating weapon.

So that's a hefty 11 tools of death-dealing nonsensicality. But can you think of any we've missed? Any world-saving weapons that would do far more harm than good? Any ultimate swords of ultimate silliness that would break a hero's arm long before breaking the villain's will? Let us know in the comments.

And if you're in the mood for reading some more tangentially related internet goodness, why not check out The 15 types of characters you meet in every RPG and The 25 best video game stories ever There is no reason why not. You'll have a great time. 

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.