Magic guns, also called spellguns or casters (presumably short for "spellcaster"), are an element of science fantasy (fantasy/science fiction) that combines firearms and magic (or some other supernatural power) to create a weapon with properties of both. In many fantasy settings, magic and technology are seen as distinct, separate entities, if not unmixable/incompatible, while spellguns serve as an unusual melange of both. Magic guns are popular in many anime, manga, and game series.
Magic guns typically take the form of a handgun or carbine that either fires magical energy or ammunition that is otherwise enchanted so as to enhance its normal properties. Some magic guns work on special cartridges or magical ammunition, and thus need to be normally reloaded, while others have inherent power or draw power from their user, their enemy or the environment. They range in power from weapons that are virtually ordinary pistols to weapons of mass destruction.
Some weapons are magically created, but powered by psionics.
Story purpose and common elements
Magic guns are typically rare items within the stories that features them. Often, they are antiques or items of lost technology that were made either by hand or in extremely small numbers. Most magic guns do not require a character to be skilled in ordinary (non-gun-derived) magic to use one, so they may be used by people without magical properties as a force multiplier against enemy magic users. This idea may be extended so that "mage hunters", characters who act as bounty hunters to magic users, might see them as a weapon of choice. Other times, a character quite capable of using ordinary magic might use a magic gun to supplement his or her abilities, fire a spell without the time consuming creation of it, or to conserve his magical energies for other purposes.
List of magic guns and their owners
In video games
- Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, and Shin Bokura no Taiyō Gyakushū no Sabata, the player character, uses a "magic machine" (an artifact) known as the Gun del Sol (a.k.a. the Solar Gun), that was manufactured by a now-extinct race of demi-gods known as the Solar Children. The Gun del Sol is a battery-operated pistol with the power to store pure sunlight (this is a major game element, since there is a photometric light sensor on the game pak itself) and then magically recreate it as bolts of light using a lens. Thus, the gun is a weapon that can be used against monsters that are damaged by sunlight, such as vampires and the undead. Later in the game, Django can find additional lenses that convert the sunlight to elemental attacks. The antagonist and later antihero Sabata uses the Gun del Hell (a.k.a. the Dark Gun), a copy of the Gun del Sol that fires bolts of darkness, and works in a similar fashion, although it can only be recharged while standing in shadows or at night, whereas the Gun del Sol can only be recharged in natural sunlight. In Boktai 2, though, the Gun Del Sol is stolen and later breaks. After it is repaired by Smith, it is only able to fire charged shots with the solar element for the rest of the game.
- Devil May Cry: Dante uses a number of magical guns that never run out of ammo throughout the series. In the first game all of his standard guns such as the shotgun and his dual pistols, Ebony and Ivory, may be charged with the fire of Ifrit and lightning of Alastor. Trish uses the Luce & Ombra revolvers to similar effect. The Nightmare-Beta is a magical gun of demonic origin that fires energy powered by your devil trigger gauge (this demonic bio-weapon is related to the Nightmare boss within the game). In Devil May Cry 3 (a prequel), Artemis is a weapon that fires concentrated demonic energy beams that can target several enemies at once as well as bring a rain of demonic lasers from the sky.
Also, in Devil May Cry 4 after beating Dagon(a giant ice demon frog), Dante acquires a suitcase called Pandora that can create deadly weapons to quickly dispatch enemies with the help of the Disaster Gauge.
- Final Fantasy Tactics has four elemental guns - a "Glacier Gun" that, despite the name, casts fire spells, a "Blaze Gun" that similarly casts ice spells (the names were properly reversed in the PSP remake), a "Blast Gun" that casts lightning spells, and a "Stone Gun" that petrifies the wielder. Unusable treasures include a Magic Gun and Magic Machinegun.
- Final Fantasy: Unlimited: Kaze, an amnesiac traveler, wields the Magun, a magic gun in the form of an enormous, gold-colored dragoon's revolver with three chambers. When the chambers are filled with various magical elements and the gun is fired, it summons creatures that are combinations of the magical elements used.
- Final Fantasy X-2 has the Gun Mage dressphere, which fire the Blue Bullet, magical attacks learned from enemies.
- Final Fantasy VII: A boss character named Palmer used a gun called the Mako Gun, which was capable of shooting Fire2, Ice2 and Bolt2.
- Final Fantasy VII Advent Children featured several guns with seemingly (magically) unlimited ammunition. Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz each had a long pistol which also functioned as a short sword. Barret's new triple-chaingun arm not only seems to have unlimited ammunition, but has no logical place to store ammunition if it used it.
- Shadow Man: When Mike LeRoi becomes Shadowman his .45 pistol becomes the Shadowgun, which can drain the souls from enemies.
- Wild Arms: In the first game, the weapons known as ARMs were created using alchemy and living metal based on the Metal Demons. One must be able to synchronize the ARMs in order use it. Few humans have the ability to use ARMs, but most Metal Demons are able to. Rudy Roughknight, the game's protagonist, can use practically any ARM.
- Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams: The character Ohatsu has access to many magical guns of various elements. The most notable being Tanegashima, a musket of the element fire.
- Fable 2: Includes a variety of legendary enchanted guns including The Enforcer, The Perforator, and The Red Dragon.
- "Darksiders": The protagonist: War, acquires a four-barrelled pistol known as "Mercy". It has the ability to generate ammunition ceaselessly. Firing only as fast as the owner can pull the trigger.
In role-playing games
- Dungeons & Dragons: Though not a common element, some DMs elect to include magical firearms in their campaigns, either as described above or as ordinary black powder firearms enchanted by magic.
- Rifts: the techno-wizard class makes a number of magically powered, and/or magically modified guns, among them the TK machine-gun which powered by telekinesis (either spell or psionic power), Lightning Blasters, etc.
- Iron Kingdoms: The Privateer Press d20 role-playing setting and associated Warmachine and Hordes miniatures games commonly feature magic-enhanced firearms known as mechanika. Such firearms are prominent features of models such as warcaster Lt. Caine and units such as the Arcane Tempest Gun Mages.
In film and television
- Supernatural: This The CW Television Network show includes a Colt model revolver with magic bullets, made by Samuel Colt himself, used by the Winchester brothers and their father to kill demons. The gun is said to be able to kill anything the bullets hit.
- The ammo used is limited. Only the 13 magic bullets combined with the gun can elicit the desired effect. Regular bullets fired from the gun would not necessarily kill anything.
- American Dad!: Heaven gun. Seen in the episode The Most Adequate Christmas Ever, it can harm spiritual creatures, such as Archangels. The gun is yellow and very ornate.
- The Coldfire Trilogy: The very nature of the world in the Coldfire trilogy virtually necessitates that firearms be Worked (i.e. magicked) in order to work properly; an "unWorked" firearm could likely misfire, backfire, or even explode in the bearer's hand. The character Gerald Tarrant is notable in that he carries an unWorked pistol, without concern for the potentially deleterious side-effects.
- Darkness: This series of books refers to weapons known as "sticks", which are a magical analog of modern firearms. They resemble guns, but they shoot beams of magical fire instead of bullets. They may be laser weapons, as targets can be protected against stick fire by reflective coatings. Also mentioned are several forms of magic artillery, such as the self-explanatory "heavy sticks" and "egg-throwers", which launch sorcerous energy-filled bombs ("eggs") at targets. All of them are used by the various warring nations throughout the series.
- Nightside (book series): The Speaking Gun, which appears in this series, is an intelligent malicious weapon created at the dawn of time. It finds the divine "true name" of its target, then speaks that name backwards to uncreate it. Its desire to be fired usually causes the wielder to lose their mind and soul, making its unique ability a double-edged sword. However, it is the only known weapon in Nightside capable of destroying divine or infernal beings.
- Dark Tower Series: Roland Deschain's revolvers are made from his world's version of Excalibur. While these guns are of exceedingly high quality, their only known magical ability is to grant its owner access to the eponymous Dark Tower itself.
- The Savage Dragon: The God Gun, which appears in this series, it is a super-powerful weapon resembling a revolver able to grant three wishes to its user.
- Crimson Avenger: Jill Carlyle is a minor Spirit of Vengeance who possesses a pair of Colt 45 Caliber Semi-Automatic Pistols. The guns are cursed such that if the possessor were to use them out of revenge he or she would be cursed to track and kill those who have taken innocent life. The possessor gains the memory and skills of those whose deaths she is avenging.The guns never miss, never run out of ammunition, and have no triggers.
- Preacher: The Saint of Killers possesses a pair of Walker Colt revolvers, which were made from the Angel of Death's sword. Because of this, the guns are of divine nature. They possess unlimited ammunition, never need to be reloaded, never jam, always hit their target no matter what barrier, and a wound from one is always fatal. Combined with the Saint of Killers' superhuman physical power and accuracy make them extremely potent.
In anime and manga
- Bleach anime: In episode 105 "Kariya! Countdown to the Detonation", Ran'tao attacks Kariya with a kidō gun, which looks similar to a shotgun but fires bolts of magical energy.
- In his released state, Stark, one of the Espada, gains two pistol-like guns which fire rapidfire Cero blasts.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: In Fullmetal Alchemist, most ordinary firearms used by the military of Amestris are enhanced or enchanted through use of alchemy. Others are created by alchemy, usually out of nearby objects. One of the more notable ones is the array of cannons that State Alchemist Basque Grand often sprouts from his body, which he transmutes from the iron in his blood. A minor character, the land-baron Mugwar, used alchemy-amplifying "Red Stones" and "Red Water" in conjunction with a special device to create a many-barreled machine gun.
- Negima: In the anime, Negi Springfield briefly draws and fires a magic gun (resembling an antique pistol) while flying on his staff. It is briefly mentioned that this is not surprising, coming from a boy who is both a magician and a collector of antiques. In later chapters it can be seen hanging on a wall for display in Asuna's and Konoka's room. Later in the story, During the fight in Kyoto in order to rescue Konoka Konoe, Mana Tatsumiya helps Asuna Kagurazaka and Setsuna Sakurazaki by shooting down Demons using a sniper rifle and two Handguns, all three which are loaded with bullets that have spells cast on them. Also, during the "Mahora Mage Order vs. Mars" mock battle, Mahora participants were supplied with a variety of magical weapons - ranging from staves to guns and bazookas - specially designed to disable the magically-powered robots that made up the opposing army.
- Outlaw Star: The characters Gene Starwind and Ronald MacDougall both use magical guns known as "Casters". "Casters" in the world of Outlaw Star utilize a lost form of technology and magic and are considered rare antiques. Their ammunition, caster shells, come in 20 numbered varieties, the numbers connoting the varied effects; #4, #9, and #13 are the rarest kinds, as they could only be made by the wizards of Tenrei and the magical power of the shell draws upon the life force of the user. The caster shells are actually pre-made spells loaded into cartridges, which can be used even by people with no magical affinities. Casters in Outlaw Star use a form of magic that is extremely effective against Tao magic, the magic used by the majority of the show's antagonists.
- Hellsing: The main character Alucard used two specially made pistols (which actually have the dimension of carbines, but are shaped like pistols: as a vampire, Alucard is strong enough to wield them one-handed). Though neither gun is strictly 'magical', both use custom anti-supernatural ammunition that have either been baptised or alloyed with silver from a blessed crucifix (in the world of Hellsing such methods are effective enough to almost count as magic).
- The first one he used is the Hellsing ARMS .454 Casull Auto, which is crafted from the melted silver cross of the Lanchester cathedral. This gun fires custom made .454 Casull rounds containing an explosive silver core. The weapon is 39 cm in length, making it unfeasibly heavy and unwieldy for a human to use, but a perfect match for Alucard's heightened strength. It holds an as yet undetermined number of rounds in a magazine in the handle.
- Later on he also has the Hellsing ARMS 13 mm Auto "Jackal". It has a length of 39 cm and weighing at 16 kg, making this gun - made of black gunmetal - not a weapon a normal man could even hope to wield, but as its designer says, "It was never meant for a man." It fires custom 13 mm armor-piercing, explosive, blessed and baptized mercury-core bullets (with casings of Macedonian silver), powered by N.N.A.9 gunpowder, and is designed almost exclusively as a weapon to use against Iscariot's Alexander Anderson, who shrugged off the Casull's rounds with ease. The words "Jesus Christ is in Heaven now" are engraved upon it in mockery of a similar statement on Anderson's gloves.
- The character Rip Van Winkle also wields a musket which fires magic bullets. These bullets, while unable to be reloaded effectively for active combat, are psychically controlled by Van Winkle, often changing trajectory in midair and repeatedly peppering the same target with continuous hits or killing rows of opponents with a single bullet. Additionally, they appear to have been reinforced (magically or otherwise) to the point of being capable of penetrating and destroying missile casings and helicopter machinery.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: The mages in Lyrical Nanoha use magic mediated by technology. In addition to semi-sentient staves (Intelligent devices) used by the majority of Mid-childean mages (along with Nanoha Takamachi), the sequel's antagonists, the Wolkenritter, use magical devices that can be temporarily empowered through the use of magic-containing metallic cartridges. The power boost from a cartridge is enough to allow a mage to actually damage or destroy an opponent's magical device. Later in the series, Nanoha and Fate upgrade their weapons, the Raising Heart and the Bardiche, to make use of the cartridges.
- Orion: The imperial soldiers in Masamune Shirow's manga use a variety of magical guns, ranging from man-portable cannons to large artillery pieces.
- Trigun: Vash the Stampede uses a gun which apparently bestows him the power of god.
- Tokyo Underground: Sui, an exiled young inventor in the series uses a magic gun (called a "Spirit gun" in the anime and an "Aero gun" in the manga) as his primary weapon, as does Ginnosuke, who learns how to build the device from Sui. The weapon allows Sui and Ginnosuke, who have no "elemental" powers, the ability to fight on equal terms with the show's superpowered cast. He based the design on a prototype left by the researchers who created the Tokyo Underground, and can be seen throughout the series refining the design. At first, each shell is the equivalent of only one spell, but he later improves this to three shots per cartridge.
Of note is the fact that Sui's initial gun looks a lot like Gene Starwind's Caster gun and is called the "Sprit Gun" in reference to YuYu Hakusho.
- Et Cetera: The protagonist Mingchaocarries the Eto Gun, which was invented by her late grandfather. The Gun itself requires the essence of one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals in order to fire bullets, which will mimic the behaviour of that particular animal.