7 Tips to Writing About Blunt Weapons

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Since these kinds of weapons differ from swords and spears, you can’t always use the same tactics.  Swinging a club will not have the same effect as slashing with a cutlass.  So, what are some things that will help you with this type of weapon?

  1. Nobody who masters a mace or hammer will have stabs as their main strategy.  It may help to push enemies away to get space, but these weapons are most effective when being swing.  This is because a lunge or jab is a quick burst, but doesn’t have the same power as a full swing.
  2. Due to the goal being to break bones and organs, a person using these weapons will aim for specific spots.  Heads and ribs are fairly popular in fiction because they make for one-hit kills.  Yet, an adventurer with a mace might start off by aiming for other areas.  For example, hitting joints, even if they are armored, can weaken an enemy enough to make the rest of the fighter easier.  You have more opportunities to hit wrists and elbows than heads and torsos.
  3. Blunt weapons have no edge, so the area that needs to hit is smaller than that of a sword.  Striking with the side of the long handle can hurt, but that’s not going to do much damage.  Similar to stabbing, a blunt weapon has a small spot that needs to make contact with when compared to its size.  Glancing blows might not have the same affect as well.  You need a direct hit to deliver the full power of the attack.  So, warriors who use this weapon will use tactics to make sure they increase their chances of a direct hit.
  4. The really big blunt weapons need two hands unless the warrior possesses superhuman strength.  This goes for all weapons, but you really need to consider the size of the warrior when compared to the size of what they’re swinging.  Outside of magical enhancement, a halfling can’t go swinging a maul made for an orc like it’s a wooden toy sword.
  5. Yes, blunt weapons make a lot of sense against undead.  There’s nothing wrong with following this trope.
  6. Spikes on blunt weapons can add a stabbing affect, but it can come at a price.  The additions don’t turn these weapons into swords or spears.  They increase the chance of breaking the skin and puncturing armor.  This also means there is a chance that they get stuck.  A spiked club getting through platemail can result in the enemy getting stuck on the weapon.  If it’s a deathblow, the warrior has to dislodge his weapon from a limp body.  If the other person is still alive, they’re now stuck within swinging range.
  7. While anything can be used as a club, blunt weapons do have some designs that make them different from improvised weapons.  There is a weight and balance to each one that allows for effective blows.  If this is off then the weapon can break or not strike with enough impact.  You don’t really have to consider this too much outside of writing barfights where random objects are being swung.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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13 Responses to 7 Tips to Writing About Blunt Weapons

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great tips. I can’t stop thinking about Robert DeNiro in the baseball bat scene in The Untouchables.. 😬 🫣Definitely seems to require a certain confident personality to wield something like this. I recall someone wielding a cast-iron skillet in one story. My mother used to be quick with a handbag when she wanted to hit someone. 😊


  2. Great advice. Never thought of how small an effective spot is on a blunt weapon. You have to make sure the connection is right. Also, getting your weapon stuck doesn’t bode well if there are a number of folks trying to kill you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. V.M.Sang says:

    Oh, yes. Swinging blunt weapons with enough force to damage the opponent will take much strength.
    What about axes? They seem to be a halfway house between a bludgeoning weapon and a cutting one.


    • They’re really a large cutting weapon. Axes are designed to be swung for chopping with the blade. The times I’ve tried to swing one with the blunt side facing forward felt off. It was like there was a bit too much resistance on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the ones with “blades” welded to the shaft up above. Looks like it trims a lot of weight from the steel ball version.


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