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Multi-Melee Master

A character who carries more than one type of melee weapon. Frequently, he carries a short-ranged weapon and a long-reach weapon. That, or a weapon that is good for offense and defense. He tends to have trouble changing between them, though, as it means he has to draw the new weapon and dispose of the old one somehow.

This can be rather tricky to do in real life, as different types of melee weapon can require radically different styles. This is most evident when it comes to weapons with hugely divergent physical properties. A swordsman can use an axe or spear with relative ease, but a flail's physical attributes are different enough for it to require entirely separate training and methods. Even among swords, remember that All Swords Are the Same is false; one uses a katana differently from a rapier or a broadsword.

On the other hand, this is also also very much Truth in Television, as professional warriors were expected to be fully trained across multiple weapon types. For example, Liechtenauer stated that one should be adept in Good Old Fisticuffs, the use of the dagger, polearm (generally a halberd or polehammer), sword and shield, and most importantly, the longsword (which was the foundation of Liechtenauer's entire system, and a longsword at half-sword was wielded virtually identically to a polearm).

Note that this is carrying two different styles of melee weapon. A person who carries two one-handed swords in case one breaks is not this trope, that's just someone who carries an Emergency Weapon. A person who carries, say, a short sword and a shield, and a two handed sword, in case they need more offense or defense, is this trope. Note also that this is not Dual Wielding. This is when characters switch between two different melee weapons depending on the situation. If they wield both weapons at the same time, that is Dual Wielding, not Multi-Melee Master. Though a Multi-Melee Master who then dual wields said weapons in a one-off occurrence can set him or herself up for a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.

Subtrope of Choice of Two Weapons. May also be a Walking Armory, if he doesn't use a Swiss-Army Weapon instead. For the ranged weapon version, see Multi-Ranged Master.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Multiple Media 
  • Fairly common in fiction in general; characters who are competent with their weapons will usually be shown either (a) always using a weapon of choice that they rarely lose for long or otherwise ever trade in for anything else or (b) as being reasonably omni-competent with almost any weapon they get their hands on. It's then a fairly small step from the latter case to this trope.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comics 
  • Marvel Comics Ares, as the God of War has fittingly shown using everything from swords, axes, spears, and staffs to flintlocks and machine guns in battle. His preferred weapon tends to be some form of giant ax.
  • Taskmaster, also from Marvel Comics.
  • The Hawk family is seen using just about every kind of medieval weapon there is, usually with a preference for maces. The Golden Age Hawkman was a museum curator and so had access to many medieval weapons.

    Film 
  • 300 gives us the Spartans, who used the classic combo of spears and shields for the start of combat backed up by swords for when things got up close and personal.
  • In Sin City, Miho uses a katana in concert with a wakizashi when she isn't going for long distance attacks using shuriken or arrows. The comic version has even more melee weapons in some stories.
  • Several of Braveheart's heroes qualify. In addition to his iconic claymore, William Wallace is seen to be proficient with a huge mallet, a thresher, a flail, a dagger, a longspear, a bow, a deer's antler, and rocks of various shapes and sizes.

    Literature 
  • In A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, John Carter carried a spear, long sword, short sword and dagger, all at the same time. It was a standard Martian combination, in fact, and there was an honor rule that in a formal duel you aren't allowed to use a "longer" weapon than the one the challenged party uses (for example: if the opponent chooses the short sword, you are allowed to use the short sword, dagger or your bare hands, but not the long sword or spear).
  • In The Saxon Stories, Uhtred carries a longsword, for single combat, and a shortsword, for fighting up close in the shieldwall.
  • In The Wheel of Time, all Aiel, even non-warriors, are proficient in the spear and the short-bow. They also carry belt knives, and in a pinch can fight with hands and feet.
    • Juilin Sandar, a professional thief-catcher, usually fights with a club/swordbreaker combo since he for both professional and personal reasons prefers to leave his opponents alive. He still carries a sword, and will use it instead of the club when the need to survive becomes more pressing than morality or a paycheck.
  • Chase in the Sword of Truth series is known for always having at least six different weapons on his person. And he's extremely proficient in all of them.

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Recently Nerfed in Warhammer 40,000, but now fits this trope! Fighters only gain one of the effects from multiple complex combat weapons, but still gain the Dual Wielding bonus attack.
  • Occurs a great deal in Warhammer due to how units can be equipped. They always start with a basic hand weapon (swords, axes etc.) and can be given spears, two-handed weapons, bows, flintlock handguns and the like, but once locked in combat they must choose one of the weapons to use for the entirety of that combat.
    • Black Orcs are exempt to this rule, coming with a pair of one-handed weapons, a two handed weapon and shield, and can switch between them whenever they like.
    • Crom the Conqueror is the master of this trope. Armed with nothing more than a simple, non-magical broadsword, axe and tower shield, he is able to dominate opponents so utterly through his fighting style they cannot use the magical properties of the weapons they carry.
    • Wood Elf Wardancers are modeled with a variety of different spears and swords to the point that the rules are different for Wardancers' unique combinations of weaponry than for normal people using the same stuff.
      • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Judicial Champion advanced class has possession of and proficiency with at least six different high-quality melee weapons as a prerequisite. This is justified by their role — judicial champions are the court's representative in Trial by Combat and need to be able to use whatever weapon the defendant picks.

  • Every character in Dungeons & Dragons is proficient with multiple weapons right out of the box, and warrior classes are often proficient in all but the most unusual ones, but Fighters have a different way of standing above the rest in each edition. 2nd lets them specialize in weapon skills beyond what others can, 3rd gives them enough bonus combat feats to master more than one fighting style, and 4th has bonus effects for different weapon types built right into their attacks, which fighter-exclusive feats can take even further.
  • Likewise, dots in the Melee skill in Exalted are applicable to any sort of melee weapon your character might pick up. You can purchase specialty dots to gain additional skill with specific weapon types—among other uses—though.
  • Every Adept with the melee weapon talent in Earthdawn is this, justified by the fact that they use magic to learn how to use all melee weapons instead of training with one or the other. Regular folk have to learn a skill for each type of weapon separately.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY has a couple of examples. Pyrrha's weapon Milˇ can switch forms between a short sword and a spear (as well as a rifle). Sun Wukong's "Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang" can switch from a staff into a pair of nun-chucks/shotguns. Whether Blake's Gambol Shroud counts when switching between katana and 'chain-scythe' form is up to the viewer.

    Video Games 
  • Possible in The Elder Scrolls. Use a claymore for slow and easy to dodge opponents, and a sword and shield for faster enemies who you need the additional defence for.
    • In Oblivion there are only two melee weapon skills (Blade and Blunt) and many more than two types of melee weapon (axes, maces, daggers, claymores, etc.), so every character who has any skill in either Blunt or Blade can pull this off. That is to say, pretty much any character who uses a melee weapon can back up a sword with a dagger, or a big axe with a mace, etc. In contrast, the earlier games had a much wider range of skills (short blade, long blade, etc.) that you had to master in order to do this. It still happened to a lesser degree, of course - long blade covers everything from sabers to claymores.
  • Also possible in Halo 3, though what you'd want a sword and a gravity hammer for... well, except for Rule of Cool. On the other hand, when dealing with lots of flood... Anyway, the hammer is more powerful but has a slower swing, while the sword is less powerful, at least on its basic swing, but can be used faster. The hammer is also more useful without using its shock powers, you can hit a foe with the butt of the hammer and still cause decent damage.
    • Grifball (an rugby-esque arena gametype between two teams) codifies this - all players carry sword and hammer, and usually use the hammer except against the ball carrier, where the sword is often more useful.
  • Link of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has the master sword, a hand and a half sword, and the Biggoron sword, a two-handed greatsword. Possibly due to his lack of training, he can't block with the second weapon, but it hurts like hell. So use the master sword against enemies you can't dodge but can block, and the Biggoron sword when having to get something between you and the enemy is irrelevant, say, if an enemy is very slow and predictable, or if their attacks are unblockable anyway. He can also wield the Megaton hammer, which makes a very effective, if somewhat slow, melee weapon. And a ton of other weapons throughout the games.
  • Carrying a reserve weapon in Arcanum is common, partly due to Breakable Weapons (which is not this trope), but also partly because weapons have varying effects against different targets.
  • Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce allows you to pick a secondary weapon.
  • Useful in Diablo due to Breakable Weapons. Also, some enemies are weak against clubs, others against swords, and axes are useful against anything, but you can't block.
  • Firion, as he appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, carries not only a sword and a small shield, but also an axe, a staff, two daggers, a lance, and a bow. He ain't bad with his bare fists, either. He uses all of these in fairly imaginative combos, such as throwing the axe to draw enemies into lance-range, or hitting them into the air and then shooting them with an arrow. What's even more impressive is his lack of any convenient hyperspace - he carries them all constantly.
    Conversely, Bartz, Gilgamesh and Vaan all possess Hyperspace Arsenals that they use to bust out extended weapon combos. Bartz has duplicate weapons from almost every other protagonist, while Gilgamesh has recurring superweapons from the series. Gilgamesh's Super Mode will allow him to Octo-wield his inventory. Vaan's arsenal is even more varied than Firion's.
  • Alucard, Soma, Hector and Jonathan in the Castlevania series. Depending on how you define her skills, this could also apply to Shanoa.
  • Fire Emblem has numerous character classes that can use more than one weapon type. Heroes can use both swords and axes, Warriors can use axes and bows, Cavaliers and Paladins can usually use swords and lances (and sometimes axes as well), Generals can use usually lances and at least one other weapon (which varies wildly with every game), Falcon Knights can use lances and swords, Wyvern Lords can use lances and either swords or axes depending on the game, and Nomad Troopers and Rangers can use swords and bows. The Master Knight class from the fourth game has access to not only every single non-legendary melee weapon, but most magic tomes as well.
  • Characters who are competent in Dual Wielding in Knights of the Old Republic have the option of wielding a double-sided weapon (like the twin-bladed light-sabre) as well as the standard single-edged twin-swords.
  • Most characters in World of Warcraft can learn to use lots of different weapon types, but Fury Warriors truly take this cake with their Titan's Grip talent, which allows them to ignore the normal restrictions for dual wielding. Want a sword and an axe? Fine. How about a mace and a fishing pole? Or two shields? Or a dagger and a polearm? Your imagination's the limit!
    • This is something of hyperbole; Titan's Grip allows a warrior to dual wield with weapons that normally require two hands. This can include two two-handed weapons, a two-hander and a one-hander, or a two-hander and a shield. You can only use one shield at a time(the models only work on the left hand) and can't dual wield with a polearm. Still, warriors fit this trope better than any other class in the game, being able to use every weapon type in the game with the exception of wands.
      • The restriction on polearms being unable to be dual wielded by warriors using Titan's Grip will be removed by patch 5.4
      • And of course, there was an achievement for maxing out skills for all weapons available to your class, until weapon skill levels got removed.
  • The player character in Mount & Blade will wind up like this. Not only are axes clubs and swords under the same skills (1 handed and 2 handed) but you have 4 inventory slots and diminishing returns for investing skill points into weapons (after about 100 points it is much more practical to raise them via use) encourages spreading them around.
    • Couched lances are ridiculously powerful, but a lance is a slow and unwieldy weapon when you aren't on a horse. It's usually wise to have a backup sword or axe whenever your main weapon is long and slow, in case you need to fight a quick or close enemy.
  • Several units in The Battle For Wesnoth wield multiple melee weapons, usually with different damage types. The human Knight and it's upgraded forms, the Grand Knight and Paladin, use both a sword and a lance - the sword allowing for a regular, fairly reliable attack dealing blade damage, or anti-magic "arcane" damage in case of the Paladin, while the lance provides a special "charge" attack during which the unit both deals and takes double damage, and does piercing damage. The Drake Clasher is another shining example, armed with a long spear and "war talons", and additionally gaining a ramming attack upon leveling up into a Thrasher, to complete the trio of physical damage types - piercing, blade, and impact.
  • While Travis Touchdown specialises in Beam Katanas, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle gives him a variety of different beam swords that suit different situations. (a change from the first game, where each new sword effectively replaces the last)
  • Rise of the Kasai is made of this trope. Each of the four playable characters carries four weapons; one for close range, one for mid range, one for great sweeping range, and one long range projectile or throwing weapon. Because of the game's unique targeting weapon, each range allows them to target more enemies at once.
  • DeathSpank can hold as many as eight weapons at once (four for the face buttons, and four more activated by the D-pad), though only two are shown on his in-game model.
  • Zero of Mega Man X can wield his trademark saber, a pair of harisen, a glaive, a giant hammer, and knuckle dusters with more or less equal proficiency in X8; this is explicitly stated to be his specialty in the Character Select. In his own series, he can also use a spear, a grappling hook, and bladed tonfas.
  • Haseo can do this starting in the second of the .hack//G.U. Games. He gets a pair of guns with bayonets in the third, to add to this ability.
  • Its conceivable to build a character like this in Dragon Age: Origins. A character that picks the two handed weapon specialization will equally be able to wield a one-handed weapon. There are actually no restrictions for using weapons (beyond meeting the stat requirements), so you can use any weapon at any time, including hand-axes, bows, swords, daggers, mauls and more. You won't want to, though: spreading your skill points around between various weapon sets means you're less effective overall, whereas specializing allows you to murder with efficiency, and there's enough powerful weapons floating around that staying up-to-date is never a concern. On the other hand, the game's habit of only distinguishing between one- and two-handed melee weapons in its skill system means that a character specialized in two-handed weapons will be equally proficient with claymore swords, mauls, and long battleaxes and able to switch between them at will.
  • Demons Souls allows you to carry all sorts of weapons (including dual wielding shields!). You can also change the weapons in your hands or go 2 handed at any point.
  • Same for Dark Souls.
  • In most Final Fantasy games, the ability to use a weapon is binary: you either can use a weapon, or you can't. In a few games, characters can use a number of different types of weapon with equal skill. Dragoons, for instance, can sometimes use either spears or swords. In some games, you can use two weapons at once—a flail and a sword, for instance, in FFVI. In FFV, a character without a job can use any weapon. Admittedly, there's rarely a reason to switch in the middle of a fight, but nothing stops you from doing so.
  • Hilda in Soul Calibur 4 uses a polearm and a sword.
  • Alta´r from Assassin's Creed I can use a one-handed sword, a short blade and the Hidden Blade. His descendant Ezio from 2 takes it further, being able to use bludgeons, longswords, axes and polearms in addition to the above.
  • Witchers wield two kinds of sword, functionally and physically different enough to require distinct fighting styles. They do not dual wield due to the need to keep one hand free to cast minor magics.
  • This is a common strategy in RuneScape when fighting monsters in an isolated area for any length of time. You fight most of the time with your best melee weapon, and when low on health switch to using a spear that completes the set effect of your armour, allowing you to randomly heal yourself for however much damage you do.
  • Characters in Mabinogi each have two equipped weapon sets, and two hand slots for each set. While many more generalised characters choose to go with bow and arrows in one set and melee in the other, more pure-warrior types will opt for such combinations as Dual-Broadswords (high offensive) in one set and Warhammer+Shield (high defensive) in the other. A truly masterful player can even switch between sets in the middle of an attack-chain to devastating effect.
  • In the Total War series if a phalanx were attacked on the flank or otherwise disrupted, the spearman would pull out their swords and start fighting hand to hand. Spartans, with their extra hit point, were even quite good at it.
  • Mousehunt has the Master of the Cheese Fang Mouse.
  • The Baldur's Gate series has two features that enable this. The first is the AD&D 2nd edition rule of weapon proficiencies, where you get (not too many) points to allocate between proficiencies in different kinds of weapons, with being proficient meaning you don't suffer penalties to attack but get to use your base chance to hit. And warrior classes (fighters, ranger, paladins, barbarians) can also put more than one point in the same class of weapons to get bonuses that depend on the level of specialization. (This is supposed to be simpler than having to add weapon skills to your attack roll.) The other feature are the quick slots for switching weapons, the number of which varies by class and is in truth mostly a function of how many other abilities there are taking up space on the bar at the bottom of the screen. Fighters are as their name implies, so they mostly have weapon slots there, whereas thief/mages get so many different kind of abilities that they only have one quick weapon slot in the first game, making the feature meaningless. The most obvious things to put in the slots if you have only two of them are one melee and one missile weapon, but warriors get so many that they can afford to equip different kinds of melee weapons, too — say, a sword as your usual weapon, a blunt weapon against The Undead, and a small but fast weapon for interrupting spellcasters.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the Universalist has a special ability "Mastery of Arms" that turns him/her into this. The special attacks of every weapon type (except longbows) are available the moment the Universalist Destiny is chosen.
  • In Onimusha, due to the different kinds of Oni Weapons, Samanosuke, Jubei Yagyu and Jacques are this. The former uses mostly swords of various kinds plus bow and arrow, an axe and a double weapon (As Tenkai in the fourth game, he's become a master of staves and spears). Jubei, technically a swordsman, can also use spears, double halbeards and huge hammers. Jacques's weapons are all whip-like, though they include a whip-sword, a multi-sectioned double spear and a large flail.
  • Though in Team Fortress 2 the classes use one type melee (Scouts use Bat-type weapons and Heavies use fist-type Weapons), but the Demoman has a variety of swords, axes and bottles.
  • Stanley from Time Commando can use any weapon, and since the whole game's shtick is fighting through various historical eras, there are a lot of different weapons to use.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, melee weapons are categorized as 'melee' or 'unarmed' category weapons, and greater skill levels conferred bonuses to all weapons of that category. Weapons also had differing effective ranges so far as combat went. Melee focused characters could reasonably be expected to have a large, slow weapon to overcome armor and damage resistance, and use a lighter, faster weapon to have a reasonable chance to hit smaller and more agile targets. The combination of a super sledge and a shishkebab can serve most melee characters' needs and yet only require raising one skill for proficiency.
  • The Tenno from Warframe switch effortlessly between BFSes, daggers, Dual Wielded blades, giant hammers, normal-sized swords, Power Fists, scythes... Pretty much every weapon you can think of.
  • Viva Caligula features twenty-six weapons, from "Axe" to "Zampogna". Each has their own use, but surprisingly enough it's the ones that do little or no damage that see the most use.

    Visual Novel 
  • In Fate/stay night, Archer can become an instant expert with any melee weapon just by looking at it, and can project copies of any melee weapon he's ever seen, magical effects included. He's also an expert with a bow. The same applies to Shirou, Archer's past self, once he learns how to utilize his abilities.

    Real Life 
  • This was more common than you'd think in real life. As early as Greek times, phalangites would use a spear at first, then draw their sword when the fighting got too close or if they dropped the spear for some reason. Vikings carried spears, axes and swords, often at the same time for use at different ranges. In later periods, knights carried lances into battle as their charging weapons, only drawing their signature swords upon entering melee. Pikemen would carry swords as well if they could afford them. Eastwards, Japanese samurai carried two swords, a katana and a shorter wakizashi sword in case things got too close or the samurai dropped the katana. Not to mention samurai who used the Yari spear or the giant No-dachi.
    • Moreover, much of the "style" of phalanx fighting was simply "Keep going forward, make sure your buddy is next to you, and keep poking around with pointy things." Teamwork was the important thing, not individual prowess; teamwork meant simply being a collective Mighty Glacier, rather then maneuvering; and apparently some warriors did not even know whether or not they had killed anyone. Spears were considered expendable (unlike shields which were hung over firesides) and generally tended to break. According to historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson, the original idea of the phalanx was to have a reasonably efficient tactic that didn't require much taxes or training, and could get the whole mess over with by harvest time, one way or the other.
    • Most koryu budo (a term covering old-school Japanese martial arts like kenjutsu and atemi-waza, as opposed to the modern stuff like judo and kendo) actually specifically trained students to follow the trope. The curricula would cover combat with a variety of melee weapons, since at the time this was what was needed in order for samurai to properly perform in wartime.
    • Medieval and Renaissance European fighting systems were like this. The Liechtenauer tradition of Germany, for instance, held five weapons at its core:
      • The longsword, a light two-handed sword of four feet in total length.
      • The spear and lance, the distinction between which is blurred at times.
      • The messer (or langesmesser, meaning "long knife"), a single-edged sword for use in one hand.
      • The dagger, which is blurred with unarmed combat.
      • One's own bare hands, primarily for grappling, as grappling was equally viable when unarmed or while holding a weapon.
  • Actually, knights considered themselves unarmed if ALL they had was a sword, as the other weapons were better used against other knights (e.g. a lance was useful for knocking another guy off his horse, a mace was useful for bashing his armor in so he couldn't move). Really, the sword was for use against soft targets.

Master of One MagicMaster of the IndexMaster Swordsman
The MusketeerChoice of Two WeaponsMulti-Ranged Master
Master SwordsmanSword TropesThe Musketeer
Morph WeaponWeapons and Wielding TropesMulti-Ranged Master
Mulder MomentAdded Alliterative AppealMulti-Mook Melee
The BearImageSource/InternetDrink Order

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