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No metal weapons allowed I'm limiting this to wooden or composite ones only (for example the use of something as tough or harder than lignum vitae and other materials).

I accept far fetched answers or ones including a little bit of magic since lack of realism doesn't really bother me that much. (for example soldiers having above average human strength)

Combat is almost exclusively blunt trauma based except for "cross/bow & arrows" and the occasional stone/obsidian-tipped (sharp but brittle materials) spears/lance, so I would like to take bladed (hard metal) weapons such as swords out of the equation.

All types are armor are allowed except the ones that require metal.

With the context out of the way I assumed using blunt objects such as maces and clubs would be best, even from an aesthetic point of view I quite like it. However I am now thinking about adding in pole-arm maces and clubs supposedly for added reach but in reality just out my personal sense of aesthetics.

**How to justify to use of long reach bludgeons ? What do I need to make this work ? **

From what I've gathered this type of weapon has already existed but I want to focus on ones that are made without metal.

https://live.staticflickr.com/8295/8021511848_a3777371dd_o.jpg

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31YLlZdJt4L.SS510.jpg

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    $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't you be able to make the head from stone? $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Apr 10 '20 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ Well without metal armor, you won't be hitting anything harder than the stone itself. What is going to break first, your stone hammer or an enemy's head? $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Apr 10 '20 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ lookup something called a polehammer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 10 '20 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ so you want entire pole made of wood ? how long you want it to be ? pike length or a halberd is ok ? if it pike length it probably snap, if it halberd length and thickness it may can be use as is, or quarterstaff ok? is this for warfare or self defense? $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 11 '20 at 3:38
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    $\begingroup$ also can flail acceptable ? $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 11 '20 at 3:51
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This is a little broader than your question but I think it gets to your point (pardon the pun) Hope it helps!

  • There are lots of long weapons available without metal. First, don't forget the good old stone-tipped or even fire-hardened spear or pike. Pike formations might even be MORE effective since you won't have as effective chopping tools to counter them.

  • Blunt can be a bit of a misnomer - it might not be a cutting tool, but the goal of most weapons is to focus energy to a small point, so even a pointy rock on the end of a pole is gruesome if you hit someone with it (think Poleaxe). The short version is the stone axe, an extremely popular weapon.

  • Pole arms are slow compared to hand weapons (like say a Macuahuitl which would be much like an obsidian sword) good for infighting, so pole arms imply formations and armies more than cutthroat melee. Polearms (especially blunt ones) would be most effective against armored opponents (maces came into vogue to let armored knights break each other's bones through armor) so if there's some sort of linen or cocoanut armor to fend off knives and spears then crushing weapons are more critical.

  • If blunt is the critical thing (thinking clerics and religious rules) don't forget slings and bolas. Sling formations were prominent in many ancient militaries even after the development of metal spear and arrow tips (think David and Goliath); everyone can make one, ammunition is free, and a hundred sling bullets hitting your formation is unpleasant at best. Save fragile bows and arrows for hunting.
  • A long club is essentially a staff. it can beat someone to death if you need to have the reach, but the actual wielding of it is usually quite different and even into medieval times using a staff well was a skilled and valued ability (think Robin hood and Little John).
  • In homage to Indiana Jones, a whip is technically blunt, but still cuts (especially if tipped with something sharp) and can be just a ton of fun! It would have reach like a polearm.
  • Don't forget bone, animal teeth (shark, for example) and claws embedded into weapons to give the every dull tool a point! They might be fragile, but they're also cheap and require little technical skill to make.
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  • $\begingroup$ You make good points, those are definitely valid options. With this particular question I just wanted a way to justify the use of long reach mace/bludgeon. It's very much stylish choice and I am just looking for ways to make it seem plausible in setting. $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ I would say a long-reach mace or tetsubo-style weapon would be used in the same way a two-handed sword or halberd would be used. It would be support for pike formations, a way to crush heavy armor, or a means of protecting a narrow opening from invaders. Probably mostly in a downward crushing blow. There's a wide range of similar martial-arts weapons including hinged weapons like flails and nunchucks (chain weapons) which can give good reach. Rope can be subbed for most metal parts. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Apr 10 '20 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ While it's probably true that fixing bones or teeth to a weapon doesn't require much supporting technology, "little technical skill" isn't really accurate. $\endgroup$
    – Morgen
    Apr 11 '20 at 9:19
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here several wooden weapon outside of quarter staff

Flail

the best bet for you to get wooden long polearms assuming this was use as warfare weapon

enter image description here

oar or paddle

from pacific island or polynesian made from very hard wood, even miyamoto musashi kill kojiro with wooden oar.

image from:https://issuu.com/webbs_house/docs/oceanic_march_2013/67 enter image description here

image from:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maori_weapons,_Canterbury_Museum,_2016-01-27.jpg

(outside of the most upper one the rest is long wooden blunt weapon including the blunt wooden halberd or axe there, yes its pure wood) enter image description here

here another image if you dont believe me

image from:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maori_weapons_(tewhatewha),_Otago_Museum,_2016-01-29.jpg

enter image description here

i want to add more but it lag so hard, the rest is pretty much from polynesian wooden weapon and pretty much no different than oar or paddle or wooden naginata or halberd.

for why they use blunt weapon rather than stabbing, it probably they has upgrade plate armor to the point penetration or penetrating the gap is ineffective anymore, stuff like because the inner layer of the armor is strong enough to withstand stabbing, and so they need to use blunt to kill. (mind you plate armor not necessary made of iron or steel or metal it can also made from wood, or other materials like stone for example, though chinese do has stone armor, just not plate and more as ceremonial thing. if steel and iron technology is out of the question.)

or they are to agile and equipped with thick shield to effectively block the stabbing to the point blunt attack is far better to deliver damage either to the person or to break the shield, blunt swing is not necessary slow, it as fast as swinging other weapon, it just depend on the weight and inertia it deliver, spear stabbing has high chance to get missed unless in formation, at least blunt weapon attack can also disrupt the formation too, or breaking or cracking the spear if they land a hit, even if the spear not broken, the person probably get broken or dislodge arm from the force anyway.

or it just their everyday tool they have like the oar one, or just cultural thing, i dont know why, but most maori weapon is made of blunt weapon, usually wood as been shown in the image up there.

if your setting is not europe, i suggest copy the polynesian or pacific islands then, since it harder to create solid formation in an island with lush jungle, and where everyone use ship or boat (hence the paddle or oar as weapon), and the hot damp climate with lots of rain probably wont be effective for steel plate armor and a disaster for maintenance, besides with lots of wood, this can be a good reasoning of no metal armor or weapon, and so it make justification for wood plate armor or weapons, despite the cons like you cant reshape it back if it crack or break, but its better than nothing and you has a lot of wood source in the region.

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    $\begingroup$ Very insightful and detailed post I greatly appreciate it ! Honestly can't thank you enough, this will definitely come in handy for designing my world. $\endgroup$ Apr 11 '20 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ The rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated. $\endgroup$
    – kojiro
    Apr 12 '20 at 14:24
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I believe a long blunt weapon is generally called a staff. ;)

As to why people don't use metal, maybe magic metal manipulation is powerful/ranged enough to turn any metal armor into an instant death trap, and somewhat rare (people wearing the stuff cannot directly "hold their armor in shape"). The logical conclusion of that train of thought however is dueling Magneto knock-offs, that shred all the normies... and that doesn't sound like the story you're trying to tell.

If you want something more like a headless polearm, and a reason for everyone to carry them anyway... how about an ambush hunter that buries itself and bursts out when the ground above it is trod (or whacked) upon. The pole needs to be longer than the beast's reach, which just happens to be a bit shorter than however long you want your poles to be. These ambush critters would have to be at least a little mobile, or your people wouldn't need the staves. And once you find one of these things, it's a good idea to kill it... Maybe it has an exoskeleton, making bashing them considerably more effective than stabbing/cutting them.

And you'd want to trigger then with a lighter end, tapping along similarly to a blind person with their cane, but fight with a heavier end, which would also counterbalance the other end and make continuously tapping as you traveled less draining.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you ! This is very interesting approach and additionally it would also help me my world's lore ! $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ Another potential answer to the whole "no metal" issue is that maybe there are certain kinds of monsters in the world that are drawn to metal, and they're strong/numerous enough that they invariably win any contest against your people. In fact, this might encourage people to move any metal they found far enough away that these metal eaters (or whatever they want with it) will stay away. This would also give any society that has figured a way to shield their gear or came up with a metal eater repellent a Huge Advantage. $\endgroup$ Apr 13 '20 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ (which sounds like something Hiro Protagonist would discover around book two or three) $\endgroup$ Apr 13 '20 at 12:44
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The famous sharpened stick, or the high-tech version, the fire-hardened sharpened stick, is likely to be a more effective weapon than a club....and it can also be used as a club or staff if needed.

In this era - and others - individual weapons will be much less important than the military organisation, training and discipline of the different sides.

Historically blunt weapons have not really been popular; they're just not a very efficient way iof killing people,

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  • $\begingroup$ I hear you loud and clear ! I guess it all boils to down to a stylistic issue, I just wanted to justify why my soldiers would use long reach bludgeons. $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ What are the opposition using? Maybe think of some exotic physiology or armor or other reason why long bludgeons are the best solution to fighting them $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ You've just given me a bunch of ideas ! Yes you're right I am going about this the wrong way, I should have thought of the opposition. I feel I'm definitely going to go with an exotic physiology, incredibly strong,durable and dangerous enemies/creatures could do wonders for my story. $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ My latest (War of the God Queen) involves a war against soft-bodied octopoids which results in the development of some highly baroque spiked armor for tentacle protection and specialised calamari-chopping polearms $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 18:58
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Staffs are great weapons on their own. Not the really light ones you can do al sorts of spiny tricks with, but a good sturdy quarter-staff. In fact they are probably better weapons than most swords. Or most things that are not pole or projectile weapons. The thing you need to remember is that weapons in the real world are not "balanced" there is no rock paper scissors wheel where weapons neatly counter each other. Swords are ubiquitous in many cultures not because they are great battlefield weapons, but because they are easy to carry and quick to draw. They are usually a side arm unless they are really big and then the definition of pole weapon can get blurry.

Swords were not the kings of the battle field, but rather the pole arm (more specifically the spear). Pole weapons are not slow, as some might suggest, they are fast, they have the best reach short of projectiles, and they hit really really hard.

If you're going for blunt force being the primary mode of fighting on the battlefield, the first question I would ask is why not a spear. Spears are ludicrously effective and have been since before humans wrote things down. The first battle won with them is lost to history, the most recent I know of is from 2006 when royal marines executed a successful bayonet charge. If everyone is whacking each other over the head with clubs and staffs, but they have access to spears, the question is why isn't the spear king. Because it was, for most of history in most places. Exceptions like the roman legions do exist, but they are exceptions.

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    $\begingroup$ Great first post. It's not a "must-have" requirement of the site, but a link to the 2006 Royal Marine escapade would add value. $\endgroup$ Apr 11 '20 at 3:48
  • $\begingroup$ @OliverEddy While I agree with you that the spear would in fact be the better weapon, correct me if I'm wrong but the only reason spears were effective was because of the metal blade/tip right ? Let's say you make a the spear of the tip out of something much less durable and infinitesimally more brittle than steel wouldn't the tip of spear be more likely to break/ shatter thus rendering the pointy stick useless ? $\endgroup$ Apr 11 '20 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ Spears work fine with stone tips. Flint is one of the most used stone for this purpose. And when the tip breaks, you have a blunt spear, or as I like to call it, a staff. $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Apr 11 '20 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Anonymousworldbuilding Spears had stone tips, bone tips, and even just sharpened wood long before we had metalworking technology. Flint and obsidian in particular make for pretty good points, but the ancients weren't too picky $\endgroup$
    – awsirkis
    Apr 14 '20 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ I was off by two years on the bayonet charge (it was actually 2004) , and I cannot confirm that it was the last without a shadow of a doubt, but here is a link to a story about it. businessinsider.com/… $\endgroup$ Apr 17 '20 at 20:38
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Your people have strong blunt giant staves handy.

staves and guys

https://www.amstelsport.nl/buitensport-activiteiten/fierljeppen/

Pole arms originated because non-warriors had them handy. Bills and bill-hooks are tree pruning tools that were pressed into service as weapons.

If you want to justify why your people use giant blunt staffs as weapons, have the reason be that they all have giant blunt staffs handy.

In some parts of the Netherlands giant staffs like these are used to traverse the many canals traversing the landscape. You put your giant staff in and vault across.

vaulting a canal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP32iWoqjnQ

If you need a reason why this is the weapon your people use, a practical reason is good. The people are not professional warriors. When they are pressed into service, their tools get pressed into service too.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you ! Like Mark Storer's answer this is also a very interesting answer, I really like the worldbuilding approach to solving the issue this also allows me to add to my lore ! $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '20 at 18:00
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When you say "long, blunt weapons," I immediately jump to the Okinawan Rokushaku bo, a stick around 6 feet in length. The ancient incarnations were made from whatever wood they had lying around (since they were used to carry baskets or other containers), however you could have them arbitrarily thick or long for your purposes (my instructor had a 2.5" thick x 7' long purple heartwood bo, the size and density made it incredibly heavy).

There were three ways to form the shaft - tapered, straight, and swelled. The swelled end was used when something was going to be mounted inside the staff (a la nunti bo), which is what you are looking for in terms of weight distribution. The ends would also traditionally have a hook-shape on the end (again, made from whatever) to facilitate carrying things in such a way that they wouldn't fall off. By making this hook out of bone or stone, you essentially have a 6 foot long billhook.

Additionally, it adds variety as there are two ways to use it. Method 1 is the "baton method", where the staff is held in three equal divisions, allowing the use of both front-end and tail-end strikes. Method 2 is much more similar to polearms in the "rear-grip/sword" method, where the grip is biased towards the back half, giving a really long front end that can be wielded like either a regular spear or like an odachi.

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Many people have already posted very compelling answers. One thing to look at in our own world is weapons like staffs and spears have been in existence for thousands of years simply because they are so versatile. A staff can be as simple as a branch picked up from the ground, and a spear made by sharpening and hardening the end, so these are low tech to the point the Ancestors probably used them at the same time they were discovering fire and using sharpened flint as their high tech tool kit. This could theoretically make staffs and spears tens of thousands to millions of years old - depending how far back you want to push it (some ancestral hominids apparently were using fire that far back).

Staffs and spears lasted through ice ages, the domestication of dogs, horses and other animals, the invention of woven fibres, leather and metal armours and indeed are even used in the 21rst century (police riot batons are short staffs, and rioters often bring signs because the poles they mount the signs on are improvised staffs as well). The amazing versatility, increased reach and leverage that these give you mean they are in fact the very basic tools in the armoury, swords are side arms and not the primary weapons of war, despite anything Hollywood shows.

enter image description here

Riot batons in the modern world are effective blunt instruments

So these are amazingly effective weapons, with millennia of history behind them and countless martial arts schools developing innumerable techniques for use against almost any kind of imaginable threat.

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