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How do you make a weapon look scary (and hopefully also practical in combat)?

Discussion in 'Research' started by BloodyHellSausage, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    The Uruk-Hai from Lord Of The Rings looks scary, because it has a spike on it, but how do you make a weapon look scary without just adding spikes to it? Don't tell me to add skulls, either, because that's way too obvious.

    And the reason why I posted it on Research, how do you make a weapon look intimidating while also being suited for use in combat, because just adding lots of spikes doesn't necessarily make it an effective weapon. (I remember hearing it might get stuck on bones, for instance.)
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    One of the most frightening weapons I've seen is a tool to kill cavalry riders. It was two blades that were supposed to trap the rider's neck and slice their head off. I have no idea how effective it was, but it looked very scary.
    I guess anything that was designed to rip and tear rather than just slice would look scary to an opponent. So hooks, barbs and the like. If they just have to be intimidating [and not really work in combat] then make them big and scary. Big bang, shiny blades, strong colours and the like...
     
  3. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    Presumably you don't remember the name of the weapon, otherwise you would have told me. What about the country or countries the weapon was used?
     
  4. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    I happened to find these weapons from Africa, (probably the Congo,) that look intimidating, but I'm not sure how often they were used in combat. I direct link the images so people without Pinterest accounts can view, though you can probably find them if you look up "African knife" or "Congo knife" or something.
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/fe/14/17/fe14171d3aa66f819d1a7cfcfe27807b.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/564x/43/c1/66/43c1663f4d8054402d1065ce80734112.jpg
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.co...0486f9911e8a8fb1adf57--blade-runner-congo.jpg

    Some pages with more detailed information about other knives, and you can look up "Ngala Sacrificial Sword."
    Trumbash Knife - Mangbetu People - D.R. Congo (LS 158) - Sold
    Oceania
     
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Shark tooth swords look scary, and against an unarmored opponent, probably effective. But, many of the "scariest" looking weapons weren't necessarily for combat, being cerremonial, or a particular use like executioner's weapon, or whatever. And much is situational. A Cat-of-nine-tails, particularly if you add metal barbs, would scare the living shit out of me in the right situation, LOL. But in war? No, not a good weapon.
     
  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Yeah... They'll do! Anything big and sharp and wave towards me is probably going to invoke some fear in me...
    You are right I don't remember the name of the weapon. I think it was Japanese or maybe Korean or at least that is what I remember.
    That second image is sort of like it, but without the doo-hicky in the middle and it wasn't a sword but some sort of pole arm.
    Simple usually works in combat. You don't want a blade with a kink or hook in it in case it can get caught in a body. You want something that gets in and out simply...
    It's like Stargate:SG1 the Jaffa hi-tech [big and noisy and scary, designed for terror and domination] weapons. When up against the lo-tech [designed to kill] M16 and P90s, they seem to loose hands down every time.
     
  7. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    The only weapon I can think of that might match the description is the Chinese flying guillotine but its origins, nature, and use are all pretty murky and I've never seen a theory that makes them look even remotely practical as a weapon.

    As or other weapons, the impractical but wacky lantern shield usually has a couple of spikes on it, the Chinese hook sword has a couple of spikes, some spiked or flanged maces can look pretty nasty while remaining practical, and a couple of polearms can look pretty nasty. The bill was a farming implement adopted for combat and features a curved bladed hook and usually a spike. Think of it as a practical and historical equivalent to the uruk blades. The Indian whip-sword, or urumi, can have multiple blades of flexible metal and if that thing in action doesn't intimidate I'm not sure what will.

    Personally I've always like the look of forward curved weapons and find them pretty intimidating. These include the kukri, falcata, kopis, falx, rhomphaia, sica and karambit. These range from daggers to two-handed swords. The african shotel also has a foward curve but it's more dramatic and used to stab around shields.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  8. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    Take any weapon and put it in the hands of a scary looking dude/tte, you know, the type of guy/girl who looks like they could kill a dozen men with his/er bare hands. Such a person can make a butter knife look scary.
     
    pmmg likes this.
  9. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Look up images of "The Zulfiqar scimitar," heh.

    The question is really what qualifies as scary, why people would be scared of it.

    Some of the scare might be in actually seeing the weapon used rather than how it looks. I mean, a guy coming at me with a normal looking sword but halfway here slashing a tree in half with that sword would scare me, heh.

    But for a general idea...and if we are going with fantasy weapons...Seeing a flaming sword might be quite scary (a la GoT.)

    Seeing a double-bladed staff might be very scary: double bladed staff - Google Search
     
  10. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I understand that a lot of things might appear frightening, (and Lord knows the AK looks a little more frightening than the AR), but I don't think there is anything more frightening than something humanoid shaped pointing it at you.

    I am reminded of the riddle of steel...


    Ah, and looking at some of the pictures, I am reminded of the Klingon Bat-leth, which I am pretty sure was made to look frightening, but I always though was one of the most impractical weapons I have ever seen. I had to question how the klingon's would have gotten such a reputation as warriors if they tried to use weapons like that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think the best way to make a weapon scary is through context, pacing, language, and surprise. The tiniest, thinnest blade can be scary if it was just thrust into your neck by a comrade. The big runed blade with the evil inscription and creepy ornate markings and a jeweled hilt carrying the souls of demons also carries an unwieldy description that isn't going to help you pace out your scene.

    But I find signs of experience and use to be scary, like a blade with an uneven shine, or a hilt that looks like it's been replaced a few times.
     
  12. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    A thought is also the quality/type of materials to forge the weapon. Part of what makes the Uruk-Hai sword intimidating has to do with this (at least, in my opinion). It looks kinda crude and... dirty I guess? It just feels like it was forged by an orc. Not so pretty and shiny like the swords you see the Fellowship wield. Same goes for their armor.
     
  13. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Funnily enough, this is why I don't find the orc weapons scary at all. They look like shoddily made machetes. Like they'd be too soft or brittle or heavy to wield effectively. A well-made weapon is heaps scarier to me.
     
  14. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    I feel that. For me, I don't really find any armor or weapons to look intimidating, but I can understand why the look of their gear would intimidate certain people. Maybe not really talented fighters like Aragorn, but your average soldier/militiaman/villager? Totally. I agree with you though, in an actual battle a weapon that is clearly well-forged is a much bigger concern :p
     
  15. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    An impractically huge and heavy enough weapon reflects the superhuman strength of its wielder though, especially if they also have a reputation for having killed hundreds (or more) people which indicates they can wield it effectively. lol
     
  16. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Maybe instead of designing a weapon to look scary you should describe the weapon in terms of what it's going to do to you. Eg

    "It looked just like any other sword but Geoff saw the sparkle on the edge of the blade as it swung and felt a chill run down his spine. It was mono-filament edged and he knew he had no protection against it. There could be no protection. The blade would cut through anything as though it was thin air. His sword, his armour and his bones. It wouldn't stop even after he was falling to the ground in pieces!"

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  17. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    I don't think that's very realistic, but whatever.
     
  18. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Actually I just used the idea in my latest - spells for swords and spears that don't cut things, they divide the space containing them. In essence you get a spear that will punch through rock and keep going and a blade that will slice anything.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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