# What (modern) weapons could be used to destroy skeletal enemies as completely as possible?

As per the cliché, after getting hit by a truck, our protagonist finds herself in a 'swords and sorcery' fantasy world. Also as per the cliché, she is granted an overpowered ability to make her new life easier. In this case, she gains the ability to summon/create anything she can imagine as long as she has a reasonable (layman's) grasp on how the thing works. Unfortunately, the world is on the verge of being overrun by the vile, undead minions of a group of necromancers. Having witnessed for herself exactly what kind of atrocities the necromancers are committing against the living (with suffering and death being powerful fuel for their foul magic) she vows to remove the taint of their existence from the world. Fortunately, she has played plenty of shooters and RTS games to have some idea of the weapons she can use against them. However, those are designed to work against living, human targets.

# Available tech

The world is a fairly generic medieval fantasy world. The enemy skeletons are limited in armor and weapons to medieval level. I'm thinking of equipping the skeletons with sword and/or longbow and wearing up to full plate armor.

The protagonist has access to modern day knowledge of weapons and tactics. This includes weapons and tools that could semi-realistically be built with modern technology even if in practice the expense/complexity would be unfeasible. For example, remotely/AI controlled tanks and machine guns, and maybe even a version of the 'rods of god'. (If I find a way to justify summoning something not just in orbital position but having orbital velocity as well.)

# The enemy

Skeletons are animated dead. They are not so much dead bodies given life again as they are a conveniently arranged collection of bones whose parts are enchanted with magic to make them move again. Even if a skeleton is damaged, any separated parts will continue to move and act on their own. For example, a disembodied arm will use its hand to crawl along the floor and grab at opponents' legs. As long as any part is still able to move it will continue to try to harm the living in any way possible. A 'complete' skeleton will fight with any weapons it can find while any 'spare parts' will bite, scratch, grab and kick as able.

This, unfortunately, means that it is not enough to simply remove the head or destroy the brain. Also, unfortunately, the undead remains animated even if the necromancer that raised them is killed. The sheer malice of the magic giving them life ensures they only stop when fully destroyed or rendered immobile.

They are not mindless; their intelligence is at the level of an average human.

# Summoning limits

Without going into the exact mechanics, there are some general limits to the protagonist's ability. Apart from having an idea of the summoned object there is also a summoning cost in terms of energy user (think 'MP'). There is only so much MP that she can generate in a given time, limitting the size, complexity and/or number of objects summoned. Essentially, anything can be prepared given enough time, but on-the-fly summoning is limited to very simple, small items.

# The question

What sort of modern weapons could the protagonist use against skeletons, if the goal is to destroy them as completely as possible? How would you destroy large groups in the open? What about enemies occupying a town when you want to keep the buildings and any innocents in one piece? What about clearing them out of a building without demolishing it?

Note that the skeleton enemies will be actively fighting back and they will number in the dozens to hundreds. Being in melee range of them is generally a bad idea, so unless the melee weapon is particularly effective a ranged approach is probably preferred, though ammunition is a potential concern. Note that the engagement is one against many, not army vs army.

Below are my own initial ideas.

### Melee weapons

Bludgeoning weapons seem the most effective option, though I wonder how much physical strength would be necessary to break enough bones to take out an undead. The use of a powered exoskeleton (i.e. power armor) could mitigate some of the danger, but engaging in melee still seems like a bad idea.

### Small arms

Pistols and rifles of sufficient power will break bones - if they hit and don't simply pass through the gaps in the skeleton or glance off a bone. After the torso or spine is destroyed, hitting individual limbs would be a lot harder too. Either a form of saturation fire or expert reflexes and accuracy would be needed.

### Explosives

If my understanding of explosives is correct, it's the pressure of the shockwave that kills the target through internal trauma. That means that at the very least, performance against skeletons is (much?) worse than against living humans.

### Kinetic bombardment

Useful against massed concentrations of undead. Basically, drop a mass of rocks on the enemy from as high as possible. Either artillery or aircraft drop something like the Lazy Dog bomb on the enemy. Though, like bullets, a lot of them would need to be dropped to ensure complete destruction of the target.

### Acids

Throwing an acid or similar onto a skeleton might be easier than filling its entire space with bullets. Chlorine trifluoride comes to mind, which reacts violently with pretty much with anything, though this would probably not be safe for the user.

Edit: I should have indicated this from the start (but mistakenly opted to try for a general answer), but I'm most interested in the situation where the protagonist is forced into a situation of needing to dispatch enemies that have occupied the building she is in. (Because I'm finding it really hard to come up with good solutions for it.) However, I appreciate answers on all scales.

• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – L.Dutch Jan 10 at 4:11
• Why not just cremate them en-mass? If only there was a military device for mass BBQ. Possibly one that sniff smells like victory! – Aron Jan 10 at 9:09
• "a disembodied arm will use its hand to crawl along the floor and grab at opponents' legs." ... I would think that a disembodied arm attached to my ankle is a minor nuisance at best. – M.Herzkamp Jan 10 at 12:06
• All right, you primitive screw-heads, listen up! See this? Thiiiiis is my QUESTION! It's a fifteen-paragraph post with background and relevant details. Loid Thanead's top of the line. You can find this on Stack Exchange in the Worldbuilding department. That's right, this sweet baby was made by typing in a <TEXTAREA> right here on the world wide web. And it's absolutely free; no cost to you. It's got section headers, several thoughtful comments, and 26 answers. That's right... shop smart: shop Stack Exchange Smart. YA GOT THAT!? – tex Jan 10 at 16:09
• @tex, this might just be me (I have a hard enough time discerning other people's emotions in real life), but I honestly can't tell whether you mean that sarcastically or not. In case it is not, thank you, I'm glad you like it! :) – Loid Thanead Jan 10 at 22:31

Why hasn't anyone mentioned tar pits, acid bogs, magma pools, and similar? Immobilize the skeleton army with any such option, and then incinerate and/or crush. Size and shape can vary wildly (picture a puddle in a room vs. a moat surrounding your village).

Simple for a layman to imagine (such as your protagonist) and the mechanism is very straightforward. If she's in a rush or low on MP, focus on immobilization and go for the tar pit. If she has more MP, conjure magma for complete bone combustion.

Innocent villagers intermingled with the skeletons? No worries... give them little islands.

Truck-kun brought her there, she brings Truck-kun there.

Use trucks, with the key in the ignition and stuff, and send them towards the zombies, adding more trucks as needed, and filled with whatever you want.

Like a truck filled with time bombs. Blow up Truck-kun over and over again, to vent hate, for him bringing her away from her life.

Oh, gotta go room-clearing?

Does the building have to survive?

Armored Truck ramming down everything... Then rebuild the building afterwardsm maybe.

Yeah, I'm running Truck-kun into the ground.

Truck is used as shrapnel.

# Antimatter

Antimatter is exactly that - a matter with the opposite charged particles pairs: anti-protons and positrons.

When the antimatter collides with matter it releases near 100% of it's mass as energy. It makes it extremely effective as a weapon - even very, very tiny amounts of antimatter will blow up quintillion or more times more powerful than the most powerful nuclear devices ever detonated (though depends on the density of the anti-material used)

Antimatter is not used nowadays as it's extremely expensive and can only be created for a short time because.. well, it annihilates on the contact with regular matter. Luckily for OP, the protagonist can summon it at will making it possible to use even ad-hoc without the necessity to prepare long time in advance like in case of nuclear weapons.

Antimatter in this case is also quite universal. Depending on summoned quantity it can be used to destroy groups of tens, hundreds or.. well, almost unlimited amount of enemies - (un)dead or alive. You can also use it with "pinpoint" precision to eliminate individual units - just summon several millions of atoms of antimatter right into the skeleton's body and there you go, destroyed completely without a trace while keeping the surroundings (relatively) undamaged. Depends on the case of course.

Numbers

.. Using the convention that 1 kiloton TNT equivalent = 4.184×1012 joules, one gram of antimatter reacting with one gram of ordinary matter results in 42.96 kilotons-equivalent of energy (though there is considerable "loss" by production of neutrinos) ..

To illustrate1:

So, just a 250 gram (around a weight of a human fist) of such stuff accounts for a quadrillion joules, capable of destroying modern city and then some(~1/4 of Tsar-bomba TNT force). In fact, your protagonist is now capable of fighting skeletons, demons, dragons, or aliens.

If "small enough" also only applies to the size, not the mass, then they can summon something like pressurized neutron-star anti-matter. An example of weight calculation for such an object can be found in the great vsauce3 video. Just a hammer will weight around 4.6x1015 kilograms and the antimatter on such scale will release around 2x1031 joules - an entire solar system would surely perish.

I guess it speaks for itself. If your protagonist will ever get tired of the world, it's possible for them to annihilate entire planet in a blink of an eye.

Summary

• (+) Effective (in fact, as effective as any weapon could be in terms of sheer damage)
• (+) Universal. With enough experimentation can be adjusted to be used against small groups or even individual enemies
• (+) Practical. Fits well (perhaps, too well? see below) with the restriction on the protagonist ability. It's very simple to imagine how it "works", it is required in very small quantities
• (+) Simple. Easy concept and small mass necessary makes it possible to summon in real fight ad-hoc (unlike nuclear weapons for instance, if I got the protagonist ability restrictions properly)
• (+) Clean. No side-effects if done properly. Unlike nuclear blast, this will not leave any trails after explosion. Of course, apart of the destruction caused by energy force
• (-) Danger. If "experiment" goes wrong the entire world can be destroyed. Can be approached carefully with summoning 1 atom and then doubling up the amount until certain threshold.
• (?) Melee-fight. Depending on the limitations of protagonist ability it may be hard to target dispersed small groups of enemies in melee range. If, however, protagonist can summon matter into several places simultaneously (or close to that), this shouldn't be an issue.
• (?) Ultimate ace card. Potentially, plot-breaking. Seriously, this looks so convenient and effective given the ability of protagonist that I think it can be effective till extent of breaking the plot as it makes defeating enemies far too easy ("I win" button). With some sufficient personal transport prepared in advance, the protagonist can wipe out virtually any amount of enemies in a matter of weeks or months.

Side notes

As mentioned in comments, the ability to create "something" of "nothing" could potentially lead to violation of the first law of thermodynamics (and may be even second). This may be used to create relativistic effects, black holes, may be even time-travel and portals. All kind of nice stuff we can't have in our world. If the power of antimatter and related things is too much and plot-breaking, I guess physics in that world have to work differently or the ability of the protagonist must be severely altered.

(1) See source.

• Simple, yet effective. I'm definitely going to think about this option. – Loid Thanead Jan 15 at 16:12
• @LoidThanead technically speaking, the ability of your protagonist is extremely powerful and can account for relativistic effects such as suspension in time (due to the fact it can potentially lead to breaking of the 2-nd law of thermodynamics, may be even time travel or portals). Another "cool" option here would be to create a mini-blackhole with summoning matter into a single space. All you need to do is to ensure it's smaller than Schwarzschild radius which the protagonist can do easily. – Alma Do Jan 15 at 16:18
• @Alma_do You're right, of course. I'm probably going to have to come up with some reason why antimatter and such don't work, because they're so powerful that they kind of trivialize any threat the opponent could be. – Loid Thanead Jan 15 at 16:25
• @LoidThanead even if you forbid anti-matter, there are almost countless other options relying on the fact the protagonist can create "something" of "nothing". To account for all such things as black holes/relativistic effects/etc you'll probably need to make physics work differently in your world. – Alma Do Jan 15 at 16:36
• @Alma_Do, or simple have her be unaware of them. She won't be a physics major. – Loid Thanead Jan 15 at 16:38

It depends on how you define what costs energy to create. But if she could create shape memory metal that is already bent and ready to go back to its normal shape, that would be an extremely destructive weapon.

Just create a long bar of it, bent to make multiple rounds around a tree. Unleash it, and it will cut in half everything around, parts of the skeletons will start to fall due to gravity, and get multiple other strikes before it reach the ground. If it hits something a bit heavy and resistant like the skull, it will crush it into pieces and send these pieces all around the area.

Depending on how the armors are designed, armored skeletons will be entirely ejected far away and certainly destroyed by the impact and the bending or the armor, or it will cut them by their spline and only destroy entirely the upper part.

It would make a good replacement for a bomb, as it only destroy everything in an horizontal disc, meaning your character and other humans that are aware of what is going to happend only need to crouch to survive.

If she can create that quick enough, an already bent bar of this metal ending with a simple ball will completely destroy any bone in its way, and bend metal armors enough to destroy what's inside, along with her own hands, arms, shoulders and maybe spline if she tries to hold it herself, she could summon it planted in the ground or a wall.

## protected by L.Dutch♦Jan 9 at 16:36

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