Superweapons

#1
Everyone here would at least know of the Death Star from Star Wars (or it's Disney version, Starkiller base...) We've seen movies where Superweapons are the main plot point, the one thing that the Protagonist will have to destroy to win the war. Then there's the hope for the galaxy, the weapon that is to be defended should the Protagonist wish to save the world.

Well, let's flip this into a question. What are your thoughts on Superweapons in fiction and do you think it's cliched?

Re: Superweapons

#2
They work great as plot points. I tend to love them, but only if it's along the lines of the Death Star. It's strong and it can be destroyed: just perfect for a plot point. But when that weapon isn't a massive ball with a neat weakness, then yeah, I tend to hate them. I generally don't like seeing characters be armed with something bullshit. At that point, most authors fail to do something interesting with it and instead write themselves into a corner, trying to challenge the character that can't be feasibly challenged.

However, if they do manage to do something interesting with a superweapon in the hands of a single character, I can bear with it. But that's a 1% chance.

Re: Superweapons

#3
I absolutely love when a series writes a good unique feeling super weapon that's more than just "death lazer - when I fire this the world will be mine!"

Think when I was younger I read a series where aliens crippled the earth by dropping a giant pillar of iron that was something like 5x5x20km (can't remember dimensions) onto the ice cap, vaproizing the snow and ice and flooding the whole planet.

Re: Superweapons

#4
I love superweapons lol I think they're criminally misused. Realistically, any superweapon specifically created or built to be a superweapon won't have the few critical points of failure required for a plucky band of rebels to destroy it in a few action scenes. But that should be the point imo, it's a superweapon because its so damn scary

I'd prefer superweapons to have a huge cost to use (a cost that actually affects the story, not just "this thing costs 6 billion per use" then gets used with impunity). I haven't gotten the chance to write a superweapon into a fic but my next one probably will have one or two

Re: Superweapons

#5

Zearth Wrote: Everyone here would at least know of the Death Star from Star Wars (or it's Disney version, Starkiller base...) We've seen movies where Superweapons are the main plot point, the one thing that the Protagonist will have to destroy to win the war. Then there's the hope for the galaxy, the weapon that is to be defended should the Protagonist wish to save the world.

Well, let's flip this into a question. What are your thoughts on Superweapons in fiction and do you think it's cliched?
Yes, unless it's from Phineas and Ferb. Doesn't mean I'll still use one. It can work, but you every time one appears you know it's going be destroyed.

Re: Superweapons

#6
Honestly depends on how it is used/portrayed and how "realistic" it seems given the setting/explanations in-universe.  Something that seems kind of out-of-left-field, so strange that it just doesn't feel like it has a link to the world it is portrayed in makes me more annoyed than anything else.  Using it as some sudden drop-in makes it feel more like "I didn't have any other better ideas, so here's a thing that can destroy everything!" excuse.

It needs some kind of tangible links and limitations.  Sure, it's a brand new insane advancement to your arsenal, but even leaps in technology and other things have links to what was before it in terms of what is used to make it, power it, etc, etc.  Don't be some kind of new, utterly nebulous box... unless your super weapon wasn't made by the culture using it and was discovered and accidentally figured out how to use it.  Still, be careful about taking it too far.

I kind of like arms race style M.A.D. weapon sets.  Not necessarily one big super weapon, but a stalemate of a slew of smaller (but very destructive) weapons, possibly with dead man's switch style linkage between them.  There are no winners here.  (Side note:  Colossus and Guardian.  Totally.)

Re: Superweapons

#7
Superweapons only work for me when they are actually treated as such and make sense in the worldbuilding aspect. Yes they can work for plot motivation, but as a reader or a viewer, I want to be shown a small glimpse of the consequences this weapon can cause (The death star till today is my prime example as to how to write a superweapons) and have an important character see the effects of the superweapon. Feel those effects in person. But that's just my personal take on this topic

Re: Superweapons

#10

Zearth Wrote: What are your thoughts on Superweapons in fiction and do you think it's cliched?
I think if you have war - some sort of extended conflict - and the setting’s weapons are susceptible to analysis - for example, magic but part of a system - then it is inevitable that there will be “tech” breakthroughs that give overwhelming advantage for a time, that is, superweapons.


It is also my intuition that most settings will have weapons that are overwhelmingly stronger than any defense, but I don’t think this is inevitable, and it may be that there are realms that are stable and enduring exactly because the opposite is true.