Imagine a creature that's a little bit like a human, but with much shorter legs and stronger arms long enough to reach down to the bottom of the torso/ top of the legs. It can easily stand upright and walk around on two legs, but when moving around prefers to do so in a "leaning forward" position, in order to utilize its arms for greater speed and agility. It is generally quite large, and carries most of its weight around the lower torso area.

In hand-to-hand combat it would generally outmatch any human due to its immense reach, its immovability (thanks to the heavy weight and and low center of gravity) and its strength, which is at least on par with the strongest of humans, if not greater.

It can also move very quickly for short bursts, using its arms to propel itself forward and allowing it to charge into others with a massive momentum, but cannot sustain a charge for longer than a few seconds.

However, given a level of medieval technology, how would this type of creature fight with weapons? Which weapons would be best for it, and what kind of fighting styles would it use?

Obviously there can be more than a single type of weapon, humans use many different types, I'm more looking for which weapons would offer the most benefit for the fighting styles you choose. These can be weapons that were invented for humans, or a new invention that is created to fit the physicality of this new creature.

In addition, what compositions of armor would offer the most benefit for this creature to fight with your chosen fighting style? What would offer the most protection, whilst still maintaining the least restrictiveness?

It does not have the dexterity to use its feet to hold weapons, and the hands do not have to be the same design as human hands (though at least would need an opposable thumb), but they must be strong hands. This means that when holding any weapons to fight with, its mobility would be greatly reduced as it can no longer effectively use its arms for movement.

They would be fighting both humans and others of their own kind. So what would be the most advantageous technique to fight by harnessing its strengths and minimizing its weaknesses?

For clarification, I'm not looking for one single fighting style. I know that humans can use a range of different techniques to fight, because they have been adapted to suit our bodies.

I'm asking which of these fighting styles that we have, or a new one that you have created, would work better for a bottom-heavy, long armed, short legged humanoid. This means that you can choose more than one; in fact, I would encourage it.

In addition, I'm looking specifically for fighting solo, or in small groups, rather than within the ranks of an army. This can be in any conditions, but would generally be in pretty wide open spaces on reasonably flat ground.

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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of a question I asked about weapons for long-armed creatures, and while I'd say most of the answers focused on the fact I was talking about dragons, you may still find what you're looking for there. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh Very different, actually. Please refer to my answer for the analysis. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh That was actually very insightful, I did try to search for a similar question but somehow that one never came up. Other than the cavalry stuff, as my creatures would be too heavy to be mounted, it was good stuff. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ The thing is a "low" center of gravity is relative to the creature not in comparison to other creatures and your creature as described would actually have a pretty high center of gravity...gorillas are top heavy. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ I feel like you just described a goblin $\endgroup$
    – Skye
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


New Answer to question after edit:

For this answer, I'll be basing the creature off of this image (drawn to the description of OP) of the creature in a 100% upright, back straight position.


A side view should look somewhat hunched like a gorilla, in order to facilitate the type of movement OP has described. Note that you can't actually have the lower body carry the majority of the weight if you want a super strong upper body, since the upper body has to have extensive muscling.

Since OP has said that the majority of the fighting will be:

fighting 1v1 and small group fighting they're most likely to be coming up against an array of blade types and short hand-held weapons (short swords/ maces/ rapiers), as well as larger two handed weapons (warhammers, greataxes, bastardswords)"

the ideal armor would have to be chain mail armor, but only on the body section, and not for the arms (we leave the chain armor off the arms because if it's a one piece it may restrict shoulder movement more than his muscles already do). Chain mail provides good mobility and flexibility while giving decent protection against slashing from blades. The fighter will still be weak to thrusts from rapiers and the like, so he'll have to parry those in order to prevent damage. Chain mail also doesn't protect against the war hammers or great axes, but it won't be a problem if we give him the weaponry I'm about to suggest.

First, take a look at the following two diagrams.

Species Specs Diagram Human body diagram

If you look at the first diagram, you can see that point A and C represent the relaxed and maximum raised positions of the arm. If you look at point D on the spec, you'll see that I've tried to represent the extensive muscling in order to provide massive arm strength. This extra muscle will get in the way in terms of raising his arms, preventing many overhead blows from being possible. Compare it to the human diagram, where there isn't that much muscle on the shoulder area. Since we can already see that he wouldn't be able to move swiftly on his feet based on what OP has said, the weapon must be able to be used while mostly stationary, while making up for the weaknesses in his armor. Since the weaknesses in his armor can be overcome by parrying the incoming attacks, as long as the weapon allows for good parrying abilities, everything is good.

To this, I suggest an unconventional weapon. Use shields with plated arm protection. Take a look at the arm section I've drawn here:

Arm protection

This drawing here depicts what I mean by plated arm protection. By only plating the outer section of the arm, we maintain maximum mobility while still allowing the use of his arms to defend himself.

I say to give him (viking style) shields because the shields allow the species can still maintain his mobility while having good defense and offense through shield bashing. With shields, he is able to push away many thrusting attacks, or use his arms to deflect attacks. While even heavy plate armor has trouble dealing with maces or war hammers, a shield can designed to handle the punishment. Shield bashing with his immense strength can cause more damage than a punch as well.

But how would he do this? With what "style"?

Well, there's really no "style" that would work here, but here's what he can try to do.

Taking advantage of the somewhat wide open flat areas that they'll be fighting on, and his immense reach, I suggest using a karate style blocking and punching system for his upper body. (Disregard his lower body since his legs are too short for good karate kicks) This is because his immense reach means that he can intercept attacks using his forearms earlier than most other fighters. The plated arm protection allows him to parry Rapier thrusts, or longer thrusting weapons (spears, pikes etc). I also suggest that he can use those shields deflect attacks instead of just using his forearms. By punching towards the larger weapons (great axes, war hammers), a well aimed punch can completely throw the opponent off balance by reversing the movement of the heavy weapon. Furthermore, because shield bashing does not require overhead blows, we can avoid the limitation of his muscles blocking his arms from being raised.

To take advantage of his "speed bursting dash with arms" ability, he can hold his shields and use them while dashing, and place his shields flush to the ground while dashing (use them as hand-shoes). By propelling forwards, then thrusting his arms out, he can put his entire body weight behind his shield bashes, allowing for even more power. And since these dashes are only short distances, this allows for "chained" short dashes between multiple enemies.

I imagine the dash would look something like this (Arrows represent the directions of force):

Dash Attack!

As you can see, the first step would be to place the shields against the ground. The second step would be to throw himself forwards using those shields and launch himself into the air towards the target. Upon landing closer to the target (the completion of the single step dash), he can thrust a shield (or two) to cause damage. This easy 3 step process can be repeated back and forth between different opponents if required.

In terms of offensive attacks using his legs, he can attempt a gymnastics move type attack. By using his arms as pillars on the ground, he can throw his legs forwards as a kick - kind of like this:

Kickin some ass

Pre-edit answer:

Normally, I would ask you to clarify your question. Do you want to know which weapons would be best for this creature, or are you looking for a specific style? You're asking over 5 questions in the body of your actual question, and usually, this would already make me put in a vote for closure.

However, since I can answer all these questions in the same succinct answer, I won't make that request.

First of all, you haven't described a creature that's "a little bit like a gorilla human" - You've basically described an upright chimp, minus the feet dexterity.

For this answer, I'll be using the image of a chimp-like human in my mind.

Now, the questions: However, given a level of medieval technology, how would this type of creature fight with weapons? Which weapon would be best for it, and what kind of fighting style would it use? In addition, what composition of armor would offer the most benefit for this creature to fight? What would offer the most protection for the fighting style, whilst still maintaining the least restrictiveness? What would be the most advantageous technique to fight by harnessing its strengths and minimizing its weaknesses?

Given a medieval technology, assuming that this creature has attained at least human level intelligence, it would not have a specific weapon type to use at all. The humanoid build and intelligence would drive the creatures to use whatever weapons fit the situation. While you could train a specific member of the species to be god-like at a particular weapon, it's more likely that the entire species will operate more like the human army - swordsmen, archers, pikemen, the lot.

Even humans don't have a "best fighting style". Every style has its own weaknesses, and at the end of the day it's the fighter that beats the other fighter, not the fighters style. Get this through now; There is no perfect style. Different members of this species will probably end up training in different styles, simply because at a human level of intelligence, choice is something crucial to the species - that means it'll be impossible for them to ALL train in the same style, since at some point one or two of them will branch out and more will follow. This also means there is no "Best technique" since every technique has a weakness. A person who has a single basic kick practiced 1000 times is more dangerous than one with 1000 different kicks practiced one time each - an old proverb (I don't remember where it came from) that can be interpreted as "even the most basic of techniques, if practiced enough, can be deadly."

Based on the above two answers (and further details you've provided), we can say that there is no best armor for this creature to fight. You've gone and asked a question with no answer. The armor composition depends on what kind of weapons the creature is facing. Plate armor against blades is standard, mail/leather for archers, etc etc. Again, there is no best fit.

TL;DR: You've asked the wrong questions, mate. Whatever you're doing in your story, if you're working with humanoid like creatures, can branch off our history. They can essentially use or make use of a large majority of our fighting styles, armor, and weaponry. There is no answerable "best fit" for any of your questions in which a weakness cannot be found. You're better off using some creativity and mixing styles (if you want something that isn't completely the same as human styles). Note that styles often come with weapons training specific to that style, so you may want to use those for your warriors.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree. Seems there should have been another qualifier to the questions: "given this scenario/environment". $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ I'm aware that there isn't one single best fighting technique, I specified that humans use lots of different weapons. I'm saying that certain techniques/weapons would be more suited. Fencing, for example, would be terrible. And the extra questions were for clarity towards what I was looking for more specifically. Considering that others have managed to answer the question exceptionally well, I think you may have simply misunderstood what I was asking. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Mike.C.Ford Stephanes answer is just outright wrong (I've explained why it's wrong in the comments), and Thucydides answer doesn't actually answer your question properly. It's a self contradicting answer, in the sense that he gives you an example for a long ranged weapon, then a short ranged weapon, and then says they're both good. It's essentially saying the same thing as my answer, except that I didn't beat around the bush to telling you there is no answer. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify I don't understand why you're so ardently against this question, and finding flaws in everything that anyone says. It's called worldbuilding SE for a reason, I'm not done developing the ideas yet. I've commented other answers with ideas I think are interesting, you've picked holes in them all. Your idea in the comments about extra arm joints being beneficial for a flail type weapon were interesting, and if heavy armor is not good then why not suggest how light armor is better, and why? You seem to be answering your own questions, when did I say they would be fighting in formation? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Aify you also said some whip fighting styles require jumping to use them, which is obviously exactly what I'm looking to avoid. You appear to be quite knowledgeable on the subject, could you not offer some fighting styles that are mostly done whilst the fighter remains mostly stationary? That's exactly why I asked the question in the first place. Go ahead and say why some fighting styles are worse, but maybe offer up which ones are better. You've basically entirely negated your own answer by saying that some fighting styles are better than others for this creature. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 9:38

The best weapons are the ones that compensate for the fighter's limitations and make the most out of his unique abilities. To sum up:

  • His weight and low center of gravity allows him to win most strength-based contests. Furthermore, if he can connect and grab an opponent, he'll be able to put him off-balance in most cases.
  • His strength is a big advantage if his opponent is within his grasp. He can then easily subdue or hurt him.
  • His mobility and agility are an issue, as a fast opponent could evade him or attack him from behind.

His weapon and armor should then increase his grasping ability and allow him to make the best out of it, while protecting his blind spot.

I suggest a gruesome long flail made of chains and hooks. The fighter flails it around and can hit and grab any enemy in a large radius. Once caught, the enemy is violently pulled toward the fighter who then have him within his arms' reach.

The fighter can wear a heavy armor, which makes sense since he''ll probably be a good target for archers. For added efficiency, the armor could be covered in spikes, so that caught enemies are propelled to their death upon it.

He would learn techniques for quickly disposing of his victims - untangling his flail, unpinning them - or for turning them into weapons or projectiles, as if his flail was a sling.

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, I did initially think of a flail as the ideal weapon, but never considered the grappling technique. Armor that helps with this, as well as protecting the blind spot are considerations I'd not thought of either. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ In order to make use of a long flail of chains and hooks properly, the fighter must have a full range of motion on his upper body - some styles also require jumping to use it. The weapon described here is very similar to a chain whip used by the shaolin. If you take a look here, you'll see that the user of the weapon uses his body in order to change the direction of the weapon (as such would be required by your described weapon). If you put heavy armor on your creature (and it has spikes on it) your weapon will get caught on your own armor... $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ And it will get in the way of the blows. Furthermore, heavy armor (assuming plate-type armor) typically limits the torso in such a way that your upper body and your hips don't turn very well, which even further limits the use of this weapon. The reason flails worked in medieval times was because it was short, and didn't require any real change in direction in terms of combat capability - a single downwards blow was enough to crush armor. But if you have a long flail and you swing it, you will not be able to swing it more than once UNLESS you adopt the chain whip techniques, which wrap the... $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ weapon around his body - given that a fail typically has a large spiked ball at the end (or in your case, dangerous hook(s)), I would not recommend trying to use this weapon as the moment you tried to change the direction of the blow you would injure yourself. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Aify. I was assuming that the longer arms would give the extra required mobility required by such techniques. $\endgroup$
    – Stephane
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 20:16

To take advantage of a solid centre of gravity and long reach, the creatures might find it best to fight with large polearms or axes, and have a close combat style similar to sumo wrestling in order to grapple with opponents.

As noted, there are thousands of fighting styles, and most are dependent on the skill of the practitioner rather than the style itself. A Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris is going to take you apart regardless of what style you know, unless you are a grand master of your particular fighting art. Similarly, some of your creatures are going to trip over their shoelaces and be easy to defeat, most will have a reasonable skill in whatever martial art they have studied and a small percentage will be highly skilled and difficult to defeat (unless you "cheat" by using ranged weapons, siccing a dragon on them or doing something outside the normal pattern of fighting and combat behaviour. I would suggest poison myself....).

One other thing which hasn't been mentioned up to this point is the natural habitat of these creatures. I am going to guess that they evolved in a rainforest environment , much like real gorillas in our world. In a rugged, heavily forested environment, swinging swords and axes might not work too well, so they would have preferentially used ambush tactics and perhaps short stabbing spears that would not hinder movement in the forest that much. Once you get out of the woods, these tactics would not work as well, so in the "mainstream" environment, they would adapt the sorts of weapons and fighting arts that already work in open fields.

  • $\begingroup$ I did think of a sumo type hand-to-hand type of fighting, but polearms and axes are great ideas. The extra reach and angular momentum from the longer arms would be perfect for that. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ A sumo wrestling style only takes advantage of his heavy weight, and makes little use for his arms, considering that the sumos goal is to push the other sumo out of the circle or to force them to touch the ground without using their feet. That's a horribly unrealistic way of fighting for a creature who (I assume because of their shorter legs) is shorter than the opponent. Sure, he can grab me by the waist, maybe lift me up and drop me, but I can land at least 5 good punches + an eye gouge to his face while he's doing it. I'll drop, but I won't die, but he'll definitely be incapacitated. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Also, large weapons don't actually add more value to this species of user compared to a human user. They're likely to be used like this weapon in a formation, and in 1v1 combat (or a messy battlefield), the length would actually restrict the available movements due to obstacles around the user. Also, you don't actually get more angular momentum from longer arms. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ Your second and third paragraphs are essentially a paraphrased version of my answer - except you've added in a specific environment to which the OP had neglected to provide. Actually, in a way he's made it so that "all environments" need to be considered, since he's stated that the creatures will be fighting humans and humans live in all sorts of environments. You can't say for sure that they would've used ambush tactics preferentially in a forest either, since they just as easily could have been a trap based tribe and used a trap + bait system to rid themselves of attackers. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 18:03

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