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Blade on a Stick

Till, bruised and bitten to the bone
And taught by pain and fear,
He learned to deal the far-off stone,
And poke the long, safe spear.
Rudyard Kipling, "The Benefactors"

A subtrope of Weapon of Choice.

A polearm—such as a poleaxe, spear, halberd, or any other weapon that's a long stick with something sharp and metal on one end—is often the province of hapless Mooks: city guardsman, honor guard, angry natives, and so on. Anyone who needs something long to cross over a portal to prevent someone from entering will use a polearm. When not in the hands of mooks, they are the weapon of choice for calm collected individuals.

Polearms are extremely effective weapons. They are highly suitable for massed battles, much more so than the sword. This is due to their reach and the fact that they're more effective at mounted combat and penetrating armor. In medieval combat, the sword was more a sidearm, and the polearm used as the main infantry weapon on the battlefield. The reason you may not have heard of the importance of polearms is that our cultural obsession with swords is at least a thousand years old.

This may be caused by the fact polearms are often Boring but Practical: many longer spears — and especially the pike — are not terribly suited for single combat. Instead, they are defensive weapons, especially effective when used by infantry formations against the decisive force of the medieval battlefield: cavalry charges. The stereotype of polearm being the Weapon of Choice for stoic, collected individuals such as guardsmen likely comes from the discipline required to maintain formation in face of the apparent overwhelming odds.

When a hero uses a polearm, he'll generally wield it "open-fashion", swinging it around almost like a staff. Glaives and halberds — and even the Chinese spear ("Qiang" in Chinese), with its leaf- or dagger-like blade — are well-suited to it, but all of these are "individualistic" weapons, requiring a lot of space to be employed effectively and needing a lot of conditioning and experience on their wielder's part. Ordinary spears, and pikes as well, are better used in close formations, and can be used well by poorly-trained troops provided they don't break and run.

Spears may also be thrown, even if the weapon in question isn't exactly built for it unless magic is involved. The lances of the Dark Ages were designed to be flung as well as couched, and one occasionally hears of lances being thrown as late as the 16th century. Javelins are spears specifically designed for throwing — which are not very useful at all in hand-to-hand fighting.

Polearms are often preferred by a Lady of War, especially in Japanese media; the naginata was traditionally the weapon of a Yamato Nadeshiko while her samurai husband was away, giving it a "feminine" mystique; this was further amplified by several of those "housewives" becoming nigh-mythical warrior figures themselves. A House Wife in the west is more likely to be shown using a Frying Pan of Doom.

A weapon whose use is Truth in Television and truly Older Than Dirt as elaborated on in the Real Life folder, being probably not too far behind in use to humanity first picking up things off the ground to defend themselves - even in the age of guns, the weapon's concept lives on as the bayonet which is still taught to modern armies, even if only as a training aid for symbolizing and evoking aggression for new recruits with little expectation to actually use it in combat.

See also Harpoon Gun, X on a Stick, Boom Stick, Javelin Thrower and Telephone Polearm, for the giant-bladeless-stick version.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kan'u Unchou from Ikki Tousen wields Guan Yu's trademark polearm: the Blue Dragon Saber. She doesn't fight with it during the tournament, though, since it would be against the rules; only in Dragon Destiny do we get to see her use it. note 
  • Tower of God: Rak's epic 5 meter lance. [1]
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: It's pretty much routine for any adaptation to hand out polearms to all the major characters. BB Senshi Sangokuden narrowly averts this by arming the action leaders with swords, the tacticians with fans... and that's about it.
  • Erio Mondial of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. His Intelligent Device, Strada, takes the form of a spear. Other polearm users include Zest and his Armed Device, and Nanoha and her Raising Heart's Excelion Mode. A Bardiche is a type of polearm too, and Fate's Device of the same name has this form in its basic combat form.
  • One Piece
    • Whitebeard wields a bisentō as sharp as his mustache.
    • An important part of Kuzan's/Aokiji's ice-based arsenal are partisan spears, although he rather throws them with his control of his power as a barrage.
    • Also the weapon of choice for Alabasta soldiers.
    • Predating both of them is Don Krieg and his Great Battle Spear, which also explodes on contact. Once its blade is destroyed, Luffy dismisses the weapon as just a Bomb on a Stick.
  • GunBuster: Jung Freud's Humongous Mecha has this, which she uses to stab...a lot. Made more apparent in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3.
    • Speaking of Super Robot Wars, one of the Elemental Lords Gaddeath/Goddess comes up with a trident called Gungnir. Though it's not used as much as a melee weapon (it's the weakest attack for that), but more of a medium to execute long range water attacks. That Gungnir is actually named after Odin's spear, Gungnir.
    • The BFGs of the Weiss Ritter and Wild Falken are named after the Oxtongue spear. Which is fitting, seeing that shooting someone is pretty much the descendant of stabbing them with a spear.
    • The "Sonic Javelin" wielded by KoRyuOh in the Alpha and OG series', which is primarily used to stab, although slashing attacks are also used in some games.
  • UFO Robo Grendizer: One of the weapons of the title Humongous Mecha was the Double Harken, a stick with one moon-shaped blade on each end.
  • Bleach:
    • Madarame Ikkaku's Houzukimaru, which doubles as a three-piece nunchaku three section staff.
    • Lisa Yadomaru's Hagurotonbō is one as well and It's huge.
    • Sokyoku is a huge execution halberd.
  • Sailor Moon has Sailor Saturn and her Silence Glaive, which can cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Shizuru Fujino's Element in the Mai-HiME anime (she doesn't fight in the manga) is a large naginata whose blade doubles as a Whip Sword.
  • Atena from Kamui Den is a naginata master.
  • In Mai-Otome, Tomoe Marguerite gets a standard spear once she obtains her Valkyrie Meister Robe.
  • Of course, Neon Genesis Evangelion had the Lance of Longinus. Which is capable of transforming into a two-bladed BFS and can pierce AT-fields. In its default form it's essentially a red two-edged bident light enough that in the first episode it gets used, Unit-00 chucks it into orbit with enough force to reach escape velocity.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0's after-credits scene has the Mark.06 doing the reverse and throwing a massive glaive down from orbit, pinning Unit-01 to the ground.
  • Balsa the Bodyguard from Seirei no Moribito, who uses the superior reach offered by a spear (and not to mention that you can smack people silly without killing using the blunt end) to great effect.
  • Sumire Kanzaki from Sakura Taisen wields a naginata, both in and out of her Powered Armor.
  • Azumi Kiribayishi Real Bout High School, an Heir to the Dojo Lady of War with a Noblewoman's Laugh, wields a naginata. Well, okay, most of the time, she uses one with a wooden blade, but isn't averse to busting out a real one for "serious" fights.
  • Shiina from The Secret of Haruka Nogizaka studies the naginata.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia
    • Hungary has a spear as one of her Weapons of Choice, the other being her Frying Pan of Doom.
    • Also, a drawing by Himaruya has Greece as another spear user.
    • As a child, Finland possesses one of these as well.
  • Saint Seiya
    • The God Poseidon wields a Trident as his signature weapon. It can focus his divine power as damaging blasts, and is quite sharp. The Gold Cloth of Libra also has a smaller, shorter trident as part of its arsenal.
    • Poseidon's Shogun Chrysaor also wields an ornate spear, which he uses very effectively until Dragon Shiryu slices its head off with his Excalibur.
    • Pandora also has a spear as her preferred weapon
  • Ranma ˝
    • The Kinjakan and Gekkaja are matching weapons that can be used as keys to lock and unlock the waters of Jusendo.
    • The Kinjakan is a polearm with a detachable metal ring as its head, which can spin and zip around at lightning speeds with devastating force.
    • The Gekkaja is a polearm with a viciously sharp, crescent moon-shaped blade, which can flash-freeze anything it comes into contact with.
    • Also, when particularly irritated (or in the need for a weapon) the only weapon Soun Tendo will reach for is a yari-style spear. He may bring out a naginata when in full samurai regalia. Actually, in one episode of the anime, at least, he is shown wielding a sword, and in at least one other he is shown with two sheathed swords at his hip. He's also used a bow and arrows in at least the manga as well.
  • In another of Takahashi Rumiko's works, InuYasha, the leader of the Shichinentai, Bankotsu, wields a halberd named Banryu. Princess Abi wielded a chinese type halbeard made from Naraku's bones and the filler provides us with the Naginata of Kenkon ("Kenkon" literally means Heaven and Earth and is meant to symbolize the whole universe.)
  • In Utawarerumono, Benawi is known for using a halberd in battle.
  • In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, when Achika gets the Tenchi sword, it seems to extend to naginata-like lengths.
  • The Gundam multiverse contains a number of Humongous Mecha who utilize both mundane and Laser Blade versions of such things as spears and naginatas. To wit:
  • In Princess Mononoke, the people of Iron Town seem to favor naginatas. This probably stems from the naginata being a woman's weapon, traditionally.
    • In this case, the widespread use of naginata may also be serving as visual shorthand that the film is set earlier in Japanese history than the usual Warring States and Edo Period settings, as the weapon had been replaced on the battlefield by the yari long before (though women and lone wolf/warrior monk characters continued to wield them until the Meiji Period).
    • San also carries a spear at several points in the movie.
  • Tao Ren wields a guan do (a sort of chinese glaive) early on in Shaman King before he switches to a sword.
  • Daitarn 3: Daitarn Javelin.
  • Soul Eater: A few of of the Weapons are of this sort, such as Harvar in the main series, and Tsugumi in the spin-off.
  • While the original Getter Robo and its successor Getter Robo G use a pair of hand-axes, most subsequent incarnations use some variety of poleaxe.
  • The Beast Spear in Ushio and Tora is actually a sword blade grafted onto a spear shaft. It's the least strange thing about the weapon considering it is also made of people and decorated with monsters.
  • Nadeshiko from Shugo Chara! uses a naginata when she does a Character Change with Temari.
  • Aside from the section of forearm plating he often lengthens into a blade, Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist's favorite weapon seems to be an ornate dragon-motif ranseur he transmutes from the ground butt first which is inevitably destroyed.
  • Lind's Weapon of Choice in Ah! My Goddess. Her idea of "practice" is to have someone throw boulders over a cliff at her, which she proceeds to smash with said weapon.
  • Kyouko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica wields a spear nearly twice her height, and it can also be broken up into multiple segments connected by chains. In the Manga version, her weapon has a cross-guard just beneath the head. The symbolism is entirely intentional.
  • Gamaran has several examples, including:
    • The Tengen Ryu, a school specialized in using the Naginata. Is also said by the founder Shungaku Toujou that a fully mastered Naginata can be the deadliest melee weapon of all.
    • The Myojin Ryu has the Four Divine Spears, four spears each with his own special gimmick.
    • Ango Kuryu and the other former Gaun Ryu members fight with a Nagamaki, a large katana with the pole of a spear.
    • Riichiro Hanamura and the former Shujin Ryu members are equipped with "Polearms" or Axe Spears (western halbears), while their former weapon was the cross-spear.
    • Several Muhou Ryu mooks are seen armed with spears of sort. All these weapons are portrayed as efficient against swords due to their length.
  • Several Knightmares in Code Geass are equipped with a lance.
  • Rei from Highschool of the Dead is a member of the lance fighting club, so when the zombies break in she begins using her lance to fight them. Nowadays she carries a rifle with a bayonet, but uses the latter more than the former.
  • Ryuu-oh Ryoma's weapon in Tenkuu Senki Shurato is a trident.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen, Yoko carries around a naginata in place of her rifle. No one seems to mind her pulling it out on school grounds.
  • Umi Monogatari has one that we never get to see. The girls are told that to seal Sedna away they must pierce her with the Spear of Light. As they defeat her and save Urin another way, it's neither seen nor utilized.

    Comic Books 
  • Y: The Last Man includes a rather ridiculous naginata duel in its Japan arc. "Ridiculous" in the sense that the attacker shows up Dual Wielding two naginatas, which gives the defender a chance to swipe one and face off against her. (Real naginata combat also doesn't work anything like the way it's depicted.)
    • Well the people Toyota was going to use them against were strung up at the time...maybe she just wanted to see which blade was sharpest?
  • In one issue, the protagonist of Shaolin Cowboy attached a chainsaw to the end of a stick to create a polearm. He used this polearm to fight against a shark which held a head in its mouth. The head held a knife between its teeth.
  • The original Grendel, Hunter Rose, fought with an electrified cutting weapon of his own design called the 'Devil's Fork', which most resembled a short, double-bladed naginata. Christine Spar took up this same weapon when she became the second Grendel, and Eppy Thatcher (the fourth Grendel) wielded a similar fork, equipped with controls for his high-tech accoutrements, generations later.
  • ElfQuest:
    • Unsurprisingly given the stone age setting of at least the classic series and the fact that they make good hunting weapons when you're not fighting anything else, spears see quite a bit of use.
    • One issue of Hidden Years deals with young chief Ember set on learning how to fight with a sword, like her father, until Redlance points out that that she has more talent when it comes to handling a spear and that, yes, a spear is a chief's weapon, too, citing among other examples Two-Spear. He goes on to train her, soon after drawing a comment from Pike that she was already better than himself.
    • When Rayek fights with a weapon it's with either a hunting spear or a dagger
  • Marvel's Thor's father Odin often wields Gungnir, a mighty spear. Of course he does this in the ancient myths as well, so it has a reason.
  • The title heroine of Shi is descended from a long line of Kyoto sohei, and often uses the naginata, their favoured weapon.
  • In Sin City, an assassin named Mariah has a collapsible staff with twin prongs.
  • In Usagi Yojimbo, one of Usagi's most feared recurring enemies was Jei, a possessed monk who was extremely deadly with a spear. Several other bounty hunters, assassins, etc. have also carried Japanese-style spears. Although Usagi ordinarily just carries his swords, he uses a spear when one is available - particularly against horsemen.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Under The Northern Lights most reindeer who travel during the winter do so on skis, and use a single ski-staff which has a spearpoint (used for Mundane Utility as well as stabbing enemies or monsters). The legendary hero Sampo is said to have owned a magical spear. The informed opinion is that he must have owned a spear, since he was a reindeer warrior-noble, and as such he might have had it enchanted, but nothing is known. The Kings of Tarandroland carry a spear that is said to be Sampo's spear, but is a modern replica. It is enchanted, but mostly with a bunch of redundant magical attacks that are described as less than useful.
  • In Enemy Of My Enemy, the Sangheili/Elite Rukth Kilkaree fashions himself a staff with bladed tips. He's extremely lethal with it.
  • My Little Mages: The Nightmares Return: Nightmare Moon's Weapon of Choice is a double-tipped spear.

  • Kick-Ass: One of the many weapons that Hit-Girl is shown to be proficient with is what appears to be a double-ended glaive.
  • In The Hidden Fortress there is an extensive spear duel between Makabe and Hyoe.
  • Daphne in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising wields a spear.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Prince Nuada has two weapons: a curved short sword, and a spear that can alternate between compact and full size.
    • The spear's tip is detachable when struck at a living target and will attempt to burrow deeper if removal is attempted.
  • In Thor, Odin's staff Gungnir later Loki's is depicted as one of these.
  • In The Avengers, Loki gets one from the Chitauri. But it has other powers besides stabbing, such as shooting energy bolts and mind control.
  • In Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ursula's main objective was to get her hands on Triton's magical trident.
  • In Musa: The Warrior, the reticent slave Yeo-sol turns out to be a master with a polearm, which he tends to swing in whirling arcs to hack off limbs and heads.
  • William Wallace of Braveheart makes pikes, though he doesn't call them that, to counter King Edward's cavalry. The historical Wallace's army was armed almost entirely with them in every battle.
  • Troy shows use of spears as a very useful weapon, particularly in Achilles duel with Hector.
  • Hero: Long Sky uses a spear with a rather flexible metal pole in his duel with Nameless.
  • Most of the Spartans in 300 would qualify. Those that didn't use swords about halfway through, that is.
  • During the song "Topsy Turvy" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda actually uses a spear for part of her dance. Guess what she does with the spear?note 
  • The killer's main weapon in Don't Go in the Woods is homemade spear with a machete-like blade.
  • In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings Aiglos, the spear of the Elven king Gil-galad, is inscribed with an elvish poem that boils down to: "This is Gil-galad, and he is kicking your ass."
    • The Rohirrim, who excell using spears in mounted combat.
  • Zulus versus Welsh in Zulu. Zulus used short stabbing Assegai which were their National Weapon. Welsh used the European variant.
  • Jill Valentine uses some kind of double-edged staff with retractable blades in Resident Evil: Retribution.
  • The Shredder in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie wields one with devastating efficiency.

  • Tortall Universe
    • Kel, from Protector of the Small, uses a glaive note  as one of her main weapons. Kel's bigoted training master wouldn't let her use it but her more liberal knight master did; the children who looked up to her asked her to train them to use one. Interestingly enough, people's acceptance of her weapon seems to represent their acceptance of her.
    • In Daughter of the Lioness we're introduced to what is probably the most fantastical weapon in Pierce's books. As a slave, Junai has to be more covert; therefore, Junai's "staff" sprouts foot-long blades at both ends when she twists the grip.
  • Just about everyone in The Iliad uses a spear. The most Bad Ass example would be Ajax, who at one point protects the Greek ships from the incoming Trojans Dual Wielding two big-ass spears to keep them away.
  • The Lord of the Rings gave mention to Aeglos/Aiglos, the spear of Gil-galad, the last Elven king. He fared about as well as the sword-wielding Elendil when they faced off against Sauron, which is quite well actually. It's only in the movie that they get rather unceremoniously killed. In the book, Gil-Galad and Elendil overthrew Sauron before dying themselves in a Heroic Sacrifice — Isildur just looted the body.
  • Ronan got a huge, glowing, magical, elemental spear forged by the Irish gods, from iron drawn directly from the heart of the sun, in Diane Diane's fourth Young Wizards book. Granted, it almost cost him his sanity to decide to finally use it.
  • The Wheel of Time: Mat Cauthon of Robert Jordan's series, as part of his role as the inspiration for our tales of Odin, has his interestingly acquired ''ashandarei'' which he naturally uses to kick ass and take names. Also, the Aiel from the same book wield spears with deadly skill.
    • Short spears, which are a bit too short for this trope, but still of a length with most swords and balanced for throwing.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Spears and polearms of every sort were used by quite a number of characters. Perhaps the most iconic would be Guan Yu's (possibly anachronistic) guandao, a huge curved blade on a stick.
  • Used a few times in Discworld and other Terry Pratchett works. It's mentioned in The Carpet People of how a kitchen knife tied to the end of a pole is a popular makeshift weapon among impromptu civilian fighters.* A pike is the favoured weapon of Sergeant Colon in the novels. "The thing about a pike, the important thing, was that everything happened at the other end of it, i.e. a long way off."
  • Warhammer 40,000 loves polearms, and they feature in the game itself and related fluff no rarer than the ubiquitous chainswords. Of course, the lot of those spears are chainsaw too...
    • In William King's Space Wolf novels, the Spear of Russ, the ancient weapon of the Space Wolves' primarch. Prophecy says that when he returns, he will take it up to fight. Which causes real problems when Ragnor loses it, fighting against a revived Magnus the Red, their ancient enemy.
    • The funny thing is that, according to the Thirteenth Company, whom "modern" Wolves encountered during the recent Dark Crusade, Russ (who is, apparently, still alive and kicking ass in the Eye of Terror) doesn't put any real significance to the spear in question, and is greatly amused by the reverence Wolves gives to this ordinary (to him, at least) weapon. He only kept it around at all because it was a present from his father; he actually lost the thing several times himself, mostly when drunk.
    • In James Swallow's Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, the Spear of Telesto. Touching it briefly gives Arkio the appearance of their primarch Sanguinius, and he slowly develops with it into a glowing manifestation. One of its virtues is that it unleashes fire that does not harm Blood Angels, which is handy for the other side, when Arkio is fighting one in single combat.
    • Characters in the Grey Knights series have the halberd-shaped Nemesis force weapons as their standard issue melee implement. There are customised Nemeses, like force swords and force hammers both in the game and in the fluff like Ben Counter's novels, but it was the force halberd that is usually associated with them.
  • In the Dragonlance novel Sellsword, the gnome Theodenes has a multi-purpose polearm... that can switch from one polearm to another and another and another.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Red Viper of Dorne uses a poisoned 8-foot spear during his duel with Gregor Clegane, 'The Mountain that Rides,' primarily as a way to counter The Mountain's long reach (Gregor uses a 6-foot long greatsword in one hand) and also because it's the Weapon of Choice of Dornish warriors.
  • In David Eddings's series The Elenium and The Tamuli, the character Bevier uses a lochaber axe, which is constantly commented on as being a particularly nasty weapon. The fact that Bevier is the most pious and good-hearted of all the knights isn't lost on anyone either.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata: The halberds used by the Swiss Guard, in The Tuloriad.
  • Lady Cregga Rose Eyes of the Redwall book The Long Patrol carries an axepike, which is a pike with an axeblade at the top.
  • In Bernard Cornwell's novel Agincourt the hero is an archer, but the knight who's company he joins to go off to the war cross-trains every one of his archers to use the pole-ax.
  • From Beowulf:
    Lo,praise of the prowess of people-kings
    of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
    we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
  • The Stormlight Archive: The spear is the standard weapon of common darkeyed soldiers; swords are reserved for the lighteyed upper class. Particularly of note is Kaladin, who is so incredibly skilled with a spear that he managed to kill a guy who had one of the settings resident big insanely sharp instant death blades, and Magitech Powered Armor.
  • In the Time Scout Wagers of Sin, Skeeter wields one of these as his final weapon in the Arena.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Kalak and the other leondians wields halbreds because he's from a nation of infantry.
  • In Tunnel in the Sky, Rod makes the colony's first spear by lashing his Bowie knife to a wooden shaft, literally making a blade on a stick.
  • In World War Z, Maori warriors are mentioned using their indigenous weapons, staffs with crescent blades on top, to great effect against the zombie hordes.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Ithuriel is armed with a spear when he finds Satan. Being of "Celestial temper", its touch is enough to return him to his own shape.
  • In Journey to the West, many demons use spears or polearms as their weapon. Justified since it's set in ancient China, where polearms where used in martial arts. Most notable users include Erlang with his trident (who actually managed to defeat Sun Wukong), the Black Wind Demon (a black tasseled spear) and the Nine-Headed monster (either some sort of ankus or a guan dao).

     Live Action TV 
  • Practically too many Super Sentai members and Power Rangers to mention.
  • Highlander: Duncan beheads Kern using what the CCG calls a broad-bladed spear, using the weapon for sentimental reasons. It appears to have a heavier and longer blade than a normal spear, and he has to do a complicated wind-up and spinning swing to decapitate Kern with it.
  • On Chicago Fire the firefighters are called in to put out a fire at a prison and end up locked in with a group of violent prisoners who attack them. The firefighters hold off the prisoners using their fire fighting equipment including a pike pole which is essentially a spear with a hook attached.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand The gladiator fighting style hoplomachus included a spear and a dagger. The length of the spear gave them a great advantage at a distance, but was obviously unwieldy in close quarters. Barca and Auctus fought in this style to great effect. Nasir, though not a gladiator, also wielded a spear when he joined the rebellion.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Norse Mythology deity Odin owned the spear Gungnir. Gungnir was created by the Dwarves and obtained from them by the deity Loki. It had runes carved on its tip: its balance was so perfect that it could strike any target, even if its wielder was weak or not proficient in its use.
  • The Celtic Mythology hero Cuchulain was given the spear Gae Bolg by his combat instructor, the warrior woman Scáthach, who also taught him him to use it. When it pierced an opponent its barbs opened up inside, killing the victim. It could only be removed by cutting it out of the corpse.
  • Poseidon, the Greek Mythology deity of the ocean, had a trident that was made by the Cyclops. If he struck the ground with it it could create a spring of salty water or cause shipwrecks, earthquakes or drownings.
  • In Hindu Mythology, Shiva wields a Trishula, a Trident; and was said to have used it to sever Ganesha's original head. Durga is also said to have used one. As a standalone item it carries Rule of Three symbolisms. Like creation, maintenance destruction; past, present, or future; etc.
  • Slovak folk hero Juraj Jánošík is usually depicted wielding a valaška, a Slavic axe on a walking stick.
  • According to some legends, the spear belonging to the Roman soldier Longinus, who stabbed Jesus in the side, gained supernatural powers. It is said that whoever owns this "spear of destiny" will rule the world.
    • During the First Crusade, a group of Crusaders claimed they had found the head of the Lance of Longinus. It didn't help much.
  • In Japanese Mythology, is said that Izanagi and Izanami pulled Japan and the other isles and continents out of the water using the Ama no Nuhoko (Heavenly Swamp Pike or Heavenly Jeweled Pike). After the creation of the world, however, the whereabouts of the spear are unknown.
  • In The Bible:
    • A plague began (during the 40 years of wandering, still) when people of the children of Israel were lured away to Moabite gods. One man, Zimri, even brought one of the women back to show her off. Phineas, however, took a javelin, went after them, and thrust it through both of them, killing them and stopping the plague.
    • Joshua used a spear in his attack on Ai (the attack that worked).
    • Goliath had a spear whose staff part was like a weaver's beam, and the iron spearhead weighed 600 shekels (possibly 15 pounds).
    • Once, while Saul was looking for David, he and his men made camp. While they slept, David and Abishai snuck into camp. Abishai offered to kill Saul, but David said no, just take his spear and water jug from beside his head, and let's go. So that's what they did, and they took it and called to the camp, and let the king know that he could have killed Saul, but did not. King Saul is several times described as having a spear by his side, possibly AT ALL TIMES. (Paranoid much?) Even at dinner with family and friends during a festival - when he threw it at his own son for siding with David (the second time he was going to kill his own son), he tried to kill David with his spear when David was in the throne room playing music on the harp to help Saul's affliction and ended up sticking it in the wall as David got away, he held a meeting with all his officials (and his spear) by his side under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah when he decided to kill the priests of God at the town of Nob for helping David. He eventually was buried under a tamarisk tree, one can just imagine with a spear, planted in the ground at the head of his grave in epic manner. Old King Saul definitely had a thing for spears, spears and tamarisk trees and evil.
    • After Abner anointed Saul's son Ishbosheth king rather than acknowledge David's kingship, there was a battle at Gibeon. Abner ran off, but Asahel ran after him. When Asahel wouldn't stop following, Abner struck him with the blunt end of the spear, so that it came out the back.
    • One of the giant's sons, Ishbi-Benob, thought he could kill David with a 7-1/2 lb. bronze spear. And David was faint at the time, so maybe he could've had not Abishai intervened and killed Ishbi-Benob first.
    • Among other things, Benaiah wrested a spear out of the hands of an Egyptian and killed him with it.
    • Perhaps the most famous spear in the New Testament, if not the whole Bible, is the Spear of Destiny. This was thrust into Jesus's side after He died, causing blood and water to come out. It left a mark which, after he came back to life, he showed to the disciples. According to tradition, the blood running down the spear touched the partially-sighted eyes of its wielder, the legionary Longinus, and cured his sight; he became a Christian as a result of this, and the spear is also called the Lance of Longinus.

  • The clockwork Minotaur golem in Sinbad welds a long halberd.
  • One of the witches in Seawitch enter battle with a shield and a polearm.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The original Dungeons & Dragons had a comically large assortment of available polearms, including the glaive, the guisarme, the glaive-guisarme, the glaive-voulge, the guisarme-voulge, and the Bohemian Ear-Spoon. This has spawned numerous parodies.
    • Fortunately, they cut things down to a more manageable list in 3rd edition (along with the other swords, axes, and other antisocial devices). One of its Sourcebooks explicitly stated the intent to avoid making stats for weapons that are fundamentally similar. So far, this is carried over to 4th as well.
    • The lance in particular is the best melee weapon to use on an aerial mount. Dragonlance is named for a group of artifact weapons that are powerful against dragons and that can be wielded from dragonback.
    • One of the best examples of a polearm wielder in D&D lore is Gruumsh One-Eye, god of orcs and savagery, wields a great iron spear as his primary weapon.
    • In the 1st Edition Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia.
      • Norse Mythology deity Odin. His spear Gungnir is a plus 5 weapon, can point to the strongest opponent in a group of enemies, and when he holds it aloft all enemies within twenty yards are affected as if seeing a Symbol of fear. Anyone allowed to touch it gains the protection of a double strength Prayer spell. Any opponent who does so will either be polymorphed into an ant or lose 50% of their original Hit Points.
      • Celtic Mythology hero Cuchulain. His spear Gae Bolg is a plus 4 weapon and does 4-40 Hit Points of damage, and while holding it he can't be surprised. Only he can wield it. In battle it shines with a light so bright that his opponents can't look at him and take a penalty to hit him.
      • Greek Mythology deity Poseidon. His trident is a plus 5 weapon that does 4-40 Hit Points of damage. Each round of combat it can reflect a spell back at the caster.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The elite daemon hunting chapter of Space Marines, the Grey Knights, wield psychically charged Nemesis Force Weapons as their standard close combat weapon, the forms of which are generally halberds and glaives, though some are swords, axes and hammers. Halberds and glaives are the standard form for the 40k RTS Dawn of War.
    • The Adeptus Custodes (The Emperor's guardians) use a spear - before the end of the Horus Heresy, it had a bolter incorporated in it.
    • The Eldar are also fond of this - their Farseers and Warlocks can carry Singing Spears, anti-tank Blades On A Stick. The Avatar of Khaine also can bring a spear into battle.
    • Da Orks use pointy sticks to show off their collection of severed heads. Their combat Blades On Sticks are 'Uge Choppas, essentially two chainsaws back to back on the end of a pole. The forces of the Imperium or Chaos occasionally make use of similar chain-glaives, too.
    • Unique to the Orks, however, is the "buzzsaw on a stick" variant.
    • The Imperial Guard Rough Riders also have their own version - a single-use lance with an explosive charge at the tip.
      • Surprisingly, this one is Truth in Television, though it's usually been used as a naval weapon or a mine-clearing device over the course of history.
    • The Necrons also have a variant in the dreaded Warscythe, although it's more of a glaive than a military scythe, and is so deadly it can bypass virtually any defense, up to and including energy shields and massive sheets of armor.
    • The Tau's closest allies, the Kroot, use gunpowder rifles with curved blades on them, harkening back to the days before Kroot had access to guns and fought with bladed staves.
    • The Ethereal caste of the Tau carry Honor Blades, which are mostly ceremonial.
    • With the 6th edition, regular Imperial power weapons now include Power Lances and Power Spears alongside axes, swords, and mauls. They give special benefits in charge scenarios but are not as effective as the others when locked in a prolonged melee.
  • Warhammer of course has spears, halberds and lances as an option for many infantry and cavalry units in various armies, though different factions tend to have their own styles. Goblins in particular often have spears as their Weapon of Choice, while the Skinks make extensive use of javelins. Halberdiers are common in mercenary units.
    • Unique to the Dogs of War list (which is two editions old) is the pike, which as you'd expect functions much like a spear, only significantly more so. They were not popular with the cavalry-heavy Bretonnian Knights.
  • WARMACHINE has numerous characters with weapons of this type, largely due to the proliferation of the Reach ability. Notable examples include Victoria Haley and her sister Warwitch Deneghra
  • GURPS gives all polearms one skill but provides a dizzying variety of different ones in the Martial Arts book plus smaller dueling versions of the common ones.
    • GURPS's predecessor The Fantasy Trip includes several varieties of polearm. Because of the game mechanics relating to pole weapons, they're only so-so in a one-on-one fight, but are devastating as part of a team. They end up being a popular weapon for characters that aren't primarily fighters.
  • Exalted naturally has polearms and their super-sized artifact variants, the larger types gaining a damage bonus if used against a charging foe, or if used as a lance when charging. They also have the Reach tag, which allows them to attack enemies on higher terrain or those in high mounts (such as elephants) without penalties.
  • Magic: The Gathering: A common weapon among Soldiers and creatures with First Strike. Notable examples include:

    Video Games 
  • Vagrant Story has spears, two handed axes, and two handed maces, and you can combine them to your hearts delight
  • Chivalry Medieval Warfare has this as the Vanguard's weapon of choice, from spears to axes to billhooks. The Archer can also get in on the fun, with their javelins, and short/heavy throwing spears - good for both throwing and for stabbing.
  • Lots and lots of them in the Warriors Franchise:
    • In Dynasty Warriors, we have Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, Jiang Wei, Guan Yu (Blue Dragon Halberd), Zhang Fei, Wei Yan (Double Voulge), Yue Ying (Dagger-Axe), Zhang Liao (Blue Wyvern Halberd), Lu Meng (Glaive), and Lu Bu (Pike).
      • Samurai Warriors brings us Yukimura Sanada, Keiji Maeda, Tadakatsu Honda (Tombo-giri), Ieyasu Tokugawa (Cannon Spear), and Toshiie Maeda (twin spears as a secondary weapon).
      • In Warriors Legends Of Troy, any character can pick up and wield a fallen enemy's spear as a melee weapon or launch it at an enemy from a distance.
      • The crossover Warriors Orochi adds Joan Of Arc and Nemea.
      • Blade Storm The Hundred Years War allows the player to control squads wielding a variety of polearms. They are very useful against cavalry and get eaten alive by archers or infantry.
  • Again in Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura (dual wields), Chousokabe Motochika (an anchor), Oichi, Matsu, Honda Tadakatsu, Maeda Toshiie, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hojo Ujimasa
  • This seems to be a favorite weapon for Final Fantasy Dragoons. Examples of those who wield spears as their default weapon: Richard Highwind, Kain Highwind, Cid Highwind, Ward Zabac (Who combines this with Anchors Away), Freya Crescent, Kimahri Ronso, and Oerba Yun Fang. Because polearms are the only two-handed weapon type that does piercing damage, Dragoons in Final Fantasy XI have an advantage over flying enemies compared to other two-handers, and other monsters weak to that damage type.
    • Interestingly, in Dissidia, Cecil, who was primarily a sword-wielder in his own game, is now primarily a wielder of a Blade On A Stick. Probably due to a combination of variety, as everyone else is primarily a swordy-type, and as a Mythology Gag regarding early development of the character, who was initially conceived as using blades on sticks.
    • And in other installments that use a class/job system, spears tend to be available only to Dragoons. Often enough, a spear is also required for their iconic Jump attack, or at least makes it much more efficient.
    • Additionally, the strategy-oriented games in the franchise allow Spears and Polearms a two-panel reach. In Final Fantasy Tactics, the Javelin II is the game's strongest weapon, which is referenced by the Zodiac Spear in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Although there's no specific Dragoon-class character in Final Fantasy VI, Mog and Edgar can equip pikes and lances, and are capable of dishing out terrific amounts of damage with them when coupled with Dragoon boots (which enable the "Jump" command).
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines's Eric Lecarde wields the Alucard Spear. It's not known if Alucard actually specializes in spears out of all the things he wields; judging from his weaponry in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, he likely specializes in swords (heck, there is even an Alucard Sword). When they appear as protagonist-usable weapons, spears tend to be slow and powerful with good range. Bladed sticks are also the weapon of choice for several villains, notably Isaac and Slogra.
  • One of the many available weapons in Silkroad Online.
  • Xaldin from Kingdom Hearts uses six lances in conjunction with his wind powers.
  • The Spear Master of Bloodline Champions, tellingly, uses one.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Bill bec-de-bardiche glaive-guisarme (yes, that's one weapon) as a weapon available to players.
    • Another is the halfberd. Get two of them, and you can make a wholeberd.
    • There's also the Plexiglass Pikestaff, one of the best weapons in the entire game. It's obtained by completing a Hardcore Oxygenerian run as a Seal Clubber.
    • And yes, it's tipped with a statue of a pike.
  • This has also recently be a specialized weapon in the Tales series. In the past, polearms are like extensions to normal swords, Cless, Stahn and Reid may replace their sword with polearms if they want. Starting Destiny 2, however, specialized polearm users starts to appear:
    • Tales of Destiny 2: Loni Dunamis
    • Tales of Rebirth: Eugene Gallardo
    • Tales of Legendia: Moses Sandor. This is a subversion, because he THROWS the spear instead of fighting close range with it.
    • Tales of the Abyss: Jade Curtiss. Though he specializes more in spellcasting.
    • Tales of Vesperia: Judith, who seems to be returning to the classic 'direct polearm' fight a la Loni and Eugene.
    • Tales of Xillia 2: Ludger conjures one to wield whenever he's in his Corpse Shell mode. He mostly uses it as a melee weapon, but can also throw it with the Bad Breaker arte.
  • Tears To Tiara 2: Izebel and Monomachus wields two handed thrusting spears. It's also a common mook weapon.
  • Seung Mina from the Soul Series of games uses a polearm as her weapon of choice.
    • Soul Calibur 3 also featured the Lance, which appeared to be an oversized spear. It still ended up swung quite often.
    • Soul Calibur IV adds the new character, Hildegard von Krone, who wields a spear and a short sword.
  • The cows in Diablo 2's Secret Cow Level wield halberds bardiches.
    • The Amazon class can also wield spears and javelins, which can only stab, thus avoiding Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship with a spear. Also, only Javelins can be thrown. The other polearms in the game, on the other hand, always slash.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind possesses spear weapons, most of which are most effective with a thrust attack, averting the 'spear slash' notion. Some spears like Naginitas and Glaives are different in that they are most effective with a slash effect. These are notably missing from the sequels, Oblivion and Skyrim, though, to the lament of many.
    • On the PC front, several modders have attempted to rectify this problem with varying degrees of success - the largest issue being that "proper" polearm animations, especially stabbing ones, don't exist in the shipped versions of Oblivion or Skyrim. This means that modders either have to add their own animations, which is a difficult and time-consuming proposition, or polearms just get swung like other two-handers, which works well enough for "poleaxes" but tends to look a bit goofy for spears.
    • Interestingly, recent datamining of Skyrim patch files has revealed that spear animations were added to the game, possibly for use in future DLC.
    • The Dragonborn DLC introduces Rieklings, small goblin-like creatures that wield spears.
  • One of the weapon types in Fire Emblem, the other being Swords, Axes, Bows, and Magic Books. Lances are stronger than swords and more accurate than axes, making them a Weapon Of All Stats. Lances receive bonuses when used against sword-wielding opponents (and penalties against axes), and are the main weapons of several fighting classes (Knights, Pegasus Knights, Wyvern Knights until Fire Emblem Awakening where they switch to axes) and secondary weapons for others (Cavaliers and Falcoknights, who can use both swords and lances; Generals and Great Knights, who use both lances and axes; and Dark Fliers, who use both lances and magic tomes). In general, Lances are the preferred weapon of mounted units.
    • Prince Ephraim of Renais (The Sacred Stones) is a Lord that specializes in this. He later gets the lance Siegmund, one of the Renais Sacred Twins aka the holy weapons of their country; his fellow Prince Innes later brings one of the Frelian Sacred Twins, another lance known as Vidofnir.
    • In Genealogy Of The Holy War, two of the Twelve Crusaders (Dain and Noba) were lance users. Their sacred weapons, only avaliable to people of major Dain or Noba blood, are the lances Gungnir and Gaebolg. Dain's Gungnir is wielded by King Travant of Thracia and his son Crown Prince Areone; Noba's Gaebolg is the weapon of Duke Quan and later of Princess Altenna who, after her dad and mom's murders, is taken in by Travant as his war spoil. When she finds out the truth (assuming you don't kill her in battle), she has a Heel-Face Turn and joins your group, putting the Gaebolg to your service. And later, if you play your cards right, Altenna can convince Areone of becoming an allied unit (not under your direct command, but still attacking your enemies), thus sorta giving your group the Gungnir too.
    • Even more. Dain and Noba were a Brother-Sister Team, whose destinies took a turn for the worse in what's known as "Tragedy of the Gaebolg", which ended up with Noba killing herself and Dain dying few years later. Quan's wife Ethlyn is thus very scared of handing Quan the Bolg... and they're horribly killed by Travant few after she does.
    • In Fire Emblem Tellius spear-wielding Soldiers/Halberdiers added a Third-Tier to become Sentinels. Notable spear users included Country Mouse and Shrinking Violet Nephenee, and Antivillains Bryce and Levail who both wielded the Wishblade an ungodly powerful lance that's one of the top ten weapons in the game. Levail's actually one of the few tough enemies you encounter during the last part of the second game.
  • In Odin Sphere, Gwendolyn's Psypher weapon is a spear with a crystal tip, with which she can use to slash and stab.
  • Ekei Ankokuji from Onimusha 2 Samurais Destiny and Onimusha Blade Warriors carries a big friggin' spear
    • Well, he uses an edged spear, so the slashing thing is justified, but it's not really large. Also, from the same series we have Keijiro with a veeery large glaive, Jubei's Spear and Halbeard, Heiachi's Tonbogiri and all of Tenkai's Weapon set, which ranges from staves to clubs to Axe headed Halbeards
  • NetHack features a wide variety of bladed polearms. They are useful when you need to attack something without technically touching it (floating eyes, water-based monsters which attempt to drown you) but they are not generally used as primary weapons.
  • A common weapon available in many Nippon Ichi games, starting with Disgaea. In a subversion of the Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship rule, nearly all attacks with them involve stabbing or throwing.
    • Something to note is that nearly all spear skills in the Disgaea titles move the user, making them perfect for literally jumping over and past most stages. Some have given the spear class users the Fan Nickname the Polevaulters for when they're used for the above-mentioned reason.
  • Polearms also exist in World of Warcraft, but they typically allocate their item budget into agility instead of strength, which means that the classes that actually hit people with two-handed weapons (warriors, death knights, and paladins) have little use for them. The only two classes that benefit properly from them are Hunters, who use bows or guns instead of fighting in melee, and druids, who shapeshift into cats or bears to actually fight. Consequently past the first levels before item optimization these weapons pretty much gather dust in a weapon slot, like a mage's sword.
    • As of Mists of Pandaria, ranged weapons have replaced melee weapons in the main weapon slot instead of supplementing it, meaning Hunters no longer use agility polearms. However, they may be now used instead by the newly introduced Monk class, if in a rather counterintuitive manner. While all monk attacks depend on weapon power, the animations show monks doing most of their damage through punches and kicks, only drawing a weapon for a basic attack that serves to build up resource for more advanced martial techniques.
  • In Warcraft III, throwing spears are the preferred weapon of the DarkSPEAR Tribe of trolls.
  • In the Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars series, Huskar uses throwing spears like Rambo, in the original of DOTA Huskar used the model of a Darkspear Berserker.
    • Phantom Lancer, true to his name, also uses a lance, even if his model is a modified version of Grom Hellscream, who used an axe by default. However, rather than how he uses his spear, his feared skill is his ability to create illusions of himself, thus slashing his enemies with many spears.
  • Gears of War 2 has its resident Dragon Skorge take this trope to its logical end: a double-bladed chainsaw spear.
  • Oddly, this was the weapon of choice for Serge in Chrono Cross; a two-ended glaive, basically, called a 'swallow' in the game.
  • Back to early games ... the halberd was one of the best mundane weapons in the first The Bards Tale game. And for some reason you could carry a shield while holding it.
  • Touhou:
    • The fighting games show Alice Margatroid's dolls using lances for most of her melee attacks.
    • Also in the fighting games, Remilia Scarlet is seen with a red energy lance made from her danmaku named after the legendary spear of Odin, called Spear the Gungnir. She's only ever seen throwing it, though.
    • Toramaru Shou carries a spear. It's just there to make her look like Bishamonten, who she is an avatar of; she specializes in lasers, and her true weapon is the pagoda she carries.
    • Houjuu Nue has a trident. Whether she actually uses it is unclear, as she hasn't appeared in any fighting games, and it hasn't been mentioned in any secondary material.
  • Persona 3 features spear weapons, usable by the protagonist and Ken Amada. The protagonist mostly uses it as a stabbing weapon, while Ken uses it as a combination stabbing/slashing weapon, and a pole around which to swing his body for a couple of crazy kicks. In an interesting justification, Ken uses a spear, which is at least twice as long as he is tall, because he's so short, and he needs to use it to increase his range. Which isn't really an issue, given his attack style.
    • The female protagonist in the PSP remake exclusively uses a naginata, although it is a different weapon type that does slashing damage compared to Ken's spears.
    • Back in the first Persona, we have Hidehiko Uesugi (or Brad) as the resident spear user. Interestingly enough, his Arcana is the same as Ken's (Justice).
    • In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Hitler wields the Spear of Destiny. It has been told, for the past 2000 years (give or take) that a wound caused by this spear will not heal... which becomes a plot point when Nyarlatothep manipulates Maya Okamura into fatally stabbing Maya Amano with it, therefore leading to the events of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment.
  • Dragon Quest VIII allows the protagonist, who happens to be a former palace guard, to use spears. He can also equip shields at the same time, and the animations actually show that he uses it intelligently when spearing things.
    • Dragon Quest IX also had spears as one of the weapon types available (notably the Paladin can wield a spear but not a sword). Like the hero of the previous game, they use their spears correctly, with both their main attack and most of their special attacks being thrust attacks. Earlier games in the series also have spears as available weapons, but rarely had anyone specialize in them.
  • In the Avernum series, the slithzeraki traditionally use two-tined spears.
  • The Gerudo from The Legend of Zelda series seem to like little blades on big sticks when they're not dual-wielding scimitars.
    • In the early games, Ganon uses a trident — the traditional weapon of the Devil.
  • Terranigma, wherein the hero Ark builds up a whole arsenal of weapons during the course of the game, most of which are staffs or variants of a blade on a stick. Or just a really sharp stick, in some cases. In fact, he doesn't use a proper sword at all (the closest he gets is a few spears).
  • Spears/halberds are the most powerful melee weapons in Aion: the Tower of Eternity, usable only by the melee-specialist Gladiators. They swing them in enormous arcs capable of knocking opponents clean off their feet.
  • Plenty of magic blades on sticks exist in the Baldur's Gate games including the single deadliest weapon in the series, the Ravager, a + 6 vorpal halberd.
  • The later Wizardry games have a fair number of polearms, which are mainly associated with the Valkyrie class-the Maenad's Lance is one of the top weapons in the series.
  • Guild Wars associates spears with the Paragon class, though they're better classified as javelins and are thrown in combat. Guild Wars 2 uses them exclusively for underwater combat.
  • Naturally, a few of these show up in Samurai Shodown. Kyoshiro's naginata in the second game is VERY unfair to others. And then Gaoh's spear as an SNK Boss in 6.
  • Yamatoman from Mega Man 6 uses a yari with a throwable head. The head's not shaped like any of the real ones, from what you can tell from the graphics.
  • The Fallout games feature a small assortment of spears that can be useful in the early to middle parts of the game, before getting completely eclipsed by various quality melee weapons, guns, and grenades. Still, dropping a fleeing Mook by hurling a spear through his back is far more Bad Ass then just shooting him.
  • The Dead Money DLC for Fallout: New Vegas introduces Ghost People, whose Weapon of Choice is the Knife Spear, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's a decent melee weapon for The Courier to use throughout the DLC, as ammunition is scarce and Ghost People must be dismembered to be permanently killed.
    • The main game has the armor-piercing Thermic Lance, wielded by higher-ranking Legionaries.
  • In Mount & Blade, many kinds of polearms are used quite effectively. Those that are more lance-like can do "couched lance" damage, which is often a One-Hit Kill. Strangely, some polearms, like bardiche, is considered as two-handed sword type weapon.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, Lavitz and later Albert, combine this and Spin Attack to be two of the most powerful characters for a long while. The latter is almost too fast to control though.
  • Halo: Covenant Honor Guards usually wield huge ornamental spears ('huge' as in, longer than the 8+ -foot alien wielders are tall); the Honor Guards seen in Halo Wars cutscenes can be seen wielding versions that more closely resemble Lochaber Axes (Of course, thanks to the trio of Spartans, these weapons end up killing more Elites than they do humans).
    • Though with the notable exception of the Halo Wars cutscene, the Honor Guard never actually use their ceremonial spears in combat. When danger threatens, they drop their spears and equip plasma guns and energy swords.
  • Dwarf Fortress has a representative selection of spears, pikes, and halberds. Most of them are too large to be wielded by dwarves, but a steel pike in skilled hands can comfortably One-Hit Kill a dragon. Spears are distinguished for being simultaneously lethal and clean by damaging enemy internal organs rather than lopping off limbs, which add to on-screen clutter and can mess up a player's precious FPS. On the other hand, it makes them rather less useful against enemies who don't have internal organs, like the undead.
  • Undines and knights wield them in Yggdra Union and its spinoff Yggdra Unison. The former use tridents, and the latter fights with a humongous lance.
  • In The Lord Of The Rings The Third Age, a Spear is Eoaden's primary weapon. Though this might be because he's the last character you get and all the cool weapons (Sword, Bow, Axe) have already been taken.
  • In Majesty, City Guards and Royal Guards get halberds while heroes will wield bows, hammers, or swords.
  • In God of War series, Kratos had two Blade On A Stick type weapons, including the Spear of Destiny (which is partly made of purple crystal, can stretch and fire explosives shards) and the Arms of Sparta (Spear and Shield combination). He gives the latter to his brother Deimos in order to fight Thanatos.
    • Also Poseidon wields a giant Trident, and many Satyrs wield large spears.
  • Spearmen and pikemen are common early-game units in the Civilization series, traditionally with bonuses against cavalry.
  • Though you can't buy or equip them, Ezio Auditore of Assassins Creed II can disarm elite seeker guards carrying a spear or halberd, and use it against them in combat. Their use makes for some pretty spectacular kills, as he's a solid, unapologetic Combat Pragmatist.
    • The spears/halberds can also be thrown with deadly accuracy.
  • In Warlords Battlecry 2, the Human faction has the pikeman which can get upgrades twice, making them as effective endgame as in the early minutes of play.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 has (parallel world version of) Musashibo Benkei and his naginata. Which also has good chances of being historically accurate...
  • Xin Zhao and Pantheon of Leagueof Legends both use spears. Jarvan IV also wields a mansized lance/spear combination that he swings like a hammer and can extend out to stab from far away. Not to mention it's made from the bones of the various monsters he killed south of the Great Barrier, including dragons.
  • Mages in Dragon Age II wield these instead of the staves seen in Dragon Age: Origins.
  • The Total War series could be called "Pointy Stick Death: The Game". There are all kinds of spears and polearms, depending on the game and era:
    • Shogun and Shogun II both feature ashigaru and samurai, armed with naginata and yari (good old spears).
    • Medieval and Medieval II feature troops armed with spears, pikes, voulges, halberds, javelins, the list goes on. Some archer units, such as English Longbowmen, can even plant wooden stakes in the ground, which serve as a static defence against charging cavalry.
    • Empire features a pikeman unit for the European factions, but they quickly get replaced by musket/rifle-armed troops with bayonets.
    • Rome features all kinds of spear-like weapons, ranging from Germanic warriors in crude spear-walls to Greek Phalanx formations forming an immovable wall of bronze and pike.
      • And spearmen are the basic "trained" unit (not the drafted peasants) of almost every faction in the game - Tribal Spearmen for the "barbarians", Town Militia Spearmen for the "civilized" and Militia Phalanx Pikemen for the various greek factions. The only exception are the horse and archer (and horse archer) focused Scythians.
  • Dacia Ultan in Rift wields a halberd.
  • Spears are available as weapons in Drakensang, and a spear user can learn the useful "Death Strike" (a powerful stab attack that deals up to three wounds and lots of damage). The most notable spear user is Ancoron the elf.
  • Age of Empires:
  • In MapleStory, spears are equip-able weapons for the Warrior tree of classes. One of these is the "Pike on a Pike", a trident with a fish stuck at the end.
  • World of Mana games with blade-on-a-stick weapons:
  • The spear weapons in Dark Souls from plain old spears to halberds. They're quite useful, what with their allowing you to attack while defending. Of course, so can the enemies who use them. Ornstein the Dragonslayer wields a huge spear that he frequently charges with lightning. You can forge said spear with Ornstein's soul. Ornstein also drops a unique ring that improves the counter damage of piercing weapons like spears.
    • In Demons Souls, the warscyth is the weapon seen in the hands of most characters. In a game where the best way to survive is not getting hit, its very long range combined with an impressive speed make it an extremely effective weapon.
  • Kharad from Evil Islands carries an unique spear that throws lightning bolts towards his opponents.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land features the Spear ability, an ability that is also used by Bandana Waddle Dee. It's used mostly for stabbing, but can also be thrown rapidly as a highly effective projectile.
  • Deimos from Dungeons wields a poleaxe.
  • The Kabuki Master in The Simpsons Arcade game uses a spear.
  • Seen a fair bit in Battle for Wesnoth, where they tend to grant infantry units the ability to strike back first on defense and the lance-equipped Horseman line their trademark charge attack.
  • Hotaru from Mortal Kombat wields a naginata as his Weapon of Choice.
  • Mount & Blade offers an ample variety of these among the higher-end weapons. Those that are better being swung like halberds and voulges see some use among infantry due to the wide arc guaranteeing a hit or five in a packed melee, while pointier ones tend to be used by cavalry due to the speed bonus being higher for them, taking them to One-Hit Kill extents against anyone that isn't covered in steel.
  • ''Soul Sacrifice Delta added spear offerings, as a standalone category from the weapon offerings (which included axes and swords). Also, some archfiends do make use of one of them, like Cerberus, who uses the one lodged in his chest.

    Visual Novels 


    Web Original 
  • Polearms are occasionally assigned in Survival of the Fittest, and when a character needs an Improvised Weapon they usually either make a shiv or a spear from available materials. Examples of characters who made spears include Niniko Kishinawa and Daniel Brent.
  • A type of weapon exists in Chaos Fighters, but they tend to be at both ends of the stick.
  • In Elemental, spears are the weapon of choice for Mooks, but are also wielded by the fire Elemental, who serves as the resident Big Bad. Another interesting use of this trope is with Corah, who carries a scythe.
  • In Worm, a halberd is the signature weapon of Armsmaster.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Donatello's bo staff was cut by a Karai bot with a naginata. After the Turtles defeat the Karai bots, Donatello is seeing carrying the nagitata on his back. The 2012 series is a bit different by having Donnie's staff have a retractable blade. As a result, the staff can double as a naginata in a pinch.
  • In Kim Possible "Mad Dogs and Aliens", Warmonga has a high-tech one.
  • The Spear of Guan and its many copies wielded by Master Monk Guan in Xiaolin Showdown. The character's name is likely a reference to Guan Yu, and the weapon is a stylistically drawn version of a Guan Dao.
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Lady Jaye uses javelins.

    Real Life 
  • Older Than Dirt: Spears tipped with stone, bone, and antler points are among the first weapons ever used by humans, going back thousands of years to the Ice Age.
  • This is a pretty good illustration of the many varieties of Blades on a Stick that have existed in real life, though the examples are limited to European polearms.
  • This was useful in real combat, both for and against cavalry. Thus, you get weapons like pikes, glaives, and bayonets, which are blades on a stick where the stick is a gun.
    • Used in practically every peasant's revolt ever, being quite effective against mounted nobility (horses are scared silly of anything resembling a pointy stick), so it's up to the Torches and Pitchforks. Most polearms are derived from converted farm implements or household blades stuck on long poles. They are easier for The Blacksmith to produce in a hurry: if pitchforks aren't enough, set a scythe blade on top of a straight stick, and you got some sort of glaive.
    • It also helps that it is relatively easy to train someone to use a spear effectively, as opposed to weapons like swords. To give you some idea, a decent spearman can be trained in six weeks. A half-decent swordsman would take a minimum of six months.
    • Ironically, when measuring the time taken to master the sword and spear, it's generally accepted in the martial arts community that mastering the sword takes less time. Strange. But spear tactics were much simpler in numbers. That's because martial artists use spears differently than soldiers do. A martial artist trains to fight one-on-one or several-on-one battles, under which circumstances a spear is an awkward weapon; it's tricky to manipulate and is useless if your opponent gets inside it. A soldier trains to stand in line, obey orders, have discipline and not have to defend himself from more than one direction—unless his formation has crumbled, at which point he's got much larger problems than the fact that he doesn't know how to use his spear in single combat.
  • The Ancient Greeks used the dory for their phalanxes of hoplites; later the Macedonian phalangites under Philip II and Alexander the Great used the sarissa, a double-length version. Hoplites along with the spears and large shields made for their tight formations were impossible to beat head-on, except against other hoplites, causing hoplites to dominate Greek battlefields for hundreds of years - battles amongst Greeks at this time generally took place on open ground and had few casualties, tending to essentially end after one side's formation wavered and broke ranks, who would then flee en-mass.
  • The Spetum, also called the Corseca or the Rawcon, had all the additional fun of multiple blades on a stick- one long, double-edged swordlike blade in the center, and at the base a crescent or v-shaped blade about half the length of the center blade. The spetum was very efficient in combat: the center blade was great for slashing and piercing at a distance, and the bladed projections at the base of the main blade were used to slash and chop off feet, ankles, wrists and necks, in addition to functioning as a hand-guard and hook to trap the opponents' weapons.
  • Ranged skirmishing tactics, such as with throwing javelins, arose to counter the hoplite's steady advance, which led to changes in doctrine, equipment, and newfound heightened-coordination with other types of military forces (pioneered by the Macedonians under Philip II) that lessened the importance of the hoplite, though the spear-and-shield-style of the hoplite would not die out entirely until much later. Philip II and Alexander the Great used the larger sarissa spear and smaller shields, for their main advancing infantry phalangites, but their hypasists were equipped like classic hoplite and guarded the right flank of the phalangites whose longer sarissa made them much more unwieldy against enemies attempting to flank them.
  • Roman legionaries carried two javelins (known as pila), but these were thrown to soften up the enemy before using the gladius shortsword in close combat. The spearheads were at the end of a long iron part left deliberately untempered, in the hope that it would pierce a shield and then bend, making it near-impossible to remove from the shield which was thereby made virtually useless.
    • It was also made this way to prevent enemies from throwing them back.
    • Like the Greeks and Macedonians, the Romans at first made good use of the phalanx formation, which took advantage of the spear's deadliest potential: that of creating a veritable wall of sharp points that, when combined with shields, were key to pinning down an enemy while the cavalry circled round to them. The reason Romans eventually switched to the gladius as a primary weapon for infantry was that on rough terrain phalanxes (which were slow and cumbersome for all their defensive capabilities) were easily overwhelmed by the more mobile guerilla forces which they ended up fighting more often than not. The spear thus fell out of favor as the primary weapon for military.
    • The "orb" formation did remain in their arsenal later on. The Roman force would form a tightly-clustered round formation, with their shields on the outside, spears poking through the gaps, and perhaps a few soldiers with bows in the middle. This formation was a very useful weapon against light cavalry, so much so that it stayed in the British Army's book during the Napoleonic Wars.
    • The Romans, before the Marian reforms, had triarii and hastati who both used the 6-foot hasta spear. Later on in the Roman Republic, the hasta was abandoned by hastati, and only after the Marian reforms was the spear fully dropped.
  • Women from Samurai families were expected to have a functional naginata as part of their dowry. The naginata was also the favoured weapon of the sohei Buddhist warrior-monks.
    • Naginata blades were made using the same costly and laborious process as katana blades, but were often made longer, or at least had longer shafts. So if they broke, they were re-made into katana/wakizashi/tanto depending on how much blade was left.
    • Although the sword was "the soul of the Samurai", the naginata was actually their primary battle weapon for much of their history; along with the bow when fighting from horseback. At the peak of the Samurai's power, the sword was used predominantly for dueling rather than warfare—though admittedly at this time there weren't exactly very many wars to fight anymore.
    • The naginata wasn't the only spear available to the Samurai. Popular amongst Samurai and Ashigaru (peasant levies) alike was the yari spear. Longer than the Naginata and with a shorter blade (which is straight and double-edged for thrusting), the Yari ranged in size (from about 3.3 feet to 20) and was a popular weapon for large formations of Samurai and Ashigaru during the Sengoku era. Samurai tended to wield shorter versions of the Yari: Ashigaru wielded the longer varieties. The Yari became popular because of the Mongol invasion of Japan; in the brief clashes, the Mongols and Koreans advanced in tight formation. The Japanese learned the lesson.
  • The Swiss mercenaries of the 15th century deserve an entry of their own. For a long time, it was an established truth that the only force capable of beating Swiss pikemen was an equal or greater number of Swiss pikemen. The first national army to ever beat a force consisting only of Swiss mercenaries was a French army that outnumbered the Swiss force 15 to 1.
    • The oldest active military guard, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, continues the heritage of the Swiss pikemen as both ceremonial and conventional bodyguards of the Pope. They still hold and can wield their halberds.
  • Mixed units of pikemen and musketeers ("pike and shot") were the standard armed force of the 16th and 17th centuries until the invention of the bayonet turned every gun into a spear.
  • Pikes were manufactured for use in combat as late as in 1942, when the War Office produced about 250,000 pikes for the British Home Guard after accidentally misinterpreting a letter from Winston Churchill saying that "every man must have a weapon of some kind, be it only a mace or pike". Churchill meant that they had to step up arms production, but they misinterpreted it as "start producing melee weapons". Though early on in the creation of the Home Guard, this would have made sense, as there weren't enough rifles to equip everybody, by 1942 this equipment shortage had been somewhat solved - several people in the Home Guard and parliament pretty much went What the Hell, Hero? towards the War Office. By that time, the Home Guard and those serving in it expected better equipment - but it would be amusing to think of what had happened had the Germans invaded in that very moment. Thankfully, they never did.
  • Something similar happened in Japan as they prepared for an Allied invasion in 1945- they tried to arm everyone, even if that meant using pointy sticks. They took their standard rifle bayonet (which aside from minor revisions to simplify it for more rapid mass production, was unchanged since 1897), simplified it even more, and mounted it on a bamboo pole. They also manufactured cheap ceramic grenades to go with them, which were unused due to the war ending and eventually ended up in the hands of the Yakuza.
  • The Battle of Flodden Field (9 September 1513) was decided in a brutal confrontation between infantry armed with contrasting pole-arms. The Scots advanced with the pike, to be met by Englishmen armed with the bill, which was (alongside the much more famous longbow) the medieval English weapon of choice. The military bill was developed from the bill-hook, a hedging tool widely used in Europe at the time (and listed in tool-catalogues to this day as the "brush axe" or "brush hook"), by adding a thrusting point to the tool's hooked chopping blade, and extending the shaft to around six to eight feet. A foot-soldier armed with this versatile weapon could thrust with the point, use the hook to pull a knight from the saddle, and deliver powerful chopping blows with the edge of the blade.
  • Though in history as in fiction, polearms are more famous as mook weapons, the poleaxe was probably the most popular weapon for dismounted knights to use, particularly in the Wars of the Roses, where the knights fought dismounted an awful lot. Why did they use poleaxes? Have you ever tried to get through plate armour with a sword? The poleaxe (also known as pollaxe; there is still much dispute about whether its name actually referred to the fact that it was on a pole) was one of the most versatile melee weapons ever seen. The whole darn contraption was a weapon. You practically get an axe, spear, hammer, can opener, and hockey stick for cross-checking at price of one. Its head had either an axe blade or a hammer on the front, a spike on the top, and either a hammer or a second spike on the back. Depending on the variant, the main tactic was to either chop with the axe blade or crush the enemy's armor (preferably his helmet) with the hammer. The top-mounted spike could also be driven into the weak points or armor, or used to kill a downed opponent before they could get up. Many poleaxes also had another spike on the bottom of the shaft. Oddly, despite being both effective and impressive-looking, poleaxes are rarely seen in fiction.
  • In at least one manuscript on personal combat from the Middle Ages the author listed weapons in a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors fashion. The halberd was listed as the best weapon of all and no surprise, all polearms combine several ways of hurting people (facetiously described by one historian as 'prodding, slicing, hacking and thumping') with a 6-foot reach, halberds combine all of them into one nasty package.
  • Oda Nobunaga's favoured weapon on the battlefield was the nagamaki, which is similar to a katana with a handle as long as the blade, apart from it counts as a polearm, not a sword.
  • The halberd is often considered the greatest polearm of all time. They had an axe blade on one side, a spear-like point on top, and a hook on the back. They could dismount cavalry, trip an opponent, hook a gap in their armor to cause a painful wound, pull away their shields, and had all the functionality of a battle-axe and a spear into the bargain. This versatility let it hold out or win against any type of weapon, from the sword to the pike.
  • The Chinese had a large variety of polearms. Students of Chinese martial arts are generally encouraged to start with the staff and spear when learning weapons, as they are considered to be the best for training body coordination, since a practitioner must utilize all parts of their body in equal amounts of complexity in order to properly wield the weapon. Some schools may go as far as making them compulsory before learning other weapons.
    • The most eponymous are the usual longspear (fixed with a tassel behind the blade which, in expert hands, can help distract the opponent and interfere with his/her ability to judge where the point is going, as well as preventing blood from running down the haft and making it slippery)
    • The Guan Dao, a large blade fixed to the business end a long pole.
    • Halberds were also commonly used in war, ranging from a simple addition of a blade fixed on a right angle to the main blade to as many as 4 crescent-shaped blades fixed just below the main blade.
    • Double-ended weapons are also commonly taught in martial arts schools, like a double-ended spear, double volgues, and a unique weapon sometimes called the Monk's Spade.
      • The last weapon has a spade-like or axe-like blade fixed to one end and a crescent-shaped blade on the other.
    • There's also a weapon known as Bandit Sword which is like a Guan Dao with a much shorter pole.
    • The ge, or Dagger-Axe, is an inconsistently depicted but apparently quite effective weapon, issued en masse to infantry. It is best described as a spear with a pointed blade coming out perpendicular to the main shaft head, with a second smaller point on the opposite side of the blade. It was was used as both a thrusting and swinging weapon because of its points and edges, and could be used to trip enemies or pull horsemen off their mounts. Because it was a polearm, a good swing would allow the perpendicular blades to punch through armor. It is sometimes called a halberd, but the Chinese term "ji" denotes their version of a halberd (far right), mentioned above.
    • The Chinese have a variant of the spear known as the 'snake spear,' due to its wavy blade shape. Apparently used against lightly armored or unarmored foes, the snake spear's design philosophy is similar to a flamberge, to inflict wounds that were difficult to heal and that did not close up easily.
    • While described less as a blade and more as a horrific collection of pointy bits on the end of a stick, the wolf's-tooth club combines a surplus of sharp protrusions and edges with the weight of a mace to create a weapon that could quickly penetrate armor and cause a large number of deep wounds in one blow.
  • Some sadistic Fleming comboed this trope with Carry a Big Stick to create the goedendag: a pole several inches in diameter, reinforced with iron bands or studs, and with a spear or pike point on top. The idea was to spear your opponenent off of his horse with the pike, and then bludgeon him to death with the pole. All the effectiveness of a halberd or poleaxe, none of the extra manufacturing time.
    • An important design feature was that the point was smaller then the shaft. Thus you can stab a horse and easily recover your weapon. Boar spears have sort of a sidebar design under the blade for the same reason. The tactic for boar hunting consists of letting a big furious animal with mean tusks charge at you full speed, catch him on your spear, pull it out and quickly kill or immobilize it before it rips your bowels apart. If your only weapon is the one you're using to stop charging horses with, you need a decent chance of being able to use it against the angry knight in full armor that's sitting on said horse. A simple pointy stick or point on a stick will likely get stuck deep in the horse.
    • The name of the goedendag is interesting: some say it comes from a phrase meaning "good dagger". Others say that it literally means its literal translation from Dutch, "good day": you went down the street saying, "good day," and anyone responding in a French accent got the pointy end. (Flemish revolts against the French are innumerable; they were particularly common in Bruges, as France kept occupying it.)
  • The Knight's lance, while often just a metal-tipped sharpened stick, and thus missing a "Blade" completely, is still technically this trope, knightly lances were designed not for thrusting, but simply keeping it "couched" in the armpit of the knight, put his entire weight into the blow, and through the saddle, stirrups and such, put the horses weight into it as well. Needless to say, a sharpened metal-tipped stick with that much weight and speed behind it is all but unstoppable, and the use of it and it's unstopability was the basis for medieval warfare.

Bindle StickIndex on a StickBoom Stick
Armor-Piercing SlapDainty CombatDance Battler
Big Screwed-Up FamilyOlder Than DirtBling of War
Batter UpWeapons and Wielding TropesBroomstick Quarterstaff
Blade Below the ShoulderSword TropesBlade Lock
Barbarian HeroDark Age EuropeCarry a Big Stick
Samurai WarriorsImageSource/Video GamesScribblenauts

alternative title(s): Spear; Polearm
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