I like fight scenes and weapons.
If you write fantasy, scifi, or action, you probably like fight scenes and weapons, too.
Let’s talk about them.
Weapon Name: Staff, Bo Staff, Bo, Bong, Bow, Huge Stick
This is a staff. It is basically a stick.
Description: It’s a stick. You could pick one up off the ground and use it the same way as a manufactured one. Can be made of wood or metal.
Where Can You Get One? It’s a stick. Pretty much anywhere.
Natural Genres: Fantasy, historical fiction, anything with an improvised street brawl
Unnatural Genres: Anything where projectiles or lasers have been invented. Seriously, don’t use a stick to fight a ray gun.
What’s It For? Breaking bones, knocking people unconscious, doing flashy spin moves
How Long You Can Fight With It: If you’re spinning the weapon, your arms get tired really fast. Blocking and attacking take a lot of energy and numb your hands over time, so unbroken strings of blows shouldn’t last more than a minute. But the weapon is balanced, and you can wield it with either hand, so the actual fight can last quite a while as long as there are breaks in the combat.
What Muscles Wear Out First: The forearms
Lethal: Can be
Can it leave enemy debilitated but alive long enough to deliver a death speech? Yes
Learning Curve: Can learn the basics quickly. The flashy stuff takes longer.
Will You Hurt Yourself With It? Expect many bruised shins during training.
Things Your Characters Can Do With It:
1. Hit things from the side.
2. Hit things from the top or bottom.
3. Poke things with the end of the staff. I’m assuming you can figure out what that looks like.
4. Plant the staff in the ground and use it to launch yourself into cool aerials.
5. Spin the staff to make a shield in front of or behind you.
6. Assume cool ninja poses, some of which actually serve a defensive purpose.
7. Dance yourself offstage.
Things Your Characters Cannot Do With It:
1. Remove Limbs. If you try to remove a limb with a staff, you’ll get punched out before you manage it. Unless you have superhuman strength.
2. Deflect Big Swords. If your staff is wooden, it will get cut in half. If it is metal, you can do this, but it’s usually best to just get out of the way.
3. Cut/Slice/Impale/Otherwise Draw Blood. No more blood should fly during a staff fight than during a fist fight. If you could make something bleed by punching it (e.g. the face), then a staff can do the same. Otherwise, hold off.
4. Plant it in the ground and run in a circle across a ring of enemies like a windmill. You’d run out of momentum and fall back down. Unless you’re in the Matrix, in which case, carry on.
The staff is an all-around good weapon for flashy, high-speed combat. It can be found anywhere, which makes it easy to write into a story, but be careful if a character tries to use it in a high-tech environment. Not a good choice if you’re aiming for gore, but excellent if you want complex, dance-like fighting. Or actual dancing.
This information is provided for assistance in writing fight scenes only, not for real-life application.