Ancestral Weapon

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as random or as clumsy as a blaster, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

The hero receives a weapon that once was carried by his father or a more distant ancestor. Nine times out of ten this is either a sword or a gun, depending on the setting.

If the person who has it has a choice about who to give to, or even whether, may also fall under It Was a Gift.

If people want the hero to not Turn Out Like His Father, they will try to keep the weapon from him. Whether they surrender, or he gets it behind their back, he will metaphorically as well as literally take up the ancestral weapon.

If Magic, may flat out not work for someone not of the Heroic Lineage.

May overlap with Older Is Better when the weapon is older and more powerful than modern weapons. When the weapon did not belong to a blood relative but to a predecessor, see Take Up My Sword.

Do not confuse with the gaming weapon class of the same name, which is more about how powerful or magical the weapon is and less about where it came from.

Examples of Ancestral Weapon include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Revolver Knuckles of the Nakajima sisters in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. This is a rare case where the ancestor was their mother.
  • Negi Springfield of Mahou Sensei Negima uses his (famous and extremely powerful) father's staff as his primary weapon.
    • At least until he gets a magic ring that allows him to cast spells emptyhanded (several other characters use a similar device), which fits his fighting style much better. He still occasionally uses the staff, though.
      • Notably by turning it into a giant lightning halberd.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku's extendable staff was given to him by his adopted grandfather Gohan. In at least one of the movies, Gohan is seen carrying it as well.
  • Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z probably counts too, if you count his grandpa's giant robot as an ancestral weapon.
  • Inuyasha, the title character and his brother use swords forged for their father and left to them as heirlooms. Kagome later qualifies and she inherits Kikyo's bow.
    • Not only are they inherited from their Father...they are MADE from their father. He ripped two of his own fangs out (Inu-No-Taisho is GIGANTIC in his true form) and forged them into the twin swords.
  • Record of Lodoss War does this with Parn's original sword, as well as his armour. When asked to receive the arms and armour of a Holy Knight of Valis from King Fahn, he tells the King that he is using the Sword and Armour of his father. He takes the Shield though, lifting it in an Item Get. This trope is later subverted when his father's Sword breaks, and Parn takes up the King's Sword of Light.
  • In Romeo X Juliet, Juliet fights with her father's sword.
  • Both Raijin and Fujin Swords in Yaiba, together with many others, are really old weapons from the past.
  • In Sailor Moon, the titular character inherits the Silver Crystal from the ancestral Moon Kingdom.
    • Sailor Neptune's and Uranus's Talismans may also count, although its a strange situation since, although they are certainly ancient, they belonged to their own selves before being reincarnated, which may dispute them being actually ancestral (can you be your own ancestor?). Sailor Pluto's Talisman avoids this completely since due to time shennanigans she has always existed owning her own Talisman.
  • In the movie continuity (but not the main continuity) of Lyrical Nanoha, Chrono's magical staff Durandal was previously his father's weapon, and was given to Chrono by his mother.

Fan Works

  • The sword originally wielded by an ancestor of Kyon's (Usui Sadamitsu/Taira no Tadamichi to be precise) in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. While the sword itself isn't usable anymore, he still uses the hilt for his Laser Blade.
  • One of the main characters of In the Service received his Intelligent Device from his grandfather. Being an Empathic Weapon with something of a mind of its own, and coming from more than seventy years ago, Steelheart is very different in behavior from more modern Devices.


  • As the quote above notes, Luke's first lightsaber in Star Wars once belonged to Darth Vader. He later makes one for himself.
    • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, he recovers the one Anakin used, and gives it to Mara Jade. Given some of Zahn's opinions on the matter, it seems this was meant to be sort of like giving her a ring that costs two months' salary. Turns out it was about ten years early.
      • Apparently it's a family heirloom now; Ben's holding it on the cover for Backlash, and the Legacy Era Campaign Guide says it was passed down through the line, though where it is by 137 ABY is unknown.
  • True Grit, a 1969 western. Mattie, a 14-year old daughter of a killed Rancher seeking revenge, carries her father's revolver with her. She actually gets to shoot the murderer with it (though he survives it).
  • In The Three Musketeers 1993, Musketeer-wannabe D'Artagnan bears a sword carried by his father, a Musketeer killed years earlier by Rochefort. After D'Artagnan is captured, Rochefort takes the sword. D'Artagnan later gets it back and uses it to avenge his father.
  • In the movie Puma Man, Tony receives a very gaudy-looking belt, which once belonged to his father, and gives him the powers of the Pumaman. He never does much with them of any consequence, though.
  • In Avatar, the dying Eytukan gives his daughter his bow and charges her with protecting their clan. She kills Quaritch with it.


  • Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings inherits the shards of Narsil, the sword of his ancestor Elendil, which Elendil's son Isildur used to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand 3000 years prior. In the books, the Elves of Rivendell reforge the shards of Narsil into Anduril in Fellowship of the Ring, and Aragorn uses it as his primary weapon for the rest of the saga. In the movie trilogy, however, Narsil isn't reforged into Anduril until Return of the King.
    • Averted in The Hobbit with Glamdring: you'd think Elrond would be slightly interested in his great-grandfather's (Turgon's) sword, but he lets Gandalf have it without even mentioning the connection. Seeing as Galdalf is a Maia. He may have given it to him out of respect.
  • Roland's six-guns in The Dark Tower are family heirlooms which, according to legend, were forged from the broken scraps of Excalibur itself.
  • The Dragonlance stories have several instances of this. Sturm Brightblade wears his father's armor. He also wields the Brightblade which is described as a "....splendid, if old-fashioned, two-handed sword". This editor is not sure if it belonged to his father, like the armor. However, the Brightblade does get handed down to Sturm's son, Steel Brightblade.
    • Also, Raistlin Majere passed down a powerful magical artifact he was given, the Staff of Magius, to his nephew Palin Majere.
  • Power-forged heron-mark blades in The Wheel of Time all date back more than three thousand years (back to the time when Aes Sedai were still allowed to make weapons), and have been passed from one blademaster to the next the entire time.
  • Arguably deconstructed in the Discworld book The Fifth Elephant. After saving the dwarven kingdom from a crazy plot, the Low King grants Sam Vimes with a dwarven axe. In keeping with the tradition versus modern-thinking spirit of the rest of the book, he goes on to indicate his own axe and explain how, despite having been given new handles to keep with the fashions, and new blades when the old one wore out, and in fact having been remade completely several times as time went by, it was still his ancestral axe in every detail - that there was more to the "ancestral" component than simply "his father handed him a really old axe at some point."
    • It's based on a philosophical paradox called the Ship of Theseus. The Other Wiki has an article on it here.
    • Come to think of it, Carrot's sword. The dwarves that raised him found the sword in the same cart where they found him after a bandit attack. It turns out to be the Sword of the Kings of Ankh. But he's keeping that quiet.
      • Interestingly, when it first appears, several paragraphs are used to describe how plain the sword is and how nothing indicates it's anything special. It's rather well-balanced, though. It's actually so ordinary it's a kind of special. For example, it's so un-enchanted, it has less than the ordinary background level of magic.
        • It was later explained that Carrot's ancestors didn't want a magical perfect sword that could pull all sorts of tricks; they just wanted one that was really good at killing other people. Indeed, its efficiency at killing enemies is supposedly part of why that first ancestor became king.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Jame carries her father's broken sword, Kinslayer, to return to her brother; it is reforged, but in a subversion, by the enemy. Jame comes across it within the Master's House and retrieves it, and discovers that its legendary ability to cut its way through enemies like butter remains, along with its fearful joy in slaying; the name is hardly auspicious in that regard, either...
  • In the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Valyrian steel swords (the knowledge of making it has been lost) are passed down through the lines of noble houses. These heirlooms are so important that even the most impoverished noble houses will not sell them.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Gods of Mars, a young man who John Carter meets recounts setting out with his father's sword.
  • The sword of Grand Master Mandulis in the Warhammer 40,000 novel Grey Knights. Unsurprisingly, it's a plot element.
  • Riva Iron-Grip's sword in the Belgariad: forged at the instruction of Riva's father-in-law, with a built-in clamp on the pommel for the Orb of Aldur (which makes the thing light enough to wield - it's portrayed as being roughly the same size as the Dragonslayer), it collects dust for a few centuries until Garion finally shows up to collect it.
  • The Spear of Telesto from the Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novels, wielded by the Space Marine Chapter's primogenitor Sanguinius and said to be forged by the God-Emperor of Mankind himself. It's a definite plot element.
  • In Empire in Black And Gold, Tynisa is given an old Mantis sword by her father, Tisamon; he rarely used it, but it has special significance for the Weaponmasters, making this a combination of Ancestral Weapon and Take Up My Sword.
  • The Sword of Martin the Warrior from Redwall, held in Redwall Abbey and given to its champion.
  • The Vorkosigan Seal dagger willed from Count Piotr to Miles. While mostly used for mundane purposes throughout the series, it is used in a rather disconcerting way during the Tau Verde campaign. It also comes in very handy during an academy training exercise. (Both in The Warrior's Apprentice.) It also plays a significant role in Miles' apology letter to Ekatarin in A Civil Campaign. That fact that it is a rare antique and belongs in a museum gets lampshaded:

When genuine seal daggers from the Time of Isolation appeared on the market, they were bid up in to the ten of thousands of marks. Miles probably used his as a letter opener, or to clean under his fingernails.

  • The Scourge of Rkard from The Prism Pentad is this for the main character. In a variation, it's later revealed that it was used by the Big Bad when he was still in human form.
  • The Sword of Leah in the Shannarra series has been passed down by kings and princes of Leah for generations. Due to the enchantment put on it by Allanon in Wishsong, it avoids the Ship of Theseus question because while the scabbard and hilt occasionally need replacing, the blade itself remains the same (Save for the time it was broken and had to be magically remade). The titular Sword of Shannarra does not count, as while it is used by various members of the same bloodline as generations go by, it tends to be left in storage for centuries at a stretch between uses.
  • In Kim there is a gun parked by the museum at Lahore that according to legend would always be held by whichever ruler ruled over the area. It had in the past been owned by several Rajahs, and now was owned by the Queen. It's Real Life inspiration, by the way, is owned by the Indian government and is a tourist attraction. So, Yeah.

Live-Action TV

  • D'Argo's Qualta Blade in Farscape.
  • The Mirror Universe episode of Star Trek: Enterprise "In a Mirror Darkly" featured Mirror Commander Archer having and treasuring the shotgun used by Mirror Zefram Cochrane to kill the Vulcans who made first contact with them.
  • In Blue Bloods, Police Commissioner Frank Reagan carries a .38 Special revolver because it's the weapon his father and his grandfather carried.
  • Fat Neil's D&D character in Community, named DuCain, has inherited the Sword of DuCain from his ancestors.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myth and Legend

  • This is at least Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology, Theseus received his father's sword from his mother Aethra, and his father Aegeus recognized him because of this sword.
  • In the Old Norse Volsunga Saga (as well as in Richard Wagner's 19th-century operas based (in part) on them), the hero Sigurd (Siegfried) receives the fragments of his father's sword, which he must then reforge.
  • In the Poetic Edda, Thor's sons Modi and Magni inherit his hammer Mjolnir after his death battling the Midgard Serpent during Ragnarok.

Tabletop Games

  • A large amount of fabled wargear passed down through the ranks of the Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 is stated as belonging either to a particularly strong commander or, in a lot of cases, to the marines' genetic father himself. Various helms (Alpharius, Lorgar, the Lion), blades (Talon of Horus) or artifacts (Vulkan's Sigil) were created by the Primarchs and handed down to be revered over the millennia.
    • The Adaptus Mechanicus are constantly on the search for technology from the 'Dark age of Technology' (as if the current age of constant war with several Alien races, Demons, and Traitor humans wasn't a Dark Age).
    • This is the hat of the Vostroyan Firstborns who, instead of having weapons issued to them which are expected to be returned to the Munitorium at the end of service like every other regiment, instead each weapon is property of the family that has it. Where possible, weapons are brought back to the homeworld and returned to the families to which they belong, who then pass the weapon down to the next firstborn. Their weapons are all considered priceless family heirlooms, especially the older ones.
  • BattleTech frequently has ancestral Humongous Mecha; House Kurita is most explicit about this sort of thing, 'Mechs being passed down from one warrior to another much like swords were passed from father to son in a line of samurai, but many 'Mechs have histories that can be traced back decades or even centuries. In one scenario from an early gamebook, a pair of Mackies from the original production run, the first BattleMechs ever designed and over two and a half centuries old, are powered up to fight the Black Widow Company. They usually acquit themselves with great distinction.
    • In BattleTech it was justified by the fact battlemechs are expensive and somewhat hard to build especially in the succession wars era were there were only a couple of battlemech factories still working after century's of war as well has the older star league era mechs being better than the new mechs coming out in said era.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle has a good few, perhaps most notably the Hammer of Sigmar—forged thousands of years ago for the first ruler of The Empire, and probably the most awesome weapon in the game.
  • Legend of the Five Rings is all over this trope. A samurai's sword is traditionally passed on to their grandchild. Virtually all magical weapons are passed down in the same manner, most notably the "Ancestral Swords" of each clan, and the Ancestral Sword of the Hantei (Rokugan's equivalent to Kusanagi).
  • Rifts has the Ascended Glitter Boy character class, which is a Gitter Boy pilot whose power armor suit has been handed down generation after generation since the Time of Man.
  • Pathfinder lets a new character take a trait to start with one of these at creation. It's up to the player what form or outward appearance that weapon takes, but it'll always be easier to hit with than any other weapon that character can use.
  • In Exalted, even a common jade daiklave can be a legendary sword passed down through a Dragon-Blooded family line since the First Age.
  • The Kragg Swords in Eon are generally this. The Kragg pass these mighty swords through several generations, and sometimes they might end up in the hands of a PC. Unfortunately, by the time the sword is actually passed on to a PC, the durability of the sword is usually severely diminished, making it break in a matter of fights unless maintained.

Video Games

  • At the beginning of Final Fantasy X, Auron hands Tidus his father's sword. This is less out of ancestral honor and more pragmatism, since the city's under attack.
    • Which you can sell at the first shop you get to. Notable in that the Brotherhood you get later can't be sold. Shows how much Tidus cares about his father.
  • The Vampire Killer whip is the age-old weapon of the Belmont clan (and allies), seen in every Castlevania game where they star.
    • Judgment makes the case that Eric Lecarde's spear was originally bestowed to his family by Alucard and passed down from generation to generation. For some reason, Jonathan Morris gets it in Portrait of Ruin.
      • Justified Subversion: The Lecardes are out of commission at the time, and the Vampire Killer is severely weakened. Jonathan merely retrieved the more useful weapon at the time.
  • In Sakura Taisen, Sakura's sword once belonged to her father. She inherited it when he died protecting the capitol from demons.
  • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, the Master Sword was explicitly stated that the Master Sword had been wielded by the Hero of Time, and that this Link has no connection to the previous incarnation. The rest is theory.
    • Whether or not Link had a previous connection with The Hero of Time is debated in the game itself. King of Red Lions says no. Ganondorf says yes.
    • This troper has heard a theory that the King of Red Lions made sure to say that around Link so that he wouldn't feel burdened to live up to the deeds of the past hero, but to step up and save the world on his own terms.
    • There is also the Hero's Bow and the Hero's Clothes in more recent games that lend additional evidence to that. After all, who else could this unnamed hero be other than a previous Link?
    • At least in the Wind Waker it was apparently a tradition to wear those clothes. Still, Ganon thinks the Hero of Winds and the Hero of Time are related, and as awesome as The King of Red Lions is Ganon really should know better.
  • Dark Cloud 2 Monica gets her father's sword; the Holy Daedaelus Blade; after you complete Gundorada Workshop 100%.
  • Fire Emblem: The 4th game's strongest weapons couldn't be wielded unless the user was a direct descendant of the original hero.
    • In the first 3 games, the Fire Emblem is an Ancestral Shield.
  • The protagonist of Tsukihime, Tohno Shiki, uses a knife that was the property of the his (original) family. Unnamed originally, but extremely durable.
  • The Valstork and Valhawk in Super Robot Wars W have been handed down through the Ardygun family for about two or three generations, which in their world is about as far back as one could have a Spaceship and Transforming Mecha, respectively, without raising too many eyebrows.
  • Dragon Quest I requires you to seek out your ancestor Erdrick/Loto's sword in order to face off against the Dragonlord.
  • It isn't revealed until the very end of the game, but the Onyx Blade in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters is the Ancestral Weapon of the Median bloodline, and has demonic powers. Revya can wield it because his/her soul is that of Median's dead son.
  • The Hakurei Yin-Yang Orbs are Reimu Hakurei's Ancestral Weapons. She is currently the only known character capable of using them.
    • One of Youmu Konpaku's two swords, Hakurouken, is apparently the Konpaku family's ancestral sword.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame, after losing his sword and and using a broken one in one part of the game, the hero finds a sword, which, as it is revealed, once belonged to his father as well as the entire ruins he is adventuring in at the time.
  • In Mass Effect, where Wrex's personal sidequest is to find and retrieve a suit of armor worn by his family's ancestors centuries ago. Upon recovering it, Wrex's only outward response is to comment that "My ancestors wore this piece of crap? At least its back in the right hands." After he says this, though, there's a note that mentions Wrex stopping to stare at the armor with a meaningful but unreadable expression. Later in the game, when Wrex confronts Shepard on Virmire, recovering the armor results in Wrex backing down, mentioning that Shepard has done more for him than his family ever did.
  • In the flavor text for Knights of the Old Republic, it's mentioned that Carth's blaster is an heirloom. In the second game, it's possible to obtain one like it.
  • Sly Cooper's hook cane.
  • Both Dante and Vergil´s blades in the Devil May Cry series are keepsakes from their demonic father Sparda. Subverted in Dante's case: Force Edge/Sparda is tossed aside at the end of the (chronologically second) first game, and he uses his own weapon, Rebellion, in every game since. Played straight with Vergil, who uses Yamato whenever he appears (either as himself or Nelo Angelo).
  • Ninja Gaiden: The Dragon Sword wielded by Ryu Hayabusa is an ancient sword handed down by generations in the Dragon Lineage and the Hayabusa Clan. It is also mentioned in both the NES and the Xbox series that Ryu got the blade directly from his father.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Jack Marston taking up his father's guns after he's killed by Ross' goons
    • And before that, in Red Dead Revolver, Red eventually gets back his father's Scorpion Revolver
  • Fallout: New Vegas: If you finish Arcade Gannon's quest, he'll take out his father's old Enclave Tesla Armor. Depending on what you convince him to do, he'll either pass it on to you or he'll put it on himself for the final battle.
  • In Odin Sphere Cornelius' Psypher sword was originally wielded by his father Edmund. Edmund defeated the Demon Beast Darkova aka his own father King Gallon with it...and then cast it away into the netherworld unable to bear the guilt of patricide, however justified.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, the first weapons Ezio gains are his father's sword and his Hidden Blade. He loses the sword very quickly, but he holds onto the Blade for the rest of his life. When Monterriggioni is taken by the Borgia at the start of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, it's the one item from his old life he manages to hold on to, and it's with him again in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
  • In Car Battler Joe, the G-COM that weaponizes Joe's car was a gift from father.
  • The Gran Centurio, which has been passed down the Fantasinian royal line which may or may not have started with the sword's creator, Nessiah. Its most famous wielder was Princess Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz, who obtained it after the death of her father King Ordene.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Belramus from Open Blue's Backstory. Not surprising, given it's named after Balmung.
  • Crocea Mors ("Saffron Death"), the sword and shield set owned by Jaune Arc in RWBY, belonged to his great-grandfather, a war hero.

Western Animation

  • Eon Kid in Eon Kid has the Iron Fist that will only work for people of his family line—of which he happens to be the last.
  • In the 2011 ThunderCats reboot, Lion-O inherits his father King Claudus's Sword of Omens, which has been passed down from the earliest days of the Thundercats' empire.
  • On Adventure Time, Marceline's bass guitar is actually her family's axe.
    • In one episode, Finn and Jake's dad, Joshua, challenged them to traverse a dungeon to find their family sword, which is made out of demon blood. It is currently Finn's default weapon.

Real Life

  • Played straight with well-made swords in many cultures, Japan being the most famous for the practice. Except for the Japanese Shin-Gunto type blade, which is a subversion in Japan, being issued by the military as World War II ramped up, made by machines, and played straight in the United States, where they were brought back as war trophies and became family heirlooms.
  • Firearms also have a high potential for this trope, and while obsolete weapons eventually get relegated to wall hangers a quality gun can stay in use for multiple generations with proper maintenance and storage.
    • AK-47s are becoming these for some families in Africa and Asia.
  • Shields were often this to Greek Hoplites. While spears were expendable, Greeks thought shields were really cool and would hang them over their fireplace.
    • Yes they did find them cool, but actually two things factor with Aspidae (Hoplite Shield). Firstly, its durable enough to last ages. Secondly, Greeks fought in a Phalanx, a formation where shields were of paramount importance, whereby you covered your COMRADE to the right of you while your friend to the left covers you. This made it culturally significant, whereby an individual is shown as being part of a community, and thereby became worthy heirlooms. Its not from a state armoury (unless you're spartan), which means YOU BOUGHT THAT SHIELD in the first place.
  • The British Royal Family has five swords as part of their regalia.
  • Before gunpowder, swords and armour would most likely be passed down the line since they were quite expensive.
  • ICBMs might count as a collective version as some have surely been around for generations without being replaced. Come to think of it, some of them may not even go off when they are told to anymore.