In Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse, Annabeth’s dad, Dr. Chase comes in at the end of his book and uses a machine gun on his Sopwith Camel, along with some celestial bronze bullets he created in order to pulverize the monsters that are closing in on Percy and his friends.

In addition, Luke has a sword named Backbiter that is half steel half celestial bronze, so that he can kill both humans and monsters. Also, Chiron says that Demigods are vulnerable to both weapons aimed to kill mortals and weapons aimed to kill monsters.

So, at the Battle of the Labyrinth, Percy and his friends could have decided to defend camp with a bunch of machine guns loaded with celestial bronze bullets. Also, when Percy and his friend Beckendorf decide to raid Kronos’s ship the Princess Andromeda in Book Five The Last Olympian, why couldn’t they have carried guns? It would easily do away with all the sword fighting skill needed and it would just be “pow” and Luke is dead…

Clearly, there must be something wrong with my logic. But, is there any drawback in demigods using guns in general? What might prevent them from doing so? I'm looking specifically for practical reasons, but any reasons are fine, too :D

EDIT: In response to @JBH, I am looking for anything, even outside the Percy Jackson Universe. Percy Jackson was the only series I have read that included Greek Demigods, so I used it as the majority of my example in the beginning. Thanks to JBH for proposing this clarification. *


closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, Separatrix, kingledion, sphennings, JBH Dec 19 '17 at 16:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Roman demigods try and save their country": you may want to change that to Greek demigods. Romans and Greeks were different peoples with different gods and profoundly different religions. Romans gods were mostly abstract entities, who did not generally have sexual intercourse with mortals. The number of demigods (offspring of a god and a mortal) in Roman myths is small -- basically only Aeneas and the twin brothers Romulus and Remus -- and moreover in Roman myths such characters are only technically demigods, being ordinary mortals with no special powers. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Dec 19 '17 at 3:26
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ "Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more... civilized age." $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Dec 19 '17 at 6:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As well recieved as this question is, the question you are asking is story generation. You are looking for a plot point for your story. That is off-topic on this site, so I'm going to have to vote to close. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Dec 19 '17 at 13:51
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelK I just showed up to make sure someone dropped that line. $\endgroup$ – CGriffin Dec 19 '17 at 14:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @NL628 Well, that is the problem. This site is specifically not for plot points. What you are asking us to do is invent some piece of story for your world. That is just not on-topic for this site. If you want to ask in chat, someone might discuss some ideas with you, but again, the Q&A part of the main site is not for idea generation. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Dec 19 '17 at 14:59

Celestial Bronze has to be pretty rare on Earth, surely?

If I was a God, or even a Demigod, I'd want to make sure that there was some control over any substance that could hurt me in the hands of the wrong person. Bullets in particular are single use items; once you've shot it, it's not like you can dig it out of whatever it hits and melt it down again for re-use, at least not in a manner that's practical on the battlefield.

So; the first thing I'd be doing is making sure that Humans don't have access to Celestial Bronze. By so doing, you're limiting the weapons that they have access to to those which are given to them or which they can steal. To be frank; while a sword seems like a lot of metal to use in a weapon by comparison to a bullet, if you can maintain the sword (make sure the edge stays keen for instance) then gram for gram it can kill a LOT more monsters et al than a bullet can. You're not going to be afraid to take your sword into any battle, but take your bullets in and you're constantly thinking 'what if I waste these? What if I can't get replacements?'.

So for mine, the obvious practical reason for modern demigods not using firearms is that the metal needed for the bullets is a controlled substance and isn't available for general manufacturing.

  • $\begingroup$ Mmm interesting...ok gud idea :) $\endgroup$ – NL628 Dec 19 '17 at 4:34
  • $\begingroup$ Well, there could always be people assembly to gather metal. and a dent in say, the handle of a sword is not very important for its resilience. But it might be "the godkiller bullet that might save your life as a trump card". $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 12:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't see why the bullets have to be entirely made of celestial bronze. It would be a lot more efficient to plate bullets in bronze, and thus the bronze needed for one sword could be sufficient for a whole arsenal. $\endgroup$ – Subbies Dec 19 '17 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also, depending on details of celestial bronze, a sword is also not as far off from a few magazines worth of bullets in terms of how much metal is needed $\endgroup$ – Btuman Dec 20 '17 at 17:02

A weapon in a demigod's hand is an extension of that being. It can become embued with attributes from its master. But the moment a bullet leaves a gun, it is no longer in contact with its master. No matter what it's made of... it's just a bullet.

Even in the case where the demigod has the attribute of telekinesis, all he/she can do is influence the remote object. It can be pushed around (if even a demigod can think at the speed of a bullet. I mean, you have, what, a tenth of a second max to influence the projectile's flight?) but basically nothing more.

In your world, demigods are the masters of what they possess — literally, not figuratively. In other words, while they may rule over a land and its people, they cannot actually change, influence, or afflict a person unless touching them. While my previous comment suggested the limitation of something like telekinesis, now that I think about it, I'd remove even that. Demigods are not gods. They have limitations. In my case, what this means is...

  • Demigods would happily use an M61 Vulcan canon against mortals because nothing mows down a bunch of insubordinate sycophants like a quality vulcan canon. They can carry what is usually a vehicle-mounted weapon because, hey, they're demigods. While touching the firearm itself they can overcome the problems of weight and recoil.

  • But what value such a weapon against another demigod? No much. Your step-brother or -sister would just stand there and wonder why you were kicking sand in their face. For that you must set aside your favorite noise maker and pick up your favorite falchion. With a good slashing weapon in your hand you can pierce unearthly skin, sever heaven-blessed artery, and behead with impunity. Not much use against mortals since you can only deal with them one-at-a-time... but against another demigod... Oh, yeah....

  • $\begingroup$ This makes good in-world sense - effective battle must be direct and physical because only in such situations can metaphysical powers be expressed. Metaphysical powers are a physical extension of self and can only be embued to a weapon by direct physical contact, so an arrow drawn on a bow may be so charged, but a bullet within a gun cannot. $\endgroup$ – Lee Leon Dec 19 '17 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ Lee Leon: there has to be another explanation for arrow. Else, you would be well hurt when smart guys would start to use musket because this allowed them to "charge" the bullet not too much time before firing it. $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Ando Jurai Arrows are made out of wood which is a material that can hold life force whereas metal can not. You can look at them as miniature magical staves. $\endgroup$ – Muuski Dec 19 '17 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ So celestial bronze could not hold lifeforce? Then it would be improbable that it is usable to extend demigods selves as close combat weapon either. $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 16:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AndoJurai, I came up with an explanation that would make sense in a standalone, non-Percy Jackson context because, frankly, author Rick Riordan created a story with inconsistencies (not uncommon). I built a world that explained why demigods can't use guns against one another at all. "Celestial Bronze" doesn't exist. If you're looking for a justifiable reason inside the Percy Jackson universe you won't find one, thanks to the author. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. $\endgroup$ – JBH Dec 19 '17 at 16:51

Guns work thanks to the a chemical reaction generating a wave of high pressure propelling the shot. This can be reduced to some kind of "fire" power.

As long as any demigod has control on fire or its opposite (frost, water, etc.) it's pretty obvious that guns would be useless: your shells can be made explode while still in your hands/pockets, or can be made wet.

Better avoid this risk and rely on good old weapons.

  • $\begingroup$ True, so this is more of like a proof through the test of time and that the reason they do not use guns is because they are too unpredictable and easy to take advantage of? $\endgroup$ – NL628 Dec 19 '17 at 15:13


I was about to say this, but sadly @Stephan wrote his answer first...


It can be a tradition thing. They are demigods, so they have huge lifespans or are even immortals (no?). That means they were alive even before the invention of gunpowder. They prefer swords, bows and that kind of thing because they are hung up on the past, they don't like new inventions, they prefer the old-school traditions.


Also, a more bloodthirsty explanation can be that gun wounds doesn't produce the same amount of pain as blunt force trauma or a dismemberment; melee weapons are more painful, and they love making the enemy experience pain.

  • $\begingroup$ Ooooo Your second point is so goood :O TYTYTY $\endgroup$ – NL628 Dec 19 '17 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ Actually not. There will always be the combat pragmatist that don't care about traditions or tools, only use what is the most efficient in order to reach its goals. Then all the others would have to adapt or die or beat him, but this is less likely given the advantage. $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 12:03

The most likely answer is guns don't work on the enemy of a demigod

Heracles' first task (of twelve) was slaying the Nemean Lion but it was immune to mortal weapons. He had to choke it to death and after it died he had to skin it using one of it's own claws because his knife could not cut it.

Another reason, using the idea of celestial bronze, is that bullets are blunt and heavy as where swords are sharp and light. A metal used to make swords lighter and supernaturally sharp would make terrible bullets. At best you'd have to make the equivalent of a celestial bronze version of a steel jacket round which may not be so easy to create.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I abound in that direction. Celestial bronze might not be "molded" because it is never really liquid (it is a strange, mystical metal after all), but might need to be processed differently, with anvil and hammer. Indeed, you might "form" bullets by hitting on it, with some shape, but that would make for terrible bullet reproductibility and you might end up blasting your own firearms with such poor quality things. $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 12:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Ando Jurai I like the idea of celestial bronze only being shape able with a magic hammer. It would take forever to make a decent number of bullets if you had to hit each piece a significant number of times. $\endgroup$ – Muuski Dec 19 '17 at 16:16

It could be an honor thing. Guns are too easy. While they do require skill, it could be considered cowardly to fight with them. After all, in a sniper fight, the first to spot their target wins. With martial weapons, you need skill, strength, endurance, dexterity, grip, footing, and a good eye for what your opponent is going to try. That's how I always justify such situations.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, this is a good reason! :) But, is there any practical reason you also have in mind? Any practical reason not to use guns? $\endgroup$ – NL628 Dec 19 '17 at 4:01

It's all about will. You can argue that the power of a demigod (maybe even a god) is in their extreme will, sense of self, sense of purpose, etc, that is basically stronger than the rules of mundane reality. When two demigods fight, you are effectively pitting two wills against each other.

So in this interpretation, the celestial bronze thing is irrelevant to the demigod part. It may work just fine against monsters, but against a Demigod, you may as well be throwing ordinary lead down-range. It's not until you get into weapon strikes and hand to hand combat that the attack is powered by the will of the user, and it's that will that overcomes the will of the opposing demigod which is what either bypasses their protections, or, arguably, does the actual harm (and yes, you can take that to its logical extreme, where someone of sufficient power doesn't even need the weapon or even to strike, to exert their will to harm. of course, by that point, you're pretty much talking full god status anyway, and one could argue that's the main difference between the two, power level and the idea that demigods are still, to a certain extend, bound of in their world view of needing physical interaction in a physical world.)

Its all speculation, but it's fun.

  • $\begingroup$ Remind me of a past edition of Shadowrun RPG system for fighting physically manifested spirits. Instead of using you weapon damage which face tremendous "immunities" (high level armor), you can try to use your will instead (which get a pass)... Sometimes, it was bound to be more effective, when spirits where especially powerful. Maybe like demigods;) $\endgroup$ – Ando Jurai Dec 19 '17 at 16:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I was very much a Shadowrun player for most of my teens and 20's. The concept isn;t unique t that, but they very definitely put the idea into succint language. $\endgroup$ – Wenlocke Dec 20 '17 at 9:05

They have ranged abilities exceeding the effectiveness of a gun. The deities easily summon a blast of fire, or an explosion, or levitate boulders from miles away. So deities do not use guns because they are ineffective. (Of course, a cruise missile might still threaten a deity in this case, but the OP didn't ask about that.)

So why would melee weapons from celestial bronze be useful if projectile weapons aren't? The deity has strength and speed hundreds of times greater than a human, and strikes so hard that they can still rip another deity apart. Celestial bronze is the only metal strong enough to withstand the beating.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.