Created By: jastay3 on September 30, 2011 Last Edited By: jatay3 on October 3, 2011
Troped

National Weapon

Weapon of Choice of a Culture

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Just as some cultures have an iconic Battle Cry attached to them, often they will have a weapon that has a similar status. Sometimes it will have a religious or magical significance; it might for instance be a copy of a blade that was Forged by the Gods. Perhaps they typically have a Badass Creed engraved on them. Or maybe it is simply hard to imagine them fighting without it and even if it is obsolete it is impossible to imagine this group parading without it because it has a symbolic status that goes above it's functionality. As tropes are flexible this does not have to be a whole culture's weapon; it can be the weapon of any group say, an order of Warrior Monk s , or a Caste or Secret Circle of Secrets, or a gender. The point is that the weapon is so much assosciated with a group that it serves as a logo as well as a weapon.

Likely to be wielded by a Proud Warrior Race

Literature

  • Dune crysknives made from the tooth of a sandworm are sacred to Fremen.

  • Dwarves use Axes in Lord of the Rings
    • Also based on Tolkien is the association of Elves with bows, which is less supported by the original mythos (Tolkien's Elves are good with bows, but for the most part they prefer swords).

  • Based (as always on Tolkien, the Dwarfs of the Discworld consider their battleaxes cultural artifacts, and will not part with them even when circumstances require them to bequeath all other weapons (at a diplomatic function, for instance). In Thud we are introduced to a more liberal sect of Dwarfs who do not carry these, believing that the axe is "a state of mind".

  • On Gor a few Fantasy Counterpart Cultures have trademark weapons.
    • The Wagon Peoples [sic] of Southern Gor have the quiva, a set of throwing knives. They also use the bola and lance from kaiilaback.
    • Torvaldslanders (Vikings) have the battleaxe
    • Tribes in Darkest Gor use the "stabbing spear."
    • The Alar (kinda-sorta Roma) have the francisca, an ax different than the Torvaldslanders.
    • Tribesmen in the Tahari desert (Arabs) have the scimitar.
    • Red Savages (Native Americans) hve the tomahawk, as well as the War lance they use from kaiilaback. (A different species of kaiila than the Wagon Peoples use.)
    • The caste of Peasants, the lowest caste on Gor, have the quarterstaff and longbow, which are looked down upon by the caste of Warriors but can be quite effective.

Live-Action TV

  • The Minbari Denn'bok in Babylon 5.

  • In Star Trek, the Bat'lithe functions for the Klingons. Interestingly Vulcans, though no longer a Proud Warrior Race still use Lirpas in ceremonies.
    • The Mek'leth dagger too for Klingons though it is not quite as iconic.

Tabletop Games

  • Aslan in Traveller actually use claws in duels, both real and sporting. A human who is Going Native with them, or just wants to be polite uses a pair of artificial claws called Ayloi.

  • In Dungeons And Dragons, many deities have a preferred weapon that their followers tend to use. For example, the holy symbol for Kurbag is a double - bladed axe.

Other

  • Boomerangs for Australian Aborigenes.
  • Claymores for Bonnie Scotland
  • Katannas for Japan
    • Shuriken for Ninjas
  • Kukris for Nepal, famously with the Gurkha soldiers.
  • Longbows were once this for the English
  • Composite bows for Mongols
  • The Pennsylvania Long Rifle was this for Appalachian Frontiersmen.
  • The Pilum and Gladius for Rome
  • The Hoplite shield for Greece was not primarily offensive so was possibly "armor" rather then a weapon, however hoplites regarded their spears as expendable but treasured their shields.
  • Short spear and leaf-shaped shield for Zulus
  • The Sikh Kirpan dagger is one of the best examples of this for it a symbol of Sikhism representing their obligation to defend one another. Also the curious Chakram ring-knives, often worn in their turbans.

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • September 30, 2011
    Kereea
    Or like the Casket of Ancient Winters in the Thor movie/comics. It's also possibly an example of what happens when the weapon is lost.
  • September 30, 2011
    jastay3
    Not familiar with the reference. That sounds a little more like an Ancient Artifact.

    What I am getting at is the sort of weapon that is common but is associated with a particular group so much that "Xians" can be automatically associated with "kicks ass with Yblade" in the mind. It might be a ceremonial weapon or a real one but the point is that they are associated with each other.

    However, like I said, I am not familiar. You may be right.
  • September 30, 2011
    jastay3
    Claymores for Bonnie Scotland
  • September 30, 2011
    Wheezy
    Stereotypically:

  • September 30, 2011
    Generality
    • Based (as always on Tolkien, the Dwarfs of the Discworld consider their battleaxes cultural artifacts, and will not part with them even when circumstances require them to bequeath all other weapons (at a diplomatic function, for instance). In Thud we are introduced to a more liberal sect of Dwarfs who do not carry these, believing that the axe is "a state of mind".

    Also based on Tolkien is the association of Elves with bows, which is less supported by the original mythos (Tolkien's Elves are good with bows, but for the most part they prefer swords).
  • September 30, 2011
    jatay3
    Sikh's carry a Kirpan, a long Knife or short scimatar at all times as a religious symbol. This Troper read somewhere that they use plastic models in countries where weapons regulations forbid carrying a functional one.
  • September 30, 2011
    jatay3
    Zulus had a sort of short stabbing spear, I believe.
  • September 30, 2011
    nitrokitty
    Ghurkhas have their iconic Kukris, a large inwardly curving knife originally used for cutting brush.
  • September 30, 2011
    FhnuZoag
    These days, the AK 47 is the national weapon of half the world.
  • September 30, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    ^Mass produced weapons sold to everyone under the sun should not really count.

    Also, anything labeled "stereotypical" probably should not be listed under the Real Life heading. The Real Life section is supposed to be about verifiable facts, not stereotypes.
  • September 30, 2011
    jastay3
    A national weapon as defined is a weapon traditionally associated with a group and the line between stereotype and tradition is blurry. A better argument is that there is no particular significance given to these weapons. If nukes are the Russian weapon for instance they would be as stereotypically/traditionally Russian as vodka.
  • September 30, 2011
    JonnyB
    Arabs and the scimitar.
  • September 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Tomahawks for Injuns.

    • On Gor a few Fantasy Counterpart Cultures have trademark weapons.
      • The Wagon Peoples [sic] of Southern Gor have the quiva, a set of throwing knives. They also use the bola and lance from kaiilaback.
      • Torvaldslanders (Vikings) have the battleaxe
      • Tribes in Darkest Gor use the "stabbing spear."
      • The Alar (kinda-sorta Roma) have the francisca, an ax different than the Torvaldslanders.
      • Tribesmen in the Tahari desert (Arabs) have the scimitar.
      • Red Savages (Native Americans) hve the tomahawk, as well as the War lance they use from kaiilaback. (A different species of kaiila than the Wagon Peoples use.)
      • The caste of Peasants, the lowest caste on Gor, have the quarterstaff and longbow, which are looked down upon by the caste of Warriors but can be quite effective.
  • September 30, 2011
    Wheezy
    @Auxdarastrix: If "sterotypical" weapons don't count, then katanas shouldn't really be here.
  • September 30, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
  • September 30, 2011
    surgoshan
    Literature: Wheel Of Time: The Aiel carry short spears, the Ebou Dari love knives. the Shienari love their back-strapped two-handed swords, the people of the Two Rivers are longbowmen, the Cairhienin love their sword-wielding infantry and the Tairen adore cavalry. The Travelers have big dogs.

    Real Life
    • Special Agents of the Secret Service can carry either the SIG Sauer P229 pistol chambered for the .357 SIG cartridge or the FN Five-seven pistol chambered for the 5.7x28mm cartridge.
    • Eagleland has a favorite weapon for each war. These are the official weapons of the US Army, rather than every single Eaglelander, but other branches tend to take note and follow suit, not least because buying in bulk makes things cheap and even though ARMY stands for "Ain't Ready for Marines Yet", the army ain't stupid.
      • WWI: United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903, the M1903 Springfield, a bolt action rifle with a five round clip. Replaced by
      • WWII: United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, the M1 Garand, an upgraded, semi-automatic version of the M1903. Both the Garand and the 1903 were used in WWI, but this was the official weapon of the Army, which replaced the older models as the newer became available. It's known for its eight-round clips which, when emptied, are ejected from the weapon with a distinctive ching! In the early sixties, it was gradually replaced by
      • Since Vietnam: Rifle, Caliber 5.56 mm, M16. The fragmentation of the M16's bullets cause devastating internal hemorrhage, which made troops on the ground enthusiastic in its favor as someone hit by an M16 round drops immediately. Produced and upgraded more or less continuously since Vietnam, it is now being phased out in favor of
      • The M4 carbine. Essentially a shorter, lighter M16 with mostly the same parts. There is currently a competition in place to replace it with...
      • Another, better, carbine.
  • October 1, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
  • October 1, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    I'm seeing trope decay really really fast. "People use weapons" is Not A Trope. Saying "X has this has its standard issue weapon" is Not A Trope. We are not a database dedicated to listing every service weapon in Real Life.

    • The Secret Service currently has the P229 as one of its several service weapons, but it has gone through several different pistols over the last two decades alone, and none of them have any special cultural significance for the United States or the Secret Service. I mean, the Sig Saeur is Swiss for heaven's sake!
    • The M60 is is the process of being phased out. It has mostly been replaced by the Belgian FN Fal.
    • "Nukes" are no more associated with Communists than they are associated with Americans. I mean, after all, Americans are the ones that invented them and the only ones to ever use them in war time.
    • "Injuns" is an ethnic slur, the the variety of Native American cultures used several different weapons, which they called by a number of different names according to their own individual langauges. What next, "N*gg*rs use knives"?

    Maybe the kurki's thing counts, given that those do have a special cultural importance and the ceremonial dagger for the Sikhs would count given that it doubles as a religious symbol.

  • October 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In Discworld not only do Dwarfs have their axes (which are so important to them that Vimes, not a man know for trying to please people, feels bad about asking them to leave them outside after his family was just attacked by some dwarven assassins) and Trolls have clubs. Members of either species in the watch are allowed to carry their "cultural weapon" instead of the standard issue sword.
  • October 1, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^^Maybe limit it to (1) weapon has a religious significance specific to the group that is associated with it (kukri) and / or (2) weapon is so standard it's quite difficult to imagine the group's military forces entering combat without it (Roman gladius). In which case most of the modern - era Real Life examples should be cut.
  • October 1, 2011
    jatay3
    Frodo is probably right.

  • October 1, 2011
    SharleeD
    Several monsters in D&D have a signature weapon associated exclusively with their species, such as the flinds' flindbars or the triple-bladed throwing knives of thri-keen.
  • October 1, 2011
    SKJAM
    • In the Gloranthan setting of Runequest many of the religions, especially the ones dedicated to warrior gods, have favored weapons based on what their god likes. While they may carry other weapons, they will strongly prefer to at least have the favored weapon as a backup. Most notably, the cult that worships the god of war and death favors the sword because it is also the shape of the Death Rune.
  • October 1, 2011
    randomsurfer
    @Auxdarastrix: I am aware that "Injuns" is considered offensive, but I used it on purpose. I was paralleling the Injun Country trope name; I don't know that it's as offensive as "the N word" (it may be); but the only page we have with that in its title is a work. The "injun" we see in media is not the same as Real Life Native Americans - historic or modern day - who may or may not use tomahawks but it's probably not their primary weapon.
  • October 1, 2011
    fulltimeD
    It's spelled Bat'leth. There's also the Mek'leth, a shorter bladed weapon preferred by Worf.
  • October 1, 2011
    fulltimeD
    And that famous three-pronged dagger the Klingons always carry around, which I'm not even going to attempt to spell. Klingons have several national weapons.
  • October 1, 2011
    Bisected8
    • If the weapon is part of their physiology then it's also a Natural Weapon.
  • October 1, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
  • October 2, 2011
    jatay3
    bump
  • October 2, 2011
    jatay3
    If sabers have a mystique around them or are in some other way identified with Polish culture. Most European countries used sabers, but maybe there was something about them that was special to Poland?
  • October 2, 2011
    Damr1990
    Hat Weapon.... mhmmm... nah, that sound like the hat itself is being used as a weapon
  • October 2, 2011
    Gatomon41
    Chakrams were also assiocated with the Sikhs, since they often wore them on their arms, neck, and even had speical turbans for them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakram

    Also, bat'leth is spelled wrong.
  • October 3, 2011
    jatay3
    You know, I think this is ready to publish. We already have more then enough examples.
  • October 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Boomarang for Australian Aborigines.
  • October 3, 2011
    Bisected8
    The English Longbow (and longbows in general) for England (and Wales to a lesser extent), to the point where (historically) they continued using them after other cultures used firearms and crossbows. It's even part of the popular etymology for the offensive variation of the V Sign.
  • October 3, 2011
    jatay3
    I actually think we have enough examples and we should just launch it already. Any more can be put in during editing.
  • October 3, 2011
    jatay3
    Anyone willing to five-hat this?
  • October 3, 2011
    randomsurfer
    I'm not sure that the Real Life section should be called Real Life. More like cross-media. But maybe that's just me.
  • October 3, 2011
    jatay3
    Just call it "other".
  • October 3, 2011
    LMage
    The Aiel in Wheel Of Time use short-spears and nothing else this is revealed as a plot point in the backstory, as their is a specific reason no Aiel will touch a sword
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=86l2l4ha62531nvm3uw078u4