Created By: Recon5 on December 21, 2011 Last Edited By: Recon5 on January 30, 2012
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Jousting Lance

A jousting lance used as a weapon of choice.

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Alternative title: Knightly Lance

The jousting lance is the iconic weapon of midieval knights and is given to many fictional characters with a chivalric theme, especially if they also wear full suits of plate armor, carry a large shield and ride a horse or some other fantasy/sci-fi equivalent. The average fictional jousting lance is much wider and pointier than those of antiquity, and often has spikes lining the curved surface or an engraved drill-like spiral pattern. If a user of this kind of lance has a Rival or Arch-Enemy, expect the latter to be given the same weapon so they can settle their issues with an old-fashioned joust.

The modern manifestations of this trope are characters who use the jousting lance as their main or only weapon even when on foot, the implication being that they can run or fly as fast as a war horse. Expect to see Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship with or without modifications to the weapon's basic structure -- which is far more appropriate for stabbing -- but lance masters can often jab with impossible speed and armor-piercing force even when one-handing the weapon. The epitome of this artistic license is the character whose lance is effectively a rapier of BFS proportions.

Historical jousting lances were sporting weapons, designed to break on impact and blunted to avoid spearing their target, who often also had a heavy plate strapped on as a final precaution. They would be discarded in favor of a more practical weapon like a sword or mace once the fighters had gone to ground. The lances used for actual combat -- the namesake weapons of lancers for example -- were simply heavy spears.

Characters with centaur-like forms are effectively always 'mounted', which makes preference for this weapon a bit more plausible. Other weapons would still be more practical in most circumstances as they were for Real Life human cavalry.

Notes:
  • Academic sources often refer to spears and similar weapons as 'lances', especially when they are too large to be used as throwing weapons. See Blade on a Stick for those. This article is about jousting lances with or without modifications to the basic design.
  • Drills are often used for jousting and Air Jousting in fiction due to the way they work but those examples should go under This Is a Drill unless they are clearly jousting lances with drill mechanisms.


Examples:

Anime and Manga:
  • Several Knightmare Frames in Code Geass use lances due to the overall chivalric theme of the series and the various Arthurian references.
  • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam gives Crossbone Vanguard mechs the Shot Lancer. Though modeled after the chivalric weapon it is actually a massive pile driver designed to impale Mobile Suits without detonating their power plants or ammunition and the cone can be shot (hence the name) and retracted with a tether. Most models have several machine guns arranged around the base of the cone. Later Earth Federation designs copy the (then obsolete) weapon in a gun-shaped form, making its true function more obvious.
    • Gundam 00 introduces grunt machines using lances with integrated beam machine guns. Unlike their inspiration these are traditional lances without the pile driver. As per the trope description some pilots are shown swinging them at enemies but most sensibly use the weapons as firearms.
  • In Bleach, the Arrancar Nel Tu has a centaur Super Mode in which she gains a lance.
  • In One Piece Shura Skyrider wields the Heat Javelin, which is a Flaming Lance. Other notable Lance users include Gan Fall (who has a knight motif), the Whitebeard Pirates Commander Speed Jiru and the New World pirate Eipoda, who combines this with Double Weapon.
  • Erza's Ceremonial Armor from Fairy Tail has a Lance that has thus far served as an Ornamental Weapon (and a flagpole). However, as she is a Multi-Melee Master she presumably knows how to use it.

Comic Books:
  • Marvel Comics villains the Black Knight (the one criminal version) and the Dreadknight both use a lance filled with wacky Mad Scientist weaponry.

Western Animation:
  • Ben 10 villains The Forever Knights have high-tech versions of the jousting lance among other weapons in their arsenal.

Videogames:
  • The Lance is a staple weapon of the Monster Hunter series, where it is a defensive weapon and always paired with a shield. The user can even couch the lance and charge into a monster For Massive Damage. The Gunlance is a variant with a short-ranged breech loading firearm built in, with poorer defensive ability in exchange for additional attacks using the gun mechanism. Not all gun/lances have the iconic cone shape and there are some very unusual designs but they are all wielded in the same way.
    • TERA Online has a lance using class that seems patterned after the Monster Hunter application of this trope, being the designated MeatShield and sharing the charge attack. Unlike MH lancers, however, they use the lance primarily as a slashing weapon.
  • The Shining Soul series has a lance as one of the Warrior's weapon options and he only jabs with it. Apart from its reach it's a pretty poor choice as it has a tiny attack arc.
  • The Valkyrur in Valkyria Chronicles use lances with spiral patterns. These weapons and their accompanying shields are made of a special material that can channel their users' supernatural powers, allowing them to be a major threat on battlegrounds dominated by firearms and artillery.
    • Anti-Tank Lancers are mundane units using an explosive ranged weapon shaped like a jousting lance.
  • Honda Tadakatsu from the Sengoku Basara franchise has a drill which he uses as a jousting lance. A horse is out of the question because they wouldn't survive his riding them.
  • Croix from the second Ar tonelico game is a knight, so his choice of this weapon is natural. Some of his attacks show that it has an integrated gun-like device as well as a rocket booster lending punch to his attacks.
  • In the Kirby series, the 'ultimate warrior' Galacta Knight uses a lance and a shield. The more obscure Ghost Knight enemy used the same combination in an earlier game.
  • In Ghosts And Goblins, Arthur's default weapon is a jousting lance that he throws like a javelin. He even uses an overhead grip to do so.
  • Mabinogi has Lance weapons, which have an annoying minimum attack range but compensate with high damage and the ability to reduce an opponent's damage resistance. Giants can pair them with a shield but humans must two-hand them and Elves cannot use them due to their weight.
  • Azai Nagamasa from the Samurai Warriors series started out using a normal lance but this was switched to a jousting lance for his debut as a playable character in the sequel to emphasize his dedication as a Knight in Shining Armor for his wife Oichi. He wields the weapon on horseback as well as on foot.

Multiple Media:
  • A Number of knight-inspired Digimon use lances, with the most iconic being Dukemon/Gallantmon and variants thereof.
  • The Pokémon Escavalier is designed after a Knight in Shining Armor and has jousting lances for hands.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe featured Energy Lances used by the Mon Calamari Knights for aquatic combat and Power Lances used by Clone Troopers and Lancer Droids in an actual joust, albeit with speeder bikes.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • December 22, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • The Dungeons And Dragons Dragon Lance setting had magical dragon lances. The footman's lance was used in melee combat, and the mounted lance was used by mounted characters (whose mounts could include dragons). When used against a dragon, a mounted dragon lance did Hit Points of damage equal to the combined Hit Points of the rider and mount.
  • December 22, 2011
    EzzyAlpha
    In Digimon Tamers, the chilvaric Dukemon has a lance as his primary weapon. He also uses a shield.
  • December 22, 2011
    morenohijazo
    Removed.
  • December 22, 2011
    Qmarkthe2nd
    • From Gurren Lagann, the King Kittan gains a lance after combining with another Ganmen. The Space King Kittan also has a lance as its standard weapon.

    • Snowman from Homestuck has a cigarette holder that can transform into a lance. In her first appearance, she uses it to stab Spades Slick in the eye.
  • December 22, 2011
    hevendor717
    • In Fire Emblem 7, two of the characters met are knights. One uses his lance in every combat, as it's a knight's weapon and therefore looks more heroic. His rather more intelligent friend explains to him (and, incidentally, the player) the benefits of using swords (which are strong against axes) when against axe-wielders (strong against lances).
    • Warcraft 3: the Knight unit wields a sword and a rather short lance.
  • December 22, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Nagamasa Azai from Samurai Warriors wields a jousting lance, and use it as a sort of oversized, conical sword. But he can also use it in a more traditional way when running or riding a horse.
  • December 22, 2011
    Trotzky
    Make the distinction between Cavalry Lance, a weapon of War and Jousting Lance, a weapon of Entertainment.

    12th Centuryish: Tournaments were gladiatorial = kill or be killed. 14th Centuryish: Tournaments were Entertainment: they used blunt weapons, Lances were specially designed to shatter on impact because of Rule Of Cool.
  • December 22, 2011
    Noaqiyeum
    Qmark: Funny you mention Snowman but not Tavros... who, being generally wheelchair-bound, falls under the 'always mounted' section.
  • December 22, 2011
    BlackDragon
    Concerning Valkyria Chronicles - other than the Valkyr, your Anti-Tank Lancers might also count since they wield ridiculously impractical, lance-shaped Anti-Tank Rockets (which can be modified into infantry-slaying portable mortars), for no apparent reason other than Rule Of Cool.

    Also, in one of the arcs of Rurouni Kenshin, he fights a team of western noblemen who've come to japan in pursuit of a legendary potion of immortality. Their leader is a jousting-expert, and winds up fighting Kenshin with his lance - while riding, mind.
  • December 22, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In one episode of Get Smart Max and 99 infiltrate a knight-themed Biker Gang; they get found out and Max is forced to joust the gang leader. The use lances on motorcycle-back.
  • December 22, 2011
    Dawnwing
    Video Games
    • Some of the characters in the Fire Emblem games can use lances.
  • December 22, 2011
    deuxhero
    Fire Emblem isn't an example, as the "lances" are all spears.

  • December 24, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The Ice Lance and Holy Lance from Final Fantasy II, most notably because all other spear weapons are traditional spears or tridents.
  • December 27, 2011
    TheWanderer
    • A Song Of Ice And Fire notes the distinction between tournament lances and lances as a weapon. Tourney lances are about 14 feet long, blunt, and made to break. Lances used as a serious weapon are 8 feet long and reinforced with bands of metal. In one Trial By Combat in in a prequel novel a group of knights defending against an accusation attempt to use the tournament lances against the accusing knights (who are using serious lances) in an attempt to unhorse the accusing knights before those knights can reach them. Naturally, anyone who misses squarely hitting the knights with real lances or doesn't knock them off their horses winds up impaled or seriously wounded.
      • In one of the books from the series proper, a sort of Combat By Champion happens. One guy fights with a lance from horseback against a gladiator type who's fighting on foot. It gets noted that the rider is putting way too much emphasis on trying to score a perfect hit with his weapon, which the gladiator keeps dodging. If the horseman just tried to ride down the gladiator on the other hand, that would probably be much more effective.
  • December 27, 2011
    Bisected8
  • December 28, 2011
    TBTabby
    In Ghosts & Goblins, Arthur's default weapon is a lance.
  • December 29, 2011
    Ryuuma
    ^^ Actually, Lavitz and Albert both use spears, as Greham. So is Blade On A Stick
  • January 16, 2012
    Recon5
    Bump.

  • January 16, 2012
    KZN02
    Kirby: Galacta Knight uses a joust
  • January 16, 2012
    chicagomel
    Merlin, naturally, since it's a middle ages series.
  • January 16, 2012
    jbrecken
    The robotic knight Oon in the cartoon "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors" carried a lance with a red candycane stripe.
  • January 18, 2012
    Cider
    The description goes on to summarize to use of lances and how jousting lances are only a certain type. Wouldn't Jousting Lance be a more indicative title? I can think of characters who use lances but not the cone shaped kind.
  • January 22, 2012
    Ryuuma
  • January 25, 2012
    IridescentIndividual
    In Tamora Pierce's Tortall series Protector of the Small Keladry spends a lot of time fighting with a lance.
  • January 25, 2012
    Cider
    That reminds me. Karrablast can get two in Pokemon Black And White.
  • January 26, 2012
    dalek955
    • Mabinogi has Lance weapons, which have an annoying minimum attack range but compensate with high damage and the ability to reduce an opponent's damage resistance. they're too heavy for elves to wield, though.
  • January 26, 2012
    ccoa
    • As the name might suggest, most of the Dragon Riders in Mercedes Lackey's Dragon Jousters series use these as a weapon of choice. The protagonist asks why they don't use bows, and is informed that dragons are trained to snap arrows out of the air to protect their riders. Since they can't distinguish between an arrow that's heading away from them or towards them, riders have to choose between ability to use a bow in combat and protection from arrows, an obvious choice.
  • January 27, 2012
    Rognik
    One of the three weapons on Fire Emblem, wielded by the heavy unit or horsemen.
  • January 27, 2012
    Cider
    The Fire Emblem games I'm familiar with, use what resemble real war lances. I guess the knight killer looks like a stereotypical jousting lance but that is the only one that comes to mind.
  • January 27, 2012
    OmarKarindu
    • Marvel Comics villains the Black Knight (the one criminal version) and the Dreadknight both use a lance filled with wacky Mad Scientist weaponry.
  • January 29, 2012
    Rognik
    Ben Ten villains The Forever Knights have high-tech versions of the jousting lance among other weapons in their arsonal.
  • January 30, 2012
    Recon5
    Well, I think it was about time this was launched.
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