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Context: I'm currently writing a story where I'm giving unconventional and otherwise impractical battle weapons more spotlight. So I am currently contemplating making my main character a boomerang(s) wielding warrior of legend by the end of his journey/life. "Retriever" Boomerangs (Boomerang that always returns to the user even after hitting through some currently unspecified method) would then be my main character's signature weaponry.

The battle boomerang, also known as boomerang weapon is a common trope in works of fiction but I can't help but wonder how effective would such a weapon really be? And for that matter how useful or useless/hazardous would a bladed variant of this weapon be? I have the impression that the wooden boomerang is the superior and more practice weapon of the two (wooden vs bladed).

So this character of mine is ideally going to be equipped with upwards of 10 boomerangs + cable wires (to be used as a whip of sort or for tying, strangling) + throwing knives + smoke/powder pellets + backup sword + shield.

Anyway what possible fighting techniques could a character who wields almost exclusively boomerangs possibly use?

An idea I had initially was to have my character throw Boomerangs at his opponents to distract them and then quickly close the distance between himself and his opponents in order to go for the kill. However I am currently trying to find other fighting styles or techniques for my character, techniques that could also harness the boomerangs ability to return to it's user.

Thanks for help!

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Aug 9 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Can I recommend Sokka, from Avatar: The Last Airbender? $\endgroup$ – Dubukay Aug 9 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Dubukay If there is another example of a boomerang fighter I'd be surprised. (And one that isn't a WWII fighter aircraft damnit!) $\endgroup$ – BMF Aug 9 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ I forgot how to throw a boomerang, but then it came back to me.... $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Aug 10 at 2:05
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Real life hunting boomerang (there were no special battle one) never return back. And it is obvious: if boomerang can deliver damage to target it will deliver it owner on return. Real life physic has no favorites. If it hits - it hits.

But the real reason is - the impulse that can hit hard is hard to change. Heavy enough boomerang have too wide turning circle - it just have no enough flight time to make a full turn.

It means that boomerang fighting style is exacly the same as any throwing weapon fighting style (javelins, darts, knifes, axes): have 2-3-5 of them, have light armor, run faster. Hit&run as it is.

Even if your boomerang has magical return/recall feature it all still aplies. If you have single boomerang, you will be weaponless and defensless while it does it's flying& hitting. And it is not the best weapon for close combat.

Bladed variant is better - both at throwing and close combat.

So, in general:

  • have several boomerangs with you

  • have light armor and light shield (other light armored throwers and arches are you archenemies)

  • run to throwing range, throw, and instantly run back (do not wait for hit&return/recall)

  • regroup (take another one), repeat

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    $\begingroup$ I was about to post pretty much the same answer, but you can have a +1 instead. Don't underrate the use of a boomerang as a close combat weapon, especially as the OP mentioned their character was carrying a shield, too. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Aug 7 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Boomerang at close combat is just light club or a one-handed axe - both are not the best choise. $\endgroup$ – ksbes Aug 7 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ An axe is a perfectly reasonable weapon, and one used by quite a few different people in antiquity. Two-handed axes aren't very useful if you're using a shield, as the OP said the boomerang-wielder would be. If you can't kill someone with a boomerang by physically smacking them with it, it isn't going to be much use as a thrown weapon now, is it? $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Aug 7 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ 2h axe vs 1h axe+shield - my bets are on the first. So this boomerang user should avoid close combat. But I agree - if he have to fight, boomerang is not the worst close combat weapon either. $\endgroup$ – ksbes Aug 7 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty certain that historically, axe (or any other 1h weapon)+shield users vastly outnumbered two-handed axe users. Such weapons are very specialist, and shields are very useful. Also, Joe Greataxe Bloggs will find his fighting style cramped somewhat by the razor-sharp throwing stick protruding from his ribcage, the non-shield-using idiot. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Aug 7 at 13:37
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Trap Fighter

"Retriever" Boomerangs (Boomerang that always returns to the user even after hitting through some currently unspecified method) would then be my main character's signature weaponry.

Well, that takes away the main drawback of the boomerang, namely that it follows Newton's Third Law of equal reactions and stops when it hits something. Also, you want want bladed boomerangs. They're a bit more aerodynamic than the blunt ones, and more lethal. Just learn to catch them (no more impractical than using them in the first place.)

The main advantage that boomerangs have over traditional throwing weapons (javelins, knives, throwing axes, bolos, etc.) is that they have a curved path. In other words, you can throw a boomerang and have it curve to strike your opponent, or throw it so that it will nail him in the back upon its return.

Obviously, using a trick like 'missing' him and then having the boomerang boomerang around and nail the foe du jour in the back can only work once and is rather unsatisfying to kill off a main boss with.

But consider! Have your character throw two boomerangs at once to loop paths and attack a foe from two directions, then keep throwing more such that he's constantly being forced to fend off boomerang attacks from every direction you can manage. (This is what I mean by 'trap fighter', you're perpetually locking your opponent in place.) Just charging you with a shield won't work because you can curve the boomerang around. If you keep an opponent pinned at distance with the threat of a bladed projectile at weird angles, they'll never be able to close the gap and you can gradually whittle their defense / evasion options by keeping as many magic ever-returning boomerangs in the air as fast as you can throw.

The cable wires would be a great addition. Tie it to the end of the boomerang and snake a wide, low throw when your foe is preoccupied with the rest of your boomerangs to trip him up. As an added bonus, this will even be effective against armored knights.

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  • $\begingroup$ First of all thanks a lot for giving my question an honest chance (people can be very rude unfortunately) !!!! And secondly can't thank you enough for the ideas which I love already, I greatly appreciate it ! $\endgroup$ – Anonymousworldbuilding Aug 7 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ How on earth does a spinning boomerang drag a cable without it tangling the blade in motion? $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 7 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Ash bearings and a little stick might do, but it'll be tricky to strike a balance between "strong enough not to just break whenever anything happens at all" and "light enough not to interfere with the aerodynamics of the carrier". $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Aug 7 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime True if you use a swivel at the centre of rotation you could carry a light line. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 7 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash sorry I was being too defensive $\endgroup$ – Anonymousworldbuilding Aug 7 at 13:11
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The first thing that leaps out to me is the incredible distraction potential of using boomerangs. Throw it off to the side (not at the target), run forward to engage them and hold their attention, and wait for the boomerang to arc in from the side or back. Even if the boomerang doesn't do damage, that blow from behind could easily give you the moment you need to finish them off.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the help ! Pretty neat technique, I can only imagine how skilled my character is going to be in order to predict boomerang trajectory. Definitely makes for a very tactical fighr ! $\endgroup$ – Anonymousworldbuilding Aug 8 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ That would only work against people who don't know what a boomerang is, A better use would be in casting it behind the opponent. It'll be more or less impossible for him to predict where and when it'll return, at least with any precision. If he turns to look at it, he'll turn his back on you, pretty big mistake. $\endgroup$ – Michael Mortensen Aug 9 at 11:44
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As C.R. Rowenson suggest, it could act as a great psychological element in a fight. Boomerangs, unlike other ranged attacks has the benefit of being able to come from directions other than straight ahead. Throw the boomerang behind the enemy, now shortly it'll come back. The enemy can't turn and defend from it, as that leave his back exposed to the main char, and any other attacks he can make (stab him in the back with the sword).

The enemy won't be able to predict where it'll return, so if he moves to the sides, main char might have predicted it and he's still hit. or Main can go on the offense, attack and get the enemy to dodge into the path of the boomerang.

Even if the boomerang isn't in of itself lethal, it's not something the enemy can just ignore. It's effectively a club that'll hit you in an undefended part at the most inconvenient moment.

So my suggestion for main char, is tactical fighter, using feints and quick attacks (from full 360 degrees) to keep his opponent of balance and unsure of where and when the next attack comes.

A possibility could also be adding a flute like attachment to the boomerang. Supposedly the sounds artillery makes before it hit in WW1 was this high pitched whistling sound. That was far worse psychologically then the explosion itself. (It's the knowledge that death is coming, but you don't know if it'll strike you, the man next to you or none of you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

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    $\begingroup$ 5 boomerangs whistling in different directions would be very distracting and ominous, and offer very little information about where each boomerang was. $\endgroup$ – Grault Aug 9 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelMortensen Really can't you enough , now that's the kind of iconic weapon I need, simply this is an awesome idea and will definitely be implementing it into my story ! $\endgroup$ – Anonymousworldbuilding Aug 9 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Anonymousworldbuilding Have you ever seen those flexible plastic hoses that you simply swing with one hand and they whistle? I don't know the physics, but I think a flute on a spinning boomerang could do something similar, for a cost of momentum. $\endgroup$ – Grault Aug 9 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Anonymousworldbuilding You can also reproduce a similar effect by blowing over the top of a bottle, but the technique is not obvious and may require demonstration. I think the flute-boomerang would make a good Physics Stack question. I think the sound would pulse due to rotation. $\endgroup$ – Grault Aug 9 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Grault Oh I see so the sound vibration would lower momentum, I guess magic is going to be in full force here. No big deal considering the already ridiculous nature of my weapon ! Thanks again $\endgroup$ – Anonymousworldbuilding Aug 10 at 9:00
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You've gone into territory, and boomerangs need to be fantastical anyway to be both returning and useful into battle.

Take a page from Megaman X. He has a weapon called Boomerang Cutter. He fires those boomerangs, and once they've started doing the curve they become homing. They lock on to X and will return to him no matter what. The fun part is that shooting them causes your ammunition bar deplete as with any other weapon, but once they come back to X the ammunition bar is restored by the same amount that was spent by firing them.

Of just go full Captain Boomerang and call it a day. He's the character you're trying to rip off inspired by, anyway:

Captain Boomerang carries a number of boomerangs in his satchel. He is an expert at throwing the weapons and as well as ordinary boomerangs he has a number with special properties, including bladed, explosive, incendiary, and electrified boomerangs (...) He has exhibited creativity in his boomerangs by creating "razorangs" and an acid-spewing boomerang.

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