Practical Sci-Fi or Fantasy Items that are NOT Weapons

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything‚Ķ from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

Sure, there are a lot of weapons in sci-fi and fantasy tales that are cool as heck, but what about all of the really practical items people forget about?

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

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12 Comments

  1. Mike
    April 24, 2014 at 11:25 am — Reply

    5. Mithril/Adamantium/Vibranium/Generic Fantasy Material
    I’m a metallurgist by profession so the opportunity to play around with Fantasy metals would be tons of fun. While the biggest thing you do with these is probably create weapons with them, they are not inherently weapons so I think it still counts. My first thought was a vibranium car, which would theoretically make traffic fatalities non existent.

    4. Bio-Appliances
    In the future, we will have the ability to genetically engineer living organisms that are used as everyday appliances. Lamps that produce light, without needing electricity or other power sources, similar to the way deep sea fishes produce light. Or a house that could repair itself similar to how a human heals. It would cut back on my electric bill considerably.

    3. Thought responsive nanobots
    Nanobots injected into your body that you have complete control over, allowing you to replicate things like telekinesis. You could rewrite your DNA to have a different hair color, or grow an extra arm or something else weird.

    2. A TARDIS
    Not much has to said. The ability to travel anywhere in time and space would be awesome.

    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    While traveling places in my TARDIS, it would be handy to have some idea where I am going, what there is to do, and how to have the best time, all for less than 30 Altairian dollars a day. As a bonus, if my TARDIS ever broke, I would have lots to read about.

  2. Sydness
    April 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    5. The S.H.I.E.L.D. hover car, because nobody likes traffic
    4. Excalibur’s scabbard, because it was supposed to render the one using it immune from harm. I don’t like being hurt, you see.
    3. Invisibility cloak. I like causing a little trouble from time to time. Doing so anonymously appeals to me.
    2. Aladdin’s lamp. Three wishes can go a long way, especially if the genie doesn’t monkey paw the wishes.
    1. The Millennium Falcon. So fast it can somehow travel at speeds that render distances as shorter than other craft. Wookie included.

  3. Scott
    April 25, 2014 at 9:20 am — Reply

    Hey, the chess game Zach was talking about is probably either Battle Chess or Combat Chess, both of which are available from gog.com for a decent price and playable on modern computers and operating systems.
    Fun episode, thanks!

  4. April 25, 2014 at 10:16 am — Reply

    An updated Battle Chess is also on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/200150/

    I was going to be sad if Matthew did not mention Legion flight rings. Fortunately I was not disappointed. That would have been in my top five for the reasons that Matthew mentioned.

    Others in my top five:

    KITT. A wisecracking AI in an amazingly fast, nearly indestructible car that has whatever handy gadget you need to overcome the monster of the week. Gotta have it.

    Holograms. I’m with Zach on this one. Its cool tech that can’t come soon enough, whether for entertainment or practical use in study and work, this will be great.

    FTL Travel. Warp Drives, Hyper Drives, wormholes. Whatever form it takes. The practical applications of space travel won’t be realized until we can travel to other solar systems in reasonable units of time.

    Goose. The one that lays those golden eggs. Mostly because I needed a fantasy item and it was this or a ring of invisibility. Unlimited funding is always a good choice. Maybe with this I can put together enough cash to make the rest of the items above a reality.

    Kinda surprised Pokemans did not make Rodrigo’s list :)

  5. April 26, 2014 at 7:23 am — Reply

    Just testing this again…

  6. April 26, 2014 at 9:48 am — Reply

    5. A Ring of Sustenance: Probably one of the most ridiculous items Dungeons and Dragons ever created as far as a useful thing. This ring provides its wearer with life sustaining nourishment, you can still eat and drink if you want to but with this you don’t HAVE to. The more ridiculous part is that this ring refreshes the users body and mind, you only need to sleep for 2 hours to gain all the benefits of 8 hours, as someone who has to much crap to do as it is 6 extra hours would be awesome and as someone who likes to sleep in, sleeping an extra hour and it feels like I’ve slept an extra 4 hours!

    4. Solid Snakes Bandanna from Metal Gear Solid: Though the Metal Gear series is a soft sci-fi setting, there’s clones and giant robots but there’s also a boss who has psychic abilities that break the fourth wall and make you think your Playstation has crashed! If you beat the game and achieve the goal of not breaking during some torture you’re given a goram bandanna that makes any gun you’re carrying never run out of bullets and never need to be reloaded for your next play through. Infinite ammo is to damn useful, I’ve dropped easily $200 bucks in the last year trying to get good enough with my hunting rifle to actually hunt with the sucker.

    3. A suit of medium armor from Mass Effect: The armor in Mass Effect is ridiculous. Not only is it a full body suit of ballistic armor that has kinetic shields, it’s a space suit with an auto-dimming lens, built in environmental controls, a HUD and comm system, basic automatic first-aid, and FRICKING INTERNAL GRAVITY. I’m a Welder, I get burnt on a daily basis, when it’s 90 out I’m melting steel less then two feet from my face, it got so cold last year that the snot in my nose froze and, I’ve probably got about an ounce of iron oxide and epoxy dust in my lungs from having inadequate ventilation at my work. So full body AC and heat, with it’s own air system, and shields that stop burning metal from touching me would be nice..

    2. Elminster’s Eversmoking Pipe: Elminster is the grand high poobah of all mages in the Forgotten Realms setting, and being the grand high poobah he has some stupidly magical stuff… His pipe lights and extinguishes on command, has different kinds of sandwic-err smoke that it can produce, teleports to its owner on command, when used it keeps all vermin and insects 10ft away from the user, you can write mundane stuff in the air with it, while smoking it you are under the effect of protection of arrows and reflects magic missiles back to the caster, if you fall into water the pipe and you gain waterbreathing, you can use the spell pyrotechnics every couple minues, nine times per day you can FREAKING TELEPORT up to 700 yards, and in emergency situations you can blow hard through the pipe and fire a tiny tracking freaking meteor at someone! Not a weapon, though you can still squish someones head with it if you have to.

    1. a Ring of Regeneration: This ring perpetually heals you, if you lose a limb or an organ or in anyway injure yourself that doesn’t make you instantly dead while wearing this ring you heal 24 times faster then normal and regrow missing bits inside minutes. I deal with things that’ll take off a finger in the blink of an eye on a day to day basis so guess why I want this.

    I’ve written this thing three times with it failing to post and haven’t had the same list twice.. runners up are: Wings of Flying, Heward’s Hand Haversack, a maker machine from Transmetropolitan, an adamantine Mountain Plate suit of speed, a personal Mass Effect device, Belt of Giants Strength…

  7. Jason Leclair
    April 27, 2014 at 7:17 am — Reply

    Here is my list.

    5. Ring of three wishes. not much to say there. you get three wishes lol.

    4. Holodeck. The holodeck is any gamers fantasy. You can actually play as any person from any game you want. Be anyone you want do anything you want while in there. It would just be so fun.

    3. The replicator. I have to agree the replicator is awesome. Being able to make even just almost anything out of nothing is just so powerful.

    2. Nanobots, nanites, or nano machines. Insanely powerful, can turn anything into them selves. and turn them selves into anything else. Tera form planets, heal your body, turn all that waste into food. The sky is almost the limit and that’s my number 2 lol

    1. The power cosmic it may not be an item but it is quantifiable so… But being able to do anything you want pretty much. you want to Teleport, done. You want to transmute things, done. You want to make or destroy things. Fly in space, be super strong. Its not a weapon but like anything can be a weapon.

  8. Yoder of Kansas
    April 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    I wrote a list at work a few days ago while listening to the show. Had to mark a few off, like the Sonic Screwdriver so there wouldn’t be any overlaps:

    The Light Shield from Outlaw Star. Small disk that strap onto your palm that project a personal shield that can block any oncoming force

    Warp Drive. With this, our ships could finally go to other stars, and off world colonies would be an ease to setup.

    Speeder Bike from Star Wars. Who didn’t see Return of the Jedi as a kid and didn’t pretend your bicycle wasn’t hovering three feet off the ground, zooming 50 miles an hour thru your neighborhood? Who didn’t want one of these?

    Harry Dresden’s Enchanted Coat from the Dresden Files. Just a normal coat, but with spells sewn in, blocking most thermal and kinetic damage, or at the least softening it. Guy got shot from a high powered riffle, and it softened the impact to a hard-swung baseball bat!

    The Escafil Device, also known as the Morphing Cube from the Animorphs. Once used, a person can absorb the DNA of any living creature by touching it, and then morph into the creature. Just don’t spend more than two hours, or the change will become permanent.

    Other stuff I’d like to see, but just missed:
    Yue Ayase’s book from Negima. This book looks to be a beginners textbook on magic, but in reality displays any information on holographic pages. It’s basically Google and Wikipedia, but able to get past all security measures, and no false results.

    Magic Wand from Harry Potter and Glitch from Reboot. Both are technically omnitools, but get used too much as a weapon I think to make this list.

  9. Bill the Ckir
    April 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm — Reply

    1. Holodeck. While you guys mention Holographic technology I don’t recall hearing this one specifically mentioned. It can do everything you mentioned and so much more. Rodrigo could plug in his parameters and you guys could actually Experience TPK as if you were actually the ones being mauled by horrible flappy faced monsters!

    Well, that may be the wrong example to use. Sorry, Matthew. One fact is indisputable though: I would be in pretty good shape right now if I had done all the walking, fighting, and climbing my characters in the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games have done in the last 10 years.

    2. In Schlock Mercenary their Lead scientist wears Glasses. But not just any glasses, they are multispectrum sensor that allow him to see things Magnified telescopically or microscopically as well as in various invisible light spectrum. They make Google Glasses look like the Model T of the sensors you can wear that they are.

    3. Stimpacks from the Fallout game series. Doesn’t matter what kind of damage it is, if it didn’t kill you Simpacks will heal you.

    4. Sarcophagus from Stargate: Can’t use it too often but one rest in there and your Diabetes and Asthma are cured. How cool is that?

    5. Jarvis. I am very fond of the Avengers old butler (remember the issue where Jarvis is on the cover with his vaccum cleaner ready to save the day?) but I speak of the A.I. They have included in the Iron Man movies and some of the cartoons. Not only does he understand spoken commands but he knows to ignore or reply with dry wit to everything else Tony says. That’s my kind of technology!

    Honorable mention: If you had told me I would one day be able to stick a computer in my pocket that was a phone, a camera, a photo album, a flashlight, compass, bankbook, alarm clock, bar code reader, spreadsheet, hold 10+ books, had internet access, held 30+ games, The equivalent of 100 audio books (podcasts are included), and I could watch TV/Movies on it. When I was 15 I, honestly, never dreamed that something as awesome as a smart phone would exist my my lifetime. I want to take a second here to appreciate all the wonder that we already have in our lives.

    You guys mentioned the Replicator, the Tardis, Legion flight rings. Those things might have made my list but wanted to produce one that didn’t duplicate your items.

    Honorable mention: Although the Phaser is a weapon it is the Swiss Army knife of space weapons. It can weld, cut metal, heat up rocks to provide a heat source, start a fire, cut down a tree, knock a book off a high shelf, so many useful things that don’t involve combat.

    Opinion: I love the sonic screwdriver however it has become far too much the universal, Plot powered tool of the lazy script writer. I hope it goes back to it’s old use as a swiss army tool for working on technology and picking locks. Though I don’t mind the occasional use that seems logical (the example cited in feeding it through a P.A. System to overwhelm some bad guys was a good one)

  10. Jeremy
    April 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    My Top 5 would be:
    5. The hover board from Back to the Future 2
    4. Hermione’s time turner necklace
    3. Ben 10’s Omnitrix
    2. A pokemon like Bulbasaur, or Charizard
    1.Hyperbolic Time Chamber DBZ

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